Archive for October, 2010


In My Mailbox (16)

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Today I’m featuring a two-week backlog of books… and I really wish my camera was connected to this computer, because it would be a whole lot easier to just take a photo and post that, but… since the software is on the Husbando’s computer and he’s very busy, the long way of things it is.

I should also mention I went to a discount store when looking for treats for my NaNoWriMo group, and found a bunch of classic books on sale for $1.88… which is why there are so many books this week! Whoo-hoo for discount sales! (If you’re in Canada and live near a Liquidation World store, I recommend you check out their shelf of books… you never know what you’ll find!)

FYI: In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren to showcase books you’ve received for review, bought, borrowed, or swapped. Anyone can participate, and it’s a great way to showcase new books and encourage blogger/commenter interaction!







(This is a huge, 500+ page anthology of Ms. Marvel comics, starting with Ms. Marvel Issue #1.)





So… that’s what my mailbox (and wallet) have been up to for the past few weeks! The Love Inspired books I actually bought for market research – I have a package of highlighters and the Harlequin guidelines for writing one of these things next to me, and I’ve started highlighting the book according to different elements (ie. conflict, romance, backstory, hero vs. heroine POV) so I can see what goes into writing one of these things… we’ll see how that goes, and I’ll probably write a whole post on it sometime (I got the idea from author Holly Lisle, so I can’t take credit for it!).

And with that… what came in YOUR mailbox this week? :)


Book Review: ‘Running Around (and Such)’

   Posted by: Faith    in Tasty Tomes

Running Around (and Such)

Lizzie Searches for Love, Book 1

by Linda Byler

Contemporary / Amish

Release Date: May 2010

lizzie Publisher’s Description:

     Lizzie Glick longs to fit into her quiet Amish community. Her sisters, Emma and Mandy, are ready to get married and settle into the traditional rhythm of having children and keeping house. But Lizzie isn’t sure that’s what she wants for her future. It isn’t that Lizzie doesn’t want to stay Amish. It’s just that there’s so much to figure out!
     Stephen, her quiet, gentle friend, hints that he might be interested in a relationship deeper than friendship, but Lizzie is also drawn to the charming Amos who seems to have eyes for everyone but her.
     She has certainly attracted the attention of the egg-truck driver. A thrill runs through her every time the worldly man comes to pick up an order, each time extending his stay a little longer. How long will she keep this a secret from Emma — and Mam and Datt?
     What will become of Lizzie? She has too hot a temper. She hates housework and dislikes babies. She loves driving fast horses but is petrified of going away from home for a week to work as a maud (maid). Is she too spirited, too innocent, and almost too uninhibited for a young Amish woman? 

My Thoughts:

For a book that’s subtitled ‘Lizzie Searches for Love’, you’d think that there’d be… well… more of a search for love involved.

On the contrary, Lizzie doesn’t actually ‘search for love’ until three quarters of the way through the book, and even then, it isn’t much of a search. More like a few sideways glances at this boy or that man.

So, why would this be the case?

Well, here’s one clue: the main character is fifteen. Yes, that’s right. This is a novel packaged like an adult book, with a fifteen-year-old main character and language that reflects an even younger voice. Now, it’s not entirely unusual to have a young female main character in an adult novel, however, the rest of the book needs to rise to the occasion and present the story in such a way that a mature reader’s interest is sustained.

But from the juvenile sentence structure, all the way to the overwhelming SHOWING and not TELLING manner in which the story is presented, this isn’t a book that lives up to the  expectations of readers of Amish-themed fiction.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted it to restore my faith in what has lately become a cookie-cutter genre full of rehashed plots and characters. The problem is, the writing just isn’t there, and the story doesn’t deliver on what it promised (in the back cover copy or title).

I could detail all the specifics concerning what exactly irked me and provide you with examples of the clunky, flat narrative, but I think I’ve done my job here.

In one sentence: The book couldn’t figure out who its audience was.

Maybe if you’re a die-hard fan of Amish fiction, you’ll find something to like here. Otherwise, leave this one on the shelf.

About the Author

Linda Byler grew up Amish and is an active member of the Amish church today. Growing up, Linda loved to read and write. In fact, she still does. She is well known within the Amish community as a columnist for a weekly Amish newspaper. Linda and her husband, their children, and grandchildren live in central Pennsylvania.

I received this book from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review.


No Good Title

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

No, this isn’t a post about titles… it’s just me not really having a good title for the post. Heh.

I know, I know… I haven’t been around much this week. Sorry for not letting you all know and leaving you hanging… I meant to put up a “the Faith is not in” sign this week, but didn’t get around to it.

There are only a few days before NaNoWriMo, so I’ve been trying to take it really easy this week in prep for the insanity that’ll soon begin. I haven’t visited any blogs, made any posts, done much of anything, really… so I’m not ignoring you, I’m just taking a bit of a break.

I’m hoping to get a few minutes today or tomorrow to participate in the Second Crusader Challenge, but I need to stay low-stress (I’d say “no-stress”, but I know that’s pretty much impossible) so I’m not going to push it if I’m not feeling the post.

Never fear, I’ll be back next week in full force. Until then, have a great final week of October, and happy plotting to those of you who are also in NaNo prep mode!

See you in a few days :)


Four Golden Rules

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Last week on the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents Editor’s Blog, author Anne Fortier wrote a guest post about the “4 Golden Rules of Being a Writer”.

If you haven’t had a chance to read it, head over there and check it out. Then come back here and let’s talk about it!


Rule One was:

“Start at square one.”

The idea here is that there are no shortcuts in this business. You can’t spend all your time chasing down this connection or that connection, hoping someone will introduce you to an agent or editor known by a friend of a friend of a friend.

I’d add to this that it’s up to you to make those connections first-hand. Attend conferences, follow agents or editors on Twitter or read their blogs, and if by some chance someone does know someone who knows someone… it might be worth checking out, but don’t invest all your time and energy into it.


Rule Two was:

“Do your homework.”

I think this ties in nicely to Rule One, don’t you? It involves not taking shortcuts with your manuscript and query letter. Formatting, grammar, specific guidelines for each agent / editor / publishing house—all these things are crucial when you’re putting your work out there.

I’d also add to this that when you do your homework on these things, pay attention each and every time. It’s too easy to read five or six different guidelines here or there and then allow your eyes to skim over the requirements on other guideline pages. Yep, it’s tedious. Yep, it’s hard work. But think of it this way: This is your writing career, not some fanciful hobby (well, maybe it is… in which case, you’ve got it much easier than the rest of us!).

You wouldn’t hand in a half-completed essay to a professor and expect to get an A+, right? So why would you ignore important guidelines and expect an agent or editor to offer representation?


Rule Three was:

“Pitch your book before you write it.”

Okay, Fortier, what are you talking about? Aren’t we supposed to finish our manuscripts before doing anything with them?

What she’s saying here is: Write your query first, then write your manuscript. That way, you’ll be thinking about your book in terms of why you’re writing it and what the story needs to do as a whole, rather than ending up with a rambling mess at the end that you can’t seem to make any sense of. This is a “thinking through the story early on” piece of advice.

I see what she’s getting at… but I don’t think this always works. This type of thing is going to depend on whether you’re a panster or a plotter, and while each of us surely begins a novel with some vague idea of what’s going to happen, I don’t necessarily think writing a query letter before you’ve put one word down on paper is going to help, all the time.

What I do believe in is Holly Lisle’s concept of “The Sentence.” If you’ve never heard of this before, you’re missing out! This is a one-line summary that tells us what your book is about. Protagonist, antagonist, conflict + twist = the whole book. That, to me, is the kind of thing we all need before starting a novel.

How about you? Do you write a query first, or have you tried writing one first before?


Rule Four was:

“Don’t jump the gun.”

The point here is to be ready before doing anything rash. Be absolutely ready. And then make sure you’re not rushing things when you do put yourself out there.

Sure, I see her point here. Finish the manuscript. Polish it up and make it shine so brightly that no one can ignore it. Then polish it again. But one thing here that I’m not sure I agree with is her advice to not “send query letters to more than one agent at a time.” Er… I sure hope she means not to send the same letter to multiple agents, because if you’re not sending out plenty of queries when the time is right, you’re going to be spending an awfully long time in the query stage.

Some agents respond within 24 hours, some within a week, some within 6 weeks, and some take a few months. I don’t think waiting to hear back from each agent before sending another query out is the most practical course of action.

What do you think? How have you handled the query stage? Send them out in batches, or wait for each reply to come back in?



And those were the “Golden Rules” of being a writer in this article. Hmm… are those really the best and most important rules for writers? What would you have included instead? What wouldn’t you have put on this list?


Blog Awards? Oh, My!

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

I know, I know… I’ve been a terrible slacker when it comes to receiving blog awards! I see all those things people want me to do with them and I get anxious and then never do anything about them at all.

Well, for lack of a better blog topic today (haha)… and the fact that I’m hoping to start a new topic series next week, so I don’t want to jump into it in the middle of things… I decided I’d better suck it up and just post about the awards I’ve received. And then hand them back out again!

A few weeks back, I received this award from two wonderful ladies, Tessa at The Quest for a Literary Agent and Rachel at Rachel Morgan Writes…. Thank you, ladies!


The rules that come with this blog award are… I just have to give it to 15 bloggers I’ve recently met. Well, I don’t have THAT much time today (does anyone, really?) so I’m going to see how far I get before I run out of time…

And if you’ve already received this blog award before, too bad! You’re getting it again! So, in no particular order, go check out these lovely bloggers I’ve recently met:

The second award I received was also from Rachel Morgan at Rachel Morgan Writes…

The rules with this award are… thank the person that gave it to you (thanks, Rachel!), then answer a question, then pass it on to six or fewer others.

The Question: If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life, would I, and what would it be?

The Answer: I’d change the color of the paint in my basement. Seriously! It looked great at first, and now I hate it… but I can’t change it, because the paint fumes will kill my bird. Yep, that’s the one thing I’d change… everything else in life has been a learning experience, and I don’t want to live with regrets. I’d rather learn and move on. :)

Passing it On:

Go take a look at these ladies’ blogs, they’re beautiful AND informative!

And to those of you who received an award, no pressure to do anything about it! LOL. I know blog awards aren’t always as exciting as they should be, since they come with all these ‘rules’, so do with them what you will.

Hope you all have fun meeting new bloggers today!


What is Storypraxis?

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Do you have trouble getting going with your creative writing in the morning? Or afternoon? Or evening?

Or do you sometimes sit down at the computer and stare at the blank page, not entirely sure of where to start?

I know some of you don’t have that problem. You open a document and start typing, at your scheduled hour, every day. Not me! I’m the exact opposite. My schedule is random and I have the worst time when it comes to actually putting my fingers on those keys for the sake of my own creativity.

I find I tend to get caught up in other things instead – life, blogging, emails… you name it, it’s a distraction.

Storypraxis is a way to escape all that, for just 10 minutes every day. It was started by freelance editor Andy Meisenheimer (former editor for Zondervan Books) and is a “community blog that is dedicated to helping writers write creatively every day”.

Six days a week, a prompt is posted. It’ll be a word, or a short phrase. You open a document (or your email), set a timer, and write for 10 minutes. That’s it. Ten minutes.

Use your imagination and your creative freedom to create, based on that prompt.

Send your story/response to the prompt in to the blog, and a sample of the stories from that day will be posted to encourage and entertain the rest of the participants.

There’s no commenting allowed on the posts, because it isn’t a critique session. It’s an exercise in creativity, and – this is key – no polishing or editing beyond proofreading. A way of getting you to write, freely, with no barriers but your own imagination.

I’ve participated several times already, and plan to continue doing so!

I met Andy at Write!Canada 2010 earlier this year, so don’t worry that he’s going to run off with your stories or mess with them or anything. He’s cool and genuinely cares about writers and creativity.

I should also mention that I learned about storypraxis from one of my favorite people, award-winning author Mags Storey (who wrote a really awesome YA book called If Only You Knew that you should read, seriously… it won one of the biggest Canadian literary awards this year! …here’s a link to a sample chapter! and another link to a great review!). I met her last year at Write!Canada 2009, and have been privileged to stay in occasional contact since then (and we’ve helped each other out on a few things since then, too). So you should go order her book first, THEN try out storypraxis. Got it? ;)

Come try storypraxis with me today!

Here are a few links to what I’ve contributed so far:

book burning by Faith Boughan

expecting a lie by Faith Boughan

Want to try?

Here’s today’s prompt: imperfection.


In My Mailbox (15)

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Apparently I had a brain fart last week and thought I didn’t get anything in the mail… well, apparently I lied! I did get a book, so I’ll include that this week, along with a few other books that were on backorder from Scholastic Canada but finally came in. Yay!

FYI: In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren to showcase books you’ve received for review, bought, borrowed, or swapped. Anyone can participate, and it’s a great way to showcase new books and encourage blogger/commenter interaction!

gg1 gg2 gg3

Sooooo excited to read these… I read the second Gallagher Girls book earlier this year and loved it. I can’t wait to start from the beginning and get the full GG experience!

And the books below came for review this week… I’ve started one of them and am really enjoying it so far. The other two, I’m not so sure about. I’ll let you guess which ones. ;)

whatgoodisgod bending powertoreinvent


…and that’s what happened on my bookshelves !

What came in YOUR mailbox this week? :D


Book Review: ‘In Every Heartbeat’

   Posted by: Faith    in Tasty Tomes

And…now for the FINAL book in the blog tour this month! Yep, after this we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled writing tips and… oh, who am I kidding. I don’t regularly schedule anything. But get you know what I mean.

Okay, book #3!

In Every Heartbeat

by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Historical Fiction/Inspirational

Release Date: September 2010

Back Cover Copy:

heartbeatThree best friends, three cherished dreams, three searching hearts…

As three friends who grew up in the same orphanage head off to college together, they each harbor a special plan for the future. Libby Conley hopes to become a famous journalist. Pete Leidig believes God has called him to study to become a minister. And Bennett Martin plans to pledge a fraternity, find a place to belong, and have as much fun as possible. But as tensions rise around the world on the brink of World War I, the friends’ differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them, as well.

When Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete’s family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?


My Thoughts:

You know… this isn’t a bad book at all. It’s readable, the characters are decent (albeit a little bit cardboard at times), and the plot—while it’s nothing particularly new or innovative—follows the traditions of ‘strong-headed woman and the man who loves her’ in a way that isn’t too cliché or overbearing.

I’ll be honest—I didn’t love it, and I’m not sure I’d even say I liked it. It kinda just ‘was’, for me. But I think fans of inspirational historical fiction will find a place in their hearts for this one. It had a little too much on the ‘Christian’ side of Christian fiction for my liking (I’ve preferred Bethany House’s other offerings lately) but I’m sure that many patrons of church libraries will enjoy it. And I’m not being demeaning when I say that, so don’t take it the wrong way!

And isn’t the cover beautiful?

I know this review isn’t as thorough as my other ones, but I didn’t find anything that sparked anger or that I particularly disliked, and there wasn’t really anything I loved. So… hey, if you like this kind of historical, go for it. If historical fiction with a heavier Christian slant isn’t your thing, this one isn’t for you.

If you have a mother, grandmother, aunt, or sister who likes this kind of historical fiction, this would be a safe choice for a gift in the future.


About the Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women’s fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site for more information.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Book Review: ‘Choosing to SEE’

   Posted by: Faith    in Tasty Tomes

Yes, yes… two more books to go on the September Blog Tour which is actually happening in October, which I am well aware of, and no I don’t particularly care, and yes that means you’ll be getting two book tours this month. But until then, let’s get on with this one!


Choosing to SEE

by Mary-Beth Chapman (with Ellen Vaughn)


Release Date: September 2010

Promo Synopsis:

"Every now and then a book comes along that is not only great–it’s a gift. An extravagant gift. This is one of those books."–Beth Moore

choosingtoseeFrom the beginning, Mary Beth Chapman’s life was not how she planned. All she wanted was a calm, peaceful life of stability and control. Instead, God gave her an award-winning singer/songwriter husband, crazy schedules, and a houseful of creatively rambunctious children. Most difficult of all, God’s plans for her also included tragedy.

In Choosing to SEE, Mary Beth unveils her struggle to allow God to write the story of her life, both the happy chapters and the tragic ones. And as the story unfolds, she’s been forced to wrestle with some of life’s biggest questions: Where is God when things fall apart? Why does God allow terrible things to happen? How can I survive hard times?

No matter where you find yourself in your own life story, you will treasure the way Mary Beth shows that even in the hard times, there is hope if you choose to SEE.


*** Here’s the book trailer for this book… there are some spoilers in it, but only if you come to the book not knowing who the Chapmans are and what happened that inspired the writing of this book. I guess you could call “Spoiler Alert” on everything in this review from here on out, but everything I’ll mention was in the news at some point, so decide for yourself whether you want to keep reading or not :) ***



If you’re a parent, this is going to be a really difficult book to read. I’ll warn you that right up front. Even if you’re not a parent, it’s going to be tough going in places.

For those of you who don’t know, or who may have forgotten, Mary Beth Chapman is the wife of Award-Winning Gospel singer/songwriter Stephen Curtis Chapman. Several years ago, tragedy struck their family when one of their young daughters was struck and killed in the driveway by a truck, driven by their son. The event made headline news, and Stephen Curtis didn’t release any new music for awhile afterward.

This book is Mary Beth’s story of a life she never asked for and never wanted. She married a man who would become a superstar, their family grew and grew, and they had times of blessing and times of disaster (she mentions some of that in the book trailer above).

What I found most intriguing was Mary Beth’s honesty about her struggles with anxiety and depression. Here was this woman who seemed to have it all – a beautiful home, children, and a husband whose success provided for their needs and more – and yet she felt like she was dying inside. She took medications, visited doctors, and learned how to cope…

And then, the worst tragedy of all… the death of a child. I’m so glad the book didn’t dwell on that, but instead focused on her life, her faith in God, her personal struggles, and how the family put themselves back together after being shattered into a million pieces.

Mary Beth’s book is a blatant testimony of faith; an incredible display of God’s power to bring light into the darkest places.

This book won’t be for everyone. For others, it may be too difficult to read. Still, I’m glad that Mary Beth told her story, because it affirmed for me that no one is perfect. Everyone is human. No matter how put-together someone appears on the outside, we all struggle with doubt, anxiety, and fear (some of us more than others). And that in the end, God is so much bigger than all that.

About the Author(s):

Mary Beth Chapman is the wife of Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman. Together they began Show Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for the world’s most vulnerable children by providing financial assistance to families wishing to adopt, as well as increasing awareness of the orphan crisis and funneling resources to orphans domestically and internationally. Mary Beth serves as president of Show Hope and is a speaker for Women of Faith 2010 with her husband. She is also coauthor with Steven of the Shaoey and Dot series of children’s picture books. Mary Beth and Steven have six children: Emily, Caleb, Will Franklin, and adopted daughters Shaohannah Hope, Stevey Joy, and Maria Sue, who is now with Jesus. The Chapmans live in Tennessee. (

ellen Ellen Vaughn is a bestselling author and inspirational speaker. Her recent books include It’s All About Him with Denise Jackson (wife of Alan Jackson), which debuted at #1 on the New York Timesnonfiction list. She is also coauthor with Chuck Colson of Being the Body. In addition to her nonfiction work, Vaughn is an award-winning novelist. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband, Lee.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Er… Am I Following You?

   Posted by: Faith    in Everything Else

Sooo… there’s something wonky going on with my Google RSS reader, because I could have sworn I “followed” a whole truckload of blogs a few weeks ago (and many others subsequently) but they don’t seem to be showing up in my reader. I’m not really sure why… has anyone else had this problem?

And if you follow me, and don’t see me “following” you, could you let me know so I can return the favor? Some of you also don’t have your blog or website listed in the Google profile that pops up, and if you haven’t commented (which is totally fine, I tend to lurk a lot as well!) I have no way of finding you to return the favor!

If you’d like a return follow and don’t have it, let me know!

If it looks like I’ve been following for a few weeks but you haven’t seen a comment from me and are wondering where I went off to, let me know that too, because it could be an issue with the blogs I’ve hit “follow” on and that aren’t showing up in the reader. In that case, I’ll re-follow you through RSS so you don’t lose a number in your follower tally, but I can actually read your posts…

If you’ve had this same issue where blogs don’t show up after hitting “follow”, can you tell me what’s wrong and how to fix it?!?!? I’d really like to know… :S

Thanks for your patience, bloggy friends!