Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NEW ONLINE CLASS: Working the Muddle Out of Your Middle

NEW ONLINE CLASS: Working the Muddle Out of Your Middle
DATE: October 20 – November 14
COST: $30.
REGISTRATION VIA PAYPAL: http://cheryl-stjohn-workshop.blogspot.com/

It happens to everyone at some time or another--that muddle when you reach the middle of a book. Ever lost energy and drive? Ever thought you didn't have enough story? Ever panicked because you had too much story? Most of us know what it's like to stall out, but there are steps you can take to keep your story moving forward.

Every writer needs to know that just because a certain scene or chapter or book is difficult to write, your talent has not deserted you. There are techniques that will carry you across that difficult stretch more effectively.

In Cheryl St.John's four week workshop, WORKING THE MUDDLE OUT OF YOUR MIDDLE, she will offer suggestions on how to focus during this challenging stage of the story. Having written and published over fifty books, she knows each book will be a different challenge that no one solution will always help. She'll show you how to come against destructive self-doubt. Returning to the first love of what excited you about the story is a big part of moving forward, and she will share exercises on how to jump start your creativity. Writers who've taken this workshop come away with fresh ideas and inspiration.

Topics addressed:

* frustration and lack of confidence
* defining the middle
* intuition and first love
* plot points
* tension
* focus


Among her achievements, which include over fifty published books in both contemporary and historical genres, Cheryl St.John has received multiple Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards and four RITA nominations. In describing her stories of second chances and redemption, readers and reviewers use words like, “emotional punch, hometown feel, core values, believable characters and real life situations.” She has taught writing on local and national levels, and is in demand as a motivational speaker.

The class will be conducted via subscription to a private yahoogroup. Two lessons per week, after which you're encouraged to post questions. Most lessons will include a brief exercise pertaining to the participant’s current work in progress. Entire archived class will be available for one week after the ending date.

“I had never taken an online class, and I was honored to participate in one dealing with removing the muddle from the middle. I was a bit of a pessimist at first, wondering how it could help me, but ladies and gents, let me say that if you spend $30 to take a course with Ms. St. John you'll walk away having learned things you hadn't even considered. I was stalled on my current WIP, and her class provided me with ideas to motivate my muse. So, I'm eager to apply the suggestions and instruction to my new works, not only to help me keep writing, but to improve my style.”        
         ~  Ginger Simpson, author

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rose Zediker: Keeping All the Balls in the Air

Merriam Webster’s definition of a writer is: A person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc.. This is a true a statement except Mr. Webster left out one very important detail. So I’m revising his definition.

A writer is a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, and can juggle.

Yes, you read that correctly. A writer needs to learn to juggle. Of course, I don’t mean oranges, balls or even chain saws. I mean writing, meeting deadlines, completing art sheets, handling revisions, appearing at book signings and maintaining an online presence. Sometimes while working a full or part-time job, many times simultaneously, and always while life happens.

If you‘re not yet a published author whose found a tried and true system for keeping all the balls in air, I have a suggestion for you. Create self-imposed multiple deadlines and take them seriously.

What I mean by multiple deadlines is not write one thousand words a day or thirty-thousand words in a month. Your self-imposed deadlines need to be simultaneous because that is how multiple deadlines and juggling works.

Start out slow with multiple simultaneous deadlines. Try one week.

Here’s your first ball. Set a word count goal of a 1000 words a day. That’s a pretty standard goal which you should have no problem completing.

Get ready to catch your second ball. Create a sheet with pictures that depict your characters and your stories setting. Be choosey. Copy and paste just the right people to portray your characters and just the right house or town square where your story is set.

That’s a nice balance with one ball in each hand, but that’s not juggling. So here’s another ball. Describe three romantic scenes in less than one hundred words that would make a good cover for your book.

Are you keeping your eyes on the balls in the air? Great. You’re going to make that goal. Wait a minute though here come some more balls you didn’t expect. A parent/teacher conference, overtime at the day job, a sick child or spouse. Are you’re balls still in the air? Did you drop any? Were the balls you dropped, the first, second, and third?

I hope not. If you did, set the same goal the following week. Keep doing this until you complete all the goals and manage to take care of the ‘extra’ activities thrown into your juggling routine then you will fit the definition of a writer at the top of this page.

Published authors don’t face multiple simultaneous deadlines every month, but they do happen. That is why it’s imperative for unpublished authors to practice their juggling routine prior to publication. Once you get used to multiple simultaneous deadlines, they don’t seem daunting at all and you’ll always be able to keep all your balls in the air!


Rose Ross Zediker was juggling three publisher deadlines and two self-imposed deadlines when she wrote this blog post from her home in rural South Dakota. She writes for Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line of inspirational romance novels. During the two decades she’s been writing, her byline’s been found on over sixty-six works of fiction, non-fiction, and Sunday school curriculum. Rose works full time at the University of South Dakota and enjoys sewing, quilting, embroidery, reading and spoiling her granddaughters. Visit Rose at www.roserosszediker.blogspot.com


Sweet on the Cowgirl:

Laura Barnes Wants to Be a Cowgirl 
Laura has always dreamed of being a trick rider in her family's Wild West show. But her father will only allow her to perform if she disguises herself as Mr. Buckskin Jones. When soda-pop king Guy Roberts shows up to do business with her family, Laura is torn between keeping her identity under wraps and revealing her growing feelings for Guy.

Guy is drawn to Laura's poise and beauty, but he, too, guards a secret. As their affection for each other grows, Guy begins to think about a future that includes Laura. When both their secrets suddenly come to light, their romance will face the ultimate showdown.

Rose is giving away a copy of SWEET ON THE COWGIRL to one lucky winner who LEAVES A COMMENT HERE on this blog post. Simply comment to be entered in the drawing.

Monday, August 04, 2014

loving Twitter this morning

a tweet about WDConference

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Secondary characters must be credible too

They should portray someone who could be your grandmother, the old man next door, an old teacher or a neighbor, in other words, real people, people you would like to know or personalities that remind you of someone.

This goes for physical attributes, too. If the heroine thinks of herself as exquisite and beautiful, she’s probably not someone we’d like to be friends with. Besides, those are usually point of view issues. A person doesn’t look in the mirror and think of her own feet as tiny or that her lips are shaped like rosebuds. More likely, like Stephanie Plum, she looks in the mirror and thinks her hair looks like a Brillo pad. Let the other characters do the observations while you’re in their heads.

The most efficient way to write a walk-on character is to use stereotypes, because the reader already has an impression. This, of course, depends on the length of your story and the importance of the character.

Friday, June 13, 2014

on vacation

A friend in my chapter posted she was on vacation at Lake Okaboji. I replied I wished I was on vacation with her. She sent me this photo in an email, and it was captioned, "You are on vacation with me!"

I heart my friends, and I am constantly amazed to see my book showing up in people's pictures. I might have to hold a little contest or something....thinking.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Monday, June 02, 2014

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss

Thank you to my wonderful guests who made May a fabulous month of JOY! It was a busy month, filled with graduations and activities, but these incredible authors made time to spread JOY.

Sherri Shackelford
Janet Justiss
Sparkle Abbey
Victoria Bylin
Nan Reinhardt
Ruth Logan Herne
Holly Hacobs
Audra Harders
Ann Lethbridge
Magdalina Scott
Barbara Monajem
Liz Flaherty
Linda Broday
Carolin Fyffe
Winnie Griggs
Tanya Hanson
Tina Radcliffe
Mary Connealy


If you missed any of their blogs, you will want to go back and read them. It's worth it.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

One of the Most Joyful Moments of My Life: Mary Connealy

I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published. When I did get my first contract I had twenty finished books on my computer at home. I had just enough encouragement through those ten long years to keep me going.

I was a stay-at-home mom when I started but during those years my children grew up and I got a job working forty hours a week, teaching GED.

Somewhere in about the third year of my writing, I send a manuscript into Silhouette

Romance and they requested a full manuscript. From the time I sent the three chapters in, then their request for a whole manuscript, then finally their rejection, it took a full year. So I’m starting to see just how slow the publishing world is. I sent that book in as a result of placing third in a writer’s contest and I did pretty well in them. I learned a lot from the critiques. Also when I’d final, I got judged by editors and agents.

There came a time when I expected to final in any contest I entered. The two years before I got published I was a finalist in eleven contests with five different books. And all the while I’m entering these contests, I kept writing.

I discovered ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and entered my manuscript Petticoat Ranch in their unpublished contest. I was a double finalist in 2004, another book of mine, Montana Rose, was in the running, too. (Montana Rose releases in July).

I won The Genesis Theme contest and got a lot of requests to send in my book. I also got a really simple request from historical fiction author, Cathy Marie Hake. She asked me to send her my first three chapters.

Cathy read what I sent her and said she thought I was ‘ready’. By this time, I had so many rejections I had a hide like a rhino, so submitting work didn’t even phase me. Okay, well maybe I crawled under my computer desk and sucked my thumb for a day or two every time I got one but other than that I was fine.

Just before the next year’s conference, Cathy Marie Hake told me she wanted to pitch my name to write a book as part of a three book series set in historical Alaska.

Every year at the conference the acquiring editor for Heartsong Presents gives a contract to an unpublished author. I was so hopeful! I knew there was a chance it could be me. The Heartsong editor, Tracie Peterson, said someone else’s name, so okay, I’ve been rejected before. I kind of expect it.

And then she said, “And this year we’re giving two contracts to first time authors. We’re offering a contract to Mary Connealy.” I get chills saying that! It was a wonderful, thrilling shocking joyful moment.

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I had to go up and get the contract, in front of 350 other writers, all clapping. A great, great moment in my life.

And this month my 30th and 31st books release and it all started with that one joyful moment.

Tina Cahill, newly arrived from the East, is determined to get the saloon in Broken Wheel, Texas, closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention.

Vince Yates earned the nickname "Invincible Vince" because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. Not his tyrant of a father. Nor the injuries he suffered in the Civil War. Nor the fact that he is Broken Wheel's only attorney and sheriff yet has no law degree.

But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn't know he had show up in Broken Wheel without warning. His father is still a schemer. His mother is suffering signs of dementia. And his surprise sister immediately falls for one of Vince's best friends.

Vince has a lot of people to take care of, and Tina doesn't approve of how he's handling any of them. But with almost all the other men in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with feisty Tina over and over again.

Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he's ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he's got one more surprise coming his way: Tina's picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.

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Four best-­selling romance novelists bring tales of feisty heroines, stubborn heroes, and
unlikely love in the Wild West. Get lost in Four Weddings & a Kiss today.

"Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy

Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.

"Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher

Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He's resolved to change Molly's mind about him--as an editor and as a man.

"A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton

Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie's mind?

"Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley

Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive--or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case--until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. She is the author of Swept Away and Fired up, Book #1 & #2 in the Trouble in Texas series, book #3 Stuck Together is coming June 2014. And the Wild at Heart series begins in September with book #1 Tried & True.

A novella collection called Four Weddings and a Kiss is also releasing in June.

Mary is also in the author of the bestselling Kincaid Bride series, Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie's Daughters Trilogy and many other books. Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters, two spectacular grandchildren, and one on the way.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Joy is Strength: Tina Radcliffe

A lot of people think of joy like frosting on a cupcake, a sweet but temporary, frothy emotion. But I’ve learned that’s anything but the truth.
I was reminded in a recent devotion that if I diagram the sentence in Nehemiah 8:10, removing ‘of the Lord’ I would see the reality.
Joy and strength are interchangeable.

Now, for some personal history on how I discovered the strength to be found in joy.

About two years ago, I was dealing with a situation that stole my joy. This was a situation I couldn’t hide from, but faced each and every day. During personal prayer time the Lord instructed me in his still small voice to start a journal. Every single day I was to write at least one thing I was thankful for. 

Each day as the thankfulness grew, discouragement fled and my joy returned. Joy took over and battled against the situation for me.

Fifteen months later, joy overcame the situation and it is now in the past! The solution was nothing I could have dreamed up. And the truth is that the situation wasn’t simply defeated; I came out on the other side in BETTER shape in all areas of my life. Areas that had nothing to do with the situation were positively enhanced. Wow. Now that’s a testimony even I didn’t think I would share.

If your joy is gone your strength is too. No strength = no power to do battle for you and the Kingdom.

Begin one day at a time to lift your voice until your strength returns! Use those joy muscles.

Tina Radcliffe writes joyful and humorous romance for Love Inspired. Her next release Stranded with the Rancher is available for preorder, or find it at your favorite online or real-time book retailer in early September.


A collection of seventeen poignant and romantic short stories guaranteed to make you smile, laugh and remember your first love.

Fans of short romantic fiction will enjoy these 800 to 1200 word heart warmers. Many first appeared in Woman’s World Magazine.