A Few -apparently needed- Hints and Tips From an Agent

Join me welcoming my agent, Linda Glaz.(Wow. I still don't know whether to flop back in shock or dance when I say that. My agent. hehe. Sooo cool.) And she's a very cool lady and friend. We're even friends on days other than Fridays.

And now, here's Linda with
A Few (apparently needed) Hints and Tips 
From an Agent

When you approach an agent or editor, what makes you stand out in the crowd?
In a good way…

Let’s first analyze a few of the bad ways to stand out.

Agent: I enjoyed your query and am very intrigued by the premise of your book. Could you please send along a proposal per our agency guidelines at your earliest convenience?

Writer: I appreciate your interest, while I’m too busy to put together a formal proposal, feel free to stop by my website and have a sample read. www.bigdopeywriter.com

Writer: You’ve been selected out of all the agents I’m submitting to as the one to have the first crack at this work. I just know you’ll see the potential for the future of this book. Hopefully you will have the intelligence to see this and the connections needed to get this book into the right hands. From what I’ve heard about your agency, I’m sure you do.

Agent: I don’t want to hold you back. Feel free to send to Number Two on your list.

Please stop sitting at your computer laughing. Worse has been done and said.

So now we know how to get negative attention. Let’s look on the positive side.

Agent: Your premise is very intriguing. I would love to have a look at a well-polished, professional proposal. Please see our agency guidelines and submit to me at your earliest convenience.

Writer: I’m anxious to show you my proposal. Let me freshen it according to the agency’s guidelines, and I’ll have it to you within a week. Thanks for this opportunity.

Do agents and editors want people groveling? No, but a person who shows that they can follow directions and are eager to make a presentation in a timely matter will find themselves at the top of the pile for a read. While others with VERY good books will never be seen. Few people are willing to wade through giant-sized egos to be lucky enough to have that read.

The way an author responds with a proposal shows the editor or agent how well and how timely the writer will be when editing a manuscript. There’s nothing worse than working with someone who doesn’t “have a clue”.

Sending children’s books to an editor who only handles adult fiction is a tip-off that the author didn’t do his homework.

Sending erotica to an agency that considers novels from a Christian world view, is not only foolish, it closes doors that didn’t need to be closed.

Please don’t get me wrong. We all have foolish and embarrassing stories from when we started out. You don’t? Ooh, I’m bad. I have a drawer full, but I learned from the mistakes and moved on.

I would rather have one good author who is willing to work his or her behind down to a size one than forty amazing authors who are difficult to work with, having egos that are a size 18. There isn’t enough money in the world!

That being said. Send me your proposals:
per the agency guidelines…I love nothing better than a good read.


Linda Glaz is an agent with Hartline Literary Agency and is always looking for the next great book and wonderful writer to work with. While she will look at any proposal other than children's, fantasy, and erotica, her heart is with fiction. No graphic sexuality or language. A veteran of the Air Force, she's already had the opportunities in life to meet a lot of characters; show her some interesting ones in your book. Please check the agency guidelines before submitting.

You can find Linda online at her blog http://lindaglaz.blogspot.com/ and at Harline's blog.


This month I came to a milestone in my life. One that I seriously doubted I'd ever reach, and most certainly not this year. I'm still waiting for the reality of it to descend, and gradually, as July has progressed, it is.

I have an agent.

It still makes me shake my head in wonder because I was on the verge of putting those thoughts off for another year or two. To make it better, I'm especially tickled with who my agent is and how God worked it out.

Last year, when I volunteered to teach a workshop at the Faithwriters conference, I didn't realize I was trading the Faithwriters conference for attending the ACFW conference. It's the way things go though, and I was thrilled to be able to give back to Faithwriters—the place that helped me overcome so much fear, and doubt and taught me so many things about writing. So, I went to the Faithwriters conference and got to room with Linda Glaz, who was there representing Terry Burns of Hartline Literary. She was one of his assistants and was teaching a couple of sessions and fielding pitches for Terry. Linda is a gem. She didn't bat an eyelash at the group she ended up with at Red Robin, and that's saying something because if I remember right, we were all fairly loopy at that point.

I am not a people person. In fact, it's work for me to be with people I don't know well, and conference totally exhausts me, even with some of my best friends being there. By the time it was my turn to pitch to Linda, my brain was... well, it felt like yesterday's oatmeal, and functioned about as well. Ideal for making a professional impression on someone. Not. But Linda didn't choke on my mush-for-brains, she took it in stride, which, now that I know her better doesn't surprise me a bit.

Over the next ten months we kept in touch as we worked together at The Barn Door and in regard to my manuscript as it was volleyed back and forth for changes. The surprising result is that Linda's now my agent. I had no idea things were falling into place for her becoming an agent with Hartline—I didn't even know it was in the works, simply that she was busy working on “some things.” When she emailed me last month it took a bit to sink in. I had to leave the computer, do some work around the house and come back to read the email...about five times because I was so caught off guard and surprised.

I couldn't be happier.
Who better to have in your corner than a friend?

Come back tomorrow for Friendly Friday and meet Linda—my friend, my agent.

The J in my life

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Now, for this week's installment of our a 2 z 4 u & me meme,

the J in my life...

Til death do us part.
My hero. My equilibrium.
My cheerleader. My sanity.
My Jim.

We've been married for 22 years and my kids will attest to the fact that on days when I've had too much and am struggling with keeping my cool, all I need to do is hear his van pulling in the driveway and I settle right down. He is a very calming presence for me. hehe. Usually. We're opposite enough that fireworks have been known to erupt, but that's not always bad. ;-)

When it comes to family, Jim is all there, providing fun, hugs, and great variety. I have to admit, I didn't like the kids sledding after dark. It was even colder and appeared more dangerous, but Jim pulled on his coveralls and went out with them, and they had hours of fun those nights we had an ice run to sled on. Living in southern Illinois, we don't usually have need of sleds, but he found a way to toboggan all together. He is tremendously creative and innovative.

Jim's the most self-sacrificing and giving man. He gets up early and goes to work and I used to make him a big breakfast--fried taters, eggs, toast, then, after the kids got up, I made them breakfast. Invariably, a little one would tumble to the table to eat breakfast with Daddy and I learned fast that if he was going to get enough to carry him to lunch, I had to cook double because for every bite he got, he gave the little one on his lap a bite. Those were special times with Dad.

No matter how busy he is, my dear husband makes it a point to spend time with each of the kids on a regular basis. He's the glue that holds us together, listening, loving, and correcting when necessary. He might not have had any sisters growing up, but he's sure adjusted to having daughters!

Jim built the house we live in. While we lived in it. That meant that he constantly had four children underfoot during the major construction, and five through the finishing process. This was a common sight here. In fact, now that the kids are bigger (LoL, our oldest is taller than Jim now) all of them work together and help each other on projects. Like their dad, our boys are handy with their hands, and this picture explains why--he rarely worked alone here at home. And he didn't just work on the house or in the shop. He worked in the kitchen, too. On Sunday (as in just two days ago) we all worked together slicing and putting apples in the dehydrator. At jam time, Jim is up to his elbows in strawberries. He leads by example.

Thanks, Hun, for all you do for us. I'm so glad we got married. You're the best of the best and I love you! =)

If you're joining us for the a 2 z 4 u & me meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter J, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here.

Maintaining Momentum

Okay, this last week, as I've been thinking about my system of doing things, I realized I forgot a couple of huge components. I also realized that this mini-series has helped me see the things I'm doing that work, what doesn't work, and also the things I could do to make things work better. As a result, I took a day or two and did some major organizing here online and on my computer and it should help me tremendously. *grin* It already has.

So, thank you for humoring me and helping me see things more clearly. =)

Here are some other things that really help my productivity level—they all fall into the category of accountability.

First: In the comments on Time Management Ala Patty, Joanne mentioned the note we send each other every night. It's simply an accountability note of what we accomplished that day and our writing related plans for the next day. The note often includes more, but those are the “required” items. So that provides daily accountability for us.

Second: Over a year ago I joined a small group set up to help provide accountability in our writing goals. It's a yahoo group and every Friday night a Roll Call email is scheduled to go out automatically. Usually it's on Saturday that we email in to the group with two lists: our goals for the past week and how we did on each item and another list of our goals for the upcoming week. These are bullet point lists with measurable goals, and we do measure.

Some weeks every item on our goals list is followed by no. LoL, or nope or a variety of other negative responses, and we can get creative because it's really depressing to write NO on five out of five goals. Thankfully, other weeks there's more cheering than nopes on there. Those simple weekly lists keeps us on target. Progress is progress, no matter how small the steps are. Little things add up over time and we've accomplished far more since we started reporting in than we did before.

Sure, some weeks come when life explodes and all hope of progress is blown to smithereens. Some weeks our accountability group resembles a prayer group, and that's good. We cheer each other on, pray each other on and cry on each other's shoulders. Through it all, we encourage—even when we're wielding the fabled wet noodle. And yes, we do pull that out on occasion. It's part of holding each other accountable even as we encourage.

Third: The private yahoo group I have. I'm the only member of this group and there are two purposes for it. One, to act as an off-site storage for a few items, making it so if my computer crashes (banish the thought!) I haven't lost all my work. Two, to act as a reminder system for me. Yahoo groups have a calendar feature that you can schedule email reminders, and I need them.

Here are some of the things I have reminders set for:
  • the due dates for the four sites I write for
  • chores I have for the sites I own/manage, including backing up those sites
  • changing the filter on the AC/furnace (LoL, and other such household things I tend to forget)
  • to back up my manuscripts and the spreadsheet I use as a master index for EVERYthing

Without this reminder system I tend to forget many things—I am a very forgetful person, just ask my husband and kids. Yes, I have a daytimer, but to be honest, weeks sometimes go by with me forgetting to look at it, so the automatic email reminders are a lifesaver. It's worth the hour it took me to get the dates entered—many times over.

The key for me has been accountability and a system to be reminded. It's taken me time to find a system that works for me, but right now, this is what I do.

So tell me, what are some of your tricks that keep you productive?

The first two posts in this mini-series:
Time Management Ala Patty
Treasure Hunting Marathon

Panic Pusher

So, three weeks from today I'll be at the Faithwriters conference, teaching two workshops. As jazzed as I am about being with friends I only get to see once a year, I'm also fighting down panic. Yes, I've reached the panic point of prepping for the workshops. Joy of joys. Thankfully, one class I taught last year, 'Clearing the Blog Fog', is all prepared. Well, make that mostly prepared. I need to update it and add a section on group blogs for this year. But that's minor compared to starting from scratch for the second workshop.

Platform and Personna. Yup. That's the all-new class that has me sweating and watching the days tick by while I'm working like crazy—on other things, of course. Now, lest you wonder, I do have the material half prepared. Or more. And since this topic is one of my, ah hem, soap boxes, it's not like I have to do gargantuan amounts of study for it. Thank goodness! It's a matter of corralling my thoughts (quit laughing at that, girls! It can be done!) and putting them into logical order, with PowerPoint slides so I can do more than stammer and stutter up there.

Ay yi yi. I looooove teaching. Online. Via email. Love it. But this whole in-person-standing-up-in-front-of-people-thing makes my bones rattle. Seriously. Which is why I'm teaching the class on Platform and Personna—because I'm a certified, professional wall-flower. Just ask anybody at my church and they'll agree. The whole point is that not only are platforms necessary for writers, and any ministry you're involved in, but wall-flowers can build an effective platform by creating a personna. And yes, I have one. Thankfully, my personna is me—the real me. The me that answers to Peej and Peejers more readily than Patty. The me my poor family sees, especially when I'm really relaxed and really tired. My personna is my more flamboyant side that you guys see here on my blog and friends and class members see in emails. It's just a matter of letting that side of me come out when I'm actually with people, not with my keyboard. And therein is the cause for sweating. Okay. That and this time thing. Three weeks? Yikes! I'd better get to work!

Oh! And before I forget! Yesterday I was visiting my friend, Jen, and we talked about a lesson I learned from hummingbirds. It was so well timed for me because the storm winds were blowing me around yesterday. Stop by Jen's place to find out what I did.

Also, I posted at The Barn Door. July's Weed Watcher's Report. I love doing the Weed Watcher's Reports. They make me slow down and look around, and even pause for a picture... or a dozen because I cannot take just one. It's about like cookies and potato chips.

So tell me, what pushes your panic button?

A Friendly Friday with Jennifer Slattery

Where would we be without friends? Friends are so very important and every now and then I'll introduce you to a friend of mine on Friendly Fridays.

One of the ladies I've met while working with Clash of the Titles is Jen Slattery. Jen quickly turned into a special prayer friend and today she's sharing a bit of her marriage with us...

Last year for our anniversary my husband and I packed our suitcases and got away…to downtown Kansas City. Quite honestly, I felt a bit silly when we checked into our hotel.

“Where are you from?”

“Kansas City.” The guy’s face scrunched in confusion so I quickly added, “Up north.” Like a whole twenty minutes north.

True, we could have spent the weekend at the Plaza without getting a hotel, but there’s something about getting away that makes the evening special. It’s like it puts your brain in romance mode. There’s no dishes to think about. No television to distract you. No phone calls to ignore. It’s just you and your spouse.

It was a wonderful evening. I’m a jeans and sweater kind of gal, but this time I dressed up and…(gasp) wore heels.  For about ten minutes. My husband booked a hotel room in the heart of downtown, walking distance to the shops and restaurants. That night, we strolled hand in hand, me talking a mile a minute while my husband offered that strong-silent-type-loving-smile. (Although halfway down a major sloping hill I turned around and changed shoes.)

We didn’t really do anything exciting. Mostly we just walked, hand in hand, which is my favorite thing to do. Then, after dinner, we went for ice-cream and watched a magician from the ice-cream store window. It was a time to laugh, to relax, and to forget about paying bills, raising children, job stressers, or housework. And it’s something we do once a year, without fail, regardless of our schedule or budget.

Initially, this was hard. Our daughter was a toddler the first time we got away. It was near the Easter holiday and the hotel we stayed at hosted an Easter egg hunt for its guests. I literally felt ill as I stood on our balcony watching little girls flitter across the lawn, floral bonnets tied around their heads, baskets in hand. It was a tug and pull kind of thing. My heart was drawn to my husband, and I cherished the one-on-one time with him, yet I missed our little girl terribly.

At lunch on the first day, as my husband and I sat across from one another in a quaint San Diego restaurant, soft music playing in the background, I realized how crucial that weekend was. The way my husband looked at me, the way his eyes centered on mine as if I was the only person in the restaurant, electrified my heart. Suddenly we were dating again.

Jennifer Slattery is a novelist and freelance writer living in the midwest with her husband and their thirteen year old daughter, Ashley Slattery. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, The Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters and is the marketing manager for the literary website Clash of the Titles. Visit her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud to find out more about her and her writing.

Jennifer Slattery
Broken Lives Saturated by Grace

As of Late

 This is one of those memes I love. It only happens on the third Thursday of the month (which is why I almost always forget it. ugh.) and it always makes me pause and contemplate what's really going on--yanno, what's going on deep-down inside. It's a journey as I peel back layers to find it.

Be sure to join us at Critty Joy's for links to more As of Lates...

  • Lately crunch time has settled on me and I'm feeling the need to increase my productivity.
  • Lately I've been editing an old project and doing character creation on a new, short project that sprang up on Monday. And loving both.
  • Lately it's a struggle to keep from freaking out over what I still need to prepare for the Faithwriters conference. I'll be glad when both sessions are ready to roll.
  • Lately organization has been a big thing for me. It's paying off.
  • Lately I've drifted from something that I need like water.

And therein lies the crux of the issue for me. Time spent in God's Word is crucial and yet I've let that slide. It explains much. Pastor Mike said once (at least) that when you find you've strayed from the path you need to turn around and go back to where you stepped off and take care of things there. Then you can move forward again. I did that this last week and worship on Sunday was a balm to my soul. I'm so thankful for my church. Even more, I'm thankful for God's patience and mercy and forgiveness. Where would we be without those?

So tell me, what have you been doing lately?

Will the real Patty please stand up?

Now, for this week's installment of our a 2 z 4 u & me meme,

the letter I... in the Introduce yourself...

Hmmmm. Do I hafta? I really, really do not like being in front of people, but I'm slowly getting more accustomed to it. My Tuesday night Bible Study girls have played a big part in that project. Okay, so here goes...

The real me...
  • Loves grape kool aid. It's my elixir for life.
  • Drinks kool aid out of a fine china cup.
  • Loves a good campfire, skips the marshmallows and goes straight for the chocolate.
  • Learned to live without the ocean and mountains, and fell in love with the sky.
  • Misses home, even after almost 25 years.
  • Hates noise.
  • Grumbled when hubs bought me an mp3 player.
  • Now loves that gizmo—it keeps me sane when life's volume gets too loud around here.
  • Loves a good storm, especially when I'm outside on the deck, but I rarely get out there.
  • Needs a pen or keyboard to think through things.
  • Only has half a brain at any given time. And usually not the half I need.
  • Hopes my sister saves me a spot on her deserted island.
  • Hates winter and feeling like a human popsicle. (It's Quito's fault.)
  • Can procrastinate forever.
  • Dislikes Facebook.
  • Hates cooking. And eating...
  • ...but loves munching cookies.
  • Still wishes for a magic broom. I'd zip around to visit some faraway friends and go home for supper. A bowl of sopa sounds delish. So does a plate of arroz (pero sin platano. Blech. No platano, por favor!)

Okay, who's kookie idea was this anyway? This is HARD!! And this week of all weeks. Why this week? Waaaa! I've been banging my head on the wall over a bio blurb to send my agent. Have you ever tried writing a bio blurb? I've done it a few times, but this has been the hardest time yet because I wasn't doing a blurb for just a blog setting.

Of course, I did make the mistake of researching how others did theirs. Ay yi yi. So not good. There's no way this un-degree'd mom can compete with all those professionals. Nothing was said about the number of diapers changed, rescuing kids from ingesting goat droppings (No, sweetie, they aren't raisins.), washing walls after a diaper graffiti session, washing mountains of laundry, maneuvering 15 passenger vans in and out of tight spots, extracting little skunks from a boy's hand without getting sprayed, spending hours and hours with student drivers, organizing chaos and school assignments for five kids... Yanno, all the stuff on my rap sheet resume.

Now that you've just heard from the real me, here's what I have for my "professional bio blurb" so far... (Have I mentioned lately how much I dislike working on this thing?)

Patty Wysong, a home executive with over 20 years of experience, homeschools three of her five children, but don't let that fool you. She spends much of her time working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You'll also find her drinking kool aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church.

Patty learned about blogs and blogging the hard way and now delights in teaching and helping others, sparing them that frustration so they can focus on what God has called them to do. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life.

So tell me, how do you handle introducing yourself to a room full of professionals?

I can't wait to meet the rest of you!!

If you're joining us for the a 2 z 4 u & me meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter I, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here. And if you want to introduce yourself a different time, go right ahead! (and feel free to link up with us whenever you do!)  =)

Treasure Hunting Marathon

Another thought to tack onto Thursday's post on Time Management ala Patty, and it applies to any goal you have, not just writing...

If you're relatively new to this writing thing, remember it's a marathon and you can't sprint a marathon. Trying to burns you out long before the finish line is in sight. Use these first years (yes, years is plural) to lay a foundation, to practice, to make contacts, to build your platform, and to build your endurance muscles.

How do you
eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

If you have young children at home, realize it might take a little longer because you're a wife and mom first, writer second. The two combine well, but you have to keep the writing balanced. If the writing outweighs the family, you probably won't like the end results.

When I first started writing I knew it would take time so I set a realistic goal for my writing. LoL, I was so... scared and lacking confidence that the goal gave plenty of leeway. With the goal in place, I studied what I needed to do to get me from where I was then (homeschool mom of 5 with a platform of maybe 15 people, techno-challenged, and scared silly) to where I wanted to be. Then I started working in the cracks of my mom-day. Baby steps. A little here and a little there add up.

The reasoning that kept me going:
These are years for preparing. Invest them wisely.

You don't want to race to the finish line only to discover that it wasn't just a race, but that it was a treasure hunt and you don't have any of the things you need. Take the time to hunt out that treasure so when you reach the finish line your goodie bag is brimming with things you've gathered on your journey.

This doesn't apply just to writing—it fits for any long term goals you may have. Life is a treasure hunting marathon.

So tell me, what are some goodies in your bag? Found any treasure lately?

Time Management ala Patty

Since I get this question fairly often, I thought I'd answer here...
How do you keep up with everything you do?

(Must read this with a frazzled voice!!) First, please understand that I don’t keep up with everything. I really don’t. =( My house is perpetually messy—but with 7 of us still here I settle for that excuse. My kids are to the ages where my mom-job is much less constant hands-on, meaning it’s more supervising. My youngest will be 10 next month and my oldest is 18, so although things are crazy, it’s a different crazy than it used to be. Even the homeschooling is down to routine. I have lesson assignments from when the older kids went through, and I simply recycle them for the younger two. *eye roll*

That said, here's how I juggle the things I do:
Blog commenting. I no longer do a lot of commenting on blogs. While Joanne faithfully uses her Google reader for keeping up, that tool gives me nightmares, so I utilize the email subscriptions people offer. Posts arrive in my inbox, I skim them and if they catch my attention, I stop by and leave a comment. There are a few sites I've resolved to “be present” on and I comment a few times a week. Key word in that sentence: FEW. It's not enough, but I'm gradually getting better again.

Spreadsheets. I have spreadsheets to keep my sanity, and I use them. Religiously. In my master spreadsheet I have 11 tabs. And that's not anything for my WIPs. This set of sheets contain an index of all my writing, broken down into a couple categories for:
Fiction (short stories), Devotionals, and Marriage.
(I index my writing so I have easy access to it and can recycle my posts.) There are tabs for posting schedules of the 4 sites I either own or co-own, and for the online class I teach.

This spreadsheet stays in my tray and I access it several times a day. At least. I also send it to the private yahoo group I created to act as a back-up site because if I lose that sheet, I'm peanut butter.

Aside from that spreadsheet, the thing that helps me the most is how I chunk and group.

Chunks of time work best for me—granted, that chunk of time may be divided into 5 sessions throughout the day as I oversee and direct things here at home, but usually I can string enough bits of time together to create a chunk.

Grouping turned out to be a life saver for me! I write monthly for At the Well, the Internet Cafe, and Jewels of Encouragement, and bi-monthly for The Barn Door. That's a minimum of 5 posts a month, plus any guest posting I might do. I felt like my head was constantly in a noose. Not a warm fuzzy feeling at all. One day, working on an At the Well post, I had an idea for another post for them (they assign the topic each month) so I checked my calendar and saw it would fit for a different month. I took about a day-and-a-half and put together six months of posts for that site. Then I listed the months I had yet to do for this calendar year, jotted down my ideas for those posts and moved on to my next group. By the end of the week I had not only pitched that noose out the window, but I had accomplished a huge amount. Last weekend, rather than putting up one Jewels of Encouragement post, I did two. I would've done more but I had to run out the door to church.

While my mind is focused on a particular site and their unique audience, I do a minimum of two posts at a time, preferably more. Then I can let my mind move on to another area.

The same thing with the non-blog things—I group them together. I'll take a day or two and update lessons or work on the scheduling and interviews at The Book Loft or doing all the little odds and ends at the sites. It helps save my sanity.

Relaxing time is spent sorting pictures, resizing them, adding watermarks and uploading them, or I'll work on new blog designs or hunt for things online. The only TV my family watches are movies and if I've seen the movie, I carry my computer to my chair and work on things I don't need concentration for. Occasionally I crash, doing nothing, but not often.

This is simply what's working for me at the moment.

So tell me, what are some tricks that help save your sanity?

The Hang of Humor

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me
After 6 weeks of blogging our way through the alphabet together, I thought it'd be fun to take a week, introduce ourselves and to get to know each other. So next week, for the letter I, let's post about ourselves! Any angle will do, but if you're looking for one, how about...

Will the real ____ please stand up?

Of course, if you have your idea for the letter i, you can always to do this as an extra post, or any time you'd like. ;-)

Now, for this week's installment of our a 2 z 4 u & me meme,
the letter H... in the Hang of Humor
I just couldn't resist combining two things in one post: the a2z meme and Reading to Write Right. Won't you help me kick off this new series?

Reading to Write Right at Ordinary Lives

Last Saturday my husband invited me along for a “quick trip to the parts store” and I accepted--knowing the chance of it being "quick" were slim. The book I'm currently reading was at the other end of the house, he was ready to go, so I grabbed the top book off my to-be-read stack and took off with him. While he spent FOREVER in the
parts store, I lost myself in Lorna Seilstadt's A Great Catch.

I was immediately drawn in and totally hooked—in 40 words! Yes, I counted them.

Lorna had me smiling and chuckling as I turned the pages. My favorite books are those that make me laugh, and Lorna's books have proven to be ones that make the grade.

Last week Trish Perry posted at Seekers, my all-time favorite writing site. Those girls seem to party 24/7 AND get huge amounts of work done. Trish posted on humor and gave us a few pointers on how to write it. The article was excellent, and if you missed it, go read it! Trish gave me hope that I can learn to add some humor to what I write.
Trish said: If your hero and heroine share an inside joke with one another in the middle of a well-populated scene—something strictly between the two of them (and us, of course)—their intimacy develops before our very eyes. Ooo la la!

So there I sat, in the car on a very hot Saturday morning, reading A Great Catch, enjoying myself. When I came to the closing paragraph of chapter 3 and first paragraphs of 4, a neon sign flashed on inside my head. Lorna did something very similar to what Trish said and it worked soooo well. Not only did I laugh out loud (not just an LoL, but an honest-to-goodness laugh out loud) but I saw the connection... the intimacy between the characters develop right before me. And I loved it.

Here's the scene...

Her grandmother thumbed through the ledger. “And Carter studied finance, Emily. Since your brother is busy running your father’s business, I’ve asked Carter to help me manage my assets.”

“But I thought—” Emily jerked. The bite of waffle on the tip of her fork, drenched in strawberry syrup, went flying across the table.

Instinct alone propelled Carter to catch the chunk of waffle midair. The contents squished in his palm, and he grabbed his napkin from the table. When he’d managed to scrub the worst of the berry stain off, he looked up and met Emily’s horrified gaze. Laughter rumbled in is chest, but with great effort he kept it in check.

“Carter, here are the current investments. As you can see, they are quite diverse.” Grandma Kate nudged the open ledger in his direction, clearly unaware of the entire waffle fiasco. “Of course we’ll have much to discuss, which means you’ll have to join us for breakfast on a regular basis. Will that be a problem?”

He grinned at Emily and watched her cheeks bloom pink. “Not at all, ma’am. Not at all.”

Grandma Kate glanced at Emily's plate. “Why haven't you touched your waffle? Oh my, I forgot. You can't cut it.”

“I can take care of it, Grandma.”

“Nonsense, dear.” She pulled the plate over and began to cut neat squares. “We wouldn't want any mishaps, now would we?”

Carter snickered, and Emily shot him a glare. His midair catch obviously hadn't won him any favor in her eyes. If he had to guess, she'd tried and convicted him of being a cocky baseball player, not worthy of thinking beyond the field. Fine. He'd change her mind. He enjoyed a challenge. And she should realize he wasn't used to losing.

She pushed back from the table, stood, and pressed a hand to her stomach. “Never mind, Grandma. I'm not hungry anymore. Besides, I need to prepare for my meeting this afternoon.”

Carter rose to his feet beside her. “I enjoyed having breakfast with you, Emily. I'd offer my hand but...”

Her cheeks flamed afresh, but she met his gaze defiantly. “You should be more careful about the syrup.”

“Maybe so.” He pushed a nest of curls off his forehead with the back of his berry-stained fingers. “I don't mind a little mess, even when things get sticky...”
This might not be an inside joke, but it's something that could become one. And it's not something either one of them would forget. The scene would've been funny on it's own, but the fact that Grandma totally missed it, amplified the humor of the situation, as did Emily and Carter's response to it.

Seeing little things like this in books as we read will help us get the Hang of Humor. =)

{{Here's a little about Lorna's great book...

A Great Catch
She wants to change the world.
He wants to change her mind.

It's the beginning of a new century at Lake Manawa resort in Iowa, but some things never change. When Emily Graham's meddlesome aunts and grandmother take it upon themselves to find her a husband among the resort guests, the spunky suffragist is determined to politely decline each and every suitor. She has neither the time nor the need for a man in her busy life.

Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and a pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer before he is forced into the straitlaced business world of his father.

When their worlds collide, neither Emily nor Carter could have guessed what would come next. Will Carter strike out? Or will Emily cast her vote for a love that might cost her dreams?

The perfect summer novel, A Great Catch will enchant you with its breezy setting and endearing characters.}}

If you're joining us for the a 2 z 4 u & me meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter H, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here. And don't forget about our Introduce yourself posts for next week's letter I! See ya then!


Well, isn't today special? LoL. Or something.

Today I'm posting on three different sites! Mind-boggling.

Today is part 2 of a 4 part series on blogging at Reflections in Hindsight. It's on Blog Niche vs. Purpose. What's the difference between having a niche and the purpose of your blog? Is one better than the other? Come join the discussion! This month I'm giving away a premade design to one of the commenters one my blog series there. ;-)

I'm also at The Internet Cafe Devotions, blogging about taming hurricanes. I'd love for you to stop by Hurricane Season and see what happened when I tried taming one.

And last, but certainly not least, I'm posting today at Jewels of Encouragement--a very special site to me. This is a site made up of Faithwriters and this group of ladies encourages me and blesses me constantly. I'm so very thankful for them. I wrote about Finding Focus... something that's hard to come by sometimes.

Also, if you're interested in taking my blogging class, let me know.
Hugs all around. You guys are so very special to me. =)

Reading to Write Right

Reading to Write Right at Ordinary Lives

hehe. Could not resist that title.

Years ago I quit reading because I couldn't balance reading with life. Reading won, making my family suffer. Reading was an escape, which is what every author wants to hear, but not only was I escaping from life almost 100% of the time, but I was using the reading to drown out God calling me to write. That attempt didn't work well. Now that I've been writing for several years, it was time for me to start reading again--but I hafta tell you, I was concerned the reading would consume me again.

God is faithful. That didn't happen. Instead, He's opened my eyes to what books can teach me about writing.

See, when I began reading, I chose some books specifically as research--publishing houses I was thinking of targeting, the same era a series I'm working on is set in, and even authors who were cranking out books. A few books were thrown in simply because I enjoy that time in history or the back cover (and front cover) caught my attention, and some were given to me or I won on blog giveaways. *grin* I love those giveaways!

I never would've guessed how much I'd learn from reading. I mean, I've always noticed things as I read, even through those years I was using books to drown the voices in my head and heart, but now I'm seeing so much more. I'm recognizing what I'm seeing and dissecting the fine points.

Want an example?
I'm probably normal in that I tend to stop reading when I come to the end of a chapter or a scene break. A few books back, I remember checking the time, checking where the end of the chapter was, and deciding I could make it to that point. Well, I had to both groan and laugh when I got there because that particular author is THE queen of end-of-chapter hooks. She set that hook so well I could NOT close the book then. I groaned because life, kids and work were calling, and laughed because I knew exactly what she was doing. And it worked! I turned the page for "just one more page." Needless to say, I flew through that book. And totally loved it.

Curious about what book I was reading?
Well, I'll get to that. ;-) I've got a stack of books here beside my desk and I plan on posting about what I learned from each one.

So tell me, what great book have you read lately?


I have two sisters and I rarely get to see them. Unfortunately. But this week was an exception to the rule and I'm so thankful! My (older hehe) sister and her husband stopped by on their way East and spent almost 24 hours with us. It. was. wonderful!

Last night we had a serious game of speed Scrabble. She stomped me (So what's new. She always does. LoL), but I beat my older daughter. Barely. *eye roll* That won't happen for too much longer! Then we spent a very relaxing morning talking (what a surprise. Not.) and looking at pictures (so this pic is certainly not us at our best...just our hanging out, normal selves--that's my story and I'm stickin' with it.).

C was good with her camera before--she and I had the same camera, coincidence--but since she's been shooting more and more and taking an online photo class and studying, she's gotten REALLY good! It was sooo cool to see her pictures! (Shelley, she has a suhweet camera like yours now--but it has waaaay too many buttons and gizmos for me. LoL) She has some pictures of sea glass that are gorgeous. Yes, I have a fascination with sea glass--it comes from spending my childhood on the coast of Maine. The good news: C is planning on jumping back into blogging sometime soon. CanNOT wait! She's the one responsible for getting me into blogging and taught me the first things I learned about blogs. I can't wait until she gets her blog up and going.

After getting a pic of the two of us, my girls wanted one with the four of us. I'm so glad we did! Sisters really are some of the best people in the world!

Too bad my other sister wasn't here, too. sigh. Maybe someday. But for now, I'm grateful for the day I had with one of them.

This Week's Letter G

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me
Now, for this week's installment of our a 2 z 4 u & me meme,
the letter G...

The letter G can only be one thing for me: my Go-to Girls.

God has blessed me tremendously with friends I consider my near-and-dears...

unfortunately, I only have pictures of a few of them. =(

is the other half of my brain.

Sara and Sunny...

and here's all Jeweler girls. Girls that have laughed with, cried with me, rolled their eyes at me and oh-so many more things!

These are my online Go-to Girls.

Love you, girls. =)

And you can find links to all of them at Jewels of Encouragement. A site where we all blog, and have increased the blessing through the other girls who have joined us. If you haven't visited, we'd love it if you did!

Did you see the blog series I'm doing at Reflections in Hindsight? I'll be there for the next couple of Mondays and I'd love to have you join me there. There's also a giveaway going on, so let your friends know. ;-) There's a few more details in yesterday's post, just below.

If you're joining us for the a 2 z 4 u & me meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter G, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here.

All's Right

Ah. After almost 10 days of weirdness, all's right in my world again.
My kids are home from their missions trip!
After 17 years of having more than one child, it was only me, Jim and Isaac here at home last week. It. was. soooooo. weird.

Above they're lined up according to age--much to Abby's disgust. She doesn't like that she'll be the shortest in the family soon. ;-)

Each Monday this month, I'm at Reflections in Hindsight, posting about blogging. The series is titled "How to make blogs work for you" and it's something I love talking (and writing) about. I'd love to have you stop by and visit!

Also, another blogging class will be starting July 12th and you can learn more about the class here. The blog series at Reflections in Hindsight covers different material than the class, and there's a giveaway going on there for a premade layout. Be sure to check it out and leave a comment there to be entered. =)
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009. Design expanded and personalized by PattyWysong.com 2011.

Back to TOP