The Liebster Award

Thank you to Justina Luther for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I definitely need to read more blogs myself if I expect my blog to be read by others. So – thanks again Justina, for stretching me. Here’s a link to her blog: http://justinaluther.wordpress.com

The rules are as follows:

  1. Link and thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions they asked you
  3. Pick eleven bloggers or writers (I’m changing the rules) to nominate them. I pick my friends and acquaintances no matter what their numbers. Some don’t even have blogs yet. Hopefully this will encourage them to start one.  🙂
  4. Ask them eleven questions
  5. Let them know by commenting on one of their posts
Discover new blogs!

Discover new blogs!

Here are the 11 questions I had to answer.

Why do you blog or write?

I have no idea. No – ha ha. I love to write, and my writing journey has been a long one and on and off, depending on what season I was in life. Started blogging in 2009 with a soapbox blog, a chocolate business blog, and a book review blog.

  1. What writing projects are you working on?

I’ve drafted my historical romance novel, Meghan’s Choice, recently entered into Christian Writer’s Guild’s Operation First Novel contest. I’m also ACFW Area Coordinator for Pennsylvania, where I live.

What is your #1 dream in life?

To serve the Lord wherever He puts me. Always has been. 🙂 I would like to my dying day (someday far in the future, I hope) and be able to say “I did what I was put here to do. I finally found it and was able to enjoy doing it.” Read More

The Bookshelf Tag

bookshelf tagFirst of all, shout out to Justina Luther http://justinaluther.wordpress.com for this tag. And I appreciate everyone who reads or looks at this blog. It’s a work in progress and I’m still feeling my way through it, trying to discover what people want to read. Be on the lookout for Justina, she’s hot on the bloggers scale right now! Check her out to see all the awards she’s gotten so far! Way to go girl!

Note: Even if the links don’t work, please copy and paste in your browser. Thanks.

I’m changing the rules a bit. I’m tagging seven people, my fellow craftsman:

Amy Nowakhttp://amynowak.com/

Guy Gourleyhttp://guygourley.wordpress.com

Christina Bankshttp://christinabanks.com

Jen Slonigerhttp://jensloniger.com

Natalie Waltershttp://nataliewalters.wordpress.com

Simni Ogunyinka http://www.pleasantwritersguild.com/

and last but not least – Meagan Briggshttp://theemptyinkwell.wordpress.com

THE RULES For ‘The Bookshelf Tag’: Answer the following questions about books, and then tag five other bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you want, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then remember to let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so they can read it.

1) Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

I’m never afraid of a good cry. The only fiction books I stay away from are those that are horror (I hate horror), and more X-rated or R-rated romance or detective stories. Those are just lewd and disgusting. Read More

New Look, New Focus, Yet Still the Same

Blog New LookThis week’s theme is changing your mind. I’ve been changing mine about several things lately.

Changing My Mind

What have I been changing my mind about? It’s a woman’s prerogative, isn’t it?

Last week, I entered my novel in another contest. To do that, I had to chop 14,000 words. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did. I thought more, then thought some more.

First, I changed my mind about cutting another 10,000 words from my novel, Meghan’s Choice. Soon, I’ll post a scene from my unpublished novel for you all to look at and tell me what you think.

Second, I changed the look of this blog. I love the color blue. It’s always been one of my favorite colors. Because I stepped out and am going to be attending the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) national conference in St. Louis in two weeks (eeek!), I felt I needed to upgrade my web image to a bit more professional, and I got business cards that are blue, too. Read More

Self Publishing Writing Tips

inkwellLast week I shared that I was reading a two books in one set and I could tell it was self-published. How could I tell? Let’s talk about it.

Signs of a Self-Published Book

First, the story rambled on and on and on. I think the author was trying to write a sweeping saga or something. In writing romance, your main story line is to get the guy and the girl together. Mostly, that happens at the very end. But there are ways to get them together earlier. Then, you do have to throw in some dangers to the relationship. Will they, can they stay together? This author did that, and she did fine.

But…she could have put both books together in one. It was too long.

Second, loose writing. Here’s what I mean by that. Saying something in ten words but you could have said it in five. If the author had an editor, they did a rather sloppy job of it. If you have to publish your novel yourself, at least pay a published author who offers editing services to do a substantive edit on your book.

I used to wonder why certain publishing contests or publishing houses have specific word count maximums in their submissions. I think I understand now. It’s because authors are wordy. Because we love words, we use too many of them.

Third, because I also have this problem from time to time, I recognize it in other works. It’s called “head hopping.” Each scene in a novel should be written from a particular character’s point of view. You “head-hop” when the author has more than one point of view per scene. Sometimes, it shows up in one sentence or two. But it’s noticeable. How do I know? If the point of view character can’t or doesn’t know something about another character or situation, but the author sticks in what another thinks or feels without it being dialogue, that’s head-hopping.

I noticed this a few times in the books. I was surprised because this author has several books out on the market. Maybe they are all self-published. Read More

Just when you think you’re done

Judean desert

Judean desert

You’ve gone through revision after revision after revision. Will the process ever be finished? You feel like you’re in the desert and it will never end.  And just when you think you’re done – you make another decision, which causes even more work.

What I’ve already done

1.  Once I’d written the first draft over a year ago, I edited it down from about 110,000 to about 100.000 words.

2.  I had professionally edited by a former mentor who had me cutting out a lot so I could put in a lot.

3.  She and I went through this substantive edit – twice.

I should be done – right? Nope.

Read more… Read More

Process Continues – revisions in life and writing

What-story    This week, I promised to talk about writing again. I feel I’ve written the story several times already, with each revision, each run through, it does seem I’ve written several stories within the one overall story of Meghan’s Choice.

           Whose story are you telling? Yours – or – someone else’s.

I’m asking a question today – because I ran into this challenge while writing my novel. What – or – whose – story are you writing?

I had two mentors while drafting my novel. When dealing with some of the specific scenes or characterizations, it seemed my two mentors disagreed. At that point, I had to make a decision.

Whose story was I going to write? Read More

Patience in the Process

One thing I am not – is patient. Well, sometimes I can be, but I feel the older I get, the more IM-patient I act. I’m not sure why this is, but I’ve known older folks that had a hard time waiting.

Spring Daffodils growing

Spring Daffodils growing

It’s not just about waiting – it’s about not blowing my stack when something doesn’t go my way. I wish I could be like the daffodils. They don’t have to worry about HOW they’re growing – they just grow – in response to light, warmth, and water. Hmmm. Reminds of a verse I learned as a child from the Gospel of Matthew. “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither nor spin yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

What’s the point here? I’ve heard it said, “This too shall pass.” It will eventually, and things will be different. It’s when we lose hope for change in ourselves and in others that tragedies occur, such as what happened over the weekend with a popular comedian. When we battle the same things for years and years, we lose hope when nothing changes – or the changes are for the worse.

I’ve battled low self-esteem and some depression since I was a young woman. But I have hope that nothing bad lasts forever. I’m determined to be like the daffodil. As long as I respond to light, love, warmth, and water – I’ll be OK.

What if you don’t have access to the right elements – light, love, warmth, and water? Seek them out. Seek them in the people who love you. Seek them in a community of fellow men who believe in those things. Read More

Process – How to Handle Criticism

fountain penYou did it! You wrote your story, your novel, or your article. It’s your baby. It feels like one, because it’s a creative venture. Especially in the area of fiction, we writers become anxious, nervous, and worried about what future editors and readers will think, don’t we? We gather up our courage and send it off to a contest, critique group or partner, like I did this spring.

My scores came back from three judges in my genre. I was nowhere near making any kind of cut. Out of a possible 100 each, only two out of three scores were even above fifty percent. The one score below was the toughest to take. The judge said they had a hard time finding anything positive to say about my entry.

Gee whiz! And I’ve already spent well over a year writing, editing, having it professionally edited by a published author. The first chapter had been changed several times and the first page alone had been edited twice by the best my writing school had to offer. Was it that bad?

Read More

Progress is Process – II

DSC00810

This is a bud from my Royal Star Magnolia tree in my front yard. This photo was taken in early spring, not this year. In the photo, you can actually see some full blooms in the background (to the upper right). In the upper left, another bud is in further development than this one.

Isn’t that just how life is? Some parts of our lives are fully blooming, while others are still being formulated. Still other parts of our lives may be beginning to bloom but are not fully there.

Where are you in all this? Can you identify what parts of you are in the particular stages? As for me, my life is actually probably in the middle stage. I am towards the upper edge of “middle-aged” and I’m in the “middle” of writing a novel. If I looked back at my life, I’ve accomplished a few things. I have a long-term marriage (27 years this December), no kids, but I do have a few long-term friendships. Yet, I’m at a point in my life where I’m not satisfied. Read More

Process Is Sometimes Circular

in Manitou Springs, Colorado

in Manitou Springs, Colorado

I’m using this picture again, because it conveys visually what I’m thinking about today. Have you ever noticed that life goes in cycles? I’m sure you have. One process ends, another starts.

I’ve had two endings so far this year, with one start I’ve begun, and another start in the fall. My first ending was my chocolate business, after seven years. But I learned a lot in that process. I learned that the tempering process was similar, as I’ve said before, to life refining process. What I haven’t talked about is the result. Tempered chocolate has gloss and snap. But it has to be tempered in order for that to happen. More on that another day.

My first beginning is a two-hour time of prayer in a converted barn. Just little ole me right now. My husband joins me sometimes. But an ending, and a beginning.

The second ending was my writing course – Christian Writer’s Guild’s Craftsman course. I loved it, and miss it already. But I take with me what I learned. I’ve drafted a novel, and it’s been professionally edited with two pass overs. Now, it’s up to me to re-write it again (not every word, just the second set of suggestions, etc.). Read More

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