Guest Bloggers

Contest Winners for Friday, July 25

We had two contests running this week:  the Another Book Giveaway contest and the Writing Rituals contest.  That means we have FIVE winners!

Let’s start with the winners of the Another Book Giveaway contest:  Mara Mittelman and
Jennifer C.  These two commenters will receive autographed copies of Up Pops the Devil.

Now for the BIG contest this weekThe winners of the Writing Rituals contest are:

  • Melissa Juvinall, who wins an autographed copy of Strongholds by Vanessa Davis Griggs
  • Josie, who wins an autographed copy of Rhythms of Grace by Marilynn Griffith
  • Veronica Johnson, who wins an autographed copy of Back to Life: A Trophy Wives Club Novel by Kristin Billerbeck

I give a giant thanks to Vanessa, Marilynn and Kristin for participating and providing free books.  They were wonderful guests who provided some great insight into their writing process.  We’ll have more guests like them so keep checking the blog.

Don’t forget that the Another Book Giveaway  contest starts anew today. Next Friday, August 1, I will give away two more autographed copies of Up Pops the Devil to folks who comment on blog posts between now and then. 

It’s raining books!


Kristin Billerbeck on Writing Rituals

The most important part of my writing rituals include consuming massive amounts of espresso and clearing my mind of outside stuff.  Not easy.  Today I wrote at one of these ADD-style bowling alleys with 100 blaring TV screens and and my four kids.  They bowled and ate expensive hamburgers.  I wore noise-silencing headphones and wrote.  This is far from perfect, but the hardest thing for me is when someone talks to me, when my head is already talking to me, so the busier I can keep the kids (especially during summer!), the better.

I write seat-of-the-pants, but I know my theme and my main characters starting out.  After chapter one, all of it changes, and I’m left to follow.  So my rituals include staying in the book for a very long time, wondering what my characters will decide.  Sometimes, just like if I have to make a big decision, I have to learn about their struggles from books, websites, interviews and find out what they’d decide.  (I’ve read three books on demons and two on faith for this one!) That’s what slows me down the most.  I also try to immerse myself in great reading when I’m in a book.  When I’m not writing, it’s People Magazine, Us, and other mind-numbing fare like that.  But during the book, I love to read about four books at a time (one in the car, one in the bathtub, one in bed, one on the back deck.)  Research books do not enter the bathtub.  That is sacred.

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Marilynn Griffith on Writing Rituals

Thanks so much to Angela for raising this topic. I’m a little shy about answering because my process doesn’t always follow a linear pattern. There aren’t any things I do every time except write down as much as I can when someone interesting shows up and starts talking or to find a pen and run for a corner when my brain starts playing the,”That’s what actually happened, but what if…” game. That said, here are some things that seem to be standard.

Sort of.

1) Verses. My best ideas come to me in church. The Shades of Style series was inspired by Isaiah 61 and Rhythms of Grace comes from Matthew 11:28 in The Message. Certain things in the Word just jump out during my prayer and Bible Study (and even in service!). Without Jesus, I wouldn’t have anything to tell. He’s the author and finisher of everything (even the little people running around in my head).

2) Voices. I’m a dialogue person and I hear my characters more than see them. Often they start talking when I’m running or in church or folding clothes. It may be just one line like Grace from my latest novel (Flowers danced the day I died). That novel began as a short story of two boys, black and white, who are much more alike than different. Next thing I knew they were grown up, had friends and then…there was Grace. When she started talking, everyone else was quiet, waiting patiently, nodding and pushing her to the front. Other times, like with Made of Honor, I have a plot and a person that I’m working on separately and God pushes me to put them together. Always though there’s talking. Usually food too. Good smelling food.

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Vanessa Davis Griggs on Writing Rituals

I’ve noticed how much my “writing ritual” has evolved over the years. When I first started writing full-time (I used to work at BellSouth full-time and then left after 18 years of service, no retirement just stepped out on total faith), I had the entire twenty-four hours to write if I wanted or needed to.

I would get started around 6 a.m. typing practically nonstop until around 2:30 p.m. I would take a break, get something to eat maybe and start dinner for my husband, and then be right back at it again. Most times I might be working until around midnight, especially when I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop. I loved it!

I had chosen to stop watching television in 1998 when I concluded it really steals a lot of your time and can be a true hindrance to you getting anything done. I chose back then to sow that time into my own dreams instead of someone else’s whom I didn’t even know. When I would read a book, it would most times be one of nonfiction. Although I write fiction, I found that nonfiction had a way of releasing my creativity, so that’s what I would do to relax and it would free my mind.

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Guest Bloggers talk about their Writing Rituals

I’m pleased to annouce that I’ll be hosting guest authors from time to time on the blog.  This will be a chance for you to meet some new authors in a format a bit different than the usual blog interview. 

We have three guest bloggers this week: Vanessa Davis Griggs, Marilynn Griffith and Kristin Billerbeck.  All three are wonderful authors and I’m sure you’ll enjoy their work. 

I’ve asked each author to address the topic, Writing Rituals, in their own way.   You’ll remember that I did a post on this topic last week.  If you missed it you can catch it here.

Vanessa is up first on Tuesday, followed by Marilynn on Wednesday and Kirstin on Thursday.  On Friday, all the commenters on the guests’ posts will be entered in a drawing to win a free book from one of the guests.  That’s right, you’ll have three chances to win. 

The good news is that you have until Friday at noon to comment.  In other words, if you miss Vanessa on Monday, you can still comment on her post by Friday at noon and be entered in the contest.  The same with the other guests. 

Don’t forget that I’ll be giving away another two copies of Up Pops the Devil on Friday, as part of my continuing Book Giveway contest.  So the more comments you make, the more chances you have to win.

Let’s make our guests feel welcome.  Be sure to tell your friends to visit with us.