Saturday, March 24, 2018

Weekend Edition

   If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Note our new email address and please send your emails to

Monday: We had a lively discussion about subplots with Jan Drexler! The winner of Cheryl St. John's Write Smart, Write Happy is Bettie Boswell!!

Wednesday: Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author Debby Giusti introduced us to Amish Suspense -- Three Challenges. The winner of an advance copy of the third book in her Amish Protectors series, is Darlene Buchholz. Congrats, Darlene!

Thursday: Rita finalist Kara Isaac brought the house down on Thursday with her power-packed post about book piracy. Winners of her wonderful "Then There Was You" are Laura Conner Kestner and Stephanie Karfelt! Congratulations, ladies! 

Friday: Dana Lynn joined us with a look at organizing her stories and series via THE NOTEBOOK. Not the Nicholas Sparks' version, a real, down-to-earth, hands-on notebook that helps her keep things straight! Winner of her "Amish Christmas Abduction" is Connie Queen and winner of a copy of Susan May Warren's "The Story Equation" is Megan Brummer! Congratulations!

Monday:  Seeker Erica Vetsch will take a closer look at Subtext. What is it, and how can we use it in our stories?

Tuesday:  Seeker Ruth Logan Herne presents Part II of "What Readers Want", a look at diversity in stories... and you'll love the results of her extremely no good, very bad, unscientific facebook survey... because what is science but a series of good and bad untested theories? :) 

Wednesday:   Seeker Glynna Kaye will be sharing Tips to "Texture" the Telling of Your Tale and the opportunity to be entered in a drawing to win a copy of her April Love Inspired release "Mountain Country Courtship" (the final story in the 6-book Hearts of Hunter Ridge series.)  

Friday: Barbara Scott will be our guest and will be bringing a post about "The Power of Journaling." Don't miss it! She'll be giving away a copy of her novel, Dreams of My Heart.

Tina Radcliffe spied Glynna Kaye's latest, "Mountain Country Courtship" in a Valley of the Sun Walmart!  ORDER HERE!

And if you're gettin' downright tired of cold winds, Nor'easters and winter's ridiculously generous tirades, come on over to Petticoats & Pistols on Tuesday 3/27 when the fillies talk about CABIN FEVER and how it's enough to drive them all to distraction... or maybe give them more writing time!  :) Ruthy's here and there on Tuesday, talkin' all kinds of things as we welcome (one can only hope!) a new season. Spring.... Bring it!

Our own Mindy Obenhaus will be busy writing instead of renovating this year. She's signed a 3-book contract with Love Inspired Books!


Erica Vetsch stopped by Faithfully Bookish to chat about her five favorite authors who have inspired her writing. Enter to win a copy of Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers Romance Collection here!

Jan Drexler's tour with JustRead includes guest posts and reviews for The Amish Nanny's Sweetheart. Enter to win a copy plus a $10 Amazon gift card here!

We have two more Seeker Villagers who have made first sales!

Laurie Wood has sold to Anaiah Press! Her book will release next winter (December or January).

Sherrinda Ketchersid has sold her medieval romance to Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas!

Congratulations to both of you! We look forward to hearing more.

Writing Tips: Show, Don't Tell - by Joanna Penn from the Creative Penn

Should Your Main Character Be Likeable? - by Margaret Dilloway from Writer Unboxed

The Pleasures of Genre - by Peter Selgin, a regular contributor to Jane Friedman.

The Scent of Bias Ink by Gina Burgess, examining treatment of male authors vs. female authors

Thanks for the link love!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Keeping a Series Organized (Or How I Stay Sane While Writing a Series)


Who doesn’t enjoy a good series? I have loved them for as long as can remember.

 I especially love it when characters re-occur in books. Something about getting a glimpse into their lives, seeing how they’ve continued to grow...To me it feels like catching up with old friends. Part of me always dreamed of writing a series myself. Of course, to do that, I had to get published first. I had no idea what writing a series entailed. I hadn’t had any formal writing training or attended conferences.

            When I entered Love Inspired Suspense’s Killer Voices contest, I had an idea for a series. But it wasn’t until I started to write that series that I realized I had a problem. There were so many ideas and details to remember, details that even I as the author had trouble keeping track of. What color were Seth’s eyes? How old was Irene, Jace’s sister? Even something as simple as names became crazy. I couldn’t remember what I had named some of the background characters. Which is why I have two characters named Martha. One in Presumed Guilty and one in Plain Target. At that point, it became apparent that I would need to get organized or this project was going to become a nightmare.

            A friend recommended keeping a notebook with notes. So I did. But that wasn’t enough. Then I started keeping a character chart. Which was fine, except when I left it at home because it wasn’t with my notes. Then I stumbled across the idea of a series bible on Pinterest. I decided to try it.

            Here’s my binder:

It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but it’s loaded with stuff on the inside.

1.     The first thing I did was I found all of our old calendars. I have started to map out my plots on calendars while I’m writing my synopsis. That way I have a linear vision of the time frame of the story.

2.      I wanted to keep my characters straight. I have a section for a chart I made for the characters. Names, role in the story, age, physical description, their special talents, and whatever books they are in. I update it as I go along.

3.      The next tab is for the timeline of the series. I update this with new information each book. How old is so and so’s children, Marriage dates, any changes between books, that sort of thing.

4.      Each book gets its own tab. For each tab, I have color post its as markers. For every book I include its synopsis or plot outline, any notes my editor or critique partners made, pictures that I have found that go along with the story (Character images, houses or scenery, special items of significance).

5.      In the pockets of the binder I keep worksheets that I might use when I’m developing my story.

This system isn’t perfect. However, it has made my writing a little less complicated. I just turned in my seventh book set in the fictional Pennsylvania town of LaMar Pond. I truly believe I would have pulled out all my hair had I not had a way to keep everything straight.

Thanks for stopping by to visit! I’d love to hear about any tricks you use to organize yourself, whether at work or at home. (I can always use tips for organization in the home!)  I’d also love to hear about some of the most memorable series you’ve read. What drew you to them?

I’m giving away two books to commenters on this post. One reader will win a copy of my December book, Amish Christmas Abduction.

       One writer will win a copy of the book The Story Equation by Susan May Warren. It’s one of my go-to books when I’m plotting and getting to know what makes my characters tick.   


Dana R. Lynn grew up in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. She was blessed to belong to a large, boisterous and loving family. Even as a child, she was in love with the written word. Trips to the local bookstore and library were frequent and long, and she never left empty handed.
As an adult, she fell in love with Deaf culture. She works as a teacher for the Deaf and hard of hearing. She has also worked as an educational interpreter. She might have stayed in Illinois, but God stepped in.
She met her husband at a friend’s wedding in Pennsylvania. And knew. Returning home, she informed her parents that she had met the man she would marry. And she did. Now she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her husband, her children, and enough animals for a small petting zoo.

She enjoys writing stories with heart-stopping suspense and romance.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

All Pirates Aren't in the Ocean... Book Piracy and How it Affects Authors

 Ruthy note: FIRST!!! Congratulations to Kara on being named a RITA finalist yesterday on her independently released novel "Then There Was You".  Well done, Miss Kara!!! Happy dancing! And now... back to the post.... ;)

I saw a post from the normally unflappable Kara Isaac on facebook and, being the Ace Reporter that I am, I followed up on it. Declining sales, the rise of e-books (which I love), fewer bookstores, fewer stores stocking books/book departments, and the ease of technological pirating isn't just messing with the music industry. It is so relatively easy to reproduce electronic and audible books that this piracy is ridiculous. Compounding the problem is the quiet war between Amazon and traditional publishers. Amazon thinks e-books should be sold at affordable prices. Publishers fought for the right to make their own pricing... and in many cases, their e-books are only a small fraction cheaper than print books, or more expensive than print books, cutting e-sales directly. That makes pirating a very lucrative experience. Read the whole thing... it's great info for authors and readers and any publishing professional.

Kara makes so many good points here. She told me to edit it, that she went on too long. I haven't touched a word... because her points are valid and spot on. I am still amazed by the fact that folks who pay $5 for a cup of coffee quibble over a few dollars for an e-book... that the author might be making .25 on. Here's Kara...

Hi Seekervillians! It is so lovely to be back in Seekerville again and I’m thrilled to be spending my Friday with you (waving from New Zealand).

This post, funnily enough, isn’t because I have a new book coming out but because I *ahem* lost my mind a little (okay, a lot) in a post on Facebook in January and—bonus!—Ruth asked me if I’d like to have a guest post on Seekerville proving that there is a silver lining in every thunderous cloud. :)

For those of you who weren’t privy to my virtual rant you are probably wondering what could cause a Christian romance author to let loose with a very long and direct rant on a very public platform. In a word. Piracy. Specifically, eBook piracy because it is costing authors their careers.

I have two traditionally published contemporary romances, Close To You and Can’t Help Falling. Currently, they are both commercial failures. They’ve had great reviews but the—very humbling—reality is that despite some great reviews they haven't sold the numbers my publisher was hoping for. Some people were a bit shocked when I admitted that in my Facebook post. Not that it was true, pretty much everyone who is in publishing circles these days knows that very few authors are doing well sales wise, but that I was so blunt about it. I fielded queries from people asking if I had thought about the repercussions on my reputation and career of publicly admitting that I was a failure.

I had, admittedly through a slightly cultural different lens since I’m not American, but the conclusion I came to was this. There are many authors who are hurting at the moment. But if no one is willing to tell the truth, if no one is willing to swallow their pride and say I really need you to pay real money for my books because otherwise I might not be able to keep doing this then readers will never know the true extent of the problem. And part of the problem is the proliferation of eBook piracy.

 I know that I am preaching to the choir here because Seekervillians are some of the most wonderful, encouraging, supportive readers of Christian authors that anyone could ever hope to find. But hopefully the information that I share will empower you to talk with friends and family if the topic ever comes up.

So, let’s chat about some of the most common myths floating around out there about eBook piracy.

People Who Download Pirated Books Don’t Buy Them Anyway
The theory behind this one is that people who go online and find free pirated copies of books aren’t going to pay money for them anyway so it doesn’t actually have an impact on the author’s/publisher’s bottom line.

This theory was blown out of the water by a general market YA author called Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie had a four-book series and the first three all hit the bestseller lists. But a strange thing happened with Book #3. The print copies sold just as well as the previous two but the eBook sales dropped precipitously. People are moving away from eBooks she was told. Your series are in natural decline, it happens. Except that didn’t gel with what she was experiencing. When she was at book signings her crowds were larger than ever and there seemed to be more online buzz around the series, not less.

Then her publisher told her that they were cutting the print run of Book#4 in the series to less than half of Book#3. Maggie decided it was time to take on the pirates. First, she asked her publisher not to release any review or advance copies of her book in eBook. Which they reluctantly agreed to. Then her and her brother hatched a plan. They created a PDF of Book#4 exactly the right size and length. But it wasn’t the book. It was the first four chapters over repeated. Followed by a note at the end about how eBook piracy hurts authors.
At midnight, the night the book was released her brother went onto every eBook pirate site that he could find and uploaded the fake version everywhere. The effects were instant. Forums and sites exploded with bewildered activity. Fans asking if anyone had managed to find a link to a legit pdf. Dozens of posts appeared saying that since they hadn’t been able to find a “free” copy, they’d been forced to buy the book.
The first printing sold out in two days. Maggie was on a book tour, and the bookstores she went to didn’t have enough copies to sell to people coming, because online orders had emptied her publisher’s warehouse and they couldn’t print more copies fast enough to keep up with demand. The book went to a second printing, then a third, in its first week. All because her readers couldn’t get their hands on pirated copies.
Publishers Have Deep Pockets and Can Afford To Lose A Few Sales
I went to my first Christian writers conference in 2009. There were almost twenty publishing houses there with editors willing to take pitches from authors and aspiring authors. The last time I went to that same conference in 2016 there were less than half that. The last few years have seen a swathe of publishing houses either closed or significantly cut back their Christian fiction lines. B&H, Harvest House, Abingdon, Love Inspired Historical (mid this year), Heartsong, and Summerside Press are just a few that come to mind who either no longer exist or no longer publish fiction.  (Ruthy note: Franciscan Media/Press also folded their fiction line last year. Gilead Publishing reneged on deals in 2016 (including a few Seekers who went unpaid), and is struggling to re-enter the market.)

Publishers can sometimes carry a few authors whose books don’t make money as long as they have bestsellers that are making a lot of money to keep them in the black.  But eBook piracy affects bestselling authors even more than the midlist and lower authors. So if a publisher used to have a bestseller that was guaranteed to sell 20,000 copies and suddenly they’re only selling 15,000 copies that loss of income has to be accounted for somewhere. Ultimately, publishing is a business and no publisher can continue to exist if the books that they pour thousands of dollars and hundreds of staff hours into creating and marketing aren’t making money.

If an Author Loses A Contract They Can Always Just Indie Publish
I am a huge fan of indie publishing. I have published one book independently and will be releasing another later this year. The income I’ve made from indie publishing Then There Was You is what will be funding my annual conference trip to the US this year and it’s also meant that I have been able to get new books to my readers in between contracts. So you are never going to hear me bashing indie publishing. But, on the flipside, being the author, project manager, publisher and marketer of a book is a huge amount of work and there are some authors for whom it just isn’t a viable option for them. It was a viable option for me last year because I was based out of home for most of the year on maternity leave with my third child and so while nursing, and during naps, and in the middle of the night while rocking a baby, I had the time to research and learn everything I needed to know.
Kara and baby Ari... Stinkin' adorable! She looks like her mama! 
Fast forward six months I’m back at my fulltime day job with three children aged six and under. I could have no more done what I needed to do to indie publishing a book for the first time this year than I could chart a course to the moon. For those authors, losing their contracts means no more books. End of story.

Authors/Publishers Should Just Issue Copyright Violation or Infringement Notices
The reason for my Facebook rant was because that morning I spent two hours issuing 48 infringement notices. I use a service called Blasty that finds the possible pirated copies of my eBooks for me and streamlines me being able to issue those notices. I recently found a complete copy of my sophomore novel, Can’t Help Falling, on a website across 250 webpages. I had to issue an infringement notice for every single page. It took me almost two hours. Right now Blasty has 648 pages for me to review. Six hundred and forty eight. Assuming I only need 30 seconds to review each page that will take me over five hours. Five hours that I could be writing. Five hours that I could spend with my family. Five hours that I would rather be doing anything other than looking at many many sites purporting to offer copies of my books to download for free.

I have many many author friends who don’t even try to fight piracy of their books. It is not worth the stress and discouragement to them.

So how can you spot a pirated eBook? Especially when many publishers use them as a legitimate marketing tool to try and attract new readers to authors. The first thing is that you don’t need to worry about your usual retailer sites like B&N, Amazon, iBooks etc. All of the books that come through them are from publishers and are legitimate. If you are ever on a site that isn’t one of the main retailers then there is an easy way to check if the free book you’re being offered as a download is legit. Jump on over to any of the main retailer websites and see if it’s free there. If it isn’t, then it’s a pirated copy.

For those of you who are on tight budgets there are also HEAPS of ways to support your favorite authors without spending money. Ask your library to buy their books. Request them for Christmas or birthdays. Buy books for friends of family for the same. If you're a review writer, join their influencer teams and receive a review copy. Enter contests and giveaways. If you are lucky enough to receive a free copy and you love the book make sure you share about it on social media and help get the word out. I promise, while we sometimes can’t respond to them all, authors are so grateful for every single mention that we receive.

Thank you so much for having me here today and for all you do to support authors! I’ll be in and out all day since the timezone difference has New Zealand in the small hours of Friday but I’m giving away two paperback or eBook copies of 
"Then There Was You" to two commenters so please stop by and share your thoughts.

Ruthy again! Coffee, tea, discussion cookies and cake inside... let's see what you think, readers and writers... how can we fix this? 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Amish Suspense -- Three Challenges

By Debby Giusti

I’m hooked on Amish Suspense!

The first book I read in the genre was Linda Castillo’s Sworn to Silence. The contrast between the God-fearing and peace-loving Amish and the evil villains drew me into the story and kept me turning page after page after page. At the time, I was writing my Military Investigations series and decided to introduce an Amish thread into my next book.

TheAgent’s Secret Past released in March 2014 and had a CID agent heroine who had been raised Amish. She left the community, eventually joined the military and went into the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. But her Amish past follows her, including a man who seeks to do her harm. Adding the Amish twist was a refreshing change of pace, and the story went on to win the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence for Inspirational Romantic Suspense.

After writing a few more military stories with an Amish connection, I pitched a straight Amish suspense series to my wonderful editor, Emily Rodmell. Emily liked the ideas I presented and offered me a four-book contract. My Amish Protectors series features three sisters who are caught in a human trafficking racket in the North Georgia mountains, near the fictional town of Willkommen with its surrounding Amish community. Each heroine relies on her own Amish or soon-to-become Amish hero to keep her safe. 

Amish Refuge, book 1, and Undercover Amish, book 2, hit Publishers Weekly Bestsellers Lists and have been well-received by my wonderful readers, for which I’m so grateful. In April, book 3, Amish Rescue, will be in stores and available through Amazon and other online merchants. The fourth book in the series, Amish Christmas Secrets features a secondary character from book 3 and will be out in October.

Writing Amish suspense takes me into another world. I leave electricity and technology and creature comforts behind and travel by buggy to an Old Order Amish home that exudes peace and tranquility with its simplicity, sparse furnishings and lack of indoor plumbing.

I stoke the wood-burning stove, pull homemade biscuits from the oven, and pour coffee from an aluminum drip-pot that warms on the back of the stove. The rich aroma of an apple pie cooling on the sideboard fills the air as I snap beans and slice fresh tomatoes from the garden. 

I discard my jeans, T-shirt and fleece and instead wear a blue, calf-length dress and white apron. My hair, pulled into a bun, is covered with a prayer kapp as I interact with my characters, sans makeup and jewelry.

I like that fictional world, but I’ve found a few stumbling blocks that create challenges for the Amish suspense writer. The three that top the list for me are the following:


Phones, including cell phones, are verboten. Forbidden. So are computers. Some Amish businesses have computers or phones in their shops, but phones and power lines and technology—anything that would undermine or pull apart family unity—are not allowed within the home. My characters don’t text or send emails or share information from a home phone. They can, however, use pay phones. They also correspond by mail, and as within any Amish community, news travels quickly by word of mouth.

In my current work in progress, a neighbor has a phone shack on the edge of his property. The shack looks somewhat like an outhouse, but instead of a toilet, it contains a phone and answering machine, powered by solar panels.  In real life, the phones are primarily used for business dealings and the answering machines for incoming orders from customers. The phones can also be used in case of emergency, such as if an ambulance needs to be summoned.


Self Defense

Englisch heroes and heroines often carry weapons—Glocks and Sig Sauers--when they’re running for their lives or caught in a villain’s crosshairs.  But the Amish are pacifists and don’t believe in violence so self-defense can be a problem in Amish suspense.

The characters must have a strong motivation before they raise a hand against another. Even then, it’s probably not what a true Amish person, especially those who are Old Order, would do. But In my books, the heroes protect the women and children. I’ve used hunting rifles, guard dogs, and forces of nature to deter or stop the bad guys. Kitchen knives and farm equipment can cause harm as well.


The Amish are allowed to ride in cars, they just can’t drive or own them. They can travel by bus and train, but horse-drawn buggies are their main means of transportation for distances of about fifteen miles or less. For longer trips, they rely on Englisch friends and neighbors with cars or hire taxis to drive them from one place to another. Charter buses transport Amish tourists to vacation destinations, usually in the winter months when the fields lay fallow. A favorite holiday spot is Pinecraft, Florida, an Amish and Mennonite enclave within the city limits of Sarasota. When the buses arrive, a crowd gathers to welcome the new vacationers. In Amish Christmas Secrets, my heroine rides her bike to town, which is another source of transportation used by many Amish folks and one that’s particularly popular in Pinecraft. My heroine also rides horseback as she did in her youth. Of course, she slips on a pair of sweat pants under her long skirt so she can climb into the saddle and still maintain her modesty.

Share your ideas about how writers can work around the Ordnung rules on transportation, self-defense and communication in Amish suspense stories. Mention other areas that could be a challenge when writing Amish suspense. Leave a comment to be included in a drawing for an advance copy of Amish Rescue, the third book in my Amish Protectors series.

Looking Ahead

What’s coming in the future? Maggie Black, Dana R. Lynn and I were asked to each write one of the books in an upcoming Amish Suspense Continuity, published by Love Inspired Suspense. We’re excited about the stories that feature heroes and heroines who enter the Witness Security Program and are hidden within Amish communities.

Titles are pending, but the first book, by Maggie Black, will release in January 2019. My story—book 2—follows in February and Dana ends the series with book 3 in March. We’re having fun crafting the stories and promise more information in the months ahead. Be assured that each of the books will be fast paced and filled with the exciting danger found in every Love Inspired Suspense.

The coffee is brewed and hot tea is available. Pour a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy an Amish breakfast of eggs and country ham, fresh baked biscuits with apple butter and pancakes with warm maple syrup. Enjoy!

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

by Debby Giusti
Hiding with the Amish

Englischer Sarah Miller escapes her captor by hiding in the buggy of an Amish carpenter. Joachim Burkholder is her only hope—and donning Plain clothing is the only way to keep safe and find her missing sister. But for Joachim, who’s just returning to the Amish, the forbidden Englischer is trouble. Trapping her kidnapper risks his life, but losing Sarah risks his heart.

Pre-Order HERE!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Subplots 101

Think back to your school days. Specifically, to your high school English class.

Think of that reading assignment you enjoyed…until you were in class the next day and the teacher started throwing out words like ‘theme’ and ‘plot.’ Why couldn’t you just enjoy the story?

The thing is, you can enjoy reading a story without dissecting it. But if you’re going to write a story – a good story – you need to know the details that you ignored in your high school English class.

Today we’re going to talk about subplots.

First, we need to know what a plot is. The basic definition is: The main events of a story presented by the writer in a sequence.

The subplot is a parallel but secondary plot line that supports the main plot. The subplot usually involves secondary characters who interact with the main characters as the plot and subplot intersect.

Think of the plot as an interstate highway. If you’ve ever traveled across the country on I-70, you might have noticed that the highway often intersects with the old highway, US 40. Look at a highway map (like Google maps) to see what I mean. The span between Indianapolis and St. Louis is a perfect example.

I-70 is the main plot. It takes you straight from Indianapolis to St. Louis in a sequence of cities and rest stops. But US 40 takes a parallel route, with stops in small towns and views of rural America that you don’t see from the interstate, adding interest and depth to the journey.

That’s what a subplot does for your story: it adds interest and depth to the plot. But don't forget that the subplot also needs to be directly related to the main plot. You don't want to have two completely different stories going on at the same time. Like the highways, they need to intersect on a regular basis.

The decision to use a subplot, and how many subplots, depends on your story. In my stories for Love Inspired, I usually have one subplot. In my longer stories for Revell, I will have several subplots.

In a shorter novel, it’s important to concentrate on the main plot. You want your characters to get from point A to point Z without a lot of detours. The action moves quickly, and you don't have a lot of time to wander around in secondary character's stories.

In a longer story, you need subplots to give the story substance. In a story of that length, you have the time to explore all the issues and ideas that the main plot might suggest.

For instance, in “The Sound of Distant Thunder,” my September 2018 release from Revell, my Amish characters are dealing with the effects of the Civil War on their Ohio community. How many issues are brought up in this main conflict? I found several! I use subplots and secondary characters to explore the choices and challenges my characters face.

I’ll use my book, Naomi’s Hope, as an example. (spoiler alert!)

The main plot centers around motherhood and loss. Naomi’s adopted son, Davey, is curious about his birth family and longs for a father. As Naomi deals with the fear of losing her son, she needs to learn to trust God to keep Davey safe and to bring the situation to the conclusion that pleases Him.

For one of the subplots, I used Naomi’s sister Mattie as the secondary character who has a parallel experience. At the beginning of the story, Mattie is dealing with the burden of infertility. She becomes pregnant, but then suffers the loss of the child part way through the pregnancy.

Do you see how Naomi’s and Mattie’s experiences are similar? Both love a child that they must face relinquishing through no choice of their own. They both learn that their response to the situation makes all the difference.

By including Mattie’s story, I broaden the effects of Naomi’s story. Naomi’s situation tells the story of motherhood and loss from one perspective. Mattie’s story provides a different slant, strengthening the effect of the theme of the story.

If you’re a writer, how do you use subplots in your stories? Have you thought about the role they play?

If you’re a reader, what are some of your favorite subplots?

I’m giving away a copy of Cheryl St. John’s “Write Smart Write Happy” to one commenter today. Even though Cheryl wrote this book for writers, I think it provides wonderful inspiration for anyone who wants to take control of the details of their life so they are free to enjoy whatever creative endeavor they engage in.