Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Giveaway: An Unexpected Suitor By Anna Schmidt

After years of caring for her brothers and sister, Nola Burns is ready to live out her own dream--running a tearoom on Nantucket. But the return of charming theater entrepreneur Harrison Starbuck and his determination to buy her out may dash her dreams forever.

All Harry offers is a business propostion, but soon finds himself concerned for the woman herself when she receives threatening letters. He doesn't harbor any romantic feelings for the spirited and talented woman, does he? But as the threats escalate, Harry realizes that loving Nola may be his greatest role of all.

Review--loved it, loved it, LOVED IT! I've always been a sucker for turn of the century historicals but Harry and Nola's story grabbed me from the first page. Nola's determination in light of her tragic situation and her ablity to accept Godly people who color outside of the lines is a lesson everyone needs to be reminded of. And Harry is just a doll--confident in his God, focused to reach others for the Lord. The secondary characters--Ellie, Rose, the acting troupe- all added rich landscape to the lovely scenery of Nantucket.

The first person in the continuous USA to leave a comment will receive a copy of An Unexpected Suitor.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Want to Learn How to Write?

I've been studying the craft of writing for ten years now. That's a long time to be taking classes on plot and character development, saving up the money to go to various writing conferences and subscribing to 'Writer's Digest.' I think it's safe to say that I've bought enough writing books to start a library--I know my movers LOVED it when they got a look at my bookshelves.

But in all that time, I have very little to show for it. Granted, life has been very full for our family over the last few years and I had to put my writing dreams on a shelf. That said, I learned a valuable lesson at the 2008 ACFW conference that I want to share because in all honesty, I don't remember one person sharing this secret with me in the nine years leading up to that conference. If you did, I sincerely apologize--and the next time you have such an informative nugget, knock me in the head!

So what's the big secret to learning how to write? What did those writers at the 2008 conference tell me that changed my writing life?

Put your butt in a chair and write! Set a doable word count and do it! At that conference, everyone from John Olsen to Nancy Moser shared that they had a word count for the day. It wasn't an outrageous amount--most had counts in the 1-2K range per day. And every time I heard one of these great writers share their word count, all I could think was 'I can do that!'

Since September, 2008, I have tried to set a daily count of at least 1500 words. I haven't always made it--we did have three surgeries, two graduations and a cross country move in the last 13 months. But this week, I hit a milestone--when I won the Genesis with this manuscript last year, I had exactly 25 pages. This week, 270 pages later, I'm working on the last scene. The book is finished. And it's because of that wonderful nugget of advice I got at last year's conference--write, write, write!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Day Three--Seekerville Book in a Week Challenge

Word Count--1120

I didn't think I'd get to write today--the research study I'm working on launched last Thursday and I've been swamped with people wanting to participate this week. So today, I did histories and asked the doctors about some questions that had come up. I also needed to go over to my parents' house(which is an hour away to pick up my mail.)

But excuses aside, I still managed to get a big scene done and I'm happy. I realized that I only have about ten scenes to go before I finish this book, which is great when I started with over fifty scenes. The goal line is within sight and I'm excited!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Day Two--Seekerville's book in a week challenge

Word count for the day--1682

Okay, so I'm not knocking out numbers like Cheryl Wyatt posted this morning on Seekerville but I'm very happy with what I did today. I got three solid scenes written before I had to work on my day job. I also needed to review my scene cards so that I could 'think' on what I need to write next.

The ladies at Seekerville are doing a great job, cheering those of us taking on this challenge. Cheryl's post on keeping that nasty internal editor in check was great, but not as fantastic as the numbers she puts up when she's pumping out her first draft. I'd love to sit down and pound out 15K in a day--but I'm getting there a little at a time.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Day One--Seekerville's Book in a Week

Today has been long but very productive. It started with a quick glance through my emails, seven newspapers I read every day and a visit to Seekerville for Camy Tang's words of wisdom on turning off that pesky internal editor. I got to say--while I like blogs and sometimes can put bits of information for them, Camy's article on letting that creative side of your brain have full rein while you're getting that first draft down really opened my eyes. Thanks, Camy!

And I've found that working in an office away from the house really helps me get going. I took Dan up on his offer to use a deserted desk at his office--I got more done in those two hours than in the last two days! It was nice to walk in, shut the down and not have the dog scratching to go outside or my daughters texting me for some reason or another. I found out this evening Dan like having me there too.

I promised I would post my word counts each day for anyone who follows my blog(which isn't very many.) I'm very happy with what I wrote today(along with the eight patients I recruited for my latest study.) The final total for Monday is 2454 words, almost 450 words over my goal!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Seekerville's Book in a Week Challenge

I'm excited! I'm pumped! Why?

Because I'm signed up to participate in Seekerville's book in a week challenge!

So what is a 'book in a week' you may ask? Part of the problem with getting a new idea down for a new novel is putting your backside in a chair and just writing. There's always something to do--like clean the house, buying groceries, sitting on Facebook. What the 'book in a week ' process does is put you in the chair, writing.

Like this week--I have warned both Dan and Carly that I'm taking the challenge and that means they're going to have to live on pizza or hamburgers for the week. Or whatever comes out of the crockpot. The house is clean, the bills and laundry are done and today, I stock up on groceries for the week.

I'm shooting for 10 thousand words this week/2000 a day for five days--but I hope to write on Saturday too. I'll keep anyone who reads this updated as to my progress.

If you'd like to join in the challenge, just head on over to and sign up

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Can you say 'Multi-tasking?'

It's a known fact in my family that I hate to waste time. I don't know why exactly, but I think it has something to do with my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Payne. Every time the poor woman would catch me goofing off in class, she'd simply smile and say,

'Sixty seconds in a minute, didn't take it, didn't chose it, but its up to me to use it.'

Gosh, I use to hate that poem! But as I've grown older, I see the wisdom in Mrs. Payne's words. I hate to waste time, even if it's driving through town, which if you've ever been to Atlanta can be an all day event. So what's a woman with a love for writing and a determination to squeeze every single drop out of the day to do?

Why, she gets a bunch of books on CD!

As a writer, I'm always interested in what's out there on the market, and let's face it; there's just not enough hours in the day to read EVERYTHING so books on CD are the perfect solution. Not only do I keep up with the latest trends in the market but I also gleem my writing skills. Something about listening to a novel brings out all those troublesome problems like repetition words, run-on sentences and weak character development and before I can hit the Downtown Connector, I've already learned something. I've accomplished something and I like the idea of that.

Now I'd like to hear from others--have you learned anything by listening to a book rather than reading it? What was it?