Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Round-Up - #217

Ane Mulligan, at Novel Rocket, shares her experience as a critique partner.

Writers: What do you value most about your critique partners?

Readers: Have you ever written to an author and given them either positive or negative feedback (nicely, I hope)?

Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fun Questions

Blogger friend, Janette Dolores, posted some questions awhile back. I won't tell you how long ago because I'm too embarrassed to admit my tardiness.

Without further delay, here they are:

1.  Book or Movie?  No contest here! I'm an avid reader.

2.  Real book or e-book? In the past I would have said, "real book," with no hesitation. Today, I've become quite attached to my Kindle. With print and e-books, I think I have the best of both worlds.

3.  Funniest thing you've done in the last five years? Ha! I just thought of something, but I'm going to save it for a blog post. Thanks for the inspiration.

4.  How would your best friend describe you? Loyal.

5.  Do you put yourself into the books you read/write or the movies you watch? I take character traits from a number of sources otherwise all of them would sound/act like me. The main character in my first book, Ellie, has my fire for a cause, but she's more talented. Perhaps it's a case of living vicariously through her.

6.  Favorite kind of car and why? I love my 2-door Honda, but it's become impractical. The 4-door version would be better suited to my needs.

7.  Would your choice of party be a catered meal or barbeque out back? It depends on the purpose of the gathering. For a wedding - catered. For a casual family/friend event, the barbeque is more conducive to conversation.

8.  What's your favorite season and why? I'd have to say, "spring," but fall comes in as a close second. The first blooms after a gray winter makes my energy level soar. Fall colors also nourish my soul.

9.  Besides writing, what's your favorite thing to do when you get some extra time? This is one of the easiest questions. Packing a lunch, jumping in the car, and going for a long ride tops my list. Stops at antique stores add to the delight.

10. What's one place you can be found at least one time every week? Church! While my daily devotional time feeds me, there's nothing like a 4-course feast on Sunday morning. My pastor is an awesome teacher.

Writers and Readers: Pick any question and give your answer! Did you learn anything new about me?

Friday, September 21, 2012

On My Kindle - Code Blue by Richard Mabry, M.D.

Cathy Sewell returns to her hometown of Dainger, Texas. She's running away from her troubles and God. Not long after the move, she discovers geographical changes won't solve her problems. They've tagged along for the ride.

Will Kennedy hasn't give up hope. He's loved Cathy from the time they were in high school. Now a successful lawyer, will he be able to keep her alive and help her deal with the excess baggage?

Dr. Mabry's book grabbed me immediately, and I couldn't put it down. I loved the combination of medical mystery and romance. His background made the story realistic, while the who-dun-it part kept the tension at the right level.

My only regret is that I didn't read this book sooner. The author has several other books out, and I'll be picking them up.

Writers: How do you ramp up the tension in your manuscripts/short stories?

Readers: What gets your heart pumping? Sinister characters? Spooky settings? Please share.

Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, September 17, 2012

What Flips Your Switch?

Sometimes I can eat chocolate to my heart's content and never suffer a bit. Other times, one measly piece can flip the ol' migraine switch and send me careening into the pain dungeon. Trial and error revealed a few key factors:

1) While chocolate alone doesn't always trigger a headache, a combination of two sensitivities stack the odds against me.

2) My brain reacts to drops in the barometric pressure. If a storm is brewing, I'd better stay away from chocolate.

3) Foods I love, like genoa salami and red grapes, are a no-no and promise suffering when mixed with chocolate.

What flips the switch for "writing headaches?"

1) Lack of time with the Lord and sketchy prayer top the list for me. Inspiration dries up and withers like corn stalks in drought-ridden areas.

2) An unbalanced life marked by too much computer and not enough living sap my creativity. After all, I'm writing about people, places, and things. When I cut myself off from social interaction, I have little to draw on for my stories.

3) Minimal exercise, poor nutrition, and sleeplessness can render my brain mushy and sluggish.

Writers:  Your turn. What flips the "writing headache" switch for you?

Readers: What qualities in a book produce a reading "headache?"

Friday, September 14, 2012

On My Kindle - Cooking the Books by Bonnie S. Calhoun

Sloane Templeton's successful career in the IT field comes to an abrupt halt when her mother dies of a heart attack. She gets more than a double dose of trouble when she steps into mom's shoes as co-owner of a local bookstore.

A jealous former boyfriend, a new love interest, international intrigue, and a zany cast of characters keep this book moving along. Bonnie throws in so many red herrings that you could catch a mess of fish. Surprise is the order of the day in this novel.

Be aware, there is some violence, but it's very much a part of the setting and necessary to the story's outcome. Her well-written scenes made the tension stark and realistic.

Bonnie's writing voice is fresh, lively, and entertaining. We'll be seeing a lot more from this author.

Writers: How do you make your characters jump off the page?

Readers: What's your favorite mystery/character of all time?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Counting The Cost

When a young person decides to pursue a career in medicine, there's much to consider. How will this endeavor be financed? Do they have the self-discipline necessary to finish the course? Do they know what's involved or have they romanticized their dreams?

We've talked about dreams before, but are we willing to pay the price? We hear about the sacrifices people make to reach their goals.

Are we willing to:

1) Learn the mechanics of writing?

2) Invest the time and money necessary?

3) Have the determination and grit to push past discouragement and setbacks?

4) Endure the comments of those who don't understand our calling?

5)  Discern when to make changes and when to stand our ground?

Writers: What crisis moments have you been through to reach your present writing level?

Readers: What areas of your life have tested your commitments?

Photo credit: onetwo

Friday, September 7, 2012

On My Nightstand - The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

The Harbinger is not your usual novel. On the page reserved for a dedication, the author states: "What you are about to read is presented in the form of a story, but what is contained within the story is real." Those words alone are enough to make a reader sit up and take notice.

I've heard many prophecy teachers over the years, and one recurring question they receive is, "Where is America in prophecy?" Jonathan Cahn conducted an extensive study and discovered a connection between ancient Israel and the United States. Could verses in Isaiah contain the mystery of 9/11 and the collapse of our economy in 2008?

While this book won't teach you the fine points of writing, it will make you think. The words I've read still echo in my mind and send me to my knees. A New York Times Bestseller, it's reaching people most Christian novels will never touch.

This is more than a book review/recommendation. I believe this message needs to be read by every believer. The future of our nation could well be at stake.

Writers and Readers: Have you read this book yet? How did it impact you? The author has also appeared on many Christian TV programs. Have you seen any of the interviews?

Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from a friend. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me to give this review/recommendation. The opinions I've expressed, as always, are my own.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

I'm taking a brief blogging break to spend time with family and friends. See you on Friday, 9/7!

Enjoy the last official summer weekend.

Photo credit:  silencefi