Sunday, December 9, 2012

Merry Christmas

Four free books to give out!
Davalynn Spencer
Joanne Sher
Susan Craft
and Donna Winters
And because Davalynn got picked, I'm going to give away TWO of her books.
Merry Christmas all!
Will be contacting you via email to give you the codes.
BTW, check out the perfect writers' Christmas tree!
Some old favorites and some new friends and they
make the perfect tree!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Freebies! St. Nick Means Gifts!


Nothing like a present on St. Nick’s to make a person’s day.
Sooo….I want to start your day with a chance to get a free copy of one of the three novella’s below:

Davalynn Spencer’s As You Are at Christmas:
Angela Murphy’s plans for a cozy Colorado Christmas shatter when she finds her fellow-teacher boyfriend entangled with another woman. But she goes home anyway—to her grandmother Mollie’s Berthoud Boarding House where she’s forced into tasks with Mollie’s handsome new boarder, Matt Dawson.
OR:
Camille Eide’s Savanna’s Gift:
Forced to return to the ski lodge where she once worked, Savanna Holt is reminded of one special Christmas and how ambition led her to make the worst mistake of her life: Leaving Luke Nelson.
OR:
Ahem, my own, Polar Bear Plunge, which BTW has the sequel coming out next year at Pelican Books. (is that too much self-promotion? Sorry)
Brice Taylor might not be on Aleni Callan's Christmas list, but she finds him under her tree anyway. Nurse Aleni Callan's anger toward God is fueled when Brice Taylor enters her life. Not only does Brice have no regard for his own life—as evidenced by the concussion and hypothermia he suffers after participating in the Polar Bear Plunge—he escaped the war in Afghanistan and lived to tell his story in a bestselling book, while her precious husband was killed.

So add a comment at the end and you get a chance to get one of the three, follow me and I’ll put your name in twice. Woohoo! I’ll let you know this weekend who won…don’t forget your email address so I can contact the winners.

Now, to more serious matters. My favorite Christmas read:
A Christmas Gift by Glendon Swartout, wonderful story about a young man during the Depression who has to go live with his grandparents. A warm, wonderful read that will leave you wanting more. This book is full of humor, family, and coming of age. A special read for the whole family.

Favorite movie? Well, that goes without saying. A Christmas Carol. Nothing like a story of redemption. But there are SO many good ones. I’m a Christmasaholic, so there’s not a movie I don’t like. Not so far, anyway.

Favorite recipe? Fudge! Love it! Can’t do without it! And can’t wait to make it!
Simple fudge recipe:
2c white sugar
1 cup whole milk
½ c cocoa, don’t buy cheap stuff
¼ c butter
1T good vanilla, not imitation junk
Butter a large pan, sides and all. In pan, stir cocoa into sugar and add milk gradually. Cook over medium heat CONSTANTLY until boiling gently. Then don’t touch often, just enough to keep bottom from sticking. Test frequently. A few drops of syrup in cold water until it reaches between the soft and hard ball stages. Or, if you use a thermometer, just a bit above soft ball stage. Remove from heat, and without stirring, add butter and vanilla. DO NOT touch until it’s just warm. Shouldn’t be hot, but doesn’t have to be cool. Then beat like crazy until it becomes creamy. Won’t have shine anymore at all. Immediately spread onto a buttered plate and cut into huge chunks. If you like to add things: nuts, raisins, etc. do so just before you beat. You can make this with brown sugar or white without cocoa for vanilla and maple fudge. Easy and yummy! Cover with wrap overnight for an even creamier fudge by morning. Don’t be tempted to stir or taste while cooling as you’ll cause it to sugar. And you’ll want it nice and creamy. Blessings, Linda

Now that I’ve shared some favorite Christmas traditions with you, why not swing by and visit some of my friends’ sites?
And don’t forget, leave a message and/or follow me for a chance at one of the novellas.

Blessings for you and your family for a wonderful Christmas and Blessed New Year.

Next blog is Lisa Lickel’s on the 7th!
7th http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com
Susan Craft – 9th http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com
Gail Kittleson – 10th gailkittleson.blogspot.com
Linda Maran – 11th http://lindamaran.blogspot.com
Karen Wingate-14th – www.graceonparade.com/blog
Karla Akins-15th http://envisionpublishing.tumblr.com
Patty Wysong -- 18th www.pattywysong.com
Davalynn Spencer – 19th www.davalynnspencer.blogspot.com

MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Monday, December 3, 2012

St. Nick Giveaways!

Join me on Thursday to start a St. Nick's tour taking you to many wonderful sites filled with fave reads, recipes, and anything Christmas!

I'll be giving away three Christmas novellas and that's only the start!

See you on St. Nicks!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

St. Nick's Day...Dec. 6th

Don’t miss the great post coming on St. Nick’s. I’m going to tell you what my favorite all time Christmas reads are, some new ones, and a couple Christmas recipes to warm your heart and pad your thighs. Oops, did I say that out loud?


Then, I’m going to give you links to some other authors’ blogs where they will do the same. Some may do books, others recipes, and maybe even a fave movie or two.

Enjoy this wonderful holiday treat and get your heart all ready for the Christmas season. From St. Nick’s to Three Kings Day, enjoy every moment with family, food, and fun. And remember to thank the One for whom all this is celebrated.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing--a Day Late!

Today I’m participating in a fun Blog Hop! Unfortunately because of a CRASH, I’m a day late and dollar short. More than that actually! But I digress!


The blog is really about what I’m working on at the moment. And heeerrreee we go!

My post follows after Cheryl Martin’s blog post from last Wed the 7th at http://lifeinflip-flops.blogspot.com/, a fabulous site about author Cheryl Martin and her middle reader stories. Check it out!

Okay, I’m taking a break from working on a prequel to my two WWII novels, With Eyes of Love, and Always, Abby which Heartsong releases next spring, April and May, and which follow the story or two families who meet in a flood, and continue their friendship through the romantic relationships of the four of the children. But I didn’t want to stop there. I thought it would be interesting to tell the romances of the girls’ parents when they met during WWI.

We’ll see how that works.

Title? No title yet, but I’m swimming with ideas.

Where did the idea come from? Well, since the stories themselves were based on the friendship (the story pure fiction, but the friendship as real as the individuals) of my mother and my aunt. They understood the true meaning of what friends and family should be. So I thought, perhaps, some of the stories of my grandmother and grandfather, again, all loosely bases on some of their stories from when they were young.

Genre? Historic romance.

What actors would play your characters in a movie version? Oh, my. I’ve always been able to think of this with my other novels, but this one is so new, I don’t have the characters in my head yet. And since I’m a seat of the pantser, I can’t rush that.

Short Synopsis? WWI returning soldier, Thomas Richardson, meets shy college student, Mary, and the two discover that the world isn’t such a bad place after all. Thomas studies engineering, and Mary studies Thomas. Both with adventurous spirits, they find their similarities far outweigh the differences that their families see as negatives.

Agency Representation? Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency. Hey, I know that place! I work there, too! Go figure…

How long did it take to write that first draft? I’m still at it since it’s only just started.

What other books in this genre compare? I’m afraid I haven’t read many from WWI. WWII is very popular, but I’ve found WWI lacking. One of the reasons I wanted to do their story.

Any others in this genre? Well, not WWII, but I have just finished Derailed, a historic romance about a trail derailment which leaves a mail order bride not knowing who she is. My cousins and I tossed idea around for this book for a couple years before it became strong enough in my mind to be able to write. I finished it this fall and the proposal is out as I write this.

Who or what inspired the WIP? That would be my petite grandmother and tall grandfather and their story. Mutt and Jeff. His little China Doll. Their story started the idea, but the story itself is pure fiction.

Anything to add? You bet. I’m not sure how I ended up writing historic romance. My favorite has always been romantic suspense which I’ve sweat blood to write, but the historic romance came so easily. Hmmm.

Please stop by visit the following ladies’ blogs on Wed. Nov. 21st:

Tamera Kraft http://tameralynnkraft.com/

Lisa Lickel http://www.lisalickel.com/

Davalynn Spencer http://www.davalynnspencer.blogspot.com/

Karen Wingate http://karenwingate.com/blog/

Karen Prough http://karencampbellprough.com/blog

Hope you enjoy these ladies’ blogs/websites, and hope you’ll stop back and visit again!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Christmas Reads

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about purchases for the holiday.


Cheryl Lynn Martin has a wonderful series for middle-reader girls (and boys) The Hawaiian Island Detective Series. Book One is Pineapples in Peril. Delightfully face-paced books for the investigator in all of us. Having lived in Hawaii, Cheryl’s imagery is rich and just plain downright good old fun.

Davalynn Spencer’s debut novella is As You Are at Christmas will warm your heart with sugar cookies and smells of pine and cinnamon:
Colorado public school teacher ANGELA MURPHY goes home for Christmas—alone. Shattered by the discovery of her fellow-teacher boyfriend in the arms of another woman, her hopes of a cozy Christmas at her grandmother MOLLIE’s boarding house dissipate into tears. But Angela determines to make her two-week stay enjoyable. She sets about helping her adoptive grandmother with the traditional Christmas baking and meets the newest boarder, MATT DAWSON, a single handyman/architect. Dawson is temporarily rooming at the Berthoud Boarding House until a new furnace arrives for the ranch house he is renovating.

Not long and Christmas will be here.

Pick up one or both for the readers in your life.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who's More Excited?

Eeeekkkkkk!
     It doesn't get any better than finding out your client is about to get a contract with a terrific house. I know I should be most excited about contracts for ME! But it turns out, things don't exactly work that way.
     I am so much more excited for my clients. Go figure! I'll be back in the near with some amazing news!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Affect vs. Effect...Led vs. Lead



Do you stumble over which word to use?
Its or it’s. There, their, or they’re?
Then, you’re simply like the rest of us. Each of us has a word or words that trip us up from time to time.
He gave it to Bonnie and me. He gave it to Bonnie and I?

There are no excuses with the net for us not to look them up and correct them before submitting our manuscripts. If it’s worth writing, it’s worth writing right!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review/Pineapples in Peril

Cheryl Lynn Martin's Pineapples in Peril
Just when you thought you were all grown up, along comes the Hawaiian Island Detective Club to prove you're still a child at heart. Leilani and her friends are smack dab in the middle of a mystery. Smashed pineapples everywhere. Mmm, I can smell them from here, sweetly announcing there's a mystery at hand.

Cheryl has a way with writing for middle schoolers, but little does she know, she has this writer hooked on the mysteries as well. Leilani reminds me what it is to be young again with all the enthusiasm only a young teen can have and get away with it. Your tweens are gonna love Pineapples.


Spend some time with Cheryl and get an idea what makes her tick!
Cheryl, you seem to know a lot about Hawaii. What inspired you to write this book?
I have always loved Hawaii ever since I lived there while attending The University of Hawaii. I combined that with my interest in writing for ages 8-12 years and The Hawaiian Island Detective Club was born!

Any other books in the series?
The three books in this series are entitled Pineapples in Peril, Menehunes Missing, and Ukuleles Undercover.

Any interesting experiences while living in Hawaii?
Yes! I learned to surf, got scared by a pipefish while snorkeling (thought it was an eel!), nearly lost my suit while body surfing, ate every kind of island food I could—including poi, took hula classes, and performed at my dorm’s luau. I loved every moment of island life!

***

What is the writing process like for you?
When I’m writing a new book, I mark my calendar for ten weeks of 5,000 words each week and dedicate several hours each weekday to reach that goal. I do any catch-up word count necessary over the weekends. My books are all around 50,000 words! I do very little editing when I’m in the “writing mode!”

Do you know at the beginning of the mystery who will be the culprit?
Not usually. I’m not a “plotter” but I do need to know what the mystery is and also something about where I’m going. The in-between can take many unusual turns before the real culprit is revealed.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?
Favorite: Coming up with a great new idea for my next book. Also, reaching the end!
Least Favorite: Because I write “Seat of the Pants,” I hate having to go back and “fix” things that don’t work anymore when I go off in some strange new direction!

What advice do you have for new writers?
If you’re goal oriented, try setting a reasonable word count goal that allows for you to get ahead at times and gives you make-up time as well. Also, set aside that time to simply sit down and write—don’t go to any e-mails, facebook pages, etc. It’s all about planting yourself in front of that computer and pounding out the words!

***

What is Pineapples in Peril about?
Leilani Akamai and her two best friends, Maile and Sam decide to investigate the vandalism taking place in the pineapple fields near their homes. They’ve been The Hawaiian Island Detective Club for years, solving pretend mysteries. This is their chance to solve a real one. Unless, of course, Kimo, Leilani’s annoying ten-year-old brother ruins everything. And then there’s Maile’s 16-year-old brother who’s the love of Leilani’s life.
Ahh . . . the angst of adolescence!

Do your characters ever get into messes?
Oh my, do they! When they’re planning stakeouts and following people, Leilani and her friends have found themselves in some weird and sometimes scary situations.
Which character is most like you, and why?
Probably Leilani. She is determined, yet in many ways has issues with her confidence. She also finds herself in trouble a lot, even though it always seems to be her brother’s fault. Yup, I have a younger brother! When are Books Two and Three of The Hawaiian Island Detective Club coming out and what are their titles?
Menehunes Missing has a tentative release date of February 5, 2013.
Ukuleles Undercover will probably be out in the summer or early fall of 2013.

***
Who or what inspires you?
I was first inspired to write as a child, reading Nancy Drew. I knew at that young age that I would one day write a mystery!
Striving to do what God has placed in front of me motivates me to keep pressing forward. Sharing wholesome mysteries filled with fun, humor, mishaps and unexpected moments for kids to enjoy also motivates me to continue this amazing journey.

Tell us a little about your family:
I have a great husband, three amazing kids and Lilly, a Persian cat who’s definitely “The Queen.”

How can your readers connect with you?
My website address is www.cheryllinnmartin.com I also have a blog all about Hawaii at www.lifeinflip-flops.blogspot.com
You can also connect with me on my facebook author page at www.facebook.com/authorcheryllinnmartin
Twitter at http://twitter.com/clinnmartin
If “tweeters” would like to comment on The Hawaiian Island Detective Club, they can add the hashtag: #HIDC









Friday, September 7, 2012

Querying an Agent



Tell me, what do you send to an agent to get his/her attention?
Do you go to their site ahead of time and check to see what they want?
Do you blanket the net with hundreds of emails designed as generic spam?
What kind of responses are you getting?
Just curious to find out what people deem as appropriate to send to an agent they've never met.
Perhaps, if you give me some "honest" answers here, we can wade through and decide how best
to approach an agent and get a positive response, a full read, or a contract!

Hmmm, the chocolate does look pretty good, but a great query is even better...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Great New Blog!

Looking for a fresh new face in blogging? This is it:
http://emilycreynolds.blogspot.com/2012/09/pineapples-in-peril.html

Emily Reynolds writes novels with comedic punch! And her blogs reflect her sassy attitude. Stop by and follow Emily all the way to the fun!

Former Editorial Assistant to Terry Burns of the Hartline Agency, Emily is loaded with industry info and writing suggestions.

Stop by, say hi, and learn what Emily is all about!

This week she's reviewing Cheryl Martin's new book, Pineapples in Peril.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Armchair Writer or Are You in the Arena?

Are you an armchair writer or do you dive into the arena? I couldn't say this better:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, "Man in the Arena" Speech given April 23, 1910

26th president of US (1858 - 1919)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blog or Website? By Linda S. Glaz

A lot of discussion of online presence is going on at my clients’ loop. And one of the questions is:
Is it better to blog or to maintain a website or have both?
Most folks have been in agreement that a blog can serve the same purpose as a website only it gets a fresh makeover every time you leave a new post. You can have the same tabs, links, etc. without being static.
Why would you want to do that? Why not just set the post and leave it alone?
People aren’t going to return to see and hear the same old things. You have the opportunity on a blog to review books, interview your favorite authors, and post pictures of your cats and dogs that nobody really wants to see on either one. But hey, you paid $2000 for Rover, so why not? With a blog you have the chance to keep it fresh.
What about a website? The good news here is you can do the website and not be bothered with daily/weekly/monthly maintenance. You set it and go. A new book out? You might add that, but you don’t have the regular changes that you would be investing in a blog.
Then why did my client group choose blogs?
Easy answer. Your updated posts are driving people new and old to your blog. They interact with you. You and they learn new things about the industry. You have the opportunity to voice your opinion. On ANY topic you choose. I know a few folks who maintain 4-6 blogs. All on different topics. A blog is little more than someone digging deep inside and posting their thoughts on a topic. (I guess you can see where blogs might be WAAAAY more information than you’d want) But you’ll soon find those who share your passion for writing, Rover, or any number of topics and can visit like an old friend.
Just remember, if bloggers visit your site, reciprocate, or you find them hanging around much.
Happy blogging!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Last Chance for Book Giveaway!

 I'll pick a name late Friday!
Timeless topic that Teena Stewart tackled in her book, Mothers and Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship. Even if you have a wonderful relationship with your mother, this book will open your eyes to things you never thought relevant.

Teena, is this your first book?
No. This is actually my fifth book excluding inspirational books in which I've had stories published. I've had two books released this year. This one on mother and daughter relationships and one called The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father. It's about developing a close relationship with God and has a treasure and gemstone theme.

What prompted you to write on such a difficult topic as mothers and daughters? Seems people have been trying to figure out that dynamic for centuries.
Well, I definitely don't claim to have figured it out. The book came from my desire to improve my relationship with my mother, which at best could be described as strained. I've always envied women who have that amazing friendship going with their moms. After one particularly frustrating phone conversation with my mom which left me in tears, I shared some of my frustrations with my women's small group. I was stunned to learn that many of them also had painful connections with their moms. The idea of helping women work through this pain and encouraging them to hang in there and work on improving their relationship took root. I knew I needed to write the book. I ended up interviewing many different women who shared both the good and bad. I learned so much in the process.

What ideas do you have for future works?
I think most writers have more ideas than they know what to do with. Reigning them in is the challenge. I am about 3/4 of the way through writing a non-fiction book that allows Christians and those who are spiritually seeking to ask tough questions they have about spiritual topics many wrestle with but are afraid to voice. The book is tentatively called Walking on Broken Glass and I've been doing lessons from it for our small coffee shop church gatherings. But I am also working on some fiction. I have a rough outline for women's fiction book and am polishing up the first in a series for a romantic suspense.

Is nonfiction your specialty?
Years ago I started out wanting to write fiction but switched to non-fiction when I began writing articles, but now I am trying my hand at fiction again. I am finding it much more difficult to write than non-fiction although studying fiction writing has helped make me a better writer even in the non-fiction realm.

What would you say to encourage a new author to go the mile?
I think success is about 25% talent and the rest hard work and perseverance. There are many many talented people who never get published because they either never put it on paper, are afraid to submit, or give up after being critiqued or rejected. If you want to become published you need to have multiple projects going and you need to submit them so that when one comes back rejected, you still have the hope of something else getting published. It also helps greatly to have a critique buddy or critique group because it is so difficult to see your own potential growth areas.
Teena, thanks so much for dropping by. Visit Teena at her website for more information:

Saturday, June 30, 2012

"He's handsome," she said. "He's handsome", she said!

My head is spinning at the end of the day. I've seen so many strange and peculiar things happening in the basics of writing. I'm not talking about dangling modifiers and other obscure things that frighten all of us once exposed by well-meaning editors, but the very simple basics of grammar.

Recent queries from authors have included the most bizarre structure. The title above is just one of them. And not just a one-time mistake. I've read an entire manuscript with the quotation marks in quite interesting and creative places.

If you want an agent/editor to take you seriously, get a grasp of the basics of grammar, punctuation, and know how to put them together in a legible manner. Also, go to their sites and find out if they handle erotica before you tell them "I researched your site and found you to be the perfect agent for my work!" And then proceed to give an inspirational agent new lessons in "how to" graphic word by graphic word.

Does anyone do their homework anymore or more aptly put: "is there out their anyone whose listening"?

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Supercilious, Ridiculous, Puffed Up Blog

Okay, there’s a long, boring, dry list of things that an agent or editor really doesn’t want to see. One of them is verbose line after lengthy line while trying to get to the gist of the story.
When a story’s strength relies on adjectives and adverbs to beef it up, the story’s in trouble right out of the swinging, slat-deprived gate. A wonderful story can be told with virtually no adverbs and no adjectives. A few are thrown in now and then for flavor, but when the entire story depends on crutches to strengthen weak storyline, weak nouns, and weak verbs, then the writer is shamefully in trouble.
YES, a well-placed, once-in-a-while “addition” is fine, but I’m seeing a lot of submissions that depend on the flowery language while short changing the reader with little substance in the “meat” of the story.
Write a solid piece, neatly, accurately, and profoundly. A story that keeps the reader turning pages whether or not the guy looks like a super hero. And the girl need not have raven black hair and emerald, indigo, or ocean blue eyes. These are all fine if the rest of the narration forces the reader to continue reading on into the night. And not the dark and stormy night. Just the night when she or he should be sleeping cozily, but can’t because he or she is so adamantly engrossed in what is happening to wonderful Hero and air-head Raven Hair that the book just can’t be put down!
Remember, it’s all about the story. Even poor grammar and punctuation can sometimes be overlooked if the story is so amazing that it simply HAS to be told.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Johannes Gutenberg/Laughing at Us?


No, I don’t think he’s turning over in his grave. I think he’s laughing at us. A pioneer in his day, he must be thinking, “Did you really assume this was the end of it?”

And I have to say, most of us did. We thought the printed word was the beginning and ending of the mass communication that changed society.

Gutenberg’s press, considered by most to be the most influential change of the second millennium, brought not only books, but communication of events to the masses. No longer was word of mouth or letter the only means by which a group of people could hear about changes in society. No longer could kings and despots prevent knowledge from trickling to the masses.

I attended a writers’ conference 12-15 years ago at which one of the secular publishing giants’ Sr. Editor spoke. When asked about “electronic” books for our computers, she laughed. Holding her hands in the shape of a book, she said, “Smell the paper. Smell the ink. Take this with you wherever you want to go. The printed book will NEVER die. Never even have its profits reduced by more than mere fad. Computerized books? A passing fancy.” Or something to that effect. None of us saw the Kindle, the Nook, and others just around the proverbial bend.

BTW, she no longer is senior editor there. Like many of us “oldies” she just didn’t see it coming. The last year and a half have been overwhelming: to readers, to writers, to agents, to editors. Changes are happening so fast, I can put together a proposal for a client one day, and learn the next that the house I was sending to has morphed again. And the proposal is now obsolete at best.

Not since Gutenberg printed the first word has there been this much change. I realize computers ushered in this amazing technology, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the printed word has NEVER changed this much in nearly 600 years. 600 YEARS!!!!

And we are living in the time.

Gutenberg was a deal changer. He understood the concept that nothing remains the same.

Are YOU ready to jump on board and be part of the change, or will you be left behind with your hands in the shape of a paperback, digging your nails in, refusing to give up the smell of musty paper?

I, for one, old as I am, have embraced the changes.

I just wish I knew what lurked around the corner. I don’t like to be surprised!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Who Do You Depend On?

I just read this in a devotional: Self-sufficiency is a myth perpetuated by pride and temporary success. WOW!
I’ve always been one to be PROUD of the fact I take care of myself. Do it alone. Stand on my own two feet. Now, I do give it the “thank you God for making all things possible because I’m a believer” and I really do believe that, but how often do I see my
We tend to “stand on our own two feet” when things are running smoothly, there’s enough money in the bank to cover all the bills, and the pantry’s full. And we put God aside to fill in and help out when the going gets tough.
As writers we call on the great guru of writers’ block. Please help me. I’m not sure where this is going. I need help. Help…help…help!
Pride: And at the book signing? “Oh thank you. I don’t know where the idea came from. I woke up one morning and this story was swirling in my head.”
Temporary Success: “I’m on the bestseller list. I knew it. I just knew this story had what it takes to go all the way.”
Self-sufficiency: “Look where I am now. Who would have thought? But I knew I could do it. Deep down, I just knew it!”
We don’t need Him when we’re like this. We don’t need anyone. And isn’t that a solitary, sad way to be?
As easily or as difficult as any climb can be to the top, we need to remember Who lifts us. Who is always there. Who cares more than anyone else when we fall.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Really? You Won't Hire Fat People???

Texas hospital won't hire obese workers! We all saw it coming. And now, 1984 really is here. Appearances folks; it's all about appearances. So you won't hire a wonderful, hard-working lady who tips the scales at 250#, but YOU WILL hire that perky little size 6 cutie, who eats like a trucker, then goes to the bathroom and pukes. BUT she only weighs 110# so it's okay????

I know we're getting bigger as a society, and shame on us, but it isn't up to employers, Obamacare, or anyone else to dictate to us how we should look.

The article below should make a lot of people angry! While we have the choice not to listen to a dietician who weighs 300#, she also has the right to keep on working. Perhaps that is something she works hard at recitifying each day, but it's her cross to bear. She is food addicted. Hers just happen to be an addiction that shows. What better person to know all the pitfalls about food addiction. Perhaps she is, after all, the best teacher. How about the alcoholic who beats his wife nightly? Isn't he a risk to the healthcare system? But nobody knows because he doesn't tell and she covers the bruises with makeup.

Boy or boy, now I'm riled! How about you? Any other size 6's out there with bad teeth, weak heart, and many other maladies that just don't show? And before the legitimate slim people string me up, I know that's not always the case, but we need to explore all sides of the issue.

1984, here we comes, just a couple decades late!

http://www.kens5.com/news/health/Texas-hospital-wont-hire-very-obese-workers-144292175.html

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Easter

To all my wonderful writing friends, enjoy this weekend with your friends and family. Remember who died for you, rose for you, and still lives just for you.
God bless you all!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

LOVE ON THE RANGE








DO NOT miss this wonderful read from Love Inspired Historicals. Jessica Nelson’s debut novel brings laughs, smiles, and tears, all the wonderful things a romance should offer, but few do. Jessica’s own love story is so endearing, but we’ll save that for an interview with her.

You need to press through the crowd wiping their eyes with tissues, and get your copy of LOVE ON THE RANGE from Love Inspired while there are still copies left.

I have to brag and say she’s one of the toughest crit partners in the world and for good reason, she has a way with words. Good thing to have if you’re a writer, huh?

Okay, enough for now. Hike right over to Amazon and download your copy.
You WON'T be sorry!



Sunday, March 11, 2012

MEET TWO SPLICKETY AUTHORS

Jon Zech and Andrew James Winch are two men I’ve been blessed to know. Jon for, oh, so many years in crit group, and Andrew I met when he drove me from the airport to the ACFW conference last year. What do these two men have in common? They both had submissions in the first edition of Splickety Magazine. Thought you all might like to know a bit more about them.

Jon, how long have you been writing?

I suppose I have been writing since before I first learned my alphabet. When I was about two, I copied letters from a headline in the Detroit News and formed them into word-like things and put several of them together. I showed them to my mother and told her I had written a story. Then I asked her what it said. I wrote on and off through my teens, submitting a story to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine when I was fifteen. I played with the beginning of a novel at twenty. In '91 I joined a writer's group and have written steadily since then, and now have a few novels and over a hundred short stories. My humorous trilogy of novellas, Buck and Tangee: Things that Happened, is scheduled for publication this spring by Woodward Press.

Jon, I’ve read Buck and Tangee and they are delightful. Anyone who wants a hilarious and realistic read will want to get a copy.
Okay, so what inspires you?

I'm inspired by curiosity, a love of the absurd and misunderstood fragments of overheard speech. Once, when reading with the news playing in the background, I thought I understood the announcer to say, "...and an illumination of angels." I stopped reading. I played with the notion of what those words could mean and the story that might be behind them. I have a novel length piece, An Illumination of Angels, in the works now. The Splickety story, The Gospel According to Kevin, was a result of a writing prompt in a writer's group. There was a sign on the wall of the space where the group met that said, Nothing is to be Placed in the Marked Area, and that sign was our prompt. I had wanted to explore the faith of a child in a story, and the picture just formed of a sincere child, acting on his innocent knowledge of Christ and Christianity. That's how I write. I see the picture, make it a movie in my mind and just tell you what I see.

Jon Zech is a name to watch for. His writing is character-driven and won’t ever disappoint. Congrats for your piece in Splickety, Jon.

Next is Andrew Winch. Folks, here lives the soul of an oldie like me, just younger. Andrew’s writing and characters will touch you deeply. Sample his work once, and you’ll be back for more, I promise. Andrew, what gave you the idea for your short story?

When I thought of the idea for "Wolf Hunt" my main goal was to see a rebirth of classic horror. If you've read the story, it has a definite twist, but I wanted the feel, raw nature in all its vulnerability, to pull readers back to their first instinct when they think about werewolves. I didn't want glittery, oiled up monsters, I wanted the fundamental struggle between good and evil in all its feral glory.

What do you normally write/read?

As a reader, I'm a bit bipolar, or more accurately, tripolar. My bookshelf is filled with Christian apologetics, the Classics, and YA sci-fi/fantasy. As a writer, I manage a monthly blog that reflects my various interests (www.winchway.blogspot.com). I post everything from zombie short-stories to my personal reflections on life. As for my "serious" writing, I gravitate toward fast-paced speculative fiction. My tag-line is, "hometown adventure with an otherworldly twist."

I like it. What are you working on at the moment?

Actually, I'm finishing up a manuscript loosely based on "Wolf Hunt." It follows an adopted, epileptic high-schooler as he falls headlong into a world of vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Along the way, he awakens his super-human powers and uses them to save the ones he loves. The question is, where did these powers come from, and with shadow and deceit around every corner, who can he really trust to give him the answers he needs?

You’d better let me have the chance to read it first before any other agent…is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I'm so thankful to Ben Erlichman for giving my writing a chance. He's been a blast to work with. Christian flash-fiction has a shiny new magazine named Splickety and I can't wait to see what it turns out.

So here are two gentlemen from completely different ends of the spectrum, both with fresh flash fiction in Splickety, both working in entirely different genres for full-length. Folks, I know both writers and can honestly say, fiction doesn’t get any better than this…

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Splickety Magazine!

The name just makes me want to say hot diggity dog! Where else would such a high-energy name come from than a high-energy editor? Ben Erlichman had an idea which became a direction which became a reality in the form of Splickety Magazine, flash fiction at its best.

I thought you all might like to meet Ben:

What gave you the idea for a mag about flash fiction?

I got the idea for Splickety Magazine after being published three times in Harpstring Magazine, which is another excellent imprint from Written World Communications (WWC). I hadn't done much flash fiction of my own but I've always appreciated how difficult it is to craft a complete story in fewer than 1,000 words. I realized that WWC didn't have a flash fiction magazine, so I figured I should start one. I also haven't seen much in the way of magazine-type flash fiction publications out in the marketplace, so I hope Splickety can help to fill that void.

What do you like to see from authors?

I like strong stories with believable characters. I need a defined plot with a beginning, a middle, and an end, not something "artsy" that makes me have to think really hard about what's actually going on. Our magazine is for people with short attention spans, so trying to be clever at the expense of the story structure is something I dislike. I need a palpable conflict in the submission--it needs to drive the story. I don't mind stuff that's a little different, too, as long as the story is clear.

Do you have a fave genre?

Personally I gravitate toward action/adventure since that's what I write, so of course I'm interested in seeing that come through Splickety. I think it's pretty unrepresented as its own genre in the big scheme of things. That said, I'm hyper-critical of fight-scenes and the like since that's what I write. If you're going to send me something A/A, it had better be really, really good, and I'll probably still revise it in the editing process anyway.

Overall, I'm open to just about any genre, though. The submissions don't necessarily have to be Christian-themed or based, either, so don't let that prevent you from submitting.

What are some ideas for future issues?

I would LOVE to do a micro-fiction (100 words or less) contest and publish the best ones in an upcoming issue along with some regular submissions. I also want to do a nano-fiction (10 words or less) contest and put the top 25 or 50 in there, and perhaps give a prize to the winners.

We also have a lineup of featured authors for upcoming issues. I'm working on getting one for our next issue in May of 2012, but I've got one or two lined up for subsequent issues in August and November. By "featured" I mean that they're published, well-known authors with multiple books out. Brandilyn Collins graciously agreed to host our first issue with the prologue from her new book Over the Edge. I also have an author who has been sharing her latest work as a serial novel on her blog, and her final installation will appear in Splickety Magazine, in print, for our next issue.

I'm always open to ideas, of course, so if there's something you'd like to see, let me know and we'll consider it.

Thanks, Ben. Later this week, I’m going to feature two of Splickety’s authors, Andrew Winch and Jon Zech so you can all get an idea of some of the contributors. Who knows? YOU might be the next one!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Young Whippersnapper!


I have to pay my respects to the young whippersnapper who became my crit partner four years ago. Jessica Nelson, a truly gifted writer, is about to introduce her first novel, LOVE ON THE RANGE, a Love Inspired Romance. The story will be out April 3, 2012 and is a delightful read.

It's a long road to publication, but Jessica was determined. Though just a whippersnapper compared to a lot of folks writing, her perseverance left no doubt she would be pubbed.

Whether you are fifteen or fifty, if you've been blessed with the talent to write, get off your duff and start putting words to paper. Shut off the tv, or leave it on for comfort, if you're a noise-infused writer, whatever it takes. But write!

Never give up your dream, don't even postpose it, you might be the next Jessica Nelson with a new book to celebrate.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

SAD DAY FOR MUSIC

Farewell, Whitney Houston.

Yes, I was a HUGE fan. When she sang, I was sure I heard the gates of heaven open so all could hear her better there. She had THE voice of this generation without a doubt. Remember the highs and lows? Both vocally and personally that we watched her go through? A mixture of joy and sadness...

When God blesses an individual with incredible talent, there comes huge responsibility with the talent as well. And artists, as we all know, can be very troubled individuals. But we also know God can be in the mix. Only He knows the human heart of each individual.

When Ms. Houston sang the national anthem during the Gulf War, I cried liked a baby, not only at her magnificent voice, but her enthusiasm for America. She raised us to our feet and helped us stand tall at a crucial point in our history. Her voice lifted us up and gave us hope--joy we hadn't felt in a while.

Hopefully we can all remember that our talents in voice, writing, theatre, and/or all of the above, aren't in and of themselves, but in and of God. There is a responsibility.

Don't hide your light under a bushel. Shine. You never know when your breath is your last on this earth.

May God bless her and hold her in His hand. Her personal struggles--our personal struggles are never ours alone. He is always--always--always with us.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

MOST FOLKS GO POSTAL; I GO COCKADOODIE!

HE DIDN'T GET OUT OF THE COCKADOODIE CAR! Anyone remember Kathy Bates screaming in the movie Misery about how the writer cheated her? Well....I've read three romantic suspense books because I like the actual story the writer tells, but I can't stand the cockadoodie nonsense she allows to happen in her books.

In one instance, a piece of equipment which gives away the evidence of a murder, sees down a hallway, around corners, through walls into a bedroom and witnesses a murder, without ever moving. Now, I wasn't a physics major, but 'taint possible, folks.

In another book, a PI in a VERY small town, is asked by the chief of police if the PI has a permit for his gun. Anybody want to venture a guess who signs the permits for weapons in a town? That's right. He had to know about the cockadoodie permit!

Now, I hope you realize, I didn't really go postal over this, but these three books all received 5-star reviews. And, again, I like the stories. Not a big fan of alpha males who talk rather flamboyantly, but I can even get over that. But don't cheat me as a reader by not doing your homework. I had made up my mind not to do this post a couple weeks ago, but after book three it stuck in my "craw" if you don't mind me dating myself.

Readers plunk down hard cash, and I would, as an agent, turn these submissions down if an author didn't fix these problems; instead they went from author, to editors and into print without anyone noticing.

Some things are preferences, others are the laws of physics. C'mon now...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

POLAR BEAR PLUNGE IN NEW BALTIMORE, MI

POLAR BEAR PLUNGE
Here we are in New Baltimore, MI. Time for Winterfest in spite of the fact that there is no snow, it's barely above freezing, and the sun's out--for now. It IS Michigan after all. But the plungers are ready and will soon take to the water.

When I chose a title for my holiday novella for 2011, I couldn't help but think of the many volunteers who work tediously for the Jingle Bell Run and Polar Bear Plunge here in my home town, all involved in local charities and organizations to help others.

If only I added a nurse and a bestselling returning war veteran, there might be a chance for some romance to "heat up" the winter activites. So I did. Even added a manipulating mother-in-law who planned to get her widow daughter-in-law back into circulation. "Circulation" being key for the Polar Bear Plunge and the war veteran who cracks his noggin during the festivities.

If you like laughs and a few tears, check out the novella, Polar Bear Plunge, OR stop by New Baltimore, Michigan this afternoon and take the plunge for charity.

You won't be sorry on either account!

Anybody from New Baltimore or surrounding area who attends Polar Bear Plunge today and leaves a comment and their email, will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of the book. Good luck and be blessed. I'm hoping for snow for all you plungers!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

STOP ALREADY!

Stop already with the words and punctuation that get you nowhere fast. See if you can find problems in the sentences below. What can you do to make the sentences stronger?

-He never like the way she fixed her hair.
-I couldn’t go to town even if I wanted to.
-She literally flipped her bouncing tresses out of her perky face.
-"Celebrating birthdays just doesn’t do it for me anymore."
-Bob dropped a twenty on the table and looked at his date. “Is that enough?” he asked.
-She couldn’t even move the dresser two feet before feeling tired.
-Sadie laughed at the way her toddler waved his arms. Smiling at her husband, she said, “Isn’t he just adorable?”
-His life was over. There weren’t enough hours in the day. She was so hard to please.
-The newspaper said that he had done a poor job.
-If she could, she would do it again. It wasn’t the worst job in town. Or was it? It made no sense that people fought her about it.
-“I don’t understand! Isn’t my coming to the party enough?”
-It wasn’t important . . . or maybe . . . maybe it was. She tried . . . she really did. But to no avail.

Do you see ways to strengthen or at least stop the tired aspect of these sentences?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WHERE THERE’S A WILL…

…there’s a relative. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying. And it’s probably true in a great many instances.Common expressions can make great fodder for your stories.

Have you ever thought of going through some of the tired old expressions in order to come up with a stimulating storyline? Titles to nursery rhymes? Lines from a song? Suspense doesn’t come just from frightening news at night.

A tisket, a tasket, I bought a yellow basket. (and when I took it home, I found a mummified finger with a gold ring initialed with the letter C.) Old man Conyers had been missing for thirty years.

I saw Mommy kissing Santa…(and then he shot her.)

Ring around a rosey, a pocketful of posies. (a girl’s body is found in a lovely English garden. Zuzu’s? petals are in her pocket.)

A little corny, but you get the idea.

Wonderful, novel ideas can come from anywhere. If you sit at your keyboard and pick a topic, you’ll be surprised at how many amazing and fresh subjects will fill your head.

The next time you’re looking for a theme for a story, pick up a dictionary and just point at a word. Do you get a tingle down your spine? Maybe this is the next bestseller for 2012.