Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Historic Day!

Yesterday, June 21, 2016 was a historic day in my town of Sugar Hill, GA. It was  the groundbreaking for the EpiCenter, and that begins with the Epic Theater! Here's the architect's rendering of the theater:

Our troupe, Players Guild@Sugar Hill, will soon have a professional theater in which to perform on a full stage, build sets in a scene shop, have rehearsal space, store our props and costumes, etc. For the past 2 years, we've stored things in the basement of City Hall, in a room within Buice Center, and anywhere we could find 2 square feet. 

We've performed (an will until the Epic is complete) in an outdoor amphitheater,  an underground parking lot, an old elementary school, and plan on using the City Council chambers or the rotunda for one production. After all, we are a community theater, and defined, that means: flexible. The theater has a projected opening date of December, 2017. Until then, we will use whatever facility is at hand. 

Below is the architect's rendering of the full Epicenter. It will have restaurants, shops, and a community center. I love the City of Sugar Hill. It's one sweet place to live, work, and play!

There is covered outdoor dining is the back left corner of the EpiCenter (it shows up better in the larger photo of the Epic). The corner of the amphitheater roof shows behind the left back corner of the Epic. Can you tell I'm excited?

I hope you'll plan to attend one of the performances by Players Guild@Sugar Hill. We have a very talented troupe!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Teen Drama Camp is Over

It's time to jump back into my manuscript which is due the end of July. So I'll be hiding under my rock, writing. But I wanted to take a moment to try to tie what I saw and learned from the camp and the teenagers.

Teens are a lot louder than I remembered form my own kids being teens. Yikes! Maybe it's only teens involved in drama ... but aren't all teens neck deep in drama? lol

I thought I would sit in the back of the auditorium to write, but nope. There was no way that would happen. So I sat out in the quiet lobby and worked, some on my book and some on the PR necessary.

The play they performed was great and a huge success. Those kids learned their lines in 2 days. Granted, it was only a one-act, but still. I was impressed. They were tireless and passionate about what they were doing. Many had summer jobs they went to right after camp each day. Yet they tirelessly returned the next, full of enthusiasm.

Am I as tireless and enthusiastic about my writing? 

Not always. When it gets hard, it's really easy to find something else to do. But I'm going to take a page from the kids' book and apply myself enthusiastically.

After all, I'm writing for you and for the Lord.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Get off the Dock

By Elizabeth Ludwig

Matthew 14:25-32  Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

I have a wonderful pet dachshund named Max. While he is good at so many different things, Max simply isn’t built for swimming. With his long, barrel-like body and short, stumpy legs, he’s like log set adrift on the waves, even when I support him with my hand firm under his belly. But he absolutely cannot stand when we are in the pool and he isn’t. So he sits on the dock and whines, every once in while dipping his paw in the water and drawing it back out.

I tried to get him to jump in one day, when everyone else was splashing around. He came oh, so close, but backed out at the last minute. Frustrated, he laid his head down and just stared at the rest of us, out there having fun without him.

So it is with the Lord. He beckons to us, urging us to join Him where He is. And we sit on the dock, watching as others who have found the courage to trust Him have fun without us. Can it be that we are so foolish as to not believe that the One who created heaven and earth also has the power to keep us from sinking? Is it really that we have not learned to fully trust Him?

If the miracles of God’s love and care are not enough to draw us the Lord, what would it take, I wonder, to get us to finally take the plunge?

What are you teetering on the edge of? What's holding you back?

Elizabeth Ludwig is the bestselling author of Christmas Comes to Bethlehem, Maine and the highly successful Edge of Freedom series from Bethany House Publishers. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, on her blog The Borrowed Book, and her Amazon Author page to find out about all her books.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Answers to the word game

1. Paradise
2. Backwards glance
3. Long under wear
4. Look around you
5. Paradox
6. Reading between the lines
7. Check up
8. Mind over matter
9. Split level
10. Crossroads
11. Oh gross
12. Neon light
13. Downtown
14. Sandbox 
15. See through blouse

Friday, June 10, 2016

10 Commandments for Social Media


I don't often do this, but this post from The Write Conversation is so good that I'm going to send you there today. She even made a downloadable poster for you to print. Her commandments are right on the money, too.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Word Games that #Writers Love

If you've known me for a while, you know I love word games. This is an old one I happen to find while cleaning my desk. Strange what piles up during the novel drafting process. 

Leave your guesses in the comments. I'll be giving away a book to the person with the most right answers. 

Answers tomorrow.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Support the Author

Remember, your reviews are life's blood to an author. 


Saturday, June 04, 2016

Every Bride Has Her Day

Another delightful romance from the Queen of Romantic Comedy

by Janice Thompson

 Katie Fisher is ecstatic. Pro basketball star Brady James has proposed, and she can't wait to start planning their life together. She's confident she'll make it down the aisle this time--but it still may be easier said than done. A high-society Houston bride has Katie and the Cosmopolitan Bridal team scrambling to get the perfect dress done in time for her spectacular wedding. Meanwhile, Katie finds herself bombarded with everyone's competing visions regarding her own special day--and she's beginning to worry that her own ideas will get lost in the crossfire. Will she ever manage to settle all of the details for her perfect day? Or will bridal shop chaos and overzealous friends and family make a mess of everything?

Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers what they've been clamoring for: another funny, romantic romp with a Texas twang.

Friday, June 03, 2016

June Christian Fiction Releases

June 2016 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Contemporary Romance: 
Sweet Dreams by Cecelia Dowdy -- A single mom trying to distance herself and her two year old daughter from their dysfunctional family is torn when she falls for a grieving baker dealing with his own family struggles. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 
In Love and War by Miralee Ferrell, Kimberly Rose Johnson, Debby Mayne, and Trish Perry -- In this collection, four couples have to decide whether to fight or find love. A gift shop clerk at a fancy resort fights to redeem her reputation with her high-school crush turned new boss. To save her fledgling business, a landscape artist competes in a design competition against two handsome men--her ex- fiancé and her one-time best friend. An ad agent disapproves of the new playboy working at her Washington, D.C. agency, until they're forced to work together on a campaign and she finds herself falling for him. A man starts a new restaurant in the town where his childhood sweetheart owns a diner, and the sparks that fly aren't just competitive ones. 
Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon -- After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to the town where he grew up--only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed & breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he's constantly distracted by noise, chaos--and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blond architect and construction chief who's invaded the house with her motley crew. As for BJ, her client's son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn't high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces to create a program for Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves? (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker]) 
A Love to Treasure by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- While on vacation an amateur sleuth follows left by her deceased grandmother, and ends up working with a local police officer to solve several mysterious burglaries. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink) 
Almost Like Being in Love by Beth K. Vogt -- Caron Hollister goes on vacation to Colorado and ends up working as a home stager for her ex-boyfriend, a realtor participating in the Colorado Springs Tour of Homes. But she can't let herself fall for him when she's already won an all-expenses paid destination wedding for her and her current boyfriend—who hasn't proposed to her yet. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster]) 

General Fiction: 
Sapphire Secrets by Dawn V. Cahill -- Twins Livy and DeeDee McCreary open a dance studio in honor of their late mother, whom they lost when they were six. Problem is, Livy remembers nothing of the day her mother died. The more she questions her family about that awful day, the more she suspects she's been lied to all her life. While she's seeking answers to what really happened, she keeps crossing paths with handsome engineer Scott Lorenzo, who compels her to question the New Age philosophy she was raised on. What if there is a personal God out there who cares about her? Before Livy can discover answers, a brutal accident interrupts her search. Can she find the strength to keep on with her quest, even if it means losing the two people dearest to her--her twin, and the man she loves? (General, Independently Published) 
Close to Home by Deborah Raney -- Bree Cordel Whitman is a Whitman by marriage, but sometimes she forgets she wasn't born into Grant and Audrey's family. Her late husband, Timothy Whitman, gave his life for his country on a windblown hill in Afghanistan. Bree has let the love of Tim's family keep her ties to him strong--in the same way she keeps Tim's memory alive for them. But it's been almost five years, and she can't hang onto the past forever. Fighting the guilt she feels for wanting to love again, she can't help her dreams about a tall, dark, and handsome man--a man who is not her Tim. How can she accept the flirtations from Drew Brooks without throwing the Whitman family back into grieving? And how can Drew compete with the ghost of a hero and the hero's very alive family who seem to hold some spell over the woman who shares their name . . . a woman he might just love? (General from Abingdon Press)

Historical Literary: 
Like a River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart -- An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope through the eyes of four people. Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine. Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences. Luda is sixteen when German soldiers attack her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits. Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer's plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. (Historical Literary from Kregel Publications) 

Historical Romance: 
A Nanny for Keeps by Janet Lee Barton -- With no teaching positions open, Georgia Marshall agrees to become the temporary nanny for the two little girls next door. She soon becomes enamored of the precocious children and their distant widowed father, but the nobleman is out of her reach. Tyler Walker swore he'd never again give his heart away. He refuses to allow this arrangement with the pretty teacher to become permanent…no matter how much he wants Georgia by his side--forever. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 
The 12 Brides of Summer Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Margaret Brownley, Amanda Cabot, Mary Connealy, Susan Page Davis, Miralee Ferrell, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Vickie McDonough, Davalynn Spencer, and Michelle Ule -- Meet 12 adventurous Victorian era women--a beekeeper who is afraid of bees, a music teacher whose dog has dug up a treasure, a baker who enters a faux courtship, and six more--along with the men they encounter while making summertime memories. Will these loves sown during summer be strengthened by faith and able to endure a lifetime? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing) 
The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron -- Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling. When Rosamund's path crosses with Mable's and the Ringlings' glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers' circus. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan]) 
Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter by Carrie Fancett Pagels -- After her Huguenot father is arrested, aristocrat Suzanne Richelieu escapes Versailles. Handsome German peasant, Johan Rousch, risks his life to bring her to the safety of his family's farm in the Palatinate duchy, but when Suzanne's brother and the French army arrive with a warning that they plan to burn the area, she and Johan are forced to flee. With no money or options, both become indentured servants in exchange for safe passage to Philadelphia. Suzanne falls gravely ill aboard ship and marries Johan, only to survive with no memory of the wedding--a reality made worse when Johan spots the "priest" who married them working as a surveyor and later in Quaker cleric garb. Are their wedding vows valid? When Suzanne's former fiancé arrives in port, planning to abduct her, Johan must save her again-but can he do so before Suzanne is lost to him forever? (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican]) 

Young Adult: 
No Pizza Delivery? by Grace Marshall -- Ruth Deloach's world is sent spinning when she finds out she is going to be ripped from America's Dairyland to live in the embarrassingly small tourist town of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. The blow is slightly lessened by the news that her father wants to start a horse ranch, but how enjoyable will it really be to live where there is no pizza delivery and a revolving door to the public? A public with a different idea of how things are done and said. To add embarrassment to her frustration she finds she knows less about horses than she presumed. Maybe the handsome ranch hand her father hires can brighten things up, then again, maybe not. (Young Adult, Independently Published)

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Taking the Plunge … Or Not

Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? You can find Carole on her blog, Facebook, her Amazon author page, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google+.

Taking the Plunge … Or Not

I’ll have to confess I was a bit nervous when I stepped out into a new world, not knowing if the path of writing I was on, would even have a path for me to walk upon when I headed a different direction. I’m talking about being traditionally published by a wonderful publishing company and then deciding to take a gamble on Indie publishing.

Let me state upfront that I love my traditional publisher. My editor is fair, hard working for his clients and ambitious to see authors succeed. I’ve done a LOT of marketing for the book that’s with them. A beautiful cover, well-edited book, and a pertinent topic in today’s world has all been beneficial to its success.

It took me quite awhile with much encouragement and research to take the step of Indie Publishing, but when I did, I felt like I’d suddenly leaped into space blindly . . . and realized I could indeed fly!

Let me give you some thoughts--not all--but some that are important to me--on the pros and cons of Traditional and Indie publishing. These few areas helped me make the decisions I’ve made and, and even more important to me, not regretted once:

Traditional Pros:
Ÿ  Wide distribution, more exposure and marketing power. You have some big guns behind you, if you do your part (writing a great book, working with the teams they have in place, etc). They have an established base from which to work and wonderful access to marketing areas that Indies find harder to reach.
Ÿ  They do the editing, formatting and cover art. For those who find this part hard work, it’s a no-brainer and a real blessing.

Traditional Cons:
Ÿ  Most times, hard to break into, and once you do, you have little say in the decisions regarding your book. This is a touchy subject with me. I can’t settle for certain things, especially visual images and the arrangement of covers I don’t care for. Having hide like a rhinoceros doesn’t help when it comes to covers. What can I say? I know what I like and what I don’t.
Ÿ  Lousy royalty rates is a biggie (most times between 6% and 25%). Why settle for that when you can get bigger, much bigger, royalties, if you’re willing to do the marketing and work?

Indie Pros:
Ÿ  Publication is quicker. No waiting months to see your books published. I love this one. As an older author, I want to see my books written, edited, and published. I can put them out as quickly as I can write. I don’t have a list of other authors’ books I’m responsible for in getting published. I’m number one in my Indie publishing world.
Ÿ  Control. I control my cover, price, marketing, and whatever else I need to deal with in publishing and promoting my novels. I can write in as many genres as I wish. I can write on three books at once if that’s my style. The only deadlines I have are the ones I set for myself (influenced by my readers too!). I can set my own goals--write 100 words a day or 10,000. I can schedule my writing life as I need/want to.
Indie Cons:
Ÿ  No free professional editing, formatting or cover art
Ÿ  Many times, fewer sales
Both of these are important considerations. I want covers that portray what my novel is about, what satisfies me (and my readers) so I search and pay for those. If I want great editing, I find the best person to do it within my budget. Formatting, I either struggle through and learn it! . . . Or I hire a formatter to do it for me. Big decisions that need handled wisely if you want to put out books that are not slid into the “sloppy books” section on Amazon and other marketing sites.

Here’s what one of my author friends has to say about her hybrid experience:

"I really like the options authors have today. I’ve put out-of-print books back 'out there.' I’ve published my own and have some traditionally published books, and I intend to keep using all my options. I have more opportunities to do that without the pressure of meeting an arbitrary sales mark." -- Cindy Thomson, author of The Ellis Island and Daughters of Erin series.

I urge you to seriously consider what you want for your writing life as an author. Only you can make the decisions that will affect that life. Research, talk to those who’ve experienced both, consider what’s important to you, and realize, if you choose Indie, that you are responsible for it all--the writing, the editing and formatting (whether you hire it out or do it yourself), the publication, the marketing, the mistakes and successes. Only when you have a realistic knowledge of both and of what you need and want, can you go forward with your plans.

I loved that my debut novel was traditionally published. I believe that success was an edge that helped me learn tons of things that is helping me now as an Indie author. And I adore the fact that I can proudly proclaim I’m a Hybrid Author.

Would I use a traditional publisher again? Definitely, depending on which publisher. Will I Indie publish again? You bet! I see the advantages and no reason not to use both.

Knight in Shining Apron

Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia.  Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing.

Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms. Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer. Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play?

And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past? 

SFF: For a chance to win a copy of Knight in Shining Apron, join in the fun by answering one of these questions or asking your own!

Ÿ  Why do you enjoy being a hybrid author?
Ÿ  Do you enjoy reading either traditional books or Indie books? Does it matter to you? 


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Keep Growing in the Craft

As writers, if we aren't constantly working to improve our craft, we're dead, as Eva Marie Everson said recently in a keynote at the BRMCWC.

She's 100% right. Have you ever found a writer whose earlier books you loved, but recently it seems this once-beloved author is skating on his/her laurels - on their past success.

I don't want to ever do that. When I read some authors, I strive to be able to turn a phrase like they do. Not copy their voice, but learn the method or maybe I'm trying to say the depth of their writing. 

My critique partner Michelle Griep is one of the best at using metaphors. She blows me away with the way she writes. Another one is Cynthia Ruchti, an amazing writer. 

I hope I'll keep on learning and growing until I can't write anymore. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

These Happy Golden Years

By Elizabeth Ludwig

My father said something to me recently. Upon learning that he had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, he bitterly decried the latter half of his life as “golden”.

“Golden for the doctors, maybe,” he said. “Is this what I’ve worked and saved for? To have all of my money go to pay for doctors and tests?”

That question stung, and I have pondered it many times over the past few months. Yes, I do believe that part of his outburst sprang from the fear. I also believe that deep down, my father regrets the choices that led to his condition. But mostly, I think he just wishes he could have what we all yearn for—to spend our last years in peace and comfort, relaxing on some sunny beach.


Except…where do we get this image of the ideal retirement? What word or revelation has led us to believe that we deserve, or I daresay, are even entitled, to a peace-filled, pain-free end?

Now, before I go further, let me just say that I despise the fact that there is dread and disease and dying in the world. I HATE that my dad is sick, and I break down in tears just about every time I think about the possibility of a world without him in it.

Thankfully, I have the comfort of knowing I have a Heavenly Father who sees and understands my heartache. God does not delight in the afflictions of His people—quite the contrary. He is waiting for us to call upon Him, waiting to supply our every need, to soothe our every fear, calm our every doubt. He told us we would have trouble in this world…did we think those years after retirement wouldn’t count?

I think God wants to prove Himself able…not just in the big things of everyday life, but in the secret things. The fearsome things. The things we dare not voice.

I hate liver disease. But praise God and hallelujah…so does He! And I can pray peace and comfort for my father. I can lift him up in faith, believing that my God is able and eager to meet his needs. I can look to Jesus, who said we would have trouble in this world, but then also boldly proclaimed,

“But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

To this, I can only add…even so, Lord Jesus. Even so!

Elizabeth Ludwig is the bestselling author of Christmas Comes to Bethlehem, Maine and the highly successful Edge of Freedom series from Bethany House Publishers. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, on her blog The Borrowed Book, and her AmazonAuthor page to find out about all her books.