Monday, November 30, 2009

Some Exciting News! And Goals


I am so happy to announce that I recently signed with
and literary agent par excellence
I'm so excited about this partnership. God did some really cool things to make this come about in His timing, and I'm very thankful.




It's that time again. The start of a new month and time to lay out those goals I want to accomplish before the end of the year.
So, here are my December Goals, some writing related, some business related, some personal/holiday related.
Writing Goals for December:
1. Copy edits on Clara and the Cowboy. These are due the first week of December sometime.
2. Polish up NaNo novel Maggie and the Maverick. I'll let these rest for a week or so, then dive in on rewrites and get it off to my crit partners before Jan. 1st.
3. Crits for awesome crit partners. I've got a novel in my inbox just waiting for my attention. And I can't wait!
4. Launch website by Jan. 1.
Business Goals for December:
1. Preliminary Inventory.
2. End of year bookkeeping, gathering info for corporate taxes.
3. Meetings with Accountant to finalize end of year stuff.
4. Final Inventory.
5. Clean out files to start fresh for 2010.
Personal Goals for December:
1. Get house decorated for Christmas.
2. Christmas shopping. Point and Click. Nuff said.
3. Get Christmas stuff put away.
4. Prepare for the AWESOME NEW YEAR'S DAY EXTRAVAGANZA party that we host every year.
5. Get kids both through the first semester of school and ready for the second.
With only one month left to 2009, how did you do on your goals for the year? Did you meet or exceed them? Did you fall a bit short on something?


Today is the final day of the blog tour for The Bartered Bride. Stop on by Eileen's Blog and check it out.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Friday Five


The end of NaNo is drawing near. So, this week's Friday Five:
Five things I plan to do after NaNo is done.
1. Sleep. I've been sleep-deprived for quite awhile now. I'm going to sleep late on Tuesday, and James and I will plan on having a late start to school.
2. Let the manuscript rest. I would do this anyway, but I have copy edits to finish on a different novel.
3. Go to the wrap-party. Last year our local group went to Buffalo Wild Wings for our wrap party and we had a blast.
4. Thank my family. They have really gone out of their way to make NaNo possible for me this year.
5. Reconnect with some people. Go out to lunch with my SIL, and start work on a project with her. We're going to assemble quilts made from some of my MIL's clothing. I'm really looking forward to spending time with Linda and enjoying some fun memories of Lorraine while we work.
What are you doing once November comes to a close?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!
To all my blog readers:
Philippians 1:3 "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Achievment Testing


This week my son is working on his yearly standardized testing. As a homeschooler in the state of MN, we are required to administer a nationally norm-referenced battery of tests to our students each year.
My son enjoys these tests for the most part. A nice break from daily lessons. I like them because I read the directions, set the stopwatch going, and he works away.
I'll be using the testing time to write. The stopwatch will aid us both. Most of the tests are between 30 and 40 minutes long, so I will see how much I can get done writing while he sits across the desk from me and works on a spelling, vocabulary, math, social studies, or science test.
Question: How do you fit writing into your life? How can you use something in your life that you already do to help you in writing?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I love words...


November, for NaNo participants, is all about words. We count them like misers, watch word counters like day traders watch tickers, and we stretch ourselves to write more words.
And I have to say, it's good for me. I pound out a rough draft in 30 days, and I push myself. I remember the value of setting word-count goals, of shutting off the internet, and really immersing myself in my story.
I do word-sprints. Not how many words can I write in X number of minutes, but rather, how long does it take me to write 1000 words? I can usually write 1000 words in around 40 minutes. Especially if I'm confident in where the story is going and what I want to accomplish.
So, how fast do you write? Have you ever set what you thought was a rather lofty if not impossible goal with your writing and made it? Have you tried word-sprints?
The blog tour is at:
http://valeriecomer.com/ again today. Stop on by. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reading With Purpose


This week I was visiting on the phone with a friend, and we were discussing our reading habits and how they have changed since we've been concentrating on writing.
The truth is, before I was a writer, I read voraciously. I read three to four books a week. The library and the used bookstore were my friends, and I bought books online and in our local bookstores.
Then I started writing with a goal of publication. Much of my writing time was carved out of the time I used to spend reading.
As a result, I haven't been to a used bookstore in months, and when I go to the library, it is for research or to have a quiet place to focus and work.
But I do still read. I feel reading is essential for a writer. But I no longer read just about anything. I have to read with a purpose. I read craft books, non-fiction books for research, and I read selected fiction--fiction I think will be both enjoyable and instructional. I read lots of historical romance, since I write historical romance. I also read authors I admire (regardless of genre) in order to learn from them and make my own writing better.
My book reading has gone down from three-four a week to maybe one per week? But I'm trying to make quality triumph over quantity.
Question: Have your reading tastes changed over the years? What do you like to read, and how many books do you read in a week or in a month?
Blog tour stops today!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We Have a Winner!


Today, my daughter Heather, pictured here with YA author SUPREME Stephanie Morrill, and wearing her wonderful Giraffe Bucket Hat, drew names from amongst the commentors on Monday's post.
Ten names were thrown into the Giraffe Bucket Hat (there are tiny giraffes embroidered on the hatband) and Heather pulled out the winner of Myra Johnson's AUTUMN RAINS.
And the winner is.....
CJ!
Congratulations, CJ, and I'll pass along your contact information to Myra! I know you're going to enjoy the book, and thank you again, Myra, for giving away a copy of Autumn Rains.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Friday Five


Okay, for years now I've been saying that the Christmas season is starting earlier and earlier each year, but this year I REALLY MEAN IT!
This is the earliest I've ever seen the Christmas season (retail) ramp up. I theorize that retailers fear a slow buying season and are hoping to stretch it out as long as possible to try to end the year in the black.
So, Five Signs Christmas Is Coming. (WICKED EARLY)
1. The Caribou Coffee Shop where I write started playing Christmas music before Halloween.
2. A commercial for "Better than Black Friday Sales." This store is trying to entice readers in with uber-sales that boast being better than the day after Thanksgiving sales.
3. My annual Heifers for the Holidays or Cows for Christmas cattle-log (get it?) showed up. I love this little booklet. I order things like a family of chickens or a goat for a family in Africa, then send a card to someone telling them the gift was given in their name.
4. My kids are working on their Christmas Piano pieces, and my son has been given a rendition of Feliz Navidad, a song that Sticks. In. My. Head.
5. I've already purchased a Christmas gift. Wild.
How about you? Any signs of the season where you are?
Blog tour bulletin:
Nov. 20th I’m visiting with Rachel Fernandes about the joys of historical research over at her blog http://confessionsofaheadhopper.blogspot.com/ And I'm making an encore appearance over at Seekerville, one of my favorite blogs! Stop by today!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three Ingredient Thursday



This week's Three Ingredient Thursday is a sweet treat idea I got from my friend, CJ. You can visit CJ's blog HERE. And if you're looking for a book trailer or website or hand calligraphed item, she's your girl!

Three Ingredient Raspberry Fudge:

Two bags Hershey's Raspberry Chocolate Chips
2. T. Raspberry syrup (I got mine at TJ Maxx.)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evap. milk)

Mix all together and melt over low heat in a heavy saucepan. Pour into a buttered 9x9" pan and cool in the fridge. When cool, remove the fudge and cut into pieces. It is De-lish!


Question: Where in the world is The Bartered Bride Blog Tour today?

Answer:
Nov. 19th I’m back at JamieD’s blog http://thevarietypages.blogspot.com/ with a guest blog on the themes I like to explore in my writing and the lessons God is teaching me through those themes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WYSIWYG




Yesterday, I blogged about Voice. How to discover it and how to hone it.

I think that blogging is also a great way to discover your voice. For me, blogging is a very WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) look into my life. What you read on this blog, well, that's me. A little writing, a little news, a little church, a little of the random thoughts that float through, some humorous things I've run across, books I read, etc. I like to keep it light and encouraging for the most part, but I've shared some of my struggles and heartache here, too.

When I polled folks for what they liked on the blog, most all the folks that answered said they enjoyed the Friday Five. That made me grin, because I think those are my favorite posts, too.

I know some people who are very deliberate about blogging to their brand. Camy Tang likes to keep things very "Loud Asian Chick Who Writes Loud Asian Lit," All her blog posts are in that vein. Brandilyn Collins likes to keep things a little darker and suspensy (if that's a word), with industry news thrown in.

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. Didn't even know how to post a picture in my blog. (If you scroll back to those early days, you'll see how excited I was when I figured it out.) I didn't have a voice or a brand or a clue where I was going with it. As I've continued to blog, however, I realized that in the great blogosphere, rather than give out wise instruction on writing or parenting or history or how to live under a mop of curly hair (all of which I have experience with) I really just wanted to connect with people, let them get to know me and get to know them through their comments and visiting their blogs.


So, the question today is: How do you decide what to blog? Do you feel like you're very WYSIWYG? Do you have a brand or voice you're trying to perfect through your blog?


Today on the blog tour:

Nov. 18th Tiffany Stockton, fellow Heartsong Author, fan fiction writer, and lover of historical things, is interviewing me today at A Fiction Filled Life Blog, found at http://amberstockton.blogspot.com/ . Lynda Schab, lit writer extraordinaire, has an interview at http://on-the-write-track.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Voice


As writers we hear a lot about Voice. And when we're first starting out, we angst about our authorial voice. How can I find my voice? Will I know it when I see it? It's one of those nebulous things like pace or brand that scares the daylights out of a new author because we're told we need to master it and be able to identify it, but it eludes us. There's no checklist for voice. No steps to take to master it.
So what is a writer to do?
The simple answer? Write.

That's it. Just write.
You can't help but find your voice when you write. You have a unique story to tell in your own way. Voice is comprised of vocabulary, reading influences, genre you're writing in, syntax, emotion, lots of things you can't quantify but that melded together make your voice yours alone.
I didn't realize I had a writing voice until about my fifth novel. (all unpublished so far) I think before that, I was writing to emulate authors I admired. I was doing a novel in a paint-by-number style. Even after my fifth novel, I didn't realize I had an author voice until my critique partner, Georgiana, pointed it out to me. I had entered a blind-judged writing contest on a blog where she happened to be a judge. (She didn't know I'd entered the contest, and I didn't know she was a judge.) And when she got to my entry she knew it was my writing. Even though the story was a humorous personal experience story and not anything like the historical romances I write, she could pick out right away that the article sounded like me.
Since then, I've sent a couple of my early works to Georgiana and she's sent them back saying, "This doesn't sound like you. Not the you I've come to know."
Because I'll be resurrecting two of my early works, I've decided I can't just polish them up. I'm going to need to rewrite them from scratch, because they need to be written in my voice. My new, emerging, getting stronger the more I use it voice.
So, have you found your voice yet? What are you doing to develop it? Are you writing? Are you reading good fiction, in your genre and out of it? Has anyone ever told you they recognize your writing voice?
BLOG TOUR UPDATE:
Nov. 17th It’s guest blog day! The topic of discussion today over at Cindy Wilson’s blog http://cindyrwilson.blogspot.com/ is about overcoming obstacles in the writing journey. And at JamieD’s place http://thevarietypages.blogspot.com/ you can read the first chapter of The Bartered Bride.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Guest Blogger Myra Johnson

Today it is my distinct pleasure to have fellow Heartsong author Myra Johnson guest blogging today. I'm so excited that our debut Heartsongs came out together. So, without further ado, here's Myra to tell us about the thrilling roller-coaster of the post-contract writing life. AND...Myra's graciously giving away a copy of Autumn Rains to one lucky commentor. So enjoy the guest blog, the interview, and learn a little about this great author and fun book, and be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

The Writing Life: Glitz? Glamour? Think again!

First let me say what a joy it is to share my Heartsong Presents debut with Erica! I remember the excitement at the 2008 ACFW conference when Erica’s name was announced as a recipient of one of Barbour’s new-author contracts. Little did I know that only a few weeks later, JoAnne Simmons would also be sending me a contract!

When I look back at how much my life has changed over the past year, I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe it’s real. A year ago last August I was still hoping and praying for even a glimmer of editorial encouragement. Today I have not one but four book contracts in my filing cabinet, and two of the books are already on the shelves!

So what’s different? The amount of time I spend at my computer hasn’t changed much, but the way I spend that time certainly has! In my pre-publication life I usually focused on one project at a time, writing, rewriting, revising, and editing until I deemed the manuscript ready for submission.

As a contracted author my life has turned into one big juggling act. Two books coming out so close together (my debut novel from Abingdon Press, then my first Heartsong Presents novel) complicated things even more. Here’s a partial list of the various phases each book may go through in one form or another on the way to publication:

Editor approves proposal/synopsis
Complete the manuscript (if unfinished)
Revision letter and first round of edits (sometimes called the macro edit or content edit)
Brainstorm alternate titles
Revisions, round 2 (the micro edit or copyedit)
Fill out cover art questionnaire
Prepare front and back matter (dedication, acknowledgements, discussion questions)
Approve cover art
Review galley proofs for last-minute corrections

(Erica, did I forget anything???) Erica here: I think you got them all. :)

Then there’s the whole marketing side. Keeping my Website updated. Participating in blog tours. Trying to post something witty or relevant on my own blog semi-regularly. Maintaining a “published author” presence on Facebook and Twitter. Visiting with bookstore managers. Scheduling speaking engagements and book signings.

If writers are doing all those things and writing, obviously we have to say no to many other demands on our time. Like keeping up with the housework, volunteering on church committees, heading up the neighborhood watch organization. At least now, with two published books in my hand, I have some credibility when I get one of those “Can you please help with (fill in the blank)” calls and I have to say, “No, sorry, I’m under deadline.”

But even with all the busyness and craziness of the published life, I wouldn’t have missed this adventure for anything! I am living my dream and loving (almost) every moment of it. My point today is mainly to dull the sheen of glamour about life as a published author. The truth is, it’s work. So you’d better really love the writing part, because you’ll need every bit of that love to sustain you through the rest.


Erica here again. I read and loved Autumn Rains! One character really jumped out at me and I couldn't resist interviewing him to see what made him tick. So, here's my brief interview with Pastor Henke of Autumn Rains.



1. Pastor Henke, could you tell us a little about yourself and your ministry at the Zion Community Church.

We are a small congregation here in Aileen, Missouri. If you know where Villa Ridge is located, Aileen is not far from there. Many of our residents commute to jobs in the St. Louis area, but we treasure our small-town ambiance—such a pleasant reminder of my happy childhood in Shropshire, England.

In the early 1960s, I met and fell outrageously in love with a charming American woman touring the English countryside. I emigrated to the States to marry her, completed my seminary education, and then began my parish ministry at a large congregation near Philadelphia. My wife and I, both country folk at heart, found city life entirely too hectic, however, so when the opportunity came to serve at Zion Community Church in Aileen, we welcomed the change.

Sadly, my dear wife passed on to her heavenly reward many years ago, and I miss her terribly. In her stead, the Lord has blessed me with the love and support of my faithful parishioners, for whom I am ever grateful.


2. Your car. Tell us about your car and how you came to love muscle cars.

Ah, my car. That question always comes up. Why is it you folks have such a hard time accepting the idea of an elderly pastor tooling around in a red Mustang convertible? If I must provide a suitable explanation, let it suffice that while I may be a man of the cloth, I am . . . well, I am a man, and what male do you know who does not enjoy the roar of a racing engine, the feel of power and speed at his beck and call, the sleekness of a sports car chassis burnished to shimmering perfection?

And frankly, would you have found me nearly as interesting had I driven a Chevrolet Impala or Ford Focus?

3. When you first met Healy, what reservations did you have about sending Healy to the Paige family? What made you trust him given his past?

I learned long ago that one should never judge anyone by appearances alone, and Healy was no exception. It was clear to me from the moment the young man walked into my office that he had a story to tell. To the truly discerning eye, it is impossible to manufacture humility and sincerity, both of which Healy had in abundance.

However, respecting Valerie and the Paiges as I do, I owed them nothing less than full assurance that it would be completely safe, and even beneficial, to bring Healy into their home. Therefore I made a thorough check of Healy’s background and references—and naturally was not the least bit surprised by the glowing reports I received. Healy Ferguson is truly a man of honor and integrity.


4. How have your parishioners reacted to Healy and Valerie?

With utter joy! Valerie has long held a special place in all our hearts, and it was such a tragedy . . . ah, well, for the sake of those who don’t yet know her story, I won’t go into detail here.
But we all agree that Healy’s arrival in Aileen was God’s doing. The people of Zion welcomed him with open arms, and of course it was a happy, happy occasion when Healy and Valerie stood before family and friends in our little church to pledge their troth. They are indeed a blessing to each.
Thank you, so much, Pastor Henke. If I'm ever in Aileen, I'll be sure to pop into Zion Community Church. :)

About Myra: Myra Johnson’s roots go deep into Texas soil, but she’s proud to be a new Oklahoman. Empty-nesters now, she and her husband share their home in Broken Arrow with two loveable dogs and a snobby parakeet. Her debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, released in September 2009 from Abingdon Press.
She also writes for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line. Autumn Rains, winner of the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript, releases October 2009, soon to be followed by Romance by the Book and Where the Dogwoods Bloom. Myra writes full-time and is active in her church as well as local and national writers groups. Myra and her husband have been married since 1972. The Johnsons have two married daughters and five grandchildren.

About Autumn Rains: Healy Ferguson knows all about prisons, both the physical one he’s been released from and the emotional one he keeps himself trapped in. He knows paying dues to society doesn’t always mean you’ve paid dues to yourself, and often the price you exact on yourself far exceeds the crime.
Valerie Bishop is caught in the emotional prison of post-traumatic stress disorder, unable to venture more than a few feet out her back door. Shadowy moments from a night she can’t fully remember bombard her without warning, keeping her trapped between the painful past and a future that seems hopeless.
But God promises to repay the years that have been lost; for those who trust in Him, He promises refreshing, life-giving rain. Will Val and Healy trust to see God’s perfect plan, or will they choose the chains that hold them back?
Myra sent me a copy of the book, and I LOVED it! I think you will, too!
Today's blog tour stop for The Bartered Bride is over at Myra's blog http://myra.typepad.com/
Drop on by and learn more about Myra and see what she cooked up for The Bartered Bride Blog tour.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Friday Five





I'm currently working on attaining the NaNo challenge this month. I got a little behind last weekend when I stopped writing on my newest novel to do edits on one in the publishing pipeline.
There are a lot of things I love about NaNo, the challenge, the competition, the camraderie, how many fun things begin with the letter "C"...
I've often wondered how it would be to write a novel in November that was just purely for fun, to be able to incorporate all the ridiculous prompts and story ideas that are thrown about on the NaNo forums.
In perusing the forums, I found Five Prompts That Cracked Me Up & Made Me Wish I Could Include Them In A Novel. (None of which would fly with my editor, I'm sure.)
1. Have the "Travelling Shovel of Death" visit your novel and bump someone off.
2. Have your characters engage in the age old debate: Pirates or Ninjas?
3. Have your entire cast of characters (good guys and bad guys) band together to steal a shark.
4. Make one of your characters a college professor, who also happens to be a duck.
5. Make your main character do the macarena in your next chapter, as well as one supporting character(because it's just more fun with two people!)
Honorable mentions:
Have one character who, every time he meets someone, comments on how nice their hair smells and have him be able to pick out the brand of shampoo used by that person.
Have one character who always speaks like a pirate, a ninja, Ye Olde English, or some other fancy fonted speech. :)
Give your hero a super power he is just learning how to control and have him lose control of that super power in a very public place. (I imagined this looking something like: My hero can fly, but on his first attempt, he zings around the room banging into walls, light fixtures and windows like a balloon with an untied end...maybe during a party or during High School Assembly...)
So, which one of these would you try, and do you have any others that might sound good?
Today's stop on the blog tour is at:
And have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three Ingredient Thursday




Today's Three Ingredient Thursday is:

CHICKEN YUM YUM CASSEROLE

Ingredients:
Chicken
Cream of Chicken or Celery Soup
Box of Stove Top Stuffing

Instructions:

Cook and shred chicken. (I use frozen chicken breasts and boil them, but you could roast a chicken, used canned chicken, fry chicken, whatever works for you.)
Mix together the shredded chicken with two cans of Cream of Chicken or Celery Soup. I like how it tastes when I mix one of each, but you could use two of one or the other. Spread the mixture in a casserole dish.

Prepare the Stove Top Stuffing as per the directions on the box. Spread over the soup/chicken mix.

Bake at 350 for 35-30 mins.

If you have a Three Ingredient Dish recipe, please let me know and I'll see about getting it posted here on the blog.

And please join me at



http://tabithabird.blogspot.com/ where I'm guest blogging about people's perceptions of category romance

and at

http://www.camys-loft.blogspot.com/ where Camy Tang has interviewed me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lessons from Key Verses


Writing for Heartsong Presents has brought me more wonderful gifts than I could've imagined. I've met wonderful people. I've learned so much about the publishing process. And I've gained some new insight and grown spiritually.
As part of the Heartsong reading experience, each story has a key verse or two that means something to the story or to the characters. What I've learned is that while I'm 'teaching' my characters the spiritual lesson they need to learn, God is busy teaching me the same spiritual lesson, taking me deeper into His truth than I've gone before.
For The Bartered Bride, I had two verses, one for each main character.

Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.


Jonathan Kennebrae prays over and over that God would change his grandfather’s heart. He believes God is capable of doing this. What he doesn’t realize is that God is capable of changing his own heart. And that his heart is in need of changing.

Often I find myself praying that God would change someone else. That He would direct someone’s heart or decisions so at the very least won't harm me. What I’m learning is that I need to pray this prayer for myself, that God would direct MY heart, and stop worrying about what He might be doing with someone else.


Jer. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.


Melissa is trying hard to cling to the belief that God is in control and that He is working everything out for her good, not to harm her, even when things don’t seem to be going the way she planned.
I am a planner. I like goals, maps, and schedules. I like knowing where I’m going, how I’m getting there, and when. Sadly, publishing doesn’t work that way. There are roadblocks, delays, detours, traffic jams, and uncertainty every step of the way. There are no guarantees, no lists of tasks to check off that, when you complete them, you can say, THERE. I’ve done everything and now I will be published.What Melissa and I both had to realize was that God working things out for our good doesn’t mean working things out the way WE want. Often we don’t know what will be for our own good until God brings it about. I needed to be reminded that God loves me, cares about me, and He knows what I need and when. I need to trust that truth and allow Him to work His will out in my life.
So, what have you been learning lately?
Have you ever taught your character a spiritual lesson that God wound up teaching you as well?
Has there been a novel that you've read that has touched you and taught you a spiritual lesson or illuminated something that was formerly a little cloudy for you?
Blogs hosting tour stops today (and there are a bunch!):

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cover Flat Gifts


Last Saturday, I spoke at my church to the ladies at the annual fall luncheon. I had a wonderful time and they were so welcoming and interested.
For each of the ladies who came, I had a little gift. Using some of the cover flats my editor was kind enough to send me, my son and I made these to put at each place setting. I received something similar once at a book signing by Jill Elizabeth Nelson, and loved the idea so much I adopted it here.

Using a hole punch, ribbon, and a stapler, we put a little surprise in each cover flat. The ladies had a choice of either Earl Grey tea or Hot Chocolate.
I thought they turned out nice. :)
Today on the blog tour I'm visiting Betsy St. Amant. Drop on in and see what's going on!

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Book Trailer and This week's blog tour stops

Check this out! Woohoo! The official book trailer for The Bartered Bride, courtesy of Pony Express Graphics.

Nov. 9th Lori Chally at http://graceforatraveller.blogspot.com/ is interviewing one of my characters today. Lori’s a fellow Calvary Bible College grad and outstanding author. Go check it out! And my pastor, Kevin Sorensen, is reviewing The Bartered Bride at http://aclutteredmind.org/were_trying_this_again/ so stop by and take a gander at what a pastor thinks of my book.

Nov. 10th Today’s Betsy St. Amant’s day! Visit her blog to read an interview. Her blog can be found at http://www.betsy-ann.blogspot.com/

Nov. 11th Join me with the hilarious Krista Phillips at http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com/ She is a hoot! And today at http://petticoatsandpistols.com/ I’m blogging about historical research, the US Cavalry, and more. Sweet Mary Connealy also gave the P&P blog post a mention at http://www.mconnealy.blogspot.com/ Thanks, Mary! And, I’m blogging about streamlinging and balancing this writing life over at Jody Hedlund’s blog http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/ Jody just signed a three book contract to write historical romance for Bethany House Publishers, and WOW, does she know her medieval torture methods! Also, friend Carole Brown at http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/ will be hosting a stop along the blog tour today, too.

Nov. 12th I’m Down Under with Tabitha Bird talking about the wonderful world of writing category romance. Hop on over, and join in the discussion. What are your perceptions of category romance? Have any of you encountered any of the same responses I have? Tabitha’s blog is http://tabithabird.blogspot.com/ Also, visit http://www.camys-loft.blogspot.com/ where the fabulous Camy Tang is is letting me hang with her today.

Nov. 13th Writing friend and Kansan, Sally Bradley, has an interview with me at http://sallybradley.com/?page_id=705 and while you’re there, check out her editing service. She’s stellar!

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Friday Five


This week's Friday Five comes from a lesson I'm learning:
God is faithful, even when I am not at my spiritual best.
He continues to direct my life, to care for me, to watch over me, to love me, even when I'm wandering in a spiritual desert of my own making.
So, as I've been learning this, I've been talking to God about it and other things.
So, here are Five things I'm praying these days.
1. That God would be guiding our family through the process of 'launching' our oldest child next fall. The college selection process has been pretty smooth so far. Now it's a matter of getting the finances and my maternal instincts to jive with the fact that my daughter is going to college in less than 10 months.
2. For our family as we continue to grieve and heal after losing my MIL this past year to cancer.
3. For wisdom in balancing family, writing, bookkeeping, life.
4. Words, story ideas, plots, characters, themes. And that those that enter my head would be glorifying to God, and that they would be the BEST I can do.
5. Praising God for all the ways He has been working in my life. He is Good. All the time.
Today's blog tour spot is over at http://www.vickitiede.com/wordpress/ Drop on by and visit Vicki's blog. She's a great speaker and non-fiction writer who also happens to be a friend of mine. :)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Three Ingredient Thursday

Today's Three Ingredient Thursday is

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients:
Chicken Breasts
Chicken Gravy (I use Heinz gravy in the jar and add a little water to thin it down a bit, but you could use a gravy packet too)
Bisquick biscuit dough (or you could use canned biscuits too)

Panfry and shred chicken breasts. Pour gravy over shredded chicken and bring to a boil. When gravy is boiling, drop dollops of biscuit dough onto hot gravy. Boil uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and let simmer for 10 more minutes or until the dumplings have steamed through and are no longer shiny.
This one is a hit with my family. I serve it with cranberry sauce and a veg.


http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com/




http://www.carlastewart.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

This tops it!


Okay, every year at the ICRS, agent Chip MacGregor walks the floor and finds the best of the worst "Jesus Junk" he can find, then reports on it on his Blog.
I get a kick out of hearing about the Armor of God Underwear, and the Saving Soles/Souls shoe inserts. And I wonder who buys that stuff.
So this past week, I got a catalog in the mail from the Oriental Trading Company. Christmas stuff. Since my husband teaches Sunday School to elementary aged kids, I thought I'd leaf through it and see if there was anything that might make a good addition to his prize box for Bible memory rewards.
Imagine my surprise when I came across the items in the picture.
"Inflatable Holy Gifts"
What???
If you're having a Christmas pageant/program at your church this year, and your wisemen are fumble-fingered, have I got the perfect solution.
Inflatable Frankincense.
Sigh.
So, what's your take on these little gems? And what's your favorite or funniest bit of "Jesus Junk" you've ever seen?
Two stops on the blog tour today. Be sure to check them out!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My Penmanship Woes

Who would've thought that I would have cause to lament my poor penmanship? After all, I type most all of my correspondence.

When I have to write with a pen, I use all capital letters. All the time. It isn't pretty, but it is effective. I learned the technique in college when taking notes. If I wanted to write fast and I wanted to be able to read it afterwards, then I needed to go the all caps route. It looks rather masculine, not loopy or rounded, and no little happy faces to dot the i's.


Now, however, I'm signing books. I'm writing little messages in them to the recipients, and I'm sad that my skill with a pen isn't better. I wish my handwriting was as pretty as the font used for the title on the cover.

So, how about you? Do you like your penmanship? Can someone tell by looking at your handwriting if you're most likely to be a boy or a girl?

Don't forget to stop by www.katieganshert.blogspot.com/ to read an interview with Abraham Kennebrae.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Blog Tour in Full Swing



The blog tour for The Bartered Bride is in full swing. This week, many of my friends are joining me in getting the word out about my first novel. I'm humbled and excited and thrilled that so many have been willing to introduce me and my book to their blog followers.



Here are this week's stops:

Monday, Nov. 2 Come and visit Georgiana's blog where she's hosting a fun interview.

Tuesday, Nov. 3rd Another crit buddy and up and coming author, Katie Ganshert, is interviewing one of my characters over at http://katieganshert.blogspot.com/

Drop in to find out more about crusty old Abraham Kennebrae and his plans for his grandsons and his financial empire.


Wednesday, Nov. 4th Sweet Rose McCauley is hosting me at http://rosemccauley.blogspot.com/ Rose was one of the first ladies to volunteer to host The Bartered Bride on her website.



Also, today, my good friend and fellow Kansan, Stephanie Morrill, is interviewing me about how I work with my daughter, Heather, in plotting my stories. You can find that interview at http://stephaniemorrillbooks.com/blog/





Thursday, Nov. 5th Join me today at Jess Ferguson’s blog, where I’m guest blogging on the topic of being a Timid Marketer. You can find Jess on the web at: http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com/ Jess and I have traveled this writing journey together for awhile, facing some of the same challenges and struggles. She's a great encourager, and her blog is really terrific. Each post shows such thought.

And over at http://www.carlastewart.blogspot.com/ Carla Stewart is interviewing me about my writing journey. Carla and I are Genesis survivors! This dear sweet woman prayed for me before she even knew me, because we were Genesis finalists in the same category one year.


Nov. 6th Fellow Rochester MN writer Vicki Tiedi is hosting a stop on The Bartered Bride Blog tour. Jump on over to http://www.vickitiede.com/wordpress/ to read all about it.

Today is also day two of NaNo. Last year the first day of NaNo was a Saturday, and I was able to write over 7K words in the first 24 hrs of November. This year, NaNo opened on a Sunday. Much more difficult to get a solid word count in.

The first of each month, I usually post my goals for that month. Obviously this month's goal is 50K words and a completed rough draft.

How about you? What are your writing goals for November?