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Showing posts from April, 2005

ACFW Book of the Year judging

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.30.2005 I just got my ACFW Book of the Year judging packet. Looking over the score sheets, I realized that this is very much like a contest for an unpublished writer. The authors are receiving anonymous feedback from readers who can freely give opinions on things like character, conflict, motivation. Many times, I’ve read a book where the character is inconsistent, or the conflict isn’t strong enough, or the motivation isn’t quite believable, but I’ve never written to the author to complain. I can see how this might be scary for an author. I know I’d be freaking out. I was just talking with a friend of mine last night about Christian fiction. While much of it is excellent quality, there are a few that really disappoint. It doesn’t even matter sometimes if the authors are new or multi-published. Some things are blatant and unprofessional--I recently read a Christian book where the heroine had absolutely no goal and no conflict wit

Embryonic stem cells

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.29.2005 I haven’t blogged in a while, but in all honesty there hasn’t been much going on. Writing: The past few days I’ve been brainstorming my next project, a Chicklit novella. The heroine eludes me for some reason. I’ll need to give it more thought, more freewriting. Today I interviewed a coworker who has done work with embryonic stem cells (ES). Before asking her my questions, I made clear that I’m a Christian and I don’t agree with the morality of how they acquire ES, so she didn’t need to continue talking with me if she didn’t want to. I explained that I wanted verification for my plot premise in my latest manuscript. She was very nice. She explained why she felt ES were necessary for research and therapy, but she also answered my questions. My plot premise is sound, and she thought it was very interesting. She also showed me that the field for ES is wide open with a multitude of other possibilities. My devious brain is alread

Suspense manuscript is done!

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.22.2005 At 9:00 PM (PST) I typed the last word to my Asian suspense manuscript! Well, I still have several crucial items of revision ahead of me, but the bulk of it is done. <br> I celebrated by watching the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" with my husband. Awesome special effects. I loved the tornadoes in L.A. I admired the writing and suspenseful plot development--each scene moved to the next one with good pace, with no release of tension. I liked the deleted scenes much better than the ones they had in instead--they added more depth and color to the movie--but oh well, I'm not the editor. I also watched the most emotional TV episode that I've ever seen, the most recent one of "House." A woman who had several miscarriages is finally pregnant (7 months?) but she also has a fast-acting lung cancer. The whole episode talks about the moral dilemma of sav

Guilty for not blogging

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.19.2005 Okay, I admit I should be writing--I have literally only three scenes left until I'm done with my manuscript--but I feel guilty for not blogging. Can you believe it? GUILTY. There is something seriously wrong with me. It's not even like I have anything deep, spiritual, encouraging or inspiring to say! Writing is slow but wonderful. I finally realized that maybe the reason I was so distracted and unmotivated to finish this manuscript was because Satan didn't want me to. Spiritual warfare had been the last thing on my mind. And me being the weird person I am, that actually encouraged me because that meant my manuscript was important to God, or else Satan wouldn't bother tormenting me, he has tons of other missionaries and pastors to dig into. Once I realized it was warfare, writing became easier. Or maybe I started praying more, I'm not sure. But now I'm three scenes from the end and very happy with what&

DREAMING IN BLACK AND WHITE by Laura Jensen Walker

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.12.2005 "Dreaming in Black and White" by Laura Jensen Walker <br> From the back cover: Phoebe Grant is everyone’s favorite movie geek--unbeatable at trivia, convinced that all the world’s a movie screen. She can organize a four-hankie chick-flickathon with a wave of her tall, nonfat, double mocha. And she’s a shoo-in for the job of her dreams--movie reviewer for the newspaper where she works. Enter Alex Spencer--not only gorgeous but also a film buff, perfectly cast for a celluloid kiss and a fade to sunset. Unfortunately, Alex is the villain who sends Phoebe packing to the last place on earth she wants to be--back home to boring little Barley, California. But wait. It couldn’t be. Dark, handsome, and annoying Alex . . . in Barley? Can Phoebe protect her hometown--and her heart--and prove It’s a Wonderful Life? Or is her promising future truly Gone With the Wind? Camy here: Fabulous! Hilarious writing--dialogue

GROUNDS TO BELIEVE by Shelley Bates

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.11.2005 <br> From the back cover: He'd find Kailey someday. One assignment at a time. One prayer at a time . . . Ever since a cult took his daughter, police investigator Ross Malcolm's mission has been to protect children. So when a secretive sect in Hamilton Falls , Washington , comes under suspicion for child endangerment, he's on the job, seeking evidence from the latest recruit's aunt, Julia McNeill. Though disdainful of her restricted lifestyle, Ross finds himself wanting to teach Julia the truth of God's love. Accustomed to living in her sister's shadow, Julia is unaware of her own strengths. Though she's been taught to fear outsiders, conscience compels her to risk everything to help Ross protect her nephew and find his daughter. But Julia'

Edits and rewrites

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.10.2005 Since it’s technically Sunday already, I’ll post for today. Writing: I had a hard time writing earlier today--easily distracted, chronic procrastination--but this evening I came into a writing zone. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m a night owl. My best writing time is usually in the evening, often after midnight . I had wanted to be done by tonight, but I blame it on laziness and preplanned events. I’m so close I can taste it. I already wrote my heroine’s spiritual epiphany scene on Friday (during that creative episode at work), which was probably one of the hardest passages. I know I’m not supposed to edit while I write, but I have a hard time allowing myself to lay down trite and clichéd prose. I write something and think, “That’s bland, that sounds funny. What’s a different way I can phrase that?” I also have a tendency to reuse words within a few pages of each other, so I try to reword things as I go. I proba

Just write garbage

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.08.2005 Writing: I’ve been realizing that my writing discipline needs work. I don’t get it. I was so disciplined in February and the early part of March. And now I’m slacking. I always thought writing was all creativity. Through my online groups I discovered it’s 50% marketing, too, once you get published, and often even before the book hits the shelves. Now I’m learning that it’s also plain old-fashioned DISCIPLINE. The same discipline I needed to do my chores, finish my homework, practice piano. I remember those days. Writing is much more interesting than washing dishes, so why can’t I forego temptations like “Alias” and “Lost” and work on my manuscript? I’ve realized that once I force myself to start, to sit and write even though it’s only garbage appearing on the computer screen, then after a while the writing gets easier and better. It’s forcing myself to stare at my manuscript Word document that’s hard, especially when there’s all t

Happy Birthday to my husband!

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.07.2005 Today, on his 39th birthday, my husband is as sick as a dog. He had a high fever this morning and I think he’s been sleeping all day. Poor guy. I’ve been praying he’ll be feeling better soon. Last night, the San Jose ACFW group met at my house, although two people couldn’t make it. We had so much fun gabbing and talking shop. I made a chocolate trifle that turned out rather well, I thought. As sweet as sin, that’s fur shore. Writing: Going slowly. I worked on my manuscript some last night after the meeting and got quite a bit done, but not as much as I wanted to. I pray I have the discipline to write more tonight. Part of me is scared silly. It’s this thought, “Okay, I finished a manuscript. I want to make sure that wasn’t a fluke so I have to finish this second one.” Isn’t that just dumb? Somebody smack me. My friend Cheryl is a genius at marketing. She’s holding a contest to attract more people to her website. Now

Feeling closer to God

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.05.2005 I don’t know what it is that’s changed, but I feel like my fellowship with God is improving. I had a great time reading the last few chapters of the Gospel of Mark tonight--He is risen! He is risen indeed! Okay, yeah, it’s a little late for that. But really, it’s never the wrong time to celebrate the resurrection, if only to remind myself that I’m risen with Him, too. Writing: Yesterday around midnight I starting slamming away at the keyboard, I was so fired up. I finished a scene that I had forgotten to include in chapter 18 or something like that. The manuscript has its snarky moments, rather than being entirely serious. I just can’t keep myself from inserting sarcasm. The overall tone and atmosphere is serious, I think--I hope--since it’s dealing with a controversial topic, embryonic stem cells. I think I will include a Stem Cell section in the Research page on my website for anyone interested in more information on ste

Forgiveness

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.04.2005 Yesterday, I had a good time with God. I missed church because of my cold, but I spend time reading the Gospel of Mark. The Holy Spirit convicted me when I read about prayer, faith and forgiveness in Mark 11:22-26: Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I assure you that you can say to this mountain, “May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart. Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins.” (NLT) I’ve been feeling spiritually blah lately and just trying to push through it, be faithful despite my indifference. But when I read this passage, God co

I feel spiritually blah

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.02.2005 Still struggling with myself. I feel so lazy, so selfish. I want to do things my way, at the same time I want to completely submit to God. Paul, I feel your pain, dude. I wrote my Real Life Q&A column for RubyZine for April: “I feel spiritually blah.” Might as well make use of my current status, what? I advised my mythical teenager to just keep plugging along, that God has a reason for this season, and that it will eventually pass. Lord, help me to stay focused and faithful. Show me what doesn’t please You about my heart. Help me--break me if You have to--to align my will with Yours, my heart with Yours. Restore fellowship with me, Lord, to a vibrant connection again. Writing: Revisions to my manuscript (what I’ve written so far) are done. Now to start cracking on finishing the rest. Sharon mentioned my “instant attraction” between hero and heroine was a bit too much. I can see her point, and I’ve toned it do

She's a super freak . . .

Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.01.2005 I am such a Control Freak. Lord, how many times do You have to remind me to give it up to You? If I don’t write for You, then I’m only writing for myself. Why can’t I get my head on straight and remember to dedicate my time at this keyboard to You? I’m so forgetful, so selfish. But I know You have power to help me despite my weaknesses. Help me to serve You with my writing, Lord. Writing: I mailed off my Noble Theme Contest entry yesterday, but changed my category last minute to general Suspense/Mystery rather than Romantic Suspense. I lay awake on Wednesday night thinking about it and comparing my opening chapter to the Inspirational Romantic Suspense books I’ve read, which are mostly Steeple Hill. My friend Pammer’s chapter opens up just like a Love Inspired Suspense, but mine is more akin to Brandilyn Collins’ suspense stories, even though the heroine meets the hero in the first chapter. I just hope there are enough Suspense entrie