Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #73

Since many of us are looking to shed a pound or two, I thought Susan Panzica's take on physical and spiritual fitness might strike a chord.

For all you chocolate lovers out there, Donna L. H. Smith has a chocolate blog. It's not only chocolate, it's organic chocolate.

Perhaps you've heard the talk about the FTC's new rulings concerning book reviews and giveaways. Publisher's Weekly recently talked to them and cleared up the confusion. You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On My Nightstand - The House on Grosvenor Square - By Linore Rose Burkard

Since my foray into Regency Romance began with Linore Rose Burkard's first book, "Before the Season Ends," I looked forward to Ariana's new adventure. She's snagged London's most eligible bachelor, Mr. Mornay, and plans her wedding.

Ah, but all is not peaches and cream. Not everyone is delighted with the match. Her beloved's housekeeper fears Ariana will dismiss her, and she'll be out on the street. Mr. Mornay's enemy is angry and seeks revenge, using Ariana to get back at him.

The author gets Ariana into so much hot water that I want to rescue her. The book has a high tension level and deserves the term Romantic Regency Suspense. This is no tea and crumpets novel. Right to the end, I wondered what other evil would befall our hapless heroine.

If you're a big fan of Regency Romance, you'll love, "The House on Grosvenor Square."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Name That Book

Every aspiring author is urged to use a working title for their book. Lately, I've been noticing titles often reflect some interesting line in the book that captures the essence of the story. Christina Berry's book started life as, "Undiscovered," but was changed to, "A Familiar Stranger." Other authors have reported similar experiences.

The working title for my book is, "Echoes of the Past." This resulted from a trip to Gettysburg eight months before I began pounding the keys. Gettysburg's town square is quite old. Cars whizzed around the square in a strange juxtaposition to history, and I sensed the echoes of the forefathers voices fading away. When we got home, I tried to write a poem, an article, something, but could not get it down on paper. It needed time to simmer on the backburner of both my heart and brain.

One day, Beloved and I were talking about "the Gettysburg experience," and he jumped up. "That's it. That's your book, and you'll call it Ghosts of the Past, and you'll have the first draft done by December." I caught his excitement and changed the title to, "Echoes of the Past."

At a recent writers conference, I asked an author about the title, and said I was thinking about changing it to, "The Moses Conspiracy." She thought it was a lot more powerful than the original. So, I will be changing it as part of this edit. I don't know if either of these names will stick, but for now they inspire me.

How do you come up with your titles? Is it a struggle? Do you brainstorm with a critique partner or writers' group?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #72

I received a survey from a well-known author a few weeks ago. She used a site called, "Survey Monkey." It was pretty neat, and I thought I'd pass it along to you. It's FREE.

Debbie Roome, over at Pix N Pens, gives a lesson on how to become a reviewer for publications. This will be a series, so watch for the follow-up posts.

Jean Fischer, over at her Walrus blog, celebrates 10 years of freelancing and shares 10 things she's learned. Congratulations, Jean, on your accomplishments!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On My Nightstand - The Edge of Recall by Kristen Heitzmann

Tessa Young, a brilliant landscape architect, gets an opportunity to restore a labyrinth based on an old European design. She's torn because her old flame, Smith Chandler, is the one offering the job. Tormented by nightmares from her childhood, she wonders if her fragile mental state can handle working in such close proximity to him. She takes the position, thinking it will give her closure.

Instead, she finds an older and wiser Smith. She fights to maintain a strictly professional relationship, but finds herself attracted to him once again. Her psychiatrist and mentor, Dr. Brenner, warns her two major stressors could result in a breakdown. Yet, Tessa perseveres.

Bizarre happenings threaten to derail the project. Items are moved, others disappear, and the feeling of someone watching them add to her anxiety. Will she finally tame the monsters that haunt her nights and now intrude on her days?

Kristen Heitzmann's masterful handling of Tessa's emotional state and the ultimate revelations concerning her past make this a suspenseful read. She builds the tension to an almost unbearable level before the climax.

This romantic suspense book provided a satisfying story and ending. It's worth picking up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Writing Update

A few weeks ago, I asked all of you what you would like to see on this blog. Several requested an update on my writing endeavors.

Two devotionals are coming out over the next few months. The Winter issue (December 2009-February 2010) of A Secret Place contains one of my devotionals. The other will appear on U.S. Devotions (Eddie Long & Cindy Sproles) on a date yet to be announced in early 2010. For those of you who enjoy this type of writing, the response time for A Secret Place is approximately eight months.

After reading an article on The Seekers blog, I wrote an 800-word romance for Women's World. The Assistant Editor wrote back and gave detailed editorial feedback. She invited me to re-submit the story. Unfortunately, I got a rejection. I'll try again at some point.

I'm editing my book, Echoes of the Past, for the gazillionth time. It's taking so long because I cut my fiction teeth on this project. I'd go to a workshop, learn something, run home, and fix the manuscript. My first draft was completed in four months and totaled 55,000 words. When I brought it to a writers' conference, I was informed I needed between 80,000 and 100,000 words. This resulted in a major re-write.

Meanwhile, I've started book 2 of the three-book series. I thought the main characters from the first book would be the focus of this story. However, one of the other characters threw a temper tantrum and demanded top billing. So far, I've written a paltry 3,178 words. I tried the whole plotting thing, but can't wrap my mind around it. I know the beginning and the end. Now, I just need to fill in the middle. I work in true SOTP style. It makes for an interesting time at the computer.

Okay, guys, your turn. Do you have any questions for me? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blog Tour - Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry

The Familiar Stranger is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn't raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or...they might not.

Welcome to Christian Writer/Reader Connection, Christina! We're looking forward to learning more about you and your book.

And, blog readers, at the end of the post, watch for an exciting surprise!

1. I love the story of how you began writing. Could you share it with our readers?

Buried deep within my closet, one might find some angst-filled poetry from my teenage years and a very spooky seven pages of the novel I started in high school. Though I was in love with the idea of being a writer,it wasn't until I finished college and stayed home with my first child that I actually decided to write a book. Truthfully, my mom told me we were going to write one together, and being the obedient daughter I am...

Susan: That's so funny! My journey got kicked into gear with encouragement (okay, a giant shove) from my late husband.

2. We all hear about what makes writing a challenge. What aspects of writing are easy for you?

Strength-wise, while the idea of writing or editing may seem hard, I usually get quite a lot done in a short amount of time once I start. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. That applies to our writing. A little momentum can go a long way!

3. How does your relationship with the Lord influence you as a writer?

I believe He guides the story, adding layers I'm not even capable of comprehending while I write it. I'm not great at starting my writing time with prayer, but I try to stay open to where He might lead me.

I see writing as one of the tools He uses to form me into His image -- a tool to teach me patience, self-control, determination, reliance on Him, and other life lessons. I also see writing as a gift that brings hope, fulfillment, and purpose when the rest of my life is falling apart.

Thanks for stopping by Christina.

As a single mom and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time out of her busy schedule to write about the heart and soul of life. She lives with her family in rural Oregon. The Familiar Strangeris her debut novel. Get to know her better at her website.

Christina also has an infrequent, humorous newsletter. To view back issues, visit her Ashberry Lane website. Just by signing up, each person will be entered to win a 4GB iPod Shuffle or free books for the life of Christina's writing career.

The next stop on Christina's tour is Annette Irby's blog. Christina will share more about her adventures as an author.

Now, for the icing on the cake! To celebrate her blog tour, Christina is entering all commenters in a ten-book giveaway. The drawing will take place on October 31st.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Write Now - Contest

Normally, I would post this information in my Friday Round-Up, but my week got turned upside down. :) My friend, Karen Lange, over at Write Now, starts a contest today for Kim Vogel Sawyer's book, "Field of Grace." It will run until October 22, 2009. For details, pop over to her blog and enter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Friday's Round-Up on Wednesday - #71

No, you didn't make a mistake. It's really Wednesday, not Friday. Since I signed up for Christina Berry's Blog Tour, Friday will be devoted to her interview. So, I moved the Friday Round-Up to Wednesday just for this week.

Kathryn Lang, over at Successful Freelance Writer, talks about how to avoid making stupid mistakes when submitting our work to editors and agents. Do you have any horror stories about submission faux pas?

Writers' Digest 2009 list of the Best Websites for Writers is out. This is a great resource.

Definition time! Patti Lacy, over at Inkwell Inspirations, defines the acronym, "TSTL," for all of us. She explains why some characters are "too stupid to live." Do you have any of these in your manuscript?

Enjoy the remainder of the week! See you on Friday. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Timely Tales

Where does the time go? Here it is the end of the day, and I haven't written anything but blog and journal entries. Well, a few weeks ago, I got a revelation. Oh, not the angels singing, heavenly music kind. Just your run-of-the-mill-I-should-have-known-that kind.

It all started when my computer slowed down, making DSL more like dial-up. In walks tech guy with all his black bags, filled with mysterious tools. (What do they keep in those bags?) Within ten minutes, he diagnosed the problem. "Not enough RAM to run this thing."

Finally, it's fixed. Or so I thought. I go to turn on the computer that evening, and I get a black screen with lots of jumbled letters. "No, no, I wailed." The next morning, I call tech guy. "Bring 'er in. The memory is probably defective." I cart my baby off to the computer ER and return home. It's not a pretty sight for others to see a grown woman sitting in front of a dark monitor.

Now, all is not lost. I have a second computer that isn't hooked up to the Internet. Novel idea (pun fully intended)! Maybe I could work on my book. Suddenly, all those disappearing hours magically stretched before me. With no Internet, email, or Facebook to provide distraction, I found time to write.

Don't get me wrong. The computer and cyberspace are essential tools in the writer's duffel bag, but I needed to limit my exposure. Now that computer baby is back home and running like a star athlete, I'm wary about the time I spend surfing the Net. So far, my plan is working. I've been setting aside several hours a day to work on my book.

How do you manage your online time? Do you find an unplug week beneficial?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Winner

Yahoo! A big Christian Writer/Reader congratulations to Lori! You're the winner of Patricia Hickman's book, "Painted Dresses."

Thanks to everyone, who participated in the drawing.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #70

Sharon Ball, over at A Break From the Norm, interviews a bookstore owner, from Richmond, Virginia, in her 9/18/09 post. She's found new ways to connect with the community and survive in a highly-competitive field. The post is entitled, "Community Bookstores Make Our Communities."

Jean Fischer finds inspiration for her writing at the beach. She shares some interesting thoughts on observing our surroundings.

How do we find time to write? Kathryn Lang tackles this question over at Successful Freelance Writer.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On My Nightstand - The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry

Ever since I heard about Christina's book, The Familiar Stranger, I've waited on the edge of my seat for its release. When it arrived via the good ol' U.S. Mail, I tore it open and started reading immediately. For the next two days, every spare moment was spent with my head buried in her book.

Christina nails this story with characters so real you'll expect to bump into them at church. In spite of staggering revelations and bizarre twists, Denise Littleton, manages to overcome her fears of further hurt and trust God with her life. Craig Littleton recovers from a life-threatening accident with no memory of his family or his past. Together, they seek the truth and try to resurrect their dead marriage.

Well written, emotion laden, and a powerful climax, The Familiar Stranger is the must-read book of the season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Feel Another...CONTEST...coming on!

Good morning, Bloggers! It's contest time once again at Christian Writer/Reader Connection.

Patricia Hickman's novel, "Painted Dresses," is up for grabs. Two sisters deal with life's turmoil in decidedly different ways. Gaylen Sykes-Boatwright runs from her crumbling marriage only to find herself caretaker for her sister. Delia copes by living life on the ragged edge.

Together they embark on a journey to deliver their Aunt Amity's painted dresses to the designated recipients. Along the way, old wounds and family secrets are revealed. This character-driven novel probes the psyche of two struggling women.

To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment with your email address using the spam-busting format: susanjreinhardt (at) ____ (dot) com. The drawing is open to residents of the Continental U.S. and Canada. The contest ends Saturday, 10/10/09, at midnight. The winner will be drawn, notified by email and announced on the blog on Sunday, 10/11/09.

Get ready, get set - COMMENT!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #69

Kathy Ide, at Pix-n-Pens, gives us a lesson on how to use EM dashes.

Erynn Mangum, at Scribble Chicks looks at what makes characters believable.

B. J. Hamrick, over at Scribble Chicks, talks about the "workshopped to death" syndrome. Since this is conference season, we might want to lend an ear to her warnings.

Have a blessed weekend!