Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or treat!

I can't resist Snoopy on any holiday, even Halloween. :)  Therefore - may your candy baskets be overflowing!!! (hey, mini candy bars make for fantastic writer's brain food. I'mjustsaying...)

When I hear trick or treat, I can't help but want to call the bluff, and yell "TRICK!" And just see what the poor kid does. hahahaha. I'm terrible. This is why I go to my church carnival on Halloween, where I must play nicely with others and hand out candy whether they win or lose the bean bag toss...

Happy Halloween! Isn't it awesome as Christians to know that regardless of how deeply the world celebrates this holiday, our God is bigger? Our God is stronger? Our God is able? Our God is good? Our God is constant? HE IS. And He always will be.

So trick or treat, or not. Eat candy, or not (though I recommend, yes) Dress up, or not. (again, I vote yes. hehe) But you know one thing you MUST do this Halloween? As a rule? (and eating your weight in candy corn doesn't count though I dearly applaud the effort!)


Yep! An official order from Scribble Chicks. This Halloween, you  must write. Something. Anything. And give us a word count report tomorrow :)

(bet you want candy now, huh???)

Monday, October 29, 2012


And, after all these wonderful images and quotes:

Get to work!! The day is almost over!! :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Author Appearances and other things that go bump in the night...

Sometimes the might frightening thing in the world has nothing to do with Halloween, but rather...


Author appearances.

The whole dreaded "Ohhhh mylanta I'm going to a book-signing and what if no one shows up?" thing. I saw an author post on FB the other day that she was going to a signing and was bringing her iPad to play Solitaire on. Just in case.

It's good to have a Plan B ;)

However, there are some other things you can do to have successful author appearances, whether that's at a book-signing or a library or an author event or wherever.

1. Bring chocolate. Seriously, this is good for you (endorphins) and good to draw a crowd. Especially kids, which will then automatically bring pocket-book toting parents. Tried and true method! Plus it just makes you seem giving and friendly and people are more likely to buy a book if you're giving something away. This worked really well when I did my first signing for my YA- ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK- because I had a full fledge cake with the book cover as icing. Was so fun! So have a dish of chocolate or candy (especially right now at the holiday season!)

2. Stand up. Seriously again, standing and engaging with people makes you more approachable than sitting woodenly behind a table/desk and looking all formal and intimidating. Try standing beside your table, leaning against it (check its sturdiness first please). Also, bring people with you who you can talk with and look smiley-friendly and approachable to strangers. People are more likely to come skim read your back cover if they think they can subtly pick it up without being obligated to purchase if they don't like it.

3. Have other freebies/hands out ready. I don't know how many times I've done signings for ADDISON where the person said "Oh, I don't read YA, but my friend does." or "I will definitely pass this bookmark on to this kid in my youth group who was just saying she needed a new read". You really have no idea how far that could reach! :)  So have business cards and bookmarks handy.

4. SMILE. Look friendly and like you don't care if someone buys your book or not. Because really, you're there for networking and to bless readers. Talk to them about THEM when they approach. Don't make it all about you or your book. You'll probably get more sales that way by default AND its the Christian thing to do - not to mention it gets your nerves off yourself.

5. Try to do multi-author signings or events when possible. This takes a ton of pressure off and automatically provides #2 about bringing peeps with you. You are less nervous, therefore more approachable, and people who buy one book might just buy yours too! :)

Hope those tips help!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


You known that creepy feeling you get when someone's watching you? That's how I felt that day, standing in church, like someone was ogling a particular part of my body. Only this time was different.

The stranger stood there, unapologetic, mouth agape.

At this point I guess I should explain there is nothing particularly different about me.  No tattoos. No amputations. No birth marks. I looked down, mystified.

Suddenly she broke the silence.

"So... how far along are you?"

My belly.  Darn this shirt. I knew the sales lady was lying when she told me baby-doll style tops were back in. I weighed 108 lbs and somehow this woman thought there was a second human in there.

My face went hot.

"This is awkward," I stuttered, "but I'm not pregnant."

Apparently it was awkward for only one of us. And getting more that way by the minute.

"Oh," she said, "Well, I pray that when you do get pregnant, it will be the blessing of twins."

Now I was the one staring. At her. The blessing of twins? Who prays
that kind of thing for someone? What had I ever done to this woman?

I have never prayed so hard that someone else's prayer would go unanswered.

It's been a couple of years, and I have had one child. Singular. And I'm good with that.

But if being stared at creeped me out once, it does doubly so now. I'm pretty sure next time someone ogles me, even if it's a church-lady, I'm going to hike up my baby-doll skirts and head in the opposite direction. Meanwhile thanking God for the ONE beautiful baby that's mine...

Q4U: What awkward experiences can you write about? Tell us in the comments, or write and leave a link so we can read it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

21 Lies Writers Tell Themselves

I don't know about you, but sometimes it's a whole lot easier talking about writing than actually doing it sometimes. But as we've all discovered a time or two, good intentions alone don't get that manuscript done. Hard work does.

It's funny what little lies we tell ourselves as writers, and as much as I hate to admit it, this author of this article hit proverbial the nail on the head with so many of these. Well, except #1. I'm a freelance writer and while I may sport some flannel pajama bottoms from time to time, I've never mistaken undies for actual pants. Thank goodness for that, right?

Happy writing this week and here's to no more excuses!

:) Christa

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Show, Don't Tell - What does it mean?

Hey guys! I'm going to tackle a question provided by a fellow reader last week, on showing instead of telling. You've probably all heard that before, but what IS it? What does it mean? And why do we do it?

First of all, when you hear someone say in regards to your writing "show, don't tell" it means the editor or critiquer of your work wants you to rewrite that portion in a more appealing, and stronger, way. (PS - that's WHY we do it. It typically makes the writing stronger)

Here are some examples out of my head:

She looked mad. - telling. You're simply saying she looked mad but as a reader we don't really see it.
Her brow furrowed as a slow flush invaded her cheeks - showing - you gave the reader a description to see.

He sounded nervous. - telling
His voice cracked - showing. (this could still be seen as telling to someone really hardcore about this element, but your reader at least in this case can hear the nerves in the character's voice without just being told he was nervous)

The sun rose above the hills. - telling (this isn't BAD, it's just matter of fact and a little boring)
Golden streams of sunlight crested the wheat-coated hill - showing.

Think about the details. We tend to "tell" most in regards to emotion, so think about what that emotion would do to you as a person. Like as in my nervous example - when you are nervous, what happens physically? Your heart rate increases. You feel adrenaline. Your stomach churns. Your voice might pitch. Your palms might sweat. Use those details to show instead of tell, but remember to be careful about whose point of view you're in. If you're in the hero's POV, you can't describe the heroine's nerves accurately because he can't feel what she feels. In that case you'd have to rely on the hearing, like I did with the voice cracking, or the hero could SEE the heroine rub her palms down her jeans, etc. However, if you're in the POV of the character who is experiencing the emotion, you have a lot more room to play around with it. If the POV character is nervous, then a "a herd of butterflies paraded through her stomach" or "her heart thundered in her chest and threatened to leaping across the crowded room" or etc.

Basically, show vs tell means more description and less passive writing. Telling is sometimes what you do in a first draft (for those of you who write them) to just get your story down and keep going while you have momentum - showing is what you should strive to go back and do in the polishing stages or rewriting stages.

Of course there are exceptions and you can't literally show your ENTIRE novel, or a 80k story would take 500k words ;)  You can see just in my examples that usually the showing takes more words - yet it provides a better, stronger, more visual way of writing and providing your reader with what they want to engage in the story.

Master this, and you'll rise above in that dreaded slush pile. Knowing how to show instead of tell in your writing is one of the greatest indicators of a strong writer and not an amateur one.

Monday, October 15, 2012


You know what's missing now that all of us are writing on computers now?


Sometimes, that was the fastest way I could get the brain cells moving again in the middle of a long stretch of writing. Nowadays, I have to revert to Facebook or hot tea and chocolate.

It's not ever as fast at revving my brain, so now I'm also slower at writing, know too much about some people online and I'm gaining weight. ;)

Sometimes the best thing we can do for our writing is to take a break from it. Draw a picture, learn to crochet, take a walk or vacuum the house. Or go to a wedding and dance until your feet are numb like I did this last weekend.

The important thing is to make sure you come back to it. Which is why I'm going to pour myself another cup of spiced tea (aka sugar in hot form), grab a box of Trader Joe's dark chocolate mints and start writing.

Unless I can't get "Don't Want to Close My Eyes" out of brain and then I guess I'll have to just forget about it and wait for my son to wake up so we can dance around the living room again. ;)

Happy writing!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Sorry guys, I forgot to post here today! I also was posting at so I guess I got distracted. Also, my new monthly column for Nicole O'Dell's Choose Now Ministry is also up. Guest blogging everywhere! :)

It's getting late now and I'm wiped, but if you guys have any questions this week for us, please let us know. Until then, I'll be back next week with more marketing advice :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I'm not even close to being a blonde like she is, but this is exactly how I've felt this week.

Too many deadlines.

Not enough sleep.

Is it Friday yet?

Yep, we're getting close.

Thank goodness for that.

In fact, I find myself resonating with writer Hunter S. Thompson who was a bit of a wild card to say the least. For the uninitiated, he wrote for Rolling Stone and a slew of other publications, and Johnny Depp recently played him in the movie The Rum Diary.

"If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up." 

Amen to that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I have to do WHAT?

Now that Erynn has so efficiently walked you guys through the steps of a proposal, I thought I'd introduce you to a future step in the process. (Partly, to give you hope that you WILL arrive here at this point, and partly, because you truly need this information)


Yep. That proposal you slaved over and bribed Erynn to proofread for you? (just kidding.) It caught the attention of an agent, who took it to a traditional publisher, who loved the concept, pushed it at their committee meeting, offered you a contract, and after signing on dotted lines and celebrating with obscene amounts of chocolate, you say...NOW WHAT?

Well, now there are probably revisions, line edits and galleys. But it's also time to start MARKETING! Woohoo!

This can be fun or terrifying, depending on your perspective. So let's keep it fun, shall we? The terrifying stuff should be over by now ;)   (ummmm we won't talk about negative book reviews and low sales)

Marketing is done in part by your publisher, and in part by YOU. But you need to think of it as your responsibility, because truly, you care the most and have the most passion for your story. Therefore, the most effect. Affect? I never get that right. I should Google this but am under deadline and need to finish this post, so I won't take the time. How's that for time management for the busy author? haha!

Anyway. Ahem.

There are several ways to market.

First, you have to ditch the overly humble "I can't brag about myself!" attitude because that's not what this is about. If you published in the Christian industry, then the book isn't about you, it's about God. About Jesus. About the reader. Get that in your head NOW and you will save yourself a lot of back and forth mental talk later :)

Secondly, you need to already have in place a website and a blog. Yes, BOTH unless you combine them at a site like wordpress. I like having them separate. and   To each their own, just make a decision and get the website up already! (you really should have done this before you pitched to agents/editors, FYI) Now, on that website is CONTENT. You have to have something there and you have to maintain it / update it regularly. If an editor or marketing department for your publishing house sees your website is deader than a Ghost Town, they won't be encouraged to spend marketing dollars on you. So blog already! :)

Thirdly, start spreading the word about your release on Facebook and Twitter and any other sites you're on. If you JUST contracted the story, that's fine! Go ahead and share the joy and let people know the gist of the story. (wait until paperwork has been completed however) Don't post public excerpts or go into detail since you might have revisions later, but you can start the buzz now! How fun is that?? :)

As you get info on your story, update your fans. Start drawing them in. Keep them in the loop. Such as "Got my revisions today, guys, and wow! Can't wait to make this story stronger" on a FB status. Or once you have permission, share your book cover on your website and twitter account. Offer contests in advance for a free autographed copy. But don't stop there - it's usually a year between contract and shelf, sometimes longer, so you have to stay connected to your readers along the way. giveaways of other people's books! Post articles on content related to your story (a cooking story? share recipes. a dog story? give tips on training your pet.) The options are endless. The main point is finding a way to connect with readers and excite them about your book too. Then keep that up periodically between your good news and your release date. You'll see a big difference :)

More next week :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The End of the Line

There was a day when moms lived at home. Perfectly manicured women wore pearls and high heels while simultaneously ironing socks and underwear.

Wait a second. My bad. That’s just the TV Land reruns.

Here’s the thing, though: We stay-at-home-moms, the ones of the 21st century, don’t live up to the pearl and high-heels standard. Our kids walk in the door to discover us in “easy walkers” and “dungarees”. There is spit-up on the floor, in our hair, and on the Wii that the five-year-old played all day. (Once a month we clean it up and post pictures on Pinterest of our happy homes.)

I don’t mean to portray us stay-at-home moms as lazy. I’m just saying our priorities are different. We’re running businesses while raising kids, cooking dinner while writing books, conference-calling while folding the last darn towel.

We’re a generation of multi-taskers. We’ve gotten really good at it.
But are we too good at it?

There was a day when women lived at home. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

And as a mom, I'm learning there are 2400 ways to be “home” and not really be “home”.

So today, without donning my June Cleaver pearls or high heels, I’m purposing to go back in time.

I may not get the socks ironed or the underwear starched—but I will put down the phone. The computer. The books.

And I will go back, if only for ten minutes at a stretch. When she’s grown I will have plenty of time for conference calls.

Today, I want her to know she’s the only one on the end of my line.


Bekah Hamrick Martin is the author of The Bare Naked Truth. She can be reached at, unless she’s turned off the
computer for a spell.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's next??

So, after you finish your proposal and the firework show is completed, what do you do next??
I think this - more than almost any other question - is what we get the most: "How do I get published?"

First step = Writing a book and then a proposal. Nothing big or anything. ;)

Second step = Start making contacts in the writing field. Betsy covered some of this in her post last Wednesday about going to conferences. I feel like we harp on this sometimes, but if you can do it, going to a conference is hands down the BEST thing you could ever do for your writing.

I'm pretty certain (correct me if I'm wrong, fellow Scribble Chicks!!) that all of us on here got published for the first time by a contact we created at a conference. They do work!! And even if they don't for you, they are SO fun.

Spoken like a true nerd. ;)

Third step? Prepare yourself for rejection.

Friends, there are very few (if any!) published authors who have never once had something rejected. Keep your chins up. Just because one publisher didn't like your proposal doesn't mean the next one will feel the same way. And just because one publisher asks you to dump the first 20 pages of your novel doesn't mean that you have to or should. Take notes, listen with an open heart and mind, but then go home and think through what seems right to you.

Note that you might be rinsing and repeating steps two and three for a while. Or even step one. My first proposal I wrote and passed around at a conference was for a book that will never seen the light of day. ;)

Fourth step = Hope for someday hearing the words, "This is great! We're taking it to committee!"