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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seeker Reunion!!



Back at home and tired as can be...but have a tremendous smile on my face.

5 days at the ACFW Conference in Denver, CO spent with fellow writers in an atmosphere of creativity can't be trumped. Unless of course, you couple it with 5 amazing days spent with all my Seeker sisters! 15 of us, once contest rivals, now friends and the ultimate of support groups.

My conference week started out by picking up Ruthy at the airport. Chic author that she is, she found my SUV while I was calling her to say *where are you?* Sporting a new short and sassy hair cut and a bright smile, Ruthy was ready to take Denver by storm.

We arrived at Tina's house for our Seeker reunion party where we spent the kick-off ni
ght of conference laughing, hugging, eating, posing for pictures, eating some more, posing some more, laughing until it hurt. Great times -- the stuff memories are made of : ) Can you believe Camy, Cara, Cheryl, Debby, Glynna, Janet, Julie, Mary, Missy, Myra, Pam Ruthy, Sandra, Tina and me all in the same state, the same city, the same house? Tina's neighborhood will never be the same : )

Thursday found a group of us touring Denver. The state capital, the Molly Brown House, and lunch at Park Meadows Mall gave us non-pre-conference attendees a chance to get out into the beautiful Colorado sunshine. After dropping off part of our group back at the hotel, a ride on the light rail into downtown Denver to visit The Tattered Cover bookstore seemed in order. We rode t
he 16th Street shuttle - what a hoot! After grabbing a cup of coffee at the bookstore, we retraced our steps and headed back to freshen up before an evening of mingling with the conference crowd.

Since Ruthy, Tina and I were just stalking the conference, Friday gave us some time to sleep in, chit chat, and run to the local Chick-Fil-A in our sweats for tak
e out lunch. Heaven. We took just a wee bit of time to primp, then off to the hotel for a conference fun. Ruthy accepted an invitation to dine with other authors from Books and Such, her agent. Tina and I led a brave group of souls to downtown Denver on the light rail for dinner or browsing or whatever anyone had in mind. Dinner at the Montana Grill was amazing. I highly recommend the crab cakes and baked sweet potato!! A few tense moments passed as we discovered our light rail route had made its last run, but with prayers and observation, we managed to piece together a route home. The excitement knew no bounds!

We had to rise and shine early Saturday morning to take Ruthy to the airport. Only four more shifts are her bakery job and her career as cake decorator supreme would be over. Problem was, Saturday night was one of her last shifts. Tina and I saw Ruthy off with hugs and kisses and headed back to prepare for t
he booksigning at the hotel featuring many Seekers!! Arming our sisters with specially made bookmarks proclaiming our unity, the booksigning was a huge success as excited conference attendees purchased books at the conference bookstore and waited in lines for their favorite authors to sign and chat. Later that evening, the conference banquet hosted the awards ceremony for many acclamations including The Genesis contest, and the Book of the Year.

Drum roll please...Julie Lessman won Book of the Year for her debut book, A Passion Most Pure!! Way to go, Julie!!

After the banquet,
we gathered in our now well-known spot and greeted friends of Seekerville and anyone else who wanted to join us. We were especially excited to have Tina James, Senior Editor at Steeple Hill Love Inspired join us for chats and photos.

As all good things do, the conference party came to an end. Good times and great memories. I met many wonderful people and enjoyed the thrill of the festivities. I came home with a sense of peace over my writing journey.

My life is in God's hands, and I'm thankful for every adventure He takes me on.

Now, until the next adventure calls, my fun meter has maxed out. It's back to the working world by day and novel writer by night.

Life is good.

Blessings to all!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Don't Miss The Treasure Hunt!

Can you believe conference is almost here?? And Seekerville will be experiencing a first -- all 15 of us will be in the same physical room at the same time!!! WooHoo! We've congregated in virtual reality for 4 years and finally all of us are clustering in Denver.

Hosted this year in gorgeous Denver, Colorado September 17 - 20, the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference promises to be packed full of advice, workshops and of course, writers!! Don't miss keynote speaker Debbie Macomber as she highlights her writing, offers advice and encourages in the special way that's all Debbie.



A special treat offered as an Early Bird session, special guest Donald Maass promises to educate on a level worthy of Breakout Novels. And don't forget, if you miss any workshop (except Donald Maass), CDs and MP3 are available at a very modest cost.

And to commemorate the occasion we, the lost and found of Unpubbed Island, are offering a
Treasure Hunt . The following enticing advertisement is from Seekerville direct:





Rules:

1. If you are attending the ACFW conference in Denver you simply print out a Treasure Map and start. Each of the 15 Seekers who will be at the Marriott DTC will have stickers. When you find a Seeker, get a sticker and cover their name. When you have all 15 squares covered or it's time to leave Denver simply mail the map to Seekerville C/O Camy Tang, P.O Box 23143, San Jose, California 95153-3143. A limited number of maps will be available with Seekers, if you forgot to print yours. Maps must have at least one sticker on them to be eligible.

2. For those not attending the conference you can still participate in the fun:

A. You must be a Seekerville Follower.
B. Email a list of Seekerville books you read in 2009 to tina at tinarusso dot com (be sure to put Seekerville Treasure Hunt) in the subject line.


Giveaway starts Wednesday September 16 at 1 am PST and ends at 12 midnight PST, Thursday, October 1st.

Winners will be announced in the Sunday, October 4, Weekend Edition by Captain Jack Sparrow.







Prizes:

All maps will be entered into a drawing for a Grand Prize of a $50 dollar gift card from Christianbooks.com

All maps and non conference entries (except the grand prize winner) will be entered into a drawing for one of 10 sets of Seekerbooks. That's ten sets of two books each. Book title prizes are randomly picked.

All maps and non conference entries (except the grand prize winner and the book set winners) will be entered into a drawing for one of four copies of the Donald Maass new release, The Fire In Fiction.

If you are attending conference we'll also be giving away 100 Limited Edition Seekerville Bookmarks with a corked vial of sand from Unpubbed Island to remind you of our motto:


"Leave no writer behind."


Disclaimer:
1. No purchase necessary to enter the any Seekerville Treasure Hunt. The giveaway will end on the date stated in the posting. The opportunity to play may be affected by local ability to access the Internet at any particular time.

2. Open to all readers, 18 years or older who are legally allowed to participate in such a give away as allowed by their local laws.

3. Players must submit the required materials for each giveaway which will allow the entrant for a chance to win. Entrants will be informed if they are a winner on or after the Treasure Hunt end date. Limit one entry per person. Seekerville authors are not responsible for: incomplete, lost, late, damaged, scrambled or misdirected entries or other errors of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic, which may limit a user’s ability to participate in the giveaway.

4. Seekers and their families are not allowed to enter the giveaway. Void where prohibited by law. All Federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

5. Prizes will be assigned to those who have been identified as winners.

6. Entrants will be informed at the close of the give away if they are a winner, and if a player is identified as a winner, what prize has been won. Winners will receive their prizes via mail after the give away has completed and winners have been verified. Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winner. Seekerville assumes no responsibility or liability for any damages, losses, or injury resulting from the acceptance or use of any prize. All prizes are mailed out within 6-8 weeks of announcement of winner.

7. Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

8. Seekerville Treasure Hunt is not in any way affiliated with ACFW or its conference.

Along with the fun of the hunt, Tina Radcliffe and I are playing tour guides for all followers of Seekerville and their friends. Denver will never know what hit her! For a hint of all the activities planned, mozy on over to the Seekerville Weekend Edition.

Come join us for laughs and games as we soak up the wisdom and advice offered by some of the biggest and best names in the Christian publishing world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Booksigning at ACFW



American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference is coming to Denver, CO!
September 17 - 20, 2009
Denver Marriott, Tech Center

The 2009 Keynote Speaker is Debbie Macomber. Here is what the official ACFW site has to say about Debbie!

With more than 100 million copies of her books in print worldwide and her novels translated into twenty-three languages, Debbie Macomber is one of today's leading voices in romance and women's fiction. Readers clamor for her heartwarming books about small-town life, home and family, women who knit, enduring friendship and even stories of humorous angels with earthly missions.

Debbie loves to tell the story of her struggle to get published, and the five-year search to find a publisher who would buy one of her manuscripts. Dyslexic and the mother of four young children, she wrote those early books in her kitchen on a rented typewriter. But her hard work and determination paid off. Her first manuscript, HEARTSONG, acquired by Silhouette Books in 1982, became the first category romance ever to be reviewed by the Publishers Weekly. She was soon featured in Newsweek—and demand for her books quickly exceeded her wildest dreams.

Debbie is best known for her ability to create compelling characters and bring their stories to life in her books. Drawing on her own experiences and those of her family and friends, she demonstrates an almost uncanny ability to see into the souls of women and to express their emotions, values and concerns. In every book her sense of humor enlivens her writing.




In addition to all the outstanding programs offered to writers, ACFW will be hosting a booksigning on Saturday afternoon, September19 from 4 - 5:30. In addition to a world of wonderful fiction, craft books by James Scott Bell, Brandilyn Collins, Gail Martin and others will be available.

A large portion of the profits from each book sold at conference will go to the ACFW Scholarship Foundation. The foundation provides funds for conference scholarships in for attendees in years ahead!

Look for your favorite authors participating on Saturday. My fellow Seekers are bold, italics, and highlighted:

Carolyne Aarsen
Diane Ashley
Ruth Axtell Morren
Rick Barry
Christina Berry
Lauralee Bliss
Diana Brandmeyer
Sandra Bricker
Margaret Brownley
Candace Calvert
Robin Caroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Colleen Coble
Brandilyn Collins
Mary Connealy
Shirley Connolly
Margaret Daley
Susan Page Davis
Mary Davis
Janet Dean
Megan DiMaria
Lena Nelson Dooley
Wanda Dyson
Leanna Ellis
Pamela Ewen
Miralee Ferrell
Linda Ford
Tina Ann Forkner
Judy Gann
Jeff Gerke
Rhonda Gibson
Debby Giusti
Sandra Glahn
Elizabeth Goddard
Winnie Griggs
Cathy Marie Hake
Lisa Harris
Mary Hawkins
Roxanne Henke
Cynthia Hickey
Patti Hill
Denise Hunter
Annette Irby
Myra Johnson
Liz Johnson
Jenny Jones
Eileen Key
LAURIE Kingery
Kathleen Kovach
Harry Kraus
Jeanne Marie Leach
Tosca Lee
Julie Lessman
Loree Lough
Elizabeth Ludwig
Richard Mabry
Debbie Macomber
Joyce Magnin
Gail Gaymer Martin
Judy/Jude Martin-Urban/Urbanski
Debby Mayne
Aaron McCarver
Vickie McDonough
Dana Mentink
Robin Miller writing as Robin Caroll
DiAnn Mills
Stephanie Morrill
Janelle Mowery
Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Kevin Parsons
Golden Keyes Parsons
Donita K. Paul
Tracie Peterson
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Tara Randel
Deborah Raney
Sandra Robbins
Kim Sawyer
Marc Schooley
Michael Sheehan
Shelley Shepard Gray
Ann Shorey
Beth Shriver
Sandra Lee Smith
Virginia Smith
Betsy St. Amant
Therese Stenzel
Stuart Stockton
Alison Strobel
Michelle Sutton
Camy Tang
Donn Taylor
Janice (Hanna) Thompson
Missy Tippens
Pamela Tracy
Carrie Turansky
Deborah Vogts
Jenness Walker
Dan Walsh
Susan May Warren
Michael Webb
Kit Wilkinson
Lisa Wingate
Beth Wiseman
Kimberley Woodhouse
Lenora Worth
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y'Barbo


Believe me, this is an event too good to miss!


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tighten Up Your Manuscript!

I'm in the final, final, final phase of editing my manuscript - well, until an editor realizes my brilliance and wants to buy it. THEN, I'll be happy to revise and edit all they want, LOL!

Anyway, as I read through a blog by
Rachelle Gardner, an agent with WordServe Literary, I came across this great editing exercise relevant to my last check through. Rachelle has the most amazing blog for writers, packed with info pertinent to beginners as well as advanced. This particular post occupied her Monday, August 17, 2009 slot.

Go visit her blog, you'll not regret it!


Tighten Up Your Manuscript!

There comes a time in every writer’s life when an editor requires them to reduce their word count. Ack! Not my precious words! Even if an editor hasn't asked you to do this, most writers would benefit from tightening up their manuscripts before submission. (I, for one, would appreciate it. ) But how do you do this?

Never fear. Most writers can significantly shorten their manuscript simply by eliminating extraneous adverbs, adjectives, gerunds, and passive verbs, i.e. things you don't need anyway. If you cut 10 words per page in a 350-page manuscript, you’ve already shortened it by 3,500 (unnecessary) words.

So how do we do this? Here’s a checklist of things to consider cutting:

→ Adverbs, especially those with “ly” endings. Ask yourself if they’re necessary.
→ Adjectives. Often people use two or three when one or none is better.
→ Gerunds. Words that end in “ing.”
→ Passive voice: Over-use of words like “was,” "were" and "that" indicate your writing may be too passive. Reconstruct in active voice.
→ Passages that are overly descriptive.
→ Passages that describe characters' thoughts and feelings in too much detail (i.e. long sections of narrative or interior monologue).
→ Passages that tell the reader what they already know.
→ Unnecessary backstory.

Here’s a list of words to watch for. Carefully consider their necessity and effectiveness:

about, actually, almost, almost, like, appears, approximately, basically, close to, even, eventually, exactly, finally, just, just then, kind of, nearly, practically, really, seems, simply, somehow, somewhat, sort of, suddenly, truly, utterly, were.

(Make use of the “search and replace” function in Word to help with this process if there are specific words you tend to overuse.)

Once you go through this exercise, you'll find your manuscript remarkably cleaner. Try to have fun with it!

And remember, no matter how many words you're able to cut, your editor will always find more.


Didn't I tell you she had great stuff?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Cowboy Rules...


A friend of mine sent this to me via email. Way too good not to share.
(sorry, don't know the original author)

Cowboy rules for:
Arizona, Texas , Colorado , Oklahoma , New Mexico , Wyoming , Montana , Utah , Idaho, Nevada and the rest of the Wild West are as follows:

1. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

2. Turn your cap right, your head ain't crooked.

3. Let's get this straight: it's called a 'gravel road.' I drive a pickup truck 'cause I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you're gonna get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

4. They are cattle. That's why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-10, I-40, I-70 and I-80 go east and west, I-17, I-15, I-25 and I-35 goes north and south. Pick one and go.

5. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have $250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept...

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese/pheasants/ducks/doves are comin' in during the hunts, we WILL shoot it outa your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the corner bait shop.

9. The 'Opener' refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

10. We open doors for women. That's applied to all women, regardless of age.

11. No, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup ! Oh, yeah . . We don't care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat IT AIN'T REAL CHILI!!

13. You bring 'Coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.

14 College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish.

16. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump crap ain't music,anyway. We don't want to hear it anymore than we want to see your boxers! Refer back to #1!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Truth or Not?

Yesterday, I blogged in Seekerville about screen and music personalities and what we could glean from their particular mannerisms. I had some great comments that lead to great conversations.


But there was one comment in that made me stop and think.


The television series, Lie To Me, revolves around Dr. Cal Lightman who is the world's leading deception expert. He assesses truth or lie by studying facial expression and involuntary body movements. He not only detects lies, he can tell you why. In my blog, I concentrated on Cal's mannerisms and what made him unique as a character. I never thought to take my observations a step further.



Edwina commented that she loved the show and especially Cal Lightman because he explained the telltale behavior. You are absolutely correct Edwina! I will now look beyond the man and study his talent.


Imagine that. Watching television as homework!


I can't wait to put my research to use : )


Happy writing!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Characters


I'm blogging in Seekerville today! All about famous characters and what we as writers can glean from the mannerisms we love about them.


Don't know about you, but I'll go check out blogs featuring George Strait, Kix Brooks, and Chris Le Doux! Those are only the cowboys I talk about. Go check out the rest of my scribbles : )