Friday, July 29, 2011

Friends Or Just Reading Companions?

Is it just me or is there anyone else that loves a great book so much that upon reading the last sentence you walk away thinking you’ve just made a new friend? While my guests are enjoying a summer break I thought it would be fun to share some Take-Away values of some wonderful novels I’ve enjoyed. These are just a mere glimpse of some favorites.

WORDS by Ginny L. Yttrup

This is a story about a 10-year-old girl who copes with both her mother abandoning her and sexual abuse from the mom’s boyfriend, and the bond the girl makes with a woman who too is seeking love. Sounds like a dark story? Well, it’s definitely not a beach-read, but I found it very uplifting. My take-away value: God’s love for us. Directly quoting from the novel, “He loves us, little one, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.”

A FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT by Caroline B. Cooney

This YA (young adult) novel is by one of my favorite authors. How can one follow God’s commandment to honor thy father if this supposedly loving dad twists the heart of your kid brother and then dumps him upon tiring of the boy? My take-away value: we always need help and God is the one friend who is always there for us. We can ask Him to help us and not worry about the consequences because He has our best interests in His heart. Always.

THE FIRST TIME by Joy Fielding

Want to read a story that will make you chuckle, weep, and sigh? This is a shockingly beautiful love story from a well-known suspense author. The first line grabs seizes attention: “She was thinking of ways to kill her husband.” A story about what happens when a marriage fails and then grows again during an unexpected crisis. My take-away value: tough times don’t necessarily have to kill a relationship, and that love comes in many different sizes and shapes, and is forever changing.

SALEM FALLS by Jodi Picoult

This is the one novel that had made me a Jodi Picoult fan and had me driving into Vermont to meet her at a book signing. A true page-turner, this is about a present-day witch trial. My take-away value: happy endings can happen to people whom once thought they were only slated for anything else, and be careful in what you think about others.


Would you like some help in seeing The Garden through the eyes of Adam and Eve (Havah)? Okay, that’s an understatement. Read this book and you will be living that biblical passage, experiencing the sounds, smells, tastes, touch, and every vivid emotion as possible. My take-away value: getting to experience how the first man and woman may have lived.

ALMOST HEAVEN by Chris Fabry

A story about a simple man who discovers his mission in life is not that simple, and throw in an angel whose job assignment has him wondering if God has made a mistake. Talk about an interesting plot twist! My take-away value: keep following God even though the path seems odd at times because He’s never wrong.


Should a wife think twice about the husband she believed she knew when he doesn’t show up? Could his current disappearing act be the one for good? My take-away value: don’t give up on a marriage that God made possible, even if it doesn’t seem "normal."

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

This is another YA novel I’ve really enjoyed written by an author with a fabulous voice. What do you do if you’re young, talented, have a great family, a loving boyfriend, are about to start on a journey to accomplish your goals, and then have it all taken away within seconds? My take-away value: tragedy can pass like a storm. Sure, there can be damage and devastation, but what remains is the love of a faithful person.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Of Art and Marketing by Deborah Kinnard

My guest this week is author Deborah Kinnard. A fearless author who writes from the heart, she's written for the Christian market time-travel, second-chance romance, and short-story romances and her soon-to-be-released historical fiction. Did I say a Christian fiction time-travel? Yes, indeed! Deb will talk with us about the writer's chicken vs. egg which-came-first dilemma: should the writer focus on the writing first or which market the story is appropriate for? Both the fledgling writer and the published author can benefit from Deb's words. And besides, enjoy the visit . . .this guest is an all-round nice person!


Would you like to win a print copy of her time-travel novel SEASONS IN THE MIST, a 2010 Grace Award winner? One randomly chosen commenter will win a copy generously donated by Deborah. 
Here's what you have to do:
1. Become a Follower of Everyone's Story, if you aren't already
(okay, you really don't have to but it would be appreciated!)
2. Leave your e-mail address in your comment so you can be contacted.

First, a few fun questions for Deb:

Your signature line is "Timeless Romance, Transcendent Faith"--which I love! Very gripping. Can you elaborate why you chose this to describe your stories? 

A tag line that encompasses all I do was quite a challenge. I've written contemporary romance, time-travel romance to the Middle Ages, and now straight historical. I looked for a summary of all that, and brainstormed my critique partner until she and I came up with this. I hope readers will say it's a perfect fit.

Would you say your novels fall within or just outside of "the box" of what is traditionally published in Christian fiction? If the latter, did that alter your approach to pitching your work to distinct agents/editors?

Oh, out of the box. Definitely. I'm a member of the Edgy Christian Fiction Writers' group and that's a good fit also. Being out of the box means that I can't always expect to sell a book just because I've learned how to tell a story a little better than I once did. I've warned my agent I'll never write a totally sweet book -- there's always some dark mixed in with the light. She seems to be okay with that... Pitching my books is usually rather a challenge, but as the market seems to be opening up a bit, I hope it will become a tad bit easier to sell the unusual project.

Would you like to confess: SOP or Detailed Outliner?

SOP and proud of it. There's no "one way" to write other than that the end product glorify God. Everything else is a matter of work-style and each writer should do as s/he finds works best. But my critique partner practically faints if I tell her I've pre-plotted anything!

Of Art and Marketing by Deborah Kinnard

Many writers, aspiring and experienced alike, worry first about marketing a manuscript. How? Where will it go? When? In what form? Until you’ve finished the book, worrying about marketability is a mistake. Why is it? Because job one, the first cause, the sine qua non, is story.

Courtesy istockphoto
A writer should fret about story first and foremost. Ideally, a story will pop into the mind that utterly fires your imagination, and you’ll learn the craft until you can tell it well. If a story’s never caught you up in it, you have a treat waiting for you. It’s fun to write when this happens. Warning: it can be all-consuming when this happens. In my house, it particularly eats into housekeeping and cleaning time. Hope your family likes frozen pizza for supper.

At this point, ideally you’re just worried about telling your story. Some writers inelegantly refer to this as “barfing the book.”

Folks who write this way get the whole story told as succinctly as possible. Some sketch it out on paper, not even starting to write until they know beginning, middle and end.

Once you have your story, and know how you’re going to tell it, only then are you ready for Part Two. At this point, it’s time to worry about whether you’ll outline versus doing seat-of-the pants writing, plot storyboards, the Snowflake method, stylistic no-nos, taboo words, passive versus active writing.

What is seat-of-the-pants writing? It starts like this: some writers start writing when they get a scenario in their minds. “What if?” they ask, and begin to pound the keyboard. This isn’t bad, it’s good, because you get started, which is always a good thing. And no, I won’t entertain argument about whether a writer “should” outline or go seat-of-the-pants. All of this is work-style, not story. Remember the sitcom? Trying to write from a scenario is like knowing Lorelai and Rory Gilmore live in a small town that doesn’t understand them. That’s set-up, not story. What happens to them is story.

Okay, let’s say you’ve done your storytelling job, either through outlining and writing carefully to the outline, or going seat-of-the-pants and discovering what happens along the way. You’ve written THE END, which many would-be authors never do. You’re finished—right? Congratulations!

No. Now it’s time for Part Three. You edit, revise, buff and polish until it shines. Your voice is now down on paper, telling YOUR story as only YOU can.

Now, and only now, comes Part Four. Now you get to fret about where the story will fit. This is your time to do research on your chosen market.

Let’s say you’ve written a romance. You look in the Writers’ Market books to find out what houses might be a good fit for your word length. If you think a house is publishing the type of book you’ve written, you’ll want to buy a few titles to see what this house thinks is good, sellable fiction.

Courtesy istockphoto

You’ll look to see if that house accepts un-agented submissions. If they do, you move on to writing query letters. At this point, once your story is done, you can worry about writing a synopsis if you haven’t already. If you’ve worked diligently from an outline, writing the synopsis is easy.

But there’s no getting away from story. Without a tellable story, you might as well put 1” margins on your grocery list and send that in. Newcomers worry about the peripherals (synopsis, query letter, length, marketability) when instead they ought to concern themselves with telling the story.

 If you have any questions for Deb, or would just like to say hello, drop her a line or two. She'd love to hear from you.

Guest Bio:

Deborah Kinnard started writing at age ten, frustrated because there was no preteen girl with a horse on “Bonanza.”  From there she progressed to short stories and dreadful poetry.

In college, she gained two degrees in health care and spent time observing hippies, basketball stars, el-ed majors and other strange species.
While raising two active girls and cherishing a husband, she’s enjoyed a career that has encompassed Spanish translation, volunteer work at a crisis line, years in assorted ERs that don’t resemble the one on TV, and a day job at a big Chicago teaching hospital.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, serving as Midwest Zone Director, and confesses to being a loud singer at church. In 2002 and 2003, she sold her first and second novels, POWERLINE and OAKWOOD to Treble Heart Books. ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, ANGEL WITH A BACK HOE and DAMAGES are available from Desert Breeze. SEASONS IN THE MIST was released by Sheaf House in April ’10 and ALOHA, MY LOVE, a novella, in December ’10 from Desert Breeze.

When Deb’s not at the computer writing, she keeps busy with the SCA, reading, beadwork, and needlework. She loves to travel and meet new people, some of whom turn up later in her stories.  So if you meet a short woman with a light in her eye…

Thursday, July 14, 2011

To Tweet or Not to Tweet by Jeanne Veillette Bowerman

Do you believe in happenstance? Or do things occur for a reason? Fate? Karma? I believe it's all God's awesome planning. My guest today is Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, the Co-Founder and moderator of the weekly Twitter screenwriters’ chat, Scriptchat, and a regular columnist for Script Magazine and Write On Online. Fresh back from speaking on a social network panel for Scriptscene at the Romance Writers of America Conference in NYC, Jeanne joins us this week to speak about tweeting. I met Jeanne at the cafe where I work and when I noticed her working devotedly over her laptop day after day I took the initiative and asked her if she too was a writer. Happily she is! And, since there is no sense in having a guest speak on the virtues of Twitter for the writer I now publicly confess that I've finally joined Twitter and with baby-steps or should I say practice flights, am beginning to flap my wings.

Jeanne would love to hear from you about all things media/writing connected or if you'd just like to say hello. What I'd appreciate anyone doing is becoming a Follower to this blog. Heartfelt thanks ahead of time!!

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Upon hearing the word “Twitter,” I recoiled. What is a tweet? Who has time to tweet? Why would a serious writer ever participate in such nonsense? I had to find out.

In 2009, I started my Twitter account, and my life as a writer has forever changed. My name is Jeanne, and I’m a tweetaholic. 

We writers are often quarantined, hunkering down in cluttered home offices, strumming away on our keyboards, not seeing another human, or shower, for days. Twitter brings a support system right to your computer screen. Luckily, they can’t see your dirty hair.

Courtesy of stock.xchng

There I was with a grungy mane and a shiny new Twitter account. I timidly poked around. One of my first finds was a writing chat, called WriteChat.  Here, I met a gaggle of writers who held my newbie hand. Their support was astounding. No longer was I alone at my isolated desk in the country.

A tweet is similar to a text message. People connect by the voice expressed in 140 characters. Certainly, some judge by the profile picture, but most writers associate with the voice. The character limitation has challenges, but it’s a lesson for writers in editing. Be effective in fewer words. I can hear editors applauding.

Chats are only part of the value. People tweet links to informative articles and blogs. Editors, publishers, and agents post their tips throughout the day. Rachelle Gardner was the first literary agent I met on Twitter and has a blog offering endless advice for writers. True, some agents aren’t as gracious, but even that has value. Seeing an agent’s personality, allows us to find a better fit for our own. It’s easier to query an agent you’ve seen as a person, not just a gatekeeper. This kind of access is priceless, yet on Twitter, it’s free.

Not sold yet?

On Twitter, I’ve met writers who have gotten contracts with agents, invitations to participate in anthologies, and found editors-for-hire. We read each other’s work and provide feedback with encouragement. Let’s be honest: often our own families can’t supply that. 

Generosity is abundant. I’ve witnessed writers recommend others to their agents for representation. Even smaller gestures make a difference though.  One of my followers encouraged me to stop procrastinating and start a blog. With his advice, and one short day, my blog went live. He tweeted my link as a high-five of support. When one of us succeeds, we all have hope.

Tweets aren’t solely professional. Followers become friends. One day, I posted my sorrow regarding a friend who died. The outpouring of love and support took my breath away. Later, when I blogged about my friend’s death, Best Selling thriller author, J.T. Ellison, stumbled upon it. As a thank you, she mailed the first three novels in her series. We became fast friends. 

Another highlight has been the creation of ScriptChat, a chat for screenwriters. Jamie Livingston, Zac Sanford, Kim Garland, Mina Zaher and I are the founders. The chat’s success has been astounding. One of our regular participants is adapting his screenplay into a novel and sharing his journey. As a result, many novelists are now trying their hand at screenwriting.

However, not all people succeed on Twitter. Some use it as a procrastination tool. Others get too social and forget they came to network. Yet, with a few simple guidelines, you can develop a community of talented, helpful writers to nurture you and your craft.

Do’s and Don’ts:

1. Show your personality, not just your projects.  People want to work with someone they like.
2. Tweet helpful advice, articles and websites.
3. Interact with people, including the professionals.  Pretend you’re at a cocktail party with conversations going on around you.  Join in. 
4. Pimp your fellow writer, meaning tell your followers about them.  Read their blog. Comment.  Tweet it out. 
5. Have a website or blog linked to your profile to show your voice beyond 140 characters.
6. Be creative in your bio.  Don’t simply put “writer.”  Show your layers.
7. Join Twitter writer chats.  Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s site has a complete list: 
8. Attend agent chats and follow topics where agents, editors, and publishers offer advice.
9. If you have a question or a new blog post, tweet it at different times of day to catch more people online.
10. View Twitter as a part-time job. Dedicate one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening to start your following.  You get out what you put in.

Courtesy of Stock.xchng.
In case you still aren’t convinced of Twitter’s value, Writer’s Digest publisher, Jane Friedman, met me on Twitter, invited me to a Writer’s Digest party, and asked me to write an article on Twitter's value. If that doesn’t prove Twitter’s worth, I don’t know what will.

The writer’s quarantine of solitude is lifted. Twitter is your water cooler. 

Guest Author Bio:

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman is the Co-Founder and moderator of the weekly Twitter screenwriters’ chat, Scriptchat, and a regular columnist for Script Magazine and Write On Online. A graduate of Cornell University, she’s written several spec scripts, including the adaption of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, with its author, Douglas A. Blackmon, senior national correspondent of The Wall Street Journal. More information can be found on her blog, Ramblings of a Recovering Insecureaholic.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Relocating--And God Came Along

My guest today is soon-to-be debut author Linda Rondeau. She's just contracted her first novel with Harbourlights. A former New Yorker, I know Linda from our membership of the Northeast chapter of ACFW. In addition to NY running wild in our blood, Linda and I have several things in common, such as our joys of writing, blogging, the theater, and traveling solo. Please join Linda this week--she'd enjoy hearing from others who may have also relocated, either by choice or by necessity.

Five Things I Learned about Transitioning 

Due to pressing health concerns, on February 8 at 9:00am I packed up what I could in my car, left Northern New York and relocated to Northern Florida, ahead of my hubby who cannot retire until June 2012, leaving one life behind and transitioning to a new one.  I suppose what I’ve endured over the last several months is nothing compared to the hardships the Israelites faced in the desert. Yet, God in His wonderful wisdom has determined I needed to revisit some of those hard lessons. 

Prayer Should Stem From Faith Not Doubt

God miraculously provided a job for me. But when the hours were lean, I panicked. “Lord, if you want me to work here, I have to have more hours.” God sent me hours like quail for the Israelites…to the point my feet and back are saying, “No more, please.” God reminded me that I had prayed from disbelief not faith. I am learning to trust him more and complain less. 

He Sends Help In The Crisis

Leading a million people across a desert certainly brought its share of challenges. God provided wisdom through Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. Having never seen roaches before, I cried when I saw those gigantic bugs in my apartment. I cried to the Lord. He didn’t kill them, but he sent me a neighbor with Boric Acid. I haven’t seen a one since.  I learned that God doesn’t always solve the problem for us but will lead us to the source of wisdom. 

Through The Fire

Florida recently suffered a swathe of wildfires in and around Jacksonville. The sky was thick with smoke and the air hot and dusty. Folks prayed for rain. They came, pounding and fearsome, but they cleansed.  I learned He will send the rain and cleanse my insecurities as long as I rest in Him.  

Transitioning Is Hard

I understand why the Israelites wanted to turn back to Egypt. Life, though hard, was predictable. The desert brings new challenges every day, and my promised land, when hubby and I will be reunited, seems so far away. I have learned God knows my tomorrows and is already preparing me for them.

The Cloud And Fire

The most important lesson I have learned is to trust God’s guidance. He promised the Israelites a constant presence, though they complained and turned away from Him. He breathes His spirit into my mornings and sings His lullaby of love to me at night. I have learned how precious to be the child of my Abba Father. 

Bio for Linda Rondeau:

Linda is the founder and manager of an on-line writers support group, Pentalk Community. When not writing, Linda enjoys golfing, hiking, and Community Theater.  Linda’s works have appeared on-line and in short printed media as well as a recurring column she contributes to her hometown newspaper. She manages two blogs,  This Daily Grind and Back in the Daze.  Linda has recently contracted her first novel with Harbourlights, an imprint of Pelican Book Groups, release date to be announced.  More writing samples may be seen on her website, You may follow Linda on facebook and/or Twitter.


I'm a guest on Linda Rondeau's blog This Daily Grind at
I'd enjoy anyone's visit! And Linda will be my guest this week. She'd love to hear from you.


Friday, July 1, 2011


My guest today is award-winning author Christina Berry--who, recently married, is now Christina Tarabochia. Congratulations, Christina!! I met Christina at an ACFW conference and when I learned that she was branching out into editing I enlisted her services in preparing for the 2011 Genesis Contest. With Christina's sharp eyes and professional advice, and with God's blessings, I made it into the Semi Finals of this year's Genesis in the  Contemporary Fiction category. It is my pleasure to have Christina as my guest this week.

Christina is graciously giving away one copy of her novel, THE FAMILIAR STRANGER, to a randomly chosen commenter. Please post your e-mail address within the comment!

Christina, publicly, you’ve gone from an unknown wannabe writer to 2nd place winner in the 2008 ACFW Genesis to 2010 Christy Award Finalist to 2010 Carol Winner for Long Contemporary fiction—with your novel THE FAMILIAR STRANGER published in 2009. For some of us that’s a very short trip down the path of publication. Looking back, aside from your excellent writing, do you think there was anything else that helped you along, whether self-determination, a mentor, or God’s timing?
Many people weren't privy to the Grow-Ouch-Grow-Ouch-Grow years from when I started writing in 1999 until I placed in the Genesis. (I flunked the same contest a few years before when it was known as Noble Theme!) I received 47 rejections during those crafting years, including my favorite, which came in one week after I signed a contract with Moody Publishers. ;p If you are a writer that's there--in that place of limbo--don't despair. Just keep writing! I've heard the average overnight success takes ten years.
I had wonderful mentors, wrote for many years with my mother/co-author, schooled under Donna Fleisher's tough edits, attended and staffed Oregon Christian Writers conferences, built a large newsletter following, blogged, prayed, read craft books, never gave up, used my cheerleading background to portray enthusiasm for projects I was sick of pitching, helped and cheered on fellow authors as they published before me, managed my website, used my wit to network … but I think you hit on the One True Answer there at the end of your question. It was simply God's timing. In fact, as a nice segue into the next question, it was my counselor who told me that God had kept my book for such a time as that, to give me hope, focus, and purpose as I went through the worst months of my life.
You’ve been through a few rough patches of life while you pursued publication? How did you balance writing, working, and maintaining sanity?
Many people would question the sanity part. (As evidenced by my sudden urge to begin each answer in this interview with the phrase "many people.") I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom for most of my writing career. However, my husband of thirteen years left our family the week before the dedication page was due to the publisher. From there on out, I scrambled to write, market, and meet publishing deadlines while taking care of 3-5 children (I was also a foster mother) while substitute teaching, and getting serious about my editing career. In some ways, being a single parent was freeing, as I could work until 4 AM if I needed to without disturbing a spouse. In other ways, it was a tremendous handicap because nothing got done if I didn't do it, or delegate it to my kids, or say Yes to my extremely helpful parents' offers.
Here's a practical Helpful Hint: Make a list of the jobs you have to do. Include physical chores, professional duties, and writing goals. Then jump back and forth from one area to the other. This ADD approach might not work for everyone, but it did for me. I felt like consistent progress was being made everywhere, which was better than big progress in one area while another was neglected. Also, I stopped watching most of my favorite TV shows, quit any hobbies, and generally had no life. This helps one get a lot done.
But then I started dating ...
Mr. and Mrs. Tarabochia
And you’re newly married. Congratulations!! Any tips for focusing on writing despite caring for children, demanding bosses, or spouses wanting more of your time?
Many people … ah, forget it. lol
Thank you! We met on eHarmony and they matched us perfectly. :) I've had to reprioritize my life. My husband comes first and needs to know it. Our combined five children come next. Then I do the mix of making progress on unpacking, set up the household, editing, and writing-related jobs. Slow, but steady, progress. My heart is truly a Tarabochia, so I'm also going through the process to change all my professional sites to Christina Tarabochia (ter-ah-BOK-ee-u) from Christina Berry. Yes, it's incredibly hard to spell or say, but the truth of the matter is it's my wonderful husband's presence in my life that will allow me to continue my writing career and he deserves the credit on the book jacket!
My tip, after having gone through the dramatic and unexpected loss of a marriage, is to treasure your loved ones. If they are truly and deeply loved, it's more likely they will band together and pull more weight to give you writing time. Don't despise the small moments. Maybe it's five minutes in the carpool line, ten minutes as the noodles boil for dinner, or fifteen while the spouse checks his email--grab those minutes and write a paragraph, edit a page, or brainstorm. Little bits add up to large amounts.

A wedding is meant for the whole family

In addition to your writing you’re now offering editing services. Can you tell us about these services? And what has led you to expand from writer to editor?
God's given me a heart to help people achieve their writing dreams, and editing falls into that calling naturally. For the last eight years, I've been blessed to be part of a critique group—The Redeemed Writers—that goes above and beyond the usual critiques. Basically, we edit each line while still looking at full story arcs and character development. That was my training ground. A man tried our group out and we declined to offer him a spot as we weren't a good fit, but he so enjoyed my comments on his novel that he hired me to edit the whole thing. That was the beginning of it all.
Now I have great clients--with room for more--who are brave enough to let me go through their novels and are wonderful enough to pay me for doing something I love!
When I began looking into getting a free-lance editor to take me to the next level, I simply could not afford the prices well-established authors were charging. I determined to give a luscious, cheesecake edit at an apple pie price. I do as much or as little of a project as my clients want and charge $2 a finished page. This past spring, ALL of my current clients either semi-finaled in the Genesis or were going to committee with respected houses. Whoohoo!
Christina here are some of what I hope will be fun but interesting questions:

Dear Ms. Editor,
When you say 85,000 words do you really mean that? Or is it okay to send 86,905?
Challenged by word count in Illinois
Dear Challenged,
I've not met a word count Nazi yet, so you're good to go. If you are within 5% of the stated word count, you'll probably be fine. However, stating 86,905 might brand you as a newbie who's so in love with each precious word that each one MUST be counted. Instead, just say 87,000. Don't worry; it's called rounding up, not lying.
Dear Ms. Editor,
I keep falling in love with my hero & while I know I can improve upon his character, every time I reread my work, for the life of me, Hero does no wrong. Any suggestions?
Vexed Velma, PA
Dear Vexed,
Create a profile for him on eHarmony and see if other women fall in love with him too. There's always the chance that you've written the perfect man. In fact, that might just be the problem. Give your hero a flaw. Scars tell stories. He will improve as you make him more fallible.
Dear Ms. Editor:
Do you have any suggestions on weaving snippets of back-story into the front of the book?
Eager to tell all in British Columbia
Dear Eager,
I love back story. Obviously you do too. The only problem is … readers don't. But that back story provides you with rich characters and complicated plots, right? Right. So type those first fifty pages with all of that in your head and none of it leaking onto the page. Trying to figure out the subtext of speech and actions is one of the most intriguing part of reading any book. Until you err on the side of too little information, as in Mr. Bigtime Editor reads your manuscript and says, "I love the writing, pacing, characters, and dialogue, but I'm lost as to the story," keep cutting the back story out.
For an interesting lesson in how quickly a character can be formed with extremely little back story, watch Improve Everywhere's Ted's Birthday Surprise Disclaimer: it does take place in a bar.
Dear Ms. Editor:
I’d love to get a jump on the next hot thing. Is that possible? Do publishers consider anything as fresh writing these days?
Dreaming of being the next big name, Kansas Katrina
Dear Dreaming,
Maybe you could write retro fiction. Old is new. Do a King James English chick lit Amish series.
Or just keep writing, learning, refining, and wait for what you naturally write to BECOME the next hot thing.
Dear Ms. Editor,
With the explosion of e-books, what do you see as next? Can an author just stick to printed sells and be oblivious to all the extra media formats hatching daily?
Wishing for yesteryear in Wyoming
Dear Wishing,
If you are an author who has done well to middlin' in print sales, I think you will tend to stay with traditional houses. If you have done extremely well, you will also be able to do extremely well epublishing because your name is what sells the book now, not the publisher. If you have never published in print, but start in ebooks, you will probably have the same experience either way. Meaning that your book might take off and sell thousands, it might sell hundreds to close friends and family, or it might only sell what you buy yourself to make sure the Purchase button is working.
Personally, I'm looking forward to taking old projects, and releasing them as ebooks. Take, for instance, the novel my mom and I wrote and rewrote for SEVEN years: On the Threshold. It made the publishing rounds a few times. It was almost bought before round after round of budget cuts hit that publisher. We put the time and talent into it, and soon readers will have a chance to decide if it's any good. Yet I'll continue to pursue traditional publishing with my new projects.
Dear Ms. Editor:
When using third person POV and trying to ground your reader with your POV character, how do you avoid seeming redundant? Any creative ways to remain inside your POV character's head without constantly using the generalities of she saw, she noticed, etc.? Any rules or reminders that will help the writer make the association outside the box?
Perplexed about POV
Dear Perplexed,
I can't take credit for this, but I think it's a great way to make third person more intimate: write the scene in first person initially, then convert back to third.
As for the distancing phrases--"I wondered" and "I heard" and "I hoped" and "I saw"--quite often, those phrases can simply be chopped off the front of the sentences.
If it's wondering, rephrase an internal dialogue question.
"She wondered if he saw her grand entrance." => "Had he seen her grand entrance?"
Using informal writing and sentence fragments can also ground the reader in the character’s mind.

And Christina, our hard-working editor, here is the one question that every new writer--or perhaps even multi-published authors--are curious about:

Dear Ms. Editor,
If I were to enlist your help in fine-tuning my work to pitch to an agent or editor, how could you guarantee that I might stop hearing those grating words “Your story is well written but somehow I just didn’t fall in love with your characters.”?
Feel-like-I’m-running-out-of-time, Detroit boy
Dear Detroit,
I offer no guarantees. My award-winning novel was turned down by one editor because she didn't like that it started in the male POV. Publishers have strong and varying opinions of the projects that come before them. I can't manipulate any of their opinions to keep you from hearing the dreaded it's-not-me-it's-your-story editor break up speech. But I can help you delve into deeper POV, faster pacing, and powerful prose.
As for the timing issue, see the top of interview, and ask God to help you wait on His timing. :)
Christina Tarabochia (formerly Christina Berry)
Carol Winner & Christy Finalist 2010 ~ The Familiar Stranger(Moody Publishers) Order now!
Author's Bio:
Free-lance editor and author Christina (Berry) Tarabochia writes about the heart and soul of life with a twist of intrigue. She holds a bachelor's degree in literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem as well. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW). This newlywed attempts to stay sane--somewhat--even with the mixing of two families and five kids. 

Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, released from Moody in September '09 and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagantly!

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