Monday, June 28, 2010

A Winner! and I'm Out and About

First, Congrats to Lisa Jordan! My two year old drew your name so e-mail me with your address and I'll get Tailor-Made Bride out to you. :-)

I'm running around this week doing all sorts of things so I'm taking a week off of blogging. I hope wonderful things happen for all you this week and I'll see you next Monday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected. Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?


If I saw this book in the bookstore, I'd pick it up because of the title and cover. I loved them. It was great getting between the pages and realizing that the outside reflects the inside.
Karen Witemeyer's debut historical romance is a sweet, humorous story that I enjoyed reading. The heroine Hannah is both funny and smart and I liked J.T.'s gruffness. Even though the plot felt a little on the predictable side to me, the characters were awesome. One of my favorite parts is when Hannah uses J.T.'s real name to rile him. He deserved it, don't worry. :-)
I think Witemeyer did a great job with characterization in this book, and I also liked how she worked some biblical truth into the story without being preachy.
I'd like to get the story out there, so if you'd like to read it, leave a comment and I'll hold a drawing.

You can find Witemeyer at her website which has all sorts of cool links. Keep an eye out for her next story, which sports an equally adorable cover!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When Good Writing Isn't Enough

The more I write, the more I realize good writing isn't enough. I've heard the saying, "Story trumps all."

It really does.

If you're starting a new story, or even halfway through, I'd suggest looking at your story first, editing and revising that (story structure, pacing, hooks, etc) before worrying about craft-like things such as POV, adverbs, dialogue tags, backstory, etc.

Solid writing can be concrete. You can look at a sentence and "fix" it. Find the adverb. Delete the dialogue tag. Add a comma.

Some people notice great writing. But if there's not a great story to go with it, the writing doesn't matter. On the other hand, a great story doesn't need great writing to suck the reader in.

Which authors suck you in with their prose? Which authors tell such a great story that you don't even notice their prose? And if you had to choose, which author would you be?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Categories and Single Titles

A category romance is a shorter romance (45-60k, depending on the line, up to 75k if it's historical) that has a one month shelf life. Harlequin is the main category publisher though I think there are others who have category-like imprints.(Barbour and Kensington)

Single Titles are all the other books you see sitting on the shelf. They're usually 75k-110k and the plot lines include more subplots than a category.

For the past few months I've been turning my category into a single title. It's hard!

Do you know if there's such a thing as western categories? What size books do you enjoy reading? How long is your WIP?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Beholder's Eye

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. (NASB Psalm 139:13)

As I was putting away laundry the other day, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. No make-up, hair pulled away from my face...I looked ugly. I felt ugly.

Then I remembered how God made me, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made.

After that, I looked at myself and knew that I'd been crafted with love.

This made me think of our stories. Perhaps they're considered ugly (rejected). Maybe they're not perfect (don't follow writing "rules") But think about how you wrote that manuscript. Think about the love and the wonder and the awe of creating a story from your heart. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

What is one part of your body that you think is beautiful? What about your first manuscript?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Posting Time Matters

I do most of my blog reading in the morning. I know I miss out on posts because I have to stop scrolling through my dashboard after breakfast is done. For me, if you post in the morning there's a better chance that I'll be commenting on it.

What times do you schedule your posts for? Do you think the timing matters?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coming Around

I SO appreciate all of your comments on my last post! I love reading about things you know or don't know. :-)
Sadly, I was swamped so I'm just now, today, going to be able to visit you guys. See you in a bit!

Oh, I waitressed last night and my feet HURT. That's one thing I forgot I didn't like about serving.

What's one thing you don't like about writing? (Not the business of it, but the actual art)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do Your Research

If you don't research your subject or characters, you might have a mess to clean up. Like me.
I wrote a beginning scene with a cop hero, only now to discover that so many things in that scene must be changed because they don't fit with the rules of the profession.

What kind of research have you done for your stories? In what area of life are you an expert?

Monday, June 7, 2010

You Deserve Awards

Thank you for your sweet comments on my last post, but you all deserve awards too! Time got away from me and I wasn't able to work up a post giving them out, but it's coming.

Today is busy with doctor visits and errands, so I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Also, agent Gardner put up the winning one-liners for her logline contest and tomorrow will be critting some entries. The contest was a good way to see what kind of pitches interest that particular agent.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thank You

I found this post hidden on my dashboard and so I just wanted to thank my fellow bloggers who have given me awards during the past few months.




Thank you Lynn!







Thank You Danyelle!





Thank you Katie! The rules are to post six lies and one truth.






Thank you Nancy!





Thank you to Steena at Chocolate Reality for the Sunshine Award!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review: Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl and April Henry




Hand of Fate is the second installment of the Triple Threat series. The story starts off with a chemical attack that sends the city of Portland into panic mode. Someday has just killed controversial talk show host Jim Fate and everyone is afraid the poison is spreading. The first half of the book covers the three main characters, friends who each offer something different to the story. Cassidy is a court reporter and is portrayed in a stereotypical way, blonde, beautiful and trying to keep her age to herself. Then there's Allison, a federal prosecutor, and then Nicole, an FBI agent. Allison and Nicole were already going to help Fate discover who was sending him death threats, so when he dies they're involved with finding out who killed Fate, and why. Cassidy has personal reasons for being involved.

When I received this copy from Thomas Nelson I was really excited. I loved the cover and thought the premise sounded intriguing. I love reading this type of fiction. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into the story.

I put this review off. In fact, I put off reading the book. The review was supposed to be done a month ago but I forgot the date the publisher wanted it up, and when I realized it had passed, I just kept waiting...

There are a ton of reasons the story didn't work for me, but they're probably subjective and not helpful. One reason is that the beginning felt too slow to be a thriller and there wasn't enough emphasis on whodunnit to be a mystery. The first hundred pages seemed to mostly be telling me about the character's lives and who they are. The second half of the book kicked into overdrive and clues started rolling in, but it almost felt too easy and too quick. I had a super hard time connecting with the characters. There also seemed to be a lot of political preaching in the story, with major life dramas going on (addiction, immigration, abuse).

Besides that, though, I definitely think the authors started off with a great premise and I've heard the first book in the series was amazing, so I hope maybe the last book will be amazing too. The prose was solid and the details were pretty interesting. Something, unfortunately, just didn't connect for me.

I prefer not to write negative reviews but I also don't like to lie, so this was hard for me. When was the last time you had to tell a painful truth?