Merry Christmas (blog hopping)!!!

I haven’t posted in a while, not for lack of meaningful observations, but rather a lack of hours in the day. I recently participated in (but did not win) the 2012 NaNoWriMo challenge. An annual event in which you “win” by creating a minimum 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I ended at around 45,000 and wasn’t thrilled about it, but  I reminded myself that the story didn’t disappear, I just couldn’t articulate it in thirty days.

I’ve narrowed it down to two reasons for coming up short. First, was a five-day trip to my home state of Nebraska. I just didn’t feel like turning on the computer while I was on vacation and I wouldn’t trade the experience of that trip for an extra hundred days of writing.

The second reason; I was in the editing process for my first novel, The Greatest Gift. I constantly wrestled with editing to finish it sooner vs. continuing toward the aforementioned 50,000 word goal. My pride was the only thing that won. I completed neither task.

At the invitation of my editor, Steph Dagg, I am writing today about said first novel. She is conducting a Christmas Blog Hop (please see all links below) and was kind enough to invite me along. We first connected via Twitter and have been able to conduct the editing process via email (mostly – I may have some unresolved file size limitations on my side – sorry, Steph).

The Story

The Greatest Gift…some journeys are priceless, is a fictional tale involving three characters, each on their own separate journey to answer something for themselves. Their lives become intertwined in ways predictable and in one way none of them could have imagined.

Its rooted in the familiar concepts of faith, hope, and love, but told with what I believe is more of a soft brush than a message-heavy hammer.  If you’re interested in relationships, coffee, soccer, some mildly nefarious plot hurdles, and/or finding things where you’re least likely to look, then you might enjoy The Greatest Gift.

The cover design is currently undergoing a slight revision, but the photo within the design, taken in my hometown by my father, remains. I asked if he could capture some nature shots for me and the bridge was among several he took. I liked it immediately as all three of my characters were pondering some sort of metaphorical bridge crossing.

The Journey

My original hope for this blog was to encourage others to join a conversation to recognize moments that matter. I read other blogs myself, so I realize now it might have been a bit ambitious to hope people would have time to comment on my posts. That said, I see another route to the same destination. The journey to writing, editing, and publishing has already brought me in contact with individuals I might not have otherwise encountered; a high-school classmate and fellow writer, a book editor living in France on a llama farm, a gentleman from the East Coast of the United States, who operates an online Christian gift store, and the countless others I hope to meet as the ride continues. There’s no way of knowing if people will enjoy reading what you’ve written, but so far, my journey has been priceless. I’ll keep writing.

Merry Christmas!

Now, since this is a Christmas Blog Hop, in the spirit of the forthcoming holiday, I’m giving away two books: One to the first US reader who emails me the character name of the father from the 1983 Christmas classic, A Christmas Story.

And one more to the first UK (or non-US) friend who emails the fictional character cited by Hugh Grant during his press conference scene as Prime Minister in another holiday classic, Love Actually.

Note:Winners, please be patient as the paperbacks won’t be available until after the e-book release. In exchange for your patience, I’ll send your copy of the novel in a cigar box of my choosing (one of the novel’s characters enjoys cigars).

Please send your answer along with your full mailing address to me at: author@stevencsobotka.com

I’ve lined up some guest-posters for this blog, including Steph Dagg, so look for her adventures from France soon. Please feel free to scroll down to see who else participated in the hop. Merry Christmas!

Blog in France Bloghop

A Flamingo in Utrecht
Expat Christmas
Box53b
Word By Word
Vive Trianon
Fifty Shades of Greg
Books Are Cool
Perpignan Post
Jive Turkish
Very Bored in Catalunya
Life on La Lune
Scribbler in Seville
Blog in France Christmas
Les Fragnes Christmas
ReadEng. Didi’s Press
Steve Bichard .com
Edit My Book
Zombie Christmas
Christmas in Cordoba
The best Christmas blog ever
The Christmas Surprise.
Sci-fi Writer Jeno Marz
The best Christmas quilting blog ever
Painting in Tuscany
The Business of Life…
Funny tweets
we’ve got a new house but no stuff and it’s Christmas
Paris Cheapskate
What about your saucepans?
When I Wasn’t Home for Christmas or Celebrating
ShockWaves Launch Party
The French Village Diaries
Melanged Magic
Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France
Piccavey.com – An English Girl in Granada
Bordeaux Bumpkin
French immersion
Callaloo Soup
Grigory Ryzhakov
Piglet in Portugal
Beyond MÃnana
Chronicles of M Blog