Saturday, June 30, 2012

For the ones who can't wait till that next book comes out

Writing Tip Week. We're Always in the Mood to Learn More Stuff.

July takes us into a great time to discuss sequel writing, trilogy writing, and that all included writing series project sitting on our back burners.
See what LoRee Peery, our resident author has to say and be sure to drop in and leave YOUR thoughts on the matter.

Sequel, Trilogy, and Beyond = Writing a Series

By LoRee Peery

When I began working on Moselle’s Insurance, the first story in the Frivolities Series, I had no idea I was embarking on an adventure. My focus was on Moselle’s reunion with Eric, and the kooky shop her mother Geneva and aunt Lanae had established. Fellow writers and crit partners commented along the way how much they enjoyed the secondary characters (future, older heroines). And one writer friend really liked the hero’s ex-wife.

Have you ever tucked such remarks away, as I did?

With each writing project, I keep my brainstorming ideas, do character charts, make notes on setting, and print out any research I gather. This material goes in a three-ring binder. I also use visuals. Sometimes I only begin with pictures of hero and heroine, Eventually, I  end up with several pages of collage.

The notes for Moselle’s Insurance made it easier for me to create a sequel when the secondary characters starting crying out for their own stories to be told.

Something sparked when I typed Eric’s friend Rainn saying, “If the daughter looks anything like the mother, you’ve got a good thing going here.” From then on, Geneva became flustered in Rainn’s presence and I took notes for the next story. Writing Lanae saying he could rain on her parade, I had the second title: Rainn on My Parade.

 How about that pressure of working on a tight schedule?

Author Delia Latham said she originally pitched only the first book in the Solomon's Gate (the Christian dating agency) Series. At that time, Destiny's Dream was completed. She had the next titles, Kylie's Kiss and Gypsy's Game. She realized writing a pre-contracted series (she had eight months to complete the next two books) made the writing easier, because she works best under pressure.

Delia’s tips: CHART and PRAY A LOT -- A 3-foot cork board hangs on the wall beside her desk. She printed out the detailed chart and push-pinned it onto that cork board, which made all vital information available at her fingertips when she ran into questions.

I created a Frivolities trilogy with Sage and Sweetgrass, which evolved once I finished Geneva and Rainn’s story. And, I have to admit how easy the words often flowed because I knew Lanae so well after presenting her in two earlier stories. What romance reader doesn’t like a cowboy? For Lanae’s backstory, I’d already placed her on a ranch with her deceased husband, so I really didn’t consider anyone else but a cowboy, haunted by his past, as a match for her.

A call for submissions on a writers’ loop prompted Author Mary Manners, who actually dreamed all four stories in her first series, The Sweet Treats Bakery. Mary went to bed one night thinking about the series and profoundly, “Woke up and immediately wrote down all I could remember. I had heard of that happening with other writers, but had never experienced anything like it myself. It was amazing. (My husband thought I had lost my mind).” She is currently working on her fourth series.

Mary's tips: Keep a NOTEBOOK based on theme. Select appropriate BIBLE VERSES. Link TITLES to theme. Name CHARACTERS -- hero, heroine, children. She then writes the SYNOPSIS for each. Mary pictures a bike wheel: hub, spokes and rubber tire. When she gets stuck, she refreshes her mind by running or mowing the lawn.

As for me, I went beyond the trilogy with Beth, the ex-wife from the first story, who kept popping up in my thoughts. She was introduced in the first story as Moselle and Eric’s high school friend, a wild child. She metamorphosed into a likable soul, and romantic suspense lover that I am, I came up with a more detailed, darker history for her. I’d also always wanted to write about wolves. Found in the Woods, edgy with suspense elements, is scheduled for release July 27, 2012

When we hit those leaps of faith

According to Author Tanya Hanson, The Hearts Crossing Ranch series, based on a contest, was the first time she contracted on short synopsis. She called it a leap of faith by the editors. One of the contest rules was that the hero had to be one of eight siblings. So her imagination started ideas about the other seven Martin men, who all had an important role at the ranch.

Tanya’s tip: KEEP DETAILS STRAIGHT. She claims to be disorganized, and if she writes another series, plans to use Post-It notes all over the wall.

Staying with that same theme...again and again?

Series writing comes about in varied ways. Some authors begin with building the setting as a location or a world, with related characters. Others “see” the whole thing ahead of time, with a common theme, and add their characters chronologically. Some stories are stand-alone novels, others end with an obvious invitation to go on to the next book to complete the picture. Theme and recurring characters flow from one to the next as individual writers weave a story question and goal into each book, or intertwine them is such a way that the whole series has the same story question.

As for Frivolities, a series which has linked characters, I wasn’t ready to leave these strong women alone. Since writing a novella was on my goals list for 2011, I wrote Lezlie’s Lifeline. Lezlie is Sage’s daughter, who had kept her son’s father a secret. Her story has been contracted with White Rose Publishing as a future dollar download.

Writing books in a series reminds me of the comfort of sliding into a favorite pair of worn blue jeans at summer’s end, or putting on house slippers after being in heels all day. Familiar. And I am thankful to the editors at Pelican Book Group for availing that familiarity to readers.

As a reader or writer, what do you prefer? Series or Saga reading or writing or those Stand Alone masterpieces? Drop us a line and let us know your thoughts.  

LoRee Peery writes Christian romance, where characters learn through spiritual struggles how to come to terms with the Lord’s will. She is a country girl who attempts to see God’s presence every day. That glimpse often comes as a gift from nature. LoRee is most relaxed in the outdoors.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We All Get to that Breaking Point at Some Time. Read the perspective of this author and win a book...

Welcome Delores

Delores Goodrick Beggs is a prolific, award-winning writer. Her work is influenced by the tolerance of horses for imperfection, the warmth of hounds reaching out, and the caring of heart for all human conditions, packaged in whichever format her inspiration of the moment decrees.

Growing up, she was always writing because radio and television before closed captions failed to entertain. During her teens she wrote mostly nonfiction, poems and short stories, collecting them over the years in a box she saved one Christmas. Delores wrote the award-winning 1992 book How Can I Talk With You? Compensating Communication, Published by Peak Output Unlimited, Staceyville, Iowa, 50476.

As an adult with a hearing disability, she started her Place in the Heart western series evenings when she came home after working her day job, writing her own stories in the days before closed captions were added to television shows.

Breaking Point is the first book in her Place in the Heart series, and is available from Desert Breeze Publishing in various formats.  

SKC:  What inspired you to come up writing for your particular sub-genre, Delores?  Tell us about the circumstances.

Delores: Horses were what I know best so western was a logical writing choice, peopled with strong heroes - my father was a dream inspiration for a hero. Once I watched him curl a rope around his two arms and singlehandedly pull our horse out of the crevice she was stuck in while the volunteer fireman crew who couldn't get her out watched.

SKC:  How do you dealt with your patience when it comes to writing?

Delores: I have to admit I'm a compulsive writer.  My problem is forcing myself to take a break. Sad to say, it is my vacuum, my duster and my floor mop, all relegated to the end of my "To Do" list that need patience.

SKC:  Those "To Do" lists are quite familiar. You are a newer author coming into the field of writing. What have you learned so far?

Delores: Rewriting is an important part of the process. I write the story.  When I go over it again after I let it go cold, I see things I forgot and need to add and also things I've overdone. Corrections are needed. I need to do this twice, at least.

SKC:    Sometimes inspirational writers have a hard time being accepted in the “real” world (Outside of CBA).  What are your thoughts about inspirational writers writing Crossover Stories?   

Delores: I have to say I haven't noticed any discrimination about my writing. I have been fortunate to have previous publishings in many print magazines and web magazines with quite a few publishers - poetry, short stories, articles, my nonfiction "How Can I talk With You" book that was awarded a Santa Clarea County, CA Arts Fellowship.

SKC:  I'm glad to hear you say that. There should be no discrimination, should there. The magic of the first five pages… Tell us what gets you started on those first five pages of a brand new story.

Delores: My method is to write a one/two page description of the highs and lows journey of the hero and then the same of the heroine's journey to use in writing the book. 

SKC:  Many authors cringe when it comes to the moment they have to come up with their synopsis.  What would be your best advice to them?

Delores: See the prior answer. With the journey of both the hero and heroine as a guide the main points can be picked out and condensed.

SKC:  Great advice. After you finish your present project, what plans do you have?

Delores: Chuckle. My Muse is mad at me, it wants to start a couple of somethings new.

But first I need to reread once more the manuscript for Book Two of Place in the Heart, Substitute Lover, due to be published by Desert Breeze Publishing in December.

SKC: Which book do you wish to share with one of our responders?

Delores: Place in the Heart Book One, Breaking Point. The rest of the series characters relate in some way to those in Breaking Point.

SKC: Sounds great. Thanks for that and thank you so much for coming by. Please let us know where we can find your books.

Delores: Thank you for having me.  I enjoyed stopping by. Place in the Heart Book One Breaking Point can be found at Desert Breeze Publishing in various formats:  also at major e-book outlets such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Don't You Love Review Week


Slattery's Reviews

By Valerie Comer, Annalise Daughety, Nicole O’Dell, Cara Putman

Published by Barbour Books

352 pages

ISBN: 978-1616266868

 It's an interesting group of strangers who show up for the first annual Rainbow's End geocache hunt, and the spectacular scenery along the bluffs of the Lake of the Ozarks is just one reason. . . .

Lyssa, hoping she can get over her fears and point folks to the treasure found in Jesus, is startled to find her former college professor among the group. Will he upset her mission?

City girl Madison is annoyed that her sister signed her up and then bailed—but now she’s been paired with a complete stranger! Worse, he’s one of those outdoorsy types.

Reagan has always played it safe, doing everything by the book. And then she meets her brother’s frat brother, a guy who’s got his life mapped out, too.

After winning her life-long battle to get fit, Hadley can’t wait to meet people who didn’t know her “before.”  But Brad is that species of guy she has no experience with: a player.

God only knows if this adventure in the woods will lead to heartache . . . or love.

Slattery's Review:

Four ladies, four guys, and one two-month geocaching event centered in the beautiful Ozarks.

Rainbow’s End, a Romancing America collection published by Barbour Books, was a quick and fun read. As a Missourian, I enjoyed reading about the beautiful Osage Beach area and could easily envision the various excursions each of the characters went on. The unifying plot of a geocaching outreach event was deliciously unique and engaging. The clever poetic clues presented in the first novella, written by debut novelist, Valerie Comer, produced numerous chuckles while, in novella three, Hadley Parker’s interpretation of one geocaching clue made my pulse race. Thank goodness there was a handsome hero nearby!

I enjoyed getting to know each character presented, from the shy, eco-friendly Lyssa Quinn to the newly-emerging Hadley Parker. The story-lines, although unique, wove together seamlessly, and each author’s unique voice added depth and flavor to the compilation.

Rainbow’s End is a perfect collection to read on a peaceful summer afternoon. 

Monday, June 18, 2012


One busy lady here. Join me in welcoming Tina...

Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and five grandchildren.

Tina started her writing in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy were published through Desert Breeze Publishers. She is working on several books and is toying with speculative fiction as well.
When Shadows Fall, Shadowed Dreams, and To Catch a Shadow the first three installments of the Shadow Series about the civil war and the Oregon Trail, will be available May 2012, November 2012 and June 2013.

SKC:  What inspiration went behind the penning of your most recent book, Tina?

Tina: When Shadows Fall is to remind people that God is with you through the long hard trails of life. Through the shadows. I want people to understand that shadows aren't always bad. There are the shadows of a war, and the shadow of tree on a hot day. There are the shadows of sorrow, and the shadow of man cast across the land. No matter what, God is there. It was also written because both the Civil War and the Oregon Trail fascinate me. So many people uprooted to get away from the war. For better lives. But the trail was hard in itself. I read several books around that time where'd they talk about the Oregon Trail or the Santa Fe trail and the characters would be on the trail for the whole of a chapter and suddenly be at the end. I wanted to take the journey, if only through my characters and share some of what those on the trail had to go through.

SKC:  Since I was born and raised in Oregon, I will definitely look forward to reading your book. As a writer do you believe you are self-taught or have you learned a lot from others? And tell us about some of the authors who have given you insight on how to express your own voice or taught you the most about development of style

Tina: As far as my voice, I suppose I was self-taught, but not totally… because I believe God gave me that voice. We always learn and I will admit I have, but I've had a decent handle on my writing style since I was in elementary school. Have I matured in my voice, and editing( which I can still learn more) and toned down some things. Yes. I learned writing rules and took creative classes. But time and age also play a factor in that. I just as easily started to lose my voice some because some people had ideas about how I should write. That why I always tell writers to know your voice and what God instilled in you. Learn and grow, but write with the voice God gave you.

SKC:  When you are in the middle of series and deadlines does it cramp your creativity, or enhance it, and in what way?

Tina:  That depends on what my deadline is. Sometimes my creativity gets a boost, because I know I need to get the work done. But… there have been times that I talk myself out of even turning something in because I tell myself it won't matter anyway. Not a good place to be, but it does happen.

SKC:  Sounds like that slump time. We all have it.  How are readers responding to your work so far? What are some of the comments you have received that have blessed you or taught you where you need improvement? you might have about how they’ve received your work, thus far.

Tina: I've had some nice comments. That they usually don't care much for Civil War yarns, but this story pulled in. I wished I could say I had more, but I keep plugging away. I learn with every book. Learn more about writing and more about marketing.

SKC: How difficult it is for you to keep up a website and blog on a regular basis to promote your work?

Tina: Honestly, I do little with the website except go and add information from time to time. I do more with my blog, but some times I feel like I'm paddling upstream.

SKC:  I'm like that with my regular website. Sometimes I think other writers and readers actually prefer the blogs but there is more interraction. Who would you say is the most inspiring character in the book you have coming out soon and why?

Tina: I would have say, Matthew, because of his love for Rebekah and his willingness to take care of her. Although, Rebekah is pretty inspiring because she is throws her whole self into caring for people.

SKC: Give us a little more detail abou the  book you hope to share with one of our readers -- won't you?

Tina:   When Shadows Fall is the first in the Shadow Series. Shadowed Dreams releases in Nov. When Shadows Fall finds Rebekah trying to hold her world together during the Civil War. She comes to the capitol to enlist her godfather, President Lincoln's help in getting her husband Robert out of a Yankee. While there she meets up with her first love, Matthew Cavanaugh, and wonders if she shouldn't see his help or that of her family, but she doesn't want to impose on them. She succeeds in getting Robert freed and finds that he is worse off than expected. He's lost both his legs and his will to live. She gets him home, wonder how much of him she left in the prison.

The war strips most everything from Rebekah and leeches her energies. She decides to go west to the New Eden. Oregon. And make a better home for herself and her son, Andrew.

Matthew learns of her loss and hopes to make it through the war, until he can get to her. Rebekah wants to find a new home. And Matthew wants his arms to be the home she runs to.

SKC: If you were to ask a question to readers today about anything, what would it be?

Tina:  What do you like in a story? What draws you to a character? Does the Cover catch your eye? Does a giveaway attract you to read an author you might never consider?

SKC: Great bunch of questions. Thanks. Okay, readers, and writers, and blog visitors: What are your answers to Tina's questions? I will look forward to drawing the name of the winner later this week.

THANKS AGAIN TINA! By the way. Great cover.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Welcome to debut writer, Becky Wade.

Becky Wade makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her inspirational contemporary romance, My Stubborn Heart, has just been released by Bethany House.

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins.  These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending.  She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas.  It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing.  She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it.  Her first contemporary Christian romance, My Stubborn Heart, has just been released by Bethany House.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Readers can find Becky at the following websites.
My Stubborn Heart

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.
When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?


       There once was a girl who'd been praying for a husband since the fourth grade.  Over the years she'd prayed for his health, his happiness, his protection, and -- okay -- sometimes for his good looks.  She'd prayed that she would meet him when she was meant to.         
       Except that she hadn't. 
     She'd been avidly expecting and watching for him all this time, from the fourth grade straight up to the age of thirty-one.  And though she tried hard to be positive,  the truth was that she'd grown tired of waiting.  Tired of dating.  Tired of breaking off just two bananas from the bunch at the grocery store.  Tired of the singles group at church.  Tired of living alone. 
     Worse, she was beginning to doubt that her nameless, faceless husband existed at all.  Maybe, late at night in her kid bed, her college bed, her adult single woman bed, she'd been praying for someone who wasn't coming.  Ever. 
     Perhaps her husband had run in front of a bus as a child.  What did God do in that situation?  Swap in an understudy?  Or maybe she'd missed her husband during the bustle of her college years, never knowing that the shy guy from physics class was the one.  Or perhaps, right from the start, God had never intended for her to marry.
     Or maybe, just maybe -- and this was the hope she still clung to despite the evidence to the contrary -- her husband was still on his way.
     There once was a mother who'd been praying double hard for her son ever since he'd stopped praying for himself. 
     From earliest childhood, he'd been extraordinary - a perfect, miraculous blend of athletic ability and focused determination.  She and her husband had supported and loved him, but never expected of him what he'd made of himself.  How could it even have entered her mind to dream a dream that big?  She'd watched with a mixture of sentimental pride and stunned surprise as he'd climbed up every level of the sport of hockey. 
     By the age of eighteen he was playing professionally.  From there, at what she'd thought would be the pinnacle, his star had only continued to rise.  He'd been photographed for grocery store magazines.  He'd moved into a house surrounded by a wall of security.  He'd married a beautiful girl in a grand wedding ceremony filled with the flashes of cameras, wedding planners, and peach colored roses.
     Her son had accomplished it all.  The height of success in his career.  National fame.  Wealth.  The best personal happiness with his wife.
     And then it had all come apart, crashing and rolling out of reach like a handfull of spilled marbles.  His wife had been diagnosed with cancer and nothing -- not the most money, not the best doctors -- had been able to save her.  When she'd died, he'd walked away from his sport, from the big house with the wall, from the fame.
     In the years since, he'd retreated inside himself to a place where none of his family or friends could reach him.  So his mother prayed.  She prayed that God wouldn't forget about him, this son of hers, who'd gained and lost the world in just a third of his lifetime.  She prayed that God would send someone who could find him and save him from his prison of grief.  And she prayed that maybe, somehow, in time, his heart would soften and he'd find love again.
     Funny thing about prayers.  God hears them.  But you just never know if, when, or how He's going to answer them.

In My Stubborn Heart, God asks the heroine
to wait for the husband she's long been praying for.  
What has God asked you to wait for in your life?

We need to hear from you. As you take a glance at Becky's excerpt, consider how you might respond to Becky's question about waiting. What HAS God asked of you when it comes to that patient word called "WAIT"? 

Monday, June 4, 2012

When You Get Engulfed in a Project

Shirley, thank you for welcoming me to your blog! I'm delighted to be here!
I'm Swedish originally, and came to the US late 2008. I live in Florida today, with my husband Mike and a little gang of rescue dogs. (I volunteer at Ewenity Farms Border Collie Haven.) I go to school, aiming for a Bachelor's degree in business management, and I work part time at Pet Doors USA.

Skc Why did you choose to write this book, Maria?

Maria That is an interesting question, I've never thought about it that way. Theoretically, I guess I could do something else, or write about something else, but when the ideas come it's like a pressure building up inside, and I want to write it. Need to write it, even. It sounds a little crazy in written words, but once I get an idea and get engulfed in the project, it's the only thing I want to do. I don't think I would be happy if I tried to ignore it.

Skc What would you like readers to take away from your book?

Maria My books don't come with an explicit message, but when I write, my view of the world sneaks its way onto the pages. Few things in life are completely black or white, and few people are completely good or bad. My heroine, Patricia, finds kindness where she least expects it, and learns to see beneath the surface.

Skc  What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Maria I do a lot of weird things. I decided many years ago that when my time comes to leave this life, I don't want to look back at it wondering what it would have been like if I had done this or that. This year it's been archery; I got a compound bow from my husband for Christmas and it's fun to shoot at targets. I wouldn't go hunting or anything, I don't even eat meat, but target practice is okay. I also enjoy driving off-road, and I play the bass.

Skc What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

Maria Oh, there are so many. When it comes to writing itself, talented Christy Elkins taught me to stop using the words "that" and "had" - I still have to practice because they still sneak their way in, but I'm getting better at it.

Skc How do you plan to reach new readers?

Maria I'm going on a blog tour this summer, and I hope it will help make readers curious about me and my books. I have also signed up for my first radio appearance. That will be a little scary - I'm foreign and I have a funny accent - but I think it will be fun too.

Skc Great idea; If you could ask a new reader any question at a book signing what might your question be?

Maria I'd like to know, "What is the one thing you dislike most in books?" I know one should ask positive questions, but I'm curious about what irritates readers in books, and I think the answers could be both interesting and unexpected.

Skc Now that's an intriguing question. Where can the readers find you and what book would you like to donate today, Maria?

Maria I have a website with information about myself and the books: I also have a facebook page, , a blog, , and I am on Twitter, . I enjoy hearing from people, so do stop by!

I want to give away a copy of my new novel, Kidnapped. It's available as e-book in all sorts of formats.

Thanks again for being here with us. I look forward to seeing the answers to your question come in.