Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Special Announcement from Sharon K. Connell



The His Perfect Love virtual book launch party soon. Don’t miss it!


Thursday, December 8, 2016, 6:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. Central Time.

This will be a costume party. Dress up as your favorite character from your favorite book, sign in, and be read to post a picture of yourself in costume so we can guess which character you’re dressed as. (Don’t worry if you can’t get a costume…come as you are…even in your PJs). Bring lots of virtual food and drink, and be ready to post a picture of what you’ve brought too, with a recipe, if you have one.

During the party, there will be giveaways chosen at random. I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of my book during the first hour and autographed copies of books from other authors, and gift cards throughout the evening. We’ll also have author guest spots where you can interact with some very good writers, a writing prompt at which you can try your own hand and skill, recipes, and fun, fun, fun.

Amongst all the other activities, I’ll be posting some segments to the first chapter of His Perfect Love.

Looking forward to seeing you!









Monday, December 5, 2016

New Release by Cynthia Toney!

I missed one when I posted the new releases Saturday, so here ya go:


When her family has money problems, Wendy must find a way on her own to see Mrs. V and Sam again—but will she lose David forever in the process?

For her mom’s birthday, Wendy finds an old jewelry box at a flea market—the perfect gift for someone who loves salvaged junk. But inside the box is a cryptic note that appears to have been written recently. Who wrote the note, and did the intended recipient ever see it?

Wendy’s curiosity leads her on a search with boyfriend David at her side and eager to help.

But Wendy needs more personal and urgent help—the financial kind—because her stepfather has lost his job. The family’s plan to visit Alaska on vacation is headed down the sewer like a hard Louisiana rain. How will Wendy ever see Mrs. V or Sam again?

When an opportunity arrives in the form of tutoring Melissa, one of the Sticks, Wendy’s money problems appear to be solved. Until the arrangement takes a turn that gets Wendy into trouble like never before.

And in the final months of ninth grade, she might lose everything she counted on for the
future.

6 Dates to Disaster: Bird Face, Book Three

Saturday, December 3, 2016

New Titles for December!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

bella-natale Bella Natale! by Marianne Evans -- An aspiring American artist and the widowed, Italian owner of a premier art gallery meet and fall in love in Florence when he champions her work, but there are her American family's expectations and his five-year-old son to consider. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])



with-this-kissWith this Kiss by Marianne Evans -- A kiss stolen in a midnight snow. A jealous colleague at Jonathan's firm is bent on revenge...revenge that puts Isabella's store into legal peril. Will love be enough to see them through? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])



mistletoe-daddyMistletoe Daddy by Deb Kastner -- Bubbly Vivian Grainger bids on gruff Nick McKenna at Serendipity Texas's annual Bachelors and Baskets for one reason--to help her build her hair salon; but once Nick finds out she's pregnant, he does his best to build a path to Vivian's heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



a-hero-for-heatherA Hero for Heather by Marion Ueckermann -- When a "homeless" man she's been helping rescues social worker Heather Blume from a vicious attack, she's so grateful she violates one of the most important rules in her profession--she takes him home to tend his wounds. But the mysterious Paxton Rathbone is no homeless man…he's a gentleman. When feelings grow, and Paxton's past beckons, both he and Heather discover there's a fine line between gratitude and love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



a-husband-for-hollyA Husband for Holly by Marion Ueckermann -- Holly Blume loves decorating people's homes, but that doesn't mean she's ready to play house. Believing a house is not a home without a woman's touch, Reverend Christopher Stewart is in the market for a wife. What woman would consider him marriage material, though, with an aging widowed father to look after, especially one who suffers from Alzheimer's? Despite their differences, Holly resolves to finish her job of redesigning the Stewart home, while Christopher determines to re-form Holly's heart. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



rocky-mountain-cowboyRocky Mountain Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe -- Twelve years after she married another man, Rebecca Anshaw Simpson is back at Joe Gallagher's ranch as his physical therapist. But healing his body is nothing compared to guarding his heart from the woman he never forgot. Becca won't let regret and a surly rancher get in the way of her job and the chance to start over with her little girl. But Becca never expected she'd fall all over again for her first love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Cozy Mystery:


christmas-cookie-mysteryChristmas Cookie Mystery by Naomi Miller -- With Christmas right around the corner, Katie Chupp and The Sweet Shop get involved in a mystery when a certain dear family finds an unexpected package at their door. (Cozy Mystery from S&G Publishing)







Historical:


michelMichel: The Fourth Wise Man by Katheryn Maddox Haddad -- This descendant of Daniel, also a wise man, sacrifices everything - his wife, his father, his home - to do what he is convinced God needs him to do, then finds out he was wrong (Historical from Northern Lights Publishing House)


five-nights-with-pharaohFive Nights with Pharaoh by Kristen Reed -- Shortly after entering Egypt with her husband, Sarai is taken into Pharaoh’s harem as his newest, most favored concubine. The breathtaking, ageless beauty is forced to cling to her faith in God as she prays for the strength to accept her new position and endures a series of mysterious plagues that can only be indicative of a wrathful deity’s divine judgment. Discover a remarkable reimagining of Sarai’s plight in Egypt, where she humbly set aside her own honor to protect the man through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. (Historical - Independently Published)



Historical Romance:


seven-brides-for-seven-texansSeven Brides for Seven Texans Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Susan Page Davis, Keli Gwyn, Vickie McDonough, Gabrielle Meyer, Lorna Leslie Seilstad, Erica Vetsch -- Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children--until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)



a-pony-express-romanceA Pony Express Romance by Misty M. Beller -- Pony Express rider Josiah English and the station master's sister, Mara Reid, fall in love, but when the Express shuts down and Mara's family home is in peril, the danger looming over Mara's life may not be half as destructive as that threatening her heart. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)




Military Suspense:


conspiracy-of-silenceConspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig -- A former Green Beret is confronted by past mistakes as he and his team battle a centuries-old plague and the terrorists bent on rewriting history. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])



Romantic Suspense:


hazardous-holidayHazardous Holiday by Liz Johnson -- Just in time for the holidays, navy SEAL Zach McCloud returns home from deployment--and discovers someone wants his family dead. When he married his cousin's struggling widow, he vowed to help her and her seriously ill son, and now he'll risk everything to protect them. Even if their arrangement is only temporary. Kristi's certain an unhappy client from the law firm where she works is determined to hunt her down. But when a sniper bullet wildly misses its target, they begin to question whether it's really her someone wants dead. Working together, can they figure out why they've been attacked…and keep little Cody from the nefarious forces dead set on making this Christmas their last? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



christmas-conspiracyChristmas Conspiracy by Susan Sleeman -- When Commander Jake Marsh loses control of a hostage situation and Tessa Long is injured, guilt eats at him. He blurs the line between the professional and personal, and visits Tessa at the hospital. But when a man tries to kill her in her hospital room, Jake disregards all of the rules and regulations that have allowed him to control his world and vows to keep her safe no matter what. Trouble is, the situation brings back memories from his childhood of the loss of his entire family, and for the first time in twenty years, he fears he's no longer in charge of his life, and knows when he's out of control bad things happen. Very bad things. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Saturday, November 26, 2016

News and Reminders

Officer Election is Coming Up


Time for a changing of the guard. You up for it? Ready to hold an office, or at least have someone in mind to nominate? Be in prayer about officers for 2017-2019.

Don't Miss the Christmas Party!




Our annual Christmas Party is again at Linda Kozar's house on Saturday, December 3rd , 11:00-2:00. If you need directions, you can DM her on Facebook or shoot an email to zarcom1@aol.com. The White Elephant Book Exchange is always a hoot. Bring a book with an unusual title or odd subject and prepare to swap it out for something even more unusual. Get ready to giggle!


An invitation from Sharon Connell:


Writers and Authors…and Readers is a group forum for Christian writers, authors and readers.  It’s is a place where you can ask questions, get answers, try your hand at daily writing prompts, read reviews on books that our reader members have read, learn about and post your own book launches, receive information on writing, and so much more.

Our friendly membership is comprised of not only readers and writers, but editors, proofreaders, and others connected with the world of books. We’d like to invite you to check us out. The more, the merrier. We love to have fun, so you never know what some of us will say or post, but it’s all in good clean fun.

No foul language, obscene comments, or adult-rated anything is allowed. This is a family friendly group devoted to learning about good writing and good reads. Join us.

News and Reminders

Officer Election is Coming Up


Time for a changing of the guard. You up for it? Ready to hold an office, or at least have someone in mind to nominate? Be in prayer about officers for 2017-2019.

Don't Miss the Christmas Party!




Our annual Christmas Party is again at Linda Kozar's house on Saturday, December 3rd. If you need directions, you can DM her on Facebook or shoot an email to zarcom1@aol.com. The White Elephant Book Exchange is always a hoot. Bring a book with an unusual title or odd subject and prepare to swap it out for something even more unusual. Get ready to giggle!

Watch your email for the invitation!


An invitation from Sharon Connell:


Writers and Authors…and Readers is a group forum for Christian writers, authors and readers.  It’s is a place where you can ask questions, get answers, try your hand at daily writing prompts, read reviews on books that our reader members have read, learn about and post your own book launches, receive information on writing, and so much more.

Our friendly membership is comprised of not only readers and writers, but editors, proofreaders, and others connected with the world of books. We’d like to invite you to check us out. The more, the merrier. We love to have fun, so you never know what some of us will say or post, but it’s all in good clean fun.

No foul language, obscene comments, or adult-rated anything is allowed. This is a family friendly group devoted to learning about good writing and good reads. Join us.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Deep Characterization: The Antagonist

I got pulled aside at a recent conference by someone who was agonizing over her story idea. We talked about it---she had a great idea, just didn't quite know how to execute it. We discussed plot, ending, characters. The way she discussed her antagonist prompted this post. He's a bad guy. Evil. Horrible. Awful.

She forgot that he's a hero.



Everyone has a back story. Everyone. Even the antagonist. And you not only have to know the back story, you have to be able to climb under his skin and justify his actions based on his back story. To present a convincing bad guy, you have to be the bad guy for awhile.

How bad of a bad guy is he?


  • He's not really bad, he just doesn't agree with the protagonist.
  • He's definitely a bad guy, and he's deranged.
  • He's a bad guy retrospectively, like in the story I discussed with the young author.


In the historical plot we discussed, the bad guy captained a slave ship. I'm not sure there are too many things worse than that. We discussed who this guy was, though, and humanized him:


  • He's a guy with a ship and a crew, doing a job in an era when slavery was controversial, but not illegal. In the South at the time, it was a way of life, and no one thought anything of it.
  • He did his job at a time when slaves were chattel, and the commonly held opinion was that they were inferior. Evil idea to us now, but just a way of life then.
  • He probably had a wife and family at home to whom he was very loving. Probably had friends all over the world with whom he hoisted a pint when he was in port. He probably tithed to his church.

Because, after all, he was just a regular guy with a distasteful job. The only thing making our antagonist a bad guy is his job, a job that financially supported his crew and family.

When things are "just a way of life," no one looks at them as evil---few give the status quo a second thought. Eventually, more people came to their senses and fought a war to bring the South in line and end slavery, but in the era of the story we're discussing, there might have been a few folks shaking their heads, a few denouncing the practice, but it was still "just a way of life."

So, you can present your antagonist as just a regular guy with a despicable job. Or, if you want to make him really bad, you can also illustrate how he treats his "cargo," which is also how you turn him from a bad guy to a good guy, because now we're talking about motive and integrity. If he's the protagonist, he finds his job revolting.

But, keeping him a bad guy and to illustrate him as being totally despicable, we'd have to alter him a bit. With my scenario above---loving wife and kids, friends, church attendance---we'd have a fairly likeable guy that shocks readers once they discover his job. That would be fine if we wanted to turn a good guy with a bad job into a good guy activist trying to abolish that job. But it's not fine if we want to keep him bad.

So, how do you round him out? Make the monster human? You don't want to have him too sympathetic, so what do you do?

Here's where the "save the cat" idea comes in. Give him one thing he loves, one act of kindness, one moral tenet he adheres to, and you've changed him from a 1920's silent movie villain to an interesting antagonist.


  • While they're loading the "cargo" onto the ship, he can let a little boy play at the wheel.
  • He can carry his scruffy dog because it's afraid to go down the ramp to the dock.
  • He can tip his cap respectfully at older ladies because they remind him of his precious ma.

Or, you can illustrate why he believes what he's doing is right. It'll be warped, to our minds, but it'll fit the era:

  • There aren't enough workers in the South to harvest the cotton necessary for clothing.
  • The slave trade is legal, and it feeds my family and crew.
  • My children deserve a better lifestyle, and my income guarantees they'll have one.

Who is your bad guy? How well do you know him? Is he a bad just for the sake of being bad? How does he justify himself? How does his situation/setting/era help justify him? How bad to you want him to be? How sympathetic?

It's okay to make him bad, but you also have to make him human. Obvious, mustache-twirlin' villains are for the '20s.


(Linda Yezak  © 2016)






Saturday, November 12, 2016

Traci Hilton is Our Next Guest!


How can you not love Traci? She plays the spoons! Of course, if that's not talent enough, she's also an award winning author of cozy mysteries and mystery suspense.

And she's going to be featured at our next meeting, Nov. 19th!

Traci will be speaking about making and marketing audio books. Wherever you are in the publication process, from just writing to getting your rights back, this is something all of us need to know and consider. The more products you have to author---print, digital, and audio books---the more you can sell and the better your bottom line will be.

Now that audio books are offered on a variety of devices, their popularity has grown. Join us to learn how to get in on a hot deal!