Shadows and Sunshine cover

Cover Reveal – Shadows and Sunshine: SFWP Volume 6

Shadows and Sunshine coverI’m excited to announce my next novella will be released early in July. Here’s a sneak preview:

 

Heather and her crew are determined to pull off the wedding of the year for their high profile client. The stakes have never been higher—this single event could make or break the business. The venue is set, decorations are ordered, and the menu is one-of-a kind. Two days before the event, one thing after another goes wrong. Mario knew he should have made back-up plans, but he didn’t. Bryan thought his past was behind him, but it reappears at the worst possible moment. Heather is forced to deal with personal issues while responding to the challenges of running a business. Does the wedding planner team have the resources and creativity to bounce back and pull off the perfect event?

This is the last volume in Series I. The other five volumes are currently available on Amazon.

Stay tuned for the official release!


Guest Post – Jen Cudmore with Tips for Balancing Rhythm and Pace

Jen CudmoreToday I’m privileged to host Jen Cudmore, one of my fellow authors for the San Francisco Wedding Planner Series. Here’s what she has to say about rhythm and pace in writing:

How does a writer keep a crime novel exciting and full of suspense? How are sweet stories told in a way that inspires the reader?

It’s not just the words the author chooses; it’s the positioning of each one in a place that best portrays the attitude of that particular scene.

When it comes to writing a novel, rhythm and pace are a big factor in creating a compelling story. Rhythm and pace are controlled by the length of each word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter. There are a few techniques which help the story move faster or slower, depending on your intent.

Here’s a simple formula to follow:

Short sentences, paragraphs and chapters = faster pace.

If you’re writing a scene with a lot of action or energy, use shorter sentences and paragraphs. When your character is being chased by the bad guy, you want the reader to feel the sense of urgency. One or two word sentences raise intensity, as does a paragraph with only one or two sentences. But be careful; too much can annoy the reader. I once read a book by a famous author with multiple one sentence paragraphs on each page, and it made the story harder to read.

Long sentences, paragraphs, and chapters = slower pace.

Readers sometimes find long paragraphs and chapters daunting. Long blocks of wording give a feeling that extra effort is required to read that particular section. However, there are times when the author needs to insert these fuller sections to calm the pace of the story after a high energy section.

The trick is balance.

Too much action and the reader will become exhausted. Not enough action and the reader will get bored. Keep it varied. You don’t want the reader to pause because they got lost, or to skip a section because it was too tedious. Each sentence, paragraph, and chapter must flow smoothly into the next.

You don’t want every page to look the same. On my first manuscript I worked hard to keep the chapters all the same length. Then I realized it was not only okay to vary the length, it’s actually beneficial. So give your manuscript a quick skim and see how you did at varying your structure.

Jen’s Bio: I grew up on the Columbia River Gorge in a tiny cabin built by my father. My family attended a little Baptist church where my mother played piano and my father led the music program. I left the Gorge area to attend Northwest University, where I graduated with the first group of students to earn a Bachelor’s of Psychology. Newly married with a baby on the way, I decided to put off graduate school to devote my time to learning how to be a better wife and mother. After my husband received a job offer, we relocated to Alaska, where we currently reside with our two children (as well as two boxers and two cats).

During the day I work for a large orthopedic clinic. I serve in both the AWANA program and bus ministry at my church. I’m a member of the Christian Writers Guild as well as the local Alaska Writers Guild, where I’m currently serving a fifth year on the conference committee.

Willow Ridge-website-summary


Blog Tour for the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour LogoIn preparation for the official launch of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas paperback on Thursday, May 29th, many of the 12 authors are participating in a blog tour. I invite you to come along as we get to know other authors who participated in the collection. Here is the blog tour schedule, along with links to the authors’ blogs:

Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour

May 19 – Ruth L. Snyder at http://ruthlsnyder.com/

May 20 – Anne Baxter Campbell at http://pewperspective.blogspot.com/

May 21 – Marcia Lee Laycock at www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca

May 22 – Mishael Witty at http://bluebrownbooks.com/

May 23 – Christine Lindsay at www.christinelindsay.com/

May 24 – Sheila Seiler Lagrand at http://sheilalagrand.com/

May 26 – Jessica Ferguson at http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com

May 27 – Kathy Bruins at  http://www.kathybruins.com/writing-speaking-and-other-interests/

May 28 – Peg Phifer at http://www.whispersinpurple.com

May 29 – Jeanette Hanscome at http://jeanettehanscome.com/

What Does Christmas mean to you?

What do you think of when you hear the word “Christmas”? Snow? Turkey? Family get-togethers? Gifts? Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? Decorations? Sleigh Rides? Church? Caroling?

Sometimes we don’t stop and think about what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a different country, on a different continent. In Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, my main character, Cecile, is spending her first Christmas in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. There is no snow. In fact, the temperature is hovering in the high 30 degree range (Celsius). She is hot, and sweaty and dealing with bugs and poverty and corruption. There is no air conditioning. There is no turkey, or family to get together with, or decorations. Obviously, without snow, there are no sleigh rides, and many of the Christmas songs she grew up singing don’t fit. Well, maybe I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas does. Although the people she serves have strong beliefs, most of them don’t believe in Jesus Christ because they’ve never had the opportunity to hear about His birth, life and death. They have no Bibles. In fact, many of them don’t know how to read.

Here in North America, it’s easy to lose sight of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Often we get caught up in the commercialism of pretty wrapping paper, exquisite decorations, expensive gifts, and lavish meals. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. However, we need to remember who and why we’re celebrating. Jesus Christ, the God-man was born in a humble cattle shed and laid in a manger. He left the splendor of Heaven and laid aside His rights to take on the form of a servant. He walked this earth, ministered to people, and lived a sinless life. Then, He chose to walk the road to Calvary where He willingly gave His life as the Lamb of God. He took my place and yours on the cross. He accepted our punishment so that we can have a personal relationship with God. Then He rose again. Some day He’s coming back to earth to gather all who believe in and follow Him so that we can spend eternity together in Heaven.

It’s my hope that Cecile’s Christmas Miracle will show you what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in a different country. It’s also my hope that you will remember people you know who are overseas, whether in the military, as missionaries, or for work. Make time to send them a care package, or schedule a Skype visit with them. Better yet, go visit them and take a “walk in their shoes”. The first Christmas was about giving. Will you follow in Jesus’ footsteps and give what you can to make the lives of others better?

Enter a comment below for your chance to win a free paperback copy of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas. I will be making the draw on Thursday, May 29th and will announce the winner on my Facebook Author Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRuthL.Snyder. NOTE: You must be 18 years or older to participate in the draw.


Expectations and Cecile’s Christmas Miracle

Book Cover for Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Kathi MaciasWe all have expectations, whether we realize it or not. Here in North America we expect, even demand, comfort, food and water whenever we want them, freedom to choose where we go and what we do, money to spend on our whims, and the list goes on. In many other countries, people do not have the same expectations. In fact, in some countries people expect to die, expect to do what others tell them to do, and expect very little in the way of human comforts.

With access to information on the internet, we understand more about what life is like in other countries. We hear about airplanes going missing and not being found. We advocate for girls kidnapped from school in places like Nigeria. However, the adage that we don’t really understand someone until we’ve walked a mile in their shoes, is still true.

My main character, Cecile, from my novella, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, has expectations too. She, like many of us, doesn’t realize what some of her expectations are until they aren’t met. She knows she volunteered to serve people in a third world country, but she doesn’t expect the ignorance of basic hygiene. She knows she’ll be away from her parents and other family members, but she doesn’t expect the overwhelming feelings of loneliness, especially when she’s surrounded by many people. She knows the culture and language will be different, but she doesn’t grasp how different it will be spending her first Christmas in the heat and dust of the Kalahari Desert. One of the reasons I wrote this story was to show people in North America how different life is overseas and to remind all of us to think of others while we are celebrating Christmas with our lavish feasts and expensive gifts.

Paperback cover for Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas which includes Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. Snyder

Cecile’s Christmas Miracle has been available in e-book format since early December 2013. (You can purchase the e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.) This month my novella is being released in paperback, along with 11 other Christmas stories in the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas. (You may purchase your copy on Amazon or by contacting me at sun dot beam3 at Yahoo dot com.)

To celebrate the release, several of us who have stories in the 12 Days of Christmas collection are participating in a blog tour. At the end of the tour there will be a draw for some free copies of the paperback collection. I’ll be posting details of the tour and the draw later this week. Stay tuned!


Coming Soon: Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas in paperback!

Paperback cover for Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas which includes Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. SnyderOfficial release date: Thursday, May 29th

Includes: Cecile’s Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. Snyder

Individual Christmas stories that cover a 12-day period – to be celebrated all year long! That’s the heart of this unique Christmas collection, compiled by best-selling author Kathi Macias and including historical, contemporary, romantic, mysterious, and even Amish tales that will warm your heart, whether sipping hot cocoa while sitting in front of the fireplace in winter or under the shade tree in the summer, nursing a frosty glass of iced tea or lemonade. Beginning with a scene set 12 days before Christmas, these stories move readers, one day at a time, toward that spiritual hush of Christmas Eve, where anything is possible. Authors from various geographical locations and walks of life have spun tales that will enchant readers, even as they are drawn closer to the greatest Gift ever given. And each story, though vastly different from the others, makes the same offer: will you make room in your heart for the Christ-child as He shows up in  your life and beckons you to join Him?

Available from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or your favorite retail outlet. You make also purchase copies from me. (Send an e-mail to sun dot beam3 at yahoo dot com).

NOTE: This book is available for Kindle and Nook as well.

 


My Current Works in Progress

Blog Hop for Writers

This is the sixth and final week in the blog hop I’m hosting for writers. Our topic this week is current work(s) in progress. If you’d like to share your current WIP with us, write a post and then come back and link in by clicking on the graphic above. If you’re a reader, click on the graphic and check out what authors are working on. We hope you’ll follow our blogs so that when our books are published, you’ll be among the first to know 🙂

My last post was about the San Francisco Wedding Planner Series I’m working on along with five other authors. You can find more information here: San Francisco Wedding Planner.

In this blog hop, I’ve written about Anna, (Olga’s mother) one of my favorite characters from Olga’s Discovery, which is a full-length historical fiction novel I’m in the middle of writing.  Here’s the synopsis:

Twenty-two-year-old Olga Tymchuk, a newly graduated teacher, eagerly anticipates marrying her fiancee, Viktor, in July 1959. However, before they marry, Olga is committed to teaching for a year in Glendale, Alberta as a requirement for the bursary she received in university. Viktor and Olga are separated when Viktor accepts a challenging job as a scientific researcher for the National Research Council in Ontario.

Olga is enjoying a challenging first year of teaching when Viktor is injured in a chemical accident. He seems to be recovering well, but then Olga receives a telegram that will change her life forever. Olga is drawn into a search for the truth, which forces her to deal with uncooperative hospital officials, death threats, and a sudden disappearance.

I’m also putting together a Twitter manual for writers. There are many different ways to share information now and I’m researching several options to share this information and make it practical.

Cover for Cecile's Christmas MiracleMy other project will be a fiction series about Cecile and Colin, characters from my novella, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle. Cecile has decided spending Christmas in the desert doesn’t have to be depressing and Colin is on his way to join Cecile. However, they haven’t seen each other for over a year. Will the attraction between them endure? There is also the threat of the clinic being closed, and the village being resettled. What part should expatriates play in solving political issues?

If you have questions about any of my works in progress, please ask me in the comments below. Thanks 🙂


Update on the San Francisco Wedding Planner Series

Cover for Wedding Planner Series

The San Francisco Wedding Planner series, a light romance published by Helping Hands Press, is one of my current works in progress. There are six of us participating in this project. Volume one introduced the series with each of the participating authors writing one of the chapters in the volume. Can you guess which chapter I wrote?

The San Francisco Wedding Planner cover for volume two: A Change in TimeJen Cudmore wrote volume two: A Change in Time. When Heather goes out on her first date with orthopedic surgeon Bryan Tate, her hopes of a nice evening are quickly dashed. Raul’s makeover is a little over-the-top, her flashy mother’s jealousy makes Bryan uncomfortable, Mario’s flirtatious interference only adds pressure, and Skye’s family problems require extra help. With Bryan recovering from a broken engagement and Heather’s busy work schedule, she’s certain there just isn’t a chance for romance between them. But life is always changing. Do they have enough in common to at least be friends?

Wedding Planner 3This week Patti J. Smith released volume three: An Affair to Remember. Donovan’s Wedding Service takes on the impossible. Failure to meet the outlandish demands could result in dire consequences. Drama is the name of the game as Heather faces her biggest challenge while her relationship with Bryan reaches new heights and a close friendship verges on collapse.

I am working on a prequel to the series which will tell the back story of Heather Donovan. (Other authors will be writing about other characters.) I will also be writing volume 7 of the series.

You can purchase your copy of volume 1 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Volumes 2 and 3 are currently available on Amazon.


So many stories and so little time

Exam_tnsI’m enjoying my interactions with fellow authors and readers on Helping Hands Thirsty Thursdays. (Check out Helping Hands Press Facebook Page for more details.) Last week the publisher announced a number of new releases. As the announcements were made, I responded by saying I was adding certain books to my reading list and made the comment, “So many stories, so little time.” Several of us joked around about using a time machine to help squeeze more writing and reading time in, but joking aside, finding time for everything is a huge issue for authors. We are expected to write, read, edit, participate on social media sites, blog AND fulfill our other responsibilities in life.

Balanced coverA couple days ago I was happy to discover that Tricia Goyer has released a new book called Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. The book is now on my iPad and I’m making time to read it, a chapter a day. I appreciated Tricia’s disclaimer:

This book may not be for you if you are looking for a simple how-to manual with only schedules, outlines, and agendas. You don’t think your spiritual life impacts your work and home life. You think the whole balance issue depends on you and not on your dependence on God. . . . as someone who’s been working at home nearly all of my twenty-four years as a parent, I’ve discovered three main things: 1. What I do isn’t as important as who I am. 2. What God can do in my life and what He’s capable of doing can be two very different things—I don’t want to limit Him. 3. My outward goals are only reachable if I submit my inward soul to God.”

This is the first year I’m focusing intensely on writing. I have a LOT to learn. Here are some things I’ve discovered already:

  • I’m human and it is utterly impossible for me to do everything and do it well. Therefore, I need to chose my goals carefully.
  • It’s very easy to get side-tracked by Facebook, e-mail, and social media. Therefore, I need to limit my time on these items.
  • When I’m writing, I’m intensely focused and “living” in a different world. I find distractions very frustrating because it takes me time to come back to real life. Therefore, I have to organize my writing time so that I’m writing when my husband and children don’t need my attention.
  • Large goals overwhelm me. (I admit it, I don’t like to make goals I don’t think I can achieve!) A novel of 80-100,000 words seems unattainable. However, when I break that down into 1,000 word scenes or 2,000 word chapters I’m able to enjoy the process.
  • As a wife and mother, I don’t often have the luxury of having all day to write. However, I’ve found that it’s quite easy to fit in 1/2 hour here and there. If I’m able to write 300-500 words every morning in 1/2 hour, that brings me 1,500 – 2,500 words closer to my writing goal(s) every week.

I’m still discovering what works for me, and probably will be for years to come. Tricia Goyer puts it this way:

“The only thing we can be certain of is that as soon as we achieve a small measure of balance, something is going to overturn the applecart so all our good intentions will spill out like crabapples, becoming scattered and bruised.”

What have you discovered in your writing journey? I’d love to hear from you.