Novel Rocket

Sunday, May 24, 2015

EVERY GOOD THING

by Cynthia Ruchti



An unknown author said, "The love of money may be the root of all evil, but greed is the fertilizer."

A godly person is a generous person, the Bible tells us. A God-honoring person is motivated to give, not motivated by greed.

"Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed," Proverbs 11:25 Common English Bible.

Truth. Truth. Truth. But how does that realization affect us as novelists?


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Things Your Mother Told You about Writing by DiAnn Mills

Things Your Mother Told You about Writing
By DiAnn Mills

Our mothers are notorious for passing out advice about life. Sometimes their guidelines are appreciated and sometimes not so much. The older we grow, the smarter our mothers become. Quotes from mothers play an inspiring role in the lives of writers.

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” Mark Twain

How much of Mark Twain was in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn? Did he attempt to take a raft down the Mississippi? Escape from painting a fence? Fall in love with a pretty little girl named Becky?
Mark Twain? He got into trouble?
“I got to grow up with a mother who taught me to believe in me.”
Antonio Villaraigosa

Mothers desire their children to become a productive member of society. When they believe in us and our aspirations, we become superheroes—at least in their eyes. Thanks, Mom!
Thanks, Mom, for believing in me.

“Mothers are all slightly insane."
J.D. Salinger

That’s probably 90% spot-on for mothers of writers. Where else would we inherit the genes that lead to creativity?  We look at life a little skewed, and then we’re thrilled with the words to describe it. Sprinkle sensory perception onto the page with strong nouns and verbs, and the writer has penned a crazy adventure.

“That strong mother doesn't tell her cub, Son, stay weak so the wolves can get you. She says, Toughen up, this is reality we are living in.”
Lauryn Hill

A wise mother provides guidance for her children to accept the hard knocks of life, like rejections, bad reviews, low advances, and publishing house changes. Toughen up! Hey Mom, no wolf is going to eat me!



“My mother taught me about the power of inspiration and courage, and she did it with a strength and a passion that I wish could be bottled.”
Carly Fiorina

Every writer needs a cheerleader, and who does it best but a mother? Writers need self-confidence to stand up under the pressures of an often hectic writing scheduled. When a writer slips in the confidence arena, her work suffers until she snatches courage and gains her momentum. Go Mom!

“My mother used to spank me for lying. Now I get paid for it. “
DiAnn Mills

Yep, this is mine, and it’s true. Of course she purchased a new bookcase and challenged me to fill it up. And I have. My stories aren’t driven by filling up Mom’s shelves, but it does offer a good chuckle.

Mothers are an asset to writers. They take up for us at family reunions when well-meaning relatives ask why we don’t have a day job. They read our stories and tell everyone about our incredible talent. They pass our books among their friends and offer bookmarks. But most of all, mothers love us and that’s the best news of all.


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Follow Your Dreams, Get Writing and Turn Those Excuses Upside Down

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Turn your writing excuses upside down.
We writers are our own worst enemy. We can come up with more reasons to avoid writing and following our dreams than anyone else. I talk to so many people who claim to want to write. And those same people are the most vocal about why they can’t follow their dreams.

The more we talk about why we can’t—the more we guarantee our own failure.

Today I’m listing the top excuses I hear and turning them upside down.

Excuses for NOT Following Our Dreams—Turned into Reasons TO Follow Our Dreams
1. I’m waiting for inspiration not to strike. Successful writers pound out words whether they feel like it or not. Yes, sometimes what we write stinks. But it’s impossible to edit a blank page.

2. There’s no time like the present. It’s time to quit putting off the work you know you have to do. So sit down at the keyboard and write.

Success takes work.
3. It’s tough to succeed in the current climate so I’m going to have to work twice as hard. Personally, I think it’s the best time ever to be a writer. But there’s no doubt this is a difficult career path. That doesn’t mean we give up before we start, though. It means we double our effort.

4. My family needs me to live up to my potential. It may seem that taking time away from family gatherings/responsibilities/events (what ever you call them) is neglect. In truth, we owe our families the example of living up to our potential. It’s time to quit using our families as excuses and instead be an inspiration to them.

I can't afford to put off writing another minute.
5. I can’t afford to put off writing another minute. It does take a monetary investment to grow in this industry. We need to attend conferences, join writers groups and professional associations. But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming burden.

6. I might not succeed unless I take a chance. The only guaranteed way to fail is to quit. We each have our own unique path to writing success. Embrace the journey and keep going.

7. I’m too old to wait any longer. No matter what Bible character you look at, God NEVER judged anyone as too old. If God doesn’t think we’re too old, we shouldn’t either. With age comes wisdom. Be wise and get moving.

Give up that defeated attitude.
8. I’ll never get published if I continue to have a defeated attitude. There are more ways and more opportunities than ever for publication. The industry hasn’t shrunk, it’s grown. Continue to hone your craft and publication will happen.

9. It’s not worth the effort to sit around and whine. Yes, it takes work to grow as a writer. Anything worth doing takes effort. The only time that effort is wasted is when we spend it whining.

10. I’m afraid I’ll regret not giving my dream a chance. My biggest fear is that at the end of my life—whenever that comes—is that I won’t have taken chances and followed God. I don’t want to be someone who wishes I’d gone ahead and given writing a full chance.

These are the excuses that I’ve chose to turn upside down. What would you add to the list? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, coming in May WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Visit to a Friend's Home Births a Novel

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novels in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren. Find Jo on her website, her blog, Facebook, and Goodreads.

What sparked the story for this novel?
When I wrote my latest novel, Wait for Me, I had been to a real coal mining community one time. One memorable time. I went home from college with a friend for a weekend. Her home was in the coal mining region in southern West Virginia.

We had arrived at my friend’s home after dark and I did not see any part of the coal community until the next day. My friend took me to the company store. When we left the store and stood on the wide porch, I saw the tipple. An imposing structure towering above all else around it.

The memory of that tipple burrowed deep within my mind. When I began writing for publication, I wanted to write a book about a coal camp and its tipple. I write sweet Southern romances with settings I know. My first published fiction series, the Caney Creek Series, was set in the southern Appalachians of East Tennessee. I decided to release that memory of a coal tipple and set my second fiction series in the coal-mining region of West Virginia.

Share a bit of your journey to publication. Was it short or long?
My journey to publication was interrupted. I had traditionally published three nonfiction titles and over 200 articles and short stories in more than fifty well-known periodicals. I had begun to mull over a novel idea but then I experienced a health issue that prevented me from writing with pen and paper or on a keyboard.

For seven years my body wouldn’t do what my brain told it to do. But I recovered somewhat and could get back to the keyboard. During those seven years I had a lot of time to meditate. A relative marvels that I’ve never questioned “God, why me?” I have not become bitter because of the health issue. I think God just gave me time to understand a lot of things when I was inactive.

I’m a more peaceful, patient, and faithful me. The writing journey is never-ending. How could I not write? What writing ability I have comes from God and I must be the best steward of that gift that I can be.

What would you do if you didn't write?
I’d have more time to read!

What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?
Marketing causes me to struggle a bit. Writing is not a struggle. As for the marketing, I just buckle down and do it. I don’t stress over it and I know how much I can do and what I cannot comfortably do.

Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
In a corner of a bedroom I have a desk that’s anchored by a laptop, printer, lamp, and ordered stacks of paper. I used this desk while in high school.

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
I prefer the creating aspect of writing. I’m a pantster writer—I plot only in my head. When I write, my story is a stream of creativity that I want nothing to slow or stop. I see my characters say and do things that surprise me and I smile. Writing is a joy. The editing aspect of writing is more like work.

Do you consider yourself a visual writer? If so, what visuals do you use?
Visuals in my mind, from my personal experience or research, not physical visuals I need to see.

What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer?
1.   Ask God to help you write before your fingers touch the keyboard each day.
2.   Be teachable.
3.   If writing for publication, be patient.

Then what 3 things would recommend not doing?
1.   You can benefit from reading other authors in your genre, but don’t try to copy them. Use your own unique voice to write your story.
2.   Heed the rules of the writing craft. But don’t get so hamstrung by the rules that your creativity suffers.
3.   Don’t try to write for the trends that may appear to be popular. By the time you would finish your manuscript, that trend may have vanished.

What's next for you?
Book 2 in the West Virginia Mountains Series. I don’t have a title yet—I usually get my titles from a scene or chapter in the book as I write.

Can Julie, an only child raised with privilege and groomed for high society, and Robby, a coal miner’s son, escape the binds of their socioeconomic backgrounds? Set in a coal mining community in West Virginia in the 1950s, can their love survive their cultural boundaries?

This is a tragically beautiful love story of a simple yet deep love between two soul mates, Robby and Julie. The American South’s rigid caste system and her mother demand that Julie chooses to marry an ambitious young man from a prominent and suitable family. Julie counters her mother’s stringent social rules with deception and secrets in order to keep Robby in her life. Can the couple break the shackles of polite society and spend their lives together? Will Julie’s mother ever accept Robby?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's In A Voice?

By Rachel Hauck

Since last summer, I've been crazy over a worship song "Great Are You Lord."

Originally sung by All Sons and Daughters, I'd never heard of the song until I happened upon Amanda Cook singing it for a live set.

I listened to it none stop.

Brought it to my worship team at church. Ten months later, it's still a monthly favorite.

I'd pull the song set every week if I didn't want to wear everyone out.

Just recently however, I learned another favorite worship leader of mine, Jeremy Riddle, also lead the song in a worship set a few years ago.

In fact, I'd listened to that live set several times. Jeremy sang "Great Are You Lord," the bridge "All the earth will shout Your praise..." with energy and sincerity.

But the song never stood out to me. Didn't make an impact. Until I heard Amanda Cook sing it.

Why is that? What is that?

Same song, different singer, and one deeply impacted me while the other did not.

Was it a time in my life? Was it a season? Was it the unseen of one worship leader over another?

I don't know because I admire them both.

But there is something in Amanda Cook's voice, in her worship, that resonates with me in the deep. I'm moved by her voice, her songwriting, inspired to love Jesus more.

Voice is a critical part of life. Of writing.

It's more than the tone, than inflection, than a string of words put together.

It's the vibration of one's heart that makes Voice reverberate with the masses.

Sometimes the "it" factor causes one voice to stand out above others.

We see this a lot in politics. And in pulpits.

As writers, our voice is critical.

How you phrase things, how you tell the story, how you emote onto the page will draw or repel readers.

If we challenged two writers to write a story on the same issue/topic, invariably one would be more successful than the other.

Let's say they are both great writers. Both have superior editing and cover design. Both work social media and are very personable.

Nothing on the outside makes a difference. But yet one book will do better than the other.

It's Voice.

A sound that comes from the heart of the author that touches something we can't distinguish in tangible terms. Soul? Spirit? Unseen?

Who knows but an author's voice is so key to success.

I remember meeting Karen Kingsbury in 2002 at the first ACFW onference. I'd not read any of her books but everyone at the conference loved her.

After I heard her speak for the first time I knew why. Voice! Karen is a great, emotional story teller.

I'm not such a great emotional story teller, so I find what works for me. I find my voice. And I have to fine tune, train my own writing voice.

If I could boil it down to this, I'd say voice is about passion. Emotion. About conviction. About being real, being "you" on the page.

Sometimes writers are so focused on craft they leave voice behind. Or a writer can get lost in trying to write the "next great novel" that they leave out their own heart and soul.

Books overly manufactured can read excellent, but lack "feel."

Let's not leave the feel out of our novels.

Sometimes our books have all the right feel and emotion, passion, but it just doesn't resonate with readers.

But trust it will in time. Trust the Creator in doing what's right concerning your writing and career.

Maybe you're like me and you have to take a step back and just write what you love. Forget about market or competition and just be passionate about all you're writing.

Maybe you need to shut up the voices of doubt and indecision rattling around in your head, and believe God is working in and through you.

We all know success does not indicate the best. Or that God loves one person more than another.

At the end of the day, you must be true to Him, and true to yourself, and the person God has made you to be.

And lift your Voice! Whether one or a million hear you, be a voice. Not an echo.


***


Rachel Hauck is an award winning, best selling novelist. 


She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery pets.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.

She’s the author of EPCA and CBA best sellers, RITA and Christy nominated books. 

She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.

Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Visit her web site: www.rachelhauck.com.