Jodie
I think I met an angel today. As in a heavenly messenger. A human, but with a heavenly message. So I guess that makes her an angel.

I ran away to Panera to write today, because sometimes a change of scene helps, ya know? Only... I still feel like I'm just throwing letters at the page and hoping they become words which become sentences which become something better than I think they are right now. Boy, oh boy... revising this novel is going to be fun.

During the lunch rush, a lady and her husband sat down at the table beside me, prayed over their meal, and started to eat. All of a sudden, she looked at me and said, "Are you writing a book?"

How did she know that? Panera has wi-fi and all I had done for the bulk of her first few minutes there was stare at the screen, type a couple of sentences, then stare at the screen. Maybe there's a universal blank look that all writers share? Hmm... Something to ponder the next time I can't think of a good scene to write.

Anyway, I told her yes, and she went back to her meal. Then she looked at me again a few minutes later and asked where I was at in the process. Note: she did not ask if I was published. She asked where I was at.

I won't recount the whole conversation, but it went like that, her occasionally asking me questions, us discussing writers we'd read, with lapses of comfortable silence for her to eat and me to write.

It was when she stood up to go that she touched me. She said, "What's your first name?" So I told her. And then she said, "I'd like to pray for you. Would you like me to pray for you?"

This stranger, this amazing stranger, wants to pray for me. Wow. I mean. Wow. How humbling. How like our amazing God to show up and provide encouragement just when we need it the most.

Here is the kicker, the part where God went that one extra step that's sort of like the signature on His postcards to me... She told me her name... and her last name is the same as a dear family friend of ours who passed on a few years ago. He was an amazing, godly man who stepped in for me at one of the lowest points of my life and helped put me back on track, who was among the first to congratulate me when I got engaged to my husband, who kept up with me and prayed for me even when I didn't know he was doing it.

How like God is that? Pretty awesome, I'd say...

--JB
Jodie
It occurred to me a day or so ago that the blog has been suffering a severe case of neglect over the past couple of weeks. You'd think it was because I'm doing Nanowrimo (particularly after my last post which was about, you guessed it, Nanowrimo), but I'm not. I sat down on November 1, opened a blank Word document, and heard God say, "Nope. You need to go back to that scene you're scared to face. Finish the book you started." Alas, no Nano for me this year. I did get a great idea for a novel after the current one is finished, so all is not lost.

If you've been keeping an eye on the progress meter to your right, you'll see that Rearview Mirror, the tentatively-titled second book in the Dellinger Racing Series, is growing. Well, it was growing until today. I had a word goal of 1,000 words today. Wrote 500. Deleted 5,000. Ouch. Still, my goal is to have the first draft done by Thanksgiving. At least, that was the goal before I deleted 5,000 words today. May have to revise that goal. Seriously, about 4,000 of those words will go back in at a later place in the book, so technically they aren't deleted. They're rearranged. That sounds better to my ears. Either way, I'm having a whole lot of fun with Ryan and Kate's story, even though I did struggle for two weeks with one particular scene that brought up some old grief in me. Not fun. But I'm praying Kate's grief is honest.

Other news? I have an amazing agent! You read it right. Consider this the official announcement. :-) Thursday, after our second conversation, I hung up the phone and cried. Something about hearing Sandra say, "I believe in this" humbled me and made me amazingly grateful. I wish I could express that feeling, but I can't. I just can't. Suffice it to say, God is unbelievably gracious and so very good to me.

And now, the blog will probably suffer some more, since I've imposed this huge, immediate deadline on myself this week.

Thanks for reading.

--JB
Jodie
Want to know the top reasons readers stop reading books? Visit K.M. Weiland's blog. The fun part is that she quoted me! :-)
Jodie
Over the course of the past few months, I've gotten the chance to know author C. Maggie Woychik. And to know her is to laugh with her. When I got the opportunity to be a part of her blog tour, I jumped at it.

In all seriousness, Maggie Woychik has been published in a number of Christian magazines including War Cry, Young Salvationist, Wesleyan Advocate, Woman's Touch, Christian Women Today, and many others, and has just released her first book through Port Yonder Press. The book, I Run to the Hills: Reflections on the Christian Journey is her freshman attempt at essays based on her spiritual journey, and it's garnering positive reviews. Try it, you might just like it. You can find it on Amazon.



We decided to offer something a little different here. You can visit other stops on the tour for the "serious" stuff, but we decided to have a little fun. Hope you enjoy the humor, and be sure to check out the book! It's more serious than this interview, I promise.


How did you come to be a writer?
Well, it began at an early age. A teacher put a pen in my hand and said, "Write!" :)


How long have you been writing and when was your first book published?
I've been writing since the first "a" (see previous question).


Can you give us one “do” and one “don’t” for those aspiring to be a writer?
"Do" watch and listen to teacher (though neither may be easy to do); "Don't" pass notes in class or stick your gum under your desk -- never know when you'll raise a knee and be wearing that gum.


What is a typical writing day like for you?
Pen in hand, I sit. Page on desk, it sits. With great determination, much effort, and a little prayer, the two may eventually commune.


What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It infinitely builds your self-esteem to be able to sign instead of "x" your name on a document.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
How to draw a pretty decent cow.

Tell us about your latest book. It is holding up "More Than A Carpenter" and leaning against "The Collected Works of C. S. Lewis".

What did you learn while writing this book? That I didn't listen to teacher nearly enough; that though I pretend not to care what others think, I really do; and that though it's exhilarating to have a book on Amazon and store shelves, I never expected to age as much as I did in the process.


How can readers get in contact with you?
I really like the concept of passenger pigeon, but since few of you probably keep them on hand anymore, I suppose you can use cmaggiewoychik@yahoo.com. If you want a glimpse of what $60/yr buys, you can visit my website. But if you want something a little more interesting, visit the Encouraging Emerging Authors blog. Look forward to "swappin' howdy's"!
Jodie
Welcome to National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NANOWRIMO.

What's the point of Nanowrimo? The point is simply to write. To get words on paper. They don't even have to be the greatest words; revision comes later, but certainly not during the month of November. :-) It's sort of a "just do it" thing.
Write for the pleasure, the joy, the rush of getting the story on
paper. Write even if you don't know how. Write even if you've never written anything before. Just put some words on paper.

I like what the website says:

"Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in
NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze
approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on
the fly. Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's
a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving
yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and
editing and just create. To build without tearing down."

It breaks down to, what? 1,667 words a day? That's about six and a
half double-spaced pages. It makes me think of James Scott Bell's "Nifty 350." Get up first thing in the morning and bang out 350 words. You might be surprised at what you get, and it will motivate you to keep moving. It gets you over the hurdle.

I'm looking at Nanowrimo as a break from the novel I'm working on now. I'm
going to do something different, something I haven't tried before. I
give myself permission to fail if I fail, but to have a blast in the
process!. :-)

Go and Nano, whether you're a writer or not. You might find out, like a friend of mine really did, that you go from saying, "I'm not really a writer" to saying "Uh, I'm a writer!"

JB