Monday, April 7, 2014

Awesomeness and the Revision Process

Just over a month ago, I shared pictures, here, of the mural I've been working on at church. At that time, I mentioned that it was “mostly done.” I can’t tell you how many times we left the church after hours of painting saying, “One more day. It’ll be done tomorrow.” Then three days ago, it was actually done. Like, for real. We cleaned up our paints, our brushes, threw away roller naps, folded drop clothes and stowed ladders. But guess what – the following day we were back again, adding a few more finishing touches, because there’s always one more thing.

One of those afternoons while painting a bird perched over the mirror in the children’s bathroom, my daughter commented, “Things keep getting more and more complicated, but they keep getting more and more awesome too.”

 It’s the same way with our stories, isn’t it? Sometimes it feels like they’ll never be finished. I remember the first time I thought my novel was done. That was probably a couple of years and a half dozen revisions ago. But the same thing holds true, the more and more complicated it gets, the more and more awesome it gets as well. And I do love revising. I find it exciting to see a work evolve into more than I ever expected at the outset. 

How about you? Are you ever surprised by what your stories become throughout the process?

Monday, March 24, 2014

C is for Cape Cod Book Launch

Today I'd like to congratulate my friend, Christina Laurie, on the launch of her first children's book C is for Cape Cod, published by Islandport Press.

Add to Goodreads

About this Book:

This beautiful alphabet book combines playful verse, informative text, and stunning photographs to introduce children to the wonders of Cape Cod.
For each letter, a short four-line verse gives younger readers a fun introduction to the subject, and the main text provides information that will appeal to both older children and adults alike. The stunning photographs, by award-winning Cape Cod Times photographer Steve Heaslip, tell stories unto themselves – from the doleful eyes of seals to children whirling on carousels, from a frog peeping out of a cranberry bog to the engineering marvel of the Cape Cod Canal. This is Cape Cod, replete with natural beauty, rich history, tourist attractions, and much more.

Christina Laurie
An internationally best-selling poet, Christina Laurie presents workshops, poetry readings, and seminars throughout New England. Her poems and haiku have appeared in magazines, anthologies, and periodicals across the United States, England, Canada, and Japan. Christina Laurie’s first book, Seasons Rising: A Collection of Haiku, was published in 2011. She is the author of a memoir, two adult books on biblical characters, and a chapbook of inspirational insights, Inspiration Interludes (whose funds benefit the National League of American Pen Women). She lives, writes, swims, bikes, gardens, and kayaks on Cape Cod.

Steve Heaslip

Steve Heaslip is the chief photographer for the Cape Cod Times. He has been a National Press Photographers Association regional and national clip contest winner, and was named New England Newspaper and Press Association Photographer of the Year in 2001 and 2005. His photographs have been in two exhibitions, and have appeared in National GeographicLife,TimeNewsweekThe New York Times, and Yankee. Originally from Rochester, New York, he lives in Barnstable and has been photographing Cape Cod since the 1980s.
Don't you just love alphabet books?! Is there an alphabet book you remember being particularly fond of as a child? Or maybe one that was special to your children? My own children are grown, but The Handmade Alphabet by Laura Rankin still has a special place on my bookshelf. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Art of Distraction

If there's one thing we have to get used to as writers, it's the waiting. Whether it's waiting to hear back from beta readers, agents, or editors, they say the best way to endure is to work on another project. So it was pretty much perfect timing when shortly after I sent my WIP to beta readers, I was asked  to work on a mural for the nursery area in our new church building. I got to play around with paints and be a part of a larger creative process with two very talented people. It was great fun.

Now that the mural is (mostly) finished , I've turned to a more familiar distraction: reading. These are a couple of YA titles that I highly recommend.

And now, I'm ready to get back to writing. What are you waiting for?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy, Happy, Happy

Author Hugh Howey published an interesting blog post on happiness last week. Oh, wait. I guess it was on selling books, or not selling books. But really it was on our innate base level of happiness. Basically, he believes we choose our own happiness, which is only temporarily affected by outside factors. I believe that's true. For proof, we only need to look to our kids at Christmas when they get that toy, game, or gadget that they absolutely had to have. The initial happiness they experience upon opening that gift wanes quickly and their relative happiness goes back to base level before we parents have even paid the credit card bill. 

We do this in our writing lives, too, don't we? I'd be happy if only I were a better writer, could land an agent, get published, sell more books, win an award. . .  But the reality is that those things may bring a momentary surge of euphoria, but won't change our innate base level of happiness. Growing up, my mother always said that it was possible to be happy no matter what your circumstances. Mr. Howey says it this way: "How we feel should be up to us." Which is actually pretty empowering. I do not have to rely on anyone else for my state of mind. It is within my choosing to be happy and that starts, to quote Mr. Howey again, "by seeing the small good in the world."

I watched About Time last night. It's a romantic time travel movie with Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, that, in the end, reminds us to live every day deliberately, to find the extraordinary moments in an ordinary life, to savor the moment. This one. Right now. Without fretting over how it could be better if only...

Today, this music video is making me particularly happy. It may be a temporary high, but hey, I can hit play as many times as I want ;)  I dare you to watch it and not smile! 

 Do you have a favorite feel good movie, song, or book to recommend?

Monday, January 27, 2014

What Blizzards are Good For

I can't attribute all of my recent reads to the weather, but getting snowed in for a day does go a long way towards hours of guilt-free reading. And I've enjoyed a run of five-star reads.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
brought chills, tears, and goosebumps,
all in turn. An amazing love story!

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
takes you to the wilds of the Amazon.
My thoughts returned there to ponder
the story and characters long after I'd
finished the last page.

 I Will Save You by Matt De La Pena
 is chilling, shocking, and impossible to
put down. I finished it within two days
and couldn't request his next book (or
two, or three) soon enough.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.
Okay, I haven't finished this one yet, so I guess the rating is premature. I'm 75 % into it, but as I look at my schedule for the next few days, all I can think about is
finding time to read more of this book. I would possibly forego meals to continue reading this one. (My family may not be on board with that plan.)

I love book recommendations! What was your last five-star read?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Good Books, Good Music, Good Food & Good Feedback

I'm a creature of habit. I sit in the same seat at church every week, I have been known to eat the same thing for breakfast for years, and I read a lot of contemporary YA. It's easy to get stuck in ruts. So in the interest of breaking away from the norm, for my first read of the new year, I pulled out a Lisa Genova novel (not YA) that I got last Christmas. I devoured it in a day and a half.

 I'm thinking of reading a fantasy/sci fi novel next. I never read fantasy/sci fi, but I do have an ARC of The Bone Season kicking around here somewhere.

I usually write in silence, but I discovered The Lumineers album and I'm finding it impossible to turn off. Thankfully, I'm also finding it easy to write to. This song, Stubborn Love, is currently my favorite.

I'm totally enjoying revising one of my novels. This is the power of good feedback: when someone points you in the right direction and you can take off without looking back. That's where I'm at right now, and I'm so grateful.

For breakfast, I have given up my maple-flavored oatmeal for blueberry pancakes, fruit salads, Portuguese muffins and peanut butter/banana milkshakes (not all at once). But I confess, I still sat in the same seat at church this week.

Do you have new things on the horizon for 2014? What are you looking forward to most?

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Scent of Fear Blog Tour & $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

the scent of fear by susan j. reinhardt

First came The Moses Conspiracy, now comes..... The Scent of Fear.

The Zimmermans enjoy the tenuous peace in the wake of their hair-raising year battling the New Patriots. Unexpected visitors once again throw them into turmoil.

Jim Kenneman, Director of National Security, masterminded the plan to break up a hate group ravaging the Christian community. Now, his enemies are out to eliminate him. Should he make a run for it or stick by his tried-and-true negotiating skills?

Monty Addison, a topnotch operative, carried out his assignment in Bird-in-Hand. A plot to destroy his boss sends him on a mission. Without agency sanction, it may cost him everything - his career, his family, and maybe his life.

Dr. Abby Weaver strives to save infants and toddlers in Holmes County, Ohio. When she meets two strangers, she can't get the tall, handsome one out of her mind. Will their paths intersect again or will dangerous times keep them apart?

The Scent of Fear is available at:

susan j. reinhardt
About the Author
Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include her debut novel, The Moses Conspiracy, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.
You can connect with Susan at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.

. The Giveaway Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of The Scent of Fear. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered: a Rafflecopter giveaway The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced January 17, 2014. Good luck!
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Susan J. Reinhardt. The author provided me with a free copy of The Scent of Fear to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.