Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another Busy DAy

Today has been another busy day. This morning I had an appoint for my check-up with the oral surgeon. It went very well. I still have stitches, but they will dissolve in a few days.

I am helping a friend direct a wedding on the 18th of this month. After seeing the oral surgeon, my daughter and I went shopping. I needed a pair of nice dress shoes, black, and something nice to wear to the wedding. We hit the jackpot. The shoes are so comfortable and I found a nice shirt and sweater to wear to the wedding and through the rest of the summer, the fall and winter. I came away a happy camper.

Today I found I am now a part of Examiner.com. I am the Nashville Quilting Examiner. Quilting has always been something I enjoyed to do and I am looking forward to see the how's and what's of the quilting world. Please check this out and leave a comment. I am excited about my first article.

Now, I have to get to work. I haven't touched Callie in over a week, so I must get busy. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Things Happening Here

The sounds of hammers and saws are booming in my ears this morning. It is good. We are finally getting our closet built. It's just a small one, 12'x12', but needed drastically.

My parents did not have much closet space and each season, my poor mother took her out of season clothes down the stairs to the basement to store them until the next season.

I have a tendency of falling when I go down the stairs. So far I have not been injured badly, but there is always the first time. With that in mind, we decided to build a closet to store all of our clothes. I don't consider myself a clothes hog, but I do have a good closet full. Not only will I have clothes, but a place to iron or steam and a place for my sewing machine. I only have three machines, but I won't have to drag them to the kitchen table to sew anymore.

My daughter and I are going the the archives today to search for more Melungeon relatives. I have some research to do on my next book also. It will be a fun working time together.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tips on Writing

If I am not a dedicated reader, I cannot write. Reading tells me all kinds of things about a writer and their dedication. If they are trying to make you feel their thoughts, they write in a way you will understand what they are talking about.

This has been one of the most difficult parts of my journey into writing. I have taken a few wrong turns and gotten way off track. Part of what I have written makes no sense in my book and I am seeing that now.

When I get off track, I read a book by an author who I know is good. Right now I am reading Anathema by Colleen Coble. I am learning from her how to write mysteries. Don't know if I ever want to write a mystery, but I may sometime. I like the way she sticks with the character and you feel you know Hannah. You also feel her fears and guilt. So far, I am enjoying this style of writing.

We all have our own style or voice. I think I am coming into mine, but I do know it will take several books before it gets there. I can wait and learn more.

I will agree that the craft books are great, but I learn more from others when I read what they are writing. I hope this book does not get too scary for me, but I have mastered Steven James' books, so I can get through this one.

Lots to do today, now that I am feeling better. Today is a pretty good day compared to the last three.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Do You Do When You Read a Bad Book?

Sinc money has become tight, publishing houses have become very selective with what they print. They say they are selective, but there are still some books being published that are not that good. At least in my opinion.

I finished one this past week that did not meet my standards. Of course, I don't have very high standards since I have never published. I am a reader and that counts. This one was by a multi-published author. Some time ago I joined a publishers book club. These have come in the mail from that publisher. I would not go out and buy either of these books.

When I have to go back and reread paragraphs, I consider that sloppy writing. I've said before I like tags so my readers will know who is talking. I don't tag every sentence, but enough to keep you from being confused.

The scenes should flow well between each other. You should not jump around from one thing to another. That's the way I like to read and better authors write that way.

It has been hard on me to remember all this, but I am doing better. My scenes flow well between the characters. The chapters are shorter and more interesting.

Since I have not gotten to write any this week, I am praying I will be writing again by Saturday. I miss my characters, even if they are people I have made up. Writing is so interesting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oral Surgery Over

It's been a long time since I felt this good. The tooth has probably caused me trouble for years. My joints had been hurting so much for the last two months and I know now that the tooth was part of the problem.

When the tooth was removed, I was able to stand and walk like a normal person. I have no pain in my joints, especially my knees. This is great! I feel like a new woman and ready to tackle the world, when the swelling in my jaw goes down. This has amazed me more than anything.

Sometimes we hurt so much that we feel we don't have long to live. That's how much I hurt. I was even getting letters from the Scooter Store and seriously thinking of contacting them. I knew I could not put up with the pain much longer and that was very depressing.

Okay, now I am ready to tackle my book in earnest. I'm ready to move Callie forward and when I don't have to rest so much, I will get it finished. I'm supposed to rest until Friday. That's not too long, but I want to be in the office more than reading a book or watching television.

This has been a good move for me. I am back to my old self and I am so happy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good News

Several things happened over the week-end. Our oldest granddaughter, Savannah, was baptized last night. What a wonderful father's day gift for her father and grandfather. We are all pleased that she made the decision to become a child of God. She is the first of our grandchildren to become a Christian.

Saturday was our local writer's groups meeting. We met in Knoxville at Panera Bread so we could have internet service. Ane Mulligan, Zone Director for ACFW, was our speaker. It worked pretty well except they only let you use it for 30 minutes. Skype would be a good way to communicate in a home or building where you would not be cut off. The feedback was a little annoying.

Ane talked about a writer's platform. That has been important to me and I am building readers. I still have a ways to go, but it is important if you blog to blog every day.

Another thing to do is to join social groups like Facebook, Twitter, and others. I am on Facebook and Twitter. I do have a fair following on both.

Ane also encouraged us to make comments on other blogs, websites or Twitters. The more you get your name out, the better you will be. If you are going to ACFW conference, volunteer for anything you can. Don't go crazy, but volunteer for at least one job. If no one knows who you are, you have a less chance to be recognized. It is important when you think about wanting an editor or publisher to look at your work. If you have made a web presence or a presence at conference, they will remember you and you will have a better chance of talking to them. Of course, you have to have a book ready and it should be good.

Tomorrow I will be having oral surgery and I will be out of it the rest of the day. I have to be put to sleep, I'm a wimp. I want to write something tonight to be published tomorrow. We will see how it goes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Snow Melts in Spring

Snow Melts In Spring by Deborah Vogts is a very good book. The writing kept me interested, in fact, I didn't want to put it down.

This is Deborah's first book in the Tallgrass series. If you are an animal lover, you will love it. If you like good reading, you will love it. She has a way of making you feel a part of the story, which I enjoy. I was wanting to say, "Mattie, you love him. Go girl." It is a feel good book.

A country vet who loves the plains of Kansas and a star football player for the San Francisco 49'ers are two opposites. She loves the country and he loves the city. Her clinic burns down and his father asks her to come live on his ranch and restart her practice. His son is the football player.

I identified with her somewhat. I know very little about football except you run with the ball and you kick it some. She knew less than that.

I loved the way the story flowed. It was so good. Now I'm looking forward to more of her books.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back to Normal

It's good to be back to normal today. Thursday's are usually better for me. My husband sleeps and I can get something accomplished.

A few days ago, I had a bright idea. They don't come too often. Last year Sharon Lavy had told me about how she had two screens for her computer and it was easy to correct critiques. Her husband is a computer guru, I think.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew it could be done, but mine is a little different. We have two laptops, so I turn both of them on and get on the internet on one and my flash drive on the other. Now I can make the corrections that need to be made. It is so much easier than going back and forth between the corrections and the manuscript. I don't get all confused and correct the wrong one. That has happened when I corrected the critiqued copy.

Now, I don't dread doing the corrections and can get more done.

Another bright idea I had is using Skype in our writers meetings. My niece used it in Scotland and I thought , well if she can, I can. So after I got my computer up, I decided to try it. One of our laptops had the webcam. I talked to Ane Mulligan the other day and it was great. I could see her and she could see me. We had a lovely conversation. Our meeting is going to be at Panera Bread and they have wireless. I can call Ane and she can speak to us right there. Isn't this modern age we live in wonderful? This could aid many people who do special talks and not able to get to the place where it is done. It can be done at home or in a restaurant that has wireless. Think about it. It's FREE!

Got to get back to work. We had so many storms yesterday that I couldn't get much done.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Encouraging News

Yesterday and this morning. I received some good news. The firsts three chapters were critiques by Janice Thompson, author of several books. She had some very good comments about the improvement of my book. She also gave me some suggestions that I will take to heart. One thing I know I will change is the first line. It feels awkward to me and I want a stronger beginning.

This morning, I heard from Tiffany Colter who is editing my book. She also had some encouraging things to say. I will look at her remarks later and see what I can do.

Today I have a full load with the changes from both ladies. Tiffany said my labor pains were getting more intense and I may give birth of a book soon. We all like to feel self-worth and I do feel very good this morning.

We had rough storms last night and there was a tornado sighted somewhere around Bristol. I know I woke up to continual lightening, but I never heard the storm siren, so I went back to sleep. I enjoy living close to town where you can hear the siren when there is a tornado or bad storm. It's still raining.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Things I have Changed

Probably, the name of this topic should be "Things I have Learned." Since beginning this journey of writing, I have learned so much about writing a book and I am sure there is more to learn.

I have been a avid reader my whole life. I remember my Aunt Bettie giving my sister and me books for Christmas. That started my love of reading. Aunt Bettie was also an avid reader. As I grew older, I found she had joined the Book of the Month Club and there were hundreds of books of hers that I could read. My favorite was the Perry Mason Series.

When you are a writer, you are very critical of other authors. I have lately studied the writings of several authors. When I read them, I compare what I have written. Of course, I see loads of mistakes. That's all right because I am growing by reading.

My chapters were so long in my manuscript. I have been revising them and making them shorter. It is much easier to read. I love the idea of doing that because it helps the flow of my book.

Seems my sentences always had "that, because, therefore." in them and they ran for miles. Now I have learned to make them shorter. Again the flow is better.

I've also learned about tags. At first, I thought every time a person talked, they had to have a tag. Now I know better. I can have a conversation with two people without so many tags. I do put tags in when I think someone will forget who is talking. I've seen that happen in so many books. I've had to go back and reread to see who is speaking.

There are other things that I can't remember right now. It is amazing how much I have learned in the last two years, in fact in the last three months.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Really Bad Week

I've always heard that bad luck comes in three's. It does. Last week was one of those weeks.

First of all, we had a gospel meeting with Aaron Cozart, a young, good preacher. He was speaking on Creation. I had scheduled to have a tooth removed on Tuesday and thought I would not get to attend that night of the meeting. He was preaching on dinosaurs and I wanted to hear it.

My oral surgeon decided he could not do that with a local anesthetic, but would need to put me to sleep. Another appointment made for next week. So I did get to hear about dinosaurs, which was great. The lesson was wonderful.

My optometrist had made an appointment to check my eyes on Thursday. The nurse did not dilate my eyes, so I get to go back next month.

My daughter came up Thursday night. While waiting for her, I decided to clean up some papers in my office. My office is also another bedroom. I reached for something on the bed and my desk chair slide out from under me. I hit the floor hard, very hard.

We went to the Historical Melungeon Society meeting on Friday and I really had a hard time sitting. It was very interesting and I learned a lot about the race. I made it through most of the meeting.

Today looks much better. My friend and I are directing a wedding next month, our first. Tonight we are meeting with the couple to go over plans and what they want. We will be eating out again, which we did all last week. I can't wait to cook a whole meal, I am tired or restaurant food.

Hopefully I will be back on track now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Promise for Spring

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wonderful author and this book is no exception.

When Emmeline Bradford arrives in Kansas from England to marry her lifelong sweetheart, she hates the place. Kansas is so brown and dry from her homeland. Also Geoffrey Garrett does not seem to be the man who left five years before and vowed to return to England so they could be married. He is so demanding now, much like the father she left in England. She is scared to death to marry someone who has changed so much in five years.

Her demanding father had asked Geoffrey to write him about the ranch instead of Emmeline and she was hurt because in five years, she had not received a letter from him. She refuses to marry him, but will stay on the ranch until spring in hopes that they will fall in love again.

As Kim usually does in her stories, she weaves a quiet web of hardships, love and devotion. Her books are so soothing to the soul. Because of the quiet way she tells a story, I love to read her books. She calms your heart.

Usually, I don't read two books in one week, but I have had to be still and quiet for a few days. I have decided I won't start another one until after Tuesday. This gives me more time to work on my own book.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Baby is Getting Popular

Most of you know I call my book, "My Baby." It is a labor of love and I have similar pains when I send it out to someone. Everyone wants to know their baby is beautiful and so do I. No difference, you like to hear good comments.

Yesterday I sent the first three chapters to be edited, again. This morning I received an email to send three chapters to Janice Thompson. She is critiquing them for me for the ACFW conference in September.

Janice had critiqued my book way back a year or so ago and I have changed so much of it since then. I trust what she says and the more eyes that look at it, the better I will be. I still get a little scared to imagine what people will say.

I have one more person critiquing for me before conference. So far I have not heard from her. This is beginning to become exciting.

Today is going to be a busy day. I have bills to pay and groceries to get. I need a haircut, but since my hair is not growing much now, it doesn't matter. When we were in Scotland, I bought some beautiful drapery material. I am anxious to make Roman Shades with it and put a valance over my big glass doors. I am also anxious to paint the paneling and make the family room much lighter.

I'm off. Have a great day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Good Things in Life

What are the good things in life to you? Do you count friends, jobs, family, entertainment, or many other things as the best there is?

The best thing in my life is to be a Christian. It must have been horrible for Christ to hang on the cross, but he did it for me and for you that we might obey his commandments and have eternal life. There is a peace to think of the pain and agony Christ went through on the cross. The humiliation of hanging there and people making fun of him was so sad. Before the cross, even Peter rejected him. How devastating that would have been if Christ had He not known he would do that. So the best thing in my life is my love of Christ and the Bible.

Family would come next. My family is scattered around the world. I hold dear my husband of forty-six years and my two living children, plus the one who has gone before. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful immediate family. My husband is one of a kind. I am so thankful that he entered my life.

Our children are the best there is. We never had a moments problem with them. They are good Christians and are raising their families in the way they should. We are blessed that they both married strong Christians. I could not ask for any better than my son-in-law and my daughter-in-law. They are precious to us.

Then those sweet, kind, caring grandchildren. Each one is different and each one has a special love. They can make me feel like I am flying at times. Their love is unconditional, but I love all of them with a deep love. I miss being around them, but when we get together, we try to have fun.

Then there is my sister and her family. My niece and nephews are very dear to me, as is my sister and her husband. It is so nice to be with all of them and with their children.

We all have more good things than we can mention. I left out my husband's family. His brothers and sister are special also, including their children. Then there is our extended family, our children's in-laws. We are close to both sets of in-laws. That is a good feeling.

We have more blessings than we can count. God has been good to all of us and as I reflect on His blessings for me, I am overwhelmed. Remember your blessings as you go about your day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Did something every hit you and you thought, "I could do that?" Each time I read a book, it increases my knowledge on writing. When someone has successfully written several books, they have a way of smoothly telling a story. It is so smooth, you seldom realize it. Most multi published authors can do that.

In my book shelves, I have several books instructing you on plot and characters. They are good, but to read words that someone else has written and see the impact they have on me, is how I learn.

Lately, I have read some wonderful books. They have helped me get deeper into my character. Callie has always had a deep soul with me, but if no one knows how she feels and thinks, she is only a paper doll to them. I am finally learning, after all this time, to put life in Callie so the reader will feel like I feel. She is so alive to me that I talk to her at times. No, I'm not crazy, but your characters do become very real to you.

If Callie is that real to me, why is it so hard to make it real to you? It goes very deep into my background. The way we were raised has a lot of bearing on our writing. It is very hard to show things when you were told as a child you did not do that. I'm changing my whole attitude on some things and trying to be more open in my writing and with myself and family.

I may not be writing every day. My dentist has been watching a tooth that has given me trouble for the past year. The roots are too small for a root canal, so we waited until it started bothering me before we decided what to do. Over the week-end, when I was co-hosting a bridal shower, it started hurting. I had kept a Z-Pack with me for almost a year, so I started on the antibiotics. They did not work. Now, I am on another antibiotic and strong pain meds. I have a few more minutes before the pain meds begin to work and then I will be out cold. I go to the oral surgeon on the 9th.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Inheritance

Over the week-end I finished reading The Inheritance by Tamara Alexander. Tamara has written several books, but this is the first one I have read. I must say, it was wonderful.

I read a lot to learn to write and this one book has shown me a lot that my writing lacks. Tamara is a very interesting storyteller and puts you in the heart of the character. I felt every emotion they felt.

The story begins with McKenna Ashford and her brother, Robert, arriving at Copper Creek to stay with her cousin, her cousin's husband and their daughter until they get settled and earn some money to have a place of their own.

When they arrive at the ranch, Her cousin is dying and her cousin's husband and their newborn baby boy has already died. Their daughter has somehow escaped the illness. Her cousin, On her death bed, Janie gives the ranch to McKenna and ask her to take Emma as her own. Then the story of love, struggles and heartache begin.

Since Copper Creek is such a violent place, the Marshall, Wyatt Caradon brings McKenna to her cousin's house and is with her when Janie dies, but before she dies, she asks to have the baby buried in her arms. Marshall Caradon agrees to do that against McKenna's wishes.

McKenna tries to keep the ranch from foreclosure with her craft of saddle making, but Robert gets into a lot of trouble and Emma won't have anything to do with her. They meet a Chinese couple and I won't tell anymore of the story.

It is a wonderful book. You get into the depth of the character's minds and hearts. Love grows and blossoms and finally blooms. It is rich in that respect.

I will read more of Tamara's books. This one was wonderful. I didn't want to put it down and one night I read until I could not keep my eyes opened. I know everyone of you will enjoy it.