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JUST IN TIME TO ORDER FOR CHRISTMAS: Secret Christmas Twins

I’m pleased to share a review of Lee Tobin McClain’s newest Love Inspired romance: Secret Christmas Twins. Release date: TODAY! October 17, 2017.

Story in a Nutshell:  Erica and her twin baby boys arrive at the Stephanidis farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania shortly before Christmas, sent by her good friend, whose grandfather owns the farm. She has no idea that her friend’s brother, Jason, has returned home to help out on the farm.

Both Erica and Jason have been wounded by life, and although they are drawn to each other, aided by the adorable twins, they have trust issues resulting from past experiences and relationships.

Just as life seems to be shaping up for Erica and Jason, a well-kept secret threatens to divide them for good.

My Reaction:  This lovely Christmas tale has all the makings of a good Christian romance: two main characters who are broken and needy, a couple of solid secondary characters who add wisdom and humor to the story, a setting complete with snow and sleigh rides, two adorable babies who win the hearts of all, spiritual struggles, and a huge secret that threatens to create disaster and prevent the two from happiness and healing.

I was captivated by the story and the characters’ efforts to overcome the obstacles between them and a fulfilling life.

I give this book 5 stars for its quality and positive impact. Readers of Christian romance will love it.

Lee Tobin McClain

Look for more from Lee Tobin McClain.

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Where do our ideas come from? Best answer: everywhere.

I’m visiting with friends and someone mentions a strange circumstance that intrigues me. Or talks about a quirky character they met. Or refers to a larger-than-life experience they read about online. These are all fodder for the idea mill.

 

First lesson: Be observant. Listen. Imagine how this or that can be recreated in our writing.

 

 

Sometimes good ideas slip away on me because I’m not convinced they are novel-worthy. Can I build an entire book around a particular idea? Will it really fit into my plan without messing it up? Perfectionist tendencies show up and may need to be squelched in order to give the brain free reign to imagine the possibilities.

 

Second lesson: Cast off perfectionist tendencies. Welcome the ideas and save them for later use.

 

 

As amazing as some of the ideas are that come to me, I have a confession to make: they often take leave as quickly as they come. I have an unfortunately poor memory. I may remember having a fantastic idea, but the gist of it is gone forever.

 

Third lesson: Write. It. Down. We can’t always trust our brain to remember even the most intriguing ideas. At least I can’t.

 

 

 

 

To recap:

* Observe

* Accept

* Note

Grab those ideas and run with them. They are everywhere, but they want tending.

NOTE: This post first appeared on the InScribe Professional blogsite on August 30, 2017.

ANOTHER NOTE: All photos from pixabay.com.

 

Remember the days of Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys create-your-own-ending books? My daughters were at the perfect age for these books when they first came out, and they loved them.

The idea was to read up to a certain critical point where the heroes/heroines had a choice to make, and then choose one way or another. At each juncture in the story road, the reader had to choose which direction to follow. For the obsessive, the book could be read a number of times, choosing different endings each time until the entire book was consumed.

As a writer, I certainly have many choices to make for my characters. Better to say, they have many choices to make as I set them up. Just recently, I was writing a scene where the lost person was found, but she refused to come home. The following day I re-read the scene and changed it. The lost person did come home, but it didn’t really bring her back.

As in reading, writing and life itself, we have many choices to make all along our journey through our specific storyline. These choices can make a night or day difference in the outcome.

As a Christ-follower, I have the blessing of the Spirit of Christ living in me, and He offers guidance in His still, small voice that I can choose to listen to or not. He knows the beginning from the end and exactly how each decision will affect the outcome. But He allows me to choose. When I choose a wrong or less desirable path, I may lose out on things, but because of His mercy, God always brings me back, through the detour, onto the road He has for me.

I find it such a relief and encouragement to know that God loves me so much that no matter how often I fail Him, as His child, I am the apple of His eye and He loves me enough to bring me through to the best ending for my life. And after that, the promise of eternity with Him.

Joshua 24:15

“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

New Books from ACFW!

October 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner — Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Waltz for Amber by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Amber, a struggling dance teacher, is desperate to make a success of her studio. The quickly approaching Christmas recital should help except for one problem—the high school music teacher scheduled the holiday program on the same night, causing a conflict for her students. Will she be able to sustain her business or will she lose everything in the pursuit of her dream? Chris is thrilled to be back in his hometown. However, his past won’t stay in the past, and the pretty dance instructor is a constant reminder of his failings. He wants to make up for his youthful mistake directed at her, but how? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain — Christmas came early for Erica Lindholm! Suddenly a mom to adorable twin baby boys and part owner of a snowy small-town Pennsylvania farm, Erica is living her dream. Until the boys’ estranged uncle, Jason Stephanidis, comes home to celebrate the holidays. The handsome, brooding detective turns out to be a natural with the babies…and with Erica’s wounded heart. But if Jason knew the truth about their identities, her picture-perfect life could melt away. Will Erica’s secret cost her everything? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Fall Into Romance by Melanie D. Snitker Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Texas Holiday Reunion by Shannon Taylor Vannatter — With her foreman out of commission, Resa McCall needs horse trainer Colson Kincaid to run her family ranch through the holidays. But having the handsome single dad back in Bandera, Texas, is unsettling. Colson broke Resa’s heart years ago, and she can’t risk getting close again. Still, working with him and bonding with his sweet little girl is making the ranch feel merry and bright. Being at Resa’s side stirs up emotions Colson thought were long gone. But he has a powerful secret that could keep them apart forever. Can Colson give Resa the one Christmas present that might finally bring them back together—the truth? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall — Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them. Promises shattered. Lies spoken. She was arrested. He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all? (Contemporary Romance from Woodsmall Press)

General Contemporary (includes Women’s Fiction):

Piper’s Passion by Lee Carver — Piper Jordan, an American reared in Brazil, had her pilot’s license before she could drive and her aviation maintenance certificate before her business degree. Pulled between two countries, two career paths, and separated parents, she strives to determine what is significant and what to do with her life.
Kyle Chamberlain, pilot with Outreach for Christ, wears a wedding ring that says he’s not ready to date again after Rosanna’s death. Wielding a wrench with the cutest pilot/mechanic he’s ever seen turns his head. But would a dynamic woman with her talents and eventual inheritance accept his missionary life in the Amazon? (Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)



Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon — Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical:

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano — When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T Toney — In 1925, a thirteen-year-old boy witnesses a crime—the murder of a family friend—and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy mobsters and corrupt police to save his family. (Historical from Write Integrity Press)

Historical Romance:
Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander — In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn — Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


A Mountain Christmas Romance by Misty M. Beller — Stripped of the family so important to his Viking heritage, Matthias Bjork is now on the hunt for his sister. Despite combing the entire Wyoming Territory, he hasn’t found any substantial leads regarding his sister’s whereabouts, but he has discovered a most unusual woman.
Opal Boyd has finally found the haven she’s longed for all her life, in a most unlikely place—working for a German couple in this remote Wyoming mountain town. She learned long ago that most men couldn’t be trusted, but when a mountain man stops in the boarding house where she works, he seems to have the respect and affection of the two people she’s learned to trust implicitly.
But when Matthias’ search for his sister takes an unexpected twist, Opal is forced to make a choice that will alter the course of her life—no matter which answer she chooses. When Matthias’ decisions land Opal in danger, what must he sacrifice to rescue her? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)

Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger — Feisty Alda Lealand braves fifteen hundred miles with a pack string of mules—and the help of an unexpected cowboy–to save the family farm. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])

Playing by Heart by Carmela A. Martino — Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status. Emilia’s only hope is to prove her musical talents are as indispensable as her sister’s skills. First, though, Emilia must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Before she can carry out her plan, though, Emilia’s mother dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but Emilia gradually falls in love with him. (Historical Romance from Vinspire Publishing)

Historical Western:

Too Far Down by Mary Connealy — A citified mine operator and a tough western cowgirl are the most unlikely couple of all as they team up to fight the outlaws that want the Cimarron Ranch. (Historical Western from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:

Dangerous Ground by Gayla K. Hiss — Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips comes to the Great Smoky Mountains in search of answers concerning her uncle’s suspicious death, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient family feud and a land dispute with handsome first responder, David Jennings. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)

Christmas Captive by Liz Johnson — On his cousin’s Christmas cruise wedding, navy SEAL Jordan Somerton anticipated having the typical best man duties—not facing down criminals boarding the ship. But when the luxury liner is infiltrated by men determined to kidnap the flower girl, he’s plunged into an unexpected mission. Maid of honor and DEA agent Amy Delgado hasn’t forgiven Jordan for a misunderstanding in their pasts. But with her young niece targeted, she must draw on Jordan’s skills as a protector. Signs point to an inside job. With a traitor in their midst, can they ensure that every passenger returns home safely for the holidays…even as they find love amid deepening danger? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

Transfusion by Victoria Buck — The world’s first transhuman must save the world, or save the woman he loves. (Speculative from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Suspense:

Kill Zone by Rick Acker, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Braxton DeGarmo, Luana Ehrlich, Heather Day Gilbert, Heather I. James, Robert Liparulo, Jordyn Redwood, and Jan Thompson — Espionage, hacking, police procedural, international crime and intrigue, covert action, spy, secret police, revenge, snipers…and so much more! Ten brand-new, never-before published novellas of suspense, intrigue, and thrills from ten bestselling Christian thriller authors, all packed into this one anthology. (Suspense from Georgia Press LLC)

I am very pleased today to interview a long-time friend and local business owner, Daniel Bushman. Most of my interviewees are fiction writers, but we’re going to change that up a bit today. Daniel and his wife, Kim, own and operate two local newspapers, so writing is what Dan does every day. Fast-paced, deadline-driven. Let’s see what he has to say about writing from a newspaper perspective…

JANICE: How long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

DANIEL: I have been writing on a consistent basis for almost nine years. After being a reporter in the radio world for a few years, my wife, Kim, and I decided to make a move back to small town Saskatchewan in August, 2008. We packed our bags and moved from Saskatoon to Watrous, where I am originally from. Back home, I began my new role as a reporter for The Watrous Manitou, a weekly newspaper out of Watrous, SK. Kim and I eventually purchased the paper in 2014 and then we bought the Lanigan Advisor in December, 2015. I continue to write articles, but with the added titles of publisher and editor.

JANICE: Who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?

DANIEL: That is a good question. My two strongest subjects in school were History and English so I suppose I always liked writing. My mom always said I had a knack for writing and I got it from my dad. My heart and mind were always set on doing radio broadcasting so I didn’t really think about writing until later on in my life. Actually, when I graduated from high school and attended college, writing lengthy term papers was something I didn’t enjoy doing. I think it was because I preferred spending time with friends, but coming to work now and being able to share people’s stories through words has been an enjoyable and often rewarding experience.

JANICE: I ask authors what their preferred genre is. How would you answer this question?

DANIEL: Being a reporter, I write a variety of articles ranging from hard news stories to sports, entertainment and feature type stories. I am a sports fan so when I get the chance to write about an athlete’s experience, I would say that would be my preferred genre. I also really enjoy listening to people’s stories and getting to know them through that, so feature type articles on people are also ones I enjoy writing.

JANICE: Why do you write?

DANIEL: I write because it’s my job 🙂 I will be honest though, it doesn’t feel like a job. I am always learning how to refine my craft, and every so often I get one of those “lightbulb” moments where I am able to pen a story that flows really nicely and I feel really good about it when I am done. I have been blessed to have won some awards for my stories at the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association‘s annual awards night where weekly papers and writers from across the province are recognized for their work.

JANICE: Congratulations, Daniel. For the readers’ interest, here is a list of the first place awards won for The Watrous Manitou:

  • 2012 best colour photo
  • 2013 best black and white photo
  • 2013 best post-secondary story
  • 2014 best tourism story
  • 2016 best Sask. arts or cultural story
  • 2016 best black and white photo

Some very prestigious awards, Daniel.

So tell me how and where you write. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

DANIEL: I write from my office in Watrous, plunking away on my keyboard. There are times where sitting on my couch with a hockey or football game on in the background would be nice but the office works just fine. I would be a pantser for the majority of my stories because every day brings different stories to my desk. For some of the articles though, like a feature article on a person, I would be more of a plotter, scheming of how to approach the story while gathering background facts. For the most part though, I just take what each day throws my way.

JANICE: Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

DANIEL: I get my ideas from what is taking place in and around our community. Sometimes story ideas come via email, phone or by word-of-mouth, but for the most part, it is me just keeping an eye on what is happening in our area or even watching social media. In recent years, I have found social media like Facebook and Twitter can be a help instead of a hindrance as people will post things or events that they are involved in, which leads me to contacting them to see if they are interested in sharing their story with the newspaper.

People inspire me. Being able to share their stories through our paper in Watrous and more recently our paper in Lanigan is something I enjoy. I really think that providing positive people stories in our papers not only provides inspiration for me but also for our readers as they learn about what positive impacts are being made by others.

JANICE: I’m always amazed at how you pick up on the many local happenings. How do you research and how do you know you can trust your sources?

DANIEL: I do a lot of my research online. I find a lot of relevant and factual information there that I use when compiling articles. I also use resources like history books for historical articles. I try to interview official people or those within an organization, like a chairperson, committee chair, mayor, government official or someone that is trusted or in a position to speak on behalf of a business, community or organization.

JANICE: What do you like most / least about writing?

DANIEL: The thing I like most about writing is being able to paint a picture with words. I like to tell people’s stories and try and weave an intricate web of details. I try my utmost to make my stories positive but of course in today’s day and age, sometimes stories don’t always have a positive spin to them. But I do what I can to make them positive.

The thing I least like about writing are the stories with conflict or negativity. I know that there are issues that are supposed to “sell papers,” but for me, I try to approach my line of work in a different light. I do my best to be positive through my writing, and when there are sensitive issues that arise, as they do on occasion in the news world, I take my time and look at them from every angle possible. Do I always get it right? No, but I try my best.

JANICE: What are some of the best methods of promoting your work?

DANIEL: I guess it would be through the newspaper each and every week. People continue to subscribe to our papers. I can’t express enough how grateful I am for that. I know that everyone has an opinion on what should be included and not included in a newspaper, but I try my best to insert a variety of articles and features each week. “Local” for me is integral, so my focus is always on having local content in the paper before expanding to provincial and national items. Because we are a weekly paper, a lot of that provincial and national news has come and gone by the time we publish so unless it has some local tie, I usually don’t include those types of articles. People want to know what is happening in their community not necessarily halfway across the globe, especially when that news has already been told days earlier.

JANICE: Interesting. I hadn’t thought of that. What are your favorite / most effective social media?

DANIEL: I find people like Facebook so I try and run our Facebook pages as news feeds. We have a website for both papers (www.twmnews.com and www.laniganadvisor.com) where I do similar things and include an online subscription-based paper but it would be Facebook and Twitter – both those sites can reach a larger audience at the press of a button.

JANICE: How do you balance professional time with personal time?

DANIEL: Family is extremely important to my wife and m. We have two kids turning six and three in May, with another one on the way in July and so we are kept busy. Owning two papers has also kept us really busy and since I am the only reporter/photographer/editor/publisher for both, even more so. Since we are relatively new owners (three years with Watrous and just over one with Lanigan) that balance has been tilted more towards the newspapers at times. With weekly deadlines it can make it tough to be home when I’d like, and I will be the first to admit I don’t like being away from my kids and my wife. Kim has been a tremendous person in how patient and loving she’s been as we get things rolling forward with our two businesses. Right from the beginning we felt God’s calling to use the papers as a ministry opportunity and we are certainly trying to do that. Owning your own business can be challenging, like spending more time at the office than at home at times, but it can also be rewarding, being able to be at our kids sporting events, programs and other activities.

JANICE: Do you have any time for recreational reading? What are you currently reading? Do you prefer digital or print?

DANIEL: With a lot of my time spent at the newspapers, I have currently been reading my stories – proofing them after I type them. I have to say that one of my greatest fears is publishing two papers only to have spelling and grammar mistakes in them. We proofread a story probably three or four times, but there is always that one mistake that can fall through the cracks. I am not perfect, neither is my writing or grammar, but I just try to do the best I can. I enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies and have a stack of them on my desk at home waiting to be read. I just haven’t quite got there yet. As far as digital or print, I am old-school and enjoy physically picking up a book or newspaper and reading it that way.

JANICE: What are some of your favourite things? What makes you unique?

DANIEL: Some of my favourite things would be my family first and foremost. I love sports and being outside taking pictures of nature and wildlife. Some of my most enjoyable times outdoors are with a camera. I guess I would be unique in the fact that I own two weekly newspapers and purchased them in my early 30s. Many people say newspapers are dying but there will always be a need for news, especially local news. I love what I am able to do, and try and do it differently than some of the other papers that are just out to create headlines no matter the issue. I try to be sensitive towards my subject and take a compassionate view of each story I write. So perhaps while a news reporter can be tough and ruthless, I try to go against the grain.

JANICE: What keeps you going in your writing career?

DANIEL: Being able to put food on the table 🙂 In all seriousness though I do this job because I enjoy it. I don’t think I could do something different, at least not right now. Being in the media world has brought me some pretty cool experiences, and God has truly blessed us during our time at the paper in Watrous. We try to take his leading each day and hope that we are making the right decision in whatever we do.

JANICE: How is your faith reflected in your writing?

DANIEL: When we were first approached about buying the newspaper in Watrous, we really felt that it was a ministry opportunity. When I write stories, I try and take a positive and compassionate approach. When more sensitive or sticky stories come up, I rely on my faith to know what to do or how to write it. Sometimes I don’t include a very sensitive article that would otherwise be in a paper elsewhere. Yes, there are “newsworthy” stories but there are also people affected by those stories, so it is a real fine line for me at times as to what to do. I have lost a lot of hours of sleep when some of these instances come up but I trust that God will help me come to the right decision.

JANICE: What are some things you have learned from your own writing?

DANIEL: One thing I learned right off the bat, coming from radio to print, was that I had to write more. In radio we are taught to have a short introduction, get to the audio clip, then get out of the story. In print, there is no audio as such so the stories have to be lengthier to help paint a picture. My first week as a newspaper reporter my stories were only a few paragraphs long. I didn’t know how I would ever be able to write longer pieces. Now almost nine years later, sometimes I find myself typing and typing and typing until it becomes more like a novel than a news story.

JANICE: What is your ultimate writing goal?

DANIEL: I’m not sure if I have an ultimate writing goal other than to produce enough stories each week to print two newspapers. I thought it would be cool to one day attempt to write a book, but I don’t know that I would have the patience to do it. I like to sit down and type a story until it’s done. Stopping and starting would be tougher for me but then again I have lived with deadlines since my radio days, so if I had more time to think and plot it might be different.

JANICE: Do you have any advice for beginning writer…

DANIEL: If you love writing, give it a try and let your imagination take you for a ride. Don’t be afraid of failure. I still learn new things every day and if something doesn’t sound right or fit, grab another cup of coffee or eat a piece of candy and give your brain a bit of a break. Sometimes I will be writing late at night and just can’t go on. Then the next morning I come in and think, how did I ever come up with that? That is awful. Then a few minutes later a new lead is written, much better than the one I had painstakingly come up with the night before.

Thank you for the opportunity to let me share a bit about my story and journey.

JANICE: Thanks so much, Daniel, for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best with your newspapers and your daily writing.

The Rescuing Day is a lovely children’s storybook, reminding me of the wholesom

e, uplifting reads of my childhood. No wild magic rides, no goblins or fairies, just good storytelling that a child can connect with. This is a great read-aloud book for parents, or an early reader’s chapter book for a child

Experience a day with Megan and her favourite doll Callista, as they interact with friends and family, and deal with major and minor catastrophes. This story touches on a number of themes, among them obedience and truthfulness, courage (Callista’s) and kindness

This book is set up in eight short chapters with easily readable font and intriguing pencil sketches by illustrator, Wendy Siemens. Siemens also designed the inviting bright-red cover

Author Christine Goodnough writes many forms of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as regular blogs at christinegoodnough.com and christinecomposes.com. You may also contact her at christinevanceg@gmail.com

This little book makes a great gift.

Canadians should order directly from the author, or they can order through the Prairie View Press website, with Credit Card. (Paypal is set up only in US funds).

 

Getting Over Ourselves

I recently read an article in “The Writer” magazine (July 2017) about creating characters “that are not secretly you.” It was one of those revelations that came to me a little late, but resonated nonetheless. Here’s my take on it.

When we are young—I’m talking babies and toddlers and young children—oh yes, and teenagers—the world revolves around us. Or, at least, we think it does. We are naturally selfish and needy, and expect others to put us first and fulfill our needs.

Most of us outgrow this eventually. Or do we?

What was the main character like in your first novel or short story? Did he or she at all resemble you? Good chance your answer is yes. We often create characters that think like us, respond like us, even look like us. Through them, we are able to work through our thoughts, feelings, struggles, dreams and hopes. Non-writers may not realize how much of our hearts and souls feed into our characters.

But, as Susan Perabo suggests in her article in “The Writer,” it’s time we got over ourselves and started creating other kinds of people, freshly imagined folks who are nothing at all like us.

This is what happened when I started writing the first draft of my current WIP: I had invented a young woman passionate to know who she was, but after a couple of scenes, I was looking into a mirror of sorts. Diana was a “fraidy cat.” She didn’t like challenge or risk or danger. She was naïve and passive and, frankly, boring. I’m not putting myself down; I’m being honest. But I didn’t want Diana to be that way. Too easy. Too much like some of the characters I’ve written in the past.

So, what to do? I rewrote the first scenes (I know, I know. You should never edit until you finish the first draft. It’s not the first rule of writing I’ve broken.) and for my every inclination to make Diana respond like me, I stopped, listened, and allowed her to be herself. And do you know what I discovered? She is nothing like me. She’s rebellious. She adores the limelight. She is sometimes disrespectful. I’m not sure I even like her very much. But she’s interesting. I want to know why she does these things, what she really wants, how she is going to become her own worst enemy as the story unfolds.

Two specific takeaways for me from the article:

1) Often we don’t realize what we’re doing until someone points it out (thanks, Susan Perabo)

2) It’s helpful and wise to consider the truth of the matter and make the necessary changes

So, let’s get over ourselves and bring into being brand new, fascinating fictional characters that inspire and spark our stories.

©2012 DEBBIE RIDPATH OHI. URL: INKYGIRL.COM

 

NOTE: This post was first published on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog on August 7, 2017.

 

 

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