And One More Post…TenLove Quotes

by Carole Brownheart-balloons-free

Women are meant to be loved, not understood. –Oscar Wilde

Things are beautiful, if you love them enough. –Mademoiselle Colombe

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. –Robert Frost

People are not going to love you unless you love them. –Pat Carroll

Love betters what is best. –William Wordsworth

You know it’s love when all you want is for that person to be happy even if you’re not part of their happiness. –Julie Roberts 

Whelove-valentines-freen love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. –-unknown

The greater love is a mother’s, then co
mes a dog’s, then a sweetheart’s.
–Polish Proverb

A heart in love with beauty never dies. –Turkey Proverb

But the greatest of these is love. –Holy Bible

Using Historical Events to Create Fiction

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I am sometimes asked why I write historical fiction. I usually answer that I find so many stories in history. Many times, reading about historical events will get my creative juices flowing when I think about the lives and stories of people who lived during these times.

ResurrectionOfHopeCoverArtFor instance, Resurrection of Hope, my novella that has just been released, the historical backdrop of the time helped me create the characters and the events in the story.

At the beginning of the story, Vivian is depressed. In the last year, her fiancé died in the Great War (World War I), her family died of influenza, and she was evicted from her family farm because of gambling debts of her alcohol father. This would be enough to depress anyone, but many post WWI families were going through the same turmoil during 1919.

The Great War had just ended, and many men had died in Europe. At the same time, over twenty million people had died from the great influenza pandemic. There were very few families that hadn’t suffered loss from one of these events. Some families were completely wiped out. Another tragedy of the period was the rise of alcoholism and gambling addiction during the early years of the 20th century. A number of men lost everything and left their families destitute. That was one of the major reasons for prohibition.

Henry, the male main character in the story, had been a doughboy in World War I. He had just returned from the war with all the baggage that came with fighting warfare in the trenches. Many of the problems he had with Vivian stemmed from his experiences fighting and losing his best friend in the war. The stoic tough guy image most men tried to live up to during that period of time made things worse.

Another event I used in Resurrection of Hope was a tornado. In 1920 on Palm Sunday, one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history swept across the Midwest. People in Indiana and Western Ohio were most affected.

Every story I write starts with reading about the events in history and imagining people’s lives during that time. I’ve read historical fiction that could have taken place in any time period, but the writer loses an opportunity to make the stories of history come alive. Every good historical uses history, not just as a setting, but as a main character in the story.

Resurrection of Hope

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

You can buy this on Amazon.

Don’t Set Those Goals…

by Carole Brown

Whalists-freet, you say? And you have a right to ask. I wanted to grab your attention, so hence the partial statement. Here’s the sentence in its entirety:

Don’t set those goals TOO high!

Again, you might very well ask, why on earth not, especially coming from you who always advocates goals and lists?

Okay, I agree with that, but I want to throw out there some caution. Here are some reasons why I encourage you to be careful when setting your goals or making those lists:

  • When I make lists/goals I try not to make them unattainable FOR ME. I don’t include on my lists: “Paint room, wash windows, clean bathrooms, write 5000 words–today! Nope, I KNOW I can’t/won’t do all that. For one thing, I’m not much of a painter. Another thing, I hate washing windows, although I do get to it a few times a year–under pressure. I’m a slow writer, so 5000 words is pushing it for me. 

Now I mighcan-do-freet make a list like this: Clean bathrooms, write 1000 words, do one blog post, prepare supper, pay bills. 

 I know me. I know my limitations. I know I hate taking down the Christmas tree, so hubby begins right after Christmas encouraging me to work on it. I know I really don’t mind too much cleaning the bathrooms, so that’s a feasible goal. And if I attain more than a thousand words, than I’m flying high today!

So set reasonable goals.

 

  • Add some fun items along with the dreaded ones to make your list more appealing to your emotions and senses. Intermingle them. Try doing one hated chore right after or before a pleasant one. Reward yourself with a small piece of chocolate or some other read-on-vacationfavor when an unpleasant one is finished. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many unpleasant tasks.

It’s far better to finish five dreaded items a week, than end the week feeling depressed because none of the twenty got done.

 

So, Intermingle on your tasks lists with both pleasant and unpleasant tasks.

 

  • God’s Word encourages us to do our REASONABLE SERVICE–not outlandish tasksbible-free that are out of our reach. But he also wants us to be good stewards, faithful in our work, disciplined. So I would encourage you to find and use as your motto a scripture verse/passage that you can refer to as your guide to making your lists a habit, an influence in seeing the need to be profitable in our daily chores and chosen paths, and a blessing to you as you diligently do your work every day. 

No, we might not accomplish everything, every day. We’re human. Faulty. And life happens. Don’t let failures discourage you, but count them as lessons. Push ahead.

So, find a scripture that keeps you motivated.

 

RECAPPbaseball2-freeING:

  1. Set reasonable goals.
  2. Intermingle good and bad tasks together
  3. Find a scripture for encouragement.


I believe if you follow these three simple steps, you’ll find a greater satisfaction each week. Remember, reward yourself. Stay true to yourself and God. Allow time for fun. You’ll be batting a high score.                     I believe it!

Happy goal-setting!

Tips to Show Your Love

by Carole Brown

february-valentines-free

February 14th is almost here, and, for most of us, the thoughts of candy, cards, flowers and other romantic items–and the ones we love–fill our hearts with warmth. Here are a few thoughts I had on some newer ways to share our love:homeless-free

 

To the Homeless:

  • Drop off a hat, scarf, coat, socks, etc., to a homeless person
  • Drop off a restaurant gift card or a home cooked meal.
  • Take five minutes to talk with one of them.

 

 

To a Child in Your Life:child-blowing-bubbles-free

  • Play with them. Pretend. Enter their imaginary world. 
  • Go on a date lunch with one. Or two. Allow them to pick the eating establishment.
  • Do something really crazy and fun that you’ve never done or it’s been a long, long time. It will be worth it all to see their faces light up!
  • Introduce them (if they don’t already know) to some intellectual amusement/learning. Art shop. Biblical place like Noah’s Ark in Cincinnati, Ohio, A decent dinner/show event, a decent concert, a wildlife hike, some cave exploring, etc. Or simple things like building with blocks, blowing bubbles, splashing through a rain puddle, building snowmen or angels, reading a book, etc. 

 

husband-n-wife2-free

To the Love of Your Life:

  • If you’re a man, prepare a meal with candles, low lights, scents and the music you love in the background. If you can’t cook, hire it done/ask a favor of a good cook. If you prefer, plan the kind of casual dinner event she would prefer. 
  • Go for a short vacation. Choose a cabin, hotel, camper, tent kind of place you both enjoy. Then make it special for your other half. Find a rock that means something special. Order a dessert he/she loves. Sit under the stars wrapped in blankets and study the stars. Talk. Relax. 
  • Give her the treat of a manicure, pedicure, or massage. If that’s out-of-your-budget, then give her/him a massage yourself. Make sure you have special oils to use and light music, low lights (or sunlight) of her/his preference.
  • Buy her a little gifts that she loves: Books, scarves, accessories, hair items, socks (fun and serious), favorite snacks, etc. 

 

To the God of Your Life:praise-n-sing-free

  • Prepare to attend your worship services with nothing in your mind but praising, serving and worshiping your God. How? Don’t plan lengthy activities for Saturday evenings. Get enough sleep the night before. Eat lightly before leaving for church. If there’s time, read a passage of scripture that can put you in the correct mood for church.
  • Give! Financially if you’re able (tithes and gifts are expected, thus saith the Bible). Volunteer for church functions. If you have a musical voice, sing solo or in a choir, or join a band. Share whatever talents you have with your church and church friends. Baking, decorating, calling on phones and in person, all these and more make a difference and take loads off others. 
  • Study the word. Make a sacrifice. Fast. Do something that is hard for you to do. Ask God to search your heart. Lean on him. Draw closer. Pray a little extra. Do a kindness when others are being ugly. Compliment. Smile. Stay true when others are disloyal or acting shamefully. Pray for the sinner, the disobedient, those straying. Do your part by being faithful. 

Love, Love, Love.  

The Bible says in Corinthians, “The greatest of these is charity.” 

 

Have a lovely month!

 

 

Guest Author Elizabeth Maddrey – Group Projects Really Can Be Fun

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

elizabethmaddreyheadshotToday’s guest author is Elizabeth Maddrey. Elizabeth began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website or on Facebook.

You can also find her on the web here:

Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves romance and a good happily ever after.

Group Projects Really Can Be Fun

by Elizabeth Maddrey

WorkingIf you’re like me, the words “group project” put a little stab of fear right in your belly and brings back all sorts of childhood school memories that reside on the other side of pleasant. One of the things I’ve always loved about writing is that it’s an individual pursuit. Maybe even solitary. As an introvert, I don’t mind solitary. And yet, there’s an incredible community amongst writers as well, and I’m grateful that I can count many friends from within that community.

Still, when I was chatting with one of those friends and she broached the idea of an 18-month group project, I had to stop and catch my breath. Could I do it? Or was it doomed to be a repeat of school, where one or two people do all the work and everyone else gets the credit? Despite a qualm or two, I signed on. And I’m so very glad I did.

The project is a multi-author series set in the fictional town of Arcadia Valley, Idaho. Each author will release a novella and three-book series set in this town. Our characters overlap and interact with one another from book to book, so the police officer you see mentioned in one may end up being a main character in another author’s book, and so forth. As you might expect, keeping details consistent has been a huge task, but so far between files in a drop box and careful beta reading, I think we’re doing a good job.

Working with the other authors in this group project has been an absolute delight, and it’s put to rest some of those group project qualms left over from school. Sure, we’ve had a few times when we had to all step back and take a deep breath before resuming a discussion—we’re humans, after all. But in the end, we made the decisions that needed to be made in a way that, I believe, has left everyone content. The series that has resulted is, I hope, going to delight readers. And really, that’s the best thing a writer can hope for.

Arcadia Valley Romance kicked off on January 10th with the release of Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley. My contribution to this novella box set is Loaves & Wishes and I’d love to share a little excerpt to close out my guest post today.

Ruth cleared her throat as she sat. Maybe it was better to blurt it out and be done. “Naomi passed away three weeks ago.”

Corban stared at her, his mouth open in a tiny O. Slowly, his lips came together and the furrows in his forehead deepened. He set the glass down with a thunk on the antique table by his elbow, completely missing the lace doohickey that would protect the wood. “I’m sorry. What?”

Ruth’s fingers itched to move the glass but she willed herself to stay still, perched on the edge of the settee. “She had cancer. And apparently never told anyone. I’ve been her best friend since kindergarten, we talk every week, and she only told me she was sick when it was clear that treatment wasn’t a viable option. Her obituary was in the local paper.”

“I told the guys watching the farm to read and recycle them. Nothing ever happens around here that’s worth saving a newspaper. I’m not even sure why I still subscribe, except that Ernie’s been a family friend for so long. She’d been acting odd. I knew I should have pushed.”

“You two were close?” Ruth watched his face. He looked shocked, certainly, but not as destroyed as a man in love should be.

“Not like you mean.” He offered a slight smile. “Though there were plenty of old ladies at church who were hopeful. No, Naomi was like a little sister to me. When she bought this place so my parents could move south, it seemed natural to keep an eye on her at first. And then…” He shrugged. “Then we were friends.”

“Naomi could make anyone into a friend.” Ruth’s heart cracked open a little wider. How was she supposed to go through life without her? “I’m sorry you had to find out from me.”

Corban nodded and stood. “I’ll be on my way. I… my number’s in her book. If you ever need anything, just give a shout.”

“Thanks.” He probably hadn’t heard her, given that he’d been striding into the hall before she’d managed to get the word out. The kitchen door slammed.

Ruth sagged against the back of the stuffy little couch and took several long swallows of her lemonade. She was going to make a success of her friend’s business. She had to. For Naomi, and for herself. And handsome, abrupt neighbors weren’t going to get in her way.

elizabeth-maddrey-novella_webRomance Grows in Arcadia Valley includes:

Spring’s Blessing (Seasons of Faith) by Mary Jane Hathaway
Life gets complicated for Charlotte MacGregor when a motherless child and a handsome widower encroach on her carefully laid plans. Will she keep her heart above the fray, or take a leap of faith?

Loaves and Wishes (A Baxter Family Bakery Romance) by Elizabeth Maddrey
Inheriting her friend’s Bed and Breakfast in Idaho is a second chance to succeed, but falling for the farmer next door wasn’t in the plan.

Sheltered Hearts (Romance from the Heart) by Lee Tobin McClain
A curvy jilted bride gets stranded in a snowstorm with a handsome restaurant cook who’s not what he seems to be.

Sow in Love (A Garden Grown Romance) by Valerie Comer
A real estate consultant’s ideas for fulfilling a living trust are shot down by the elderly greenhouse owner’s grandson, but some of the arrows piercing her heart come directly from Cupid’s bow.

The Scent of Romance (Legacy of the Heart) by Danica Favorite
A high-powered lawyer must convince a woman determined to protect her family’s legacy to sell the family farm to his father’s development company, but finds his heart leading him away from everything he’s spent his life trying to accomplish.

A Romance Rekindled (A Homegrown Love Story) by Annalisa Daughety
When a formerly engaged couple find themselves thrown together after more than a decade apart, neither of them are thrilled about it. Can they let go of the past and consider a future together? Or are there some wounds that cannot be healed?

What’s Your Genre?

37-1013-a0039by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Genres are fluid things. They change from time to time, and sometimes a novel fits in more than one genre. Sometimes your novel will not fit easily in any specific genre. It would be easier if authors could check other for what genre their novels belong in, but publishers require us to label the genre. The reason genre categories are so important is because this is how publishers and book sellers define and market fiction to their readers. Genre is also important because readers use genre to choose what books novels they enjoy reading.

Like it or not, as an author, you need to decide what genre your novel falls under. The following is a list of genres, but it is not meant to be a complete list. There are some genres I include in my blog, let alone read, because as I Christian, I won’t promote them. So what’s your genre?

Age Classifications: There are four age classifications.

Children – Ages Birth to Twelve

Young Adult – Ages Twelve to Eighteen

New Adult – Ages Eighteen to Thirty (Coming of Age)

Adult – Eighteen and Above

Genres:

Science Fiction: Stories often tell about science and technology. It is important to note that science fiction has a relationship with the principles of science—these stories involve partially true-partially fictitious laws or theories of science. It should not be completely unbelievable, because it then ventures into the genre fantasy.

Subcategories:

  • Hard science fiction: Classic science fiction, relies on science and technology
  • Other Worlds: Setting on other planets
  • First contact:  First meeting between aliens and humans
  • Space Exploration: Characters explore space.
  • Cyberpunk: A bleak future of technological advances and computers, hacker, and computer/human hybrids
  • Near-future science fiction: Takes place in the near future and include technology already here or in development
  • Time Travel: Characters travel to the past or future, or are visited by time travelers.
  • Military science fiction:  Futuristic combat, weapons, and battling aliens. Heroism and the carnage of warfare are emphasized.
  • Sociological science fiction: Future of the social sciences instead of the hard technology and focuses on individuals and social groups
  • Light/humorous science fiction: Spoof science fiction. “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams is the best known in this sub-genre.
  • Science fantasy/future fantasy: These stories have some elements of science but ignore the scientific principles involved
  • Cross-Genre: Mix science fiction with fantasy, romance, mystery, suspense and other genres
  • Space opera: Similar to Westerns where the good guys shoot them up with the bad guys – only the bad guys might be aliens or robots on another planet

Fantasy: Stories are often characterized by a departure from the accepted rules by which individuals perceive the world around them; it represents that which is impossible (unexplained) and outside the parameters of our known, reality. Make-believe is what this genre is all about.

Subcategories:

  • Fairy Tales and Mythology: Set in mythical lands with strange creatures
  • Epic Fantasy: A young person thrown unexpectedly into a massive “Good vs. Evil” struggle, where he must become a hero to save the day. Often includes a “grail-finding” quest. J.R.R. Tolkien is the creator of this sub-genre with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
  • Heroic: Closely related to the epic fantasy and involves fantasy world, but heroes are not the young everyday characters. Magic is an accepted part of life in this sub-genre.
  • Modern Fantasy: Tales of magic and wonder set in modern times
  • Urban: Modern fantasy with a paranormal or supernatural element.
  • Wuxia: Oriental fantasy involving Martial Arts, similar to the American Western where the lone hero saves the day
  • Historic: Any fantasy set in historical times
  • Romantic: Involves any fantasy story that surrounds a romantic relationship between two people
  • Superhero: The heroes in these stories have super powers. Think comic books.
  • Arthurian: These fantasy have a King Arthur setting.
  • Dark Fantasy: Combines elements of fantasy with horror

Speculative: This is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, usually has a spiritual or supernatural element to it.

Subcategories not Included in Fantasy or Science Fiction:

  • Alternate History: Stories where history changes
  • Apocalypse/Holocaust: The end of the world as we know it
  • Coming of Age: The human race takes a big evolutionary leap
  • Dystopian: Dysfuntional utopias
  • Slipstream: Set in our world but distorts things in some way
  • Steampunk: Take a Victorian setting and give it modern technology, and you have steampunk.

Romance: Romantic Fiction has two strict criteria: The first is that the story must focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people. Secondly, the end of the story must be positive, leaving the reader believing that the protagonists’ love and relationship will endure for the rest of their lives. If those two criteria are not met, it’s not considered a romance. Romance may have any of the other genres as a subcategory.

Women’s Fiction: These stories generally appeal more to women than men. Usually the stories involve relationships, emotions, and a female main character. Sometimes women’s fiction has strong romantic elements, but the romance is not the main story.

Mystery: Intrigue, who-done-it’s, crime solving are major ingredients of the mystery genre. Basically the main character has a mystery or crime to solve. This mystery can involve murder, but it doesn’t have to.

Subcategories:

  • Whodunit: A detective works to discover hidden clues and solve the crime, usually murder. Written in one point of view, usually the  main character and almost always in first person.
  • Amateur Detective: The main character is not a police detective but is very invested in solving the crime.
  • Cozy Mystery: The amateur detective, usually a women who lives in a small town or village where she knows everyone, is a likable, nosy, and trustworthy person who people feel comfortable revealing their secrets to. All the suspects know everyone. Cozies never reveal gory or violent details, and sex is always behind closed doors.
  • Private Detective: The victim seeks the help of a private eye.
  • Medical Mystery: Usually takes place in a hospital or medical setting usually involves medical personnel.
  • Courtroom Drama: Usually a defense attorney representing a client he or she believes is innocent. The lawyer solves the crime to win the case.

Thriller/Suspense: This genre is characterized by a sudden rush of emotions and a sense of suspense, apprehension, and exhilaration that drive the narrative. In short, a thriller thrills. Skillful plotting is a major element of a thriller. Alfred Hitchcock movies fell into this genre. This is sometimes called men’s fiction because it’s believed to appeal more to men. Most of the time, it will have a male main character, but it can have a female main character.

Subcategories:

  • Action/Adventure: Race against the clock with lots of violence, and an obvious antagonist
  • Conspiracy: The hero discovers a conspiracy among a powerful group of enemies, but he can’t prove it, and nobody will believe him.
  • Crime: A crime or series of crimes is committed, but the perpetrator is identified immediately.
  • Disaster: The main conflict is due to an act of nature.
  • Horror: Main intent is to illicit fear in the reader.
  • Drama: These suspense stories are usually a little slower paced and rely on character development more than plot.
  • Eco-thriller: Involve environmental aspects where the antagonist is usually a corporation or government official whose actions cause havoc on the environment.
  • Legal: The hero is a lawyer, and some or most of the setting takes place in a courtroom.
  • Medical: Revolves around medical personnel.
  • Political: The hero or antagonist is an agent of the government.
  • Psychological: The conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional, rather than physical.
  • Spy: The good guy is usually a spy fighting against terrorists, plots to overthrow the government, or evil regimes.
  • Techno-thriller: These usually involve the military.

Historical: This includes any story that takes place more than twenty years ago.

  • Historical Saga: Covers a broad period of time and can deal with families over several generations
  • Historical Romance: A true historical romance is a romance that has the time period and setting as an important part of the story
  • Historical Adventure: Takes place in history and brings the characters along for an exciting adventure
  • Western: Set in the old West of the United States. Westerns typify the rugged individualism that built the nation. They are part history, part myth, and part American culture.
  • Cross-Genre: Historical novels can have any genre as it’s sub-category if the story is set in the past such as mystery, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy.
  • Historical Periods: Historicals are sometimes categorized according to time period such a regency, colonial, or World War II.

Contemporary: This is any fiction where the story takes place in the present that doesn’t fit in any other category.

Comedy: Any story that seeks to invoke laughter.

Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite genre is.

Moving Forward!

by Carole Brown

Alrebook-freeady, almost a month has past in this new year 2017. Writers, have you advanced in your writing? Have you kept to resolves you made in your New Year’s plans for your writing journey? Have you…advanced?

Here were some of my writing plans for 2017 and how much I’ve progressed (accountability, you know. Smile):

  • Finish writing, editing and preparing for the delayed-from-last-year publication of the second book in my WWII series (A Flute in the Willows). With several obstacles that kept the publication from happening, I’m certainly looking forward to this. So far, I’ve increased the words, edited at least two times the already written words, and preparing to move ahead toward my goal. 
  • I’ve tentatively planned to finish three more books this year (not novellas). Although I’m not holding my breath on this one, if I can obtain at least the publication of a second one, I will be farther up the road than now. So…, as of today, I’ve plotted (lightly) the events in both of my newer series books (the third book in the Denton and Alex Davies series: Daffy’s Duck and the fourth book in my Appleton, WV series: Toby’s Troubles). 
  • Thirdly, I have a standalone book set in the mid-to-late 1800s, a light mystery filled with lots of romance, that I’d love to see published soon. The title is Caleb’s Destiny, and is already from a third-to half done. We’ll see about this as the months pass. 

RECAPPING:Working

  1.  Finish writing and editing A Flute in the Willows, WWII 
  2. Complete and edit either or both Daffy’s Duck and Toby’s Troubles
  3. If time permits, move on and complete Caleb’s Destiny

I’ve got my work cut out for me! 🙂

What’s your specific writing plans this year?