To go or not to go…I say GO!

Every Christian writer, new or established,
must attend writers conferences.

In the summer of 2009, bestselling author Davis Bunn gave me the following advice: “My one fervent bit of advice would be for you to attend one of the six major Christian writers conferences. Attending one of these big events is crucial. They attract major agents and publishers, people who represent the largest houses, and who can offer you a contract on the spot. This means that any input and criticism they offer carries the weight of the current publishing world. Also, these events have morning tracks taught by bestsellers in each direction–fiction, nonfiction, gift, poetry, and song etc. You will leave these five days with a much clearer sense of what is required to bring your book concept up to commercial standards, and how to proceed from there.”

He went on to recommend some of the best conferences in the USA. Wow! I listened. Why? God had given me the desire to write. I wanted to learn the craft, and learn it well.

2012. Write to Publish, Wheaton College, Chicago. This first conference gave me a chance to test the waters, grow, and work on my new skills as a writer. I made long-lasting friendships, and learned a lot attending continuing classes and workshops. Worth. Every. Penny.

2014 / 2015: Mt Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA. What a beautiful setting. My ‘home’ for five days was a spacious cabin, shared with two other writers. When I walked in, I found a welcome note and a snack from one of my roommates who I hadn’t met yet. How sweet! Thanks, April.

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Note from a roommate

At the end, someone who was driving back to San Francisco drove me across the GOlden Gate Bridge, and to an area where I could see Alcatraz. What  Treat. Until 2014, I’d never been to CA. I returned the following year and had the wonderful opportunity to take a continuing class from Davis, the author who’d spoken those very wise words to me, encouraging me to attend Christian writers conferences.

2015: Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville NC. Another oasis. That one holds a special spot in my heart. Thanks to Ane Mulligan, I saw many different sites because we drove from Sugar Hill, GA all the way to Ashville NC. I had many God moments at Blue Ridge. It was there I pitched a novel for the first time. Again, totally awesome experience.

2014, St Louis, MO / 2016, Nashville, TN: The second time I attended Mt Hermon, Karen Barnett, historical romance author strongly recommended that I, a fiction writer, attend ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I did.  It was the largest I’d attended so far. Friday evening, many go sightseeing, shop around, and grab a bite to eat downtown. ACFW was also special. I flew to Chicago where another wonderful writer and good friend, Pam Meyers, picked me up at the airport, and we drove to the conference together. Great conference. Trips of a lifetime.

All the above conferences have phenomenal speakers, teachers, worship teams, and of course, writers, people who will leave footprints on your heart! If you asked me which was my favourite, I wouldn’t be able to answer. I loved them all. Though they all offer many similar things, the learning experiences are different and totally indescribable. The friendships that ensue from sharing a room with writers who have so much in common with you are out of this world. Seeing them again when you both attend your next conference is even better and so much fun.

There are many more great conferences throughout the USA. I pray God will open the door to two other ones for me, not necessarily this year but it would be awesome if He did. Hey, I’ve seen Him do much greater things. I’ve had my heart set on Colorado Christian Writers Conference, which is in May, and Oregon Christian Writers Conference in August. Both highly recommended.

Whatever you endeavour to do in 2018, may I encourage you to pray God will open the door to the best learning experience you’ll ever have as a writer. I pray 2018 is the year for you! If you attended a conference, will you please share your experience?

For a more comprehensive list of Christian Writers Conferences, check out this link: BookLaunchMentor.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Until then, be blessed.

Happy Writing.

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New Year’s Resolution?

2018 is upon us. Time for New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us writers have set our manuscripts aside after a productive month when we pushed our way through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). On November 1, thousands all over the world take on the challenge to pen 50k words. When the clock strikes 12 on November 30, it’s time to stop. We set it aside for a week or even a month before picking it up to take a good look at what we wrote. I’ll be the first to admit, whatever filled the pages I’ve written is not fit to publish! It needs polishing. Big time! Thus the topic of my post.

The first item on my to-do list is to eliminate what many refer to as weasel words. They make their way into our manuscript where it’s not necessary. Words like that, just, and. Easily done. It’s how we talk. To make sure my manuscript is squeaky clean, I do an intensive search. Have a work in progress? Try along with me. The results might surprise you. Search (CTRL+F) for the word THAT. How often did it pop up in your document? In many cases, you can remove it without losing the meaning of your sentence.

I acquired the following list from fellow writers and conference teachers. Have you used any of them?

  • Then                            few                                          a little, a bit, a lot
  • Gaze                            anything                                 really / very
  • Quite                           anyone                                    obviously
  • So                                everything                              ironically
  • Therefore                  everyone                                 strangely
  • Enough                      sometimes                               nearly / almost
  • Many                          only / just                                 any ‘ly’ words
  • bit her lip                  some                                         even
  • anyway                     rather                                        kind of / sort of / like
  • Seemed                     felt                                             imagine
  • Wondered                hoped                                        heard
  • Thought                    considered                                tasted
  • Knew                         realized                                     saw
  • Looked                      would / could / should            had
  • up / down / back

– At my first ever Christian writers’ conference, an awesome workshop teacher, Eva Marie Everson, had said in some instances we don’t need to use up / down. For example: She sat. She set the book on the table. (Thanks! I never forgot that).

– Began / started (Joy, my editor, said “if he began, he’s doing the action.” Say it. He hummed his favourite tune, vs. he started to hum).

Passive voice, should be limited to one or two per page:
– the verb to be
– had (used for flashbacks, but sparingly in normal writing)

You can strengthen your writing different ways. Getting rid of weasel words is a good place to start. Do you know any more? Will you please share them? See you next time. Until then…

Blessings. Happy writing.

Thanks to all who contributed to this post. Lee, Jamie, Deborah, Mary, Kassy, Heidi. (hope I didn’t miss anyone).

Sixty is The New Thirty – Michelle Griep

My guest today is Michelle Griep. I love the theme of her post, Sixty is The New Thirty. Her new book, OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, recently released on Tuesday, Sept 6. Read on to find out more about Michelle, and how you can enter to win a copy of her book, read on and leave a comment.

Michelle: Hero. What’s the image that pops into your head when you read that word? Big and beefy? Sporting the requisite six-pack abs and gleaming smile? You’re not alone. That’s the image that appears in most people’s minds.

But not mine.

I’m the rabble rouser who likes to rattle cages. Mix things up. Write a story where two retired sisters-in-law save the day. Why? Because contrary to popular belief, sixty is the new thirty. Think about it . . .

Life Expectancy is LONGER

Medical advances have banished or at least managed many illnesses that used to be a death sentence—and not just for the aged. Childhood diseases aren’t as much of an issue as they were, either.

Quality of Life is BETTER

Clean water. Plenty of food. A growing awareness that exercise should be part of your everyday life. All these things and more combine to make our lives way more stellar than that of our pioneer forefathers.

The Aging Market is GROWING

Baby boomers are booming, which is a reading market to be tapped. You think this population identifies with young bucks storming the castle? Maybe a few decades ago, but now the market is ripe for more mature heroes.

Armed with those facts, my writerly buddy and I penned a story set in a senior community. Here’s a blurb for OUT OF THE FRYING PAN:

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Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

View More: http://bethanyaleshire.pass.us/michellekelly

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART is her latest release. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Thanks so much for being my guest, Michelle. To everyone reading this, Michelle is giving a hard copy of her book. Leave a comment for your chance to win. Until next time, blessings to all.

 

GAME ON – Lillian Duncan

GAME ON—What Would You Do?

What would you do if someone was out to get you, but you didn’t know who it was or why? That’s the question that faces Lucas McMann in my new political thriller, GAME ON.

game on

He believes he’s the victim of an elaborate and bizarre stalking game. The goal being to ruin his political career. The problem is he has no proof that someone is actually stalking him let alone who it is.

His choices are clear—either quit politics or win the game.

And he plans to win! But he can’t do it alone and he can’t go to those around him since he doesn’t know who to trust. But there is someone he trusts.

If only she’s put their past behind her.

Private Investigator, Nikki Kent makes a living finding out other people’s secrets, but she has one of her own. When Lucas shows up asking for her help, she refuses. She can’t take the chance of her own secret coming to light.

But her new-found Christian faith won’t let her turn her back on someone who is desperate for her help—even if he was the first man to break her heart!

Together they search for answers.

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate the release of GAME ON, I’m giving away a virtual basket of goodies at http://www.lillian-duncan.com including Amazon gift cards. For all the details go to my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes. Simply leave a comment on the blog post GAME ON at www.lillian-duncan.com and you’ll be entered.

BLURB for GAME ON

Politics is no game when a stalker nears and there’s nowhere to hide.

A run for the senate is just a step on the road to the White House for Congressman Lucas McMann. But his public profile has put him in the middle of a crazed gunman’s twisted game of stalking. If he wants to win the election and reclaim his life, he’ll need the help of the one person who’d rather leave their past behind them.

Private Investigator Nikki Kent knows how to dig up secrets and discover those who exist in the shadows. She should. She’s good at hiding secrets of her own. Can she risk her own discovery for someone so desperate for her help? For the first man who broke her heart?

With new-found faith, she’ll help Lucas search for the answers. But with the truth comes a danger they must face together.

Check out the book trailer video for GAME ON at  https://youtu.be/t6MK2UGB1P0

BIO:

Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

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Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in Ohio Amish country with her husband. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense and mystery with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.

Thanks for sharing, Lillian. The story sounds so captivating. I can see myself starting to read it and being unable to set it down.

To get your copy of Game On click on this AMAZON link or on PELICAN BOOKS.

So now, readers, go on over to Lillian’s blog and enter for your chance to win this virtual basket of goodies. Good luck, everyone. And until next time, be blessed. 

 

Life Imitated – Sarah Butland

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk on the news and social media about assisted suicide, and whether it’s right or wrong. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the issue, and as many deferring opinions. My guest today is Sarah Butland, who wrote a fiction about it. Her novel, Life Imitated, released just recently. Here she is to tell us about it.

SARAH: When a devastating accident takes away Asher’s ability to move, he has a huge decision to make. Laying on a bed, with only his voice to express himself, he is waited on hand and foot while he recalls living his prime life on the greens. Being hit by a drunk driver is something that should never happen but still does more than anyone cares to know about. With my newly released short story, Life Imitated, I tackle the big issue of assisted suicide, drinking and driving as well as forgiveness.

It is impossible to know what we would personally do under such circumstances even if we think of it every day. Until we face such dire straits, we cannot know what we would do.

Asher struggles with the trying to balance his personal hope with the feeling of taking lives away from his loved ones. Wonders if he should forgive the person who hit him or try to move on as best he can. Writing this story I struggled a lot with how it would end as I wondered what I would do if things were different. Usually it takes me a long time to figure out how to start a story and the end comes quickly and easily when I do. I write like I read, one word and page at a time and letting the story reveal itself to me, being surprised along with the reader.

When I came to the final words of this story they, too, came naturally like the rest and it left me wondering how many people would speak for themselves.

Please read the story and let me know what you would do.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

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Thank you so much, Sarah. I invite everyone to leave comments for a chance to win an ebook  copy of her novel. However, please keep in mind that everyone’s opinion matters, and each one of them counts, even though it may NOT be your own. Please be respectful.

Until next time, blessings

Renee-Ann

 

Metaphor and Simile: What They Are and Why You Need Them by James R. Callan

James R Callan, author of A Silver Medallion, is my guest this week. He’s here to talk about metaphors and similes. Hope you find this useful. Enjoy.

James: If you’re writing fiction, you need to use metaphors and similes.  Why?  Because you need to develop memorable characters, characters that your readers can hardly wait to tell their friends about.  “You’ve got to read this book. You’ll (love, hate, laugh at, cry about, want to marry, want to kill—pick one) this character (supply name here).”

So, what do I mean by metaphors and similes in fiction.

“John had big ears.”  That’s not going to make John memorable. “John had large ears.”  Nope. No better.  “John had huge ears.”  A tiny bit better.  “John’s ears looked like weather balloons attached to his head.”  That’s a simile – comparing two things which are dissimilar items, such as comparing ears to weather balloons, and using the word “like” or “as.” Which description are you going to remember?  Sure, it’s a gross exaggeration, but it gets the idea across and in a way that will be remembered.

“Mano’s hand was a catcher’s mitt.”  That is a metaphor — the comparison of two things that are in general not alike, without using “like” or “as.” The reader knows this guy didn’t really have a catcher’s mitt for a hand. But the reader knows very clearly, this guy had big hands, exceptionally big hands, beefy hands. Your reader will remember that feature about him. You, the author, can use that fact later in the book to good advantage. And guess what?  The reader will remember.

“Her eyes were like sapphires cut to catch the light and sparkle.”  Simile. (Her eyes were like…) “His eyes were lasers, the kind that cut through steel.” Metaphor.  (His eyes were …)  “He was only five feet tall, but his feet were as big as a seven foot giant’s.” Simile.

In my latest mystery Over My Dead Body, I say, ” … Syd’s small, frame house, like a giant, square tumbleweed.”  Simile.  In my book A Ton of Gold, I describe a woman’s hair, ” black and shiny as obsidian.”  Simile.

Can you overdo the use of metaphor and simile? You most certainly can. They should be like the habañera: not used on everything, and not used too much. (Simile.)

Remember, one of your goals is to develop memorable characters.  Similes and metaphors can help make a character memorable. <><

Thanks, James. I hope everyone finds it very useful. James is giving away an ebook copy of Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel and also one of How to Write Great Dialog. For your chance to win one of them, leave a comment below.



jim-color-formal

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favourite genre, mystery/suspense.  His eleventh book released in June, 2016.

Website:  www.jamesrcallan.com

Blog:  www.jamesrcallan.com/blog

Author’s page on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1eeykvG

Buy link for A Silver Medallion on Kindle:  http://amzn.to/1WxoEaF

Buy link for A Silver Medallion paperback:  http://amzn.to/28LIdWs

 

“Don’t ruin your name.”

With today’s technology, we writers have so much electronic help at our disposal. We put fingers to keyboards instead of pen to paper (for the most part). We have programs that spell-check everything and sometimes will even ask, ‘Did you mean this?’  when we use certain homonyms. Thre’s the Internet with online dictionaries, thesauruses, and a slew of other reference books and so much more.

My favourite gadget is Kindle. When I go anywhere to write, I can take all the reference books I need on one device. My favourite app? MS Word, which is available on most devices nowadays. I save my documents to OneDrive (another awesome tool) and access them from anywhere with my iPhone. Anywhere I go, you can see me jotting down ideas in another great app called A Novel Idea, or working on my WIP.

Okay so we’ve established that technology has evolved a lot over the years, and it has taken our writing to a whole new level. In many ways, I must say it’s a good thing.

There is however one thing—or rather one person—technology will never be able to replace. Your editor. No gadget can do that kind of work as efficiently. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a real live person to go over your manuscript and work not only for you but also with you. Why?

After you’ve read something often enough, you’ve memorize it. When editing, you know what’s coming and no longer see the typos/grammatical errors. Your brain reads what it’s supposed to say but fails to see what’s really there. That’s why it’s so important to pass it to someone else, to get another set of eyes.

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Actual page from my last novel (c)

When I attended my very first Christian Writers Conference, I was still working on my first novel. I went there to learn and hadn’t planned on meeting with any editors or agents. After some prompting from my new writer-friends, I arrived at my first ever meeting totally unprepared. The editor read only half of the first page and stopped. For me, a newbie, the words that followed were brutal. ‘Don’t publish that book. You’re gonna ruin your name.’ Ouch! How that hurt! I knew my book wasn’t ready, but I didn’t think it was that bad. The next day, after I’d given it some thought and re-read that page, I returned to say thanks. Yes, it was that bad. It needed work. A lot of it.

Please understand, I’m not trying to deter or scare anyone who’s planning editor/agent meetings at their next conference. On the contrary, I want to stress the importance of acquiring an editor. If you walk in prepared, you’re bound to have a good meeting and might even land a contract.

My biggest piece of advice to any writers out there: do not attempt to replace your editor with any kind of technology. Yes, some editors may be expensive, I get that, but they’re worth every penny and then some.

Regardless what kind of gadgets you get, or how much money you invest, no amount of technology, programs, apps, or reference books will ever be able to replace your editor. You won’t get all the perks he/she has to offer in any of the above mentioned tools. Ever!

So now, are you done writing that novel? You think it’s ready? Acquire an editor and let him/her be the judge of that. Don’t ruin your good name

Creating Character Emotions – Gail Pallotta

My guest this week is Gail Pallotta, author of Breaking Barriers. I hope you enjoy her tips on creating character emotions.

Portrait shot  Gail Pallotta

Gail: Lately, I’ve heard the more emotion the characters in a story exhibit, the more interesting they and the book become. So, I’ve been exploring ways to create their emotions.

Some physical descriptions that work are lips turned down or shoulders slumping for someone sad; fists balled up ready to strike and a red face for an angry person. Of course, happy characters lips turn up on the corners and their eyes dance or twinkle.

We can also use similes and metaphors and relate them to our particular stories to show emotion. For instance, in a book about a circus, we could describe a sad person as looking like the clown after someone drew tears on his cheeks. If we were writing a book about a quarterback, and he was making a life decision with his wife, he might chew his lip as if he tried to decide what to do on fourth and goal. A wife arguing with her husband while she’s cooking breakfast might have his words turn her brain to scrambled eggs. In a war story, a soldier possibly would stare at someone as though he had him in missile lock. These poetic devices used in conjunction with the subjects of our book keep the reader tuned into our stories and show emotions.

Even though we’re told clichés are a no-no, it’s fine to change them to show emotion. I enjoy swimming, so I like to put swimmers in my books. If one of them becomes weak for one reason or another, I can have them grow as limp as a wet bathing suit as opposed to as limp as a wet dishrag. Other clichés that we could use include someone who’s as angry as a wasp instead of angry as a hornet. We might have a heroine who believes the grass is always greener on the other side. We can’t say that, but we can write she thinks her neighbor’s flowers bloom brighter than hers.

Even after learning how important emotions are and how to give them to my characters, I sometimes get wrapped up in the story and leave the characters on their own. According to my editor for Barely Above Water, Paula Mowery, one good way to make sure I’ve put in emotion is to do a search for telling words, such as “felt,” “sad,” “lonely,” “happy,” “sorry,” and “guilty.” Then take those out and describe how the character looked when he or she experienced that particular emotion.

These are a few of the devices I’ve picked up in my writing journey and try to use in interesting ways to let the reader know how my characters feel.

Book Blurb for Breaking Barriers: In this action-packed thriller gunshots ring out as Ann Jones enters church. She hides in the bathroom until they stop then stumbles into the sanctuary. The congregation lies dead in pools of blood. To rebuild the church she starts True Light Guardians. At the first meeting she’s attacked by a terrorist but rescued by James Crawford. He melts her heart, cold from her father’s abuse, and they fall for each other. She’s afraid to commit to love that might grow angry later like the type she knew as a child. James yearns to stop other attempts on Ann’s life, but can’t. Tormented by her constant risks, he breaks up with her. When an assault sends her to the hospital, an unlikely ally shares Ann’s plight with James, but he reveals a lead that puts all three of them in even more danger.

Click HERE to buy Breaking Barriers:

LoveIs_BreakingBarriers web size

Bio: Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s been a best-selling author on All Romance eBooks. She’s published five books, poems, short stories, and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Gail loves to connect with readers.

Visit Gail her on her WEBSITE 
Her BLOG 
Facebook 
Twitter 

Gail is giving away an eBook copy to a lucky winner. Leave a comment for your chance to win. A name will be randomly selected on Wednesday June 29. Good luck, everybody.

 

LOVE / HATE RELATIONSHIPS with WRITING PROGRAMS

by: Ginger Solomon

There’s a love-hate relationship between writing programs and me. I’ve tried several different avenues to get my thoughts organized. At present, I am using Scrivener (for Windows). While it is better than my other way (hold on…I’ll get to it in a second), it still has it’s deficiencies.

Most times a picture won’t copy from a website. I have to save it to my hard drive and then copy and paste to my file. The spelling program is REALLY bad. And the program has a pretty steep learning curve. I’m sure it does a number of things that I have yet to discover. It also is limited on how much formatting you can do. A lot of format styles apply to the whole document and cannot be changed for one scene or chapter.

There are also some really GREAT things about it. The ability to rearrange scenes from one place to the next (or previous) without having to copy and paste, but simply click and drag is amazing. I also like the ease with which I can save certain sections as a document, a pdf, or various other files, including e-pub and mobi without having to create a new document to save.

Prior to trying, and subsequently purchasing, Scrivener I was using Word and OneNote. This way also had its downsides. I had to have two different programs running simultaneously. Switching between them became a bit of a hassle. I tried writing in OneNote, but it didn’t quite work as well as I would have liked.

It’s great for notes. 😉 I actually use OneNote weekly for sermon notes. It also works well to save pictures and various websites with a simple click and drag. And, up until recently, I could only access it from one machine, so if I was writing on my desktop (which I no longer have), I couldn’t access those files from my laptop. Of course, this could have been a long-time feature that I didn’t know about. 🙂

As for Word, well, most of us have used it at one time or another, I imagine. It is versatile and easy to understand. However, the spelling and grammar program does have flaws, and it is impossible to move scenes without copying and pasting, and that doesn’t always work like we’d want. And then there are the black lines that appear and disappear at random. It’s probably just a bug (I use Word 2010), but it can be disconcerting when a sentence of my document disappears behind a large black line only to reappear a moment later.

One thing I LOVE about Word is the Track Changes feature. It allows for great editing. I don’t use it for my personal documents, but to proofread and critique others’ works. I do use the comments section to make notes to myself, reminding myself to go back and research a certain thing or to change a name or something like that.

Overall, I love Scrivener for writing, Word for editing, and OneNote for taking notes, writing reviews, or anything that is short and doesn’t need much space.

If you’re a writer (fiction or non-fiction), what writing program do you use and why do you like it more than another one?

 

Ginger 12 - brightened

Ginger Solomon

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs.

Author Links:
Website
Inspy Romance Blog
Facebook Author Page
Twitter @GingerS219
Pinterest

Broken Valentine cover

Being stood up on Valentine’s Day is not how Sarah Sawyer wanted the evening to go. It only gets worse when she discovers her boyfriend’s betrayal. Accepting a ride home from her attractive waiter goes against everything she’s been taught, but her choices are limited. 

Michael Richmond can’t let his beautiful, yet heart-broken customer walk home, no matter how tired he is after working fourteen hour days all week. 

It might be either the best decision of his life or the worst. Only time will tell if their broken hearts can become one, or if they will tear each other apart. 

Broken Valentine
is the second book in the Broken Holidays Series, but can be read as a stand-alone. 
Amazon 

Becoming a writer doesn’t happen overnight.

Recently, an old friend reminded me how as a teen, I always said I’d be a writer someday. He was happy to see I’d realized my dream. I’ll admit, I changed my career goals several times back then, but I never lost the desire to write.

Along the way, I learned many great lessons too numerous to list. Here are those I deem MOST important. 

PERSEVERANCE: Writing is a long, hard journey, but perseverance and dedication can get you where you want to be. I often thought of throwing the towel in, but that would have been too easy. Instead, I pressed on.

WRITE: Logical, right? Some find other things to do. Cleaning house/raising kids is time consuming, yes. Whether you work outside the home (like me), or you’re a stay-at-home Mom, set and stick to a writing schedule. I can’t stress this enough. Hey… if you write just one page a day, that’s a 365-page novel at the end of the year. Two pages? You’ll get one in 6 months.

LOCATION: I realize not everyone has a spare room where they can seclude themselves, but hopefully there’s an area in your home where you can write without interruptions. I rarely ever use my office. I do most of my writing from either my recliner or my bed. Yes, I sit with a back pillow, and my laptop on a four-legged breakfast tray. As long as the door is shut, everybody knows that room is off limit. Coffee shops are great too. 

EDITOR: This one should be number ONE in the list of priorities. When I wrote Stella’s Plea as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I knew it wasn’t fit to publish but I loved that story and wanted to do something with it, so I hired an editor to work with me. I couldn’t put it out there until a professional had looked at it. Don’t skip this step.

PROOFREADERS: They’re vital people in your journey though you may not realize it until you’ve completed your book. By the time you type The End, you now know the story inside and out. So does your editor. When you read a sentence, paragraph, or page, you no longer see the typos because your brain knows what it’s supposed to say. Yes, editors can miss things. They’re humans too. I asked four people to read my story. Yes FOUR. The MOST particular of them found several mistakes the other three had missed. THAT’s how vital they are.

CONFERENCES: They are a MUST for every writer. Why? It’s where:

  • you’ll learn the tools of the trade by amazing authors who’ve been there/done that;
  • you’ll walk away with awesome new knowledge;
  • you’ll develop wonderful friendships with other writers
  • you may even exchange business cards with agents/editors who may be interested in your story.

    Give these a try and let me know what happened.

    Blessings always, and good luck in your writing endeavours.