Sunday, December 28, 2008

Making Books

I'm at an interesting point in the life of my new book series: when the first novel, CRITICAL CARE, is well into production phase, and the second book is heading toward "The End" in the initial draft stage. Writing one book while awaiting the official birth of the other. And by April, I'll be writing the third book, while doing signings and appearances for the first, and planning the launch of the second. All of which reminds me of the time I innocently bought my daughter a pair of pet rabbits. Supposedly two males. There were dozens and dozens of hopping bits of fluff--three floppy eared generations--before we figured things out and . . . nuff said. We're talkin' books not bunnies.

But still, it's quite the process, trust me. Here's what's happening right now with CRITICAL CARE, in preparation for it's June 2009 release:

1) The manuscript has gone through editing and proof-reading, and is typeset.

2) It's been presented to National Sales representatives.

3) Endorsement quotes (from gracious and stellar) authors are rolling in. Like this from bestseller, Harry Kraus M.D.:

"Finally, a reason to turn off ER and Grey's Anatomy. Here is a realistic medical drama with heart. Candace Calvert gets it right with page-turning prose, a heart-warming love story, and hope. Don't make us wait too long for the next one!"

4) Tyndale Marketing and PR teams have designed a (wonderful and exciting) plan for presenting the book (and author) to retailers and readers.

5) The (fabulous and soon to be unveiled) book cover has been designed.

6) Back cover copy (book description) is being drafted. Perhaps something like this:

"Lord . . . heal my heart, move me forward."

"After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She’s determined to make a fresh start--new hospital, new career in nursing education--move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she’s called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she’s forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Dr. Logan Caldwell, a man who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.
CRITICAL CARE ~ Who heals the healers?"

7) ARC's (Advanced Reader Copies) will soon be bound and sent to reviewers such as Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, BookList, And Christian Retailing.

Meanwhile, I'm already preparing for online author interviews, a blog tour, local launch party, and much, much more.

A bit like planning a wedding. While juggling. And dodging baby bunnies.

You have to be a little crazy. And love it.

We are. We do.

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail--out of the way, Mama's on deadline!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I've begun to Twitter . . . which, of course, sounds like something my parents would say when I was on a sugar high from too many holiday gumdrops:

"Candace Lee, for heaven's sake please stop twittering!"

Sad but true. Not that it stopped me. But I mostly do it now . . . in print.

If you haven't heard, "Twitter" is the newest trend in online social networking. Don't groan--really this one's different.

I've tried the other online gathering spots, like FaceBook, Crimespace (I was a mystery writer, remember), BookSpace, HA! (yup, comedy folks) . . . yada, yada. But frankly, they're too complex for me. I never know how to navigate around, I'm at a loss when someone "Friends" me, or sends me "Good Karma" or a cyber plant (do you have to water those?)

But "Twitter," on the other hand is gumdrop simple.

It's based entirely on the question, "What are you doing now?"

And, you are allowed only 140 characters (letters/numbers) with which to respond.

Or they cut you off. Snip snap.

Trust me, this a challenge for an author with a luxurious allowance of some 80,000 words.

So, then, what's the big deal about Twitter? Why am I . . . hooked?

Maybe it's a bit like taking a walk after dusk . . . when you pass houses and see lights inside, and wonder what people are doing. Twitter makes it feel like a little sign is posted above the doors, saying: "Angie's daughter is in the Christmas pageant tonight," "Bob's taking his wife to the movies--chick flick this time," "Kathryn's snowbound in rural Indiana--and grateful for a good book." Personalities, moods, encouragement, frustrations, humor, tips, wisdom . . . life. In 140 characters or less.

You can choose to "follow" (receive updates) on people, and they can choose to follow you. Or not. The group I'm "twittering" with tends to be writing-related (authors, editors, agents, publishers) for the most part and mostly in my genre, inspirational fiction. But I read with interest about other people, too, like an organic gardener in California--who's just picked the last of the season's green peppers. I could almost taste his dinner quiche.

I guess, when it comes down to it, Twitter is people-watching. With a sense of community.

Great for a writer.

And valuable too--learning how to snip "fatty" narrative away.

Make a point in limited words.

Becoming more.


Oops . . . gotta make 85,000 words on DISASTER STATUS. Better twitter . . . longer.

Come visit me on Twitter:

Bring gumdrops.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let it Snow

This is an early morning shot of our home . . . early meaning I threw a coat over my jammies, shoved my feet into a pair of clogs and dashed outside. Because it SNOWED. And this does not happen in semi-tropical South Central Texas. We're climate of things "jungle-y," like warm afternoon rainstorms, rainbow colored birds, chameleons, geckos . . . and creeping vines that cover a house as fast as that one in "Little Shop of Horrors." Except (as far as I know) no one's actually been eaten by a vine. So far. We should probably do a head count of neighbors on summer nights.

Anyway, this amazing snow happened last Wednesday--the day our California kids were catching a plane to sunny Texas. The weather folks flirted with a "possible snow" forecast, but no one truly believes those reports, right? Still, it was cold. Cold enough to throw beach towels over my potted plants and tenderly blossoming dwarf Meyer lemon tree. And to turn on the electric blanket. Still . . . snow? C'mon.

I awakened just before dawn in my snuggly nest of warmed sheets, and hubby says . . . "It snowed. Go look."

Well, this man--an infamous teaser--has about as much credibility as a Texas weatherman. So, I say, "Uh huh. Right."

And he says, "Really. I was up at 3:00, and I saw it."

"Sure," I smirk. "And were deer making snow angels?"

He shrugs and pulls up the covers, and I . . . can't stand it. I know he's hooked me like a baited bass, and I know the tile floors are going to be mercilessly frigid, but . . .

And there it was: SNOW. Accompanied by much girly squealing. Many Tigger-like leaps. Followed immediately by the jammies and clogs and camera scenario. I'm out the door in Winter Wonderland.

It snowed.

On the lawn, on the roof, on our little wooden bridges, around the pool, on the beach towel covering my lemon tree . . . everywhere. Like white royal frosting on gingerbread.

I took photos of everyone's house on our little cul de sac. I took a photo of my neighbor grabbing his newspaper. I looked for deer . . . making snow angels. No photo proof. But still . . .

I went from non-believer. To believing.

Of course, as an author of inspirational fiction, I love the hopeful message in that.

I'm including this photo on our Christmas cards.

In this season of miracles . . . snow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gone Armadillo Hunting

Quick post to say: Real post will be mid-week.


We're armadillo hunting.


Son and family are here from California and they've never seen one.

Which means (of course):

All armadillos--that would normally be trenching our lawn and flowerbeds to smithereens--have gone AWOL. Or to Luckenbach.


So, while the hunt continues, we console ourselves with:

Gingerbread, Barbecue, pizza, roadrunner sightings, live Texas music, salsa, spelunking, fudge, and generally having a good time.

More later. Got to go put out more armadillo bait.

They eat gingerbread and brisket, right?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

on Purpose

I receive a lot of e-mails from the good folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul. This is because my very first published work was an inspirational story in Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul back in 1999, I think. I held my breath for nearly a year while that story made the rounds of editors, moved into the "final cut" from 2,000 stories being considered for this project. You can imagine my pure JOY when I got the word that my story, "By Accident," would be included. I was especially grateful, because this story was first written at the request of my pastor, after I'd survived a riding accident that left me with 8 fractured ribs, back fractures, a bleeding lung, a broken neck . . . and a spinal cord injury. The neurosurgeon told me that I'd been only millimeters from the fate of Christopher Reeve, my long time hero. Humbled, is not a big enough word. The accident that nearly took my life . . . restored my faith.

It also started my writing career . . . and eventually led me to where I am now: honored to writing inspirational fiction for Tyndale House Publishers. Using the gifts I've been given to offer hope to others.
Imagine my amazement, then, when I recently received an e-mail from Chicken Soup telling me that this story--"By Accident"--has been chosen for a book in their new series, "The Best 101 Stories from Chicken Soup." The title of this one: Best Stories of Faith. My little story appears in the chapter called, "Divine Interventions." AND (goosebump warning) here's
the quote they printed below my title:

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible"~ Christopher Reeve.

I read that and was completely astounded. Hope, you see, is the theme of CRITICAL CARE, my first novel for Tyndale House.

Divine intervention? Oh, absolutely.
And I've no doubt that it's all part of a much bigger plan:

"By Accident" . . . was on Purpose.

I love it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Think Pink!

My son just called from the ultrasound appointment: We're having a GIRL!
He was crying, I was squealing, and Momma-to-Be sounded blissful . . . an amazing moment.
And a wonderous miracle.
Pink happy faces all round!
Are those . . . freckles on those bows?