Friday, July 29, 2005

Walking on Water . . .

I would have loved to find a picture for "walking on air," but since I couldn't, "walking on water" will have to do. But it's apt. When we walk with the Lord in obedience, aren't we walking on water?

I had some good news in my email box this morning. Heard from a friend that my novel, THE DEBT, won the National Readers' Choice Award last night. And since I wasn't at the ceremony to say anything, (clearing throat, tapping microphone), let me say that it was an honor to be nominated with the other inspirational category finalists: Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Arlene James, and Deborah Raney. They are my sisters in the Lord and they glorify Him with their voices and their talents. I'd also like to thank the Oklahoma chapter of RWA for recognizing that women not only have hearts that yearn to be fed, but spirits, too.

A personal note about THE DEBT: I've written sixty-seven (sixty-eight?) novels, and this was one of the few that came to me in a heartbeat. I had other things on the back burner, but the Lord said to me, "Write this one . . . now." And so I did. It's one of the shortest novels I've ever written--barely 70,000 words, if memory serves--and yet I struggled and prayed over every word. I wrote with a literal trembling in my bones, because the lesson of THE DEBT was one I was--and still am--learning. I remember asking my prayer team to pray long and extra-hard over that one!

I knew that the story of The Debt could cause great offense, but I also suspected the story would have great power and potential. I was anticipating bucketloads of negative letters from readers, and I haven't received a single one. (Yet.)

Like my pastor friend says, God didn't send Jesus down from heaven with a merry, "You take care, now!" I think He sent him down with a whispered admonition: "Take risks."

The Debt was a risk for me. Living the story, for most of us, would be a far greater one. But its message is simple: live this day with an ear cocked to the Holy Spirit's voice. Listen and obey. That is our one calling, nothing else matters.

Listen . . . and take the risk.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Interesting process . . .

My agent called me yesterday and asked if she was interrupting my writing. (She knows I'm on a tight deadline.) I laughed and said that I was at that moment cutting out little pictures of my characters and taping them all around my desk . . .

"You have an interesting process, Angie," she said.

I suppose it is. All I know is that I've done the little picture thing for the last four or five novels, and it's amazing how actually LOOKING into a character's face makes them become three-dimensional. I even had a picture of Sema when I worked on UNSPOKEN, and every day I'd look up at her and try to make her as real to the reader as she'd become to me.

It's always a little sad to take those pictures down and file them away, too. I feel as though I'm putting friends on a shelf.

Oh, where do I get the pictures? I have to thank Lisa Samson for the idea. She sent me to, where you can type in "female, alone, 40s" and get a slew of forty-something women to choose from. I just look for my characters until they pop out at me, I save to the computer, and print out wallet-sized. (Tony Stone sells graphic images to publishers, etc., for book covers, commercials, and the like. I found the gorilla that's pictured on the cover of UNSPOKEN at that web site, told my publisher, and they bought the license.)

The woman pictured in today's blog? Meet Mary Magdalene, or Miryam, as I'm calling her. I can see a world in her eyes . . .

Great Chesterton Quote

This man makes me laugh out loud. Here's a quote for writers:

"It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say 'The social ultility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution toward a more humane and scientific view of punishment,' you can go on talking like that for ours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin, 'I wish Jones to go to jail and Brown to say when Jones shall come out' you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think."

LOL! Simpler is better. Tight is right. Golden rules to write by.

In the last couple of days I have been distracted by Life (a shame, since my family is out of town and I haven't been distracted by family), so I am going to blog at a minimum for a while to make more progress on the WIP.

I have often compared writing a first draft to birthin' a baby. (Not that I've actually done that, but my friends have been more than willing to share their experiences.) In any case, labor is the hard part, the pushing to get from conceived idea to baby-on-the-table. Once that baby's on the table, I can clean him up, dress him up, even train him up before I send him off to my editor at "finishing school."

But getting through that labor is the hardest part.

Until next time--

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Glasses, Headaches, Growing Older

Man! These days I've taken to wearing glasses while I work, especially in the first draft stage because I need to look at my notes and I'm forever looking up historical details (thank heaven for Ask Sam!). Anyway, the glasses start to bother me, so I take them off, so then I can read the computer but not my notecards. Glasses back on.

By the time I had finished my word quota last night (now it's a grand 6,000 words per day), I had a headache. By the time I piled into bed at 10 p.m., it was a rip-roaring nightmare. Thankfully, my head was once again serene and normal (whatever that is) when I woke this morning.

How's the WIP coming? 26,200 very messy first-draft words, right on schedule. My skeleton of a plot outline is filling in, but now there are TWO skeletons, and if not for my notecards it would be a royal mess.

All right--two o'clock (getting a late start today) and 6,000 words before I sleep. Time to get typin' . . .

P.S. Some urgent prayer requests in my email today. Friends, I am praying.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Space Shuttle . . .

is scheduled to launch this morning. I have a personal tie to the space program, mainly because I grew up in Brevard County (aka 'the Space Coast') during the heydey of the race to the moon. We used to watch launches from our front yard, and until you've seen a launch at night, well, you haven't seen a launch. (VBG)

I remember watching the rocket go up, seeing the thruster fall away, and then, much later, hearing the rumble that shook all the dishes in our cabinets. I remember the heartbreak of the three astronauts killed in the flash fire . . . and the Challenger disaster. When the Columbia broke apart not so long ago, again I felt it like a personal blow.

My dad worked at the Space Center for years before he retired. He was among the hundreds who literally picked up the pieces of the Challenger and put them back together to learn what went wrong.

It's such a bold step by mankind--to ride a roaring rocket beyond the bounds of gravity in an attempt to float, god-like, above the earth for a few hours . . . I've gotta admire the sheer courage involved in such a feat.

Let's remember the space shuttle crew this morning in our prayers. May they ride safely . . . and may they ride.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What Does "Evangelical" Fiction Require?

Been hot enough for you lately?

This morning I pulled out an old copy of World magazine--July 3-10, 2004, to be precise. And I read this paragraph: "The bigger problem is . . . evangelical fiction has become a genre unto itself, with conventions of its own. One-dimensional characters contend against one-dimensional villains. The style is preachy. The theme is moralistic. The plot is characterized by implausible divine intervention. While the convention demands a conversion, the characters are never allowed to do anything very sinful, or, if they do, the author is not allowed to show it. At the end, all problems are solved and everyone lives happily ever after. It is all sweetness, light, uplift, and cliche."

I disagreed with this article when it came out, and I disagree with it now. Yes, like any genre (and I'm still not sure you can call faith fiction a genre unto itself, for there are many variations), there are certain things that need to be true about books published by most evangelical publishing houses and sold in Christian markets.

First, the story should illustrate some aspect of Christian faith. Why is the story being published by a Christian publisher if there is no faith aspect? More to the point, the faith is based in Judeo-Christian orthodoxy and/or tradition.

I was at a writer's conference the other day and a woman asked me if my publisher would publish a book by a Muslim. Don't think so, I said. She said, "Well, that's undemocratic." And I said, "Why? They are a private business, they can publish what they please. There are Islamic presses and Mormon presses and Jewish presses. Why can't my publisher be a Christian press?" So--the story should illustrate some aspect of Judeo/Christian faith. That's pretty basic.

The second convention seems to raise more hackles than anything else and I don't understand why. Some people see it as a lack of artistic freedom, I see it as a call to be more creative: the story should avoid profanity and obscenity. Why? Because profanity is, well, profane to anyone who believes in God and obscenity is offensive to most people of faith. Does that mean that we hide our head in the sand and pretend bad language doesn't exist? Of course not. Our characters can and do curse, but as writers, we have to be MORE CREATIVE because we have to show and illustrate this without using the actual words. Sometimes it's as simple as writing, "He cursed." Or "He uttered a word that made her blush." Elementary illustrations, but you get the point.

Writing bad language without using bad words is a skill unto itself--a skill most writers don't take the time to develop. It's like using interior monologue well instead of just telling the reader what the character thought. It's a point of craft.

I read Orson Scott Card's ENDER'S GAME the other day, and you know what struck me? I don't recall a single curse word, yet Card was able to portray life with young boys perfectly well. If he can do it, so can we. (OSC, BTW, is a devout Mormon).

Now--I'm sure you're waiting for me to say there must be a conversion scene, a moral, a sermon, prayer, the name of Jesus, Christian protagonists, angels, or something else, but that's it. I honestly can't think of another convention that evangelical publishers and/or readers require in their fiction. The rest of it is as varied as snowflakes. I've written about talking gorillas, my characters sometimes drink, have affairs, and commit murder, they curse, they make mistakes, my believers fail, they divorce, they die, they are cruel to their children (and vice versa), and they frequently come to the end of their collective rope. I've written about an adulterous president, murders, the Raelians, demons, angels, yes, and heaven/hell. But not all that in every book.

Wait--I forgot one other thing readers and publishers want in so-called "evangelical" fiction--well, two more things. The first is good writing. An attention to craft. Plots that hold together. Believable characters. Accurate details. Unique settings. Believable, human villains. And a spiritual element that is woven in, not tacked on like the tail on a cardboard donkey.

Finally, in my opinion, a Christian novel should offer HOPE. Because that's what Christ offers us. We may go through suffering on earth, but we have HOPE for the future and HOPE of heaven and HOPE for the improvement of our characters. We long to be more like Christ, and it's the suffering that makes us like Him.

Well, I have a mastiff pushing my chair across the room, so I'd better go get his breakfast. And then it's to work on my WIP which will avoid cardboard characters, implausible divine interventions, and any tendency toward human perfection. It may not even have a happy ending.

But it will be the story God has led me to write. And it will offer HOPE.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Great Magazine for Book Lovers

I've just discovered Bookmarks Magazine--wow! A friend gave me some old copies, and I have loved looking through the book reviews and other information. Best of all, I have recently read most of the books under discussion--and the magazine is over a year old! (Meaning, of course, that they are up to date or even early for predicting the hot new books of the year).

For more information or to subscribe, check it out at I've just subscribed!

My book club is going to love this . . .

Friday, July 22, 2005

Sometimes You Take the Story and Sometimes the Story Takes You . . .

No rants today, I promise. I have to run out this morning and order some Nangie tee shirts (if you know, fine, if you don't know--it's too complicated to explain) and then I have to do two things, well, three:
1) beef up act one of MAGDALENE so it contains about 25,000 words (we're at 20K now),
2) look up a few research tidbits I flagged as I slogged through the first draft (don't you love the word slog?)
3) outline act 2 on scene cards for delving into on Monday.

Yes, I write a "skeleton" outline before beginning anything. I know where I'm headed. But I leave the details to the story, trusting that they'll reveal themselves as I type along. So far, so good, but I haven't a clue as to what twists and turns await in Act II. This will be the trickiest part because here I'm adding REAL historical characters, so the historical parts will be familiar to the reader, which is nothing if not boring and predictable. My job is to make it fresh and amazing.

Deep breath. Okay. We'll see.

Have a glorious weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Welcome to the Twenty-first Century

Warning: I am on a soapbox, just like my little friend here . . .

Hear ye, hear ye, LET BE KNOWN—We writers of contemporary Christian fiction (meaning that we’re writing today, no matter what genre we choose) are tired of being compared to Dead People and found wanting.

Dead People did not write for our audience—few of them imagined that our audience could even exist. Our readers have grown up with television, movies, DVDs by mail, Ti-Vo, streaming audio and video, DVD players in the car. Our readers have an attention span of about 20 minutes, tops. (And so do I!) Our readers have vocabularies that Dead People would not recognize. Our readers may not know what eleemosynary means, but Dead People wouldn’t know how to interpret you da bom.

Dead People would not sell in today’s market. Living People prefers prose that moves and has punch. Living People cope with cluttered days, our clocks move at a more frenetic pace. Living People write for publishers who pay a higher price for paper, and we compete not only with TV and movies, but with video games, web surfing, iPods, and time necessarily spent at the mall.

Instead of holding up Conrad, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and even C.S. Lewis, let’s talk about our contemporaries: Koontz, King, Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, Phillippa Gregory. Let’s encourage writers to write with the skill of Koontz, the verve of King, the research of Picoult, the passion of Berg, the historical detail of Gregory.

We can’t—and we shouldn’t—compete with Dead People because we aren’t writing for Dead People. The average man on the street today is more likely to choose a living author than a dead one. Look at the NYT best-seller list, and my point is proved.

My favorite scene from a Star Trek movie? Star Trek Four, the one with the whales. Kirk is talking to Spock about classic literature and he says something about "the collected works of Jacqueline Susann." It's funny hyperbole, but it still makes a point.

Climbing down from the soapbox; finished pounding my keys,


Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Sherry wrote: "Aren't book reviewers supposed to review? Can't we speak the truth in love? Wouldn't you want reviewers to write honest assesments of your latest novel---not just puff pieces?"

Of course there is a place for knowledgeable reviewers and skilled editors. I know I'm treading into controversial waters, but here goes:

When I was young, I studied voice. I learned a lot about intonation, music theory, voice placement, etc. And as a result, when I would sit in church or in a concert and listen to a singer, I found it difficult to enjoy the song unless it was perfect because I was so aware of problems with tone, voice placement, intonation, and style. Often I was so busy thinking about vibrato and technique that I missed intention and presentation.

I could be so busy wincing because somebody's Grandpa Joe was off key that I missed the tears in his eyes and voice while he sang "Amazing Grace."

After a while, I learned to shut off my inner critic . Professional singers go to professional voice teachers to learn their craft. The place for critique is the practice room. I believe even amateurs should practice and polish as part of their commitment to an excellent offering, but when I'm a listener, I need to listen more with my heart and spirit than my intellect.

I do believe in offering excellence and I can tell you that every Christian novel put out by a major Christian publisher not only has a dedicated writer working on it, but also dedicated editors, copyeditors, etc. We pray and sweat and strain over every word in our books. We research and spend hours agonizing over what Sally Character should eat for supper--if it's important to the plot, the history, or the symbolism.

I'll be the first to tell you that I'm my own worst critic. I can pick up any book I wrote a year ago and find all kinds of better ways to write the words. That's part of the growing process.

With that said, I think it takes an AMAZING amount of chutzpah for someone who's never written a novel (or seriously studied the craft and form) to criticize someone else's effort. (I wouldn't know how to BEGIN to evaluate a brain surgeon's work because I've never attempted brain surgery.)

As a professional novelist, I've been asked to review other novels for publication. One was just NOT my cup of tea. But I knew thousands of people would adore the book even though it didn't ring my bell. I knew its message would bless people, though it didn't do anything for me.

So I wrote a review and talked about the lovely characters (they were!) and the lovely style (it was!) and the relaxed pace of the plot. (I don't like relaxing plots.) The resulting review was informative enough that a reader would know what the book was about and if it would be THEIR cup of tea.

Who am I to publicly criticize another brother or sister? How can I say or imply that a book wasn't up to par when it is the dear and excellent offering of another Christian's heart?

I don't want to be critical of my brothers' and sisters' efforts. If they want me to help them grow as writers, they can (and sometimes do) ask for input BEFORE the book is published. Then I'll offer my two cents (about what it's worth) privately.

Why should we relay our negative opinions? Besides making us feel momentarily superior, who does it benefit? Who can it hurt? A devoted reader is most likely going to read her favorite author no matter what you say, but your negative opinion could deeply wound the author, the editor, the author's mother (grin).

Let me say that I do respect courteous and thoughtful reviews, PW reviews, etc. Let industry professionals hold me to a standard; that's fine. What I find hard to bear are other Christians who seem to delight in publicly disparaging the work of fellow believers or even dismiss the entire market. Why can't we praise what is praise worthy and encourage one another to keep striving for excellence? Positive reinforcement is a powerful thing.

What did Jesus say? We'll be known by our love for each other. Agree with me or not, but I don't think we ought to be publicly critical of each others' offerings .

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What Makes a Novel Christian?

I’m taking a minute to set aside my daily word count goal and ruminate a little. I don’t know how much of your recent world has been filled with talk or thought of how much Christian content needs to be in a “Christian novel,” but I’ve been hearing rumblings about that topic and have been at a place where I’ve been trying to figure out Where I Go From Here. And while a book's Christian content may be explicit or implicit, overt or subvert, I think it still needs to BE.

In any case, take a moment to consider this passage by G.K. Chesterton:

“Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame. If you draw a giraffe, you must draw him with a long neck. If, in your bold creative way, you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck, you will really find that you are not free to draw a giraffe. The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits. You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump: you may be freeing him from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. Somebody wrote a work called “The Loves of the Triangles”’ I never read it, but I am sure that if triangles ever were loved, they were loved for being triangular. This is certainly the case with all artistic creation, which is in some ways the most decisive example of pure will. The artist loves his limitations: they constitute the thing he is doing. The painter is glad that the canvas is flat. The sculptor is glad that the clay is colorless.” (From Orthodoxy).

Do you see my point? As a book without plot and characters can hardly be called a novel, a novel without plot, characters, and some element of Christianity can hardly be called a Christian novel, right? Therefore, a nonbeliever could write a Christian novel (I don't know Irving's spiritual status, but A Prayer for Owen Meany might qualify) and a Christian could write a novel that doesn’t qualify as Christian. (Though that might be difficult, since so much of a Christian's worldview is colored by his relationship with God).

Does that make sense, or am I mixing my paradigms?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sometimes I get irked . . .

when I hear people bashing Christian fiction, faith fiction, whatever you want to call it. In most of these cases, people either haven't read it, or they haven't read it in the last five years, or they read ONE book that could be called "Christian" and have written off the entire genre--and its authors.

I also get irked when I hear the old tired arguments about literary versus popular or "commercial" fiction. As if the quality of a book can be determined by the number of words per sentence! Good grief, if there's one place where we ought to be forebearing and gentle with each other, it's in the area of the arts! Taste is so subjective, and what may thrill me may leave you lukewarm.

What the Spirit uses to speak to me may not apply to you.

I've read literary (and commercial!) fiction that put me to sleep, and that, my friend, is the unforgiveable sin in this market. If a book is to tickle and touch my heart and life, it's got to keep me involved.

I'm not irked--I'm hurt--when I read comments by believers criticizing the work of other believers. Our mothers were right--if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Or if you must say something, let's try spurring each other to excellence, let's teach each other; let's keep lifting the bar and encouraging each other to offer nothing less than excellence to our Lord. Whether you write for the Christian market or the world at large, if you are a believer, then you should be offering the work of your hands and heart as a worthy sacrifice.

I'll admit I'm not perfect in this area--it's all too easy to find fault with others' work. In my standard speech, I frequently joke that working writers love to read others' books and gleefully note mistakes in the margin. Okay, so maybe I do that . . . in private. Father, strike me upside the head if I do that in public. Help me to keep my teaching examples anonymous, just as I'd appreciate it if another writer kept me anonymous while pointing out mistakes in my early books. (Better yet, help me make up "bad examples" on the fly.)

This past February I taught the fiction track at the Florida Christian Writer's Conference. Because that venue is within driving distance of my home, I loaded my trunk with a box of one of my old titles--enough for everyone to have a copy. I sent my class home one night with a homework assignment--using the techniques I'd just taught them in class, edit chapter one.

Oh, yeah, there was LOTS of room for improvement. After we'd gone through several pages, one of my students asked, "How did this ever get published?"

"Because things were different then," I told her. "Now things are better. The quality is better, the writing is better, the editors are sharper--many of them are sharper than their equivalents at general market publishing houses."

So that's why I get irked when I hear people trashing Christian fiction as if it were a shoddy stepsister to "real literature." It's not--my brothers and sisters are writing their hearts out, producing quality literature that will amaze you.

When I attended the Maass conference a few weeks ago, I offered one of my scenes for my critique group. When I'd finished reading it aloud, I remarked, "And that's Christian fiction . . ." and one woman in the group nearly fell off her chair.

Oh, yeah. We've come a long way, baby. So before you write us off or offer that snide comment--or allow someone else's to go unchallenged--pick up one of the new novels and read it.

The iron is continually being sharpened. As it should be.

David once said, "I will not offer to the Lord that which cost me nothing."

Amen. Our offerings cost a lot . . . in terms of work, study, and yes, critical thinking for private perusal. We dig deeper and spill our hearts, unveiling our most private places in the hope that what we write will reach farther than a person's intellect or funny bone. We write to influence hearts and lives. We write so our words can be a tool of the Spirit of God.

Well, I'll climb off my soapbox for now. Tomorrow, after an interview in the a.m., I have to write the first 5,000 words of my WIP.

Maybe I'll get to bed early. :-)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Work Habits--by Request

So you want to write? To borrow a phrase from a popular shoe company, just do it. I prayed so long and worked so long to have kids that I didn’t want to give up one minute with them until I absolutely had to. But my writing career had begun by the time my children came home, so I learned how to write in those quiet hours of naptime and early evening. Even after my children outgrew their naps, they knew that those few afternoon hours were mom’s work time, and they played quietly. I was always available if they needed me, but they also learned to respect the work I had to do.

I’ll be honest—I was a fledgling writer in those years, so I wasn’t attempting to write the great American novel. I was concentrating on magazine articles, catalog copy, and brochures--short assignments that did not require hours of uninterrupted time.

Working at writing and being a full-time mom, I even managed to home school my daughter through kindergarten and first grade. I also experimented with “once-a-month cooking,” which worked well until we all got absolutely SICK of the same recipes over and over. I did learn to organize my household chores and manage time efficiently.

If you have small children, heed this advice from someone who’s been in your shoes—those toddler and preschool days will pass like a heartbeat. Enjoy your children. Everything else—including the great American novel—will wait.

My work habits may not appeal to some folks who are right-brained. I’m an organized person by nature—the spices in my kitchen are in alphabetical order. (Aren’t everyone’s?)
But my work philosophy has always been “divide and conquer.” Beginning a project is always difficult at the first stage, but if you envision a 400-page book or a 1500-word article as a series of smaller parts and several drafts, the task suddenly becomes manageable.

You will need two particular tools: a calendar and a pencil with an eraser. Take your project and divide it into drafts (at least three, preferably four or five). Now count the number of days between today and your deadline (if you don’t have a deadline, give yourself one!). Let’s say you have forty five days. (Which is about the number of day I have to complete my work-in-progress!)

Divide the number of days by the number of drafts (45 divided by five equals nine), so you have nine days to spend on each draft. Now you might want to adjust things a bit—the first and second drafts will require a few more days, you’ll be sailing through the fifth draft. But plot your course on the calendar, remembering to leave at least one day free each week for health and sanity’s sake. Saturdays are literally my "sabbath."

And there you have my work system—I actually go so far as to pencil on the calendar how many pages I must have completed each day, and I don’t quit until I’m finished—or at least until I’ve managed to move things around on the calendar so I can be done by my deadline.

Yes, it’s a bit obsessive/compulsive, but, after having written 105 books in 17 years, I know it works for me!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Back from CBA . . . IRCS . . . or whatever they call it today

Wow. Talk about a need to decompress. I spent yesterday in the air, mostly, after saying farewell to several friends and lugging armfuls of flowers to some friends who could continue to enjoy them.

What can I say? I spent most of the booksellers convention in meetings . . . trying to do my part of the business while still remaining in the backseat so God can do his part. I've been in this business long enough (and yes, it is a business as well as a ministry) to know what I write, for whom I write it, and how I write. What remains to be decided is for which company I'll be writing.

I have four ideas rattling around in my head and at some point today I need to shape up a pitch letter for my agent. But back to CBA--the best part is seeing retailer friends I somehow manage to bump into every year. Gail and Pauleen have been crossing my path for years now, and they told me that this is their "farewell tour"--their last CBA. They're retiring, selling the store, though they will still be selling books online. They've had a hard loss this year, and Pauleen and I took a minute to pray in the aisle before we both had to move on.

Those times are special.

As soon as I get my desk cleared, however, I need to do a few things around the house and then I MUST jump into the next project--I now have a working title that just might make it through to the published book: MAGDALENE. Sort of says it all, doesn't it?

BTW, I have a TBR stack (to-be-read) a mile high, and for the trip home I picked up ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card. Scott is a Mormon, and I can see echoes of his faith throughout this book, which was first published in 1971. It's an amazing story--I'm only a few chapters from the end, so I must also set aside some time today to finish it. I love science fiction but don't often indulge, so this has been a rare treat. Truly a book for all time.

Well, the chores are calling. Blessings on your day!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Endorsements are reassurances . . .

Endorsements are beginning to come in for THE NOVELIST--the book I had to rewrite in a MAJOR way. So these endorsements are highly appreciated.

"The Novelist not only provides great insights for anyone interested in writers and the creative process, but Angela Hunt has written a rich and powerful allegory exploring the Great Author's own love, power and process." --Bill Myers, author of The Presence.

"The Novelist invokes a simple but essential truth: that The Greatest Story Ever Told would be impossible without The Greatest Storyteller. Angela Hunt has given us a heart-sourced work of fiction that offers truth at every turning, and a frank and rare trip to the other side of the keyboard: highly recommended for those who view the popular novelist’s life with stars in their eyes . . . as well as those who understand the business well enough to know better." —Tom Morrisey, author of Deep Blue and Dark Fathom

"Angela Hunt has done it again. The Novelist is unique. Innovative. Touching. Thought-provoking. Behold characters breathed into life by the Novelist . . . and gain a rich perspective on your own story." --Randy Alcorn, author of Safely Home and Heaven

It's Independence Day and we are going to do the traditional cookout with friends, but I have to do a little work first. Handed in the revisions for UNCHARTED yesterday, so it's time to begin outlining the new book! Here we go again!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Gainfully employed

I am once again gainfully employed . . . under contract. I'm excited about this project, but it's going to be a bit intense. The completed book is due by October 1.

Okay-my reference shelves are groaning with books that will help me, and I have a box of shiny new techniques from Donald Maass, but my calendar is anything but clear. We have our booksellers' convention in July, plus I'm speaking at a writer's conference in August, plus I think I'll be speaking at a few schools. So I may not be sleeping much in the next three months.

Back when I didn't know what I was doing, I could write a book in ten days--first draft, that is. These days I take longer, primarily because I'm not just telling a story, I'm building a story, and there are layers required in the building. But the finished result, I think (I hope!) will stand longer and look better.

Today should be my last day of working on UNCHARTED--unless, of course, I hear otherwise from my editors. The book is a far cry from any of my others, but I hope it's an enjoyable read. And I hope it'll have the power to change hearts and lives.

I can't believe it's July first. Where DID June go?