I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Win Book Therapy for Your Scene!

Face it. For an unpublished author, it’s hard, if not downright impossible, to get constructive criticism of your work-in-progress. You summon the courage to show your story to your mother, your best friend, your spouse. They love it . . . Or they hate it. But they can’t tell you how to improve it. Unfortunately, contest feedback isn’t always helpful, either. Where can an unpubbed author get professional advice?

Actually, right here!

Hi, this is Roxanne Sherwood. We’ve had some great guests and given away fabulous books. Now, I’m excited to announce our Absolutely Best Contest--Ever! Here’s your opportunity to win a critique of your scene from Book Therapist and multi-published, best-selling author Rachel Hauck. (Plus, it’s great prep for contest season.)

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on why you deserve--or need!--book therapy for your work-in-progress. Just be sure to be creative, maybe even a little bizarre. (Make it tough to choose a winning entry.) And please leave your email address.

The winner will submit a scene of no more than 1,000 words, plus a log line, or a hook, to Rachel Hauck. (A log line is sentence or two that hooks the reader.) Here’s the log line for Hauck's upcoming release, The Wedding Dress.

One dress. Four women. An amazing destiny.

Book Therapist Rachel Hauck
is an award-winning, best-selling author. A graduate of Ohio State, she spent 17 years in the corporate software world before leaving to write full-time. She is the past president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and now serves as an advisor. She’s married and lives in central Florida. For more information and for private book therapy, go to http://www.mybooktherapy.com/.

To enter this fabulous contest, leave a comment on why you deserve/need book therapy, along with your email address. (Believe it or not, but we've had contests where we were unable to contact the winner. If we can't contact you, you won't win.) The deadline to enter is midnight, this Friday, January 27, 2012. The winning entry will appear here on February 6, 2012. Good luck!


  1. What a fun contest! And Rachel's book therapy skills have reshaped my manuscripts. I love the truth she pulls out in just a few words!!

  2. Great opportunity! Having Rachel's therapy would so help me. As recently as yesterday over 1600 words I'd written turned out to be back story too near beginning of book where it's not allowed. My history-teaching mind set gets involved and sinks my ship. I know Rachel would help rescue me from the old ship and put me on a safer (smaller) craft.

  3. Hope everyone's mulling their comments over! Have fun with this -- it's a wonderful opportunity! I've worked with Rachel and she's helped me so much with my novels.

  4. This is such a great contest! I hope everyone is working on their comments about why they deserve to win. Rachel has such great insight as a writing coach!

  5. I want to win!! But I'm guessing as a resident Ponderer, I'm ineligible. But seriously, others, leave a comment...because Rachel's expertise is priceless. Just read one of her books and you'll know she's someone you'll want to learn from. Brainstorming with her and Susie down by the beach in Florida at last year's DT Retreat breathed new life into my story!

  6. Melissa, you're right on both counts. Ponderers are ineligible (too bad because we'd all like to win) and Rachel's advice is priceless.

  7. This is a great contest! I hope lots of writers will leave a comment.

  8. I definitely need to win this contest! I had an agent who suddenly quit her job about six months ago (long story), and I'm currently trying to find another. I need that set of experienced eyes to tell me what needs to be improved on my opening scene to land the next agent.

  9. Brava, Renee, for stepping up and being the first one to tell us why you'd like to have book therapy with Rachel. And that's a compelling reason, for sure.

  10. Thanks, Beth. I tried. :)

  11. I would LOVE to win this!!! I'm an unpublished wanna-be! :) Though I've written several books, I haven't been able to attend a writer's conference, and I'm a little scared (intimidated, too) to send a query off to agents or publishers. What a treat to have an auther such as Rachel Hauck provide feedback on a scene!! Here's hoping....

  12. I thought on this one this morning, and I was too harried to be creative, so here's my shot at winning some therapy. :)

    I need to win the book therapy because my characters both want to lead the dance that is their story. They each yearn for the same thing, a marriage that sparkles. They’re struggling to work on external fixes, when what they really need is help with their internal issues. They need a therapist to make their story, and their relationship shine.

    Thanks for offering this!!
    My e-mail is: wetalk2biz(at)q(lower case Q)(dot)com

  13. Well, this is a little embarrassing...but...well, shucks, I'll just say it. I'm a bit of a control freak. I tell my characters what to do. Sometimes I put them in situations that are...less than pleasurable. I know I should probably listen to them more, but hey, I'm in charge. What I says goes. That's how it's gotta be. That's how it's gonna be.

    I think they need some therapy to deal with me. And I probably need some therapy to help me let go and let my characters be themselves.


  14. Enjoying all of these!
    Don't forget to leave contact info!!

  15. Great comments!! Lindsay, a writer SHOULD be in control BUT it's also good to let the characters "just be" and see what turns up!

    Heidi, we're all a bit scared as writers. Either of editors and agents or of the readers! "Will they like my work?" Welcome to the writer's life!

    Jeanne T, I love your story concept! How's it going?

    Renee, good opening scenes definitely help land an agent. :)

    By the way, a log line can be a few sentences. "She's a bounty hunter who's terrified of horses. He's an ex rodeo champion running from love. When her chase leads her to his ranch for help, there's only one way to get what she wants. Face her fear. He takes the job to lead her into the danger back trails of the Opalopa Mountains and it doesn't take long for him to realizes he'll have to let his heart breath if he ever wants to live again."

    Some thing crazy like that. Give a hint of what the story is about.

    Have fun!


  16. Oops. ahavarenee at bellsouth dot net. Thanks for the reminder, Beth.

  17. I love this!

    Thanks Rachel for giving so much of yourself. You are a true hero to many of us :)


  18. Lindsay (dot) harrel (at) gmail (dot) com

    And yes, Rachel, I was just trying to be creative.

    Here's my pitch/log line:

    As Grace prepares to leave for college, she unearths a journal written by her mother’s best friend—a best friend Grace has never heard of. Jessica is desperate to keep her daughter from discovering the story of betrayal and secrecy that’s haunted her for years. Will the truth bring reconciliation or destroy their relationship forever?

  19. Rachel -- a hero. That she is, Ginger. That she is indeed.

  20. Chris Potash1/25/12, 9:50 PM

    This is Stella – I am Chris’ heroine and between you and me she is in dire need of some therapy. In the last month I have been an actress, an inn manager and a college professor. Chris keeps changing her mind and it is giving me a headache. I know she wants what’s best for me, but I just want her to pick something so she can get on with the scene and the rest of the book. I am dying to find out how it all turns out!
    You can contact her at clpotash@gmail.com – and hurry please!

  21. So fun to read all these. :)

    Rachel, writing's going well. I still need to figure out some scenes with secondary/minor characters, and then I get to write "The End" for my first rough draft. :)

    Rest well, all!

  22. What an AWESOME contest! I totally wish I was eligible! I'm definitely stuck in the mud, but I don't think even therapy would help me at this point. I'm still pondering Ginger's post. But I wish everyone else the best of luck! (Especially the other Heidi...for obvious reasons, lol!)

  23. Are Ponderers ineligible? Just in case, my contact info. is dtopliff@yahoo.com

  24. We'll probably exclude Ponderers, Dee.

  25. Ok, here goes...I definitely would LOVE to win this contest because I am writing in a genre that is new to me: YA Christian/Supernatural Fiction about teens battling spritual warfare in reality and in dreams. How the heck do you write about the natural AND supernatural realms occurring at the same time w/o sounding cheesy?

    I could use help!

    TAG LINE: Sera thought her faith could endure anything. But the supernatural was listening...


  26. I love all the comments, but the contest is still open for a few more hours. So if you're still thinking of entering, don't hesitate.

    I wish each of you could win because this truly is a fantastic opportunity. Rachel is a great coach!

    Best of luck to all!

  27. Thanks again, Ponderers and Rachel for offering this!

  28. I've spent two days mentally composing the reasons why I want - or need - or deserve - this critique. All I keep coming back to is that I don't deserve it. Jesus has already given me so much more than I deserve. This critique - and all the other blessings He's given - would just be gravy. I trust that He has a plan for the critique and knows who needs it the most.
    elizabethschultz1976 [at] gmail [dot] com