Where in the World Did That Story Come From? with Dena Netherton

With the release of the second in The Hunted Series, we welcome back Dena Netherton to Thyme for Writers as she shares how she gets her ideas for her stories, her characters, and her settings!

When I tell people I’m a writer, many of them ask me, “How do you get your ideas for your stories?”

The first couple of times I was asked this, I had to think about it for a minute or two. Because ideas come from everywhere: shopping excursions, movies, books, the news, people-watching, travel.

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The Hunted Series by Dena Netherton

For example, one of my most awful bad guys, Dade Colton, in the Hunting Haven three-part series, came to my mind as a conglomerate of several villains from real life, and some from horror movies I’ve watched and found particularly scary. Dade’s creepy, toothy grin whenever he is threatening Haven is something I saw a horror movie villain do to his victims. Now, wouldn’t you expect a villain to snarl and frown whenever he’s doing something bad? The smile makes me shudder, because it shows Dade’s lack of conscience, and even enjoyment while terrorizing Haven.

How about book settings? What makes you decide where to place your story?
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Fear, A Foe To Be Conquered by Dena Netherton, author of Haven’s Flight

The ideas for the settings of my books come mostly from my travels. Some place sparks my imagination, either because of the town itself, its shops and museums and institutions. Sometimes, when I travel, I’ll see or overhear a fascinating person in a Starbucks or restaurant, or see him or her walking down the sidewalk, and it makes my brain begin to generate ideas. Or sometimes the scenery and the weather moves me and makes my brain begin to pop out scenarios.

But how did you come up with the idea for the Misty Mountain Retreat Center where Haven hides from Dade?

That idea came from real life. After I graduated from high school, I worked for a summer as a camp counselor at a Christian camp and retreat center in the California coastal redwood forests outside Santa Cruz. As a young woman, working with other young men and women, there was, inevitably, romantic drama. Those months in the mountains gave me fodder for stories later on.

A couple of years ago—and after I’d already written Haven’s Hope—I spent the week at a lovely Christian retreat in the Pacific Northwest, and found, to my surprise that the real-life place was incredibly similar to my fictional Misty Mountain Retreat.

What about the tall, handsome, and brilliant Dr. Petter Eriksen?

Haven’s romantic hero, Dr. Petter Eriksen, is a blend of several wonderful and godly men I have known in school and in my professional world. Making Petter Norwegian was purely a selfish decision. I’m proud of my Scandinavian heritage and wanted to pay tribute to my ancestors and their plucky resolve to immigrate in the early 20th century to America to build a better life for themselves and their children. Thank you, Oluv and Sigrid, my sweet, heart-working grandparents. I miss you!

Now that you know a bit about my process of writing, I hope you’ll read on to find out more about Haven’s Hope, which released on Feb. 6th, 2018.

Haven’s Hope: Feel the fear—Savor the romance
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Haven’s Hope by Dena Netherton

HAVEN’S HOPE gives one woman’s answer to the question…
Does God still love me even when bad things happen?
Is good really more powerful than evil?
How can I be freed from guilt?

Beautiful and talented Haven Ellingsen is about to discover that evil doesn’t take a holiday. Haven has escaped the man who relentlessly hunted her in the Cascade Mountains. But when an old friend form her dangerous past shows up unexpectedly to warn her that Dade Colton is determined to re-capture her, Haven makes the only safe decision: to go into hiding once more. But where? Who can she trust? If only she could tell someone about her tragic secret. But Dade’s threat to kill any one who helps her might put that person’s life in jeopardy, too.

Dr. Petter Eriksen saves lives every day at Mercy Hospital Emergency Department. Driven by guilt after the accidental death of his little sister, he can’t believe in a good God. But when a beautiful and mysterious young woman moves into the cabin on his uncle’s Christian Retreat, Petter wonders if her love and simple faith have the power to shatter the barrier he has erected around his heart. And can he save her from a madman?
Sometimes you hide; sometimes you stand and fight.

 

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Fear, A Foe To Be Conquered by Dena Netherton

About the author:
Dena Netherton has always loved the thrill of suspense-filled movies and books. One day it dawned on her, she could actually put down on paper her own action-packed stories and life-threatened characters that had been knocking around inside her head for decades.

When she’s not writing, Dena loves to play piano and guitar, read good books, spend time with people, and hike the Cascade Mountains.
Dena is active in her church as a worship leader, leader in Women’s Ministries, and director of a women’s prayer ministry. She also volunteers at a Crisis Pregnancy Clinic. Dena and her husband live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Find out more about Dena’s books through her website and newsletter: denanetherton.me.

Buy links:

Amazon.com:
Haven’s Hope

Social media links:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/dena.netherton

Twitter: @denanetherton1

Goodreads: https://goodreads.com/dena_netherton

Thyme For Writers: Spicing Up a Book Launch with Candee Fick

We welcome back Candee Fick to Thyme for Writers with Spicing Up a  Book Launch!

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Thyme For Writers: Spicing Up a Book Launch with Candee Fick

As a writer seeking publication, there are a few dates that will stand out in your memory almost as much as the day you got married or when your children were born. There’s the day you got “the call” that you were being offered a contract. Then there’s the first day you hold that advanced reader copy in your hands and smell the ink (don’t pretend you didn’t!) And then there’s launch day…

A typical book launch revolves around spreading the word. “Hey, I’ve got a new book coming out and you should buy it.” (Which I do. And yes, you should. But that’s not the point of this post…) Authors roll up their sleeves, create memes and other graphics, schedule guest blog posts, email their list, plan a party, get some prizes, set up a few giveaways, and maybe even buy a few ads on Facebook to gain visibility.

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Marketing

Which is all good stuff to do as you generate buzz for your new book. After all, marketing experts say it takes seven exposures to your message before someone will act.

However, with the hundreds of books coming out this year and all those authors doing the same pre-launch tactics, how do you make your book stand out above the crowd? How do you attract a reader’s attention long enough for them to take those second, third, sixth, and seventh looks so you can make the sale?

It’s “thyme” to spice up your book launch with a theme that somehow ties into your book (or at least into the season). Perhaps the best way to make this point is with a few examples to spark your own creativity.

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Football

For my debut novel with a college football setting, I planned a virtual tailgate party to “kickoff” the book. During the event, we discussed topics like tailgating food, uniforms, mascots, and marching bands to capture the favor of a college football program. I also used words like pre-game, halftime, fourth quarter, and overtime in some of my marketing language.

My second novel was set in a dinner theater so, like in real show business, I encouraged folks to buy their “tickets” to Opening Day with a countdown until the curtain would rise. Backstage tours, glimpses at the costuming, plus lots of videos to capture the music and rhythm of dancing feet all helped pull readers into the story world and pique their interest.

One friend’s book was set around a fashion consignment store in Hollywood. Her online launch party held a “red carpet” theme where she actually introduced each character as if they were arriving to the party and even described what they were wearing.

In addition to finding inspiration from the book’s setting, you can also plan to build buzz around the title. To launch her book, Charming the Troublemaker, another friend had a bunch of fellow writers at a conference pose for pictures holding a Snicker’s candy bar with the word “troublemaker” on it. During the countdown to launch, she posted those pictures on Facebook and asked people to vote whether that particular person was sweet, salty, or both. Weekly votes narrowed the field until there was one winner of the troublemaker title…and everyone remembered the name of her book (or at least part of it!).

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Focus on Love by Candee Fick

While brainstorming plans for my next release on Tuesday, I too found inspiration in the title, Focus On Love, along with the fact that both main characters in the book are photographers. In January, when everyone was focused on new resolutions and a word for the year, I blogged about that theme. But once the calendar turned to February and Valentine’s Day approached, everyone had “love” on the brain. That’s when I started a photo contest and asked people to share pictures of love in action or things that they love with the hashtag #FocusOnLove. (Winner gets an autographed book and a Shutterfly gift card…because it’s photography. The contest ends on the 17th so there’s still plenty of time to participate!)

It’s too soon to tell if I’ve made my launch unique enough to be memorable, but I certainly have done my best to make my book stand out from the rest.

What about you? How can you spice up your next book launch? Is there a unique element or feature in your book that would get readers interested long enough to take another look at your story? Maybe it’s the setting. Or a career /profession. A family recipe or historical tie-in. Is there a holiday to celebrate like Christmas? How can you weave that into the graphics, prizes, party plans, and even headlines?

P.S. In case you wanted to know more about Focus On Love, you can pre-order it here. In addition to the photo contest mentioned above, you can also enter to win autographed copies of all three of my novels as well as another Shutterfly gift card here.

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Author Candee Fick

BIO: Candee Fick is a multi-published author in both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job, writing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Find all of her books on Amazon here or sign up to receive email updates and get the first chapters of her novels for free. You can also find her online at www.CandeeFick.com.

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Focus on Love by Candee Fick

BOOK BLURB: Free-spirited Elizabeth Foster turned her back on her father’s photography business to pursue musical theater, but with a one-show contract, she’s a few weeks from unemployment forcing her home. Meanwhile sought-after photographer Ryan Callahan has put his career on hold to help his sister’s family while her husband is deployed, but the promise of a bigger assignment could lure him away from building a family of his own. If given the choice, what dreams would develop? Or will they learn to focus on love instead?

Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists – OH MY!

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Pink Roses

Wedding planners and vendors lists create a fertile ground for weeds and more weeds… . What about that garden of beautiful flowers? The last article looked at whether the date made a difference, and the answer was a resounding YES. I felt good about securing the church and the Music Room at the Stanley, and thought the rest would be smooth sailing — NOT. Because of the date, the church and reception locations were available, but because of the date, the rest would not be as smooth.

Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists

Unbeknownst to me, most places have their own wedding planners and vendor lists that work with the bride or her wedding planner (in this case, moi). Easy peasy, right? Ahhhh, not necessarily so. Being a wedding planner for a church or popular reception location is not an easy job (I’m sure some of you either have personal experience with a bridezilla or seen popular bridezilla movies). As such, the wedding planner you start with may not be the wedding planner you end up with and lots can happen in the interim.

For the Church
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Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists — The Church

In our case, the wedding planner for the church left half way through the planning. Fortunately, what we agreed to I had memorialized in writing, but there were a number of things she needed approval for and thought she could get because of her experience, and then she was gone… . I was left with a delightful person who knew absolutely nothing about weddings and all those other items that the experienced planner was sure she could get (like lighting up the white lights on the Christmas tree in the church), was not available.

For the Reception
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Wedding Planners & Vendor Lists

For the Stanley, I was quite happy with the wedding planner assigned to me, but then a few months before the wedding she contacted me to let me know that she was taking a new job in Hawaii as an event planner. My thoughts … here I go again. Fortunately, they assigned me another great wedding planner, but there were still gaps that needed to be filled since she not only jumped in toward the end with me, but she was assigned at least half of the former planner’s weddings.

Then There’s that Preferred Vendor List:
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • D.J.’s
  • Bakers
  • Florists
  • Salons
  • Piano Players
  • Etc.

Go through it carefully, as I did, since it may or may not be updated. On the list I received, most were in business, but some were not. What I realized was that if you use the word “wedding” in any request for quotes for a wedding, you received a quote that was significantly higher than what you would otherwise receive. More on that in the next article … .

What have you found with Preferred Vendor Lists?

Chocolate: Are You a Cacao or Cocoa Writer? by Kathryn Ross

Welcome back Kathryn Ross to Thyme for Writers! Chocolate: Are You a Cacao or Cocoa Writer? is Kathryn’s next article in her series, The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words.

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Series—The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
Chocolate: Are You a Cacao or Cocoa Writer?
By Kathryn Ross

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Chocolate is sweet
And super-good for you!

February winter chills warm when lovers celebrate Valentine’s Day with time-honored flair. Romantic dinners, handcrafted card exchanges, flower deliveries, and close to 60 million pounds of chocolate candy consumed on Valentine’s Day, mark the traditions of this holiday, sharing expressions of love.

Chocolate

The glory of a heart-shaped box of chocolates may tickle your taste-buds with luscious flavors, but the cost to your body in cocoa-calories and sugar content has little real health benefits or love for your body in the aftermath. Chocolate is delicious and satisfying to enjoy—but, if overindulged, extra pounds on the scale and sugar-related maladies will require editing.

Cocoa verses Cacao

Why, then, do doctors claim that chocolate has health benefits? Don’t be deceived—not all chocolate is created equal. Cacao is the raw seed from the pod of an evergreen tree grown in South America and West Africa. It possesses a host of health benefits. But, the process used to create cocoa—the type of chocolate that is commonly found in candies and desserts—includes the application of high heat to raw cacao. Minimal nutritional benefits remain, and are further negated with the addition of sugar, oils, or milk fat. Here’s a terrific article to further explain this confusion regarding chocolate.

Only dark chocolate with cacao amounts of 70% and above affect the body for wellness. Quality dark chocolate is less sweet and still adds calories. However, its nutritional value in the areas of anti-oxidants, cardio wellness, brain function, cholesterol control, blood pressure regulation, and more, suggest that cacao chocolate makes it beneficial for daily consumption. A very small square, savored slowly after dinner, will do the job. It won’t satisfy like a typical milk chocolate bar, which feeds disease rather than fights it. Those sinfully delicious candies nestled in a Valentine box are predominately sugar and very addictive. You can’t eat just one! Cacao chocolate is slightly bitter to taste and very rich. You won’t be able to eat a lot of it at one time, forcing you to savor it in your mouth longer. Eating cacao chocolate cannot be rushed.

Are You a Cacao or Cocoa Writer?

Writing is work.
Composition takes time.
Like a bite of dark chocolate
Savored slowly, makes prime.

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Chocolate: Are You a Cacao or Cocoa Writer?
By Kathryn Ross

When we rush our writing, we run the risk of overloading it with empty calories and a host of unhealthy ingredients. It’s like binging on the wrong kind of chocolate—cocoa not cacao.

  • Take your time. Savor each word in your work.
  • Don’t rush the plot. Tell your story, but chew slowly to be sure you extract its fullest flavors.
  • Critically assess the purpose of each line, removing unnecessary filler ingredients to deliver optimum reader benefits.
  • Use quality words rich in meaning, imagery, and depth for full effectiveness. Depending upon your unique writing voice, be it flowery or sharp and concise, word choice enhances every style.

One of my favorite Hebrew words found repeatedly throughout the Psalms is “selah.” It comes between verses ripe with meaning and impact, inviting the reader to stop and think about what they’ve just read. Like slowly savoring a quality piece of chocolate, mining the full essence and zest of the sweet, employ “selah” to your writing life.

So, how do you approach your writing? Are you a cacao writer or a cocoa writer?

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The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
By Kathryn Ross

Writer-speaker, Kathryn Ross, ignites a love of literature and learning through Pageant Wagon Productions and Publishing. She writes and publishes homeschool enrichment and Christian living books for home, church, and school. Her passion is to equip women and families in developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle, producing readers and thinkers who can engage the world from a biblical worldview. She blogs and podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and PageantWagonPublishing.com. Connect with Miss Kathy on Facebook.

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The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
Kathryn Ross

Writer, speaker, teacher, and enrichment artist, Kathryn Ross, sweeps readers into the story-worlds of Jane Austen, C. S. Lewis, Hannah Hurnard, Marguerite de Angeli, John Bunyan, and others, exploring powerful truths to fulfilling God’s plan for your life in her latest publication, The Gatekeeper’s Key. Discern your place and season, with encouragement to see purpose in boundaries, find comfort in trials, and gain fortitude in going forth. Short story, personal testimony, excerpts from classic literature, visual imagery, challenge questions for discussion, and journal prompts for writing assignments draw you before the Gatekeeper. It’s quite a journey—but you’re never alone. Always in His Presence, with an Invitation, a Gatekeeper, and a Key. Perhaps more than one. Purchase on Amazon or direct from Pageant Wagon Publishing.

Save Thyme with Writers’ Conferences

So many potential mistakes that costs time… . These first three articles discuss the importance of attending writers’ conferences and how to best utilize them and save time. This third article reveals two other very common mistakes to avoid in order to save even more time. Of course, I made these mistakes as well… .

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Save Thyme with Writers’ Conferences
Karen with Susan Elizabeth Phillips and          Jayne Ann Krentz
Learning the Craft of Fiction Writing
writing, publishing, story, fiction, novel, mistakes, writing mistakes, Thyme for Writers, journey, Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, agents, editors, craft, skills, writers conference, tools, titles, story, how-to books, heroine, hero, Jeff Gerke
Save Thyme with Writers’ Conferences

I studied and worked hard at learning my new craft of fiction writing. How-to books filled my shelves, and yes, I not only read them, but I studied them. There were books on

  • character development,
  • plots,
  • showing not telling,

to name just a few, along with workbooks where you can practice — and practice I did. Finally, I finished the first draft and applied for one of the few select spots in a fiction clinic with a great publisher and editor, Jeff Gerke.

The Fiction Clinic
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The Journalist

This book was my baby. I spent countless hours creating a strong heroine in a field that fascinated me – journalism. That’s right, I was fascinated with journalists who covered exciting, dangerous events so I made my heroine a journalist.

Jeff asked me a simple question that changed the course of my book, Hidden Bloodlines, (and my series — The J.C. Classified Series). “Why isn’t your heroine a lawyer?” He sagely pointed out that it’s better to write what you know. As a lawyer myself, I’ve lived the life, and if my character lived what I know, she would feel “real” to the reader and have a greater impact. You want your readers to fall in love with your characters.

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Scales of Justice

Jeff then asked me to tell him the entire story in a nutshell. Most writers like to tell their story and I held nothing back. My story was too complicated — there were actually two books within one and they needed to be separated. I was back to the drawing board with a heroine who was now a lawyer and a plot that needed to be simplified.

The Plotter vs. Pantser

If I were a “plotter,” a writer who creates detailed outlines prior to starting, at least the overly complicated story may have been identified prior to writing the entire manuscript. However, I am a “seat of the pants” writer where this risk is higher. I’ve attended conferences where the recommendation is to blend the two. That may work with some, but not all, and certainly not me. That’s part of the excitement for me to write — the developing story and the twists and turns of events.

How about you? Are you a “plotter,” “pantser,” or a blend of both?

Save Thyme & Avoid Common Mistakes — The Beginning

In my first article, Save Thyme and Avoid Common Mistakes, I discussed the importance of attending writers’ conferences and a common newbie mistake — pitching a book that was not written. This next article will focus on the beginning — the beginning of your book, your writing career, and essential tools of the trade.

Save Thyme & Avoid Common Mistakes — The Beginning

If you don’t take into consideration the two years my story brewed in my mind, this first writers conference was my beginning. If you can get into a clinic at a writers’ conference, I highly recommend it. It’s intense, and you get one-on-one assistance with an experienced writer, agent, editor… . This input is invaluable.

Because your application for a clinic typically includes the first 15 pages, you want to make sure those 15 pages are the absolute best they can be. Write, rewrite, and write again. Have others read it and see if you have a writer friend who can also give you input (more on writers’ groups and critique groups later). When you think it’s there, set it aside for as long as possible (I prefer a week) so that you see it with fresh eyes, and read it out loud. It’s amazing what your ears catch that your eyes miss.

CCWC: Estes Rock Banner 2016

Although my manuscript was not written, I did write the first 15 pages to apply to a beginners fiction clinic that was team taught by two well-known authors. The beginning is always critical to capture your audience, whether it’s an agent, publisher or your reader. I realized during this particular clinic that I was chosen not because of my story (the first 15 pages did not reveal much), but because of the mistakes I made in the beginning. Nothing I had grabbed my reader — not the title nor the first sentence, first paragraph, or first page. Nada.

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The Supernatural – Fact or Fiction? Night Fog …

This first clinic got my act together. At the start of this clinic, we went around the room reading our first sentences. The rule — NEVER begin a book with the weather. Most of us did. Think about how you choose a book, whether it’s your next library choice or book to buy.

Most people:
  • Check the title. Does it sound interesting?
  • Read the back cover copy. Still interested?
  • Open the book to the first page and read the first sentence. Still interested?
  • Read the first paragraph, and maybe even the first page. Getting it?
Writers’ Tools
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The Author Toolbox

 

This first conference also gave me a glimpse into what type of tools of the trade would make my life easier. Instead of sharing what I learned here, I recommend a more comprehensive source that’s tried and true — The Author Toolbox by Candee Fick.

 

 

The Title
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Hidden Bloodlines

 

I needed a catchy and unique title. First, I brainstormed a list of 10 titles. Next, I did the research necessary to assure none of those titles were already taken in previously published works. I created survey sheets and waited outside each service at my church one weekend and asked people to choose and rank their top 3 titles. An overwhelming majority chose Hidden Bloodlines as their top choice.

 

I threw out my first chapter and started over. My first sentence went from the weather to:  “Victoria prosecuted the wrong man.”

What captures your interest?

Lemon Oil: Clearing Out for a Clean Start By Kathryn Ross

Welcome back Kathryn Ross for January’s The Write Spice Series — Lemon Oil: Clearing Out for a Clean Start. **

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The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words

Did you eat too many sweets over the holidays?

I did. And far too many second helpings of festive foods prepared and enjoyed only at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Though my taste-buds have been blessed, my body cries out for relief from all the celebration. The post-holiday lethargy sets in as my digestive system attempts to process the influx of sugar, cheese, and carbs consumed.

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The Lemon Oil January Principle. Clearing Out for a Clean Start

That’s when I reach for the little miracles in my essential oils cabinet—and one in particular: Lemon Oil.

When I first saw a demonstration of this powerful little therapeutic grade* oil, I made sure I was first in line to get a bottle and make it a regular go-to remedy for internal cleansing. The demonstrator put one drop on a Styrofoam plate. I watched in amazement as it virtually disintegrated the plate, promising to do the same to all manner of artery and intestinal-clogging enemies in my body. SOLD!

Lemon oil remains a daily part of my nutritional regime. Just a drop in my morning water and evening tea keeps the pipes clear and clean. In January, I tend to double my lemon oil intake, to compensate for all my jolly holiday no-guilt feasting in December. The lethargy of stressed digestion is cleansed. The mental fog of too much busy and Christmas cake clears, energizing my body for the new year to come.

If only those little drops of lemon oil could make quick work of cleaning out my office and desktop in January. Like a healthy digestive cleanse, I need to collect myself after a busy year, clean the debris left behind, and see clearly my path for writing goals in the new year.

You, too?

It’s a common malady for all of us—but especially writers. We tend to begin each year with a plan. As winter turns to spring, new inspirations and opportunities arrest our attention. We collect ideas, layering them in random computer files and hard-copy folders on both our virtual and physical desktops. Working on new projects battle the monthly writing deadlines we’re already committed to, for our time and creative energy. The busy of home, family, church activities, and school responsibilities shift into hyper-drive once September rolls around, and spins into warp speed come Christmas.

It’s no wonder I can’t see an ounce of wood grain on my desk and have only a path from the door to the printer in my backroom office. I’ve stuffed myself full in my life and work and need to apply some lemon oil to clear the way and make a clean start for a healthy and productive new year. To accomplish this, I schedule a week early in January to purge and purpose.

Purge:

  • Toss or file all paper items that are unnecessary. Be wise and selective.
  • Clean out desk drawers. Be brutal.
  • Remove unnecessary objects from your work area. Everything has a place—put it there.
  • Delete random images and documents saved on your computer that are no longer useful. Watch the temptation to get sidelined with distractions.

Purpose:

  • Re-think the use of your work and storage space. Think outside the box.
  • Re-organize how you use your work and storage space. Plan for your new projects.
  • Chart the new year with all monthly deadlines, project goals, conference plans, and personal/family aspirations.
  • File random images and documents saved on your computer in new folders that are better organized for easy access. Create a folder marked Inspiration 2017 for anything you can’t quite categorize but want to keep.

Once you clear and clean your work spaces, you’ll find the new year lethargy dissipates, replaced with fresh energy and insight for stepping into a new season of activity and accomplishment. Drink a tall glass of lemon water and get to work for a productive new year! Do you have any specific tips or annual rituals you use for clearing out and making a clean start each year?

*Only ingest quality certified therapeutic grade oils. Do your research before buying!

** Please speak to your physician before making any changes to your health care regime.

clove, lemon oil, cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
By Kathryn Ross

Writer-speaker, Kathryn Ross, ignites a love of literature and learning through Pageant Wagon Productions and Publishing. She writes and publishes homeschool enrichment and Christian living books for home, church, and school. Her passion is to equip women and families in developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle, producing readers and thinkers who can engage the world from a biblical worldview. She blogs and podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and PageantWagonPublishing.com. Connect with Miss Kathy on Facebook.

cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins, cloves, Kathryn Ross, The Gatekeeper’s Key, Pageant Wagon Publishing, The Writers Reverie, publishing, thesaurus
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
Kathryn Ross

Writer, speaker, teacher, and enrichment artist, Kathryn Ross, sweeps readers into the story-worlds of Jane Austen, C. S. Lewis, Hannah Hurnard, Marguerite de Angeli, John Bunyan, and others, exploring powerful truths to fulfilling God’s plan for your life in her latest publication, The Gatekeeper’s Key. Discern your place and season, with encouragement to see purpose in boundaries, find comfort in trials, and gain fortitude in going forth. Short story, personal testimony, excerpts from classic literature, visual imagery, challenge questions for discussion, and journal prompts for writing assignments draw you before the Gatekeeper. It’s quite a journey—but you’re never alone. Always in His Presence, with an Invitation, a Gatekeeper, and a Key. Perhaps more than one. Purchase on Amazon or direct from Pageant Wagon Publishing.

Save Thyme and Avoid Common Mistakes

So many mistakes … so much time wasted. Save Thyme and Avoid Common Mistakes is the first in the Common Mistakes Series geared to help you save precious time getting that book published. I have first hand experience on making most if not all of them. With this new year upon us, my goal is to share my journey to make yours smoother and easier with quicker positive results.

The Story
writing, publishing, story, fiction, novel, mistakes, writing mistakes, Thyme for Writers, journey, Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, agents, editors, craft, skills, writers conference
Save Thyme and Avoid Common Mistakes

As I mentioned in my article, Never Give Up!, I am a writer by profession. Although I have more than 100 published articles (most of which were ghost written), my heart’s desire was in the story. I yearned to write that novel and see it published. Even though I was an experienced writer, I quickly learned that fiction writing was a totally different “animal” and I set out to garner the necessary skills.

Hidden Bloodlines, romantic suspense, Colorado Rockies, Karen Van Den Heuvel
Hidden Bloodlines

Hidden Bloodlines started as a story triggered by a stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. After this story brewed in my mind for two years, I decided that the time was now and I attended my first writers conference.

A Conference Mistake

I successfully pitched my story to agents and publishers during that first conference, but made my first mistake as an conference newbie — I pitched a story that wasn’t written. It was in my head, but not on paper. Every single one of the editors and agents I pitched to, wanted to see a manuscript that did not exist. By the time I wrote it, revised it (I can’t remember how many times) and had it ready, 5 years had passed. Oops — a little late for that group of agents and editors who were either with different publishing houses or made career changes.

Colorado Christian Writers Conference

During those 5 years I worked on learning the craft and developing my skills as a fiction writer — essential if you want to be taken seriously and get published. I highly recommend attending writers conferences even if that story is not written. There are workshops and sessions geared toward honing your skills. Appointments are usually available with not just editors and agents, but writers, and other writing professionals. If you want to pitch a story idea, let the agents and editors know that it’s not written yet, then get on the horn and write it. They may be interested now, but not a year from now.

Do you have a story brewing?

Burnout? with L.A. Sartor

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers
Burnout? by L.A. Sartor

Welcome L.A. Sartor as our guest today on Thyme for Writers! L.A. Sartor is a bestselling, award-winning author. She began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at L.A.’s insistence, wrote them down and L.A. illustrated them. As an adult, she writes suspense and action-adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she’s had a contracted adaptation! She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date. L.A. loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey. She has a blog and a mailing list.

Burnout?

Karen, thank you so much for having me as your guest. You’ve had a great line up of writers so far, I hope I keep the trend going. 😊

I thought burnout was for everyone else but me. I was on a tidal wave of producing books. Then something hit me while I was writing my seventh manuscript, Prince of Granola.

Nothing about writing intrigued me. Nothing. Not my blog, not my book. Nada.

Why? I still loved the story and my characters. I was super proud of what I’d accomplished with my writing so far.

My reaction: panic. I didn’t want to sit near my laptop, didn’t even open it for days. And when I did, I forced the writing. We all know that’s not a solution.

So, I basically ignored the dread of writing and fear of not writing, pretty sure other stress factors in my life were the cause. I couldn’t have burnout, writing was my ideal job.

Hmmm, job. More on that later.

Nevertheless, I avidly read articles on burnout or writer’s block as they appeared on my horizon; how to cope, how to push it aside, what it was. And I came to the conclusion that nope, I didn’t have burnout. I had something else. I think the word for that reasoning is denial.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers, writers block
Burnout? by L.A. Sartor

Months later, I faced it head on. I was experiencing burnout. And oddly acknowledging, even saying the word out loud to myself, then close friends and outward from there, made it seem fixable.

Fast forward a couple more months. Still not writing much and whining yet again to my buddy, Audra Harders, about how long it was taking me to get this blasted first draft done, she gently interrupted me and mentioned a concept. A very cool concept.

Writing in chunks.

The concept immediately hit me as right. You all know the feeling. It’s almost euphoric. Moments later my email dinged and I was gifted by her The Chunky Method Handbook by Allie Pleiter.

Immediately after opening the book—well, after I emailed a thank you to her—my anxiety began to dissipate.

And then I realized a few things. I had been writing as though it were a job. I’d retired a few years earlier and hadn’t fit in well with the retirement scheme of no schedules. So, I wrote as if it were a job instead of a gift and a joy.

I pushed through hours of computer time, knowing I had a goal and had to make it. Doing that served me well until it didn’t. I sold a lot of books, made it to #1 on Amazon, both on free and paid books and felt on top of the world…until I didn’t.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers, Burnout, writers block
Reach Your Goals!

I knew instinctively that setting limits to my goals wasn’t me. I’m a goal oriented person. But changing my perception of goals, in this case allowing myself to write 400 words in a chunk (you learn what your chunks are), and meeting that chunk (goal) really changed me. It set me free. I was successful again when I hit my chunks and I could write as many chunks a day as I wanted. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t beat myself up, because I knew I would another day, or even the next hour.

I started being productive, and again loving what I was doing. The concept allowed me to be … me.

Back to the job issue. I also realized is that writing isn’t a job for me. And no, I’m not a full-time writer. I don’t want to be, nor frankly, do I have to be. I am a writer who believes in her story and her characters one chunk at a time.

And believe me, the chunks add up quickly, far faster than I could have dreamed. I don’t force it, I let it flow good or bad from my fingers.
Because we all know, if it’s not written down, you can’t fix it and make it better.

Prince of Granola will be out in the spring.

L.A. Sartor, Christmas, Best-Selling Author, job, goal, burnout, Prince of Granola, The Chunky Method Handbook, Thyme for Writers
Believe In Me This Christmas Morn by L.A. Sartor

LA Sartor
Love the Romance ~ Live the Adventure
Bestselling Author and Winner of the International Digital Award

Believe In Me This Christmas Morn

Amazon
http://amzn.to/1Ui8Y6t (shortened)
iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/believe-in-me-this-christmas/id1147295728?ls=1&mt=11 (full)

Titles published:
Dare to Believe (2012)
Stone of Heaven ( 2013) Carswell Adventure Series Book One
Be Mine This Christmas Night (Holiday 2013) Star light ~ Star Bright Series Book One
Forever Yours This New Year’s Night (Holiday 2014) Star light ~ Star Bright Series Book Two
Viking Gold (July 2015) Carswell Adventure Series Book Two
Believe in Me This Christmas Morn (Holiday 2015) Star Light ~ Star Bright Series Book Three
The Prince of Granola (Coming 2018)

Social Links
Website
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

If Writing Is Your Passion – Never Give Up!

If writing is your passion, never give up! So many things may get in the way — time or the lack of it, discouragement, the need to earn a living, life …. The list goes on and on, especially if your goal is to be published by a traditional publisher.

Resources
The Author Toolbox

Candee Fick talked about the time issue in her article, So Little Time to Conquer this Mountain where she shares her tips and strategies in her busy life and offers a very helpful tool, The Author Toolbox. This article is about perseverance —  keeping that goal in sight so that we never give up.

 

 

The Journey

As writers, we all deal with discouragement whether we are trying to get published, or are already successfully published. Our journeys may be different, but the difficulties are similar if not the same. In today’s publishing industry, the age of the ebook and ease at which someone can get published independently has changed the course of the industry.

Hidden Bloodlines, romantic suspense, Colorado Rockies, Karen Van Den Heuvel
Hidden Bloodlines

Why do we write? For me, it’s a passion for story. There is a story I can’t get out of my mind until I put it on paper. That’s how Hidden Bloodlines started — it was a story that perpetuated itself for two years before I attended my first writers conference in Estes Park, Colorado.

As an attorney and dietitian with multiple articles and one published nonfiction book, writing was my life, but my passion was fiction — a story to share. However, I quickly learned that writing fiction is a totally different “animal” than nonfiction. It is a different art and it was important that I learn the craft. Future articles will talk about this craft and how to achieve the necessary skills for success.

writing, perseverance, journey, publishing, author, mistakes, writers conferences, fiction, nonfiction, craft of writing, traditional publisher, indy publishing
Thyme for Writers
The Journey

For those interested in becoming published by a traditional publishing house, the road may be long and bumpy with uncertain forks. If you are not interested in the years usually involved with a traditional publisher, you may want to go the Indy way. Regardless of which avenue you choose, when you reach that publication goal , it doesn’t end. There are millions of books out there and you may ask:

  • “How will anyone find me?”
  • “Can I make a living writing?”
  • “How successful can I be?”
  • “Is it even worth it?”

Thyme for Writers will help you discern the path that’s right for you. It will hopefully answer your many questions and help you avoid time consuming mistakes. I for one made mistakes that cost me years. Keep your eyes open for future posts that will steer you clear of these mistakes and make your road smoother.