Oct 30, 2009

How to get a Book Endorsement

     I am no expert on this matter, but someone pointed out to me that in my last post I did not say exactly how I was able to get a published author to read my manuscript. So, for those of you interested, I'm going to tell you the entire process.


     No joke! All I did was contact a handful of authors and ask them how an unpublished author is supposed to go about getting endorsements. A few replied, saying that I was doing it exactly the way it was supposed be done. By asking. 

     One of the authors said, "Yes, can you email it to me?" I think I almost did a back-flip in my chair! Another one said, "Sorry, I can't. I'm too busy for that right now." I haven't heard from some of the others yet.     

     I think that often readers come to see authors as untouchable "movie stars" of literature. I'm finding out that usually isn't true. Hey, they used to be dreamers, too, just like the rest of us writers! The authors I have come into contact with have been very cordial and helpful.

      Obviously, if you are looking for an endorsement, I would start by asking authors who are in the same genre as the story you have written. Don't go to Ted Dekker if you have an Amish romance (lol). The point is to find someone who will actually want to endorse your manuscript!

     Also, I doubt any author will read your manuscript if it isn't completely finished. Authors are busy people (take a look at your bookshelf). They probably don't have time to edit an unfinished story. Make sure your book is ready to give to the first agent or publisher that says, "I want this story!" Then you can ask an author to read it.

     Guess that's all I have for now. Like I said, I am no expert. In fact, this is my very first time down this particular stretch of road on my journey. But hopefully you have found my observances to be helpful.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 29, 2009

Mountains and Valleys

     It is incredible how God never fails. Seriously, it's just crazy that He is always faithful and never lets us down. Even in the little things He proves Himself.
     I'm telling you, this whole journey with my book has been a roller coaster ride. There have been so many times when, just when I begin to feel discouraged, something happens that pulls me to my feet again. Could be as simple as getting a phone call from a friend to tell me that they read my story and liked it. Simple as hearing that somebody wants to read my stuff. Simple encouragement that goes a long way.
     Funny thing is, the encouragement always comes exactly when I need it most. As soon as I begin to doubt myself, someone does or says something that touches my heart and makes me want to keep going. Isn't God amazing?
     I am not saying that God is going to make my book be a bestseller. I'm not even saying it will sell at all! But I do believe that He cares about the things I care about, simply because He loves me. He may have planned that I never become an author. That's ok. Right now, though, I am seeing His hand work in my situation. And I am amazed. I guess that could be the point of why He's doing it.
     So, what's the most recent bit of encouragement that's made me go, "wow?" Well... *drum roll* a published author who I respect is going to read my manuscript! Crazy thing? It was at one of those times when I was starting get anxious about what the agent is going to think of my proposal. I can hardly believe it!!!
     Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW. God... You are cool!
     Basically, I've been praising God all day from the top of this mountain. Sure, a valley is bound to come sooner or later, but my God is faithful. As long as I am obeying Him and trusting His plan for me, I need not fear the future.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 20, 2009

Saga of the Brother Knights- Part I

McAllen Farm and the Mysterious Place

     Thomas McAllen struggled to lace up his stiff, second-hand boots with the dented toe. He tied the strings and took a few tentative steps. The boots would work for now.
     Putting his hands on his hips, Thomas took a deep breath, filling his lungs with crisp mountain air as he surveyed his grandmother’s farm.
     Gladys McAllen, Thomas’s grandmother, lived alone on the side of a small mountain in the Old South. She was a kind, but hard-working woman; the kind of grandma that looked like she could beat the tar out of you, but never did. Her mountain haven consisted of acres upon acres of untamed forest with a small farm nestled in the middle of the land.
     Chickens strutted around the farm and a few goats meandered in a large pen, the latter occasionally bleating and chewing their cud. The goat pen was next to the white barn that housed a horse named Willard Van Trapsdale III. Kittens pounced around rusty machinery, scurrying out of sight whenever Thomas happened upon them. There was a little garden at the back of Gladys’s farmhouse, filled with beats, zucchini, and other such vegetables that Thomas would rather avoid eating.
     The land basked in the easy silence of solitude. Every once in a great while a battered pick-up truck would rattle past the farm’s long, twisting driveway; but besides that, there was not any nearby traffic to speak of. One of the loudest sounds on the farm was the sharp crack of acorns impacting the barn’s tin roof on their way from the tree branches to the leaf-strewn ground.
     ‘The loudest noise,’ thought Thomas, ‘is the obnoxious barking of Grandma’s dumb old dog!’ Thomas winced against the dog’s thunderous howling. “Prince!” he barked back at the black canine. “Knock it off already! Seriously, do you have to murder my ear drums every time I walk outside the house?”
     The guard dog cocked his head and emitted a low hrmm that sounded exactly like a cranky old man. Prince sauntered away without another sound.
At the sound of laughter, Thomas turned to see his older brother, Derrik, treading up the hill from the barn. “Hey dog-whisperer,” Derrik teased. “I was beginning to wonder if you would ever get out of bed today.”
     Thomas stretched and replied, “Nothing wrong with taking advantage of our vacation to sleep in.”
     “True,” Derrik agreed. “Except when Grandma gives us permission to take the four-wheeler out for a spin.”
     “Are you serious?!” Thomas gasped excitedly. “She said we could drive it?”
     Derrik smiled. “Now you know why I’ve been anxious for you to get up.”
     Letting out a whoop so loud that it shook the mountains, Thomas raced down the slope that Derrik had just climbed. His old boots threatened to throw him off balance, so Thomas checked his speed on the rest of the steep incline.
     Grandma Gladys was at the bottom of the hill, carrying a bucket of chicken feed. From her mud-caked boots and her torn jeans to her auburn hair gathered in a short ponytail, she was every bit a farm girl. She rested a calloused fist on the side of her slim waist while she watched Thomas descend the hill with Derrik plodding behind.
     “Good aftahnoon, sleepah,” Gladys called to Thomas, her New England accent very pronounced as she substituted her “er’s” for “ah’s.”
     Knowing full well that it was not yet afternoon, Thomas ignored his grandmother’s teasing and slowed to a halt beside her, panting heavily.
     “Gonna drive the faw-wheelah up the trails?” Gladys asked with a grin.
     “Yeah!” Thomas exclaimed as he shifted in his uncomfortable boots. “Thanks for letting us, Grandma!”
     “Well, sure, you’ah welcome,” Gladys replied. “Just remembah that dinnah’s at five, so make suah you boys ah back heah by then, or else I’m gonna staht worrying ‘bout you.” Because she had resumed her walk toward the chicken coop, Gladys spoke over her shoulder.
     As Derrik came up behind him, Thomas whispered in a creepy tone, “And beware the Black Banshee!” Thomas laughed, but seeing Derrik’s serious face, he cut his joviality short and asked, “What?”
     Shaking his head mournfully, Derrik replied, “Tommy, the Black Banshee is real, you know.”
     Thomas was fooled for only a moment. “And so are dragons and unicorns! Come on, Rick, I know you way better than that! You can’t dupe me, dude.”
     “Maybe,” Derrik returned, giving Thomas a friendly punch on the arm. “But I can still outrun you! Last one to the four-wheeler is the last to ride!”
     The peaceful stillness of the forest behind McAllen Farm was broken by the roaring motor of a four-wheeler.
     Thomas clung to the small vehicle while rich fall colors rushed past in a blur. As he bounced down the path through the woods, Thomas was again amazed by the beauty of his grandmother’s mountain. He didn’t consider himself to be a city boy, but the beautiful forest and the quiet farm were definitely more rural surrounding than what he usually lived in. It made him silently thank God for His wonderful creation.
     A change in the foliage caught Thomas’s eye. He brought the four-wheeler to a halt, dismounted, and stepped into the forest.
     Just off the nearly overgrown path, beneath a shower of red, orange, and yellow leaves, stood a white gazebo. The wooden structure was elaborately carved with swirling patterns. A brass clock hung on the pillar farthest from the entrance. As Thomas climbed into the gazebo, he suddenly felt a heavy loneliness that seemed to haunt the mysterious place. Thomas cleared off the layer of leaves that blanketed a wooden two-person swing hanging on one side of the gazebo. He sat down and stared around him. It was even quieter than his grandmother’s farm, but not nearly as peaceful. A chill breeze made Thomas shiver in his sweatshirt, and an oppressive feeling came over him, as if an old anger was bearing down, seeking vengeance.
     Shaking his head, Thomas told himself he was crazy and glanced down at his watch. ‘4:45,’ he thought, ‘Better get back so I don’t miss pizza.’ Gladys was not much of a cook, but she knew how to do takeout.
Thomas climbed onto the four-wheeler and zoomed back down the path, leaving the eerie gazebo behind him. But he did not mean to forget about it; in fact, he resolved to question his grandmother about it at the first chance he got. After he showed Derrik, of course.

Oct 19, 2009

The Story Shall be Told....

     Just a quick "heads-up".... I plan to post the first installment of my blog saga tomorrow. Keep an eye out for it!
     It is a little long, so I am apologizing beforehand for that. I do not like to read much on the computer, so... I'm sorry. I am hoping you will not mind as much as I do, or that you'll print it out to read in the bathroom (come on, I know we all do it!).

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 18, 2009

Vacation Writing

     I love vacations. They are just all around great! I like getting ready to go on vacations, I like being on vacations, and I like coming home again after vacations. I wonder if there will be vacations in Heaven? :)
     The particular vacation that I just got back from was very relaxing. No internet access, that sort of thing. It drove me frantic, but it was good. It also afforded me the time to finish rewriting on my book! Wahoo!
     So, is the manuscript finally complete? Uh... well, not yet. I still need to check with my personal editors to see if they like it (a.k.a. my friends and family). And then I need to type all the chapter page numbers in the Content section at the beginning; a slow, tedious, but necessary process. Then, THEN the manuscript will be done.
     "Done" is a relative term. I doubt I'll ever be done done with it. I doubt any writer is ever completely done. *laughs*
     I was also able to concoct a new work while I was vacationing. I'm going to be beginning a new thing on this blog, hopefully it'll be happening soon. Every now and then, as I get time and ideas, I'll be posting a fictional saga. I have no idea how the story is going to work out... more than likely it will end up pretty crummy. But crummy isn't always bad, right? Especially if you're not writing it to publish.
    I figured that I can't have a blog about my writing journey and not have any of my writing on it. Like I said, I'm just doing it to give you a taste of my writing, not ever planning to publish, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the story. I am the type of writer who likes to criticize (sometimes a little too much), but that is because I like others to criticize my work. The worst thing you can say about one of my stories is, "It's good." Drives me bonkers. What is good??? Or are you just saying that because you don't want to hurt my feelings??? Good and fair criticism is invaluable, as I always say.
     Don't take me wrong; I am not looking for you guys to critique my saga thoroughly. I'm just saying that if you are compelled to, as I would probably be, then have at it. Who knows? I might find out a bad flaw in my writing style from one of you. I hope not, but you never know. *laughs*

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 7, 2009

The First Time

     There is something special about holding your book proposal in your hand for the first time. The clean, white stack of papers is sitting on my desk at this very moment. I cannot help wondering, 'If this is how it feels just to have printed my book proposal, how much more amazing will it be when I actually hold my first published book?' I can hardly believe that I am looking at the proposal right now. It's real. It's happening. I am really sending it to an agent.
     I am praising God. It is only because of Him that I have gotten this far! This is all His doing, and I am bubbling with excitement over what He may accomplish through me and what He has already done. Thank You, God! Thank You, thank You for all this. I am so undeserving, but You have seen fit to bring glory to Your name through me. I'll never understand why, and all I can do is thank You.
     I will be sending the proposal out within a matter of days (I hope... you never know with my life). I am going on a vacation this upcoming week, so I am not certain when I will be able to post again. But the agent probably won't reply for at least a month, so don't worry about it too much (I know, you are all sitting there in suspense! *laughs*)
     So, besides sightseeing, what will I be doing while my proposal sits on the agent's desk? Biting my fingernails while staring hypnotically at the mailbox, of course! *Geloto* Just kidding. Seriously, I plan to finish editing the book. Yes, that is not done. I put it off to complete the proposal, and now I have to get on it. Shouldn't take too long. I need to rewrite some parts at the end, but if I work diligently, I should have it done very soon after my vacation.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oct 2, 2009

Regretful Report

     My thoughts after writing the last post: "Yeah, sure, I'll post when I send the book proposal out. I'm almost done. Probably be able to send it out tomorrow..." Ha! No such luck! 
     I regret to report that, yet again, I sit here nearly a week later with the book proposal still unprinted. Time has slipped through my fingers once more, and I am shaking my fist in fury at it.
     There just seems to be always one more thing that needs to be fixed in the proposal. I am particularly struggling over the summary. Just when I think I've got it perfect... I find out different! One thing after another. Will I ever get this thing out?
     I have everything ready, I even have the envelope to send it in! But the proposal itself is still being... erm, edited (if you can edit a book proposal). 
     So, I'm going to ask you to pray for me. I should have been asking you from the very beginning, but that's a different issue with pride and relying on my own strength.... Please pray that God will help me just be able to find the time and the brains to work through the proposal and get it out! Thanks, I really need it.

Post Tenebras Lux,