Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Interview with Joyce’s client, Jane Kirkpatrick

It is with extreme pleasure that I introduce you to bestselling author, Jane Kirkpatrick. Jane was my very first client in 1992. I sold her first novel to the very first publisher I contacted, Multnomah Publishing. Rod Morris was her editor. Rod recognized Jane’s talent from the very beginning. Since that time, Jane has won many, many awards.

Jane is inter-nationally recognized for her lively presentations and well-researched stories that encourage and inspire. Her works have appeared in more than 50 publications including Decision, Private Pilot and Daily Guideposts. Many of her sixteen novels and nonfiction titles are based on the lives of real people or incidents set authentically in the American West. Her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy, Spur, Oregon Book Award, WILLA Literary Award and Reader’s Choice awards. Several of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections.

A Tendering in the Storm won the 2007 WILLA Literary Award for Best Original Paperback and A Flickering Light, a story based on her grandmother’s life as a turn of the century photographer, was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2009
Now let’s talk to Jane and learn more about her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A friend of mine said that at the end of a book where is says "about the author" that what she doesn't want to read are the number of books or awards. She wants to know "stuff" like where you live, how many dogs you have, etc. So, I live on a remote ranch in a very dry part of Oregon near the Columbia River and along the John Day River (so you can find it on the map). The address is Starvation Lane. We now have two dogs and a bunch of cows just released this morning from the corral onto the pasture. They're pretty happy. Until last week, we also had a goat but the previous owners of the cows took the goat home with them as they have sheep so he won't be so lonely. I'm been married to Jerry for almost 34 years (on the 31st). I have two step-children and six step-grandchildren all of which live far away except one. Oh, and we're 25 miles from the nearest town.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was thirteen we had to write an essay about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said three things: a journalist, a missionary and a secretary. So through the years I've written nonfiction though I wouldn't call it journalism except when I edited an employee newsletter for the Medical School at the University of Wisconsin; I've been a secretary and an administrator of a mental health clinic; and my missionary status I guess is my writing, hoping it reaches people as my years as a mental health professional did. I did write little poems when I was young and my teachers were always kind about my writing but I didn't write for others to read until I was in my forties.

Where do you get your inspiration?
From everywhere. The landscapes, poetry I read, history books I encounter, scripture, music, family and friends.

What is your all time favorite writing ‘How To’ book?
One that you would like to recommend to other authors. Structuring the Novel by Meredith and Fitzgerald. It was published in the 1970s but is still a solid how to write a novel book.

What obstacles have you had to overcome in your writing journey?

Let me count the mountains! But the word character comes to us from the Greek word meaning "to chisel." It's what's left of us after we've been gouged out, after we've had trials, that is the mark of our character. I suspect the greatest obstacle for me has been giving value to the writing before anyone else thought it worthy of publishing. We tend to minimize our efforts unless they meet the world's criteria of fame and fortune. My husband was a great help to me when I first talked about writing a novel but knew I couldn't as I didn't know how, the family I wanted to write about wasn't my family and I hadn't lived in the community I hoped to write about for a hundred years. He said one day "If you think that's a great story you should just write it down. If other people don't like it they can write their own version. But maybe you'll find out in the writing why that story wouldn't let you go." And I did.

Tell our readers about your “Homestead.”
You can sort of look at the answer to the first question. Our property is quite remote, seven miles from our mailbox, eleven miles from a paved road. We built it from scratch coming here, not knowing anyone except the people we bought the bare land from. We stepped out on a cloud of faith believing we wouldn't fall through. It changed our lives, this landscape. I began writing here; we survived disasters here including a plane crash; we were able to meet the needs of a granddaughter here while her parents dealt with drug addictions and the homestead sustained us through it all giving me another profession called writing just when I needed it. We celebrated our 26th year here in May.

What are you working on currently?

So glad you asked! My next novel is entitled The Daughter's Walk. In 1896 a Norwegian mother and daughter accepted a wager to walk from Spokane to New York City within seven months. If they were successful, they'd earn $10,000 and could save their farm from foreclosure. Things happened. When they returned, Clara, the daughter, changed her name and separated herself from the family for more than twenty years. I was so intrigued by that last tidbit of information read in a nonfiction book about the walk that I began researching and discovering Clara. Her "walk" was as adventurous as the walk she made with her mother. It'll be out in April from WaterBrook Press. And then I have a new project, my first contemporary stand alone novel with working title Barcelona Calling. It's about a writer who confuses fame with fulfillment as she tries to make her way in the publishing world -- with a little help from her friends. Zondervan is the publisher. It'll be out in September of 2011. Beyond that I'm busy with speaking events, fund-raisers, and in September if all goes well, my husband and I and two friends are headed for three weeks in Greece! I'm motivated to get these edits all finished before then!

I am privileged to have had Jane as a client and a dear friend all these many years. We have been able to meet many times around the country. I flew to Oklahoma City for her very first award for her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, when she was presented with the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. I got to visit the ranch a few years ago. Her husband Jerry went fishing in the John Day river early in the morning and caught bass for our lunch. I loved those fish and I normally do not like fish. We’ve been together several times at the ICR. When she was in Pittsburgh my book club got to meet with her and most recent, I was in Texas and was able to go to San Antonio for the Women Writing the West banquet when she was presented with the Willa award. I am indeed honored to be Jane’s agent.
Jane’s web site is You can follow Jane on her blog, facebook & twitter. Go to her web site for that information. Also be sure to sign up for her newsletter, Story Sparks.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Special Announcement

Tamela is pleased to announce that Kim Atchley and Candy Arrington's coauthored book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life, won first place for nonfiction in the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest. Congratulations, ladies, on being recognized for such a helpful and inspiring work!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blogging advice and info from Diana's client Carole Brown

Carole, when your agent, (that would be me) asked you to build a platform by beginning to blog, you were brave and did so. In the last year or so you have been faithfully blogging, interviewing and also have managed to fit into your schedule writing and editing your novels as well as honing your skills. By all appearances it seems you are enjoying the blog experience.

Were you scared at first to jump into blogging?

Of course. Anytime a writer has to open up a little bit of their heart or their self to others, it’s risky business. You’re exposing your dreams and hopes and thoughts for the world to see. But as much as a writer would rather stay in their shell to write and sell tons of books, there’s another (not as well liked) side. Marketing, and blogging is part of building a writer’s platform.

For those that have yet to join the blog biz, please share with our readers how you first began.
I began with little knowledge and in a very general way. I’d heard about blogging, that it was necessary for a writer. If that was the case, I knew I’d better get moving. As I explain later on under another question, my first attempt was mostly about me, with a few friends and family reading my blog.

Eventually, as I studied and read other blogs, mine began evolving. I’ve tried different things through the years. It took me awhile to find what works for me, what I felt God wanted out of my blog. Right now, I’ve settled into a routine that I like. I’m blogging three/four times a week.
Sundays: a devotional type of blog with a quote or scripture and a picture. Short, sweet and to the point.
Mondays: I give a short list of things I’m thankful for. I hope to do this until I reach a thousand gratitudes. If you want to know more about this, find out where the idea came from, check out:
Wednesdays: interviews with giveaways, reviews, or something writing related.
Fridays or Saturdays: fun stuff. A story I’ve read. Something I want to say. Maybe a guest blogger. Whatever.
I’m also beginning this month (I’ll see how it goes. Smile) a mini contest that I’m calling a “What is it? Day” contest.

I’m still learning and picking up hints of what works and what doesn’t. I’m not afraid to change something on my blog if it will make it better.

One other thing: I’m also hoping to develop a specialty blog (with a friend). That’s a blog that dwells on one certain theme. Because I bring in abused situations in many of my novels, and my young friend has a degree in counseling, we think we’d be a good match for something like this. But we want to get it right; to have a blog that is unique, helpful, and powerful for those who are in, who have been in, or who knows someone in an abused situation. We are praying for direction.

Do you read other blogs? Is this a help to you?

Oh, my, yes! If I’m going to ask others to read my blog and become followers, then I should do the same. So usually once a week, on my blogger dashboard, I scan through all the blogs, check out different ones and try to leave comments of encouragement. How does this help me? Friends! I love friends. Smile. I encourage them, and hopefully, they’ll return the favor.

I’ve also learned not to be bashful about asking for followers. If I like a new blog I discover and want to become a follower, I invite that blog’s owner to return the favor. Normally, it works.

I noticed that you offer contests and giveaways. Are they a popular aspect of your blog?
Well, it draws the most comments, so I’d say they’re pretty popular. Who doesn’t want something free in this economy? Plus it’s a little something I can give back to those faithful enough to stop by my blog.

If you were to say on a scale between 1 and 10 the joy you receive from blogging what would it be?
I smiled on this one. There are times when I might rate it as a one, but for the most part it hits the top of the scale.

When I first started, blogging was all about ME. What I thought, how I felt, my happiness, my discouragements. But once I moved on, quit trying to find new topics about myself, then it became more enjoyable. I love sharing information and encouragement with my followers and visitors. Also, I’ve recently been accepted as a reviewer with The Suspense Zone which means I get plenty of suspense/mystery books to read and review on my blog (plus other places) for my readers’ benefit.

On the same scale what would be the amount of work you have to invest? Has the amount of work diminished as you have developed your blogging skills?
Yes and no.

Because I chose to do interviews and reviews, it takes some time to contact (usually several emails) interviewees, set up dates, remind them that I need their answers to the questions, download pictures, etc. I save their pictures and their answers immediately after they respond, then when I have a few minutes, I can get on blogger and set up the interview. I love it when I can do that ahead of time.

Contests too take up time; especially when I run one of my own. Contacting those offering gifts, getting their information so that I can give them back a little bit of marketing exposure, email follow-ups, mailing out the prizes (which are usually multiple); well, it all takes time.

But both of these are avenues I decided to pursue on my blog, for my readers, so it’s well worth the time to me.

On the plus side, I’ve learned how to navigate the blogger scene a little better. I’m always on the lookout for interesting and helpful items to include on my blog. I also now prepare several blog posts at once, which saves me a ton of time. I have things pre-prepared for my blog posts. Sometimes I will do the nitty-gritty stuff for a post I want to do, but don’t have the meaty portion (or a picture I want to use) yet, then save it to complete later. I’ve picked up tricks on how to accomplish my posts quicker and more efficiently, so on the scale, with 10 being the most hours, I’d give this between a four and six.

What do you hope your readers take away will be from reading your blog?

I want them to ENJOY the five/ten minutes they spend there. Whether that is by:
laughing over some funny article or comment
being inspired that life really is lovely,
having a moment’s respite from their problems,
feeling encouraged to buy a book from a fellow writer, or
taking a second to worship God,
I hope I’ve given them something to make their day a little brighter.

What surprises have you been 'blessed with through blogging?
Two things come to mind:
Meeting new friends. I love comments and the contacts other bloggers and I have together.
Seeing and enjoying the generosity of others.
Let me give you some examples: one of my followers shared how I could receive free books by reviewing for a certain publishing company. Several writer friends (bloggers) offer books, services and other items for free gifts when I have my own contests, and, finally, we can pick up news, items of interest, and special tips on lots of things.

Are there any cautions you can mention for the blogger to be aware of?

Maybe two:
It can be addictive. (Smile) There are so many fun, interesting, entertaining and wonderful blogs out there in cyberspace, it can quite devour a person’s life. Balancing your time is a necessity!
When you do begin a blog, watch for any comments that would be inappropriate. This doesn’t always happen, or even often, but it can.

Has this experience of blogging been a help to your writing? and if so in what way?
YES! Besides writing experience, it’s helped me to discipline myself even more with my time. I live such a busy life that I have to use my time wisely.

Do you network with other bloggers and how does that work?
We share information with each other.
We can advertise each other’s special blog posts.
There are certain blogs that make a specialty of advertising contests, and they are valuable for those of us who have interviews and giveaways. They, in turn, find out about lots of new books.
I occasionally like to have a special blog to “advertise” certain people, their work, their books, even blogs.

Do you see blogging as a ministry as well as a marketing tool? What would you say it has meant to you in the best sense?
Definitely. Ministry is serving, being helpful, aiding. It’s a little something I can do for others that will hopefully aid them in some manner. I say this modestly, but one of the attributes ascribed to me from people who really know me is my caring heart. I care about people. I like to help. Blogging is a small ministry that lets me to do what I can do well.

Please take a moment and share with our readers your additional thoughts on blogging.

A necessity for a writer or anyone who needs to market. I think it opens you up to readers, lets them share a little of your life. If you’re published, readers need to see YOU. When you blog, readers need to see YOU. When I check out my favorite author’s books, blogs, whatever, I look for their picture, for their bio. It makes them human and accessible to me even if I never talk or meet them.

For example:
On the Hartline Blog, each one of the agents shows a little bit of their personality whenever they blog. Their topics, the way they present the material, and their pictures give us a glimpse into their lives, what they like, what makes them tick. It makes the agents accessible to us. Nothing that is intrusive, of course, but we subconsciously realize they are real. Does that make sense?

One more thing. Even a general blog is good, but if you are blogging because you want to market yourself or your product, then pray and choose a center theme. That’s not to say, you can’t vary your posts. But the basic, overall key to your blog is . . . say, suspense. That sets the tone for what you need/want to market. Readers can have fun or a laugh at certain posts, but they won’t forget that you are serious about promoting your suspense books if you key your colors, the objects, lots of topics with suspense in mind.

Make sure you tag your posts.
Invite guest bloggers. New material!
Connect your blog with other social outlets.

Can you share with our reader a few of your favorite blogs?
Oh-h, that’s a hard one. Here are a VERY limited list of some of my favorite blogs (for various reasons):

Hartline’s From the Heart (I like this one because every one of the agents is polite and knowledgeable: have you heard of them?) (a wonderful place for younger writers to spend time and learn.)
Jeanette Levellie always has fun, interesting blog posts.
If you like travel or want to do some minor research, try: She’s been everywhere! Seriously. Check out the list of places on the right side of her blog.
A good place to check out is Roseanna White’s blog ( where she talks about historical and contemporary things, interviews authors and holds giveaways. Also in the right column is a link to a review site that is an excellent reviewer of books:
One other blog that is unusual and very interesting (to me) is Cindy Thomson’s “Celtic Voices.”
One other I might mention is Tamara Kraft’s blog ( where she deals with a lot of children’s information such as books, contests, materials, workshops, etc.

Thank you Carole. I am sure your experience will help those that have yet to jump into the blogging waters, and that those blogging have been encouraged by your experience. And be sure to stop by and say hello to Carole at

Well dear writer, get blogging- as we saw here, there is much to be gained in friendship, ministry and writing skills.

From my heart to yours,

Friday, July 23, 2010

I've written 20 years with only one rejection by Terry Burns

You don't believe that?

It's true.

The dictionary says rejection is to refuse to accept or to repudiate. Repudiate? That's not about writing, that's personal.

When I started writing I was doing a lot of writing and a lot of querying and submitting. Obviously heartless little slips were coming in right and left. I took them very personally. These people didn't know me, and they weren't reading enough of my writing to make fair judgments. I was incensed.

Then the statement I had just made hit home; they don't know me. If that's the case, how could it be personal? It couldn't. I realized that a response would be a rejection if they said I had body odor, my writing stunk and my mother dressed me funny. I was the one making it personal, not them.

What were these funny little slips of paper if not rejections? I got to spend some time with well-known agent Donald Maass. I was involved with hosting him when he came to our writing conference as one of the faculty, so it was more than a ten minute interview, it was hanging out for a couple of days. I did have an interview scheduled with him, and over the course of the evening the day before he told me how to find out if he handled works such as the one I was set to pitch.

When I got back to the house I did the homework I should have already done. I got online and over the course of several hours I found out the type works he had successfully placed and what his clients wrote. The question he wanted me to ask myself was not "do I write LIKE these people?" (Hopefully we are all unique as writers.) He wanted me to ask myself if the readers of the books he was placing would be likely to be readers for the book I wanted to pitch. The answer was no. He wasn't the right agent for me to be going after.

That was the answer. Each agent has a base of publishing contacts that they have strong inroads to. They spend their time working those contacts trying to find material they feel is a good fit to take to them. They spend time on occasion trying something new, trying to open new doors, but primarily they work where they are most productive.

Editors are exactly the same. They know who their readers are and what they read. They search for works they feel sure their reader base will buy. They too will spend some time trying new things, but only if sales in the established areas afford them the flexibility to do it, otherwise, they tend to business.

So to me those little slips of paper are 'negative market reports?' I can live with that. There is absolutely nothing personal about it, and it probably doesn't even reflect on my writing (unless they add something specific to the contrary). They are just saying they don't feel they are the market for that particular manuscript.

That means it's a numbers game. I could be sending to the right place at the wrong time. If they had just published a similar book, then the market isn't there. I honestly believe there are Pulitzer quality books that are never published because the author doesn't stay with it long enough to find the right market, and we know some very marginal books HAVE been published just because they came under the right person's nose at exactly the right place and time. Market. Sure, the writing has to be acceptable, but as much as we might wish it were true, a work won't make it just on quality of writing. The market has to be there.

'Negative market reports.' I got one because I guessed wrong, or my research turned up the right place but it was the wrong time for whatever reason. It's an elusive connection and I have to keep doing market research and keep knocking on doors until the link is made. No rejection involved. Well, except for that one guy who said I had body odor, my writing stunk and my mother dressed me funny. Now that hurt!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sales of E-books by Joyce Hart

I’ve been watching the sales of e-books for the past few years and they have been so-so, but it is changing somewhat. My son just bought a Nook with wi-fi. He travels extensively and is delighted with this reader. He says he can read with one hand standing in a line. He’s a book addict, like his mother. We can’t stand to wait in line without a book. This morning when I read the PW Newsletter it caught my attention. Here are two articles about e-books.

Amazon’s E-book Sales Tripled in First Half of 2010 (From PW)
By Jim Milliot
Jul 19, 2010
In Amazon’s ongoing effort to show how popular the Kindle and e-books are without giving away real numbers the company has released a batch of new statistics about the two products ahead of its second quarter earnings report set for Thursday. According to the company, sales of the e-reader “accelerated each month in the second quarter—both on a sequential month-over-month basis and on a year-over-year basis.”

“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle—the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” declared Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. “In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books.”

According to Amazon, over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books it has sold, the e-tailer has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. The ratio is across Amazon’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded from the totals.

Amazon e-book sales tripled in the first half of 2010 compared to 2009 and its growth rate in the first five months of 2010 was higher than the 207% increase reported by the AAP. Five authors—Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts—have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books and Amazon said that of the 1.4 million e-books that Hachette said James Patterson has sold, 867,881 were for the Kindle.

The Kindle store now has more than 630,000 books and over 510,000 are $9.99 or less.
However, here is a quote from my friend Steve Laube’s blog about e-book sales:
“Claiming that e-books have outsold hardcovers is disingenuous if they are counting free downloads as sales. Remember when Amazon claimed that on Christmas Day they sold more e-books than p-books? Of course they did. Everyone who received a Kindle as a gift, turned it on and downloaded books. Who else was shopping for books on Christmas Day?”

This is a second article I found on the internet:
“Kindle has reached its tipping point, and now the Sony Reader has, too. Earlier this year the 10 millionth book was downloaded from the Sony Reader Store, Phil Lubell, v-p of digital reading at Sony Electronics said today. “We are well on our way to doubling this number by year's end," he said. Since launching its digital reading business, the company has seen “steady growth, month over month, year over year. In fact, device sales for the second quarter of this year are about triple what they were for last year,” he said.

Late Tuesday afternoon Apple announced that it sold 3.27 million iPads from the time the tablet was released in April through the end of the second quarter June 30. iPad revenue topped $2 billion.”

These articles say nothing about the sale of Barnes & Noble’s Nook and those sales have to be high as well.

Again according to Steve’s blog only 4% of total book sales were e-book sales in May. He says that according to the Association of American Publishers May book sales were 715.3 Million, and e-books sales were 29.3 million. Maybe most of us still love holding a book in our hands.

I have books all over my house, upstairs, downstairs, in the basement family room, maybe I should think about buying a reader one of these days. Or, maybe not.

May God bless and keep you,


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Work Was Requested at Conference -- Should I be excited?

At conferences, excitement and anticipation electrify the air. You may be meeting a big-name author whose books you've been reading for years. Your hands may shake as you meet that all-important editor or agent for the first time -- or maybe even the twenty-first time. You can see you future before your eyes, and you want everything to be perfect.

Let's say everything does go perfectly, and your work is requested by editors and agents. Should you be excited?

Yes...and no.

Usually, appointments last fifteen minutes. Most conferences have monitors who keep the appointments moving so no one is kept waiting, so don't count on sneaking in a few extra minutes unless your agent or editor happens to have the next slot open -- an unlikely occurrence. By the time you spend a few moments in pleasantries, you are down to 12 minutes to pitch one or more proposals. This might mean the editor or agent must sit and read a one-page summary or you might share your plot. Not much time is left for anything else. Sooo, the agent or editor says, "Sure, send me the proposal." Of course you can't help but feel excited.

Some excitement is warranted. When I ask to see a proposal at conference, that means I have determined it has enough merit not to reject it outright. I have seen proposals at conferences that I've had to reject outright, and believe me, it's not something I enjoy doing. In one instance, the author had a good story, but her theology clearly wasn't in line with the CBA publishers with whom I work. I gave her suggestions on how to introduce traditional theology into the plot, but she said she couldn't change the story. Later, she told me how grateful she was that I was honest. I'm not sure if she found an ABA publisher, but at least I helped her find her direction. This type of meeting is rare, however.

Authors spend a lot of time and money to go to conferences, so the ones I meet are serious about their work. They have researched the market, have honed their writing skills, and their work reflects traditional religious views. Twelve minutes is enough for me to see if the plot can be workable for CBA, and if their one-sheets are written with vim and charm, I'm encouraged. So I'll ask to see the entire proposal. In fairness, I want to go back to the office and take my time reading the proposal, away from the author's warmth and personal charm, so I can read the book itself with a more critical eye -- as I believe an editor would. Sometimes I am then forced to take a pass on the project. These are the hardest to reject, because I have made a personal connection with the author and really hate not to accept the author's work. However, this part of the process is necessary. The Bible doesn't promise that life will never be painful. However, at least this way, I have given an author's hard work and effort more than 12 minutes of my time, and can reach what I hope is the best decision for us all.

This is how I see meetings, and I imagine my viewpoint is in line with many other agents and editors. I can sympathize with how discouraging it must be for an author to come home with four or five requests for proposals, only to have them all rejected in the end. I don't feel editors and agents ask for proposals frivolously. We don't have that kind of time to waste. And neither do you. Even if you don't come out of conference with requests for manuscripts, or if your work is ultimately rejected, you have still made personal connections, and perhaps friends as well. And, when you or your agent submit future proposals, you can refer to your meeting at the conference to reinforce the priceless personal connection you made.

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Industry News Update by Diana

Publishing Trends reported:

HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray estimates that 40–50% of HarperCollins’s business will be digital within the next five years.

Just got around to creating a page for your company on Facebook? Sorry: Fan pages are “very 2009,” said Lisa Marino, CRO of RockYou. Facebook now has over 400 million users sharing over 25 billion pieces of content every month, and publishers must be on top of the really new trends. First, recognize the importance of social gaming—playing games within Facebook. Name brands are using these games to promote sales - offer coupons and sell virtual goods. The virtual goods will switch over to real goods in the near future. How about promoting that new bestselling novel by offering it as a virtual sale?

Tech Crunch reported:

At the 2 million mark, Apple said the iPad had over 5,000 new apps for the iPad. Clearly this number has more than doubled, to 11,000 total iPad apps. There’s no doubt that iPads are flying off the shelves, as Apple sold a million devices in less than a month.

As previously announced, the iPad will be available in nine more – but still unnamed – countries in July and additional countries later this year.
Gartner Research:

Ernie Cormier, CEO of mobile advertising solutions company Nexage, predicts within the next year or two, smartphone sales will exceed desktop PC sales, and eventually the total smartphone base will exceed the total computer base.

Library Journal offered a webinar June 17th on Christian Fiction:

Christian fiction is not easily categorized, though most readers would agree that there is a core of biblically-based attitudes, values, and actions, and likely there would be very little, if any, profanity, sex, or violence. Generally, Christian fiction has religious themes infused into a regular genre story. But there are as many subgenres in Christian fiction as there are in popular fiction—from cozy mysteries to legal suspense to fantasy. And readers aren’t all looking for the same message—Christian historical fiction can inform and entertain, while women’s fiction may be sought for comfort or advice.

Christian fiction gives readers characters and situations that demonstrate the growth of faith, the depth and breadth of moral responsibility, the possibility of conversion and redemption, and examples of Christian living for men and women of all ages, races, and cultures. Many libraries are seeing an increased demand for Christian fiction with more readers looking for inspirational and uplifting stories and finding good writing in newly discovered places, contributing to the cross-over appeal of this growing genre. And Christian Fiction publishers are changing with the times to add a wider variety of stories—including grittier, edgier thrillers and steamier romances—to appeal to that expanding readership.

Publishers Weekly Announced:

Hachette Expands FaithWords' and Center Street's New York Presence

Hachette Book Group has hired two new senior-level employees in its New York office. Kate Hartson is now senior editor for the Center Street imprint, and Andrea Glickson is marketing director for the FaithWords and Center Street imprints. All of FaithWords’ and Center Street’s marketing has been moved to New York. Most editorial is still based in Nashville, Tenn.
The company also announced that editor Christina Boys, who works in Nashville, will now focus exclusively on acquiring fiction for both FaithWords and Center Street imprints.

I hope you found some encouragement here in just a few recent posts around the web of industry news and that you all are enjoying your summer! It is going too fast for me.

From my heart to yours,


Monday, July 19, 2010

Hartline Literary Agency Congratulates Our Authors!

This year, ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) changed the name of the Book of the Year award to the Carol, in honor of Carol Johnson, a publishing pioneer who launched Janette Oke and, as a result, opened the door for Christian fiction to become a powerful force in publishing. We are thrilled that Hartline Literary Agency authors were among the finalists.

Joyce congratulates her authors for being finalists in this prestigious contest:

Historical Novella
Carrie Turansky - A Shelter in the Storm (Barbour Publishing)

Long Historical Romance
Amanda Cabot - Paper Roses (Revell)

Tamela congratulates her authors:

Short Contemporary Suspense
Jenness Walker - Double Take (Steeple Hill)

Short Historical
Laurie Alice Eakes - The Glassblower (Heartsong Presents)

The Carol Awards will be presented at ACFW's Conference in Indianapolis, September 17-20. There's still time to register at

Congratulations to all our finalists!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thank you

This picture is us with mom at her younger sister's 90th birthday party. She rallied and came out of the hospital to go to the party then the next day went back to the hospital never to come home again. It could not be more clear that God gave her that day to say goodbye.

I have been humbled and astonished by the outpouring of love and concern on the passing of my mother. There have literally been hundreds of emails, blog responses, facebook and twitter notes, cards and letters and flowers, my goodness at the flowers. There were also a lot of memorials sent to the building fund at the church. Just amazing! I'm sorry I could not respond to them individually.

It is true with all the time spent at the hospital, the hospice, and the funeral that I am impossibly behind and struggling to get into the frame of mind to work. My clients have rallied behind me saying submissions on their behalf could wait. A large group of them have offered to be first readers on incoming submissions to help whittle down the stack. And their unfailing love and support has been some of the strongest of all. What a wonderful group of clients I have.

Please accept this as a response to all of those notes that have flooded in and know that the gratitude that Saundra and I feel is as strong and sincere as if we were able to write you individually.

God bless you each and every one.

Terry and Saundra

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some Important Steps in Getting Published from Joyce Hart

One of the most important steps in getting your manuscript seriously considered by an agent or an editor at a publishing house is editing. We often recommend that our clients find an editor to work with them before we send the manuscript proposals to the editors. Many times we love the story or the non-fiction book, but it simply needs work before it goes out. There are many good editors doing free lance work because of the layoffs at publishers. We have a list that we give to our clients and they can choose the editor they would like to work with. Fees vary and sometimes the editors that charge the most are not necessarily better than those who work for less money. You would need to talk to them and see who would be the best fit for you.

Another thing we suggest to our clients is that they join a critique group. Critique groups are important for several reasons. One, other writers look at your work and give you ideas. Make sure that some of the group is published. Their friendship and experience is invaluable. The second reason for joining a critique group is that writing can be lonely and your online friends can cheer you up when you feel discouraged. Maybe you just can’t write that day or maybe you got a rejection letter or even worse, more than one. Your friends are there to give you encouragement.

The third step is one that we’ve covered recently. Attend writer’s conferences. Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide lists conferences or you can go online and let Google help you find them. Or, if you’re in that critique group, your friends can give you information about conferences they have attended. If you have an agent, ask them for suggestions. Again, conference fees vary and it will take an investment on your part.

Think of your writing as a business. You will have to invest time and money to make sure your manuscript is in the best possible shape, and attend a writer’s conference. All of these things are tax deductable and that’s a good thing.

On a personal note, I am at home, working in my office every day, going to therapy 2 times a week and exercising at home, recovering from back surgery. I’m working on transitioning to a cane. My goal for walking unaided is the fact that we’re going on a cruise to the Caribbean in December and I want to be able to shop at my favorite jewelry store on St. Maartens.

Blessings to all,


Saturday, July 10, 2010

We extend our Sympathies to our friend and Collegue Terry Burns

Dear From the Heart reader;

This morning Terry Burns beloved Mother went home to be with the Lord after a short time in Hospice care.

We ask that you might remember Terry and His family in prayer. Loss is something all of us face at some time or another and it is never easy, even when they know the Lord.

Many of you have heard Terry share that his mother asked to be buried in her Wedding Dress. Her husband had preceded her in death and they had a wonderful and loving relationship.
What a touching tribute to a long marriage.

Thank you for standing with us in prayer for them all at this time.

May the God of all comfort , who comforts us in all our tribulations bring comfort to Terry at this time. 2 Corinthians 1:4.

With Love and prayers for Terry and his family,

Joyce, Tamela, and Diana

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Profanity in Print by Terry Burns

This is a topic of conversation with writers all of the time, particularly Christian writers. Many believe that strong emotions simply cannot be shown without it, or that really bad men can't be portrayed without it. I agree, bad men use bad language, and I show that all the time. But I never use the language, I simply show them doing it. People know what the words are, they don't need me to spell it out for them, they just want to see the emotions and the body language, to see the people using the language.

But people disagree with me, I get that. So there is a more pragmatic argument. Most Christian publishers simply will not take a book that contains profanity, graphic sex or violence. This seems to anger the people who feel that is taking realism out of the books. They miss the point. Christian publishers are trying to walk the line between taking on relevant, current subjects, and presenting them in such a way that they are appearing to condone the behavior. Showing people in a book using bad language is being realistic, but using the language itself is an appearance of condoning the behavior.

Shouldn't we as Christian writers be looking at it the same way? Shouldn't we be wanting to get as much realism as possible into our work without at any point be appearing to condone what we are presenting in our writing? Shouldn't we want to take on the tough subjects without glamorizing any inappropriate behavior?

Secular publishing houses don't have to worry about trying to walk this line. As an agent I have a very low tolerance for inappropriate material and don't want to have my name attached to it. I am quite frankly more worried about my Christian witness than about making another publishing deal. The Bible is very clear about our being a stumbling block for others and I surely don't want to do that even if it is a work I didn't create myself.

I guess what I'm saying is we talk about whether these things are or are not needed in a work, and that discussion could go on ad ifinitum, but the bottom line is we are ruling out an entire market if we do it, the fastest growing market in the industry today. Can we tell the story just as well without it? I think so. So why turn these readers and publishing houses off if it isn't necessary?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Benefits of Entering a Writers Contest by Diana Flegal

Entering a writers contest presents a great way to hone your writer’s skills and perform an exercise in tight writing.

WRITER'S DIGEST sponsors several writing competitions annually.

1) Annual Short Short Story Writing Competition

2) 79th Annual Writing Competition

3) International Self-Published Book Awards

4) Pop Fiction Awards

5) Poetry Awards Competition

6) Your Story

Every other month, Writer's Digest presents a creative challenge for fun and prizes. They provide a short, open-ended prompt. In turn, you'll submit a short story of 750 words or fewer based on that prompt. You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story. The winner will receive publication in an upcoming issue of Writer's Digest.

For rules, prompts, deadlines, voting and other details about the Your Story competition, visit:

Fiction Factor online Mag offers a list of writing contest as well as an opportunity to write and have your articles published.

Several links that offer you lists of Fiction and Non fiction writing contests are listed below.

Have fun playing around with words and remember- if you win this is the type of thing you can place with pride in your proposal as well.

From my heart to yours,


Monday, July 5, 2010

If you are waiting on something from me . . . by Terry Burns

In case you haven't heard we brought my mother to the hospital in an ambulance unable to breathe. It turns out that she has congestive heart failure with water in her lungs (not ruling out pneumonia) - and after the blood work was processed discovered she has a staph infection on top of that. It has been very touch and go.

There have literally been hundreds of emails and facebook messages. I can't answer all of them, of course, but your prayers and expressions of concern mean a lot to us.

As to a specific up to the minute update, Mom slept very well last night - until about 4 - then was agitated for a while until we got something for her and Saundra gave her a massage.

Doctors were encouraged and instead of talking about hospice are talking about extended care at a facility where they can continue the IV's and the antibiotic regimine.

Haven't been able to get her to eat anything - until I thought of the chocolate self-serve ice cream in the cafeteria - two full bowls of that have disappeared. She has never refused ice cream in her entire life.

The kids are coming in to check on her this weekend. She's still not out of the woods but we have reason to be encouraged. She is more responsive and answers questions in a sing-song "little girl" voice that is so funny. I told her that her color was better after two units of blood and she wanted to know "what color?"

Needless to say we are here 24/7 so if you are waiting on me for something I apologize and I do try to do what I can in small snatches of time here but I know I am getting behind. My clients are being wonderful about it and my five assistants are helping take up the slack but still I know it is going to continue to be a problem until we get her over the hump.

Thank you for your patience . . . and we do covet your prayers.