Friday, August 29, 2014

Guarding Your Growing Work with Guest Blogger Tina Radcliffe

First, I’d like to thank the gang at Stitches Thru Time for inviting me to participate in their birthday celebration. Happy Birthday.
Guarding the work is a topic that I learned about many years ago. Your budding story doesn’t come with growing instructions, but I’ve learned a few from my manuscript garden to share with you.

1. Protect Your Seedlings
Today, most of us have lives lived in the spotlight of social media. Every nuance of our day is shared with hundreds, if not thousands, of virtual strangers. Don’t share your developing story on social media. Period.
There’s also a burning desire to share your pages with people in your life. After all, they love you, so they’ll love your story, right?
Not necessarily. Remember that the story God planted in your heart is your special seed. Those around you may not understand your story. They may in fact dislike your story, or worse, attempt to change your story to become their story.
My advice to you is to wait until the story is completed before you share it with those who are not writers. (If you must share at all.)
Equally dangerous is exposure to emotions that can drain you before you complete the story. The story should be your primary focus. Say no to drama. Filter out anything that will induce emotions that keep you from being able to channel your characters and your plot while you are writing. This can include toxic people, television, movies and books-anything that diverts your emotional and spiritual energy from the growing seedling of a story.

2. Guard those Story Plants
 -Contests: It’s no secret that I love writing contests. I love them because I’m an introvert and contesting is an introvert’s way of pretending to be an extrovert. But when you are a new writer contest results can be devastating. I know several writers who gave it all up over contest results. Remember that contests (no matter how prestigious) do not guarantee that the judges know what they are talking about. On a very good day, they are still simply a subjective crap shoot.
Don’t enter your manuscript in contests until your story and you are strong enough to weather the confusion of conflicting and sometimes painful feedback. It takes a mature writer to know how to put contest results aside for another day and to know how to mine for gems of instruction among contest results.

 -Reviews: Reviews are contests for published stories. There is no good reason to read your own reviews. Occasionally, while shopping at online retailers I stumble across my own reviews, but I never, ever go looking for them.
Reviews like contests, are a subjective crap shoot. Don’t believe the good ones and don’t believe that horrible ones.  Bad reviews can steal your writing mojo for days or weeks. That little budding plant of a manuscript will shrivel up and die from neglect if you allow yourself to be sucked into the morass of a negative review. Don’t allow that to happen. Don’t read reviews.

-Critique Groups: The perfect critique group or partner gives you the right amount of encouragement and direction. If all you’re getting is manure, it might be time to rethink your arrangement. Conversely, if you aren’t getting any help then why are you wasting your valuable writing time?

3. The Growth Cycle of a Story
The tender shoots begin to appear and the writer is excited and full of hope for the story. Each word, sentence and paragraph is carefully selected and fretted over.
Weeks later and the daily drudgery of watering and fertilizing begins to take its toll. Is this really worth it? Will this uninspiring plant really become a beautiful story bloom?
More time passes and the plant seems to be at a standstill. It is becoming more and more obvious that you are wasting your time. Why did you even think you could write or cultivate anything? (You secretly consider letting the plant die a natural death.)

Pushing through you finally write ‘the end.’ After pruning and pruning (and more pruning), you have a beautiful story plant.

Now go plant another seed.

So, how do you protect the work in your writing garden? Have you come across any of the issues I’ve mentioned?

In honor of the Stitches Thru Time blog birthday, I’m giving away a copy of Stranded with the Rancher. The gang here will let you know if your name was picked. Print copy for U.S. or Canada. Kindle version if you are an international winner.

The Doctor and the Cowboy

Stranded at single father Dan Gallagher's ranch during a Colorado blizzard, Dr. Beth Rogers is counting the days till the roads are clear. She can't wait to leave for her exciting new life in New York. But suddenly the big-city doctor is delivering babies in log cabins, helping to feed newborn calves and teaching Dan's little girl to play hymns on the piano. No-nonsense Beth even throws a snowball or two at the handsome, love-shy cowboy. She thought she had her heart set on leaving, so why does she dream of Dan asking her to stay forever?

Tina Radcliffe writes fun, inspirational romance for Love Inspired. She is a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award finalist in the short novel category, with her first Paradise book, Mending the Doctor’s Heart. Her latest Paradise book, Stranded with the Rancher is a September release. She’s also teaching Self-Editing for Beginners in October in Seekerville’s Night Classes.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

BOOK REVIEW - Ada Brownell's ~ The Lady Fugitive ~




This is a story of a gal who's on the run. . .I'd love to tell you all that happens, but I think one of the characters should give you a better scope of how things go that pushes Ada Brownell's     LADY FUGITIVE into her flight. . . .


Jenny Louise Parks

When Jenny Louise Parks stepped on stage at the Peachville Opera House in 1908, snappy eyes the color of a dark brown gemstone gleamed. She smiled at the crowd, her brunette curls bouncing with her energy.
“Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone,” she declared with poise, gesturing as she continued her rewritten rendition of the famous poem that she crafted into a humorous rhyming story.
When the crowd’s laughter quieted, the trained elocutionist eased her way to the piano, her long burgundy dress gently accenting her curves and slender figure. Her fingers danced over the keys and she bounced a little as the music to Rocky Mountain Columbine began. Then her clear voice rang with the bubbly melody.
 The next day, the judge’s massive body loomed in the opening of the barn where she took care of her horse. He slid a razor strap back and forth in his manicured hands. “Jenny!”
Her heart thumping like a dasher churning butter, the seventeen-year-old dropped the curry brush and moved past the buckskin’s large rump toward the side door.
The huge man limped closer. “Didn’t I tell you to quit flirting with those young men at the opera house?” His deep voice boomed among the stalls. “I want it stopped.”
Jenny inched backward. She swallowed. Icy tingles crawled up her back, her neck, and over her scalp.
“But…but…I was just being polite. I was honored they came to hear an elocutionist. They complimented me on my recitations.”
 Judge Danforth Schuster, her uncle, stepped closer, looking her up and down in the dim light. When she backed away, he grabbed her wrist and tightened his sausage fingers. He lifted the strap with his other hand.
 “It’s about time you had a good lickin’.” Tobacco and liquor breath sprayed her cheeks as he tried to turn her around.
This nightmare was not happening. Jenny wiggled, twisted, and scratched like a cat caught by a naughty child. The man clenched her tighter. Gritting her teeth, she braced her legs and shoved. She might as well have tried to move the boulder out by the windmill.
Relaxing a moment, she took a deep breath, jabbed an elbow into his dome belly, and stomped her boot heel down hard on his foot with the ingrown toenail.
A deep cry ripped from his throat. The hairy arms lost their hold, and she whirled out of his grasp. She ducked in time for his fist to miss her face. Then she ran past the horses and out the door.
Each step she took toward the house brought her closer to admitting the truth. Her life here was over.
That night, she packed, ready to escape. Then the lock to her room clicked. She went out the window and down the trellis. Her uncle caught her when she landed. He shoved her into the cellar and padlocked the door. She went out the coal chute opening.
She rode out on her horse heading for the midnight train, but the judge and his men followed. She gave them the slip by going toward barren country. But where could she go?
Shortly before Jenny’s father died, the judge talked him into changing his will so the judge would inherit the horse and peach ranch. But the will said he had to keep Jenny until she was 21 to inherit.
Jenny becomes a fugitive in Colorado with her name on Wanted Posters. With no one but her brother to love her, the Lord seeks her like the one lost sheep, hoping to bring her to peace and safety. 
You can find the rest of the character introductions this week with each day welcoming  a different character for the entire week ~ Be sure to check them out at:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel by Ada Brownell. She's put a different slant on the Historical Romance and the book had me intrigued enough that I truly had to FORCE myself to set it aside to get some work done. Rewarded myself with reading the rest when I should have been sleeping!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Christmas is coming!

It that time of the year again!

Michele here to try and whisk you into the holiday spirit! If you’re a crafter you know it’s the time of year when you start planning your holiday project list.

This year I plan to make a Christmas afghan. I already have two, one my grandma made in the seventies, and the other came from my parent's cabin in Northern MI. I love those blankets. They have sentimental value because they are connected to someone or something in my past. I’d like to make something like that for my own children.

So, I need your help. Which throw do you like? I’ve posted a few patterns along with the link to the web site where you can find them if you’re interested. 

Please, vote in the comment section to help me out and don't forget to leave your e-mail address to be entered into our weekly drawing.

Peppermint Throw and Pillow   Here's choice number one. I love the bright contrast and fun peppermint candies! 
And here's the link to the pattern: patterns/peppermint-throw-and-pillow

Snowflakes & Ribbons Throw
Choice number two. Another pretty one!
Here this link: Snowflakes-ribbons-throw

And the last choice. I like this one because I learned to crochet granny squares when I was in elementary school. (a LONG time ago!) 
Link to this cute granny square throw: Holiday-throw

                                                                      Holiday Throw

All the above patterns are found on Red Heart Yarn's web site.

Thanks for your help! I can't wait to hear from you!
Happy crafting,