Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Stepping Stone - Book Clubs

(What's outside my window: Snow flurries.)

The journey for the production of Surrender the Wind has been both eye-opening and exciting. I received an email from my editor, the lovely and talented Barbara Scott at Abingdon, that they are making a huge effort to find book discussion groups to promote the fiction line to. Thus, I've been given an assignment to write ten to twelve questions that they will post online as well as in the back of the book.

I started yesterday jotting down questions. They've got to be great, thought-provoking, questions that will spark discussion. These are so important to me, since they will be firstly published in my book and online, and secondly because the book club members will have taken the time to purchase and read my novel. I am duty bound to give them what they need in order to have a fantastic meeting.

There are a few local book clubs where I live, mostly connected with the library. In 2003, when I had a novel published through a pod press, (I was naive back then) I was invited to meet with three of them. They were great fun, and I look forward to the experience again, only this time with a novel in hand from a great publisher.

Do you belong to a book club? What kinds of questions do you feel generate the livest of conversations? If you are an author, have you met with book clubs, and do you have a discussion guide for your novel?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Little Piece of My Heart

I read this comment from a writer on an agent's blog this morning, and found it disturbing. 'In the end a book's just words on paper. It isn't me, or even a part of me. It's a product, a piece of work.'

I ask the quest
ion why this person is even writing if he feels this way? If there is no emotional attachment, such as the burning desire in the heart to write, what is the point of spending all those hours, days, months, and sometimes years, writing a novel? If it is only a product, then I would think there would be a lack of passion in the writing.

I feel the complete opposite. When I finish a manuscript it isn't just 100,000 words on paper. It is the completion of a journey to bring into fruition a story. It's hours of brain power, creativity, imagination, and a deep love for storytelling. A writer is what I am. My stories are a part
of me...they came from me. To say they are not separates me from my work.

Could we ever separate Margaret Mitchell from
'Gone with the Wind', or Harper Lee from 'To Kill a Mockingbird', or F. Scott Fitzgerald from 'The Great Gatsby'? Could we erase Jane Austen's name from Pride & Prejudice? And are these novels just words on paper...a product? Or are they something deeper than that?

If we can say novels are not a part of the writer who wrote them, then why even put their names on the covers? If a manuscript is just a bunch of words on paper, not part of you, then try to imagine someone tossing it in the fire
place. Quickly the pages ignite and begin to curl. A moment and your work is gray ash. What kind of emotional reaction would you have?

What if someone took the only copy of your manuscript and shredded it before your very eyes? How would that make you feel? What if you had failed to back up your file, and your computer died, and you lost all you had written? Would you feel crushed, sad, outraged? Or would you shrug your shoulders and say the following? 'Ah, well. It was just words on paper, not a part of me, unimportant to my life's journey.'

What is your view? Is your writing a part of you?

Surrender the Wind ~ A novel borne out of blood, sweat, and tears...All 100,000 plus words a part of the writer who wrote it.

To be released, August 2009

Monday, December 15, 2008

I have put up a new website. It needs some tweaking.
Author Amy Deardon tagged me.

I'm supposed to list seven random things about myself, so here goes.

1. I was six and in the first grade in this picture. I wouldn't smile because I had lost my two front teeth. My mother insisted on the 'doo'.

2. I wrote my first short story when I was eleven, about a little girl that found a horse in an abandoned stable in the woods, complete with illustrations.

3. I'm afraid of spiders, especially big, hairy wolf spiders.

4. I like thrift shopping for designer name brands.

5. Once upon a time, I scaled and repelled a one-hundred-foot-high cliff in New Mexico on an outdoor school, built a 'houch' in the woods and slept in it alone for two nights. While thumbing it home, I almost got trampled by a herd of Texas longhorn steer. My husband, Paul, got me over the fence just in time. Ah, the days of foolish youth, back in 1983!

6. I've made seven bed quilts and four quilt wall-hangings.

7. I married my high school sweetheart.

8. One for Good Measure ---- Best-selling romance author Nora Roberts is my first cousin. Her father was my mother's brother, and we had our annual family reunions at his house in Silver Springs, Maryland every August. In the yard were cherry trees, and we kids loved picking them and stuffing ourselves.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

(What's outside my window....rain.)

1. There is a lot of talk on writers blogs about the state of the publishing industry and how the economy is effected it now and in the future. Rachelle Gardener and Chip MacGregor, Christian literary agents, have some interesting posts. I'd like to put out there to any author that is feeling depressed or fearful not to lose heart. Hold on to Proverbs 16:3. 'Commit your works unto the Lord and he will establish your thoughts.'

2. Today, I will be building a new website through doteasy. My site was with freewebs, but I'm canceling since it was attacked by a trojan through a banner ad and they did nothing to help. I'm excited to make a new look, new information. I'll post the url when I am through.

3. Here are a few things printed in the Frederick News Post one-hundred-years ago. Frederick at that time, was a small agricultural town in central Maryland south of Gettsyburg and north of Antietam battle field, along the Catoctin Mountains in a peaceful place called Apple Valley.

December 9, 1908 -
Minnie Page, colored, was arrested last night by Officer King, on a charge of keeping a disorderly house.

Yes, they printed 'colored'. It made me wonder what kind of house Minnie kept. Perhaps she was not a good housekeeper? We will never know.

December 10, 1908 -

Boys will be boys! My son, when he was ten, shot out the neighbor's sliding glass door when he discovered a be-be gun in her son's closet. Of course we paid for it, and he worked it off.

While Charles and David Funk were throwing stones at each other on East Fourth street yesterday afternoon, one of the missiles struck a pane of glass in the store window of Mr. Lewis M. Kintz, East Fourth street, breaking it. The mayor was notified and Officer Herwig placed the boys under arrest. They were taken before Justice Alfred Ritter who dismissed the charge, the boys’ mother agreeing to pay for the broken window.

What could be more romantic than an elopement? My great-great grandparents eloped and were married in Washington DC on Christmas Day, 1864. Their story has been shrouded with some mystery throughout the years.

Miss Janie Price Gaines, daughter of Dr. John M. Gaines, of Hagerstown, and Dr. I. M. Wertz, a prominent young physician of that city, eloped yesterday afternoon, going to Baltimore on the Western Maryland fast mail train, where they were married by an Episcopalian minister. It was largely through the aid of a friend and his big touring car that the first part of the elopement was a success.

As I read these each morning, I think how they could fit into a novel or short story. I wrote one short story based on the robbery of a man and had it on my website for a time. Maybe I'll put it there again...or here next time.

Surrender the Wind
Coming August 09

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Book Cover for Surrender the Wind

When I opened my email box on Thursday morning, and saw that an email had come from my editor with the cover, I froze. My hand paused above the keyboard. I took in a deep breath, and then I opened the attachment. What I saw took that deep breath away. Here is the final cover for Surrender the Wind, to be released in August 2009. I hope you like it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

(What's outside my window? A gray sky against the barren limbs of my sugar maple that look ready to burst with snow.)

I'm taking a different route today on the road to publication, by featuring Linore Rose Burkard's Regency romance entitled 'Until the Season Ends'. You are greeted by a gorgeous cover, with two lovers whose eyes are aglow, and whose smiles are slightly mischievous, dressed in period clothing that rival the recent PBS versions of Jane Austen's novels.

I haven't met a person yet that hasn't enjoyed novels of the Austen kind. I think many readers have grown weary of bodice ripping tomes, and now long to read romances in the vein of Austen and Bronte. They want stories of love, loyalty, faith, friendship, courtship, and marriage.

Until the Season Ends swept me away straight through the door of a country house, into the halls of London's high Regency society, where Ariana Forsythe meets a dashing bachelor --- Mr. Phillip Mornay. Immediately I was endeared to Ariana and rooted for her that she would win Mr. Mornay's heart and bring him into a more peaceful valley than the low one he had been treading through.

Please visit Linore's website for more details at
You can purchase
Until the Season Ends from Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, and other online stores. Until the Season Ends would make a great Christmas gift for the readers on your list...especially your mom, best friend, sister....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Evolution of a Book Cover

(What's outside my window? It looks like it is going to snow. White-gray sky. Misty landscape.)

Things are moving fast at Abingdon. My cover arrived in my inbox today. It's gorgeous. It is not quite finalized yet. My editor and the Abingdon staff have asked for a change in the font and its size for the title, and to increase the size of my name.

Once it is final, I will put it on my website and blog. For now you have to picture it. A windswept sky and an old English manor in the background. The antagonist standing to the left, his face bitter and angry, his fist clenched. The hero, Seth, stands behind Juleah his wife. His right arm holds her at her waist, his left hand encircles her forearm. She has her face turned toward him. He is looking out from the cover, to you the reader, with the air of an honorable man. His face shows he is protective of his wife at all costs. Juleah is dressed in a green gown with three-quarter length sleeves edged in draping lace. Seth is in a black overcoat with a white neck-cloth tied at his throat.

I cannot wait for the final result.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tis the Season

Tis the Season is a phrase that tells us the Holidays are upon us. When a novel is going through production, tis the season for rolling up your sleeves and working as hard as you can, writing the best you ever have.

It's been a while since I last posted. Things are quiet right now, in regards to the production of
'Surrender the Wind'. I finished my edits a day early. What a fantastic experience.

Writers, when you receive your first round of edits, do not cry, wring your hands, panic, or throw yourself prostate on the ground. Shove all that emotion aside. This is a time of tremendous growth and learning. Dig in your heels!

My editor showed me areas of weakness I did not see before. She showed me places where I needed to take the reader deeper. There was one scene in particular that I had to totally remove. I had thought it was good writing, but she pointed out it did nothing to move the story forward. There were a few chapters that I had to do a total rewrite, and afterwards I saw how much improved the book is now due to the expert eye of my editor. She also pointed out the good things, noted where she felt emotionally engaged, where the writing was strong.

Trust you editor.

Note: My website has been infected with a bug. I have been sending 'tickets' to my web server and they have done nothing. For now it is down. If you know of a really reliable web server, let me know about it. I've been looking at some, and they seem great, except they have templates I do not like.