May 25, 2010

Top Ten Things To Do When You Can't Go To A Conference

I've got a Top Ten List of Things To Do When You Can't Go To A Conference over at:

Some might just tickle your fancy. And then again....maybe not!

May 24, 2010

Digesting Genesis Scores

I received my scoresheets from the second contest I entered, The Genesis, which was sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Overall I was happy with the scores. It was the equivalent of an A and two C's. Two C's, you might ask? Well, yes. For someone not expecting to final, for someone entering their very first manuscript into a contest, I would say those are pretty good scores!

It was so interesting to go through and read the comments made by the three judges. Some had some very detailed and helpful critiques that will definitely make my story stronger and more alive. It seems I struggle with backstory and info dumping. It's funny, because I had people read my story and say they were confused at the beginning and needed more background. Hhhmmmm. There's got to be a balance, don't you think?

There were a few comments that I thought were subjective. I know there is a wide variety of thought regarding what is appropriate for CBA. What is acceptable is changing fast and really, it all depends on the publisher you choose to target.

What I thought most interesting is the difference in the scoring between the Genesis and the Touch By Love contest, in which I finaled. The Genesis only accepts the first 15 pages of manuscript, while the TBL accepted 30 pages. I wondered if I would have done better in the Genesis if judges could have kept reading. One judge in the TBL told me my first chapter needed work, so most likely it really does! (I believe this is where the backstory and info dumping factors in.)

So as I begin to continue editing this book of mine, I will take the judges comments and sift through them, implementing the suggestions that seem to come from more than one judge. I will make the changes that make sense and make my story tighter and I will ignore the ones that seem to be more opinion than helpful facts.

I've decided I really like contests. They are a good way to get feedback and in some cases, get validation on this writing venture. I'm not going to enter any more this year, but will focus on making this story shine and hopefully begin a new and fresh stroy this summer.

What is the one thing you love about contests? The thing you dislike?

May 21, 2010

A Grand Week For The Ketchersid Women

What a week for the Ketchersid Women! I've already shared that I was a finalist for the Touched By Love Contest, but what I'm really excited about is what my fabulous daughter won last night!

Earlier this school year, she submitted her designs for costumes for her high school musical, Hello Dolly. She was selected to be the costume designer. They were wonderful and her designs got her nominated for the Betty Buckley Award for 2010.

I have to say that since we are not into the "theater world", I did not realize what a big deal this was. I thought it was just for Birdville ISD schools, and was a banquet at the FAAC. It was NOT a banquet. (And boy was I HUNGRY by the time it was over at 10:30 p.m.!) And it was not at the FAAC. It was at Casa Manana, a theater in near downtown Fort Worth.

And it was a BIG deal. It was like the Academy Awards for High School Theater in the area. There were schools from many school districts in the surrounding cities and they were dressed to the nines. What was funny was after the first award was presented, my daughter looked at me and said, "The winners have to make a speech?" She said she was glad she didn't have a chance to win, because she definitely didn't want to make a speech.

Boy, was she shocked when they called her name! She looked at me and asked, "Seriously? Did I win?" She had to look on the screen to make sure! My sweet daughter, walked up on that stage, and made her sweet thank you's and I was so incredibly proud! And the most exciting thing was she received a $500 scholarship!!!!! Yes, I'm so proud!

We are so blessed and so humbled that God has affirmed His gifting in us. He is the One who has given us any talent that we have and He is the One that should receive the glory.

May you have a blessed weekend!

May 17, 2010

BIG News Changes Things

Call me wishy washy. Flighty. Daft. Whatever... but I've decided to finish editing my first book. I know what you are thinking. She needs to decide and stick with a plan. She should move on! First books never sell, so why waste your time? Well, I agree with all those things! But yesterday I received news that changed everything.

I finaled in the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter's Touched By Love Contest!

Now, you might be thinking, so why edit now? Well, the big grand prize for the overall winner is a edit by an editor. I don't expect to be the overall all! Seriously, it's not that I am a pessimist, but I am realistic.  On the other hand, I received some great scores by all three judges and I feel like I should at least be prepared. There's that "What if..." factor.

AND, the best thing is...I will finally be done with it and be able to say I DID IT!

So bear with me while I go back to the drawing board with this book. I may whine a bit in the next couple of weeks, but I will try to keep my Cranky Pants tucked away in the closet.

May 14, 2010

Timeline Needed? Really?

I've started working on my character charts for my new story. I was going gangbusters with the main character, thinking of awesome and unique traits....way cool stuff. And then I started giving her a family. I gave her quirky parents, hippies who were free spirits. I spun wild tales about her birth, her name, her home life.

And then I realized something most embarrassing.

My heroine is 28. Her parents got married in the 60's.  Hhhmmmmmm....that would make her, um, MID-FORTIES.

Yep. It's so embarrassing I decided to blog about it, showing my total newbie-ness. Showing my goofy thought processes. Letting the world see me struggle through this character building.

Okay, so now I have the heroine's parents getting married in the 80's. Bleh...what a decade. But, oh can still have the BIG hair from the 80's while in her 50's. That's kinda quirky, right? I'm still struggling with her father, but since I graduated while in the 80's, I should be able to find something fun to use.

I suppose I need a timeline.  A bit tedious, I know. And yes, it will be all backstory, but to make the story work in the present, I need to have the details right in the past. It seems rather silly to go to all that trouble to make timelines and build a past for my characters, but it is important. It's important because the past makes the present believable. It's important because my heroine's past makes her who she is.

So now I continue my character building, trying things out...using pencil so that I can erase when it things don't work! It's taking longer than I thought, but I want to be thorough. I want this next story to be TONS better than my first.

You writers out there, how do you build your characters? Any tips? Tricks of the trade?

May 10, 2010

Prep Work

I wonder how many people like doing prep work. You know, taping around doors and windows before you paint your bedroom. Steaming and scraping old wallpaper before you paint or lay down new paper. Or how about hoeing or tilling the ground before planting seeds for a garden.

I don't always like the prep work for anything involving manual labor. I think it has to do with my intense dislike for sweating. But let me do the prep work for a new story and I'm all over that!

I've been thinking a lot about my new story and while I still haven't found my Plot & Structure book, I've been reading up plotting and character development on some great writing blogs (Hi Seekerville Ladies!) I've also been looking through my synopsis class notes (Hi Camy Tang!) which will be a tremendous help in getting a synopsis completed BEFORE I write! Yes, I am plotting deep and strong this time around. Today I am printing out my charts and hope to get them filled out this week in preparation for my summer writing spree.

These next three weeks will be spent developing my characters, working on their GMCs, and developing a plot. Today I am printing out my character and GMC charts and will begin getting some of these ideas out of my head and onto paper. Yes, I like to do it by hand, the old fashioned way, when I do my prep work. There is something organic, freeing, and creative in feeling the pen glide across the page.

I love the creative aspect of writing. I love ideas coming together to make a story. I'm getting excited!

How many of you like the prep work? Or do you find it a necessary evil? What is YOUR process?

May 09, 2010

We Have A Winner!

Using a random number generator, the winner of The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen is...

Melanie Dickerson

Congratulations Melanie! I will send you an email and get your address! Expect your book in the mail this week!

Thanks to all who entered!

May 07, 2010

The Silent Governess Book Giveaway

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen is a Regency read, with the flavor of the era perfectly woven in. The heroine, Olivia Keene flees from a bad situation at home, only to be thrown into prison for trespassing on private property. Lord Bradley of Brightwell Court frees her from prison, but insists she work as a nursemaid to his niece and nephew for three months, hoping to find out what she knows about his "secret". (She overheard a conversation while trespassing.) Both have secrets to keep hidden, yet as things unravel, they must learn to trust one another as the past threatens the future.

I loved the historical details in this book, with the propriety of the Regency era and the way of life it entails. The plot of intricate and well planned and kept me turning the page. As an avid romance reader, I was disappointed in how little romance factored in, but had I known before hand, I'm sure I would have been okay. There was some romance, but not much of it and it really didn't develop well until the last part of the book. Having said that, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to those who love a good plot with great historical flavor.

BACK COVER: Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his. But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything--his reputation, his inheritance, his very home.

He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something.
Moving, mysterious and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Silent Governess, please leave a comment with your spam free email addy (sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com). I will draw a winner Sunday evening, May 9, using a random generator. 

NOTE: The drawing is open to residents of the U.S. due to various laws. The winner is responsible for eligibility and meeting the rules of their state. No fees were required to enter this drawing, and the blog owner did not receive any compensation for the above recommendation. The book was given to me by the publisher for review.

May 05, 2010

Great Writing Finds in Blog-World

I had 319 blogs to read in Google Reader yesterday and found some treasures among them. So I thought I would share with you some awesome links to some great finds!

There's a new Christian Romance Book Publisher starting up, the Rose & Crown, and they are the first publisher to try and take the genre to the UK. You can read about it HERE at the Christian Writer's Market.

Mary DeMuth has a new tutorial for writing Proposals that will knock the socks off agents and publishers! You can find out more about it HERE.

Casey interviewed author Janice Thompson, who officially debuted her online course "Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer" last week. Check out the course on her website or on YouTube.  Check out Casey's interview with Janice HERE.

Carla Glade's post had a couple of links to some FABULOUS lists of writing contests to enter. The lists are comprehensive and are worth your while to look them over. Check out the links HERE.

Terri Blackstock is having a contest to celebrate the release of her newest book, Predator. The prize is an iPad!!!!! (And her book, of course!) To enter the contest, go HERE.

Lots of fun links out there! Have fun exploring!

May 04, 2010

Middle Age Newbie

I'm talking about being a middle aged newbie on the Writer's Alley today. If you are interested in seeing what one looks like, click on the link below.

May 03, 2010

Lost and Not Found

I've lost Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell and I am frantic trying to locate it! There are only so many places it could be, right? There is no one to loan it out to...well, there is one, but I don't remember loaning it to her.

So where or where art thou, oh book so needed and desired?

The thing is, I am ruminating a story idea and want to be a "plotter" with this one instead of doing it by the seat of my pants. I need to read through this book again so I know how to do it right. I want my plot to be sound, with no holes. I want the story to flow, with no skips and lurches. I need to find this book!

And no, my library does not carry it. *gasp*

I suppose I could use my Amazon money that I've won from Swagbucks, but I am wanting some fun books from some favorite authors that are coming out soon. (Swagbucks is a site to earn online money by using their search engine. You can exchange the online money to purchase gift cards and other merchandise. I always buy the Amazon gift cards and put it in my Amazon account to feed my book habit. Shameless plug, I know.) I really don't want to purchase a book I KNOW has to be around here somewhere.

So now what? I'm not sure. I need some help in plotting, to be sure, but am not quit sure what to do. I wonder if there are online helps I could find? Or maybe my library has something comparable. (I know, I know, there is nothing like Bell's work!) But surely there is something out there to help me.

Any ideas?

May 02, 2010

The Writer's Alley

I'm late. I'm late. For a very important date....

Yesterday was the launch of The Writer's Alley, a new group blog that I am a part of, aimed to encourage and motivate aspiring authors, and build community through our shared goal of publication. 

Come stroll up the street and visit the various shops we've constructed for your entertainment and education. Hopefully you will find a shop "write up your alley"!

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