Showing posts from October, 2014

Angels, saints, conservatives and liberals

There are quite a few angels and saints in the book of Acts in the Bible. If you've been following my What IFs blog , you'll know I'm working my way through acts, writing study questions while I prepare to write more children's stories - Peter's Promise and Paul's Purpose perhaps? Meanwhile my publisher at Cape Arago is working hard on getting Jerusalem Journey ready for print. With any luck, I'll have a complete set of four New Testament children's story books ready for Christmas giving, and four would be a really good number wouldn't it? Anyway, back to those angels and saints... I was offered a book called Angels and Saints to review, and the timing seemed perfect, so here's my review of Angels and Saints, by Scott Hahn . The author is Catholic, and the book provides ample Biblically-based argument for the Catholic view of saints. But it's also a wonderful book for Christians of any flavor, and brings the long history of the church an

Ever tried to publish a writers' group journal?

I've sent off the order, and soon a large parcel will arrive, loaded with copies of the journal from our local writers' group. It's a great journal. It's got a fantastic cover. And all proceeds go to the library that hosts us so... why not check it out on Amazon? (For amazon uk, try ) I learned a lot while working on the journal. Mostly, I learned, I've still got tons to learn. I learned that people with better software than me can make fantastic covers, bypassing the cover creator I've used online. I learned that people with better training than me can design gorgeous interiors, knowing by instinct how to fix what "doesn't quite look right" to me, and avoiding all those beginner mistakes I made. Do the top lines match - not always, but they should. Are short paragraphs kept on single pages - not always, but I'm getting better at it. Do page headings match the

May Your Zeroes be Divided (by)

It's nearly done. Release date is almost here. And Divide by Zero will soon be dividing zeroes everywhere. Of course, I'm a mathematician so I'm not supposed to divide by zero if I can help it. The result's undefined, and tends toward something different as the denominator shrinks, depending on surrounding conditions. So what if the surroundings are a pleasant subdivision of a small town. The denominator is shrinking fast from his original dreams of perfection as a husband and father. And the threads of a small-town tapestry are stretched, at last, fully to breaking point... It takes a subdivision to raise a child, and a wealth of threads to weave that tapestry. But when one thread breaks, it just might take a child to raise the subdivision. And dividing by zero might not mean infinite problems or cruelty. It just might mean hope, love, or forgiveness. Thank you Second Wind Publishing for giving my first novel its second wind. And watch out for Infinite Sum ,

The Joys of Book Reviews

At Christmas and birthdays I receive these cool rectangular parcels, all filled with books. Then, throughout the year, I receive more cool rectangular parcels through the post, all filled with books. Then I line my bookshelves and stand half-toppling towers at their side. Then my husband asks, "Why do you want more books?" I won a book on facebook recently and told the author I was really looking forward to reading it - I am - but it might be next summer before I can post a review. I do post reviews of books I read "just for me," but that's beside the point. The author replied that her review-list stretched into next year too. When I asked why we do this to ourselves she wrote, "because we're addicted." Indeed we are. Still, there are worse addictions. And here are some more book reviews to feed your inner addict. Grab and coffee and enjoy! That coffee will go really well with this one. In fact, you could leave the book on the coffee table for

Looking for a Fairy-Tale Ending?

Today I'm pleased to welcome Crystal Connor to my blog. She's the author of a fascinating collection of "not-fairy" tales, where "happily ever after" just might be a myth, and she's hear to answer a question I sent to her. She's also offering a wonderful giveaway, so make sure you read the whole post :) Fairy Tales - Love them or Loath them. Thanks so much for having me today Shelia and wow, what an awesome question:   Fairy tales - love them or loath them?   I have a love-hate relationship with fairy tales, but I have to admit I cried my eyes out while watching the Princess and The Frog and I loved how the writers of Maleficent reimagines Sleeping Beauty but I prefer the older darker telling of the tales because I think today’s stories tell the wrong tale.  For instance in Disney’s Little Mermaid, Ariel disobeys her father but still gets her ‘happily ever after’ at the end but in the original tale she dies. The moral to the story is to

The Joys of Formatting

Our Writers' Mill Journal is almost complete. We have a beautiful cover, designed by the wonderful Patricia Burraston, and lots of great stories, essays and poems. The pdf file looks great, and we're ready to go. But getting that pdf file to look great has taken time-and-a-half from my schedule recently, and I feel like a student struggling not to flunk the test. There's so much to learn; so many great ways to make a book look professional. And I know I shall now end up checking for errors on all the books (real, physical, paper-printed books) I read. Here's what I've not discovered yet, but will use in the next book I produce: How do you make Word leave a bigger gap between the text and the footer, without making the footer take up too much space? How do you shrink the spaces on a line to make an extra word fit in? How do you make the contents list fit nicely to the edge of the page? and How do you make lists fit nicely too? Things I have discovered: Pag

When dreams are stolen

What do you do when dreams are stolen, when trusted friends and family betray, and when all you'd planned, that future drawn out and understood, seems to vanish in the wind? These are questions most of us end up asking, sometime. And one of the joys of fiction is its ability to ask the questions for us, in a world that's not quite ours, of people who really aren't us; to entertain us while we ponder; to enthrall us with someone else's trials while giving us strength to face our own. If the fiction does it well, it becomes a great book, one to read and reread, and one to remember as our own dreams take flight. If it does it well, it might even make us believe in greater dreams than those stolen from us. But first we have to believe in the characters, and earlier volumes in Christine Amsden's Cassie Scot mystery series have certainly succeeded in that. Rather like Harry Potter for adults, there's a protagonist, Cassie, who's not quite what she see

Where Normal meets Para in Stolen Dreams

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Christine Amsden back to my blog with the final story in her much-loved Cassie Scot, Paranormal detective series. I've really enjoyed following these stories of a girl with unclear powers in a small town where power is so nearly normal that normals and paras form rigid groupings eager to take offense. In a real world where being different is always a risk, these exciting romantic suspense tales offer readers a timely touch of depth and consequence, raising them well above the "normal." As I've enjoyed the books, I've found myself wishing I knew more about how Evan and Cassie related to each other back when they were kids, back when Evan was protecting the unexpectly magic-less girl born of a family filled with power. And today, Christine has offered me just what I wanted! Read on and enjoy! Stolen Dreams Deleted Scene There are a lot of “deleted scenes” in Stolen Dreams since I did a ground-up rewrite of t