Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Round-Up - #238

Jean Fischer talks about regional dialects and how it affects our stories.

I recently read a series by Kristen Heitzmann that took place in my old hometown. It made me smile when she used familiar terms.

Writers: Do you research the words used in the geographic areas where your stories take place?

Readers: Does it jar your senses when an author or writer uses a word or phrase that doesn't match the setting? Please share.

Photo Credit: bouwm019

Monday, June 24, 2013

Transforming Your First Draft

Getting a story down on paper makes my heart sing. Alas, editing is equivalent to cleaning the basement. So, how do I wade through the dirty work? Here are the steps I took with my work in progress, The Scent of Fear:

1)  I read each chapter, correcting any spelling/grammar/punctuation issues. While these issues don't normally give me a problem, I've been known to reverse letters in dyslexic fashion. This occurs if I'm: A) tired or B) the creative side is flowing so fast that my brain gets confused.

2)  Tripping over a sentence while I'm reading alerts me to a trouble spot. I'll go back and read it out loud within the context of several other paragraphs. This may require substituting a word or re-writing an entire section.

3)  One problem I've identified is more of a memory thing. Have you ever forgotten the name or physical characteristic of a minor character and had to hunt it down? What a waste of time and effort! When I work on Book 3, Lost and Found, I'm going to start a spreadsheet with these pesky, but important, details.

4)  Like the old dresser I thought I'd refinish and use someday, extraneous phrases and scenes are difficult to cut. One of the rules of clutter control: If I haven't used it in a year throw it out, sell it, or give it away. If words don't pull their weight in the story, out they go.

5)  I re-read the chapter after I've made changes. Has it improved or did I make an even bigger mess? On occasion, I've had to retrieve some items from the trash.

Writers:  How do you transform your basement first draft into a livable, cozy book?
Readers: What are some of the techniques you use to control clutter?

Photo Credit: JR3

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Round-Up - #237

How Do I...?

Recently, I've seen a lot of Twitter links in blog posts. You can click on the link and tweet a sentence from a post. This is a valuable tool to draw people to your blog.

Here are a couple of articles on how to accomplish this task:

Susan Stilwell guest blogs at The Write Conversation.

Caitlin Muir also gives detailed instructions on Author Media.

Writers and Readers: Have you seen these click-to-tweet links? Have you used them? Please share your experience either with producing one of these links or clicking them.

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  cieleke

Monday, June 17, 2013

Spread The Word

We're surrounded by advertisements. Many times we get so accustomed to visual clutter that we don't even notice them.

For years, I've been getting emails from the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) loop. Until recently, I paid little attention to the posts. What changed my habits? I discovered people offer promotional opportunities and guest posts on their blogs.

A fellow Helping Hands Press author, Carrie Fancett Pagels, alerted me to a Twitter promo. Book Fun Magazine promised to retweet the name of our book if we followed them. I never saw this on any of my connections and appreciated her pointing it out. I was able to have my book title tweeted to all of Book Fun's followers.

Whenever I see a link or article that I think will help fellow writers/authors, I will do one or all of the following:

1.  Do a post on my blog about the article.

2.  If it's time sensitive, I'll send out an email to specific individuals.

3.  Put a note on Facebook.

Writers:  What are some of the ways you "spread the good word" about promotional opportunities?

Readers:  Do you ever write to an author and let them know where you've seen their book or feedback from another reader?

Photo Credit:  jamie84

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Round-Up - #236

The Write Connection has some great tips on how to save time on Social Media. This entry talks about scheduling posts, using Permalinks.

Writers:  How do you keep Social Media from eating all your time?

Readers: How much time on average do you spend on Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

The winner of On The Threshhold by Christina Berry Tarabocchia and Sherrie Ashcraft is:

                                     NOELLE, THE DREAMER!


Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  spekulator

Monday, June 10, 2013

Are You Visible?

During the winter, ice and snow make visibility an issue. Not only can't you see others, but they can't see you inside the car. So, we take time to scrape away the ice and clean off the snow before attempting travel.

As a newly-published author, I've discovered some interesting facts:

1. Just because I have 2600 friends on Facebook doesn't mean they can all see my status updates. Only a fraction of them are getting the word about The Moses Conspiracy.

2.  I send out a monthly email update to about 160 people. Most of them will delete it without opening the document. More than one expressed surprise about my book news, even though I've talked about it in the past three months.

3.  Blog followers often sign up for a giveaway or out of curiosity, but are they all faithful readers?

With great pressure on our time, we all sign up for things with the best of intentions. If you drop from the radar screen, all except your closest friends and relatives will forget about you. So, how do we maintain visibility?

1.  Maintain your Social Media connections. This includes taking an interest in others by reading their blogs, commenting on their Timeline posts, tweeting, etc. True connections/relationships take time and effort.

2.  We all have many responsibilities. I try to set aside between 1-3 hours a day. This is more than the average person can handle, but whatever you have, use it wisely.

3.  Take advantage of guest posts, promo opportunities, book clubs, and other venues that reach beyond your normal contacts.

Writers: What are some ways you maintain visibility?

Readers: Do you read author newsletters? What piques your interest in a communication?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Christina Berry Tarabochia and Sherrie Ashcraft

 After fourteen years of hard work, Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia are thrilled to announce the release of their novel, On the Threshold. Interested in how a mother and daughter can write a book together? Want a chance at winning a Kindle and a business card design from a top-notch company? Go to for the details.
Why did you ladies begin writing this book?
Both of us had always talked about writing a book, but fourteen years ago Sherrie said if we were ever going to write, maybe we should work on a book together. It would hold us accountable. We lived on different sides of the state of Oregon at the time, so we did a lot of it via e-mail, and once a month Sherrie would make the 250-mile drive to Christina's house and we'd work on it in person. We wanted to share a real look at depression and trying to be good enough to please God--what that might look like in a family's life.
Fourteen years? Really?
That's from the first word penned. The very first contest we entered, we actually talked about how we needed to decide how to fight off all the editors who'd be making offers. Instead, we found out we had a lot to learn! Attending writing conferences and reading craft books brought our writing to a higher level.
Tell us about On the Threshold.
We loved having the chance to tell this story! In fact, we have a few more stories to tell about these characters  if readers love this one. Here's what the book is about.
Suzanne—a mother with a long-held secret. Tony—a police officer with something to prove. Beth—a daughter with a storybook future. When all they love is lost, what's worth living for?
Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband’s love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change.
Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne’s fa├žade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God’s grace in their lives?
You can find Christina at Posting With Purpose. Sherrie blogs at The Mother Blog.

Christina and Sherrie have generously offered to give away a copy of their e-book, On the Threshold. To enter:
1) Leave a comment and email address on this post.
2) You must be a Follower or become a Follower of this blog.
3) Deadline: Wednesday, 6/12/13, at 11:59 P.M.
4) The winner will be announced on Friday, 6/14/13.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment for this post.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Virtual Reality Versus Real Life

Years ago, I purchased a computer that came with a bundle of games. One of them involved creating an imaginary city. You could build roads, buildings, and populate it in any way you wished.

I've noticed the virtual reality scene is popular on the Internet. Two friends and I enjoyed a lunch via my blog. Others send imaginary gifts to their friends. It's become a way of connecting with people we may never meet in person.

Yet, are these virtual activities becoming a replacement for real relationships? Is the line between fantasy and reality so blurred that we no longer distinguish between them?

Such exercises can be valuable to me as a writer. I get practice writing stories and developing characters, towns, cities, and even nations.

As I get to know people on various Social Media sites, certain ones become so much a part of my daily life that I find it necessary to connect in tangible ways. We talk on the telephone, email, and meet in person. Nothing can quite replace face-to-face interaction.

What are your thoughts about virtual reality and real life? Do you think people are getting hung up on fantasy and neglecting solid relationships? Why?