Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cameo Characters

Hilarey here...

When I was in fourth grade I walked several blocks around my house to draw a detailed map of my neighborhood for the invitations to my eighth birthday party. Ever since that time, I have loved maps.

Maps and charts... I will even admit I have a compulsion to chart all kinds of needless things, and I get a little bit of an emotional high from organization and itineraries.

Surprisingly, my current main character cleans her room by kicking piles of clothes out of the way.

Time to fess up, which of your characteristics (or anti-trait) have you added in your current manuscript?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Writing Life

Link to Terry Whalen's for information on writing, proposals, social networking, marketing... The Writing Life

Right Writing News

This Free Newsletter Helps You Write Right

For more than twenty years, Terry Whalin has interviewed more than 150 best-selling authors and written articles about how they practice their craft. Most issues of Terry's newsletter, Right Writing News, include one of these articles.

Also this free newsletter, Right Writing News will provide Terry's review of products and writing tips.

Writing Tip

Linda P. Kozar Writing Tip Of The Day--Writing suspense hopped up on strong coffee works for me.

Pentalk Community: Ode to Rules or Rules Schmules by Ane Mulligan

Pentalk Community: Ode to Rules or Rules Schmules by Ane Mulligan: "Ode to Rules or Rules Schmules© By Ane Mulligan There once was a rule called passiveThat I knew would give me gas ifI was made to admitMy vi..."

Monday, February 21, 2011

From the Heart: Dating Tips for Writers and Everyone Else by Tamel...

From the Heart: Dating Tips for Writers and Everyone Else by Tamel...: "Dating Tips for Writers and Everyone Else by Tamela Hancock Murray Writers of romance novels must convince readers that their couples have..."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: "What Do You Do When Potential Clients Approach Yo...

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: "What Do You Do When Potential Clients Approach Yo...: "(By Chip MacGregor, President, MacGregor Literary, Inc.) The best place to connect with an agent is at a writing conference. Check to see w..."

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “As an Agent, What Do You Do Besides Negotiate Con...

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “As an Agent, What Do You Do Besides Negotiate Con...: "(By Chip MacGregor, President, MacGregor Literary, Inc.) A good literary agent will help authors focus an idea, respond to the writing, per..."

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: Why Is an Agent Necessary? (Part 3 of 6)

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: Why Is an Agent Necessary? (Part 3 of 6): "(By Chip MacGregor, President, MacGregor Literary, Inc.) Most authors don't know all the things I listed in the previous post and need a sp..."

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “What Are the Most Important Parts of a Contract?”...

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “What Are the Most Important Parts of a Contract?”...: "(By Chip MacGregor, President, MacGregor Literary, Inc.) In a general sense the two most important ingredients are clarity and completeness..."

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “What Is the biggest Mistake Writers Make When The...

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “What Is the biggest Mistake Writers Make When The...: "(By Chip MacGregor, President, MacGregor Literary, Inc.) The biggest mistake is that writers jump too soon. I routinely see wannabe authors..."

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “How Do You Make a Living at Writing?” (Part 6 of ...

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer: “How Do You Make a Living at Writing?” (Part 6 of ...: "(By Chip MacGregor, President, MacGregor Literary, Inc.) Many novelists take eight months to write a book. But at that rate, even a healthy..."

From the Heart: Guest Blog by Sharon Elliott and a note from Diana...

From the Heart: Guest Blog by Sharon Elliott and a note from Diana...: "Some of you have noticed my absence from our Blog and face book conversations. My Dear Daddy, this past Thanksgiving week, had a series of s..."

Friday, February 18, 2011


Hilarey here...

No, the title isn't spelled incorrectly. I noticed that many of the contemporary songs my teenagers listen to are filled with clich├ęs . While we know better than to use them in fiction writing--I can see why songwriters do. Their word count is limited by rhythm and meter. It helps to convey a whole concept in just a few words.

We can, however, create a new twist on an old adage. Or add to the adage. For instance:

Time heals all wounds...but sometimes the bone doesn't set correctly and has to be re-broken.

This takes the hope in the former statement and laces it with cynicism. You can imagine many things about the character who would say that, can't you?

If you have stumbled across one, share it. Make sure you tell us where you found it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Impact of the Power of 3

Impact of the Power of 3

Why does the Power of 3 impact our reader? Weekly Email Weekly Email

When You're Missing the Mark -- Rachelle Gardner

BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency: The Power of Social Networking

BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency: The Power of Social Networking: "There’s always a lot of talk about Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social networking sites. We discuss whether you need to join and how ..."

Book Trailers: Vital or Wasteful? | The Steve Laube Agency

Book Trailers: Vital or Wasteful? | The Steve Laube Agency

From the Heart: The Nefarious e-Book Situation

From the Heart: The Nefarious e-Book Situation: "I just came from the Writing for the Soul Conference in Denver. It’s always an awesome conference although attendance was down a little th..."

My Book Therapy -- Four Tips to Impress and Edtor

Great article on My Book Therapy...

My Book Therapy is a wonderful resource for writers!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The only expectation we are allowed are those God invites us to.  Expectations that He will show us great and mighty things which we know not... Expectations that He will do exceedingly, abundantly, above, all that we ask or think.  Expectations that He will do what He said He will do... all contingent not on us but on Him... Expectant in Him. -- Joel Van Hoogen

Banking chapters

Hilarey here...

I've heard that working on your novel can be compared to banking. Sure, it is easier to build up your account with large frequent deposits. However that isn't always possible.

Is consistency the key for you? Do you work like the tortoise, slow and steady? Or do you sporadically squeeze in an a whole day of writing?

Have you tried both? What are the advantages/disadvantages?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day from Tyndale House Publishers

Happy Valentine's Day from Tyndale House Publishers -- They are giving away free e-book copies of "Sheet Music" by Dr. Kevin Leman through the end of the month!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Deep thoughts for shallow characters, or shallow thoughts for deep characters

If your character wore flip-flops in a formal setting, how would they react?

If your character inherited $1,000,000.000, what is the first thing they would buy or do?

If your character lost their cell phone, could they still remember phone numbers to call their friends?

Friday, February 11, 2011

From the Heart: Which Authors Should Self-publish? by Tamela Hanco...

From the Heart: Which Authors Should Self-publish? by Tamela Hanco...: "A quick view of the blogosphere offers opinions about self-publishing from high praise to (more likely) derision. Literary agents have bee..."

Count Your Many Phrases | The Steve Laube Agency

Count Your Many Phrases | The Steve Laube Agency

Writer's Digest Novel in 30 Days Worksheet Index

Novel in 30 Days Worksheet Index
January 31, 2011
by  Jane Friedman
To help you successfully complete your book in 30 days as described in the Novel in 30 Days bookazine, here are the nine worksheets promised to help you keep track of plot, scenes, characters and revisions. ...

Writer Tip

Linda P. Kozar  Writing Tip Of The Day--

It's not about word count, it's about writing words that count.

Fiction lines -- Anne Lammott

“The sun smelled warm, like laundry in the dryer, like melting yellow crayons.” Anne Lamott, Crooked Little Heart

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fiction Lines -- DiAnn Mills

“In the predawn hours when earth stood ready to relinquish its cloak of darkness, Bonnie Kahler reached to touch the opposite side of the bed. Empty. Just as it had been for the past two years, nine months, and nineteen days.” DiAnn Mills, Lightning and Lace


"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior" (Isaiah 43:1-4 MSG).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Writing Tips

Great writing tips found at the North Texas Christian writer site...

Women of Faith Writing Contest


A View from There by Angela SlaughterAnd Then Came the Angels by Beth GayleCall of a Coward by Marcia Moston 
Deo Volente by Giselle AguiarFallen Angels by Candace Isenhower Family Portraits by Elizabeth Carden 
Fire on Fox Red by L.F. Murphey  For Such a Time by Marie Wells Coutu  Irish Mountain by Elizabeth Ann Williams 
Isaiah by Beebe Kauffman It’s Not About You (Prayer: It’s Not about You) by Harriet MichaelMoments of Promise by Sara Richardson
Nadia’s Hope by Lisa BuffaloeNever Go Hungry Again by Angela Gifford Never Look Back by Hope Flansburg 
Obedient Heart by Janet L. RockeyOut of the Ashes by Tricia M. PollokPalms of Death by Christie Hoss
Resilient by Melissa MillerSeven Streets by Angie WashingtonStrained Advice by Susan H. Lawrence 
Tales of the Endless Mountains by Adell Farley Harvey The Beloved Daughter by Anna SomersThe Garbage Man Always Comes on Fridays by Kristine A. Belfils
The Piece That Surpasses All Understanding by Jessica GarciaThe Reinvention of Leona Harper by Lynne Gentry The Trees Will Clap by Bonnie M. Evans 
Treasure from the Storm by Ellen SherrillWild Woman by Sandy Cathcart Year of the Wieners by K.S. Evans
One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • At the sole discretion of Thomas Nelson, publication of the winning entry by Thomas Nelson and the opportunity to have the book sold by Women of Faith.
  • If Thomas Nelson declines to publish the winning entry, then the Grand Prize winner will receive a FREE Bookstore Advantage publishing package with WestBow Press and the opportunity to have the book sold by Women of Faith.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writing Tip

Linda P. Kozar Writing Tip Of The Day--

Sometimes the best story ideas can be gleaned from your dreams. If you have a memorable dream be sure to write it down as soon as you wake up or it'll be gone with the morning dew.



Hilarey here...

Ever notice how when something consumes you, reminders pop up everywhere? For example, as soon as you or someone close to you becomes pregnant, suddenly there are babies everywhere.

Sometimes it is just that your eyes are opened to what was already there, but sometimes they are strange coincidences. I have seen more coincidences--happy flukes--parallel my writing than anything else.

Once, I read that a certain food was eaten in the area where my story was written. I had no idea what it was (this was pre-internet) and a few days later I stumbled across a cooking show making it. In the same story, I thought I made up a name and then I read about someone from another country with that name.

Again and again, often when I am frustrated or needing encouragement, some chance happening will pop up. Does anyone else have any writing coincidences to share?

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Lisa here...

I had bunches of fun researching and studying the meanings of words using the Bible, Webster’s dictionary, Bible study references, and Greek and Hebrew definitions.

I love finding new truths in Jeremiah 29:11.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

“‘For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome’” (Jeremiah 29:11 AMP).

Some of the definitions are:

Plans = Thought, design, purpose, to determine. A series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished

Prosper = Peace, safety, prosperity, well-being, intactness, wholeness. Peace can have a focus of security, safety which can bring feelings of satisfaction, well-being, and contentment

Hope = The general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled. Expect with desire

God has a design. He knows the steps that need to be taken to carry out the ultimate goal for our lives. His plan is good, peaceful, safe, prosperous, leads to well-being, wholeness, and contentment. His plan is not evil, harmful or disastrous. His plan gives a desirous expectation in our final, future outcome.

Isn’t that neat? There are treasures just waiting to be found. Pray and ask for understanding, dive deeper with God and His word, and enjoy the amazing depths of His love.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Experiencing the book

Hilarey here...

I got to meet a sweet gal last week, Angela Ruth. She visited our writer's group and spoke about romance writing.

I bought her new book, Love Finds you in Sun Valley Idaho. And this weekend I can be found reading it in Sun Valley, Idaho. It just happened that way, I don't usually jet off to the local of my latest book.

Wouldn't that be nice though? Sounds like an after school special.

What is your most recent book that you enjoyed--but wouldn't want to be transported to the setting?

For me, it was Hunger Games.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Making writing fun

Lisa here...

As an author, I want to enjoy my craft. By inserting fun twists and something out of the ordinary, I have fun with my stories (and hopefully will entertain my readers).

The video is called the Fun Theory.

What would be a fun theory for writers?
Readers what makes a story fun?

Christian Fiction Writers

Family Fiction has a listing of Christian authors from all the major fiction genres including Amish, historical, suspense, speculative, romance, contemporary, young adult, children's and comics. If you go to their site, you can click on any author's name to view their latest books, news, features, trailers, and more!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don't let your writing get old!

Lisa here...

I watched this video the other day. After I quit laughing, I wondered how it could apply to writers.

Writers, how do you make sure your writing keeps from getting old?

Readers, how do your favorite authors keep their stories fresh and new?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV).

Find and replace

Hilarey here...

I received a critique the other day with the edit suggestion to change "OK" to "Okay."

There is a quick way to fix all errors if you use Microsoft Word. So I hit Ctrl "F" for "find" and chose the tab "Find and Replace" in the dialogue box. In the find what area I typed "OK" and under replace with I put "Okay" then I clicked Replace all.

A new box came up saying "Word has completed a search of your document and made 333 replacements. I thought "Holy Cow." Do I have a pet word I need to get rid of or what?

Then I realized it had replaced all instances of the letters o and k. So words like hooked became hoOkayed.

Fortunately, Ctrl "Z" (undo) is a personal friend. So I undid the action and replaced all instances of (space)OK(space) instead.

There was less than three dozen. (Maybe I still do have a pet phrase I need to take care of.)

Here are a few other Microsoft Word shortcuts for PC. Please share yours if you know more.

Ctrl I- italics
Ctrl B- bold
Ctrl V- paste
Ctrl C- copy
Ctrl X- cut
Ctrl Z- undo

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Never Give Up

Lisa here...

Never give up. Frustration is natural, but persistence is key. Persistence, patience, learning, growing, and use the time while waiting to become the best writer and person you can be with God’s help and tutelage. Life is not a quick race; it’s a marathon with obstacles. And each obstacle gives you the opportunity for further growth and maturing.

Keep your hand on the plow… “Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’ (Luke 9:62 NIV)

Run the race… “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NASB).

Be diligent… “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15 NIV).

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB).

Abound in every good work… “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 NASB).

Fight the good fight… “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12 NASB).

God is faithful to complete what He starts, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV). “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means” (2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV).

“I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 NIV).

“I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good” (Psalm 54:6 NIV).

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1 NIV).

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV).

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12

Never give up.