Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tekeme/Mary DeMuth Contest Deadline

The deadline for the Tekeme Studios/Mary DeMuth contest has been extended to September 10, 2008. This is great news for all those, who missed the August 29th date.

Check out my post dated August 12, 2008 for details.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Round-Up - #12

Woohoo! The Labor Day Weekend is almost here. Since everyone in my office deserted ship, I'm working a full day today.

My travels across the Internet this week have yielded some super duper articles. One blogger featured a test called, "What Font Are You?" You can discover your "font type" at In case you're interested, I came up as an Andale Mono, which means I'm a geek, pure and simple. I'm not so sure I like that moniker, but the description sure fits. One of my requirements for this blog was an easy-to-read font.

Literary Agent, Rachelle Gardner, posted about the editorial process. Do you want to know what happens when a publishing house editor reviews your manuscript? Take a stroll over to her blog and see.

Edit Cafe ran an article yesterday on, "12 Steps To Successful Book Signings." Even if you're a pre-published author like me, it's a file-for-future-reference item.

Enjoy the weekend! I'll be posting as usual on Monday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On My Nightstand - Watching The Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth

This novel about a young girl forced to confront adult issues latched onto my heart and refused to let go. Mara struggles to find answers we take for granted. Longing for love and a real home, she probes until those around her finally tell the truth.

Mary DeMuth shows us Mara's heart, her courage, and her determination to survive. The theme of God's answers to a child's prayer weaves its way seamlessly throughout the book.

I can't wait to read the sequel, as well as Mary's other works. Don't miss this classic example of the triumph of good over evil.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Easy Way?

Sometimes I wonder whether the struggle to get a contract with a traditional publisher is worth the time and effort. The statistics can be discouraging. So, when self-publishers come knocking at my door, it's tempting to take the easy path. But is it really easy?

If I enjoyed regular speaking gigs and people were asking for materials, self-publishing would be a way to get something into their hands quickly. If my book was a family memoir, a fund-raising cookbook, or something else with limited appeal, taking this route might make sense. Since I'm writing a mystery/suspense novel, my book doesn't fall into any of these categories.

What are my motivations for bypassing traditional publishing? Am I tired of the endless edits, conflicting opinions, a thin skin for critiques, or a steep learning curve? Am I looking for a shortcut to see my words in print? One thing I do know. If I'm going to put a book out there, I want it to honor the Lord in every respect no matter how it's published.

While self-publishers tout the advantages of author control over the title, cover, and manuscript, I feel like I'd be trying to go to the Olympics without the benefit of topnotch trainers and coaches. Unless I'm prepared and able to spend big bucks on editing and marketing, my book starts off from a weakened position. Sure, there are the exceptions, but I've run into too many folks discouraged by an inability to sell their books.

Things are changing in the self-publishing industry. Maybe it's easier and less costly than it was a decade ago. The day may come when I take a serious look at self-publishing. Until then, I'll continue seeking a team of professionals to produce my manuscript.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Round-Up - #11

Yahoo! Unleaded regular dropped to $3.39.9 per gallon. I sure hope prices keep plummeting. This morning, I called a few heating oil companies. Those prices have also seen a steep decline. If your oil tank is low, it's a good idea to fill it now.

News bite: I submitted another article this week, which makes two since the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. Character sketches and research are on my agenda for a new project, as well as giving my WIP some First Aid. I'm also mulling over a story for, "A Cup of Comfort For The Grieving Heart." Material is plentiful on the subject, but I'm asking the Lord for direction. Thankfully, the deadline isn't until February 1, 2009.

Do you know what day we celebrate on November 15th? It's "I Love to Write Day." Visit for more details. I checked out their website, and they have some creative ideas. My imagination went into overdrive when reading about activities from past years. Maybe I'll do a post on this closer to the official date.

Here's another website for all the bloggers out there.

I'm having a spiffy day! Hope you are too. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I love books, and I especially love words. Some words make me happy because they seem to skip off the page. Others paint brilliant pictures. Here are a few words that I enjoy.

Spiffy - This word makes me think of something I like a whole lot. I once purchased sunglasses on a trip to California. Maybe it was the sunshine, but I felt spiffy.

Splendiferous - A friend, who passed away several years ago, invented this word to describe something super wonderful.

Handy-dandy - Now I don't know if this is a cliche or not, but I still like it. I like it so much I have to watch out I don't use it too often.

Pandemonium - I can see total chaos when I read or hear this word.

Trickle - Water, I hear water. A dripping faucet? A leaky roof? Neither one is a pleasant picture, but the word finds its way from my pen to the page.

Splash - Hmm, I like water words a lot. This verb makes me think of kids in a pool having a water fight.

Scrape - Some people might shudder at this word. Skinned knees, nails of a blackboard come to mind. It makes me think of getting the last bit of cake batter (chocolate, of course) out of a bowl and licking the spatula.

What are some of your favorite words and why?

Monday, August 18, 2008

How To Beat The Post-Conference Blues

So, you did it. You poured over the conference brochure, registered, made travel and hotel reservations, and emptied your piggy bank to pay for it all. God spoke to your heart through te speakers and other conferees. The whirlwind days are behind you, and you're home again. Now what?

The initial excitement has been replaced by re-entry into everyday life. Work, family, home, church, and other responsibilities pull you in a hundred directions. How are you going to accomplish all your writing goals? Your conference balloon bursts with a bang. What have you gotten yourself into?

Editor A wants your article with the necessary changes ASAP, while Editor B needs 3 devotionals within a month. Several bloggers want to meet for lunch, while 2 newspaper editors are clamoring for testimonies. How do you sort everything out and fit them into your already impossible-to-handle schedule?

Calm down. Take a deep breath. Maybe several deep breaths. Spend some quality time with the Lord and your family. Slow the pace. There's an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying: "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get." Trying to rush through tasks often causes more problems than it solves.

After the initial flurry of activity subsides, pull out your conference notes, and list your tasks in order of deadline and importance. The bloggers' lunch can go to the bottom of the priority list, while Editor A gets top billing. What items get your creative juices flowing? While all those freebies you picked up at the conference are tantalizing, they can wait until your life settles back into a more normal routine. When you're watching TV, you can pull one or two out and decide whether or not you want to submit to those markets.

Perhaps you received a critique at the conference. Your work-in-progress needs some polishing. Be sure to carve out some time to put what you've learned into practice. Oh, and don't forget to unpack all those craft books you stuffed into your suitcase and almost got a hernia lugging around. They'll refresh your memory.

There. You now have a plan. You're ready to sit down at your computer. With all your ideas, at least you won't be wondering what on earth to write.

Link Problem

Laina informed me a link from the Friday Round-Up is not working. I checked out the problem, and found a way to get around it. If you go to and check on links (left side of home page), you'll come to a page with a link for Writing Snippets. Clicking on that link will bring you to Eva's poem and writings from others in the group.

When I originally clicked on the link in Eva's email, it worked perfectly. For some unknown reason, it won't work from Blogger. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Round-Up - #10

My friend, Eva, who also attended the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, emailed me with exciting news. She won the contest for best published poem. Her poem and articles from other authors can be viewed at

In my travels yesterday, I found a great article on building blog traffic at The post is dated August 13, 2008. Whether you're a newbie blogger or a veteran, you'll find something valuable.

I have a blogging tip of my own. Before the conference, I updated my business card and included my blog address. Whenever anyone shows the slightest interest in my writing, I give them my card and invite them to visit my blog.

On Tuesday, I posted a contest for Tekeme Studios and Mary E. DeMuth. There are 3 ways to win awesome prizes, which include a free website or blog design.

Congratulations to George and Ashley Weis, of Tekeme, on the birth of their baby boy. Check out Ashley's blog for cute pictures and information.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

He Watches Over Me - Part II

The Lord not only answered many of my prayers during this conference, but He also had some special blessings up His sleeve. I was aware author, Mary E. DeMuth, would be on the faculty. I planned to get her book and hoped she would sign it. At first, I didn't even see her.

After a Q&A panel, I went up to her and introduced myself. She said she'd be happy to sign my book. The next day, at The Writers' View 2 luncheon, she chatted for a bit and posed with me for a picture.

Author, Lisa Samson, was also at the conference. On Saturday, she had lunch with us. I was encouraged as she shared some of her writing experiences.

Susan May Warren taught two workshops. After the first session, I went up to her and introduced myself. She recognized me as one of the people on her My Book Therapy group. We spoke briefly, and she told me about a benefit of My Book Therapy. I've signed up for a special weekly email.

In addition to faculty members, I met people from several states. We swapped business cards and promised to keep in touch. I've made so many new writer friends during the four years I've attended The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.

When I arrived home, Mom took possession of Mary's book (Watching theTree Limbs) and devoured it in 2 days. I guess I get my love for reading from her. Last night, I started Mary's book and was immediately drawn into the story. I can't wait to read the rest of it.

Although all my writer dreams didn't come true, I learned more about the craft. My book will reflect those lessons in the coming months. I also felt prompted to branch out and experiment with different types of writing. Refreshed, I'm ready to continue my journey.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Contest - Tekeme Studios & Mary DeMuth

Tekeme Studios is running a contest to help author, Mary E. DeMuth. There are 3 ways to win.

1. Prize - A Free Basic Website or Blog

Visit Tekeme Studios blog at for the details on this prize and how to enter.

2. 50% off any Web site package or 75% off any blog package.

A) Purchase a copy of Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture: Practical Help Shaping Your Children's Hearts, Minds, and Souls by Mary E. DeMuth.

B) Send Tekeme Studios the receipt via email or mail.

C) You receive the discount!

3. Win a copy of Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture: Practical Help for Shaping Your Children's Hearts, Minds, and Souls by Mary E. DeMuth.

A) Post a comment on someone's blog who is running the contest. Your name can be entered up to 10 times, depending on how many blogs you comment on.

B) PLUS, everyone who posts the contest on their blog will be entered to receive a copy.


Monday, August 11, 2008

He Watches Over Me - Part I

When I was growing up, "My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me," was a popular Christian song. During the Philadelphia conference, I witnessed my Heavenly Father take care of me down to the last detail.

My prayers concerning the conference included that all transportation matters would be resolved, that I'd find favor with God and man, and that the Lord would bring about divine connections with other people. Below is a sampling of the magnificent way He orchestrated the answers to my petitions.

Transportation - No problem -- or so I thought. I planned to commute via my car. A friend asked if she could ride along with me because she wasn't sure how to get there. I looked forward to spending time with her.

A problem with her leg caused her to re-think her plans. She would follow me in her car. This way, she could leave early or rest in the car if necessary.

Two days before the conference, my car was making noises. I don't like noises. A quick trip to the mechanic confirmed my brakes were on their way out. It was too close to the conference to have the repairs done, so an appointment was made for the following Tuesday (tomorrow). I prayed about the matter, and told the Lord I trusted Him to get me to the conference safely.

My friend arrived Thursday morning. My car was already packed and ready to go. When I greeted her, she asked me if I'd like to ride with her. She had no prior knowledge of my predicament. She had a navigator and I didn't have to drive my brake-challenged car.

Another benefit of this arrangement was unexpected. While I feel strong day-to-day, the conference is fast-paced. I was ready to drop by Thursday night. The drive would have taxed my strength even further.

Since my friend lives in Delaware, it made sense for her to go straight home from the conference. This meant I'd have to drive on Saturday. Friday at lunch, a woman sat at our table. We discovered she lives close to me. Arrangements were made, and I soon had a ride home for Saturday.

I'd like to tell you more about how the Lord blessed me during the conference, but this post is getting too long. Check out Part II on Wednesday.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Round-Up - #9

I'm waiting for my ride to the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference, so this will be a short post. We're enjoying the experience. I'll be blogging on what I've learned, the folks I've met, and the blessings of the Lord.

For a couple of fabulous writing ezines, take a look at:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's In A Name?

I started off in life as Susan Joyce. Of course, a huge number of other girls in my generation also had mothers, who were in love with the name. There were at least 3 other kids in my class with the same name. The teacher resorted to calling us by our first name and last initial. Not exactly a way to stand out from the crowd.

My family promptly designated "Susie" as my nickname. While "Susie" is cute and appropriate for a 4-year-old darling, I felt a bit silly as a young adult.

Susannah Joyce was used only by my mother. When I heard that name, I knew I was in deep trouble. This is when I wrote my Last Will and Testament.

At some point, I began using "Sue." Perhaps it was the Sue Barton book series about a nurse, which triggered this choice. The shortened version of my name impressed me as sophisticated and grown up.

Of course, I've suffered through some horrific renderings of my name, Susie-Q being the most common. then there was (and please don't tell a soul about this one) Suz-a-la. Shudder. One recent nickname, which I put the brakes on immediately, was Suzinator. For some unknown reason, this reminded me of a refrigerator. Ick. Please do not torment me with these ugly derivatives of my name.

I'm now back to Susan, and using the middle initial "J." You wouldn't think it, but there are other Susan Reinhardt's out there. Fancy that. Except for an occasional, "Suze," used primarily by my dear uncle and my best friend, I'm back to using the name I was given as a newborn.

Naming your characters is as important as naming your children. Some people want unusual monikers, while others like classical or Biblical names. An author friend used names directly related to her characters' personalities.

So before you go with Dick and Jane, check out some baby name sites. If you're writing a historical novel, see what names were popular during that timeframe. Your readers and characters will thank you.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Favorite Things

The Sound of Music is one of my all-time favorite movies. I know all the songs, including the one about my favorite things. Below is a short list of things that bring a smile to my face and happiness to my heart.

1. Time spent with the Lord. Before I get out of bed each day, I try to journal, read my Bible, and pray. Oh, I'm not perfect. I do miss a day here and there, but the lack is always apparent, not only in my life, but also in my writing. It's like I've forgotten to brush my teeth or comb my hair. Something's missing.

2. Time with family and friends is precious. After my beloved husband was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006 and passed away last year, the brevity and fragility of life became a stark reality. Petty annoyances don't seem quite so important anymore. Give the ones you love a big hug.

3. Chocolate. Now, you really didn't think this was going to be all serious stuff, did you? A friend and I once joked that the Lord would have hot chocolate sundaes for dessert at The Marriage Supper of the Lamb because we enjoyed them so much.

Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate makes me swoon. Chocolate cake? I'll drive to your house even at $4.00 per gallon. My motto is: If it isn't chocolate, it's not worth spending the calories.

4. Reading and Writing. It's downright dangerous for me to walk into a Christian Bookstore. And if I have a coupon, get out of my way.

Since embarking on this writing journey, I'm glued to my computer. If I'm not working on my mystery/suspense novel, I'm reading blogs, studying the craft of writing, or communicating with other writers.

5. Antiquing. My LDH (late darling husband) and I enjoyed long rides through the countryside. We'd poke around hole-in-the-wall shops and huge antique malls.

Seeing items I remember from my childhood in a collectibles store always startled me. My Mom still has an adorable cookie jar. It's a puppy wearing a bandanna. I saw matching salt and pepper shakers on one of our expeditions. Only the hefty price kept me from snapping them up. I can only imagine what the cookie jar is worth.

Well, this is supposed to be an abbreviated list. What are some of your favorite things?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Round-Up - #8

The price of gasoline dropped to $3.79.9. This is a welcome change, especially with the writers' conference starting August 7th.

Congratulations to author, Camy Tang, featured on this blog earlier in the week. She announced the sale of a novel to Steeple Hill.

Adams Media, which produces the anthology, A Cup of Comfort, is looking for submissions. You can get details at:

Another popular anthology, Chicken Soup For The Soul, is also looking for stories.

For those of you who write poetry, I discovered a site called, Utmost Christian Writers.

Enjoy your weekend.