Monday, August 11, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Staycations Are the Best

This week has been a staycation for my husband and I. We've relaxed more this week than probably all year put together. The kids are at camp and my husband managed to get most of the week off.

I do have an admission to make. No writing got done. It's worth the extra work I'll have to do to make up the time, too.

Painting with Acrylics
Want to know what I've been up to? Here's some pictures to give you an idea.

We also went up to the mountains for a BBQ and watched lots of TV.

I'll be so excited to see my kids, but this staycation has been amazing.
I painted this in one night.
This puzzle is a real challenge.
Faith Departed by Elizabeth Maddrey has be a great read.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Winner of the Kindle fire Announced

I wanted to thank everyone who participated in the Spirit-Filled Kindle giveaway.

Thanks to all of you, I gained over 100 more likes on my Facebook Author Page.

Janice Whittemore of Cookeville Tennessee is the blessed winner of the promotional giveaway I did with a group of other talented writers. Congratulations Janice.

Hope you enjoy it. I love mine.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Brainstorming Strategy

Writing a book isn't easy. Writing a book that's going to rise above the rest is even harder. We ask ourselves all the time how we're going to make it happen. What makes a story different?

When I sat at the lunch table with Steve Laube at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, he told a story that surprised me. He was talking about another conference he'd been to. One of his agent buddies had been holding a paper under the table. When he asked what he was doing, the friend said he was marking each storyline he'd heard during the appointments scheduled that day.

I was shocked when I heard his account. Every story that I would've thought had an interesting plot line had as many as seven tallies beside it.

What could a writer do if all the great ideas were not only being pitched in scores at writers conferences, but were considered unoriginal?

He got me thinking. How do we write something new and fresh, something so different no one has written about it or written in the same context?

That same week, for the first time, I had a brainstorming session with a group of friends and new people. This session solidified the importance of brainstorming. Getting together with a few people you trust to throw ideas around can make the difference between a good story and an amazing one that'll stand out from the piles of manuscripts agents and publishing houses get every day.

If you don't have a group of friends or a writers group that can help, don't worry. You can do it on your own.
  • Start by listing the story idea you have in mind, act by act, point by point.
  • On paper, create branches from each major point.
  • Write all the possibilities of directions the story can go at that point.
  • Raise the stakes by picking outcomes that have a twist on the usual character or situation.
  • Pick the next major point you want to feed through your story.
  • Branch this one out as well, coming up with all possible outcomes.
  • Raise the stakes again.
Cut out each outcome and twist so that you can organize and reorganize them into the pattern that works best. Keep branching out and raising the stakes all the way to the end of your storyline and you've got a winner.

Keep in mind, if you've read it before, you probably need to brainstorm some more until it's so different you can't think of a book like it.

Have you had any brainstorming sessions? How'd they work for you?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Surprising Resource for Writers

Tonight's a great night to give you a few quick tips on finding the right names for your novel's characters. I love to get little tidbits of information that make my life easier in the writing game, so I hope this helps you the way it helped me.

Picking names for characters is a very important part of your work. I used to love to come up with these crazy names that were unique and special to me. It was fun to dig around into different ethnic groups to choose just the right one. The problem became the ability for readers, well really editors and agents, to pronounce them. I didn't see how they could have such a hard time, but they were working for the masses, not some word artist.

I also had to admit that people relate time periods to certain names. Crazy names don't fit into any specific time period, and I write contemporary romance.

I had to scale back the craziness. In my search for baby names I found a great website:

You may be surprised to see what this data base is. It's the Social Security Administration that has become such a great resource to me. This site allows you to pick names by the popularity and year. After scrolling through the site, I couldn't believe how much easier name picking became.

Now I decide how old my character is and put the year into the search window. I also like to raise the viewing number to the top 100 names. This gives me the top names in the country for that year.

You may still want to use a unique name for your main characters, but try this resource for the rest of them. You'll wonder how you lived without this website once you start.

What resources have you discovered for names? I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Winner to be Announced

WinaKindle1It's been a very successful Kindle fire giveaway. I want to thank everyone who participated. There were over a hundred new likes to my Author page with Facebook, and that's a huge boost for me. I'm so thankful for everyone who's helped me develop my platform so far. I can't wait to hear who the winner is in the next few days.

As writers we are constantly hearing how important it is to keep building our platform. That of course involves lots of social media. Lots of social media means a load of time not devoted to our writing. But, we must do it to make it in this world. I'm plunging in to learn more, develop my blog, and build those ever important relationships with my readers and friends in the publishing world.

I hope to have a lot more giveaways through this year to promote Memphis Learns the Hard Way, too.

Stay tuned for what's coming next.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kindle Fire Giveaway: Like my Author Page on Facebook to Enter

I'm doing a promotion this week with the amazing Pauline Creeden at Spirit Filled Kindle to get some more exposure for my Author page on Facebook and my children's book. Come check it out and like my Author page to enter the giveaway. The prize is a Kindle Fire.


Here's the link to enter the giveaway:

I have a Kindle Fire HD, and it's wonderful. Amazon makes it so easy to buy books with it. I love the touch screen capability and the apps that can be purchased for it. I even used it at the conference to take notes using a word doc app my husband bought and installed on it through Amazon.

And check out the book I illustrated, Memphis Learns the Hard Way.