Friday, April 18, 2014

Saw Books Being Born--Literally

I'm back from the two-day trip to Bethany House! What a blast! I enjoyed every minute--from chatting about future projects with my editor to eating Korean food with the marketing team. Being videotaped for the Bethany House YouTube Channel was a bit nerve racking, but in the end I enjoyed it. I can talk books and writing all day, and that's what I got to do for two solid days.

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the print shop. The tour started with a look at how covers are produced, then we passed through a warehouse full of stacks and stacks of rolls of paper. There were all sizes for different sizes of books, plus there were lots of shades of white. I  felt like a character in "Honey I Shrunk the Kids."

Next we saw how pages are printed. They're done 16 at a time, then folded into what's called a "signature." The signatures are then assembled into books. A machine stacks them, the covers are glued on, they're trimmed, and they go down a conveyer belt into boxes.

I will never forget the next moment of the tour. I was watching hundreds of books come down the belt when I realized they were the paperback version of The Message Bible. My husband has bought dozens of these over the years and given them away. Seeing those books come down that conveyer belt by the hundreds was just amazing. It really was like seeing a book being born.

More on the trip next time . . . Maybe the story about lunch at the Korean Karaoke Bar. Good times!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Sightings

Oh what fun!  Yesterday a friend came up to me at church with her brand new copy of Until I Found You.  Apparently Amazon shipped early, because the book wasn't supposed to come out until May 1st. 

Another friend posted fun pics on Facebook, so I know the book is flying across the country even as I type.

This is a fun time, especially since the story is getting good reviews.  There's a new one up on Barnes &Noble from Library Journal.  Here's the last little bit:  "VERDICT A delicious romance, with a leisurely pace and a lighthearted story line. Readers seeking a simple, straightforward tale of love without too much tension or angst will find much to like here."

Maybe best of all, I'm eager to get to work on something new.  My two weeks off has been really nice, but I'm ready to get back to those early mornings. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Husband Finished Reading The Book

I walked through the door yesterday with shopping bags in hand.  There was no sign of my husband, so I checked the back patio where the likes to read, relax and smoke an occasional cigar.  There he was with Until I Found You in hand with about 20 pages left to read. He looked up with so much feeling in his eyes--good feelings--that I melted right there.

"Honey, this is great," he said. "You nailed it . . . just nailed it."

Yep, I got teary. Even better we talked about the book and he gave me new insights into the story. In a way, every reader completes a book when he or she reads it.  The parts my husband particularly liked were different from my favorite parts, which tells me the book is well rounded and speaks to people on different levels. 

He picked up a lot on the corporate world, and how Kate handles problems so decisively. As for the romance, it's definitely not his thing (no dead bodies, mysteries to solve, or crimes to avenge), but he picked right up on the relationship and the differences in how men and women communicate.  Kate talks a lot more than Nick.

Maybe best of all was his reaction to the spiritual questions that Kate and Nick both ask.  "It's authentic," he said. "Very real world."  Hooray!  That was the goal . . . to write a book about a modern day woman on a spiritual journey that leads to faith in Jesus Christ. 

So that's the end of this little story.  I hope readers everywhere enjoy the book and see at least a sliver of themselves in Kate and Nick.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Husband's On Chapter Ten

I was up late last night following the UK basketball game.  Basketball isn't my sport of choice, but you have to respect the local team, especially when they've done so much.

So I was still awake when my husband said he was going to bed so he could read some more of my book.  "By the way," he added. "I'm on Chapter Ten. It's good."  It's not his genre of choice, so I take that as high praise.

He's enjoying it, but I have to say, it's a strange feeling to have someone who knows you inside-and-out read a book you've written. You know the saying, "Write what you know?"  That applies to internal conflict as well as external plot and setting.  There's a lot of me in Kate--her insecurities, where she's vulnerable, that determination to hang on and keep all the balls in the air--but she's still fictional.  So is the entire story. And yet . . . it's real to me.

Kate's faith journey is a lot like mine. More on that later!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Husband is Reading My Book

My author copies of Until I Found You arrived yesterday.  Hooray! My husband took some pictures (posted on  my facebook author page), then later that night he said, "So, honey. Is there a copy of your book I can read?"

"Sure, just take one off the stack on the desk."  And then I gulped.  You see, my husband's opinion matters to me, and he's not a fan of romance.  His tastes run to Elmore Leonard and Cormac McCarthy. I may be the writer in the family, but he's the real reader.

We joked a little more. I said, "Get ready. It's going to keep you up all night," knowing, of course, that it wouldn't.

He joked back,"I thought it would put me to sleep," secretly afraid that it would.

Seventy-five pages later, I stepped away from my Downton Abbey marathon and walked into the bedroom. He looked up and said, "Honey, this is really good. The writing . . ." He gave an appreciative shake of his head. You did a great job."

That praise means as much as that Publishers Weekly review, actually more. We joked around a little about some of the details.  He went back to the book and I went back to Downton Abbley, but the glow stayed with me. The book didn't keep him up all night, but it didn't put him to sleep either.

I'm a happy camper.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Disappearing Author

Yes, that's me.  I vanished into my fictional world and didn't have the good manners to at least post a note here, or maybe leave some bread crumbs to facebook.  Those short snippets are easier to keep up on.  I'm on Twitter too, which has proved to be an adventure in distraction.  The odder the news story, the more likely I am to click on a link.

Oh, well. Distraction seems to be the theme for 2014!

But I'm back and there's all sort of book news.  I just sent the Influencer List for Until I Found You to Bethany House.  Books will go out later this month.

Publishers Weekly gave the story an awesome review. This is my favorite line:  "Deftly handling the faith element, she brings an authenticity to Kate’s search and Nick’s steadfastness that will resonate with readers, regardless of their religious persuasions."
That was the goal!

And last, I finished the ms for the next book . . . The deadline was a major crunch, but it's done and I'm getting back to a regular routine.  If there is such a thing!

Hope you have a good weekend!