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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana L. Flegal

Thank you for stopping by our Would You Read On? page.

This will be our last posting for this column. We will post a first page periodically but will use Weds to also offer you a few thoughts from Diana as well as guest posts from  publishing industry folk with great information and authors of excellent blogs.

I hope you will stop back in Weds and see what we will be offering.





 The blindfold sharpened Ali’s senses. With blood pounding in his ears, he searched the night sounds for clues to his location. He felt concrete beneath his feet...they must be in the city...but which? They’d driven long enough to reach Makkah or the fishing villages near the sea. They were outside—he was sure of that—and he felt exposed, vulnerable. The arid desert night was cooling rapidly and he tried not to shiver. A bead of sweat clung to his forehead but he didn’t dare touch it. No sudden moves. He felt the presence of the two men that brought him there. They were close, and probably watching.
            The drive had been disorienting, then the blind walk, and now the waiting. Fear gnawed at him. He reminded himself that he had chosen to be here.
            Ali heard three taps on a wooden door, then the whine of oiled hinges. Men spoke in hushed tones. Someone pushed him forward and the door closed without a sound. It was dark inside, darker than the street.
             “Were you followed?”
            Ali knew that voice.
            “Laa,” another man answered.
            A pair of strong hands pulled off his blindfold. In the shadows, Ali recognized a foreigner. It was Michael Givens.
            “Salaam, welcome,” Givens said.
            “Salaam,” Ali answered.
            Givens cracked the door open again and scanned the alley. Satisfied the streets were safe, he shut the door and bolted both locks. “Almost there.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Just As We Have Been Told

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:1-20 NIV)

Today and throughout the coming year, may we also find ourselves amazed at the message—and praising God for all these things, which are just as we've been told.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Hartline Literary

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Features on Google+ by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

If you aren't on Google+ that often, you might be interested in a few new features they have recently added. These features will be beneficial in building your online platform and awareness in your area of expertise.

Google+ Communities
You can either join a community that has already been created on a topic of interest or you could start a new community around a topic that lacks a community or to maintain control around discussions to stay focused. It's similar to the concept of Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, but with more added benefits for networking and connections through other Google services. Obviously, since the concept allows you to network with others around topics you're passionate about, it's a great way for people to network, establish oneself as an expert in a particular field, and to build platforms for businesses and individuals.



These communities may be public or private, depending on what your group's needs are and how you want to organize it. To get an idea on how Google+ Communities work, do a search for a few topics of interest, see what is already available, and join them to get an idea of how they work. As you network and learn from discussions, you may gain ideas and insights for building your own community and what you could offer that might be a different twist on a similar topic or something totally unique. You will need to engage by commenting and answering questions.

As you listen in on discussions, think about ideas for blogging topics. What are people talking about? What piques their interest? How can you help with relevant content, advice, or insight?

The larger the community, the more updates you are likely to receive. to keep from having your inbox overwhelmed, you can toggle the notifications on or off by clicking on the bell. For instance, I've joined The Writers Community, I've provided an image on where you can find the bell on a Community Page.


Google+ Events
If you aren't using the Events feature on Google+, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to promote your blog tours, book signings, book releases, contests and other great events to your circle of followers, as well as the public. Unlike FB, you can invite friends in your circles, followers who may not be in your circles, and people who are not even on Google+ if you have their email address. They will be sent a link to your page and can view the details. Also, you will be able to see who has viewed your Event by clicking on Actions/Manage Guest List. Only YOU will be able to see who has opened your invitation. You will be given the ability to upload a unique header specifically for your event. You can enable or disable comments, allow others to share your event with their friends and followers, and duplicate an event if you have a club with standard meetings each month.

Have you tried any of these Google+ features? What are your thoughts?

Link Google+ Profile with Blogger Account
This is more than just using the same email login and posting a link on your blog so people can find you on Google+. It includes the option of linking your Google+ profile on Blogger. When people go to your blog and click on the link for more info about you, they will be taken to your Google+ profile. Also, when you set up each blog post, it will now provide the option to auto post your blogs to Google+ without you having to manually copy the link and go to your Google+ account and past the link. By your personal image for your blogger Profile, it will not have a red box with a G+ on it. This is how you can tell which bloggers have integrated their blog to their Google+ profile.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Strategy Sessions by Terry Burns


This time of the year is all about wrapping things up and coming up with strategies for the new year.

We do an occsasional one book contract but for the most part we are concerned with developing the careers of our clients, not just trying to get a book published. I just asked my clients to answer several questions for me to make sure we are on the same page in the coming year.

First I asked what they would like to see happen in the new year? Publish, of course, that goes without saying, and all of us would like to see the best deal possible. But what deals are they willing to consider? What if they have to start smaller than they had in mind?

Do you have thoughts on places to be submitted that I have not taken you to? I tell clients it isn't JUST my job to get them published, it's OUR job. If they are hearing things or reading things that make them think a market is right for them and I haven't tried that market . . . I expect to hear about it.

Do you have projects to pitch that I don't have yet? This is particularly important as publishers like to know an author has more available if they invest in them whether it is series potential for a project or just more available manuscripts.

What do you have in progress? No explanation needed.

What are you happy or unhappy about in the way I have represented you? If something is not working I want to know about it.

Anything else you would like me to know? Just tell me what is on your mind, or if there is something going on in your life that will affect your writing in the new year.

The responses are coming in and are telling me a lot. It would be better if we could just sit down and talk about it of course, but doing it by email gives me a written record to work with and gives the client time to respond instead of just giving me a response off the top of their head. These questions are just conversation starters, of course and are leading to other areas of discussion. It is proving very productive.

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

Thank you for stopping by our Would You Read On? page.
Please let us know if you would continue reading in the comment section below.




It was quiet. Uncommon quiet. Slade Jackson cracked his eyelids to the blue light of dawn, scanning the red-rock canyon below. Things looked all right, but the desert could be like a strange woman: pretty and prickly at the same time.
Still, the dun was quiet too, which was a good sign, since horses were generally onto trouble before men. Slade relaxed a touch, rolled over to check on the new filly, and like-to jumped out of his skin.
“I’ll be taking back my horse,” she said from atop an oversized sorrel. Her voice was as hard and cool as the barrel of the Spencer Carbine pointed his way. Her eyes narrowed. “Where are the rest?”
“Apaches got ‘em, I reckon.”
“Likely story.” She nodded toward the dun, which she’d already managed to untie. “Then how did you wind up with her?”
He paused to study his adversary. Her delicate features belied her fortitude.
She arched an eyebrow. “I asked you a question?”
 “Some young buck hunting hair came across my track and ran me down. He shot my paint out from under me, so I finished him and took this one.”
“Well, she’s not yours, so I’ll be taking her now.”
“With all due respect ma’am, you can’t leave a man alone in the desert without a ride.”
“Watch me.”
“But it’s the dry season, ma’am. That’s the same as murder.”
“Not murder. Justice.” She pointed up the hill. “I tossed your guns up there in the brush. You can hunt them down after I’m gone. Look at it this way; it’s better than a judge would give you.”
Heat crept up the back of his neck. “I told you, ma’am, I’m not a thief.”
She said nothing, just lowered her reins, and slapped the horses. Her red hair whirled like a dust devil as she disappeared into the rising sun. 

Would Your Read On?


Last weeks brave author was  Annie Carter.
Annie dabbles in a variety of pursuits, from writing poetry to teaching German. She began blogging earlier in the year at writelightuk.wordpress.com, mainly on culture, family and faith.

The Book Beyond Time is her first novel, that she was inspired to write as a coming of age fantasy for her three sons. The story follows thirteen year old Marcus who embarks on a quest that he’s not quite sure he wants to follow. Set in the land of techno-medieval Krinton, three hundred years after the Great Catastrophe of 2025, Marcus tackles physical and spiritual forces to make his way cross country to the elusive Kingdom of the North before Krinton’s impending doom. The excerpt is from the prologue; Ree-Mya is Marcus’s mother.

A website is underway for the novel and should go live by the end of the year. Check back soon at thebookbeyondtime.com


Merry Christmas everyone!
Diana

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Talking the Talk by Andy Scheer

Back when I was a magazine editor screening queries for articles, it was fairly easy to see if writers had the qualifications to tackle their topic.

These days, screening book proposals in an era when platform is paramount, it's still obvious when a wanna-be author is trying too hard, too fast.

This morning I got a request to connect via the professional networking site LinkedIn with an individual self-described as: “Author / Evangelist / Speaker / Humble Servant.”

That last reference prompted me to check the person's profile.

I saw this humble servant was a “Newly Published Author at Big Name Christian Publishers - Gotcha Press Subsidiary (names changed). The qualifications to be “published” by Gotcha? A manuscript and a bank account.

The individual had come to faith in Christ less than two years ago—in 2011. And the book, “A wake up call for Today's church,” was released in 2012.

Back at Moody magazine, we never accepted salvation testimonies by new converts. Yes, they had enthusiasm. But aren't those who teach others held to a stricter accounting? Aren't leaders in the church supposed to display a mature, proven faith?

Having worked in Christian publishing for decades, it's easy for me to talk about the need for writers to pay their dues. But I've seen the progress of many now-successful book authors whose work I first encountered when they weren't quite ready to write for a national magazine.

It's great to get a book published. But compressing the path from salvation to publication to less than two years might not be the mark of a humble servant.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Wrong Question by Terry Burns





I just watched a really interesting discussion on the American Christian Fiction Writers loop. The topic was “how much Christian content must be in a Christian book?” The comments were varied and as I said, quite interesting.

I just contributed once, I said to me it depended on the publisher. Some want very strong faith content, want it right from the start of the book, others not so much. And I said if there was no overt faith message that we need good clean books for the whole family too.

I can go with that comment, but is it the wrong question? Shouldn’t we be talking about how much questionable content can go in a book and still be a Christian book? How much profanity or sexual situations or the like? My answer would basically be the same. Some publishers have zero tolerance of these items while others will allow some if it is not pronounced. And in the mainstream market . . . it often seems to be pervasive.

But how about the author? Where should we come down on this? How much of this content are we willing to incorporate into our writing and why?

It’s often intentional in the movies to get the right rating. The rating the producers think will draw the biggest crowd. Never mind that the highest grossing movies of all time are Disney and other family movies. Movies were all family fare for a long time then Rhett Butler let loose with one single curse-word in Gone With the Wind and now a majority of the movies are so laden with language and content that my wife and I won’t watch them.

How does that happen? How does our society reach a point where not only our standards are under attack but Christianity itself? It’s because Satan’s strongest attribute is his patience. We’d never stand still for much of what we are faced with now if it had just been sprung on us all at once. But it came slowly, like water dripping, or like the proverbial frog sitting in that warm pan of water with the temperature going up so slowly that he never jumps out and is boiled to death.

Rhett Butler’s use of profanity condoned further use and the ensuing further use was oh so gradual. Now it is commonplace and we are told that we can’t achieve realism without it. Drip… drip… drip. It’s the same way in our society and our laws, and the same in our books. For me it’s not about what I consider to be appropriate but what I am willing to add my name to the list of those who condone it by my writing… or by what I choose to represent.

I don’t think it is such a sacrifice holding the line. I know b ad men use bad language and bad situations occur in real life, but I believe a good writer can show what they want whether it be someone cursing or other non-family-friendly content without actually using the words or showing the action in a graphic manner. And if done well I don’t believe it dilutes the power of the scene. But it does take better writing skills.

Never mind what the publisher will or won’t accept, what are we willing to attach our name to? Because when Satan lures us over that line, just a tiny bit, we become one who is condoning it.

Would You Read on? hosted by Diana Flegal


Thank you for stopping by. Today's first page submission is a upper middle grade fantasy adventure. :-)

Please let us know if you would read on by leaving a critique in the comments below.
And check out the reveal of last weeks author at the bottom of the page :-)

                                          *****


Trumpet blasts resounded across the bustling city square.  A huge knight, donned in full armour, stood on the wooden stage that had been erected especially for this momentous occasion. Thousands still flocked slowly into the ancient, crumbling walls of the historic city of Erundel, as they awaited the arrival of Treanthor, their admired emperor. His yearly visit had been long anticipated.
  As crowds pressed forward to catch a better view of the knight, the warm air became rich with the smell of bodies clothed in thick woven cotton and leather, mingled with the scent of ale, horses and various potions, which were being hawked by traders at the entrance to the gates. Wafts of smoke from stallholders cooking chickens on spits blended in to create a unique aroma that was unusual to newcomers to the city.
   Young children waved flags enthusiastically and joined as everyone began to chant Tre-an-thor! Tre-an-thor! Tre-an-thor! Several boys climbed the willow trees that lined the furthest side of the quad, waving to those below, while some older ones pointed their prized ska-swords into the air, showing off the gleaming light and sound feature on their xanth-powered gadgets.
    Rumours had circulated that one day, xanth would be able to power electricity once again in people’s homes – perhaps a return to the way of life before the Great Catastrophe of 2025. Treanthor always declared that he was working towards it – but insisted that it would take time and, for now, the people should be content with all that he had already achieved for them. 
    Today would mark the beginning of a new era. That was the message that had been sent out into all the towns and villages. Those who came to Erundel would be the first to witness his latest, marvelous invention; something far greater than ska swords or glow toys or magic tricks.
    Ree-Mya, a young mother with long, dark hair, stood among the throngs of people, one of the last few to be let into the square before the mammoth gates were locked shut by guards.
             
Would you read on?

Last weeks contributing author was Eddie Jones.

Eddie is a North Carolina-based writer and Acquisition Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is a three-time winner of the Delaware Writers Conference and his young adult novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Award and 2011 Selah Award. He co-writes the He Said, She Said devotions, available at ChristianDevotions.us.

Dead Man’s Hand, the first book in the Caden Chronicles mystery series, released from Zonderkidz in November, 2012.

Eddie’s new devotional book, My Father’s Business, features Biblical insights and practical applications for those seeking God's "yearning" (will) for their life. A great book for anyone who longs for more than mere "work."


You can visit with Eddie at  http://www.eddiejones.org/ .