Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monday's Guest Blogger

Monday's special guest at The Word Place is Roni Adams, who writes for the Yellow Rose and Champagne Rose lines. She also wears the hat of editor-in-chief for The Wild Rose Press.

Leave a comment on Roni's blog for a chance at one of her terrific books, including a new release!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In this issue...

I receive the Writers' Journal courtesy of the year's subscription garnered by an honorable mention in one of their Write-to-Win contests. However, I will be renewing the subscription when it runs out, because I've found it to be a treasure-chest of information and ideas. One of the features I particularly like about it is that it seems somewhat shorter and more compact that The Writer and Writers' Digest to which I also subscribe.

For example: Every month, Janet Elaine Smith writes a one-page article on Marketing Helps--enough information, succinctly put forth, to be useful without being overwhelming. Also, the fiction section publishes winning stories from the various contests, always good reads.

I never sit down with one of the three writing magazines without a highlighter in hand. In the most recent September-October issue, I hurried to "Synopsis: A Four-Letter Word" by Josi S. Kilpack. While you'd need to buy the issue and read the entire article to get the most benefit from her sage advice, I learned the following (in a nutshell):
  • Synopses are necessary.
  • They are 1 - 2 pages in length depending on spacing.
  • They begin with a chapter outline, generated by condensing each chapter into a single paragraph.
  • When each paragraph is further condensed into a couple of sentences, the sentences must be revised with an eye to whether they contain important information and flow together as a single entity.
  • Subplots and secondary characters should (usually) be eliminated.
  • The resolution of the novel must be included.
  • There is a standard format for a synopsis. (See the article for a nice walk-through.)
(Ms. Kilpack is the author of nine novels. Unfortunately, I was unable to access her website due to being asked for authorization.)

Patricia Fry, president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists, and Writers Network)  writes an excellent article on book promotion, something I'm very anxious to learn about right now. In her column "Words--Tools of Our Trade", Betty Garton Ulrich gives good reasons for writing even if being published isn't your goal. Finally, Angela Render authors Part One of "Communicating with your Readership--Building an E-mail List". 

Disclaimer: Recommending this magazine and these articles is strictly for blog purposes and no other.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

American Literature was set in stone for high school juniors when I attended. There were things I hated--memorizing long passages of Thanatopsis, for example. But one day the teacher put on a recording of Alice Duer Miller's The White Cliffs--and I fell in love.

The small volume is a love story in verse--the love of a woman for a man, of that woman's love for their son, and finally, of her love for England, the country she realizes that, though American-born, she has come to cherish as her own. Written in 1940, the story has particular poignancy because in that year,  England was already engaged in fighting for her very life.

I have loved England, dearly and deeply,
Since that first morning, shining and pure,
The white cliffs of Dover, I saw rising steeply
Out of the sea that once made her secure.

On the eve of World War I, Susan Dunne visits England with her father and meets Sir John Ashwood, the man destined to be the love of her life--but only for a short time. They marry and conceive a son before he and his older brother die in France. Thus their son becomes heir to the title and land, and Susan remains in England to bring him up as his father before him. Then, as another war looms, she rebels and vows not to sacrifice her son for the good of a country that is not her own.

Words issued from my lips--"My child, my child
Why should you die for England, too?" He smiled:
"Is she not worth it, if I must?" he said.
John would have answered yes--but John was dead.

So they stay, and Susan comes to realize that everything she is, everything she cherishes about her American home, has English roots.

I am American bred.
I have seen much to hate here--much to forgive,
But in a world where England is finished and dead,
I do not wish to live.

 I must have waxed eloquent over the very brief passage played in class, because on my 16th birthday, I came to breakfast and found the slim blue book at my place. I devoured the entire story--and fell in love again. Today, almost fifty years later, the tattered little volume remains dear to my heart.

In 1944, the book became a movie, The White Cliffs of Dover, with Irene Dunne, Alan Marshall, Van Johnson, Frank Morgan, Dame May Whitty, C. Aubrey Smith, and the very young Roddy McDowall and Elizabeth Taylor. 

Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942) was an American poet and novelist. Her works, including another novel in verse, Forsaking All Others,  can be found online at this website dedicated to her memory. 

Disclaimer: Dear FTC, I've owned/loved this book for almost 50 years. Must I "disclose" that I get a huge feeling of satisfaction when I pass on info about a well-loved book to others? 

Monday, October 26, 2009

News and More News About Coming Events at The Word Place

A few weeks ago, I reviewed The Last Nazi, a novel by Alan Elsner, a journalist who spent 30 years with Reuters News Agency. I was delighted to find a response to my review as well as an email in my box telling me about his soon-to-be released second novel, Romance Languages. He also offered to guest blog at The Word Place, so I suggested a time after The Wild Rose Press series had ended--which it will, with a special guest on November 2.

Mr. Elsner will be discussing his new novel and other fascinating topics beginning November 9, so mark  that week on your calendars and get the word out to your colleagues. I think more people read blogs than comment, but I hope all who read will let him know they have done so and appreciate his time.

More later--


On other topics, I am emailing the winners of the $25 TWRP gift certificates for October and November.


And last but certainly not least--Rhonda Penders, who writes as Roni Adams, will be my special guest here on November 2. Rhonda is one of the two owners/publishers of The Wild Rose Press, the duo that makes the Garden a terrific place to write!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More from the Sunday News...

I have more ideas for stories and novels than time to write about them, so why I keep clipping newspaper articles and gluing them in my "idea notebooks", I don't know! But these too begged to be kept, so I did.

The first was on a girls' reformatory/training school in Beloit, Kansas, which was recently shut down. It began in the mid-1800's and was taken over by the state in 1890. Depending on who was in charge, the place was either a haven or a hell for the girls unfortunate enough to find themselves incarcerated there.

The superintendent in the 30's fell in with the new study of eugenics (also embraced by the Nazis) and had 62 girls involuntarily sterilized.

Later, when the institution became a training site for the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, girls received opportunity to talk about the situations that landed them there--frequently (sexual) abuse--and received therapy to help them move on.

The second, shorter article deals with the proposed renovation/re-opening of a 1928 hotel in downtown Rogers, Arkansas. Advertised as the first fireproof hotel in Arkansas, it hosted such notables as Errol Flynn, Jack Dempsey, and Amelia Earhart. Closed since 2006, it still contains antique furniture and boasts a huge kitchen and a ballroom.

This grand old lady deserves a second chance, I'd think. And this old lady writer might take a trip up there just to snap a few photos for future reference.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome to The Word Place, White Rose Author Wendy Davy

Hello I’m a White Rose Publishing author, Wendy Davy.  I write inspirational romances, because I can’t imagine writing anything else.  I have three full-length novels out with White Rose Publishing: A Matter of Trust, Drake’s Retreat and Night Waves.  All have threads of faith, adventure and a lot of romance.  Stop by to see the blurbs, read excerpts and check out the reviews.

As a busy stay-at-home mom, I can’t imagine not having writing to keep me grounded.  I’ve discovered it’s therapeutic and fun!  Have you ever wanted to try it?  I encourage you to if you haven’t already.   Make sure you read a ton of books in the genre you’re interested in, and pay attention to how other writers craft their stories.  If you find a book you love, contact the author and ask questions about how they got started.  I’ve found most authors are very open and friendly to questions from their readers.

Good luck, and remember to stop by to check out my available titles.  I’d love to hear from you!

Wendy Davy


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Website

I've just launched my second website, Romance for the Tender Heart. You can find mini-synopses and pictures for The Showboat Affair and the novel I plan to write for NaNoWriMo, Keeping Promises. The latter is built on a short story done as a writing exercises about a year ago. While the premise is the same, the text will be quite different.

I set up an account at to buy pictures for my book trailers. They work well to illustrate works-in-progress, too, providing some visual focus and inspiration. Though they cannot be used later for commercial purposes unless they are so licensed, the use on my website is legit. (Just thought I'd toss that in FYI.)

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Tomorrow's guest at The Word Place will be White Rose author Wendy Davy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

Witnesses from the Grave: The Stories Bones Tell (Christopher Joyce and Eric Stover, Little, Brown, and Company: 1991) caught my eye in the library this week. The decision to check it out was cinched when I discovered that it centers on Clyde Collins Snow who grew up in Ralls, Crosby County, Texas, where my father's family moved before he started to school.

The scope of the book moves far beyond the Texas Panhandle as Clyde Snow garners degrees and experience in various fields, eventually making him a leading expert in the study of bones--those bones that used to walk around. One of his first major tasks was as part of the team trying to identify 258 passengers and 13 crew members of American Airlines flight 191 which crashed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in 1979 after losing part of a wing on take-off.

He moved on to the John Wayne Gacy case--a mass murderer of young boys, many of whom were found buried beneath his house. In 1985, he went to Brazil  as part on one of several teams charged with identifying an exhumed skeleton thought to be the Angel of Death--Dr. Joseph Mengele, whose chilling medical experiments in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz consumed survivors with the understandable desire for justice.

The third part of the book deals with the recovery and identification of Argentinians who disappeared during the reign of the junta in power from 1976-1983--and, ultimately, justice for them.

Fans of the Old West will enjoy reading about how one of those massacred in "Custer's Last Stand" was finally identified, as well as about outlaw Elmer McCurdy, heavily embalmed with arsenic, who made the rounds of sideshows for years.

The authors also chronicle the development of forensic anthropology. Like any science, it grew slowly, had its ups and downs, and eventually emerged as a standard tool in law enforcement.

Reading the technicalities of  how bones "speak" makes for slow going for the reader, but the pace is worthwhile. The four-page appendix of the human skeleton makes a good reference as one plows through what can be learned from even part of a bone.

A good read--highly recommended just for interesting information if not for writing research. How will I use it? That remains to be seen--no pun intended!

Free Is Always Good

Just discovered a new website--Chronicles of the Old West. A one-year subscription to their newspaper/magazine is $30--$20 if you go the ezine route. I haven't explored everything there yet, but I did check their online store--an interesting mix of books, CDs, back issues, subscriptions to radio shows, and even a John Wayne seat for the indoor privy!

I did come away immediately with a free ebook: Amazing Stories About Tombstone Arizona Territory by editor Dakota Livesay. (Doesn't that name just suit the genre?) It arrives as a 25-page pdf, which I promptly printed, punched, and put into on of the paper folders that I stock up on when they go on sale.

Here's what's inside:
  1. Why Name A Town After A Grave Marker?
  2. Every Tombstone Needs an Epitaph
  3. The Doctor Can't Give a Shot
  4. Booze Almost Destroys Tombstone
  5. If Only He Was the President's Doctor
  6. How to Kill a Marshal and Get Away with It
  7. Sin Builds a Church
  8. A Professional Photographer Misses an Opportunity
  9. Vengeance Is Mine...Says Wyatt
  10. Watch Out for a Man Named Slaughter
I haven't completely explored the site, but I intend to, and I may subscribe to the online version. I'm in the market for a new toilet seat, but I don't think the John Wayne one fits my decor. There are, however, some interesting contests and a nice link to the "Living the Code" foundation just established by Mr. Livesay.

The website is definitely worth a look-see--haven't I heard that used as a westernism somewhere?--so mosey on over, pardners...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Yellow Rose Author Christine Columbus

How The Perfect Country and Western Story came to be…
Does anyone remember…“You Don’t Call me Darlin’, Darlinnnnnn…” by David Allan Cole, otherwise known as the perfect country & western song.  The song is perfect because it has trucks, momma, gettin’ drunk, prison, and trains. 
A few years back while attending an outdoor country concert – I decided to write The Perfect Country and Western Story which has Hot Cowboys, Romance, Women, Love and an autographed Toby Keith Cowboy Hat.
Growing up listening to country music and reading Cinderella a classic folk tale that involves a handsome prince looking for the foot the fits the glass slipper, I decided to put a similar spin on The Perfect Country and Western Story and have Alexandra at the Midwest’s largest outdoor country concert looking for the cowboy whose head fits the Stetson Cowboy hat.

The Perfect Country and Western Story, will be released on February 19, 2010 through The Wild Rose Press

Back Cover Blurb:

Alexandra has the Stetson hat, now all she needs is the cowboy. But with three days and over 50,000 faces to search, will she be able to find the man who stole her heart? Ben still can’t believe he was foolish enough to let the beautiful thief walk away with his autographed cowboy hat. If the heartbreaker dares to show up at Country Time again this year, he’ll not only be looking to get his hat back, but aiming for a little payback as well.
The final reader for TWRP had this to say about The Perfect Country and Western Story… One of the best things a good story has is wonderful characters, I fell in love with all of them, but I must say Patrick was my favorite.  I did cry in a part or two which added to the flow of the book.  All in all great job, loved the story. 
Now I’m sure you are all wondering – who is Patrick?

“Would you be a hon and grab me a cold beer.” Julia said.
Ben’s arms folded across his chest. He
needed to put an end to this now or she’d have
him running ragged by the end of the weekend. “If
all you’re asking is for me to be your servant or
lap dog this weekend—”
Patrick started barking, rushed to the cooler,
trotted over to Julia and handed her a beer. “I’ll
be your junk yard dog.”
“Hmmmm,” Julia reached out and scratched
Patrick’s tummy. “Would I be able to teach you
some new tricks?”
Patrick’s tongue fell out of his mouth. He
panted ‘yes.’
Ben rolled his eyes. This was going to be a loo-ong weekend.

Christine Columbus

Writing Tips….
Create a story in which your characters are interesting, sympathetic and draw the reader's support.

How do you create such a story…
Write a story about characters that you find fascinating.  If the writer can find remarkable character with a story that needs to be told…the rest will be easy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Yellow Rose author Christine Columbus will be the guest blogger here tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome to The Word Place, Vintage Rose Author Ilona Fridl

Vintage Rose at The Wild Rose Press, is romantic stories set in the twentieth century. When I wrote “Silver Screen Heroes” I didn't know about the publishing company at the time. I went to many agents and editors trying to sell my historic romantic suspense story. I found Nan Swanson at Wild Rose who thought we could make this into a real book. So, in a way, Vintage Rose found me.
I've always loved writing since I was a child; making my own picture books. Research came easy for me, because I loved finding out about how things started and worked. That was my strong suit in school. Math, not so much. I took creative writing in college and sold some stories to a few magazines, but never tried to make that my profession, because I was a horrible typist. Talking about white-out by the gallon!
Finally, getting a computer, I was able to overcome that and send a few short stories and articles into magazines. I actually got editors to buy a few. In the back of my mind was the dream to write a book, so I undertook that. I read many books on writing, joined Romance Writers of America, and went to a critque group. All that brought my skills up to an acceptable level where I tried to sell the stories I wrote.
I would advise anyone wanting to write novels to follow those footsteps and don't be afraid to network. You'll find many good people willing to lend a hand.

Silver Screen Heroes is set in 1920-21 in old Hollywood. It's about the silent movie, prohibition, and the crime families that made money off of selling illegal liquor. Also, the heroine, Adeline Garcia, is half Mexican and I touch on the tension between them and the whites in the Los Angeles area at the time.
I’m going to visit Grandpa and Grandma,” Addy called out to the pair of ears she knew was there. She walked on air to the backyard and saw the lights were still on in the apartment, just as she'd hoped. Dancing up the steps, she rapped on the door.
Her grandmother opened it, still holding in one hand the doily she was crocheting. “Why, Adeline, come in, child.”
Her grandfather was at the table with his new crystal radio set. With the earphones on his head, he didn’t notice Addy. “Dad-blamed thing doesn’t work right. I don’t know why I bother with these damned new-fangled contraptions.” He turned to say more to his wife and saw his granddaughter. “Adeline, excuse me. I didn’t hear you come in.”
Addy stood there, her hand over her mouth, covering a smile. “That’s all right, Grandpa. Maybe you can get James to help you. He’s interested in anything electric.”
I’m seventy-seven years old. You’d think things would be getting easier to understand instead of more confounding.” He grinned at Addy. “Sit down, Adeline. I know you didn’t come in to hear me cuss at radios.”
She sat across from him at the table and smelled the warm mingled scent of Bay Rum cologne and pipe tobacco that was so much her grandpa. “Something has been bothering me for a while. Could I ask you a question about my parents?”
Grandpa exchanged a glance with Grandma on the couch. He looked back at Addy. “What is the question?”
She studied her hands. “Uncle Henry keeps talking about how bad it is to marry a foreigner. What happened when Mother married my father? I need to know.”
Her grandfather picked up his pipe and started cleaning it. “Adeline, you have to remember it was a different time then, although these prejudices are still with us. No, I didn’t give the marriage my blessing. You’ve never seen your father’s side of the family because they disowned him for marrying a gringo. The Garcias are a family that has lived in California since the late 1700s and still consider the Americans invaders. There has been hatred on both sides. That’s the reason your parents moved to San Francisco. We never saw you until you were six.”
How did you know to find me after the earthquake?”
He lit his pipe and leaned back in his chair. “Your mother wrote us letters about you and your brother, and sent pictures, but we were too hurt by the elopement to come and see you. We couldn’t forgive either of them. When we heard about the disaster, it was too late. Uncle Henry and I traveled up there to see if any of you had survived. We went to the address of your apartment, and the building was ashes after the fire. The rosters of the dead were far from complete, so we went to the police to find out where the survivors were. Henry carried a family portrait your mother had sent the Christmas before. We finally found you in one of the camps that had a section for orphans. You’d told the police that the rest of your family was dead.”
Addy nodded. “I remember that.”
We raised you for our daughter. I couldn’t see a child being rejected because of a family split like that.”
Did the Garcia family ever try to find me?”
No. We’ve never seen nor heard from them.”
Grandma came over and put her arms around Addy. “We love you, Adeline. We’re also sorry we couldn’t see how terrible we were being to your family before that disaster happened.”
Is it going to be the same for Muriel?
You can visit me at my website and see about Golden North which is book two coming out next year.

Thank you, Judy, for this opportunity!

NOTICE: I just received an email from Ilona saying that for some reason she's not being allowed to post and reply to comments. She wanted me to let all of you know that she is reading your comments and appreciates them very much. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Vintage Rose author Ilona Fridl will be guest-blogging at The Word Place tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

Ghost Stories of Texas by Jo-Anne Christensen (Renton, WA: Lone Pine Publishing 2001) is a fascinating volume of assorted haunting tales categorized as Historically Haunted, "It Happened to Me", Phantoms in the Family, Modern Mysteries, Tall Texas Tales, Haunted Houses,  and A Strange Assortment. 

I'll mention a few of my favorites. "The Driskill Hotel" is in Austin, the capital of Texas. It's over 100 years old, but 50 years ago I went to a dance at the Driskill--and fell in love for the first time. No, not with a ghost but with the proverbial older man (by three years!). Perhaps someday I'll go back and join the other spirits there. And, of course, I'll be wearing the same blue velvet dress I wore that night!

"Remembering the Alamo"--and, of course, every good Texas does! I've visited there many times without encountering the ghosts of Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Barrett Travis, and one-hundred eighty good men and true--but their legacy lives on--and, perhaps, so do their valiant spirits.

Does General Sam Houston, hero of San Jacinto and former governor of Texas, really haunt "The Ghostly Governor's Mansion"? And where did he take up temporary lodging after a fire about a year ago devastated the historic home? Wherever he is, perhaps he'll return when the mansion is renovated.

Did the Black Shuck reminiscent of British folklore reappear in Houston, Texas, in 1962? "The Black Dog" story seems to indicate that he--or something of his ilk--did.

"The Phantom Horseman of Chisholm Hollow" seems to have a predilection to appear before Americans (Texans) became involved in armed conflict--the Mexican War, the Civil War, and both World Wars. However, he wasn't around before Korea and Viet Nam. 

In Brazoria County, frontiersman Brit Bailey lies--or rather, stands--buried with a gun over his shoulder and a whiskey jug at his feet. He may, however, return to his former abode from time to time in search of the whiskey which may not have been in the jug! "Here Stands Brit Bailey"--somewhere in an unmarked grave...and perhaps around his former home.

The book is a fun read and might even contain a history lesson or two...or just sixty-three flights of fantasy!

Ghost Towns of Texas by T. Lindsay Baker (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986) explores 88 towns that once thrived in the Lone Star State. Complete with many "then and now" pictures,well-researched facts about how and why these towns came into being--and why they no longer exist, and specific driving directions makes this a must-have volume for writers looking for an off-beat setting for as story--or a curious traveler who passes by and wonders where the people went. 

The towns are arranged alphabetically rather than by region--from Acme to Zella, but a county map shows their relative locations. An extensive bibliography is indicative of past research and encourages more. I always like an index, and the book has that, too.

The Journal of the West says that "the towns chosen for the book have histories which are so colorful and varied that they easily keep the reader's attention" and calls the book one that "both Texans and non-Texans will equally enjoy".

Disclaimer: I own these books. I am not paying myself to review them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Sweetheart Rose Author Kim Sheard

Hello!  Thank you for joining me today, and thanks also to Judy for the excellent idea of featuring each of TWRP’s lines, as well as providing the space for us to do so!

I am happy to represent the Sweetheart Rose line.  TWRP’s tag for the line is “Sigh, cry, and everything in between in these tender tales of the first blush of love.  Sweet Contemporary Romances.”

The key word here is “sweet,” which probably needs defining.  To me, sweet means you’d be comfortable with your mom, grandmother, or teenaged daughter reading it.  The couple may or may not have sex in the course of the story, but even if they do, it is not described.  You might read a scene where they head to the bed and/or wake up the next morning together, but you won’t find out what went where and for how long.

Yes, there are still readers who prefer sweet (but not necessarily inspirational/religious) romances!

Although my first piece of fiction was published professionally in 1999, I am still relatively new to the wonderful world of romance--my first and second romances were published in 2009, I’ve been marketing my third, and am now writing my fourth.  So, perhaps someday I will feel qualified to write about what went where and for how long.  I certainly don’t mind reading it!  But there are many things to learn about writing romances, and creating sex scenes is one I just haven’t worked out yet.  I guess I’m a bit of a prude about it.  (After all, my mother is my biggest fan.)  But once I feel I have characterization, chemistry, and conflict down cold, perhaps I will give it a try.  (Don’t ever let anyone tell you writing a romance is easy!)

But writing tips will come later.  First, more about me.  No, really, if I’m going to be giving writing advice, you should want to know my qualifications.  As I already mentioned, I was first published in 1999.  My first three short stories were published in Pocket Books Star Trek anthologies.


 After the second story proved I wasn’t just a one-hit wonder, I pursued writing more energetically.  I’ve had fifteen more short stories (science fiction, fantasy, and confessions, including romantic confessions) and a lot of non-fiction published since then.  In 2005, I completed and began submitting my first romance novel, The Show Must Go On, which was actually my second to get published, this August by BookStrand (  (And yes, regardless of the cover, this is a sweet romance.)

Early in 2007, my second romance novel, Movin’ Up With J.J., went out, and The Wild Rose Press ( bought it for the Sweetheart Rose line.  It came out in April.  Here’s the blurb:

Alexandra Coulter awaits the temporary worker needed for her Movin’ Up crew to pack and relocate the offices of a patent attorney. When a man strolls toward them, she assumes this is the temp and shouts out instructions. She has a business to run and a deadline to meet, and can’t get distracted by the handsome stranger.

Jacob Edward Chamberlain, Jr. needs to retrieve trade secrets left unsecured, and figures joining the moving crew will accomplish this without jeopardizing his practice.   What J.J. doesn’t share is the offices are his and his father is running for New Jersey governor.

Will Alex’s wish to experience something more enjoyable in life than work triumph over J.J.’s deception about his identity?

Remember, as a Sweetheart Rose, there is no explicit sex in this book.  However, this story is a nice one in that, depending on your leanings, you can believe they do or do not have sex during the course of the story.  There’s plenty of undescribed time when they could be having sex--as many loving couples do--or not.  You can use your imagination.  That’s what’s nice about sweet romances.  There’s a little more room for you as a reader to use your own imagination, at least as far as the details of the physical relationship are concerned.

OK, I promised writing tips.  Here are some things I’ve learned about writing over the last decade.

1.      Don’t let anyone tell you how you have to write.  Pick your advice, give different ideas a try, but then do things your own way.  “Your own way” may even vary from book to book.  Don’t sweat it.
2.      Don’t research, read, take classes, or collect ideas if it keeps you from writing.  Researching, reading, taking classes, and collecting ideas are good things, but only to the point that they support your writing, not replace it.
3.      Finish something.  If you feel your first draft is terrible, it can be fixed on the second time through.  Just finish.
4.      Ask for critiques, but only from people who know what they’re talking about.  These will probably be people who are at least as far along in their writing/publishing career as you.  If you’ve been published, your critiquers should also be published, preferably approximately the same number of times as you, or should be agents or editors (who may not actually write, but know what they’re talking about).
5.      Once you’re finished, submit.  A story or book won’t earn you any money or acclaim stuck on your hard drive.

And get out there and exercise your imagination with a sweet book!

Kim can be found on the web at

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Sweetheart Rose author Kim Sheard will be the guest blogger at The Word Place tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Last Rose of Summer Author Linda Swift

          I currently have two books available from The Wild Rose Press in the Last Rose of Summer line. At first, I felt a little apologetic for the line's name, thinking it reflected older characters, and there was no point in emphasizing the fact.  I guess I was little sensitive on this point since I fall into that category. I even suggested to Rhonda that maybe something less obvious, like Silver Rose, might have a better connotation. But she quickly explained to me that the name was more a matter of a mature attitude than age and the guidelines defined this category as roses that defied convention, bloomed and flourished in spite of flood or drought. And that when cold comes, they cling tenaciously to the vine until they are the "last rose." Being a late bloomer myself, this sounded like exactly the way I'd want to be described. So now I make no apologies for being a Last Rose writer.
          Actually, my writing for this line at TWRP was a transition from my books at Zebra/Kensington which were in the contemporary To Love Again line there. Those books required a heroine of fifty or older, later changed to forty-five, and finally to forty. But to the regret of the authors and publisher, women of that age seemed to want their heroines to be eighteen-year-old virgins. These books were about widows, divorcees, and spinsters who were facing obstacles and overcoming them. And the targeted readership must have wanted less reality and more fantasy. So my first career as an author floundered and I became an orphan until I found an ebook family. No, make that two families so far.  I have three books contracted to be released with Awe-Struck Publishing, two contemporary books this year and my first published historical early in 2010.
          I have been writing since I was ten, first poetry, then a novel when I was sixteen. My first published work was poetry, then short stories in literary magazines. And even while I attended college and attained degrees in education, and was employed in public education, I never lost the thirst for being a published author of books. Torn between two loves (and yes, I did love working with children in public schools) I finally chose to write full time. For a few years afterward, I thought I'd make a terrible mistake. And financially speaking, I had. But writing is not about money. It's about having something you want to say that will touch the hearts of other people and enrich their lives as well as your own. You can't put a price on this kind of fulfillment.
          For beginning writers, I would encourage you to follow your dream. If you want to write and be published badly enough and work long enough and hard enough, it will happen. I have heard it said that to be a successful author there are three requirements: talent, hard work, and luck. And all you need is any two of these.  Think about that.

          Let Nothing You Dismay, my first book with TWRP, is a holiday book which received top ratings from its three reviewers. Here is a short blurb:
          Kala's position as tour guide at a Kentucky Welcome Center isn't enough to cope with huge debts left by her late husband's illness, but she manages to make ends meet . . until her car quits running. To save money on repairs, she enrolls in an auto-mechanic class taught by Rex, a handsome part-time instructor whose broken heart needs repairing, too. After recently losing his important job and family, he has sworn never to get involved with another woman.
             Kala discounts her growing attraction to Rex when she learns he is years younger, until the winter storm of the century throws them together. When the Interstate closes down, Kala opens her home to a houseful of strangers. Despite fire, flood, and friction, she creates an old-fashioned holiday rich in the true spirit of Christmas. In the process, Kala and Rex discover the greatest gift of love   

          My second book with TWRP is called Circle of Love, a story about love lost and found.

        Joanna returns to a small Missouri town for her high school reunion and comes face to face with Pete, the love of her life. A college professor in Tennessee, she has never married and he, a prosperous farmer, is now a widower with five children.
             Their attraction is as strong as it was on graduation night when Pete was leaving for boot camp. He never knew that she had his child and gave her up for adoption. 
             They begin a new relationship but  Pete's children resent Joanna's presence in their father's life. And because of the guilt she hides in her heart, Joanna knows she can never marry Pete now.
             Despite their diverse lives and the obstacles they must overcome, will they be able to find happiness in a lost love that has come full circle?
   And my soon-to-be released first book from Awe-Struck Publishing is Single Status.

          B.J. is a woman with a mission-- to show that she can handle a start-up engineer's job as well as any man. Then maybe she can prove to her ex that she is not the helpless wife he left for another woman.
            Dana is a man grieving the deaths of his wife and young son in a terrorist plane crash. Through a mix-up at stateside headquarters, B.J. and Dana are forced to share a villa in the single status job in St. Croix. B.J. is the scapegoat when things go wrong at work and Dana becomes her reluctant defender--when he is not defending himself against her unjust conclusions about him.
             Despite their attempts to prove otherwise, the powerful attraction between them grows. B.J. is blamed for a bad accident at the plant and her job is on the line. When Dana is almost killed trying to find the real culprit, will B.J. finally admit that the love they have found together is the most important thing of all?

          You can read excerpts of all the above by visiting my web site:

          And you can view my book trailer for Circle of Love if you stop by this link:



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Last Rose of Summer author Linda Swift will be guest blogging here at the Word Place tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

The tattered book with its cover falling loose from the spine bears witness to the devotion to and love for this aging tome--mine. Inside, on the blank page before the title page, I wrote my name and the date: May 11, 1964, the end of my second year in college. As I recall, I had long coveted this book, but its price (something like $5.95)was beyond my student's budget. Toward the end of the school year, my father sent me a ten-dollar bill (not easily come by for him either) and instructed me to treat myself to a nice meal off-campus and use the remainder for "an extra large jar of peanut butter". The latter is what we often subsisted on in lieu of the cafeteria's offerings. To heck with the restaurant meal! I bought the book. What I did with the rest of the money eludes me, but it probably went for nylons or peanut butter.

The Best Loved Poems of the American People, selected by Hazel Felleman (New York: Garden City Books--copyright 1936 by Doubleday & Company) has been my faithful companion lo these many years.
It has comforted me, cheered me, inspired me, and provided me with pure, unadulterated joy when there was none to be had elsewhere in my life.

It's divided into twelve sections:
  • Love and Friendship
  • Inspiration
  • Poems That Tell a Story
  • Faith and Reverence
  • Home and Mother
  • Childhood and Youth
  • Patriotism and War
  • Humor and Whimsey
  • Memory and Grief
  • Nature
  • Animals
  • Various Themes
"Make new friends, but keep the old..."
"Hold fast your dreams!"
" the touch of the Master's hand."
"Make me too brave to lie or be unkind..."
"The woman was old and ragged and gray..."
"I remember, I remember, the house where I was born..."
"Breathes there a man with soul so dead..."
"A frog went a-courtin', away he did ride, huh-huh..."
"'Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone..."
"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree..."
"In Egypt they worshiped me...I am the cat..."
"The woman I am hides deep in me..."

and so many, many more that even now I can read over and over without tiring.

When I was a little girl, my mother taught me (as a means of inculcating respect and care) that "books are your friends". Indeed they were...are..will be forever. 

Disclaimer: I own this book and am reviewing it simply because I love it and would like to share it with others!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gleanings from the Latest Issue of Writer's Digest

The November-December 2009 issue of Writer's Digest focuses on the theme Write Short to Break Out! Feature articles not to be missed include
  • 12 Literary Journals Your Future Agent Is Reading
  • Diversify Your Writing Portfolio
  • 5 Reasons Writing Small Can Help You Make It Big
  •  10 Personal Essays to Try
  • Anthologies Cover to Cover
The literary journals were chosen by polling 40 literary agents about what they read, narrowed down to the following:
  1. Agni Magazine
  2. A Public Space
  3. Chicago Review
  4. Crazyhorse
  5. Glimmer Train
  6. McSweeney's
  7. n+1
  8. One Story
  9. Slice Magazine
  10. Tin House
  11. Triquarterly
  12. Zoetrope: All-Story
 The editors of these journals answered WD's questions about their founding dates, when/how often they are published, the key to breaking in, readership, past notable writers, and submission guidelines. Article compiler Zachary Petit makes a compelling case for taking a closer look at these journals and how an individual author's writing might be a fit.

Tom Hallman, Jr., a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner for Feature Writing shares insights into focusing on what authors can learn from writing smaller pieces for markets that could be the beginning of one's literary career. Don't miss this one!

The article on personal essays set me thinking about the possibility of at least trying one of the ten types described by multi-published author Dinty W. Moore, a teacher in the creative nonfiction program at Ohio University. He organizes essays into contemplative, memoir, lyric, nature, travel, spiritual, gastronomical, humor, blog, and "everything else". There's definitely food for thought here.

It usually takes me several weeks to thoroughly digest (no pun intended) this magazine and the others to which I subscribe, but I never come away empty-handed--or empty-minded as the case may be! May I suggest that if you don't subscribe, you should--or at least visit your local library and spend some time reading an issue--or pluck one from the nearest newsstand. For the serious writer, it's well worth what you shell out of your pocketbook! 

Disclaimer: I have no connection with Writer's Digest except as a subscriber.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Faery Rose Author, Debra Rogers

            Dancing in Time is part of the Faerie Rose line at the Wild Rose Press.  This is their paranormal/fantasy line, and Dancing in Time, as the name suggests, is a time travel.  The book tells the story of a ballerina named Hadleigh who falls in love with Doc, a mysterious man who lives in a remote community nestled deep in the folds of the Appalachian Mountains.  Doc is a strikingly handsome man with an unusual name, a dark complexion, and a past as enigmatic as he is.
            The dance scenes and characters in the book are culled from my memories and experiences as a former professional ballet dancer.  But the mountain setting of Dancing in Time was inspired by my visit years ago to a ghost town called Lost Cove located on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.
            Lost Cove is a hauntingly beautiful place, accessible only by walking three miles down a railroad track and then another mile straight up a rocky trail.  The land is privately held, but the owner was kind enough to allow me access.   No restoration has been done on Lost Cove, nor is any planned.  The owner believes the community should be permitted to fade quietly into history on its own schedule.  Some buildings have already succumbed to the ages, but several are still standing and their interiors provide silent testimony to those hardy individuals who once inhabited them.  Artifacts I saw included such items as:  bits of broken china, old bed frames, and even canned goods.  The walls lined with layers of newspaper demonstrate a determined but futile effort to keep the cold at bay.  Every other available space on each building was scarred with graffiti.   That graffiti found its way into Dancing in Time and in one instance became a pivotal plot point.
            But my biggest inspiration for Dancing in Time didn’t come from the mountains of North Carolina.   It didn’t come from my dance background.   It came from a young high school student.  At the performing arts high school where I teach dance, students “at risk” are assigned mentors, and I volunteered to work with a young lady named Alexia.  She was in need of assistance to improve her reading score on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).  To help her I needed to come up with an activity she would enjoy that would also provide some extra reading experience.  I asked Alexia if she would be interested in helping me write a novel.  She nodded, smiled, and added that she really liked love stories.  Thus, from that suggestion  Dancing in Time was born.    I’d write a chapter, give it to her to read, and she would make suggestions.  And so, over the course of the school year, the book took shape.   Her enthusiasm for the project kept me motivated, and I know the book would not have been written without her.  Thus the first line of the dedication reads:  “To Alexia, who helped me believe”.  Today Alexia is in college, planning a career in special education.  Her reading difficulties are far behind her.  But I have no doubt that during our time together she helped me much more than I helped her.  Such is the paradox of mentoring.

Dancing in Time is available from The Wild Rose Press at:
For more information about Dancing in Time, links to my other guest blogs, or to view the Dancing in Time book trailer, please visit my website: