Saturday, March 29, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I had the honor of interviewing Camy Tang on her newest Asian lit release, Only Uni - in stores now! Check out the interview below! =)
What inspired this fun new chick lit series to be born?
It formed really slowly, but mostly it came from hanging out with friends and realizing we all have a family member who nags us about getting married. I made Grandma Sakai 10 times worse than anyone else, and then created the four cousins.
If there was one theme or concept a reader would take away from Only Uni, what would you want it to be?
Trish is a girl who has made mistakes. Some of us will have made worse mistakes, others of us will not have made mistakes as lasting as Trish's. But God's grace covers all of us, every day of our lives, in all the mistakes we do, whether small or big.
How do you manage the every-day details of being a busy wife, a mother, and writer?
I try to be very organized, although it doesn't always happen. I have a "winner" list of things to do each day, with tasks that should be relatively easy for me to finish. I also make liberal use of my iCalscheduling program on my computer to give me reminders of things I need to do. I take one day a week to blog for the entire week, so I can keep up my blog without taking away time from my writing. I spend most of the morning doing things like email or managing whatever contest I have going on. Right now I have a huge website contest open only to my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers. I'm giving away 5 huge boxes of books and 25 copies of my novel, Only Uni, so join today! http://www.camytang.com/contest.html
After doing emails and things, I work on my writing in the afternoon. That leaves my evenings free to spend with my husband, and I make sure to take the dog for a walk every afternoon. It doesn't always work out as well and smoothly as I'd like, but I manage to muddle through!
How many more books will there be in this series?
Only Uni is book 2, and Single Sashimi (out in August) will be the third and final book. I will also be writing a fourth novella (Jenn's story) that will be available as a free ebook download for members of my newsletter YahooGroup.
I love reading books that teach me about other cultures. How much fun did you have incorporating those types of details into this series? =)
It's always fun to write about things you've known as a child but can see how absurd they are now that you're an adult. In the opening scene, Trish knocks over a paper, mochi, and tangerine table setting that my family puts out for New Year's. I knew what some of the elements were for, although not all--I had to call my Mom up to ask! LOL--but it was fun to delve deeper into something I've known all my life, but never really thought about!
Do you find yourself as a writer putting a little bit of yourself into each of your characters? A quirk here, a favorite color there, etc.
Lex has my love of volleyball. Trish is a biologist like myself. Venus is as nonsensical as I am (well, most of the time--during certain times of the month I'm completely illogical and irrational and eat my weight in chocolate)
What is your advice for aspiring authors today?
The best advice I ever received was from Brandilyn Collins--keep working on your craft. You never "make it" in terms of your level of craft--you should always be reading more books and articles, going to more workshops, taking more online classes to improve your writing craft, even after you're published.
What is one fiction book you've read over and over and over?
Persuasion by Jane Austen. I just love it! The language is witty and droll, the romance is dramatic and swoon-worthy.
Is there a certain mentor, teacher, author or friend that has significantly helped you in your journey to publication that you'd like to mention?
Sharon Hinck was my writing mentor when I first started out. At the time we met, we were both unpublished but Sharon was a few years ahead of me in terms of craft and knowledge about the writing business. She very patiently critiqued my first really really bad manuscript and helped me with submissions to agents and editors and pitching at conferences. She and I have become good friends and I'll always be grateful for the time she took to help me as a fledgling writer.
What has been the hardest thing about writing for publication, and what has been the most fun? =)
The hardest thing is patience. This business goes VERY SLOWLY, which a lot of writers don't realize. My manuscript was under consideration at Zondervan for 6 or 7 months before I was contracted, and I was aware of each step of the process as it went from committee to committee. Sowhen I got "the call," it was more like, "Well, Camy, it's finally a go" rather than a surprise. The most fun is the writing! Who wouldn't enjoy being paid to do whatthey love most??
Thanks for having me here, Betsy!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Time is flying by and Audrey will be here before I know it (but hopefully not until AFTER we're settled in our new house!) =)
So, I thought a few updated pics would be fun to share with everyone...
Saturday, March 22, 2008
That said - let me add a confession...
HOW COOL WOULD IT HAVE BEEN TO GET A FEW MORE DETAILS???
LOL! You know what I mean, you've probably wondered yourself! =)
For instance, this morning I was reading the resurrection story from the book of Luke. (Luke is my favorite of the four gospels - he has a BUNCH more details compared to the others, maybe because he was a doctor? Maybe because God told him to, so I'd hush so many thousand years later? =P Who knows!) And I got to Luke 24:3-4 where it says "Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold two men stood by them in shining garments."
Somehow, I don't see the women entering the tomb and scratching their heads and saying "Huh....He was here yesterday..." I'm almost CERTAIN it was a BIT more emotional than that! But Luke didn't give us those details. What would your reaction have been? Tears? Panic? Adrenaline rush? Screaming? JESUS was GONE. The body they cried over on the cross wasn't where it was supposed to be. This calls for a little more reaction than "perplexed." But, God chose that word, not me. I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall (a fly who already knew the outcome of the resurrection and wouldn't have been screaming, crying, and wailing myself)
Another example: Luke 24:30-32. "Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another 'did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scripture to us."
Whoa. Back up a second. JESUS, their beloved Lord, their trusted leader, their hope in the darkness, who these people watched die a gruesome death, then discovered He was missing (probably assuming His body was stolen) from the tomb, now sat with them at a table, revealed His identity, and POOF - outta there. And they have the presence of mind to tilt their heads and say "did not our heart burn within us while...etc."
Again, where are the open jaws, the wide eyes, the fluttering stomachs, the awe, the "OH MY GOODNESS DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT JUST WAS" remarks? They had to freak out a little, they're human, and they just witnessed the biggest miracle in the entire history of time. And yet somehow they have the capability to speak intelligently in phrases like "did not our hearts burn within us..."
Sigh. I guess its better I wasn't a Bible character. I'd have been the girl jumping on the table screaming "THAT WAS JESUS!!! HE'S OKAY!!!!!" and then probably fainting from emotional exhaustion.
And lastly, my favorite non-Easter example: Philip & the Eunuch! Acts 8:34-40
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Oh, come on, just a FEW details, PLEASE! Can you imagine it - from EITHER point of view? What did the eunuch think? He was in a chariot, trying to understand the scriptures, then He met Philip, prayed to receive Christ, was baptized, and suddenly..."hey, where'd he go?" I wonder if he thought Philip was an angel sent to teach him the way to be saved. Who knows. Again, I wish I could have watched that scene play out if only for the facial expressions of shock.
And Philip! He was beamed! One minute was in a lake, the next minute shaking himself dry at Azotus. Did he just look around a sec and say "Oh, thanks Lord, that saved me X number of miles?" Did his eyes grow wide and he grab onto a tree to steady himself and breathe for a minute? Did God give him warning - "Philip, hang onto it buddy, here we go!"
Oh the details...Once we get to heaven, am I ever gonna have some questions! =) I wonder if God ever took pictures along the way of time? A gag reel of "bloopers" would be the best!
In the meantime, we can trust that God told us everything we need to know, and the rest will be revealed in due time, if it matters. He knew what He was doing when He inspired these men to write His book, and I know nothing was left out that should be included. Sometimes I picture God shaking His head at me, smiling at my curiousity and writer's mind that He blessed me with. Its gotta be amusing!
How about you? What Bible mysteries just make you wanna shake your fists and demand an explanation? Beg for more details? Whine for just one more chapter?
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
A note from Rachel...
I graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism. As a member of Phi Mu sorority, I partied my way though the last few years of college.But, the truth is, and always will be, I belong to Jesus. At the age of six, I knelt at the altar of a Tulsa Methodist church and gave my life to the One who loves me.
After graduation, hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, determined to see the world. And I did it without a laptop, a cell phone, an IPod or portable DVD player. Those were hard times. But, I traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine.
But, life on the road is difficult. Working twelve to fourteen hour days, one doesn't get to see many of the sites. In Ireland, our company's distributor drove me around at night so I could see something of Dublin.
I met Tony, my husband, in '87, at church, of all places. We got married in '92. Tony has been a pastor for twenty years. I've worked with him in eighteen of those twenty. Our heart is to see teens and adults passionate, radical and whole hearted for Jesus.Tony and I don't have any children of our own, lots of kids-in-the-Lord and we love them all.
However, we do have a very spoiled dog, and an even more spoiled cat.I've always wanted to be a writer. My dad used to tell me, "You're a writer." I have letters he wrote me post college, exhorting me to write. In this, I believe he had the heart of God.
In '93, I started an epic WW2 novel with two plots. It was well rejected. After that ordeal, I took a break and put efforts into my job as a software project manager. But, I missed writing and in late ' 99, I took up the craft again.
With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. I love writing chick lit and romance. I love writing. What an hono
My take: I'm SO upset!! My copy of this book got lost in the mail, and I haven't gotten to read it yet. I'm beyond distraught. Which should make you want to buy and read the book that much faster, so you can flaunt it until I finally get my copy =) I know any chick lit by Rachel is a good read, and I can't WAIT to finally get my hands (and eyes!) on this novel!! Agh!!!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Only another writer would have a CLUE what my title is referring to! =P
I used to think of myself as a seat-of-the-pants writer. Then I kinda merged into the world of pre-plotting. I wrote my books a lot faster that way and it seemed to work for my Type A personality. Then somehow, I started merging back into the seat-of-the-pants way.
I think what happened was my fear of research. It was easier and much more fun to just start writing my new WIP rather than figure out of the mundane details such as geography, landmarks, weather, flight arrivals, time changes, etc. (my new WIP involves traveling, can you tell?) =)
But I think its time to bite the bullet, as one horrid cliche goes. Time to get serious if I'm going to flesh this story out the way it deserves and give it a fair chance.
What about you, writers? Which method of plotting or pre plotting or no plotting works best for you? Why? Any tips to share? Comment, please!
Sigh. Time to fire up Google...(what did writers do before the internet??? LOL)
Saturday, March 08, 2008
"Truffles by the Sea is delightful! Julie Carobini has a new fan in this reader, and she's earned a spot on my keeper shelf." --Kay James, RomanceReaderatHeart.com
"This book is a delight to read, and the author has us rooting for Gaby from page one. This girl's never-say-die attitude is incredible, and her life is filled with all kinds of foibles. This is chick lit with heart – about so much more than finding a man.... While keeping the light chick lit tone, this book satisfied while avoiding the tired old formulas. Just when I’m ready to give up on the genre, I stumble across an author who can write without relying on stereotypes." --Cara Putman, writerinterrupted.com
"I liked Julie Carobini's first novel, Chocolate Beach, but her sophomore release, Truffles By The Sea, greatly surpasses it. I thoroughly enjoyed Carobini's second book and felt her writing was much stronger throughout. The characters are deeper and yet funnier – a great combination.... It's a great read for a cold winter day – you can curl up with the book, a nice fire and pretend you're the one by the sea." --Jill Hart, RadiantLit.com
Julie left you all a special message!
Thursday, March 06, 2008
~ TAMING RAFE ~
He might be hot on the outside, but he's boiling on the inside...
In less than eight seconds, two-time world champion bull rider Rafe Noble lost his title, his career, his best friend—all on the dirt floor of a noisy rodeo arena.
Katherine Breckenridge just wants to make a difference by running her mother’s charity foundation. But the mysterious disappearance of half a million dollars has forced it to the brink of bankruptcy, and when an out-of-control Rafe Noble destroys her last-chance charity event, Katherine heads to the Noble family ranch to enlist Rafe’s help in raising the money he cost her.
But Rafe is broke—in cash and in spirit—and helping her is the last thing he wants to do… especially when it could cost him – and Katherine – their lives.
My friend Susie Warren has done it again! The Noble series is a new fav of mine, combining all things love and western into one great story. I can't wait for her third one about the Noble brother's sister Stephanie!
Susie is a fantastic writer and teacher, not to mention a dedicated wife and mother. I always enjoy her stories because I know the heart from which they stem! If you're new to Susan May Warren's books, I challenge you to give them a shot - you won't be disappointed!!!
Trust me guys, this is a novel you don't want to miss. What could be better than rugged terrain, rugged heroes, and rugged romance? (hello, did you SEE the book cover???)
~ AWESOME LINKS ~
Want to win a steak dinner with Rafe? (and ummm hello, why wouldn't you??)
Click here to sign up!
And for more fun facts about Rafe, including his bio and the first chapter of his story, check right here!
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I owe Melanie a lot (but would love her even if I didn't) She was my first interview on this, my first blog, when her book #1 came out (When the Day of Evil Comes) and her connections began a spiraly wonder web that got me started in a zillion author interviews, not to mention friendships, encouragement from various writers, and eventually a dream-come-true chat session with one of my favorite authors ever - Robin Jones Gunn.
Long story, but the bottom line is - Melanie rocks, and so do her books. Enough said!
Well, I'm a writer, there's really never ENOUGH said. But anyways....here's Melanie.
Creepy, huh? (the cover, not Mel) Here's the first two in the series...what amazing cover art! Perfect!
To my understanding, these books were Melanie's first attempt at writing. She had an idea and a name (that still makes me shiver! read the book, you'll understand) and went with the story blooming in her head. She's a musician, writer, and pyschologist, with a heart of gold and some of the quickest wit I've ever come across, that shines through in her heroine, Dylan Foster. (who, now that I think about it, probably has a lot in common with Melanie herself! haha)
Here's the excerpt for her newest release "My Soul To Keep" :
As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits, and a staple gun… It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year–graduation day. A day of pomp, circumstance, and celebration. And after all the mortar boards are thrown, Dylan and some of her best friends will gather around a strawberry cake to celebrate Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seem to lead exactly nowhere. Police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces in a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.
I've never been this impressed with a debut author, and now that Melanie's series has taken off, I hope she does more. In fact, I'm planning on emailing her now and begging her to make a #4 in the series. Even if its just for me =P
You can visit Melanie's website here and buy her books. All of them. Really, its best to read them in order, you'd get SO much more out of it that way.
PLEASE trust me that its worth buying all 3!
Why are you still here???? SHOOO!!!!!
Monday, March 03, 2008
Thanks for all the comments to the Pregnancy 411 "Good" list! Today (fitting for a Monday? lol) I will list the things I will definitely be looking forward to doing again when little Audrey is here and I can go "back to normal" in some regards.
1. Drinking as much Diet Coke as I want!! I know, I know, its not healthy regardless of if you're pregnant or not, but come on.....a girl's gotta have ONE vice, huh?
2. Tanning! Okay, make that two vices (ducking the slaps from well-meaning friends, but seriously you guys, they used to call me Eggshell in high school because I was soooo pale. That doesn't just go away! Give me a few years of recovery time! LOL!)
3. Sleeping on my back. I never slept on my back before, but now that I can't/not supposed to, its, of course, the only position that feels comfortable. Sigh. I roll like a rotisserie chicken every night, left side, then right. Wake up, left side, then right. Hip goes numb. Switch sides. Uh-oh, Hubby breathing in my face. Roll him over...repeat. All....night.....long.....
4. Working out! I was a regular in my gym for about 1 1/2 years before getting pregnant, and I miss it. I miss being toned and in a small size jeans. I'm still going to the gym now but I'm limited in what I can do and of course, can't do any stomach exercises. The hardest part is keeping my heart rate down as my doctor instructed. On an ellipitical machine, forget it - impossible to stay at 140! So I'm stuck with the treadmill at a moderate pace, handweights, and - kudos to me - I recently took up swimming. Yep, in a maternity bathing suit. While super pale. Seriously, that deserves a cookie AND a Diet Coke. =) Yet, I know this is just temporary, and you can bet the day my doctor gives me permission, I'm back in the gym sweating!!
5. Energy! I'm actually having a slightly energetic second trimester - if I wasn't, there'd be no way I'd be able to do as much exercising and house cleaning and writing and shopping as I'm doing, nevermind working a full time job!! =) But its the little things that are a hard adjustment. For example, since I was in such good shape before, its a shocker to realize that now I climb 3 stairs (not flights of stairs, mind you, 3 stairs...) and am out of breath. I roll over in bed in my rotisserie state and get exhausted. I carry laundry to the washing machine and huff and puff. Its just weird to me because I'm not used to it. But once I get into my routine with Audrey and figure out what I'm doing and start losing weight, I'll be super glad to get that energy and stamina back. It's tiring being weak!
6. Intelligence. You guys, I'm an idiot right now. LOL. I mean that nicely but seriously - I mess things up. I feel stupid at work at least once a day. I'm not taking it seriously, since I know its temporary, but geez, this baby girl better be smart because my brain cells are going somewhere!! They've flown the coop. I hope she's getting them because wow - I'm like ditsy Malibu Barbie. Make that Pasty Preggo Barbie...
7. Clumsiness. Please, no one hand me anything important. Or breakable. My fingers don't seem to be connected to my brain anymore, I drop EVERYTHING. And I cut doorways short and bang into doorframes or counters or cabinets. It's pretty funny, once it stops throbbing...
8. ~ FOR GIRLS ONLY ~ =P
This is one the girls can relate to. Any male readers, might want to skip this one.... LOL!
Cleavage! Never had this problem before, folks. Now its a problem. I didn't think I'd complain about it but I never realized before what a blessing being on the smaller side is. Now my sleep tanks don't fit, I've had to borrow a ton of bigger sized bras, and the cute, little, slightly-low cut dresses I used to be able to wear and look 100% modest in now resemble something more like a Las Vegas showgirl. (I had quite the incident with such in JCPenney last weekend! lol I managed to make the sweetest little pastel plaid dress EVER look something like Little-House-on-the-Prairie-hooker....it was quite disturbing!) So, I never thought I'd say this, but it might be nice to go back to my normal size when this is all said and done. (please, remind me of these words if you ever hear me complaining of the opposite!!! lol)
9. Emotions! Wow, I'm ready for those hormones to level out already, and I know its going to get worse before it gets better, maybe even for a short awhile after delivery. Sigh. This second trimester hasn't been as bad but geez, the first trimester was insane - crying one minute, laughing the next, sobbing hysterically as my life caves around me, hating my image in the mirror, then loving my growing belly and the journey ahead and thinking I look great and feeling pretty positive....whew. Roller coaster, anyone? I'm my own Six Flags!!!
10. Well-meaning people. Wow, this is a huge pet peeve of mine now. If you want to rub my belly, sure go ahead - BUT ASK FIRST. Don't sneak up behind me in church and latch on to my stomach like it's a separate entity. GRRRRR. Okay, had to get that out. Also, the advice. Before I discovered we were having a girl, I had so many people - friends, family, coworker, strangers, EVERYONE offer their opinon as to what I was having. This was an opinion only, mind you, but they presented it as fact, based on how I was carrying or how much I was glowing/not glowing, or other ridiculous notions. Sigh. Now its the advice on labor and delivery and breastfeeding and caffiene intake and nutrition and exercising vs. no exercising and on and on. I know this probably won't end after the baby is here, but rather, will switch to people telling me how to raise her. My solution? A really nice pair of earplugs.
11. LUNCHMEAT! Never thought I'd miss lunchmeat sandwiches, but gee whiz, I would LOVE a nice thick turkey lunchmeant sandwich on wheat bread with mustard and cheese right now. Preggos aren't supposed to eat packaged lunchmeat, at least not without heating it to steaming first (and really, how gross is that?) Supposedly there are more risks about the processed stuff while being pregnant. Maybe its over-exaggerated but I'm sticking to it since that warning is everywhere and my doctor agreed. When Audrey is in the hospital nursery, you'll probably find me in the hospital bed with a giant sandwich in both hands =)
12. My overly sensitive nose! I'm like a bloodhound, you guys. I can smell things a mile away and they don't necessarily make me sick, but I notice them. Especially colognes or ciggie smoke. What was once barely acknowledged is now enough to make me tuck my nose in my shirt and fan the air! Crazy.
And there you have it! Not so bad, huh! And it really wasn't a "Bad" list anyway, because nothing about this pregnancy is bad and I'm blessed to enjoy every minute of it - even the slightly uncomfortable or moderately painful or annoying parts! hehe =) Thanks for enjoying my rant with me!