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The Sound of Sleigh Bells. Can’t you hear them? I always think of Christmas even though I’ve never ridden in a sleigh.

As a young girl Beth Hertzler dreamed of riding in a sleigh. Now, as a young Amish woman she’s in mourning long after the death of her fiance. Living with the guilt of what happened, Beth shuns all social activities.

Beth’s well-meaning conniving Aunt Lizzy hatches a plan to get Beth to live again. And the plan involves a talented wood carver named Jonah.

I have always enjoyed Amish Fiction and have read many of Beverly Lewis’s novels.  So when presented with the opportunity to read an Amish Christmas tale, I didn’t hesitate to accept.

Cindy Woodsmall has written a sweet story about two people, each having experienced tragedies and how forgiving oneself can heal old wounds.

To see Cindy’s interview on Nightline about her novels click here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=7676659&page=1. Her interview comes after the commercial.

the sound of sleigh bells

If you would like to learn more, visit the publishers website: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307446534

**Note:  This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

I wrote one sentence in my new novel today.

Am I happy?

Yes.

A book starts with one word, then one sentence, then one paragraph, then a page, then a chapter, then more chapters, then “the end”.

You can’t reach “the end” without a one word beginning.

So, my advice on writing a book.  Just do it.

I’m not the biggest fan of research, but when you write historical novels, well, research is a necessary evil.

Google books is an excellent resource for historical novels. I have read many memoirs and novels from the late 18th and early 19th centuries that have given me great material and facts to use in my novels. Because the books are old, most of the time you can see the entire book on-line.

I wanted to share a quote from one book:

Sowing gold does not always produce a golden harvest, but that knowledge and virtue, when early implanted in the human breast, seldom fail to make ample returns of prudence and felicity.  –R L Edgeworth in the Preface to Vivian by Maria Edgeworth.

I’ve come up with the new name of my Trilogy and I wrote 10 pages this weekend!

Check out the trailers of books coming out from B&H Publishing:

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/fiction/index.asp

I pitched my story, Absalom’s Beauty, to David Webb in May at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. He read about eight pages of the novel and requested I send a proposal to have some others at B&H look at it.

I am flattered that my writing caught his attention enough to request the proposal. Nothing may come of it, in fact, he may have gotten the proposal and wondered what was he thinking in requesting it. But just the same, that he saw something in my writing gives me more hope.

I heard Karen Ball speak at the 2005 ACFW conference in Nashville. Her keynote speeches resonated with me, and I identify with her goldfish moments. I feel a certain kinship because of it. She is a great writer in her own right. I have read her novel, The Breaking Point, and even bought copies to give to friends who I felt were facing some of the same issues. I have other books of hers in my to be read pile. I wish I had time to get to them.

So, check out all the books at B&H and check out the books by Karen Ball. You will not be disappointed.

I heard Kim Vogel Sawyer speak at the 2005 American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference in Nashville, TN. I have since listened to her testimony many times on the conference CD set I purchased. Her talk brings tears to my eyes each time I listen to it.

So imagine my delight when I saw the audio version of her book, Waiting For Summer’s Return, in my local library.

There are more eloquent reviews for the book than I could write, but I loved the story and I am especially happy that I was able to listen to it presented by actress, Barbara Caruso, who brings the story to life with her performance of the German accent.

I highly recommend the book. But if you can get a hold of the audio version, do so.

I’ve just returned from a mountaintop experience, both literally and spiritually. This was my third time at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. The theme for the week was A Writers Journey.

Here are some of my notes from the conference:

A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn – Al Gansky

Click here for a great poem.

Click here for a great research resource.

When writing scenes, try to avoid eating a meal and discussions in cars.

Don’t have experts explain to other experts.

Stop being so literary.

Do not try to be clever.

The heart of a good story is tension and the heart of tension is unmet desire.

I’m writing from the Blue Ridge Mountains at a place call Ridgecrest where I’m attending a writer’s conference.

I love it here.

Last evening there was a question and answer session with editors, authors and agents. The last question was how long was it from the time you decided to write to the time you were published?

Some published almost immediately. One of the authors waited over 20 years. That same author had polled 60 authors and found that on average they had not published until age 48. (I have eight years to go–I hope I publish before that time.)

Before this question and answer session, I was questioning whether there would be a next year for me. It gets discouraging. This year the discouraging thing is that my novel doesn’t have the word count needed for most of the major publishers.

One liked my hook. One liked my voice. Those were women. I pitch to men today. It’s a romance, so I don’t know how that will go.

I have tons of revision to do on my first chapters.

My prayer this week has been, “How long O Lord?”

In 1996 I thought I might like to write, so I bought a box of paper. Yes, my first act of writing was to buy a box of paper. For years that box of paper sat in storage.

In 2000 I took some online writing classes, because I didn’t even know how to start a story. I had the setting but no character or plot. The first writing class helped me find the story. Now stories are everywhere for me. In fact, I have so many it is almost paralyzing, because I don’t know which one to write. I like them all.

Psalm 13:1-3 (New International Version)

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

Hardback books: $1

Paperback books: 50 cents

I came home from the friends of the library book sale with:

13 Love Inspired Novels from 2007

Les Miserable by Victor Hugo

Ronald Reagan’s Spiritual Heritage

Three by Ted Dekker

Central Park by Debra White Smith

Two Volumes of Select Editions

Black Beauty

Heidi

Robin Hood

The Prodigal by Beverly Lewis

Deadline by Randy Alcorn

The Trouble With Tulip by Mindy Starns Clark

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

3 Debbie Macomber Novels

The Husband by Dean Koontz

Firstborn by Robin Lee Hatcher

And

7 Agatha Christie novels (nicely bound by Bantam)

Oh, and I donated a copy of my self-published novel and it was purchased within 10 minutes.  (Well, yes I did happen to know the person who purchased it –she is my sister’s good friend –Thank you, Linda!)

I’m half-way through my book, Absalom’s Beauty! I wrote 26 pages on Saturday.

I don’t know how I’ll come up with enough words to write another 150 pages.

White Soul by Brandt Dodson – Click here for more.

Oxygen by Randy Ingermanson and John B Olson. See my post, God Speaks.

Judges – Samson – There are many story ideas from his story. You can read about him in Judges chapter 13 – chapter chapter 16

Ruth – A beautiful story of love toward a mother-in-law. That doesn’t happen often.

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