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Friday, January 29, 2010

New Review

Many thanks to The Romance Studio for this lovely review!

Daniel Gardner disappeared many years prior to his entrance at his brother’s wedding. He was not sure of his welcome by anyone including his family. The last person she expected to see at Tim and Rachel’s wedding was Daniel. Lane was shocked and apprehensive about facing him after so long. There was so much to settle—things the family and friends didn’t know.

Ms. Robin Bayne has written an incredibly poignant book about the power of love and how God can change hearts and lives. The acceptance and devotion certainly mimicked the story of the prodigal son in the Bible. The other son (Tim) even reacted much as the Bible’s story.

I applaud her development of the characters, both the strong main ones as well as those supporting. Each was believable and likeable.

This sweet storyline was a fast-paced, quick read. I could not put it down. However, there is a big surprise in the book. It definitely is not a cookie-cutter type manuscript. It got better with each passing page. I highly recommend that anyone read this book. It has a great plot, impressive characters, and an emotional ending. Kudos, Ms. Bayne!




5 hearts!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Paperback Writer on the Droste Effect

There is a wonderful post today over on Paperback Writer. "The Droste Effect" also has applications to fiction writing.


The Droste Effect is named for a Dutch cocoa maker that employed a recursive image (an image which contains an image of itself that contains an image of itself that contains an image of itself, etc.) on its tin.

Escher had a lot of fun with the Droste Effect, too, which can be explained mathematically. If you loop a droste effect image, you can create a little piece of infinity, ala Rooney Design's Christmas Zoom Movie.

In fiction, we have a similar term -- mise en abyme* which is the practice of telling a story within a story. Usually this takes form as a character within the story telling a story, as Stephen King is quite fond of over-doing to the point of where I want to slap some duct tape over the mouth of every old guy who walks into one of his scenes. But for the sake of this post (and because the Dragon is not fond of French) I'll refer to the story-within-a-story device as droste
.

--Pop over to her website for more on this technique.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What is Inspirational Fiction?


What is inspirational fiction?

I’ve been asked this question many times by friends and family, especially when I have a new story release. To many of them, the term “inspirational” refers to any writing which is uplifting or meaningful. Some feel it refers to spiritual writing, and some think it refers to Christian fiction. To one mother who lost a child, the essay I wrote on her daughter was inspirational. To another friend, a collection of encouraging, secular quotes is inspirational. But to most of us reading this, inspirational fiction and romance is fiction that includes God and faith in the storyline.

When I began to research the topic, I found other Christian romance authors have addressed it as well. I asked a few about their reading and writing habits. White Rose author JoAnn Carter said: “I read Christian/Inspirational titles--especially if it's in the romance genre. That way I'm more likely not to run into "issues" that wouldn't be good for me to see/read.”

Author Pamela Thibodeaux wrote a wonderful post on the topic for a previous entry. Here's an excerpt:

Christian fiction is written for a particular audience...the CBA market/readership. Christian fiction focuses on a relationship with God and God is the center of every romantic liaison. It adheres to the guidelines set forth by the CBA publishers and readers. In most instances, those guidelines are very conservative. The CBA wants “chaste relationships…the emotional side of love without the physical.”

Christian Inspirational fiction is written more for those readers out there who are dissatisfied with the typical Christian fiction as well as those turned off by the normal secular romances. It is aimed for readers who like the idea of God/Christ in the books, but want more realistic characters, situations, etc.

She also shared these views with me:

“I consider "inspirational" fiction that which is written with a higher level of sensuality and gritty realism and yet stays within biblical principles. Yes, it is different from traditional "Christian" fiction as the guidelines set forth by the CBA/EPCA are actually very conservative.My writing is labled as "Inspirational with an Edge!" and reviewed as: steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.Other than non-fiction, I read exclusively Romance - of every heat level EXCEPT erotica.”


Author Cindy Green shared her opinions:

As far as my own writing, it is conservative and even though it is published as ‘Inspirational’ it is Christian and would more than likely fall under the CBA standards. My tagline is ‘Bringing Sweet Romance to the Heart.’ I do read mainly sweet romance and most of that is Inspirational and/or Christian romance.

One of the growing sub-genres within romance is the Inspirational romance, but what is an Inspy exactly? Inspirational romance is just like any other romantic tale. It includes the ups and downs of falling in love, a handsome hero and a likeable heroine, those many emotional essentials, and the all important happy ending—aka: the HEA. And within Inspirational romance you can again have all of those subgenres but with a certain world view. The main ingredient separating the Inspirational romance with that of the secular romance is the spiritual element which makes it in many ways even more difficult to write. (But that is a topic for another day.)

The inspirational romance presents a love story centered on religious values. Your characters are not only beleaguered with the typical internal and external conflict but also a spiritual obstacle or struggle. Emotional conflict is key in an Inspy as is sexual tension, but again think sweet romance. Faith is a natural part of the story. It is sewn into the heart of the book in such a way that it is not cumbersome or preachy. As one reviewer said of my own book: “This is a fun, refreshing, non-preachy read. Faith is simply part of the main characters’ lives.”


Thank you, ladies, for sharing your views with us. I invite everyone reading to leave a comment on their own opinion—what is inspirational fiction? Do you read it? Write it?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scripture for Writers


. . . and everyone else!


\ / TODAY'S VERSE from HEARTLIGHT -- http://www.heartlight.org/
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January 20, 2010


VERSE:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
-- James 1:2-3



THOUGHT:
"Hang in there!" There are few traits more important than perseverance. Most important accomplishments in life happen because of perseverance. Most "luck" occurs when we've persevered long enough for the "magical moment" to come along -- in other words, I don't believe in luck. Edison said it best: life's greatest feats, the world's greatest discoveries, his own most fantastic inventions are "1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." "Hang in there!" and see the glory of God come through in you, not because of luck, but because of God's grace, love, and Providence!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Something for Everyone


Reprinted with permission from the White Rose Publishing Blog--

If you are reading this blog, chances are, you are a fan of inspirational romance. But all fans are not the same! Fortunately White Rose Publishing has something for everyone. They really do. What? You don't believe me? Then I'll show you.

Let's take best friends Tammy, Becky, Jane and Sandra. (Yes, I am making these people up for the sake of example.) Part of the reason they are friends is that they all love reading and discussing inspirational romance. But they don't always read the same books.

Tammy loves to cuddle up in her favorite chair with her cat on her lap and a historical romance in hand. At White Rose Publishing she'll find titles to choose from such as All or Nothing, Journey to Forgiveness, and Fragile Dreams. All of these are available as print books as well as ebooks. But Tammy is fortunate enough to have an ebook reader so she also enjoys shorter stories she can download such as Dilema of the Heart or Wildflower in Bloom

Becky adores contemporary stories such as Alvarado Gold, Beneath a Texas Sky and Case of the Heart. These are all available in print. But wait. Becky is a cubicle dweller and she really likes short stories that she can read on her computer during her lunch hour. So she might prefer Child of My Heart, By Another Name or Dreams Do Come True.

Jane wants a bit of mystery or suspense thrown in with the romance. She might enjoy Lethal Lasagna, A Matter of Trust or First I'm Nobody. Jane is often on the go. For those times when she's standing in line or stuck in a waiting room she likes shorter stories that she can read on her smart phone. She could choose from titles such as Daniella, Sweet Rest or Through a Glass Darkly.

Sandra is a stay-at-home mom. She doesn't care what kind of romance she reads as long as it fits into her budget. White Rose Publishing offers free reads on their site such as A Perfect Fit, Matchmaker of Love or Review of Love. Sandra joined the White Rose Publishing group on Yahoo to get some of the free "members only" reads there. As an added bonus, she's found a source of adult interaction that she can access without leaving the house! When she runs out of free reads, she'll probably start on the Dollar Downloads. Those include titles such as Cathy's Angel, Hyacinths in Winter, or Turning Back.

This is a just a few titles I pulled out at random. The White Rose catalog is much, much bigger and includes more categories than I listed. Jewel of the Adriatic and Rose of the Adriatic include mystic elements. Isanne's Revelation is a time travel romance. And don't even get my started on the great holiday stories! In my series Orchard Hill Romances, each story centers around a holiday. (See how I just slipped that into the conversation. You almost didn't notice that it was a plug for my own books, right?)

I hope this little post has made you curious. I wish I could have included the blurb for each title, but this would be an enormously long post if I did. I also don't have the patience to add a link to each title, but you can access the White Rose catalog here. If you are not familiar with White Rose Publishing I think you are in for a big treat! Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Many of us are Prodigals

I just received the nicest letter about my new story from the woman I dedicated it to--


Dear Robin,


I just read the story and loved it!
Of course the driving range scene had me laughing and beaming with pride.
That is just how I remember it. And "Bernie", the beanie baby puppy is still at my side, a fond reminder of you and your husband and the great game that brought us all together for that short time.

You are a talented writer and I'm honored to have one of your stories dedicated to me.
And if you only knew my family and the kind of "prodigal" role I played, you'd really be surprised.
The story had some wonderful healing elements for me.

With admiration and gratitude,
Julieta

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Live by the Spirit


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\ / TODAY'S VERSE from HEARTLIGHT -- http://www.heartlight.org/
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January 16, 2010


VERSE:
Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
-- Galatians 5:16



THOUGHT:
I don't want you to think about an orange rhinoceros flying with blue wings. Now quit. I don't want you to think about it anymore.
You know there is no such thing as an orange rhino that flies, much less one that flies on blue wings. Of course the point is simple:
the more we try to not do something, the more we focus on it and insure we do what we are not supposed to do. That's why the gift of the Holy Spirit is so important. He enables and empowers us to move beyond our sin -- not by focusing on it and refusing it, but by enriching us and "distracting" us with the important things of God.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Links


In honor of the new year, I am checking the links to blogs on my blogroll and removing inactive ones from the line-up. Also would like to add some new ones-- if you would like to exchange blog links please leave a comment.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Two Great Reviews!

From Got Romance Reviews

Rating: 4 Diamonds
Heat Level: Sweet
Other: na
Reviewer: Starla Kaye

Date: 1-9-10

Prodigal is a second chance at love story that makes you pull for the “prodigal son” as he returns to his hometown and his family after being gone for a number of years. Decisions in life can often be tough, often misunderstood by those around us. It takes a strong man to come back and face those he loves and hope they can accept him once more. Even tougher in this situation, the hero and heroine were torn apart by a secret that, when faced now, could still keep them from having a happily-ever-after. It is a sweet story that will have the reader hoping Daniel and Lane can find that second chance at love.


***************************************


In a word, WONDERFUL. Okay, two words MORE. I didn't want this story to end. I wasn't prepared for the zinger Ms. Bayne tossed into this short story. Without a doubt a five star read. If you're looking for laughter, love, drama and as an added bonus some really great sounding food don't pass on this one.

Donna L. Bolk
Author/Reviewer for Romance Magazine
Date Added: 01/09/2010 by donna bolk

Friday, January 08, 2010

Excerpt

“Hey.” Tim spoke first, breaking the silence between the brothers as they washed their hands. Strains of music filtered in from the band in the hall, but the water flow from the gold faucets sounded deadening to Daniel. The pungent smell of a cherry disinfectant irritated his nose.



“Hey. Thanks for not starting anything out there.” Daniel dried his hands on a rough paper towel, tossed it, then ran a hand through his hair. “I wasn’t sure what to expect after all this time.” He glanced sideways at Tim, then shrugged. “Liza said you all would welcome me home with open arms, but I just didn’t know.”



Tim sighed and tossed his own towel in the trashcan. “There are things to talk about, but my wedding reception isn’t the place. He reached walked toward the door, turning back as he grabbed the handle. “I am surprised Liza got you here. That you even thought to call her after all this time.”



Daniel remained at the sink, hands gripping both sides of the cold marble. A long pause followed, the only sound was water dripping from his grip. “And I’m surprised you let her go.”



Tim closed the door, his mouth slightly open but no words coming out. Daniel watched his brother take deep breaths and apparently struggle for words.

“You don’t know anything about me. About my life now.”



“I’d like to change that.” Daniel was relieved his brother did not roll his eyes at the statement. “I’d like to meet your new wife and get to know you both, spend some time here. I’ve made some changes over the years. I’d like to go to church with you, with the family.”



Tim seemed to consider his request for a few seconds, but then shook his head. “Let’s just get through this party. You have a lot of relatives out there with a lot of questions.”



“What about you, Tim? Do you have any questions?’



“Too many to count. They can wait. Well, all but one.”



“Yeah, what’s that?”



“Have you talked to Lane yet? She’s wandering around here somewhere.”



“Lane’s here?” Daniel started to double over. Had Tim punched him in the gut or what?



“Yeah, and I’m sure she has as many questions as I do. Maybe more.”

Celebrating!


Thank you for joining me in celebrating the release of my short story from White Rose Publishing! Leave a comment here and I will enter your name in the drawing for a copy of both:

Words to Write By, compiled by Robin Bayne
Fiction and Truth, compiled by Kathy Ide


"Prodigal" is now available for ordering!! It's a short story (the sequel to "The Good Samaritan" and is only $ 2 for a download.
If you order and read it, please write a review or at least let me know what you think.




Daniel Gardner is making a grand entrance at his brother’s wedding. The problem is, no one has seen him in years. Unsure of his welcome, this prodigal son needs the years and the hearts of his family to miraculously melt…but he may not be the only one needing to make amends.

Lane Taylor doesn’t realize how much she still loves Daniel until she’s standing face-to-face with him after so many years apart. Once upon a time, they’d dreamed of a life together. Now, when it seems they might get a second chance, she has to decide whether to divulge the secret she’s sure will shatter their happily-ever-after.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Time Passes

-/\/\-----------------------------------------------------------------
\ / TODAY'S VERSE from HEARTLIGHT -- http://www.heartlight.org/
--\/------------------------------------------------------------------




January 2, 2010


VERSE:
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
-- Psalms 90:12



THOUGHT:
So often we look up and time has passed us by. The things we promised ourselves we'd accomplish and the deeds we told others we'd do get left undone. Before we know it, days have become weeks, and weeks months, and months years. We find ourselves unable to do what we once assumed we could do any time we wanted. We must ask the Spirit of God to help us see and seize the opportunities the LORD places in our path.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Now Available



This wonderful collection of stories is now available at Treble Heart Books.

When Jesus walked this earth, He taught most often by telling stories. We call them “parables.” Afterward, He explained to His listeners (or, in some cases, exclusively to His disciples) the parallels and meanings that could be derived from the story.

Fiction and Truth follows this effective format. Christian authors tell engaging short stories with memorable characters in fascinating situations.

Following each story is a brief “Author’s Application” in which the writer suggests how the lessons of the stories can be applied to the reader’s daily life.