Sunday, December 19, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Christmas is close with kids and other family members all
It is so easy at this time of year to get caught up in the Christmas
Her long, slender fingers ruffling the blond curls on his forehead
There comes a time when the
How about now?
Dig out the fruitcake or sugar cookies, a cup of tea or cocoa, and a
Unless, of course, there’s an editor breathing
But if you are able, enjoy this season, set work aside for a
The Baby in the Manger
Because in the BLINK OF AN EYE,
the season will be gone.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Too much gobble, gobble.
Did you wake up in a warm bed?
Can you pay your bills (for the most part)?
Are you able to say you ate too much?
Are you free to worship the One and True God?
THEN, MY FRIEND, YOU ARE TRULY BLESSED.
ARE YOU TRULY GRATEFUL AS WELL?
GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I don’t generally chime in a lot about issues other than writing, but what on earth is happening on DWTS? For those of you who don’t have a clue,
The show is SUPPOSED to be about taking
NON-DANCERS and with the help
they learn and improve as much as possible.
NOW, every season manages to have a couple people with little to
generally voted off right away.
And that is the case this year. Bristol Palin is being
crucified in the media
OH NO! HOW CAN THAT BE? SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY LEARNED FROM NO EXPERIENCE AND IS NOW DOING A GOOD JOB!!!
MUST BE VOTER FRAUD!
We had to listen to Maks and Brandi (who until their loss, I found to be one of my fave couples) whine all week because she was voted off. She WAS brilliant. She’s also an actor, singer, performer with, I believe, some dance background. Just like Jennifer Grey from Footloose, who is the leader on the show. She is WONDERFUL, but we’re comparing apples and oranges here, folks. What’s so hard to understand in all this.
SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT NON-PERFORMER, NON-DANCERS
THIS ISN’T A CONSPIRACY!
Just heard a man shot his TV
‘cuz he was so angry
Bristol made it to finals.
‘cuz that was
GOOD LUCK, BRISTOL AND MARK. YOU
COURAGE TO PUT OURSELVES
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Was it the intent of those good men who gave all they had that we should sit here, in front of our computers, and be subjected to the kind of filth that slithers over the screen at an ever-alarming rate? Do companies, in this instance, Amazon(with whom I and many other authors have done a LOT of business), have the right to sell a book under the guise of first amendment rights whose topic enslaves millions of children worldwide?
Is it a coincidence that John Walsh was on the morning news explaining that wealthy western countries are the source of so many pedophiles? Babies . . . yes, I said babies, some as young as five years old are being enslaved for the sole purpose of being a source of pleasure for pedophiles.
And all under the umbrella of FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS!
My heart broke this morning when I read the response from Amazon that it is taking the stand that it would be “censorship” to not sell a book because of the opinions expressed in the book.
Fox News is calling for a boycott that would hit Amazon where it would feel it, in the pocketbook at Christmas. And the only way to do that is to express our concerns, as writers, who may or may not have books for sale on Amazon. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
I understand this topic is a difficult one for us, as writers, but if we won’t stand up for the innocence of children, who will? Aren’t we the men and women who have changed history throughout civilization with our words? And though Amazon is such an important element in our business, what are we going to put first?
I ask each of you, whether you are a reader or a writer, where do you stand on this issue? What is your heart telling you?
I’d like to hear back from all of you.
AND TO ALL YOU VETERANS FOR HAVE GIVEN IT ALL FOR OUR RIGHT TO ARGUE OUR BELIEFS, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Hopefully, you'll take away some tid or bit
you didn't know about people from the midwest.
Come on by, now, ya hear?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Who’s hiding behind that mask? Is it really a teen
at the door in a vampire costume expecting candy or
someone more sinister?
Do you use holidays, special circumstances, and
times of year to make your suspense novels
that much more flavorful?
Saturday, October 23, 2010
With Christmas just around the corner, we should be thinking of books as a way to reach our middle schoolers. What better book to take our boys(and girls)into the land of mystery, than
LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS by Max Anderson.
Sam Cooper, eleven years old and full of curiosity has moved a lot in his short life. Now, living in Florida, he quickly makes friends and their adventures begin with a diving trip they don’t happen to mention to their parents. It can only mean disaster.
What happens when the boys are stranded on a deserted island by a tropical storm? You guessed it; they encounter mysterious characters on the island obviously harboring secrets. LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS will keep your boy or girl reading well into the night.
PARENTS BEWARE! LOOK FOR TELL-TALE SIGNS OF READING ADDICTION!—a flashlight under the covers.
Never fear, there’s nothing better than nurturing the love of books in your child. Take this opportunity with Christmas just around the corner to buy
LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS for your son or daughter, niece or nephew, or even the paper boy.
Max Anderson’s ability to capture the reader’s interest and keep him or her guessing well into the night whodunit, will thrill any child on this year’s Christmas list.
OH YEAH, DON’T FORGET TO BUY ‘EM FLASHLIGHTS, TOO!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Are we the Christians we want to be?
Do we at least try?
IF IT WEREN'T FOR US CHRISTIANS, THERE'D
BE A LOT MORE CHRISTIANS
forces us to ask ourselves if we're living the life we should.
God bless you all,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Guest today, Bobby Weaver, is the author of:
IF IT WEREN’T FOR US CHRISTIANS, THERE’D BE A LOT MORE CHRISTIANS.
Before we dig into that title, Bobby, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well Linda, I am a relatively new Christian (thanks to an on-air national fight with Howard Stern…yeah, THAT Howard Stern). I was pretty much a human disaster for the first 50 years of my life….then Jesus showed up and he is in the process of revolutionizing my life. You can see the press release that explains a lot by going to: www.prlog.org/10942484
Very impressive, Bobby. I encourage you all to check out the press release; it’s thought-provoking to say the least.
Okay, so this is quite an explosive title. Certainly puts the responsibility in our hands for how we represent ourselves to the world. What made you pick this topic?
I chose the topic by observing one particular person that kept figuring out ways to alienate seekers and new believers from the Christian faith. This person was a hypocrite and a world-class judge…he could and would judge anyone at the drop of a hat. By the way, that person was me.
How did you muster the courage, no, let’s be honest, the guts to write on this?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t think it took courage or guts. I think maybe “obedience” is the better word. It just became so obvious to me that I could write a book about “us Christians” that did a poor job of representing our faith because I was one of them.
What gave you the idea? Any special event that triggered your thought process?
I suppose my “road rage” had a little something to do with the original idea for the book. Thanks to my dad’s OCD concerning driving skills, I was brought up being overly observant of the behavior of other drivers on the road. And I recall on several occasions’ Christian drivers either cutting me off, running a red light or whatever. And why did I assume they were Christians? Because they advertised it! Yep, right on the rear of their vehicles with bumper stickers “fish” emblems and so forth. And that is when it occurred to me that many of us might be inadvertently driving people away from our faith by our actions. And not just by our driving habits, but other habits such as our language, our attitude, our “judging others” and many more
More than one of us can identify with that, I’m sure. At least, I know I can. I’m one of those drivers-OUCH.
What kind of response have you had?
I have probably mentioned the title of this book: “If It Weren’t For Us Christians, There’d Be A Lot More Christians” at least 350 times to fellow Christians. Almost to a person, the response has been a big smile or laugh and a comment like “Isn’t that the truth!?” My publisher even said originally that the title was too long but by the time I agreed to change it, they had mentioned it to a lot of people and had the same positive response. So we stuck with the original title…and I’m thrilled we did. People relate big-time!
Was your family behind you or did they try to persuade you not to tackle this hot button subject matter?
The family was fine with it…I mean, this is a real tame venture compared to my
Where does your passion come from?
It comes from trying to imagine someone dying and going to hell because one of “us Christians” scared them away from the faith.
Do you have any other books “under construction” at the moment?
Yes, I have a book to be out next year. It is called “Kids Pray The Darndest Things.” It is a collection of short prayers that kids say to God. Here’s a couple of samples:
Last year Timmy Johnson tole me that hell was 3 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce. I haven’t missed Sunday School since.
Alan M. Age 6
I know you are perfect and all, but what’s up with naps and spinach?
Susie Y. Age 7
We had a popularity contest at our skule today and you won! You beat Santa Claus by 2 votes and hammered the tooth fairy by 24.
Billy S. Age 8
There’s not a mom out there who doesn’t hear “the darndest” things. Thanks for sharing your new book idea with us. And thanks for:
Bobby, all I could think of during this interview is the scripture that tells us we are the salt of the earth. Better to flavor like salt than sting like pepper. Thanks for reminding us and best of luck and blessings with this book.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
You attend a conference and meet an interested agent. Now what?
You send a proposal to the agent, wait a couple months.
He/she wants you for a client. Now what?
Numerous publishers say no, a couple “might” be interested.
One finally asks for a full read. Now what?
They like it! A contract is signed.
Are you facing the end of a long journey or are you merely at the beginning?
If you think you’ve arrived—you’re crazy. This is just the start.
Now, you have to sell yourself, your story, a reason for someone to lay out a lot of money to read all that work you’ve devoted the last 2, 3, 10 or 15 years to.
We so often think, “if only” this happens or that happens,
THEN I’ll be happy. THEN I’ll have what I want.
Don’t look now, but your happiness doesn’t rest in being published or validated in any other way. Your happiness is there every day of your life to have for the grabbing. BE content with the life you have and view the extras as just that. Or like my mom used to say, the frosting on the cake. But don’t miss out on the yummy cake while you’re waiting for the frosting.
Life is too precious to overlook any one day.
Are you enjoying your writing journey even if no publisher has signed you?
Do you write because you have to?
If you write because you have to as surely as you have to breathe, then you are writer, published or not!
Have a happy one!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I mean to do it. The day I receive a contract to publish one of my novels, I am going to paper my office with the rejections. And since I have such a large stockpile of “paper”, I can be discriminating.
:( I’ve kept the rejections in binders. :(
That way, I can go back and (torture myself), no, read the encouraging notes, which helped me, as well as the form letters which did little to "form" me on my path to publication. They came in an array of sizes, shapes, and colors.
Now, years later, working as an editorial assistant to Terry Burns, my agent, I begin to understand why and how the rejections are given out. Many writers, just like myself, are so close for so long. Just a bit more work and the novel would be accepted, but in our haste to “get the next bestseller out there” we cut corners, don’t study the craft sufficiently, don’t wait for the right moment to approach an agent or editor. And, unfortunately, burn a lot of bridges in the process.
Just like sadness is the only way to understand joy, rejection is the only way to appreciate acceptance. If it were handed to us on the proverbial silver platter, would we be grateful for the gift or merely nurse a feeling of entitlement?
Ahem, I know myself. Had I been published years ago, I would never have honed my craft and been able to help others do the same. Plus, I would have put 400 pages of garbage into a book which would no doubt have eventually found itself on the shelves of some dollar or .99 store.
But you’re convinced your baby is ready to walk. “Mom said it was the best story she’d ever read!” Of course she did. She’s mom. But an agent or editor doesn’t give a flying rat’s patoot what mom, or Aunt Jenny, or Uncle Jebb, or even the crotchety neighbor next door thinks. They KNOW what the public is reading, and what the public expects. They don’t tell you these things to hurt your feelings (okay, I know a couple who might) but rather, to lift you up to a point where you will work harder at your craft to be able to bring it into the public arena one day.
The hardest lesson God has been trying to teach me for 60 years (yes, I said sixty!) is to have patience. I know you don't want to hear this, but God’s timing isn’t always our timing. Even when we’re in panic mode, He’s looking at the Big Picture, not the grain of sand we call life.
Well, I’m preaching to the choir, folks, as I pick out which of the lovely shades of recycled gray, green, or blue to use on the north wall, just behind the computer. After all, that’s the one I’ll be looking at the most often when I sit down to write, rewrite, and rewrite some more.
Good luck, may God’s blessings pour over your work, but ‘til they do, remember, in your patience, you’re learning something wonderful.
And isn’t that what life is all about?
Saturday, October 2, 2010
After devouring her book EXPOSURE last year, I should have known better.
So in my world of imagination, I waited for Brandilyn to drive up in that little sports car called Suspense that gets your blood pumping from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds.
She looked at me with eyes that said, “You’d better buckle your seatbelt.”
How could I forget?
“Oh, yeah,” my imaginary friend murmured, “and pull it tight.”
I gulped, snugged it across me, and turned the first page.
Years after the death of her best friend, Linda Jackson, skip tracer—Joanne Weeks is still doing her best to see Linda’s husband, Baxter, brought to justice. No easy task since he’s close friends with the chief of police, is an elder at his church, and pillar of the small community.
Pages shot through my fingers as I glanced over at Brandilyn.
“Why? What did he do?”
She shifted gears and raised a brow. “I’ll let Joanne tell you.”
Here was this middle-aged woman filled with despair, years of despair over the loss of her friend. Joanne turned tired eyes in my direction. “Because he killed my best friend, Linda.”
The chapters had my heart pumping full throttle (all thoughts of the work which awaited me were sent away with the pit crew).
Suddenly, Brandilyn careened to the left, leaving me grasping the handle of the car and praying we’d make the curve. I fanned through some more pages, but just as the car stabilized, she lurched to the right. The belt tightened across my chest so hard, I was sure I could feel the bruises the change in direction had caused, but I didn’t care. I had to find out what was going to happen.
Finally, I leaned back in the seat, content. I was sure, as I have been with so many other suspense authors, I knew what awaited me on the next page.
But Brandilyn hit the brakes.
The airbag slammed me in the face, stopped me cold. Told me I wasn’t so smart after all. “What happened? Man, I didn’t see that ending coming!”
Brandilyn just smiled, opened the door, and offered a short salute.
“See you next time.”
I’m not sure who nicknamed Mary Higgins Clark the queen of suspense. Obviously, they hadn’t read anything by Brandilyn Collins. She takes you on a wild ride that leaves you flipping pages faster than a Whirling Dervish. Without preaching, she forces you to evaluate yourself and your belief system in such a way, you’ll never view the world the same again. What is in the heart of man and what lies merely on the surface? Who knows for sure. She digs, analyzes, and digs some more, leaving the reader questioning who’s lying, who’s telling the truth?
For me, DECEIT is Brandilyn’ best novel yet. I wondered after EXPOSURE how she could possibly top that.
Well, she did.
When you buy DECEIT, and you should, be sure and fasten that seatbelt!
And if you hear a faint voice say, “Really tight.” Don’t hesitate.
This is Seatbelt Suspense at its finest.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Stephen King steps up, writes a couple paragraphs and then the
“guest” writer fills in the rest. When done, the winning
“guest” gets a publishing contract with Harper Collins,
Simon and Schuster, Zondervans or
any other publisher of his/her choice.
HEAVEN HELP US! SIGN ME UP!
Now, that’s the way it should come to us.
Wrapped in a bow and filled with all the goodies
the literary world has to offer, but . . .
REALITY REARS ITS UGLY HEAD
and here we are, plugging away at the keyboard,
not with Stephen King, but with the cat,
or the dog, or the ferret or (fill in your own helper).
Chris Harrison isn’t holding a rose, waiting
for us to finish the next great American novel.
“Will you accept this publishing contract?”
And he hands us the rose.
WAKE UP, STUPID! WRONG SHOW!
Jeff Probst might be closer to reality.
After all, to make it in writing,
you need to persevere and be . . .
Friday, September 24, 2010
but when I returned home
Yikes! It was me!
I’m not that old in my stories when I picture
myself as the protagonist.
sagging eyelids and thin hair
Okay, so now I have a new character to work with.
A bag lady in
Hmmm. I see some possibilities.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Interview with Rachel Arbaugh
degree in Theatre at Regent University in Virginia.
As an actor, when you first get a part, how do you prepare for it?
I first read the script over and over. Then I do a play analysis and a character analysis, pretty much filling out a series of questions that makes me reflect on the character’s past and current situation.
You once showed me a journal that you
used to get ready for your part as Jo March.
What was the purpose of the journal?
I actually copy and cut up my script and glue the script to one side, leaving the other side open for notes and pictures. I find pictures online that help get me into the mind of the character for certain situations. When Beth died, I needed an immediate and emotional reaction in rehearsal and sometimes the scenes were rehearsed out of order, making it hard to build emotion. It’s also hard to get to a high emotional level when you are literally reading your scene; this way I could look at an image that would immediately get me there. I also knew that actor wasn’t really dying, so it helped me feel a real emotion. As an actor you still have to live in the moment even though you already know the future. For that scene, I found pictures and artwork of sisters. Some paintings that really spoke to me were of people dying in their beds with someone at their side. I had pictures of babies, of sisters, one was a little girl looking into her sister’s bassinet. To get me where I had to be, I needed to have old memories as part of the current situation, so looking at “her” as a baby, then her as my dying sister really helped.
That’s perfect because as writers, we have
to somehow create a past for our characters in much
the same way. Can you give me an example of another
memory you created for that part?
All the sisters and Laurie would play tag and hide and go seek before and during some rehearsals. That way we could bond as a family. It’s easy to do what’s in the script, but in order to create a relationship that’s fun and playful, you have to do things that actually get you there. (I should say also say that these emotional connections need to be done in a safe way, so you still know that you are you and your character is your character. You always have to be careful not to get “too” connected to your scene partner. You must know where to emotionally stop.)
One of my readers mentioned setting an object next to
her computer to make her think of her character.
Have you ever done that?
When I was in, As It Is In Heaven, a show about the Shakers by Arlene Hutton, the little girl my character was raising got taken away by her dad. Throughout the whole show, my character was sewing a ragdoll, and it’s something my character always had with her. And the audience didn’t know what it was for, but it was a connection I was able to make with the little girl. My character gave it to the little girl when her dad took her away. It was an emotional connection that was tangible; I could actually hold it and look at it. For me it was a representation of the little girl, allowing me to build emotion throughout the show. I endowed that object with emotion, so that anytime I looked at it, I would remember “my” little girl and have an emotional response.
In writing, there are a few main themes that are
repeated over and over, much like re-cycled characters.
We try and make the characters fresh in each novel.
How so with a character on stage?
It’s always different with everyone. You will always bring something different because you are you and no one else can bring that to the character. You will always have your past and your world view. Everything that makes you—you, will be in your character. And that’s something no one else could ever play the same. You also have a script in which the author has givens for you. These are things that make that character a unique person. So between the author and the actor, a lot of thought is put into that character. And like I said, you put yourself into it.
From an actor’s point of view, what would you ask of
a playwright to help in your role? Help your character
have a multi-dimensional character?
Please don’t stereotype your characters! No one is just good or just bad. And don’t judge your character, because we, as actors, are told never to judge our characters. We play them in the moment and don’t judge their actions. You wouldn’t want to say, “That’s not something I would do, so it’s bad.” If you do that, you’ll have labeled that character instead of making her a real person. Please give us conflict, decisions should never be easy. So I’d say, “Nothing is black and white, nobody is or all good or all bad, and people do things for a reason”.
To finish, if you had a chance to play a character. What kind would you pick?
I want a chance to play a character with depth. But, of course, it’s up to the actor to make whatever part they get, the best they can be. Again, I wouldn’t want to judge a character before I even started.
How does your faith affect the way you view a
character or your decision to take on a part?
It has everything to do with it. Not in what I choose per se’, but how I go about it. You always have to ask yourself, “What is the story that needs be told and how can I do justice to it?” If there is a message that needs to be told, or a story that I believe needs to be relayed, I am a servant to that message, whether I initially “like” that part or not. You play the part that you have to because you believe that God will ultimately use you. If you have faith in God you must have faith in all aspects of servitude. It’s not ever about us, and that’s what we have to remember. When people refuse to do something or play a certain role, it’s mostly about themselves, they are selfishly saying that they don’t want people to judge them. (Though I’ll say, it’s not always the case, it’s just often the case.)
Rob Arbaugh is originally from Michigan.
He is an actor, director, teacher, fight choreographer
and designer. Rob is finishing his MFA in Acting
degree at Regent University this May. He and other graduates
have already started a theatre company that
will be moving to Chicago next fall.
Rob, you once told me how a director has to look at the stage and “see” a picture. As writers, we have to help the reader “see” the picture in his/her mind’s eye. How do you do it on stage?
First, as I’m directing, I’ll see in my head what I think
That’s interesting because as writers,
It’s the same with an actor’s character, seeing what the actor will
Sort of like the writer and character working together to create a “real” person. Our characters often seem to have minds of their own, like your actors.
After this first step, I watch everything I’m creating
It’s easy for a writer to get caught up in that and
Well, I had a professor once say, if you start with the phrase,
So there has to be a reason for every action/reaction
Why did you choose the expression “a picture”?
Because a picture is used to reflect life back to people.
I guess that’s similar to readers seeing themselves
I think from the directing side of things that you have
How does your faith impact what you do?
I am faith-filled so everything I do is Christian.
Rob, thanks so much for taking time from your schedule.
Not at all. Just want to say as artists, our whole goal in
Monday, September 6, 2010
Utilizing the senses in fiction
When we first moved into our 120 year old home,
But what can you do with wild violets? They are so fragrant,
What an amazing thing to include in a story.
Very few people have heard about violet jelly, let alone tasted it.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that draw a reader in.
Have you ever tasted wild violet jelly?
Don’t neglect these wonderful opportunities to titillate
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Woohoo! The brown stumps with green
The cataract’s gone, folks.
Where did that young woman with thick
She’s an old coot. Cataracts and all.
Only now, there’s just one bad eye and it sees pretty good!
The years flew by just like my grandmother said they would. And she was a wise woman. Lived into her 90’s and was sharp (almost) as the proverbial tack. She had silver hair swept up in curls all over her head like Spring Byington, and if you know who she was, you’re as old as I am . . . maybe older.
Time moves ever forward.
If you aren’t at least attempting to put some time in on your writing, if you’re only skimming by, if you don’t treat writing like (at least) a part-time job, then why bother in the first place to think of yourself as a writer?
If God blessed you with a story. Write it!
And now that the surgery’s over, I have no excuses.
Woohoo! There really are words on the pages!!!
Friday, August 27, 2010
What’s going on?
If this is true, is it good news for ebooks or for print? Or for both?
Check out the article:
WILL KINDLE KILL THE BOOK?http://www.aolnews.com/opinion/article/opinion-will-kindle-kill-the-book/19593146
Interesting piece with lots of fodder to consider.
Fodder or manure?
You be the judge and weigh in with your comments.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
What does this mean?
Well, duh, they didn’t make enough $$$$$$$$$$ to please their investors.
So the question that remains is why?
Hook your seatbelt, because times, they are a changin’!!!!!
E-books were a pipe dream a couple years ago. Few people believed they would amount to anything, let alone the mammoth sales they are now posting.
And let’s face it, anyone who expects to be pubbed at a huge house who doesn’t see a prior big sales following is simply holding out for a fantasy contract. The net might as well offer fantasy publishing right along with fantasy football. The chances are slim to none you’re going to kick the winning goal first time out.
With sales in a funk, we have to look at new venues to get our names out there. And if smaller houses take chances on us and we do well with them, why would we want to change to someone who didn’t want to give us a break in the first place? Just saying…
As writers are we willing to be realists as well?
Let’s think about working our way up just like folks do every day in every career. Get your foot in the proverbial door and push it open, one book at a time. Before you know it, you might be the one helping B&N get their tootsies back on solid ground.
Like I said before, one alone can’t change anything, but when we start being the agents for change throughout the industry, who knows where our writing might take us?
Sunday, August 22, 2010
BFF LOL BTW LTHTT JMO
The world is changing people! Are you open to the changes taking place?
At a recent conference, there was a lot of discussion about ebooks. I’ve noticed that people I never dreamed would have Kindles are reading like crazy since they can now take their books wherever they go, with hundreds of choices at their disposal.
What do all of you think?
Would you be willing to publish ebooks? How about ebook/print combos? For years there was a stigma attached to ebooks, but then again, there weren’t many being sold. Have you seen the number of choices now available? The sales numbers? There are authors who are now breaking in enough to make a living at writing. (Gasp)
I recently heard that White Rose Publishing is now expanding their line to include, not only romance, but their sister company, Harbourlights will publish women’s fiction, westerns, suspense/mystery and the list goes on.
When I talk to someone in my age group, you know, the we’re-a-little –older-than-God bunch, they are mostly immoveable. “We want the book in hand. We want our books in print. We want (the world to stop changing so doggone fast).”
But that’s not the reality of pubbing today.
Younger adults, on the other hand, LOVE the whole Kindle thing. And they are now reading books again. A connection?
Would you, as an author, be more inclined to go with a publisher who offered ebooks and print?
Just curious how everyone out there feels. My thought (even though I’m in the oldie group) is that ebooks are ground floor/cutting edge and will be catching up quickly with print. There will be more opportunities for more writers. There will still be a few Grishams and Evanovich’s, but there will also be so many additional choices for the reader.
Lemme know whatcha think. You’ll be my new BFF(s) and I’ll LYA for responding.
Good grief, I feel like such an ID10T!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wonderful characters don’t happen by chance. They are created. Just as if they were mixed together in a test tube with all the right (or wrong) chromosomes. What does the test tube, or better yet, natural origins, say about your character?
Did he have such a horrible childhood that he’s now a sniper on top of a tower (every mom’s nightmare the first time her son behaves in a bizarre manner).
Or is she so narcissistic that she’s grows up to become a sociopath?
I’d like to include a progression for developing a character. Hope you enjoy.
A male character says, “She was beautiful.”
This means something different to each person. What does it mean from your character?
Hair flew around her shoulders until, like threads of spun gold, it brought out the shine in her eyes. Her lips, plump and sweet, smiled at him.
Is this enough? Do we know who she is yet? Still deeper. Add a layer. Tell us even more about her than she was merely beautiful.
Her eyes covered him in pleasure, like liquid silk. Soft hands, those of an angel, like when he was sick, brushed his cheek. Her lips, warm and inviting caused his heart to thicken in his chest. He had to move, had to look away, even pluck his eye out if he had to.
“Mother! Leave me alone!”
We managed to create an Oedipus all from she was beautiful.
Don’t be afraid to dig deep to bring out the best (or the worst) in your characters.
Develop your characters as if your life depended on it.
In suspense, it truly does.
Monday, August 16, 2010
For anyone who missed the Faithwriters conference last weekend in Livonia, Michigan---shame on you. You missed a conference of a lifetime. Tim Boyle and David Ian with their wonderful humor (after all, they are A-C-T-O-R-S!) and performances had more tears flowing than a funeral.
Wonderful topics were covered and the intimate group of people allowed everyone to get to know each other.
And I haven’t even mentioned the fudge yet. Whew!
If you haven’t joined Faithwriters.com, don’t waste another minute. Jump on the net and sign up. You won’t be sorry. This is a truly amazing bunch of people with hearts after the Lord. It was a writers’ conference that just happened to be filled with all Christians--go figure. Attitudes of acceptance and caring with plenty of good information and loads of humor.
and Deb (all the way from Australia with Steve)
for making it such a success!
Yeah, Faithwriters! Great job!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Here it is. Check out the link below. Yesterday, Aug. 9th, Dorchester Publishing announced a plan to stop its production of mass-market books and will be going to trade market and e-book solely. What do all of you think? Is this the cutting edge of a complete change for books or will the printed book "in hand" always be there?
Anybody with thoughts about how this is going to affect the publishing industry or is it merely another indy press changing direction?
Let's get into a meaningful discussion for a few days on where and why we see the industry heading. I'll do another post to open this discussion if anyone's interested.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
What do you draw on (assuming you aren’t a serial killer) to create evil characters? Hopefully, none of you are truly in tune with your wicked sides. So, how do you create a character that is so opposite from what you know? Do you watch a lot of scary movies? Read true crime? Have a bizarre imagination? Just what do you do to put the evil, nasty, dark side of life onto your pages?
And how do you balance that dark side with light?
There must be a reason why you choose to write evil.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Bryn, whatever made you put on the hat of writer? We all know it’s not for the money, not in today’s economy.
What do you write? After seeing your you tube promo, I’m assuming it’s along the line of suspense/mystery?
Where do your ideas come from? I always tell people mine come from a slightly demented mind. Wanna admit to that or do you have another, more sane, answer?
I guess I'll go with the demented mind theory. I rarely accept things the way they are originally presented. Thus, I find that the world is far more interesting and humans are much more complicated than the nightly news might indicate. As I sift current events and study the Bible, I get fired up about our duties before God and moral truths. My best outlet for that excitement is my writing.
How much time can you give to your writing? Do you set goals for yourself, something to achieve in x-amount of time?
We all know getting an agent is probably harder than getting a publisher . . . “Sorry son, no experience, no sales, see me once you’re pubbed.” What was your road to finding an agent like?
Tell us about the present story you’re shopping around? Mainly for men or for a mixed market? Want to give us a taste of what’s to come?
My next book, The Hand of God, involves the discovery of a fragment of the original Ten Commandments that were shattered at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Various groups want to recover all the fragments for different reasons and the adventure will push the characters to face a truth they all find hard to accept. Is that vague enough? I'm in the process of writing it, so I can't really be more specific.
Your imagination is awesome and I can’t wait to read your first novel. You write a lot like my son who has the same, can’t write with kids situation, only so far, he plans to wait a few more years, but the writing sounds so similar. Yup! Demented minds. Runs in our family.
Bryn, thank you so much for joining us.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Don’t look out the window . . .
What one-liner sets your nerves tingling?
Do you have a favorite?
Do you watch thrillers? Suspense? Cozies? Horror?
Tell one scary thing that can keep you from falling asleep.
Are you a worrier by nature?
Afraid spiders are falling from the ceiling once the lights go off?
How about a few suggestions that might find their
way into my next suspense novel.
Help me out here.
Scare me so bad I can’t sleep.
Okay, this is a suspense blog, stop the whining.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
What ideas are sizzling through your mind today?
These hot mamas are the perfect time to imagine an abducted orchestra director confined in a sweltering room with no a/c. A rusty, squeaky fan over his head squawks its complaints every revolution and reminds him to wipe his forehead, but he can’t. A burlap hood is tied too tightly at his neck and he simply has to sit as the squawk increases the drip, drip, drip down his eyes and over his mouth. As he waits . . .
Or an afternoon storm knocks out, not only the a/c, but all the electricity in a small town in rural Georgia. The old couple inside, alone and dependent on each for many years, must decide whether to brave the 104 degrees outside or to hide in a hotter than humane closet after they hear scraping noises coming from under their front porch. Is it their drug-addicted son returned to steal from them again, or an animal trying to burrow under the house, away from the sizzling heat?
With bugs more plentiful, and grass the color of wheat, a woman bags up a lunch and her favorite book. She limps to her car, deposits her crutches in the back, and drives to the lake a quarter mile from her home. There, her nineteen-foot sailboat beckons her to skim over the water and feel a breeze for the first time in two weeks. Having been holed up in her tiny apartment, a poor substitute for the sprawling house she's about to lose in a nasty divorce, she longs for a few hours on the open water. Waves of heat slither up her legs as she makes her way over the dock. A couple hundred feet from shore, the wind dies, but a boat pulls alongside. It’s her ex-husband’s best friend, Jason and . . . a girlfriend? Can't be, Jason's never hidden the fact he's not into girls. She waves and the boat pulls even closer to reveal Jason, her ex-husband, a thick coil of marine rope . . . and a gun.
How big a role does weather or conditions of any kind play in your writing? Do you base an entire scene around it? Do you start with . . . it was a dark and stormy night?
Ooh, I hope not.
Or do you treat specific conditions like salt to sprinkle and flavor the writing?
Whatever you do, don’t waste these dog days writing about skiing in Colorado. Feel the heat as you bump off the elderly couple, the musician, or the woman whose settlement depends on whether or not she lives to get to court.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Dr. Richard L. Mabry
MEDICAL SUSPENSE WITH HEART
A retired physician and author of fiction and non-fiction,
Dr. Mabry is with us today to discuss his debut novel,
Dr. Mabry, welcome to Suspense Sealed with a Kiss. From the first words of Code Blue, it sounds like you’re a perfect fit for my suspense site. I can’t wait to have a read of this novel and the next. What makes a man retired from the medical community decide to write such a suspenseful novel?
I sort of backed into writing fiction. After the death of my first wife, I wanted to use my journal entries as the basis for a book about grief and the loss of a spouse. That’s when I discovered that one doesn’t just “write a book.” I attended a writer’s conference, and not only began to learn the fundamentals that helped me put together what ultimately became The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse (Kregel, 2006), but was encouraged by some excellent authors, including James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky, to try my hand at writing fiction. It wasn’t until I’d completed three novels that didn’t sell that I discovered my true writing voice: medical suspense with heart.
And that leads us to the fact you’ve also tweaked your novel with a bit of romance. I was surprised reading your site about the twist of romance. Not generally the man’s genre. What piqued your interest to want to add the romance angle?
I discovered that the vast majority of Christian fiction readers are women, and that they appreciated both a female protagonist and a bit of romance. I hadn’t done a very good job of including these in my first three (unsuccessful) books, and decided to remedy that. With the help of my wife, Kay, who is my first reader, I took off in that direction, and apparently I succeeded.
I couldn’t help noticing the huge smile on your face when you held the first copy of Medical Error. Which was more exciting, the first release, Code Blue, or the second, knowing that people loved your work enough that the publisher believed in you for a second book?
Oh, that’s like asking which child is your favorite. The answer is generally the one you’re holding at the moment. I got a tremendous thrill from seeing my hopes and dreams come to fruition with the publication of Code Blue. The way in which that one-book contract became a three-book commitment from Abingdon Press is sort of a God thing, so holding the first copy of Medical Error was special as well.
Medical thrillers have so much to offer the reader, both men and women. What makes yours stand out? If I go to the bookstore and put down my money, what would make me pick your novel instead of, say, Robin Cook? (just as an example)
I read a lot of medical fiction, both Christian and secular. I enjoy the writing of Robin Cook, Tess Gerrittsen, and my friend, Michael Palmer, and am flattered when a reviewer (in this case, Colleen Coble) says, “Move over, Robin Cook.” Other than the Christian worldview, which I try to incorporate without hitting my readers over the head with it, I suppose the difference is that I try to offer what I call an easy read: Enough medical details to be interesting without being gory. Enough romance to be realistic without being mushy. Enough suspense to keep a reader’s interest without making them sleep with the lights on.
Do you have any advice you’d like to pass along to new authors that might offer them a word of encouragement in this crazy career called writing?
I wrote three books (four if you count the one that I completely broke down and rewrote), received forty rejections, and quit writing once before I signed with my current agent (Rachelle Gardner) who sold my novel to Barbara Scott of Abingdon Press. I look on that period before I was published as a training course, something to prepare me for the eventuality of publication. God’s timing isn’t the same as ours, but His is perfect. As you wait, keep on improving your craft. And remember that if no one except you reads your work, it’s still affected one person.
Dr. Mabry, thank you for stopping by and sharing with us.
http://www.rmabry.com and http://www.rmabry.blogspot.com/
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Have you had an event, so frightening, that you just had to sit down and put the frightening experience to paper? Suspense! A terrible, wonderful, scary thing to waste.
My experience was on a dark and stormy night.
Oops, wrong story. Let’s try again.
Snow battered the wiper blades, the wind howled, and my twelve-year-old daughter had a birthday sleepover. Already, the roads were nearly impassable as we crawled at a slo-mo pace. This better be some birthday party, I thought.
Sliding around a corner, we saw the house. Huge. Birthday balloons waved hello in the front window and a couple balloons were slammed hither and yon on the mailbox by the wind.
We unloaded my daughter’s things, but as she turned from the car, the color drained from her face.
“Mom. I forgot my pillow.”
“Okay, well have fun.” Had to get out of there before she could say… .
When I returned to her friend’s home. I stared at the house this time. The trees’ gnarled branches gave the house a creepy look. As if giant arthritic hands surrounded it. I gulped. What did I know about these people? They were veritable strangers and
THEY HAD MY DAUGHTER!
Okay, reality check. I knew their kid, had met them at a school function, and hadn’t heard on the news of any bodies found in their back yard. NOT YET!
Left the pillow in the hands of a grateful daughter (remember that, Rachel, when the shrink asks) and started the engine so I could battle at least 18” of new snow. (I might exaggerate just a bit from time to time).
In Toledo, Ohio, five small girls huddled together, tears their only comfort. The van imprisoning them drove away from a recently emptied house. One girl couldn’t stop shaking, another continually wiped her nose on her coat sleeve, and two clutched at each other with clawed hands, never taking their eyes off the couple in the front seat. Anger vaulting to the surface, the fifth girl, brave beyond her years, dug fingernails into her hand until the tender skin bled.
The vehicle wasted no time heading for Chicago where, once again, the wheels of corruption would turn another truckload of frightened five-year-olds into pure gold.
Use those rare opportunities when unbelievable, heart-stopping fear strikes to hit the keyboard and write suspense. You only get the opportunity to encounter really creepy a few times in your life.
Anyone with a similar experience that forced you to hit the keyboard?
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Wouldn't it be nice if working that hard actually got rid
of some of the Memorial Day barbecue? I'd be able to eat
two dinners and five desserts, cuz I've been workin'!
A couple projects for the boss, three for myself. My first
real romance instead of suspense, finishing my fourth
suspense, and helping another writer with hers. Okay,
make that six desserts. Cuz my tushy's disppearing as we
speak. Yeah, right!
We sure think we work hard in this country, don't we?
But I can tell you who works harder than even a dedicated
writer. And we work hard!
whether they like it or not, even when they have wives
expecting babies, husbands trying to cope being Mr. Mom
to toddlers, and occasionally they have to do it all over again
for a second, third or fourth tour of duty. Why? Because they
are guardians of freedom and of the faith. They put their lives
on the line everyday, every hour, every minute
so we can sit here and complain about how tough life is, how
hard we work. They go even when their personal lives are interrupted in ways we can only imagine.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The same way actors build characters in layers, writers can ramp
Try this little exercise:
He was cold.
Now, show us how cold he was:
He shivered, wishing the clothes he wore covered his body better.
Now, show us how cold he was and
He shivered, wishing the clothes he wore covered his body better.
Can you feel the cold?
What did this scene tell you about him? Do you know
where this character is? Who this character is?
The first line “told” us this man is cold. Period.
The second gave us a bit more info. He’s so cold, he wishes
The third, a much deeper layer, tells us he’s cold,
Does your writing just “tell” the reader
your character’s cold, or do you
hint to them what’s behind the cold?
Who do you think our character is?
that sparkles in the walls of the mine (mind).
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
An honors graduate of University of
(Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School, Cara is an attorney licensed in Virginia and Indiana. She clerked for the Honorable Loren Smith
In 2005 she attended a book signing at
At the book signing her husband told
of her books, including Canteen Dreams, a WWII historical set in Nebraska that won the 2008 Book of the Year for Short Historical.
She also writes romantic suspense for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense and the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law.
Cara is also an attorney, wife, mom to three, homeschool teacher,
occasional professor at Purdue, active at her church,
and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God,
her husband and her kids that is.
Cara, your writing is so diverse, I’m hesitant where to start. So let me go to one of my favorite (and my oldest daughter’s) time periods. WWII. You’ve written quite a few romance novels in this historical era. What drew you to WWII?
There is something magical about that time. I love the movies, the music, the history, the clothes. I call myself an old soul in a young body. But I also think there’s something compelling about the fight. The war pulled the nation together in a way that inspires me. And there was a clear right and wrong, good v. evil. It was a time of immense hardship, but everybody pulled together.
When did you start writing and why? You seem to have “had it all” with the American dream. Family, fast-paced career. What would make someone switch to writing?
Writing was a lifetime dream of mine. I started my first books as a young teenager. They were fun ways to explore my love for history, but then I started college and didn’t have time to keep writing, but the dream never died. God has given me amazing opportunities. And all of those diverse experiences help me with writing and speaking. It also gives me the ability to write a diversity of characters because I’ve seen so much.
Every few years, I would get the urge to write and would offer it back to God. Is this something You have for me? Or is this something I should kill while focusing on something else? When God said to start, it’s been a sprint since.
My interest peaked when I read DEADLY EXPOSURE. The novel your sister (great salesman by the way) convinced me to buy because it had a theatre theme. Wonderful book. What made you make the stretch from historical to suspense?
I have loved reading suspense since I first discovered Mary Higgins Clark. So actually when I started to write, Deadly Exposure was the first book I plotted. I love suspense. I love the race to figure out who did it. I love the ticking imperative to get the bad guy before he gets you. I love the pacing. That’s why I’m really excited about this July’s release of Stars in the Night. It marries my loves of World War Two and romantic suspense.
What are you currently working on?
Today I just turned in edits for a book I’m writing for a Guidepost mystery series. It will release in September and was a lot of fun and work to write. I’m starting work on my next Guidepost book and working on some proposal ideas I have for more World War Two based suspense.
Thanks so much for having me, Linda. I’m so glad you enjoyed Deadly Exposure.
Cara, if anyone wants to contact you, do you have a website?
They can find me through my website www.caraputman.com
Okay folks, don’t pass go, don’t collect the two hundred clams, just rush out and buy one of Cara’s books. You won’t be sorry. Cara, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us.