Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Monday, December 28, 2009

Powerful Prayful Monday 12/28

This is the last Powerful Prayful Monday of 2009. Wow. I am not sure I even had a blog this time a year ago and this one didn't get off the ground until this past spring. Slowly it has grown as I found my way. Of all the things I have posted, I am most happy with my prayful Mondays. I hope each of you continue to join me in the 2010 as we support and pray for each other.

Please continue to list your prayer requests and praises here so I can continue to pray for you as I hope those reading this blog will as well.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Powerful Prayful Monday 12/21/09

I love most Christmas movies. Sappy, funny, traditional, crazy, Santa or religious. For the past few weeks I’ve been recording shows and watching them in my spare time. However, a few of my favorites have been missed and one in particular has not been aired in a few years. I have even looked for it to buy but have not been able to find it in stock or available anywhere. The movie: Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause. There have been several versions of this story made, mostly of the cartoon variety. Those are not the ones I want to see. I want to watch the 1991 version with Ed Asner, Charles Bronson and Richard Thomas. It is my favorite and I have seen it far too little. Out of all the Christmas stories told, this one has to be my favorite, second only to the original story, and reason for Christmas. When I cannot see Virginia I must find the article online so I can read the editorial. If you are unfamiliar with this story, you can find it here: www.newseum.org/yesvirginia.

This was first published in 1897. Can you even begin to imagine that anything you write would be remembered over hundred years from now? Do you think Francis Church had any idea that his editorial would still appear in newspapers today? Or that movies would be made of this story? Is there a movie you like to see every year, or something you must read?

As this is Powerful Prayful Monday, I would like you to unload those burdens, turn them over to God and if you need some help, list them here so we can pray for you and with you. We are also here to share in the celebrations of praises and thanksgiving. My hope and prayer for your is that as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child in just a few days, you capture that feeling of hope and love and keep it in your heart for the year to come.

Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Congrats Frugal Mom

Congratulations, FRUGAL MOM!!!! You have won Sherrie Hansen's book Stormy Weather. E-mail me your name and address at amydetrempe (at) gmail (.) com so you can get your book.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spotlight on: Sherrie Hansen

Spotlight on: Sherrie Hansen
Author of: Night and Day and Stormy Weather
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Night & Day: ISBN-10: 1935171283 ISBN-13: 978-1935171287
Stormy Weather: ISBN-10: 1935171461 ISBN-13: 978-1935171461
Release Dates: March 2009 and November 2009
Genre: Romance
Available from Second Wind Publishing and Amazon, locally at gift shops and grocery stores in Saint Ansgar, Osage, and Mason City, IA, Blooming Prairie, Austin, and Albert Lea, MN

Night and Day: It's midnight in Minnesota and Jensen Marie Christiansen is dreaming of a rosy future. It's daybreak in Denmark and Anders Westerlund is waking up to a world full of stark realities. When parchment paper and faded ink meet computer screens and fax machines, the old-fashioned magic of a great-grandmother's letters sets the stage for a steamy Internet romance... and the unraveling of a hundred year-old mystery. Night & Day... Will fantasy become reality, or will oceans and time keep a second pair of lovers apart?

Stormy Weather: An ill wind is brewing up a storm and as usual, Rachael Jones is in the middle of the fray. If the local banker succeeds in bulldozing the Victorian houses she's trying to save, she's in for yet another rough time before the skies clear. The only bright spots on the horizon are her friendship with Luke... and her secret rendezvous with Mac...Is Rachael meant to weather the storm with Luke, who touches her heart and soul so intimately, or with Mac, who knows each sweet secret of her body?

AMY: Thank you for joining me. What else would you like to share with us regarding your book?

SHERRIE: I recently bought a plaque that says "Home is where your story begins." This really resonated with me, as my books are have small town settings and are very centered in family dynamics. Many of the conflicts in both of my books arise when out of differing sets of expectations between family members, and discrepancies between what the characters were raised to expect from life, and the realities of what life has brought them. In many romance novels, parents and siblings seem to be conveniently dead or vacationing in Europe... not so in my books!

AMY: Were there any surprises that came about while you were writing Stormy Weather, or did you story stick with the plan you had set?

SHERRIE: One of the main characters, Mac, came to life in a way that really surprised me. You'll have to read the book to find out what happened to his wife, Laura, and daughter, Maggie, but I will say that his experiences gave Mac a rich personality, and a wisdom about the ways of the world that he wouldn't have had otherwise.

AMY: What inspired you to write this book or these particular characters?

SHERRIE: Stormy Weather is the first of a trilogy about three sisters. Rachael is the oldest child, as am I. Like me, Rae is not afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believes, and as a result, she is always "upsetting the applecart", as her Grandma would have said. When stormy weather interferes with her plans, she thinks God is "out to get her" or punishing her for being headstrong and going her own way. Rae is convinced she's met the man of her dreams (Luke), so when providence brings another man into her life, one who thinks he is perfect for her (Mac), a lot of stormy weather ensues. A few of the key characters and situations are lifted from personal experiences (I'll never tell which ones...), and the rest is a fancy of my wild imagination... what might have happened if...

AMY: Tell the readers about your writing journey and how you ended up with your publisher.

SHERRIE: I've been writing for about 16 years, and have 7 rough drafts / manuscripts completed. I've been a member of Romance Writers of America, and have been honing my craft in an online writing workshop called Jenny's Cherry Writers (now just Cherry Writers since author Jennifer Crusie no longer participates) for almost that long. I was "discovered" after entering a writing contest at Gather.com, when a publisher saw and liked the first chapter of Night and Day, and wanted to publish my book.

AMY: If there is one piece of advice you could give an unagented / unpublished author, what would it be?

SHERRIE: Never give up. Keep working on your craft, learning from other authors, reading quality work, attending writing conferences and classes, and most of all, writing. Write your heart out, then rewrite, and rewrite, until you get it right. Don't be afraid to put your work out there.

AMY: Besides Stormy Weather, which we highlighted here, have you published other books or are there some that are yet to be released?

SHERRIE: I've included information about my first book, Night and Day. My next two books, which follow Stormy Weather, will be Waterlily, and Merry-Go-Round. Waterlily was written soon after my 20 year class reunion, and I'm hoping it will be released the summer of 2010, when my 35 year class reunion will be held.

AMY: How can we find you on the internet (facebook, twitter, myspace, blog, website addresses)
Website: www.BlueBelleBooks.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1244516892
Gather: http://sherrieh.gather.com/
Wordpress Blog: http://sherriehansen.wordpress.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SherrieHansen
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2870454.Sherrie_Hansen

AMY: Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

SHERRY: My books have a few steamy scenes, but I think they will also appeal to Christian readers who struggle with issues of faith and the changing nature of the family. I'm a pastor's wife, and have written a Christian inspirational called Love Notes that I hope will be published one day.

AMY: Is there anything you would like to ask the readers?

SHERRY: I would love to hear your thoughts after reading either Night and Day or Stormy Weather!

AMY: Sherrie has been generous enough give away an autographed copy of Stormy Weather. I am sorry but this is limited to U.S. residents only, due to the cost of postage. If you would like a chance to win the book, simply comment and leave your e-mail address. A winner will be picked and announced Saturday night. Good luck.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Powerful Prayful Monday 12/14

Preparations for Christmas are almost complete. Most of the shopping is done and next weekend, my children and I will make dozens of cookies and candy, a family tradition.

This time of year can get crazy and cause you to lose focus on the real purpose of the day, the celebration of the birth of Christ, and our salvation. Even when I try to keep the season stress free, I still have twice as many things going on, which is why I have not read one single blog in a week. For that I apologize and I know I probably missed some entertaining and interesting posts. And, there is a very good chance I will do little reading of blogs until after the holidays.

But, one thing that I am never too busy for, ever, is prayer. Though it hasn’t been that long since I began Prayful Mondays, it has become a part of me, a part of my day. Everyone who lists a prayer request or offers up a praise is remembered in my prayers. I think this may be a new tradition I carry on. Not only for a certain holiday, but every day. So, please continue to list your requests or praises and I will continue to include you in my chats to God. Have a blessed day

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Congratulations to Catherine Gayle. Jerrica picked your name to win an autographed copy of A Gentleman Never Tells. Send me an e-mail at amydetrempe@gmail.com with your address and I will pass it onto Jerrica.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spotlight on: Jerrica Knight-Catania

Author of: A Gentleman Never Tells
Publisher: Second Wind
ISBN: 9781935171409
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2009
Genre: Regency Romance
Available from Second Wind Publishing and Amazon

Benjamin Wetherby, Earl of Glastonbury and heir to the Marquessate of Eastleigh, has just received an urgent letter from home. His father is dying and he must return to England at once. Benjamin is a man bound by honor and duty, to both his country and his family. So, despite his reservations, he leaves his life in New York City behind so he may find a wife and assume his role as the Marquess of Eastleigh.

Miss Phoebe Blake is finally out of mourning for her father, and just in time. She and her mother could be days away from being carted off to debtors' prison, so Phoebe returns to society with the intent and determination to secure a rich husband.

Sparks fly when Benjamin and Phoebe meet, and it appears they have both found just what they are looking for. But will a dark secret keep them from finding their happily ever after?

AMY: Thank you for joining me, Jerrica. Were there any surprises that came about while you were writing A Gentleman Never Tells, or did you story stick with the plan you had set?

JERRICA: The most surprising thing was how this book actually came about. I had spent about 2 years (off and on) working on it, entered it in contests, submitted it with no luck, etc…so I knew it had flaws and every revision seemed to create different flaws. I won 3rd place in Second Wind’s short story romance contest this past January, which led to them asking me for a full. Now, I could have given them one of my other 3 books, but I cared about these characters too much, plus they were the first in the series. So what did I do? I told Second Wind to give me a few weeks and I started over from scratch. Same characters, totally different story.

AMY: What inspired you to write this book or these particular characters in the first place, before you gave them a new story?

JERRICA: I was first inspired to start writing after I left my career as a professional musical theater actress and started reading Regency Romance. Julia Quinn was the first one I read, and I fell in love with the genre. I read a quote by Nora Roberts on Julia’s website one night: “I can fix a bad page, but I can’t do anything with a blank page.” Hm…maybe I should try my hand at this, I thought. And that began my love affair with romance writing, and the love affair between Phoebe and Benjamin!

AMY: Tell us about your writing journey and how you ended up with your publisher.

JERRICA: Like many of the Second Wind authors, I was also a part of Gather.com’s First Chapters Romance contest where I “met”, or at least read stories from, many of those who would become influential parts of that publishing house. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, Amy, that it was your prodding sometime later, that got me to enter their romance anthology contest, in which I took 3rd place. From there, I was asked to submit a full manuscript, it was accepted, and voila! I’m a published author now!

AMY: If there is one piece of advice you could give an unagented / unpublished author, what would it be?

JERRICA: Keep writing! And don’t let excuses get in your way. Janet Evanovich says she doesn’t believe in writer’s block, and I have to agree. I know that when I say I have “writer’s block”, I really mean: “I’m allowing myself to be distracted by everything around me.”
And realize that this is a business. If you think it’s all about talent and sheer love for writing, well, you might be in for a rude awakening. Rejection is par for the course, but it doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer; it just means you haven’t found the right agent/editor yet. Persistence is a must! Self-belief is a must! Understanding that self-promotion is also part of the business will make your life much easier when you finally get that contract…especially if you’re looking to make money!

AMY: Besides A Gentleman Never Tells, which we highlighted here, have you published other books or are there some that are yet to be released?

JERRICA: Second Wind has accepted book two in the series, so hopefully we’ll be moving forward soon on that project. Otherwise, I have gotten into the confessions market and have my first short story coming out in the January issue of True Love Magazine (there are no bylines, but my story is called Vegas Vacation.)

I would also love to plug my Christmas short story, Christmas Warms the Harts. It involves secondary characters from A Gentleman Never Tells, and 50% of the net sales from the story will go to the Wish Upon a Hero Foundation. It can be purchased directly from the front page of my website, www.jerricasplace.com

AMY: How can we find you on the internet (facebook, twitter, myspace, blog, website addresses)
You can friend and/or fan me on Facebook: Jerrica Knight-Catania
Twitter: princessjewel78
Website: www.jerricasplace.com
Blog: http://romancingthebook.wordpress.com

AMY: Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

JERRICA: Yes! I’m about to have my first baby! In addition to welcoming A Gentleman Never Tells into the publishing world, we’ll be welcoming Baby Bella into the actual world!

AMY: Congrats on both new arrivals! Is there anything you would like to ask the readers?

JERRICA: As I enter the self-promotion part of my life as a writer, I would love to know what makes you, as a reader, buy a book? I do a lot of promo through Facebook and Twitter, but I’d love to know what kind of posts in those forums would make you click through and actually buy the book.

AMY: Great question. I would like to know that too. Readers, are there any questions you would like to ask Jerrica.

Jerrica has been generous enough give away an autographed copy of A Gentleman Never Tells. I am sorry but this is limited to U.S. residents only, due to the cost of postage. If you would like a chance to win the book, simply comment and leave your e-mail address. A winner will be picked and announced Saturday night. Good luck.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Father Does Know Best / Powerful Prayful Monday 12/7

I was given a reminder in church a few weeks ago. It isn’t my will, but God’s. We all know this to be true, but how hard is it to live by? As a writer, it is not easy to be patient and wait for the right timing or read through rejection letters. Not to mention that little panic when you wonder if you are meant to be published. I know I used to wonder if I was fulfilling my needs in writing and afraid that wasn’t God’s plan at all. Were my stories only for me? But why give me these great characters and setting if nobody else is supposed to read about them?

The publishing day and my dream came true. But, there were times I really lacked patience, as well as suffered from self-doubt, among other emotions, in waiting to get there. I will admit that I still struggle with what I perceive my needs to be instead of accepting what God wants for me. I don’t think I am alone. I believe we are all a bit like children, or teenagers, in accepting that Father does know best, especially when it is something we really want or think we need.

Do you struggle with patience or not content with where you writing career is? Do you wonder what God’s plan is for you as a writer? Or, could it be something else in your life where the teenager in you wants to argue with what Father knows is best?

On a side note, I am happy to report that my thoughts did not turn to my novel during the sermon. Okay, maybe it did for a small fraction second. The verse Ecclesiastes 7:20 There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sin, plays in so well with the verse that set me going a few weeks ago, Matthew 5:48. I jotted it down real quick so I didn’t forget to look it up again, and focused back on the sermon. I am making progress.

I was blessed once again to be able to pray for my fellow bloggers last week and I hope everyone received the answer from God they were hoping for and if not, that you were at least granted peace with the decision He made for you, as He does know what is best for you. I would like to continue praying and ask that you once again list your prayer requests. Thank you.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Winner of Nora's Soul

Margay picked the winner of Nora's Soul: DEB PAYTON.

Deb, send me your mailing address to amydetrempe@gmail.com and I will pass it on to Margay so she can send you the book. Congrats!!!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Spotlight on: Margay Leah Justice

Author of: Nora's Soul
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
ISBN: 978-1935171218
Released: November 3, 2008
Genre: Romance (Paranormal)
Available from Second Wind Publishing and Amazon

When angels of light and dark collide on earth…
Once he held a favored position in the heavens. But one moment of weakness casts Dante out and now he is cursed to walk the earth, collecting the souls of vulnerable women to buy his way into hell.
All hell breaks loose…
But standing in his way is Peter, an angel of light. Peter is everything Dante is not. Pure, above reproach. And determined to prevent Dante from achieving his goals. Peter will stop at nothing to protect the souls in his charge, even if it means achieving the impossible – leading Dante back onto the right path.
And no one is safe from the fall-out.
Nora Kendall believed in angels. Once. But then she lost her brother to cancer despite all of her prayers – and she lost her faith in all things angelic. Now, she is a lost soul who wanders through life like a sleepwalker, playing it safe and leaving the risk-taking to others.
Kyle Cameron is one of those risks. Burned by a bad marriage, his only concern now is providing a stable life for his children, who are left motherless by the unexpected death of his wife. This means working overtime to grow his architectural firm into a viable business – and leaving the care of his children to the care of someone he trusts. Despite his past connection with Nora, Kyle isn’t certain that she’s the right person for the job. He also doesn’t want to reconnect with her and repeat history.
But fate – and the machinations of two angels – has other ideas.

Nora’s Soul, by Margay Leah Justice, available now at Amazon.com

AMY: Thank you for joining me. What else would you like to share with us regarding your book?

MARGAY: Thank you for having me! Nora's Soul is the first in a series set in the world of angels of light and dark. It was supposed to be a stand-alone book, but a certain character (Dante) chose to let me know that his story was not finished. Let me just tell you this: He has a lot to say!

AMY: Were there any surprises that came about while you were writing Nora's Soul, or did you story stick with the plan you had set?

MARGAY: Oh, there were many surprises! I think the biggest one was the revelation that Dante wasn't exactly who I thought he was in the beginning. At first, I thought he was a devil and I wrote him as such, but after I was done, he kept coming to me with more of his story and I soon realized that he wasn't a devil at all. So although the basic idea remained the same, several key aspects changed.

AMY: What inspired you to write this book or these particular characters?

MARGAY: I know it might sound trite, but it literally came to me in a dream - well, two dreams, to be precise, that I had back to back in the same night. One was a dream about a woman - we'll call her Nora - who was dancing the night away in a nightclub with this devilishly handsome man who, when she finally broke away from him, showed his true colors behind her back. The second dream was with the same woman moving into a garage apartment as she prepared to take care of twins. Separately, the dreams probably wouldn't have made an impression on me, but together like that, they made me wonder. Who was this woman and how could she go from being so wild and unfettered in the dance club to so prim and proper in the garage apartment? I had to know the answer and as I began to jot things down, the story just unfolded and practically wrote itself!

AMY: Tell the readers about your writing journey and how you ended up with your publisher.

MARGAY: I have gone the route of trying to get an agent, a big New York publisher, etc., but when it wasn't happening, I looked into contests as a way of getting my writing out there and came upon one sponsored by Gather.com. During the process, I became friends with a group of writers and we ended up forming a critique group so we could keep up with each other and continue to read what the others had written. Somewhere along the way, someone threw out the suggestion that we should form our own publishing company so we could publish all of our books. Well, one of the members took that idea and ran with it and Second Wind Publishing was born. The next thing I knew, Mike was sending me an email requesting my full manuscript. That is how I became published!

AMY: If there is one piece of advice you could give an unagented / unpublished author, what would it be?

MARGAY: You have to absolutely love what you are doing, love what you are writing, because you are going to be spending a lot of time with it from the point of conception until long after publishing it (there is all that promoting you have to do, after all). So my advice would be: First, make sure you are going into this for all the right reasons. If you're only writing to become a mega star or rich, you're doing it for the wrong reason. You should write because you can't imagine not doing it. Write for yourself first, then see if anyone else wants to read it. Second, instead of the old adage "Write what you know," I would say "Write what you want to read." Write the story that excites you and makes you want to get to the end - and then mourn the fact that you did. As for the what you know part, that's where research comes in. And third, if you're serious about taking this on, have confidence in yourself and persevere. Success doesn't come overnight and if you don't believe in yourself, who will?

AMY: Besides Nora's Soul, which we highlighted here, have you published other books or are there some that are yet to be released?

MARGAY: I don't have any others published yet, but I am waiting on word about some. I'd prefer not to say more until I get confirmations.

AMY: How can we find you on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, blog, website addresses)

MARGAY: The Jane Austen Society Pages: http://textnovel.com/stories_list_detail.php?story_id=1347

AMY: Is there anything you would like to ask the readers?

MARGAY: I would love to know what draws them to the books they choose to read.

AMY: Margay Leah Justice has been generous enough give away an autographed copy of Nora's Soul. I am sorry but this is limited to U.S. residents only, due to the cost of postage. If you would like a chance to win the book, simply comment and leave your e-mail address. A winner will be picked and announced Saturday night. Good luck.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New Meaning to Black Friday

As I have mentioned, stories I write take place either during the American Revolution, French Revolution or Regency Period. Long before things like electricity or gas stoves. I always figured that had I lived back then I would have been a maid in household, or some middle to lower class person – no big deal. A friend once mention that had I lived in an even earlier time period I probably would have been a wench in a tavern. I am not quite sure what she meant by that, but she assumed she would be right there with me.

Well, the day after Thanksgiving I soon learned I would not like being a maid during the 1700s or early 1800s. You see, my water heater went out – giving a whole new meaning to “Black Friday” for me. This was also the day I decided to kick off my baking. As my husband had to work overtime, dinner was not an issue because he was going to bring something home during his 3 hour break in shifts. He knows what a pain it is to stop in the middle of baking cookies, bars and candies to cook dinner. (He really wanted to make sure I got the pecan bars done)

However, as soon as I went to wash to first set of measuring cups, mixing bowls, beaters and such I realized there was no hot water. Thus, I began heating water on the stove. This continued through the weekend whenever I needed to do the dishes or someone needed a bath. He tried to get the pilot light lit while he was home but it wasn’t happening. Given he was gone far more than he was home this weekend, I didn’t expect him to get to the water heater before Monday. I also learned that the whole hauling water thing is not me.

So, while being the lord or lady, or even the middle class, back in 1810 may seem romantic, it was far from that for the maid. I am so glad I lived in 2009.

If you had been born in a different era, what do you think you would have been - Poor, middle class, lord or lady? If you were of the servant class what job would you have really disliked more than you do now? And, if you could pick era(with the exception of now) when would you have lived?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Powerful Prayful Monday 11/30

Can you believe that tomorrow is the first day of December? Where did the year go? While December is the most festive time of the year with all kinds of parties and food, it is also one of the most stressful months. My prayer is that all that read this blog remain stress free and able to enjoy the celebrations of our Savior’s birth.

If you have a prayer request, please list it below. There were less last week and I hope that means there were fewer needs. But, it could have also been because the crunch of the Thanksgiving week kept readers away from blogs. I know I didn’t get to read many last week or over the weekend.

Have a wonderful Monday and great week. I look forward to praying for anyone who leaves a request.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Spotlight on: Mike Simpson, owner of Second Wind Publishing

This is going to be my second of many Spotlights. Starting off this series is Mike Simpson, owner and founder of Second Wind Publishing. If there are any authors reading this that are looking for a new publishing home, now is the chance to find out more about my publisher.

More information can be found at the website: www.secondwindpublishing.com. Second Wind also has a blog that most of the authors take part in, www.secondwindpub.blogspot.com. And, finally, don’t forget Facebook. Just do a search for Second Wind Publishing LLC until Entertainment & Arts: Books & Literature. My link wasn’t copying and pasting correctly, but that should get you there. They have great discussions almost every day.

Now, onto the Spotlight Interview.

AMY: Mike, I am so glad you agreed to this interview. As an author, I know I always wanted to find out every possible detail about a potential publisher. I am thrilled to give authors and readers the opportunity to learn more about Second Wind Publishing. First off, tell us, how did Second Wind Publishing come about?

MIKE: Second Wind actually started as a dare. I had become acquainted with a number of outstanding writers of several distinct genres who were participating in on-line writing contests. Clearly the quality of their work was exceptional—they were as good as most best selling authors whose titles you might pick up in a bookstore. Only, even though many of them were doing quite well in the contests, they weren’t getting their work even considered by the major publishing houses. I kept voicing my disgust at the unfairness of this and finally one of the authors dared me to start my own company and publish these authors. After all my broken bones and bruises as a kid, you’d think I would’ve learned not to take a dare.

AMY: Second Wind is little over a year old. When did it celebrate its first Birthday? In that time, how many individual authors have you signed and how many books have been published.

MIKE: Wow, Amy! That first anniversary went by in a blur. We celebrated it in August, 2009, which was actually the first anniversary of our having a book in print. By the time we were a year old, we had twenty-six books in print by seventeen different authors. In the six months that have followed, we have more than doubled that number and now have forty books either available or soon to be printed by thirty authors.

AMY: What genres are you currently publishing?

MIKE: We started with various types of romances: general, regency, suspense, paranormal and supernatural. At the same time we moved into crime/mystery titles: hardboiled police procedurals, thrillers, pure mysteries and apocalyptic crime stories. We’ve also published and are moving strongly into the general fiction area. We have some action/adventure novels and are publishing a couple non-fiction titles.

AMY: Do you anticipate moving into other genres?

MIKE: Early in 2010 we expect to begin publishing children/young adult books. I didn’t think we’d move in that direction as quickly as we have, but honestly I received too many good submissions to let them go. I also anticipate we’ll have a sci-fi/paranormal imprint in the next year as well.

AMY: The motto for Second Wind is “The Best Authors You Haven’t Read, Yet”. Does this mean you will only consider unpublished authors?

MIKE: Not at all. We are glad to consider any author’s work. One of the greatest compliments we’ve had at Second Wind has been when a couple published authors submitted their unpublished manuscripts to us because they like the way we go about things.

AMY: Do you prefer your authors to be agented or not?

MIKE: We are glad to work with agents. I’d really like to be clear, however, that having an agent does not make it more or less likely that Second Wind will offer a contract to an author. Just a little side note here: when we turn down a manuscript, we explain why it doesn’t work for us; no author ever gets that, “We’re sorry but your manuscript does not meet our editorial needs” dither from us.

AMY: If an author wanted to submit to Second Wind, what do they need to do?

MIKE: Send an email to mike@secondwindpublishing.com with contact information, a synopsis of the manuscript, the first chapter or 30 pages of the book as an attachment and the total word count.

AMY: What is the process, from your end, when a submission is received?

MIKE: When we receive the initial submission, one of several editors gives an initial review and then passes the submission on to another for confirmation. If two or three editors decide against a manuscript, we go back to the author as quickly as possible and explain why. If a manuscript is interesting, we ask for the entire manuscript as an email attachment and send it around to several of our editors for their thoughts. This is the difficult part for us because there are many “near misses.” We take our time and consider these manuscripts fully, and we try to discuss with the author why we are turning it down. When we decide that we want a manuscript, we ask the author to check us out. We do things a little differently than other publishers and we want to make sure that writers understand and accept our processes. We send several introductory documents and a sample contract. So far no author has said “no” to us (although a couple got snatched away by other publishers at the last minute).

AMY: If you sign an author/book, what is the process of getting it published. And, how long does it usually take to see the title in print?

MIKE: Once Second Wind and an author agree to work together it is a completely collaborative effort: we send the author’s book to a chosen editor. We work with the author to select the cover art. Once the interior of the book is ready, we send the file via email to the author to review closely. Once the author completes that, we order an actual print proof and have the author review that for any mistakes. If necessary a second proof is ordered. Once we have an acceptable proof, we make the book available in our various sales outlets and send six complimentary copies to the writer. It’s typically three to four months from the time we contract with an author until the book is available for sale.

AMY: What would you say are the advantages to being published with Second Wind? In other words, what makes Second Wind special and stand out against the other publishers?

MIKE: There are several unique aspects of being published by Second Wind our authors find attractive. First is the hands-on interaction between authors and the publishing staff. All our authors and editors become a sort of extended family. Second, the company is expanding exponentially in a variety of ways. Any writer who wants to stay on the cutting edge of the publishing industry in regard to sales venues and technology would be well-served by Second Wind. One other thing that I’m particularly excited about is our own brick-and-mortar bookstore, hopefully opening in within the next three or four months in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It will give us the opportunity to hand-sell the books of our Second Wind authors and as well as a leg up on distribution to other book outlets.

AMY: What are the future plans for Second Wind Publishing?

MIKE: We intend to continuing adding authors and books to our catalogue, probably on the order of ten new authors a year and up to twenty books. We also intend to continue innovating in the way we produce books and the venues in which they are marketed and sold. We have some really cool ideas we are implementing in just about every aspect of our business.

AMY: Is there anything else you thing the readers would like to know?

MIKE: The bottom line in publishing is that people always want to read a good story, well told. Every Second Wind book is a quality piece of literature. I feel so privileged to be working with these outstanding authors. They are really the story of Second Wind.

AMY: Mike, thanks for the interview. Even though I’ve been with Second Wind for almost a year, I learned a few things as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Away from my Blog

I am blogging at my publisher today, secondwindpub.wordpress.com. Stop by and tell me what Thanksgiving means to you. I hope your day is full of blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Research, Research and More Research

I write inspirational and/or sweet historical romance. My stories have taken place during the American Revolution, French Revolution and the Regency Period. Even though my time frame spans roughly only 45 years, a LOT happened. So, I spend a lot of time researching. A few of the things I needed to recently look up were 1) at what age could a man become a vicar, and 2) what would the parishioners have been singing, by way of a hymn, in 1811. I have no clue to either of those answers. I am sure my favorite songs were not part of their hymnal since I am partial to contemporary Christian music.

As for the vicar, luckily one of my critique partners (thank you Heather) had a biography and the man became a vicar at the age of 22. So, I am safe on that one since my hero is older than that. I had to go to the internet for the music, however. It appears that in England, most of the hymns were Psalms. But I am sure there were hymns other than Psalms then. Or, perhaps they were written but not sang in church. I think I am going to play it safe and simply call it a Psalm. Okay, maybe that is cheating or lazy and I probably should look into it further and put the name of an actual song in the story. Any suggestions?

What do you write? Have you chosen a topic or era that requires a lot of research? What are some of your favorite research sites?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Powerful Prayerful Monday 11/23/09

Sorry for the late post. I slept later than usual this morning so I wasn't able to post prior to my rush to get ready for work and out the door. Maybe I need prayers to get my sleep schedule back in order. Somehow I've gotten turned around and I am unable to sleep until late and I end up hitting the snooze in the morning. Ugh! I will get turned back around eventually (I hope). Of course, with the holidays, who knows what will happen.

Once again I was blessed with opportunity to pray for so many last week and would like to continue to do the same this week. Please list your prayer requests in the comments. Also, given that this is the week of Thanksgiving, I would like to hear what blessings each of us are thankful for. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were sending more praises than requests this week.

In truth, I believe we all have a lot to be thankful for, but when an illness happens, whether it is us, a family member or friend, or unemployement, or tragedy, or any other negative in our lives, it tends to completely overshadow everything we should be thankful for. I know when my child was seriously injured years ago, I prayed for her health and healing and it was weeks later before it occurred to me to thank God that I had medical insurance and that we lived close to a trauma hospital that was affiliated with a children's hospital so that she could get the best of care, as well as the doctors, nurses, etc.

I hope everyone will join me in praying for those who list a request as well as praising and thanking God of his bountiful blessings.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Critique Group Anyone?

I love my critique group, which I have said several times now. We all write historical romance, which is a benefit. As I am sure you know, there can be a huge difference between contemporary and historical and we found it was easier to stick with historical than explain some of the oddities found in regency romances.

I’ve learned more than I thought possible from my group and they have helped me grow as an author in several directions. And, we are a successful group. When we first started, only one had a publishing contract. Now, four more of us do and others have gone on to win several contests, had requests for full and partial manuscripts, and are for the most part more secure in their writing than ever before. This alone is proof of why a good critique group is essential to any serious writer. At least in my opinion.

There is only one drawback to my group, if you can call it that. I am the only one not writing for the secular market. I have written a few sweet novels, but have yet to pursue publication of these. The two books that are contracted I consider inspirational. Yet, I am not comfortable with this because I need to learn much more about the inspirational market. Mainly I am afraid I’ve broken some of the rules of the Christian market.

Though I would never dream of leaving my current critique group, I am toying with the idea of starting a second one. This critique group would be for the Sweet and Inspirational Romance author, only. Before I embark on forming such a group I would like to know if anyone else would be interested in joining such a group. I know I could learn from each of you and hope that you could learn as much from me. If you are interested, please contact me privately at amydetrempe@gmail.com and I will be happy to send you more information on how the group would work. I will pattern it after my current group since it seems to work so well for everyone involved.

I am curious. How many of you belong to a critique group, or have in the past. Have you had good experiences?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Television Quotes

When I take time to sit and watch previously recorded shows with my husband it is to let my mind go and simply be entertained. Rarely does dialogue or one specific quote stick with me. However, in an episode of Warehouse 13, Breakdown, aired 9/8/09 on SYFI, one piece of dialogue stuck with me.

John Adams was a farmer. Abraham Lincoln was a small town lawyer. Plato, Socrates were teachers. Jesus was a carpenter. To equate judgment and wisdom with occupation is at best, insulting.

Have you ever been surprised by something someone says, or learn something from an unexpected source? What of your writing? What is it that you hope the reader will take from it and is there something in the story that the reader my find surprising or profound?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Powerful Prayerful Monday, 11/16

I was uplifted last week by being blessed with the opportunity to pray for everyone who listed a need. It is also something I intend to continue. I hope others joined me and are blessed with the experience as much as I.

So, if you have a prayer request, please list it in the comments and each day I will read through all of the posts and prayer for each individual. There is no needed to be specific if you don't wish to. I am sure a lot of us have private struggles we are dealing with and don't want to announce it on the web. A simple "I am struggling right now" or simply "pray for me" will suffice. I just need to say your name and God will be all over it because he knows your needs far better than you or I.

God Bless everyone and have a great, wonderful, powerful, prayful Monday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Took the Challenge

Karen over at http://karenevans.blogspot.com/ has challenged her readers to use these five words in a post: zone, ring, dusty, pineapple, and elephant. I thought I would give it a try.

My house is dusty, which I am well aware and know I should rectify. But, who has time to clean with there is writing to be done, blogs to read, blogs to write, facebook to visit, etc. And it is really hard to think about any mess when I am focused and in the writing zone. You know, that place where minutes translate to hours of writing bliss and the words just flow out of you like the water out of a faucet. When that happens to me, I could have an elephant in my living room and wouldn’t even notice. But don’t tell my kids. Who knows what they would try to get away with, and probably succeed. So, in preparation for such a writing event, I take off my ring so I can lather my hands with lotion and then I slice up the last of the pineapple to nibble on while I work.

What do you nibble on when you write, if anything? Are there certain foods or drink that you always have with you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writing, the Old Fashioned Way

Becoming Jane was on television the other night. I caught bits and pieces of it because I was doing other things and not really paying attention. But, I did see a scene where she was writing a portion of one of her novels. She dipped the quill in ink and began writing on parchment. She paced about the room a bit, as if contemplating a scene or dialogue, and went back to writing. She then crossed out some lines. That is when it hit me. All of her novels started off in longhand and before being sent to the publisher were edited and rewritten in longhand again. I wonder how many revisions the novels went through before it was perfect, or how much parchment and ink.

I’ve written in longhand before and gone on to type it into the computer. I considered the typing the second draft. But, I cannot imagine all drafts and finals being in longhand. Goodness, I am not sure an editor would be able to read my handwriting past chapter 2. I tend to start of neat, but the more I write, the more it becomes indecipherable.

Have you ever written an entire novel in longhand? Have you written partial manuscripts? If we did not live in the day of computers, would you give up writing because of writer’s cramp?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Powerful Positive Monday 11/9

I’ve always felt very strong about prayer and yesterday’s Sunday School lesson reminded me why. We began with reading 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray continually.” You can't get any clearer than that.

We then discussed the lesson, 2 Kings 18 & 19. In short, King Hezekiah had a problem. The enemy nation, Assyria, threatened to destroy Jerusalem. King Hezekiah responded as follows (2 Kings 18: 19)

“Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”

We finished up with the Bible Words for the students from James 5:16
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
As you can see, there was common theme, as there usually is with the lessons. This one happens to be PRAYER.

Regardless of how, when and where I prayer, I don’t pray enough. I am not sure it is possible to pray enough. It is also the reason why I am going to try something new. Every Monday I am going to post a blog called Powerful Positive Monday. I invite anyone who wishes to add a prayer request in the comments section, whether it is for you, a family member, friend or acquaintance. No names necessary. It could be as simple as I am concerned about a neighbor. That is all I need to know. God already knows exactly who you have on your mind. I will visit the blog every day and prayer for every request noted. It does not have to be just needs. If you have a note of Thanksgiving, that would be great too. Let us all thank God for the blessings. I would encourage anyone who reads this blog to prayer for those who have listed a request or thanksgiving throughout the week. On the following Monday, we will start all over again.

I hope everyone joins me in this. Sometimes prayer is the most powerful thing we can do and it is the easiest. And, can you think of a better way to start of the week than praying?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Meter Bar Thingy

I've decided to keep track of where I am on my current WIP, A Reluctant Vicar. It is already started so I can't use it for Nano, but my gaol is to get it finished by the end of November. I already have 20,471 words out of my 70,000 goal, so that is about the 50,000 I need. If anyone can tell me how to get that meter/counter for my current WIP that I see in so many margins on blogs, I would be very grateful. Otherwise, I will just post my word count occassionally. Maybe this will keep me focused and working on it.

Good luck to everyone trying to reach a goal.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Lyrics that Stick with You

A good book is not the only thing that can leave a lasting impression. Music lyrics have a way of doing this too. At least for me.

When I am making my commute to and from work I only listen to the radio or a CD about 30% of the time. For the most part I like the silence to meditate, pray or think through my current WIP. The other night while driving home, out of the blue a song popped into my head. It is one of my favorites from church – The Power of Your Love, by Geoff Bullock. I don’t know why this song came to me, but soon I was singing it while driving down the interstate, with no radio backing me up.

Had I not pulled into my driveway, I would have probably launched into one of my other favorites – In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. This song never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

If you are unfamiliar with either of these songs I hope you look them up and give a listen or read the lyrics.

When I am not listening to a Christian station, I am listening to a station that plays music from the 1960s to present. There have been some awesome music and lyrics written in my lifetime.

Is there a song, or set of songs you sing during church services that stick with you, never fail to move you, or you just simply love to sing? If you don’t have a particular song, do you prefer the traditional hymns or are you more into the contemporary Christian music of today. Or, what lyrics do you simply love, from any genre? Do you have a favorite song of all time? I am not sure if I have an all time favorite but I can tell you my husband's is Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, and a guaranteed slow dance for me at any wedding reception.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Here is your chance to win a copy of Murder in the Wind, a mystery anthology by Second Wind Publishing. My contribution, She Talked, is included in this book of short stories. Click on the link and have fun.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Starting Over

I can't believe it has been over a week since I was reading blogs or even attempted to write one. The flu hit the household and nothing brings life to a grinding halt like coughs, fever, achiness and general yuckiness. It stared with my son and one by one took us all down. But, thankfully, we are all back to our normal selves. So, today I am going to get back to reading the blogs I have come to love. I am sure I missed a lot of good ones too and I feel like I am starting all over with blogging.
I've also given some thought to how often I blog. Awhile back I decided I was going to be a weekend blogger. That didn't work because I still blogged during the week. I don't know if I am ever going to have a schedule or not, so I've decided not to try and post whenever something comes to mind.
I hope each of you remain flu free and healthy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Spotlight – Samantha Grace

You may have read my post about being judged. Now I am going to spotlight one of my critique partners, Samantha Grace. She has put herself out there in a various contests and is currently in the middle of one. She entered the Dorchester TextNovel, with her story Maid for Seduction. Samantha has been my critique partner for over a year and this is a story I have read and love. Her characters are fantastic and I laughed many times. It is a wonderful historical romance that I hope gets picked up by a publisher soon.

Amy: Samantha, what has been your contest experience to date?

Samantha: Amy, first of all, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your site. It is an honor for me since I’m a huge fan of your stories. Congratulations on your publishing success.

Amy: Awwww, thanks Samantha.

Samantha: I’ve entered several contests over the last year with varying results. Overall, the feedback has been helpful and positive on both works I’ve entered. I’m always grateful to the judges who take the extra time to provide examples and point out what’s working in the story as well as what isn’t.

I’ve also been a contest judge and tried to provide the entries with the same attention and respect I would wish to receive. A story about my six-year-old daughter sums up how I see the judge’s role. We were pretending to be dance teachers to her dolls, but it had been a long day for me and I wasn’t fully engaged in playing. After a few minutes of me half-heartedly dancing with a doll, my daughter turned to me and said, “May I speak to you in private?” She led me away from the dolls and spoke in a quiet voice, “We’re here to inspire the girls.” LOL. What a great lesson from a little one. May we all be an inspiration to others and support their dreams.

Amy: Tell us about the Dorchester TextNovel?

Samantha: The Dorchester Best Cellar contest has been the most fun. I love the direct feedback from other writers and fans. It’s a natural high when someone enjoys your work and wants to read it all. I hope someday to be able to fulfill their requests.

The object is to be in the top 20 by the time the contest ends on November 1st. The top 20 then go before the Dorchester Publishing editors to narrow down to ten finalists. A grand winner will to receive a guaranteed publishing contract and $2,000 advance. Obviously, I’d be thrilled if I won, but I’m really in the contest for the exposure. I’d be content with having my work go before the editors.

Right now, Maid for Seduction is nineteenth in the contest, and I reached that point through votes and readers signing up to follow my story.

Amy: Tell us about Maid for Seduction

Samantha: Maid for Seduction is a lighthearted, fun read with heart. Lady Caroline Mathis always escaped the pain of loss by immersing herself in her uncle’s travel journals and dreaming of sailing to the same exotic lands. Yet, her unexpected betrothal to a stranger crushes her hopes. Her travel-shy fiancĂ© sends an escort to collect her. Unwilling to surrender her dreams completely, spirited Caroline temporarily trades places with her maid and searches for adventure on the journey, convinced her escort is none the wiser. Little does she know, her handsome escort is also engaging in a charade – he’s really her intended, the Marquess of Westin, and he has his own motivation for deception.

Amy: How can we read the excerpts you have posted and vote for you?

Samantha: You may visit www.textnovel.com and search on Maid for Seduction or Samantha Grace. To vote, select the thumbs up symbol. You’ll be asked to register and choose a pen name. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and then you click on the link in the email, pull up my story again and click the thumbs up again. It’s all processed quickly and doesn’t take long to vote. Becoming a fan gives me an added advantage and you’ll receive notifications when I post another section. To become a fan, select the cell phone icon.

Again, thank you very much for allowing me to visit and share my contest experience.

Amy: You can read more about Samantha’s Textnovel experience on her blog at http://samanthagraceromance.wordpress.com

Samantha will be stopping in throughout the day if anyone has any questions you would like to ask her.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fall Cleaning

I am not a Spring Cleaner. As soon as the weather gets warm, I get out of the house and go spend time in my yard. However, as soon as the weather turns crisp, as it did this week, I clean. I do what most people do during spring cleaning. Every room is done but one – my office. I guess you couldn’t really call it an office, more of a space which I have tried to close in for privacy and quiet. With three kids, I think the quiet is almost impossible to obtain. It is small and full of papers, books, notes, cards, etc. I do have space around the computer that is clean so I have a spot to take notes and such, but most other surfaces are covered. I suppose some would call it cluttered. Though I wish there was more room I make do, as long as the stacks can stay neat. Once things get out of control it is hard to concentrate or write.

I’ve heard writers talking about needing music or needing quiet. What about cleanliness and clutter? Does your work area have to be clean or can you work in the middle of mess? Or, it doesn’t matter and you can write anywhere.

Trick or Treat

We are approaching the spookiest time of the year. In preparation, Second Wind Publishing is having a contest. One clue can be found the following excerpt from Loving Lydia:

Her first instinct was to throw her head back, to try and dislodge her attacker. But he gripped her tighter and forced a rag into her mouth. Lydia gagged. A scarf was wrapped around the lower portion of her face and tied behind her head as the attacker held onto her wrists with one hand, tying the knot at her hair with another. He must have used his teeth as well because she could feel his hot breath on her neck.

More information to follow as we get closer to Halloween.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

It Happened Again

I tend to take notes while listening to the sermon. Sometimes it is because I want to go back and look it up later and meditate on it more. Other times, it is because I want to use it in a novel. I know my mind should not wander to my stories while sitting in church. I really am working on that problem. I had gotten better, I really had and then it happened again. One simple verse sent my imagination going.

Matthew 5:48
Be prefect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Before I left the sanctuary I knew who my hero was, where he came from, where he was in his life.

I apologize, Pastor Miller. I will really work on this problem in the future, and pay close attention to what is said after a verse inspires me. Clearly I have not reached perfection, but I will keep working on it.

Does anyone else have this problem? Something is said and your mind goes to your story, or a potential story, when you really should remain focused on where you are and what is being said?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Putting Yourself Out There

I’ll admit it. There are a few Reality TV shows I like. At the moment they happen to be Top Chef and Project Runway. When it airs, I don’t miss American Idol either. Each of these contestants have a passion for their art, whether it is an incredibly delicious dish, gown for the red carpet, or a voice that should be signed by a record label. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have such a dream and your one chance comes down to standing before the judges, cameras, and be criticized and praised in front of an audience of thousands.

As writers, I believe we can relate in some part to what these contestants put themselves through. We love our stories, our own voice. Our friends and family think we are great. We polish until we think we have found perfection. We hand it over to a critique group – the first round of judging. The results are not always pleasant. We brush ourselves off, and if we paid attention, make those revisions. Once again, we think we have it, and send out queries to agents. Then the rejections come. Your one consolation is that you opened the envelope or the e-mail in the privacy of your own home instead of being told to go home while a good portion of America is watching.

Despite these rejections, and after consuming consoling chocolate, we once again put our fingers to the keyboard and submit some more.

Eventually an agent, editor or publisher comes along and says “we want to publish you”. Finally, your story can be told. You sign that contract, make the edits requested, review your cover art and finally, proof the final product before it goes to print. Have you made it? Yes and no. Your publisher may believe in you, but there is an entire audience out there who doesn’t have a clue as to who you are. No different than those contestants with numbers on their chests singing for the judges during auditions.

So, what do you do next? You make yourself known! I am still trying to figure out the best way to do that.

Did you watch reality TV? If so, which are your favorites?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Your WIP as a Musical?

I've blogged about Little Women, Man of La Mancha and Suessical. All wonderful musicals. Right now am busy with makeup for South Pacific. This is a 1949 musical, music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan. The story is taken from James A. Michener’s 1948 novel, Tales of the South Pacific. Do you think Michener was envisioning a musical when he wrote this Pulitzer Prize novel? I’ve read blogs and articles where authors discuss possible movie rights for their novels, but I don’t think I’ve read where they have considered the story being adapted for the stage. So, thinking big, I tried to envision my characters from Loving Lydia breaking into song. I can see my heroine, Lady Lydia Demains, being moved at particular times, but as for my hero, Lord Alexander Wake, not so much. Okay, to be honest - never. As for the other characters, maybe a few have it in them, but not enough to carry a show.

So, I guess this novel won’t make it to Broadway, nor do I think my next release, Pure is the Heart, is a good candidate either. I suppose if I want to see my show in lights I need to develop characters who have a song in their heart.

What about you? Have you ever envisioned your novel on the silver screen, as a stage play or entertaining musical? Try to picture your novel or WIP as a musical. What is your first reaction?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Holiday Giveaway

Free ebooks! Just mention the name of one of my books, and you might win an ecopy at our Labor Day Giveaway. http://wp.me/ pljtd-yM

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Weekend Blogger

I am always amazed and impressed by the number of blogs any one person can post in a week. Where do you come up with ideas for such great articles so often? I do not fit into this category, unfortnately, and have made a decision for myself. I am going to become a weekend blogger. This simply means that I will only post something on the weekend. However, I will still visit blogs daily. It is almost an addiction and I find I must keep up with the blogs I am following or I will miss something really important, though I can't always keep up.

With a wonderful husband, three kids, a full-time job outside the home, Church activities, writing and a current theater committment, I find I am doing little bits of things and not accomplishing a great deal. This week I was really into the groove of writing my current WIP, but at the back of my mind I kept thinking that I needed to blog. I don't like being pulled in two separate directions. My characters do that enough - lol. Where it is okay for them, it is not okay in everything else in my life. So, I made a list of all the things I needed to do on a weekly basis and set a schedule of what I hope will work. One of my decisions is to post a blog only on the weekend.

Have you had to reduce the amount of time you spend on one activity so you can devote more time to others? Do you have a specific blog schedule you go by, or do you post when an interesting thought comes to mind? I would really like to know how everyone else manages to organize their time to be with family, participate in outside activites, write and blog. Do you have a weekly schedule you go by and stick to? I am sure your blog isn't the only place you visit either. I also like to visit Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers, and Romance Book Junction, none of which I think I visited this week. I would love to hear from you and any tips you can offer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

WIP Jumping

Do you ever have two separate WIPs demanding your attention? This is happening to me. The first one that I am writing is intended to be a sequel to a manuscript I recently finished. That manuscript is sitting, waiting for edits. It is a rule of mine that after a story is written and the critiques received, I don't look at it for two to five months. This used to be hard because I wanted to keep working and get the story submitted. But, in time I have learned that I need to be away from it so it is no longer fresh in my mind when I edit. I find a lot of mistakes that way.

So, while one WIP is resting, I move onto another. However, right now I have two others. I have two sets of characters, in two totally different settings, clamoring for my attention like two jealous children with a parent. When I pause in one, to think about which direction I want the story to take (I don't outline), the other child (set of characters) steps into the temporary vacant spot as if to say "my turn now". So, I let the first one stew in the back of my mind while I play with the second story. I know the best thing would be to permanently put one away until the other is complete. But that would be like locking one beloved child in a room so you can lavish attention on the other. It seems so unfair.

I am sure by now I am also driving my critique partners crazy. I am about to post chapters from my second story when they have been critiquing the first. Thank goodness they are an understanding group. Though I believe a former critique partner did mention ADD and my name in the same sentence. I am sure I don't know what they mean - lol.

Has this ever happened to you, or is it happening now? Do you have two or more sets of characters insisting you pay attention to them and ignore the others? Do you work on only one story and ignore the second?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Away from My Blog

Today I am blogging at http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/. Stop by and let me know if you have ever written a book with a partner.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Birthday Celebration

My publisher is celebrating a birthday. I hope you will join us in celebrating one year in business and thirty published books:

Ten Lessons I Learned (The Hard Way): A Publisher’s Reflections on the First Year http://wp.me/pljtd-wX

Win free ebooks! Receive epresents.
What Second Wind Book Do You Wish to Read? You Might Get Your Wish! http://wp.me/pljtd-vI

In the event my shortcuts don't transfer, because they haven't so far, both blog posts can be found at http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com.

Good luck if you plan to enter to win an ebook.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Movies as Inspiration

One of my critique partners recently referenced an author she loves and compared her writing style and comedy to one of her favorite movies – It Happened One Night. I love this movie and I find that I am drawn to the movies made prior to my birth, or shortly thereafter, as opposed to some more recent offerings. Our discussion took a new path to favorite actors and movies. Personally, I don’t think Cary Grant has ever made a movie I did not like.

This in turn reminded me of a book I had read. It was maybe three years ago, or longer, and for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the author or the title. I loaned the book and never got it back. This was a historical romance, medieval period, but as I was reading it, all I could think of was that the story was Arsenic and Old Lace, though the book wasn’t called that. It was a wonderful read and I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed watching one my favorite Cary Grant movies. And, at the back of the book, this author gave complete credit to Arsenic and Old Lace.

What about you? Has a movie, or perhaps series of movies, ever influenced your story? Do you find yourself using a tone or a style from a beloved movie?

Also, if anyone knows the book I referenced or the author, please let me know. It is driving me nuts that I can’t remember.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blogs and Interviews

I've had computer issues at home, which is why I have not been able to post blogs or follow blogs. This message is being sent from my work computer because I wanted to let you know that today I am interviewed on http://romancewritersonthejourney.wordpress.com/. Please stop by when you get a chance.

Hopefully my home computer issues will be resolved today (cross your fingers).

Have a great day all.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


If you write any type of fiction you know there are specfic characters you need. For romance (my favorite) you need the Hero and Heroine. Then there are the secondary characters, or the supporting cast, with whom our main characters interact with as the story unfolds. Sometimes, and more often than not, there is a villian. This could be a truely bad person set out to do harm - such as a murderer in a mystery. Or, it could simply be a person who is so selfish that they don't care who they trample on in reaching their goal. We know there are several types of characters and ways to use those characters in a story, but this is more about the good guy/gal, even if they aren't in the lead role in your novel.

The Sunday School lesson this past weekend was The Good Samaritan and thankfully none of the students asked me an impossible question. As I was driving home from church I started to think about the lesson and wondered if I have written a Good Samaritan into my novels. It turns out I have, but I never consciously thought of them with that specfic title.

As a Christian or Inspirational author, do you have a character who is your Good Samaritan? And, if you do, was this something you consciously did, or did the character simply evolve into someone who stops to help those in need, loves their neighbor and is without prejudice?

Friday, July 31, 2009

It is All in the Name

So many of you have such cool names for your blog. They define you as a person, a writer, mother, father or interest. When I set up my blog I simply used my pen name, which is actually my maiden name so there was no imagination used there. The reason I decided to write using my maiden name was simply because it is less common. I married a Williams. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with my husband's last name, I preferred to have a more unique name on the cover of my books. Besides, when I actually make it to a bookshelf (notice I didn't say "if"), "D" is a lot closer to the beginning of the alphabet than "W". When looking for a book and not sure what I want, I tend to start at the beginning and a lot of stores stock by authors last name. Therein lies my logic.

While I like my name, I think it is too boring for the title of my blog. But, I am not sure what I should use. What defines me?

Well, I am: A Christian, Wife to a wonderful man for the past 23 years, Mother of three fantastic and talented children, Daughter, Sister, Author - historical fiction (inspirational and sweet), Paralegal (during the day), Teacher (Sunday School), Lead a Christ Care Group, Chair either makeup or costumes on various community theater shows, Love romance novels.

So, how do I come up with a title for my blog out of all of that?

As I began this blog to connect with other writers and readers, I decided to focus on the romance. When I hit a deadend I asked my critique group and Michelle came up with the prefect title (hope it isn't used). My favorite eras span from the American Revolution through the Regency Period. I do read outside of those times, but I write within them. And, since I believe love is timeless, I've decided to rename my blog to "Timeless Romance".

What do you think? Have you ever wanted to go back and change a beginning months after you started something?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Teaching Sunday School is Hard

I've taught most ages over the past twenty years, taking breaks occassionally to be with "adults" during the Sunday School hour. To me, the younger ones are the easiest. They accept everything with an open heart and an open mind. And no matter what question you ask, they always answer. "Because Jesus loves me." At least that seemed to be the answer to everything for a three and four-year-old.

For several years I taught sixth graders. For some reason most teachers shied away from this age but I loved it. We had great conversations and they were starting to understand the Bible and God's Word in more depth, and could see how it actually did apply to their life beyond church and in the home.

Now, I am teaching 4th graders. They are a great group of kids, but you can tell they are starting to think a little deeper. Our lesson today was how our earthly father protect us just as Joseph protected Jesus when he took him to Egypt, which moved on to how God protects us all and that by sending his Son we can all be assured of forgiveness.

Then came the question: "Where did God come from?"

I wasn't prepared and certainly not qualified to get into a deep discussion with the children, but I make an attempt. I am supposed to be the teacher, right? "God is God. He has always been and always will be." I know, it was probably a bad answer. Another child pipes up. "But he had to come from somewhere, didn't he?" The questions continued until we all decided that God is so wonderful, so powerful, so amazing that our brains cannot begin to really comprehend all that God is and all that he does for us, but because of faith we are assured of His protection and love. I also encouraged them to talk to the pastor for surely he could answer this question far better than I.

How would you answer the question?

After today I think I am ready to return to the three-year-old classroom where most questions can be answered with my favorite answer - Because Jesus Loves Me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Conference Experience - the Begnning

It is hard to beleive that a week ago today I was in Washington, DC at the Romance Writer's of America Conference. I think my mind is still sorting through the information and experience. I would have posted sooner, but I had some issues with my laptop and didn't get it back to full running capacity until a day or so ago. Not sure what the cause was, but I am certain dropping it on the hard floor at the airport didn't help. I now have to fight to open the DVD drive. Oh well, it could be worse.

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and after checking into my gorgeous room at the Omni Shoreham, I left to meet up with my critique partners. Until that day, I had only met two of them face to face. It was wonderful to get to know Jerrica, Kelli, Michelle, Heather and Julie in person and see Jodie and Tammy once again. We enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner and I swear I pulled stomach muscles from laughing so hard. This evening set the tone for the entire conference. I am really not sure I have laughed so much in my life, or at least not in recent memory.

Wednesday night we attended the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing. There were more than 500 authors waiting to sign books. The room was loud and invigorating. The proceeds from this event went to ProLiteracy Worldwide and local literacy charities. I forget the amount of money raised, but it was in the tens of thousands of dollars. Our next stop was the Beau Monde Soiree, where an array of delicious desserts were offered (this is not the time or place to even be thinking about a diet). Several attendees were dressed in period clothing and it was fun to watch the dance master teach the steps to a Regency Era country dance.

Thursday morning was the official opening with Janet Evanovich as the speaker. I was unable to attend the General Meeting but did attend the luncheon where Linda Howard was the keynote speaker. Both of these authors were enjoyable and inspirational to listen to. I am embarassed to admit that I have not read the books by either of them. However, after listening to them speak, they have been added to my ever growing of list of books and authors to read.

Following lunch, the workshops began. As this is already long, I will write about what I learned in a separate post.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Counting Down

In just 4 days the RWA Conference begins. I've been looking forward to this since I left the conference last year. However, I am still undecided on which workshops to attend. It seems I change my mind almost daily. Do I attend the craft workshops so I can improve my writing. Or, do I attend the carrier workshops since my book first book is now published? Oh, decisions, decisions. So far, the only one that has remained consistent as one of my choices is "Merging Inspiration, Romance and More: Writing for the Inspirational Market".

Have you been to the conference? Is there a workshop that is a "must attend"? I would love to hear feeback on conferences you have attended. It doesn't have to be the RWA Conference. What were your favorite parts or what workshops did you learn the most from?

Saturday, July 04, 2009


It is a rainy 4th of July here. I hope it clears before darkness falls, but I am beginning to doubt it will happen. Whether it rains or shines, small and large events will still continue around the country to celebrate. I thank God that I am blessed to live in this wonderful country. And, I thank the men and women who fought and continue to fight to keep our country free.

I've been gone from my blog longer than planned. The days have been spent with the kids, working, getting ready for my trip to attend the Romance Writers of America Conference, and preparing for the opening of Suessical.

And, on top of my wonderfullly, crazy scheduled Loving Lydia was released. It was so exciting to see my book on both Amazon and my publishers website - secondwindpublishing.com.

It is a glorious day, despite the rain, and I plan to celebrate. I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thinks You Can Think

If you have seen Suessical the Musical the title of this blog is probably familiar. I love this show and it is another I am involved with this year. I'll be doing makeup for 71 characters for the local children's community theater and have been having a blast designing their faces. But, it is the lyrics to Oh, The Thinks You Can Think that speaks to the writer in me. It is the first song of the show and begins like this:

Oh, the thinks you can think!
Oh the thinks you can think
If you're willing to try

The song continues and later the boy sings:

Oh, the thinks you can think!
Any thinker who thinks
Can come up with a few

Following, different Suess characters are introduced and the show takes off.

If you are a writer, you are a thinker. While we may not create famous characters like Horton the Elephant or The Cat in the Hat, we do hope our characters are memorable to your readers and last for as many years.

Have you ever sat back and just let your imagination fly? It doesn't matter if these characters make it in your book, or how farfetched the scene or setting. Isn't it just fun to let your mind go and come up with the craziest things?

Suessical the Musical, Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Monday, June 08, 2009

Blog Block – Kind of Like Writer’s Block – Part 2

A few weeks ago I was at a loss as to what I should blog about. For my own blog, I write when something comes to me. But on this particular day I was to blog at my publisher's site. I am one of those people who can happily write away, alone in my own world, until someone gives me an assignment and then all original thought disappears from my brain. When I could think of no interesting topic, I posed the question to my critique group and asked them for suggestions. They offered several, thank goodness, and I used the first one. But, I liked them all and saved them to be used later. Here was the second suggestion:

"I wrote an article several years ago on my own website. As an unpublished writer, a friend of mine was having the discussion about writing the book of your heart versus not doing it for a first book. Which sparked the idea for the article. It's just a suggestion but new writers are very interested in what to do with the first book. You know the one that just flowed from your heart. Should you write the book of your heart, or write what's 'popular, that will sell'. Maybe you can blog about that."

Well, my personal thoughts are to write the book of your heart. You will never move forward and write the sellable book until you get that first book out. At least that was the case for me. Who knows, you may be lucky enough that your first book is your first sale. How many of us have the first novle tucked away, the one we cut our teeth on, the one so full of new writer errors that it will take a decade to rewrite? But, it is the first baby, and like my mother once said, "You always make mistakes with the first child." Of course, others may feel differently, so feel free to chime in. Should you write the book that is marketable, or the one of you heart even if it isn't the most popular genre at the moment?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lists to Ponder and Plans to Make

Though it is still 6 weeks away, and I have plenty of time to plan, I find myself returning to the Romance Writers of America website to review the conference line-up. I attended for the first time last year and enjoyed every last minute. There was a short time however, in the late morning on Saturday, when I sat down in the lounge with my friends and knew I could not move. I thought it impossible to add even the tiniest bit of information into my overly saturated brain. Perhaps this is why I am planning ahead now. I didn’t know what to expect last time. Now I do.

The easiest part is taken care of. I will arrive on Tuesday and meet up with my critique partners. What is especially exciting is that of the group of us going, I’ve only met two face to face – at last year’s conference. There will be seven of us this time and I can’t wait to meet them in person. We’ve spent over a year reading each other’s chapters, giving advice, cheering contest wins, editing work, and grumbling along with the entrant over poor scores. We’ve already talked about our families, work and our plans. All that is left is a face to face chat and I can’t wait.

Wednesday will be an easy day. Nothing is really required of me since I am not a chapter leader or a librarian. So, I will wander in sometime to register and then show up for the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing. This is where the first list comes in. I’ve already read through it once and there are so many names of my favorite authors that I hope I can get to them in the two hours allotted. This was also the place where I got my first piece of advice. When it is your first conference, you have a ribbon that says “first timer”. Victoria Alexander, whose books I loved, saw the ribbon and told me to pace myself. Boy, was she right. I may not have gotten it last year, but I will certainly heed it this year. The rest of the evening is up for grabs, though my crit partners are thinking of attending the Beau Monde Soiree. We shall see.

As for Thursday and the remainder of the conference. I am at a loss. Too many wonderful workshops and so little time. I guess I will keep reading and picking and changing my mind until I get there.

How about you? Do you attend the RWA Conference? Do you have a plan of attack on how to make the most of the experience? Who is your favorite author and one I should be sure to get a book from? Having been only once I still consider myself a newbie and welcome any advice.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Got a Good Mystery?

Do you love a good mystery? Can you write a compelling story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, biting their nails? Can you do it in 5,000 words or less?

Second Wind Publishing is holding a Short Story Contest – Murder is on the Wind - Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem. The winner will have their short story published in an upcoming Mystery anthology. The deadline for entry is July 1, 2009. For more information, visit secondwindpublishing.com.

This is the second short story contest Second Wind Publishing has held. The first was last December for publication in their Valentine’s Day / Romance Anthology, Love is on the Wind. I know that one of the winners is now contracted with them for publication of her first romance novel.

So, what do you have to lose? I think everyone has a mystery in them. Don’t you?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Time to Weed

One of my favorite things to do is garden. I have several small gardens around my yard and each Spring I cannot wait to get outside and nurture the plants. I start with cleaning off the dead at the end of April and plant annuals and new perennials at the beginning of May. Then, I try to keep the weeds at bay. Unfortunately, I was not able to work in my gardens until today. As I pulled the weeds in an effort to find my lovely perennials I realized how much they represented my life.

Have you ever piled your plate so high that only a little bit of everything gets done and some things go to the wayside? With three children and their activities, a wonderful husband, full-time job outside the home, church committees, writing, extended family and friends, social events and the musicals, I’ve allowed myself to become so busy that I didn’t know if I am coming or going. In all of this, I’ve gotten away from reading: novels, devotionals and the Bible, with the exception of planning my Sunday School lesson and worshiping in church.

My life needs to be weeded as much as my garden. I need to limit the amount of time I spend on the unimportant and more on the important – prayer and family. Once the weeds are gone, my focus will return, as it did today when I realized what I had been missing. It may sound crazy, but this is often a time when I renew my spirit. This is when my mind doesn’t have to focus on what I am doing, but opens and I ask God the important question – what do you want me to do for You? Perhaps this is why everything has seemed overwhelming of late. I’ve been so busy doing that I forgot to be led.

Does this just happen to me, or have you had occasions where your life is so full of weeds you lose focus of what is most important?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blog Block - Kind of Like Writer's Block

Earlier this week I was completely out of ideas for a blog. Instead of sitting, staring at a blank screen, I decided to admit my failings. I so admire those who can post blogs on a regular basis and almost envious of those who manage to post almost daily. When no ideas developed even after an infusion of caffeine, I turned to my critique partners for help. They offered several suggestions. Here is the first one.

a) I suggest you write on how to find the perfect name. That is going to be the subject of my next newsletter President's message thing - so it's on my brain.

Sometimes it is hard for me to write a character unless I have given them the perfect name. I have gone so far as to change a character's name three times while working on a manuscript. I've noticed that I am not really connected to that character until they finally have the perfect name for them. A name can make all of the difference in how a character is viewed. Last year a blog was posted on SecondWindPub.wordpress.com on November 10th entitled Names Define Your Characters. Until I read this post I had no idea that Scarlett O’Hara’s original first name was Pansy. Can you imagine that? I can’t. Just take a few of the famous lines Scarlett is known for: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again” or “You'd rather live with that silly little fool who can't open her mouth except to say "yes" or "no" and raise a passel of mealy-mouthed brats just like her!” Can you see a Pansy saying those lines? I can’t. However, I can see a Pansy uttering “I’ll think about that tomorrow”.

I am not saying Pansy is a bad name at all and I actually like it. But when I hear the name I think of a nice, sweet, caring person. More of a Melanie type character who puts others first and sees the good in everyone. The name Scarlett brings an entirely different image to mind. Of course, my feelings are certainly influenced by Gond With the Wind because I've never known a Scarlett personally. Which brings up another question. Have you ever avoided using a name because a character is so well known? Or, have you ever avoided using names of people you know, or people you have known? Or, do you draw your character's names from people in your life or in your past? Which leads to the second part of her question.

b) But for you - you could discuss why you love the name Patrick so much. (Maybe your brother will read it.)
An explanation is needed. I did not even realize I was doing this, but every story I’ve written has a character named Patrick as either the hero or heroine’s brother. I didn’t even notice this until it was pointed out to me. I have changed all but one of the Patrick’s to another name. I have no idea why this name kept reappearing, but it is my brother’s middle name. Do you ever find yourself drawn to one specific name and use it in every story? And what is your favorite resource for finding the perfect name?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Critique Group – Cruel to be Kind?

I am part of a wonderful online critique group for historical romance authors and we just celebrated being together for one year. I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this group of ladies and have grown as writer beyond my expectations. Our very first motto was Crit honest, but Crit nice. This was because the two of us who started the group had received some pretty negative comments. I am not saying that all the critique groups I have been a part of before were necessarily “cruel”, but sometimes when I get an edited chapter back, the lyrics from Nick Lowe’s song play in my head. “You have to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure.”

I feel very strongly about being a part of a critique group. However, as with all things, there should be a few guidelines. First, a critique group or partner should never be cruel. If you think they are, take a step back and first ask yourself if you are being overly sensitive. After all, someone just criticized your baby. Something you worked hard to make as perfect as perfect can be. You were positive when you handed the chapter to them it would be returned, a huge smile on their face and their sing-song voice asking, “when do I get to read more?” Instead you are wondering what act of desperation the reader attempted to get out of reading. You run your fingers over all the red ink just to make sure it isn’t blood.

Now is the time to regroup and actually read what has been written by your critter. It is best to have a bowl of chocolate next to you during these moments, or a glass of wine if that is your preference. Next, read through each individual comment and think about what is being said. Here are samples that I have received…

“This sentence reads awkward to me. Maybe reword.” Okay, that wasn’t so bad.
“I am not sure this is needed here. It stopped me cold.” I read back through and realized I info dumped where it wasn’t necessary and deleted those sentences.
“I don’t have a sense of where they are, the room. What does it look like, smell, etc.” I read what I had written. UGH. The entire scene was perfect in my head. I just forgot to include any description with all my lines of dialogue.
Those comments and others that are similar will help make a stronger, better writer. They are not destructive by any means.

Unfortunately, I have read some “cruel” comments. Not all of them directed at me, but these are some samples my writer friends and I received prior to the formation of our current group.
“I found this entire chapter boring.” Gee, thanks for the support!
“There are too many errors and far too many problems and I don’t have the time to fix them for you.” The chapter was returned without one thing marked. Thanks!
Those are critique partners you can do without. If they continue in the same vein after another chapter or two, I suggest ending the relationship and moving on to one that is more positive and constructive, even if it looks like they bled all over your manuscript.

A great critique group will breed success. Here is an example of what we have accomplished in a year:
Finals in several contests
Won three contests
Had four or five requests for full manuscripts, and
Six books were contracted
The group consists of 15 currently active members so I don’t think that is too bad for averages.

So, if you are an unpublished writer but not part of a critique group or have a partner, I strongly recommended you join a group that writes in the same genre as you. I love these ladies and don’t know where I would be on this path to publication without them. Thank you, Amy Love, Carol, Gail, Heather, Jerrica, Jodie, Jude, Julie, Kelli, Melodi, Michelle, Tammy, Terry, Vesna and Xelda.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Away from My Blog

I'll be away from my blog today and over at my publisher: http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com

Monday, May 11, 2009


Lately I have spent more time at the theater than I have spent writing. It happens this way sometimes. I love both the solitary life of writing, and the energy of creativity and talent in a theater. My last post referenced Little Women, Jo’s manuscript and travel. I had just finished costuming Little Women when I wrote that blog.

I recently finished costuming Man of La Mancha. I believe most people are familiar with the story of Don Quixote and if you are not, read the book or see the play/musical. It is a wonderful story. But, as I was sat and watched the beginning, which I watched each night, certain points of the dialogue really struck me. It happens right after Cervantes is thrown into the dungeon to await the inquisition and the Governor finds a manuscript in his trunk of costumes and props. This is Cervantes’ work, his writing, and he does not want it lost or destroyed. The “Governor” asks him if it is valuable. Cervantes' response is “only to me”. The Governor offers to ransom it but Cervantes has no money. Further, the Governor states that it is paper. Cervantes replies “manuscript”. The governor counters, “Still worthless.”

Worthless? No manuscript is ever worthless. Anyone who has written a novel, short story, poem, song, etc knows that their work is not worthless. At least not to them. The same goes for any artist. Perhaps that is why rejection is so hard. I know of no author who was not rejected before an agent or editor saw it as valuable and arranged for publication. But, the road to publication can be a long one and I think at one point or another a writer simply feels worthless. For some, it is the first rejection and others, the twenty-fifth. We also mustn't forget contests. Often, despite the helpful comments, the low score is what stays with you. With so much of what a writer could persceive as negative, thoughts begin to creep into your mind that you had been wasting your time when others see the work you slaved over, lost sleep over and polished to almost perfection as not worthy of publication, a decent score, or in other words, worthless.

If or whenever you get that feeling, kick yourself in the behind. Any creative activity for which you have a passion for is NEVER worthless. It does not matter if you are the only one who is going to read the story, see the painting or hear the music. If it came from you, from your heart, mind and soul, it will never be worthless.