I remember reading, years ago, the results of a study that suggested how many people have a story they want to write. I can’t remember the exact statistic, but it was something like one out of every ten Americans dreams of someday writing a book. I also remember this article saying that almost every one of these wannabe authors ambition was no more than a pipe dream. He went on to explain how incredibly difficult it was to actually write an entire book. And if that wasn’t enough, he added that finding an agent and getting published was tantamount to winning the lottery.

If I wasn’t already intimidated enough at the thought of writing, this certainly did the trick. Years went by before I decided to try my hand at it. And like so many things we postpone in life, once I completed my first novel, I couldn’t believe I had waited until then.

Here’s what I learned out of that experience.

The fear of doing something is always worse than the actual experience. Don’t let yourself be intimidated. If you feel the urge to write, then do. Writing an entire novel is not as difficult as it may seem.

The first step is to come up with an idea for a story. This can come from a news report, or a headline, or even just a daydream, and it usually starts with a ‘what if?’ For example, you might read an article about some recently found treasure, and you ask yourself, ‘what if somebody was to find a treasure that hinted at some great lost civilization?’

The next step is developing the main character and placing them in this what-if setting. For example, you decide that your main character is a priest and his concern will be that the treasure might disprove some part of the bible. Here you already have the makings of a great character and a suspenseful story. 

I should add that one of the mainstays of an engrossing read is a main character who is conflicted. The story can be filled with suspense, but if the main character is not torn between decisions, much of the suspense will be lost.

I am convinced that every person who dreams of someday writing has already experienced a few of those what-if moments.

Now do yourself a favor and go write down your thoughts before you forget them. Who knows, you just might be the next best-selling author. It all starts with writing that first line.

All my best,

Monique Domovitch

P.S. Let me know when you finish your first chapter.
http://www.moniquedomovitch.com/
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DWED Reviews Looming Murder By Carol Ann Martin

Synopsis:  LOOM WITH A VIEW  
Della Wright has come to peaceful and picturesque Briar Hollow, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to realize her lifelong dream of owning a weaving studio. To promote her new business, Dream Weavers, Della is offering weaving workshops for all levels of ability. In her first class, she meets half a dozen of the town’s colorful characters, who seem as eager to gossip as to learn how to work a loom.
 
But when a shady local businessman is found murdered, Briar Hollow suddenly appears a lot less idyllic. And when one of her weaving students is suspected of the crime, Della can’t help getting entangled in the investigation—with some help from her criminologist friend, Matthew. But can she weave together clues as well as she weaves together yarn—and stop a killer from striking again?

FEATURES WEAVING TIPS!

 

Rating: 4 stars ****

 

 

My Thoughts: It has always been said that curiosity killed the cat. In the case of a sketchy accidental death and the murder of a prominent real estate mogul, Della Wright seems to be landing safely on her feet at every turn.

After facing a dramatic life change, Della moves to the small town of Briar Hollow to start fresh and live out her dream of owning and operating a Weaving Shop. But little time has passed before she is intrigued by the small yet quirky town with its vivacious cast of inhabitants, and a murder she unknowingly stumbles upon.

I found it entertaining that Della seemed to put herself in harms way despite the open threats to her well being. It was as if she needed more in her life other than operating a Loom and teaching others how to weave. It’s like she felt empty.

Despite this, the Author had a way of directing the story that kept my rapt attention, and I found I couldn’t put it down. I was far gone wanting to know who had actually committed the murder and if Della might come face to face with this unknown killer.

The whodunit feel of the book was riveting, and the end had a very well put shock value because the culprit and their reasoning for the murder were unexpected.


 
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Judging a book by its cover is something we all do. How can we not? When there are dozens of books that pop up when you search for your favorite genre and you don’t have time to read every synopsis, you look for an eye-catching cover and start there. Authors don’t like to believe that their captivating writing and intricate characters might be passed over because they might not be as creative as others and may not be able to afford a professionally designed cover, but it definitely happens.

When my novel, “Inquest,” was first published, it was published with a traditional publisher. Unfortunately, that relationship ended prematurely and I was faced with republishing on my own and not having much time thanks to being in my last year of dental hygiene school. I had promotional commitments I didn’t want to miss out on and ended up having to rush through the cover design. I wasn’t completely pleased with the new covers, but I knew they would have to do for now until I had more time to redesign them after graduation. That planned changed when a lovely reviewer made the comment that even though she loved the book, she thought the so-so cover wasn’t going to draw new readers because they just didn’t grab anyone’s attention. Obviously the redesign couldn’t wait.

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The original covers all featured people, which is hard because you either have to find the perfect stock photo, or find a model willing to work within you budget. I didn’t want to hassle with either option, so I decided to nix the people and go with a symbol instead. This took some serious Photoshop hours to design the three symbols used for the covers in the trilogy and a search for the right kind of fire to use as a backdrop, but in the end I felt much more satisfied with the redesigned covers than I did with the original.

So, what do the symbols mean?

The first book in The Destroyer Trilogy, INQUEST, features the chaos symbol. The chaos Libby is thrown into after her Inquest reveals her as the hated Destroyer, forces her to hide her talents in order to keep herself alive.

SECRET OF BETRAYAL, the second book in the series, features the symbol for renewal and rebirth. Once Libby makes her decision, rebuilding her life to fit her new purpose means rescuing the group of Ciphers being held in the spirit world and claiming them as her army.

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The final book in the series, DARKENING CHAOS, features a new symbol, a combination of chaos and rebirth. At the end of Libby’s journey she struggles to balance her dual purpose without everything falling apart around her.

Thank you so much, Krystal, for inviting me to your blog today!

Links:

DelSheree’s Blog

DelSheree’s Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Wattpad

Amazon

 

Bio:

DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually teaching yoga, coaching gymnastics, reading, painting, sewing, or studying about teeth as a Dental Hygiene student. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, and The Destroyer Trilogy. DelSheree's newest series, The Godling Hunger Series, follows Vanessa and Zander Roth, siblings with an uncontrollable hunger for pain and suffering that will either gain them limitless power or lead them to their deaths


 
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The Female Protagonist

The moment was made indelible; one of those I’ll never forget. The Lord of the Nazgul is confronted by a knight ready to do battle and he scoffs that no living man might hinder his progress. The knight in turn proclaims that the Lord of the Nazgul will be hindered and that he looks upon a woman – Eowyn, daughter of Eomund, a Shield Maiden of Rohan – who does a great job of hindering. I first read Tolkien’s The Return of the King in the summer of 1969, when I was sixteen; it was also the summer I first read Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre, saw Ingrid Bergman’s performance as the title character in the 1948 movie, Joan of Arc. Finally, there was Katherine Hepburn’s Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter and Juliet in Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet. I also read Far from the Madding Crowd for the first time and found in Bathsheba Everdene a soul sister (Several decades later I would discover another Everdeen, Katniss, and add her to my panoply of heroic women!). In a time when the gender barriers were bending or being removed, women started demanding equal pay and equal rights, I was reading about and being entertained by heroes that happened to be women. It was the season of powerful women.

What constitutes a strong female protagonist?

In this reader/writer’s mind, several characteristics have to be present in the writing: Independence in thought, action, word, compassion, intelligence, vulnerability (yes, that) in the context of the story’s period. I discount heroines that sound and act like 21st Century women in settings other than our century, unless of course, it’s a parody and the comparison and/or use is intentional. My favorite strong women don’t throw their hair around and clench their fists defiantly unless they’re going to act immediately – wait; none of my favorites do that.

Women I relate to act and behave as much as they have to in the context of their time, but show independence and defy social norms. Alienor of Aquitaine surely did that, as did Joan of Arc, and another Eleanor -- Roosevelt.

I could spend a day and a year listing all of my favorite heroines real and fictional. What I decided to do at an early stage in my own writing was have those character types in my own work. Serafina Giustini, the female protagonist in The Legacy, is a survivor in fourteenth century Tuscany. She lives by the rules in the male-dominated society of the middle ages, but bends them when she has the opportunity and fights back – e.g., when she is forced into a political marriage as so many of her contemporaries, she bargains for the right to marry whomsoever she chooses if and when her bridegroom predeceases her. This was not an uncommon arrangement in Italy. Joanna Fletcher, the companion of George Ascalon in my novel, Armor of Light, is a woman who has been used, abused and made to suffer at the hands of King John due to her father’s political machinations. From that abuse comes an inner strength that George draws upon. George’s sister Petronelle is defiant and rebellious in the face of custom. Would an earl’s daughter walk away from her bridegroom on their wedding day? That’s a good question – we have no records of that happening in medieval England, but then again, the chronicles are mostly silent when it comes to the acts and deeds of women of the time, unless that she happens to be an extraordinary woman like Alienor of Aquitaine, Queen of England and wife to Henry II, mother to Richard I and John. Petronelle did walk away in order to serve her brother’s cause and we see her evolve painfully and slowly to maturity.

I also borrow on my own reality when I write of women in my stories. My own mother, Jeannette, died when I was fifteen, but she was a woman who, in a time when women didn’t divorce and make lives for themselves, did just that. She also took up upholstery and carpentry, played baseball and she raised six children alone while holding down two jobs. I was always in awe of her – a tall, quiet, woman with large brown eyes, abundant dark curling hair that she wore to her shoulders, and a low voice that was musical. She was an accomplished musician. I have to admit a lot of my mother is in the DNA makeup of my female protagonists, especially the modern women, Violet and Alice. I also borrow from my eldest child, my only daughter, in whom I see a lot of my mother – and myself. I inherited my mother’s large eyes, dimples, her wit, and a lot of her talent - unfortunately, not her height. My life after my mother’s sudden death in 1969 took a turn it may not have taken, for I found myself in a state of independence, being watched over by a sister who had just turned 21. You can see that interesting and loving relationship between Alice and her brother, Denny, in the “Midwinter Sonata.”

The women I write of and draw inspiration from are women who have failings. They make mistakes and pay for them. They struggle and find themselves victorious at one moment and on the losing side the next. Alice Martin of the “Midwinter Sonata” series that began with Tallis’ Third Tune, has problems with men, as does Violet Ellison from A Knight on Horseback. Both refuse to be victims even though they are victimized. Their mistakes are stupid, but when haven’t we made those stupid mistakes – choosing the wrong man because he was Mister Right Now instead of Mister Right and discovering too late what the consequences might be?   Or having the courage at the time to walk away?

Stories with women like these are the books I return to time and again. I joke that when I finally grow up I want to be like my lady heroes, both real and imaginary. I invite you to look in your own library and in your own writing to find such inspiration. You may be as surprised as I was to discover how they might just have qualities hidden inside your soul.

May your reading and writing paths take you on interesting journeys.

All the best,

Ellen


 
Tune in to The Works where i will be a featured guest on 3/3/13 @ 6pm.

The Works, with host Keith Williams, is sponsoring its first Annual book month highlighting Authors like myself.

The Blog radio show that provides listeners with information they need to know in order to have a more meaningful and productive life.
Check it out! Also dont forget to tune in 3/3/13 @ 6pm!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/obstalkshow

Upcoming Broadcasts 00:30 OBS Talk Show  The Works This is the First Annual Book Month Events begins. Its a project where we pick selected authors to be on the show to interview and showcase they books. This week, we have Krystal Milton, author of Say A Little Prayer.
 
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W
hat is your definition of beautiful?
Do you equate being beautiful with the physical, outer trappings that constitute your physical body? What do you say about yourself when you look in the mirror? 
 
Many women are highly critical of themselves. We complain about our weight, our hair, our looks, our shape, and the list can go on and on. But stop, think about yourself for just a moment. Do you realize that when you criticize yourself, you are in essence saying that you are not good enough? You are saying that you are less than. You are saying God made a huge mistake when He made you. That somehow He must have gotten distracted somewhere along the way. 

Ladies, I understand wanting to be in shape, wanting to look good, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourage exercise, eating properly and presenting yourself at your best at all times. However, when you talk about beauty, it is more than what is seen on the outside. 

I am sure you have heard that a person can be oh
so beautiful
on the outside, but tore up from the floor up ugly on the inside. That means, ugly when it comes to your personality, the way you treat others, even the way you treat yourself.

You can be the most gorgeous woman walking around, looking like America’s Next Top Model, or dressed like you just stepped out of the latest women’s fashion magazine. You can look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, but…if you have
an ugly attitude and disposition then your outer beauty is quickly destroyed, and results to you being less than what God has truly designed you to be.

I am all for keeping myself up, not only in my health, but in my overall appearance. However, let me remind you that real beauty truly does come from
within. Real beauty is who you are when no one is looking. Real beauty is who you are when you see another human being in need, and how you respond to that individual. Real beauty equals being proud (not conceited) of who you are no matter what. Real beauty never fades. Who you are on the inside radiates on the outside whether that comes out in a negative aspect or a positive aspect.

 I wrote a two-book series (novels). The first book in the series is titled Beautiful Ugly. The sequel to Beautiful Ugly is called True Beauty. These books tell the stories of three best friends named Kayla, Envy, and Layla. Each one of these women struggles with the ‘woman they see in the mirror’. They have difficult times accepting themselves the way they are. 

For instance, Layla is morbidly obese so she settles for men to use and abuse her. She refuses to look at how gifted she is as a singer and how loving she is as a woman. How many of us negate our own gifts and talents because we feel like we do not measure up? We feel somewhat ugly and maybe even tainted.

 The other friend is Kacie. Kacie has a physical disability. Like Layla, Kacie battles with the demons of low self-consciousness and low self-esteem. Because she hates the woman she sees in the mirror, she has one child after another, after another, after another, after another, after another, after another, and after another. Yes, seven children, seven baby daddies, and never a husband. If only she could see that she is more than the deformity of her disability. If only Kacie would open her eyes and see that she is  compassionate, forgiving, and hard working. That she deserves the best life has to offer.

Finally, there is the third friend. Successful, beautiful, got it going on Envy. On the outside Envy’s life appears to be perfect, yet, no one knows the deep, dark demons that torment Envy mentally and emotionally, to the point that she uses others to make her feel better about herself. You probably know someone like one of these ladies. You may even be one of them. 

I believe, like there is a thin line between love and hate, there is a thin line between beautiful and ugly. It’s all about who you choose to see when you look deep within yourself. I implore you to love yourself. Accept that you and no one on this earth is perfect. It’s not about who looks better than you, or who has more than you. It’s not about being over weight, underweight, short, tall, pimples or having the clearest of skin. It’s not about the ability to carry the latest designer purse, wear the best designer clothes. It’s not about those things that will one day fade away. Outward beauty should not be predicated on what someone else says about you. It’s about the love you display. It’s all about loving yourself in spite of your shortcomings.

 Through their life experiences, Kacie, Layla, and Envy had to come to the realization that their physical shell was not what needed a makeover. One by one, they began to understand from all that happened in their lives that they needed spiritual beauty makeovers to remove the ugliness of sin in their lives. A makeover that only God, Himself can dispense.

 I hope that from this point forward each of you reading today’s blog post will reevaluate yourself. Know that you have a choice to see the good in you. Accept yourself for being the special woman that you are. Choose to love yourself so you can love others. Affirmthat you are unique, you are one of a kind; you are perfectly designed and divinely created. There is no one else quite like you. That alone makes you beautiful!

 I like this quote by the late actress, Audrey Hepburn. It reads, “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

Beautiful? Ugly? Which one are you? Which one
will you choose to be? Only you and the woman in the mirror can answer this question.


Sheila E. Lipsey is a nationally acclaimed, multi-award winning author with thirteen titles. For more on this author, please visit her website http://shelialipsey.com/
Contact Shelia at books@shelialipsey.
Twitter: @shelialipsey or LIKE her on Facebook at Shelia E. Lipsey Readers