Tell Your Stories | Deep Thoughts with Dawn

So this gorgeous little photograph popped up in my Facebook feed the other day and I just had to share it. Once I did, several others did as well. It was a mini-viral moment (is that even possible?) and it made me really stop and ponder what the message was. Of course, the quote spoke to me immediately – otherwise I wouldn’t have felt compelled to share it. But after taking some time to really think about it, I wonder why it touched so many people.

Sadly, I think part of the reason is because we all live in this life with stories that we wish we could tell.  But for whatever reason, we are forced to keep things secret – swept under the rug I guess. Which, I think is pretty sad. There is a lot of hurt and pain in this world and people would be a lot better equipped to handle their own if others could share their stories.

“Stories”, per se, don’t necessarily have to be bad, but the ones we tend to keep to ourselves usually are.  People generally don’t like to talk about their failures and their trials. And when someone has been wronged, it can be difficult to share that event for many reasons. There could be repercussions from the person that did the wrong, or from friends or family – it’s difficult to know who all could potentially be hurt just from telling the truth.

Because someone always gets hurt. Even if they bring it on themselves.

I have many stories I want to tell. And the big one, the one that I think about daily and just know in my heart that someday I will tell, is one that could potentially upset many people in my life.

But, you know, that’s kind of what makes for a compelling story – not hurting people, but telling the TRUTH.

Most people don’t live by the truth. They live by the things they say and do that they think will make the least amount of waves in their life and relationships. Very few live by their true soul. Very few follow the voices screaming in their head and the gut feelings and the song of the heart. Very few live their lives out loud and free as the people they really are.

Some of us really want to live out loud. The truth, the real and honest story of the heart, or the things that happen to us that are real and raw and gritty, are the most powerful things. And no matter who they involve, the story belongs to you and is yours to tell.

Some day I will tell my story. Tell yours.

Love. Always.

What’s in a Genre?

Trying to decide what genre Secret Chord fits into is proving to be difficult.  We had decided that it is a fantasy novel because of ____ and ____ (you’ll find out later).  But I’m wondering if that might not be exactly right.  I would describe it more of a light fantasy because we haven’t created a whole new world or even a modified one.  It’s a story about a normal girl living in a normal world doing normal things but with a few extra somthin somthin’s.
Then there is the YA/Adult category to keep in mind.  Our Main Character is a 20 something in graduate school, but this is definitely not an all out adult book.  Although she’s gone through a lot and had to handle a few very grown up things, she hasn’t even had a true love relationship.
So keeping all that in mind I would say we have a “light fantasy, crossover novel”.  Is there a Genre for that?


The Waiting | Thoughts on Queries and Rejection

We have finally finished the first round of editing and have begun the process of querying this week. Thankfully, this is something that Kim doesn’t mind handling because the whole thing would frustrate me to no end. Each editor wants something different it seems, from the structure of your main letter to the content that you send. It is a tedious process.

Kim has sent out about 20+ emails so far, and we received our first of many rejections right away. I was glad to get it over with – I didn’t know how I was going to react to it, but I knew it was inevitable so I was anxious for it to happen. But as more and more rejections roll in, I am having to stop myself from over-thinking it all. I know we will be rejected more than anything, after all, it only takes one acceptance and we’d be done. I suppose everyone wishes for that immediate success. But with every rejection that hits the inbox, I question our book.

Did we edit it well enough?

Is the writing in the first 10 pages that bad?

How can I make it better?

Maybe I should go rewrite that part again and try to make it stronger…

Maybe we should hire a professional editor before we go any further. 

There is a mentality among newbie photographers that any mistakes made in the session can be “fixed in post [processing]”. Often times in the writing of this book I have thought to myself, “well, an editor can fix that if it’s wrong”. And I am afraid that with writing, as in photography, that “fix it in post” mentality is not good to have. Pro photographers know that it’s best in SO MANY WAYS to get it right in the camera. It not only saves time in post processing, but it improves your entire business. So I wonder, what if we need to take a look at the book again and get it right, really tight and solid, before we send it to anyone?

It’s a good story, and parts of it are fantastic. But I know that my writing style (or lack thereof) is not for everyone. I write the way I think. I use too many commas so that when someone reads my words they know where to pause and breathe. I begin too many sentences with “And”.  And I am sure (see?) that when someone who is a grammar nazi and a professional writer reads my work, they cringe constantly.

But I could probably edit it a million times and still not be satisfied. I am afraid that if we mess with it too much, it will change the story to the point that it’s not what it initially started out to be. So, I sit and wait.

I know we will get that acceptance. There is no doubt in my mind. I just don’t like the waiting part. 😉

Love. Always,

And it shall be done

Dawn and I are proud to announce that we are finished editing Secret Chord!  This is a time of excitement and fear for us.  We’ve sent out just a few query letters but are searching for more agents to query.  If you know of an agent that might find our work exciting, please let us know.  Just email us at dawnandkimberly at gmail dot com or leave us a comment here.

Feel free to celebrate along with us!



Coffee or Tea

Kim says: Tea, my dear.

Mom used to give us tea and toast for breakfast and I can still remember the yummy taste.  Growing up I only knew Lipton with cream and sugar.  Then I found out there were other teas…Oolong, Mates and loose leaf.  Now that hubby has an obsession with tea too I’ve found better quality, better tasting teas that have a specific way of being brewed. It’s a great world to be in and so many many choices.  Right now I alternate between, Oolong, Mate and Green teas.  They all have their own benefits and special tastes.  But I MUST have creamer.

Dawn says: Coffee fo’ sho.

I am most definitely a crack, er uh, coffee drinker. I have to have my 2 BIG mugs in the morning or I simply can’t function. Though, in recent months, I have cut the caffeine in half. However, I do drink very diluted, decaf iced tea for the rest of the day. I am not really a hot tea drinker unless I am sick. And I haven’t had creamer in my tea since I was a little girl sitting across the table from my imaginary friends having a tea party. 😉 The highlight of my month has been this week with Starbucks Frappuccino happy hour. Woo hoo!

Aubrey (the main character of Secret Chord) says: Coffee all the way. 😉

I can’t function without coffee, and most of the time I prefer Starbucks or the specialty coffees at Macy’s, a sandwich shop here in Flagstaff. I am particularly fond of campfire coffee, and peppermint mocha creamer, much like Dawn. Since she and Kim created me, it’s only natural that I possess some of the same characteristics that they do. 😉

What do you say?

Kim, Dawn and Aubrey

Collaboration/Co-writing a shortened version

Most people write solo, but since I am not a real writer I enlisted Dawn to co-write this novel with me. Collaborating or Co-writing is not for everyone, but with Dawn and I there are no problems. We clicked from the beginning. The story flowed, we agreed on the characters, and editing is going quite well too. During the early days we would meet at Starbucks and outline the story. Then Dawn would go home and write out the scene. Most of the time the scene would go just as I had imagined. Sometimes one of us would have an idea while driving, showering or something and we text or call the other. If it was a good idea we would add it to the outline or change what had already been writen.  Now that the draft is finished, we are in the process of editing. We normally meet and edit together and it’s going great.  I can imagine that for most people something like this just doesn’t work.  But it seems like from the start this story was both part of me and part of Dawn. 

Any questions?


Signs ~ Musings from Dawn

One of the many things that Kim and I have in common is our belief in signs. I have always felt that we are all being constantly bombarded with “help” and information from God and the universe, and that we just have to be open to it. Allowing your eyes and mind to see all the “coincidences” around you can help you have a much better understanding of people and the way the world works and also what your own journey through this crazy life is supposed to be.

In our writing process for Secret Chord, Kim and I have experienced numerous signs and “coincidences” (I put the word in quotes because I don’t really believe in coincidences, but that is how most people see them). As we developed the story, people and things were put in our path that so very completely and consistently helped us by giving us information and perspective into the characters and real life facts that we were writing about. We have been amazed at how so many things have fallen into place.

So this past week I have been absolutely slammed with life in general. My schedule has been crazy busy, my husband’s schedule has been crazy busy and my kids’ schedules have been crazy busy. And because of all of that I haven’t had much time to work on the book edits with Kim.  But all week long, there have been signs pointing me back to the book. I am not sure what message is being sent to me, but I am definitely paying attention.

I opened up my LinkedIn account one day and happened to look at the “People You May Know” page.  About midway down the page, there were two profile listings with identical names, and neither one had any connections to me. However, their name is the same as the name of one of the main characters of our book, Elijah Riley.

On Saturday I was coming home from a photo shoot and heading to the local grocery store. I stopped at an intersection and saw a motorcycle turning toward me. The rider turned his head and I got a good look at the side of his helmet and it was exactly like this one.

This is the helmet we describe in the book that Elijah wears. Oooooeeeeeeooooo!

That freaked me out a little bit. I know people own the helmet of course, but I have never seen it in person before (and believe me, I am constantly looking for it!).

So, our wonderful character, Eli, is on my mind this week. I think I need to clear out some time in my schedule for him. It’s funny how the characters seem to wiggle their way into our lives.

Love Always,

5 reasons to write a book.