Monday, April 30, 2012

special announcement from Joyce Hart

Sandra Orchard (Sandra den van Bogerd) has won 3 awards in the Family Fiction Magazine Awards for her book Deep Cover:

New Author of the year  #4
Novel of the Year #5  
Author of the year #9    (other authors on this list, Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, Karen Kingsbury, Ted Dekker, Terri Blackstock)
Deep Cover is also Short-listed on the Canadian Christian Writing Awards in the romance category.

Congratulations to Sandra!!

Don’t Age Yourself When Writing by Linda S. Glaz

Two twenty-five-year olds discussing the latest movie:
“That was so cool, I hardly know how to say how rad it was,” Jason said.
“I’m with you. The guy was a hunk. Really.”
“Yeah, and she got my groove on.”
Okay, a bit over the top, but you get my drift. Do your characters talk like YOUR generation instead of theirs?
“We had so much to drink, we were tipsy.”
“Wow! That’s so bad. Check it out, bet he thinks he’s the boss!”
A little further over the top, and yet, I’m getting submissions where the twenty to thirty crowd talk like me forty years ago, and in a couple instances, like my mother. And not just in dialogue, but in their internal dialogue as well.
Younger characters should talk like younger characters today, not like when we were growing up. If you aren’t going to write contemporary in contemporary fiction, then stick to historical. And then make sure you’re in the correct period with expressions as well.
Police aren’t fuzz anymore, most teens don’t talk about getting their kicks, and they definitely don’t wear threads. Not unless you’re writing about the sixties.
Wonderful stories are turned down when dialogue and internal don’t match the period you are writing.
Just grub to mull over. Or food for thought.
That's my take on it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Comparisons Can Hurt Marketing Efforts by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

By nature we tend to pay attention to others, and if we like their results, we copy it. From infancy this is how we learned to talk, walk, play, and we still do it as adults--only we've reclassified it as don't reinvent the same wheel. We get more creative with learning by example as we grow older. We might take pieces and parts of something we like and modify the rest.

If we've been watching others and learning from them our whole lives, it's only natural to begin comparisons at some point. We compare where we are to where we want to be--like where Mr. Smith or Mrs. Green's accomplishments have taken them, and we decide we want to go there, too.

Learning by example is good, until we begin making comparisons and start to lose sight of the accomplishments we've already made, or begin to grow depressed or discouraged that we'll never make it because we aren't good enough. Another drawback is developing an obsessive compulsive behavior toward achieving one's goal in trying to keep up with others.

The grass is NOT always greener on the other side. You're perception of someone else's accomplishments could be a far cry from the reality they are living. Don't forget that as individuals, your journey isn't the same as others. God has called YOU on a specific journey that will mold and shape you to be who He wants you to be in the grand scheme of His creation, will, and purpose for your life.

What does this have to do with your marketing efforts?

When you look at your colleagues and see that they are promotion kings and queens, drawing followers and fans like magnets, you assume that you must be doing something wrong, that you need a bigger marketing budget, that you need to arm yourself with more education, your publicist isn't as good as their publicist, or their publisher does so much more for them than yours. The other response could be that you get depressed, crave another pint of ice cream, assume you'll never be as good a writer, no one likes your work, you've wasted all this time in the wrong field, God is blessing them and not you, or worse, you've let God down because He called you to a writing ministry and you just can't make it work.

Here's the truth, some of us will never sell millions of copies of our books or have our stories transformed into blockbuster movies. Comparing ourselves to these authors would be pointless, and we know it, so why are we tempted to compare ourselves to other mid-list authors who might be closer to our level of production with similar platforms? Their journey is not ours to make, nor is ours theirs. You aren't in the same season as they, and vice-versa.

When you spend so much time and energy comparing yourself, your marketing efforts, and platform to everyone else, you miss out on the opportunity to put that creative energy into something more productive for your own path. You may be missing God's voice, because you're too busy listening to your colleagues promote themselves. Don't compare yourself into destructive patterns.

Pray about your goals and when you set them, make sure they are realistic to your life and plan. Set stepping-stone goals for your promotion to long-term goals. Celebrate each milestone and don't compare. If you want to compare, then compare where you started to how far you've come. That is how you will begin to see yourself as a success!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Special Announcement by Joyce Hart

Congratulations to Lisa Harris who won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Best Book in the mystery/suspense category for her book "Blood Covenant."

Also to Christy Barritt as her Love Inspired Suspense, "Race Against Time" got a 4.5 rating in Romantic Times magazine.

Why I do what I do by Terry Burns

The writer’s testimony that I have on my personal website comes from a time nearly 20 years ago when I was attending the conference in Glorieta NM as a writer (that’s the conference that is at the Ghost Ranch at Abique NM now).  My mission was to learn what God was expecting of me in my writing and how to use my faith in my writing. A part of the process was going through an exercise intended to identify my spiritual gifts. They turned out to be music, writing, and the gift of encouragement. Some time later I felt called to use this gift of encouragement as an agent and my focus changed.

I work with clients as a means of using this gift and that’s difficult since there are so very many submissions that come in and I can take such a small number of them. Still, I try to the best of my ability to respond to those that I can’t take in such a way as to encourage them and give them hope. Of the ones I do choose to work with it means I have a larger percentage of debut authors than most agents want to have, I know that, and it does impact on the financial return for my efforts. Still, it’s what I feel led to do whatever I need to do and wherever I need to go to make it happen. On Publisher’s Marketplace I am generally up on the top of the list of agents placing debut authors, often number one, but that also means I don’t get to do as many big deals as many other agents. It is what it is, I have to go where I feel led to go.

I present at conferences around the country, generally twenty or so a year, for the same reason. I do it trying to use this gift of encouragement to help other writers use their words for the Lord. Am I seeing a return for my efforts? Am I being successful? I don’t know, how do you measure success in providing encouragement? How many people have to give you feedback that something you did encouraged or helped them?  One is enough to keep me going.

Encouragement is important in writing, more than in many other endeavors because writing is by definition a very solitary task. Writers often do not get this encouragement from friends and family who do not really understand. If they do get it they often find it is a sort of ‘blind faith’ from a mother, husband or wife who just think everything we do is wonderful. That is heart-warming, but not particularly useful from a writing perspective. What is useful is feedback from others in the business, people who understand the process, people who can encourage but who can also help us grow in our craft. That’s why we are in critique groups and writing groups and attend meetings and conferences.

And it’s why I have chosen to do what I do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

Welcome to our Wednesday edition of Would You Read On?. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to stop by our blog. Kindly comment if you would read on or not. Last week’s contributing author is revealed below this first page.

This weeks contribution is a nonfiction title:

Chapter 1
Sweat rolled down my back as I stood against the hot, red brick wall. The sun blazed down on the small field. My classmates and I formed a line along the exterior wall of the school gym. Squinting against the bright sun, I endured my least favorite part of the day. Why couldn’t I be athletic like the other kids? The team captains began calling out names in an alternating rhythm: Matt, Jennifer, Rob, Susie. Fidgeting, I plastered a fake smile on my face while I waited. I made eye contact and silently begged him to choose me next. Giving up, I stared down at my shoes. I knew the outcome before looking up. I was the last one against the wall. Again.
I excelled in the classroom and enjoyed all other aspects of school. However, when the hour came for Physical Education (P.E.) class, I developed a case of what my sister and I deem nervous stomach. You know, it’s that sick feeling of dread deep in your gut. Nervous stomach materialized when I lined up with my classmates while team captains chose their teams. The type of sport didn’t matter: kickball, softball, or—the worst sport for a skinny, uncoordinated girl who couldn’t throw a ball—dodgeball. I dreaded being chosen last. Even next to last would ruin my day.
The nervous stomach feeling is a familiar one. It still sneaks up on me. I am a 36-year-old single woman. No one has chosen me. I’m still standing here against the brick wall—fidgeting, staring at my shoes, and hoping my name will be called next. Satan whispers a little lie, “You are not worthy to be chosen. You weren’t then and you aren’t now.”

Would you read on?

A big thanks to last weeks author, Kristen Joy Wilks. Kristen lives with her Camp Director husband, three fierce little boys(4,6,and 8), and an enormous slobbery dog at beautiful Camas Meadows Bible Camp in the Cascade Mts. Stop by and visit her blog and introduce yourself.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Special Announcement by Joyce Hart

Congratulations to Sandi Rog as the 2012 fiction Book of the Year winner for her novel Yahshua's Bridge published by Deward Publishing. The award is given by the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). This is the second year she was won this award.

Adventures in Scripture Checking by Andy Scheer

This past week I got a reminder of what editing was like in the good old days, and I sure didn't like it.

At the end of the book I was editing, the author had thirteen pages of Scripture references—easily 250 verses to check. As I began the task, I remembered my approach to Scripture checking when I started work for Moody magazine in the mid-1980s.

I'd place the paper manuscript in the middle of my desk (this was before the magazine bought its first computer), with the needed Bible versions spread around it. Then for each Scripture reference, it would be “sword drill” time. (I'd sometimes cheat by putting paper bookmarks in frequently cited chapters.)

When the words of the verse didn't quite line up, I'd have to check other translations one by one, looking for the one the writer had used. And when the cited verse reference was completely wrong, I'd have to scan the chapter and hope I wouldn't have to drag out the concordance. Remember how heavy concordances were? There's a reason one was called Strong's.

But thanks to, those good old days were only a memory. Until last Thursday and my massive Scripture checking project.

Whether it was my internet service provider or a problem with the website, something was wrong. I'd type in the verse reference, click “enter,” and wait—and wait—and wait. Sometimes the verse would appear. Sometimes I'd get an “address not found” error notice and have to try again.

And so it went—for nearly 200 verses. I finally dug out an ink-on-paper Bible for the most commonly used version, but for a couple others I was stuck. She was citing ones I didn't keep on my shelf.

I wrapped up work a little early that day. Friday morning everything was working again and I breezed through the final four pages of references—much more grateful for a resource I'd taken for granted.

"You Can't Handle the Truth!!!" by Linda S. Glaz

Yes, I’ve been in the military, but no, I’m not Jack Nicholson. And do I think you can handle the truth…yes, sometimes. Other times, according to some of the responses I get from authors unhappy with me turning them down, I’d have to say no.

What is she rambling about this time—you ask? It’s time for some very important contest results to be out; it’s time for some tears; it’s time to take stock in ourselves. Each day, as an agent, we are faced with answering queries from folks, many like those who send their submissions to contests, who are anxious to have someone say “Yes! I love it. I want it. How soon can I sign you?” I talk about this each year when many folks—I’ve been one of them—are discouraged when their names don’t make the semi-finalists’ list. We’ve all been there in some form or another.

Contest from 1-100. Three scores: 100, 98, and…57. What???

We all want someone to say, “What a wonderful novel. No-no. You don’t need to change a thing. This is perfect. You’re amazing. Here’s a win, a contract, a great deal.” Whatever you’ve been hoping for, but reality says, You can’t handle the truth. Not many of us can. We want to make the grade right away. We don’t want to work harder, rewrite, or “hone our craft.” But reality teaches us that while a contest or an agent’s response is just one opinion, we might want to take a hard look at our work and decide whether or not their comments have any merit. Some will, some won’t.

CONGRATS to all the Genesis semi-finalists. To all who did not make it this far, take heart. You’ve written a novel. Not everyone can say that. CONGRATS to you as well!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Congratulations to the Genesis semi-finalists represented by our agency:

Cora Allen - Contemporary Romance - Andy's client
Dawn Crandell - Historical Romance - Joyce's client
Normandie Fischer - Romantic Suspense - Terry's client
Katherine Hyde - Young Adult - Diana's client
Rachael Neal - Historical - Diana's client
Regina Smeltzer - Speculative - Terry's client

Our sincere congratulations to all of the other semi-finalists not represented by Hartline as well.

Point of Personal Privilege by Terry Burns

What is the point of having a blog if you can't use it as a platform to brag on a new great-grandson?

Pictured is Ethan with the new mom, our granddaughter Kasey. He was born Sunday, Aptil 15th, and arrived just in time for lunch. We rushed down to Dallas from Amarillo but arrived just minutes too late. (I forgot my phone and had to turn around and get it since I use it to connect my computer when we are on the road) Those extra minutes would have made the difference. No problem, I figure Saundra will forgive me in a year or two. I've been doing penance by dog-sitting our two dogs and their four dogs (and working) while Saundra is next door with the baby and young family. Maybe that will help.

The young man weighed in at 8 lb 9 oz and was 20.25 inches long. He's a looker, and going through family pictures they found a picture of Kasey at five days old. You could practically trade out the pictures they were so much alike.

About time for us to return home, but first to drive into town to have lunch with our other great grand Micah (now one) and his parents at my favorite place to eat, Papadeaux Restaurant. Ah yes.

If you think it is not appropriate to use this type blog in this manner . . . well . . . get over it. It's what grandpa's do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

It is Would You Read On? day here on our blog and today we have a courageous YA author's offering. Please comment below and let us know if you would read on.

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult that eventually morphs into Historical YA

My dad slipped a brittle manila envelope into my hands as he turned to smile at a slim woman with close-cropped gray hair, impeccable posture, and a uniform from airport security. At that moment, Grandma Orshina’s demand to see the oh-so-mysterious family relic seemed like sound evidence of debilitating dementia. Of course Dad was oblivious to the obvious. His mother’s insistence on stepping straight off the plane from Iraq and immediately snatching up the envelope was a surefire passport to a pair of cold handcuffs and a humiliating search if anyone saw our questionable package.

I stood in the company of a tall dark Assyrian man (my father) whose not-even-mildly-American name (Abrohom Yaqub Dayan) was sure to draw unnecessary attention. And although LinkEmma sounds like an innocent enough moniker, Emma Nirari Dayan most certainly does not. Add to that the most annoying infant in the history of all Chicago, cooing with deceptive good humor from his stroller, and an enormous basket of walnut kifile, and we were not the most inconspicuous family picking up relatives at O’Hare that day.

Last weeks author was Eddie Jones. You can learn more about Eddies writing and his published titles, Bahama Breeze and The Curse of Captain LaFoote at his website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Trouble with Llamas by Andy Scheer

Anybody want a llama? Specifically, a llama book?

Back on February 23, Hartline agent Terry Burns wrote a great blog article, “I'm Looking for a Llama.” A good manuscript is not good enough, Terry wrote. “Agents and editors are all looking for exceptional books, books that stand out from the crowd and are unique and compelling”—much as a llama stands out in a pasture full of sheep. Sheep look much the same and follow the crowd. Llamas stand tall and distinctive, presenting a unique story in a compelling way.

I have a llama, I thought as I read Terry's observations. Not only is this client's story compelling, it's far from the same old same-old. So I had great hopes as I sent out the proposal.

But I'm starting to discover the trouble with llamas.

After three earlier, generic rejections, I got this email Friday, from a fiction editor at a major house. (A few details have been changed to preserve anonymity.)

Thank you for the opportunity to review [Author’s] manuscript. Unfortunately, it is not a good fit for our program at this time. I don’t see a huge market for Christian historical fiction from the days of the [Llamas]. Best wishes on finding the right publisher for this project.

Maybe contemporary llamas would be okay. Romantic llamas. Or llamas in bonnets. Or teen vampire llamas.

Maybe not. I still like this story about historical llamas. And I trust the right publisher will too—and then scads of readers.

If you're looking to catch the start of the next trend, here's an insider tip: historical llamas.