Why I like Short Blogs

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Gotta say I have the attention span of waiting in line for a Big Mac. No. I do not eat at McDonald’s, ever. You get the drift.

But the thing is, count me guilty for long posts in the past, but perhaps only interviews with authors get more WP space. My inner thoughts are just not that lofty.

If I wax poetic on spiritual matters that too may garner more space especially when I post Scripture.

We all have a life, work, other social media, and heaven forbid I eat into your time.

Very few sites suck me into a long post as well. Guilty of passing by others, and many apologies when I do, but three, four, and five pages I may skip or skim.

Forgive me. But this is all ya get. Today. Gotta run. Got stuff I must do, and spending too much time posting &/or reading is not scheduled.  😉

terminator I ll be back

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“Vanished”

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I am slow to getting around to the books I have on my Kindle, and since my husband started wondering who was stealing from the bank account, ahem, I had to stop my downloads for a bit.

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But never fear. I have plenty of books to review. Spell that slowly, because I… have… plenty.

You all know I read both Christian and non-Christian books and review them. I have more favorite authors these days than I did a long time ago when my nose was constantly stuck in textbooks.

So, I finished Irene Hannon’s “Vanished” (written 2013, this is how far I am behind) late last night. Well-developed characters, even the bad guy. A fantastic suspense with a sweet romance. Irene Hannon writes Christian fiction and this book is readable by all since it is not preachy.

Very well done.

I really didn’t disappear…

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Been in edit mode, with time constraints and a ‘date-to-be-finished’ expectation, it is though I disappeared into thin air.

Forgive my cliche.

But I forge onward, thought I would stop in, say ‘hi’ and get on with my work.

I am also now a contributing writer to Faith Filled Family online https://www.faithfilledfamily.com/ under Faith and Family. Thanks to Michelle who gave me the invitation!

Here is my first article: https://www.faithfilledfamily.com/f3-faith-family-fundamentals/ and I just fired off another article.

I am looking into that edit-torture-thingamabob monster.

I am your EDITOR

 

I shall return…

terminator I ll be back

I, me and my shadow by Deepa

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via I, me and my shadow 

This is an amazing piece of prose, so sensory in sight, sound, touch.. you can hear the squeal of a child so excited for that chocolate and taste as the Cadbury melts on the tongue. An example of exemplary writing! And so true.

‘Warrior’

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Warrior

Once again, Linda Rodante hits it out of the park. ‘Warrior’ is her latest in Christian romance and suspense, but let me take a moment to pause.

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Okay, pause complete.

Linda writes compelling stories that resonate in individuals, truly, no matter their background, the struggles of everyone, meeting God’s redemption. His grace. How individual characters fit into the story as part of the Grand Tapestry by the Master Weaver.

‘Warrior’ is a bit different, yes there is romance and suspense, but the story revolves around three people: Josh, an assistant pastor with a vision, Reese, Josh’s best friend and once bad boy, and Kati, a fervent believer hiding her own past and training hard for confidence–using the vehicle of kickboxing.

kickboxing woman

When the challenge is given, Josh prays. It’s time. ‘Go big or go home,’ is a tame version of how God wants to work in this story. He calls upon Josh and the congregation to be radical, dangerous, fearless. This is not a story about bad guys/good guys, this is a story about war. Spiritual warfare that doesn’t include the flying, flashing angels and demons. The kind of war you and I don’t want to talk about. Breaking chains.

Do Christians listen to a sermon, happy, maybe rushing to go home to ‘get on with their lives?’ Yes, we do, in fact we become so cushy comfortable that our lassitude is really apathy and what is more sad than our lukewarm, milk toast attitude? That comfort is not a win for us, it’s a win for the Enemy.

But for those who fight, it’s a glorious battle. But not everyone survives the skirmish, the battle for those who fight the good fight.

Linda wrote this book, coming out of her own comfort zone to uplift, encourage and inspire those who know of the battle that wages around us. Honestly this could be recommended reading for those interested in spiritual warfare (and required reading for seminaries).

Excellent read.

 

What’s Next and How Should I Publish?

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Well, of course, how you eventually publish is up to you. As a writer, you have not just persistence to run the race, but you are in control.

assassins have failed

Or are you?

Okay, so today I am not speaking about the writing process, the rewriting, the editing, your brand, and platform. We have other things to chit-chat about!

You’ve completed that novel, written a synopsis, query, proposal, cover letter, you’ve received your rejections and recovered. You’ve rewritten and edited–in short, you’re are so sick of your novel, you’re about ready to burn it.

Don’t do it! Stop, drop and roll! Who remembers that phrase?

marshallow

Marshmallows are a better choice than burning the house (manuscript) down. Use these sweet puffs of sugar over a campfire. Otherwise that’s sort of like being so sweaty after working outside that you go into the bathroom and cut all your hair off. I swear, I didn’t do anything like that. <cough>

Let’s talk about pros/cons, the positive/negative of different types of publishing, and avoiding falling into a trap. They all have them. Yet, there is no right or wrong. There is, however, good and bad.

Ghostwriting. This is where you tell someone what you want written. They will understand you, they get you… right? They write it for a minimum of $15,000. If you have enough for a house, perhaps you can afford upwards of $40,000. With the more spendy outfit, you will get what you pay for, and a better novel. And that’s the upside! The downside? You may have given the right to another to use their voice to speak the words you want. The cost tends to be prohibitive. They may want their name on it, so it’s obvious it’s ghosted. Unless you are a politician or celebrity. That cost is for their work of writing an entire novel off an idea. Now you have to recoup that investment. Yikes!

ghost

Vanity Presses. You have written a first draft. Perhaps through a contest. I don’t eschew contests for word count such as NanoWrimo, because by the time you’ve finished you have a draft. Not rewritten, not edited. The upside: you’re part is done but you will be charged upfront for a package to get your draft into shape. There is often a bait and switch involved and that’s still the upside. They call it vanity for a reason (this is how they refer to you, by the way).

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The downside: the majority of vanity presses fix your formatting and put a cover on it, fix a few spelling errors and that’s it. Oh, you have your words and thoughts down, all right, but they haven’t been filtered, rewritten, edited. And the cost can be in the thousands. Even traditional publishing houses will send you to an ‘arm’ of their company. Do research and don’t shell out a dime, because you have to recoup that investment–again! And some want royalties on top of that. My two cents…

Self-publishing. This is the fastest growing sector, especially for people who are frustrated with the book industry.

Pros: your book is done, you can have it on the shelves within a few days. There are a lot of successful self-publishers, and I know a few. Their writing is stellar. They have done everything that needs to be done for their manuscript to create a fantastic read. One name that comes to the surface immediately is Dale Amidei. I don’t care what genre you read. Read one (or more, you’ll get sucked in) and you will see exactly what I mean. However…

Cons: Many self-published writers decline to do the work, take critiques, advice, work the craft. They throw a horrid draft out there and call themselves internationally renowned.

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Let’s say you are good. Just like any book, you have to market it. You design it, format it, choose the font, the size of print, purchase an ISBN number, the copyright, pay a graphic artist, you write the blurb, tagline and log line. You pay thousands for editing/proofing ($3000-4000 for a good edit, or more). Once again, you must recoup your investment, and on sites like Amazon/Kindle that can be 99 cents to 10 bucks. If it sucks, your name is now associated with bad writing. But wait! The self-publishing outfit gets royalties, too. Fifteen percent or more. You now have to recoup your investment in your royalties to pay off the graphic artist, editing (and by the way, editors cost by the hour, $30-40 is the going rate). Last, if you want to go traditional, most agents and publishers do not count self-publishing as published.

Before you go away crying… there are some really good SPers out there, not to mention hybrid.

Indie. This does not stand for sending your manuscript to India. I would never, ever believe that. Ever. <laughs maniacally>

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Indie is perhaps the best method, these days. Check your genre and Google big Indie publishers accepting submissions. Usually, Indies are a consortium of individual artists, writers, formatters, editors, again, not from India, normally.

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You may or may not pay a nominal fee for membership and/or editing, proofing, artistic covers. Big Indie publishers pay out more royalties. Downside: Their guidelines are strict. They want a good reputation (as do you), so they are sticklers for good writing. You still have to pay royalties and membership fees. Ask to see a proof before it launches. Why do I say big Indie publishing? They have a bigger track record.

Traditional. Traditional publishing used to be the way to go, and it was hard to break into. Pros: Things have changed and they are looking for fresh writers (that they can bilk). Not all traditional publishers are cheap, however. Most give little or no advance (that’s hoping you make three times that or more, but don’t spend it. You may have to buy your unsold books back). But they have a lot of risk putting your book on the shelf. They take a nice chunk of royalties off the back of your sales. Many want you to go through an agent, and that is a terrific idea. It slows the process down, but your book is edited (recognize when I say ‘edited,’ I mean they send you the manuscript and tell you what’s wrong, and it is up to you to fix it). Agents work their behinds off, and if you get a contract, great. Hope that your book sells well (as the agents do) because they get about 15% off the back of your book as well. You may be looking at your take at 15% or less.

Small presses. This includes all venues of the above. Small presses have less revenue (generally) and won’t pay you an advance (most likely not), and won’t do much for your book because they are in the business of churning out books to get their name out. Royalties, well. Their communication maybe great, it may be nil.

This is not the totality of publishing. But it is a nice chunk to think about. Until next time, I bid you adieu. Pfft. ‘I’ll be back.’

terminator I ll be back

 

 

 

Dale Amidei’s – ‘A Garden in Russia’

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a garden in russia

I swear, Dale Amidei is/was an assassin. Perhaps, married to one. Ahem. His knowledge and research are frighteningly real, vast, and varied. Dale, does the CIA know about you? Are you like, a consultant to the intelligence community?

Okay, besides that… I just read ‘A Garden in Russia,’ his fifth in the Boone File series. Dale is adept at writing strong female characters, tough guys, nurturing men and women, and villains in the end, who have far more to do with what is the lethality of politics and intrigue than a shadowy character with a knife and evil intent.

I’ve read all of the Boone Files, and this does not disappoint. After #4, while I awaited #5, I started at the beginning, ‘The Anvil of the Craftsman,’ which I pressed here previously. A writer, reader of well, any genre can see the ability of Dale Amidei’s writing as complex, intriguing and well-crafted. I honestly hold my breath often, wondering who is going to be shot? What will happen here?

The powers and money behind what happens in the U.S. affects what happens in Russia as well. Like I said, more real than not. Read the paper, watch the news, then you tell me, how did he nail those details so well? Dale’s writing? Never a disappointment.

Something I could imagine seeing in Boone’s bathroom

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Okay, so that’s my bathroom. Romantic comedy, right?

‘Pursuit’ by Indy Quillen

I am relatively new to Indy’s writing, I confess. However, having read the first two in her Fox Walker series, I’d say I’m hooked.

I’ve read ‘Tracker,’ and last night finished ‘Pursuit.’

pursuit indy quillen

I would have to say, she has done her research, and it shows. Not simply in crime and investigation,  the FBI, local police, retired profilers (which is daunting in itself), but again in her research of First Nations ways.

I suspect she has put all of these tracking, hunting, cooking culture into practice. Bow hunting. Walking from toe-to-heel (that one from ‘Tracker’). Cooking with mud. Who knew? I stopped to take notes… And much, much more.

‘Pursuit’ is a gripping tale of Walker tracking a murderer who has deadly skills. His question is, why did the FBI not send their own? Fox, armed only with a knife and sharp skills finds more truth than he was prepared for.

Great writing. Next book is on my list!

 

6 in the Styx – Brad Carl

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This writer is insane. I MEAN, imaginative and a bit um, yes, disturbed. But a man of many talents, he can write full-length novels, non-fiction and short stories.

So I hate him, I mean love his writing. 6 in the Styx is six (hence the title) short stories that are fun to read. I was up to the wee hours finishing the stories, thinking, oh this guy is so screwed (the character, mind you) to laughing too loud.

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*Unappreciative husband told me to use my inside voice. Pfft.*

Anywho, 6 in the Styx is now available on Amazon for $2.99. Cheaper than answering a stranger’s cellphone in an airport. Yes, there is something wrong about doing so, and Brad will tell you all about it.

Don’t miss it, even if you are a full-length novel reader only. You’ll be entertained, disturbed (he is weird did I mention that?) and in stitches laughing.

 

6 In The Styx - Brad Carl

Brad. He needs prayer… I mean, a long life to write more.

Brad Carl

 

Reading Boone

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via Reading Boone  

Dale Amidei: Leading into next month’s release of Boone’s fifth and epic title, A Garden in Russia, I have the opportunity to hand off the forum to a pair of her biggest fans, Rebecca Johnson and Claire O’Sullivan. Ladies, the floor is yours:

Rebecca: Firstly, thank you, Dale, for allowing us to guest post on your page. Claire O’Sullivan and I are here to nag Dale Amidei about his newest book discuss Dale Amidei’s first female heroine in his Boone series of espionage thrillers, a sort of international/ political Tales from the Dark Side. Dale writes complex, powerful novels that pull his characters into unthinkable situations, which is why I have temporarily given up paranormal fiction in favor of devouring his books.

Claire: Readers and writers alike, no matter their preferred genre, would find Dale’s geopolitical intrigue novels exemplary.

Rebecca: That’s some mighty highfalutin language there, but I think you’re absolutely right.

Claire: All I’m saying is that, as primarily a romance reader, I find his books a delicious departure from my usual reads, just like you do.

Rebecca: Can’t argue with you there … but about Boone: How do you relate to her character?

Claire: I think she’s a bad-arse, and I mean that in the “holy-crap-if-she-was-real” sense (and maybe she is). I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. Respect her, yes. Mess with her, no way. I would actually like to be Boone. What about you? How do you see her?

Rebecca: Well, you know, every woman has those days when everything jells, right? The makeup and hair work, the clothes fit perfectly, the job rolls on smooth wheels. Then there’s the rest of the time, when the mirror and the closet are your enemies, and the job develops a square wheel and just clunks along, and the kids track dog poop all through the house ten minutes before the party. Those kinds of issues are hiccups in the greater scheme of things, I know, but they seem like disasters at the time. 

And then there’s Dr. Rebecca Boone Hildebrandt’s world. She’s an intel operative who deals in—how to say it?—correcting political situations detrimental to independence and freedom. She takes on the jobs no one in the real world wants to think about. Her profession involves stealth, constant situational awareness, and occasionally sudden death: both other people’s and possibly her own. She has to be good at what she does, just to survive. Dog poop on the floor is the least of her worries.  And yet, even with her youth and strength, she is full of flaws and desires. She has the same soul shadows and asks the same questions we all do: “What have I become? Did I ever have a choice?”

Claire:  I’ve read all four of Dale’s Boone’s File novels, and I’m waiting for the fifth one, A Garden in Russia. Taken together, they chronicle Boone’s journey from a flawed, confused enforcer of justice to a clear-headed confident woman who manages to reconcile her profession with her soul. She’s a cool, aloof bad-girl trigger mama in the first book, truly someone you’d not want to disrespect. But she changes as each novel unravels another of her protective layers, and she begins to thaw into something more human and fragile.

Rebecca: Exactly! And I think the title of the first Boone book, Absinthe and Chocolate, describes her perfectly. Chocolate represents everything Boone is: rich, lush, exquisite, and extreme.  Absinthe, nicknamed the “Green Fairy,” symbolized a changing social order in 19th-century Paris, a new generation of free thinkers and transformative ideas. The Green Fairy was also the embodiment of rebellion, especially female rebellion. Boone is nothing if not transformative and rebellious.

Claire: Well, you’re just chock full of weird information. But why am I not surprised? Dale’s first book hooked me into the series. It really showed Boone’s skills as well as her flaws. But in the second book, The Bonus Pool, Boone learns from a persecuted Chinese Christian pastor how to find peace in her life, and that we all “go from darkness into the Light.” Dale is a master at crafting Boone’s reflections on the old man’s words, as she moves from her internal conflict toward peace.

That starts the ball rolling for Boone. By the end of the third and fourth books (One Last Scent of Jasmine and Meat for the Lion), she’s moved away from her despair and doubt, and into a more clear-headed sense of her purpose in life.

Rebecca: Seeing her transformation made me want to say, “Maybe I can do that, too. In my own way I can be better, if I remember that every move is always from the darkness toward the Light.” In these days of turmoil both here and abroad, that’s a good way to think, not only for Boone but for the rest of us who are still cleaning up the dog poop.

Claire: But regarding the writing—you know, Dale writes so well that there are days I wonder why I even bother. And did you ever ask yourself, how does he know so much?

Rebecca: After reading his novels with all those Special Ops and gun-related details, do you really want to ask that question?

Claire: Well, maybe no. But I do enjoy his books, because they’re not just complex in terms of characters and storylines. They address the human condition, whether it’s Boone or another character discoursing on current global and political issues. And in Boone’s case, he manages to hold up a mirror to her soul, so that she—and we—can see her heart laid bare.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.’
-Paul of Tarsus (or 1 Corinthians 13:12)

I feel like I know her better now.

Rebecca: Well enough to mess with her?

Claire: You think you’re so funny. .. 

Rebecca Johnson was born and raised in the southern United States, mostly in North Carolina with brief relocations to South Carolina and Virginia. She is by education a medical technologist, graduating with honors from N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill, and by preference a calligrapher, needlework designer, and graphic artist. She writes paranormal romances by night when no one is watching, and hides her manuscripts under quilting and needlepoint projects during the day. In her spare time she beta-reads for other writers, searching for nitpicking errors. She believes that God’s purpose for her life is to cause as much trouble for as many people as she possibly can, and she spends at least part of each day fulfilling that purpose. 

Claire O’Sullivan was raised in corn and cow country in the Midwest where she learned the nuances of ‘moo’ to PhD level (piled higher and deeper). She attended the University of Wisconsin at River Falls (aka Moo U) with a major in psychology, and changed minors every other week. She left Moo U and attended Lutheran Bible Institute and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies. She has fiddled with writing forever, and currently has several crime/romances in the works, including a comedy noir. She’s pretty sure that Rebecca is indeed fulfilling her purpose by tormenting her daily… er, helping Claire endeavor to write.

Thank you, ladies. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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