"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween!

This is my crew - ages 6 and 4.
Below is a picture of our oldest child ;-)
We've been celebrating with church and fall festivals, dance class parties, pumpkin decorating contests, costume contests, and school parties (I'm so candied out!). 
Thanks to a forecast of 100% rain for Halloween night, the girls will probably be enjoying a popcorn and movie fest in place of the usual visit to friends and family.

Now that the temperatures are finally dropping I just want to stay home cuddled up with a good book. (For a list of ten of my hauntingly good picks, see here.)

Interested in FREE scary books for a Halloween read? Try these!

Need a last minute Halloween costume idea? Try these 10-minute literary costume ideas.

How are you celebrating this season?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Interview With an Agent

When you are trying to find an agent, you have every right to question or interview them. After all, you hope to have a long relationship with this individual. It’s best to be certain the two of you are compatible. When interviewing with an agent be sure to:

1)      Answer their questions, but listen carefully.

2)      Don’t dominate the conversation, or become pushy. Just be direct and concise.

3)      Ask if they are a member of AAR – Association of Authors’ Representatives. If they say no, ask why. It’s not necessary for them to be, but you may want to learn more about their background and experience: like this.

4)      Ask about their procedures for selling your work, books they’ve sold in the past, which authors they have represented in the past, and who are they currently representing, etc.

5)      Ask to speak with some of their clients. Another author can give you the most unbiased answers about working with a particular agent.

6)      What is their plan for selling your book, and how long do they believe it will take?

7)      What do they expect you to do to help with sales, and what services do they offer?

8)      How much input and communication will you have about your account, and how often will you receive updates?

9)      Do they have a protocol for how you will work together - assistants who will help with your account, how often do they like to meet or speak with their authors, and when is the best time to contact them?

10)  What are your options if you don’t receive the results promised after X amount of time?

Agents should not ask you for fees up front because they get a percentage of your deal. In other words, they only get paid if you do. You also don’t want someone who is promising you a certain amount of money, movie rights, or any other perks. They cannot foresee what a publisher will offer you.

You want an agent who will be completely honest with you.
Have you interviewed with an agent? What tips do you have for someone about to sit in their first?

Friday, October 25, 2013

$40 Conference for Writers

On Saturday, November 9, 2013, Bayou Writers' Group will hold their annual conference Bridge To Publication. It's a small, affordable conference that offers quality speakers, and pitching opportunities.

DiAnn Mills - Keynote Speaker: award-winning writer of Christian fiction and writing coach to authors in any genre. First published in 1998, she currently has more than fifty books in print, which combined have sold more than a million and a half copies.  http://www.diannmills.com/
 Jessica Kirland - Agent with Blythe Daniel Agency: She is acquiring and representing adult fiction, young adult fiction, and some non-fiction. She will be taking pitches. http://www.theblythedanielagency.com/jessica-kirckland-joins-as-marketing-literary-agent/
Jill Marr - Agent with Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency: Jill is interested in commercial fiction, with an emphasis on mysteries, thrillers and horror, women's commercial fiction and historical fiction. She is also looking for nonfiction by authors who are getting their work published regularly in magazines and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Jill is looking for nonfiction projects in the areas of self-help, inspirational, cookbooks, memoir (she especially loves travel and foodie memoirs), health & nutrition, pop culture, humor and music. She will be taking pitches. http://www.dijkstraagency.com/meet-the-agents.html

Stella Riley - Aquisitions Editor for Soul Mate Publishing - She will be taking pitches. http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/2013/07/more-conference-news.html

Glen Pitre and Michelle Benoit - Screenwriters. For more information: http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/2013/07/2013-conference-update.html

If you want to see who else will be speaking, or if you want to drive to Lake Charles, LA for this one-day event we'd love to have you. Go to our website where you can learn more and register:  http://bayouwritersgroup.com/

_________ $35 for BWG Members (Must be received by Nov. 1)
_________ $40 for Non-Members (Must be received by Nov. 1)
_________$50 At the Door on Nov. 9
_________$25 Students— with ID

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Ask the Agent...

Hey awesome followers! 

As many of you know, I conduct interviews for several newspapers and magazines. I'm working on a "Literary Agents Answer Your Questions" series, and I'd love to ask the questions and get the answers you want the most.

So, here's your chance to ask everything you've wanted to know. You can request to hear from specific agents or agencies, to cover specific genres, and any other questions or criteria you want to learn more about. Share them here!

Which agents would you like to hear from, and what do you want to ask them?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

And the Winners are...

Congratulations to my blogoversary winners!

1) Johnathan Harp

2) Crystal B

3) Nicole

Another special thank you to all of my followers!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Three year Blogoversary and Giveaway!

Saturday, October 19, will mark three years since my first blog post. Thank you so much to my followers. I've learned so much from you all. The ability to laugh, cry, and experience our writing journeys together has meant so much to me. I always look forward to reading and sharing with you.

As a thank-you, I'm giving away three prizes. You have a choice:

1) A FREE copy of an interview I have conducted with an author, agent, or editor - not published on this site. These have appeared in national newspapers and magazines.
2) A FREE guest post from me on your own site.
3) A FREE 500 word critique. This can be any 500 words you want. You can submit a scene, short story, blog post, or resume'.

To enter, simply leave a comment below letting me know which prize you want to win. I'll announce the three winners on Saturday, the 19th.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dark Road Home

I just finished reading Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig:

Ana Kavanagh's only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen.

At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger--his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors--all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? As dark secrets from Ana's past begin to come to light, Eoghan must choose which road to follow--and where to finally place his trust.

This book is a wonderful sequel to No Safe Harbor and now I'm anxiously awaiting book three of her "Edge of Freedom" series!

Elizabeth Ludwig is also an interesting speaker and talented editor. To learn more about Ludwig and her books, please visit: http://www.elizabethludwig.net/ 

What are you reading?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Purple Moon" Blog Tour and Great Giveaways

by Tessa Emily Hall

Selena's life isn't turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid. That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena ... but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn't how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her "bad habits" for this.

Things don't seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that's been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin's nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom's example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her?

Behind the Scenes: Christian Human Videos

I’ve incorporated a certain human video into “Purple Moon”, which is one that actually went viral on YouTube several years ago. This skit is performed to the song “Everything” by Lifehouse—and, in a way, it actually inspired the story for “Purple Moon”.
I’ve always loved Christian human videos/skits, even before I found out that my parents used to direct them when they were youth leaders. I think human videos are a powerful form of ministry—sort of like the way that Jesus used to illustrate certain truths by telling parables.

For those of you who are not familiar with human videos, here are some of my favorites:

·         “Everything” by Lifehouse. There are several versions of this skit—however,this one is probably my favorite.

·         There’s one other song and skit that inspired “Purple Moon”, and that is “By Your Side” by Tenth Avenue North. This skit isn’t as popular as the other one, but I think it’s just as effective.

·         I also love this one, “Breathe Into Me”, which is done by the Basement Drama group.

·         Another group that performs human videos is Unashamed, and my absolute favorite of theirs is the one to the song “Worth It All” by Rita Springer. Some of my other favorites of theirs include:How To Save A Life&Bleeding Love

Have you ever performed in a human video/Christian drama? Of the ones that I listed, which one is your favorite?

 For a complete blog tour list and more chances to win prizes, such as an autographed print/ebook version of my book, $20 gift card, Starbucks instant mocha (because who doesn't love coffee?!), coffee mug, bookmarks, sleep mask, sketchbook, "The Anxious Christian" by Rhett Smith, "Courageous Teens" by Michael Catt & Amy Parker, OR "God,Girls, and Guys" by Robin Marsh & Lauren Nelson, AND a "Purple Moon" Prize Pack, visit here .

Purple Moon now available.
Follow Tessa:

"That's what gives me hope, knowing that the moon that glowed in the sky on that magical night is the same one above us now."
 –PURPLE MOON, Tessa Emily Hall


Monday, October 7, 2013

Escalation Cover Reveal

Today is the official Cover Release day for Stephen Tremp’s Escalation!

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones” - Albert Einstein

In Escalation, the final installment to Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Trilogy, a seemingly innocent discovery in Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes, becomes a Pandora’s Box—opening doors to other unexpected and unpredictable realities such as parallel universes, time/space travel, and an evil hitchhiker from another dimension.

Chase Manhattan has survived attempts on his life from numerous sources in his effort to destroy the technology. But he is far from safe. Now Chase and his comrades must not only break world renowned physicist Professor Nicholas Fischer out of prison a second time, but also smuggle him across hostile borders in Europe and the Middle East to prevent events threatening to spiral into World War III.

At stake: an end to Western civilization as we know it. The result: an epic clash where science and the supernatural take center stage, vying for mankind’s destiny. The setting is global as the world divides into an East vs. West climactic battle. The action is swift, adrenaline-charged, and non-stop. Unending twists and turns will keep the reader turning pages and wanting more.

Together, Breakthrough, Opening, and Escalation follow the lives of the unlikely participants from innocence to a coming of age through sacrifice, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, and hope. Escalation will appeal to fans of modern-day science fiction, action, and horror.

Keep watching for details on ordering. You can learn more about his books at: http://authorstephentremp.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 4, 2013

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors

My interview of Vietnam War author Tim O’Brien will appear in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 2 which releases on November 15th.

This anthology presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families. It is the second in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council's Veterans Projects and the Warriors Arts Alliance.  
"The stories and poems of service and sacrifice are essential in understanding what has so broadly been termed 'the American experience.' For me, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors is required reading and worthy of a thousand tears."     ―St. Leger Monty Joynes, veteran, Vietnam

Books can now be preordered from the Southeast Missouri State University Press for $15 and will soon be available on Amazon as well. Volume one can still be purchased from both.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 2013 Writers Conferences

Looking for some great ways to hone your writing skills? These October events will help you take your writing to the next level:

Women Writing the West Conference
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Dates: October 11-13
Cost: $320 for non-members, $260 for members
Description: Women Writing the West draws writers of all genres whose works are set in the Trans-Mississippi west. This year’s conference offers group and breakout sessions to inspire and inform your writing, publishing and marketing, opportunities to meet our guests, agents and editors, and celebrate the gathering of fellow writers. The conference kicks off with Friday morning’s tour of the Steamboat Arabia Museum; sessions begin Friday afternoon. Sessions include:
  • Fiction: How Fiction Works, Brian Shawver, author of The Language of Fiction
  • Nonfiction: Moderated panel with archivists from the National Archives and the National Frontier Trails Museum, among others
  • Short Story: Putting a Lot into a Little, Catherine Browder, author and university instructor
  • Memoir: More than Memories: Writing a Readable, Publishable Memoir, Jo McDougall, poet and memoirist
  • Children’s Lit: The ABCs of Writing for Children & Young Adults, panel moderated by member and former WWW President Sheila Wood Foard
  • Professional sessions: “State of the Industry” panel with attending publishers; “Pick Me, Pick Me” panel with attending agents and publishers; Self-publishing, with Doris Baker of Filter Press; Social Media Marketing with WWW Marketing VP Susan Tweit

Auburn Writers Conference
Location: Auburn University, Alabama
Dates: October 18-19
Cost: $250 for full weekend or $150 per day
Description: You come to a crossroads. You make a choice. Left, right, forward, back. That’s how it usually goes. But what if you don’t choose? What if, instead, you embrace all directions? What if you stay in the crossroads, in the intersection, in the place where all possibilities present themselves?
Join us this fall for the 4th Annual Auburn Writers Conference’s Artful Crossroads: Where the Arts Intersect, on October 18 & 19th in Auburn, Alabama.  We will come together and talk not only about craft and publishing, but about the ways in which our words reflect other forms of art. For some, it will be in the creation of characters who happen to be artists, for others, it might be the fusing of literature with another kind of artistic expression such as music, or visual art, or performance.

James River Writers Conference
Location: Richmond Virginia
Dates: October 19-20
Cost: $240 for full conference; or $170 per day
Description:  Join us in Richmond for the 2013 James River Writers Conference to pitch your project, improve your craft, and meet fellow writers. Speakers include award-winning book designer and author Chip Kidd, National Book Award-winner Kathryn Erskine, best-selling and award-winning author Christopher McDougall, award-winning authors Cece Bell, Lydia Netzer, Megan Mayhew Bergman, and Philippa Ballantine, Book Doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, founders of Pitchapalooza, and agents April Eberhardt, Deborah Grosvenor, Victoria Skurnick, and Paige Wheeler.
Since 2003, the James River Writers Conference has been our organization’s signature event, and our most meaningful contribution to the literary community in central Virginia. Well-respected within the publishing industry, we have attracted prize-winning authors and highly regarded editors and agents from around the country to share their wisdom about writing and publishing. More than 300 people attend this two-day event, known for its inspiring, collegial atmosphere.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival
Location: Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland
Date: October 26
Cost: $40 (includes one workshop)
Description: The 2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival will feature “The Lost Trip of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Or, How to Build a Novel from ‘Hole in History,’” a talk by R. Clifton Spargo, author of the recently published novel, Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, which the Washington Post praised as “the one version of the story that resists the temptation to glamorize Scott and Zelda out of their humanity.”  Other events at the Festival include screenings of the 1949 and 1974 films of The Great Gatsby, followed by a panel discussion, “Which is the Greater Gatsby?” comparing the 1949 and 1974 versions with the 2013 Baz Luhrmann film, moderated by Michael Dirda and featuring prominent area cinema experts Murray Horwitz, Bob Mondello, and Jane Horwitz. 
Also in the day’s offerings will be writing workshops taught by E. Ethelbert Miller (memoir), James Grady (mystery/thriller), Merrill Leffler (poetry), and Alan Cheuse (fiction); a writing workshop taught by Robert Olen Butler; the announcement of the winners of the annual F. Scott Fitzgerald  Short Story Contest; and a reading by Robert Olen Butler.

Whidbey Island Writers Conference
Location: Whidbey Island, Washington
Dates: October 25-27
Cost: $280 (early bird until 9/16); $300 (regular)
Description: Gather with your fellow writers for the 15th annual Whidbey Island Writers Conference where, surrounded by mountains, forests and water, experienced professional writers, agents and editors will share their knowledge, technique, practical experience and joy of writing. Cross the lovely waters of Puget Sound and immerse yourself in the written word, hone your craft and sharpen your marketing and publicity skills. When you leave you’ll be a stronger and a better writer. Check out the detailed conference schedule here. Highlights include workshops, agent pitches, manuscript critiques, a poetry slam and musical performances by Mary Lambert and Ian Moore.
For more options, just try a search for "October Writers Conferences". HAPPY WRITING!