Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Breathing on Her Own: A Celebration!

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the release of

Yes, I’m excited. How am I celebrating?
Contrary to popular belief, I’m not
celebrating with chocolate.

I’ve talked with my publisher about this occasion. Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is offering the Kindle version of Breathing on Her Own  FREE for three days starting today!

Already own a copy? That’s okay. Did you know you can “gift” a copy of the book? Go to Amazon as if you were purchasing the book. You will see a section where you can send the book to a friend. Simply fill in the email address of the person you want to receive the book. You can even leave a message! When you “buy” the book your total will come to $0.00!

Now for the real celebration! I decided to relive the book launch for Breathing on Her Own. Thank you Marty Hallo for the pictures.

Although many people today launch their books on Facebook or other social media sources, I chose to host an event. Tom and I were living in Florida at the time. Although the story takes place near Cincinnati, Ohio, there is a definite Florida connection in the book, so the launch there made sense.

I searched for a venue in Tarpon Springs, but ultimately decided to host the launch in our own back yard.

My sweet husband and his brother, Ron, made sure the lawn was properly groomed. Our neighbor, whose yard is truly the tropical version of an English garden, loaned us a few tables and chairs and my guests wandered her property as well as ours.

 Guests arrived by car, by foot, and by boat! What a beautiful day!

People signed in and Tom set up a small television in the carport where the trailer for Breathing on Her Own was shown.

You can view the trailer HERE.

Judy Gregory, a friend from church, offered her collection of Longaberger baskets for food. My whole Florida family pitched in, making the event a day I will always treasure.

And… my precious mother traveled by bus all the way from Ohio to attend! I surprised her in a big way. She had no idea I had dedicated the book to her.

Of course my sweetest memory is how Tom stood by me. He stood by me as I started on this writing journey. He stood by me as I signed the contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He stood by me through hours of writing and rewriting the manuscript. And he stood by me on that sunny day when Breathing on Her Own was openly shared and celebrated.

Where is the book now? Still on Amazon. Still selling copies. Breathing on Her Own has almost 150 reviews of this writing and has earned a 4.7 star rating. I still have people telling me how the book has made them think about their own lives and relationships. My husband is now in heaven. My life has changed, but I’m still celebrating. Celebrating what was and what is to come. Celebrating the gift God offered me in publishing my first novel.

What is next for you?
Share this post.
Download the book for yourself. Click HERE
Gift the book to someone else.
Review the book.
Most importantly: Hug the ones you love.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catching Up With Our Own "Amish Wanderer"- Laura Hilton

Bethany Weiss has been fascinated by Silas Beiler since he spent a couple of years in Jamesport, Missouri, before he and his family moved to another Amish community. They hadn’t kept in touch, but she hasn’t forgotten the friendly young man who brought her lemonade and took her home once from a Singing years ago. When she finds a man sleeping in her family’s barn, like Jesus sleeping in the hay, she is stunned to recognize Silas. He’s left the Amish and is backpacking across the country. She talks him into staying, at least until after Christmas.

Silas’ family has never been happy living in one area for long, and their vagabond ways are wearing on him. He’s lived in Amish communities all over the nation, moving whenever his daed became disgruntled with the leaders, and he’s looking for some sense of stability. His intentions are to make it back to Pennsylvania and stay with his Englisch onkle and his family—and pursue an education. Will Bethany be the one to bring Silas in from the cold? Or will he continue on his way to his extended family and become Englisch?

Now are You Ready to Meet Our Own Wanderer, Author Laura Hilton?

  • What do you enjoy doing for relaxation?  My favorite way to relax is to curl up with a really good book – the kind that you pick up and read from start to finish because you cannot put it down. It’s that good.  A bottle of ice water would be good too.
  • What do you enjoy most about writing?   I love the whole thing. Mostly. I love getting to know the characters in my head and finding out what their stories are. I love the thrill of discovery. I love the creation process, and finding out what the faith message is, and watching it all come together at the end.
  • What can your readers expect from you next?   I just turned in a novella for a collection that is coming out in April or May, and I’m working on a proposal for a new series. It’s set in an area I’ve been to, but I want to make sure it is as accurate as possible – especially since no Amish lived there when I was there.

An invitation from Laura: 

visit my blogs:  & 
twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Purchase my books:


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Unlike Fixing Your Car, Tuning Your Manuscript Requires More Than Mechanics

Have you ever picked up something you drafted ages ago and read it... only to discover it was awful? I do that all the time.

When my daughters were teens I took it upon myself to write teen romance novels for them. The first one, Fifteen- Love, was the story of a fifteen-year-old girl trying out for the high school tennis team and trying to catch the eye of a cute guy on the team. Clever, huh?

I don’t think I ever finished Mark Time, the story of a young girl in marching band who thinks the senior conductor (Mark something or other) is wonderful and the annoying trumpet player vying for her attention is horrible. You can guess were that one headed.

I laughed out loud when I read those never-to-be-published manuscripts. I knew nothing about writing. I only knew the books out there for my girls weren’t any better and often contained messages I couldn’t condone.

I thought my writing improved until I picked up a manuscript I wrote in 2013 with the intent of polishing it a bit and submitting it to an agent. I’ve been working on it for two weeks now.

The process is something akin to taking your car in to the shop to have the oil changed only to discover you need to overhaul the entire engine, fix the brakes, rotate the tires, and replace the transmission. Some people would junk the car and buy something new. But you love that car. You have a history with that car. You go through the overhaul and rebuilding of that car because you know in your heart of hearts it’s a classic and worth the investment.

I offer today’s post to help you tackle your own manuscript in your own garage. Let’s look at a few of the problems I’ve noted, a few quick fixes, and the big overhauling taking place.

Problem #1: Backstory. I tend to write way too much backstory in the beginning. In fact I knew this when I drafted this manuscript so I deliberately went in and chopped off the first two chapters after I wrote the book. Oh but I didn’t stop there as I should have. Instead, I was so anxious to not lose anything, I wove the backstory right back into chapter three. I thought I was being clever…I wove it into a conversation. IT IS BORING.

The Fix? I’m cutting every bit of the backstory out. I saved it in a dump file so if I really need it, and I mean REALLY need it, I have it.

Problem #2: Telling. Telling is a big no-no in writing a novel. I know this yet, I find when I am anxious to move to the next exciting scene or if I’m, tired, I tend to get lazy. I start “telling” everything. Telling takes more space and more words but less craft. Telling bogs the story down and doesn’t credit the reader with more intelligence than a snail. The fix? I have been combing through the manuscript constantly asking myself how to show the information to move the story forward. I try to see the story unfold as a movie, using images instead of words.

Problem # 3: Pacing. Part of the pacing problem in this story is connected to the long, boring conversation between my main character and her best friend. Some of the pacing issue resolved itself when I cut the conversation to the bare bones of what needed to be said. The pacing also picked up when I started showing what was happening instead of describing every detail.

Sometimes I pick up the pace by shortening the sentences and checking to make sure I’ve used an active voice instead of a passive voice.

How long does this take? Revision is a process. Like the classic car, it may take months of fine-tuning but is well worth the investment of time.

How do you approach revision? What problems seem to surface on a regular basis for you?

Finally…An Announcement: Since March is the anniversary of the release of Breathingon Her Own, I have a few goals set and a couple of treats in store.
            *I am hoping to gain seven (7) more reviews to reach my goal of 150 reviews on Amazon. If you read the book and always meant to leave a review, here is your chance to do a good deed.
            *In honor of the Anniversary, my publisher has approved offering the Kindle version of Breathing on Her Own for FREE on March 22-24. Even if you already have a copy, you can order a copy and send to a friend as a gift. Simply follow the instructions on the Amazon order form.
            *Toward the end of the month, watch for more short stories and giveaways.

            *Next week I’ll be featuring Laura Hilton as my guest. Be sure to tune in.