Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Where Hearts Are Free

Where Hearts Are Free (A Darkness to Light Novel, #3)Where Hearts Are Free by Golden Keyes Parsons

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like a good read that is gently inspiring, look no further, as this book will fit the bill. It is well-written with the exception that much of the dialogue sounds Victorian rather than early Colonial American. The author does include Quakers who speak properly for the time period, but other than these characters, I wasn't able to stay in the period all that well. Aside from that, the read is surprisingly quick and compelling, and the plot will keep you turning pages until the end. There is one disappointing scene that is bound to be controversial, which I mention only because it is not gentle and those wanting only truly light-hearted romance may wish to avoid on account of its inclusion. But I award the author five stars for a well-paced, smoothly flowing story; one I enjoyed more than her previous books.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Only 11 Days Left to Enter This Contest

This contest is sponsored by my own ACFW Chapter here in Ohio. Take a look--it may be the right one for you.

Only 11 days remain!

Want to get feedback on the opening of your book?
Want feedback on your back cover blurb?
Want help polishing those first 4 pages of your book, in preparation for important contests, like Genesis and Golden Heart?

HOOK ME is for you.

Sponsored by ACFW-Ohio, the Hook Me contest offers feedback from judges, a PDF of writing tips from published authors and judges, and even 2 nifty prizes for your favorite reader and writer: You!

Check the ACFW-Ohio web site for the contest rules and submission information. www.acfwohio.com

The basics:
1,000 words from the beginning of your book, and a 300-word back cover blurb in OND .doc or .rtf document -- emailed.
$15 check (ACFW members) sent by snail mail
DEADLINE: October 31
Judging will be finished and winners notified by December 1
Each entry will go to 3 judges

Check www.acfwohio.com for the complete rules, and a sample of the judging sheet.

Michelle Levigne
ACFW-Ohio 2010 president

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The HOOK, LIne & Sinker Contest

1. Hudson Valley RWA is proud to announce it 25th Annual Hook, Line & Sinker contest, now accepting electronic, as well as paper submissions!

25th Annual Hook, Line & Sinker Contest

True or false? If the first three pages of your manuscript aren't attention grabbing the agent or editor will probably stop reading and reject the work. Sad, but TRUE!

Hone your skills in hooking an editor or agent by entering our Hook, Line & Sinker Contest. Three Hudson Valley RWA members, at least one published, will critique the first three pages of your manuscript. The five entries with the highest scores will be ranked by Harlequin editor BRENDA CHIN.


Now accepting both electronic and hard copy entries!

General Rules

Entry fee: $10.00

Include a cover page with your name, address, phone number, e-mail and title/genre of your unpublished, book-length novel.

Manuscript should be professionally presented, double-spaced, with one-inch margins all around.

Entries must be mailed to coordinator by regular mail or emailed to the contest coordinator no later than midnight November 1, 2010. ENTRIES REQUIRING A SIGNATURE TO CONFIRM DELIVERY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Send entries to contest coordinator: Gina Rosavin, 397 Ridgewood Blvd. North, Washington Twp., NJ 07676 or email your electronic submission to: HVRWAContest@gmail.com

For the purposes of this contest, the author's name should not appear on the manuscript.

Winners will be announced in January, 2011.

Send electronic copies to: HVRWAContest@gmail.com
Send hard copies to: Gina Rosavin
397 Ridgewood Blvd. North
Washington Twp., NJ 07676
FMI: http://hudsonvalleyrwa.com/contest

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lesson from The Yearling

I loved The Yearling as a child. It was a long book and it earned a bit of reverence from this reader by the time I had finished it. Of course, I cried my eyes out. But like today's devotion for writers, below, I had still missed a lot--simply because I wasn't ready for any more. Thanks to Jeanette Hanscome (whose site you can visit by clicking on the title above, or her name) for this thoughtful meditation.

The Bigger Story
By Jeanette Hanscome

I have a strange habit of picking up spiritual applications and writing-life lessons wherever I go. It must be the devotional writer in me. This week I found one in an old movie.

Since trading cable for an inexpensive Netflix subscription, my sons and I have developed an appreciation for classic films. Most recently, I decided to introduce them to The Yearling. It had been so long since I watched it that I almost felt like I was seeing it for the first time. I remembered about enough to warn my eight-year-old that it was sad. I’d forgotten how long it took for the boy to actually get the deer that becomes the title character. As a kid that had been the story—Jody finds a baby fawn, names him Flag, raises him, then tries desperately to keep Flag from eating the family crops until Pa has enough and. . . well, we all know how the story ends. I vaguely recalled Jody throwing something at a snotty little girl who was making faces at him. I also remembered a close-up on a row of tiny graves stones, followed by a father/son discussion about Ma losing so many children that she couldn’t bring herself to risk loving anyone—including Jody—too much. But as I re-watched this movie with my sons I discovered how much I’d missed as a younger viewer.

As I told my almost-20-year-old, it suddenly hit me that The Yearling isn’t really about Jody and Flag. Well, it is, but that is only the surface plot; the bigger story is about Jody growing from a starry-eyed boy prone to wandering in the woods when he should be doing his chores and begging his parents to let him bring home “a critter” (such as a raccoon), into a young man who, after a few painful doses of reality, is ready to face the responsibilities of grown-up life. He gets there through a lot of heartbreak and loss, including a moment of completely understandable anger that pushes him to run away. But he returns to his parents a different son, one who, as Pa puts it “Isn’t a yearling no more.” (Don’t you just love those soppy Old Hollywood lines, and Gregory Peck’s ability to deliver them so beautifully that laughing at the melodramatic wording would be about as disrespectful as laughing at a funeral?) In the process we see the family grow closer and a grieving mother’s walls come down.

So what does this have to do with the writing life? It reminded me how often we see only the surface plot of our careers, missing the bigger much more important story. Just as we appreciate a movie or book in a deeper way as an adult than we did as a child, the deeper story of what God is doing in our lives shines through as we mature, experience setbacks, frustration and heartbreak, and learn to persevere. What once looked like a long dry season in our career, we suddenly see as a time of growth, either in the craft or in our ability to discipline ourselves to sit down and write. Or we recognize it as a time of preparation, when God taught us valuable life lessons that equipped us to be the writer He needed. The tragedies that took us away from writing for weeks, months, or even years and had us crying “Why God?” we later recognize as the missing piece of the puzzle—that source of wisdom and understanding that we needed in order to truly inspire others and point them to Christ.

Take some time this month to examine the deeper story beneath some of your personal or professional surface plots, particularly those that had you kicking and screaming and groaning, “Why God? When are you going to use me?”

What has God used to grow you to a point where He could say you are ready to serve Him in a new way—that you “aren’t a yearling no more?”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Did You Miss My Free Download?

Did you get my latest ezine? I always include a free download, no strings attached. (But you need to be subscribed to get new issues.)
Click the link below, take a peek, and sign up if you like what you see. : )

Warmest blessings,


Every issue comes with a free download. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time for a Book Review

4.0 out of 5 stars

19th Century Mystery Delivers

By Linore Burkard "Inspirational Romance Author"

I read the Kindle edition of this book which had no description; I expected an historical romance of sorts and found that it is really much more
a mystery, and a crime mystery at that.

Despite not being my favorite genre, there is a lot going for this book, including a lovable protagonist, some very strong surrounding cast, wonderful descriptions of a country estate and lots of other 19th century details which make the reading so interesting--at least for an historical romance author like me. The mystery is well done and made me stay up half the night to find out how it all ends.

I wasn't crazy about the ending, but there is so much of England in another century here, to savor, that I may even read this again, or at least parts of it. Definitely worthwhile reading for history buffs, Anglophiles, mystery lovers, and there was, indeed, a thread of romance--thin, but there.

Note: There are paperback editions of this book available on Amazon, or you can download the Kindle edition for free. If you don't have a Kindle, use the Kindle app for PCs, also free.

Happy reading!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Fair at New Boston, OH

I love the fall with the many festivals and celebrations it brings, not to mention pumpkins, haystacks and lazy scarecrows cropping up all over the place. One of the special festivals I managed to attend this past month was the Fair at New Boston, OH.
The theme is the American Revolutionary War, and there were more re-enactors at this one fair than I've ever seen in one place before (beside movie sets!).

To my surprise and delight, many people came in regency costume, too. In America, the time of the regency is known as the Federalist Period (ca.1775-1830). But whether you call it Georgian, Regency or Federalist style, I love it, and I took lots of pictures.

IF YOU ARE IN ONE OF THESE PHOTOS, please leave us a comment, telling us about your costume if you like.

For the rest of you, enjoy the photos! I had fun taking them and meeting each person who happily posed for me.

In the future, I'll certainly try to make it to this fair again. For "official" pictures and information regarding the New Boston Fair, click the title of this post.

The lady on the right gets my vote as the best-dressed regency belle of them all. And she made her own costume, including, if I remember correctly, the bonnet.