Follow by Email

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reviews....

If you're interested in reading true stories, aka nonfiction, please head over to my husband's blog--Reviews of Old News.

Also, if you're a Jerry B. Jenkins fan, please check out my review of The Betrayal.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Story

Sometimes, we discuss fictional stories.

But if you'd like to read about a true story, that is "my story," as is my personal testimony, please hop over to Anne Baxter's blog, A Pew Perspective.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Giveaway

How would you like a signed paperback copy of The Joshua Covenant?

It's easy.

Between now and November 23rd, post a comment on Sleuths and Suspects telling us what you're thankful for, for a chance to win this book. You may enter daily. One entry per day.

Random entry drawing to be held on November 23rd.

Open to U.S. residents only.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To Wrimo, It Is!

Well, I have a plot (about hydrofracking).

Now, I just need to write.

It's 9:11 p.m., and I just got home!

So I better stop blogging and start writing. :)



Please feel free to share your Nano experiences as well! :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

To Wrimo or Not to Wrimo

Tomorrow marks the advent of another Nanowrimo.

I’ve participated in past years but never actually finished 50,000 words in one month.

At first, I decided not to participate this year, but now I’m having second thoughts.

You can’t write words ahead of time, but you can outline ahead of time.

If I can think of a great plot (yes, I’m a plotter not a pantser) between now and tomorrow, I just might enter Nanowrimo.

Do I realize the 50,000 words I would write still need to be edited after I write them? Oh yeah.

I view Nanowrimo as a nice motivation for me to write more in the fall.

For more information on Nanowrimo, please visit their Web site.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review of A Wedding Invitation

a brunette is shown holding a flower to her nose

A Wedding Invitation is a contemporary novel by Alice J. Wisler. As the title hints, the main character, Samantha Bravencourt receives a wedding invitation, which launches her adventure into romance and sends her packing on a trip down memory lane. This is a delightful tale about forgiveness, acceptance, and second chances. Told from a first-person perspective, the story takes on an intimate feel, and readers will sense an instant bond with the characters. The novel is a quick read, and the author does a superb job of bringing the story full circle, from start to finish. Published by Bethany House, this story will appeal to those interested in contemporary romantic fiction.

While I enjoyed the entire book, a section that was especially meaningful to me was a scene where Samantha’s aunt releases butterflies in a cemetery with parents who have lost their children. There is discussion about new life: butterflies that are released will soar to new heights, children who have died are experiencing their new life in Heaven, and parents who lost their little ones adjust and move on. Just a week ago, I attended a memorial service for my father, and I liked this expression of hope and the imagery contained in the scene.



*Please note that I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my review. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Flash Fiction Contest

HIS Writers is holding a flash fiction writing contest.

First Prize--$50
Second Prize--$25
Third Prize--$10
Fourth and Fifth Prize--Honorable Mention

$10.00 submission fee per entry

The contest closes on October 15th.

For complete information, please visit:

http://hiswriters.acfwcolorado.com/flashfiction.php

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interview with Michelle Levigne

flowers shown by a gravesite

HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN?

I'm crossing the 50 mark -- between published novels and novellas, and the ones that are currently out of print, either because I pulled them from the publisher or the publisher went out of business. Some will not go back into print until I revise them considerably.

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?

High school. I had been daydreaming for years, revising TV shows and movies and books that I either really liked and wanted the story to keep going -- or the story was so bad I rewrote it. A lot were Mary Sue stories -- in fandom, a Mary Sue is the ugly duckling character who meets the hero and is smarter/braver/stronger and saves the day, and the hero falls in love with her. And if there are buddies in the series (as in Star Trek) the buddies fight over her.

In high school, I had semester exams to study for, and my current daydream was getting in the way. So I wrote it down, thinking that would kill the story. I had tried to write down my story ideas before, which usually killed them -- but this time it didn't. I've been writing ever since.

 a park banch is shown in presumably a park

WHAT OBSTACLES HAVE YOU FACED AND OVERCOME ON YOUR PATH TO BECOMING A WRITER?

The biggest obstacle was not knowing how to approach publishers and find out who was taking what kind of stories. I read Writer's Digest and found books in the bookstores, but it wasn't enough. Until I joined several different writing groups in succession -- networking is vital to learning and making connections and getting anywhere.

Groups were also important to improving my writing. I needed feedback. I needed to bounce ideas off people who were writing the same sort of thing -- or writing totally different stories, to get a different perspective. And it always helps to have someone to gripe to, when an editor or agent just didn't have the taste and insight to take what you're offering.

WHAT DOES YOUR WRITING SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?

I try to write every day. I learned to put my writing first -- either writing fresh material or revising. Mornings are for my writing, then an hour for office work, catching up on email, other office chores. Then my afternoons and evenings are for earning a living -- I'm a freelance editor, working for various publishers with small assignments, or getting editing jobs from people who want their books polished up before publishing.

For a long time, I put my clients first, and that meant that at the end of the day, I was brain-dead and too tired to get my own writing done. You can't publish what you haven't written.

a man and woman are shown in pirate type costumes on the cover

As for what I'm working on, and in what order...

I have to turn in the polished manuscript for my next (11th) Tabor Heights (inspirational romance series) novel, "The Mission," on October 1 -- when the 10th book, "White Roses," comes out. After that, I promised the publisher of my science fiction series, the Commonwealth, another book. I hope to revise, polish, and turn in "Moonbirds," the sequel to "Wind Walker," by the beginning of November.

After that, I have to revise and polish "Accidental Hearts," the 12th Tabor Heights book. Then start writing the rough drafts of the 2nd year of Tabor Heights books -- I have a contract for 8 more, to start coming out every 3 or 4 months, starting in 2012. And I have promised my other publisher more Commonwealth novels. Also, I have a new fantasy series set in a weird little town called Neighborlee, Ohio. There are "superheroes" and visiting fae and dimensional doorways and mysteries to solve. And silliness.

So I have a very, very busy schedule. Essentially, I'm trying to rough draft a new novel every other month, and then turn in a polished book every 3 months. It helps that I have several rough drafted books already in my files.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

Tolkein, Lewis, Pratchett. Macomber, Roberts/Robb, Evanovich, Barron, Billerbeck, Tang, Eager, Lawhead, Austen, LaFevers, Peters, MacDonald, McCaffrey, Crispin, Burnett, Alexander.

a  boy is shown in the foreground, planets and space are shown in the background

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?

Give yourself permission to write a rotten first draft.

Give yourself permission to write such a bad first draft, if you printed it out and lined a bird cage, the bird would die!

If you let yourself write badly, you relax. The hardest part -- at least, as far as I'm concerned -- is getting the 1st draft down. Once you have SOMETHING on paper, you can fix it. You can't fix a blank sheet of paper.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT WRITING?

Cheering for the Cleveland Indians.

Watching DVDs of old favorite TV shows that are finally available. Right now, I'm watching the Zorro series starring Duncan Regehr. I have first seasons of Young Riders, Stingray, Roswell, Remington Steele, and the Pretender waiting to be watched. I don't get a lot of TV time. There'll be more when the baseball season is over.

HOW CAN READERS FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR WRITING AND/OR CONTACT YOU?

My web site is www.Mlevigne.com
My blog is www.MichelleLevigne.blogspot.com

You can also visit my different publishers and see the different books I have available.

www.AmberQuill.com -- Amber Quill Press
www.awe-struck.net -- Awe-Struck E-books
www.Desertbreezepublishing.com -- Desert Breeze Publishing
www.hardshell.com -- Hard Shell Word Factory
www.Mundania.com -- Mundania Press
www.Writers-exchange.com -- Writers Exchange
www.uncialpress.com -- Uncial Press

I have a feature at Night Owl Reviews coming up a little later this month, focusing on my Commonwealth Universe books. Plus my books are available in e-format at Barnes & Noble and Amazon, as well as major e-book outlets such as Fictionwise, All Romance E-books, iBooks, Kobo, CBD, etc.

 a planet is shown on the cover

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Making Changes--by Making MS Word Work for You

I love writing; I loathe rewriting. It's not the rewriting as much as keeping track of changes that bothers me. I collect wonderful and helpful critiques from other writers, and that's when my perfectionistic nature kicks in. I have to make sure I review every change to decide if it's valid/it's appropriate for my story or not. My motto is "no crit left behind!" Unfortunately, the first time I received changes to one of my stories, I went about it all wrong. I now have a ton of changes to make to that story, and while I like the story, the changes sit to the wayside for now.

When I submitted a second story for critiquing, I developed a better method. I write "better" and not "best" because I'm sure someone out there probably has a better method, but I share my method here, with the hopes that it helps at least one other person.

The Heidi Method

I label a story with chapter numbers, but when I submit the story for critiques, sometimes I submit bits and pieces of chapters at a time, for example, the end of chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3. I now label files as parts, that is, Part 1, Part 2, and so on. This helps me keep track of my crits in chronological order.

Next, I create a master folder on my computer titled "Name of Story." Then, within that folder, I create subfolders, such as "Part 1 Crits," "Part 2 crits," etc. I review critiques as I receive them (in case some of them might affect future chapters), but I wait and collect a few chapters worth of crits before saving them out to the corresponding subfolders (Part 1, Part 2, etc.).

Let's suppose I have four crits for Part 5. I open MS Word and from the "Review" tab option in the MS Word 2007 "ribbon," I choose the "combine option" from the "compare tab" and select the first two crits I want to combine. I combine them and save them as "Part 5, 1." Next, I select the next two crits for a particular chapter and repeat the above operation, naming the new file, "Part 5, 2." Then I combine "Part 5, 1" and "Part 5, 2", usually naming them something like "Part 5, final revisions." I reject changes, accept changes, and make any revisions directly to this file and save it. Instead of reviewing four individual files, I've now reviewed four sets of changes at once.

I then open my master file of my story and replace the original Part 5 text with the text from Part 5, final revisions.

Do the same for each part of your story. Rinse and repeat. Any questions, please feel free to post a comment. I'll try to answer them as best as possible.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interview with Rick Acker

Looking for thrills? Need a little mystery? A little suspense? If you get the chance, please visit Sleuths and Suspects, a blog I coauthor with Jackie Layton. Recently, we interviewed Rick Acker, author of When the Devil Whistles.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview with Tracy Krauss

photo of author tracy krauss

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BECOME A WRITER?

I started writing seriously about 25 years ago after the birth of my first child. I was a stay at home mom back then, so I had time in the afternoons while she napped. I started banging out a story on my mother’s old typewriter and was quickly addicted. After that I took every opportunity I could to write, write, write. Before that I had gotten some encouragement from a high school English teacher, but was more interested in pursuing my creativity through art, which I ended up majoring in at University.

HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN?

Hm… Do you want the short answer or the long one? I have two books in print, one releasing this fall, one more finished for which I am seeking an agent, and about six WIPs. I also write plays. I’ve written, directed and produced scores of plays – about 15 full length ones at my last count, but so far only one has been picked up and published by a major dramatic publishing house. (I’m still working on that angle!)

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?

It’s less of a decision and more of a compulsion.

WHAT OBSTACLES HAVE YOU FACED AND OVERCOME ON THE PATH TO BECOMING A WRITER?

Time to write is always an obstacle. I’ve written while raising four kids, homeschooling, being a pastor’s wife, and working full time. I always think, “If I just had more time to write…” but even then, life continues and it’s a challenge to fit constructive writing time into every day.

YOU WRITE, “…MY DREAM IS TO SOMEDAY HAVE THE FREEDOM TO WRITE FULL TIME. AS A CHRISTIAN AND THE WIFE OF A FORMER PASTOR, I ALSO REALIZE THAT MY DREAM IS ULTIMATELY IN GOD'S HANDS.” (I LOVE YOUR QUOTE, BY THE WAY.) WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?

Study your craft. (You might not be as good as you think you are!) I made the mistake of getting stuck in my own head for so many years without the benefit of good criticism that when my first rejections came I was shocked. However, rejection and criticism are two of the best teachers. I don’t think any of us ever stop learning.

YOU DO EVERYTHING—SERIOUSLY, YOU TEACH, YOU WRITE, AND YOU PAINT. HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME?

Refer to question four. Seriously, I don’t sit around much and I don’t like wasting time. I also have come to a place where I understand myself and my own quirks. I’m at my best when I’m busy, productive and creative, so I go with that. I don’t bother trying to be what other people expect. When we were in ministry, for example, I just told the congregation right off, “I don’t bake, I’m not good a sending cards and gifts, and I’m not really big on entertaining. But I can put on a spectacular drama production!” If you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing – a.k.a. what you love – it’s not hard to do. It’s about knowing yourself and having realistic expectations.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR LATEST RELEASE. WHAT’S THE STORY ABOUT?
photo of book cover for My mother the man eater
MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER is about a forty something ‘cougar’ who is looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. It’s quite a complex story in that it involves her multiple boyfriends, her grown daughters and a vengeful ex who is out to ruin her through any means possible. It’s a fairly long book, and is quite a twisted ride! I love it (naturally!) and am pleased that it’s receiving such good reviews from readers. It was nominated for an Indie Excellence Book Award, and was on Amazon’s best seller list in February in the ‘Contemporary Romance’ category.

I also can’t resist plugging my third book, releasing this fall called PLAY IT AGAIN. It’s the prequel to my debut novel and I’m pretty stoked about it. It’s about an ex rock and roll junkie and an accountant who rendezvous with disastrous (but God ordained) results. It’s actually the story of Mark Graham’s parents, the archeologist and main character in my first book AND THE BEAT GOES ON.

IS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR LATEST STORY THAT YOU HOPE STICKS WITH YOUR READERS?

So far all of my work has been redemptive in nature. I would say ‘Man-eater’ is mostly about not judging people based on their past or even their present activities. God can and does use everybody.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

Hands down Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I’m a twisted spec and sci-fi fan and both these guys deliver. I also like Sigmund Brouwer’s spec fiction and of course I love lots of the classics: George Orwell, Jane Austen, John Wyndham … I just like reading! I’m not much for anything too sentimental, though. (Except for Jane!)

Tracy's contact info:

Website: http://www.tracykrauss.com
Blog: http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com
FB: http://tinyurl.com/Tracy-Krauss-Author-Fanpage
Amazon: http://www.kraussamazon.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

icon of Liebster blog http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifaward

I feel honored to be awarded a Liebster blog award by friend and fellow writer, Jackie Layton.

The Liebster award is designed for blogs with less than 200 followers. The purpose of the award is to recognize smaller blogs. The following blogs I have listed, though smaller, are well worth reading.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the giver of the award and link back to them.

2. Give the Liebster to five bloggers and let them know with a comment to their blog.

3. Copy and paste the award onto your blog.

4. Have faith your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

5. Have blogging fun!

Here are my five Liebster Awards:
http://kattscribbles.blogspot.com/
http://www.edgyinspirationalromance.com/
http://janalynvoigt.com/
http://www.jordynredwood.com/
http://www.michellelevigne.blogspot.com/

Interview with Alice J. Wisler

photo of author, Alice Wisler


YOU WERE BORN IN JAPAN. WHAT WAS IT LIKE LIVING THERE?

That's a question that takes hours to answer. But to minimize, I'll just say that growing up in Japan and living there for twenty years as a missionary kid and later as an English-as-a-second language teacher, helped to shape who I am today. Not only do I love Japanese food, but I think I have a pretty good world view. I went to school with kids from all over the globe and learned from them. When my senior class ate lunch out on the front lawn, it was like a mini-United Nations.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?

I'm not sure. I've been forming stories on stapled pages since I was six. I always hoped to become published one day.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

I like Elizabeth Berg's novels for the way she writes and immediately gets me to feel like I know her main character. I also like Anne Lamott for her humor. And Rick Bragg warms me with his Southern style.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING AUTHORS?

Don't give up. You will be defeated only if you choose to give up.

image from front cover of novel, A Wedding Invitation, by author, Alice Wisler, in which a girl holds a pink flower in front of her face.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LATEST RELEASE, A WEDDING INVITATION.

After returning home from teaching in a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother's clothing boutique near Washington, D.C. When she receives an invitation to her friend's wedding in Winston-Salem, NC, she's excited to reconnect with her college pals.

But the wedding turns out quite differently than Sam expects. A chance encounter leads to a reunion with Carson Brylie, a fellow teacher and the man who once broke her heart, and Lien, a young Amerasian girl who desperately needs Sam and Carson's help.

But working with Carson might put Sam's tender heart at risk once again. Is she willing to forgive the past and take another chance on love?

IS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR LATEST STORY THAT YOU HOPE STICKS WITH YOUR READERS?

Yes! A Wedding Invitation is about forgiveness and second chances. And rhubarb pie is good. Really.

HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?

I self-published two cookbooks in memory of kids who died. My son Daniel was the inspiration for those. He died from cancer treatments at the age of four in 1997. With Bethany House, I have four novels out---Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl, and now A Wedding Invitation. All my novels are stand-alones and take place in God's Country, a.k.a. North Carolina.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifYOU'RE NOT WRITING?

We have a roundabout boat named after my novel Rain Song. I love going out on it with my husband and kids. I also enjoy spending time in my kitchen, cooking Asian dishes. And while I cook, I'm often thinking about new novel ideas, hoping one of them will make me rich and famous.


http://www.alicewisler.com


Link to Alice's book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wedding-Invitation-Alice-J-Wisler/dp/0764207334

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interview with Kathy Cretsinger

I recently interviewed Kathy Cretsinger. Kathy moved from the mountains of Eastern Tennessee to the flat lands of Western Kentucky almost two years ago to be close to her children. She writes as Katt Anderson.

HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU SPEND RESEARCHING YOUR STORY?

It feels like it’s taken forever, but I know it hasn't. I lived in the area where the story is written, so I had a lot of people to talk to. I would write and talk to someone if something felt wrong. I can't say exactly how long I researched. I did it during the writing of the story.

HOW DID YOUR RESEARCH YOUR STORY (ONLINE, READING BOOKS, ETC.)?

I talked to historians, researched online, through books, and historical meetings.

DID YOU VISIT ANY PLACES AS PART OF YOUR RESEARCH?

I had visited the places in the past, and I lived in the area. Seeing it is so much better.

DID ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH SURPRISE YOU?

Yes. I found out about an archaeological dig in South Carolina. It told me a lot about the people I was writing about. I had been to the town before and loved it. It was interesting that a place I loved was where my ancestors lived in the late 1500s.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

That's a hard one because I have so many friends who are authors. My favorite is my crit partner, Susan Page Davis. Not only does she write wonderful books, but she is a wonderful person. I love Kaye Dacus and DiAnn Mills. Then, who can't love Mary Connealy? For suspense, I dearly love Stephen James, such a crazy person. A new writer I have so much respect for, and her books are wonderful, is Sandi Rog. She has been fighting a battle with cancer for the last nine months. She has so much strength in her writing.

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?

I always told stories to my children, and I do have a vivid imagination. I must have been pretty good, because my daughter went to school and told her teacher her mommy had a dinosaur for a pet and grew up in a cave. But seriously, I began when I retired to care for my parents. My dad passed away soon after I retired and my mom was diagnosed with dementia. I wrote to help with the grieving process and to escape the pressure that was on me. I loved it so much that I'm still writing. I encourage anyone who has any depression to write.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT WRITING?

When I'm not writing, I'm at a soccer or softball game watching my grandchildren. My oldest is in her high school band, and we get to see her band performances some. She lives about two hours away from us. The other grands live close by.

I love to read, and I do a lot of that. I'm active in church, and we have a very active congregation. I teach a class of 5th and 6th graders, and I also oversee a website that the church sponsors, www.forchristiangirls.org. That takes a good deal of time, but some of the teen girls are helping me now. They are wonderful writers. I enjoy sewing and cooking. I used to scrapbook, but writing has taken its place.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Powered By LifeWidget
Powered By LifeWidget
Powered By LifeWidget