Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What Would You Do?

Last week our pastor spoke about forgiving. He said we should forgive others, just as God forgave us. I admit, I struggle with this myself. I know what I should do, but it's easier said than done.

It might be easy to forgive the little things, but I wonder how one would forgive a person for murdering their child, their spouse, or other loved one? If we are to forgive our enemies, would God expect us to forgive serial killers? Is it possible for anyone to truly forgive a heinous crime against another?

I'd like to write a book that deals with this issue. How would a Christian deal with forgiving someone who walked into church one Sunday and killed several people, including their spouse and child?

I need to understand how one could go about learning to forgive before I will ever be able to write a story about true forgiveness.

Colossians 3:13 "You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Note From the Crazy Cat Lady

Hearing from an old friend last night made me think and look inside myself. Yep, those who know me realize that can be dangerous. **grin**

If you are a regular to my blog, you know that I care for fourteen feral cats in a large subdivision. Oh, I wish we lived out in the country where these animals wouldn't "bother" the neighbors, but it isn't meant to be. We took pity on the neighbors and the animals when we had them neutered/spayed. We stopped the overpopulation of feral cats in the vicinity, but it is our humane duty to feed them and provide shelter. They mostly hang in our yard, unless we have company when they hide in outlying bushes and trees for protection.

How many times have you looked at an animal wandering around looking bedraggled and lost, hungry and sick, and chased it away? Were you afraid?

We need to have caution and protect ourselves from the danger that is always around us, but maybe if we did just one thing to make the lives of an orphaned animal, we would receive so much more than we give.

I'm glad I helped my feral cat family, even if some neighbors might think I'm a crazy cat lady.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ack!!! Did I Forget Another Hallmark Day?

I've looked in my calendar and on the internet...I can't find it...but it must be one of those special Hallmark Days. My cat, Wilbur, knows about it and he's not accepting my ignorance. This is Saturday. I checked it out. I should be allowed to sleep until eight after a very trying week. He and I have an agreement about that. At least, I think he agreed.

But as the sun crept through my window, Wilbur meowed and nudged his way into my bed. When his first attempt at staring me awake didn't work, he tried the stomp and jump the body awake routine. Racked with pain, but still trying to sleep, I rolled over petted him and told him to lay down. He did--next to my head with a 30 HP motor roaring in my ear. I rolled to the other side. He stomped across my now bruised body and attempted to nose his way under the comforter. I believe he really knew he was only under the folded portion as he belly crawled across my body again and back into the lie and roar position. He remained there for a record five seconds before stomping across my head and allowing me to sniff his fluffy rear. There comes a time when I have to admit defeat. I rose and stumbled my way to the bathroom with Wilbur wrapped around my ankles. Having my undivided attention while I sat on the throne, he proceeded to indulge me with a full course of kitty love and affection.

So, I've concluded that I must have missed the Hallmark Day...National Love Your Human Day...or National Love your Kitty Day. I'm afraid to let Wilbur know I'm not sure which it is.

Have a wonderful weekend. I have posted a new photo trailer for Joshuas Hope on my website. The real models were my daughter, son-in-law, and my grandson. You can check it out at:

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Author Interview with Jeanne Leach

As the band plays the Blog Studio theme song, the announcer says, "It's time for another special Blog Studio Interview here in beautiful Columbus, Ohio! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our host...CAROL ANNnnnnn ERrrrrrHARDT!!!"

Audience applauds as the blog studio band ends their song. The curtain parts, and Carol Ann emerges wearing a navy blue and white pin-striped suit and a huge smile.

CAROL ANN: Welcome, everyone! First, I apologize for our show airing being delayed due to an unforseen circumstance. I was in full makeup and ready to tape the show, when I received an urgent call from my son-in-law. My youngest daughter suffers from debilitating migraines, and she was having a very bad one. He had to take her to the hospital and needed someone, namely me, to come and watch their four small children. I'm happy to say that she is a little better today. Tomorrow she will see her doctor to see the next steps. Medication and chiropractic therapy do not seem to be working. But...enough about me. Thank you for taking a rain check and coming back today. You won't be disappointed. I have a very special Christian author who will be talking to us today. Her name is Jeanne Leach.

Jeanne is a published author of 3 Christian historical fiction novels and one non-fiction writer’s help book, and is a freelance editor. She has successfully helped unpublished Christian writers since 2002 to become award winning and published authors, and developed and teaches writing workshops for beginners. She lives in the mountains of Colorado with her husband of 33 years and their two large Alaskan Malamutes. She also speaks on a variety of topics to women’s ministry groups. Her hobbies include scrapbooking, interior decorating, snowshoeing, Jeeping, exploring ghost towns, hiking, reading, studying American history, and is a Denver Broncos football fan (they are season ticket holders).

Here is the book she will be talking about today.

Friends, please put your hands together and give a warm welcome to Jeanne Leach!


From left stage, a woman walks out and joins Carol Ann in one of the chairs.

CAROL ANN: Jeanne, thank you for agreeing to appearing on the Blog Studio Interview Show.

JEANNE: Thank you so much for the opportunity.

CAROL ANN: Tell me about your book. (Carol Ann holds the book for the audience to see)

JEANNE: Shadow of Danger is a short historical romance that takes place in Leadville, Colorado in 1879. Rachel Ringhold is roused from her bed in the middle of the night and sent away from the orphanage, where she’d grown up and now works. Dazed and confused, she flees from an undisclosed danger. With a prayer in her heart, and little money in her satchel, she sets out to find Seb Jameson, the man who used to work for the orphanage as blacksmith and handy man, and who’d captured her heart as a youth.

Rachel finally reaches Leadville and discovers Seb engaged to be married. Rachel enjoys her new life and grows to a fresh awareness of what Jesus Christ accomplished for her on the cross. The danger suddenly catches up to her. Her renewed faith is shattered. All she’d ever wanted was for someone to love her and a home of her own, but now her dreams have been stripped from her. Who can save her now? Is there anyone who would want to?

I write about what I know, and I love and know Colorado history. I invent characters first. I think about them and develop them, then start throwing situations at them to see how they will react. When I come upon a tough situation that causes problems for the character, I’ll then put them through it to see if there is a story that can be developed. This story came about after visiting Leadville one day. I knew I wanted Rachel to come to Leadville, and I needed to get her there without making it a mail-order bride story. Something had to scare her enough to go to Leadville, but I couldn’t think of what the “something” would be. I started writing the story by the seat of my pants (without an outline), and the danger unfolded as the story grew. I’m very pleased with it.

CAROL ANN: Wow, this book sounds wonderful! I can't wait to read it. **smile** What do you find is the hardest thing about being a writer?

JEANNE: Finding uninterrupted time to write. Both my husband and I work from home, so when his business is slow, I have to step up my freelance editing business, which leaves me with little or no time to write. Then, when I do find the time, I often have the usual home interruptions, plus I have to do some work and run errands for hubby’s business.

CAROL ANN: Before I began writing seriously, I imagined a life of sitting at my computer writing masterpieces and enjoying my free time. Now I truly understand the reality. Finding time to write is difficult. How did you realize that God was calling you to write?

JEANNE: First and foremost, I am called to minister hope to women. Writing books that women can identify with that will show them that as long as they have breath, they can have hope for a bright future is just one of the tools God has given to me to carry out His calling on my life.

CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

JEANNE: I’m the type of person that will continue working on something for however long it takes. Seven years elapsed between my first and second published books, but only a year between my second and third. I have had a myriad of learning experiences during that time. Some of the biggest stumbling blocks I’ve faced are:

Writer’s block – I found that by simply skipping the portion I couldn’t get through and starting farther in the story, I soon was able to go back and fill in the missing part.

Rejections – My record is 4 rejections on the same day for the same book. Ouch! I just kept on sending that book out. It’s still not published, but I know I’m that much closer to finding the publisher who’s been waiting for this book to arrive on their desk.

Marketing – I had no clue what to do and when to start marketing my books. I used to think this was a four-lettered word, but I have been learning to do what I can when I can and don’t worry about what I can’t accomplish.

CAROL ANN: I admire that. You are an inspiration. **smile** Okay, now for a personal question. Do you collect anything?

JEANNE: I collect Christian fiction books – but I only keep those that I have reread or plan to reread.

I also collect North woods Santas. The dolls are all at least 12 inches tall and are wearing furs and flannels and snow boots and have porcelain or plastic faces, and then I have a dozen smaller, wooden ones. I started out with Victorian Santas when we lived in Kansas, but after moving to the mountains, I am more into woodsy decorating. I have no problem with Santa Clause because Christmas is a man-made holiday. The only thing I find in the New Testament that God tells us to celebrate is Holy Communion. He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” But he never mandated that we celebrate his earthly birth. So, every country that celebrates the holiday has a different set of TRADITIONS that goes with it. I love every part of the American traditional Christmas.

CAROL ANN: I love learning what other authors collect, besides books, which I think we all are prone to do! Here's a question I ask a lot of my guests. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

JEANNE: Absolutely! Words. They are powerful in that they can build people up or tear them down. Their effect can last a lifetime. The sword’s swipe is quick and its outcome is immediate. Words can wound the heart and keep the victim in pain and kill the spirit slowly over the person’s lifetime. Conversely, they have the power to bring peace where there is contention and healing to a wounded heart. The sword only serves to instill fear, but the right words can remove fear and invite one to reach for their dreams.

CAROL ANN: Which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers are and trees are budding?

JEANNE: A brisk walk in the autumn. I live in the mountains, and we have no spring. We cannot plant flowers until June 10th because we will still get snow and frost through the first week in June. Then the rain comes until around the 4th of July. July and August are the summer months, and September brings the first snow of the new season. In October we always enjoy an Indian summer, and that’s when I love to go outside the most. I love the cool breezes, the aspen trees as their leaves turn to shimmering gold. When I walk up on Baldy Mountain, there is a section of a one-lane dirt road where the aspens have grown tall and they reach over the road, creating a tunnel of golden leaves. The tunnel frames the mountains across the valley. It takes my breath away and I feel like I’m standing in God’s cathedral. I am in awe of God’s continual changes and promises of what is to come.

I love to watch the spruce suddenly turn blue – first tips, then within a week’s time the entire branches have put on their new winter color. I love to watch wildlife prepare for winter. On my autumn walks, I’ll see squirrels stashing away thousands of pinecones, foxes looking for mice while they’re still easy to find, geese taking a breather on the pond out two blocks from our home, and the beaver pulling long branches down the creek to make sure his home is ready for the snow.

I bet you never expected such a long-winded answer.

CAROL ANN: I love long-winded answers! **smile** It's easy to see that you are a talented writer. You just painted a beautiful picture in words. Now, I'll put you on the spot. You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to tell the world something....what will it be?

JEANNE: Reach for your dreams! Remember, the mediocre are always at their best. If you haven’t got something that seems impossible to achieve, then you aren’t living up to your fullest potential. Grab a dream and never give up. Never, never, never give up!

CAROL ANN: **Applauds along with the audience** How do you balance your "real" life with your "writing" life?

JEANNE: There’s no difference. There’s just life. If I find myself writing well and “in the groove” and my husband asks me if I’d like to go with him to wash the car, I’ll always choose spending time with my husband above anything else. If he phone rings, I answer it, and if it’s my chatty friend on the other end of the line, I’ll talk to her for a little bit and then tell her I’ve got to get back to my writing, but that it was a beautiful thing talking with her that day. If I have to do the laundry or shopping or cooking or cleaning in the midst of my writing, I’ll do it because my family comes first – always. Writing is just one part of my real life, and like everything else I do, I give it my best effort for however long I have at that moment, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours.

CAROL ANN: Jeanne, I've loved chatting with you today. You were very inspiring. **Carol Ann holds up the book again** Friends, this is Jeanne's book. Please go to your favorite bookstore and purchase it. You won't be disappointed. **Carol Ann turns back to Jeanne** Before you leave, where can readers learn more about you and your books?

JEANNE: They can go to my website at

CAROL ANN: Thank you again, Jeanne, for joining me here today.

Audience gives a standing ovation, the band begins to play and the curtain drops on another episode of The Blog Studio Interview.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Random Act of Kindness

One night last week, hubby and I were eating at Captain D's. We'd finished our meal and were about to leave when I saw an elderly couple approaching the restrooms. The tiny lady was using a walker, and struggling, while the man, not much bigger tried to reach around her and open the women's bathroom door. I hurried to assist. After getting the woman into the single bathroom, I waited outside with her husband.

He told me he and his wife had both been teachers at a nearby college. He also was a concert violinist. They'd traveled around the United States four times, though their traveling days were over now. His wife had trouble moving around, and he encouraged her to do as much for herself as possible. He only helped her when she couldn't accomplish a task without his assistance. I learned they have a daughter who lives about fifty miles southeast of them. They had offered her a home in town, but she wanted to live away from the city. It was fun chatting with these people, and I came home smiling.

This encounter left me thinking of all the opportunities we overlook to meet other people by being too involved in our busy lives to reach out a helping hand.

Smile and make a new friend today! Thanks for stopping by.

Verse of the day: Romans 12:2 "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Administrative Professionals Day

Tomorrow is touted as Administrative Professionals Day. I remember when our individual bosses used to get us flowers and/or cards as a special thank you. To me that meant a lot. Just a card is very special. Our new President, who happens to be my superior, never gives a card or recognizes any holiday or special event. Not even a card at Christmas.

For the past two years, the company has catered in a lunch for the hourly people as a way to recognize Administrative Professionals Day. Now, it's no secret that my boss, the President, expects to be fed whenever food is brought into the building. We have meetings that run all day, supplier meetings that run through lunch, and the admins know to order extra because the President won't attend the meetings, but he sure doesn't miss the lunch.

Last year at our "Admin" lunch, he met me in the hall and asked where the lunch was being held. And, he walked in and joined us! I made sure I sat at the end of the table farthest away from him. The email we received on Friday telling us about the lunch was accompanied with the last sentence...President XXX (name left blank to protect me!) will be eating lunch with you.

I've tried and tried to accept this gift from the company with the right heart, but I'm struggling. I don't even want to attend. I realize that is wrong and I need to change my thinking regarding this and get rid of the resentment. Perhaps if I respected the man, it would be easier to do. But I don't respect his business ethics.

This man comes in at ten am, when our business opens at eight. He takes two to three hour lunches. He leaves for two hours to get his hair cut. I have to make personal arrangements for him and his wife and two adult sons to take vacations together. Yes, that includes air travel and hotel. BUT, he doesn't allow me to help anyone else in the office with business related issues. He says it isn't my job. question of the day is how do I attend this luncheon with a smile on my face and resentment washed from my heart and mind?

Thanks for listening to my rambling!

Monday, April 21, 2008

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them...

What a fabulous weekend! Saturday, a little rain, but since I was meeting with my local writing group, we didn't even notice until we left the library. Super speaker, wonderful conversations about our favorite topic...writing. And Sunday, what a gorgeous sunny day! I'm sooo ready for spring.

As for the topic of my blog, I know first hand the truth behind the words in the Bible. I might be against the law for teachers to teach or promote religion, but it isn't against the law for students. Friday my 10 year old grandson did something that has lifted my heart and showed me that God is present in our lives, despite all those who try to change that. Kody was participating in "Book Wars" at his public school. When my daughter arrived at the school, she saw three of the teams but not the one Kody was on. Then she spied a group of children in a semicircle with their heads bowed...and Kody was praying for them! Yes!

Did Kody's team win? They didn't win the Book War, but they are winners in a much bigger way.

"They" may try and remove God from our schools, but they will never remove Him from our hearts and lives, and the little children will lead the way.

God bless, and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Friday! Another Milestone Met...

I actually did get up this morning at 5:30AM and put in my VHS tape of Richard Simmons, "Streching to the Classics." What a great way to start my day. I feel more energized and ready to tackle the office.

It's supposed to be beautiful outside today, so I sure wish I could just stay home. I spring fever a legitimate illness that one can use a sick day for?

Maybe I'll just have to spend my lunch hour capturing that sun through the "moon roof" of my car and paint a picture of what I see and feel in words. That's what writers do.

I blog on the Sweeter Romantic Notions site, too. You can catch me there today, Monday the 22nd, Tuesday the 23rd and Tuesday the 30th.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! God bless, and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Missing Author Interviews, Sunny Weather, and Caring for Feral Cats

You might have noticed that I haven't had an author interview yet this month. My schedule is set before the beginning of the year and each author is given a specific Thursday on which I will post their interview. So far, two authors have not responded when I sent their list of questions. I'm sure it's because of the abundance of spam we receive through email every day. Sometimes good messages get caught up in a spam filter or we get in a hurry to delete the scores of emails that are from people we don't know. I apologize to you readers, and to the authors.

In order to fulfill the remainder of the year, I'm going to email every person who is scheduled with a set of questions this weekend. That way I'll be able to know who isn't responding and hopefully find a way to contact them.

It's a sad world where we have to be afraid of emails. I have a firewall, a virus protector, and a spybot protection all loaded on my system. Sometimes it gets annoying with all the popups letting me know someone is trying to get through an open port on my system, but it's definitely worth it.

On a lighter side, I did manage to get those ear mite drops in one of Boots' ears yesterday. Not much, but hopefully I can get his other ear today. Poor thing. I hate to see any animal suffering. He's such a sweet loving guy, but he's not tame enough that I'd try to hold him down in any way to treat him. : )

Today is going to be beautiful here in central Ohio. These are the days I wish I had a window at work. The only way I can see the outside is to walk to the front lobby and look out the doors. Perhaps that's a good thing! I'm getting spring fever really bad.

Hope you have a beautiful day filled with love, laughter, and good friends. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tackling Ear Mites with a Semi-Feral Cat

Today I'm on a mission to help one of our feral cats. Poor Boots, the senior of the group, has developed a horrid case of ear mites. Boots allows me to pet him and he'll roll to his back so I can pet his stomach. But will he hold still long enough to allow me to put drops in his ears? Though he seems to like human touch, I don't dare try to pick him up. I know that would spook him and give me some nasty scratches. Sooo, my best bet is to try and squirt some drops into his ears while he's eating.

Wish me luck!

Do you have a mission to accomplish? Feel free to share, or if you have a tip on how I can handle mine, I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Real Men Read Romance

My hubby, bless his heart, doesn't read books. He reads the newspaper from cover to cover, and his Sports Illustrated magazine each week. He loves the Dear Abby column. But he doesn't read books.

I blogged a few weeks ago about him picking up one of my romance books and starting to read at the bookmarker, then proceeded to give away what happened next! So, to keep him from spoiling any future books, I handed him my book HIT AND RUN, complete with a bookmarker and told him the next time he decided to fill in time reading he could read my book.

Saturday morning I was cleaning the house when I happened upon hubby sitting on the sofa busily reading something. Um, yep. It's true. Real men do read romance.


Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Watching Radio?

I finally broke down this past weekend and changed to digital cable. It was going to have to happen by February of 2009...which is another story I'll save for a gripe day. While listening to my favorite radio station this morning, I heard them advertise they could be seen live on television. I had forgotten about that and decided to come into my office and check it out. Yep, there they are. A bad picture, but you can see what happens "behind the voices."

I have to say it's weird! Distracting! But now I will be able to watch "Woody and the Wakeup Call" on WCOL while I'm exercising in the morning instead of paid tv programs or music videos.

Who ever thought we'd be watching radio? Have a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for stopping by. See you on Monday!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Romantic Suspense and Roller Coasters

Why do I read and write romantic suspense? I enjoy the thrill, the ups and downs, and the exhilaration at the last word...the end. It's like riding a roller coaster. The excitement and mixed reservations of meeting that one special person is like the emotions experienced when the bar locks you in the seat of a roller coaster and you begin that first slow rise to the top. Danger lurks and the heroine of a romantic suspense has the feeling of being chased by someone or something just out of reach--the roller coaster begins a fast race to the bottom of the hill. The heroine is falling in love but can she trust the hero? The roller coaster streaks around a curve, climbs again and drops in a breathtaking dive. Something drives a wedge between the heroine and hero--the roller coaster begins a quick series of ups and downs and threatens to run off the track. Danger catches up with the heroine and she must save herself before the roller coaster climbs the highest hill and drops at speeds to defy gravity. The hero and heroine realize their love is true and forever as the roller coaster glides safely to a stop.

Have you ridden a roller coaster lately? Joshua's Hope will soon be released. If you'd like to ride my roller coaster romantic suspense, get in line for your ticket.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Have You Seen God Lately?

I just love the new George Strait song, "I Saw God Today." It reminded me that sometimes I forget to look for God in my life. I know He's there and I know He answers prayers, but I haven't taken the time to "see" Him lately.

It's easy to see Him if you just look. You can find Him in the beauty of the flowers and trees that are beginning to bud with new life. He's in the beauty of the sunrise and sunset; in the blue skies with white puffy clouds; in the life-giving rain we grumble about; in the smile of a stranger; in the smile of a friend; in the many acts of kindness performed every day.

I'm making a conscious effort to look for Him today. What about you?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Friends and Two Hour Lunches

Being in the company of writers inspires me to creativity. Being in the company of friends lifts my spirits. I get the best of both when my friend, Pat, and I get together for lunch. Being writers, we can talk about the craft, about the ups and downs, our insecurities, hopes and aspirations. We share things with each other that we may not have ever shared with anyone except our hubbies or family. We laugh and we wind up having to pay a healthy tip to the waitress to make up for the missed tips she'd have gotten if we hadn't occupied the booth or table for two hours during the busy Saturday lunch hour.

Life is great when you have a good friend.

Have you told your friends lately how much they mean to you?

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Square Peg...Round Hole?

Some days I feel I'm a small goldfish swimming in a tank full of whales. Some days I feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.


I'm a romance author. I'm published in both e-book and print. And I don't write hot romance, nor erotica. I write sweet to sensual romance and inspirational romance. Most of my local RWA writing chapter buddies write hot romance. I pick up my Romance Writer Report and almost every book advertised has a cover with a nearly nude man and/or woman on it. When I participate in yahoo chats, I compete with other authors promoting their hot romances, while I'm talking about an inspirational romantic suspense. I attend conferences where workshops are offered on how to write sex scenes. No one, except for Christian writing organizations, offer workshops for inspirational writers. I'm not a religious over-the-top writer. I don't like reading books that "preach" to me. And don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking any authors nor their chosen genre. But where do I fit in? How do I compete as a square peg trying to fit into a round hole?

Is there anyone out there who is interested in reading a book about real people who have strong emotions and fall in love without the graphic love scenes?

As e-publishing becomes a stronger force, and a more viable source of publication for new authors, erotica dominates the field. With that comes the stigma of an inspirational author who publishes in both e-book and print being overlooked.

I'd love to hear comments on your feelings. Do you feel e-published books are inferior? Do you believe inspirational, sweet, and sensual (not graphic) romance is still in demand?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Plotting - The Pantster's Way

I'm often asked how I come up with ideas for my books. Some writers come up with the characters first, others have a definite plot in mind, and others have a scene that pops into their head. For me, Hit and Run began with a scene in mind, Foxfire began with characters, and Joshua's Hope evolved from a plot I wanted to write.

However, before I write, I create a fictional setting for the story. Without a setting, a story can fall flat. When a reader picks up your book, they expect to be transported away from their everyday life to another place...a place they can envision and live in for the duration of the book.

There are two types of writers: Plotters and pantsters. Plotters outline their stories from start to finish before writing, while a pantster allows the story to develop as we write. There is no right or wrong way. Me? I'm a pantster.

So, how do I begin the writing process? I start with a fictional town. I add environment. Trees, streets, every single thing I would see if I drove through this fictional town. I'm creating a world. My settings are always very small rural communities. I roughly sketch a picture of what the town looks like on a piece of paper (and believe me I'm not an artist.) Then I add businesses and name them. During this process, characters evolve. I begin to picture the owners, patrons, and their interactions. I write down names for these "secondary" characters and give them a background. By the time I'm finished, I know the main character types I need to make an interesting story. I write character sketches and give these characters names.
From there, the story evolves a true pantster, I let thie story develop as I write.

No matter how you write--whether you outline chapter by chapter, or start with a rough sketch--you'll need to know your setting in intimate detail. This is the only way to truly "paint the pictures" with words to transport your readers.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Songs and Squeals and Giggles! Oh, My!

This weekend two of my granddaughters had a sleepover with me. If ever I needed a reminder of what it was like to raise a houseful of daughters, this was it. We started the day with lunch at McDonalds, followed by a movie: "Horton Hears a Who." While the upcoming trailers were playing, the girls asked if they could go to the bathroom...alone. Immersed in my tub of popcorn, I decided to let them have their grown-up freedom. They were only gone about two minutes when I began to envision terrible things happening to them. I was about to go after ease my own worry...when I heard a little shushed squeal, followed by giggles and knew they were safe. Would you believe they were trying to sneak up on me? Ha-ha!! The movie, by the way was really cute. It brought back memories of my daughters bringing home Dr. Seuss books from the school library so we could read them. I was the one hooked. They'd bring something home they liked...and pick out a Dr. Seuss for me. **grin**

While I was preparing dinner that evening, Ciara was playing with a hand-held Nintendo babysitting with a virtual baby while Sarah was busy writing a play on my Alpha Smart. I printed the play for her and after dinner they headed off to the spare bedroom to practice. Hubby watched TV while I worked out on the Gazelle. The girls finally finished their "practice" and came out to perform. It started with a song about them having the greatest Maw Maw and Paw Paw in the world, a lot of giggles, and then went into another song. They were Hannah Montana songs, of course. In the middle Sarah would look at Ciara, bust out laughing, then both would fall on the sofa amid high-pitched giggles. (Oh, I forgot to tell you that before the play started, we were asked to say "encore! encore!" when they finished). The encore request led to the biggest fit of giggles I've ever heard.

Later the girls played Charades with words made up by me, and though Paw Paw and I weren't playing, um...shall I say they made a better door than a window to the television?

We took them to church and brunch on Sunday morning, then back to our house to pack up. They kept begging me, "Just five more minute? Pleeeeeaaaaasee!"

Truthfully, I had a wonderful time. This old house misses the sound of children, and so does my heart. God blesses us with grandchildren for that very reason. And, without the responsibilities of raising them, we can enjoy all the wonderful moments of singing, squealing, and giggling!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Just for Fun on April Fool's Day

Several years ago, I belonged to a group where we had monthly writing challenges. To give a laugh on April Fool's Day, I decided to share my response to a poetry challenge. The challenge: Use all seven of the following cliches in a poem:

a can of worms
stink to high heaven
every dog has his day
I haven't a clue
long in the tooth
dagger to the heart
young and foolish

Below is my masterpiece! Hope it brings a smile to your face today.

The Old Cowboy

He rode into town, on a crusty old nag.
He was long in the tooth, and his whiskers did drag.
Seeing him now was a dagger to the heart.
Remembering old times when he'd looked so smart.
A stink to high heaven, he left in his wake,
As he passed me unnoticed, that unkempt rake.
Some people claim "every dog has his day,"
Ah, to be young and foolish and love him that way!
He once stole my heart and promised forever.
I waited for years, 'til the bonds I did sever.
Open up a can of worms? I dare not do.
Whatever befell him, I haven't a clue.


Don't forget to read my interview with author J. M. Hochstetler from yesterday's post. And tomorrow...well I have some very special pictures to share!

Thanks for stopping by!