Friday, July 21, 2017

The Secret to Publication by Jeanne M. Dickson

Jeanne M. Dickson
What’s the key to becoming a published author? How does anyone do it? Jeanne M. Dickson not only shares her top ten tips for success, she offers encouraging words that will help keep you motivated when the road gets a little bumpy on your journey to publication. ~Dawn


The Secret to Publication

I have the secret formula for getting published. Want to know what it is? Okay, come closer, and I’ll whisper it to you.

Ready?

Writing plus revision plus guts plus persistence equals book contract.

Ha! Not much of secret, right? More along the lines of common sense, but it took me a long time to come to terms with my top ten ways to get happily published.

1. No one except the writer can write the book. Sit down, stop whining, and start typing.

2. Find a writer community and get involved.  I belong to RWA and ACFW. Both organizations are fantastic places where I’ve learned my craft, found mentors, and made close friends.

3. Don’t be shy. Yes, it’s hard if you’re an introvert, but just do it. Go to conferences. Pitch to editors and agents. Listen to what they have to say. I found both my agent and editor at conferences. You can too.

4. Rejection hurts. Always. And it will always be there. Even best-selling authors get rejections. And rejections don’t always make sense. I received a rejection letter on a manuscript that said (paraphrasing), “The couple had great chemistry, but it lacked the Irish ambiance.”  A second rejection for the same manuscript said (paraphrasing), “The Irish ambiance was great, but the couple lacked chemistry.” Go figure.

5. Enter writing contests. It’ll get you used to rejection if nothing else. And it’s a thrill to final/win a contest. Could even lead to a publishing contract. It has happened. Not to me, but it could happen.

6. Learn the craft. Social media is important but craft trumps social media. A good story well told is still the key to publication.

7. Never give up. You’ll never get published if you give up. Shake off the disappointments and frustrations. Stay in the game.

8. Keep a sense of humor. You’ll need it. Call up a writer friend and rant. She’ll understand.

9. Keep writing in perspective.  Yes, it matters. But other aspects of your life probably matter more, i.e., family, friends, and God.

10. Keep God at the center of your heart. Be thankful. He has a plan. Be patient. When He finally opened the publication door for Grounded Hearts, He put incredible people in my life.

I will leave you with a true story that perfectly illustrated to me that God was in control, on my side, and had a sense of humor. When I was writing Grounded Hearts, I needed a last name for the Garda officer Paul. Out of the blue, I chose “Halpin” which is not a common Irish name. Next, I needed a name for his wife. My email pinged. I looked at it and almost fell out of my chair, then laughed so hard I cried. It was a junk email from someone named KELLY HALPIN.

And that’s how she got named and how I knew God had my back.

Blessings, and keep writing!





A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?




Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. Her grandmother lived with them and was a constant source of stories about life in Ireland and the saints and ancestors long gone from this earth. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling.

Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star.

Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

To learn more and connect with Jeanne check out these online sites:


Buy links





Thursday, July 20, 2017

What's In A Setting by Jean C. Gordon

In many ways, a book's setting is an additional character. And as with the other characters, you have to know your setting well. That said, I'd like to introduce you to the setting of my Love Inspired books. It's larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon Parks combined. What is it? The Adirondack Park in Northern New York where I've set all my Love Inspired books. Created in 1894, the Adirondack Park encompasses 6 million acres. 2.6 million acres are owned by New York State, and the remaining 3.4 million are privately owned. It is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. Under the New York State Constitution, the state-owned acreage is designated "Forever Wild," ensuring that the forest preserve land won't be logged for timber, and that certain areas will be maintained  for recreation, including skiing, hunting, camping, and mountain biking. The park boasts 3,000 lakes and ponds and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams.
Ready to join me on a short virtual tour of some of the places I've been in the park? Let's go.

Santa's Workshop on Whiteface Mountain in North Pole, NY (near Wilmington) is what it sounds like, a Christmas theme park. The Workshop opened its doors in 1949. In 1953, the US Postal Service awarded Rural Postal Station Statua to the North Pole. I visited it as a child. My family drove six hours from Western New York to get there. We also took our kids to the North Pole when they were small.

Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, is nearby. The Olympic ski runs were on Whiteface Mountain. When we visited in late August one year, it actually snowed while we were on the scenic ski lift "ride." Fortunately, we'd brought warm coats because we were camping and knew it could be cold at night.





Ausable Chasm is nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. We've hiked the upper chasm past waterfalls and stunning rock formations on cable bridges that crisscross over the roaring Ausable River. You can also take a scenic float through the lower chasm.



Next up, Mt. Marcy, the highest point in New York State at 5,343 feet. On a trip without the kids, my husband and I hiked about half way up. We'd gotten too late of a start to try to hike the whole way. Between Mt. Marcy and Mt. Skylight, you'll find Lake Tear of the Clouds, often cited as the source of the Hudson River which runs behind our property 150 miles south and then on another 150 miles to the Atlantic Ocean.

Then, south to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the Adirondacks. The museum is located on the site of an historic summer resort hotel, The Blue Mountain House. We visited last summer. The exhibit on the history of logging in the Adirondacks fascinated me, and I loved the beautiful Native American basketwork on display.



Heading back home, we'll stop at Paradox Lake, where my last eight books are set. The lake gets its name from a unique occurrence that happens every spring. Melting snow in the eastern Adirondack Mountains flows into the Schroon River. Paradox Lake's outlet also flows into the Schroon River. Due to the sudden increase in water, the outflow is forced back, making the river flow in reverse. According to local folklore, the word paradox means "water running backwards" in the native Indian language. We've been to the Paradox area several times and always stay at the same little rustic motel in Schroon Lake.

What do you think? Ready for an in-person visit? How about a book visit?


Reuniting His Family
A Father's Promise

Rhys Maddox wants nothing more than custody of his two sons. Released from prison after a wrongful charge, the widowed dad will do anything to bring his boys home where they belong. But that doesn't include falling for their former social worker. Now leading an outreach program for families in transition, Renee Delacroix can't escape the tall, dark and intriguing single dad--or his adorable little boys. But Rhys is determined to go it alone. Until one incident that may cost him what he wants the most. Now it's up to Renee to save him--if she can make him see she's just what he needs to complete their forever family.


Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sTNWUq
Harlequin: http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html;jsessionid=4CBF9AA809B8026CD13B5993BF07C80E?cid=236&iid=71640
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reuniting-his-family-jean-c-gordon/1125580514

Jean C. Gordon’s writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word the, she’s been reading everything she can put her hands on. Jean and her college-sweetheart husband tried the city life in Los Angeles for college, but soon returned to their native Upstate New York, where they share a 175-year-old farmhouse with their daughter and her family. Their son lives nearby. Connect with Jean on Facebook, as @JeanCGordon on Twitter, or on JeanCGordon.com. And sign up for her Readers Group, so you don’t miss a single new release. You’ll receive a free eBook.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chasing Down Ideas by Courtney Walsh

I used to think I had to wait for inspiration to strike in order to sit down and start writing, but when you get your first deadline, that all goes out the window.

Ideas are out there, but they don’t always ping like a light bulb over your head. Sometimes you have to work for them. You can stare at your computer screen, waiting for that jolt of creative electricity…or you can try these five tried and true ways to spark creativity and get the ideas flowing.

1. Do something mundane. When your brain is actively engaged, focused on one thing, it can overload and become nearly impossible to have a breakthrough. If you clean a toilet, do some laundry or perform any other mundane task, your mind can disengage, allowing new ideas to filter in. 

2. Do a little role-play. If your characters aren’t cooperating, have a conversation with them. Or make them have a conversation with each other. Out loud. There’s something about speaking the words aloud that help you hear how the dialogue will really sound. If you let yourself act the scene out, you’ll stumble upon natural reactions and it can help your story take off. (They might even surprise you!) 

3. Brainstorm with a buddy. Nobody said you had to come up with all the ideas on your own! Find a friend who loves to read or a fellow writer and take an afternoon to help each other brainstorm. Think of the three most obvious paths your story could take and throw them away. Think of three more and throw those away. Eventually, you’ll stumble upon an idea that resonates and you’ll be off and running, healthy dose of inspiration in hand. 

4. Change your view. I write in the same chair almost every single day. I love it. It’s cozy. I know where to put my coffee. However, there are many times when it’s just too much, and I feel like the walls are closing in on me. If I pick up my laptop and head to my local Barnes and Noble or coffee shop, instantly, my attitude shifts. There’s something about getting out in the world that makes ideas more accessible. It’s hard to be creative staring at the same four walls every day. 

5. Forget about it for a little while. It’s so tempting to sit there and force an idea, but creativity isn’t something that can be forced. It needs to be coaxed. And sometimes the best way to do that is to forget about it all together. Pretend you don’t have that nagging reminder echoing in your mind telling you to hurry up and figure it out. Go for a walk. Have lunch with a friend. Go window shopping or maybe read a book by an author you love. Creativity is a little like love that way…it comes along when you least expect it, aren’t looking for it and aren’t sure you completely recognize it.

Next time you’re stumped, give one of these ideas a try. They’re bound to shake loose the ideas that are already in your mind, just waiting to be discovered. 

Have you tried any of these ideas in the past? Which one do you think would work best for you?


~~~~~


Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Just Look Up is her sixth novel and is, as she says, "her most personal." Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well two books in the Paper Hearts series, two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing and visual arts studio. They have three children.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Common Pillars We Never Forget by Zoe M. McCarthy

Zoe M. McCarthy
Unknown to them, certain people grabbed a special spot in my long, difficult, and bumpy spiritual journey. I’ll never forget them or what they did for me by simply being the people they were. God plunked them before me when I needed their example to move forward. Their examples spoke louder to me than anything anyone else said to me. They weren’t perfect or extraordinary in a popular way. They were common—in a most beautiful way.

The first was my ninth-grade English teacher. She was skinny and plain. She was strict, prim, and firm. Somehow, I saw that she was strict for our good. She cared about English, grammar, and literature and teaching them to us. The kids made fun of her. I didn’t join in their jokes and snide remarks, because I respected the woman. I learned more from her than any other teacher. I’ll always remember her commitment to doing her job right and having us do what was right in her presence.

The second was a freshman college roommate. She had little desire to partake in the behaviors of most college students. (Later, I had a roommate who aspired to be a Playboy Bunny!) When we’d have life discussions, she’d pull out her Bible to look things up, not to judge me, but to see what God said and to share His wisdom. That bugged me. I once said, “Why do you always have to bring out the Bible? Can’t you think for yourself?” But I secretly respected her convictions and confidence in herself and her God. I’ve never forgotten her gentle and quiet spirit.

The third was an older woman in the Sunday school class my first husband and I decided to attend. In the class, I judged much by my personal beliefs. This older woman, who enjoyed motorcycle trips with her husband, always answered my huffy comments with a smile and gentle explanations. I could actually hear the truths she was speaking.

The fourth was a young Christian woman my age who belonged to our neighborhood club. She loved tennis and played with my tennis group when we needed a fourth. She was honest and friendly, but she kindly begged off when invited to our parties or to join in our gossipy after-tennis conversations. Deep down I wanted to have her strength to make better choices.

The fifth was a woman in the church I attended because my friends went there. She had four children, love the Lord, and liked everyone. When my first husband had just left with our two little boys to show them his apartment after we told them he wouldn’t be living with us anymore, I felt sad. This woman, who’d never called me before, just happened to call me at that moment. I don’t remember her purpose, but, instead of judging what my husband and I were doing, and me, she listened to my hurt and spoke the comforting words I needed. More important, I experienced how a good Christian woman cared for someone no matter what that person did.

The last were five men and women in the Bible study God pressured me to attend in another church in my early forties. I went to the class, but I wasn’t happy about it. I told them I was looking for real Christians. For thirty-four weeks, these five weathered my anger, never calling me on my rants. They were gentle and steady. At the end, I told them I’d come looking for real Christians and had found five. Along the way, I had come to accept Christ.

Have you had one of these common but beautiful people in your life?



Zoe M. McCarthy believes that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Her first novel is Calculated Risk. She has two other contemporary romances and a nonfiction book to help writers ready their manuscripts coming out soon. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John. 

Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com

Calculated Risk


What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books

Monday, July 17, 2017

Orlando Bound by Marianne Evans

Marianne  Evans
Orlando, Florida. In late July.

Yep, it’s going to be steamy – literally and figuratively. Romance Writers of America is invading the Disney Swan & Dolphin Resort, playing host to over 2,500 authors of every genre in the romance industry. Talk about a melting pot. Yes, there will be authors of erotic fiction seated next to authors of Christian fiction at the 200+ author-strong event to raise money and awareness for literacy, at workshops, at networking events, at agent/editor appointments.

Which brings me to my point this month. I intend to be an active part of the ACFW national conference next year, but RWA is where I got my start over twenty years ago. RWA is where I learned my craft, where I spent numerous years on the board of my local chapter, Greater Detroit RWA. But most of all, I feel strongly that Christian romance needs to shine its light, and maintain its presence in the secular publishing world. We count. We matter. Our stories positively matter…especially when it comes to love. I’ll be honest though, and I’m sure it won’t come as a shock to know our exposure (and therefore our numbers at conferences like RWA) are dwindling.

I’ve always been the stubborn type. I refuse to give up on supporting my passion, the genre of my heart and soul. I'm half introvert, half extrovert, but I'm determined to share Christian  romance with the book-loving world as best I can.

So, I’m on my way to what I’m sure will be a humid—and utterly fantastic experience. There’s a lot to think about and prepare for prior to my flight taking off in a couple weeks. One sheets for promotion, deep-dive research of publishers, editors, and agents, swag for the famous “Goody Bag” room, tallying a list of author friends I’ll get to see again, or see and hug for the first time, divvying up free time for coffee dates, lunches, dinners, informal chat sessions.  Did I mention? My dear friend and Seriously Write compatriot Mary Manners will be bunking with me!

Conferences of this scale are high octane, but it feeds my writer-side to be in the company of such creative people. When you gather thousands of authors in one space, there’s an energy level you can’t describe until you experience it. We’re diverse and we pursue separate avenues to publication, different passion and interests, but we’re bound by words, bound by storytelling.

For me, understanding like that is where life, and love, begin. Happy writing, all!
~~~~~

https://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Marianne-Evans-ebook/dp/B01BB7R95E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500222952&sr=8-1&keywords=forgiveness+marianne+evans
Country music bad boy, Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up-and-comer, Pyper Brock and instantly sparks ignite.

Despite her rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation and soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. No way will Pyper make the mistake of falling for a man whose done battle with the bottle.

What happens when Chase’s quest to win Pyper’s love breaks down chains of resentment and eases the long-buried wounds of her childhood? And what happens when Pyper’s father shows up in Nashville, clean, sober and seeking a chance to apologize? Can Pyper follow a pathway to peace when it comes to her father? Can she fully trust Chase?

Above all, can a sin-damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness?
~~~~~

Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laude her work as “Riveting,” “Realistic and true to heart,” “Compelling.” Her Christian fiction debut, Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Her follow-up novel, Forgiveness, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors as did her book Hearts Communion. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award for her books Then & Now and Finding Home. Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. You can connect with Marianne at www.marianneevans.com.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Guideposts for the Writing Journey by Carla Gade

Carla Gade
As writers, we’re always looking for ways to do what we do better—in writing, marketing, and even keeping balance in our lives. Author Carla Gade shares four things we can do in our journey that will help us keep on track, and I think each one is equally important. Well . . . actually, the last is most important. 
~ Dawn


Guideposts for the Writing Journey

In my novel, Love’s Compass, by all appearances, my hero and heroine come from vastly different worlds. Eliana is a young white woman in the mid-1870’s living under her father’s protection in western Colorado as his photography assistant. Yiska is a half Navajo trail guide, with aspirations of journalism, trying to earn a respectable living in a white man’s world. As the story progresses and they come to know each other, they realize that they are up against similar odds.

Independently, in their efforts to make their mark on the world, they resort to certain tactics: anonymity, disguise, and false pretense. These tools work for a while as they plow forward in the roles they are trying to achieve. It seems almost necessary for their safety and success, given the circumstances of the historical times and place. You see, if they are not accepted as they are, they must prove themselves otherwise. Once proven, perhaps the masks can come off.

Sound familiar?

A few women writers of yesteryear come to mind. Jane Austen, Mary Ann Evans, the Bronte sisters eventually could put their pseudonyms aside. But for the most part our society allows us to go bold faced into uncharted terrain. Yet we still hide. Though we are compelled to pursue our passion, we still can get caught up with things that can be cumbersome to our writing journey. Here are some guideposts that can help us along the way.

Transparency: For many years before I was published, I would never allow anyone to read my writing. It took a great deal of courage to finally allow others to read what I wrote, and even more to critique and edit my work. Learning to be transparent was a big step for me. I was letting people see me after all and I hoped they would like me. It didn’t mean that there wasn’t room to sharpen my skills, but the affirmation I received that I had a gift wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been willing to share it.

Authenticity: Being authentic is important as well. We all have unique abilities ways of expressing them. Our “voice’ is like no other. We may be drawn to the writing style of a favorite author or a popular literary theme. Guard the genuineness of your own distinct way of writing. Stay true to yourself.

One more for the road. The one that helped my hero and heroine bond.

Relatability: As you tell the stories that are on your heart, be relatable. Your own journey of life sifts into to every article, story, every character your write. Although it’s a different journey than your reader’s journey, choose some guideposts for them, moments or emotions that they can relate to and connect with. It’s the heart of what you write and your sincerity that will show them who you really are as an author. 

Above all, be sure to let the Lord be your compass, in your writing journey.

What guideposts help you stay on course as a writer?








  

Colorado Territory, 1875 –

Daring Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant—disguised as a young man--on a survey expedition to the remote Four Corners. Living in the shadows of his native heritage, trail guide Yiska Wilcox is thrown off course when the shadow catcher's daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart. As they travel through dangerous terrain in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and New Mexico, Eliana and Yiska must learn to overcome the barriers of culture, faith, and ideals to discover common ground. Though they are worlds apart, will they stake a chance on love?




New Englander Carla Gade writes from her Victorian home in central Maine. With ten books in print she enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla’s great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at an historical museum, it’s easier to connect with her online.




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Undercover Author by Paula Mowery

An undercover agent lurks in many authors. How do I know? I’ve discovered this about myself. When asked where my story ideas originate, I may reply with a couple of sources. But in reality I’m thinking to myself: “Where can you not find a story?”

Here, let me prove this to you like a true investigator/informant would.

About a month ago I received the dreaded card in the mail: Report for Jury Duty. Yep, just like you did, I rolled my eyes and heaved a huge sigh. I get it. This is an honor and a privilege as a citizen, but with only a few weeks remaining of my summer, I wasn’t looking forward to being stuck in a court room.

However, I dressed nicely and fell into the line of others from my community who had been summoned. We crowded into the small county courtroom. A judge introduced himself and began to explain about this task we would be undertaking. He kept venturing off, giving examples from his many years serving in the court system.

I sat up a little straighter. Now this was getting interesting. He used examples from cases of murder, theft, and drug charges. This undercover author was intrigued. The judge even shared about having to put a jury member into jail for leaking details that weren’t supposed to be leaked.

Friends, by now, my mind was churning! The what-ifs buzzed around in my head, making it hard to pay attention.

Then the different panels were called forward and sat in the twelve seats to reveal any schedule conflicts. This gave me time to study some of my fellow jurors more closely. My grandmother taught me the art of people-watching. The courtroom was filled with quite a cross-section of our town, including various ages, races, and both genders represented.

Finally, I realized that this was research at its best. I tend to lean toward actual experiences or speaking with knowledgeable people instead of perusing the internet for my book research. And an added bonus for me is that most of my books find their setting right here in my town.

Another interesting tidbit is that my most recently contracted book actually contains a scene that takes place in this courtroom. Now that I’ve sat in it in my undercover author mode, I can’t wait to edit this section, making it more realistic.

Please allow me to encourage you to embrace your inner undercover author. Even dreaded tasks can render your next intriguing story. Go into your best observation mode and take it all in. Though you can find answers for many questions from your research by simply googling, nothing takes the place of experiencing and asking questions of experts. This type of research normally translates into my story becoming more alive for my reader.

Where have you found some of those great tidbits of research for your latest story?


To find out about For Our Good and Paula's other books, check out her Amazon page by clicking on the link below.

Paula Mowery's Amazon Page

Paula Mowery is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013 her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015. Her other titles include a Christian romantic suspense called For Our Good, a Christmas romance called Love Again, and a romance inspired from the Love Chapter called The Crux of Honor.  
 
Reviewers of her writing characterize it as “thundering with emotion.” Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World, The Christian Online Magazine, and the multi-author devotional blogs, Full Flavored Living and Putting on the New. She wrote a section for Join the Insanity by Rhonda Rhea. She has devotionals included in several collaborative books. 
 
She is a member of ACFW and also on the faculty for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. 
 
Paula is a pastor’s wife, a mom, and an interpreter for the deaf. She homeschooled her daughter through all twelve years, and they both lived to tell about it. Before educating her daughter at home, she was an English teacher in public school. 
 
Learn more about Paula at her blog as well as find other links to connect with her at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.
 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Writing That First Novel By Sandra Merville Hart

I’ve been writing a dozen years. As an avid reader, I knew that I wanted to be a novelist. Ideas in the beginning were a problem. Just what does one write about?

I took correspondence writing courses and a few college classes. Instructors assigned topics or at least gave perimeters for articles and stories. That structure was just what I needed as a newbie.

Before writing my first novel, I created a chapter-by-chapter story outline. I typed those famous words that all authors type—Chapter One. Great start.

Unfortunately, those were the best words I wrote for three days.

I labored over each phrase, each sentence. After four days, the first page was almost finished, but Page Two stumped me. I knew the events in Chapter Thirteen. How was I going to write myself there?

Can you relate?

After staring at the screen for a while, I started a new page—Chapter Thirteen. I wrote all the scenes. I finished the entire chapter with nothing else written except page one. It was the right thing to do because it broke the ice. I still labored over each sentence, but the story grew by 800-1,000 words daily.

A structured outline helped me write my first three manuscripts. Later outlines slowly became less detailed. Then I discovered I didn’t need them any longer. Those early writings, though unpublishable, had trained me how to write a novel from beginning to end. It’s a skill that is not as easy as it sounds, is it?

If you are struggling to get words on the page for your first or second manuscript, know you are in good company. You are learning far more than you realize about dialogue, action, and the flow of events.

“Be patient with your own learning.” That’s a quote from one of my wise teachers. We can’t digest a whole pie in one sitting, nor is that advisable. Writing works the same way. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing something. Take writing courses. Attend writer’s conferences. Read books about the writing craft from knowledgeable authors.

Then sit down in front of your PC or laptop. Place your fingers over the keys. Say a prayer. Take a deep breath and type “Chapter One.”

And if you need to write Chapter Thirteen first, go ahead.


Do you have trouble getting started on a story? What are your tricks?

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About Sandra Merville Hart:
Sandra Merville Hart, Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com, loves to find unusual or little-known facts in her historical research to use in her stories. Her debut Civil War romance, A Stranger On My Land, was an IRCA Finalist 2015. Her second Civil War romance novel, A Rebel in My House, is set during the Battle of Gettysburg. It released on July 15, 2017. Visit Sandra on her blog at https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.


A Rebel in My House

When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?



Sandra’s Blog, Historical Nibbles:  https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/


Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-House-Sandra-Merville-Hart/dp/1941103383/

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Revise, Rewrite, or Start Over? by Marie Wells Coutu

How many drafts does it take to finish a book? And what, exactly, constitutes a “draft,” anyway?
Marie Wells Coutu
 

When I hear of someone writing six drafts—or twenty—of a novel, I’ve wondered what that entails. Does it mean she started fresh each time? Or is it simply how many times she went through the book making revisions?

An article in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers tells of an author working through several drafts of his debut novel with his agent and still having her reject it. He then “began the laborious process of retyping the entire novel all over again.” On that go-round, he changed his approach to telling the story, and the book was published two years later, but it sounds like he started over.


I’m on the ?? draft of my current work-in-progress. I’ve revised the beginning numerous times, based on comments from contest judges. (I’m grateful to say it has been a finalist in five different ones!) I’ve outlined and LINDYHOPped the story, rewritten the synopsis, waffled over whether the book is historical romance or historical with a romance thread. My critique partner and three professionals have weighed in with suggestions, and I’ve wordsmithed the first quarter of the book. Now I’m revising the plot yet again.


I’m at the point where I just want to get it DONE.


But here’s what I’ve come to realize: I need a writing and revision process.
Every successful author has his or her own process. James Scott Bell provides suggestions and checklists in Revision & Self-Editing. In Stein on Writing, Sol Stein calls it “triage,” meaning you tackle the most important fixes first.


Every writer will have his or her own method, but I’m beginning to figure out what mine needs to be. To produce a finished manuscript in less time, I need to make sure I have a solid plot early in the process. (I’m definitely not a “pantser.”) Then I should write a complete first draft before beginning revisions. When I’m satisfied the overall story works, my final step would be the wordsmithing—eliminating weasel words, fine-tuning the dialogue, ensuring all five senses are incorporated, making sure I’m showing and not telling, etc.


It won’t be easy. Tweaking the words and sentence structure is one of the first things I want to do. But I’m going to try putting that off until last, in hopes I can revise instead of having to completely rewrite the book over and over.


How about you? Do you have a set process for revising and editing your work? Or is it different with every book? Share in the comments.


About the Author
Marie Wells Coutu began making up stories soon after she learned to talk. At age seven, she convinced neighborhood kids to perform a play she had written. After a career writing for newspapers, magazines, state and local governments, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, she returned to her first love—writing fiction—at the age of fifty-five. 
The Secret Heart
by Marie Wells Coutu

Her newest novel, The Secret Heart, released in February from Write Integrity Press. Loosely based on the lives of Bathsheba and David, The Secret Heart is the third book in the Mended Vessels series. A prequel novelette of the heroine’s journal called The Divided Heart is available for the Kindle. 

Books in the series are contemporary re-imaginings of the stories of biblical women, including Queen Esther and the woman at the well. 

Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards Contest and a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association. 

An unpublished historical novel has also placed in five contests. She and her husband divide their time between Florida and Iowa. You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu)or on  Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/

Monday, July 10, 2017

You're More Than A Writer

by Peter Leavell @peterleavell

Writers with hidden cases of introversion crowded into the dining hall. The chit chat lingered in the air with smells of perfume, sweat, and crushed dreams. A typical general fiction writers conference.

We sat and ate. And then the keynote speaker curled over his half-emptied plate, struggling for breath. The president of the writers group stood, set a hand on his shoulder, and asked if it was okay to proceed with the Heimlich Maneuver.

Red and blue-faced Mr. Keynote managed to nod.

The president took up the embarrassing spoon position and, with a quick flick of both fists, saved the keynote’s life. Writers grabbed napkins from empty tables and in ten seconds, any mess that remained was cleaned, leaving only a vestige of embarrassment and a round of applause for a new hero.

Any emergency that took place in the dining hall was covered by an expert somewhere in the crowd.

Why?

I think the idea write what you know has not been so much debunked as much as it’s morphed into go learn something new and write about it.

So, if war broke out inside the wide expanse of the dining hall, there were weapon experts, generals, soldiers, medics, and quartermasters. 

We had authorities in avalanche, tsunami, zombie apocalypse, and Biblical revivals. I was begging for someone to need an expert on the Civil War, Constantine, sarcasm, Teddy Roosevelt, or any western.

You're more than a writer—you're a superhero. With sporadically limited or excessive quantity of knowledge.

If an emergency arises:
1: Assess yourself and the emergency— are you too panicked to help? Shrieking tells others you’re out of the game and no one will rely on you.

2: You’re in the public eye. Ask yourself, do I have the moral high ground here (am I contributing to a need or am I oppressing people)?

3: If step #2 clears, ask the victim if they need help. No one likes the Heimlich when they don’t need it. If yes, proceed.

4: Morph into the character for which you’ve studied the subject. That’s your main superpower. You can be Mr. Moretti, the racer you created and roared onto the backroads to drive 145 MPH to understand him better. Or Killmousky, the cat you pretended to be for a day so you could get into the mind of a secondary character.

Resolution: Solve the problem, slip back into whatever character you decided to use when talking to people, and listen for either applause or the clicking of handcuffs to take you away.

You know things. Odd things that, I’m noticing, the general public loves. Bits of facts and figures, twists on how to look at things, corners of the Internet no one has found. 

Enjoy being that person!


~~~~~
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com.
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