Friday, April 29, 2011

Author Spotlight: Angela Breidenbach - A Sense of Organization: It's all about the system.

A Sense of Organization: It's all about the system.
by Angela Breidenbach

People tell me I'm organized. Sometimes I want to laugh when they see my desk. But did you know there are different types of organization? It's not really a general all encompassing kind of thing. Does that surprise you?

I have a normal American home. A bit cluttered, family pictures all over the walls and piano, and there's usually dishes to do in the sink. Sounds like anybody's home, right?

So what's organized about me? What's different?

It's in how I organize my thoughts. I'm a linear thinker. But I'm not naturally that way, just ask my hubby. He'd burst out in laughter. When I write, I've learned to follow a trail. That trail starts on my laptop because I keep everything in a file folder there unless it's crucial to be a hard copy. Then it goes in a file folder in my filing cart.

What does linear thinking look like?

I started a file on my computer titled Book: Gems of Wisdom. Inside this file I have another research file folder, any research books I downloaded, photos I need to understand what I'm writing, a marketing folder, design folder, interview folder, contract folder, and so on.

Each time I work on anything for that book, I file it immediately. I learned that the hard way from losing things and not being able to remember the download file name.

I also started a google calendar. This has been a saving grace for me! I schedule in it any blog tour posts, guest posts, appearances, workshops I'm teaching, interviews, etc. I set it up to auto-remind to my blackberry. So each day I get a reminder of the day's events and know what's on my schedule.

Realize I set up this type of system because I'm not naturally organized. I created organization in order to effectively run my speaking and writing business. I think it's crucial to manage our daily lives in ways that work to keep us focused on our goals. It's too easy to forget or get caught up in something that steals our interest.

I also pay attention to my marketing by doing a monthly marketing report for my publisher, SuzyQ4U (my event specialist), my publicist Don Otis, my agent, Karen at Christian Speaker Services, and myself. By simply opening an email and adding what I've done that day to a draft email, I can keep up a running list. Then I email it after the month closes. Everyone is aware and on top of what I'm personally doing. I've added each one of these people to my google calendar so they know what my schedule looks like as well. 

For me, setting up a system to succeed is what helps me stay on track. Then working that system becomes a habit. I can tell you that having the reminders, the list, and a simple system has saved my bacon almost daily. There's no way to remember everything you have to do for a book, marketing, interviews, and daily life without putting a system in place. Work the system and you will reach your goals.



About the book: In Gems of Wisdom: For A Treasure-Filled Life you'll embark on a treasure hunt for God's unique gems of wisdom. Be empowered, learn to influence through your own life lessons, and preserve important relationships. Gems of Wisdom invites the reader on a treasure hunt to find important life concepts represented by the beautiful stones God created. Excellent for Bible study and book clubs as well as individual study. 








Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009, a multi-award winning inspirational speaker and the author of the Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life from Journey Press, the Creative Cooking Series including the new release of Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance and the new Kindle release, Creative Cooking for Colitis. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She connects missions to her work with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries and the Jadyn Fred Foundation. Angela also teaches online classes and coaches one-on-one in courageous confidence, personal growth, and powerful living. She’s certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and life coach. Angela serves as an assisting minister for her congregation in Missoula, MT. She volunteered as the American Christian Fiction Writer's publicity officer for two years. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom's brain for the study of schizophrenia, but she’s also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital. Angela is married with a combined family of six grown children and two grand children. Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life releases May 2011 from Journey Press, a Sheaf House imprint.


Confidence Coach & Purposeful Living Educator
Personal growth = Powerful living!

Interested in having Angela speak? Contact Christian Speaker Services 800.871.9012 x40250

Angela is represented by Tamela Hancock-Murray of Hartline Literary Agency. Tamela can be reached at tamela@hartlineliterary.com.

Interact with or learn more about Angela Breidenbach:
http://www.TheFaithGirls.com on Wednesdays each week

*****************

Christy here,
Angie, thanks so much for being my guest today. As you all can see from reading Angie's bio, she is a busy lady and I can assure you her book Gems of Wisdom is a great guide for those of us struggling to manage it all. Leave a comment for a chance to win your very own copy!  The winner will be announced on Thursday, May 5th!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who is My Shelter by Netta Jackson


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Who is My Shelter
Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2011)
by
Neta Jackson




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Neta Jackson is the author of the popular novel series, *The Yada Yada Prayer Group*, and a spin-off series called *The Yada Yada House of Hope.* These novels were inspired by a real women's Bible study and prayer group that, as Neta says, "God has used to turn my life upside down and rightside up." Neta and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning writing team, best known for the Trailblazer books--a forty-book series of historical fiction for young people about great Christian heroes (see www.trailblazerbooks.com). The Jacksons are members of a multi-cultural church in the Chicago area, and the parents of three grown children, including a Cambodian foster daughter, all with families of their own.



ABOUT THE BOOK





In Jackson's fourth Yada Yada House of Hope Christian evangelical novel, Gabby Fairbanks is now settled in her new apartment at the House of Hope. But she is being pulled in several directions at once and has some hard decisions to make.



Philip, her estranged husband, is in a lot of trouble with a rogue cop from whom he borrowed money and also with his partner at the commercial development firm after he takes company money to cover his gambling losses. Lee Boyer, the Legal Aid lawyer who has become a friend to Gabby, now wants to be more. Gabby must decide whether to give Philip another chance, as their sons, Paul and PJ, hope, and she turns to the folks at Manna House, where she works, and the Yada Yada Prayer Group to help her discern God's plan for her.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Who is My Shelter, go HERE

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Z - Zipped

The A-Z blogging challenge really "zipped" by and today is the last day. I had a lot of fun on the days I actually posted something that corresponded to the day's word. I appreciate my friends Lindi and Missy bringing some awesome posts during this time as well. I am also excited about everyone who has visited the blog and said hello! It's always great to meet new blogging buddies.



There is still time to leave a comment for Missy's book A Family for Faith. I'll announce the winner on Thursday. And on Friday, another FAITH blog sister, the multi-talented Angela Breidenbach will be right here on this blog talking about how she keeps her busy self organized! She'll also be giving away her new book Gems of Wisdom. Please come back and see us and leave a comment for your chance to win.

I may have to revisit the A-Z blog challenge from time to time as I would think of something cool to write about a certain letter the day after the letter premiered. That's the way my mind works. Sometimes it gets overloaded and is "zipped" shut.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Abigail's New Hope by Mary Ellis


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Abigail's New Hope
Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2011)
by
Mary Ellis




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



A word from the author:I grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community of Geauga County, where my parents often took me to farmers’ markets and woodworking fairs. My husband and I now live within the largest population of Amish in the country–a four-county area in central Ohio. We love to take weekend getaways to purchase farm produce and other goodies, stay with Amish families in bed and breakfasts, attend country auctions and enjoy the simpler way of life.



This is my first series of novels set in the Amish community.



I would love to hear from readers of Christian novels. Please leave me a post at my blogsite.



ABOUT THE BOOK



As an Amish midwife, Abigail Graber loves bringing babies into the world. But when a difficult delivery takes a devastating turn, Abigail is faced with some hard choices. Despite her best efforts, the young mother dies—but the baby is saved.

When a heartless judge confines Abigail to the county jail for her mistakes, her sister Catherine comes to care for her children while Daniel works his fields. Catherine meets Daniel’s reclusive cousin, Isaiah, who’s deaf and thought to be simple minded by his community. She endeavors to teach him to communicate and discovers he possesses unexpected gifts and talents.



While Abigail searches for forgiveness, Catherine changes lives and, in return, finds love, something long elusive in her life. And Isaiah discovers God, who cares nothing about our handicaps or limitations in His sustaining love.



An inspirational tale of overcoming grief, maintaining faith, and finding hope in an ever-changing world.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Abigail's New Hope, go HERE.



Watch the book trailer:

Friday, April 22, 2011

V - Give Me a "V" by Missy Tippens

I'm so excited to have my friend and multi-published author Missy Tippens as a guest today. Please give Missy a warm welcome and leave a comment to be entered to win her book A Family for Faith... I don't have a review for Missy's book yet, but I can tell you the way A Family for Faith begins is absolutely adorable! And I can tell you, Missy's books are always enjoyable and a heartwarming read!)

Give Me a “V”!
By Missy Tippens

When Christy first talked to me about guest blogging with the letter “V,” I told her if nothing else, I could talk about working Very hard. :) But that I would try to come up with something more creative. ;)

So I visited an online dictionary and it gave me to the top V words. Among them were vagabond, vector and volts. But then I smiled when I saw velocity (the speed at which something happens—pretty appropriate for writers), Verb and Vowel. Not so hard to find writing words after all! Another of the top words? VICTORY.

In the business of writing, we have to claim victories along the way or else we’ll be tempted to give up. As I think back to my victories along the way, I see how God was working. I thought I’d share a few…

One of my first victories was when my husband’s aunt, after reading my Christmas letter mailed to the family, told me I had found my voice. “That’s wonderful,” I said. “What’s voice??” :) She was in a Masters of Creative Writing program at the time, and filled me in. I was so thrilled. I had never considered writing until that moment. And it gave me the beginnings of a secret, barely-hoped-for dream. Victory!

I started taking online writing classes and joined organization like Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. In two different online classes, the teachers each told me I was good at one of my assignments. Victory!

Along the way I had several setbacks. Terrible contest scores (tied for 35th place out of 36 entries!). Rejections. But then, a critique group I had secretly longed to join asked me to join! (Smiling at Lindi, Meg and Maureen, here.) Victory!

After working through tough critiques that sometimes left me despondent, I improved my craft until I got the nerve to enter another contest. I was a finalist, then won the Laurie. Victory!

I started entering more and more contests. Began to final more often. But I sent a new manuscript and got painful feedback—made all the more painful because I knew the published author was right. I was devastated and decided it was time to throw in the towel. I’d spent way too much or our family money and time on the writing. Thirty minutes later, I got a call that the same manuscript had finaled in the Maggie (and it later won). Though I knew I needed to make changes to the mss as the author had suggested, it was enough encouragement to keep me going. Victory!

I tried different formats. Sent a short story to BelleBooks. And wonder of all wonders, they offered to buy it! My first sale! Victory!

A couple of years later, a manuscript I had given up on at my current publishing house got discovered by a new editorial assistant. After two sets of revisions, she bought it!! Victory!!

And that victory, the culmination of my dream, was almost 12 years after that first email from hubby’s aunt. Since that sale, I’ve had other victories that God has put in my life at just the right moment. Contest finals. A wonderful Agent! More sales. Positive comments and smiley faces on manuscripts just when I need them.

So many things can keep us moving ahead. Friends that encourage us. Professional recognition. Sales. Paychecks. But there are also the daily things that I also count as victories:

Making my daily word count.
Turning in blog posts.
Updating my website.
Making time for my husband and children.
Cooking a half decent meal! :)
Cooking a fully decent meal! Haha
Washing the underwear before someone runs out. (whoo hoo! Aren’t you glad?!)
Meeting my deadlines even if it takes staying up overnight a few times.
Coming up with a new story idea I love.
Surviving the writing of a synopsis without causing bodily harm to myself or anyone else.
Checking items off my to-do list.

I hope you’ll look for the small victories as well as the mile markers to help encourage you on the journey. What can you do each day to move closer to your dream, to your goals? I hope you’ll share some of your recent victories!

Missy






Missy Tippens, 2006 Golden Heart finalist, made her first sale to Steeple Hill Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been finalists in the Booksellers Best, ACFW Book of the Year and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her most recent from Love Inspired, A Family for Faith, was released in April. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com




 About the Book:
 When Faith Hagin sees widower cop Gabe Reynolds every day in her coffee shop, she can't help but feel for the struggling single dad. She's raised a teenager of her own—and sadly, knows what not to do. But thanks to his matchmaking preteen daughter, Chelsea, the whole town's praying for Gabe to find a wife! Even though Faith thinks she's content being just friends, spending time with him and Chelsea starts to feel like a fresh start at having a family. And their love may be the answer to everyone's prayers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

U- Unveiling our winner of Her Best Catch!

Winner of Her Best Catch is Jackie S!!!


Congratulations, Jackie!

I will be sending you an email shortly to find out how to get Lindi's book to you.

And everyone, tune in tomorrow as my guest will be Author Missy Tippens, blogging about the letter "V"

Missy will also be giving away her latest novel, A Family for Faith.

Monday, April 18, 2011

R - Reviews & Winning

I gave a book review of Ruth Logan Herne's Waiting Out The Storm on the FAITH Blog and am giving away a copy. I'll announce that winner on Friday, April 22nd. Ruthy has graciously said she'll also give a winner Made to Order Family.  I'd love to see you hop over to the FAITH Blog and leave me a comment for a chance to win!

And be sure to check out Friday's post here on At Split Ends to enter to win Lindi Peterson's Debut Novel, Her Best Catch!  The winner of Her Best Catch will be announced TOMORROW!!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

O is for Overcoming Obstacles

Lindi here.
ob·sta·cle [ob-stuh-kuhDescription: http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngl] –noun.  something that obstructs or hinders progress.
o·ver·come [oh-ver-kuhm] -came, -come, -com·ing.    –verb (used with object)
1. to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat: to overcome the enemy.


So here we have the dictionary definitions of our A-Z challenge O words. As writers how do we feel about these words?

Personally they drive me crazy. 
Mixing it up with the A-Z challenge is an overall theme of accountability. Although I’m not sure I’m the best person to be speaking on that aspect. I once told my father I was going to call one of those work from home places. He told me that was something I probably shouldn’t do.

I do have a problem with discipline.

I am a procrastinator. 

Yet there is a very ‘cool’ thing that happens when you are a writer. We’ll get to that ‘cool’ thing in a minute. After we figure out how to overcome the obstacles.

Obstacles are different for everyone. Everybody has their own lives. Some people have jobs outside the homes, some have children, husbands, families. Some people have all of those things. 
Others have deadlines, revising syndrome,(you know, you can’t quit revising long enough to send the manuscript out!), the I can’t finish it blues.

First you need to identify your obstacles. Identify what stops you from getting the manuscript out the door. 
(I promise I haven’t forgotten about the ‘cool’ thing. It’s coming!)


Then you put into motion the overcoming part. Like the dictionary definition says ‘to get the better of in a struggle or conflict.’
One of my biggest obstacles is time. I have a full time job away from my home. Some days I have a long way to drive and spend up to 4 hours on the road. I find it hard to write at night. The creativity doesn’t seem to be there. Now get me up at 4 a.m. and I can crank out some pages. 
Some ways I’ve made an attempt to overcome this obstacle are:
1.Rise early.
2.Learn to write in small segments. Let’s say I get up a little later than I want. I check my email, get my coffee, then look at the clock. Sometimes I only have 15 minutes before I have to get into the shower. I do something with those 15 minutes. I’m not going to lie-it was hard to learn. At first I felt I wasn’t making any sort of progress. But I was. Think on it like this-15 minutes a day for 5 days is 1 and a half hours. That’s more than you’d have if you didn’t do anything. And it adds up.

3.If I’m having trouble with a scene I print out what I have then take it to work with me. I leave it on my desk and think about it when I can. My mind can work on the scene while I’m on hold or if I’m waiting for my computer to do this or that.

4.If I’m at work, and something comes to me regarding my story, I quickly email it to myself. It’s a great jump start the next morning.

These are just a few small things that go a long way when it comes to adding words to your manuscript.
Okay, I think this post is getting a little long, and I really don’t do long posts, so I’m turning it over to you guys.

Oh, but wait—the ‘cool’ thing. Yeah, I did promise that, didn’t I?

The End.

Yep, The End. Typing those words is the ‘very coolest’ of all writerly things. I still remember typing those words for the first time over 12 years ago. I remember the feeling and I LOVE the feeling. I can’t wait to FEEL like that again.

Those words are my main motivation for overcoming obstacles and those words hold me accountable. 

Now I’ll turn it over to you. What are your obstacles? Have you tried overcoming? If not, what are some ways you can try? Or throw it out to us and we’ll all chime in!

Thanks for having me, Christy! I love your blog!

And remember-Happy Endings Are Just The Beginning :)

*************************

Thanks for being here, Lindi! What an awesome post! I need to heed every word!

Leave a comment to be entered to win Lindi's debut novel Her Best Catch.



About the Book:
Allison Doll's mother is rebelliously turning fifty, her two best friends have started dating and a gorgeous injured relief pitcher named Ashton Boyd has joined her Sunday school class, rocking her world into confusion, heartache and temptation, places she hasn't visited in a long time, much less all at once.

But with the help of family, old friends she really hasn't lost, a new friend she really can count on, and God, she begins to find out whether she'll always be a girl waiting for life to happen or a woman who's ready to commit to her best catch.






Lindi Peterson definitely believes happy endings are just the beginning. She lives out her real life romance with her husband in a small Georgia town. When she's not writing, she loves to read, bowl and spend time with her family. Read more about her at www.lindipeterson.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blood of the Prodigal by P.L. Gaus


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blood of the Prodigal
Plume; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
by
P.L. Gaus




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Paul took an interest in writing fiction in 1993, and with the advice and encouragement of author Tony Hillerman, he began writing mystery novels set among the Amish in Holmes County, Ohio. The first of Gaus's mysteries, Blood of the Prodigal, An Ohio Amish Mystery, was published by Ohio University Press in June of 1999, and a total of six novels have appeared in this series: Broken English, 2000, Clouds Without Rain, 2001, Cast a Blue Shadow, 2003, A Prayer for the Night, 2006, and Separate from the World, 2008. A seventh novel in the series is in preparation.



All of Paul's stories have now been republished by Plume (a division of Penguin Group USA) as The Amish-Country Mysteries, and these editions have been embraced by Christian retailers such as CBD.com, Family Christian Stores, and LifeWay. Future mysteries in the series will still first be published in hard cover editions, as The Amish-Country Mysteries by Ohio University Press, with Plume bringing out the soft cover editions some time later.



Paul and his wife Madonna still travel frequently in Holmes County. He lectures widely about Amish culture at libraries, bookstores, literary societies, and the like, and his books have been featured at Book Expo America and similar professional shows around the country. Paul's novels have been reviewed in prominent journals and newspapers, for instance, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Ohioana Quarterly, and the New York Times Book Review.



ABOUT THE BOOK



For Jonah Miller, shunned by his Old Order sect and cast into the wider world, the summer begins with his decision to kidnap his ten-year-old son from the home of the bishop who had exiled Miller a decade earlier. In his desperation to retrieve the boy, the bishop appeals for help to the only "English" men the sect would ever approve.



Professor Michael Branden and Pastor Caleb Troyer had been looking forward to the kind of sleepy rural summer they had enjoyed as boyhood friends growing up in the small college town of Millersburg. Instead, they plunge into the normally closed Amish culture to find the boy. When the kidnapping leads to murder, they can no longer keep the case from the law. Working sometimes at cross purposes with his friend Sheriff Bruce Robertson, Professor Branden digs through the past to uncover truths that many would prefer to leave undisturbed. Little does he suspect that even the anguished bishop, torn by an insoluble moral dilemma, tragically does not tell everything he knows about the case. Suddenly the vast tangle of Amish and Mennonite settlements that sprawl among several thousand small farms and homesteads seems less bucolic than unknowable and impenetrable.



As they inquire delicately among the peaceful ones, Branden and Troyer learn that the troubles of Jonah Miller began far earlier than the kidnapping, with his Rumschpringe - the customary wild year before taking Amish vows. But his grand Rumschpringe had exploded into a decade of drugs, whiskey, and women, in the company of people no Amish person should meet.



In the tradition of Tony Hillerman, P. L. Gaus depicts a culture that successfully stands outside the mainstream yet interacts with it in complex and fascinating ways, a culture that is every bit as susceptible to the undertow of the human spirit as any we might know.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Blood of the Prodigal, go HERE

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

L - Lindi Peterson

Ok, I'm back on the A-Z blogging challenge train and today's letter is L.

And, I'm so excited to tell you to tune back in to this blog on Friday, April 15th when my good friend and newly published author, Lindi Peterson will be here!





Come back every day, but especially on Friday to chat, leave a comment and be entered to win her debut novel, Her Best Catch.


Read more about Lindi on her website.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tea for Two by Trish Perry

A-Z Blog Challengers... Yes, I realize this isn't the letter K
And don't ask where H, I, and J went... I guess they felt abandoned and ran away... On to another book review... I haven't read this, but it sounds like a good read!






This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Tea For Two
Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2011)
by
Trish Perry




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



A word from our Author: I started writing short stories—pretty bad ones. And I started taking creative writing courses to round out my degree. So I was in classes full of people just like me—lousy writers. But we were learning!



Then the Lord led me to a local writers' group, Capital Christian Writers, and the contacts and friends I made through CCW enriched my personal life and my writing life more than I can measure. Through CCW and through reading just about every book and magazine ever published by Writer's Digest, I started catching on. Now I'm writing full time and man oh man do I love it.



Before the writing began, I worked for attorneys in Washington, D. C. I worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission. And I was a stockbroker. A horrible stockbroker. How do people do that? Take responsibility for other people's financial futures? Yikes. I'm perfectly happy to take responsibility for the amount of time any one person wants to spend reading my books. If you enjoy the experience, then know that we both enjoyed it together. I love that about books.



In the midst of all that fretting over other people's money and writing about other people's lives, I racked up a few personal experiences myself. Some good, some bad, but all part of God's plan. Now I'm an empty nester living in Northern Virginia. My brilliantly funny son is in college. I have a savvy, gorgeous grown daughter, a charming son-in-law, and an amazing grandson.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Zack Cooper tries his best to raise his children, but he's losing his grip on them in their teen years. They've both had scrapes with the local law.



Tea Shop owner Milly Jewel has the perfect woman in mind to help Zack. Counselor Tina Milano meets weekly at the tea shop with her women's group. Milly encourages Zack and Tina to work together to draw the teens back before they get in even hotter water. Milly never thought things might heat up between Zack and Tina. Or did she?



Tina's connections with the Middleburg police department prove a mixed blessing for Zack and his kids. Both her best friend and old boyfriend are officers on the force.



And when Tina's women's group gets wind of her personal pursuits and clashes, they want to help. The group's meetings at the tea shop take on a slightly different flavor. Tina wonders who, exactly, is counseling whom.



Although heroine Tina Milano and her women's group are mentioned in The Perfect Blend (the first book in this series), Tea for Two is where we meet her and hero Zack Cooper. I knew I would write this book while I wrote the first, so it was fun to plant a passing mention of Zack and Tina while I wrote Steph's story in The Perfect Blend. By the time I was able to write Tina and Zack's story, I was eager to unfold their lives, conflicts, and love. I hope readers will be eager to experience what happens to them!



If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

F - Flashbacks

Still blogging as part of the A-Z challenge and today's letter is F.

The first word that came to my mind was frustrated, but I figured I'd keep this post upbeat and blogging about my many frustrations may lead me into a realm of whining and blahs that no one really wants to read about.

I've found that when I write, I write about things that happened to my character a month,  a year, or even longer, before the story starts. I always have to figure out what's going on currently with the character and write good active scenes to keep the plot moving toward the resolution of the current story. However, sometimes, I will incorporate those past scenes into the current manuscript as a flashback. 

I've heard flashbacks aren't so great in the minds of editors/agents.  I think with everything, if it is done well, the publishing house will accept it. If it works for the story. I haven't found and dictating rules on the subject.

What are your thoughts? Do you like flashbacks, or tend to stay away from them?

...... One more day to leave a comment to be entered to win Meg Moseley's Debut Novel, When Sparrows Fall. I'll announce the winner tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

E - EDITING

If you're wondering what the crazy title of this post is about, just look at this cute little green box:




I forgot to blog about C&D, so I'm picking right up with letter E. The first thing that came to mind is Editing.

I find myself editing everything I write. From emails to friends, to text messages, to things I write at work. The only thing I haven't edited very much lately is my manuscript. The trick there is you must write to edit.

For some writers, they find it easier to write the rough draft of the novel, then, go back and edit it. I used to write like this. But after that book took 4 years to edit, I decided I didn't want to do that again! However, I must add, that was the book I used to learn about the craft of writing. From knowing nothing except how to form sentences and paragraphs and hope they made sense, to learning about Point of View and Scene/Sequel.

Now, I'm working on new books. On both the books, I tried the plotter approach. I worked on character sketches, outlined the book, worked on research. I started the early chapters. I even submitted one of those chapters to a contest. But, there's a problem. I can't get going on the story.

Am I editing as I go along?

Yes.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She did NaNo last November and had great success with it. She wrote, wrote, wrote until she reached and exceeded her goal. She took the following month to edit it. The whole process worked great for her. However, she'd also written down the scenes in order that she believed they would happen. She used note cards to guide her when she sat down to write.

I like this method. It's a plotter/pantser approach. A happy medium.

I think when I think about a story too much, I ruin it for myself. I need to step back a decade when I was writing before I knew better. Ah, the writing was bliss back then and I was finishing manuscripts in record time.

So what about you? What do you think about editing? Do you do it as you write or write fast and edit later?

...... And if you're interested in winning a copy of Meg Moseley's Debut Novel, When Sparrows Fall, leave a comment letting me know - either on Friday/Saturday's post and I'll announce the winner this Thursday!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Alarmists by Don Hoesel


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Alarmists
Bethany House (April 1, 2011)
by
Don Hoesel




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Don Hoesel is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children. The Alarmists is his third novel.



ABOUT THE BOOK



The 2012 phenomenon that's going viral around the globe has led sociology professor Jameson Richards to study the impact on society when, like the Y2K scare, 12/21/12 comes and goes with hardly a wrinkle.



This is the date that, according to the Mayan calendar, the doomsayers predict the world will end. Richards teams up with General Michaels, a scientist stationed at the Pentagon whose job it is to monitor the world's fanatics, keeping an eye out for potential terrorists. Together they uncover something sinister going on beneath the surface, linked to billionaire and media mogul Jeremy Maxwell, who also happens to be a huge manufacturer of weapons systems.



The 2012 date has captured Maxwell's attention too, and he's looking to cash in on the public's fear and paranoia. And what he instigates--along with his corrupt partners--nearly starts another war in the Middle East, while also bringing the world to its knees economically. It's up to the professor/general team to blow the whistle on Maxwell, hopefully in time to avert a major catastrophe.



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Alarmists, go HERE

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

Well, I've joined this A-Z blogging challenge. Already, I've rebelled against the rules as each day were are to blog for each letter of the alphabet - meaning the topic will start with the letter of the alphabet for whatever day we're on. Today is B.  Today, B is for Book Review! Okay, maybe I am following the rules after all...

When Sparrows Fall. Debut novel from Meg Moseley.

What a book. I won't spoil this, but I was very worried the book would end sad. I mean, we have a mom and six kids. Miranda, our main character, is faced with a serious choice early on. I couldn't imagine how this story could turn out good.

Her children are very responsible for their age. For instance, Miranda's 10-year old daughter can prepare meals and helps look after her younger siblings. After Miranda receives news from her pastor that he is requesting everyone to move out of state, Miranda begins a serious fast and prayer time. Unfortunately, she tends to faint and does just that.... She takes a fall down a nearby cliff - and the children's Uncle Jack is summoned by Miranda's oldest son, Timothy, to come, and serve as their temporary guardian.

I couldn't help but love Jack. A typical guy in many ways. Christian, but loose. Not lukewarm in his beliefs, but I'd say the character is "real." I chuckled at how he would tease Miranda about her use of herbs, herbal teas, this-that-and other to help calm her nerves, to help her feel better, while Jack was sitting there with a swig of Scotch. What was the difference, he would ask her.

Not to say this is a book that promotes drinking. Not one bit. The book explores our relationship with God. This scene I'm speaking of was on the porch. This porch scene was just a bit of comic relief to an otherwise serious story.

The book looks seriously, though fictionally, at a relationship with God. While the church Miranda was a part of had to dress and act a certain way, it was completely smothering. Through Christ we are not to be smothered, but to be free. So many people don't "get it" when they view Christianity. They think it's a bunch of hard rules and do's and don'ts. The fact is God loves us no matter what we've done in the past. And when you learn about why He created us, you want to live a different way, because you want to please Him. Although, He doesn't ask that of us, but when you learn why Christ went to the cross, you want to do all you can to tell others about him and share the salvation that is so easily offered by the blood of Christ.

I know, I went off on a tangent. When Sparrows Fall is a satisfying story of rules, of rights, of wrongs. It's about wolves in sheep's clothing. It's about overcoming it all and living free in Christ.



Be sure to read yesterday's post that Debut Author Meg Moseley wrote yesterday. Leave a comment all week long to be entered to win a copy of When Sparrows Fall. I'll draw the winner on Thursday, April 7th. Be sure to leave your email address... Or, for all of my friends on Facebook, leave a comment in this Note or on my wall - Just let me know you'd like to be entered.


About the Author:
Meg Moseley is a Californian at heart although she’s lived more than half her life in other states.


She formerly wrote human-interest columns for a suburban section of the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, and home schooled for over twenty years.


Meg enjoys books, travel, gardening, her three grown children, and motorcycle rides with her husband Jon. They make their home in northern Georgia.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Spotlight: Debut Author Meg Moseley

I'm so thrilled to welcome my friend Meg Moseley to the blog.

Meg's debut novel When Sparrows Fall comes out on May 3rd, but is available for pre-order on Amazon.  

Tomorrow, I will be posting an official review of When Sparrows Fall, but starting today, when you leave a comment either on my blog or on Facebook, you'll be entered to win a free copy of Meg's debut novel!

Here's a sneak peak:

Freedom. Safety. Love. Miranda vows to reclaim them--for herself, and for her children.

A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling method of ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.

College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.


As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?
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And now, I loan Meg the blog spot....






When Christy offered me a chance to share my thoughts about accountability in writing, I decided to mention setting goals and priorities, writing a plan, and sticking with a schedule. Organization and consistency are the friends of accountability, I’d planned to say, but disorganization and a slap-dash approach are its enemies. I’d thought I might explore the definition of the word “accountability,” too. It implies that someone is keeping accounts, “counting” what we do with our time.

Scratch all of the above even if it might be true. I have new respect for the way life and death can hijack the best-laid plans and schedules. I have new appreciation for time as a precious resource. Nobody gets an inexhaustible supply of time.

Half a continent away from where I live, my elderly mother has started in-home hospice care at my sister’s house. I’ve been here for about a week. Hospice nurses and aides come in a few times a week, but most of the work is up to my sister and me, and she already has her hands full with her family. So I’m the one who takes care of Mom during the days, and my sister and I swap the nighttime duties.

My publisher has been very kind about making allowances for my situation, but I’m still working on my obligations—writing, revising, promoting—and my to-do list keeps getting longer. I’ll have only one chance to launch my debut novel, and the release date is closer every day. But my mom’s release from this earth is coming closer every day, too, and my priorities have changed.

I’ll still grab a few minutes here and there to work on a novel or write a short, slap-dash blog post, but it’s more important to bring my mom a drink or adjust her pillows or chat for a bit about what heaven might be like. Then she’ll drift off again, sleeping away a few more minutes of her time on earth.

Today she asked me to sing “Jesus Loves Me” with her. Her voice was cracking with age, and mine was cracking with tears, but we made it all the way through. Good and loud, too, and then we laughed together because we felt so silly.

I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. Not for a best-seller or the best-organized promotion in the history of fiction. Not for a million bucks. If I’m learning anything from this time with my mom, it’s that love should be at the top of my priority list. Always. I think that’s where the best kind of accountability starts.

Finalist!