Saturday, September 26, 2009

Books and Cheesecake

Ever look at your work-in-progress and think, "This is all wrong! I need to scrap it and start over"? Been there. In fact, my latest, Catching Moondrops, has made me think that once or twice.

This weekend has been all about writing, trying to firm up the timeline for Catching Moondrops. It's been a crazy ride so far with this book. There are so many things to sew up for the series, and yet I still need to have a strong stand-alone plot. Trying to get things lined up in the right order at the right tempo has been tough!

I've gotten worked up, binged on chocolate, stared at the blinking cursor until my eyes cross - but I've always known deep down it would work out. Each time I rearrange, cut or add to the story I know I'm getting closer to the right formula.

So if you're struggling, take some time to think it over, pray it over. Maybe you do need to scrap it, but the likelihood is... you don't. Maybe all you need is a break, a little change in perspective, another set of eyes, a slice of cheesecake. Whatever. Just take a couple steps back and breathe. Then tinker with it a bit, whether in your head or on the page, and see if the pieces start to fall into the right places. I'll bet they do. And then, I'll bet you find yourself pounding away at the keyboard before you know it.

But if you do, pass that cheesecake over here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

CWG Contest Deadline!

All right, unpublished authors, it's time to head toward the finish line with that work in progress!

October 1st marks the deadline for the Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and you won't want to miss it! I speak from personal experience... it's a HUGE opportunity. As I'm sure you're well aware, there's a very small crack in that publishing door these days, and slipping your foot in there can be excruciatingly difficult. Operation First Novel gives you the chance to have your novel considered for publication by Tyndale House publishers. It's how I got my shot, and it may be how you get yours, too.

So what are you waiting for? Get that book out by October 1st... and let me know how it goes!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ACFW Conference

If you're a writer looking for a way to learn about the industry, make contacts or polish your craft, writer's conferences are a great place to do all three... and more! The American Christian Fiction Writer's conference is coming up lickety-split (as Jessilyn would say)! Learn more below.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)
SEPTEMBER 17 - 20, 2009

Bestselling authors, publishing industry representatives, and newcomers to Christian fiction writing will gather in Denver at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s annual conference September 17-20 to compare notes, learn from each other, and encourage one another in the pursuit of publishing goals.
This year’s conference theme , Standing Firm…Moving Forward, will especially inspire the full range of talent and dreams in the ever-changing publishing world today.
This amazing conference will feature representatives from major publishing houses like B & H, Guideposts, Zondervan, Harvest House, Barbour, Steeple Hill, Summerside Press, Bethany House, Waterbrook Multnomah, Marcher Lord Press, Tyndale House, and Thomas Nelson, and top literary agents who will meet with writers and identify promising proposals from both new and veteran novelists. Conferees will have access to publishing panels, professional critiques, and customized workshops based on skills and interests.
The keynote speaker is New York Times bestselling author, Debbie Macomber, who has more than 100 million copies of her books in print worldwide.
Learn more about the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference by visiting Click on the left sidebar on Annual Conference.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cottonwood Whispers Release

Cottonwood Whispers is officially available so grab your copy today!

Here's what people are saying -

Romantic Times 4-star review:
Strong character development strengthens the storyline and leaves the reader anticipating more novels, hopefully a sequel. Valent is a gifted author with a promising future...
In the four years since the events of Fireflies in December, Jessilyn Lassiter has grown into a young woman of seventeen. She’s still the feisty, head-strong character we remember, but almost killing a man and facing an angry KKK mob has a way of forcing a girl to grow up fast.

Dallas Christian Fiction Examiner:
Cottonwood Whispers is the latest offering from Jennifer Erin Valent and the sequel to her first novel, Fireflies in December.It’s 1936 and Jessilyn Lassiter is seventeen years old. While the last four years since her family’s encounter with the Ku Klux Klan have been relatively peaceful, this summer brings changes that threaten to tear her world apart.

Lori's Book Reviews:
Jennifer Erin Valent, winner of the Christian Writers Guild’s 2007 Operation First novel award winner, does it again. Cottonwood Whispers, the sequel to Fireflies in December, continues the friendship between Jessilyn Lassiter and Gemma Teague. The summer of 1936 brings with it tragedy and heartache that threatens to tear their friendship apart.

Armchair Interviews:
Cottonwood Whispers, Jennifer Valent’s second book, is a sequel to Fireflies in December. While this book is a sequel, it easily stands alone, without having read the first book. Author Valent has a wonderful storytelling ability that shines through the pages of this book.

Baker Book House:
Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent is the sequel to Fireflies in December. I am never sure about a sequel by a new author, with great delight I can tell you this is a good one.Our favorite nosy 13 year old is now turning 17 and getting ready for her last year of school. Jessilyn is facing many strange and different things.