Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Round-Up - #154

Historical fiction author, Jody Hedlund, at On The Path, gives practical advice on how to create the right amount of setting in our books.

Question for Readers: Do you enjoy a lot of scene setting or do you skim over descriptions?

Question for Writers:  How do you achieve a balance between not enough and too much setting?

Clarissa Draper, at Listening to the Voices, gives some guidance on Forensic Science. There are also other posts listed on her sidebar dealing with this subject. If you write mysteries/suspense/historical suspense, this is a valuable resource.

Question for Readers:  Do you enjoy books with lots of forensic information or does too much technical information put your brain on tilt?

Question for Writers:  Do you put just enough detail in your manuscripts to get the point across or do you go indepth?

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Author Interview - James L. Rubart, Author of Rooms - Final

Jim Rubart, Author of the best-selling novel, ROOMS, joins us for the final part of our interview. In the last segment, he discussed creating realistic characters and his journey to publication. Now, it's time to find out the driving force behind his books and where he's headed next.

4) Your book carries a profound message: living in freedom. Could you share your thoughts on "writing as a means to an end?"

Freedom is indeed the theme I want to see resonate in people after they read ROOMS, and it's really the theme of my life. I want more freedom (Gal. 5:1). I want to follow Jesus with more abandon than I do now. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted and set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1), and I want my heart to be healed and be set free. But I'm not sure I write as a means to an end. Like many writers, I write because I can't not write. I love to tell stories. And I have to tell the ones that are pounding around in my brain.

5) I've already purchased Book of Days and can't wait to read it. What new books can we look forward to in 2011 or 2012?

Thanks for buying BOOK OF DAYS! That story is extremely personal so it's been very gratifying that I've been getting e-mails from readers telling me it's made a significant impact on their lives. That makes all the work worthwhile.

Regarding new novels, I just finished edits on my third novel, THE CHAIR, which comes out this October. It's the story of an antiques dealer who is forced to face his greatest regret when he's given a legendary artifact that might be a lengendary supernatural healing chair made by Jesus. Also releasing in October is a small group study guide based on ROOMS. We'll have workbook, leader guide, a DVD...I'm really excited. Not only do I get to write the guide, we're headed down to Canon Beach to film intros to the DVD and behind the scenes. Here's more info if people are interested.

And I'm just about to start work on my fourth novel, which will come out in October of 2012.

Thanks so much for having me, Susan!

It was my pleasure, Jim.  I've gained much inspiration from your words, both from your books and this interview.

Question for Writers: Were you surprised by or learn something from this interview that will help you on your writing journey? Please share.

Question for Readers: Do you enjoy reading about your favorite authors and why?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fear of Twitter

As silly as it may sound, I had a Twitter phobia. With all the demands on my time, it seemed like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. All the mysterious talk of hashtags made shivers run down this non-techy girl's spine.

Well, I'm happy to announce I've overcome my fear of tweeting. My blogging buddy, Jill Kemerer, wrote a fabulous tutorial called, "Twitter 101: Creating an Account." I learned:

1) I don't have to own a fancy phone or text to have a Twitter account. I can tweet to my heart's content from my home PC.

2) Unlike blogging and Facebook, if I don't show up for a few days, I won't be in the doghouse.

3) The learning curve isn't as steep as I thought.

All of you who have Twitter accounts are invited to follow me at @susanjreinhardt on Twitter. And - if you're still hiding behind the sofa when someone mentions tweeting, go visit Jill.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Winners of Kathi Macias' Books

Congratulations to:             CHATTY CRONE

                                         SUSAN PANZICA

You've each won a Kathi Macias book! I've also emailed you. Please send me your snail mail address, and I'll get the books out to you ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. In a few weeks we'll be doing another for my third blogoversary.

While you're here, I hope you'll take a minute to check out my Resurrection Day post below. :)

He is Risen!

May you have a blessed Resurrection Day. He is Risen. He is Risen, indeed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Round-Up - #153

Carla Olson Gade, at Writing to Distraction, unlocks the mystery of the missing days of September. Writing historicals is tricky. The details must be right. If your WIP is set during Colonial times, this is a must read.

Writers: If you've made interesting discoveries during research for your book or article, please share.

Readers: Have you ever picked up on a historical boo-boo while reading a book?

Laurel Garver, at Laurel's Leaves, gives tips on how to make our novels "page turners."

Writers: What secret ingredient makes readers reluctant to put down your book until the last page?

Readers: What's the "wow factor" for you when reading a book?

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday weekend!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Author Interview - James L. Rubart, Author of Rooms - Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our interview with James L. Rubart, best-selling author of ROOMS.

3) Developing characters requires great skill. You did an awesome job with all of them, but especially Micah. Do you have some insights and tips for our readers on how to create realistic people?

Base 'em on real people, then amp up the distinguishing characteristics. Micah is a combination of three different people, all with strong personalities. By taking parts of each person and mixing them together it made the Micah Taylor of ROOMS come out more distinct than if it was just one person I knew. And here's the cool thing: People don't see themselves in a novel. There's a famous story about a very unsavory woman, who was a main character in a novel. She came up to the author at a book signing and said, "I can't stand that woman!" I have a sweatshirt my wife bought me that says, "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel." It's true!

4) I'm assuming your genre is Christian Speculative Fiction. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.) Did you and your agent have a difficult time convincing publishers to take on your book? Do you feel the success of The Shack made them more open-minded toward Rooms? I'd like to hear about your journey to publication.

Great question! Yes, I think The Shack definitely opened B&H's mind, and yes, we did have a rough time convincing people to take a chance on ROOMS.

When ROOMS was first shopped to publishers in the fall of 2006, it was rejected by everyone. Most publishers said, "The guy can write, but he's unknown and we're not exactly sure where the book fits." It doesn't fit neatly into a pre-defined genre. When The Shack started to get traction, the folks at B&H read it, liked it, and saw the similarities between ROOMS and The Shack. David Webb (who was the executive director of fiction at B&H in 2006) loved ROOMS but said they couldn't take it on at that time. But he said if it didn't sell in six months to bring it back to him.

A year later, I sat down with him to talk about my next novel, BOOK OF DAYS, and he asked about ROOMS. He said he'd read 200 manuscripts since he read ROOMS and couldn't get it out of his mind. So David and I took another run at it and B&H offered me a deal on June 23, 2008.

Wow! What a great story and what an encouragement to those of us whose books don't fit into "a pre-defined genre." In our final installment next week, Jim will discuss the message of his book and his future offerings.

Question for Writers: Do you write in a well-defined genre or does your manuscript defy existing labels? How are you approaching agents and editors if the latter scenario fits your book?

Question for Readers: Are you open to books that are a little out of the ordinary? Note that Jim's book includes an element of romance. Does that pique your interest?

Monday, April 18, 2011

200 Followers & Giveaway!

It's official! Christian/Writer Reader Connection now has 201 Followers.

To celebrate this momentus occasion and thank you, I'm giving away Kathi Macias' excellent books, "No Greater Love," and "Red Ink."<p>
Here are the details:

1. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and void where prohibited by law.

2. All entrants must be Followers of Christian Writer/Reader Connection or become Followers.

3. To enter, leave a comment on this post along with your email. Comments without emails will not be entered in the giveaway.

4. Want an extra entry? In addition to leaving a comment and your email, you can announce the giveaway on your blog. Please leave a comment on this post with a link.

4. Deadline: Saturday, 4/23/11, at midnight. Winners will be notified via email and announced on the blog Sunday, 4/24/11.

5. Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher provided these books. I did not receive any payment to sponsor this giveaway.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Round-Up - #152

Laurel Garver, at Laurel's Leaves, wonders what it would be like to time travel.

I wonder if you can ride a bike through a wormhole? Maybe our friend, Stephen, can answer that one. I digress. Who would you like to visit in the past or future?

Ah, from bikes to bleachers! Diane Estrella, at That's What I'm Here For, tells us why you will need a fan page on Facebook.

Do you have a fan page on Facebook? Please share some tips on set-up and what to include.

Have a splendiferous weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Author Interview - James Rubart, Author of ROOMS - Part 1

Bio: James L. Rubart is the best-selling author of ROOMS and BOOK OF DAYS, married to the love of  his life, and extremely proud of his two teenage sons. When he's not dirt biking, water skiing or playing guitar, he helps people with their marketing through his company, Barefoot Marketing.

Without further adieu, let's give Jim a big Christian Writer/Reader welcome!

1) From your website, I see you own a marketing company and have a speaking platform. How did you get involved writing fiction?

In 2003 God said, "It's time," and I dove in full force. He put the dream to write inside me when I was ten, but I was too scared to do anything about it till I heard God speak very clearly, "You're supposed to be a novelist. When are you going to start living your destiny?" I was still fearful, but knew God was blazing a trail in front of me. I finished ROOMS two years later--went to my first writing conference in 2006 and was offered a contract in June of '08. God was intricately involved the whole way.

2) Your book, Rooms, was riveting. Where did you get the idea for the main character and the plot?

ROOMS had a ton of influences, including It's a Wonderful Life, Frequency, Family Man, Disney's The Kid, Waking The Dead and Wild at Heart, but the spark that started it all was Robert Munger's little pamphlet My Heart, Christ's Home. When I was in my teens, that booklet had a major impact on my life. For twenty years I thought, "That would make a cool story if you blew up the idea on steroids and turned it into a novel. So I took that influence, mixed in the movies and books mentioned above along with a large helping of romance, and out came ROOMS.

Next Wednesday, 4/20/11, we'll continue with Part II of the interview.

Question for Writers: What inspired your WIP or finished manuscript?

Question for Readers: Have you ever dreamed of writing a book? What's keeping you from putting feet to those dreams?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Burnt Offerings

My early attempts at cooking gave new meaning to the term, "burnt offering." Kitchen disasters happened more often than I'd care to admit.

Let's see - there was the time I decided to make pork chops, but left them in the frying pan too long. They went in the trash. We figured it was cheaper than the dental work that would have followed any efforts to chew them.

My first turkey went off without a hitch. After it came out of the oven, all golden brown and dripping with delicious juices, my mother asked me the fateful question. "Did you remove the plastic bag from the turkey's throat area?" This time, we prayed and ate the meat. God was merciful, and none of us keeled over and died.

My writing life suffers its share of faux pas. Manuscript Number One sported enough head hopping to make the steadiest reader dizzy. A research error had the main character standing on line at the White House, which is a no-no today. One now has to obtain a ticket prior to touring our national treasure. Walking up to the door and knocking doesn't cut it.

I learned from my cooking mistakes and can now put a decent meal on the table. My family no longer draws straws to see who gets to try my latest masterpiece first.

Thanks to many writer friends, blogs, workshops, and craft books, my literary attempts garner a compliment here and there. Some have even dared publish my work.

We make plenty of mistakes, and each level presents its own set of challenges. Give yourself grace, master the skill, and move on. Someday all those tearful moments will morph into funny stories for interviews, speeches, and your memoir. Oh...and don't forget blog posts. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Round-Up - #151

Internet safety is a concern for all of us. While visiting a new Follower, Susan Marlene Kinney, I found a post about online photos. Check it out at her blog, Graceful Touch.

Isn't this bunny sweet? While he's appealing as a furry friend, hopping down his paths can mess up our stories big time.

Janalyn Voight, at Author Haven, instructs us on distinguishing subplots from rabbit trails. This is an article I need to read more than once. How do you avoid getting sidetracked in your manuscripts?

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On My Nightstand - Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz

Morrow Mary Little's childhood is marred by the death of her mother and baby sister at the hands of the Shawnee Indians. Her brother, Jess, is kidnapped, leaving her and her father to wonder if he's dead or alive.

Much to her dismay, her preacher father befriends a Shawnee chief and his son. Every time they appear, terror fills her heart.

After spending two years with her Aunt Etta in Philadelphia, she returns to Kentucke and her father. He's anxious for her to marry and settle down due his failing health, but she avoids the eligible men. Will she meet someone, who will love her for who she is or submit to a marriage of convenience?

Wow! This story took some turns that made my head spin. I did figure out who the hero would be this time, but it took awhile.

Laura Frantz's characters are sharp and well-defined. There's no overlap. They are unique in every way. Morrow's struggle with forgiveness and fear will resonate with many readers.

For those who love bookcovers, this one is gorgeous. I prefer when real people are used for the cover rather than a drawing, which can seem cartoonish.

This book has it all: romance, danger, setting, and action. I can thank the author for one very late night because I HAD to finish the story. I think you'll find it compelling as well.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happiness Is...

My Blogger Buddy, Maria Morgan, of Life Lessons, gave me this lovely award. She draws spiritual insights from daily life.

I'm supposed to bestow this award on ten other bloggers, but I'm whittling it down to five.

1) Sandra Heska King combines amazing  photos with her daily thoughts.

2) Jean Fischer, at the Walrus & The Carpenter, talks about writing and life. Check out her other blog, The Compost Pile, as well.

3) Carla Gade, at Writing to Distraction, is a newly contracted author. She's been doing a series on Colonial custumes. If you're a historical writer, zip over there and check out these posts.

4) Jessica Nelson, at Booking It, posts on Wednesday about her writing journey. Romance is her genre.

5) Diane Estrella often tickles my funny bone with videos and posts about her everyday life. She also does giveaways.

All of these ladies are regulars on my personal blog tour. You can always find them on my blogroll, along with many other awesome bloggers. Congratulations! Thank you for providing so many delightful hours of reading.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Round-Up - #150

Shannon K. O'Donnell, at Book Dreaming, shares points from an article she read about applying story arcs to individual scenes.

Lynn, at Connecting Stores, welcomes Eileen Bell to her blog. Ms. Bell gives tips on making a collaborative writing effort successful.

Have you ever written an article, story, or novel with another writer? What tips do you have for creating a harmonious experience?

Have a blessed weekend!