Friday, July 1, 2016

Sometimes a Superhero Cape is Needed

“The plain fact is that the world does not need more successful people, but it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.” 
~ David Orr

Ever seen a superhero? I'm not talking Spiderman or Deadpool. Yes, I said Deadpool. He's kind of my favorite superhero. Don't judge me.

But actually I'm talking a superhero like the Walmart checkout clerk who pays the extra fifty-two cents for the little old lady with the empty change purse. That kind of awesome person deserves a superhero cape.

And Shanon Weber provides one. One of her missions in life is to recognize the unsung heroes in the world by awarding them a cape and inducting them into the Love Superhero Hall of Gratitude, which is something she made up. In this day of terrorism and hate, what an awesome way to make the world a happier place.

So here is my challenge to you . . . this weekend celebrate a superhero in your little corner of the realm. You don't have to go all out and "cape" them. Just smile and say, "Hey, you're awesome!"

Starting in a small way is still a start.

And don't forget there's still a contest for you to enter . . .

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bigger and Better

No, I do not self-identify with being a bearded young man.
I couldn't get my phone to sync with my for-real photos.
But you've got to admit he's a happy little writer, eh?
I'm on a writing retreat this week, dreaming up a new story. More on that in another post (cue evil laughter). See that smoke curling out my ears? That's what happens when the gears get clogged with scheming up plot twists. I don't want to write just any story. I want to write one that readers go, "Whoa, baby! Hot dang! Did NOT see that one coming."

But why not do that with a blog post as well? Alrighty. Let's give it a whirl.

The contest for the pre-release signed copy THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES collection is finished, and the lucky winner is (drum roll please) . . .

JAN HALL

Woo-hoo! Blow the wing-dinglers and dance the fandango--unless, of course, that's against your religion. Anyhoo, here's where today's plot twist comes in. Just when you're all mopey faced because doggone it you didn't win and you super wanted to, I've got a whole other contest for you to enter that's even bigger and better.

You heard me.

Bigger.

Better.

So here it is. Your chance to win a Kindle WITH The Courageous Brides Collection already loaded on it. Go ahead and enter. Play safe and share. Plus you might want to slap on a helmet there, little Hoss, so you don't bump your noggin.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Good is a Freebie? Ebook Infographic

Yep. You can steal this. It's all yours.


And don't forget today is the last day to enter the COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION giveaway . . .
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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Looking For a Summer Read?

It's that time of year. Toss a book into your beach bag and go get sunburned on the sand. If you need some ideas for some great reads, here is the list of the recently announced American Christian Fiction Writers fiction of the year nominees . . .

Contemporary:
Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman
The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert
As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti, Abingdon Press

Historical:
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson
Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke
Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Historical Romance:
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin
A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: 
The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan
Blessings in Disguise by Nancy Mehl
Finding Amanda by Robin Patchen

Novella:
A Bride for Bear from The Convenient Bride Collection by Erica Vetsch
A Palace on the Plains from The Most Eligible Bachelor Romance Collection by Erica Vetsch
The Archaeologist's Find from The Homestead Brides Collection by Erica Vetsch

Romance:
The Beekeeper's Son by Kelly Irvin
Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas
Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

Romantic Suspense:
No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason
Submerged by Elizabeth Goddard
Miracle Drug by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

Short Novel:
Covert Justice by Lynn Huggins Blackburn
The Christmas Family by Linda Goodnight
The Doctor's Second Chance by Missy Tippens

Speculative:
Vinnie's Diner by Jennifer AlLee
Heir of Hope by Morgan L. Busse
The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

Young Adult:
Angelhood by A.J.Cattapan
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Debut: 
The Thornbearerby Pepper Basham
The Calling of Ella McFarland by Linda Brooks Davis
The First Principle by Marissa Shrock

And don't forget there's only one more day to enter the giveaway for the pre-release signed copy of THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION . . .

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Hang in There Little Champion

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit”

I'm always nervous when I sit down to offer feedback on an aspiring writer's first chapter. Inevitably there will be some pretty big fixes that are needed, and that can suck the can-do marrow right out of a newbies bones.

The hard, cold truth is that your first manuscript will likely not ever get published. There's too much to learn. Too much to know and do and weave together. It takes time and tears and lots and lots of blood.

But if you persevere, I promise you it's worth it, and not just for holding a book in your hand with your name on the cover (though that is a nice perk). It's worth it because you know in your gut you accomplished something that scads of others have tried yet quit because the going got tough.

So hang in there. Never stop writing. Never stop learning. Never stop risking and falling and skinning your writerly knees. Eventually it will pay off, if not monetarily, at least in satisfaction and self-respect.

But here's something that's not so hard. Sign up to win a freebie of the soon-to-release COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Customer is ALWAYS Right

I visited a new grocery store today. I know. Not a real grabber of an opening, eh? That's because I'm still suffering the effects of hypothermia. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is a misnomer. It ought to be called Jotunheim Market (you know, the land of the frost giants from Norse mythology). Yes, it seriously is that cold. My lips are blue and I haven't even eaten a raspberry icee.

So I did what any self-respecting consumer suffering from frostbite would do . . . I complained. In a nice way, of course. First I asked a clerk about it, one who wore 3 layers, the top one fleece-lined (not even kidding). She said it's always freezing in there but she couldn't get a straight answer as to why, and that she's seen customers leave because of the temperature . . . which was great info but not helpful.

I bypassed her and went straight to the manager. I merely asked why it was so cold. Wow. You'd think I'd asked why his mama was fat and his father was a hamster. The dude was uber self-defensive, explaining every which way why he would not turn down the temp. Apparently on 90 degree days it gets roasty-toasty in there. Fine. I concede that point, but the high today was only 74. And in fact in Minnesota, we don't get a whole slew of days that are over 90.

But the point isn't really the temperature. The bigger issue is that I -- the consumer -- didn't get listened to because he was too busy defending himself. As a result, here I am letting the world at large know to avoid Fresh Thyme in my neck of the woods and that I'll never shop there again.

What in the world does this have to do with the publishing world? Ahh. Great question, Kemosabe.

You, the writer, are the store manager. The reader is the consumer. The critiquer is the consumer. The reviewer is the consumer. Practically the entire world is your consumer. Here is your duty to the consumer . . .

Listen. Just listen. Put down your dukes, lower those hackles, and don't go all defensive when someone offers you critical feedback. A reader, critique buddy, reviewer or editor are all entitled to their opinion, and more often than not, that opinion will have a nugget of truth in it that you can spit shine into a sparkly diamond.

Like take that manager for instance . . . he could've simply acknowledged the frigidity of the temperature and thanked me for bringing it to his attention. 'Nuff said. I would've walked away feeling like I'd been heard and would probably shop there again another day. The manager could've then thought over what I'd said and later on perhaps brainstormed on ways to keep the temps more even keel.

Do that with a rugged review or stinging comments. Thank the person for their valid opinion then think about it later, after you've cooled down. Brainstorm on ways you could change things up. You'll likely have a better product for the effort.

And a way happier customer.

But there's something you can do to make yourself happy right now. Enter the pre-release giveaway of a signed copy of THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION. No parka necessary and there's no hint of frostbite danger.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why Writing is Hard

A brain surgeon at a dinner party says to novelist Margaret Atwood, “I’ve always wanted to write. When I retire and have the time, I’m going to be a writer.”

She replied, “What a coincidence, because when I retire, I’m going to be a brain surgeon.”

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up most people's concept of how hard it is to write a book, basically that it's a piece of cake. The truth is that completing a novel is dang hard. Here are 3 reasons why . . .

It's a time commitment.
In order to say yes to writing a book, you have to say no to other social commitments because a novel takes time. Gobs of it. My last book took me 8 months from start to finish, 6 of which I said no to pretty much everything except for church.

It takes perseverance.
You can't write one day and not the next. You need to write every day, whether you feel like it or not.

It's a learning curve.
Remember all those grammar rules you learned in 7th grade? Yeah, forget them. Writing a novel isn't about diagramming sentences. It's about deep POV and high concepts, things your high school writing instructor probably never touched on.

Writing is hard work, but here's something that's easy. Sign up to win a signed pre-release copy of THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION.


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