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.


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.
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.
Join the Heart Chocolate community via the discussion boards. 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.
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!!


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!


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?