Praying with Jane (Austen)

How could I resist? I was offered an opportunity to be part of the launch team for Rachel Dodge‘s new devotional Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Sign me up! I’ve read and reread all of Austen’s novels and while I was vaguely aware that her father was a clergyman it never occurred to me to […]

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Contests–It’s all relative . . .

. . . or do I mean subjective? I got scores back from RWA last week. (That’s Romance Writers of America.) I entered The Sound of Rain in the “Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements” category. Spoiler alert–my story didn’t win. I tend to brace myself when I get scores. Having not even made the finals, I knew they weren’t […]

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Are Writing Contests Worth It?

Carol, Rita, Christy, Inspy, Selah, Genesis, First Impressions, Badge of Honor . . . and those are just the ones I’m most familiar with. Some contests are for pre-published authors, some for published, some for traditionally published, some for independent, and some mix it up. And only ONE story wins in each category. Which can leave those who DON’T win feeling . . . less than. I coordinate a contest for pre-published authors at the Asheville Christian Writers Conference and here’s what I know about contests . . . are you ready for this? They are TOTALLY subjective. Scores can vary widely, which is why at least three judges per entry is ideal. I entered a contest before being published. One judge gave the entry a near-perfect score while another, well, clearly thought it could have been better. MUCH better. The Carol Award finalists were announced on Saturday and what struck me wasn’t the books that were on the list, but the books that weren’t. I’ve read several really wonderful stories this past year that either weren’t entered or didn’t make the final cut. So why bother with contests? For pre-published authors I think it’s incredibly valuable when you get feedback and/or opportunities. Judges’ scores can point you toward weaknesses and strengths in your writing. Being a finalist or winning can sometimes get you in front of editors and/or agents. So if you’re starting out, jump into the fray! I […]

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What Character Did You Want to Be?

I literally wore out a set of Little House on the Prairie books. I read the covers right off of them and kept going until they were in pieces. I LOVED those books. And I wanted to be Laura. I wanted to wear a sleeping cap when I went to bed in a loft. I wanted a sunbonnet (even though Laura refused to wear hers). I wanted to ride to town in a wagon and write on a slate. Shoot, I already had the freckles! Of course, I also wanted to be Heidi. I still have the copy of that book my mother read to me over and over and over again. I wanted to eat toasted cheese and go to the pasture with the goats to pick flowers. I wanted to sleep on a bed of sweet hay (I asked Dad if I could–we DID have a barn full of hay. He said no). I also kind of wanted the nice clothes Heidi got when she was packed off to the miserable city, but I felt like a bit of a turncoat for that. I didn’t just read those stories when I was a child, I lived them. I opened the books and disappeared inside, traveling to the prairie or the alps as surely as if I’d had a plane ticket. Actually, those places were more than real because they lived in my heart. As an adult, I don’t read books […]

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