Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Sunday, October 30, 2005

NaNoWriMo Tool


If you're participating in the month-long writing event known as NaNoWriMo, you might find this helpful.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Clerical Novels

Mitford Rules - Books & Culture

Great article about the new Jan Karon book, due out soon. I've always been a fan of her books and have read each one at least twice--which I've also done with many of Susan Howatch's books. Since Ms. Howatch also writes about clergy (in her more recent novels) I guess that makes me a fan of clerical novels. Now, thanks to the article, I have some new novels to read.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Interview with Anne Rice

The Gospel According to Anne - Newsweek Entertainment -
"'For the last six months,' she says, 'people have been sending e-mails saying, 'What are you doing next?' And I've told them, 'You may not want what I'm doing next'.' We'll know soon. In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and‚-under the pseudonym "A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish 'Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,' a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. 'I promised,' she says, 'that from now on I would write only for the Lord.' It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's 'Slow Train Coming' announced that he'd been born again."

I just reserved my copy of the book at my local library! Wish I could buy it, but it just isn't possible right now--maybe later, when the finances improve!

Be sure to read the whole interview.

Update: There's apparently a lot of interest in this story. I say that because my stats took a huge jump of about 300% after the story was posted and, for the next few days, everywhere I went, people were discussing it. Unfortunately, on some of the Christian writers' lists I am part of, the discussion has been less than edifying. Some people seem to feel that they can freely judge the sincerity of Ms. Rice's return to her Catholic roots not to mention her right to exercise her imagination. The word "blasphemy" has been used. This reminds me of the saying that Christians shoot their wounded. Wouldn't we want to encourage Ms. Rice in her walk with the Lord just as we'd encourage anyone else? And aren't there a number of scriptures in the New Testament that discourage judging another person?

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Trades

The Trades:
"Nevertheless, what began to disillusion me about the Monastery of Harmless Entertainment was that they advocated the rather ludicrous idea that G- and PG-rated material is inherently superior in moral quality to PG-13- or R-rated material. They thoroughly believed that family-friendly material is intrinsically of higher moral value than R-rated material that explores darker truth. I found this to be totally incongruent with the texts of Scripture. The story of Noah and the ark -- a story that you can tell in any child's Sunday school class -- is not of higher moral value than, say, the story of David -- a man so consumed with lust that he commits murder and steals his victim's wife."
This is a review of a book called Behind the Screen. After reading the excerpts from the book, it seems to me that every artist calling himself/herself a Christian ought to be reading it!

ALL-TIME 100 Novels

A fun link I picked up from Infuze Magazine.

This top one hundred list dates from 1923, which is when Time first began.

How many have you read?

The Complete List | TIME Magazine - ALL-TIME 100 Novels


And here is a list of the Top 100 novels as compiled by writers in 54 countries. It's quite different, but also contains many of my favorites.

And here's a Random House list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I have been a fan of Google's since the beginning. Being such an information junkie, it was perfect for me. However, this has bothered me for some time.

InformationWeek > Google > Major Book Publishers Sue Google > October 19, 2005:
"Google Inc. on Wednesday was sued by a major publishing association for digitizing library books without the permissions of copyright holders, the second such suit filed against the search engine giant.

The Association of American Publishers, based in Washington, D.C., sued the Mountain View, Calif., company on behalf of members The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons. The suit seeks a court declaration that Google infringes the rights of copyright holders when it scans entire books and stores the digitized versions in its massive database. The trade group also wants a court order requiring Google to first obtain permission from copyright holders.

Patricia Schroeder, AAP president and a former Colorado congresswoman, said the suit was filed after talks broke down. The AAP had proposed that Google use each book's unique ID number to determine if the work is under copyright, and then seek permission from the book's owner. For more than 30 years, most books have carried an ISBN identification number, which is machine readable.

Google, according to Schroeder, refused."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

October Celebration is up!

Check out October's Celebration at Dee Stewart's site here! If you need something to read, you'll find a wide assortment of short stories and novel excerpts!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Jeremy Robinson and POD Publishing

A POD success story (yes, it's a novel): Interview with Jeremy Robinson:
"Can you tell us a little about the Christian market, and if you were trying to sell your book to that market.

As I mentioned, it is a Christian book in the sense that it involves Jesus in a positive way, but the way I chose to write it (and the way I choose to write in general) is for a mass market audience. I didn't censor myself or my characters because I might offend other Christians. I don't see how an author can truly portray the real world while censoring what characters do and say.

That said, I have only heard good things from Christians who have read it and all have found the cursing, drinking and violence to be in good taste and necessary to the story."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

An Excerpt from my Novel, "Unseen"

Dee Stewart, who's hosting the October Celebration of New Christian fiction, had a great idea. She asked people to post something of their work, a short story, an excerpt from a novel, anything like that. Here's mine. :-)

The following is from a novel entitled Unseen. This is chapter one, scene one. I like to give each chapter a title even if I don't use them in the final book because it helps me remember what's going on. This chapter is entitled "A Good Person." Since I do not write for the CBA, there is some language in the scene, but I edited out the one word I thought might be offensive to some! Enjoy!
A Good Person

“No, I’m not crazy, I did see something!”

Tapping on the brakes, Jon rubbed his fogged up windscreen, watching as someone struggled in the SUV up ahead, someone constrained by a rather large man, someone fighting like mad to get free. He strained forward, trying to see through a hard rain that had been falling ever since he left the house. No, it wasn’t his imagination or the effects of the damn drugs. Someone needed help.

Bloody hell. Already, I’m in trouble.

Against strict orders, he’d abandoned his flat on the beach house’s third floor, though he didn’t blame Parker for imposing such rules. When you’d tried to kill yourself less than a week ago, it made perfect sense that your brother would want you near, especially after he’d trekked all the way to London to snatch you from the jaws of death. Given that, the sleeping pills and tranquilizers that Elisabeth provided—kept under lock and key by a very jittery Parker—made perfect sense too. Still, even while doped up, he’d been climbing the walls and didn’t think a quick trip to the sweet shop for a Crunchie would do any harm. That had led him to abandon not only his flat, but his two o’clock dosage as well.

Parker’s going to be furious.

At the next stop sign, he knew he ought to turn right and go to the shop a few miles up the road then get back to the house before his brother finished his Christmas shopping. He steeled himself to make the turn, to be sensible, the sadder-but-wiser plonker who’d given up melodrama in search of inner tranquility. After all, he owed Parker that, didn’t he?

Jon watched as the SUV went straight, debated two seconds and then followed.

Such impulsive behavior often got him in trouble, but what if someone in that car had been kidnapped and he’d ignored it? God knows, he’d be dead right now if people hadn’t cared enough to follow him. And, yes, as long as he was making comparisons, a stranger had helped him too, had in fact walked right into Act Three of his little tragedy, and given him reason to live.

In the middle of the next block, the SUV’s taillights flickered a few times, then came on for good. Jon slowed too, watching the boy inside—and he believed that it was a boy—jerk against the arm that held him. Father and son having a row? Quite possibly, but something about the quality of the boy’s efforts to free himself told him otherwise.

Just then, the SUV’s passenger door flew open and a boy, maybe twelve or thirteen, shot out of the car. Jon caught a glimpse of terror in dark eyes and knew he’d been right. The driver’s door slammed open at almost the same moment and a large man in a brown pinstripe suit followed, yelling something Jon could not make out.

Bloody hell!

Jon set the car in neutral. He grabbed his mobile, flung open the door, and leapt out, following them. As rained pelted him in the face, he dialed 999. “Hey! Stop!”

Up ahead, the man caught up with the boy and grabbed him by the arm, spinning him around. He backhanded him so hard the boy crumpled at his feet.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Jon shouted in fury, images from his own recent problems imprinted suddenly onto the frightening scene.

The man jerked around to stare at him, his face contorted with a rage that seemed almost maniacal. “Get away! This is between me and the whore!”

He remembered right then that people often die when they put themselves in the middle of domestic disputes. This exceedingly pissed off man looked to be around six-two, which gave him a two-inch and perhaps fifty-pound advantage. Damn, what was he thinking? How ironic it would be to die on the streets of Redondo Beach when he’d failed to do the job in England.

Then he had another thought. Muddled as he was, thanks to the pills and every bloody thing in his life, he’d dialed the wrong emergency number. In the States, it was 911, not 999. The phone still as his ear, he heard nothing except a static hiss. Which made him an absolute washout as a superhero.

Bracing himself against a sudden fit of trembling, Jon looked the other man in the eye. “Yes,” he said in a loud voice to the imaginary person who’d suddenly come onto the line, “I need help. I’m at Bettencourt and Diamond. There’s a man here attacking a boy.” He listened with complete attention to his make-believe rescuer. “No, I don’t know anything except he’s dangerous.” Like a soap opera star, he looked down the street with grave intensity, hoping the man bought his act. “They’re only three blocks away? Yes, please, would you send them over straight away? Thanks.” He folded the mobile and dropped it into his pocket.

With a curse, the man turned, sprinting for his car. Jon watched as he slipped once, made it back to the SUV, and, wheels spinning, took off in a shower of water.

Relieved, Jon went to where the boy knelt on the soggy ground. Wiping the rain from his eyes, he crouched next to him. “Are you all right?”

A boy with a cherubic face raised his head to stare at Jon, sodden brown curls framing finely drawn features, skin the color of almonds, long, wet eyelashes, a spattering of freckles—well, damn, he’d jumped straight out of a Botticelli painting. “Yeah, I’m fine,” this angelic child said in a hesitant whisper

“You’re just a baby. Was he trying to abduct you?”

“I’m fifteen.”

“You couldn’t possibly be.”

“I am. I just look young.”

“You’ve been hurt.” Jon pointed to the corner of his mouth, where a stream of pinkish blood, diluted by the rain, ran down his chin.

The boy touched the spot. “I’m okay.”

“You keep saying that, but it’s not true.” He’d lied so often himself he could see it easily in others. “I could take you to the emergency room. It’s just around—”

“No.” The boy seemed to make an effort to rouse himself. “Did you … was that real, about the police?”

“You’re sharp. No, just an improvisation.”


Jon helped him stand and could feel how he trembled. “It’s miserable out here. Can I drop you somewhere?”

The boy looked right to left before his gaze returned to Jon. “No, thanks. That’s okay.”

“What’s your name?”


Yes, definitely Botticelli. “Dante, you look quite shaken. I’m not a doctor, but I think you need to get warm, right away. You’re probably suffering from shock. Do you have somewhere to go or someone to pick you up? A parent, for instance?”

“No parent.” Dante studied the ground under him as if the pavement needed his personal inspection. “I can’t go back to where I was. Not right now.”

A cold trickle of water trailed down Jon’s back. He shivered, mind made up, then he pointed west. “See that gray, three-story beach house? I live there in a flat on the third floor. Why don’t you come with me and get dried off?”

Dante looked him over as if a second attack might be eminent. “You didn’t tell me your name.”

“It’s Jon Girard. Sorry. I’m a bit rattled, which makes me believe you must be too.”

“Why’d you do it?”

“Help you out? Well, what was I supposed to do? Drive away?”

“Lots of people would’ve.”

Jon blew out air. “I see your point. Well, I’m not a saint, but I certainly won’t hurt you either. In fact, I’m only about six years older than you although it seems like it should be ten.”

Dante looked down at his soggy clothes. “Okay, but your car’ll get wet.”

“I’ll risk it.”


With great relief, Jon escorted Dante back to his car. He’d somehow managed to stay alive and still behave like a good person, a rare victory. Maybe things would turn around just as everyone kept saying. Maybe life would be worth living.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Preposterous Proposals Pontification

Recently, in a writers' discussion list, someone made the statement that anyone who wrote the book first and then the proposal was ... well, he didn't call such people fools, but he came very close. The list and the person who made this statement will remain anonymous since I have no wish to pick a fight. Nor am I going to argue with him where nonfiction is concerned because I know nothing about the process involved in nonfiction books or book proposals. But his flat statement that (I am paraphrasing) you'll remain unpublished if you insist on writing the book first and doing the proposal afterwards just ... well, it ticked me off.

This approach makes perfect sense, of course, if you're a published author in the middle of a satisfying relationship with a publisher. Why would you go to the trouble of writing a novel first when you could put together a book proposal and get it sold before the fact? Of course, even then, we have to assume you're the type of writer who can, in fact, write the exact book you propose. Is that simply a matter of discipline? I think not. If you get to page 110 in your carefully laid out plan and suddenly Scarlett--realizing that both Rhett and Ashley are boring old fools--decides she's being called into the monastic life, well, oops! That isn't what the scintillating proposal said, is it? Is that a lack of discipline? Or is that creativity? In either case, that could be a problem. So, if you're a published author with a good relationship, etc., etc., and you can stick to your proposal, then this gentleman's idea has merit.

Let's talk about the unpublished fiction writers. The guy who made this statement wants us to pitch our idea to Dave Long, Mick Silva, or any of the other great acquisitions editors out there who don't know us from Adam? Okay, Mick Silva does know me; not well, but he knows something about me. Even so, is he going to trust that I will come back to him six months from now with said manuscript in hand even though I'm unproven in his eyes? Is he going to say, "That Pat is such a swell person. Yeah, sure, she'll do what she says she'll do. I trust her!" Ya think? I'm thinking he won't have his job very long if he's so darn gullible. I might be able to write the most compelling book proposal on the planet, but that doesn't mean I can write the book it's pitching. Does it? What am I missing here?

The problem, in my humble-and-open-to-being-totally-wrong opinion is that people get an idea in their head, one that works for them. Then they start pontificating. Actually, at first, they're probably just talking, telling people their experiences, but soon enough, it turns into their own personal gospel according to [fill in your name]. They make broader and broader statements about their particular idea until it takes on a life of its own. And it's at that point that they risk ticking off others ... as this gentleman did with me. Because the truth is that nothing works for everyone, that for every single documented case of a previously unknown fiction writer who soared to the top of the NYT Bestseller list right after she got her $500K advance (all thanks to an amazing book proposal) there are ten thousand writers whose book proposals got drop-kicked right off the hysterically laughing editors' desks.

So, what's the lesson? Tell people your ideas, definitely. We all need to hear things that may or may not help. Just keep a large helping of humility nearby while you're doing so. Admit that perhaps you might be wrong, that your idea may not be for everyone. Outside of the Gospel, few things really are.

C.S. Lewis's Attitude about Christian Fiction

Clergy hope 'Lion, Witch, Wardrobe' a draw:
"Lewis' stepson Douglas Gresham, the film's co-producer, told the audience that Lewis didn't set out to write 'a Christian book.'''

But Lewis, whom Gresham referred to by his nickname, Jack, was profoundly influenced by his own religious beliefs. 'Jack didn't write a Christian book, but Jack was a man committed to his Christianity,' Gresham said. 'His fiction is informed by his deep Christian faith.''' (Emphasis added.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New Writing Friend

Along with my crit partner, Elleann, setting up her very own blog, she and I have recently acquired a new writing friend, Lisa. In one of those not-to-be-missed moments of "coincidence," the Lord brought us together and we've been humming along ever since, talking writing, critiquing each other, chatting about Lost, the FiF contest, and all sorts of crazy things. Although Lisa writes creative nonfiction rather than fiction, one of the most inspiring things she does (other than raise four daughters!), is write and submit pieces on a regular basis. Here's something she submitted to The Rose & Thorn, which has just been published. It's called The Wall and I recommend it!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Being an Older Female Novelist

Cindarella at Sixty
"Getting things straight is a constant preoccupation for the novelist, making characters consistent, plot logical, blending facts with fiction so the joins don't show. It all takes practice. Duncker knew she wanted to be a writer from the age of 12, but when I grew up I just wanted to write well rather than "be a writer"” and set about educating myself. My first published novel is the third or fourth full-length completed book, she tells. This echoes Quigley's experience: "I'’ve got what I would call a couple of practice novels. Now I know for a fact they weren'’t publishable, though at the time I thought they were fantastic. And Hilary Mantel in Issue 17 advises twentysomethings wanting to write an autobiographical novel to wait until they are at least 40, while Salman Rushdie has suggested no one should attempt to write a novel before the age of 50"
When I was feeling a bit discouraged about an upcoming birthday and my still unpublished status at such an "advanced" age, my crit partner and good friend, Elleann, pointed me to this article in a British magazine called Mslexia. If you're the "wrong" side of forty, it'll be well worth your while.

And check out Elleann's new blog, BlogFish!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Morgan, Gracie, and Noah-my darling three. :-) Posted by Picasa