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Okay, so, things that have happened since last I wrote:

  1. My computer broke
  2. Finished my final paper for my class
  3. Spent the weekend in Lancaster with my friend Ashley
  4. Bought a new computer!

In essence the last couple weeks of the month consisted of being stressed, trying to get my paper done, and getting a new computer. But, as partly a stress reliever, I have also discovered book giveaways!

First things first – Daniel and I decided with how much I use my computer, we couldn’t afford to skimp so we bought a nice one – I got the Microsoft Surface Pro, complete with a smart pen that lets me hand-write on it if I want, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It is tiny and portable and has a detachable keyboard, and can be a tablet, and has a long battery life, and is super fast, and the keyboard is SO easy to type on and, well, I am sorry, old computer – but you have definitely been replaced. I thought it would be hard to get over my old computer, because I loved it so, but new computer (who has yet to be named – maybe Jeeves because it makes my life so easy?) is making the break-up a breeze.

And now that I’ve basically told you all to go buy new computers, let me tell you about these giveaways. So, it all started with my friend Rissa, and was enhanced by that writer’s conference I went to. Rissa told us all about how she enters goodreads giveaways as part of her morning routine (best routine EVER), and so of course we all had to start entering them too. I had entered goodreads giveaways off and on in the past but never kept up with it because, really, how likely is it that you, out of all the thousands entering, are going to be the one to win? Turns out, if you enter a lot, you have a fair chance, since Riss said she had won more than once and, since entering regularly, I even won one! So, start with that, and then add in the writer’s conference.

One of the speakers at the writer’s conference said that, as writers, we had to be on twitter and we had to follow publishers and authors so we could be in the loop with all-things-writing-and-publishing. So, I obeyed. It honestly had not occurred to me before – I thought of twitter as a political/friend thing, not a potential networking opp – but BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE (other than buy this computer). I see all the new books coming out, all the tips, all the contests and, what has turned out to be most helpful, SO MANY BOOK GIVEAWAYS! Now, in full disclosure, I am mostly following just Christian publishers and authors since that is my genre. But did you know there are blogs that host giveaways like, almost daily? Because I love you all, I am going to let you become competition, and post the sites/people below. For the record, I’ve won two books in the last month from these giveaways.

  1. https://justreadtours.com/
    • these people are pretty cool. They post stuff all the time on instagram, twitter, and their website, and their giveaways often come with other stuff along with a free book.
  2. https://www.prismbooktours.com/
    • Great interviews, and, like the previous one, often gives things away in addition to the free book (like gift cards).
  3. https://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/
    • This blogger/author hosts contests on her blog a lot! and because it requires a comment on the blog to entire most of the time, the competition isn’t as stiff as some other places. Plus she always has great descriptions of the book and author to go along with it! Both nonfiction and fiction books!
  4. https://www.instagram.com/suziewaltner/
    • This instagrammer lets you know about all the recent giveaways!

Beyond the giveaways though, seriously, make sure you are following publishers and editors and authors on twitter and instagram – it’s amazing to see how inspirational it is to see constant contact from the community you want to call your own!

Publisher to book writer holding up 'Get on Oprah' sign: 'So that's the extent of your marketing plan?'

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Over the last week, I’ve been far more faithful than I have in awhile to work on my book. As anyone who has been reading this for longer than a few months knows, I’ve been [painfully] trying to edit my sappy romance novel (it’s technically named God’s Masterpiece – but I don’t think I like it. It doesn’t work. I’ve rarely had so much trouble with a title before).

I really do think this revision will make it better – and by re-writing that one scene by hand and then transcribing it BACK to the word document, I’ve rewritten it like three times – but even now as I am typing it back in (and consequently editing it again), I keep thinking it isn’t right. But then, isn’t that what all writers think? It will never be ready?

You know, I am probably the person that is actually true for, unlike others. 😛

But, as I mentioned very, very briefly in a recent tweet – here’s my current issue: So, Josie is supposed to be quiet and shy and pretty awkward until someone gets to know her (yes, basically exactly like me). But at the same time, she is more confident when she is on her own turf (a.k.a., her home) – and i know this is accurate, because it is exactly how I am. But when trying to translate that to a book, I feel like it comes out, 1. like she is inconsistent character-wise and 2. Like she is annoyingly awkward and can’t stop blushing, which no one likes to read about.

So, that is what I’m trying to work through right now. How to make a heroine that is awkward, without being annoying and still at least a little endearing, shy and uncomfortable, but able to hold her own especially on her own turf, caring, but still gets impatient with her very sick mother (who, by the way is a conundrum herself, since she has cancer, is weak and sick, yet never stops talking and nags part of the time and is loving the other part of the time).

Characters. They drive me up a wall sometimes. Kind of like real people. In which case, maybe it’s okay?

And – that’s my ramble for today.

Writing_Problems_from_Writers_Write

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It’s like they were reading my heart when they posted this.

You have been working at the literary coalface for months. Your second draft has taken far longer than you expected. At times working on your second draft has felt more like going to war than embarking on a wonderful journey of creative discovery. You know far too much about your characters and after spending an […]

via The Benefits of Taking a Break From Novel Writing to Craft Short Stories #MondayBlogs #Writer #ShortStories — BlondeWriteMore

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We were supposed to be booked solid last week between me getting back from Cleveland and a variety of engagements throughout the week, but somehow or another, we managed to get two evenings (mostly) free. It was delightful. Last Tuesday we biked to the library. Daniel doesn’t quite understand the concept of just browsing all the beautiful books, so he selected one book, and sat down and read for a couple hours while I took my time perusing all the shelves. Blissfully talking-free, quiet, and rejuvenating. I may have come away with 12 books. I am not sure I will actually get through them all, but it was just lovely to take any book I felt like. Our library seems to have a propensity to murder mysteries – I swear, a majority of the shelves were murder mysteries – and almost no inspirational fiction, but I still managed to find a lot of intriguing covers, including murder mysteries related to baking and disowned gentry.

I came home and pulled out all the books, showing them one by one to Daniel, and then informed him that instead of starting one of them, I was going to start on the book I borrowed from my sister “Princess Academy”. But he just started laughing. He pointed to the book that I was going to start reading and several of the others, many of which related to fairytales in some way, and informed me that I had very specific tastes. I didn’t deny it, but it did get me wondering. Why do I read so many fairytales-based books, yet I don’t write fairy tales at all? I noted this to Daniel, commenting on how I loved being transported into the alternate worlds of fantasy and fairytales, but most of the books and short stories I write are – not necessarily gritty, but underlined with hardship and sorrow. The only fantasy book I’ve ever written has very little lightheartedness in it, and focuses more on him getting through trials than fairytale aspects.

Daniel thought about it for a moment, and then said, quite eloquently, I might add, “The books you write are where you are from and the books you read are where you want to be.”

I think he is a right, to an extent. I am a firm believer that everyone is a maker of their own destiny (with God’s guidance, of course) and that while your past/childhood can inform choices, it should not be used as a crutch, nor is it to blame for choices currently being made. However. I still thought he brought up a good point. I’ve made a lot of hard decisions in the past, grew up pretty fast, and have had a fair share of difficulties. They helped make me into who I am, and I don’t regret any of it, but it still has impacts you don’t even think about. Like the stories I write. Stories of people “growing up”, no matter how old they are, and learning how to deal with difficult things. Learning the world isn’t about them. Learning to grow out of their comfort zone and forge ahead into a better life. They do relate to my past whether I realized it before or not, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means I am taking lessons I have learned and showing them to the world, hoping to ease someone else’s way.

Someday, though, I will also write fairytales.

strong person

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Yup, folks – this is it – another National Novel Writing Month approaching fast! I have convinced at least one of my friends to join me in this venture (finally!) and we have mutually agreed to write completely sappy romance novels. You know the type – like Love Inspired books, where the story line is so corny and full of cliches that it makes you feel like maybe you can write?

We have decided we are going to relax, have fun, and write a book purposefully full of such cliches. And, just to make sure we don’t take it too seriously, we have even agreed to read each other’s books at the end of the month, no matter how awful they are – since they would be awful anyway, at least by today’s standards.

I would like you to know that, between my brother-in-law’s wedding, guests staying for a few days, and thanksgiving, I have no idea how I am going to accomplish this, but hopefully the lack of pressure in writing a serious book will help. I’ve also been told I should go out of my comfort zone just a little and set in modern days to help lessen pressure even more. So, we’ll see how this turns out!

My husband thinks I ought to post what I’ve written every day, since I am making an effort to not really care if the writing is good or not. I don’t know if I don’t care THAT much. But we’ll see.

Have fun in your own endeavors!

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Today is one of those days. Where nothing seems quite right, and you are out of temper though you cannot quite describe why. I feel randomly emotional, and melancholy, and altogether have a longing for something I cannot explain.

Today is one of those days. I do not want to be in a city, surrounded by people. I am sick of people pushing at my backside when I do not walk quickly enough for them, of rushing up and down the escalators, running to catch a train, being scared of being trampled to death if I dare pause near a doorway, stairway, escalator, or even on a sidewalk.

Today is one of those days. I have a sudden wish for a walk through a forest, the sounds of birds instead of construction, the lovely, lonely view of forest or an ocean or a mountain, or even just beautiful sky. I want to sit on the edge of a cliff and “just feel a prayer.” I don’t want to hear chattering voices behind me, constantly aware of the click of heels or boots rapidly approaching behind me and wondering if they are going to ride me all the way to my destination or deign to go around me.

Today is one of those days. I just want to drink in the scent of lovely flowers and trees and nature without drinking someone’s cigarette smoke in with it. I want to sit in utter silence as long as i want to without feeling like someone is waiting for me to move out of their way. I want to get lost in thought with only the wind to interrupt me. I don’t want to think about the monotony of work, or how I am going to receive criticism on every deliverable I submit no matter how hard I work on it, or how many long hours I need to work just to have enough PTO to go somewhere for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want the beauty of nature, the warmth of the sun, an unrealistic book, and the solitude of a forest path to take it away from me.

Today – is just one of those days.

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