Monday, February 27, 2012

Blessings and Congratulations


Counting my blessings these days - and it just so happens that you are among them! The friendship, support, and fellowship you've offered is amazing. Who knew, that within the confines of a blogger template, such a lovely and wonderful thing would bloom?

I'll be celebrating my third blogoversary in March. Like many of you, I had no idea what awaited me when I began blogging. My early posts were somewhat different than they are now, and I think I'm still reshaping and finding the purpose for this little spot in cyberspace. All in all, it's been a great ride, and I am blessed. Thank you for being a blessing to me!

Hope you can join me next month to celebrate. :) We'll have a few special features and of course, a giveaway that includes chocolate. You in?

And Congratulations  

Congratulations to Robyn Campbell, the winner of last week's giveaway of Ann Gabhart's Words Spoken True. Thanks to all who stopped by and participated.

Congrats also to Alex Cavanaugh! His latest book, CassaFire is being released this week. Hop over to his blog for more details. Wish you the best, Alex!

While we're on a roll, congratulations to Stephen Tremp as well. His book Opening, recently made its debut. Best wishes Stephen!

Hope you can join me on Thursday when Write Now takes part in a blog tour sponsored by Litfuse featuring Colleen Coble's latest book, Blue Moon Promise.

What blessings are you counting lately? 

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview with Ann Gabhart

Author Ann Gabhart is back to share a little about her latest book, Words Spoken True, and offer other wonderful writerly wisdom. I've been blessed to meet this talented lady in person - she is a treasure!

Karen: Welcome back to Write Now, Ann. So glad to have you along again. Congratulations on your new book! I must say, I love the title, Words Spoken True. I'm always curious as to how authors and publishers settle on a book title. How did this title come about?

Ann: I work hard to come up with titles that suit my stories. Sometimes the publishers agree and go with my titles. Sometimes they don’t. Traditional publishing contracts generally give the publisher the right to title the book. Most publishers, if they don’t want to use the author’s title, try to work with the author to come up with a title they think will entice readers and be something the author can accept. That’s how it’s been with my current publisher. But at times, the title is simply handed down and the author has to decide to like it. 

It was more that way for me with my first couple of books published in the general market. I don’t remember having any input at all on the titles Warner Books choose for those two mass market paperback books, but that happened years ago and I may have forgotten. I was such a young writer and so excited to be published at all that I doubt I would have argued against anything they suggested. I did like my title for the first book, Kentucke Dream with Kentucky spelled as it often was in that historical era. They changed that to A Forbidden Yearning. They wanted the title to show plainly that it was a love story.

My current publisher considers the title I’ve come up with, but they also have a titling committee of editors and publicity and marketing people to discuss the impact the title might have once it is out there for readers to see. They suggested The Outsider for my first Shaker book and so after that, we had a pattern to follow – the “something.” With that in mind, I was able to come up with titles the company liked and used for my other Shaker novels. Those titles were still discussed and considered by the titling committee.  Angel Sister was my title and I’m glad the committee agreed that it suited the book. They didn’t agree with my title for Words Spoken True. I came up with Words of Fire, a title I admit I still think suited the story. But I trust the publishers’ judgment. They know what draws a readers’ eye much better than I do. They did suggest another title first. A good title, but one I thought didn’t capture the right feeling for this book.

Of course, you have to realize that most of the titling committee haven’t actually read the book when they’re working on coming up with the best title. They’ve probably got a synopsis. They listen to the acquiring editor tell about the book. Maybe they’ve seen some chapters. So it’s not always possible for them to get the feel of the whole story. When I expressed concerns about the suggested title, they took the book back to titling committee and brainstormed to come up with Words Spoken True. My editor had asked me earlier to brainstorm titles myself, but I was too attached to my original title to come up with something different. Now I’m hearing that many readers like the title, and I was even able to work it into the final scene when I was doing some final editing.  

Karen: Interesting! I knew it was a process but wasn't sure what was involved. One thing that drew me to Words Spoken True was the fact that it was historical and set in Louisville, KY, not far from where you and I live. What sparked the idea for this book?

Ann: I like searching for historical happenings or an era that grabs my interest. I read about the election riots of 1855 and how some thought newspaper editors were partly to blame because of their fiery editorials about how the country would be ruined when the increasing number of Irish and German immigrants got the vote. It was feared the immigrants would elect their own people and gain control of the government. As I kept digging deeper to find out more, I knew I wanted to explore that world of newspapers. I read old newspapers on microfilm to get the feel of the era and how stories were written then. It is a much different style than our newspapers today. 

I came up with a spunky heroine who has ink in her blood and hates the social conventions that tell her she shouldn’t be setting type or writing news stories. I drop the strong, handsome hero down into a competing paper. Then I throw lots of obstacles in the way of them ever being able to follow their hearts. But it was my initial reading of what happened on the day that came to be known as “Bloody Monday” in Louisville history that started me down this historical road and made me want to know more about what happened and why.

Words Spoken True is actually a story I first wrote many years ago when I was writing for the general market. It didn’t find a loving editor then. I eventually rewrote it and added the suspense elements. It still didn’t find a loving editor, so it ended up on my closet shelf. But I’ve always liked the story and so decided to rewrite it one more time for the inspirational market. This time the story clicked and now I’m excited to see it out there for readers.

Karen:  I'm glad it made it out of the closet! It is a wonderful story. So tell us, are you a plotter, pantster, or a little of both? Have you always written this way?

Ann: I’m mostly a pantster. In my historical novels, I do have the framework of the historical events. In Words Spoken True, everything is leading up to the dramatic scene during the election riots. So in that way I’m a plotter. I have to tie my characters into the actual historical timeline. I do some pre-writing to get to know my characters and I have an idea of where I hope to go with them. But sometimes the road changes while I’m writing. Sometimes the characters let me know the better story path. I’ve written for so long – my first book was published over thirty years ago – that I’m not really sure I’ve always written any specific way. It’s been an ongoing, learning experience with each book different. Every story has its own voice. I just have to find that voice.

Karen: I love that - "Every story has its own voice." Words Spoken True really does. What do you hope to leave with your readers when they finish one of your books?

Ann: I hope that they will be glad they read my story. I want them to have lived the story with my characters. I want them to have the feeling of falling in love or being afraid or feeling joy – whatever my characters are feeling and doing. If they are entertained, that too is good. I personally like learning new things even if I’m reading fiction. So I wouldn’t be unhappy if my readers got a glimpse of some history they might not know that much about. I also hope reading my characters’ faith journey might inspire them. 

In one of the nicest e-mails I’ve gotten in regard to my books, one of my readers said she had to put my book down to go check a reference I’d made to a Bible story. That was in one of my Hollyhill books. Since one of the main characters in those stories is a preacher and also a newspaper editor (I do like to write about newspaper people), I could incorporate some Bible stories into those books without awkwardness. In Words Spoken True, the historical part of the story and the romance take center stage. The inspirational thread is there, but simply woven throughout as one aspect of the characters’ lives.

Oh, and I always like to imagine my readers nodding with satisfaction as they read the last page and close my books, thinking yes, that’s what happened and I am glad I was there to see it.

Karen: You know, I have to say that I enjoyed the story and characters in Words Spoken True, and came away satisfied. I learned a lot too (this is the reason I read and enjoy historical fiction).

Thank you for sharing with us, Ann. It's always a pleasure. :) Please share your links in case readers want to get in touch with you.

Ann: Thank you, Karen, for inviting me over to talk with your readers. It’s always fun to visit with friends.  I have several ways for people to keep up with what’s going on in my writing life. You can find out more about my books at my website,, and also check out a giveaway contest Revell Books and I are hosting to celebrate the Louisville background of Words Spoken True

To visit my blog, One Writer’s Journal, click here. My Facebook author’s page is here, and my Twitter user name is Annhgabhart. So come on over and we’ll talk!

 Book Giveaway Details
  • You must be a follower and leave a comment, with email address, on this or Monday's post.
  • Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please include link with your comment where applicable.
  • Open to residents of the United States.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight EST, Friday, February 24, 2012. Winner will be notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, February 27.
Do you have any questions for Ann? What are you up to this weekend?

Happy weekend,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Words Spoken True - Book Review

Words Spoken True, by Ann Gabhart, is making its debut as we speak. I have had the privilege of meeting this lovely author and am happy to feature a review today, and a fun interview with her on Thursday. Ann's generously offered a copy of Words Spoken True for a giveaway, so be sure and check out the details below.

Adriane Darcy has a nose for news. Growing up at her father’s side in the pressroom of the Tribune has helped hone her ability to write and report the latest happenings in Louisville, KY.  Miss Adriane is anything but your typical 1855 society flower. She goes through the polite and expected motions, of course, but she’s not averse to disguising as a man and hiding in the shadows at crime scenes to get a scoop.

Blake Garrett’s senses are attuned to the news as well, having worked as a journalist in New York City before relocating to Louisville. He’s well known about town as the controversial editor of the Herald newspaper. Adriane and Garrett haven't met yet, but naturally, each one is curious about the other since the Herald and Tribune have long been rivals. 

Adriane and Blake finally meet at a fundraiser, and although both resist it, sparks seem to fly, much to the chagrin of Adriane’s intended, Stanley Jimson. Jimson is the milquetoast son of a local candidate for senator. Adriane is a reluctant party to the engagement, and struggles to keep her head above water amongst the rising tide of wedding plans and society’s expectations.

Meanwhile, Garrett works to investigate the mystery of the River Slasher, a ruthless killer who has claimed the lives of several young Irish women. Blake also targets Jimson’s father’s campaign in his editorials, for he senses corruption is afoot. Garrett's father, a newspaperman as well, raised him to stand up for the truth.

Blake and Adriane are thrown together in social and other unexpected circumstances, and despite Adriane’s wariness at consorting with this rival editor, they form a cautious friendship. As Stanley and Adriane’s wedding date draws near, the city’s political unrest escalates into a near frenzy. Trials and sorrow follow, and even allies cannot be trusted.

Words Spoken True is a departure from Ann’s normal fare, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I am happy to say, though, that I enjoyed it very much. Ann creates engaging characters and paints a picture of historical Louisville that surrounds and entertains the reader. She is indeed a talented writer.

I liked the main players immediately, and found their strengths and flaws believable and similar to my own. Were there twists and turns? Oh my, yes! This book was hard to put down. I was riveted by one scene in particular, and admired Ann’s ability to pull it off so seamlessly. I give it two thumbs up!

Giveaway Details
  • You must be a follower and leave a comment, with email address, on this post.
  • Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by commenting on Thursday's interview post, sharing this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please include link with your comment where applicable.
  • Open to residents of the United States.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight EST, Friday, February 24, 2012. Winner will be notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, February 27.

Don't forget to stop back on Thursday for the interview with Ann Gabhart! 

Are there any events in your area's history that would make a good fictional story?



Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review - The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

By Julie Klassen

What’s it like to suddenly find yourself in an unfamiliar place in society? Margaret Macy must make this adjustment when she flees a marriage forced upon her by her stepfather. Her narrow escape is made with the aid of her former lady’s maid, Joan. They make their way to a small town outside of London, sufficiently far from her stepfather’s reach. 

Margaret dons a wig and spectacles to conceal her identity and begins life at Fairbourne Hall as a housemaid whose name is “Nora”. Her plan is to bide her time until her upcoming 25th birthday in the fall of 1815, when she will inherit a large sum from her late aunt.

Lewis and Nathaniel Upchurch are the masters at Fairbourne Hall, a small detail that Margaret was unaware of when she was hired. This is a problem; the brothers traveled in the same social circle as Margaret, and she fears her identity is at risk even with her disguise. Much to her dismay, Margaret must attend to the needs of not only Lewis and Nathaniel, but their sister Helen as well. Helen seems to be testing Margaret – but why? Does she suspect that “Nora” is not who she seems? Will flirtatious Lewis or the serious and practical Nathaniel suspect as well?

Margaret soon learns that there is much more to servanthood than she realized. Seeing to someone’s every need and whim shows her just how shallow her life as a genteel young woman had become. Does she use this experience to grow, or does she become bitter and vengeful, particularly to her stepfather, who drove her here in the first place? 

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall has something for nearly everyone – action, adventure, romance, sibling rivalry, fencing, and yes, even a pirate! I love Ms. Klassen’s style; she always has the right blend with her characters, plot, and setting. They combine for a rich and enjoyable story. Some say that she writes in similar fashion to Jane Austen; I’m inclined to agree. If you are a fan of this era’s historical fiction, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this book. I know I did.
I obtained this book at no charge from Bethany House for review purposes. No compensation was received for my review.

What are you reading these days?

Have a great weekend,

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Dream Team

Last Monday's post entitled The Art of Communication featured a quote on writing by Abraham Lincoln.  I suggested that he'd have made an interesting addition to a writing group. My lovely and clever writer friend Jean Fischer, of Something to Write Home About commented and asked, "Wouldn't it be fun to put together a famous persons writing group?" Jean's comment was pure genius, and with her blessing, this post was born.

Picture it - a meeting of literary minds (allowing timeline scrambles for creative purposes).

Jane Austen and Mark Twain are sitting across from each other, discussing character development. Would Miss Jane be able to talk any sense or sensibility into Mr. Twain?

Perhaps C.S. Lewis, Homer, and Shakespeare offer tips Abraham Lincoln might share as he addressed a Gettysburg crowd.

Robert Louis Stevenson could offer a garden of verses for Laura Ingalls Wilder. She, in turn, might ponder those lines while writing about little houses and such.

Just think what might happen if William Strunk and E.B.White met with L.M. Montgomery and Tolstoy? Surely some elements of style might come up. You never know.

What writers would you combine for a lively and interesting mix? Who would be on your writing group dream team?

Taking the rest of the week off, but will be back next Monday with an interview with Ann Gabhart. There will be a giveaway and other goodies too. See you then.

Have a great week! :)


Image credit: Stock Exchange

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday's This and That

Came across these tidbits recently...

Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest is hosting The Homeric Writer's Retreat, August 2-8, 2012 in Ithaca, Greece. Featured speakers include author Jessica Bell. Check out details here. (Sounds like a great excuse to go to Greece!:)

For info on the annual Writer's Digest competition, click here. There are ten categories, including poetry, fiction, children/young adult fiction, memoirs, and magazine features. Entry fees start at $15, and the grand prize is $3000 and a trip to the WD conference in New York City. First through tenth place winners also receive some dandy prizes. Deadline is May 1.

This article, Want a Creative Boost? Stop Creating, by Tanner Christensen, offers an interesting angle on the writer's creative processes. Do you know how many calories are burned when we think?  Mr. Christensen has the answer, and shares his thoughts on tapping the potential of our imagination. 

The Coffeehouse for Writers offers online classes including Making a Scene, Blogging for Profit or Pleasure, SEO Savvy for Writers, Creating Characters, Stress Management for Writers, Your Personal Editor, Writing for Children, among others. Yours truly teaches Basic Boot Camp for Writers, which is a fun refresher of writing basics and lots more. Classes begin February 20, 2012. Click here for details and sign up info. 

In the mood for more contests? Hope Clark of Funds for Writers has a listing of current offerings on the Funds for Writers site. You might want to poke around the FFW site too, Hope shares great resources and links for writers of all levels and genres.

Speaking of Hope Clark, Jennifer Brown Banks posted a great interview with Hope over at Pen and Prosper this week. Good stuff!

Do you have any great links or tidbits to share? Any fabulous weekend plans?

Happy weekend,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Art of Communicating

"Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, 

is the greatest invention of the world."

Abraham Lincoln

Smart man! Makes you think that he might have been an interesting addition to your writing group, doesn't it? I've often wondered what prompted him to utter these words.

While pondering this quote recently, I thought about other ways that we communicate. One way, of course, is through the spoken word. As we polish our writing, we can improve our speech, whether speaking among friends or with a group. It provides opportunities to be more deliberate and thoughtful, don't you think?

I believe too, that as we speak, we stretch our ability to articulate in new and meaningful ways. Each episode adds to our vast array of experiences, giving us writing ideas and valuable practice to make our words efficiently shine.

Body language is another means of communication. Whether consciously or not, we share our thoughts, moods, triumphs, and struggles with those around us. We can speak volumes through arms folded, fidgety fingers, rolled eyes, and crinkled brows.

Perhaps this is a cross between body language and speech - a sigh, grunt of disapproval, or shrill whine could possibly be a negative tool to control others. A good way to communicate? Probably not. But body language is not without its perks.We can share kindness and acceptance through a wave or a smile. An outstretched arm can draw hurting or precious ones near.

Any thoughts on other ways we communicate? What do you think Mr. Lincoln had in mind when he said this?

Promise Me This Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Theresa N., the winner of Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke. Thanks to all for stopping by and participating!

What things have helped you become a better communicator? Do you see communication as an art or special skill?

Happy writing,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Other Side of the Fence

Guess What? 

I'm on the other side of the fence! 

Maria Morgan is hosting an interview with me on her blog,

I must admit, it feels a bit strange to be on the other side of the questions.

If you have a minute, stop by and check it out.

Thanks a bunch!
Have a great weekend,


P.S. Deadline to enter the giveaway for Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

is this Friday at midnight. For details, and to read the review, click here.

To read my interview with Cathy, click here.

Image credit: Stock Exchange