Midwest Almanac: Life & Times in the Heartland

Debut of New Website and Blog by @Johnnie_Alexndr

wooden-bridge-986345_1920 pixabayMidwest Almanac: Life & Times in the Heartland, a new website and blog that debuted this past weekend, celebrates the history and heritage, legacy and lore of the Midwestern states.

Authors Stacy Monson, Lora Young, and I are three novelists who were born, grew up, currently live, and/or set our stories in the Midwest.

Our posts, an entertaining and informative mix of Midwest miscellany, appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

We hope to see you there!

NaNoWriMo: My Experiences Writing 50,000 Words in One Month

National Novel Writing Month 2015

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Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month six times with varying degrees of success. Here’s a summary:

2003: A multi-generational saga centered around one house and my mom’s lengthy genealogy, this story is a choppy mess. I dream of someday revising this project into a set of short stories.

2005: The story of my heart, this project is about a young woman who regains her family’s ancestral home (actually, the same house as in my multi-generational saga) only to realize that her grandparents’ spiritual legacy was of more value than their material one.Where She Belongs

This much revised–and oft re-titled–story, which placed as a Bronze Medalist in the  My Book Therapy Frasier Contest a couple of years ago, releases from Revell in January as the first novel in the Misty Willow Series. Books #2 and #3 release in September 2016 and May 2017. Yay!

2008: Years ago, I learned that POW camps were set up in Florida and other states during War World II to imprison captured Germans. What kind of woman, I wondered, would help a German prisoner escape from one of those camps. So I tried to find out during this year’s NaNoWriMo.

When Memory Whisper v2With revised openings of this manuscript, I won the Writer of the Year and Best Novel awards at the Florida Christian Fiction Conference in 2009 and signed with my agent. Polished but unpublished, I haven’t given up hope for it yet. You can read the opening chapters of the now titled When Memory Whispers on my website.

2009: Friends who read the complete (and completely revised) manuscript of When Memory Whispers begged for a sequel. “Can’t happen,” I said. “Everybody died.” (Do you think that’s why editors aren’t interested? Hmm!)

where-treasure-hides-682x1024-new-coverIn an aha! moment, the proverbial lightbulb blinked above my head. A secondary character, a widowed British officer, became the male protagonist of a World War II love story, Where Treasure Hides, this year’s NaNoWriMo project.

The revised manuscript won the 2011 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest in the Historical Fiction category. Tyndale released the ebook in 2013 and the print edition this past August. There’s also a Dutch version!

where-treasure-hides-in-dutch12010: Wanting to do something a little different, I decided to write my 50,000 unedited NaNoWriMo words by hand. But I didn’t get very far. Family emergencies and hospitalizations derailed my plans. This was the first time I signed up for NaNoWriMo and didn’t win a completion certificate.

2012: Though I have successfully “won” NaNo when I was working full-time and had kids underfoot, for some reason this year — no job, no kids — I procrastinated until I could procrastinate no more. On November 29th and 30th, I pounded out the remaining 30,000 words.

The result: I got my NaNo certificate. And a pain that radiated through my wrist and up my arm to my shoulder.

This project was the sequel to Where Treasure Hides, tentatively titled What Time Reveals. It needs major work before anyone but me can read it. 🙂

2015: With a December 1st deadline looming, I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year. However, the “just do it” bug is catching so I’ve agreed to write 25,000 words–what I’m referring to as NaNoWriMo Lite.

Join me next week to see how I’m preparing for the November madness.

Writers Chat: Novelists Talk About Writing on Blab

With Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Pam Hillman, Bethany Jett, and Me!

Tyndale authors Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Pam Hillman, and I joined Bethany Jett on the first Writers Chat Blab yesterday.

We talked about finding the inspiration for our stories, our favorite writing tips, handling writers block and so much more.

Here’s the replay. (If the link isn’t available–sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t–please hop on over to Pam Hillman’s blog and get the replay there.)

Diana writes both nonfiction and fiction and is the author of Mind of Her Own.

Pam is a CBA bestselling novelist and the author of Stealing Jake.

Bethany is a nonfiction author and the founder of the Serious Writer Community.

These ebooks are on sale for $2.99 or less through Saturday, September 26th so this is the perfect time to get your copies!

Stealing Jake book cover Mind-of-Her-Own-200x300 where-treasure-hides-682x1024-new-cover

Stealing Jake may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, and other online retailers.

Mind of Her Own may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, and other online retailers.

Where Treasure Hides may be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, and other online retailers.