Friday, October 27, 2006


I'm always curious when I read a book about where the book was written. If the setting of the book is Winterish, with characters frolicking through snow, I often imagine the author sitting by the fireplace. Maybe there is a steaming cup of hot chocolate on the small table beside her. A notebook rests on her knee as her stockinged foot rests on a victorian chair. Her hand cradles her favorite pen as sleep cradles the rest of her family and the house and neighborhood sleeps. For her inspiration maybe she watches flecks of white dust the windows, mesmerizing her as she creates a fictional world which will touch and entertain readers. Maybe she smiles at the snowflakes who've danced their way down to glimpse through the window into the warm house as a novel whose characters will outlive their creator come to life on the page.

Same thing if the setting of a book is in the city. Makes me want to go visit that place and eat the food mentioned in the book.

Just in case you happen by one of my books in the store in the future and wonder where the stories happened, here is a glimpse into the life of one author. Ingore my messy desk now because there is chaos in every corner of my house. I usually like things to be more orderly but hey....sometimes life happens. My house may not be clean but my family knows they're loved.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Please leave a comment letting me know what your favorite setting in a book and why. Or if you'd love to see a particular setting in a book and haven't or haven't lately.

Don't be shy! Talk away!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006


One more day to get your monthly entry in guys!

Remember....those of you who enter consistantly over the next twelve months will be eligible to win a six month subscription to the Steeple Hill line of your choice.

Hurry! Get those entries in!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Surprise Party-Friends and Family attending

Two tables of people and we took up one entire room at Changing Seasons

Renee's SCRUMPTIOUS cake! It amazes me how someone can make a glop of icing turn into a sage rose. Incredible.

The CUTE tea cups and LOOK at the little dainty spoon!

Those of you who subscribe to my blog, I hope you don't hate me for all the influx of pics in your blog. LOL! It just occurred to me. Blogger wouldn't let me upload more than one pic at a time for some reason. Something about my cookies being disabled. Hmm. Disabled cookies? Don't know about that but I'll tell you, that CAKE was DE--E--E-LICOUS!


Spring Room at Changing Seasons

Book Deal Surprise Party Pics

The Spring Room at Changing Seasons


Walking into a wonderful trap! For a second I wanted to flee since I don't like being the center of attention. LOL! I pray each of you have friends and family who love you this much.


Marcie (right) and myself at Changing Seasons October 21, 2006



This response came from my friend Marci after one of the most wonderful days yesterday. She had organized a surprise party for me, invited many of my friends and family and then lured me there for lunch. I walked into this tea room sort of place and there they all sat. Renee had baked a beautiful and delicious cake. Then they had me going through tissues like mad as they each shared a special memory of a time with me, or the first time they met me. Guys, I was bawling. It was so awesome and I will not forget that day, ever. I felt SO loved. On the way home in the car, I said to Marcie, "I'd forgotten most of the things they mentioned until they started describing it." Then I said, "I just had no idea all these people see me this way." They talked about what they described as my strong faith, my adventurous spirit, my perseverence through hardship, my love for Jesus, my faithfulness as a friend, my generosity. It would take like ten pages to write everything they said down. Marcie said, "That's how we see you, and so unless we're all suffering under some mass group delusion, sister, believe it!"

So I pray God gets this in my heart. I also pray for each of you a church family of people who really are doing the stuff that Jesus did and who really are living out their faith 24/7 in a relevant way. I will never, ever take my church family for granted again. Marcie even had an invitation made with roses (my favorite flower), one of my favorite bible verses around the edge, as well as my author tagline (Pouring my vial of words over Him). She says the guy is also making a poster size of it. Then the tea room owners asked me to come back and do a booksigning!!!!!!!! How cool is that? And another really awesome thing is the place was named Changing Seasons and they had put us in the spring room. Okay now you have no idea how prophetic and significant this is. Let me see if I can explain.

Right before the ACFW conference in Dallas in September, I felt like God was impressing upon me that I was about to enter a new season. His words felt like He knows I've been in a really hard Winter season where I had to endure excruciating physical pain, immobility, physical therapy which made things worse because they'd misdiagnosed me. Then when the correct diagnoses came, I faced major surgery which terrified me. I knew God could go, "Pling." and I'd be healed but no. He made me face my worst fear...that I would bleed to death on the table or succomb to a bone infection and leave my daughters without a mother. Being a nurse has made me paranoid I guess. Who knows.

Obviously God brought me through with no complications because I'm sitting here typing this and I must say, I'm getting pretty fast on my walker. LOL! I felt like God gave me the verse, "Behold I do a new thing, I'm making rivers in the desert and a way in the wilderness. Now watch it spring forth." I'm paraphrasing but that verse is also one of my favorites. I felt like God had given me that promise. Then I go to the conference and the theme? New Beginnings. The key verse? The one I just typed. I even got a writing magazing that I felt God sort of snickering at...if He does that, I feel like He did. It had a picture of a Squirrel on it. Here's the deal..that's my nickname. I don't go around looking for signs.I really don't. But I do know when God perks me up BEFORE I SEE OR HEAR SOMETHING and says, "Hey, listen up. This is for you." So He does have a sense of humor. I feel like I'm coming out of a really hard season and spring in on the horizon. God is so awesome. If you're going through a hard season, it will pass. I promise. He will make a way for you. He will go through it with you. He will never leave or forsake you. He loves you and wants to be in your life.

I hope you enjoy my surprise party pictures today.


Friday, October 20, 2006


I forgot to mention in my last post that my editor has graciously agreed to do this "What Happens After The Call" blogposts with me. I will post her replies so you guys can see what happens on the editorial end of things. I will probably have her let us in on what steps happen leading up to the call.

I feel this will help you understand why there are the necessary turn around times in publishing. Not only do editors read the mansucripts and proposals that come in to be considered, they edit and work with the authors already in their care. I'm sure there are a gazzilion things they do which we don't realize too. Like answer emails and phone calls, judge writing contests, attend writers conferences, etc.

So stay tuned for more on "What Happens After The Call."



For those of you wondering what The Call is. . .it is what aspiring writers refer to as The phone call where they are offered a contract by an editor. Usually their first contract. If the writer has an agent, then the agent may make The Call.

Over the next year or so until the release of my book, I will be blogging about the process from here for those of you wondering. Remember that each house might be different. I'm just going by what my house does. (Steeple Hill)

So you all know my call story because I blogged about it before. My call came from my agent. During that call, she went over the terms of the contract and asked me if I agreed to them. A lot of people at this point will say, "Give me 72 hours to think this over." But for me to do this would have been goofy I think because the editors knew how badly I'd been wanting to write for this house. Heck, the entire WORLD probably knew it. Plus I was aware from researching this house that they mostly use what is called a boiler plate contract, meaning it's pretty standard for first time/newbie authors. I also know the house is reputable so I wasn't concerned legally about agreeing to stuff over the phone.

Anyway, so I agreed verbally to the terms. At that point, my agent called the editor back who called her with The Call and informed her I agreed to the terms. The editor and I then exchanged emails and kudo sort of convo. We agreed on a time we could speak over the phone to talk about some details.

The next day she phoned me and we discussed some of the details. In that phone call, we discussed things like whether I wanted to write under my real name or use a pseudonym (also known as a pen name). She also asked me to be thinking about a revision deadline. That there were going to be some more revisions they'd requested on the manuscript. She emailed me those revisions. I looked them over and we talked about a do-able deadline. They gave me up to 90 days, which is a really wonderful deadline. No pressure as I had feared. I can coast leisurely and make sure I'm turning in my absolute best work. So after we discussed things like that, they were going to draw up the contract and mail it to me. In the meantime, I got cracking on the revisions she'd emailed to me.

I went over the revisions and we discussed any questions I had and any areas I needed clarification. Can I just say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE working with an editor? Some people may balk at another person suggesting changes in their work. I, on the other hand, really think these changes will make the book better. So I'm learning that a book is a team effort. A collaboration of my creativity, and my editors' experience as someone who knows what sells, and who knows the readership of the house she represents. This trust is crucial at this stage and I love that I feel the editors "get" my story and are open to my suggestions too.

My deadline is December 15th. For the next couple of days, I will be polishing and proofreading the revisions. Then I will mail them in early in case I didn't go deep enough on some of the revision points.

All in all there were less than twenty five points. These were broad strokes. Thankfully no major plot or character issues like the book had before. For example, my editor wanted to see more of the sick boy. She felt like he was recovering most of the time and not really sick. So this could probably be fixed easily by adding a sentence here and there, and then maybe a scene or two where he has a crisis.

The way I revised my ms was I lettered every revision point. Thankfully I only got to "V" otherwise I would have then lettered them "AA" "BB" etc. Then I printed out a paper copy of the ms just as I sent it to the editor. Then I went through the ms and coincided the letter with the part of the ms she mentioned. This was easy and took less than an hour because she put the page number or chapter there. I went through the paper copy and put a red x over everything that needed to be cut. Then I went to the computer document, copied and renamed it. That way I have a hard copy of the ms as originally subbed, and a paper copy to write on. I also proofread better by paper than I do by computer so I catch more mistakes on paper. The copied document is the one I went about applying the changes to. This way, I always have the original as a reference because when you go to cut scenes, the pages after that won't line up with the editor's revision notes.

After I cut everything that I could possibly cut, including areas where I tended to overdescribe (another revision point), I had cut about five or six thousand words. This is good because next came the building back up of scenes where she wanted more of this or that. For example, my hero disliked the town but I only hinted about it in chapter one. The reader didn't find out his internal conflict until about page 132 or so. My editor asked me to bring it in sooner, so I did and that took maybe a paragraph of word space to accomplish that. I didn't dump the info all at once though. I put a sentence here and there, or added a few words to an existing sentence to hint at/let the reader know why he dislikes this town so much.

For the last couple weeks I have set the ms aside and not looked at it AT ALL. This is so when I come back to it, I will hopefully see it with a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes you know your story so well, it gets confusing as to what happened when. An example of this is I typed in, "Since you'll be my best buddy today and all." It was a statement that the soldier made to the little boy in reference to a pact they'd made which happened in (what I thought was) an earlier conversation. In proofreading today though, I realized I'd put it in BEFORE that conversation happened which would have confused the reader most likely. See, I knew they'd had that conversation, but because the story is so much in my mind, I thought I'd read it when I apparentl had just recalled it from writing it before. So this is why a fresh set of eyes is crucial before you turn your work in.

After I proofread it and polish it and get it in as close to submittable form as possible, I will send it to my crit group or a woman I use to line edit to go over it for me. It would be best if it were a person who has never read the story so they can pick out mistakes. I remember one of my critters (Critique partners) finding an error that got past four people, including myself. I had my heroine driving around an impouded car for eight chapters. LOL! Eight! I guess I forgot it got impounded. I'm really glad they caught that one. I've read books where the hero starts out having brown eyes and ended up with blue by the end. This is the sort of mistake that outside readers can pick out. By outside readers I mean people you trust to be honest who are unfamiliar with the story.

Okay, enough for today. My hands hurt and I imagine your eyes do too.



Monday, October 16, 2006


Hey all you faithful blog people who faithfully read my blog,

Janet and Stephen Bly are mentors of a wonderful writing organization called Christian Writers Guild.

I'm posting an interview...hope you will consider ordering a book! This is a really awesome concept, I must admit. Enjoy!



Stephen Bly of Winchester, Idaho, award winning author of 100 books, has so gotten into his newest character’s life, that he’s caught up in the search to find Juanita, the girl of rodeo cowboy Hap Bowman’s dreams. “An idiot obsession,” Hap’s roping partner, Laramie, chides. But Hap and Steve keep looking anyway. And so does Bly’s family, friends and fans. He’s listed her description on the home page of raven dark hair, dark eyes, has a petite birthmark the shape of a horse’s head under her right ear. She lived in sight of the Rio Grande and spent time with 12-year-old Hap Bowman in Central Wyoming, summer of 1988 and is 31 years old now.

Bly’s hoping to see “Have you seen my Juanita?” signs pop up everywhere—on websites and message boards, in waiting rooms and bulletin boards, on car bumpers and t-shirts, at rest stops and stuck to magnetic surfaces. “Maybe we really will find her,” Bly says, “If so, she’ll be featured on our website for sure.”

One Step Over the Border is a romp, a road adventure. It's CowboyLit that has inspired a blog by Hap Bowman, a Juanita Sightings page, and an audio poetry reading. Bly’s three sons are working on a video for the site and they’ve gotten the whole family involved in the production. There’s even a free “Have You Seen My Juanita?” Search Kit ready to send to those who e-mail cowboy Hap at with their snail mail address.

Bly’s no stranger to getting heavily involved into his characters. In Paperback Writer a distracted detective rides along with his author, serving as alter ego and companion in troubles on the road. “Life imitates art, they say,” Bly muses. “I care so much for my characters I find it hard to let them go. But also my desire is for the reader to find their own real life discoveries, to be encouraged in their own struggles, by the vicarious ‘entering into’ the quests of my fictional characters.”

The story of Hap’s search to find his Juanita, in the book One Step Over the Border, releases June 2007, by Center Street/Hachette Book Group, USA. Pre-orders are now available through and soon will be via or your favorite online bookstore.

Stephen or Janet Bly, P.O. Box 157, Winchester, ID, 83555

e-mail: or

Monday, October 09, 2006


Just a few places I hide my stash. I'm really thankful for a husband who enables my book addiction. Tee hee.



Okay, there's a discussion going on at the Steeple Hill message boards about writers and readers who have book addictions. We're lamenting over there about how there are SOO many books and not enough shelf space.

So I'd like to know, when you run out of shelf space, what place or space do you create for you books? I'm thinking a hardback coffee table is in order here. LOL!

And here's the sad thing..I've loaned away/given away probably a thousand books in the past two years. Here are my keeper shelves which are creaking and groaning in protest because the shelves are three books deep...meaning the books you see in front? Um, yeah, there are one or two rows behind them. And I have sterilite containers of books like you see pictured below under my pool table.

Just for fun! Enjoy!


Friday, October 06, 2006


Okay blogger and bloggerettes,

Before I post another prompt for October's contest, let's go over Da Rulz so you guys don't have to scroooooll back.

Squirrel's Story Starter Rules:

--- Submit the scene on or before October 25th to my email address: Cheryl at (replace "at" with "@" and lose the spaces).
----The winner will receive their choice of one of five new Inspirational Fiction releases from Steeple Hill publishers.
----Write a 500 word scene using one of these three opening hooks:

1. "Get down from there immediately!"
2. "That's the dumbest thing I've ever seen."
3. "A little to the left."

----Incorporate five of the ten words into the story, and this month, I'm looking for active verbs...meaning try your best to use verbs that end in "ed" rather than using a "was" with an "ing"...for instance: He was running sounds passive. He ran sounds more punchy and active. Got it? Okay.

Here are your prompt words. Use as many as you like, but use at least five.


Winners will be notified by October 31st and prizes will be mailed the first week of November.

You retain ALL rights to your work. I will not post or print it anywhere, and in fact will delete entries once I've logged entrants names for that month and chosen a winner.

If you'd like to enter my contest, leave a comment letting me know. Don't forget to leave me your name and email address so I can contact you if your entry wins. At that point I would email and ask you for your mailing address. I do NOT share your personal information with ANYONE.

If you send three friends to stop by my blog, then you score a bonus point! Just make sure you tell them to say you sent them.

Remember: The person(s) who enter the most prompt contests in a twelve month period will receive a chance to win a paid-for by me six month subscription to the Steeple Hill line of their choice.

Happy Writing!


Wednesday, October 04, 2006



I had just sent an email and was staring at my tagline that says, "Pouring my vial of words over Him" when I felt Him ask me, "Will you promise to always write as worship?"

"Yes, Lord." I said and THAT moment The Call came!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Pray that I keep my end of the bargain up. Kinda feels like I just signed two contracts. LOL! HE IS AWESOME!

This is the first book in my USAF PJ (Pararescue Jumper) series. Not sure of a release date yet but tentative title is House on Haven Street.

I love new beginnings! He's true to His promise....He makes a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert and I love watching it spring forth!


YEEEEEEEEEEEE my new editor, Melissa!!!

YEEEEEEEEEEEE my agent who's beside herself with excitement for me!!!

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE everyone in the world....okay so that's a bit dramatic but I CAN'T HELP IT!

I've had this dream since I was a little girl to author a book!!!!!

YEEEEE for God putting a sense of destiny in me before I even actually knew Him very well. But He sure did know me.

Whisper, shout, hum, or however you want to speak...a sincere "Thank You" to Him on my behalf today, okay?

If you get a chance...bop over to

Take a moment to sign in (free of charge) and join the party they'll be throwing for me over there!!!! Just click on Talk and go to the thread that says something about SQUIRL SOLD, or Cheryl Wyatt Sold.

THANX to my faithful blog readers for all of your support!!!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DIVING IN to revisions

See Squirrel's brain.
See Squirrel's brain on revisions.
See Squirrel's brain fry with revisions.

I have a BIG, BIG secret....that I can't wait to tell you all just as soon as I get clearance.......


PS: Did I happen to tell you I'm TERRIBLE at keeping secrets?


I feel somewhat better....maybe I won't explode now.


ACFW Conference Pictures

Here are some pictures of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Dallas.Enjoy!


Here are some pictures of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Dallas.