Wednesday, December 23, 2009

See You on the Other Side!

Thank you all for such an amazing year :). I feel so blessed to have gotten to know more about each of you, visit your blogs, and hear your comments. YOU GUYS ROCK! This blog wouldn't be possible without you!

I'll be taking a break from blogging* until the New Year, so I will see you then (*if I can stay away--no promises!)

May you all be blessed and keep safe and warm. Happy Holidays and have a great New Year!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Cheer!

Happy Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve, folks!

I hope you had a great Chanukah, my Jewish friends!

Happy almost Kwanzaa to those who celebrate!

For all you non-religious folk, happy party-going and vacationing from work (wooot!!!!) :). The vacation part is my favorite part, too! (Well, that and the baked goods.)

*I feel like I'm missing some holidays here, so please feel free if you celebrate something else during this season :). I like learning.

In celebration of the holidays fast approaching, I thought I'd forfit a fancy or informative blog post today, and instead provide you with some Christmas/holiday cheer!

"Santa Claus wears a Red Suit, He must be a communist. And a beard and long hair, Must be a pacifist. What's in that pipe that he's smoking?"

--Arlo Guthrie

"Dear Lord, I've been asked, nay commanded, to thank Thee for the Christmas turkey before us... a turkey which was no doubt a lively, intelligent bird... a social being... capable of actual affection... nuzzling its young with almost human- like compassion. Anyway, it's dead and we're gonna eat it. Please give our respects to its family... "

--Berke Breathed

"Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year."

--Victor Borge

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall."

--Larry Wilde

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I feel very blessed by you all this year, and want to thank you for being a part of this blog :). You guys are all what make it work, and make this a joy to do, every day, every week.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

(Also, "Let's be naughty and save Santa the trip" --Gary Allan) ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The winners and deciders of my fate are.......

Lisa & Laura!

Congratulations on sealing my fate, ladies!

You have destined me to spend the day as a literary character and document the hilarity with photo evidence to be posted on this blog! I love and hate you right now, so yeah. Good times!

Thank you all for your great suggestions on what kind of Deal With the Universe I should make in exchange for a book deal.

Now, all I have to do is actually get the book deal, and it will fun times had by all ;).

In the meantime, I promised many of you that if this *deal* won, I'd let you guys pick the literary character I have to dress up as.

So, just for funsies, YOU TELL ME! What character do you want to see me humilia... uh, I mean... dressed up as when/if I get my book deal?

I can't wait to hear what you have in store for me! ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: LOST MISSION by Athol Dickson

Agent Rachelle Gardner recently asked her blog followers if anyone would be willing to read and review one of her client's new books. Even though I usually don't read Christian fiction, I thought this might be a great opportunity to branch out.

Disclaimer: This book was totally free, and I'm either keeping it, or donating it to someone, so yeah. Take that as you will :).

Disclaimer for my Disclaimer: Considering this book was free, I didn't feel bad about potentially disliking it and took a risk on something I usually wouldn't buy.

LOST MISSION by Athol Dickson surprised me. I've been reading a lot of faced-paced YA lately, so I'm used to prose being concise and action-packed. LOST MISSION was different. It was contemplative and wasn't afraid to build the characterization and tension layer by layer.

The book is an epic tale taking place over two centuries, chock full of magical realism and cleverly interwoven storylines. It takes place in California, and follows the story of an 18th century Spanish friar on a mission to save the native people, blending together with the modern day story of Lupe, a woman on a mission from God to cross the border illegally in order to save the gringos.

The story is about the testing of faith, the subtle lures of hypocrisy, and the question of when it's okay to break the law to follow a higher calling. The story is challenging to the reader--thought provoking. It took me a while to read it because I kept dropping it down into my lap and staring off into the distance, thinking about the questions it raised about morality. "What would I do? What is right in this situation?"

I think what I appreciated the most (even though I'm a Christian), is that Dickson didn't preach. He told a real story, and let the character's lives and emotions speak for themselves. I actually started dog-earing pages toward the end of the book because the writing was so powerful. Two of my favorite quotes:

"He heaved raw prayers up from his belly like a retching dog."

"We walk upon our past; with every step we drive it deeper."

Needless to say, I loved it.

My one warning is that when I began the book, it was a very slow starter. Dickson jumps through time and from character to character building the story and the world from the ground up. It takes time to get started, and I think if I'd borrowed the book or bought it for myself, I might have put it down in those first 30 pages.

I'm glad I didn't.

I've already recommended this book to two family members, and I recommend it to you. No matter your belief system, if you like your morals challenged, or just love a richly told story, LOST MISSION will not disappoint :).

Has anyone else read this book? Thoughts? Comments?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deal With the Universe Contest: VOTE NOW!

And now the moment you've all been waiting for (at least since last week's post on Making a Deal With the Universe):

I've selected the best, funniest, most terrifying blog reader suggestions for YOU to vote on!

Yes, you, Gentle Readers, get to decide my fate, when/if I get a book deal. I have to pay the Universe back somehow, right, and I might as well pay in tears.

You will also decide which of these four* lucky commenters will win a copy of Jessica Verday's THE HOLLOW :)!

Now, without further ado, here are your finalists:

Scott suggested posting the worst picture of me ever taken! (And trust me, I've got some doosies. My childhood was... awkward.)

Lisa & Laura suggested that I spend the entire day as a character from a book (i.e. Frodo), and document it with pictures for all to enjoy. (I promise not to cheat and be someone boring!)

CHKB suggested that I eat something revolting on video for all to enjoy. (I'm thinking haggis sounds like the worst thing ever, but please feel free to make suggestions!)

Shannon Messenger suggested karaokeing to "My Humps" and, of course, videotaping it. (You managed to find a song even more embarrasingly wrong than "Bootylicious! :) Well played!)

Please vote for one of these clever folks in the comments! Voting will be closed by Sunday night, and then a winner announced Monday :).


(*Okay, I know I originally said I'd pick three to vote on, but there were just so many awesome ones. I couldn't decide. So, I cheated. Hey, it's my contest. Back off, already!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Author Interview: Lisa Dale

I have a special treat for you today: An interview with contemporary romance author, Lisa Dale!

I recently read her book, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, loved it, and thought I'd ask her to share her journey to publication with us.

She graciously agreed!

Becca: Can you please tell us about your road to publication? How did you meet your agent?

Lisa: I met my agent while I was working at another literary agency; she and I sat on a panel together at a conference in Toronto. At the time, I hadn't really had any ideas about writing books in the near future. Then, later on while I was in school getting my MFA and was working on my first book Simple Wishes, I got to thinking of her again and thought she would like it.

She didn't accept the book right away--she asked for some pretty significant revisions. Her critique was dead on, and I find myself thankful for her excellent editorial advice again and again. Once we sent Simple Wishes out, we got the first offer in less then two weeks and a second offer just a few days after that. I always thought I'd be the type who would take the news with cool aplomb, but instead I screamed like a little kid on the Fourth of July!

Becca: I would definitely have screamed, too :)! Did you ever think about giving up along the way? If so, what kept you going?

Lisa: Oh yes. A hundred times. A thousand. Sometimes I still flirt with the idea (a writer's life is never easy), but the fact is I know I never ever will quit. Writing is a fundamental instinct. I'm ALWAYS writing. So what keeps me going is mostly the fact that there are no other options that will work for me. When there's no plan B, plan A can't be allowed to fail.

Becca: I love that philosophy!

I'm a fan of your blog, and follow you on Twitter as well. Can you tell us about what you did to promote the launch of your book? How much social networking do you do? Any advice for newbie authors on building a readership?

Lisa: Promoting my second book, It Happened One Night, has proven to be a bit easier than promoting the first book, Simple Wishes. I'd say I do middle of the road social networking. Some do more than me, others do much less.

My favorite social networking tool is easily Twitter because it's so easy to meet new people who are into the same things. Twitter-folk are there because they want to talk to and meet new people (strangers), while Facebookers tend to be a bit more private. There are lots of people who tell me "I don't get Twitter," and all I can say is that I didn't either, at first. But there is something special about it as a networking tool, and the advice I would give to people who don't get it is "Start getting it." Read up. Learn. Push yourself. There's a reason everyone is saying how awesome Twitter is.

Becca: That’s so true. I didn’t get Twitter at first, either, but now I’m officially addicted :). Can you tell us what it's like to work with an editor and go through the revisions process? Is there anything that surprised you when you first sold Simple Wishes that you'd wish you'd known as a newbie?

Lisa: Revisions take a lot of patience and humility--when you work with an editor it's no longer about writing to please yourself. It's about writing to meet another person's requests. That's kind of a hurdle to get around. As to the second part of your question--what surprised me--I wasn't prepared for how nervous I would be to learn that the book would come out. I was excited, sure. But I was also scared out of my mind. With the second book the jitters calmed down a bit and I had a lot more fun.

Becca: I’d never thought about being nervous when your book is actually coming out! I’m loving the insight here ;).

That's fascinating that you worked in a literary agency before getting published. Did anything in that experience give you a leg up when you first reached out to your agent? Any query advice for us?

Lisa: Well, I don't want to overstate my role at the agency--I was an intern then a junior agent. Actually, I wasn't really able to write well while I was working at the agency because I was so overwhelmed by technique, rules, marketing, etc. It wasn't until I left that I could "hear" the sound of my own writing voice again.

As for query advice, the best advice I can give is to just be quietly confident in your query letters. If you know your stuff, it will show without your needing to flaunt your knowledge. The biggest mistake I've seen in the eight or ten thousand query letters I've read is "trying too hard."

Becca: Did you find writing It Happened One Night easier or more difficult than your first book? What's it like working under a deadline for a publisher?

Lisa: I have a feeling that every book is going to prove difficult in its own unique way--and that's how I like it. If I started getting too good at what I was doing--if the stories came too easily--I'd probably suspect myself of relying too much on formula and losing my passion for what I'm doing. As for working under deadline, it hasn't proved to be a problem--knock on wood!

Becca: Good point! Sometimes the effort is what makes it fun, as well.

Lastly, if you could go back in time and give Past Lisa any advice, what would it be? Are there any pearls of wisdom you've gained through experience that you'd want to share with yourself?

Lisa: I love that you said "Past Lisa." I say "Past Lisa" and "Future Lisa" to myself all the time. :-) If I could go back and tell myself something, it would be to stay positive and also to go more slowly. To listen harder to the quietest part of my own voice and to hold on to that whisper even when everything else in life gets loud. It's easy to get distracted and sidetracked--but then again, I don't know. Maybe that's part of it, too--all the detours on the way to finding the right path.

So much for my sage wisdom. Obviously, I'm still learning as I go!

A big THANK YOU to Lisa Dale for sharing her insight with us :).

Please go check out her books, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and SIMPLE WISHES, or visit her at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hug an Agent: It's the Law!

Why, you ask?

Because it's Unofficial Official Agent Appreciation Day, of course!

It all started with that crazy trendsetter Kody Keplinger, and spiralled out into the blogs of bajillions of agented authors.

The love in these posts warms the cockles of my wee heart :). (Okay, I'm actually not sure what the "cockles" are, but you get my drift.) As others have said, it's kinda like writer porn to read about how much these dudes appreciate their agents!

Just check out the impressive list of sites gathered up by authors Lisa & Laura, as well as author Elana J! My awesome author friend Christine Fonseca also has blissful agent love to share :).

So, check it out! Share the love!

And hug an agent today!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Writers' Forums & Things To Come!


... or else.

(don't those newsies look like they want to beat you up?)

Anyway, I have exciting news for all of you fellow wanna-be authors out there :). There's a *new* and exciting place to hear about publishing news, interact with a cool agent, and get query critiques!

This week, beloved agent Nathan Bransford added FORUMS to his agent website and blog. Yes, now we can cyber stalk him in style, and on his own turf, too! (Restraining order sold separately.)

I went over there today to start helping out w/ the queries, and there are some cool and talented people there already. Go! Sign up! Strangely enough, my user name is RebeccaKnight. Let's hang out :).

In other news, I'll be posting and interview I did with author Lisa Dale on Monday! I read and loved her most recent book, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (women's fiction/contemporary romance), and now have her debut, SIMPLE WISHES on my Christmas list.

Also, don't forget to enter your ideas for my Deal With the Universe contest by midnight this Friday! I'll pick my favorite three and let you guys vote on what I'll have to do *when* (fingers crossed) I get my first book deal.

Any news to share on your end? :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tell the Truth Tuesday!

Tuesday already??

Well, that can only mean one thing. Yes, it's time to tell the truth and confess, in homage to Lisa & Laura's blog.

So, here goes!

1) When I posted yesterday asking you to come up with an appropriate Deal With the Universe for a CONTEST, I said there was a "Mystery Prize" because I hadn't come up with one yet. Now, I know, and it's AWESOME.

I'll be giving away my once-read, lovingly used copy of THE HOLLOW by Jessica Verday! Make sure to comment on yesterday's post by this Friday for your chance to win!

2) I don't send out Christmas cards. Ever. I don't like a lot of pressure/expectations around Christmas because it makes me crazy. So, I just hug my relatives instead, and email other folks :). And, I don't even feel guilty. MWAHAHAHAHA.

3) My childhood nicknames were Big Bird and Chewbacca because I was always the tallest kid in class. I was 5'5" tall when I was nine... Yeah.

4) I've been wearing crocs and socks all week long. I swear, it looks cute the way I do it ;). I also know Lisa & Laura won't believe me.

5) I watch The Biggest Loser like dudes watch football. Talk to me during the commercial break, or be ignored.

6) Pizza is my greatest weakness! It's like my delicious, salted meat covered Kryptonite. If you ever want to kidnap me, leave some pizza in the back of a panel van, and I'll probably falling for it.

So, what do you guys have to confess this week?

Don't forget to join the running for THE HOLLOW!

Monday, December 7, 2009

What Would You Do For a Book Deal?

There's a new craze sweeping the blogosphere! What is it you ask?

Why, bargaining with the Universe for a book deal, of course!

Yes, everyone's doing it these days. Just take writer Kiersten White who just dyed her hair purple to pay the Universe back for helping her sell her book, PARANORMALCY.

Or else check out Carrie Kei Heim Binas who is pondering wheelin' and dealin' with the Universe. If she gets an agent, she's posting a video of herself dancing to delight the Universe with her potential humiliation. AND if her books sells in a decent amount of time after that? She's getting a tattoo.

Well, now I can't let other people have all the fun without me! So, I need your help, gentle readers. What do you think would be a proper deal to strike with the Universe in exchange for a book deal?

Off the top of my head, I'm thinking:

--Karaoke to something like "Bootilicious" and film it

--Eat lutefisk

--Flash a librarian

So, you can see why I need your help!

Please leave your ideas for what I should promise the Universe in the comments, and I'll pick three finalists next week for YOU to vote on :D. The winning idea wins not only my public (potential) humiliation, but also wins a mystery prize! (Well, and my undying gratitude when I get that dang book deal.)

So, what's it going to be guys?

I'll be taking entries until Friday at midnight!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Business Cards For Writers: Will Write 4 Food!

Yesterday, I read a post that got me thinking. Is it a good idea for a querying writer to have business cards?

Check out this post on writer business card "dos" and "don'ts by editor Maria Schneider. She says that when she's reading queries from authors she often keeps their business cards even if she rejects them.

Why, you ask? Because she likes to network :), and business cards make a professional statement. Also, they're incredibly handy to have if you're at a writer's conference, a local bookstore, or anywhere else where you'll be networking with individuals in the publishing industry.

What do you guys think? Have you made or considered making business cards for yourselves?

Any "Dos" or "Don'ts" that you've encountered?

*See business card made of chocolate above for a definite "Do" ;).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blog Chain: Oh, the Humanity

Or "In-Jokes with Myself: Crappy Writing from the Yesteryear!"

Shaun picked the topic for this round of the Blog Chain, and yes, decided it would be fun to torture us (as well as our blog readers) with this question:

What is the silliest thing from a book or short story you've written, and why? It can be a line or a paragraph or a whole page. Anything that you look back at and go, "Say what?"

Really, Shaun? Are you sure you want to know?

Some things YOU CAN'T UNSEE, if you know what I mean. You go there at your own peril!

Don't say you weren't warned!!!!!

As soon as I discovered the topic, I went digging around in my old "writing" folders and dug out this steaming... uh... gem to share with you guys ;).

I wrote this poem when my husband was playing video games one Saturday, sheerly to amuse myself because I was crazy bored. I was an only child, so I'm really good at entertaining myself when the need arises. I was thinking about that video on where Strongbad is trying to teach everyone how to draw a dragon, and his brother Strongmad (who is not the sharpest tool in the shed) is just carving DAGRON into a table instead of drawing :D. If you don't know about Trogdor, Strongbad, or Homestar Runner, you should totally go procrastinate and head over to that website :D. It's hours of fun!

Okay, enough backstory! Enjoy:


Oh, Dagron Great, what shall thy namesake be?
A crusty serpent that caused the Welsh to flee
their homes and burnt them to the ground?
Or hydra fierce with heads horn-crowned?

Oh, Dagron, should I name thee after great angelic hosts?
Name thee cherubim, give thee wings to fly among the ghosts?
Dagron Great, none do your countenance match:
Your noble reek, your scales' sheen, your claws that snatch.

What shall I name thee, then, Dagron Great--
Oh, wise creature, christened late?
If I cannot do this task, I will take my leave.
So to save disgrace, I shall call you "Steve."


I can't say I didn't warn you!

Any gems from the past you'd like to share? :D

Don't forget to check out the hilarious Cole who posted ahead of me, and the fabulous Amanda, posting tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Contest & Ways to Give this Year!

That time is approaching, my friends!

Time for Christmas decorating, picking out that perfect book for grandma, and of course, awesome contests!

There is a contest happening at The Enchanted Inkpot that would make even the biggest scrooge giggle with delight. Seriously. This is one major contest. They are giving away over 20 books in three huge prize packages!

The Enchanted Inkpot are a group of young adult and middle grade writers who brought you books like SILVER PHOENIX (Cindy Pon), FAERY REBELS: SPELL HUNTER (R. J. Anderson), and ASH (Malinda Lo), to only name a few. Go check out the contest, and good luck!

Also, this is a great time of year to think about ways you can give back to your community, or do something kind for people across the globe.

Fabulous blogger JennyMac posted a list of ways you can help out, including a huge list of stuff you can do for FREE! Please check it out. It is such a blessing to give a bit of time or a donation to someone in need.

So, get yourselves over to those blogs and enjoy the goodness!

Any blog contests or lists you're checking out this month? :) Please share!