Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Every author has been asked that question at one time or another, and most of us have to pause and scratch our head before we answer. One of the first things I was told when I was learning the craft was to constantly observe the world around me, because “story ideas are everywhere.” Some authors keep a notebook, others use three by five cards, and many—myself included—simply store these ideas in their brain. From these ideas, a writer develops the plot, populates the novel with characters, and gets to work.

Where do I get my ideas? I get them from everyday life. Both Kay and I are incurable people watchers. Whether it’s in a restaurant, sitting at the airport, shopping, or even at church, we have our eyes on those around us. And it’s a simple jump from there to construct a scenario. See that couple at the next table, each engrossed in their iPhone, not saying a word to each other? Maybe they’ve just had a terrible fight. Maybe he’s reached the tipping point where he’s imagining how he can get rid of her permanently. Perhaps he decides to act on his thoughts. There’s a plot.

My novels thus far have sprung from such varied situations as a relative’s near-paranoia about identity theft, the accusations of mercy-killing against a colleague, and a retraction in a
 professional journal about falsified research data. My latest novel of medical suspense began when I was leaving the medical center parking garage late at night. I looked around and imagined how deserted it must be at two AM. What if a doctor were to be kidnapped from such a location? And what if he had no idea why the men doing it were under orders to kill him? That was the nidus from which Stress Test sprang.

One of my favorite sweatshirts bears the inscription, “Careful Or You’ll End Up In My Novel.” I’d suggest that there’s a lot of truth in that phrase. So the next time you’re out in public, think about how your actions might be the beginning of an idea for a novel. You never know. A writer could be right behind you.

Return Friday for a chance to win a copy of Richard's book, StressTest.

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and the author of four published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including ACFW’s Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year. His last novel, Lethal Remedy, won a 2012 Selah Award from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. 

Richard’s website is http://rmabry.com, and he posts regularly on his blog, http://rmabry.blogspot.com. He is also active on Twitter (RichardMabry), Facebook (rmabrybooks), and GoodReads. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

So, having written about jealousy and envy, I realized it isn’t enough to write about the problem. We must have a solution. A defense, if you will, against the sweet poison that gets pressed to our ears and hearts.

Part of the issue is that it’s so much easier to talk about applying the antidote, than it is to actually do so. Why? Because we have to give up our right to hold onto the hurt, or to the anger. We must, as I wrote previously, forgive people for failing us—in essence, for not being God.

But why—why is it so hard to just lay it down? Even when we know—or say we know—that God is good, that He is all wise, that we trust Him?

I wrestled with this all week but still haven’t come up with a good answer. Oh, yes, I write things and then get tested on them, pretty much immediately. This time seems harder for some reason. Maybe because life has been filled with stresses that fly at me from all directions. You now how it is: you try to hold it together, but at some point one or several darts get past your defenses, and then here comes the meltdown. Your friends, your loved ones, are left standing there looking at you like an idiot—you were so strong last week, what’s wrong with you that you can’t keep it together over this?

And once it’s there, under your skin, it tends to flare at odd moments, like poison ivy—you think you have it beat, or mostly so, then you scratch unthinkingly at a mild itch, and suddenly it’s a full-blown breakout, all over again.

It isn’t that the offenses aren’t real, or valid things to be upset about. The thing is, when we focus on them, it feeds the itch rather than kills it. But when we deliberately choose to look up, to look at the Cross, look at Jesus Himself—it begins to fade.

The stepsisters I wrote about last week, jealousy and envy, will hate that, of course. If the Prince isn’t paying attention to them, they don’t want anyone to be happy, and here’s where they show their ugliness. They’ll stop their charade of sympathy and instead lean into your face, screeching and jeering. You’re such an idiot! This proves it! You’ll never change, God doesn’t care about fixing your situation, you’ll have to put up with this indefinitely, and you deserve the misery you feel.

And you know what? Jesus knows what it feels like to have those things screamed at you. He’s experienced injustice: the people who should have known the time of His coming, didn’t, and even those who followed Him misunderstood His purpose until after the Resurrection. He was beaten, mocked, spit on—and this was God, the One who made us all, who gave us life and then went above and beyond to come be the payment for our rebellion against Him! Who had more right to feel the hurt, to be angry at the slight?

But He knows—and He does care. If He doesn’t change a situation, He has a reason, whether it’s for our growing, or to test our trust in Him, or because His purpose for that other person isn’t yet completed. Regardless, we can know that He’s intending to work a greater good through it.

This doesn’t mean the answer is necessarily always to ignore the voices and tough it out. God is always there beside us, but sometimes He waits for us to actually ask Him to deal with those bullying girls before intervening.

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Hebrews 4 & 12, NKJV)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Like I said in my post on Tuesday, what works for some people doesn’t work for others. Finding what works for you is key, not only as a writer but in general for your life. Find your way, what works for you and your writing.

I don’t write well in the morning. My best time is after ten in the morning and all afternoon into the early evening. Of course, though, I need to write around my husband and our kids’ schedules—not only because I love their lives to be a huge part of mine, but also because I write best when the house is empty. Reading on a regular basis and often watching movies and TV shows, opens the door to my creative juices, but I also need to get out of the house and spend time with an array of people, doing an array of things. I write my best material with a pencil and paper, but there are times when simply typing away on my keyboard works well. Sometimes I write best with instrumental music, sometime I don’t.

Basically, I just go with it, I go with what works for me on any given day. If I’m having difficulty finding my writing flow, I go on a run, a hike, or I cycle. After that exercise break in God’s beautiful outdoors, I try to push through the brick wall to find my writing flow again. Sometimes I over push it and really get no where, so I’m learning to back off before that happens. I’m also learning to be gentle to myself so my muse doesn’t bury itself and refuse to come out and play.

Most importantly, I try to keep my writing career in perspective and remember I’m not curing cancer. I try to focus on what’s important: My relationships—my relationship with myself, with others, and with God. Even though I let my muse dictate what it wants, I don’t allow it to run my life or demand the unreasonable. Being published and writing under publishing deadlines changes the game, sure, but I’m much more than a published suspense author, remembering that keeps me happy and the writing flowing well.

May you find your writing way and be happy!

Dianna Torscher Benson is a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010
Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. Her first book, The Hidden Son, released March 2013.

After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need. Her suspense novels about adventurous characters thrown into tremendous circumstances provide readers with a similar kind of rush.

Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three athletic children.

Come back tomorrow to enter to win a free copy of her new release!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

King Richard III
In February of this year the discovery of the body of King Richard III was confirmed. The skeleton (minus the feet) was found beneath an English car park. DNA tests using DNA from three direct descendants convinced British scientists beyond reasonable doubt that the skeleton was that of King Richard who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

Examination of the skeleton revealed that Richard met a violent death. Evidence of ten wounds was discovered, most likely inflicted at or around the time of death. His body was also abused after death.

Richard wasn’t a hunchback as tradition might have us believe. Instead the skeleton revealed that the King suffered from severe scoliosis, which probably developed when he was an adolescent. Scoliosis is painful, and the severity of King Richard’s affliction meant he was in pain all the time.

In Richard’s day, scoliosis was thought to be caused by an imbalance of the body’s humors. (See this link for an explanation of humors.) Treatments used to restore the humors included eating specific foods, bleeding, emetics to cause vomiting, as well as hot plaster and cupping.

Other treatments for scoliosis were just as archaic, as well as painful. One was traction, which used the same principle as the “rack” that was used as an implement of torture. Rope was tied under a patient’s armpits and around his legs, then the ropes were pulled at either end to stretch the spine.

Other treatments might have involved messages in Turkish baths and herbal applications. Long term care might have included the patient wearing a long piece of wood or metal to straighten their spine.

The discovery of his skeleton revealed that King Richard III suffered pain in life and died a horrific death. We know about his physical stature. But who was he, really? Some paint him as a villain who stole the crown and murdered his young nephews. He was one of Shakespeare’s blackest villains. Others say he might have done those things, but overall he was a good, conscientious guy. But since much of Richard's life is buried in time, we will never know truth.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In 2012, I signed a nine-book contract with a traditional print publishing house; my first book, The Hidden Son, releases March 2013. 

I’m not an expectation person: meaning, I rarely have expectations. Instead, I tend to roll with it as life happens, something I had to learn as a child. However, with the publishing industry, I’ve found myself taken aback by the business side of the industry. I’m not referring to the process of landing an agent or a publishing contract (I’m well experienced there—after I completed five novels and submitted to agents for seven years, I finally signed with my agent in 2007); I mean the marketing process. When I started writing my first book back in 1993, the Internet was basically unknown, and didn’t become huge until after I landed an agent. The way a book was marketed ten plus years ago, even five years ago is no longer the case. Things are extremely different now. Authors need to have a huge online presence and spend a ton of time marketing.     

I have an enormous comfort zone. Things that others see as “a problem”, I either view it as nothing much at all or as a challenge to tackle and overcome so I can improve my soul. So…in those rare times when I’m out of my comfort zone, I’m uncharacteristically nervous and struggling to feel God in my midst, which is where I find myself with the business of writing nowadays. Even though I’m thrilled with my contract and couldn’t be happier, as a published author I’m experiencing life outside my comfort zone.

Even though I love writing, writing novels is difficult. Being published is even harder. Sales is something that haunts a fictional author. I don’t write for the money, I’m certainly not an EMT for the money, I don’t even like to spend money, and I don’t give a fig about fame, but in a writer’s mind their sales equates to if their book is good or not, thus if they’re a good writer or not.  Well…I know my sales will basically represent the amount and type of marketing I did (or didn’t do). I’m a diligent person (probably an overachiever) so I’ve worked hard with my publicist on marketing and setting up my spring book tour, events, etc. once my first book releases, and most of this marketing stuff isn’t real fun or comfortable to me.

I’m a writer, not a speaker, and I don’t like being the center of attention, so speaking engagements and media interviews are an emotional and mental roller coaster for me. Also, I’m not into the techno world of today (I have a five-year-old flip phone and don’t text). I could live in a jungle with the bare necessities (I grew up climbing mountains and camping on the side of a mountain with my dad—Think: My pillow was my backpack, but I loved it). So, spending so much time at my computer (beyond writing) on marketing isn’t my bag at all. Yeah, if you’re thinking I was born a hundred years too late, I already think that myself. But, that wasn’t God’s plan for me, so I simply focus on being who I am and doing what works for me.           

Just like every person is different, every writer is different. Marketing is different for every writer. What works for one writer, doesn’t work for another. I focus on what makes sense to me for my writing career with my online presence, and I do it; even though speaking and giving interviews is uncomfortable, I’m willing to deal with the turmoil it creates for me because every job has its negatives and positives. That’s just life.  

In addition to the nine books I’m contracted to publish, I have countless ideas for more books, and my writer brain cooks up new stuff daily. In addition, there isn’t another career I’m more suited for, I’d be better at, I’d like more. At the end of my writing day, even if the writing isn’t going well, I wish it could be ten o’clock that morning again so I can continue to write. I think that says it all. 

I encourage you, too, to run your writing career to fit who you are as a person and what works best for you as a writer. 

Come back Friday for a chance to win a copy of Dianna's new book!

Dianna Torscher Benson is a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. Her first book, The Hidden Son, releases March 2013. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

About the Book

"DESTINED by prophecy. GUARDED by deception. PURSUED by Love.

Centuries ago, an oracle foretold of the young woman who would defeat E’veria’s most ancient enemy, the Cobelds. But after two centuries of relative peace, both the prophecy and the Cobelds have been relegated to lore—and only a few remain watchful for the promised Ryn.

Finally, a child is born who matches the oracle’s description, but a Cobeld curse accompanies her birth. Led to believe they succeeded in killing the prophesied child, the Cobelds emerge from hiding with plans to overtake the Kingdom.

But the child survived.

Secreted away and called 'Rose' for the first nineteen years of her life, Rynnaia E’veri has no idea of her true identity until a chance meeting with an injured knight reveals not only her parentage and true name, but the task assigned her by the oracle: discover the Remedy that will destroy the Cobelds’ power.

Now, her time has come.

Offered the assistance of pirates, scribes, storytellers, a young woman who died centuries ago, and the knight who is quickly working his way into her heart, Rynnaia is fortified with friends. But if the Ryn is to complete her task, she must come to terms with not only who she is, but for whom she must be willing to die. For the kingdom’s survival depends on her.

THE RYN begins an expanded re-imagining of the classic Grimm fairy tale, Snow White & Rose Red."

Amber's Review

The Ryn is an epic and engaging story that combines so many delightful elements: fairy-tale pieces, bits of fantasy, swirls of colorful surprises, and generous helpings of familial and romantic love. I love the suspense, brought about not only by the danger, but by the anticipation of unfolding events and revelations. One of those revelations brings about such a great twist to the storytelling - one that is sudden but awesome in its cleverness. There's so much creativity at play in this story, and I love the passion behind it and the excitement that permeates it!

Some great characters are introduced in this first book in the "Eyes of E'veria" series, including a hero that quickly stole my heart, a talented and over-protective brother, a handsome-and-he-knows-it pirate, and many more. The ending moves at a bit of a slower pace, but there are some fabulous scenes in there, and it builds a foundation for the sequel (The Remedy), which I am really looking forward to reading! For a unique and wonderful re-imagining of a fairy tale, The Ryn has a lot to offer, and I hope this will only be the beginning of a long list of books penned by Serena Chase!

*With thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC e-version of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

  • You can purchase the e-book now for $3.99 on Amazon.com!
  • As part of the blog tour, Serena has an awesome giveaway going on! Enter via Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jealousy and envy are the terrible, ugly stepsisters in the story of Cinderella. Everyone knows that. So why do we bother to give them the time of day?

Because they’re so deceptively sympathetic when we’re hurt or angry. Oddly comforting, sweetly whispering in our ears that of course we have the right to be upset, who wouldn’t in our situation?

A friend’s spending time with other people, while we struggle with loneliness.

Being passed over for a promotion that in our eyes, we’ve rightly earned—and seeing it handed to someone who should have been in line after us. (Or at least after a friend who we felt deserved it more.)

When someone announces they’ve finished yet another manuscript, or painting, or quilt, while you scrape for time for your own creative endeavors. Or they’ve just signed with an agent, or have a book accepted for publication.

Any circumstance where we’ve been slighted or forgotten.

Those are the moments, when you ache for your perceived loss, that jealousy and envy steal to your side and wrap you in a blanket of their own brand of poison consolation.

It feels so good, at first. It’s comforting. It hurts to be passed over, left behind, ignored. And we forget how, once we let the jealousy and envy take hold, it sinks deeper, eating away at us until the initial hurt becomes a soul-deep sore.

Taking it to God is the only way to find true healing, at any point along the way. But the longer we wait, the more awful the scars that jealousy and envy leave behind.

And the stepsisters are wily indeed. They know how to speak what we want to hear, to offer what we think we need.

For me, it helps to remind myself of a thought from years ago ...

Consider the stars in the sky ... is the significance of one diminished because of the others? Do they waste time in vying for the 'best' position in the sky? Does Arcturus suffer jealousy just because it is not Polaris (the 'north star')?

I think not. The more stars we see, the more glorious the night sky appears. And not seeing the 'lesser' stars doesn’t mean they aren't there, or that they aren't significant ... they all burn brightly for their Creator. And I believe they are each fully aware of the significance of their place in the universe, and the glow we see is one of awe and gratitude to the One who set them in their places.

So let it be with us.

12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.... 17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10)

26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5)

For wrath kills a foolish man,
And envy slays a simple one. (Job 5)

30 ... envy is rottenness to the bones. (Proverbs 14, all NKJV)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy Saturday, BB fans! Thanks to everyone who participated in our "puzzling" Friday giveaway! Keep all those facebook and Twitter notifications, coming!

This week's winners are:

Michelle (Bookwormgal2011(at)yahoo(dot)com) - A Lady's Choice by Sandra Robbins.

Congratulations, Michelle! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book!

Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzle in the comments section as well as your email address for notifying you if you've won. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall and...you guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. :-)

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Sandra Robbins, and her newest release, A Lady's Choice.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On Tuesday, Sandra Robbins dropped by to talk about making choices. Today, she shares how she's living her dream.

When I was a child, I had many ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was almost like I was planning the path my life would travel. First and foremost I wanted to be a wife and mother. Next I wanted to be a teacher. Then I wanted to write a book.  All were worthy goals.
The first two happened right on schedule. I married a wonderful man, we were blessed with four healthy children, and I taught in an elementary school. As my children got older, I thought now is the time to write that book I’ve always dreamed about, but another detour blocked my path. By this time I had risen through the teaching ranks and had become principal at a school. Between work and family responsibilities I had little time for pursuing anything else.
Time passed, but my dream didn’t die. One night in 2004 some unknown force guided me to my computer, and I began to write. I knew nothing about the craft of writing, but the words filled the pages night after night. That’s when the reality of what was happening to me set in—I had become a writer. I had never spoken to another writer. In fact I didn’t even know one. The only experience I’d had with writing was a course in writing fiction I’d taken in college. That had hardly prepared me for jumping into the publishing world.
By 2005 I realized if I was to write a book somebody might actually read some day, I needed help. I turned to the internet and stumbled on an organization called American Christian Romance Writers. It didn’t cost much to join, and so I did. I soaked up every post on the loop and began to get an idea of what I needed. One was to join a critique group which I did. Through ACRW (soon to become ACFW) I was randomly placed with a group of beginning writers, and we worked together over the internet. I was thrilled with my entrance into the writing world, but every morning I still went to my day job.
By the summer of 2006 I had gained a lot of confidence. I had attended several conferences and workshops, and my critique partners were helping me grow as a writer. Since two of them lived in Texas, we decided to meet at my daughter’s house in San Antonio for our first face to face meeting. The night before their arrival I had a heart attack while visiting the River Walk and was rushed to a hospital where an amazing cardiologist saved my life. The next day for the first time I met Janelle Mowery and Lisa Ludwig, my critique partners, when they arrived at the hospital to visit me. In the fall we attended the ACFW conference in Nashville, and I met the woman who would become my first editor.
I knew God had given me one more chance to follow my dream to write, and I resigned my job at the end of that year to pursue writing full time. God has blessed me greatly as I’ve followed His guiding on this wonderful journey. My books have been honored as finalists in the Daphe du Maurier Contest for excellence in writing mystery, the
Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for writing romance, the ACFW Carol Awards, and as a merit recipient in the Holt Medallion. Recently Angel of the Cove, the first book in my Smoky Mountain Dreams series won the Single Title Inspirational Category in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. This is given by the Birmingham Southern Magic Chapter of RWA in honor of multi-published author Gayle Wilson.
At times I still shake my head in disbelief at how everything has worked out. When I complete the three book contract I'm working on now, I will have published eighteen books. I never dreamed what was about to happen when I sat down at that computer one night and began to write some thoughts down about a story rolling around in my head. Now those ideas come all the time.
So when someone asks me how long I’ve wanted to be a writer, I can honestly say, “As long as I can remember.” It took a while for me to step out on faith and begin the work required to add author to my accomplishments, but I’m so glad I did. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. 

Sandra Robbins lives with her husband in Tennessee. In April 2013 Summerside released A Lady’s Choicewhich chronicles the plight of suffragists who picketed the White House to gain the vote for women.

Stop by tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy!

Newsletter Subscribe



Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance



Popular Posts

Guest Registry