Story Tellers


Let’s play a game. 

Ah, don’t say it’s too early! Or your brain is fried. I know better. Come on! Pleeease!

We’re going to write a little story together. Come on! 

Genre: Romantic Comedy

I’ll start with one sentence and then the next person pick up where I left off. One sentence or two but no more! Then the next and next. It’ll be fun. You know it will. I’ll post the final product on my facebook page on Monday. 

Jane clomped down the hall in heels she hated, but right now all she had over Amber Donaldson was the three extra inches. Not that height would get her the promotion, but at this point in the game she’d stoop–well not so much stoop– but tower to get any recognition she could. She swung open Jeremy’s door and… (your turn)

Oh and this isn’t for publication so don’t sweat the editing or perfect word choice. Notice, I didn’t. Have fun!

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Manuscript


Hey everyone! This week has been crazy. My son has Croup. So I’ve been kind of scarce in the comments.

And I’ve been trying to hang out more on my Facebook page so if you want to chit-chat daily, “like” the page (sidebar) and hope and pray it shows up in your feed so you’ll remember me! ha!

Today, I’m over at the sweet Hannah Conway’s blog sharing 3 tips on how to spring clean your manuscript!  But before you head over here’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. My son has his first sparring Karate tournament Saturday. Yes, I plan to yell, “Sweep the leg, Johnny!” And if I can come up with one of those Tom Toms (it is a tom tom right?) from Karate Kid II, I’m gonna use it!

But before I go to his sparring event, I’m speaking at my writer’s group on Deep POV. Deep POV is like when Patrick Swayze stepped into Whoopie Goldberg. Creepy, but it’s becoming your character. So you can probably guess how it’s gonna go tomorrow. lol

And I’m knee deep in paid critiques which is awesome! If you want fresh eyes on your manuscript see my Critiquing/Editing services page and email me! I’d love to partner with you!

Have a great weekend, and come by Hannah’s! CLICK HERE! 


Speaking of movies, give me a favorite line from one of yours?

Revenge: Tips for a strong story


My husband was out
of town and I couldn’t sleep. So I snagged my iPad and went to Netflix. What
could I watch that would knock me out?
I clicked on
Revenge. Season 1. Now, I didn’t watch this show when it came out because I
wasn’t crazy about the title. And I already have enough shows I’m watching.
But within the first
five minutes, I was hooked.
Located in the
Hamptons, on the beach. Exquisite beach houses. All things I happen to find
As the show opens this quote comes onscreen: “Before you
embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Confucius
It starts with a
dead body falling on the beach while the narrator talks about two wrongs not
making a right. Another bullet is fired. A party is going on.
The heroine’s voice says, “Real
satisfaction can only be found in one of two places. Absolute forgiveness or
mortal vindication. This story is not about forgiveness.”


I know immediately
what this story is about. I’m lured in with this man being murdered and a big
“You shouldn’t
be here,” the heroine says.
“That makes two
of us,” some random guy I haven’t figured out says. (I now know who he is.)
through Action
The man just got shot! At his own engagement party…or
did he?
I’m immersed the
minute the show starts. The inciting incident happens. A man in his tux is shot
down on the beach and I know it’s about revenge, already, so I’m following
closely to see why does this woman want revenge? What will she do to get it?
Shoot this man? Did she shoot this man? Who shot this man?
As a writer, I’m
hanging on everything that happens. I’m watching how they unfold this story.
And they do it well.
Instead of simply
telling me what happened or beginning with back story, they don’t. They bring
it in in “real time” while showing. They don’t give me the answer to
who shot the man.
Victoria and Conrad Grayson
Not yet. They keep
me hanging on, by going into what happened before. If I want answers, I must
keep watching and because it’s done in real time and more action is present,
I’m willing to watch to see. And even as I watch the real time backstory, they
have yet to give me everything. I still have to try and piece things together
and continue watching. It’s a delicious thrill! And it involves the Grayson family. 
Every time I think I
know something, they prove I don’t. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a
motive. Everyone has a secret. With every jaw dropping moment, I have to press
on. And so at 2:30 in the morning on a work night, I’m on episode 7. Still
watching. I must know!
This story may not
be about forgiveness, which as a Christian I believe in. I believe that God
alone will bring justice to injustice. But what I’m discovering is, it’s more
than revenge. It’s about the setbacks, the consequences of choices, the
no-turning-back moments. It’s the story question that begs an answer: “Is
revenge worth it?” She may not think she has anything to lose, but she
does. With each day, she discovers she absolutely does. So will revenge drive
her forward? Will she stop?
And just when she
thinks she will…something happens to force her to keep going.
Great writing!
I may not agree with
revenge, but I understand this character’s motives. They’re strong. They’re
tied to love and family. I can relate. I may want revenge on someone who hurts
those I love. I believe her. While she’s making the wrong decisions, in my opinion
based on my beliefs, I can sympathize.
I like her sidekick,
who really just wants her to forgive, but he helps her because he’s hoping that
she’ll realize the kind of life she could have, with a certain someone, if
she’ll just let it go.
Even the villainous
characters at times are likable. They’re motives are strong. I see their human
side. I even root for them to get out of the predicaments they’re put
in (sometimes).
I’m about two
episodes away from finishing season 1. I’ve Tivo’d season 2. I think I’ve
missed two, but I can watch them online. And I will.
How about your stories? Do they have all of these elements to keep readers
turning pages?
What keeps you turning pages? Any of these elements?
Do you watch Revenge?
*I will be announcing the winner for the Name That Boat contest! You have until midnight tonight to enter as many names for the sailboat as you’d like! Hop on over to my facebook page to participate! 
*Join me Monday with Joanne Bischof, author of Be Still My Soul! 

Name that Boat!

Last Tuesday, I opened up another contest on my Facebook page! Name That Boat!

I’m working on a new story and my hero, who lives in Tampa, loves to sail. And he loves his sail boat. 

So I’m asking for some help in naming that boat! You don’t have to know anything about the character, that’s what makes it even more fun reading the answers and choosing. 

But I will say…he’s a funny guy and he uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism. But generally, it’s good humored. Generally. So that’s all I’m saying.

Now, here’s how to enter: 

  • You can comment as many names as you like on MY FACEBOOK PAGE! after you “LIKE” my facebook page! 😉 Hey, thanks for liking me! I like you too!

  • If I choose a name that’s been entered multiple times, I’m awarding the prize to the person who entered it first.

  • Your name gets a second entry if you share this contest on your facebook page and another entry if you tweet about it!
  • Contest ends: Friday, October 19th. I’ll announce the winner on my blog, Monday, October 21st! *only  in US/Canada
The winner receives a $10 Starbucks 
or Amazon Card (winner’s choice)! 

 Have you ever been sailing? Do you love it? 
Hate it? Get sea legs? 

**photocredit: freedigitalphotos

I Can’t Get Enough Big Daddy!

Big Daddy Weave is one of my favorite bands. Besides the fact his voice is beautiful, their message through song is powerful and moving. I love feel good tunes for sure and some ballads move me. But Big Daddy always raises chill bumps on my skin. I feel their faith through the music and the lyrics. 

Seems I always find one or two songs in every manuscript I write that Big Daddy helps me bring to life. One day, I shall put them in the acknowledgment section of a novel, or all. ha!

I shared their song Redeemed on July 4th but I’ve been listening to this song on repeat for a while. I love the message even if it’s one of their older songs. Their new album is amazing! Check it out on Spotify and iTunes!

What have you been listening to? 

Good-Bye Summer

In my neck of the woods, summer is gone. Oh the heat still toys with us, trying to play mind-games on our already fried brains. Fried from heat. Fried from to-do lists, schedules, etc…

This is my last week with my kids before the new school year begins. I’m always nervous for them. Nervous they’ll get picked on, nervous they’ll have rotten teachers with no compassion, nervous they’ll be nervous. Generally, I’m not a worrier.  But this time of year, I am. 

I know God has it all under control. I know He’s promised to take care of them. I trust Him to do it, but those pre-school jitters still get me looking like a drunk marionette. Right now, you’re picturing me as a trashed Pinocchio-ette. Admit it.

This summer has flown by. I mean really. I can’t figure out where summer went. So this week I’m taking a blogging break and I’ll probably be online less, although my iPhone makes it hard. School supplies are bought. Clothes and shoes are purchased and my house is mostly clean. So I’m taking this last week to hang out with my kids and yeah, do some writing when they get sick of me. Depending on how much sarcasm I drop will determine how long it takes before they beg me to go away! 


I’ll be back, you can all sigh in relief now, on Monday, August 6th and we’ll all get to hang out at Cuppa Josie’s in Shelby Lake with Lisa Jordan. Expect a recipe, a super cool ending to the day, and lots of coffee, tea, and pastries! Holla!

Would you rather take math classes the rest of your life with a teacher you like, or creative writing with a teacher you detest? Why?
*photocredit: freedigitalphotos

A Whole Day Cleaning Out the…

Yeah, the pantry. School is starting in two weeks! Two. Two weeks and my house is simply not ready for grumpy heads rising before 6:30 a.m., heading to school to beat the tardy bell at 7:20.

It’s not ready for starving mouths that need after-school snacks and all that goes along with five days of kid-torture.

My pantry was ridiculous.

So maybe I didn’t spend a whole day on it, but I swear I did spend an hour and it’s possible more than one bag of trash went out, I will not admit to any more than one. 

I reorganized my spice rack, moved a few things to different cabinets, shopped for school supplies and got them ready to go in boxes, and basically cleaned house. No, not basically, I did clean house.

I was quiet online yesterday and I got zipola writing done. I will say while dinner was in the oven, I took a break with a cup of tea and Lisa Jordan’s newest book, Lakeside Family. A fifteen minute break. Yeah, it turned into an hour and I admit to laughing out loud and even sobbing tearing up. You can pre-order it! Click on Lisa’s name.

Now that my laundry is done, school supplies purchased, and I can open my pantry without stale chips and moldy bread falling out (I might or might not be exaggerating) I can get back to writing. Oh and I got inspired by Amanda Dykes uber-cool organized desk, so I cleaned mine off and did a little organizing myself! You can read about it at Melissa Tagg’s Tag(g)lines, where she guest posted, HERE!

Do you do a full scrub on your house before school starts up? And even better, if you could be one item in a pantry, what would you be and why?

And the Winner Is…


I have chosen the
name for my contest! My new WIP (work in progress) has a Saint Bernard that
belongs to a detective.  I didn’t give
much information about the hero of the story other than his occupation, on
He’s had a
relationship turn sour, he sees a lot of negativity in the world with his job.
Unable to avoid the cliché, this story is about how the grass isn’t greener on
the other side. It’s full of irony and deceit. It is a romantic suspense,
whatdaya expect?!
How I chose the name
was pretty simple. I read it, then I closed my eyes and tried to see if I could
pull off a humorous scene using the name. This dog will be the way my
hero/heroine meet.
All the names were
great! So I’m going to give you my top five names and then the winning name!
5. Mr. Darcy
If my detective had a poetic side, the irony would be awesome. And I laughed several times thinking about it.
4. Bootsie
Big white feet look
like boots and I could come up with some dialogue but not enough humor.
3. Lipstick
Seriously, look at
that mutt’s mouth! I could see this dog as a puppy eating the detective’s ex’s favorite
tube of lipstick and the name, well…sticking.
2. Komere
Sounds like Come
in an exaggerated southern accent and had my novel been set in the south,
I’d have probably went with that! Cracks me up!
1. Edith
“You named your dog, Edith?”
“Yeah, it
reminds me of my grandma.”
“Gentle and
“No, rotund and
hairy.” LOL I could see my character so saying that! He’s a bit of a
But I chose the following name because not only is it ironic and ridiculous, but I can actually weave
some truth about life into the dialogue and the name.
the winner of the $10.00 Amazon/Starbucks card (winner’s choice) goes to…..drum roll……
Redding for the name:
Congratulations, Jeff! 
Here’s a tiny
snippet of dialogue I concocted on the fly after hearing the name.
dusting herself off, she took a good look at his dog. “Your boy dog’s name is Kitten?” The puzzled look on
her face made him grin again.
“I got her
at the beginning of an ironic stage in my life.”
crossed her arms. “Did you ever think you’d come out of it and be stuck with a
horrible name for a dog?”
“I’ll let
you know when I’m out.” He’d brought Kitt home the same day Miranda said she
wasn’t going to marry him. That God had another plan for her. It didn’t include
He’d been
sure God had told him it had.
“You know
that’s mean really. Labeling someone as something they’re not is destructive.”
She glared at him and gave him a take-that look.
Thanks to everyone
who participated! I read every single one and I tell ya, it was hard to choose.
I valued all of your input.
What’s the silliest pet name you’ve ever heard?

Surf N Turf with Lindsay Harrel!


*Note: Scroll down to the youtube so you can listen while you read! Get an island adventure all the way around!

Pillow fights with lots of giggling, goofy dance-offs,
roller-skating backwards, and late night talks. That’s what Lindsay Harrel is.
Fun, energetic, sweet, deep and full of Jesus. I love me some Linds.

Since the age of six, when she wrote the riveting tale “How
to Eat Mud Pie,” Lindsay Harrel has passionately engaged the written word as a
reader, writer, and editor. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass
Communication and an M.A. in English. In her current day job as a curriculum
editor for a local university, Lindsay helps others improve their work and
hones her skills for her night job—writing inspirational contemporary fiction. Lindsay
lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband of five years and a golden
retriever puppy in serious need of training.
Did I mention wicked smart, too? Yeah. I know. Today we want
you to kick back, toss your flip-flops in the bag (mine are hot pink to match
my swim suit and since it’s cyberworld, uh…size 4 thank you very much!) Close
your eyes, well don’t really…um…you’re reading, and listen as Jimmy Buffet and
possibly Kermit take us to the islands.
Today, Linds and I are hanging at the beach. Which one you
ask? Doesn’t matter. It’s a beach. With water. And drinks with umbrellas
(loaded or unloaded whatever you prefer).
What kind of sunscreen are you wearing and what proof? I’m wearing my sparking
Hawaiian Tropics. I feel like such a Cullen! 15 proof which is a little higher than
the proof in my Mohito! LOL
Banana Boat ‘cause the name just rocks—even though I think of coconuts, not
bananas, when I think of the beach. And do they make a 150-proof? ‘Cause, girl,
I’m pale and I burn. Just a fact of life, unfortunately.
heard once you get to 30 proof, it’s all the same just more expensive. Don’t
take my word though, as you might look very much like Sebastian when all is
said and done. So, I know we’re chatting and all, but what genre is that book
you’re reading?
Christian romantic fiction, of course. I love all genres, but I sort of find
the beach setting a romantic one. So I gotta have fiction to match!
JP: Yes
I agree although I’m reading an intense romantic suspense, but I can’t figure
out who killed Laura Palmer. *giggle* You missed that didn’t you? You’re so
young! (Who else missed that?) Hold up, my bathing suit needs adjusted. Oh, the
sand! How many bathing suits did you try on before you found one you deemed
decent to go out in public in?
LH: Well,
since I can tell on the hanger that about 99% are either for tiny teens or
grandmas…not many (since there aren’t many to choose from!).
so had that issue with my daughter. Either too little girlish or too
Kardashian. Sigh. Cough. I’m parched. Let’s order something to drink! What are
you having?
LH: Ice water (with the awesome munchable ice like they have
at Sonic) with a Coke Zero chaser. Ha. I’m funny, huh?
Seriously? We’re on a beach with a full Tiki bar and you’re having water. With
ice. That crunches. You know what else crunches? Celery stalks. In Bloody
Marys. LOL I’m kidding, I mean celery does crunch but about BMs. Okay, now that
could go lots of places. BM as in Blood Mary, people.  Nevermind. I’m having a watermelon slush.
Man, I love the beach. The sand in my… toes, the crashing of waves. Sun on my
face. What do you love most about the beach?
photo credit: freedigitalphotos
LH: Like
you, the sound of the waves. There is nothing more relaxing to me than the
sound of running—or crashing—water. Sigh! Like I said above…romantic, no?
JP: Indeed
it is, Linds. Hey your shoulders look a little medium rare. I’m thinking you
need to load up again. Dude, we need some tunes. What’s playing on your iPod?
LH: You’re
going to run away screaming when I say this, but I love all the Glee
soundtracks. Especially the ones where they perform show tunes. Don’t hate!
Hate?! I LOVE the Glee soundtracks, have most of them! Crank up Defying
Gravity! But not really. It’s kinda’s messing with Jimmy. Here’s a little island treat for all of us! 

JP: Now that’s island fun and it makes me hungry. Lunch should be seafood. I’m having deep fried
crab claws, crab legs, and fried shrimp. What’s a little grease when you’re
wearing a cyber 4? What’s on your menu?
LH: Um,
yeah…the cool thing about surf and turf is YOU can have the surf and I’LL have
the turf. (Cough, seafood is of the devil). For me, chicken all the way, baby,
especially if it’s seasoned with some sort of Cajun or jerked spices. Yummy in
my tummy.
JP: And
yet again, you disappoint me. Sigh. SIGH. SIIIIGH! Oh well, more for me! Let’s
go in the water! Kayaking! Yes. Hope JAWS doesn’t get us. Ba dump…what do you
hope to see out here—minus JAWS? I’d love to see a school of dolphins. Do they
actually travel in schools? Herds? Packs? Crowds? Clicks?
LH: Yay,
kayaking is fun! I did that once in Hawaii with my hubby. And yes, wouldn’t it
be sweet to see dolphins? I might even be willing to brave my fear of the open
water and swim with them…as long as we were positive JAWS wouldn’t attack and
bite my leg off. I’d also love to see more sea turtles. We just saw one when we
snorkeled in St. Kitts (in a very secure and safe cove…no sharks!).
From the movie: JAWS

JP:  Sounds like a plan. Don’t worry, we’ll be
safe. Isn’t that what everyone says before it isn’t safe? What would you do if
the undertow kept pulling us out? Or if you were stuck on a beach island for
three months? What would you miss most? What would you miss least?

LH: I’d
miss my daily dose of Internet and social media/email, since I’m pretty much
addicted. What would I miss least? Haha, work.

JP: Yep, this is the life and it’s all in cyberville so join
us! You can hang with Linds on land too! At her blog, facebook, and twitter @LindsayHarrel.

playing on your iPod and are you Surf n Turf, or just Surf or Turf? Cheers! Don’t
forget your sunblock!

*Monday, I’ll choose the winner for my contest on facebook and share why I chose it here on the blog! Today is the last day to cast your vote and name the Saint Bernard in my newest book. Winner gets a $10 Amazon/Starbucks card (your choice) “Like” my page and leave as many comments as you like! 

I Need A Name!

I’m having a contest over on my facebook page! My current novel has a few pets. One is a Saint Bernard. I need a name that is unique, something you normally wouldn’t name a Saint Bernard!

Here’s the rules:
“Like” my facebook page and leave as many names as you want! The more the merrier! I will choose a name and whoever’s name I choose gets a $10 Amazon or Starbucks card (your choice!)

Names must be on the 
facebook page ONLY! 

If contestants enter the same name and I choose that name, I will award the first person who entered it. 

And if you’re not stingy, feel free to share this on facebook or give it a little tweet! And also, when the book comes out you’ll have bragging rights. “Hey, I picked that name. Got the card.”

Happy Monday, Everyone! Do you have a pet? What kind and what’s its name?