Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Venue for Stepping Stones for Readers

I've decided to revive Stepping Stones Magazine for Readers and Writers. It is now called 'Stepping Stones Magazine for Readers'. The desire to do this suddenly gripped me earlier today. I have always loved promoting authors, and sure, this is a way to promote my writing as well by hanging out on the sidebar.

So here are the details.

You will notice the caption below the title says 'Bringing Readers and Writers Together Through Letter Writing'. Okay don't let that scare you off. I know letter writing is pretty much a dead art. But wouldn't it be fun to revive it online?

Here is what will happen on SSMR.

Writers will be showcased even if you are not yet published. I will be announcing new posts on Facebook, so you never know what editor or agent on my friends' list might stop by and see what you're up to. For those who are published, I will showcase you with your newest title and the book cover.

What do you have to do? Well this isn't like an author interview where you have to answer lots of questions. Lots of blogs have those. I wanted to do something different. So here goes.

The author showcased is to write a letter to readers. You can write whatever you wish, just keep it to a word count suitable for a blog post. You can share about your newest release, book signing events, a recipe from your book, a trip you took for research, anything that relates to YOUR writing that will be interesting as if you are writing a letter to a friend. Share your struggles,
setbacks, achievements, and how the Lord has worked in your writing endeavors.

If you have a book that will be released in the future, consider waiting to post until the release date...strike the internet while the iron is hot!

Think of it this way. If you had a friend you haven't seen or talked to in years, and they did not have email and asked you in a letter what was going on with your writing career, how would you reply? What would you say?

If you are interested in being showcased, send me an email. I'm making a list. If any editing has to be done to bring down the word count, I will talk to you about it first before posting and get your approval.

Here is the link to Stepping Stones Magazine for Readers. It has a new look and new graphics with a post about the change.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Writer...ask yourself

Writer, ask yourself, have you been able to hold on to the passion you first had for writing, when your heart would swell and words flowed onto the page? Or have all the ‘writing rules’ caused your confidence to plunge. Do you fret over using a word ending in ly or ing? I’ve talked to aspiring writers who are so paranoid about it that they are daily battling writers block.

Go back to those great authors who first inspired you to write and learn from them. Devour their novels. Study how they use point of view, narrative, dialogue. How they structure their plots and flesh out their characters. They are our mentors and can teach us more than any rulebook ever could.

Consider these opening lines.
Elizabeth Chadwick writes in her opening in The Marsh King's Daughter the following.

It was a glorious May morning in the world at large --- soft, balmy and harmonious. At the home of Edward Weaver in Lincoln, however, a violent storm was raging.
And in her novel The Scarlet Lion, she gives us a vivid image of her heroine .

Isabelle sat at her embroidery with her ladies. Pulling away from winter, the light had a pale clarity that meant more intricate sewing could be undertaken. Bending an attentive ear to the chatter, she was glad to hear a lively note in the women’s voices, for that too, like the return of the sun and the sight of birds building their nests, was a sure sign spring had arrived.
In Phillipa Gregory’s novel The Constant Princess . . .
There was a scream, and then the loud roar of fire enveloping silken hangings, then a mounting crescendo of shouts of panic that spread and spread from one tent to another as the flames ran to, leaping from one silk standard to another, running up guy ropes and bursting through muslin doors.
Some might call this style of writing flowery. It would be for some genres, even some imprints. But for historical fiction, it is their voice, their style that landed them on the best-sellers lists.

Some writers say, ‘best-selling authors can get away with breaking the rules. New writers cannot’. That's another way of saying if you do break the rules you’ve written a bad novel. If our best-selling authors can and do break the rules from time to time is that to say they write badly?
Opps! There's an ly word in that paragraph!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

History Lost

Writing historical fiction takes a love for history. As an author, I find the lives of people from the past fascinating. Perhaps because they lived so differently than today. Most people had higher moral standards and faith was a part of daily life. 

I found the wording this clip from 100 years ago, December 14, in the Frederick New Post interesting. Unfortunately, people do not talk like this anymore. It is the phrases 'a call to labor', and 'the Master's vineyard', that I thought were the most profound.

100 years ago - A congregational meeting was held at the Evangelical Lutheran church last night. The resignation of the pastor, Rev. Dr. Charles F. Steck, to take effect January 31, 1910, was read and accepted. “Our beloved pastor, Rev. Charles F. Steck, D. D., having received a call to labor in another portion of the Master’s vineyard, and having announced his desire to accept that call and tendered his resignation as pastor of this congregation, to take effect on the last on January, 1910.”

I am always curious as to the history of such people. When I read these clips, I often wonder about their lives. So, I did a bit of research on Rev. Steck and this is what I found. Apparently he went on to labor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Epithany in Washington, DC and was the minister that gave in invocation to the unveiling of the statue in memorial of Baron von Steuben who served Washington during the Revolution. 

There is a congressional book about the unveiling that is interesting. Here is what is printed within its yellowed pages.


German societies take part in big parade — Chorus of 1,000 
voices is heard in patriotic songs — 
Miss Helen Taft draws cord — Addresses by the President, 
the German Ambassador, and 
Representative Bartholdt, of Missouri — 
Delegations from New York 

In weather perhaps as bleak as that which enfolded 
the cheerless camp of the great commander in chief at 
Valley Forge, when barefoot Colonials tracked their 
course in blood over the pitiless snow, the United States 
of America, 133 years later, this afternoon, at the Capital 
of the Nation, unveiled the statue of Frederick Wil- 
liam Augustus Henry Ferdinand, Baron von Steuben, 
the adjutant general of the armies of Frederick the Great, 
the friend of Washington, and the great inspector of the 
Colonial Army that wrested its independence from the 
British Crown. 

Surrounding the tribute of bronze were thousands of 
Von Steuben's countrymen, proud of heart and exultant 
at the honor conferred upon their great representative, 
who, in his time, conferred honor upon their adopted 
country and gave to it all the force of his military wis- 
dom and skill in its fight for liberty. Not the barefoot 
and disorganized stragglers of the patriotic Army of long 
ago, but officers and troops of an Army and Navy second 
to none in Christendom, were gathered with them, while 
on all sides Americans to the manner born joined with 
all in the tribute to the memory of the great man who 
yet lives in the proudest annals of their native land. 

After a ringing chorus by nearly a thousand voices of 
the Northeastern Singers' Association and the invocation 
by Rev. Dr. Charles F. Steck