Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All about the ACFW Conference

Boy, where do I begin?

First, allow me to introduce my lovely roommate Kathy Cretsinger. If you click on the image, it will take you to her blog. Kathy was such an encouragment to me. Love you, Kathy! xxx Okay, it was supposed to take you to her link, but it's not working. So, here it is: http://www.kattscribbles.blogspot.com/.

I had an absolutely wonderful time at the ACFW Conference. It was exciting to meet so many of my cyber friends! I already felt close to ACFW members, but even more so now.

I'll get down to the nitty-gritty. Here's what happened to me at conference:

ABOUT B&H: I met with Julie Gwinn (Karen Ball's partner and marketing manager for B&H; for those that don't know, it'd be a dream come true to have Karen Ball as my editor) and she asked for a FULL of "The Master's Wall." I just happened to have a printed out copy that I made for the Donald Maass workshop and asked if she'd like to have it, or if she'd prefer I email it. She was very excited and said she wanted the hard copy. I also told her I had the first six chapters of the second book and asked if she'd like to have those as well. She said yes! So, she now has a hard copy of my full manuscript--she took it with her to her appointments during the conference, so I think she was reading it there.

Anyway, I explained that this is the first book to a two book series, and she asked if I could make a third because they only do three book series'. I said "yes," while inside I was begging God for the story! So, I'm supposed to send her a two paragraph description of the third book. Well, Saturday night after praying, God gave me an idea! It's a story I've wanted to write for years, but didn't because I was busy with my current WIPs. It's amazing how God works.

Pray Julie loves my story! I've been working on a description of the second and third book. I also need to revamp my proposal. It has to sell all three books. Laurie Alice has been a HUGE help in showing me how to do that. Thank you, Laurie Alice! xxx

So, PRAY! Don't pray that she likes my story, pray that she LOVES it! LOL

By the way, B&H has some awesome book trailers.


I met with Sue Brower who requested to meet with me via my agent. She really likes my story and my writing. Her only concern is being able to sell this to the publishing board. She made some suggestions for what I should add to my proposal, so I'm going to do that. After that, when the time is right (could take up to a year, she said), she'll approach the publishing board with it.


I spoke to Kim Moore who asked for a full from my agent (this happened before the conference). We were supposed to try and meet at the conference. I met with her in the dining room. She didn't remember who I was or my book. I couldn't get an appointment with her, so I never really had a chance to remind her about my story, etc. I don't blame her for not remembering. There are too many to keep track of. But I still introduced myself to her and we had a nice brief chat.


I spoke with Charlene Patterson from Bethany House. She said she loved my book and my writing (she was a judge for the historical fiction category in the Genesis; my story was a finalist; she was very enthusiastic about it, so much so, I was shocked; I hardly had a chance to say a word during my pitch), but she said it wasn't "right" for Bethany House because their biblical fiction authors are Jannette Oake and some other guy I don't remember. She encouraged me to find another publisher, and if I had anything else, to keep them in mind.

It was encouraging, but disappointing at the same time.


I heard from someone that went to their late-night chat that they will start publishing Biblical Fiction in two years.

My novel isn't a Bible story, doesn't have Bible characters, nor do I use miracles to solve difficult plot issues, but because it falls in first century Rome, it falls under the Biblical Fiction category. Ugh.

So, that's everything for now. Time to get back to work on my proposal. Please pray I do a good job on it. Honestly, I'm comfortable writing fiction, but this aspect of "selling" is my weakness.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting ready for conference!

So, I got my business cards ready, my one sheets all printed out, my proposals printed, and who knows what else. There's still a little more printing I've got to do--like my entire manuscript for the Donald Maass workshop. Hopefully, I spelled his name right.
Anyway, in the meantime, if you happen to be looking for something, like an albino squirrel, it's here! There are prizes--a $15 Amazon gift card and a can of mixed nuts. Want to know what this is all about? Go here: http://www.teresaslack.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And the Winner is . . .

As proof that I truly did pick her name out of my wooden shoe, here's a picture. Actually, it was my husband who picked the name for me. :-) Well Debra, I guess your cyber hunting has finally paid off! Congratulations! xxx
Please email me your snail mail address so I can forward it to MaryLu.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Exciting news! Drum roll, please! *~*~*~* As you all know, I fell in love with MaryLu Tyndall's book The Blue Enchantress. Well, it's now my pleasure to interview her here on my blog! Please welcome MaryLu Tyndall! *roaring applause*

As if that isn't exciting enough, by leaving a comment, your name will be put in a drawing to win a FREE, SIGNED copy of her book!

Here is a brief summary from Amazon.com of The Blue Enchantress:

Get swept away in a high-tide of romance and adventure from acclaimed author M. L. Tyndall. Trying to forget about a painful past, Hope Westcott plunges into Charles Towne society trying to find love and acceptance. Captain Nathaniel Mason is determined to build his shipping business and doesn't need a romantic entanglement especially with a woman like Hope. When Hope's adventure-seeking puts her freedom and her life in jeopardy, will Nathaniel turn his back or follow God's voice and sacrifice everything to save her?

Below is a beautiful review by Kathleen L. Maher:

The characters in The Blue Enchantress touched something deep inside of me. For example, the hero's well-intentioned rescue and the sense of frustration and regret he struggled with afterwards--it was so real to me as a Christian who has sometimes done "good" things in my own strength only to stew over them later.

MaryLu Tyndall portrayed the heroine with great courage as a writer, too, to delve into the duality of a woman obsessed with male attention, and yet, who had a sincere desire to minister to children. These were not cookie-cutter characters, but she made their struggles of real flesh and blood. It was so much more than a romance or an adventure, but it felt like an odyssey of the soul for two imperfect people made whole under God's touch.

I'm glad that Christian writers are beginning to branch out into flawed and complex characters, even if that means showing something less than Pleasantville along the way. This book showed God's power in such a lovely way, that I was pulled from the miry clay with the players and set on the rock of redemption.

Secular writing has nothing on MaryLu Tyndall's talent. We are privileged to have such an author pioneering in the inspirational market who can bring the message of the gospel in such a powerful way.

~Kathleen L. Maher, author

Thank you, Kathleen, for being willing to drop by and share your heartfelt words. I couldn't have said it better (as you know). That's why I asked you to do it. LOL. You can read more of Kathleen's reviews at Amazon.com.

MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ. For more information on MaryLu and her upcoming releases, please visit her website at MaryLu Tyndall or her blog at Cross and Cutlass.

Sandi: MaryLu, thank you so much for being willing to come for an interview on my blog. It's obvious your book has touched a number of readers. What made you decide to become a writer of Christian fiction?

MaryLu: God is such a HUGE part of my life that I cannot imagine writing a novel without including Him in a big way through all the pages. What I love most about writing for the Christian market is I believe I’m not just writing stories to entertain people, but I’m writing stories that inspire them. My ultimate goal through the stories God gives me is to enable people to see Him more clearly and to know Him in a deeper way.

Sandi: How long have you been writing? How did you get your start?

MaryLu: I never planned on becoming an author. I always loved to write and wrote several stories for fun while I was growing up, but it never seemed a very feasible or practical occupation! (LOL Still isn't probably!) About 6 years ago I got the strangest notion that I should write a story about a Christian Pirate. I thought I was crazy but the feeling wouldn't relent, so I finally obeyed and wrote my first novel, The Redemption. I wrote it during my lunch hours at work and at night after dinner. When I finished it, I had no idea what to do. I had never tried to get anything published before so that journey was quite an adventure, but I can honestly say that God was the One who opened all the doors to make that possible. He led me to ACFW and there I found out how to query an agent and look for publishers. One thing led to another and I had a contract in hand 6 months after I completed the manuscript. I know my story is very different from most. In my case, I took so long to come back to the Lord from my prodigal years and then so long to submit to Him, that by the time I started writing what He wanted me to write, He simply opened all the doors for me to get published. I now realize that's what God wanted me to do all along and He was just waiting for my sorry self to come back to Him! But there's a lesson for everyone in this. When it's God's time, it's God's time, and nothing can stop Him, not a bad market, or 800 rejection letters, or anyone's opinion. So, if you're trying to get published, make sure it's God's will and then trust Him.

Sandi: How did things change once you became a published author? Did you lose friends? Make friends? How did it affect your family?

MaryLu: My life got really really busy! LOL. In the past five years, I’ve written seven novels! Consequently I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I’d like with family and friends. I haven’t lost any friends but I don’t see them very often. My family has been very supportive and understanding of the long hours I spend on the computer. They are excited for me, and that helps a lot.

Sandi: What inspired you to write about pirates?

MaryLu: I’ve always had a weird obsession with pirates. Not sure why. My mother thought I’d gone crazy. And I’m fascinated with those tall ships of old! The age of sail was such an adventurous time in the world’s history. The concept of a pirate novel started with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies which were quite popular at the time. I fell in love with the movies, of course, and the strangest idea occurred to me. Why not write a story about a Christian pirate? What a dichotomy! Of course I think that’s why I actually got my first contract. It was such a uniquely weird idea.

Sandi: How do you know so much about ships from this particular era? Do you like to sail yourself?

MaryLu: I love to travel on sailing ships, but I’ve never learned to sail myself. Tall ships are a sort of hobby for me. I have several books on them and how they work and how to sail them. I’ve also been on several historic replicas of tall ships. I recently toured the HMS Rose which is the same ship they used in the movie Master and Commander.

Sandi: I noticed in your first book of this series, The Red Siren, you mentioned a Dutch flag on a ship called the Flying Dragon (love the name, by the way). You described this flag as being orange, white and blue. I commend you for your excellent research. Having lived in Holland for thirteen years, I know the flag is now red, white and blue. My father-in-law (who is Dutch and currently living in Holland) and I are amazed that you knew the correct colors for the Dutch flag of that era. This leads me to ask, how do you do your research? Where do you find your information about ships, flags, etc?

MaryLu: Good question. I’m glad you noticed that tiny detail because if I remember correctly I spent nearly an hour or so looking that up! I have several books on the Age of Sail and different types of sailing ships and flags. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look.

Sandi: Where do you spend your time writing? Do you have a favorite place to write? A favorite time of day?

MaryLu: I have a really cool office which used to be my eldest daughter’s bedroom (she has moved out). I have my desk, computers, tons of books, paintings of the sea and tall ships and lots of other cool stuff around me for inspiration. Morning is my best time to write, although on a good day, I’ll spend the entire day at it if my creative juices are flowing.

Sandi: What book are you working on now?

MaryLu: I just finished the third book in the Charles Towne Belles series, The Raven Saint, to be released in January. Here’s a quick blurb. Grace Westcott has piously served God her whole life. Captain Rafe Dubois cannot pass up the opportunity to earn more gold toward the hospital he’s building for the poor by kidnapping Admiral Westcott’s youngest daughter. But when the missionary and the mercenary meet, it’s full-sail-ahead into tumultuous waters! Find out what happens when a bitter mercenary who’s sworn off God falls in love with a pious woman determined to change him.

Next I'm starting on a new series entitled Surrender to Destiny which is set during the War of 1812 in Baltimore

Sandi: Your next book sounds exciting! I can't wait to get my hands on it. What do you see in your future as an author? Do you have concrete ideas for more books you'd like to write on down the line, or do you plan out a book only after you've decided to write one?

MaryLu: I hope the Lord allows me to continue writing, but that’s up to Him. I have a few ideas rattling around in my head for future books but they are just general concepts. I normally don’t plot out a book ahead of time. I’m more of a create as I write kind of author.

Sandi: Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing a bit about yourself, not to mention, being willing to share your work with us by giving away a free signed copy of The Blue Enchantress.

MaryLu: Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Sandi!

On the right, you'll notice a list of MaryLu's books in the Charles Towne Belles series. If you'd like to be put in the drawing to win a FREE, SIGNED copy of MaryLu Tyndall's book, The Blue Enchantress, please leave a comment with your email address typed out like so: sandirog7 [at]aol [dot] com, and let us hear from you! On Friday I will announce the winner!

Kreativ Blogger Award

Wow! I've just been nominated by a talented author, Anita Davison, for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thank you, Anita--I think. :-) But really, this is a wonderful way to promote our blogs and gain more viewers. I enjoy reading a number of blogs out there, and I hope others will enjoy reading mine. So, thank you, Anita for nominating my blog!

Rules for Passing on the Kreativ Blogger Award: List 7 of your favorite things, 7 of your favorite activities, 7 things no one knows about you.

My favorite things:

The smell after it rains or just before a storm, blank sheets of drawing paper, my laptop, soft blankest to wrap up in, my books, my music, and tote bags (I'm a bag-aholic).

My favorite activities:

Writing (of course), drawing, walking, cycling, singing, hanging out with Christians, and going out to eat.

Seven things no one knows about me (some of these things folks may know, but most don't):

I can ride a unicycle; I used to want to be a clown in the circus; I can juggle; In High School I played Ado Annie in the musical Oklahoma (and stole the show); I love to sing; I'm absolutely no good at anything (including writing) without God's help (I rely on Him for everything); I'm jealous of Jesus because He got to go to heaven at age 33.

The lucky ones I nominate for this Kreativ Blogger Award are:

Congratulations folks! I hope this brings more traffic to your lovely, Kreativ blogs. xxx

Thursday, September 3, 2009


If you're interested in improving your craft, drop by my other blog where Dave King, co-author of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers has, not only approved my blog, but has agreed to answer questions from time to time. On occasion, there will be chances to win a free, signed copy of his book. And right now, I have authors waiting in the wings to get a free edit and critique of give-or-take 500 words from their manuscripts. This hands-on approach is a wonderful way to improve your skills as writers. Come join in the fun!