Archive for the ‘Writing news’ Category

Speedbo 2017! #amwriting

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Speedbo starts March 1!

What is Speedbo?

Speedbo is a month of focusing on your writing goals and is sponsored by the Seekers of Seekerville.

Who are the Seekers and what is Seekerville?

The Seekers are an amazing group of inspirational romance authors who share their knowledge with other writers in the village community of Seekerville. In Seekerville writers of all levels come together to learn the craft of writing the best book possible. The whole community encourages one another as we all share our adventures while seeking publication of our inspirational romance manuscripts…striving for the dream.

If you want a month of support and motivation as you move toward your inspirational writing goals, please join us. To get more information and to sign up today, visit Seekerville-Speedbo 2017! You will make progress and have fun!

Bible verse:

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:14 (KJV)

Blessings!

Want to improve your writing? #writingtips and #amwriting advice…Review of Excelling at the Craft of Writing.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Not attending #ACFW2016? You can do a writing-conference-in-a-book with Excelling at the Craft of Writing. This collection of writing advice essays is filled with 101 mini-workshops to make your writing glow. Each contribution is written by an author from the WordServe Literary agency, giving us suggestions on many facets of writing. As I read each one, I felt like I was attending a conference session on writing craft, complete with takeaways and inspiration. For your writing sessions, grab a big mug of your caffeinated tea of choice, or coffee if you prefer, as we study ways to improve our craft.

Excelling at the Craft of Writing

Excelling at the Craft of Writing

 

Excelling at the Craft of Writing: 101 Ideas to Move Your Prose to the Next LevelExcelling at the Craft of Writing: 101 Ideas to Move Your Prose to the Next Level by Greg Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many treasures of writing advice fill this book!

Excelling at the Craft of Writing is a book filled with multiple gems of writing advice. This is a conference worth of writer workshops all in one resource. The essays are written by successful authors of the WordServe Literary agency and reflect their wordsmith talents.

Divided into eight sections, the first part is Nonfiction Essentials. Even though I’m a fiction writer, I found useful information in this section. Essays on devotional writing inspired me to develop my skills in this area.

The middle sections cover essential information for fiction writers…characterization, dialogue, plotting, timing, structure, setting the scene, style, language, voice, and process. There are many ideas for making your novel shine…to keep readers turning the pages. I especially liked the excellent pointers for creating strong, reader-involved characters.

The ending chapters give tips which apply to all writers…revising, editing and pitching. These essays suggest many ways to edit your manuscript, with a final part covering query letters, pitching and proposals.

Whether you are a nonfiction author or an author of fiction, you will find great tips for improving your writing so your work moves to the next level. You’ll be encouraged with inspirational thoughts, such as “There may be people out there who need what you have to write.” (Laurie Short) From my needle-crafter and writer’s perspective, my favorite inspirational line from this book is Jan Drexler’s comparison of a quilter to an author: “But the thing quilting and writing have most in common? The finished product is a work of your heart that you share with others.” Exactly!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review. I’m pleased to offer my honest opinion.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

We pray for all those attending the American Christian Fiction Writers conference this week. We pray for their safe travels and for their encouragement as they are inspired by what they experience at the conference. We pray for the authors and publisher of this collection of essays, Excelling at the Craft of Writing, for providing the blessings of knowledge and motivation for writers. May You bless all Christian writers and readers as Your message is spread through the written word.

We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Thank you for joining me for this review post about Excelling at the Craft of Writing. If you’re like me, and not attending a writing conference this year, you might consider studying a craft book such as this one. Conferences are amazing experiences, but we can learn to take our writing to the next level by reading advice written by experienced authors.

Maybe a conference will be in our futures for next year! May your writing and/or reading be inspired by God’s treasured blessings!

With warm regards and blessings,

Sherida

 

Seven tools to spark ideas for writing historical fiction. #amwriting #historical

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Are you writing historical fiction? Do you sometimes need the spark of an idea to move your manuscript forward? I certainly do, so I’m sharing these tips for what works for me.

While writing historical romances, I find inspiration in some fascinating places. Maybe it’s the history buff in me, or maybe my interest in how other people lived years ago, but ideas popped up when I did these things:

My grandmother is second from the right. This is probably around 1910.

My great-grandparents’ family photo. My grandmother, Mabel, is second from the right. This is probably around 1910.

1.LOOK AT OLD PHOTOGRAPHS

Pinterest is a great place to search for the time period and subject you are writing about.  Photos from historical societies and history books also provide setting ideas. Family photos are other good places to find gems. I found a picture of a stiff-faced family which sparked the idea for a flashback memory for my heroine. Of course, you need to be sure the scene propels your story forward, but reflecting on a moment which adds important elements to the story can be useful.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Silverton, Colorado 1905

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Silverton, Colorado 1905

2. VISIT HISTORIC SITES

A wealth of valuable ideas can be found in old towns and historic districts. I find ideas for the settings of my stories by taking walking tours of places I want to write about. Often, there are guide books available which give intriguing details about the people and their occupations to  spark further ideas.

Durango-Silverton steam engine

Durango-Silverton steam engine

3. EXPERIENCE LIFE IN ANOTHER TIME

This is truly the best way to get the feel of a bygone era. My stories always seem to involve train travel, and since we love tourist railroads, riding an excursion train is always on our agenda. There is no better way to experience the stench of coal smoke, the grit of cinders, the thrill of the whistle, while relaxing as the train rocks down the tracks. I suggest heeding the “All aboard!” call of the conductor whenever possible.

Someday I hope to try a wagon trail camping trip to experience the trials of the Oregon Trail. Read

Staying at a historic hotel also immerses you in the setting so you can imagine life during a different time…but the beds are more comfortable now and private bathrooms are good additions.

Wyman Hotel and Inn, Silverton, Colorado 1902

Wyman Hotel and Inn, Silverton, Colorado 1902

4. READ MEMOIRS

Recently, I found an obscure book written by a man who had lived in the area I was writing about. The violence during his time period impressed me, and his use of language was helpful. Reading the man’s remembrances of his early life in New Mexico sparked the idea of adding a raspberry picking adventure to my story. This was authentic to the time and something I hadn’t considered. If you can’t find a memoir through your library, this type of book can sometimes be found in local independent bookstores in a location you’re interested in writing about.

5. SCROLL THROUGH OLD WORD DICTIONARIES

Since a historically accurate novel should contain words used during the time, I found the Online Etymology Dictionary helpful to check when a word was first used. Looking through the word lists also gave me ideas for interesting words to add to my story. Tizzy wasn’t in use during my time period, but scatterbrain and hare-brained were used. I find word etymology fascinating…and sometimes skitter off into too much research.

Click here for Online Etymology Dictionary.

 

Antique shops

Antique shops

6. BROWSE ANTIQUE SHOPS

Looking through antique shops can give you an idea for an item to add to your story which gives your writing an authentic feel. I like old tea-cups, bottles and cans of items available during your time period, and kitchen utensils. Just a mention of an Arbuckles’ coffee crate can put your reader in the Old West setting of your story.

Arbuckles' Coffee Crate

Arbuckles’ Coffee Crate

Also, printed materials from your era give glimpses into everyday lives if you can find a newspaper or magazine from the time period you are interested in.

 

Historic museums

Kit Carson Home and Museum, Taos, New Mexico

7. VISIT HISTORIC MUSEUMS

Small towns often have museums which are idea treasure boxes, offering glimpses into the lives of early citizens. Seeing the personal belongings which were important enough to bring to new homes out west reveals the characters of real pioneers. The gift shops often have great books for research.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by. What tools do you use to spark ideas when you’re stuck during your writing process?

Please share your thoughts and your idea-sparks by commenting on this post. May your day be filled with God’s treasured blessings as you write and/or read a historical novel!

Sherida

Celebrating with #TUESDAYTEA! #Speedbo conclusion! Success!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

 

LET'S CELEBRATE!

LET’S CELEBRATE!

Welcome to #TUESDAYTEA where we’re celebrating the final day of Seekerville’s Speedbo! Please enjoy a vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet cupcake…..or all three…with your tea today!

Speedbo report: I feel successful after completing Speedbo. My word count goals were very modest, but I did write almost everyday. It is amazing to see the words add up, even with just 500 per day. My inspirational romance novel is written! It needs plenty of editing to layer in all the elements needed, but it is done. Interestingly, I don’t want to type the words “THE END” until I’ve polished my WIP until it sparkles. So the pleasure of writing those two precious words will come later….hopefully soon. Writers participating in Seekerville’s challenge have had great success. Congratulations to all those who participated in Speedbo!  http://www.seekerville.net/

Contests: Harlequin announced a pitch contest, Blurb2Book, for their three Love Inspired lines. A 100 word blurb and the first page of the story were required to enter. After reworking my blurb and first page many times, I did click the “send” button. Because of Speedbo, my WIP was complete enough for me to try this contest. Fun!

EASTER: With God’s redeeming grace and the sacrifice of our Lord, we celebrate Easter! May your Easter be a PERFECT blessing!

EASTER BLESSINGS!

EASTER BLESSINGS!

Thank you for joining me for #TUESDAYTEA!

#TUESDAYTEA…just a sip with LOVINGKINDNESS.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

This is just a quick post today, since I’m participating in #SPEEDBO, with many of you. For those who don’t know about #Speedbo, this is a writing challenge offered in SEEKERVILLE (www.seekerville.net) where writers are encouraged to set their own writing goals for the month of March. The Seekers offer advice and encouragement to those hoping to sail off Unpublished Island. Great experience!

It is well into the new year, but I wanted to share MY ONE WORD for 2015. At the beginning of the year, Seekerville suggests you choose ONE WORD to be your thought for the year. I’ve done this three years now. Past words for me have been LIGHT and HIKING. For 2015, my word is LOVINGKINDNESS. I want to live with LOVINGKINDNESS in my heart….and yes, it has already been a challenge at times, but thinking of MY word has calmed my reactions to some situations…..so this is a good word for this year.

LOVINGKINDNESS

LOVINGKINDNESS

Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Psalm 107:43 KJV

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 63:3 KJV

Since I am writing, we’ll just have a quick snack for our tea today……a local group was selling baked goods for a good cause….Pediatric Cancer, so I picked up some perfect scones for us…and double chocolate cookies for hubby. This group of young people shows LOVINGKINDNESS through their good works for others. LOVINGKINDNESS is a treasure in our lives. Please enjoy a blueberry scone with me….and please share your thoughts on LOVINGKINDNESS or your ONE WORD for 2015. Thanks for visiting! Blessings to you!

Blueberry scone+good works=great!

#TuesdayTea and SPEEDBO!

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

WOW! It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of February! A busy start to the year has delayed my posts…..a delightfully busy time, filled with blessings! We had some special time with our grandchildren. My granddaughter helped make PINK Cotton Candy Cupcakes (her favorite color), and we had a lovely afternoon tea, filled with smiles and chatting. Our families are among God’s most treasured blessings!

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

In writing news, I invite all writers to join the group in SEEKERVILLE to participate in SPEEDBO. During March, writers are encouraged to establish their own goals for the month. There are no rules and no limits. You can get more information here:  SEEKERVILLE

2015 SPEEDBO participant

2015 SPEEDBO participant

So I’m cleaning house, freezing meals, and working on an outline for my book. Then I’ll be ready to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, in March.

I plan to make progress because of the encouraging fellowship during SPEEDBO. Hope you will join us! Do you have writing or reading plans for March?

TUESDAY TEA: Buildin’ the Dream Conference Review

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

 

Buildin' the Dream Conference-Author Tool Kit

Buildin’ the Dream Conference-Author Tool Kit

Writing conferences are like treasure chests filled with gems of inspiration, education, and fellowship. The Buildin’ the Dream conference held on May 29 and 30, 2014, in Scottsdale, Arizona, was indeed a treasure. The sold-out conference fulfilled its advertised agenda:  “Authors Helping Authors” by “Equipping writers with the tools to build and live their dream.”

MY REVIEW

Inspiration: The Thursday night event started with keynote speaker, Diana Gabaldon. Attendees were impressed with her gracious manner and candid encouragement as she discussed her writing journey. Her wise advice to writers: READ, WRITE, DON’T STOP.

Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon

Education: Friday was filled with workshops in three areas to suit the needs of all attendees–Craft, Publishing, and Business. Scheduling allowed for participants to attend six session. The following are the valuable presentations I attended with a quick summary of what I learned.

Crafting the Dark Moment with Deena Remiel: What is your protagonist’s biggest fear? Show this confrontation and escalate this fear along the arc of your story.

Self-Publishing Pitfalls with Morgan Kearns: You need strength to survive the publishing process, and you need know when to seek professional help.

Adding Humor to a Manuscript with Kris Tualia: Use humor to make your characters believable and to relieve tension.

Covers to Get Attention with Anya Kelleye: Your cover needs a strong focal point which conveys the genre with emotion.

Carve Out Time to Build Your Dream with Camelia Skiba: Learn to use snippets of time effectively.

Sprinting-It’s All About Word Count with Virginia Nelson: Write as fast as you can for 15 minutes (no editing), take a 10 minute stretch/do chores break, then repeat as necessary. As a test exercise, I wrote 300 words in 15 mintes….longhand, without a computer!

Many other workshops were offered. I wish I could have attended ALL!

 

Goodie bag

Goodie bag

Fellowship: It was good to find new-to-me authors and to connect with other writers…people who “get it”….”speak the same language” …. “understand me.”

Other information: We all got goodie bags with notebooks, pens, and promotional items, including a lip balm stick, a thoughtful item considering the location in the sunny desert of Arizona! I love the purple and yellow colors used as the theme colors—bright and cheerful for our successful writing journey! Arizona Dreamin’ is held after the writing conference. It is a romance reader event where attendees have the opportunity to chat with various romance authors. I wasn’t able to stay for the second conference, so regret I didn’t get to meet inspirational author Hallee Bridgeman, one of the featured authors at the reader event. There was a bookstore, a photographer offering professional author headshots, and publishers taking pitches. A yummy box lunch was provided by InD’tale, an online magazine serving self-publishers. www.indtale.com

Beautiful purple and yellow dessert table.

Beautiful purple and yellow dessert table.

 

Highland Blend Tea from Scotland

Highland Blend Tea from Scotland

Today, I’m serving Highland Blend tea from Scotland in honor of Diana Gabaldon’s new release in the Outlander series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, published on June 10, 2014. Help yourself to the imaginary dessert treats of chocolate brownies and cheesecake bites. (REAL ones were served at the conference, but my picture of the filled dessert table were too fuzzy.) I’d recommend the Buildin’ the Dream Conference scheduled for May 28-29, 2015, in Scottsdale, Arizona, if you live in the area. It is affordable, right-sized, and provides great opportunities to learn from other authors. Information about both events can be found at www.arizonadreaminevent.com. Thanks for joining me for #TuesdayTea!

TUESDAY TEA at SEEKERVILLE’s NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

You’re invited to a very special party…..Seekerville’s New Year’s Eve celebration to welcome in the year of 2014!

Join us at the Seekerville New Year's Eve party!

Join us at the Seekerville New Year’s Eve party!

 

To celebrate critique partnerships (so valuable to writers), my critique partner, Donna Phillips, and I are hosting an hour at the Seekerville New Year’s Eve party. The two of us will be welcoming you at 7 pm EST (6 pm CST, 5 pm MST, 4 pm PST), but please stop by anytime during the day or night. Everyone in Seekerville will be partying around the clock at www.seekerville.blogspot.com, with giveaways and recipes for treats included each hour! We’re talking about writing and “My One Word” selections for 2014. My word for 2013 was LIGHT and I’ll be revealing my word for 2014 at the Seekerville party.

The giveaway for the hour Donna and I are sponsoring will be a critique from http://www.mycritiquepartner.blogspot.com/ or a bag of English Breakfast tea from The New Mexico Tea Company.

We so hope you will be able to join us for all the fun! Relax with a cup of tea and a few snacks with us!

To start 2014 off with a BANG, here’s a picture of what I’m bringing, yummy Fire-Crackers (spicy cheese crackers) to start the year off with a bit of New Mexico spice!

New Year's Eve FIRE-Crackers

New Year’s Eve FIRE-Crackers

If you’d like to have something other than tea tonight, you might try a Lime Sparkler……..mix 2 ounces fresh lime juice with 2 ounces Agave Nectar in a glass. Add sparkling water and ice to taste. Fizzy and just right with the Fire-Crackers!

Wishing you a sparkling 2014 filled with treasures of the heart!

TUESDAY TEA: Reflecting on “My One Word” for 2013—LIGHT

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Join us at the Seekerville New Year's Eve party!

Join us at the Seekerville New Year’s Eve party! My critique partner and I will be hosting at 7 pm EST!

I want to give you an early invitation to a New Year’s Eve party….the annual Seekerville ’round the clock New Year’s Eve Party….and a bit of a preview. My critique partner and I will be hosting the 7 pm EST hour of the Seekerville New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 2013. As an early treat, please join me for tea today and try a sample of what we’ll be serving during the party–Fire-Crackers….yummy spiced cheese crackers. My critique partner will be bringing a sweet *chocolate* treat to the party. 🙂

New Year's Eve FIRE-Crackers

New Year’s Eve FIRE-Crackers

Seekerville (www.seekerville.net) is a special community…..a place where a group of Christian authors offer valuable writing advice and encouragement to unpublished writers. Seekerville celebrates the year’s end with a virtual New Year’s Eve party–giveaways, food (with recipes) and a time for fellowship as we each reveal the “My One Word” we have chosen for 2014. During last year’s party, the book My One Word, by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen, was featured as a thought-provoking way to look at resolutions for the next year.  (www.myoneword.com)  The challenge is presented to Christians to “Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year.”

Their message calls to me. Last year, I chose LIGHT as my 2013 word. I decided on this word since I wanted to spread the LIGHT of God’s love to others because He is the LIGHT of the world. I believe God did use me as a vessel for shining the light of His love. I pray I will continue to shine His LIGHT in all I do.

Please join us for the party on December 31, 2013. I hope you’ll choose one word that will shine a LIGHT on what you hope God will do in you during 2014.

May your Christmas be blessed with glittering love as you walk in the LIGHT of our Lord!

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

 

TUESDAY TEA-The Spirit of Giving at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference-Raffle baskets and Book Fair

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

 

Christmas cards made by author Julie Rowe

Christmas cards made by author Julie Rowe

The Emerald City Writers’ Conference I attended in October, was an amazing experience. One of the fund-raising events at the conference was the raffle of goodie baskets during the banquets. These baskets are donated by generous authors and publishers. The wide variety of gift baskets were displayed along three sides of the ballroom. Purchased tickets were deposited into jars to select a basket, then after the meal, winners were drawn.

Emerald City Writers' Conference raffle basket winners

Emerald City Writers’ Conference raffle basket winners, Sherida Stewart and Kira Brady.

My daughter-in-law, Kira Brady, won a charming “Tea for Two” basket. She had donated a “Dragon” basket, featuring her paranormal book series, The Deadglass Trilogy, which is set in post apocalyptic Seattle and features dragons.

I won the “Timeless Treasures” basket donated by Julie Rowe, which included digital copies of all her books, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance featuring one of her stories, a leather binders, a tote bag, various treats a romance writer enjoys (plus chocolate) and a darling, glittery hat (which I’m wearing in the picture.) Even after the conference, Julie sent a digital copy of her new release, Timeless Keepsakes, a collection of Christmas stories, which has her Secret Santa story. Julie ties charms and sparkling beads to her bookmarks–lovely! She also made the beautiful Christmas cards at the top of this post. Here is a pictures of all the items Julie included in her basket…except the Swiss chocolate bars which were devoured soon after receiving the basket. Such generosity! Thank you, Julie!

Julie Rowe donated all the items in this lovely basket.

Julie Rowe donated all the items in this lovely basket, TIMELESS TREASURES!

The Emerald City Writers’ Conference also has a book fair which is open to the public. A portion of the proceeds is donated to DAWN, an organization which helps victims of domestic violence. This was a fabulous opportunity to meet the authors and have them autograph their books. Kira Brady was signing the first two books in her Deadglass Trilogy, Hearts of Darkness and Hearts of Shadow. She displayed the map of alternate Seattle designed by Teresa Grasseschi. Hearts of Chaos, the third book in the Deadglass series will be released in March 2014.

The map of Kira Bradys' Deadglass Trilogy.

The map of Kira Bradys’ Deadglass Trilogy.

I appreciate the generosity of all the authors and publishers. And thanks to you for joining me for tea today! With all the preparations for the season, I hope you can relax with a cup of spiced tea for just a bit. Have a merry Christmas!