With December, comes BIG NEWS for this author!!!

It’s almost time for Christmas!

Can you believe it?

As this season unfolds around us, we have so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for family and friends, for being able to spend so much time with my family, not having to go work in an office or business away from home. I pray this is always the case.

I am also thankful for the reason this season exists . . .

Did you know that we serve such an amazing God, a loving God, and a forgiving God. As humans, we build things, write things, draw or shape things – and then when something goes wrong with it, we toss it away and start fresh.

I thank God that he did not simply discard his flawed creation – instead sending his son down to Earth as a babe so that He could walk among us and then one day . . . save us from our own flaws, our own weaknesses and frailty, our very humanity; which caused so many to reject Him and crucify Him. He knew all of these things ahead of time, but He still came.

And there is no better story than His!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

~ Luke 2 (KJV)

 

Before you go, I have some exciting news…

Since the day I first created my fan page on Facebook, I have had messages, posts, and comments posted – asking me where my books can be bought… or when they will be available.

Of course, each one of these posts thrilled me because it showed me that readers were interested in what I had to say.

I watched as the number of “likes” on that page steadily climbed and I debated on whether or not I wanted to go with traditional publishing or if I should Indie publish.

Many of you know that I had a disheartening experience earlier this year with an agent… who told me my work was ready to sell, but ultimately decided not to represent me. I was hurt – and decided to throw in the towel (figuratively) for a bit… but I’m thankful to say that GOD is not finished with my work yet!

HE has much better plans for me…

Following HIS leading, I was moved to try again, and…

I am pleased to announce that I officially have an agent – a fantastic, talented, successful agent. And she believes in my work. We have met once and spoken twice over the phone and I am pleased to say that we get along famously!

DA DA DA…DA

I am now represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube agency! WHOO HOO!

Here I am, grinning as I prepare to sign the contract…

Here I am, signing the contract!

And here I am, being silly while I prepare to sign the contract! I love out-takes so much, I just had to share some with you!

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I can’t imagine a better day! Well, except maybe the day Tamela calls to tell me she has a publisher who wants to work with me… or the day I sign that contract… maybe the day I get to hold the first copy of my book… or perhaps the day I see it in a book store…

You get the idea…

If you’re interested in keeping up with all of this, think about signing up for my NEWSLETTER! YAY!

Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours!

GOD Bless!

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I finally get it… sort of

Writing Amish Fiction Meme

 

FAIR WARNING – the following blog is a long, drawn out, complicated story… but if you skim, you’ll miss things.

you have been warned.

 

Nearly two years ago, it was suggested to me that I give a try to writing Amish fiction…

Since I had read nearly a hundred Amish fiction novels at that point, visited our local Amish community and had a deep love for the Plain communities, it seemed like a good idea.

So I started writing. I wrote and I edited and then I put the manuscript away (as is suggested). Then I pulled it back out and edited again. Then I sent it to a friend who does NOT write Amish fiction (thinking that she would be able to look at the story and the writing better that way). She was a tremendous help to me, giving me wonderful tips to make the writing better and when I sent it back to her, her comment was – “Is this the same author?? LOL. Great job!” – so I thought I was doing pretty well.

The next obvious task was to finish editing and then query… but I had been burned pretty badly with my speculative (written under my pen name) fiction so I was very hesitant about that part.

Ironically enough, an agent actually sent me a message via my Facebook author page asking if I had anything ready for submission. I did and I hastily rushed out to buy a printer because she preferred printed submissions and all the books & articles say to do as the agent prefers!

About eight weeks later she sent me an e-mail saying that I needed to tackle several things in the three chapters I had sent her before resubmitting.

Since it was only a few weeks before the ACFW conference, I edited and took the chapters with me… just in case I got the chance to meet with the agent. Amazingly enough, I did get a meeting with her, where she informed me that I would need to knock the first eight chapter off my story and rewrite yet again.

Certain that she knew exactly what she was talking about, I headed home and got to work.

When I was almost ready to submit, a friend informed me that her agent was looking to acquire more authors who wrote Amish fiction. Well… since she had told me on multiple occasions that her agent was the best in the business, I was thrilled.

And she was happy with e-mail submissions so I sent it right over.

Less than a month later, I had a reply and an appointment for a phone call.

However… after a ninety minute phone call, I was more confused than ever. I kept feeling that she was not interested but everyone assured me that no agent is going to talk to you for 90 minutes unless they’re VERY interested so I waited… and waited… and waited… and waited.

My friend suggested I send the agent an e-mail gently reminding her that she had said she would get back to me in 3 weeks (8 weeks later), so I did.

The response I got was less than desirable but, being the timid, sweet mercy that I am, I apologized and retracted everything I had said… was then told that she would have time to talk to me in another week.

Six weeks later I received an e-mail that confirmed my earlier fears. She was not interested and she essentially suggested that I go back to the drawing board.

 

OK…

Deep breath…

Calm the panic attack that still makes me want to curl up into a ball of misery…

I told you that story to tell you this one.

They say you write what you know…

Well, you also write what you love…

I started my experience with Amish fiction by reading Vannetta Chapman’s A Simple Amish Christmas. Of course, I was hooked after that! I read every book of Vannetta’s I could get my hands on! From there I moved to Cindy Woodsmall, Beverly Lewis, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shelley Shepard Gray, Ruth Reid, Rosalind Lauer, Tricia Goyer, Amy Lillard and Serena B Miller and then my mother suggested I read Amy Clipston and Jennifer Beckstrand.

WOW! Just WOW! …not just the amount of heavy hitters in that list but the amazing, wonderful, powerful, heart-warming, heart-wrenching stories!

Is it any wonder when I decided to begin writing Amish fiction, that I molded my stories after the styles I loved so much?

 

I started out with a heart-wrenching scene (like Vannetta, Shelley and Cindy).

I had lots of introspection (like Beverly, Suzanne and Ruth)

I tried to keep the story close to home, giving my reader a chance to feel like they were being immersed in the characters’ lives (like Amy, Rosalind, Serena)

Anyone seeing a pattern here?

Perhaps the problem is that I have combined too many styles…

Perhaps the problem is that those authors’ agents “get” their writing, and I don’t have one of those…

Perhaps the problem is that I am an unknown… Of course, all of the writers mentioned above were, at one point, unknowns too.

Or perhaps it is simply that it has not been God’s time yet…

Yes, I’m going to go with that one…

And now I’m going to go back to my speculative, because someone is actually interested in that one. Maybe one day I can find the time to come back and continue working on the Amish fiction…

Or maybe it will only ever interest my mother…

 

© Rachel L Miller 2015

I am almost there. The Finish Line is in sight!

finish-line

I am on my last draft before I officially begin the query process.

WHOO HOO!

Yes, I’m excited! Who could have thought that a story I wrote, basically on a dare, would end up being a serious project for me?

Since I am aiming at a young adult crowd, I plan to keep my project in the 70,000 word range since that is what experts recommend. Plus, I’ve seen plenty of other books in the Amish fiction genre that are around that length so I feel very comfortable with it.

Do I think it’s perfect?

No. I’m not that foolish. I’m certain there will be things an agent or an editor will want me to change, areas that need to  be expanded on or even subtracted from. But I feel that knowing this ahead of time will actually help me in the process.

Too many new authors think they are the next C.S. Lewis or Shakespeare and are offended when their work is critiqued. That is what an agent or an editor is supposed to do. They know what sells. They know what the public wants. And they know what works within a specific genre.

That is not to say there aren’t things in my book that I won’t fight for. There are things within my story that may be flexible and there are things in it that are not – things I will go to the mat over. But I’m confident that none of them are what an editor would consider a deal-breaker. And… spelling errors, weak scenes and phrasing issues are not among them.

Of course, the terror I have to deal with then – is the proposal. Oh the horror!

Pray for me…

 

© Rachel L. Miller 2014