Thursday, June 27, 2013

Good News in many ways

Good morning to all. My last blog was a little depressing. For those of you who know me personally, you know that is not me. I don't get down or worried. I try to stay upbeat no matter what is going on around me. In fact, some of my friends call me Pollyanna. Well the sunshine is up on the horizon.

Scott (my husband for you new readers) had 3 doctor appointments in 2 days. The first removed skin cancer from his face again. This time it was on the side of his face near the temple. The good news is they got it all and Doc said its the kind of skin cancer, if you get skin cancer, you want it to be. Not bad at all. They looked at the scar from the removal of the skin cancer that had been next to his nose and said it healed nicely. (surgery a few months back). The next good news came yesterday. He saw both his oncologist and his pulmonary doctor. The symptoms he's been experiencing that mirrored the symptoms from three years ago -- they do not believe the cancer is back. Although X-rays showed them the possibility was there which planted the fear in all of our heads a month ago, after doing a CT scan last week, they believe the earlier X-ray that lead them to run the CT scan was showing the pneumonia coming on...remember he was in the hospital for 4 days with antibiotics being pumped into his body. NO CANCER WAS FOUND! You can't beat that. He goes back in 1 month, so they can keep a close eye on his lungs. Thanks for all of the prayers. We appreciated them.

More good news -- My middle child, Molly, who is pregnant with her 3rd child is getting ready for delivery. Eli (the baby) has gotten in position and has dropped. She doesn't believe he'll be holding out to July 21 (Scott's birthday), but that's okay. Eli is big, strong, and healthy...and it looks like he's ready to pop out any day.

Last week I took a trip to Virginia to visit a writer friend of mine. We met years ago before either of us were published...but both with a burning desire to see our works in print. Today we are living the dream within us. Life as a writer. It was a great visit. We saw a little history and met up with some of her newer writer friends at a place called -- The Mudhouse Coffee House. It was pretty cool. The five of us sat around with our laptops open, chatting, sipping brew, and writing at the same time. I actually managed to finish one chapter and write a few pages in the next chapter. We had a great time.

A great idea hit me while my friend, Elaine Grant, and I were sitting out on the upstairs porch talking writing. I had just finished reading her latest book--the first in a series--and she was telling me about the plans for book 2 and book 3 of the series. I said I need to interview you for my blog. So I did. I'm going to copy and paste it below. Check it out.


I’d like to welcome – Elaine Grant, a fellow author, and an amazing writer … I knew this the first day I read a manuscript she had been writing. Her words flowed beautifully, painting a picture in your mind. Her characters are well developed and bring the story to life. Join me as I ask her a few questions. You won’t be sorry.

1.     What type of books do you write, Elaine?

I write contemporary romance, suspense, paranormal and historical, all of which contain a love story.

2.     Do you enjoy writing?

I do enjoy writing though like any occupation, it has its ups and downs, frustrating times as well as joy filled moments.  Holding a book and knowing it is my own unique creation is always a thrill.

3.     How many of your books have been published? And how many of them are still available?

I have five published books.  Make Believe Mom, An Ideal Father, and No Hero Like Him are published by Harlequin.  All are still available in ebook format at Amazon.  My last two from Mountain Writer Publishing, Roses for Chloe and The Caverns are available on Kindle in ebook format as well as trade paperback from Amazon.

4.     What is the name of your latest novel you’ve had published? Tell us about it…

The Caverns is my latest.  Seventeen years after leaving his small hometown of
Cumberland Cove, Tennessee to serve a prison term for the death of a high school friend, Cade Youngblood returns to bury his beloved uncle.  Still the pariah of the village, he enlists the aid of his former high school sweetheart, now a Cumberland Cove police officer, to help him clear his name.  But some folks don't forgive or forget and at least one is willing to kill to protect a dark secret. 

The kernel of this idea came to me while visiting Tuckaleechee Caverns near Townsend Tennessee.  And yes, some of the action takes place in "The Caverns."
I just received word that The Caverns is a finalist in the Tampa Bay Area RWA 2013 TARA Contest.

5.     Congratulations!! Where can we find your novel? And is it available for our electronic readers?

The three books from Harlequin are available for all e-readers at Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Kobo, etc.  Roses for Chloe and The Caverns are only available for Kindle at this point, although they may become more widely distributed at a later date.

6.  Will there be a sequel to The Caverns?

Yes, The Valley is the next in The Tennessee Mountain Home Series, and should be available in the Fall.  The Mountain, the third book in the series, is slated for a Christmas release.

7.    Can you tell us a little about these next books coming out?

The Valley and The Mountain will continue the lives of Scottie, Cade, Trish, Nick and the other characters of Cumberland Cove as well as introducing more people as time goes by.


I’ll let you all in on a little secret. I’ve read The Caverns and it was fantastic…a great page-turner.  You won’t want to put it down. There is one thing I need to say, there are a couple of curse words in the novel…but I found I skipped right past those few words. You can too, cause I promise, you don’t want to miss this read. (I only point this out because those of you who read my blog know I write in the Inspirational line of fiction and normally that is the line I choose to read. But there are a few authors who write such compelling works, that I read them too -- and Elaine Grant is one of them.)

I hope those of you who love mystery, suspense, and even thrillers, make sure you get The Caverns. You won’t regret it. 

You can go to my website and look under my recommendations of other authors to read, or go straight to hers

Take care and have a blessed day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Time Ticks On!

Hello everyone. It's been a while since I have posted on my blog...sorry. A lot has happened this past week. The good thing is, no matter how bad or sad it may be, I know God will get me through it all. And in some of it, I hope He uses me to share the hope in Him.

By now, I'm sure all of you know my husband Scott who is a survivor of lung cancer -- caused by Agent Orange that he was affected by when marching and aiding soldiers in Viet Nam. He was a medic. Anyway, some of the same symptoms he had felt before, started coming back on him. When they took his last chest x-ray, his lung doctor and his oncologist saw something and they said it could be the cancer coming back. He was set up for a CT Scan to determine what it was. Before that appointment could happen he got an horrific case of pneumonia that put him in the hospital for a week. The doctor who treated him for his pneumonia also saw what the others doctors had seen and she too thought it might be the cancer back. When he came home from the hospital, his body was bone tired and of course all the information given him while in the hospital didn't help his emotional state. His CT Scan was done yesterday. He is feeling stronger each day although he is still coughing and coughing up some blood. Sunday during church he felt something in his chest. I asked him if he was alright and he nodded. Then yesterday, Monday, he told me he believed God healed his lung Sunday in church. Praise the Lord!

The week my husband was in the hospital, a friend of mine's husband (he too was a friend) got sick and God took him home to be with Him. Sad to say, we don't understand how God decides these things. Erick's body was sick and maybe God took him home so he wouldn't have to suffer things that would come later. We wonder as believers, why didn't God just heal Erick. I know his kids and wife would have loved to have him hear longer. It's sad, so sad...for his family, for his friends. We feel the loss so strongly, but we have to know God did what was best. Rena, we love you. We miss Erick too.

We also have a sad situation in my family, that I won't share in print...but know this too will pass. God will never leave nor forsake we just continue to walk in faith in Him and know that our later will be greater than our past. So this sad situation we all shall put behind us and be here for the family member who needs us. Greater days are ahead!!

To put a smile back on your face -- we've been watching the growth of my new grandson, Elijah, mature in my daughter Molly's belly. Eli is giving her fits!! He is making his way to join the world soon. In fact his due date is July 21 - Paw-pa's birthday. We're not sure he's going to wait that long.

As a writer, I want to update you on my latest. The third book in The Samantha Cain series went in to my publisher, Oak Tara Publishing. My editor read The Truth Revealed and loved it. So its in the stages of being made ready for release. I don't have a date yet, but as soon as I do I will let you know. In the mean time, I'm working on a romance. Hopefully it will be ready for release before the end of the year. We'll see.

For you writers I have two things I'd like to share with you. Berries, Bridges, & Books Conference is coming up July 13th. I'll attach a copy of the registration for those who live in the area and wish to attend. Their conferences are always informative as well as fun. Sorry, it won't let me attach here. Email me at and I will email a copy to you. That I've done, so I know it works.

Another thing for you fellow writers, I just went through an on-line class that Sylvia Rochester gave in RWA called take out the trash. I took notes cause I thought she did such an awesome job and all of us need help editing our manuscripts, taking out the things that shouldn't be there. I thought I'd share my notes with you. Her teaching was fantastic, just like her books. Go check her out at This is her website. She is a writer and a painter -- great in both!!

my notes:

Clean-up Manuscript

Words that clutter:

sort of
in spite of  
for a moment

More often, the sentence would read better without the above words. TRY REMOVING IT.

Words that are redundant:

back - He turned back… He turned…
She eased back into her chair, letting out a sigh that hissed exasperation.
up (when the direction is obvious) - He jumped up onto the porch. Better: He jumped onto the porch.
down (when the direction is obvious) - He looked down at this feet. Better: He looked at his feet.  …no grass trampled down. Better: no trampled grass.

Redundancy in Punctuation:

“Help!” she screamed. Omit she screamed. The exclamation mark indicates the word was said with ferocity.
I won’t go into grammatical mistakes except to touch on the misuse of the comma. I find the rules change at the discretion of the editors. My advice? Give them the correct punctuation. Let them decided to accept it or not.
If a sentence has two independent clauses (i.e. each clause has a subject and verb) and is separated by a conjunction, put a comma before the conjunction. Example: Mary hit Sam, and Sam cried all the way home.
If a sentence has one independent clause and one dependent clause (no subject), do not use a comma. Example: Mary hit Sam and ran away all the way home.

Define indefinite words:

Name the object. Who are they? Quantify some, many and few.
If you mention an animal, don’t refer to the creature as a cat, dog, horse, etc. Give the specific breed, sex, color, etc.
If you mention a car, give the make, model, color, etc.
If you mention time, define the duration--ten minutes or whatever.

Check your adjectives? (Are they bland? Why? Choose adjectives that will play on the senses and add sparkle to the text.)
Cold – How cold? Icy, bone-chilling, numbing, frosty, artic.
Hot – How hot? Blistering, broiling, sizzling, scalding.
Rough – sandpaper, loose gravel, beard stubble
Odor or fragrance – Again, give me some examples. (fresh flowers – even name the flowers; stench of garbage; freshly baked bread)
Sometimes the use of a metaphor will give the reader an even better sense of description. (Like a belch from the briny deep, the sun’s rays scorched the garden’s tender sprouts.)

Show don’t tell:
What a character is experiencing—You can do that by giving the reader a vibrant description about a particular instance. Substitute robust, concrete adjectives, throw in a few metaphors, and the reader becomes an active participant in that particular scene--feeling, seeing, tasting, smelling what the character is experiencing.
Don’t worry if what you’re trying to show happened in the past. Indicate a scene break. Present the scene you wish to recall as though it’s happening now. When you finish, return the reader to the present by indicating another scene break. The reader will follow with no problem. You will not only show not tell, you’ll have kept the text active.

Choose your verbs wisely:
Do you tend to use the same words over and over? BORING! If I may use a cliche, variety is the spice of life. Check for those words that occur frequently throughout the manuscript and substitute another similar word.
Walked – try strode, ambled, sauntered, strolled, shuffled, staggered, etc.
Ran – jogged, scurried, scampered, hurried, dashed, rushed, loped, etc.
Cry – whimpered, sobbed, sniveled, bawled, wailed, blubbered, howled, etc.
Smile – beam, grin, smirk, leer

Did I hear someone say adverb? (modifier of verb or adjective)
I look at adverbs this way—too many rocks sink a boat. I prefer to throw my rock overboard in lieu of better cargo.

Tightening the manuscript further:
Check for words such as felt, knew, figured, and heard. Omit these words by explaining how the character felt and what he heard or saw. You don’t need to indicate a character looked at someone before speaking. That’s assumed. However, if the character looked away, this might indicate the character’s receptiveness.
Search for these words: began, started, knew, realized seemed, appeared. You don’t need these words to introduce an action.
She knew John lied. Better to say: John lied. POV tells us she knew.
She started to cross the room. Better to say: She crossed the room
She knew he hated her. Better to say: He hated her.

 Are you using the correct word?
Spell check only checks for spelling, not usage. Here are a few examples. When in doubt, check the dictionary.
Then vs. Than – Then refers to time. Than means rather.
Affect vs. Effect – Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun.
Its vs. It’s – Its refers to an entity. It’s is the contraction of it and is.
Stationary vs. stationery – Stationary means immobile. Stationery is writing material.
Diner vs. dinner – Diner is a restaurant or a person who eats. Dinner is a meal.
Further vs. farther – Further means to a greater extent. Farther means actual distance.
Altar vs. alter – Altar refers to a raised structure in a church. Alter means to change.

Passive voice:
Eliminate passive voice whenever possible. Do a search for any form of the verb to be. If the subject is acted upon, the sentence is passive. One way to remedy the situation is to let the object do the action. Remember, the use of was or were does not always make a sentence passive.
Examples: Joe was hit by the ball. (Passive-the subject received the action.)  The ball hit Joe. (Active-the subject did the action.) Joe was hitting the ball. (Active-the subject (Joe) did the action…was hitting is the verb.

What Else To Look For

White space – make sure you don’t have lengthy segments of narrative. Dialog helps to keep up the pacing. Perhaps you give more description than is needed.
Do your chapters end with a hook? What about the opening line(s). Did you have a smooth transition?
Did the scene(s) move the story forward?
Don’t divulge everything about a character, only what is necessary.
Is the dialog natural?
Too many tags? Not enough? Search for said. See if you can eliminate the tag.
Vary your sentence structure.
Are you consistent with the characters’ physical descriptions. Blue eyes can’t turn brown in a later scene.
Do the stakes increase as the story progresses?
Make sure your twists and surprises are plausible. You have to have a reason to drop a dead body from the ceiling, and the character better be someone pertinent to the story.

I enjoyed talking to you again. Remember, no matter how tough life gets, you can get through it all leaning on The Lord! He will never leave you nor forsake you...and that's a great thing to know.