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!


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.


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!


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!


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?


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


Have a great weekend!


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. :)



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....

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.


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.