Monthly Archives: August 2012

5 authors give writing advice to hopefuls

As you know, I sometimes take the opportunity to interview an author. You can find those interviews by scrolling through my Book Reviews & Author Interviews page. One of the questions I asked specifically is if he or she had any advice for hopefuls? They all generously complied with some great tips from their own experience.

This seems a good time to refresh your memory and give you a little encouragement. I have excerpted from our interviews and included the name of the book being promoted at the time. Here is what those authors had to say:

1. Laura Best – author of Bitter, Sweet

“The best advice I can give to hopefuls is to write as much and as often as you can. Pay close attention to any comments that editors send your way. Forget the notion that your work can not stand to be improved upon. Everything can be improved. You’ll start to know when you’re getting closer to publication. Those comments will be laced with a sweet touch of sugar as your writing gets stronger. Lastly, don’t give up. If you believe in your talent keep working at it, perfect it to the place where someone will want to publish it.”

Check out Laura’s blog here. Reread our interview here.

2. Billy Coffey – author of Snow Day

“The best advice I can give? I’m a firm believer in the power of perseverance, so my advice is to always try once more. If you write a story you decide is awful, try once more. If you get a rejection, try once more. In the end, it doesn’t matter who gives up on you. All that matters is that you don’t.”

Check out Billy’s blog here. Reread our interview here.

3. Penny Zeller – author of Kaydie (of the Montana Skies series)

“When I meet a reader or fan face to face, I love to chat with her about what she envisions herself doing for God’s Kingdom and how can I pray and encourage her in that pursuit. If she is pursuing her dream as a writer, I tell her that one of the most important things to remember in being a writer is that if God has called you to do it, He will guide you every step of the way.

I would advise her to give her writing to the Lord and to not give up! I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens another (much better) one.”

Check out Penny’s website here. Reread our interview here.

4. Jan L. Coates – author of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk

“My best advice would be to read everything you can in the genre in which you’re interested in writing – I’m constantly amazed by how much I can learn from studying how great authors put words and stories together. And, of course, write – every day, if you can. Also, read your work out loud – it’s surprising how easy it is to pick up weaknesses that way. If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.”

Check out Jan’s website here. Reread our interview here.

5. Delia Ephron – author of The Lion Is In

“The important thing for all aspiring writers is believe in yourself, be driven and never give up.”

Check out Delia’s website here. Reread our interview here.

When you enjoy again the above-mentioned interviews, you will glean many more tips and advice you can apply to your own writing. What I have included here is only what was in direct answer to my question.

Have you found any of these authors’ advice to be useful to you? What other things do you do to keep on track?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Help! What’s your favourite e-reader?


Big books, little books, thick books, thin books, old books, new books —

historical fiction, picture books, YA, mystery, fantasy, classics, and the list goes on.  But now I have a problem!

I said I’d never do it; I thought I never would.
I said I’d read just “real” books; I really thought I could.
But some books don’t have paper, they’re only on a screen.
I’m nearly done resisting; I think I’m “going green!”
I have a pc kindle but it’s stuck here on my desk.
So now I have to ask you, what reader is the best?

Please forgive my falling out of rhyme there, but I really do want – and need – your opinion on this. As I said above, I have a pc Kindle with several books loaded onto it. The problem is that when I want to read one of those books and not have to be sitting in front of my computer to do it – right now I can’t. I need some help from you.

I’ve been told that having an e-reader (electronic book) is very convenient because it’s easy to carry and many books can be loaded onto it. (I’m not sure I know how that works, but I’m interested in learning.) 

I know I’m often slow with technology, but in this case – I love real books, I love the old ways that work well, and I usually see no reason to mess with a good thing. You know the grammatically poor saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”  I just found out that e-books have been around for almost a decade … or am I behind in that too? Is it longer?  *blush*

What reasons do you have for using an e-reader? Do you prefer an e-reader to a “real” book?

And my main question: I’ve heard about the Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony reader, IPad, and some others. Which e-reader do you recommend and why?

I’m grateful for your help to get me a little more up-to-date. 🙂


Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Running For My Life – by Lopez Lomong (Olympic athlete)

Book: Running For My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games
Author: Lopez Lomong with Mark Tabb
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: July 17, 2012
Genre: biography & autobiography; sports
Pages: 240; hardcover
Price: $24.99
My rating: An inspirational true story of hope and courage.

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw the blurb about it I wanted to read this book – not because I’m an avid sports fan (because I’m not) but because I am always interested in how people overcome adversity. This book did not disappoint.

Lopez Lomong was born in the Sudan. He was one of a family of four children, but the only one with his parents in the open-air church service that Sunday morning in 1991 – the day the rebel soldiers came for the children. He was only six years old. That was the day he was violently separated from his family with dozens of other boys and girls, the day his life was forever changed.

Lopez tells the story of his kidnapping, of not knowing what happened to all the girls that were taken at the same time, of the prison camp where boys were trained to be child soldiers – but he was too small to become a soldier so he was left in the hut, probably to die as so many did. The difference for him was that he was rescued in a dramatic way, which to this day he firmly believes was God’s hand on his life.

Lopez tells about his escape with three other boys, how they ran for three days, always miraculously finding food and water when needing it, where he ended up as a refugee instead of where he thought he was headed – home to his mother, and the ever-challenging experiences he had there that would shape him into the man he would become.

His parents had named him Lopepe, which means ‘fast’, and he lived up to that name because he loved to run and always ran as fast as he could. This trait would be one thing that kept him alive, one main factor that would shape his life and eventually help him immigrate to the United States where he continues to run. In an unlikely place his heart was set on the Olympics when he was a boy. I read Running For My Life during the London 2012 Olympics, which seemed appropriate since Lopez Lomong was running for the USA.

As I read through this book as one looking in from the outside, I could recognize God’s guidance and protection as Lopez trusted Him with his life. He tells his story with painful honesty, later revealing a sense of humour that caused me to laugh out loud several times.

Lopez Lomong has a passion, not just for running, but for helping the people in his village and South Sudan. He now has a charitable foundation called 4 South Sudan set up to achieve his goals of providing clean water, education, nutrition through better farming methods, and basic health care that will save lives. Because World Vision already has a presence in Sudan, he partnered with them to set things in motion. Also, part of the proceeds of the sale of this book go to his foundation. 

Check it out:

  Give Running For My Life a try, my guess is you will enjoy it.

You can find Running For My Life listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂


LEGO: “play well” and “put together”; 80 years of history

This is not my usual kind of post, but I was so interested in this public information that I wanted to share it with you.

Who doesn’t know something about LEGO? Most of us have probably had the opportunity to play with it or at least see it or buy a kit for someone. It was in 1932, 80 years ago, that LEGO was begun with wooden toys handcrafted by Ole Kirk Christiansen in his little carpentry shop in Billund, Denmark – with his twelve-year-old son helping. In trying to decide on an appropriate name for their company, Mr. Christiansen came up with LEGO which means “play well” in Danish. Later he learned it also means “put together” in Latin! What better name could there be for his product? 🙂

The business went through many changes and devastating losses, but their motto was “only the best is good enough”, and they stayed the course. Today, internationally known, LEGO is still owned and operated by Mr. Christiansen’s family members.

At present the company is represented in more than 130 countries and employs approximately 10,000 people! Now the third largest producer of play materials in the world, LEGO has made it possible for over 300 million children to enjoy creative play with the plastic bricks since its beginning! Billions of bricks and building pieces are made each year, and – keeping up with popular interests and trends – there are many different theme kits to add to one’s collection. There are also LEGO clubs to join, as well as Legoland Parks and Legoland Discovery Centres to visit. If I understood correctly, there is even a LEGO hotel in Billund, Denmark.

Legoland Parks:

The first park was opened in Denmark in 1968. Since then the family has opened parks in Germany (Günzburg), USA (California and Florida), UK (Windsor), with parks currently in development in Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, and South Korea.

Legoland Discovery Centres:

Smaller versions of the parks, these fun, indoor family attractions are located in Germany (Berlin and Duisburg), USA (Illinois, Georgia, Missouri and Texas), United Kingdom (Greater Manchester), Japan (Minato). Future centres are being constructed in Canada (Ontario) and USA (New Jersey and New York).

That is probably enough of my chatter. You will want to watch this wonderful VIDEO  to learn more of the fascinating history of LEGO. This interesting animated video is very well done; I’m sure you will enjoy it. After that, here is more information if you want it.

Do you have a stash of LEGO? What’s your best LEGO creation?
Have you ever visited a Legoland Park or Legoland Discovery Centre?

Post Script:

If you are a writer, do you have the persistence of Ole Kirk Christiansen and his son? Do you set your sights on the goal and push through to a satisfactory end? When things get difficult do you keep on trying, or do you give up and walk away, saying to yourself, “I can’t do this!”, or “This is not working out the way I expected.”, or “Who do I think I am, anyway?” Fortunately, Mr. Christiansen didn’t seem to think failure and quitting were part of his destiny.  There are readers waiting for our books. Let’s get writing!  🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

We have a winner of The Lion Is In!

We have confirmation of our winner of a copy of The Lion Is In by Delia Ephron! 

One name was pulled out of the basket by my dad, and that winner is CAROL WHITE!  Here you can see her response when she got the word.

Congratulations, Carol!  Your book will be in the mail, sent by the publisher, Blue Rider Press.

Thank you everyone for visiting and commenting. Delia left a comment for all of you here.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Reminder: Book Giveaway on August 12!

This is just a reminder in case you planned to add your name into the draw and haven’t done so yet.

Tomorrow, Sunday, August 12, the names of those who left comments on my last post will be put into a little basket, and at 6:00 PM EST one name will be drawn out. That person will be notified via email that he or she has won a copy of The Lion Is In, written by Delia Ephron. Once I receive a reply with your mailing address, I will contact Blue Rider Press who will mail a book to you.

At the time of my writing this post, you have less than 21 hours to enter the draw. If you want a chance to win a book, then get your name in by leaving a comment after reading my interview with Delia EphronThat’s all there is to it.  Oh, and you must live in either Canada or the USA to win. (Sorry, that’s the stipulation this time.)

You can also read my review of The Lion Is In.

I hope you win! I wish you all could.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


Interview with Delia Ephron and book giveaway

It is with great pleasure – and more than a little excitement – that I bring to you my interview with renowned author, Delia Ephron. As you know, Ms. Ephron has applied her talent to journalism, essays, movies, novels, screenplays – to name some venues. I was thrilled to discover the author of The Lion Is In also co-wrote one of my all-time favourite movies, You’ve Got Mail.

If you haven’t already read my review of The Lion Is In, you can do so here.

Now to our interview —

Delia, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to my blog. Having just read and reviewed your new book, The Lion Is In, it is an honour to interview you. Thank you for graciously agreeing to this.

To begin, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you? 

My parents were screenwriters.  My mother wanted all four of her daughters to be writers and she got her wish.

What an accomplishment! Who were/are your favourite authors or books?

My favorites are from childhood.  Anne of Green Gables, the Betsy-Tacey books.  I read them again and again and again while eating chocolate chip cookies.

Books and chocolate chip cookies sound like a delicious combination to me! Regarding writing, have you ever felt like giving up? When did you finally believe in yourself so you can say “I am a writer”?

Well, it’s a process.  You have to develop writer muscles.  This just means really good work habits.  And then it’s exciting when you start to really have technique.  But there are always moments where you want to quit.  Being driven and brave is very important.

Good work habits, driven and brave, excellent advice. What do you remember about your very first time to be published, how did that happen? 

I think my first piece was about basketball.  I was living in Rhode Island and I wrote about Providence college basketball.  They had a great team.  Or maybe it was my crocheting book.  My first book was called The Adventurous Crocheter.  So either basketball or crocheting.

You have an impressive list of successes. Of all you have had published thus far, what means the most to you? What do or did you most enjoy writing? 

I love novels the most.  I love story telling and just being able to write things exactly the way I want.  Movies are collaborations, so that is much more complicated. No control.  I love control.

Freedom to write, control to write the way you want. Sounds good to me. 🙂 How did you get into writing for the movies?

I married a screenwriter and he taught me how to do it.  Also I had written a funny book called Teenage Romance, and there was interest in it for a television movie, and the network let me write it.

That must have been exciting. What method do you use to keep track of your writing ideas?

Idea files in the computer.

What process do you go through when writing and perfecting your work?

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.  And print it out and then rewrite it, retyping the whole thing.  Don’t just edit on the computer.

That is a lot of work! It’s certainly a commitment and I can see that by doing it that way you’d get to thoroughly know your story and characters and what needs fine-tuning. This method obviously has had great results for you. 

What inspired you to write The Lion Is In?

I had a dream about three women and a lion.  I knew all about the women, their names, their relationship.  I knew they were all on the run and they were in a bar on a highway in North Carolina.  I knew the lion would change their lives, and when I woke up, I also knew it was my next novel.

Wow! I’m sure every writer would love to have worthwhile dreams like that! How long did it take you to write The Lion Is In? And how did you come up with that title? 

Two years.  When I woke up from the dream, I knew the title.

Did you write a little of yourself into any of the characters? Do you have a favourite?

I don’t have a favorite but I am in every character.  I don’t think it’s possible to write a character that isn’t in some way personal. 

Why did you decide to include some crude language and, shall I say, ‘delicate’ scenes? Was it simply a natural fit with the characters? 

Yes.  I don’t worry about that.  The important thing is, are the relationships real, do I care about these characters, do I want to know what happens.  Is it emotional? 

Good tips there for writers, especially when dealing with dialogue. I can vouch for it being emotional as the reader gets to know your characters. What other interests do you have for a change from writing? 

Cooking.  Baking especially.

Yummy chocolate chip cookies, perhaps? 🙂  Do you have another writing project in the works?

Yes, but it’s way too soon to talk about it.

I can certainly respect that. We now have something more to watch for from you. Finally, is being a writer/author all you had hoped or thought it would be? Do you have any advice for hopefuls? 

Being able to earn a living from your imagination is a great gift.   The important thing for all aspiring writers is believe in yourself, be driven and never give up.

“Be driven and never give up.” Thank you for this excellent advice, Delia, and thank you again for sharing with us a little about yourself and your creative gift. I wish you much continued success.

Now, my readers, I hope you enjoyed this interview. 🙂  I’m sure there are things you can take away from it that will benefit you. Would you like a chance to receive from Delia Ephron’s publisher, Blue Rider Press, a copy of The Lion Is In? If so, please leave a comment and on Sunday, August 12 at 6:00 PM EST one name will be drawn out of the basket. This time there is one stipulation: you must live in Canada or the US to receive the book. But, if you live in another country I still want to read your comment. (Please tell me from what country you are writing if outside Canada and USA.)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂