God just keeps rolling in the surprises! Here’s the new developments for this week.
RELEASED THIS WEEK:
New collection from Forget Me Not Romances:
Seven former cozy mysteries published by Barbour Publishing have been collected here. They are each the first of a three-book series. It includes the first book in my Dressed for Death series, Gunfight at Grace Gulch. Enjoy these cozy mysteries for only 99 cents. Read old favorites, find some new—and then go hunt down the series.
I have finished the rough draft of Her Royal Mountain Highness. Next to do the edits. Woo-hoo! This is a fun story, nodding in tribute to John Denver and celebrating royal love.
I’ve also finished 11 devotionals for the 2019 editions of Daily Wisdom.
The editor at Barbour Publishing returned my proposal for Through Isaiah in 60 Devotions: Full Lives in Empty Places and asked me to tweak devotions. I hope to return the proposal within a week.
Book drawings–books by Darlene Franklin
With the release of my fiftieth book (Mermaid’s Song) last month, I had occasion to celebrate—and to consider the future.
Do I expect to continue writing? You bet. So far, my career has fallen into two twelve-year periods, twelve years pre-book contract, then twelve years from that first book publication to book number fifty. I’m wondering if God has another twelve years of writing ahead for me! And what they might hold.
God seems to be redirecting me slightly. These last few years of intensive historical novella writing have been a time of growth and blessing. Now I believe I may write a little more contemporary. Seek to write longer books.
God is also answer my heart’s desire to write devotionals and more nonfiction. I am currently working on two projects for Barbour: Prayers for the upcoming 12 Months Guide to Better Prayer for Women (February 2018) and the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom.
My View Through My Door columns will now also appear in the weekly Wednesday Warblers blog from CAN marketing (http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/express-line-prayers/) in collaboration with other CAN authors.
August has seen the release of several collections. I’ll highlight a couple of them today.
One of my goals at fifty books is to pull more of my books into single author collections. A Small Town Kind of Love is another such collection.
I’m not that fond of small towns myself, but I have adapted and thrived in small-town living. So have the heroines in these three stories, whether they fought the choice (Michelle in Plainsong), fell into it (Mary Anne in Hidden Dreams)—or actively chose farm life (Elyssa in To Riches Again.)
The very latest collection from Forget Me Not Romances, Civil War Brides, includes my story Love’s Raid. Love’s Raid is a Maple Notch story, inspired by St Albans Raid, the northernmost battle of the Civil War.
Leave comments throughout this month for a chance to win one of these two great collections.
Happy Sunday, everyone!
I’m half-way through the rough draft of Her Royal Mountain Highness, part of the Take Me Home: Romances Inspired by John Denver collection.
The collection is to be released October 2017. I’m having a lot of fun with it!
I’ve written eight of the fifty-nine devotionals to appear in the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom for Women.
Forget Me Not Romances continues to roll out collections.
I’m especially excited to announce the release of A Small Town Kind of Love, celebrating love in small towns. Michelle hates small towns, Mary Ann falls into one, and Elyssa seeks out farm life. Check out these three stories by me.
And Civil War Brides includes four stories by different authors. My story is Love’s Raid, book #3 in my Maple Notch series, and my lone Civil War story.
Current/Upcoming Blog Entries:
August 2 The first Wednesday Warbler blog. http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/express-line-prayers/
August 9: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com
Today I’m happy to introduce Davalynn to you…
Davalynn Spencer writes heart-tugging, cowboy romance set along the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and an award-winning rodeo journalist and former crime-beat reporter who caters to Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Connect with her at www.davalynnspencer.com.
From Pantser to Board-plotter
As a novelist, I started out writing as a “pantser” – someone who writes by the seat of their pants. It worked fine for my first book, before I had contracts and deadlines. Before I needed to know where I was going.
Now, however, not so much.
It’s harder to get where you’re going when you don’t know where that is.
Today I start out a new manuscript by “pantsing” the first fifty or so pages. By then I have a general feel for the story and I pull out my whiteboard.
I’ve divided the board into thirty rectangular boxes by using thin strips of duct tape. Each box represents a potential chapter.
At first, I used colored dry-erase pens to rough out my basic story idea, adding detail as I went. But now I use sticky-notes. (What did we ever do without them?)
If I want to relocate a scene, I don’t have to erase and rewrite, I simply move the sticky notes.
As you can see by the photo in this post, the visual affect is a great help in quickly catching where I need to add conflict. In this pictured “rough draft,” my setting notes are clustered at one end deliberately, but there isn’t enough trauma or drama in the story—so unlike our everyday lives.
This method works well for me, but I’ve also learned that none of my methods are static or set in stone. They are more organic, changing as I grow as a writer. I’m so glad. Because life and learning are all about changing and growing, hanging on to what works and throwing out what doesn’t.
About An Improper Proposal
Widowed before she says “I do,” a mail order bride asks a stranger to take her groom’s place and ends up a rancher’s wife facing snakes, scoundrels, and second chances.
Buy link: http://tinyurl.com/kolvloz
I sent Christmas Child to the editor! It should be published in early September.
I started my John Denver story, His Rocky Mountain Highness. A deposed prince comes to Colorado on a trip, and discovers the “home he’d never been before.” (and falls in love, of course.) It will be part of a collection to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of Denver’s death this October.
Monday is the last day of my Christmas in July sale. Buy them now at 99 cents!
War Brides four war stories, including my book, Prodigal Patriot.
Opposites Attract This collection of historical and contemporary romances proves that you don’t have to be from the same side of the tracks to find true love. Includes my novella, Colorado Columbine.
Upcoming Blog Appearances:
July 31 Girls Who Write vlog
August 1 Julie Arduini http://juliearduini.com/
August 3 My birthday!
Today I’m happy to introduce Heidi to you…
Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail. She writes Women’s Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com.
Finding Freedom With Your Writing Voice
One of my biggest struggles on my journey to publication was the often frustrating advice to “find my writing voice.” As if the giver of guidance was certain I even had one! But the more I wrote, and the more I inched (very slowly) toward my writing goals, the more I came to understand this complicated thing called “voice.” As it turned out, I did have one—and whether you believe it or not, you do too.
Here are a few things that have helped me find freedom in my writing voice over the years:
You probably already do this, so have fun! Read and read widely. When you find an author you like, read as many books of theirs as you can. Often what we like about their style might be their voice. Are their words lyrical? Humorous? Blunt? If we read enough of a certain type of writing, we might just find that same style appearing in our own manuscript.
You knew this was coming, right? But the more we write, the more freedom we find in our words. We loosen up a bit, maybe quit analyzing so much. It’s often here—when we’re not scared of breaking the rules—that our voice is set free.
~ Get Real
In his book, Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass says, “To set your voice free, set your words free. Set your characters free. Most important, set your heart free.”
Don’t hold back with your writing. We are sometimes tempted to guard off the vulnerable pieces of our heart from spilling onto the page (or computer screen), but don’t. We only rob potential readers of the best stuff when we do this. Instead, we must let down our guard. Be honest and real with our words. Be vulnerable. Be free.
Your readers will thank you!
From the Boston Marathon bombing to the American Revolution and the Boston Massacre, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.
Freedom’s Ring begins when an antique ring reunites a Boston Marathon bombing survivor with the man who saved her. Together they unearth the two-hundred-year-old history of a woman who suffered tremendous loss in the Boston Massacre—a woman torn between the love of two men—one a Patriot, one a Redcoat.
Where am I at in my writing, mid-July 2017?
My 50-book Jubilee, held on July 10th was a huge success. Almost 500 stopped by and a lot of fun was had by all. I felt like God gave me a week-long hug!
I have finished the rough draft of this year’s Christmas novella: Christmas Child (September release date.) Preston Marshall and Eliza Lampert plan on going their Rhode Island cotton mill’s annual masquerade as a soldier and servant girl working at Herod’s palace. They didn’t expect to have to defy the mill owner to rescue a child in danger.
I’m also busy working on devotions from part of fourteen Bible books (all of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Romans) for the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom for Women. I am thrilled to be writing devotions for a year-long plan to read through the Bible.
My publisher, Forget Me Not Romances, is celebrating Christmas in July. Nine of my Christmas stories and collection are available for 99 cents:
- An Advent Journey through Matthew
- An Apple for Christmas
- First Christmas
- Jacob’s Christmas Dream
- Christmas Mail Order Angels
- Open My Heart This Christmas
- Merry Matchmakers
- Matchmaker Mixup
- Merry Christmas, With Love
Upcoming interviews and events:
July 24 – interview and giveaway with Debbie Costello at http://www.debbielynnecostello.com/
July 24 – interview and giveaway with Donna Schlacter at http://www.historythrutheages.com/
July 27 – interview and giveaway with Catherine Hershberger at www.catherinecastle1.wordpress.com
July 27 – Facebook party: Christmas Mail Order Angels in July at https://www.facebook.com/events/110117242965812/
I have lots of news to share with you today!
Almost 500 people stopped by my jubilee on July 10th! I am excited about what lies ahead.
Individual stand-alone title #50, Mermaid’s Song, is included in book (stand alone or collection) #100 from Forget Me Not Romances: Love Everlasting (fairytales retold as historical romance.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/
I will be appearing on these blogs:
July 13: Jo Huddleston: http://www.
July 17: Sarah Ruut: Faith, Fiction, and Fun http://sarahruut.com/
July 24: Donna Schlacter: History through the Ages http://www.
I’m also going to be involved in two Christmas in July Facebook parties:
Christmas Mail Order Angels: https://www.facebook.
Merry Matchmakers: https://www.
Susan G Mathis is the vice president of Christian Authors Network. She is a versatile writer, creating both fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Her debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, came out on St. Patrick’s Day.
Before Susan jumped into the fiction world, her first two books were nonfiction, co-authored with her husband, Dale. Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness, have helped tens of thousands of couples. She is also the author of two published picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. Please visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
As I began to write my second novel, The Fabric of Hope, I heard a sermon on the beatitudes. I’d heard a dozen or more sermons on that topic before, but as I pondered what the preacher talked about, I couldn’t help but applying it to the writing life.
Matthew 5 says that Jesus taught the multitudes, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they, which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they, which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
How can we apply the concept of “be-attitudes” to our writing life, our creative life, or just life in general in a new and fresh way? Although not in order of Matthew’s beatitudes, here’s what I came up with:
1. Be patient. Writing is perfected over time.
2. Be content. Enjoy the journey and stop wanting more.
3. Be prepared. Learn all you can about writing.
4. Be proactive. Schedule writing time and remember, you reap what you sow.
5. Be clear. Communicate well.
6. Be tenacious. It doesn’t matter how you feel; if God’s called you to write, never give up.
7. Be doers. Write! Write! Write!
8. Be connected. Find other writers and do life with them.
9. Be dead. Die to your personal plans and live for God’s plans for your writing life.
But Jesus wasn’t finished. He went on to say, “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
And then Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Writers, creatives, and friends, let your light shine!
The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is the story of an 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mother who are connected by faith, family, and a quilt. After struggling to accept the changes forced upon her, Margaret Hawkins and her family take a perilous journey on an 1851 immigrant ship to the New World, bringing with her an Irish family quilt she is making. A hundred and sixty years later, her great granddaughter, Maggie, searches for the family quilt after her ex pawns it. But on their way to creating a family legacy, will these women find peace with the past and embrace hope for the future, or will they be imprisoned by fear and faithlessness? NOW available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
I want to remind everyone that today is my 50 Book Jubilee over on Facebook. You can join the fun at https://www.facebook.com/events/1700850980218471
Today I’m also happy to welcome Kimberly.
Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.
She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.
Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
I’ve learned so much since I first started studying the craft of writing over ten years ago. The first lesson a seasoned writer ever taught me was that I needed to write a high concept story that readers wouldn’t be able to put down. I thought great. How am I supposed to do that? I’ve since discovered the key is to know your audience and what they expect in the kind of book you write.
Now that I know what is expected in my genre, contemporary romance, I must come up with story plots. For some people that is the hardest part of writing, for me, it’s probably the easiest. My mind never shuts off, and daydreaming is a constant in my life.
For me brainstorming starts with what if. What if a former actress turned restaurateur gets sucked into a children’s theater? What if a handsome man heads the children’s theater, but he doesn’t like the former A-list actress? What would happen? Do you see where I’m going? These are questions I asked myself when preparing to write An Encore for Estelle.
What if you don’t have any characters in mind or a setting, or a topic, or anything? What if you have nothing?
I would suggest you watch the news, read the paper, or sit at the mall and watch people. There are so many stories out there. I’m not suggesting writing a story ripped from the headlines, but why not use the headlines and ask what if?
The next step is to talk it out with someone and bounce ideas off of each other. Be sure to take notes. It’s difficult to remember every idea that gets brought up. Even if an idea doesn’t fit well with what you are going for, save it for the future. You never know if one of those ideas will work for a different story.
I wish much success as you brainstorm!
A former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children’s theater. The writer/director didn’t anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together?
You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html
Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2pDQweE
Amazon Follow: https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Rose-Johnson/e/B00K10CR6E/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1435862403&sr=1-2-ent
Darlene Franklin has just released book #50, MERMAID’S SONG, a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale on the coast of Maine.
Join Darlene on July 10th for a come-and-go party celebrating 50 books! A box of books will be given away every hour, and her guests will include author Tracie Peterson, agent Terrie Wolfe, and editor Annie Tipton.
Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/events/1700850980218471/. Hope to see you there!
Now more about the Mermaid’s Song:
Noble Prescott is drawn to the scene of a shipwreck by a sweet song sung in a language he didn’t understand. The songstress is barely alive, holding onto a piece of the ship’s railing. Her dress wraps around her legs like a mermaid’s tail.
Thus begins this imaginative retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale.
Justine Battineaux, an Acadian forced from her homeland on Cape Breton Island by British decree, finds herself adrift in the Maine colony. She doesn’t know the language and is distrusted as a foreigner.
Noble lives up to his name, providing shelter for Justine—and protection, as distrust turns into danger. For himself, his family—and the woman he comes to love.
How will Justine and Noble overcome the evil woman’s schemes to find their own love everlasting?
Darlene Franklin is busy working on nonfiction projects for Barbour Publishing. She is writing the companion prayers for the text of A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women. She will also be contributing 2 months of devotions to 2019 collection of Daily Wisdom for Women. Writers’ Digest is considering an article by Darlene about lessons learned on the journey to fifty books.
Darlene is also doing galley edits on His Golden Treasure, included in Captive Brides, to be released on October 1. Her next novella, The Christmas Child, will be published about September 1, 2017.