ARCHIVE May, 2011

Avoid Purple Prose

“Don’t write with Purple Prose.”
“What’s wrong with purple prose?” I asked. Purple happens to be my favorite color. Whoever named this form of writing should have named it Orange Prose, or Black Prose. Anything but Purple Prose! If you don’t know what Purple Prose is, I am glad I can enlighten you.
In her book Crafting Stories for Children, Nancy Lamb refers to using adjectives and adverbs as Purple Prose. You know the LY and ING words? She says adjectives interfere with prose more often than they improve it and adverbs kill a sentence more often than they enliven it. But I thought our writing should be wonderfully descriptive so we could put our readers in captivating settings.
Nancy gives these examples:
Don’t write this way: Tiffany smiled prettily, her beautiful, enticing, cat-green eyes dancing seductively with alluring and predatory fires.
Write this way: When Tiffany smiled, her eyes danced with predatory fires.
So my friends, bury those weak words and craft strong descriptive sentences without them. Well, you don’t have to bury all of them. You can use your favorites, but sparingly. Happy writing.

May 27, 2011 in Uncategorized, Writing Tips by


Write with Active Verbs

by Sue Tornai

When we write with passive verbs, we make our stories boring. Effective writers weed out forms of  the verb “to be” by choosing more active verbs.

Passive Verbs: is, am, are, were, has, had, will be, will have been, has been, had been, would (should, could) have been, being, to be.

Instead of “Camouflage fatigues are worn by soldiers in war zones,” write “Soldiers in war zones wear camouflage fatigues. Instead of  “Susan seems to be an accurate news reporter,” write “Susan reports the news accurately.” Instead of  “The discussion will be led by Sandra Johnson,” write “Sandra Johnson will lead the discussion.” Instead of  “There are many women who become doctors,” write “Many women become doctors.”

For more information click here:

May 22, 2011 in Uncategorized, Writing Tips by


A Midsummer Night’s Literary Read

 Amador Fiction Writers  

 A Midsummer Night’s Literary Read

Pianist – Jake Guidi

Saturday, June 4 of 2011


Clark’s Corner, 12 W Main Street, Ione, California 

Amador Ficton Writer’s Critique Group presents their 3rd annual Literary Read at Clark’s Corner

Readings in various fiction genres: Historical Novel, Fantasy, Young Adult, Children’s Picture and Story Book, Literary Novel, Short Story, Essay and Screenplay.

Art & Photography exibit:

Sarah Garner, Hidden Hills Photography

Vince Murcock, Indigosky Photography

Kathy Boyd Fellure, Wandering Images

Leslie Vasquez, ‘Landscapes’ art

This event is free and open to the public.


May 20, 2011 in Uncategorized by


Peer Promotion: How to Promote a Friend’s Book in Seven Steps

Excitement is growing at Inspire. Several members have books coming out while others are nearing the contract stage.

We are having fun with launch parties, book signings and celebrating the successes. One of the questions I hear among our writers is “How can I help get the word out?”

In response I am listing seven things we can do to promote our friends’ books:

1. Pray for the ministry of the book. We write with a purpose of touching hearts and changing lives, which can only happen when the message is read. Inspire writers pray regularly for each other’s projects, asking God to put them in the hands of readers who can benefit from the messages or stories being published.

2. Post book reviews. After reading your friend’s book, consider what you liked best about the content, style, and message, and write a brief review. Then post the review on,, and Readers rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions. Your review will have a positive impact on the sales of the book.

3. Blog to promote the book. By posting a well-written interview and/or book review on your blog, you can help generate interest in your friend’s book. Include a book trailer if possible.  You can increase interest by offering a free copy of the book. Don’t forget to mention the book in comments you leave on other blogs as well.

4. Tweet to get the word out. Twitter provides a great forum for peer promotion, allowing you to post brief, pointed tweets about the book or re-tweeting what others say about it. You can also recycle tweets from the book’s author or tweet quotes from the book. If the book is mentioned in an article or review, you can tweet it out to the world. Tweet quotes from the book to whet the appetites of your followers. Then be sure to invite them to book signings.

5. Create a buzz on Facebook. Update your status with a positive comment about the book and “Like” the author’s page. Post quotes from the book. Invite your Facebook friends to a book signing. You can also give away a copy of the book on your Facebook page. Your small efforts help build a big buzz.

6. Distribute marketing pieces. Carry postcards and business cards wherever you go. Pass them out whenever the opportunity presents itself. Give them to your local bookstore manager and librarian. Ask them to carry the book. Distribute a speaker packet to a church leader, ministry director, pastor—whoever makes decisions about speakers. Present bookmarks to your book club and encourage them to read the book. Personally recommend the book to a friend (or lots of friends!)

7. Help with the Book Launch Party or Book Signing event. Invite friends to attend book-signing/book launch with you. Provide refreshments for the event. Offer to help with book sales at book-signing. You can also host an intimate gathering in your home for a meet & greet with the author.

Your enthusiasm about your friend’s book can make a difference in getting the word out. Employing these seven steps will make your peer promotion efforts more effective.

Here’s a question for you: What steps are you taking help promote your friend’s books?

May 17, 2011 in Book Signings & Launch Parties, Marketing, Publishing, Uncategorized by


Inspire Christian Writers Presents: “So Many Stories” with Marci Seither

So Many Stories: How to Grab an Editor’s Attention while Capturing a Reader’s Heart

Marci Seither began her writing journey after a humorous account of baking Valentines cookies with her kids appeared in a small town newspaper. Since then she has written family humor and op/ed columns, human interest stories, community profiles and city council news.

In 2010 her story was chosen as a Guidepost finalist. Her first Guideposts article appeared in May of 2011.

“I tell people I have a 750 to 1,200 word attention span!” she says about her passion for article writing.

Marci’s upcoming workshop, “So Many Stories,” will focus on a simple STOP (Story, Target, Opportunity and Perseverance) method she uses to take a story and re-purpose it for other markets.

If you want to learn how to grab an editor’s attention while capturing a reader’s heart,

join us on Tuesday, May 31

At the Carmichael Library

5605 Marconi Avenue, Carmichael, CA 95608

7:00-9:00 PM

Inspire Christian Writers members will be admitted free. There will be a $10 fee for all others.

May 14, 2011 in Announcements, Publishing, Training Workshops, Writing Tips by


Expand Your Ministry by Writing Devotions

by Sue Tornai

Most devotions are written on assignment but The Upper Room is a publisher that accepts freelance submissions. Have you considered expanding your ministry by writing devotions? The Upper Room sends me a beautiful letter upon acceptance of my devotions with this paragraph in it:

Just think: Over two million people in more than 100 countries will read or hear your witness. To put that in perspective, if a preacher addressed a congregation of 2,000 new people each week for twenty years, that preacher would still not have addressed as many people as will read your contribution in The Upper Room. It is a remarkable privilege to be able to declare the “marvelous works of the Lord” (Ps. 9:11) to so many, and we appreciate your willingness to let us use your work. From the French radio broadcast of your meditation in Africa to its printing in the tri-lingual Japanese/Korean/English edition in the Far East, you will speak to God’s people and encourage them in faithfulness.

I am inspired by this opportunity and I hope you are too. Follow this link to writer’s guidelines for The Upper Room. The Upper Room will publish as many as nine devotions per year by one author, but don’t send those all at once. A good discipline to get into is to submit three devotions every three months.

God bless you as you write for His glory.

May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized, Writer's Journey, Writing Tips by


Paradise on Earth, Our Past, Our Future with Dana Sudboro

Did we come from a tooth-and-claw struggle for survival or from a peaceable kingdom?

Will the universe end in heat death or eternal paradise?

Our picture of history’s beginning reflects our conception of God, whether He is kind or cruel, good or bad.

And our picture of history’s end reflects our understanding of God’s power, whether He can achieve His vision for humanity or not.

Come, hear author Dana Sudboro speak on

Paradise, Our Past, Our Future

May 15th, 2:30 pm

at the Emmanuel Korean Baptist Church

9242 Kiefer Blvd, Sacramento. Directions


Dana Sudboro is an Inspire Christian Writers Governing Board member, critique group leader and the author of several romance novels including Continents Apart, Off the Menu and Fatima’s fate. To learn more about Dana’s writing, visit his blog.

May 11, 2011 in Announcements by


Inspire Christian Writers Launches Auburn Group

New Inspire Christian Writer’s Critique Group Forming

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction…

Whether you’re published or only beginning…

I invite you to Inspire Christian Writers newest group

in Auburn on

Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30—7 p.m.

Just come to the Auburn Placer Library at

350 Nevada Street

This will be purely an introductory meeting. We won’t be critiquing anyone’s work just yet. Let’s get acquainted and find out what everyone is writing and how our group will be set up. I’m Jennifer Hamilton, and I will be your facilitator. Feel free to email me at for directions or questions or concerns.

May 11, 2011 in Announcements, Uncategorized, Writing Tips by


Early Bloomer

Heard of late bloomers? I have, all my life, because I am one. Social skills came slow and late. Likewise learning how to deal with depression.

But God made the almond tree exceptional. At the merest hint of spring, it bursts into full and radiant bloom. An early bloomer. Likewise His word. That’s what God showed Jeremiah. (Jer. 1:11-12)

“What do you see?” He asked the young prophet after giving him a vision.

“I see an almond branch,” Jeremiah replied.

“You see well,” God replied, “for I hasten (Hebrew: shaqad) to perform my word.”

Shaqed” is Hebrew for almond tree. As eager as the almond tree is to burst forth in blossom, God is alert and ready (shaqad) to fulfill His promises. He watches over (shaqad) His word to perform it the moment conditions are right.

Do you think God late in bringing your manuscript before an interested editor? Slow in fulfilling the desire He placed on your heart? Negligent of the long winter’s work you’ve invested in developing your craft?

Never fear. God watches over His word—including the message He burdened you to write. At the earliest opportunity, He’ll bring it into bloom. God’s heart bursts to display His grace and glory.

May 9, 2011 in Writer's Journey by


2011 Christy Award Finalists Announced

Yesterday, the 2011 Christy Award finalists were announced by the Christy Advisory Board. Here are the finalists for 2011:

Contemporary Romance:

Blood Ransom
by Lisa Harris (Zondervan)

by Kristin Heitzmann (WaterBrook Press)

Sworn to Protect
by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers)

Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas:

The Reluctant Prophet
by Nancy Rue (David C. Cook)

The Thorn
by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House Publishers,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Waiting
by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell Books,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Contemporary Standalone:

Almost Heaven
by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Lady in Waiting
by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press)

A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications

First Novel:

Crossing Oceans
by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House Publishers)

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)


Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther
by Ginger Garrett (David C. Cook)

For Time & Eternity
by Allison Pitman (Tyndale House Publishers)

While We’re Far Apart
by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Historical Romance:

The Girl in the Gatehouse
by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

She Walks in Beauty
by Siri Mitchell (Bethany House Publishers,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Within My Heart
by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


The Bishop
by Steven James (Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Bride Collector
by Ted Dekker (Center Street)

by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)


To Darkness Fled
by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)

Konig’s Fire
by Marc Schooley (Marcher Lord Press)

The Last Christian
by David Gregory (WaterBrook Press)

Young Adult:

The Charlatan’s Boy
by Jonathan Rogers (WaterBrook Press)

The Healer’s Apprentice
by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan)

Motorcycles, Sushi, and One
Strange Book

by Nancy Rue (Zondervan)

I have read and thoroughly enjoyed several of these novels:  Lady in Waiting, Crossing Oceans, She Walks in Beauty and For Time & Eternity.

So, which ones have you read? Are your favorite novels included? Who will you be cheering for during the 2011 Christy Awards Dinner?

May 8, 2011 in Announcements, Publishing by


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