Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday Tip: How Short is Too Short?

Tuesday Tip
So, you're stuck on your current work in progress and ready to give up on writing. Perhaps it's time for a change of pace. Consider writing a short story.

A short story is a fictional tale, limited setting, and one major event. It is intended to be read in a single sitting. They are generally under 1000 words. Some people create a number of related short stories and compile them into a novella. There is even a category called micro-fiction, where the word count is under 100 words.

Another popular trend is "flash fiction." These stories are between 250-1000 words. They are particularly popular in the science fiction genre, as they are just short enough to leave the reader with questions to ponder.

All of these are options to consider if you are feeling stuck or have a limited amount of time to write.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March Featured Book #2 … And a GIVEAWAY!

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

A Word from Lee …

Greetings! Lee Tobin McClain here, giving some background on my latest novel for Love Inspired. Engaged to the Single Mom comes from a couple of pretty deep places in my heart.

First, I'm a single mom myself. And while my situation is not in any way as challenging as my heroine's —I have a home, a job, and a healthy child — it's still hard to raise a child alone. Worries and struggles loom larger when there's no one to share them. At the end of a long day, there's no one but you to kill the spiders, repair the furnace, and calm the juvenile emotional storms. You're forced to rely on your own inner resources and on the Lord.

Though single parenting is a difficult path, there are so many blessings along the way. Most of the single moms I know have grown into strong, resourceful people because of the difficult path they've taken. And most of us are very close to our children. My daughter is the best part of my life, and raising her well is worth any difficulties I face along the way.

So my novel features a single mom. With all of Angelica's struggles, and with how adorable her son Xavier is, you really want them to catch a break … especially a break in the form of handsome veterinarian Troy Hinton! It's my hope that readers will be rooting for these three to form a family as much as I was. Of course, as the author, I had to put them through all kinds of challenges first!

The other reason this book hits close to home for me is its focus on dogs. I love animals, and my little senior rescue dog is my best friend. Dogs never have a bad day, they're always glad to see you, and they have hearts full of love. I think everyone would be happier if they'd adopt a rescue dog! So writing a story about a whole farm full of rescue dogs was a joy. I'm especially fond of Bull, Troy's old bulldog who faces his own challenges during Engaged to the Single Mom. And good news: if you like Bull and the dog rescue farm, stay tuned for book two of the series; they'll be back in early 2016.

Meanwhile, consider taking a look at my website to learn about my independently – published series. The Sacred Bond novels feature heroic, passionate former delinquents who grow up to be heroes. You can download a book one for free, and if you like that, sign up for my newsletter for another exclusive freebie!

Thanks for letting me be on the blog, Leslie! If your readers comment today, let's enter them into a drawing for a copy of Engaged to the Single Mom, okay?

Sure thing, Lee! Just for commenting, you can be entered into the drawing to win an electronic copy of Engaged to the Single Mom. Leave an email address in your comment, which must be posted by March 31, 2015. I will do a random drawing and contact the winner at the beginning of April.

My review…

Single mother Angelica Camden is struggling to do her best for her son Xavier, who has leukemia. She needs to find a house, a job, and a father figure for him. She reluctantly takes a job with local veterinarian, and her ex, Troy Hinton. She broke their engagement after a devastating event, which she never shared with him. Troy believes her to be disloyal, but he needs the help so he hires her for the sake of Xavier. Troy loves his job, but longs for a family. Xavier longs for a father. Would a marriage for Xavier’s sake be possible? Can they learn to trust each other? How will things change when Angelica’s secret is revealed? The author makes a solid Love Inspired debut. At only six years of age, Xavier is a strong character who will tug at the reader’s heartstrings. Angelica demonstrates that it is possible for one to keep their faith through life’s struggles. Overall, this is a heart-wrenching, yet sweet, tale of trust, hope, and second chances.

To connect with Lee…

Website/Newsletter: http://www.leetobinmcclain.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Make Time Your Friend

Mother Teresa stated, "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." 

Everyone must figure out the best way to make use of the little time we are given, and writers are no exception. There never seems to be enough time. We are spread so thin, between being a parent, a child, an employee, or whatever roles we are called to play.

So, how can you find more time in your day for writing? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Schedule It: In order to be sure that it is a priority for your day, schedule time for writing.If you treat it like an appointment, you will be less likely to push it off for unexpected events that occur.It may be easier to schedule a set amount of time for the entire week, so that way there is some flexibility on a day-to-day basis.
  2. Eliminate Time Wasters: This could include decreasing the amount of time spend on social media, watching television, running errands, or even household chores (though you will need to do those at some point!).While you do need downtime in your day, you may be wasting more time than you realize.
  3. Writing Corner: Designate a specific place to write. This could be a room or corner in your house, or it could be the local coffee shop. Choose whatever works best for you.
  4. Use Your Time Wisely: Don't be overly focused on achieving a set word count every day. The most important thing is to write. And if you happen to be stuck, remember that any writing is better than none. Write a letter to a friend or even a shopping list. Just write!
The important thing is to make your writing a priority. If you don't, no one else will either.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Featured Book #1

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

A Word from Amy...

I think most writers would agree that any truly heartfelt story draws at least some inspiration from people and events which have touched their lives. Then Sings My Soul is no exception. I braided three of my passions together to create this story: my work as a registered nurse caring for elderly patients and their families; my grandfather, who was a savant hobby lapidarist and died a month shy of his 95th birthday; and my love for the people of Ukraine (where my ancestors are from). I wanted to reveal the hope that exists in an often forgotten segment of the population — the elderly — while at the same time show how God moves steadfast and unchanging, but also unexpectedly, through our lives. I incorporated these things into the story of 94-year-old Jakob quite like the way a lapidarist goes about his craft, through the ugly, even filthy beginnings of a raw stone, to the cutting and angling of the different facets of a gem, and eventually to the shine and brilliance of the finished piece. I developed quite a crush on Jakob as I wrote, and I think — I hope — readers will find courage in his often painful but ultimately triumphant journey. So many times we cannot see God in the midst of our journeys. As Jakob and his daughter Nel navigate what seem like overwhelming loneliness and endings, they find that God never left them, and that he is working on and through all of our stories, always. (A note to readers: the blue gemstone on the cover is one my grandfather actually faceted! There is an explanation of this very special stone in the back of the book.)

My review...

Nel Stewart returns home after the death of her mother to help care for her father, Jakob, who is suffering from dementia and a broken hip. Nel feels she failed her parents by not being there and plans to remedy that, even if it costs her a relationship with her boyfriend. Jakob is carrying a lifetime of shame and guilt and does not want to be a burden on anyone. He agrees to share his story with Nel after she discovers information regarding his brother and a life in the Ukraine that she knew nothing about. Will learning about her father’s past bring healing and a renewed relationship for them? Told in alternating time periods and viewpoints, Sorrells deftly tackles a difficult to read topic in a raw yet gentle way. Sensory details, lyrical prose, and dramatic scenes wrap the reader as the story unfolds. The horrors associated with Eastern Europe in the early 20th century are skillfully balanced with present-day hope. The religious aspect does not overwhelm, instead exemplifying people relying on God, His amazing grace, and His unconditional love. This book is one to read in a thoughtful manner (and not just skim) so that the descriptions can be fully appreciated and understood. The characters will stay with you long after the final page.

To Connect with Amy...

Join Amy and her stories in the following locations: