Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It is Here! It is Here!!!!

I can finally unveil the cover art for my debut novel: The Bartered Bride. Heartsong Presents Romance #875

I LOVE IT! The colors, the piano, the flowers, everything. So perfect for the story. My heroine is a pianist, and the hero sends her roses.

Here's a summary from the back cover:

Jonathan Kennebrae is furious when his grandfather informs him that his future has been decided. He will marry Melissa Brooke or be disinherited. Jonathan has invested years of his life in Kennabrae Shipping, but heaven help him if Grandfather decides to take it all away for this.

Melissa, too, is devastated when her parents make their announcement. As little more than a bargaining chip in her father’s business maneuvers, she feels her secure world slipping away. Engaged to marry a man she has never met—someone “considerably older” than herself? What have her parents done?

Can Jonathan and Melissa find a way out of this loveless marriage, or must they find a way forward together?

One of my favorite exerpts from the book:

“My wife and I,” Almina had joined Lawrence Brooke, tucking her arm into his elbow and beaming on the crowd, her gaze lingering longest on Jonathan and Melissa. “Are pleased to announce the engagement of our daughter, Melissa, to Mr. Jonathan Kennebrae. Please join us in congratulating the happy couple.” He lifted the glass in their direction. A polite wave of applause welled up.
Melissa stood, knocking her chair over onto the grass. She put her hand to her mouth, turning her head wildly from Jonathan to her parents, then back again. Jonathan rose slowly, easing up on numb legs.
“Kennebrae?” She whispered so low he had to stoop to hear her. “Your name is Kennebrae?”
“Of course it is. What else would it be?”
She blinked, staring at him. “But, I thought—” Her throat spasmed as she tried to swallow. “I thought…”
He caught her just before she hit the grass in a dead faint.

I'm so excited. The book starts shipping in about two weeks. There's still time to pre-order your copy by clicking HERE or calling (740) 922-7280.

Interesting Signs

Here are some fun signs we saw on our vacation.

This one says "Protected by Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, Inc." 1880's Town, Murdo, SD.

Um, Yikes! These signs were all over the Badlands. I stayed on the path and wished I had a stick.

A rather silly sign we saw in the 1880's Town near Murdo, SD.

Yeah, we went in and looked around. A cowgirl museum in Cheyenne, WY.

Now, who could pass up a deal like this??? Manitou Springs, CO.

This one slayed me. Sure am glad they commemorated the non-event. Murdo, SD.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Okay, so I avoided Twitter for quite some time. But now I'm jumping in.
Because Karen Ball and Allen Arnold say I should. :)
After sitting in on their fabulous continuing ed class on being a professional author, I've decided to test the efficacy of tweeting on twitter.
You can follow me at http://twitter.com/EricaVetsch and together we'll see if this thing is worth the time and effort. I've downloaded Tweetdeck, so I can post to Facebook and Twitter at the same time.
If you follow me, I'll follow you, and we'll all be following each other...but who's in the lead and where are we going?

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Friday Five

Writers often speak of ways to make more time for their writing, and in the next breath we speak of things that we do to procrastinate writing. Face it, writers are complex people!
So, here are my current favorite procrastinaton techniques.
1. Blogs. Reading, writing, perusing, commenting. I've had to whittle my list of daily blog reads down AGAIN. I don't like to, but I have to draw the line somewhere. Mostly because I try to comment on the blogs I read. I want to encourage the writer of the blog that there are people reading, that what they say matters, and that it has an impact on someone other than their mom.
2. Email. I love getting email. I love the immediacy of it. I check email way too often on the off chance that someone replied to my blog, to my facebook status update, or has sent me one of those delightful "Jesus is my Girlfriend" sparkly, music playing, Precious Moments scrolling, poems.
3. TV. Especially sports. I love watching nearly any sport on tv. I'm a Cubs fan from way back and I have WGN television. (I also have "There's always Next Year" tattooed on my soul.)
4. Books. When I'm not doing something I have to do like bookwork, school, or sleeping, and I'm not on the computer, I'm reading a book. I'm trying to teach myself to scale back on the number of books I read for review.
5. Computer Games. Games from BigFishGames.com. You can download one hour free trials of hundreds of games, and I'm especially fond of Hidden Object games at the moment.
So, what are your procrastination techniques, and what's your current favorite?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Genre - Young Adult

Today's Genre: Young Adult.
Young Adult: Novels targeted toward young adult readers ages 12 through 18. The stories in this category can be dramatic, comedic, romantic, or non-romantic. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Allegory stories targeted primarily at young adult readers can be entered in this category.
I don't read a lot of YA, though we have a lot of it in the house. My kids are enamored of Donita K. Paul's work, Bryan Davis, Brian Jacques, Christopher Paolini, C.S. Lewis, Stephen Lawhead, Randy Mortensen, and others, mostly YA fantasy.
I read a lot of YA books when I was a kid, books by Silliman, Balch, Wells, Young, Henry, and more. I still have a lot of them, and dip into them from time to time to refresh myself. There's just something so urgent and vital about teen literature. Lessons learned last a lifetime, relationships formed and choices made shape the characters and us into the people we will be as adults. YA books are very compelling.
The last and best YA I've read was Me, Just Different by Stephanie Morrill. Steph is so talented, and she 'gets' YA readers. This book is making the rounds of the youth group at my church, and the girls are raving.
Do you read YA? Do you write it? Did you have favorite YA authors when you were a teen?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Genres -Historical Fiction/Westerns

Today's Genre is historical fiction with a side of Westerns.
This is a Genre that is dear to my heart, as I've always been a fan of all things cowboy.
So, what is Historical Fiction?
Again, from the ACFW Genesis Site:
Historical Fiction: Novels or sagas set in any location, in which the time frame of the majority of the story is a historical context rather than a contemporary one. The time period can be up to and including the Vietnam era.
It should be noted that this is NOT historical romance. Romances have their own set of rules and reader expectations. The love story isn't central to the story, and in fact is not a requirement at all of historical fiction.
One of my favorite sub-genres of historical fiction is the western. The western is uniquely American in literature. Such greats as Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey popularized the western, and they are still read to this day. I have many LL and ZG westerns on my shelves. One of the most compelling westerns I've ever read is Lonesome Dove. NOTHING good ever happens to those characters, and yet I couldn't put that honkin' big book down. The characters were amazingly real.
Most westerns are written by men, and the main character is a male. There is a certain code of honor that the main character must follow, even or especially at great cost to himself. Westerns often have an idealistic view, and the hero is larger than life, someone to be admired. Westerns take place in America, west of the Mississippi and between the years of 1860 and 1900 predominately.
Current writers of westerns include Al Lacy and Stephen Bly.
Are you a fan of westerns or historical fiction? Have you read any Larry McMurtry or James Michener?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Genre - Lits

Today's Genre is Lits. There are lots of types of lits out there: Chick Lit, Hen Lit, Lad Lit, Redneck Lit, etc.
I'm not a big reader of Lits, mostly because the ones I can find often feature power-women with an obsession for totally unpronounceable Italian shoes and froo-froo foods I wouldn't eat if you paid me.
But what makes a book a lit? Is it only the designer handbag? Nope, though that's often the stereotype that many (and even I, I'll confess) cling to.
Lit: A humorous, mostly first-person, story that involves predominately female characters in a journey of self-discovery. This journey may or may not involve a romance (often a choice for the heroine between the guy she's always dreamed of and the dream guy she doesn't see right under her nose) but the romance is less important that the lesson the heroine learns about herself. Humor, wit, and all the modern conveniences are hallmarks of Lit.
Lit isn't selling great right now, though that will most likely change in the future. Face it, three years ago no one was buying historical romance, and now that's what editors are all looking for.
The Queen of Christian Lit is undoubtedly Kristin Billerbeck, author of What a Girl Wants and others in the Ashley Stockingdale series. I had a hard time relating to Ashley, because she's a patent lawyer in Silicon Valley, and she knows her Jimmy Choos from her Gucci loafers.
My very favorite lit author is Georgiana Daniels, whose stories are side-splittingly funny. I'm constantly amazed at how Georgiana throws BOMBS at her characters and stands back to see which way they explode.
So, are you a lit writer or reader? I actually placed First in the 2008 Genesis Contest in the Lit category with a Sandwich Lit entry called Pam on Rye, a story of a woman who is stuck between her teenaged children and her aging parents. Someday, when this story isn't so poignant and fresh in my own life, I'd like to go back to it and see how it turns out. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

an ACFW Friday Five

Because this is the middle of the ACFW Annual Conference I thought I'd post Five things I love about the Conference.
1. Meeting old friends. Friends I've met only on line, or friends I've made through the past several years at the conference and get to reconnect with.
2. The workshops. I always, always, always learn something new.
3. The energy. Put 500 creative types in one room, whether introvert, extrovert, or extra-extra-extroverts, and the energy that hums through the place is electric. And for a room full of mostly introverts, it sure gets LOUD at times.
4. A chance to feel like a 'real writer' and a 'professional.' Often, especially before that wonderful first contract comes, it's hard to feel like a real writer or a pro. It's hard to explain to people who aren't writers that you don't dabble in writing, that you're not writing as a fun pastime or hobby, and that it really is a demanding job. Every single person at the ACFW conference understands the challenges of the writing life.
5. People watching. With a zillion writing-related conversations all going on at once, I'm in people-watching heaven. Watching how people interact, glad reunions, first-time introductions, editor-writer meetings, editor-agent meetings, worship team-congregation interaction, the joyful and the tearful. It's all fascinating.
How about you? What do you love about conferences?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Genre - Horror/Thriller

Okay, so this is an odd one for me. I'm not all that into being scared while reading. And yet, there is a series that would be considered Horror/Thriller that I just love!
First, what is Horror? Again, this is my own definition.
A story that focuses on a paranormal assailant bent on killing any and everything it can. A story with insurmountable odds against the hero, where he must use his wits to defeat the undefeatable. A story that scares the pants of you, and where you can't tell where the action will take you. A story where every single character may die.
As I said, I'm not a big fan of Horror. I've never read Stephen King, and after seeing the movie Carrie, I don't know if I want to. I'm a big, honkin' chicken most of the time.
So, what is this series of Horror books that I read in spite of not being a fan of the genre? Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Agent Pendergast series. One day when I was perusing the books on tape section of my local library, the title of one book jumped out at me. I decided to give it a whirl, because the cover art and title really grabbed me. And I wanted a nice long book to listen to while I worked on a x-stitch project. So I brought home The Cabinet of Curiosities. I was grabbed from the get go! I now own all the Agent Pendergast books. He's such an intriguing character, and the stories are wildly unpredictable.
So much so, that in their latest collaboration, Cemetery Dance, Preston and Child actually open the book with the murder of a long-established and well-loved character! I couldn't believe it, and I had to keep reading to see if he was really dead. (Trust me, in the Pendergast novels, it's best to keep reading and not make any assumptions as to a person's demise.)
How do you feel about horror? Like it, loathe it?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Genres - Mystery

This is a genre close to my heart. Next to historical romance, I love mysteries best. The funny thing is, I never really try to figure things out. I just let the story unfold and am always surprised at the ending.
So, what is a mystery? (I couldn't lift the definition from the ACFW Genesis Site this time, because they lump mystery/suspense/thriller all together, and each has distinct differences.)
A mystery focuses on a crime that needs to be solved, most often murder. There is a detective, whether professional or amature, and several possible villains. The story is about unraveling the clues, walking in the steps of the sleuth, and finding out Whodunit! Often told in first person, and ranging in tone from cozy to hard-boiled, mysteries are second only to romances in book sales.
I love a good mystery. And, as stated above, there are several different types of mystery, each bringing its own set of rules and definitions.
I started reading mysteries when I was in college. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, and Hercule Poirot.
Current favorites in the contemporary mystery field are Sarah Graves's Home Repair is Homicide series, and Virginia Lanier's JoBeth Siddons Bloodhounds, Inc. series.
I also love historical mysteries. Ellis Peters's Cadfael Mysteries, Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody Mysteries, Anne Perry's Inspector Monk Mysteries. Love, love, love them.
I'm currently composting a series of historical mysteries, but I think I'm not quite ready yet as an author to write them.
How about you? Do you like mysteries? Any favorites?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Genre - Historical Romance

So, Today's Genre is dear to my heart. Historical Romance. It's what I write. It's my genre of choice to read most days.
So what is Historical Romance?
Again from the ACFW Genesis Contest Site:
Historical Romance: Novels or sagas set in any location, but in which the time frame of the majority of the story is a historical context rather than a contemporary one. The time period can be up to and including the Vietnam era. The love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying. The stories in this category can be dramatic or comedic.
Historical romances are first and foremost romances. Set in the past. From Biblical times up to and including the Vietnam era. (though most publishers steer clear of anything set after WWII because it is a hard sell--face it, people don't want to buy something labeled historical when it might have happened during their lifetime. I was born during the Vietnam era, so I don't want to hear that I'm historical. :) )
There are many sub-genres in Historical Romance:
Civil War
Gilded Age
to name a few.
So, what appeals to me about historicals?
First: I'm a history geek. If it happened in the past, I'm interested in it. I'd rather go to a museum than a mall. Next month I have the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the MN Historical Society to visit the conservation rooms and talk to a conservationist. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. Yup, a history geek.
Second: I often feel that historicals take me deeper into a story, take me farther away from my real life into the story world than a contemporary romance. Also I'm very old-fashioned compared to the average gal, and I often feel more in common with historical characters than with contemorary stories. Face it, I wouldn't know a pair of Prada shoes from a pair of Payless knock-offs, and I don't own a cell phone (YET!)
Third: Historicals are fun!
In my mind, These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a wonderful Historical Romance, and the first I can recall reading. And Re-reading. I first read it in third grade, so I've been reading historical romance for a long time.
Currently: Calico Canyon was far and away the best book, not just the best historical romance I read all of last year. I was so happy when Mary was nominated for a Christy Award for this terrific book. She deserved it!
So, read any good historical romances lately?

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five is:

Five things I loved about Stray Affections:

1. The conflict between Cassie and her mother felt very real.

2. The way the author balanced a large cast, but made you feel as if you knew each character well.

3. The dogs. I grew up a dog person, though I now have a cat I adore, and the dogs in this story really tugged at my heart.

4. The fact that this book didn't deal with any marriages that were falling apart. That seems to be such an overwhelming theme in women's fiction these days, and it's refreshing to take a breath from marriage-in-crisis to enjoy a story with characters in solid marriages.

5. The snowglobe mystery. I'm so guessing on this one. Does the character see in the snowglobe what they most long for? What they most need? And have we met the sequel characters?

ABOUT THE BOOK: In Stray Affections, the last thing that Cassandra expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some shopping time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home—even if means wrestling another shopper for it!
The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange—flurrious, as Cassie deems it—moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.

“As a believer, I know the power of forgiveness and new beginnings, and of a God, and family and friends, who love me the way I am,” Charlene Ann Baumbich says. “The heartbeat of change flows through those wonderful gifts.”

With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites readers to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

You can watch a video of the author introducing her new book by clicking HERE.

You can find out more about this title or purchase the book by clicking HERE.

MY REVIEW: As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book. If your head is stuck in critical/editing mode as a reader, you're probably going to be a little frustrated with the lack of close third person POV, but I found this story so charming and engrossing, and realized that a quasi-omniscient POV worked so well for he story, that I didn't mind. The author's voice is engaging and the setting is wonderful. She set the story in Southeast Minnesota - My Stomping Grounds! And I didn't find anything jarring, and many things so very SE MN that I knew the author had to have visited here at the very least. I recommend Stray Affections, and in October, I'll be giving away a copy here on the blog, so stay tuned.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Genres - Contemporary Romance

In honor of today being my parent's anniversary (Happy, happy anniversary, parents!) I'm kicking off the Genre posts with Contemporary Romance.
So, what is a Contemporary Romance?
This is from the ACFW Genesis site:
Contemporary Romance: The love story is set in any location in a contemporary setting, and is the main focus of the novel. The end of the book is emotionally satisfying. The stories in this category can be dramatic or comedic.
Pretty straight-forward. The love story is the central story thread, and it takes place in a 'now' time. The first romances I read were contemporary when they were written, but by the time I got ahold of them, they were historicals. :D
I started reading some Grace Livingston Hill when I was in Jr. High. Her books The Christmas Bride and Partners are my favorites. Then I moved on to Essie Summers. Essie was a Presbyterian minister's wife from New Zealand who wrote sweet romance set in that country for Harlequin/Mills & Boon. She had a long career, writing more than 50 books. I have all but one of her novels. That last one is proving elusive! The last time I came across The South Horizon Man by Essie Summers, the vendor wanted $450.00! Gasp!
Recent favorites in the contemporary romance genre: Camy Tang's Sushi Series. Sushi for One was WONDERFUL! If you haven't read it, well, what are you waiting for???
What about you? Any favorite contemporary romances?
And to my sister, Kathleen, happy birthday! She was born on my parents' first anniversary. Isn't that cool?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Posting Schedule for September

Because this month is wicked busy, I'm going to be scheduling the rest of the month's posts in advance. For September, the posts will look like this:

Monday - A Genre

Tuesday - A Genre

Wednesday - Wordless Wednesday (A photo, no text, just caption it for me. Tell me what it makes you think of.)

Thursday - A Genre

Friday - The Friday Five

So, Genre? I realize as I look at my bookshelf, that I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to reading fiction. I love most kinds. There are some that are definite favorites, but when I peruse my many hundreds of books, I realize that I have everything from Horror to Historical Romance, from Mystery to Chick-Lit. So, I thought I'd take the time to share with you the definitions of the various genres and sub-genres, as well as some of my favorite books in these categories. I hope you'll share with me your likes and dislikes in these genres, and in so doing, maybe we'll each find a new favorite author or genre.
To get the ball rolling--do you have any favorite genres? Any you steer clear of?

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Friday Five - It is Here!

Yay! Today I pick up my folks from the airport for a week-long visit! YAYAYAY! I haven't seen them in sooooo long.
So, today's Friday Five is:
Five things I love about my parents:
1. They are a lot of fun together. My dad has this one laugh that absolutely slays my mom. It's a parody of the laugh of a guy he grew up with, and when he does it, we all fall out laughing, but my mom most of all.
2. They love each other. While they are here, they will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary. And they are still head-over-heels.
3. They are a font of spiritual wisdom. Each in their own way provides godly encouragement, correction, prayer support, and guidance. I am a blessed woman to have been raised by people who not only know Jesus as their Savior, but make Him a priority in their lives.
4. They are willing to sacrifice for their children and grandchildren. Whether it was working an extra job to send us to a Christian school, or helping pay for college, or even uprooting their lives in Kansas to move to Florida to help my sister raise her kids after my sister's husband died, they are ready and willing to go the extra mile for their kids.
5. I also love their individual quirks. I love how my dad calls me up to tell me what the weather is...where I live. He's a weather channel and on-location-web-cam addict. He watches and check the weather in MN, checks the downtown Rochester web-cam, then gives me a ring. :) I also love how my mom has a wonderful sense of color and style and decorates her home so beautifully. I have a hard time moving beyond "single picture in center of bare wall." Not so my mom. She can put together the most interesting and beautiful wall-scapes. Her home is gorgeous and yet well-lived in and homey.
So, what do you love about your parents?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

This or that?

Okay, this is a little blogging fun. Most of you have probably played this on a forum somewhere. It's a game called This or That?
I'll give you two things, and you choose the one you prefer. When you leave your comment, leave a This or That of your own for the next commentor to try.
I'll start it with an easy one:
Seat Of The Pants Writer?
Everybody clear on the rules?
1. Give an answer to the This or That in the comment above yours. (If you're first, give an answer to the This or That in this post.)
2. Leave a This or That for the next person.
EDIT HERE: I forgot to say that you can play more than once. :) If you want to.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sometimes you're the rope

As you can tell by the lateness in the day of this blog post, I forgot to schedule anything to post in the middle of the night, as per usual.
Some days you're the rope.
In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, his character Bilbo Baggins says he's been feeling stretched. Thin. Like butter scraped over too much bread. (Not only is this the PERFECT analogy for a food-obsessed creature like a hobbit, but it's also just so vivid an image that I always stop to savor it when I think about it. Wish I'd said it.)
But this week I know how Bilbo feels. I know how the rope in a tug of war feels.
Schoolwork. Priority.
Content edits on novel under deadline. Priority.
Prepare for company coming. Priority.
Prepare for conference. Priority.
Jump through hoops to complete detailed bookkeeping re my late MIL's estate. Priority.
How do you choose? What has to come first? What can you let slide?
Not much sleeping going on around here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

15 Movies

Today's post comes from The Compost Heap.
Fifteen movies that had an impact on your life:
1. El Dorado
2. Quiet Man
3. Rio Bravo
4. The Private Eyes
5. Silverado
6. The Hunt for Red October
7. Hatari!
8. A Walk in the Clouds
9. Arsenic and Old Lace
10. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (cheating, I know :D )
11. Night at the Museum
12. The Mummy
13. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
14. The Green Berets
15. North To Alaska
One-third of this list stars John Wayne. I love a strong hero.