Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Inspirational Tuesday

I'm back with the Inspirational quote of the week. So sorry I've been away--tending with family. Thank you for continuing to follow.

Act as if it were impossible to fail. - Dorothea Brande, 1893-1948

Writer Stephanie Grace Whitson

Published writer Stephanie Grace Whitson is on Infinite Characters today. Learn to “Dress Your Beds Fashionably.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Growl Bigger than its Bite

My online blogging group is doing some fun things with fiction. Check out my latest story of a first kiss interrupted by an animal. http://infinitecharacters.com/2011/09/09/growl-bigger-than-its-bite/

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reasons for Having Critique Partners

I wrote an article on Reasons for Joining a Critique Group. Go to www.Infinitecharacters.com and see what's new!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I lost my Grandma last Friday to a 14 year battle with cancer. She was very loved and will be missed.
Through My Grandma's Eyes

Through my grandma's eyes she saw the world like no one else,

She saw a person dressed in rags, dirty from life's woes, and she'd hug and feed them.

If she saw a child not in church, no way to learn about God, she'd find room in her car.

A person that didn’t know the Lord, she'd show them the way.

Anyone in pain, she'd wrap them in her arms and say she wished it were her instead.

She'd give her last sweater, gladly, without second thought to someone who was cold.

If I could be half the person my grandma was, I'd see an enemy through loving eyes.

What a world it would be.

Closing my eyes now, letting the tears stream, I imagine her wearing the wings God made for her. She's crying right along with us—not because her life ended, but because we are sad.

I want to remember her as the most beautiful person God blessed us with, even if for a short time. She was the wife, sister, mother, grandmother, friend that we all were so proud to know and definitely loved.

She taught me how to live and she taught me how to die. Just a glimpse through my grandma's eyes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Developing Pace

Check out Infinite Characters on my group's latest blog on developing pace in your novel. I'm Tom & Jerry, what are you? Also, there are some really neat stories about a kiss being interupted by an animal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tantalizing Love Scenes

I just blogged on how to write Tantalizing Love Scenes on my group blog: http://infinitecharacters.com/2011/07/20/tantalizing-love-scenes/. Please check it out if you have time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Group Blog

My wonderful critique group and I started a group blog at www.infinitecharacters.com. I'd love it if you could check it out. Mildred did a great interview with talented writer, K. Dawn Byrd.
K. Dawn will be giving away one gift card for a free download of Mistaken Identity to someone who leaves a comment at the close of this interview before midnight, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Please check back on Thursday, June 23, 2011 for the winning post. The winner must email me within 5 days at mildred@infinitecharacters.com and leave your email address to receive the gift card.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Building your Book Blurb

A group of writers for Writer's Alley came up with a fantastic list of ways to build a book blurb.

While taking in the fabulously seductive smell of books in B&N, I agree, I love to look at the backs of books and see what's I'm in store for me on a lazy Saturday afternoon while the kids play in the backyard and I mingle in the hammock. I need to be brushed away from my busy life, if only for a moment. So, the story is so important. And how do I know about the story? From the blurb on the back of the book. It needs to be fresh and unique. And wow, do I need to be hooked. And nailing the book blurb or “back cover” copy is so important.

"Regardless of whether you draft your logline and surrounding sentences before you begin writing your first word (I recommend drafting at least a rough version of this before you begin writing) of after you’ve typed The End, this step is crucial to get right."

It's like building a home. Here are the materials you'll need:

A strong foundation = a high concept logline
This is you're gotta-read-it hooked sentence. Decision to buy your book or not will hinge on how well you’ve crafted your concept.

Mortar & bricks = compelling characters
It's imperative on how you choose to describe your characters in your back cover copy. "Are we talking Plain Jane and Boring Bob or Intriguing Ida and Captivating Carl?"

Insulation = the current reality surrounding your character(s)

Plumbing = word choice

You don’t want a well written novel, only to have the back blurb be mediocre.

Windows = a glimpse of your voice and writing style
Here's where you give the reader a taste of your writing style.

Electrical = excitement factor or what James Scott Bell calls the “ka-ching” in The Art of War for Writers
Read it to others and see what they think.

Roofing = A hint the reader can trust in the satisfying experience

Let me know what you think.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Inspirational Tuesday

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The
other is as though everything is a miracle.
---Albert Einstein

Poem written by my daughter:
Last Day of School

I love my last day of school,
It is so fun. It is so cool.
I won't have to say bye to my friends.
'Cause in the summer, sleepovers don't end.
I like to go outside to play,
At the very end of May.
We end at the beginning of June.
Both summer and school ends way too soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Inspirational Tuesday

"I'm sitting in the dark right now,
but God is my light...
it's not forever. He's on my side
and is going to get me out of this...
He'll turn on the lights and show me his ways."
~Micah 7:9

Monday, May 23, 2011


My thoughts and prayers go out to those in Joplin. God be with you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Agents looking for Inspirational Fiction

A critique partner from long ago, posted this on her blog. You can find the link to her blog below.

The following literary agencies state on their website that they have at least one agent who represents authors of Christian fiction and/or who has attended a Christian writers’ conference. They may represent secular authors and non-fiction as well, but this list concentrates exclusively on Christian fiction.

The information below is accurate according to information on their websites. The fact that they are on this list does not constitute an endorsement of any kind.

Before you contact any agent, make sure to check their website for their submission guidelines. While I will try to update this list at least yearly, many things can change at an agency between updates. Agents come and go, what each agency is looking for changes regularly, and the status of accepting submissions may change. Make sure you have the most up-to-date information by checking the website before contacting any agency.

Alive Communications
Website: www.alivecom.com/
Agents: Lee Hough, Rick Christian, Joel Kneedler, Andrea Heinecke
Genres: Adult and YA, children’s gift books
Only accepting queries from authors with at least one book commercially published (not self-published) or who are referred by an Alive Communications client.

Andrea Hurst Literary Management
Agent: Judy Mikalonis
Genres: adult and YA

Benrey Literary
Website: www.benreyliterary.com
Agent: Janet Benrey, Ron Benrey
Only accepts brief e-mail queries from unpublished authors, queries and proposals from previously published authors, and queries and proposals from unpublished authors referred by current B-L clients.

The Blythe Daniel Agency
Website: www.theblythdanielagency.com
Agents: Blythe Daniel
Genres: adult fiction, children’s books

Books & Such
Website: www.booksandsuch.biz
Agents: Janet Grant, Wendy Lawson, Etta Wilson, Rachel Zurakowski
Genres: adult fiction (Janet & Wendy), children’s fiction (Etta), YA & 20-30 something (Rachel)

Browne & Miller Literary Associates
Web Site:
http://www.browneandmiller.comAgents: Joanna MacKenzie, Danielle Egan-Miller
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, YA, Women's Fiction, Mystery, General Fiction, teen/chick/mom/lady lit, Women’s Fiction,

Creative Trust Agency
Website: www.creativetrust.com
Agents: Dan Raines, Katie Sulkowski
Genres: not listed on their website
Does not accept unsolicited manuscripts or book proposals from unpublished authors, but will accept unsolicited inquiries from previously published authors.

Daniel Literary Group
Website: www.danielliterarygroup.com
Agent: Greg Daniel
Genres: general fiction, inspirational, suspense/thriller (no Children's, YA, Romance, or Science fiction/Fantasy

D.J. Jacobson & Associates
Website: www.dcjacobson.com
Agents: Don Jacobson, David Van Diest, Jenni Burke, Lauren Yoho
Genres: all types of Christian YA and adult fiction, children’s literature

Donald Maass Literary Agency
Website: www.maassagency.com
Agents: Donald Maass, Jennifer Jackson, Cameron McClure,
Genres: all types of fiction

Dreisbach Literary Management
Agent: Verna Dreisbach
Genres: literary and commercial fiction with a particular fondness for mystery and thrillers

Eames Literary Services
Website: www.eamesliterary.com
Agents: John Eames
Genres: YA and adult fiction

Farris Literary Agency
Website: www.farrisliterary.com
Agents: Mike Farris, Susan Farris
Genres: thrillers, suspense, mysteries, romance, mainstream, action/adventure,
Currently only accepting submissions from referrals and writers conferences.

Foundry Literary + Media
Website: www.foundrymedia.com
Agents: Chris Park
Genres: character-driven fiction

Hartline Literary Agency
Agents: Joyce Hart, Tamela Hancock Murray, Diana Flegal, Terry Burns
Genres: commercial fiction (no children’s)

The Knight Agency
Website: www.knightagency.net/
Agents: Deidre Knight
Genres: specializes in women’s fiction, romance, young adult, literary fiction, mystery, fantasy and science-fiction, as well as multicultural and inspirational/religious fiction

Leslie H. Stobbe Agency
Website: None (should be able to see his guidelines for submission at
www.acfw.com/conference/noguidelines.shtml but the link is currently broken)
Agent: Les Stobbe
Genres: all fiction except sci-fi and fantasy

Literary Management Group
Agent: Bruce Barbour
Genres: fiction (no childrens’ books)

Living Word Literary Agency
Website: http://livingwordliterary.wordpress.com
Agent: Kimberly Shumate
Genres: adult and YA fiction

MacGregor Literary
Website: www.macgregorliterary.com
Agents: Chip MacGregor, Sandra Bishop
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction, General Fiction

Mortimer Literary Agency
Website: www.mortimerliterary.com
Agent: Kelly Mortimer
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Mainstream Fiction, Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, Thrillers/Suspense (without romance), Women’s Fiction, Young Adult
Closed to submissions at this time (check website for the few exceptions listed)
Only signs PRE-PUBLISHED writers (those who have yet to snag a contract with a traditional pub house), or haven’t had a book pubbed within the last three years.

Nappaland Literary Agency
Website: www.literary.nappaland.com
Agents: Mike Nappa, Alex Smart
Genres: suspense, women’s fiction
Currently not accepting any new authors for representation unless they are recommended by a current Nappaland author or editor.

Natasha Kern Literary Agency
Website: www.natashakern.com
Agent: Natasha Kern
Genres: specializes in women's fiction (including inspirational fiction, romantic suspense, contemporary and historical romances, and multicultural fiction) and currently seeking historical novels; contemporary fiction and a broad range of inspirational fiction (including suspense and mysteries, historicals, romance, and contemporary novels

The Seymour Agency
Website: www.theseymouragency.com/
Agent: Mary Sue Seymour
Genres: any type of romance including: historical, contemporary category, contemporary mainstream, suspense, paranormal, regency or inspirational

Spencerhill Associates
Website: unable to find website, but you can find information about this agency at: www.agentquery.com/agent.aspx?agentid=638
Agents: Karen Solem
Genres: Chick Lit, Christian, Commercial Fiction, Women's Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction, Thrillers/Suspense, Multi-Cultural
Not currently accepting unsolicited queries.

Sterling Lord Literistic
Website: www.sll.com
Agents: Claudia Cross
Genres: "books for the CBA marketplace"

Steve Laube Agency
Website: www.stevelaube.com
Agent: Steve Laube
Genres: Christian fiction in all genres

Three Seas Literary Agency
Website: www.threeseaslit.com
Agents: Michelle Grajkowski, Cori Deyoe
Genres: inspirational romance

VanDiest Literary Agency
Agents: David Van Diest, Sarah Van Diest
Genres: "While we mainly handle non-fiction, there are a select group of fiction writers who have a unique [Christian] message which is enhanced because of the format of fiction."

The Waxman Literary Agency
Website: www.waxmanagency.com
Agents: Holly Root
Genres: upmarket and commercial fiction, including women's fiction, mystery, urban fantasy, romance, and YA

William K. Jensen Literary Agency
Website: www.wkjagency.com
Agents: William Jensen
Genres: all fiction except YA and sci-fi/fantasy

Word Serve Literary
Website: www.wordserveliterary.com
Agents: Greg Johnson, Rachelle Gardner, Caleb Seeling
Genres: all fiction

Winters, King and Associates
Website: www.wintersking.com
Agents: Thomas Winters
Genres: specifics not listed on website

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
Website: www.zshliterary.com
Agents: Mary Beth Chappell
Genres: historical fiction, inspirational fiction, Christian fiction, upmarket women's fiction, Southern fiction, cozy mysteries and young adult fiction
Not currently accepting unsolicited submissions of any kind.

Suzanne Hartmann - Suspense with a Twist - http://www.suzanne-hartmann.blogspot.com

Please feel free to share this list with others. All I ask is that you leave my name and contact information at the bottom of the list.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Track your Queries

Have you used http://www.querytracker.com/? If not, you might want it check it out. It's a great tool to use while searching for an agent.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

4 Simple Ways to Kick the Telling Habit

I received and email from Annie Oortman on 4 Simple Ways to Kick the Telling Habit:

Don’t say the Old Lady screamed… bring her on and let her scream.—Mark Twain.

“Show, don’t tell.” That adage has struck fear in many a writer’s heart. But turning “telling” into “showing” is easy if you’re willing to take a critical look at your prose and perform a bit of rewriting.

1. Get Rid of Filters

The easiest way to kick the telling habit is to find filters in your writing. They’re dull phrases of unnecessary realization: He saw, she heard, Sandy realized, Joe noticed, Henry thought, she felt, they listened, he looked, she observed, they anticipated, etc. Stopping to think in the middle of action is like stopping to scratch or blow our noses. Not something your reader needs to be a part of.

He thought of himself as a strong-willed person. (telling)
He was strong-willed. (showing)

She believed Joe had cheated on her. (telling)
Joe had cheated on her. (showing)

The policeman looked like he didn’t believe me. (telling)
The policeman didn’t believe me. (showing)

2. Say Bye-Bye to Expletives

Expletives are it is/was, it has been, there is/was/were, and there has been sentence starters, and they’re so-o-o-o-o telling because (1) their vagueness hurts your ability to show your story and (2) they put emotional distance between the character and the reader.

It was true he was a strong-willed person. (telling)
He was strong-willed. (showing)

It seemed Joe had cheated on her. (telling)
Joe had cheated on her. (showing)

It was pretty evident the policeman didn’t believe me. (telling)
The policemen didn’t believe me. (showing)

3. Eliminate Dialog Tags

Dialog tags are the he saids, she saids that identify a speaker and are telling at its worst. If you’ve written dialog well, you need only an occasional reminder to the reader of who is speaking. You also don’t need to sneak movement or major information into a dialog tag. Make the movement or other information a separate sentence.

“Hi, Joan,” Helen said, her grocery cart coming to rest by a row of fresh produce.
“Hi, yourself,” Joan said, turning to see her old friend.
“What do you plan to do this weekend?” Helen asked, forcing a smile.
“Tom and I are going out on the boat Saturday,” Joan responded in a strained voice.
“Oh, well, if you’re interested, Brad and I are having a cook-out Saturday night about seven,” Helen said with a shrug.
“We’ll see,” Joan laughed nervously. “Thanks.”

Be careful about –ly adverbs like nervously—they tell, too. This conversation doesn’t even make clear whose POV we’re in.

“Hi, Joan.”
A grocery cart bumped into the display of red and yellow peppers. Joan turned to see an old friend her husband didn’t care for.
“Hi yourself!” Joan picked up a pepper rolling on the floor and returned it to the display.
“Have any plans for the weekend?”
“Tom and I are taking the boat out Saturday.”
“Oh, sure.” A shrug. “Well, Brad and I are having friends for a cook-out Saturday night about seven. If you’re interested.”
“We’ll see.” Joan started moving down the aisle. “Thanks.” She couldn’t look back.

4. Eliminate Passive Voice (as much as possible)

Passive voice (a form of “to be” + past participle… was broken, had been eaten, was explained) is one of the most common ways of telling. Writing in passive voice tells the action, which weakens the conflict you’re illustrating.

Miranda was told her husband had been seen with a neighbor lady several times. (telling)

Took a minute for Miranda to absorb the truth. Her husband spent a lot of time with the chick who lived down the street. A lot. She put her coffee down and headed for the work shed. She‘d kill the jerk. (showing)

The crevasse was being skied over by men desperate to avoid the avalanche. (telling)
Desperate to avoid the avalanche, the men skied over the crevasse. (showing)

Brady was tormented by memories of the accident. (telling)
Memories of the accident tormented Brady. (showing)

Something to Think About

"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next." Gilda Radner

Monday, April 18, 2011

Learning to Lean

Mildred Colvin, a talented writer from one of my ACFW critique groups, has recently published her latest book, Learning to Lean, on Amazon. Check it out!
What woman wants the Brady Bunch reruns to take over her life? For that matter, what man wants that kind of responsibility? None, right?

Heather Conway, daycare owner and widowed mother of three, has no extra money and very little faith. Where was God when her husband died, leaving her with no insurance, no income, and facing bankruptcy? Her fourteen-year-old son is getting out of control, she needs something better than their two-bedroom rental to live in, and she just bumped into a man who has her heart beating overtime. If she were sensible, she’d latch onto a childless, wealthy man who could give her the security she craves.

Matt Sanders has just moved to town with his three kids and placed them into Heather’s daycare while he gets his Jack-of-all-trades construction/repair business off the ground. He may appear to be poor, but he has more going for him than meets the eye. His admiration for Heather soon turns into love as their families intertwine through church activities and work on her daycare.
But six kids? Maybe Matt and Heather would be better off as friends. They soon find it’s hard to let go of the security they see and blindly trust God to take care of their tomorrows. Learning to lean on God can take a lifetime or maybe only a lesson in trust.

Learning to Lean is a full-length contemporary sweet romance.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-to-Lean-ebook/dp/B004WKUUIQ/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1303092116&sr=8-9

Please pass this on and support our wonderful writers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This subject is a little different than what I usually blog, but I have to talk about bullying. I have recently finished a YA inspirational fiction about bullying called Bullied to Death.
When Chloe drowns herself in the family pond, four lives drown in the aftermath. Now they must learn how to live without her while their faith hangs in the balance. Chloe's parents separate because blaming each other is easier than trying to love through the pain. Her brother seeks revenge. Sophia, Chloe's best friend, has to find a way to get through high school and defend herself against the same group of bullies. It's a battle of faith and grief. When Chloe's journal surfaces, can God's love see them through the truth?
Bullying needs to end. Period. Now, how can we make it stop? I just watched a series of videos showing several children who have committed suicide over bullying. My prayers go out to these families. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE5yINOn4N4&feature=related

My daughter is also bullied. She and I are close; spending time together and talking every day. Until I started writing this book, I didn't know the extent of it. I soon found out she never confided in me about everything. I asked her to start a journal. This was in March. She started with an entry in January. The bully had kicked her in the stomach! She never told me. Had I not asked her to start this journal, I may never have known.
That's one thing I encourage parents. Have your children write in a journal, especially if you suspect they are being bullied. Luckily, my child allowed me to read her journal so I could place the entries as chapters in my book. But I feel that parents should read their children's journal or diaries. Is it going against privacy? Maybe. However, there are some things parents need to know. Most often, children do not always tell others when they are being bullied.
Why? My daughter says two reasons: she doesn't want to be a tattle-tale, and two, it makes the bullying worse.
In future blogs, I will discuss what I find during my research of this subject. I pray God will work through me to share my findings with you.
Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear what you think. Also, if you have stories to share, I'd love to hear about them too.
If it's not too much to ask, please forward my blog out to others so we can discuss this in a wide range. My hopes for my book is to help others, including parents and bullies, see what bullying can do through the words of their victim. I also pray that my work gives victims out there the knowledge of God and a helping hand. There are options, just suicide shouldn't be one of them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To God be the Glory

I subscribe to a great website called Sermons 4 Kids, and every week I get an email, giving me a sermon. I just love this website as it's so easy to understand and gives lessons me and my kids can discuss. I will start posting these here, on my blog, so I can share them with you, too.

Theme: Glorifying God in every situation. (Fourth Sunday in Lent)

Object: A hymnal

Scripture: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. John 9:1-3 (NIV)

Did you know that Fanny Crosby, the writer who wrote a hymn called "To God Be the Glory," a wonderful hymn of praise to the Lord. As well as "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" tells about how Jesus leads us through the difficult times in our life. Another hymn written by Fanny Crosby is "Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine."

When Fanny was six weeks old, she had an eye infection. Her regular doctor was out of town, and a man posing as a doctor gave her the wrong treatment. Within a few days, she was blind. If that happened to me, I am afraid I would be very bitter and I would probably spend a lifetime feeling sorry for myself. Fanny was never bitter and she never felt sorry for herself. When she was only eight years old, she wrote this poem:

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I can not see.
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't.
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot and I won't!

Instead of being bitter and feeling sorry for herself, Fanny used the gifts that God had given her to write over 8,000 hymns and poems to praise and glorify God.

One day Jesus was walking with his disciples when they passed by a blind man. When they saw him, the disciples asked Jesus who was to blame for the man's blindness. Was it because of his sin or was it because of his parent's sins? Jesus answered them and told them that no one was to blame, he was blind so that God's works could be shown in him. Then Jesus healed the man and the people praised and glorified God for his goodness.

What about Fanny Crosby? God didn't heal her blindness. Perhaps if God had healed her, she might never have written all of those beautiful hymns -- and the world would never have heard of Fanny Crosby. She used the tragedy of her blindness to glorify God. I pray that tragedy will never come into your life, but if it does, remember that everything that happens can be used to praise and glorify God!

Dear Lord, the difficulties in our life seem small when compared to what others may be facing. Help us not to grumble and complain, but to praise and glorify you in every situation. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


Friday, March 25, 2011

How true. My goal is to write a scripture down every Friday--give us something to think about as we head into the weekend. God is good.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Avoiding 8 Mistakes Self-Publishers Make

Well, while I'm writing another novel, thoughts about self-publishing have come to mind. I found an article by Peter Bowerman called 8 Mistakes Self-Publishers Make And How to Avoid Them! I found this article very helpful and I copied some of the main points below.

Mistake #1. You wrote an unnecessary book (this is especially true for non-fiction), but when writing the book you need to make sure there's a market for it.

Mistake # 2. You have a bad book cover - you may want to hire a graphic artist, and not one from your printer place

Mistake # 3. Your title is lame - pretty self-explanatory

Mistake # 4. You didn’t hire an editor and a proofreader - it's extremely important to find someone to look over your book that isn't related to you.

Mistake # 5. You think small (Part One) - don't just celebrate any validation (getting minor publicity) you deserve to be there.

Mistake # 6. You promote the old-fashioned way - Go through the Internet and target your audience and promote, promote, promote.

Mistake # 7. You think small (Part Two) - Sending out a few dozen review copies isn't enough. Think big and send out 350-400 copies (just an example.) 

Mistake # 8. You forgot that you have just ONE job - you may want to hire someone to help you promote.
Here's the website, http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/2009/05/8-mistakes-self-publishers-make-and-how-to-avoid-them-guest-article-by-peter-bowerman/ if you want to check it out. Plus, aboutfreelancingwriting.com is a great place to find freelance writing jobs.
Let me know what you think and if you are self-published.