Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Changeable

Libby and Ander is up for pre-order now. The publication date is only 4 days away, August 12th.

Carl and I were discussing my writing journey of Libby and Ander. This has probably been the most by-the-seat-of-my-pants writing I've ever done. It's also been one of the most enjoyable pieces I've ever written. Not sure if they correlate but perhaps they do. 

Anyway, it's done and uploaded and locked in. Whew! 

Up next is Abby and Joshua, already available for pre-order. I have the cover and have shared it in my newsletter, and it's also on Amazon. Technically, this is not a cover reveal but thought I'd share for those who might not have seen it yet.
And here are all three covers:
Abby and Joshua has a publication date of September 30th. The three novellas will be consolidated into a paperback book entitled Down to the River. The publication date for the paperback will be early October.

Plans are to write three more novellas with the same characters. The possible title of the series will be The Brides of River Ranch. The titles of each novella might be Robbie, Libby, and Abby. I'm still considering the logistics of that. Will that be confusing for potential readers? Since those three will not be written until next year, pondering time is plentiful.

I've made a decision concerning the future of my writing. While I would enjoy writing fantasy and sci-fi, I do not foresee the time to do so.

If I quit the western romance books, writing fantasy and sci-fi might be feasible, but at this moment, that seems unlikely.

The westerns will not be my only writing, Lord willing. Cozy mystery remains my favorite genre. I published one cozy, Frail Branch, and the other day, I unpublished it. I've decided to write A Tree's Response Series as a trilogy. The first book will be re-written, the second is outlined and ready to write, and the third is roughly outlined. Each mystery will be around 40,000 words (a short novel) and will be a standalone. However, the three together will form one complete story, if I do my job right. 

This is true of the western novellas. The three together form one complete story and yet each novella stands alone.

After receiving feedback on the covers for the mysteries, this is what I've arrived at.

I'm working on the new blurb for Frail Branch and hope to re-write it soon. 


Also notice that I'll be using a pen name when these are published. Frail Branch will probably be published in December of this year and the other two early next year. Hope you look for them!






Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Elusive Search for Normality

I imagine somewhere a writer begins their day by exercising, perhaps some yoga, meditation and/or prayer, and then they sit in their leather desk chair, crack their knuckles, and type away, taking scheduled breaks throughout the day.

My days rarely (never?) unfold like that. I do have a schedule of sorts. I stay up too late most nights and can't waken at 6:30 most mornings. For the last month or so, my husband Carl and I have not set an alarm. We wake up when we wake up. Sometimes it feels as if half the day is gone by the time we drink our morning coffee. 

And oh the things that can happen during the part of the day that's left! A few recent things--wasps stung Carl the other morning when he opened a screen door we seldom use. They'd built a nest right on the hinge of the door. He had over ten stings that I counted. Some had stung his head and since he still has a head-full of hair (yay, Carl!), I couldn't count all the stings. 

I thought for sure that an emergency room visit was in our future. We found some Benadryl that was not expired, and he did not have any complications. He's a tough guy!

And then we made two trips to Dothan this week, a little over an hour away from our house. We hope to build a house and that's exciting--or will be soon, I hope. We chose a floor plan and then modified it about 1 million four hundred and fifty-three times. 

I'm sure we'll be happy with the end result although it's often difficult to envision it. 

Another big change is looming. Carl has not worked for a year and a half. First he hurt his back and had to have surgery and then he was badly burned and still suffers some from that. Also, my mother was in the nursing home, and Carl was a huge support for me during that time. She passed away in March, three weeks after my brother.

A job opportunity has come his way, and he's decided to apply for the job. On the one hand, I'd like for him to go back to work--it does help with getting into a regular routine. On the other hand, I've enjoyed having him at home. 

Possibly building a house, a possible new job for Carl ... and a few more changes coming our way. Yeah ... it will be a while before a normal routine becomes, well, a normal routine. 

There's no such thing as a normal life. Some lives are just more interesting than others, and we shouldn't judge people for being boring. ~Mira Grant 🤣

However, sometimes a little boring is not all bad.

And in writing news, Robbie and Taron was free today, climbing fairly high. 



Also, the next book in the series, Libby and Ander, is in pre-order, hence my longing for normal. By August 8th, I must have it edited, formatted, and uploaded to Amazon! I can do it, but the problem is having a few hours of uninterrupted time to do so. 

Click the picture above if you'd like to pre-order.

Because of the busyness I find myself in at this time, I do need to make some concrete plans for the month of August. First and foremost is the publishing of Libby and Ander. It must be completed by August 8th since it goes up for sale August 12th.

The second goal is to write the third novella of the series in August and to have a book cover made. It will be published in September. In September, I plan to combine the three novellas together and publish in paperback form.

Also in August, I plan to write the first third of Invasion, a sci-fi/fantasy. This again will be a novella, perhaps 30,000 words or so. It should be ready for publication either at the end of this year or the first of next year.

I will also continue working on Discovering the Woman's Biblical Role and will possibly publish it at the beginning of next year.  

This makes me tired reading back over it! We'll see if I reach my goals.

Thanks so much for your support!




Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Covers are like Designer Shoes

Yes, book covers are like designer shoes to authors--at least the authors I know. I can think of one or two exceptions. Most, however, are giddy when they catch their first glimpse, or if they hit upon the perfect creation--those who make covers themselves. 

I've been trying to come up with book covers for my Moonbow series written under my pen name. I worked with a designer but the design did not work for me. Now, I'm back to the drawing board, contemplating what to do for the cover. I do have an idea, and we'll see how that works. 

I now have book covers coming out of my ears and they're waiting for me to put the actual book, the words, between the covers. 

Book covers are a source of inspiration and also a source of joy--just like designer shoes ... for those folks who like such things. 

😎

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cover Reveal--A Tree's Response Mystery

It has been rough for me the last couple of years -- longer, in actuality. My husband and I have weathered the storm. As many already know, I've wanted to write books from the time I knew actual humans created them. Books, to me, were magical, a gateway into new worlds, a means to make new friends, a way to learn how people think. People are fascinating! Even ordinary people (and there are no ordinary people, are there?). 

I'm saddened by the loss of my mother and my brother. I am slowly learning to deal with the gaping hole left in my heart. The edges are still jagged and bring pain and tears when I bump up against them. 

Eventually, the jagged edges will smooth, and life will be restored to a semblance of normalcy. I will never be the same. That's what life does to us--it changes us, and if we contemplate the changes wisely, sorrows help us to grow. 

My writing had to be placed on the back burner for a while as I dealt with issues, including my own health problems. Now, I've restarted although still sputtering. Sputtering means my writing comes in bouts, but I suppose that has always been true. 

I have accomplished some things in the last few days. I worked a bit more on the outlining of Libby and Ander, the second in Down to the River novellas. 

I have started several full-length books, but none are yet near completion. I hope to have Moon's Silence completed soon (written under my pen name). After that, I plan to write the rest of A Tree's Response. This is a trilogy. Each book stands alone but together they make a complete story--that's the plan anyway!

I have the covers for all 3 books ready to go!


I'm eager to get started back on this series! 

The Lord willing, I'll soon be back in the saddle!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Published Robbie and Taron!

Robbie and Taron is available on Amazon Kindle. I had fun writing it and hope you have fun reading it! It almost turned into a cozy mystery, but perhaps that will add to the enjoyment. Now on to the next one. It's entitled Libby and Ander. I did have it plotted, but during the writing of Robbie and Taron, some of my ideas changed--hopefully for the better. 

Click on the picture if you'd like to purchase Robbie and Taron, Down to the River, Book 1. Remember that this is a short book, a novella of 21,000 words. Please consider leaving a review--and it's fine if the review is negative. Reviews are important to authors, the good and the bad. I am one of those who likes critiques ... not sure if "likes" is the right word. However, it gives me insight into my readers and helps us (you and me) to connect. And human relationships are all about learning to connect. I value your contributions! Thanks for all your help!

Robbie and Taron


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Robbie & Taron--New Novella!

I have written a novella, Robbie & Taron, Down to the River, Book 1. It will be published July 1st, in less than two weeks! 

This is a novella of only 21,000 words. I plan to write two more this year, and I'm still working on The Unbinding and Moon's Silence. 

Robbie & Taron is a clean western romance with a bit of cozy mystery. 

Here's a sample:

Chapter One



The cold wind stung Roberta’s cheeks, and she readjusted her scarf, pulling it to the tip of her nose with numb fingers. Papa slumped forward, his forearms lying on his knees, the reins loose in his hands. The horses arched their necks, nostrils down, snorting as they struggled against the wind.
The darkened sky threatened to drop its content of snow at any moment. She crossed her arms, not only to hold in a bit more warmth but also in a fit of sulkiness. Her father alone was responsible for this. Although they had been repeatedly warned not to travel without companions and not to venture out at this time of year, he insisted. It was late October, and a snowstorm could appear out of nowhere. There had been no snow yet but the cold was numbing.
Papa hadn’t spoken in over an hour, unusual for him. Normally, his spine was as rigid as an iron rod as he barked out questions and commands. Mama, lying in the bed of the covered wagon, also had been strangely quiet—not that she wasn’t normally quiet, timid some would say. 
Her father coughed hoarsely, and she ventured a closer sideways glance. Bright blotches of red stung his cheeks, and his normally bright blue eyes were clouded.
Papa was sixty-eight, had been forty-eight when she was born, yet was still a strong, vibrant man—at least physically. She wondered, not for the first time, if senility was creeping in. Mama was twenty years his junior but never questioned his judgment, was kept completely under his thumb, as had been Roberta. He’d become more irritable as of late, and his judgment unreliable.
She was their only child, and Papa, of course, had wanted a boy, a son he would have named Robert Sinclair Rutherford, Junior—someone who would inherit his medical practice. After adjusting to the realization a girl would be the only child he’d ever have, he set to work on a plan. Roberta would become a doctor even if she was born the weaker sex, although Papa never said it or indicated he thought she was weaker in any way. He put his plan into action, teaching her all he knew and keeping a strict watch on all her activities. The focus on medicine was single, and any and all distractions immediately swatted away like an annoying housefly. Many men had tried to dissuade him, and her, especially when she entered medical school. She was sure she gained entrance because of her father’s brilliant reputation although her own intelligence and work ethic gained her respect among the other students and even the professors.

Only two more weeks! Hope you check it out!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Final Cover for the Unbinding plus excerpt!



The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”(Genesis 2:15).

My grandson, when very young, asked, “Who made God first?” And then proudly answered, “Adam.”

We are often like my grandson and ask questions incorrectly, or sometimes, simply ask the wrong question. But let’s consider the question my grandson attempted to ask. He had meant to say, “Who did God make first?” Even my two-year-old grandson knew the answer—Adam. Why is this significant to our study? In the passage above, we see that God gives Adam instructions about the tree of knowledge before forming Eve. It’s not until verse 22, we read:
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Eve is not yet in existence when God gives the instructions, and probably, Adam passes along the information to the newly formed Eve. It’s also possible God gave her the instructions face to face. Regardless, she becomes confused, whether it's her fault or Adam's. We know this because she tells the serpent in Genesis chapter three, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”(emphasis mine)

God’s instructions to Adam did not include neither shall you touch it. 
Thus, the serpent targets Eve, knowing she is armed with incorrect teaching. The story continues:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6, emphasis mine).

Adam stands by and watches the scene unfold without speaking up. Adam sins along with Eve. Throughout the Bible, scripture says man is the one through whom sin entered the world.

For example, Romans 5:12 tells us: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

Remember that Adam and Eve formed one flesh, one man, one human, if you will. The Bible reiterates again and again that sin entered the world through one person, and that is the united Adam and Eve. The word translated “man” in Romans 5:12, is anthrópo. According to Strong’s Concordance, the definition is one of the human race.

Why, then, is Eve alone often blamed? Perhaps the verses below have led to our confusion.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.  ~1 Timothy 2:12

I do not permit a woman to teach cannot be a blanket statement since women are seen throughout scripture as teachers. And no one would argue today that women cannot teach other women or children. This statement, therefore, must mean not to teach in such a way as to exercise authority over a man. But does that mean what some think? Scholars agree that the Greek word authentein, translated here as “to exercise authority,” carries with it the idea of force to assume authority.

Based on a (mis)understanding of the text, women have been told throughout the ages that men are to lead and women are to follow.
But what if we look at these verses from a woman’s viewpoint at that time? What if women, with their new-found freedom in Christ, believe they are the ones chosen by God to assume authority?

 These early Christian women know salvation, in the form of Jesus, has entered the world through a woman.


They know Mary had given birth to the Christ! A woman had been part of God’s great purpose. 

Hope to have this book completed in a month or so. Look for it soon! 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Three Books!

I'm working on The Unbinding: A Woman's Role. Below is the cover, not yet finalized. The publication date is scheduled for September of this year.



And I'm finally beginning the sequel to Moonbow. The second book of the series is Moon's Silence. I plan to republish Moonbow under my pen name of Abagail Eldan. I hope to have Moon's Silence ready for publication by the end of the year or the beginning of 2018. Watch this space for an excerpt coming soon. The last of the Moonbow trilogy will be published in December, 2018.

And I have not forgotten the sequel to Frail Branch. The name of the series, in case you've forgotten, is A Tree's Response. The title of book 2 is Uprooted. I have a new cover for Frail Branch.


Uprooted is on the back burner for now. However, the three books in this series make an overarching story that I'm anxious to tell. If all goes well, it will be ready for publication by spring of 2018.

Three books will be published this year and the fourth at the beginning of 2018.

In other news, the audio book for Thunder's Shadow is nearing completion. Look for it soon!

Monday, May 15, 2017

I Joined Patreon

Hey y'all, I've got some awesome news! I just joined Patreon! In case you’re wondering, Patreon is a simple way for you to contribute to Rise, Write, Shine every month, and get great rewards in return.
For a small monthly donation, get your choice of ebook by me or, for a higher donation, a free paperback. Go checkout https://www.patreon.com/sheilahollinghead

Monday, January 16, 2017

Serving Two Masters

One of my favorite quotes is from John Green. He said:

Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.
Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.
Most authors write their first book in relative isolation. No one has yet read their work and they are (usually) not writing to an audience. Also, at this point, while some may dream of becoming best-selling authors, the first book is not written with that in mind. The writer usually writes because he/she has a story to tell.


Neither the hope of success nor the fear of failure guides their first writings. 

Yet what if they fail? Since you have heard the stories, there’s no need to tell of those who never succeeded in their lives and died in poverty only to have their books read and revered after their passing. 

Geniuses are often overlooked by their own generation. Folks during their lives probably saw, or see, them as a little bonkers. It’s only after their deaths that perspective can be gained.

Many geniuses, feeling rejected, give up and quit writing or painting or preaching. They often feel misunderstood—but perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for their gift.

Sometimes it’s a good thing when the world rejects you—as long as you continue working on your gift. 

For success changes you, sometimes making you arrogant, sometimes making you afraid (how can I repeat that success?), and sometimes forcing you into isolation (think Harper Lee). Rarely does success actually make you better. It is our struggles and trials that shape and form us. If all was easy, we would have no stories.

 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~Matthew 6:24

Serving God means using our talents to the fullest without focusing on either success or failure.

It's difficult to do until we realize our responsibility is to our gift and making it the best.

Always, no matter the outcome.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Year(s) and Words

This past year, 2016, has been a very difficult year. With each new difficulty, the seed of bitterness has grown until I've reached the point of morphing into the old man who yells at the kids,

"Get off my lawn." 


Only it's not kids but others in my life.

When I first became a Christian, I took Ephesians 4 to heart. It begins with these three verses:

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

(You know, do the adulting thing all of us should be striving for.) And it ends with:

 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Yes, it says let all bitterness be put away. The bitterness has not developed overnight and not all during this year. It's insidious, creeping and growing like poison ivy, until your heart is entangled, and you're not sure how to begin the removal process.

But begin I must. And I have. I am especially focusing on this verse: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

It's a work in progress and will not be completed until I'm called home. 

And as I struggle with my talk, please remember to bear with me in love, as I will with you!  May we all be kind to one another!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My Work in Progress--Title Change

I haven't made much progress since my last post. However, I did decide to change the title of the book. The original title was Rootless. It didn't have the right sound, perhaps because it sounds a little like "ruthless." 

After pondering a bit, I changed the title to Uprooted. This, of course, led to a new book cover, and that in turn, led me to tweaking the first cover of the series. 

This is what I've come up with: 

The tweaked cover for Frail Branch...


And the cover for book 2 of the series...


I've written the first chapter and plan to begin chapter two tomorrow, Lord willing.