Thursday, January 31, 2008

January Contest Winner!

And the winner is...


Congratulations to Kathleen, the winner of the Footprints bracelet. I will leave the other names in the hopper for next time. Be sure to check back often . My husband is working on a great banner for our blog, and all the Muses are working on their entries for February. February is all about LOVE, the essence of romance and romance novels. I hope you all LOVE our blog.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Howdy from the other end of California...

Hey everybody, thanks for stopping by. My name is Linda Strawn and I'm from a little hick town (yep, there is such a thing in California), in the foothills of Mt. Lassen and not far from Lake Shasta, Burney Falls, and other pretty places. I was born and raised in the wine country about an hour north of San Francisco. Other than a three year adventure courtesy of Uncle Sam and the US Army, I've lived in California my entire life. I've been married 24 years, have a nine year old daughter, and am facing a milestone age in a few weeks. I was a late bloomer becoming a parent as well as an author, but when profound events like these finally happen, age just doesn't matter!
I write Christian romance. My first book, Singing Winds, was released in July of 2007. It's a historical adventure romance set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the late 1800's. The message of God's love and the wonderful culture of the Maidu Indians of Northern California are the essence of this story. When I began penning this story many years ago, I didn't know I was a writer. It didn't hit me that my writing "hobby" is actually a God-given gift until about two years ago. I completed Singing Winds without as much as a creative writing course, workshop, or conference. I guess you can say that I wrote by the S.O.T.P. (I like this acronym) or, at the very least, what God put in my heart excluding proper use of POV, back story, etc. I give God all the glory that Singing Winds has been a hit with readers in spite of this!
I am currently working on book #2 and walking a much different path than I did with the first book. I've joined a critique group and many online groups to get guidance. I've learned so much in a short time and it seems like doors are swinging wide open for me. My new novel is a contemporary romance and the main part of the story takes place on an Indian reservation. God has led me to people who have become very important to me in recent months and it will be through some of these people that I will get the guidance needed to produce a respectful novel.
This brings me to a few of the resolutions I have made for myself for this new year:
#1 - Develop a sane schedule so my time is properly divided between God, family, and writing.
#2 - Develop the relationships I've made with people that came into my life due to my writing.
#3 - Learn more about Native American culture from the Native People God has led me to "sit around the fire" with in order that my writing will truly make a difference and open the eyes of the multitudes the way my eyes have been opened.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

So Nice to Meet You!

Welcome to The Daily Muse! I'm DeLyn Fisher (aka Jayna Morton), and I write sweet contemporary romance, relatable Christian romances, and delightful children's literature. I guess you could say that I write about what I know. I teach Kindergarten, so I know a lot about what young readers enjoy. I'm a baby Christian (been one all my life, but I'm a slow learner), so I prefer Christian romance that revolves around characters that aren't perfect. And I'm living my own sweet contemporary romance with my husband of almost 8 years and our two children: Rebekah (5) and Ella (16 mos). Throw a dog and a cat in the mix, and you've got the perfect happy ending to any contemporary romance. I'm so glad you've decided to join us. Whether you're a writer or a reader, I welcome you.
I have two books with a traditional publisher that are out-of-print. One of those is now available as a second printing through Lulu Press - WATER in the Elements of Love series. My first children's book, IT'S NOT EASY BEING THE OLDEST, is also available through Lulu Press while I search for an agent. Let's call it a market test. To order these in paperback or eBook format, follow this link: and search under my name(s).
I've already posted my New Year's Resolutions, but I'm open to more. My fellow Muses have listed several that I know apply to me already. Writers - what are your resolutions this year? Readers - what would like for us to create in 2008?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Howdy from California

Hello, friends. Delia Latham here. I'm honored to be a part of the Daily Muse for Writers! I've lived in Bakersfield, California my entire life. I have four grown children - all of whom live close by - and four beautiful, wonderful, absolutely perfect grandchildren. No, really - they are!

I write inspirational romance. My historical novel, Goldeneyes, will be released March 30 by Vintage Romance Publishing. I'm currently working on a follow-up to that book while pitching a couple of other completed works.

As a writer, I have to admit to being a SOTP-er, which means I rarely, if ever, plan anything. I write the same way I live - by the seat of my pants. All those authors who actually sit down and outline their books before ever writing a word of it ... wow! I stand in awe of them ... but I can't do it. I start with nothing but an idea and run with it. As I write, the characters start to take over and tell me where the story's going. It works for me. Much as I'd love to have it all laid out in my mind prior to the first chapter, I truly doubt that's ever gonna happen.

Here's the rub, though. I am THE WORST procrastinator ever! I kid myself into thinking I'm working out ideas for my book (in my head, ya know?), and just keep putting off the actual task of applying the seat of my pants to a chair and writing. Every day. So far, my writing "schedule" has been either/or: Either I'm not writing at all, or I get so deep into a story that I write every waking hour of the day. Where's the balance, for pity's sake?

Soooo ... my resolution for 2008 is two-fold:

1. Stop procrastinating and WRITE - every day, whether it's blogging here or on my personal blog (, working on my novel, or whipping up magazine articles. The important thing is to write!

2. In addition, I will work out a schedule wherein I write at a certain time of day, for a set period of time. While I can be flexible, there needs to be some consistency in my writing life, and this is the year to find it. Yeah, boy!

Books by Delia Latham:

Goldeneyes - Releasing March 30. Read the excerpt here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My New Year's Resolution? Post-Its!

Welcome to The Daily Muse!

I'm Tamelia Tumlin and I write romances for The Wild Rose Press, Publish America and Shadowrose Publishing. I am currently working on an inspirational romance for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired ( although I haven't sold there yet- keep your fingers crossed). I enjoy reading, writing, and teaching third grade in my hometown.
I've always been a fly by the seat of your pants writer. Generally, I have a snippet of a plot and two characters vying for attention in my head when I start a new story or novel. I open a new word document and stare miserably at the curser flashing tauntingly before my eyes. I have no blue-print, no outline, and no map for my book. Just a blank curser. After staring at it long enough, I will eventually find the starting point and begin my story letting my characters take over. I'm not saying that this method is wrong. There are many wonderful writers that follow this very strategy. However, I've discovered that this method is not right for me. So this year my New Year's resolution is to story board using those lovely colorful post-its. Now, this idea is not original. Nor is it mine. But, for 2008 I will "borrow" it and see if it works for me. So with as much enthusiasm as a child in a candy store I purchased a small bulletin type board and several colored sticky notes. First, I plotted (yes this method requires forethought) my hero's personal journey using blue sticky notes. Then I used pink sticky notes to plan my heroine's personal journey. Yellow sticky notes mark the plot points. Orange ones indicate turning points and the black moment. I also use green to mark the romantic journey. After arranging the sticky notes on the bulletin board in order I can easily see areas that need "more color" and catch plot holes that need tweaking. So far this method has really been an "eye opener". And since I am currently working on an inspirational Christian romance, I will need to add another color to mark the spiritial journey. I wanted to take a picture of my storyboard to place on this blog, but my digital camera didn't want to cooperate, so I am posting a link to another storyboard so you can get a visual.

Storyboard Visual Link

Tamelia Tumlin

My Books

Prince of Thieves - available now from Amazon

Next Door Santa- available soon as an Amazon Short

Unexpected Gifts- available from Shadowrose Publishing- ( I have a short story in this anthology)

For Better or For Worse- Coming soon- a short paranormal love story from The Wild Rose Press

Visit my website to view book teasers for each one!

Our First Giveaway!

Delia, Linda, Kassy, Tamelia, and I would like to welcome you to the grandopening of our blog for writers and readers of contemporary romance, Christian romance, and children's literature. In honor of this special event, the girls and I are giving away a beautiful "Footprints" bracelet at the end of January. Everyone who posts a comment is eligible to win, but be sure to leave you name and email address, so we can contact you. Here's a picture of the bracelet:

Friday, January 4, 2008

How To Make It As a Writer...From Someone Who Hasn't Made It Yet!

When I was a college student, studying English Literature at UT Tyler, I took a remarkable class on the literature of the Romantic Period. I went into the class with a head full of flowers, thinking of nothing but Jane Austin. I left with the realization that the problems writers struggle with today are the same old problems of yesteryear.

Case in point: Wordsworth vs Keats

The beginning of the Romantic period was one of war and turmoil. The famous poet, Keats, lived and wrote during this wartorn time. As a young man, he contracted consumption. At the time, he was in love with a young woman. Then he coughed up blood until he died. Imagine that as your lot in life. Your country is at war, you're in love but cannot act on it because you have a contagious disease, and you know you will never live to see your one true passion emerge upon the world - writing. He was a courageous man because, in spite of his lot in life, he kept on writing. He knew he would never get published, never pay his bills with his pen, never be known in his lifetime for his works...but he kept on writing. In fact, he is known for these words, "arts for art's sake."

How many of you can say that? I know that I often let the details (agent, contract, paycheck) get in the way of my passion. But I keep going. And so do you. Those who do are true writers.

The end of the Romantic period welcomed the end of the war in England. As peace and order settled over the land, Wordsworth emerged on the scene. If there was a NYT bestseller list in that day, Wordsworth would have been on it. It was a time when writers were actually making money and getting "famous" while still alive....and Wordsworth wanted it all - fame, fortune, friends in high places. Wordsworth was a family man from a medium-sized township. To pay the bills, he had a day job, much like writer of today. He was the county tax assessor and collector. The Taxman Cometh! But he had a passion for poetry that burned inside him. His head for numbers and order played a roll in his writing. Instead of the free-form, write-what-you-feel ambling of Keats, Wordsworth's poetry rhymed and made perfect use of meter. He strived for just the right words, all the right measures, and snappy stanzas. In short, he wrote about what was popular. Though, he never "made it big" during lifetime, his career symbolizes what most writers goes through these days.

Day in and day out, we write and hope to make it as a bestseller. We're torn between what is popular and what feels right in our hearts. Passion or purpose? The publishers hold an ace up their sleeve in that they are the ones that obtain shelf space in bookstores worldwide. If you want to make money, you have to sign with a publisher. If you sign with a publisher, you have to play the game by their rules. If you play by their rules, you have to give up some creative control. If you give up creative control, you wind up like Wordsworth when you're a Keats in your heart.

So who is right? Wordsworth, the businessman writer? Keats, the starving artist? The answer depends on how you define success at writing.

I think every writer should have Keats in their heart and Wordsworth on their shoulder. Because the truth is, you can't make it unless you play the game like Wordsworth. And you can't stop writing because it feeds your soul. Soul food. It's nutrition that feeds your soul. Give your writing a little soul food. And do me a favor - keep writing no matter what.

Here's some food for thought:

On Keats' tombstone, he requested the following words be engraved:

"Here lies one whose name was writ in water." Followed by a a picture of a lyre with broken strings. He requested his name not appear on the tombstone.

Would this suffice for you? Would you be content to be laid to rest nameless? broken? your life nothing more than ripples in water?


In memory of William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 - April 23, 1850)
In memory of John Keats (October 31, 1795 - February 23, 1821)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

DeLyn Reveals Her Process

One of the most commonly asked questions of authors (any genre) is, "What's your process? How do you write a book?" And while most authors (who are creative, free-spirits by nature) will give you a different answer each time you ask the question, most fit into one of two categories: plotters or seat-of-the-pantsers.

I've heard these terms mentioned often at various workshops, critique group meetings, and writers group meetings, but I was first introduced to the concept by Harlequin author, Kara Lennox, when she visited my writers group in Longview, Texas.For those of you who don't know, here's a breakdown.

PLOTTERS: These are the writers who painstakingly research, pre-write, characterize, summarize, layout, and rough draft...before doing any actual writing. They have the novel so meticulously laid out that all they have to do is turn their notes into actual sentences, with periods.

SEAT-OF-THE-PANTSERS: These are the writers who just sit down and write. They don't know who their characters are, what they are doing, what they are about to do. They just listen to the voices in their heads and run with it.

I would like to say to that I fit neatly into one of those categories, but I'm a Pisces. I'm fluid. Sometimes I'm a plotter. Sometimes I'm a seat-of-the-pantser. But things effect me. Depending on the season, the weather, the alignment of the planets, what kind of soup is on the menu, or how much laundry I have to do, I'm one of those writers who will give you give you a different answer every time you ask me the question.

The only thing I know is that neither way is right. Most successful writers (those with larger bank accounts than mine) will tell you to just write. That's not to say they are seat-of-the-pantsers. This stems from the saying, "I can fix a bad page, but not a blank one." Whether you are plotting or writing, just do something!

DeLyn Realize She Can Learn A Lot About Writing From Clogging

There are several hot dancing shows on television right now, but they don't quite do it for me. I watch them, don't get me wrong! But I'm an old-fashioned girl, raised with southern tradition. Ballroom dancing just isn't popular 'round these parts. Clogging? Yep. Square Dancing? Yep. And it's those dances that I cut my teeth on.

I grew up watching my grandparents square dance. I loved the music. I loved the skirts and petticoats. I loved the flash of pettipants when the ladies twirled. My grandmother also clogged. Her father was a tap dancer, so she got rhythym addition to playing several instruments. In fact, just about every single member of my family plays atleast one instrument and/or sings and/or dances. Our family reunions are more like jam sessions than anything else. So it came as no surprise when I expressed my interest in clogging.

Now I've said it before in detail about my start in the world of clogging, so I'll keep it simple. Plus, this blog entry isn't about clogging, but rather how dancing relates to writing. So why don't I get back on track and get to the point. In dancing, we would call that missing a beat...or being off by a half-step. Twenty years later, I can see some comparisons between writing and dancing.

1. Anyone can learn how to dance, but only those who love to dance will succeed at it. Anyone can learn the craft of writing, but only those with a burning passion will succeed at the art of writing.

2. Some people are born dancers. Some people are born writers. DON'T ARGUE!

3. Dancers are notorious perfectionists. So are writers. There are just as many ways to execute a push off as there are ways to tell about it. There is a constant struggle to get the steps right. There is a constant struggle to get the words right.

4. Dancing is for show. I haven't met many "closet" dancers, and I haven't met many "closet" writers, either. Writers have an inner, burning desire to BE HEARD. We may not want people to look at us directly, but we want to be read. Dancers are exhibitionists with their bodies. Writers are exhibitionists with their words.Feel free to post about what else you think writing compares to. Have a not-so-well-known talent? Put it up against writing, and let's compare.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Welcome Writers!

There's a trend out there, where groups of writers, particularly romance authors, get together and chat about different topics every day. I've tried and tried to join their groups - for the purpose of promoting my books - but they won't let in. I may not have an agent (yet) or be on Harlequin's payroll (yet), but someday I will. My message to all of "those" writers is to remember where they started out. Be a mentor! Isn't that a huge campaign right now? It applies to writers, too, right?

Anyway, I've decided to start my own writer's blog, in addition to my personal blog, with hopes that other writers who have been shunned by the "big girls" will join me. I hope that this blog will turn into the next Squawk Radio, Pink Ladies, or Pink Heart Society - only with romance hopefuls, struggling children's authors, and Christian authors who are still prayin'!

Email me or leave a post if you are an author who would like to be a contributing writer on this blog. We'll all have a "day" of the week or month to post or a specific topic. If I like you (man that sounds powerful) then I will give you the keys to the kingdom and we'll strike up a deal.

DeLyn Fisher, Romance Author
Jayna Morton, Children's Author