Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...

Monday, June 28, 2010


Slow goes the querying...

I thought I'd update you all on my agent hunt since I haven't talked about it here very much lately. I have received about 4 rejections- all what appear to be "form rejections". Sigh. I've continued to work on my query letter and I think it has improved. I sent another round out last week to 4 new agents and haven't heard from any of them yet. And in the meantime I've toyed with yet ANOTHER version of my query. You can read it here and here if you'd like. I'm already working on tightening it up. So in my experience, there is always room for improvement in a query letter so don't ever settle for "good enough". Revise revise revise.

Also on my goal list for last week was to talk to my fireman neighbor about the feasibility of the fire that kills off two people in my opening chapter. Lucky for me, I got the thumbs up. But this brings up a good point: don't put off addressing plot issues just because you're afraid of what you'll find out. At some point you have to deal with this stuff. By the way, this is why my story isn't set in Paris- I just can't afford to research there (no matter how much I wish I could!)

I still have to hit up lots more agents before I can say "this hasn't worked", but I'm already starting to think that I may be better off trying to land an agent at a conference. Everybody, EVERYBODY, says they are vital to attend. I didn't doubt them, but money is an issue so I had settled on doing everything the hard way. But now I'm thinking that I really might have to work on a way to get myself to a conference. Step one: Pray. God's gonna have to help me come up with the cash!

If you've been to a conference, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Christians and “Grit”

I’ve seen a wide range of opinions on how a Christian should go about writing what we call “gritty” scenes in fiction. You know- those scenes where someone is drinking, drugging, swearing, or is in a compromising position. On the one side, you might be told that Christian fiction should never even contain the words “gosh, darn, or heck”; characters should never be shown gambling or playing games of chance; never should there be a scene of violence; and absolutely never ever should we see a Christian couple being physically affectionate. Heaven forbid we give the world the impression that Christians actually have hormones! (Didn’t you know that Christians don’t procreate? Our babies simply float down gently on the clouds and into our laps! Now you know our secret.)

On the other side of the spectrum you might hear that Christian fiction which ignores the “real world” is simply, well... not good. Therefore, you should make sure your characters speak with realistic language including expletives when necessary, and you should not dance around the issues of graphic violence or sex.

So which is it?

I have major problems with both of these extremes. I suppose if these were my only two options, I would be forced to lean a little more toward the squeaky-clean camp. I take issue with the use of the phrase “real life” in describing sinful behavior as opposed to righteous living. Are we saying that the righteous man isn’t real? Isn’t Christ’s transforming power just as real as the sorry state of the sinner apart from Him? Neither camp suits me, so I will attempt to lay out for you the guidelines I follow.

What are our goals as Christian writers?

  • To uplift
    We never want to drag someone down. We want to inspire and encourage them in their walk with God. Our readers struggle with sin just like we do, we don’t want to make it harder for them to keep their minds pure!
  • To reflect the heart of God
    God wants to meet you where you’re at but He doesn’t want to leave you there. Like the saying goes “Come just as you are, but don’t leave that way!”
  • To draw people out of darkness.
    We don't want someone to finish reading our work and be more entrenched in the world than before! We have been called out of darkness; we do not want to embrace it, nor be comfortable living in it. We shouldn’t ignore the darkness, but we should depict it as a negative place to be. Christ told “gritty stories” himself. But always the message was- “Go, and sin no more.” (see above.)

Also, remember your audience. Christians don’t often want to look down at their book and see a curse word spelled out in black and white. And don’t use asterisks in its place! It’s just tacky. Not to mention that effective writing should not need to rely on blatant curse words to convey the mood of the scene. Remember the Golden Rule of writing fiction: “Show don’t Tell”. This rule very much applies in situations like these.

What does this look like in action? Example is the best teacher here. I will share two passages that I feel express touchy subjects without crossing the line. The first is from Sherri Lewis’ My Soul Cries Out. One of the grittiest scenes I could imagine. Monica has just caught her husband in bed- with another man. She’s been throwing books and hangars at the men just before we jump in:

I stomped out of the room and disappeared down the steps. They probably thought I had gotten tired or come to my senses. I wasn’t anywhere near coming to my senses. I just remembered Kevin’s golf clubs in the front closet.

When I came back, the look in Kevin’s eyes said he regretted the day he ever became obsessed with being the next Tiger Woods. Trey screamed like a girl and ran out of the room when he saw the driving iron in my hand.

I made a wild swing at Kevin and hit the wall instead. Paint and drywall crumbled to the floor. While I was prying the club out of the wall, Kevin grabbed my arm and wrestled me to the floor. “Monica, calm down. Please, calm down and let’s talk about this like rational adults.”

“Calm down? Rational adults?” I unleashed a spray of curse words – strung them together like a pro. Kevin’s eyes widened. He had never heard me curse before. By the time he met me, I’d gotten delivered of the cussing demon I picked up my freshman year of college.

I twisted a hand free and slapped his face. Hard. Twice.
He grabbed my hand again and tried to pin me down. He was forceful enough to stop my assault against him, but gentle enough not to hurt me.

“Monnie, please.” His eyes begged me. Those big, beautiful eyes I had fallen so deeply in love with. Seeing the tears forming in the corners of them took some of the fire out of me. I stopped struggling for a minute.

Kevin looked like he was trying to decide if I was faking him out or if he could trust me enough to loosen his grip. He stared, obviously not knowing what to say. What could he say?

I realized my dream life, my fantasy, had just come undone. I let out a wail. “Oh my Gaaaaaawwwwwddddd…”

“Monnie, I’m sorry. I –”

“You’re sorry all right. You sorry son of a…son of a... You mother-lovin’…” Forget it. It was too hard. I unleashed another spray of foul language, knowing no matter how much I cursed or how many times I hit him, I’d never be able to make him hurt as much as he just made me hurt.

I sure could try, though.


Wow, can you feel her pain? We don’t need to know precisely what Monica said, because the exact words aren’t important. The emotion is. And the emotion of the scene comes through loud and clear. The author has done a good job of SHOWING, rather than TELLING what Monica is feeling. This might be a little closer to the line than even I would be comfortable at, but it doesn’t quite cross it and it doesn’t need to. In fact, I think the scene would lose some power if Monica’s tirade were documented for us word-by-word.

The second example is from my book, BEAUTY FOR ASHES. April’s drunk boyfriend has lost his temper and shoved her against the wall.

Uncertainty played across my fluttering heart. What was he doing? I glanced around the room searching for help. There was a vase on the other side of the room if I could get to it. But my wrists were pinned against the wall above my head and he was squeezing hard. I winced as he brought his face down to mine.

“Don’t you know that you can’t do anything to me?” He moved his head and whispered in my ear, “You’re powerless, April. You’re nothing. I only keep you around for one reason.” He brought his lips to the nape of my neck.

Instinct took over then, and I used my knee to hit him as hard I could. He let go and stumbled back a few steps.

“You’re a jerk, Robert.” I said, glad the whole thing was over. His experiment in physical intimidation was ended.

He was dumbfounded for a moment- a deer caught in the headlights. But then he erupted, like a volcano. He spewed the most vile names at me, the most hideous hurtful things. He grabbed his plate from the table and threw it, cursing. I ducked to avoid it and it crashed into the wall behind me. Then he flew at me, with complete and total rage in his eyes. And for the first time, I was truly terrified.

He rammed me and shoved me to the ground. He kicked me in the stomach and I curled around myself. I couldn’t suck in enough air. I gasped and tried to pull myself up but then he was on top of me. He used his fists on my face and I raised my arms as cover. We struggled on the floor as I tried to get away but it was no use. I was crying now, certain that he meant to actually kill me.

“Robert, please!” I screamed. “Stop! Don’t do this!” but he wouldn’t listen. He was hitting me upside the head with his fists while I tried in vain to find shelter behind my arms. He grew frustrated with my flailing and grabbed my wrists pinning them down above me. At least it kept his hands busy so he couldn’t hit me anymore. He squeezed my wrists so tight that my hands started to tingle. I was helpless there. He didn’t mind my crying.

He was breathing hard, staring down at me. Then something changed in his expression and he got off of me abruptly.

“Get up” he said.

On shaky limbs I scrambled to my feet, feeling every bruise. I tasted blood in my mouth, and I was sure I had a cracked rib. Robert was still agitated but I kept silent.

“Come on.” He said, pulling me toward the bedroom. “Sit.” He thrust me onto the bed. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared. My heart was beating out an unfamiliar rhythm but I sat stone-still, staring down at my hands. He sat down next to me on the edge of the bed and roughly tilted my chin up to study my face. Then he pressed his lips into mine and kissed me hard. When I tried to resist, he pulled me closer and kissed me even more intently. “Knock it off, April. Don’t fight me.” He said. So I didn’t.


This scene could have been written using a lot of dialogue with plenty of cursing and name calling, as well as more explicit descriptions of what was done to April. But the scene is effective without it. We know what happened, we know it was evil. No need to roll around in the graphic details.

The character’s personal story is part of her spiritual journey and that is the main goal here- to put the reader into her life where it hurts, so they might later follow her to where there is comfort in Christ.

It’s a balancing act to be sure. There have been many scenes that caused me to pause and think hard about how best to construct them. But it’s so very important to get it right that it’s worth the time to find that balance. My best advice on the subject? Pray! Pray before every project, but especially those difficult passages. When it comes to pleasing God, the Holy Spirit is our best mentor, the ultimate guru.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree or disagree? Please share!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Breadcrumbs for ME

Read a great blog post on what to expect between novel completion and publication and LOVED IT! I just HAD to share it!

I got another rejection today, but that's alright. Time to send out more queries.

Today was Brandon's last day of school. He is now officially a high school SOPHOMORE -yikes! I'm so proud and so disoriented. When did my baby grow up? Next week Kaitlyn graduates from elementary school and Amy reaches "double digits". What the heck? Who told them they could do that? At least Trevor is still little and I plan to keep him that way forever! *Sigh*. Sing it with me people: "Sunrise, sunset; Sunrise, sunset..." Someone pass the tissues please.
***Oh. Em. GOODNESS!** As I was typing this blog post, Hubby came in with the mail and handed me an envelope from Christian Writers Guild. Say what? That's the fastest "4-6 weeks" I've ever seen! I held the envelope in my hands, heart starting to pound. I was nervous! What would it say? Was I ready to find out? The glue on the envelope flap was holding on like grim death and I had to rip it off bit by bit just to gain access. All the while thinking it was a lot of effort for something I wasn't positive I could handle reading just then anyway. But then I had it in my hands. Breathe.

The cover letter is intimidating. A preface to the critique. A "now don't feel too bad" note, meant to soften the blow on the following pages. Yipes!

Next page...

I'm not allowed to quote the actual critique. Sorry! But I will say that it was very thorough and encouraging! There were areas highlighted that I could fix up, but there was plenty of positive feedback on the meatier parts as well. Overall, I am thrilled with the experience and already figuring out if I'd like to send in some more! I want to send in more, but it's a question of finances. I can't very well send in the whole darn thing after all. I can afford another small sample but which one? Do I send in what comes next or skip to somewhere in the middle to see if my writing stays consistent throughout?

I would LOVE your opinions on this! Maybe I'll use this as an opportunity to post my first "poll" on the blog! Hmmm... that's an idea!

What part of the story should be sent in for critique?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Research on "The Biz"

I did a lot of online reading yesterday; it's all I could manage with Trevor ever-intent on climbing up the dining room chairs and anything else around. So even if I didn't get much writing or editing done, I came across some really cool stuff!

*I found and added an "email notification" function to the blog! Now you can get a message when I add new content! It's on the left, top of the list. I also got the feedburner set up for those who use that. Look Mom, I'm a blogger!

*Book giveaways- Christian Book Giveaways Free books are always good! I entered a couple drawings I found on this list. Good for social networking and for ideas on marketing my own book when (not if)it goes to print.

*Agent blogs- I read several posts and articles today on agents' sites, but one in particular was Books and Such: Many good articles to help you get inside an agent's head! I read an entire series of posts about query letters as well as sage advice on how best to redeem the time while you are waiting, and waiting, and waiting on those circulating queries. Definitely worth a read!

*Proposal-writing ebook- I purchased an ebook about Writing a Winning Book Proposal from Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers- can't wait to take the time to dig into this!

*Blog advice- Michael Hyatt also has several articles about successful blogging; I hope I can live up to my desire to give valuable information to other writers out there and put these tips to good use!

*I got replies from two of the music publishers regarding my usage of song lyrics. Progress! I didn't get the full skinny on pricing, but I was directed to a website one of them has set up for such things. I haven't found the right description for my intended use on their "rates" page yet. It's on my list to figure out this week. In case you are looking for song rights to similar music (this one was a worship song), the site is Musicservices.org

The other song publisher wants to know more about the book and whether I have a release date for it yet (ha! I wish!) I find the whole process very interesting and will be sure to keep you posted.

*I sent out another query yesterday- go me!- and I am very excited about this agent. When I sent the first query I had butterflies in my tummy; I really really hoped to get a positive response from her, but it was met with rejection (as you know). I sent out another three which I wasn't quite as enthusiastic about and I'm still waiting to hear back. But this agent I queried yesterday is perhaps putting me on even more pins and needles than the first!

I have perused her authors' blogs and websites and read their bios, and these women appear like kindred spirits- both in their motivation to write Christian fiction as well as their personal lives. One is even a homeschooling mom (a venture I am embarking on this fall). I would be honored to be in the company of these women- both as authors and as followers of Christ. I don't have any false illusions- I know rejection is still likely. But I am much more confident in the quality of this query than the first, so I stubbornly cling to hope! My goal is to send out four more queries this week, in case this agent says "pass".

Tell me: What kind of agent would you be most excited to work with?

To Live Is...?

Stealing a few moments of quiet while my baby napped, I enjoyed a good cup of coffee and read through the book of Colossians. As I read Paul's familiar words "to live is Christ,..." I wondered... Could I say that? I mean, really and truly could I say that for me to live is Christ?

I had to admit that far more accurate would be the statement "for me to live is: to keep a balanced budget, to stay on top of the kids' schoolwork, to try and keep up with what is expected and to hide how short I come up". When I wake up in the morning these are the matters filling my thoughts. What do I have to do today to keep from drowning? I am reminded of a really good Nichole Nordeman song (aren't they all?) with which I can deeply relate:

It's a fear that keeps me wide awake
In the middle of the night
When the expectations are too great
And the bar gets raised too high
So I do the best with what I've got
And hope that no one knows
That I strain to see how high I can
Try to stand on these toes
Until I'm measured,
But You know better

Of course we all have responsibilities, and it is important to be diligent and to step up. But that shouldn't be what we (I) live for, it should be the afterthought. But so often these things monopolize my thoughts and my attention all day long and crowd out everything else; I am reminded of the promise "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." I don't think "all these things" is simply food and shelter, I think it also includes just making it through the day intact, being the wife and mom and friend (or husband or dad) we are called to be.

So now the question remains- what will I do to change this? And whatever answer the Lord whispers to my heart, will I end up putting it aside until after I've done the dishes, balanced the budget, helped the kids with their homework, filled out the high school registration packet, called my sister, uploaded my camera, vacuumed the living room......

Friday, June 11, 2010


Well, I knew it was coming but I expected a longer wait. After arriving home from a wonderful evening of being entertained by my daughters at their school Talent Show, I clicked on my Inbox. Such an innocent thing to do. And what to my wandering eyes should appear, but a reply from the first agent I queried. Sadly, it was not an enthusiastic "Ohmygosh! Send me your manuscript NOW!" No, it was a polite rejection; a form rejection I'm sure. Could it have been the fact that I had forgotten my contact phone number and sent a second email with it (remember how extremely nervous I was to click that send button)? Could it have been the unpolished query (I have a much stronger one now)? Or could it possibly have just not been a good fit? The world may never know.

One thing I do know- I have three more inquiries currently "out there", and a stronger query letter to send out to another batch of agents as soon as I carve out the time to research and choose who they'll be. It's not the end, it's only the beginning. I will treat my rejection as a badge of honor. It means I am trying- and that's more than a lot of novelists can say.

Good night!

~ Michelle

update: Moving forward with something more positive... I have posted a promo video that my wonderful and talented husband created for my book! It is permanently located at the bottom of the blog- check it out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We Wear the Cross

Today's featured piece is a poem by Jody Day entitled We Wear the Cross. This poem really made me stop and think about the way I represent Christ and I asked Jody if she would allow me to share it here. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Feel free to leave a comment for Jody at the end of this post...


We Wear the Cross

I saw a fight today,
Two men were brash and bold.
Their violence was strange,
Each wore a cross of gold.

Another day I saw a girl,
A 'lady of the night'.
She walked the darkened street,
Her silver cross shone bright.

We all wear crosses now
To decorate our days,
But what of meaning and of creed
And changing of our ways?

Where do we take our Savior
When we wear His sign;
The symbol of His sacrifice,
His love for us divine?

The love of Christ a fad?
The blood a new couture?
He calls us to proclaim His Name
And live a life that's pure.

Christ bore the cross for us
And bids us go and tell;
Let's wear the cross in truth
So all in Him may dwell.


Jody Day is a freelance writer based in west Texas. For her complete bio, and to read more of her work, visit her Faithwriter's Portfolio.

Guest Writers!

Good morning friends,

I am excited to announce that I will be bringing you all some fabulous posts by GUEST WRITERS! In the coming days (if you're lucky, even later today) I will be posting excerpts and bios of some of the writing friends I've made through my journey.

It's not only for your enjoyment- though I'm sure you will really enjoy what you read- but also to demonstrate the wonderful communities of authors available for YOU to become a part of when you start actively seeking to plug in. I believe "networking" is a key ingredient to getting published. Why? Because there is so much you can LEARN and GLEAN from others! From writing tips to helpful websites and articles, to honest critiques of your work and a cheering squad for your successes, plugging in to a community of writers is invaluable!

So make sure to check back (or subscribe via email for notification on new posts) and read some work from my writing buddies. In the meantime, have a blessed day!

~ Michelle

**If you would like to be a guest writer, please email me your writing exerpt and we will talk!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today was quiet

Today I got those pesky letters in the mailbox. But before they went out, I had to take a photo of my very professional looking envelopes. Don't I look classy?

I met up with a friend of mine this morning who I never knew was also a writer. It was so much fun connecting over our shared experiences! I've known her for several years but we've not really gotten to know each other much till now. We shared query letters and swapped book exerpts and all in all it was simply great having someone to talk to who is walking the same path I am. I can't wait to meet with her again next week; I hope we keep each other motivated and encouraged throughout this process! :)

I also commented on a post at the She Reads site, trying to win a free book. We'll see how that goes! I was asked to tell "what summer means to me". I don't know if they choose a winner at random or if they pick a comment they like, but this is what I wrote:

[Most of the time, I might be considered a “homebody”. Give me a comfy couch and a good book over a hike or camping trip any day of the week!

But summer is the time for me to peel back my usually serious and contemplative nature and step out into the world of carefree fun.

It’s when I enjoy the feel of the sun warming my skin and a quick dip in the pool refreshing me. It’s when I don’t mind the kids making a little more mess as they splash and play outside, run barefoot all day long, or make chalk drawings all over the driveway.

Summer is the time when I connect more to “real life”- the things that matter- like family and love and building memories and relationships. Things just wouldn’t be the same without summer seasons- in nature, or in life!

So far there are over 550 comments, so it's a long shot. But it was fun and quick and ya never know!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Checklist for Today

Good morning! As I sit with my cup of coffee, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I am creating the ever-present List Of Things To Do for today.

Because much of the Getting Published process is a waiting game, there isn't always a lot you can do once those queries have gone out. Nevertheless, I do have some items to add to my checklist:

1) Send in first chapter for critique to the Christian Writers Guild
2) Put those hard-copy letters to the music publishers in the mail (requires stamps that aren't Christmasy!)
3) Revise my query based on feedback from Phoenix Sullivan
4) Find and clean up a few pieces of previous writing, suitable for blog-posting

I am happy to say that I have already completed item #1. Yay, Go Me! I can't wait to get my critique back, but it could take over a month (ugh- more waiting!) So be patient with the update.

I have more on my list but mostly it is boring stuff you don't want to read about- like laundry and vacuuming and watering flowers. Wondering what to add to your list today? How about reading a devotional message on http://www.coachkvh.org/!

"This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

Have a great day!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Christian Writer's Guild

Well, I wanted to talk a bit about the Christian Writer's Guild tonight. If you are seriously considering writing Christian content, this is an excellent resource. There are online courses you can take and an annual conference you can attend- admittedly I've done neither of these things (yet). But tonight I wanted to talk to you about two specific features of the site: The critiquing service, and the Operation First Novel contest.

First, you should know that the site is run by Jerry B Jenkins- a prominent Christian author known best as having written the Left Behind series. That right there is already impressive. Second, they have ties with Tyndale, one of the largest Christian publishers around. So you know it's a fantastic place to be.

Ok, the critiquing service. I think this is an excellent idea! For as little as $40 you can have a few pages of your manuscript read and critiqued by their writing professionals. Click the direct link to their critiquing page so you can get all the prices and information. I'm going to be sending in a sample of my work and I'll let you know how it goes!

And now the really exciting thing- the Operation First Novel contest! This is open to members of the guild ($149 per year) who have never been published before. The winner gets their book published by Tyndale (yay!) and a $20,000 advance (wowza!). Click the link for all the deets.

Can you imagine?? Now, I don't want to presume I'd have a chance at winning, but if I don't enter the contest I may always wonder. I've himmed and hawed over this for weeks! My current plan is- submit to agents until the contest submission deadline; if I don't get picked up, enter the contest. That gives me until October 1st to test the waters with my query, get critiques, and make improvements to my manuscript.

I guess I shouldn't have let you all in on this- I might be giving myself more competition! So if you have a really good Christian Fiction story- forget you ever read this post!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

I sent my first query!

Well, I did it! I spent hours poring over my letter, choosing the agent to approach first, checking and re-checking everything until finally.... I clicked "send". I actually had to take a five minute break after drafting the email to calm down before coming back and hitting that send button. It felt like such a momentous occasion.

If you are a writer and have ever crafted a query letter, you know that it is in itself an artform to be learned. You might write draft after draft after draft, and still not get it right. There is a ton of information out there on this subject and several editor's blogs to turn to for tips. I submitted an early draft of my query to two such blogs and had the fortune of making it onto one of them and receiving some excellent feedback. You can read that here (then bookmark the site or follow the blog for future help). [I removed the link to my query after remembering how much of the plot is given away within it!]
The two blogs I read and check most are:

Evil Editor (with frequent updates and plenty of humor)
Query Shark (fewer updates but more direct help- she'll tell you exactly why a letter isn't working)

There are many many more, but these are a great start.

As you are crafting your query letter, you are probably continuing to do whatever you can to polish your manuscript. You almost never feel like it's as good as it could be, or is perfect. And if you are a first-timer like me, you long for reassurance that what you've written is more than just a lot of drivel. So you probably seek out feedback from readers and other writers wherever you can. If you want to ask someone other than your mom (no offense Mom!) how good your book is, you might hop on over to Faithwriters.com where you can join for about $5 a month and take advantage of their critique circle. You give as well as receive critiques on sample chapters, queries, synopses, or other articles/poems you want feedback on. It's a great place to meet other Christian writers. It can be hard to find input that is on-point from a writer that is not a believer. They don't understand the audience you are writing to a lot of times. Faithwriters connects you with the readers you are writing for as well as authors who will give you an honest critique.

So, there you have it. Tomorrow I will post again, so check back often! And let me know if you like what you read. I'd love to hear from you!

Good night!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Copyrights and such...

Good morning!

I am happy to have something to blog about today. You see, I have several song lyrics quoted in my book and one of the tasks looming before me is figuring out how to make it all legal. If I can't, I'll have to remove the references, and I don't want to do that. So, I had to buckle down and get to it!

After several google searches and articles over the last several days, I finally came upon three websites that were just what I needed:


These websites hold license information for most songs. I mainly used ASCAP for what I needed. After doing a search for the first song on my list and finding it, I went to their contact page. From among a myriad of contacts with different job titles, I chose the one I thought could help me and sent a short email:

"I am looking into obtaining permission to quote song lyrics in a novel. Can you offer information on that? Thank you!"

I hoped a very short email would get a quicker response- and it did. Within about half an hour I had a reply: I would need to contact the publisher. Well, thanks to their database, I had the publisher information at my fingertips. A couple of them had email addresses in their contact information so I started there. I sent off an email to the first publisher:

"Good morning,
I am writing to find out about obtaining permission to quote in a Christian Fiction novel I have written. Can you provide information on this for me? Thank you!"

Again I kept it short, hoping for a quick response. I sent a second email but it bounced back, so I will have to contact the remaining publishers through snail-mail.

I don't know how long I'll have to wait to hear back, whether they will grant permission, or how much it will cost if they do. I may end up having to remove the references in the end anyway, but I am excited that I have ventured into this new territory this morning. It felt so "official" that I had been intimidated to do it; but now, I have set the wheels in motion and am feeling pretty darn good about it!

Cross your fingers for me! (Prayers are even better!)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Well, this is really a welcome to myself- a welcome to the world of blogging. I'm just as surprised as you are; I never thought I'd be a blogger, but here I am!

Those who know me well know that over the past couple of years I have been working on writing a novel. What started out as just an interesting story idea has taken on a life of its own and become something I am really excited about. Now that it's complete, I am learning a lot about things like query letters, taglines, agents and editors. It's quite an adventure!

So, this is the place where you can follow my journey as I try to get published. If you are a writer yourself, perhaps you'll benefit from reading about my experiences. If you're a friend or family member, this is the place that will answer the question "Hey, whatever happened with that book you wrote?" From time to time I may even have guest bloggers share their thoughts, tips/advice, devotions, or amusing anecdotes.

Here's to the journey!