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Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Twist

Not that one.file0002133155803

I’m talking about the plot twist, and it makes readers scream, bang their heads on tables, or toss your book across the room. Only to snatch it up again.

Hook those readers! The twist works. As you ramp up tension, the added calamity keeps readers guessing.

A well-placed twist is just as beneficial for you as for your readers. It can build confidence and trust in your writing skills.

Here are a few clues that it might be time to consider a twist:

  • When your writing resembles someone else’s. Be original!
  • When you’re bored with your own work.
  • When you know something’s missing…but you can’t figure out what.

What are some other clues that it might be time for a twist?

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in editing, Jericha Kingston

 

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The Fabulous Mary DeMuth

51kZQudrKRL._SX361_BO1,204,203,200_The Fabulous Mary DeMuth

I was first introduced to Mary DeMuth when I read her memoir, Thin Places. If you haven’t read it, put it on your list, because it is so good. Today, we’re getting a sneak peek into her novel, The Quarryman’s Wife. Here’s an excerpt:

Chapter One

Centerville, Ohio. March 14, 1932.

Augusta always knew Thomas would die young. Always knew God would thrust his angry finger through the muggy Ohio air and point right at him. “Your time’s up,” the Almighty would say. And Thomas, being obedient to the depths, would nod quietly, then slip into glory without so much as saying goodbye.

The word accident repeated itself with each slap of Augusta’s shoes against shale. Accident. Accident. The word screamed in her head, longing to release, but clenched teeth kept her terror to herself. She needed Thomas. Needed his gentle hand with six children and a quarry house to run. Needed his grace-like words. His humor.

Her friend Olya followed behind as they passed stilled shovels, empty water pumps and halted rail cars standing sentry-like in reverential silence. The quarry’s Dinky engines saluted the two wives as they raced toward the rock quarry’s belly.

Thomas, you promised me there’d be no accidents.

Chapter Two

An odd chill twisted inside Meg. She told her stomach to settle. It didn’t obey.

Heading away from school toward Mama’s list of chores, she watched Lily lead the processional of children in pied piper fashion toward the quarry house. At eighteen, Lily’s hair flowed down the back of her dress and frock, blessedly straight. Facing womanhood at fifteen, Meg pined for that straight honey-lit hair, but she tried not to let on that she did. “It’s the sin of covetousness,” Mama scolded when Meg revealed her longing for Lily’s hair.

Lily turned toward her. “Remember me today. I’m afraid I’m a bit weary to be chasing the Wheeler twins around. Are you sure you can’t come help? I’ll pay you.”

“I still have some reporting to do. Miss Allen’s been nagging me about the story I’m working on. I’m sorry. Can’t I help you next week?”

“You’ve procrastinated that story for months. Come just this once?”

“I have the rest of the children to herd home. You know that.”

With that, Lily said her goodbyes to Edward, John-John, Helen.

Lily nodded. Her eyes showed disappointment, but true to form, she thanked Meg for considering it and detoured onto East Franklin Street where two squirrelly Wheeler children awaited her calming touch.

Meg envied Lily, as she walked—no, glided—toward work. Meg never glided, she plodded. John-John once said she clip-clopped like Strawberry, their faithful horse. Her feet grew like rushes, rapid and serpentine-like, so that the only shoes that fit her now were eldest brother’s Frank’s—cloddy, awkward. But with Frank wheezing at home, straining to bring in breath, she knew she should simply be thankful for her own. She pulled one in just for him.

She shrugged, hoping the shrug would shush the antagonistic voices in her head. Someday, she would be elegant. She looked forward to her walk from school in the lazy afternoons when springtime welcomed new bird songs. Mother Nature had flung herself in all her icy fury on Centerville last winter. Meg tasted the cold from September’s first frost until the March blizzard. Until Frank took to the fever, Frank and Edward spent snowy days tamping down paths with their big snow boots for the schoolchildren to walk through. Sometimes a drift would swallow up a quarry kid, so the big boys took to carrying the wide-eyed first graders up the steps to school. It was a relief to have winter’s frigid breath behind her.

Unlike the biting winds of Ohio winter or its muggy days of summer, the spring air had a delicious crispness to it. Faint whiffs of emerging forget-me-nots trailing along a broken fence lightened Meg’s stride as she walked the western shore of the quarry lake.

And still, that niggling.

She renamed the lake “Lake Frank” after her eldest brother’s fake drowning. John-John, who was marydemuth-headshot-squaremischievously eight at the time, thought it would be great fun to yell, “Frank drowned!”

Panicked, Mama had called Decker’s store; she had them dispatch their boat, complete with grappling hooks. Swimmers dove in deep, scanning for Frank in vain. Mama and Meg stood on the back porch, waiting. On the lake perched a small island connected by a rock-strewn isthmus, so several of the men looked for Frank there, hoping he was playing some puckish hiding trick. The search stretched to an hour while Mama rung her hands in helpless anguish. She didn’t even notice Frank when he stood next to her, puzzled.

“What’s all the excitement? Why are all these people swimming in our lake?” Meg could still remember the look on Mama’s face, a combination of relief and anger.

“We thought you drowned! What do you have to say for yourself?”

He shrugged. “You knew I was helping Louis Hanson clean out the fence row at the back of his farm. Did you forget?” Mama had forgotten, and that day the nondescript quarry lake became Lake Frank to Meg. Frank celebrated its christening with the spanking of his life.

She couldn’t help but think what would happen if Frank met his maker that day, and as she plodded home, the familiar tinge that something wasn’t right pitched a tent inside her. The world seemed too quiet. The path in front of her, too neat.

So good, right? It just gets better. The Quarryman’s Wife is just one of the five books in the Women of Heart series, which is only 99 cents for a limited time. It’s available at AmazoniBooksB&N, and Kobo.

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its free prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A God-Given Character

paper and coffeeIn book one of my historical trilogy, the character of Evie showed up in Matilda Cumming’s kitchen. Evie wasn’t in my outline, but every manor house in the old South needed a cook. Very little thought went into the character of Evie until she blossomed on the page. An elderly slave with every reason to hate the world, Evie’s sweet spirit and bedrock Christian faith blessed my heart.

When it was time for the main character to leave Matilda Cumming’s house, I teared up at the thought of leaving Evie there, stuck in slavery, with no hope of ever being free. But I had to leave her. There wasn’t a logical reason for her not to remain. It was hard.

But where did Evie come from? She wasn’t in the outline. She wasn’t on the character sheet. She wasn’t anywhere on the radar when I sat down to type that morning. I’d never envisioned her and I didn’t even struggle over her name, it just popped into my head. So you know what I think?

God put her there.

That’s the only explanation.

I’m thrilled that Evie shows up again in book two, helping another young person trying to find someone they love. Her goodness is like a beacon. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she makes an appearance in book three. I haven’t started writing that one yet – well, only the first scene – but I rather suspect she will.

~ Pegg Thomas

Trooper and Pegg cropped

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

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The Bones Will Speak

Christian suspense fans, be sure to add this upcoming release to your calendar. It’s by Fine and Forensic Artist and author Carrie Stuart Parks. Her previous release, A Cry From The Dust, was a finalist in the Selah, Carol AND Christy Awards. Her latest novel, The Bones Will Speak is set to be released on August 21, 2015. Head on over now to pre-order your copy. I have a feeling this one won’t last long!

BOOK RECOMMENDATION:

The Bones Will Speak2The Bones Will Speak

Author – Carrie Stuart Parks

Publisher – Thomas Nelson / Harper Collins Christian

A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensic expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter.

When Gwen Marcey’s dog comes home with a human skull and then leads her to a cabin in the woods near her Montana home, she realizes there’s a serial killer in her community. And when she finds a tortured young girl clinging to life on the cabin floor, she knows this killer is a lunatic.

Yet what unsettles Gwen most is that the victim looks uncannily like her daughter.

The search for the torturer leads back in time to a neo-Nazi bombing in Washington state—a bombing with only one connection to Montana: Gwen. The group has a race-not-grace model of salvation . . . and they’ve marked Gwen as a race traitor.

When it becomes clear that the killer has a score to settle, Gwen finds herself in a battle against time. She will have to use all of her forensic skills to find the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her—and the only family she has left.

The Bones Will Speak will also be available August 11, 2015 via Amazon.

 

Kara writes supernatural suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. BlogPhoto Resized

She’ll also keep you updated on upcoming writing contests and some of the best reads in Christian suspense.

To contact Kara, email her at fictionwithfaith@gmail.com or by clicking the below link:

@KaraHunt2015 on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Book Recommendations, Kara Hunt

 

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You Know You’re a Writer When …

readingaloneAdmit it! You ALL do this!
(There’s no way I’m the only one.)

 

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Humor, Writing

 

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A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

My boys with Phineas and Ferb at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

My boys with Phineas and Ferb at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

A recent visit to Disney World had me reminiscing childhood dreams. After graduating high school, I’d planned to move to Orlando, Florida and become a Disney Crew Member, preferably a character that walks around putting smiles on children’s faces, signs autographs, and sweats buckets in the smothering summer heat. Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Belle–any one of them would do. This was my dream job, and four years of drama class and my Thespian Society membership had helped prepare me.

So what happened?

A month before graduation, my best friend declared he was in love with me and a year later we rode off into the sunset to our happily ever after. I actually got to live it instead of pretending it. Needless to say, I never made it to Orlando. Not to live anyway. But being a Disney character in the Magic Kingdom still ranks as my ultimate dream job. Besides being a novelist, that is. 😉

Your turn. What’s your dream job?

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~Candice Sue Patterson lives on a hobby farm in Indiana with her husband and three sons. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart will release with Pelican Book Group in 2016. Visit her website at www.candicesuepatterson.com to learn more.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Candice Sue Patterson

 

Passing the Test

It’s summer! Time for fun and relaxation! I wish that for you, friends. But today, while you soak up the sun, wade in the surf, or fire up the grill, I’m taking an entrance exam.

The HESI A2 exam is mandatory for my program of study. I’m only a pre-Radiologic Science major until I pass this test. I’ve studied for weeks, but I’m still nervous. Did I study enough? Did I study the correct topics?

I have four hours to complete 50 Math questions, 50 Vocabulary, 47 Reading Comprehension, 25 Biology, and 25 Anatomy/Physiology. I have to score at least an 80, and I can take the exam twice. That’s not so bad, right?

Today is my only opportunity. The Test Coordinator won’t administer another HESI test this year, and my results must be on file with the Radiology department by December.

Students are only accepted into the program once a year. If I’m not accepted into the program in January of 2016, it will be January of 2017 before they’ll consider my application. Translation? If I don’t pass this test, I change my major.

Tests have a way of bringing out the best and worst in me. I love learning, but now that I’m past 40—and menopausal—my concentration and memory are nil. I’m disciplined enough to study for hours each day, but I grumble and complain, furious at myself for not mastering these subjects earlier in life.

I’ll know my score the moment my test is complete. I’ll post an update this afternoon. Prayers are appreciated!

How do you prepare for life-changing events, or even weekly goals? Do you have suggestions to deal with stress? I’d love to hear how you persevere!

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Jericha Kingston

 

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