Reading, Writing, and Whatever Else You Like to Do

You thought I was going to use that old adage that everybody has heard since the earth cooled, but no I won’t put you through that. I know it’s Saturday and there are things that you probably have to do, but hopefully you’ll find some time to do those things you like to do as well.

In my world reading and writing go hand in hand because if you didn’t read then there wouldn’t be anywhere for the books that we writers write to go. Of course most of us are also avid readers so we would probably read each others work, but I love to make readers happy or stimulate their thoughts with what I write.

I also love spending time with other writers and people in the publishing industry. It’s awesome to be in a room full of writers and watch or almost hear the wheels grinding. Some of us need a little oiling now and again to get the books to the stage that you see them when you pick them up at the store or download them for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad .. I probably left somebody’s technology out but you know what I mean.    Almost Foreve

I found a new author, Deborah Raney. She has a ready smile and is delightful to talk with over breakfast. She is a knowledgeable workshop presenter and most of all for you readers, an excellent storyteller. Almost Forever: A Hanover Falls Novel is the first book in a series that I am sure you will love.

In this first book, Byn Hennesey, a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, was there the night the shelter burned to the ground and five heroic firefighters died at the scene. Among them was her husband, Adam. Like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret …

This is a great read! I hope you won’t miss it.

Jet Lag and Synapse Overload

Yes, this post is a day late. I spent Thursday through Sunday at the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild, Writing for the Soul Conference, in Colorado Springs, CO.

Pikes PeakWhat an amazing experience! It was half spiritual retreat and half writer’s conference. Keynote speakers included people like Liz Curtis Higgs, the author of The Bad Girls of the Bible and The Unveiling of Mary Magdalene, as well as other great books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is funny and inspiring all at the same time. Deborah Raney, Steven James, Dennis E. Hensley, Christopher Yuan, and James MacDonald were some of the other speakers and workshop presenters. My brain feels like it is still on overload. Those little connections are firing as fast as they can.

In addition to the beautiful God-given setting, the conference takes place at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. The conference facilities were great and hotel staff spoiled us all in our elegant surroundings.

If you are a Christian writer, then I would set my sights on attending this conference in the future. Yes, it is on the expensive side, but it is well worth the price for the experience, what you’ll learn, and the people you meet. It is a level above what you’ve probably experienced before at a writers’ conference. Where else would you start the day with praise music and prayer? I was blessed with fantastic results from the editor and agent pitch interviews. Now I’m home, the last editing and polishing, as well as formal written proposal, comes next.

The Women of Camp Sobingo

Looking for a great story about a group of women who are friends. How about a great story set in a historical backdrop? We women have been camp followers for centuries. This one is about our mother’s generation or maybe your grandmother’s generation but it is as timely as our own generation. The men in our lives are still suiting up in a uniform and we are still following them to those cookie-cutter housing units. This is a story you won’t want to miss.

Four women of diverse backgrounds form a bond while en route to join their Army officer husbands in Korea in 1946. Their experiences in a far-flung military compound strengthen three of the women, but a fourth chooses to end her life there, and during a reunion twenty-five years later, long-held dark secrets and sorrows are revealed.

Image

The Women of Camp Sobingo, by Marilyn Celeste Morris, a member of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., shares the story of four women; friends who share the life of army wives in a strange land, with husbands who serve. Raising children, making do, enduring hardships, these women survive – all but one…

There really was a Camp Sobingo, located outside the capitol city of Seoul, South Korea at the end of WWII. This military compound with its cookie-cutter quarters was home to the women and children who joined their Army officer husbands during the US Occupation. The camp had a school, a post exchange, a dispensary, a commissary, and even a movie theatre (think MASH). Ever-present, however, was the military presence, both Korean and our own US forces and the tyranny of the Russians located across the 38th parallel, who merely annoyed the dependents with their random denial of electricity to the American contingent.

Most of the Americans had deployed to other assignments before June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. Those remaining escaped safely, but The Land of the Morning Calm would never be the same.

To learn more about the author and her book go to http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com

Any Ghostwriters or Aspiring Ghostwriters Hiding Out There?

Image

Ghostwriters and aspiring ghostwriters- -take off your cloaks of invisibility for a moment and check out these two upcoming opportunities to meet other ghosts, learn new skills and techniques, and join our growing community of professionals.

1) Ghostwriting Certificate Program is now online at Cal State U., Long Beach. The next class begins February 16, 2013. Go to www.ccpe.csulb.edu and search for “ghostwriting& quot; for full information and registration.

2) Ghostwriters Unite!, the first international conference for, by, and about ghostwriters, takes place at the Long Beach Hilton on May 3, 4, and 5. Go to http://ghostwriters unite.com for info and registration. Early bird special rates end April 1st.

These are great opportunities for anyone who is interested in ghostwriting. Even though the first listing may be too short for you to make the deadline, if you live in the Long Beach area, then you can sign up for the next course cycle. I have done some ghostwriting, as many of you know, and enjoyed it. If you don’t live in that area, then check at your local colleges and universities. They may have ghostwriting programs or classes available. Best of luck.

Snowflakes, Daffodils, and Lincoln

What could these three possibly have in common? It’s February! Still don’t get it? Okay, maybe you have to live in my part of the country – the Panhandle of Texas where the weather changes on a dime. People have said for decades “if you don’t like the weather right now, wait a little while and it’ll change.”

We can have snowflakes blowing sideways 30 minutes after the sun was out and you need your winter coat, muffler and gloves when you went into the grocery store with only jeans and a T-shirt ( okay you do have to have your shoes on or there isn’t any service). That is the weather in February.

We find daffodils turning up their faces to greet us at the florists booths in the grocery stores and at Wal-Mart. They are my favorite flower. Daffodil bulbs are at Home Depot and Lowe’s. Because the temperatures are bouncing between 70° and 25° the daffodils already planted in my yard are peeking about an inch through the mulch trying to figure out if it’s time yet to come up. Actually now I look around me, the walls in my new office are painted daffodil yellow with white wainscoting and trim. It’s February.

And of course, it is Lincoln’s birthday this month. I know that we only celebrate President’s Day now, but it’s February. As with many people, Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents in American history. If you’re wondering, no I didn’t forget that today is the day I recommend good books and good authors. One of my favorites is Jennifer Chiaverini. She is the author of the Elm Creek Quilter series. However, one of her latest releases is Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. I haven’t read it yet but it is on my list of books to read. It is the story of Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, a former slave, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keckley. The two women develop an amazing friendship that takes the reader behind the closed doors of the White House, through the emancipation of slavery, the First Lady’s loss of her son and assassination of her husband. We will get to know the president’s wife and a former slave in personal ways through their experiences together. Ms. Chiaverini is an impeccable researcher. Enjoy the read.

And the Winner is …?

I don’t know how other writers feel about contests, but I have participated in a fair number. There are advantages to participating in contests. Some of them are:

  1.       You have a deadline that you have to meet. It teaches you the importance to meeting those deadlines. If you miss a contest deadline, then you are out of luck. They don’t give you a chance to fudge on the date. I think it was Jerry Jenkins in his book, Writing for the Soul, that he said only 3% of writers meet their deadline. Wouldn’t you like to be in that 3%? I’m sure that would make you stand out in the publishing world.
  2.       You can receive some great feedback from experienced writers and editors who are the judges on your work. They make comments on your work whether you are a winner or not. Take it and learn from it. Take what you can use and discard the rest.
  3.        Contests are usually for short pieces of work, but not always. Learn to write tight and only the best work wins. Likewise you only send your best work to an agent or publisher, not the first draft or the “good enough” draft.
  4.        Contests have specific guidelines that you must follow or be disqualified. That is the way it is in the publishing world. Publishers and agents have guidelines for a reason and expect writers to follow them.
  5.        When you win contests, that makes you “An award winning author” when you are writing up your vita/resume.

My only caution is don’t forget to keep writing and submitting with a focus on your career as a published author in mind. There are so many contests that it could easily eat up your writing time. Make your writing do double duty. Some places to find contests are Winning Writers (both poetry and prose), Writers Market, Poets & Writers, and Creative Writing Contests. (These are sources that I have found or used in my own research, but always thoroughly research the contest source and sponsors yourself to be sure that they are legitimate before sending your work or participating in a contest.)

 

Davis Bunn – Always a Great Read

If you’ve never read any of his books, then I suggest you give his books a try. I highly recommend his books. His website profile says “An internationally-acclaimed author who has sold more than six million books in sixteen languages, Davis is equal parts writer, scholar, teacher, and sportsman.”

Bunn and Janette Oke have written several books together including the Acts of Faith series.

Image            Image         Image

These are among my favorites, but Davis Bunn has written many other as well and continues to write great reads. Book of Dreams released in October 2011 is a great contemporary read. Book of DreamsThe back cover blurb can’t be beat for getting your attention “For Dr. Elena Burroughs, life is divided into two chapters—before and after the death of her husband. Today marks the point that her span of being a wife is equal to her span of being a widow. Even her success as a psychologist and her worldwide acclaim for a book on the interpretation of dreams is dimmed by an unspoken If only. Then a new patient arrives, one so private only her first name is given. Impeccably dressed and escorted by two bodyguards, Sandra recounts a frightening series of recurrent nightmares. …”

Enjoy!