Yep, it’s about that time of year again. New Year’s resolutions are brewing. I wish that I could say that I’m above the lofty ambitions of the masses, but I’m not. I make New Year’s resolutions every year, and every year I default on most of them. Namely, to lose weight and exercise more. So I’m not going to go down that road again. I’m lying. I’m going to keep going down that road until I get somewhere. But I digress. I made a resolution last year regarding my writing and guess what? I did it! I committed to getting my work published this year and the proofs are going to the typesetter within the week. Of course, you’ll be the first to know when the book is out! So, for some reason, I can keep my writing resolutions. Which is why I’ve decided to go at it again.
My 3 Writing Goals for 2014:
Publish my full length novel
Write the sequel to my full length novel
Perform my poetry in front of a crowd
That’s it. Those are my three New Years Resolutions as they pertain to writing.
I called myself getting “turnt up” for Christmas and have been out in the streets all weekend. My good friend from California and her daughter joined me and my family for the holidays. So I’ve been acting like a tourist all week. Which is actually not far from the truth since I’ve only lived in Memphis for the last couple of months. We went from Graceland to the Mississippi River to Beale St. to the infamous Lorraine Motel where my hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. Take a look at our adventures below!
Many people are blessed with a few days off for Christmas. So, now that you’ve spent time with friends and family, it’s time to get back into the writing groove. What better way to do that than with some great writing prompt exercises? Take these opening sentences and run with them. If you don’t mind sharing, post what you write in the comments section or, if you have a blog, leave a link so that we can check it out!
Writing Prompt #1
She should have known better than to leave so late. Now, it was nearing dark and it looked like it was going to poor down rain at any moment. If she cut across the field, she could still make it on time, and maybe even beat the rain to boot. She had been warned not to go into the woods after sunset. She didn’t believe half the stories about what happened to people in those woods after dark. They were probably tall tales to keep kids from wandering in there and getting lost. A single rain drop plopped onto her hair, then another and another. Without hesitating a moment longer, she dashed into the dense forest, totally unaware of the hidden eyes that watched her every move…
Writing Prompt #2
He feet hit the pavement in rhythmic muffled thuds. He measured his breath, drawing in through his nose and out through his mouth in short even puffs, making vaporous miniature clouds in the air. The package was securely taped around his waist, totally obscured by his large sweatshirt. To anyone looking, he appeared to be an average middle-aged man out for his daily jog. They would never guess that he was about to make history in less than five minutes. Twenty years of preparation for this single moment. At his cue, the trigger to all of his meticulous plans would spring into action like carefully placed trick dominos…
Writing Prompt #3
For five years she’d been the perfect little house wife. Gourmet meals, decor worthy of being featured in Home & Garden, and sex that put Fifty Shades of Grey to shame. Yet, her marriage was over. And it wall all her fault. She set the alarm on her multi-million dollar home out of habit, and closed the heavy solid oak door behind her. She dropped her house keys into one of her prize-winning rose bushes. She wouldn’t be needing those anymore. She walked briskly to the cab waiting at the end of the long cobblestone footpath. She pushed aside the image of her husband and children coming back from the park to find her gone. She wondered how long they would wait for her to come home…
Man, I wrote the darn things, and I still can’t wait to find out what happens! Happy Writing!
I know that for a lot of people this time of year is spectacular. However, there are others that struggle with feelings of loneliness and/or grief. The holiday season can make the absence of loved ones that much more poignant. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to go through the motions of the holidays when my heart was anything but light. So if you find yourself less than cheerful this Christmas, know that you are loved. You matter. You’re important. You have something to contribute. When it is all said and done, it’s one more day to get through. A special day, yes. But a day just the same. Know that in 364 more days, your burden will be a little lighter. If the thought of a Merry Christmas seems daunting to you, rest in the knowledge that YOU ARE LOVED!
“For God so loved that world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I am a Christian Fiction Author with the publishing company Urban Christian Books.
What have you written?
My published works so far:
My first work, Sing A New Song, was published February 2013.
My second work, Walk A Straight Line, releases January 2014.
My third work, My Steps Are Ordered, will be released in August 2014.
When did you begin your writing career?
I started writing about 13 years ago when I wrote and self-published by first novel, Keep the Knot Tight, under a pen name. Since then, I’ve penned more novels, but have now been given the chance to share my work via a traditional publisher. My break into publishing came when I attended a Faith and Fiction retreat, at the inspiration of host and author, Tiffany L. Warren. What I learned there, helped me pitch my work and I landed a two-book deal with Urban Christian books.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?
I am a part-time writer as I have a full-time job as an educator. As a mother of two high schoolers, I have to schedule my time to write. Writing requires discipline. I usually write late at night when all is quiet in my house.
What’s your writing process? (Number of days you write per week, a.m. or p.m., specific music you play while writing, or anything else that you feel is a vital part of your creative process.)
My writing process is that I write at every open opportunity. I mostly write at night, after work and on the weekends. I generally start out with a plot that I work on fine-tuning and then I work on character develop. I then outline main events and key ideas for the novel. I then write, write and write. I worry about editing after I have it written.
Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?
I do have a journal, but I’m not faithful. I use my journal to reflect on important events in my personal life. I do not use it for my professional writing but have recorded important events and milestones. I’ve had the same journal for years.
What’s your inspiration?
My inspiration for Walk A Straight Linestems from the fact that I have a lifelong friend and our relationship has had its ups and downs, but our sisterhood is never questioned. I wanted to write a book about friends that explores the intriguing possibilities of truly getting to know yourself based on experiences. Sometimes when we hear another person’s experience we form opinions on what we would or would not do. I wanted to put my main characters, Colleen and Gina, in situations that they never imagined they would face to see if they could walk a straight line. I also wanted to write a romance so intriguing that people would get sucked into the character’s lives.
What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?
I want readers to have a pleasurable read with memorable characters that stay with them after they’re done with my book. I want them to relate to the characters and take some of the lessons learned to deal with issues in their own lives. What a wonderful legacy it would be if, after reading my work, a reader drew closer to God or accepted Him into their lives.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My advice for anyone seeking to publish a book is to begin by reading. Read. Read. Read. Read books in the genre you would like to write. My second advice is to attend workshops or take writing lessons. Develop the craft of writing and rewrite. Rewrite. Third, hire an editor. Don’t take the advice of family and friends alone. You need an unbiased professional opinion. Don’t be afraid of the truth.
What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?
The book that has the biggest impact on me this year is I Ain’t Me No More by E.N. Joy. A must read. I also have Victoria Christopher Murray’s Never Say Never, ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s, A Family Affair, Rhonda McKnight’s Breaking All the Rules, Norma Jarrett’s Love on a Budget, Michele Stimpson’s Stepping Down, Shana Burton’s Flawfully Wedded Wives to name just a few. Also the Guilty series by Pat Simmons, and Tiffany L. Warren’s The Replacement Wife looks very good.
What are you currently working on?
God has been good to me. I urge aspiring writers to keep writing. My third novel, My Steps Are Ordered, comes out August 2014. This is the second installment of the “On the Right Path” series. Trust me when I say that after reading Walk A Straight Line, you’ll demand a sequel. I am in the process of writing the third installment, III, as I keep changing the title.
Latest release and book blurb?
My latest release is Walk A Straight Line, Dec. 31,2013
Two friends. Two brothers. Two weddings. Too many secrets.
Colleen MacGregor rededicated her life to God when she met and married Terence Hayworth. However, her happily-ever-after will have to wait, because she has some serious dragons to slay to sustain her marriage and keep her friendship with Gina Price intact. After fifteen years of friendship, Colleen must now draw the line and stop telling Gina everything.
What did God do to her friend? Gina finds it hard to deal with Colleen’s newfound faith. She thinks Colleen has become self-righteous, subjecting Gina to her holy tirades whenever the mood strikes. When Gina begins dating one brother, while simultaneously falling in love with another, boy, does she get an earful! Gina, however, is way too busy trying to sort her way through her own murky feelings to worry about her soul. Her heart wants what it wants.
Michelle Lindo-Rice explores the complicated world of female friendships. Can a friendship survive when one friend becomes saved?
Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?
A main character in Walk A Straight Lineis Colleen Hayworth. She is a carefree, spirited woman who loses her identity when she marries Terence. She changes as she tries to please him. I think Paula Patton would make a good Colleen, or even Jordin Sparks. There are so many new faces out there. Someone who’s bubbly and of course, who can rock her signature long, curly hair.
Wow, what a different spin on traditional Christian novels! The intricate dynamics of feminine friendship are a force to be reckoned with. ‘Walk A Straight Line’ and the sequels that follow sound VERY interesting. What do you think? Chime in below!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Right? Depends on who you talk to. For some people the holiday season is two long months of stressful occasions with people dressed up in ugly Christmas sweaters, houses full of tacky blinking lights and an overabundance of food. Have no fear, I’m going to share five ways to beat holiday stress and make it to January 2nd smelling like a rose.
1. ‘No’ is not a four letter word-use it!—–Why over obligate yourself and be stressed, when you can simply say no? It’s okay. People do it all the time. Don’t have time to go to the staff Christmas party because your inbox is overflowing? Skip it. Don’t have time to make two dozen homemade sugar cookies for the church bake sale? Decline participation and give a monetary donation instead. Plenty of holiday stress can be avoided simply by giving yourself permission to say no!
2.Take care of yourself.—–For some of us the first thing to go whenever we are over taxed is us. Keep stress at bay by making yourself a priority. After all, this is a season of appreciation. Who better to appreciate than yourself? Stay hydrated, go for walks, eat well and get plenty of rest. You’ll enjoy this time of year much better if you’re not run down.
3. Have a budge and stick to it.—–This is a tough one. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the great sales and spend more than you anticipated. Take time to really think about how much you want to allot for gifts and don’t go over it. No matter what. I love gift cards because they come in various amounts. You can get them to a particular store or as a Visa/MasterCard to be used just about anywhere.
4. Express your appreciation for others year round.—–It’s normal to want to get gifts for everyone you know to express how valuable they are to you. But don’t fall into the trap of only expressing your appreciation during the holidays. That’s putting yourself under way too much pressure. Instead, let the people you care about know how you feel all year-long. You’ll feel a lot less guilty getting Grandma a gift card at Christmas, if you already got her something special for her birthday.
5. Take time to remember the reason for the season.—–Slow down. Go to church. Volunteer at a shelter. Read books to sick children at a hospital. Go caroling. Stare at a yuletide log. Watch corny Christmas movies. Do something special to commemorate the passing of another year. Because, I promise you, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.