Tag Archives: writing fiction

Visions of Today and Yesterday

I feel like I live in two worlds. I recently bought a pear tree (note to self: buy a partridge) and needed to drive slowly along the back roads on the way home. My route took me through the small town of Clayton, Indiana, and my double-vision kicked in. Clayton is a country village a few miles south of the county seat, which is a slightly larger town. The historic homes along Clayton’s main road invited me to slow down and enjoy the sights – spreading shade trees, lovely flower beds, and a woman mowing a yard. Juxtaposed against this, I could also envision women in long skirts and sidewalks walking of boards. Families would have hitched a wagon and taken regular trips into Danville for supplies. The Presbyterian Church has been around since the 1830s, and descendants of the original settlers probably still worship there. Farther on, country roads … Continue reading

Posted in History, Writer's Life | Tagged , , , , , , , |

Weird Names & the War That Wasn’t a War

Stolen Ohio chickens, a lost Michigan militia, and men with numbers for names?  You never know what your fiction research is going to uncover. There I was, digging into Midwest canals and railroads for Book 2 of my Shimmer of Time series.  Lots of cool stuff for the book, right?  But I got sidetracked completely by Benjamin Franklin Stickney, who had weird tastes in names and was (probably) responsible for a war most of us have never heard of. Stickney’s mother was a favorite niece of Benjamin Franklin (that’s right, the key-on-a-kite-string Benjamin Franklin, “discoverer” of electricity and inventor of my ever-necessary bifocals), and she named her son after him in 1773.  So Benjamin Stickney grew up, got married, and named his sons … wait for it . . . One and Two!  Evidently he wanted to let them choose their own names when they got older, but they never did.  … Continue reading

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YA Author Cindy Hogan: Balancing Writing with Real Life

Wow, I have my first guest blogger today!  Help me welcome author Cindy M. Hogan, who’s on a virtual book tour for her latest YA suspense novel, Created. With three YA novels under her belt now, plus a busy family and community commitments, I asked Cindy the ever-present question in my own life:  how do keep your life from spinning out of control?  She came up with some great advice for us, so read on: ************************* I’m so excited to be visiting Jennifer’s blog today. The topic she gave me is one that I have learned a ton about in the last year and a half and I hope to share with you what I’ve learned. How do I balance my writing life with my real life? My writing life before I published was pretty off and on. I didn’t schedule any writing time, I just wrote when it was convenient … Continue reading

Posted in Goals, Guest Blogs, Writer's Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Linkfest: Children, Writing Tips and Granny’s Health Plan

I’ve been saving links to blogs I really liked, some new and some old, and it’s sharing time!  And not just blog links – there’s an ROW80 goal update at the bottom. Some heart-warming, life-affirming, thought-provoking, general feel-good stuff: Kids don’t just go to school, play, and do a few small chores – they can help in big things, too!  Leanne Sype’s son Sean has a caring heart, and a willing mind, as she writes in When Life Gives You Lemonade. Lynette Burrows shared a great post on keeping a child-like creativity.  It’s kept me thinking … a lot! Over on Bliss Habits, Dani Nelson continues that thought with all the positive things you get when you live Life with a Side of Silly.  Because what’s better than a smile?  (Ignore the giveaway at the bottom – it’s over.) Reading Pretty LIttle Liars got Emma Burkhart thinking about the friendships … Continue reading

Posted in Blog Mashups, Goals, ROW80, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Query Letter Tips – Advice from Writer’s Digest’s Chuck Sambuchino

I’ve been subscribing to Chuck Sambuchino’s “Guide to Literary Agents” blog for Writer’s Digest for a while now, especially saving the posts that spotlight agents looking for middle grade fiction.  But it wasn’t until I met him at the Midwest Writers Workshop last weekend that I learned how to get my query letter right. Chuck gave the first evening session at Midwest Writers, on perfecting your in-person agent pitch, but what you say in your pitch is basically the same as what you put at the beginning of your query.  And then I had an actual query critique with him. I was surprised that he wanted us to use more lines and tell more about the story than other query tips have suggested.  Each agent’s preference varies, but in Chuck’s experience, a query letter opening should include at least six elements: Introduce the main character Something unique about the main … Continue reading

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