Friday, August 30, 2013

Writing Friday: Character Quotes

Lady Aimee Dawson from Swept to Sea
Matthew Emery from Swept to Sea

Hello, everyone!

So, some of you told me that on these weekly writing posts, you would like to hear about my own novel, Swept to Sea.

That's what I'll do today!

Some of my writer friends in the Go Teen Writers group have been doing character quotes using a quote from their character and a photo.

I loved that and did it for my own characters, so I will share the ones I came up with with you all today. :)

Lady Eden Trenton from Swept to Sea

Captain Caspian Archer from Swept to Sea

Lady Ivy Shaw from Swept to Sea

Captain Gage Thompson from Carried Home

What do you think of these quotes? Do you like them?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Music Thursday: Hadley Fraser Is Too Awesome

I love Hadley Fraser. As you can see from the title of this post, you may know that I think he is too awesome.

Because he really is.
I mean, just look at this picture of him in Les Miserables with a mustache.

So, I will be nice and share him singing "Oklahoma" with you.

You're welcome. ;)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bible Verse Wednesday: It Was Very Good

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Broadway Tuesday: For Good

I don't think I have shared this song from Wicked with you yet. Here is "For Good". Enjoy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review Monday: A Bride For All Seasons, Part Two

Last week you may have read my review of the first half of A Bride For All Seasons, which is a wonderful book filled with four novellas written by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Robin Lee Hatcher, and Mary Connealy.

Here's from the back cover of the book on amazon: 

"It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages."

“Autumn’s Angel” by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ­ The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back . . .

“Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?

Okay, here's what I thought of "Autumn's Angel" by Robin Lee Hatcher.
This is another case where the people at the "Hitching Post" magazine have good intentions--of course, they switch letters up again.
Clay specifically asked for a woman with no kids. He wants someone to help him establish his opera house and probably wants more of a business partner than a wife. 
Luvena doesn't exactly have kids of her own--they are her deceased sister's kids. But, nonetheless, they come with her. 
Clay lets Luvena and the kids stay with him until they can sort everything out, and Luvena writes to the people at the Hitching Post, complaining of their misunderstanding. 
However, Luvena and her family grow to love the city they moved to and Luvena helps with the opera house. Clay loves the kids, but isn't confident he can be a good father to them. Can they change their minds and decide the good people at the Hitching Post knew what they were doing?

I loved this.

And, here are my thoughts on "Winter Wedding Bells" by Mary Connealy.

I absolutely loved this. Every single novella in this collection was amazing, but this may have been my favorite.
David isn't really looking for a wife. He is looking for a woman to be a mother to his two young boys when he dies. And he thinks he is going to die within the next year.

Megan is looking for a husband and David's add seems good to her. The nice people at the Hitching Post "forgot" to send her part of David's letter, though. The part that says he is going to die soon.

However, when Megan finds out, she doesn't care. They marry anyway and head back home. Megan notices that David still has life in his eyes and doesn't believe the fancy doctor in Chicago who told him he was done living. 

Megan learns how to care for the ranch and the children just as David wanted as David's pneumonia worsens.  

Will David believe Megan and learn that God is the only One who knows when people will die? 

Wonderful, wonderful story. (with a happy ending!)

What do you think of this series of novellas all tied together by the same mail-order bride catalogue?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks for reading today's post!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bible Verse Sunday: Light

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:3

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Writing...Saturday: Reading as a Writer

Hello! So, I'm sorry I didn't have a post ready for yesterday. I don't know how that happened!

Today we are going to talk about reading (or watching movies!) as a writer.

The more I write, the more I find myself "critiquing" professional writing. I decide I like how an author did this or that and want to incorporate it into my writing or I decide I don't like something.

For example, just yesterday I was reading the first chapter of "The Red Badge of Courage". Now, I've barely read five pages of this, so don't hold me to my word, but I noticed quite a few uses of adverbs and weak verbs.

I also automatically critique movie plots when I see them.

On the other hand, I will read something by an amazing author like MaryLu Tyndall or Mary Connealy or Deeanne Gist, or countless others, and find tidbits I want to incorporate in my own writing.

So, how do I do this?

I don't know.

Really, I don't. All I know is that it comes with practice. the more you read and write, the more you are able to do this. When you ARE a writer, you will think like one, and when you write, you are a writer.

Editing your writing also makes you realize more tidbits in other writing.

What do you think? Have you ever found yourself critiquing a movie or book?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Writing Friday: Coming Tomorrow

So, I thought I had a post scheduled for today WAY in advance.

However, I found out last night that...SUPRISE! I didn't end up writing a post ahead of time. So, alas, it's almost time to go to sleep as I am writing this, and I don't have time to do a real "writing" post for tomorrow.

Instead, I PROMISE I will do a true Writing Friday post tomorrow, on Saturday.

In the meantime, feel free to ask any random questions you have about writing...if you want me to answer them.
Or...comment anything just because you are so bored because you didn't get to read my lovely post today. :)
LOL Have a good day and see you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Music Thursday: Radio

Did you know that Tuesday was National Radio Day? So, I thought it was fitting to share the song "Radio" from Memphis. :)

Isn't Chad Kimball awesome? 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bible Verse Wednesday: Learn From Me

Matthew 11:29-30
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Broadway Tuesday: The Phantom of the Opera

I may have shared this before, but Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite musicals ever. So, here is Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess singing "The Phantom of the Opera" in the 25th Anniversary recording. Enjoy! :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Review Monday: A Bride For All Seasons, Part One

This last week (or so) I've been reading a collection of novellas called "A Bride For All Seasons", written by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher.

This is a bit of a longer book, so I'm going to interview it in halves, two novellas at a time. 

Here's the back cover copy from Amazon (just of the two I'm reviewing today).
"It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

“And then Came Spring” by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.
“An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs."

First off, here's what I thought of "And then Came Spring" by Margaret Brownley. 
It was a great little story that I really enjoyed reading. Mary-Jo arrived in town and waited, and waited, and waited for her husband-to-be to show up. He doesn't. Instead, she ends up barging in on his funeral. 
She decides she must return home, but is deterred by her would-be son--and her brother-in-law. They convince her to stay for at least a while before returning home, and Mary-Jo becomes attached to the young boy and the man who would have been her brother-in-law.

A very nice novella.

Next, here's what I thought of "An Ever After Summer" by Debra Clopton.
I've never read anything by this author before, but I did enjoy reading this. My one small complaint is that the author seemed to really liked her exclamation points. She seemed to use them far too much to the point where they got a little distracting, but that is the only fault I found, and a small one at that. This is about Ellie, who answers a call for a mail-order bride, and turns out to not be what her would-be husband wants. The man at the "Hitching Post" newspaper likes to switch things up and brides and husbands aren't ever quite what the other thought. Matthew marries her, however, because he needs a mother for his baby girl, Sophie. The two end up spending more time together than Matthew planned, and Ellie might become more than just a "hired hand" for cleaning and taking care of the baby.

I enjoyed reading this.

So, there you have it, this is my review of the first half of this lovely book. I can't wait to share the rest. 

What do you think of novellas? Have read or written one before?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bible Verse Sunday: Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 
Proverbs 3:5

Friday, August 16, 2013

Writing Friday: Photos of Characters

Last week you all read my post about how to edit.

Today, I will tell you a little about how I envision my characters (and where I get photos for them) from my soon-to-be published novel, Swept to Sea.

Well, first of all I wanted to acknowledge that I have already done a couple of posts in general about my characters and included pictures, but I want to just share some photos of the whole "cast".

I love Pinterest. And it helps me come up with new story ideas, and photos to fit my stories. You can check out my Pinterest page here to see all of my boards, including ones for my characters and current novels.

Today, I'll be sharing some photos of my characters,and then guide you to some places to find pictures of your own. (if you write!) ;)

First of all, here is Lady Eden Trenton, the heroine of Swept to Sea.

Next, here is my hero, Captain Caspian Archer.
Here is Caspian's son, Reed Archer.

And next, here is Lady Ivy Shaw.
Here is Gage Thompson
Here is Lady Aimee Dawson
And, finally, here is Matthew Emery.
(He would most likely not have a noose around his neck...but this looks like him.)

So, there is my cast of characters. I found most of them on trusty old Pinterest. (By the way, for those of you looking for photos of your own characters, check out this AWESOME Pinterest account that organizes tons of great pictures into categories like "blonde hair" and stuff like that. Super helpful.

Anyway, be sure to also check out my Pinterest board for Swept to Sea, and my Pinterest board for Carried Home.

What did you think of today's post? Do you like to see photos of characters or would you rather imagine them on their own? Do they look like you'd imagine from what you've heard of Swept to Sea already?

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Music Thursday: Anthem from Chess

Okay, guys, today I'm going to share a song from the awesome musical "Chess" with you. Hear is Josh Groban (who, by the way, looks like I imagine Lord Clive Rutger from my very own Swept to Sea) singing "Anthem".

Isn't it a great song?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bible Verse Wednesday: Salvation

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Broadway Tuesday: One Man Disney Movie

Last week I shared Nick Pitera's One Man Phantom of the Opera, and this week I want to share another video of his with you.

No, I know this isn't exactly Broadway, but some of these songs have been on Broadway and I think it's fitting.

Here's a one-man Disney movie starring Nick Pitera.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review Monday: The Winnowing Season

Hello, guys!

Time for a book review.

Okay, just so you guys know, I never read Amish fiction. I just don't. But I got this book to review, so I read it and will review it today.

Here's a little about The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall.

From Amazon:
"The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?
On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.
Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.
Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?"

Here's what I thought:

This book was okay. I don't like to bash books, but this book just wasn't quite my thing. Really, though, if you like Amish books, you may like it. (I have nothing against Amish books, I just don't typically read them myself.)

It had an interesting premise and a kind of love triangle between Rhoda and the King brothers. It was about two Amish families starting a new home in Maine, where no other Amish are, and dealing with their pasts even though they arrived somewhere new.

The characters were interesting as well as the plot. I think if you enjoy this type of book, it will be a good choice for you.
I understand that it's just a matter of tastes, and I decided Amish fiction probably isn't my favorite genre after reading my first Amish book. No offense to the author (who did a wonderful job) or readers who enjoy Amish fiction.

So, what do you think? Have you read any Amish fiction before?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bible Verse Sunday: The Lord Is My Strength

The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Exodus 15:2

Friday, August 9, 2013

Writing Friday: Editing

Hello, everyone! I hope you found last week's post about critiquing helpful.

Today, I am going to talk about editing your own writing.

The order in which you edit depends on the way you write.

You may be a person who plots everything out and writes a nearly perfect first draft. That's not me, but I do know people who do that.

You may be a person who writes your first draft very quickly just to get it all down, and you'll worry about correcting everything later.

I'm somewhere in between those two.

If you're like the first type of writer I mentioned, then your editing process will probably be shorter. If you're like the second type of writer I mentioned, it might take you a couple more drafts to reach a "finished" product.

So, before you actually start the editing process, I recommend setting aside your writing. Wait 2-4 weeks, or longer than that if you can bear it.

Then, when your mind is clear, you can go back to editing.
When editing, you may want to check for typos and grammar errors. Do this first or last, whichever you prefer.
Another thing to edit is content. Avoid usage of "weasel words" which are annoying, useless words you tend to sneak into your writing. Some of my "weasel words" are "that, really, and quite". Look in your own manuscript to find those overuses.

Also, remember the old saying "show, don't tell". Do not simply tell your readers what you are writing; show them instead. It makes for much better writing.

Make sure your writing is efficient. Don't use a ton of words when you don't need to.

Now, you may need to go through more than two drafts. That is normal. Just keep editing until you get to a product you like.

And, there you go, you have edited your manuscript!

By the way, are you wondering HOW to edit? I typically print out my file, put it in a binder, and use red pens and highlighters to edit. I have some friends who write their first draft and type it up, editing as they go. Other people edit completely on their computer. It all depends on how you prefer to do it.

I gave you a very brief summary of editing, so if you have any questions about the subject, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.

Have you done a lot of editing? If you're writing a novel, which draft are you on? How many drafts do you typically write?

If you don't write novels, have you used editing before in things like writing essays for school?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Music Thursday: Not Music But Hilarious

You know, today I had a nice post all planned out with a nice video chosen so you can hear a new song...

And then I changed my plans. Because I saw this video. And it is awesome. AWESOME, I tell you!

Ahem...anyway, my mom showed me this video of a dog, after it was given a bath...and it is perfectly hilarious. Now I will share the awesomeness with you. You are welcome.

Now, wasn't that HILARIOUS??????????


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bible Verse Wednesday: Without Faith

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Broadway Tuesday: Nick Pitera

Okay, guys, today I am going to share something SUPER cool with you.

There's this guy named Nick Pitera, who works at Pixar doing animations.
And he is AWESOME.

He's been doing videos on youtube like "One-Man Disney Movie" and "One-Man Les Miserables".

All of them are great! He has a beautiful voice. Here he is in his "One-Man Phantom of the Opera".

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review Monday: I'm Reading...

Okay, guys, I did not have the time to finish a book to give you a review today. Sorry about that!

I'll tell you what I've been up to instead.
I've been working on pre-edits for my novel, Swept to Sea, and that's given me little time for reading.
Also, I had an interview about playwriting for a group at a local professional theatre.
So, alas, I haven't done a lot of reading.

I wish I'd finished reading a book for you today!

What are you reading today? What's on your to-be-read list?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bible Verse Sunday: Every Word of God

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Proverbs 30:5

Friday, August 2, 2013

Writing Friday: Critiquing

Well, I asked you all in last week's post what you would like to see in my weekly "writing" posts.

The majority of commenters said that you'd like to see both posts filled with tips on writing and also posts highlighting my novel, "Swept to Sea".

So,  for today, I will share some writing tips, and later on in the month I'll talk about "Swept to Sea". Okay? Okay.

As a writer, whether you like it or not, you spend a lot of time critiquing. Critiquing your own work, or others' work, you critique nonetheless.

You may have a critique partner or be a member of a critique circle, or you may just want to self-edit your own writing. First of all, you may ask how you get a critique partner or circle.

I've tried many methods and there are more than the ones I've tried.

You could...

  • Join an online critique circle in your genre 
  • Become a member of an online writers' association like ACFW
  • Join a blogging/ Facebook writer's community like Go Teen Writers
  • Google local writer's groups (perhaps there's one at your local library or bookstore)
And there are probably more that I'm probably forgetting to mention.

So, once you find a critique partner, what do you do?

Settle on an expected time for completing critiques if you're with a partner, or learn the group's rules. You may be able to produce and critique one chapter a week, or one chapter a month even.

Next, decide how much of a critique you want to receive or give. Full critique? Critique on writing style, or story ideas? Or just an extra eye for grammatical and spelling errors?

Then, critique. Give your honest opinion, but be polite about it. Make sure your partner knows you are saying your opinion only, and don't say anything too negative. Writers can take comments on their work very personally. Never say "YOU" when referring to the piece, rather say "this scene" or something of the like. Balance your "negative" comments with some "positive" comments. Nobody likes to hear nothing but negative about their novel.

Also, when receiving a critique, do not get defensive. If you don't like a comment you got, set it aside for a while and come back later. You don't have to agree with everyone. If three or more people comment on the same thing, consider changing it.

Well, that's all I have for today. Do you have any questions about critiquing? Have you critiqued before?Did you enjoy it or dislike it? Next week I'll talk about critiquing your OWN work.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Music Thursday: Postcard From Paris

Ugh its August already, guys! That means I start school soon. :( Waaaaaaaah :(

Anyway, today I thought I'd share with you another Band Perry song.

Here's a good song with a very cute music video, "Postcard From Paris".

I just love The Band Perry's music videos. :)