Tuesday, January 24, 2012

For Fiction, Faith and Fellowship--Come Join the New Blog!

This isn't MY ACTIVE BLOG. Come Join Me!

I've streamlined my online projects so that I now keep only one blog. I have "Devotional Mondays," "Resources (and Links) Wednesdays," and "Fiction Fridays,"
but it's all happening over at Woman of Faith. It's not just for women, but it's written by one, hence the title.

Consider yourself invited! Come on over and sign up to get posts delivered to your inbox.

For faith, fun, fiction and fellowship: See you there!

Warmest Blessings,


Heart-Warming Soul-Stirring Romance
Visit my website
Meet me on facebook.
Or Twitter.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Three Great Twitter Marketing Ideas

Today's guest post comes from Cherie Burbach, author, blogger, poet, crocheter, and geek. She is the About.com Guide to Friendship and has penned eleven books and ebooks, including Internet Dating Is Not Like Ordering a Pizza and 21 Ways to Promote Your Book on Twitter. She has published over 500 articles on the subjects of health, sports, and lifestyle. For more info, visit her website, Cherie Burbach. com.

Today Cherie talks about promoting on Twitter, and she shares three of her excellent tips with us.

One of the best things about Twitter is that it helps support all the other marketing efforts for your book. If you've written blog posts or received great reviews, go ahead and tweet them out. There are many ways you can make your book relevant on Twitter. Here are three of them.

Use Twitter Search

A lot of Twitter users I know seem to skip the search function on Twitter, but it's actually a really great resource to instantly find topics related to your book. When you see what people are chatting about, you can get in on the conversation. Remember, though, don't just spam with links, but actually find people to talk with.

For example, if you are a romance writer, see what people are talking about in terms of love and relationships. This helps you find out what's on people's minds and gives you an opportunity to share your thoughts. As a writer, you're an expert, whether you write fiction or nonfiction.

Another example would be if you wrote women's fiction. Search for items pertaining to friendships and working through issues related to women. The fiction writers I know are naturally curious about things, so tweet out news items you've found of interest, and respond to those with complaints or questions.

Tweet Out Quirky Events and Special Days

Don't we always love to find out it's national pancake day? Or blueberry day? Tweet out special days on the calendar and relate them to your book. You can find some of them here. People create these days and you can benefit by using them to talk about your book. This is one area where fiction authors may just have the advantage over nonfiction folks, because they can be creative and relate these special days to the characters in their book, the subject matter, something they'd like their character to do… and on and on.

Use Your Book's Name as a Hashtag

Hashtags (#) are part of the language of Twitter. They help serve as a search function, and also band together people who want to talk about a certain item. For example, I noticed Max Lucado did this when he was promoting his book, Max on Life. He'd send out snippets of wisdom from his book, with a tweet like this:

Notice how he used #maxonlife as his hashtag? This allowed the name of his book to get firmly planted in people's minds and created a nice search feature where people could look specifically for tweets related to his book. You could also use this for a special phrase you might have in your book, a character's name, or more.

Twitter is like a big cocktail party, but the great part is that you can talk for as long as you want! No one will kick you out at the end of the night. These are just three ways you can use Twitter conversation to help promote your book.

Author Bio:

Cherie Burbach is an author, blogger, poet, crocheter, and geek. She is the About.com Guide to Friendship and has penned eleven books and ebooks, including Internet Dating Is Not Like Ordering a Pizza and 21 Ways to Promote Your Book on Twitter. She has published over 500 articles on the subjects of health, sports, and lifestyle. For more info, visit her website, http://www.cherieburbach.com.

Thanks so much, Cherie, for sharing these great ideas. Remember to check out Cherie's book for even more savvy marketing tips.

Saturday, August 13, 2011



by Hope Clark

I was online recently when a writer said she was starting
a group that would help writers to stay organized in their
profession. I raised both eyebrows, recognizing someone who
most likely enjoyed the feeling of bring a writer, but not
the actual writing. I expressed non-interest, reminding
her that too many groups, while fun, are subtle enemies
of your writing.

A string of memberships does not a writer make. I don't
care if they are MWA, RWA, SFWA, SCBWI, or any other
alphabet organization. When I see someone who belongs to
a long list of groups, I wonder how much time they write.

That's part of the reason that writing conferences rotate
their organizers. Takes a rare breed to annually organize a
conference and still take writing seriously. While we need
those organizers, they are sacrificing their writing in
order to help other writers. Noble, but disabling for the
actual writing effort.

Same goes for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and so on. Yes,
social networking is a necessity. Yes, they can consume
your writing time. It's a careful balance. You need the
network, but you also need to write. What's a network if
you can't get words on paper, much less polish them

I've been known to join a group, try it out, and not
renew. If the group benefits me, rejuvenates me, and doesn't
suck the life out of me, I'll stick around. I also will
allow no more than one group to be a priority for me.

FundsforWriters networking is my number one. I hope to
join Mystery Writers of America once my suspense is published.
Thank goodness my publisher is a recognized name in their
ranks. I belong to two critique groups. Past that, I'm a
back-of-the-room member of anything else. No, I'm not
lazy. Quite the contrary. I know myself. I'd be in the thick
of things wanting to be a mover and shaker. So I limit myself.

Watch the reaching out. It's needed for networking, but all
too often you forget to retreat long enough to get your
best writing done.

Hope Clark

THE BLOG - http://www.hopeclark.blogspot.com
TWITTER - http://twitter.com/hopeclark
FACEBOOK - http://www.facebook.com/chopeclark
ABOUT.ME - http://about.me/hopeclark

Post originally appeared in the Writer Circle Yahoo Group Online newsletter
Image from: http://iteachkinderkids.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post and A Giveaway!

Hop on over to Gail Pallotta's blog to read my post and enter the giveaway by leaving a comment. You could win a copy of my ebook short, "Coach and Four: Allisandra's Tale."

Gail's blog has a devotional bent, so I blogged about one of my all-time favorite portions of Scripture. What's yours? Inquiring minds want to know! Leave it in your comment.

Warmest blessings, and "God luck" to you!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feel Free to Browse, But...

Consider this blog on HOLD.
It's time for me to hunker down and work on my novels, so I'm taking an unofficial leave of absence from blogging. Please feel free to browse posts from the archives, located on the lower right side until I get back.

I know as well as the next person that a successful blog needs a minimum of two to three posts a week and right now I can't produce that many. With surgery scheduled this month--and an aggresive writing schedule--I'm going to have my hands full just taking care of myself and my family, so I'll say thank you to all my readers but it's goodbye for now. May God bless you abundantly!

Yours with love,


Monday, January 10, 2011

Review of THE MASTER'S WALL by Sandi Rog

A sprawling, coming of age story set vividly in Ancient Rome, and based on the lives of two young people who must
grapple with grave injustice and social constraints of the Roman Empire. The sub-plot is how faith can survive--and even thrive--under
the adverse circumstances the characters must endure.

Enjoyable and well-drawn major characters, but what they endure on their journey through the book is rather harrowing. Nevertheless, I found this book interesting and well-written and I loved how the plot thickened towards the end. A great twist and climactic ending--along with a nice (if belated) dose of romance makes this book the sort you close with a contented sigh.

The Master's Wall
Sandi Rog
DeWard Publishing
Available from Amazon.com, and other booksellers

Sunday, January 2, 2011

LAST LIGHT: by Terri Blackstock

Last Light (Restoration, #1)Last Light by Terri Blackstock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well written, intriguing and fast-paced. The end might have been a little stronger with regard to the villain (who becomes more of a cut-out bad guy the more we see of him) and the heroine, who makes annoyingly obvious bad choices; but otherwise the premise is so strong that we are compelled to see what happens,and we do care about the characters. I recommend this book for sure.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Setting Goals for the New Year

Have you thought out goals for the new year, yet? I love taking stock of things by reviewing my goal sheets from the past year, and then hammering out a new one.
There are many ways and means for doing this, but let me share my method with you. And if the shoe fits, wear it. Here's what I do:
I brainstorm goals for the new year under FIVE categories:

A. Personal, Spiritual
B. Home/House
C. Business/Career
D. Family
E. Financial

When I begin my list of goals, I start without the categories and just list everything I can think of that I want to accomplish in the coming year, or see happen around me. I pray about my list, asking the Lord to help me focus on the important versus the urgent. Once my list is complete (usually around 100 items) I sort them beneath the five categories, above.

I don't list things I cannot control. For example, I may have "Spend one hour a week cleaning out desktop files," But I won't list "Have a clean house at all times." I don't live alone, and I cannot control whether the house stays neat and clean at all times. Would I enjoy it if it did? Absolutely. But my goals have to be things I can manage--not hopeful, pie-in-the-sky ideals. Having said that, some of my family or home goals might be, "Make new chore charts for the kids." That helps me improve the state of things in a way that I CAN control.

Once I finish my Master List of about 100 goals, I go through the whole list, and then type up a monthly goal list. Out of the 97 goals I listed for 2011, I have a total of 40 of them on my January list. That may sound like a lot, but many of them are not one-time goals, but things I hope to do habitually, for the whole year.

For example, "Don't skip flossing." This may sound humorous, but for someone who gets lazy at night, I needed to make it a focused goal. This will be on every month's list for the whole year unless it becomes so ingrained like brushing teeth that there's no way I'd skip it.

I also listed, "Have weekly nights out with Mike." My husband and I used to go out together once a week for dinner, just the two of us--but we've let that degenerate into an occasional thing. This year, I want to revive the once-a-week custom, so it's on my list. Again, this will probably appear on the monthly goals sheet for a few months, until it's ingrained.

Numbers 12-26 are BUSINESS goals; 27-30 are HOUSE goals; 31-33 FINANCIAL; and 34-40 FAMILY. I take my WEEKLY PLANNER and write in the things I want to see done weekly, and use the NOTES section to jot down one-time things so I don't forget them. (Such as, "Get a new mattress" for one of the kids.)

Obviously, I enjoy planning. But the most fun is getting to cross off and finish things on the list.

If you have no idea how long a goal will take, (such as, "finish my manuscript")then schedule it as "SPEND ONE HOUR ON MANUSCRIPT TODAY" OR, "WRITE ONE SCENE." Continue scheduling small steps until you reach your goal.

Any goal is manageable if you break it down into small enough steps.

Have fun, brainstorm, and let 2011 be a year full of accomplishments that you can be proud of.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Organizing: Your Business Plan

[Did you know? The illustration here denotes that this article is craft-related for Writers.] Thanks to Randy Ingermanson for these "timely" tips at the end of the year.

Organizing: Your Business Plan
by Randy Ingermanson
(Used with permission)

If you're writing fiction with the hope of getting it
published someday, then you're in business. If you're
in business, then you need a business plan. If you have
a business plan, then it needs to be updated annually.

I like to update my business plan every year at the
tail end of December. Not much else is happening then.
I've usually got time to think about what went well
during the past year, what went badly, and what went

It's not uncommon for a lot to go undone in a year.
When you've got a lot of big plans for a year, you'll
do well to get 20% of them done by the end of the year.
A successful year is one in which you got the most
important 20% done.

I hope that's an encouragement to you. Your life can be
successful if you only get the most important 20% of
your projects done.

What goes into a business plan? I like to include the
following major sections:

* Introduction. A one-page summary of where things
stand, highlighting your long-term goals and your major
achievements of the past year. If you're just starting
your business, you won't have any achievements yet, but
you can still summarize your major goals for your
business (Example: "I want to publish a novel with a
traditional royalty-paying publisher.") You can also
summarize where you are on the road to reaching your

* Business Details. Several pages that define those
pesky details about money. If your business is earning
money, how much did it earn in the last year and what
were the main sources of revenue? What were the costs
of doing business in the past year? What major projects
do you intend to take on in the next year? What
expenses will you incur and how will you pay for them?

* Detailed sections on each of the major activities of
your business. If you've got only one major activity,
that may be good -- it means you're focused -- but the
hazard is that all your eggs are in one basket. If
you've got several major activities, that means you're
diversified, which is good, but the hazard is that you
may be spreading yourself too thin. This is a good time
to ask yourself the hard questions about whether you're
too narrowly focused or spread too thin. Which of your
activities generates the most revenue? Which creates
the biggest costs? Which gives you the most personal
satisfaction? The answers to these questions will give
you ideas on what directions to take in the coming
year, and on what to prune out of your life.

* Summary. Make a list of the main projects you want to
work on in the coming year. These should be fully
actionable projects -- by which I mean they should be
things you can take action on AND things you can
completely control. "Sending out queries to at least 20
agents" is actionable and you have complete control
over whether you do it or not. "Signing with a major
agent" is not fully actionable because you can't make
an agent want to sign you on. "Polishing my manuscript"
is fully actionable. "Selling my novel" is not.

My business plan for 2010 was fairly long -- eleven
pages. Because it was a modification of the business
plan for the previous year, it took me only one
afternoon to write -- about three hours of actual

I didn't accomplish even 20% of my goals for 2010. I
did hit my #1 most important goal, and I got about
halfway through my #2 most important goal. I didn't
even make a start on two other goals that I considered
very important at the beginning of the year.

In looking back, I can see two important reasons why I
got less done than I'd planned. Neither of them was
something I could have foreseen. I don't think I
handled either of them as well as I could have.
Sometimes, all you can do is muddle on.

I would judge the year moderately successful because I
did get my #1 project done. (Achieving my #2 goal would
have made the year a smashing success.)

What about you? Do you have a business plan for your
writing business? How many hours would it take to write
a five page document that spells out where you are now,
where you want to go eventually, and your actionable
projects for the coming year?

Which 20% of the things that you want to do in the
coming year are the most critical to your ultimate
success as a writer? Are there one or two items on your
list that would make the coming year a success -- even
if you achieved only those?

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the
Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing
E-zine, with more than 23,000 readers, every month. If
you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction,
AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND
have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


Friday, November 26, 2010

The Jane Austen AGM, Portland, OR

What's an AGM, you ask?
It's the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and I, now a faithful member, got to go this past October, even though it meant flying across the country to do so. My long-suffering husband came along. (I was able to enjoy the AGM while he got to enjoy Oregon scenery.)

I took so many photos that I actually got TIRED of taking them. But the outfits were exquisite. Of the 600 or so people who attended, roughly 300 or more were in costume. During the Regency ball, there was hardly a second when I wasn't smiling at the thrill of being there. The dancing was marvelous, and having a small "orchestra" (just as they did during the regency) was sublime.

The following lovely photographs are only a sampling of the many we took (Mike helped), to whet your appetite for the full slide-show which is in the works.
If you are in one of them and can identify yourself for the rest of us, please do so. (Use the comment form) If you recognize a friend or colleague in one, please forward them the link so they can see it for themselves.

People in costume are always pleased to be photographed, as they should be. The workmanship (or should I say, tailoring) in many of the gowns, spencers, bonnets, even reticules, was definitely 'of the first water.'

This was my first AGM, and I think I'm hooked. Next year's will be in NYC, and I hope by then to join the number in period dress. What fun!

To learn more about JASNA or to join, check out their website here.

I have many more photos to share with you, so stay tuned. I'm working on a slide-show with accompanying music which should be really fun.
See you soon!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to the U.S.!

I wish my readers and fellow writers from or in the US a blessed and restful day of thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Color-Coded Schedule

If you write full-time from home, you still need to follow a schedule as those who work outside the home must--at least, they should if they want to accomplish the most important things as well as the urgent ones.

Without a schedule, beginning with my to-do list, I'm sunk.
I go back to my list many times a day, making sure I've given priority to those things I marked with a RED pencil (most important tasks).
Next I do the GREEN things--work or income related.

After that, I move on to yellow. Yellow items are neat things that are good to do, but if I don't get to it, my credit rating won't be affected, and my house won't burn down. You get the idea.

Last is orange--things I'd like to do, hope to do someday, and want to keep on my radar screen. If I can, I put an Orange item on my daily list, but oftentimes I know better. I keep a list of ORANGE items and scan them quickly a couple of times a week to see if I can fit one in. Every now and then, I can, and this adds to my enjoyment of life. ORANGE items don't give me the sense of professional accomplishment that red or green items do, but in some ways they are even more important.

An ORANGE item might be "fix the ripped wall paper in the den." But when I finish it, I get a great feeling. It could also be "check out the new store in town."
It may not get my book written, but it gives me important down time so that when I get back to writing, maybe I can do it with a little more peace in my soul.

Try using the color system for your daily "to do" lists and see if it helps.
To be honest, I like using the colors, the colored pencils, and that, in itself, makes me want to finish things on my list! How about you?

But the noble man devises noble plans;
And by noble plans he stands.
Is.32:8 NASB

Note: I got my color system ideas from Trapper and Mark
Woods. They're book entitled Attack Your Day: Before it Attacks You explains the system in much more detail.
Clock image from Fairy-Flowers

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wisdom from An Agent

This is from Literary Agent Jean V. Naggar, who was asked: Do you think this (current) market has changed what editors are looking for?

She answered: "It's simple. Editors are looking for fresh, original material in perfect condition. Dramatic pace, writing quality, and clarity of thought trumps any particular trend, and my recommendation to writers today is to listen to their agent if the agent is requesting more work be done before showing a manuscript to eitors. Editors today are heavily bound up in meetings and other requirements, and showing them a strong national platform and a manuscript that is almost ready for the printer is the best way to get their attention."

Good reminder for all of us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Naming Your Fictional Character

Naming Your Fictional Character
by Linore Rose Burkard

Do you struggle to find the right name for a character when writing? Is there
such a thing as a "right" name? And if there is, how do you know when you've
found it?

The answer to these questions can only be subjective, but here's my personal take
on them, as well as some of my favorite ways to find names when I need them.

First of all, I think most writers do struggle at times with naming one or more
characters. If you've never struggled with this, be grateful. If you have, it
probably means that you had a good idea about the sort of character you
were naming, and you were smart enough to recognize that not just any ol' name would do.

When I am in need of just the 'right' name for a character, I usually use a stand-in or temporary
name until I find the right one. (The temporary name isn't important, so use whatever you like,
but I would avoid going with "Character A" and "Character B"--these are cardboard-flat names and
won't help you envision your character at all.) If you get really stuck on what the "right" name
should be, it may help you to do some further brainstorming about that character. The better you
get to know this person, the easier it will be to settle upon a name that feels right.

One of my tricks is to search catalogs with lots of models (both male and female) until I find a face
that really matches my idea for a person. Once I have a face, I can usually decide upon a name.
Some writers use baby name books, but I don't find these helpful until I have a face in mind, first. I also find
that movie credits sometimes contain wonderful names. I never borrow anyone's full name, but I find
both a first name and a surname that I like, and combine them to get that "just right" name for
my character.

Each writer really needs to find what works for them.

Secondly, is there such a thing as a "right" name? A "wrong" one?
Again, this is partly subjective, but in some cases, such as with historical novels, it is more
a matter of being period-correct.

Some things to consider when choosing a name are:

a) Will it make the reader stumble each time they encounter it? Some historical novelists choose names
that are period-correct but impossible to pronounce unless you "know" that period. Don't make reading
your book a chore! Find a name that is both correct for the time and place of your novel, while also
going easy on readers. If you must use an obscure name, or one that has an obscure spelling, use another
character to let us know exactly how the name should be read.

b) Check that the name was in existence for the period you are writing in. Many authors check to see
if the name was popular during a given period, but this is not necessary in many cases. The fact that it existed
is technically all you need to know; however, when naming a Puritan, you wouldn't want to try something
like "Crystal" when names such as Mary, Patience, and Charity were really the vogue. If you were trying
to emphasize the singularity of a character, the difference between him and her and the average person
of the world they live in, then a very different-sounding name might be just right, however.
So, the story-line plays a part in naming.

c) I'll never forget this lesson from T.S. Eliot: He wrote a heart-tugging poem called, "The Love Song of
J. Alfred Prufrock." Say that name aloud! It is anything but romantic, anything but what one would
associate with a love song, and the poem indeed conveys Prufrock's utter inability to "sing" one, even
when opportunity and desire are there. Eliot named this character carefully. The awkward name emphasizes
the pathos of the character. Can you do this in your fiction?

It's not by accident that romance writers try to choose pretty, or exotic, or smooth-sounding names for
their heros and heroines. Give a girl a pretty name, and it's easier to see her as attractive. Give a hero
a strong name, and it's easier to see him as strong.

Interestingly, you might want to choose the name for your villain as carefully
as for the hero or heroine. A villain often disguises him or herself as a hero or heroine, at least for some
portion of a book, and until they are found out, a beautiful name will go far to fool the reader. Conversely,
an uncertain name, one that is not particularly evocative or attractive (think: Clark Kent) can be used
to de-emphasize the real hero or heroine until they are revealed for their true colors later in the book.

There's also the idea that evil can appear beautiful, and a lovely name for a villain can make for
fun reading. In my book, The House in Grosvenor Square, the good-looking villain's name is Lord Wingate, or Julian.
Neither sound ominous, but "Julian" has a sort of mysterious air to it, which I think supports the character's

You shouldn't need to obsess over naming a character, for it is much easier to get a "right" name than
a wrong one. Only historical novels can objectively be accused of having a "wrong" name--either for their
time or place--but do try to fit the appellation with the person. Get something that fits. Give a pretty girl
a pretty name, and a hero a strong name--unless it is part of their appeal or story that they have a "wrong" name and triumph anyway
(such as in the Johnny Cash song, " A Boy Named Sue").

Above all, have fun naming your characters! Find a method you like, whether it be an internet search,
a baby-name book, movie credits, or any other source, and have at it. Experiment with different names for the
same character if you're just not sure, and see what sits best with you. Eventually, you will find the "right" name
for each character, and your book will be stronger for it.

All rights reserved. You may copy this article only if you use it in its entirety and include "written by Linore Rose Burkard" AND link to the website: http://www.LinoreRoseBurkard.com