Sunday, July 29, 2012

When Writing Becomes Very Personal...

Sometimes being a writer is a scary venture. Not because of the tremendous amount of work it entails (and, boy, does it ever entail work!). Not because of the risk of rejection (which it clearly has in more ways than one). No, probably the most frightening thing about it is the way you have to dig deep into your own life, emotions, joys, traumas and such to create characters that aren't cardboard. That's a pretty frightening venture at times, particularly when it means reliving deep emotional difficulties and traumas of the past.

Photo by this Blog's Author
(can be found on morguefile)
Looking back can often cause an overwhelming feeling of insignificance, not to mention putting us back emotionally into that time. Sometimes we need to look back, though, in order to see how far God has brought us from where we once were, so we can release the hurts of the past and move forward free of them.

I'm finding myself there again - a writing project I have in the works can't be done properly without it. So I'm facing things that were far from rosy, feeling sick to my stomach as I do it but knowing it must be done. This, too, shall pass, though probably not fast enough to suit me. It won't be easy, because of the nature of what I'm facing, but I'll get through it. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but time will tell. No matter how isolated these things make me feel at times, I know I'm never alone.

"...and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20b)

And when time comes, and the Lord says I'm ready, the writing project I need to make this step for will come to fruition.

What about you? Do you find yourself having to face the past in order to move forward in freedom from that past? If you're a writer, how does it effect your writing? If you're not a writer, how does it effect other creative ventures in your life?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

History's Mysteries

Photo by the Author of this blog.
Finding historical facts for writing projects can be a bit of a challenge. Events, people, language and social customs? Well, those are easy, relatively speaking. Anyone who has done research for historical novels or non-fiction books knows how challenging it can be to gather information about events, people, language and customs of various regions. If you think that's bad, try finding specific information on places - like getting you hands on road maps from a specific year.

I've found myself in need of very specific information about a couple of places - part of it involving which roads existed a certain year and which ones didn't, which ones were in common use and which weren't. This may seem like something I could gloss over. However, facts is facts, even in fiction.

The information I need is recent enough in history you'd suspect it would be easy to find out the facts from those who lived during that time, yet it's far enough in the past people's memories aren't clear.

Thus enters document sources - historical societies, libraries, city halls, and other such places. Responses are pending from some of the ones I've contacted so far. We'll see if that nets me the information I need. Hope, hope....

So far, based on the one response I've gotten from one of the historical societies, I know for sure I'll have to do some on-the-ground leg work and visit a research library since the information I'm seeking doesn't appear to be available in electronic form.

Which means edits to fill in some of those details will have to wait until I can make a trip there. Oh, well. That book isn't ready for publication yet, so it's all good.

What about you? What kind(s) of historical information have you needed to research that's proven especially challenging to track down?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Become a Courageous Patriot!

Today's post is an interview with Eleanor Clark, author of Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot. Read and enjoy getting to know Eleanor. Leave a comment, and you could win a free hardback copy of her book!


Eleanor, welcome! I’m so excited to have you as my special visitor today. Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?
I should start by telling you that I just celebrated a very imbirthday—my 80th! And yes, I’m still very active! I’ve spent years researching myite them down in The Eleanor Series
 series of seven books for girls of all ages (and good for boys, too). I spend  

All seven books have released?
In print form, yes! And now the books are releasing in e-book form. The first, Mary Elizabeth: Welcome to America, released last month. This month I’m releasing the second book in the series in e-book form. Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot just went live on kindle!

Tell us about the book you’re featuring this week.
I’m so excited about the e-book release of Victoria Grace. The story is set during the time period of America's War for Independence and is loosely based Eight-year-old Sara Elizabeth has just started a brand new year of school, but doesn't like it. If she had her way, she would just quit and never return. She's just too scared, to be honest. However, when Grand Doll visits the school and shares the story of Victoria Grace, a little girl from their family who lived during the time of the Revolutionary war, Sara learns that God can give her the courage she needs to face life's many challenges.
I understand this story really hits home for you.
Yes. My great-grandfather (several times over), David Spence, fought for my freedom during the American Revolutionary war. That’s why it's so important to me to write a book set during that time period. I’m so proud to have a lineage of courageous patriots and pray my readers will catch the vision!

I love that the stories in this series are based on real family history. What fun you must have had researching!
Oh yes, I had the time of my life. Distant relatives (great-great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, granddaughters…all played a role in building the characters in this series).

I understand you’ve been very active in political circles and feel strongly about courage and patriotism. Can you tell me more about what freedom means to you?
High on the list are these two things: Enjoying freedom of speech and the freedom to worship as I please. When I talk to my grandchildren about freedom I remind them that we live in a country where we can come and go as we please, buy as equals, and worship as we want. We can speak our thoughts/beliefs freely.

Eleanor, what are your thoughts on the phrase “Freedom isn’t really free”?
Our freedom cost a lot and that price is still being paid today by modern-day courageous patriots like Victoria Grace! I don't even want to imagine the difference between the freedoms we face as Americans and what people in another countries go through. I hope my story, Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot, shares my gratitude to those who paved the way so that we can enjoy our freedoms!

Speaking of freedom, we just celebrated the 4th of July. What do you think of when you celebrate this special day? 
The fourth of July is usually about family, watermelon, picnics and fireworks. To me, it’s so symbolic of the freedoms we enjoy! Think about it: in other countries people stand in food lines to get a crust of bread and in America we have all this abundance. We need to freely share what we’ve been given.

What can we do to be modern-day patriots?
Show your patriotism. Stay loyal to the flag and the Constitution. Remember our forefathers (like the brave men in my story) who fought so hard for our freedom so that we can be free.

How do I order a copy of the book?
Victoria Grace, Courageous Patriot is immediately available on kindle. It will be free from July 16th – 20th, $3.99 after that), or in hardback (through my website).

Will the other books in The Eleanor Series release as e-books as well?
Yes, and I'm so excited about the adventure ahead! The books will release one per month over the next several months with the final story, a Christmas story, releasing in early December. Here's a list of the titles and release dates:
·         Mary Elizabeth: Welcome to America (now selling for .99)
·         Victoria Grace: Courageous Patriot (just released/free from the 16th – 20th)
·         Katie Sue: Heading West (August 15th)
·         Sarah Jane: Liberty's Torch (September 15th)
·         Eleanor Jo: The Farmer's Daughter (October 15th)
·         Melanie Ann: A Legacy of Love (November 15th)
·         Eleanor Jo: A Christmas to Remember (December 1st)

What are you offering my bloggers today?
One lucky person will have an opportunity to win a hardback copy of Victoria Grace, Courageous Patriot when they leave a comment at the end of this blog!

You’ve been a delight to interview, Eleanor! How can we stay in touch with you?
Thank you so much for having me! Readers can reach me at:
My website:
My Eleanor Series facebook page:

Friends, please check out Eleanor’s series. I think you’ll love it. The Eleanor Series will be a wonderful addition to any library. It will also inspire parents and grandparents to research their family’s history. So, this summer, as you’re setting your sites to the school year ahead. . .take a moment to look back at where you’ve come from. Then, be prepared to leave behind a legacy of love and enjoy your freedoms as a courageous patriot!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Trials (and Errors) of Self-Publication

I've just completed the process of self-publishing a fiction novella, and I'm currently working on the last leg of the same journey with a non-fiction book. I've learned two important things.

First, it's way easier than you probably expect as long as you keep one thing in mind. NOTHING goes into a self-pub book unless you put it there. That nifty paragraph in the front of books that declares it a work of fiction so any similarity to real people and such is not intended? And that paragraph telling people they can't utilize any part of that work without your written permission? Neither are there unless you put them there. And page numbers? Don't forget to number those pages before you upload the document. The companies don't do it for you. Trust me. I found out the hard way. he he

So ASSUME NOTHING. Don't assume they'll fill in any information. Chances are good they won't. If you want anything to show up in your book, whether it's a dedication, acknowledgements or those legal statements on the copyright page, put them in there yourself. That includes that lovely copyright info, BTW.

Second, it takes time to complete the process from start to finish. Be patient. I'm not talking about the writing and editing itself. Lord knows that takes LOTS of time. I'm referring to the actual publication process. Once the editing is done and your project is uploaded, you'll have a "review" to wait for. Then you'll be told your proof is ready to evaluate. Do yourself a favor, buy a hard copy of the PROOF and look at it closely. I was horrified by the number of simple things I missed perusing the document countless times on a computer screen. Others had missed those same things, too, so I didn't feel too bad. Thankfully, I bought a proof. Whew! Errors found. Corrections made. After uploading the corrected file, it was back to waiting for the review process again.

From start (uploading the first copy) to finish (approving the proof for distribution) took about 2 weeks (the proof copy took about a week to arrive in the mail), and that was for the paperback book.  We won't even discuss the Kindle version I submitted for review but forgot to tell them the author's name. Doh!

And don't forget to laugh at oversights like forgetting to put your name on your work or neglecting to number the pages of your project because you erroneously assume they'll do that for you. We all need a good laugh, and if we can't laugh at our flubs, we're probably taking ourselves way too seriously. It's not worth the stress. It'll come together eventually.

Oh, and if you're interested in what I just did, it's available through Amazon and Create Space, soon to be available elsewhere. Beyond Hope by Dawn M. Turner. Check it out!

Terry is beyond hope. Or so she believes. Disabled by an injury and dismissed by the medical profession, she has become a burden to her family. Or so she thinks. Her husband carries responsibilities that once were hers. Her grown sons no longer need her. Her 13-year-old daughter walks in shoes she shouldn't need to. All Terry can do is pray it will finally end, but God doesn't seem to be listening.

Then she receives an unexpected answer to prayer....