We actually had snow a few weeks ago (this pic is in my yard). However, it looks like we'll have a warmer Christmas with highs in the 50's. Wherever you are, whatever your situation, I pray you all enjoy a beautiful holiday season.
It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page. Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.
DECEMBER QUESTION: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?
MY ANSWER: I would take a few more chances. I let fear and naysayers keep me from trying something new, and from a few submission opportunities I had. My confidence took a hit this year, and I'm trying to get back on the writing horse with some new goals. I hope you won't give up either. What would you do differently?
Colors of Christmasoffers two contemporary stories celebrating the hope of Christmas:
Christmas in Blue Angela just wants Christmas to be over. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration, and everything goes from bad to worse. Can she rescue Christmas for the town—and herself? Christmas in Gold When eighty-year-old Astrid moves into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up Christmas hope one more time.
In Your Dream. God's Plan., Tiffany Smiling invites readers to join her as she shares the unlikely purpose she discovered when God invited her to exchange her dream for His. Her story will challenge readers to experience true contentment now by trading in comparison, discontent, and fears of inadequacy for a satisfaction that lasts. In 365 Classic Bedtime Bible Stories your children or grandchildren will delight in this fully-illustrated storybook that brings 365 read-aloud classic Bible stories to life for impressionable young hearts.
Beginning with the creation story, "God Creates the Earth," and ending with "In Eternity with God,” your children will develop faith in an almighty God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, while journeying alongside Bible characters like Samuel, Jonah, Esther, David, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and many more. Through current cultural references and true stories, Daniel Rice, founder of #Gospel LLC, will help readers come to see the gospel for what it really is and how it can radically alter their everyday life. Rice invites them into the conversation as he breaks down Paul’s explanation of the gospel in Romans in a way that is accessible and engaging. #Gospel. . .good news for a time and culture that desperately need it. Prayers for a Heart-Shaped Life is a beautiful prayer book from Barbour Publishing which features more than 200 prayers that will inspire readers to draw closer to their heavenly Father as they spend time in quiet conversation with Love Himself. Each refreshing prayer and related scripture selection will help readers discover the best path to the good life. . .which is LOVE. What books do you recommend reading this holiday season?
Donate to BREAST CANCER AWARENESS when you buy 12 Christmas Stories for 99 cents!
Kim Hornsby and Top 10 Press published this 12 book box set of romances (from sweet to spicy). AND there is a cookbook at the end of it...and ALL for only 99 cents! Part of the proceeds from this collection are going to benefit Cancer Research Programs.
Many of the authors in this group have been touched in some way by this terrible disease, but are choosing a proactive approach by contributing to this fundraiser.
The season of Mistletoe and Christmas Cookies is almost upon us and they are proud to bring you 12 Holiday Romances! Snuggle up by the fire and enjoy this season like never before. From Sweet to Sizzling, From Maui to Washington DC, all of these Romances have page turning love stories. CHRISTMAS RECIPE BOOK INCLUDES COOKIES, TURKEY, APPETIZERS, AND MORE...
Crista McHugh - Let Your Heart Be Light Falling for her late husband’s boss will either lead to delight or heartache for Maureen Kelly.
Jami Davenport - Love at First Snow Dr. Sarah Whitney opens her animal hospital to a tough athlete with a needy kitten and a soft side.
Kathi Daley - The Cat of Christmas Past Softening a heart and saving a group of tenants, leads to an unsolved mystery with the help of Ebenezer, the cat.
Misty Evans/Adrienne Giordano - Holiday Justice Uncovering a theft ring of Christmas toys, Grey wants justice without ruining Christmas for Sydney’s women’s shelter.
Allie Boniface - Miracle of Love A blizzard and dire circumstances throw friends Mick and Annie together to either fall in love or separate for good.
Rebecca J. Clark - Christmas in Stilettos A marriage of convenience, a temporary situation. Christmas is a time for love. And miracles.
Kim Hornsby - Maui Kalikimaka Lena needs a Christmas distraction and Kalani needs accommodation. Christmas on Maui brings both, and then some.
Tess Thompson - The Santa Trial Duty throws Rena into the jury box to judge the case of a Santa impersonator, and discover someone she never expected.
Savanna Grey - Picture Perfect Holiday As an independent photographer, Lindsay doesn’t want commitment but sexy as sin, Luke Davis soon proves her wrong.
Lori Leger - Tinseled Up In Texas Will Niki Reeves find enough Christmas spirit to grant Tex Broussard the gift of a second chance?
Jacki Delecki - A Marine's Christmas Wedding Mission over, two Marines who posed as a married couple can't seem to shake the idea of love.
Carmine Anderson - One Step Over The Mistletoe Line Claire needs secluded time to think over a marriage proposal when a handsome neighbor appears at her cabin door.
It's Thanksgiving season here in the United States. This holiday often gets overlooked in America because everyone is in such a hurry to get to the Christmas festivities. However, it's still one of my favorite holidays. This is a special time to celebrate your loved ones, friends, fortunes, and good food.
As a thank-you to my readers and fellow bloggers, I wanted to share a short Thanksgiving romantic fiction piece I wrote (about 800 words). I hope you enjoy!
stepped back after placing the last dish upon the table. The smell of roasted
turkey filled the air. Her customary dressing, green beans, rolls, and
chocolate chip cookies sat nearby. Why had she thought cooking a full Thanksgiving
meal would make her feel better?
stung, “It’s just the onions,” she whispered to the empty room. For the first
time in more than twenty years her home was quiet on this holiday.
I’ll just watch an old movie, maybe
read a good book, and enjoy all this food. At least leftovers will mean I won’t
have to leave the house on Black Friday.
at the door startled her.
walked quickly to the side window to peek out. Who on earth…
she swung the door wide. “I thought you would be in Louisiana with your
daughter and her family?”
too. Her husband called early this morning. She and the girls have the flu.”
grunted his agreement and then took in the scene at the table. “I’m sorry if
I’ve interrupted. I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving.”
you’re not interrupting. You’re staying for a proper Thanksgiving. I hope
you’re hungry.” She pulled Bill further into the room so she could close the
door behind him.
look of relief crossed his face before he smiled at her. His smile soon turned
to a light chuckle.
reached out a large callused hand and cupped her cheek briefly before wiping
her nose and chin with his thumb. Sensations jolted through her and it was all
she could do to prevent herself from leaning into him.
his voice seemed somehow thicker when he removed a white powdered hand from her
laughed nervously. Why did she feel anxious and giddy? She had known Bill for
years. He was the best neighbor a single mother could hope for. His daughter
was a few years older than her two girls. Bill had already been a widow when she
moved here. He helped her keep her house in working order, and she had helped
his daughter with more feminine tasks such as picking out prom dresses, shoe
shopping, and boy gossip. Since those earliest days, they had all been good
the girls were all grown. His daughter with a family of her own, and both of
her girls were off to college, the youngest having just left in September.
Grace shook her head to dispel the sadness.
wash up. Then we can eat.”
they ate, they visited about changes to each family over the years.
you ever think about getting remarried?” he asked her later over cookies and
don’t know if I could. You?”
something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.”
stared into his grey eyes with the familiar laugh lines around the edges. He
was so very attractive. She felt a tinge of something she couldn’t quite
identify and she frowned.
she drew out the word before continuing. “Honestly, I’ve been a little
surprised that someone hasn’t lassoed you yet. I just assumed you were a
have been, but now I’m hoping to be committed to someone.”
unease spread through her limbs. I bet
it’s Ms. Hanks from church. She’s always doting on him, bringing casseroles and
pies by his house. She should probably be happy for the two of them, but
somehow she felt something closer to jealousy and anger. He had been a part of
her life for so long now. She had come to rely on Bill, and expect him to be
around. She was being selfish and he was staring at her intently. “I’ll clean
up while you turn on the television. The Cowboys game should be starting soon.”
he grabbed her hand when she started to rise. She fell back into her chair,
unable to meet his gaze. “The truth is, I’ve been committed to this woman for a
long time now, but I was afraid she wasn’t ready.”
looked up when he didn’t say anything more. He still held her hand and seemed
to be waiting for her to speak. She swallowed hard before offering a smile.
“Don’t worry, Bill. I’m sure she’ll accept.”
shock must have been obvious. He squeezed her hand.
I’ve been thankful every day since you moved in that you were a part of my
life. We practically raised our girls together. I love you and I want you by my
side for the rest of our days.”
took a moment to find her voice, but the anxiety evident in his eyes helped. “I
love you too, and I’ll be thankful every day I get to be your wife.”
Thank-you to all veterans and active military. We may not show it enough, but you are so very appreciated!
A few years ago my interview of Vietnam War Veteran and author Tim O’Brien appeared in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 2. Since then, the publishers have continued the tradition of supporting our troops.
This yearly anthology presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families. It is an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council's Veterans Projects and the Warriors Arts Alliance.
"The stories and poems of service and sacrifice are essential in understanding what has so broadly been termed 'the American experience.' For me, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors is required reading and worthy of a thousand tears." ―St. Leger Monty Joynes, veteran, Vietnam
Books can now be ordered from the Southeast Missouri State University Press and Amazon.
Interested in submitting to Volume 7? They are already accepting submissions which are due by June 1, 2018. Contests and prizes will be awarded in each of the five categories. To learn more, please visit: http://www.semopress.com/events/proud-to-be-writing-by-american-warriors/
Interested in more "support America" reads? Chicken Soup for the Soul publishers have several books honoring veterans and their families as well. Try some of their titles such as: Military Families and The Spirit of America.
About a month ago I wrote a post called Crafting the Villain. In it, I mentioned the three types of villains I
found most interesting and briefly discussed my own goals in creating better
Today, I thought I would share three goals I’ve been attempting to
follow when fleshing out my manuscripts this month.
the villain purpose – their goal should be noble in their own minds and both
believable and understandable if not outright condoned by the reader. They can’t
just exist to be against the hero. Why are these two on opposing sides? What led
them to make the villainous choices? Are they a more noble villain such as
Robin Hood who steals from the rich to save the poor? Or are they motivated by
betrayal such as in the Disney reimagining of Maleficient? Remember, your
villain believes they are in the right. Making their intentions logical and relatable
even when corrupt or unjust creates a complicated and interesting situation. The
lines between good and evil will blur. The reader may well find themselves
rooting for the villains success even as they root for the hero to prevail.
them human – even if they possess out of this world powers or abilities, they
should be relatable. They have emotions, quirks, and struggles, just like your
other characters. No one was always 100% evil. Think about Anakin Skywalker: “there
is still good in him”. Or Frankenstein’s monster. Even after the most hideous
crimes, they were still capable of a selfless act and audiences wanted them to
succeed. Why? Because they were relatable. Their loneliness, depression, and mistakes
endeared them to us. If your villain is a group instead of an individual,
choose an individual to represent the larger corporation or government body.
That representative becomes your humanizing influence.
them create conflict – of course intentionally, but I like the idea of
unintentional as well. Whether your antagonist is simply a liar and a cheat, or
an outright mass murderer, decide early on how they contradict the hero’s
goal(s). Then decide how badly your villain craves their own goal? Is it enough
to hurt a few others, unlimited numbers, or even their own loved ones? Every
villain has something or someone they care about and would save. What is your
villain’s? What happens when their goal costs them what they treasure most? Think
of Loki after his mother dies.
Most writers focus on how the stakes affect the
hero, but what about the stakes for the villain? How do these circumstances
affect their loved ones, or the fate of the world? Great villains are just as
complicated, relatable, and even likable as the heroes. That’s what makes them memorable.
November is here, and we are preparing for Thanksgiving in the United States. You can read my article Hassle Free Thanksgiving Planning in the November issue of Thrive. However, this also means Christmas is right around the corner. Many people, and especially stores, seem to gloss right over Thanksgiving and head straight into the Christmas season. Hallmark channels are already playing Christmas movies 24/7 - and yes I'm one of the sappy females already watching and recording them. My house may be decorated for Thanksgiving now, but I am also enjoying several Christmas books as well. I would like to recommend a new release: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas.
A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger...and love?
England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.
But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.
Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.
What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.
Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series--a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale--by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite. Reminiscent of an Agatha Christie book, this tale is a quick and moderately enjoyable read. Fans of the movies Murder by Death and Clue may enjoy it as well. This book started out strong, but about half way through it some of the circumstances and character reasoning no longer worked for me. I didn't feel as strong a connection to the atmosphere or people in the second half of the book. Characters and situations became too predictable, and the ending was only moderately satisfying and believable. An interesting twist happens, but I never felt like that was fully fleshed out. This was still a light and somewhat enjoyable read that I think others may enjoy. The cover design and packaging were beautifully appropriate to the genre of the book. Overall, I would give this story 3.5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review Are you preparing for Thanksgiving, and/or enjoying the beginnings of the Christmas season?