Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thanks, Virginia, for another Mayla Strong Adventure


Thanks for the second novel in your Mayla series, Sincerely, Mayla. I finished reading it today and I loved it. Great story. It's incredible to me how God, through your imaginative mind, can weave a story together so well with all the lessons He wants to teach in it. And you did it without preaching!

Of course you have an advantage. You have a saucy, adorable character who is not afraid of being preachy! I love how she not only preaches to everyone else, but to herself as well, and to me.

The biggest boost to my spiritual life from this book was the example you gave near the end of her two prayers. The first one was an example of how I pray all too often, where she just listed her problems and told God she needed help.

Then you led us, step-by-step, through an example of the right kind of prayer. We see her actually throwing her cares, one by on, on God. And because her focus is on Him, she can read His mind as she prays so she can pray His desires for the people she cares about.

I know about all that, but it was so helpful to see a concrete example of what it looks like to do it.

So often my prayers are nothing more than worrying before God. My mind is so focused on my worries that I don't even see Him. He might as well be a bedpost. I need to constantly remember the difference you've illustrated.

Thank you so much for giving yourself to God and letting Him use your life experiences and creative writer's mind to teach us how to walk more closely with Him.

Bless you!


P.S. Readers can check out Virginia's work at her website:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Kindle Debate

Debate has recently been kindled over the latest reader/writer technological innovation, Kindle Books. Making books available in e-form, readable from hand held devices and computers without the restrictions of hard copy, is an exciting new opportunity--an opportunity for market expansion, which should benefit both readers and authors, and also an opportunity for exploitation of both groups.

If you'd like to read up on the current debate, just google "kindle swindle". There's lots out there.

You might want to begin with Roy Blount, Jr.'s Op-Ed article in today's New York Times. It's a well-reasoned, well-written treatise on one aspect of the Kindle controversy--the audio book function. Roy Blount, Jr. is president of the Author's Guild.

Roy Blount's article can be found at:

The Author's Guild website is: ttp://

Comments, anyone?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Point of the Book

I've recently discovered Mark Buchanan, Canadian pastor and author of a number of helpful books on living the Christian life. I'm currently reading The Rest of God, Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, and I'm being blessed in the reading.

As a writer, I was tickled by the author's imaginative letter from the editor in response to Solomon's submission of his book, The Proverbs, for publication. I'm trying not to gloat over the implication that editors don't always recognize a best seller when they see it. It's tempting to gloat, since I haven't yet found an editor who appreciates the great writing and marketing potential of my novel manuscript.


Dear Sol:

Thanks for the opportunity to glance over your recent submission. We loved your dad's book and continue to be humbled and amazed by how many people it's blessed.

About your book: there's some great stuff here--some real gems of insight (my four-year-old loved the one about a dog's vomit, though I'm not sure something like that would make the final cut). I also appreciate your ability to cover a wide range of topics with brevity. You explore everything from domestic squabbles to international politics to corporate strategy, and so succinctly (though, I admit, here and there a tad cryptically).

But I need to be frank with you, Sol: this is an editorial nightmare. It is all over the place. One minute you're talking about nattering wives, the next about kings' hearts, and then suddenly you're on about table manners, lazy people, poor men, whatever. You repeat yourself in many places, contradict yourself in others. I'm intrigued but confused. I wish you would take one theme per chapter and develop it fully.

I'm not saying no. But I am asking this: sum up the whole book in one clear sentence--I'm talking thesis statement here, Sol, just as in your college days. If we can nail that, I think we can build the book from there.

Say hi to the wives and concubines and kids. And congratulations on your recent marriages last month.

Kindest regards,
Friendly Publisher

P.S. I should have mentioned, the title "The Proverbs" strikes me as a bit pedestrian. I'm thinking something catchier, like "Zingers: One-Liners to Delight Your Friends and Humiliate Your Enemies." What do you think?

Sol’s imagined response:

Dear Friendly Publisher,

I’ve thought about your critique and request, and though I think you’ve missed the point of my book’s (dis)organization (hint: it mimics life), I at least want to give you the “one clear” sentence that sums up the entire work. I simply lifted this straight out of my book. Here it is:

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception." [Proverbs 14:8]

Hope that helps.


P.S. I prefer the original title.

Check out this YouTube link for a face-to-face introduction to Mark Buchanan. He's talking about his latest book, Hidden in Plain Sight.

May God bless your inspired words, and may He open the eyes of your editors to their glorious potential!