Sunday, April 29, 2012

Polishing

This past weekend, my son and I made a project of cleaning and polishing the dining room floor. Over the 16 years we've lived in this home, I've used mops, commercial scrubbers, sponges, steamers, and so much more trying to keep that floor clean.

When we built this house, we chose the vinyl flooring for the kitchen/dining room because it was nice looking and it was on special at the flooring store. Armstrong vinyl, a special buy. It's white and light gray.

Yeah, white. What was I thinking? I had a 5 year old and a 1 year old when we moved in, and that floor has never been the same since they laid it.

But through the years, I've battled it. Scrubbing and mopping, stripping and polishing. The steam mop seemed to do the best job, but nothing really got it shiny-clean.

But this weekend, thanks to a lot of elbow grease and some magic erasers, we got the entire floor scrubbed down. The build-up came off, and the gray/dark gray floor became the white/light gray floor I remember! Once it was all scrubbed, I mopped it, then put two coats of polish on. It's so shiny and bright!

Which of course, put me in mind of writing. This month, I'm engaged in a scrubbing up/polishing of a manuscript. This is the story of my heart, a novel that is so dear to me. I love the characters, the story-line, and the emotions I feel when I read it make my heart sing.

I'm scrubbing hard, stripping away gray haze and hopefully polishing to a glorious shine the story I love. It's taking serious mental 'elbow-grease,' but I love the work. I believe in this story.

How about you? What are you working on right now? Are you polishing anything up?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday





This is me with Mrs. Todd's 4th grade class. They invited me in to talk about writing fiction, and we had a great time. I handed out bookmarks and when class was over, they all wanted them signed. Cool! One little gal asked me if I would be sure to become very famous so that someday she could sell my autograph for a million dollars. I told her I would do my best.


Here are my answers from last week's Fill In The Blank Friday:


1. My favorite K-12 teacher was _Mr. Heter____ because he/she encouraged me to write___.


2. My best friend in elementary school was Tresa Berigan__.


3. The worst food from the school cafeteria was MEATLOAF_.


4. At recess, my favorite thing to do was lay in the white clover and daydream__.


5. After school we raced home so we could watch Gilligan's Island_.


This week, one question:


What is your favorite memory of an elementary school guest speaker?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Whimsy


This week's Wednesday Whimsy is a picture of my mama across the table from me at a lovely tea house in Mt. Dora, Florida. We enjoyed a complete English High Tea together. Queen cake, crumpets, crullers, scones, clotted cream, strawberry preserves, cucumber sandwiches (sans crusts) and more. And the HOTTEST peach tea in a cunning little teapot complete with tea cozy.

So much fun! The downtown area of Mt. Dora is one little shop, boutique, and art gallery after another, and we walked and shopped and made memories.

In an aside, Angela Hunt's Fairlawn Series is set in Mt. Dora, FL, if you're interested. We found a bookstore that had a set of her books, and they were so proud to have a fiction series set in their town.

So, Q4U, what is one cool memory you have with your mom, dad or anyone that you love? Have you ever had high tea? Have you ever been to Florida/Mt. Dora.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

An Adventure!


Woohoo! I'm so excited. I've been invited to Mrs. Todd's Washington Elementary School 4th grade class to talk about how to plot a story this Wednesday.

How cool is that? 27 kids are about to embark on writing their own novels, and I get to talk to them about how to plot the story so it is exciting and so that the character has to change their mind about something they believe.

I'm planning on toting along my plot board and post its, and we'll plot our own story during the class. :)

So, Q4U, have you ever taught writing to kids? Any pointers?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fill In The Blank Friday

I can't tell you how much fun last week's Friday post was. Your answers were great! I will fill in my answers here, then ask another handful of questions.

1. When I go to the grocery store, I always get CEREAL and I never buy SEAFOOD.

2. The first thing I do in the morning is PUT ON MY GLASSES.

3. The computer game I play the most often is SPIDER SOLITAIRE.

4. My favorite breakfast cereal is GRAPE NUTS but I don't like SHREDDED WHEAT.

5. My guilty pleasure TV show is SURVIVOR.


The fill in the blank questions for today all have to do with elementary school.


1. My favorite K-12 teacher was ____________ because he/she ______________________.


2. My best friend in elementary school was ___________________.


3. The worst food from the school cafeteria was ________________.


4. At recess, my favorite thing to do was ________________.


5. After school we raced home so we could __________________.


So there you have it. Fill in the blanks, and next Friday, I'll let you know my answers. :) Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Whimsy



Hee Hee! Love this one!

Please take a moment to check out yesterday's post with the list of the first titles which are now available from Truly Yours for Kindle and soon for Nook. :)

Also, the Fill in the Blank Friday from last week...Thank you so much for your terrific answers! I'll be filling in my answers this Friday, and I'll have another round of questions for you. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Truly Yours!



Woohoo! Here's the list of Truly Yours (formerly Heartsong Presents) titles now available for Kindle and soon for the Nook!

Bayou Secrets - Y'Barbo Turner, Kathleen

Beside Still Waters - Bateman, Tracey V.

Bossy Bridegroom - Connealy, Mary

By His Hand - Johnson, Jennifer

Charity's Heart - Cecil, Ramona K.

Fire and Ice - Davis, Susan Page

Flash Flood - Mills, Diann

For Better or Worse - Johnson, Jennifer

Leap Of Faith - O'Brien, Kim

Leave Me Never - Stevens, Connie

Lily of the Field - Zediker, Rose Ross

Love from Ashes - Lehman, Yvonne

Love Song - Higman/Hann
a

Mutiny of the Heart - McDonough, Vickie

Patterns and Progress - Stockton, Amber Miller

Place Of Her Own - Coleman, Lynn A.

Praying for Rayne - Goddard, Elizabeth

Promising Angela - Sawyer, Kim Vogel

Seasons Of Love - Goddard, Elizabeth

Wild At Heart - McDonough, Vickie

Wyoming Hoofbeats - Davis, Susan Page

Outlaw Heart - McDonough, Vickie

Bay Hideaway - Loughner, Beth

Betting on Love - Johnson, Jennifer

Bounty Hunter And The Bride - McDonough, Vickie

Down From The Cross - Livingston, Joyce

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not - Druten, Rachel

In Search of a Memory - Griffin, Pamela

Joanna's Adventure - Colvin, Mildred

Lambert's Peace - Hauck, Rachel

Love For Keeps - Barton, Janet Lee

Love's Image - Mayne, Debby

Marriage Masquerade - Vetsch, Erica :)

Place Called Home - Barton, Janet Lee

Rebecca's Heart - Harris, Lisa

Romance at Rainbow's End - Reece, Colleen L.

Romance by the Book - Johnson, Myra

Rose Kelly - Spaeth, Janet

Salt Water Taffie - Hanna, Janice

Trespassed Hearts - Coleman, Lyn
n A.

White As Snow - Hanna, Janice

With Open Arms - Barton, Janet Lee



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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Now and Later

Do you ever find yourself doing nothing because you're anticipating something? Do you find yourself putting off starting something because you're waiting for just the right time? Have you ever said to yourself "I'll start my new diet on Monday." or "As soon as the kids start school again, I'll get back into my routine."

I know I have done this, and recently, too. I've been waiting for things like basketball season to be over, our trip to Florida to be done, spring break for my daughter to conclude, the home-school year to be done, and so many more things, then I'll start that project, I'll walk more, I'll buckle down to a new project.

The truth is, all this waiting for the right time is a mind-game that is masking procrastination. If I was earnest about getting more exercise, writing that proposal, cleaning my closets, etc, I'd do it now instead of waiting until later.

So this is my stern lecture to myself to get busy, stop procrastinating, and get to work. Time to make some lists and get some stuff crossed off!

How about you? Do you need to sit yourself down and have a come-to-your-senses kinda talk? What are you hoping to accomplish that you've been putting off? Is there any way I can encourage you?


Friday, April 13, 2012

The Friday Five


I want to get to know you better, so I'm going to let you fill in the blanks:

1. When I go to the grocery store, I always get ______________ and I never buy ___________.

2. The first thing I do in the morning is ____________________.

3. The computer game I play the most often is _______________________.

4. My favorite breakfast cereal is _____________ but I don't like _____________________.

5. My guilty pleasure TV show is _______________________.

Lemme know a little bit about you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Whimsy



Speaking of birds, have you had a chance to peek in on the Decorah Eagles yet? 3 little fuzzballs hopping around the nest and eating voraciously.

http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

Monday, April 09, 2012

Where Have All The Readers Gone?


This past week I was talking with a writer friend about trends in Christian Fiction. Here are some observations I've made:

1. Big name authors are moving from one place to another. Recently, two authors that wrote for Bethany House, the grand mac-daddy of them all when it comes to historical romance, announced contracts with other publishing houses.

2. Last week, I read an article online (and I apologize, I've searched and searched, but I can't find it!) where an employee of Bethany House Publishers was quoted as saying the readers of historical romance/fiction just aren't there like they were previously.

3. One trend that seems to be holding its own, with a slight leveling off due to the sheer number of titles on the market, is Amish fiction.

4. And here's where I'm doing a little spit-balling. Christian Historical Romance and Amish Fiction have several things in common. Both take you to another time and place, one where moral strictures and a fierce sense of propriety guide society. Both hearken to a simpler time.

5. There is a finite amount of $$$ readers of Christian Fiction have to spend on books.

6. Readers of Christian Historical Romance haven't vanished. They're spreading their love around. There is so much cross-over between historical romance and Amish fiction, they buy both, but they can't buy all of both.

7. Trends ebb and flow. At a conference I attended in 2007, not a single editor or agent was looking for historical fiction. (Which bummed me out, because that's what I write.) By the next year, every editor and agent on the discussion panels said they were looking for historical romance. Who knows what will happen this year?

So, question for you...Are you a reader of historical fiction? Amish fiction? Both? Neither?

What trend are you hoping will take off, or what trend are you hoping will wane soon?

Friday, April 06, 2012

The Friday Five



Today's Friday Five is courtesy of Jessica Patch, writer friend and blogger buddy. We're exchanging blog posts today. You can get to know Jessica better and read her interview with me on her blog at: http://jessicarpatch.blogspot.com/

So, I asked Jessica to give us a Friday Five and tell us five things she carries in her purse that would tell us something about her.

So, Here's Jessica!


"First, thanks for having me Erica! Friday Five is one of my Friday Faves! 

Five things. Not sure what they say about me, but here they are: 

1. Cell phone, but not because I need it to talk. In fact, the older I become, the less I enjoy talking on the phone. I'd rather you text me and if it's going to be lengthy then we'll chat. Otherwise, text me. Plus, it's my social media suitcase. 

2. Laminated scripture verse for my one Word this year. Strength. The verse: Psalm 84:5

3. My Kindle. Must I explain? I didn't think so. :) 

4. Plastic Wal-Mart or grocery sack. I have this horrible fear of throwing up in public and on people. I can't bear to puke in my purse or on my Kindle so I keep the bag. I also mentally plan exit strategies when I'm in crowds for this very reason. I say if you're going to toss your cookies, keep it clean. (I also keep mints but that might make 6 things.)

5. Burt's Bees Peppermint lip balm. I love that stuff. I have one on my desk by my bed and one in my purse. I like the way it moisturizes my lips, smells, and the tingling effect when I smear that joker on. 

And there ya have it."

Here's a little more about Jessica: She's a wife, a mom, a writer and speaker, and a sassy southern girl that I get a big kick out of. Check out her blog (link above) and get to know this dynamic Christian woman.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Wednesday Whimsy

This was my hair in Florida. How about you? How does the humidity affect your hair?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Now What?

Last week I turned in my WIP A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, California. As I read through it for edits one last time, I fell in love again with the characters and the plot and the setting.

But after I turned in that novel, I sort of scratched my head. What now? For the past almost four years, I've had another contract waiting to be filled the minute I finished the one I was working on.

Hopefully in the next couple of weeks or so, I'll have a chat with my agent about what direction I should go now. I've got several proposals in the works, so hopefully there are a few options open to us.

For now, I'm working on a novel that I have the proposal all done for. James Scott Bell challenged writers to write down a one sentence summary of the book you would write if you could only write one book. Then he challenged writers to write that book.

This is the book I would write.

How about you? What are you working on?