For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.
    ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pantser? Plotter? Sometime else?

QUESTION FROM A READER: So do you layer as you write or do you wait until you finish your first draft and go back and layer? Just curious...

I understand how some writers just write a first draft without thinking too much about what actually falls out on the page. I can't. 

I layer as I go. When I begin the day's writing, I generally read the previous scene, or chapter, to get a feel for the mood and the characters. Then I tackle the new scene. Writing with an Alpha Smart where I couldn't go back and edit as I go . . . oh dear, that sound torturous to me. 

How do you write? Have you tried other ways?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Inspirational Mystery & Suspense June 2014 New Releases

BLIND TRUST by Sandra Orchard
Baker Publishing / Revell

Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can’t believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker’s investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor’s innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation-and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world-and her budding romance with Tom-begin to crumble. To Kate, it’s clear that she won’t be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster’s secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom? 

romantic suspense
Pelican / White Rose Publishing

They expected the honeymoon of their dreams. What they got was a nightmare wrapped in revenge and kidnapping. 

SKY ZONE by Creston Mapes 
David C. Cook

Jack Crittendon is expecting a mindless night on the job at Festival Arena, but when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack is thrust into a life-or-death battle to save himself-and the lives of thousands of innocent people. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Midpoint and Story Bones by Mary L. Mercer

THE MIDPOINT: HOW TO WRITE THE CENTRAL TURNING POINT WITH EMOTION, TENSION, & DEPTH by Mary L. Mercer released this week and is already in the Paid Top Ten in one of its categories! Currently Amazon has both it and STORY BONES available as FREE ebooks right now for their Prime Members (must be signed in for $0.00 to show). So grab it while it's hot!

Here's the blurb--

Craft an emotionally charged story that keeps readers turning pages.

Have you ever started writing a story, feeling full of inspiration and enthusiasm, only to lose direction somewhere in the middle? Grab hold of a bright lifeline for writers trekking across their novel's swampy middle. Much more than a "plot point" to energize pacing, the Midpoint is the central nervous system controlling the entire story. Mastering the Midpoint helps writers survive and thrive in the Everglades of the middle. Rediscover the spark in your story by learning how to--

• Design a Midpoint with depth by crafting realistic, multi-dimensional character flaws that resonate emotionally with readers.

• Strategically position the Midpoint at the apex of a simple four-step story structure that reflects realistic human self-improvement.

• Connect the three key events (the Midpoint is one of them!) in every story that are absolutely vital to creating escalating tension.

• Translate the eight essential functions of the Midpoint into specific beats and scenes reflecting your unique creative vision.

• Apply three quick and easy "tools" to craft Midpoints with maximum dramatic impact.

Ignite your creativity while enjoying dozens of examples from novels, television, and movies. Fantasy, inspirational, mystery, science fiction, western, young adult, romantic suspense, and contemporary/historical romance—every genre contributes valuable insights.

Here's the link:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 ACFW Carol Finalists

Debut Novel:
The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editor Natalie Hanemann
Jasmine by April McGowan, WhiteFire Publishing, editor Roseanna White
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Becky Monds, Natalie Hanneman, L.B. Norton

The Language of Sparrows by Rachel Phifer, David C. Cook, editor Tonya Osterhouse
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Becky Monds, Natalie Hanneman, L.B. Norton
The Dance by Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editor Andrea Doering

When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell, David C. Cook, editors Ingrid Beck, John Blase
Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Becky Philpott, Julee Schwarzburg, Jodi Hughes
Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate by Diana Wallis Taylor, Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editor Lonnie Hull Dupont

Historical Romance:
Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Raela Schoenherr
A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Dave Long
The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky, Waterbrook Multnomah (Random House), editors Shannon Marchese, Karen Ball

Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Dave Lambert, Sue Brower, Ellen Tarver
Dark Justice by Brandilyn Collins, B&H Publishing, editors Karen Ball, Julie Gwinn
Fear Has a Name by Creston Mapes, David C. Cook, editors L.B. Norton, Jack Campbell

An Ever After Summer from A Bride for all Seasons by Debra Clopton, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editor Ami McConnell
Love by the Letter by Melissa Jagears, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Raela Schoenherr
A Christmas Prayer by Linda Wood Rondeau, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, editor Amberlynn Noelle

Silver Bells by Deborah Raney, Summerside Press (Guideposts), editor Rachel Meisel
Catch a Falling Star by Beth K. Vogt, Howard (Simon & Schuster), editor Jessica Wong
Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editors Sarah Long, Charlene Patterson

Romantic Suspense:
Trapped by Irene Hannon, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editor Jennifer Leep
Vanished by Irene Hannon, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editor Jennifer Leep
Jungle Fire by Dana Mentink, River North (Moody Publishers), editor Deb Keiser

Short Novel:
Seaside Blessings by Irene Hannon, Love Inspired (Harlequin), editor Melissa Endlich
The Doctor's Family Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus, Love Inspired (Harlequin), editor Melissa Endlich
Mending the Doctor's Heart by Tina Radcliffe, Love Inspired (Harlequin), editor Rachel Burkot

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editors Dave Long, Karen Schurrer
The Hero's Lot by Patrick W. Carr, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editors Dave Long, Karen Schurrer
The Sinners' Garden by William Sirls, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Natalie Hanemann, Lisa Bergren

Young Adult:
A Simple Song by Melody Carlson, Revell – A Divison of Baker Publishing Group, editors Lonnie Hull Dupont, Wendy Wetzel
Captives by Jill Williamson, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Jacque Alberta, Jeff Gerke
Project Gemini by Jill Williamson, Marcher Lord Press, editor Jeff Gerke

Inspirational Contemporary and Historical Women's Fiction June 2014 New Releases

ALL RIGHT HERE by Carre Armstrong Gardner
Tyndale House

Ivy Darling can’t have children of her own, and her husband Nick’s resentment is forcing them apart. And while Ivy has the support and love of her large, close-knit family, Nick’s family has never welcomed her into the fold. When the three children next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy and Nick take them in for the night. One night becomes several, and suddenly Ivy and Nick find themselves foster parents to the only African-American kids in the town of Copper Cove, Maine. As Ivy grows more attached to the children, Nick refuses to accept their eclectic household as a permanent family. Just as Ivy begins to question whether or not she wants to save her emotionally empty marriage, Nick begins to discover how much Ivy and the children mean to him. But is his change of heart too little, too late? 

A WOMAN OF FORTUNE by Kellie Coates Gilbert 
Baker Publishing/ Revell

Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream. Her world is filled with designer clothes, luxury cars, and stunning homes. But her Neiman-Marcus lifestyle comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly, she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must start over against incredible odds to save her family–and discover a life worth living.

THE CAT LADY’S SECRET by Linda W. Yezak 
Pelican / Harbourlight Books

Emily Taylor loves to help people, loves to ease their burdens and make their dreams come true. But when a conman ruins her reputation, she discovers that helping others is safer and easier from behind the scenes. When one of Emily’s gifts captures the attention of an avid journalist, her identity as the town’s anonymous benefactor-and her renewed relationship with her high school sweetheart-are threatened. As her private life begins to unravel, she realizes the one hope for regaining control lies behind prison walls.

YANKEE IN ATLANTA by Jocelyn Green 
Moody Publishers / River North

When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin’s only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta. Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess to the daughter of Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who enlists with the Rebel army. Though starvation rules, and Sherman’s troops edge closer to Atlanta, rages, she will not run again. Will honor dictate that Caitlin and Noah follow the rules, or love demand that they break them? 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Inkwell Inspirations: Harriet Hubbard Ayer - America's first Self-Made C...

Inkwell Inspirations: Harriet Hubbard Ayer - America's first Self-Made C...: Harriet Hubbard  was born on June 7, 1849 in Chicago, Illinois. Seventeen years late she married Herbert Copeland Ayer, a man fourteen ye...

Inkwell Inspirations: Sweet Mountain Music - Books we Love!

Inkwell Inspirations: Sweet Mountain Music - Books we Love!: 1896 ... the Cascade Mountains of Washington. Oh what a great setting for Suzie Johnson's sweet historical romance. We had lots of fun...

Linda S. Glaz: GIVEAWAY? All Right!

Linda S. Glaz: GIVEAWAY? All Right!: LET'S GIVE AWAY A COUPLE BOOKS... First Time Authors with punch!   Friend Me by John Faubion If you're a teckkiem you'l...

Wild Sound Writing Festival

DEADLINE June 25th - 1st CHAPTER/FULL NOVEL Festival Contest

DEADLINE June 25th - SHORT STORY Contest

Get your story performed at the Writing Festival. FULL FEEDBACK on all 

SUMMER Special SAVE $10 to $50 off regular submission - Get FULL 
FEEDBACK on your novel from story editors and professional authors. Get 
it performed by professional actors and showcased for 1000s to see.

Watch the videos of the past winners. Hope to see you submit.

WATCH the Recent Winning Short Story/1st Chapter Readings:

Tea and a Good Book: Ten Things with Author Mary Ellis--and a Giveaway!...

Tea and a Good Book: Ten Things with Author Mary Ellis--and a Giveaway!...:

Welcome to Mary Ellis!   Mary grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community, Geauga County, where her parents often took her to farm...

Tips for Entering a Writing Contest

I like judging writing contests.

What I don't like about judging writing contests is the score sheets. Often the worst question is one about author voice. Why? Well, voice is interpretative. 

Many published authors (highly successful), if their names weren't on the books, have an unrecognizable voice. In other words, readers wouldn't be able to guess with a strong accuracy who wrote the book based on the writing style, quality, and content alone. And that's A-OK.

If the author does have a unique/fresh voice, I always compliment. Of the twelve entries I judged in one recent contest, none had a distinctive voice. Several had a fitting voice for a category novel. One had a discomforting omniscient voice.

Sometimes as a judge I wish for a simple score sheet. Like this:

1) Is the entry compelling? Did you want to read more?

2) What areas do you feel need work to make the entry compelling?

As a contest entrant, that's basically what I wanted to know. As a published author, it's what I still want to know.

Did you want to read more? If not, why? 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Inkwell Inspirations: Buckle up to write!

Inkwell Inspirations: Buckle up to write!: By Niki Turner

 Whenever I get in a car with someone my brain is programmed to ask: "Are you buckled?" I used to be a rand...

Quotes on Writing

"Intense study of the Bible will keep any writer from being vulgar, in point of style." 
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Inspirational Historical Romance June 2014 New Releases

FOUR WEDDINGS & A KISS by Margaret BrownleyDebra CloptonMary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher 
Harper Collins Publishers / Thomas Nelson

"Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy

Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.

"Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher

Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He's resolved to change Molly's mind about him--as an editor and as a man.

"A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton

Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie's mind?

"Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley

Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive--or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case--until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.

THE BEACHES AND BRIDES ROMANCE COLLECTION by Lynn A. ColemanSusan Page DavisMary Davis, Paige Winship Dooly and Cathy Marie Hake
Barbour Publishing

Venture along historic American shorelines, enjoying five stories that are full of adventure, challenge, and romance. In Key West a couple collides over a child’s welfare. In Washington, a captain’s wife guards a secret. In Maine, a castaway returns from the dead. In Georgia, a woman dares to man a lighthouse alone. In Virginia, a wounded soldier recoups at a seaside cottage. Watch as God works through their challenges to bring them safely to a harbor of love.

STUCK TOGETHER by Mary Connealy 
Trouble in Texas Book 3
Baker Publishing / Bethany House

Tina Cahill, newly arrived from the East, is determined to get the saloon in Broken Wheel, Texas, closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention. Vince Yates earned the nickname “Invincible Vince” because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn’t know he had, show up in Broken Wheel without warning. Vince has a lot of people to take care of, and Tina doesn’t approve of how he’s handling any of them. But with almost all the other men in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with feisty Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he’s got one more surprise coming his way: Tina’s picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.

TRUTH BE TOLD by Carol Cox 
Baker Publishing / Bethany House

When Amelia Wagner takes over her father’s newspaper in 1893 Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper’s commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have serious consequences. Her father’s revealing articles about the Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father’s statements. Determined to find out the real story, Amelia begins her own investigation. She’s joined by Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who’s been assigned to keep tabs on her. What they uncover stuns them both–and has far-reaching implications for not only Ben and Amelia but all of Granite Springs. Can they reveal the truth before the enemy finds a way to silence them for good?

A PLACE IN HIS HEART by Rebecca DeMarino 
The Southold Chronicles
Baker Publishing / Revell

She could cross an ocean, but could she ever win his heart?Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother. 
With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas's secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary's world is upended. How could she possibly leave her papa and her dear sister? 

And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband's broken heart?

This heartfelt tale of love and devotion is based on debut author Rebecca DeMarino's own ancestors, who came to Long Island in the mid-1600s to establish a life--and a legacy--in the New World.

Harlequin / Love Inspired / Heartsong Presents


In the aftermath of the Great Depression, it’s time for Riley to start over. And the first step is winning the trust of his Missouri hometown. But it isn’t easy for a man with a troubled past. Especially when his first love, Jolene Delaney, seems to believe that the new rumors about him are true. After Riley broke her heart, Jolene threw herself into teaching school and caring for her father and little sister. But she knows something is missing from her life. Especially when she comes face-to-face with Riley again. Can he convince Jolene that he’s truly a changed man? Or will he succumb to old temptations and destroy her faith in him once again?

FULL STEAM AHEAD by Karen Witemeyer 
Baker Publishing / Bethany House

When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole’s father has always focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping. Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father’s rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole’s plans. After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world. Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy?