Fun Friday

Get Courageous for the Weekend

Hard to believe, but it’s Friday again! So, to start the weekend off on a fun note, here’s a great video featuring one of my all-time favorite groups, Casting Crowns.

The song is “Courageous,” which is the first single from their CD that will release in October (yay, can hardly wait!). It’s also featured in the movie “Courageous,” which opens on Sept. 30. A friend of mine was fortunate enough to see the movie premier at the Fox Theater in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband both said it’s an amazing movie that could really make a difference in people’s lives. I’m looking forward to seeing it! But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the video.

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Friday Celebrations

It’s Friday, it’s summer, and it’s the perfect time for celebrations. Here are some things I’m tickled about today …

  • My writing friend Lynda Schab got word that her first novel will be published by Oak Tara Publishing. Woo-hoo! The book is Mind Over Madi and I had the chance to read a lot of it when Lynda and I were in an online critique group together a couple of years ago. Loved it, loved it, loved it! Lynda is the kind of writer who makes me laugh out loud, and that’s always a good thing in my book (um, no pun intended). I’m so happy for her and can hardly wait to get a copy of my own. Check out her story about “the call” at her blog.
  • I’m officially registered for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference in August. I went last year and had a great experience — learned so much in the classes, made some great new writing friends, and felt God everywhere I went. I registered early enough that I’ll automatically have appointments with 5 (!) of the faculty members. Those can be a bit nerve wracking, but they’re the best way to get your work in front of people who can really help you move to the next level. I won’t know who my appointments will be with until I’m there, but I’ve sent in my requests. Now it’s time to buckle down and get lots of work done on some projects so I can talk about them! 🙂
  • I’ve changed a few things on my website and added the book trailer for Divas in Disguise so you can see it right there instead of clicking over to YouTube (you can watch it here). I must admit, I was pretty proud of myself for figuring that one out.
  • I’ve just joined a new critique group through ACFW that focuses on middle grade writers. That’s where most of my focus is these days, so I’m excited about connecting with some other authors who “get” writing for kids in that age group. We officially kicked off things this week and I’m really looking forward to it. Maybe this will be the incentive I need to work on my stories on a regular basis instead of being so hit and miss with it all. And maybe they can help me brainstorm some ideas to get me past the “stuck” point in a new book I’m mapping out. I always learn so much about my own writing just by reading things from others — it’s a win/win.
  • And, last but definitely not least, I’m excited that vacation time is approaching! It’s never too soon to sink your toes in the sand …

OK, so what about you? What has you feeling good on this Friday?

 

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Book Signing Blues

When my first devotional book was published, I could hardly wait to have a book signing. After all, that’s what authors do, right? They schedule a time, promote it to everyone they can think of, and sell tons of books.

Um, not always.

One of my signings was a huge success. It helps to hold it at a bookstore near a lot of your husband’s family and high school friends he still keeps in touch with. Many of them came for the socializing factor, but that was OK because they also bought books. I was the bookstore’s new favorite author.

And then there were the other signings that were closer to reality. I sold two copies at the mall bookstore signing to ladies who came from my church. And I sold zero at the signing almost 3 hours from home – yes, I said 3 hours – despite how excited the customer relations person had been about promoting it and bringing in droves of people. Turns out it’s hard to promote a book signing when you transfer to another store within days of the event. It’s even harder to be sure things go well when the author arrives and no one at the store knows anything about the event. The best part of that day was the fact my mom went with me, so we had a great visit on the road.

Yes, I learned a lot during those few months, which is why I thought this video was so funny (maybe a little too painfully true, but funny). I saw it on literary agent Steve Laube’s blog and hoped you’d get a kick out of it too.

Signing in the Waldenbooks

So the next time you’re in a bookstore and an author is there for a signing, have a little compassion and stop by the table. I promise it’s not that hard. Just say hello so the author knows she’s not invisible. Ask a couple of questions. Take a piece of candy from the bowl that’s probably there.

Trust me, you’ll make her day.

Categories: Fun Friday, Uncategorized, Writing life | Tags: | 4 Comments

More Favorite Reads from 2010

Earlier, I posted about a few of my favorite books that I read in 2010. The problem is, I read so much and like so many stories that it’s hard to whittle things down to a manageable list … but I try.

I’ve already mentioned The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, So Over It, and Tour de Force. Today I’ll share the highlights of three favorite historicals.

A Tailor Made Bride, by Karen Witemeyer. This was Karen’s debut novel, and just the cover was enough to catch my attention (love that dress!). But, no matter how the cover looked, the story snagged me from the very beginning. Hannah is a feisty woman who takes a lot of townspeople by surprise when she buys a storefront in Coventry, Tx. and moves in sight unseen. They aren’t quite sure what to do with a lady who takes walks and does exercises each morning, who befriends the most unlikely people, and who isn’t afraid to start her own business alone. That’s not to say things are easy – and one of her biggest challenges is in dealing with Jericho Tucker, the town’s liveryman. Sparks fly, but in a fun and realistic way. Their conversations were so well written that I could hear them in my mind; their bantering made me laugh. Karen might be a debut novelist, but her skills are on par with some of my favorite longtime authors. I haven’t had the chance to read her second novel (A Head in the Clouds), but would like to. I’ll definitely be looking for more of her titles in the future.

Within My Heart, by Tamera Alexander. Tamera ranks as one of my very favorite authors, no matter what genre I’m reading. Her characters are well-rounded and realistic, her descriptions put me right in the story world, and she always includes something in the plot that surprises me. And, of course, there’s always the happily ever after. Many of Tamera’s fans had been waiting for Within My Heart to release because it finished her Timber Ridge Reflections trilogy. We finally learned the histories of characters Rachel Boyd and Dr. Rand Brookston – which explained why they were simultaneously drawn to each other but determined to stay apart. We also finally had closure to the tension between Rachel and Daniel Ranslett, the boyhood friend of Rachel’s first husband Thomas. I love how Tamera reveals her characters’ imperfections without making them wimps; instead, it just makes me love them more. Yes, I’m always looking for her next release.

Dancing Through Fire, by Kathryn Lasky. I love working book fairs at my kids’ schools because they’re fun, but I also like checking out some of the latest titles for kids. I actually bought Dancing Through Fire at a Scholastic book fair – partly to satisfy the long-ago dancer in me and partly because wanted to read a story set in that timeframe. The story takes place in Paris during the 1870s and focuses on a girl names Sylvie. She’s what’s known as a “little rat,” or a young student in the Paris Opera Ballet. Then war comes to Paris and changes everything. Even the dancers immersed in their own world of ballet are forced to deal with reality, and girls like Sylvie grow up quickly – and learn some important lessons. I wouldn’t want my third grader to read it yet, but it’s a good blend of history and fiction for upper elementary or middle school girls. Author trivia: Kathryn Lasky has written more than 100 books for children and adults, including  the books that the movie Legend of the Guardians was based on. We haven’t seen the movie, but one of our son’s buddies said it was his favorite movie of all time.

 

And, there you have it — three of my favorite historical novels from 2010, though they’re certainly not the only ones I enjoyed. So many books, so little time … and blog space! 🙂

Categories: Book reviews, Christian fiction, Fun Friday | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments
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