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Showing posts from 2012

On the Red Carpet With the Guys of Splintered!!! (international giveaway!)

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway. It’s now ended, and winners will be announced on A.G. Howard’s website (http://anita-authoraghoward.blogspot.com/p/contests-and-giveaways.html) within the next few days.


Welcome to the Morpheus side of SPLINTERED'S INTERNATIONAL RED CARPET EVENT AND GIVEAWAY!


Check out Splintered author AG Howard's website for a ROCKING intro to this international giveaway. This is also where you'll enter to WIN amazing prizes!!

Don't forget to head over to Bethany Crandell's for the other half of this interview with they other guy in Splintered, Jebediah Holt!

Now for our interview with the enigmatic and extremely interesting Morpheus (did I mention he has a British accent? And some very cool wings?)!!



I'm SO excited to have you on my blog, Morpheus! I really admire your loyalty to Wonderland. I know you're busy taking care of some crazy things over there and am super appreciative you're taking the time to stop by and…

Stephen King On Writing

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Okay...I'll admit that I'm horrible at reading craft books. I love to learn craft and try to always better my writing, but I usually stick with articles. So after years of hearing about this book, it finally decided to bonk me on the head (actually, it was in my RWA chapter's library and I snagged it).

I wish I would have read it sooner.

Seriously.

EVERY page is loaded with so much. About life. About writing. Plus King is just an interesting person. His writing resonates and every other sentence contains some kind of nugget that I'd love to tape up on my wall.

Needless to say, after I finish King's memoir I'll be checking out some of his fiction.

I've asked before about your favorite writing craft book, but now I'm wondering why it's your favorite? What makes it stand out? And if you could choose to meet any author, who would it be and why?

Playing With the Blog Tour

Blog tours: can they make you or break you?

I did a blog tour (however informal) when my book came out and I can see NO drawbacks to doing one. I think blog tours are excellent ways to get the word out about your book.

Will they sell it? Nope. That's what the blurb, cover and writing are for. But at least they tell people the book is out there.

How do you get involved with a blog tour? Well, you could go the professional, cost-money route. There are a lot of companies who offer different packages and it could be worth your while.

Since I've been blogging a long time, I just asked my blogger friends if anyone wanted to have me over. I was really blessed that many of you did. :-)

I heartily recommend blog tours! In fact, I'm a guest later today at Diane Estrella's blog! (and I said I didn't have a celebrity crush, but I forgot how much I like Channing Tatum! lol).

Would you pay for a blog tour or do your own? Do you like hearing about different books when you'r…

Julie Lessman Has Done It Again! (huge contest!!!)

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I just finished reading A Light In The Window, Julie Lessman's self-published prequel to her Daughters of Boston series and it is Fabulous!!!

Lessman brings her characters to life and every time I read her books, I never fail to both giggle and get teary-eyed. If you've read her other books and have always wanted to know Marcy and Patrick's story, you'll love this book!

If you HAVEN'T read her other books, then I highly suggest picking up this affordably priced e-book to get a taste of Lessman's writing. She's one of my favorite authors in the CBA market and I really enjoyed this story.

Click HERE to find out how you can win a Kindle Fire, gift cards and more!!



Who is your favorite romance author?

Quickie Promo Post!

My book Love On The Range is almost out of print!

Amazon says they have 17 copies left...I don't know what that means for the other booksellers but I think it means my print run is almost up? Hmmm.

Print runs, returns, those are things that makes this writer's brain shudder.

Amazon also has my book on sale, so if you didn't get a copy but are interested in reading it, now might be the time to get it?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thanksgiving Blessings

Last year around this time I was involved in a horrible accident in which I walked away unscathed while a young man was severely injured.

I asked for prayer from you all and want to let you know that I recently found out that the young man fully recovered. :-)

So this Thanksgiving, my shoulders feel a little lighter.

Many times we're reminded to be thankful for the little things in our lives. Today I am wondering what big things, what deep worries of the heart, what trials have you survived or been rescued from?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Weighing The Costs

The publishing world has been evolving for a few years now. It's exciting and full of uknown possibilities.

Recently Huffington Post published an interesting article on how e-books are making print books more valuable.

Zondervan has also opened a new digital publishing venture. No advance but their e-books will be affordable and their royalties are comparable to other e-publishers.

What I would pay for a hardcover (which I very rarely buy) and an e-book is radically different. How much would you pay for an e-book?
With the advent of e-readers, is e-publishing more of a realistic publishing opportunity in your opinion?

Coming Up: Some Rocking New Titles!

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My To-Be-Read list is crazy long, but I have two books that I'm salivating to read. Okay, okay, I all ready got to peek at one in manuscript format (heehee!) but my hands are itching to hold it for a reread!

Sometime before Christmas I'll be reviewing the amazing Julie Lessman's new book A Light In The Window. I'm a big fan of hers (my reviews HERE and HERE) and can't wait to read Marcy and Patrick O'Connor's romance.

Then, right before New Years fellow blogger RookieRiter and I will be hosting a SuperFab red carpet event with the boys of Splintered. This is author A G Howard's debut novel and I'm in love with it. Well...actually, I'm really in love with one of the characters. He's a little bit of a Bad Boy. *grin* You'll find out who he is when I interview him right on my very own blog!! (bonus: he has an accent)

So which books are you wanting to read? Waiting on any new works by favorite authors? And last but not least, who melts your bu…

Some Useful and Rather Unmild Advice

WOW.

I read the article below and I was nodding and cringing at the same time. Nevertheless, I believe this post by author Russell Blake is a must-read for writers.

http://russellblake.com/in-praise-of-bad-writing/

Personally, I'm a fan of having a character arc. Which guideline (aka rule) will you probably always follow?

Conscious and Subconscious Action

About a year ago I watched The Book of Eli, a futuristic/post-apocalyptic type movie that really fascinated me. I highly recommend it!

The main character, Eli, in particular was intriguing.

As I watched, I realized how deeply his characterization was based in subconscious and conscious action. The actor (I think it was Denzel Washington?) pulled off the characterization and hooked the viewer by using the smallest details to portray emotion.

The writers or producer or maybe it was the actor himself used subconscious and conscious action to make the character come alive.

For example, in the movie Eli is traveling when he hears screams. He hides behind something and mutters to himself over and over, "There's nothing I can do." This is a conscious action not to help. He is choosing to remove himself from the situation. His repetition is subconscious though. He's trying to convince himself that it's true...or he's trying to comfort himself. Either way, we feel the…

Diving Into Edits

So I finally, finally finished writing the rough draft of my new historical romance. Talk about forever!

But it's done and now I need to jump into edits.

Some things I'll be looking at:

Dialogue: Is it necessary to the story? Does it deepen tension or reveal something? Is it natural sounding?

Pacing: Are my scenes similar in length? Does the story grow progressively more taut or is there a sagging middle?

Historical facts: Is my research good enough? Do my characters sound like they live in 1920 America?

Scene setting: Are my scenes clear? Did I involve all five senses?

What do you look for when editing? Care to add anything to my list?


Giveaway Winner and a Kid Who Takes After His Momma

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Congrats to Loree Huebner!! You won the giveaway for an autographed copy of Stacy Henrie's debut historical Lady Outlaw. Send me your snail mail and we'll get that out to you.
jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoodot COM


And now here's my youngest with a request that mirrors my own (although his asking skills need some work).



Ever wanted something so bad you threw a little fit to get it?

The Irascible WIP

I have maybe 3k left to finish my WIP and I'm going nuts.

This manuscript has taken me almost a year to write and I'm not sure I have a good excuse for it. Sure, I've had a lot of things happen in the last year but there were also times I was just lazy. *cringe*

What is driving you nuts today? Is there anything you can do to change it?

The So-What? Factor

I ran across a great article the other day HERE.

It mentions a bunch of cool things but a particular idea caught my attention. It's the SO WHAT factor.

From the post:

"It's easy to confuse concept with plot, and that's not it. Because that leaves out something that Lisa Cron's recent book WIRED FOR STORY calls the "'so what?' factor." She goes on to explain that the "so what?" factor is what clues a reader in on the point of the story, the relevance of everything that happens in it, what the story is about."

Basically, why should we care? Empathy is SO important in books. I think empathy and curiosity are the two biggest things that will keep a reader turning pages.

If you've got a WIP, check out your first page and ask yourself if it piques curiosity or empathy.

Think of a book you couldn't put down. What kept you reading? How can you work that "So What" relevance into your WIP?



FYI Love On The Range is on sale…

Review/Giveaway For Lady Outlaw by Stacy Henrie

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I am finishing up Stacy Henrie's debut Lady Outlaw! The first things that drew me to this story were the cover and the premise. Stacy created a heroine who steals from thieves in order to make her ranch payments. But then along comes this handsome stranger in need of a job (read our Hero) and the heroine begins reconsidering how she supplements her living, especially when she finds out about the Hero's past. His gentle ways and faith in God affect her too.

So far I'm enjoying the story. The premise is unique and I love that the heroine is so completely imperfect. I find internal sins a lot in Christian books (attitude, pride, etc) but rarely do I see such blatant external wrongdoing. It's a nice change and makes for a strong character arc. Stacy is a good writer and I'm looking forward to reading more of her books! Hopefully the covers will be as awesome too!

Today Stacy is graciously offering a signed copy of her book. Leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…

Whatcha Readin'?

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Currently I'm reading Lady Outlaw, which I'll be reviewing on Wednesday.

What are you reading?

Nancy Drew is Back...And She's Hawaiian

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I'm so excited to announce the release of Cheryl Linn Martin's debut middle grade mystery series, The Hawaiian Island Detective club!

Any kids who like mysteries in exotic settings are going to love this series. The first book is Pineapples In Peril. Cheryl's writing is crisp and suspenseful. Her characters are loveable. Leilani is the Nancy Drew of the series. She has a thirst to solve mysteries and lets nothing stop her, not even her pestering little brother, Kimo. I'm looking forward to reading all the books in Cheryl's series!

You can find Cheryl at her website, her blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Do you write or read Middle Grade fiction? Have any questions for Cheryl?

Learning From the Indies

I learned a cool little trick the other day.

I'm on a self-pub loop mostly for information's sake. Times are changing and it's good for authors to be aware of what's going on, what works, what doesn't work, etc. Writing for publication isn't just an art, but a business.

Anyway, I found out Amazon likes to match prices, so when my book Love On The Range went on sale at Harlequin for $3.45, guess what I did?

*grin* I told Amazon! And sure enough, about a week later, my Amazon price started dropping lower and lower. It was a fun experiment and good to know for the future.

Have you learned any cool tidbits recently?

Oh, and on Wednesday I'll be hosting my fabulous critique partner Cheryl Linn Martin. She's a middle grade writer whose first series is fixing to release. If you love Nancy Drew and have kids who like mysteries, Pineapples in Peril is for them!

And the Winners Are....

Woohooo, the giveaway has ended and there are goodies to dispense!

Godiva Winners:

K. Victoria Chase
Karen Lange

B&N Gift Card Winner:

Nick Wilford

Sweet Caroline and Sweet Baklava Winner:

Sandra Orchard

Send your snail mail addys to me at jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo DOT com and I'll get these out to you. :-)

Thank you for participating!!

Happy Labor Day!

A Rockin' End of Summer Contest

Summer is almost over! Even though autumn is my favorite season, I'm sad because I'm going to have to start getting up early (I know, I know, don't throw a book at me!)

So since I don't have anything new coming out yet, I thought it might be a good idea to have some kind of contest. I've never done the twitter/fb/post type of contest but I think it might be fun.

Heeheee, especially since there's chocolate involved.

So here are the deets (that's for you, Lindsay!):

1. If you want to be entered once to win a prize, let me know in the comment section.

2. Mention Love On The Range on Facebook OR Twitter, let me know in the comments, and you get two entries.

3. Mention Love On The Range on BOTH Facebook and twitter, let me know in the comments, and you get three entries.

4. If you have another cool promotional action that I don't know about, let me know in the comments. If it's combined with FB/Twitter, then that's four entries. :-) If not, then tha…

Winner and Some News

First, congrats to the lovely Susan who won Katie Ganshert's Wildflowers From Winter! I'll be contacting you to get your addy. :)

Now for some news:

Lady Scribes and author Lily George are interviewing me today. I'll be giving away a copy of my debut. :-)

I read all your comments and think Monday sounds like a good day to blog, so I'll be changing things on that front.

Also, I'm planning a completely rocking End of Summer contest to promote my book Love On The Range (which isn't available in physical stores but is still available online). There will be big prizes involved, including Godiva, books, gift cards and maybe some author critiques? I've never done a contest like this that will involve tweeting and stuff, but I've seen other writers do it and it seems to work for them? So I'll announce the deets next Monday and go from there.

Summer is going by way too fast. My eight year old just told me the other day that he thinks this summer went faster t…

Restructuring

Due to some family changes, I no longer am working Mondays and Fridays. The summer has been more busy than I anticipated so my poor blog has languished a bit.
I'm wondering if I should move to posting on Mondays...

What do you think? When do you post? What days do like to read blogs the most? Should there be chocolate? (grin)

Assumption is Not Sustainable Conflict

I've been in the writing world for over five years now and I've known for a long time that if characters can have a good, honest talk and work out their troubles, then the plot conflict isn't strong enough.

But I hadn't thought of this in the form of assumptions until a reader made a comment about a book and how she enjoyed that the characters didn't just assume things about each other.

A character's goal has to be impeded by more than her thinking the other character (antagonist/hero) wouldn't like the goal. The internal conflict should be more than her thinking the other character will disapprove or hate her.

I adore internal conflicts but they have to have a concrete external conflict to make them believable. If the conflict isn't believable, or worse, could be cleared with an honest conversation, then this hampers the tension of the story in a big way.

The reader might not care about turning the pages to find out what happens.

I know for a fact tha…

What I've Been Reading (and Giveaway)

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I've been eagerly awaiting this book and Katie's writing didn't disappoint! The characters were interesting but I really enjoyed Katie's prose the most. It's strong and unique. I'll definitely be picking up her next book.



I whipped through this book! Williamson is a new author to me but I thought the pacing of the story was great. Have I read/watched clone stuff before? Sure, but the characters came across very real and I enjoyed the dialogue. Looking forward to more by her!

This was a sweet story. I particularly loved the secondary characters, esp. the jilted fiance. I'd love to see him with his own story because I think he'd have a great character arc. The best friend was a lot of fun too. I'm looking forward to reading more of Beth's work. What drew me to this story, besides her being a blogging buddy, was the premise. :-) Very hooky!









The two books below are not my normal type reads but I enjoyed both of them. Besides being drawn into the plo…

The Theme of it All

I read a wonderful article in the RWR recently about theme and how it plays into books/stories.

According to the article, theme is the passion and question inside the writer that finds its way into all her stories. Beneath voice and plot is theme.

I'm not detail-oriented and I'm not a plotter, but after having a few manuscripts of different genres and tones under my belt, I have an idea of what the overarching theme of my stories is (note: love is not necessarily a theme).

Do you think about Theme in your writing? Do you analyze it in books?

#WhiteKnightFAIL

My writer friends and family know I have a soft spot for "bad boy" heroes in fiction. I've tried to analyze why and have had some interesting insights into myself, but recently I had a major breakthrough.

I'm watching a series which is out of my norm, but have found myself hooked by the storyline...and the "bad boy". One night while watching a scene between "good guy" hero and heroine, I became aware of this odd feeling in my chest. A discomfort.

And then I recognized what it was.

Distrust.

That's right. I prefer "bad boys" because I distrust Knights in Shining Armor. You know, the good boy heroes who live atop a shining steed, so high in fact that I know their fall is going to be a hard one.

What I like is that while a "bad boy" starts in one place (usually empty, lonely, and ugly), I know that by the end of the story, the "bad boy" is going to have redemption. He's going to be happy at the end, and healthier…

BOC, BOC

Butt On Chair
Butt In Seat
Butt Glue

This is what writers should do. Sit down and write. For many of us, especially if unpublished or without a contract, we tend to procrastinate. Right when we're about to write, we remember that our blinds need cleaning.

Back in the day, I used to pound out 1k a day. I'm trying to work back up to that but it's been pretty challenging.

Do you have daily goals with your writing? What area in life do you find yourself procrastinating the most?

Stakes, And I Don't Mean the Vampire Kind

Finally I got to see this movie I've been wanting to see for months. The previews rocked and I'm happy to say that I loved the movie too. :-)

As I was watching it in the theater (yay!), I was processing the format of the storytelling, the characters, the dialogue, even how the director used the setting and visuals to create mood.

I immediately connected to the heroine because she was a little girl imprisoned by a wicked queen. I rooted for her to be free and cheered (inwardly, of course) when she escaped.

Then came my AHA moment.

A hero is tracked down, a guy who can follow the heroine into dark places and bring her back. I didn't want him to. I wondered why he would.

Then the evil queen offers him something that made my breath clench and immediately hooked me into the story.

You see, the hero is found drunk and careless. He's a widower who lost his way when his beloved wife was murdered.

The wicked queen sees his loneliness...his pain. She has evil powers and offers…

I've Been a Bad Girl

I missed my Wednesday posting! Of course, that's not the end of the world for anyone but I still felt guilty.

Not only that, but I also need to confirm what the writers who read my book all ready know: I head hop.

I head hop, and the editors were okay with it. How is this possible? Well...it's been my experience so far (and subject to change) that editors don't care about all the same "rules" writers do. Head hopping seems to be something writers obsess about but in reality, when it's done well, neither readers or editors notice. When it's not done well, then a scene may be confusing, etc. (disclaimer: I am not claiming to be a good head hopper, just that I do it).

In a few weeks, I'm going to hold a Godiva contest. *grin* That's right, Godiva to the person who can find a certain spot in my book...I'll post the rules later. If you haven't read Love On The Range, I'm doing a GoodReads giveaway this week (did I mention I adore GoodReads…

Learning From Reviews

I'll be honest.

I've really enjoyed reading reviews on my debut Love On The Range. Many authors don't read reviews and I'm sure someday I won't either. But because this book was written so long ago, and been through so many revisions, I feel very objective toward it now.

Reviews from friends and fellow bloggers are amazing to read. Thank you to everyone who posted one for me!! It was much appreciated. Reviews from people I don't know are exciting. Someone I don't know read my book and cared enough to write about it and/or rate it.

Wow!

So I read these reviews and I learn. What worked for people, what didn't. Some reviews touched on things I knew I wouldn't be able to change in the future with my books, though I might refine my way of writing it. Other reviews hit on things that I know I'll be keeping in mind for future books: Things like pacing and head hopping (yes, I'm a natural head hopper and am working at curbing that tendency *cringe*…

Sweet Summer

Summer is almost here, and I can hardly wait! No more six o'clock alarm blasting me from my comfy bed. :-) I plan to finish the WIP I've been playing with for five months and submit it to LIH. Maybe in the fall I'll have another contract? I'm also thinking of going to the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference this year too.

What are your summer plans? What do you look forward to in summer?

Rolling in the Royalties

In case you don't all ready know...most authors don't roll in much. I'm blessed that my fellow authors established a loop where newbie authors like me can ask questions and get great answers from more veteran writers. Royalties seems to be something that comes up every so often.

It sounds like I'll be paid twice a year, and that the second royalty check will have more in it. But no one really knows for sure. There are bunches of factors involved with how much I'll earn, like what month the book released in relation to when the royalties are calculated, if the book made it into the book club (in my case), and how much the publisher holds back in reserves. It's pretty fascinating and a little scary.

Here are some good links.

Agent Rachelle Gardner gets detailed about royalty rates

Author Rebecca Brandewyne on royalties

Sabrina Jeffries' Money Chart

Brenda Hiatt's amazing list of average advances

How much do you hope you'll make someday when you sell your…

Post-Publication: The LowDown

So it's over.

My book (that huge cover on the right sidebar) is officially off the shelves. There's so much to share that I think it might take a couple of blog posts.

First thing: Love On The Range is a category romance, published by Harlequin, who puts out different sets of book every month. It's a book club thing. That's why mine is off the shelves. Its month was April.

Secondly: Now that the book is off the shelves, it feels like a dream that happened. I feel like I'm starting over.

Thirdly: Reviews are both nail-biting and exhilarating, especially when they're from someone you don't know.

Fourth: AuthorCentral is a cool Amazon site that logs your sales. It shares all sorts of info, like where your book has been selling in the US (with a map and everything).

So whew. April was awesome and tiring. How was your April? Do you read category romances? Did you know about AuthorCentral?

Welcome Jeanette Levellie, Humorous Devotional Author (Giveaway!!)

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Two Scoops of Grace With Chuckles On Top
What do drive-by diaper stores and God have in common? When is blabbing an acceptable habit? Why should you beware of moths and sligs? In her entertaining, uplifting style, award-winning author and humorist Jeanette Levellie weaves 72 amusing stories with affirming Biblical truths. These soul-nourishing examples of God’s favor and grace will help you:
•Laugh when you find cow patties in your field instead of daisies
•Discover the bottomless heart of God
•Grow in your acceptance of yourself and others

Welcome a vacation from stress as you discover the sweetness of Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top.

You can buy the book here.


A spunky pastor’s wife of thirty-plus years, Jeanette Levellie authors a bi-weekly humor/inspirational column, God is Bigger, a popular feature in the Paris Beacon News since 2001. She has published stories in Guideposts anthologies, stories in Love is a Verb Devotional with Gary Chapman, articles in Christian and se…

Interview with Debut Author Katy Lee

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(Please forgive the format, I'm trying to figure out blogger's new thing) Hi, Jessica, and Jessica’s readers! I am really excited to be hanging out with you today in Jessica’s virtual home. Thank you for having me! Katy Lee writes higher purpose stories in high speed worlds. As an inspirational author, speaker, home-schooling mom, and children’s ministry director, she has dedicated her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Her fresh and unique voice brings a fast-paced and modern feel to her romances that are sure to resonate with readers long after the last page. Her debut novel Real Virtue is a finalist in many writing contests, and took second place in the 2011 Georgia Maggie Award of Excellence. Katy lives in Connecticut with her husband, three children, and two cats. 1. How many manuscripts have you written, and did the one that sold feel different? How many years have you been wr…

Next Debutante Up to Bat: The Lovely Keli Gwyn

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I met sweet Keli Gwyn when I first started blogging. She was the first person who ever interviewed me about writing.
Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. When she emerges from her fictional world, she enjoys strolling past the stately Victorian houses in her hometown, drooling her way through the Coach factory outlet store, and fueling her creativity with frequent trips to Taco Bell.


Not only that, but she is a creative and generous person who sends out hand-written notes, gifts and has a real flair for scrapbooks. I won a First Sale scrapbook which I'm still working on, but it's incredible!
Keli's book sold last year and will be releasing in June. You can pre-order A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California HERE.
Publication can happen …

You Can Be Published! Interview with Katie Ganshert

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Today we have debut author Katie Ganshert. I met her a few years ago while we were both querying. She is awesome and dynamic and has a huge heart for God/love. Thanks for joining us today, Katie!
1.How many manuscripts have you written and did the one that sold feel different? I've written six. The one that sold was my third manuscript and it definitely felt different. It was the first manuscript I wrote after I read a whole bunch of craft books. I felt so much more knowledgeable about story telling and the craft of writing as I wrote that one.

2. How many years have you been writing?
Well, I've written stories ever since I could pick up a pencil. But somewhere in my teen years, I stopped. I didn't come back to it until I went to Nairobi, Kenya six and a half years ago. I came home with a story exploding inside me, so I wrote my very first novel.

3. Tell us a little about the events leading up to your first sale.
My manuscript was going to pub board. That's all I knew…

Interview With Naomi Rawlings, Debut Author

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Today is the first day of the month of debuts! I'm excited to host debut authors, some of who I began blogging with years ago. The great thing is that no matter where you're at right now, it's important to know your path can change if you keep moving forward.

Not only is my first book out in April, but so isNaomi Rawlings's! She very kindly agreed to be my guest today.
1. How many manuscripts have you written and did the one that sold feel different? To date, I've written five complete manuscripts. And yes, the one that sold, Sanctuary for a Lady, felt completely different. I'd been working with a critique group, and the critiques improved my writing 110%. Plus I'd worked really hard on the plot, thinking up a twist that I hadn't seen done before and cementing it into my character's struggles in a riveting way. In the back of my mind, I had the feeling that if Sanctuary for a Lady didn't sell, I'd probably be done writing. Because I knew thi…

For Realz, It Could Happen To You

You can get published.

It can really happen.

Wherever you are right now, you need to know it's possible and that for those who are persistent, who hone their craft and choose to write the best story they can, your odds of getting published dramatically increase.

Next month, I'm going to interview a debut author every week. This month, I know of at least two debut authors whose first books have recently released.

Eva Maria Hamilton with her inspy historical romance, Highland Hearts
Tori Chase with her romantic suspense Serial Games

Do you think it could happen to you? Do you have a game plan? Do you know any debut authors this month, and who are they?

Reviewing Shades of Truth by Sandra Orchard (giveaway)

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I really enjoyed this book for several reasons.
Sandra is currently writing a series of books based on Undercover Policemen. The underlying theme is how living a double life can affect their Christian walks and their relationships. This premise has really intrigued me and I reviewed Sandra's first book HERE.

Shades of Truth (March 2012 LIS)
Big city detective Ethan Reed is working deep undercover at a Christian youth detention center. The kind of place he spent some harrowing time in as a kid. Ethan’s mission: ferret out who’s recruiting resident teens for a drug ring. He expects help from the lovely, devoted director of Hope Manor. But Kim Corbett won’t tell Ethan anything— even when she’s threatened and attacked. When Ethan discovers what Kim is protecting, his guarded heart opens just a bit wider. Enough to make this the most dangerous assignment of his career.
This is the second book in Sandra’s series, Undercover Cops:
 Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the …

Linkage!!

The self-promotion madness has started!

Many of you know I sent out some of my book copies to those who wanted them for review purposes. Some sweet ladies have already posted their reviews so here's the linkage to that, as well as a guest post.

My memories of my grandma's silo (and a giveaway) at Anita Mae Draper's blog

Brandi Boddie gave an awesome review. I loved her breakdown of my characters. :-)

Rebecca Miller also did a sweet review of Love On The Range


Then, I came across some interesting articles.

Abingdon editor Ramona Richards on what can happen at a conference

Women on Writing dish out critique group advice

That Time I Walked into the Boy's Bathroom

Let me preface my post with this: It's happened more than once.

That's right.

I, Jessica Nelson, have unwittingly walked into the men's bathroom. Worse. I've used it without realizing until too late where I was. (That was a mad scramble out, actually, it was very strategic, involving much peering beneath the stall for a clear coast).

But in this particular time, daydreaming or rushing was not my reason for pushing the wrong door. And I was in the worst place possible to make this mistake.

Middle school.

I have this little habit that I do quite well. It's called Ralking (I just made a word for it up *grin*). As you might have guessed, the definition of this word is reading while walking.

There was a book in front of my nose when I pushed the wrong door.

What is the funniest, weirdest or stupidest thing you've ever done or said while reading a book? Have you seen any crazy stuff happen while someone was reading?

Dangerous Times in 1918

Today I'm posting at the Craftie Ladies of Romance about what I think of the early twentieth century and how it influenced my book.
Danger and excitement, oh my! *grin*
Pop by if you have a chance.

Got Garbage?

(this is a repost)

Compost: a combination of decomposed plants and animal materials and other organic materials that are being decomposed largely through aerobic decomposition into a rich black soil.

Ever think your daydreaming might be a waste of time? The procrastination that strikes suddenly and with paralyzing force a loss of opportunity?

Maybe not.

Deb posted a fascinating account of a conference she attended. In it, author Ursula LeGuin spoke about compost, and how it's similar to what happens in our writing lives.
LeGuin is quoted as saying,
"Compost needs silence, darkness, time and patience."

Which ingredient do you find easiest to find? Which is more elusive? Is the soil of your writing garden dry or rich?

Never Say Never

Recently as I was traversing the blogosphere, I came across an author post that stated "Never blah-blah-blah." As in never do such-and-such when you write.

I didn't read the whole thing. I'd read this author's work before and felt that the craft guideline being espoused was too extreme and perhaps breaking it a bit might've benefited this author's work.

So I moved on, knowing that I'll never say never when it comes to my writing.

The reason I'm writing this is because I love to give my opinions on this blog about how to write a great story and to share craft tips but...I'm not perfect.

This is my official disclaimer. *wink*

If you read my book and you're a writer, you'll see places where I employed active voice, kept tension on every page, and used deep pov. On other pages...well, let's just say I'm better at dishing advice than following it sometimes. :-)

Do you worry about people reading your book and being disappointed? What…

Keep'n it Tight, Keep'n it Real

If there's one thing every great book needs, it's tension.

Recently I was reading a book where, although I didn't really like the heroine, I empathized with her and the story even caused me to get some prickly eyelids (you know, the almost-cry?). Imagine my surprise though when fifty pages from the end all the tension suddenly dropped out of the story. The last part of the book was a tying up of plot threads. I almost didn't finish because the sigh-worthy moments had already happened.

So how do we keep a reader turning the pages to the very end?

Tension.

But it's gotta be tight. I happen to think there should be some form of tension on every single page. Whether in the form of dialogue, actions or narrative, there needs to be something that makes the reader say, "oooh, this is going to be interesting" or "uh-oh".

Not only that, but the tension has to be real. It has to be believable. It's possible to create paper-thin conflicts. Imagine te…

If You Like Inspirational Historical Romances...?

I think I'm supposed to get author copies soon. Yay!!

I'm looking for some honest reviews and blog stops. Is there such a thing as a "bad" review? Maybe hurtful ones but most provide a learning experience, in my opinion.

If you like to read inspirational romances or historicals or if you're just curious and would be interested in reviewing my book, I think I can send out about 20 copies. Send me an e-mail at jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo dot com. You can find an excerpt of Love On the Range HERE.

If you'd prefer to have me as a guest poster or over for an interview, let me know. :-)

Also, I'd just like to say that I appreciate all of my blogger friends so much! You guys are wonderfully awesome and are such a part of my writing journey.

So...what do you think about reviews? Have you ever reviewed anything or been a part of a blog tour? Do you think there's such a thing as a bad review?

Adios Estados Unidos, Bienvenidos Costa Rica!

As you read this, I might be soaking up the southern hemisphere rays, or traipsing through an exotic jungle, or eating sushi...nope, I don't eat sushi. :-)

I'm in Costa Rica blogger friends!!! Will be back next week. Have an awesome end of January everyone.

What's the most exotic place you've ever traveled to? The strangest food you've eaten?

(btw, the chocolate in Costa Rica is absolutely delicious)

Same Bait, Different Hook

I used to watch NCIS...until I realized Ziva and DiNozzo weren't going to hook up.

Turns out my real interest lay in the tension between these characters, and when their attraction seemed to take a backseat, so did my attention. I still like the show, but it no longer hooks me.

Sometimes what one person loves in a story is completely different than what someone else loves. Same story, different draws.

This is why it's so important that we have more than one hook in our books. Every plot has more going on than just action, or just romance. My husband's favorite movie is Braveheart. He loves the action. That's his hook. Mine is the lost love, but also the new love with the queen.

What is your fave book of all time? Why? What is it about that story that hooks you? Do you have more than one hook in your WIP?

What I've Been Reading

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I had the privilege of meeting debut author Henry McLaughlin at the 2011 ACFW Conference. He's such a nice, interesting man that I had to pick up his book. I'm glad I did. While there's a romantic thread to this story, ultimately it was the writing and the wonderful Old West feel to the book that grabbed me and kept me. Check out his first line: The crowd was small for a hanging. I definitely recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction.

I really enjoyed this read by Noelle Marchand. This is her first book and she sold it at a super young age (I think 16?). Sometimes category romances get a little formulaic but this one felt very fresh to me with vivid characters and an interesting premise.



If you didn't know it, this book has become popular posthumously. The author, Stieg Larsson, passed shortly after handing in the third manuscript. I enjoyed the writing in the book. It was different than my norm. While the pacing felt off, ultimately I liked the main ch…

Put Your Character in a Box

The irony of characters, in my opinion, is that in order to make them real, we have to make them unreal.

What I mean is, no real person can be put in a box and labeled. But to write a character that stands out, we must give that character overarching qualities (labels, even) in order to make that character real and memorable.

When I was in middle school I went on a retreat and we did an intriguing exercise. On the outside of a paper bag we wrote words that described how others thought of us (or how we feel we appear to others). On the inside of the bag we wrote words to describe how we felt on the inside.

I think this is a great exercise to do with our characters. For example, I'm reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo right now. One main character, Blomkvist, doesn't stand out to me at all. He's okay but he doesn't capture my interest. The other character, though, is Lisbeth Sanders. She's intriguing.

This is how I think the author made her intriguing.

On the out…