Archive for ‘Writing’

December 14th, 2013

Win a Kindle Paperwhite and Other Cool Prizes!

I hope everyone is having an awesome December. Mine has been really especially awesome. The Santa Society recently won the 2013 Mistletoe Romance Contest thru Bookstore Without Borders and Storyfinds. It’s been really exciting. The prize was money (yay!) and advertising promotion (also a big yay!) which has been spectacular! Sara (BWB) and Renee (StoryFinds), you both have been such a pleasure to meet.

As Christmas draws closer, it’s a great time to snuggle up with some cocoa and a Christmas book. Let me suggest: The Santa Society by me :) It’s still only 99 cents. And to all of you who have taken the time to leave your reviews, thank you <3

I decided I wanted to do something fun to celebrate the great things that happened with the book since it’s release in October, and to say thanks to my readers, the awesome contest sponsors, and my amazing friends. So I’m giving away a Kindle Paperwhite. Second place winner receives a signed paperback copy of the Santa Society, an awesome Christmas music CD by Mike Humrichouse (So classy and perfect for a party), and an 8 oz. bag of whole bean Starbucks Christmas Blend Coffee. Whew. I’m excited :) Entry is pretty simple. Using the form below it will walk you through it. More entries gives you more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 31st, 2013

Bread Pudding Recipe with Caramel Sauce

blog bread pudding 2
National Novel Writing Month starts TOMORROW! Are you in? Are you ready? Have you stocked up your pantry with coffee and plenty of add-water meals? Are you scared? Are your characters all lined up for roll call?

First a few updates. A. L. Phillips won the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! I realized I posted this everywhere but here, so in case you didn’t see it, now you have :) Second, both of my books, The Santa Society and Outrunning Josephine Finch are on sale for 99 cents!

Now back to NaNoWriMo. Yesterday, I met with my writer’s group and we had a blast as always. We did some brainstorming, including the novel I will be working on this month, had great conversation, and indulged in some homemade bread pudding topped with vanilla ice cream. Yum 😉

So I am here to share a secret with you. Strong coffee, NaNoWriMo, and bread pudding form the triangle of Creativity, inside of which great feats of creative achievement are accomplished. Here’s the perfect recipe to get you going. The sauce is so awesome you’ll want to use it as an ice cream topping or flavoring for your coffee. 

I found the original recipe on .The ingredients are the same except I have added cinnamon for obvious reasons…because who doesn’t love cinnamon?

Old Fashioned Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

7 cups of white bread, cubed

1/2 cup golden raising

1/2 cup melted butter

4 whole eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups half and half

2 cups whole milk

Sauce:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

Bread Pudding:

Place bread in a greased 9 x 13 glass pan and sprinkle with raisins. Drizzle (not mix) butter over the bread and raisins. In a separate dish, combine all other ingredients and whisk. Pour over the bread and raisins. Mash down the bread to saturate. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55minutes. Check at 40 minutes.

Caramel Sauce:

Melt butter in a saucepan and add sugar. Whisk until melted then add remaining ingredients, saving vanilla for last. Remove from heat and let cool just enough to serve.

NOTE: Please put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pudding then drizzle the caramel sauce over all of it. Trust me.

The countdown for NaNo is on……

October 23rd, 2013

#1 Free Holiday Romance On Kindle

So, I got up this morning expecting to find yesterday’s thrill ride up the bestseller’s ranks to have petered out. I might even have bawled shed a tear in my coffee. Right? I expected this because I am Little Miss Don’t Count The Chickens:) But I am so excited to see that The Santa Society promotion is doing even better today. In fact it made it to #1 in free holiday romance and best of all: #47 in the overall free Kindle Store. YAY!!!! You guys are the BOMB 😛

Can we make it to number one in the whole free Kindle store??? If you haven’t got your copy yet, you still can through tomorrow! Click the link below to get it now :)

And because I really am this much of a nerd, here is my snapshot:Number 1 List Holiday Romance

 

 

September 19th, 2013

I’m Starting a New Genre: Clean Fiction

I’ve been thinking about this thing for a while. Since this morning, actually. You’ll either think I’m brilliant, or you’ll brand me a heretic. Either way, here goes. There should be a new genre, a stepchild to the Christian market, and it should be called: Clean Fiction. If we can make that happen, people, that’s where I’ll be.

Because I’ve noticed a divided camp on what authors and readers think Christian fiction should be, and I know there is a multitude of people out there who don’t read it because they have some preconceived notions about what it is—like maybe it’s just 300-400 pages of conversion-oriented evangelism dressed up like a story. Or it’s filled with perfect Christian characters…doing what?

*crickets chirping*

Right.

Because that just doesn’t sound very interesting. I’m not a proponent of perfect. In fact, I think that intentionally cultivating a perfect image alienates people from Christianity. You might say it even borders on irresponsibility. And people get this idea of Christianity from somewhere, even it is not always completely accurate.

So where does such an inane idea come from? Maybe because there are so many topics that are considered unacceptable for publication in the Christian market because they are too dark, too racy, and so on and so forth. Those stories end up in the general fiction market where they may be too clean.

So I think it’s time for a new genre—one where characters are allowed to say “crap” or “that sucks” or maybe they drink a glass of wine or get caught up in something unseemly that they have to conquer—and when they get really, really super mad, maybe they let a (mild) curse word fly, or maybe they don’t. But at least it’s honest and it’s real.

These kinds of books are out there. People just need to find them. Google “clean fiction” and you’ll see what I mean.

And I think more people would publish as Christian if it weren’t for the paradoxical risk of Christian criticism where something is always too Christian or not Christian enough. In the end, meaningful fiction can touch people’s lives without feeling “religious.”

And readers should be able to find books they can feel safe with–where they can trust they are not going to stumble into a graphic sex scene after they just gave a copy of that same book to their teenage daughter or Christian coworker.

And that, my friends, is my big thought for the day.

February 22nd, 2013

Dear Diary, How do I Write More?

I’ve been so crazy-busy with projects, I’ve fallen a little behind on posting. So I thought tonight I’d share the single best thing I ever did for my writing. Except for my writer’s group, of course, because that one’s pretty far up there on my list.

Ready? (Drum roll please) It’s…journaling. Yep, journaling. That’s the first big secretive tip I have to share tonight. But wait, it’s not a diary. It’s not your grandma’s rundown of what everyone did today.

Here’s some background. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but when I really think about it, it took on it’s (almost) present form in the nineties. All my journaling actually helped me as a writer, just so long as I didn’t do it instead of writing fiction…which is what I did for way too long. And that’s another story.

So a light bulb went off when I drew the connection between that and my fiction writing. I’m here to tell you that sitting down to journal at least several pages (front and back) or more every morning trained me to let my thoughts flow onto paper. Twenty years of flowing and I finally spilled out some novels. Too bad it took me so long to realize how similar fiction flowing and journal flowing really are. You just go with it.

Even better, I can plot in my journal for a bit when I’m in the middle of a novel, before I start that day’s scenes. I always say I don’t outline, but I guess I do somewhat–loosely that is. I just do it in my journal day by day before I sit down to work. The journal habit taught me to take anything I need to sort through, think about or plan and do it through writing. Which is why it’s so helpful to increase word counts in fiction. And then I don’t refer to it ever again (more on that at the end of this post).

So I felt like a mad scientist. It thrilled me to discover I had not wasted all those years of lovely journals. I even felt pretty darn smart for realizing this connection. Then, I remembered a little book I read in the early nineties, called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She called this “morning pages” and said it trained you to turn off the internal censor. You just keep going, whatever comes in your head. Okay, so it maybe it wasn’t totally my discovery after after all. I did this for so long, I’d forgotten it wasn’t even my idea. I did it like Julia said.

Well, so help me, it works.

The memories came flooding back. Suddenly I remembered that book was the reason I went from occasional diary writing about things that upset me, to daily writing about whatever crazy thought came in my head. I learned it from her, didn’t I? Pretty cool. Thanks, Julia.

Too bad, I did it in place of my art for so long. It became an integral part of who I am. Because I am a writer. I always was. And I know it gave me practice with letting thoughts flow onto the page, whatever they are. Even if they aren’t perfect. Similar to brainstorming, really. I guess I’m sort of a twenty-year case study.

Now, it’s true that I already liked to use journals. But this fondness took a distinct turn around the same time I read that book. I can now remember trying to follow her advice and just let it flow. I had a lot of trouble. Apparently, I totally overcame that if all these boxes of journals are any proof.

So if you struggle with letting your words spill out rapidly onto the page. Practice Julia Cameron’s morning page idea. You might just develop a new healthy writing habit to go with all that caffeine. You might even start to really “own” it, like I did, to the point you’ll forget all about this blog post and the book I just told you about. I hope you do. I hope you’ll get as much out of journaling as I have.

I can’t remember what the book recommends, but here’s what I do. First thing with my coffee, I write in the journal–anything that pops in my head so that I don’t pause. Pretty soon you won’t even have think about not pausing…you just won’t.

Once you’ve gotten to that point, translate that immediately to your other writing. Don’t become self indulgent like I did and turn into a journal-aholic, forsaking the muse.

If you have no clue what to do with your next fiction scene, try sitting down and going with the first thing that pops in your head–like in your journal. Better yet, journal about it first.

And here’s a bit of trivia about me and the real BIG secret of this post: In the last few years, I changed my handwriting for my journaling for the purpose of privacy and speed. I don’t even pick the pen up from the page between words. I just keep going. Which means I write even faster in it than I used to. . Weird, right? So, yeah…I’ve got this secret handwriting now that even I can’t read. No censoring. At all. This one was completely my idea, of course, because I’m THAT crazy.

It felt strange to do this at first, I admit. But soon I elongated the cursive letters into it’s own crazy looking non-readable thing. I still feels like writing–just now it’s writing on Nitro. And it helped me even more than just regular old word-space-word journal writing.

Definitely helps to turn off that internal censor.