Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Christy nominations

Christy Awards are designed to "recognize excellence in Christian fiction written by contemporary authors and highlight the breadth and diversity of Christian fiction".

Nominations have just been released for the publication year 2007, with final decisions to be made by July '08. Now, of course, there are many categories, and you know me well enough to know that I don't care a toad's toenail about most of them. However, there are a couple of categories I'd like to mention here.

Visionary is the category name for anything speculative. The three nominations are:
Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (NavPress Publishing Group)

Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead (Thomas Nelson)

Pop any of those titles up in the search bar of this blog and you'll see that I've read and enjoyed them all. I am a particular fan of Sharon Hinck, having loved everything she's written (haven't gotten my hands on her sixth novel yet.) But Jeffrey Overstreet's debut novel was also very strong, very beautiful, and quite different from anything Sharon has written. I'm glad I don't have to vote.

The other category of interest to me is First Novel:

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee (NavPress Publishing Group)

The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The only book here I haven't read is the third one, which apparently is a murder mystery. But a closer look at the first two reveal that Auralia's Colors is up for TWO awards! Way to go, Jeffrey!! The other nominee here is Tosca Lee, who ran the contest that I won recently. I've only read the first chapter of her novel (definitely speculative!) and was impressed by the writing standard there as well.

So I'm definitely interested to see the results come July!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fun Workshop!

I got back Sunday afternoon from a fun weekend in Couer d'Alene at a writers' workshop hosted by Idaho Writers' League. Had a lot of fun with my car-and-room-mates, Viv and Bonn, listening to Randy Ingermanson instruct on various writing and web-building skills, and just hanging out.

Here's Randy with *The Canadian Contingent*

We also had individual critiques on five pages (which we'd sent in ahead of time). I've found a few good ideas to tweak up the opening scene of Quest to Be Queen, thanks to the discussion with Randy.

Good times. Now I have a few days to re-group before heading out to Victoria.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Off to a Writers' Workshop Weekend

I'm headed out right after lunch on a weekend getaway in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, for a workshop put on by the Idaho Writers' League. The instructor is Randy Ingermanson, physicist and author of several speculative fiction novels as well as renowned writing teacher.

I was happy to discover that one of Randy's faithful blog readers lives not far from me, so I am driving down with her and her friend. I'm looking forward to a weekend of shop talk, new friends, eating out, and writing immersion.

Hubby's job is going well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm in Hot Water Now! :)

Once I thought being in hot water was a bad thing, but I'm not convinced any more. Hot water when we want it is a luxury not to be taken lightly. After eight and a half days without it, trust me...I'm in touch with my thankful side today.

Also having much thankfulness for hubby's new job. Day one went well.

Now to focus on the rest of a very busy week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Language Creation

Sometimes you think you can slide by with a few made-up words and other times you know you can't. Puppet Prince would be one of those novels where I know I can't.

I have an empire, which is made up of at least 20 smaller nations, most of whom are not going to feature in this story--I hope. But at least two of the minor nations will, and of course, the empire itself will. The most recent nation to be overtaken by the empire is Tainn. I decided on its name a couple years ago and I still like it. Just looking at that one word and the three people from Tainn that feature in this story, whom I also named a couple years ago, already gives a pattern for this language. I'm expecting this to be a *pure* language, with pretty much nothing borrowed from anyone else's.

The other absorbed nation has been part of the empire for much longer, so it will have taken on some words from the empire as well as, most likely, words from other languages in the empire. I have a rough idea of what their base language sounds like, but I only had one name ahead of time to work around.

And the empire, bless them, has been cheerfully overtaking the known world for a couple hundred years. They are swallowing languages, cultures, art forms, and religions whole, mashing them all up, and spewing them back out. So THAT language can be as messy as English, at the other end.

What to do?

Well, this is what *I* did! I pulled out an e-book I bought quite awhile ago, read, but did not yet have occasion to put to use: Holly Lisle's Create a Language Clinic.

The Tainnish language now has some missing letters, some common consonant/vowel combinations, and a wee bit of structure to hold the thing up.

Next on the hit list: the other language, which will soon have a name!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Where to begin?

I'll try to keep this short, but I'm not sure I'll succeed. Regulars to In My Little World may recall that my hubby, a heavy duty mechanic, worked out of town for several years at the mines. He worked four days away, then was home for four days. In January he began a new job here at home at an automotive dealership. We really hoped this change would work out, though it was obvious from the beginning that it wasn't quite perfect. As time went on, the hours began to shrink a bit here and there and we got nervous. Long story short, he began looking for another job. Not finding anything, he contacted the mines near the beginning of April with the intention of returning to The Great Commute.

As with all large companies, this took a bit of time to arrange and this past week saw us still waiting for the final clearances to come through and an actual start date to be assigned.

Last Monday one of my bosses told me about an unadvertised local HDM job opening a friend of his had told him about (when boss had told him my hubby was heading out again). Hubby zipped over to drop off his resume and then we had two phone calls to wait for.

We got the start date for the mines late in the week--hubby was to be there this coming Monday. Thursday the other company phoned for an interview. After a great deal of discussion, hubby agreed to go in Friday morning to talk, with the understanding that everything would have to be perfect AND they would have to offer him the job that day. At 2:30 they phoned to offer him the position...and he took it...and phoned the mines to say something had come up and he would not be returning.

This new job--man, I hate to get my hopes up, but I can't help it. I'm sure there will be a downside or two, there nearly always is. But honestly, to quote Mary Poppins, it's "practically perfect in every way". Good wages, good benefits, good holidays, good pension, 40 hours a week (some overtime, which is okay), a bit of driving as they have two other plants in the area (hubby loves driving). He'll be working 7-3:30 Tuesday to Saturday with the option of taking some Saturdays off. (I, of course, have the world's BEST bosses who don't know yet that I'll be looking for an occasional Monday off now! :P -- but will be fine with it.) He'll be the one-and-only mechanic on site, also responsible for the millwright position (fixed machines as opposed to wheeled ones). Oh, the position is at a small dolomite mine and stucco manufacturing plant that has been in operation for 45 years. Email me if you want the link to their website.

As with many stressful weeks, something else also happened: our water tank died on Monday. Because it is sits in our bathroom (and is natural gas) it requires special venting and had to be ordered in from Vancouver. It took a few days to arrive. Then hubby discovered that though the tank is rated the same (40 gallons) as the old one, the actual size is larger, due, I suppose, to increased insulation. At any rate, it doesn't fit without modifications, some of which have to be done by a metal-worker. I hear that will be done tomorrow, Monday. Meanwhile, I've been showering at the in-laws' place across the yard, heating water in a kettle for doing dishes, and washing clothes in cold water (which I usually do anyway.) I'm sure you noticed up there hubby's new job starts TUESDAY, which means he'll be able to do the tank tomorrow so long as the part gets manufactured as promised.

Meanwhile, many of you know our son and daughter-in-law spent three months in South America and had a great time except for getting their passports and camera stolen. However, they landed back in Vancouver this week and we'll be seeing them in a few days. Jen has landed a good summer job and Joel is still looking, then back to University of Victoria in September.

Our daughter and son-in-law are also in transition. Craig has landed a summer job HERE and they will be staying kinda with us. By that I mean in their grandparents' motorhome here on the farm, and in and out of our house as well. Hanna still hasn't heard back from the job she applied for here.

(In fact, if you're counting people in my family, you'll see that five out of six of us are starting a new job in the next couple weeks or are still looking! I'm the only one keeping my job...)

Still with me?

This weekend I'm going to Couer d'Alene, Idaho, for a workshop with Randy Ingermanson (aka The Snowflake Guy) put on by the Idaho Writers' League. The workshop is Friday evening and all day Saturday, with a consultation with Randy on Sunday. No, he's not an agent or an editor, but he's a multi-published author who teaches writing at a number of large conferences, so I figure it's worth it! I also get to meet a few people that I've only met online before, so that will be fun.

And then I'm off to Victoria for a week with my kids. The benefit to KEEPING my job? Paid vacation! So there's one week of it.

Friday, April 11, 2008


It's been so long since I got down to serious novel planning that I've almost forgotten how. Some writers have ideas jumping up and down, begging to be written. Mine are a little more recalcitrant. I've got several novel ideas that I've worked with a bit on and off for the past couple of years, but every time I've turned my attention to them, they've stood there scuffing their feet and trying to elbow their neighbor forward.

So a couple of weeks ago I reached into their group, grabbed someone by the shirt front, and hauled him over to the examining table. Jhonal from Puppet Prince has been hanging around the longest, actually. A little over two years ago I started dreaming him up for Forward Motion's 2-year-novel program. Then I got busy revising and let him sit back for a bit. I thought I'd pull him out for Nano '06, but another novel jumped forward and grabbed hard.

And you know my tale of revisions ever since then.

So here we are, then. I've read the notes I made two years ago and set them aside. I figure that the parts that are meant to be important to the story will come to mind again.

I've discovered the problems with my initial idea that no doubt led to the story pulling back constantly. The conflict was unbalanced--too much external and not enough internal. Once upon a time Jhonal was a victim of sorts. Things happened TO him. He was a bit too nice. Isn't that sad? Writers...

Anyway I've spent my afternoon researching everything from forms of execution for traitors to the names of God. And I'm finding a new Jhonal, one who acts as well as reacts, and two young women who are complex (or at least getting that way) actors in their own right.

Yes, I think a braiding of three characters. That should be fun.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More confirmation from contests

Monday afternoon I received word that my entry to the Genesis contest (which I'd sent in in late February) is progressing to the final round. First round was judged by an assortment of published authors and experienced unpublished writers, and I got a lot of great feedback--pleasant praise mixed in with solid suggestions for improvement.

New to Genesis this year--the possibility of taking 48 hours to edit based on the feedback and send it back in for second round. I jumped at that option for two reasons. One, the feedback was too valuable not to act on! Two, I had the opportunity to add a one-page synopsis, which I'd been honing in the hope I'd be able to use it. Well, I could have sent it in the first time also, but it wasn't ready and there didn't seem to be much point.

Second round is judged by (in this case) one agent who likes Christian spec fic and one acquisitions editor who buys it for his house. I have spent the past two days poring over my pages with the help of my buddies (thanks, gang!!) and just sent my entry back out to face the firing squad.

I'm not to mention the title of the entry publicly, lest either judge come across it inadvertently. This is the same contest in which Marks of Repentance finaled last year, but did not place in the top three. Those results don't come out until mid-September, so I have plenty of time to ignore that novel and do other things.

Like start writing another one...

Complete list of finalists:

Chick lit/mom lit/lady lit: Annalisa Daughety, Tiffany Kinerson, Sara Richardson, Lynda Schab, Erica Vetsch

Contemporary Fiction: Christina Berry, Dan Case, Lynne Gentry, Jennifer L. Griffith, Jim Rubart

Contemporary Romance: Annalisa Daughety, Kathleen Haynes, Cara Slaughter, Sandra van den Bogerd, Linda Yezak

Historical Fiction: Yvonne Anderson, Lori Benton, Mona Hodgson, Christina Miller, Rachel Moore

Historical Romance: Patty Smith Hall, Myra Johnson, Allison Studer, Erica Vetsch, Karen Witemeyer

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: Ed J. Horton, Melanie L. Jones, Janice Olson, Donna Alice Patton, Jane Thornton

Romantic Suspense: Dani Pettrey, Kelly Ann Riley, Julie Scudder, Jane Thornton, Jenness Walker

Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: (there are six finalists because there was a tie for the 5th finalist spot) Lynda K. Arndt, Valerie Comer, John W. Otte, Jim Rubart, Chawna Schroeder, Stuart Stockton

Women's Fiction: (there are six finalists because there was a tie for the 5th finalist spot) Heather Goodman, D'Ann Mateer, Sara Richardson, Linda Rondeau, Cynthia Ruchti, Kristian Tolle

Young Adult: Kasey L. Heinly, Stefanie Morris, Susan Miura, Janet Rubin, Carla Stewart

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Book Tour--Amber Morn by Brandilyn Collins

Amber Morn is the fourth--and I believe final--novel in the Kanner Lake series by Brandilyn Collins. As you know, I'm normally not much for suspense--which Brandilyn does well. Her trademark is Seatbelt Suspense, if that's any indication. Still, I've read the first three books and found much to enjoy (so long as I didn't read late into the night!) I've barely started Amber Morn yet. Life has just tipped from crazy to absolutely nuts in the past couple weeks (and even more since yesterday--more on that later or tomorrow), so today it will have to suffice that I'm posting up the links and that I'll be reading the book when I have some daylight hours free!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Party Time!

Late last summer I heard about an upcoming contest hosted by Tosca Lee, whose debut novel Demon: A Memoir was released in June 2007. When announcing the contest, she said that people had begun asking her if she could put in a good word for them with her agent, Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. Tosca decided to run a contest, and Joyce agreed to look over the winning proposal. The deadline for entry was November 15.

This gave me something to shoot for when completing revisions on Marks of Repentance, which, as you may recall, I spent most of 2007 doing. The deadline pushed me through market analysis, synopsis, pitch, the whole works (thanks to everyone who helped critique these, by the way!!). When it went out my email box, I heaved a sigh of relief and turned my attention to Quest to Be Queen.

Every once in awhile I wondered what was happening with the contest, but I was very busy in early '08 and didn't have a lot of time to dwell on the proposal's fate. In late February I heard from Tosca with the grand news that my proposal was the winner! There were a few things that needed to be ironed out before the official announcement would be made. She has now posted the results on her website.

I've gotten general praise from both Tosca and Joyce, though it's far too early to tell if this win is a major step towards publication or just an entertaining and confirming side trip. Either way, I wanted to share the news with all of you!