Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Tip : Write Daily

"On writing, my advice is the same to all. If you want to be a writer,write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less." — Anne Rice

"Just write a little bit every day. Even if it's only for half an hour —write, write, write." — Madeleine L'Engle

Tuesday Tip

If you want to be a writer, it is important to make writing a daily habit. It should become as natural to you as breathing. Don’t worry about editing, just write. While every attempt may not be a best-selling book, it is important to keep plugging away. Strive for at least one complete page per day, even if it is just daily observations. For some, long-term goals can seem a bit daunting. Stay focused on short-term goals and you will keep your writing, and career, on track. Once you finish a short-term goal, aim for a new one. It is important to continue plugging away, even when the going gets tough and you want to quit. Look for friends or other writers to connect with who will encourage you on a regular basis.

Here are a few tips:
  • Make a date with yourself…daily. If needed, write it in your planner or cell phone calendar. Start with a small amount of time at first and build on it throughout the year.
  • Have a designated space for writing, whether it’s at your house or the local Starbucks.
  • Disconnect during this time. No Facebook updates or tweets. This is your time to write.

Friday, January 16, 2015

January Featured Book #2

January Featured Book #2

Before sharing my review, here's a bit of information from Chris.

A Word from Chris…

Richard Ramsey wrote a screenplay that was made into a film. They had Bible studies created and resources for small groups. But they didn't have a novel, so they asked me to create one. I took the screenplay and the film and with that skeleton wrote around the story, asking questions, filling in information that the film couldn't include. I had a blast doing this. Richard told me early on that he was open to my creative abilities and he let me "sling the cat," as he called it, around the room. So I did. I think the book really adds to the film but doesn't take away from the story.

For example, we are able to go into the backstory of Rose's mother, a relationship she has with a girlfriend, the inner-workings of her home life, and much more. I usually come up with all the plot points and create the "world" of my fiction, but this was a different discipline. I was able to get into someone else's world and play in the world already created.

This book/film is really a response to the whole "50 Shades of Grey" phenomenon. One of the main questions dealt with is romance and sexuality in the context of a Christian marriage. I know that was at the forefront of the sermon series crafted by Pastor Kyle Idleman.

My Review…

THE SONG By Chris Fabry: Jed King grew up in the shadow of his famous father and hopes to follow in his father’s musical footsteps. His father’s mistakes influenced his life. On his deathbed, Jed’s father encouraged his love of music, as well as following God. He wanted Jed to learn from the mistakes he had made and have a better life for himself. Jed struggles to get his career off the ground, so he accepts a gig at a local festival. There, he has a chance meeting with Rose Jordan. His career soars from the song he pens about Rose. It was love at first sight. Rose is a simple, hard-working girl, not equipped for life on the road. Rose wants to stay in her hometown. Wild child Shelby Bale joins Jed on his tour and sets her sights on him, no matter the cost. As fame builds, Jed is spending more and more time away from home and his family. He has a strong faith, but the road and Shelby cause him to lose himself along the way. Will he be able to keep his promises to Rose as temptation builds? There is so much to love about “The Song,” which is written in two parts and based on “The Song of Songs.” Fabry uses the words of Solomon to demonstrate love, as intended by God. The prose is expressive and engaging, and song lyrics are integrated to advance the story. Detailed descriptions make the reader a part of the story. Biblically based marital advice reminds the reader that temptations will arise, but love is a commitment. Heart-wrenching and emotional scenes abound in this tale of fame, fortune, loss, and redemption. 

To Connect with Chris…

Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris' novels, which include Dogwwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, Not in the Heart, Borders of the Heart, and his latest release, Every Waking Moment, have won three Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it's his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.

He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults. He co-authored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and The Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR.

You can find Chris online at http://chrisfabry.com

Friday, January 2, 2015

January Featured Book #1...and a GIVEAWAY!

January Featured Book #1...And a GIVEAWAY!

Before posting my review, here's a bit of background information from Belle. Be sure to comment on this post, as one random person will be chosen to win this book! Please post your comment by January 15th to be entered into the drawing.

A Word from Belle...

One of the most important aspects of my childhood is the fact that I grew up across the street from a public library.  I grew up reading Harlequin romances from a fairly early age.  I was eleven or twelve, I believe. I'm thankful that my parents, who were both in the medical field, never discouraged me from reading romances. It was always my dream to be a writer, although I had to live life a little bit before that dream became a reality.

In 2012 I stumbled upon an opportunity to pitch a manuscript to Love Inspired editor Emily Rodmell on the Harlequin community forums.  I signed up, then racked my brain trying to come up with a compelling story.  In creating that story I knew that I wanted my heroine, Cassidy, to have done something that she just couldn't brush off with a flick of the wrist.  Enter the character of Holly Lynch, the heroine's best friend, who was paralyzed after the reckless driving accident in which Cassidy was the driver.  I remember reading a real-life story where a bride-to-be was paralyzed due to a friend pushing her into a pool.  The woman ended up as a paraplegic due to this rash but innocent act.  The way in which this real-life individual persevered and instantly forgave her friend was so powerful to me.  What would it be like, I wondered, to be the woman who ended up in the wheelchair, with your life changed so dramatically in an instant?  How could a person be so filled with forgiveness after her life was forever altered? The very idea of it fascinated and humbled me.

Writing Holly's story was important for me, not only as a writer, but as a human being.  From the moment Holly came into being I wanted her to have her own happy ending.  Sometimes characters get inside our heads and our hearts until we have to tell their story.  But writing a story featuring a paraplegic comes with responsibility.  In order to portray Holly realistically it was imperative to do research.  There was lots and lots of research about nerve pain, medicine, physical therapy, wheelchairs, driving as a paraplegic, and fertility issues.  Holly is working hard to get her life back after the accident.  At the same time she yearns to find love and wonders if it will ever happen for her.  As a plot device, I thought it was important to have Dylan unaware of Holly's condition until he shows up in Texas.  When her disability is front and center, he has no choice but to merge his idea of Holly with the woman sitting before him in a wheelchair.  Being a paraplegic factors heavily into Holly's journey, but it doesn't define her love story with Dylan. 

Holly has a fighting spirit, a gentle heart, and a forgiving soul.  For readers, I hope they find inspiration in Holly, her struggles, and her triumphs.

My Review...

HEART OF A SOLDIER – Belle Calhoune: Dylan Hart is returning from Afghanistan and is excited to meet, and surprise, the pen pal who helped him get through his deployment. Holly Lynch is surprised to see him on her doorstep, especially as she neglected to tell him that she is in a wheelchair. She even tries to hide her true identity from him, as she regrets keeping the fact that she is a paraplegic secret. He feels hurt that she did not trust him. Holly is a reminder of his past, which he hasn’t dealt with. When he takes a job at her family’s ranch, Holly hopes she can repair their relationship. Will Dylan be able to forgive her, or will he continue to keep his distance? Holly is a strong, inspiring heroine who reminds the reader that while life is not always easy, it is always worthwhile. Her perseverance is encouraging. She faced a number of hurdles in her life, but did not allow them to make her bitter. This heartwarming story will leave the reader both laughing and crying. It is a keep that will stay with you after the final page.

To Connect with Belle...

Belle Calhoune is the best-selling author of contemporary inspirational romance novels.  Belle grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, one of five children. One of the best things about her childhood was growing up across the street from a public library and having a summer house in Cape Cod. Although her mother was a Psychiatrist and her father a Biologist, Belle gravitated toward literature and writing. Married to her college sweetheart, she is raising two lovely daughters in Connecticut. A dog lover, she has one mini poodle and a chocolate lab. Writing for the Love Inspired line is a dream come true. Working at home in her pajamas is one of the best perks of the job.

Where you can find Belle:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

This is the time that many people choose to make a fresh start, whether it is with your health, relationships, jobs, etc. There is something exciting about the chance to begin again with a clean slate, which is what a new year seems to bring. It is a time to recommit and get encouraged once again.

A handful of select events can often taint one’s perception of the past year. Last year on New Year’s Eve, I read through the items in my Gratitude Jar. It helped me to realize that 2013 wasn’t as bad as I had remembered. This year, I chose to use a Gratitude Journal instead of the jar. Each day I tried to write down at least three positive things from that day. Over the past week I have been reading through the journal. Once again, it has given me a different perspective on the year. While a number of unanticipated events occurred, many of them were positive. Perhaps the biggest one was a giant leap of faith that I took at the beginning of December. I have yet to see exactly where it will lead, but I know that it was the right move to make. Change is always scary, which is why I (and many others) avoid it at all costs. However, change is a necessary part of life. Without it, there would never be any growth. I’m looking forward to the exciting opportunities that I know are awaiting me in 2015. Sure, I know that everything will not be rosy, but my attitude can still be positive. While it is sometimes difficult to remember, I have learned that everything truly happens for a reason (even though it may not be apparent at the moment).

I hope everyone reading this has a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015. Will you be making any resolutions or goals? I know I will, as usual, and I’m sure I’ll even manage to keep a few of them! Stay tuned to my blog for reviews of fabulous books, editing and writing tips and motivation, and an occasional message from the heart.