Thursday, December 29, 2005


My writing time. With the new year I've decided to revamp my time and writing commitments therefore I am going to put the Novel in 90 Days thing off until next year. By that time I will also have a better handle on the craft of fiction myself. Apologies to everyone who was looking forward to doing this with me. Thanks for supporting my blog with your faithful readership.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005


1. Where and what were you doing the moment you got THE CALL?

I was...writing! LOL I got an email from my agent actually. I read it a few times and then wrote back to ask if he was sure...

2. Who was the first person you told or called and why?

I called my husband, but his cell was out of range, so I called my good friend Gail Hayes, a nonfiction author. She'd encouraged me a week before when I'd had one of my I'm-never-going-to-be-published breakdowns.

3. What has been your favorite book to write and why?

Wow, that's hard. I really have enjoyed them all. I'd have to say my first book, which didn't sell. I think some of that is the first novel process though. "

4. What has been your hardest book to write and why?

Now, that's easy. The hardest book for me to write was JADE, the second book in my Shades of Style series with Revell. The main character is Chinese and I really wanted to do a good job portraying her. My editor loved it and I laughed and cried while writing it, so I'm hoping readers will enjoy it.

5. If you could put MADE OF HONOR in the hands of any one famous, who would that be and why?

Hmmm...What a journalist you are! Let me think... Mary Mary. Definitely. I guess that's sort of cheating because they're not one person. I'd give it to them because my daughters and I did a dance from their praise troupe to "Shackles" while I was editing Made of Honor and that song was always in my head. The song is also the heart of what Made of Honor is about.

6. What scene from MADE OF HONOR was the most absolute fun to write? Why?

Oh my! That would have to be when Dana's bridesmaid dress explodes and she end up being carried to the car by someone she's been avoiding for a long time. I was cracking up while I was typing. I'd say that the passover dinner later in the book is a tie with that scene.

7. What was the hardest scene? Why?

Some of the hardest scenes to write in Made of Honor were the interactions between Dana and her friend, Rochelle. These two women really grew on me during the book and when they struggled with their friendship, I struggled with them.

8. What advice would you give to someone out there listening who might be discouraged in their writing journey?

If you can quit writing, DO. If you can't quit, WRITE. This business isn't easy, but everyone has a story to tell. Find your story and the voice to tell it in. Live, love, laugh and read as much as you can. Pace yourself but be persistent. Find your rhythm and play it to THE END.

9. What would you consider to be the content of the perfect reader fan letter of MADE OF HONOR?

Dear Marilynn,

Thank you so much for writing MADE OF HONOR. It was funny, honest and uplifting and I read it at a really hard time in my life. I'm falling in love with Jesus again and I know He loves me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thanks for reminding me.

Perfect Reader

10. You've contracted more than one book, can you tell us how that came about?

Sure! That first book that I told you about was soundly rejected but two publishers expressed interest in seeing something else. My agent and I proposed a series to both and to our shock, each of them were contracted! I sold first to Revell with my Shades of Style series about four women working together at a fashion design firm in New York. The first book, Pink, releases February 2006. I was elated about the first sale, but very connected to the chick lit project as well so we pitched and sold that too. MADE OF HONOR is first in the Sassy Sistahood series and just happened to come out first though it was contracted second. Wild, huh?

11. Has your writing life changed since you've signed contracts? If so, how so?

Deadlines. I always had my own personal timetables, but finishing a book and having to turn around and do it again is wonderfully difficult. It's wonderful because this is what I prayed for and I love it, but difficult because sometimes my brain is tired and doesn't want to come out and play. Then I have to start making deals with myself...and God. LOL

12. What advice would you give to authors on the verge of selling that would prepare them for life after The Call?

Have some experienced author friends to bounce things off of. There are so many things that happen after the sale that can be confusing: the editing process, covers, marketing, etc. Most of all, I'd tell them to stay on pace and keep writing. It's easy to let promotion, glee and general what-do-I-now disease paralyze you. Most of all, I'd advise to READ YOUR CONTRACTS. Even after you've signed, it's important to read and re-read your contracts with both your agent and your publisher. You're a businessperson now.

13. What about as far as being able to handle the transition from writing for ourselves to now writing for a house under the direction of a publisher?

Whoa. This one isn't easy. It's easy to take the check, but harder to comprehend that you've SOLD your book. Yes, they loved it enough to buy it, but there will be edits and some of them might be major. The first time, this can come as a big surprise. Expect it and be surprised if there aren't many changes.

14. You are an avid blogger. Do you feel that plays an important role in your novel writing? How so?

Oh boy. Blogging. What can I say? I've slowed down a bit lately because things are moving fast with these releases but I don't think blogging is important to my voice and my creative self. It's good to have an unedited space. Of course, there are sometimes where there are only so many words to go around and I"m just silent. Once a book is done or if I'm really losing it, I usually blog like a crazy woman. My friends in the blogosphere help me through life's ups and downs and cheer for me when great stuff happens too.

15. What would you suggest readers take to their reading spot when they settle down to read MADE OF HONOR?

Bring a nice vanilla candle if you have one around, some tea if you have it and a pen to underline the funny parts.

16. What do you think it was about this story (other than your fab and magnificent voice) that caused the editors to sit up and take notice?

The grace of God? Honestly, I can't say. There are so many great writers out there, both published and unpublished. Someone just has to like what you do. That's what happened with Revell, even though they didn't sign my first book, my editor enjoyed it. Same thing at Steeple Hill. It's sort of like shopping. Somewhere there's a fit. Somewhere there's somebody who gets it.

17. If Oprah featured MADE OF HONOR in her book club, what would you want her to tell the world about it?

Dana Rose pledges to say "I won't" the next time she's asked to be in a wedding. Her weak will has turned her closet into cemetery for satin gowns from periwinkle to Pepto pink. After ten stints as bridesmaid, Dana thinks she's seen it all. Then she's fired, forced to turn her hobby into a business and faced with her prodigal brother, back-stabbing sis and Mr. Practically Perfect, the ex who not only married someone else, but opened the business of her dreams—across the street. There's that Maid of Honor thing too… And this time she can't say no. Will wedding #11 show Dana what's she's really made of?

18. Who was your target audience with MADE OF HONOR?

Hmmm... Me? LOL I try to write books that I'd enjoy and that I could give to all of my friends, who happen to be a very diverse bunch. A women who loves life, loves the Lord and loves her girlfriends will enjoy MADE OF HONOR.

19. When does your next book come out? And where can readers not familiar with CBA purchase it?

My next book, PINK (Revell), comes out in February 2006. And never fear, no acronyms or secret codes are necessary to get it. LOL Pink will be available wherever books are sold. (And if it they don't have it, ask for it!)

20. Any parting thoughts?

Thank you, Cheryl. I can't wait to return the favor for your first release. Thanks everyone for being here. Please visit me at and tell me what you think of Made of Honor. Bye!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Took my little munchkins Christmas shopping with me for daddy's present this week. Just so happened I had to pick up some feminine hygiene items while we were there. I turned away for no more than a few minutes and all three of the little critters had taken them out of the packages, peeled the strips off, and stuck them all over the kart. It wouldn't have been so bad except that they were those huge overnight ones so they looked barricaded in a moving fortress of miniature pillows....and yes, EVERYONE was staring and of course snickering at my expense.



I've been tagged, which means I get to talk about myself. YAY. ROFL. Okay seriously, I'm really shy but here goes. I think I'm supposed to be telling you 15 personal and writing preference facts about myself. I'll try to write things I'll bet you all didn't know.

1. I got my first motercycle when I was five years old. It was a Honda 50 but I prefer Harleys.
2. I could shoot the "o" out of a coke can with my pellet gun from halfway across 5 acres before I was 8. That was a Daisy BB gun but I prefer semiautomatics. :-)
3. I have batted around the idea of writing a MOM lit. Don't ask me to explain what that is because I don't quite have a handle on it myself.
4. I lived in New Mexico near an Indian reservation, an ice cave, and a dead volcanoe for 16 years. I prefer to be close to family.
5. I love to read action/adventure, romantic suspense, and just plain good love stories, even historicals. I read both secular and Christian writers. I love to write military stories and I've never been in the military.
6. One thing I hate is stories and movies that do not have a happy ending. Life is hard enough and many people read to escape. Therefore I will ALWAYS write happy endings into my story. I can't control life but I can control the lives of my characters. Usually. :-)
7. I was the best archery and chess club student in high school. I put a tiny slice of me into every book I write.
8. I am seriously addicted to books.
9. My husband fully supports my habit, although he says he's NOT building one more bookshelf in the house.
10. I am now grieving over which books I will have to give up to make room for more.
11. I'm a certified practical joker but prefer NOT to have jokes played on me which is a moot preference since I live with The Master Joker himself---Mr. Billy.
12. I am helping to open a library in a small town here where I live. I prefer to sit and read the books instead of sand the shelves and stack the books. LOL!
13. I have a huge heart for orphans and usually have them in my books somehow.
14. I love my children more than anything.
15. I want them, and my entire family to know God more than anything. That's my biggest prayer.

I tag Gretchen, Syndi, Robin, Sandy, and Christa.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sensational Structural Editor

Here's another link and info for an excellent structural editor.

Hi! My name is Camy Tang, and I have a critique service called The Story Sensei.A novel's structure is like a button-down shirt. It can bemis-buttoned so that the story elements aren't quite in the rightplaces or emphasized enough, making the manuscript disjointed.I also know that writers are DIRT POOR (I'm one of them), and manycan't afford to hire a freelance editor to go through their entiremanuscript (which costs anywhere from $300 to $3000) and identifystructural flaws.I offer a cheaper, specialized alternative.For only $40, I will do a high-level structural critique of your storyusing a 2-page single-spaced synopsis and a chapter-by-chaptersynopsis. I'll look for things like:• Good pacing, strong sense of movement• Setting as a character• Unique story premise• Voice• Clear story arc--beginning, middle, end• Inciting Incident• External goals• Internal goals• Obstacles/conflict• Epiphany/sacrifice• Black Moment• Flaws• Unique/original characters• Secondary characters--goals, depth, contribute to the storyYou can find more information on my website, including testimoniesfrom writers who have benefited from my services:! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me.Camy


Here's information on Robin Miller's Critique Boutique
Have you got a work in progress you need polished before entering a contest?

Do you have a work in progress you’d like some feedback on?

Do you have a completed manuscript you need “tweaked” before submitting it to an editor?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, Critique Boutique can help you! We specialize in fiction manuscript critique services. Our fees are modestly set, based on word count, NOT page count. Get as much, or as little of your manuscript critiqued, according to YOUR needs.

Elements covered in a critique include:

Beginning “hook”
POV issues
Plot points

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Bring the experience of Critique Boutique to YOUR manuscript! An experienced critique-er, contest finalist, RWA PRO, judge for various RWA contests, judge for published book contests can critique YOUR manuscript!

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Contact us for mailing address, or for additional information at