Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reviwer Blog

I found a great little reviewer blog today, and I wanted to share it with you all. Dr. Grace is witty, smart and her reviews are unique. And I'm not saying that just because she reviewed my February book. I'm saying it because I love to read reviews on all types of books and I really enjoyed reading her blog.
so, check out Dr. Grace.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview with...MYSELF

Today I'm interviewing...Myself! I know, can you believe I managed to score such an illusive author!
Me: Brenda, I hear your 4th Love Inspired is out this month. How does that feel?
Myself: Great, unbelievable. Steeple Hill Love Inspired was my dream publisher, and now the dream is reality.

Me: Has being published changed your life?
Myself: In more ways than I could imagine. I now have an excuse for not getting the laundry done, or the dishes, or the dusting. I have an excuse for ordering pizza or serving bologna sandwiches. DEADLINE. It's my excuse for everything from messy house, being a hermit, to being a total grouch.

Me: I read on Amazon that your new book is about a jewelry designer.
Myself: Umm, no. That's Lois Richer's book, A RING AND A PROMISE, which I just read got a 4 1/2 star review from Romantic Times. You can order it in June. My book, THE COWBOY NEXT DOOR is about Lacey Gould, a character from HIS LITTLE COWGIRL. She meets the cowboy who changes her life, and gains a slightly unexpected surprise.

Me: So, do you have plans for the future.
Myself: I don't know, are you asking me to go somewhere with you?
I really think we should hang out more often.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Blahs

Monday is great. It's the beginning of the week. I start out thinking about how much I'll get done and how I'll get the week off to a good start. The thoughts run along the path of keeping up with laundry, being organized, cooking great meals and hugging the kids as they walk through the door. I'm going to be JUNE CLEAVER. I'll even have hair that gets brushed and styled.

By Wednesday I've come to the conclusion that I'm "June Cleaver: GONE WILD." Or should I say June Cleaver: Gone Wrong. Because "Gone Wild" implies I'm off having a wild time. Instead I'm at home, reading a Linda Lael Miller book and I've given up on brushing the hair. The laundry is piling up, I'm still in my PJs and the only thing I've accomplished is walking the dogs and updating facebook and twitter.

Oh, and I realized that my May book has the wrong blurb on the online retailer sites. Yes, you should check it out on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The Cowboy Next Door: about a woman who makes jewelry. OR NOT. You be the judge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

taking time

Last month we started a nursing home ministry. Every other Sunday we do an evening service for the residents, one of whom is my dad.
We thought we were going to be doing the ministry. But we've realized that we're being ministered to. It's been good for us, great for our kids.

Last night after the sermon an older man stood up and told a story. Years ago he witnessed a hanging on the square of the county seat. As the crowds gathered to watch, the minister walked across the lawn with the man. He walked up the steps of the platform with him. But at the top of the steps the minister stopped, and the man went the rest of the way alone. A minister can't take us all the way. He can pray with us. He can walk with us. But there is a point where he stops. God walks with us the whole way. He doesn't stop at the top of the stairs.

As I sat there listening, I realized how much the people in that nursing home have to teach us: about life, about history and about faith.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Last on the Team is OK

I have never ever been a jock. I was the girl writing poetry or love stories to entertain her friends. I was the one that got picked last for teams in P.E., unless a friend was picking. I was nearsighted, couldn't see the ball coming at me in softball, and my vision puts everything slightly to one side, so my aim in basketball was off. It wasn't that I didn't like to play, I just knew my limitations.

So, lucky for me, at 42 I played my first volleyball game in twenty-something years. I actually had to buy tennis shoes because I didn't have a pair. I do exercise, barefoot in my living room. I take long walks, in sandals.

Some things haven't changed. I'm still a dork, the person who says, "Oh, sorry, was that my ball?" The other players still look at me like I'm from mars.

The thing that has changed, ME. My body. My bladder when jumping for the ball. My back. My fingers, which now have arthritis. My bladder. You get the point without detail, right? You jump, you...
wish you could run to the bathroom.

If you're laughing because you aren't there yet, laugh loud, laugh long...but don't sneeze. Your day is coming. Oh yes, it is. I used to believe I would always be able to read the fine print on the medicine bottle. Oops, kids don't get three teaspoons of benadryl. And I always thought that my sister was the only one with a weak bladder.

Oh well, there is one area in which I have the last laugh. I could never remember P.E. shorts, but I could always remember to bring a romance novel to class. So, to Coach Conrad, if you're reading this, my forgetfulness paid off.

Now, if you don't mind, I have to go take some advil and write a book.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Being Published

People often have questions about being published. They ask me if I'm rich yet.
I love that one. And the answer is, NO.
Some ask me how I went about getting published.
Did I just send it and ask the publisher to publish the book for me?
Did I know someone?
Did I come up with the idea for the story and the publisher fills it in?
Has it changed my life?

All of the above are honest questions and probably questions that I would ask.

This is my story, and I would like to say that everyone who is published has a different story, a different path.
I started writing when I was in school. I think I wrote my first story when I was ten or eleven. I wrote on scrap paper, I wrote in notebooks, I wrote poetry and songs.
When I started getting serious about writing fiction, (About 12 years ago) I went to Wal-Mart and did research...because I didn't know what else to do. I went through the inspirational section and wrote down the names of publishers, the number of pages in the books, what the books were about. When I got home I researched the publishers, found their guidelines on their websites, and started reading books published by the publishing houses that I really liked.

I wrote on paper, filling notebooks with my first attempts at novel writing, and then switched to the computer. Finally, with finished manuscripts and the belief that I was going to be published, I started submitting to publishers. I feel for those first editors who received my amature attempts. I actually faxed a query letter to a major publishing house. Much to my surprise, the editor faxed me back and told me to send her the manuscript. She later told me, "Don't ever do that again." I would give the same advice. I can use the excuse that I was young and didn't know any better.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. I also received a lot of rejections.

I looked up articles on writing romance, writing fiction, writing non-fiction and writing in general. I studied books that I enjoyed, looking at how the sentences, paragraphs and chapters went together. I looked at what was marketable and what wasn't.

I found wonderful critique partners and writing groups and then I found an agent. Finally I found my voice and stopped fighting my muse. I gave in and wrote the books I wanted to write, not the books I thought I should write, or the books that others wanted me to write.

After 7 years of learning, I got that first contract. A year later I received my first contract with Steeple Hill. And I learned that I still had a lot to learn. I'm still learning.

That's how I went about getting published.
Did someone do it for me? No. I did it through hard work. People can help you get a foot in the door, but then it's up to you to prove that you can write the book that the publisher wants to publish and the consumer wants to buy.
Did I just send it in and ask to be published? No. But I wished it worked that way. I guess in a way, when you send a story in, you are asking to be published. Unfortunately the answer is often, NO.
The story ideas and the words are mine. An editor does look it over, point out problems, but the writing is up to me.

Has it changed my life? Yes, writing has changed my life. I have friends I wouldn't otherwise have had. I have a career that I love. I have less time for procrastinating than I used to have, and I'm working on being more organized, but that's okay.

Monday, April 6, 2009

choking dogs and cold weather

It's freezing outside, not even 30 degrees in April? Global Warming?

The icing on the cake--I have to leave the house, in this. I'm not sure what upsets me the most about that: brushing my hair on a Monday morning, or going out in the cold.

Nothing more to say, except that I'd rather stay in the recliner with my dog, drink coffee and work on a new book idea.
OH, the dog. She nearly died this morning.

NOTE TO SELF: Dogs can't put hands on throat in international sign of choking.

Its also difficult to do the Heimlich on a dog. Finger down throat...of dog, not self. Yeah, that's a TMI moment, but be thankful you weren't the one with your finger down the dog's throat at 6:30 am.

My life is so stinking exciting.

Friday, April 3, 2009

getting stuff done

Today's schedule. I need to finish edits on my September book, work on a new proposal, do laundry, dishes and unpack more boxes. Six weeks in this house and we're still surrounded by boxes. Yes, the procrastinating life sounds great, but in the end, the mess has to be dealt with.

Now if everyone will cooperate. That means: no phone calls needing my presence elsewhere, kids coming home on the bus and not needing the mom taxi. Basically life needs to be as abnormal as possible today.

What would be a great help is if the dogs would cross their legs and stop whining to go outside.

Oh, and I need to turn off the computer and leave it off.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

an end to cleaning

Because I want to do my part in saving the planet, cleaning has to go. There are several reasons why, and I think after I explain, all of you energy conscious ladies will join me in saying, NO MORE CLEANING.

Yesterday I overheard that the vacuum cleaner uses a lot of electricity. Because I care, i came home and tossed mine in the trash. We really need to conserve energy and I feel like I've done my part.

Cleaners. Horrible for the environment, bad for our lungs, they dry out our hands. And the containers are made of plastic.

As you can see, cleaning is an environmental hazard and should be done away with.

in the seventies women burned their bras.
Today we burn our dust rags!