Sunday, September 20, 2009

American Christian Fiction Writers Awards for Published and Unpublished Authors

I wasn't able to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Denver this year and was feeling pretty low about it. I moped around all week. It was torture logging in to see all the photos and posts and I was missing Debbie Macomber's speaking, as well.

Then, last night I logged into my Facebook page and spied Lena Nelson Dooley's Tweets about winners for Book of the Year (published authors) and also the Genesis unpublished writers contest. Here are the results. Number 1, use this list to find books to read; Number 2, look for these Genesis winners to be published in the future. One of my good friends, Christine Lindsay, won the historical category for her story, Unveiled, and I think it is one of the best books I've read this year.

Congratulations to all winners, but also to all entrants. All of you are winners in my book! If you are a Christian writer, my advice is to join American Christian Fiction Writers. If you are a reader, do join the American Christian Fiction Writers bookclub and check out the best authors in the world there. There's something for everyone there!

The American Christian Fiction Writers Awards 2009

2009 Mentor of the Year- Donita K. Paul
2009 Membership Service Award- John B. Olson
2009 Editor of the Year Award- Ami McConnell, Thomas Nelson
2009 Agent of the Year Award Steve Laube, The Steve Laube Agency

2009 Book of the Year Contest• Debut Author- A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
• Lits- Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck
• Long Contemporary- Symphony of Secrets by Sharon Hinck
• Long Contemporary Romance- Controlling Interest by Elizabeth White
• Long Historical (tie)- My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke
• Mystery- For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls by Nancy Mehl
• Novellas- Stuck on You in A Connecticut Christmas anthology by Rhonda Gibson
• Short Contemporary- Family Treasures by Kathryn Springer
• Short Contemporary Suspense- Broken Lullaby by Pamela Tracy
• Short Historical- Family of the Heart by Dorothy Clark
• Speculative- The Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck
• Suspense- Fossil Hunter by John B. Olson
• Women’s Fiction- The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
• Young Adult- The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones

ACFW 2009 Genesis Contest• Contemporary Fiction- Jennifer Griffith, Magpies in Trees
• Contemporary Romance- Christy LaShea Smith, The Bridge Between
Historical Fiction- Christine Schmidtke writing as Christine Lindsay, Unveiled
• Historical Romance- Lacy Williams, Marrying Miss Marshal
• Mystery/Suspense/Thriller- Alan Schleimer, Q.doc
• Romantic Suspense- Jan Warren, Katherine Octavia, C.I.A.
• Science-Fiction/Fantasy/Allegory- David Fry, Lies To See
• Women’s Fiction- Cathleen Armstrong, The Church of Last Chance
• Young Adult- Gretchen Hoffman, Rewind

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Suggested Reading List for Writers

I've been asked a lot recently for a list of books on writing to read.

Here it is (for now:)

For Fiction Writers:
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
Writing and Selling the Christian Novel by Penelope J. Stokes
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes: (And How to Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham
The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life by Noah Lukeman
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maas

For All Writers:

Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite by June Casagrande
Christian Writer’s Market Guide by Sally Stuart
Writer's Digest Market Guide• Woe is I by Patricia O’Conner
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Publicize Your Book by Jacqueline Deval
The Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer
A Christian Writer’s Manual of Style by Bob Hudson & Shelley Townsend
The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
You Can Market Your Book by Carmen Leal
The Art of the Book Proposal by Eric Maisel
Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul by Susan Harrow
Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams: Insider Secrets to SKYROCKET Your Success
W. Terry Whalin

Book Proposals That Sell: 21 SECRETS TO SPEED YOUR SUCCESS
W. Terry Whalin; Paperback

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Colleen Coble, Writing Advice

Today for writing advice I pulled out romantic suspense author, Colleen Coble, who is a fellow Hoosier. Here's how she answered my questions.

Colleen Coble, Indiana author of romantic suspense

1. Do you draw any of your ideas from your teen years?

"Sure. All those feelings of rejection and inferiority come from the teen years. LOL! Lots of actual incidents from my childhood and teen years have made it into my work, too."

2. What advice do you have for teen writers to encourage them to continue their journey?

"Realize that it's not going to happen now. You need some experience under your belt so you can have a book that resonates. In the meantime, journal your experiences and remember the ways you learn to deal with the hard knocks that hit us all. And read, read, read. That's the best education for writing you can have."

3. What's your best method for coming up with ideas for your books?

"Read magazines and newspapers and tear out anything that inspires an idea, even if it's not fully fleshed out. Watch documentaries and the history channel, even if you're not writing a historical. History is a great teacher of the human condition and people don't change, just technology around us. Be an observer of people, too, and jot down any interesting circumstances you notice."

Colleen just won BEST BOOK of INDIANA!!!! for her book ANATHEMA


"I’ve been a Hoosier all my life and am proud of my home state. When I first started writing, my dream was to have a book in the library. That’s it. Just to see it there in the place where I have spent so much of my life. I just won a state award (Best Books of Indiana–Fiction) for the book Anathema and what an exciting weekend it was! They had me sign the book and place it into the Indiana Authors Room collection. My name and the title hangs on a plaque outside the room now too. My parents came along, and it was such an honor to win this award!"

Even though she knows her Amish parents would disapprove, Hannah Schwartz slips away to meet her boyfriend, Reece Ericson. When she returns home, Hannah discovers that her parents have been murdered and their prized handmade quilts stolen! Years later, a shunned Hannah returns to the scene. Can her family—and her faith—be restored? 336 pages, hardcover from Nelson.

Literally Literary Agents

My Recommendation of the Day

I'm often asked about agents, but I have never listed any on this blog. Over at Seekerville, they have posted a blog that lists all the interviews with agents that they have done. Seekerville is a topnotch blog hosted by many writers, and it's a place I visit all the time.

If you are interested in agents, getting one of your own, check this out.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sarah Anne Sumpolec: Writing Advice

Back in May I spoke in schools and to a teen writing class in the HS. I asked some authors questions to answer for those children and teens,giving advice to the young writers' own work. It turned out to be good advice for any age writer. :)

So, in the next few posts, I'm going to share what they said, starting with Sarah Anne Sumpolec.

Sarah Anne Sumpolec, author of teen books:

Young writers, I think, should focus on lots of reading. And not just reading things they naturally like. But trying out a wide variety of books. And along with that reading, learning to analyze a story. When you finish a book, ask yourself things like:

Why did I like (or not like) this book?
What did I know about the main character?
How did the main characters change over the course of the story?
What kept my interest the most? (The people? The story?) Why?
Young writers should also do lots of writing. Practice! Practice! Practice! You'll never get too much practice! If any of them are like me, they may start lots of different projects, but never actually finish them. So completing a project - writing the entire story from start to finish, is a valuable habit to get into. You don't have to finish every story, but you should finish some of them:-)

What have you used from your growing up years in your writing?Interestingly, I have found that I pull from much of my growing up years and use that in my writing. I was in drama throughout school so sometimes my characters are involved with a play production, or I simply use my background in acting to help me develop my characters. I also valued education, so you won't find my characters not caring about school.

Writing is an extension of who we are, so the more well-rounded we are (and willing to try out lots of different things), then the more well-rounded our writing will be.

~Sarah Sumpolec

The Masquerade ( Becoming Beka Book 1 )
This first book in the Becoming Beka series introduces you to sixteeen-year-old Beka Madison. She's lost her mom, she's confused about guys and has a secret that she doesn't want to tell anyone. It's enough to make a girl feel crazy. But it's when her dad starts thinking she's lost her mind that things start to really fall apart.

Be sure to check her web site for the rest of the series and other resources, like her online story, Totally Unfamous.