Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Bookshelf becomes BRUSHING WINGS

Well, 2013 has rolled around, and yes, I'm re-vamping the newsletter. 

It has a new name - BRUSHING WINGS

It has a new format - an e-mail set-up that will come directly to your inbox every other month. If you're not already subscribed, and would like to be...sign up below. There's a giveaway with every edition!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bookshelf on Hiatus

Just realized I probably should say something about the fact that The Bookshelf Newsletter is on a little hiatus for 2012. But we'll be back January go ahead and look around...go ahead and subscribe! :D

In the meantime, you can find me at any of the following cyber hangouts:

My Facebook reader page
Creative Writing Forces - A writing blog I co-write with two other authors
Twitter: @DeliaLatham

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Season of Beauty and Change

Autumn has arrived since the last Bookshelf. A vivid color show is being enacted all around me. Takes my breath away, every year. I love the Fall…just dread the thought of the cold, "naked" months to come. But knowing Spring follows Winter gives me something to look forward to—hope and a future…

Let me think about what else is new in my life since last time…

I've started working with a couple of dear friends, Tanya Stowe and Mary Manners, on a new blog called Creative Writing Forces. I hope you'll check it out and be regular readers.

I've also joined the staff of Clash of the Titles, and I'm thoroughly enjoying my association with this group of writers. If you haven't visited, you should. It's a place "where authors battle and readers judge." So bring your voter's mindframe and check it out.

Been working on edits for Gypsy's Game. I was hoping to give you all a release date with this newsletter, but we're not quite there yet. I've truly discovered the meaning of "rewrites" with this book…and I can't say I enjoy this part of the process. But, as with anything that renders any kind of positive results, it requires more than a minimum of effort, and I can only hope you find the end result worth the wait. :)

On to this month's Bookshelf. Good stuff! You're going to enjoy it.

Lena Nelson Dooley is our spotlight author. Lena's always a joy, and you won't want to miss her interview.

Our devotion was provided by Jude Urbanski. Jude aimed "Ties That Bind" at writers, but I can see where this one would apply to any person with any goal in life. Read it. :)

The review this edition is for a Christmas story by Cindy Woodsmall. Loved it!

Winnie Griggs brings the Writing Tips, talking about those all-important transitions. I found it quite informative, and I think you will, as well.

Let's get right to the good stuff, and - as always - thank you for being Bookshelf Newsletter subscribers!

Author of Note: Lena Nelson Dooley

Welcome to the Bookshelf, Lena! It was such a pleasure meeting you at the ACFW Conference, and it made me want to know you better. Maybe this little chat will do that.

How long have you been writing? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew that’s what you wanted to do?

I’ve written all my life. I came from a family where everyone wrote things. The only other person in my immediate family who is published is my brother. He had a book of sermons published. Then a few years ago, he wrote two books just for the family and had them printed about why he believes what he does.

There was a week of “aha” moments back in 1984, and I tell about them in a testimony on the About Me page of my blog:

I know you’re excited about your recent release, Maggie's Journey. What inspired you to write this book?

The McKenna’s Daughters series is one of those that the Lord gave me some time ago. The whole idea came from Him. And the stories have percolated in my brain for several years before they were contracted.

What’s your favorite scene from Maggie's Journey? Can you share it with us?

I always love the kissing scenes. But there were several other scenes of discovery in the book that I loved as well.

What can we expect from you next?

Book two of the series, Mary’s Blessing, has been written and will release in May 2012.

You have many published books, Lena. Have you ever wished you’d written any scene/character/plot twist, etc., differently?

Actually, once a book has gone through the publishing process, I let it go. It’s too late to look back and say, “If only.” I refuse to live my life on If onlys.

What author most influenced your writing style?

I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life, too. I’m sure all the good novels I’ve read have affected my writing for the better. I have had several readers say my writing style is similar to Tracie Peterson and Lauraine Snelling.

Do you have a favorite verse of scripture? If so, what makes it special to you?

At various stages of my life, God has given me a special verse for a season. Here are a few of them: Psalm 37:4-5, Jeremiah 29:13-14a, Philippians 3: 10. At the time God gave each one of them, it was important to my spiritual growth in that season.

What one piece of writing advice has been most beneficial to you in developing your writing career?

Keep on writing and learning and don’t be afraid to “murder your darlings”—those carefully crafted sentences that you think are essential to the story. Many times, they are not.

Just for fun…what super power would you like to be given for just one day?

I really would like to truly have the Lord’s compassion and love for all men. I’m not sure I could deal with it more than one day. The depth of that love and compassion would be way too explosive for a human heart.

Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website, blog, etc.?

All of them are also on, but many are also on and

Thank you for visiting the Bookshelf Newsletter, Lena!

About Lena Nelson Dooley:

Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of ACFW and president of the local chapter. She recently received the Will Rogers Medallion award for western fiction.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat. She has been awarded three Carol Award silver pins and received the American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award at their national conference. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially her fans.

About Maggie's Journey:

A girl who’s been lied to her whole life…

Near her eighteenth birthday, Margaret Lenora Caine finds a chest hidden in the attic containing proof that she was adopted. The daughter of wealthy merchants in Seattle, she feels betrayed both by her real parents and by the ones who raised her.

Maggie desires a place where she belongs. But her mother’s constant criticism and reminders that she doesn't fit the mold of a young woman of their social standing have already created tension in their home. With the discovery of the family secret, all sense of her identity is lost.

When Maggie asks to visit her grandmother in Arkansas, her father agrees on the condition that she take her Aunt Georgia as a chaperone and his young partner, Charles Stanton, as protection on the journey. Will she discover who she really is and, more importantly, what truly matters most in life?

Notes of Devotion: Jude Urbanski

Ties That Bind

The San Francisco Chronicle carried the story about the female humpback whale entangled by masses of fishing lines and crab traps. Hundreds of pounds of lines and traps threatened her life and she struggled to stay afloat. Lines pulled and tightened around her body, her tail and her mouth.

A fisherman spotted the distressed whale and radioed an environmental group for help. The group wasted little time diving into the water to try and free her from bondage. They worked hours with curved knives and determination and finally unchained the whale.

Humpback Whale
When at last freed, the whale swam around in what seemed like joyous circles, but what happened next became a memory never to be forgotten. She swam back to the divers and, one at a time, gently nudged them, pushing them around a little. In her playfulness, it was like she was saying thank you. The diver who cut the lines out of her mouth says he’ll never forget how the whale’s eyes followed his every movement.

An unbelievable, heartwarming story of kindness.

How do we as writers get untangled from ties that bind? What fishing lines or crab traps do we strain against each day?

Let’s have fun with the word BIND.

• Are you plagued by the big “B” or Writer’s Block? Is this another word for boredom, bitterness or bewilderment? There’s always a way out of this mire and it varies with writers. Look for the chip in the block and you’ll find the key. Be brutally honest with yourself as to what’s blocking your writing. A sabbatical is sometimes the answer.

• Maybe the omnipresent “I” of interference is your binder. Simply put, life gets in the way. You know how it goes. Life happens on the way to the computer. A secret? If you want something done, ask a busy person. Ask the writer mom/dad who works, cares for the kids, car pools, covers the PTA and has a fun hobby. They make things happen. In your eventful life, you can too, with discipline and design.

• The “N” stands, of course, for the No of the rejection letter from the agent or the publisher or the contest. After you’ve received a few rejections, even if some are the golden variety, a thick skin is still needed. You learn and continue forward. It’s no surprise rejections are part of writing.

• Associate “D” with dreams, understanding well many people have forgotten how to dream. A small note, encouraging me to take time to dream, is stuck on my bathroom mirror. All reminders needed. A lack of dreams binds hard, yet dreams remain essential for writers.

Our assignment is to look for ways to become untangled from the lines or traps that bind like the whale was bound. Look for divers sent to rescue. They may come in assorted packages.

The Word tells us to not be weary in well doing for in due season we will reap a reward if we do not give up. Galations 6:9.

About the author:

Jude Urbanski, novelist, columnist and free lance writer, loves to write both fiction and non fiction. She and husband live in Indiana and volunteer in church and community.

Joy Restored, a novel of women's fiction with inspirational romance, will be released by Desert Breeze Publishing in mid-November.

About Joy Restored:

Kate Davidson feels God has played a cruel joke when she's left with three small children after the death of her disturbed, Vietnam vet husband. She is so angry with God, she almost misses the incredible love offered by rich widower Seth Orbin, no stranger to loss and grief.

Notes on Writing: Winnie Griggs

Getting From Here To There: Transitions

When writing your story, you don’t want to include a detailed account of every action taken by every character in your story, nor do you always want to tell the story linearly. Instead, a good writer will select those scenes that are not only of interest but that also progress the plot in some way. Which means, by necessity, gaps will occur: gaps in time, in movement from one location to another, in point of view, in scene focus.
Transitions are those small but oh-so-important words or phrases that help guide your reader across these story gaps smoothly and while still remaining grounded in your story. There are several techniques or devices that you can utilize to do this effectively. Some of them are:

The Direct Method or ‘Clean Break’- Simply tell the reader what change has taken place:

Early the following Monday, Michael.... (Time change)

Once he reached the parking garage.... (Location change)

Mood - Use feelings, emotions, atmosphere to help convey the change:

As Stan pulled out of the company garage onto the congested highway, his hands clutched the wheel in a death grip and the cords in his neck tightened. It would take forever to get out of this tangle of traffic...

Once the city was behind him, however, the tension drained away and he breezed down the open road that led to his summer cabin.  (Time and Location change)

The Five Senses - Use sound, sight, touch, taste and/or smell to bridge a story gap:

Margie hummed as she applied an extra spray of her favorite cologne, enjoying the light floral scent.

Andy’s nose started to twitch before Margie even entered the room. Why did she insist on using that nasty flowery perfume that always made him sneeze? (POV change)

Cassie heard a distant grumble of thunder off to the east as she closed her book. Maybe Allan was finally getting some of that rain he’d been hoping for.

Allan squinted through the windshield, looking for a safe place to pull over and wait out the violent storm. This wasn’t what he’d had in mind when he’d prayed for a ‘bit of rain’.   (POV and location change)

An Event - Use an ongoing, recent or anticipated event to unify your scenes:

Hesitating for only a heartbeat, Lynda dropped the letter into the mail slot, determined to make the first move toward reconciliation. When a week passed without a response, however, she began to wonder if contacting her grandfather had been such a wise move after all. (Time change)

The near-crash triggered a memory, one she’d rather not dwell on. But there it was, full blown and swooshing in like an avalanche. That other crash had happened six years ago. Her mom was driving her and her friends to the airport... (Time change - flashback)

A Character (whether human or otherwise) - Use the mention of a character to guide us through a story shift:

Stacey pulled into her driveway on Friday afternoon, wondering how she’d let her sister talk her into dog-sitting their troublesome mutt for the weekend. She really wasn’t big into the whole pet scene.

But by Sunday evening, Rufus had wormed his shaggy way right into her heart. (Time change)

An Object - Use an object or activity to move from one scene to another without jarring the reader:

Roger halted mid-sentence as a baseball came crashing through the window. Blast it all, he’d told Jimmy not to play ball in the yard.

He picked up the ball and marched to the door . Jimmy was going to pay to fix this, even if it meant he had to mow every yard in town to do it. (Change in scene focus)

The Environment- Use weather, terrain, scenery, seasons to depict change:

The autumn seemed long that year. Perhaps it was because she was so homesick for the Ozarks, where nature painted the mountainsides with magnificent blazes of color. Winter was easier, and by spring, the Texas gulf coast was beginning to feel, if not like home, at least less alien to her.
(Time change - extended period)

These are just a sampling. There are, of course, other ways to handle transitions. Just keep in mind - your main goal in using transitions is to keep your reader grounded and oriented in the who, what, where, and when of your story without their having to reread passages to figure it out.

About Winnie:

Winnie Griggs is a multi-published romance author who currently writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired and Love Inspired Historical lines. In addition to her March release, THE PROPER WIFE, Winnie had two additional books hit the shelves in 2011, SECOND CHANCE FAMILY in July and HOME FOR THANKSGIVING, a novella in the ONCE UPON A THANKSGIVING anthology in October. Readers can learn more about Winnie and her books at or connect with her on Facebook.

About Home for Thanksgiving:

All that stands between Ruby Anne Tuggle and a fresh start is an escort to Tyler, Texas.  Rancher Griff Lassiter is too kind to refuse, but too wary of being hurt again to offer anything but protection on the journey. 

Then a fever forces an unexpected detour and a chance to find the place they both belong...