Monday, April 22, 2013

Call It Done

Every writer faces it. "The End." Whether a novel, article, blog post, or other project, there's that time when we call it done and publish or submit to an editor.

This came to mind when I saw an amusing cartoon on Facebook. I can't remember who posted it or I would share it. (If it's you, let me know. I'd be happy to give due credit!)

Picture it: An editor stood to the left side. Writer #1 stood to the middle right, and had just handed the editor a submission. Writer #2, at far right, clutched writer #1 around the waist in an effort to keep writer #1 from grabbing the submission back from the editor. Writer #1 said, "But wait, I want to look at it one more time!" (My paraphrase.)

I had to laugh. Been there. Done that. Okay, maybe without the drama, but I know the feeling. Must tweak things. One. More. Time.

Is there a solution? If so, what is it?  Here are my thoughts:

Tools to Help "Call it Done"

  • Let it rest. Time is an asset. Even a short break helps us return with fresh eyes before hitting the send button.
  • Get outside input. Whether from writing friends or a paid editor, another perspective offers insight for optimum polish.
  • Deadlines. There's nothing that motivates like a good old fashioned deadline. I often impose my own to stay on track. 
  • Practice. As skills improve, so does our confidence. Moving on gets easier.
  • Acknowledge that enough is enough. Insecurities and perfectionism may urge us to adjust the words forever. But forever is a long time. Give it your best and move forward.
  • We are not alone. All writers have this or similar challenges.

This of course, is not to say that we shouldn't strive for excellence. Of course we should. But the time comes when we must "call it done".

Do you fight the temptation to endlessly tweak or second guess submissions? What steps do you take to work through it?

Special Note: My Dad is visiting from NJ, so I am taking a break until Monday, May 6.

Enjoy your week! :)

Happy writing,


Top Image Credit: Stock Exchange/Billy Frank Alexander

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Book Review and a Quiz

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund      

Bethany House Publishers

The Description

Michigan, 1880 - Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on.

So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.

With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.

My Review 
I have yet to read a book by Jody Hedlund that I did not like. Her latest, A Noble Groom, is no exception. Set in her home state of Michigan, this book tells an engaging story of perseverance and trust. The main characters, the recently widowed Annalisa Werner and new immigrant Carl Richards, are the kind of characters that Hedlund has a knack for creating - memorable ones. 

Annalisa and Carl watch their worlds shift and collide through circumstances beyond their control. To survive, they must adjust accordingly. Despite the fact that they are drawn to each other, their relationship is hindered by well-kept secrets. 

This book’s main characters are deep but likeable. Their lives intertwine, and the reader watches as they learn hard lessons, yet maintain an admirable resilience. I enjoyed all of this, along with a seamless plot filled with great action, and yes, even a bit of intrigue and suspense. Ms. Hedlund delivers a wonderful tale that surrounds and entertains the reader. In addition, she provides a story that speaks perspective regarding all things important – faith and family. 

Memorable Characters Quiz

Can you name the memorable characters from these books and/or films? You get bonus brownie points if you can name both! (Sorry, no real brownies are involved.) Answers below. :)

  1. Scout called her father, a lawyer in the Deep South, by his first name. Who is he?
  2. Name Heathcliff's love in the dark but classic Emily Bronte tale.
  3. Prince Humperdinck and Princess Buttercup are characters in this 1987 film. What is the name of the Spanish swordsman?
  4. What is the name of the photographer portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in the 1954 Hitchcock thriller?
  5. L.M. Montgomery wrote a few adult fiction stories (still G rated, btw). One featured a timid female character who finally got the nerve to stand up to overbearing relatives after a startling diagnosis from her doctor. What is her name?

Need advice on creating memorable characters? Check out Jody's post entitled 3 Tips for Creating Enthralling Characters.

If you'd like more info on Jody and her books, visit her website at

Purchase A Noble Groom at Amazon.

Congratulations Jody, on another great book! Wishing you all the best!

What elements make a character memorable? What are you reading this week?

Happy reading and writing,

Kindly note: As an influencer for author Jody Hedlund, I received this book free of charge from Bethany House.

Answer key:

1. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights
3. Inigo Montoya played by Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride
4. L.B "Jeff" Jefferies in Rear Window 
5. Valancy Stirling in The Blue Castle

Monday, April 8, 2013

Do You Have the Chief Hand?

"All men who have turned out worth anything 

have had the chief hand in their own education."

Sir Walter Scott

What does it mean to have a "chief hand" in one's education?

Can it mean:

  • Reading?
  • Polishing skills?
  • Joining a support group?
  • Having a heart open to learning? 
  • Or all of the above?

As children, we don't have as much say in how we are educated. But as we get older we slide into the driver's seat. And away we go. Gripping the steering wheel with those chief hands.

This principle struck me recently as I reviewed an assignment from one of my teen students. How many things have I learned or brushed up on since graduation? Some out of necessity, others just because...

From the small (what's the difference between a homophone, a homonym, and a homograph?) to the large (creating memorable characters for the work in progress) there's been much to learn, and more to learn. Always.

What Tools are Available?

With today's technology, the sky's the limit for any topic. Well, almost. Sometimes finances, or lack of, hinder us. Never fear, though, for there are options.

For instance, much can be gained from:

A little effort, ingenuity, and divine intervention, aka the "chief hand", can make a big impact on all we do. :)

Do you agree with Sir Scott? How is this idea reflected in your writing? In your life?

Happy writing,


Image credit: Stock Exchange

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interview with Susan Reinhardt

It's blog tour time for Susan J. Reinhardt! Susan joins us today to discuss her debut novel, The Moses Conspiracy. Be sure and check out the giveaway details below.

Welcome, Susan! When did you feel that you were called to be a writer?
Thank you, Karen, it's good to be here. I've written for many years, but never thought of myself as a "writer." When people began telling me how much my writing impacted their lives, I began pondering those statements and praying. I wanted to follow through, but didn't know how to go about it. When I married and moved to another state, I discovered a supportive writing community. The Lord gave me favor, and many of my non-fiction pieces were published. There's a sense of peace when you know you belong in a particular spot. I have that as a writer.

You've told me that this is the book of your heart. Why do you feel this way? 

I had an experience while in Gettysburg in 2004. I tried to write a non-fiction piece, but failed. Fiction wasn't on my agenda, but God had other ideas. My husband and I prayed for direction, and the Lord impressed on him it was to be the inspiration for a novel. I sat down at the computer and started. The early days were discouraging because I quickly learned my fiction skills needed major help. When my husband got sick and died, I determined that I would finish the book to honor his memory and in obedience to the Lord's direction. The Moses Conspiracy is dedicated to David.

What do you hope readers will take away from The Moses Conspiracy?
I'd like them to see God's faithfulness in difficult times, the need to protect our freedoms, and the importance of family relationships.

Sounds like a great message! The Moses Conspiracy is the first in a series of three books - can you give us a peek at books 2 and 3?

Each novel is a stand-alone book. Book 2 has a working title of, "The Scent of Fear." I thought the main characters from, "The Moses  Conspiracy," would be the focus of this book. However, as I began writing, another character jumped onto center stage. Ellie, John, and Peter will be featured prominently in this book, but I'll let you in on a little secret. Keep an eye on Jim Kenneman, the Director of National Security.

Book 3 has a working title of, "Lost and Found," but I have a strong feeling that will change. I've written a mere 6,000 words. While I know the beginning and end, I have only a general idea of how to get to the final page. This book will include favorite characters from the previous books, but add one major female character. She's quite a handful and will challenge the patience and fortitude of the others.

One final question just for fun - what is your favorite writing snack? :)

LOL! There's chocolate, of course, but I have to limit my intake. Milk and cookies are another favorite. Hmm, maybe that's why Peter, in "The Moses Conspiracy," loves whoopie pies so much! Ellie is also big on M&M's. She could forgive a lot, but it's a good thing those soldiers didn't steal her chocolate.

Thanks so much for joining us, Susan. Wishing you much writing success!

Thank you, Karen!

The Moses Conspiracy is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Kobo.

Visit Susan at her Blog, Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Blog Tour Giveaway

Susan is giving away a copy of The Moses Conspiracy and a $25 Amazon gift card! Enter in the Rafflecopter box below. (US residents only.)

Do you have any special plans for the weekend? What are you reading lately?

Happy weekend,


a Rafflecopter giveaway