Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Blessings to each of you for the new year! 
Thank you so much for your friendship, input, and support. 
Looking forward to sharing 2011 with you.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Have a safe and Happy New Year!
See you on January 6.


Photo credit: ciberbarba

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blog Reflections & Other Tidbits

Do you ponder and reflect on the blogging experience at the end of the year? I do. Many questions come to mind. Like, has it been a successful year? What knowledge have I gained? Who have I had the privilege of meeting? What works, and what does not?

Along those lines, I wanted to pass along two recent posts by Jennifer Brown Banks, of Pen and Prosper.

Lessons Learned shares twenty things that tie life and blogging together in different and unexpected ways. 

Six Things Bloggers Owe Readers points out savvy tips to keep our blog in top form all year round.

I've learned plenty this year about blogging and writing. And the wonderful new friends I've gained, plus my fabulous existing ones - wow - what a blessing! Thanks so much for your support.

How about you? I'm interested to hear how your year has gone.

The Other Tidbits

Looking to attend a conference? This Writers Conference info site has listings of various gatherings to please most any writer. Perhaps one might be a good fit.

The 2011 National Christian Writers'  California conference will be held in March. Speakers include Bonnie Calhoun, Antonio Crawford, and Kathi Macias, among others.

In need of fresh inspiration for 2011? Steven Goldsberry's article shares 17 Writing Secrets that apply to any style or genre.

I'll be teaching another Basic Boot Camp for Writers workshop, beginning January 3 over at the Coffeehouse for Writers. I invite you to come and see what great offerings the Coffeehouse is brewing for the new year.

What reflections are you pondering?  What have you learned this year?

I'll be taking a break until December 30 or thereabouts, at which time I'll share a few awards and a peek at January's happenings. Enjoy your time with family and friends this holiday season.


Photo credit: Joshua Davis

Monday, December 13, 2010

It Happened Again

No, my husband didn't surprise me with a dozen red roses. (Although that does happen occasionally:)

And no, I wasn't offered a book contract. Yet.

Nope. Tickets to my favorite hockey team's next game were not delivered to my front door.

But those were all good guesses; thanks for trying.

Actually, in a nutshell, I had someone ask how to get their writing published. I get this or a similar question on a regular basis, so I decided to post my thoughts and get your input. This is what I call a "tip of the iceberg" question. There is no simple cut and dried answer, and the response is multi-faceted. There's always something to learn, and just about the time you think you've got it down, the market changes.

This is my basic response:

1) Take a writing course.

Options abound, free and otherwise. Just because we like to write doesn't mean we know how and where to submit work. I learned a LOT from the courses I took years ago at the Institute for Children's Literature. I saved time, stress, and cut the learning curve down quite a bit in regard to what publications want.

Here's a sampling of course offerings. 

2) Join a writer's group.

Groups can be found through the local paper, an online search, or simply by word of mouth. Most sites (like the ones above) that offer courses also have online support and/or critique groups. If you can't find a local group, start one, but keep it simple. A group is a great place to encourage each other, and share resources, links, and other goodies.

3) Attend a writer's conference.

Conventions, conferences, and workshops abound. National, state, and local groups sponsor ones of all sizes. Don't discount smaller offerings; just because the keynote speaker's name isn't a household word doesn't mean they don't have lots to share.

4) Take advantage of books, magazines, websites, and blogs.

Here again, resources abound. And then some. The sites above, as well as scads of others, offer articles, links to blogs, book reviews, and books for purchase. Hope Clark's Funds for Writers site has a newsletter, blog, and enough other resources to keep any writer busy for a while. Writing for Dollars is another helpful stop, with a database of articles that suit any writer's needs.

5) Keep learning.

Always. Keep writing, sharpening skills, and moving ahead. There is always something to learn.

Now it's your turn. What did I miss? What advice would you offer? What was the most helpful advice you had when starting out? Please feel free to share liberally. Thanks so much!

Happy writing,

Image Credit: Andreyutzu

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Poetry Contest & Quick Note

Susan Reinhardt of Christian Writer/Reader Connection is guest posting over at Susan Panzica's Eternity Cafe today. I'll be scooting over to say hello, how about you?

The 6th Annual Writer's Digest Poetry Contest is accepting entries till December 15, 2010. A cash prize and trip to the WD Conference in New York City will be awarded to the winner. Click here for details.

Happy writing,

Photo credit: vancity197

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quips & Quotes & Other Stuff

Do book or movie lines stick with you? How about quotes by notable figures, past or present? Bible verses, classic literature, or political speeches - has anything jumped out at you lately? Have any provided inspiration for your work?

Our family often tosses movie lines back and forth, and I wondered recently how this influences my writing. My first thought is the humor factor, for many lines are either funny or we apply them to situations in a humorous way. My second thought is the timeless application of these or any other words that have stuck with me. What things of lasting value do they spark or possess?

I like to examine the way words are put together and how they sound. If a line from a film, is it spoken with an accent? Another consideration is emotion; is it true to life or something only heard in the movies? How would this translate into characters for a book?

What do you think? Am I the only one who does this? :)

Who Said It? Inspiration in Action

Brownie points to anyone who can tell me who said the following. Answers at the end of the post. Perhaps one will spark an idea for your next project!

1) It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.

2) I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until I finally became that person - or he became me.

3) Imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.

4) Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

5) No more rhymes now I mean it!   

Villains & Guest Posts

Just in case you happened to miss Stephen Tremp's Home and Away series last week, he had a guest post about villains here Friday, and I was his guest Saturday. Click here to check out Stephen's post. Click here to check out my post over at Stephen's Breakthrough Blogs.

Other Stuff

Speaking of guest posts, Susan Reinhardt of Christian Writer/Reader Connection will be guest posting Tuesday over at Susan Panzica's Eternity Cafe. Will stop back tomorrow to post a reminder, but wanted to give you a head's up. Susan Reinhardt's Mom is in the hospital. Her Mom is doing okay, but I am sure they'd appreciate your prayers.

I think I'll be skipping my regular Thursday post this week to catch up on visiting my blog friends, and for some much needed down time. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful support these past weeks. You've been a great encouragement. 

What quips and quotes inspire you? Have any sparked a story or article idea lately?

Happy writing,

Image credit: Naurich


1) Abraham Lincoln
2) Cary Grant
3) Albert Einstein 
4) Benjamin Franklin 
5) Spoken in the film The Princess Bride

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Karen...Now Appearing...

Okay, so it isn't all that. :o)

But I am Stephen Tremp's guest blogger today at Breakthrough Blogs.

As part of his Home and Away post series, Stephen posted here yesterday. It was a good one! If you missed it, click here to check it out.

Hope you can join us!

Have a good weekend,

Image credit:  avanzero

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stephen Tremp - Guest Post

Please join me in welcoming Stephen Tremp of Breakthrough Blogs

When you get a minute, stop by his blog and say hello. It's a great source of writing, marketing, publishing and other fabulous info.

And just in case you didn't know, Stephen's specialty is action and suspense, evident in his book -

Breakthrough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan.

BTW, Breakthrough is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble; visit Stephen's blog for details. So enough chatting, on to Stephen's post:

Why We Like Villains So Much

Developing a seriously evil villain takes more than pasting together bad traits. They are more than being the antithesis of the hero. Villains force us to confront our worst fears at our weakest moments. They can attack us when we are most vulnerable, such as when we sleep ala Freddy Kruger. They draw us away from the safety of our world and into theirs, like Kathleen Bates in Misery. Villains are defeated, then return with their evil friends. They come in various shapes, sizes, or colors such as people, animals (Jaws and Kujo), or aliens. They can be silent and invisible as in spirit form. They might already be dead. i.e. vampires and zombies. Hey, they can even be a doll like Chucky or Talking Teena from the Twilight Zone. Sometimes we even root for the villain! They have a story to tell and secrets to hide.

“Villains pose fundamental questions about humanity and, ‘they make audiences consider the moral dilemmas of their society … they expose how much you can get away with, what’s legal, and these characters operate on quite a basic level.’ (Writing Great Villains). Other villains simply want to spread anarchy, as Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker.

Bad guys can be one-dimensional and predictable. We all know what Jaws was going to do. Eat people alive. A thug who is in and out of prison his entire life is going to do pretty much the same thing over and over. There are some really great ones like the simple hit man with no conscious such as Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men.

Villains can also be multi-dimensional. These bad guys are intelligent, socially adept, they have resources, and are usually somewhat athletic like Michael Douglas in Wall Street. Sometimes society doesn’t even know they are hosting a monster.

Villains can also be a tragic character, a victim of some hideous crime against them. They snap and seek revenge on their attackers, innocent people, or on the world. Villains can vary from culture to culture. What might be acceptable in once place could be reprehensible in another. Or a character can be an invader or a liberator, depending on the perspective of the other characters. Stella Cameron has a good list of villainous types at her Web site.

Many antagonists are a mosaic of this list. My antagonist in Breakthrough is the Mastermind. He is compulsive obsessive and calculates his plans to the minutest detail. He has followers who are part of his inner circle, such as his girlfriend and fellow M.I.T. grad student Staci Bevere. She is the assassin extraordinaire. But he is the one who ultimately pulls the strings.

BTW, I love the malcontent, such as a fired or disgruntled employee. Example: Richard Preston’s The Cobra Event, a story of domestic bio terrorism where the villain was fired, and he decided to take his anger out on the world by developing and unleashing a virus that causes self-cannibalism and death.

“As the writer, it is essential you know the villain's motivation (even if the reader doesn't); only this way will you be able to keep his/her words and actions consistent; he/she acts evil for a reason; even if that reason is "crazy" in the eyes of society, the villain believes the reasoning is logical and performs accordingly.” Ruth Kerce

Power, greed, instinct, madness, fight for survival, and revenge are excellent drivers that motivate a villain. Sometimes we even root for a villain. Perhaps, they’re right because they are victims. Vigilantes fall into this catagory.

Stephen Tremp blogs at Breakthrough Blogs and is author of the Near Future SciFi Thriller Breakthrough. If you feel this blog is worthy, go ahead and make my day. Retweet it

Thank you, Stephen, for sharing with us! Don't forget to stop by Breakthrough Blogs tomorrow for my guest post.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the bad guy?

Have a good weekend,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Challenge & Guest Post News

Thank You

Heartfelt thanks to you all - my family and I were touched by your kindness regarding the death of my sister Wendy. The outpouring of love and support through your comments and emails was an encouragement.

My blogging schedule may be a bit lighter this month as we regain our footing, but I will be coming to see you all soon. I've missed you; you are a blessing.

Guest Post

On December 3 and 4, I have the privilege of sharing a Home and Away Post with Stephen Tremp of Breakthrough Blogs. Stephen, author of Breakthrough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan, will share his writing wisdom here, and I get to share at Breakthrough Blogs.  I'm looking forward to it; hope you can join us.

Hemingway's Challenge

Someone once challenged Hemingway to write a story in six words. He wrote the following:

For sale, baby shoes. Never used.

Oh my. If that doesn’t leave you wondering what the story behind the story is, I don’t know what does.  Does it tell the whole story? Perhaps only Hemingway knows for sure.

Is a six-word story a personal thing? It would seem so. Only the writer knows what lies beneath the surface. But then, it could be open to interpretation. It could be based on fact or simply fiction. What do you think?

Six-word stories are an extreme example of word economy in action. What an inspirational, yet mind stretching exercise. Are you up for the challenge? Will you share your six word story with us?

Don't forget to stop back tomorrow and Saturday for the Home and Away Posts. Thanks so much. :)

Have a good weekend.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission of the author, Karen Lange. 

Photo credit: Twitchtoo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Jen Daiker, the winner of last week's giveaway. Thanks to all who participated; I appreciate your support.

Have a good weekend.


Monday, November 15, 2010


 In Loving Memory of Wendy Susan Esher 
We'll miss you, Wendy. Looking forward to seeing you again in heaven.
Love you, Karen. xo

My sister passed away Sunday morning. This sad and unexpected news has my family and me feeling as though we are walking about in a surreal world. Am taking a break; will see you soon.

Photo credit:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boot Camp & A Nifty Giveaway

Basic Boot Camp for Writers

Starting November 15, I will be teaching another session of Basic Boot Camp for Writers over at the Coffeehouse for Writers. Basic Boot Camp is a four week workshop that reviews helpful basics, such as sticky grammar issues and keeping things sharp. Hop over and check it out. I'd love to have you along!

Other Coffeehouse workshop offerings include historical fiction, blogging for profit, fiction and non-fiction, and lots more. These workshops begin November 15 as well. Their site also hosts critique groups, offers writing resources and links, has cool gifts for writers and other fun stuff.

Celebrating Followers With a Giveaway

Finally! I think I've been chattering about celebrating reaching 150 followers since August. And now I have nearly 200! Hooray! Thanks for your patience. My apologies - multiple projects, book reviews, birthdays, anniversaries and other things were the culprits that detained me. Oh, and sleep too. I'm funny about that; I like my rest.

I appreciate my followers. Without you, Write Now would just be a blip on the Blogspot screen. I am especially grateful when you are able to stop and comment. I understand when you can't; believe me, I do. My commenting has slacked off due to the above mentioned events - but it means a lot to me when you are able to slide by and say hello. Thank you!

The Prize Is...

A writer's package that contains a handy journal, a package of cute post it notes (or, for you guy followers they're convenient travel size), a set of pens, two highlighters, a copy of In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer (read my review here), and of course, chocolate. What's a follower giveaway prize without chocolate? :)

Giveaway Details - Please read carefully. 

Giveaway is open to followers only. I am grateful to everyone who stops by, follower or not, but it's my followers who provide support and keep me going. That's why we're celebrating with a giveaway, after all! Here are the rest of the details:

  • Leave a comment to this post, include your email address. Entries without email address are not eligible.
  • Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook and/or Twitter. Please be sure and comment telling me so.
  • Deadline to enter is noon Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Winner will be  notified via email and announced in Thursday's post.
  • Open to followers everywhere; allow extra mailing time if you live overseas.         

What are my happy followers doing this weekend? Thanks and blessings to you all! :)

Happy weekend,

Photo credit: merlin1075

Monday, November 8, 2010

Within My Heart Book Review

Within My Heart 
Timber Ridge Reflections Book 3
By Tamera Alexander            
Bethany House Publishers

As a widow, Rachel Boyd must be both mother and father to her young sons. Her dream is to raise the boys on the ranch she and her late husband worked hard to build. Life in post-Civil War Colorado isn't easy, and dreams and reality often take different paths. Debt and dying cattle hinder Rachel's goals. Can she turn things around? Only time will tell.

Civil War veteran Dr. Rand Brookston has goals of his own. Setting up his practice in Timber Ridge, he hopes to bring modern medical services to the area. Some of the townsfolk are thrilled to have a resident doctor, others are skeptical. He dreams of building a state of the art clinic in town to better serve the public.

Rachel is determined to make it on her own, but her pride threatens to trip her up. She's not about to entertain the thought of remarriage, even though friends and family have gently suggested it for the sake of the boys. Rand wouldn't mind settling down, but the only woman who catches his eye happens to be the stubborn Mrs. Boyd.

Rachel and Rand's paths cross in unusual ways, and they settle on a truce of sorts. Rand requires Rachel's assistance with medical procedures; she has experience from working with her late father who was a doctor. Rachel needs Rand's help with the birth of a calf. They both struggle with fears that continually lurk in the shadows. And so it goes until...?

No spoilers here! It's a lovely tale of winning the trust of others, facing fears, and trusting God. I enjoyed Within My Heart as much as the first two books in the Timber Ridge series. Even though they are part of a series, each book can stand alone. I prefer this, as you don't spend half the book trying to catch up on who's who and who did what in the last book. If you need a good book to curl up with on a chilly day, this might just be the one.


Stop back Thursday for the long promised 150 followers giveaway. As you can see, that mark has come and gone, so now there are more followers to celebrate! Stay tuned! :)

What books have you read that encourage you to grow beyond challenges you face?

This book was provided by Bethany House for review purposes. No compensation was received.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Practicing Tight Writing

Keep it Sharp!

Concise writing sounds good in theory. But how do we keep things tight and still communicate well? Word counts mean sharp, effective writing. Here's what Strunk and White have to say in The Elements of Style:

 “Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” 

Love that! Are there unnecessary parts in your writing? I've tossed many words over the years, and continue to refine each time I write.

Someone else weighed in on the topic:

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”  Thomas Jefferson

Editors would love Mr. Jefferson. Excellent point, and wise words to remember, don't you think?                                              

How do we tighten our writing? Develop a keen eye for unnecessary words and phrases. And practice, practice, practice!

Here Goes...

A telegram is an excellent way to practice concise writing.

Write a telegram, limited to 15 words or less.  Small and unnecessary words are left out. The word STOP is used as the punctuation between sentences. Don't count STOP in the 15 words. 

Here is an example:

Grandma joined circus STOP  Mom upset STOP Dad angry STOP Circus your town Saturday STOP Bring Grandma home STOP Karen

So, are you up to the challenge? Share your telegram with us! What techniques do you use to keep your writing tight?

Happy weekend,

Text copyright Karen Lange 2010. No text may be used without prior permission.
Image credit - Ambrozio

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mother May I?

May I?  Might I?

What's the difference? Which is used when? It seems that may provides a stronger possibility of something happening than might does. Brian Klems of Writer's Digest outlines the finer points in the Questions & Quandaries post May vs. Might. Good thing. We might have been wandering around wondering if we may use might. Or vice versa.

Reign it in?

Here's another sticky one, deftly answered again by Brian in Reign vs. Rein. Does the king reign his horses with leather reins? Thankfully, the answer's supplied, along with an easy mnemonic to help remember.

Writing Right

Find yourself derailed by long winded phrases? Need help with commonly misspelled or misused words? Do you know what Puffspeak is? Nikola Hartmann's guest post at Pen and Prosper helps us out of that ditch.

It's so nice to have great resources! What trips you up and sends you looking for help? What are your favorite grammar resources?

Happy writing!


Photo credit:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Review - In Every Heartbeat

In Every Heartbeat
by Kim Vogel Sawyer                                                   
Bethany House

Friends Libby Conley, Pete Leidig, and Bennett Martin grew up together in an orphanage in Shays Ford, Missouri, so it's fitting that they attend college together too. September 1914 ushers in a new and exciting chapter in their lives. Libby will major in journalism, Pete plans to study to become a minister, and Bennett plans on joining a fraternity.

An introduction to the campus sports star provides a rocky start, but they soon settle into the campus routine. Interesting adventures follow the trio, who spent their days at the orphanage climbing trees and getting into scrapes.

The transition from childhood buddies to adult friends proves challenging; redefining such lines can be difficult. As orphans, each one struggles with a sense of belonging. Their past lives  intersect with their future plans, particularly when Libby learns something about Pete's past. To further complicate things, Libby realizes that she loves Pete. But does he love her? And if so, where does Bennett fit into these changes?

It was interesting to see the story unfold as they dealt with memories and events. I looked forward to reading this; Sawyer always tells a great story. She keeps you on your toes from beginning to end. I was left wondering just a bit about one character at the end - no cliffhanger or anything like that. Just some room perhaps, for a future story. Otherwise it was a wonderful tale sure to please her fans and those who enjoy historical fiction.

What's on your "to be read" pile these days?


Many thanks to Bethany House for supplying this review copy. No compensation was received.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

P.S. The Rules

More on Rules for Writing

Thanks to all who provided input on Monday's post about writing rules! I value your thoughts, and appreciate the time it takes to stop by and comment.

It seems that I was on target with my short list, which included:

1) Practice writing
2) Stay connected
3) Keep learning
4) Give back

So what else?

Your two cents added up to more great guidelines:
  • Fighting and working through discouragement - several of you brought this one up.             
  • "Don't get the big head" (my paraphrase) - keeping that ego from thinking too highly of itself.
  • Read an assortment of things often, to enrich, provide a bigger worldview, and generate ideas.
  • Pray. Divine guidance. For me, always a given.
  • Let it rest. Don't be in a hurry to submit after the last word is typed. A new day provides fresh perspective.
  • Trim it up! Our best work has usually been cut, cut, and cut some more.
  • Keep a positive outlook. Ties in with fighting through discouragement.
  • Chill. Don't get defensive about feedback. Let it settle in and then process.
  • Chocolate. Yes! How could I have forgotten this one? Silly me.

Do you have anything else to add? When was the last time you were discouraged with your writing? What did you do about it?

 Have a wonderful weekend!



Photo credit: dbgeorge

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rules for Writers & a Winner

 Congratulations to Charlotte, the winner of A Memory Between Us, by Sarah Sundin! Thanks to all who stopped by for last week's interview and giveaway.


Rules? We Need Rules?

What are the key elements that help us get where we want to go? Is there a set of rules to follow? Is it different for every writer? I pondered this recently, and this is my short list. 

1) Practice - Practice makes perfect, and there's a whole lot to be learned on the road that leads to perfect. Matter of fact, destination "perfect" is always hovering on the horizon, and is it just me, or does it seem to move back each time I think I'm closer to it? We need to write, write, and write some more.

2) Keep Learning - No matter how much we know about writing, there's always something to learn. Another genre, another style, a new way to plot or plan, it's out there, with plenty to teach us. Read a writing book, take a class, attend a workshop, or visit a blog; the possibilities are endless. These things enrich our writing and help us move forward.

3) Stay Connected - Writing is a solitary profession and it's important to get beyond ourselves for a fresh perspective. Our words may seem amazing - in our heads, on the screen, on the page, but for true and lasting success, we need interaction and feedback. Join a writing group, connect with writers online or elsewhere, or attend a conference.

4) Give Back - Remember the writers who've helped you along the way? Sow a little kindness to other writers. Whether newbies or veterans or somewhere in between, we can all benefit from support. Take a few minutes and critique that article in your inbox, drop a note to your favorite author, share a good writing resource, or meet your frazzled writer friend for coffee. Your life and writing will be richer for it.

For additional thoughts on keys to writing success, check out author and editor Chuck Sambuchino's Four Golden Rules of Being a Writer. 

Did I miss anything? What are your rules for writing success? Please share!

Happy writing,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Review - Masquerade

Masquerade by Nancy Moser                  
Bethany House Publishers

Charlotte Gleason's privileged life has taught her little of the real world. Naive to the point of childlike, she has no clue what awaits on her upcoming journey to America. Her parents have arranged a marriage between her and a wealthy American heir by the name of Conrad Tremaine.

Conrad and Charlotte have never met; they've only exchanged letters. Charlotte is not impressed; she wishes to marry for love. Her parents however, require her to follow their directive. Financial and other indiscretions have placed her father in an awkward position in proper 1886 society. In order to secure Charlotte's future, she must marry Conrad.

Thankfully Dora Conners, Charlotte's personal maid, is much more savvy to the ways of the world. Due to Charlotte's mother's ill health, Dora goes to America with Charlotte. And because the Tremaines sent two first class tickets to America, Dora gets the added bonus of traveling as Charlotte's companion and not her servant.

The girls embark on a journey that changes their lives. Charlotte's nervousness gets the better of her and they switch places, with Dora acting as Conrad's intended bride. Oh. My. Goodness. Charlotte has no idea what she's set into motion or the consequences that follow. She will surely grow up now. Or will she? And what about poor Conrad, does he find love with Charlotte, who's really Dora...?

This tangled tale is skillfully woven as Nancy Moser illustrates how what happens when we try and order our lives as we think best. This is the first book I've read by Ms. Moser, and I am glad I had the opportunity to read it. Her characters come alive from page one and remain true throughout. I will keep an eye out for her books in the future.

Happy reading!
Many thanks to Bethany House, who provided this copy for review. No compensation was received.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Giveaway & Interview With Sarah Sundin


Happy Thursday! 

Today's post features an interview with author
Sarah Sundin. So glad you could join us. 

In addition to the interview, Sarah has offered a copy of her latest book, A Memory Between Us, to one of my readers. Be sure and check out the giveaway details below.

Karen: It’s good to have you back, Sarah. Congratulations on the release of A Memory Between Us! You must be excited about the second book in the Wings of Glory series.
Who is your favorite character in A Memory Between Us? Why?

Sarah: It has to be the heroine, Lt. Ruth Doherty. She fascinated me. On the surface she is so strong she doesn’t need another human being—and she has a great sense of humor. But underneath she has deep hurts and shame. It was fun for me to tease out what made her the way she is and to watch her change and grow.
Karen:I’m looking forward to reading Book Three. When will it be released? Can you tell us a little about it?

Sarah: Blue Skies Tomorrow releases August 2011—I’ve just seen a preview of the cover, and it’s gorgeous! Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him to court Helen Carlisle, a widowed mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work. The sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. Ray leaves to fly a combat tour at the peak of the air war over Europe, while Helen takes a job at a dangerous munitions yard and faces an even graver menace in her own home. Can they both find the courage to face their challenges? 

Karen: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Sarah: Almost everything! I really enjoyed the historical research, to the point of getting ecstatic when I found copies of the pilot’s manual for the B-17 bomber and the Army Air Force B-17 training film. Sick, really. But I also love the pre-writing stage, the actual writing, even the editing. And my favorite part of all is when I’m deep in a scene and it flows.

Karen: What are your favorite fiction books? Non-fiction? 

Sarah: For fiction, I gravitate toward the classics, women’s fiction, and contemporary or historical fiction—and I love a romantic thread. I also enjoy a good suspense novel and anything with humor. I’m easy to please. That’s why I don’t write book reviews. 

My all-time favorites have to be Jane Austen’s books—she has it all—drama, romance, delicious humor, and wonderfully gooey endings. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction except for research—it feels too much like homework, and I read to relax and escape. Currently I’m reading Christa Parrish’s Watch over Me for fun and Medical Services in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters for research. Quite a combo, huh?

Karen: Has your life changed much by becoming a published author? Are you ever recognized when you go out? How would you travel incognito if you had to?

Sarah: Life’s a bit busier as a published author. The nicest part is people take my writing more seriously. It used to be, “Isn’t it cute that you’re writing a book? Oh, and you have plenty of time since you’re home all day, so you wouldn’t mind doing such-and-such.” Now they’re more likely to see it as a career and understand my time constraints. I’ve had to make the same mental transition to career writer. Before publication, I spent long luxurious hours playing with my stories and chasing research rabbit trails. Now I have to be more efficient and focused to take care of research, writing, and publicity. 

As to being recognized—that’s really funny! Um…no. Although I had an incident this week that’s close. I attend a large church, and I teach a children’s church-type class for about a hundred fourth- and fifth-graders. This Sunday, one of the girls studied my nametag. “Did you write a book?” My jaw dangled. “Why, yes—I did!” “My mom read it. She loved it.” That made my day! 

Traveling incognito? Now I’m snickering. Should I get a big floppy hat and dramatic sunglasses and call everyone “daaaaarling?” 

Karen: Thank you for joining us again at Write Now! It’s been a pleasure. I am sure my readers would join me in wishing you success and blessings.

Sarah: Thank you!

For more info on Sarah and her books, click here.

Giveaway Details 

Please read carefully.
  • Leave a comment to this post, include your email address.Entries without email address are not eligible.
  • Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.
  • Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook and/or Twitter. Please be sure and comment telling me so.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday October 23, 2010. Winner will be  notified via email and announced on Monday's post.       
  • This is open to US residents only. My apologies to those who follow outside the US.                                                                                                                                                                           What exciting things are happening in your neighborhood this weekend?                                                                                                                                                                                             Have a wonderful weekend!           Karen                                                                                                                                               

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Week With Sarah Sundin

Review, Interview, and Giveaway!
This week's featured author is Sarah Sundin, author of A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us, Books 1 and 2 in The Wings of Glory series. Sarah's offered a copy of A Memory Between Us to one of my readers. Today's post includes my review, and Thursday's post will share a short Q & A with Sarah.

You might recall Sarah's visit earlier this year, when she shared her thoughts on writing and A Distant Melody. If you happened to miss those posts, click here.


A Memory Between Us finds Ruth Doherty and Jack Novak serving their country during World War 2. Both stationed in England, ace pilot Jack and conscientious nurse Ruth seem to have little in common. But when Jack is injured and becomes a patient in Ruth's ward, their futures begin to intertwine.

Ruth's tough outer shell conceals her need for friends and support. She can't seem to outrun her past and the shame that goes with it. Despite her challenges, her goal is to do her job well; her younger brothers and sisters in the states rely on her income. Jack's good looks give the impression that he has it all together. What could he possibly have to learn? A lot, it turns out, and both he and Ruth face trials that could make or break their character and integrity. As they get to know each other, their relationship is tested again and again. Do they have a future together? Only time will tell.

I marveled at Sarah's ability to tell this story in such an engaging and intricate way. The flight scenes with Jack and his crew are excellent. The research that was required to paint such a realistic picture was clearly extensive. Sarah accomplished quite a feat and tells a wonderful story. I enjoyed A Distant Melody and had hoped that A Memory Between Us was just as good. It was!

One thought - In A Memory Between Us, Sarah deals with an episode of physical abuse. I think that she handled it tactfully; it's an important element for the story. But you may want to preview the book before handing it over to your teens.

Sarah Sundin is among my new favorite authors. I can't wait till her next book comes out. Join us on Thursday, won't you, when she gives us a sneak peek at Book 3.

Giveaway Details - Please read carefully.
  • Leave a comment to this post, include your email address like so: karenelange(at)gmail(dot)com. Entries without email address are not eligible.
  • Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.
  • Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook and/or Twitter. Please be sure and comment telling me so.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday October 23, 2010. Winner will be  notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond. Winner to be announced on Monday's post.       
  • This is open to US residents only. My apologies to those who follow outside the US.                                                                                                   
Have you ever read historical fiction set during World War 2? What do you think we can learn from historical fiction?

See you Thursday!


Monday, October 11, 2010


Unplugging for the week - I need to get reorganized and chill a bit after finishing a big project. Even have a bit of fall cleaning planned. Imagine that! :)

I invite you to stop by next week for a visit with Sarah Sundin. I'm reviewing her latest book, A Memory Between Us, and Sarah will be sharing some fun and interesting writing tidbits. We're having a giveaway too; she's generously offered a copy for one of my readers.

What are your plans for this week?

Will miss you all. See you soon!


Friday, October 8, 2010

A Little Coffee with Your Workshop?

Coffeehouse for Writers has an ongoing assortment of online workshops featuring instruction on historical fiction, blogging for profit, writing for children, magazine writing, creating character and more. Reasonably priced to suit the budget, offerings run from two day mini workshops to four and five weeks long.
I was asked to join the "Coffee Crew", and am pleased to announce that I will act as facilitator of one of their newest offerings. Basic Boot Camp for Writers begins Monday, October 11 and is designed to provide a refresher on basic writing and grammar elements for sharp and engaging writing. 
We'll discuss things like homophones, clauses, active versus passive voice, sentence variety, dialogue punctuation and a whole lot more. If you are interested in brushing up on the basics with fun writing prompts and assignments, I'd love to have you along. Hop over to the Coffeehouse to check it out!
Have a wonderful weekend. :)
Image credit: Ambrozio

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Review - Love's First Bloom

Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr
Bethany House Publishers      

Ruth Livingstone is on a mission, but not one she's chosen. Her father, Reverend Gersham Livingstone, is accused of murdering a prostitute in New York City. He sends Ruth to Toms River, New Jersey with a small package. The package is eighteen month old Lily, the prostitute's daughter. Few people know that the child exists; the Reverend wishes to keep her out of harm's way. Ruth is the solution.                              

Phanaby and Elias Garner take Ruth and Lily in, assuming that Ruth is a reformed prostitute in need of shelter. Ruth hates staying with them under false pretenses, especially ones that cast a shadow on her character. Lily is an unruly child, and it takes every ounce of stamina Ruth has to keep up with her. In addition, Ruth anxiously awaits news of her father's trial, fearing the worst but hoping for the best. Even in 1838, the media has all but convicted the Reverend prior to his trial.

Ashton "Jake" Tripp returns to New York City to make amends with his brother Clifford. Prior to their separation, Jake and Clifford worked together at their father's newspaper. Ego and bad judgement placed Jake in a scandalous situation and he fled the city, leaving Clifford to pick up the pieces and salvage the business. In an effort to win Clifford's trust and a position at the paper, Jake agrees to locate the daughter of Reverend Livingstone. Local papers report her disappearance and speculate that the Reverend murdered her as well.

Ruth and Jake's paths intersect in an interesting manner. Does Jake know who she really is? Ruth is wary of this reporter; can she trust him? How long will she deny her growing feelings for him? Will the good Reverend be acquitted and restore his reputation? Assorted events, interesting twists, and action provide the answers; you must read the book if you want to know what happens!

I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed Ms. Parr's Hearts Awakening. (To read my review of that book, click here.) It struck a chord with me, partly because the setting was near my birthplace in Pennsylvania. Beyond that though, her characters were real and engaging, and I expected the same with Love's First Bloom. I was not disappointed. Ms. Parr writes a lovely story that enables the reader to share Ruth's journey. If you like historical fiction of any sort, I think you might like this one.                                      

*This book was provided for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. No compensation was received.

What intriguing characters have you read about lately?

Thanks for joining me, and have a wonderful weekend!



Monday, October 4, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday & The Preacher's Bride Winner

Congratulations to Susan Reinhardt, the winner of The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund! Thanks to all who participated; I'm glad you decided to stop by.

Writing Tips

Need manuscript advice? Editor Anica Mrose Rissi offers great tips in her Writer's Digest article, Nine Must-Follow Manuscript Rules. Rissi outlines what it takes to stay out of the slush pile, which is something all writers want to avoid. Love the principles here; I think that several apply to non-fiction too.

Here's another writing goodie I came across. Ask the Pro: Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner - Kara Ebhart Uhl interviews Rachelle Gardner and uncovers Rachelle's definition of a dream client, worst query, and biggest career surprise. (You might recall that Rachelle is Jody Hedlund's agent.)

Jean Fischer posts on Common Word Mistakes at her blog The Walrus and the Carpenter. Do you know the difference between lay and lie? How about farther and further? Hop over to see Jean and she'll straighten you out on that and a lot more.

FYI - Haven't forgotten about the 150 follower/200th post giveaway that I mentioned some weeks ago. Although perhaps now I should aim for 200 followers, as 150 seems to have come and gone. :) Soon, I assure you, and I have some nifty prizes to share. Stay tuned also for a visit with Sarah Sundin. Sarah spent time with us over the summer and will return to talk about her new book, A Memory Between Us, complete with a giveaway.

What a blessing to have such rich resources at our fingertips! Found any good resources lately?

Happy writing!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview & Giveaway with Jody Hedlund

I'm thrilled to share this interview with author Jody Hedlund! Her debut novel, The Preacher's Bride is one of my new favorite books. If you happened to miss my review, check out Monday's post.

Karen: Thank you so much for joining us at Write Now. Congratulations on the release of your novel, The Preacher’s Bride.  I thoroughly enjoyed it! How did the idea for this book come about?

Jody: I homeschool my children and during the course of teaching them history, I began to learn more about some of the great heroes of the faith. I was particularly fascinated with the little-known women who helped shaped these great men. These wives were strong, courageous, and faithful. I decided their inspiring stories needed to have a voice and be told to this generation.

Karen: I haven’t read much historical fiction set in 1659, and I found your description of Elizabeth Whitbread’s surroundings interesting. How much research was involved with the characters and setting?

Jody: For each of my books I spend two to three months researching before beginning the writing process. I particularly enjoy reading biographies and usually find a couple that are incredibly authentic and helpful. In the case of The Preacher’s Bride, I drew from John Bunyan’s books as well as primary documents including actual church documents recorded from that time.

Karen: Your double final in the 2009 Genesis Contest must have been an exciting milestone. What steps to publication did you take after winning? 

Jody: Immediately after finaling in the contest, I contacted agent Rachelle Gardner, who had my manuscript in her slush pile. The final perked her attention and she pulled my manuscript out, took a look at it, and called me the next day to offer me representation.

Rachelle immediately set to work selling my book. Within a few months she was able to secure a three book deal with Bethany House Publishers. Needless to say, I was thrilled!

Karen: I can’t wait to read Book Two. Can you give us a hint or two about it? When will it be released?

Jody: As a matter of fact, I can now tell you that the official title of Book 2 is The Doctor’s Lady. The title committee met last week and I’m very excited about their decision! The Doctor’s Lady is scheduled to release in September of 2011 and is another “inspired-by” novel. It’s a fictionalized story based on the first white woman to travel overland West to Oregon as a missionary to the natives. It’s a marriage of convenience story, but also the tale of how a young woman overcame the odds, endured a dangerous journey, and found true love along the way. In the process, her strength and courage paved the way for all of the women who came after her.

Karen: I appreciate having you spend time with us this week. I’m sure my blogging gang would join me in wishing you much writing success in the future. Blessings to you!

Jody: Thank you for having me on your blog, Karen! I wish you and all of your blog readers much success too!

Here's a bit more info on Jody:

Jody Hedlund is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.

She’s represented by agent Rachelle Gardner and her debut book, The Preacher’s Bride, is now available online and in most stores. Stop by her blog, Author, Jody Hedlund, where she chronicles her journey to publication and dispenses her two-cent writing wisdom.

Readers can visit Jody here:


To Enter:
  • Leave a comment to this post, include your email address like so: karenelange(at)gmail(dot)com. Entries without email address are not eligible.
  • Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.
  • Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook and/or Twitter. Please be sure and comment telling me so.
  • This is open to US residents only. For those of you who follow outside the US, I apologize.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday October 2, 2010. Winner will be  notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner to be announced on Monday's post.                                                                                                              
What questions would you ask Jody about her journey to publication? 

Thanks for joining us!

Happy weekend,