Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

Grandmother's heirloom china
A watermelon
A flat tire

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view.

A bear
A beach scene candle
Won-ton soup

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

A firetruck
A teddy bear
A walnut tree

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

A phobia
Chocolate
Jumping in a pile of leaves

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 


A former military person
A violin
2 stray kittens

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 


Mud pies
A pillow fight
A tornado

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

A doghouse
A pile of leaves
A piece of birthday cake

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

A glass of iced tea
A needle and thread
Twelve puppies

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

A pillow fight
Caramel sauce
A flock of chickens

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

A puzzle
A hot air balloon
Oak leaves

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 


A pumpkin patch
A hotel room
Lots of purple glitter

Adventures in Writing...and in Life by Sandy Nadeau


So you want to be an adventure writer...

I have always loved going on adventures, and I see most things in life as one. For nearly thirty years now, my husband and I often head into the mountains of Colorado to find a new adventure. We have come across several whether just out for a drive, looking for fall color, searching for Bighorn Sheep, moose, or the elk herds during the rut, often finding what we set out for. When I took more serious steps to becoming an author, it seemed natural to just write adventures. Be careful what you pray for.

This year, we began to hear the familiar call of the cranky male elk gathering the females earlier than normal. This annual wildlife event brings out many spectators. You wouldn’t think your home town could be overtaken by such a large animal along with his growing harem. But it is part of life here in the foothills. Not a rare sight, but not usually in my back yard. 

I have a pet peeve, having lived here so long. There’s real danger to approaching wildlife. If they get scared, well, prepare to be kicked like you never dreamed of. One time, we watched one gentleman sneak around some blue spruce trees at the park to get a good picture of the bull when said bull burst through the branches almost goring the surprised man. He got away and into his car, but I imagine his heart rate took about four hours to return to a normal rhythm. 
 
Some of the herd moved into the field behind our house the other day, I grabbed my camera thinking I could get some great shots of the cows and young elk gathering there. We have a five foot chain link fence surrounding our yard and tall ponderosa pines, so I felt safe enough. I clicked away getting terrific shots of these large, sleek brown females in the field. Zooming in, I caught a close up of a female with a blade of grass sticking out of her mouth. Mom and calf near each other. With all our rain this year, the grass practically glows green. Beautiful. The huge bull stood up the hill across the upper street watching over his herd that slowly grazed along. His mouth open, nostrils flaring as he sniffed the air, I assumed he was checking out his girls. I learned later, much later, he was on to my presence. Who knew? 

There I stood, as he made his way to the entrance of the field. Snapping photos of this majestic beast, muscles bulging, antlers sporting the six points on one side, seven on the other. Huge animal. *snap, snap* Oh, he’s so close. Hit the video button Sandy. This is amazing. *whirrrrr* recording. 

He appeared to just be coming down to herd the females back onto the road. I’ve seen it done. I figured he would come down and circle behind them. There was no visible agitation to the animal, I felt no danger. 
 
Then within ten feet of me behind my fence, BAM! He turns and heads straight in my direction antlers aiming. A wood post and chain link fence stood between us. His abrupt action created a terrific need to flee. And flee I did! With the video still rolling, I ran for my back door. Not knowing if the beast would be angry enough to leap my fence, I just ran. 


video
Remember what I said about loving adventure? All I could do was laugh as I ran. My heart rate soaring into the blue sky above. I didn’t look back. I just got to the door as fast as my legs could carry me. I turned, once behind the screen door, looked to see where he was, half expecting to see the monster within the confines of my yard. Thankfully, he stood on the other side near where I had been mere seconds before. When a bull in the rut gets frustrated, they use their rack to rip up bushes or dig up grass which he proceeded to do. As I watched him from my protective screen door, he continued to stare at the spot where I had been, not where I was. So I began to wonder if he smelled me more than he saw me. Either way, I’m glad he missed me. 

I discovered how that man must have felt. I don’t think my heart rate returned to normal until almost bedtime. Did I learn my lesson? Well, sort of. The herd is still around, I’m still taking pictures, but I keep my car handy. Then I watched him chase cars going by with his head aimed at the bumper. Uh oh.
This is so going to be in a book someday….

----
Editor's Update: A few days after this incident, Sandy had out her camera again! (Thanks to Sandy for providing the elk pictures and videos)

video

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Red Gold
click to buy
Sandy Nadeau's RED GOLD is a tale of adventure, danger and intrigue. Don't miss it!

Mandy Phillips loves life with her husband running an adventure ranch in the Colorado mountains, but when Mr. Shonee, their crotchety old neighbor, tries to stop them from building a kid-size old west town their dreams of expansion are crushed.
Is Shonee just being a difficult neighbor, or is something more sinister going on?

A discovery on the property of Colorado's state mineral leads to more mysteries for the ranch, and then a teenage guest finds herself thrust head first into danger.

Mandy will have to rescue her, but who will rescue Mandy? Her faith in God is her only source to keep the guests safe, solve the mysteries surrounding her ranch, save her neighbor from himself, and discover the secrets of the Red Gold.

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

An antique treadle sewing machine
The Grand Canyon
A mysterious stranger in a photo

Guest Blog: Eric E. Wright The Rocky Road of Book Promotion



Buy Riptide today
My hair is turning grey. Why? Because I not only write books, but have to concentrate on publicity. Publicity? Yeah, I know, it’s a bad word—but a necessary one. Maybe there are those in book-land who love book promotion. Let it be known up front that I’m not one of them. But, BUT, it is necessary! So as my latest novel, Riptide came out, I bit the bullet and formulated a plan. 

Anyway, here is what I’ve done which I present with the thought that it might help other reluctant authors.

First I appealed for some reviewers and encouraged them to put reviews up on the Pelican site, on Amazon, Indigo, and Barnes and Noble. The results were not only encouraging, but astounding. People actually liked, even loved my book! Of course, I’d already updated my web site and talked about the book on Facebook and twitter. 

I wrote a persuasive one page description of the book which included facts, cost, availability, reviews, etc. Along with a picture of the cover, I sent this to my email list encouraging previous readers of my fiction to order the book. Orders began to trickle in.

Since my home church had been supportive, I approached the pastor about making the book available on a Sunday. Some churches are sensitive about selling on Sunday. But since our church allows the sale of missionary books and music videos from visiting presenters, the pastor was positive. With a notice in the bulletin for a couple of weeks, the sales on the Sunday in question were good. 

Next I wrote a one page News Release and presented this in person to the offices of local papers. Ours is a rural county with several small towns and a very active arts and writers’ community. The papers readily accept news releases and often use them almost verbatim. In my case, one of the widest disseminated free papers printed a very positive article. I was astonished when three different people contacted me directly as a result of the article. This doesn’t often happen. I’m still waiting for two other papers to follow suit—especially when I approach them with specific dates for book readings, launches, and events. 

Once one news article had circulated, it was time to approach local bookstores with whom I have maintained a relationship over the years. Fortunately, this personal approach paid dividends. All of the local bookstores have ordered copies from the distributor. Now I can direct inquiries to these stores. Even Indigo, Canada’s answer to Barnes & Noble, agreed to list it on their sites due to my relationship with some of their store managers. It is also available on Kindle, Kobo, and other e-readers. 

The article also generated interest from libraries. So I took the time to personally approach the CEO of each of our local libraries with the suggestion they purchase copies. Most of them eagerly did so, purchasing copies directly from me. In each case, I offered to either run or participate in a literary evening of readings and discussion. So far, our nearest library has reciprocated and scheduled an evening centred on reading from my three novels and discussion of the role of setting in fiction. 

The summer is a great time to participate in fairs, arts and craft shows, and farmers’ markets. Most years I set up a table every Saturday at whatever event is taking place. Each of these cost money necessitating the pondering of whether or not sales will cover the cost of a booth. This year, due to some health problems, I’ve not been able to do this as often as I would like.
These same challenges have made it difficult to schedule a book launch evening at a local coffee shop, but this is being planned. A book launch where coffee and pastries are available is a great place to invite friends and writing colleagues. Usually, a couple of local authors get together to launch their books, give readings, and answer questions. 

The period leading up to Christmas is an especially fruitful time to set up a book table at local fairs and Christmas craft shows. People come to these looking for gifts and what better gift could they buy than a book?
I’ve also found large bookstores welcome me as a local author offering to sign books during periods that lead up to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas. These stores, however, need to know far in advance as their schedules are often full and they need to order books from a distributor. 

Finally, service clubs and churches provide one of the most fulfilling venues to speak at as a writer. This is especially true if you have a book of local interest or can gear your talk to something that intrigues or educates an audience. Writers of non-fiction, particularly, have a ready-made topic on which they can speak. My book, Through A Country Window, describes the joys of country life in a general way but also focuses on fascinating facts about our area of the country. Concerning my book, Church--No Spectator Sport, I often speak about the discovery and development of spiritual gifts. From my book, Revolutionary Forgiveness, I can address many questions about how to deal with bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. I find that people are also fascinated by the whole idea of writing a book of fiction. How did you become a writer? Where do you get your ideas from? How do you get published? What advice do you have for new writers? 

While we who are authors may not be ideal promoters, any effort we can expend will be yield sales and make our books known. With thousands upon thousands of titles entering the book business every year, we must do whatever we can to promote our book, unless we want it to sink into oblivion. (http://www.countrywindow.ca)


Latest Release: Redemption by Lillian Duncan

Buy Redemption Today
click image to order

Lillian Duncan has done it again! Don't miss her latest spine-tingling suspense!

50% off on Release day!


Others may think Jamie Jakowski is a hero, but she knows differently. Haunted by her past, she seeks redemption by helping others in spite of the danger to herself. However, after almost orphaning her daughter, Jamie opts to retire.

When a friend needs her, Jamie agrees to one last undercover operation. She is determined to reunite a heartbroken mother with her kidnapped son.
Used to working alone, Jamie’s not happy when she’s assigned a partner. And after a failed operation and their failed romance, Enrique Rodriguez is the last person she wants to work with—ever.

To succeed, Jamie must confront her past as well as the people who want her dead.

Book Video Reveal: Deadly Decision by Regina Smeltzer

Buy Deadly Decision

Don't 'miss this supernatural thriller by Regina Smeltzer. Coming to PBG this October


Bill Iver didn’t expect anything more than hard work when he offered to help his daughter and son-in-law restore their rented historic South Carolina home, but then he sees two boys in the attic--and his hand passes through one of them.

Bill has always believed that being absent from the body meant being present with the Lord, but if that is true, what did he see? And why does the boy dressed in 19th century clothing look familiar while the second boy, dressed in jeans and sweatshirt, look like the missing grandson of the house's owner? What is the connection between the two boys--and Bill?

Hesitant to share his experience with his pastor, but consumed with the need to understand, Bill seeks a worldly explanation which leads him down a trail of decisions that are deadly to body and soul.

Through the mire, he must undo the consequences of his choices, discover what his visions mean, and uncover an age-old mystery that will bring closure and reconciliation.

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 


An autographed book
A pig
An angel 

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 

Termites
Lip gloss
A canoe

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 


A thunderstorm
A feather boa
A bonfire

Make-A-Story™ Monday - This Week's Writing Prompt

Writing to spec – you’ve heard the term. It means writing what the publisher wants. Can you do it? In our new feature - Make-A-Story™, we ask you to create a story with these elements. The story can be set in any time frame, any length, must adhere to our guidelines and have our standard Christian world view. 



A barometer
A pair of baby sneakers
A watermelon














Tactical Tuesday: Advice for Self-Editing

While different editors might wince over certain areas of editing, I believe I can come up with a few items that make a less than favorable impression upon the majority:

Targeting the wrong publisher: Yes, we can tell when an author hasn’t done his marketing research before submitting a manuscript. How? Manuscripts are over the word count. An imprint who publishes solely romance receives an action/thriller. Better yet, the editor of a fiction publisher begins his review and discovers the manuscript presented is a non-fiction book on why readers should never read fiction.

Ungodly subject matter: We’re specifically talking editors who edit for Christian houses. It’s safe to assume that most editors in Christian houses are Christian. I shudder to think they are not, but with some of the subjects published recently, one may never know. However, as a Christian who happens to be an editor, I don’t want certain words or situations to come before my eye to enter into my mind, and protecting the reader is of utmost importance to me. Curse words and taking readers into the bedroom for explicit scenes is something that the majority of Christian publishers do not allow. Even Christian imprints held by secular houses sometimes hold to a very strict code of conduct. When an author presents such scenes and language, they often cite “reality.” The first question to ask in that regard is whose reality. Yes, Christians face everyday situations, and they don’t live in a bubble away from the world, but Christian authors ought not bring the world to Christians or to non-Christians they are trying to reach.

Racial slurs and prejudicial references: An author might feel that authenticity is raised when a derogatory term is used to denote a race or nationality within a novel. Yes, a story can be layered in such a way that when one character uses a derogatory term, the reader understands the ugly nature of that character. However, that sort of use should always be kept to a minimum and should be very necessary to the story—with a lesson to be learned from it. A lack of regard for the feelings of others (no matter the race or ethnicity) is a sure way to garner the ire of an editor. As a funny example, I once used the term “Florida cracker” is a novel to describe a much beloved character. The use highly offended a critique partner who was not familiar with the term. Floridians and Georgians are proud to be called “Crackers” as it simply states that we are natives of our state. However, the term has been hijacked, and I was thankful for the heart of the woman who took offense. If the term upset her, how many others might it have upset in print? The moral of the story: always be careful and sensitive in this regard.

Lack of Research: The best example I have of this one is a review I did (not as an editor) of a pre-Civil War historical in which the KKK was said to be causing trouble in the area (the key here is pre-Civil War). Another story was written about the history of a specific locale. The author misspelled the locale throughout the entry. That’s basic research, but when submitting a manuscript for review, especially a historical novel, it is best to have your research well documented. You may not have to present it to an editor, but there are instances when I have researched an event or timeline in the story, and I’ve come up with different information. How refreshing it is when the author writes back and cites the information for this non-expert on the subject, and I learn something new, but how disappointing it is when I learn the author did no research at all.

I'm sure my editor pals could add some more pet peeves to the list, but I'll leave it at this.

Happy editing.



Word Crimes...

I saw this on YouTube and I literally felt compelled to share it. Enjoy!


Tactical Tuesday: Advice for Self-Editing

Last week, I mentioned style sheets for authors and editors. This week, I thought it would be fun to give you an exercise to determine some of the smaller details that can be included in your style sheet by offering a grammar pop quiz:

In the following paragraph, I’m going to provide options for often misspelled or misused words, capitalization, and other fun things writers and authors need to remember or to write down. See how many you can get correct:

The morning sun rose over the dome of the Capital/Capitol where the doctor came to seek counsel/council with the senator/Senator from his state. The medical fraud in his hometown was a byproduct/by-product of greed. Sonograms, x-rays/X-rays/xrays, and other tests were too/to/two expensive for most patients. People lay/lied/laid there now dying because of improper treatment. How could this not affect/effect even the least caring of people? After spending awhile/a while in his own nightmarish visit in the hospital’s ER, the doctor sought out an investigative reporter at The Orlando Sentinel/the Orlando Sentinel/the Orlando Sentinel newspaper to expose the fraud. The doctor took a backseat/back seat in the investigation until the evidence indicated a hoard/horde of people was/were forced to seek treatment elsewhere. The doctor couldn’t care less/could care less if he lost his right to practice in that hospital—or any hospital in his state. He couldn’t allow this to go on any more/anymore.

The correct answers and rules are given below, but don’t cheat. Use this as a measure of which items belong on your personal style sheet/checklist. Finish the quiz and check your answers. If you missed any, those belong on your style sheet.

Capital/Capitol: Remember that a capitol is where a legislative assembly meets. A clue to this is that most capitols have a dome, which is spelled with an “o.” As a reminder: capital is the correct usage for a city that is the capital of the state.

Counsel/council: The correct form here is “counsel.” “Council” refers to a group brought together to deliberate or to rule, as in “town council.”

Senator/senator: Here, the correct form is lower case. Why? The word “the” gives us that clue. If our doctor had a specific senator to see, such as Senator Weldon or if he were calling out to the senator, “Do you have a moment, Senator?” the word would be capitalized.

Byproduct/by-product: Just like the words “old-fashion” and “good-bye,” this word is always hyphenated.

x-rays/X-rays/xrays: This is one I see noted incorrectly very often. The correct for is X-ray.

To/too/two: As the intent here is that the amount is excessive, our proper form is “too.”

Lay/lied/laid: I gave a hint for you in this one. Did you catch it? The word now indicates it is in the present. Our correct form is “lay.”

Affect/effect: This one gives me so much trouble. “Affect” is correct here, as it is a verb. While there is an exception to the rule, “effect” is usually a noun. Affect” is usually a verb.

Awhile/A while: Here, the proper use is the noun form “a while” because I’m actually saying that the doctor spent a period of time at the ER. “Awhile” is a verb meaning “for a period of time.”

The Orlando Sentinel/the Orlando Sentinel/the Orlando Sentinel: The proper form here is the last one. Note that “the” is not included in the italics.

backseat/back seat: “Backseat” is always one word.

hoard/horde: The correct term here is “horde,” which means a crowd of people. “Hoard” means to stash or to hide.

Was/were: Because a “horde” is a collective noun, indicating one horde, the proper use here is “was.”

couldn’t care less/could care less: If you could care less, you really aren’t making a point, are you? To say you couldn’t care less means there isn’t another ounce of caring in you regarding whatever it is you’re discussing.

any more/anymore: The correct term here is “anymore” which means “any longer.” “Any more” actually refers to “any additional.”

How did you do? If you missed a couple, don’t worry. Writers all have certain words, phrases, rules, etc., that stop us. That’s the beauty of the style sheet. Even when we can’t remember, we have the rule written down somewhere for quick and easy access.


Happy editing.