Tuesday, January 6, 2015

3 Things I Do to Help My Writing

Grandson working on his secret to writing.

Many people have asked what my daily writing routine is like. I think they are looking for some secret that will help their writing. I believe that secret is different for every person, but if it will help someone I’ll share three things that I do in general to help my writing: treat writing like a business, take productive criticism, and make time for family and church.

1) Treat writing like a business . . . 
Many would-be writers nod their heads and say, yeah I do that. But do they? Do they get up every morning, shower, put on makeup or for guys shave, and go to work? Okay some of the perks of being a writer is working in your jammies with pillow hair. I hear you. And yes, I have done that especially when I’m up against a deadline. However, I must admit my most productive days are when I show up at my keyboard ready to work. For me, that means showered, dressed, and makeup on. 

Also, you need to put the hours in, you know, clock in so to speak. Working more than just eight hours a day is pretty much the norm when a writer has a deadline, edits, and promotion all at the same time on several different books. It happens. 

So treat your writing like a business, because that’s what it is for a writer. 

 2) Take productive criticism . . .  
 This is very important. Your writing will become much stronger if you learn how to take productive criticism. At first criticism feels like a personal attack, and sometimes, it can turn out that way. Some critics can become mean-spirited and have personal vendettas that have nothing to do with you or your writing, but everything do to with making themselves feel superior. Don’t listen to those people. 

Find a group who has your best interests at heart, and also, who are better writers. The reason I say that is, better writers will make you grow. I’ve been part of a writers/critique group for many years. And yes, most of them are better writers than I am. Still I try my best to learn from them. There have been days when I have come home from group wondering why I wanted to become a writer because I have felt pretty bruised by their critiques. But then I sleep on it, and when I feel ready, I look at their comments again and many times they are right. However, sometimes when I need something crucial to happen in my story that they disagree with, I’ll tell my group, “Help me find a way to make this happen.” And then the ideas start flowing which usually sparks a solution to my dilemma. 

So learn to take productive criticism and use what your story needs. 

3) Make time for family and church . . . 
I’ve always tried to make time for my family and have written with an open door policy, but then life happens, deadlines loom, and pretty soon your family starts to feel left out. I try hard to make my writing schedule coordinate with family events. It can be difficult especially when unexpected health problems crop up just before a deadline, but being able to stop writing to help someone is one of the perks of being a writer. (This is a good reason to work with a story outline and jot down notes as you write so when you have to stop, you can start again without losing too much time.) Being there for those you love is important, as is serving in your church.

I remember when I first published and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I thought of resigning my church calling because between writing and my family there wasn’t much time left. A wise person advised me to always make time for family and service to others. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been well worth it. I’ve learned compassion and understanding through church service and my family, and both have helped my writing immensely. 

So make time for family and church because in the long run you’ll never regret it. 

There you have it, the three things I do to help my writing. They aren’t iron clad and I’m always looking for ways to improve. What do you do to help your writing?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund -- Book Review

Book Review: Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund 
Published by Bethany House Publishers 2014 

The back cover blurb: 
All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she’s left destitute and with no place to stay. 

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He’s just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other’s dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, was well as managing a household. 

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife’s death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters. 

My Review: 
This novel starts off with plenty of action. Emma is on a steamboat that is attacked by pirates, who set the ship on fire. Talk about tension and high conflict. Right away you’re empathic to Emma and her brother, Ryan. You’re there with her and feel her panic as she becomes separated from her brother when the ship starts going down, you’re there with her as she’s in the water about to drowned, and you’re there with her as she and her brother are saved. And that’s just in the opening of the book. 

You're able to catch your breath a little as you switch to Patrick’s point of view. But right away you feel his desperation. His wife has died and Patrick has a toddler who needs constant care. What's this poor guy going to do?

Enter Holy Bill, the traveling preacher. He’s the matchmaker in this novel and a very memorable character who sees the good in people. The world needs more people like Holy Bill. He comes up with a solution for both Emma and Patrick. 

I loved this beautifully told love story.

The only thing that puzzled me was that the description of Emma in the novel didn't quite match the woman on the cover. However, the emotion and tenderness on the woman's face certainly did and that's the most important thing. The artist captured Emma's soul on the cover.

This book arrived when I was going through a trying time with my husband’s health. Love Unexpected gave me an escape from circumstances I could do nothing about. I could hardly wait to read what would happen next. 

Jody Hedlund is a master storyteller who brings her characters to life so much so that you don't want to set the book down. When you finish reading the novel you feel lost as though close friends have moved away. But unlike friends who are gone, you have the book and can read it all over again. 

You can purchase Love Unexpected in most book stores or purchase a hard copy or ebook on Amazon.   

I was given a copy of Love Unexpected to read and review, but that in no way influenced my review. 


Thursday, November 27, 2014

So Very Grateful!

Me and a member of my writing group, Nikki. Hubby is in the background with Aunt Carol.
I have so much to be thankful for. I have a wonderful family, the greatest friends and fans in the world, and so many other blessings that I could go on and on. I'm not bragging, I'm just very humbled and grateful.

And I absolutely have to say I'm very grateful for the many friends and family members who came to support the launching of my new book, Deceived

Last week Deceived received some wonderful reviews: Book Giveaways, My Book A Day, I love to Read and Review Books , Fire and Ice , and Min Reads and Reviews

Plus it was featured on Books and Benches

I also had a wonderful interview on I Am A Reader. She asked the more interesting questions. For instance: 

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? 

What is your most embarrassing moment?

What is your scariest?

Okay, now I answered those. Soooo, why don't you give it a try? 

Come on. 


You know you want to.

One more thing:
I have a signing Saturday November 29th at the Seagull Book in Sandy from 9-11 a.m. Come see me. I have chocolate. :)
 Hugs and blessings,


Monday, November 10, 2014

Deceived's Book Trailer

I'm so excited to post the book trailer for Deceived

It's short and to the point. 



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Adding Irish Touches to My Story.

I need to apologize for not posting last week. Hubby was rushed to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. Many prayers were said on his behalf and as a result he is home now and doing very well.

During all the worry last week, I received some good news about my new novel. I learned that the book launch for Deceived will be November 15th at the Fort Union Deseret Book Store from 1:00 to 3:00. They want me to do a reading from the book, and there will also be door prizes, so stop by and join in the fun.

Okay, now on with the blog . . .

Cliffs of Moher
Have you ever wanted to go to Ireland? 

Me, too. 

And since my new novel, Deceived, has a main character whose  grandfather was from the Emerald Island, I really wanted to experience the place for myself.

So a few years ago, my daughter, Tricia, and I went on a dream trip to Ireland. That trip gave me enough information for several books and all I could have wanted for Deceived

Let me tell you a little about my main character's Irish background.

Tara Kelly grew up hearing stories of the old country from her grandfather. His stories were so vivid that Tara captured many of them in the picture books she created.

 Some of the stories were about rural Ireland.

Some were about the wee folk.

And some were about castles.

But in Deceived you never read about these stories.

What you do read about are Tara's dreams of Ireland. 

About the Burren limestone . . .

 About the capstone at the dolmen at Poulnabrone and how she believes it is a portal to the Land of the Dead . . .

And about the ghost that haunts Tara.

Okay, so that might not be a ghost, but then again, maybe it is. I took the picture while on a haunted bus tour of Dublin. Below is our tour guide.

I think he had probably been in the Land of the Dead quite some time. He smelled like he had been. Come to think of it he was actually from the haunted castle below.

We had so much fun!!!

 Even though Deceived it not set in Ireland, it does play a major role in the story.

Traveling not only makes a lot of wonderful memories, but it also helps a writer add terrific back story to a novel. 

Where have you traveled lately? Did you gather wonderful memories?

Next time I'll post about the history of the other main character in Deceived, Joseph White Eagle. 



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