Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Turning Butterflies into Eagles: Soaring Through Your Pitch

It's nerve racking. Frightening. Downright terrorizing. The pitch. Those precious few words you need to spew out the limited number of minutes you have with an editor or agent. Suddenly, your mouth turns to desert and your tongue drags the floor. What's a writer to do?

Pitching is not a natural activity for the majority of writers. You've registered for ACFW. You've requested meetings with all the top agents and editors in the business. You know your have a solid manuscript. So what's the problem? Your pitch. It's too long. Too short. Hoaky. In the wrong language.

This year at ACFW, Susan May Warren and My Book Therapy provide the solution to the tongue twisting, mouth drying, shiver-me-timbers fear of pitching. Join us at the MBT Polish and Pitch Workshop. It will be the day before ACFW kicks off so you will not miss a moment of the conference. And, you'll go into those coveted meetings with confidence and a solid, polished pitch.

Click here for more information and to register for the Polish and Pitch Workshop.

See you at the conference!

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Day, New Adventures!

I haven't slept very much all week. No, I'm not worried, tired or ill. And normally I sleep like a rock. But I've been so excited about my new adventures, ideas rapid fire through my mind, keeping sleep at bay.

I just completed writing two books that, Lord willing, will publish in the fall. I'm also the Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy. We're headed to greater heights in providing the ultimate in author help and encouragement. Susan May Warren and our team of dedicated experts are gearing up to take authors to a whole new level.

Need encouragement as a writer? Head over to
Remember, your dream is too important to remain unlived.

Here's to your writing,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chance Meeting, Ties that Bind

In October 2009, I flew for the first time in my life to Minnesota. I didn't know what to expect. After all, I'd never been that far north. Nor had I gone to a writer's retreat. Oh, I knew what they did at those gatherings. They took your baby and crucified it. Or so I heard.

I assembled with a dozen perfect strangers, none of which looked or acted like me. Perhaps I'd made a mistake. I still had time to escape. The conference room doors were still open. I could make it to my car if I ran really fast.

Two days later, I lamented the fact that we were dispersing and going back to the four corners of the country. We became the greatest of friends. We laughed... we cried... we stayed up late in our pajamas working on crafting our story... and we PONDERED all things wonderful. And so the famous Ponderers were formed.

Since that day, we have written 648 pages of messages to each other. We celebrate victories. We support each other during the rough times. We pray for each other. And when something good happens, we all start HaPpY DaNgInG. We created our own choreography from a typo!

The greatest support team I've ever had are my precious My Book Therapy Ponderers. The chance meeting at the MBT StoryCrafters retreat tied a knot that nothing cannot be broken. Our hearts are knitted together with a 12 strand chord. We are friends and sisters. We are the Ponderers. Here's to you my precious friends!

Who are your supporters you turn to during your writing career? Have you told them recently how much you appreciate them?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chopping Overwhelm Down to Size

Almost everyone I talk to is filled to overflow with "things"... things to do... places to go... people to see... And that doesn't even include the events for the kids. One friend had to purchase a Blackberry just to keep up with all the ball practices, ballet recitals, and swim meets her children are involved in.

Gone are the lazy summer days of my childhood where we played pick up baseball in the cornfields and laid in the grass watching the clouds go by. No, most kids don't even notice those white puffy things against the deep blue backdrop.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Makers of electronics would like to make us believe that's the case. Get this gizmo. Upgrade to this new netbook's notepad. Geez...

One of my mentors for decades is John Maxwell. He lives by the Rule of Fives. He decided what's most important to him and has five daily activies he completes before he does anything else. The truth is, if he keeps plucking away at his five activities each and every day, he will reach his goal.

As we work on our novels- or really anything else that is important to us- we should determine what things we could and should do every day and commit to accomplishing those five things... EVERY day. Holidays... birthdays... anniversaries... rainy Mondays... you get the point.

You owe it to yourself and to the literary public to commit to and follow the Rule of Fives.

What five things could you do that will get you where you want to be? Leave them in a comment. I'd love to see them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Forward Motion

I just completed writing two books. I planned them out and worked through each of the chapters methodically. Both were non-fiction books so I didn’t have those pesty protagonists shouting to write them a different way. It was just me, my topic and my computer.

I thought that when I finished those two books, my mind would wander to unread novels I’d shelved, the stack of unread magazines in the corner or to all those movies I recorded while I dedicated my time to putting those words on the page.

Tomorrow is the weekend and rather than thinking of riding my bike or soaking in the rays, I’m plotting my novel. My mind is engaged in planning, outlining and developing deep emotional characters. I’m on a roll and I’m afraid to stop. What's more, I don't want to!

I realized today that I have momentum. I learned in business that when you have momentum, that is absolutely the WRONG time to stop and take a rest. That’s when you should put the pedal to the metal and pour on the power. So I’m working on my new novel.

For the two non-fiction books, I created my own way of keeping things organized. For my novel, I use two resources that make my job easier and keeps everything—yes EVERYTHING—in order. Those are:

Book Buddy by Susan May Warren

This book will flesh out your plot and characters. I will NEVER write a novel without Dakota (that’s what I named my Book Buddy. It’s required! Ok, not really but it sure is fun!). If you never spend another dime on anything else pertaining to your goal to be a novelist, this is a MUST HAVE!

Write it Now Software

I’ve used many different programs and like them very much. Write it Now just lays out everything I need in a format on the same wavelength as my brain.

I do recommend this program, but only if it works for you. There are other good programs that may work better for you. Bottom line, you need to do what works best for you and your personal organization of the novel in you.

These two resources have simplified my author’s life beyond measure. Are you working on a novel? What do you use to organize your thoughts? Share them here. Let's help each other. We're all in this together!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


It’s over. Done with. Finished. I’ve reached the end. Well, at least my first draft of my new non-fiction motivational book is complete. Last weekend I finally typed “The End” at the conclusion of the first draft. What a feeling of accomplishment.

I’m sure there will be edits, re-writes and times when I want to pull my hair out but I feel like I can do just about anything right now. True confession: It’s not easy for me to stick with something as long as a book. I get bored very easily and start looking for the next new adventure. Since this book will help motivate people, I thought of them and saw it through to conclusion. I had to chop the book into bite size components that I convinced myself were complete manuscripts. Even I could maintain concentration for a 3,000 word book. 

I wanted to scream many times. Oh wait, I DID scream many times. And cried when I sat staring at the blank computer screen wondering if words would ever come. I discovered that ice cream helps me think. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. And I talk to myself so much, I’ve now begun answering as well. I’m still trying to develop a better way to keep up with the many moving parts to the manuscript. Umm, is that the first chapter of the second draft or the second chapter of the first draft?

I learned a lot from my experience, mostly about me, my shortcomings and strengths. I was reminded that writing is a lonely, yet rewarding venture. I discovered I write better in public, like the Barnes and Noble CafĂ© than at home where there is laundry, food and a big flat screen TV. I also found out I can lay on the floor with my feet up on the wall and still type… if I attach my Netbook to my legs with a bungee cord (no, you should not ask).

It truly was bitter sweet typing those seemingly illusive words at the end of a completed manuscript. It had been a part of my life for months. We went everywhere together. My partner even woke me up in the middle of the night to share hair brained ideas. Yeah, I’m gonna miss him…

What about you? What challenges do you face with writing? Post it here. I’d love to hear from you.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Proud to be an American!

Today our nation celebrates its birthday. Centuries ago, men and women just like us wanted so desperately to live in the freedom which they believed was the right of all.

They fought, sacrificed, and gave their lives. We know of some of those heroes. They made the history books. The "Give me liberty or Give me Death" of Patrick Henry. The "The Redcoats are Coming" by Paul Revere. The flag stitching of Betsy Ross.

But what about John, Anthony, Mary and Victoria? Bo, Bubba and Jimmie? They are the unnamed souls who gave their lives so you and I...people they would never know... could write blogs on Independence Day in 2011.

I thank God for America. I'm proud to be an American. And I would die to maintain our freedom. Hooray for the Red, White and Blue. Hail to the heroes who died on the battlefields both here and abroad.

I grew up feeling the very heartbeat of America. It was a country where we pledged allegiance to the flag and stood for the National Anthem. Some would like to convince us that America is gone. But we watched together on 9/11 when our great nation fell under enemy fire. We saw the firefighters and police officers who, in the midst of the rubble, raised Old Glory in patriotic defiance to the terrorists who flew airplanes into our sacred land. And as the dusty American Flag flew above the pieces of towers that now served as tombs, it reminded us that we will rise above any act of tyranny, any attempt to crush our spirit, and every weapon that is formed against us.

The heartbeat of America is alive and well. I thank God I'm an American. My blood runs red, my devotion is true blue and my hope for America is pure white. To all the soldiers on the battlefield right now fighting

for my freedom, I salute you. For those who paid the ultimate price to ensure my nation is free, I memorialize you. For those who cannot see what an incredible nation we celebrate today, I pray for you.

America, America, God shed His grace on thee; and crown thy good with brotherhood; from sea to shining sea.

Happy Birthday America!