Tuesday, December 7, 2021

We Remember Pearl Harbor! We Salute Our Armed Forces.


We remember Peal Harbor

and salute our soldiers whose lives were taken

that day and honor them for their sacrifice.

Let us remember the freedoms we

enjoy are because of the sacrifices of the

 men and women in our armed forces.

We salute all of you!




 





Monday, December 6, 2021

Real Romance

 Carolyn Miller



One of the most special things I love to do as a romance author is to attempt to ‘translate’ social or personal issues into words, to create an experience where readers can engage with God’s truth through fiction. I’m always so touched when readers say a particular story or quote has resonated with them, that they felt like God spoke to them in that moment. One of the things I’ve always been intentional about is to create relatable characters, people like me, who struggle at times with things such as expressing myself clearly enough to be understood (ironic, for an author, don’t you think?), issues with finances, family, friends, appearance, and then the bigger questions such as wrestling with identity, God’s purpose, and what happens when faith-filled believers see their world turned upside down.

Most readers I know prefer this kind of real relatability, too. Sure, it can be nice to escape into a Disney or Hallmark-type movie or book, but I think we all agree that those are not grounded in a great deal of reality, and we’re going to struggle if we’re continually looking to these kinds of stories for life lessons and expectations for our world. Which is not to say there aren’t any good messages in these books or films. Beauty and the Beast shows us that reading is good, and we shouldn’t judge by appearances, and while these are good messages, we sometimes need to be careful it’s not fuelling expectations to end up living in a castle with a handsome prince. J

I also like a bit of grit in my books. I want to be able to relate to the characters, so if they’re too perfect or too pretty or too nice then I’m sorry, I can't really relate. In my Regency Wallflowers series my heroines are not the typical Regency ladies. For starters, they’re not ‘ladies’ or part of the aristocracy. Neither are they young, moneyed, or beautiful. They don’t have the social connections to get ahead. I’ve written similar sorts of characters in my contemporary romance books too, such as in the Original Six romance series where many of the female characters could be considered underdogs, due to life experiences that have broken them in some ways.

I like the underdog characters, the ones we cheer for, who must rely on God as well as their inner grit and grace to find the strength to overcome the challenges they face. Choosing storylines that help allow for this to happen is fun also. My recent Regency Dusk’s Darkest Shores saw Mary Bloomfield face down her personal inadequacies as well as social expectations to own her decisions. In Checked Impressions, an upcoming contemporary release, Allison Davis has been pigeon-holed and held back from work opportunities because of her stutter, which has shaped how she sees herself. Weaving plots and situations that allow these women to shine is always an interesting challenge. It needs to be believable (no Fairy Godmother interventions), yet still have enough of the new or different to push us into that ‘daring to believe’ space, too. For my next Regency, Midnight’s Budding Morrow (out next April), this meant incorporating a couple of tropes, such as reforming the rake and arranged marriage, and giving my heroine a particular role that challenged how she saw herself, and how the locals saw her as well. A similar thing happens for Allison in Checked Impressions, as she decides to own her career and relationship choices, rather than be at the mercy of others’ opinions, as she learns to stand up in her identity in God. Choosing a storyline that forces these characters to dig deep to discover who they can be helps push the story into something that can help us as readers to dare to believe God a little more as well.

I love it when our perceptions are transformed by God into how He sees us. And while we’ll never be perfect, remembering that God loves us, and had good plans for us, is a core theme in all my novels, as it’s something that we all (myself included!) need reminding of at times. I think it’s important to remember that we don’t have to know it all or have it all together, that there is that for us already. And He is patient, He is forgiving when we fail, He is loving even when we struggle to love ourselves.

I love that writing fiction allows for God’s truth to be shared in a way that resonates with readers, that helps us dare to believe that God might want to use us for His purposes. We might not have a castle or a handsome prince, but something of far greater worth: walking in the rhythms of God’s grace and being used by God to bring hope to our world. I pray for you (and me!) that our lives will be fragranced with love: understanding more of God’s love for us that it permeates our lives to such an extent so we can love others. That’s what a real romance book should do.

 



Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A long-time lover of romance, Carolyn loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency and contemporary novels are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Christianbook, etc

Connect with her: website | facebook | pinterest | twitter | instagram

 

 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Nostalgic Moment with Ashley Scheller on Writing




 






NOSTALGIC MOMENT


Friday, November 20, 2015

My Writing Crystal


By Ashley Scheller


To be new at writing can be both exciting and intimidating. I can say with confidence my journey to becoming a new author has been long but also worthwhile.


I penned my first rough draft of my debut novel back in high school. I would write a bit, let it sit for a month and repeated this process. When I went to college in the fall of 2005, I didn’t write anymore, I was too busy, I didn’t have the time. Then in 2013, years after graduating, I revisited my manuscript.


My mistake was trying to write when I didn’t have the ambition or the patience I needed. I would have made the time to write if it had been important to me. Saying you don’t have the time is one of the hardest excuses to break. It’s also one of the most popular excuses people use.


I believe a writing habit must be developed. You must train yourself to complete the page, or to get that one sentence scribbled on paper, to meet a word count. Creating any good habit– writing, eating well or getting into an exercise routine is a process. Start small and work up.


When I started, I’d write for short periods. Now, hours of writing pass, to the point my husband wonders if I’m ever going to stop and eat.


For me, productivity is being there for family and/or friends while completing my writing goals each day. We each must determine our own goals of productivity.


I do know, however, that novel isn’t going anywhere until I sit down and get to work.




Ashley Scheller has many hats. An educator by day and artist by night, she loves to write stories if she isn’t sketching new creations in her notebook. Residing with her family in Iowa, she enjoys connecting with her community about art, books, and games.

Scheller invites you to an exciting adventure and cannot wait to deliver the next installment of The Wielder Diaries series.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Engagement with Poetry (or how to propose to your friends)



Sara M. Robinson




There is a widely popular rock song in which the singer says to someone else, “Put a ring on it.” Now how does this relate to us and poetry? Well, both suggest a proposal and a follow-up commitment. But how do we get friends and acquaintances to commit? To poetry?

Let’s look at some of the ways our poetry can present the “ring.”

Metaphor is a great starting place as that is one of the main tasks of a poem. I’ve written about this in earlier Southern Writers’ columns but let’s take a brief review. Metaphor, by definition, is where one thing is likened to another. From a poetic perspective, we could say an implied comparison where a word or phrase is taken out of its usual context and given a new meaning.

A famous example is John Donne’s “No man is an island.” In one of my columns, I started out by writing, “On a sunny, unremarkable day, I see poetry lying in an ordinary ditch.”

Similes are often used as another type of comparison. In using simile, we often use the words, “like,” and “as.” For instance, “my body is like an old, battered bourbon barrel.”

What about passion and intensity as rules of engagement? Can we be so devoted to poetry that we channel our enthusiasm into words convincing our audience that poetry is passion?

I love it when someone says, “I don’t like poetry.” When I ask why she/he always responds about hating it in high school or even college, where studying poetry was part of the English requirement. I tell my friends to forget all that. I didn’t prefer the old poets either. But now, we have such marvelous writers that cover the entire spectrum of topics. Tired of listening to any politician or pontificate? Read an activist’s poetry. Start with our current U.S. poet laureate, Joy Harjo. Rejoice in her amazing wordsmithing. Try to write like her!

Share your other favorite poets with your friends, then talk about the uniqueness of their writing.

Other poetry can influence your own. (More on that in a later blog!)

After the engagement party is over, what is next. Keep writing and keep looking for more inspiration. Here is a line from Morrigan McCarthy that sums up everything: “…poetry allows for beauty in the messiness and mystery of being human.” I wish I had written that; but what I can tell you is that poetry will transform your friends. And if any one of them come back to remark about one of your poems, and what it meant to them, then the engagement proposal was a success!


Until next time…

Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, was poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and inagural poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. She has served as guest lecturer at UVA’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017), Blue Ridge Anthologies and Mizmor Anthology (2018). Journals include: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica. She is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013 Stones for Words (2014), Sometimes the Little Town (2016), a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award. In 2019, Needville, her poetry about effects of coal mining on SW Virginia was released and in 2020 debuted as play in Charlottesville. Her most recent publication is Simple River (2020, Cyberwit).




Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Month of December



KICKING OFF THE MONTH OF DECEMBER




We are all excited about Christmas. This year, it looks like families will be able to be together and celebrate. Last year, we couldn't do that. We missed out on going to church together and the lighting of the candles, dinner and having gifts under the tree.

But this year, we will be together.

We wanted to take this opportunity to remind us all how grateful we are that we can be with family and friends.

We also pray you will stay well and safe.

The month of December we will continue the NOSTALGIC "MOMENTS". We hope you will enjoy these wonderful authors sharing with us their thoughts from the past.
We have had wonderful response from our readers on this post.

You will notice this December we have added our "Christmas Presents" List of books that we think will make great presents.

You will be able to find them at book stores as well as Amazon. (
We are not an affilitate of Amazon)

May the days that are cold find you warm and cozy in your favorite chair curled up with books to keep you company and entertain you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Nostalgic Moment with Linda Rettstatt on "My Little Hobby"

 












NOSTALGIC MOMENT


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Little Hobby - or – How Friends and Family Sometimes Viewed My Writing

By Linda Rettstatt


When I first began to write seriously, I found myself alone and wandering in a new world. I had no writer friends and was not connected to any writing group. I just decided one day to give way to this desire that would not go away—the desire to write a book. I doubt I even believed I could accomplish such a task or produce anything readable. But I had to do it. Setting those first words down was like shaking a bottle of champagne and popping the cork. The rest just flowed.


I finished my first book in about four months. It was roughly written and not ready for prime time reading. But once I’d finished the book, one of my friends asked what I planned to do with it. Since the few people with whom I’d shared this new venture thought of it as my new hobby, I was reluctant to have anyone read the book. But what good is a book if it isn’t read?


I printed out three copies and gave them to friends. I was stunned by their responses. All encouraged me to seek publication. Now I was truly lost. I had no idea what to do next. Then it came to me—I needed an agent. (Remember, I was new to this whole writing and getting published thing and very naive.) I bought a copy of The Writer’s Market and sent out about twenty queries to agents. Within days, I began to receive my stamped, self-addressed envelopes back containing form letter no thank you notes.


Someone suggested I talk to an acquaintance who recently published with a small press. Her advice was to find a critique group, do a few rewrites, and then submit to an independent e-publisher. Since she had been published and I wasn’t, I thought it wise to take her advice. When I did submit my book, I received a contract offer within a matter of weeks. I was on my way to moving from ‘writer’ to ‘author.’


But it took a while for some of my family members and friends to catch up with me and understand just what that meant. For quite a while (a few years, at least), many of them still viewed my writing as a ‘hobby’—much like knitting or coin collecting. It was frustrating. Here I was being taken seriously in the publishing arena, and those people closest to me still thought writing was a way to spend a few hours and unwind after work. My day job demanded four days a week. Writing, which I’d already acknowledged as a passion and something I could no more stop doing than I could cease to breathe, consumed the rest of my days. It was not uncommon to spend up to fourteen hours straight on a weekend in front of the laptop.


After years of struggling to be taken seriously as an author, I learned the key—take yourself seriously. Announce yourself as an author. Surround yourself with people who understand and support your efforts. Connect with other authors. Take pride (not arrogance, but honest pride) in your work.


I have twelve novels published to date and four more due for publication in the coming year. I think it’s safe to say, this is more than a hobby. Some might say it’s an obsession J. When someone recently likened my writing to a hobby, I said, “Writing a novel is like hand-knitting your family’s entire wardrobe.”


I think she got the point.


Writing, no matter how much one enjoys doing it, is hard work if you do it well. Truthfully, writing is more demanding and exacting than my day job. I’m not complaining, though. Most of my family and friends have gotten on-board now and know that my writing is not to be compared to doing paint-by-numbers for hours on end. (My father’s hobby at one time.) They respect my work and seem to realize what it demands. As with any true passion, writing gives back so much more than it takes. That, I think, is when you know it’s the one true thing you should follow.


When you find that one thing you are deeply passionate about, embrace it. Own it. And don’t let anyone discount it’s worth.



Linda Rettstatt began her writing career at the tender age of eighteen while working as a classified ad clerk for her hometown newspaper. She covered the local community theater stories no one else wanted to cover, and she did so with enthusiasm, insisting upon a by line. Rettstatt’s creative nature steered her into a career as a semi-professional folk musician for a number of years. Finally, in 2002, she sat at a computer determined to find out if she could write a novel. That novel and three more were contracted by a small press. She moved from small press publishing to self-publishing in 2014 and has forty-one novels and novellas and several short stories in her bibliography. Her most recent novel is Tattered Hearts: A Second Chance Romance. Her Christmas short novelette, Christmas Present, will publish on November 15.

In April of 2021, Linda retired from her social work position in NW Mississippi and relocated back to her home state of Pennsylvania where she continues to write and to offer services as an editor and writing coach.

She can be found on the web at www.authorlindarettstatt and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WritingForWomen


Monday, November 29, 2021

Suite T Nostalgic Moment with Stephanie Hurt on Balancing Full Time Job with Writing

 











NOSTALGIC MOMENT


Monday, November 18, 2013

How Do You Balance a Full Time Job and Writing?


By Stephanie Payne Hurt


Juggling a job and family can be hard to do sometimes, but when you add writing into the mix it can get hectic. As a busy Accountant I put in manyhours, but I’m also a children’s minister too, not to mention a mother, wife, and writer. It’s amazing how I find little pockets of time here and there to write.


I’ve learned a lot about myself in the year since I published my first book. I was overwhelmed at first, but as time went by, I realized the dream I’d had since I was a teenager had come true. I was a published writer. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager which was a long time ago and we won’t talk about how long.


The first step to finding the time is to make a list of your jobs. Sit down and make a schedule. I learned that I could clean house on Saturday mornings and spend the afternoon writing. I also realized that while I was sitting at night watching television, I could have my laptop in my lap writing. I usually do my best writing while sitting with my family at night.


Prioritizing my day has helped a lot. I’ve even set up a schedule in my accounting office to make sure that I complete everything needing to be done, but I also have time in the mornings to blog, tweet and do my author promotions. It’s amazing how much time I wasted just going through the normal day to day things.


In 2012 I published six novels, which amazed me. My first was “Ghost Lover” and it was all uphill from there. I was never a social butterfly so doing the social media round was a little daunting, but I managed it. Now I’m on every site I can manage. I now have nine books published and five in progress. I could never do all this without my wonderful assistant. She edits my books, all I do is tell her about my idea for a cover, and she designs it. I write contemporary romance, Christian romance and historical.


So, if you have the desire to write, you can find the time if you prioritize. Don’t let your dreams die but let them flourish and take flight. You’ll be glad you did. The fans you meet through writing can be great people and the support you get is amazing. It’s great to hear from fans. I’ve now got people from all over the world writing to me and asking for advice or just to tell me how they like my books. It always makes this southern girl smile.



Stephanie Hurt lives in Georgia with her husband Tommy and their son Hunter, along with two dogs, Daisy and Jake. When Stephanie is not lost in one of the worlds that she creates, she’s an accountant and children’s minister. She has been writing the stories that fill her mind since she was a teenager. The moment a story comes into her mind, she’s mesmerized and soon she’s diving into the story with a cup of hot green tea and a notebook. Before long, the story has bones and is ready for the laptop. She happily types away in the early morning and at night. You can always find her with a notebook full of stories that have yet to come to life. Follow her journey in each of her over 40 published works!

Stephanie Payne Hurt loves to hear from fans and hopes that she’s helped them go to another world for at least a while!

Connect with Author:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephanieHurt4

Email: https://stephaniehurt4@gmail.com

Website: www.stephaniehurtauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StephaniePayneHurt

Sign up for my newsletter at www.stephaniehurtauthor.com to keep up with upcoming events and new releases.





Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!


 



The time of year has come where we shall
 gather with our families and friends and 
celebrate Thanksgiving. Most of all we will 
celebrate being with our families and friends.
Grateful for the blessings we have and have had all year.

Last year, families and friends were not able to come
 together because of the pandemic. For most of us 
we quietly celebrated wishing we could be with all
 those we loved.

But this year, we will be together. And it will be a 
true thanksgiving, not just for the things we have 
but for each other.

As we gather around the table, my family, one by one, 
will be sharing the things they are grateful for.
It is for certain no one will take being together to 
 celebrate Thanksgiving.


We want to wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Nostalgic Moment with Irene Hannon

 


                                                                      





NOSTALGIC MOMENT



Friday, December 29, 2017

One Genre—or Two?



By Irene Hannon


I write in two genres—contemporary romance and romantic suspense—and I’m often asked how this came about and how I make it work. So, let’s talk about that for a few minutes.


My very first book was a romantic suspense novella—and it was really, really, really bad. (Sorry for all those adverbs, but they capture the badness!) One of the many reasons it was so bad is because I had no contacts in law enforcement (a serious problem if your main character is a police detective) and there was no internet. We’re talking the Dark Ages here.


Stymied, I decided to switch to contemporary romance. While most books in that genre do require some research, in general it’s less intense and technical than the kind needed for a heavy-duty suspense novel.


After writing three books, I connected with a publisher and was off and running in contemporary romance.


Or so I thought.


Problem was, after two of my three contracted books were published, the line I wrote for was discontinued.


I did connect with another publisher eventually…then another…and my career picked up momentum.


Twenty-six books later, I got the urge to try romantic suspense again. This time, I not only had contacts, I had the internet. Piece of cake, right?


Wrong.


My 26 mass market series romance books didn’t mean a thing to single-title, trade-paperback publishers—especially since I was an unknown in romantic suspense.


In the end, I did connect with a wonderful publisher, and now write both contemporary romance and romantic suspense for them under the same pen name.


I think this has worked well for me because my books share three common elements.


First, romance is central to all my novels. A reader who picks up an Irene Hannon book knows it will contain a central love story and that the ending will be happy.


Second, my focus in both genres is on my characters. I use the plot to deepen character development as well as to propel the story. As a result, my suspense books are not action/adventure novels, where characters’ lives hang in the balance on every page while shots fly, and bombs explode, and planes are hijacked. Instead, I build toward a suspenseful climax while delving deep into my characters’ minds (including the villain’s), taking readers along with me. Those who read my books know they’ll get an in-depth character dive in every story I write.


Third, all my books contain moments of mirth, deeply emotional scenes, and relatable heroes and heroines the reader can connect with and root for.


As a result of these common elements, I have many readers who enjoy my books in both genres.


That said, some of the suspense readers have dinged me in Amazon reviews because my contemporary romances weren’t to their taste. There are also some readers who enjoy my contemporary romances but find my suspense tales too scary. So, the crossover isn’t one hundred percent.


My publisher does differentiate between the two genres with two very different cover styles, and that helps readers make choices consistent with their tastes. It’s pretty obvious that Sandpiper Cove and Dangerous Illusions are not in the same genre!


Bottom line, writing in two genres has worked for me for the reasons outlined above. But if you’re thinking of writing, say, young adult dystopian fantasy and regency romance—different pseudonyms might be in order!




Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including the long-running Hope Harbor series, as well as Point of Danger and the Code of Honor, Private Justice, and Men of Valor suspense series, among others.

Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization’s elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers’ Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers’ Choice, Booksellers’ Best, Carol, and Reviewers’ Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement Award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Writing Settings



Alexandra Stoddard, lifestyle author wrote, "When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.” Obviously she was referring to real-life places. But remember, the same is true of fictional stories too.


What do you say a setting is for a novel?

Is it the town the story is in?

Is it the time of the story?

Is it the mood?

What about the social setting?

The cultural setting?

Do all of these count toward creating a setting?

If so, how?

What about the descriptions we need for these? Don't we need to paint vivid pictures of

sights? How about sounds? And smells? What other sensations do we need to create the

setting?

How many settings should a story have?


All of these questions are important when writing stories. How do you go about creating your settings?




Monday, November 22, 2021

Nostalgic Moment:Suite T - Mary Ellis on Time Management for Authors

 










NOSTALGIC MOMENT


Friday, November 15, 2013   


Time Management for Authors

By Mary Ellis


In my blissful, pre-published days, I erroneously believed that once an author received the coveted “call” and turned in a complete manuscript, she could relax and put her feet up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being published means honoring contracts in a timely fashion, along with a multitude of details. No longer was I squeezing time to “write a book” into my daily routine of tending home, family and day job. With each new release, the juggling act increases from three balls in the air, to four, five or even six. Let’s take a look at how five projects could potentially demand your attention simultaneously:


First, there’s the book you’re currently writing and editing, according to your publisher’s expectations for word count, sensual level, etc.


Secondly, the book you recently submitted is by no means done. A plethora of add-ons must be finished before the book heads to the printer, such as developmental edits, line edits, back cover copy, book cover and trailer suggestions, and blurbs or excerpts for catalogs and sales brochures.


Thirdly, if this was a series, chances are a book was recently released and requires promotion. Your title will either sink or swim during the first several, crucial months. An author must get the word out to readers through blog or radio interviews, website and newsletter giveaways, and book signings, along with social media. Otherwise, with so many fine books releasing each year, how will potential readers find yours?


Fourthly, an author needs to research the next book she intends to write, and that often involves travel or at least long hours spent in the library. Not everything on the internet can be trusted for accuracy, especially with historical fiction.



And finally, what happens when your current beloved series draws to a close? If you don’t wish to be out of a job, you must devise an irresistible proposal that your publisher simply cannot turn down. Publishing houses consider projects well in advance, so authors need to think far down the line too. Considering all this stress, hard work and long hours, you might conclude that I’m complaining. Nothing would be farther from the truth. I love being an author, and pray each night for God to make me a better juggler. Happy writing!



Mary Ellis is a former schoolteacher turned USA Today bestselling author who’s written twenty-six novels including Amish fiction, historical romance, and suspense. Her first mystery, Midnight on the Mississippi, was a finalist for the RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. Her latest series is the Bourbon Tour Mysteries from Severn House. Book two, One Hundred Proof Murder released August 3, 2021. Her latest Amish novella is Missing available on Amazon Kindle. She enjoys gardening and bicycling and lives in Ohio with her husband and dog. www.maryellis.net or www.facebook.com/Mary.Ellis.Author


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Suite T Nostalgic Moment: A Fine Line by Fay Lamb

 




                                   
                                                                                







NOSTALGIC MOMENT

Monday, November 21, 2016  

A Fine Line



By Fay Lamb


I didn’t plan it this way. The thought never occurred to me, but somehow the stories in my Amazing Grace series happened to be written by season. With the release of the third book, Everybody’s Broken, what better setting for what I call a modern-day Christian Gothic than the Western North Carolina Mountains in the fictional town of Amazing Grace in autumn? Add a character named Abracadabra (Abra for short) and give her a birthday of October 31, and everything is set for the book to cause an ember to spark divisiveness for a reader.


With all that in play, how could I, as a Christian writer, walk the thin line around, you know, Halloween, and avoid debate with my readers?


Fiction writers who stand so strongly on one side of the line or another on issues such as baptism versus immersion, grape juice versus wine, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, and Halloween are going to diminish the true message behind the story. When I wear my editor’s hat, I step in and ask an author how important those issues are. In most cases, we delete the matters that can cause dispute and nothing in the novel changes. All that is lost is the author’s intrusion into the story, which should be shown by the characters.


Sometimes, though, the issues or the events are important to the story. What does a writer do when that is the case?


With Everybody’s Broken, the message being conveyed is the ability of lies and deceit to shatter lives even when those lies are told with good intentions. Most of the novel takes place during the month of October. Writing the book without a mention of All Hallows Eve would feel stilted whether the reader is a Christian or a non-Christian. In this story, the avoidance of the issue would be counter-productive and distracting to the reader.


In such cases, a writer should draw a fine line and tread as carefully upon it as if it were a rope stretched over Niagara Falls. Tip a little too far to the right or to the left and debate will be sparked and the message lost. Balance is all-important. When the issues are unavoidable or truly necessary, the characters should be used to keep that balance. When two or more characters stand on different sides of the issue, the reader will connect with the one who supports their side of the debate. The reader will fill justified and not agitated.


In Everybody’s Broken I balance carefully. Although the life of each character has shaped his or her viewpoint about the event, the characters are not allowed to stand upon a soapbox. Instead, the actions, the thoughts, and the mentions of the event are subtle. In the end, October 31, the day, becomes more important than Halloween and brings a twist to the hero and heroine’s tale and what I hope the reader will think is a “perfect” last line.


UPDATE 2021

Fay Lamb is the only daughter of a rebel genius father and a hard-working, tow-the-line mom. She is not only a fifth-generation Floridian, she has lived her life in Titusville, where her grandmother was born in 1899.

Since an early age, storytelling has been Fay’s greatest desire. She seeks to create memorable characters that touch her readers’ hearts. She says of her writing, “If I can’t laugh or cry at the words written on the pages of my manuscript, the story is not ready for the reader.” Fay writes in various genres, including romance, romantic suspense, and contemporary fiction.

If you’d like to catch up with Fay, visit her at her website, on Amazon, Goodreads, and Twitter. Also, Fay has become a “novel” gardener, and she shares her adventure in her newsletter, Tales from the Azalea Garden. You can sign up for her newsletter here.

Links to Social Media:

Website: https://faylamb.wixsite.com/website

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

A Thank You?



Susan Reichert




“When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author” Sherman Alexie.



Good advice? I think so. But I confess, I do not always take the time to do this.



I am sure there are others who have read good books, admired the writing, enjoyed the story, and made a mental note to let the author know. But life stepped in, and the thought forgotten. Another example of good intentions left undone.



Sherman Alexie was a poet, author, screenwriter, and filmmaker. I like to think he made this statement because he was pleased with his work and wanted to know if others were.



Aren’t we all like that though? Don’t we want to hear from others how they like our work? Even as a little child, we are that way. We proudly take that mud pie we made to show momma.



Being an adult now, I can picture my mother smiling as she looks down at my little hands holding up my mud pie, and somehow, she manages to not gasp at the mud all over my face, hands, and clothes. Instead, she brags on my pie



We all need accolades. I wish I had taken the time to let each author know how much I enjoyed their work.



We are fortunate in that we can let the author know how much we enjoy their work by leaving a review on their book.



I will try and do better and leave reviews for the books I read. I want the author to know I appreciate and enjoy their work. I hope you will too!



Susan Reichert, author of Listen Close, Between Me and You, God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life. Published numerous magazine articles and stories in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, and libraries.

She is the founder of Southern Author Services, and Editor of Suite T. She is the retired Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine. Reichert has a passion for writing about God in devotionals, prayers, and inspirational works.

She and her husband live in Tennessee. They have four grown daughters with families of their own. Susan is a member of the DAR and a member of the First Families of Mississippi

Visit Susan at: https://www.susanlreichert.com/

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54576850-god-s-prayer-powe

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Does One Thing Lead To Another?



Peggy Trotter




Have you ever heard the saying; one thing leads to another? Or watched a spin-off? That’s a bit how The Lowborn Lady came into existence. In fact, it’s the reason I have three books in a series. It started with my first book, Year of Jubilee. But those secondary characters weren’t ready to let the story…end.

One very reluctant character, the obnoxious, snobby one, kept tap-dancing in my head. I wasn’t happy making her such an unlikable character. Thoughts wound around in my head about why this person was who she was. What had happened to her to cause such a negative, selfish mindset? And what would it take to change her? And then my story-hungry brain began constructing ways for her to break through the loathsome personality, to redeem her. Give her a new life. So many people are searching for just such a thing, fanning a little flame of hope to start anew.

Hope is a lovely thing, isn’t it? It pushes all of us to believe the best, yearn for a happily-ever-after, and realize there really is no place like home. I wanted all this for Rhapsody, Rosemary in Year of Jubilee. I wanted to watch her character discover hope and leave pain and wretchedness behind…so, my series of three, The Misfit Bride, The Lowborn Lady, and The Spellbound Schoolmarm (releasing 6/1/22), actually began with this middle book, even though it is the second one. On a flight from Dallas to St. Louis years ago, I recall furiously tapping ideas on a tablet of Rhapsody’s misadventures to finding, not only hope and a new life, but true love.

Have you met Hope? I have. It burns in me still. Through my novels I strive to fan the flames of hope in all who read them. For hope is a fragile thing.

God takes the broken pieces, battered beyond repair.

And restores.

His comfort seeps in, filling, easing, mending, balming, loving,

Breathing in new life, new hope, new dreams.



And one day you awaken.

Fresh, renewed, filled with the knowledge that on your own, you can do nothing.

But with Christ, you can conquer the greatest ambition,

The greatest calling.


This little snippet of a poem of mine describes Rhapsody’s story so well. Perhaps it reflects your journey, too. If so, feed your hope, stay the course. If Rhapsody can wend her way to a hope eternal, so can we all.



When Peggy Trotter is not crafting or DIY-ing, she’s immersed in a story scene of some sort, always pushing toward that sigh-worthy, happily-ever-after ending. Two kids, two in-law kids, and four grandchildren are the delight of her life, as well as her Batman of 37 years whose cape is much worn from rescuing his wife from one predicament or another.

On a dusty shelf lies a couple of writing honors like the prestigious ACFW Genesis Award, Novella category, even though she writes full-length historical and contemporary Christian Fiction. Peggy flip-flops from historical to contemporary, but always inspirational. Ultimately, it’s about unforgettable, transforming, Ransomed-Ever-After Fiction. Incredible characters and storylines reveal God’s guiding providence and unending love

Always on a search to find one of her many pairs of glasses, Peggy’s a smoldering pot of determined discombobulation who, by the grace of God, occasionally pulls it together to appear in public as a normal, confident woman while privately craving a few hermit hours to woo the printed word.


The Lowborn Lady Blurb:

Rhapsody Hastings finds herself in the arms of a ruffian, Cavanaugh Blackledge, when her carriage breaks down on a dark country road. Wedding him stills the scandal of their late-night tryst while soothing the guilt she holds of her first husband’s untimely death. So, she accepts the arrangement as her own personal penance. Yet, an unexpected mission wakens her dead heart even though a high society lady shouldn’t be involved with such…dangerous illegal conspiracies.

 

Using his new marriage to shield his clandestine operations proves to be an unanticipated godsend for Cav. And how could he not appreciate the fetching Rhapsody’s presence, creating the perfect buffer when he must face his former true love, now his smug brother’s wife.

 

But their artificial life turns ugly when information surfaces, putting both Rhapsody’s and Cav’s covert efforts in jeopardy. Secrets reveal even more scandalous secrets, and the skeleton discovered in Rhapsody’s closet may not only undo her, but it may also make them both very dead.

 

 

 







Monday, November 15, 2021

Turning the Poem Over to the Poem



Sara M. Robinson




What is this, you say? I’m sure our novelist friends would agree that when they are in the thicket of their manuscript, they find that the book actually writes itself and the author is simply the tool who gets it down on paper. Sometimes the main character or characters take over and all we can do is let she or them do their thing.



This same thing can happen in poetry. Perhaps not so much in a short poem, but I can see it happening in a long narrative poem. Three modern poets who I follow have, I believe, provided poetry done this way: Natasha Trethewey, Rita Dove, and Lesley Wheeler. In fact, Lesley, also a personal friend, wrote a masterful book, The Receptionist, in terza rima (a rhyming verse form used by Dante). The reading community received a huge treat with brown girl dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson. This marvelous example of brilliant narrative written as verse won the National Book Award. Using her childhood as inspiration, she let the poetry expand her story and draw us in.



So, how do we know when our poem is about to take us over? I’m not sure, but for me there is this kind of moment when I am writing that I realize I’ve put words down and was on some level not aware that I had done that. Maybe when we feel like our poetry is surprising us is when we know the poem has taken over. When I look back and re-read some pieces, and I ask myself, did I really write that, I must think that the poems had taken over.



When deeply engaged with a poem, I sit back and let my mind wander. In this state I may not be writing anything, but I’m letting go of my immediate ownership. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. When this does work, I sense the poem I’m working on has taken stock of me and what I am trying to say. Again, I stay tuned in to ensure my word choices work.



At last, we come to the fun part: The end or close. So, does the poem tell me when to stop or do I? In a previous Southern Writers’ Column, I discussed the close and how one knew when or how to close the poem. The decision, at this point, for me is take back the poem and decide how I want to end. The final contribution is bringing the poem to a natural and unforced conclusion.

The close may require several edits or revisions to get it right, for you.



With that, I’ll close for now. Until next time…


Sara M. Robinson, founder of the Lonesome Mountain Pro(s)e Writers’ Workshop, and former Instructor of a course on Contemporary American Poets at UVA-OLLI, was poetry columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and inagural poetry editor for Virginia Literary Journal. She has served as guest lecturer at UVA’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies, including We Grew Wings and Flew (2014), Scratching Against the Fabric (2015), Virginia Writer’s Club Centennial Anthology (2017), Blue Ridge Anthologies and Mizmor Anthology (2018). Journals include: Loch Raven Review, The Virginia Literary Journal, vox poetica, Jimson Weed, Whisky Advocate, and Poetica. She is poet and author of Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (2012), A Cruise in Rare Waters (2013 Stones for Words (2014), Sometimes the Little Town (2016), a finalist for the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Book Award. In 2019, Needville, her poetry about effects of coal mining on SW Virginia was released and in 2020 debuted as play in Charlottesville. Her most recent publication is Simple River (2020, Cyberwit).