Monday

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!




Well. It's almost here. Christmas day. I don't know about you guys, but I spent my week getting ready for Christmas. I'm not a big shopping fan, so I went a little later at night. We really haven't run into any terrible crowds. I got some giveaway books mailed out. That's about it for my week. Oh, but I did bake some oatmeal raisin cookies..from scratch. I've never done that before. So I liked my week. How about you?
This week will be doing a little more to prepare for Christmas, but hope to get some writing done as well!!

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!




Well last week was certainly interesting. And encouraging! I was encouraged greatly by my editor who bought a 3 book series from me! The Richness of Faith series will be out in 2013 and 2014. So yes, I was encouraged last week! Now this week I need to be encouraged to write. :) How about you? What encouraged you last week? Were you an encouragement to anyone?

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally!-

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!


Today I'm extremely thankful for computers, the internet and email. They have sped up the process of so many things. There are a couple of bank accounts I handle at my job that I do by hand--writing the checks and such--it's fine because we don't do a lot with those accounts, but I can't imagine running a full business on a ledger.

How about you? What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday

Winner-5 Word Challenge=$5 Amazon Card-Winner

Congratulations go out to JoAnn Durgin who won the $5 gift card last week for her participation in the 5 Word Challenge!

Don't you love winning stuff?

Monday

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!



Well, last week was a busy week! I did manage to get some writing done, more critiquing done, more reviewing done and we had the absolutely most fun with Ciara Knight and her Did I Notice Your Book blog hop!

So, I'm thrilled with last week. How about you?

Sunday

Sunday Psalm


Psalm 45:1
My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally!-Sharpies!

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!


Thanksgiving isn't the only time of the year to be thankful, right? 'They' say thankful people are happier people. Hmmm. Sounds good, doesn't it?

There was a guy on a radio station here the Friday after Thanksgiving asking people what they were thankful for. He said the 'big ticket items, family, health, jobs, and such' were a given, so he wanted the 'other' things people were thankful for. There were a lot of great calls--people being thankful for everything from Chick-Fil-A honey-bbq sauce to WI-FI. Fun stuff.

So, in the same vein, I'm going with it. :)

I'm thankful for different colored Sharpies. All the colors make put me in a great mood and I feel pretty motivated to work when I get to jot notes with the Sharpies. (No comments on what that REALLY says about me.)

How about you? What non-big-ticket item are you thankful for?

Thursday

Did I Notice Your Book


With all the new tools out there to monitor book sales and blurbs mentioned about their books, I’m going to highlight a new book each week. I’ll post it in the morning. If by the end of the day that author finds her book on this post I want her or him to tell us how they discovered it; word of mouth through the close network of writers, a Yahoo group mention, or through some new-fangled Google tool.

Now, how will I choose this book each week? It will be a book that caught my attention. As a reader, I will keep an eye out for something that either provoked me to read the blurb, look at the author’s blog, or purchase said book.

Before I reveal my choice I want to clarify that this author has no idea that I’ve chosen his/her book.

The book I've chosen is: The Perfect Rose by Felecia Rogers




Abandoned by his wife and left to raise a child alone, Caleb Reed falls short of the ideal work-from-home dad. He needs a woman to help him, in every sense of the word. At the suggestion of a friend, Caleb agrees to hire Ariel Lauren on a trial basis.

As an orphan, Ariel has more issues than just how to make it on her own. Yes, she needs the money that Caleb offers her, but more than anything she finds she desires his love. One calamity after another befalls her and jeopardizes her new job and her chance at having a family. But through it all, Caleb is by her side, his gruff exterior threatening to melt in the face of their shared attraction. Will they decide to continue life alone or will the magic of Valentine's Day bring them together?


I chose this book first because I loved the cover. I'm a sucker for romance--love--and all that inspires those special feelings. I love faces on covers and I love roses! So, this cover drew me in right away.

Then I read the blurb. Valentine's Day? I'm there. The author hooked me with the story line as well.


Click here to purchase The Perfect Rose.

Felecia Rogers on Goodreads

Felecia Rogers' website

What do you think? Does this cover draw you in? Would you read this book?


Also, check out Ciara Knight's Blog for a list of all who are participating--and see who did indeed NOTICE THEIR BOOK!

Wednesday

The 5 Word Challenge=$5 Amazon Card

Anyone up for a challenge today? We're keeping it short and simple. Just a little exercise in learning to be concise. I know at times I need it!

So, in the comment section post a 5 word sentence to describe your favorite aspect of decorating for Christmas.


Pre-lit tree means less work. :)


Certain ornaments bring fond memories.


Now it's your turn!
(To be entered into the drawing you need to post your
comment by midnight EST today, November 30th.)


Oh, and make sure you tune in tomorrow--special post!! Fun post!! You'll love it!!

Tuesday

That Was Then, This Is Now--Nessie The Cat

I haven't always read the same type of book-watched the same type of movies--listened to the same type of music. Back in the day, in the 70's I only read historical romance novels. That's it. Until a friend of mine introduced me to Dean Koontz, John Saul and other thriller writers. After working my way through thrillers then I started reading women's fiction--then I started writing. Now I write contemporary christian romance novels. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith lived in my 8-track player--now David Crowder tops my list of favorite music.But things from my past have shaped who I am today. So we are going to look at 2 somethings. Books-movies-music. The first will be the Here and Now. The second--we'll see what Father Time brings forth and from what era he brings it forth from.

Here we go!

Okay--we're not going back so many years today. We're only going back three.





Meet Nessie. My cat. My crazy, I-wanna-grab-your-ankle-but-sleep-right-next-to-you-every-night cat. We brought her home 3 years ago, January.
























This is her 3 years ago. She was so little and skinny under all that fur. Now, as you can see, she's not lacking for food-or fur!! We love her!









Nessie joined our already crazy family---our 14 year old cat, Jasper, our blue and gold Macaw, Chiquita, our lilac-head parrot, Lila and we now have a crazy, just not quite this side of normal dog, Hutch. Yeah, they out number us 5 to 2. But we control the food! :0

Do you have any pets?

Monday

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!




Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving week. That in itself should be an encouragement! But really, shouldn't we have the Thanksgiving/Christmas mindset all year? We have so much to be thankful for on a daily basis--and the spirit of Jesus being born lives in our hearts every day!
This week I'm going to work on a proposal, a one page synopsis, and two blurbs! I need prayer! :)
How about you? What are you working on?

Sunday

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 61:1

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I shall cry to You.
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.


I love knowing God is so much bigger than my situations. :)

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally!-

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!

I remember Alex commenting last week he was thankful he had a 3 day work week. Well, I'm at the day job today. But I'm thankful for the job. And I'm thankful I get to see the family tomorrow--it's our Thanksgiving dinner with the family we didn't see yesterday.
Here's a glimpse of some of them!

Thursday

Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

We have been blessed so much by our Lord---let's make sure we are a blessing to someone else.

Wednesday

Winner-5 Word Challenge=$5 Amazon Card

Congratulations--- Arlee!!

Last week we played the 5 Word=$5 Amazon card. Arlee played and won. Check back next week to play another round--see if you can win!

(Winners picked randomly.)

Monday

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!




Confession time! I left a whole lot 'unwritten' last week. Only added a small word count to my manuscript, but I did critique chapters for a writing friend. And I saw the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn--which led to no morning writing time Friday morn.

So, how about you? Are you in the 'written' category for last week, or are you like me, in the 'unwritten?'

Sunday

Sunday Psalm



Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally!-

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!

First off I'm thanking Him for my grandchildren! What cute fun!



There are so many things to be thankful for on a daily basis. What are you thankful for today?

Thursday

Let's Give Them Somebody To Talk About-Christy Lashea

We all know people who have worked hard writing, who have finished manuscripts, who have taken classes, joined groups and have diligently pursued this publishing avenue. And we all know they are about 2 seconds away from getting that first contract otherwise known as 'The Call.'

Today our Somebody is---------------------------



Christy Lashea!

I met Christy at a GRW meeting. I firmly believe the meeting was orchestrated by God. I wasn't sitting where I usually sit, in the front of the room and I heard someone ask her what genre she wrote. She said inspirational and they led her over to me and introduced her. We've been fast friends ever since. This girl has a ton of talent and I can't wait for everyone to read the words she pens. I asked Christy a few questions.


Lindi: What genre(s) do you write?
Christy: Most of my manuscripts have been contemporary romance. However, my current work in progress is a historical romance set in 1903. I enjoy reading historical romance because I love that escape to a different place and time. I’m discovering a new voice for my characters as well as new adventures in this piece I’m writing. The story takes place in my hometown. I don’t need to travel too far for research, and I’m discovering the town’s history has magical qualities… or, the kind I’m making up .

Lindi: How long have you been writing?
Christy: When I was about 10, I became obsessed (well, that may be too dramatic) with Gone With the Wind. I loved the movie. I began collecting the large picture books that depicted the casting search for the actors. Scarlett, in my mind, is Vivien Leigh. I can’t imagine Scarlett having been played by any other actress. I feel the same about Rhett. Rhett is Clark Gable. With all of that being said, I wanted to create that kind of book. In my 10 year old mind, I thought if I sat down at my sweet Granny’s brown electric typewriter, that I could create some of the dream and magic that Margaret Mitchell did. What happened was I copied the first page of GWTW onto the typed pages. There was no original writing done back then.
In middle school (I loathed 7th grade) I began a murder mystery about 5 or 6 friends that had to solve the murder of one of their friends. (I was reading a lot of Christopher Pike novels back then, too). That was my first attempt at a contemporary story. I didn’t write anymore until my late twenties, when I discovered I loved reading so much (Thank you Nora Roberts, Luanne Rice, and Nicholas Sparks) that I wanted to write my own stories. Plus, I had scenes in my head that had to be told.


Lindi: Do you have an agent?
Christy: Not yet. I’m actively seeking 


Lindi: Do you enter contests-if no, why not? If yes, what is the most helpful aspect of entering contests?
Christy: Yes, I do enter contests. I’ve always been choosy about what contests to enter. I consider the status of the contest among writer communities. I also pay close attention to who the final round editor or agent will be. I’ve been impressed this last year how more CBA editors are the final round judges. Now, we not only can attempt to get our work in front of Harlequin editors, specifically Love Inspired, but also large houses like Thomas Nelson and Bethany House. Very exciting!
The feedback I’ve received from contests has always been very useful.
I will say, it’s a hard pill to swallow if the feedback isn’t positive. Usually, I will put the comments away for a few weeks, then come back later and realize the judge was spot on. You have to have a thick skin to be in this business. Entering contests is one way to get tough.


Lindi: Do you attend writer’s conferences? If no, why not? If yes, why would you suggest conferences for authors who are seeking publication?
Christy: Yes, I attend conferences. I love going! I love writing and I love to talk about the craft with others and help motivate others to keep writing and keep working hard toward their dreams!
I don’t get to attend conferences as much as I would like. The 9-5 job that is a “must” to pay the bills and support my writing “habit” is an important thing that doesn’t allow me to be away a lot. Also, my children are still young and I find it’s harder to travel and leave them behind. My husband and our parents are very supportive, but I find that I have a better time if I am closer to home and choose local conferences to attend.
I always encourage new writers to attend any conferences they can. There are many one-day workshops out there. The wonderful thing about conferences – not only the workshops and teaching – but also the opportunity to sit down across from an editor or agent and pitch your novel! Meeting them in a conference setting is going to show them you’re serious about publication. It puts a face with that cover letter. It’s beyond a blind/boring query letter. If you’re serious about writing, do what you can to attend a conference.



Lindi: What is your favorite aspect of creating a novel. Character development or learning the story?
Christy: Hmmm…. Very good question. I love both aspects very much. I love to brainstorm and plan a story. The hard part is actually writing the scenes!! My stories usually begin with a character and an issue or situation. I find I have to be more structured that when I first started writing. I only write in snippets of time and I need a map to remember where I need to go. Initially, I would start with an idea and see where it took me, but then I found in the end I was all over the place. I believe my books are more character driven and I enjoy creating deeply wounded characters so they can have a happily ever after.


Lindi: Tell us something fun about you!
Christy: I love listening to music way too loud in the car. I jam out when I’m by myself. I love to sing and dance, although I don’t feel I do either very well. I sing to my children quite often and make up silly songs about them. I can’t stand to be tickled, although I love to laugh. I’m finding the best days of my life are right now. I know who I am, where I’m going and where I want to go. I’m not inundated with what someone thinks about me. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been. All of this is attributed to finally giving God the glory in all that I do. I became free when I realized His love for me. I hope one day the stories I write will serve and glorify Him, and will encourage others.

Christy: Lindi, Thanks so much for having me here today!! I love the themes you have going during the week. So fun!


Thank you for being here! Feel free to ask Christy a question or two. She'll be checking in.

Wednesday

The 5 Word Challenge=$5 Amazon Card

Anyone up for a challenge today? We're keeping it short and simple. Just a little exercise in learning to be concise. I know at times I need it!

So, in the comment section post a 5 word sentence to describe your favorite kind of day.

I'll go first:

Cloudy, cool and soft breezes.
Or maybe---Pizza and cookies for lunch.

Wanna try?

If you post a 5 word answer in the comment section your name will be in the drawing for a $5 amazon card.
Rules-
1. You must post a 5 word answer
2. You must post your email address--in that undetectable format ex: belindapeterson at tds dot net--you know how it goes.
3. You must post your answer before 8:00 A.M. EST--Thursday, Nov 17th.

Winner will be announced next Wednesday. If you are that winner a $5 amazon card will be sent to you email.

Have fun!!

Tuesday

That Was Then, This Is Now--The Jeans They Are A Changin'

I haven't always read the same type of book-watched the same type of movies--listened to the same type of music. Back in the day, in the 70's I only read historical romance novels. That's it. Until a friend of mine introduced me to Dean Koontz, John Saul and other thriller writers. After working my way through thrillers then I started reading women's fiction--then I started writing. Now I write contemporary christian romance novels. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith lived in my 8-track player--now David Crowder tops my list of favorite music.But things from my past have shaped who I am today. So we are going to look at 2 somethings. Books-movies-music. The first will be the Here and Now. The second--we'll see what Father Time brings forth and from what era he brings it forth from.

Here we go!





Today we're deviating a bit. (don't you love the word deviate?) We're going with a little fashion here-and-now/flashback. How about jeans?
Skinny jeans are all the rage now. I know I have a pair and I love them. They are really comfortable. The thing is they LOOK terribly uncomfortable, but they're not.They look really great with boots, too.












Now, who remembers wearing these jeans? I do! (Lindi raising her hand!!) In junior high school especially. I remember high waists and big buttons--oh, and those bell bottoms. I had bell bottoms so big, that I tripped over them one morning on the way to school. I remember jumping up hoping no one saw me. (I lived in the city then and we walked to school!)





How about you? Remember these fashions? Do you remember others? Please share!

(Photos courtesy of Google Images)

Monday

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!




I know a lot of you are in the midst of NANOWRIMO--I chose not to participate as I knew what I had on my calendar. This past week I stayed with my grandchildren while their parents were vacationing. What a treat! I love hanging with the little ones, 6 and 3.


Aren't they precious!!


Since I usually write early morning, my early mornings were spent fixing breakfast and getting the kiddos ready. I loved it!!

But this week, it's back to the grind. :)

What about you? How do you adjust at having your schedule take a turn?


I'm posting about how I prepare to write a novel on F.A.I.T.H. today. Check it out! ):

Sunday

Sunday Psalm




Psalm 16:7
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally!

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!





I would be remiss if I did not thank God for my son this week as it's his birthday! Happy 25th Alex! I love you.

Thursday

Let's Give Them Somebody To Talk About-Dianna Shuford

We all know people who have worked hard writing, who have finished manuscripts, who have taken classes, joined groups and have diligently pursued this publishing avenue. And we all know they are about 2 seconds away from getting that first contract otherwise known as 'The Call.'

Today our Somebody is---------------------------





Dianna Shuford



I asked Dianna a few questions.

Lindi-- What genre(s) do you write?
Dianna---I primarily write Inspirational Romantic-Suspense and Speculative/Paranormal. I do have story ideas across genres, but I haven’t had the time to explore them. Working full time, running our family business and writing makes it necessary to focus on how to make the best use of the time I have for writing.

Lindi----How long have you been writing?
Dianna----The earliest I can remember writing is in middle school. I had poetry published in middle school and in high school. I discovered then that there is nothing like seeing your words, thoughts, work in print to share with any who cares to read it.
During college and my children’s younger years I still dabbled with my writing, but I didn’t get serious about pursuing possible publication until 2006. I prayed for God to grant me direction, and boy did He ever! He led me to an awesome group of writers, Georgia Romance Writers, and I have met my critique partner and other inspirational writers who have become mentors and role models in the writing industry for me.

Lindi---- Do you have an agent?
Dianna----I don’t have an agent. I have pitched to several agents and have outstanding requests that I’m working on meeting. I’ve discovered when pursuing publishing in the CBA market, it is beneficial to have an agent, especially if you can’t afford to attend the large national conferences every year.
I also view an agent as a necessary business partner because while I’ve focused on learning the art of writing, I don’t know very much about the business of writing. I would like to have someone there on my side to guide me in those unfamiliar waters when the time comes for the need to negotiate and sign that first contract.

Lindi---Do you enter contests- if no, why not? If yes, what is the most helpful aspect of entering contests?

Dianna---I do entered contests; however, I’ve learned to be selective in those contests I target. I base my decision on cost (whether I can afford it), who the initial judges may be (pubbed vs. unpubbed authors), and who the final judging editor/agents are (if I’m targeting that publishing house or literary agent). During the hard financial times everyone is experiencing right now, being selective is the way I stay within my budget.

Lindi---Do you attend writer’s conferences? If no, why not? If yes, why would you suggest conferences for authors who are Seeking publication?

Dianna--I love attending conferences. I always leave a conference feeling inspired, excited, and encouraged about my work. Conferences also provide the needed teachings and networking that help push a writing career forward. That being said, I’ve only attended one large national conference (ACFW 2010) because of the much larger cost involved, but there are many smaller conferences that are more cost effective that provide the same benefits even if it is on a smaller scale. Georgia Romance Writer’s Moonlight & Magnolias conference is one I try very hard to attend every year.

Lindi-- What is your favorite aspect of creating a novel? Character development or learning the story?
Dianna---I love brainstorming a new idea, watching the idea grow from a little spark to a full-fledged fire that burns into your creativity, a burn you can’t ignore. My critique partner and I brainstorm often, any time we hit a snag in either of our stories or when we are beginning a new story. (Laying that groundwork has become crucial as well.) Once the brainstorming is over, then it’s time to work at writing the draft, revising and editing. Not as much fun, but still worth it when the finished product sits before you.

Lindi---Tell us something fun about you!
Dianna---Fun? Hmmm…that’s a hard one. I don’t often think of myself as fun. Here goes…
* I love Sci-Fi. Not the scare-your-pants-off thriller kind of stuff, but the imagine the infinite possibilities stories. Star Trek is my favorite TV show, of course.
* I love Christian rap. My favorite kind of music.
* I love technology. My husband often buys me the latest gadget rather than jewelry as gifts. Last year, it was an e-reader, and the year before an iPod touch.
* I love helping other people whenever I can. I often have to put the brakes on because I tend to be overwhelmed with obligations from overcommitting myself.


Thanks, Dianna.

Dianna will be checking tonight if you have any comments or questions. We'd love to hear from you!!

Tuesday

That Was Then, This Is Now-David Crowder & The Rolling Stones

I haven't always read the same type of book-watched the same type of movies--listened to the same type of music. Back in the day, in the 70's I only read historical romance novels. That's it. Until a friend of mine introduced me to Dean Koontz, John Saul and other thriller writers. After working my way through thrillers then I started reading women's fiction--then I started writing. Now I write contemporary christian romance novels. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith lived in my 8-track player--now David Crowder tops my list of favorite music.But things from my past have shaped who I am today. So we are going to look at 2 somethings. Books-movies-music. The first will be the Here and Now. The second--we'll see what Father Time brings forth and from what era he brings it forth from.

Here we go!



Thought I'd go the music route this week as I did see the David Crowder Band last Saturday night. Amazing. This band has spoken to me so much about God and who He is than any other band. You know how it is when something just resonates with you? Well, this band resonates well with me. This is their last tour as they are breaking up, but I know they'll all continue to bless people with whatever avenue God has in store for them next!






Ha! These are the Rolling Stones I remember. You aren't allowed to say a negative against Mick Jagger in our house. I've been listening to the RS's since the 60's. That's my first memory of them and the song "Hey you get off of my cloud. And of course, the 70's brought us Angie. Probably the best song in the free world!



Got any music memories you want to share?


(Photos courtesy of Goodle Images)

Monday

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!




As far as the writing week, I didn't get much done, but I did get something done every day. A step in the right direction for sure! I also managed to get my blog hooked up with Twitterfeed--still working on the FB part of that. Dinner with my mom again--nice!!

How about you? Encouraged? Discouraged? Let's work it out!

Sunday

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 96:9

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Tremble before Him, all the earth.

NKJV

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally! David Crowder Band

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!



















This week I'm giving a special shout out for David Crowder!! The David Crowder* Band will be here in the ATL tomorrow night and you know I'll be there. David and the band have made awesome music. My fav band!!! I'm so excited--so, yes, I'm thankful for David Crowder and his obedience to God!! His talent glorifies God--and gives me music I love to listen to.

Thursday

Let's Give Them Somebody To Talk About-Melanie LeGrand

We all know people who have worked hard writing, who have finished manuscripts, who have taken classes, joined groups and have diligently pursued this publishing avenue. And we all know they are about 2 seconds away from getting that first contract otherwise known as 'The Call.'

Today our Somebody is---------------------------

Melanie LeGrand








1) What Genre to you write?

I tend to cross barriers in the area of genre. I am drawn to the drama and intensity of relationships in Women’s Fiction. It’s also important to me to include inspiration throughout my story, whether it is subtle or more involved and based on a specific Bible verse. Most of the books I recommend to others are stories that made me feel as though I took part in an uplifting experience along the way. Last but not least, I enjoy the challenge of portraying a romance in the making. Although it can be difficult to include all three of these elements in one story, it makes for a more enjoyable writing experience and journey for me.

2) How long have you been writing?

Writing has been a way for me to express my feelings for as long as I can remember. As a young child from a divorced family and then thrust into a blended family situation, I took to writing to help me work through my emotions. I wrote my first complete story in elementary school with my best friend providing the illustrations. We won first place in a school wide writing contest. At some point in time, the story got lost and I still wish I knew what became of it. I suspect it ended up with my friend from long ago. In high school I published my first poem. During my sophomore year in college, I met my husband through mutual friends. After our first date, I gave him a poem expressing the fun I had and my interest in doing it again. He claims it was one of the reasons he was brave enough to ask for a second date. On our first anniversary he gave me a beautiful wood writing box to keep my favorite notes, cards, and writing ideas. For many years the joy of writing also led me to create a small ministry of making homemade cards with uplifting messages, which I still do occasionally when I find the time. It wasn’t until three and half years ago that I began the process of writing my first novel. Once again, writing became a wonderful therapy for me as I went through several years of difficult circumstances. When you create a character that is hurting and needs to go through a healing process, it is amazing what it can do for your own heart.

3) Do you have an agent?

I am fortunate to have a wonderful agent who represents Inspirational Fiction. Her advice to significantly lower my word count made for a stronger, more interesting story, and I am glad I had her guidance. No longer bogged down by over descriptive words, phrases, and adjectives, I feel more confident knowing my work meets the requirement of word count for most publishers today. As an unpublished author trying to emerge into a very tight industry, I believe an agent is indispensable in bringing a new author’s work to the attention of the right publisher.

4) Do you enter contests-if no, why not. If yes, what is the most helpful aspect of entering contests.

I think contests can be beneficial if you find the right fit for your genre. Entering an inspirational women’s fiction manuscript with romantic elements will not do well in a single-title romance category (something I learned the hard way). Do your research. Find contests that offer a category for your specific work. I also suggest entering contests where reputable agents and editors contribute to the critique of the finalists. Be prepared for feedback that you may or may not agree with. Take what makes sense to you and learn and grow from it. Disregard anything that you do not agree with. These are simply opinions to help you, not to hurt you. That can be hard to remember when your work is torn to pieces but a complete stranger, but the key is to keep trying and improving. Never give up on your dream!

5) Do you attend writer’s conferences? If no, why not. If yes, why would you suggest conferences for authors who are seeking publication.

I wholeheartedly believe in attending writing conferences and workshops where you can meet other published and unpublished authors. Making contacts in the writing industry is vital. You never know, you might meet a wonderful friend in the process, which is exactly what happened to me when I attended my first RWA conference in Orlando in 2010. Conferences offer workshops that not only challenge you, but also help you take the next step toward publication. Writers are very open individuals—ready to share their journey, mistakes, pitfalls, and ready to offer feedback on ideas. It can be expensive, but classes and conferences within your local ACFW or RWA group can be less expensive. Budgeting for a National conference is a must at some point if you want to take your work to the next level. Your ultimate goal is to be published, and at conferences you can pitch your idea(s) to top professionals in the industry. What better way to get feedback and get your work out there?

6) What is your favorite aspect of creating a novel? Character development or learning the story?

I love every single aspect of writing. I love learning who my characters are and what story they have to tell. Character development and learning the story go hand in hand for me—they usually form simultaneously in my mind. I am big picture writer. I have to know where I’m going before I can begin, so all aspects of the story come rushing forth before I take it too far on paper. Once I have a good idea of the basics, I let my creativity take over. I try not to plan it too perfectly or I get bored and lose my connection to the characters and setting. I keep it interesting by not knowing every little scene or chapter up front. I let the characters tell me every day where we are going and how we are going to get there.

7) Tell us something fun about you!

I owned a gourmet pastry business for several years and love to bake. My specialty is cheesecake. Turtle cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, strawberry vanilla bean cheesecake . . . Mmmm, maybe I’ll have to head to the kitchen soon.

My love for baking made for a fun character in my first novel as she is a famous pastry chef in Chicago! ;-)



Thank you, Melanie. And readers, I've had the pleasure of being the recipient of Melanie's baking--O.M.!! Such sweetness-such deliciousness!!
Her sweets are as fabulous as her writing.

Tuesday

That Was Then, This Is Now

I'm 50. I haven't always read the same type of book-watched the same type of movies--listened to the same type of music. Back in the day, in the 70's I only read historical romance novels. That's it. Until a friend of mine introduced me to Dean Koontz, John Saul and other thriller writers. After working my way through thrillers then I started reading women's fiction--then I started writing. Now I write contemporary christian romance novels. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith lived in my 8-track player--now David Crowder tops my list of favorite music.But things from my past have shaped who I am today. So we are going to look at 2 somethings. Books-movies-music. The first will be the Here and Now. The second--we'll see what Father Time brings forth and from what era he brings it forth from.

Here we go!



Young girls (and older ones, but we won't go there now!) are fascinated by the Twilight series. Yes, I'll admit to being a fan. The movie, Breaking Dawn, book 4 of the series, is about to be at the theaters. :) Fans all over the world are waiting anxiously to see how their favorite novel will look onscreen.










But you see, back when I was a kid, we had Nancy! I know girls all over the world are still reading Nancy, and I still like Nancy--but what a world of difference in the choices for girls now. Can you see Ned as a vamp? Did Nancy and Ned ever kiss? (I just went and did a quick Google search and still didn't find the answer.)
The times they have changed since Nancy and Ned hung out.







What about you? Nancy/Ned? Bella/Edward?
Both?

Monday

Unwritten-Encourage The Journey

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!





Not a good novel writing week last week--but I did critiquing, which I love! Our small church has started a book club with some ladies and it was awesome. And I got to visit with my mom one night--so I liked my week, just wished I had more words added to the count.
But--in those few words I wrote I found a really fun, new angle to my story. It's added some much needed punch!


Oh--and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Sunday

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.



This verse is comforting!!

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally!

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!



I'd like to make a special shout out to my critique partner Missy Tippens.



Here we are at the Atlanta RWA Golden Heart ceremony in 2006 when she was a finalist!






Missy has been a major encourager in my life--writing and otherwise! She's always on the ready to answer a question or read something. I'm so thankful she's my critique partner.

How about you? What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday

Let's Give Them Somebody To Talk About-Walt Mussell

We all know people who have worked hard writing, who have finished manuscripts, who have taken classes, joined groups and have diligently pursued this publishing avenue. And we all know they are about 2 seconds away from getting that first contract otherwise known as 'The Call.'

Today our Somebody is---------------------------




Walt Mussell


Walt has written an amazing novel titled The Samurai's Heart. I've had the pleasure of reading it, and let me just say it's an amazing journey!
(This is a respost of from the F.A.I.T.H. blog, but Walt is such a great guy and this book is so awesome, I wanted him over here as well!--and this feature was perfect!!)

Lindi: Tell us a little about your manuscript.

Walt: My manuscript is the first of a trilogy set in 16th century Japan. However, though there will be characters and a plot line that runs through all three books, a reader won’t need to have read one book to be able to understand the next one.


The first story, the one that won the Maggie, is called The Samurai’s Heart. The heroine, Sen Goami, returns to her hometown after ten years away. However, the homecoming is a sad one as it’s marred by the news of the deaths of her elder sister and her husband. As the remaining child, Sen must now find a man willing to marry into her family’s swordsmith business.



The hero, Nobuhiro Tokoda, is the prodigal third son of a high-level retainer at Himeji Castle. Born with a limp that made training to be a samurai impossible and faced with a harsh father, Nobuhiro leaves the castle and apprentices himself to a swordsmith, the heroine’s father. Through this honorable trade, Nobuhiro hopes to prove his worth to his father.


Nobuhiro would seem to be the ideal husband for Sen and her parents press the issue. However, during her time away, Sen became a Christian and seeks a Christian husband, a task made difficult as Christianity has been banned. For Nobuhiro, Christianity is dangerous as it caused the death of his best friend and would prevent any hope of reconciliation with his family.


Books 2 and 3, called The Samurai’s Soul and The Samurai’s Strength, take place in Osaka and Kyoto. Book 2 takes one of my favorite passages from Acts and places it in a Japanese context. Book 3 weaves two piece of Japanese history and addresses a “what if” question that fascinates me. I hope it all works.



Lindi: When did you first discover your love of history?


Walt: Elementary school. I read a lot of American history back then and begged my parents to take me to places like Williamsburg and Yorktown. As I got older, I became fascinated with British history and the Vikings. (I particularly like the Vikings. Why I don’t know?)

When I moved to Japan in the early 90s, I went more for business reasons and because I’d acquired an interest in Japan overall. However, I fell in love with the history of the country after I got there.


Lindi: What do you like best about writing? Creating characters or developing the plot?


Walt: Plot. Most definitely plot. As I mentioned above, my stories are meant to be independent of each other. However, my trilogy has a number of items and individuals (under fictional names) that should be recognizable to a Japanese person or a student of Japanese history and hopefully add depth to the plot. My story is written with the idea of being able to translate it into Japanese.

My love of plot may explain why the first agent who requested a full on my story (over two years ago), rejected it saying that the characters didn’t capture her as she would have hoped. I’ve spent a lot time since that day working on characters, deep POV, and trying to better bring my reader into the story. Haywood Smith taught me some techniques for trying to bring out my characters better and then reviewed my first attempts. Camy Tang has done some wonderful posts on deep POV over on the Seekerville blog and these have also been helpful. I’ve learned a lot.


Lindi: How does it feel to be the minority at the writing meetings? :)


Walt: Still weird at times, though my wife would tell you that I probably like it that way. Wonderful people have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable at meetings. At the same time, there’s a reason why kids aren’t allowed at meetings. What goes on there is a serious conversation about writing and trying to improve one’s craft. Writers can be shy. However, when it comes to a craft discussion, writers are definitely blunt. (It’s the only way to improve.) At the same time, the discussion is primarily from a female POV. Consequently, there are days when I do get embarrassed.

Oddly, though, I wonder if I don’t kill the conversation at times. No one has ever made me feel unwelcome. But, there are certain topics that women don’t discuss in front of men. There must be days like that.


I know a couple of fun things about Walt I'd like to share. One--he is terribly funny. He keeps us in stitches at times at our meetings. And second, Walt just won the Maggie Award of Excellence for The Samurai's Heart. The prize is a beautiful medallion. Walt said his wife is going to try to make it unto a tie clip. That's awesome!!

Thanks, Walt!!

Wednesday

Where Were You Wednesday

Remember when?
Where were you when?
Oh, I was.....
And I remember right after that......

Do those phrases sound familiar? I bet they do. We've all said them. We'll say them again today. Because today is Where Were You Wednesday. Below is an event.....tell where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. Or in this case--heard the song!

My Heart Will Go On was released on Celine Dion's 1997 album Let's Talk About Love. It debuted #1 on Billboards Top 100, sold over 15 million copies and not only was the best selling single of 1998, but one of the best selling singles of all time.

Of course we can't help but think of the movie Titanic while thinking of the song, right?


I remember hearing the song on the radio over and over and over again. I remember loving the song! I also remember hearing it was a song that became a popular funeral song.
Oh, the tears!!

How about you? What was going on in your life while this song was popular?

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Tuesday

That Was Then, This Is Now

I'm 50. I haven't always read the same type of book-watched the same type of movies--listened to the same type of music. Back in the day, in the 70's I only read historical romance novels. That's it. Until a friend of mine introduced me to Dean Koontz, John Saul and other thriller writers. After working my way through thrillers then I started reading women's fiction--then I started writing. Now I write contemporary christian romance novels. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith lived in my 8-track player--now David Crowder tops my list of favorite music.But things from my past have shaped who I am today. So we are going to look at 2 somethings. Books-movies-music. The first will be the Here and Now. The second--we'll see what Father Time brings forth and from what era he brings it forth from.

Here we go!




I love a good Gothic Romance--Love them. Always have. And Jennifer St. Giles writes some amazing ones.
Mistress of Trevelyan is the first book in the Trevelyan Series. Set in 1873 San Fransisco I was immediately caught up in the life that is Ann Lovell and Benedict Trevelyan. Secrets from the past and amazing writing make Jennifer one of my favorite current Gothic Authors.










My Enemy The Queen came out in 1978, the year before I graduated High School. I think I've read this book at least 10 times if not more. I LOVE Victoria Holt's novels, and I especially LOVE this one. I have read most of Holt's novels. METQ is about Lettice Devereux the third angle in the love triangle of Queen Elizabeth and her beloved Robert, Earl of Leicester. The intrigue of the court, the elegance of the time. METQ is one of my favorite books of all time.





Do you read books more than once? What are some of your favorites?

Monday

No matter what we are doing in life there are struggles. Mondays will be our day to talk about what was left unwritten last week---and then offer encouragement for the following week.
And if everything from your previous week was written—let’s celebrate!



Confession time! Last week was terrible. My main writing time is the morning time. I slept 'late' everyday and got less than 500 words written all week. :( Not a good week. I think I'm floundering in my story anyway, which isn't helping.
On the up-side I have been helping a couple of people with their stories--which has encouraged me this week---I enjoy reading others work.

How about you? Written? Unwritten?

Sunday

Sunday Psalm

Okay--we know how cool last Sunday's Psalm was. :)

Psalm 86:12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

Friday

Thank God It's Friday--Literally!

T.G.I.F. We've all seen it and heard it a million times. We'll devote Friday's to telling the world what we're thanking God for!

Last week I decided to list 3 blogging friends. Then it so happened my friend Ciara Knight had tagged me for a Pay It Forward Blogfest. Ha! And I already had my 3 bloggers posted. Loved that! God is good.


Today I'm going to spotlight a couple more blogs.




The F.A.I.T.H. Girls. Yes, that's me in the picture as well. We started this blog in January of 2007. These ladies are so special and wonderful. They been encouraging and faithful in friendship and helping me grow as a person, a writer, and a follower of Jesus. I love them!





Seekerville Okay-if you know anything about Christian writing or writers these ladies nor their blog need any introduction. They have made a great name in Seekerville. The photo doesn't show all the Seekerville ladies, but all the Seekerville ladies are AWESOME! I have learned so much from their blog. If you've never visited I highly suggest making the click over there.


So this week it's obvious I'm thankful for group blogs. I'm thankful for the prayer warriors who don't give up and who pray when asked. Much love!!

Thursday

Let's Give Them Somebody To Talk About-Mindy Obenhaus

We all know people who have worked hard writing, who have finished manuscripts, who have taken classes, joined groups and have diligently pursued this publishing avenue. And we all know they are about 2 seconds away from getting that first contract otherwise known as 'The Call.'

Today our Somebody is---------------------------





1. What genre(s) do you write?

Romance. I just gotta have that happily ever after. My first story, a 2010 Genesis finalist, was romantic suspense, but I think my heart tends to lean more toward straight romance.

2. How long have you been writing?

I penned my first story in the fourth grade, complete with Polaroid pictures. J After high school, I took a really long hiatus. However, the story engine didn’t stop. I was continually making up stories in my head. I just never wrote them down. In 2004, shortly before my youngest child started school, I decided the only way I was going to find out if I could write was to actually do it. I spent the next nine months—LOL! I just realized the timing. And it really was like birthing a child—penning my first novel. Later, when I joined a writers’ group, I learned what I really had was a bad first draft. The good news was I had done it. I had written an entire book. Now I just had to learn the craft of writing and fix what I had written. You can’t do that with a blank page.

3. Do you have an agent?

I do not have an agent.

4. Do you enter contests-if no, why not. If yes, what is the most helpful aspect of entering contests?

I do enter contests, though I tend to target those where the final-round judge is someone I really want to see my material. Even if my entry doesn’t make it to the final round, the feedback I receive from the fresh eyes of unknown judges is incredibly valuable. That doesn’t mean it might not sting. There were times I felt like I’d tangled with a hornets nest. However, after I settled down, many of the judges’ comments began to resonate with me and I realized they were right. LOL! Most recently, I had a judge tell me my story didn’t start until page eight. I thought they were crazy. I rewrote and rewrote and, ultimately, cut those first seven pages before I sent it off to the editor. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never say never.

5. Do you attend writer’s conferences? If no, why not. If yes, why would you suggest conferences for authors who are seeking publication?

I am a huge fan of writer’s conferences. Aside from the learning, you get to mingle with like-minded folks. Those who don’t look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them what your character revealed to you in your most recent conversation. J

Conferences give you valuable insight into the industry. Also, you often have the opportunity to meet with editors and agents, to develop a rapport as opposed to a blind query letter. Besides, conferences are just plain fun.

6. What is your favorite aspect of creating a novel? Character development or learning the story?

Good question. Probably learning the story. Since I tend to be a seat-of-the-pants writer, I love to be typing along and suddenly think, “Wow! I had no idea that was going to happen.”

7. Tell us something fun about you!

I’m not sure this can really be classified as fun but…have you ever stepped on a snake? A poisonous one at that. We were at our ranch. I stepped off of the porch—wearing shorts and tennis shoes with no-show socks—and a few steps into my departure I realized I was standing on something that wasn’t the ground. I looked down to discover I was standing on a copperhead.

It’s interesting how quickly our brains can process things. In the timeframe of a nanosecond, I thought, “Copperhead. Poisonous. This thing could rear back and bite me.” With those thoughts screaming through my brain, I shot straight up in air.

My husband, who had killed another copperhead earlier in the day, was right behind me going, “There’s its mate. Watch it while I get the shovel.”

My first thought was, “You watch the snake while I get the shovel.” Second thought, “What do you mean mate?” I later learned that copperheads usually travel in pairs. Yeah. Apparently he didn’t feel the need to share that bit of information with me earlier.




Thanks, Mindy.

Hmmm.. You see why these people are authors? I ask them to tell something fun about themselves and so far we have sitting on a cactus and stepping on a copperhead while its mate watched!! Can you say conflict?

Mindy will be stopping by if you have any questions!!