Travel vs. Moving

I love to travel, which is probably a good thing, because I’ve spent all my life moving, from one place to another. I’m going to give the short blog, list version of my travels….

Long Island to Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale to Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids to Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh to Manila, Phillippines [a side trip to see the Pope and visit distant family there]–a once in a lifetime opportunity that I earned by writing an essay. Paid-for-trip by the Knights of Columbus… I always stick a dollar in their Tootsie Roll fundraising. 😀

In here, I travelled the country with a mission group, stopping in many states of the western side of the United States–MN, WI, KS, OK, TX, NM, CA, CO…

Pittsburgh to Fairfax, VA

Fairfax to Steubenville, OH [for college, where I got married]

Steubenville to Denver, CO [for husband’s post-grad]

Denver to Steubenville, OH [back to our old stomping ground to start off “real life”] ***also where I started writing!!

Steubenville to Fairfax, VA [where we lived with my parents and husband studied for the CPA exam]

Fairfax to Decatur, IL

….and then we joined the ARMY! haha.

Moving vs. Travelling

There are always two sides of the moving coin. The excitement of starting off new, of tweaking behavior, trying something different. And the sadness of leaving friends and family behind. I think what I love about moving around so much is the chance to grow more roots, make new friends. Find something different to make my life fuller. Maybe the truth is…I’m not much of a traveller at all. I like being home. Maybe that’s why I’m destined to move so much.

Now, if I could just get the Army to move us to Belize! or Ireland! or Spain–for a season! 😀 Have a great weekend, folks. Enjoy where you are.

And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win this month’s prize.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

5 Benefits of Taking a Vacation from Writing

beach

I’m going to be doing some traveling this month to visit family. I’ve been considering whether or not to take another kind of vacation while I’m away–a writing vacation. Here are five good reasons to take a vacation from your manuscript.

  1. Gives you time to have experiences that will inspire your writing. A weekend trip to the lake, a concert in the park, or dinner with interesting people are all the kinds of life experiences that can lead to new story ideas and fresh characters. If we spend all our time in our respective writing caves, we won’t have anything new to draw from.
  2. Helps you see your writing with a fresh set of eyes. Writing needs to breathe before the editing stage; otherwise, it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. A break between the first draft and the edit can be just what you need to see your manuscript more objectively.
  3. Reminds your friends, family, and loved ones what you look like without a laptop glued to your fingers. Balance is vital, and we need to learn to protect our relationships. Being on The New York Times Best Sellers List won’t mean anything without the people we love there to share it.
  4. Provides time for reading. We all know writers should also be readers, but sometimes it’s difficult to find time to read for enjoyment when you’re writing. Take a writing break and fill your e-reader with all those books you’ve been dying to dive into. Not only will they provide wonderful information about trends in your genre, but a great book will remind you of the power of story and why you love to write.
  5. Gives your mind space for creativity. Just like a page layout needs white space, our minds need room to wander and play. Silence, quiet walks, and prayer or meditation can all improve creativity.

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and young son who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Summertime…Music to My Ears

This month at Through Heart-Shaped Glasses, our theme is summer. We’ve talked about everything from movies to favorite vacation spots and activities. We’ve talked about romances with summertime settings and our awesome vacations and staycations.

I’m a huge fan of summer. I love hot weather and our annual beach vacation. My birthday is in July. We’re no longer bound by the “school schedule.” For me, there’s plenty to love about summertime. I even have a summer playlist featuring some of my favorite songs that remind me of warm weather, vacations and all things hot and fun. 🙂

As a writer, a playlist helps me set the right mood for my writing. For example, if it’s the middle of winter and I’m writing romance set during summer vacation, my playlist helps me forget that softly falling snow and remember, in vivid detail, the feel of hot, grainy sand between my toes. Also, during warm weather, I love rolling down the car windows and blaring some of my favorite warm-weather tunes.

Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorites.

Summertime, New Kids On The Block

Cruel Summer, Bananarama

Summer Breeze, Seals and Crofts

Sealed with a Kiss, my version is performed by Bobby Vinton

Cruise, Florida Georgia Line

Dirt Road Anthem, Jason Aldean

Carolina Girls, General Johnson and The Chairman of the Board

So, what are some of your favorite summertime songs?

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win a $5 Amazon e-Card and a digital copy of Nina Croft’s upcoming release from Entangled , Losing Control.

 

 

About Tina Vaughn

Tina Vaughn is an award-winning journalist and contemporary romance author who's always dreamed of being a writer. Her writing career began in elementary school when she wrote her friends' love letters to their boyfriends in exchange for Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. After spending nearly fifteen years as a journalist and newspaper editor, Tina remembered she preferred fiction to fact and began writing what she loves most...steamy contemporary romance. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with her husband and daughter, and is known for commemorating milestones with silver jewelry, tattoos and/or ice cream.

Heart-Shaped Glasses June Mash-Up!

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Welcome to our monthly mash-up of places and things we found interesting this month!

Bethanne likes:

For Writers, Avoiding Cliches, http://suspense.net/whitefish/cliche.htm

Another one for Writers on using a Facebook Fan Page as a website?
http://janefriedman.com/2013/06/29/facebook-cant-replace-website/

Debora likes:

Writers looking to  grow the skills necessary to compete in today’s ever-changing publishing industry have help. This July, join ten speakers in the Muse Camp Telesummit. This online event provides information about marketing, blogging, Twitter, self-care, as well as ways to navigate between digital-first and self-publishing options. It’s free to register for this two week event, which begins July 8, 2013.

Visit http://www.musecamp.com to register for this FREE event and to learn more.
May the muse be with you

And for the history lovers…Interesting photos of the time of an Oklahoma 1913 time capsule.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/treasures-unearthed-from-oklahomas-1913-time-capsule

Julie’s find:

A great blog post I ran across about writers and doubt! http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2011/07/writers-and-doubt.html#.UPna045gslJ

Jennifer recommends:

A few links to guestimate your amazon sales based on ranking:
http://kdpcalculator.com/index.php

http://www.theresaragan.com/p/sale-ranking-chart.html

Visit our special guests!

Because we love our guests…here’s a link to our June guest bloggers one more time!

Melanie Reyes Photography:  http://www.melaniereyesphotography.com

Author Jeannie Moon:  http://www.jeanniemoon.com/blog

* * *

That’s all we’ve got for this month – but if you have a great link you’d like us to check out or would like to see us feature…don’t be shy, add it here in the comment section and we’ll give you a shout-out next month!

As always, every comment is another chance to win our monthly giveaway! Thanks for stopping by and we’ll be back next month with more fun links!

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Bethanne’s Thirteen Firsts

Hello!! Welcome to our blog, Through Heart-Shaped Glasses. Everyone’s been hitting up the topic of Firsts. Firsts… life is full of firsts, isn’t it? When I found out the topic, I told my husband. He kind of looked at me funny, lifted a brow, and gave a small shake of his head. <grin> Ha!

But then, I thought, this is another first–group blog. And since not everyone knows me, I think I’ll do a Thursday Thirteen Firsts.  A cross between our theme for the month and a meme.

13. First move — 3 years old, from New York to Florida. There have been  many moves since then ranging from New York to Florida to Michigan to Pennsylvania to Ohio to Colorado to Ohio to Virginia to Illinois to Georgia, and finally, back to Colorado.

kiddie photo12. First day of Kindergarten — I had two of those, actually. Flunked out the first time.

11. First Detention — 2nd grade. I forgot my homework, which sounds sooo familiar now that I have two kids who are alot like me. It’s not intentional. It’s a thing…hopefully they get better at organization and remembering than I am.

10. First shot of insulin — November 23, 1988, my Diabetes Birthday

9. First written story — 6th grade, which my teacher loved, but suggested I not end with the cliche of waking from a dream. That was the first writing advice I ever recieved. I have never forgotten it. Later in life–high school, I read a smutty romance novel that actually ended that way…with the heroine waking from a dream. And I thought, “that book was so stupid!” And I knew Mrs. Richter had been right. Happily Ever After is too important to get fudged by a dream.

8. First College — Franciscan University of Steubenville, a good Catholic girl who wasn’t convinced to study nursing and did 3 years of an English Literature degree before getting pregnant, getting married, and moving on with her husband. 🙂

7. First Kiss — from the not-yet-hubby, a lovely asked-for kiss…the ultimate peck on the cheek. Heart racing, hands sweating. It’s a kiss you never forget.

wedding6. First Husband — And only husband! haha. Love that man so much. <3

5. First Baby — Her name is Virginia. She’s 13 now. OMG! THIRTEEN!

4. First Manuscript — A story inspired by Trixie Belden called Certain Suspicions. Well, now it’s called that. I can’t remember the original title.

3. First critique group — Charlotte Dillon’s Crit Group. A nice group, for the most part, yet too big, too anonymous. 🙂 I love my CRITIQUE group, Passionate Critters!

ForLoveorDuty 200x3002. First Book published, June 2012, For Love or Duty

1. First Contract — Wheeeee! With Entangled Publishing! A contract for my Christmas story, Letters from Home.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

The First Line

SONY DSCSince our theme this month is Firsts, I thought I’d write about first lines of books. To me, the first line of a story is like meeting you, the reader, for the very first time. More often than not you will have read the back matter, which may have been written by me, someone else, or a group of marketing professionals. You might have admired the cover, and that tempted you. Covers aren’t usually made by the author, but by a graphic artist. Whatever way it happens, the first line of the story is the first building block for your reading relationship with me, the author. It’s when things get real.

It’s essential that the first line makes you want to keep reading. It needs to spark your curiosity. With any luck, the first line will make you think, OMG! Who? What? Where? Why? I have to know! And you keep reading, turning those pages until the very end.

This holds true whether an author writes historical, inspirational, rom coms, or time travels. The first line should fit the world the author has created and capture the tone of their work.

I write contemporary romance with romantic suspense elements, and I admit to being surprised when I typed the first lines from my series together. They really do fit the tone of my books. Here they are:

Winning this might keep him alive. – Slide Job

Death lingered quietly in the dark, dressed in worn blue jeans. – Beyond the Winner’s Circle

Would he die today, or tomorrow? – Running Three Wide

I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t add the first lines from some of my favorite reads. Here they are in no particular order:

Most people don’t stare at the scars. – Burnt Offerings, Laurell K. Hamilton

Caught in the crosshairs of wind above the Bitterroots, the jump ship fought to find its stream. – Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts

They had betrayed her with a promise of the sea. – My Heart Stood Still, Lynn Kurland

Although in different genres, each first line is tempting. I can’t wait to dig in and find out the rest of the story.

What about you? Do you have a favorite first line?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.