WRITING NEWS AND TIPS

Here’s praying you all had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a blessed New Year! Today I’m introducing the first of my guests with writing tips, Jeanette Levellie. But first I’ll catch up with my writing news.

Wednesday is your last chance to leave a comment for a chance to win An Advent Journey through Matthew and 365 Fun Bible Facts. Please sign up and encourage others to do so! You can also go to past posts from December and leave messages.

Since last we spoke, I finished the rough draft of Infusion of Love, my Revolutionary War entry in the Teacup Courtship Novella series. I also sent Beginnings: 30 Days in Genesis-Exodus to the editor, and hope to have that published by mid-January. I’m working on edits to my new mystery, Case Closed, and the teacup novella.

No more blog appearances until my Great Escapes Book Tour highlighting my first mystery, Gunfight at Grace Gulch, starts on January 11.

 

Now let’s meet Jeanette Levellie. Her newest book is Shock the Clock:jeanette levellie Time Management Strategies for Writers and Other Creatives. She is also the author of Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top, The Heart of Humor, and hundreds of articles. She is the mother of two adults, grandmother of three children and servant of four (cats). Visit her at http://www.jeanettelevellie.com.

*Jeanette is giving away a copy of her book, Shock the Clock, with this post. Leave your email like belovedfranklin (at) msn (dot) com to be in the drawing.*

Top 10 Time Management Tips for Writers

  1. Ask the Lord to lead you on the unique writing/publishing path He wants for you, where you’ll be fulfilled and successful. Follow His leading, not others. He is the Shepherd; they are fellow-sheep.
  2. Take a book with you everywhere—you can read while you wait in line at the post office, at a restaurant, and rides at Disneyworld.
  3. Break chores down into baby steps. Satan wants us to believe we must finish tasks in one sitting, so we’ll get discouraged and never start. Every book and article began with the first sentence.
  4. Limit TV watching to a few shows. Don’t simply watch—analyze to become a better writer. What plot lines, characterization, and dialogue works, and what doesn’t? Apply those elements to your writing.
  5. Keep pen and notebook or dictation machine with you, to write down ideas as they come. This includes your bedside table—some of the richest ideas come at night, when your mind is relaxed.
  6. Jeanette Levellie Shock the Clock coverKeep your goals visible—if you see them often, they’ll get done. Use day planners, online tools, or whiteboards—whatever motivates you best.
  7. Reward yourself when you finish a less-than-enjoyable task.
  8. Set the timer for 15 minutes, half an hour, or an hour. Don’t stop writing ‘til it dings.
  9. Make your goals realistic and measurable. Put dates on them, so you can check them off or erase them when you reach them. Share them with others who will hold you accountable.
  10. Know your distracters, so you can avoid or manage them. Mute your phone and email notification; put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door; go to the library, café or park—whatever it takes to get the muse flowing.Adapted from Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creatives by Jeanette Levellie

WRITING TIPS AND NEWS

Note to my readers: Starting with my next writing tips post (on December 28th), guest bloggers will offer you writing tips.  I will continue to keep you up to date with my writing life.

Darlene Franklin snowbound colorado christmas         Since this is my last writing tip for awhile, I’ll offer you a ChristmasDarlene Franklin woodland christmas gift of where I find ideas for a yearly stream of novellas. Because when I started, I wondered how anyone came up with new ideas year after year. Now I can’t imagine not writing them.

So let’s start with the obvious source for ideas: the original Christmas story. There are many directions to take. So far I’ve looked at a very young Mary looking forward to marrying her best friend’s older brother. Another time, a single mother is ashamed of giving birth out of wedlock. More recently, Darlene Franklin christmas at barncastle innthree wise women from the east arrived bearing gifts for Christmas.Darlene Franklin postmark christmas

Other years, Bible stories that have no bearing on the Christmas story inspired my novellas. Want snow? How about the woman who dressed in red long johns during a blizzard like the virtuous women. Even Eliezer’s visit to Ur to find a bride ended up in a Christmas story.

Of course, they can’t all be that spiritual . . .

A few times, the story ends on ChrDarlene Franklin gifts of christmasistmas day, but isn’t central to the story.

Towns named Darlene Franklin christmas potpourriafter Christmas, let me count the ways: I chose Christmas, Florida, and later, Bethlehem, Texas. I even have a series of books set in towns fitting in with the holiday: My Candy Valentine in Loveland, OK; Love’s Glory in Old Glory, TX; Tobogganing for Two in Plymouth, NE.

Christmas traditions find their way into the stories—angels and gifts, music and Christmas cards.

Do you have any family stories that center around Christmas? I would love to hear about them.

WRITING NEWS

I completed NANO and the book! Case Closed weighed in at 54,800 words. My next projects are a devotional based on Genesis and Exodus to be published in January and a novella about one of the “tea events” in 1774. (The Boston Tea Party wasn’t the only one. Mine is in Greenwich, NJ).

I have been published twice in the webzine, Pastor Resources. A place I never expected to be, but they keep looking for articles that reflect on something I’ve been studying in the Bible. For the latest article, a reflection on the recent shootings in California, check out http://www.pastorresources.com/where-is-god/

I “read” my 1st-grade granddaughter’s book of stories in the cat journal I had given her—the next generation of writers!

Upcoming Guest Blog Posts and Holidays

December 14-20: Jacob’s Christmas Dream and An Advent Journey through Matthew are featured at http://www.theswordandspirit.blogspot.com/ all week long, complete with a giveaway of both books.

December 16: My devotional, “Take It Out of the Drawer,” will appear on http://www.gingersolomon.com/blog/. Jacob’s Christmas Dream is being given away

December 18: Interview and giveaway concerning Jacob’s Christmas Dream will appear at www.liztolsma.com .

December 23: An inspirational piece will appear on Jennifer Slattery’s blog  Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

December 24: National Chocolate Day – enjoy my novella about a chocolatier, My Candy Valentine. http://www.amazon.com/Candy-Valentine-Holidays-Heart-Book-ebook/dp/B00SI2214K/

December 25: Merry Christmas!

WRITING NEWS & TIPS: FINDING IDEAS: HISTORICAL EVENTS

I know this will primarily apply to writers of historical fiction, but I bet your creative minds can find a way to apply it to contemporary as well.

I love finding historical tidbits that suggest a story. Oh, the big events—wars, the Great Depression, the Oregon Trails, etc.—provide the backdrop for many a story. Others—such as the Battle of the Alamo—are too sacred to be the actual setting. I found that out when I tried to have my hero’s father died at the Alamo in Lone Star Trail. I took the wise course and have him die sometime during Texas’s war for independence from Mexico. Even some smaller events, such as the Mason County, Hoo Doo War, are probably too big for a story except from a real expert–my subject in A Ranger’s Trail.

My favorite place to look is historical timelines. In developing the Texas Trails series with Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonnell, we used facts as diverse a cowboy strike in the 1880s, a train blown up for a movie in the 1890s, and children raised as Indian captives in the 1850s. I would have written about the start of kindergartens in Dallas if the story had continued. Maybe I still should.

This is especially good is you know the place and/or the time your story must take place. In looking for Vermont’s involvement with the Civil War (for the third book of the Maple Notch Days series), I learned that the northernmost battle in the Civil War took place in Vermont! Confederates came south from Canada, robbed three banks, and declared the town of St. Albans a victory for the Conferacy. Voila, the nearby town of Maple Notch had imitation bank robberies.

Other times, a fact finds you. In looking at steamships (a nice romantic setting, don’t you think?), I learned there were female steamboat captains. Oh, I had to write that story: A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, where Blanche becomes captain.

Just looking through books about the history of quilts gave me dozens of ideas.

So if you like history—look around you and find those treasures in the most unexpected places.

NEWS

(report about Nano progress)

Christmas Mail Order Angels, Volume 2 (Books 7-11) was released on November 6th.

Christmas Mail Order Angels: The Complete Anthology will be published on December 1st.

Pray for me as I attempt to finish Beginnings: 12 Weeks in Genesis – Deuteronomy for publication in January.

CALENDAR

7 DAYS LEFT to leave a comment to win a copy of Tobogganing for Two or Home Front Dreams.

November 23rd: Book excerpt from Tobogganing for Two with a recipe for a chance to win a copy of the book. http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

November 27th: My romantic interview with a recipe for turkey leftovers for a chance to win An Advent Journey through Matthew. http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

I know this will primarily apply to writers of historical fiction, but I bet your creative minds can find a way to apply it to contemporary as well.

I love finding historical tidbits that suggest a story. Oh, the big events—wars, the Great Depression, the Oregon Trails, etc.—provide the backdrop for many a story. Others—such as the Battle of the Alamo—are too sacred to be the actual setting. I found that out when I tried to have my hero’s father died at the Alamo in Lone Star Trail. I took the wise course and have him die sometime during Texas’s war for independence from Mexico. Even some smaller events, such as the Mason County, Hoo Doo War, are probably too big for a story except from a real expert–my subject in A Ranger’s Trail.

My favorite place to look is historical timelines. In developing the Texas Trails series with Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonnell, we used facts as diverse a cowboy strike in the 1880s, a train blown up for a movie in the 1890s, and children raised as Indian captives in the 1850s. I would have written about the start of kindergartens in Dallas if the story had continued. Maybe I still should.

This is especially good is you know the place and/or the time your story must take place. In looking for Vermont’s involvement with the Civil War (for the third book of the Maple Notch Days series), I learned that the northernmost battle in the Civil War took place in Vermont! Confederates came south from Canada, robbed three banks, and declared the town of St. Albans a victory for the Conferacy. Voila, the nearby town of Maple Notch had imitation bank robberies.

Other times, a fact finds you. In looking at steamships (a nice romantic setting, don’t you think?), I learned there were female steamboat captains. Oh, I had to write that story: A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, where Blanche becomes captain.

Just looking through books about the history of quilts gave me dozens of ideas.

So if you like history—look around you and find those treasures in the most unexpected places.

NEWS

(report about Nano progress)

Christmas Mail Order Angels, Volume 2 (Books 7-11) was released on November 6th.

Christmas Mail Order Angels: The Complete Anthology will be published on December 1st.

Pray for me as I attempt to finish Beginnings: 12 Weeks in Genesis – Deuteronomy for publication in January.

CALENDAR

7 DAYS LEFT to leave a comment to win a copy of Tobogganing for Two or Home Front Dreams.

November 23rd: Book excerpt from Tobogganing for Two with a recipe for a chance to win a copy of the book. http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

November 27th: My romantic interview with a recipe for turkey leftovers for a chance to win An Advent Journey through Matthew. http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

November 29th: Advent Sunday: An Advent Journey through Matthew available for 99 cents from now through Christmas. http://www.amazon.com/ADVENT-JOURNEY-THROUGH-MATTHEW-2015-ebook/dp/B016NIEJLI/

 

WRITING TIPS & NEWS: FINDING IDEAS #2

FINDING IDEAS

LESSON 2: Print Media

Go to the print media. A short paragraph on a newspaper gave me the idea of having a vintage clothing store owner for the amateur sleuth of my cozy mystery series, Dressed for Death. An opinion piece on abortion might inspire a novel dealing with the subject.

One book might inspire the idea for another. How many versions of Romeo and Juliet have we seen? How many authors have written new Sherlock Holmes mysteries? I borrowed the central conflict of Ethan Frome as a theme in my recent book, Tobogganing for Two.

While not literature, I even find ideas in puzzle books. The American State Flower series from Forget Me Not Romances grew from a word search puzzle on the subject. They’re also a great place to find great place names like Bowlegs and Okay, both in Oklahoma. Someday. . .maybe.

NEWS

For the first time ever, I am taking part in National Novel Writing Month as an incentive to start a new mystery series: Murder on the Case. This one I drew from real life: Carlie Cooper, a home health aide, finds her elderly client’s dead body on the morning after her 80th birthday party. Wish me luck! I’m looking forward to diving into my comic-challenged mystery-loving self again. Check the side bars for updates on my progress.

CALENDAR

Leave comments on this blog for a chance to win the one of the featured books.

November 11: In honor of Veterans Day, Love’s Glory and Tobogganing for Two, which both feature war veterans, are free today only.

November 13: Interview and giveaway of Tobogganing for Two at http://www.sandrarobbins.net/blog/

November 17th: Guest on Peg Phifer’s blog about Writing from a Nursing Home at http://whispersinpurple.com/

November 19th: Interview and giveaway of Tobogganing for Two at Sarah Ruut’s blog: http://sarahruut.com/category/fiction/

WRITING TIPS & NEWS

People often ask, “where do you get ideas?” So I thought I would share a few idea-generating tips over the next few blogs.

My answer in short is, “everywhere around you.” Go to a mall. Sit in a public area and eavesdrop. A single scene can suggest an entire book.

For example, I noticed three young girls at a restaurant. Their completely different personalities were revealed by their clothing choices: one was athletic, short-haired, with sneakers and leggings. The long-haired girl wore a dress with flowered sandals. The third dressed in the current fashions and her hair just-so. I could picture a women’s fiction book following the lives of three very different sisters as adults.

It could be as simple as something you see out the car window. On one long car trip, I passed a castle on a hillside in Kentucky. That image stayed with me until I wrote Plainsong, where an American soldier built a castle for his English war bride.

Another sight was a single worn boot lying on the street. That could be Cinderella—or a mystery—or in sci fi. Take your pick.

NEWEST RELEASE!

An Advent Journey matthewAn Advent Journey through Matthew

Take a step away from the busy days that fill Advent. Begin with the miraculous birth and get caught up in the story which adds layers of understanding of Jesus’s extraordinary life.

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Mail-Order-Angels-collection-ebook/dp/B015RN2J8U/

 

CALENDAR

October 28th: Visit me at Lena Nelson Dooley’s blog for a chance to win Tobogganing for Two at http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/2015/10/tobogganing-for-two-darlene-franklin.html

October 29: Visit me at Jo Huddleston’s blog for a chance to win Jacob’s Christmas Dream http://www.johuddleston.com/2015/10/darlene-franklin-christmas-novella.html

October 31: Final day to enter the drawing for Christmas Mail Order Angels or Lone Star Trail. Comment on each week’s blog post and mention whether you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, newsletter, for additional chances to win.

November 4th: Visit Emilie Hendryx’s blog for an interview and a chance to win Tobogganing for Two at eahendryx.blogspot.com

Question for commenters: What is your favorite Halloween candy?

WRITING TIPS AND NEWS October 12, 2015

WRITING TIPS

Last month I cheated a little, telling you to write, write, write and to read, read, read. (Although how many pages have you written and what books did you read?)

After reading and writing, the next thing you need is a critique group. It can be face to face or online, and here are a few suggestions:

  • Have a consistent schedule, at least once a month
  • Work with people who are a little ahead of you and a little behind you.
  • Keep the group small and determine how many pages/chapters can be exchanged at one time.
  • If you don’t know of a writing group (I had to look for my first group for awhile), try these tips:
    • Community groups.
    • Online groups (check Facebook)
    • Writing organizations such as ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) facilitate organizing critique groups.

UPCOMING BOOKS

B

An Advent Journey matthewtobogganing coverAdvent Journey through Matthew (November)

Take a step away from the busy days that fill Advent. Begin with the miraculous birth and get caught up in the story which adds layers of understanding of Jesus’s extraordinary life

Tobogganing for Two (November)

Laura Evans moves to Plymouth, Nebraska, to take care of her aunt and her paralyzed sister. Dr. Jay Andrews has come to Plymouth to escape his work among those wounded during the Civil War—only to be faced with a paralyzed patient. Laura and Jay clash as they face fears from their past. Will a midnight toboggan ride bring them together, or push them further apart?

 

 

UPCOMING INTERVIEWS AND EVENTS

October 14: Interview with Peg Phifer at Whispers in Purple www.whispersinpurple.com. Includes a giveaway of Gifts of Christmas.

October 17: Interview with Crystal Barnes at http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/. Includes a giveaway of Jacob’s Christmas Dream and A Texas Christmas

October 17-23: A week-long feature on the authors of Christmas Mail Order Angels. Every day someone will receive a copy of that day’s featured book(s) and a weeklong rafflecopter will determine the winner of the grand prize, Christmas Mail Order Angels, the first six books of the series. The link is http://www.nataliemonk.com/

  • October 17th Martha Lou Rogers
  • October 18th Darlene Franklin
  • October 19th Susan Page Davis
  • October 20th Cynthia Hickey
  • October 21st Tanya Stowe
  • October 22nd Patty Smith Hall and Teresa Ives Lilly
  • October 23rd Lynette Sowell

October 23 Christian Indie Book Event https://www.facebook.com/events/411921765674248/