Monday, November 22, 2010
Most recently, I’ve found myself thanking God for my agent. He inherited me after my former agent moved, and at first I thought, “But he’s a guy! He won’t understand my out-of-the-box romantic novels!”
After a meeting here and an email there and a few phone conversations sprinkled throughout, I realized two things about the guy I call Secret Agent Man.
1. He is, above all, supportive of my writing.
2. He quotes Shakespeare in every day conversation.
He has other great qualities too, including a background in marketing, keen instincts, and superfly Clark Kent glasses, but it’s the above two characteristics I find most reassuring.
The first is self-explanatory, but you might be wondering about the second. Or, maybe you also majored in English and right now you’re saying, “Oh yeah, if an agent quoted MacBeth to me, I’d feel totally at ease.”
It isn’t really love for the bard that feeds my confidence, but rather my agent’s appreciation for the classics, for high-blown themes, and graceful language—for everything Shakespeare’s work encapsulates. Those concepts feed my soul, even if my mind lives on the literary equivalent of fast food.
For the past two months, Secret Agent Man and I have been piecing together a proposal for my WIP, The Immortal Heathcliff. I’ll be honest with you, the process was somewhat laborious. I don’t know many writers who adore writing synopses, summaries, and market analyses. I was relieved in September when we had most of the pieces in place. Then Secret Agent Man tossed me a curve ball.
“Let’s put together a book trailer,” he said in his most non-threatening Clark Kent voice.
“Now?” I asked, sure I’d misunderstood. Weren’t book trailers for already published works? It seemed presumptuous to create one to go out with my proposal.
Secret Agent Man assured me all the kids were doing it, so I went home and handed the project over to my computer geek husband. It crashed two computers, cost nearly $200, and ate up our evenings for more than a month, but the end result is eye-popping.
I sent it off to Secret Agent Man and he loved it!
“We’re good to go now,” I thought.
Then Secret Agent Man emailed, “Why don’t we make a page on the Brontës to go with the proposal?”
I banged my head against the wall, then tried to say something brilliant about the Brontës that hadn’t already been said a million times. I failed, of course. But Secret Agent Man came to the rescue, formatting our page into a Q&A and supplying me with interesting questions to answer.
I handed it in and held my breath. I figured next he’d ask me to dress up as Emily Brontë and make a clip for YouTube. But, to my delight, he pronounced us ready to move and sent out the book trailer and query.
Our work paid off. No, I don’t have a contract yet, but we’ve had lots of positive feedback on the extras we put in the proposal. I’m so thankful Secret Agent Man understands the classic themes that drive my passion to write and also knows exactly what tools will clarify my sometimes less-than-focused interpretation.
And if he asks me to don Victorian clothes and talk about Wuthering Heights into a camera, I probably will, but only if he wears a black suit and sunglasses and stands behind me with a walkie-talkie.
Evangeline Denmark has co-authored two children’s books, The Dragon and the Turtle (available now) and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari (available 1-11-11) and also writes adult fiction. While less cultured than most Austen Addicts, she enjoys a classic love story and a cup of Chai tea. You can find Evangeline online at www.breathenbreatheout.blogspot.com and www.dragonandturtle.com
Friday, November 19, 2010
Writing can be a very solitary endeavor. Often times it is just you and the computer (or you vs. the computer, depending on how your day is going). I’ve been feeling the solitude lately. I’m about two-thirds of the way through a manuscript that is likely the most tense and emotional story I’ve ever attempted. It’s been tough. Draining. And recently I started to feel that inner light of creativity and passion start to flicker as if it’s about to go out.
At times like that, I’ve learned there’s only one thing to do: stop writing and pick up the phone. Call another writer, a critique partner, a loyal friend who reads (and loves) everything you write, and let them rekindle your inner spirit.
In a month where we are focusing on an attitude of gratitude, I have been reflecting on how much God has blessed me through relationships with other writers. If it had not been for my critique partners, a dedicated mentor, and good friends who love to talk books and writing and dreams as much as I do, I would have given up my pursuit of publication a long time ago. I am so grateful that we are not in this alone, that God designed us to be in relationship so we can encourage, support, and inspire each other. I am so grateful for my friends.
A lifelong storyteller, Sara Richardson is passionate about communicating reasons for hope. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, an Internet communications manager, and a whitewater rafting guide. In addition to writing fiction, Sara has published nonfiction articles in parenting and family magazines. As a member of MOPS International, Sara enjoys speaking to moms’ groups. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University. Visit her at www.hopetolife.com
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I am grateful for highlighters.
Think about it. Those pesky little pen-wannabes that shout your accomplishments, cry over those things you forgot, and remind you of what you should have done and didn't.
I even have Bible highlighters that don't bleed through that thin paper and blot out what's on the other side. I have them in several colors, so I can highlight according to some long-lost code -- I was once in church, and a little girl ahead of me turned around in her pew, and saw me using my highlighter in my Bible. She turned to her mother and said, "That lady is coloring in her Bible." The mother looked over her shoulder, her face red with embarrassment, and said, "It's okay." The little girl looked into her mother's eyes and asked, "How come I get in trouble when I color in my Bible?"
I'm grateful I don't get in trouble for coloring in my Bible, even when I'm not highlighting, because, yes, sometimes I do use my highlighters to color the flowers that decorate my Bible, or the oceans in the maps.
And I am grateful for sticky notes.
Yes, those pesky little reminders of things not to forget, things not important enough to write somewhere permanent, things you didn't even remember you'd forgotten until you find the note behind your desk two years later.
I use them sometimes in my Bible to mark a passage I want to turn to quickly when I'm talking with someone in a Bible study, or I'm going to read from the pulpit. They sure make it easier than trying to memorize all those books and what order they're in.
But most of all, I am grateful for Bible ribbon markers. They keep me on track, help me find important verses I turn to over and over again. When I'm at the end of my rope, I can flip open my Bible to one of these ribbon markers, and I am bound to find, at my fingertips, a verse that will set me right again. A verse that reminds me of God's promises, of His grace and mercy, of His compassion and His plans for me.
Highlighters, sticky notes, Bible ribbon markers -- tools of the trade for a Christian.
As we count the days to Thanksgiving, think about those little things in your life you are thankful for. It's good to have big reminders of God's love and care for us, but even these tiny tools of the trade can have a big impact on your life.
Lord, thank You for taking such good care of us, meeting our needs, filling our hearts, changing our lives, even when we can't see it. Remind us of Your presence in every aspect of every thing we do. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I am grateful.
i Am grateful.
i AM grateful.
i am Grateful.
i am GRATEful.
i am grateFUL.
i am GRATEFUL.
I Am Grateful.
I AM GRATEFUL.
I AM GRATEFUL!!!!!
My work here is done.
Monday, November 8, 2010
November brings a myriad of emotions for me. In years past it was marked by a mixture of anxiety and delight as I prepared for the impending visit of my parents. Now as I look back, my memories of those times are bittersweet. My father is with his heavenly father and my mother rarely travels from her warmer Texas climate to the uncertainty of Colorado’s late fall weather. Although I was thankful for their regular visits each November when my children were younger, I appreciate them even more now that I will never have the opportunity to experience them again.
Having four children, you’d think that there would still be plenty of feet under my table as I look forward to Thanksgiving dinner. I treasure the memories I have of getting out the china and sitting around the dining room table together sharing our traditional foods including a layered Jello dish discovered in a cookbook from the small Canadian town where my father grew up. Up until a couple years ago that was the happy scene. Now three of my “children” are adults living in other states as they pursue their interests and passions at college. The short break and costly airfare are two of the factors in our choice to let them find a place to share Thanksgiving with others. I am grateful for the families who have extended an offer of hospitality to them as they are far from home. I’m glad I have the memories of us all together and will look forward to making new memories during their Christmas breaks.
While I have memories that I am thankful for, I am challenged to consider if my gratitude and appreciation are reflected in my behavior. Am I taking the time to show my thankfulness to those who are a part of my memories while I still can?
We often hear the phrase “having an attitude of gratitude” which is our topic for this month’s blog. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines attitude as “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior” and gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
I encourage each of us to take a few moments this month to examine our behavior and see if it matches the gratitude we feel. Let others know how they have given you cause to be thankful whether it is family in blood or spirit, especially the One who has given us more than we can ever ask or think.
A blessed Thanksgiving to all.
Elaine Clampitt is Secretary/Treasurer for Mile High Scribes, the South Denver Chapter of ACFW. She is excited that hockey season is finally underway and is not so feverishly working on her NaNoWriMo novel set in the world of professional ice hockey.
Come check out Mile High Scribes new location starting in January - the Tattered Cover bookstore in Highlands Ranch meeting on the first Monday of the month.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
This month my article is again featured. So I'm making my post for this month easy for me. Something for which I'm very thankful! LOL
You can read it by going here. You may need to set up an account to get in, but it's free.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Shoving my chair back from the computer, I dashed up the stairs for my tennies taking two steps at a time, grabbed my sunglasses from the ledge, and ignored his suggestion that I grab a jacket. (I am convinced this whole perimenapausal thing is happening to me because it takes frigid air for me to be cold these days. That--or dressing in sandals and a skirt and rushing out the door without a coat like I did at 7 a.m. earlier this week. But I digress.)
The crisp autumn air brushed against my face and coatless arms as we crunched across the leaves in our front yard and headed through the neighborhood toward the walking trail. My poor husband did a lot of nodding as I talked with barely a breath (though I was beginning to huff and puff a bit by this point) about all the stuff happening with HIS Writers and ACFW Colorado--a myriad of things most people will never see, the behind the scenes triumphs and struggles that make or break organizations and events, but are really important only to someone immersed in them.
Meanwhile teenagers staged a football game on the grass in the middle of the track we circled while some little boys peeked through the fence at them, their own football in hand. We then went down the hill, underneath trees almost barren, and passed through the park. There two tiny boys in baseball gloves they'd yet to grow into listened with serious intent to their dad, who threw the ball high in the sky and urged them to go for the catch. My husband grinned wider as he inclined his head toward them. "Isn't that cool?" he said.
We pushed up the hill, both of us panting by this point, passed the fence where three yippy dogs always chase us, and too soon we were home.
It's the little things in life that I'm thankful for--like a walk on a golden fall day with the one I love.
Like working for an organization that really cares about writers and training them up to share words that will draw others to Christ.
Like getting good deals on printing. Like retreat centers and hotels that reduce down payments so we can go for the dreams God put inside of us for this group.
Like standing side by side with a board who works hard and loves well.
Like believing in friends and watching them succeed.
Like chuckling at correspondence with clever speakers to be.
And like my daughter cleaning the shower downstairs so Susan May Warren won't be too grossed out when she comes next week.
Or maybe those things are actually big things.
May your November be filled with the beauty of little things . . .
A writer, speaker, and homeschooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God’s grace and intimacy with Jesus. She is published in book compilations, magazines, and e-zines, and writes curriculum for David C Cook's new RIO! line. Her website, Soul Scents, offers a free weekly devotional, and you can visit her blog at GraceReign. Paula serves as president of HIS Writers, the north Denver ACFW chapter. A devoted Pride and Prejudice fan, she loves good conversation, peppermint ice cream, and walking barefoot. Her greatest desire is to be close enough to Jesus to live His fragrance.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I love November. Not just because of turkey and pumpkin pie. Not just because of fall colors. Not just because my beloved snow should show up in the second snowiest month in Colorado. Not just because any of these things, but because of all of them.
Plus, it’s my birthday month.
Ah ha! Now we get down to it. I’ve lived on this earth a smidge over a half-century, (Ack! That sounds really bad!) and it wasn’t until a smidge before that half-century that I was awarded with my first writing contract.
Am I grateful in this, the most thankful month, that my dream had been realized before I turned fifty?
Well, not just because of that.
I’m grateful because my LORD gave me the gift of turning story into something beautiful for Him. I’m grateful that He didn’t allow the spirit of “it’s too hard,” to enter my vocabulary. I’m grateful that somehow, when writing all those plays as a kid, poems during my teen angst, and volunteer newsletters after I became a mom, became a training ground for the bigger purpose.
What is the bigger purpose? Becoming a published author? No, the bigger purpose is the blessing God has put on my writing to reach untold numbers of hurting souls. I praise and thank God for that opportunity.
Yes. Just because of that.
Kathy Kovach is the ACFW Rocky Mountain Zone Director, and author with Heartsong Presents and Barbour Publishing. Check out her books at www.FictionFinder.com.