Monday, August 28, 2006

Welcome published author Robin Shope of political fiction, _The Replacement_ and _The Chase_

Welcome, Robin Shope, new ACFW member and author of
The Chase and The Replacement.
We always welcome published authors. We benefit from
your experience when you have the time and leading to share.

What made you decide to join just now?

Hello Everyone...thanks for the interview, Margo. It's an honor for me to do this. Actually, I should have joined years ago but ___. I was raising two children and I also teach 8th grade English In education, there’s no such thing- as 40 hour weeks---...more like 50 or 60. I wrote when I had a moment...late at night, early in the morning, etc. Now that my leetle kids are adults, and with the conference in Dallas this year, I decided to step out and meet people. And here you all are welcoming me. Thank you!

How did you get a comment from Dom Deluise on the jacket of The Chase?

: ) Wasn't that cool? Actually I wrote three books with a co-author and he is a friend of hers. So score that one for Susan.

What first inspired you to write, and to write political intrigue?

My 5th grade teacher! She hated all my compositions. Each week she'd read her favorites and none of mine were ever good enough, or so she thought. My papers all came back marked up in red. Instead of giving up, I was challenged. By 7th grade I improved because my English teacher gave me a 0. Now my writing was too good for someone my age. I had to have copied! LOL. And as for politics, don't we all have an opinion on it? I think it was an area I could write and have a voice. Politics lead to such good consumption. It seems to lend itself to corruption and greed at the highest levels.

Of your books, do you have a favorite?

My favorite book hasn't been picked up by a publisher yet -although it came really, really close a few months ago. Its a multi-cultural children's chapter book RUBY RED AND THE COLOR OF HOME, co-authored by former Dallas Cowboy Kalen Thornton. But of the three books of the trilogy (2 of them are out), my favorite comes out summer 2007. I just heard from the publisher that the name they chose is THE CANDIDATE. It combines politics and folklore, which can be synonymous these days... LOL. I am constantly reading and writing and researching the market.

Where do you get your ideas? The Chase,
my first published book, is set in my hometown of
Delavan, Wisconsin. I needed a setting that was a
safe place for me and that seemed to be it! But of
course, no place is ever really safe. Jill Lewis,
my heroine, sure found that to be true. She came
home to hide from problems in Washington and landed
in even bigger trouble! And I recently discovered a
pattern in my books. My heroine's father is either
dead or a character with some major flaw. I think
that is a result from my own family background. Everything I write has some minor link to a real story or personal experience. Then I embellish on it.

How long did it take to sell your first book, The Chase? A couple of years. Hang in there everyone!

How did you react when you received that call? Shocked. Scared. Excited.

What are a few of your favorite books by others?
I love thrillers by James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell. I love cozy mysteries by Agatha Christy and Mary Higgins Clark. I love childrens books and chapter books, especially by Cynthia Rylant. My tastes are varied. I cannot be stuck on one genre because its all wonderful!

What is your typical day like?
Way too busy, like everyone else's! My day starts at 5:30 or 6...and I try to get an hour of writing in before I get ready for school (I have it down to under 10 minutes so you know I'm not a fashion plate). (‘m at school from 7:30 until 4:30 to 6:30. Now that I don't have little ones to deal with, I still have my puppy Cooper and my husband Rick who both want attention. But I do try to get another hour of writing in before bed. Weekends I live on the computer...and summers are heaven for me!

How do you deal with hearth and home when you're writing? I do get irritated when my attention is needed while working that all important sentence or scene. But remind myself these people are my loved ones and they come first. If it weren't for them then nothing else would matter. They try to be considerate of my writing time. And as far as hearth goes...sometimes when I see dust I think to myself someone really needs to do something about that. When I was in college and wrote a lot, my mom always told me I needed to marry someone who would be happy with take out so I could write. And that is Rick!

Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this business? Yes. Enough said. :)

Give us your most important Do and Don't for a career as a writer. Do not ever give up! I have given up about sixty three times....and when I get a rejection I tell myself what a terrible writer I am...and then after feeling sufficiently sorry for myself, I go back to writing again more determined than ever to improve. Remember my 5th grade teacher? I do not give up. I started writing and getting published in Sunday school weeklies. Don't over look that opportunity. They are so hungry for real life shorts from Christians. And it gets your name out there. I also write short stories for Chicken Soup and as a result became great friends with the President of the company through the years. If you type my name in on the net lots of my leetle stories pop up! Its fun to see that. I have taken John Boy's advice...write what you know for those...

What keeps you going after a rejection? My 5th grade teacher. :) I try to reinvent my stories until one of them works. Okay, we all know how personal writing is...and when a rejection comes, it hurts us to the core. Let it hurt, and then allow it to create within you a better writer. I recently received a rejection from a publisher and for once she was specific. I was upset for all of 2 seconds and then read what I sent her and she was right! I spent 2 days rewriting the first chapter and when I was done I loved it! It was so much better! So I sent the publisher just the first page and apologized for doing so. And my computer mistakenly sent her 3 copies of the same email! Talk about embarrassing. She emailed back laughing and said it got her attention (I wouldn't recommend doing this). She said she'd be back with me. A week later she said 'This is much, much better. Send me more.' So I sent her the first 3 chapters (rewritten of course) and am still waiting back to see if she wants to see even more. It's all in the Lord's hands.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? They are all good verses in there, but all the gifts and promises begin with John 3:16.

Robin Shope, thank you for sharing your wisdom and sense of humor with us. I love politics—root word referring to people and policy—and look forward to reading The Chase,The Replacement and The Candidate, and someday, Ruby Red and the Color of Home.

You can check out Robin's blog to learn more about her and her stories.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pre-conference Photos

Preparaing for the conference, our Board and Sydney Zech, Conference Coordinator, went to Dallas to check out the hotel. One evening, the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers, had the pleasure of dining with the Board at Cafe' Lux at the Galleria.

These photos uploaded in reverse order and I'm not going to attempt captions.

On the blue side of the table, for some surreal reason: Lena Nelson Dooley; Tracey Bateman, then President; Pam Meyers, Secretary; Peg Phifer, Treasurer; Linda Mae Baldwin, Volunteer Officer at the far end.

On the red side, Mary Griffith, Vice President in hot pink, JJ Overpeck, Pamela Griffin to her left. To her right, Georgeanne Falstrom and Diane Kalas.

Linda Baldwin, Volunteer Officer in brown. (Linda scuba dives! How cool is that!)

Lisa Tuttle, Publicity Officer and Sydney Zech in red.

Salvadore Dali and me in black and white. ( He joined us from a wonderful gallery upstairs, and didn't eat much.)

More Conference Photos

Right, booksigning in bookstore in Nashville.

Irene Brand, Joan Shoup, Gail Gaymer Martin,
Kathryn Mackel, Randy Ingermanson, Terry Burns, Cyndy Salzman

Left, Sunni Jeffers and Robin Lee Hatcher

Above, Choir directed by Cynthia Ruchti who also arranged the wonderful music.

Left, Michelle Hutchison probably composing a review of the iced tea. : )

Right, Denver, 2004, when we were still ACRW.
Sunni Jeffers, Linda Windsor, Beth Goddard, and me, half asleep. ( And that wasn't even the year of the 3 a.m. fire alarm~) (Don't forget to schedule SLEEP!)

Lovely lady on the left must contact me with her name because I can't make her out and will probably be mortified....

More to come ....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Meet your favorite Christian authors, learn to write...

Wow, I can hardly wait for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas, Texas, my birthday weekend September 21-24.

What a birthday present, seeing once again all these fun and talented people,

...Brandilyn Collins, Randy Ingermanson, Terry Burns,

fans who lost their heads over sweet and suspenseful Kathryn Mackel ...

listening to great teaching, buying more books--well, maybe just a few more books--getting them autographed.

Part of the schedule includes a free to the public booksigning with a huge room full of the following authors ready to sell and autograph their books for you on Saturday afternoon, September 23rd at 4:45 p.m.

Just walk into the Marriott Forums. You do not have to be a guest or attend the conference to come in:

Clark, Dorothy J.
Clopton, Debra
Collins, Brandilyn
Cox, Carol
Daley, Margaret
Davis, Bryan
Davis, Mary
Davis, Susan Page
DeMuth, Mary
Dobson, Melanie
Dooley, Lena Nelson
Dyson, Wanda
Eakes, Laurie Alice
Gibson, Rhonda
Gist, Deeanne
Griffith, Marilynn
Gutteridge, Rene
Hauck, Rachel
Higgs, Liz Curtis--also Keynote Speaker
Higman, Anita
Hunt, Diann
Jenkins, Nancy Jo
Johnson, Jennifer
Kinnard, Deborah
Martin, Gail
McDonough, Vicki
Meissner, Susan
Nelson, Jill Elizabeth
Paul, Donita K.
Paul, Kathleen
Perry, Trish
Peterson, Tracie
Pleiter, Allie
Raney, Deborah
Sattler, Gail
Sawyer, Kim
Springer, Kathryn
Taylor, Donn
Thompson, Terri
Turansky, Carrie
Warren, Barbara
Warren, Susan
White, Elizabeth
Whren, Merrillee
Wise, Timothy
Woodsmall, Cindy
Worth, Lenora

If you want to write good commercial Christian fiction, this is the place.

And the market is booming.

Agents, and publishers of evangelical Christian publishing houses will be present to lecture and teach.

And they schedule appointments to meet writers and hear pitches of our books.

If you don't have a book ready to sell but would like to learn, then come, mingle and meet the people who can help you. Go to the website above for more information.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"WHAT WAS THAT CRASH?" and I take off...

...after dh as he hobbles down the hall toward destruction. Not really. Well, sometimes.

He just got a new cast two weeks after that foot surgery. We get home, he struggles out of my car and I spot a remarkably large Wolf spider just inside the garage. "Oh, look!"

Then, "Noooo!" as dh brings his crutch down on the hapless beast.

I'm bending down, making sure the spider is dead, ready to put it out of any arachnid agony, when I hear a swish, THUMP. The house we bought has a slick, finished garage floor, a la the previous owners, and dh had put his gutsy--and I mean that literally--crutch down, slid across the garage and crashed against his car.

I take his arm and laugh as my heart settles back down into my chest. "See, God don' like ugly!" Well, he wasn't really being ugly. He was rescuing us.

But my heroine learns God don' like ugly. When her mother-in-law confesses a deed from her past, Maggie's reaction to the secret is less than sweet. Maggie has secrets of her own, and right now, they are making her mean.

You frown. You know what it's like. : )