Gail's Book Nook

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Looking Out the Window: K Dawn Byrd Talks about Writing Books in Thirty Days and Her Latest Book

She'll give away a download of her new book, This Time for Keeps. To enter to win leave a comment and email address.

Many writers grew up with a love of reading. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read? I was such an avid reader as a child that mother has said many times that I was so quiet she never knew I was even in the house. Nancy Drew was my absolute favorite.
Why do you write? I first began writing seriously about four years ago. I write because it's more than a hobby, it's a passion. I can't NOT write. I write because the words bubble up inside me and I have to get them on the page.

Tell us about your latest book. Here's the cover blurb from This Time for Keeps:
India McGuire's peaceful life is shattered when on the night of her engagement to David Richards, she comes face to face with Chase Porter, a long lost love. India must come to terms with her overpowering feelings for Chase and choose between David, the neighbor who says he loves her, and Chase, the man who broke her heart.
Chase's plans of leaving quietly turn to disaster when he finds that it's impossible to disappear without seeing India one last time. Feelings begin to surface that he believed buried forever and he finds himself fighting to win her back even as David struggles to hold onto her.
India longs to follow her heart, but she's been hurt too deeply. Who will she choose? The neighbor who can provide stability or the man she vowed to love forever who may once again heed to the call of the open road?
Where do you get ideas for your books? My ideas for my books come from everywhere. Newspapers. TV. The internet. I recently saw an article about a homeless man who had inherited millions. I'm using the idea for my December 2012 release in the Zoe Mack Mystery Series.
In three words describe your style of writing. Fast. Frantic. 30 days. (Sorry, I don't count the 30 as a word. It's a number. LOL)
How do you get to know your characters? I fill out character worksheets in order to get to know them better and I'm constantly asking myself if my characters would say this or do that as I write.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write? I write every book in 30 days. I'll plot out how many words I need each day on a calendar and use it to keep track of where I should be. I write in my favorite room in the house. It's a small den without a TV, but it does have two 55-gallon fish tanks. I take breaks from time to time and watch the fish swim.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer? I'm a plotter. In order to write a book in 30 days, a pretty thorough plot is a requirement. That's not to say that my characters don't sometimes take me down roads I hadn't planned, because they do and that's okay too.
What are you working on right now? Right now, I'm about 75 percent finished with my April 2012 release. It's called Shattered Identity and is the sequel to Mistaken Identity, my first young adult novel release. Several readers wrote me asking me to tell Lexi's story and Shattered Identity was born.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Don't write for fortune or fame because it may never come. Write as I do...for the simple joy of placing words on the page.
Visit K Dawn's Web site at
and her blog at

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Looking Out the Window: October in Destin, Florida

During Thanksgiving I'm thankful for so many blessings, church, family, friends and good times. It's fitting to put up photos from our fall trip to Destin, Florida.

Waiting for sunset on the deck with friends. The lady in pink is ninety-six. The salt air's gotta' be good for you.

   It's almost time. More people show up to watch.

The view from a twelfth-story balcony just before sunset

The sun is setting


                                              Side note: Hubby and me at Fisherman's Wharf                              


Hats and Horns!

Congratulations, Pam...

Pam Williams is the winner of Love Returned

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Looking Out the Window: A Chat with Mildred Colvin, a Disciplined Writer

Mildred Colvin talks about the writing life and her books of romance, faith, forgiveness and trust.

She'll be giving away a copy of her new e-book, Love Returned. To enter to win, leave a comment and email address.
Hi Mildred. It's great to have you. First, tell us a little about yourself.

Gail, thank you for inviting me here today. I write sweet, inspirational romances and have fifteen in print at this time. I’m excited to announce my first novella to be included in an anthology, titled Home for the Holidays, will be published early fall of next year in A Cascades Christmas by Barbour Publishing. I am privileged to be working with some very talented ladies. Mary Davis will contribute A Carpenter’s Christmas, Gina Welborn is writing All Ye Faithful, and Debby Lee’s story is titled One Evergreen Night. All four stories will tie in together as the four heroes are close friends who work in the lumber industry in one way or another.
I'll look forward to that. Tell us about your latest book.

I have recently self-published a contemporary romance set in central Missouri. Love Returned is the story of Megan McGinnis and Scott Landis who serve as Webelos Scout leaders. But Megan has a problem. She begins to notice coincidences about Scott and his son that lead her to believe his son is the baby she gave up for adoption nine years ago.
What an interesting plot. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I’ve worked in foster care and am an adoptive mother. Adoption interests me with each side having so many emotional issues to work through. This is true of Megan and Scott. Megan as the young teenager who gave up her baby and Scott as the adoptive parent who doesn’t want to lose his son. There’s a twist in the story that may surprise you.
Also for the setting, I served as a Cub Scout and Webelos Scout leader for several years while my husband was the Cub Master. I even researched for this book while attending Cub Scout camp. It’s always fun to write something you have first-hand knowledge of.
Absolutely. How do you get to know your characters?
I use charts when I have an idea for a story. These include character information that helps me learn about my people beyond their physical appearance. Basic personalities are determined along with their goals, conflicts, fears, spiritual issues, and motivations. A characters background often makes them the way they are in the book. But to really get to know the characters, I need to place them in the story and let them show me what they are like as they react to their surroundings and the other characters.
What themes do you write about?
I seem to do a lot of writing on forgiveness. I’m not sure why? Maybe because I feel to forgive or to be forgiven is so important. Trust is another favorite of mine. I try to write whatever God has laid on my heart as it fits the story.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My schedule is to begin writing by 9 or 10 in the morning until about noon. I start again in the afternoon for 3-4 hours. I don’t write on Sunday and find that usually at least one day during the week is filled with other activities with my family.
Lately, I’ve been writing at the desk on the desktop computer, but as colder weather creeps in, I’m finding more comfy surroundings with my netbook. The fun thing about a netbook is that it’ll go wherever I want it to except in direct sunlight.
It's great to have that versatility. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations?
I can’t imagine many writers having total freedom to write when they want to without interruptions. I’m no exception. I have children, and even though they’re adults and only one lives close, they still need attention at times.
How do you balance it?
I plan on at least one day a week being taken up by my family. The day may vary, but if I know it’s likely to happen sometime during the week, I don’t mind it when it does. Other than that, I try to use the free time I have to good advantage. Not that I always do, but I try.
A wise way to handle it. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m definitely a plotter. How can you write a book if you haven’t already written the ideas down and worked them out so they fit together? LOL! I used to write with my sister—and never understood her. She sat down and started typing. She had very few notes, but could tell her story verbally because it was in her head. Not the details, just the basic story. I have my charts filled out before I open the Snowflake program and fill it in. Then I take the synopsis from it and begin re-working it, expanding it, and shuffling the order if I need to. Basically, I write my book before I ever begin writing the first draft.
That sounds like the way to have a tightly written book. Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
Yes, in everything I write, my faith in God and His unchanging love shows. I’ve thought about writing simple sweet romances without the spiritual message, but I’m not sure I could. I think you’ll find a message of faith in every one of my books. It may not be stand-in-your-face in every one of them, but it’s there.
What are you working on right now?
I am nearing the finish line of a book that I’ve written three times. I first wrote Cora several years ago and realized it was much too long to sell, so I set it aside. My first book was accepted for publication in February of 2001, and because of an unexpected slot opening, the publisher rushed it to the press in May only three months later. After that flurry of activity died down, I wanted to send something else - maybe Cora. I quickly cut Cora in half and it was published two years later in 2003. Now, with rights reverted, I am doing an intensive rewrite of the original story, adding about 30,000 words to my shortened version and changing the title. Love’s Tender Call hasn’t been sent out to another publisher yet, but I hope to do that sometime this month. I’ll let you know later how that turns out.
Sounds good! What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Right now I would be making quilts. I love to piece quilt tops as an expression of creativity. Each is different and there’s something so comforting about wrapping up in a quilt when it’s cold out. I’ve given finished quilts to fund raisers for various needs and some have brought a few hundred dollars, which I think is pretty neat. I’d never be able to sell them for that, yet they can serve a useful purpose in this way.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Gail, again I thank you for having me here. You have a wonderful ministry of introducing readers to authors. I’d like to invite everyone to visit me at my blog where you may find another favorite author in the interviews I’ve posted there. It’s at:  Also you can find me at, a group blog with four other authors. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to leave with just a short teaser from my book, Love Returned.
Great! Here's an excerpt.
Megan hung the last ornament on the tree and turned to find Scott standing two inches from her with a twinkle in his eye and a sprig of greenery in his hand. He held it above her head.
She backed up but stopped when a branch touched her back. “That wouldn’t be mistletoe, would it?”
He nodded, took a step forward and grinned. “None other.”
Surely he wouldn’t kiss her in front of Randy. She looked from one side to the other before finding Randy leaning against the doorframe watching. A huge grin brightened his face. A slow burn started in her cheeks.
Her objection might as well have been a request for all the notice Scott took. He leaned toward her, still holding the mistletoe in place above her head.
“Aren’t you supposed to be watching the spaghetti?” Megan couldn’t get away. A step either way might knock the tree down.
Scott shook his head, coming ever closer. “Spaghetti’s ready. I took it off the stove.”
His smooth baritone surrounded her while his spicy aftershave drew her even closer. One more inch and she’d be in his arms. Warmth from his body reached for her, and she swayed. Then Randy giggled.
Scott dipped his head for a quick peck on her cheek and straightened laughing.
“Oh.” Megan’s cheeks flamed, and her pulse raced. Disappointment and relief warred inside.
“I’ll do better when there’s no audience.” Scott stepped back after his whispered promise.
Thanks for visiting, Mildred.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Award-winning Author Darlene Franklin

 Award winning author Darlene Franklin     discusses writing and talks about Lone Star Trail, the first book in her new Texas series

Hi Darlene, it looks as though reading has been a big part of your life. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?

My mother introduced me to the joy of reading as a young child (I can still quote large portions of The Cat in the Hat, which was fairly new when I was a child!) I graduated to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but by the time I was ten, I was bored with the children’s section of the library and started reading adult novels. I had a marvelous list of books you should read before college, and I read as many as I could. I went through my Charles Dickens’ phase as a high freshman and Thomas Hardy as a junior.
It’s always interesting to learn what inspires writers. What inspired you to write this particular book?
I have a tremendous interest in the multitude of immigrants who have made America what it is. My first book, Romanian Rhapsody, featured Romanian orphans; my first historical foray, Dressed in Scarlet (my BOTY-nominated novella from Snowbound Colorado Christmas), had an Italian hero. So when I looked at starting points for writing a Texas story, I was drawn to the German Verein of the 1840s.
Even one of my as-yet-unpublished books, Calm Before the Storm, deals with Korean immigrants!
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Ideas are everywhere. They come from things I see as I’m driving (a castle on a hillside in Kentucky inspired Plainsong and Knight Music, my two most recent Heartsong releases). The name of a place can spark an interest (although I haven’t sold any of those stories yet, lol). Often, a historical event sparks a book. It can be a natural disaster (hurricane, in Beacon of Love; worst blizzard in Snowbound Colorado Christmas); a war, a folk tale, any one of a number of things. I can learn a tidbit, like the story of Blanche Leathers, the first woman to be a licensed steamboat pilot; and that in turn sparks a story idea.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m a bit of both. I start out with a synopsis that provides most of the basic framework. I add to that, scenes and chapters and even characters as the story develops.
Do you put yourself in your books?
I have to. I mean, they do all come out of my head and heart. But I know what you mean. When I imagine what emotions my characters might be feeling as I put them through their paces, their reactions often reflect how I think I might feel (or have felt!) Some of them, more so than others. I also usually write about places I have been, so they are based on first-hand observations.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas (scheduled for release next fall from Barbour). In Bride’s Rogue, my straightlaced Victorian heroine inherits a steamboat from the father she never knew—as well as the resident gambler.
That sounds like a fun book. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Start with this: read, read, read and write, write, write. I just taught a workshop on settings. I read from four different books: Tolkien and Lewis (which might be considered classical literature), Nancy Pickard, one of my favorite mystery authors—and JR Moehringer’s memoir, The Tender Bar. The four titles suggest the breadth of my reading.
The other piece is this: Talent doesn’t matter as much as a thick skin, perseverance, and a willingness to learn.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Darlene.


About Lone Star Trail
  Lone Star Trail is the first book in a six-book series about the Morgan family, set in Texas in the 1840s. Jud Morgan runs the Running M Ranch near Victoria, Texas; he is immensely proud of his Texas roots. His father died in the war for independence from Mexico and then Comanches captured his youngest sister. He resists the arrival of the German immigrants (the Verein), since their aim is to create a “New Germany” on Texas soil.
Wande Fleischer is one of those German immigrants. Torn from her beloved native land, she faces disappointment on every side when her fiancé abandons her and she loses a sister to illness in the swamps of Carlshafen as soon as they arrive in Texas.
Can these two see past their differences to the love God has for them?

Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in cowboy country—Oklahoma—near her son’s family. She recently signed the contract for her nineteenth novel. She is also a prolific devotional author with over 200 devotions in print.
Visit Darlene’s blog at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Blog Award / Visit Sixteen Blogs

It's always an honor to have one's blog noticed by someone. I'd like to thank  Tracy Krauss at Tracy Krauss Expression Express  for giving mine an award. To visit her blog click on her blog's name or the picture.

I'm presenting the award to the following blogs. To visit them, click on their names.

The Balanced Writer
Laurean's Lore
JDP News
E. A. West Writing
Larry Hammersley
Inspirational Writer
Christian Regency 
Linda Weaver Clarke
Living The Body of Christ
Romantic Reflections
Life in an RV - The Roving Writer
Infinite Characters

To claim the award:

1. Thank the giver and link back to his or her site
2. Provide seven random facts about yourself
3. Pass the award to fifteen other blogs, let them know, and link to their sites
4. Copy the award logo and paste it on your site.

Seven Random Facts about me. Hmm. Let me see.
1. Two of my favorite Bible verses are from Matthew 22: 37 - 38, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself..."
2. I like to swim
3. There isn't much better than watching the sun set over the ocean
4. Fish, especially fried, makes a great meal
5. I enjoy making flower arrangements
6. I've always loved to read and rarely find a book I don't like
7. My favorite sports to watch are college football and professional baseball