Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Monday, November 30, 2009

Powerful Prayful Monday 11/30

Can you believe that tomorrow is the first day of December? Where did the year go? While December is the most festive time of the year with all kinds of parties and food, it is also one of the most stressful months. My prayer is that all that read this blog remain stress free and able to enjoy the celebrations of our Savior’s birth.

If you have a prayer request, please list it below. There were less last week and I hope that means there were fewer needs. But, it could have also been because the crunch of the Thanksgiving week kept readers away from blogs. I know I didn’t get to read many last week or over the weekend.

Have a wonderful Monday and great week. I look forward to praying for anyone who leaves a request.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Spotlight on: Mike Simpson, owner of Second Wind Publishing

This is going to be my second of many Spotlights. Starting off this series is Mike Simpson, owner and founder of Second Wind Publishing. If there are any authors reading this that are looking for a new publishing home, now is the chance to find out more about my publisher.

More information can be found at the website: www.secondwindpublishing.com. Second Wind also has a blog that most of the authors take part in, www.secondwindpub.blogspot.com. And, finally, don’t forget Facebook. Just do a search for Second Wind Publishing LLC until Entertainment & Arts: Books & Literature. My link wasn’t copying and pasting correctly, but that should get you there. They have great discussions almost every day.

Now, onto the Spotlight Interview.

AMY: Mike, I am so glad you agreed to this interview. As an author, I know I always wanted to find out every possible detail about a potential publisher. I am thrilled to give authors and readers the opportunity to learn more about Second Wind Publishing. First off, tell us, how did Second Wind Publishing come about?

MIKE: Second Wind actually started as a dare. I had become acquainted with a number of outstanding writers of several distinct genres who were participating in on-line writing contests. Clearly the quality of their work was exceptional—they were as good as most best selling authors whose titles you might pick up in a bookstore. Only, even though many of them were doing quite well in the contests, they weren’t getting their work even considered by the major publishing houses. I kept voicing my disgust at the unfairness of this and finally one of the authors dared me to start my own company and publish these authors. After all my broken bones and bruises as a kid, you’d think I would’ve learned not to take a dare.

AMY: Second Wind is little over a year old. When did it celebrate its first Birthday? In that time, how many individual authors have you signed and how many books have been published.

MIKE: Wow, Amy! That first anniversary went by in a blur. We celebrated it in August, 2009, which was actually the first anniversary of our having a book in print. By the time we were a year old, we had twenty-six books in print by seventeen different authors. In the six months that have followed, we have more than doubled that number and now have forty books either available or soon to be printed by thirty authors.

AMY: What genres are you currently publishing?

MIKE: We started with various types of romances: general, regency, suspense, paranormal and supernatural. At the same time we moved into crime/mystery titles: hardboiled police procedurals, thrillers, pure mysteries and apocalyptic crime stories. We’ve also published and are moving strongly into the general fiction area. We have some action/adventure novels and are publishing a couple non-fiction titles.

AMY: Do you anticipate moving into other genres?

MIKE: Early in 2010 we expect to begin publishing children/young adult books. I didn’t think we’d move in that direction as quickly as we have, but honestly I received too many good submissions to let them go. I also anticipate we’ll have a sci-fi/paranormal imprint in the next year as well.

AMY: The motto for Second Wind is “The Best Authors You Haven’t Read, Yet”. Does this mean you will only consider unpublished authors?

MIKE: Not at all. We are glad to consider any author’s work. One of the greatest compliments we’ve had at Second Wind has been when a couple published authors submitted their unpublished manuscripts to us because they like the way we go about things.

AMY: Do you prefer your authors to be agented or not?

MIKE: We are glad to work with agents. I’d really like to be clear, however, that having an agent does not make it more or less likely that Second Wind will offer a contract to an author. Just a little side note here: when we turn down a manuscript, we explain why it doesn’t work for us; no author ever gets that, “We’re sorry but your manuscript does not meet our editorial needs” dither from us.

AMY: If an author wanted to submit to Second Wind, what do they need to do?

MIKE: Send an email to mike@secondwindpublishing.com with contact information, a synopsis of the manuscript, the first chapter or 30 pages of the book as an attachment and the total word count.

AMY: What is the process, from your end, when a submission is received?

MIKE: When we receive the initial submission, one of several editors gives an initial review and then passes the submission on to another for confirmation. If two or three editors decide against a manuscript, we go back to the author as quickly as possible and explain why. If a manuscript is interesting, we ask for the entire manuscript as an email attachment and send it around to several of our editors for their thoughts. This is the difficult part for us because there are many “near misses.” We take our time and consider these manuscripts fully, and we try to discuss with the author why we are turning it down. When we decide that we want a manuscript, we ask the author to check us out. We do things a little differently than other publishers and we want to make sure that writers understand and accept our processes. We send several introductory documents and a sample contract. So far no author has said “no” to us (although a couple got snatched away by other publishers at the last minute).

AMY: If you sign an author/book, what is the process of getting it published. And, how long does it usually take to see the title in print?

MIKE: Once Second Wind and an author agree to work together it is a completely collaborative effort: we send the author’s book to a chosen editor. We work with the author to select the cover art. Once the interior of the book is ready, we send the file via email to the author to review closely. Once the author completes that, we order an actual print proof and have the author review that for any mistakes. If necessary a second proof is ordered. Once we have an acceptable proof, we make the book available in our various sales outlets and send six complimentary copies to the writer. It’s typically three to four months from the time we contract with an author until the book is available for sale.

AMY: What would you say are the advantages to being published with Second Wind? In other words, what makes Second Wind special and stand out against the other publishers?

MIKE: There are several unique aspects of being published by Second Wind our authors find attractive. First is the hands-on interaction between authors and the publishing staff. All our authors and editors become a sort of extended family. Second, the company is expanding exponentially in a variety of ways. Any writer who wants to stay on the cutting edge of the publishing industry in regard to sales venues and technology would be well-served by Second Wind. One other thing that I’m particularly excited about is our own brick-and-mortar bookstore, hopefully opening in within the next three or four months in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It will give us the opportunity to hand-sell the books of our Second Wind authors and as well as a leg up on distribution to other book outlets.

AMY: What are the future plans for Second Wind Publishing?

MIKE: We intend to continuing adding authors and books to our catalogue, probably on the order of ten new authors a year and up to twenty books. We also intend to continue innovating in the way we produce books and the venues in which they are marketed and sold. We have some really cool ideas we are implementing in just about every aspect of our business.

AMY: Is there anything else you thing the readers would like to know?

MIKE: The bottom line in publishing is that people always want to read a good story, well told. Every Second Wind book is a quality piece of literature. I feel so privileged to be working with these outstanding authors. They are really the story of Second Wind.

AMY: Mike, thanks for the interview. Even though I’ve been with Second Wind for almost a year, I learned a few things as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Away from my Blog

I am blogging at my publisher today, secondwindpub.wordpress.com. Stop by and tell me what Thanksgiving means to you. I hope your day is full of blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Research, Research and More Research

I write inspirational and/or sweet historical romance. My stories have taken place during the American Revolution, French Revolution and the Regency Period. Even though my time frame spans roughly only 45 years, a LOT happened. So, I spend a lot of time researching. A few of the things I needed to recently look up were 1) at what age could a man become a vicar, and 2) what would the parishioners have been singing, by way of a hymn, in 1811. I have no clue to either of those answers. I am sure my favorite songs were not part of their hymnal since I am partial to contemporary Christian music.

As for the vicar, luckily one of my critique partners (thank you Heather) had a biography and the man became a vicar at the age of 22. So, I am safe on that one since my hero is older than that. I had to go to the internet for the music, however. It appears that in England, most of the hymns were Psalms. But I am sure there were hymns other than Psalms then. Or, perhaps they were written but not sang in church. I think I am going to play it safe and simply call it a Psalm. Okay, maybe that is cheating or lazy and I probably should look into it further and put the name of an actual song in the story. Any suggestions?

What do you write? Have you chosen a topic or era that requires a lot of research? What are some of your favorite research sites?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Powerful Prayerful Monday 11/23/09

Sorry for the late post. I slept later than usual this morning so I wasn't able to post prior to my rush to get ready for work and out the door. Maybe I need prayers to get my sleep schedule back in order. Somehow I've gotten turned around and I am unable to sleep until late and I end up hitting the snooze in the morning. Ugh! I will get turned back around eventually (I hope). Of course, with the holidays, who knows what will happen.

Once again I was blessed with opportunity to pray for so many last week and would like to continue to do the same this week. Please list your prayer requests in the comments. Also, given that this is the week of Thanksgiving, I would like to hear what blessings each of us are thankful for. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were sending more praises than requests this week.

In truth, I believe we all have a lot to be thankful for, but when an illness happens, whether it is us, a family member or friend, or unemployement, or tragedy, or any other negative in our lives, it tends to completely overshadow everything we should be thankful for. I know when my child was seriously injured years ago, I prayed for her health and healing and it was weeks later before it occurred to me to thank God that I had medical insurance and that we lived close to a trauma hospital that was affiliated with a children's hospital so that she could get the best of care, as well as the doctors, nurses, etc.

I hope everyone will join me in praying for those who list a request as well as praising and thanking God of his bountiful blessings.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Critique Group Anyone?

I love my critique group, which I have said several times now. We all write historical romance, which is a benefit. As I am sure you know, there can be a huge difference between contemporary and historical and we found it was easier to stick with historical than explain some of the oddities found in regency romances.

I’ve learned more than I thought possible from my group and they have helped me grow as an author in several directions. And, we are a successful group. When we first started, only one had a publishing contract. Now, four more of us do and others have gone on to win several contests, had requests for full and partial manuscripts, and are for the most part more secure in their writing than ever before. This alone is proof of why a good critique group is essential to any serious writer. At least in my opinion.

There is only one drawback to my group, if you can call it that. I am the only one not writing for the secular market. I have written a few sweet novels, but have yet to pursue publication of these. The two books that are contracted I consider inspirational. Yet, I am not comfortable with this because I need to learn much more about the inspirational market. Mainly I am afraid I’ve broken some of the rules of the Christian market.

Though I would never dream of leaving my current critique group, I am toying with the idea of starting a second one. This critique group would be for the Sweet and Inspirational Romance author, only. Before I embark on forming such a group I would like to know if anyone else would be interested in joining such a group. I know I could learn from each of you and hope that you could learn as much from me. If you are interested, please contact me privately at amydetrempe@gmail.com and I will be happy to send you more information on how the group would work. I will pattern it after my current group since it seems to work so well for everyone involved.

I am curious. How many of you belong to a critique group, or have in the past. Have you had good experiences?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Television Quotes

When I take time to sit and watch previously recorded shows with my husband it is to let my mind go and simply be entertained. Rarely does dialogue or one specific quote stick with me. However, in an episode of Warehouse 13, Breakdown, aired 9/8/09 on SYFI, one piece of dialogue stuck with me.

John Adams was a farmer. Abraham Lincoln was a small town lawyer. Plato, Socrates were teachers. Jesus was a carpenter. To equate judgment and wisdom with occupation is at best, insulting.

Have you ever been surprised by something someone says, or learn something from an unexpected source? What of your writing? What is it that you hope the reader will take from it and is there something in the story that the reader my find surprising or profound?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Powerful Prayerful Monday, 11/16

I was uplifted last week by being blessed with the opportunity to pray for everyone who listed a need. It is also something I intend to continue. I hope others joined me and are blessed with the experience as much as I.

So, if you have a prayer request, please list it in the comments and each day I will read through all of the posts and prayer for each individual. There is no needed to be specific if you don't wish to. I am sure a lot of us have private struggles we are dealing with and don't want to announce it on the web. A simple "I am struggling right now" or simply "pray for me" will suffice. I just need to say your name and God will be all over it because he knows your needs far better than you or I.

God Bless everyone and have a great, wonderful, powerful, prayful Monday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Took the Challenge

Karen over at http://karenevans.blogspot.com/ has challenged her readers to use these five words in a post: zone, ring, dusty, pineapple, and elephant. I thought I would give it a try.

My house is dusty, which I am well aware and know I should rectify. But, who has time to clean with there is writing to be done, blogs to read, blogs to write, facebook to visit, etc. And it is really hard to think about any mess when I am focused and in the writing zone. You know, that place where minutes translate to hours of writing bliss and the words just flow out of you like the water out of a faucet. When that happens to me, I could have an elephant in my living room and wouldn’t even notice. But don’t tell my kids. Who knows what they would try to get away with, and probably succeed. So, in preparation for such a writing event, I take off my ring so I can lather my hands with lotion and then I slice up the last of the pineapple to nibble on while I work.

What do you nibble on when you write, if anything? Are there certain foods or drink that you always have with you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writing, the Old Fashioned Way

Becoming Jane was on television the other night. I caught bits and pieces of it because I was doing other things and not really paying attention. But, I did see a scene where she was writing a portion of one of her novels. She dipped the quill in ink and began writing on parchment. She paced about the room a bit, as if contemplating a scene or dialogue, and went back to writing. She then crossed out some lines. That is when it hit me. All of her novels started off in longhand and before being sent to the publisher were edited and rewritten in longhand again. I wonder how many revisions the novels went through before it was perfect, or how much parchment and ink.

I’ve written in longhand before and gone on to type it into the computer. I considered the typing the second draft. But, I cannot imagine all drafts and finals being in longhand. Goodness, I am not sure an editor would be able to read my handwriting past chapter 2. I tend to start of neat, but the more I write, the more it becomes indecipherable.

Have you ever written an entire novel in longhand? Have you written partial manuscripts? If we did not live in the day of computers, would you give up writing because of writer’s cramp?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Powerful Positive Monday 11/9

I’ve always felt very strong about prayer and yesterday’s Sunday School lesson reminded me why. We began with reading 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray continually.” You can't get any clearer than that.

We then discussed the lesson, 2 Kings 18 & 19. In short, King Hezekiah had a problem. The enemy nation, Assyria, threatened to destroy Jerusalem. King Hezekiah responded as follows (2 Kings 18: 19)

“Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”

We finished up with the Bible Words for the students from James 5:16
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
As you can see, there was common theme, as there usually is with the lessons. This one happens to be PRAYER.

Regardless of how, when and where I prayer, I don’t pray enough. I am not sure it is possible to pray enough. It is also the reason why I am going to try something new. Every Monday I am going to post a blog called Powerful Positive Monday. I invite anyone who wishes to add a prayer request in the comments section, whether it is for you, a family member, friend or acquaintance. No names necessary. It could be as simple as I am concerned about a neighbor. That is all I need to know. God already knows exactly who you have on your mind. I will visit the blog every day and prayer for every request noted. It does not have to be just needs. If you have a note of Thanksgiving, that would be great too. Let us all thank God for the blessings. I would encourage anyone who reads this blog to prayer for those who have listed a request or thanksgiving throughout the week. On the following Monday, we will start all over again.

I hope everyone joins me in this. Sometimes prayer is the most powerful thing we can do and it is the easiest. And, can you think of a better way to start of the week than praying?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Meter Bar Thingy

I've decided to keep track of where I am on my current WIP, A Reluctant Vicar. It is already started so I can't use it for Nano, but my gaol is to get it finished by the end of November. I already have 20,471 words out of my 70,000 goal, so that is about the 50,000 I need. If anyone can tell me how to get that meter/counter for my current WIP that I see in so many margins on blogs, I would be very grateful. Otherwise, I will just post my word count occassionally. Maybe this will keep me focused and working on it.

Good luck to everyone trying to reach a goal.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Lyrics that Stick with You

A good book is not the only thing that can leave a lasting impression. Music lyrics have a way of doing this too. At least for me.

When I am making my commute to and from work I only listen to the radio or a CD about 30% of the time. For the most part I like the silence to meditate, pray or think through my current WIP. The other night while driving home, out of the blue a song popped into my head. It is one of my favorites from church – The Power of Your Love, by Geoff Bullock. I don’t know why this song came to me, but soon I was singing it while driving down the interstate, with no radio backing me up.

Had I not pulled into my driveway, I would have probably launched into one of my other favorites – In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. This song never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

If you are unfamiliar with either of these songs I hope you look them up and give a listen or read the lyrics.

When I am not listening to a Christian station, I am listening to a station that plays music from the 1960s to present. There have been some awesome music and lyrics written in my lifetime.

Is there a song, or set of songs you sing during church services that stick with you, never fail to move you, or you just simply love to sing? If you don’t have a particular song, do you prefer the traditional hymns or are you more into the contemporary Christian music of today. Or, what lyrics do you simply love, from any genre? Do you have a favorite song of all time? I am not sure if I have an all time favorite but I can tell you my husband's is Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, and a guaranteed slow dance for me at any wedding reception.