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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The High Point of 2010: Great People!

Are you a great person? In my book, yes!

My year has been enriched by family and friends, but you, my cyber pals and writing buddies, are special to me. You share my passion for writing and "get" me in a way others can't.

As I reflect on the year that is fast drawing to a close, I'm reminded of wonderful times shared with wonderful people.
RWA® Nationals in Orlando ~ July
Me with my longtime critique partner and dear friend Anne Barton. I hadn't seen her since we met in person the first time in San Francisco two years before. I about bowled her over when she entered the hotel lobby in Orlando.
. I met many wonderful writers I've gotten to know online, including several of my Seeker friends. Pictured from left to right are Sandra Leesmith, Myra Johnson, Janet Dean, Me, Ruth Logan Herne, and Missy Tippens.

ACFW Conference in Indianapolis ~ September
Here I am with my new critique partner and special friend Jody Hedlund. What a thrill it's been getting to know her better and to share in her journey as her debut novel, The Preacher's Bride, was released.
. Rachelle Gardner is my agent extraordinaire. Meeting her for the first time was a thrill. She's even more beautiful in person than she is in pictures. And she's lots of fun, too.
. I got to hang out with some great gals during the conference, both blogging buddies and newfound friends. Being in the company of these wonderful women was a delight. Pictured from left to right are Wendy Payne Miller, Heather Sunseri, Catherine West, Anne Lang Bundy, Katie Ganshert, Sarah Forgrave, Jeannie Mood Campbell, Cindy R. Wilson, and Me.
• • • • •

As I look forward to 2011, I anticipate sharing in many celebrations. I know many talented people and expect to hear plenty of good news, so I keep my happy dancing shoes handy.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Our college daughter is on her way home for Christmas, and I'm sooo eager to see her.

Gwynly and I remarked yesterday how it hasn't really felt like Christmas to us yet. Even though our tree was cut, up, and decorated the day after Thanksgiving with the the wrapped presents beneath it just the way The Fashion Queen likes, without her here, things didn't feel complete.

But they will when she arrives.

Tonight, we'll attend our Christmas Eve candlelight service and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. We'll open our stockings when we get home from church. Tomorrow, we'll watch the others' reactions to our carefully selected gifts. And we'll enjoy being together.

I wish you and your family a blessed celebration of Christmas.

• • • • •

I've seen several great Christmas videos this season. Since Gwynly and I have been Mac people for two decades, this one of the North Point Community Church iBand's rendition of three Christmas songs was among my favorites.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary x 2

A Wedding Anniversary

My hubby and I got married December 19, 1987. We're celebrating 23 years of marriage.

I was a Christmas bride, complete with attendants in red velvet and poinsettias as our flowers. Gwynly's special request for the ceremony was to have me stand on a footstool for the kiss, his way of having a little fun since I'm a foot shorter than he is.
I've been asked why we chose to marry at Christmas. The answer is impatience. :-)

Gwynly is a teacher. He proposed in the middle of the summer. Since I was already 28 and he has nearly ten years on me, I didn't want to wait until the following summer to get married, so we settled on the next possible date: the first Saturday of his Christmas break.

I'm also asked if I liked being married in December. Yes! We like that our marriage began at the same time our Savior's birth is celebrated.
A Writing Journey Anniversary

Last year, Gwynly took me out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. When we arrived home, I checked my email. I saw the name Rachelle Gardener in my in-box, and my heart rate went from impulse to warp speed in a nanosecond.

The day before, I'd sent Rachelle the full manuscript she'd requested after judging my entry in the Launching a Star contest. Part of me wanted to believe the email was good news. The other part of me thought it might be nothing more than a message letting me know she'd received my submission.

With trembling fingers, I opened the email. Eight memorable words, "I'd like to discuss the possibility of representation . . ." were all I read before I leaped from my chair screaming "Oh, my Gosh!" at the top of my lungs. Our two skitty kitties ran for cover while my hubby and daughter dashed into my office to find out what was wrong. I just pointed at the computer screen and continued my wild shrieking while I literally bounced off the walls and clung to doorjambs and pieces of furniture to keep from collapsing.

Talk about euphoria. That evening exactly a year ago I experienced it full force.

Four days later, on the eve of Christmas Eve, Rachelle called and made the official offer of representation, which, having done my homework, I was eager to accept. Talk about an incredible Christmas present!
Rachelle Gardner and me at the 2010 ACFW Conference
A year has come and gone. I spent months rewriting my story. Rachelle sent it out on submission on October 17 at 7:23 a.m. (Yes, that was a Sunday, and yes, that was before she'd had breakfast. She's beyond amazing!)

The publishing world has pretty much shut down for the rest of the year, so I'm waiting to see what the new year has in store. One thing I know is that I'll be starting a new story, and that's always fun.

• • • • •
I wanna know . . .
What is one of the most memorable Christmas gifts you've ever received?
Are you, like me, waiting for news from publishing professionals?
What will you be working on when 2011 begins?

I wish you a very merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Waiting Game

22 shopping days until Christmas!

A store in town posts the news on their sign each day so no one can miss it.

My daughter knows exactly how many days remain. She's been counting them down since October 1st.

The Fashion Queen is Miss Christmas. She's so enamored with the season that Thanksgiving, in her book, is known as The Day Before We Get The Tree. It's also the Day After All The Christmas Shopping is Done. She's not a happy camper unless the presents are wrapped and ready to put under the tree once it's up and decorated.

The tree's up. The gifts are in place. She's smiling. Now comes the wait.

• • • • •
Writers know all about waiting. After all, we're all aware that things in the publishing world move with the speed of a sleepy snail, right?

We wait for:
  • Inspiration to strike
  • The day we type The End
  • Feedback from critique partners
  • Contest results to be announced
And then there are the BIGGIES:
  • An agent to offer representation
  • A publishing house to offer a contract
And the waiting doesn't stop there. Newly contracted writers wait for:
  • The title to be firmed up
  • The cover to be designed
  • The book to be released
The waiting continues as an author awaits:
  • The first reviews
  • The edits on book two to be approved
  • The ideas on book three to come together
• • • • •
So, what do we do while we wait?
  • Do a number on our nails as we nibble them
  • Test our spouses' patience as we bemoan the state of things
  • Inundate our writing buddies with emails ranting about what isn't happening
Nope. There's a better way. We act like the professionals we are and take action. While we might feel like there's little we can do to move our careers along, there are a number of steps we can take.

Concentrate on our writing
  • Read books on craft
  • Focus on writing the best story possible
  • Rewrite, revise, and polish that story before submitting it
Build an online presence
  • Set up a website
  • Start/improve our blogs
  • Get Facebook and Twitter accounts
Educate ourselves about the publishing world
  • Visit agent and editor blogs
  • Visit publishing house websites
  • Learn how to write a great query letter

• • • • •

Waiting isn't easy. But if we use our waiting time well, we'll be better prepared for the day when our Dream Agent offers representation or an editor reads our story and says, "I want to contract this."

• • • • •

I wanna know . . .

What are you waiting for right now?

How do you handle the waiting time?
What lessons have you learned while waiting?