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April 2004 newsletter

Here's my April newsletter:

Hi, and welcome to my first newsletter! So much has happened in the last month. Let's see if I can organize the highlights:

1) Mt. Hermon: I attended my very first writer's conference ever, the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference at the beginning of April. What an amazing experience. I felt God's hand on me each and every day. He led the right people to meet me at the right times. It was wonderful to put faces to the names I knew from my online writer's groups, and to meet new friends.

I met a wonderful woman of God, Sharon Hinck, and we hit it off immediately. She has been an incredible support and cheerleader for me in the revising process since I've been back from the conference. I can't imagine revising "The Corinthian Rules" without her. I fully expect a publishing company to contract for her novels "The Restorer" and "Amber Bay" soon. She's an amazing writer.

I also met Cherise Olsen, who lives in Boulder Creek, only 10 minutes from Mount Hermon, and only 45 minutes from me in south San Jose. We immediately stuck together like Rocky and Bullwinkle! She's funny and writes Chick-Lit also. I can't wait to get together with her again--we've promised each other to meet in a few weeks to hang out again. She really encouraged me during the conference with prayer when I needed it, a laugh every time we went to the women's restroom (don't ask!) and a smiling face to look forward to each morning in the Fiction 101 workshop track.

I had a phenomenal time meeting editors and agents. I submitted the synopsis and first chapter of "The Corinthian Rules" to two publishing houses, Bethany House and Westbow (who publishes Kristin Billerbeck's Chick-Lit series about Ashley Stockingdale).

Jenny Baumgartner from Westbow gave me the nicest rejection I've ever seen. She said (very correctly, I discovered over the course of the conference) that I needed to take my writing to the next level and suggested "Self-Editing for the Fiction Writer" by Browne/King. She even took the time to write a few comments in the margin of my synopsis and chapter.

Christopher Soderstrom from Bethany liked my proposal and asked to meet with me, but he did express concern that it might not fit Bethany's readership. There was a great deal of talk that weekend about edginess and the acceptability of different genres within the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association), and this seemed to fall in that category. But Christopher did ask me to keep in touch, suggested that I revise my writing more, and invited me to send the revised proposal.

I also got the chance to meet with Jeff Dunn from RiverOak Publishing, and he asked me to revise and send him the full manuscript when it's completed. He especially likes "edgy" and unusual fiction that may not fit standard CBA guidelines. I also pitched to Karen Ball from Zondervan and to agent Deirdre Knight, who both requested I send them my proposal.

Now, it's the waiting game. I'm working with Sharon to revise "Corinthians" and hopefully get it sent to Jeff by the end of May.

2) Work: In the first week of March, I interviewed and received a job offer from a biotech company in the south Bay area (a 30-minutes-against-traffic commute, baby!), and I have been working there for about 6 weeks now. Aside from the difficult transition from unemployed homebody to biology researcher again, the hours have been really long as we struggle to meet a deadline by the end of the month. My supervisor is smart and very good, and my coworkers are all nice. It's just the heavy workload that's killing me. But it has also made me long even more to write full-time. I enjoy biology research, but it's writing fiction that is my true calling. I have been praying and trying my best to persevere, and hoping that one day God may allow me to quit my job and write full-time. It may never happen, but I am trusting Him to know what's best for me. I need to remember that it'll only happen in His timing.

3) My husband: still unemployed, but interviewing and trusting God to provide for us. Becoming a phenomenal cook, and spending lots of time playing PS2 and fishing.

4) Snickers: still a pain in the behind, but a bit more obedient after six rounds of dog classes (whew!). She passed the Canine Good Citizenship test (barely!) and we are taking a break from classes right now.

Well, I think that's it! Until next month!



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