Monday, January 25, 2010

Working the Muddle Out of Your Middle

FEBRUARY ONLINE CLASS: Working the Muddle Out of Your Middle
Cheryl St.John
DATE: February 1-28
COST: $25.


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 workshop, WORKING THE MUDDLE OUT OF YOUR MIDDLE, she will offer suggestions on how to focus during this challenging stage of the story. After over thirty published books, she knows each book will be a different challenge and that not 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 thirty-five published books in both contemporary and historical genres, Cheryl St.John has received multiple Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards and three 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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thank Your Mentor Day

Is there someone in your life—a teacher, neighbor, relative, coach, friend, or boss—who has encouraged you, shown you the ropes or helped you develop your skill or craft? What lessons—or words—of lasting value did they impart to you?

January is National Mentoring Month, and today is the annual Thank Your Mentor Day.

Ways to honor your mentor:
     Send a card, email or ecard
     Write a tribute. Post it on your blog, facebook or even here.
     Pass it On. Share the knowledge or skill you've learned with someone just entering your field or with a child who needs tutoring or attention.

When I first started writing, my older brother encouraged me to join Romance Writers of America and my local Heartland Chapter. Thank you, Bruce King, for prodding and pushing. Who knows if I'd ever have done it without you?

Thank you to the late Diane Wicker-Davis, an Avon author who read my very first attempt at a real book and Xed out all those pages with nothing happening. I was devastated for a couple of weeks, but then I pulled myself up with my bootstraps, set to work learning to write to sell, and became a better writer for her critique and encouragement. Diane was a gracious southern lady who is missed by many.

Thank you to Pam Hart, who shared her writing knowledge, tirelessly edited my pages, and even helped me cut 100 pages from Heaven Can Wait in order to sell it. Pam, you are a great teacher and I appreciate you and your friendship.

Thank you, Barbara Andrews, who introduced me to the critique process and encouraged me to write and improve, but also introduced my first glimpses of the business side of the industry. I look back on those days fondly. You set the example of opening your home and creating an environment for writers to establish relationships.

Thank you, Margaret Brownley, one of the first business savvy authors I met and had the good fortune of rooming with at an RT conference when my first book came out. You taught by example how important it was to establish a name and a brand--and this before anyone knew what a brand was--and you shared knowledge, contacts and more than you probably knew at the time, just by being warm and down-to-earth.

There are many others who were important in my journey to publication and a career: Elizabeth Parker, Jani Sena, Rose Seamen, Pam Crooks to name a few.

I also learned invaluable lessons from the editor who bought my first book, and with whom I worked with for the following eleven years. Margaret O'Neill Marbury, now executive editor at HQN, was first to say I had a Hemmingway-ish style--who knew? Through her patient editing and our collaboration, I polished my writing, style and voice. She also completely spoiled me for all my future editors. Thank you, Margaret, for those wonderful years.

Are there particular events or moments in your life that you recall in connection with your mentor? Today is the day to let them know you appreciate them!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just for Today

Nabbed this from Robyn: "Just for Today" was written by Sybyl F. Partridge in 1916 and printed in "How To Stop Worrying, And Start Living" by Dale Carnegie, copyright 1951.

Just for today I will be happy. This assumes what Abraham Lincoln said is true: 'Most folks are about as happy as they make their mind up to be.' Happiness comes from within; it is not a matter of externals.

Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is; not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse or neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.
Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do someone a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two chores I don't want to do, as William James suggests, just for exercise.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, speak diplomatically, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate or improve anyone.
Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will have a program. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests: hurrying and indecision.
Just for today I will have a quiet half hour by myself and relax. In this half hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Particularly, I will be unafraid to be happy; to enjoy what is beautiful; to love; and to believe that those I love, love me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Moon Craving - Lucy Monroe

New Children of the Moon Book from Lucy Monroe

Moon Craving
Feb 2010 - Berkley Sensation
ISBN-13: 978-0425233047
Children of the Moon Book 2

If it were up to him, Talorc—laird of the Sinclair clan and leader of his werewolf pack— would never marry. But when the king orders that Talorc wed an Englishwoman, the lone wolf is shocked to find his mate in the strong-willed Abigail. And after an intensely climactic wedding night, the two fiercely independent souls sense an unbreakable bond…

Deaf since childhood, Abigail hopes to keep her affliction from Talorc as long as possible. And for his part, he has no intention of telling her about being a werewolf. But when Abigail learns that the husband she’s begun to love has deceived her, it will take all of his warrior’s strength—and his wolf’s cunning—to win his wife back. And Talorc will have to face his biggest challenge yet: the vulnerability of a man in love…

Read an Excerpt

Watch the Book Trailer

As a special thank you to readers, Lucy is giving away a prize pack of pamper yourself products and paranormal romance. All you have to do to enter is send an email with Moon Craving Contest in the subject line to moon_craving at yahoo dot com before February 28th, 2010. The drawing will be held March 1st and the winner will be announced on her blog at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cowboy Comes Home by Carrie Alexander

When you owe a man everything, how do you make amends? Meg Lennox isn't sure, but she better figure it out quick now that both she and Rio Carefoot are back in Wyoming. Hard to say that hiring him on her family's ranch will fix abandoning her first love years ago. Especially when her departure kicked off a chain of events that changed Rio's life…permanently.
But the job is a start.

Working together she learns that the best parts of him are still there. How can she not be tempted? So maybe this is their chance to get close enough to try again. Or maybe she's kidding herself.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

planning to retreat

I'll be off to a writer's retreat this coming weekend. The event starts Friday with supper and ends Sunday at noon. I can't wait. It's been a long winter, and even though I'm not exactly heading off to the Carribean, I am going to be sequestered away with 20 other writers for plenty of brainstorming and plotting. By the end of the event, I shall have an entire book plotted.

So for the next few days I'll be pulling together a few vague ideas so I can expand them in the workshops and group sessions. Putting heads together with other writers is one of my favorite things to do.
And obviously, I excel at staying up all night.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Spring is Coming!

Lucky Lou sent me this.

Won't be long now! Spring is on the way. Seeing the deer is a sure sign.
Can't wait!

Cabin fever is rampant in Nebraska

Here's what's happening in my neck of the woods. The kids still haven't gone back to school since Christmas break because of blizzard conditions, winter storm warnings and 20 below temperatures.

Streets are plowed, but there's nowhere for all the snow to go. Parking lots are filled with snow - good luck parking to get groceries - and should you park, I dare you to tackle pushing a grocery cart to your car.

Most businesses can't afford to pay for bobcats to load snow into dump trucks and carry it away, so...

But daughter Kristin works for a snow removal (and lawn care) company and they are smiling all the way to the bank.

Cabin fever is rampant in Nebraska.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Elli is Eight Days Old

Did I mention I got a new camera? Everyone here rolls their eyes at my exuberance. They just don't get it. It's 8 below zero and there's 2 feet of snow of the ground, so it's not like I can photograph flowers or butterflies. But the baby? Well, yes. And food. Uh huh, that too.

Super Librarian Selects The Harvey Girls

If you're building your elibrary, here's a bargain bundle for you to check out. There are two other selections, as well.

Blogger Bundle Volume III: Super Librarian Selects The Harvey Girls

Meet the women who civilized the American West in this bundle hand-picked by Wendy the Super Librarian! Though their pasts may be filled with trials and tribulations, these Harvey Girls still have big dreams of a better life. Falling in love wasn't on the menu, until happily ever after came walking through the door. Bundle includes The Doctor's Wife, The Lawman's Bride, and The Preacher's Daughter by Cheryl St. John.


Wendy said:
Cheryl St.John is my favorite Harlequin Historical author, and her Harvey Girls trilogy is a wonderful illustration of why. In an era before dining cars, weary train passengers relied on Harvey House restaurants to feed them along their journey. They were served by Harvey Girls, young ladies in crisp uniforms who jumped at the chance for adventure, a respectable job and a decent wage. I like to think that St.John’s fictitious Harvey Girls are not all that different from their real-life counterparts. Women who have seen hard times but are determined to make better lives for themselves and their families.

What I especially love about Cheryl St.John’s stories is that while her characters have gone through their personal trials, they never give up. They continue to move forward, put one foot in front of the other and strive toward a better life. It is an amiable quality in any human being, and even better in a romance novel, making the happily-ever-after all the more sweeter for the characters and the readers.
Whether you are already a fan of Cheryl St.John, or a first-time reader, I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.
Happy reading,
Wendy the Super Librarian
Visit Wendy's Super Blog:

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Catherine Anderson: Early Dawn

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Anderson lights up
the Old West with a new tale of love, danger, and redemption...

After breaking off their engagement, Eden Paxton’s fiancĂ© spread enough rumors that she was forced out of San Francisco. Her pride bruised, a heartbroken Eden heads for the wilds of Colorado. But murderous outlaws cut the trip short when they kidnap Eden to sell her across the Mexican border.

Since a gang murdered his wife, Matthew Coulter cannot see a woman mistreated without rescuing her—and taking vengeance. So when he spots Eden with the ruffians, Matthew has little choice but to save her.

As they run for their lives, Eden recognizes a kind heart beneath Matthew’s rugged exterior. But she wonders which will win out: his obsession with revenge—or their growing passion for each other...