Oh MY!

Tonight when my husband and I returned from a walk at the close of this rainy Iowa day, we were looking up at the roof for some reason, and I spotted something that looked like a bird…sort of. But bigger.

Lance is nothing if he’s not persevering. He hung out until he captured an image of the creature…I can’t believe it! We have cardinals, house wrens, hummingbirds, and of course, crows in our yard. But this…never thought I’d see the like. Not here in our yard.

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Isn’t this the cutest baby owl? I’ve never spied one before, and this one added excitement to a rather gloomy, although productive day here in the Midwest. I’m a lot like my fiction characters, I guess – it doesn’t take a whole lot to make my day.

And this experience also goes to show that you can enjoy someone else’s hobby almost as much as you enjoy your own. Barn owls have made appearances in my historical fiction, and this little one…oh yes, you can bet she (or he) will pop up somewhere in a future story.

Jodie Wolfe – A Novella is Born!

WElcome to DARE TO BLOOM, Jodie. Tell us about your novella, please, and what prompted you to write it? 

Here’s the back cover copy of Hearts Tightly Knit:

Orphaned at age ten, Ellie Stafford and her twin sister Mae made a vow—to stick together and never marry. Now in their mid twenties, they are bucking convention in Calder Springs, Texas, as women with respectable occupations who can take care of themselves. Ellie works at the Good Fixin’s Diner and spends her evenings knitting garments for The Children’s Aid Society. When a handsome local rancher shows up searching for a cook, she’s hardly tempted, despite his good looks.

Luke Rogers owns a spread just outside of Calder Springs. It was running as smooth as cattle going through a chute until his cook up and marries and high-tails it back east. With no cook and a bunkhouse full of ranch hands ready to revolt, he persuades Ellie to temporarily fill in until he can hire someone else. He should have known better than to get tangled up with another woman.

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I’m part of a group blog, Stitches Thru Time and several of the writers decided to work on a novella collection together. Each of our novellas released separately before being compiled into the collection.

Did the character come to you first, or the plot?

For this story, the plot came first. I wondered what would happen if twin sisters made a vow to always stick together. What would it take for one of them to change their mind?

What was the most difficult part of the writing? 

Hearts Tightly Knit is the second novella I’ve ever written. I’m used to writing novels that are anywhere from 85-95,000 words, so it’s a challenge to write something much shorter.

Which is your favorite part of the writing business – writing, editing, or promotion?

My favorite part is two-part…the research and also the writing process. I truly love delving into history and the whole story process. Getting words down on paper is my favorite part of writing along with breathing life into my characters.

Did this work require any research – what was that like? 

Each of the books I write requires at least some research. They are always set in the 19th century so I’ve done extensive research in the past to have a good handle of the time period. For this novella, I learned what I could about the Orphan Train, which is quite fascinating.

PURCHASE LINK:

http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Tightly-Knit-Jodie-Wolfe/dp/0997502606?ie=UTF8&keywords=hearts%20tightly%20knit&qid=1464649958&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

Jodie is giving away one print book (US only) to a commenter. Thanks for taking the time to visit, Jodie, and all the best with your novella.

You can find Jodie at:

Website: http://www.jodiewolfe.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Wolfe-553400191384913/; https://www.facebook.com/jodie.wolfe.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodieAWolfe

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/JodieAWolfe

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jodie-Wolfe/e/B01EAWOHXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116840153259583634192/posts

Blogs Jodie contributes to: Stitches Thru Time, Putting on the New and of course, Quid Pro Quills.

Social Media 2015

Julie Arduini – The Entangled Series

Welcome, Julie. I’m glad to have you visit, with three posts this week to celebrate your new releases. I’ve always enjoyed your quip about someday surrendering the chocolate. (See below.) Today, I’m looking forward to hearing about Entangled-Surrendering the Past.

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I’m excited to present the second book in my rebranded Surrendering Time series (formerly Adirondack Surrender Romance).  This is Carla Rowling’s story, Jenna Anderson’s best friend from ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present. In ENTANGLED, Carla’s been handed her dream. She’s able to leave her “pay the bills” job as sheriff and attend cosmetology school. It’s such an extravagant gift Carla feels unworthy, still unable to forgive herself for becoming a mom as a teenager.

Carla struggles with guilt, and leaving her now teenaged son, Noah, as she goes to school. When Noah’s father, Wayne Peterson, moves to town and asks Carla to give him one more chance, she’s torn. Her flannel-wearing, truck driving boyfriend, Will Marshall, has supported her through all the changes. As she tries to excel in beauty school, she deals with fear of Noah making teen choices that are too familiar to her own history. Wayne’s right there, wanting to pick up where they left off in high school. Will doesn’t know Carla’s torment because she hasn’t told him her problems. Will Carla’s choices cause as many entanglements as a bad perm?

ENTANGLED is scheduled for release in May. Look for ENTRUSTED to re release for free (ebook) in the same time frame. Follow Julie Arduini on Amazon, Goodreads, and throughout social media as @Julie Arduini to stay in touch for the latest information.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the upcoming re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past, set for a spring release. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

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Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieArduini

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JulieArduini/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/JulieArduini

Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulieArduini

Snapchat: @juliearduini

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/JulieArduini

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427852247&sr=8-1

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: http://eepurl.com/bJ5yHP

 

 

Ill-fitting, or fit for our work?

Every summer, I take some of my plants outdoors. In early March, I noticed something else growing out of one of those pots, a totally “other” plant. But something told me to let it grow, and it’s since flourished in the sunshine of our south dining room windows. Kind of hard to pull up a specimen that wants to grow so badly.

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Yes, it’s an oak tree in a jade world.

But it doesn’t belong, right? Well, years ago, I felt like I didn’t, either. Since I’m kind of a gregarious personality type, it really didn’t bother me too much, but every once in a while, I’d sense that outsider feeling. Since we’ve moved quite a few times, I usually attributed the situation to being new.

Then I read The Cloister Walk  by Kathleen Norris. It’s one of those books I’ve read more than once, but the first time through, this author encouraged me SO much by helping me understand myself better. I don’t have the exact quote, but it went something like, “As writers, our job is to record/report what we see. That means we often stand outside an event, a circumstance, or a place and look in. Then we report on what we see.”

Wow – a puzzle piece slipped into place. Today I met a bunch of Iowa writers at the Ankeny Book Fair. Spending time with them heartened me, as our far-north locale doesn’t produce tons of writer-types. And we are a type!

So I’d like to say thank you to Joy King, who planned the fair and also to the many writers there who encouraged me today. Hope to see you again somewhere in Iowa!

Richard Mabry – Round and Round/Giveaway

Please welcome Richard L. Mabry, M.D. to our blog today. He’s the award winning author of Medical Suspense With Heart, as well as the Prescription For Trouble series (Abingdon), Stress Test, Heart Failure, Critical Condition (Harper Collins), and  Fatal Trauma (Abingdon) To one fortunate commenter this week, he’ll give away a copy of Miracle Drug.

“Mabry combines his medical expertise with a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” – USA Today

THE WRITING CAROUSEL

There’s a song in the musical, The Fantasticks, called “Round and Round.” In it, the couple sees only the good things that go by, even though at times the view from the carousel is of scenes that are less than pleasant. Why do I bring that up? I mention it because the view of writing from the standpoint of the pre-published writer is much different than the one seen by the author who has at least a couple of books under his/her belt.

Before I got a contract for Code Blue, my first novel, I wrote four novels over a period of four years, garnering forty rejections in the process. And that’s nowhere near a record. Although some authors (like Gayle Roper) got a contract for their first novel, others (like T Davis Bunn) collected lots more rejections than I did before a publisher liked his work. Eventually I, and lots of other authors, prevailed. However, shortly thereafter I also learned something interesting: that contract wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of lots more work.

First, I quickly discovered that, although my novel might be good enough to make an acquisition editor happy, it would go through a series of edits and rewrites before it saw print. And all those edits and rewrites involved me. Did it make the work better? Of course it did. Was it time-consuming? Yes—but I learned with each editorial letter and rewrite.

In addition, there was the process of cover design, a process I’m pleased to say I’ve been involved in for all my novels. That’s nice, but also takes a bit of time. In addition, there was the back cover copy and author information. It was necessary writing, but took some work to accomplish.

Then there’s marketing. Although the publisher works at marketing the book, there’s a good bit for the author to do as well. And I learned very fast that no one wants a book to be read by a wide audience more than the author does. Say what you will about “the good old days,” but nowadays it’s a necessity for an author to be active in social media and other aspects of keeping his/her name and work before the reading public. Don’t forget, of course, that this includes not only their own website and blog, but being available (and even making arrangements) for guest blogs and interviews on the sites of others.

Oh, and while all this is going on, the writer should be at work on their next book. After all, none of us want to be a one-trick pony. And after the first and second come…you guessed it—the third. Authors who quit after the first book aren’t unheard of, but they’re rare. It’s even been discovered that Harper Lee, who supposedly stopped after writing To Kill A Mockingbird, had another book sitting in a trunk or someplace.

Now, imagine trying to keep all those plates spinning. That’s where I’ve been for a while: arranging to get out the news about my forthcoming book, Fatal Trauma, while finishing edits for the next one, Miracle Drug (due out in September), and keeping up interest in my prior novels—the so-called “backlist.” Has it required time and effort on my part? Of course it has. Would I trade it for the status of an unpublished writer? Not a chance.

So that’s the writing carousel. If you haven’t been able to get on yet, don’t despair. Work on your craft and don’t give up. The view from here is pretty good, even as it goes round and round.

Miracle Drug

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” He is an active member of International Thriller Writers, a past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and a member the Romance Writers of America. His eight previously published novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. His novella, Rx Murder, released via Amazon in April, and Abingdon Press published his novel, Fatal Trauma, in May of this year. Miracle Drug is scheduled for release in September.

You can learn more about Richard on his website (http://rmabry.com) and blog (http://rmabry.blogspot.com). He can also be found via his Facebook author page (http://facebook.com/rmabrybooks) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/RichardMabry).

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Renee Blare

I’m glad to have Renee Blare visiting today, and hope you enjoy reading her take on creating a novel – in my favorite line, she tells us what gave her whiplash! And if you’d like to win an e-copy of Renee’s new release, please leave a comment.

My Fledgling Leaves the Nest…Finally

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You want to write a book. In fact, you’ve started a plot line or rough draft of one already. Now what?
A book’s like a child. Different stories float around inside every author’s mind, flowing out in a way much like labor. Some authors plot, others don’t. And still others combine the process in a convoluted method. Like birth, no matter how the words eventually find their way to the page, the development of a book doesn’t stop with its first dawn.
Take my new release, To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. Five years ago, I wrote my first book in three months. The word flowed like a river from my mind and heart. It was awesome! I couldn’t believe it. God brought the plot together in a phenomenal way, and I knew it was meant to be.
I decided to take the next step. Publication. I asked myself the question every new writer asks…how do I get published? What a question…and an eye opener! Have you seen how many different ways someone can publish today? So, I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Instead of putting my new book on a shelf, I discovered how to truly write a novel.
You have to understand. I’d never penned one in my life. That’s not saying I hadn’t ever written anything before. I loved to write short stories, and poetry, and I’d read every type of book imaginable. But as far as writing one…no. And it showed. Abundantly.
I look back at that first rough draft now and realize why I’ve rewritten the thing four times. Ever heard of head-hopping? It was atrocious. I gave myself whiplash. It took me a couple of hard years to learn the rules of creative writing, but I removed all kinds of nasty little things woven in the manuscript. After that, I discovered the plot holes and restructured my “perfect” story at the advice of an wonderful editor.
Was this in the hope of landing a contract? No, I did it simply to make the story better. Did any of this stop or get easier after I signed on the dotted line with Prism Book Group? No, in fact, I believe I underwent tougher edits courtesy of my awesome acquisitions editor, Susan.
The sun has risen and set on To Soar many times to get it to where it is today. And no story’s ever perfect. As a writer, you will always continue the editing process if it’s left up to you. After all, it’s your baby, your child. You want it to be ready to face the world.
But eventually, the manuscript must leave the nest. That means trusting your work, editor…your publisher that all has been done to make it the best it can be. You’ve done your part. Now it’s time to have faith, trust the Lord, and let go. No matter the outcome, He’s in control.
It’s time to fly.

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