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Writing What You Love

the-intimidator-and-suzieWhen I started writing – lo, those many years ago – I always heard, “write what you know.” I think that’s good advice for a beginner sticking their toe into the writing world. Learning to write for publication is difficult. It’s work. It’s not the way you were taught to write in high school English class. Not even close. So it makes sense to start writing about things you know, things you don’t need to research.

Once you’re comfortable in the craft, it’s a lot of fun to write what you love. tweet this

I spun my first yarn – the fiber kind – at the age of 16 on an antique great wheel similar to the one in the photo, which I now own. That combined my love of history with my love of creating things from scratch. I was hooked. I purchased a new spinning wheel and started a multi-decade journey of fibers and spinning that included raising both French Angora rabbits and Border Leicester sheep.

My current WIP (work in progress) is a Colonial historical romance involving a woman who spins and weaves beautiful cloth, and a handsome journeyman fuller who finishes her cloth at the fulling mill. I’m once again combining my love of history with my love of creating things from scratch. I’m also spending many hours researching the historical facts. How many people today have ever heard of a fulling mill? How will I make it understandable without dragging down the story? The goal is to bring a bit of history to readers via the romantic journey of the characters, not to overload the reader with historical facts. Still, the history must be correct, or the story falls apart for those who know history.

Writing what you know is the easiest way to begin, but writing what you love is. . .fun!


PeggThomas.com

Debut story will release in April 2017 from Barbour

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

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Animals & Authors with Kelly Klepfer

Writing – they say – is a solitary occupation. But is it? Let’s visit with Out of the Frying Pan author Kelly Klepfer and ask her about her constant companions.

QPQ: Welcome, Kelly! Introduce us to the… *squee!*… hedgehogs you’re sharing with us.

KK: Daisy and Daffodil have been with us since the spring. The girls are still pups (uhhhh, piglets, uuuuhh hedgehoglets…. No… hoglets.  There is room for interpretation over what they are called. Yes. I googled this.) We sought out hedgehogs because…. Well. Weird long story I’ll try to shorten.

13133234_10156826620615375_2682422256088890960_n-1I’ve loved hedgehogs from a distance ever since I was a little girl and I read Miss Jaster’s Garden. But I never thought I’d own one. My husband had a knee replacement which then got infected. As archaic as it sounds they literally removed the knee and left him without one, putting in a cement antibiotic ball-type spacer to help the healing process. Since he had no knee he was limited. He watched a lot of Netflix. There are reasons binge watching is not a good idea, pet obsession is one of them. Kidding. Anyway he watched one show in particular that was set in Europe where hedgies run wild. Tiggywinkles wild animal hospital in the UK rescues hedgehogs and adopt them out to folks who will give them a lovely backyard and possibly even a charming little hedgehog house. Oddly, it’s much more difficult to obtain a hedgehog here in the states. Many states have forbidden them. I believe this is due to the fact that in a milder climate their population might explode and we’d then be like the UK needing to rescue wild hedgehogs. In Iowa and Nebraska you have to be a certified breeder. And these cute little things are not inexpensive to purchase. So. As my husband’s want grew, I let our adult children know of the perfect Father’s Day gift. I also found a breeder who was running a spring sale.  Our hoglets were almost a BOGO (buy one get one free).

They are inexpensive to feed, mostly, they eat high protein cat food and not much of it. In the wild they eat snakes and bugs so I would definitely recommend you adopt a few if you are in the UK. Surprisingly, they don’t smell as bad as hamsters and guinea pigs. I use shredded paper bedding. They have solid plastic wheels they run in and smooth large plastic bins they live in so their little toes don’t get caught and injured. Temperature seems to be the biggest concern most of the time. If they get chilled they can go into hibernation mode which will kill them so I run a ceramic heat source over their cages to keep them cozy. They also have micro fiber pineapple cozy tents that they spend 90% of their time in.

14322462_10157365831775375_2955655823267440153_nAre they sharp? Heck yeah! You know those wire grill brushes? That sharp. And they don’t like to be picked up. And they will be happy to live in cozy pineapples and eat the food you provide every day and then hiss and jump and puff and pout when you want to interact with them. The biggest thing to do to tame them is get over being scared and cuddle with them every day. I have sewn little snuggle bags that I slide them in hold every night so we bond.. You pick them up gingerly by sliding your hands up under them. If they are freaked out they are literally a ball of dried out Christmas tree needles, If you turn them over belly up they will eventually unroll and begin moving then walking around. Note: Walking around generally involves an initial poo session so be prepared. Once that’s over, it’s all good. Their tails pop out when they get ready to go so there is a bit of warning. Or you could put them in a large hamster ball and let them get it out of their system before cuddle time, but note there is much cleanup involved there, too.

If you’re fascinated with the idea of hedgehogs, go meet one first. Mine are not likely going to become internet sensations because I’m not going to be making them little hats and setting up cute tea party scenes. I might consider putting them in muffin tins, but I only have two. Daffodil is a little fuller figured and might be a bit of a huge muffin top.

QPQ: Wow. That’s quite the introduction to your hedgehogs!  I hope your husband has made a full recovery. It’s clear that Daisy and Daffodil bring you both joy. Tell us how you came up with their names?

61tvSrINcpLKK: I gave my husband suggestions. We had to do something alliteration-ish because we have the beagles, Gertrude and Gladys and it only seemed right. Miss Jaster’s Garden involved flowers and hedgehogs so I thought Daisy and Daffodil might be good choices. In the end the man on pain meds picked.

QPQ: Perfect! How do Daisy and Daffodil help you in your writing?

KK: Not in the least. Okay, they give me another angle to find metaphors or similes?

QPQ: Have you ever written one of your hedgehogs into a story?

KK: I have not yet. But who knows, there’s plenty of inspiration. Especially with character development.

QPQ: Tell us three things you and Daisy and Daffodil have in common.

KK: Oh, my if I could sleep in a cozy micro-fleece pineapple many hours of the day, I believe I would. Two, sometimes I get bristly but I’m a sweetheart once I unroll. Three, I can do a huffy puffy complaint session like nobody’s business. But once I’m over it I move on.

QPQ: Well said, Kelly! Thank you for visiting the Quid Pro Quills.

 unnamedKelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons.

 

 

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New Contract with Barbour!

pegg-signing-2nd-barbour-contract-12-28-16In December I received my second contract from Barbour Publishing. It came one week after I’d told my husband, “If I never sell another manuscript, I’m okay with that. My goal was to write a book and have it published. I’ve done it. It’s off my bucket list.”

Galatians 4:4a – But when the fullness of the time came, God

God’s timing is always perfect. In everything. In the big things and in the littlest things. tweet this

I’d submitted the proposal for In Sheep’s Clothing back in June 2016. It was one of seven stories in a collection called Bouquet of Brides. Six months later, I’d not heard a peep from Barbour. I’d written it off.

God sends His blessings in His time. Generally when we least expect it. How sweet is that?!

 

PeggThomas.com

Debut story will release in April 2017 from Barbour

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

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Celebrating Failure

 

unknownWhen this blog posts, I’ll be on vacation. But will it be a vacation I’ve earned?

Last January I set a goal to write two full-length books and a novella by December 31. I failed. I completed one novel and one novella, but the other novel is only half finished.

Some goals I did accomplish, and there are many that I’m quite proud of. I published two books and edited a lot of great manuscripts for other writers.

(Check out my new releases, Convenient Lies and A Package Deal.)

On the personal side, I was able to spend time with friends, pray with people, make meals, attend funerals, and try to support my loved ones. Most importantly, I was available for my teenagers, who went through some unexpected and sometimes serious issues this year.

As I reflect on my 2016 goals, I realize that last January first, I had no idea what the months ahead would hold for me and those I love. I’d made my goals blindly. Don’t we always?

So rather than look back in disappointment over my perceived failures, I’ve decided to give myself grace for what I didn’t do and focus on what I did.

I’ll set more goals this year. With God’s help, I’ll achieve them. But more important to me than reaching work and personal goals is my desire to be obedient to God and to be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend I can be. If I can keep those priorities straight, I trust God will work out the rest.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at RobinPatchen.com.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in Parenting, Robin Patchen, Writing

 

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Author Chat with Linda Yezak

jess-and-me-2012-bayou-writers-group-conference

Linda Yezak with fellow author Jessica Ferguson

Today we’re featuring one of our favorite authors, Linda Yezak. She’s one of four authors in a collection titled The Bucket List Dare.

QPQ – Congratulations on the new release! I love the premise of this collection. It’s about four college friends who decide to check something off their buckets lists before they turn thirty. How did this come about?

LY –  Actually it was Jessica Ferguson’s idea, which is a bit of a surprise, since she didn’t go to Texas A&M. She called me when Billy and I were driving home from our annual trip to the Hill Country, and the excitement over her story idea made an eight hour drive seem like three.

QPQ – I absolutely love your characters – in all your books – but JoJo may be my most favorite yet. You write such fun dialogue, but it’s the inner dialogue of JoJo that had me laughing out loud. How much of the real Linda Yezak are we seeing in JoJo?

LY – Other than the snark, absolutely none. I want to jump from a plane so bad, I can feel it.

QPQ – As much as we may love the heroine, let’s face it, we read romance for the hero. Was Mitch modeled after anyone special in your life?

LY – Hate to disappoint, but no. Mitch just developed as I went along. I wish I could’ve deepened his character a bit more—shown some of those “warts” Jojo wondered about—but I started running out of wordcount.

QPQ – Oh, I know that feeling! It’s the price we pay for writing in a collection. And now the pivotal question for readers everywhere. *insert drum roll* Have you ever jumped out of an airplane?

LY – I had the opportunity once, and if Billy hadn’t been there when I was asked, I would have. Maybe Jojo is modeled on him . . . Nah. He loves to fly too much.

QPQ – Is this on your personal bucket list?

LY – Actually, yes. I have a niece who has promised to do some of the crazy things I’d love to do with me, but she also wants to go down in a shark cage. I drew the line.

QPQ – Smart woman! What’s next in the hopper from Linda Yezak?

LY – I have another novella coming out with some friends—The Tiny House Collection, in which all the characters live in/buy a tiny house. Mine, titled Kayla’s Challenge, is the prequel for my new series, tentatively called Southern Challenge, the first of which I intend to finish next year. Next for this year and in to next is Book Three of the Circle Bar Ranch series, Ride to the Altar. And if I don’t get started on that one soon, I’m gonna miss my deadline!

bookQPQ – Give us some links where readers can reach you … and then get back to work!

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GivetheLadyaRide

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Goodreads: http://dld.bz/dSPmg

777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Amazon: http://dld.bz/LindaWYezakAmazon

 

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Author Chat, New Releases

 

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Animals & Authors with Candice Sue Patterson

candice1Welcome, Friends! We’re featuring one of our own, author Candice Sue Patterson. Candice’s new novel, How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart, releases November 1st.

QPQ: I’m thrilled to hear your new novel has a release date, Candice! I’ve been waiting a long time to see this one in stores. It’s already available in electronic format, right?

CSP: That’s correct. If you have a reader, you can get the e-version on October 28th. Print copies are available now at Amazon, Books-A-Million, Walmart (online), and Target (online). Barnes & Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other retailers will release them on November 1st.

QPQ: Thanks for the clarification. I can’t wait to have a print copy! Introduce us to your furry friends.

indyCSP: Our dog, Indiana Bones, is a stray we took in several years ago after he moved into our vacant dog house and refused to leave.

QPQ: Who could let him leave with a face like that? He’s adorable. And what a great name for him! How did you come to choose that name?

CSP: I actually let my kids name the dog. They were big into Indiana Jones at the time, and since the dog is part beagle, he was constantly following a trail to anticipated treasure. Always digging. We call him Indy for short.

QPQ: I love a dog who lives up to his name. Who else are you sharing with us today?

CSP: This is Baby Kitty. He’s long past babyhood at age fifteen. I got him as a kitten, and his was meant to be a temporary name, but after a while the name stuck. His personality is much like mine, which may not be a good thing. 😉

QPQ: I’m sure it’s a wonderful thing! Do Indy and Baby Kitty help you write?

baby-kittyCSP: Indy doesn’t help much as he’s an outside dog, but Baby Kitty keeps my side warm, snuggling with me while I write. He’s actually a character in my novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart, as the kitten Huck surprises Emma with. Unfortunately, in real life, Baby Kitty is old and having health problems so I wanted a way to keep him alive after he’s gone.

QPQ: That’s a wonderful idea. A beautiful tribute for a beloved pet. What a sweet face he has! Other than Baby Kitty, have you written previous pets into your stories?

CSP: Absolutely! I sprinkle a lot of my life into my stories. My Australian Blue Heeler, Katie, who passed away right before Indy moved in (hence, the vacant dog house) is in my current manuscript as a farm dog. She loved living in the country, so this part is perfect for her.

QPQ: That’s awesome. I have a Blue Heeler, too. He and I are much alike. We both love to eat, hate riding in the car, and get a little cantankerous when the doorbell rings. What do you have in common with your pets?

CSP: Hmm…with Baby Kitty, I’d say our mutual affection for being lazy. Like him, I enjoy stretching out on the couch and napping (or in my case reading a good book). We both love soaking up the sunshine that pours through our windows, and we can both be temperamental from time to time.

As for Indy, our common interest is adventure. We both love to see and explore new places.

QPQ: You have two precious pets, Candice. Thank you so much for sharing them with us! We wish both Baby Kitty and Indy well. Where on the web can readers connect with you and your books?

CSP: Thanks for hosting me, friends! I love reader mail, so you can find me at the following places:

Website: www.candicesuepatterson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Candice-Sue-Patterson-Author-420360958035447/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/candicesue_patt

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/CandiceSuePatterson

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/candicesuepatte/

Blog: www.candicesuepatterson.blogspot.com and www.quidproquills.com

 

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Out of The Frying Pan: Behind the Story

The September 9th and 23rd posts showcased the romance/mystery novel, Out of the Frying Pan by authors Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer. Today we learn how the story materialized!61tvSrINcpL

Kelly, welcome back! Tell us how you and Michelle came to write Out of the Frying Pan.

Michelle and I met a very long time ago. In fact we say we are sisters from another mother but didn’t meet until we began interacting on an on-line Christian fiction critique group. We knew right away that we were soul sisters. We both consider our major spiritual gifts to be sarcasm and smacking. I know that’s not Biblical, but let’s just say we employ both of these skills often so it’s good that we have each other.  

While slicing-and-dicing each other’s writing, one of us suggested we write a book together. I had a story idea birthed long before. One of my former co-workers (The woman had a Bachelor’s Degree in theater. Nuff said.) used to run a non-profit alongside mine. She worked with retired adults. We enjoyed her interactions way too much. One day she ran across a name. “Kelly! This name needs to be a character in a book. A murder mystery. Zula. Isn’t that a wonderful name?” I agreed. And when I shared this tiny seed of an idea with Michelle the brainstorming blossomed into Out of the Frying Pan and the larger than life Fern and Zula Hopkins.

photo (11)Of course, that was the beginning. And this novel has taken a 10 year journey to see the light of day.

The plot line was skeletonized super speedy. We knew our murderer, our red herring coulda-woulda folks, the motives and the major characters right off the bat.

We wrote Out of the Frying Pan from different states, bouncing ideas off of each other and putting each other in challenging literary hot water. I wrote two major characters, Michelle wrote the other two. We’d write a scene, tag the other person and wait for a response with the scene cliffhanger. It was really challenging and fun. Michelle would work her magic and write about her character’s world, weaving my character in and causing me to have to rethink what I thought she’d be doing next–and vice versa. It really stretched us as writers and our characters grew more three-dimensional because of it. As Michelle wrote about my characters, they grew even more loveable because someone I cared about was describing them to me.

We had two publishers early on interested in the book but the cozy mystery portion of their house shut down before anything materialized there. Then we sat on the book for a long period. Michelle wrote and published a couple of books in that time frame. I sunk into a season of insecurity in my skill set and was not writing at all. Michelle finally told me that we needed to start pushing the story again. I agreed to massive editing and finishing the final chapters. Interestingly, while I wasn’t writing, I was reading and reviewing during my dry spell. During that time, some of the areas in which I struggled became more natural and part of who I was as a writer. That season was valuable because I grew into my training and stored knowledge.

So if you happen to be a discouraged writer and aren’t able to write right now, read. qtRead good books and think about what makes them good and why you love them. And read not-so-good books and decide what makes them a bit on the stinky side and how you might do something different as a writer. You might just discover the rules begin to gel and become part of you, too. I’d been trying so hard not to break the rules that I was stilted and stunted in my writing, until the rules worked their way into me. And this has spiritual application. How many walk and struggle to obey God’s rules in their own weak power? Instead, Jesus offers us His indwelling. He works to make the rules a natural part of us.

Michelle had an agent at the time. We finished the book and she shopped it for us. We had a couple of bites but nothing real tempting. She ended up parting ways with her agent and a year later we landed this contract. When our Bling! Editor read it she suggested we ramp up the romance angle and sell it as a romance. So, newly challenged, we recreated deeper pasts for our former secondary characters and wove in more action. The whole process has been so challenging, involved, and exhausting, but most of all, fun.

Over all, my favorite comments and delightful moments are recent. Michelle is a genius editor and will not let a book go to a final print without her last go-through. She texted me throughout that weekend. “I am laughing out loud. How can I think this book is so funny when we stinking wrote it?” “I love our characters. I mean love them.” “Favorite paragraph: Oy. The heat from Zula’s blistering gaze began to melt Fern’s rubber-soled Keds. She didn’t even need to look in that direction to know that two baby blue beams were fixed, locked, and loaded. How was she going to get out of this situation without any open veins? A story. A good story.This says it all. Some of Michelle’s admiration might come from the fact that people die and are injured in Out of the Frying Pan. Because she loves nitty-gritty historicals, she’s always killing off a character or two, so there’s that. Remember our “spiritual” gifts. ♦

unnamedKelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas… she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons.

 

 

View More: http://bethanyaleshire.pass.us/michellekelly

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART is her latest release. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

 

~ Jericha Kingston

 

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