Friday, August 31, 2007
My problem is that I'm a puzzle writer. I envy those linear writers who can start on page one, keep writing their manuscript in order and end with typing The End. Come to think of it, I don't even write The End when I finish a manuscript. Being a puzzle writer, I piece my manuscripts together and I'm always afraid I'm not going to make all the pieces fit until I've done my final run through.
My husband, Tom, reminds me that the story always comes together, even though I'm convinced it won't. He hands me chocolate, rubs my shoulders and puts on another pot of coffee. Then he lets me vent. A lot. And walk around the house talking to myself while I figure things out. As long as I don't put a pot on the stove and then forget about it when I have a brilliant breakthrough, I'm okay.
This is why I use my crock pot a lot while I'm finishing a manuscript. Not only do I not have to stop working to make dinner for the family, I don't have to worry about forgetting a roast in the oven when I'm deep into writing a scene. I've collected quite a few quick and easy crock pot recipes over the years to help me get through my sprint to the finish line. Throughout September I'll share with all of you my family's favorites. Print them off and keep them handy for those days when you're busy carting the kids around or writing your next book!
Until next time, many blessings, Lisa
Crock Pot Pot Roast
2-3 pound pot roast
3-4 medium size potatoes cut up or 8-10 small red potatoes
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 - 1 1/2 cups baby carrots
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon Worsteshire sauce
1 tsp Paprika
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of flour or cornstarch
Put the vegatables in the bottom of your crock pot. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix with 1/2 cup of water. Place roast over vegetables and add salt, pepper and paprika. Add Worsteshire sauce to remaining water and then pour over roast. Cover and set crock pot on low. Cook for 8-10 hours. Dinner is done when you are ready!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Right now I'm in that torture place of wondering if my editor will like all the changes. Or will she hate them and kick it back to me again. Will she ask for that advance check I just deposited back? Will she decide I wasn't the writer she thought? Ack!
Then I remember that God poured this into me. I have tried extremely hard to write the story in the spirit of the changes she requested. I think I did that. But as with any new working relationship, I'll just have to wait and see. And be flexible.
I write anywhere -- even on Sunset Rock in Highlands. If I don't have a book in my hand to read, chances are I have a book in my hand to write in.
Hello, my name is Cara Putman, and I am a paper addict.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Here's a little info about the story:
Kate Murphy never expects a quick trip to Mercy, Georgia, to retrieve her grandfather’s gold cross will land her in the middle of an illegal organ transplant scheme. Nor does she plan to lose her heart to a brooding widower who may be hiding secrets about her friend’s untimely death. Exposing the truth almost costs Kate her life.
Nolan Price is ready to blow the whistle on the transplant tourist racket that killed his wife when Kate crashes into his life. By saving Kate, he saves his relationship with his daughter and learns love sometimes requires letting go. As Kate tries to spare Nolan and his daughter from the pain of her past, she realizes she doesn’t have to earn God’s love . . . or Nolan’s. Both are freely given.
If SCARED TO DEATH sounds like something you'd like to read, be sure and leave a comment. Add our ladies of suspense blog to your list of favorites so you can stop by often to see what the Craftie Ladies will be giving away in the weeks to come. September blogs will include favorite recipes so, as we say in the South, y'all come back now, hear?
I'll be praying for you today! Wishing you abundant blessings!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Of course, I couldn't write or read to Christian rock music (I get too distracted by the lyrics and the beat), but I do write and read to Michael W. Smith's Freedom album. The music soars, inspires and lifts my spirit.
I haven't found many other instrustmental Christian artist to write by. I often listen to the orchestrated versions of Broadway plays or movies. Gregorian chants are soothing. But what really sets my soul on fire and inspires my writing is Celtic music. It could be because I'm ScotIrish.
Do you know any good music that wouldn't be distracting but would inspire while writing? While reading? Please share with me. I'd love to add to my CD collection.
Monday, August 27, 2007
As a writer of inspirational fiction, I do have to 'think' about some of the changes I'm making. For example, since I'm writing a secret baby is there a taboo subject area I might accidentally stray into. Hmmmm. See, I'm thinking about having a scene where my heroine goes into an abortion clinic. No, she's not getting an abortion - somebody else is. Still, I'm worried (mostly because I'm a worrier) that this scene might hurt a reader. I'm not really worried about offending. Abortion clinics exist; people go into them. But, what if I have a reader who experienced an abortion and my words are hurtful. This is what I'm worried about. Is this a legitimate worry?
When my son was nine months old, I read a series romance that had a nine-month-old boy die. I hated that book because of that one scene. Too close to home. I love CSI. I'm watching the videos. A few weeks ago, an episode started with a woman finding a baby left in a carseat in extreme heat. I have no idea how the episode ended. I turned it off. Too close to home. I have a baby, I have a carseat, I live in Arizona (think extreme heat).
The good news is my editor will say yay or nay. The bad news is writing the scene will make me sad. So, what do you think? Am I worrying too much? Or is the dance of realism a necessary step in romantic fiction?
I wanna know.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
It's true. Really.
Some authors swear by chocolate. The more the better. Others swear by DeBrands chocolate. That's the only kind that works for them. Chocolate is such a big pull for authors that it has its own unofficial party at the ACFW conference each year. Michelle Hutchinson spearheads that popular event -- so popular she had to have two parties last year to get everyone to fit.
Me -- I don't like chocolate. When I have book-signings, I doubt I'll have chocolate there. Sorry, if you're a chocolate fan. But I often get serious munchies as I work late into the night.
My friend Kim has decided that my comfort food is ice-cream sandwiches. I LOVE those things. Often after running -- what's that!?!?!? -- you'll find me sitting on the treadmill eating an ice-cream sandwich to replace all those calories. Only problem is that ice-cream sandwiches don't have enough calories in and of themselves to do me much good.
The crazy thing is that straight ice-cream doesn't hold much appeal for me. Although my mom bought the Breyer's Fried Ice Cream flavor while she was here. That was GOOD. Cinnamon, caramel, and crunchy tortilla thingies. I don't want to know how they stayed crunchy!
Me, I like the Wheat Thins toasted chips. Yum! I could eat those by the handful. Okay, so two handfuls. Peanuts are good. Umm. Bing cherries. I love that they're in season now.
I know. I'm extremely unique. Who would trade chocolate for cherries?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
In part due to travel and having kids under foot 24/7, but also because summer is a time of renewing and recouping. Plus, I don't do well in the heat, totally saps my energy. But the rain started yesterday and my energy level zoomed and fall is just around the corner. For the first time in three months I went to jazzercise ( I love to dance). I felt so good all day and even wrote in the 'zone' ( my term for that time of writing when the whole world fades, I lose track of time and I can produce pages). So this morning I'm off again to exercise and can't wait to get back in the 'zone'. My point in all of this is if you're writing is going slow and you feel sluggish, go exercise. You'll be surprised by the results.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The first change I made was easy. My editor kindly pointed out that in my last book the son's name was Justin, so it would be a good idea to change the name of this son. Somehow I managed to name him Justin, too (could be because this second book was actually written years before the first). Hmmm, since my husband and I are trying for baby number two, and my husband's clan seems to only produce boys, maybe I'm thinking of naming baby number two (sending up prayers here) Justin.
No surprise, the next change I'm making is deleting back story. I equate back story to brownies. See, I love brownies. I have a hard time eating just one (btw, I just finishing one and am licking crumbs off my fingers). If you look at my picture, you'll see I'm definitely a three brownie at a time kind of girl. I guess I'm that way about backstory. I'm going to give you 66% too much, so I have to delete (it always makes my story better to do so, too).
Change number three is a 'fact' point. The editor pointed out a logic error. I hit myself on the head, and changed it (I've never had to do a second mortgage).
Last, at least of the easy stuff, I'm changing family members, combining them, making them younger, and moving them to different towns even (I love this part!)
There are a few changes I haven't even addressed. Sometimes a change changes the whole book (if I were grading this, I'd say get rid of one of the change words there). Some of the changes I have no idea about yet. One change affects my black moment. I have to chew on that change for awhile. Black moments are, well, black. I don't want my black moment to become a gray moment, or even a senior moment, I'll take my time with this one.
Friday, August 17, 2007
You see, years ago when I was published with a small press, I did a local "book tour" for Waldenbooks. For two months, I hit all the Waldenbooks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Well, not all of them, but I got to a fair amount of them, doing 4-5 book signings each weekend.
I always tried to be there early...just in case. You know, little snaffus do happen. Like when the manager never told the staff that there was actually going to be a booksigning there, even though I'd called the night before to confirm and make sure my books had arrived. Then there was the time the manager decided to "move" the booksigning to another mall in Worcester because the books got delivered to the wrong store. Except, no one told me and I spent an hour with a staff member in the back room looking through boxes for my books until we were told. I was a little late for that signing. Then, there was the time they moved the store. That's right, they moved the store on me. It's my own fault. I was dealing with someone in corporate who didn't know the new store was still undergoing remodeling and confirmed a signing when there was no store.
Those were the snaffus. There are also the other little things that go on. Some bookstores give you a card table in the corner, a box of books, a pen and a bottle of Poland Springs and let you do your thing. (I learned to take my own tablecloth.) Those types of signings were always pretty interesting. No one knew who I was and even though I had my books spread out nicely on the card table I always got questions from customers asking how to find another book, if there was a public restroom or did the store carry the Wall Street Journal. I was always polite and helpful as I have a strong backtground in customer service and it's just not something you can turn off like a switch. Sometimes they would notice my book and smile, and sometimes they'd even buy it. That was always a thrill.
Then there are the stores that go all out for you. I remember one mall booksigning in Burlington, Massachusetts right before Christmas where the bookstore displayed my books so beautifully I was in tears. Picture this, it's one of those corner bookstores in the mall with an entrance on two sides. They put my books on a table and displayed them in tiers. Beautiful table cloth, festive flowers, and a sign that read "Local Author Signing". It was prominently displayed so you could see it from both entrances! I'd arrived at the mall about a half hour early so I could get a bite to eat, but instead of eating, I wandered back and forth in front of both entrances, looking at my little signing table in awe. I must have looked like an idiot but I didn't care. It was just so pretty. This was in the days before camera phones, but if I'd had one, I would have taken a picture for sure!
I can't be the only author out there that has goofy booksigning stories and I'm sure there will be more stories to add to the above. In the coming months, I'll let you know when and where I'll be signing. I'm even planning a "virtual" book signing to let readers who can't be in the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut area participate.
Until then, many blessings to you all! Lisa
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Proceeds from the sale of my book will go to help a young college woman in my area who has a brain tumor and lacks medical insurance. Tracy Russo is a beautiful Christian in her last semester of college. She'll graduate in December from the University of Georgia with an education degree and plans to teach in our local area. Of course, first she needs to have surgery to remove the tumor. So many organizations have reached out to Tracy. Everyone wants to help. Check out her Web site at www.SupportTracy.com for more information or to see how you can get involved.
Thanks for the wonderful email you have been sending me about my second book, SCARED TO DEATH! I'm so glad you like it. Remember to tell your friends. Word of mouth is the best advertisement!
Have a fantastic day! As always, I'll be praying that the work of your hands bears good fruit.
Wishing you abundant blessings!
Monday, August 13, 2007
To get everything done, I have to be very organized.
Here's what my goals look like: Monday 1-5, Tuesday 6-10, Wednesday 10-15, Thursday 15-20, Friday 20-25. If I write on weekends, I consider it cushion. If I can write 25 pages a week, that means in 12 weeks, I have a book. And since I want to do three books a year, that's very doable. It means write the book in three months, edit for one month. Plus, I believe goals are to be broken. Sooooo I only write my goals one week at a time. If on Monday, I get lucky and write 8 pages (Hey, it can happen!) Then, I either get to have an easy Tuesday, or I make sure I write 8 - 13 on Tuesday. If on Friday, I have 35 pages written instead of 25, then on week two I start with 35 - 40 instead of 25 - 30. Plus, if I get to write on the weekend, that puts me even more ahead.
In truth, the biggest help in keeping my career on track is my critique group. I never want to show up without something to pass out for comments.
Thus goes the first day of school - today is welcome meeting and, "Pam, two of your classes didn't make. How about teaching an 7 p.m. Freshman Comp class?"
Thus goes Monday the first day of the writing week (no pages, doing editor suggested revisions on first three chapters of newly purchased LIR).
And, if I can do it (Cat, get off my keyboard! Hmmm, is that the baby crying? Sticky floor, arg! My husband didn't clean up his HIS spilt soda last night? And, tell me, really, do I need to shower this morning?) you can do it.
Friday, August 10, 2007
This got me thinking about my own reading habits. There was a time when I wasn't so busy that I used to read a book a week. I'm a slow reader and after taking a professional reading test I've discovered that I'm one of those readers who reads every word on the page. I know a lot of other people who read books very fast because they skim through the pages and skip over things. I'm not one of those people.
What I have found, though, is that as my life gets busier, I don't read nearly as much as I used to. At the end of the day, there is always something that needs cleaning, another load of laundry that needs to be done and an endless amount of clean clothes to fold. I find myself doing these tasks when the kids go to bed. I'm fortunate that my kids do help out a lot. But even with that help, in a family of 6 there is always work to be done.
I always look forward to when the Rita contest rolls around because it gives me a definite excuse to read. I can let the dishes sit in the sink for a few hours if I know I have to read my Rita books by a certain date. On my recent trips in July, I really enjoyed reading on the plane. No dishes or laundry to pull me away there. I ended up reading two books on vacation, which had me thinking that like my kids, I should schedule in time to read!
I love the book that keeps me up until 2:00 AM and then has me searching for another one because I enjoyed the story so much. I love continuity books and series. Recently I told a friend about a Harlequin Intrigue series I'd read years ago by Gayle Wilson. I'd stockpiled the Men of Mystery books until I had all 3 and then read them in a row. I finished book 2 at 3:00AM and then immediately picked up book 3 because I just couldn't wait to read what happened next.
It's no wonder that I've chosen to make my first Steeple Hill books into a series. I hope that in reading my books, a reader will have that same excitement that I always get when I finish a good book and will look for more.
For now, it's back to work on Her Only Protector, the follow up book to Cradle of Secrets, which will be published 11/07. Until next time, many blessings! Lisa
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Now that I'm an established author -- okay, don't laugh! I'll rephrase that last statement. Now that I have two books in print, I realize a well-written book will sell itself. Word of mouth, of course, is the best marketing tool. Hopefully, all the wonderful people who read NOWHERE TO HIDE will also want to read SCARED TO DEATH. At least that's what I'm counting on. Sure, I've scheduled some promotional events, but not as many as with my first release. Plus, I'm busy working on book four.
Just in case you live in the Atlanta area, I'll be signing at Omega Books, 100 N. Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree City, GA on August 16, 6-8 P.M. Bookseller Karen Duncan is the greatest! Stop by if you can. On August 18, I'll be at the Barnes & Noble at the Forum, just off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard from 2-3 P.M.
Seems there's a rhythm to this writing life. Create a new story idea, send it off to the editor as you finish the last book and promote the book that's currently in the stores. Receive the go-ahead from the editor on book whatever, write that book as you promote the next one. It's like a train that keeps chugging along and never stops. And that's good for the writer and the reader!
If you happen to pick up a copy of SCARED TO DEATH, let me know what you think. I'm always interested in hearing from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on the guest book at my Web site: www.DebbyGiusti.com.
And what am I currently reading? VANISH, by Tess Gerritsen, along with my favorite magazine, SOUTHERN LADY!
Wishing you abundant blessings!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Family visits are awesome. I got to visit my 89 year old grandmother. I hadn't seen her in a while so it was a real treat and she marveled at how big my girls had gotten since the last visit. Leaving was bittersweet. I wanted to come home, but I'll miss her until the next visit.
Now it's back to work. I've decided August will be a marathon month. When I write a book I do my prep work ahead of time, get myself ready to write and then plan the month I'll write my rough draft. That's right, I said month. August is the month I'm going to crank out at least 150 pages (the first 70 are already written). Unlike a lot of linear writers, I'm a puzzler. I see my book in pieces and it's easier for me to put the puzzle together when I'm writing the whole thing in a short period of time. Plus, once I get my characters going I become completely absorbed in what is happening to them. It's a lot like reading a good book in that way. I can't leave them alone once I start.
So cheer me on. Since it's the summer months, I'll be doing a lot of grilling. Between Chef Tom (My hubby) and Chef Ben (My oldest and only boy) the grill will get some good use. I'm thinking good marinades and lots of fresh vegetables. September (revision month) will be different. The kids will be back in school and my local pizza delivery man will probably be delivering dinner before I even call for it.
Until next time, many blessings, Lisa
Thursday, August 2, 2007
1. Abomination by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. A young woman flees from a serial killer who leaves his victims at geocaching sites.
2. Family for Keeps and Sadie's Hero reissued as one book by Margaret Daley, from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. This Love Inspired Classic captures two touching stories that were favorites of readers.
3. Jacob's List by Stephanie Grace Whitson from Bethany House Publishers. Facing the challenge of their lives, the Nolans learn that their son's list is about a lot more than youthful adventure. Jacob's List: a story of reconciliation. . . against all odds.
4. In His Dreams from the Michigan Island Series by Gail Gaymer Martin from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Two widowed in-laws meet again on Beaver Island after a few years absence and find joy in the sense of family, especially the hero's emotionally impaired pre-teen daughter, but the familiar friendship goes far beyond what they expected.
5. Massachusetts Brides by Lisa Harris from Barbour Publishing. Three old-fashioned romances bloom in the heart of New England.
6. Missionary Daddy Book 4 of A Tiny Blessings Tale by Linda Goodnight from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A single missionary battles to adopt two boys from Africa and discovers the woman of his dreams is not who he thought she was.
7. Murder by Mushroom by Virginia Smith from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. A potluck on the lawn of Heritage Community Church brings out the usual pests: ants and flies, gossips and murderers.
8. Off the Record by Elizabeth White from Zondervan. A hidden past with journalist Cole McGaughan could end Laurel Kincade's judicial career...Or will the truth set them free to love again?
9. The Restitution 3rd book in The Legacy of the King's Pirates series by MaryLu Tyndall from Barbour Publishing. When Lady Isabel Ashton's only son is kidnapped, she is forced to enlist the aid of the boy's father, the pirate who ruined her life and stole her virtue.
10. To Love Anew Book One of Three by Bonnie Leon from Revell. When Hannah Talbot is banished from London and transported to Australia on a prison ship she's certain God has turned his back on her.
11. Trusting Him by Brenda Minton from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A woman learning to trust, a man longing to be trusted, and a love that takes them by surprise...
A serial killer is loose in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, punishing people for their sins. One of his victims escaped with her life and small daughter. Now the race is on to identify the serial killer before he can finish his task.
I am a huge fan of Colleen Coble’s books, and Abomination is the best yet. One of the reasons I love her books is that she constantly writes stronger with more intricate plots in each book. She cares so deeply about the craft of writing and delighting her readers with a story that will absorb them.
Abomination is Colleen’s first hardcover and represents a subtle shift. In it, she returns to Rock Harbor. If you’ve read her Rock Harbor series, you will love the return trip and the chance to see what’s happened in Bree and Kade’s lives. If you haven’t read those books though, you will still enjoy this read. Colleen’s done a great job of balancing a setting that’s familiar without making it dependent on the earlier series.
This plot is also richly layered. Eve Andreakos has amnesia, which severally complicates her attempts to stay safe and protect her daughter – and even though I’ve seen this type of plot in other books recently, it worked very well in Abomination. Her ex-husband is the lead investigator on the case. Because of their divorce Eve knows there are issues between them, but isn’t sure what they are. He wants to start their lives together again, but she can’t. Her sister has shown up demanding something Eve can’t and won’t give her. And a former boyfriend dances into her life again.
The suspense in this book is high-paced, probably one of the tightest I’ve seen in from Colleen. And the romance is there, a slight step behind the suspense. The book strikes the balance I love when reading a suspense.
Run out to buy this book when it releases in August. If you love suspense, you will love Abomination.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
My hubby thinks I must have some dolphin genes because I stay in the water for hours at a time. Usually, I'm thinking up new story ideas. There's something about swimming in the salt water that frees my creative side. Plus, it's so much fun!
My second book, SCARED TO DEATH, a Love Inspired Suspense by Steeple Hill, will be in bookstores on August 8th. I'm getting excited about seeing it on the shelves. When my first book came out, I stood in the aisle of the supermarket and just stared at the cover. I wanted to grab the other people walking by and tell them my good news. I also wanted to jump up and down and scream for joy! But that wouldn't have been a good thing to do in Kroger. The manager would have escorted me outside and told me never to come back. :) So I remained composed. I also told God how grateful I was that my dream had come true.
Now that I've sold three books, I have expanded my dream and have more goals to accomplish with His help. There's always something new on the horizon and that makes life interesting.
My goal today is to pack and drive home. I'm ready to get back to work. I want to develop the story ideas that came to me while I was frolicking in the ocean and start writing book four. That's exciting!
I hope you're following your dreams. And I hope they'll soon come true! I'll be praying for you . . . remember me in your prayers as well.
And if you have time, stop by the Steeple Hill chat room at eHarlequin.com. I'm online there all this week, and I'd love to have you say hello!
Wishing you abundant blessings and praying that the work of your hands bears good fruit!