I’m Running Away From Home (and We Have a Winner!)

As this post goes live, I’m packed and ready to run away from home. This weekend I’ll be holed up at a Dallas hotel with a writer friend of mine. She and I were talking a few weeks ago, both of us lamenting how close we are to finishing our respective manuscripts, but our daily lives and writerly insecurities keep getting in the way of typing “The End.”

In The War of Art (a book I recommend highly for people who pursue creative endeavors of any kind), author Stephen Pressfield writes about “resistance” as a force everybody has to overcome when attempting to do anything that matters. He says that resistance increases as you near the end, and boy, has that been true for me!

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

So my friend and I decided to run away from home (together) and spend the weekend in a marathon writing/editing session. I don't like being away from home for the weekend, but I’m hoping this focused time will help me get over the hump so I can finish this project in time to meet my goal of sending it off by the end of the month to the agent who asked for it 8 months ago! If you think of it from time to time, I’d appreciate your prayers for a productive time of writing.

Before I disappear for the weekend, though, I wanted to fill you in on a few random things:

  1. The winner of Sharon Srock’s new release (see the post about it by clicking here) is … Zoe McCarthy! Sharon will be in touch with you to work out the arrangements for getting your copy to you.
  2. If you didn’t win this time, take heart. Come back on Tuesday, May 14, to read an inspiring guest post and sign up for a chance to win 16 great novels in CrossReads’s “Spring Cleaning Print Book Giveaway.” Don’t miss it!
  3. As a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, I'm honored to have the opportunity to guest post on the ACFW blog on Wednesday, May 15. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the question of being “called” to write, and I’d love to have your feedback. Please stop by and check it out, then let me know what you think.
  4. I was surprised and honored to learn last week that Do No Harm was selected as the winner in the women’s fiction category of The Write Stuff, a fiction contest sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America.This contest was particularly worthwhile because the judges gave really helpful, detailed feedback on my 30-page submission.
    Write Stuff list 2013-05-09

One last request: If you’re a pray-er, I’d appreciate prayers for my sons:

  • Benjamin (the newlywed) started Army bootcamp this week, so we'd welcome prayers for both him and his new bride back in San Diego.
  • Sam just finished his freshman year in college and is home for the summer, contemplating big changes for next year.
  • Matthew will be moving his wife and sons from Hawaii to Connecticut this fall as he starts his next post in the US Navy. His new assignment is a big opportunity and an exciting challenge for him, but the move means a huge change for his wife and boys.

So what about you? Are you battling resistance with respect to something you’re trying to accomplish? What do you do to overcome it?

See you next week!

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
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Winning the Olympia

As I mentioned in an earlier postDo No Harm (my current novel-in-progress) won the 2013 Olympia, a contest sponsored by Clash of the Titles. As the winner, I received some great feedback from the amazing final-round judges, a gorgeous plaque, and an interview by author and blogger Cynthia L. Simmons. The interview is now live on Cynthia's podcast, so if you're interested, you can listen to it by clicking on the podcast link earlier in this sentence. You can also read the COTT story about my win. There's a link to Cynthia's interview of me in the right sidebar of the COTT story.

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Can I just take this opportunity to thank the judges and coordinators of the Olympia contest? Participating in the process of this contest has been such a blessing to me, and it would not happen without their hard work and generosity.

For my friends who are pre-published writers, I encourage you to enter a few carefully chosen contests. Whether you win or not, the process of learning and complying with the submission rules is a valuable exercise for anyone who wants to get published. And the feedback from the judges is invaluable in improving your craft and your story. Check the COTT website for information about how to enter the next Olympia contest.

Your turn: If you're a writer, have you entered your work in any contests? How do you feel about the experience? And if you're a reader of fiction, what do you look for in the books you choose to read?

 

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

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Checking In and Catching Up

“Where have you been?!”

The last few weeks have been crazy in more ways than one. It's been a stressful, demanding time at the day job (law practice), involving an all-nighter and all-weekend push to get a settlement finalized, a quick trip to Alabama for a hearing, and hours on the phone to pull a deal together. All this was happening at the same time as I had the fun and privilege to travel to Florida to participate in the My Book Therapy Deep Thinkers retreat with 20 other amazing writers. We spent five days together in a big house near the beach, learning and practicing writing craft as taught by the amazing and generous Susie May Warren, Rachel Hauck, and Beth Vogt, and developing new friendships that I hope will grow as time passes.

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MBT Deep Thinkers 2013

From the retreat I flew directly to San Diego to share a very special day with my middle son, Benjamin, as he married his best friend, Jennifer. They plan to have a big family wedding in Texas in a few months, but for various scheduling reasons (she's enlisted in the US Army Reserves and will be flying away for basic training soon), they decided they didn't want to wait until the “big” event could be pulled together, so I joined them and a friend of theirs at their very fun JP wedding on February 27. Got to spend a day with them before I had to hurry home to take care of business at my law office. I'm so happy I got to be part of that day with our “Bennifer.”

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Bennifer 2/27/2013

In the midst of all this excitement I learned, very unexpectedly, that my novel-in-progress, Do No Harm, won the 2013 Olympia fiction contest, sponsored by Clash of the Titles. What a thrill and an honor. This one is especially exciting because of how the finalists and winners are chosen. The first round of judging is done by readers, just folks who love fiction but are not involved in the publishing industry. The three highest-scoring submissions from that round are named the finalists, and those submissions are handed off to an amazing panel of judges comprised of a multi-published, award-winning author and two agents. I was truly astounded to get the notice that those judges had selected Do No Harm as the winning story, and even more thrilled to receive the judges' score sheets with their thoughtful, careful feedback. I'm in the midst of applying their suggestions to make my story even better. In the meantime, yesterday I enjoyed the surreal experience of being interviewed by author and Christian Authors Guild board member Cynthia Simmons for a podcast about Do No Harm, the Olympia, and my writing journey. I understand that the podcast interview will go “live” in a couple of weeks!

All in all, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind, so I hope you will forgive my absence from the blog world. I look forward to resuming a more regular posting schedule and connecting with more and more friends and readers!

Your turn: What have you been up to during the last few weeks? What are your plans and dreams for the rest of 2013? Share in the comments, or drop me an email.

 

Laura
Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

Free Book Winners–and Coming Events

I love sharing books. A couple of weeks ago I announced a book giveaway in celebration of some great news I've received recently (see the description of the contest here). I'm pleased to be able to offer a free book to each of the commenters from that post (that is . . . each person who commented before February 7, 2013).

The books you get to choose from are:

  • Out of Control by Mary Connealy
  • Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews
  • Desert Gift by Sally John
  • Bandit's Hope by Marcia Gruver
  • Who Is My Shelter? by Neta Jackson
  • Love Finds You in Nazareth Pennsylvania by Melanie Dobson
  • Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

Based on a random drawing, first choice of the listed books goes to . . .

Cheri Swalwell!

 

Cheri, email me to let me know which book you want.

For those commenters who left email addresses, I'll be in touch via email when it's your turn to choose! For those readers who missed out this time, stay tuned, because I'll be giving more books away in the weeks and months to come.

In the meantime, please be sure to check back here next week for more fun, including an inspiring and thought-provoking guest post from author Staci Stallings on Wednesday, February 12. Remember that you'll never miss news or an opportunity to win if you subscribe by entering your email address in the subscription box near the top right corner of my blog. Subscribe here.

I appreciate those of you who share this adventure with me.
Laura
Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

Celebrate With Me — Book Giveaway

I was delighted recently to learn that my first (as yet unpublished) novel was the winner for the women's fiction category of the Phoenix Rattler fiction contest. The contest, sponsored by the Christian Writers of the West, is a great opportunity for unpublished writers to get their work evaluated by experienced writers. The feedback is invaluable, and I was grateful for that alone. To find out that the judges had selected my story as the winner in the women's fiction category–well, that was just above and beyond what I had imagined when I entered.

Then, to add to the fun, a few days ago I received notice that my story is a finalist in The Olympia, another fiction contest, this one sponsored by Clash of the Titles. Again, a wonderful bit of encouragement received just at the right time! They'll announce the winner of that one on March 1, but I received the judges' score sheets and comments yesterday, and am thrilled to have that input to use as I finish editing my manuscript in anticipation of sending it off to an agent very soon.

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To celebrate this good news, I'm giving books away! Since my own novel isn't yet published, I can't give that away. But I do have copies of a number of really outstanding novels I've read in the past few months, and I'd like to give one (or more) away to someone who loves fiction as much as I do. So . . . if you want to win, here's all you need to do:

  1. If you haven't already done so, subscribe to my blog by going to the box at the upper right corner of the blog itself and submitting your email address. (You'll receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Be sure to watch for that and click on the link it provides to confirm.)
  2. Leave a comment below letting me know you've subscribed and telling me what's your favorite genre of fiction (women's fiction? romance? historical? Amish?) or who are some of your favorite authors.

I will draw two to three names (depending on the number of entries) later this month to win a copy of the novel of their choice from the following list:

  • Out of Control by Mary Connealy
  • Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews
  • Desert Gift by Sally John
  • Bandit's Hope by Marcia Gruver
  • Who Is My Shelter? by Neta Jackson
  • Love Finds You in Nazareth Pennsylvania by Melanie Dobson
  • Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

I would love it if you would also go to the home page of my website and sign up for my mailing list through the box there–on the lower half of the page, next to the links to recent blog posts. Don't worry–I won't share your email address with anyone, and I won't inundate you with emails. But the people on that list will be the first to hear news of any new developments in my writing career, such as if/when the day comes that my first novel is to be published.

Celebrate with me! Don't miss your chance to win a free book!

Laura
Greenville, Texas
Category Winner, 2012 Phoenix Rattler, courtesy of Christian Writers of the West, ACFW-Arizona, Do No Harm, Women's Fiction
Finalist, 2012 Olympia, courtesy of Clash of the Titles

I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me