Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another perfect stocking stuffer!

White Rose Publishing has a sweet treat of a holiday lineup with several inspirational Christmas romance novellas specially priced at $1.00 during the month of December.

Today I invite you to take the plunge--the POLAR BEAR PLUNGE, that is!
POLAR BEAR PLUNGE is another great Christmas novella written by my friend and critique partner Linda Glaz. Here's a snippet of the storyline: 

Brice Taylor might not be on Aleni Callan's Christmas list, but she finds him under her tree anyway.

Striving to put meaning back into her life after her husband’s death, Aleni Callan immerses herself in hospital work. Angry with God, she finds herself even angrier when hero, Brice Taylor, author of The Human Shield, arrives in the Emergency Room with a concussion and hypothermia after participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. Aleni wants nothing to do with a man who willingly takes chances with his life.

Brice doesn’t understood how God could bring him through being a captive in
Iraq, when he failed his troops so miserably. Writing about his escape brings fame he would rather avoid. And by meeting widow Aleni Callan, his feelings of failure only increase.

Megan Callan with the help of her three-year-old grandson, Ty, scheme to bring Aleni and Brice together. And while the best laid plans often go awry, Megan isn’t one to accept no.

For the month of December, you can download Polar Bear Plunge to your kindle or computer for only $1.00! Don’t wait until January, because, although it will still be available, the price will go up! 

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER:
http://ow.ly/7NbBt

BUY A COPY:
Pick up Polar Bear Plunge at:

ABOUT LINDA: In addition to being a writer, Linda Glaz works in a physical therapy clinic and is an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. She was an Air Force meteorologist during the Vietnam era, she taught karate, self-defense, and soccer for 25+ years. She also sings and directs in church and community theatre musicals. You can find Linda at her blog http://lindaglaz.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the season for romance!

I'm thrilled to announce that two of my good friends are releasing their debut books this month with White Rose Press! These are heart-warming Christmas novellas offered for the easy-on-the-wallet price of $1 through the month of December only.

For those of you in the mood for great Christmas romances, these make the perfect present for you or someone you love, and at $1 they're a steal!

First up is my good friend Camille Eide with her novella, SAVANNA'S GIFT. Tomorrow I'll tell you about Linda Glaz's story, POLAR BEAR PLUNGE. I hope you'll support both these authors! These novellas are perfect for the time of year, and they're ideal for someone looking for a fun, heart-warming read but who may not have a lot of time to invest in a lengthy story during this busy holiday season.

Camille Eide writes faith-inspiring love stories. Her debut novella, SAVANNA'S GIFT, is set at a rustic ski lodge in Oregon, where a young woman gets stranded during a snowstorm. It's a Christmas romance about rekindled love and second chances.

Here's a peek at the novella, SAVANNA'S GIFT:
When Savanna gets a second chance at the love of her life, will her dream that divided them get in the way?

Forced to return to the ski lodge where she once worked, Savanna Holt is reminded of one special Christmas and how ambition led her to make the worst mistake of her life: Leaving Luke Nelson. Stunned to discover Luke never left, but worked his way up from lift operator to manager, Savanna sees the opportunity as a gift from God. She’s determined to win Luke back. But Luke wants no reminders of his past hurt, or a relationship with the woman who put ambition before love.

Can Savanna convince Luke she’s changed and her interest isn't because of his position? And when her dream job beckons, will she sacrifice her dream for a second chance at love?


If you want a sneak peek at Camille's wordsmithing, head over to White Rose Press, where you can also enjoy an excerpt: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/savanna-s-gift.

To learn more about Camille, check out her web site at http://www.camilleeide.com/.

NOW GO BUY IT!!! :D
It's easy.....The choices are here:

Savanna's Gift  is now available from
White Rose Publishing
http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/savanna-s-gift 

Amazon (Kindle)
 
http://www.amazon.com/Savannas-Gift-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B006G3YF6K/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Christian Book Distributors http://ow.ly/7NOXJ

Holiday priced at $1.00 through Dec 24, 2011. (reg $2.99) 


And if my 5 star recommendation isn't convincing enough, here's what other writers are saying:

“Camille Eide’s fiction debut, Savanna’s Gift is an enchanted tale of lost love and second chances. With endearing characters and the smell of cinnamon-scented pinecones in the air, I was swept away in this heart-warming story. Lovely anytime. Perfect for Christmas.” ~Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings

"With her trademark zany style, Camille Eide weaves a meaningful, believable romance in Savanna's Gift. Against a beautiful backdrop of a snowy Oregon lodge, she grants her characters wonderful second chances and dreams fulfilled. This is the best novella I've ever read!" ~Christina Berry, Christy-nominated and Carol-award winning author of The Familiar Stranger

"Camille Eide’s seamless writing swept me into this sweet story from the opening page. Savanna’s Gift made me laugh, think, cheer for the characters, and give a sigh of pure satisfaction at the perfect ending. I highly recommend this debut novel from a gifted writer who I’m guessing we’ll see much more of in the future." ~Miralee Ferrell, author of Love Finds You in Sundance, WY—4 1/2 Stars Romantic Times

Monday, October 17, 2011

Passion Makes You Do Crazy Things

I hate public speaking.

Ten times out of ten, if I see it coming, I cross to the other side of the street and refuse to make eye contact. (Same goes for other sketchy characters like furniture dusting, laundry and meal planning.)

Now don’t get me wrong. When I’m one-on-one, I can out-speedtalk a telemarketer any day of the week. But put me in front of a group of people expecting me to say something profound, and invisible claws latch onto the back of my neck and send electric prickles of sheer panic shooting across my scalp, down my spine, and out my toenails.

In fact, I only have to imagine myself looking across the sea of faces and whatever scrap of intelligible thought I have vanishes. My heart pounds and my internal thermometer hits about 194 degrees. Celsius.

But I love writing. And I love talking to other people about writing. Ask my poor husband, who has to hear me talk about “book stuff” on a regular basis. But I can’t help it; I have a passion for story and its power to change the lives of those it touches.

And sometimes passion makes you do crazy things.

So when the English teacher at the local Christian school asked if I’d be willing to come and talk about writing with the high school seniors, my crazy story-loving side jumped up and down and squealed Yes, oh yes, I want to do this in the worst way while the rational side of my brain screamed No, you can’t do this! You know you can’t! You’re too young to die!!!

Before Rational Emily realized what was happening, Crazy Story-Loving Emily blurted, “What would I talk to the students about?”

“Whatever you want,” the teacher said.

And suddenly it was a done deal.

Crazy Emily clapped her hands and danced around saying, “Isn’t this awesome?! A captive audience! People who have to stay and listen to me talk about book stuff. This is going to be so much fun!”

Rational Emily went home and threw up.

* * *
The next day I sent a panicky email to a writing buddy and told her what I’d agreed to do.

Sally was supposed to say, “You did what?!”

Instead she said, “That’s great, Emily! The students will love you.”

“They will?”

“Of course.”

Her confidence was so complete and sincere it had me feeling self-assured in an instant. I could do this. I could entertain high-school students. I could talk about writing and make it interesting and fun. I could go toe-to-toe with Se┼ćor Public Speaking and watch that punk back right down.

“How do you know they’ll love me?” I asked Sally.

“Because you’re not their regular teacher. And you won’t assign homework.”

Oh. Right.

So I spent the next week stressing thinking about what to discuss with twelfth graders. I jotted notes and prayed and jotted some more and prayed a whole lot more, and only three times did I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

And I’m here to tell you I did it.

I went in there talked about how much I love writing. I talked about story world and the three-act structure of a plot. I showed how to create empathy for characters, and how to build goal, motivation, and conflict into a novel.

But mostly I talked about the Hero’s Journey—how story is really about a reluctant character who accepts a challenge and, despite the self-doubt and internal flaws, steps through a doorway and embarks on a journey. How that journey will bring him to the brink, challenge the core of who he is, force him to face his demons and in the end leave him changed for the better.

Because he did what he never dreamed possible.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mistletoe & Mischief wins!

Today I found out the second book in my series, Mistletoe & Mischief, won FIRST PLACE in Novel Rocket's Launch Pad contest (formerly Out of the Slush Pile). I had forgotten that I'd entered the contest so I was doubly excited to see that not only had I placed, I'd won! 

For various reasons (legal and otherwise) I can't usually post actual excerpts from my stories, so I have to admit I'm pretty excited that I have this special opportunity to give you all a chance to read and (hopefully) enjoy the first chapter of the novel.   

Here's the short blurb to get you in the mood:
     
         Erica Marks never dreamed helping a neglected cat would land her in jail . . .


        Now the soft-hearted cafe manager doesn't just want to pull of Maple Grove's first Christmas parade--she needs to. She's made a deal with the courts, and if she doesn't come through, the spirit of Christmas might not be the only thing in police custody.
        But keeping the handsome but aloof police chief from discovering her community service arrangement is the least of her problems. A troubled teen, a rash of vandalism, and continued feline antics threaten to rain on her parade. And as nuisance crimes escalate, Tyler and Erica get dangerously close to each other’s painful secrets. If the truth is exposed, it could cost their chance at love. And facing her fears will resurrect his worst nightmare...

For those of you who'd like to catch a sneak peek, here's the link to the first chapter. I'd love to hear what you think!

http://www.novelrocket.com/2011/10/romance-winner.html

Monday, October 3, 2011

Emily in St. Louis

  
The Arch
It doesn't get much better than hanging with friends, except maybe the chance to hang with friends who share a passion for writing!

I was so blessed to be able to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers' conference in St. Louis last week, where I had a great time reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.

Being surrounded by 650 Christian writers and industry professionals for several days on end was phenomenal. Not only did we have the opportunity to learn more about writing through workshops, spotlights with different publishing houses, and continuing education classes, we got to share in worship and fellowship times.

I arrived a day early so I'd have a day to brainstorm with my good friend and critique partner, Sally. We had a great time plotting our next books, and in between our brainstorming sessions, we took the opportunity to do a little sightseeing. This is us at the Saturday gala, ACFW's annual awards banquet. 

My awesome roommie, Sally, putting up with my antics 
It was very exciting for me to have a chance to meet several of my critique partners for the first time. The picture below is of one of my critique groups, minus Karla, who couldn't attend this year but whose book O Canada!: Her Story is being released shortly. (It's a textbook for gradeschoolers combining a fun mix of Canadian history and biographies of famous Canadians. It can be preordered here: http://www.karlaakins.com/books. Yes, that was a shameless plug. If you have a child 4-8 years old, you should add this to their reading list!)
 
Going clockwise from me:
Jessica, author of a Love Inspired Historical releasing this spring
Camille, Genesis award winner & author of a Christmas novella coming this fall
Linda, agent at Hartline & author of a Christmas novella to be released late fall
Cheryl, who just contracted a three-book deal for a YA mystery series
 I'm blessed to be surrounded by such talented writers who constantly push, poke and prod at me to be better and who constantly offer encouragement. And as you may have noticed, they are all publishing their first books in the next few months (woohoo!), so expect more shameless plugs when the time draws nearer.... :)

Camille and I at the Gala Awards Banquet, where she
was named the Genesis winner of the Women's Fiction category! 
I had appointments with a few editors from different publishing houses and am thrilled to have received invitations to submit proposals for my project! I've been busy working with my agent to get these proposals out. Which is why it's taken me a week to get this post out. :)
   
  

My wonderful agent, Terry Burns and I at lunch

Camille, me, Karen (a Genesis finalist), and Carla Stewart, author of Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings

Me with Joyce Hart, owner of Hartline Literary Agency
  
A view of the Mississippi River from beneath the Arch

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Emily Goes to the Range

The hero of my second book is an ex-Army Ranger-turned-cop. There’s one scene where Tyler goes shooting with his friend Micah (the hero from book 1). It’s a turning point in the book, where Tyler finally confronts the reality of his feelings for Erica. The scene was dangerously close to bordering on mushy, so I figured I’d send the characters to the range where they could hash things out in a more male setting. Under hail of gunfire seemed pretty good.

Since I’ve only been shooting once, and that was about seven years ago, I figured it would be a good idea to check it out again. Actually, it was Jason’s idea. I think it was retribution for having to listen to the emotional heart-flutterings of my characters for the last several months. Off we went to throw some lead downrange, so I could place myself in the scene—remember the sights, smells, and . . .

Oh yeah, sounds.

It’s not easy to communicate with plugs in your ears as you’re blowing through boxes of ammunition.

“How are Tyler and Micah going to talk to each other?” I yelled to my husband. “This could be a problem!”

He shrugged. “They can holler.”

“These are men. It’s emotional stuff. They don’t talk about it, let alone holler it to each other over hail of gunfire.”

Yeah. I’ll be doing some tweaking on that chapter.


I started with a Browning Buckmark
(I'm told that's a .22 pistol. Fun and easy to shoot.)
Pretty good grouping for a newbie, I think.
Then I moved to a Glock .40 subcompact.
Much more kick. I'm not posting the target results from that one.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

An Insider's Look

It’s confession time.

For quite a while I didn’t talk about being a writer, and not just because in many regards it’s a solitary pursuit. First, I’m not published, and there are some who’d dismiss me as a poser at that point. Second, it takes a long time to create a novel from start to finish. And once you do, the process has only begun. It goes something like this:

1) Write the Masterpiece. It takes a long time. For most people at least a year if they’re good at it. For many, up to ten years.

2) Have the Masterpiece critiqued. I call this “unleashing the hounds.” This is where you straighten your spine and let several trusted critique partners have at your ‘baby’ because they’ll tell you the truth. They’ll go to work pointing out all the plot holes and narrative slumps, and scene/sequel issues, and character arcs, and—my personal weak area—goals, motivations and conflicts. Now the story is so much tighter and is starting to look more like a real story.

3) Rewrite the Masterpiece. Now you have to go back and rewrite most of the book at least once. Most likely several times, at least some sections of it. My first book was gutted and rewritten 7,359 times. I counted. But it’s so much better for it and I don’t regret the blood, sweat and tears.

4) Pitch the finished Masterpiece. Hopefully you’ve been scouting the industry for a while now and have a good feel for who would be a good fit for your project. You take courses and read writing blogs and learn about different agents. You write a synopsis (one page summary of your entire book). That alone can take several weeks. You poke and prod and tweak those first three chapters of your book until they SING, because they’re your one shot. That’s all an agent is going to look at to make his/her decision. If you’re blessed, the agent will love it and request the full manuscript.

5) Wait. Wait for so long you wonder if you really did hit ‘send’ on that email query. While you wait you start working on your next Masterpiece. Eventually the rejections come. You soldier on with book 2, trying not to let the rejections of your Masterpiece rattle you. Eventually you land an agent. Maybe the agent wants substantial edits. Now you have to rewrite some more. (see point 3) and resubmit.

6) Agent starts shopping the Masterpiece. This takes even longer. Months and months as the agent tries to prove to a publishing house editor that your project is just perfect for them.

7) Wait some more. And work harder to learn everything you can about the craft of writing. You continue to go to conferences to make connections with industry professionals and talk to editors about your writing projects. You continue to write, you read everything you can in your genre (and outside your genre), and you wait.

And that’s where I am right now.

It requires more patience than I ever imagined. It requires being okay with the process not the end point, something I’m not very good at.

Here's an interesting thing I learned not too long ago: when the Israelites escaped Egypt and headed to the Red Sea they walked right up to it and then had to WAIT until God moved. I had never picked up on that part before. God didn’t part the waters as the people headed that way. They got to the edge of the Red Sea first, and took a good long gander at that vast expanse of oceanfront. With the Egyptians (interestingly enough a symbol of the world and our struggles against the flesh) coming right up behind the Israelites in a less-than-friendly manner, God made them wait right there on the brink. They couldn’t go forward and they couldn’t go back.

One might say, stuck.

God drove them to the threshold and made them wait. They had to exist in liminal space, the place between what was and what will be.

Like taking a step of faith . . . except without the step-taking part.

Waiting. Being. Resting in the knowledge that He’s got you right where He wants you.

“I’m going to show the courage not to retreat back to what was and I’m going to be patient not to jump into what I think ought to be, but I'm going to stand in liminal space. I am going to trust that as I stand on the threshold it is pregnant with the possibilities of God.” –David Jensen

It’s hard, standing on the edge and looking out over the possibilities, trying to be OK with the “spaces in between” that sometimes feel heavy enough to crush you. I’m trying to be at peace on the threshold, trying to stay at peace as I wait on the cusp of this writing adventure. Because I don’t have a clue about this wild ride God is taking me on.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Identity Crisis

What’s in a name?


A whole lot, as it turns out.


I’ve had an identity crisis that has resulted in the need to create an alter ego. A pen name. A pseudonym. It’s so pretentious-sounding I think I threw up in my throat a little just now.


But let me back up a minute and explain.


I’m a writer. Words are important to me. I’ve always tried to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how much value I placed on a few strung-together letters. Especially when those letters constitute my last name. There’s a whole lot of me invested in them, if you catch what I’m saying.


Anyway, when this writing thing started turning into something serious, I figured I’d better check to see about whether the domain for my name was available. It was not. I didn’t look any further into it, naturally, because I am an idiot.


Actually, I didn’t look any further into it because naturally I assumed I’d just add my middle initial. Countless people have to do it to differentiate themselves from others with the same first/last combo. And I figured if absolute worst came to worst, I’d make a fake middle initial and I’d be set, right?


Right?


Obviously not, otherwise you’d be somewhere else that shall remain unnamed, not here.


But in Emilyville nothing is normal.


Turns out the Other Emily-With-My-Married-Name is a writer as well. So several writers who are very smart at marketing and platform-building told me, “You need to consider a pen name.”


Being not very smart and feeling rather touchy about the whole name thing, I said, “Readers know the difference between romance genres. No one would accidentally buy one of the Other Emily’s books thinking they were buying one of my humorous contemporary romances!”


. . . that was until I had TWO people in TWO different writers groups get all aflutter when they thought I was the Other Emily.


In the first instance, I went in to post a quick question one day and got this lengthy, raving introduction about ‘how lucky we are here at [this writers’ loop] to have [the Other Emily] here with us today!!!!!!!!! As most of you are well aware she’s written 825,987,347 books!!!!!!!! and is considered an expert in the Regency time period!!!!!!!!! And we’re just sooooo lucky to have you with us!!!!!!!!!!’


Yap.

So I broke down and went with a pen name.


You know the worst part? No one ever did get around to answering my question.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In a nutshell...

An introduction/update on who I am and what's going on:

I write faith-filled contemporary romances with lots of laughs. I've been actively writing for about two years and am currently working on a three-book series for the Christian market—consecutive stand-alone novels set in small-town Maine, featuring several recurring characters. To learn more about me or my books, go to my web site: www.EmilyCReynolds.com.

I write what I love to read—fun romances that pack a comedic punch. My novels explore some of my greatest passions—the mystery of falling in love, God’s redemptive grace, and laugh-out-loud humor. Though lighthearted, my novels weave thematic elements relating to women’s safety, awareness, and empowerment from a Christian perspective. My first novel, Right Hook for Romance, won second place in the contemporary category for the 2010 Heart of the West contest for RWA.

Last fall (Sept 2010), I attended my first writer's conference, the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference which is where I met my agent, Terry Burns with Hartline Literary. I had the opportunity to pitch Right Hook for Romance, but I was terrified to have to give a verbal pitch because I have a phobia of public speaking. But Terry is about the coolest guy around. He's also shy and a writer, so he knows what it feels like to be on the other side of the table. He offered to read the pitch I'd printed out, which was about the biggest blessing I could have asked for. Within a few minutes, he wanted to talk about working with me on my projects!

Now, I'm working to finish up the second novel in the series while Terry continues to shop Right Hook for Romance. I will be pitching both books to editors at the ACFW conference in St. Louis this fall.

I write and re-write and just keep on writing because I love the way words work. Sometimes the story takes me for a ride. There's nothing more energizing.