Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rhonda's Book Giveaway

Rhonda, one of of my faithful readers, is doing a book giveaway for my book Grace Given!! There is still time to enter!  Best of luck everyone!!
ENTER TO WIN: "Grace Given" by Beth Shriver
comment on my blog...winner will be announced on Friday, March 29, 2013 at 11:55 p.m.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hey Y'all!

I’m excited to be part of the Charisma House family with other authors I admire and readers who enjoy having the Lord included in the lives of characters they read about.

So here’s a little bit about me. I’m a left-handed southern girl, military brat, and only child who can often be found immersed in some sort of story, whether it’s in a book, movie, TV show, or eavesdropping session at the local mall. My preference is books because of their portability and intimacy that you can’t find with any other medium. I love sports, fitness, food, fashion, comic strips, TV game shows, American Idol, and quite a few other random things.

I have a degree in Community Recreation and a minor in English from the University of Southern Mississippi (Go Golden Eagles!). After college, I worked as an activities director in nursing homes, program center director for the YWCA, and multiple unit representative for the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times). I took some courses and got certified to teach, but after a short stint in a seventh grade classroom, I discovered that classroom management wasn’t my thing, so I left the little angels in more capable hands. I’ve held a variety of writing jobs, including product information fashion writer for the Home Shopping Network—so fun!

Granddaughters Sophia and Emma
My husband Wally and I are blessed with two adult daughters, Alison and Lauren. Alison and her husband Jason live in North Carolina, and they have two little girls, Emma and Sophia. Lauren and her husband Ryan live in South Carolina where he is stationed in the Air Force. Wally recently retired as a financial advisor, and since he can’t sit still long enough to warm a seat, he decided to become a certified personal fitness trainer and coach for the First Tee golf program for kids.

My first series with Charisma is called Uptown Belles, with three very southern heroines who move up to New York City, each for a different reason. They all meet men who are charmed by their honey-dripping accents and feistiness. These are fish-out-of-water stories—a situation I’ve found myself in many times. In the first book, Missing Dixie, you’ll meet Cissy Hillwood, a very young, spirited heroine who stumbles before she walks and has been known by the nickname Motor-Mouth. But her heart is as big as her desire to make her way through life. I hope readers love her as much as I do.

When you have an extra minute or two, visit my website at, read my personal blog, “friend” me on Facebook, “like” my author page, and follow me on Twitter. Blessings to all!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Create and Change the World!

Recently, I posted a blog on my website discussing why I continue to write in the face of disappointing obstacles, being "released" from a contract, and facing a blank page with no inspiration at the moment. I write because God compels me to be creative and to use that creativity for His purposes to change the world. I ran across this very moving video. It is achingly revealing of why we, as authors, as artists, as creators ourselves made in the image of God continue to strive to do what we do. Enjoy!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Great Blog Posts

I've read some fascinating blog posts lately so I thought I'd share them with you this week.

  1. Field Report From the E-Book Revolution #3: The New Equilibrium

 I was all ready to lay down my binoculars high in my observation tower and note that a certain peace had settled upon the land of publishing. Battles fought a couple of years ago, full of fury and bile, seem largely to have quieted down to the level of a spirited discussion. Both sides, traditional and indie, had reached a tentative, though perhaps still wary, acceptance of each other's existence. And then came the Hydra's head.
James Scott Bell
For more great blog posts please visit here .                            

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Multitasking Life of an Author

Today is a perfect example of how an author's life is filled with multiple tasks. Here it is at the end of the day, and I haven't gotten to this blog post until now.

What have I been doing, you might ask.

I'm working on a book titled A Heart's Gift. I was just breezing along on chapter thirteen when I realized I needed more information. So I spend quite awhile researching the particular thing I need to finish this chapter.

My grandson had an on-the-job-injury, and he needed my husband to take him to the doctor. That meant I had to get up earlier than usual and fix breakfast. I'm a person who works on schedules. When I am moving along the regular schedule, I do great. But when something interferes with the schedule, everything piles up on me.

I had to download a large number of emails. Answering many of them can be delayed, but there were several emails flying back and forth between my agent and me. One email took me to Facebook, and while I was there, I checked on some people who I'm following.

After my emails with my agent, I needed to stop what I was writing and recheck a former proposal. We want to send it to a couple of different publishers. This is a contemporary general fiction with deep issues and connection to current events. It took a little time to bring it up to date.

I had been contacted by a reviewer who wanted to review a couple of my books on a review site that I had never been on before. Of course, I was glad to hear from her and work out how she could get a copy of each book.

I needed to send interview information to some of the authors who will appear on my blog next week. That took another piece of my time.

Then the Avon lady came with my order. Usually, she sits and visits with me. We pray for each other all the time. However today, she was running just as late as I was, so I met her at the door with her check and came back to the computer.

Soon I must make something for James and me to eat for supper.

And so it goes.

Tell me what sort of things takes the most time out of your day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Grammy's Influence

By Andrea Boeshaar

In early February I had the most wonderful visit with my son, daughter-in-law, and my fabulous grandkids in upper Michigan. My son is a pastor at a church in a small community on Lake Superior. In the summertime, the tiny town is thriving with vacationers and fishing enthusiasts, but in the winter it's frozen and quiet.

My daughter-in-law home-schools my granddaughter who's 7 -- 7 going on 16. There aren't many other little girls at the church they pastor and my son mentioned that Anna really needs friends with whom she can talk and giggle. She's really struggling at times with feeling isolated. She goes a lot of places with my daughter-in-law and participates in some of the ladies' activities. But for Anna it's not the same and she misses her friends in Milwaukee.

On Saturday, I attended a Bible study that my daughter-in-law leads once a month at a quaint coffee house. My daughter-in-law did a great job -- and what a great place that coffee house is! With its rustic motif, books, and photos from local artists along with the perpetual smell of freshly brewed java, it's one of the most inspiring places I've entered in a long while. 

My granddaughter, Anna, came along, but got antsy halfway through the study, so she and I walked around. I told her about the books I write and how I get my stories. She asked numerous questions and I answered them. We looked at some chapter books for her age group and suddenly...suddenly a spark entered her blue eyes.

"I'm going to write a book, Grammy. Like you!"

"Go for it." I smiled. My granddaughter is full of big ideas -- like getting her own cell phone. 

"And I'll be on the cover, okay?"

"Sure. It's your book." My smile grew.

We got home that day and Anna set to work. She wrote an entire notebook page -- the first page of her book. I typed it up on the computer and, you know what? Her story is pretty good. It's about a little girl who's getting bullied at school by a mean girl named Melissa.

During my visit, Anna wrote two more pages. I hope she'll continue writing her book because this grammy can't wait to see it in print!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

There Are Returns and Then There Are Returns

     If someone finds a wallet and returns it intact to the owner, that’s great. If someone has been away a long time and excitedly returns home, that’s great too. But when a bookseller returns your book to the publisher, that’s not so great.
     I’m a beginning writer who still has much to learn. And part of my continuing education occurred this week. I received a statement from my publisher, indicating copies sold. In perusing the statement, I was alarmed to see a column entitled: Returns. And to make matters worse, there was a figure entered in the column . . . and it wasn’t 0. It was a number much larger than that.
     I talked to the publisher’s controller and asked what happens to returned books. He said they can still be stocked in stores as the demand requires. But dog-eared and damaged ones are frequently donated to charitable organizations, libraries, prisons, and so on.
     The hard part of the whole writing process I’ve found is the moment of truth. How well has your book sold? And my guess is that the answer, no matter the quantity, is never enough. So to other writers who have endured returns, I know how you feel.
     So what does this all mean? It means that I have to work even harder and be patient. It takes time to become known and develop a following. It also means I have to accept the reality that part of the writing/publishing process involves, for one reason or another, returns. Still, it would be far more pleasant if I just lost my wallet and someone returned it to me.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cover Debut for The Preacher's Wife!

I'm pleased to present the cover for the first book in my Brides of Assurance series, The Preacher's Wife!

To see this image, representing years of hard work, patience, a few tears, and several cramped fingers, the feeling was indescribable.

The design team at Charisma House did a great job portraying Marissa Pierce, the novel's heroine, and the tiny but growing railroad town of Assurance, Kansas. The model's appearance matches what I had in mind for the main character. I describe Marissa as age twenty, bearing a Native American heritage, with black hair, a straight, almost angular nose, and full lips. Her personality is one of quiet thoughtfulness and determination. Since she is a former saloon girl who has suffered abuse from her employer and ridicule from the townspeople, she projects an air of haunting sadness, but a glimmer of hope as well. I think the model expresses those traits beautifully.

The red background and the model's white lace dress also provide a nice touch.

I'm really thankful that the publisher allowed me to give a description of the characters and setting. I realize that not all first-time authors get to have a say in what their cover looks like. Working with Charisma House has been a positive experience and learning opportunity for me from the start. I'm looking forward to working closely with them as we get closer to the book launch date of October 1, 2013.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Conflict, Confrontation, Anger

Our stories need these three elements, but for me, that is the most difficult thing to add to my novels. I dislike confrontation and will go to great lengths to avoid it. I get very angry with others, but rather than getting into an argument, I will have conversations with them in my head and tell them what I think and feel. If someone has done or is doing something that needs to be corrected, I fret and stew until it comes to the point I must say something. I’m not sure why that is so difficult.

In every editing situation I’ve had to rewrite scenes because of lack of conflict. Donald Maas has great information on conflict in his book, Writing the Breakout Novel, as does Randy Ingermanson and a number of others. Ane Mulligan is presenting a course on GMC now on the ACFW loop, so it’s not like there’s no information on how to put it in our writing. Even after reading several craft books with chapters on conflict, I still have trouble.

Conflict in what a character wants to do and should do isn’t as difficult as writing the conflict between people. Other authors seem to have no problem with getting their characters into heated arguments with others. In all my stories I have conflicts within the characters, but when it comes to conflict between or among my characters, I tend to avoid those scenes and just talk about what happened in a later scene.

Right now I’m going through some major revisions in order to insert the “off scene” conflict into the plot. The conflict is there, but it needs to be seen by the reader as it happens and not in discussion or thoughts about what happened. One of these days I hope to get past that barrier the first time around and not have to rewrite as much. I love my editor, and she always gives me such good advice. Without her, my writing would be pretty bland by most standards of GMC. Thanks, Lori, for making us all better writers.

Any ideas you might want to share regarding conflict will be greatly appreciated by this Sanguine personality who would rather hide than confront.