Friday, 31 August 2012

CAREY JANE CLARK - WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW


Write what you know.

It’s conventional fiction-writing advice. As a result, readers have asked me about the events that motivated the storyline in After the Snow Falls. I’ve been asked if I’ve gone through the experience that Celia faces: a child suffering from a serious illness. One reviewer said, “Carey handled the writing of this book as if she had gone through the trauma of a terminally sick child...[she] made the harrowing scenes so real that your heart ached for the characters.”

I’m thankful that I’ve never had to go through such a difficult experience personally, but when I was young, I lost a family friend to leukemia. The feelings of loss I experienced at that time were the inspiration for the subplot involving Caleb’s friend Michaela.

More than anything, however, After the Snow Falls is a story of the healing power of forgiveness--a hard-won lesson that definitely arises out of my own personal experience.

But what about the things a writer doesn’t know? How can she write about those? The answer, of course, is research.

Writing After the Snow Falls led me into a lot of unfamiliar territory:

   what kinds of medical interventions are taken when a patient has difficulty breathing?
   how late in the building season could one realistically expect to work in Southern Ontario, Canada?
   does alternative medicine offer a cure for cancer?
   what are some famous tourist stops on Route 66?
   what kinds of sights and sounds is a visitor exposed to in Tijuana, Mexico?

I found some of my answers on the Internet, some in books. Occasionally, I made a phone call--always a nerve-wracking experience because it’s hard to imagine the impression you’re making on the person on the other end of the line: “Hi. I’m writing a novel, and I wondered if you’d have a little time to talk to me about what someone would be looking for if he bought a used transport truck?” One of my favorite experiences in researching this novel was meeting with the director of Toronto’s Ronald McDonald House and taking a tour of the common areas.

With each new research challenge, I had the opportunity to explore something I never knew about before. Aside from making words sing on the page, it’s my favorite thing about writing fiction.

Carey Jane Clark is a homeschooling mother of three and author of After the Snow Falls. She and her family are expatriates living in China, where her husband is opening a business. She is currently researching two other novels and blogging at www.careyjaneclark.com

Thursday, 30 August 2012

DAVID STEARMAN DISCUSSES GOOD PEOPLE AND HIS BOOK HUMMINGBIRD









Good people…
If you watch the News at all you’ve noticed that most of it’s about bad people doing bad things. Which is sad, since most people are basically good.

I found out the other day I needed a video trailer for an upcoming novel release. I’m pretty good on the computer, so I thought I’d take a stab at making one myself.

Most novel trailers are composed from photos. Lots of them. My generous model-friend Katie offered to pose gratis for the shots.
Good people.

But then another friend, a professional photographer named Dona, heard about my project and without even being asked provided me with a boatload of images. She and her model did the photo work outdoors in 105 degree weather, all for free.

Here’s a like to the result: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTmiXISuKnE

That’s what I’m talking about. Good people battling to outdo one another in doing good.

But I also needed music. Yes, I’m a professional songwriter, but various publishing companies hold the copyrights to my tunes…meaning I can’t even use them myself without paying royalties. That’s OK, but I still I couldn’t find anything appropriate in my catalogue.

So I started surfing around the Net, looking for a better fit, and found a guy named Kevin who’d written the perfect melody. When I clicked on the “download” link, I discovered that he didn’t charge for the use of his music. His exact words were, “This material is free for anyone to use for anything.”

See what I mean? Really good people, doing good things all the time. And you know what? The whole world is full of folks like this. They don’t make the News broadcasts here on Earth, but I’ll bet in Heaven, little kindnesses like these are at the top of the Six-O’Clock Report.

At any rate, thanks to these good peeps and others, that my new novel Hummingbird has just been released. 

The back-cover blurb goes like this:
“She feels like a misfit. Who is she? Where does she belong? Is she Lexa, Alexandra, or someone else?
Forced to commit a crime, she flees south of the Border–and a vindictive bounty hunter follows her.
Will she escape? Find redemption? Learn who she really is and where she belongs?
The answer lies hidden in a tiny seaside village where wandering hummingbirds rest their wings.”
It’s a sometimes sweet, sometimes scary, always fun and uplifting read I think you’ll enjoy. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks etc.
Here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Hummingbird-ebook/dp/B008QMSBW8 Thanks for checking it out!
David Stearman

Ministry Website: http://www.davidstearmanministries.org/

Monday, 27 August 2012

POLA MUZYKA TALKS ABOUT WRITING AND BELIEFS.








Hi there, fiction suspense lovers. My name is Pola Muzyka and I've been writing on-the-edge novels for quite some time now. Two of these novels are set to release this year in four volumes. Find them at Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and ebook stores throughout the world.

The release began with Abducted to Kill, Volume I, The Terror Regime. Purchase at Amazon: http://amzn.to/OAh1My or Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/NY7HDq or other fine ebooks stores.

See what AssistNews press has to say about me and my work: http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12080129.htm


Be on the lookout for three more books planned to release before fall falls. They are: Abducted to Kill, Volume II, Sleeper Cells; The Freedom Inside, Volume I, Delicate Cargo, and The Freedom Inside, Volume II, Sober Vigilance.
--------------------------
Today, I write about strongholds, but my life wasn't always this intense--it was worst. As an actress, model, and producer I was on the edge most of the time, so naturally my writing follows suit--it keeps you moving forward. My books, Stronghold Smasher Suspense, where faith and hope shine a light on evil, unravel some of the basic laws of spiritual defence. Hope you'll delve into them and discover how others overcome evil and how you, too, can be prepared for the unnatural disasters of this world while you learn about the world that lies beyond.

Okay, now onto the good stuff: I'm going to share something with you that I have been mulling over all week. We can only do so many things in life and when God guides us and we're in the right place at the right time, everything seems to fall together--maybe not in our time, but certainly in his.

On the other hand, when we feel good about something, it might not be good, particularly if it goes against God's word. Eventually whatever feels good that is against God will fail until or unless we get in line with His will. So here are five suggestions for you to be sure you're writing/doing what he wants you to be writing/doing and not writing/doing just what feels good.

1. God tugs at our heart strings. He knocks and knocks. What has he been knocking you out over lately? Believe me, if you are irritated or emotionally disturbed over something, he is knocking on your door to open up your heart to correct whatever it is.

2.  God prepares us in advance. What is he preparing you for? Have you noticed the same patterns in your life? Then it's time to write about it or tell about it somehow, somewhere.

3. God gives us the desires of our hearts if we are in Christ Jesus. What is your desire that lines up with His will? Move forward in doing it or writing about it.

4. What obstacles have you overcome? Books about victory are very popular. If you have suffered by the hands of someone or something, and have pushed through, then God wants you to share your formula for success in that area.

5. Do you consult with him? Believe me, when we submit to God and give it over to him--whatever it is--he does push, pull, and tweak us into victory in the area we might have avoided all our lives.

In conclusion, do submit to God, don't go against his will, and do give him thanks and praise whenever you see that tiny spark of victory. If you praise God in the small things, he will bring more and more good things into your life.

Don't forget to see my blog http://strongholdsmashers.com for more biblical advice on every aspect of life. Thanks for reading my work. God bless all y'all--that's Georgian for all of you. --Pola Muzyka

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Karen Anna Vogel talks about Amish friends who inspire her writing










Today I am delighted to welcome Karen Anna Vogel to my blog discussing her close connection to the Amish community.

What is your connection to the Amish?

 I live ½ hour away from Smicksburg, PA, a large Old Order Amish settlement. I shop at their stores and we hired Amish men to help remodel our century old farmhouse. It’s been fifteen years of remodeling, (still not done…) so we got to know many men and their families. On their breaks, they love to talk and swap stories, and I always have 1001 questions, ranging from “Do you grow celery for weddings?”(They had no idea what I was talking about) to “Do you read the Bible?” (Yes, they do, KJV)
I became good friends with Lydia, (Katie Byler in Knit Together) after buying so many plants from her greenhouses, and “Granny” while taking lots of people to her quilt shop. (Granny wishes to be completely anonymous) She is Granny Weaver in Amish Knitting Circle, Amish Friends Knitting Circle, Amish Doll and Knit Together.  

When did your fascination with Amish culture start?  

In my mid-20’s my husband and I moved to Upstate New York. There are many Amish in rural New York, and we became friends with a handicapped man, Harry Hershberger, and his wife, Katie. (Eli and Lottie Hershberger in Knit Together) His buggy was hit as a young man, after the birth of their daughter and the Amish build a variety store on the side of his house. My four kids loved to go in and get coloring books, and we all got to know Harry from our regular visits. He had some use of his hands and made quilts, and I took them to festivals.
 One day he told me I was a trusted English friend, and invited me into their food co-op. When I moved back home to Pennsylvania fourteen years later, the Amish in Smicksburg knew Harry & Katie. Since I was a trusted friend to them, they trusted me. Once you’re a trusted friend, it’s like having an all access pass into their lives it seems. They readily open up, and if you’re one of them.  Once I was chatting with a woman and her husband came home from work, and he never met me before. He looked at her sternly, and she said, “Friends with Harry Hershberger in NY” and he smiled at me and nodded in approval.

Tell us about your novels and continuing short stories.

My novels out now are stand-alone stories, but are all called Amish Knitting Novels. Knit Together and The Amish Doll are set in different locations, but they both focus on healing through knitting and faith in Christ.
Continuing shorts have made quite a comeback. Anne of Green Gables, Pickwick Papers, and Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford series were all weekly serials in newspapers. My shorts come out every 3 weeks. Amish Knitting Circle started with Granny inviting five women from her church district to a knitting circle to knit shawls for tornado victims in Joplin, MO. She invites women she has inkling are hiding problems. Granny spins yarn and feels women are stronger spun together, and by the end of 10 episodes, you see how much they needed each other.
Amish Friends Knitting Circle is about Granny and her girls having a knitting circle with friends from the Smicksburg Baptist Church. It’s been lots of fun to write, since I take lines right out of my own conversations with the Amish.

What are your readers saying about your books?

Since I deal with cancer, infertility, spousal abuse and other women’s issues, women tell me they are finding help and comfort, especially through Amish Knitting Circle and Amish Friends Knitting Circle.  Some women are starting knitting or craft circles, spreading the message that we’re stronger as women, spun together. Also, Knit Together is semi-autobiographical. I wrote if after losing my mom and two cousins in 13 months. So it deals with grief and it seems to be ministering to people. The complete Serenity Prayer is in the book, and different parts of the prayer are prayed by different characters. It helped bring healing to me, and I hope it does the same for my readers.

Where can readers find your books and connect with you? 

You can contact me at www.karenannavogel.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karen.a.vogel.9 

My blog, Amish Crossings, is meant to be a place to cross paths with others interested in the Amish or simple living. Please join me there at www.karenannavogel.blogspot.com I also share my Amish photography on Pinterest, and you can follow me on Twitter @karenannavogel.

My eBooks can be found on Amazon, B&N, Sony, and anywhere eBooks are sold. My paperback, Knit Together and The Amish Doll, are on Amazon for now, but soon to be distributed to brick and mortar stores and other websites. 
Our family store, Thrifty Christian Shopper, www.thriftychristian.com  (Also on EBay and Amazon) will carry the paperbacks as well. You also might find them in your local library. Ask the librarian to get a copy if they don’t have one.

Monday, 20 August 2012

LINDA RONDEAU TALKS DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE



What is Dystopian Literature?

When I set out to write the America II trilogy, I wasn’t thinking in terms of a genre, especially not a genre within a genre. Sci-fi-speculative-futuristic-political-thriller-dystopian and all those labels were something I hadn’t anticipated. I merely entertained the idea: If societal trends that exist today continue full speed ahead, what would the world look like in 2073?
Then someone reviewed my book and called it dystopian. Someone else said it reminded them a little of Hunger Games, a book I hadn’t even read. I’ve heard other writers refer to their book in the same manner. So I did some research, and sure enough, America II falls within the definition of Dystopian Literature, although, it really is vastly different than Hunger Games, though it does contain some of the elements commonly seen in Dystopian books.

With the onset of the wildly popular The Hunger Games, dystopian literature is now the fastest growing preference in young adult fiction. Some experts argue the reason is because today’s young people are disaffected with today’s culture. They see little hope on the horizon.

Such was the climate of George Orwell’s 1984, written in 1948, a poignant story of a totalitarian government, a few years following the end of World War II. People were frightened of the growth of communism as well as the advent of the Atomic bomb. Hysteria and fear were rampant. World War II vets, returning from their service, could not get jobs.

C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, written post World War II, also explores this loss of hope in the world as it is an allegory of the fall of mankind. Narnia was once Utopia (The Garden of Eden) but became Dystopia, ruled by an evil Snow Queen.

With a stagnant economy, housing crunch, and wide unemployment, not just in America but world-wide, I wonder if we have not grown into another aura of paranoia regarding our future.  Hence, the resurgent popularity of Dystopian topics.

Dystopia is derived from the Ancient Greek and means a bad place. By definition, Dystopia is the opposite of Utopia which is a derivative of the Greek word meaning place and sounds like the English homophone (eutopia) which is derived from the Greek to mean good or well. In combination then, Utopia, has come to mean a good place. Utopia is often thought of as Heaven on earth, paradise today, where the world lives in peace and no one dies of hunger. Where there is no such thing as crime. In the classic, The Time Machine, a scientist creeps into the future to see if the world can cure its ills. He stumbles upon a seeming Utopia until he realizes human beings are being raised as food for underground monsters.

According to Wikipedia, Dystopian literature has these in common: idea of a society, generally of a speculative future, characterized by negative, anti-utopian elements, varying from environmental to political and social issues.
Most Dystopian themes will characterize society as oppressive or totalitarian. While the world seems dark and unappealing to the reader, the minor characters or society sees nothing wrong with the way things are. There is generally a character or characters that is dissatisfied and wants things to change. Therein is the conflict, the character pitted against society, like Don Quixote, flailing his sword at windmills.
Other classic dystopian literature includes: Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, and The Iron Heel.
Unlike most Dystopian themes, and more like Chronicles of Narnia, America II: The Reformation offers hope for an improved society. It also reminds the reader of God’s continued interest and involvement in the affairs of His creation.

A native of Central New York, Linda Rondeau met and married Steve Rondeau, her best friend in life, and managed a career in human services before tackling professional writing. After thirty-four years of marriage, they have relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, leaving rural America to live in a city of one million.

While writing is her greatest passion, the more favorable temperatures of Florida allow her to follow another great passion--golf.
Linda is the wife of one patient man, the mother of three, and the grandmother of nine.
An award winning author, L.W. Rondeau first book, The Other Side of Darkness (written under Linda Wood Rondeau), released Fall 2012, and won the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel. America II: The Reformation is L.W.’s debut sci-fi book and is the first of a futuristic, political thriller trilogy. A prequel is planned in the form of serial editions.
America II: TheReformation is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
You can reach L.W. through Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Linked In. Soon to be on PInterest. 
Or visit L.W.’s website: http://www.lindarondeau.com
            This Daily Grind


Monday, 13 August 2012

SUSANNA CARR TALKING TO ABOUT THE FIRST KISS IN A NOVEL

Hi Charlotte,
Thank you for inviting me to post on your blog.
Susanna
 
First Kiss
 
It doesn't matter if the romance story is sweet or spicy--the first kiss is always an important event! That kiss sets the tone of the relationship and it often says something about the hero and heroine. It is a symbol of the dreams and conflicts they face.
For example, the first kiss in my Harlequin Blaze is very different from the first kiss in my Harlequin Presents. Blazes are known for being red-hot reads, but that doesn't mean the book will start off with a kiss. In Suddenly Sexy, my Harlequin Blaze, Julie doesn't make the first move on Eric until chapter three! And when she does, she is struggle with many emotions:
 
Julie's heart pounded against her chest as she grazed her mouth against his. She thought she would feel brazen at this moment. Instead she was nervous, not knowing if Eric was going to reject her.
 
She placed her hands on his shoulders and deepened the kiss. He tasted good. Hot, male and dangerous.
 
Eric didn't respond. She wanted one more taste before he pulled away. With the dart of her tongue, Julie traced the lines of his mouth, encouraging him to part his lips.
 
She heard Eric groan, felt the rumble in his chest. He reached out and Julie was sure he would push her away. Instead he grabbed her waist, his hands bunching her dress in his fists.
 
Julie wasn't sure why he wasn't tumbling her into his arms or, worse, setting her aside. When she felt the tremor in his shoulders, she understood. He was trying to hang on to the last shred of restraint.
 
She understood it because she felt the same way. But she wasn't going to hold back any longer.
Julie thrust her tongue into Eric's warm mouth and boldly explored. When Eric sucked her in deep, Julie moaned with pleasure.
 
The sound of her voice shattered the last of his resistance. He vaulted from his chair and pressed her body against his. Eric speared his hands through her hair, holding her still before he plunged his tongue into her mouth.
 
This kiss says a lot about Julie. She wants Eric but is afraid to make the first move. It starts off soft and exploratory before it explodes into something wild.
In The Tarnished Jewel of Jazaar, my Harlequin Presents, the hero instigates the first kiss. Zoe and Nadir have just married but they are strangers. The motivation for this kiss is anything but romantic. Nadir must create an instant bond with his new wife. What better way than with a kiss? But from Zoe's point of view, a kiss is too dangerous.
 
It was too late. Nadir had been a threat from the moment he touched her. She didn't think she had ever longed for a man's touch, hungered for a kiss, as much as she did at this moment.
 
Her defenses couldn't crumble. She would not let him get too close. Her future depended on it.
 
Nadir cradled her face with his hands and covered her mouth with his.
 
Wild desire exploded inside her. It rushed through her veins and she melted against him. She had never been kissed like this before.
 
Nadir's kiss claimed. Dominated. She couldn't surrender to him. She couldn't let him find out the truth about her. Zoe knew she shouldn't let this seduction continue, but somehow she parted her lips and allowed him to thrust his tongue deep into her mouth. She returned the kiss and was instantly swept away.
 
Sensations overwhelmed her and she clung to Nadir's shoulders. Her hands crushed the luxurious fabric of his dishdasha and she drew him closer. She wanted more, so much more.
 
Zoe ignored her growing sense of alarm until she heard Nadir's groan. She couldn't tame the instant attraction that had flared between them. Nadir was too sensual, too dangerous. She broke the kiss and turned her head away swiftly.
 
 
The kiss doesn't go as planned for Nadir. He wants to deepen the intimacy but Zoe draws away. She can't get close to Nadir and is surprised by the growing attraction.
 
First kisses are as different as the romance couple. A first kiss might appear in chapter one or at the very end of the story. But when it happens, it means something. It's a special moment. When the hero and heroine kiss, it changes everything.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

VAMPIRE STATE OF MIND BY JANE LOVERING





Jane Lovering's 'Vampire State of Mind'

This for me is a vampire novel with a difference. The opening is unusual in it's self giving us the history of the vampires using a wiki style page. Then we are introduced to our heroine Jessie Grant who runs a tracker program for York Council making sure they know where all the Otherworlders are at all times.

Quick comments will having you laughing out loud leaving your family wondering what your laughing at as mine did.

Sil our hero is an Alien and someone who in Jessie's job they  need to keep an eye on but all doesn't go to plan and she falls in love. Its great to see the two battle their feeling. Having a connection to each other as Sil knows when Jessie is thinking of him. Knowing your different and wanting acceptance in the world happens today in the real world and this book does make you think of that gulf and if it will ever change

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would and will be giving it a second reading. It is totally different from other books of the same genre.

5 out of 5