The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck (Review)

Wow. That’s what I have to say about Rachel Hauck’s newest book. The Writing Desk is so good.

With a dual timeline, one in the present and the other during the Gilded Age, each heroine approach to life is so different, they’re almost opposite of each other. Elizabeth “Birdie” Shehorn is determined. Despite her parents’ plans for her, she longs to go after her dreams. And Tenley Roth, ridiculous sometimes, hiding from life, doubting her worth and abilities, trying to carve a relationship with the mother who abandoned her, was my favorite of all.

 

The Writing Desk Rachel Hauck

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Social Media Saturday: Becky Wade and Katie Ganshert

Welcome to Social Media Saturday!

Words on a page draw me into stories and worlds created by other people’s imaginations. I love to follow where stories take me.

At the same time, I enjoy getting to know the people behind those words that move me a little better. Social media makes it easier than every to get a glimpse at the personalities behind the words.

 

I’m introducing a new segment on this blog called Social Media Saturday. Each week, I’ll highlight an author who has a strong social media presence. Whether on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Blogs, we’ll dive into what I love about what these authors are doing with their online presence.

 

To kick off this segment, I’m highlighting two authors who have just released new books into the world, both of which I loved for very different reasons. For the past few years, these two have introduced readers to a fun competition they’ve developed between them. Sometimes they invite friends along for the challenge.

Meet the contenders of the always entertaining, sometimes hilarious, Pinterest Wars! Every spring, Becky Wade and Katie Ganshert compete for the title (and tiara) by attempting to recreate projects they find on Pinterest. What’s even better? They let the readers vote and one person wins a prize from the authors! Continue reading

Book Convention Survival Tips (with book giveaway)

Jesus calls His followers to be lights in the midst of darkness. If you’ve ever been to (or thought of going to an ABA book conference), the darkness is rampant.

During the first week of May, I got to hang with other readers at the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta, GA. This convention moves every year, and in 2018 it will be in Reno, NV. But despite the ever-changing city, the crowds flock to this convention for the parties and opportunities to meet with their favorite authors.

 

I’m by no means an expert at book conventions but this was my second RT (I went to Vegas for my first RT in 2016) and I thought I’d pass along some tips and hints to make the trip more enjoyable and worthwhile.

And if you hang with me until the end of the post, I’m doing a BIG giveaway for fans of Christian fiction (with multiple winners)!! Believe me, you’ll want to stick around and enter!!

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Writers Conference Day 1 Recap

So, I’m back in my hotel room after a full afternoon at my very first writers’ conference. And since it was packed from 2:00 to 9:00, I wanted to get some thoughts down on day 1.

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When I registered for the conference back in the spring, I decided to volunteer. And what better way to get to know a few faces than to help at the registration desk. So, that’s where the fun began for me today. From 2:00 to 5:00, I helped man the registration desk. What I didn’t realize when I signed up for this shift was that I would miss the first timer’s orientation and the first general session with keynote speaker Bill Myers (if his name is not familiar to you and you are over…let’s say 30….you may remember a little cartoon series called Adventures in Odyssey. That was Bill’s project. More on why I’m calling him Bill in a bit).

So registration was fun. A few people I’ve reviewed books for on this blog came through my line—Becky Wade and Courtney Walsh. And a few more people who I’ve seen their names but haven’t read yet—and those people look nothing like what I had pictured in my head. One of the other volunteers at the check in desk and I had fun joking around with each other during the quiet times. Oh, and about ¾ of the way through my shift, I realized I’d been directing people down the wrong hall for the bathrooms.

Dinner was at 5:30. This was a genre dinner and a few people dressed up in costume. I met several new people. Interesting note: This year, 465 people registered, 140 of us are first time attendees. More than ¼ of the authors here are first timers. And while I missed the keynote address, I did get to have dinner with Bill Myers since he sat at our table.

Best story ever: Bill told us about a friend of his who wrote 2500 words a day every day for years. This friend then got thirteen rejections but kept pushing for someone to publish his stuff. The friend? Frank Peretti.

After dinner there were a couple spotlights. Basically panels with different agents and publishers. I wanted this conference to be a learning experience for me so I didn’t sign up for any appointments with editors and agents but I’m interested in hearing what they have to say so I went to one of each. A session with agents and one with a publishing house (Love Inspired). Here’s my take away:

Agents: I believe I did the right thing holding off on the agent thing. First of all, I’m not sure I want to go the traditional publisher route. Self-publishing allows me a lot of freedom. I can write as often or as sporadic as my schedule allows and I can choose my release dates. The thing that struck me most with the agents was sometimes it takes a while to have the right book at the right time. I was actually a tad discouraged after this little q&a session.

But…

I had one more to go to. Love Inspired is the faith-based Harlequin line. I’m familiar with this line as I’ve been involved on street/influencer teams for a couple authors in this line. And they were really encouraging. They take submissions through their website, don’t require you to have an agent, and publish A LOT of books (192 a year) and are always look for new authors with a hook.

Again, not sure I’m going to even pursue that but it’s out there.

Tomorrow is the start of the classes and what I’ve been looking forward to!! Hopefully I’ll gain more knowledge and make more friends. Until then….check out my freebies from today.

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Work in Progress Wednesday

In addition to my Silly Saturday blogs, I’m going to use this blog to try to keep my handful of readers updated on what I’m working on with my own writing. So, welcome to work in progress Wednesday.

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Right now I’m working on edits for the fourth book in my Remembrance series. With this being the fourth book I’ve edited, I should not still be surprised by how long this process takes. Still, here I am, wondering if I’ll ever finish with the edits. I’m about 1/4 of the way through right now. The writing comes easy for me but the edits take a good amount of time. This book is the first one I submitted to a critique group. It’s been an interesting (and mostly enjoyable) experience. I’ve gotten some great feedback and met a few new friends who are part of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I’m really looking forward to the conference in Dallas in September and maybe meeting a few of these people.

While most comments about my book were helpful, there were times I found it amusing to get some differing opinions on sections. I’ll give you an example:

He rounded the corner into the small café the youth group ran. Emily stood near the front alone, eyeing a group of guys who were sitting at one of the tables. When he drew a little closer, he noticed a young woman with them. Her light brown, chin-length hair had a lot of texture. What did his mom call that? Layers? Man, she would be disappointed if she found out he hadn’t paid that much attention to her stories about her salon clients.

The above paragraph is from the second chapter in Beauty from Ashes. One critiquer commented “This doesn’t sound like something a guy would think.” Another commented “Nice male thought.” I kept it in and tried to clear it up by showing his mother is a hair dresser.

So the editing continues. Hopefully by next Wednesday I’ll make some good progress on it and be further along. And next week I’ll give everyone a sneak peak at the cover. Until then, I am editing.