Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Y Factor By Anya Novikov

Anya Novikov
Any reader, not to mention any writer, knows how much William Shakespeare has influenced modern lexicon. Every day we see terms such as sea change, foregone conclusion, sorry sight, and fool’s paradise. All his. In fact, any cool term that isn’t a cliché probably originated with Will.

Does this happen in everyday modern life? Indeed, made-up terms and definitions burrow into our vernacular--and dictionaries, all the time. Think of bromance, a non-sexual, non-romantic close relationship between two guys. How about buzzworthy? Something whether by internet or word of mouth raises massive interest?

Ever heard of emoji? You know, those tiny icons and images used to express emotion when words just won’t do.

So...should we use stuff like this in our writing? Will a certain phrase or lingo stick our stories story permanently in a particular year, or setting? Or will readers think us hopelessly old-fashioned if we don’t use updated stuff in our books?

Right now, I’m especially thinking about the trend, or should I say trendY way of adding Y to words to make then adjectives. I mean, we’ve always had sleepy, grumpy and gooey.

Well, and trendy itself.

But lately, Y is becoming ever-present. At a session at the RWA conference last July in Atlanta, a presenter clearly annunciated, angsty and tropey.

I had a reader like my books because they aren’t judgey.

Articles in my local Sunday paper recently discussed Pinteresty and Tumblry social media. An actress’s hair was described, not as auburn, but auburny. And an upcoming TV series heralded as flash-forwardy and flash-backy. Both.

A program I like to watch features amateur home cooks. One judge hailed a contestant’s effort as a restauranty dish.

Since I’ve made myself aware of the Y factor, I’ve heard or read twisty, moley, and spammy. Oh, let’s not forget James Bondy.

But I find myself falling into the trap. On a recent trip to Leadville, Colorado, I extolled hubby to find a “local-colory” place to eat. Texting our daughter after a particular uninspiring stretch of highway, I called Hotchkiss, Arizona “a little deserty place.” And when she responded with a picture of her baby kicking back after playtime, I described him as looking “relaxy.”

Maybe all of the above will start appearing regularly in books. Dictionaries. Blogs.

Will they appear in my books? Can’t say.


Dora here. LovelY, Anya. lol
What about you? 
Have you noticed any trends in writing?
What are your favorites? Least favorites?
The Circle Girls: Once Upon A Witch
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Anya Novikov lives on California’s Central Coast with her firefighter husband. They thank the Lord every day for their sweet family, good health and many travels. Although Anya writes full time, she finds she misses “high school” because, she always learned much more from her students than she taught! She’s got a Contest Page so check it out . . . and keep in touch. Connect with Anya:

The Circle Girls: Once Upon a Witch 
God will give you blood to drink . . . An ordinary teenager finds out what witch-hunting is all about—in her own everyday world.
When Deliverance “Delli” Willis, an ordinary, almost-sixteen-year-old, finds herself dreaming wild dreams, she’s amazed when some of the stuff appears during her classroom unit on the Salem Witch Trials: When a dream girl of 1692, who shares Deliverance’s name, finds herself entranced by a mysterious man in the woods, Delli finds a new neighbor walking through her family avocado grove.

Eager to share the handsome newcomer with her circle of friends, she doesn’t realize the danger of someone unique entering the closed loop. Fingers point, jealousies surge, lies are cast, sides taken—and people are out for blood. It’s a modern-day witch-hunt that collides with 1692 in ways Delli never dreamed.

It will take lessons from her dreamscape and a stand against bullies to tighten Delli’s faith in our omnipresent God.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Six Points of Encouragement for the Unpublished by Sandra Ardoin

After (now) five years of being an unpublished novelist, I've had my share of dejection. This summer has been especially hard. But over time, I've learned a few things that might help others who are counting down the months. This is a revised post I wrote for my personal blog a couple years ago. Unfortunately, I still find inspiration from it. :) Maybe you will, too. -- Sandy
1. Grab hold of anything smacking of encouragement.
After five completed novels and a list of rejections, discouragement seeps in. What does it take to write a compelling novel publishers want to accept? (I'll let you know when I find out.) Until then, I look for encouragement in both big and little things. I've often found that when I receive bad news that gets me down, it isn't long before the Lord gives me something to cheer about. 
When doubt sneaks in, take extra care to find that bit of encouragement you need and grab hold. Let it carry you to the next step. 
2. "Good" ideas don't always pan out.
After finishing my third book, I began a fourth story. I had the characters in mind, the romance, and setting ideas. I even researched. But for some reason, not one of my characters let me in on the whole story. I had the who, the where and the when. I was missing much of the what, why and how--not something a story can do without. After several weeks of silence, I stopped asking those questions. One day my characters will tell me their complete story. 
Don't force your story because you think it's now or never. If it doesn't come easily, maybe it's not the right time and you should consider moving on.
3. Never throw anything away.
Did I just send a shiver down the backs of non-packrats? I began a piece several years ago. Only a few pages were written, but it remained on my old computer. With a fresh perspective on the characters and the basic idea, the story flowed into synopsis form. (See Point 2)
Don't ever throw your ideas away, even if they seem foolish to you right now. Down the road, a fresh perspective or new twist could turn that idea into a compelling novel.
4. Try something new.
I write 19th-century historicals that run 70,000-95,000 words. For my current project, I decided to try a contemporary novella. Now is when I have the freedom to try different things. 
If you are unpublished, now is the time to find your niche, to discover what genre/time period interests you most. You might try your hand at articles or short stories and build your publishing credits. (See one of mine on the right.)
5. Write!
I'm a plantser (half-plotter/half-pantser). When an idea comes, I find myself itching to begin--to put words on the computer screen. Many times, I don't get my best ideas until I'm way into the book.
While you're brainstorming, it's okay to satisfy that need to write. Even if you what you've written never makes it into your new work, giving your characters motion may be the best way to get a handle on them, especially if you're a seat-of-the-pants writer.
6. Don't let time discourage you.
People still ask how my books are coming along, though not as often. Those who aren't writers get tired of me telling them it takes time. But it does take time. While I wait for that first publishing contract, I'm learning more and I'm building an inventory of books. I consider it similar to being in college--only cheaper. Most writers have waited years to publish their first book. Over time, they amassed an inventory that became that second, third, or fourth published novel.
Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep collecting that inventory of future books.

What has kept you going in your writing? Maybe you are already published. What have you learned that can prepare the rest of us for THAT DAY?


Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romances with stalwart heroes who melt the hearts of her strong, sometimes unconventional, heroines. Her goal is to entertain the reader with a gripping story while revealing the depth of God’s love and forgiveness.

She blogs at and is the Wednesday hostess on the Seriously Write blog. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads. And don’t forget to check out Sandy’s Pinterest boards where she mixes writing fun with personal fun. 

Sandy is the married mother of a young adult. She enjoys reading, country music, and gardening in her rocky North Carolina soil.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From Dream to Reality by Marie Wells Coutu

Throughout the Bible, we see that God honors the dreams and desires of those who love Him and seek His will. Solomon wanted to build the temple that his father David had planned to build, and in 1 Kings, chapter 9, we see that God blessed that desire.

Psalm 38:9 tells us, "Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from You."

And in Philippians 2:13, Paul says, "For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose."

My husband likes to say if you want something you've never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

Through my writing journey, I have seen God's faithfulness to honor my desires when they bring honor to Him. As a writer my whole life, I had always dreamed of having a book published. But it wasn't until I sincerely committed that dream to Him--and began to take steps to accomplish it--that I saw the dream fulfilled. As long as I only dreamed about it, walked into bookstores and admired the books on the shelf, read other books and thought, "I could write that," nothing happened. But when I actually sat at the computer and began to write, the book began to take shape. When I realized that I needed to study and work at the craft of writing, I could have given up, but I didn't. I continued to learn and work and rewrite and edit and polish--and finally, in God's perfect timing, I entered a contest called "Books of Hope" and won. The prize was not only the publication of my first book, but a three-book contract.

God continues to grant the desires of my heart. For several years, I have dreamed of becoming a full-time writer. For more than a year we have been planning and praying about His perfect timing to sell our house so that we could move closer to our family and so that I could retire from my full-time job. We thought we would not be ready to put our house on the market until spring 2014 but, through friends of friends, we recently sold the house. In this economy, we know that was from God. Now we are looking forward to spending more time with our children and grandchildren, and with each other. And after I finish the next two books in my contract, I lots of ideas for the more novels.

So if you have dreams or desires that you think will never come true, stop just dreaming and talk to God about that dream. Find out what you need to learn or to do, and take that first step.

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If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Click to Tweet
When I actually sat at the computer and began to write, the book began to take shape. Click to Tweet
God continues to grant the desires of my heart. Click to Tweet

Marie Wells Coutu has written for newspapers, magazines, business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest sponsored by Write Integrity Press and is the first in the Mended Vessels Series, contemporary stories based on Biblical women. She has lived in five different states and has worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for fourteen years. She and her husband have two children and three grandsons.
For Such a Moment

“If I don’t do this … I might as well perish.”

Revealing her secret could save lives…or change hers forever. In this book that re-imagines the story of Queen Esther in a contemporary setting, Ellen Neilson enjoys her comfortable life as the wife of an American CEO. Having lived in America since the age of ten, she has forsaken her mixed heritage and kept aspects of her childhood secret. Her husband has become engrossed in his job, and she believes having a child will salvage their troubled marriage.

When her cousin Manuel, whom she hasn’t seen for twenty years, shows up as one of her husband’s managers, Ellen fears that her past will be revealed. The company buys a banana plantation in her home country of Guatemala, and Manuel informs her that illegal pesticides have poisoned the water. People are dying, but she doesn’t know who’s to blame for the cover-up.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cultivating Contacts from Conferences by Bonnie Doran

Bonnie Doran
Have you attended a writers' conference this year? Plans to attend any in 2014? Hey everyone, Annette here. Conferences are a great place for networking and fellowshiping with other authors. Bonnie Doran is here to share advice for what to do with those contacts you make. Enjoy!

Cultivating Contacts from Conferences
 by Bonnie Doran

            You’re a published or pre-published author and you’re headed to a writers' conference. Here are some tips to cultivate the contacts you make:

            Arm yourself before you go. Print some business cards that introduce yourself. They don’t need to be fancy. I suggest your name, head shot, email address, and links to your website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook if the thing doesn’t get so crowded you have to use an eight-point font. Your cell number is fine but don’t put personal information like your street address or home number. Keep the cards handy.

            You’ll meet a lot of fellow writers at meals and workshops. Exchange cards. When you get home, hunt down those contacts. Send an email, “Nice to have met you.” Friend them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. Comment on their blog.

            Confession here: I didn’t do this until September. The Colorado Christian Writers Conference was in May. Don’t do that.

            You’ll also hopefully meet some editors and agents during appointments. Ask for their cards and explain you want to send them a thank you. Send a handwritten note. These professionals seldom get a thank you from writers, so make yourself stand out. Enclose your business card—you know, the one with your photo on it.

            If you have a published book or one that already has a cover design, ask the publisher for bookmarks. They may not print them for you, but they should provide the artwork so you can print them yourself. Hand them out with your card.

            If you’re self-published, design the bookmarks yourself. It’s not hard with the templates and options the printers provide.

            Another contact tool is to hand out writing pens with your name and website engraved on them. These are a bit more pricey but well worth it. I’ve had people at conferences ask me for another pen because the one I gave them sprouted legs and ran away.  

            Be sure to order your stuff early. My bookmarks shipped to another customer. The printer rushed a new batch to me, but don’t put yourself through that anguish.

            Building relationships requires more than handing out contact info. Talk to the people you meet. Listen to them rather than spouting off about your latest novel. Be an encouragement to others and let them encourage you.

            I met a new friend at a conference because we didn’t just yak at lunch and go our separate ways. We spent the afternoon talking and laughing.

            Remember, the purpose of connecting with people at conferences is to cultivate lasting relationships, not to build your career by adding followers to your Twitter account.

            Pray for the people you’ll meet. You never know what divine appointment God has in store.

            Prepare, connect, and follow up. It’s that simple.

Bonnie Doran’s heart is in science fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and Sudoku puzzles. Her husband of thirty years is a Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet. They share their Denver home with two Siamese cats. 


Dark Biology
Dark Biology

Renowned vaccinologist "Hildi" Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal. Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he'll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father's marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody. After all, it's only a mild influenza strain... Or is it?