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Friday, December 28, 2007

See the Trailer for "Prince Caspian"

The movie is coming out next May. Prepare to be blown away by the trailer.

Christmas Carol

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Lo! Newborn Jesus
Soft and weak and small,
Wrapped in baby’s bands
By His Mother’s hands,
Lord God of all.

Lord God of Mary,
Whom His Lips caress
While He rocks to rest
On her milky breast
In helplessness.

Lord God of shepherds
Flocking through the cold.
Flocking through the dark
To the only Ark,
The only Fold.

Lord God of all things
Be they near or far,
Be they high or low;
Lord of storm and snow,
Angel and star.

Lord God of all men,—
My Lord and my God!
Thou who lovest me,
Keep me close to Thee
By staff and rod.

Lo! newborn Jesus
Loving great and small,
Love’s free Sacrifice,
Opening Arms and Eyes
To one and all.

Peter Jackson Agrees to Produce Hobbit Movies

Wonderful news for fans of The Lord of the Rings movies!

Read the 2007 Christmas Letter

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Book Review: Midnight Sea

Reviewed by Adam Blumer.

Coble, Colleen. Midnight Sea. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007. Paperback, 320 pages. $14.99.

(Review copy courtesy of Thomas Nelson.)

Purchase: Thomas Nelson | CBD | Amazon

Read an excerpt.

Reading Group Guide.

Aloha Reef Series #4 / Women of Faith Series #15

ISBNs: 1595541403 / 9781595541406

Subjects: Christian Fiction / Suspense

RITA finalist Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of several novels including The Rock Harbor Series, The Aloha Reef Series, and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea.

The Gist

Leilani (Lani) Tagama, a florist designer, is working at her aunt’s coffee farm in Hawaii when a bullet kills a coworker and strikes Lani, blinding her. Who pulled the trigger and how Lani copes with her blindness draw the reader into a fun, engaging quest of discovery. While Lani struggles through the unanswered question of whether her blindness is permanent, Ben Mahoney arrives on the scene. Fueled by guilt due to a friend who went blind because of his negligence, Ben temporarily allows Lani to use his guide dog, Fisher, a golden retriever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My First Advance!

Yesterday, my first advance check arrived in the mail (see photo) along with a copy of my contract signed by the publisher. Woo-hoo! It's official now. We are moving forward with the novel. The publisher has the book's Word file, and production should begin soon. According to the contract, the publisher guarantees that the novel will be on store shelves within one year from now. (If the novel is not available at your bookstore, you will be able to order it from any bookstore in the country.) The first stage, I'm told, is the revisions stage. Editors will look through my manuscript and request revisions for parts they feel need to be improved. These revisions, I'm told, are standard and expected. (I've heard horror stories from others about this stage, but I'm planning to remain optimistic.) At this point, I have no idea how "major" the revisions will be. We'll see. But I do welcome the input of other editors to make the novel even better.

I hesitate to say how much my advance check is (I will get two of them: one after the contract signing and one after all book revisions are completed), but I will say this: I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon, and I don't say that as a complaint. Frankly, as I recently told another published author, just to see my book in print with my name on the cover will be payment enough. I spent more than five years on this project. I wrote during a lot of evenings after a full day of work and during a lot of Saturdays and Sunday afternoons when most people are having fun. (Of course, to me, writing stories is "fun," but that's another story.) To see my novel published is a major milestone for me personally and the fulfillment of a dream God planted in my heart when I was a child. Frankly, to get paid advances and royalty checks is like icing on the cake.

But let me say a word or two about the reality of advances in an effort to educate readers. (I'm learning a lot I didn't know before.) First-time authors are a big risk to publishers, who spend up to $50,000 to print and promote each book they produce. First and foremost, they want the novel to be successful so they can pay their bills. Hopefully after paying their bills, they will make some money, too. After all, publishing is business, and profit is what keeps businesses running. Both the publisher and I want the book to sell well. I want it to sell well so I can spend more time writing and so the publisher will want to publish my next novel (more on that later). That success doesn't happen automatically. It takes a lot of work. I did a lot of work over the last five years. Now the publisher and I will do a lot of work together to take the novel to the next level and to make it even better. Obviously, the hope is that readers will like what we produce.

Here's more reality. There's a misconception "out there" that authors who publish a novel get rich overnight. I understand where this wrong idea comes from. We hear stories about John Grisham, Frank Peretti, and others who sign multimillion-dollar contracts for their novels and assume their experience characterizes the publishing industry. Don't we all wish! The hard truth is that of the hundreds of thousands of novelists out there (yes, there are a lot of them), few experience Grisham's success and sign multimillion-dollar book contracts. In fact, few are even able to write full-time. Most of us who publish a novel work a regular day job and will continue to work a regular day job long after the novel is published. I leave the novel's success in the Lord's hands. I've done my best, and that's all I can do. I would love to sell so many copies that my royalty checks allow me to write full-time, but there's no guarantee. In fact, the statistics are against me. Therefore, if you have aspirations to be a novelist, don't get starry-eyed and think you're going to be a millionaire. If money is your only motivation, I would challenge you to consider why you are writing in the first place. I write because that's what God has compelled me to do. If I can earn a living doing what I love, then that's even better. If not, then I will still be writing, even if I'm not able to do so full-time.

About John Grisham (by the way, I don't recommend all of his novels, though I have benefited as a writer by reading my share), let me shatter another myth. What many readers don't realize is that Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, didn't initially do well by publishing standards. In fact, it initially sold under 5,000 copies, and the publisher didn't feel the need to print more. To give Grisham credit, ATTK was his first novel, and nobody knew who he was. (That principle works the same way for the rest of us.) It wasn't until the success of The Firm and its movie version that he took off as an author, and then A Time to Kill was reprinted. People liked The Firm so much, they wanted to read Grisham's first novel, too. The rest is history. His novels are everywhere now.

What happened to Grisham illustrates another truth in publishing. If readers like an author's novel, they will want to read his other novel(s), too. All of that is to say that I hope my novel does well enough that my publisher will want to tackle the next project. And in no way am I trying to place myself in the company of Grisham. I don't flatter myself that my novel will do as well as his novels have. But I do hope that my first novel will sell well, as any author would. The bottom line, however, is that God is in control of a book's success. I can only do what God has called me to do (write) and to trust Him to do whatever He wills. But that doesn't mean that I don't need to be concerned about promoting the book. In fact, book promotion will be the topic of several future articles. Check back soon for another update in my publishing adventure. May God receive all the glory!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Contract, Part 3

I e-mailed Dennis Hillman, the publisher, with my questions about the contract. Part of the challenge was sorting through the questions/concerns raised by both attorneys and deciding what was worth contesting. The puzzle was determining what was really important and what was just nitpicky. I don't want to begin my relationship with Kregel on the wrong foot by being a royal pain. At the same time, if an issue could be a problem, this stage is the time to raise it.

I chose eight or nine areas I felt strongly about and sent my questions to Dennis. He responded graciously and answered all of my questions. I feel much better about this process now and am satisfied with his answers. He agreed to change wording in a few places and to send the contract to me again so I can check the areas of concern. If I'm satisfied with his changes, then we're theoretically "good to go" on the project. He is mailing me two copies of the contract, which I need to initial, sign, and return. He is also sending me a marketing sheet and an author info. sheet. I need to fill those out and return them to him as part of the next stage.

I'm eager to actually begin the production process. Check back for more reports on the steps to publication. I hope this info. is helpful to those who have wondered about the process.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Contract, Part 2

This past week, I finally heard back from both attorneys on the contract. For those who haven't read the first post on the contract, let me summarize. The contract is a legal agreement between the publisher and me for the publication of the novel. The contract outlines many guidelines, procedures, and penalties if guidelines are not met. Examples include when I need to get the manuscript file to the publisher, how long I have to make revisions the publisher wants, who decides the cover (it's not me), what happens if I plagiarized, what my advance will be, what happens if someone sues me for copyright infringement, what my royalty will be, how many free copies I get, what happens when the book goes "out of print," etc. Several established authors advised me to get legal counsel since the contract is legally binding. I have read through the contract at least three times, and some of it is clear as mud.

Anyhow, I heard back from both attorneys. One had only four concerns and recommendations. The other had tons of concerns and recommendations. Now I have to decide which concerns have merit and determine which requests I can/should make. Yikes! I feel out of my realm.

I do have a few questions/preferences: I want to be consulted about any final edits the publisher may make. (After all, my name goes on the cover.) I want to know what expenses are required of me for the final proofs. I want to know what is required of me (financially or otherwise) for the book's advertising and promotion.

I'm new at this. I have no idea how the publisher will respond to my questions/preferences. I don't know what's reasonable and what isn't. We'll see. Check back later for more on the contract. I hope to sign it this week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hunting for the Right Website, Part 1

One of the first things established authors have told me is that I need to set up a personal business website, an The website needs to do three things:
  1. Tell visitors about me and my novel in an attractive way (publicity),
  2. Provide a way for them to purchase the book from my website,
  3. And provide a way for visitors to sign up for an electronic newsletter or an "e-zine." I'll send out periodic updates.
This prospect opens the door to considerations like domain registration and hosting fees. Then I have to think about programming the entire site and making lots of decisions about what goes on each page. Thankfully, I did lots of website programming and updating at Northland Baptist Bible College for their website. (I guess God had a reason for all that experience, huh?) I'm most familiar with Joomla, which is a website content management system (CMS). Once you have the website template in place, you pretty much just login and add pages and content. It's really pretty simple . . . well, once you know how to do it. But once you get into forms and the installation of more components and some of the more advanced features, then things can get more complicated. And I haven't even thought about how to sell the books online. PayPal? VirtueMart?

And who has the time for all of this? I have editing projects keeping me busy all day and a second novel to finish.

And that's not even taking the financial aspects into consideration. A business website means monthly expenses just to "keep the light on" for visitors. And I'm not exactly rolling in dough. Okay, I'll think about the financial demands later. But for now . . .

My first question is this: "Where do I go for domain registration and web hosting?" There are TONS of companies out there that do that, and I want Joomla to be my content management system (CMS). I Googled "Joomla hosting" and found several companies that provide specific hosting for Joomla and at cheap prices. Okay, that's a start. I also know a couple friends into web programming who have offered their services and can install Joomla for me, but their fees are actually higher than I expected.

Not sure yet about the right course of action. We'll see. Check back later to see what I decided.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Contract: What Does It All Mean?

Oh my! The publisher at Kregel Publications recently sent me a 17-page contract for my Christian suspense novel. It covers every eventuality: if the author (that's me) plagiarized, if the author doesn't do revisions in a timely manner, if the author writes a sequel (understandably, Kregel wants to be the first to see it), if the publisher doesn't produce the novel within the next year. I'm learning so much about the process. A big help on the contract has been The Little Handbook to Perfecting the Art of Christian Writing by Leonard G. Goss and Don M. Aycock. (Thank you, Rosey Dow, for the recommendation.) This handy book has an entire chapter that dissects the publishing contract and makes it understandable, especially for someone who is totally in the dark like I am.

I have two attorney friends who have agreed to look the contract over. I've been told that legal expertise is a must. I'm sure the contract is pretty standard and that no one will take me to the cleaners, but it's nice to have some protection.

Author friends are also encouraging to start my own marketing plan for the book -- all this on top of the work I need to fit into each day. I'm buying a couple marketing books and waiting on the Lord for wisdom as I tread along this mysterious path.

I'm Going to Be a Novelist

August 16, 2007

Dear family and friends,

I want to preface this announcement by giving glory to God for all He has done. If He hadn't given me the ability and the drive to write, I would never be writing this letter today. I just worked hard and refused to give up. Yes, this has to do with my writing, and I've been sitting on needles and keeping a secret all summer until I had the green light. Because of a meeting today, now I can tell the world.

Kregel Publications in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has agreed to buy and publish my Christian suspense novel.

This news is the fulfillment of a dream I've had since I was a child, and I'm feeling a little numb at the moment. I'm not exactly sure when the novel will be available; most publishers take a year before the book is on the shelves. I'll let you know when I find out. I'm sure I won't make much money off the first novel (few first-time novelists do after the publisher covers his expenses), but this is exciting news for us, and it opens a new door of opportunity. Once you've published a novel and seen even moderate success, future projects are taken much more seriously.

I've been told that I need to start promoting myself all over the place, not in a prideful way but in a way that will get myself noticed as a new author and ensure good sales. I wrestle with aspects of this self-promotion. I would appreciate your prayers as I determine how to balance good business sense with what God has called me to do. Obviously, I want to keep writing novels, and good sales will help me continue to do that.

Again, I want to give all praise to the Lord. Whatever ability I have is not of myself but only of Him. Thanks!


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Monument for David and Goliath to Be Built

Memorial foundation triumphs in battle of David versus Goliath

March 1—David and Goliath may soon have a memorial worthy of their classic struggle. After six years of planning, approval for a monument in the Elah Valley near Beit Shemesh has been obtained from both the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council and the Interior Ministry after much promotion by the David's Victory Foundation. The foundation has already raised just over $200,000 for the project, but needs a total of $3 million to start construction. "It will take us six months to a year to raise the rest of the money from donations, and the names of the donors will be inscribed forever in the stone," said Foundation chairman and father of the project Prof. Vladimir Berginer. The monument is a 10-meter representation of the slingshot David used to slay Goliath. Its planners say they wanted the design "to focus on David's victory and the positive aspects of the event," and not on the defeat of Goliath. "The site is given an optimistic, universal character, without militant connotations," said a representative of David's Victory Foundation.
—Jerusalem Post

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

For Thine Own Sake, O My God

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Wearied of sinning, wearied of repentance,
Wearied of self, I turn, my God, to Thee;
To Thee, my Judge, on Whose all-righteous sentence
Hangs mine eternity:
I turn to Thee, I plead Thyself with Thee,–
Be pitiful to me.

Wearied I loathe myself, I loathe my sinning,
My stains, my festering sores, my misery:
Thou the Beginning, Thou ere my beginning
Didst see and didst foresee
Me miserable, me sinful, ruined me,–
I plead Thyself with Thee.

I plead Thyself with Thee Who art my Maker,
Regard Thy handiwork that cries to Thee;
I plead Thyself with Thee Who wast partaker
Of mine infirmity,
Love made Thee what Thou art, the love of me,–
I plead Thyself with Thee.