Monday, January 31, 2011

A Kick in the Kaboose by Janet Bly

So, how have you been doing with your resolutions for 2011? I (Annette) realized with shock last Thursday that January was just about over. And here we are, this Manuscript Monday, on the final day of the month. Did you do everything you'd hoped to in the last thirty-one days? Are you off to a good start? Just in case you need it, author Janet Bly is here to help motivate and encourage.

A Kick in the Kaboose*
Janet Bly

“Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.” (I Chronicles 22:16b, NIV).

If you wanna be a writer, develop more than your talent.

You need courage to keep knocking at editors’ doors when they’re shut in your face.

You need stamina for long days and sleepless nights when deadlines loom.

You need persistence when you know you’ve poured on paper or screen your best wit and no one seems to want to read it.

Learn how to get yourself started each day and keep chugging. Know when to get up from other diversions and write instead.

1.) You’ve got to want it.

The competition’s stiff. The publishing road’s narrow. Expect to create hundreds of pages of private slush piles to discover articles or stories worthy of public viewing.

2.) Milk the resources.

Sign up for another class. Attend another conference. Read a writing how-to book. Join an online writing group.

3.) Allow tough folks to read your stuff.

Determine who in your sphere tells the truth and it actually helps. If he or she likes a line, place it first. Spread the prose from there. This will keep you writing your best.

4.) Be thankful for your duds.

Nothing’s ever wasted. No need to quit. It’s all fodder for the journey. Pursue the next thing to do. Dig for the real treasure. Noodle it out. . .one word, one project at a time.

5.) Get real.

You’re not like other writers. . .in vigor, variety, or volume. But you’ll find your part in the grand communication scheme. . .if you keep writing.

6.) Tell someone. . .

who won’t let it go. . .what you’re gonna write and when. Get yourself a faithful nag.

7.) Don’t whine about work.

Churn the brain. Fight through fits of hit and miss. Pour over pages. Re-write chapters. Burn the rubber for interviews, visits to locales. Create a paper trail that circles the globe. That’s what writers do.

8.) Study other writers. . .

. . .who keep on writing, no matter what. How did they find their place? Their time? Their slot? When did their God-given talent finally meet a need in the world?

9.) Try some tricks.

Type one enticing word. Pour out every possible thought about that word.

Combine a word from the dictionary with an object in the room to create a story.

Talk at least ten minutes with the next stranger who is willing.

Listen to instrumental music, with your eyes closed, fingers on the keyboard.

Scan a phone book for mixing names to create some new characters.

Read a page from one of your favorite authors, then sit down to write it, your way.

Study the first lines of ten different books.

Take a walk with a notebook. Don’t return until three pages are full.

Write a mish-mash of nonsense until something makes sense. Take it from there.

10.) Connect with the Creator.

Ask the Author of your talent, “What’s next?” Allow the giver of all your gifts to direct you. To spark an idea. To form your message. To make you the writer you were created to be.

Janet Chester Bly has authored 11 books, such as Awakening Your Sense of Wonder and Hope Lives Here. She has also co-authored 18 others with husband, Stephen, Christy award-winning western novelist, including The Carson City Chronicles and The Hidden West Series. Find out more about the Blys at or their blog:
copyright 2001, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

I’ll Tell if You’ll Tell – Let’s Share Our Small Towns by Janet Tronstad

It’s Fortifying Friday, which means it’s time to share in another guest author’s journey to publication. As writers, we often draw upon our past experiences to create believable stories. Today, Janet Tronstad explains how growing up in a small town inspired her to write the Dry Creek series. Enjoy, and be sure to answer her questions at the end.

I’ll Tell if You’ll Tell
Let’s Share Our Small Towns
by Janet Tronstad

My name is Janet Tronstad and I am a town-aholic. Especially small towns. I love the quaint little cafes and the suspicious looks an outsider gets from the kids when they stop. I grew up in a small town in Montana and loved the fact that I knew everyone. I don’t think I appreciated it as much back then as I do today when I live in a major city where I am lucky to even recognize my neighbors.

I know it is my nostalgia for small towns that led me to create my series of romances set in the fictitious town of Dry Creek, Montana. In this small town there is a cafĂ© (owned by the wife of a famous musician rock-star), a hardware store (with a black potbellied stove where the older men of the community warm themselves as they drink coffee early in the morning), a white church (in need of a steeple – which I hope to use in an upcoming book), a garage (with a tow truck), and an assortment of fairly old houses. There are no sidewalks in the town and no marked parking places. In fact, there is only one street and that is just the road that comes off the freeway.

I began my series over ten years ago with An Angel for Dry Creek – the story of a woman who came to town and was mistaken for an angel by two little boys who were in desperate need of a mother. I went on to talk about everything from an older couple falling in love (A Dry Creek Courtship) to a disillusioned investigator (A Silent Night for Dry Creek). All of my titles are available as e-books and Harlequin recently reprinted a couple in their Classics line (A Sugar Plum for Dry Creek and At Home in Dry Creek).

Over the years, my readers have had one constant refrain. How can we find Dry Creek so we can live there – or at least visit? That’s the beauty of fictitious small towns. Readers can visit every time they pick up one of the books.

Now that I’ve told you about my small town, I’d love to hear about a favorite small town you might have – it can be real or fictitious. Then let me know what you like about it? Is it the pace of life, the closeness of the people, or some other special thing?

One of Janet Tronstad’s favorite childhood memories is of borrowing Zane Gray novels from her grandfather’s book shelf. Janet, one of five children, grew up on a family farm near Fort Shaw, Montana, a small town with a population less than 200. This small town and the thriving church she attended have been an inspiration for her popular Dry Creek series of books published by Steeple Hill. Sugar Plums for Dry Creek and At Home in Dry Creek was released in December, 2010. A Dry Creek Family novella in Small-Town Moms will be released in March, 2011. Janet holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and published in various national magazines before starting to write novels.

To find out more about Janet and her books,
please visit

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Seeds You Sow

Thursdays – Dawn’s Devotions for Writers

“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV)

How many of you write blogs, but rarely receive comments? How many write for your church newsletter? How many have articles, devotions, short stories, and maybe even books published, but have received very little feedback from readers?

If we focus on the lack of accolades, we might occasionally allow it to get us down. We may wonder why we’re bothering to write at all. Is anyone even reading what I write? Does anyone care? Am I wasting my time?

If we focus on writing for God in obedience, and as a way to commune with him, praise from others won’t matter. But, sometimes that’s easier said than done. After all, we’re human right? And humans want and need affirmation. At least once in awhile. ;-)

Here’s some good news. Your work is not in vain!

What I’ve discovered is that far more people read my blogs than comment. When I do receive a note from someone who was helped or touched by something I’ve written, I'm blessed by it. I look at it as a tangible piece of evidence from God that I’m doing okay. I’m on the right track. Keep it up.

If only one person is challenged or drawn closer to God because of something we’ve put on paper, isn’t that worth our time and energy?

The Bible says that God’s word will not return empty. Even though we may not see or hear how our work has impacted someone—that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. All we need to know is that if we do our part, God will do the rest.

It may only take a small amount of soil for something to take root and flourish. If we sow the seeds, God will provide the water and whatever nourishment is needed to keep those seeds alive and growing.

This photo was taken in Brooklyn, New York, while visiting my daughter. On a long walk we spotted this plant growing above our heads. There had to be barely any dirt at all. Yet, there it grew!

Be encouraged, dear writers! And write on!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hey everyone, Annette here. Ocieanna is doing better, thanks for praying. Please continue. Since her hiatus continues, I’m here to discuss another grammar-related item: prepositions.

Here’s a partial list of prepositions:

aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, amid, among, around, as, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but, by, concerning, considering, despite, down, during, except, excepting, excluding, following, for, from, in, inside, into, like, minus, near, of, off, on, onto, opposite, outside, over, past, per, plus, regarding, round, save, since, than, through, to, toward, towards, under, underneath, unlike, until, up, upon, via, with, within, without

When is it okay to use them?
Good question. Use them as often as you need, but keep in mind not to overuse them.

EXAMPLE: She placed the book on the table by the back of the room near the door. (Yikes, I’ve just set a record for prep usage.)
BETTER: She placed the book on the back table.

Where can they be used?
Use them for clarification, but don’t use them at the end of sentences, (except purposely in dialogue).

EXAMPLE: Where are you at?
BETTER: Where are you?

What about using prepositions side by side?
Check through your manuscript for prepositions which pop up side by side. Oftentimes you can delete one of them.

EXAMPLE: She meandered on toward the beach.
BETTER: She meandered toward the beach.

Writing tightly will keep you from overusing these little parts of speech. I’ve posted a list beside my monitor so I can double check as I’m editing or writing. As with other writing elements, prepositions are needed, but we shouldn’t overdo it. Feel free to share your preposition examples with us.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Year New Groove Series: New View

New View
New Year New Groove Series
Net's Notations Tuesdays

Last week I’d had it. Time to clean up the office. Do you ever get in the zone of cleaning/straightening? Wow, it was great to see the top of my desk again. For a few days anyway. (*wink*)

A clean desk helps me work. I can focus better. I don’t feel so scatterbrained. I’m still in the same home office (which I love) but I have a new view.

Sometimes I work at the library. Oh, I love being surrounded by all those books. Inspires me. This kind of new view makes for some productive hours.

My grandmother used to rearrange her living room (alone!) just for a new view. Great idea. (Though my dad would have liked her to wait until she had help. *smile*)

What kind of view do you see when you sit down to write? Is it time for a change? Maybe go to the local Starbucks (if you don't mind the smell—sorry coffee lovers ;) and write there. Or find a warm beach to visit. (tee hee) One of my writing buddies went to Cancun in 2010. Uh, where do I sign up? I would love to write there!

Another (free) way to enliven your view, especially considering the inclement weather most of us have this time of year, is to put up different wall art. Rearrange the usual stuff on your desk. I have inspirational pieces and pencil holders. I can move those around.

What speaks to you today? Put it in front of you. Seek inspiration and be inspired. You know how you work best, surround yourself with those things.

A new year is a great time for a new view. What will you do to change up your view this week? this year?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Writing as Participation by Wm Paul Young

Happy Manuscript Monday, dear readers. Annette here. Ever hear someone say "it was all God" when complimented on their work? Last September, my husband and I went to see (and hear) Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack. One of the statements Paul made has since stuck with me, both as a writer and as a child of God. He said we write as participants with God. How inspiring. He graciously agreed to expound on this concept for us. May the following article encourage you. Enjoy!

Writing as Participation
Wm Paul Young

Before there was a creation, before any space, time and matter, there was a relationship: three uniquely distinctive persons in the great dance of one essence where other-centered affection and communication are both the truth of being and the way of being. This is God who has never been alone, never done anything without the others and knows the reality and pleasure of participation. This is God who has included you into this great dance of affection. Part of grace is that God invites and encourages our participation as imperfect and damaged as it might be, but like the parent who wonders at the child’s attempts at coloring and drawing, so too God wraps us up in tender embrace oohing and ahhing at the messes we have scribbled on life’s parchment. There is a profound respect given to us; a respect that has always existed for the other within that first circle of relationship, and now includes us.

This has implications for us as writers. It is not the intention of God to displace us in the creative process, to overtake us in such a way that we express only God’s personality and character. This means that the more whole you become as a human being, the freer you are to fully be yourself, the greater clarity you will write with your own voice and the deeper will be your ability to participate. Who you are and are becoming matters.

Nor do we have the power to eradicate the presence and participation of God in our creative process. You were included into the life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whether you want it or not, know it or not, like it or not. You are part of the ‘all flesh’ on whom the Holy Spirit was poured out. This is one reason why an ‘unbeliever’ is able to write with deep and penetrating insight and creativity. They are participating whether they know it or not. God comes not to displace you, but to bring everything God has and join it to everything we are and are becoming. If we had eyes to see, we would see a beautiful mess.

Life is participation and writing is one of the exquisite expressions of that journey. It is the reaching for and the grasping of the "invisibles" and making them accessible to a conversation. But the product of writing is not the goal. Rather it is the journey, the relationship, the dance, the participation that is the destination.


The Shack became a runaway self-published bestseller a few years ago. Though controversial, this book is life-changing.

Here's the back cover copy:

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!


To read Paul full bio, click here.

Learn more about him, his speaking engagements, etc., at his website.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sit and Wait by Alison Strobel

As a freelance editor (Dawn here), I recently explained to an anxious client that waiting is part of the publishing process. He had submitted a story to a major magazine, and wondered if he should resubmit the same piece to the same magazine, even though the expected “waiting period” hadn’t passed. Waiting is difficult, isn’t it? I’m so glad that author Alison Strobel is here to talk about that very thing. Enjoy her encouraging words.

Sit and Wait
by Alison Strobel

I'm in what one of my writing friends calls "the sit and wait chair." I don't like it here. I like to know what's coming up, what the next, say, 12 months of my life are roughly going to look like. And I thought I did know. I thought having six books under my belt, all with glowing reviews from readers, would mean publishers would say, "Oh, another proposal from Alison! Of course, sign her up!" Instead I'm discovering—as many other authors are, even those who are far more established and accomplished than I—that publishers are themselves sitting and waiting: waiting to see how sales do, what the market does, where the trends go. So this month I will turn in the last book for which I'm contracted, and after that ... I sit and wait.

Chances are some of you are waiting too. Waiting for word to come back from an agent you've solicited. Or for an editor to let you know what s/he thinks of the manuscript you submitted at a conference four months ago. You may be waiting for your first book to finally be discovered by its audience, for readers to stop walking past its space on the shelves and start actually reading it. We're all sitting and waiting together, and even though it's good to know we've got company, it's not always that comforting. We think, If that writer is struggling, then what hope do I have?

But oh—we always have hope.

How is that? Well, it seems pretty clear to me that God knows what's going to happen next—for all of us. He knows whether or not I'm ever going to see another contract, or sell another book, or write another word. And I can honestly say that if I never publish again, I'm cool with that, even though writing is pretty much my absolute, most favorite thing in the world to do. I'm cool with it, not because I believe God might bring some other dream job my way, but because I trust that God will do whatever is necessary to draw me closer to him and sanctify me in the process. It's not about the career. It's about what that career does to refine me in my faith. Once this career stops doing that, what point is there in remaining in it? When I'm heaven, will I think, "I'm so glad God allowed me to publish twenty books and be on the bestseller list!" Or will I think, "I'm so glad God put me through all the junk I experienced in life so I would be this close to him"?

And so, I sit and wait. But I won't do it idly. I won't waste my time here with worry and wondering. I'm here for a reason and, as with every other thing I go through in life, that reason is to draw closer every second of the day to my Savior. I hope that, as you sit and wait, you'll seek to grow closer to him, too.

Alison Strobel writes fiction for women about life, love, and faith. She also writes children's books about spiritual formation with her husband under the name Ali Morrow. When she's not writing, she might be crocheting, surfing Facebook or, or—more likely—spending time with her husband and two awesome daughters. Learn more at or

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Writer’s Heart

Thursdays – Dawn’s Devotions for Writers

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth from
the great assembly.”
(Psalm 40:10 NIV)

If someone asked you to explain the difference between secular and Christian writing, what would you say?

Both include self-help books, how-to articles, historical facts, and educational materials. But in a secular parenting book, the focus might be on using psychology in raising children, while the other would also include biblical wisdom.

Both secular and Christian novels include the following genres: historical, historical romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, westerns, mysteries, suspense, comedies, etc. But there’s a difference. Christian novels contain a spiritual theme—sometime overt, and sometimes a little more subtle.

In my opinion, along with the spiritual message, the work also includes the writer’s heart.

Or at least it should …

Christian writers don’t write for the sake of glory, fame, and big bucks. They write because God placed that passion in their hearts, and they’ve discovered a desire to share God’s love, grace, and forgiveness through the talent and gifts he’s given.

By writing with their hearts, they share God’s heart with readers.

I recently finished editing a book written by a young man who had escaped death several times. The danger he faced was due to circumstances he couldn't control. I worked for countless hours with him, rewriting every page. Though his writing needed help, his life was fascinating, and the faith that glared from the pages was a bright light during the late-night hours I sat with my laptop. I was blessed by this man’s words. He revealed his heart on every page.

I believe that just like a child knows whether an adult really likes him or not, a reader can discern the motivation behind an author’s work.

I encourage you to search your own heart. What’s inside that you can pour onto the pages you write?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Grammar-O Wednesdays
with Ocieanna

Welcome to grammar day on Seriously Write. If you visited last Wednesday, you know that Ocieanna, our good friend and fellow blog hostess, went into cardiac arrest on January 8. She’s doing well, but we're giving her a break from grammar. In the meantime, Annette and I (Dawn) will carry on in Ocieanna’s place until she returns. Please continue to keep her in your prayers. Thanks!

Ready to test your skills?

The following sentences may contain grammar, punctuation, spelling, or other writing misdemeanors. Your job is to find the infraction and set it right. Try not to look at the answers below.

Have fun!

Sentences to Correct:

1) Does God give gaurdian angles direction as to when they should step in and interveen? Or are they given a general command to watch over and protect?

2) I wonder how much they’ve had to do with the small and large miracles that have occur and effected my life.

3) Last week, while driving in traffic, without warning, a lady to the right and just ahead of me bolted to the left in front of me in order to drive around the car ahead of her, only to veer back into her original lane before slowing for a stoplight.

4) I did what I could to stop, I couldn’t drive into the oncoming traffic in the lane to the right of me. I’m sure I missed hitting her car by meere inches, but she drove on probably clueless as to what just happened.

5) I had to concentrate so hard on not hitting any other cars, I couldn’t even give her a warning honk on the horn.

6) Whew, it felt like my guardain angel stood as a bufer, between the two vehicles – mine and hers.

Corrected sentences:

1) 1) Does God give guardian angels direction as to when they should step in and intervene? Or are they given a general command to watch over and protect us?

2) I wonder how much they’ve influenced the small and large miracles that have occurred and affected my life.
Note: Here's an example of using a stronger verb (influenced) to replace four words.

3) Last week, while driving in traffic, a lady to the right and just ahead of me bolted in front of me without warning. Then she drove around the car ahead, only to veer back into her original lane before slowing for a stoplight.

4) I did what I could to stop; I couldn’t drive into the traffic in the lane to the right. I’m sure I missed hitting her car by mere inches, but she drove on, probably clueless as to what happened.

5) I had to concentrate so hard on not hitting any cars; I couldn’t even give her a warning honk on the horn.
Note: Did you notice that I left out the word other? If I had not hit any other cars, that would mean that I hit at least one car, which would be incorrect.

6) Whew! It felt like my guardian angel stood as a buffer between the two vehiclesmine and hers.

How well did you do?

*Disclaimer: Like Ocieanna, I’m by no means perfect at this. I use The Chicago Manual of Style and Webster’s Dictionary as my sources.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Year New Groove Series: New Outlook

Hey everyone, Annette here. Let's dig into another Net's Notations Tuesday with a focus on what we're focusing on.

Don’tcha love how a new year brings with it a built-in hope? At the beginning of the year, we set new goals and even have some success sticking with our resolutions. Right? (Just a little accountability there. *grin*)

All these changes for the better make for a new outlook. From this new vantage point, you could dare to dream that this is your year! That the things you’ve been waiting to see happen will begin to happen. It’s a faith boost, isn’t it?

I’ve got some projects simmering, and I’m trying to apply this new outlook philosophy to them. Great atmosphere for hope and expectation. Of course, that doesn’t take me off the hook from learning all I can. Taking advantage of the resources I already have.

Are you focusing on the tough stuff of last year? Well, with the rollover of calendar comes built-in permission to focus on the blessings ahead. God rewards us as we serve Him.

Are you focused on the latest bad news? That doesn't motivate me, how about you? *wink*

So, what are you focused on? Clear the path, blow the clouds of doubt and rejection away, and see what God wants you to see this year.

Here's a little advice this year as we dive in together:

Dream big!

Pray often!

Learn always!

Trust God!

Let’s let our new outlook influence our energy levels and our tenacity this new year. Ready. Set. Write!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Making Passive Writing Active by Gail Gaymer Martin

Good Manuscript Monday to you, dear readers. We like to dig into writing craft on this first day of the week. Grammar is a key element in good writing. Today we welcome Gail Gaymer Martin to discuss active vs. passive writing. There's something for everyone in this article. Enjoy!

Making Passive Writing Active*
Gail Gaymer Martin

Suspense, mysteries, and westerns are not the only genres that need action. Keeping your story filled with action-packed verbs helps move the plot and creates a "page-turner." Passive voice is only one kind of inactive writing. Selecting inexplicit verbs and "deadwood" sentence structure also keeps you from creating a moving, active plot.

The English class definition of passive voice is exchanging the positions of the subject and the object in a sentence. In active voice, the subject is doer; it does something. In passive voice, the subject receives the action. The note was signed by him rather than He signed the note. In most cases, the subject should carry the action.

Notice the word "was" in the first example. The "to be" verbs, such as: is, was, are, were, be, been, and being are usually connected with passive voice. Still, writers should not totally exclude these verbs in their writing. The "to be" verbs are sometimes needed in predicate nominative and predicate adjective sentences, like, She was beautiful, He was quiet or They were soldiers.
Different forms of passive writing can dilute a good story. The overuse of predicate adjectives and nominatives, using weak or general verbs, using "deadwood" phrases, and telling not showing are all forms of writing that keeps the reader from feeling the action of the novel.

Predicate Nominatives and Adjectives
Obviously, showing is better than telling. When you use predicate nominatives and adjectives, use them when a description will not enhance the action or when descriptive language will slow the scene.

While predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives are useful at times, you can be far more affective and enhance the description by forgetting the "to be" verbs and creating word pictures that say even more. Let’s look at those three examples above:

Predicate adjective: She was beautiful.
Improved: Her angel face glowed in the sunlight while golden curls surrounded her cheeks like a halo.

Predicate adjective: He was quiet.
Improved: If she didn’t see him sitting there, he could have been a mouse in the corner, silent and cautious.

Predicate Nominative: They were soldiers.
Improved: They paraded into the room, their feet moving in procession, their uniform buttons glinting like their spit-polished boots.

Notice the lack of the "to be" verb (was and were) in each of the improved sentences. In each case, you can envision the person rather than just being told something about them. The improved version of these sentences are much more active than passive.

Explicit Verbs
Using explicit verbs is an excellent way to improve writing. Rather than saying she walked through the doorway, try a word that better describes her movement: bolted, dashed, charged, paraded, moseyed, sashayed, meandered, ambled, glided.

Deadwood Kills Action
Another writing problem is using "deadwood" phrases. These are words that add nothing to the sentence except length. In Strunk and White’s, The Elements of Style, the authors use these examples: There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground compared to Dead leaves covered the ground." Notice fewer words, yet a more lively sentence.

Showing not telling
We show when we use vivid words that bring the scene to life. When our descriptions create word pictures, emotion and emphasis action rather than only telling the reader. He was angry, for example, creates no emotion, we cannot see the anger nor the action his anger elicits, and again the telltale "to be" verb is the culprit. He sprang from the chair, toppling it to the ground, and smashed his fist against the tabletop. Now that’s anger. We see it. We feel it. We react to it.

Active Writing
As you inject more action into your writing, remember that action is more than doing things and going places. If well-chosen active verbs are used to create vivid word pictures, internal thoughts can draw the reader into the story and create emotion as effectively as a car chase scene in a movie scene.

Improve your writing by avoiding the straight predicate adjectives, by removing the "deadwood" from your sentences, and by selecting the most vivid, descriptive verb to show action, but remember that active writing is more than using an action verb or filling the narration with descriptive passages. It is grabbing your reader by the hand and pulling them into your story with compelling and emotional narration and dialogue.

*Originally posted on Gail Gaymer Martin’s site: in January, 2008. Used by permission.


To learn more about Gail and her books, visit her website here. Her book A Dad of His Own releases February 15, 2011 from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.

Friday, January 14, 2011

From Start to Finish—Get Organized! by Maggie Brendan

Have you set goals for writing this year? Are you trying to get organized in order to get more accomplished? This Fortifying Friday, Brenda Lott, who writes as Maggie Brendan, is here to help you do just that with encouragement and tips on getting organized from start to finish!

From Start to Finish
Get Organized!
by Maggie Brendan

I tend to be an organized writer, with everything I need at my fingertips or on the bookshelf behind me. Most of the time. Recently, my lateral file cabinet broke because of the weight of the files—which forced me to get organized for 2011!

I usually start out with a small notebook, the three-ring binder kind, for my novels. Once I get further along, I make dividers for history, research, maps, an outline, and a synopsis. Another section holds correspondence from my editor and agent, as well as marketing. Last, but not least, I have a section labeled “support.” This includes my critique partner’s encouragement, fan mail, and good reviews that keep me encouraged.

Part of being organized is having items around me that relate to my craft and inspire me. I keep highlighters, ink pens, note pads, and scissors right on my desk to use while researching. A good printer and fax machine is a must. I have eight or ten versions of the Bible, and a couple of reference books within reach. Naturally, since writing is very isolating, I have a radio so I don’t loose contact with the world. You could also use your I-Pod. I have an I-Touch, but I know some prefer to write in silence, and there are times I do that too. I have a wooden miniature cross and a carved lion with the lamb from Palestine to remind me who my real audience is. The backbone of an inspirational writer is the power of the Word. A good devotional that I just finished this year is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I highly recommend it!

I’ve set up real folders in my desk drawer, and some on hard drive that hold my interviews, blogs, and book giveaways. There’s one for marketing, and another for all the reviews or fan letters. I have another folder for speaking, and one for any endorsements I’ve given. Don’t forget to keep receipts for tax deductions. This is very important after you get your first contract and writing becomes a real job!

Some of my favorite resource books are The Writer’s Guide for Everyday Life in the 1800’s, Techniques for the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain, and Writing Novels that Sell by Jack M. Bickham, who incidentally inspired my brother when he met him so much that one of my brother’s westerns was dedicated to Bickham. Two others are Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Invest in a few good references so that your writing will shine!

My last piece of advice—take care of yourself. Set aside time to exercise for thirty minutes or more a few times a week.

So what’s keeping you from getting organized! Your mind and body will reward you. Hope these tips help you as you write in 2011.

Maggie Brendan is a member of the American Christian Writers (ACW), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She was a recipient of the 2004 ACW Persistence Award in Atlanta, GA. Her first book, No Place For a Lady, in the Heart of the West series received a 4.5 star review from Romantic Times. The Jewel of His Heart, received a 4 star review from Romantic Times. A Love of Her Own was released in June. The Jewel of His Heart was in the twenty on the CBA list for July, and No Place for a Lady was listed as one of the Best of 2009 on for Crossings Book Club. She has begun writing another historical series called The Blue Willow Brides. The first book, Deeply Devoted will be released in September. Maggie was quoted in, Word Weavers, The Successful Writer’s Critique Groups. She led a writer’s critique group for six years. A TV film version of No Place for a Lady is currently in development for possible movie production. She spoke at a Regional Church Bookstores and Libraries conference in Marietta about The Value of Christian Fiction. She has participated in three of LifeWay Christian Store’s Annual Fiction Event Day. She recently had a book signing at the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando. Maggie is married with two grown children and four grandchildren. She has a love for the West and all things western. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, singing, traveling for research, and being with her family. She lives in GA.

Maggie can be found on her website,
her blog,,
and as a resident blogger on

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Your Plans for 2011

Thursdays – Dawn’s Devotions for Writers

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is
the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
(Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

The holidays ending 2010 are behind us. Usually about this time, people have thought about what they’d like to change or accomplish in the new year. What things have you mapped out for 2011 that pertain to your writing? Do you have a few that are more important than others? A few that are closer to your heart?

It’s good to plan. It’s responsible. But if we set out trying to create opportunities that are not in line with God’s plan, we are doomed to fail. If we try to MAKE something happen, regardless of wise council from others to either wait or let it go, we’ll only end up banging our heads against a wall—frustrated, discouraged, and hurt.

I’ve been there. I’ve wondered why God didn’t allow something to happen, despite my pleading and a great amount of human effort.

It didn’t happen as I designed because God knew better. I know that now. Boy, do I know! ;-) And I’m so thankful that some of my plans fell through. I shudder to think where I’d be now if they hadn’t bombed.

Doors close for a reason. They close because the Lord has another direction he wants us to go—another purpose. And when that happens, we can either choose to cling to our desires—our plan—or be open to what God has in store for us.

I love the following quote:

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

When deciding and plotting out what steps to take in our writing careers, shouldn’t we seek God’s desire for us? Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (NIV).”

I want and need purpose, and God’s purpose for my life is so much better than what I could humanly conceive.

What you envision for your life in 2011 … does it begin and end with God’s plan?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Hey everyone, Annette here. As many of you already know our dear friend, critique partner and co-hostess of Seriously Write, Ocieanna Fleiss, suffered a cardiac arrest on January 8th. She is doing better (Praise God!), but prayers are still appreciated on her behalf. Dawn and I will be filling in on Wednesdays for a while.

Today let's take a look at homonyms: homophones and homographs. You see these guys everywhere, but just what is the difference?

First, let’s look at some sentences which include these little rascals:

“The captain stood at the ship’s bow and took a bow.”

“I shaped the cookie dough into the shape of a doe.”

“Did you hear him say to bring that plate over here?”

“Do you ever wonder when the dew is due?”

“Could you check the table to see if the check I wrote is still there?”

“If you don’t rein it in during the king’s reign, he’ll have to rain on your parade.”

"There has to be a way to make sure they're wearing their gloves at recess."

“The warrior slung his bow over his shoulder and took a bow.”

“Your best bet with grammar is to study as if you’re a student.”

“Hands on her waist, she told him not to waste her time.”

“Can you think of a phase which would faze you?”

“Ted’s pet deer was very dear to him.”

This is fun. Now I can’t seem to stop. *grin* Homonyms come in two types: homographs and homophones.

Homographs are words that are spelled alike, may have a different sound and do have a different meaning or derivation. Examples are bow (of a ship) and bow (with arrows). Or check/check. Or does (plural of female deer) and does (to do something), etc.

Homophones are words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings or derivations. Examples are faze/phase; dear/deer; to/two/too; your/you’re; do/due/dew, there/their/they're, etc.

Now, go back through my sentences and categorize the homonyms into homographs or homophones. Throughout the week, notice how many times homonyms come up. You'll see them everywhere and often misused, if you're watching.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year New Groove Series: New Projects

Hey, readers, it's Net's Notations Tuesdays here on Seriously Write. Annette here. I have a question for you: How long have you been working on your current project?

I saw a note from a writer today expressing what so many have expressed before—sometimes you just have to start a new project. Leave the one you’ve been working on for years, which has been a great tool for learning and growing as a writer, and put all the things you know into practice on a whole new manuscript. Has that ever happened to you?

I tend to write before it’s time. Over the last several years (decade?), I’ve heard, there isn’t a market for this right now. Thing is, there hasn’t been market before now, so the market (if it swings around) is in the future… Now what? I have to keep writing what’s in my heart and keep growing as a writer. And oftentimes that’s meant launching into a new project.

New projects are fun! New story world, new characters, new plots and twists.

If you’re not contracted for your current project, and you’re wondering if you should move on, ask yourself these questions:

1) Is this project marketable?
2) Are there editors/agents interested in this project?
3) What are my crit partners saying (am I growing as a writer)? What are contest judges saying? Am I close? Or are there a million things wrong?
4) Am I still interested in this project?
5) Have I learned enough as a writer that if I began a new manuscript today I’d be in a much better place to write from scratch?

Remember this, we grow through any writing we do! So, no manuscript is ever a waste of time or energy. Even if you have to set your “baby” aside, you’ve still benefited from nurturing it.

Maybe it’s time to work on a new project with this new year, giving yourself permission to move on. Who knows? You may come back to that earlier manuscript and with fresh sight and more training be able to whip that WIP into shape. *grin* Or, maybe it’ll sit in the file cabinet.

New projects bring fresh vigor to your writing. If it’s time to move on, move on and enjoy the adventure of a new story or non-fiction project.

This new year, is it time for you to being a new project?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Subtext in Character Attention and Inattention by Bonnie Grove

Welcome to another Manuscript Monday, dear readers. Annette here. Today we have Bonnie Grove back with us to conclude her series on subtexts. What a great series. Enjoy!

Subtext in Character Attention and Inattention
by Bonnie Grove

People are misunderstood. Each of us longs to be understood and valued for who we are. Yet, each of us can point to episodes in our lives when we are confronted with the fact that we have been (and are) utterly misunderstood. Assumptions have been made about us, and circulated as truths. How could this have happened? Haven’t our words and actions made clear our hearts and minds?

This is the basic dilemma of the writer when creating characters who live out a story. The writer must push past her idea of who the character is, and instead embrace the fullness of what is about the character. Characters, to be realistic, must be understood by the writer as complex, real people. This means of course that the writer must first be able to accomplish this in her own life. To practice understanding those around her as complete other, and not merely the idea of a person, or a collection of assumed perceptions about a person. Then it is the task of the writer to demonstrate this fullness of character within the confines of roughly 75,000 words. Here, once again, we find subtext to be our great ally. Because it is impossible to cram fully formed humans into novels, the writer must rely on subtext to tell the deeper story of our character’s humanity, while keeping the story as the goal. One way to accomplish this is to apply subtext to the way our characters pay attention, or pay a lack of attention to other characters, objects, settings, or other important elements within a story.

Robert, a married man, professes endless love for his mistress while he sends her young son to his room to play alone.

Barbara, who has recently been dumped by the man she loves, catalogs his faults to a friend. When the friend offers words of support, Barbara begins listing her ex-lover’s faults all over again.

A teenage girl pursues a relationship with a boy who is, in fact, a vampire.

A newly married couple has a fierce argument over the proper method for cooking rice.

What these characters are paying attention to is only part of the story. It is what they are ignoring—and are not even aware they are ignoring, is the depth of their character reveled. In The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot, Charles Baxter notes, “If people aren’t paying attention to other people or even to themselves, well then, we need to pay attention to that.”

When writing fiction, the task of the author is to be the one paying attention to what the characters are ignoring, in order to bring rich understanding into the fullness of the characters humanity.


Talking to the Dead: A Novel by Bonnie Grove

Twenty-something Kate Davis can’t seem to get this grieving widow thing right. She’s supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead she’s camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep—because her husband Kevin keeps talking to her.

Is she losing her mind?

Kate’s attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an “eclectically spiritual” counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, an exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate’s fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past…and Kevin begins to shout.

Will the voice ever stop? Kate must confront her grief to find the grace to go on, in this tender, quirky first novel about embracing life.


Bonnie Grove started writing when her parents bought a typewriter, and she hasn’t stopped since. Trained in counseling, theology and psychology, she developed and wrote strength-based social programs for families at risk while landing articles and stories in anthologies. She is the award winning, and internationally published author of Talking to the Dead: a Novel. She and husband, Steve, have two young children and one small dog. They make their home in Saskatchewan.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Journey to Publication by Catherine West

Welcome to 2011’s first Fortifying Friday! Author Catherine West is here to help us dive into the new year. Her debut novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, is being released in March, and she’s sharing her journey to publication with us today. Her story is a great example of God’s timing and what it means to not give up.

My Journey to Publication
by Catherine West

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

Writers share a love of words, of story, of seeing our thoughts come alive on the page. Some make great sacrifices to write. Many have day jobs and write in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. Others have small children and snatch writing time during naps or play-dates. Some are successful, and have the luxury of calling writing their career.

Why do you write?

My initial answer was easy. I wrote because I loved it! Having a story take shape in my mind, then unfold before my eyes was a fascinating pastime—a hobby I was content to enjoy when time allowed. But then a well-meaning family member asked another question.

Why don’t you try to get published?

The terrifying thought wouldn’t go away. And so, armed with a word processor and a brand-spanking new copy of The Writer’s Market 1990, my journey began.

Twenty years later, I am about to embark on the next stage of that journey. This year, I will see my dream come true as I celebrate the publication of my debut novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow.

But wait, you say…twenty years? Twenty? Really?
Yes, really.

During those first years, my writing was extremely sporadic. I had two babies, I wrote when I could. I had no idea what POV or head-hopping meant, and plot was a place you buried people. I thought my stories were good, but they certainly weren’t publishable, not by any stretch of the imagination!

And so I gave up…

Writing is not for the faint of heart. I learned this pretty quickly once I really got serious about pursuing publication. When the Internet came along, I had a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips. I joined writer’s groups, got into a critique group, and discovered to my utmost horror that…I…Knew…Nothing. I was, for lack of a better descriptive tag, a really bad writer.

After a few stinging rejections combined with some personal issues I was experiencing at the time, I decided I really didn’t love writing enough to keep going. I gave in to self-pity and believed the voice in my head that told me I’d never make it.

Five years later, the urge to sit down and tell a story reawakened. But this time I was living life differently. This time I wanted to do it for God. The Christian market had grown and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I asked if this was really what He wanted for me.

The answer was yes.

I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I was ready and willing to learn. It wasn’t easy. There were many more rejections, but slowly, doors began to open. I started to see God’s hand in it all, and there were many times I still wanted to give up, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Today I can tell you this—if you believe you were born to write, then write. Sometimes the only one standing in the way of your dreams is you.

Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine West holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, will release in 2011, through Oak Tara Publishers.

To learn more please visit:
Catherine’s Website at
Oak Tara Website at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

People Are People

Thursdays – Dawn’s Devotions for Writers

“Your beginnings will seem humble,
so prosperous will your future be.”
(Job 8:7 NIV)

What descriptions come to mind about car salesmen—especially used car salesmen? Sleezy? Dishonest?

I thought that way for years. Then I was placed in a situation where I needed to find a job. One opportunity after another fell through, and I found myself applying for a position at a large dealership. I couldn’t believe it. Me! Working there? But, the management wanted to hire me. Out of desperation, I took the position helping with customer service and administrative responsibilities, believing that I’d get out sooner than later.

I did eventually move on to another job—nine years later! But what I learned during my stay was invaluable in terms of people and interacting with them. For instance, most people in the car business are not dishonest. They’re just hardworking individuals wanting to provide for their families, while doing the best they can to serve their customers. They worry about bills, sick kids, and getting to school functions. They bleed just like everyone else.

I think misperceptions can also occur when viewing successful authors.

Before I got serious about writing and joined the "publishing world,” it was easy for me to think that in order to be published, you had to be exceptionally gifted and “special.” I put favorite authors on pedestals. I envisioned them spending lazy mornings in a cottage at the ocean, writing only when inspiration hit. I didn't know how hard writers work at their craft. I never dreamed of speaking to published authors, let alone calling them friends.

Once again, my perceptions were so wrong. Authors, agents, and editors are just people. They’re hardworking individuals wanting to provide for their families, while doing the best they can to serve God and their readers. They worry about bills, sick kids, and getting to school functions. They bleed just like everyone else.

And that cottage at the ocean? That may happen on rare occasions, but most of the time, we’re all pounding away on our computers in our home offices, at the kitchen table, and in coffee shops. And today, I’m happy and honored to call some of my favorite authors friends.

The point? Don’t feel less than another writer. Don’t worry that because you’re using a worn out laptop with an old version of Word that you can’t create a good story. Don’t believe that because your work has been rejected 101 times that it’s pointless to try again. Don’t ever think that God can’t use your passion for writing to bless others and make an impact in their lives.

People are people no matter how big or small—how young or old. No one is better than the next person. God can use us all.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Grammar-O Wednesdays
with Ocieanna

Happy Wednesday, grammarians! Ready to test your mad grammar skills?

Each week I (Ocieanna) post a few sentences with grammar, punctuation, spelling, or other writing misdemeanors. Your job is to find the infraction and set it right. If you possess the courage, you’re welcome to post your corrections in the comments, or you may simply keep your grammar to yourself. Then next week, I’ll post the answers.

Have fun!

This week’s new batch:

1) Goals, dreams, ideas, plans—the New Year stirs a desire in me to think about the coming months.

2) With a sense of optimism, I look up Biblical passages which encourage me that The Lord will guide my steps.

3) Then I love to write down these goals I now treasure as pointing to future happiness and accomplishments which perhaps I’ve dreamed about for many years but have real hope that this will be the year to get them done or perhaps just get the first step done and that will be enough.

4) Perhaps these New Year goals will never be accomplished. What may get in the way is un-foreseen obstacles.

5) But I still relish the time of dreaming knowing that what-ever may happen, the Lord’s sovereign hand always guides and leads me.

6) This year and every year.

(Remember, the point is to hunt out the blatantly illegal, not matters of preference or opinion.)

Good luck and have fun!

Here are the corrected ones from last time:

1) With Christmas in ten-short days, I’ve been thinking about how they celebrated Christ’s birth in year’s past.
Correct: With Christmas in ten short days, I’ve been thinking about how they celebrated Christ’s birth in years past.

2) During World War 2, on the homefront, they had very little with which to create a fancy festivity.
Correct: During World War II, ladies on the homefront had very little with which to create a fancy festivity.

3) While their men—on ships, in the battle fields, or far-away barracks—feasted on the best the military had to offer, which wasn’t much.
Correct: Their men—on ships, in the battlefields, or in far-away barracks—feasted on the best the military had to offer, which wasn’t much.

4) The folks at home used their ration tickets to buy a bit of sugar and meat, some even created makeshift turkey’s out of sausage!
Correct: The folks at home used their ration tickets to buy a bit of sugar and meat; some even created makeshift turkeys out of sausage!

5) Like the men who served in World War 2, we still have many brave soldiers who will be away from their families’ this Christmas.
Correct: Like the men who served in World War II, many brave soldiers will be away from their families this Christmas.

Well, how’d you do? Do you think you fixed all the sentences?

*Disclaimer: I’m by no means perfect at this. I use The Chicago Manual of Style and Webster’s Dictionary as my sources. The sentences to correct are fictitious.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year New Groove Series: New Goals

Hey everyone, Annette here. Happy New Year! Welcome to the New Year New Groove series.

Have you set your 2011 goals yet?

Each New Year offers us a mental restart, doesn’t it? We give ourselves permission to make changes, to start fresh. We get motivated to make lists, set goals, commit to resolutions. But none of that will help us if we don’t follow through.

What helps you follow through? I get a charge out of crossing things off my list. How about you?

We writers have to be (or become) self-starters. Set goals and strive to meet them. Then set new ones. ACFW’s Novel Track: Writing is great for this. (A new writing challenge began this month. Learn more at

A new year is a great time to change things up. Maybe rework your schedule, try something new. If you used to write only after work when you’re tired and brain fried, perhaps try writing first thing in the morning before work.

If you’re used to not finding any time to write, try giving yourself fifteen minutes here and there. You’ll be amazed at how much you can do when you give yourself permission to do it.

There’s a great reward in setting new goals and meeting them. A delicious and satisfying sense of accomplishment!

So, find what works for you in productivity and do it. No excuses. It’s a New Year, a new beginning. Roll up your sleeves and get to it.

Happy writing in the New Year!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goal Setting by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Happy New Year! This first Manuscript Monday of 2011, let's dive into goal setting with a very prolific writer, Kim Vogel Sawyer. We hope you're inspired to approach your own writing this year with renewed enthusiasm. Enjoy!

Goal Setting
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

God gave me the privilege of publication. Along with contracts comes little details, like deadlines. Because my deadlines tumble one on top of another at a rather rapid pace (I have a book due every four months), I don’t have a lot of wiggle time between those “turn it in NOW” dates. Consequently, I discipline myself to stick to a writing schedule.

Since my novels are supposed to be between 90 and 100K words (and I seem to always lean toward the longer edge of that range), and since I usually take a couple of weeks for research/character-building and a couple of weeks for editing, that leaves approximately twelve weeks for the actual writing. Bring on the daily goal chart!

Twelve weeks equates to 84 days. But I immediately subtract 12, because I don’t write on Sundays. It’s a personal thing. :o) That leaves 72 days. Then I cross off the 12 Saturdays. If I get in a pinch I might write on Saturday, but I really try to keep those open either for family, speaking events, or book signings. That brings me down to 60 days. 60 days to write 100K words! Are you panicking yet? Honestly, it’s doable. When you divide 100K by 60, you get roughly 1700 words needed each of those days to meet the deadline. I bump that number up to 2000, which is approximately eight pages. That doesn’t sound so overwhelming, does it?
So here’s my goal: an average of 10,000 words per week. I record my daily word count as well as a running total to keep track of where I am in the completion of the novel. If I fall behind one week due to outside commitments or appointments, I make it up the following week. Seeing that number climb toward the magic 100,000 words is very motivating.

Something else that keeps me motivated is finding an accountability partner—someone who asks on a daily basis, “How’d the writing go today?” Or even just posting my count on Facebook gives me an accountability. If I reach my goal—i.e., turn in the book on time!—I reward myself and my husband (because he has to leave me alone and let me write!) with a dinner out.

Basically, setting goals gives me a tangible something to work toward. It insures I’ll be pleasing my publisher by sticking to their schedule for the book, and it lets me have a life outside of my office, too. Because when I meet my daily word count, I know I’ve completed my task for the day and can go see the grandkiddos or visit a friend or take my mom to lunch or just play with my cats. So meeting the goal has its rewards.

Writing takes discipline, and establishing and meeting goals is a big part of that. Blessings to you as you write for Him!


Kim's latest book, Courting Miss Amsel, released January 1, 2011.

Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a firm believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?


A former elementary school teacher who loves "C" words like children, cats, and chocolate, Kim Vogel Sawyer has become one of the most beloved authors writing for the inspirational market today. Drawn to her gentle stories and connecting with the spiritual truths in them, readers continue to fall in love with Kim’s novels. Kim and her husband are empty-nesters who make their home on the beautiful plains of central Kansas, the setting for many of her books.