Thursday, November 23, 2017

Being a Prolific Writer



The word 'prolific' is one I'd love to be labelled with... Oh look, she's turned out another bestseller book! What a prolific writer she is...

I've aimed at ridiculous wordcounts per day, I've pantsed and plotted and settled into a happy combination of both. I've changed my sleeping habits, tried NaNoWriMo, read a ton of blogs from writers I love and respect and so on and so on. 

The sad, dismal truth fact I'm currently facing, is that if you give me an hour a day, or a few uninterrupted hours in a day, my output will probably be about the same.

Maybe that will change, I live in hope.

In the meantime, I'm borrowing a lesson from my middle child's induction ceremony into High School a few years back. They start the event with a single torch burning on stage. All the new Grade 8's lead in in the dark. As you can see from the gallery above, the prefects start by lighting their candles and passing on the flame. The transition from a deeply dark hall to one lit by many individual lights was moving to say the least. The message was clear - your individual contribution counts.
How does that make me a more prolific writer? It doesn't. But what it does do, is make me value each word that willingly joins the ranks of the little army of words that make up my story. I only need 75 000 of them to show up at the the right time, and I'm done. 

Do I cringe at 500 word days? Nope. Do I cringe at the 23 words I manage to string together before I'm called to go see my 10's handstand against the cupboard / latest cartwheel / back bend  - AGAIN? Not any more.

All that matters is that I'm adding words. I will not waste energy on beating myself up for not being prolific. Maybe, just maybe... prolificacy (yes, I did just make that up) will creep up on me as I quietly grow my word count. Until then, I'll soldier on, adding each precious word as it shows up.

If you have found any magic formula for upping your daily count, I'd love to hear about it. It probably won't work on me, but go ahead and share anyway!

Dianne J. Wilson writes novels from her hometown in East London, South Africa, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She is writing a three book YA series, Spirit Walker, with Pelican / Harbourlight. Affinity (book 1), releases on the 8th of June 2018.

Finding Mia is available from AmazonPelican / Harbourlight, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Shackles is available as a free ebook from Amazon & Smashwords.


Find her on FacebookTwitter and her sporadic blog Doodles.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wandering Wednesday - Vienna, Austria


 By Morgan Tarpley Smith

 “The Butterfly and the Violin” by Kristy Cambron
A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover—the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul—who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
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My Review of The Butterfly and the Violin
The story drops you right in the action with Sera in her long-time search for a hauntingly beautiful painting of a young Austrian violinist named Adele who lived in Vienna at the outbreak of World War II and wanted to make a difference despite the consequences.
Vienna, Austria
Sera and Adele’s stories merge after Sera’s search for the painting and her need to hear of Adele’s life leads her toward healing and a possible chance for love again amidst a broken past—something that Adele herself knew something about along her life’s journey that led to Auschwitz.
Cambron’s writing is fresh and sharp with beautiful and at the same time heart wrenching moments whether in an upscale art gallery of Manhattan or behind the ghastly barbed wire walls of the notorious Polish concentration camp. I learned a lot about the history of art and music at Auschwitz from this novel, and I so keenly felt for the innocent souls who spent their days—most final—there. This story is simply unforgettable.
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Wandering Spotlight: Vienna, Austria
My 234th cup of hot chocolate and plate of apple strudel (lol)
I was able to visit the city that Adele Von Bron called home when my husband and I were on our honeymoon in 2014. The city is gorgeous with ornate architecture from the Hofburg Palace to the St. Peter’s Church. 
We enjoyed walking around in the snow taking in its beauty! Also, we stopped in many cafes to enjoy a cup of Viennese Hot Chocolate piled high with fresh whipped cream accompanied by famous Viennese Apple Strudel.
The highlight of our stay in Vienna was our attendance at the Silvester Ball on New Year’s Eve at the Hofburg Palace. It was an incredible experience! I was all dressed up in an evening gown like Adele was for her special and very memorable concert performance for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (That scene! Wow!).
The Silvester Ball (or "Silver" Ball)
Also some members of a Viennese Orchestra performed at the ball as well as the Vienna State Opera Ballet. While in Vienna, we also paid a visit to the Christmas market in front of the lovely Schönbrunn Palace.
Vienna certainly did not disappoint with its charm and beauty, and I cannot think of a more extreme opposite to Auschwitz for Adele to have experienced in her journey than from the opulence of the city’s grand concert halls to the dank, cold bunkerhouses of the concentration camp.
Have you been to Austria before? If yes, what was a memorable experience you had there? If no, what would you like to visit most there?
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About the Author: Kristy Cambron
Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists for 2014 & 2015, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. The Lost Castle (HarperCollins, 2018) is her fifth novel. Her first Bible studies, The Verse Mapping Series, will release in 2018.
Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She loves storytelling from the stage and travels to teach about the intersection of walking story roads with Jesus, and Bible Verse Mapping. Kristy laughs daily with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

To order the novel on Amazon, click here. To find out more about Kristy’s other novels, visit her website at KristyCambron.com
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About the Reviewer
Morgan Tarpley Smith

Morgan Tarpley Smith is an award-winning newspaper reporter and photographer in Louisiana. She is also an inspirational adult and middle grade novelist. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her interests include acting, genealogy, photography, and essential oils (Facebook: Pura Vida Louisiana). 
She resides in Louisiana with her husband and is expecting their first child in early 2018.  For more information about Morgan, connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Goodreads.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SEASONS


SPRING Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash 


Life is about change. At least mine certainly has been. Even the short time since I first joined this blog, my life has flipped upside down and around a few times.

Some people call these seasons.

I’ve heard it said that God uses such times to teach us, and I’ve heard that He uses them to change us. 

My experience has been a bit of both.  Through the seasons He’s given me, He has opened my eyes to problem areas in my life and then graciously, lovingly, gently, He’s proceeded to change what I could not.

SUMMER Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash 


Hopefully, prayerfully, I am even now pressing towards another season. Because of the commitments that change will no doubt hold, I have decided to step back from my role as contributor to this, the International Christian Fiction Writers’ Blog.

It has been a pleasure and delight to be included in this group. Your support and feedback during the past two years has meant a lot to me.

Thank you.

AUTUMN Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash 


I pray God’s blessing on each of you as you continue to serve Him with your words. I trust the coming year will bring you growth that deepens your faith and renews your love for the One who first loved us.


I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 
Ephesians 3: 16-19 NIV


WINTER Photo by Galina N on Unsplash




Jayne E. Self is just one of 55 Canadian contributors in the latest Hot Apple Cider Anthology.


You can also connect with Jayne on Facebook  or at JayneSelf.com

Monday, November 20, 2017

A New Word and An Old Book

by Ruth Dell



Discombobulated has long been my favorite word, simply because I love the way it captures perplexity and confusion by its very sound and look. But then I came home from Ireland last week with a delightful new word in my vocabulary. Discombobulated now takes second place and my new favorite is vellichor.

Vellichor.  A magic word carpet, with its intriguing definition of being "the strange wistfulness of used bookstores",  flew out of cyberspace  How could I resist a word which caught me up and instantly transported me to my happy place—a used bookstore!

I soon discovered that this word, although gaining popularity in the digital world, was not in conventional dictionaries, although I suspect it may well be at some time in the near future. It was coined by John Koenig and its full meaning is given in his site, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, as follows:

"the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you'll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured."

Two days later I got to experience my new word firsthand when I visited Zozimus Bookshop in Gorey, County Wexford. And it was there that my sister bought a wonderful old book which we pored over once back home.

The Irish Press Cuttings Album
It's shabby and battered, but once opened it reveals a treasure—an Irish Press Cuttings Album c 1855 to 1865, including detailed reports of the laying of the Atlantic Cable. Unfortunately the dates of the cuttings and the names of the newspapers are missing.

Further examination reveals that book originally belonged to a painter, who hung wallpaper and installed windows in addition to painting. He used it to keep records of his clients, work and accounts. The days and months have been noted, but, in most cases, not the year, although I did find one entry dated 1846 and another 1911. The press cuttings have been pasted close together over the work records in the first part of the book. The font is very small and it seems white space was not an option in those days.

Painter's Record 1861
 The cuttings include opinions about many subjects, news, anecdotes, social events, funeral notices, obituaries, matrimonial matters and a wide range of trivia which capture a world very different from today's. Here are two excerpts which I particularly enjoyed and have earmarked for a novel. Note the spelling and punctuation are copied from the cutting.

THEORY AND PRACTICE.—A droll story of a discourse between a French barrister and his client is going the rounds of the Halles.  A man was recently accused of robbery, about which there was no mistake, and his advocat had an interview with him. At the end of it he said, "I cannot see that you have any defence. You had better, in my opinion, plead guilty at once; frankness is your only remedy."  The accused drew himself up with dignity. "Silence, sir!" he exclaimed.  "You may know the theory of the law, but I am acquainted with it practically. You have but read and pleaded, I have been many times accused and condemned."

Isn't that delightful?
Press Cuttings
Here's another gem:
 
OBTAINING HUSBANDS UNDER FALSE PRETENCES.—A law which passed the English Parliament in 1770, enacts, "That woman, of whatever age, rank, profession, or degree, who shall, after this act, impose upon, seduce and betray into matrimony any of His Majesty's subjects by virtue of scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, iron stays, bolstered hips, or high heeled shoes, shall incur the penalty of the law now in force against witchcraft and like demeanours; and the marriage under such circumstances, upon conviction of the offending parties, shall be null and void.

Oh my, doesn't this make you sit up and wonder? Isn't your imagination running wild with stories?

Now it's your turn. Please leave a comment telling me about your favorite words or any old books that you have come across.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

SUNDAY EDITION


Coming Up This Week 

Monday 

Ruth Ann Dell: A New Word and An Old Book

Tuesday

Jayne E. Self

Wednesday 

Morgan Tarpley Smith: Wandering Wednesday - Vienna, Austria

Thursday

Dianne Wilson

Friday Devotion

Ray Hawkins: The End is but another Beginning.

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New Releases

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Rooted in Love, Book 2 in her new Garden Grown Romance series (part of Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series) releases independently in November 2017.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense set in USA, Vanishing Point: A Nikki Boyd Novel, will be a November 2017 release from Revell.



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Upcoming Releases

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense set in Amsterdam, Deadly Exchange, will be a January 2018 release from Love Inspired Suspense.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the USA, Wishes on Wildflowers, Book 4 in her Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, will release independently in January 2018.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the USA, Harvest of Love, Book 3 in her Garden Grown Romance series, will release independently in May 2018.

To find more International Christian Fiction books, please visit our 2017-2018 Book Releases page, 2013 - 2016 Book Releases page and Backlist Titles.

Friday, November 17, 2017

When God Leaves You In the Dark. Devotion by Dianne J Wilson


Some days I pop out of bed with a sparkle in my eye, excited about everything that God is doing in my life. I can see the purpose behind every chance meeting, strange happening, even the bad stuff makes sense. These are seasons of clear vision.

I wish I could say that this is always the case. Some days, I only just manage to peel myself out from under the duvet, the bad things gang up on me (really, Cat, you choose today to start using the carpet behind the couch as your toilet?) and I can't see the purpose in anything. On those days, I feel like God picked everyone to play on His team but me. Sometimes those days can carry on for weeks. Months. Years.

How do you make sense of being left in the dark like that? Well, here's a picture for you. Sometimes a mother hen tucks her little chicks under her wing. They are safe from predators, close to her heart, and though they cannot see where she's headed, it doesn't matter because they will be going with her. They can't see, but she can.

Sounds great, right? Not so much from the chick's perspective. He was just discovering how great worms taste and how well his little stick-legs work and now here his is, in Mom's armpit, sweaty feathers getting up his nose when he tries to breathe. Not exactly the high point of his chick-life.

And yet...

   He is close to her heart.

   He is safe from predators.

   Even though he doesn't know where he's going, momma hen does.

    He is held close enough to go with her no matter which way she turns.

If you're in a season of breathing in feathers in the dark, take heart! God has you close enough that you'll move with him whichever way he goes. Don't fight it, cuddle close. Tune in to his heartbeat. Allow him to take you with as he moves.  Trust him. It will be worth it!

Proverbs 3:6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”


Dianne J. Wilson writes novels from her hometown in East London, South Africa, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She is writing a three book YA series, Spirit Walker, with Pelican / Harbourlight. Affinity (book 1), releases on the 8th of June 2018.

Finding Mia is available from AmazonPelican / Harbourlight, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Shackles is available as a free ebook from Amazon & Smashwords.


Find her on FacebookTwitter and her sporadic blog Doodles.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

God’s Timing, and Stepping Out in Faith


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get a little caught up in production mode. I’ve had a pretty busy year with lots of deadlines to meet, and at times I’ve felt a little bit like a meerkat being busy, busy, busy then when I’ve met my deadline, poking my head up to peer around to see who and what is available for a chance to relax, refresh and reinvigorate.

Last month, a week before the Omega Writers Conference in Sydney, I had such a moment, and just so happened to attend my local chapter of the Jane Austen Society. We were fortunate enough to have a guest speaker, Tim Bullamore, who is the editor for Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine (and who also, incidentally, writes obituaries for The Times newspaper). After his talk about Jane Austen’s life, death and legacy, I spoke to him, where it just so happened someone mentioned I was a writer. He gave me his card, saying if ever I would like to submit an article for his magazine (which Jane-ites from around the globe subscribe to) then to send him an email. I took his card, thanked him, and went back into busy mode, all the while thinking, thinking, thinking.

Having done a fair amount of historical research for my Regency novels I wondered if he might be interested in an article about Brighton, England’s Royal Pavilion, something I mention in my latest book The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey (and something Donna Fletcher Crow just so happened to write about last week). I sent off an email, went to the conference, and had a great time. The following week was back to busy, busy, busy as I work to get my sixth book ready for submission next month. In the midst of my busyness, mothering duties called me to Sydney (1½ hours away) to pick up my daughter from a concert at the Sydney Opera House. Having some time to kill I thought I’d visit the nearby New South Wales State Library, where they just so happen to hold a copy of the most marvellous book, The Making of the Royal Pavilion: Designs and Drawings by John Morley. This book examines the renovations and refurbishments that took the Royal Pavilion from Brighton farmhouse to the jaw dropping edifice of Moorish / Chinese / Indian design that it is today. I was able to read this, take a few colour photocopies of some of the designs, then pick up my daughter, all the while marvelling that I had such (relatively) easy access to one of the only copies of this book in Australia. Why did I want to read this? It was a faith step, just in case Mr. Bullamore said yes to my article proposal.
 
It just so happened that two days later I received an email saying – you guessed it – yes, love that idea, please submit, etc, etc.

As a Christian, I’m trusting God will open the right doors at the right time. Not everything works out, but so many times when I’m asking God to direct my paths and submitting my plans to Him it just so happens that I see Him provide opportunities, opportunities that I’m learning to say yes to. Life can get pretty busy, but taking time to follow those Holy Spirit nudges can be so much more rewarding than we realise. Sometimes we need the reminder that God holds our lives in His hands, and we just need to trust Him and His timing, and step out in faith.

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Connect with her:        www.carolynmillerauthor.com
                                     www.pinterest.com/camillering


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