Thursday, May 31, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour - Spirit of Sweetgrass by Nicole Seitz


NICOLE SEITZ is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and freelance writer/illustrator published in South Carolina Magazine, Charleston Magazine, House Calls, The Island Packet and The Bluffton Packet.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism, she also has a bachelor's degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Nicole is an exhibiting artist in the Charleston, South Carolina area where she owns a web design firm and lives with her husband and two small children.


Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins is a 78-year-old sweetgrass basket weaver who sits on the side of Hwy. 17 in the company of her dead husband, Daddy Jim.

Inspired by her Auntie Leona, Essie Mae finally discovers her calling in life and weaves powerful "love baskets," praying fervently over them to affect the lives of those who visit her roadside stand.

Relations are strained with her daughter Henrietta, who thinks Essie belongs in a retirement center. If Essie can't pay $10,000 in back taxes to save her home, she may have no choice. More tensions: her grandson EJ wants to marry a white girl, Essie discovers that a handsome man she's trying to find a girl for is gay, and her daughter carries a hidden secret.

When she's faced with losing her home and her stand and being put in a nursing home, Daddy Jim talks her into coming on up to Heaven to meet sweet Jesus-something she's always wanted to do.

The SPIRIT OF SWEETGRASS shifts less successfully to the afterlife, where her Gullah-Creole ancestors surround her; but soon, her heavenly peace is disrupted, for she still has work to do. Now Essie Mae, who once felt powerless and invisible, must find the strength within her to keep her South Carolina family from falling apart. Together, with Daddy Jim, they team up to return to Earth and battle two spirits conjured up by Henrietta's voodoo that threatens to ruin an attempt to save the sweetgrass basket weaving culture.

Buy the book at Amazon!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wallpaper, Rewrites, and Painting

It's been almost a week since I posted here, but not because I've been lazy!
Last week started on a high (a Rocky Mountain high) then went to a low before going back to a high. All a part of a writer's life.

I learned last week about a technique I hadn't considered before called "Deep POV." This came about because of an average score I'd received on an entry I'd made in the ACFW Genesis writing contest. One of the judges told me my POV wasn't deep enough. I quickly learned that it's more than just writing from a character's point of view, but really getting deep into that person's head so the reader feels as though she is that character. This involves using all five senses, telling the reader what she is smelling, hearing, touching, etc. It's kind of hard to explain, but once I realized it, I couldn't wait to get back to my ms. and try it out. At times I've already been doing this, but at other times I'm sure I've dropped the ball.

This week I heard from the editor regarding my manuscript. She didn't reject it, but rather gave it a redirection. She wants me to rework it in third person POV. In parts it won't be easy, but I'm willing and I think it will be better in the long run for the three-book series. Right now I'm going through the story and putting each scene on a spreadsheet so I can figure out which one's to put in the hero's POV and where I may need to write new scenes all together.

In-between all this I'm working on redecorating my kitchen. That's where the wallpapering comes in. The wallpaper and paint have been sitting in a corner of my dining room for several months waiting for me to finish the ms. In spite of redoing the POV, I'm determined to get the kitchen done. Mornings I work on the story and afternoons are spent putting up wallpaper and eventually painting the cabinets.

In time I'll have a pretty kitchen and a finished reworked manuscript--hopefully both done to perfection :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Enjoy the Beauty of God's Creation!

Today, I'm just going to let you enjoy God's creation as I did last week. I've been in mountains before, but never like these.

Here I am standing in front of the lodge where we stayed.

This was the view from our room looking to the northwest.

I took this from a deck that sits between the auditorium/cafeteria building where we had appts. and general sessions and a small restaurant. This is where I usually collected myself and prayed before my appointments.

Here I am with Angie Hunt and Nancy Rue at the end of the Nangie class. It was held in a cozy cottage.

Every day like clockwork between 1 and 3 p.m. it clouds over and the rain comes in. Sometimes soft and gentle, but most of the time in a downpour with thunder and lightning. It's amazing how by watching the mountains you can see so many types of weather all at once like in this picture. Rain on one side and sunny on the other.

On our final day we took a driving tour through Rocky Mountain National Park. From there we headed down the mountain and made our way to the airport.

It was good to be back in my own bed, but I sure do miss those mountains!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

CFBA Tour Features Rene Gutteridge's "Snitch"


Rene Gutteridge is the author of several novels, including Ghost Writer (Bethany House Publishers) The Boo Series (WaterBrook Press) and the Storm Series, (Tyndale House Publishers. She will release three novels in 2006: Storm Surge (Tyndale) My Life as a Doormat (WestBow Press, Women of Faith)Occupational Hazards Book #1: Scoop (WaterBrook Press).
She has also been published over thirty times as a playwright, best known for her Christian comedy sketches. She studied screenwriting under a Mass Communications degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University, and earned the "Excellence in Mass Communication" award. She served as the full-time Director of Drama for First United Methodist Church for five years before leaving to stay home and write. She enjoys instructing at writer's conferences and in college classrooms. She lives with her husband, Sean, a musician, and their children in Oklahoma City.


Old School meets New School meets Homeschool

Just shy of retirement and a well-earned pension, Las Vegas Police Department Sergeant Ron Yeager's definition of "active duty" involves shifting his bad leg into a more comfortable position. But when he's requested from his mind-numbing desk job to head an undercover auto theft task force, the former narcotics officer determines to prove he's still got the right stuff.That is...until he meets his unlikely team of officers.As Yeager soon finds out, not all the crazies are on the street. An undercover rookie, the audaciously honest Mackenzie "Mack" Hazard sends Yeager's blood pressure skyrocketing by wearing her faith like an ever-present badge. Then there's Jesse Lunden, a maverick undercover officer who refuses to learn anything from an old guy with a cane. Can this tangle of egos and eccentrics be trained into a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine...even while they are being drawn into something much bigger and more dangerous than anyone imagined?In her trademark style, Rene Gutteridge blends zany, original characters, sincere faith, and surprising plot twists into one hilariously addictive read.
"Snitch is an engaging crime novel, balanced between sheer whimsy and genuine human drama."
....CHRIS WELL, author of Tribulation House
"A wonderful, fully developed ensemble cast makes Snitch an entertaining, engaging read. Rene's flair for a comedic, well-turned phrase shines here. Snitch is worth snatching."
...SUSAN MEISSNER, author of Widows and Orphans

Order From AMAZON!

Monday, May 21, 2007

On The Mountain It Will Be Provided

I'm back from the mountain and the Lord did provide as it says in Genesis 22:14. He provided 4-1/2 beautiful days in His wonderous creation.

He provided three days of valuable teaching from two wonderful teachers in Angie Hunt and Nancy Rue. They call their class Nangie. I learned so much from them including Angie's skeleton for working out a story plot. I can't wait to try it out on my second story in the Canoga Lake Series (Murder for Breakfast is the first story). I was also encouraged to continue revamping Shiloh Legacy. Wow, I don't know where to start first!

God also provided good appointments with agents and hopefully I'll soon be connected. An agent is so necessary in the writing world, but it's important to find a good fit.

He provided a great roomie. Vickie and I met at the airport in Denver, rented a car, and headed for the hills (mountains). In two hours we were breathing in mountain air and gasping for breath! LOL. That high altitude took some getting used to. I climbed a flight of stairs and felt like I'd just run a marathon.

He provided wonderful worship times in music, message, and prayer as well as sweet fellowship with old and new friends.

We played hookie a few times and scooted into the village of Estes Park where we sampled the local restaurants and hit the shops. I loved meeting the people who live there. I think 8 out of 10 were transplants. I can sure understand the draw of the place, but I couldn't help but wonder if they ever feel like they'd like to be able to just drive a few blocks and be at the mall. Then again, who'd want to go to the mall when you can look at something like this?

I'm still in a post-conference semi-coma, but I'll be over it by tomorrow. Then I'll get to work on all those stories I need to work on...for now I'm going to chill a little longer and dream of snow-capped moutains.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane....

...I do know when I'll be back again. Sunday night! Lord willing.

Life is crazy right now. Twenty-four hours from now I'll be up and away and headed for the mountains if the flight is on time. Am I excited? Yep. Am I ready? Nope.

I'm busy working on one-sheets to have ready when talking to agents and editors and still need to pack and get some ACFW work out of the way. The cab picks me up at the crack of dawn so all has to be done tonight.

I hope I have a lot to blog about when I get back. If I have a chance I'll try to blog from the conference. It's said on the website that wireless is available.

I am assured that no matter where I go, God goes before me. Can't ask for more than that!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

You Know You're in a Time Crunch When...

1. You use a calendar picture depicting flying days on your blog when you used one only a few weeks ago.

2. You are writing in your blog for the first time in five days.

3. You miss the weekly CFBA blog tour.

4. You don't get everything done on your to do list to get ready for your trip.

5. The bookmark stays in the same place in the book you're reading.

6. The bathroom still needs cleaning.

7. You take a break from the work and go buy underwear and call it a good time.

8. You barely notice the weather outside and are surprised when you step outside to find it's either cool, warm, windy, muggy...choose one. Each day it was one of those.

9. You get carry-out two days in a row instead of eating from the fridge because you don't want to take time to cook.

10. Your blog topic is about being in a time crunch.

Well you get the picture! That pretty much describes my week. I mailed the manuscript on Monday and ever since then it's been like running on a hamster wheel. Unexpected ACFW projects came up that grabbed my free time. I did manage to get most of the condo cleaned. Today I have no choice. Got company coming so I must clean the bathroom LOL.

I can't believe I leave next Wednesday for Colorado. Sure hope I don't meet myself coming while I'm going and I miss the trip LOL. At least I haven't had time to fret over the manuscript. Who has time? Not me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You Like Me!! I've Been Tagged After All

Egad, I just lost my eight unique things about me because I've been tagged. Here after I was feeling left out of the fun.

Well here's the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.8 random facts/habits about me ...

1. I once climbed a mountain.
2. I've lived on both coasts, but live in the Midwest again where I was raised.
3. I'm the only first cousin to my five living first cousins.
4. I hate brussel sprouts.
5. An ancestor was secretary of the Navy under President Buchanan, wrote American History, and helped start the Naval Academy. Bancroft Hall is named for him.
6. My Great Grandfather invented a hair crimper.
7. I have ancestors from both sides of the Civil War.
8. I've interpreted in sign language at my church for almost 25 years.

Okay, before I lose this again. I'm gonna tag: Lena Nelson Dooley, Cynthia Ruchti, Sally Bradley, and the Girls Write Out team (ha! four in one fell swoop!)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Manuscript is in the Mail!

Well, I did it . Today I packed up my nearly 250-page manuscript and sent it off to the editor. Then I took a mini vacation in Barnes and Noble where I spent about an hour musing amongst the books and wondering if my own book will ever be sitting on those shelves. If God wills it, it will happen.

I went through a panic after I handed the box over to the post office woman. Did I make sure all the pages were there? Did I check every page to make sure all the highlighted words were gone. (That's how I find repeated words, phrases, beats, etc.) I know I did all that yesterday as it was printing, but even so I asked myself if I'd overlooked something. I've always been something of a control freak, although I've mellowed in recent years. But, a situation like this is so huge. Until now this story was under my control. I could always change a word, add a line, take out a scene. But now it's over. There's nothing more for me to do until I hear from the editor. That's not exactly true. I will be pitching it to potential agents in Colorado, but until I hear from the editor I won't be sending it to any other publisher.

Time to move on and finish judging for the ACFW contest and most of all--clean my condo!! My little home has been neglected over the past couple months as I've focused almost entirely on this novel. Starting tomorrow instead of a keyboard under my fingers, I'll be hanging onto a dust rag! Then it's get ready for Colorado. I leave next week!

For the rest of today I think I'll relax a little by judging a contest entry. It never stops. :-)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Announcing Bygones Winner and Thoughts on Gazing, Staring, and Lifting One's Chin

Michelle Shocklee wins Bygones! Michelle, I'll get the book off to Texas early next week. You are gonna love it.

Thanks to everyone who took time to check out my blog and sign up to win Kim's book. It was a lot of fun. Watch this space for more book contests coming soon.
Now On To Those Curious Things We Do With Our Eyes and Chins...

Right now it's back to the MFB manuscript. I'm down to the last little tweaking, looking for repeated words. Every author has their pet words and phrases that are repeated so much they become a cliche in their own right within the story.

What are mine? Thanks to my crit partner, Tammy, I've discovered I love for people to angle their head back to look at someone. Or as Donna Fleisher pointed out to me, I have everyone chuckling or nodding their head.

One area that is really hard for me is what to do with people when they look at someone or something...there are only so many words for gaze, stare, glare, etc. For a while I had my people gazing at everything and each other. So I changed out some of the gazes, and now I have too many stares going on. Checking out my Flip Dictionary and Synonym Finder don't help much. Seems the compilers of those resources also have a hard time coming up with other words to use in place of gaze or stare. I just read a novel where the author was always having someone gaze or her gaze did this or that. We gotta make up some new words here to avoid repeating the same ones!

An action beat I use a lot has to do with chins. My heroine lifts, juts, and raises her chin a lot to show determination, indignation, and to receive a kiss from the hero. I wonder how many times in a day we actaully lift our chins. My heroine is probably getting a strained neck muscle from doing that so much. There's gotta be other ways to show these attitudes.

Well, no matter what, this manuscript has got to be mailed Monday along with Michelle's copy of Bygones. I have the mailing materials. Now all I need is a new word for stare.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour: Chris Well's Tribulation House

This week
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Harvest House 2007)
Chris Well

Chris Well is a fellow member of the CFBA and founder of its sister organization, FIRST. He is an acclaimed novelist and award–winning magazine editor and has previously written the “laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers” Deliver Us from Evelyn and Forgiving Solomon Long(one of Booklist’s Top 10 Christian Novels of 2005). He has also contributed to 7ball, Infuze, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Chris and his wife live in Tennessee, where he is hard at work on his next novel.

IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD—WHICH COULD BE A PROBLEM...Mark Hogan has it all. The job. The family. A position on the board at church. All he’s missing is a boat. Not just any boat—a 2008 Bayliner 192.When Reverend Daniel Glory announces that the Rapture is taking place on October 17 at 5:51am, Hogan realizes his boat–buying days are numbered. So he does what any man in his situation would do—he borrows a load of money from the mob.Not that there’s any risk involved: After all, when the Rapture comes, Hogan will be long gone. The mob will never find him.But when Jesus fails to come back on schedule, Mark Hogan finds the mob is in no mood to discuss the finer points of end–times theology...Chris Well’s laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers appeal to the millions of readers who gobble up the rollicking crime fiction of Janet Evanovich and Elmore Leonard. TRIBULATION HOUSE does not disappoint!

You can order it from Amazon

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kim Sawyer's Bygones - A Must Read!

I've known Kim Sawyer ever since we both joined what was then American Christian Romance Writers and attended the very first conference held in Kansas City. Since that time both Kim and ACRW have come a long way. ACRW became American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Kim became a very accomplished and published author. Both ACFW and Kim just keep getting better and better.The best thing of all is that even with her successes as a writer Kim has remained the same humble person she was the first day we met.
Here she is at our last ACFW conference in Dallas during the book signing event.

I am so excited to tell you about her latest release called Bygones. This is one of Kim's rare ventures into contemporary fiction and I hope she does more! Kim has some firsthand knowledge about the Mennonite community and that is exactly where the story is set.

Widow Marie Koeppler and her grown daughter Beth reluctantly return to the Mennonite community Marie abandoned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival in Sommerfeld, a series of mysterious thefts raises the community's suspicions against the "outsiders." Can Marie prove their innocence, or will she be forced to flee once more? Henry Braun thought he'd gotten his love for Marie out of his system, but soon begins to wonder if she's stolen more than his heart. When it's all said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start?

I learned so much about the Mennonites. They are similar to the Amish yet there are subtle differences. For one thing, today's Mennonites usually use electricity and own their own cars. In the story Marie's aunt's home where she and her daughter stay does not have electricity, because her aunt was old school so to speak. This causes some interesting conflict as the daughter who is used to Internet connections and her Stereo has to adjust. I love how Kim slowly allows Marie's spiritual arc to swing back to the faith of her childhood, one she'd forsaken for so long. Of course her relationship with God had nothing to do with whether or not she uses electricity or wears a prayer cap, but everything to do with repentance and forgiveness through faith in Christ. There are so many other conflicts going on throughout the story as well that you can't put the book down, wanting to know how everything is going to work out.

This is the first of three in a series and I can't wait for the next book!

Want to have a copy of Bygones for your self? Leave me a comment and I'll draw a name this coming Saturday, May 5th.