Monday, December 04, 2006

Revisions Done and Mailed

Finished the revisions and got them in the mail to the editor last week. Now I'm nervous. Hope she likes how the story goes now. I think it's better.

They announced the election results for ACFW....I'm "officially" the new president. Very excited and ready to plow in!

Am working on Bayou Corruption. Realized after doing some revisions in book one, I needed to change some stuff in book 2, so plan on doing that over the next few days. I intend to have the complete ms to my agent by the end of the month.

So, what about you?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm Thankful...

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd list some of the things in my life I'm thankful for.
I'm thankful that Jesus died for me--that all my sins are forgiven and that my eternal life is paid for.
I'm thankful for the provisions God has bestowed upon me and my family.
I'm thankful for my husband, who I love beyond distraction and is my soulmate.
I'm thankful for my 3 beautiful daughters, who are truly blessings from God.
I'm thankful for my family's health.
I'm thankful for my extended family--parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts & uncles, cousins, etc. These people helped shaped who I am and enrich my life.
I'm thankful for my longtime friends--these wonderful people who know all my faults, and love me in spite of them.
I'm thankful for my friends in the writing community...who bless me with their friendship.
I'm thankful for my awesome prayer warriors. These women are a daily blessing to me.
I'm thankful for my mentor and friend, who guides me with honesty and love.
I'm thankful for my cps, who are also my dear friends and can tell me my writing isn't what it should be.
I'm thankful for my agent, who believes in me and encourages me all the time. And kicks me in the pants when needed.
I'm thankful for my editor, who believed in my story and has such awesome insight.
But mostly, I'm thankful that God created this wonderous world we live in, despite the bad things. I can look at a sunset and see His fingertips brushing the canvas. I can see His miracles all around me, in everyday life. And yes, I'm thankful. I'm blessed.

Hope each of you and yours has a blessed Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Survived, But Learned My Lesson

What do you do when your daughter comes to you and asks to have a "sweet sixteen" party with some of her friends at home? Well, being a regular parent, you think, oh some of your friends, maybe 10 or so, well, what do you want to do? Have a bonfire and grill out. As a parent, you think, pretty easy to handle...right? WRONG. Try having 60 teenagers coming and going, eating, drama between guys wanting to fight, girls crying over boyfriends acting like, well, little boys. SIGH. I survived, though. But learned my lesson well. When the 6 yr old and the 4 yr old turn 16 and ask for a party, I'll have to think of an alternate route that doesn't involve all these kids at my house. Now to get the teen up to clean up the mess. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Got My Revisions

I got my revisions from my editor yesterday. I'll admit, at first I panicked. Closed down my computer and called it a day. But this morning, I started digging in. Began wtih the easier line changes first, of course. But as I'm working through those, I'm also marking places where I'll be making changes for the broad revision requests. It's an interesting process. I think the book will end up being more streamlined and focused. I hope I can do it justice.

How about the rest of you who have just recently gotten your first ever set of reivions? What did you do?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Well, I'm up to over 13K on Bayou Corruption. Feels good to be making progress. I'm pretty pleased with my word count, considering I just started actually writing this baby on the 8th. Hope to get more done this week, unless my revisions come in and I focus on those.

How about the rest of you?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Back In The Writing Saddle

Yep, as you can see by the progress bar to the right, I'm working on Bayou Corruption, the sequel to Bayou Justice. It's interesting starting this one. Real interesting. But I'm starting to get back into the flow. We'll see how it goes.

How about the rest of you? What are you working on?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I've Been Interviewed!

Hey all....go by and visit my friend Sabrina's blog....she was kind enough to interview me, and I'd like you to see what we talked about!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lost in NashVegas....Rachel Hauck

Today I'm honored to host an interview with Rachel Hauck, and her new book, Lost in NashVegas!

Hi, Rachel! Thanks for taking the time to drop by and answer a few questions for us!

Robin: Is there any one person (aside from agent/editor) who has helped your career? Tell us about that person.

RH: Great questions. I love to mention the people who've helped me. I have two main "mentors." First was Lynn Coleman, a fellow Floridian, whom I met at the Blueridge Writer's Conference. She came up with a series idea for Heartsong and invited me to write with her. My first book was Lambert's Pride co-written with Lynn.

The second great influence in my life is Colleen Coble. Colleen has been my cheerleader and friend for several years, and actively opened doors for me in the
publishing world. I'm honored to know her and grateful for all she's done.

Everyone's journey to publishing is different. For me, God brought Colleen and Lynn. I have to say, directly after I prayed for help and guidence.

Robin: How do you juggle life/deadlines/Presidency of ACFW?

RH - The key word being juggle. Good question, Robin, 'cause I'm about to make some schedule changes and rearrange my priorities. Mainly, I know what has to be
done and when, so I work my life around the schedule.

I don't believe even the most artsy person can accomplish anything without a schedule. Even a loose one. And make a determination to keep it as best as

I don't let myself be run by the tyranny of the urgent.

Robin: What's one thing most people don't know about you?

RH - Most people? Let's see... I was friends with my husband for three years before he asked me to marry him. During the whole time, God was telling me I was
going to marry him (which is so weird) and Tony felt God was telling him we were to only be friends. Turns out, we were both right. We are best friends and married.

But what a strange journey! God is so good, though. :)

Robin: If you could stress only one take-away factor from your book to a reader, what would it be?

RH - Pray hard and go for your dreams.

Robin: If you could trail any person alive today for just one day, who would you follow and why?

RH - President Bush. I'd love to see the inside of his job. I'd love to offer him a few of my opinions. LOL.

Robin: Thanks again for dropping by, Rachel! For all you readers out there, look for my review of Lost in NashVegas later this month!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Running for ACFW President

Yep, I made the decision. Not lightly, I might add. After much prayer and consideration. Why? Because this writing organization has helped me more than I ever imagined a group of writers could and I want to give back to the group. I see ACFW growing by leaps and bounds, and I want to help with the future vision of the group. Will I win? I don't know. It's all in God's hands. But I'm looking forward to just being on the ballot! :D

Friday, October 27, 2006

Houston, We Have A Title

Heard from my editor today and they selected a title from the list I sent them....drumroll please.....


Sounds cool, huh? I'm pretty tickled with it. Whatcha think?


LOL. Seriously, this is great news. I've been pounding my brain to work out a plot for book 2 in the Bayou series, and it kept unraveling. But YES, yesterday, it got worked out. I'll be focusing on a secondary character from the 1st book, and man, can I torment her! LOL

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm SOLD, now what? LOL

Thought it'd be interesting to share on the journey what comes AFTER the contract offer. So, as I find out new things, I'll share them here.

Heard from my editor. Can I tell you how exciting THAT is? Wow, I'm so happy to be working with her. Her reputation precedes her and I'm ready to learn from her experience. Anywhooya, I got my art fact sheet, which is basically what I fill out to give input into my book cover. EXCITING! Of course I had to include a short (200-300) synopsis which encapsulated the main plot points. Well, y'all know me, PANIC! So I did what any writer in my situation would do....I called Camy and whined. Bless her dearly, she got it done for me and so quick, too. So, the art fact sheet is sent in.

We'll be changing the title of the story. We'll keep Bayou in it, but the burning really didn't pull in the hook/draw of the book. So, I came up with some alternate title suggestions and sent to my editor. Hopefully, one of them will work for her.

So that's it so far. Except I should be working on book two except my plot keeps falling apart on me. SIGH. Guess my excitement is carrying over into my brain cells. I'll just keep brainstorming it until something hits and I know that's "it".

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

RV There Yet....Diann Hunt

This book is laugh out loud funny! I had such a blast going along with these girlfriends on their trip, and it was so refreshing to read about friendships--with the ups and downs. If you want a good book that will make you chuckle, get this one! I highly recommend it! And the author's a cool woman, too! Here's a picture of me with Diann at the recent ACFW conference in Dallas! She's such a sweetheart!

Recommended Reading: BAD IDEA

Griffin Smith’s parents are divorced. His mother is now married to a mediocre novelist,
his dad has the cliché that’s 18 years his junior. Griffin Smith, though, is ok. He’s perfectly all right
with the goings-on in his family, as evidenced by his involvement with church youth group and his acceptance to a
college in California—a college he’ll get to via a road trip with his dad, the cliché, his best friend, and his little
But, as with thousands of teenagers whose parents are divorced, Griffin Smith is not
ok. He’s certain his parents care enough to provide him with boundaries and punishment
when he strays—it’s just that they’re too busy dealing with their own pain. So
he does it for them, burning himself in punishment when he secretly gets drunk or
takes a handful of painkillers, even preemptively scorching his skin if he knows he’s
headed to a party.
Griffin’s secret life, however, will be hard to conduct on a week-long road trip to California.
Close quarters and long hours may be just enough of a breeze for Griffin’s
house of cards to come tumbling down.
Called, “The Catcher in the Rye for the new generation—only funnier
and with a point,” brothers Todd and Jedd Hafer have perfectly captured
the satiric humor and dry wit of a teenager caught in a world not of his making, yet
desperate to exert control.
Jedd’s work with severely troubled teens at Children’s ARK for the past twelve years
gave him the material and voice needed to write a book hurting teens won’t put
down. The average kid at Children’s ARK has been kicked out of five places for bad
behavior. He has broken up gang fights, saved kids from dying of overdoses and
prayed all night with kids who were suicidal. He understands the driving forces and
the pain behind young people's behavior so well that he is in high demand as a
trainer and presenter on crisis intervention and de-escalating angry, aggresive youth.
Todd Hafer is a veteran writer with over 30 books to his credit. He recently worked
on Battlefield of the Mind for Teens with Joyce Meyer which is currently on the best-seller list. Todd is an editorial
director at Hallmark and has overseen many of Hallmark's most successful projects.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My Blurb

Since so many have emailed me asking what the book that sold is about, here's the blurb to Bayou Burning, as it stands right now:

Deep in the “boot” of Louisiana, Cajun country, an alligator environmentalist, CoCo LeBlanc, finds a body in the bayou. A body which just happens to be the grandfather of her ex-boyfriend, Luc Trahan. When she and her family are prime suspects in the murder, CoCo pushes aside her personal problems with Luc to find the real killer. Among multiple suspects, voodoo, and a long-standing family vendetta, CoCo and Luc must work together to prove their innocence. . .before the real murderer reveals himself and becomes a threat to them.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Here I am, been sitting here working on one of my books and been whiney all week. Don't believe me? Ask Colleen. That woman deserves HUGE snaps for putting up with my pity party this week. Anyway, so I break away to go get the 6 yr old from school. We get back and I'm back to work. I call my bud Heather, who tells me to call her back in about 10 mins. I hang up and realize, I've gotta work--she won't talk to me and distract me. SIGH. Back to the words.

My phone rings.

I snatch it up, sure it's Heather calling me back. But no, it's my agent, Kelly Mortimer. So we gab for a few minutes and then she tells me that Krista Stroever at Steeple Hill has offered a contract on Bayou Burning!


Details? Um....don't remember much. I'll have to change my penname because the spelling is so odd. DONE! LOL I'll let y'all know what I decide on when I get down off the ceiling and can think coherently again. I know it's for the LI Suspense line. I know the amount of time I'll have to do revisions. Pretty much, that's all I can recall. LOL

So I hang up with my awesome agent and bawl like a baby. I call my husband, who goes beyond thrilled for me and we praise God together for this amazing blessing. I hang up and call Colleen, who squeals and rejoices with me. She gives me 15 minutes to call my buds and tell them before she posts to the ACFW loop! :) Of course, I make calls like crazy. Squealing, crying, laughing....oh my!

Colleen posts to the loop....and I get SO MANY wonderful emails of congratulations. My crit buds call back to squeal some more with me. I call my family and long-time friends. The crying, laughing, and squealing continue.

All I can say is that I feel blessed. He's given me the desires of my heart--the dream I've held close since the first time I picked up a pencil.

God is good, and He's good all the time!

Thank you all for celebrating with me!


Wow, the dream of being able to post that becoming a reality is well...there aren't even the words. All I can say is Praise God! He is good, and He's good ALL the time!

I'm still in shock, but my romantic suspense, Bayou Burning, has been contracted by Steeple Hill.

More details to follow! Just wanted to share!

Friday, October 13, 2006

FIRE DANCER by Colleen Coble

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a huge fan of Colleen Coble--have been since the Rock Harbor series. But her latest, FIRE DANCER is my absolute favorite. Her characters, Tess and Chase, leap off the page and come to life. I felt like I was in Arizona, personally deep into the plot. An arsonist takes things to a personal level for Tess, and her family's ranch. Tess and her longtime rival, Chase, must work together to unsmoke the villain, and save not only the ranch, but the forests from the Fire Dancer. Get the'll be in for quite the ride. I give it my highest rating!

Here's Colleen, the awesome author, at the recent ACFW conference with all of her awards!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Finding Faith, by Denise Hunter

Okay, I'm normally not a fan of women's fiction...not enough dead bodies for me!...but this book was AWESOME! The deep characters, the intricate plot, the emotions....all I can say is I'm blown away. I highly recommend this book, even if you don't read women's fiction. This is good writing, plain and simple. It's rare for a book to invoke my emotions so strongly, but Denise managed to do that by pulling me into the characters and their deep emotions. Get the won't be disappointed.

On a personal note, I was blessed to have gotten to spend a little time with Denise on my recent trip to Indiana. This woman is beautiful, inside and out. Then again, I have to envy her a little bit--she has three sons and has still got a figure to die for--the woman shouldn't be so beautiful. I mean, if she were ugly on the inside, maybe I could resent her, but no....God made her with a pure heart. So, I'll just feel blessed by knowing her. Here's a picture of her, Diann Hunt and Colleen Coble in Indiana. These ladies so rock! If only Kris had been there...maybe next time! :)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Violet Dawn

Okay, I read the book and loved it! However, I couldn't think of a way to write a review that was worthy of the, I'm going to direct you to the blog of my good friend, Dineen Miller, who blogged about it so well.

Brandilyn also has a blog by the "residents" of Kenner Lake to promote the series. Here is a photo taken at the ACFW conference of the Scenes & Beans bloggers!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Heather's Visiting!

Yippee! Heather got here safe and sound...well, we weren't exactly sure because she was riding with someone pulling a U-Haul! Long story there. But, she made it! And we've been visiting ever since. Well, except for lunch at the hibachi place, in which Heather was exposed to a TRUE hillbilly from Arkansas! SIGH. Don't ask. Here are some shots of me and Heather at the conference last week. We're having fun!

Me and Heather....aren't we so cute? LOL Wait, don't answer that!

Dineen, Heather, Colleen and me at conference!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tired, but Blessed!

Got home from the ACFW conference in Dallas on Sunday evening. Whew! It was a blast and I'm tired, but I came away with the feeling of being blessed. Thought I'd share some pix of conference with you. You can go see all the pictures in my 2006 Photo Album on my website. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

This is Camy, Ronie, Dineen, Heather and me at the awards banquet! Hey, I won second place in Romantic Suspense category of the Genesis! :)

This is me and Colleen Coble at the awards ceremony! She won 1st place in Contemporary Romance, 1st place in Suspense, 2nd place in Suspense, and won the overall BOOK OF THE YEAR!

Here is Heather, me, Dineen and Ronie in the early bird session!

Here's a shot of me and Kristin Billerbeck, who won 1st place in the Book of the Year contest in the Lits category!

Here is a picture of me and Diann Hunt, who won 2nd place in the Lits category!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ready to Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My bags are proposals done....have the strategy plan from my agent....SHOULD be getting the house ready for my absence....but I'm not. I'm sitting here filled with excitement. Ready to go! I leave tomorrow for the ACFW Conference in Dallas. This year, I'm going with no expectations except to see my friends and enjoy the fellowship. Sure, I have a plan. I have things to pitch. But I'm more excited about seeing everyone again and just networking and connecting.

How about YOU? What are your plans for the conference? Or, if you aren't going, what are your plans for the week?

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I'm so excited! The ACFW conference is NEXT WEEK! I can't wait. Seeing old friends again, making new ones, making contacts.....I get freemers just thinking about it. Got everything ready that I intend to pitch. Got all my manuscripts completed that needed to be and out the door. So now, I sit in anticipation.

What about you? Are you going to ACFW? What are you looking forward to the most?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Awesome Prayer Partners

As my immediate family begin to prepare for the legal battle beginning next week, the conclusion of a four year nightmare, I've called upon family and friends, amazing prayer warriors, to agree in prayer over the upcoming trial. Two of the strongest, most awesome pray-ers I know are my sisters, not only in Christ, but also by blood. Thought I'd share a picture of these two wonderful women....without whom, my life would not be complete. My sisters, Rebecca and Cynthia!

Monday, August 21, 2006


And had a WONDERFUL time! If you get a chance to go to a Women of Faith conference, GO! You'll be so blessed! I had a marvelous time! To see some photos I snapped when I wasn't praising the Almighty God we serve, visit this page on my site!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I'm leaving, on a jet plane, don't know la la

Oh, I'm sorry. I was caught up in my own little world. Yep, I'm outta here tomorrow. Where will I be, you ask? Here... hanging out with Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter. Yeah, I'm a bit excited, can ya tell? I'll have to post pix up when I get back.

In my absence, y'all be good now, ya hear? :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Oh yeah, baby...I'm DONE with Bayou Burning......ahead of deadline! It felt WONDERFUL to write The End at the bottom! Wrote 6K yesterday and 6K today! WHEW, I'm worn out. But I love the story. My critters are finishing up those last chapters and I'll do a final read-through tomorrow. It goes to my agent on Friday!

Now, to do something for the ACFW Early Bird.....hmmmm.....I think I'll worry about that after I get back from my birthday weekend with Collen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter! WOO HOO. I leave Friday. Can you tell I'm excited?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Betsy Ann Got Me, Too

From Betsy Ann's blog...
WOMEN WRITERS ONLY who get tagged are supposed to answer one of the three below questions and then tag 5 other women. (or start a new round of tags if you want to play along anyway!)

Here are the questions:

1. If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be? (Just the subject–don’t give away your plot idea!)

2. If just the thought of having to write anything gives you hives, what would you like to read about in a novel that you’ve never seen done before?

3. If you hate reading fiction (you can get counseling for that, you know), what subject might make you change your mind or try it anyway?

I'm going to answer #1.....Any subject? Wow, there's so many I'd like to tap....but, considering, I think I'd like to one day try my hand at a courtroom/legal thriller.

Now, let's see....who do I tag? Hmm....if you're a woman writer, why don't you just answer one of the questions here as a reply? How's that?

Southern Suspense writing......Ca c'est bon!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I'm Tagged

Dineen tagged me about ten things you're blessed with, so here goes...

1. A friend who has blessed me: Wow, trying to get me in trouble. All right, here goes: Case, for his undying love &'s so cool to be married to my best friend for 17 years! Tracey, for her loyalty and belief in me...besides that, we stir up an awful lot of trouble-grr, make that FUN, together! Allison, for being my "stablity" when I'd rather go off the deep end! Colleen, for the inspiration and support and belief. Dineen, Heather, Ron, Camy, Cindy, and Michelle, no one could ask for better critters and friends. You guys SO ROCK. There's more I know I'm forgetting, but let's just say that I'm overly blessed with friendships!

2. An unexpected gift: A digital recorder from two of my bestest buds...Dineen and Heather! Thanks again, you sneaky women!

3. A kind word shared with me recently: Okay, this one was easy, but funny. In the past month, I've had 5, count them, FIVE people tell me the same thing "This is YOUR time."

4. Something that makes me stop and praise God: On those very rare times when my oldest daughter hugs me and tells me "I love you, Mom" or even better, and more rare, is when she tells me she's proud of me.

5. Something I'm looking forward to: Going to Indiana to see Colleen and Diann next weekend and the ACFW conference in September

6. A particular part of me I'm pleased with: The loyalty factor imbedded deep within me.

7. Something in my life that I wanted but never expected: Three children

8. A place that moved/moves me: Negrill, the lighthouse...on a picnic blanket with hubby! :)

9. One thing/person that always makes me smile: My family

10. Most recent "love note" from God: Reassurane that he has a most trying situation in His hands, and to just let Him work.

Okay, I did. But ONLY because D tagged me. Let's see...who shall I tag? Hmmm.....Camy and Ron! Although, you're probably already tagged!

Friday, August 11, 2006

ACFW Conference...6 Weeks Away!

Excitement crackles in the air...anticipation fills me...why? Well, because the AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FICTION WRITERS conference is a mere SIX weeks away, of course! Yes, you heard me right, only six short weeks away.

Someone asked me what's the difference between ACFW's conference and all the rest. That one's easy....the fellowship! Being with several hundred other writers is great--attending some very informative workshops and classes is wonderful--having the opportunity to meet with agents/editors actively acquiring for the CBA market is awesome--reconnecting with friends is a blessing--but being around writers who are Christians, sharing worship and prayer and praise with's priceless.

If you're a fiction writer and are even THINKING of writing for the Christian market, then this conference is one you don't want to miss. Trust me, you'll return home blessed, having new insight, maybe made several connections, and spiritually recharged! You can't afford NOT to go.

And besides, you get to see/meet ME! LOL Can you pass up such a deal? No? Didn't think so. Go here to register....come on, what're you waiting for?

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I finished all my revisions on Torrents of Destruction. My awesome agent has gotten two editors to request fulls of Torrents! WOO HOO

I'm still plugging away at finishing up Bayou Burning. I HOPE to have it done by the 18th and sent off to my agent by then! WOO HOO Another editor is waiting for the full of this one.

Next weekend is my birthday. I plan to go to Indiana to the WOF conference and hang with Colleen Coble and Diann Hunt. I'm getting excited.

If I can finish Bayou...

Monday, July 31, 2006

Me and My Wonderful Agent

Here's me with my agent, the awesome Kelly Mortimer


Here are the pix I promised.
Camy, Me, and Colleen after the awards banquet


What a whirlwind of activity! I just returned from RWA National in Atlanta, Georgia. What a blast! I roomed with Colleen Coble and Camy Tang and we had the best time! I got a request for a full off the ms I pitched, so I'd better get busy and get that ms finished! I'll try to load some pix up asap!

Great News! I signed with an agent! Kelly Mortimer of the Mortimer Literary Agency and she's so enthusiastic about my work, as well as knowing this business so well. I'm so excited!

How're the rest of you doing?

Friday, July 14, 2006


I'm pretty excited! I got to actually start writing on my new wip! I love this story idea and concept. I've written the prologue and chapter one. Now I'm moving on to chapter two...AND my beloved hubby is taking the kids outta town this weekend so I can be a writing woman! WOO HOO

How about YOU? How's YOUR writing coming?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Critiquing Sale (nope not mine)

Okay, okay......I just don't have the time to run a sale with my critiquing business right now. But luckily, my good buddy Camy Tang's business DOES. You're in luck if you're looking for a crit before RWA National, ICRS, or ACFW conferences. Here's some info:

The Story Sensei Summer Sale - A writers' summer event!

From now until July 15th, I will be holding a fabulous contest for my
Story Sensei critique service.

I will draw the names of TWO lucky winners! They will each receive:

A free synopsis critique – up to 10 pages single-spaced, a $40 value!


A coupon for 25% OFF any manuscript critique – whether full or partial
manuscript, any number of words. For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's
a savings of $250!

In addition, EVERYONE WHO ENTERS will receive a 10% OFF coupon for any
service, whether synopsis, query letter, or manuscript critique (full
or partial). For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's a savings of $100,
just for entering.

Go to my Story Sensei blog and post a comment to enter the contest!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Twisted Sisters--Characterization

My sister sent me this pix of us sisters. . .she likes it, I don't. I was pregnant at the time, so my face just looks fat. But back to the point of this post. My husband, since marrying into this WONDERFUL family some 17 years ago, has referred to myself and my sisters as "the twisted sisters". Isn't he such a crack-up? Anyway, I got to thinking about our official name in regards to writing. What kind of little nicknames,traits, etc. can we give our characters to make THEM stand out? Make them real? Make them not only flawed, but a comical slant on things? Interesting thought, at least to me. Now to get back to writing. . .

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Look

Is this not totally awesome???

Dineen Miller (Designer Girl Graphics) designed this AWESOME new header for my blog! Don't you love it? Don't you want one for yourself? Click on her logo down at the bottom of my blog! She's awesome! And took everything I wanted in a header and incorporated it to my taste! I'm just so tickled.

Heather Tipton (Out There Author Services) posted the header up, then altered some of the color shades on my blog to match! Is that not service, or what? You can have Heather do your blog design by clicking on her logo at the bottom of my blog!

So tell me, how much do you love the new look?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My Niece Has GRADUATED!!!!!!!!

My niece has graduated high school! What an emotional time. The pix up there is of my sister and my niece.....beautiful, huh? The other pix is, in order from left to right, my nephew on the back row, my daughter, my niece the graduate, my other niece, and the two little girls on the bottom are my little girls.

I'm SO proud of my niece! But where does the time go?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New Haircut

Well....opinions are welcome. But do keep in mind that these were taken before 8am! UGH I'm SO not a morning person.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Attack of the Tree Limb

Okay, imagine're driving down a rural road. It's raining, it's dark. The large live oaks trees line both sides of the road, making a canopy over the top of the road. Suddenly, there's a loud whack and your windshield cracks, right in front of your face. A tree limb has fallen, and nailed your vehicle right in front of the driver's seat. Yep, only in fiction could this happen, right? Great suspenseful opening, huh?


It happened to me. This weekend.

I kid you not. Here're the photos. My poor, poor truck. It's in the shop now. They gave me a CHEVY little car for a rental. A CHEVY? Hello, am I NOT a Ford person? UGH It doesn't even have automatated windows/doors. I'm depressed.

And how's YOUR week going?

Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm Alive

Contrary to rumors, I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. Just been BUSY. I've completed my cozy and had the editor request the full....woo hoo! She said she'd be in touch within a couple of weeks! Talk about sitting on pins and needles! Yikes! But I REALLY want this. I had so much fun writing the cozy and want to write these girls' stories. So, we'll see. I also found out I finaled in the Romantic Suspense category in the Genesis contest! Another WOO HOO. So, all in all, it's been a busy couple of weeks lately, but all good.

And how are YOU doing?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blog Tour Guest....COLLEEN COBLE

Today I'm blessed to have my mentor and friend, Colleen Coble, drop by on her blog tour to promote her new Women of Faith release, ALASKA TWILIGHT.

Welcome, Colleen, and thanks so much for joining us today! :)

Your characters seem so "true to life" and flawed, then redeemed. What method do you employ to make them jump off the pages and into the readers' lives?

I'm flawed so it's easy to write flawed characters. LOL No really, have you ever met a person who seem sooo perfect? You just know they can't be all that. When I'm writing my characters, I figure out where they need to grow. Sometimes it's the same places I need to grow, or areas I've worked on in the past. I always give my characters some areas of strength too. I can't relate to wimpy women. LOL

Do you have any plans to "cross over" from the CBA market to the ABA market?

I'd love for more ABA readers to discover my books, but I have no plans to leave WestBow Press for the ABA. I love my publishing family. They believe in me and help me grow. More and more women browse the Christian fiction aisle as they learn that they can find a good story without bad language and graphic sex there.

Alaska Twilight is a Women of Faith book--can you explain exactly what that means?

Women of Faith is a Thomas Nelson imprint. These books are targeted towards the women who attend the Women of Faith conferences and they are about women who are overcomers in some areas of their lives. Haley in my story overcame her past and her missing leg to emerge a victorious young woman who loved the Lord.

We've learned you enjoy interacting with your fans, fellow writers, and others in the writing community...if you had to pick only ONE aspect of the writing life aside from writing and rewriting as your favorite, what would it be and why?

Mentoring other writers. I remember what it was like to know NO ONE who wrote and to have no one to answer questions. I think every writer needs to give out and not just take in. We can all share a little of what we know.

Tell us something about yourself that you believe has made you a better writer.

While no trials are fun to go through, they're a writer's best fodder. Losing my grandmother and brother were the trials that affected me the most. Walking through those valleys taught me a lot about life.

Can you remember the first time you received "the call"? Can you elaborate?

It was an exciting day when I found out Becky Germany was buying my first book! There was no one in the house but the cat. I screamed and ran around the house. Boots hid under the bed and wouldn't come out for hours. I left a message on the answering machine at church and Pastor had no idea who had even called or what had happened because I was babbling. LOL

In your writing life, what makes you the happiest?

Hearing from my editors. Love, love, love the editing process and the struggle to get better.

Visit Colleen's website for more about her and Alaska Twilight!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Alaska Twilight Review

ALASKA TWILIGHT by Colleen Coble
Colleen Coble's greatest romantic suspense yet! Set in the Alaska bush, amid bear country, readers can fall in love with
heroine Haley, a photographer who must face the fears and torments of her past, and the hunky hero, Tank, a bear
biologist who must uncover the secrets of his wife's death. Watching these two fall in love amid unraveling the mysteries
surrounding the secrets of their pasts was like riding a fast carnival ride. Coble has woven a carefully plotted suspenseful
story with characters who will stay with you long after you close the book. An added bonus? Expect a surprise appearance
by Coble's most beloved characters! This book is a must read for any suspense reader! I give it my highest rating!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Can Fiction Spark a Revivial?

An Interview with


Approximately six months before his death, Dr. Bright teamed up with best-selling author Jack Cavanaugh to write a series of books to create a hunger for revival in America. Knowing it was unlikely that Dr. Bright would live to see the publication of the project, the authors spent intensive sessions forming the novels, after which Dr. Bright signed off and allowed Mr. Cavanaugh to write them.

This month marks the release of Bill Bright and Jack Cavanaugh's Storm.

Tell us about the conception of The Great Awakenings series.

This series was born out of a shared desire for revival in our country. When Dr. Bright and I learned that we were both praying for revival, it seemed only natural that we would team up to write this series about the historic revivals in America.

There are so many unexpected twists in Storm, were those plots twists made during the planning sessions with Dr. Bright, or were they inspired as you wrote?

The creation of a novel has many stages. Before he passed away, Dr. Bright and I met and prayed and sketched out the broad strokes for not only Storm, but three other stories as well. We knew that unless God intervened in a miraculous way, Dr. Bright would not be alive to see the release of any of the books. My task has been to bring our stories to life.

As you researched the revivals that once swept our country, what most affected you?

Two things: First, that God so often chooses common, ordinary people to be the spark for the extraordinary outpouring of His Spirit. Second, the unexpected nature of revival. Not only the timing of revival, which is wholly in God's hands, but the unimaginable wonder of it all. The historical events that occurred are far more fantastic and wondrous than anything we could have imagined.

Do you consider Storm a character or plot driven novel?

Storm is a character driven novel. But don't mistake that for lack of action. Character driven simply means that readers keep reading because they want to find out what happens next to the characters. Storm is a personal duel between two men. Imagine if you were given the task of leading your greatest rival to the Lord. The one person you can't stand. The person who annoys and torments you endlessly. Then imagine you learned that God had chosen him, a non-Christian, and not you, to start a national revival. That's exactly what happens in Storm.

What do you hope your readers will take with them from this series?
That's easy. When we began this project, Dr. Bright and I got on our knees and prayed that after reading these novels Christians would turn their hearts to God and cry out, "Lord, do it again."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


No, I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth...just been BUSY! :) But, in a good way!

I attended the NOLA STARs conference this past weekend-whew! It was a BLAST. Met with an editor and I think it went well. But the workshops--wow, they were AWESOME. The one I enjoyed the most was Vickie Taylor's where she presented the "plot blob"...FINALLY, I get it! LOL I discovered I'm not a linear-thinker, so her "blob" was beyond excellent for me. Now I'm ready to dive into my stories!

As I'm a member of NOLA, I was presented with the "2005 Reach For the Stars Award" for my writing accomplishments of last year. What a surprise!

Still trying to catch up on my crits so I can dive into my cozy series. I'm really having a lot of fun with it, for something different.

So...anyone have any news to report????

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Agent Spotlight....Pam Strickler

Can you give a little background on yourself and
your agency?

I worked as an editor for 16 years at Ballantine
Books, and five years at Avon before that. When I
left Ballantine I knew I never wanted to work for a
corporation again. It was fun, it was real, but time
to be my own boss! It took me a while to come around
to working as an agent, but it suits me in the same
way being an on-staff editor did. I like to be
involved with quiding the whole process of publishing
an author, the whole career. I like writers. And I
love reading books.

I was privileged to work with the agent Russ Galen as
an independent agent for a while, and learned a lot
from him. Then I started my own agency in 2001 so
that my in-box could be upstate where I live--90 miles
north of Manhattan. I have a web page with more
information that I keep updated:

What are you currently acquiring? Are you looking for inspirational fiction
and genre romance-can you elaborate on these? Sub-genres?

I like a wide variety of women's fiction and romance,
and look for fresh voices and writing that really
grabs me by the throat and drags me along. I love
big, complex women's fiction and was involved with
Dorothea Benton Frank's first novel SULLIVAN'S ISLAND.
But I do handle genre romance writers--I have a new
young writer with Harlequin Blaze, Marie Donovan, who
is great fun, and of course I hope she will grow and
mature as a writer over the years. I also work with
an Englishwoman, Nicola Cornick, who has written for
Harlequin Historicals and we were able to move her up
to HQN, one of their mainstream or "single title"
lists. I look at paranormal, at historicals, at
romantic comedy, at suspense, at Af-Am romance...
Inspirational can be a whole different group of
publishers and editors, but I see that too, sometimes.
If another CHRISTIE came across my desk, I hope I'd
know what to do with it!

Realistically, what is your average response time, right now? We hear so much that the longer it takes, the better the odds of acceptance-any truth to that in regards to your agency?

Well, probably not. It certainly can happen that I
will hold a ms. to read in entirety if I don't have
time at a certain point. But more often I kinda lose
interest in a project and move on to other things
(sorry) and then later have to go back and make a
decision to decline.

I try to stay on top of queries, definitely hold the
interesting ones to read the ten pages of text that I
request. I think it's fairly safe to say that I
respond to queries within 1 to 4 weeks.

Often, my offer to represent a writer will come fairly
quickly--a matter of a few weeks--it will be a project
that really resonates with me personally, a ms. that I
cannot stop reading, or a published author who is
obviously terrific and can use some help to move her
career along.

Pet peeves of submissions?

Please do not tell me that your book would make a
great movie! I also get queries for nonfiction which
I do not handle at all. And if your query email goes
to my "bulk" folder I have to wonder how many agents
you are querying. I expect multiple submissions, but
be cool about it and don't have your entire submission
list at the top of your email...

What would be your dream submission?

Um, you mean Jayne Ann Krentz calls me up ;-) ?

Do contest finals/placements/wins have any influence in whether you'll read
a certain ms?

Yes they do, especially several wins. It catches my attention and seems similar to a recommendation from a client or another writer.

What makes your agency stand out? Personal attention? Career development?
Certainly both of those things! But my special
strength is that I was a senior editor on the inside
for a long time. I understand editors and understand
what goes on inside the houses, and can explain these
things to my clients. I also am an editor by
inclination and experience. I read my clients' work
usually before their editors do, and often at several
stages of development. I am my clients' biggest fan
and I love their works.

Best/worst part of being an agent?
The best part is that thrill of finding a new book
that I really love, and also the day to day of working
with a fun client and seeing her grow.

The worst, well, I am disappointed when I can't seem
to sell a novel that I really love--yeah it happens
especially with quirky first novels... Also, clients
who seem determined not to listen, or fly off the
handle, or who don't communicate.

Walk us through what happens from the time you decide to accept an author's piece until the ms is sent out for submissions to publishers.

She and I talk about her goals and what approach we
will take to reach those goals usually even before
committing to work with each other. We also discuss
our business styles and whether we will be compatible.
I for example am a dreadful worry-wort, I will always
be worrying about Your career and it's a tough
business, but not everyone likes this style! With a
first novel, or one that is going to be a step up for
an author, or one with which she wants to make a move,
I will often offer advice for editorial revision.
Then I will work on a submission list and letter and
consult with the author on those.

A synopsis seems to be the bane of the writer's existence-are they REALLY that important in landing an agent?
More important for me, is the ability to convey very
briefly what the book Is. One or two sentences, like

TITLE is contemporary women's fiction, 100 thousand
words in length, with this Cute "high concept" or
plot/theme in a nutshell.

It's important to be able to write synopses too, and
really tell what happens at the end. But I personally
do not want tons of plot description in the query
letter. One short paragraph is plenty for me at that

Robin again: Thank you, Pam, for taking the time to answer these questions!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When Dreams Come True

By Margaret Daley...

What a delight to visit with the Ladies of Sweetwater Lake again! This fourth book in the Love Inspired series focuses on Zoey, and her return-from-the-dead husband, Dane. Watching these two characters fall in love again after a 2+ year separation, when the marriage wasn't working out so great to begin with, and put their family back together again was fun and a blessing. I can't wait for the next installment of the series, due out in October.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Bored? Looking for a chuckle? Hope on over to mine and my cps' group blog, where we're writing a tongue-in-cheek story about the woes of getting published. Story Board is the name, and writing with humor and twists is our game. Come visit us!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Writer's Desperation.....LOL

My friend Donnell has given me permission to post her article. I think we can ALL relate! LOL Enjoy. . .

Sometimes this business gets downright frustrating. Ever send out a manuscript, turn around and read it later and find a typo when you read the darn thing over and over? Well, my friend Robin Searle and I had a discussion that turned silly, but also turned out to be so much fun, we had to share it with you.

The Typo:
By Donnell Ann Bell

My phone rang early one Saturday morning, and checking the caller I.D., I saw it was my critique partner Robin. I picked up immediately, knowing she’d been fretting about getting her manuscript to Star Abernathy, aka Star Literary Agency and also Robin’s dream agent.
“Did you send it?” I asked.
“Yes.” The sigh on the other end was audible. “It cost me $13.29 to mail, but it’s gone. Finis. Now if only she likes it.”
“She’ll love it,” I replied. Number one I’d critiqued it, number two my partner’s an awesome writer. “So what are you going to do today?”
“Clean the house I let go while I edited and proofread this manuscript.”
“Good plan,” I said. “I’m going to hole up in my office and--”
The scream on the other end pierced my ear drum. “Oh my gosh,” I cried. “Robin, what’s happening? Should I call 9-1-1?”
“Just shoot me now,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”
“What? What?” If I had to drive up to Briargate from the south end of Colorado Springs to foil a murder, I needed to leave now. “Talk to me, Robin. What’s happening?”
“I found a typo.”
“A what?”
“You heard me. A typo. My sentence reads, ‘You almost cut off my ear off.’”
“Oh.” I knew a despondent moment. I’d been there. How many contests had I entered where I thought the darn thing was perfect? On one manuscript I’d sent my heroine said, “Peas… peas,” rather than “Please...please.” Remembering the incident, my face grew hot. “She probably won’t notice,” I said.
“Are you out of your mind? Of course she’ll notice,” Robin shouted. “She’s Star Abernathy. Her web page says don’t bother submitting if you can’t pay attention to detail. Do you think ‘Cut off my ear off?’ is paying attention? I’m doomed.” She moaned. “Doomed.”
For anyone else I might have said get over it, but Robin and I are both known to border on melodramatic so I said, “Maybe she won’t notice.”
“Or maybe she’ll reject me so fast my head still will be spinning at the next chapter meeting.”
“There are other agents,” I reasoned.
“Not for me,” Robin said, determination steeling her voice. “Pack a bag. We’re flying to New York.”
Three hours later we were en route to the Big Apple. I’m still not sure how she talked me into it. Something about how she’d do it for me, and how if I didn’t she’d kill me. I didn’t want to die unpublished so I relented.
We landed at La Guardia, and I finally had the nerve to ask, “What happens now? Should we book a hotel?”
Robin looked at me like I was nuts. She flagged a taxi cab driver and directed him to drive us to Wal-Mart.
“Why Wal-Mart?” I asked.
She rolled her eyes. “Because we need something black and I’m on a budget.”
Three hours later, the sun going down, we were dressed in black and standing on Fifth Avenue. But this was New York and as people passed by, no one seemed to notice. I glanced at Robin helplessly. “It’s Saturday. I’ll bet Star Abernathy’s not even in her office.”
“Duh,” Robin said. “Come on. That’s the plan.”
We entered the lobby to find a security guard sitting behind a marbled counter complete with security cameras. No wonder Robin wanted Star to represent her. The lady had done well. “Okay, you distract him,” she said quietly.
“Excuse me?” I mumbled through the side of my mouth.
“Ask for directions, make chit chat,” she said, reaching into her purse.
Chit chat? Me? I approached the guard. “Pardon me, sir. Can you direct me to the Eiffel Tower?”
The man who bore the demeanor of an off-duty cop frowned. “The Eiffel Tower’s in Paris, ma’am.”
I turned to Robin. “Boy, did you make a wrong turn.”
She shoved me aside. “My friend doesn’t get out much. She means the Statue of Liberty. Say, you wouldn’t happen to know if Star Abernathy’s in today, would you?”
A knowing look came over the guard’s face. “You’re writers here to pester Ms. Abernathy.”
Robin grinned at him sheepishly.
“Hold on,” the man said. “I don’t think she’s in, but I’ll check.”
When he turned away, Robin dumped a couple of pills into his coffee.
Unable to believe my eyes, I pulled her away from the counter. “What did you just do?”
“I gave him sleeping pills.”
“You take sleeping pills?”
She shook her head, clearly annoyed with me. “Of course not. You know better than that. But for purposes of this article we need to knock him out.”
“Oh,” I said her explanation all at once making sense.
“Sorry, ladies, she’s not in,” the guard said, conveniently taking a gulp of coffee and not objecting at all to author intrusion. “Come back on Monday.”
“We’ll do that,” Robin said.
Outside we waited…and waited until finally the guard lay his head down and fell fast asleep.
“Let’s go.” She tugged on my arm and my dream of being a successful author vanished. Instead of black I’d be wearing stripes, and at what the awful look would do to my figure, I sighed.
As luck would have it, we found the keys to Star’s office in a metal drawer below the security desk and minutes later rode the elevator up to the agent’s plush office. In the reception area, wall-to-wall manuscripts lined the file cabinets, and dread crept into my being. No way did we have enough time to rummage through the numerous piles.
We entered Star’s suite, and again fate smiled, and for purposes of this article, we found Robin’s manuscript alone on Star’s desk.
Unfortunately our luck had run out and we suffered a black moment like no other. In a matter of two days, the U.S. Postal Service, and with the volume of manuscripts awaiting her perusal in the outer office, Star had chosen Robin’s historical.
Worse, the manuscript was turned to page forty-three and the words ‘cut off my ear off’ were circled in red. Robin’s shoulders slumped. It was too late. A rejection was only a heartbeat away.
I rounded the desk and scanned the note that said, “Star, this one has a typo.” Signed Nelda Reader.
Tears streamed down my friend’s face. I, however, saw an all-is-not-lost scenario. “Robin, I don’t think Star has read it.”
Robin stifled a sob. “She hasn’t?”
“No. Look.”
Even with the blinds drawn and nighttime descending, sunshine illuminated the room. I logged onto Star’s computer, using Star Abernathy as the password… the woman was so predictable…and retyped the errant page.
Both of us proofed and proofed until at last we were satisfied. Then removing Nelda Reader’s damning note, we wrote, “Star, this one’s perfect,” then caught the next plane leaving New York.

Donnell Ann Bell is a member of RWA®’s PPRW, CRW, KOD, the contest coordinator for the Daphne du Maurier Contest for the Kiss of Death Chapter and, oh yeah, an aspiring author.

Robin here...I have SO felt this way before. How about YOU?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Interview with Judson Knight of The Knight Agency

Can you give a little background on yourself and your agency?

Though I’m a big part of The Knight Agency, the real driving force is my wife, Deidre Knight, so I’m going to discuss both her background and mine. Deidre and I, though we didn’t meet until our early twenties, grew up with a lot of the same interests, among them writing. I decided to become a writer at the age of five—before I even knew how to read and write—and never seriously considered any other profession.

After college, I went to work for Virginia Spencer Carr, chairman of the Department of English at my alma mater, Georgia State University, and that job gave me exposure to the literary world in a number of ways. One of these days I’m going to frame the very nice personal letter I received from Gore Vidal, who Dr. Carr interviewed while in Italy. Even more important, my stint at the English department led to an opportunity to work as full-time ghostwriter for a successful Atlanta businessman writing action-adventure novels. Over the years from 1990 to 1998, I ghostwrote, co-wrote, or edited dozens of fiction and nonfiction works for a variety of individuals and institutions.

Deidre started writing very young, and over the years she displayed great talent in two areas: sales and the arts. She and I first began dating, as a matter of fact, at an in-home sales job she helped me get, and whereas I had an irregular record as a salesperson, she proved to be that rare figure who could sell almost anything to almost anyone. After studying art history and English in college, she worked in the entertainment industry on a variety of projects, including the Lifetime feature film Sudie and Simpson and the hit NBC-TV series Heat of the Night. Once we were married, she opted for a job with more reliable hours, and went on to spend more than five years in international computer sales.

During the mid-1990s, however, she began to realize that she could combine her two talents in a single rewarding career, that of literary agent. She incorporated The Knight Agency on her thirtieth birthday, July 12, 1996. Early research showed her that romance and women’s fiction were among the most promising areas in publishing, and since she enjoyed reading in those genres as well, we chose to focus on them, along with general nonfiction. We also found ourselves working in the CBA as a natural extension of our faith.

I continued to work as a freelance writer, contributing to reference volumes and authoring over a dozen nonfiction works on subjects ranging from history to music to the sciences. Meanwhile, the Agency grew, and as with most businesses, growth was slow at first. Starting a literary agency is not like opening a franchise or establishing a professional practice: there is no roadmap, and success depends on the agent’s ability to think for herself. But Deidre’s talent and determination, combined with our willingness to work tirelessly and plow our profits back into the business, helped us to experience exponential growth with each subsequent year. In 2003, I was able to quit working as a freelancer, and joined the Agency full-time.

Today, on the eve of our tenth anniversary, The Knight Agency includes three agents—Deidre, Pamela Harty, and Nephele Tempest (who helms our agency’s L.A. office)—as well as three support personnel. Our employees—office manager Samantha Jenkins, marketing manager Julie Marshall, and manuscript coordinator Elaine Spencer—handle many of the day-to-day tasks that used to take up a great deal of Deidre’s and my time, freeing her to sell and me to serve in a support and advisory capacity.

What are you currently acquiring? Are you looking for inspirational fiction and genre romance—can you elaborate on these? Sub-genres?

More than almost any time in recent years, The Knight Agency is seeking new clients, both published and unpublished authors. In recent months Deidre has personally signed on several new clients, and Nephele and Pamela have done likewise, expanding TKA’s terrific roster of talented authors.

Right now, we’re seeking inspirational fiction, so long as it’s a bit “bigger,” as well as mainstream fiction of all stripes for the general market. In particular, the agency would like to find quality women’s fiction, Young Adult (which is particularly hot in the general market right now), romantic suspense, fantasy, and—for general market—paranormal romance. Queries should be marked to the attention of Elaine Spencer and emailed to We will determine internally which projects are best suited to each agent’s tastes and current client load.

Realistically, what is your average response time, right now? We hear so much that the longer it takes, the better the odds of acceptance—any truth to that in regards to your agency?
Thanks to the considerable support we receive from our employees, response time on queries and manuscripts has been shortened from weeks or months to days or weeks. As for any connection between length of consideration time and the odds of acceptance, I think that there are so many variables at work there that it’s not possible to establish any sort of hard, fast rule. For example, we have more than once agonized over a submission, trying to decide whether to offer representation, only to pass after careful consideration showed us that the author and the Agency might not be the best fit at that particular moment. (Note the last four words: in at least one case, we initially passed on a submission, only to sign the author later. Today she is among our most successful clients.)

In making these decisions, we think about far more than the bottom line, because we are interested in building careers, not making short-term profits. Additionally, we genuinely want what is best for the writer. No other approach really makes sense in the long run: if the fit is not right, personally and professionally, then that fact will eventually make itself known, and therefore it’s in the best interests of all parties to weigh the possibilities before making a decision.

The last thing we want to do is to tie up anyone’s time—the author’s or our own. It might seem on the surface paradoxical that, in order to avoid wasting anybody’s time, we deliberate long and hard over some submissions, but of course there’s really no paradox there: if we spend a little more time up front, that may save everyone a great deal more time down the road. After all, as we often tell our prospective clients, when they approach us, they have to prove themselves—but once we sign someone, we will never stop proving ourselves to them. Such a commitment requires serious consideration.

That said, I’ll return to my original answer, which is that response time is getting faster and faster at The Knight Agency. Nevertheless, even the largest agencies require somewhere between two to six weeks to consider a manuscript, and we are no exception.

Pet peeves of submissions?
Oh, where to begin? Actually, though, if you’re strictly talking about submissions as opposed to queries, there aren’t as many pet peeves there. The reason for that is simple: anyone can query us (though we would hope every writer would do a little research as to whether we even represent the type of work they are offering), but by the time we get to the submission stage, the field has narrowed considerably.

Query letters are hard to write for just about everyone, and we realize that even when the letter itself is less than stellar, the manuscript might well be a stunner. Obviously, it’s still a good idea to work as hard as possible on the query letter, always keeping in mind that what we’re looking for, above all, is a good story. (Needless to say, we mean a good story that we can sell: someone might be the next Frederick Forsyth or John Le Carre, but since we don’t do much with action-adventure, we really wouldn’t be the right agency for their work.)

If your query letter results in a request for a manuscript, then you’re already ahead of 99 percent of the people who query us, and it’s likely you are going to display the attitudes and attributes of a professional. By the latter term, of course, I don’t mean someone who necessarily earns a living as a full-time writer, but someone who takes writing seriously. Assuming that you have that professional attitude—and it’s hard to imagine anyone reading this interview who doesn’t—it’s hardly necessary to remind you about the rudiments of manuscript mechanics. In any case, attention to mechanics is only significant in its absence, meaning that failure to adhere to established submission rules can disqualify someone, but adherence to those rules is no guarantee of acceptance. Beyond that, only one thing really matters: is your story something that people will want to read?

What would be your dream submission?
We approach a manuscript not only as agents, but as readers. Therefore we’re always looking for work that lives up to the standard set by Elmore Leonard when he said, “I leave out the parts people skip.” Or to adapt a more well-known saying, by Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”), write a compelling novel and agents will beat a path to your door. It’s that simple—not easy, of course, but simple.

As I noted earlier, mechanics are always important, but such details are easily learned. It’s much harder to write a story with a clearly defined, interesting plot and characters about whom the reader will care. Our dream submission, whatever the sub-genre, would be one that has these characteristics. And our dream client would be someone who sees herself building a career, and welcomes the help of a knowledgeable, talented agent.

Do contest finals/placements/wins have any influence in whether you’ll read a certain ms?

Absolutely. For example, someone who placed as a finalist in the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Golden Heart competition is almost always going to catch our attention. But having won or placed in a contest is only one factor of many that we consider, and rarely does any single factor determine whether or not we will read a manuscript or offer representation.

Nevertheless, it’s always good, when querying an agent, to indicate two or three things about oneself that illustrate one’s professionalism, experience, and/or achievements as a writer. Keep it short and to the point, of course: in other words, one should think long and hard what those two or three most relevant factors are. Successes in other areas of life, for instance, may or may not be of interest; it all depends on the particular situation. (Where nonfiction is concerned, on the other hand, success in areas relating to the subject of the book is a virtual prerequisite.)

For my part, I don’t tend to be moved by queries that say something like, “This book is based on my own personal experiences.” All books are based on one’s personal experiences, and such a claim is likely to make the agent wonder if the writer has other books in her, or if she will run out of books once she runs out of experiences. Also, academic achievements are rarely of interest to agents or publishers—unless, again, these have some direct bearing on the manuscript in question.

What makes your agency stand out? Personal attention? Career development?
You just named two principal attributes of The Knight Agency. We often run across writers torn between seeking or accepting representation from very large, old, and prominent agencies, most of which are in Manhattan and boast a client roster only slightly less impressive than the roll-call of attendees at the recent funeral for Coretta Scott King. We have the utmost of respect for such giants in the field, of course, and some writers may genuinely have a better experience working with one of them than with us. The downside, however, is that a writer is likely to get very, very little of her agent’s time, and it’s probable that the agent–client relationship will remain a strictly formal one.

We, on the other hand, believe that a client should also be a friend, and many of our clients have indeed become friends. While Deidre, Pamela, and Nephele have to work with a large number of people—and Deidre and Pamela have the additional burden of administrative responsibilities involved in running the main office—they are all extraordinarily personable, and make themselves available to their clients in a way that distinguishes The Knight Agency from other competitors both large and small. A writer should never expect an agent to serve as therapist, loan officer, or in any other professionally inappropriate capacity, but within clearly defined boundaries, an agent can be a client’s biggest supporter. That is certainly how we see it in The Knight Agency, where we take seriously the idea that as the client succeeds, we succeed as well.

The idea of personal attention is closely tied with that of career-building. Why devote personal attention if one has no interest in a long-term relationship with the client? To do so would be absurd—just as it would be absurd to take on a client without planning to embark on a long, career-spanning relationship. Remember: until the agent sells something for the client, that client is costing the agent money. The power company and the office-supply store and the bank holding the mortgage on the office building expect to be paid whether the agent is selling anything or not. This, incidentally, is why agents have to reject most writers who query them; otherwise they would starve. (We’re talking about real agents here, of course, as opposed to ones that charge reading fees.)

It is therefore in the agent’s best interest not only to sell the manuscript, but to help the writer build a career that will generate a number of contracts, advances, and royalties. Beyond the realm of material necessity, furthermore, there is the personal fulfillment that comes from helping someone achieve her goals—and achieving our own in the process.

Best/worst part of being an agent?
Wow—so many possible answers here. As with any business, starting a literary agency is challenging at a number of levels, not least of which is financial. We knew going into it that we would not see much profit for a long time, and that what profits we did make should go into the business rather than into our own pockets. And yet we also knew that an agent who exercises wise judgment and negotiates skillfully can develop a nice income, based on both advances and royalties, simply by helping others succeed. As time has gone on, we have particularly come to appreciate the fact that running a literary agency is a low-overhead business: other than the sample books we keep for sending out to editors, film companies, and others, there is really no inventory. Compare that to a large retail operation, with its massive liabilities and headaches.

In starting the business ten years ago, we also knew that it would be a lot of hard work—long, long hours when others were resting or sleeping. Once, when we were taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon (this was before we had kids), I quipped, “This is the great thing about being self-employed—you can nap on a work day.” And though being self-employed means that you might find yourself working at 2:00 a.m.—I’ve pulled many an all-nighter—you might also leave the office early the next day to take your child to the circus. (And believe it or not, by the way, the latter act requires far more discipline than the former: sometimes you just have to tell yourself that the business can wait, but the children cannot.)

It’s sometimes a little frustrating to be in a line of work that almost no one among the “civilian” population—that is, people who aren’t involved in writing and publishing—has ever heard of. On the other hand, once you explain what it is, everybody is always interested in learning more. That, too, of course, has a downside: just as people tend to ask doctors for free medical advice at parties, there’s not an agent in the world who hasn’t had somebody say something like “Well, you should take a look at the book I’m writing about my mother” or “I’ve always thought I should write a book—how do I go about that?” Still, it’s fun to go into almost any social situation and know that you probably have the most interesting, satisfying job in the whole group.

And it is satisfying, especially because being an agent is really about nothing so much as helping people. We help our clients reach their dreams, and in the process, we will gradually achieve our own. The same attitude prevails around our office: The Knight Agency team is exceedingly motivated, and one reason for this is that everybody understands that as the company prospers, so will they. Nor is the achievement of dreams, of course, only a matter of material gain. It’s enormously fulfilling to help writers—even those you don’t take on as clients—with advice, feedback, and encouragement. Sometimes people don’t need anything more than someone to listen to them, and in those situations, I’m glad to be able to give something back to a profession that has given us so much.

Walk us through what happens from the time you decide to accept an author’s piece until the ms is sent out for submissions to publishers.
From the time we sign a new author on, we work to develop the material to its sharpest, most publishable state. Now, don’t get us wrong: We are generally only seeking work of the highest caliber. That said, we’re in the business of selling manuscripts to publishers and only make our money if the book sells. So we do work with the author to hone their material to its strongest potential.

After the work is ready to go, the agents on our staff carefully craft a submission list based on their knowledge of particular editors’ tastes as well as the houses where a work might best fit. In short, a submission strategy is formed, whether it be an overnight exclusive to one of the major New York houses, or a broad multi-house submission. The wait can either be as short as twenty-four hours or might turn out to be far longer—years even, if that first work doesn’t turn out to be the magic one.

All along, our agents work very closely with our clients, letting them know what’s happening with their submissions, forwarding revision requests and the like, until the manuscript is placed. At each step, the agent and author work on a career plan, assessing goals and making sure that the submission plan lines up with those goals.

A synopsis seems to be the bane of the writer’s existence—are they REALLY that important in landing an agent?
Of course synopses are important, but not necessarily in the way that most writers would think. A book doesn’t sell on the synopsis alone, nor can an excellent summary correct the flaws in a manuscript that leaves more than a little to be desired. The reverse, on the other hand, is often the case: we all know how hard it is write a synopsis—indeed, it usually proves to be much harder than writing the book itself. Still, a writer needs to put her best effort into the synopsis, because a good summation illustrates mastery of the larger work, and because writing a synopsis often helps the writer to detect flaws in the book itself.

But if we turn strictly to the question as stated—how important is the synopsis overall—then the answer acquires another shade of nuance. From the standpoint of The Knight Agency and its requirements, a synopsis never plays anything beyond a supporting role to that of the manuscript. For Deidre, synopses hardly matter: she likes to read the manuscript itself rather than focus on the summary.

The exception to this rule, though—and again, we are speaking strictly for our own agency here, and no others—is a situation in which the author has submitted a proposal with sample chapters, rather than a completed manuscript. Obviously, if a book isn’t finished, we’ll put a great deal more emphasis on the synopsis. But that usually only applies to multi-published authors who have reached the point in their career of selling on proposal.

One philosophy we apply in our own work is that it’s not enough to sell yourself just once—you have to keep on selling yourself. The Knight Agency never rests on what we’ve accomplished yesterday or even what we’re about to accomplish today; rather, we know that we have to prove ourselves continually to our clients and prospective clients, and to the editors who buy or are considering buying our clients’ work. The same applies to authors: the synopsis is just one more way of selling yourself to the agent and ultimately the editor, and in that regard, it’s something to take seriously.

Robin here...thanks very much to Judson and Deidre Knight for taking the time to answer my questions!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Something Big is Lurking. . .

I don't know what, but I feel it. It's there, hidden in the shadows just out of sight. For me? For my cps? Something totally unrelated to writing? I don't know. But it's there...something big. It's lurking. It's waiting. It's sitting on the edge of my reality, suspended in that crazy place between foreboding and present, just ready to topple into being. It's big. It's huge. It will change lives. I don't know what IT is, but I'm preparing. Are you?

Friday, February 10, 2006

To my Crit Partners....

Here's my new motto regarding the Fab 4 (and Heather)....where we go one, we go all! That's a line from White Squall (great movie, btw, if you haven't seen it) and it's just been playing in my mind a lot when I think of my "core" group. In ups and downs, requests and rejections, celebrations and publications...we're in this crazy place together...on this winding path, this never-dull journey...we're cruising it all together. And that, my friends, is what it makes it all worthwhile. Yeah, contracts WILL be nice...and all the stuff that comes with it, but I wouldn't trade where we are right now for anything. Because I've been blessed to have you guys as my friends, my cps, my prayer partners. So, where we go one, we go all. That's my profound thought for today.

How is everyone else??????????

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Definition of a REALLY bad day in the writing world...

Think you're having a bad day in writerville? No, I can do you one better! I promise.

First off, the series me and my cps wrote together that was in review? Well, we got rejected. HOWEVER, the review board LOVED the storyline/ her words, it is an "incredible" story.....ALL the writing was "great" and got "very high marks". SIGH....but I'm remaining positive. No, really, I am. LOL

Now, to top it ALL off, and really let you know you're having a bad day in about getting a SECOND rejection letter, in the same week, from the same editor at the same publishing house on the same proposal! What, you say? Yes, I got a rejection email on 01-31-06 on a proposal I had sitting on an editor's desk. Which was okay. But yesterday, I got almost the same word-for-word rejection email from the same editor on the same proposal! Now, THAT, my friends, is bad. Well, me being, well, me...I had to reply. Here's the gist of what I said..."Okay, Okay, I get it! You aren't interested in my ms. I understand. Really. I promise I won't submit it again. I don't need two rejections to grasp it" And then I went on to laugh and explain it. This poor editor emailed me back with a very humble apology, but thanked me for my "wonderful humor--I love that". Hmmm....wonder if I should send her a different proposal. My wonderful humor and all that...LOL

And finally, the "core" reason for my snit of a mood....oh wait, I shouldn't post about that. I'll just say that there are some serious issues regarding something I'm involved in that insulted me beyond belief and I'm still waiting to see how it works out. Who knows? All I will say is that life happens, but there is never any excuse to sit and pass judgement on what you don't understand. SIGH

So, how are YOU doing? Please share some good news with me! As you can see, I'm not having a great week. Let me celebrate someone's good news. Come on, tell me something great that's going on with you...even if it's that you're making awesome progress on your wip, you made finalist in a contest, you got a contract (actually, I'd better not hear that on a blog comment--I'd better be getting a phone call), or something! Let me hear from you!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Snit of A Mood

Yeah, I'm in a foul mood today. Came over me last night, actually. In the form of an email. Yeah, I'm still pretty much ticked off today. No, not a rejection letter from an agent or editor (everyone can breathe a collective sigh of relief here), just people being. . .well, people. Yet another reason I'm not real fond of them. LOL Okay, on the reason for my post....I need to hear some good news, folks! Something to brighten my day, do the snoopy dance for someone (btw, what exactly IS the snoopy dance?), celebrate that someone, somewhere is getting great news! So that's it...share your good news with me today! Help get me out of this mood! Come on, there's the COMMENT button down it and make my day! Please?

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Ok...I worked on the laptop in the living room all day today while hubby watched various sports. I completed 10K of revisions on Denied Justice. WOO HOO. I'll update the status bar tomorrow. But now, I'm going to "reward" myself for doing so much today. Yep, I got Brandilyn Collins' newest release today, Web of Lies, and I'm going to devour it tonight. :)

How about YOU? Did you get anything done this Saturday, or did you take the weekend off?

Big Progress--Status Update

I completed the revisions/polishing on Torrents of Destruction and have sent it back to the agent willing to look at it again. WOO HOO! So, what am I working on now, you ask? I'm working on the revisions to my secular novel, Denied Justice. Check out the status bar to the right to check my progress.

Updates: Here's what I have. . .
1-Revised full of Smoldering Ice out to an editor.
2-Full proposal/additional information on mine and my cps Saving Wicklow series out to an editor.
3-Revised full Torrents of Destruction back out to an agent.
4-Proposal on Assault of Evil out to an editor.
5-First 4 chapters of Denied Justice out to an editor.
6-Proposal on Torrents of Destruction out to an editor.
7-Five queries out to agents.

I think that's all I have out. How about the rest of you?

Friday, February 03, 2006


Well, I did some more revisions on my river story to resend to the agent. I'm over halfway done. WOO HOO However, I'm just going back over and polishing and doing minor revisions, since there was no specific changes requested. I'm really hoping she'll love it and sign me! LOL Isn't that what we all want? I'm going to be hopeful...yes, Ronie, I said I was going to get hopeful again! Even though I was so disappointed before. Oh well, it's all about continuing to get hopeful.

How about each of YOU? How are you standing?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

An interview...

One of my best buds, Dineen, has a fabulous interview up on her blog with Brandilyn Collins. Please visit her blog, Kittens Come From Eggs, and check it out! You won't be sorry! :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Agent Spotlight On. . . Sha-Shana Crichton

Welcome to the first edition of Agent Spotlight! To start the ball rolling, I've intereviewed Sha-Shana Crichton of Crichton & Associates.

Can you give a little background on yourself and your agency?

Sha-Shana N.L. Crichton, president of Crichton & Associates, Inc. literary agency. Sha-Shana is a certified mediator and an attorney licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

For submission and queries, please send to:
Crichton & Associates, Inc.
6940 Carroll Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

What are you currently acquiring? Are you looking for inspirational fiction and genre romance?can you elaborate on these? Sub-genres?

Mysteries, great women?s fiction, inspirational women?s fiction, Chick-lit, all types of romance - historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal,.

Realistically, what is your average response time, right now? We hear so much that the longer it takes, the better the odds of acceptance?any truth to that in regards to your agency?

We try to aim for 4 weeks for query letters, 6-8 weeks on partial manuscripts. In my case, I must say yes.

Pet peeves of submissions?

(1) SASEs sent with metered postage or in Priority envelopes. The post office often rejects the metered postage. With the priority envelopes, if the postage is not correct, one has to add postage or the manuscript is not returned. Use plain envelopes?. If you want it sent priority, include a priority sticker.
(2) Bounded manuscripts

What would be your dream submission?

A manuscript where the characters are properly developed, the character traits are consistent, the writing is consistent and the plot and grammar are excellent. Oh, I also love a strong, unique voice.

Do contest finals/placements/wins have any influence in whether you?ll read a certain ms?

Oh yes.

What makes your agency stand out? Personal attention? Career development?

May I defer to my clients?

Best/worst part of being an agent?

Best part: I love watching my clients grow as writers. Making the first sale and not only working on making the second or third sale, but working to improve the craft. That makes me really happy.

Worst part: It is amazing the way some people think they should talk to you.

Walk us through what happens from the time you decide to accept an author?s piece until the ms is sent out for submissions to publishers.

Manuscript is accepted
I work with the client on making changes if necessary
I find out from the client, what publishing house or houses he or she would love to see the manuscript published by or what house he or she does not want the manuscript to go to. I take this into consideration when sending the manuscript out.

A synopsis seems to be the bane of the writer?s existence?are they REALLY that important in landing an agent?

I cannot speak for all agents. I tend to look more at the first three chapters.

Thanks again to Sha-Shana for this interview!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Current Status

The flu is on the way out of my family's door! FINALLY! Now that everyone's back to work and school, and it's just me and the 3 yr old, I think I can get back to work.

Exciting core cps and I, "The Fantastic Four", wrote a series, SAVING WICKLOW, last year. At conference, we pitched it to this really wonderful editor who was receptive to the idea, and asked us to send in the proposal. Of course, we eagerly did upon returning home from conference. Imagine our excitement Friday night when we get an email asking for a bit more information on the series, which needed to be emailed back this morning! Oh, YES, we got that sent back Sunday evening!'s exciting! I'll keep you all updated!

Still nothing about the revisions the editor requested along with the full yet. Then again, it's only been what...10 days! LOL

I'm working on revisions to Torrents to send back to the agent who said she'd be willing to look at it again.

Keeping busy with logging & assigning all the Book of the Year entries. And keeping up with my cps!

How are YOU doing?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why Agent Spotlight

Why the focus on agents lately? Well, because I'm now on the hunt for MY perfect agent. These interviews, I hope, will enlighten writers who are searching and seeking. I've posted my ideas on agent-hunting before, and I'm re-posting now to reiterate my thoughts. Please feel free to chime in with your ideas. . .your experiences with finding/searching for an agent. . .the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Not every agent is the perfect agent. At least not for me.

As pre-pubbed writers, we hear all the adages and advice from the writers who've gone this journey before us. You know what I'm talking about..."no agent is better than a bad agent" and so forth. The warnings are true, I know for fact, but it's all such a daunting task for a writer. How do we avoid these nefarious "bad agents" and dig down to find the great ones? So many are "not taking new clients" or not considering unpublished writers. What's a writer to do? How do we step up and get noticed by a really brilliant agent? To begin with, IMHO, we write the best story we can. No, it won't be perfect. But if it's a good story, well written, and has a unique feel to it, the rest can be fixed. So, you've got the best story you can what? Research. Yes, we, the unpublished and learning and growing writers, research the agent/agency we'd like to represent us. How? Several websites have recommendations. Reliable organizations. Writing memberships. So you've got all the goods and the agent/agency has a solid reputation as far as the general public is what? You find their client list and email these authors and ASK. Ask if they would recommend their agent--ask how the agent interacts with them as the client. Ask if they're satisfied with their writer/agent relationship. Most authors who really love their agents can't wait to sing their praises. So now you have a complete ms, researched and the agent is have to decide if they're right for YOU. How? Read their submission they represent the genre you write for? Are they selling to houses you have targeted? (check out Publisher's Lunch) Everything good? Great. Then go a step further. If you have contacts with editors, ask THEM what agents they like to get submissions from. You'd be amazed at how much you can learn this way. It's a scary process, but hey, this is all just IMHO anyway. LOL Now, you've got all the info and you're raring to go. Now what? Find a conference that agent is attending and make plans to attend...and if at all possible, get an appointment with that agent. Why not just send it in? Well, for the freaky people like myself, personal contact is vital. You can get a great "feel" for an agency and their vision for the publishing future by just talking...not just about your wip, but about the agency. Ask questions. See if you and the agency representative are on the same "page", so to speak. (Yes, pun intended) Do you feel a "click"...a "connection" overall experience of this could be a perfect fit for you? A writer/agency is a TEAM EFFORT. It's not just for you to hand over your ms and expect to be called when the advance check clears. LOL That might be nice, but I don't think it's realistic. So you find what you believe to be a perfect team and you're ready. They request your ms! (Woo hoo, great so far!) You whisper a prayer, bite your nails with your crit buddies, and send it in. The waiting begins. Sure, we'd all like an instant answer. I am probably the most "p" word deficient person in the world, but I know it takes time. As if they were just waiting on MY work to come in so they could bring all their business to a screeching halt and devour each word I wrote? Yeah. Sure. Right. Keep on dreamin', baby! LOL So we wait. We get rejections from ones we were really hopeful about...and it stings and it's a bummer. But you pick yourself up and start the whole process again. Or, we get "the call" that the agent wants to represent us...or an email, or whatever. WOO the work can begin! It's all a cycle, a big circle, just like life. It's a wild ride, people....but oh the adrenaline rush we get! LOL

From Robin...who's still on her hunt for the perfect agent, but enjoying the journey!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Coming Soon...Agent Spotlight

Coming soon to my blog will be an Agent Spotlight. In these segments, I will ask literary agents questions regarding their agency, and agent questions in general. Stay tuned, you'll not want to miss the line-up of stellar agencies which will be represented!

Friday, January 20, 2006

I'm Not SUPERWOMAN?????????

Unbelievable, right? I know! I'm still having a really tough time accepting this revelation! I even argued with God when He gave me this epiphany. Surely my robe DOES have super hero abilities????? I mean, come on....I must be superwoman! SIGH. Don't know why I bother to argue with God--he's always right. It just takes me a while to adjust and accept. Double Sigh!

On Life: My 5 yr old came home yesterday with fever...101.7! UGH. Then, this morning, she woke up with a stomach bug! YUCK! Can someone say "I LOVE PHENERGAN"?

On Writing! I finished the revisions on Smoldering Ice and officially emailed it off to the editor this morning! WOO HOO! No more looking at that ticking clock and forgetting to breathe. Even got the series title and subsequent books re-titled as do these hit you: Twisted Elements Series...Book One, Smoldering Ice, Book Two, Chilling Impressions, and Book Three, Burning Rites. Many thanks to all of you who made suggestions! HUGE thanks to my "title gurus": Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, and Colleen Coble! :)

On That Pesky Rejection (as Randy I would say): If I revise the ms, the agent is willing to look at it again. So, BACK TO REVISING! This ms is currently titled Torrents of Destruction and is Book One of the Gallagher Series. I'll be putting up a revision progress bar ASAP!

On Contests: I'm considering entering in the ACFW Genesis contest. Not sure which one I'd enter: Torrents or my current wip. There're a couple of things I'm having to take into consideration. Hmmm...still debating with myself, but I'll let you know when I figure it out!

So, how are YOU doing?