Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Update

"Second Chance" is now in the Layout department of Tate Publishing.

I received an email Friday letting me know what to expect during this stage of the process. In a couple of days I will receive an initial layout design. Once that is approved (by me), it will take about a month to complete the process of putting the manuscript into book format.

I will receive one "proof" copy of "Second Chance" to review and approve. Once that occurs, we should be ready for distribution!!

My prayer is still for the book to be out before Christmas. Although I do not have a set date from Tate, it seems like that prayer might be answered!

God is so good and gracious to give us the desires of our heart!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Golden Opportunity

As a teacher by calling, I tend to look for those "teachable moments" that are, by definition, not written in the lesson plan books. One such instance occurred last week.

[A little background information for those who may need it: I teach fourth grade Reading Intervention. This means I pull small groups of struggling readers for 35 minute classes. I see eight groups of students a day.]

Our story last week was about a teacher who set up a sort of scavenger hunt for her students. After they had discovered all the clues, they found her in the gym, where she had set up a "Career Day". The last words in the story were her words of advice. "Always do your best and hand in your best work. Keep trying and don't give up, and you can get any job you want."

I took that opportunity to share my own experience with perseverance. I was able to share with my students that I had decided to write a novel; that after I had finished it I thought it was really good and wanted it to be published; that I sent the book off to publishers (didn't go into the whole "literary agent" explanation), and how the first several to respond back said, "no thanks." I shared with them how those rejections hurt my feelings, but I didn't give up.

Then I showed them the cover of the novel (which is my screen saver) over the projector screen. The amazement on their faces was heartwarming. My prayer is that the next time they try out for the team, or read a hard book, or have trouble with their homework, they will remember...hard work and perseverance DO pay off!

Wouldn't it be awesome if my experience with writing a book and getting it published made a positive impact in the life of an underprivileged, academically struggling child?! Who knows what plans God has for us! My prayer is that he use me as he will.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A New Review

I just finished reading Kathleen Fuller's novel, "A Man of His Word". I have never read a book set in the Amish country, because I didn't imagine it would be very interesting. I will admit that I was delightfully surprised at how quickly I became engrossed in this story. It didn't take many pages to realize that the simple lifestyle of the Amish does not equal a dull story.

Ms. Fuller does a fine job of weaving a touching tale through lovable characters and honest emotions. She portrays the Amish way of life in a manner that truly puts the reader in that setting. Fuller's characters struggle with the same deep emotions many of us have faced in our own lives; questioning God's will during times of crisis, struggling with love, betrayal, and heartache. It was refreshing to read how these characters dealt with their troubles in a manner often foreign in our non-Amish world.

As I raced to the end of the story, trying to predict how the author would resolve the emotional and relational conflicts the characters faced, I was never bored. Although I knew what the end would be, I enjoyed the way Fuller brought the story to its conclusion.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a quick, easy read on a lazy afternoon when there are no interruptions to take one out of the world that Ms. Fuller so completely and charmingly pictures for us.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Review of Rick and Bubba's New Book

I have recently signed up to be a book reviewer with Thomas Nelson. I have just finished reading Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage.

This was a fast-paced, quick read. I found the short chapters very entertaining. Having listened to Rick and Bubba's radio show for years, reading this book was very similar to that in many ways.

I found myself laughing out loud at some point in almost every chapter. I enjoyed the various "top ten" lists, such as Rick and Bubba's Surefire Ways to Know She's the One". I discovered new insights into the way men view certain issues, in particular, "puddin' heads" and "DD (Daddy Discipline)." I was charmed by the way both men clearly adore their wives, even when discussing some of their less lovable habits (such as over-spending and having no mercy during sickness).

I often found myself nodding and smiling during the numerous stories of marital disagreements and misunderstandings. Many of these brought to mind instances in my own marriage and made me realize the common issues we all face.

However, this is not a simple "tongue-in-cheek" parody of self-help books. Nestled in the midst of the wonderful comedic anecdotes that have made Rick and Bubba famous are real gems of Godly wisdom regarding marriage and spousal relationships. The chapter R-E-S-P-E-C-T was perhaps one of my favorites. Rick and Bubba do an outstanding job of emphasizing the differences in how men and women view love, based on Paul's advice in the scriptures.

I would reccommend this book to any adult, whether you are happily married, in need of counseling, or even single and hoping to one day get married. This book is a fun read, packed with biblical truth, often disguised as "good ol' boy" wisdom.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What's In a Name?

If I had been smart, my main character's family name would have been Johnson, or Hall, or Miller...any name that doesn't end with an "s". There is a completely different set of punctuation rules for names that end with that letter! And I have been diligently trying to utilize them correctly, regardless of how odd it looks to me on paper.

So here's our language lesson for the day kiddies:

Avalin Summers (singular proper noun)
the Summerses (plural proper noun)
Avalin Summers's parents (singular possessive noun)
the Summerses' disappearance (plural possessive noun)

I have always prided myself on using grammar and punctuation correctly...I know some of you are nodding and laughing at the amount of understatement used here. For those of you less familiar, I have been called the "Grammar Police". But I must humbly admit that I have learned something new and that I'm thankful it was discovered and hopefully all the corrections made before the book hits the stores!

My editor, being the wonderfully helpful person that she is, offered the suggestion to just change the name. After all, the book hasn't been published yet. But for me that would be the equivalent of when Prince changed his name to that symbol thing, and was referred to as "the artist formerly known as Prince" for several years! That was just idiotic! Everyone knew he was Prince, it was already set in their minds. Thankfully someone knocked him back to his senses, and its not an issue any more.

The family's name is Summers. There is no other option now. I just thank God for computers. Making the appropriate punctuation and spelling corrections took a whole lot less time than it would have fifty years ago!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Surround Sound

For this final edit, my publisher suggested that I read the manuscript aloud. I arrogantly laughed at the request. Then I took a step back and remembered that she is the professional in this instance, I'm the novice.

So whenever I have found time alone (because reading aloud as an adult is pretty embarrassing, when you're not reading to an audience), I have read aloud. To my surprise and delight, it has been a completely different experience!

I have said previously (maybe not on the blog, but I know I've said it...) that writing this book was much like a movie in my mind. There were many nights that I just had to stay up late, even got out of bed, to write down the next scene that was begging to be told. Well, hearing the words aloud simply sharpened the images, sort of like adding surround sound to a DVD.

It has also helped me to find more errors, either in grammar or poor word usage. This has increased my anxiety about sending it off with the approval: "This is ready for publication." I hate it when I come across an error while reading a book. It's one of my pet peeves. And every time I read my own manuscript, I find one! Yikes!

Here's where I hope that the four of you who are reading this one last time for me will have great eyes as well. Between the five of us (six counting my editor), surely we'll find all the mistakes and present an error-free story to the public. Thanks again:)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Faithful Friends are Priceless

I wanted to take a moment to thank each of my wonderful friends! Every time I have needed someone to help in any part of the process of getting Second Chance published, I have had more than enough volunteers.

I have had people offer to read the manuscript (even unfinished and unedited) to look for typos and grammatical errors. I appreciate those of you who unapologetically circled mistakes I had made.

Several of you happily offered your opinions on the book cover choices, sharing what you liked and didn't like about each one. Your insight helped to create a cover that I absolutely love!

I am in the final stages of publication now, and when I needed someone once again to read through this last edit, no less than four of you volunteered, even though I had a deadline of only ten days to have it proof read and returned to me.

Thank you for you support. Thank you for your enthusiasm. Thank you for your friendship.