Monday, August 31, 2009

Inkwell Inspirations Goes On-Line

- Today is a very special day for me. A couple months ago, Gina Welborn emailed and asked if I'd like to be part of a new inspirational blog. After praying and thinking about it, I realized I wanted to be part of this new venture.

It took a lot of planning, but today, Inkwell Inspirations goes online. The blog features 15 unpublished inspirational writers, but it's not your typical writing blog. Actually, it's not a writing blog at all. It's a blog where we get to express ourselves as Christian writers through our everyday lives. The blog will feature theme weeks and cover everything from recipes and travel to non-fiction books and poetry. Hopefully we'll have something that will interest you.

Oh yeah, and we'll give away lots of prizes. Daily prizes for anyone leaving a comment. As well as huge writer and reader grand prizes.

So come on and check us out at
-

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prairie Chick and Contests

I've been trying to complete Silent Keeper as well as work on some contest entries. If you follow my blog, you'll have noticed I haven't entered any contests since the spring. That's about to change. But today, I'm supposed to be writing tomorrow's Prairie Chick post except I haven't a clear idea what to write. Actually...maybe I'll write about entering contests. What could I write? Let's see:

I could write about the reasons for entering a contest, which for me is two-fold; the feedback and the exposure to editors. Take this contest entry I'm working on:

When You Least Expect It (When) is an inspirational. It was a finalist in that category in this year's Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest and although it wasn’t requested by final judge (an editor), I did receive excellent feedback from the first round judges.

So, I’m revising it and will try again. I’d like to enter it in the Southern Heat contest which has 2 final judges—an editor and an agent. That’s too good to pass up. Usually there’s only an editor for the final judge. The Southern Heat contest has 2 categories I can enter When in: Inspirational and Contemporary series. Because it’s an inspirational, I should enter it in the inspirational category, right?

Maybe not.

Remember my ms Charley’s Saint? I wrote it as an inspirational, but both times it’s been a finalist in regular contemporary categories. Final judges are not required to give comments, however one nice editor wrote to me that it was entered in the appropriate category but needed more sizzle. I don’t know if she said that because she sees many entries that don’t fit the category or if she wanted to reassure me the inspirational elements were okay for a contemporary series. Either way, I really appreciated her comment.

Now here’s the thing with When – although it has the 3 way relationship between the Hero, heroine, and God which all inspirations require, the ‘God’ aspect isn’t as pronounced as in some of my other books. So, it could do well in the Contemporary category. I just haven’t entered it in one yet. What a choice.

To help me decide, I looked at the next contest I want to enter: Finally a Bride (FAB). This contest is very special because you can’t enter unless you’ve finaled but never placed first. Yup, that’s me. You know the old saying, ‘Always a bride, never a bridesmaid’. So because both When and Charley’s Saint have finaled, I can enter them in FAB. But, who are the final judges? None other than the same editors who are judging the Southern Heat contest. Well, one is the same and the other one judged Charley’s Saint once before. If she didn’t request it last time, it doesn’t make sense to enter it where she’s the final judge.

Here’s what I’m going to do:
- Enter When in the Contemporary Series category of Southern Heat
- Enter When in the Inspirational category of Finally a Bride
- Enter Charley’s Saint in the Contemporary Series of Finally a Bride

But what about the sizzle? Well, I’m going to add some to Charley’s Saint for the Contemp category and tone it down (yes, that was the judges opinion) for the inspy category for When.

How will I add sizzle? Well according to that one judge in the last paragraph, it doesn't have much to alter. However, here’s some changes I’m making to my main characters:
- looking at each other with a higher level of intensity (awareness)
- thinking about hugging and kissing (carnal thoughts)
- expressing pleasure in each other’s physical attributes

The above changes won’t take away from the inspirational story, however they show a sexten level you don’t find in inspy books (unless they’re from established and accepted authors). Since I write for both the secular and inspirational market, this isn’t a big deal for me. And before anyone gets all excited about this, the mss will still abide by my ‘closed door’ and ‘no sex before marriage’ rules. I’m not talking about going against my principles, just turning up the heat a bit.

Why would I change my manuscripts like this? Well, this may be my only chance to enter the Finally a Bride contest. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So, what do you think? Would you change a manuscript to suit a contest? Do you have any ideas to up the sexten without being overly blatant? Do you have any questions about contests you’d like answered?

Wow, I think I just wrote tomorrow’s blogpost. Except I can’t post this until tomorrow or it wouldn’t be fair to the Chicks. Maybe I’ll post it later on tonight… Shhhh

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rip and Dry

This blog is a sequel to another blogpost where I explained about water leaking into the living room.

The insurance adjuster took one look at the small hole in the wall Nelson had made to find the leak and told us to get a crew to rip the damaged area out.

In this pic, you see the crew in the midst of tearing out all the moldy wallboard insulation on the living room side.

You can see the wet floor in this photo.

In the bathroom they ripped up the vinyl flooring as well as pulled all the old tiles off the walls.



Once all the ruined stuff was ripped out, they put an industrial sized dehumidifier in the living room to suck up all the mosture.


Then they put a blower in the bathroom at floor level. It was kind of weird, actually because while sitting on the throne, the blower would blow all this cool air between the toilet and the seat right at your butt. Different.






Both of these machines stayed on 24/7 until Friday at which time the rip out guy came back. He used a moisture meter to test about a dozen spots on each side and then declared the area dry. He took his equipment with him when he left. Sure was quiet after they left.

That left us with a humongous hole in the wall. (About 20 sq ft)






The hardwood floor is clear but paint splotched.








This is what our bathroom looks like now.

We can't use the shower because we can't get the walls wet. We can use the bathtub as long as we don't splash.

We've put the rugs back on the floor for comfort.


And this is how it looks in the living room. We're just using shower curtains for privacy because we have to allow easy access to the damaged pipes.
So the schedule now is that we wait for 2 different companies to do an estimate on replacement costs.
And then we wait for the insurance company to pick one.
Apparently, it will be up to 2 months before our bathroom is restored.Oh yay.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alternate History

My face is normal again - well, as normal as can be, heh. I went to the dentist on Monday and he pulled the tooth that had caused the abscess. And yay, praise God, I'm pain-free. Such a relief!

I'm blogging about Alternate History today over at the Prairie Chicks. Alternate History is a fascinating subgenre of Speculative(Science) Fiction and Historical Fiction. It asks the question, "What if something changed history?" Alternate History has intrigued me from the first moment I read about it in a Jeff Gerke interview (Marcher Lord Press ).

Take a look at this story idea:

Genre: Alternate History

Year: 1898

Background: Because of the Great Wars, women outnumbered men 2 to 1. With the discovery of the new land of Canada, Europe sent boatloads of citizens, 2 women for every male in an attempt to renew the male population. But in the new land, the women rebelled. Tired of war, outnumbering the men, they formed the new government. After years of peace, men in the west rebelled. The government formed a mounted peace corps to patrol the west. Armed with rifles and pistols, the peacemakers were under order to talk first and only shoot in defense.

Heroine: Constable Nellie Porter of the NorthWest Mounted PeaceMakers

Setting: Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan

Mission: To capture the renegade Mitchell Brandon and bring him in to face the charges of treason and insurgence.

Promise: I, Nellie Porter, will not rest until I get my man. *wink*

~~~~~~

Well, whaddya think?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tooth Abscess Hurts!

Since I blogged last Sat, I've had one of the worst weeks of my life. I thought I had a sinus infection and by Wed I was really feeling the effects. Friends were saying it was due to the black mold in the living room (my previous blog). And I was really worried.

Wed my face started swelling. The doctor was in on Thurs so I went to see him but by that time I could barely see out of my right eye. The right side of my face was bloated, hard and shiny. And the pain. It was comparable to childbirth!

Doc took one look at my face and said, 'Tooth abscess". He gave me a prescription for antibiotics and said to make a dental appt for Mon/Tues.

I started the antibiotics as soon as I received them but they didn't seem to take any effect until yesterday. Today, there's a distinct difference however my face is still hard and swollen in places. The tylenol seems to wear off a couple hours before I can take the next ones but I'm hanging in there.

My dental appt is for Monday afternoon so that's another 48 hrs for the swelling to reduce.

Needless to say, this is one time I will not be showing you a photo! We can't go scaring little kids on purpose, now can we.

Hopefully you're all having a better weekend than I am.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Hole in the Wall Gang

This past Sat I had to pack up and move my writing cave. I didn't want to because I'd stashed a lot of books, papers, desk supplies, etc in the armoire but when I sat down to write and the carpet beneath my feet was wet, I knew it wasn't good. So, I packed up my cave and set the stuff on the other side of the living room.

There'd been a smell like a dirty ashtray for weeks but I couldn't pin it down.
Once we moved the love seat away from the wall I was amazed at how wet the carpet was back there.

We moved my now empty writing armoire out into the sunroom since there wasn't anywhere in the house for it.


Then Nelson started looking for the leak. In the first one, you can't see the floor much because there's a piece of wallboard paper on the floor. He started searching before I had a chance to grab my camera.

This photo is the back of the wallboard closest to where the leaking pipe was located. Everytime we showered, a small portion of water would spray out.



When he stripped off the wallboard, he was able to cut this hole out between the studs. The leaking pipe is behind the insulation

We've been spraying with disinfectant but still the mold worries me.



So, this is what my writing cave corner looks like at this time. The hole is about 4 square ft with the bathtub (the black thing) showing on the right side. The studs are wet, the carpet is wet, and probably the subfloor beneath the carpet. And because the field mice are already looking for winter homes, we have a mouse trap to stop any of them from thinking of sneaking up through our unfinished basement.


And my cave...

...it's gotta me the sunniest cave around. My writing armoire's been moved into the sunroom. In this photo, it's hiding on the left. But I can't write there because when I look at my laptop monitor, all I see is the glare from the windows behind me.

So, I'm writing on the table and bringing my electronics into the dry house at night. We might be on the prairies, but it gets damp out there at dusk which is around 8-9 these evenings.

Hopefully the insurance adjuster will show up soon...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Proactive Prairie Chick?

I'm blogging at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today. We're discussing Hooks again, this time on the first page and debunking the myth that a heroine must be proactive to hook the reader.

I've got lots of excerpts from published books to show you what I mean so meander over if you have time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Young Adventurers

It's been 10 days since all my kids went adventuring. Since then the youngest has returned from Circle Square Ranch and is enjoying being the only child.

On Sat, Jessie flew across the Atlantic Ocean enroute a Street Invaders Missions Trip in Scotland. I received an email from her yesterday. They had a 12 hr layover in London and went to see Buckingham Palace. They're in Inverness this week, then travel to Edinburgh for the next week. Somewhere in that schedule, they're going to go swimming in loch ness.

Yesterday, I received a text message from Nick as well. Also on a Street Invaders Mission Trip, we thought he was touring Saskatchewan but when we went to church on Sunday, we found out he'd been sent to Brooks, Alberta. His text simply said he was in Brooks. Gone for 1.5 wks now, this is the longest and farthest he's been from home by himself.

Please pray for the safety and well-being of all the kids and leaders on these mission trips. Thank you.

So, how far have your kids strayed from home? How old were they the first time they traveled afar on their own?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer is Half Over!

It was August 1st yesterday. In theory, the summer is half over. In my mind, the weather has cheated me. The only good thing I can say about our weather this summer is that the lack of heat is allowing for a longer bloom time on the canola plants. More blooms equal more seed pods which equal more seeds which equal more money for the farmers. And us since we rent out our land and only receive rent money when the crop is sold, we want the canola to grow well.


View from our church looking North.

I love it when the farmers grow the blue flax beside the yellow canola. Surely a feast for the eyes of any planes over the prairies at this time of year.


I picked up the little guy from the ranch yesterday so he's back home with us.

The older guy is touring the province as part of the Street Invaders mission team. He'll be gone another 2 weeks.

Jessie is flying across the Atlantic Ocean enroute Scotland as I write this. She's with another Street Invaders mission team.

It doesn't matter where they go. Homeless kids are everywhere.

Reading-wise:

I won the free use of a Sony eReader until the end of Sept so I'm putting it through it's paces. I'll be posting my initial review any day now but I'll give you a hint... I like it.

I'm behind in the book reviews but hoping to catch up soon.

Writing-wise:

I'm working on Silent Keeper which is an inspirational romantic suspense. My goal is to pitch it at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Denver in mid Sept. Wow, that's coming soon. I have to find a widget to put on my blog here to remind me of the passing time.