Monday, September 22, 2014

Reality Check

A few weeks ago, I completed the first draft of my latest novel, Out of the Mist!

After the initial jubilation, the next phase hit me between the eyes. Ah yes, EDITING. It's where I find all those nasty little gremlins that typed, "job" instead of "jog," and "there" instead of "their."

I already know that my memory failed me on one of the character names. Poor Josiah became Jared. Thank God, for Search and Replace in Word.

Several scenes are already screaming at me for re-writes. Some I could condense, while others need more detail. There are a few questions I forgot to answer and another name change issue.

Seat-of-the-Pants writing is the way to go for me, but does present some difficulties. I'm sure plotters would have all their characters lined up in a neat row with their histories, their likes and dislikes, and, of course, their names. I've never been good at that sort of thing, so I have to do a bit more editing than the average writer.

I've printed out my pages, sent an email copy to a critique partner, and I'm ready to dive in. Now, the real work begins.

Writers:  What is the toughest aspect of editing for you? How do you handle it?

Readers:  Can you guess how long it takes me to write 1,000 words (on average)?

Photo Credit: sri grafix


Friday, September 19, 2014

Here We Go Again!

Stretch those hamstring muscles. Put on those running shoes, and let's get on the Internet Road.

1.  Jody Hedlund writes historical romances. She addresses the question of how important talent is in reaching success as a writer.

2.  Jean Fischer, from Something To Write Home About, gives an encouraging word to writers waving bye-bye to their youth.

3.  Martha, at Martha's Favorites, calls herself, "A Serial Collector." She loves teacups, which I also enjoy. This post shows some of her recent finds. Unfortunately, the giveaway is probably over by now, but I thought you might like to explore her website.

Writers and Readers:  Which link was your favorite this week and why?

Photo Credit:  MEJones

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Louie's Big Day by Maria Morgan - Giveaway!

Please welcome my friend and fellow blogger, Maria Morgan, to Christian Writer/Reader Connection. Here's the story of her delightful children's book. Giveaway!

Do you remember when you were really young? Were you afraid you would have a hard time making friends? Maybe you were anxious about trying out for the soccer team. You might have been concerned you wouldn’t be invited to a classmate’s birthday party.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, we all face fears. The question is whether we let those fears prevent us from doing what we were made to do – or we persevere in spite of them.
Passing along truth
The Lord has a purpose and plan for each person He has created. And part of His plan includes relationships with others.
It’s never too early to begin teaching our children biblical truths like these. Here’s how Moses put it:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7
A fun option
Teaching godly truths can be done throughout the day in a variety of ways. If you enjoy reading to your kids, my new children’s book, Louie’s BIG day! will help you convey these concepts through a fun storyline:
Louie is a bright red lawnmower who used to live at the hardware store with his friends: Ruthie Rake, Eddie Edger, Bobbie Blower, Terri Trowel, and Henri Hose. Recently he was purchased by a man and his wife and now he’s on his own.
Louie misses his friends, but it’s time to find out if he can do the job he was made to do. Join Louie for his BIG adventure and discover the surprise that awaits him at the end of the day!
Louie the Lawnmower series
The first in the Louie the Lawnmower book series, Louie’s BIG day! wraps up with questions to engage you and your child in conversation and help you re-emphasize biblical truths.
Louie even has his own website where you can download a free copy of the audio version of Louie’s BIG day! Louie’s adventures are just getting started. Keep your eyes open for the second book in the Louie the Lawnmower series: Louie & the Leaf Pile, due out later this year!

About the author
Maria I. Morgan was born with an active imagination that shows up in her endearing 
stories for children. Originally an inspirational author and speaker for adults, Maria has 
widened her circle to include kids. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two 
retrievers, and two Maine Coon kitties – the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to 
(You can find her devotionals and download a free copy of her eBook, God Speaking, at 
Connect with the author:
Connect with Louie:
Giveaway! Leave a comment with your email address (required). Must be a U.S. resident and follower of this blog. Deadline: September 25, 2014, midnight. Winner to be announced September 26, 2014. Void where prohibited.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment for this recommendation/post. The author provided a pdf copy of her book for my unbiased review. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

On the Fast Track

When I appeared at the ER several years ago with a broken elbow and a face that was rapidly turning purple, the triage nurse put me on "the fast track." They whisked me off to X-Ray and into an examination room, bypassing the crowded waiting area.

I've often thought there should be a fast track for writers and championship readers. Get those two together without delay. Skip all the usual publication boards, print that baby out, and hand deliver it to the reader.

Ah, but that's not the way it works, is it? We must jump through the hoops, dot all our i's and cross all our t's. It took The Moses Conspiracy eight long years to reach the reader's hands. The process is long and arduous, but it gives us time - time to hone our craft, polish that story until it shines, and appreciate the opportunities we're given.

The fast track doesn't always end up being fast. After patching me up, they sent me home to wait for the swelling to go down. Surgery, occupational therapy, and a long recovery followed.

Hmm, maybe the fast track for writers and championship readers isn't a good idea after all.

Writers and Readers:  Has the fast track ever turned into a less than pleasant experience for you when it comes to writing and reading? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Bubbels

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hitting the Internet Highway

1.  Bruce Brady, at The Write Conversation, asks whether it's better to outline or not outline. Hmm, it seems like I've heard people argue about this one. See what he says about the matter.

2.  A government agency rewriting your pastor's sermon? Impossible? Think again. World Net Daily reports on the IRS' intentions to interfere with religious expression. We are truly living in the end times.

3.  Do you need some fun? Check out my friend Sandie's blog, Chatty Crone. She does a regular feature called, "Fun Friday With A Little Help From My Friends."

Have a blessed week!

Writers and Readers: Can you suggest some blogs you'd like to see me visit on my next Internet Road Trip?

Photo Credit:  svilen001

Monday, September 8, 2014

To Promote or Not to Promote

I've noticed a strange double standard lately. From the time we first set out to put words on paper, it's drummed into our heads that we need a platform. For those who don't know what that means, a platform involves having a public presence such as blogging, websites, speaking, and social media.

So, why are we now hearing people criticizing promotional activities? Here are some possible reasons:

1)  There's a mistaken idea that it's somehow "un-Christian." If that were the case, it would be wrong for a business owned by Christians to advertise their products in print, TV, or radio. Bottom line, being an author - even if it's considered a ministry - needs exposure if anyone is to benefit from it.

2)  Some people feel that promoting your work somehow invalidates relationships on social media. I made some wonderful friends on social media long before my books were published, and we're still friends. We help each other with critiques, promoting each other's work, but we also enjoy fun times and pray for each other.

3)  Fear of being in the public eye could be another reason for this phenomenon. Yeah, it's a risk. You're opening yourself up to people who will give your work bad reviews or take issue with how you conduct your writing business. Welcome to the real world. Not everyone will run out and buy your books or think you're the greatest writer.

Of course there are some who do nothing but promote their work. Caring for people on a personal level, lending a helping hands to other writers, and praying for them is a privilege. Balance is key.

In an effort to be "authentic," let's not forget the necessity of letting folks know we have something to offer them via our writing (or other professional endeavors).

Writers and Readers: What do you think about author promos? Remember, every giveaway, book trailer, bookmark, or advertisement is a promo.

Photo Credit:  svilen001

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Thoughts and Updates

Labor Day is a chance to refresh and re-group. I'm so thankful to God for my job. Still, it's nice to have some time off.

Update: The first draft of my latest WIP (work in progress) is almost done. I'll soon be working on edits, which is always the more challenging aspect of writing for me.

The fall will be a busy season. On September 22nd and the 22nd of every month thereafter until the end of the year, I'll be guest posting on my publisher's blog.

I'm also scheduled for a 3-day blog stint with Sharon Vannatter October 22, 24, and 25th. I'll be sharing about my real-life romance story.

On October 6th, at 7:30 PM, Karen Lange and I will be on BlogTalk Radio with our publisher, discussing blogging.

On October 27th, Patti Smith and I will be on BlogTalk Radio sharing how we find our writing ideas.

Patti Smith will also be having me on her blog. The date hasn't been set as yet. I'll keep you posted.

I'll post reminders as the time draws near.

For this week, I've decided to take a blogging break to get organized and work on my manuscript. I'll return on Monday, September 8.

Bloggers:  How often do you take blogging breaks and why?

Photo Credit:  nkzs

Friday, August 29, 2014

Checking the Internet Shelves

I have lots of bookshelves in my house, but even I have to curate the collection from time to time. On my latest Internet journey, I found some tips I thought you might like.

1.  Zoe McCarthy has some unique ways to make the books on her shelves "earn their keep."

2.  Sandra Ardoin, at Seriously Write, gives tips on booksignings and why they're so valuable.

3.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, gives detailed instructions on how to set up your Google+ profile. Social Media is the place to be for writers and readers alike. Anything that can shorten the learning curve will be worthwhile.

Writers and Readers:  How do you decide what books are keepers and what books you can give away? Do the ones you retain take up space or do you use them in some way? Please share.

Have a blessed week!

Photo Credit:  tradingday

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another Link Found

No, I'm not talking about the so-called, "missing link." Rather, an article on World Net Daily reveals another link between Isaiah 9:10 and the horrible events of 9/11.

Jonathan Cahn, author of The Harbinger discovered that the daily reading for September 11th in the One Year Bible included Isaiah 9:10 for 16 years prior to 9/11 and the 13 years since then. My late husband read daily from The One Year Bible, so I grabbed it and looked up September 11th. Sure enough, there was Isaiah 9:10.

The Moses Conspiracy, was not meant to be prophetic. I wrote it as more of a "what if" scenario. Many people waved it off as an impossible. Yet, much of what I'm reading makes me wonder if it's really so far off the mark.

If you have any interest in Bible prophecy, this article is a must read. Here's the link:

Writers and Readers: I'd be interested in your thoughts on the article.

Photo Credit:  nkzs

Friday, August 22, 2014

Take a Closer Look

I subscribe to various blogs and the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) loop. Often the subject line will catch my eye, and I'll click on the link to take a closer look. Here are a few of my latest finds:

1.  I saw Elaine Stock advertise a guest post on her blog as, "Are You God to Your Characters." Before you get all up in arms, Connie Almony explains what she means. That title certainly made me do a double take, and I had to check it out. Will you?

2.  Sandra Ardoin hosted Mindy Obenhaus at her blog. Research fascinates me, and the way she injected realism into her novel required much daring. While I wouldn't go quite that far, she made me think of ways I could use my life experience to liven up my manuscripts.

3.  Carol Garvin, at Careann's Musings, shares a quote from Dale Carnegie.

Writers: What have you learned in the course of writing your manuscripts whether fiction or non-fiction?

Readers: Do you gravitate to posts with catchy titles or do you consider them gimmicky? Please share.

Photo Credit:  GlennPeb

Monday, August 18, 2014

Do You Give Yourself "Margin?"

Every time someone asks me to do something, I hear it. When I read, I'm reminded of it. When I set up a document, I have to set them.


When I make a commitment, I must allow for some margin in case things don't go as they should. And we all know that's almost guaranteed to happen.

There were times I didn't allow any or not enough breathing room:

-  The time I agreed to help with managing a writers conference, and my husband got sick. Any extra time built in disappeared, as well as the actual time set aside for the project. I ended up bowing out - not something I like to do.

-  The time a Condo Board member said, "It's only one meeting a month." NOT.

-  The time I took on a project, and my job situation changed.

-  The time I planned to get my house in shape, and I broke my elbow.

Yes, margin is critical to the success of any endeavor. Construction companies factor it in when they promise to get a job done by a certain date. Writers give themselves stricter deadlines than the ones imposed by their publishers.

Margin comes in handy when the car breaks down, dinner burns, Jr. calls from the Emergency Room, or a flight is cancelled.

We all need margin.

Writers:  Do you build margin into your projects? Please share a time when you didn't, and everything blew up.

Readers: Do you build margin into your daily lives? How about leaving 10 minutes early for an appointment, so you know you'll be on time? Please share.

Photo Credit: skingolf

Friday, August 15, 2014

Internet Treasure Hunt

When I was a kid, I enjoyed Nancy Drew. Many stories involved treasure maps or disciphering clues. The Internet is like a giant treasure hunt. Here are some of the things I've discovered in my travels:

1.  Zoe McCarthy gives 5 tips on building relationships. She stresses a genuine caring to see others succeed.

2.  K. M. Weiland guest posts at The Write Conversation about using lighting to communicate mood in a scene.

3.  I love teacups and saucers. While most of my modest collection aren't antiques, it's fun to read about them. Here's a website that gives tips for beginning collectors.

Writers:  What are some of the techniques you use to show danger or match a dark mood?

Readers: When reading a book, what makes a scene creepy for you?

Photo Credit:  alexdehnel

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Loss of The Tree of Hope

News Flash

Jonathan Cahn reveals the Tree of Hope at the site of 9/11 died this past spring and was removed. It represented the last Harbinger (warning) in the Isaiah prophecy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Conference Pictures and Report

Left to Right:  Jeanette Levellie, Susan Panzica, and yours truly. This picture was taken in the cafeteria during our lunch break on Saturday. The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference has trained, encouraged, and given opportunities to writers for over 25 years.

Susan Panzica is a non-fiction writer/speaker. She's been published in a Chicken Soup Anthology, is co-founder of The Justice Network, and blogs at Eternity Cafe. She's also written a book, and I can't wait until some smart editor snatches it up and gets it published.

Jeanette Levellie is my favorite funny lady. She presented two workshops at the conference - one on time management and the other on humor. Check out her book: Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top. 
Here's Jeanette again during her humor workshop. She's a sought after speaker, vocalist, and writer. She blogs at Wings of Mirth and Worth.

Lisa Crayton, Freelance Writer/Author/Teacher, and I met at the Philly Conference years ago and have stayed in touch. She taught a Continuing Session (5 1-Hour Classes) this year on You CAN Write Magazine Articles. This talented friend loves pouring into aspiring and published writers alike.

My own conference experience involved re-connecting with friends, meeting new ones, and getting some excellent advice on marketing and promotion. This year's theme centered around Write His Answer. The keynote speakers challenged and gave conferees ideas on how to communicate the love of Jesus Christ in today's culture. I came home rejuvenated, encouraged, and ready to press forward.

Writers: Have you ever attended a writers conference? If you have, please share your most memorable moment.

Readers: What book is on your nightstand this week?

Pictures: Susan J. Reinhardt @Copyright 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

My Weekly Wonders

I love summer and enjoy nature's wonders. The Internet provides much inspiration, and the discovery process delights me. Here are some of my Weekly Wonders:

1.  Ray Edwards guest posts at Goins Writer. So much of the ads we see try to manipulate or scam the reader. Mr. Edwards takes us through steps that care, love, and provide real answers to real problems.

2.  The Christian Bookworm is a new site that alerts readers to Christian bargain or free books. They're still under construction, but I've signed up for their emails. Since they're so new, authors can suggest they highlight their ebooks.

3.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, has a great checklist for editing your blog posts. Whether you're a professional writer or not, typos and wonky formatting detract from the quality of your blog. I've been blogging for six years, and these are the best tips I've come across.

Writers and Readers: Do you subscribe to a service that alerts you to Free or Bargain books? Please share your experience - positive or negative.

Photo Credit:  Krappweis