Thursday, March 31, 2011
But back to writing, with the proposal for the final book of the Dreams Come True series completed—at this point titled A Dream of His Own —I will continue the story that is set in Royal Oak, Michigan, an interesting small town that is known for its great shops and wonderful restaurants. Outdoor cafes dot the main streets where patrons sit and people watch or listen to musicians who play along the way. If you’re a fan of Love Inspired, then I hope you enjoyed the first in the series, A Dad Of His Own, still available at online bookstores. A Family of Their Own, will be released in September, and the new book will be out in spring 2012.
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And I can’t say goodbye without telling you about the exciting experience of watching a George Clooney movie being made in the city of Clawson not too far away and right down the street from my sister’s house. I couldn’t stay long and only watch a scene being filmed, but she stayed and was able to catch some wonderful photos of the star and director, George Clooney. Not bad, huh?
Enjoy Love Inspired books, and look for A Family Of His Own, 2nd in the Dreams Come True Series, in September.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Okay, so what about the rest of us? While we might have a twinge of regret that our books didn't make it this time, we don't get all sad about it. Because we believe what's good for one is good for all. These women are talented, smart and best of all, great friends who walk the walk in their faith. We love each other around here and we support each other. We believe in what we do and we know that we're all winners because we're writing the kind of books we love! What more could a girl ask for? I suggest all of you fabulous nominees go out and buy new shoes to wear when you go up to accept your awards. We'll all be cheering you on!!!!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Hi All! Charlotte Carter here.
Non-writers have no idea how physically demanding being a full-time writer can be.
What? Do I hear you laughing? Not so fast.
Give some thought to what happens to a body when it spends eight or ten or more hours per day in a sitting position. (Granted, I have writer friends who sit curled up in a big easy chair with a laptop all day, but that can’t be too swift on a body either.)
Wrist and elbow problems, and carpal tunnel, are as frequent as typos for writers.
The spine — all those discs and vertebra — can turn on their owner, resulting in serious orthopaedic problems.
Knees and hips are joints that are meant to move, not remain immobile for hours on end. (I assume you’ve heard of the condition called ‘piano player’s spread.’ Same problem for writers.)
And then there’s the foggy brain syndrome which is a result of hours of being sedentary and no blood reaching the brain.
Writers have to get up and MOVE! Deadline or not. MOVE!
Some folks have home gym equipment like a treadmill. (Please note: Treadmills are only effective if used regularly, not left sitting in a corner.)
Some writers take walks. That’s a great way to let your brain toy with your latest plot idea or characters.
I’m a member of Curves, the 30-minute women’s exercise program. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, and I’m a long way from being buff, but it does give me a chance to talk to ‘real’ people, in contrast to those talkative characters who inhabit my brain.
So, writers, let’s get moving!
Readers, we authors want you to stay in shape, too. We want you to enjoy our books for a very long time?
What do you do to keep physically active?
To read an interview with Daniel O’Brien, hero and reformed bad boy of Big Sky Reunion visit my blog: www.CharlotteCarter.com
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I’m often asked how much input an author has on a cover’s design, so I thought I’d blog about that today.
The question - How much influence does an author have on their book cover?
The short answer - It depends on the publisher.
The long answer - All publishers are interested in what an author envisions for their cover and most have some sort of questionnaire for the author to provide details about the book’s setting, hero or heroine’s physical appearance and anything else important that conveys the essence of the book.
What does Love Inspired do? - They ask us to submit written descriptions of three different scenes we’d like for our cover.
My editor also has me email pictures that portray my thoughts. I spend hours searching the Internet for a representation of the cover in my mind, and then when I find a picture that is close to my thoughts, I send it to her along with the specific mood and feeling I want to portray. If she thinks my ideas won’t work, she asks for more options.
Sigh, more searching for pictures. (If you’ve ever searched for pics on the Internet you know the interesting??? photos your search can return!)
To the right is one of the photos I sent for Behind the Badge.
I asked to have more pine trees and the hat added to the scene, along with a darker more suspenseful feel.
They got it right, don’t you agree?
Hunting for photos is a tedious task, but a very important one, and I am grateful for Love Inspired’s commitment to include the author in this decision. I am happy to say they have always used my suggestions. And the covers have been fabulous.
So how many of you buy books because of the cover or at least pick them up because the cover interests you?
Behind the Badge- Coming in June 2011
“YOUR SISTER IS NEXT.”
A killer is threatening the life of rookie cop Sydney Tucker’s sister—unless Sydney turns over evidence from a drug bust. But she doesn’t have the evidence. Not that the thug believes her. Now she and the sibling in her care are under the watchful eye of Logan Lake police chief Russ Morgan…but will his protection be enough? The killer is closing in, picking off the people and places that mean the most to Sydney. A list that now includes Russ. To protect her loved ones, will she pay the ultimate price—her life?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I mean, God seriously has a warped sense of humor. The weather report said rainy today, but I looked outside this morning and it was sunny. I dressed in shorts and a long sleeved top. I got distracted for about 20 minutes, and it started pouring.
Okay, so I changed to my waterproof running pants and a rainjacket, and I headed out.
I kid you not, barely a minute into my run, the sun came out. And stayed out for my entire one hour run! It was blazing hot! What happened to the rain???
I don’t mind running in the rain as long as I’m not too cold, which is why I have running gloves and a running cap. But I had to stuff those in my jacket pocket halfway through the run because I was seriously overheating.
And before you start into the “hot stuff” jokes, I was so uncomfortable that I had to tie my jacket around my waist, but I hate to do that because it flops around and the zipper whacks me in the elbow. And I was sweating so much in my pants that they were sticking to my butt. Yuck!
And as soon as I came home? IT STARTED RAINING AGAIN!!! AAARGGGHHH!!!!
I cannot win. God is snickering up there somewhere. I think He’s a practical joker like Cheryl Wyatt. This sounds like something she’d do if she were God.
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is her humorous contemporary romance Sushi series and her romantic suspense, Formula for Danger. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders dogs, knitting and spinning wool, running, Asiana, and other frivolous things. Sign up for her quarterly newsletter for giveaways!
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Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Have you ever made a promise to someone and then had trouble keeping your word because the situation was out of your control? The hero of my May 2011 release deals with this exact problem in my book titled The Forest Ranger’s Promise. This is the first book in a new series about forest rangers and starts out with a bang. Literally! You’ll have to read the first chapter when the book comes out to see what I mean. :)
I learned about the importance of keeping promises from my good parents. My father is a retired forest ranger and has served as my consultant on this series of books. Because Dad retired sixteen years ago and things have changed quite a bit since then, the research has kept me busy. It’s been so much fun and also a great challenge to research the many intricate facets of a forest ranger’s job. In the process, my love and respect has grown for my father as I have come to realize what a remarkable, educated man he is. (When you’re young, you tend to take your parents for granted, but no more!) Both of my parents are amazing people!
The second book in the series will be released in November 2011. Titled The Forest Ranger’s Husband, the hero is a hotshot wildland fire fighter. He is struggling with repentance after betraying an important promise. The third book has been tentatively titled The Forest Ranger’s Baby. The heroine in this story struggles with committing herself to a promise she doesn't dare make for fear she won't be able to keep it. You can expect some very action-packed scenes in each book as the main characters deal with grizzly bears, wildfires, floods, and also their own aching hearts as they search for their faith in God.
Many scenes in each book are based on actual events in my father’s life. I’ve tried my best to write faith based stories that are both very realistic and romantic. Let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you! To contact me, visit my website at: www.LeighBale.com
Thursday, March 17, 2011
But even as I write these words, my thoughts and prayers keep winging back to the people of Japan. I can't even begin to imagine the destruction and the horrific loss of life there, even though the TV, newspaper and Internet provide constant updates.
We were in Hawaii when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. All through the night, loudspeakers blared throughout our beachfront hotel, warning but also reassuring the guests....and in the middle of the night, the first three floors of the resort were evacuated to shelters at the local high schools. As I was moving our rental car to higher ground, I saw a steady stream of families with fearful children trudging out to shuttle buses, clutching pillows. The tsunami didn't affect the coastline where we were, so we were fortunate. But Japan has faced such a tragedy, I can hardly comprehend it.
What part of the country are you in? We see tornadoes and blizzards in the upper Midwest. Have you been through terrible weather situations? How did you cope?
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Shhhhh! It's a secret.
Actually my next book for Love Inspired Suspense, THE OFFICER'S SECRET, contains lots of secrets. Set in a fictional U.S. Army post--Fort Rickman--in south Georgia, it revolves around the Criminal Investigation Division. Think military homicide detectives who dress in civilian clothes and solve felony crimes that involve the military or military personnel.
I've had a ball writing the series. Book two, THE CAPTAIN'S MISSION, will be out in October, and I'm currently working on the third book in the Military Investigations series.
Here' the blurb to whet your appetite!
THE OFFICER'S SECRET will be in bookstore this May! I hope you enjoy the story!
Wishing you abundant blessings,
Sunday, March 13, 2011
It was around this same time that I decided, hey, if I was going to collect rejections I might as well swing for the fences and stop playing it safe. The resulting book was my first attempt at writing Inspirational romance. By the time I wrote “the end” I’d found my home. Writing isn’t any easier, but knowing that I’m the quill and the Lord is the Great Author brings unspeakable joy (and peace).
So what’s the point in all this? Simple. Swing for the fences in everything you do, never play it safe and always put the Lord first. The rest will work itself out in time.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Leann Harris here. I was getting ready this morning when it occurred to me it was Thursday, my day to blog. You can't believe how fast I made it to the computer. You see, I am not a morning person. My husband doesn't bother to engage in conversation. He knows I won't be perky. He once asked me (a long time ago) why I couldn't be happy in the morning. I glared at him.
Back to being tardy. Well, I had a wonderful post planned on how warm it has been in North Texas and how my daffodils and hydrangeas are coming up. I might have come up with a cute story, but my mind is blank. But I've got pictures. Enjoy.
P.S. As I went to post my pictures, my camera ran out of juice. (This isn't starting out well.) These are last year's pictures.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I'm taking an imaginary flight.
My granddaughter trying her hand at piloting a plane.
An old Transworld Airlines plane.
A huge fighter jet.
If you could read the writing on the side, you would see that this is a retired Air Force One.
If you'd like to see more about the museum you can use the following link for more information.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
So what’s a mom to do? I bundle my kid into the car and chase after the bus. That’s right. I’m going to catch the driver three stops away. It worked. I cut through the neighborhood and managed to wave frantically to the driver passing by on the main street, who probably thought I was some psycho lady. With him now in front of me as I turn onto the main street, I put on my lights hoping that I’ve managed to get through to him. It also helped that there were other parents at the next stop who told the driver to wait as I practically pushed my kid out the door.
He made it on the bus. I made it to work only a few minutes late. So where does that leave me? Determined to pass my pretty darned good organization skills on to my kids. If we’re organized, we save time, right? If everything is put back in its place we know where to find it when we’re looking for it. Like his house keys or YMCA card, his shoes, his schoolwork and a myriad of other possessions. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting trying to keep track of my own stuff as well as every other person in my family.
So how can you incorporate organizational skills into writing? Easily. How many times have you had to reread your manuscript to remember the neighbor’s husband’s name? Or what outfit our heroine was wearing last time we saw her? Or what type of stores lined your town’s main street?
I keep several detailed spreadsheets for each manuscript I write. One is for each character complete with a photograph of what they look like. One is for the all the character names, no matter how brief they appear, and how they relate to our main characters. I keep track of local businesses and who owns them as they appear in the story. I keep a time line and an outline for each chapter along with page numbers and chapter lengths.
My latest book which comes out in June dealt with renovating an old Victorian house so I kept a chart on each room in the house and the progress of the renovations as they occurred. So each time I needed to refer back to something, it was easier to page through spreadsheets than the actual manuscript. I also created an ancestry line for my heroine to keep track of marriage, birth and death dates, which coincided with the building of the original house.
Since time is a premium for me, having everything I needed at my fingertips made me more productive with the minutes I had to write. I work full-time, have two elementary school kids and managed to write the contracted book in under three months. Call me anal, but it works for me. It might just work for you, too.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I’m paraphrasing, but basically she said that making it as a writer is sort of like waiting for the right train to come along. While you’re waiting, you’re learning and reading and writing and practicing your craft in any way you can. And if you’re both diligent and lucky, eventually the right train for you will come along—you’ll find that the latest ‘hot’ thing is exactly what you want to write and what you do well, and you’ll be off on your journey.
Phyllis Whitney had written career books for young adults and ‘little’ romantic mysteries for years, never thinking of herself as anything but a working writer. Then, almost out of the blue, the romantic suspense craze hit, and she was ready to jump onto that train. A number of New York Times bestsellers later, she was still a bit bemused by how it all happened!
Taken as I was by Phyllis’s story, I certainly never expected that lesson to apply to my own writing life. I was working along, writing the series books I love for Love Inspired and Love Inspired suspense, and feeling terribly fortunate to have someone actually pay me for doing the thing I loved best in the world. I wasn’t really expecting anything else. Then, in an existing story set in my native rural Pennsylvania, I introduced a few Amish characters, wondering what my editor would say to that.
Her reaction was immediate—do more of that! The popularity of Amish fiction had just begun, and to my surprise, I found I was ready to jump on that train. I’d already built an audience for my work, and suddenly something in my own backyard, something that fit my own Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and lifestyle, was exactly what editors were looking for. Every publisher wanted an Amish author for his or her list, and there I was, ready and waiting.
No one has been able to fully explain the current popularity of Amish fiction. Why, in the midst of a wave of paranormal romances, would stories about simple families living without most of modern technology suddenly find a place?
My own feeling is that many of us are drowning in a sea of technological advances and constant input. The internet and the twenty-four hour news channels feed us a continuing diet of scary stories, and while what’s happening half-way around the world engrosses us, we don’t find the time for face-to-face interaction with the people around us. Maybe, especially in a time of economic uncertainty, we experience a longing to live for a few hours in a simpler society, where families are close to each other and people can work together without the interruptions technology brings. Maybe we can even draw strength from visiting a community in which people still have time to talk and are ready to drop everything to help a neighbor.
The ironic thing about the popularity of Amish fiction is that it has developed around a group of people who really want to be left alone to live separate from the world, as their faith teaches them. For the writer, this is a touchy business. I value my relationships with Plain People, and I try to write about them honestly and with respect. I can only hope I’m managing to do that in a way that doesn’t offend.
Like Whitney, I’m still a bit bemused, even as I’m writing a series of Amish romance trade books for Berkley and an Amish suspense series for HQN Books. Still, as she said, I was ready to jump on board when my train came along.
Someone more mathematically-minded than I am could probably create an equation from this. Maybe Preparation + Opportunity + Timing = Success!
I’m not saying that every career is meant to go in this direction, but I do believe there’s something almost magical about the results when the one subject about which you’re prepared to write, about which you can be most knowledgeable and passionate, suddenly penetrates the popular culture and creates an opportunity that couldn’t come in any other way.
I'm always excited when I go to Walmart or Barnes and Noble and see my book on the shelf. In a Doctor's Arms hit the bookstore shelves a few days ago. Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars! So I hope that readers start emailing and letting me know how they like the story. Here is the back cover copy to In a Doctor's Arms.
A YOUTH IN NEED - After a tragic car accident, Dr. Dennis Harrington's teenage nephew is traumatized. And Dennis just can't find a way to reach the boy. So when he discovers a respected child psycholigist is staying in their small Vermont town, he turns to Teresa Morales for help. The sadness he sees in her brown eyes tells him she's here to heal her own heart and mind. Yet she finally agrees to work with his nephew. As the boy slowly opens up, so does Teresa. But can Dennis ever convince her she's found a permanent home right here in a doctor's arms?
Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello
PS. Make sure you check out the Craftie Ladies contest at http://tinyurl.com/48s92bm