Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Check out the new ads in BTS Magazine

The new issue of BTS Magazine -- book reviews -- is out.

Check it out. I've got ads for some new books.

Also, check out my website -- revised and updated -- just a little bit. Worth checking for new pages, new cover art, and info on upcoming books!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

In the Spotlight: A BOX OF PROMISES, the new Tabor Heights novel

Today's spotlight is on my new Tabor Heights novel, A BOX OF PROMISES.

The 5th book in Year Two -- the 17th book total.
Who woulda thought we'd get this far?

In BOX, 5 dorm sisters make vows and goals for their summer. Between lifeguard duty at an all-girls camp summer intern at the local newspaper, short-term mission work in Mexico, docent work at the local zoo and multiple sessions of Vacation Bible School, the possibilities are endless.

The girls write down their goals and vows, and put them in a box for safekeeping. Those who don't achieve their goals by the end of the summer have to pay up with a pizza party.

Between a broken leg, gum in the hair, nasty customers, temporary blindness, oblivious boys, a language barrier, "pretty people" and "mean girls," the girls don't quite experience the summer they planned on. Then again, they weren't planning on interest from a wide variety of interesting young men who think they're rather interesting in return.

Sunday through Monday, September 14 - 15, come to the Cyber Launch Party blog and on Facebook, and celebrate the release of A BOX OF PROMISES. We'll be talking about Tabor Heights, about college and summer plans and answering any questions you might have. Any favorite characters you want to see in another story? Romances hinted at that you want to see? Maybe even some party favors ... we'll have to see what we come up with!

Please come. It'll be fun -- but there won't be fun without YOU!

Monday, September 8, 2014

NEW BOOK! The 17th Tabor Heights novel: A BOX OF PROMISES

Normally on Mondays, you get a book report.

Today, I'm letting you know about my next book, releasing on Thursday, September 11.

A BOX OF PROMISES is the 5th Tabor Heights, Year Two novel -- the 17th full-length novel in the entire
Tabor Heights series.

SUNDAY, come on over to the Cyber Launch Party blog to talk about the book and maybe win a prize.
You can go on over to Desert Breeze Publishing and check out the Coming Soon books, to get a snippet of the book, or check out the Tabor Heights Today blog and read back through all of August and what's been posted so far this month, for excerpts!

What's it about?

Five dorm sisters at Butler-Williams University write down their goals for the summer -- those who don't reach those goals buy a pizza party for the others. Between summer camp lifeguard work, docenting at the zoo, multiple sessions of VBS, interning at the local newspaper and mission work in Mexico, there are plenty of chances for adventure. Plus throw in a broken leg, temporary blindness, oblivious boys, nasty customers, bubblegum in hair, and elephant poop ... it's going to be an interesting summer.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spotlight Saturday: PRAIRIE DREAMS by Susan Page Davis

Today's Spotlight is on fellow ACFW member, Susan Page Davis and her August 1 release, a trilogy of stories:

Prairie Dreams

In this three-book collection, an English lady and her maid head for the American West. Lady Anne Stone hopes to find her uncle, the new Earl of Stoneford, and save the family legacy, she has no idea how far the search will take her.

In “The Lady’s Maid,” Elise Finster and her mistress, Lady Anne, search for the missing earl. Determined to follow David Stone’s somewhat cold trail, greenhorns Elise and Anne secure livestock and supplies to join a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. Will the ladies succeed in their quest or be stopped by the mysterious man dogging their heels? Scout Eb Bentley’s initial disgust with these ill-prepared women eventually turns into admiration for one lady in particular. Can he protect her long enough to win her over, or will prairie dreams turn into a Wild West nightmare?

In “Lady Anne’s Quest,” finding an imposter instead of her uncle means Anne’s quest must continue. Dan Adams is determined to protect Anne from the swindlers now trailing her. Though he’s good at keeping her safe, he’s certain he’ll never be able to convince Anne to be his wife, since her sights are set on finding her uncle and returning to England. As her quest becomes more difficult—and dangerous—Anne finds her feelings for Dan changing. Will she soon envision a new life in America?

In “A Lady in the Making,” Millie Evans has changed. She chooses to leave her brother rather than join an outlaw gang with him. Hoping for a new future, she boards a stagecoach but runs into her past and David Stone—a man she and her brother once tried to swindle. As she tries to convince David she’s changed, her brother’s gang holds up the stagecoach. Fighting beside David goes a long way to softening his heart, but he’s still not convinced. Millie must trust God to show David the truth.

Find Susan's book online: 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Letters to Kel: GET TO THE END!

You can't have a booksigning without a published book.
Makes sense, right?

You can't have a published book until you've gone through the torturous editing process with your editor.
Can't have the editing until you sell the book.
Can't sell the book until you send it to the editor -- and you can't send it until you query and gain the editor's interest.
You can't query a book until you have one to send in!
Of course, once you're a published author, you can work up to the point where you can simply say to your publisher, "I have this idea ..." and essentially sell the book before you write it. But that takes time.

What am I getting at? Bear with me...
You have to have a finished book to query it (until you're so successful that people are clamoring to buy scribbled notes on a wet napkin).

So FINISH the dang book!
To finish the book you have to do multiple revisions and polishes.
You can't revise and polish a book until you ... that's right, say it along with me ... FINISH that first draft.

I have a friend who I consider a much better writer. She has hundreds of scenes scribbled out for dozens of possible books. Lovely bits of dialogue and action, and plot movement ... but those dozens of scenes haven't been sewn together into a cohesive whole.

You probably have writing friends who do the same thing. Or maybe you're the one with the problem. "But I want the scene to be PERFECT before I go on to the next one."

Excuse me, but that's what REVISIONS are for. Sometimes I only have a general idea where the book is going. I have a beginning and an end in sight, but the journey from A to B is kind of misty. I wander a lot. The wandering is the FUN part of the process. Getting to know your characters, their pasts and foibles and fears. Going off on tangents. Discovering things you didn't know or didn't even imagine about your characters when you first sat down to write the book.

Can't go on that journey until you get moving. So what if the scene you just finished writing doesn't feel right, there are missing pieces, you're not sure where it belongs in the story? Keep moving, and give yourself permission to do a half-baked scene and go on to the next one. You might just find out what you need to fix scene 27 when you get to scene 35. Something happens in scene 41, and you realized you need to go back and drop hints and insert props and create a new character in scenes 4, 15, and 23. So make some notes of what to do and KEEP WRITING. Get to the end of the book. When you have a better idea of what's going to happen, and what you need to have happen, and what needs to be foreshadowed and what needs to be cut, then you go back and REVISE. The first draft is the skeleton, not the final product.

Give yourself permission to write a first draft (not part of a first draft, but the whole thing) that is so utterly wretched, if you printed it out and lined a bird cage, the bird would die.

You can only get better from there. And isn't that a good feeling?
FINISH THE DRAFT YOU'RE WORKING ON. Doesn't have to be perfect, just has to be enough to revise and add to. You can fix a bad scene, but you can't fix a blank page ... except by writing on it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Off the Bookshelf: LADY OF SPIRIT, by Shelley Adina

And so, we come to the end (wah!) of Shelley Adina's Steampunk adventures.

But only the "end" temporarily -- this is the most recent one. I'm waiting eagerly for the next installment of the adventures of Lady Claire and her gang of alley mice.

In LADY OF SPIRIT, we have Maggie's adventure into discovery of who she really is. In the previous book, we learned Maggie and Lizzie weren't twins, as everyone thought them (different hair and eyes, but otherwise identical) but rather cousins -- daughters of sisters, born within weeks of each other. Lizzie had some disappointment -- and danger -- when she met her father, but resolved the problem in true Lizzie fashion, with some help from Lady Claire. Now, the sister/cousins journey to meet their grandparents ... and things are definitely not what they seem. Poor Maggie is given several different stories of who her father might be, and finds her grandparents punishing her for a crime she didn't commit. And what's worse, her grandparents maintain a crime was committed by and against her mother, and they're punishing her for that, too. Villains from previous books show up with even more incredible gadgets -- submarines, anyone? -- and some sinister plots are foiled and lives nearly sacrificed before the satisfying ending.

Umm, excuse me, Shelley, but could you WRITE FASTER? More, please!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Spotlight Saturday: RIDING BABYFACE, by Wanda Snow Porter

Today's Spotlight is on a fellow author at Desert Breeze Publishing, with her newest release:


More than anything, fourteen-year-old Winna Beckman wants a horse, unaware when she gets one, riding Babyface will teach her about life, love, and true friendship.

Wanda Snow Porter lives on California's beautiful central coast. She enjoys being a grandmother, volunteering at Rancho Nipomo's historic Dana Adobe, bird watching, and photography. She grew up in a small town riding horseback on land once part of an old Mexican rancho. An avid horsewoman, she has owned and trained horses all her life, learned the vaquero way of riding, and earned a Bronze Medal Rider's Award from the United States Dressage Federation. A life spent with horses inspired her to write stories. She has written and illustrated the Burro Picture Book Series published by the Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos, and is the author of three YA novels: Riding Babyface,Spurs for Jose, and Remedy.

Look for her online:
Website page: