Monday, October 13, 2014

What About Failure?

I want to share a blog by Steve Laube, which offers so much pertinent advice about the subject of failure in a writer's world. Hope you find it as helpful as I did.

The Most Important Word Every Writer Should Know


Posted: 13 Oct 2014 03:00 AM PDT
Author: Steve Laube
Failure.
It is a word every writer learns to appreciate with time. In the beginning it is frustrating and angry-making. Along the way it becomes “meh” to the point of quitting completely. Eventually there comes the realization that it is normal and part of the business.
Michael Jordan, basketball icon, said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
A Writer’s Guarantee
At some point in your writing journey you will face the question of whether or not it is worth all the work, disappointment, and minuscule dollars. I suspect every writer hits this place. It is embedded in the fabric of the creative gift.
That is because the marketplace is capricious. Your writing is good sometimes and great at other times. Your ideas connect with one set of readers and maybe not the second time around.
But if the big bad ugly traditional publishers don’t want the book you can always Indie publish and reap amazing success! Guaranteed!
You want guarantees? Better talk with your tax accountant or your mortician.
Even Michael Jordan missed a slam dunk every once in a while.
Avoiding Failure
The only guarantee to avoid failure it to stop writing and stop showing your work to anyone. I’ve known many writers who have ended up in this dark and lonely place. The most unusual was a writer who had never experienced rejection. Not once. The author’s first proposal was accepted, another book became a national bestseller, and for years everything (fiction or non-fiction) created was published…until one day it all stopped. Suddenly no one wanted the next book proposal. I talked to this writer at length trying to figure out what happened. This author solved the problem by never submitting a new proposal. No more failure. In my opinion, that is not the right answer.
I have failed more than I care to admit.
As a bookseller I spent thousands of dollars on a big local promotional event only to have only about 50 people show up…and none of them bought anything.
As an editor I acquired books that no one wanted to buy. I also passed on books that became wild bestsellers.
As an agent I signed projects that received 100% rejections from various publishers. I invested time and effort that was for naught.
But none of those failures will be my last one.
Overcoming Failure
A few thoughts on overcoming failure.
1) Define success. Then you have a goal or a threshold to achieve. But be realistic. I once received a proposal where the writer claimed the idea was bigger than Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings … combined. It may be that your “failure” really wasn’t a failure but was simply one more step on the journey.
2) Remember again why you are writing in the first place. Some fall into the idea of writing because it seemed a fun thing to do. Others have the pull from a young age. Others can do nothing else because the call to write is so very strong. Failure can blind or deafen you to remember what brought you to this place where failure confronts you.
3) Embrace your failure. And I mean truly grasp that smelly, prickly, burning, bitter, and nightmarish thing in your arms and pull it close. The sensation can be overwhelming. But it also can reveal itself to be the size of a small stuffed animal and not the scary beast from the forest of your mind. Once you have embraced the failure for what it is…
4) Go out and do it again. The rewards for sticking with it outweigh all the rest. And whether you publish Traditionally, Indie, or Hybrid the words you write will not be void.
As Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Thanks, Steve Laube of the Laube Literary Agency

Sunday, September 28, 2014

JENNIFER SLATTERY, AMAZING AUTHOR

          Author Jennifer Slattery has let go and let God! A quick biography and then her story!
          Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction, passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless.  A blurb about her debut novel Beyond I Do.

              Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?  Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But, as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

                          
Debut Novel


JUDE: Jennifer, welcome to Wordsmith Woman. So very happy to have you here today! Please tell us where you’re from, something about your family, your life. I know readers like to connect in this way with authors. I know you wear many hats. Can you mention some of those?

JENNIFER: I’m originally from a small, dairy town in northern Washington state and really miss the beautiful northwest with its mountains, covered in coniferous trees. But I’ve also grown to love the Midwest where I live now, especially this fall time of year, and where my debut novel is set,
     Oh, yes, hats! I tend to prefer baseball caps. Oh, you mean in regard to writing and ministry! I do have my hands in a fair number of things... I suppose that’s an indication of my impatience.  Besides writing for New Hope Publishers, I also write and edit for an international ministry called Christ to the World Ministries, write Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for my blog.





JUDE: I would not say impatience, but rather giftedness! Wonderful, Jennifer! Any more hats?

JENNIFER: I also manage the blog and Facebook account of an Omaha Metro ministry that serves the working poor and homeless and serve on my church’s local Impact Leadership Team, a ministry team passionate about helping church members share Christ’s love with our community.

JUDE: I know you’ve written a lot, but Beyond I Do is your debut novel and I want to congratulate you very much. What excitement and I remember that excitement well. Have you come down from the cloud yet? I’d like to say your title is most compelling and something very relatable or a thought to ponder. 

JENNIFER: Thanks! This journey has been a blessing, and yes, receiving that first contract was very exciting. And I’d say, my excitement has only increased as time goes on (and new contracts have been added). I’ve really enjoyed working with all the staff at New Hope Publishers and am learning so much! It’s great to have editors who “get me” and can help me grow as a writer. 

JUDE: Tell us more about New Hope. How did that all happen for you? Was it a long process? We’ve all had our share of rejections, but I always say rejections mean we’re doing something.

JENNIFER: Meeting and signing with my publisher, Dr. Andrea Mullins, was such a God thing. The year I met her, I had placed in numerous writing contests. For one of the contests, the winner would be announced at their annual conference, so my husband urged me to go. That was the conference where I first met Dr. Mullins. I sent her two completed novels the following June then waited. And waited. And waited. Almost three years, in fact, before I received “the call.”

JUDE:  That must have been hard, but yet stories like this happen and when the good news finally comes, it’s heartening. Let me ask you some character-centered questions about your book. Your characters are so real and so dimensional, but are they based on anyone you know? And who was your favorite character and why?

JENNIFER: I have a bit of me in every character I write, but I’m also very visual and often get a picture in my head of how a character looks and acts. Then, I begin the arduous process of trying to find an online image or photo to match the one in my head. I find it comical, actually, that I’ll spend days searching rather than tweaking the character in my brain to match an image. I’d save myself so much time if I’d flip how I do things!

JUDE: Well, maybe…maybe the brain is just stubborn!

JENNIFER: As to who was my favorite character, I related most to Ainsley, my heroine, though I had a great deal of respect for her neighbor Chris. After Chris’ father died, he left a successful law practice in southern California, moved to the Midwest, and purchased a coffee house so he could be closer to his mother, who has early onset Alzheimer’s. Their relationship—his care for her—really warmed my heart.  

JUDE: Agree we sprinkle ourselves into our books, but what made you write a book with this particular focus?

JENNIFER: This novel centers largely on the issue of homelessness, an issue that is very near to my heart for two reasons: First, I went through a period of homelessness as a teenager and can’t imagine where I’d be now, if not for the love and grace of Christ. Second, as an adult, I’ve spent a lot of time serving the homeless community and have seen firsthand how Christ can change a life. More than that, I’ve experienced the immeasurable joy that comes from allowing Him to use me to help bring about healing in another’s broken heart. That’s what life’s about!

JUDE: I appreciate what you have said, Jennifer, and your story is a wonderful example of how joy cometh in the morning, even when we mourn. Thank you for sharing with us.
Tell us what readers can do to help with your book marketing. Where can they find you?

JENNIFER: They can visit me online at my devotional blog (where they can also meet many other writers!)  http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com. 

They can connect with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatteand on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Jenslattery, and they can find my novel wherever they normally buy books, though I’ve been directing readers to CBD: 
For those who enjoy supporting their local book stores (Bravo!) and if their bookstore doesn’t carry it, request it be ordered. J

JUDE: Wow! I am in awe with all you’re doing and have done! I hope Beyond I Do reaches all the nooks and crannies God wants and does its work in many individual lives. Any final thoughts?

JENNIFER: I’d love to hear from your readers! In my interview, I shared what character I most related to. I’d love to hear about a character they most relate to, from any book they’ve read. Or perhaps a character they’ve found interesting.

JUDE: That is a fun and terrific challenge. I have one, but will wait to spill. Thank you so much, Jennifer, for being with us.  Again, a huge congratulations! Lastly, read a section of Jennifer's book here;


Sunday, September 21, 2014

IT'S A PIECE OF CAKE by Laurie Lunsford

Laurie's Book
  

Welcome, Laurie. Happy to visit with you today. You’ve been involved in the arts for a long time, so why not start off with a bit of history about yourself?

        I was applauded both for my art and writing way back in elementary school.  I determined at that point that I would be a teacher….an art teacher.  That dream came true.  I taught art for 5 years. I then got married and had children and did not do much art for my personal fulfillment, but I did many creative things with my three sons.  
     After my divorce and empty nest, 10 years ago, my creativity rose up in a way that I could barely keep up with. I was writing poetry, journaling, painting, and designing jewelry.  At that time I designed a musical instrument for use with Alzheimer’s patients. I started a company and travelled and spoke all over the country about arts and healthcare.  The musical instruments, called Dancing Hands (www.dancinghandstaps.com), were my ticket to the healthcare world. Now I work full time with 60 Alzheimer’s patients. 
     There is an open art studio in Golden Living, and we create all day. I do a lot of creative things in my free time also. I also lead workshops and speak about creativity and the health benefits that result.

Your new book, A Piece of Cake, is your first children’s book isn’t it? How did a children’s book come about? Can you share that with us?

       A couple of years ago I was in a book group with several ladies.  One meeting we decided to share favorite children’s books.  I then led a workshop with them on brainstorming ideas for stories. We were looking at pictures in magazines.  One was a piece of cake.  We were talking about the old saying “It’s a Piece of Cake”.  My mind would not let go of it and I went home and 
wrote the rough draft of the book. It was just for fun. 
     Two years later, I met Brittani, a young mom, and an artist.  I admired her unique style.  She confided that she had always wanted to be a children’s book illustrator, but didn’t have any story ideas.  I told her my idea.  She loved it and we teamed up to create It’s a Piece of Cake.

Does your book have a particular moral, focus or theme or what do you want someone to take away after reading the book?

     You can do what you set your mind to do!

The illustrations are stunning and I understand you have them in paper form or maybe you’d call it in 3-D form. Tell us about Brittani, your illustrator, who certainly has a gift. Don’t
you have something special in mind for the illustrations?


     They are awe-inspiring!  I don’t get tired looking at them.  They 

are framed now.  Half of them (10) will be on tour around central 

Indiana and the other half will be in a travelling exhibit around

California, where Brittani and her family are moving.  They will 

be displayed in libraries first and then move on to Children’s 
museums, hospitals, schools, etc.





     Concerning Brittani, she does have a gift.  She loves designing 

the clothing for the children in our books.  She has a good feel for 

composition.  The illustrations are whimsical and clever.  She

asked that the main character in our next book be a girl so she 

could have fun with the clothing.  She is also designing a line of 

paper dolls!


Any more children’s books coming from the two of you?


     Yes. The next one is called Wait Katie, Wait This story also includes a saying “Stop and smell the roses.”  It is about a little girl’s relationship with her grandpa.  They go on a different excursion every day.  She is an energetic little girl who wants to run ahead.  Grandpa teaches her to stop and experience everything. We both think this one is going to “take the cake”!


What did you have or have you found as your biggest challenge 

with the writing and publishing of this book, Laurie?

     The research involved in trying to figure out where and how to

publish.  Publishing is changing so much.  Brittani and I put our 

heads together and did everything ourselves and the goal was to

create a quality book and own the rights.  We ended up going with 

Create Space, which was a simple start for us and we liked what 

they did and how quickly things happened.


Any other thoughts you’d like to leave?


     It is important to learn from other people.  I think it was also 

helpful to do the book WITH someone because we can double our 

outreach and we can rejoice together as we hear stories from our 

readers. sells.  Greg Harty helped format and he has become a huge

 fan of the book and is spreading the word.

     Judy, being a neighbor, you have been very helpful by 

encouraging me and giving me words of wisdom from your 

experience as a writer. 

     In Muncie, Indiana, it can be found at The Orchard Shop and 

Dandelion’s Gifts and Flowers.



Find my books at:



     

Thanks, Laurie. I wish you the best with this fabulous little book. I 

know my grand kids will enjoy it!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

MEET AWARD-WINNING CHILDREN'S AUTHOR, JULIE FEDERICO


            Julie Federico
         www.juliefederico.com      


   Julie's  Latest Book                                               
     The fish are back!                                        
Q: Julie, welcome again to Wordsmith Woman.  You’ve been writing again! What is the title of your new book?
A: Very happy to be here and yes, I have been busy with my latest book titled Friends Are Wonderful.                                                                             
Q: I certainly agree with that title! How would you describe the book and how did you come up with the theme?
         A: I came up with the idea after mediating friendship fights for over a decade of working as a middle school counselor. Hardly anyone teaches kids from early on how to be a good friend, which is such an important skill.  The book is designed for readers from preschool to 5th grade and answers the disturbing question kids will ask their parents: "How come my best friend does not want to play with me anymore?"
 Q: Ouch, think all parents have heard that one before. I know your book provides insight for both kids and parents. What message would you like to send your readers? 
A: I think the book does! Everyone can have the skills, if they so choose, to be a good friend. If you are not being a good friend to someone, this really affects him or her. I’ve found girls seem to have more friendship problems than boys. I think because their personalities can be more complex.                                      
Q: I wonder if it’s because we girls sometime send our messages ‘like in a bottle’ or in hard to understand ways. Curiously and changing subjects, what was your favorite subject in school and why?
A: I liked Social Studies best. This was my favorite subject because there was not just one right answer to questions asked.  If you answered the questions thoughtfully and explained your reasoning, this was good enough.
Q: Good, insightful answer! Who was your best friend in school? 
A: My best friend from 8th grade until college was Andrea Terrell, a friend from church. When she needed a place to live during our senior year of high school, my parents suggested she live with us. This was a thrill and something I will always remember.                                                      
Q: Wonderful story. What books did you enjoy as a child?
A: I did not read as a child. How foolish I was. Now I cannot read enough. I like to read like some people like to eat. I am an over-reader! In the US alone, over 300,000 books are published every year. There is not enough time to read even the ones I want. I still like to read print books.  I am not a Kindle fan. I want to touch the book, feel it and smell it. Reading for pleasure on the computer or Kindle feels like reading work emails to me.
Q: What one thing would you like to learn to do?
A: I would like to learn to be a better cook. But right now, my kitchen has only one cabinet for food storage and almost no counter top space in which to work. Cooking in my kitchen is about as much fun as having a root canal. I will defer this dream until I have more counter space, room to move, a working dishwasher, and a spice cabinet where my I can alphabetize my spices.                                          
Q: That’s quite an analogy. May your bigger kitchen come soon! Julie, your book topics cover pretty serious topics, so what do you do for fun, for a change of pace?
A: I like to go with my daughters to the zoo or the reservoir. Watching Seinfeld reruns is also a favorite pastime of mine, as are hiking and walking.
Q: Those sound like nice diversions. What advice do you have for someone who would like to write a book? 
A: I can’t tell you how many people, after learning that I am an author, say, "I have always wanted to write a book."  My first question is always, "What would your book be about?"  Everyone seems to have an idea or a direction and is actually focused with their ideas.  No one has ever replied, "I have no idea."
While folks may want to write, often there is no follow through. I encourage all want-to-be authors to write, write, and write some more. We take for granted our mind will always be our mind and our memories will always be our memories. With age, some memories fade and illness can robe one's mind. Write today what you may not be able to write tomorrow.
 Don't surround yourself with "What-if People."  What if no one reads your book?  What if you can't find a publisher? Even those close to you may sabotage your dream.  I am not sure why.  It doesn't matter. What matters is that you pursue your dream in private. Don't ask the nay sayers  for permission to make your dream into a reality.  It can happen for you!
Q: You’ve covered some very strong points for writers to remember. Thank you, Julie, for those and for being here today. Readers, Julie is willing to give a way one of her books to be chosen from those leaving comments to this post! Her books are all listed below and where they can be found.
Julie’s books
                          
                           
BOTH in Spanish Version also

                                            
                                                    The Bad Guys and Students Can
                                                     are books dealing with school safety.

   
                               
  
 

                    

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chapel Springs Revival--Ane Mulligan's Debut Novel is Here!

                                                                     
                                                               Ane Mulligan






                                 Interview with Ane Mulligan Sept 2014

JAne, I know a little of the story of your journey to publication, but tell us how you became interested in writing and about your journey.

A—I started writing out of necessity when I was the creative arts director for my church. My pastor wanted sermon starters or illustration sketches. He'd give me his sermon topics and I'd write a script. That also led to some one-act plays and full-length musicals. LifeWay published everything I sent them, so when I turned to novel writing in 2003, I was shocked when I didn't get a contract on my first attempt. LOL I had a lot to learn. Sure, I know how to write dialogue, but that was it. I was so raw I bled newbie. 

J—That is quite a beginning, Ane! Good things come to those who wait. I’m excited for this novel you have coming out in September. Tell us a bit about it and how you were inspired to write it.

A—It's a romp through miscommunication in marriage. I'd heard a young woman in my church make a comment about her husband. She'd just learned that God had a mate chosen for her. Since she wasn't a Christian when she got married, she said she was going to divorce her husband and go find the one God had for her. After a Titus-woman moment with her, I realized others might think that too.

J—Thank goodness for those chances to mentor-huh?

AIndeed. I originally thought I'd write a Bible study from it, but God had other ideas. You see, I learned through drama that people let down their guard when they're being entertained. It's the same with reading novels. Then, when they least expect it, our words can reach out, touch their hearts, and change lives. And that's why we write, isn't it?

JIt is and well as to use the gifts God has given us. I believe He gave you lots of gifts and means you to stay forever using them! Just curious, do you have a favorite Point of View in which you like to write? Why?

AI waffle back and forth between third and first person. I've finally realized the story dictates the POV. I have a short story and a novella I've written in first person and five full-length books in third.

JStory does dictate doesn’t it? I heard you just got a new desk! What does your writing ‘space’ look like? What’s most important about it? Do you use anything ‘state of the art’ technology other than the computer when you write? (I mean Dragon, Scrivener, text to speech –these things.)

A—More than just a new desk, I finally have an office! After years and years of writing in a corner of the master bedroom, I finally have a real office. My hubs found a gorgeous Queen Anne desk for me on Craig's List. And I have a wonderful writing recliner where I sit to create my first draft.
As far as technology, I have a love-hate relationship with it. I do use Scrivener but haven't mastered it yet. I'm going to take a class on it at the ACFW conference this year. I have Dragon on my phone (it was a free app) but rarely use it. For someone who's a talker, I don't create well verbally. Brainstorm, yes but not writing. For that, I use my laptop.

J—OH, just wait until everyone looks at that handsome desk picture. Just a reminder, readers-‘thou shalt not covet.’ LOL. Okay, what do you hope readers take from your writings?

AThat's a loaded question. My stories are lighter in nature than most women's fiction. I hope to impart seeds of God's truth through humor. The theme I find popping up the most in my writing is that God is trustworthy with our dreams—whether for a spouse, a career or whatever.  

J—Excellent point. Any special advice you’d give to ‘late bloomers?’

A—Yes! Never give up. It was nearly 11 years from the time I started my first novel to when I got a contract and another year before it saw bookshelves. Recently, a writer friend was frustrated and talked about giving up, since she'd been writing for 10 years with no contract. I asked her what if I had given up at the 10-year mark? We only fail when we give up.

J—What has been your hardest part of writing? The most fun?

A—For me, the hardest part is the first draft. I love the second and third drafts. That's when the "magic" happens and I add the layers and find that perfect metaphor.

J—Can you be Nostradamus for a moment? Where do you see publishing going?

A—Excuse me, I'm picking myself up off the floor! I was 
ROFLOL. I have absolutely no idea. I do think e-books have risen to great heights; ones most of us didn't expect. But I think we'll see print books around for decades to come.
The other new thing is the hybrid author. The best ones are those who publish traditionally for a while, making a name for themselves and gathering a fan base. Authors like Brandilyn Collins, James Scott Bell, and Angela Hunt have done very well with it.

J—Well put. I also think print books are a forever thing. How can readers find you?

A—All over the Internet. LOL I can be found on my Southern-fried Fiction website, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter, and Google+. Told you I was everywhere.  Thanks for the opportunity to meet your readers, Jude!

J—You are most welcome! Let it be said that while a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

J—Now for a blurb on Ane’s new book Chapel Springs Revival by Lighthouse Publications.

       With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a                                         guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs—and their lives. That is, if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.
   
Ane's Cool New Office



Let's shower Ane with congratulations!