Thursday, May 27, 2010

Will Wonders Ever Cease?

Yesterday was one of the most hectic days I've had in a long time. My cell phone began ringing at 8 a.m. and didn't stop all day long. People were interested in the For Sale By Owner signs I had put up a month ago.

Since we have been in Kentucky, we rarely watch the news. With these three calls, one after the other, I wondered if it was a conspiracy or if something had changed in the world. Maybe it was the weather. Whatever it was, it succeeded. Yesterday evening around 4:30, we sold one piece of property. Yeah! We have three more to go, but it could all be one or it could be two parcels.

This has been a long process for us. I was a real estate agent for several years and from my knowledge, I thought it would be best to list with an agent. That was a mistake. Most people do not trust real estate agents. Thinking the one I picked was the best, I soon found out it was a lazy agent.

My husband and I realize this is not the right time to sell, but we need to sell the property. It is so far from us and if we rent, we can't keep an eye on things. This is two of the rental houses that sold. One we had used for storage and the other we rented.

We still have another person interested in the brick house, the one we lived in, and the land behind it. I'm hoping we can get everything settled in a few days, but knowing people like I do, it will be longer.

This takes a lot off me and my writing. Now I can concentrate on what I'm doing. That is after I have a huge yard sale. That's next week. My house is finally coming into shape.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Two Good Books

Do you like to get warm fuzzies over a book? I do and I have recently read two that fit that category. Maybe we should have a Warm Fuzzie genre.

The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough is one those books. Meeting an author and reading their books is always something I enjoy. Vickie is so quiet and sweet. This book is so funny, so I know Vickie lets her hair down sometimes. I loved it. It's one on the top of my list.

Luke Davis returns to Lookout, Texas to become their new town marshal. It concerns him that he will be in the same town as his old sweetheart Rachel. Rachel broke his heart by marrying James Hamilton, a rich boy. How will she react when she sees him? The come the three brides which he knows nothing about. It's good to have cousins who care. The whole book is filled with humor. He gets in one predicament after another with these brides.

The other book was an advanced copy of Hope's Promise by Tammy Barley. I enjoyed learning more about the west during the Civil War. Hard to believe they were not part of the States during that time, but loyalties ran strong. This is about Jess and Jake Bennett. Jess wants to raise horses, Thoroughbreds to be exact. One thing that I enjoyed was the love of the horses. Another thing I had not read in a long while was the premonitions that Jess had about the ranch and her husband Jake. It was a refreshing book and I enjoyed it very much.

These two authors are exceptional in their writing skills. I look forward to reading more from them. Before I can pick up another one of their books, I have three more to read first and then a stack of about twenty. I'm getting a good supply for next winter. The only ones I read now are the ones that someone as asked me to read, or be an influencer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Writing Experience

Every writer has their own writing experience. Mine has been entering contests. It's a good way for a new writer to see how they are progressing. It can be very discouraging to receive a low score, but the comments should help you to be a stronger writer.

This year I entered two manuscripts in the Genesis contest. One was Women's Fiction and it was the first book I had ever written. It showed, too. The score was low, but I did get information on how to improve my writing. I have a very bad habit of rushing through something and then it isn't the best I can do. That's what I did with this book.

I love the book and I've written it two ways. It tells of the mistakes that a young person can make in their life and then how they can live with the mistakes and correct them as best as they can. It's very modern day.

Again this year, I entered Callie's Mountain. So far I don't have the scores, but I am waiting, not too patiently. Most contest entrants are eager to know their scores. It's been a week since I received the Women Fiction's scores and I thought I would receive the other scores by now.

One thing I have noticed lately about my writing. It is easier! Maybe all these things that I have read and Sandi has told me are finally sinking through this thick skull. Things come to me easier and I can see mistakes better. I know the more you do something, the better you become. Practice is the key.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Are You Blessed?

There are several ways to be blessed in our daily lives. The blessing I am thinking about today is in my writing. Yes, I am blessed by friends and family who encourage me without knowing it. Let me explain.

Friday I received my Genesis scores for my Women's Fiction. It was bad, but I was blessed. One judge wanted to read more of the story and thought I had a good plot. They all commented on one thing, I am going too fast with the story and need to slow down. That's so hard for me to do.

I wrote this story about three years ago and I should have taken time to go back and rework it, but I didn't. There is my hurry. The one thing I did want was comments on the story. Was it a good plot? Did the characters have depth? Could it be a good CBA book?

Not only do I learn more about writing when I enter a contest, but I learn more about myself. I have progressed since that first book, but I didn't take the time to show it in the chapter I sent in to be judged. My big mistake.

If I want to be a good, successful writer, I need to slow myself down. That's so hard for me to do. I also need to put more of the senses in my books. That was another comment from a judge. This helps to slow things down a bit.

Now I am going back over the story again and make those changes and hope to have a good book. For me, this is an ongoing learning process. Sometimes I think I am a slow learner.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sandi Rog and The Master's Wall

Last year about this time, I was having a rough time with the person I had hired to edit my book. My voice was taken away and her voice added. I didn't like that and some of the things she told me to do, like erase my first three chapters. That hurt! Someone wrote me about Sandi Rog who was a finalist in ACFW's Genesis Contest. They told me about her book and how it was Biblically correct. I wrote her to congratulate her and things started happening.

We clicked or else she felt sorry for my writing. I do know we became friends. She began editing my book and we put back into the story the things I had been told to take out. Her editing has helped me learn more about the craft of writing.

When it came time to register for ACFW conference, we decided to room together and we became better friends. I knew about her book and although she did not win her category in the Genesis contest, it was a great way for her to get the confidence she needed to pursue her dream of writing.

She had contacted DeWard Publishing and they wanted to publish her book, which they are doing now. I have read the first chapter and it is wonderful. It's a first century Christian novel. Someone said it was like a Francine River's novel. That is a big compliment.

Now her contract is signed for a three book series. The Master's Wall will be out in July and I am so happy for her. She is a wonderful Christian and has a beautiful family. I met her husband and four children in Denver last year. They are so sweet. It's refreshing to see a close-knit family and one with respect for each other.

Sandi is the best and I feel like a mama hen. If anyone wants to read a good Christian novel, order it from DeWard or go out and buy it. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Fist Full of Books

Yes, that's what I am going to tell you about, a fist full of books I've been reading. It seemed there'd been little time to read lately, but somehow I've managed to read three books in the past two weeks.

The first one I finished was Blood Ransom, By Lisa Harris. I hadn't read a book on Africa since I was in high school. Action, romance and mystery are all combined in this book. It's the story about two Americans who meet in Africa during a presidential election. That sounded easy, but the story gets complicated as they find fraud and illegal actions going on for the wrong man to win the election. It kept me on pins and needles until the end. It is filled with suspense, murder and chase scenes. I was surprised how it ended. Very well written and a good book.

Most of you know that DiAnn Mills is one of my favorite authors. The next book I read was A Woman Called Sage. DiAnn has a way with historical books and this has turned out to be one of my favorites. The setting is in Colorado in 1875. Sage, half Indian, watches her husband killed and then is shot herself. She is carrying their son which dies as the result of the gunshot. The story moves several years while she learned the art of being a bounty hunter intent on capturing her husband's killers. Her only companion is a hawk. She brings her men in alive. She does capture one of the gang members and brings him to jail. His brothers get him out and the Marshall is hurt. Both Sage and the Marshall are determined people who are going to capture the men and bring them to trial. Their trek through the Rocky Mountains is filled with adventure. It also had a nice turn of events at the end. Something I never expected to happen. I loved this book and I love Sage. It gives you a warm feeling in the end. Good job, DiAnn.

The next book gets a prize for the fastest book I've ever read. Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico by Leena Nelson Dooley was one book I could not put down. I love mail order brides and this book put a new light on them. I learned a lot about Golden, NM. I never knew it was the first gold strike west of the Mississippi. Back to the book. Phillip Smith, who is dying, orders a bride so he will have someone to leave his wealth to. He hopes to find a woman with children. Maddy Mercer is a young, rich woman in Boston. Her father's partner is trying to make her marry him. She loathes the man and doesn't trust him. He gives her the creeps when she sees him. Her hired man finds the request for a bride from the newspaper and they head to Golden, NM, but not until after her friend has a baby and asks Maddy to take care of it. So, to NM go Maddy, baby Pearl and her two trusted servants. Phillips took Jeremiah Dennison in as a child and raised him. Jeremiah sold his mine, so he is ranching and in no need of Phillip's money, but he becomes upset when he hears Phillip's plans. He thinks Maddy is a fortune hunter and just wants Phillip's money. She does learn to love Phillip as a grandfather, but not as a husband. I love the way this story developed. I watched Maddy turn into a strong woman who knew her own mind. This is a very good book.

What am I reading now? I'm reading The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough and The Glassblower by Laurie Alice Eakes. Both are very good authors.

Another interesting tidbit, my friend Sandi Rog, has just signed a three book deal with DeWard Publishing. Her first book will be out this summer. I have read the first chapter of The Masters Wall. If you like Francine Rivers, you will love Sandi's book.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Storms and Floods

Most of the south had a horrible week-end. The floods and storms were so bad. I've been through tornadoes several times and was prepared to see another one Sunday morning, but it never touched down. I'm thankful for that.

Our daughter and granddaughter came up Friday night from Nashville to spend the week-end. It rained and stormed Friday night and then Saturday morning only a few showers. We decided to go to Paducah to Hancock's Fabric Store. It is huge. Before we left the house, she decided we needed a Weather Alert Radio and she purchased one for us at Radio Shack.

While we were in Paducah we heard the radio reports about the storms in West Tennessee and the possibility of storms in Middle Tennessee. She decided to leave early before the storms hit Nashville. She did get home safe and sound, but then the trouble started.

There are two parts of this story, hers and mine. We'll start with this Weather Alert Radio. If you don't have one, you should, but put it somewhere close to where you sleep.

Diane sat mine up on the dining room table. Not that close to our bedroom. Every hour or forty-five minutes it went off. I finally unplugged it so I could get some sleep. I was so tired of jumping up and down so much. Around 2 a.m. the fire station alarm went off, so we were up again. It finally stopped raining here Sunday morning, but I was exhausted from the lack of sleep and I didn't wear my C PAP because the electricity was coming and going. That's about all of my story. No flooding and no wind damage. We are safe.

Now for my daughter's. She lives in a subdivision that has a lake. Sunday morning it was raining and continued to storm. There was flooding getting into their subdivision and close to the church they attended.

By noon, the flooding was worse and the street beside and in front of their house was full of water. To make a long story short, they were evacuated about 11:30 last night. They are safe and at her brother-in-law's house outside of Lebanon, TN. They do have flood insurance. Their house is most likely flooded by now.

This has been the worse flooding in Nashville in years. We had planned to go to East Tennessee to clear out our house, but the roads in Nashville are still flooded. So we will stay here another day.

I didn't realize how traumatic flooding is. It has traumatized my husband and myself, and I know how my daughter, her husband and her daughter feel. This is next to having your house broken into. We are all so thankful that prayers were answered and they are safe. I know I'm selfish in thinking more of my family, but I do pray for all of those who are involved in this situation.