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"Seekerville" - 5 new articles

  1. The Weekend Edition
  2. Best of the Archives: How I Build a Story!
  3. Butterflies, Godiva and Other Writerly Metamorphoses
  4. Tips for Creating Characters
  5. ANIMALS IN OUR STORIES
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Seekerville
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

The Weekend Edition

This weekend we're celebrating a double release from Franciscan Media.


Leave a comment and you could win a copy of Refuge of the Heart or The Sweetest Rain. We have three print copies and one Kindle copy of each book to give away. Let us know you want a chance at your very own copy! Winner announced in the next Weekend Edition.

We Have Winners

Giveaway rules can be found here. Please drop us a line to claim your giveaway at seekers@seekerville.net. All prizes not claimed in 8 weeks go back into the prize vault. We wish we could contact all our winners individually, but we'd rather write books! And P.S. - if we forget to send  your prize DO let us know after 8 weeks per our rules.


Thank you for sharing your cookie recipes last weekend! They look amazing!!! Winners of a bag of books are: Kelly Blackwell, Sierra Faith, Rachel Koppendrayer and Deanne Patterson. 


Tuesday  Sandra Leesmith hosted a delightful day filled with our love of animals in our stories. Winner of the glass chocolate kiss and their choice of one of Sandra's books is Becky of Ohiohomeschool.


Wednesday  Dina Davis, assistant editor for Love Inspired Historical and Love Inspired Suspense, shared her tips for creating interesting characters that really grab a reader’s—and editor’s—attention.  Book winners are: Ruthy's "Healing the Lawman's Heart" Elva Cobb Martin and Helen Gray, Glynna Kaye's "Rekindling the Widower's Heart" Becky B. and Sherida, Missy's "The Doctor's Second Chance" Jackie and Unknown, and Deb Giusti's "Person of Interest" Barbara Scott and "Stranded" Suzanne Baginskie.  And $8 Amazon gift card winners are: Bettie, Kathryn Barker and Wilani Wahl!!! Congratulations and thank you for making Dina's day so wonderful!


Thursday Love Inspired Historical author Jessica Nelson dropped by to chat about "Butterflies, Godiva and Other Writerly Metamorphoses." S. Trietsch is the winner of  The Matchmaker's Match, Jessica's September, RT Book Review's 4 1/2 Star TOP PICK! release,and Godiva chocolate.




Next Week in Seekerville


Monday: Yes, it's time for the September Contest Update. Stop by to meet our contest divo/diva. The prize vault is open and we have some F.U.N for you!


Tuesday: We're bringing in September with one of our favorite guests, Davalynn Spencer with her post, "T-Minus 24 Hours and Counting …"  And she's giving away an e-copy of Book 4 of The 12 Brides of Summer that includes her novella, The Columbine Bride.

Wednesday: Seekerville is delighted to welcome back Love Inspired author Jill Kemerer, with her post, "Sneaky Ways to Write More Each Day." Stop by! You could win a copy of Unexpected Family, her September release!



If you haven't noticed, look closer, both Tuesday and Wednesday's guests are offering you time and organizational tips. So pay close attention, because on both days,  Seekerville is going to toss in an extra giveaway! A digital timer to help you get in your daily word count. 





Thursday: Aside from writing the book, PROMOTION is the name of the game. Amy Brantley offers great advice on how "Book Promotion Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune." The giveaway she's offering will make you drool...


Friday: Best of the Archives:  featuring Ruth Logan Herne and her post: Erotic vs. Evocative, how to write a feeling-packed scene that doesn't need to delve too deeply into physics... because it layers emotion onto the page in ways to tug the reader's heart... and maybe their soul. 



Seeker Sightings


The Love Inspired Facebook page featured Glynna Kaye's October  cover-Rekindling the Widower’s Heart!

Winter or Spring??











Sandra Leesmith is excited about her cover for her new release Love’s Dream Song.  Are there any bloggers out there interested in participating in a cover reveal? If so, contact Sandra through her website. 















Random News & Information

Thanks to Seekers and Villagers who shared links.


The September Calendar is UP!


Nourishing the Writer’s Spirit Retreat  (Danica Favorite)


 Adult Fiction Print Units Bouncing Back in 2015 (PW)


 What are the Most Popular Title Trends in Your Genre? (Book Bub Partners)



How Can You Entice Teens to Your Library Programs?(School Visit Experts.com)



Ten Things You Shouldn’t Say to Authors (and Ten You Should)  (Bethany Fiction)


How to Get Blurbs for Your Book & Use Them In Your Marketing (BookBub Partners)

How to Price Kindle Books to FREE without Exclusivity (Smashwords Blog)


 Hiring an Editor or DIY? (DIY Author)


Create Sounds to Work By (Defonic)


Why Broken Sleep is a Golden Time for Creativity (Aeon)


That's it. Have a great reading and writing weekend!


    

Best of the Archives: How I Build a Story!

By Debby Giusti

This blog post ran in 2012, and the book that resulted was published in September 2013. I hope you enjoy a second look at how I came up with the story line for THE SOLDIER'S SISTER.


I love kids and kids’ toys, especially building blocks.  Recently I watched a group of young children stack the wooden squares and rectangles and cylinders, one atop the other, and realized playing with blocks is similar to constructing a story.

      
THE COLONEL’S DAUGTHER, the third book in my Military Investigations series comes out in August, and having just completed the fourth story in the series, THE GENERAL’S SECRETARY, I was ready to come up with a new tale to tell.     

I always think creating a proposal will be easy, but the opposite is usually the case. I start with an idea that forms the foundation for the book and build upon that initial concept by adding various “blocks,” such as an inciting incident, black moment and climax that fit together to move the story forward.
          
One of my reasons for writing the Military Investigations series is to showcase various aspects of military life, and the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) is a success story I wanted to feature in this next book.  The program started after 9/ll to help soldiers seriously injured in the line of duty.  Each wounded warrior is assigned an AW2 advocate as a liaison, of sorts, between the soldier and the military.  The advocate helps with paperwork and medical care, career counseling and the soldier’s transition to civilian life.


LAYING THE FOUNDATION
Like many writers, when I begin a new story I start with the standard what if.  What if my heroine accepts a position as an advocate in the Army Wounded Warrior Program at Fort Rickman, GA, the fictional army post I created for the series?

ADDING BLOCKS
More what ifs. What if my heroine, Stephanie Upton, is from the nearby small town of Freemont?  Her younger brother Will enlisted in the army after graduating from high school along with two of his high school buddies. Will and a friend were injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan and were reassigned to the Warrior Transitional Unit at Fort Rickman.

BUILDING SUSPENSE
When a killer comes after the high school buddies, the hero—Criminal Investigation Division special agent Brody Goodman—is called in to investigate. (The book is a romance so Brody and Stephanie eventually fall in love and live happily ever after.)

BACKSTORY
With the basic foundation in place, I focused on coming up with an incident in the past that played into the heroine’s internal conflict.  Had there been a car crash that resulted in the death of one of her brother’s friends?  Was Stephanie at fault? Was her brother driving? Did the boys enlist in the army as a result of what happened on that summer night?  
          
What if the incident caused friction between Stephanie and her brother?  Perhaps Will transferred his own guilt to his sister who, he believed, was the catalyst that started the string of events that eventually leads to the story’s climax.

          
ADDING AN ANTAGONIST
The villain needs to be a worthy adversary with his own GMC.  I wanted his motivation to stem from what happened in the back story. The car crash didn’t work so I added and discarded “blocks” until I came up with a new solution.

INCITING INCIDENT
Needing a high-action opening scene to hook the reader, I decided the villain would attack one of Will’s buddies. The CID hero investigates the crime and becomes suspicious of the brother, which increases the conflict between the hero and the heroine. Stephanie wants to protect Will. As much as she’s drawn to the CID agent, she is also worried about her brother.
          
ATTACKS AGAINST THE HEROINE
After writing eleven Love Inspired Suspense stories, I’m always searching for new ways to place the heroine in danger. The nightly news and Metro section of the Atlanta newspaper are great resources that provide new and devious tricks for the villain to use to up the suspense.
                   
CHECK MY STORY STRUCTURE
I needed the back story to be resolved in the climax and revolve around the hero and heroine’s internal conflict as well as their external goals.  Each time I checked, my GMC seemed a bit off center, which, in my opinion, caused the plot to fall flat. I took long walks to clear my mind and discussed a number of different options with my daughters and husband until they rolled their eyes and backed away whenever I asked them to listen to my new ideas. Night after night, I would awake to weigh various scenarios and finally came up with a satisfying back story. 

                   
HERO’S INTERNAL JOURNEY
After focusing on the heroine, I changed directions and looked at my hero’s internal journey.  Brody wasn’t as difficult as Stephanie, and I soon had a situation in his past that worked. Then wanting to up the tension, I tweaked his back story to make it more intense and personal.
                   
BLACK MOMENT
The black moment occurs close to the climax when the problems between the hero and heroine seem insurmountable, and the reader wonders how they will ever be able to resolve their differences and end up together. Working on the black moment exposed how the conflict between the hero and heroine  needed to be more compelling.  I made some changes until what started out as mild disagreements morphed into significant differences that made me wonder how they could ever fall in love.
                   
FAITH JOURNEY
Once the story was in better shape, I added the faith journey for my two main characters and established how their relationship with God played into each character’s internal conflict, the black moment and the climax. 
         
ADDITIONAL “BLOCKS”
I established turning points for the romance and ensured the black moment was adequately motivated. I included the hero and heroine’s worst fears, reviewed the pacing and plot progression and ratcheted up the danger.


FACT CHECK
I rechecked characters’ ages, the dates and the years that had passed since the back story incidents.  In order to learn more about the AW2 program, I interviewed the Atlanta AW2 advocate and arranged to talk to her counterpart at Fort Benning as well as the Fort Benningexecutive officer for the Warrior Transition Unit.

At long last, my story construction seemed sound with all the building “blocks” in place.  

There are no comments on Archive Fridays, but I hope you'll think about how you create your story structure and the important elements you consider when coming up with a new idea for a novel.

Happy writing! 

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti
 PERSON OF INTEREST
Love Inspired Suspense ~ August 2015

WOMAN ON THE RUN
While babysitting a young servicewoman’s infant, Natalie Frazier hears a murder in the neighboring army duplex. Convinced her former commander is behind the crime, the ex-soldier bolts with the baby. But who will believe her story? Army investigator Everett Kohl deals only with the facts, but this time his gut instincts can’t be denied. Is the attractive Natalie a cunning killer, as his ranking officers believe, or an innocent victim? Ordered to bring her in, Everett has a decision to make. Helping her could cost him his job…but not protecting  Natalie and the baby could get all of them killed…

Order your copy in digital or print format: Amazon.
Still available: STRANDED
    

Butterflies, Godiva and Other Writerly Metamorphoses

with guest Jessica Nelson.



My chrysalis exploded.

It happened a couple of years ago. I was a content caterpillar, munching my way through life when plants grew scarce, the heat turned up, and I got really, really tired. So I made myself a comfy bed and thought I'd rest for a while...little knowing that my world was going to change forever.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The lovely Seekers invited me to post and of course I said YES! I mean, it's Seekerville! An educational haven for all writers in various stages of the writing journey. So I flitted over to reread my past posts here because I didn't want to write the same things over and over (knowing me, the recycled topic would involve chocolate and procrastination). 

I read what I posted over a year ago. And wow. 

I'd almost forgotten the terrible places I've passed through. When I reread this post (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2014/05/when-inspiration-strikesbut-youre-dead.html), happy tears pricked at my eyelids and thankfulness filled my heart.  

Because I'm far from the desert now. 

My chrysalis cracked wide open, I crawled out and even though my wings are still damp and don't happily flutter on the breeze every day, I still have a whole new perspective on my habitat. I'm seeing past those dry places and hot sands that used to surround me. When the new wings get tired, I just land on a flower or rest in the shade of a gently furling leaf.

What does the metamorphosis of some lady named Jessica Nelson have to do with writing?

Good question. Not much...but...I can share what I'm learning. 

A writer's personal life affects her writing. That's just the way it is. We are creatures of expression, art, truth telling in story form. The ripples of living sometimes shake us, sometimes drown us but sometimes, just sometimes, ripples turn into waves that buoy us higher than we expected, into strange and beautiful places.

When I broke out of that safe, comfortable chrysalis, it hurt. As the sun warmed my untried wings though, I began to wake up. Slowly, I've started daydreaming about characters like I used to. Thinking of great new story plots. Feeling excited to write.

Are you in the throes of metamorphosis? Perhaps you are in that place where you enjoy writing. Or maybe you're burned out and worry you'll never be in love with your characters again. Don't stress! Take care of yourself and when you get to a new season in the writing life, a time where you're strong and healthy, remember these few tips for metamorphosis:

1. Challenge yourself. Do you write 500 words a day? Try 600! You used to write in the morning? Try during the afternoon. Spread those wings, write a book in a different genre, soar upward. You might bump your head on a tree limb but that's okay! You're flying. :-)

2. Dive into different types of promotion and networking. Why be afraid to try something new? There's a bright world out there, waiting for an adventurer like you. The tried and true is great but it's sometimes a new life calls for different actions. If you've never participated in a Facebook party or tweeted or applied for an ad with BookBub, now's the time!

3. Moderation never hurt anyone. In all the awesomeness of trying new things, don't exhaust yourself! You don't want to tear your wings. So keep in mind that the habits you practiced to become strong, the choices you made in the past that brought you to change, are still important. Get to know who you are now and love that person. 

4. Writers should be a little wild. Then again, maybe you have some extra energy to burn off. In that case, rip through that cerulean sky. Swirl and swoop and let yourself fly free. Take some risks because you never know how they might pay off and let's face it, you're a different creature now and you can handle different situations. It's time to test your abilities.

5. Never forget the past. Whether you loved being a caterpillar or hated it, the fact is that there is much to be learned from that point in your life. Embrace those lessons and let them guide you in the future.

A metamorphosis can be a painful experience but it's also an unalterable part of life. Don't let the fear of future metamorphoses keep you from emerging from your chrysalis. 
Also, what does Godiva have to do with this article and why is it in the title? 

The answer is because Godiva is an important and necessary part of this writer's existence. And even though I'm now a colorful butterfly instead of a fuzzy caterpillar, some things should never change.

On that note, what has been the biggest life change you've experienced? Can you look back now and appreciate the person you were? What advice would you give to entering a new situation or season of life?


Share about your own metamorphoses and what you've learned, and get a chance to win Godiva and my newest release, The Matchmaker's Match. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.



Romantic Times Book Reviews 4 1/2 Star TOP PICK!

He has three months to find a wife—or lose his estate. Spencer, Lord Ashwhite, doubts he'll find a suitable bride among the ton, until the unconventional Lady Amelia Baxley agrees to provide a list of candidates. It should be an ideal arrangement, were Spencer not growing attached to the one woman Amelia refuses to consider as a prospect: herself. 


Independence means everything to Amelia, who has been burned in love before. The charming marquis is quickly putting her entire life in turmoil, and controlling her stubborn heart has never been such a challenge. But does the ever-practical Amelia dare to go from bride-finder to wife?






*side note: my contemporary romance Forever Love will be free on Amazon from August 27-30, 2015 and The Matchmaker's Match is being given away on GoodReads starting August 24-28, 2015* Check it out here.





 





Jessica Nelson believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness. When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night. She could be thinking of any number of things, really. One thing is for certain, she is blessed with a wonderful family and a lovely life.

    

Tips for Creating Characters

BY: Love Inspired Assistant Editor Dina Davis

Ruthy here! We set our sights on Dina as soon as she appeared in Love Inspired news feeds for two reasons...
1. We love Love Inspired and the opportunities they bring to writers
2. New editors are avidly seeking new authors!
3. She's just the nicest thing!

So here she is, with tips that you should listen to... follow... and then put your best foot forward!

Hi, Seekers! Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today.

I’ve been the assistant editor for Love Inspired Historical and Love Inspired Suspense since April, and I acquired my very first author this month through the From Blurb to Book contest. Romance has been my favorite genre since I first picked up a Silhouette Nora Roberts book when I was in middle school, so working at Harlequin is a dream come true. And finding a position with Love Inspired was a great way to combine my experience at Guideposts Books with my love of romance.

When I was interviewing for my job at Love Inspired, I was asked what I thought made a great romance novel. My immediate response was strong, interesting characters. A book or television show can have an intriguing plot with lots of twists and turns, but if I don’t become emotionally attached to the people, I have a hard time losing myself in the story. I want to fall for the hero and heroine, hate the villain, melt over the children, or laugh at the persistent matchmaker.



Here are some ways your characters can catch my attention:

Intriguing Conflict

One of the most important parts of character building is making sure that your story has real conflict. Recently, I received a submission that I was excited about. The synopsis was interesting, and the first three chapters looked promising. However, when I read the full manuscript, I saw that the hero and heroine didn’t have enough internal conflict. In fact, the problems with their reunion romance could have been solved in one very simple conversation, especially since they admitted to themselves early on that they still loved each other.

That type of conflict doesn’t make a reader connect with the characters. In fact, it tends to be frustrating that the hero and heroine can’t get past a small misunderstanding. Their internal conflicts should be deeper. They should have issues that they have to battle through before accepting that they have fallen for each other. I want to know if something in their past has made them afraid of love and trusting somebody. Or if there is some reason they plan to never marry. Make it interesting, and give your characters more complexity.

This also applies to the villains. They should have some motivation that doesn’t just boil down to them being insane. Why is the villain specifically targeting the hero and heroine? Make sure the reasoning is believable so that the reader can understand the villain’s perspective.

Mannerisms

Little habits, mannerisms, and nervous ticks are what bring characters to life. People aren’t perfect. They get nervous and their hands shake, palms sweat, they pace, or they tap their foot. Some people shriek with joy, jump up and down, or just get a huge grin. People laugh or cry when they are happy, angry, afraid, or uncomfortable. Incorporating these kinds of behaviors into your character and making them consistent throughout your book will humanize the personalities that you are creating. Pay attention to your own mannerisms and to those of your friends and family and think about including them in your stories.

Bonds

Probably the quickest way to draw readers in and make them form attachments to the characters is to show the bonds they have with others in the book. If your manly hero melts around the single mother’s young child, we’ll melt over him. When sibling bonds are strong—and a bit of familial teasing is involved—the characters really come to life. Bonds are so essential because the reader can see why others love your characters. And it is also important to see how they interact with a villain. Many times, the person trying to turn their lives upside down is someone they are close to. If they always seem suspicious of the character, readers become suspicious as well. Sometimes it’s better for them to know or trust the villain as a friend or acquaintance before they are betrayed.

Background

Finally, your characters should have an interesting background. Make sure that the reader knows what their occupations are. Tell us if they are close to their families or if they’ve been at odds for years. We need to know that they have a history and a life outside of this one book. Otherwise, the small glimpse into their lives is lacking. But be sure to filter background in carefully. You don’t want it to take over your story.



I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on how you can build engaging characters. Let me know in the comments if you have anything to add or any questions. And check out this Harlequin blog for more on character building: http://sold.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/2015/07/advice-from-the-archives-creating-characters/


Ruthy here, so excited to be hosting Dina! Dina, thank you for being here... thank you for your expertise and your wisdom. We've got delicious bagels from Bits, Bites and Baguettes, and a tray of pastries from Financier, one of my favorite NYC haunts...



Coffee is ready... come on inside, leave a comment or ask Dina a question, and we'll throw your name into the drawing (I don't use the cat dish for editors, it seems unseemly...) for an assortment of Love Inspired books and $8 Amazon gift cards to celebrate our upcoming 8th BIRTHDAY!!!


We've got copies of "Healing the Lawman's Heart", "Rekindling the Widower's Heart" (Glynna Kaye), "The Doctor's Second Chance", (Missy Tippens), "Person of Interest" and "Stranded" (Debby Giusti)... Tell us what you'd like and I'm going way out on a limb here and figuring everyone's in for the $8 Amazon gift cards!!!





    

ANIMALS IN OUR STORIES

Sandra here with a lovely pot of chocolate velvet coffee to share. There is iced tea and an assortment of fruit juices on the sideboard if you prefer.  The counters have trays of sliced meats and cheeses, platters of fresh fruit and veggies. So grab a plate and join me on this lovely deck.



There is a lovely house one can rent for weekend parties or retreats in the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska. This house is fully furnished and features a deck overlooking acres of ranch land. They board thirty horses there most of the year, but in the summer the horses go off to the nearby boyscout camp. So let’s rent this for the day and sit on the deck and discuss why we want to use animals in our stories. We can watch the horses grazing in the fields or goggle at the wild turkeys as they gobble on by.

This little guy hops around our campsite.


I am a true blue animal lover. I have loved animals as far back as I can remember. The most influential books of my childhood were those that featured animals—Bambi, Black Beauty, Call of the Wild, Lassie. If the book was about an animal, I’m sure I read it.

My neighbor's spaniel Kiowa. Isn't he adorable?


Did you read Jeff Gerke’s article last week on the Irresistable Novel? He talked about enticing those oxytocin chemicals in our readers so they will want to keep reading. Scientific studies abound that show animals also excite oxytocin. If they are in the story will the reader want to put that book down?



Kathy's holding Ki tight so I don't take off with him.
I watched an interesting feature on the National Geographic channel showing how dogs became domesticated. Baby wolves that featured that cute little puppy dog look in their eye were fed more by our ancestors than the growly wolves. So the cute puppy dog looking wolves ended up as pets. And over the centuries, the cuter the puppy look, the more domesticated the dog became. This process happened with other species as well. So does it make sense to use animals to excite those warm fuzzy feelings we want our readers to have?




The fact that many of the most popular commercials on television feature a pet or animal is no accident. Think back on the Super Bowl lineup of commercials. The Clydesdale horses are always featured. There are always more than one commercial featuring a dog.  In fact, one of my favorite commercials running on television right now is a man crossing off his dog’s bucket list. You know the one I’m talking about?

Look at book covers? How many feature an animal? Love Inspired covers often feature puppies.  Here is Maizie featured in Janet Dean’s coming January release THE BOUNTY HUNTER’S REDEMPTION. This is a preview btw.  The cover isn't even up yet, but you can pre-order the novel.

Maizie



How many book covers have a horse? There is a reason for this. Animals bring on those warm fuzzy feelings Jeff Gorke was talking about.

All of the books I have written feature an animal.  I fell in love with the hero in LOVE’S REFUGE when he brought the heroine a puppy after her beloved dog died. Skye fell in love with Danny too. Smile.

My Lab Cody who inspired Skye's Lab.


In my Christmas Novella, A HEART FULL OF HOPE within the contemporary anthology HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS, the characters ride horses on the beach in Spain. Also in that novella, Elena, the heroine, feeds feral cats. I do this myself, so recognized the feral cats while visiting in Matalascañas, the town where HEART FULL OF HOPE is set.  I was hoping readers would identify with the heroine when she has compassion for the kitties.

My feral cat Boo. Elena's feral was named Boo also.

Julie Lessman uses a parrot to not only bring humor into her story but that silly parrot definitely deepens our knowledge of the characters. Judge for yourself in this excerpt from:

LOVE AT ANY COST, by Julie Lessman:

Alli glanced up, her face the picture of innocence. “Rosie says Uncle Logan’s a pain in the posterior.” She gave him a wink. “Of course, the term she actually used may have been ‘rump’ . . .”
“Awk, pain in the rump, pain in the rump . . .” True to her name, the family parrot, Miss Behave piped up while she danced back and forth on her perch with pinwheel eyes.
“See?” Logan stabbed a finger in the parrot’s direction, his voice reduced to a hiss. “She’s even turned the blasted parrot against me and my nieces and nephew as well.” He scowled. “First you, the parrot, then my own flesh and blood.”
Aunt Cait rose to adjust his tie. “Don’t be silly, Logan, nobody’s against you . . .”
“No, we all love you, Uncle Logan.” Cassie’s smile was angelic. “Who else would have taught us poker?”
“Good gracious—you taught them poker?” Aunt Cait took a step back, hand to her chest.
A loud whistle pierced the air. “Awk, ante up, ante up . . .”
“Traitor.” Uncle Logan glowered at Cassie, the semblance of a smile tugging his lips.

I’ve used birds also. An eagle is featured in WHERE THE EAGLE FLIES, my novella in the anthology WITH THIS KISS. Whenever Melissa, the heroine, prays the eagle appears and gives our hero Sid ideas that help solve their needs.

This is actually a red-tailed hawk. Do you know they use its call in movies instead of an eagle  because an eagle call is not as mighty sounding as the hawk's?  Piece of trivia my hubby shared.  


I do believe God uses animals to communicate with us. Several years ago I wrote the children’s book CODY THE COYOTE. During that time I was having a particularly rough time with sick parents. I went hiking and there appeared this beautiful coyote who stood for over fifteen minutes and sang to me. He pranced his front paws and danced and sang. I felt in my heart that the Lord had sent that coyote to tell me everything was going to be all right.

Illustrator is Jeff West


When my mom was in hospice, a hummingbird built her nest on a bougainvillea branch four inches from my bedroom window. I had a sunscreen on the window so I could see the hummingbird, but she could not see me. She hatched four babies and I was able to watch the whole process as they grew until they left the nest. I believe that was God’s gift showing me birth and beginning of life as I was facing death and the end of an earthly life.

Mary Connealy and her famous baby calves.


So do any of you use animals in your stories?  Comment and let us know how you deepen your character and/or plot by using these animals.

Guess where I am? This guy weighed 30 pounds.


I have a lovely surprise for one lucky winner. They can have their choice of an autographed novel, or a children’s book, and they will also receive this lovely glass chocolate candy kiss. This chocolate has no calories.  Smile











Sandra Leesmith  writes sweet romances to warm the heart. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and during the hot summers she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project. You can find Sandra's books here on Amazon. Three of Sandra's most popular books are also audio books at Audible. You can read more posts by Sandra here.









Suz was my mil's toy poodle. We adopted her at 6 when mil's alzheimer's got bad. Suz lived with us 11 more years. 

    

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