November 29, 2008

Hearing Voices

What is it about an author’s voice and style that allows a loyal reader to read an excerpt of their latest work and be able to identify the author? Not that I can do that, I’m only just beginning to compile a list of my favorite authors. It seems I’m finally coming out from under the rock I’ve been living under since I began having babies back in the ‘80’s, (please don’t tell my children I said they crawled out from under a rock) and am only now discovering authors whose writing voices ‘speak’ to me. A couple of these are:

W. Dale Cramer

Barbara Kingsolver

Susan Meissner

Randy Ingermanson

Sara Gruen

I enjoy these author’s voices, but I sure don’t write anything like them. I’m leery of “branding” my writing any time soon; in fact, after reading Chip MacGregor’s latest post on branding, I’m not too worried about defining my writing brand for quite a while. The only definition I can give my writing at the moment is Nicholas Sparks meets Karen Kingsbury at an off-beat little comedy club. A little more Nicholas than Karen. Gayle Roper read an excerpt and synopsis of my first novel and told me I’d written “an intelligent romance.” I took that as a compliment, although I didn’t actually check to see if she’d meant it as one. So I really haven’t written enough to analyze. Right now, I am enjoying reading and analyzing the work of others.

So there are many more books on my TBR list. These are a few topping the list because I have a feeling I’m going to hit it off with them too:

Lisa Samson

John B. Olson

Michael Snyder

Jamie Langston Turner

My question to you: Do you know these authors and their work, and if so, do you see a pattern to this list? If you are familiar with their work and know of other authors with similar elements of voice and style, I’d love to hear some reading recommendations.

November 24, 2008

Back To Bloggin

So apparently, I went ahead and entered that Zondervan/Mt Hermon First Novel Competition after all. How could I NOT enter? I met all the criteria, thanks to a string of strange coincidences. No, you’re right. Not coincidence. I call these convenient convergences of opportunity ‘God-incidents.’ Anyway, imagine a clipped squeal when I took a break from scrubbing toilets last Saturday to peek at my inbox and found a message saying my novel had semi-finaled in the contest and asking me to send the full manuscript. My husband thought I’d seen a spider.

So The Novel is sent and I wait till Feb 1 for finalists to be announced, which means my kids will get their favorite Christmas cookies this year after all. I could be really candid here and tell you what I think my chances of finaling are, but I won’t. A very cool Oklahoman told me recently that there are no odds with God. I could tell you that if I don’t win, I’ve already been blessed by this contest because 1. It forced me to scrape up the nerve to submit and 2. It got me fired up to finish the ding-dong thing on a deadline, which I did. But I won’t tell you that either.

I will say that since The Novel is sent, there is no point working on it at the moment, so I am free to blog again. We may discuss some of the topics covered in my novel, things like loss and grieving, tests of faith, praying for your enemies, and haggis. And possibly beach volleyball. World Peace is always a hot topic here, too. So if you have a preference or suggestion, post away.



I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.