Friday, May 29, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Every time I go to work on a book, I meet someone or see something that is right in line with what I'm working on. Here's what I mean.
When I started the first Nashvegas book, Lost In Nashvegas, the angle was redneck chick lit. I mused over what kind of story I could write, pondering if I could even come up with a redneck chick story. One night at our Fire Dweller prayer meeting, I pondered the idea further, praying, asking God for direction and when I looked up, there was a kid standing in front of me wearing a t-shirt with a redneck joke on the back.
During the writing of Diva Nashvegas, I struggled to find details on exactly why an artist and a label would clash. All I could find in my research was artist and label clas on "creative differences." Okay, but what kind of creative differences? I needed details! I couldn't create a believable dialog with: "We have creative differences." Blah.
I also struggled how to structure the interview style of the story.
Out of the blue I came across a book, Conversations with Tom Petty. Not only did it give me the idea of how to format the interview portion, but Tom talked in detail about his riff with his record company! What a relief.
Shortly after, I found an online forum where a man in the know, gave me even more details.
When I worked on The Sweet By and By with Sara, I met a woman at a wedding rehearsal dinner who was raised by hippie parents! Exactly what I needed for our character, Jade.
So, yesterday while musing over this new book, a new friend posted on my Facebook wall. I thought, "Ask him if he wants to brainstorm with you."
Sure enough, he did. Thank you Torry Martin. Little did I know, he attended culinary school! Exactly what I needed for this book! Not to mention he's creative and really funny.
Hubby shook his head when I told him. "This happens every book," he said.
God is so good. If you doubt, don't. Look what He does for me. He'll do the same if not more for you.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
There's been quite a few posts and articles on the web abut social media and the publishing industry. Here's a good one from the NY Observer.
While it sounds grand in the vast scheme of things, how does it work in the real world? Meaning yours.
I discovered Diaryland early 2002 and used it as an online diary. "Hey, here's what's going on with me." I was writing, but not yet published.
Then came Xanga through the youth at church. I joined to keep up with them and to journal. By then the term "blog" was becoming vogue.
I moved to MySpace when the kids abandoned Xanga for a new cyber hangout. My first book release with Thomas Nelson was about to hit the stores and I thought, "What if I use MySpace to get the word out?"
I spent free time making friends, even bought a program to add friends.
Little by little, other authors were joining MySpace.
Meanwhile, I'd put up a web site and blogged there because I enjoy blogging. And one of the things I love about reading is discovering the life behind the author. I don't want to know their favorite breakfast jam, but I discovering how they wrote the book and why fascinated me. Still does.
We live in a voyeuristic society. People are used to looking behind the "camera" to discover more about the people they enjoy.
Plus, I was a new author swimming in a really big ocean of authors. How could I appeal to readers who have a lot of great books to choose from?
As I discovered more social media sites, I joined. Shoutlife. MyCCM, Facebook, Tumblr, BeenUp2, and my all time fav, Twitter.
As a member of a writer's community, I've been in several discussions about "to blog or not to blog," or "to Twitter or not to Twitter."
Between the thoughts of Thomas Nelson CEO, Michael Hyatt, and other editors and publishing marketers, the real answer is simple: Do it.
One of the questions asked is, "Isn't my time spent better writing a great book?" Yes, please, write a great book. But in today's cyber climate where 19-year-old fantasy writers are blowing away the publishing world, the competition is stiff.
You're going to have to dig deep, find the part of yourself you can share with the cyber world and join this social and media phenomenon. There'll be a day when we can't remember NOT being on the web.
I've gained readers due to my efforts with Twittering and Facebook.
So, here's some practical advice to building a social media network.
1. Start slow. If you do too much at once, you'll get overwhelmed. One of my Weight Watcher's instructors says she lost ninety lbs five lbs at a time. To this day if someone says, "How much weight did you lose, she says, "Five pounds."
The idea of losing ninty seemed impossible. So she worked with smaller, more managable goals. Use the same approach for social meida.
2. Decide what you can do first. Choose the most effective tools. But start with a web site and blog.
Brainstorm with your family, editor, agent, writing buddies on how to blog. What is the part of you that fits well for others to discover? I personally love to share insights from the Lord or my day-to-day life. My blog is eclectic. It works for me. Do what works for you.
3. Join Twitter and have your updates write to Facebook. There are tools like Tweetdeck and Tweetlater that allows you to set up tweets in advance and to follow favorite friends so you don't feel overwhelmed.
Spend a few minutes every day adding friends. If you have teens... ;) Hear what I'm whispering on that one.
4. As you have time, add other sites like MySpace and Shoutlife. I do highly recommend Shoutlife for the CBA author.
5. Choose a day a month or so to look for new social media outlets. Update your sites -- add and change information.
Your publisher has limited $$ to spend on promotion and marketing. And they have to spread that over many authors. The more you do to help spread the word about you and your work, the more you'll succeed.
On Twitter for example, a "friend" will post to me, "@rachelhauck, Loved your book. I'm a fan!" Now my friends as well as theirs see this endorsement. Wouldn't you be curious about an author who inticed your friend? I would.
Remember the shampoo commericial from the '70s? "They'll tell two friends and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on."
That's the core concept of social media. Look, we can all hope for a spot on Oprah, but really, do we want to give so much power to one woman? I hope not.
So dip your toe in the social media pool. The water is just fine!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Daniel warned him:
'O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.'
But Neb didn't heed Daniel. So...
"All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, 'Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?'
Catch this now...
"While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you. . ."
God did what He said He was going to do if Nebuchadnezzer didn't change. So we can trust God will do what He said He's going to do.
But Nebuchadnezzer had time to repent, nothing happened to him, even while reflecting in his heart, thinking in his mind about his beauty and splendor reflected in Babylon.
But his sovereignty was ripped from him the MOMENT he spoke. He was driven from the palace and lived like an animal for seven years.
What lived in Neb's heart never carried consequences until he gave it life by the spoken word. Our words have power. Our words give and take away life.
What you say about yourself and others matters.
But at the end of seven years, God restored Nebuchadnezzer to his former place. In all of the years he lived and looked like an animal, no other man took his kingdom away from him.
Imagine if Obama lost his mind for seven years. We'd have a new president within a day!
Here's what we learn from this story. One, God is serious about humility. He's serious about honoring Him as Lord of all. He WILL do what He says He'll do.
Two, words mean things! Even sarcastic, funny (supposedly funny) ones. Our worry, complaining and even bragging produces something. We'd better be sure of the power of our words. Innocence is no excuse.
Third, we see an incredibly merciful, kind God. He restored Nebuchadneezer to his former place. God preserved his kingdom, he honors him, restores his mind. How amazing.
This is why God is Holy -- totally other than anyone or anything we've experienced.
Monday, May 11, 2009
From Catching Katie had come a fascination with the decade leading up to the passing of the 19th Amendment that gave American women the right to vote.
From a secondary character in came a fondness for a woman in an unusual occupation. While those two things were rolling around in my head, up popped the final ingredient. A question: Who says a woman can't do a man's job?
And the next thing I knew, I'd met Gwen and Cleo Arlington, the heroines of the first two books in the series. I had to wait to meet my third heroine until the hero of A Vote of Confidence walked into my imagination.
Guess what, Morgan McKinley had a younger sister, Daphne. Each of these women have jobs that weren't considered a woman's domain in their time (1915-1918). I hope readers will become as fond of Gwen, Cleo, and Daphne -- and the men with whom they fall in love -- as I am.
Rachel here: I love this book, the idea and the era in which it's set. It's anothe wonderful story from beloved Robin Lee Hatcher. Read an excerpt here.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Please welcome my friend and author, Amy Wallace. Her latest is Enduring Justice.
Secrets Can't Last Forever
A PAINFUL PAST
Hanna Kessler's childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.
A RACIALLY-MOTIVATED KILLER
As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael's drive for retribution eclipses all else.
A LIFE-ALTERING CHOICE
A racist's well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line between the two is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?
What others are saying: "If you love breath-stealing suspense, unforgettable characters, and remarkable spiritual depth in your fiction, Enduring Justice is a book to savor. Amy Wallace is at her best with this poignant, grace-filled addition to her deeply satisfying Defenders of Hope Series." --CLAUDIA MAIR BURNEY, author of Wounded: A Love Story
What others are saying:
"If you love breath-stealing suspense, unforgettable characters, and remarkable
spiritual depth in your fiction, Enduring Justice is a book to
savor. Amy Wallace is at her best with this poignant, grace-filled addition
to her deeply satisfying Defenders of Hope Series."
--CLAUDIA MAIR BURNEY, author of Wounded: A Love Story
Q. Where did the idea for the stories in the DEFENDERS OF HOPE series come from?
A. The Defenders of Hope series started with a literal dream about an FBI agent with a wounded heart and a mom on a dangerous quest for answers. That dream became the book Ransomed Dreams. During the research for Ransomed Dreams, I met with a federal agent and asked the question -- what would happen if an FBI agent found out he had cancer? His answer became the second book, Healing Promises. And the third book in the series, Enduring Justice, grew out of a secret one of the characters, Hanna Kessler, struggles to keep hidden.
Q. Your current release is Enduring Justice, book 3 in the Defenders of Hope series. Is it necessary to read all the books in order?
A. I've been told by many readers and read reviews that have said the Defenders of Hope books can be read in any order as stand-alones. The cases and suspense story-lines are self-contained, no cliffhanger endings until the next book. But the characters' friendships and relationships grow and are challenged in each book, so I'd say it’s best but not necessary for the stories to be read in order.
Q. You've said that Enduring Justice contains the shards of your once-broken heart. What do you mean by that?
A. Fifteen years ago, God placed me in a safe place and used my future husband's hands to hold me together while my heart shattered. David was the first person to hear about my being date raped when I was a teen. For five years I'd denied what happened or blamed myself. So when my walls of secrecy started to crumble, I felt alone and terrified.
But God met me there. He covered my shame with His grace and we started down the painful path of healing. Even though this isn't the same circumstances as what Hanna Kessler faces in Enduring Justice, a lot of my personal story went into the writing. And while this subject may qualify this story as "gritty," the focus is not on the past experiences, but on the healing an adult woman finds as she opens up to her family and the man she loves.
Q. One of the key themes running through Enduring Justice is racism, as Hanna's love interest, FBI Agent Michael Parker, is investigating a white supremacist. Why is this topic near to your heart?
A. I grew up in the military and had friends of all skin colors and nationalities. One of my best friends was African American. We never talked about our skin color, but I remember one time she made a comment about how people treated her differently because of her skin. She wouldn't explain. It wasn't until years later after hearing some ugly words from extended family members about people of other skin colors that I started to understand racism still exists. And it breaks my heart.
Through Hanna and Eve and Michael and Lee, I wanted to highlight some of the challenges I've learned about from friends of other nationalities and also to show that it's not skin color that matters, it's who we are on the inside. We truly can be color-blind.
Q. Where can readers learn more about you, Enduring Justice, and your other books?
A. I enjoy and value email from readers! So please visit me on the web at the Dark Chocolate Suspense site: and leave a note in the guestbook, drop me an email, or join the Dark Chocolate Suspense newsletter community: http://www.amywallace.com/Newsletter.html.
Readers can also check out a very cool book format and read the first two chapters of Enduring Justice online: http://www.amywallace.com/ej_chapter.html