Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sociable Trees

My son is a source of delight and inspiration for me. He's ten, and so like me it's scary. He leads an intensely vivid inner life that reminds me of me at his age. I don't know how many times I heard my mom say, "Get your head out of the clouds." or "Erica's always in her own little world." Who knew that someday I'd be able to use that inner galaxy to spin stories?
Anyway, my son...sometimes a little of the inner world seeps out of him in some profound statement that sounds wise beyond his ten years. We were driving along HWY 52 in Rochester and saw a long row of weeping willows near the Plummer House. He said, "Willow trees are so sociable. They make you want to take a book under their branches and read, and you would get the feeling that they would be reading over your shoulder."
I've always felt something special when I see a willow tree. James just put into words something I'd felt all my life, but hadn't been able to express.

Friday, October 27, 2006

From the Dust

I'm currently about halfway through The Secret Life of Bees. (I'm behind my time, I know, as I'm just getting around to it now.) All I can say is...WOW! Up front, I'll tell you, this is not Christian fiction. There are some language/violence issues that might make some folks cringe. But the, oh man.
Not long ago on Novel Journey (reached by clicking the link to the left), I read an interview with Rene Gutteridge, author of the 'Boo' series. When asked what writing strength she'd like to have, she said the strength of being able to write sentences that read like a dream, to be able to pull similies and metaphors from the dust.
That's how I feel as I'm reading "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd...for all its hard subject matter-- abuse, racism, religion, civil rights--it reads like a dream, similies and metaphors from the dust.
So what are you reading, and has anything ever struck you like that--a terrifically written book?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Election by Jerome Teel

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is reviewing Jerome Teel's latest book, The Election..

Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude, from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports.He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children-Brittney, Trey, and Matthew-and reside in Tennessee, where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.

They seek ultimate power.Nothing can stand in theirway.Ed Burke has waited a lifetime to become president of the United States. He's not about to let his nemesis, Mac Foster, stop him now...especially when he's sold his soul for the Oval Office.Claudia Duval has lived a rough life. And finally, things have turned around for her after meeting the wealthy Hudson Kinney. But is all what is seems?When a prominent citizen is murdered in Jackson, Tennessee, attorney Jake Reed doesn't want to know the truth. He just wants to get his client off. But as he investigates, he uncovers a sinister scheme. A scheme that would undermine the very democracy of America...and the freedom of the entire world.

The Election, by Jerome Teel, is a fast-paced, highly readable mystery filled with suspense, intrigue, and political conspiracy. Teel skillfully weaves together themes of faith, family, suffering, and providence in a way that not only compels, but enlightens."
David S. Dockery-President, Union University

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Now the wait....

I got it done! The ms is in the mail. There is something so satisfying, and yet scary about writing those words "REQUESTED MATERIAL" on an envelope. I sent the package off with a prayer and a hope they don't have to use the return postage provided.

I was amazed at how relatively painless it was to carve 8K words from this manuscript. I took out everything that wasn't necessary to the plot. This shows how much I've grown as a writer in the past two years, because when I originally sent out that ms, it was 98K words. Then I edited it last fall down to 93K and thought it was really tight. And yet, there were at least 8K words that were unnecessary. Objectivity is a beautiful thing, and while I know I'm not completely objective about this story, (I love it like crazy) I am far more objective about the writing itself than I was two years ago.

So, now what? The waiting begins. But I won't be idle. I'll go back to Drums of the North Star with more enthusiasm than before.

To all who read and commented on the last entry...THANK YOU! Celebrations are always more fun when shared with those who rejoice with you.

Be sure to ask Kaye Dacus about her own really cool news too!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sidetracked by a cool God Thing

Have you ever had something happen to you that you KNOW is totally a God Thing? This week my agent told me he thinks I set some kind of record for him. No, not for having the most publishers clamoring for my work at once, (a shame, but maybe at some later date) nor for the most scathing rejections on a single manuscript (whew! wouldn't that be a kick in the head?) This time it is because a manuscript I mailed out two years ago this month, and which I assumed had melted away in someone's slush pile long ago, actually returned to me with a request for a full manuscript. How cool is that?

So the current WIP, Drums of the North Star, is on hold while I re-read that manuscript (which I haven't looked at in a year or so) and trim it down. I went to this publisher's website and saw they wanted at most 85K ms. This means I need to murder about 8K of my darlings to get it to the required length. So far, I've trimmed about 3K. It hasn't been as difficult as I'd feared, because I haven't read it in so long. I'm more objective about it, I've learned a lot of craft in the last year and see how it can be tightened up, and I am fixing the subtle POV things that escaped me early on. At my current rate, I should be able to trim 6K off in the first pass through. How cool is that?

The goal is to get it all set and sent out on Thursday or Friday of this week. And to pray SPECIFICALLY (see previous post on the retreat) that this ms will find favor with the editor who lifted it from the slush pile. Incidentally, it's my first novel she's requested. God is good. ALL the time...even when your ms is languishing somewhere. How cool is that???

Saturday, October 21, 2006

What kind of writer?

Today I was browsing my favorite blogs and came across this on Angela Hunt's blog "A Life in Pages" (You can reach it by clicking on the link in the left margin of this blog.)

At least this little quiz seems to think I'm writing in the correct genre. You can take the quiz yourself by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. Let me know your results.

You Should Be a Romance Novelist

You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart.
You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer...
And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories.
As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Like Dandelion Dust

About the Author: USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's #1 inspirational novelist. There are nearly 5 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including more than two million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 30 novels, nine of which have hit #1 on national lists, including award-winning Oceans Apart, One Tuesday Morning, Beyond Tuesday Morning, the Redemption Series and Firstborn Series, and several other bestsellers, one of which was the basis for a CBS Movie-of-the-Week and Gideon's Gift, which is currently in production as a major theatrical release for Christmas 2007.Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Don, and their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti.

About the Book:



Jack and Molly Campbell enjoyed an idyllic life (great house in a fancy neighborhood, high-paying job, and a beautiful little boy) in their small hometown outside Atlanta with their adopted 4-year-old, Joey. Then they receive the phone call that shatters their world: a social worker delivers the news that Joey's biological father has been released from prison and is ready to start lifeover with his son. (It's discovered that Joey's birth mother forged the signature of Joey's birth father, making it a fraudulent adoption.) When a judge rules that Joey must be returned to his father (a man who cannot separatee love and violence), the Campbells, in a silent haze of grief and utter disbelief, watch their son pick a dandelion and blow the feathery seeds into the wind.Struggling with the dilemma of following the law, their hearts, and what they know to be morally right, the Campbells find that desperation leads to dangerous thoughts. What if they can devise a plan? Take Joey and simply disappear....LIKE DANDELION DUST.

Review by Mimi Pearson
Stop by and take a look at this book today!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Our Stinkin' Old Lace

On Monday night (in the absence of my ability to get Monday Night Football, now that ESPN has it) our family watched a movie. One we'd gotten from the public library. As we were watching, my son commented, "I love our stinkin' old lace."

As you can imagine, his parents looked at one another in consternation and confusion. Upon asking for clarification, he pointed to the tv screen and said, "This movie--'Our Stinkin' Old Lace'."

Light dawned. We were watching Cary Grant in "Arsenic and Old Lace"! What a hoot!
On another note, the "Chick-lits" met and gabbed our heads off last night. Writing, writing books, agents, non-fiction writing ideas, kids, homeschool, movies, clothing, extended family...we covered it all with laughter and friendship.
And I did the Boot Scootin' Boogie today. Happy dance that I reached 10K on the WIP.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


This weekend my church held a Women's Retreat. What a refreshing time. I was so pleased with the turnout, and the speaker, Vicki Tiede, couldn't have been better. I went away from each session feeling like I had been standing in a shower of blessing, soaking up living water for my dry, thirsty soul.

One thing that struck me from the first evening's talk was this statement: "We must pray so specifically so that when God answers, we'll recognize it."

So how have I been praying? "God, bless my church." "God, bless my family." "God, bless the President." "God, help me be a better writer." "God, help me be a good mom." "God, help me be a good wife." All these are so nebulous and generic, I wouldn't recognize the answer to most them even when He did answer.

How can I change this approach? Be deliberately specific. And don't be afraid of the answer. Perhaps one thing holding me back from being specific is I don't want to hear the answer 'no, child.' Don't be afraid to tell God what I really want and need, to lay my heart open to the One who knows what's in there already. I don't mean to put God to the test, but I do mean to be deliberate, specific and fearless in asking my Heavenly Father for the help I know I need.

LOL My apologies to Vicki for misspelling her name...sigh...I am a goof! lol

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Alison Strobel's Violette Between

Between Here and the PAST,
THERE LIES A PLACE...a place of longing for what has been rather than hoping for what could be!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Alison Strobel graduated with a degree in elementary education, and in the summer of 2000 she moved from Chicago to southern California where she taught elementary school for three years. It was in Orange County that she met her husband, Daniel Morrow, and the story developed for her first novel, Worlds Collide.
Violette Between is a poinant story of a true artist. When the love of Violette's life, Saul suddenly died, she died too. Then she meets Christian, who also is morning the loss of a loved one.As Violette and Christian begin to feel something that they both thought was impossible. Tragedy strikes again. Christian finds Violette on the floor of his waiting room, that she had been painting to look like a New York rooftop restaurant.As Christian holds a vigil at her bedside, begging her to come back to him, Violette is in a coma, traveling to a place where she meets her beloved Saul. And she finds that she may not want to come back!What would it be like to choose a place between the past and the present?Violette Between is a powerful character study of a woman finally relinquishing the past to move on, only to be thrust into the quandry of reliving that life and needing to make a choice.For Christians, this will definitely make you think about heaven and the consequences of eternal life."Delving into the underside of complicated relationships, Alison Strobel takes readers to unexpected places, but doesn't hesitate to deliver redemptiom when needed."---Melody Carlson, author of Finding Alice
Alison has been a commentor here at "On the Write Path". Be sure to click on the links to read more about her, her adventures as a new mom, and as an author. I wish you all the best, Alison.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Maybe Someday File

I have a Maybe Someday File. I'm not talking about the sort of "Maybe Someday" thoughts you have from time to time about world travel or winning the lottery or inheriting a bazillion bucks from a long lost uncle.

My "Maybe Someday File" is full of story ideas. Everything from a four book History-Mystery series set at various Minnesota historical sites, to a romance set on a contemporary Arizona Ranch. A story about Skeeter, an orphan from 1870's San Francisco and a scrap of an idea about the locust plague of 1870's Minnesota. Then there's the Owatonna Orphanage story that cluttered up my mind when I was trying to research the current WIP. I put all my story ideas in the "Maybe Someday File" and when I finish a WIP, I go to it and read the "Maybe Someday" ideas and choose a "Today's the Day" story to begin working on.

Do you have a "Maybe Someday File"?

Monday, October 09, 2006

A little change of scene

Today I told my kids I needed a change of scene. I've been writing on the laptop at the dining room table for the last little while. While this helps me keep my finger on the pulse of the household, sometimes it can resemble writing in a tornado. Folks stroll by and ask questions, chores go on around me (a good thing, but distracting), piano is practiced. I find myself frustrated an unable to get into the flow of the story. So a change was in order.

Heather, the 14 year old, made me a pitcher of peach iced tea. (I don't drink hot tea, no matter how cold it is outside. I invariably burn my tongue on the first sip of any hot drink, and after that, everything tastes like burnt tongue.) James , the 10 year old, brought me some scented candles from off the top of the piano. (Not to worry, they sit on a tablecloth and are never lit while on top of the piano. They are there for looks as they match the decor beautifully. Thanks to mom for sending them to me for Christmas awhile back.) I lit the Hazelnut Coffee candle and the Pumpkin Pie one, sipped my iced tea, and banged out 1000 words in about an hour.

In talking with a friend today, I realized this ms is different from others I've done, in that the setting and the time frame are from actual historical events, therefore I'm somewhat limited in what I can have my characters actually do. This friend likened it to a puzzle. I took the thought a bit further in my mind. Writing an historical novel IS like building a puzzle. I have the box top with the picture on it (My research and my outline of events) and I have the borders/side pieces of the puzzle from which I cannot stray. (Historical events, time frames, etc.) The whole puzzle only goes together one way that makes sense. As long as I stay true to my research and timeline, I'll come out with a cohesive picture.

Today, the ms stands at just over 7K words. It feels great.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Something New

This week I joined the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Check out the links to CFBA on the left. I look forward to helping promote Christian Fiction by reviews and getting the word out. (Okay, I'm also a little tickled I was able to install those two links on the blog the first takes so little to please me some days)

Also, I found a new blog to follow. J. M. Hochstetler is starting her own publishing house. Joan is the author of two historicals, Native Son and Daughter of Liberty. She's blogging about some of the challenges and frustrations of the publishing world and what happens if your writing doesn't fit the current hot trends. Check her out at

Also, two friends have begun blogging this week, Donna at and CJ at Both are funny ladies.

As to an update on the WIP...It's over 5K words now, creeping along as my life swirls and crashes like the waves against the Oregon shoreline.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I cracked the code

I finally sat down and figured out the html mystery of putting links on my site! Woohoo! (all this while the Twins were losing game two at the Metrodome-boohoo)

I've started with a few of my favorite blogs, and hope to add more soon.

I've also discovered the ability to add pictures through remote hosting. I'll see if I can come up with some pics for the readers. How fun!