Monday, November 29, 2010


Berm building bulldozer at workphoto © 2010 External Affairs | more info (via: Wylio)
Life bulldozed me this last week or so. My lofty word-count goals fell to the holiday, my day job, and enjoying time with family.

Preliminary inventory is done at the shop. This is always a huge job. We'll do it once more before the end of the year. This year, though it wasn't as brutally cold as it has been in the past, I seemed to feel the cold more. I had to make cannibal soup (a hot bath) when I got home to warm up.

The girl has been delivered back to school to finish out the first semester, and the boy and I are working on his standardized tests and running to Bball practices.

In between, I must get 22K words written and a novel edited. I had hoped to finish the first draft by 11/30, but that's not going to happen. The new goal is to have it finished by 12/10.
Holiday season goals are tricky. My agent, Rachelle Gardner, had a post about making a holiday plan that is realistic for the circumstances. You can read that post using the link below.

In other news, Maggie and the Maverick is the feature title at the Heartsong Connection Blog this week. Stop on by and leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win the book.

Also, if you're looking for Christmas gift ideas, stop by Christian Review of Books and check out their on-line booksigning event. 75 authors and hundreds of books. Get autographed books delivered right to your door for Christmas. The event runs through December 7th.

So, what's your holiday plan?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday Five

photo © 2007 candycanedisco | more info (via: Wylio)

This week's letter is Q.

Four things I like that start with Q and one thing I don't.

1. Quilts. Old quilts, especially. I love the ones that you know were pieced from scraps of old clothes.

2. Quail hunting dogs. My dad raised Brittany Spaniels, and I loved those dogs.

3. Quotes. I love pithy quotes...especially from Mark Twain or Winston Churchill.

4. Quaker Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal. :)

and one things I don't like starts with a q.

5. Queens...DRAMA QUEENS! Nuff said.

How about you? Likes and dislikes that start with a q?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas is coming...

With Thanksgiving on our doorstep, thoughts of Christmas are only to be expected. This weekend we'll be decorating for Christmas and starting to think about finishing up the Christmas shopping. (NOT on Black Friday...what a nightmare...I NEVER go shopping the day after Thanksgiving...well, except for some point-and-click shopping from home.)

I love this video, and I hope you will, too.

Question of the day...Are you a Black Friday shopper?

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Not To Get Your Book Published

How NOT to Get Published from CLASSEMINARS on Vimeo.

I'm thinking this would be a great video to show for all First Time Attendees at a Writer's Conference.

Anybody have a fun 'pitching' story to tell?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Friday Five

P is for Pet Foodphoto © 2007 Gareth Simpson | more info (via: Wylio)

This week's Friday Five is brought to you by the letter P.

Four things I like that start with the letter P and one thing that I don't like.

1. Peter. My husband. The bestest husband in the whole world. :)

2. Pizza.

3. Peppermint Gum.

4. Pumpkin Pie.

and one that I don't like

5. Pickles of the dill variety.

How about you? The letter P was pretty easy this week. I could've come up with lots more things that I like...puppies, peaches, pop, popcorn, ponies...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Antique camera, detailphoto © 2009 James Jordan
more info
(via: Wylio)

One of the challenges to blogging is finding interesting pictures. An even greater challenge is finding interesting pictures and not ripping them off from someone.

Did you know that just because a photograph is on the internet doesn't mean you can right click and swipe it for your own use?

But you can spend hours...days...weeks...months searching for photos that are free to use.

I've found a shortcut to this tedious practice. It's a site called

Wylio searches the creative commons area of flikr (all free use photographs) by keyword. When you find a photo you want to use, it will size the photograph, let you choose where on the blog post you want to put it (right, left, or center) and supply the attribution in the caption area of the photograph. You grab the HTML code, paste it into your blog post, and Wal-ah! (or Voy-o-lee, as my daughter says) a legal, easy peasy picture that you didn't steal.

Thousands of pictures are available. I love this tool to help make blogging easier. Try it out for yourself.

Question...where do you get your blog photographs?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wall

The brick wall (free wallpaper)photo © 2008 | more info (via: Wylio)

At some point in every manuscript, I hit a wall. A big, honkin', immense, Jericho-Great Wall of China wall.

And I've hit it now.

What happens when I hit this wall? Doubts encroach.

"This is tripe. Why did you ever think you could write a novel?"

"There's so much to fix here. You'll never be able to polish this pig's ear into a silk purse."

So, what to do about it?

1. Plow. Keep putting words on the page.

2. Trust. Trust the story. I've plotted extensively, the story holds together in the outline, and if I stay true to the original vision, it will come out all right in the end.

3. Relax. Every story needs edits, and I have factored in time to edit....extensively if long as I keep putting words to the ms at the current rate.

4. Reflect. Remember that I've done this many times before. The "this stinks" stage happens with each story, and each time, as long as I keep working, things turn around.

5. Pray. God's got it all under control. He will give me the strength to finish the work.

Question for you ever hit a wall in your work? Do you wonder how it will come together?

How do you work through it?

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Friday Five

Tube at my Feetphoto © 2007 David Goehring | more info(via: Wylio)
Today's Friday Five is brought to you by the letter O.

Four things I like that start with O and one thing I don't.

1. Ohio. The state, not the university. My dad is from Ohio and so is my publisher.

2. Oatmeal cookies. With big fat raisins.

3. Oak. Quarter-sawn, rift-sawn, plain-sawn. I like the look of oak. Which is a good thing, because I have a lot of it in my house and we sell a lot of it at our place of business.

4. Opals. I love opal jewelry, even though I wasn't born in October. (Another O I Like, October!) I love the fire and light in opals.

and one thing I don't like that starts with O...actually, I thought of two, and since I don't like them equally, I'll put them both out there for your consideration.

5. Oysters. Eating an oyster would violate my "NOTHING FROM THE SEA!!!!" rule. (That's right. I shout it sometimes.) Seafood...blech!!!!

6. Olives. Black, green, stuffed with pimento, dotting a pizza or in a salad, I loathe olives.

What about you? What do you like and not like that starts with the letter O?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Front Street Replica, Dodge Cityphoto © 2008 Kevin H | more info(via: Wylio)

I'm really enjoying writing my current WIP. The words are flowing, I'm in love with my characters, and the story is loaded with conflict. So much so, that I'm going to have to do a careful read-through when I'm done with this draft in order to make sure I have adequately kept track of all the problems.

I've been writing on this story every day except Sundays for a few weeks now. Last Friday was an exception. My husband invited me along on a lumber delivery down into Iowa. Since it had been awhile since I'd gone along with him and because he's been so great about giving me time to write, I didn't want to say no, even though I would miss a writing day.

What I didn't expect was that while I was riding in the truck through the November countryside on our way to some of our Amish customers, my mind would keep returning to 1878 Dodge City. I missed my characters and the frontier town where I have spent so much time over the past few weeks. I was homesick for my storyworld.

On our way home, my husband looked over at me and asked what I was thinking about. I didn't answer right away, and he smiled. "Your story?"

"Um, yeah."

He patted my hand. "It's okay. I like that about you."

Do you get homesick for your storyworld when you miss some writing time?

Monday, November 08, 2010

1000 Reasons not to write today

words words wordsphoto © 2010 Chris Blakeley | more info(via: Wylio)

Every day when I sit down to write, I have 1000 reasons why I don't feel like it.

Those 1000 reasons? The first 1000 words of the day. I've learned over the past little while that if I can just get through that first 1000 words, about the first hour of writing time, I can churn out 2, 3, 4, even 5K words in one day.

What's funny is, I'm not really new to this whole writing thing. I've been writing novels since 2005 when I first began to seek publication. In that time, I've written 13 novels, one novella, and I have one current work-in-progress. That's a lot of words, a lot of days of sitting down to start writing on my WIP.

In the past, I've set a daily goal of 1000 words, and I've struggled, wrestled, and gritted my teeth to meet it. When I got to 1K words, I breathed a sigh of relief, then turned my mind to other things. But I've realized that not until I get the first 1K words out do I hit my groove, find my zone, start really writing from my heart in the story. The words begin to flow easier, and the word count starts piling up.

With each story, I learn more about the craft of writing, about story structure, and about myself and my writing process.

Now, instead of setting a word count goal of 1000 words, I'm setting higher goals, because once I force myself past that first thousand, the writing is so fun. I'm totally immersed in the story, and I get so much more accomplished.

What do you think your 'feel good about writing' threshold is?

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five is brought to you by the letter N.

Four things I like that start with N and one thing I don't.

1. Nice people. My SIL, Linda, always says, "Try nice first" and that's such good advice. She's a smart lady.

2. Nanette, another SIL. She is so funny and smart and really cares about people. She's a great mom and a great lady.

3. Night at the Museum. I LOVE this movie. I thought it was a hilarious concept and it was put together very well.

4. Nuts. I like peanuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts...'course they say you are what you eat...hmmm....

and one thing I don't like that starts with N.

5. Noodles. Not a fan of pasta too much.

So, what do you like and not like that starts with the letter N, and do you like Noodles??


Wednesday, November 03, 2010


With the arrival of the cover flats for Maggie and the Maverick, the Idaho Brides trilogy is complete. This time, instead of having the covers professionally framed as I did with my first series, I decided to see if I could do the work myself (with the help of my husband who worked at a frame shop once upon a time.)

I bought three 8x10" frames and had black mats cut at the same time. My son helped me hang the pictures on my bedroom wall.

I saved quite a bit of money since I waited until the frames went on sale and did the work myself, and I'm pleased with the results. It's still hard to believe that book six is being shipped to readers this month. What a whirlwind!

Also today, join me over at Words Seasoned With Salt where I'm chatting with Pepper Basham about falling in love. You can enter to win a copy of Maggie and the Maverick.

Monday, November 01, 2010

New Month, New Goals

November first!

For the first time in a few years, I'm not working on a NaNo project, and it's bittersweet. Bitter because I love NaNo, the camraderie, the crazyness, the forums over at NaNo, the local write-ins.

But it's sweet because I'm working on an established project, and I'm on a deadline.

Last month I set a goal of writing 50K words in October. I finished a novella and started this new WIP. I reached the 25K word mark on the new WIP and finished the month with 45,000 words, 5K shy of my October goal.

For November, I want to write 55K words and finish the first writing of my WIP. I'm going to have to hustle, and it will mean taking some Saturdays at the library or somewhere so I can concentrate.

November is also the start of my son's basketball season for the Defenders JV Basketball team. Two practices a week and games. I'll be hauling my laptop to the church where he practices and finding a quiet corner to work. Hopefully, I will be able to meet this goal and get right into the rewrites by the first of December.

What are your November goals?