Bonus Post: Meet Another Writing Friend

Yes, this is another Bonus Post. As you know, I ordinarily only write one post a day five days a week, Monday through Friday. However, once in a while, when I deem it necessary, I add a bonus post and write a second post on one of the days.

Today I want you to meet another one of my writing friends. I like to help my friends boost their blogs and gain more recognition from the worldwide blogosphere. My friend Melinda is a talented writer who writes a lot of Sci-Fi, as well as some other things. She has been posting on a blog for a couple of years here. This summer, she’s doing a cool new blog where she posts a story a week about a vampire in Baltimore, Maryland, and she said she’d never write a vampire story. You can read these fascinating stories here. She also created a Facebook page for her main character in the vampire stories, Niles Gule, which I think is really cool because she even has a photo which is really bizarre because he looks a lot like a guy I know. ¬† ūüėõ

Now, I will warn you, none of her writing is Christian and you will encounter some language you may find offensive and, of course, in the Niles Gule stories, some blood and guts. But Melinda weaves some good tales, creates fascinating worlds and characters that grab your attention and make you like them and care about them pretty much from the moment you meet them.

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten List as suggested by The Broke and the Bookish is the Ten Bookish People You Should Follow on Social Media.

As much as I love to read, I must admit that I don’t follow too many “bookish” people because I am a writer, I follow “writer” people. ¬†So I can list Four Bookish People that I think you should Follow on Twitter and one on Facebook:

Twitter:

  1.  Glenn Soucy @GlennSoucy1
  2. Faydra Deon @faydra_deon
  3. Readers Gazette @ReadersGazette
  4. Gary Lindberg @gary_lindberg

Facebook:

1.  Mindy Detweiler

Now, since writers write good books for the bookish people and because writers are bookish people too, here are five writers that I follow on Facebook that I think you should follow:

  1.  Grace Greene
  2. Jeanette Lavellie
  3. Shelley Adina
  4. Mike Dellosso
  5. Marsha Hubler

Upcoming Writers’ Conference in Lancaster County

PRESS RELEASE: LANCASTER CHRISTIAN WRITERS HOSTS ONE-DAY CONFERENCE ON APRIL 16, 2016, AT LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE

Are you an aspiring writer seeking to hone skills, become market savvy, consult personally with editors/authors‚ÄĒall on a budget? Then join us at Lancaster Christian WritersSuper Saturday 2016!! April 16th, 2016, from 8:30am-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA, 17601. This one-day writers conference offers a dual track of workshops in fiction and non-fiction. Early registration price of $50 is due by Wednesday, April 13, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch and LCW membership. Registrations after April 13 and walk-ins day of the conference are $60.

Non-fiction faculty include writers conference director and author Marsha Hubler, professional writer/editor Hana Haatainen Caye, transformational speaker and novelist Tracy Higley, and award-winning Toastmaster speaker and author Michele Chynoweth. A fiction track will be taught by award-winning novelists Gayle Roper, Mike Dellosso, and Dwight Kopp.

Workshops cover such topics as:

  • Can You Say Satisfying? Creating the Inspiring Moment.
  • Keep ‘Em Wide-Eyed! Sure-Fire Techniques for Writing Hi-Octane Suspense
  • From Book to Bestseller: You Are Your Own Best Publicist
  • The Delicate Art of Creating Villains
  • Non-fiction That Sells: Making Your Article or Book Irresistible to Editors
  • Style:¬†Uncovering Voice and the Power of Identity.
  • The Business of Writing: Making Money as a Freelance Writer.
  • Impactivity: Pursuing Your Writing Dream with Passion, Balance, and Joy

A conference bookstore will offer a wide variety of writer resources and faculty titles. Personal consultations with faculty are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Author/editor/conference director Marlene Bagnull and award-winning novelist/collaborative writer Jeanette Windle are among auxiliary faculty offering personal consultations.

More information, including the Super Saturday 2016 Flyer/Registration Form and Press Release can be found at Lancaster Christian Writers Today (http://lancasterchristianwriterstoday.blogspot.com/) OR email LCW president Jeanette Windle at jeanette@jeanettewindle.com.

Mail Super Saturday 2016 registration form (or relevant info) and check or money order payable to: Lancaster Christian Writers, c/o Jeanette Windle, 1776 Euclid Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601. For credit card/PayPal payment, request invoice at jeanette@jeanettewindle.com (preferred) or call 717-209-0011 after 4 PM.

I have attended LCW’s Super Saturday conferences for the past three years and am already registered to attend this one! ¬†I always learn something helpful or make a valuable new contact or make a new friend, and I have heard all but one of these speakers before and they do an excellent job! ¬†So, if you write or want to write and live in or near Lancaster County, plan to join us for this Super Saturday Writers’ Conference!

Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

I received a free copy of this eBook to write a review (my personal opinion) for BookLook Blogger.

This is the first romantic suspense novel I have read by Colleen Coble. ¬†I read her “Journey of the Heart” series last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. ¬†You can read my reviews of each of those by searching for “Book Reviews” under Categories on the right sidebar of this blog. ¬†They were western romance stories. ¬†They had a bit of suspense, but not like¬†Mermaid Moon.

Mermaid Moon is a Sunset Cove novel by Colleen Coble. ¬†I have not read¬†Inn at Ocean’s Edge which is the first book of this series. ¬†But that is one thing I really like about Ms. Coble’s writing. ¬†Even when she writes a series, you can read them out of order, or read one from the series and not the rest, and because of the information she includes in each book of the series, you do not feel lost or confused about the characters or the plot line.

Mallory Davis left her home on Mermaid Point in Maine years ago and never looked back. But when she receives a mysterious call from her father and later is informed of his death, she heads back to Mermaid Point immediately.

She suspects that her father was murdered, and a Downeast Maine game warden, Kevin O’Connor, confirms her suspicions. ¬†Mallory doesn’t want to spend too much time with Kevin, but he wants to help her find out what happened to her father. ¬†Mallory broke Kevin’s heart when she left Maine 15 years ago, and the history between them is something she believes cannot be repaired.

Mallory’s friend and neighbor, Carol brings her daughter, Haylie to Mermaid Point much sooner than planned and informs Mallory that someone showed up at her house in Bangor, Maine looking for her; someone who seemed quite threatening.

As the story continues, more questions arise and more suspicious characters emerge.  Whenever I thought I knew who was guilty, something else would show me I was wrong.  The story kept me guessing almost to the end.

Colleen Coble did a great job creating deep characters that made me care for them and cheer for them right for the start.  The plot line was suspenseful and kept me guessing.   The plot line kept me turning pages.  I look forward to reading more romantic suspense by Colleen Coble.

I recommend this book to all Colleen Coble fans, to anyone who enjoys a real page turner, to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense, and to anyone who likes a story with rich characters and a fast-moving plot line.

 

 

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

I received a free eBook copy of this book to write a review for BookLook Blogger.

This is the first story I have ever read by Melanie Dickerson. ¬†I have never been familiar with the story of Rapunzel, so I do not know if Ms. Dickerson’s story is too much like the original or not. ¬†What I do know is that Ms. Dickerson captured my attention and held it throughout the book. ¬†She created rich, deep characters. ¬†Good characters that I fell in love with and cheered for, and bad characters that I wanted to see get their comeuppance.

Ms. Dickerson’s descriptions were brief but clear. ¬†I could easily picture both characters and places in my head. ¬†The story takes place in Medieval times complete with knights and castles. ¬†I’ve always enjoyed romance stories from Medieval times, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story by Melanie Dickerson.

The fact that the story is a spin off of a fairy tale was intriguing to me. ¬†I have only read one other such story by a different author. ¬†I really liked that though Ms. Dickerson’s story ended happily, it was not presented as “happily ever after”. ¬†That’s the one thing about fairy tales and Disney that I find quite frustrating, because when you grow up with those stories, you expect to find and experience that kind of romance and love, which is not true to life. ¬†True to life love/marriage requires a lot of work and give and take, communication and understanding on the part of both people involved. ¬†Therefore, I loved that Ms. Dickerson hinted that not every day would be “happily ever after” because of the personality differences of the characters and their past hurts. ¬†Thank you, Ms. Dickerson for that.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to read a fairy tale type story that’s a ¬†bit more realistic, and to anyone who loves historical fiction novels, Medieval times, knights and castles, and romance stories, or anyone who just wants to read a good book.

Meet My Writing Friends

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I thought that since I posted about our weekly evening writing group, you might like to take a look at what my friends are writing.  They each have a blog where they write, in addition to the other things they write when we meet weekly.

First, there is my “Random” friend, you can see the fruits of her talent at Random Stories Under a Blue Moon.

Next, there is the amazing poet in our group, and you can read some of her poetry at The Dance of Life.

Finally, there’s the politically minded, non-fiction light of truth of the group, and you can read her truths at The Truth Expedition.

I hope you enjoy visiting my friends.  I certainly enjoy my weekly evening with them.

The Value of a Writing Group

I have three friends who like to write, just like me, but have trouble making time for writing, just like me. ¬†Therefore, we have created our own “Inkling” type group. ¬†If you don’t know what that is, are you familiar with C.S. Lewis of The Chronicles of Narnia fame¬†and J.R.R. Tolkien of The Lord of the Rings fame? ¬†Well, they met with a couple of other writers at Lewis’ rooms or in English pubs to discuss writing, share ideas or their own writing, and to do some writing and brainstorming.

My friends and I decided to embrace this idea. ¬†For a few months now, we have been meeting at various places one evening a week, and we talk about writing and things we have learned about writing. ¬†We brainstorm. ¬†We share our writing with each other to get feedback, and we spend time writing — at least an hour and a half of just writing. ¬†We all have come to look forward to our one evening a week and we hold it fast on our calendars because it enables us to do some writing and to encourage one another. ¬†It has become very valuable to each of us.

We would love to find a wifi cafe or coffee shop in a location central to all of us that we could meet in each week, that doesn’t close so early. ¬†However, we haven’t found anything great in a central location, and many of our local coffee shops close quite early. ¬†Therefore, we currently meet at two of our houses, McDonald’s because they’re open all night so if we get on a roll, we don’t need to worry about the time, and one or two coffee shops. ¬†It works, but we really would prefer one great central location.

I advise you to talk to other people and let them know you’re a writer. ¬†Who knows? ¬†You may find another writer or two that you have things in common with or maybe you already have a couple of friends who write, and maybe you can begin your own small writers’ group, and you’ll see how much it begins to mean to you.

Do any of you already do this? ¬†I’d love to hear how it’s working for you and what kinds of places you meet.

How Do You Inspire Others

How do you inspire others?  Have you ever thought about it?

I don’t think I have ever thought about inspiring others. ¬†I think about helping others, encouraging others and persuading others.

Well, I recently found out that I do inspire others, especially writer friends. ¬†Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a couple of writer friends tell me that the encouragement that I offer them and my enthusiasm for writing “inspires” them and they have been writing more or coming up with more writing ideas since speaking to me about writing.

Wow, that was quite a compliment.  Compliments usually make me uncomfortable, but that compliment made me feel good because I am always glad to help others, especially in a common interest.  I get excited to see their progress!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now for an update on my writing journey. ¬†I posted on June 23, 2015 about Lisa Lawmaster Hess speaking at our last Lancaster Christian Writers’ group meeting. ¬†Well, in that meeting, she also mentioned that she is a “pantser”! ¬†You have no idea what a relief and encouragement that was to me!

I have been studying writing very diligently for the past two years as I continued to write. ¬†Most of what I learned was about the “Planners”. ¬†I have always been a pantser — ever since I began a love of writing in the 5th grade. ¬†However, I was afraid that since I heard so much about the “planners” and not much about the “pantsers”, that only the “planners” were successful. ¬†So imagine my surprise when Lisa Lawmaster Hess, a¬†published writer, confessed to being a “pantser”.

Woo Hoo! ¬†My spirit leaped for joy! ¬†I had been trying so hard to force myself to become a “planner”, and I was miserable and I was so unhappy with my writing. ¬†Thanks to Lisa Lawmaster Hess I was free! ¬†I could go back to being a “pantser” and worry about edits after my story is down! ¬†Well, I started my work-in-progress over a-gain, for the fifth time, and this time I am going¬†all the way back to my roots and writing with pen and paper. ¬†And, guess what?! ¬†It is making a tremendous difference! ¬†I now LOVE writing again! ¬†I get excited about the next time I get to sit down and write, and when I do, the story flows out of me, and it’s so much better than what I was producing when I was trying to write in a way that is completely opposite of my nature and talent.

Why all the way back to pen and paper? you ask. ¬†Well, I find that when I type on the computer, I tend to go back over what I wrote every time I sit down to write and I am changing and tweaking constantly. ¬†It becomes quite counter-productive. ¬†I find that writing with pen and paper seems to have the opposite effect — I can simply start where I left off and still hit that groove that keeps my story moving and keeps me writing. ¬†I am a happy writer again!

What about you?  Have you been trying to fit a particular mold?  Know that you can be free to be you and write in whatever way allows you to get your story out and write your best and do your best editing later.

Meet Author, Mike Dellosso

I met Mike a little over a year ago at a one day writers’ conference. ¬†I had the pleasure of having fifteen minutes one-on-one with him to pick his brain about writing. ¬†I found him very kind, helpful and encouraging. ¬†I purchased every book that he had written and for sale in the bookstore that day. ¬†I have to confess that I haven’t read them all, yet, but I love what I have read, and definitely look forward to reading the rest.
Mike has a new book coming out on June 1, 2015 — Centralia. ¬†I suggest that you don’t miss it.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing him for this post, so sit back, relax,  and get to know author, Mike Dellosso.

Me:  What inspired you to become a writer?

Mike: ¬†My brother-in-law’s motorcycle accident. I’d always hated writing. All through school, writing just wasn’t my thing. When Darrell wound up in a coma and near death I turned to the only outlet I could think of: I grabbed a pad of paper and pen and began to write my feelings and emotions, what I was struggling with, fears, doubts, anger. I fell in love with writing then and haven’t stopped since. That was 1998. Darrell is fine now and he and my sister have four kids.

Me:  How did you decide what genre to write?

Mike: ¬†I’ve always enjoyed thrillers, especially with a supernatural twist. Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, X-files . . . fan of it all. So when I started writing it was a natural genre for me to fall into. Also, I kind of cut my Christian fiction teeth on Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.

Me:  How did you learn to write books?

Mike: ¬†I’m mostly self-taught. I didn’t go to school for writing or anything like that. Once I got into writing I began reading A LOT and reading to learn. I studied the way novelists created characters, wrote dialogue, handled action scenes and pacing and plotting. I read “how-to” books as well, did research online. Anything I could do to learn the craft. And I also wrote A LOT. Practice, practice, practice. I have whole novels that will never see the light of day. They were practice for the real deal.

Me:  How many books have you had published so far?

Mike: ¬†Counting my newest, CENTRALIA, I’ve published eight full-length novels and one novella. I’m working on number nine. My other full-length novels are THE HUNTED, SCREAM, DARLINGTON WOODS, DARKNESS FOLLOWS, FRANTIC, FEARLESS, and A THOUSAND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS (written as Michael King). The novella is REARVIEW, a part of the 7 HOURS series.

Me:  How long does it take you to complete a book?

Mike: ¬†Generally speaking, the first draft takes me about four to five months, then there’s a month or so of subsequent drafts. All in all, it’s a good six to seven months. And when I’m really going I write seven days a week.

Me:  Do you write everyday, and if so, for how many hours or do you set a word quota to reach each day?

Mike: ¬†When I’m working on the first draft and life isn’t all that crazy, yes, I write everyday, usually about an hour a day. If I can get a day where I can get more than an hour I jump at the opportunity.

Me:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mike: ¬†Both, I guess. I begin with a basic plot in my mind and I know where I’m going to start and where I’m going to finish. Then, I work one to two chapters ahead in my mind so I can keep the plotting going that way. I don’t outline, ¬†though, and don’t do extensive plotting. It’s basically whatever I can think about and remember from day to day.

Me: ¬†Have you ever had writer’s block, and if you have, how did you get through it?

Mike: ¬†Yes. Some say there’s no such thing as writer’s block but it is real. I know that beast firsthand. When life is hectic and you have a full-time job and family stuff and church stuff and “other” stuff going on it’s tough sometimes to focus on the book. Distractions work their way in and you lose touch with the story, you lose your groove or inspiration. Usually, I let things rest. I release the pressure of having to write, of having to keep up with my schedule and just separate myself some from the story. That usually does the job.

Me:  Have your ever participated in NaNoWriMo?  Why or why not?  If you have, what did you think of the experience?

Mike: ¬†I haven’t. I don’t need that kind of pressure. I have enough pressure as it is and need to write with as little as possible. I really don’t want to invite more pressure.

Me:  Where did you get the idea to create the Darlington Society where you connect with your readers and allow them to be participants in your work?  Do you find this effective?

Mike: ¬†First, yes, it’s very effective. For them and me. The Society has become an entity in and of itself, so much more than I’d ever envisioned.The folks in it are great, they’re interactive, they care about each other. They’ve blessed me in so many ways I can’t even count them all. I came up with the idea as a way of getting a core group of readers to support my efforts and lift me up in prayer. They’ve done so much more than that. They’re really incredible.

Me:  Have you ever done book signings and, if so, has it been a positive experience?

Mike: ¬†For me, not a very positive experience. I’ve found that multi-author signings work a lot better than solo ones. And I’ve also learned to take my wife and one or more of my daughters. Family relaxes things and my wife is very outgoing and extroverted. She helps draw people in. Solo signings are lessons in humility. I don’t have a household name so people usually steer clear of my table and try their best to avoid eye contact. I spend a lot of time counting passersby.

Me:  What do you consider the most important writing resource?

Mike: ¬†A writer’s mind and the discipline of observation. Seriously. Imagination is lacking these days. We have so much technology at our fingertips that there’s no need for imagination. But imagination is like a muscle, the more you work it the better and stronger it gets. And observation is a discipline every writer needs to hone. We’re so busy, so distracted, so preoccupied we don’t see what’s going on around us. Fiction writers say “tell the truth” and the truth is right there in front of us everyday. We just need to see it.

Me:  Do you continue to study the writing craft?

Mike:  I do by reading and studying how the masters do it, those writers who write what I write and do it well. I also read other genres and study how they do it. Learning from those who do it well is the best way to learn.

Me:  What would you consider the most important advice that you could offer to new writers?

Mike: ¬†Write and don’t give up. Read great writers. Be aware of your surroundings and observe. But mostly, don’t give up. 100% of published authors didn’t give up. That’s a fact.

Me:  Now, changing the focus from writing, to your upcoming new release, Centralia.  Where did you get the idea for Centralia?

Mike: ¬†I read about this town called Centralia in Pennsylvania. It’s about three hours from my home. It was a coal mining town and back in the sixties one of the coal veins ignited. It’s been burning ever since and could continue burning for the next 200 years. The government has spent millions trying to extinguish the fire and finally gave up and evacuated the town. The last holdout residents left just a couple years ago. The ground is cracked in places and spews sulfuric gases. Roads are cracked and split. The town is literally falling apart. Many of the buildings have been razed by a few still stand. The government re-routed the main highway around the town and is pretty much letting nature reclaim it. I thought, what a great setting for a story. I usually begin my story ideas with a character but this one started with a setting.

Me:  Did you have to study a lot of fight scenes with and without weapons in order to accurately portray the fight scenes in Centralia?

Mike:  I love action and military movies and drew  much from them for the choreography of the fight scenes. And research, research, research.

Me:  You included quite a few interesting minor characters in Centralia, some of whom you gave quite a bit of detail about.  One of them was named Ronnie and I was really intrigued by him.  Is there any chance you may include him as a main character in another book?

Mike: ¬†No. My secondary characters are just that, secondary. I like to give them more detail, though, because “a person’s a person no matter how small.” They’re people, too, with lives and stories to tell. In my stories, everyone’s important.

Me: ¬†There’s been a rumor that there may be a sequel?¬† Would you care to comment on that?

Mike: ¬†Yes, KILL DEVIL, will release in 2016. It’s pretty wild and that’s all I’m saying

9781414390413_p0_v1_s260x420 Centralia

Centralia is available for preorder at Amazon.com.  Order your copy today!