Got my critique back!

I won a 1st Five Pages critique from the nice folks at Seekerville. Submitted them last week and got my review back this week.  They said...

"Thanks for the opportunity to read your pages. I’ll tell you right now you have a very unique story idea which comes with its own built in conflict. You nailed the hard part. 

Now the easy part is tweaking this story..."

There was lots more helpful critique and encouragement, so I'm excited about continuing on with my novel, Zoey's Quest, thought not so sure that writing the entire novel is "the easy part!"

Love the gals at Seekerville. Drop by if you get a chance and say hello to them.
(Copyright© 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

God is up to something!

grapic courtesy  ba1969,
After writing my last post about Borders closing, I moped around for a couple of hours, wondering what I was going to do, now.  No more "I'm running up to Borders."  It was a real pity party until I heard God's small, still voice inside me whisper a scripture...

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19

At once I felt a little tickle of excitement rising up inside.  I love it when God is up to something new in my life! I don't know what it is and I'm sure it will mean that He has to sand off a few more of my rough edges, but I'm in!

That was Sunday - the past couple of days have been fun.  I've had this air of expectancy and joy about me and a heightened awareness of God working in my life.  What could be better than that???

Bring it on, God - I'm ready!

(Copyright© 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Goodbye Old Friend

Photo courtesy theBoyds,
This is ridiculous! I am sitting here sobbing because a bookstore is closing.

Thought I would pop up to Borders to check out the sales, now that the store is closing. Never dreamed I would have this reaction.

I was just there on Tuesday with my friend Joy, as we normally do on Tuesdays. Talked with some of the employees about the store closing and how sad it is, but didn't really expect things to happen so quickly. Kristy, my sweet little barista made me a latte as usual, browsed through the store, then Joy and I settled down at the reference table for a rousing game of Bananagrams.  We've been doing this for several years, now, and I love it.

I've written 2 books while sipping lattes in that Borders and Lee and I have had many date nights that end at Borders for a latte nightcap.  In fact, Lee and I have been going to Borders for over 17 years!  It's the place I go when I'm bored, when I need to get out of the house, when I need to write without distraction...when I want a good latte.  It's my place!

When I walked in today, I headed for the cafe for a last latte and it was roped off, dark and deserted...closed forever. all the gals and guys that made me lattes over the years are now out of work.  The place was crawling with scavengers - where were they when the store was struggling to stay open?

I'm sure I'll get over this, but for now, a big part of me is gone.  Isn't that silly...crying over a bookstore???

(Copyright© 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Side-Tracked by a Man and a Sock Monkey

Whew! It's been a busy time around the old homestead the past couple of weeks. LeeMan was off work for a week, so I got nothin' done, except for the couple of days he went fishing.  He had a blast as you can see from the big smile on his face.

I also got side-tracked from my writing by an order for a custom sock monkey.  For those of you who don't know, I run Sock Monkey Ranch, creating custom one-of-a-kind sock monkeys.  This week I had a request for a pirate, so I  created Scurvy Sam the Peg Leg Sock Monkey. You can see more pictures of him here.

I've done pirate sock monkeys before, but this is my first one with a peg leg....what a challenge!  If you'd like to take a look at some more monkeys I've created, hop on over to the site and look through the Monkey Gallery.

On the writing front, I'm excited about winning a First Five Pages Critique from Seekerville.  I'm polishing the first five pages of Zoey's Quest to send in...crossing my fingers that they tell me it's good.

It looks as if all this side-tracking has derailed my Camp NaNoWriMo goal of finishing the book in 30 days, but I'm going to sign up for next month, too and try to complete it by the end of August.  Hopefully, there will be less distraction for me.

Til next time....ta-ta!

(Copyright© 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Camp Pests

Photo courtesy lusi,
Spent the past 2 days (except for going to the camp chapel meeting on Sunday morning ) pouring through my new book, Writing the Christian Novel, and now I'm ready to really tackle this thing!

My dear sweet husband is on vacation this week and since I'm at camp, he had decided to join me. Of course he doesn't write, so I will have to find some errands for him to do and activities to keep him busy and out of my hair while I work on this book.

Just kidding...just kidding...I love having him underfoot around when I'm trying to write.  He often does annoying cute little things that I can use in my books.  You might say he's my muse...

Yeah, you might say that...but you'd be WRONG!

He's taking a shower right now, then we're headed for Borders so I can work on my book and he can read some books about guns (mostly pictures).  I'm pretty sure that if he keeps looking at those same books every time we go there, they are going to make him buy them because he's worn them out!

Am I being snarky?

I really love him, but why did he decide to take a vacation this week?????

(Copyright© 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Thrift Store Blessing!

I'm sooooo excited! I've been looking at Gail Gaymer Martin's book, Writing the Christian Romance for a while now, wishing I could buy it.  Not that it's so expensive, but we are really tight on money right now. I've never been able to take a writing course, so everything I know about writing has come from books.  Since I'm just starting my first inspirational romance, I thought this book could really help.

Today my hubby was off work, so he dragged me away from Camp to go to lunch, which turned into a trip to Borders and 2 thrift stores.  You'll never guess what I found in the second thrift store.

Oh, you did guess...good for you!

I was so excited, I did a little happy dance right in the store, then called my husband, who was on the opposite side of the store and squealed in his ear!  Isn't God good?????

This should be a tremendous help. Off to read it now.

Oh, and no words added to my novel yet today (hubby's fault), but I did put an awesome blog post on Refreshed by the Word this morning.

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Broke through that brick wall!

Whew! I feel much better today. Got some much needed encouragement from my friends and some invaluable writing advice from a "pro" (thank you, AJ) and I'm back on track.

Figured out an outlining method that works for me, so now I have a plan that will help when (if) I get stuck again. I had to do a little re-writing, kick a character out of the book (she was the fly in the ointment) and introduced another character.  Everyone's playing together fine, now.

They served stew in the mess hall tonight...really? Stew in the middle of summer? Would much rather have had something lighter. I'm thinking about sneaking off the grounds for a trip to Dairy Queen tonight.  Wonder if I would get caught?

5623 word count and a brand new lease on my writing life!

PS - Still wearing my Nano Shirt!

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Hitting a Brick Wall

I'm really struggling today. Have revised the first 3 chapters again, but having trouble moving on. Wonder if this happens to "real" writers?

On a brighter note, I received my Camp NaNoWriMo t-shirt! (Oh, and I got a sun-burn while swimming.)

Maybe my nifty shirt will inspire me tomorrow.

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Camp NaNoWriMo Day Five

Took a break from writing yesterday to spend the holiday with the family. They all drove out to Camp NaNoWriMo for family day. We had a big BBQ and canoe races down at the lake. Bubba tipped our cano and we all fell in. Lucky I didn't have my laptop with me!

Can you see the smiley face in my latte?
Anyway, they've all gone home now and I'm back at the keyboard. Had a special delivery latte from my favorite barista, Kristy today. She made a cute little smiley face in the foam to cheer me on, which was good because I had to write the scene where Zoey's grandfather sad. I don't know which of us took it harder, Zoey or me.

Okay, true confession time. I don't have a laptop. When I'm at home I write on my PC, but when I'm out in the woods (or at Borders) I use my handy-dandy little Alpha-Smart word processor. It's a light weight gadget that woks on Palm Pilot software. I can upload my documents from it to my PC with one keystroke and I never have to worry about a dead battery. It can run 25 hours on one charge or a set of AA batteries.

1485 words so far today, but I'm hoping to get back to it this evening after everyone else hits their bunks. (4566 words total.)

Thanks to all my online friends who are cheering me on. It sure helps to have so much encouragement!  S'mores for everyone!

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Camp NaNoWriMo Day Three

Shhhhhh - It's 2:15 AM and I'm hiding under the covers typing away at my manuscript. My cabin mates are fast asleep, but not me.  My characters are keeping me awake. They've been apart for six years, but Zoey has come back to Carter's Creek because her Grandfather is dying.  Of course, she runs into the one person she had hoped to avoid...Jack Matthews.

It was awkward, but they both felt the old chemistry...I could tell. I just don't know if Zoey will be able to forgive Jack for the way he....

Oh, no - I'm not giving away any of their secrets tonight. In fact, I think I'm just going to let them both cool their heels until tomorrow.

Shutting down the old laptop. Good night all!

Total word count: 3081 (Did a lot of revisions today on chapters 1 & 2)

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Camp NaNoWriMo Day Two

Greetings from Day 2 of Camp NaNoWriMo!  As some of you who are my friends on Facebook know, the counselors gave us some free time, so I'm spent it in the woods, sitting on a big flat rock near the stream with my lap top. (At least that's where I was in my head.) I was actually sitting at home in front of the computer, but I was enjoying the fantasy!

Got another chapter done today before my knight in shining armor came home and whisked me off to dinner and a movie.  What a guy!  My word count is up to 2822, which is just a little over 400 words short of my target for day two, so I might write more after my knight falls asleep on the couch in front of the TV.  It's a nightly (knightly) phenomenon. 

PS - Send more marshmallows & chocolate bars!

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Letter from Camp-Day 1

My first day of Camp NaNoWriMo got off to a slow start.  I was so excited about my new book that I stayed up way too late last night, working on the story line.  I had to work on it under the covers with a flashlight because the other girls in my cabin were sleeping.  By 4:00 AM, I felt reasonably certain that I had all the kinks worked out and fell into a deep sleep.

Completely missed my wake-up call which is a huge clanging metal bell in the center of the campground. Well, actually, it was so loud and annoying that I couldn't miss hearing it, but once I pulled the pillow over my head to block out the sound, I fell right back asleep.

The camp counselors were none too happy with me, so they gave me KP duty and a few extra chores to do this morning, which meant I got a late start on writing my novel.

Still, I was able to pound out a little over 1200 words this evening.  I'm happy with the beginning chapter, but I think I'll turn in early so I can get a head start on writing in the morning.  Just going to run over to the campfire and roast a few mallows before I turn in.

I'll let you know how things go tomorrow.

So long for now from Camp NaNoWriMo,

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Camp NaNoWriMo Day One

Well, this is it - day one of Camp NaNoWriMo and the day I start my novel!

If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month), let me explain. It's crazy! You sit down on the first day of the month and start writing. You need to have a 50,000 word novel written by the last day of the month to be considered a NaNoWriMo winner. See, I told you it was crazy!

NaNoWriMo is usually held each year in November, but this year they're running two summer camps. You can start on July 1st or August 1st and finish up your novel by the end of the month. I'm going with July.

Here's the synopsis for my story...Zoey's Quest

Zoey Braxton grew up in Carter's Creek, but her past was a mystery-one her grandfather refused to discuss. When he died, all he left was his tattered Bible and a parting message. "You'll find everything you need in this book."

She isn't interested. Zoey is tired of her grandfather's religion with all its rules and restrictions. She's ready to live life on her own terms until she discovers a secret pocket cut into the cover of the old man's Bible and its contents turn her world upside down.

Zoey sets out to find the truth about her past and the twin sister she never knew existed, totally unaware that this quest might just cost her life and the newly rekindled love of her high school sweetheart, Jack Matthews.

Follow my letters home from camp here on my blog as I chronicle my way through writing Zoey's Quest. Let's see how much trouble I can get my characters into and then watch to see how they get themselves out of each sticky situation I throw at them.

I've checked into my cabin and so far I'm alone.  Sure hope some other campers show up, cause I'm all stocked up on coffee, chocolate, marshmallows, potato chips and soda - everything a camper needs to survive, and I'm ready to have some FUN at Camp NaNoWriMo!

Let the writing begin!

(If you're doing Camp NaNoWriMo, too, leave a comment. Maybe we can share a cabin.)

(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)