Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
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?
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
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
That's it. Just write.
Monday, November 16, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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?
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Today's Three Ingredient Thursday is:
CHICKEN YUM YUM CASSEROLE
Cream of Chicken or Celery Soup
Box of Stove Top Stuffing
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
http://www.camys-loft.blogspot.com/ where Camy Tang has interviewed me.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
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.
Monday, November 09, 2009
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
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Easy Chicken and Dumplings
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.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
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
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?