Writing Process Blog Tour

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I was invited to a blog tour on writing processes by Rene Gutteridge, my co-author on Never the Bride, Greetings from the Flipside, and Novelizations: How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels. You can check out her process at:  Rene Gutteridge Blog

She was invited by our mutual friend, Andrea Nasfell (Andrea Nasfell’s Blog) a very talented screenwriter of such movies as Moms’ Night Out, Christmas Angel, and Silver Bells.

I decided to join the party, since I hadn’t written a writing blog in a while. Having just finished up the latest draft on my next novel, what better way to take a break than to blog?

1) Who are you?

I am Cheryl McKay in my writing life, Cheryl Price in my married life. I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, screenwriter, author, teacher, scrapbooker, new spiralizer, and the forgiven child of the Most High King. My husband and I have a ministry together called Finally One and a passion for seeing marriages, not just survive, but thrive.

2) What are you working on?

As I’ve blogged about in the past, Rene Gutteridge and I have been working together on getting my screenplays adapted into novels. We’ve released two of those so far and are about to start work on a third. After we wrote our “How To” book on novelizations, I decided to try my hand at one of my own adaptations. (I far prefer working with Rene, I must say.) But adapting a story very close to my heart and my family’s heart, Song of Springhill, has been its own kind of reward. I hope to release this novel late August or early September 2014. I already released a book of true life interviews earlier this year that grew from my research into the story, called Spirit of Springhill.

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Spirit of Springhill Blog

I look forward to introducing the world to my love story characters in the novel version this fall. Earlier this year, I was hired to write a kids television show. I was also hired to write a series pilot that’s now out there making the rounds to hopefully get set up as a regular show. The one thing you can bet I’m always working on is looking for funding to make Never the Bride, the script version of my novel with Rene. We’re making some great progress, but as always, movie-making takes a lot of time and persistence.

NTB Final Movie Poster    Never the Bride

 

In my free time, my husband and I are producing a web style series called:

Married with Benefits

FINAL MWB Logo

It’s a series of shorts that depict a variety of marital issues that we will use in the future as a springboard for discussions when we public speak at couples’ events.

3) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I know all writers are told to “write what you know.” This is something I probably do to the extreme. I’ve written my “life story” at least five ways in five different genres. I am very personal about what I write. You will find me somewhere in everything I pen. The reason I do that is I believe my work is more relatable and authentic when I can put myself and my heart (which is sometimes bleeding) into my work. For example, I wrote the screenplay of Song of Springhill over ten years ago. In adapting the novel this year, I ended up adding an entire overarching theme that wasn’t part of the original script based on current questions I have about life, death, and God’s mercies in the midst of painful circumstances. If I’m wrestling with it, chances are, so are other people. I hope by being authentic, others who read (or watch movies) will be touched by my work and helped in some way, at the very least to know someone out there understands how they feel. The other unique thing I’ve been doing for a while is writing both fiction and non-fiction on similar topics.

4) Why do you write what you do?

Like I said, I have a passion for storytelling and the belief that stories can change and heal hearts or even just bring hope and laughter in the midst of a world that is full of challenges. I especially have a desire to reach audiences that are single, losing hope in their wait to find love. So a lot of my stories are romantic comedies that singles can relate to. I believe story is transformative. Getting a chance to write for others who may be changed, touched, helped, or healed through something I wrote is extremely rewarding and not something I take lightly.

5) How does your writing process work?

I am a big planner. I have a blog I wrote about this called Plotting is Better in Color that describes my outlining and brainstorming process. After I finish brainstorming and outlining, I write many drafts before I show the project to some trusted mentors. Then the rewrites begin. I do a lot of drafts before a client will see a project labeled “Draft One”. I love to outline on Post-Its. But if I have to turn in that outline, I type those scene ideas up in treatment form.

When I’m looking for inspiration on setting, time periods, and locations, I enjoy using Pinterest. Check out this link to read more:  Using Pinterest for Writing Inspiration Blog

Sometimes, if I am having trouble with a scene, I act it out. When I was writing the screenplay for The Ultimate Gift and found myself stuck, I visited a cemetery as if I were Jason, wanting to talk to Red’s gravestone to get some things off my chest. It helped inspire me into how Jason might have felt, trying to repair a relationship with someone who was already gone. The exercise got me back to writing.

I find that the writing process is never over. And just like I personally am a work-in-progress, so are any words I put on the page.

The Writing Process Blog Tour continues with a couple of other writers speaking about their processes, Carolyne Aarsen and Donita K. Paul. Their blog entries should be up sometime this week. *

Carolyne Aarsen Blog

Donita K. Paul Blog

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If you are interested in learning more about how to write novelizations, check out our “How To” book (with Rene Gutteridge):

Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Paperback)

Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Kindle Version)

Spirit of Springhill: Miners, Wives, Widows, Rescuers & Their Children Tell True Stories of Springhill’s Coal Mining Disasters

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My grandfather survived one of the biggest disasters in coal mining history. I’ve been working on a project about Springhill, Nova Scotia for a long time based on what I learned about what happened to him and many other good men of Springhill. I wrote a screenplay called Song of Springhill, a dramatized version of the Springhill Mine Disasters. I am also currently penning the novel version.

In the process of researching the story, I got the chance to talk to many wonderful people related to the disasters: miners who were miraculously rescued, their wives and kids, widows and children of those who were lost in the mines, and rescue workers. I’m releasing this book of interviews separately now while I’m still working on the novel.

Spirit of Springhill is written in honor of this special town, and contains interviews with 16 men and women. It’s 132 pages. Special thanks to all who were willing to share their stories for this book and for the ways their stories have helped me work on the novel and screenplay. I’m honored to have met these wonderful people, some of whom have passed away since I interviewed them. My hope is this book is a way to share their legacies for generations to come.

Spirit of Springhill is now available as a Paperback or an Ebook for Kindles, tablets, phones and computers. If you don’t have a Kindle, all you need is the free Amazon Kindle Reader software for your phone, tablet or computer to read it instantly.  The ordering instructions for Paperback and Ebook are different, depending on if you’re in Canada or the United States.

 Canada Residents:

You can purchase the Paperback version from the following link to Cheryl’s Bookstore on Createspace: (Createspace is a division of Amazon.com that will send the book to Canada. You will need to create an account with them separate from your Amazon.ca account.)

Click Here to Buy Spirit of Springhill in Paperback from Cheryl’s Createspace Store

If you buy one copy of the book ($10), it’s approximately 6.99 shipping. Duties and Taxes might not be collected at time of purchase but may be due upon receipt. If you buy copies of the book in bulk, shipping is less per book. (Example: 10 copies = approx. 2.09 shipping per book.) For any stores or museums in Springhill that would like to stock the book for purchase by others, contact the author for a bulk discount code before ordering: cheryl@purplepenworks.com

The Ebook version is available on Amazon.ca in Canada:

Click Here to Buy Spirit of Springhill in Ebook Format from Amazon.ca

For U.S. orders, use the following links:

Spirit of Springhill (PAPERBACK VERSION)

Spirit of Springhill (KINDLE VERSION)

All other countries, check your country’s Amazon site for the Ebook. It may be a couple of months before the Paperback may potentially show up.

I hope you are as inspired as I have been by the spirit of this special town that refused to give up on any of its own people, and the miraculous rescues that followed. I will continue to press forward with the novel version and announce once that is ready.

 

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Novelizations: How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels (Sample Chapter)

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Interested in learning about how to adapt a screenplay into a novel?

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Here is the first chapter of the new “How To” book by Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay: Novelizations: How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels (A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors)

Chapter 1

Cheryl McKay (aka The Screenwriter)


What is a Novelization?

There is a new trend percolating in the writing industry with novelizations. I’m not talking about serials that show up on bookshelves to match every episode of your favorite TV crime drama or the book spin-offs depicting your child’s favorite TV or movie characters. Rather, there is a different trend that began in the endlessly imaginative world of Hollywood around 2008.

Most writers are familiar with the custom of taking a book and adapting it for the silver screen. That’s been around since Oliver Twist, Ben Hur, and Rip Van Winkle’s clever arrivals. But what is this reversal? Can we take screenplays—even before they are filmed—and turn them into novels? Can these novels have a life of their own, independent of a film or television release?

The novelization process, as its own piece of artistry, is a whole different form of writing; it’s literally the opposite of book-to-screen adaptations and it’s gaining popularity. This topic that—just a few years ago, you’d never heard of—is suddenly on the roster of classes at screenwriting, film, and fiction writing conferences. Rene and I have even had the chance to teach some of those.

We find this new trend exciting. Perhaps it’s because we had the privilege of getting involved on the front end of its newfound popularity before we had even heard of it.

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Our Story

Our journey began in 2007. We met after Rene wrote the novelized version of my screenplay for The Ultimate Gift after it had been made into a feature film. What was unusual about that was the screenplay was already based on a book, penned by Jim Stovall. However, the producers and the publisher thought there would be value in releasing a second novel that closely matched the feature film. Rather than just rereleasing the original novel with the movie poster on the front, Thomas Nelson Publishers hired Rene to novelize my screenplay and then they published it in time for the feature film’s release.

This creative process gave us a fresh idea. What if we could get publishers to commission novels based on screenplays, even if those screenplays hadn’t yet been made into films?

If you are a screenwriter, can you imagine not having to wait for your movie to get cast, filmed, posted, and distributed to the nearest theater or Redbox to find an audience? Wouldn’t you love to start building an audience sooner?

Now you can, with what we are going to teach you through this book.

When Rene read my script Never the Bride, she knew she wanted my quirky rom-com to be the first story we worked on together. Our dream came true! In early 2008, when this new trend was barely even a concept, Random House contracted us for the novelization of Never the Bride.

Thus began the journey that has continued since that day. Collectively, we have seven of these in publication or soon-to-be released, and we plan to do more. We have learned so much about the script-to-novel writing process. We now want to share that with you. It is a different art form altogether from adapting books into scripts or writing novels from scratch.

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Why Novelizations?

You may be wondering what the motive is for a screenwriter or a novelist to get involved in this process. For those writers who can do both forms of writing—why would you want to pen two projects based on the same material?

Well, it’s simple.

The film industry is risk-adverse. Check out the slate of films releasing on any given Friday. You will notice most of these projects are based on something preexisting: a novel, a nonfiction book, a comic book, a character, a true story, a historical event, a sequel, prequel or spin-off of a prior film or TV series, a remake of a prior film. (Did you know Les Miserables has been adapted into film over ten times?) Hollywood loves to know they have a built-in audience with whom to start. Otherwise, they are too afraid no one will shell out the big bucks to fill their stadium-style theater seats.

Yet screenwriters have good ideas for stories too, right? New, fresh, original. Naturally, not all screenwriters are novelists, just like most novelists wouldn’t know how to adapt their books into screenplays. (The writing rules couldn’t be more opposite!) In recent years, if executives came across a project they liked but they wanted to see if there was an audience for it, they might suggest the screenwriter get their project novelized and published first.

Besides having your story published, the benefit for the screenwriter is to be able to take meetings with studios, TV networks, and producers, and talk about how her story sold first as a novel. This gives the impression that someone else considered that story worth buying. It will give that screenwriter a leg up on other scripts in the slush pile that have no track record.

There have also been success stories in the independent publishing realm if a screenwriter released a novelization on her own and it gained a big audience. Studio executives pay attention to ebook sales, whether books are traditionally published or not, especially if there’s a large following made obvious by chatty readers in book forums. (According to an executive at a conference speaking on novelizations, it may only take the sale of 10,000 copies of an independently published novel to capture the eye of a studio.)

For novelists, this is a worthy world to dive into as well. They may find ideas they can be passionate about that will take half the work of an original novel. They have a better chance of their novelizations landing on the big screen. They have a shot at better sales if any of those novels are made into films and the novelizations rerelease with the movie posters on the front. All of this helps novelists become more visible in the film industry; it may call the attention of studios, networks, and producers to their other books.  Can you say win-win?

For novelists and screenwriters, for producers and publishers, there is no downside to playing in this creative world. (So, why didn’t we think of this sooner?)

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What You Will Learn in This Book

There are many questions surrounding this creative arena that we will discuss in this book. For example, how does a novelist know which stories to take on and which projects to avoid? Why is it important to not change everything the screenwriter wrote? And yet, how flexible does the screenwriter need to be when watching someone else adapt (read: change) his words?

Screenwriters, we will help you understand why the novelist will have to make some changes to your beloved, original story, its structure, its dialogue, and other areas in the translation to book form. We will also share some tips on how to make sure you are working with a team that actually wants to adapt your story.

There are patterns we have picked up on that have become helpful to recognize as we approach each novelization. Some key questions we will answer are:

• What are the challenges of novelizations?

• What makes it easier to write these books over novels written from scratch?

• What’s important to keep, to expand, or throw away from the original script’s story?

• If the screenwriter is not writing the novelization, how involved should that screenwriter be with the novelist?

• What’s the best way to form a partnership between screenwriters and novelists?

• What changes should screenwriters be flexible on and what should they fight for?

We will answer these and many other questions throughout this book.

And here’s the cool part. Since collectively, we have done this on seven projects so far, we have specific examples from our own published work, plus a few works-in-progress. You will get the chance to compare side-by-side script pages to the novelization pages that followed. We will explain our whole process: why certain parts of the novel are faithful to the script and why other parts veer off in different directions. We will show you how each writing arena follows different rules and how to use the tools unique to novelists in the novelization process.

For those screenwriters who are also aspiring novelists, there is so much you must learn to do your own adaptations. It’s like having to rewire your brain to think the exact opposite to how it functioned when you penned your screenplay. We will also give you short exercises in select chapters to put what you’re learning into practice.

We will cover such topics as setting, length, point of view, backstory, interior monologue, and the translation of dialogue, character, and structure from script-to-book.

And just a quick word about the format of this book. It’s not that we love seeing our names and titles in print. Since this book is co-written by a screenwriter and a novelist, we will label each section for you, so you know who is speaking. This way you’ll know if you are being given advice from the screenwriter’s POV or the novelist’s POV, or which one of us is doing the comparison from script to novel. Just because we don’t want to be completely annoying with agreement problems by always having to qualify a writer in the singular as a “he or she,” we will often refer to one as a “she.” We mean no disrespect to the wonderful male authors and screenwriters out there. (Rock on, Bill Myers, James Scott Bell, Tom Clancy, Nicholas Sparks!)

Are you ready to dive in with us, into this new, exciting, creative world?

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(Want to know more? To get a copy of the whole book, visit the links below: )


Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Paperback)

Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Kindle Version)

 

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Novelizations: How do you translate a script into a novel? A writing exercise.

      Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00015]      NTB Final Movie Poster    Never the Bride

Have you ever thought about adapting your script into a novel? Have you wondered how the process of novelization works?  Rene Gutteridge and I have done a few of these together, and she’s done several with other screenwriters. We won a Carol Award / Book of the Year Award in the Women’s Fiction category of ACFW, for Never the Bride.

I also recently started adapting some of my scripts myself into novels. It’s hard work, but a very fun process. There’s definitely an art to it! It’s exactly the opposite of the process you’d go through to adapt a book into a screenplay (like I did with The Ultimate Gift). And getting your scripts out there as books just might help you get a movie made! And for novelists, you could find some good projects to work on that are about half the work of writing a novel from scratch.

On this blog, I’d like to show you one example from my screenplay Never the Bride. To follow are the first two pages of the screenplay:

Nightmare plus wake up

NTB pg 2

Now, before continuing to read this blog, go to your favorite book retailer and use the LOOK INSIDE or PREVIEW feature to read the first part of the novel from the opening to the point where Jessie drives off with her tire changed. (If you hop on a paperback version, you’re looking at pg. 1 through top of pg. 5.) The following link goes to Amazon’s Paperback or Google Books:

Never the Bride Sample on Amazon

Never the Bride Preview on Google Books

The sample included 1188 words, four printed novel pages vs. 472 words and two script pages. That’s two and a half times more words that were put into the novel to describe the same sequence.

This novel is in first-person, present tense, which gives us an active thought life from which to play. It’s like getting to write one long monologue as Jessie tells her own story.

For this blog, we’re going to focus on interior monologue (the subject of Chapter Six of our new “How To” book), one of the most useful tools exclusive to novelists that screenwriters are not allowed to use in scripts. The novel begins with the scene that starts on page two of the screenplay. It draws you into Jessie’s dilemma in a way the script simply cannot. She may be in the same predicament, but we get to spend a lot more time with Jessie, getting to know how she feels about life, her vulnerability, and her singleness. The interior monologue shares some of the information from the voice-over where Jessie is fantasizing about the life she wishes she had. Her journal habit, her hair color (and lack of blonde hair), what she sees as her ideal life. We find out she’s responsible with her job, is capable of taking care of herself, and how she feels about her boss. Even her boss’s character is set up here. All of this is revealed in the next part of the script, but in the novel this information comes out in the middle of Jessie’s crisis to reveal more about her character and life. The inner battle between her romantic optimism and her realistic cynicism shines through as well. The novel also takes a bit more time to describe the setting and the weather.

The interior monologue has a voice. It closely matches the style of Jessie’s voice from the script’s dialogue but is infused with additional humor and an openness you can’t have in a script without access to Jessie’s private thoughts.

Look at the segment of the script again where Jessie hopes the guy in the sports car will stop to help her. Then read over the novel version for that sequence. Notice the difference. Many of Jessie’s thoughts are shared during the part where she hopes the guy in the convertible will stop. We get to peek into what she’s thinking and feeling while anxiously waiting to see if he’ll help her. In reality, that scene on film would take just a few seconds, even if the director chooses to follow the slo-mo, brunette hair-blowing-in-the-wind dramatics. The novel allows us to pause and hear what flies through her mind in that moment, getting caught up in all her hopes and dreams of rescue. The script version is no less devastating to the character as she’s pelted with muddy water, yet the thoughts we get to read with Jessie in the novel are so enjoyable, so character revealing. We may even feel more for her in this moment because we got to stop and take the time to do so. Interior monologue replaces the visual of the muddy water. In book form, saying she was splattered with water does nothing because we can’t see her reaction to it, as an actress would depict it. So instead we have to go inside her head. The hope in film is that a cute and talented actress will garner some great empathy as well.

After the guy in the convertible does not stop and she decides to change her own tire, there is a sequence of her interior thought life about being single. It economically gives us an idea of what this character and story are about, what causes her pain, and she plainly states that she hates being alone. None of this exists in the screenplay, even though viewers are likely to get the same message watching an actress. Those internal thoughts voice the intention of the story of the screenplay, yet the script cannot be nearly that direct. However, notice how both the manuscript and the screenplay are moved forward with action.

The novel references the silhouette matching the man who was in her room after her nightmare. This matches the script without going into what her nightmare was about yet. It sets up that she saw this same, mysterious figure before.

This sample shows you the same sequence. It’s the same dramatic purpose. However, we traveled different writing roads to get there.

This scene is also an example of a change to the scene order (structure), as well as the challenge novelists face dealing with voice-over. This is especially true in this case where the voice-over does not match the visuals; the character is lying to herself about her reality.

We deal with all of those special challenges in translating a script into a novel in our book. This has been one sample, but we have many different samples in our new book, Novelizations: How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels.

To purchase a copy, click either on the paperback link or the kindle link below:


Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Paperback)

Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Kindle Version)

 

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Ever thought about adapting a script into a novel?

100_3901Cheryl & Rene, 2009

Since 2007, I’ve been involved in a new trend that takes scripts and turns them into books. Yes, this is the opposite of normal. Many people have asked me how to do it. There are definitely specific writing techniques to this art form that you won’t find in a book on adaptation. In fact, those “How To” books are teaching the opposite rules than it takes to go from script to book.

Rene Gutteridge and I have taught classes in this writing technique for novelizations and decided to share what we’ve learned through this book.

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Novelizations: How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels

(A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors)

We took 10+ examples from our script to book novelizations, some published, some works-in-progress, to help illustrate how you turn a screenplay into a novel. As a screenwriter, it’s been amazing to see my characters come to life in book form. Having a screenplay come out as a book makes it a lot easier to gain attention for your scripts.

This book is for screenwriters who want to do their own adaptations as well as novelists who want to understand this unique writing format and how both types of writers can get involved in them.

Rene and I first met after Rene was hired to novelize my screenplay from the film, The Ultimate Gift.

TUG poster

Our first novelization that we collaborated on was Never the Bride, based on my screenplay:

Never the Bride

And then our follow up was Greetings from the Flipside, also based on one of my scripts:

Greeting Cover

To order on Amazon CLICK on the Title for Paperback or Kindle:


Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Paperback)

Novelizations – How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels: A Writing Guide for Screenwriters and Authors (Kindle Version)

Here is a description of what you’ll learn from the book:

NOVELIZATIONS: HOW TO ADAPT SCRIPTS INTO NOVELS

A WRITING GUIDE FOR SCREENWRITERS AND AUTHORS

Are you an author who wants to explore the business of adapting screenplays into novels?

Are you a screenwriter who’d like to see your unproduced script written as a novel, to help get your film made?

Are you a screenwriter who wants to adapt your own script into a novel?

This book is for you.

Novelizations used to pump business for existing movies and TV shows, but now a fast-growing trend has publishers contracting authors to pen novel adaptations based on scripts that haven’t been produced—yet. At least until the novel raises awareness about the script and gives it a life of its own. It’s a win-win for all creative writers.

If you are a novelist, you can benefit from learning the craft of adapting scripts into books. You may just end up penning a novelization that will one day be a film. There is an art to this form of adaptation that may differ from starting a novel from scratch.

If you’re a screenwriter who is sitting on a gem of a script, what are you waiting for? We’ll give you tips on how to team up with a novelist. Or you, too, can learn to adapt your screenplay as a novel. Just like screenwriting, there’s a craft to be honed. With the whole story and characters of that script already in place, you’re half way there.

Want to learn the trade secrets of this burgeoning business? Look no further. Using specific, side-by-side examples that compare script pages to novel pages, writing team Cheryl McKay (the screenwriter) and Rene Gutteridge (the novelist) share their experiences, tips, and know-how on adapting scripts into novels. Covering everything from creative technique to collaborative contracts, Novelizations: How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels is an invaluable tool for both screenwriters and novelists to successfully master this highly specialized art form.

RENE GUTTERIDGE is the one of the go-to authors for novelizations. She has written Old Fashioned, Heart of the Country, and Just 18 Summers for Tyndale. CHERYL MCKAY, screenwriter of The Ultimate Gift (which Gutteridge also novelized), has worked with Gutteridge on the novelizations for her scripts, Never the Bride for Random House and Greetings from the Flipside for B&H Publishing. They won a Carol Award (ACFW) for Best Women’s Fiction for Never the Bride.

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Soul Inspirationz

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For the month of January, the website called Soul Inspirationz, which celebrates Christian authors and fiction, has decided to feature Rene Gutteridge and me as featured authors.

If you’d like to read more about our writing careers and lives, visit the following links:

Featured Author–Rene Gutteridge

Featured Author–Screenwriter/Novelist Cheryl McKay

What is your destiny?

Ascend Conference pic

I went to a women’s conference this weekend in Los Angeles, CA called Ascend. This year’s focus: Fearless Joy.

One of the speakers, Deborah Pegues, said: “You were designed for destiny.” She also shared that in reference to how God sees us, “You are perfect for My purpose.” She encouraged everyone to embrace their uniqueness, not criticize themselves for flaws and imperfections. I loved one illustration she specifically had about writing. She said, “Is there anyone out there who feels destined to write a book?” Quite a few women raised their hands. She encouraged them to sit down in that chair in front of the computer and say, “Lord, I’ll be your typist. What’cha got?” Deborah never intended to be a writer, but kept sensing particular messages she was supposed to put out there, and now she has a book and speaking career.

One big difference with me is that I always knew I wanted to write from the time I was 5 years old. (I didn’t just want to: I would do it. I’d write stories and plays and make everyone in the neighborhood suffer through performances. :))

Whenever I teach writing classes I often encourage students to find that “one story only you can tell” merging your unique life experience with your storytelling desires and creativity (whether that is a non-fiction book, a fictional novel, or screenplay).

Have you questioned what you are supposed to be doing with your life? Ryan and Jayne Elliott have a website called CareerSighted that features videos with people from various professions. They recently came to my home and interviewed me about what it’s like to be a screenwriter and a novelist. Check out the video for an inside peek about what this profession is like. Click on the CareerSighted link to check it out:

CareerSighted Video: Screenwriter/Novelist

*****

Pic for Careersight 2

Greetings from the Flipside

Greeting Cover

SYNOPSIS

Hope Landon has been rewriting other people’s greeting cards since she was six years old — there’s always a funnier caption. She’s all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can’t write a song for her. That may give her something to write about.

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple’s month-long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral — everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it’s not that easy to rent a place when you’ve been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YMCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization’s humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh again.

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Greetings from the Flipside will stretch your imagination and lead you on a journey with our lead character, Hope Landon, much like It’s a Wonderful Life did many years ago with George Bailey. As you step into Hope’s shoes, perhaps you’ll laugh, cry, and find hope with her to live a full life and chase after your set-aside dreams–and if you’re looking for it, maybe find true love. For anyone who’s read our prior work, Never the Bride, you know we like to think outside-the-box with our romantic comedies. Are you ready to suspend your disbelief and journey with us to the Flipside?

THE THEMES

If I were to sum up what this book means to me, at its heart, it’s about having hope in the midst of trials and to believe that life will get better again. It’s about how God can “Romans 8:28″ anything in your life. (Yes–that’s a verb now!) He’s able to take those bad circumstances and turn them around for your good. What I love about Hope Landon’s character is she is a fighter, no matter how many bad things happen to her. But she’s honest about it; she doesn’t sugar coat pain.

Have you ever gone through something emotionally painful and had someone pat you on the knee and say in that empty way, “Things will get better”? They think they are being comforting while your temptation may be to strangle them. Hope Landon likes to keep it real. But the irony is… she’s a little challenged to know what’s real and what isn’t in her world. Sometimes her life feels like a bad dream. Yet even bad dreams have a way of waking us up to what truly matters in life. Sometimes, they’re not actually bad but have a chance to show us that what we wanted wasn’t what was best for us after all. They can even point us in the right direction. I know for me, many times, I’ve had dreams that helped me heal from painful circumstances or helped encourage me toward a better place in life.

If any of these themes resonate with you, we hope you’ll check out our story.

THE BACKSTORY

Rene Gutteridge and I have been so privileged to work together in such a special and unique way. It started after I wrote The Ultimate Gift as a film, when she was hired to write a novelization of my script. After that, we teamed up on Never the Bride, a romantic comedy I had written as a script. We have an amazing working relationship and truly help each other to become better writers.

Our new project, Greetings from the Flipside, started when I was a writing fellow in a program called Art Within. We had to pitch about 50 ideas to the company before they settled on the one I would write into a script for the fellowship. The first germ of this idea started with just four words: “Christian Greeting Card Company.” They asked me to develop a romantic comedy for that setting. That was in 2007. And here we are, six years later, watching the release of the novelized version of that same story. You never know how long it will take to see something from its beginning stages grow to some kind of fruition (whether that is a book or a movie).

I had a lot of fun building a Pinterest board, sharing some of the locations I had in mind when writing the script. If you’d like to know what to picture as you read the novel, feel free to check it out:

Greetings from the Flipside Pinterest Board

One of the most fun days for a writer is when that first official copy shows up on your doorstep. After months or years of labor, you get to see the final product.

greetings 2

We’d love to hear from you! Rene and I have a joint page on Facebook. Look us up under Cheryl McKay & Rene Gutteridge or scroll down and like us from this page on the right.

Special thanks to B&H Publishing, who believed in us and our story.

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The book is now available from many book retailers:

Greetings from the Flipside B&H Publishing

Greetings from the Flipside Christian Book Distributors

Greetings from the Flipside Amazon

Greetings from the Flipside Books-a-Million

On the link to Barnes & Noble, you will need to type in the title:

Search for Greetings from the Flipside at Barnes & Noble

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