Old Content Made New?

Hey all!

I’m looking to write for a local newspaper again, so I approached the editor and he asked for samples.  Naturally, I came to my blog to search for some.  And what I found was this:  amazingly good stories from long ago.

What I’m wondering is this:  would you be interested in me re-posting them?  I was thinking maybe a link at the end of my devotionals or something?  Then it wouldn’t be a separate email/post and you could visit it only if you were interested.  Maybe once a week?  Fridays perhaps?

Thoughts or suggestions?

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Advice on Query Letter

Hey all,

Below is my query letter for my newly-completed New Adult Novel.  Any advice and improvements would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Dear Agent,

When nineteen-year-old American college student Suzie Smith overhears a plot to blow up a building in London, her fun-filled year abroad now becomes a race against time to discover the details and stop the bombing. The main problem: one of the bombers is her boyfriend, Edward Long.

Convinced her unassuming, gentle boyfriend could not possibly be involved, Suzie pushes the knowledge out of her mind, chalking it up to the exorbitant amount of alcohol she has been consuming lately. Until the talk continues and escalates. She learns the building is none other than the Palaces of Westminster and the bombing is happening soon—less than a fortnight.

She reports what little she knows to the police who promptly dismiss her as a naive American—except for one hard-nosed Irishman, Inspector Reilly. However, he is unable to convince his bosses without more information, which he presses Suzie to learn.

Overwhelmed, Suzie decides her best strategy is to spend as much time as possible with Edward in hopes he’ll open up to her.  Along the way, Suzie has the time of her life, traveling to Paris and Scotland.  And Suzie does learn more—she learns she’s falling in love with Edward.

As the line between real and not real becomes blurred, can Suzie choose? If she betrays Edward, he may die. If she keeps her mouth shut, scores will die. How will she choose? And when she does, what will it cost her?

This is a contemporary new-adult novel and the first in a planned series. It is complete at 82,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

End Note:  Character names have been changed and details in paragraph four and the title omitted.  Also, any technical advice as well would be greatly appreciated such as are the stakes clearly shown?  Would you ask to see pages?  Why or why not?  Anything else you all see that I’m too close to see?

P.S.  For those non-writers out there, a query letter is the first step into landing a literary agent who sells your work to publishers.  It’s a critical component in getting published.

I Never Thought I’d Say This But…

I like editing.

I used to hate it.  Despise it.  Curse it.

Now, it’s a challenge to me.  To make my writing better.  To find the awkward wordings and sentences.  To tighten up my story.  To eliminate repetition.  To make my story the best it can possibly be in hopes of landing an agent and getting published.

What Keeps Me Going...

What Keeps Me Going…

I’ve set an unofficial deadline for myself of June 1st to finish this novel and begin querying. It’s finished. But I’m not sure if I’ll be done editing it by then.

But it’ll be close.  Very, very close.

Oops!  Shouldn’t use the word ‘very’ now should I?

I Can’t Quit (Even Though I’d Like To)…

I was in the middle of my second novel re-write when I got a critique back from a writing contest I had entered.  The critique was bad.  I was missing an “inciting incident” (which I had to look up. It’s the central conflict of the story and the moment the main character is forced to act and we learn what he or she wants the most).  The plot and dialogue were shakey to put it nicely.  But my novel “has a ton of potential” and “could be interesting”.

Seriously?

So I immediately stopped work on it and thought what else I could do with my life instead.  Read my books instead of kids books.  Teach (didn’t get that job either).  Or piddle-paddle around through life.  I was depressed about it to say the least and ready to quit altogether.

Finally, I realized while swimming the other day that God keeps closing doors He doesn’t want me to go down, but this writing door remains open.

While searching the Internet aimlessly (something I’m wont to do when I’m feeling down in the dumps), I read articles on writing.  One article said that a writer is someone who can’t quit writing.  Someone who feels compelled to write no matter the amount of rejection or the lack of success.  Someone who can’t do anything else but write.

That’s how I feel.  Something inside of me is still pushing me to write even though I don’t want to.  I can’t kill it.  It’s a desire that’s there and won’t go away.

Sigh.

So I guess I’ll keep writing (not that I have a choice about it).  And maybe some day this novel that will enter its third (and God-willing final) re-write will go somewhere.  That’s my prayer at least. While the door is still open…

Why Is It We NEVER Give Ourselves Enough Credit?

I just applied for a homeschool writing position with another blog.  They asked for a brief list of credentials and three writing samples related to homeschooling.  They offer a bit of compensation so I thought “Why not?”

So I list my resume per se:  I am almost done with my YA edit.  I write novels.  I wrote a newspaper column.  I blog.  I homeschool my kids.  Used to be a public school teacher.

Then I begin a search for my writings on homeschool.  I have a few here on this blog but they are old.  Then I suddenly remembered my newspaper columns I wrote.  I wrote a ton of homeschool stuff then.  So I drag all those up and copy and paste.

While I am copying and pasting, I am reading them.  I think, “Wow, these are pretty good!”  Then I think, “Actually, these are REALLY good.”

It made me realize:  I can write.  I am good at something in this world besides changing diapers and chauffeuring kids to soccer practice, music classes, swim lessons, etc.  I do have something to say that’s not kid-related.  And I have something important to say that doesn’t begin with a negative i.e. “No!” or “Don’t!” or “Stop!”

I think we as women and moms get so caught up in the outside world validating us that we forget that we don’t need validation from the outside world.  We forget God has stamped us as His from the moment we were born.  We forget we have everything if we have Him.  And we forget that we are enough; we are good; we are important.

God knows this.  So why don’t we?

Easy:  It all comes back to Him.

I forget this every day of my life.  I have to constantly remind myself of Him and the Cross.  And when I do, when I acknowledge Him in my mind, then I can acknowledge myself in my mind and it becomes a little easier to believe I am important after all.  I stand a bit taller.  I believe in myself a bit more.  And I give myself credit where credit is due.

Whether or not the outside world ever recognizes me is unimportant.  It would be nice, don’t get me wrong.  But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  All that does matter is Him.  I work for Him, through Him, and by Him.  Period.

My Ideal Life…

So school (and hence my job) has been on a two-week break.  It’s been nice (after I recovered from my nasty illness).  I’ve spent the days cleaning my house, visiting family and friends, reading books both to my kids and to myself and my gym membership started on January 1st so I went to the pool, which was awesome!

I also have been querying my just completed YA contemporary novel (this is where you try to find a literary agent in order to sell your work to a publisher).  To be quite honest, I am holding out no hope really of landing one.  But I do it anyways so then I can move on to my next book, which I think I will return to non-fiction which was the first book I wrote about 7 years ago when I was called to this “career”.

Me Reading City of Bones

Me Reading City of Bones

One of the books I read was City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  I saw the movie version and liked it, so of course I grabbed the book since it’s in one of my favorite genres to write (YA paranormal).

I liked the book (except for the ending) and would recommend it if you like that stuff, but it was depressing to read for the simple fact it made me jealous–jealous because I don’t think I can write that good of a book.  It made me want to start writing another YA paranormal almost instantly–until I thought I have no inspiration at the moment.

After reading City of Bones, I believe my current novel to be utter crap and won’t go anywhere like the rest of the books I’ve written.

So now what?  Well, I pray.  Pray for my book.  Pray I write something that will impact someone somewhere.  Pray someone will believe in that dream with me as well–enough to get me published.  Pray I do God’s work and not my own.

So why is this my ideal life?  Because I got to read a book!  I haven’t read a book outside of kids books since Killing Jesus (and that took me almost 3 months to finish)!

I got to do what I wanted to do (for the most part), which is sit around and read books.  No kids activities to run to.  No guitar lessons to make.  No job I had to get up for…

Still, there is something deep inside of me that craves more.  It craves this book (whatever that will be).  It craves it more than a pregnant woman would ice cream.  And the restlessness inside of me never goes away until I have it…

I Have Been Blogging 4 Years!!!

Wow!  Just got a notification that today is my 4 year anniversary for this site.  Man, has it come a LONG way from when I first started!

I’ve been blogging longer than that.  I used to have a parenting blog as well, but I shut that down and started this one as a means to cope with my isolation at the time.

I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have and I want to thank you for sharing in my minuscule life.  It’s been at times trying and at other times a lot of work and most of the time incredibly rewarding and uplifting.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  And I look forward to many more years with you all and seeing what God does in your and my life!

God bless!