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Last week I posted the cover of my soon-to-be-released novel Making Music Together. Today, I am happy to whet your curiosity a bit more by telling you what this new novel is all about. Read on.

The cover for a fiction romance novel Making Music Together

The first day Mark Crandall hears Trudy singing in his next door neighbor’s apartment, he is captivated by her voice. When he does meet her, he is even more blown away by her beauty. Trudy has a vision impairment, but this does not prevent Mark from falling in love with her.

They have so much in common; they both love to sing, they are both Christians, and Mark is convinced Trudy is the right woman for him, the woman his mother told him about. They fall in love and spend many happy moments singing together.

However, Mark has been seeing Abigail, the daughter of the CEO of the company he works for. Abgail is rich, attractive, and manipulative. He sees her as just a friend, but she will go to any lengths to win his heart. In order to pursue his relationship with Trudy, he has to break it off with Abigail. 

When he does try to break it off, Abigail becomes angry. What follows is a cycle of revenge as she and her father try to get back at Mark for breaking up with her. Mark’s life goes into a tailspin and a future for him and Trudy seems almost impossible. If you enjoy Christian romance with a love triangle trope, you would love Making Music Together. Get your copy now while it’s still on preorder. 

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As writers we are always researching to find information that will help us improve our writing skills and market ourselves. There are many good websites for writers, some of which I subscribe to and receive regular updates from them in my mailbox. I have been greatly helped by some of them and thought I would pass on the information to you. I hope the following list will be helpful:

1. American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI)

This site offers excellent courses – live as well as virtual – in copywriting, photography, travel writing and freelance writing in general. Once you sign up for one of their courses you get their newsletter with up to date information on their conferences as well as other ways to build your business.


If you are looking for ways to link up with other bloggers either by posting to their blogs or having them post to yours, this site is a great way to do so. Through the site you can also request sources for interviews and reviews, announce your giveaways, contests and the like. A great resource for bloggers.


This is a site I recently came across. On this site writers get to post their profile, the title of their book, a short summary and the first chapter of their book and it is seen by visitors to the site. If you want advanced promotion where your information is sent by email to their subscribers, you pay a fee.

4. Book Buzzr.

What better way to buzz your book than by posting regular tweets to your followers? Book Buzzr allows you to do that and more, and best of all most of it is free. When you use the look inside feature, your readers get to read an excerpt from your book on your site or on Book Buzzr.

5. Funds For Writers

This site is managed by Hope Clark, writer and editor, and features articles on freelance and fiction writing as well as a listing of contests, markets, grants and retreats. It has been listed by Writer’s Digest among the 101 best websites for writers.

6. Freelance Writing Jobs

As the name suggests, this site gives a listing of writing jobs, both local and remote. It also gives valuable writing tips and encouragement to writers.


No serious freelance writer should be without a membership to this site. In addition to offering some of the best online freelance writing courses available, you can also receive health and dental insurance at reduced premiums, How-to-Pitch articles, tax services and a host of other benefits. The How-to-Pitch articles are one of my favorite features of the site.

8. The Working Writers Club

This is a site where writers get to meet each other virtually, exchange ideas and learn more about the business of freelance writing. I am a member of this group and have benefited greatly from interacting with other members, from the daily hints and tips put out by the coach, Suzanne Lieurance and from the monthly teleclass. This is a good and inexpensive way to learn more about improving yourself as a freelance writer.

9. Writer Beware Blogs

There are so many scams out there nowadays and writers, because they generally operate as solopreneurs, are very vulnerable to these scam artists. This is why you need to visit Writer Beware Blogs to acquaint yourself with the many pitfalls that unsuspecting writers sometimes get themselves into.

10. Writer’s Digest

This post would not be complete without a mention of this giant among writers’ resources. With articles from top notch agents and experts in the business, writing materials, conferences and contests, Writer’s Digest delivers again and again.

So, there you have it. The Top Ten, if you want to call it that. I am sure you have your favorite websites that you frequent. Please drop me a line and let me know, or if any of the above have been especially helpful to you, I would be happy to know.

Even though the month ended yesterday, I am scratching my head trying to remember what happened in February. Where did the days go? Will March vanish in the same way, with hardly a whisper, leaving no trace of its journey here on earth? Well, I do remember some things. For one, it was my birth month, which meant I’m one year older and have one year less to do the things I want to do. My oldest son also had a birthday in February and my car, which has never given me any trouble in the eleven years I’ve had it, broke down. And after months of talking to a travel agent, my plans to cruise the Mediterranean finally went into high gear.

Also in February I continued to work at my day job as an occupational therapist and at home I plodded away at the second in my Egypt novel series. In addition, I’ve been updating this blog and my Christian devotional blog while posting to my church’s website. I’ve also started writing again for Hubpages and participating in a little social media here and there. And, I almost forgot, I worked on a synopsis for someone. Not bad for someone with an almost full-time job. Now I don’t feel so guilty after all.

So here we are in March. A new month with new opportunities. I’m going to try my best to spice up my blog, work on my About page and make a better effort to get myself on the road to retirement. Oh, I also want to read more. I find that when I read good books my writing flows better. How about you? Have you started on your 2013 goals? Are things going according to plan? Don’t beat yourself up if you find you are not accomplishing things as fast as you would like. Just keep your goals in front of you and keep working on them. You may be slowed by other things, but try to do a little every day. Remember, the race is not for the swiftest, but he who endures to the end. Keep at it!

In my last post, I wrote about how important it is to craft a strong opening. One that hooks the reader and makes her want to continue reading. I also listed three openings that are not very captivating and three from famous, classical authors. Now here are some first lines from contemporary works on my bookshelf:

It was my first day. I had come the night before, a gray-black and cold night before-as it was expected to be in the middle of January, though I didn’t know that at the time –
Lucy – Jamaica Kincaid 1990

Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty. Here is the family. Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane live in the green-and-white house.
The Bluest Eye
– Toni Morrison 1994

The day she walked the streets of Silk, a chafing wind kept the temperature low and the sun was helpless to move outdoor thermometers more than a few degrees above freezing.
– Toni Morrison 2003

“Any day now!” Anya shouted, as the car in front of her remained motionless even though the other lanes were inching forward.
– Victoria Christopher Murray 2001

After eight months spent in the obscurity of our mother’s womb, my brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954.
Cutting For Stone
– Abraham Verghese 2009

It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarma.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
– Stieg Larsson 2009

I have read and enjoyed all but the last two. I’m in the process of reading Cutting For Stone. The last one I’ve not yet begun, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a powerful book. From the above, you may have made the same observation that I have – that only one of them began with a direct quotation and with some type of action. An impatient young woman shouting at the driver in front of her to move it.

All of the other opening lines seem to usher us gently into the story, but in such a way that even though we may be hesitant to enter, our curiosity still gets the better of us. Let’s look at the first one. It was my first day. I had come the night before, a gray-black and cold night before-as it was expected to be in the middle of January, though I didn’t know that at the time – My first day of what? Where had she come from? Why didn’t she know that at the time? Without posing a question, the author puts questions in the mind of the reader.

I like the first one by Toni Morrison. This author has the gift of getting into the character’s mind so precisely that her words come over exactly as that character would have expressed them. These opening lines make us want to know about this young girl who turns out to be as simplistic as the words.

According to Writer’s Relief, opening lines should do some or all of the following:

Establish tone

• Hint at conflict or theme

• Lure with the promise of some reward (reward meaning: the emotional reward of reading the book)

• Cause an instant emotional reaction, connection to character, and/or fascination with scene

Do the openers above do any of that for you? What do you like or don’t like about them? What are some of your favorite opening lines? Or, have you written a killer opener for your book or novel? Drop me a comment and let me know.


Here are two books that will help you to craft captivating openings: