Monday, January 4, 2010


I'd been writing a long time before I got my first book published. I knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about writing when I started, except what I knew from reading. I just had a story I wanted to tell.
I really think I learned every single bit of the craft as slowly and painfully as possible.
So, when I entered my first contest, a lot of the contest comments were in a foreign language to me. Use the senses. I can't see her. Backstory dump. Show don't tell. POV error.
I knew none of that. I mean I didn't even know what the judge MEANT by POV error. I didn't know what POV was an abbreviation for. AND THERE WAS NO GOOGLE. I wasn't even online at home. I didn't know RWA existed for three years after I started. Seriously, Christian Fiction wasn't even invented yet. Redeeming Love had been published for about two event I consider marks the beginning of Christian fiction as we know it today.
ACFW wasn't even a twinkle in someone's eye.
So, I had to find out what POV was, then figure out what an error was. It was surprisingly hard. And one of the reasons it was hard was because most of the novels I was reading were head hoppers. Using a single POV per scene is the new style. And there are still plenty of books written by established authors who don't obey it.
But newer authors and even more importantly aspiring authors MUST USE ONE POV PER SCENE. To break that rule marks you as an amateur.
So I figured out what it all meant, then I plowed into my book to correct the POV errors. Only one trouble, I hated it. I built my story on her thoughts, his thoughts, the villain's thought, her thoughts again. All on one page.
How was I supposed to tell my story if I couldn't explain the thoughts that were pivotal to it.
Sooooo I was reading The Husband Tree and I hit a passage that I thought was a good example of using one person's POV but showing the thoughts and reactions of the other people…without committing a POV error.
The Husband Tree

All of a sudden Silas figured something out that he should have known all along. "We aren't taking a baby on a cattle drive."
Belle stepped away from his side, where just a second before he'd decided it was to be the two of them against the girls, and liked that just fine. She lined up with her daughters.
The whole gaggle of women froze. Even baby Elizabeth stopped her cheerful torment of Emma and stared at Silas.
Sarah took the eggs off the stove and, with a towel wrapped around it's handle, held the hot pan like it was a weapon. Lindsay set down the tin plates she was laying out with a sharp click
The five women stood shoulder to shoulder against him.
They didn't look much alike. Lindsay and Emma some, but otherwise they were as different as if they shared not a drop of blood. But their eyes, whatever the color, held the same cold glare.
Belle could have slit his gullet with the sharp look she was giving him. She said quietly, but with a voice that spelled Silas's doom, "What kind of a man are you that you would go off and leave children home alone for so long?"
Not his doom as in he was fired. His doom as in he was going to have to go on a cattle drive with five woman, one of 'em wearing diapers."
There is no doubt in any readers mind (I hope) exactly how all six people in this scene feel about what is going on, but Silas is the POV character. He is seeing the woman react.
So do any of you struggle with POV? Everyone figured it out faster than I did, I'm sure. Of course you've got an advantage on me….you didn't start out your writing career chiseling your books into a chunk of granite.
FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF THE HUSBAND TREE…Give an example from their own work or a book you love about non-POV characters feelings being clearly revealed through the POV character's eyes.
I'm giving away two books today. One book out of the people bold enough to post an example…and a second out of all the comments, even if you're too chicken to post your work….because that's just the kind of sweet hearted, generous lady I am.

Find out more about it and all my books, on MY Web Site


  1. Aha, if I may actually be first.


    I had problems in the beginning with POV, because I too read the writers and followed their lead.

    I actually started trying to get pubbed when they were still accepting head hopping, well sort of. I even had book out for an ebook but they weren't going as well then,

    anyway, when they started pushing the POV more, I had to rewrite whole stories and wanted to scream. Cause it took a while to get it down.

    I think I have a handle on it, but now there are times I don't want to deal with it. I have a couple of stories I want done in the omnipotent view, because I believe they'll go better but we'll see.

    Thanks for the post, Mary and the good example.

    please put my name in the hat for the drawing

  2. Okay, I'll brave the waters. :) This is a passage from my current WIP. The POV character is Rocky. Rocky and Victoria have only been married for a few days - they have feelings for each other but married for convenience. In this scene Rocky is talking to Julia, the local girl who's had her eye on him for years, when his new wife Victoria walks up behind him. I hope I've shown her feelings from his POV.

    Rocky dared not look down. Her face was so close to his that if he did…. Well… a shudder coursed through him. He didn’t even want to think of what she might do. “Julia,” again he tried to step away, but she was stuck to his arm like glue, “I’m quite happy, really.” He lifted his chin and leaned away from her.

    “Oh, posh! It’s plain as day that you aren’t happy right now.” She squeezed his arm and tapped his nose with her closed fan. “You should just put her aside quietly. You know no one would blame you. Annulments happen all the time.”

    Rocky suppressed the growl building in his chest. “Julia you are right, I’m not happy right now. But—”

    A gasp directly behind him sent dread spiraling down his torso like an unplugged drain ebbing the life from him. He turned slowly, Julia still clinging to his arm.
    The kids stood on the boardwalk, Victoria just behind them, her face pale as fresh-laid snow. She was so white he thought sure she was going to faint then and there. And the pain in her eyes stole the breath right out of his lungs. She glanced back and forth from him to Julia still wrapped around his arm. Slowly she drew her shoulders back. Her jaw jutted off to one side and her brows lowered. Then her cheeks flamed hot red and fire lit her beautiful blue eyes.

    “Kids come on, we’ve got to get to the school so you can meet your teacher.” She would have bowled him over and tromped across his chest, but Julia pulled him out of the way as Victoria pushed by followed by the kids. The girls glanced up as they passed. Bewildered frowns on their faces, they looked from him to Julia and back.

    So, whadya think? Does it work?

  3. OOPS...

    I was first but didn't read the rules properly, so here's my try at the POV from Touched By Mercy.

    Forgive the length.

    “Unhand that boy.” Agnes roused, smacked her dry lips together, ran her tongue along her teeth and rubbed a hand across her grainy eyes. “Unhand that boy, I say.” She knew the voice well. “Sir, if you don’t unhand that child, this instance, I will be forced to take action, and I dare say, you won’t like it.”

    Agnes got up, used the backs of the seats for balance, and moved down the swaying aisle of the car toward the woman who held some poor man at bay with her parasol—a wealthy gentleman by the looks of his wardrobe.

    “Miss, please, I can’t unhand the boy,” he tried to placate. Using a finger, he pushed the tip of the parasol from his middle, only to have it returned. He groaned. “The boy tried to rob me. I’ve called for the porter. The child will remain in hand till we arrive at the depot.”

    “That may be, but there’s no call to be so gruff,” Samantha said indignantly, the point of her parasol keeping time with the rhythm of her words.

    He relented with a smile. “Perhaps not. For that I’ll apologize, and ask for your good graces. But the boy did take the first swing, and he was stealing.”

    “Be that as it may. Would it be too presumptuous of me to ask you to show a little forbearance? A little Christian charity? Perhaps you could loosen his collar, and not hold it quite as tightly, so he might breathe,” she pled with a soft smile and wide emerald eyes.

    Perhaps a sucker for pretty faces, the man laughed. “Maybe I could?” With a slight, chivalrous bow, he made a show of releasing the boy’s collar.

    The boy, spit and hacked like one trying to catch his breath, and made his own show. The man duly noted the dramatics and the reaction of the woman, who patted the poor dear’s back hard enough to make a cow cough up a hairball.

  4. I'll be brave too. This is my current WIP. The POV is Abigail. She has been hired to counsel Adam. He's a computer genius, but is socially backward and has amnesia. This is the scene where they meet for the first time in his computer lab with his partner, Archie.
    They turned off the computers and put away their paperwork. Abigail took a deep breath and pushed open the door. She walked up to them and stood waiting. Three minutes and two sighs later she was sure two more computer obsessed people didn’t exist on the planet. Neither one acknowledged her.

    “The graphics need work.” Archie said.

    “Yes, the picture—it should be special.”

    “It will be, Adam. I narrowed the list to a few artists. You can help me select from their work. I think we should have different backgrounds available for different areas in the game.”
    Archie pointed to several areas on a dry erase board in the corner of the room.

    “Yes.” Adam smiled.

    Ridiculous. They could be at this forever. She found a chair nearby and sank into it, sighing as she removed her shoes and started rubbing her ankles.

    “Is she going to play?” Adam backed away from her, half hidden by Archie.

    “Miss North? I’m sorry. I heard you were supposed to come down today.” He winked. “You know how excited I get about the game.” Archie greeted her with a wide smile.

    “It’s okay, Archie.” Abigail smiled back, put on her shoes and stood up again.

    “Well, I’ll let the two of you get to it then.” Archie waved and backed towards the door.

    “Archie, you’re leaving? Can I come?” Adam’s voice squeaked and he grabbed at Archie’s arm.

    “No, you stay with Miss North; she’s going to talk with you.” He turned Adam back to face her. “I’m sorry, I should’ve introduced you. I have such bad manners. Adam, this is Miss North.”

    Abigail held out her hand but Adam held onto Archie. He had a look about him of a dog who had been whipped and expected another beating.

    “Didn’t anyone tell him I was coming?” She asked. Archie shrugged.

    “Okay… Don’t worry about it, Archie. We’ll be fine. See you later.” She turned to Adam. “Will you take a walk with me?”

    He hesitated. “Okay,” he mumbled without looking up.


    How'd I do?

  5. I am not a writer but love the sound of your new book.

    Kelly Hake is very good at letting you know the others pov without them talking. Infact when I read her I see a similar style to yours.

  6. Erhm.

    Well. I have no WIP so no POV post from me. I did learn from your post though. I am going to try to write a short story over the next few months so this will help tremendously. Oh and thank goodness for google in case I do get lost!

  7. I'll give it a stab.

    The following scene is from my newest Heartsong release, God Gave the Song. Skye and Ruthanne have just hosted several field trips on the alpaca ranch and are talking about children. Paul is the ranch owner's adult nephew. Here goes:

    Skye smiled for the first time since they'd begun talking about children. “You two have obviously never grown up in a big family.”

    “And you have?” Ruthanne leaned forward. Maybe she'd finally get some of her questions answered.

    “I'm the oldest of five kids.”

    “But. . .” Ruthanne glanced at Paul who simply shrugged. “Hannie never mentioned having children. Then again, she never talked much about her life before marrying David.”

    “No, she wouldn't have done that, would she?” Skye thrust himself from his chair and stood at the deck railing with his back to them. His shoulders tensed like two cement blocks on either side of his spine. When he turned around, he seemed to be willing himself to relax. “I was adopted. My family consists of two awesome Christian parents and four sisters. The others are my parents' natural offspring but they always treated me like blood.”

    She moved to stand next to him and leaned on the railing. Reaching out to touch his arm, she tentatively asked, "How old were you when you were adopted?"


    That answered why she hadn't seen him around. And from Hannie's testimony, she guessed someone had removed him from the home due to drug abuse. However, that didn't answer why Hannie never told her, or even Paul, about him. Only Hannie could satisfy that question.

    Kathy here again. I'm going to be evil and mention that Hannie is in a coma, so their questions won't be answered until she wakes up.

    I love this scene because it shows Skye's conflict through Ruthanne's eyes. It also creates more questions. I hope it works for you all, as well.

  8. Morning Mary, Great post and I had to laugh at your quandry about getting help before ACFW and knowledge of RWA. I was so in the same boat trying to figure out what POV, voice, show don't tell meant. How wonderful these organizations are and also the Internet.

    Loved the excerpt from HUSBAND TREE. Can't wait to read it. You always do a great job of showing the thoughts and emotions of characters.

    I brought some coffee and a plate of fresh bagels with a variety of cream cheese toppings. There's even some lox for you North easterners. yum.

    Oh and let's not forget our non-coffee drinkers (can't imagine such a thing). but I have a variety of teas, herbal teas and hot chocolate for this winter morning.

  9. Ooooo, Mare, POV -- one of my favorite subjects!!

    And, holy cow -- no computer, no ACFW, no RWA and Dear God, no Google??? Wow ... you are a true pioneer woman, girl, which explains why you write western romance so darn well!!

    And Tina, Lynnette, Lee and Kathy -- how fun to read excerpts from your WIPs! Great job, all!!

    Mary, I am impressed with your scene where you give a glimpse into other character's minds in only the hero's POV without any dialogue!! WOW, I looked for a scene like that in my books but couldn't come up with one, which means I tend to use dialogue as the means to convey others' points of view, I guess. Anyway, couldn't come up with much, but this scene stuck out because I tried to give each character's feelings in short, clipped dialogue sentences. This is from my upcoming book, A Hope Undaunted:

    Katie shifted on the love seat. Her legs were stiff and sore from stockinged feet tucked beneath her for well over an hour now. A quiet sigh rose and fell in her chest. She honestly hadn’t thought it would be this difficult. She glanced at Luke’s chiseled profile as he sat with Tillie in his lap, their eyes focused on the chessboard before them, and her heart did its usual, annoying flip.

    She watched his thick arms twine around the little girl as he moved his pawn, then flipped another page in her Harper’s Bazaar with a tight press of her lips. The clock on the mantle chimed nine, and relief oozed like balm to her aching limbs. The evening had finally come to an end — Tillie’s bedtime! Her expectant gaze flitted from her father, whose grim concentration told her he hadn’t noticed the time, to her mother, beatific as she knitted a sweater for Tillie. Katie ground her jaw in frustration.

    Go home, Luke McGee, and leave me alone.

    She unfolded her legs and lumbered to her feet with a grimace. Maybe she could move this along. “Anybody need a drink?” she asked sweetly. She slipped her shoes back on and glanced at the clock. “Oh … maybe not. Look at the time—it’s nine.”

    “Mmm …” her father said without looking up.

    “No, thanks, dear,” her mother quipped with a smile.

    “I’ll have a root beer,” Tillie volunteered.

    “No root beer,” Patrick said, eyes glued to the board.

    Katie sighed. She stared at the Greek god with the child in his lap and narrowed her eyes, noting only silence from the thorn in her side.


  10. I've read many books by popular ABA authors who head hop...some of them still do it. Quite honestly, I'm seeing a higher caliber of writing in Christian fiction than secular fiction, but maybe I'm biased.

    Loved the reminder about showing another character's physical reaction through the character's (of that scene) POV.

    Here's my example:

    Fishing the keys to the cruiser out of his pocket, he headed for the emergency entrance parking lot. He rounded the corner and about knocked over a woman coming from the opposite direction. His chin grazed the top of her head. He gripped her upper arms, dropping his keys in the process “Whoa. Easy there.”
    The woman’s purse sailed out of her hands and landed upside down on the floor. Loose change clattered against the tile. A metallic tube rolled under the water fountain.
    “Sorry.” The woman looked up and stared at him with stormy green eyes.
    Judging by the thinness of her lips and clenched jaw, she wasn’t happy to see him. She glanced at him, then down at his hands. Her focus seemed to be centered on his left hand. On his wedding band. His heart took a nosedive.
    Stephen released his hold, wanting to hide his hands in his uniform pockets. “You okay?”
    She nodded. Without a word, she bent down to clean up her stuff. She tried to hide her fingers, but he noticed a slight tremble. So, he wasn’t the only one impacted by their collision.
    Stephen retrieved the tube under the water fountain and realized it was her lipstick. He scooped up two dimes, a quarter, and a few scattered pennies and jingled the loose change before handing it back to her.
    She didn’t want to take it—didn’t want to touch him. He could tell by the way she hesitated before opening her hand and allowed him to drop the coins into her palm.
    The tips of his calloused fingers caressed her skin. Angel soft. An electric charge pulsed through his hand.
    Lindsey tossed the change in her purse. Pushing her hair behind her ear, she stood, shielding her purse over her heart. “Sorry for bumping into you. I wasn’t watching where I was going. If you’ll excuse me, I need to check on Mom.” She tried to brush past him.
    “Hey, Linds, hold on a second.” Stephen cupped her elbow. “Sorry for barreling into you like that. How’s she doing?”
    She closed her eyes and backed out of his reach, bumping into the wall behind her. “I really need to go.”
    “Lindsey.” He spoke in a soft patient tone that warned she wasn’t going to win this one.
    “Stephen, why are you here? Why do you even care? We’re history. Remember?”

  11. OK - I'll be brave enough to admit that I'm the first chicken of the group!! :) So, I'll just enter the comments group.

  12. I love it, Lynette. And I love the way you go from her being hurt to furious all in his POV. Excellent.

  13. Tina, I loved this. So much going on. I got a complete sense of the boy being a little sneak, the man being a good guy. The woman being a kind hearted...pushover. And all from Agnes. I think that's terrific.

  14. Lee what a terrific character Adam is. A computer genius, socially backward, amnesia. You've got your work cut out for you there. :)

    Great character. He came off as a little bit childlike hanging on to Archie's hand like that. Is that what you're going for?

  15. Hi, Jenny and Critty Joy. Never fear, even without the examples your name goes in the stetson for the drawing. :)

  16. HEY KATHY!!!!!!!
    Thanks for stopping in.

    All right, coma....we can always use a good coma. :)

    Great scene. The strange part is, it seems so simple now to show how others are feeling, but when I was learning it was agony.

  17. Thanks for the food and the kind words, Sandra.

    Great scene, Julie. I read just enough of A Hope Undaunted to be crazy for the book to release.

    Tina, I LOVE all that's going on in that scene. Terrific job. I flinched when she dropped her purse and everything fell out. Don't we all know just how much work that's gonna be? And you did such a great job with the temper adn the ring, great scene.

  18. There is some courage in admitted to being a chicken Edwina...sort of. :)

  19. I had to laugh about your contest experience because my own was so similar. The judge had marked several passages in my "masterpiece" and noted that my POV was "all over the place." And like you, I wasn't at all sure what she was talking about. It took years to master the concept, but once learned, it's something you don't forget.

  20. Leigh, it was really hard for me to learn. I remember once commenting to someone about this head hopping author who had chanced POV THREE TIMES in one paragraph.

    You know what, she did not. I can see now, because I remembered that paragraph, that is was NOT a POV jump. But it's a slippery concept, or at least it was to me.

  21. Hey, Mary! Yeah, I've been blessed to have ACFW. I didn't find them, though, until I was about finished with my first book. But still, it's been a huge blessing to me.

    Here's the first scene from my book that's coming out in October. Oh, I'm not supposed to tell that yet. But they already have the dress for the cover model to wear and are getting ready for the photo shoot, so how can I possibly stay silent??? I ask you.

    Anyway, here's my little bit of scene, from the POV of Rose, but I think you can tell what Hildy is thinking.

    Hildy grabbed her thick blond braid and draped it over her shoulder, then chewed on her lips to redden them. “You should at least try to catch their eye.”

    Rose shook her head at Hildy. “You know Lord Hamlin is betrothed—as good as married—and Lord Rupert must marry an heiress.” She took hold of her friend’s arm. Someone had to be the voice of reason. “I hate to dampen your excitement, Hildy, but if either of the privileged nobles takes a single look at us, I’ll be vastly astonished.”

    Hildy smirked. “I won’t be.”

    The approaching clop-clop of hooves drew Hildy’s attention back to the street. “Here they come.”

    And you can guess what happens next--they get noticed by the two brothers, Lord Hamlin and Lord Rupert. Ha.

  22. Wow, great excerpts.

    The first time i saw "POV" the first thing that came to mind was "Prisoner of War" and then I realized the "V" couldn't be "War" and my book didn't have anything to do with prisoners :-) AHH! ;-)

    Here's an excerpt from my wip - it's been REALLY tough to turn off my internal editor for this book, but I can't seem to get anything written if I don't :-) (Sorry if it's too long :-(

    Sam wasn’t sure how he made it across the deck so quickly, or exactly when his fist came in contact with Michael’s bottom jaw, but the next thing he remembered was Michael stumbling back and an overly-loud scream rising from the brunette’s mouth like a siren.

    “Sam.” Ashleigh stood beside him, her voice breathless.

    “I deserved that one, didn’t I brother?” Fire burned behind Michaels’ green eyes and shot Sam a warning from his bent position. “Finished?”

    “Not quite.” Sam brandished another fist, but Ashleigh caught his arm before he could plant his knuckles against Michael’s perfect nose. A little dent in those pretty boy features might humble him a notch or two.

    He strained against Ashleigh’s hold for a moment, but the wounded-animal look in her eyes zapped some of his fight. He growled and glared back at his brother.

    “No, Sam.” Ashleigh’s hand tightened around his arm. “Please, let’s leave.”

    Her voice sounded strange, weak; like it took every ounce of energy to get the words out. He risked another glance at her, blanched face growing paler by the moment. His stomach wrenched with fury.

    “Didn’t take you long to move in on my fiancé, did it, Sam?”

    Michael straightened and rubbed his jaw, a rivulet of blood formed at the corner of his sneer. How dare he…

    Sam snuck in another punch, this time in his brother’s stomach.

    “Stop this, now.” The brunette screamed, one arm fastened about Michael’s collapsed shoulders, her other palm outstretch like a stop sign. “He’s your own brother, Sam.”

    Sam shot the woman a look while Michael coughed through the impact of the punch. How did she know him? Those round hazel eyes, pale freckles across her nose, and honey curls?

    “Annette Dixon?”

    His attention traveled to the little boy at her waist. Those eyes? The face? Three years ago. Air clenched in his lungs and finally released in a ragged sigh. He captured his brother in a stare. “Michael, what have you done?”

  23. Mary, I love your post! I share your experience of not having a clue what judges meant by POV error. I'm sure aspiring authors are better informed now, but I'm still careful to spell it out when I judge contests.

    I loved the excerpt from The Husband Tree! Cannot wait to read it!!

    I don't have long passages without dialogue that show others through the POV character's eyes. This excerpt from The Substitute Bride releasing in February contains some dialogue and description.

    Ted opened the door. Women gathered at the tables while his wife stood at the podium, unaware of his presence. The ladies had come as Elizabeth had predicted. And from all appearances, they enjoyed the meeting. Elizabeth had captured their hearts as she’d captured his.

    His gaze swept the room. Shelves on the back wall displayed a few books. Red-checked cloths covered small tables with wooden folding chairs decked out in red-and-white striped bows at the back, fancied up for a party of their own. A pot of violets sat in the middle of each table. White curtains fluttered in the breeze. The room was cozy and clean, with a smidgen of style that shouted Elizabeth.

    His breath caught. Why hadn’t he grasped how much she meant to him?

    Wearing one of her new dresses, the yellow dimity, hair coifed like the first time he’d laid eyes on her, Elizabeth made a fetching sight. His treacherous heart skipped a beat. Beautiful—and devious—that described his wife.

    He walked in, the pastor on his heels. The room, abuzz with chatter, quieted. Doffing hats, the men crowded in behind him.

    “Why, Ted. How nice of you to show an interest in our ladies’ club,” Elizabeth said, polite and sweet, as if she hadn’t left him a week ago. “But this isn’t a convenient time. We’re in the middle of a meeting.”

    Heat scorched Ted’s neck. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but this was when I could get away.” He spun his hat in his hands. “I’m here to ask you to come home. Jacob’s along to remind you our vows said ‘till death do us part.’ There’s no ladies’ club escape clause in those vows, right, Jacob?”

    Jacob nodded. Couldn’t he at least thump the Good Book for emphasis? The man was worthless at spreading guilt. By now, his pa could’ve had Elizabeth on her knees. His lungs squeezed. Not that anyone should pattern himself after John Logan.

    Ted surveyed the tight-lipped women. By the looks they shot him, he’d ruffled their feathers. He was on his own with his rebel wife and a roomful of supporters eager for his hide.


  24. Oooh Janet, Makes me want to read Substitute Bride all the more!!

  25. I stuggle with POV and question it ALWAYS. Oh thank you internet, Seekers, and fellow bloggers for all your advice! I admit I'm not sure I have POV down yet. Great post!

    This is a scene during a martial arts class. If this looks good maybe I am getting it. If not I'm showing everyone what not to do LOL!

    “Pair up with your partner!" yelled the instructor. He took a quick chug of water and the vein in his forehead stopped pulsing for a second before his intense demeanor returned again.
    Jana, sweaty, turned to face her partner. Brie was getting ready to block whatever came her way. Blonde hair plastered to her face. She was still flirting. Batting her eyelashes to the instructor showing off her blue eyes. Always gaining the attention of any boy within a one mile radius. If that didn't do it, the half shirt that showed her flat stomach did.
    "Ha! Distracted by the cute instructor!" Jana gave a small smirk as she knocked her friend to the ground. "Better luck next time." She extended her hand to help her up.
    "Did you see him. I couldn't help myself, she laughed." Brie had signed up for the mixed martial arts class with Jana so they could meet up a couple of times during the week to see each other and learn how to defend themselves.

    ps can't wait to read the Husband Tree! I'm working on getting to the bookstore :)

  26. Say, Mel, you are extremely good at keeping a secret. Keep up the good work. :)

    I'm thrilled about your book. You worked hard for it, don't ever forget that.

  27. Pepper! I would totally read on from that excerpt. So much going on in that.

    And let's see...maybe in Germany. Prisoner of Var. Don't they pronounce W as V there? :)

  28. Janet, I loved that.
    There’s no ladies’ club escape clause in those vows, right, Jacob?”
    Laughed at that, then 'The man was worthless at spreading guilt.'

    This is funny, girl.

  29. Well, Mary, I haven't "announced" it anywhere, and talking about it here gives me the feeling that I'm just sharing it with my closest friends. "Technically" I haven't "announced" it yet, so I haven't "exactly" broken the rules.


    I never said I could keep a secret.

  30. I just love all these excerpts. Kerrie C with the martial arts, the historicals, Melanie's medieval, Lee's computer nerd.

    Isn't it amazing how wide Christian fiction is spreading. I just love being part of it. What a blessing to live in the age of Christian fiction...and online research. :)
    And blogs.

  31. Mary,
    Your encouragement was vonderful ;-)
    I love this story. Within the next few scenes the ship is torpedoed, so lots of excitement. It took 16 minutes for the ship to be underwater- so ALOT has to happen in 16 minutes :-)

  32. Melanie,
    I love your 'non-announcement'

  33. I think maybe you're writing fiction in this blog post, Melanie. :)
    Or wait, you're writing medievals.
    Me thinks thou doesn't confine thy thoughts poorly.

    But carry on.

  34. Torpedoes, Pepper? Seriously? Oh, you know how I love explosions.

  35. Thought you might like that ;-)
    AND they're running for their lives while falling in love.
    Right up the Connealy alley ;-)

  36. Kerrie C, I deleted an email from you recently...or I think it was you. It was in my spam folder, in among a dozen viagra ads. I emptied the folder and saw KERRIE just as if vanished.
    Try again.

  37. Another chance to win The Husband Tree today on Trish Perry's blog.

    Trish Perry's Blog

  38. I love to read but cna't even write a decent review. Love your books Mary.


  39. Oh my stars, so much fun and Thank God Sandra had presence of mind to bring coffee.

    Mary Connealy, shame on you! All these hard workin' writin' folks and you with barely a sack o' grain to feed 'em???

    I'm chagrined. Alarmed. Seriously taken aback.

    There, I've had my say. Now to the important stuff...


    Ah, yes. My heart beats true for romantic fiction.

    Here's the opening excerpt from Winter's End, due out in OH MY GOSH A MATTER OF WEEKS, SINGLE DIGIT WEEKS, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????


    Sorry. Composing myself here. :) Excerpts long, but hey...

    He stood hard and unyielding, one arm stretched across the entry as if to block Kayla’s approach. Light spilled from the angled door of the old farmhouse, warming the mold-hashed porch with a splash of gold, backlighting his rugged frame.

    Disadvantaged, Kayla stopped, wind-driven snow chilling her legs despite her well-fitted Ann Taylor pants. Note to self: If clients leave you in the snow, spend the bucks and buy some of those cute, girly, long underwear thingies.


    The broad-shouldered man remained shadowed, while lamplight bathed her approach. Well. She’d seen this often enough. The word “hospice” scared people, especially at first. With a small nod, she extended her hand. “Kayla Doherty, Visiting Nurse Service.”

    Eyes tipped down, he didn’t give way, just stood for long seconds, contemplating her hand. Then he moved back, allowing her to enter while ignoring her gesture.

    Kayla stepped into coffee-scented air. She breathed deep, wishing she’d had time for a caffeine fix, but weather reports spurred her to this farm before conditions worsened. Sniffing the air with appreciation, she stood in a sparse but clean entry. The kitchen lay ahead, while a stairway hugged the wall to her left. A throw-rug took up one corner of polished hardwood floor.
    Various footwear stood along the colorful weave.

    Reading the silent message, she placed her bargain-basement-priced camel Sudini’s next to taller, hardier boots. Setting down her tote, she slipped into jeweled, open-toed clogs. She’d tricked-out the shoes herself, using a flashy array of sequins and beads. Her older female patients loved the effect. Fun shoes became an easy conversation starter, and maybe jogged memories of easier times. She hoped so.

    “In January?”

    The deep, masculine voice showed disbelief and … scorn? Sure sounded like it.

    Kayla didn’t try to examine the vibes as she eyed rugged work boots and their tall, rubber companions. Proper barn wear for a man of the fields, a person who faced the elongated winters of St. Lawrence County, New York on a personal level. She assumed a look of patience and straightened, facing a good-looking man about her age, his features dimmed by shadows of anger and death, a formidable combination. “They’re comfortable for working with patients, Mr…DeHollander?” She ended on an up-note, making the statement a question, hoping he’d introduce himself.

    Umm… no.

    She’d heard of Marc DeHollander. Women loved to talk about men, and the gals comprising the medical community of greater Potsdam were no exception. The rumor mill labeled Marc total eye candy, with a great personality.


    One out of two ain’t bad.

  40. LOVE IT, Ruthy. Oh gee, Janet's book, your book...GREAT ways to spend Christmas money!!

  41. Love it, Ruthy. And oh yeah, I certainly got him through her.

    Here's something else I like to do sometimes.
    I like to get a non-POV character through the eyes of the POV character clearly WRONG.

    So the POV character sees him looking upset over mention of his deceased wife. The POV heroine 'knowns' he's thinking, "I loved my first wife so much. I'll never love again."

    Then later, in HIS POV he remembers that moment when he thought of how awful it was of him to be so glad that shrew of a first wife had finally died.

  42. Great excerpts from all. More books being added to my TBR list! :)

  43. Hi Mary:

    If I had a POV example as skillfully crafted as your "The Husband Tree" passage, I’d be published already in fiction. Thanks, I’ll be trying to take from your example to use in my current contest entry.

    BTW, I did read an interesting story once about a person hiding under a bridge in a small village. The entire story was just disparate parts of conversations heard as villagers walked over the bridge. By the end of the day, a complete story was ‘told’. It seems improbable but it worked.

    ALSO: how about writing a paranormal where the hero is a mind reader? That way the multiple POV problem is solved. This could work. : )


  44. I didn't know I struggled with POV until I was given a free edit on my first two pages. No problem right?? WRONG! I headhopped, had omniscent POV, a whole mess of problems. But it all made sense to me, so what's the big deal? LOL! I see it sticking out like a sore thumb now and am ever so grateful for the kindness of those willing to point out the truth in love.

    I would love to win this book, please enter me.


  45. Mary:

    Your history has so many similarities to mine that it makes shivers go up my spine. I hope your example means there's hope for me.

    Years ago when I first started writing complete stories I had a typewriter---but no computer, no internet, and no ACFW.

    I was a member of RWA not long after it first started and entered and judged the Golden Heart more than once--don't remember details. I learned a lot, but the POV thing didn't hit me until I retired and started entering contests again a couple of years ago.

    As for providing a sample, I'm not exactly a coward. I just don't have anything coming to mind that would fit here. Keep in mind that my mind is pretty mindless in old age.

    I'm looking forward to reading your new book.


  46. You liked that excerpt, huh, Vince? My husband said The Husband Tree is his favorite of my books so far. Admittedly he's not my target audience, but for the men reading here, just'll like it.

    And Casey, good for you that you've got a handle on it. It was so confusing to me at first...well, at first in the sense that 'at first' means the first five years or so.

  47. Okay, Mary, I read the whole post but never saw where you told us what WUCIWUG means! I'm dying to know. :)

    I'll try to share an example later. Gotta run now.

  48. Mary,

    I love the exerpt.

    I will try to post something from my WIP later today. It's year end close time at the day job so I'm short on time today. : (


    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  49. OK, I'll jump in and add to the WIP contributions. It's a fairly long scene so I'm just pasting part of it here. The POV character is Maggie, who is bringing food to her brothers and father at the clean-up site from a train wreck. She finds her brother Thomas.

    [big gulp ... here goes]


    He kept working, so she raised her voice. “Thomas.”

    This time he turned. Surprise crossed his face when he realized who had called. He drew his brows together and strode toward her.

    “Why are you here? This is no place for a woman.” He grabbed Maggie’s elbow and steered her away from the wreckage.

    His manner rankled, despite the fact she’d come to the same conclusion. “I brought food. But if you don’t appreciate the gesture I’m sure I can find someone who will.”

    Thomas’s face darkened. “I’m sure you could. And I’m sure Mama and Papa would like to know how rude you were when delivering it to the person she meant it for.”

    “At least I’m not leaving bruises or being the boss of someone when it’s not my business.”

    The vein in Thomas's left temple twitched. “This place isn’t your business. Mama should never have sent you.”

    “That may be, but you can’t do anything about it. And we both know you’ll be staying at home with the women next time if Papa hears you talking about Mama that way.” Maggie glared up and tugged to free herself from his grasp. “Now let go of me.”

    Thomas grabbed the basket but kept his other hand on Maggie’s arm. He leaned in until they were almost nose to nose. “I’ll take them. And then you get out of here. Don’t go looking for anybody else or you’ll see things you don’t have any business knowing about.”

    How dare he get her face and keep telling her what to do! Who did he think she’d be looking for? Heat rose in Maggie’s cheeks and the muscle near her jaw line quivered. She clenched her teeth to make it stop. “I will leave when I’m ready, not because you say so.”

    Anger flashed in Thomas’s eyes, making Maggie wonder for a split second if she’d overstepped her bounds. Surely not, though. Thomas was her brother, not a beau or husband. He had no right to command what she could or couldn’t do.

    So there it is, for whatever it is (or isn't!) worth. It's been fun reading all of your samples and just marveling over all the different styles of stories and writing!

    leigh at leighdelozier dot com

  50. Mary, I'm with Missy! What does it mean? What you see is what you get? Or am I thinking too hard and not getting anywhere?

    Man, I love your writing, Mare. Trying not to be jealous. I may need chocolate therapy.


  51. Posting at work so I can't include an excerpt, but I've had fun reading everyone else's. Now I'm excited about reading ALL of these books! :-)

    I had terrible POV problems with my first novel. As you say, Mary, back in the day everybody did and nobody thought anything of it. My first few contest entries set me straight. So in order to force myself to pay close attention to POV, I purposely wrote my second novel in first person, and ruthlessly edited out anything that the heroine would not have experienced firsthand. I later went back and rewrote it in third person, but that experience really helped me learn to focus my POV.

  52. Mary, you are so right! I hadn't a clue what judges and critiquers were talking about!

    I was guilty of mega head-hopping too. I think POV was the most difficult element to grasp for me. Now I've become a purist. Doesn't really effect the way I judge or critique, but I do make the entrant aware of their *style*.

    Judged dinged you once upon time? Wow, Mary, you're human after all, LOL!

    Seriously though, it doesn't matter how you write your books, I love 'em!!

  53. This is no time to get in trouble at work, ladies, the economy is shaky you know. So behave yourselves.

    Great excerpt, Leigh. The thing is, when it's done as well as you did it, I can' even quite imagine why it was such a struggle for me. I mean of COURSE you can show what other people are feeling, duh.

    But it tripped me up for a long time.

    What You See Is What You Get

    I was looking for a catchy text message type abbreviate to got with POV-CPR-ASAP and far to many of them are absolutely obscene!!!!

  55. Wow, EC that's a terrific ... though very HARD way to do it. Of course it took me years so who am I to tell anyone the EASY way, huh?

    Hi, Audra...dinged by contest judges? We won't mention the ONE I got in the Golden Heart at this juncture.

    Right? Why bother? After all I am COMPLETELY OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But like I said, I'm completely over it.

    I've got a calf in my basement. That has nothing to do with this blog or writing, it's just a fact. It's cold. A cow had a calf.

    Thought you'd like to know.

    He's cute.

  56. Well, Camy got it right! I didn't have a clue. Hey, here's a new one for you: MDHAC...

    Missy doesn't have a clue. I bet we could use that one often! LOL


  57. Mary ~ I'm still working on it - but yes! I wanted him to come off as an innocent and kind of child-like in the beginning. He's depended on others up until Abigail arrives. That triggers something in him... a desire to be more than he is and to discover what made him the way he is.

    I'm glad that came through. I hope the rest plays as well. :o)

    I loved reading the other passages as well. Best wishes to all of you and thank you for sharing. :o)

  58. LOL, I left a comment somewhere in blog world in response to Seekerville. Some where out there somebody is scratching their head.

    Okay, Mary, when I first started writing, all of three years ago, someone mentioned head hopping, but they had a typo and it came out as head chopping. I couldn't figure out how in the world I was chopping heads. I didn't know anything about writing. Nothing.

    It's amazing what I have learned over the last few years. And I have been blessed to have had the use of google. POV comes up all over.

    I was tempted to chicken out since all my manuscripts are in need of revisions.

    Here is a very rough piece from an ancient piece that I just completed the first draft on.

    He looked her in the eye searching for something, what she could not be sure. "It does not matter what I speak. But the boy-" He halted as if choosing his words carefully. "It is obvious G-d has destined great things for him."

    Mira laughed. She laughed so hard that she held her hands against her waist. "It is not likely that Joash will rise one morning from tending sheep and become king like David."

    It was barely perceptible, and if she hadn't made it her duty to memorize Ari's every nuance and bearing she never would have known. But she saw. Unbelievable, but he stumbled. This sure, strong man stumbled.

    "Be careful, Mira," he said. Her name a mere whisper rolled over his tongue and curled into her heart. Her breath caught in throat for he had never addressed her so. "G-d may decide to prove you wrong."

    And a piece from a Western I'm working on.

    Fortunately for her, Mr. Hollings was of the working class, which meant the cut of his suit wouldn't be nearly as fine as the gentleman in the dark double-vested frock coat and pristine white shirt. Who, seemingly, currently assessed her in turn, as he ran his long fingers over his mustache in curiosity. Lord, the man had more layers of clothes on than any one person in their right mind should in this damnable inferno. As if she were the one covered in all that wool, a rivulet of perspiration slipped down the side of her jaw until it met the edge of her bandanna.

    Before she could fall prey to temptation and swipe away the trail of sweat, which might make one think she was nervous, she averted her gaze to the next man with his white bushy brows raised. And then to another, squinting at her through his quizzing glass as if he was waiting for her to kick up her legs and sing a bawdy tune. Obviously, her guns weren't intimidating enough.

    Not one man, with their pressed suits made of the finest wool, had the decency to look wary of her pistols. Not even the one who had only momentarily glanced at her before turning his gaze out over the green sea of waving blades of grass. His eyes had only settled on her for a short time, not even long enough for the second hand on her fob to click. Yet it was long enough for him to look right through her and dismiss the threat she should have posed, especially if he was the man she sought.

  59. ok, I'd love to win the book, so I'll go for 2 chances. Here's a scene from my WIP that I think you can catch from the other characters their thoughts while still remaining in POV character's head.

    POV is Everett, husband to Julia.

    “It will be just a little while, Mr. Matthews.” Julia stood and gave a pained smile before heading to the stove to stir the pot. “We have beans and rice. And even some sweet cakes Zorba made.”

    Ned leaned back and surveyed the room. Everett watched his eyes take a second look at the extra pallet on the floor. Ned’s mouth twitched, and then he craned his neck around in Julia’s direction. “So, how you enjoying Kansas?”

    “It’s all right, I guess. The wind needs some getting used to.”

    “Sure looks like you are agreeing with the weather to me. Right pretty in that fancy get-up.”

    She glanced down at her clothing and then at Ned. She turned a blank look at Everett. “Thank you, Mr. Matthews.”

    “Don’t need to call me Mr. Matthews. We can go by our Christian names. I’ll call you Julia, and you can call me Ned.”

    “Ok then.” She turned and stirred the beans with more force than necessary.

    Ned's gaze moved from Julia’s head down to her toes. A smirk lay plastered on his face.

    Everett’s fists balled up under the table as he glared at the side of Ned’s face.

  60. I'm not really sure if this is right, but okay. These three girls who are mercenaries have been captured and the guy is second to the main evil person, but they don't know that yet. And a case of mistaken identity happens. It's from my character Aed's POV.
    (c) me. Steal and die.

    “Good evening.” His voice sounded slick and sweet, like honey.
    “Oh, is it evening? We can’t tell,” Sloane said sarcastically from her position on the floor. She made no move to stand or change her position. She usually had good intuition about these things, so Aedammair followed her lead and didn’t move.

    “Apologies.” He smiled, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes.
    Whose apologies? Aed wondered, but kept her mouth shut and let Sloane do her thing. She was good at it.
    “You know, I would believe you were sorry a little more if you’d let us out of this cute little cage. Who are you, anyway?”
    “My name is Esmyon.” The smile stayed on his face, but it had dimmed a bit.
    What, has he been under the impression that all females are hysterical and faint at the slightest shock? Poor man. He’s in for it now.

    “Esmyon. You’re from Rygelle, aren’t you?” She didn’t wait for his acknowledgement. “I thought so. Tell me, Esmyon, what is a Rygellian doing in the middle of Playn’s Reach, consorting with bandits?”
    He had recovered his cool. “Wouldn’t you like to know? Now that you know my name, would you give me the pleasure of yours?”
    “Of course not. We do not consort with bandits, kidnappers, or any of their ilk.”
    Aedammair smiled. That was giving him what-for, Sloane!
    “How very unfortunate.” Esmyon gripped the bars. “You see, being stuck out here in the middle of nowhere, my men and I have not been treated to the company of women in a very long time. I’m sure that they would love to consort with you.”
    Aed could feel her stomach clench, and she swallowed. She shot a glance at Sloane; Aed had no doubt that if pushed, this… this snake would do exactly what he threatened. Don’t push him, Sloane. Aed, with her practiced eye and history with Sloane, could tell she had gone paler, but hoped this rat couldn’t see that in the bad light.
    “Hardly behavior befitting a gentleman,” Sloane backed off. “What makes us so special that you will go to great lengths just to learn our names?”
    “Let’s just say that I have a… financial interest… in you,” Esmyon purred disgustingly.
    After a moment, Sloane pointed to all of them in time with their names. “Sloane. Aedammair. Tavie.”
    He bowed, so low that Aed could see the part in his hair. “It is my great pleasure to meet such… dangerous ladies, and the duchess of Fabian. Welcome.”
    The three of them exchanged looks: should they tell him about his thugs’ mistake? Aedammair was still unsure when Tavie spoke up.
    “I’m not the duchess.”

    He smiled again, but it was much more unpleasant. “I would advise you not to lie to me. Men have been killed for less.”

    “That’s why I’m telling you, I’m not the duchess.” Tavie held his glare with her steady stare. A million thoughts flickered behind his eyes, and he clenched his fists.Sloane raised her eyebrow as a muscle in his jaw twitched. He looked like he was going to blow a gasket.
    “She really is telling the truth,” Aed spoke up from her place on the floor. His head snapped to her so fast she thought it might fly off his neck.
    “If you are not part of the Duke’s party, who are you?” he said, with remarkable restraint, considering his face was turning red with anger.
    “We’re mercenaries,” Aed said. “We were hired to protect them from bandits. And we’ve done our job.” All three of them jumped as he grabbed his lantern and banged it against the wall. He stalked into the darkness, his boots ringing on the stone floor.
    “Well, I think that went well,” Sloane said offhandedly.
    if this is right please put my name in the hat. (I don't think the italics carried over from word, so some of her thoughts might not be very clear.) and yes, sorry it's rather long.
    Stalk me and be prepared to answer to the consequences.

  61. What you see is what you get.

    I am too tired to find the examples but I've got 'em. Someone has marked POV error because one character knows what the other one is thinking. Ah, Yeah. She threw a plate. He 'thinks' she's angry!
    Aren't we told all the time to use body language to show emotion? So don't give me that POV error stuff.

    There. I feel better now.
    So I'll be happy to get on the 'didn't give an example' list and hope to win The Husband Tree.

    Lots of great examples here.
    debraemarvin @ YAHOOOOOOO

  62. Renee...Head Chopping is hoW it feels to get a ONE in the GOLDEN HEART!

    Of course I AM COMPLETELY OVER IT!!!!!

    Renee, I loved those excerpts. I love the way you change voice for the two time periods.

    The second one...of course I'm a western girl...but I loved that. I wanted her to start shooting until they figured out they oughta be afraid. :)

  63. ooh, MJ I like this.

    There are a LOT of excerpts here today that make me want to read more. We hang with the coolest people here in Seekerville. :)

  64. Clair T, very cool. Is it fantasy? I just love all the different writing styles. You know writing skills...the craft...that works in all genres. That's why we have so much fun here in Seekerville. All the different voices, but all the same goal.

    To learn what we need to know to see our book in print

  65. Im' with you, Debra AND this is a perfect moment to remind everyone that judges are doing their best but they're not always right and it's YOUR BOOK and YOUR VOICE. So in the end you take what works and ignore the rest.

    And yeah, throwing the plate...don't need to be in her POV to get that she's angry.

  66. I'm curious, Mary. How long did you write before you got published? I started in late 1999 and went about the process very slowly. Inspirational must have been in its infancy because I didn't know it existed. I had no clue what I was doing for at least two years and six manuscripts. Then I finally joined a writers' group, started attending conferences, and began putting the pieces together.

  67. What an example, Mary! I'm looking forward to reading The Husband Tree! =]

  68. I can point anyone who wants to read a great review of THe Husband Tree, in the right direction ;-)

    Not that I found it FIRST or anything.

    Hee, hee
    Couldn't resist, Mare. It's a GREAT book!

  69. Great post, Mary. Okay, I'll bite... Here's an excerpt from my current wip, Emma's Outlaw:

    Emma palmed her hands down her skirt and called out, “Come and get it.”

    Owen and Virgil rushed in the door elbowing each other. Virgil reached the table first and pulled out a chair, blocking Owen. Owen swore, clamped onto the chair and hauled it out of his way into Dan’s path. Dan swerved around it and knocked into Emma. She landed on her butt on the hard-packed floor.

    The food! She scrambled to her feet.

    Virgil threw a chunk of meat into a battered tin plate and grabbed another one.

    Owen jumped up. “That’s mine!” He grabbed Virgil’s arm and tried to rip the meat from his hand.

    Emma came to her senses. Ignoring Dan’s hovering hand, she lunged and hauled the pan back across the table before her.

    “Hey!” Dan yelled, his eyes following the pan.

    Emma leaned over the pan, arms crossed over it. “Please,” she appealed to him.

    Dan drew his Colt and fired at the ground behind the other two men. The bullet ricocheted off something in the dirt and zinged through the room, shooting a splinter off the small bedroom’s door jamb.

    Owen dove under the table.
    Emma shrieked and ducked.
    Virgil swore. Emma saw him throw the meat on the ground. He crouched, both guns drawn. “Posse!”

    Hope it's not too long...

  70. I just want to leave a comment to be entered for your book!! It sounds like a great one! Thanks.

  71. I'm just an avid reader that have been waiting for my chance to win one of your book Mary since last year :)

    count me in please.

  72. hi mary,

    loved your honesty...thanks for the opportunity to read your latest masterpiece.


  73. Hi, Shannon. I started my first full length novel when my baby, Katy, went to kindergarten.

    Petticoat Ranch came out in February, Katy graduated from high school in May.

    Ah...the ugly truth. But, I sold the book about a year and a half before it came I figure ten years. Why make it any worse.....So while Katy learned her readin' writin' and 'rithmatic...I learned how to write a book.

    And I learned to multiply fractions too, but that's another story.

  74. Anita, you made me laugh out loud. Great excerpt.

  75. Anonymous Jackie
    Anonymous Karen
    and Mariska, you got in under the wire because it's time to draw.

  76. Anonymous Jackie
    Anonymous Karen
    and Mariska, you got in under the wire because it's time to draw.

  77. Thanks, Pepper! Only one month until The Substitute Bride hits the shelves.

    Mary, glad you found the excerpt from the scene funny. It's supposed to be. :-)

    Love all these great excerpts!


  78. Sorry I asked a painful question, Mary. But I had reasons. It helped me, before I got the call, to know that so and so took 10, 15, 20 years to get published. It gave me hope, when I felt like I ran into that wall and was beginning to think it would never happen for me. Just trying to spread a little hope. Getting published is a combination of patience and persistence, so don't ever give up, no matter how many years you've been at it. Hope I didn't give you nightmares, delving into your dark past, Mary.

  79. Love the excerpt and I'm sorry I missed the contest, but congrats to the winners!

    Yes, I definitely head hopped. Still do, sometimes. LOL

  80. Mary, I can so relate to your post.


  81. Mary, I know I'm late, but I wanted you to know I loved your post and your example. I started to find one to submit, but our power went out. Several hours later, we had power again but the poor furnace liked to never catch up. Hope you're staying warm.

    And the Golden Heart judge must have been having a very bad day.

  82. Yes ma'am, it's fantasy. I've got writer's block at the moment.