Thursday, August 25, 2016

Are You an Encourager or a Debbie Downer?

I've arrived at the ACFW conference, exchanged hugs with lots of my friends, and best of all, I'm rooming with my critique partners, Michelle Griep and Elizabeth Ludwig, better known to me as Genghis Griep and Ludwig von Frankenpen. They call me Ane of Mean Gables. 

We earned our names for our thought critiques, but never in all the over 11 years we've been crit buddies, have they discouraged me. We have years of history and years of growing trust in one another. We don't have to worry so much about building each other up. I think they're both the greatest, anyway.

However, I have to use a different manner when I do a paid critique or judge a contest entry. There, I'm looking for the things in which I can encourage the author. Sure I'll point out a couple of craft areas they need to improve or learn, but we need to look below the craft level to the story. 

I remember the first paid critique I ever did. The writer was a raw newbie, but the ending of her story came from so far out in left field, I never saw it coming. I was so surprised, I was thrilled. I had a storyteller right there in my lap, so to speak. I could focus on what she did wrong, or I could tell her she was a storyteller and would be great one day. 

I chose the second approach. I emailed her that day and said I couldn't wait to meet her. I told her how I never saw her ending coming and how excited I was about it. I also told her she had a lot of mechanics to learn, but her natural ability to tell great story was inborn. She arrived at the conference ready to learn -- not discouraged.

It's all in the way we say it.

Tomorrow I'll post a photo of Genghis, von Frankenpen and me.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

7 Things Writer’s Do ... Besides Write

There are times when life gets in the way of writing. Then there are times when our muse refuses to come out an play. So what's a writer to do? Here's what I do:

1. Read. It's all about story. Besides a good story, I learn from reading other author's books.

2. Take pictures. I drive around with my phone poised and ready. After all, I might capture something in the background that sparks a story. You'd be surprised what's going on in the distance.

3. Eavesdrop. We might hear something that sparks a story.

4. Bang my head. I admit my head against my keyboard when nothing comes. It's like my imagination has gone on vacation and forgotten to invite me along.

5. Make up memes about writing or reading. I have always loved to do craft projects. Making a meme is a digital craft project. I can call it marketing and procrastinate for hours.

6. Quiver in fear. Writers are an insecure lot. We're gelatinous blobs of quivering fear that the story well has dried up. We're hacks. We'll never come up with another salable story.

Lord Graham with Terry & me.
7. Share photos on Facebook. They say a photo is like 1,000 words, so I keep posting them to see if the words come. I've posted some in the hopes my life would look glamorous, when in reality, I'm home scrubbing toilets and sorting laundry like the rest of the world.

So, if you're a writer what do you do besides write?
Leave your answer in the comments and be entered in a drawing to win a book.

Monday, August 22, 2016


I went to my first ACFW conference in 2005. It was in Nashville and now we're going there again, 11 years later. Deb Raney posted some pics from the past conferences, and I thought I would too. 

This is one of my favorite people, Karen Ball. She's a writer, been an editor, and is now an agent. Not only is she a wealth of knowledge, but she takes the best selfies of anyone I know!

Here we are in Denver. That's Danica Favorite and Camy Tang with Debbie Macomber. They're in the bar ... knitting and drinking hot tea. 

Here I am with Denise Hunter and Diann Hunt. How I miss Diann. She had a huge influence on my writing.

Mugging for the camera in 2009. Rachel Hauck, ?, Pam Meyers, Colleen Coble, Pam Hillman, me, Robin Caroll. What a fun group!

Liz Curtis Higgs was our keynote in 2009, and she taught us we're daughters of the King, so to get up each morning, look in the mirror, and go Taa-daa! Gina Holmes, Brandilyn Collins, Janet Rubin and me in a tribute to taa-daa.

Two of my favorite peeps:Mike Ehret, editor extraordinaire and Pam Meyers.

Are you coming to #ACFW2016?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coming up for breath ... momentarily

I've completed the mad dash for the finish line. Life in Chapel Springs is in the hands of my Crit partners and first round beta readers. I've got 10 more days until I turn it in.

While they are reading and I'm chewing my nails, I've also been teaching at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference and I leave for Nashville on Wednesday morning for the #ACFW2016 Writers conference. I'm teaching a workshop there, too.

I'm taking time today to make a couple of memes for people, and I've shopped for Hubs, so he can eat while I'm gone. I've shopped for Oliver for his food. That dog doesn't eat normal dog food. Nooooo. He eats baked sweet potatoes, pasta, and raw zucchini over his kibble. He loves vegetables, so I save any leftovers for him. But I need to leave it all ready in the fridge for Hubs to heat up.

I really need a pair of dressy shoes that don't hurt my feet, but I wear them so rarely, they never get broken in. How do you handle that conundrum? Walk around the house in them? I can't do that. Ollie would surely toss a slinger on me and ruin them.

Well, I've got my conference clothes laid out, played with the make-up I never wear, and have my last 2 days list ready. Tomorrow is a day of rest for sure!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

New Releases!

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

Contemporary Romance: 
Falling for the Single Dad by Lisa Carter -- After fifteen years away, Dr. Caroline Duer is nervous about returning to her hometown. The veterinarian might be able to save stranded sea turtles, but she can't convince her dad of her good intentions. And when Caroline meets darling Izzie Clark, she encounters similar suspicion from the young girl's father. Former coast guard commander Weston Clark had his life upended by Izzie's mother. He won't go through the same pain again. But Izzie isn't the only one tumbling head over heels for the enigmatic Caroline. And if she can release the pain of the past, she just might be the missing piece Weston and his daughter have been searching for. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 
Nearly by Deborah Raney -- For Claire Anderson, her position as a teacher in Hanover Falls, Missouri is the realization of a long-held dream. In this loving small-town community where her beloved grandmother resides, she attempts to cast aside the memories of her troubled childhood. Michael Meredith finds worth as a nursing care home administrator. Until an unwelcome investigation concerning suspicious deaths among the home's residents threatens his career and his integrity. In the midst of this crisis, friendship blooms and deepens between Michael and Claire--until an agonizing secret is revealed. One that may tear the delicate fabric of their love. Is their faith strong enough to survive their astonishing discovery? (Romance, Independently Published by Raney Day Press) Reuniting with the Cowboy by Shannon Taylor Vannatter -- A charming cowboy moving in next door shouldn't be bad news. But veterinarian Ally Curtis knows Cody Warren--she'd never forget the boy who left her when she needed him most. Cody is doing everything he can to show his beautiful neighbor he's not the wild bull rider he once was, from helping her find homes for her beloved strays, to protecting her when her business is threatened. But Cody has a secret that keeps him from fully reaching out. Yet as they continue to work together to promote her shelter, he can't keep himself from hoping that Ally might have a home for him…in her heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 
An Amish Harvest: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Amy Clipston, Vannetta Chapman -- Under the Harvest Moon by Beth Wiseman - Can Brock and Naomi harvest a second chance for love?; Love and Buggy Rides by Amy Clipston - A romantic fall buggy ride is the perfect setting for love.; Mischief in the Autumn Air by Vannetta Chapman - Eli and Martha don't seem like a match, but solving a mystery may uncover their true feelings.; A Quiet Love by Kathleen Fuller - Two young people must stand up for the love they know is right, despite what their friends and family say. (Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing) 

General Contemporary: 
The Long Journey of Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart -- What if you could find a corridor at the end of a lake that would lead to you a place where you could find the thing you want most in the world? (General Contemporary from HarperCollins Christian Publishing) 

Magnolia Moonlight by Mary Ellis -- Proving a minister was murdered uncovers an elaborate scheme to bilk millions from non-profits across the country in a town where no one is whom they appear to be. (Mystery/Crime from Harvest House Publishers) 

Historical Romance: 
The California Gold Rush Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Angela Bell, Dianne Christner, Anne Greene, Linda Farmer Harris, Cynthia Hickey, Pam Hillman, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, Jaime Jo Wright -- Rush to California after the 1848 gold discovery alongside thousands of hopeful men and women. Meet news reporters, English gentry, miners, morticians, marriage brokers, bankers, fugitives, preachers, imposters, trail guides, map makers, cooks, missionaries, town builders, soiled doves, and more people who take advantage of the opportunities to make their fortunes in places where the population swelled overnight. But can faith and romance transform lives where gold is king? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing) 
A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears -- While Lydia King's reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father's debts and her mother's persistent illness, her best chance at a secure future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task--to ask the town's wealthiest man to donate--seems simple enough . . . until he refuses. Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they'll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker]) 
With All My Heart Romance Collection by Karen Witemeyer, Jody Hedlund, Melissa Jagears, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Jen Turano -- Take a journey across America and through time in this collection of five novellas from some of Christian fiction's top writers. The collection includes: Karen Witemeyer's "Love on the Mend," set in post-Civil War Texas, tells the story of two competing doctors. Jody Hedlund's "Out of the Storm" finds a desperate woman shipwrecked near a Michigan lighthouse. Melissa Jagears' "Love by the Letter" is an unexpected mail-order-bride prairie story. Sarah Loudin Thomas' "Appalachian Serenade" finds love in a small-town West Virginia store. Finally, Jen Turano's "Gentleman of Her Dreams" tackles the New York social season. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing) 

Romantic Suspense: 
Devoted Defender by Rachel Dylan -- Personal Chef Annie Thomas thought she'd finally found a safe haven from her past. But when her boss is shot in cold blood leaving her as the only witness, she's forced to go on the run—again. And this time there is an even bigger target on her back. Navy SEAL turned small town police chief Caleb Winters doesn't like that danger has come to Maxwell, Georgia. But he vows to protect the innocent woman seeking refuge from an organized crime network that he knows will stop at nothing to tie up loose ends. 
When hiding is no longer an option and threats surround them, will Caleb be the devoted defender Annie needs with her life on the line? (Independently Published [ACFW QIP Approved] Romantic Suspense) 
Deadly Encounter by DiAnn Mills -- When an Airport Ranger finds a dead body, the FBI believes it's an act of terrorism . . . or is it? (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

TWEETABLE: New Christian fiction releases! #amreading

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Win a Kindle Fire PLUS 40 books!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

To celebrate the summer, my critique partner Elizabeth Ludwig has teamed up with more than 40 fantastic inspirational romance authors to give away a huge collection of romances, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner!

You can win her novel Tide and Tempest, plus books from authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.

Good luck, and enjoy!

TWEETABLE: You could #win in this 40 author #giveaway!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Scripture Inspired Novels

Teresa Pollard was saved at an early age. She has her MA degree in English and Creative Writing from Hollins College. She is the co-author of Not Guilty and Not Ashamed and the author of Token of Promise and Women of Light, a 2016 Selah Award finalist, all available on Amazon fro HopeSprings Books. Married for 40 years, she was devastated by divorce and thej death of her youngest daughter. But God has blessed her with a new home and another grandson. Residing in Dacula, GA, Teresa is a member of ACFW and the North GA chapter. You can find her on oher blog and on Facebook.


Have you ever thought about the fact that our Bible was written by over 40 writers over a period of 1500 years, and yet it tells one comprehensive story from Genesis to Revelation: His Story. That’s amazing, isn’t it? 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”(NASB)  There’s really only One Christian author: the Holy Spirit. And have you also considered that it is this same Holy Spirit Who also inspires our work? What? No, you say. I write fiction. What I write is not Scripture. 

That’s true, and we had better not ever forget that. But we are still a part of His Story. There are so many people in this world who would never pick up a Bible. But they would read a novel about someone struggling with a problem that maybe has affected their own life. As Christian writers, it’s our job to point them to Christ.

When Candi Pullen and I wrote Not Guilty and Not Ashamed, the setting was a church with the minister and his family as the main characters, so we were able to get away with using a lot more actual Scripture than the average Christian writer would. Preaching was totally in the context of the story. But most Christian writers don’t have that option. Still, the message has to be there, however subtly, if we’re true to our calling as His ambassadors. These are the “good works” that He equipped just for us. As a speaker at a Christian writers’ conference said recently, “If it makes them ask even one question,” that may be its sole purpose.

But hopefully, our fiction can do much more than that. I want my writing to bring people to the cross. In contemporary fiction, the problem we find is that most readers don’t want “preachy" so we’re limited in how much we can say, and few of them will even read biblical fiction because their expectations are its “religiosity.” 

I think Biblical fiction may be the hardest genre of all to write. When I wrote Tokens of Promise, one reviewer said she thought it was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, but another thought it “strayed” from the Scriptures. I got the same criticism of Woman of Light. They were admittedly far more than simple paraphrases of what was already written, which much Biblical fiction seems to me to be. I wasn’t trying to copy what was there. The Holy Spirit had already done a great job of that through Moses. I was trying to explain what I thought were mysterious and misunderstood passages.

Many people have relegated the Tamar story to “a meaningless story of dubious morality that serves merely as a narrative break in the Joseph story” and Judges tells us almost nothing of Deborah’s life. My work is fiction. I don’t dispute it in the least. But if it brings one person to Jesus, the Messiah found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, then it has done its job, and God will get glory from it!

God bless you.   

Woman of Light

Ehud, Israel’s great judge, is dead.  He must have been out of his mind with sickness to prophesy that his granddaughter Deborah would judge Israel.  Just who does she think she is?  Doesn’t she know Sisera’s iron chariots threaten to annihilate the fledgling nation? And Barak?  A poor man who can barely feed his own family.  What kind of a God would choose two such improbable people to lead His people to battle?  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Doing a #Giveaway!

Laura Hilton is spotlighting me on her blog and we're doing a giveaway of Home to Chapel Springs. Come on over and enter to win a copy!

A homeless author, a heartbroken daughter, and a theatre ghost. There’s trouble in Chapel Springs.

There’s always someone new in Chapel Spring, either coming home or stirring up trouble.

Bestselling author Carin Jardine’s latest book is a flop. While the reviewers are happily skewering her, her racecar-driver-husband walks out on her and she’s evicted, because he hasn’t paid the lease on their condo for the last three months. Then she discovers he also he drained their bank accounts. Homeless and broke, she and her little boy have no choice but to retreat to the house she inherited from her nana in Chapel Springs—the house that’s been gutted. Then, a stranger knocks on her door. One that will change the course of her life.

After the residents thwarted Howie Newlander’s plans for a Miami-style resort on Chapel Lake, he’s running for mayor and spreading rumors about diverted water and misused taxes. The Lakeside Players want to remodel the town’s old theater, but it’s rumored to be haunted. When Newlander and Mayor Riley go head-to-head, Claire gets caught in the middle.

Claire’s youngest daughter is in love with a young man whose daddy is none other than Mayor Felix Riley…the man who man who blames Claire for every wrong in Chapel Springs. Having him part of her family isn’t in Claire’s plan. The years of her heartache should warn her daughter off this boy. So far, her daughter’s heart isn’t hearing the warnings.

With hearts pulled in all directions, will they find a home in Chapel Springs?