Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Spine/Turning Points/Urban Legends/Journaling/Photos

1.  I came across an interesting article on Publisher's Weekly: Judging a Book By Its Spine. We're so focused on the front cover that we forget it's the spine that readers see when our books are crammed on the shelf.

2.  Susan May Warren guest posts at The Write Conversation. She talks about building powerful turning points in a novel.

3.  Once relegated to urban legend status, military exercises to prepare for martial law are creating a stir among members of Congress. Check out this article.

4.  I'm big into journaling. It's like pressing the "Start Button" for my creative side. Jennifer Brown Banks, at Pen and Prosper, talks about the joys of journaling in this blog post.

5.  Susan, at Writing Straight From the Heart, loves writing and photography. These photos captured my attention. Enjoy!

Writers:  What techniques do you use to press the "Start Button" on your creativity?

Readers:  What influences you more in purchasing books:  The book cover or the author? Please share.

Photo Credit:  clshearin

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Facts

Today we remember the many brave soldiers who gave their lives to preserve our freedom. Here are a few facts and links about this special day:

1.  Memorial Day was originally called, "Decoration Day." Shortly after the Civil War, women decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers.

2.  The name was changed to Memorial Day in 1971. The last Monday in May was set aside as Memorial Day to guarantee a three-day weekend every year.

3.  Red poppies became a symbol of Memorial Day. A poem called, In Flanders Fields, inspired the American Legion to sell crepe paper poppies handmade by veterans. The donations received are used to aid hospitalized and disabled veterans, as well as their dependents. This tradition was to remember the veterans of World Wars I and II.

If you'd like to read the poem, In Flanders Fields, you can find it at Wikipedia.

For 10 Facts About Memorial Day, check out this link.

In the midst of parades, picnics, and weekend get-aways, let's stop for a few moments and remember their sacrifice. Oh - and if you see someone selling poppies, be sure to make a donation.

Photo Credit:  foobean01

Friday, May 22, 2015


1.  Ace Collins guest posts on Everyone's Story and shares the challenges of writing a Dedication. How do you condense a life into one or two short lines?

2.  Whatever you think of homeschooling, this New Jersey couple were subjected to an interrogation and threats that should give all of us pause for consideration.

3.  Betsey Duffy and Laurie Myers guest posted on Seriously Write. They used readers to advise them on the accuracy of their scenes.

4.  K. Douglas Brown guest posts at Blogging Bistro. He gives 3 Lifesaving Tips for Newbie Bloggers. I wish I'd had these when I started out. I'd add one more to his list: learn how to schedule posts. :)

5.  Beth K. Vogt shares a devotional on The Write Conversation. She encourages us to "Be All There."

Writers:  How do you find experts to help you with your works-in-progress?

Readers:  Is there some area of expertise you have that could assist your writer friends? Please share. Maybe I'll consult you in the future. :)

Photo Credit:  michelemik

Monday, May 18, 2015

The More I Write...Part 1

You'd think after writing four books, I'd have my process nailed down. Yet with my current book, I'm learning so much. Yes, I'm still a Seat-of-the-Pants writer, but there are nuances to it just as there are with plotting.

Here are some of my latest discoveries at the halfway point in this novel:

1.  Having a passion for my story is essential to writing it.

There are two camps out there: 

A) Those who say you can't wait around for inspiration. It's all about just doing it. 

B) Those who say you can't write when you don't feel inspired.

I don't belong to either camp. True inspiration, or vision as I like to describe it, isn't about feelings. It's about direction and passion for the story.

Unlike my futuristic novels, my latest work-in-progress is a contemporary. It was conceived while attending a series of meetings at my church. Quite frankly, it scared me silly because I didn't know how I'd ever pull off such a story.

I wrote a single page and then didn't write another word for months. Maybe I was hoping it would go away, but it didn't. Part of me ached to write it, but I held back. What was wrong with me? After taking a long, hard look at my situation, I discovered:

A)  Every book I'd written before caused the same reaction in the beginning. This wasn't anything new.

B)  I overcame the fears by trusting the Lord and diving into the manuscript.

2.  Before I start each session, I pray.

I've done this before, but wasn't as consistent as I'd like. This time, I'm leaning heavily on His direction. Is He dictating the words? No, of course not, but He is giving me ideas for scenes and subplots.

Again, I look back and see how God helped me get through the writing of the first four books. This one is no exception. He will give me the strength, ideas, and anything else I need to make it to The End.

Writers:  How do you get past the fear element of a big project, whether a long article or a book?

Readers:  We all face major projects, whether it's writing a book or working on a home renovation. How do you get from the "want to" to the "doing?"

Photo Credit:  svilen001

Friday, May 15, 2015

 1.  Sierra Godfrey posts at Writers In The Storm about promotional items for authors. She discusses giveaway items, setting up a booth at book fairs or other venues.

2.  Positive Writer talks about keeping others from sabotaging your work.

3.  WND reports on the second state to resist the militarization of local police forces. Law enforcement agencies are using federal grants to buy heavy-duty military equipment.

4.  Are you in a quandary between traditional publishing and Indie? Barbara Hartzler guest posts at Elaine Stock's blog on 5 Reasons Why I Decided NOT to Choose Between Them.

Writers:  Do you share your work with others or hold it close until it's in publishable condition? Please share.

Readers:  Do you read Indie books? Please share.

Photo Credit:  creactions

Monday, May 11, 2015

My Writing Journey - Then Came Preparation - Part 3

Our pastor has been teaching on recognizing God's purpose for your life. One of the hallmarks is preparation. The Lord is not one to throw you into the pool and say, "Sink or swim."

Preparation entails not only learning the technical aspects of your calling, but also developing patience, perseverance, and endurance. The publishing industry is ever changing in this digital age, and requires all of these character traits.

Like most writers, I started off doing small projects. Short pieces for Christmas programs and skits increased my appetite for writing. Later, the need arose for Sunday School Curriculum and a monthly devotional for our tape ministry.

At one point, I sent out poems to several Christian publications, but nothing came of the effort. Back then, the Internet didn't exist, so I relied on information in their magazines. The lack of support for Christian writers discouraged me, and I set my writing aside for a number of years.

When I got married and moved to another state, the dynamics changed. The Christian writing community was vibrant, and my husband urged me to pursue getting published. The Internet provided ways to connect with other writers, readers, and publishers.

Devotionals, short articles, and pieces in several anthologies soon followed. Eventually, fiction became the vehicle for my stories. The journey continues with new book projects. Out of the Mist will soon be published, and I'm also working on a contemporary novel.

All the years of preparation are bearing fruit. Did I want to quit? More than once. Am I glad I didn't? You better believe it. :)

Are you still wondering if you've found what you were meant to do? Look back over your life and see if there are repeating themes. 

Writers:  What kind of preparation did you/are you going through for publication?

Readers:  What preparations were necessary to reach your goals/purpose in life?

Photo Credit:  asifthebes

Friday, May 8, 2015


1. With conference season upon us, crafting a dynamite elevator pitch may make the difference between a request for a full or partial proposal and being sent home empty handed. Writers In The Storm give excellent instructions on how to produce a great one or two sentence pitch.

2.  Fox News star, Greta Van Susteran, goes all out to rescue Christians - She notes that her parents' generation said they didn't know what was happening to the Jews. Our generation cannot use that excuse. We see the evidence every day on the news and through the Internet. Check out this insightful article.

3.  Do you want people to find your blog? Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, gives valuable information on how to find labels and tags that will make the search engines sit up and take notice.

4.  Susan Panzica, at Eternity Cafe, wrote an insightful post on How Can I Know God's Will? I think you'll find it helpful.

5.  Marja Meijers, at Fresh Insights On Ancient Truths, talks about restored relationships.

Writers:  Do you have a one or two sentence pitch for your manuscript? Please share any tips you have on producing one.

Readers:  If you blog, what kinds of tags and labels do you use?

Photo Credit:  ilco

Monday, May 4, 2015

My Writing Journey - Then Came the Magic of Story - Part 2

Once I nailed down reading, a whole new world opened up to me. I'll never forget how entranced I was when I read the story of tiny people, who lived in a child's dollhouse. For the first time, I didn't think about how thick the book was or the "work" of reading. I cared about each character and their dilemmas.

Many other books followed from The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, the Sue Barton nurse series, Cherry Ames to early Christian Fiction books for children. Every month, I looked forward to the catalog of books for sale and begged my parents to get me the titles on my Wish List.

The library became my favorite hangout place, and the workers all knew me by name. Every week, I'd pick out 7 books and rush home to read my treasures. It became difficult to find new books after awhile, and I began taking out non-fiction titles as well. Biographies and books on hobbies and ballet caught my attention.

The Internet didn't exist, so I couldn't search Google or read about my favorite authors. Wherever books were sold, I searched for more reading material. We are blessed to have a wide variety of Christian fiction available to us now.

One important lesson this rite of passage taught me: Learning the technical skills needed for reading opened the door to great books. In the same way, when we take the time to hone our writing, it creates a pathway to stories that will reach a reader's heart.

Writers:  What important lessons have you learned on this journey?

Readers:  Was there a special book that hooked you forever on reading? Please share.

Photo Credit:  iamWahid

Friday, May 1, 2015

Inside Info/Disabilities/Marketing/Devo/Names

1.  Here's an insightful article from an interview with a Bethany House editor. If you write fiction, you won't want to miss this.

2.  World Net Daily reports on a Princeton professor's declaration that severely disabled infants should be denied healthcare under the Obama program. Yes, here in America, the unthinkable is being promoted. We are now going from search and destroy in the womb to infanticide.

3.  T. J. Marino, of The Strategist, gives a checklist for those who self-publish and want to actually sell books. It takes a lot of work and isn't easy. Are you prepared for this?

4.  Dena Netherton's post on My Father's World, My Father's Words, caught my eye. She talks about the "I'll show you people."

5.  Jeanette Levellie provides our chuckle for the day at Hope Splashes with a post entitled, "Name That Kid."

Writers:  Do you have a marketing plan for your book? Please share.

Readers: What was your favorite link this week?

Photo Credit:  svilen001