The Road Trip Begins

fireplaceYesterday I arrived at Ave Maria to find my coworkers had transformed the office into a real “winter wonderland.” Up to and including the fireplace, fashioned from glittery paper and Christmas lights hidden behind a Yule log. Clever, huh? Made the sixteen-hour journey in the snow the previous day via train, two airplanes, and car . . . worth it.

“Journeying” is a popular metaphor in the publishing world. A good book is supposed to be transformative, leaving you better off simply for having invested yourself in it.

Parenting is also a journey. You start out with a little bundle (or, in my case, three larger ones), and discover a whole new side of yourself emerging. More love than you ever thought you had. Also more less flattering emotions (sleep deprivation does that to you.) But over time, you realize that even these begin to mellow into something more . . . human. Authentic. More fully “you.”

In the coming year, I’d like to invite you to journey with me on that parenting road trip. Sometimes that road trip will be literal (on Fridays I’ll be blogging about memorable places I’ve been to over the years, and invite you to join in the fun). Other times it will be more literary. (Wednesdays here will be my “Book Whisperer” column, where I point you to books and other resources that I’ve found helpful both in writing and in raising two special-needs kids, and invite you to share yours as well.) On Mondays, though, I hope to post about the journey of parenting. Feel free to play along!

Finally, I recently redid my “About” page (thanks to Michael Hyatt’s timely advice in Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World). If you’d like to guest post, to share your favorite book or not-to-be-missed road trip experience, please let me know!

Who’s Who in Catholic Publishing: CWCO Begins!

cwco_topicMonday morning at 9 am, the second annual Catholic Writers Conference Online kicks off with a little talk I’m giving about how to pitch a book idea to a publisher.

In preparation for this, I gathered information from the publishers who will be represented for the conference, to give attendees an idea of the distinctive “voices” of each house. This information was gathered from editors, publishing websites and the  CPA website

Why do publishing houses need mission statements? Here’s one excellent explanation from Michael Hyatt, President of Thomas Nelson Publishing. Someday when I grow up, I’d like to work for this guy. Bottom line: We need them to give us the “light at the end of the tunnel,” so we know how we fit in the great cosmos of the publishing world … and when we are accomplishing our corporate goals, individually and as a team.

Christian publishers distinguish themselves from other kinds of publishing in their desire to contribute meaningfully to the spiritual lives of others. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are our primary customers, service providers, and (not to put too fine a point on it) the reason we’re around in the first place. This year, an extraordinary number of editors and other writing professionals have stepped forward to donate their expertise. With your indulgence, I’d like to take a few minutes to recognize them here.

Ami McConnell (Thomas Nelson Publishing)
Arthur Powers
Andrew McNabb
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Cynthia Cavnar (Servant/Saint Anthony Messenger Press)
Danielle Bean, (“Faith and Family” Magazine)
David Dziena (Our Sunday Visitor Parish Services)
Devon Ellington
Elena-Maria Vidal
Frank Creed
Heather King
Helen Gallagher
Brian Saint Paul, Margaret Cabaniss, and Christina Jopson (“InsideCatholic.Com” e-zine)
Jaquelyn (Jackie) Lindsey (Our Sunday Visitor, trade books division)
Jeff Gardener (Catholic Radio International)
Joann Alberts, Trinity Direct Marketing
Judith Costello
Karina Fabian (President, Catholic Writers’ Guild)
Kristen Johnson
Kyle Eller (“Northern Cross” newspaper)
Lea Schizas
Lisa Wheeler (Maximus Group)
Maria Rivera
Mark Brumley (Ignatius Press)
Mark Shea
Matt Pinto (Ascension Press)
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Melanie Rigney
Michelle Buckman
Mike Manno
Miki Tracy
Patricia Punt
Paul Pennick (Twenty-Third Publications)
Sr. Maria Grace Dateno, Sr. Christina Wegendt, and Diane Lynch (Pauline Books and Media)
Pete Vere
Ron Berry
Sally Stuart (Christian Writers’ Market Guide)
Sue Brinkmann, OCSD (“Canticle” Magazine)
Sue Lick
Sylvia Dorham
Terri Main
Terry Whalin (Intermedia Publishing)
Tom Grace
VS Grenier
Vinita Wright (Loyola Press)

On behalf of co-chair Karina Fabian and myself, thank you for making this week possible, and for doing your part to cultivate the next crop of bestselling Catholic authors!