Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome to O'Dell's Drug Store

Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the café and the Book Nook. Let’s walk down the street to the drug store.

Stepping in to O’Dell’s brings back memories of days gone by. When I was a little girl I remember shopping at the drug store. My mom sifted through cards until she’d find the perfect one to send to Aunt Mildred in Omaha. While she searched for cards, I parked myself in the corner with the comic books. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. What fun. Did you know that Catwoman was a librarian?

That’s not all. When mom finished shopping, she treated me to a pink cow. Vanilla ice cream drowning in red cream soda. Mmmm… that was the best.

Here we are. After you. The hardwood floors still creak in the same places. O’Dell’s son, Jackson, runs the Pharmacy now. They’ve updated the aisle shelving but he kept much of the store the same, including the ice cream counter. Pull up a stool.

There’s Sharla, Jackson’s wife. She works here dipping ice cream and ringing folks out. She’s one of the sweetest young ladies I’ve met in a while. The chalkboard’s her canvas. Every day she draws a picture of a frozen concoction. Someone told me she has an art degree and teaches at the college in the evenings.

How about a treat? It’s on me. Two pink cows, please.

What do think? Yummy isn’t it? If I remember right this was one of Willow’s favorite drinks.

When we finish, I thought you might like to visit the Fresh Catch. If you’re interested in camping or fishing you’ll love Finn’s shop.

Until then… 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman

Before I continue on my tour of Turtle Creek, I’d like to share a book review on a delightful story of hope.

A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman

The nineteen sixties brought turmoil and change. In Oklahoma, small towns battled over segregation, and gossip flowed through the streets. Franny, a country girl, who works the family farm but has dreams of the city, longs to spin records for a living. Charlie, the city boy, who wants more than anything to work independently of his wealthy family, seeks peace through a simple country life. Their mutual love of music draws them together and takes them on an unexpected journey. The characters bring a breath of fresh air to a story filled with hurt, love and healing. A Merry Little Christmas is the perfect holiday read. I highly recommend this Summerside, Songs of the Season Romance.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Book Nook, a place to relax and read

 I’m so happy to see you’re still visiting Turtle Creek. Wasn’t the café just adorable? Bess serves the most delicious treats in town. You probably noticed that the repurposed old church not only houses the café, but also has a book store. Let’s take a peek inside the Book Nook. I just love the jingle of the bell above the door, don’t you.

The window display looks inviting. I bet Rachel, the student who works on break and in the summer, arranged the pumpkins and mums with the books. Hmm... I wonder if the community garden folks have seen the book about harvesting organic foods.

I see Reed’s helping a student find their textbook. He’s so good about keeping the college section stocked. Did you notice the variety in the local reading section, books by Ohio authors as well as tomes local sites around the state.  Such a friendly soul, Reed seems to love owning and running the book shop. I just can't figure out why some young lady hasn't snatched him up. 

If you want, we can buy a coffee and browse the book offerings or sit in the quiet reading area. I love the overstuffed chairs. A few times Reed’s caught me napping.

Next time you stop by, I’d like to drop by Odell’s and then see what Finn has in stock. If Willow ever does come home, she’s going to be surprised by the changes in Turtle Creek. I just hope she wants to stay.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Turtle Creek Cafe

Welcome to Turtle Creek, the town my imagination calls home. I’m the creator of this lovely town and all the residents who live here. If you have time, I’d like you to meet some of the folks and visit the businesses.

Join me at Turtle Creek Café. Have a seat by the window of this old repurposed church. Looks like the special today is a roasted marshmallow latte and Maggie Mae’s walnut, blueberry scones. I smell the sweet vanilla and coffee. Heavenly, don’t you think?

The young woman behind the counter, she’s Bess. She and her husband, Micah, own the shop. On Saturdays, their pre-teen daughter Bailey Joy washes dishes and wipes tables.

There’s Mr. Collins, a café regular and editor of the local newspaper. Bess loves the customers and wants to serve the best treats in the county. But more than anything, Bess wants her sister Willow to come home. She moved away more than ten years ago, and Bess misses her. But, that’s a story for another day.

I’d like to show you the rest of the town, so I hope you’ll come back in a few days.

Until then…

Monday, September 10, 2012

Writing a Proposal

In college, I wrote several research papers. None of them excited me or scared me more than penning a proposal. When an author writes a fiction book and plans to send the manuscript to an agent or publisher, a proposal needs to be put together that best represents the work. My first question on this mission was "Where do I begin?" I'd just finished typing a 54,000 word manuscript. Wasn't that enough? Apparently not.

I did what every good writer would do. I searched for information that would guide me through the process, and I prayed. God had called me to this and I knew that he had no intention of sending me out into the wilderness to wander alone.

Since I chose to go the agent route first, I matched up agent sites that marketed the genre I’d written. Then I dug in and found what they expected in a proposal. Along the way, I paid attention to who they represented currently and in the past. I’d read several of the authors of the agent I chose to target.

I printed their information, and then I wrote a list of the elements that they wanted from me. As I worked on each one, I checked it off my list.  In the end, I completed fifteen different points of sale.
Here they are:
1.      Cover Letter
2.      Synopsis
3.      Sample Chapters
4.      Chapters Summary
5.      Author Bio
6.      Back Cover Copy
7.      Promotion Sentence
8.      Sales Handle
9.      Purpose of Writing the Novel
10.  Protagonist’s Quest
11.  What’s at Stake?
12.  Take Away Value
13.  Comparison to Published Books
14.  Target Market
15.  Potential Marketing Channels/Platform
By the time I finished, I knew my story well. With each description and every point made, I felt more confident about my story and the impact and value that might be taken away by the reader. If it were possible to write the proposal before writing the manuscript, I’d have a better handle on the story. Instead, the proposal reminds me of the ribbon that completes the package. It ties everything together and reminds me of the gift that God has given me.

What do you enjoy or not enjoy about writing a proposal?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keep Typing

I read an encouraging post today by Tamela Hancock Murray ( In it she explains why writing a good book proposal is important to the agent and the author. This week I've been working on the proposal for Peace, Love and Mashed Potatoes. Putting together all the required parts seems overwhelming. But, I think I finally got a handle on it. Having a table of contents to guide my path helps.

Hopefully with one more look through, the proposal will go out sometime in the next week. Then I wait. If (and that is a big if) the agent is interested they'll contact me and let me know that they'd like to read my book. If they're not interested, then back to square one I go. But, this time I will have an arsenal of information so that proposal number two might not be so daunting.

If you are a writer and you are working on the proposal. Hang in there. Pray and keep typing.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My First Novel

What’s it like to write your first novel?

I’m asking myself this question. Over two years ago, with a nudge from God, I put pen to paper and interviewed the characters who danced in my mind. I found out where they lived, why they lived there, the books they like to read, and what they looked like. As I dug deeper, they told me their story. Just like real people, they each have a story to tell. My fictional characters shared heartache and joy. They told me secrets and made me guess at a few. One personality learned to forgive, another finds her family. A man loves and a mother shares.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned great lessons from them and from writing a novel. In carving out the story, I’ve learned to let go of the phrases I thought were so perfect. The journey’s taught me to listen to others who provide feedback and not take personally the critiquing the words need. I’m working on the proposal that I plan to send to an agent. That takes as much care as the novel itself.

Until next time—

What part of novel writing do you enjoy the most? If you are not a writer, what part do you enjoy reading the most?