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Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Writing is Like Fighting…

Happy Friday! Today CAN member Carla Hoch inspires us with writing perspectives told from a fighter’s point of view.

Mohammed Ali estimated that over the course of his career he had been hit about 29,000 times. Twenty-nine thousand! Now, I don’t know how many of you have been punched in the face, but it ain’t fun. A solid punch can rock you to your core. And, after the fact, you are sore in places you never thought you’d be. Including your spirit.

Writing is a lot like fighting. You pour your heart into it and sometimes the “win” doesn’t come.   The agent isn’t interested, the editor isn’t impressed. And, it hurts. Literally. Rejection and physical pain ride the same pathways in the brain. Biologically speaking, a solid rejection can rock you to your core just like a punch and hurt you in places you never thought you would. Including your spirit.

Ask a boxer if they ever get hit when they train and they’ll probably laugh. Of course they do. They get hit a lot. And it’s not because aren’t trying or aren’t good at what they do. For boxers, taking punches is part of the process, essential to the product and integral to their profession. Achievement comes with ache. Ali wasn’t the greatest of all time despite those 29,000 hits. He was the greatest of all time, in part, because of them.

The rejections we as writers get are not signs that we should give up. They are proof that we’re doing something right, that we are still in the fight. You know what kind of writer doesn’t get rejected? The kind who won’t step in the ring, who won’t send in their MS. Folks, what if after a hundred punches Ali had called it quits? What if Seuss, Golding, Joyce, Faulkner, Potter, Plath, L’Engle, Kipling, and countless others, had taken their rejections as proof that they weren’t any good, that they should just hang it up?

Writers, achievement comes with ache, punches are part of the process, pain is essential to the product. And all are proof that you are still writing, still fighting. Take the hits. Get ok with them. Expect them. Welcome them. Make them a sandwich and sit on the couch with them. Because you won’t be a success despite them. You’ll be a success, in part, because of them.

Carla HochCarla Hoch is the author of the Writer’s Digest book Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes and proprietor of the award winning FightWrite™ blog. She is a Writer’s Digest author and instructor and regularly teaches workshops on the mechanics of fighting for writers as well as the craft of writing fight scenes. Carla is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter with training in nearly a dozen fighting styles. She lives just outside Houston, Texas with her family and host of mammals.

 

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

Tech Talk

I have a confession to make: I may have a slight tech addiction. And I’m not just talking about killing zombies or expanding my online Township empire. I’m talking about the rabbit holes I jump down on a regular basis that more often than not find their way into my writing. My current novel features a sixty-year-old protagonist living in the year 2060 with a limited vision for life after retirement.

In an effort to illustrate what addiction looks and feels like, I have her growing overly dependent on her A.I. companion, Carver. As the story opens, she prefers his company and their private world to “real” people. What will it take to lure her out of her head and into the real world?

Meaningful relationships, the beauty of nature as represented in my awesome mare Clara, my fabulous canine companion Christie, and the beauty of the Wisconsin world around me—all lure me into living robustly on a daily basis. Weaving these basic concepts into a future fictional world are forming the basic structure of my newest story world.

A tech addiction in the year 2061 may not look all that different from a tech addiction in the year 2021—sure, the toys will be cooler, but the basic human drives remain the same. Our need for connection, intimacy, safety and knowing and being known by others can help us build more satisfying relationships and communities in real life—or online.

What if the relationships we build in the future are with artificial intelligence (A.I.) entities? Will they still count? More to the point, will our minds, hearts and souls make distinctions between humans and A.I. entities in our online relationships? And if you build relationships online—what unique factors exist to differentiate between an A.I. friend and a human friend?

Integrating these concepts into my writing has led to a story world that keeps me coming back to the keyboard.

Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Her newest novel, Capsized by Death, is the fourth book in her award-winning Jo Oliver thriller series. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends. Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com

 

Categories
Encouragement Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Why I Write Happily Ever After Endings

Anne Greene, Author
Anne Greene

I’ve experienced God’s happily-ever-afters in my life many times since I became a Christian at age twenty-one. I suffered a difficult childhood. When the Lord made me a new creation in Christ Jesus, He began my emotional healing that transformed me into the happy, content person I am today.

Again, when my first husband died early in our marriage leaving me with almost no money and two young children, I learned first-hand the Lord does take care of His children. When the first love of my life died, I felt physically torn in half. I often looked down at my body to see if I was bleeding. But God became my constant companion and took my torn halves and knit them back together. He gave me the verse, Deuteronomy 31:6—The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. He kept His promise. At the right time He brought a new forever love, a new husband into my life. Through that experience I know without a single doubt that I have complete freedom to trust God. He loves to make His children happy.

Now, when God takes me out of my comfort zone and walks with me through difficulties, I can look back on His faithfulness and set my trust in Him.

Knowing God is in charge and He truly cares allows me to write happy-ever-after endings to all my books.

ANNE GREENE delights in writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines.  Anne hopes her books transport the reader to awesome new worlds and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Read More about Anne at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.

 

 

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

The Story Behind the Story of. . . A Pink Lady Thanksgiving

It’s 1879, and the Oregon Trail is still ferrying emigrants west to California, Oregon, and Washington. Hundreds of covered wagon trains with thousands of people every year, all searching for something better than they left behind.

The first book, Kate, is a tale of adventure and love filled with secrets, threats, and narrow escapes as Kate and Tom head for Oregon City.

Now, they’ve safely put their past behind them. Or have they? Kate realizes her dream of working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and her first assignment is to find a local missing woman. When she begins investigating, however, she is threatened and their house is set ablaze, then her son is kidnapped.

The basis for this book came from an article I read about an unsolved stagecoach robbery in 1878 in Deadwood, South Dakota. The robbers were all caught and hung, and all the gold dust, gold nuggets, and the gold ingots from the Homestake Mine were recovered, except for a gigantic five-pound gold brick. I started asking those pesky what if questions, and. . .

Then I read about Kate Warne, the first Pink Lady detective.  As a young widow in the 1850s, she marched into the Pinkterton office and said she wanted a job. Alan Pinkerton thought she meant a clerical job, but no. Kate wanted to be a detective. And she turned out to be one of his best “men”, paving the way for many more female detectives in the coming years.

Kate Warne was a feisty woman with definite ideas of how she wanted her life to go, and so is my Kate. While Kate Warne never remarried, I wanted my Kate to balance family and a professional career, a relatively new concept in the 1870s.

Watch for more books featuring Kate and Tom in the future, but for now, check out the first two adventures and my other books at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donna+schlachter&ref=nb_sb_noss 

Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts
Donna Schlachter

Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests.

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

 

Categories
Devotional

Building Relationships in the Crazy COVID Crisis

Building Relationships in the Crazy COVID Crisis

by Susan G Mathis

Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship; it will affect every aspect of your relationships. Good personal communication is the act of revealing yourself—your past experiences, present feelings, and future dreams. It’s sharing your fears, needs, and desires carefully and honestly. Communicating well is also about setting boundaries, confronting problems, admitting when you’re wrong, rejecting fearmongering and negativity, and extending grace to each other.
But in this crazy COVID season, it feels so isolating, so anti-relationship, and so self-withdrawing. In short, it’s scary. It’s confusing. It’s lonely. It makes us want to hide from others.
And it’s unhealthy.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they broke the communication they had with their Creator and caused isolation from Him. They covered up and hid. They withdrew, isolated, and lost relationship.
God never intended that. He knew that a life of withdrawing and hiding would be painful and counterproductive. That’s why God delights in His people fighting back fears of connection, overcoming negative communication patterns, and learning to communicate in healthy and loving ways. And I dare say, He still wants that for us, even during this COVID season.
Connecting, communicating, and not isolating might look a little different during this time. You may have to be proactive in connecting with others through Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, social media, or the phone. You may have to fight the isolation and the fear that comes with this COVID season. And you may have to proactively reveal yourself by communicating your fears, frustrations, concerns—and your faith.
In my latest novella, Reagan’s Reward, Reagan struggled to build healthy relationships and communicate with those different from her. She tried to isolate and fear overtook her. And she plunged into a dark place.
God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. God wants us to encourage others. God wants us to be authentic and hopeful.
This will pass, and everything does. But God’s truths never change. Communicate that, and we’ll all be encouraged. And healthier for it.

Susan G. Mathis
Susan G. Mathis

Susan G Mathis is vice president of CAN and an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

Categories
Inspiration for Writers

Inspiration in Everyday Things

Most writers find inspiration in things they notice or read about—I’ve certainly read a news article and thought, “Hmm, that would make a good plot for a romantic suspense book.” For two of my romantic suspense stories, the general plotline has its roots in real life.

I based Dangerous Christmas Memories on a short news item about two celebrities who tied the knot in Las Vegas but didn’t realize it was a “real” marriage until years later. In my story, the heroine literally forgot she had said “I do,” in Vegas, then disappeared while the hero spent years looking for her.

And those two celebrities? They only found out they really were married when one was preparing for his own wedding and an attorney uncovered the previous marriage license record.

Illusion of Love-coverFor Illusion of Love, the genesis was the real-life story of a friend, who had experienced a heartbreaking—and rather horrible—online relationship. When I heard her story, I knew I wanted to write about it but with my own twists and turns. In fact, anyone who knows her story wouldn’t find many similarities with mine at all. But the basic idea, the seed that grew into Illusion of Love, was based on a true story.

But what makes using “true” stories as the foundation for a fiction story so much fun is that we can write our own endings—and our own beginnings and middles too. We don’t want fiction to mirror real life too closely!

 

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child. Her romantic suspense books include Dangerous Christmas Memories (Love Inspired Suspense), Mistletoe & Murder (Seshva Press) and Illusion of Love (Seshva Press). Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, one foster child and three cats. Connect with her at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

Categories
Humor

The Write to Expire

The first day of the writer’s conference, my daughters and I crowded onto the elevator with several other conferees making their way to the morning keynote session. Fifteen-year-old Holly and 17-year-old Leilani were the only teen attendees that year.

“I just love to see expiring new writers,” spoke up an elderly lady. She nodded and smiled at my daughters. Of course, she meant to say aspiring. Not expiring. I think.

Quick-witted Holly didn’t miss a beat. “You must mean my mom.”

During the process of writing 29 of my own books and many titles for clients in addition to countless articles, some of the funniest moments revolve around what I meant to say compared to what I wrote. When those two elements align, writer and reader communicate. More like writer, editor, and reader communicate. Then there are the occasions when what I intended to write is different from the words on the manuscript.

“The plane began its decent” is more accurate as “The plane its descent.” Sigh.

“Her eyes rolled around the room” was supposed to be “She glanced around the room.”

“His face flew down the stairs” is better described as “I watched him come quickly downstairs.”

“The fallen woman lay at the bottom of the trail” or “The woman fell at trail’s end.” There is a world of difference between a fallen woman and a woman that fell.

Leilani went on to become a full-time writer and Holly’s writing skills keep communication clear and flowing in her career. And, okay, while half of my kids are writers, the others are allergic to reading and writing. But we all enjoy a good misplaced word or clever turn of a phrase. Leilani and Holly still occasionally refer to me as the expired writer.

 

PeggySue Wells
PeggySue Wells

History buff and tropical island votary, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, PeggySue is the bestselling author of 29 books, translated into eight languages, including The What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. Radio talk show host, author, and speaker, she interviews industry experts, entrepreneurs, and exceptional voices to help people live better, together. Connect with PeggySue on Facebook, Linked In, and at  www.PeggySueWells.com

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

A Frightening Proposition

What is your greatest fear? What would it take to face that fear, and make the shift from from fear to love?

Halloween, El Dia de Los Meurtos, All Hallows Eve—these traditions offer a great opportunity to reflect on our faith walk and the extent to which we are allowing the Holy Spirit to move us away from fear into His perfect love. The journey itself could spark a great story.

Anytime I notice myself living a little smaller, a little less joyfully, a little less confidently—I know it is time for me to stop, pray, and reflect. I ask God to show me His truth and to lead me back into His light—and to allow His perfect love to cast out all fear. And then I take the time to backtrack and acknowledge the crooked thinking, or soul woundedness that made me vulnerable to breathing in fear or lies, instead of basking in His love and peace.

This process of uncovering distortions and moving away from fear toward love is embedded in the lives of the characters in the novel I’m currently working on. Asking myself how fear shows up and holds my protagonist back strengthens my writing and creates space for growth and personal renewal as a result of my characters’ struggles. Tonight, as I set up individually bagged candy offerings for my neighborhood goblins, I’ll be thinking about how the Word of God can lift off the mask of our distortions and bring us into the clarifying light of His love.

Catherine Finger
Catherine Finger www.CatherineFinger.com

And tomorrow morning, I’ll be back at my computer, weaving suspenseful tales as my characters move away from fear and back onto the path of His glorious love.

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to write books, ride horses, and serve others through her emerging coaching practice. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

The Writer Who Almost Wasn’t

Linore Rose Burkard
Linore Rose Burkard

Proof of God’s power and sense of humor are both evident in my story of getting published.    Readers would probably be surprised to learn that despite majoring in English Literature and graduating magna cum laude, I was too afraid to take a Creative Writing class. It wasn’t that I didn’t have story ideas—I just lacked the confidence and, I believed, the time, to write them.  (I worked full time and was convinced it would take an enormous amount of time to do it well, if I could indeed even do it.)

But story ideas wouldn’t go away. And after waiting years for someone to write a Christian Regency romance, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.  So I wrote the book I wanted to read. Knowing nothing about the publishing industry, I only queried two publishers. One was interested (a major house), but then passed. With my usual ultra-confidence, I accepted that I wasn’t good enough to be published.

But God wouldn’t let it go! He kept nudging me. But I kept procrastinating. And here’s the humorous part. He used a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to do it. Whenever I thought about it, he would remind me of “thine almost blunted purpose.”   Finally, I self-published the book—I thought I had no other choice—which led to  Nick Harrison, then a Senior Editor with Harvest House Publishers, contacting me, which led to HHP publishing it (Before the Season Ends), and then two more regencies.

Why that line? Why from Hamlet? I often wondered. It took years for me to understand. Like the troubled prince in the play, I was being a great procrastinator! God nudged me to action in time for Nick to find the book and ask to see it.  And thus began my career.

Forever, Lately by Linore Rose Burkard
Forever, Lately by Linore Rose Burkard

Bio: Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite and hopeless romantic.  She writes heartwarming historical romance and YA/Suspense (as L.R. Burkard). Raised in NY, she now lives with her husband and five children in southwestern Ohio.

Categories
Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

The Story Behind the Story of Risk Management     

 

Peru. Its people call me back.

Which is why I set Carly’s finale book in Peru. As a tribute to her, because she kept calling me back, to write yet another story about her. The first time I visited Peru, I learned about hidden temples and jungle monsters. I thought, “Carly could have a mystery here.”

Peru was the perfect backdrop to Carly’s finale book as she made decisions about her future. Forced by health issues to slow down, pushed into a corner until she made a choice about the direction and the content of her faith life, Carly is like many of us: she’s been given a chance to choose something she didn’t want and make it her new norm.

So while Carly doesn’t actually go to Peru, the country comes to her. And she learns more about herself as a result.

And while this is the last book in the “By the Numbers” series, she will join her granddaughter in a segue novella, coming out in September, bridging the gap between readers saying goodbye and those finding the new series.

 

Risk Management CoverAbout Risk Management:

Carly Turnquist, Forensic Accountant, can never ignore a good mystery. Or in this case, three. When her sometime friend tells her a mystery is afoot, with links to a Quechuan temple, a Peruvian jungle monster, and murder, Carly is hooked. But when her investigations come close to home, she must decide whether to step back or continue, because now her family—and her own life—are at stake. Never one to give up without a good fight, Carly finds herself under attack from a third direction—her body is failing her. Will she continue? Or will she retire gracefully? Perhaps she can do both.

 

 

 

About Leeann:

Leeann Betts
Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 devotionals, novellas, and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, Pikes Peak Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and are proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.

 

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