Tuesday, May 31, 2011


After a very busy, very enjoyable weekend, I'm getting back to business. On Sunday my two grandsons were dedicated to the Lord at their church and the family had dinner together at a popular Buckhead restaurant. Yesterday they all came to my house for a barbecue. Needless to say, I didn't get much work done.

This week my concentration will be on editing my upcoming August release, I Can't Get Next to You. This story will be my first faith-based release (I've written three), and I'm a bit nervous about how it will be received. Back when I was still dealing with agents and editors, I'd submitted two of my faith-based manuscripts, and the reaction was mixed and confusing.

The Christian publishers said they were too edgy and needed to be toned down. The secular publishers felt that there wasn't enough drama. You see, they like to publish those "dirt in the church" stories about crooked pastors, or unfaithful first ladies, and I don't write that stuff. I wanted my stories to be realistic portrayals of people who were Christians dealing with the vicissitudes of life, as my favorite preacher in the world, Bishop T.D. Jakes, always says.

After several rejections, I put those stories away and decided to write mainstream women's fiction. With I Can't Get Next to You, I've returned to my writing roots and this story is very "edgy." It's about a born-again man who unintentionally falls in love with an exotic dancer, aka stripper.

The idea for this story came to mind because I live in Atlanta, Georgia, a city known simultaneously for fabulous churches and great strip clubs. In fact, my former church has had an outreach to women in the sex trades, including exotic dancers, for several years. There is a tremendous need here for that type of special ministry.

The premise of the story is what would a believer do if they fell in love -- not infatuation, not lust -- with someone who is considered completely wrong for them. And what kinds of reactions would that believer receive from his family and friends? I didn't write this book with an eye to justify anything. I just began to write, allowed the story to unfold, and I was very pleased with the result.

Even my critique partners that aren't born again understood the hero's dilemma and angst over his predicament and didn't feel that the story was too "preachy." Now that I am publishing my own work, I can deliver the story I want to tell, and I'm anxious see what my readers think about it.

This week I am also getting back to critiquing for my critsisters. Our activity in the group I belong to has slowed down considerably now that four of us have been published by traditionally and electronically. One of my new partners is working on her first book, while another is in the middle of her second, and I've vowed to be more available to them.

Marketing and promoting my three releases had commandeered my attention for a while. Now I'm trying to get more balance in how I spend my time and learn to do a little bit of everything rather than concentrating on promotion while neglecting giving timely critiques to my partners and shoving my own writing to the back burner.

I'll let you know how this works out ...


Zee Monodee said...

You'll do it! Love the new title of the book - can't wait to see that one out.

You remind me I have to get my groove back on too. Neck deep in edits for my upcoming release, and it's like a race against time to finish and get everything ironed out.


Chicki said...

This is all new to me, Zee. I guess it'll take a while to figure out how to get everything done. What I regret most is not writing anything new for the past six months. You know that's a long, long time for me to go without coming up with a story! LOL!

Angela Jefferson said...

Love the new title! I'm in the midst of formatting CHBLY for upload to Amazon and I'm really nervous about releasing the book.

Gotta get with Zee about cover art!

Good luck with this upcoming release.

Delaney Diamond said...

The description of your next release sounds interesting. There's a lot of conflict there to weave an interesting story.

I've come to learn that promotion takes just as much effort, if not more, than the actual writing and editing. It's hard to strike the right balance, but I'm sure you'll be able to do it.

Chicki said...

Angela - the great thing about e-pubbing is you can always go back and fix anything that needs fixing. If you're nervous about how the book will be received, I want to encourage you. Readers of indie author books are very open. More so than the average traditional reader. These are some very cool folks. If you diligently promote your work, they WILL buy and tell others. It's wonderful! So don't worry yourself about it. Get that book out there!

Chicki said...

Delaney,thanks for your faith in me! BTW, I'm mailing your package tomorrow. It may take a couple of days to get to you, since I'm shipping it the most "cost-effective" way I can find! LOL! But we're not far from each other, so you should receive it by Saturday.

bettye griffin said...

Your story sounds exciting! Isn't it wonderful to be able to call the shots when you publish your own material? You say when...you say how...it's just marvelous. Your only limits are your imagination (limitless) and your own determination of when you want to have a project completed.

And don't feel bad about not creating any new in six months. Self-editing and polishing previously written material also counts as writing in my book, since you're preparing your words for prime time, i.e., sales to the public.

Chicki said...

You know from experience how it feels!

I've tried to write a bit recently, but I've found it really hard to switch from revision mentality to creative mode. Perhaps this is my first experience with writer's block. Never had it before ...

PatriciaW said...

Can't wait to read that new title. I bet it will be well-received. In my experience, there's a pot on the Christian fiction stove for just about everyone who's interested, from the "church dirt" stories (which I don't really categorize as Christian fiction, since they're all about dirt and not about Christ) to the salvation-conversion stories and everything in between.

I wish I could communicate the breadth of stories I read each year that are deemed Christian fiction, and the number of readers, like me, who yearn for them, some believers and some not. No doubt in my mind, your story will find lots of supporters.

Chicki said...

From your lips to God's ears, Patricia! I really loved writing the story, which is loosely based on the story of Hosea.

Have you ever read anything by Lutisha Lovely? What are her books considered?