Friday, July 31, 2009

And we're off.... the Outer Banks that is. The family is taking a two-week vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The above picture is of the girls and I walking through The Christmas Shop in Manteo. We were so disappointed one year when we went out there and The Christmas Shop was closed, and every time we drove by the empty parking lot my heart ached a bit.

What a pleasant surprise it was to see that it reopened last May, and it's even bigger and better than it was before. Along with the many Christmas items, they have artwork from local artists, antiques, a museum shop and a jewelry shop, in addition to the Outer Banks Fudge Company--which serves coffee and treats.

If you're on the Outer Banks, The Christmas Shop & Island Gallery is one place you must visit.

Starting in September, this blog will be updated more regularly. Weekly motivational quotes will be posted again, and I'll share more on my writing projects, in addition to having more guest spots from published authors.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In Pursuit of an Idea by Kim Smith

Kim Smith is currently on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion to promote her new romance novel, A Will to Love. This is an article she wrote for my book blog, The Book Connection, which will host her on July 24th. I liked this article so much, that I decided to feature it here first. Would be and novice writers could gain a lot from this article.

If you would like to follow Kim on her virtual book tour, please visit during the month of July to see where you stops next.

In the Pursuit of an Idea by Kim Smith

Recently, I was out of town on a business trip. No great thing but for the fact that I had horrible trouble with the airlines that was supposed to move me from point A to point B. The long wait times (two different days!) gave me plenty of opportunities to think about situations and writing and what worked and what didn’t.

For most beginning writers, the pursuit of an idea wide enough to carry an entire book is a big deal because many agents and publishers say “make the story universal, make it something that is timeless”. Most beginners (some who are not as well) take this advice seriously. They want to do everything right straight out of the gate.

I know many established, multi-published authors who take the idea that flashes through their mind and keep building on it “off the paper” for extended periods of time. Some have even developed their characters, their settings, or their plot for years in their pre-planning. But, for some of us, this simply won’t work. I happen to be one of these other writers, the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sorts. This post is not for the writer who can create for extended periods before writing their first word, but rather the ones who cannot.

As I sat in the airport contemplating writing something (anything!) because my heart felt that I had put it off too long trying to make it into something useful not wasted, I remembered William Faulkner.

He is quoted as saying, "Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him"

So I am here to tout the news that it is okay to write out the idea on paper, not carry it around in our heads, go forward, dive right into the story by writing a few thousand words. It is okay to turn those few thousand into a few thousand more in an attempt to see if it will go anywhere, only to discover that you do not have a story. Yes, I am an advocate of broken beginnings, saggy middles, and books with no hope.

Why, you ask, would I do such a thing? Why would I encourage writers to write anything less than their best, and most well-thought out work? Waste paper, muddle a mind?

Because writers write. That’s what we do, that’s who we are!

Beginning writers (especially) need to keep poking the muse to see what she has to offer up. When we censor our writing mind, and toss out ideas before they have a chance to be developed (because someone says “that won’t work” or “that’s been done before”), we get into a mind-set that hobbles our creativity.

Let that weak idea flow! You may have a short story, not a novel. You may have a character sketch, or a mood piece, not necessarily a short story, but that is perfectly fine. You still have something to write. Something that moves your writing life forward a little bit more than yesterday. Along the way, you will know when it is right, when it is something that can be stretched, or developed, when it will go into a bigger piece of the puzzle, and who better to know such as that? It is your story to tell, your character to develop, your plot to pursue.

After returning from my business trip, I walked the grounds of Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s home in Oxford, Mississippi. I smiled when I felt the urge to write hit me. I didn’t tarry either. Maybe ole Will was standing somewhere under one of those huge, old trees in the avenue, waving at me—(laughing, probably) telling me to go, go, go at my fierce determination to wrestle something out in the name of writing. Telling me to be free in my methods, my failures. I had a small amount of success, churning out one small story. Thanks, Will.

Kim Smith is the hostess for the popular radio show, Introducing WRITERS! radio show on Blog Talk Radio. She is also the author of the zany, Shannon Wallace mystery series available now from Red Rose Publishing and also the new romance novel, A Will to Love. You can visit Kim’s website at

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

As America celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have served and who are currently serving in the U.S. Military and their families.

God Bless America!!!

God Bless America
by Irving Berlin

God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above;

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.

Here's another excellent song that celebrates America:

To see Lee Greenwood's actual video you can go here.

Lastly, though I'm sure you know it, here are the lyrics to America's National Anthem:

The Star Spangled Banner
By Francis Scott Key 1814

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Motivational Quote #28

"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not by strength but by perseverance." - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

After a long, unplanned hiatus, we're back. While usually motivational quotes are posted on Saturdays, that might change now that my schedule has changed.

As writers, we hear a lot about perserverance, and in this classic quote from H. Jackson Brown Jr., author of Life's Little Instruction Book, we are reminded of the importance of perserverance.

It isn't always the strong who succeed nor the ones who are the best. It is the ones who don't give up. As a young girl I had a dream of becoming a writer. I wrote stories and poems, many of which I still have tucked away in a manila envelope in my hope chest. These stories and poems display my interests of the time and also helped me deal with the death of my mother when I was only 14.

Even though life threw me many curveballs, I never gave up on that dream. I began writing my first novel when I was a single parent working three jobs just to make ends meet. I poured hours into that manuscript when I remarried and had the chance to be a stay-at-home mom. The first draft was completed in 2006. Unfortunately, the co-author moved out of state and has been too busy to edit that draft, so the project lingers on.

I was disappointed, as I had high hopes for that novel. I still do! So, I began concentrating on my own projects. While contributing articles to Writer2Writer, I attended conferences, kept writing and getting critiques of my work, and spent as much time as I could honing my craft.

Now, the mother of a full grown son and two young daughters, my writing time is more limited than ever; but still I perservere. And, yes, it has paid off. My first Christian children's picture book will be released by Guardian Angel Publishing in the fall of 2010.

It has been a long road for that little girl who dreamed of becoming a writer. And even though it seemed like my dreams were unobtainable, I did it! I am going to be not only a writer, but a published author. It's amazing and scary all at once.

I encourage you to perservere as you journey along your road to publication. My own story shows that it can happen, even though I doubted it at times. Don't give up! You have the power to make your dreams comes true. Use it!