Friday, December 13, 2013

Here's to You


This post is a “thank you”
to you, my readers.

Thank you for taking the time, this year, to read, or even scan, my posts, and leaving comments when you had the time.

I read (and scan) MANY blogs and know there is a lot out there to read. So, thanks for your comments, especially when there wasn't anything being given away. 

My Hat is Off

to You

If there is a subject you would like to see covered on this blog in the new year, please leave it in a comment.


Blessings on your Christmas preparations
and your end of the year writing.


Friday, December 6, 2013

An Intriguing Read Giveaway

The Winner of Show Me a Sign is Cheri Swalwell. Congrats.

Here is a picture of the author, Susan Miura, at her launch party where she signed her book for me.

I am giving away the young adult novel, Show Me a Sign by Susan Miura. I have not given away many YA books, but am a believer in Christians writing interesting and realistic books with positive messages that will engage young people.

Check out the plot from the back cover:
All he wanted was to share a pizza with the coolest girl he'd ever met. Then his almost-girlfriend was kidnapped. Seventeen-year-old Nathan Boliva is under investigation by the FBI for a kidnapping he didn't commit. Deaf and beautiful Haylie Summers agreed to go on a date with him, then disappeared the day before. When the Feds discover a text was sent from Nathan's cell phone, asking Haylie to meet him behind her garage, Nathan becomes a prime suspect. An action-packed plunge into intrigue and danger.  

Some Reviews:

"A well-crafted romantic thriller."-AMY ALESSIO, teen librarian, reviewer for The Book Report, author of the Alana O'Neill Mysteries.


"Love and friendship break the sound barrier in this suspenseful, fast-paced story."-JOANN KORT, Deaf Educator.
Susan Miura is a former newspaper and television reporter. She is a professional book reviewer for and works in public relations for a large library. Her books reflect her Christian faith and are meant to inspire as well as entertain.
Leave a comment & your email address, to be entered into the drawing for a copy of Show Me a Sign. Deadline is midnight (Central Time), Thursday, December 12. Winner will be announced on this blog on Friday, December 13.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Keep Track


I stated, a few weeks ago, that disorganization is one thing that “kills” my writing. So, I wanted to share something I have been using that gives me some control in my chaos. I have started recording my daily writing activities in a diary.
Inspired by my mother, who has kept a diary for over 35 years, I felt it would help me to have a grasp on where I was headed, by what I accomplished.
I use an inexpensive spiral notebook, noting the month and day and then recording my completed tasks for the day: worked on my novel, roughed out idea for devotional, my social media activity, etc. I don’t always use a page per day, but just enough room to record the day’s activities.
I hesitated even mentioning this, it seemed like such a small thing, but it has given me a handle on my writing life. It even encourages me when I look back and see what I have accomplished. In my life, if something isn’t written down, it doesn’t happen, or in this case, it is not remembered.
How about you? Do you use some type of diary or logbook?     

Friday, November 15, 2013

An Amish Bit of Charm

The Winner of, A Little Bit of Charm, is


Thanks for the comments and suggestions for helping me deal with disorganization (see last blog). I think we will return to that subject in the future.

As we head into the Thanksgiving season, I am giving away a book you can take with you if you are travelling, or maybe take a break to read, after cooking or eating.

I am giving away A Little Bit of Charm, Book Three in The New Beginnings Series (Harvest House) by Mary Ellis. The first two books, Love Comes to Paradise and Living in Harmony are set in Missouri and Maine respectively, but Book Three is in Kentucky. Rachel King, has lost both parents, moves to Kentucky, where she gets a job working with horses, one of her loves. But, she wants more as she desires to find a love that will last forever. The one who draws her attention happens to be English and not Amish. 


To be entered in the drawing for A Little Bit of Charm, please leave a comment and list one thing for which you are thankful, before midnight, Thursday, November 21.

Winner will be announced on this blog on Friday, November 22. Please leave an email address. U.S. addresses only.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is Disorganization Killing Your Writing?

I spent three days this week trying to organize my office (or what used to be our dining room), which hadn't been seriously tackled for a few years. I COURAGEOUSLY took the above picture. I went through boxes and files, moved piles of books, magazines, etc. trying to make my space work for me.

I am not an organized person; I really have to work at it. I ached and was exhausted by bedtime, which came quite late.

I have learned a few things that are holding me back from an ORGANIZED state and may be helpful to you:

CHOOSE AREAS OF WORK. What are the three main areas of work for you? For me it was writing nonfiction, fiction and historical research.
LOOK AT SPACE. Determine what amount of space you have available.
PUT LIKES TOGETHER AND PURGE. Place similar things in piles and see what you have. Put books, notebooks and files in separate stacks. Then purge.
LET GO. You have to say, “let go” at some point. I found magazines and papers I have had for over 25 years. I found a typed outline of notes from a 1996 conference I attended. Many of them have no lasting value and they are taking up space. But, I am a keeper and found it difficult to throw one out even when I had two copies!
TRY SOMETHING. Don’t think that once you put something somewhere it has to stay there. You can remove it and put it somewhere else, if it doesn’t work.


How about you? Do you have one tip of organization that you could share?














Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Yes and No

A few weeks ago on this blog, I asked how many were going to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Today is the first day of that monthlong event.

I asked if anyone had participated before and were they going to this year, so that others could benefit from their experience and decide whether to join in.

Since that post, I have decided to not participate to complete a 50,000 word novel, even though I am trying to finish a novel-in-progress. I sat down last week and decided on a deadline of January 31 to complete my rough draft. I felt that if I tried to complete it in November, I would fall behind and then become discouraged and quit, something I have done more than once. I hope to participate in the future.

But, I have come up with some alternative writing exercises that I am going to try. So, if you aren't ready to attempt a novel, maybe try this: 


Write Daily Devotionals. Since I also write daily devotionals, and have an assignment coming to me December 1, I have decided to write some.


Personal Experience Stories. I have a notebook full of ideas and thought maybe I could finally put these ideas on paper.


Write Character or Setting Descriptions. If you have ideas for future stories or novels write about the people or places you would like to bring to life.

What about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?




Friday, October 18, 2013

Autumn Giveaway

The Winner of the drawing for Whispers from the Shadows is Kay M. Congrats!

As autumn
 is upon us, it makes me think of curling up with a book and reading by the fire. So, this week I am giving away another historical fiction book.

Set in 1814 England and Maryland, the novel is Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna M. White. It tells the story of Gwyneth Fairchild, the daughter of a British general and Thad Lane, a prominent citizen of Baltimore. War, espionage and romantic spy adventure have been used to describe this story. Read more about it here.

Please leave a comment to be entered into the drawing. The last day to enter is Thursday, October 24 at midnight. Please include your email address. Winner will be announced on this blog on Friday, October 25.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Do You Wrimo?

What you say? Yes, Wrimo or NaNoWriMo (stands for National Novel Writing Month). This is where people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days, during the month of November. NaNoWriMo started in 1999, and is expected this year to have about half a million participants. According to the NaNo website, there were 341,375 sign-ups last year. You can register on their website and record and share your progress with others around the country. There are over 250 NaNoWriMo novels which have been traditionally published, including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants.

I’m debating whether to do this. In the past, when I began my novel on November 1, I shortly became discouraged when I missed a daily goal. I knew that I would be playing catch-up all month. Usually, I quit before I reached my goal.

But, this year, if I participate, I am thinking of setting a lower goal than 50,000, as I try to finish a resurrected novel that I began a few years ago. Also, I don't want to get discouraged.


How about you? Have you tried this? Has it worked for you? If so, how has it helped you? If not, why not?

Let’s help each other decide.





Friday, October 4, 2013

New Job and Giveaway


A week ago I left my job, taking early retirement, to work more on my writing. I have had a pretty good first week. I was sad when I realized today was the end of the week, although I did have moments of "sheer terror" of the future.

Farewell gifts from generous co-workers

The main thing I learned this week is that time goes fast and we need to take steps to do those things we are called to do. We only get one chance.

Now, for the giveaway:  I am giving away a copy of A Home for My Heart by Anne Mateer. I brought back this book back from ACFW Conference, and it is set in 1910 at the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children. Being a lover of historical fiction, the setting of this book intrigued me. I haven’t read it, but I am anxious to. I have two copies, so I am sharing one with a reader.

Leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. The last day to enter is next Thursday, October 10 at midnight, central time. No international entrants.
Please leave your email.
The winner will be announced on this blog next Friday.






Friday, September 27, 2013

Connection is Critical

After attending a recent conference, I thought about the importance of being about to communicate with various types of people. With some preparation, we who are introverts can be ready to chat.

I spent four years while in my late teens to early twenties, as a secretary at a major university. I was shy and na├»ve and being around professors and their wives, especially at social events for the department, brought me much angst. One trick I learned was to stand beside one of the professor’s wives, who was a great

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Importance of Writers Conferences

I have attended over 25 writers conferences. I always consider them essential to my growth as a writer. But, sometimes I forget just how much I enjoy them and can benefit from attending. Last week I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference, which was held, this year, in Indianapolis. I left exhilarated and ready to work toward my goal of finishing one of two novels I started a few years ago.


Here are five reasons, I was reminded of again last week, why writers conferences can be game changers:


1.  You learn about what is happening in the industry.


2.  You attend workshops taught by published authors and hear new approaches to common problems.


3.  You see published writers attend workshops and take notes and are impressed with their commitment to learn. In turn you want to learn.


4.  You realize that all writers struggle with their work and know you are not alone.


5.  Oh, there is always lots of coffee!!!



How about you? Are writers conferences
important to you?



Friday, September 6, 2013

Writers' Conferences: Prepare, but Don't Forget to Enjoy

Three months have passed since the Write-to-PublishConference where I have the opportunity to teach and encourage writers, who also encourage me.

Now, I find myself getting ready for another conference (American Christian Fiction Writers). Since I am not a part of the staff, I feel more relaxed and have different goals. At WTP, I focused on seeing that attendees had the necessary information to navigate and benefit from the conference. This conference is for me to listen and learn and meet other writers.

If you are planning to attend an upcoming conference, here are some things you might consider:


1.  Rest before you go. Try to get some sleep at home before you leave. I will be driving for a few hours, which adds to the fatigue for me, in addition to the hectic schedule of a conference.


2.  Set goals. Do you want to concentrate on the classes or seek out times to network with others? There may be the opportunity to purchase recordings of the classes, thus freeing up time to attend some of the gatherings to meet other writers.

Odds are, as a writer, you are probably an introvert, as are many others attending. Decide before you go that you are going to step out and meet other writers. Once you do it, it will become easier.

3.  Check availability of a photographer. There may be a conference photographer taking head shots for business cards and social media, etc. The cost is usually quite reasonable when a photographer has access to a larger number of clients at one time.


4.  Set a budget for books. Most conferences will set up a conference bookstore. As a writer, you will probably be overwhelmed at the options. Set an amount you will spend before you go.


5.  Travel light. This goes not just for travel, but for what you carry while attending the actual conference. Consider whether you will want to take a laptop computer. If your computer is not small or lightweight, it may physically weigh you down. If you take it, and find it is too heavy, then you may be forced to leave it in your room, and you have to decide if you are comfortable with that. I find an old-fashioned pen and notebook works the best.


6.  Relax and Enjoy. Don’t try to put too much pressure on yourself. It is one conference and there will be more. At each conference you will meet new people who will help you along your road to publication.  


How about you? What is one thing you consider before attending a writers' conference.





Friday, August 30, 2013

How Do You React When You Don't Meet a Goal?

Earlier this month I blogged about a colleague, Reba J. Hoffman, who was on a cross country biking trip to make others aware of PTSD (read her story) and give women the courage to defeat their fears. She had been on the road for almost two months and had made it from South Carolina to the Kentucky Indiana border. Unfortunately, she has suffered an injury to her shoulder and knee and will have to abandon the trip (read the update).
I was sorry to hear this about my friend, but she is upbeat and she is still an inspiration. I started thinking about how easily I become discouraged, when I don't accomplish what I set out to do. This led me to consider what are some healthy ways to react when we realize a dream or goal is not going to happen.
Here are 4 ways I came up with:

1.  Grieve and Do Something. It is okay to be sad and feel a little discouraged; just don’t let it last forever. After you grieve, DO SOMETHING to help you forget about your discouragement. Take a walk or talk to a good friend and tell them your story. Even though you don’t feel like it, get up and DO SOMETHING.


2.  Write. Put it on paper. Record the things you learned from the experience, your current situation and five things for which you are thankful.

3.  Pray and think. Go over your next possible moves and ask God for guidance.


4. Go. Take that next step, but just a small one. Even though you may be hesitant and fearful that this new thing might not work, you won’t go forward unless you take a step.


How about you? How do you bounce back when you experience a setback?

Join the conversation.







Friday, August 23, 2013

Writing Stalled? Try These Five


This week many schools opened their doors for the new academic year. I always loved going to school. It was like a new beginning.

When I was in elementary school, my Mom would buy my school supplies and keep them in her bedroom. Since my father worked nights and slept during the day, she thought this would keep me away from using them. But, I would sneak into the bedroom as he slept and pull out the school supplies and look at them. I would run my fingers across the unused crayons, new pencils, and notebooks.

       I still get excited when it is time for school to start. I even look at the sale flyers and buy the inexpensive notebooks and pens. It is a time to take a fresh look at my writing projects.

       If you are stalled or stuck in your writing, here are five ways that might help you get started again:


1.  New writing time. If you haven’t been able to produce during the time of day you put aside to write, try a new time or location. I didn’t think I could ever write in the evenings, but I have written many blog posts during that time.
2. New word count/or time spent. If you just can’t seem to reach your word count, then reduce it; break it down. Producing half the amount is better than not producing at all.
3.  Start a new journal. It is always exciting for me to look at that first blank sheet of paper in a new notebook. While you're at it, get a new pen for the journey. You could write down your writing frustrations, add descriptions of your characters for a new novel, as well as settings or time periods you would like to write about. You could also include subjects of articles and ideas you would like to explore.
4.  Read about a new area of interest. Begin reading about a subject you would like to know more about. This could be a time in history you find interesting. Read not only nonfiction works, but novels about that time period.
5.  Find that quiet place. Take time to stop and be quiet and let yourself think about where you are in your writing life and what direction you want to proceed. And don't forget, as believers, we have the awesome privilege of prayer and the encouragement of God’s Word.   


How about you? What is one thing you do to jumpstart your writing?