Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


We've had a big day here in the Tippens household. Lots of loving, thoughtful gifts, time spent together, and way too much good food. After opening gifts this morning, I made our traditional breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy. (I did have a small gravy disaster but am too embarrassed to tell it here! :))

After cleaning up, I took a looong nap. Then I installed our new router and got our home network running again! I've been tied to sharing a computer with the kids for months and can now get online on my laptop again. Hallelujah!

This evening we had our Christmas dinner (roast beef, mashed potatoes, broccoli and rolls). But this year we ate in front of the television and watched Hairspray (the DVD was a gift for the family from Santa). It was really cute! Except I got tired of John Travolta's weird accent. :)

What about you? What are some of your Christmas traditions?

I wish you all a happy 2008!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Posting on F.A.I.T.H. Thursday

Please drop by the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday the 20th. I'm going to share a poem my daughter wrote.

Yes, I'm a proud mama. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm on Camy Tang's Blog Wednesday!

Please stop by Camy's blog on Wednesday to say hi, and to see my silly self-timed photo (in front of our Christmas tree). It must have taken me twenty-five takes to get the shot! So if I look a little strained, you'll know why. :)

Camy has been featuring The 12 Authors of Christmas. So while you're there, check out the previous posts. It's been so fun to read about the different Christmas traditions and to see the photos. So far, she's interviewed Cheryl Wyatt, Julie Lessman, Janet Dean and Robin Caroll. Come see what Christmas means to each of them--and to me!

Also, upcoming authors on Camy's blog:
December 13 – Elizabeth Musser
December 14 – MaryLu Tyndall
December 17 – Susan May Warren
December 18 – Christine Lynxwiler
December 19 – Tracey Bateman
December 20 – Mary Connealy
December 21 – Debby Giusti and Veronica Heley (bonus)

Camy's Loft.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Dream Come True!!

A box was delivered today. I waved at the UPS man dressed all in brown as he climbed back in his truck. Then I looked down to see what I had ordered that I had forgotten about. You see, I knew I had received all the Christmas gifts I had ordered. Could it be from someone else? Maybe a birthday gift for my son?

When I looked at the package, I immediately noticed the Harlequin symbol printed on the box. I KNEW what it was! I rushed inside and slapped the package on the kitchen counter. As I dug for the scissors, I noticed that my name and title were printed on the outside of the box! Oh my goodness, it was for real. My book was really published. I was grinning from ear to ear as I slit open the tape and peeled back the folds of the box.

And there, nicely snuggled in alternating stacks, was my cover. Not just a flat image. But bound to a real book. Since the kitchen was a tad dark, I hurried over to flip on the light to see better. But before I reached the light switch, I started to cry. No, not merely cry. I began to sob. I had to put the book down so I wouldn't get it wet and ruin it. And it took me a couple of minutes to get a grip.

You see, I started writing in 1995 when we got our first computer. I took my first online how-to class from Brenda Hyatt sometime after that. Through her, I learned of RWA and joined around 1997. Then I heard about my local chapter from my husband's aunt and joined Georgia Romance Writers. At that first meeting, I was blown away to be around real published authors. I saw names I knew from the shelves in the library and book store! I could hardly make conversation because I was so awestruck, so nervous. But I knew I was in the right place. I want that, I thought, determined to do whatever it might take to make it happen.

Over the next ten years, I wrote 5 complete novels, joined a critique group, re-wrote the novels. Then re-wrote a couple of them again. I learned lots along the way. Sent off three of them and had them rejected. I pitched at a good many conferences, sent submissions to agents as well. And then finally, on January 30, 2007, I got THE CALL from Steeple Hill.

And now that baby that was written and re-written (then revised and re-revised...) is in my hand.

Thank you, God, for Your perfect timing! Thank You for this thrill, for this blessing!

And thank you to all of you who have helped me along this journey. Thanks for the encouragement when I needed it most. Thank you for research help and for answering questions. Thank you for great workshops, for critiques, for contest feedback, and for great books to read. Thank you also for friendship and for laughter. I couldn't be at this wonderful moment in my life without you.

Missy

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eudaemonia

Eudaemonia. Come on over to the F.A.I.T.H. blog today to see my post (Thursday, Nov. 29) and learn what this word means. :)

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Missy

Friday, November 16, 2007

Interview with Revell Debut Author Julie Lessman


I'm so thrilled to have Julie Lessman visit my blog today. She was kind enough to answer some questions, so I hope you enjoy getting to know her better. Julie is a fellow Seeker (see our group blog) and an amazing prayer warrior. When I need prayer, she's the first one I go to.

You can see her debut book cover to the left. I can't wait for its release in January!

Welcome, Julie! :)

Julie Lessman ~ Author Interview:


How did you come up with the premise for this story?

Hi Missy, it’s so good to be here! Thanks for inviting me to your blog. What a great question—and one I’ve never been asked before, so it really made me think! My debut novel, A Passion Most Pure (due out January 2008) is the story of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family in pre-WWI Boston where a love triangle occurs between two sisters and the bad-boy hero. As one of 13 children (in a family that included 10 girls!), I guess you can say I experienced my fair share of sibling rivalry. I often butted heads with my sister who was two years older than me. She was … ahem … quite voluptuous and very attractive to boys while I was … well, basically not! :) I was so skinny, in fact, that when I played on a girls’ softball team, my older brother commented: “What position do you play? The foul line?”

Needless to say, the idea of competing with my beautiful sister for a boy’s affection was deeply rooted in my childhood, which is actually when I started writing this novel, at the age of 12, after reading Gone With the Wind. Suddenly my passion for romance was awakened, and although I only penned 150 pages of a single-spaced manuscript at that time, the story is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it!), almost forty years passed before God breathed new life into that early attempt and inspired me to finish my childhood novel of passion—only this time the “passion” would be for Him! :)

I know you’ve joked about being the queen of rejections. Can you tell us a little about that?

Uh, yeah … anyone who attended the 2005 ACFW Conference will remember me as the poor slob who waved her hands wildly in the back of the room when Brandilyn Collins asked who had the most rejections in a year. I won hands-down with 19 (at that time) and went on to garner in excess of 45 (both agent and publisher rejections, including three received AFTER I signed a 3-book contract with Revell Publishing!). Even my agent, Natasha Kern, blanched a bit when she first signed me, realizing after the ink was dry just how many times I’d been rejected. I believe the word she used was “daunting.” But apparently not too daunting for her amazing skills as an agent because she landed a contract for me within six months.


Where do you write? Any place special? Any quirks you have while creating?

I write in a tiny computer room that my artist husband and I share. It has a big window that lets in gobs of light and lots of fun distractions like chipmunks and deer (we live in a woodsy area). It’s a pretty small room, though, so most of the time, we are back to back, which is kind of nice because I like to lean back and kiss him after I put lip gloss on, which is OFTEN! That would definitely qualify as one of my quirks—lipstick and lip gloss. I wear it everywhere, even to bed (the lip gloss, I mean). Also, I always have a candle lit next to a favorite picture of my husband and me before we were married. How’s that for romantic inspiration? :) It sure works for me!

Do you have a day job, too?

You mean the one I shouldn’t quit in case I can’t write? (grin) Yes, I am a part-time writer for a travel company and am blessed to have the most wonderful job-share partner in the world (love ya, Carol Ann!). We alternate working two to three days a week, which definitely cuts down on my writing time at home. But my boss and the writers I work with are so amazingly encouraging and supportive, that I don’t know what I would do without them. Every one of them has read my books and provided invaluable feedback. I will miss them if I ever do well enough to quit … which, of course, is every writer’s dream—to be able to write novels fulltime.


What are a couple of your all-time favorite books? (I know what one of them will be! )

Well, number one is no secret—Gone With the Wind. This is the book that launched my romance-writing career at the tender age of 12! :)I think I may be one of the few people around who actually LOVED Scarlett O’Hara … and don’t even get me started about Rhett Butler! (grin) Another all-time favorite of mine is To Kill A Mockingbird—incredible storytelling!

Some of my Inspirational favorites are Francine Rivers, of course, particularly Redeeming Love and her Mark of the Lion series—both awesome! I absolutely love Liz Curtis Higgs’ Scottish trilogy, Fair is the Rose, Thorn in My Heart and Whence Comes a Prince, as well as Kathleen Morgan’s Child of the Mist and Daughter of Joy. And Kristin Heitzmann’s Diamond of the Rockies series is another favorite. Newer authors that I particularly like are Tamara Alexander, Deeanne Gist, Mary Connealy, Camy Tang and Deb Guisti.


I’ve heard that your books are more sensual than most inspirational romances. Can you tell us a little about that?

Well, I really shy away from the word “sensual,” because this book is NOT about sensuality. It is about real people with real emotions, desires and temptations, doing their best to deal with them according to God’s precepts. Yes, “passion” is a driving force in this novel—but I am talking about passion for God as well as romantic passion. Flat out—I just love romance, but ONLY when God’s in the center. And trust me, He IS in the center of A Passion Most Pure—big time! First and foremost, it’s about the heroine’s romance with God, and then secondly, how her romance with God affects her relationship with the hero. And, as a baby boomer who thinks romance does NOT end at the age of 30, I’ve also incorporated a love story between the heroine’s parents, who have an inspiring and deeply tender relationship. Because no way should the kids have all the fun! Go baby boomers! :)


What’s been the most exciting thing about your very first book (baby) coming out?

Without question, the most exciting thing has been God’s faithfulness in giving me the desires of my heart! Having this book published is just another confirmation that God is as good as His Word. He says in Psalms 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Delighting in Him—bubbling over with love for Him—is the key. I learned that at the age of 23 when I went from a hardnosed agnostic to turning my life over to Jesus Christ. Back then (and now), I was pretty much a bottom-liner—by that I mean if God’s Word said “delight” in Him, I did it with a vengeance, anyway I could—reading His Word, applying it the best I knew how, repenting when I failed, and praying for fervor. And it worked!

I remember this one day I was witnessing to a friend. She bought me lunch and I really wanted a lemonade, but I didn’t want to add that to her bill, so I ordered water instead. I got up to refill my water at the soft-drink fountain bar and, of course, the water spigot was on the lemonade tab. I pushed my cup up against the tab with my finger poised on the little white lever that dispensed the water, and a thought came to me that I could have lemonade and no one would know. In that split second, my fervor for God rose up so strongly, that I literally rammed the water spigot until my finger hurt. At that exact moment, a rush of joy flooded through me so forcefully, that it was almost a physical sensation, taking my breath away. This is delighting in Me, came the thought in my head. Now I know this story seems odd, being about a soda fountain and all, but it goes to show that God is creative and meets us right where we are at, and quite frankly, I will never, ever forget it.

Now, thank God the scripture says “delight” in Him to get the desires of your heart and not “obey” because that’s a pretty stiff requirement for any human being, and I certainly would have been up a creek. Instead, He has blessed me with the desires of my heart—from a wonderful marriage (quite a feat for a 28-year-old who was the only one not married in a family of 13 kids!) to two amazing children (hard to do as an infertility patient), and now this—a book in which I can unleash my passion for Him along with my passion for romance (a true testimony to God’s faithfulness after 45 rejections!). :) Quite simply, God is absolutely the best, and in my opinion, no romance … nor any romance writer’s life … is complete without Him.



Julie, thanks so much for being here today!

Missy









Thursday, November 15, 2007

Posting on other blogs





I'll be posting on the Faith blog Thursday and then on the Seeker blog on Monday. So please stop by!

F.A.I.T.H.
Seekerville

Also, coming soon, an interview with Revell author Julie Lessman!


I hoped you enjoyed the gorgeous fall photos from the front of our church. I quickly snapped them today before the blessed rain started. (Hallelujah! Relief from the drought!) If you click on the one on the left, it'll enlarge and you can get the full effect of the sun coming through the leaves.

Missy P.S. I have tried and tried to keep the text from splitting beside the photos, and it won't change. So I'm sorry it's hard to read! Adding the photos sent it haywire.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mission Accomplished

The check, I mean the manuscript, is in the mail! :) Yes, I finally submitted my manuscript! This is the one that took only 7 weeks to write. Of course, it took me almost 2 months to revise it! LOL But part of the reason was because it came out 2000 words too long. I had to do some major cutting.

At least it's finished. And I wrote the synopsis in about two days--which is like torture! I think from now on I'll write it as I go so I don't forget the order in which things happened. :) As I wrote this book, I also had other ideas for the secondary characters. So maybe they'll have their own stories someday, too.

If all goes well, maybe I'll be able to report a second sale soon!! Prayers would be appreciated.

Looking ahead, I'll be having a couple of guest bloggers/interviews soon. Check back for an interview with Julie Lessman in the coming weeks!

Missy

Monday, October 22, 2007

Steeple Hill Harvest Festival!


Hi, all. Come by the Steeple Hill message boards for the Harvest Festival. Here's the info below. I'll see you on there if I EVER get a post to show up. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

:) Missy

Steeple Hill is having a Harvest Festival. Come on over and join the fun! Many of your favorite authors will be there. Many opportunities for prizes the authors have donated...so what are you waiting for?

Come visit at
http://community.eharlequin.com/webx?50@@.4a84a266/0

Schedule of Events:
Monday October 22nd Harvest Cook-Off with Allie Pleiter (Readers will post candy-related recipes on the boards. Winning recipe will be announced on Friday)

Great Moody Pumpkin Writing Challenge with Janet Tronstad (Using 250 words or less, write a partial scene set in a pumpkin patch anywhere in time or place that shows a mood. Winner will be announced at the end of the Festival)

Referral contest: For every person who posts and says they were referred by someone, the referrer will be entered in a drawing for a prize on Friday.

Delurking contest: Every person who posts saying they've delurked will be entered in a drawing for a prize on Friday.

Tuesday October 23rd Dunking for Authors with Cheryl Wyatt (since Cheryl's books aren't available yet, we'll be giving away books from other authors as prizes)

Wednesday October 24th Buried Secrets Scavenger Hunt with Margaret Daley (Readers will read excerpts from Margaret's recent release, Buried Secrets, and answer questions)

Thursday October 25th Pin the Tale on the Author with Cheryl Wyatt (Again, we'll have prizes from other authors. Readers will match correct author and title)

Friday October 26th McKaslin Moments with Jillian Hart (A trivia game based on Jill's McKaslin books)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Blogging Adventure!

I'm going to be taking part in a blog with a group of my writing buddies. It's an idea that we've tossed around for a while and recently decided to run with. I have to admit that I didn't do any of the work setting it up. But I look forward to writing my first post on the 23rd of this month. Hop on over to take a peek at it. We're a big group of friends who got together through contests. We kept seeing each other's names as finalists in contests, and a couple of the ladies got together to form our group so we could support each other.

Our motto: Our focus on Him as we write toward the dream, We shall leave no woman behind. (T. Russo, 2005)

Two years ago we formed our close-knit group with the goal of praying and supporting each other into publication. Of the fifteen of us, 8 have gone on to sell our books. So we march ahead as we keep pulling for the other seven! And we'll be blogging, mostly about contests--our experiences, both good and bad. We'll also be posting contest information. So please stop by! I think you'll enjoy yourself.

Plus, I have to add that the group of ladies has been a constant source of laughter for me. I'm sure you'll find something to tickle your funny bone while in Seekerville. :)

Missy

Monday, October 15, 2007

I've been tagged! 10-20-30

I was double tagged while out of town this weekend. :) Once by Myra Langley Johnson, the other Jessy Ferguson.

I'm supposed to tell what I was doing 10, 20 and 30 years ago. Hmmm....

10 years ago was about the time I started pursuing publication. I had already been writing for a couple of years, but joined RWA that year or maybe a year earlier, then Georgia Romance Writers. I had 3 small children aged 1, 3, and 7. At that time, we lived in Acworth, Georgia.

20 years ago, I was practically a newlywed. We married in June 1986 so had just had our first anniversary. My husband had graduated from seminary that spring and we'd moved to Lawrenceville, GA where he served as an associate pastor. I worked at Emory University Hospital in the microbiology lab and commuted each day (not fun!).

30 years ago, I was a mere babe. LOL! Actually, I would have been a 15-year-old sophomore dying to be old enough to drive. :) I lived with my family in Kentucky, went to high school where I studied hard, played in the band (the oboe), and was a majorette during football season. I would have been riding to school each day with a senior in my neighborhood because it was just too embarrassing to walk or ride the bus. ;) It was also about the time I met a guy that I dated for the next 3+ years. It was probably about the time I joined the adult choir at church (I still love to sing!).

This was fun. Thanks for tagging me, ladies! If you're reading this, go check out Jess's and Myra's posts (links on their names above) to see what they've been doing over the decades.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Moonlight and Magnolias Report

Hi! It's been ages since I've posted, so I wanted to be sure to stop in and say that I'm posting Thursday, October 4th, on our F.A.I.T.H. group blog. Please be sure to stop by for some great photos from the Georgia Romance Writers conference. It was held in Atlanta (Well, Norcross, actually) this past weekend. I had a great time! It was so fun to be able to attend as a published author for the first time.

Also, Lindi Peterson and I presented a workshop (another first) that we felt went well. Once we relaxed, we had a good time with it. The group of attendees was great, and I hope they went away motivated and with a plan to move on through the pre-published stage.

I also spent time critiquing with Lindi this past weekend. She finished reading my newly completed manuscript and gave some great feedback. I tackled some of the changes today, and hope to get it ready to send off very soon.

I also started a new quarter teaching this week, although I still have students from a dual enrollment program (high school and college credit at the same time) for a few more weeks. Once again, I'm teaching Anatomy and Physiology. I just love that class!

I better sign off. It's 1 am and I have to get up at 6:30!

Missy

Monday, September 10, 2007

Winner of Sushi for One?

Well, I'm posting late because I had to take my son to the doctor. We have Strep. So here we go again. You can tell when school starts. The kids were well all summer, and now, bam, two weeks into the school year, the cycle starts over again.

Anyway, on to the info you wanted to see! I now have a winner for Sushi for One? My son was the official who helped with the drawing. I promise he won't touch the book, though! :)

The winner is Angie! I know you'll enjoy it!

Missy

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Welcome Camy Tang! Win a copy of Sushi for One?

I'd like to welcome my friend, Camy Tang, today as a guest blogger. Camy is in the midst of a blog tour this month for the release of her fabulous and fun book, Sushi for One?. I read it last week and absolutely loved her spunky main character, Lex. Camy, you kept me up until 2 am one night because I had to finish it before I could possibly go to bed. :)

After reading Camy's guest post, be sure to leave a comment along with a way to reach you, and I'll enter your name in a drawing for a copy of Sushi for One? You don't want to miss this book!

Before Camy gets started, let me say that I've been blessed to have taken part in a worship service at the 2006 Faith, Hope and Love Conference where Camy led the singing. She has an amazing talent. So when she asked what topic I'd like for her to blog about, I asked her to talk about her music and youth ministry at her church. I hope you enjoy getting to know Camy a little better.

Camy, thanks for being with us! So, tell us how you got started working with youth and with music at your church.

Camy: I’ve been one of the worship leaders at my church for a few years now. I lead a team of primarily youth group members, to give the teens a way to serve the church body.

It started when my youth pastor wanted me to lead worship for the youth group meetings on Saturday nights. My husband and I would play guitars and sing, and the kids would mostly not sing and stare at us blankly.

Over the years, the youth group has changed—grown larger and more interactive. The older kids actively participate in the singing and worship, which sets a good example for the younger junior high kids. Now most of the kids sing and really get into the worship.

Then came an opportunity to be one of the four worship teams for the Sunday service. I gathered a team of teenagers and we debuted to a congregation of mostly fond parents (kind of like VBS or a Christmas pageant). We sounded awful, but nobody minded.

We’ve gotten better since then, and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been introducing some newer songs to the congregation because the kids give me their favorites to play for Saturday night youth group. I like the songs and play them on my turn doing Sunday worship. The teens sing lustily, which prods the congregation to sing a little louder, too, even if they’re not completely familiar with the song.

In book two of my Sushi Series, Trish gets involved in worship in her church, and that was fun to write. Some of what I’ve learned as a worship leader went into those scenes.

Leading worship has become something God has used to teach me about what worship is. He has shown me how everyone worships differently, and that’s okay. He has taught me how to choose songs that will hopefully create a certain atmosphere of worship, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay. He has revealed to me that when we play the set at service, it’s not up to me to induce the congregation to worship God—I’m there to worship Him myself, and that’s okay.

I guess what I’m saying is that however you feel led to worship in your own congregation, it’s okay. God looks at our hearts. The lady sitting next to us might look at us funny, but who cares? God is pleased when we’re authentic and real (although do try not to hit anyone with flailing hands and arms).

Thanks for having me guest blog today, Missy!

Missy: Thanks again, Camy, for taking the time to visit. And everyone reading, please don't forget to leave a comment along with a way you can be reached (so I can get your mailing address) to be entered in the drawing for a copy of Sushi for One?!

Missy

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The End!!

Well, this past Saturday, I finally typed "The End" on my current manuscript. Of course, it's just the first draft, and I'm sure it'll require a lot of work. But I've had a great sense of accomplishment. I wrote the book in 7 weeks, which is a new record for me. So now I know I can do that. (You'll have to see my post on F.A.I.T.H. for Thursday, Sept. 6, though, about refueling after that pace!)

Today's the day I'll print and start revising. I'm looking forward to that part. It's strange, but when I get to the end of the first draft, I can't remember all that happened! I just hope I like what I read. :)

Also, please be sure to visit here on Sunday. I'll have Camy Tang as my guest blogger. It's part of her blog tour on the release of her first book, Sushi for One? It's an excellent book! But more about that on Sunday. :)

Missy

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Catching Up

Well, my son made it home safely! I blogged about it last Thursday (August 16) on the F.A.I.T.H. blog is you'd like to hear a little about his trip.

Since then I've been writing like crazy. I'm pushing through on my manuscript. I'm now at 37,000 words! I started this current version right after RWA National, so it's moving well for me. I'm trying to make good use of this last week before going back to teaching. I start on Monday. I would love to finish first draft by then!

Totally off the subject of writing, I would sure appreciate prayer for rain! We're in a horrible drought. We had a sprinkle last night, and it made me realize I can't remember the last time it rained. I think it was mid-July. We've also had a terrible heat wave--record setting temperatures. Yesterday it hit 105 degrees in a nearby town. And the weatherman said that wasn't with the heat index. It was the actual temperature. With the humidity, I can't imagine how hot it was.

I'm sure my friend Mindy Obenhaus and others in Texas would love to send us some of their rain. I guess we should pray for a break from rain for them.

I recently mentioned the exciting news that Lindi Peterson is a finalist in the Maggie. Well, one of my other critique partners, Maureen Hardegree, is a finalist in the Molly! And she also won the Sandy Contest!! Lots of excitement for our critique group. Congratulations, ladies!

That's all for now. My characters are calling my name....

Missy :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Waiting...

My son and the rest of the mission team are on their way home from Kenya! They're only 2 hours out from Atlanta. Okay, so they're 2 hours and 4 minutes, but who's counting? LOL Then they'll get their luggage and have about an hour and a quarter drive from the airport!

Can you tell I'm excited?! :)

I've found the coolest flight tracking site at fboweb.com. I've been able to watch his plane all morning once they reached US airspace. What fun! As I'm writing this, they're over Maine.

This is the longest he's been away from home, and I have to admit that the stress from having him so far away in a third world country has done a number on my poor stomach. But praise God for cell phones (bless you Cingular/AT&T!). He's been able to call us and we've been able to call him directly. Although, I may not be blessing the company so much once the bill gets here! :) It'll be worth every penny for the peace of mind it gave me the last two weeks, though.

I'll tell more about the trip once we see him and hear all the stories. Thank you to all who have been praying for their group since they left. Now, if you'll just keep on praying for the next 2 hours and... Oh! One hour and 51 minutes. :)

Missy

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New Plotting Method

I'm posting on our group blog on Thursday about a new method I discovered I like to use when I get stuck in my plot. So hop on over to the F.A.I.T.H. blog and check it out. And while you're there, check out our interview with Allison Bottke on Wednesday, August 8. She's an intersting lady!

Also, I'd love to hear any suggestions for your favorite plotting methods. Please share!

Missy

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Congratulations, Lindi!! and Photos from National





Great news for my great friend and critique partner, Lindi Peterson. She's a finalist in the Maggie!!!!! (She's on the far left.)I'm so excited for her. This is the 3rd year in a row she's been a finalist. I just know the 3rd time will be a charm.


And speaking of charm! My Maggie medallions are on a beautiful silver chain that has a history. Several years ago, another critique partner, Maureen Hardegree, won a Maggie medallion. Deb Dixon (of the amazing GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict reference book) took off her silver chain and passed it to Maureen. When I won a year or two later, Maureen handed it down to me. I've been DYING to hand it down to Lindi!! So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this year. :)
I'm so low tech sometimes. I have a digital camera, but it's one of the big ones, too big to take to conferences. I can't just pop it in my purse, so I never take it anywhere. I took a disposable camera to RWA National. And of course, it's still sitting here waiting to be developed.

Luckily, I have friends with tiny cameras! :)

Thank you Cheryl Wyatt and Angie Breidenbach for sending me copies.

The first photo at the top shows Lindi Peterson, me, Myra Johnson and Janet Dean after the Faith, Hope and Love conference.

This is Mindy Obenhaus, Janet Dean, me, Debby Giusti, Darlene Buchholz, and Cheryl Wyatt as we headed to a fancy dinner at the rotating restaurant at the top of the Hyatt.


And this is the fun crew of Steeple Hill authors along with Dream, who hosts the e-harlequin boards, and editors Krista Stroever and Melissa Endlich.







I'll probably be posting more photos as more generous friends email them to me. I'll also take my film to be put on a CD. Someday. :)

Missy

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Finally Checking In :)

It's been ages since I've posted. First, I was at the International Christian Retail Show. What a great time to meet all the wonderful people at Steeple Hill! We had a really nice dinner in Atlanta with the editors and marketing and sales people. Then I headed out the next day for Dallas for RWA National. Had such a fantastic time meeting the Love Inspired authors and seeing all my other writing friends, people I know mainly online. And it was such a thrill to be able to attend the Harlequin/Steeple Hill functions. I also enjoyed lunch with my editor and a few other authors. Everything was so exciting. And exhausting! :) Oh, and did I mention that wearing that little pink "First Sale" ribbon was a dream come true? Ten years of saying that maybe next year would be the year I would wear one. That year finally came! For those of you with the same dream, keep at it. You'll get your time, too.

The main reason I haven't posted is because I'm focusing on writing since I got home. On the flight home, I worked with all the info I learned in Michael Hauge's workshop. Amazing stuff! I got a new start on the book I'm currently working on. Then this past week when my two youngest children went to summer church camp, I worked like a maniac! I got 50 pages written from Monday to Thursday. It's moving along well now. But I had to change the characters to get the book going. I think I didn't have the right characters together to start with. That was the problem. Now they're clicking. :)

My oldest son is going on a mission trip to Kenya. We've been working all this weekend to get him ready. I would greatly appreciate prayers for their group of 12 going from our church. They leave Monday and will return in two weeks. Thank you so much for lifting them up! I'm a worried mom who is trying to turn him over to God. But I'm excited about all that he'll experience while there. They're going to be working with children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. They'll also do a little construction work. I know it will be life changing for him.

I'll write more once my son has left. For now, the preparation is pretty chaotic. :)

Missy

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Good Beach Reading

I just got back from a wonderful vacation at the beach. Orange Beach, Alabama. It's so gorgeous there, and we had perfect weather. Only a couple of days with some rain.

I took time to read and relax. I spent a good bit of time on the beach, under an umbrella with my toes in the sand, reading great books. Two that I read that I really enjoyed were Mary Connealy's books: Golden Days and Petticoat Ranch. I think Golden Days was my favorite. I loved the spunky heroine. I also read and really enjoyed Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley. It just cracked me up. With my being a pastor's wife, I could really appreciate his humor.

Another book I forgot to pack but have been reading since I returned is Deeanne Gist's Courting Trouble. Very good so far. I can't wait to see what happens. I think one thing I really like about it is that it's not at all predictable.

Now I'm getting ready for the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta, and then on to RWA National. I'm so excited to be attending ICRS for the first time. And what a thrill to finally be able to go to National and wear my pink "First Sale" ribbon! It's a dream come true.

If you're attending National for the first time, you might be interested in my last two posts on the F.A.I.T.H. blog about getting ready for conferences.

I'll write again after I get back and will hopefully have lots of info to share.

Missy

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Addiction: Guitar Hero

Oh, boy. I'm hooked! And my kids have created a monster who won't give up her spot at the PlayStation 2.

I started my own career today. I've made it up a couple of levels in the easy category. But the addiction all started with me trying to play Free Bird on the medium level. I tried and tried but just couldn't pass the song! The "fans" booed me and I got booted out every time. So I decided to start my own career to improve so I can get to the point where I can complete the classic. :)

This was a great refresher for my brain today as I was working on plotting the middle of my current book. My brain would get tired, so I would play a few songs until my hand would start cramping. My son even held a competition with me. He played Free Bird on expert, and I played on easy. If he won, I had to feed the dogs. If I won, he had to.

Well, my 12 year old beat me, even on the expert level. He's pretty amazing. Then he put in a cheat code that put the game on hyper speed, and his fingers were moving in such a blaze of speed (and the notes were flying by so fast on the screen) that I knew this aged body and brain of mine could never compete.

So for any of you out there who have kids with this game, it's time to own up to your own playing habits. Am I the only addict out there? LOL

Missy Skynard, I mean Tippens

Monday, June 18, 2007

It's all in the little things--A Father's Day tribute

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted! I'm so sorry. I've had children at home and have also had the end of my quarter at school so have been working many extra hours.

Today is a tribute to my dad for Father's Day. When I think of my dad, I remember all the little things that mean so much...

I remember walking to the cafeteria in first grade (my school was on the university campus and we ate in the cafeteria with the college students). Each day we marched in a line right past my dad's office building, and just about every day he would make it outside to wave at me. I was always so proud that he worked on campus.

I also remember that office more than most of the others he had over the years. I would sit at his desk and open the long, skinny drawer in the middle to play with paperclips and other "stuff".

I remember that he bought me the first perfume I ever had. It smelled like lemons. And it made me feel like such a lady. I felt so grownup and special.

I remember him dancing me across the floor with me standing on his feet. And I laughed so hard.

I remember him remodeling an attic room for my friends and me to hang out in junior high. He put in a stereo system that had quadraphonic sound and a little gear shift/joy stick that you could use to move the sound around the room's four speakers. :) We spent a lot of snow days out of school listening to Boston.

And later, I remember him helping me move in and out of the dorm in college since he volunteered to help at the girls' dorms.

I remember his yummy special pasta recipe that he baked in individual dishes whenever I took friends home from college. They started begging to go home with me every weekend!

I remember loving that he was on campus when I was there once again, well past first grade. His office was near all my classes so I could stop by if I needed, say, some cash. Or had locked my keys in the car (with the car running!). Things like that. :) (Poor Daddy!)

Now I get to see special things he does for my kids. And he and my mom are also helping a young mom in their church who is basically single (husband is in prison) and has 5 or 6 children.

All the things I remember made me feel loved and special. And it's being passed along to my children and others.

So thank you, Daddy! And Happy Father's Day.

Love, Missy

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Self Esteem and Confidence

I have an elementary school-aged daughter. And I'm amazed at how well she carries herself. She seems comfortable in her skin. A feeling I don't think I had at that age. And I've always wondered what it was in my growing up that made me so self-conscious, that made me so insecure. My parents were very affectionate and, even if not often verbally affirming, made me feel loved.

What can I do as a parent to give her the self-confidence I lacked?

I've read books. I've read articles. I've done my own brand of self-analysis. :) And I truly can't figure out what I can do. Or what my husband can do (although I suspect he may play as big if not bigger role). Or even what her older brothers can do.

But here are a few of the things I've come up with to try (and I do this with all my children, actually, not just my daughter):

To praise her freely and often.
To praise her for her her beauty but more often for her brains (and her kindness, her loving nature, her generosity, etc.).
To love myself so she'll be able to model that. (I just had that confirmed on Oprah!)
To tell her she's made in God's image, that God made her just the way she is, and that God doesn't make mistakes.
To tell her she can do anything she wants when she grows up.
To tell her she's a tough cookie. (And she is after growing up with two older brothers. She knows how to handle boys better than I ever did. She's "got their number".)
To keep her involved in physical activities so she'll feel good about her body--ie. sports or dance or horseback riding.
To make sure her brothers compliment her and build her up. (My husband does this already. He's a great "builder-upper".)
To teach her to care more about others so she'll look outward and not inward.

Hmmm. Maybe I should try to write a non-fiction book! :)

I know the world will give her lots of knocks. We can't help that. It's just the way life is. But maybe with God's help, she'll have a strong foundation and will hold firm in believing that she's a unique, loved child of God.

Like she feels right now.

I pray for safety and protection of her amazing spirit.

Missy

Monday, May 21, 2007

Come See Me on Tuesday!

Please come over to visit Christa Allan's blog on Tuesday. I'm doing my first blog interview, and I would love to have lots of visitors!



Christa is a fun interviewer and has a great blog. So please drop by!



http://cballan.wordpress.com/



Missy

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tips on Working with an Editor

I received my line edits in the mail this week. Every step of this new process is so exciting!

For those who may not know (and I didn't) what this step entails, I received a copy of the manuscript with the editor's changes/corrections hand written in the pages and in the margins. Now I'll go through and answer questions or make additional changes she requested. There are items marked such as fixing timing of events that doesn't make sense, or following through with answering questions I've dropped hints about. Mainly, I'll be clarifying questions or problems the editor had on her read-through after my revisions. At this point, everything is pretty much minor. Ideally, all the larger problems were fixed in the revision process.

So this week I'll be doing my line edits. :) (That's so fun to say that!)

And speaking of working with an editor... I heard about an online class that is being offered that sounds great! Here's the info (with permission from Lyn to post):

TIPS ON PLEASING AN EDITOR ............................................Please come and join Lyn Cote at the http://www.rwaonlinechapter.org/pubbedauthors/ from 21 May to 25 May as she gives us some pointers about how to please an editor. Lyn Cote's first Love Inspired was published in 1998. Since then she has worked on over 20 books with 18 editors at 5 houses. And can still walk and talk at the same time! And since she is contracted through 2010, she must have figured out how to please an editor or many editors! Get your questions ready and come and join us!

I hope to join Lyn in her class. Maybe I'll see you there!

Missy

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wonderful Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother's Day. After church, our family went out to eat lunch--my choice of restaurants! :) And that was nice because no one was allowed to complain when I chose. We usually try to use a rather democratic way of figuring out where we're going to eat. We take a vote. We keep naming restaurants until we finally come up with a place that has at least 3 "yes" votes. :)

But today, I got to be the queen and name the place. No whining allowed. No voting necessary. And we had the nicest lunch at a local Italian place.

It was funny, though, because usually this place has huge servings. We always take leftovers home with us. So today when they offered a yummy special, lobster ravioli in cream sauce with asparagus, my daughter and I decided to share a dinner so we'd have room for dessert.

Well, they brought out the bowl and it had 5 ravioli in it (normal size, not very large). My daughter kept saying, "There are only 5 of them!" (She was starving.) So we each had our measly 2-1/2 . Then she moaned and groaned that she was still hungry. We made do with my son's side dish of spaghetti. But it was so funny to see the look on her face when she saw that small serving. I guess it was because of the cost of lobster.

I can't complain, though, because I still had plenty of room for hot fudge cake with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce! :)

Oh, I forgot to mention that I got breakfast in bed this morning prepared by my two youngest kids! Plus the gift certificate for the facial that I was wanting. :)

All in all (tiny ravioli aside), I had a perfect day.

Missy

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Contest on F.A.I.T.H. this week!!

Come on over to the F.A.I.T.H. blog and help us celebrate motherhood this week!

Each day you stop by and leave a comment, you'll get one entry in a drawing for a leather purse filled with goodies. Don't miss out on a chance to win our Mother's Day Contest prize!

Check out my post on Thursday, my regular blogging day:

We’re having a Mother’s Day theme this week, focusing on family, and on being moms. For me, being a mom is God’s greatest blessing. And it hit me the other day that I should be thanking my kids instead of expecting them to honor me on Sunday. (Of course, I would still love a gift certificate for a facial!)... To read more of this post, click here.

Missy

Friday, May 04, 2007

I've been tagged by Trish Milburn!

Okay, this is the first time I've ever been tagged, so I hope I don't blow this! LOL

Here are the rules: 1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.



8 random facts/habits about me ...

1. I cannot stand to watch myself on video tape! I was recently interviewed about my first sale and was horrified when I saw the show. There's absolutely no way I have such a southern accent! That couldn't have been me talking. They dubbed that voice in. ;)

2. I love classical music, and my very favorite is pipe organ music.

3. Along those same lines, another weird thing about me is I've already told my husband what organ pieces I want played at my funeral!

4. If you didn't run away screaming after that last strange fact, then here's another. I love to shop for cosmetics. Some people buy purses, some buy shoes. I buy eyeshadow and lip gloss.

5. I've lived in Georgia for half my life. I still can't believe it's been that long.

6. I have one sister who is 2 years younger. She's an elementary art teacher. She met the man of her dreams and married when she was 40. It was a first marriage for both of them. Nearly 2 years later, they're still sickenly sweet to each other, just like newlyweds. :)

7. We have 2 cats and 2 dogs. I much prefer dogs!

8. I've had 3 wrecks in my life, two of them in my own driveway. (I can't believe I'm admitting that.) Twice, I've backed into someone who is parked in my driveway.

And on that embarrassing note, I tag............

Lindi, Christy, Cheryl, Christa, Angie, Mindy, Jessica, Camy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Interview with Debby Giusti on F.A.I.T.H. Thursday

I hope you'll stop over at the F.A.I.T.H. group blog on Thursday! I'm posting an interview with Debby Giusti. So hop on over and learn more about my good friend, a debut Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense author!

Here's a snippet of the interview:

Q. I loved Nowhere to Hide! It was so suspenseful and kept me guessing all the way through the book. Can you tell us a little about your story?

A. Hi, Missy. Thanks for inviting me to be on your blog, and thanks for your kind words about Nowhere to Hide. The story starts six months after Lydia Sloan’s husband has been murdered when she realizes the people who killed her husband are now after her son. Lydia and six-year-old Tyler flee to an island off the coast of Georgia and end up running into the danger they were trying to elude. Of course, there’s a hunky hero. Matt Lawson is the chief of island security, and when he finds Lydia breaking into one of the upscale island homes, he’s not sure which side of the law she’s on....

Head on over to www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com to read more!

Missy

Saturday, April 28, 2007

And the Winner Is....

The winner of the drawing for Ransomed Dreams, by Amy Wallace, is Jess!

Thanks, everyone, for taking part! Jess, I'll email you privately to get your address.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Missy

Friday, April 27, 2007

Visit with Amy Wallace! (And try to win a copy of her book!)




I'm so pleased to welcome Multnomah author, Amy Wallace, to my blog today. Amy's debut novel, Ransomed Dreams, released this month. It's part of her Defenders of Hope series.


M: Amy, I’m so excited about your debut release! How does it feel to have held your very first book (your baby!) in your hands?

A: Thanks for sharing in the excitement, Missy! It’s so much fun to celebrate this time with family and friends.

My initial reaction to the boxes of books on my front porch was to stare out the window, frozen in the moment. Then my kids danced around me singing, “Mommy’s books are here!” Later when I actually opened the boxes and sat holding the first copy, I cried happy tears and thought, “Wow, God! Look what You’ve done.” It was a great moment because all the wrestling with God, hard work, and prayers came together in a wordless moment of pure praise.

M: Was this journey to publication a very long journey for you?

A: There were days I thought I’d never get here! ;-) And there are days I’m still in shock that I am where I am. But from typing my first fiction word to holding that book in my hands, it’s been almost exactly five years. That’s really not a long journey, but I’m thankful for every step of it. I’d encourage fellow writers to find ways to enjoy their path, no matter how long or short it is. God’s in charge of it all. Trusting and resting in Him is the way to make it a walk, sprint, or crawl to remember.

M: How have you seen God in the process?

A: I’ve wrestled with, smiled with, and cried with God in this process. He’s overflowed my heart with reminders of His goodness and also stripped away a number of things I’ve held too tightly in my untrusting grasp. I’m still learning how to hang on to nothing but Jesus and am daily thankful for His unlimited patience! Of the things I’m most thankful for in this process, experiencing His smile tops my favorite list.

M: How did you manage to write about a mother’s worst fear—the loss of a child? Did you find it hard to make yourself sit at the computer?

A: A good friend of mine called this series A Mother’s Nightmare series. Not exactly chart-topping flattery, but in some ways it fits. Each book in the Defenders of Hope series deals with the fears parents have and yet shows God’s amazing redemption through it all.

As for the writing, it was surprisingly freeing to write about my greatest fear through the vehicle of fiction. I could open up and let it all come out on the page and then walk away from the computer thanking God that I didn’t have to see the three white sheets in real life.

M: When we were scheduling this interview, you mentioned taking part in a blog tour for your book release. I hope it went well! Can you tell us a little about how a blog tour works and what all you did for yours? (I actually don’t know how it works!)

A: The tour went amazingly well! Thanks for asking. I met lots of new people and had a blast answering interview questions and doing some guest blogging too. The way it works is fairly simple: you can either hire someone to set a tour up for you (I hired Heather Diane Tipton to do mine) or you can ask friends if they’ll host you on their blogs during a specified time frame. Then you send jpgs of your picture and book cover as well as your guest blog submission or the interview questions to the participants. Most blog tours include sending copies of your book to the tour hosts for their review or to give away a copy on their blogs. Then for each day of the tour, the author visits that day’s blog and interacts with the posters. That part was super fun and a great encouragement.

M: I’m sure you’ve had a rush of signings and tours and interviews for your release. Do you have some sort of marketing plan? Has you publisher recommended you do any of these or do they give you any guidelines? (Yes, I’m picking your brain while you’re here. )

A: Pick away! Just don’t be surprised if most of my gray matter was claimed by pregnancies and long nights at the computer. ;-)

I’ve had personal contact via email and the phone with some of the great marketing folks at Multnomah. We coordinate our efforts so we don’t duplicate reviewers or media outlets. My media plan consists of mostly online efforts with blog tours, web giveaways, contacting reviewers, and website promotions, but also I’m doing a number of book club talks, teaching at a local library, and a big launch party at a local Christian bookstore. In addition, with the help of some wonderful friends all across the US and Canada, we sent bookmarks and stamped postcards out the month prior to the book launch. Those are showing up in bookstores, churches, libraries and in homes all over the place. I’d learned about these ideas from other authors as to what works and what doesn’t work. At the same time, I’ve checked these things out with my publisher and gotten feedback and support from them as well.

My advice here is to be yourself and do the things that appeal to you most as well as the things God asks you to do. I love the online interactions of blog tours, interviews, and personal emails, but the in person stuff makes me nervous. God opened doors for me to do a lot of things, some I love, others not so much. But I trust that God has a good plan and purpose, and I’m reminded by wonderful friends that the success of any endeavor of obedience is in God’s hands. I’m learning to rest in that.

M: One last non-writing question. Or maybe it is writing-related! J What’s your favorite chocolate—brand and type/flavor? (Visit Amy’s website to find out why I’m asking her this.)

A: A question after my own heart. ;-) And definitely a writing-related one because chocolate provides good motivation to get my deadlines met. My absolute favorite chocolate is Godiva dark mint chocolate. But I’m really not picky, anything from Godiva works. J

M: Congratulations, again, on your release!! Can you tell us when the next book in the Defenders of Hope series is supposed to come out?

Thanks so much, Missy!

Book 2, tentatively titled Healing Promises, is due out April 2008. I hope readers will enjoy Steven and Gracie’s story in Ransomed Dreams and then patiently anticipate Clint and Sara’s story. I’ve already heard plenty of groans about the long wait, but to help abate that some, here are a few fun ways to pass the time:

Check out the fun story-related quizzes updated monthly on my Defenders of Hope website. http://www.defendersofhope.com/
Subscribe to the DOH newsletter to receive an inside peek into the writing life, kid-friendly recipes, and special tips and website links for keeping kids safe. http://www.defendersofhope.com/newsletter.html
Join the Heart Chocolate community via the discussion boards. http://www.amywallace.com/boards.htm Please feel free to ask questions or just chat about the DOH books, writing, mommying, or anything else of interest. I hope you’ll join me there!

Thanks so much for having me over to hang out today, Missy! I look forward to doing this again, only next time I’ll have you on my blog to talk about Her Unlikely Family. Many congrats on your debut novel! I’m looking forward to some great reading.
M: Thanks so much for being here today, Amy. I'll be sure to have you back often.
CONTEST!!!
Anyone who would like to have their name entered in a drawing for a copy of Ransomed Dreams, please leave a comment with your email address. If you'd rather not post your email addy, go ahead and leave a comment here, then go to my website and send me an email from there that includes your email addy and blogger screen name.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Have a Cover!!

I received an exciting email yesterday that included a copy of the cover for Her Unlikely Family!! They're going to be making a change to it, so I can't post it just yet. But I'll do it as soon as I'm allowed! I can't wait to share it. I LOVE it!! It has gorgeous colors, and gives a very homey feel. Also, the copy editor did a great job on the back cover blurb! Overall, I couldn't be more pleased.

I have to say that seeing my name on the cover was the strangest thing. I couldn't believe it was real. After ten years of dreaming, there it sat, on the screen of my computer, proof that I had really sold a book.

Of course, they still have to accept my revisions! LOL So I guess I'll wait to hold the actual book in my hands before being totally satisfied. :)

And speaking of revisions... I finished them and mailed the manuscript on Monday!! What a great feeling to send it off. And now, after trying to catch up on some housework and laundry, I plan to jump in on a book that I started last year. I would love for it to be my next sale! (Yes, I'm the queen of optimism.) :)

Please stop by again on Friday. I'm going to post an interview with Multnomah debut author, Amy Wallace. Her inspirational novel is called Ransomed Dreams, and I'll be having a drawing to give away a copy!!

Missy

Friday, April 13, 2007

What I've Learned During Revisions (so far)

I'm almost done with revisions. I'm just waiting on a friend to read it through to check for typos and any inconsistencies. I can't wait to send it off, to know I've accomplished my first set of official revisions! (Of course, I hope it'll be accepted, too!)

What I've learned...

Make the reader wait for that first kiss. Keep the romantic tension going. Don't have the hero and heroine declare their love too soon, either! Otherwise, the reader may just put the book down, feeling satisfied that they got together. I've been working on pacing, on learning to keep the conflict going. I hope the the editors like the result!

I've also learned that I am capable of taking a book apart and putting it back together. If fact, I posted a blog on our group blog (F.A.I.T.H.) that I titled Putting Humpty Together Again. :) I had worried about doing this, because I'm such a linear writer. But I think I managed it pretty well. It took a copy of the manuscript on paper, a computer file for new scenes, and a file for pieces of scenes that I wanted to save to use in other spots in the story. Amazingly, it all fell together. In the process, I added about a thousand words, which isn't too bad.

And I've learned I can make a deadline! Of course, I've had lots of practice with contests. But that first publishing deadline is a scary thing. (I won't mention how messy the house got this week or the fact that the kids nearly ran out of clean underwear, or that we drove through McDonald's, and Taco Bell, and....) :)

My deadline is actually April 27, so I'm in good shape for printing and mailing. Thank you, Lord!

Missy

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

I hope you all have a blessed Easter. Enjoy being with friends and family, celebrating our risen Christ!

Our choir is singing at two services on Sunday, so it'll be a long morning. But I'm really excited about the music. My favorite that we'll be singing is The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. The whole work is amazing, but the Hallelujah Chorus is a major chill-bump piece! By the time we're done singing it, I'm covered from head to toe with goosebumps.

Have you ever felt certain songs are especially Spirit filled, or anointed, or whatever terminology you might use? There are some pieces of music that send my spirit soaring, fill me to overflowing. I know some of it is personal preference. But here are some that do this for me:

**Handel's Messiah, The Hallelujah Chorus and, even more so for me, Worthy is the Lamb/Amen (the very last song). They're my two favorites.

**Mahler's 2nd Symphony "Resurrection", the end of the last movement (starting at #26 on the 2nd CD and going to the end of the piece). I turn this up really loud in my car or home or wherever. I have to be careful when it's in my car, though, because I invariably burst into tears. It moves me that much. :)

**The hymn "Here I Am, Lord" is one of my favorites. The words are so moving. Again, this is one I can hardly get through without choking up.

**several of David Crowder's songs, but I'm especially moved by You are my Joy (from A Collision album). It's amazing to hear it live, in concert. It seems to vibrate through me, so that it feels like The Holy Spirit bursting into song inside me.

So, those are my top goosebump songs. What about you? Or maybe you're moved by works of art. Or poetry. Or maybe a particular novel. What moves you?

Missy

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Popping In for a Minute

I'm busy with revisions! So I'm not keeping up well with my blog. I hope you'll stop by again later and won't give up on me. I'll be done with revisions soon and will be able to catch up.

For now, I'm writing and sneezing. Yes, the pollen is terrible here! The scale on the news at night goes to about 120. Our count yesterday was over 5000! I can actually feel it between my teeth like grit. And it looked hazy outside yesterday as the pollen blew around.

This was all new to me when I moved to Georgia 20 years ago. One day, I came out of the CDC, where I was taking classes, and found my car coated in yellow! I about flipped. I was afraid it was something dangerous coming out of one of the labs. :) But others nearby assured me it was normal-- pine pollen.

So I write and sneeze and wipe yellow dust off everything. Maybe by the time I write again, it'll rain and wash most of it away in big yellow puddles. :)

Missy

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Art Fact Sheets

I'm trying a new blog look, so don't let it throw you off. You're in the right place! :)

I first tried a nice bright pink, but even I, who loves pink, couldn't stand reading it for very long. So I'm trying this new template. Let me know what you think of it.

Now, on to my post.

Writing for Steeple Hill (Harlequin) has been a great experience. One of the opportunities I've had is to fill out what they call an Art Fact Sheet. For any unpublished writers reading this post, I thought I would tell you what information is on the sheet so you can think about it as you're writing your book. Other publishers have something similar, so it can be helpful to keep track of this information. I believe Camy Tang blogged about this after her sale to Zondervan. So check out her site as well.

Some of the information they want you to include on the sheet includes:

*Themes of the story

*Key emotion/mood trigger

*Story synopsis--very short, maybe 4-5 paragraphs (Ack! A writer's worst nightmare. :))

*A short questionnaire that includes these questions:
1) What is this book about (beyond plot description)? How would you describe it to your friends? What is the takeaway?
2) For the key relationship in this book, what is the turning point or climax? Please describe.
3) What are the overriding themes that run throughout – the bigger message?
4) What is the significance/inspiration for your title? Is it metaphorical or literal?
5) What interesting visual elements (either object or place) have great significance in this book?

*A basic character description for the two main characters (hero and heroine) which includes physical characteristics such as hair and eye color, age; occupation; then other items such as first love, a trait, other info you want to give.

*A section on the setting that includes: location, interesting visual elements, time of year/holiday/season

*Then a section for you to list 3 scene ideas that might make nice cover art. You'll answer some questions about a "moment in time" from your story that you might like to see illustrated on the cover of your book. These scenes can include people or not.

I hope you found this helpful. It was fun for me to fill out the fact sheet! Well, except for having to figure out that very short synopsis. :)

Oh, and another thing to consider is that they're willing to look at photos/pictures you might have collected of people that look like your characters or of the setting, etc.

Just for fun, what is the theme of your current WIP (work in progress)?

Missy

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Writing and Music and the Sense of Smell

I love writing. And I love music. And I love to write with music playing in the background. In fact, on a couple of my books, I've had a "theme song" or "theme CD". One was a Jaci Velasquez song, "I Will Rest in You," that inspired my manuscript, When Lightning Strikes. Another was an entire CD (one of the Women of Faith conference CD's) that I played a lot while writing the beginning of another manuscript. It got to the point where I needed to play that CD to get into the flow of the book each time I sat down.

I've also had particular scents that go with books. My main character in the story that just sold uses shampoo and body lotion that is peach scented. While I wrote the book, I used peach scented gel scents near my computer. And any time I need some inspiration on a book, I burn an essential old by Jurlique, one called Wise Woman, another called Clarity. For some reason both of those get the creative juices flowing.

Okay, I know I probably sound wacky. And maybe some of it is in my head. But hey, if it works.... LOL

Back to Christian music. What an outreach. I switched over to 104.7 the Fish (in the Atlanta area) a few years ago when the radio station started. My husband had it playing in his car, and I enjoyed it. Once I started listening, I found that I was much more relaxed while driving. And my overall mood improved! I had been listening to an alternative music station, and the songs had been getting weirder, and were, I guess, agitating me.

Truly, I feel that the switch to contemporary Christian music changed my life.

Hope you're having a great week. Hop on over to the Faith group blog tomorrow. I'll be posting about a nostalgic (well, almost traumatic) moment I had today.

Hmmm. It just occurred to me that I was listening to a David Crowder song today when the incident happened. A very mellow song. I wonder if it had any bearing on my reaction....

Missy

Monday, March 05, 2007

First TV Interview!

I had my first TV interview taped last week! I guess I need to be honest and admit it's a local cable channel. But it was very exciting. And it's some local publicity for my book.

The show features people in our community. The host is a friend from church. She tried to reassure me (when I about chickened out) that it would be just like a chat between the two of us. Well, let me tell you, once I walked into that studio and saw the lights, the cameras, the set, I about turned and ran. But she was a great interviewer, and I ended up enjoying myself. (We won't talk about the fact that I realized I was sitting like a zombie and tried to move my hands some, hitting the glass table with a thunk!)

I'll be able to see the results this evening with live streaming. (We have satellite, not cable.) I'll be sure to let you know how it went. Of course, I thought of a gazillion things I wish I had said after the fact. Next time, beforehand, I'll give her some questions to ask me. She did say she would have me back when my book releases. Maybe the second time will be easier. :)

Missy

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Debby Giusti's First Book!

My good friend, Debby Giusti, just sent me a copy of her very first published book!! It was so exciting to see it and to hold it. I can only imagine what she must have felt like when she received that box of books.

Debby's book is an April Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense titled Nowhere to Hide.

I can't wait to read it!

Missy

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Learning the Hard Way

This isn't officially a tip that I'll include under the heading The Call. No, this is just a general tip I learned from doing things the hard way.

When you get a new computer, be very intentional about transferring ALL your files to the new computer, even if it's a laptop. When I got my first laptop, I only transferred the files I needed at the moment, thinking of it as a backup. However, I loved moving upstairs from my workspace (not so fondly known as The Dungeon) to working on the couch with my feet propped up. :) So I never really went back to my desktop at all. Also, my desktop was so old it had only a zip drive and floppy drive. The laptop had only USB, and I was using flash drives. My children did have an "in between" computer that had floppy and USB, so moving my files to the laptop was a 2-step process involving 3 computers.

Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to go through that pain to move the all the info. Now, when I've gone back to try to do so, my old computer is crashing. I can't open Word files. I may be able to go to a computer repair store and retrieve everything, but how much easier would it have been to take care of it as soon as I bought the laptop!?

So learn from me. Move every file you think you might ever need again. When I bought a new laptop for Christmas, I did that very thing. And next time, I'll probably use one of the online backup services to save myself a half-day of work.

Missy

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tip #2

My next tip is similar to the first. Be prepared for The Call by knowing ahead of time what type contract questions you want to ask. (This applies only if you're not agented, of course.)

I had listened to workshops for years, had absorbed the advice of published friends, and had decided ahead of time the type questions I wanted to be sure to ask if I ever got offered a contract. But they all flew right out of my head as soon as I saw Caller ID. So be sure you're more prepared than I was.

In fact, it might even be a good idea to put together a call kit to keep by the phone! :) Make a folder labeled The Call. Write down all the things you plan to ask an editor. Include a notepad and pen in the folder as well so you won't be fumbling around looking for either or won't forget every word she says.

Yep, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of making a folder. There's something very optimistic about thinking like that, as if selling is a matter of "when", not "if". And it's always good to be prepared!

Missy

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Confessions of a Newly Published Author

Okay, so the post title is a little overly dramatic. But I had to hook the reader! :)

I've planned to post information that I learn as I go through the publication of my first book. I'm going to list it under the label of After the Call. I'll offer any tidbits I learn along the way that might help other aspiring and newly contracted writers.

My first tip:

Be prepared for The Call! I took an online class years ago, my first ever writing class, with Brenda Hiatt. She made us repeat this mantra over and over: "That sounds great. I'd like to think about it and get back to you." (Something along those lines.) And I've remembered it all of these years.

But nothing ever actually prepares you for that call. Luckily, I didn't actually have to remember my mantra. My editor said it herself-- that she knew I needed time to consider it and could get back to her. She's probably learned by experience that first time authors aren't coherent enough to discuss specifics! LOL

So even though I was tempted to forget everything I had ever learned from Brenda and to say, "YES, YES, YES, and you don't even have to pay me!!" I didn't. ;) I took Brenda's (and my editor's) advice and told her I would call her back.

So, Tip #1 is Be Prepared! Put on your nerves of steel and don't accept any offer immediately. You need to calm down so you can think straight.

Stay tuned for Tip #2!

Missy

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fun Celebration!

I got THE ROSE today. The one that goes along with THE CALL. It was from my local RWA chapter, Georgia Romance Writers. We have a tradition of giving a rose to each member when she makes her first sale. Over the years I've celebrated with many of our members, and this time it was my turn.

What excitement! And my friend (who loves to hit the Godiva Boutique with me), the current president of GRW, Ann DeStefano, was the one to present it to me. That made it very special as well.

The members of GRW have been with me through this whole publishing journey. They've been very generous in all the help they've given along the way, and always the best at supporting me.

In addition to GRW, I've had so many others help me with my writing. The Faith, Hope, & Love Chapter, my critique group/partners, American Christian Fiction Writers, my local ACFW chapter--W.O.R.D., and my online support group--the Seekers. So many people to thank!

What about you? Who's been the greatest help or influence to you?

Missy

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Strawberry Cake Disaster Recipe

I had several requests for the recipe of the yummy strawberry cake I tried to make for my son on his birthday. The one that fell apart. Piece by piece.

Oh, well, no reason to recall that dismal failure. :)

I'm filling in for our regular blogger on F.A.I.T.H. today. Christy's daughter is sick. So I posted my recipe over there. If you're interested in making a delicious cake, head on over to

www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com

Have a great weekend!

Missy

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Interview with Mary Connealy

Hi, all. Come on over to our group blog for an interesting interview with new author, Mary Connealy! It's inspiring, I promise. :)

Missy

www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com

Monday, February 12, 2007

I have a Title!!

I had a glorious week in San Diego last week with my husband. He attended a pastor's conference, and I... well, I shopped! :) It was great fun. We also did some sightseeing and just generally enjoyed beautiful scenery and great food. Lots of eating outdoors and fresh seafood. An added bonus was being able to spend time with a cousin I hadn't seen in nearly 10 years. What fun to see her daughter all grown up and to meet her new husband!

Then I got home to an email that let me know the new title for my book! (Drum roll....)


Her Unlikely Family
I really like it. It's a great fit with the story. So now Michael's Surrender is officially Her Unlikely Family. It feels good to have that settled! And it makes the sale more real.
It'll get even more real when I get my revision letter. :) It's supposed to come this week or next week. I'm excited about that as well. In general, I've never liked revisions. But it's been different to have an editor making the suggestions. I've found I do better when I have some direction.
Now if I could just have an editor tell me what to do on my work in progress! It's driving me crazy. It's at a point where I feel like it's going nowhere. It needs some conflict! And I have no idea what's going to happen. I've been praying and thinking. Eventually, it'll hit me. I guess I'll just have to be patient.
Now, I'm off to grade tests....
Missy

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It's The Inside That Counts

How many times have we heard that? It's what's on the inside that counts. Or beauty is only skin deep.

Well, I proved that this weekend. Not with my beautiful inner person, but with my cooking. :)

The only thing (besides cash, of course) that my son wanted for his birthday was a strawberry birthday cake with strawberry icing--the kind made with real strawberries. It's a recipe I've used before, but it's been ages (probably 2 years) since I made a homemade cake. I usually buy one at Publix (a grocery store here) or at Wal-Mart. So I got excited thinking about baking again.

I bought all the ingredients and got to work late Saturday morning. I baked two layers that came out a little sunken in the middle, but not too horrible looking. Then waited for them to cool. And waited. And waited. Impatient, I decided to see if I might loosen them from the pan a little. Well, the top of one layer started to rip as I turned it over and shook gently. So I put them back to cool some more. Once they felt totally cool, I whipped up the icing. Then I started the tedious process of removing those layers.

It was a disaster. They stuck EVERYWHERE. I went around the edges with a knife. I tapped the bottom. I tried every trick. But they were a mess once I got them out. Both layers came out in pieces.

Not one to get discouraged, I did a pretty good job of piecing everything together. I put a layer of icing between to help hold them together. But when I got done, it looked terribly lopsided. I started icing it anyway. Then by chance moved a pan out of my way and found a chunk of cake! Thrilled, I said, "Oh, there's a piece of the cake!"

Then it hit me how ridiculous that sounded! That's not something you usually hear come out of someones mouth! LOL

Well, while laughing hysterically, I slapped that chunk on the low side and continued to ice the cake. Unfortunately, the icing is very heavy, so the that chunk fell right off, followed by other smaller pieces. You get the picture.

My son came in the kitchen and simply said, "What happened to my cake?" And that sent me off into another fit of laughter.

To make this long story a little less long, I'll get to my point. It was a YUMMY cake. I think the problem is that I grabbed sliced strawberries (frozen) and never thought twice about it. They should have been chopped so they would stay suspended in the batter. Instead, they sank and stuck. No matter what, it still tasted divine. Ugly as sin. But very good. And I was reminded of my mom's saying.

We may need to lose a few (or a lot) of pounds, we may be getting gray, we may have wrinkles. And even if you younger folks don't have the gray or wrinkles, you may not like your nose, or may not like your smile, or your knees. But none of that really matters. What really counts is what's on the inside: How much we love other people. How much we love God. How kind we are. How generous we are.

My daughter (10 years old) took up for a little girl at school recently. A group of girls was making fun, talking behind another little girl's back, saying she was fat. My daughter told them she didn't think it was nice to talk behind her back. Those girls turned on my daughter, calling her a goody-two-shoes, etc. But I told her I'm proud of her, that she knew what was important, that she didn't fall into trying to fit into that little group of girls. She has learned what's important.

In fact, my children may have learned the lesson too well. I've used the phrase on them so much that now when I make them dress up for church, they say that it shouldn't matter. It's what's on the inside that counts. :)

Yeah, they're right.

Missy

Friday, February 02, 2007

Days 2 and 3

I started a label for posts that tell about my publishing journey. I thought I'd document some of what I'll be going through After the Call. (Yes, I think that'll be a new marker in my life, kind of like After Kids, or After Graduation, or After Weight Watchers.) :)

So what happens after the call?

Once I heard from both editors and we discussed contracts and titles, etc., I got to celebrate for about 24 hours. My husband brought home a rose, a congrats balloon and a card addressed to AUTHOR MISSY TIPPENS. How cool is that?! After the excitement of calling everyone to announce the sale (I don't think my mom believed me at first, and my own daughter thought I was going to say I'm pregnant!), I had a meal with my family and gabbed about my day. That night I answered about a hundred emails from well-wishers. What a great group of writing friends!

The 2nd day, more emails! And I got the excitement of joining some email loops such as the one for Love Inspired authors and for Harlequin/Silhouette authors. What a thrill to see so many names I've seen on the covers of books!

Then that afternoon I found an email with my Art Fact Sheet. What a great tool! I'll have the opportunity to fill it out with tons of information about my book, my characters, my setting, to help the art department design a cover. I'm so excited about doing it, but scared, too, because I know how important a cover is.

I'm supposed to send the art sheet in tomorrow (Friday), so I'm off to get back to setting info and possible titles. (Thank you to all my writing buddies who are helping me brainstorm!!) I'll check in again when I have something else to report.

Missy

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Call!!!!

Tuesday afternoon, I got THE CALL!!!

I'll have to post more details later since things like hungry kids, homework help, and grading papers brought me straight back to reality. :)

Missy

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Judging Woes ... and Joys

I'm judging the Golden Heart (a romance writing contest) again this year. This is probably my 6th year of doing so, and I have to say that I always look forward to that FedEx box showing up on my doorstep. The last couple of years, most of the entries have been spectacular. But that's not always the case.

Sometimes I can tell the entry is by a beginning writer, and I hate that I can't comment and point out the positives in this contest. I can only send the 1-9 number score. It makes my job hard, because I know how painful it is to get back a low score in a contest. I've had many! And I hate that that impersonal number may discourage someone. However, I feel I have to give whatever the entry deserves so that the higher scores count for something.

And speaking of higher scores.... Today, I had one of those 9's! (The top score.) The entry was amazing. I flew through the 50 pages and wanted to read more! I'm dying to know if this sells, and will plan to find it in the bookstore someday.

I love when that happens. I get to feel what an editor or agent must feel like when she reads the perfect story. Of course there's all the marketing and other departments to consider, but that first read must be like a thrill ride when she happens upon a great submission. I can tell you, if I were an editor, I would have gotten on the phone and called to beg for the complete manuscript on the entry I read today. :)

I've learned so much from judging contests. I can look at the entries that scored low and figure out what in my own writing compares--can see similar mistakes and plan for how to fix them. I can also look at the one I read today and study it to see what made it so memorable. (Yes, hours later, I'm still thinking about those characters!)

So, now I'm off to go work on my own story. Hmm. How can I improve and make my characters more memorable?

Missy

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kicking the Year Off Right

Happy New Year!

Okay, so the month is nearly half over, and I'm just now sending a new year's wish. But I have an excuse. I've been working with a great group of ladies on starting a brand new group blog!

Please visit F.A.I.T.H. blog (and you have to visit to see what the acronym stands for!): www.writingbyfaith.blogspot.com.

We're a group of six Christian writers who will take a day each week to post about writing, about life, about faith. Sundays will be free-for-all days. So come on by and visit!

Missy