First Line Friday

Pick up a book near you. Type the first line in the comments, along with the title of the book and the author.

The book I’m featuring this weeks is The Measure of Katie Calloway, written by Serena Miller.

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“A drop of rain seeped through the sodden roof of the Georgia cabin where Katie Calloway lay.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you would like to see what it’s about, just click on the title of the book above.

Now place your first line in the comments and then check out some more bloggers who participate in First Line Friday. Just click on the link below.

 

First Line Friday

I know it’s late in the day, but I’m going to try to start featuring a “First Line Friday” each week. Let’s see how consistent I’ll be. I hope you will participate. Just pick up the book nearest you and type the first sentence in the book in the comments below.

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First sentences are essential. They pull you, the reader, into the story. I just finished reading Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake. I’ve read many of her books and have enjoyed them all. But since I just finished that particular book, here is the first sentence from that novel. “Exactly how much damage can one tiny fish bone do?” Sound’s interesting, doesn’t it? Why is she asking the question? What is it that may get damaged? So you find yourself reading the next sentence and then the next. And that’s good story writing.

In case you’re interested in knowing what this book is about, I’ll give you a quick book review. The time period is 1859. Ruth is sweet and a bit quirky. She is not typical and, therefore, has been pushed aside and labeled a misfit. She grew up in Missouri, but journey’s west to meet her father, who she has never met before. When she arrives, she is understandably shocked to find out her father had passed away a while ago. His business partner, Josh McCain, now owns the ranch, but it seems he may have to share ownership of the ranch with Ruth. The side characters are great. The book is a bit suspenseful. The romance develops in a believable and endearing manner. Josh is a man of integrity. He would rather do the right thing than choose an easier route. This was the second time I read this book and I enjoyed it all over again.

Now it’s your turn. Even if you are reading this blog and it’s no longer Friday, go ahead and answer the question anyway. What is the first line in the book you are currently reading?

You Can’t Bask In Yesterday’s Glory

The thing about writing is this, you can’t bask in yesterday’s glory. As soon as you complete one book, you must begin the next. And as a writer, this is not a bad thing, since I lovefullsizeoutput_1bd7 what I do. I’m always writing in my head anyway, I may as well put it down on paper. But lets face it, it’s easier to think up a story than it is to actually write it.

For years, to help myself go to sleep at night, I have made up stories in my head. It would help me not to think about the problems that I was facing or plans for the next day. These things could wait until morning. I would pray about them, leave them with God, and instead of needless worrying, I would distract myself by making up a story, falling to sleep in the middle of it, and then picking up where I left off the next night. Sometimes I’d work on the same story for months because I’d fall asleep before I had gotten very far. Of course, there were times the story was so captivating, I found myself fighting sleep because I wanted to finally finish it. Since I was a pre-teen, I’ve made up these bedtime stories in my head. I wish I could remember them all, but, alas, it isn’t so.

For much of my life, only traditional publishing existed, and it was extremely difficult to find a publishing company that would even want to look at your manuscript. However, self-published books are all around us now, so I decided to take the plunge and finally write out an entire story. I had no idea of all it would entail. I didn’t even read much about writing before I started. I simply started writing in one of my favorite genres and I attempted to write the type of book I enjoy reading. As I was doing so, I realized I had to research to make the story more realistic. So I researched as I continued writing. Each time I encountered a problem, I Googled for a solution and found it. It’s amazing how we have all the answers at our fingertips now. Then I edited and edited and edited before sending it off to be edited by others. I had a few people read it and give me their input before I published my first novel. Thankfully, anyone can publish a book today and there are even free publishers like Kindle and Create Space that make it easy for new writers to get their books out to the public.

Once your book is out there and people like it, they begin to ask you when the next one will be published. The pressure is on and, if you want to make a career of writing, it will always be on your mind. While you are writing one book, you are already deciding which character you might use for the next book in your series. While you’re promoting your last book(s), you are researching, choosing character names, background, personalities, scene, etc., and when you finish with all of that, the writing process begins all over again.

I heard a helpful YouTube this week with Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn as she interviewed Michaelbrent Collings on the topic How To Write Faster And Never Get Writer’s Block. What stood out to me was the fact that Michaelbrent Collings said, “I go in and begin to start typing and I don’t stop for eight or nine hours. And sometimes I write total crap, but that’s what the delete key is for. But even with writing the total crap, I learn how to write better the next day.” He goes on to explain that writing becomes your life. Everything you experience, watch, observe, hear, or read can potentially help you when you sit down to write. BUT…he works on writing EVERY DAY!

And that’s the KEY to writing. And I’m not there yet. I’m doing so much better, but I can do much better still. With my lifestyle, I doubt I’ll ever be able to write 8 to 9 hours a day, but I’ve read other successful writers who disciplined themselves to write one hour each day. They may not publish as many books at Michaelbrent Collings does each year, but they will continue to publish books on a regular basis.

My first novel, Reluctant to Wed, has been published and is getting great reviews. As I’m basking in the glory of this moment, my fingers are on the the keyboard pounding out the next novel in this series. It’s what I must do. It’s what I love. I’m a writer.

Do you write every day? What time of day is your best writing time? Are you an early bird or a night owl? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Paperback Has Been Released!!

Reluctant To Wed is now available on Paperback and Kindle! Order your copy here.

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Emma, an American, and Devon, the Earl of Devonport, are strangers compelled to wed by the machinations of family members. To keep her family from losing their farm, Emma agrees to an arranged marriage. Devon understands his obligation to his title and to his father. He has no choice but to take Emma as his wife. While her heart longs to be loved, his longs for freedom. When they meet, sparks fly. Each must make an effort to understand the other. Faith in God gives Emma hope when the path to love is not an easy one.

If you enjoyed the book, please leave a review here or on Amazon. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Reviews

Reluctant to Wed has received great reviews on Amazon. I’m so tickled about it! Here are some of them:

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~ Love this book! I read it every spare moment I had until finished. I felt like I was watching a PBS miniseries as the story unfold before my eyes in full color. I felt an immediate connection with the characters. Some of them were worthy of great love, well others stirred deep emotions of another type. The book definitely spoke of a love that goes deeper than physical attraction. There were threads of faithfulness, forgiveness, and redemption that flowed through the pages of Reluctant To Wed. Great read! Buy it you won’t be disappointed.

~ The story line and characters in this book leaped off the page and carried me along in a gripping tale. I felt I was right there in the English countryside cheering on the characters and wishing I could smack a couple of them. Hurry! Get this book!

~ I enjoyed the story, the characters and the writing. I could not put it down once I began reading. I will be looking forward to more from this author.

For your copy, just click Reluctant to Wed (Arranged Marriage Series).

What I Learned From Writing My First Novel

Every writer blogs about writing, sharing all sorts of information pertaining to the entire process. Since I’m a newbie in the world of writers, I wondered what I could possibly say that hasn’t already been written at least a thousand times by authors who are more eloquent than I could ever hope to be. So I decided to share my personal experience in the process of writing my first novel.

When I started fullsizeoutput_19bbmy first draft, I only knew I wanted to tell a story. In reading blogs and books about writing, I discovered that most authors encourage writers to create an outline before starting the first draft. Did I heed that advice? No.

The other advice I had read was that the first draft should simply be written off the top of your head and don’t worry about editing any part of it. Just write it. It will be awful, but just keep writing. Get the story down on paper or on your computer screen. Did I do that? Yes. I wrote furiously
for months and months…and months. However, after over a year of writing, I dearly wished I had created an outline. It was hard to remember what I had written at the beginning of my draft. I think an outline would have kept me organized and on track. When I realized my mistake, I tried writing an outline over half-way through my first draft, but it was too little, too late. I still felt confused. I think this may have made my writing process a lot longer than it needed to be.

Once I finally completed my first draft, I began to fine tune it. This part was fun. The story began to take shape, and it looked and sounded like a real novel. The thesaurus became my second-best friend. It helped me find words to develop vivid imagery. My first-best friend was Google. It helped me with researching character names, scenery, history, locations, and any question that arose in the process of novel writing. (I’m currently learning how to use Pinterest to help with the research of my next book. Perhaps I’ll share about that in another post.)

While working on the third draft of my book, I read that most authors will read through their work at least eight times before publishing it. I was shocked! Eight times, really? After reading through my work for the fourth time, I sent it off to my editor and proofreaders. I gave it to them with excitement and trepidation. Would they like my work? Did I even have potential as a writer or was I just a dreamer? I tried to prepare myself not to be defensive and unwilling to accept constructive criticism, but I also hoped they wouldn’t find much to criticize in my work. Ha!

I have to say that the critique and revisions from my editor and proofreaders, as well as the words of encouragement, helped immensely. They were good suggestions. Their fresh eyes helped me see things in a new light. After that entire process, I re-read my work again…for the fifth time, or was it the sixth? It was hard to keep count at this point. You just do what you have to do until it feels right. I sent it to my proofreaders for a final look and received those revisions back. After, I corrected a few typographical errors, etc., I was ready to read through my book for the sixth or seventh time.

Looking ahead, I  realize that once I have my book formatted for printing and ebook publishing, I will need to read through the work again to make sure it formatted correctly. I believe that will bring me up to the eighth read-through of my novel. It seems these experienced writers — who are way ahead of me — really do know what they’re talking about.

I’m truly grateful for all the bloggers who are giving advice and sharing their personal experiences about writing, editing, publishing, and promoting. I’ve gained greater knowledge and understanding about the craft of writing from these experts, as well as from those who, like me, are starting out and simply sharing thoughts about their journey. The adventure of writing has stretched me further than I ever imagined and broadened my scope of knowledge of history, geography, vocabulary, etc. It’s been a great journey so far and I’m looking forward to starting the process all over again with my next novel, but this time I’ll start with an outline before beginning my first draft.

Book Recommendation

Whenever I read for entertainment, I want something that will make me chuckle but also have some depth to it. Basically, I want something similar to my life, but a guaranteed happy ending. Entertainment shouldn’t make me cry tears of sadness for too long, and especially not at the end. That’s just my opinion, of course. If I should ever have a need to cry, there are plenty of true stories I can read. But if I’m going to read a fiction, then let it have a happy ending. And if the writer can cause me to laugh and shed a gentle tear in the process of reading the pages of their novel, all the better. Emotions are part of life, but a happy ending is what fictions are made for. I want to feel good when I get to the end of the book.

Having said all that, I wonder if you’ve ever read a regency novel by Kristi Ann Hunter? I was doing a search for Christian historical fiction authors and came across this writer. After reading her description about herself on her website, I decided to read one of her books. She had humor and even sarcasm in her bio, and I wanted to see if her books are as entertaining as she is. The book pictured above is the one I purchased and I was not disappointed.  Funny thing is, when I looked through my Kindle library, I saw that I already owned another one of her books. I liked that one too. However, let me tell you about this one since it’s only $1.99 on Kindle currently. If you click on the book above, it will take you to Amazon so you can purchase your copy while it’s on sale. This is what it’s about:

Trent and Adelaide are forced to marry after finding themselves in a compromising situation. Trent’s dream was to have a love match like his parents. Unfortunately, as a gentleman, those dreams had to die in order to save Adelaide’s reputation. But being willing to marry her is not the same as truly accepting her as his wife.

Adelaide has virtually no experience of life in London society. She’d been left in the country while her mother focused all her attention and resources on bringing out her beautiful, older daughter. Even after the older daughter marries, Adelaide continues to be left in the country. So when Trent takes Adelaide to London following their wedding, she has much to learn about what is expected of her and how to be a wife.

I enjoyed both main characters. The book was often hard to put down because I was curious to see how this marriage would succeed. Adelaide is a sweet and patient young lady. I found it fascinating to see this couple work at getting to know each other while letting go of old dreams. By trusting God, we always find He uses unpleasant situations in our lives to work out His purposes for us.