Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Have You Overlooked Something?

I’ve always liked the word “look” because you can make eyes out of the o’s and the word looks like what it means. Leftovers from my days as an elementary school teacher, I suppose.

The word is also a great command:

Look out!
Look before you leap.
Look it up.
Look both ways.

And one of my favorites: “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!” (Isaiah 45:22 NKJV).

But sometimes we fall back on a word because it’s easy. We use “look” when we should choose gaze, perceive, focus, stare, or countless other more precise terms.

A couple of my writer friends (Donna Basinow and Marian Merritt) tagged me in their blogs about “look” as a weasel word—one that sneaks into our writing undetected.

The manuscript I’m working on at the moment runs right at 32,000 words and I’m aiming for 50,000. So far, I’ve used the word “look” or one of its variations 99 times. That doesn’t seem too bad to me, but when I edit back through the manuscript, I’ll chuck some of those “looks” for a more appropriate synonym.

Relying on one word is too easy and makes for boring writing.

But relying on Almighty God who sees into our very soul, well, that’s something else altogether. I’m so glad He has the look of love where we’re concerned.

“They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed” (Psalm 24:5 NKJV).

I’m tagging fellow authors:

Clare Revell
Paula Mowery
JoAnn Carter
Carla Rossi
MaryAnn Diorio

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Happens After "I Do"?

Today I’m hosting novelist Patty Froese in honor of the release of her latest title, Legally Wed. Read what Patty has to say about the days after “I do” …

Marriage is complicatedthere's no way around it. When we get married, we have visions in our heads of mornings snuggling, long walks together, perfect understanding and the best of intentions. While those lovely things are a part of marriage, real life tends to worm its way in there and a very different picture evolves.

Hurried breakfasts, a quick peck goodbye, misunderstandings, grumpy mornings, stress from work and bills piling up. A romantic evening can miss the mark when he falls asleep after a hard day at work. A planned romantic Christmas can turn less-than-romantic when the in-laws show up unannounced. Keeping the romance in a marriage turns into WORK.

Necessary work. 

Stories of romance often focus on that time before the "I do," that exhilarating process of falling in love.  But what about after the wedding? What about the lifetime spent together, growing together, learning to love and laugh even when bumps derail all our picture-perfect plans?

Legally Wed is a story about romance after the "I do." Following two couples, we see marriage—the real kind. One couple was supposed to be over, and the other couple was supposed to be perfect. Neither get what they expect! When you're legally wed, you're on the ride of your life!”

Book blurb:
Author Patty Froese
When Rich McConaughey comes back to town, divorce papers in hand, he's in for more than he bargained for. Lisa Young, the woman he was married to for six months, hasn't changed a bit. His mother has though... she's gone from matronly to meow, and his father has taken off with the secretary. Does anything last anymore?

Lisa Young feels chained to the hardware store her family has run for generations. How can she tell her father that she hates the family business? When Rich walks back into her store asking her to finalize a divorce she thought was behind her, she thinks that the answer is to sign on the dotted line and move on. Except, Rich isn't making it so easy... and God has other plans.

Thanks for stopping by. If this book sounds like one for you or a great gift for a friend, you can buy it now.

Visit Patty’s website:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing

One year our family Thanksgiving celebration required us to bring an item representing what we were thankful for. We couldn’t claim God or family—too easy. We had to think outside the box of stuffing.

I brought a pencil. It signified my dream of writing and I praised God for allowing me to pursue that dream in various venues.

Since that day, the Lord has blessed me with columns, nonfiction publications, two fiction sales ... and an agent!

Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency is one of the most encouraging people I’ve had the blessing to work with. Last week she invited me to follow along on her “Blog Hop” and today I’m doing just that by answering questions about my WIP – Work in Progress.

You can read more about Linda and her exciting news at 

My WIP is another Colorado Christmas romance, but this one takes place in Cañon City, Colorado, in 1860 when the population was 720. Six hundred were men. Sounds like the makings of a good story to me.

Title: A Cañon City Christmas

Where did the idea come from? On assignment for the local paper, I discovered the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center. What a gold mine of information! Linda asked her clients if they had a pioneer-type Christmas story and I realized I didn’t have far to go for inspiration.

Genre: Historical romance. (Never thought I’d try this; always believed I was a current events kind of writer.)

What actors would play your characters in a movie version? Nicole Kidman with reddish hair and Jim Caviezel twenty years younger. 

Short Synopsis: Annie Whitaker and her father leave their prosperous mercantile business in Omaha and head west to set up shop in the Rocky Mountain gold country. Cowboy Caleb Hutton rides through Cañon City on his way to the Lazy R cattle ranch, but he’s too late. No work. He heads back to Cañon where he meets the Whitakers and works doubly hard at hiding what he really is.

Agency Representation? Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.

How long did it take to write that first draft? Don’t know, still at it. But I’m about three quarters of the way.

What other books in this genre compare? Mona Hodgson’s series about the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, and Lauraine Snelling’s several historical series.

Any others in this genre? This is my first historical, but I’m also in the middle of a modern day Cañon City story. I’m toying with the idea of writing a series set in the Arkansas River Valley and the gateway to the famous Royal Gorge. Maybe a story every thirty years, from 1860 to today.

Who or what inspired the WIP? A few months ago, Linda asked her clients if anyone had a historical romance. Since her first challenge to me to write a Christmas novella resulted in my first fiction sale to White Rose Publishing, I decided to give it a try.

Anything to add? As a journalist, I’ve written a lot about Cañon City’s history, so I almost feel as if I’ve walked those dusty nineteenth-century streets. I love the area—the river, the mountains, the ridiculously blue sky. OakTara recently bought one of my short stories set here in Cañon. Who knows where this WIP will lead?

Interested in other authors’ WIPs? Follow this “Hop” by visiting these blogs (copy and paste in your browser) next Wednesday, Nov. 28th:

Susan F. Craft -
Gail Kittleson –
Linda Maran -

Thanks for reading ~ and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Veteran Dreams

I used to teach middle school where adolescent boys studied ancient kings and warring nations, and longed to be soldiers and warriors themselves. 

Now I teach in a college where young marines sit in plastic chairs and let me tell them how to write. They bear the scars of battles far less glamorous than those portrayed in their middle-grade history books.

These men have grown up more than they wanted. They’ve fought to right the wrongs of others and, like their fathers, prevent the encroachment of tyrants who would rule the world at any cost.

I’m proud of these boys-turned-men who sit and listen to me drill the rules of punctuation. They are gentlemen, every one, hiding behind their attentive eyes what they’ve seen in places I’ve only heard of.

Sometimes their stories leak from their fingers and onto the page and give me a glimpse of the horrors they dream, reminding me that Veterans are not only the men and women of my parents’ generation or my own.

They are my children, and will someday be my grandchildren, fighting to protect those who cannot defend themselves.

God bless them every one.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ever want to run away and hide?

Like the lamp post in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, this vine-draped cottonwood tree beckons me into another dimension. Each time I pass it, my inner child urges me to step through the portal into a place where the impossible could happen.

My grown-up self sees it as a hiding place – a refuge where I can escape daily assaults and mundane duties.

Sometimes I just want to hide.

My favorite author felt the same way. David the shepherd-king wrote:

            Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
            For I hide myself in you. —Psalm 143:9 (NIV)

What better place to take cover than in the Lord God Almighty? He knows everything about me and still loves me. Is there anyone safer than that?

Sometimes I need to hide.

And rest.

And soak up His strength.

And learn again like a little child that in Him, the impossible really does happen.

How about you?

You are my hiding place; Psalm32:7 (NIV)