Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Writing Your Way

by Mindy Obenhaus

When I began writing some seventeen years ago, I knew nothing about the craft. I wrote my first manuscript unaware of POV (point of view), GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) or story structure. Then I attended a writers’ group and the learning process began.

Since then, I’ve loaded my shelves with numerous books on the craft of writing and routinely attended writers’ groups, workshops and conferences. Because let's face it, we never stop learning. Sometimes I come away from an experience enlightened, while other times I’m confused or feel inadequate, like I'll never be as good as that author. Or I’ll be really excited…until I try to execute someone else’s tried and true writing process and find that it stymies me.
Let me pause here to say that I’m not talking about the elements of writing. Every scene/manuscript needs POV, GMC and story structure. What I’m talking about is finding a process that consistently helps you take an idea and turn it into a book. Because just as no two people are the same, no two writers are the same. We all learn, think and work differently. That’s why there are so many books on the craft of writing—The Hero’s Journey by Michael Hauge, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, to name a few—and workshops that teach the same principles with different approaches.

It took me years to settle into a system or process, that worked for me and made me a more productive writer. Basically, I don't like things complicated. I prefer a simple approach. I don’t care to waste precious writing time getting bogged down in too many details about my characters because I’m also a doer. I don’t like to be idle. I need to feel as though I’m moving forward. So I gather what I need to get the ball rolling, then discover the rest as I write. Now I have writer friends who would go absolutely bonkers if they had to use my process. They want to details. Like I said, we're all different.

So how does one go about discovering what does work for them?

First, ask yourself if you’re a plotter—someone who prefers to plot and have everything figured out before they start writing—or a pantser who prefers to let the story unfold as they write. This is going to be key to your process. 

I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I'm a pantser a heart. However, to be a more productive writer, I've had to become more of a plantser. I plot, but if I'm inspired, I give myself permission to write and that satisfies the pantser in me.
Now that you know what type of writer you are, it’s time to—

ExploreWe should never be so set in our ways that we’re not open to something new. The key is to find what works for you. Revisit those writing books and conference notes and look at those aspects you did like. Perhaps as a whole you found a process lacking or overwhelming, but even if there’s only one thing in there that helps, claim it. Talk to other writers and find out what's worked for them. A friend of mine shared her plotting chart with me several years back and it changed my approach to plotting. Granted, I tweaked it to fit my needs, but I'm a better plotter because of it.

Try – Now that you’re armed with some new tools, let’s take them for a test drive. Add them to your current process. If they work, great! If not, let them go like Elsa's gloves vanishing on the wind. Remember, this is about finding what works for you

Make it yours – You are unique. No one tells a story the way you do. You deserve a writing process tailored to the way you think, learn and write. One that will make you more productive and evolve with you, setting you on the road to success.

Okay, now for some fun.

She’s always played it safe…Can he reach her guarded heart?

Ready to open his camp for young cancer patients, Daniel Stephens must impress foundation overseer Blythe McDonald to ensure she approves funding for next year. But the cautious former cancer patient was once let down by a similar program, and she’ll leave no stone unturned in her evaluation. Can he convince her his camp is worthy of the money…and that he’s worthy of her love?
Life has been far too serious lately. Makes me want to escape in a book until it's all over. So, with that in mind, let's giveaway some books. Five sounds like a good number. Simply leave a comment telling me about your writing process or simply how your life has been impacted by recent events to be entered to win one of five copies of my latest release, Her Rocky Mountain Hope, or any of my backlist titles. (US mailing addresses only, please)



Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at www.mindyobenhaus.com

Monday, March 30, 2020

OPEN CRITIQUE FOR BLUE MOON MONDAY!!!!

Okay, darlings, some of you know the drill.

Some don't.

We keep it simple.

You have bestselling, award-winning inspirational authors here, but we don't limit our critiques to just inspy works.... as long as it's G-rated, you're welcome to post below!

Here are the rules:

Keep it fairly short, this forum doesn't allow for chapters... but a few paragraphs to share the idea  is great.

If you have to hunt through your work to find a few good paragraphs, then it probably needs polish OR you need stronger coffee because you're scared to death. Both are normal.

We are not critics... we are authors and bloggers and we love great work, but our opinions are just that: Opinions. Although every one of us will tell you that we wouldn't be where we are today without paying attention to early critiques and contest judges who helped us see what worked... and what didn't.

So today it's a drive-by critique.... Any Seeker may stop in and tell you what they think, and they/we don't always agree... and YOU know your story... so take that into consideration.

But it is also advised to leave wounded egos and overly-sensitive hearts at the door because we might tell you that your work needs work... and that should always be okay. 

And we have a prize today of a one chapter critique for some brave soul, but you have to tell us you want it.... you have to mention that you want to be put in that drawing...

Don't be too scared, darlings.

No one's died from one of our critiques.

YET. 

Coffee is here. Doughnuts/donuts, too, including the amazing cannoli cheese-filled donuts I get at Ridge Donut Cafe.... Because it's nice to share.

USA TODAY bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of more than 50 published novels and novellas and while she can be a meany-pants from time to time, her tough persona hides a really soft heart but she doesn't like folks to know that, so she hides it well. Very well, some say. You can friend her on facebook, follow her on the most unfriendly social media in the world, AKA: Twitter and stop by her webpage ruthloganherne.com. She also actually answers email (and it's really her, not "her people", so be careful what you say, lovies!!!!) at loganherne@gmail.com.... and she may brag about how her bestselling Wishing Bridge series has been on the Amazon bestseller lists for weeks, but gosh, a girl's got to be able to share good news, right??? Even bossy girls! 

 AMAZON LINK HERE JUST IN CASE YOUSE WANT TO USE IT. :)

 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests

FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT

The Seekerville bloggers are praying for YOU and for our entire blog community throughout this pandemic. If you have any special intentions that need additional prayer coverage, please leave a request for prayer in the comment section below. 

We are so grateful for all of you—for your friendship and your support! 
May the Lord bless you and your families abundantly as we journey to Easter. 

Please join us in praying for our country--and the world--during 
this coronavirus outbreak. 

Dear Lord, protect us and keep us
free from COVID-19 infection. Help all who are working hard to 
contain the spread of this virus, especially those  
in the healthcare professions and those caring for the sick. 
Give clarity and right judgement to the WHO, CDC, NIH and 
federal, state and local agencies combating this outbreak.
Guard all of us and especially our elderly and immunocompromised. 
Bring healing to those who have the disease, Eternal Glory to those
who have succumbed to the virus and
comfort to the families who have lost loved ones.
God bless us, and God bless the United States of America.
Amen.

The Raising of Lazarus, Rembrandt., c. 1630-1632,
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. [PD-US]

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
+Let us go back to Judea.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
Your brother will rise.”
Martha said,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.
John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Weekend Edition


  



If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Note our new email address and please send your emails to Seekerville2@gmail.com







Monday:  Erica Vetsch blogged about how to play Regency Bingo! Prizes, fun and more in the Facebook Group Regency Bingo 2020.

Wednesday: Cate Nolan was here talking about the writing journey and how James Scott Bell's book helped her write her way through the mist.

Thursday:  Friend of Seekerville and medical suspense author Dr. Richard Mabry spent the day with us today and chatted about how to take the grain of an idea and turn it into the wheat of a story... winner of a copy of Doc's newest medical suspense is Dalyn!!!!

Friday:  We spent Friday sharing God's word and uplifting verses with our Seekerville friends and family and the winner of "Jesus Calling" is Sherrinda Ketchersid! Congratulations, Sherrinda!!!!



Monday:  BLUE MOON MONDAY!!!! Every now and again the good Lord and the calendar give us a random extra Monday or Friday, and this is it which makes it OPEN CRITIQUE DAY!!! Polish a bit of work over the weekend, and then suck up the courage to post it on Monday and we'll honestly tell you what we think... because if you want to make it in this business, lads and lasses, you better develop a thick skin and a thicker hide. And I'm not kidding. One person will win a chapter critique.

Wednesday:  There will be no fooling when Mindy Obenhaus discusses the writing process in hopes of helping you find what works for you. And because books bring us comfort, she's got some giveaways in store, too. 
  
Friday: Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste...  Some of the best stories come out of times of crisis. How do you look at a crisis from a writer's point of view, and how do you weave a single story or series out of a monster-sized event? Join us on Friday to hear how authors take a crisis... and make it into story.







LAST WEEKEND FOR BUYING RUTHY'S BESTSELLING "WELCOME TO WISHING BRIDGE" AND "AT HOME IN WISHING BRIDGE" AT THE $1.99 SALE PRICE FOR KINDLE!!!  AND HUGE THANK YOUS TO SO MANY READERS WHO HAVE PUSHED THOSE TWO STORIES TO FIRST & SECOND PLACE ON AMAZON'S WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN FICTION BESTSELLER LIST. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!







New cover art for Erica Vetsch! Two Christmas Novella collections coming this fall:


A Joyful Christmas features six previously released Christmas novellas all in one place, including Erica's "Christmas Service." 


Three Regency Christmas stories, including Erica's "Wonders of His Love." Joy to the World releases in October!


Come on over to Petticoats and Pistols. We're talking quarantine! 
What are you doing...when you're doing NOTHING?
There are prizes. 


Join in the fun April 1, 6:30 - 8:30 on FaceBook!
Join the event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1560517417437181/?__mref=mb


RELEASES APRIL 1ST! 

Dangerous Amish Inheritance
By Debby Giusti
“Move off the mountain. No one wants you here.”

Can this Amish widow survive her dangerous stalker?
Someone wants Ruthie Eicher off Amish Mountain…enough to terrorize the widow and her boys. Now Ruthie must rely on her former sweetheart, Noah Schlabach—the secret father of her eldest son—as they figure out why. But Noah has turned his back on love and the Amish way of life. Can he shield Ruthie…without breaking her heart again?

Order HERE!


The Maggie Award of Excellence 2020
is open. Get your manuscripts ready for submission!


NEWS FLASH!!!
Love Inspired Editor EMILY RODMELL
will attend Georgia Romance Writers
Moonlight & Magnolias Conference 2020.
Plan to attend and pitch your story to Emily!



Tina Radcliffe's Inside Edition - terrific newsletter that contains all the industry news you need.(yes, you need to sign up for it, but well worth it!)

The Importance of Secondary Characters In Your Novel by CS Lakin at Live Write Thrive

The Power of Hopeful Stories in a Stressful Time by KM Weiland at Helping Writers Become Authors

Plot Your Novel With Mini Arcs by Janice Hardy at Fiction University

Two Free At-Home Workshops To Keep You Busy During Quarantine by Janice Hardy at Fiction University

An Editor? Or a Predator? by Eva Marie Everson at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Conference

8 Ways Authors Are Helping Authors With Books Releasing During COVID-19 by Diana Urban at BookBub Partners

Indie Publishing 101 - Part III by Piper Bayard at Writers In The Storm

How To Boil Loads of Research Down To A First Draft by Michael Gallant at Book Baby Blog

6 Secrets To Becoming A More Productive Writer by Tiffany Joy at The Creative Penn

Tips To Write Through The Chaos by Edie Melson at The Write Conversation

This Is About More Than Toilet Paper: Some Thought On The Coronavirus by Jeff Goins at Goins, Writer

Friday, March 27, 2020

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

Fellow authors, writers and readers, we don't want to belabor the current situation, but The Seekers are a group of Christian authors and bloggers.

Key word: CHRISTIAN.  That comes first, before the word author or blogger.

From Love Inspired author Mindy Obenhaus:


We are believers.

We are women of God, believers in Christ, sisters of the Spirit, bound together not just because we love good books and great stories and romance...

We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord... and they'll know we are Christians by our love...

So that's what today is about.

Everyone reading this has a story right now. We are living in the pages of a coming history book, the Covid 19 Pandemic of 2020, and students will look at graphs and curves and numbers and they'll see that we were willing to risk one of the best economic booms we've had in decades to save lives.

A verse that brings solace to Missy Tippens:



But that doesn't come without pain and sacrifice and worry as millions of people are told to stay home from work and millions of others lose their jobs as schools and businesses face a mandatory closing order.

So here are some beautiful sayings that help us keep it in perspective because that's what God expects us to do.



From Debby Giusti....

Dear Friends, I select a new scripture verse each day and write it on a 3x5 card that I place on my kitchen counter. I also open my Bible to that verse and keep both close at hand to pray throughout the day. The verses are from the daily readings. 

My verse today is Psalm 34:7
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.

Nature is nature. Nature will change things. Nature is not always predictable, and sometimes awful things just plain happen.

And we learn to take up the yoke and walk with it.

Here's a beautiful verse from Carrie: (meme by Beth Jamison)


And here is a favorite from Winnie Griggs, one that I think we all love and embrace: 


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27
BE NOT AFRAID...
Someone once said that there were 365 exortations to "not be afraid" in the Bible. This gal checked that out and found 145... And that's still a lot, my friends! And you know why? Because we're human. We get nervous. We don't like change. We're normal. Simply put, we are not God. And so we get anxious and we fear and the Lord, our God says "Fear not!"

Annie shared these three verses that bring her comfort when life and the world get out of hand: 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
- Romans 15:13


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
- Romans 8:28


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11 
And Mary Connealy said offered up one of my favorite verses, too:
 And Mary sent this along with the meme.... 

This makes a wonderful prayer. Isaiah 40:30b-31

And I try and remember when  you pray for someone using this prayer that, when someone doesn't survive whatever this life hands out, then God lifts them up, as if on eagle's wings. He takes them to himself to a place and renews their strength. A place where they can run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.

That is what we believe.
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his son, our Lord. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

In this time of anxiety, nerves and reflection, when it seems like our world has been put on pause, or flipped upside down, we are blessed to have God.

And blessed to have each other.

I'm pretty sure I have one more copy of Sarah Young's  "Jesus Calling" and let us know if you'd like it... it's absolutely lovely and I'd be happy to put your name into the candy dish.

No cat dish today.

We're going full tilt on candy, and we are happy to share with all of you.  Leave a comment or tell us your favorite verse in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

And may God bless you, all of you, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Amen.

And a beautiful way to draw this to a close is with this verdant reminder from Jan Drexler:


The Seekers are a great bunch of gals who love great books, who write great books and who are blessed to call one another friends... and who enjoy welcoming people into their lives. 

Thank you for being here with us today.