Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I’ve always wondered what it would be like to see my first book in print.

I had a dream. Literally. The publisher sent me a box of my books—all of which looked like Victorian romance novels—all of which had my name on the front—none of which had my actual writing inside.

So imagine my relief when, for the first time last week, I got to see the cover for my book. It was edgy. It was sweet. It was not a Victorian romance novel.

(I think they’re hoping the awesome cover will take the sting out of my edits. :)

So if you know a teen girl who’s in that dating or waiting stage of life, and appreciates a little sarcasm—check it out the book, The Bare Naked Truth... with entries written by two of our favorite Scribble Chicks--Erynn and Betsy (+ Susie Shellenberger, Camy Tang, and many more!).

In the meantime I'll keep dreaming... and maybe these edits won't hurt as much as I'm thinking.

Bekah Hamrick Martin is a grateful Scribble Chick (humbled to be in the presence of greatness!), and a lover of all things teen. She and her boy are celebrating their 5th anniversary, and second child... which just happens to be made out of 224 paper pages. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Proposal, part one

Not like this, exactly. :)

We've talked a lot about proposals on here, but I think we should spend some time talking about the tiny details that make a proposal. I've been reading everyone's comments about feeling insecure about their writing, feeling overwhelmed when it comes to conferences, etc. If you are holding a well-crafted proposal in your hands, that can do a LOT to help your self-esteem come Meeting The Editors time.

(And, by the way, only two of the editors I've ever met were scary.)

(Only one made me cry.)

(I'm just kidding. I never cried. I may have sniffled once or twice though because I was in South Carolina and the greenery does not mesh well with my allergies.)

Okay. First and foremost, you need a Killer Title.

Actually, scratch that. First and foremost, you need to put your name and contact info in the top right corner of the first page. I have heard editors harp on this for ten minutes. They talk about how they were holding the next John Grisham, the next Karen Kingsbury, the next Huge Bestseller Featuring Some Other-Worldly Creatures and the author did not put their name on it and ALL WAS LOST.

After you've written your name, address, phone number and email address, skip down a few paragraphs and write in your Killer Title. But don't get attached to your amazing title, because there is always a good chance that it will be changed.

 Curious how to come up with a title?

With Miss Match, my original title was Matchmaking 101. I usually come up with a title by telling every single person I know the two-sentence hook for the book and then asking what they think the title of my book should be.

(Actually, I only did that for Miss Match. My brother came up with the original title, my dad came up with the title the publisher chose.)

(Thanks Bryant! Thanks Dad!)

I named Cool Beans after the coffee shop in the book. My current WIP, Paige Rewritten, was a play on my main character's name (the first will be titled Paige Torn, same concept).

I'll be back next week to talk about the next two segments in the proposal. In the meantime, if you guys have questions, please leave them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them or pawn them off on one of my fellow Scribble Chicks. ;)

Have a good Monday!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lessons from another movie...

We have Netflix. Normally I love Netflix, it's a great program, and we save so much money (especially now that you can't just go to Blockbuster anymore and shop for a rental in person) We probably average 3-5 movies a month. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Anyway, great set-up!
Except on Boy Night.
I try to switch our selections around in our online queue, to keep it fair for me and Hubby- chick flick or romantic comedy, then an Boy Movie, then maybe an action movie we can watch together, etc. That way if he's at the fire station, I can watch a Girl Movie at home alone, or he can take his Boy Movie to the fire station, then we get the occasional home date night where we enjoy one together or pick one out for Little Miss to watch.
Well - last was Boy Night but I mistakenly thought it could be a Together Movie. I was wrong. It was the movie Faster, starring "The Rock" and Billy Bob Thornton. We watched the whole thing, me cringing between my fingers at the really gory and realistic violence, and at the end we both said "That was sort of pointless."

But I have a point, don't worry ;)
I learned lessons about pacing for my writing. See, in the movie, The Rock is on a killing spree, and for a LONG time (too long) we don't know why. We just know it has something to do with the picture he keeps looking at it of him and another guy (a friend or brother, we assume) that was clearly taken a long time ago. They didn't work in the backstory nearly enough for the first third of the movie.
For too long, I knew I was SUPPOSED to have sympathy for The Rock and cheer him on for his cause but uh...they didn't explain the reasons. (however, once I eventually found out the reasons, I was like "uh, yeh, go get 'em!) But the pacing was off. And they also messed with us viewers, giving us sympathy for the pending victims of the Rock when it was obviously misplaced and those victims (in my opinion, which is why I can't go into criminal justice) more than deserved what the Rock was doing.
Readers aren't as patient, I don't think. If I had been reading a novel (or someone reading mine) and didn't get that reader sympathy from the beginning, I'd (they'd) have shut the book. You too? Or are you more patient?
Regardless, please learn the lessons here, preferably without having to watch the 1 hour and 38 minutes of violence. (Next up is a total chick flick in our queue!)
1. Pacing is key.
2. Character sympathy is key and you want to establish it early on.

3. There's a difference between great twists and straight up misleading your reader.
I'm so ready for Reese Witherspoon now.....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Atheist

My friend was an atheist, and there was nothing I could do about it.

She told me she knew a lot of “Christians”—people who claimed the love of Christ but had only hatred for her.

“I just want you to know,” I told her one day, “That’s not Jesus.”

We didn’t talk about Christ much after that, Christine and I. I guess I’d finally reached the point where I didn’t (out of excitement) assault everyone with my faith. Instead, I was learning to wait on what His Spirit wanted me to do.

One morning He woke me up. It was 2 a.m., and I couldn’t stop thinking about Christine. It was an odd prayer, but I whispered it anyway: God, give Christine a dream that will terrify her. Show her You’re real.

I’m not into the scare-people-into-heaven thing. I don’t think that’s God’s method most of the time. He gave me a gentle spirit, but I couldn’t deny that this prayer had come from deep inside me.

I rolled over and eventually drifted back to sleep. It was two weeks before I saw Christine again.

“I’ve converted,” she said.

Excuse me?

I was pretty sure I heard her wrong. My friend, the atheist, the wiccan—was converted?

“The other night I had a horrible dream. I woke up and I was shaking. Hell is real. God is real. I fell out of bed and called out to Him.”

Some of you think I’m making this up. I’m not.

I don’t know what happened to Christine, because she moved away and I lost touch with her. But I believe that when she cried out to God, He heard her. And I believe the truth I shared about what Jesus has done for me will not return void.

I’m not sure why I told you this story, other than  maybe someone needs to hear it today.

God is powerful.

And He’s got it all under control. 

 Bekah Hamrick Martin is grateful to be His child.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back in the saddle

Thank you all for the sweet comments and prayers. They are very appreciated!

This week has been all about getting back into the grove writing. I've got a pretty predictable routine down now - my son takes a three hour nap from 1-4. The first two hours are writing time. I aim for about 2,000 words. Sometimes, though, I have to spend time doing important business like checking Pinterest, which is why the last hour of Nathan's nap time is either more writing time or recharging/housework time depending on the day. Most of the time, housework wins which is why I'll probably be working on the same rag quilt for 76 years. ;)

And I know my little Nater Tot won't nap like this forever, so I'm counting my blessings while they are here!!

What are your writing routines? Do you need noise or quiet? A desk or a couch? Actual clothing or sweatpants? For me, I need fall and winter in order to REALLY write well, but I probably have a few more months of severe heat before that comes. ;)

Whatever it is that helps you write, I hope you are able to set aside some good working time this week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Here's What I've Been Working on Today...

Yep, when I'm not working on my W.I.P., I'm probably at the movies. This week I was covering the superhero beat. Anyone excited to see The Dark Knight Rises?

Just in case you're curious, here's my .02. Hope you have a great weekend, and in the meantime, anyone got any writing questions for me to tackle next week?

Ciao, Christa

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

They said WHAT?!?

I'm here today with a secret on writing. It's a BIG secret, too. You ready for this?


You sure? It's good stuff ;)



Gasp. Yep. I said it. Not everyone who gives you writing advice is going to be right. Not even us Scribblechicks. Oh sure we can (and hopefully are) be correct in theory, or correct in letting you know what publishers are after, or the proper procedure for finding an agent, or our opinions on what works best, what's a no-no, what's a show-stealer, etc.

But we're not going to be 100% right all the time, because writing is subjective. You shoud listen to advice and take it, OFTEN. Don't get me wrong. We here at Scribblechicks have been around the industry block a few times and aren't steering you wrong. But remember that ultimately, deep down, only YOU know what is right for YOUR story.

So be encouraged. If the rules are too overwhelming at times, break 'em. Write your story. Let it out. Set it free. Then if the rules make more sense when you're done, go back and edit them in. Or maybe you know a certain genre is all but dead (chick lit, currently) But that's your heart. Then guess what? WRITE A CHICK LIT. Don't worry about what everyone says. Don't let the hater's hate ;)  Write your story. Be true to your heart and yourself and your dreams.

Sometimes, writing advice can just be flat out bad advice, too. Like if someone told you to stalk an editor into a bathroom to pitch your story at a conference. That is BAD advice. So is sending an agent a magazine--letter-cut-out threat in the mail if they don't represent you ;)

Seriously though, what's a piece of writing advice you got that was just BAD? or wrong? Or at the time, you weren't sure if it was wrong or bad but it just didn't feel right to you? Share here! :)

I think for me, the worst advice I ever got was someone trying to coerce me into writing their way. I'm not a seat of the pantser. I'm a plotter, a planner, I need to know what's going to happen throughout my story, at least the major thread and plotlines. I need an outline to be most productive. That's not true for everyone, and I would never harp on you to make an outline first and detail your story to death when you like to write by the seat of your pants and figure things out as you go. Everyone works differently.

So what about you? What bad advice have you gotten?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


If you know me, you know I'm all about saving time. Because the less time I spend on chores, the more time I spend on writing. (If "writing" is code for "sleeping").
I've talked about ways to cheat the clock before--like ordering groceries to the curb. But this week I want to talk about my new best friend:

You're probably very familiar with this little beauty, but did you know it can make your life even simpler if you add a little plastic into the picture?

Take some zip-locs, add your fresh ingredients for each meal (ordered to the curb :), label each bag with a day of the week, and in a matter of an hour you can have one weeks' worth of meals ready to throw on the crockpot every morning.

Freezer meals... but healthier than those with all the added sodium.

So tell me... what's your time-saving tip of the week? 'Cause I sure could use a little more sleep.

Thanks for reading my mom's blog post. She likes saving time because I monopolize most of it. But I'm cute... so hello. I so deserve it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back from a very long absence

I am so sorry to be away for so long. If you've been following my personal blog, you know we have had a really awful summer but God willing, things will begin looking up.

To be honest, I'm still not quite myself and I have barely touched the writing in almost six weeks (really need to get back to that since I've got a December 1st deadline!). We are also coming off a birthday high since my son turned two on Friday.

All that to say, today's writing advice is this: It is okay to put it down for awhile. It will always be there to pick back up. I plan on picking it up during tomorrow's nap time (a.k.a. Mommy time).

Praying you all are having a safe and healthy summer!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Riffing Off the Classics Your Way

One of our readers posed a most intriguing question last week when she asked how one goes about re-adapting a classic...and ultimately making it your own in the process.

So that's precisely what I'm going to talk about today since it's something I did a little of myself when I wrote my second novel, Blessed Are the Meddlers.

Unlike the movie Clueless where Amy Heckerling brilliantly re-imagined Emma as a privileged high school student living in L.A. and practically went plot point by plot point in telling the story with a Southern California twist, I opted for a broader route with my "modern-day Emma." I captured her meddling ways as far as matchmaking was concerned, but there was no Mr. Knightley, Harriet or Frank, no falling in love with her step-brother, just a wink and a nudge to them in the naming of my characters (yes, there's even an Austin...and yes, I know the spelling is wrong).

So if you're stuck in finding an original plotline that really inspires you, it never hurts to borrow from the classics. As a rule of thumb, you can borrow a little like I did or a lot like Ms. Heckerling, as long as the end result is still something unique. After all, there's nothing worse than getting inspiration from somewhere and bring a slave to it. Classics are classics for a reason, but putting a clever spin on one can not only be fun, but you'll have a built-in audience to boot.

After all, if you like Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, who couldn't help wondering what the story would be like once ZOMBIES were involved?

While it was admittedly a bit strange, it was a fun way to push the classic story into the modern age.

On a side note, I like to give myself little creative writing projects to keep those proverbial juices flowing between all my journalistic work and my own W.I.P, so imagining a classic literary hero or heroine in a new setting is usually my go-to assignment. Even if it doesn't end up being the idea I want to commit a full manuscript to, it's still a great exercise in riffing off an existing storyline and seeing what literary gold comes as a result (sometimes it's more like rusty copper, but you get the idea).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Q&A and some Link-age

Hey guys! Anyone have anymore writing/craft/publishing related questions for us Scribble Chicks? Leave them in the comments.

In the meantime, may I direct you to two links (sorry to do this but I'm on deadline and this week has been HECTIC and I had to post on two other blogs as well. So...multi-tasking. Let's call that a helpful craft tip here, Time Management For the Busy Writer 101 lesson ::wink::)

http://www.girlsgodgoodlife.blogspot.com/   (Classic, or Old?) Chime in now! :)

http://nicoleodell.com/2012/07/on-good-girls-bad-boys-frogsinprogress/   On Good Girls (my monthly column for Nicole O'Dell's CHOOSE NOW teen ministry)  "Bad Boys and Frogs-In-Progress"   (this one also has a cool video from Carrie Underwood in the post)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Holiday Reminder....

Hey guys! Happy Fourth of July! :)

We just got back from a 5 day cruise to Progreso, Yucatan and Cozumel in Mexico. Talk about an eye opener and making you feel grateful for what you have! They might have beautiful beaches but what good are they when you can't afford to go enjoy them? When you are living in such squalor that the ocean might be the only bathtub you can get to?

I realize the entire country isn't like that, but we drove through some parts on the way to a private beach excursion that really made my heart hurt for these people. Stray dogs in the dirt streets, tiny, short, falling down buildings and shacks, stained and torn laundry hanging on lines outside in the polluted air....it made me realize how good we have it here in America.

Despite the current turmoil during this election year (and I will NOT start getting political here, trust me. I don't have the energy) we need to remember to keep a heart of gratitude and an attitude of prayer for our country. We might disagree with a lot but we are so blessed to have the freedoms we have, and the opportunities we have. Even just running water, electricity, gas, etc.

It's important to vote and look at the big picture but don't get so overwhelmed that you forget to be grateful for the little things - that are huge to someone else. It's all about perspective.

Sorry this isn't craft related, but was on my heart today and seemed fitting for the holiday! Happy 4th! Eat a barbeque rib for me ;)