Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meet Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner

There seems to be a myth out there that touts all agents and editors as rather frightening individuals to be greatly feared and avoided. Perhaps this might have something to do with those nasty rejection letters we all get and think they love to send. Or perhaps its the fact that they can change our entire future with a simple yes or no. Slight exaggeration there, but you know what I mean.
Here at Writers' Rest, we're all about myth busting. The more time you spend here, the more we hope you will learn.
Agents and Editors are not the least bit frightening. The fact is, yes, they are the Gatekeepers. But they're not out to get you or paper your bedroom wall with their rejections. They're actually on your side and want to see you succeed. If you succeed, they succeed.
We'd like to use Thursdays to feature these fine folks so you can get to know them and not be afraid to introduce yourself should you meet up at a conference somewhere. (But remember the Golden bathroom pitches!).

Today it's my privilege to introduce you to my agent, Rachelle Gardner.

Rachelle has been an agent with Wordserve Literary since around Thanksgiving of last year. If you're a regular blogger, you may already be familiar with her through her personal blog Seek First His Kingdom, (
Prior to stepping out into the field of agenting, Rachelle worked in the publishing industry as an editor for Nav Press, as well as a freelance editor for many of the CBA publishers she's now pitching novels to.

Rachelle devotes an enormous amount of time to encouraging aspiring writers on her agent blog Rants and Ramblings, (
Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about agenting, writing, and the path to publication, is featured on this blog. If you haven't already bookmarked it, I suggest you do that immediately.
Her honest insights point out the real facts of the publishing world. If you're an aspiring author, you'll discover just how hard it is to get published, and just how good you need to be to get your big toe in the door. But if you're still bound and determined to have at it, Rachelle provides you with all the right advice in posts such as Getting Published (In a Nutshell), Book Proposals, Craft of Writing, and many more informative features that I'm sure you'll want to devour right away! After reading her blog, I think you'll understand why writers need agents, and why you need to do your homework before querying one.

Rachelle is still open to new clients, but please check out the guidelines on her blog before submitting your query.
With the wealth of wonderfully nice agents out there to choose from, you may ask, "Why Rachelle?"
Well, I can tell you from firsthand experience that she really IS nice, (and a dog person to boot), she knows her stuff, and she'll do her best to get your project into the hands of the right publisher, but if she offers you representation, this is the clincher for me. (Quoted from her Rants and Ramblings blog).
I love working with authors. Your passion impresses me; your bravery amazes me. The commitment authors must maintain in order to be successful is nothing short of monumental, and for that, I salute every one of you. It is my pleasure and privilege to support you in the small ways that I do.

If you're looking for an agent, please make sure you find one who understands your heart.

Rachelle lives with her husband and two children in the majestic mountains of Colorado. She'll be attending the ACFW conference in Minneapolis in September, and will be taking appointments.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spring in Cattle Country

by Molly Noble Bull

Spring has arrived in south Texas; I live in Kingsville—home of the famous King Ranch and the heart of cattle country. I have a great husband, three wonderful sons who are cowboys and four grandchildren. What more could a Texan want?
We had a lot of rain last year. Everything was green and new, but rain didn't come as often this year. Still, things are growing again.
God willing, my writing career is growing, too, and I have some news.


I entered three national contests for published author, and I won one, tied for first place in another and the results of the third have not yet been revealed.

Sanctuary won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Inspiration category for published authors. The Southern Magic chapter of Romance Writers of America sponsored the Gayle Wilson contest, and the chapter is located in Birmingham, Alabama.

Sanctuary also tied for first place in the 2008 Winter Rose contest for published authors sponsored by the Yellow Rose chapter of RWA located near Fort Worth in Bedford, Texas.

I have written a series of fiction lessons called Fiction Writing 101 for people new to the fiction-writing field, and seven of my lessons are available in the archives here at Writers Rest. But you have to hunt for them. However, you can find the first six in the correct order at my blog. You only have to scroll down a little to find the first one. Here is the address.

Now you know who I am. After you have read the lessons, maybe I can help you by answering your questions on writing. Please click on the comment button below this lesson or click on the buttons at my blog to ask your questions.
I promise to answer them before spring melts into summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who are THEY???

Well, I know I'm in the right place.

When I posted last week two of you also admitted to phone fear and other such things. Looks like I'm with the right group of writers.

Okay, first I'll give you a bit of my philosophy on writing and then, as promised, I'll share a bit about me.

For those of you who have read my daily blog since the beginning of the year you know that my husband is a two year Cancer survivor. During his treatment there was every indication that he would never be able to return to his full-time job as a paramedic. So the two of us began reading every book we could get our hands on about business, marketing and leadership.

Just before this time God had told me to put my writing aside. Which I did. However, during the course of Chris' treatment God gave me my stories back. People were chatting away in my mind. I was super excited and wrote my second novel in under six weeks [I wasn't even writing every day!] then about two months later I began work on my third. I went to ACFW's 2006 writer's conference and suddenly the business aspect of writing burst in my mind.


All of that to say that I firmly believe that many writers feel that they are in some way "Selling Out" if they try to appeal to the market. They also believe if they write God will suddenly FLOOD their wallets with money and their book will zoom to the top of the best seller list


They say "I don't want to ever make a penny on this book. I just want to bless others."

I agree with NONE OF THE ABOVE

I believe in stewardship. God has blessed me with four wonderful girls. I would never dream of spending the day in my bedroom saying "God, make them wise." and then never teach them anything! Nor would I combine the ingredients for dinner, stick them in a cold over and bed God "Lord, cook that food."

That seems silly here but, in fact, many writers do that when they say "God, help me to write a great book!" then they never learn craft. Or they Get a book deal, write it, watch it get set on the shelf and say "Lord, sell my book for me!!"

If we truly believe our stories are gifts from God, something He's entrusted to us, we have a RESPONSIBILITY to distribute the story He put in our heart. There are so many books that have changed my life that I wouldn't have EVER noticed if someone hadn't pointed them out to me.

Over the next few weeks and months we will look at how exactly you do this. And it TRULY begins before you're published....even before you have your first book contract. It starts when you finish that story and you say:

"Who would be blessed by this story! What do THEY like to do? Where are THEY? How can I find THEM?"

Think about that and we'll talk more next week.

Now quickly, a bit about myself.

I write for the Toledo Business Journal as well as the ACFW Afictionado E-Zine. I've written stories for Charisma and Today's Christian as well as doing regular assignments for two years for the Christian Reporter.

In full length Fiction, I was a finalist in Operation First Novel in 2004 and I won the Daphne du Maurier award in unpubbed Inspirational in 2007. I've written 4 full length manuscripts and I'm working on revisions for one now in addition to working on two non-Fiction collaborations.

I'm a home school mom, part-time ACT/SAT tutor and I run the Writing Career Coach website where I mentor aspiring writers. That is TRULY my passion. I have a daily blog at that same website and I love it. Helping other writers build is very exciting.

Well, if you've stuck with me this long, what kinds of things would you like to know about. I'll be happy to answer specific questions as they come in!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, May 26, 2008

Words to Remember

Mission Possible Monday
by Carla Gade

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row . . .

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

The infamous poem, "In Flanders Fields", written by Major John McCrae, M.D. of the Canadian Army was almost never published, though today it remains one of the most memorable war poems of all time. The doctor penned the piece follow a traumatic 17 day battle in Ypres Salient near Belgium at the end of World War 1.

Although the prose was significant to his own experience, McCrae did not feel it merited sharing and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved the poem and sent it to The Spectator in London, whom rejected it. This non-official agent of McCrae sent it out once again to Punch who published it in December 1915.

In 1918 an American who was working in the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries' headquarters during its annual conference came across McCrae's poem while flipping through a copy of the Ladies Home Journal. She was so moved by it that she composed her own in response. Her tribute, entitled "We Shall Keep the Faith", honored the soldiers who died in the service of her own country.

Then Moina conceived the idea to wear red poppies as a symbol of rememberance on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She invested the $10 stipend from the conference to purchase 25 poppies which she sold to benefit servicemen in need. This tradition is continued to this day by the VFW and has spread to other countries around the word.

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

To Consider:

What thought-filled words of yours could have an enduring impact and inspire others? You won't know until you share them.

Do you recognize the value of another's writings? Encourage them today.

As writers we can use our gift of words to encourage and bless the families of service men and women who have lost loved ones or are serving in the armed forces now. Share the message of hope.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
Revelation 14:13

Carla Gade is an aspiring writer, avid reader, adult literacy tutor, and website developer. She is the Program Coordinator for a Literacy Volunteers organization and is active in women's ministries. Carla writes inspirational fiction and non-fiction. Visit her online at Carla's Pathways ~ Journaling the Journey.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Matinee

yesterday my hubby, Japanese exchange son, and I went to see the new Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

I know I chat about rest on Sundays a lot, but resting your mind is an awesome thing.

I like to go to a fun matinee and let my mind wander in the imaginative world of make believe.

I always come out with a smile on my face and a sense of being relaxed. Of course, for me the movie has to be comedy to relax me. None of those suspenses or horrors. Ugh! A little adventure tossed in just cinches the deal :-)

Have you ever thought about sneaking away to a movie as a rest break?

Come visit with me over at God Uses Broken Vessels. I have a blog tour contest going on for a Life Coach prize package.

See you soon,

Friday, May 23, 2008

Feet Up!

If you have a life half as crazy as mine, then chances are: you had a long, pull-my-hair-out week. Maybe the kids were driving you (and your back) crazy, or you had trouble meeting a deadline, or your WIP is actually a WIL (work-in-limbo).

There's good news. It's the weekend. Time to let your hair down, put up your feet and say hello to a "fantabulous" book. Our first giveaway for the summer is The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter.

A little info about the book:


She wrote the book--literally--on finding the right mate. But does she really understand what love's about?

Five hours before her Nantucket beach wedding--and on the eve of her big book launch--celebrity marriage counselor Kate Lawrence has everything in place.

Everything, that is, but the groom. She might not have a career, either, when her nationwide audience finds out their marriage guru has been left at the altar.

Enter Lucas Wright, who offers to stand in for the missing husband-to-be and marry her. Kate's desperate enough to agree--although she's sure this Mr. Wright is completely wrong for her. But can they pull it off? And why would Lucas marry her in the first place?

For your chance to win a copy of the book, leave a comment or email me at bookcontests at gmail . com (The contest ends June 6.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vocal Impressions

Eileen Astels

I’ve been thinking about voice a lot lately. I’m not talking about a writer’s voice that is acquired over years of writing and fine tuning their style, I’m referring to the audible voice of our characters.

There are many ways to reveal characterization, and we’re told to try and use as many of the five senses as possible within our novels to add richness and texture to our stories. Hearing is one sense that I often don’t utilize enough. Sure, I try and use onomatopoeia words when possible and describe the rev of an engine with its annoying clickity-clank to give reason for the next repair scene, but what about describing our characters’ unique auditory voice?

Is it enough to have our POV (point of view) character describe another character’s voice as melodic, raspy, alto, tenor, squeaky, high pitched? The list could definitely go on and on, but what about those single-word descriptions? Do they offer enough to give an auditory sense of how the character really sounds? Or is there another way to reveal our character’s voice that might resonate better with our readers?

I did some googling on this subject and discovered that there is a creative way to disclose your character’s voice beyond those general descriptions. If you take a look at this online article you’ll discover how some have described the voice of popular celebrities.

The one I like the best is Bill Malvitz’s description of Marilyn Munroe’s voice. He says: “A voice to make a 7-year-old boy think differently about girls.” If we want to convert that to a one-word description, the best I can come up with is sultry. But doesn’t Malvitz’s description provide a far superior “auditory picture” of Marilyn Munroe’s voice as well as reveal character of not only the one owning the voice, but of the POV character’s personality as well, as this is how he/she chooses to describe it to the readers after all. I’ll never forget this picture that Malvitz’s created through his description, but I’d definitely sweep over the word “sultry” in a novel. Would you?

So, the next time you come to a place in your wip (work in progress) where you’re wanting to describe a main character’s voice, consider doing so by painting a picture, using a simile, metaphor or even an analogy to reveal how this character’s voice is perceived by your POV character. Your readers may hear your characters in a richer, more personal state than they would have with the use of one of those more generic adjectives commonly used today.

I hope this offered some food for thought. I’d love to hear how you reveal your character’s voice in your novels. We can all learn from each other!



Eileen Astels posts daily, Monday to Friday on her A Christian Romance Writer’s Journey blog where she offers study notes on writing resources, Authors-Helping-Writers Interviews with Giveaways and Musing’s Friday with Vocabulary Enhancement. She also writes book reviews for ACFW’s Afictionado E-zine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Getting your book in to the hands of your readers

Hello and welcome!!

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Tiffany Colter and I have a marketing blog at I am honored that the Writer's Rest team has invited me to share some marketing tips with you each Tuesday.

I'm not sure how many of you have followed from my blog and how many of you are meeting me for the first time so I hope some of you will introduce yourselves in the comments.

Today we're going to start out by talking a little bit about what marketing is and is not.

Many writers cringe when they hear the word "Marketing". We are authors. We are artists. We don't want to commercialize!!!

Well, without marketing our hourse laboring at a computer and bleeding on the page will have been for nothing. So throw away your previous ideas about marketing. It is NOT a bad thing. In fact, I enjoy many aspects of marketing my writing [one of them I'm doing right now!!] Simply put, marketing is getting your work in to the hands of your readers. So think about who your readers are and how best to communicate with them.

That is marketing!!

Now let me tell you what marketing is NOT. Marketing is NOT hardselling, brow beating or cold calling!! I, like many other shy people, have major phone fear. I cannot talk to a person I don't know on the phone. It simply terrifies me. So if you're the same way then rest assured-we'll talk about other ways to reach our readers.

So to begin marketing start to think about who your reader is, what they like to do and where they are.

Then we'll talk about it more next Tuesday!!

I hope you will all introduce yourselves and next week I'll share a bit more about me and some more ways you can build your writing business.

I have to go now, I have relaxing to do.

Your coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tiffany Colter can be seen weekdays at on her blog. If you'd like to know more about her or her products for writers you can visit the same website.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rest Anywhere

While we visited Cha 'Am, Thailand recently, we passed this restaurant. No one was eating. The family was sleeping at the table. It was hot, muggy, and raining hard outside.

At this beachside resort, people literally rest when they are tired. (As you see above.)

We even found vendors asleep at their little booths of magazines or trinkets.

These people aren't lazy! In fact, we observed the wee hours and late nights of these workers.

But in Thailand, they eat and sleep as they have need. A completely foreign concept to Americans.

What would happen if we really followed the needs of our bodies? Would our economy come to a standstill? Or might we be more productive?

I'm beginning to listen to my body more. I eat 5-6 times a day (lol, small servings) and I've actually taken a few naps!

What's your opinion?

Could you take a baby step into a little more awareness in meeting your physical needs?

How would that work?

PS For more Thailand photos and travel tips, please visit me over at God Uses Broken Vessels

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small Book Publishers

Molly Noble Bull

What has been written about small presses is only partly right.
My new publisher, Tsaba House, is a small publisher, and they have a wonderful artist do all the covers for their books. The covers are truly beautiful and unique. All you have to do is visit my website and see Sanctuary's cover to see what I mean. The quality of the paper and the printing is excellent, too.
But all these extras cost money. Therefore, Sanctuary costs more than other novels of the same length, and that means my sales for Sanctuary might not be as good they might be at a larger publishing house. However, this sharp edge eventually rounds out since Sanctuary will be reprinted for as long as there is a market for it.
Yes, book promotions are very important if you want your small press novel to succeed, and the print runs are not as big. But when you consider that these books will be reprinted again and again, it balances out. And since Sanctuary won a national 2008 contest for published authors, I am hoping there will be a market for Sanctuary for years to come.
Sanctuary by Molly Noble Bull won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Inspirational category for published novelists.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Taking it to the Limit

My husband and I just spent the last 10 days traveling to and through Thailand with my daughter. We call it our sampler platter. We had the chance to sample a little of several different places and many different foods.

The whirlwind tour was worth it! However, I was intensely dizzy with exhaustion. Travel there-2 hours early in Spokane, 1 hour flight, 3 hour layover in Seattle (then delayed almost 2 hours), 10 and 1/2 hour flight to Tokyo, race to the next plane so as not to miss it. The next leg was 7 and 1/2 hours to Bangkok, an 8 hour layover, then the final one hour flight to Chiang Mai. All in all, 35 hours of travel.

We arrived in the early morning. So to avoid jet lag to the best of our ability, we stayed up. (It helps you acclimate faster.)

Then we toured and toured with short cat naps in the car (driven by Thai Rotary members) or the rented van (often hired by the Rotary.) We saw Chiang Mai, Kamp Phaeng Phet, Cha'am, and much of Bangkok. We climbed to visit Karen Hill Tribes, rode elephants, and shopped in a floating market.

Then we traveled home. We stayed up again because we had to be at the Bangkok airport at 3 a.m. Our flight took less time because we had tail winds to Tokyo, only 6 and 1/2 hours. Then the 2 hour layover and another 10 hour flight to Spokane. A three hour layover there until the last flight-just one more hour. And then the 3 hour drive home. Ufta! (That means something like Oh My Goodness in Swedish.)

I actually fell from side to side on the last leg of the journey in our car. Dizzy with fatigue, sick to my stomach, and completely disoriented.

But it was worth it. I had the opportunity to experience just a sampler platter of my daughter's exchange in Thailand. I had the opportunity to fall in love with a people in another country. I had the joy of understanding the Thai Rotary's theme: Bringing peace to the world one exchange student at a time.

We stayed up with almost no sleep throughout the week. No cell phone. No Lila (my laptop for writing.) A forced vacation from my regular technology. Tough on me. Sometimes my fingers itched to type. Some ideas that flitted through never to be recalled.

But it was worth it.

I saw and ate things I loved. I went places and met people I never foresaw. And learned through finding crabs on mountains that things are not always as I think they are. Sometimes, they are very different. Sometimes I reaffirm what I've already learned.

I love adventure, new things, new foods, and my nap was so satisfying!

I'd charge you to explore to the point of exhaustion, push past it, maintain your graciousness (not so easy when you are over tired) and then sleep in satisfied peace.

PS For more on adventures in Thailand, keep up with me this week over at my personal blog:
God Uses Broken Vessels

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The No-Spin Zone

Molly Noble Bull

I told myself that I was not going to add anything more to the Sweet or Sexy thread. I am contracted to write two more long historical novels in the Faith of Our Fathers series, and the sequel to Sanctuary isn’t finished because I had to write two other books first. At the same time, there is more I want to say.
Before inspirational novels were available, I read a lot of sweet secular romance novels. I especially liked the cute and funny Regencies. No sex scenes, no petting scenes and plenty of romance. I couldn’t get enough of them and read about six or seven short novels a week.
But all at once the line I was reading also put out novels that contained the very elements I didn’t want to read. Therefore, I couldn’t tell which novels in the series I was going to like and which I was going to dump.
For a while, I played games with myself. I would read along and if the scene seemed to be going in a direction I didn’t like, I simply skipped the next few pages. Trouble was, I never knew how many pages to skip. Often I found myself in the middle of a second by second account of a situation I didn’t want to read about. At other times, I accidentally read a scene I didn’t want to read. At those times, I would mentally rewrite the scene.
He didn’t really touch her breast, he invited her to go on a foxhunt.
After a while, I got tired of skipping pages. By the time I took out everything I didn’t care to read, a two hundred-page book became a twenty-page hop-skip-and jump. And I was tired of creating scenes in novels that didn’t exist. If I was going to do that, I might as well write the entire novel. So that is what I did.
And I stopped reading secular novels. Seven books a week became maybe one novel a month—if that many.
If any editors are reading this, I hope that consider my conclusions.
A romance line for readers like me must be true to my reading interests at all times. I don’t have money to toss on the “maybe this book is what I want to read” pile. I want to know for sure that I am getting what I paid for. No exceptions.
If inspirational romance lines want to put out books that some readers will object to reading, put a product warning on the cover.
Otherwise, readers like me won’t buy their books.
I am going to say good-bye for now and start working on my novel.
And remember, the spin stops here.

Sanctuary by Molly Noble Bull is available at most online bookstores like Amazon and Just write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot. Or ask for books by Molly Noble Bull at any walk-in bookstore.