Monday, November 30, 2009

Blog Tour: Love Finds You in Lonesome Praire, Montana

*Fall in Love with Lonesome Prairie Contest*

Summerside Press offers a line of romance novels based on American towns and cities with fun names and interesting histories called Love Finds You. Authors Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss offer up Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana.

Tricia is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the American Christian Fiction Writers' (ACFW) Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Ocieanna is a published writer and edited six of Tricia's historical novels.

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana is the second book I read in the Love Finds You series. In 1889, Julia Cavanaugh rides the orphan train to deliver girls in her care to new families. After the final stop in Montana, Julia plans to head back east. But when she gets to Lonesome Prairie, she discovers she has been purchased as a "bride" by a miner.

The authors do a good job at bringing Lonesome Prairie to life, weaving together the realities of orphan trians, mail-order brides, circuit preachers and the isolation of life on the prairie. Besides Julia's dilemma, there are interesting subplots that move the story along.

For a glimpse inside the book, you can read the first chapter.

Enter the Fall in Love with Lonesome Prairie Contest and win a Montana Gift Basket!

To enter, fill out the entry form. The winner will be announced on December 14. The basket includes:
  • winter fleece throw
  • huckleberry chocolate bar
  • Paula Dean candle
  • Montana ball cap
  • Montana apron
  • Montana greeting card set
  • and more!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Quotes by Famous Writers

“This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”—Psalm 118:24 NASB

Aesop (620 BC560 BC): "Gratitude is the sign of noble souls."

Alexander Pope (1688–1744):

"Our rural ancestors, with little blest,

Patient of labour when the end was rest,

Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,

With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain."

Ambrose Bierce (18421914): "Turkey: A large bird whose flesh, when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude."

Anne Frank (19291945): "I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy."

Cicero (106 BC–43 BC): "A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues."

E.E. Cummings (18941962): "I thank you God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of the trees and a blue dream of sky."

E.P. Powell (18321915): "Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude."

Epictetus (55–135): "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749 –1832): "If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that. But how often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that?"

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892): "Ah! On Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,

From North and South, come the pilgrim and guest,

When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board

The old broken links of affection restored,

When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,

And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.

What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?

What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?"

John Henry Jowett (1864–1923): "Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road."

Irving Berlin (1888–1989): "Got no check books, got no banks. Still I'd like to express my thanks - I got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night."

Mark Twain (1835–1910): "Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments."

O. Henry (18621910): "There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882): "For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882): "I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new."

Robert Burns (17591796): "Some hae meat and canna eat, - And some wad eat that want it; But we hae meat, and we can eat, Sae let the Lord be thank it."

Sadi (12131291): "Once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes I came to the chief of Kufah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience."

Sir John Templeton (1912–2008): "How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child's personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people."

William Faulkner (18971962): "Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Writing Stocking Stuffer—New Year’s Resolution Writing Tools

“Every hardship; every joy; every temptation is a challenge of the spirit; that the human soul may prove itself. The great chain of necessity wherewith we are bound has divine significance; and nothing happens which has not some service in working out the sublime destiny of the human soul.”—Henry Fielding

Will 2010 be the year you’ll start or finish that book or article you’ve always wanted to write? Do the words “New Year’s resolution” remind you of a ball and chain? The Jerry Seinfield red marker and one-year calendar system may change your writing and idea about a chain.

The Jerry Seinfield School of Writing New Year’s Resolution Writing Tip


Years ago Brad Isaac, a software developer, asked Jerry for tips for a young comic. The advice Jerry gave Brad applies to writing, exercising, or any other New Year's goal you set out to accomplish.

Stocking Stuffer: Large wall calendar, red magic marker, hanger

How to Use Your Stocking Stuffer: Hang the calendar in a conspicuous place. Each day that you write, mark a huge red, satisfying X from each corner of the daily box on your calendar. Set a goal to write for one week, then two, then 30 days. Is the goal to write for 3-4 hours or one hour? Nope! Give yourself permission to write ten minutes a day. The constant crimson chain compensates your craving for more X’s.

Top Ten Ways to Earn Your X’s


1. Write.

2. Write every day, even on holidays.

3. Write when you want to write.

4. Write when you feel like skipping a day.

5. Write about every hardship, joy and temptation.

6. Write about every challenge to your spirit.

7. Write so that your soul may prove itself.

8. Write so that the great red chain of necessity—writing—binds you to divine significance.

9. Write when nothing happens.

10. Write to work out the sublime destiny of your soul.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Reality of Rejection

Photo by baikahl/StockXchange.com

If you hang around writers, you know the topic of rejection comes up.

It's our least favorite thing to talk about--but, talk about it we do. We tell each other when we get rejection letters. Maybe we forward them to our critique partners. Or we compare rejection tallies--battle scars, as it were.

A writing buddy shared that she got a rejection letter -- and several writing friends (me, included) rallied around her with e-mail shouts of, "You can do it!" and "We believe in you!" and "Rejection is all part of the writing game!"

I went sleuthing on the Internet and found a post on Rejecting Rejection by author James Scott Bell. (I've got a fun James Scott Bell story--but that's another post!) He starts with a story about, of all things, a matador:

The writer Barnaby Conrad tells the story of a matador, all decked out in his "suit of lights," talking to a group of reporters outside the arena.

One reporter asks,"How did you happen to become a bullfighter?"

The matador replied," I took up bullfighting because of the uncertainty of being a writer."

Bell then goes on to list a few things writers need to keep in mind when we get a "thumbs down" from an editor, agent or publisher:
  1. Rejection is not personal.
  2. Rejection happens to the best.
  3. Rejection can point the way.
  4. Rejection is not final.

I would probably add a fifth thing to remember: Rejection is not optional. But, to best handle that reality, I need to remember James Scott Bell's four points!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend

The New Oxford American Dictionary made it's annual Word of the Year announcement on Nov. 17 on the Oxford University Press blog. And the winner is: unfriend.

Unfriend means to remove someone as a "friend" on a social networking site such as Facebook.
Example: I had to unfriend my roommate after we had a fight.

So, why is "unfriend" the 2009 Word of the Year?

"It has both currency and potential longevity," according to Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford's U.S. dictionary program.

Other words that were in the running for the top word in 2009:
  • hashtag -- a way to unite global Tweets around some particular topic
  • netbook -- a small, light and inexpensive laptop computer
  • sexting -- when teens use their cell phones to send sexual messages and/or naked photos of themselves to their boyfriends or girlfriends
  • funemployed -- being unemployed, and yet having lots of time to do fun things during normal working hours
  • choice mom -- a woman who chooses to be a single mother
  • deleb -- a dead celebrity
Any words you think should have been considered for Word of the Year?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Looking for Old Wives’ Tales or Superstitions to Weave into your Fiction?

“I cannot tell how the truth may be; I say the tale as 'twas said to me.”—Walter Scott

Fiction and wives’ tales, what a perfect marriage. Both not real, but both tell a story. Does your novel feature the local neighborhood gossip that takes a shred of truth and twists it so out of shape that reality is no longer recognizable?

Help her pass on superstitious folklore, bizarre beliefs, taboos, omens, plus good and bad luck in all seriousness and concern.

From birth to marriage to death, the websites below offer interesting stories and ideas.


Superstitions A–Z

More old wives’ tales from A–Z

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Getting to The End" with Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot, author of more than 25 novels, knows more than a thing or two about "Getting to The End." Her journey to publication took several unexpected turns. She planned for writing to be a second profession and majored in French in college. After graduation, Amanda's temporary computer programming job became a successful career in Information Technology. But readers are thankful she left I.T. to write full-time. Her latest release, Paper Roses, a historical romance with a strong suspense thread, is a page-turning pre-Civil War story set in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. During a recent trip to San Antonio, Amanda shared her writing strategies with the Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers.

The Key to Success: Writing MUST be your #1 priority.


Amanda believes understanding is the first step toward mastery. Before understanding complicated characters charts or the complexities of the publishing industry, as an author, you must first understand yourself. Ask tough questions:

--Why do you write?
--Why is this the book of your dreams?
--What is keeping you from finishing it?

Next, analyze your personality, productivity, and present use of time. It's more than a matter of being a morning lark vs. a night owl. Record your use of time and productivity for an entire week. Using a timer, record half-hour increments. Your objective is to understand yourself, when you'll likely write your best, and what's keeping you from writing.


Now you must establish priorities and change old habits. Cabot cites William Bridges' Four P's of successful change.
--Purpose. What do you hope to accomplish?
--Picture. Create written goals and "real" pictures like a mock-up of your book cover.
--Plan. Establish a realistic schedule with small, manageable tasks.
--Part. Develop a support group. Your success requires more than you.

Accept that you can't do everything. The time to write is not free. What sacrifices are you willing to make? You'll have to decide what won't get done. For example, Amanda might forgo a picnic with her family in order to meet a writing deadline.

Organization. Advice from the experts:
Marilyn Paul:
--A place for everything & everything in its place.
--Establish a filing system using the KISS principle.
--Learn how much time each task takes, include transition time.
--Schedule "unscheduled" time.
Stephen Covey:
--Substitute weekly organization for daily planning.
Brian Tracy:
--Work from a prioritized task list.
Amanda Cabot:
--Find your own writing space.
--Prepare to write. Have your materials ready. Reread you last scene or refresh your memory of your last scene before bed, commuting, exercising, etc.
--Don't leave home without it. (your chapter, scene, ten pages.)

--Schedule a time to write every day.
--Remember: 5 minutes is better than none.
--Remind yourself that writing is your #1 priority.
--Optimize research time.
--Remind friends you are working.
--Use your answering machine.
--Consider e-mail a reward.

You need personal and professional support groups. Don't underestimate the internal support process. You'll need to learn to write even when the muse is missing in action, learn to survive rejection and to re-energize yourself.

After successfully applying Amanda's principles, you'll finally type those magic words: "The End." Celebrate!

Cabot's References

Blanchard, Ken and Gottry, Steve, The On-Time, On-Target Manager
Bridges, William, Managing Transitions
Covey, Stephen R., The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Kroger, Otto and Thuesen, Janet M., Type Talk
Paul, Marilyn, It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys
Tracy, Brian, Time Power

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I do not like to write - I like to have written.

~Gloria Steinem (This is my sentiment, exactly!)

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

A metaphor is like a simile. ~Author Unknown

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O'Brien

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window. ~Burton Rascoe

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

And finally--

Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

Hope you're busy writing during National Novel Writing Month! It's still not too late to start, but you must be finished by November 30th.

~ Roxanne Sherwood

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Save $99 on Fiction Marketing Seminar Registration

"The fact is, everyone is in sales. Whatever area you work in, you do have clients and you do need to sell."—Jay Abraham

Does trying to market your fiction space you out? Agent Chip MacGregor and longtime marketing specialist Jim Rubart are presenting a two-day seminar on marketing your fiction November 20-21, in Dallas, TX and December 4-5 in Indianapolis, IN. The goal of this seminar is for each novelist to walk away with a unique marketing plan for his or her upcoming book.

Here are a few things this seminar will offer

  • What a novelist’s brand is, how to, discover it, and how to establish it.
  • Five things you can do to become your publisher’s favorite author (and get extra help because of it.)
  • What you should expect from your publisher, and what you shouldn’t.
  • How get the maximum impact out of social media, your Web site and your blog.
  • The seven keys to great ad copy, and how you can use those keys to get free (or nearly free) advertising.
  • How to find new, untapped markets for your books.
  • Three strategies for working successfully with an outside publicist.
  • Most importantly, we'll show you how to create and implement your own, personalized marketing plan to make your novel stand out in a crowded marketplace.
  • Discover the philosophy behind WHY to do certain things to think like a marketer.

The cost is normally $499, but for these first two seminars they’ve decided to charge $399. To register, go to the The Masters Seminars website. To attend for $300 (a $99 savings) you must mention this post on Chip's blog. Space is limited.