“She’s cute, and perky, and all the things I’m not.”

That’s how my real life persona, Donna Schlachter, describes me.

I’m not sure why, because she’s a pretty swell person herself. Still, I suspect it’s because she likes to live vicariously through me. Kind of like a split personality.

Maybe all authors are that way. We live our lives through our characters. Putting them in situations most of us would never experience.

When I wrote the first book in this series, I had a character, an occupation, and a murder—but I didn’t know whodunit, or why. I got to within two chapters of the end of the book and realized I’d written myself into a corner. So I picked one of the secondary characters, made that person the killer, ended the book, and went back and gave that character a backstory, put in some other suspects with good motives then gave them alibis. Needless to say, if I’d sat down and done an outline, I’d have known the answers to those questions and saved a lot of time.

Well, thankfully, I learned a lot since then. I grew to love my heroine (she’s actually a lot like me, only she takes way too many stupid chances and is much faster on the quippy comebacks than I’ll ever be). So I wanted to write more about her. At first, I thought three books. Finally I made a deal with her that she would tell me when she’s done.

Carly has done a lot of growing over the intervening years, too. And now she has told me, “One more. Twelve. Nice round number.” So next year’s book, Risk Management, will be the last.

Whew. That’s a little scary. After all, who am I unless I’m writing about Carly, who wants to prove to everybody that accountants are more than bean counters? Hopefully I’ll have a better idea of the answer to that question in the new year.

For now, I’m celebrating the release of Book 11, Missing Deposits.

 

Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, CAN, and SinC.

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.

Blog: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://bit.ly/1pQSOqV

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1qmqvB6

Books: Amazon http://amzn.to/2dHfgCE  and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2z5ecP8

Missing Deposits cover

 

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by Judith Couchman

At some point in a writing career, most authors entertain the idea of getting away to write. We think about peace, quiet, focus, solitude. No interruptions. And the beauty of working in a seaside condo or a woodland cabin.

Sounds wonderful, right?

It can be. Or it can balloon into disappointment. It depends on how we prepare for it. Yes, prepare. Prepare by setting guidelines for an enjoyable writing venture.

Guidelines can sound like knocking the romance out of a get-away dream. However, if we adopt a laissez faire approach to a writing trip, we can wind up spending too much time watching television, calling up friends, taking long naps, or living at the beach. None of these activities need to be eliminated, but kept in balance related to getting the work done.

 

  1. Truly change your location.
  2. Go alone.
  3. Prepare your family and friends.
  4. Clear internal conflicts.
  5. Create media and phone boundaries.
  6. Set goals.
  7. Make  a schedule.
  8. Don’t take “just in case” work.
  9. Get outside the room.
  10. Eat healthy food.
  11. Rest and take breaks.
  12. Pray.

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BobHostetlerBob Hostetler here, offering another prayer for writers:

Lord, I lay myself down,
on this page,
in these words,
lines,
thoughts,
ideas,
hopes,
and dreams.
Read More →

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BobHostetlerBob Hostetler here, offering another prayer for writers:

Abba,
I am a weak writer:
insecure,
inadequate,
in over my head.
But you chose Ehud because of his weakness.
You used him,
not to mention Moses, David, Jeremiah, Paul, and others
(though I did just mention them; see what I mean?).
So grant me the faith
to believe that you can choose me and use me too.
Read More →

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Historical Post by Gail Gaymer Martin

Cut, Snip, Tighten

I have been blessed to have been given an amazing career as a writer of Christian fiction, and in my days of creating stories that I hope will touch your hearts, I have learned so much about writing stories readers can enjoy. Most people do not understand the amount of detail and craft that goes into being a writer, and most people do not sell their first novel. I did, but not before it went through “refining fire.”

I knew nothing about writing fiction when I began to write. My first romance novel began with the death of the heroine’s husband, traveled through months of her grief, and on page 102 she met the hero. The book was rejected numerous times until I realized that a romance begins with the meeting of the hero and heroine within the first couple of pages. I also learned a story starts at the point of change—not the husband’s death, but the heroine’s new beginning. With the advice of a few kind writers who knew about writing fiction, I had to cut one-hundred glorious pages from my novel. That made all the difference, but by then the book had been rejected a number of times.

I courageously continued to submit books, and most of those were sitting on editors’ desks, waiting for rejection. In 1998, I submitted a new book to Barbour Publishing. Within a few months, I heard from them. Though the editors felt that particular book would not work for their readership, they liked my voice and writing style. They asked if I had anything else. I thought of my first novel…just sitting there. I said, “Sure I do and I’ll get it in the mail right away.”

But “right away” meant doing some serious edits. At that time the completed book was seventy-five thousand words. Barbour accepts only forty-five to fifty-five thousand words, so I had some serious cutting to do. I had learned so much more about writing by then, and I went through the manuscript tightening the story by removing useless dialogue and scenes that did not move the story forward. I cut a sub-plot and tightened my language. When I’d reached the right page count, I mailed the book in. Within eleven days, SEASONS sold to Barbour Publishing and I became a published author.

I have learned to cut, snip and tighten. I continue to improve my writing skills by honing the craft, listen to those who know the business, and understand that tightening a novel can only make it better. Those lessons have reaped great rewards and blessings for me. Now with 76 published novels and over 4 million books sold, I conclude that I finally know how to write a good book. It takes time, patience and tons of perseverance. Improving the craft never ends! I continue to read and study writing techniques and find new ideas for ways to improve my work.

In my next post, I will cover what I have done when I’ve received the reversion of rights and can now republish my older books for readers who hadn’t read them years ago when they were published. My goal is to use what I have learned to this day and to make my old novels new and improved. I hope you look for this blog on Reversion of Rights.

 

 

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