Dianne G. Sagan – Award Winning Author

Great Books for Readers


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New Book Release – The Hybrid Author

The Hybrid Author, self-published, will be released on April 21st, by Dianne G. Sagan.

The book to clarify confusion over what the definition of a ‘hybrid author.’

You’ve heard the term at writers conferences discussed in panels and over dinner tables.

With a publishing industry in constant change, authors find themselves trying to make decisions about whether or not to self-publish or traditionally publish.

Now you have a book that explains the Hybrid Author path.

  • What it is.
  • What the options are.
  • How to decide.

Including interviews with C. J. Lyons, Joanna Penn, J. A. Konrath, Hugh C. Howey, Barbara Freethy, Marie Force, Barbara Morgenroth and Jennifer Archer.

Available in three weeks — on Kindle and in print — watch for details about giveaways on Goodreads and a Launch Party on Facebook. Sneak peek of the cover in two weeks!


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Welcome my Guest Lillian Duncan

Christian fiction author, Lillian Duncan, writes stories of faith … mingled with murder and mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net.  She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com  as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com

I am very excited to have Lillian as a guest, you know how I love a good suspense. Her book Betrayed is one of those that will keep us turning pages and begging for more. To tweak your interest -

Our heroine is hiding in the Witness Protection Program that claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’s given up everything–her friends, her family, her past, even her name to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop. She hopes for a life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood and never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past, but what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake.    Betrayed_h11347_300

 

I asked Ms. Duncan a few more questions that I thought would interest you. Tell us a little more about BETRAYED.

BETRAYED is the second book in my Sisters By Choice series and will be released in January 2014. In DECEPTION (the first in the series), there is a terrorist. I kept wondering what kind of woman could be married to a terrorist and not know it.

BETRAYED is the answer to that question. It is Maria’s story and her struggle to get past the betrayal of her husband and create a new life for her daughter.

What’s the setting for BETRAYED?

Most of the story takes place in or around a small fictional town in Ohio called Sunberry. Coincidentally, we have a small town in Ohio called Sunbury that is very similar to the fictional setting!

What do you want readers to take away from BETRAYED?

Bad things happen to all of us. How we react to those things will determine the quality of our future. We can make the choice to stay in the past and be angry and bitter, but a much better choice would be to forgive and move on with our own life.

Does BETRAYED have a theme?

Beauty for ashes is a phrase that comes up several times throughout the book and I consider it the theme. It comes from Isaiah 61: 3. A second theme is about honoring God with our choices and our actions even in the midst of a crisis.

What’s the SISTERS BY CHOICE series about?

This series definitely has romance in it, but I also wanted to explore the strong bonds that form between women—through blood or through the choices we make. Each story focuses on a relationship between two women that becomes as important to the story as the romantic plot.

DECEPTION was the first in the series and it focused on the broken relationship of identical twin sisters, Patti and Jamie. The lesson from DECEPTION was don’t waste time arguing with those you love—you may not get a second chance to repair that relationship.

In BETRAYED, it focuses on two strangers bonding and becoming friends as they face a crisis together.  One of the characters teaches Maria about how to honor God by her actions even in the most horrible of circumstances.

Thank you for visiting my blog and sharing your new book with me and my friends and visitors. You also have a giveaway going on this month. Could you tell us about it?

To celebrate the release of BETRAYED, I’m giving away a virtual gift basket at Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. The virtual gift basket includes a copy of my books, SERENITY SPRINGS, OHIO; DARK ALLEYS; and GEESE MATE FOR LIFE.  Along with the books, a $25 Amazon gift card is included plus a few books from some writer friends. To enter the contest, simply hop on over to Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com , leave a comment on the post titled CELEBRATION! Winner will be chosen and announced on February 14.

 

 


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Happy Thanksgiving

Wow, can you believe that it’s time for the holidays already? Here we are taking our place with the crowds at the grocery stores and markets getting all the things we need for Thanksgiving dinner. Family members are gathering and the familiar fragrances of the holiday drift from the kitchen. No matter how large or small our group, it’s a time we look back at the year and see those things we’re thankful for.

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Our celebrations take place around a bountiful table with shared stories, laughter and memories. We all know from school about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth. It was a feast to celebrate their survival. Did you know that the  holiday became official through a Presidential proclamation? In October of 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared a day of Thanksgiving in the middle of a Civil War. This official standing made it a nationally recognized celebration that had predominantly been observed in New England until then. Lincoln set the last Thursday in November as the day to observe Thanksgiving.

During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, in 1939, 1940, and 1941, the holiday was moved back to the third Thursday to extend the Christmas shopping season and further stimulate the economy. A huge controversy ensued, as you can imagine, and Congress got involved. They passed a resolution in 1941 that set Thanksgiving as the third Thursday of November. All this did is cause more confusion and some states followed one way of deciding the date and some followed another. As a result in December of 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation that designated the fourth Thursday in November as national Thanksgiving Day, to take effect starting in 1942.

This may be more than you wanted to know about how we actually set the day for our holiday, but Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!


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Newest Release in Women of the Bible series

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The book we’ve been talking about and you’ve been waiting for is here and available for you and your friends. I’m very excited.

Miriam’s Room can be found at this link.

In Miriam’s Room, you’ll read the story of the wife of a wealthy copper trader and community leader in Jerusalem, mother of John Mark, Miriam faces a society in which she must hide her strength and knowledge in the sanctuary of her upper room. In the world outside she fights not only her emotions but also the influence of a young Zealot who wants to claim her son for his cause against Rome. In Miriam’s determination to save John Mark from himself, will she drive her son away? And how can this new Rabbi open her eyes and restore her broken heart?

You can get your copy on Kindle or in print and give it as gifts to your friends who have been waiting anxiously right along with you for this next book in the series.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it for you. I’d love it if you’d leave a review when you’ve finished. Thank you so much and have a blessed day.


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Reasons to Write

I often hear people say, “I really want to be a writer, but I have such a busy schedule.” or “I need to find the time to write someday.” or “I’ve always wanted to write, but just am not sure what to write about.”

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The stock answer is to write what you know. However, I’d like to give you my take on that statement and share some reasons why to write and how to break the log jam a little bit at a time.  Life has a way of throwing things at you or there is always something to do that will get in your way.

Consider these:

1. You have thoughts that you need to get out – write them in a spiral notebook to get them off your chest. This doesn’t have to be for publication, but can be just for you.

2. Write lists to clear your mind. People have published books of lists. You don’t have to publish yours, but it is writing.

3. Journal. You don’t have to write in it every day, just write in it when you want to. Many writers journal regularly. I don’t, I am more irregular with my journal.

4. Keep a notebook to use as an idea log. Write your thoughts as they flow out so you don’t loose them. It could become a collection of story ideas or completed short stories.

5. Write because you can’t not write. Just get it out of your system. Do it on a computer or with a pen in your hand.

6. Let your mind wander when you’re trying to work out a problem. Write about something that comes to mind that has nothing to do with the issue and it may help you find the solution.

7. Write because it’s what you think about when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night.

These are only a few of many reasons to write in spite of what is happening in your life. It gets the muse going so you can write the “great American novel.”


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Hot Reads and Cool Drinks

Are you keeping track of the top sellers? J. K Rowling has done it again, but this time under a pseudonym – Robert Galbraith. Her book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, has sold tons of copies. She definitely has a way with words! Mysteries and thrillers have a huge followings (I love reading them, too). This one has a detective named Cormoran Strike.

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Of course, you all know about the new Dan Brown book, Inferno. This one delves into the classic from Dante that we all had to read in English class in high school or college. This is another popular author who weaves great stories.

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These books are not news to you, but let me share a couple of more that you may not know about that are also wonderful reads that you don’t want to miss. We have one more month left before school starts and the Fall routine begins. Just released earlier this month - The King: The Bowers Files, by Seven James. He is really good. I’ve read the other books in this series.

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Patrick Bowers has pursued the nation’s fiercest serial killers—and now one elusive foe is back for revenge.

Settling into a new post at the FBI academy, Patrick and his fiancée, Lien-hua Jiang, are planning their future together with his stepdaughter, Tessa.

But just when his life seems normal, a demon from the past returns to draw him down a dark road he hoped had closed forever. Forced into a desperate hunt to save the two women he loves most, Patrick is in a race against time to stop an international conspiracy from becoming the most widespread act of terrorism in U.S. history.

Okay, one more book to share before I go. Terri Blackstock is another author who will never disappoint you. As you know, she is one of my favorites. Truth Stained Lies is on my must read list and I hope it will be on yours if you haven’t already gotten to it.

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When truth doesn’t make sense, will lies prevail?
Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on high-profile homicides. When she finds a threatening note warning her that she’s about to experience the same kind of judgment and speculation that she dishes out in her blog, Cathy writes it off as mischief . . . until her brother’s wife is murdered and all the ‘facts’ point to him. The killer has staged the crime to make the truth too far-fetched to believe. Working to solve the murder and clear her brother’s name, Cathy and her two sisters, Holly and Juliet, moonlight as part-time private investigators. Juliet, a stay-at-home mom of two boys, and Holly, a scattered ne’er-do-well who drives a taxi, put aside their fear to hunt down the real killer.
Stakes rise when their brother’s grieving five-year-old son is kidnapped. As police focus on the wrong set of clues, the three sisters and their battered detective friend are the only hope for solving this bizarre crime, saving the child, and freeing their brother.

Sit down with your iced tea and enjoy!


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Evaluate, Consummate, and Propagate

Book FestivalDon’t get excited, this isn’t a blog on sex education. This is advice for my fellow writers. Here we are in the seventh month of the year and if you haven’t evaluated where you are with your writing goals so far for 2013, then its a good time to take a few minutes out and do that. That’s where the evaluate comes in. I recommend that you take a look at those things you’ve already accomplished or how far you’ve come on the  projects you’re still working on. Give yourself credit for what you have done. Don’t beat yourself up for everything you have not done. At the same time, unless there is a good reason why you haven’t accomplished more then ask yourself what prevents you from getting more done on your writing goals? What do you need to do so that you can accomplish your goals. What do you need to do so you can write? At times in the past, the answer for me was to leave the house and go to the library or coffee shop for a couple of hours so I could clear my mind enough to write. Maybe it is sitting out in your backyard away from the family for an hour every evening while they watch TV.

What could I possibly mean by consummate and what does it have to do with writing? The meaning of consummate is to complete or perfect in every way; to finish. First, get it done. Then be sure that you edit your work. Whether you self-publish or go through a royalty publisher you want your best work out there. Who wants the reader to wonder how you ever got “this thing” into print with sooo many errors in it. How embarrassing. I know from experience that no matter how many eyes are on a manuscript that sometimes a few typos or mistakes can slip through, but do your best to perfect your work as much as possible before you put it out there.

Last but not least — propagate. Keep on writing. Don’t stop. A lesson that I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that you don’t want to stop the flow of articles or books coming out. I focused on writing a couple of nonfiction projects and didn’t keep my fiction series coming out at a regular interval so that there has been a gap between book 2 and book 3 of over two years. That was not very good planning on my part. I won’t let that happen again. I’m back on track again with one in production with the publisher now and another that should be out by Christmas. I need to discipline myself to keep propagating my novels so that the readers have them. If you don’t feed your readers they may go somewhere else.

So all you writers out there — come on and evaluate, consummate, and propagate with me!


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60th Anniversary of the AP Style Book

This isn’t your normal Birthday party. For readers it may feel like a ho-hum, but for writers this is a big deal. If we want to get ourselves in print in the media including newspapers, magazines and the like this is really important that we not only know what this little book is but that we at least follow the basics in this style guide.   bigstock-happy-birthday-cake-shot-on-a--14496323

At my party, it’s a toss-up who gets to blow out the candles on the cake, my husband or me. My personal favorite cake is sour cream white cake with lemon frosting! Don’t worry, I usually include a chocolate cake, too, for all of you chocoholics.

Let’s blow out the candles and have some of that cake. Then, I thought we would take a quick look at some of the most common guidelines we use every day in the AP Style Guide.

Commas in a series: Use commas to separate elements in a list, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple list. Example: We purchased apples, oranges and pears. Even though the style guide says “No comma before the conjunction” your grammar check on MSWord will indicate that a comma is required before the conjunction. I suggest that you follow the AP if you are submitting to the media.

Quotation marks: Commas go inside quotation marks.

Numbers: In general (except in the case of ages, dimensions or distances when and you only use numbers) spell out numbers 1 through 9 and use the numerals for 10 and higher. If a number begins a sentence, then always spell it out except when the number is a calendar year. Also, spell out numbers used in casual expressions: “Thanks a million.”

Ages: Always use numbers for people and animals, but not for inanimate objects. Example: The boy is 13 years old; the law is nine years old. Use hyphens for ages used as adjectives before a noun or in place of a noun: Example: She’s a 3-year-old girl. The girl is 3 years old.

State abbreviations: Do not use tow letter ZIP code abbreviations such as IL(Illinois) and WA(Washington) unless they’re part of a full address. Otherwise, use the traditional abbreviations we learned in school, for example, Ill. (Illinois) and Wash. (Washington) and only when a city or county name precedes the state name. However, according to AP, the following states do not use abbreviations: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas or Utah.

Addresses: Street, avenue and boulevard (St., Ave., Blvd.) are abbreviated when writing street addresses that include numbers. Road, highway, terrace, circle are never abbreviated. Example: The school is on Canal Street. Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School is at 222 Canal St.

The new AP Style Guide will release on July 13, 2013 in all formats. Don’t forget to pick up a copy for your reference shelf or ereader.


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Happy Fourth of July

bigstockphoto_freephoto-Fireworks_542My husband and I watched the movie Gettysburg last night on the 150th anniversary of that battle. Over 250,000 visitors are gathering on the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA this weekend to watch re-enactors stage the three day battle where 53,000 of our countrymen died fighting for what they believed in. It is a part of our history. In the movie, when General Lee realizes what the date is he says to his aide, “God has a sense of humor.”

Two years later the union was preserved when the South surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865. We are a diverse country and yet we persevere. I hope we are still here in spite of all our differences in another 150 years.

Today we celebrate the founding of our country that started with 13 tentative colonies with very different ideas of what they wanted, but one goal — freedom from England. Did you know that only 10% of the population in the colonies wanted revolution when it stated? Did you know that the resolution on Independence almost did not pass because of a difference on opinion over slavery? If we do not learn from history, then we are bound to repeat the mistakes and suffer the same consequences. The issues may change but the results of our actions or inaction will repeat themselves until we learn and change. Our own national history shows us that.

I encourage you and your children and grandchildren to read history – fictionalized and nonfiction – it is important for us to know where we have been and who we are. Now, go out and enjoy this day. Attend a parade, go on a picnic, grill out, and go to the fireworks tonight. It’s our Birthday!


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Picnics, Summer Camp, and Baseball

What do picnics, summer camp, and baseball have to do with books?

PIcture taken at a rotary family picnic found on Yahoo images. Credited to Rotary5280, DSC_0141

Picture taken at a rotary family picnic found on Yahoo images. Credited to Rotary5280, DSC_0141

In my world, everything has to do with books and stories. Are you surprised? Story ideas come from everywhere. I receive a church newsletter that keeps me apprised of all the coming events, prayer requests, and service opportunities. Our annual beginning of summer all church picnic is this weekend at a local park. The meal is catered so we need to sign up early to be counted or just bring our own food. Everyone has a great time. The sounds and smells remind me of family picnics as a kid when we drove across country to get there. Within 24 hours of our arrival, grandparents, uncles, cousins, in-laws and out-laws from multi-generations gathered at Sinissippi Park on the Rock River. We had mountains of fried chicken, potato salad, green beans, home made baked beans, jello salads, and apple pie.  It started at lunch time and lasted until dusk. We swam and played baseball. Some of the more sedate cousins sat under the huge shade trees and read books or walked hand-in-hand with future spouses along the river bank.

My brother and I spent part of our summer at Scout camp and loved every minute of it. We experienced things we never would have other wise — stoning rattle snakes to death and curing their skins, skinny dipping in the moon light, and hiding the camp bell in hopes of getting up late the next morning. Great memories!

When I was growing up in Amarillo, Texas, the library had book mobiles that made the rounds of the city parks. The neighborhood kids could check out books, participate in the summer reading program, and return their books for more two weeks later when they returned. I loved it. My best friends and I would line up with the other kids and then spend the afternoon reading. I’ll bet you have picnics, summer camp, and baseball in your summers past and present. Go out – have fun and make more memories, read a new book, and enjoy yourself.


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Welcome to the Greater Treasures Book Blog Tour

My Guest today is author Karina Fabian. Her latest book is Greater TreasuresIt is Christian Fantasy Mystery and a delight to read.

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Karina Fabian does it again with her newest Dragon Eye, PI book – Greater Treasures, From the Case Files of Dragon Eye, PI.

A great fantasy detective story, Vern and Sister Grace take on another case. After a visit from the Mundane Eva Heidler, the bottle red-head, they find themselves searching for Eva’s missing brother Weylin. He had joined a cult, the Brotherhood of Baal and she wants the help of the Magicals. Grace follows the client to meet a man who knows about Eva’s brother but is shot with a dart. Vern is called to the hospital and must find out what exactly happened.

After searching the crime scene, he flies to Eva’s hotel suite (dragons can fly) and gets the real story from her that her brother is hiding because he took an artifact – a magic Faerie spear – that could do great damage. Vern must save this Universe and his own before it is too late.

It is a great read. You’ll keep following along with Vern’s adventures. And, the best part for me is the underlying story. Fabian’s research about the Lance of Longinus is well done and makes the book very interesting to read. Enjoy!

You can purchase the book at Greater Treasures


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OWFI and DIY Alphabet Soup

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We live in a world of alphabet soup. Everything has an abbreviation that comes down to either a letter combination that we use instead of the name or the anachronism we use as a word in place of the full name. Have you noticed we even do that for the names of the churches we attend, at least we do in our area. Those of us who text and tweet a lot write and read in an abbreviated language that I’m not sure I even understand part of the time. I have to admit that my daughter had to explain what lol and roflol meant and then I felt quit smart and hip, one of the in-crowd because I knew what that meant. Then? I found out that there was a whole lot more to the shortened vocabulary … so much for speaking fluent text and tweet … lol :)

My friend and fellow author, Kimberly Black, and I went to the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. Conference this weekend or commonly known as OWFI, this past weekend.  About 300 attendees and a great faculty presented workshops for people of all levels — we all found something of interest and learned a lot. I found out I’m a hybrid author and here I thought I just aspired to owning a hybrid car someday to be environmentally responsible. With the changing publishing industry, many authors are combining the traditional pathway with a traditional publisher and then self-publishing as well.

I have a great relationship and wonderful books produced with Buoy Up Press from awoc.com, Dan Case publisher. He is a royalty publisher and produces great quality books and takes good care of us authors. We have to give him top quality writing and the editing process is stringent, as you would expect. About 18 months ago I waded into the shallow end of the pool as a self-published author with my nonfiction book, Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go Pro. At the time I wrote and published it, I have no plans to go out on my own with everything, but I had no idea that made me a DIY and hybrid author. It seems to be part of the journey for many of us. We as authors need to be flexible and adapt. A couple of jewels I learned this weekend are:

1. The fastest growing market for ebooks in the next three to five years is in the third-world countries because of the explosion in cell phone availability. Inexpensive ebooks available on iphones give us a market previously not available.

2. Ebooks priced at $2.99 – $3.99 sell approximately 4.2 – 4.3 times more books than those prices $.99 – $2.89 or some catagories prices more than than, up to $9.99. You actually make more money selling at $3.99 than at $9.99 in the long run.

3.If you’re interested in publishing your own ebooks, check out Smashwords.com – I’m not actually endorsing them, but their founder was one of the presenters at OWFI and had a lot of impressive and valuable informative information that was backed up with substantial facts. They have a lot to offer including marketing.

For those of my blog followers who are authors, as well as readers, a lot of what we do besides the actual writing is a do-it-yourself process. We cannot afford to hire a staff to do everything else for us, at least not to begin with in our careers. That’s why it’s important that writers share and help each other with what we’ve learned, not only through our books, but also when we meet each other and talk over a cup of coffee or a glass of tea. In my experience, those authors who are ahead of me in their careers have always been quick to offer a hand to bring me along and it’s my turn to pass it on. We all have the opportunity to pay it forward to someone else coming up behind us with a bowl of alphabet soup.


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How Do YOu See Yourself?

diannegsagan:

I know my blog is focused on writing and reading, but this video impacted me and I wanted to share it with my friends, fellow writers and readers. The way we see ourselves affects the way we write and the way we perceive the world around us.

Originally posted on AMOKArts:

This is hugely important.

One of the best videos I have seen in a while. My confession today is I have always had a hard time loving myself, but by the grace of God, I am His child. I would never treat anyone the way I treat myself. How about you?

God doesn’t make junk.
How do you see yourself?

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How to Write a Book Review

Do you ever wonder what the best way is to support your favorite authors? Of course, purchasing books, reading their books, and telling your friends about them is the best way of getting the word out.

Another way of showing your support is reviewing the books you read. When you purchase a book from Amazon or Barnes & Nobel online there is a place for you to write a short review. Goodreads.com also provides a place for reviews. Most readers don’t leave one because it intimidates them. People think that there are certain requirements you must have to be a book reviewer. Not true any more.                        animated woman typing

I’d like to give you some tips on how to write a simple, short review that is easy and only take a few minutes of your time. You can read the book in print form and put a review online whether you bought it online or not. Fear keeps us from doing a lot of things. Don’t be scared of writing a review.

Some suggestions:

  • The theme represents …
  • I enjoyed the story because …
  • The relationships between characters demonstrated …
  • It is well written …
  • My favorite character …
  • The story is well researched …
  • Read some of the reviews posted for examples and write one in your own words.
  • A review does not have to be only positive statements, but can include points that you feel are negative. Just be sure that you stick to the subject and the writing, do not get personal about the author.
  • If the writing is not professional, then it is alright to say that.
  • If the research in a historical novel is obviously well done, then mention it.
  • It can be a great story that isn’t told very well.
  • Tell whether you like the book or not.
  • Would you recommend it to others?

I hope this helps take some of the anxiety out of writing a review. I am sure your favorite authors will appreciate your support.

Pansies, Tulips, and Spring Releases

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Pansies

Pansies are some of my favorite flowers and they have brightened our garden all winter long between snow storms and rain. They are the beautiful color that gives me hope for warmer weather as the cold night temperatures hold on this year, and help me remember that spring flowers will come again. The pear trees are in full bloom. Tulips will be out soon and are always a sign that the winter has let go and spring is here.

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Spring flowers aren’t the only thing that is new with our warming temperatures. I don’t know about you, but I love sitting out in the back yard in my swing enjoying a new book with a glass of sweet tea or lemonade. I know that sweet tea is something that is particular to those of us in the South – it’s iced tea that is already sweetened. Have you ever tried putting a little fresh lemonade in your iced tea and top it off with a sprig of fresh mint from the garden? Better than a mint julep!

In your list of books to read this Spring, I hope you’ll add Miriam’s Room. Coming Soon! I know you’ve waited awhile for this one and it is finally at the publisher. The next book in my Women of the New Testament series. Meet Miriam, John Mark’s mother. She is a lot like you and me. A woman who believes she can do anything. She is a wife, mother, manages a household, known in her community, and must meet many challenges in life. Miriam shares relationships with different people and grows from each. Her upper room is a special place to her and those in her life. Why?

I’ll be giving you hints, excerpts, and the release date over the next few weeks.


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Reading, Writing, and Whatever Else You Like to Do

You thought I was going to use that old adage that everybody has heard since the earth cooled, but no I won’t put you through that. I know it’s Saturday and there are things that you probably have to do, but hopefully you’ll find some time to do those things you like to do as well.

In my world reading and writing go hand in hand because if you didn’t read then there wouldn’t be anywhere for the books that we writers write to go. Of course most of us are also avid readers so we would probably read each others work, but I love to make readers happy or stimulate their thoughts with what I write.

I also love spending time with other writers and people in the publishing industry. It’s awesome to be in a room full of writers and watch or almost hear the wheels grinding. Some of us need a little oiling now and again to get the books to the stage that you see them when you pick them up at the store or download them for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad .. I probably left somebody’s technology out but you know what I mean.    Almost Foreve

I found a new author, Deborah Raney. She has a ready smile and is delightful to talk with over breakfast. She is a knowledgeable workshop presenter and most of all for you readers, an excellent storyteller. Almost Forever: A Hanover Falls Novel is the first book in a series that I am sure you will love.

In this first book, Byn Hennesey, a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, was there the night the shelter burned to the ground and five heroic firefighters died at the scene. Among them was her husband, Adam. Like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret …

This is a great read! I hope you won’t miss it.


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Jet Lag and Synapse Overload

Yes, this post is a day late. I spent Thursday through Sunday at the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild, Writing for the Soul Conference, in Colorado Springs, CO.

Pikes PeakWhat an amazing experience! It was half spiritual retreat and half writer’s conference. Keynote speakers included people like Liz Curtis Higgs, the author of The Bad Girls of the Bible and The Unveiling of Mary Magdalene, as well as other great books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is funny and inspiring all at the same time. Deborah Raney, Steven James, Dennis E. Hensley, Christopher Yuan, and James MacDonald were some of the other speakers and workshop presenters. My brain feels like it is still on overload. Those little connections are firing as fast as they can.

In addition to the beautiful God-given setting, the conference takes place at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. The conference facilities were great and hotel staff spoiled us all in our elegant surroundings.

If you are a Christian writer, then I would set my sights on attending this conference in the future. Yes, it is on the expensive side, but it is well worth the price for the experience, what you’ll learn, and the people you meet. It is a level above what you’ve probably experienced before at a writers’ conference. Where else would you start the day with praise music and prayer? I was blessed with fantastic results from the editor and agent pitch interviews. Now I’m home, the last editing and polishing, as well as formal written proposal, comes next.


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The Women of Camp Sobingo

Looking for a great story about a group of women who are friends. How about a great story set in a historical backdrop? We women have been camp followers for centuries. This one is about our mother’s generation or maybe your grandmother’s generation but it is as timely as our own generation. The men in our lives are still suiting up in a uniform and we are still following them to those cookie-cutter housing units. This is a story you won’t want to miss.

Four women of diverse backgrounds form a bond while en route to join their Army officer husbands in Korea in 1946. Their experiences in a far-flung military compound strengthen three of the women, but a fourth chooses to end her life there, and during a reunion twenty-five years later, long-held dark secrets and sorrows are revealed.

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The Women of Camp Sobingo, by Marilyn Celeste Morris, a member of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., shares the story of four women; friends who share the life of army wives in a strange land, with husbands who serve. Raising children, making do, enduring hardships, these women survive – all but one…

There really was a Camp Sobingo, located outside the capitol city of Seoul, South Korea at the end of WWII. This military compound with its cookie-cutter quarters was home to the women and children who joined their Army officer husbands during the US Occupation. The camp had a school, a post exchange, a dispensary, a commissary, and even a movie theatre (think MASH). Ever-present, however, was the military presence, both Korean and our own US forces and the tyranny of the Russians located across the 38th parallel, who merely annoyed the dependents with their random denial of electricity to the American contingent.

Most of the Americans had deployed to other assignments before June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. Those remaining escaped safely, but The Land of the Morning Calm would never be the same.

To learn more about the author and her book go to http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com


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Any Ghostwriters or Aspiring Ghostwriters Hiding Out There?

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Ghostwriters and aspiring ghostwriters- -take off your cloaks of invisibility for a moment and check out these two upcoming opportunities to meet other ghosts, learn new skills and techniques, and join our growing community of professionals.

1) Ghostwriting Certificate Program is now online at Cal State U., Long Beach. The next class begins February 16, 2013. Go to www.ccpe.csulb.edu and search for “ghostwriting& quot; for full information and registration.

2) Ghostwriters Unite!, the first international conference for, by, and about ghostwriters, takes place at the Long Beach Hilton on May 3, 4, and 5. Go to http://ghostwriters unite.com for info and registration. Early bird special rates end April 1st.

These are great opportunities for anyone who is interested in ghostwriting. Even though the first listing may be too short for you to make the deadline, if you live in the Long Beach area, then you can sign up for the next course cycle. I have done some ghostwriting, as many of you know, and enjoyed it. If you don’t live in that area, then check at your local colleges and universities. They may have ghostwriting programs or classes available. Best of luck.


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Snowflakes, Daffodils, and Lincoln

What could these three possibly have in common? It’s February! Still don’t get it? Okay, maybe you have to live in my part of the country – the Panhandle of Texas where the weather changes on a dime. People have said for decades “if you don’t like the weather right now, wait a little while and it’ll change.”

We can have snowflakes blowing sideways 30 minutes after the sun was out and you need your winter coat, muffler and gloves when you went into the grocery store with only jeans and a T-shirt ( okay you do have to have your shoes on or there isn’t any service). That is the weather in February.

We find daffodils turning up their faces to greet us at the florists booths in the grocery stores and at Wal-Mart. They are my favorite flower. Daffodil bulbs are at Home Depot and Lowe’s. Because the temperatures are bouncing between 70° and 25° the daffodils already planted in my yard are peeking about an inch through the mulch trying to figure out if it’s time yet to come up. Actually now I look around me, the walls in my new office are painted daffodil yellow with white wainscoting and trim. It’s February.

And of course, it is Lincoln’s birthday this month. I know that we only celebrate President’s Day now, but it’s February. As with many people, Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents in American history. If you’re wondering, no I didn’t forget that today is the day I recommend good books and good authors. One of my favorites is Jennifer Chiaverini. She is the author of the Elm Creek Quilter series. However, one of her latest releases is Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. I haven’t read it yet but it is on my list of books to read. It is the story of Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, a former slave, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keckley. The two women develop an amazing friendship that takes the reader behind the closed doors of the White House, through the emancipation of slavery, the First Lady’s loss of her son and assassination of her husband. We will get to know the president’s wife and a former slave in personal ways through their experiences together. Ms. Chiaverini is an impeccable researcher. Enjoy the read.


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And the Winner is …?

I don’t know how other writers feel about contests, but I have participated in a fair number. There are advantages to participating in contests. Some of them are:

  1.       You have a deadline that you have to meet. It teaches you the importance to meeting those deadlines. If you miss a contest deadline, then you are out of luck. They don’t give you a chance to fudge on the date. I think it was Jerry Jenkins in his book, Writing for the Soul, that he said only 3% of writers meet their deadline. Wouldn’t you like to be in that 3%? I’m sure that would make you stand out in the publishing world.
  2.       You can receive some great feedback from experienced writers and editors who are the judges on your work. They make comments on your work whether you are a winner or not. Take it and learn from it. Take what you can use and discard the rest.
  3.        Contests are usually for short pieces of work, but not always. Learn to write tight and only the best work wins. Likewise you only send your best work to an agent or publisher, not the first draft or the “good enough” draft.
  4.        Contests have specific guidelines that you must follow or be disqualified. That is the way it is in the publishing world. Publishers and agents have guidelines for a reason and expect writers to follow them.
  5.        When you win contests, that makes you “An award winning author” when you are writing up your vita/resume.

My only caution is don’t forget to keep writing and submitting with a focus on your career as a published author in mind. There are so many contests that it could easily eat up your writing time. Make your writing do double duty. Some places to find contests are Winning Writers (both poetry and prose), Writers Market, Poets & Writers, and Creative Writing Contests. (These are sources that I have found or used in my own research, but always thoroughly research the contest source and sponsors yourself to be sure that they are legitimate before sending your work or participating in a contest.)

 


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Davis Bunn – Always a Great Read

If you’ve never read any of his books, then I suggest you give his books a try. I highly recommend his books. His website profile says “An internationally-acclaimed author who has sold more than six million books in sixteen languages, Davis is equal parts writer, scholar, teacher, and sportsman.”

Bunn and Janette Oke have written several books together including the Acts of Faith series.

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These are among my favorites, but Davis Bunn has written many other as well and continues to write great reads. Book of Dreams released in October 2011 is a great contemporary read. Book of DreamsThe back cover blurb can’t be beat for getting your attention “For Dr. Elena Burroughs, life is divided into two chapters—before and after the death of her husband. Today marks the point that her span of being a wife is equal to her span of being a widow. Even her success as a psychologist and her worldwide acclaim for a book on the interpretation of dreams is dimmed by an unspoken If only. Then a new patient arrives, one so private only her first name is given. Impeccably dressed and escorted by two bodyguards, Sandra recounts a frightening series of recurrent nightmares. …”

Enjoy!


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To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question

How many of us set up a schedule for blogging and do really well for a time and then just flat fall off of the wagon? Come on … don’t be embarrassed … most of us would have to raise our hands and nod our heads on that one. I am no exception, but after a challenging 2012 it is time to get back on the horse or back to the keyboard. New goals, I don’t think I’ll go with the resolution thing.  The question comes to mind – why do you want to read this anyway. Book Festival

For the writer: I give you something of value that you can use.

For the reader: I give you once a month recommendations or guest blogs about new books and other authors I think you would enjoy.

My new schedule: Writer focused blogs on Tuesdays.  BookCoverImage - final Nov 6 2011

Focus on readers for Saturdays.    


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Free Book Giveaway!!!!

Hi everyone,

 

My publisher, Buoy Up Press, and I have a special promotion that only lasts Friday, Feb 24th and Saturday, Feb 25th, 2012. That’s this weekend!

 

Rebekah Redeemed, a part of my Women Of the Bible series is FREE on Kindle. Download for FREE. If you don’t have it yet, this is your chance to get it at no cost to you. Don’t have a Kindle? You can download a free Kindle app onto your computer or laptop and then get your copy of Rebekah Redeemed. The download of the Kindle app only takes a few minutes.

 

Rebekah Redeemed url:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0044KM0W8

 

Hope you’ll take advantage of it. Happy reading,

Dianne


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For Everything There is A Season

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the beginning of a good year. I haven’t posted for a few weeks because my mother suffered a massive stroke and heart attack. She passed away after being in hospice for a week and went home on Christmas Eve afternoon. The family that was here took Christmas day to just remember our Lord and Savior and why he came. I’m trying to get things going for the new year, but am not going very fast.

I’ll be posting, but may be irregular for a few more weeks. I want to give my blog followers something of value and hope you will hang in there with me while I get back on my feet and writing and posting regularly. Keep on writing. Set some goals for yourself. My critique group met last night for the first time this year and we talked over our writing goals. My publisher wants three more New Testament Women books this year. One member plans to write a chapter a week on his novel in progress. Another has a similar goal of writing every week. One other member wants to polish her novel and pitch it to a publisher and complete a manuscript for another novel this year. Our fifth member wants to complete a business book he is writing and then continue with his novel in progress.

I encourage you to set goals and share them with me and those who read this blog. It is good to encourage each other to meet our goals and work through the writing process together.


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Book Lover’s Holiday Giveaway

   Come and join the fun and enjoy all the great gifts. Keep them or give them to those on your Christmas shopping list.

Your Holiday Gift: a free copy of  Rebekah Redeemed or The Fisherman’s Wife

Three Winners Chosen from those who leave comments during the Giveaway Hop  Dec. 2 – 6

Winners Announced on this blog, December 7th, 2011 

Each participating blog is hosting their own giveaway and we’ve all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to the next.

The rules:
Must be 13 or older to enter
Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm EST, December 6, 2011
One entry per person
Contest open internationally
The winner will be notified by email
Winner will be determine by random number generator
It’s not necessary to follow me for this, but it sure is appreciated!

To keep it simple each site has a limit of entries per person.  To participate go to the list at I Am A Reader and scroll down a few paragraphs to the link list.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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FREE Writers Workshop from Writers on the Move

Title: Creating Great Characters
Presented by: Maggie Ball
Date: December 07, 2011 (Wednesday)
Time: 5:00 – 5:45 PM EST (U.S.)
Format: Live Webinar
Handout: Yes
Cost: Free

Workshop Description:

Think of amazing characters, such as Sherlock Holmes, Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind), Tarzan, Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird), Peter Pan, Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web), T. S. Garp (The World According to Garp), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), Harry Potter, the list goes on and on.

Characters are at the heart of every great story and every fiction author needs to know how to create good ones. Think temperament, intelligence, appearance, physical characteristics, quirks, moods, mannerisms, and so on. Great characters need to be real, engaging, and motivating; they need to keep the reader reading. They need to touch something in the reader; they need to be remembered.

Join Maggie Ball as she discusses characterization.

To register for “Creating Great Characters” email Maggie Ball at:maggieball@compulsivereader.com

Details to attend the LIVE WEBINAR will be provided upon registration.

There will also be a bonus PDF workshop handout included and registered attendees will receive a recording of the live webinar.

 

For complete details go to:

http://www.writersonthemove.com/p/writers-on-move-workshop.html

 

 These are GREAT workshops by experienced and successful writers.


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Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go “Pro” NOW AVAILABLE

I’m excited to let everyone know that the print version of my new book, Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go “Pro”, is now available on Amazon.com

What are people saying?

Tools and Tips is full of very useful information. I’ve always been impressed with your organizational and get-the-job-done skills. You did a good job of sharing them. I especially like your do-it-yourself writer’s retreat idea! Congratulations! This is a great addition to your list and I’m sure it will lead to even more inspirational readers for your other works.”

– Patsy Rae Dawson - International marriage consultant, has mentored both husbands and wives for 40 years, award winning author, Certified Public Speaker, publisher, BlogTalk radio host,


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Free Online Writers Workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.writersonthemove.com/p/writers-on-move-workshop.htmlTitle: Create and Sell an Informational Product

Presented by: Karen Cioffi

Date: November 18, 2011

Time: 7PM, EST (U.S. Time)

Workshop Format: Live Online Chat

Handout: Yes

Fee: Free

Workshop Description:

Surely, you’ve all hear by now about informational products. If not, it’s all about creating a product that provides needed or wanted information to others . . . information others will be willing to pay for.

And, it’s not difficult at all.

So, what might be an example of an informational product?

Simple, anything that, again, will provide people with information / knowledge they need or want. Information that will solve a person’s problem or will help them get where they want to be. It might be a report, an e-book, a workshop, you get the idea.

To help you get in the informational product game, Writers on the Move is hosting a workshop presented by Karen Cioffi that will give you the steps you need to get where you want to be: creating and selling informational products.

To register for “Create and Sell an Informational Product” email Karen Cioffi at:

karencioffi [at] ymail.

The workshop is free, but all registrants will be added to the Writers on the Move and the presenter’s mailing list.

Details to the LIVE CHAT will be provided upon registration.

We’ll be offering (at the discretion of the presenter) an After Workshop Package of this workshop for those who didn’t register and would like to purchase it. It’ll include the live chat transcript, the workshop handout, and possibly a podcast. Be sure to Get Yours when it’s available!


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More from Pamela S. Meyers – Guest Author

Pam shared some great information about herself and her new book, Thyme for Love, on Thursday. Now she’s back to share a part of her writer’s journey with us.

Q. How do you get your story ideas?

A. There’s an old adage to write what you know. I might add to that, to always keep your eyes and ears open for a possible story line. That first novel I wrote was sparked by something someone said to me when she showed me a picture of my great-grandfather’s grave. My Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin story grew out of wanting to know the history behind the beautiful lakeshore recreational building that has become an icon of the area. Just today a newspaper article sparked an idea I’d like to develop into a proposal.

 

Q. What is your daily writing routine?

A. My best writing time is morning, but I’ve had to make myself work outside the box at times when that kind of schedule doesn’t work. Since I am a morning person, I find it best to set my alarm as if I’m going to work. I get up at 5:30 and spend at least an hour in my Quiet Time with God. Then I try to walk daily for exercise before settling down in my home office to write. I recently converted unused space in my dining are into an office and that has helped tremendously with getting the sense of “going to work.” This helps me stay on task. Too many years actually working Monday through Friday probably contributes to that. On days I have an obligation away from home in the morning, I have had to force myself to be creative in the afternoon and early evening. I think as I start working on deadlines more and more that’s going to be essential.

 

Q. What advice do you have for new authors?

A. Persevere, persevere, and persevere. I started out aspiring to be published in novel writing more than ten years ago. I had the raw ability and desire to write, but that skill had to be trained and honed, much like a young colt has to be trained. I have learned that writers need to develop what we jokingly refer to as rhino skin and also we need a positive teachable attitude. Join critique groups, take writing courses, attend writing conferences where great teaching occurs and you’ll have opportunities to meet with industry professionals and pitch to editors and agents. ACFW has a great yearly conference ever September that is for fiction writers only. I cannot tout ACFW enough. It is a must organization to join for anyone who writes fiction from a Christian point of view.

 

Q. When you aren’t writing, what fills your days?

A. I volunteer at my church in the multicultural ministry, helping Japanese women learn to speak English and lead a women’s small group Bible study. I’m also chapter president of my local ACFW chapter which meets monthly. Also, I enjoy reading (surprise, surprise) and movies. Love to cook and find new ways of making things. You’ll find an adaptation of a recipe someone gave me called Chicken George at the back of Thyme for Love. I loved having April prepare it in the novel, and look forward to experimenting with more recipes for the sequels.

Thanks for coming by this week, Pamela. I hope you’ll come back again when your next book comes out.


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Pamela S. Meyers – Guest Author

I’m glad to have Pamela Meyers as my guest today. She has a new book out Thyme for Love.

Q: Give us a little preview of Thyme for Love.

A:  April Love has always dreamed of being a chef. When her Aunt Kitty hears of a in-house chef position for a non-profit organization housed in a lakeshore mansion next door, April returns to Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, where she’d spent many summers growing up, to apply for the job. When she discovers her former fiancé Marc Thorne working there, she wonders if this position was really God’s intention for her. After all, Marc all but left her standing at the altar to chase his own dreams in California. It doesn’t take long to realize Marc is hiding secrets and despite returning feelings for the man, April determines she will not make the same mistake as she did eight years earlier. But when their boss is found dead and Marc is framed for his murder, April has no choice but to turn sleuth to keep Marc from being accused of a murder he didn’t commit.

 

Q: What made you want to write this book?

A:  I’ve always loved romance and mysteries, and decided to write a story that married the two elements together. I grew up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and have always been fascinated by the many 20th Century mansions that dot the lake’s shoreline. I toyed with the idea of setting the story in one of those homes, but decided to create a smaller lake and village just to the east of Lake Geneva to gain more freedom with some of the details of the story and its characters. I loved having the area located close enough to Lake Geneva that April and Marc could go there for a meal at one of the actual restaurants there. I also gave them backgrounds that involve working on Geneva Lake as many college students do during the summer months.

Q: Have you written other novels besides Thyme for Love?

Oh yes. My first novel which I would classify as a women’s fiction languishes in my computer at the moment. Authors very seldom publish their first written work as that often turns out to be a practice project. The storyline still resonates with me and I’d love to one day pull it out and rework it. There are a couple other stories that will probably never see the light of day. I’m very excited to have a novel set in my hometown of Lake Geneva, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, coming out in June 2012 from Summerside Press. It’s a 1933 historical romance, and I had a blast researching for the story.

 

Q. Do you have any plans for a sequel to Thyme for Love?

A. I’m so glad you asked. Thyme for Love is part of a three-book series called “On the Road to Love.” Books 2 and 3 involved April and Marc, and both are set in Canoga Lake. In Book 2, Love Will Find a Way, April moves into an old Victorian home with plans to turn it into a restaurant and catering business. It isn’t long before a discovery made while they are renovating the home threatens to hijack plans for the grand opening. In Book three, Love’s Reward, April and Marc’s wedding plans are in full swing, until it becomes apparent there is someone who doesn’t want them to marry.


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Count Down – Three Days to NaNoWriMo 2011

It’s like holding back a wave and then the dam breaks – the story starts pouring out of my thoughts and through my fingers. The story unfolds on the screen in front of me. Over 200 participants live in my area for 2011. Well over 300,000 world wide took part in this blitz to write 50,000 words in 30 days. My outline is in place and my thoughts keep going back to the story I want to write. Research files sit ready on my book shelf.

Our Amarillo area kick-off is tomorrow (Sunday, October 30, 2011) to get everyone to the starting line. Lots of free and discounted things are available to participants. If you’re not signed up yet, you still have time. It only takes a few minutes and even if you don’t write the full 50,000 words you are eligible for surprises just for signing up.

I do hope you’ll come and join us on this journey. If you want to attend the kick-off then here is the information:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Amarillo Northwest Branch Library (on west 9th across from the V.A.hospital and just to the east, next door, to Amarillo College West Campus.

2:00pm – 4:00pm

Have a great weekend and great NaNoWriMo!


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Virtual Book Tours

Online promotion is an important part of getting our names, services, and books in front of readers and customers for our services. I was one of the original members of a yahoo group called VBT – Writers on the Move. We helped each other promote and participated in virtual tours on our blogs. I sat out for almost a year, but have rejoined this talented group and would love to share with you.

Put your writing career in motion with the yahoo marketing group
VBT – Writers on the Move. Promote your platform, yourself and
your books! We utilize ONGOING tours; Viewpoint segments; mystery
site give aways; blog radio spots; and much more to increase
visibility and readership.
To learn more contact Karen at: karenrcfv@yahoo.com.
Please put VBT-(your initials) in the subject box.

Visit the group blog: http://vbt-writersonthemove.blogspot.com There are always great posts on the group blog from experienced, successful writers.


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Story Elements

Whether you’re going to join in with us in NaNoWriMo or you’re working on a short story you need to include the basic story elements in your work.

1. Setting: Include the place, time of day or night, what country, season, inside or outside, year or decade. These can be stated if they are important or weave it in your opening scene. For example, suspense novels sometimes have a date stamp at the beginning of each chapter (12:15 am, January 13th). Another way to indicate when your story takes place could be” Jane’s calf length suit skirt caught on her leg as she ran to a phone booth. Her white gloved fingers jammed a dime into the pay phone and she looked over her shoulder.

  2. Plot: If nothing is happening to your protagonist then you don’t have a story. In the first few paragraphs you have to grab your reader’s attention or they won’t purchase your book. Something has to happen or  be in motion to get things rolling.

3. Conflict: Without some type of conflict and challenge, the character has nothing to react to or to solve. The conflict can be internal or external. It can be a combination of both. An internal conflict could be a crisis of conscience or beliefs. External conflicts come from outside the protagonist. External circumstances or actions can be man versus man, man versus circumstances beyond the character’s control, and man versus society or social issue.

4. Characters: Your key characters are the protagonist (hero or heroin) and an antagonist. Also, develop the secondary and incidental characters who are included in the story. Leave out any character who does not have a reason for appearing in the story or furthers the action. Give your characters a personality, background, physical features, and quirks. Remember that even your antagonist needs at least one redeeming quality.

5. Point of View: Decide which character’s point of view the story represents. Either write it in 1st person or 3rd person.

I like to add a 6th element: Theme: This is the main idea or central insight behind the story. It helps you stay focused on the direction and meaning you want to give the reader.

 


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NaNoWriMo Preparation

It’s already October 18th and only 13 days left in this month. Then ….. NaNoWriMo begins. You can start writing at one minute past midnight on November 1st if you want to. Are you wondering how to get ready for this crazy rush to write the first draft of a novel – 50,000 words or more in 30 days?

Answer: 1620.9 words a day will get you there!

How to get ready?

Go online to the National Novel Writing Month website and sign up for free. I’ve you’ve participated before then just go in and put your new information for this year.

You can find people in your area who are also participating and each area has a volunteer coordinator. Some of the participants get together for a kickoff party and then meet periodically to have a “write in” and work on their manuscripts as a group.

Decide on the subject. Write a basic outline for the book. Decide on a working title. Do some character development charts for the major characters.

Don’t be intimidated by the number of words required. Even if you don’t make it within the 30 day challenge continue writing until you’re finished. Look at it this way. How far along will you be on your novel if you don’t give it a try? I’ve participated off and on for the past several years and made it all the way to my goal of 50,000 words for the first time last year. I promise that it is an exhilarating feeling when you type “The End.” I hope you’ll join me this year. Let me know if you sign up.


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Marilyn Celeste Morris’ New Release – The Unexplored Heart

NOW AVAILABLE!!!

THE UNEXPLORED HEART

A romance set in Victorian England.

By: Marilyn Celeste Morris

http://www.vanillah eartbooksandauth ors.com/Marilyn_ Morris.html

Amazon buy link:

http://www.amazon. com/s/ref= nb_sb_noss? url=search- alias%3Dstripboo ks&field- keywords= The+Unexplored+ Heart&x=19& y=11

The Unexplored Heart by Marilyn Celeste Morris

Impoverished but proud Vanessa Danforth is forced from her mother’s home by her
new stepfather’s treachery in 1860s England. After graduating from
stenographer’s school, she accepts a position at the estate of famed world
explorer, Harrison Courtland. Made a widower by his wife’s tragic death in the
Himalayas, Courtland has retreated into his work while Vanni forges friendships
with his daughter Katrin and the handsome physician from the neighboring
estate.

As Vanni encourages Courtland to unearth the ancient ruins at the edge of his
property she discovers not only a stunning secret and a hidden treasure, but
also her own heart’s desire.


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Updated “The Frugal Book Promoter” Released!

Hi everyone,
I have two of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s books in my resource library and they are wonderful sources of information. She’s been working on an update to “The Frugal Book Promoter.”
Now, here’s the book you writers have been looking for!
The second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter is an updated version of
the multi award – winning first edition. It has been expanded to include
simple ways to promote books using newer technology -  – always
considering promotion and marketing techniques that are easy on the
pocketbook and frugal of time. It also includes a multitude of ways for
authors and publishers to promote the so – called hard – to – promote
genres. The award – winning author of poetry and fiction draws on a
lifetime of experience in journalism, public relations, retailing,
marketing, and the marketing of her own books to give authors the basics
they need for do – it – yourself promotion and fun, effective approaches
that haven’t been stirred and warmed over, techniques that will help
rocket their books to bestselling lists. You’ll also l earn to write media
releases, query letters and a knock ‘em dead media kit -  – all tools that
help an author find a publisher and sell their book once it’s in print.
When you buy the book today, you’ll receive more than a dozen great
bonuses for writers1
Click here to Buy the Book!  http://frugalbookpromoter.homestead.com/
You won’t want to miss this one,
Dianne


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Professionalism in Writing

Professional writers are those who are paid for their work. An amateur is someone who writes but doesn’t get paid for it. Hobbyists spend some spare time doing what they enjoy. In this case, we’re talking about writing. Most writers don’t make enough money on their book sales to do nothing but write. However, it doesn’t mean that we don’t write professionally.

What does it take to operate at a professional level? First, learn as much as you can about the writing craft. Second, treat your writing as a profession. Third, use a good editor and take the time to draft and re-draft your manuscripts.

The most difficult part of writing professionally is the tedious process of polishing your writing before publication. It’s not my favorite part of the process. I’ve realized that it’s okay not to like the last little detail polishing but it isn’t okay not to do it. This is one of the main things that separates the professional and the amateur.


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What to Write About

We’re nearing the end of September and Fall is definitely in the air. If you’re planning on taking part in National Novel Writing Month in November then you may need to make a decision about just what subject you plan on writing about.

As you all know, I’m a history buff and love historical novels – writing as well as reading them. One answer to the question “What should I write about?” is to look for historical anniversaries. We are currently at the beginning of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial. We are also approaching the Centennial of World War I.

April of 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

May 2012 is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

These can get you started.


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Fall Writer Conferences

5 AUTUMN CONFERENCES

WritersMarket.com lists hundreds of writing conferences for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for children, journalism, and more. Here are five coming up in autumn:

 

Austin Film Festival & Conference will be happening in Austin, Texas, October 20-27. The conference portion of it will last October 20-23.

 

The James River Writers Conference will be taking place in Richmond, Virginia, from October 6-8 at the Library of Virginia.

 

From October 21-23, the South Carolina Writers Workshop will be hosted at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort.

 

On November 12, Towson University will host the Baltimore Writers’ Conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Steve Almond is slated as the keynote speaker.

 

Flathead River Writers Conference takes place October 1-2 at Flathead Valley Community College in Montana.


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Book Discussion Guides

I’ve noticed that there are more books available in the last couple of years that include a discussion guide at the back of the book. If you’ve published fiction or nonfiction and don’t have a list of questions at the back, then you haven’t missed the boat.

I suggest that you develop a group of discussion questions that are available to readers. Book clubs or discussion groups can have access to the guides and download them for free. Post the documents on your website, put a link on your blog, or make them available on Goodreads.

Did you know that you can have an author page on Goodreads? It’s a great place to let readers know about your books and Discussion Guides.

Let people in your network know that the guides are available. Tweet about them. Talk about them on Facebook and in your online groups.

Examples can be found at Discussion Guides. These are my own new guides. Give it a try. You’re giving added value to your readers and making your books more appealing to Book Clubs and Discussion groups.


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10 Favorite Christian Authors

As you all know, I love to read. The following list of authors give their readers great stories and characters that you’ll never forget. If you haven’t read any of their books or maybe haven’t read one of their books in a long time. I recommend that you give their new books a read. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

1. Beverly Lewis

2. Francine Rivers

3. Terri Blackstock

4. Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall

5. Angela Hunt

6. Bodie and Brock Thoene

7. Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

8. Karen Kingsbury

9. Jerry B. Jenkins

10. Randy Alcorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Just a Note

I know that the posts have been a little sporadic and unpredictable over the past couple of weeks. I apologize and am back on schedule for this new week for the regular Tues – Thurs – Saturday posts. Family challenges and the loss of a dear friend have had their impact on things.

I hope all is going well and each of you are writing. I hope you’ll participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. Go to NaNoWriMo


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Memoir Writing

As you probably already know, I’m teaching a memoir class this month. I’d like to share some of the information from that class with youl

We are focusing on creating a theme for your memoir. Not all memoirs have themes, but many that are published to have one.

Your stories are like pearls and the theme provides the string that holds them together. One option that people use when writing memoir is to structure the content around a theme.

Theme provides: development of an idea, conceptual coherence, a guide for what to include in your story and what to leave out.

The biggest problem in writing a memoir is that you know every detail of your life – what happened to you, around you, how you felt or reacted, things you’ve accomplished, where you’ve failed and where you’ve triumphed. You know what you’ve overcome and what challenges you’re still working on. The greatest challenge is that you know too much. You make the decision about what to include and what to leave out.

Life sorting: This is a little like recycling, you need two containers. Have you ever seen the television shows where they go into someone’s home and rejuvenate a room that is filled to the ceiling with junk? They have bins for sorting: Keep – Give Away – Throw Away.

I propose that we use these categories as columns for sorting the stories and the details in those stories.

Keep

Give Away

Throw Away

     
     
     

 

Keep = details that you want to include in your memoir

Give Away = stories or details you want to put aside for now and use later in another story or chapter

Throw Away = details or stories that you consider best left out

These are flexible categories and you can change them from one category to another, but only after you’ve written your basic story.


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October Writing Contests

The following contests are worth checking into.

4 OCTOBER WRITING CONTESTS

WritersMarket.com lists hundreds of writing contests for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for children, journalism, and more. Here are four with October deadlines:

 

The Sherwood Anderson Fiction Contest is offered by Mid-American Review for a short story (up to 6,000 words). First place wins $1,000, plus publication. Deadline: October 1.

 

Fall Chapbook Contest offered by White Eagle Coffee Store Press is offered for a chapbook manuscript of 20-24 pages. Winner receives $500, publication and 25 copies. Deadline: October 31.

 

Hybrid Essay Contest searches out the best unpublished essay of up to 10,000 words. Prize is $1,000, plus publication in DIAGRAM. Deadline: October 31.

 

Mid-American Review also offers the James Wright Poetry Award for best unpublished poem. First place wins $1,000, plus publication. Deadline: October 1.


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How to Use an RSS Feed

I don’t know about you but I’m still challenged with some of the tools available to us. I found a great article that explains RSS feeds.  If you’re like me the basics begin with a definition – Really Simple Syndication .

When you sign up for an RSS feed from another website, you receive a summary and link to the full article or post. You need a “reader” that can be put on your laptop or desk top computer that enables you to read the message. There are several formats available so you can get what you need.

For those of you who need more than an article, like me, you can go to a video - try it and I hope it helps.


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September Writing Classes

The location for the Memoir class in September has been changed from the East Branch Library to the Amarillo YMCA South at 4101 S. Hillside, Amarillo, TX. Call ahead and reserve a spot 367-8047. We meet every Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:00pm. Each month has a different subject.

Hope to see some of you there.

Also, don’t forget the Write In Retreat on September 23 – 24th. See coming events for details. If you can’t come Friday afternoon come for Saturday at the lower rate. Both days – $75 which includes snacks, handouts, a yoga class, lunch on Saturday, and personal writing time when you can ask specific questions about your manuscript.

 

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