Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Deadlines are the blessing and the curse of writers. A deadline means the book I'm writing has a home. It also means I can't take my time on creating the story. I must meet the delivery schedule so that all the various people who will have a hand in bringing my book to the store shelves (editorial, creative design, marketing, publicity) will be able to do their jobs at the proper time.
Readers are often surprised when they learn how long it takes to produce a book. Not that books can't be "fast tracked." Look at how quickly new Sarah Palin books are being brought out since she was announced as McCain's running mate. But in general, it takes about a year from the time a novel's manuscript is delivered to the editor until it arrives in bookstores. During that time, the book will go through three to four rounds of revising/editing/proofing.
All that to say, time is running out for me to meet my next deadline. So while I'll enjoy my time with my friends, I'll also feel the ticking of the clock and rolling over of the calendar.
See you next Monday. Prayers for travel mercies appreciated. And it would be nice if I can get some writing done on the plane, too.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Each night I went back to my hotel room exhausted and completely drained of energy, but I always felt that I had done exactly as the Lord had wanted. Working in His will and allowing Him to lead and guide left me refreshed spirtually and restored me physically. It was rather like the man in Chariots of Fire who said, "When I run I feel God's pleasure." I felt God's pleasure when I listened.
Sometimes all a person needs is for someone to listen. Sometimes folks just need to share their fears,their pain,their worries.
It hurts so much to think we go unheard--that no one cares. I've heard young people comment so often about how no one will listen to them--that even their parents think they have nothing important to say. I've heard older people say the same thing about their children and the rest of the world. I've heard wives say it about husbands, and husbands say it about wives. I've heard the sick complain about their doctors and nurses in this way, as well as supervisors about their employees, and so on.
It seems such a simple thing to listen, but in fact, it can be very hard. It requires putting self aside, of clearing the mind, and closing our mouths. Most important of all--it requires that we care enough to make the effort.
The people of the world are hurting and desperate for relationship. They desire a oneness with Jesus, a reconcilation with their Heavenly Father. And who knows - maybe the road home for them will start not with a footstep, but with a conversation that is heard and understood. Maybe someone will take the time to listen and that one act of kindness will forever change a life. Here's to listening more. And who knows, in doing this maybe we'll heard the sound of hearts healing and angels rejoicing as the lost are found.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
For the second year, I taught a class (and got to meet our wonderful reader Patti Jo Moore--she and I not only share a love for writing, but are both former teachers, so we're "connected" *smile*
Another real joy this year was sharing time with my oldest daughter, who is an aspiring writer. She placed third in the Women's Fiction category of the Genesis contest, and I was so proud of her! She's a stubborn mutt, though. She won't ever let me see what she's writing--she wants to do it "all myself," just like when she was two and learning to feed herself. That's okay, though. To my great delight, my granddaughter also attended (little choice, considering she's only two weeks old--her mommy was not going to leave her at home!). And who knows...maybe a few years down the line, little Adrianna will attend as an aspiring writer, too... Wouldn't that be something!
But for now, the conference is over. I have my office and house in order, my cat has re-adopted my lap, and tomorrow it's back to work. *rubbing my hands in glee* But before I go, let me share one more picture. During the HUGE booksigning at the Mall of America, sponsored by Barnes & Noble, I had the chance to share the stage with historical authors Tammy Alexander and Nancy Moser to talk "historical fiction."
Nancy has written a fascinating series of books based on real-life women from the past, starting with Mozart's sister, a talented musician in her own right but overlooked because of her gender. Nancy's explanation of this woman's trials reminded me of a t-shirt I bought at a museum in Indiana. It reads "Women who behave rarely make history." Think about it. :o)
God bless you muchly as you journey with Him! ~Kim
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
We decided to save Alaska for another year, good Lord willing, but this week we're on a New England cruise to celebrate our years together. Alaska couldn't be more beautiful than New England in the fall---even with their lovely Sara Palin.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
- teaching a Continuing Session with Deb Raney (what a blast! And reader/writer friend Patti Jo Moore from Georgia (hey Patti!), attended our session so we snapped a pic (below) following Friday's class--(L to R) Patti Jo, Deb & me)
- hearing Angela Hunt (the keynote speaker) share from her heart (gracious, is there anything that woman hasn't done?!)
- eating yummy desserts with fellow conferees then running them off as we dashed here and there
- meeting with conferees for paid critiques and seeing what talent this group is producing
- attending a Bethany House "author dinner" on Friday night where we were treated to food prep demonstrations and a to-die-for meal and dessert (photos can be seen here under The Writing Life)
- the exciting Saturday night Awards Dinner where I cheered fellow writers on as they were honored for various awards (our own Kim Sawyer took home the ACFW Book of the Year Award for Best Long Historical. Woo hoo! Congrats, Kim! I sat by Judith Miller who kept me in stitches the entire time. Thanks, Judy!)
Monday, September 22, 2008
I love to read (doesn't everyone who reads this blog?), but I also love to watch movies. My DVD collection is large, and a fair portion of the movies I deem good enough to buy are set in the past.
Although I own and adore all of the Jane Austen novels that have been made into theatrical release movies (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion), my #1 favorite historical movie isn't one of Miss Austen's fine stories. My favorite movie is from an Oscar Wilde play — An Ideal Husband. The entire cast is stellar. (I love Jeremy Northam no matter the movie.) If you haven't seen An Ideal Husband, treat yourself and rent it.
Other historical movies I can watch again and again: Gone With The Wind, Dances With Wolves, 3:10 to Yuma, Ben Hur, Friendly Persuasion, Gladiator, The Majestic. And those are just the ones off the top of my head. There are so many more.
How about you? What are your favorite movies set in the past (WWII and earlier)?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
For over twenty years, my husband and I have worked (along-side many, many others) with our oldest son and daughter-in-law in mission projects that include, Hidden Bluff Ministry, School for the Nations and Mali, West Africa. My son just sent me these pictures of the first baptisms in the small West Africa village where they serve a village that had never heard the gospel. I thought I’d share the joy with you, and the spiritual awakening that’s taking place on this vast continent.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Every novel begins with wonderful possibilities. I always think the hero and heroine will behave exactly as I want them to and that the words will flow onto the page with ease. Ha! In reality, I know I will spend the coming weeks/months struggling with characters wanting to do things their way instead of mine, with wishing I was a better writer, with wondering why I ever thought I wanted to be a writer in the first place. Such is the process of writing a novel for me.
The analogy about novel writing that I came up with many years ago (and have shared at many writers' conferences) is this: The book I have yet to write, the one that is still a beautiful idea in my imagination, is like the baby in the womb. That "child" I'm sure will be perfect, will never cause me a moment of heartache, will never cry or be disagreeable in any way. The book I am working on, however, is like a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, a child I love but who I would just as soon not be related to at the moment.
My editor was able to read the revised A Vote of Confidence manuscript quickly, and she emailed me on Friday that she loved all of my changes and especially the new ending I wrote during revisions. Music to my ears. Which means the spoiled brat manuscript has now become a well-behaved child once again. The little darling.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Once again, I have to apologize for the delay in posting.
My grandaughter Rainy is very sick and it's consumed the family to be sure. Rainy was born with an inoperable cyst on her brain and has had a shunt placed in her brain since she was very small. Unfortunately, the shunt doesn't always work, and her various complications with the cyst are not at all textbook.
Thursday night she was rushed to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and put into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. This morning they've announced they are doing emergency brain surgery for the 17th time on this beautiful little six year old. I covet your prayers.
What my relationship with this child has taught me is that life is a gift - a special blessing of time. The doctor told us when Rainy was born that we needed to "love her while we had her." They didn't expect her to live past 5 years old.
We have definitely been blessed by Rainy. She's vivacious, only suffers minor retardation, and while she is delayed in her abilities--she's an incredible asset to this family. I only wish they all lived in Montana instead of Kansas.
So today I am writing this note to encourage you to see life for what it really is - a blessing of time. We don't know how much of this time we get. We don't know what other complications will come into play to spoil our "time". But, while we have it - while we have each other - no moment should be wasted. Love each other other while you have each other.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Are you familiar with the phrase, "Reality bites"? :o)
The realities of publishing were something of a shock. Sometimes manuscripts aren't accepted at all. With those that do receive acceptance, editors suggest changes to the story. Authors get to rewrite (sometimes more than once) then peruse galleys (the last peek before publication). Deadlines loom over your head. After the book comes out you participate in marketing and promotion. There's so much more to it than writing the story and sending it in. All of those different stages take time and energy.
I am between projects right now. I have more contracted novels, but I'm not sure what I'm going to write. Several ideas are winging through my head, but I'm trying to keep them from attaching to my heart. You see, I am a character-driven writer. Once I allow the characters to come to life, I don't want an editor to reject the story. That means I have to let the characters die, and it's like saying a permanent good-bye to close friends. (Ever watched the game show "The Weakest Link"? Consider playing that with "people" who are all near and dear to you... Ouch.) So I exercise caution. I try to merely sift the idea through my fingertips rather than grabbing hold with both hands until I know for sure I'll be allowed to pursue it.
In another week, I'll be in Minneapolis, sitting at the editorial table. I'll present my ideas then hold my breath while waiting for the editor to point me in an approved direction. Some characters will be pushed aside while others will be given the go-ahead to blossom. I'm eager to discover where I'll go. After the meeting, I'll know who made the cut. Will it be Aunt Hattie, Tressa, and Abel; or Lillie and Clay; or Tarsie, Joss, and Titus; or.......? Tune in next week for an update!
Writing for His glory,
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I haven't read much these days, but I did see a sign this week that made me laugh but ponder the words. The sign read: "Mom, I'll always love you, but I'll never forget that you wiped my face with spit."
My mom used to do that to me when I was child, and I think if anyone watched the Republican convention they saw Sara Palin's daughter spitcleaning her baby brother's hair. The sign made me think of how often God has wiped my face clean with spit to make His child more presentable.
Have a blessed day.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
No, as much as I like Sarah Palin, this blog post has nothing to do with the new Republican VP candidate. The small town mayor referred to in my blog title is Guinevere Arlington, the heroine of A Vote of Confidence.
Gwen, as she is known, is a young single woman who teaches piano and writes a column for the newspaper in the small town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho in the year 1915. When the existing mayor must resign from office for health reasons, a special election must be held to elect his replacement. Trouble is, the only candidate who has declared also happens to be the hard-drinking owner of the local saloon, so Gwen's sister urges her to run for office. Gwen is college-educated, smart, and dedicated to improving things for the town. She throws her hat into the ring. Ah, but wait. The third hat that flies into the ring belongs to a newcomer to the area, Morgan McKinley.
You and I both know sparks begin to fly! Right?
The first woman mayor in the United States was the mayor of Parma, Idaho, elected in 1918. Readers of my books know that I'm enormously proud of my home state, and I love sharing it with others through the stories I write. I especially love knowing that Idaho enacted suffrage for women 24 years before the 19th Amendment was enacted. However, although the woman's suffrage movement is a huge interest of mine, A Vote of Confidence isn't a suffrage novel. It is a story of courage, including the courage to love another enough to trust that person with your heart.
Anyway, as you watch the election coverage over the next two months and wait to see if Sarah Palin, former small town mayor, will become the first woman VP in American history, I hope you'll also look forward to the story of Gwen Arlington, a candidate for mayor in 1915.
A Vote of Confidence releases in May 2009. [Note: the cover shown isn't final; some tweaks are still being made, but I just couldn't wait to share it with you.]
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Here I am in Pennsylvania, being an author, while my first granddaughter slips into the world. I have to admit to suffering a few moments of angst (who am I kidding? I suffered major angst!!!) over the situation, but funny thing...Kristian managed just fine without Mom at her side. :o)
After five grandsons, you'd think the arrival of a new grandchild would be "old hat," but nope--every one of them has been beyond precious, beyond exciting, beyond blessing; Adrianna is no exception.
Babies are such a tangible reminder of the Creator! Take a peek at the new little soul who entered the world at 3:37 yesterday afternoon. I think she's pretty special.
ADRIANNA MARIE ~ September 3, 2008 ~ 7#, 1.2 oz.; 18.5" long
God bless, Gramma Kim
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Labor Day weekend turned out to be different than I expected. Close friends called and said they had business in Tampa, and would we like to tag along. We said sure, and threw some things into a suitcase and headed out, keeping in mind Gustav was lurking somewhere off the coast. After dropping off their son, Paul, in Jacksonville, we flew into Clearwater. After our friends business was concluded, we sought out food. In other words, we spent a couple of days eating. Charlie’s Steakhouse proved to be a favorite, and I had one of the best fish sandwiches at a little restaurant near Tampa that I’ve ever eaten. We got lost several times, encountered typical Florida thunderstorms and lighting---boy, I don’t like that lighting, and watched Gustav barreling toward Louisiana. We had planned to stay until Monday but by Sunday the area was getting wind and rain off the hurricane, so we headed home, a very BUMPY ride going out of Clearwater to Jackson.
I was thinking how life can take surprising turns. We had planned to spend the holiday doing pretty much nothing, but it turned out to be an adventure. Anyone else do something they hadn’t planned to do over the holiday?
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
I have a cover comp for this release, but I've been reluctant to share yet as some tweaking is required. But it is so hard for me not to share. I'm really excited about it, and I think readers are going to love it too. It is a great way to kick off this new historical series that is called The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs. All of the books in this series will feature women with unusual occupations for their day. In the first book, the heroine is running for mayor. FYI, the first woman mayor in America was from Idaho and was elected within a couple of years of the setting of my story — and prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment which gave women in the rest of the country the right to vote.
I've written over 60 books, and I can tell you that I get just as excited by the different stages in the publishing process (especially when they are going "right") as I did back in the beginning. I have had some absolutely gorgeous covers during my career. I've also had some b-a-d ones. A few, in my general market days, that were nothing but sleazy, to my enormous embarrassment.
I heard recently from a reader who has been on my prayer team for the past year, and she said that being on my prayer team: "... helps me to focus on the fact that authors are real people with real problems and the same types of deadlines and stress that any working person would face. The fact that it takes so long to write and publish a book never entered my mind before. Also never thought of you needing to delete parts of the story to come in under the word count limit, etc. Always saw my authors writing their books and when done sending it off to the publisher so that it can be printed and ready for sale next month - not a year in advance!"
Yes, publishing is a long process, sometimes fun, sometimes painful, sometimes exciting, sometimes boring. Like any job. But I'm very grateful that God revealed to me the talent He gave me and showed me how to put it to use for Him.
Back to my labors. I do hope that this post finds you enjoying the weekend. But if you are among the million-plus people who have taken shelter from Hurricane Gustav, please know that I am praying for your safety and that you will be able to return to your homes soon.