Where is a Book Born?


Where is a Book Born?

By Natalie Bright

For bestselling author Jodi Thomas, it begins with a walk on the land where her story is set. Here’s a link to a video that explains her process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG4IeXueJDA

The pictures were taken by me during the Spring and Fall roundups on our cattle ranch located in the Texas Panhandle, where she has done most of her research. Hope this inspires you!

For more information about Jodi Thomas and her Ransom Canyon series, go to jodithomas.com

BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS


BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS
By Natalie Bright

The Button Method for Writers combines the psychology of a creative mind along with plain ole common sense, and is easy to implement. It’s guaranteed that you will experience an unbelievable increase in productivity and quality of work.

The Button Method is best explained like this:

1. Butt-On Chair
2. Write

The more you do, the better you become at the doing. Isn’t that true with almost every career? I heard the Butt-on tip early as a newbie writer, but honestly I haven’t always applied the method.

Two of my writerly friends have, and they are a source of great inspiration for me. Linda Broday and Jodi Thomas are both New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors. They’re currently writing series; Linda for Sourcebooks and Jodi for HQN. By writing, I do mean they’re ALWAYS writing. They both have set times every day, and rarely waiver from that schedule. They both practice extreme self-discipline.

I asked Linda one time how she manages to keep pushing herself, and she told me that when she’s writing, it’s the time she feels the most calm and relaxed. For her, social media and crafting blogs creates more anxiety than disappearing into her fictional world.

Jodi fell several years back and injured her wrist. During that same time, I twisted my ankle. We met for lunch and exchanged details and sympathies. Jodi says,” I asked the doctor to set my cast in a different way, because if I prop my arm on pillows I can still type with the tips of my fingers.”

I had planned to head home for aspirin and to prop my foot on pillows. Jodi went home to write.

Butt-On is the key.

Writing Benediction: Focus on the pure joy of crafting stories with words.

Summer Reading


Outtakes 246

Summer Reading

By Cait Collins

 

Summer is upon us and it’s time to think about vacations and hours by the pool. Question is, what do you plan to read during the down time? Here are some suggestions.

Good For The Money                                                            Bob Benmosche

The Obsession                                                            Nora Roberts

The Highway Man                                                     Craig Johnson

What We Find                                                             Robyn Carr

The Trials of Apollo The Hidden Oracle                   Rick Riordan

Dark Hearts                                                                Sharon Sala

Lone Heart Pass                                                          Jodi Thomas

God’s Eye View                                                         Barry Eisler

Legends & Lies: The Patriots                                    Bill O’Reilly

15TH Affair (Women’s Murder Club)                         James Patterson

Coming Soon

Bay of Sighs Book Two of the Guardian’s Trilogy   Nora Roberts              June 14, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child                             J. K. Rowling             July 31, 2016

DragonMark                                                               Sherrilyn Kenyon       August 2, 2016 (Original Pub. Date)

Grab a book and enjoy your summer.

 

BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS


BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS
By Natalie Bright

The Button Method for Writers combines the psychology of a creative mind along with plain ole common sense, and is easy to implement. It’s guaranteed that you will experience an unbelievable increase in productivity and quality of work.

The Button Method is best explained like this:

1. Butt-On Chair
2. Write

The more you do, the better you become at the doing. Isn’t that true with almost every career? I heard the Butt-on tip early as a newbie writer, but honestly I haven’t always applied the method.

Two of my writerly friends have, and they are a source of great inspiration for me. Linda Broday and Jodi Thomas are both New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors. They’re currently writing series; Linda for Sourcebooks and Jodi for HQN. By writing, I do mean they’re ALWAYS writing. They both have set times every day, and rarely waiver from that schedule. They both practice extreme self-discipline.

I asked Linda one time how she manages to keep pushing herself, and she told me that when she’s writing, it’s the time she feels the most calm and relaxed. For her, social media and crafting blogs creates more anxiety than disappearing into her fictional world.

Jodi fell several years back and injured her wrist. During that same time, I twisted my ankle. We met for lunch and exchanged details and sympathies. Jodi says,” I asked the doctor to set my cast in a different way, because if I prop my arm on pillows I can still type with the tips of my fingers.”

I had planned to head home for aspirin and to prop my foot on pillows. Jodi went home to write.

Butt-On is the key.

Writing Benediction: Focus on the pure joy of crafting stories with words.

INDIE ALL THE WAY with Bethany Claire


INDIE ALL THE WAY with Bethany Claire

By Natalie Bright

 

Author Bethany Claire gave an energetic and informative talk to the Texas High Plains Writers in Amarillo this past Saturday about her experience as an Indie (independently) published author.

“Indie publishing is very much an individualized decision,” she told the packed room of area writers.

We Love What We Do

She told us about attending a writer’s conference when she decided to give up teaching and turn writing into a career. At that conference, she made an effort to attend sessions about both traditional publishing and self-publishing. She discovered that the self-published group better fit her goals.

“Indie published authors are excited, they are in control of their careers, and they love what they do,” said Bethany. “I am definitely a control freak.”

Real Time Reporting

One of the aspects she likes the most is the ability to realize real-time reporting. “See your sales at that minute,” Bethany said. “The money you make as an Indie author is directly correlated with how much work you are willing to do.”

If something isn’t selling, authors can determine why. Is it a bad cover? Maybe the price is not in line with the other books selling in your genre?

One of the musts for any author who is considering indie pub options and is serious about making money, is the need for a professional editor. Bethany uses two. She suggests researching lists of people for hire, and submitting two to three chapters and requesting an audition edit. Compare those editing styles to determine which one fits you can work with the best.

Writers’ Academy

One of the turning points in her writing came through participation in a week long writer’s academy. Held in June of every year on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, the event is hosted by Amarillo Author Jodi Thomas. Jodi has penned 40 books and is a New York Times Bestselling Author.

I’ve attended the academy twice, and it is a life-changing experience. Bethany will be teaching a class in 2016 at the academy. Here’s the link to register:

http://wtamu.edu/academics/eod-writing-academy.aspx

Bethany will also be offering an online class later this year about her writing process, marketing, and other facets of publishing your work as an Indie Author. You can learn more about Bethany Claire on her website:

Bethany Claire USA TODAY Bestselling Author of

Morna’s Legacy Series, Scottish Time-Travel Romances

Purchase books at: http://www.bethanyclaire.com/love-beyond-time.php

www.bethanyclaire.com

www.facebook.com/bethanyclaire

www.twitter.com/BClaireAuthor

Most Memorable Books 2015


Most Memorable Books 2015

Natalie Bright

New York Times Bestselling author Jodi Thomas tells her students to set aside time to write every day, and that reading works by other writers is just as important. Just as we can recognize the musical strains of jazz or bluegrass or hip hop, so too must writers be able to recognize and learn from reading brilliant prose.

Here are a few of my most memorable reads of the past year:

RANSOM CANYON by Jodi Thomas. (Harlequin) Not because she’s a local Amarillo author and a friend, but because she’s done it again with this new series set in the heart of Texas. The cast of characters in the world of West Texas ranching makes for good entertainment.

WHITE STALLION OF LIPIZZA by Marguerite Henry. (Aladdin) Engaging story about a boy’s dream to work with the world famous Lipizzaner horses. Many of Marguerite Henry’s books have been reissued for today’s readers. It is my deepest inspiration to be able to write with as much emotion and clarity as Ms. Henry. At first glance they seem like simple stories, but as writers we can appreciate the complexities of her talent.

FIRST BLOOD by David Morrell. (Hachette Book Group) In 1982 Rambo hit the big screen. I have to admit that I was over my crush by Movie #3, but now my boys are huge fans. I heard the “father of Rambo” speak at a writers conference and he signed two copies of FIRST BLOOD for my boys. They were so thrilled with his autograph, they refused to loan me a book to read and I had to settle for an eBook version. The writing blew me away. It’s a vivid, often times violent tale, with a great lesson in how to write suspense. I’m forever more a huge fan of Mr. Morrell.

GIRL ON A WIRE by Gwenda Bond. (Skyscape) Unique twist on the age old Romeo and Juliet scenario set in the fascinating grit of a traveling circus. The tight wire scenes are fantastic writing.

WILD RAN THE RIVERS by James Crownover. (Five Star Publishing) Told in the unique style from the point of view of a young women and her young brother, their story pulls you in from the beginning. The imagery of the old west proves a well-researched historical story. I love books that make we want to learn more about the time period and place. The scenes involving the New Madrid earthquakes (1811-1812) are edge of your seat storytelling. Well-deserved winner of two prestigious SPUR awards from the Western Writers of America for best historical and best first novel.

SAILING WITH IMPUNITY by Mary E. Trimble. (nonfiction, Shelter Graphics) Sailing the Pacific is something I can’t foresee doing in my life-time, so this book is the next best thing. If you’ve ever dreamed about sailing the high seas, you will love this book. Learn about the prefect sail boat, the preparation, maritime regulations. Experience the isolation, details of daily living, the islands, and the people. An unforgettable read.

ALL FALL DOWN by Ally Carter. (Scholastic) If you’ve ever wondered about the young adult genre, start with this one. Set in Embassy Row the main character is the grand-daughter of a powerful ambassador. Filled with a teenaged world-view of complications and angst, there’s also a mystery to be solved.

GEORGE WASHINGTON SECRET SIX by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. (Penguin Group) Another standout nonfiction book for me about “the spy ring that saved the American Revolution”. The book flap indicates that this story is based on extensive research and there’s no doubt. It inspired me to keep writing on my story idea set in pre-revolutionary times and made me realize how much more research I need to do.

TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Linda Broday (Bachelors of Battle Creek Series). (Sourcebooks) Also from an Amarillo author and friend, this is a new series about cowboys, the old west, and sweet romance. What more could you possibly want in a story?

We’d love to know about some of your standout reads in the past year.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix!

 

Wedge of Writing


“I used to read Zane Grey, and Louis L’Amour books as a child and I absolutely loved them, with the western setting and the action. One thing that I felt was missing from these stories was the romantic relationships. When characters never really get involved with one another emotionally, it makes them seem less real. There are four great motivators of people—hate, greed, fear, and love. Many writers will spend entire novels involving their characters in hate, greed or fear, and leave the love out. Humans are not that shallow. Love is a huge motivating factor in our everyday lives as well as the lives of characters. To write a story and leave romance out makes the story seem empty.”

          — JODI THOMAS

 

THE PERFECT TRACTOR BOOK


THE PERFECT TRACTOR BOOK

By Natalie Bright

It started with a tractor book.  After an endless search I thought I had purchased the perfect one, but my five-year-old son informed me the book had flaws.

“A tractor would never park in a garage,” he said.  My description of a giant, garage-like-barn-like-shed did not fly.  I asked his opinion of what might be in the ideal tractor book.  He told me and then suggested, “You should just write it.”

The spark of desire to write something besides work related pieces was flamed by my son. Armed with a purple gel pen and a blue spiral notebook I found myself sitting in a creative writing class taught by university Writer-in-Residence and New York Times bestselling author, Jodi Thomas. Her comment on the first night of class shocked me to the core. “You are all writers, or you wouldn’t be here,” she said.

A writer!  Me? Personnel policies, ad copy, business correspondence and scrapbook journaling doesn’t make a person a writer, or maybe it does.

That six week, intensive course changed my life, as have all of the writer’s conferences I’ve attended since.  And Jodi’s one piece of advice on the last night of her class still remains; “Always write from the heart.”

Beginning with a search for the perfect book for my son and ending with a passion to learn everything I can about the craft of writing, I realized this journey has just begun.

All the best to you on your writing journey, and thanks for following us on WordsmithSix!

Natalie Bright

Good Reads


Outtakes 157

Release 7-9-2014

 

Good Reads

By Cait Collins

 

Some authors have a unique ability to create a series of books based on a core group of characters in magical locations. The characters are something very special. They are people who have made their mistakes, dealt with the fallout, and moved on with renewed strength and purpose. In some instances, they are the people who have been given a bad hand and turned the nightmares into good productive lives. The skilled hand of the writer keeps these people from becoming cardboard characters.

Robyn Carr, Sharon Sala, Jodi Thomas, Carla Neggers, Julie Garwood, and Nora Roberts are among my favorite series creators. These women write women’s fiction or romance, but the style and genre are different.

For example, Robyn Carr writes contemporary stores set in small towns. Her Virgin River series is comprised of 18 novels set in Virgin River in the mountains of northern California. The people are what my grandmother would have called the salt-of-the-earth. Even the poorest lend a hand in times of crisis. Everyone pulls together. The stories move seamlessly from beginning to end. Her newer series set in Thunder Point on the Oregon coast, begins with a visitor to Virgin River who travels to Thunder Point to check up on an old friend. Again there is an easy flow from one setting to the next. I recommend both series.

Sharon Sala’s work takes a darker turn into the romantic suspense side. While there is a love story, the romance never overshadows the search for the criminal element terrorizing the town. Her stories are set in the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky. After reading the first novel in Rebel Ridge series, the Searchers and Storm Front, I anticipated the release of the next book. Her novels are great reads.

Jodi Thomas is not only a favorite author; she is a teacher and a mentor. She’s been a friend to many writers in the Texas Panhandle. Jodi writes both historical and contemporary novels. Her historical works are based on the settling of Texas. The Whispering Mountain series was my introduction to her writing. Then she released her first mainstream novel THE WIDOWS OF WICHITA COUNTY. The story of a group of women whose husbands were killed in an oil field accident was so well researched and told. Jodi keeps a tight hold on the identity of the lone survivor of the accident. This is one novel I would love to see on the big screen.

In future Outtakes we will explore Carla Neggers, Julie Garwood, and Nora Roberts. But if you are looking for good summer reads, may I recommend Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point Series, Sharon Sala’s The Searchers Series, and the Whispering Mountain Series by Jodi Thomas.

Writers and Their Many Lives


Writers and Their Many Lives

By Natalie Bright

As I waited for our Dairy Queen order, I checked my iPhone calendar. Today, Monday, deliver lunch to my husband who was tending to cattle. I’ll hop a ride with him while he makes his afternoon rounds keeping watch for spring photo opportunities.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, it’s back to the day job office. I’d wear my best speaker suit and heels for a lunch at an exclusive dinner club in downtown Amarillo to talk about children’s literature with a group of retired educators. I am looking forward to what I feel sure will be a lively discussion.

What a contrast. Today I watched a newborn calf on wobbly legs take his first taste of warm milk. Tomorrow I’d be peering down at the streets of the city from the 30th floor of a high rise office building.

A Writer’s Path

A friend and author of 37 books, Jodi Thomas, warned me that if I took the writer’s path I’d be living several lives. I realize now that she didn’t just mean the stories inside my head.

The writing part of your life is nothing like the living part of your life, although there are some who seem to manage the chaos. For most of us families and day jobs are detached from prose and publishing. Add to that marketing, promotion, social media, conferences, networking, and whatever else it takes to achieve our dreams of becoming a successful author. Families have no idea what we do.

There too is the world inside our heads. On some days I feel like the stories choose me and I am powerless to control the process. To successfully convey that world on to a blank page, writers must immerse them selves in the fictional existence of our imagination. If it’s believable and real to us, we hope it will be the same for our readers.

My life seems so jammed packed, and when I can’t imagine taking on one more task, I’ll say yes to chairing a committee or volunteering for the book fair at my son’s school. When I’m busiest shuttling kids and juggling appointments, a new character will shoot in my brain like a firework and I’m scrambling to find a blank page and a pen.

Live in the Moment

As I jotted notes for this blog on a crumpled piece of paper, I paused to watch a jumble of calves run away at the sound of the feed truck. They bumped and tottered across the pasture, stopping to catch their breath only to realize their mommas were nowhere close. They turned and made a beeline back towards the herd. We laughed at their shaky legs and cute faces. Today was full of greasy burgers and cloudy skies and endless pastures. New life running full tilt.

Tomorrow will be completely different.

“They’re thinking it’s a great day to be in the world,” my husband said.

Yes. It certainly is. It’s a great day to be in the world, no matter how many worlds or lives or careers you might have. We make it through whatever this day might bring, and then we can be somebody totally different tomorrow. And the cool part is we can write about it all.

Being a writer is never dull.