Hair-raising tales from the dork side

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dream Big in the New Year--by Linda Kozar

Write down your dreams today!

Since it looks like we've survived the doom and gloom of the not-so-pending Mayan Apocalypse, maybe it's time to think about some goals for the new year.

I am not a big fan of resolutions. For instance, "I resolve not to eat a lot of fattening foods in the new year. I resolve not to drink. I resolve to stop gossiping about people. I resolve to keep my house clean...etcetera." Resolutions are vows made to be broken. (A vow is a solemn promise--one in which a person is bound to act on). And a resolution? The Free Online Dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Resolutions  defines resolution as:


1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.2. A resolving to do something.3. A course of action determined or decided on.

This sort of declaration sounds great on paper, but often fails in application. Why? Because we are trying to accomplish them in our OWN strength.

"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible"Matthew 19:26.
That said, what I am a big fan of is goal-setting. Setting goals each year for the future twelve-month period is a wise thing to do.

In October, I attended the Books & Such Literary Agency retreat in Monterey, California. One of the things our agents inspired us to do was to dream big for the year, to allow our imaginations, inner dreams and desires to run their course, and to write them down, no matter how outlandish.

The first thing we all did was to write down a scripture that defines our life. Some people already have a scripture chosen for their lives and I commend those people. I had one in mind, but it was one that God gave me many years ago and is specific to the ministry he called me to. Many of us visited a website that assigns a scripture according to birthdate, though the best thing to do would be to find one through a time of prayerful intercession. But for the purpose of this exercise, you might want to try it. The site is called Birth Verse:

http://www.birthverse.com

Once you have your verse, try playing off the words in the verse to come up with categories. My verse was Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be." So I thought of my life in terms of treasure. I divided my live into Faith Treasure, Family Treasure, Creative Treasure and Sharing Treasure.

Faith Treasure             Family Treasure        Creative Treasure     Sharing Treasure

Faith                               Husband                      Writing                          Writer's Groups

Church                           Children                       Painting                         Speaking
Bible Study                    Extended Family          Crafts                            Giving
Witnessing                     Friends                                                               Encouraging
Listening to God


As you can see, I divided my life into four groups and subgroups, then I set goals for each. For instance, one of the goals I had from moment I began writing books was a promise to give away half of every book. I actually promised to give God half of the first three books I wrote, but decided to extend that promise for all of them. Since I started getting published in 2008, I've given to the women's ministry at my old church, to my brother's church, to missions and to build a water well in Africa (Living Water International http://www.water.cc).  One of my goals under "Sharing Treasure," is to give toward building 10 water wells in Africa and also to missions. Is it a BIG GOAL? Yes, it is. How can I be so certain God will give me the book contracts to enable me to fulfill that goal? The answer is, I cannot be certain of it. I simply spelled out my hopes and dreams, and made my requests known to God. The rest is up to Him. If my dreams are in line with His desire for my life, then He will fulfill them exceedingly and abundantly over all my expectations. I am confident of that!


How can I be so confident? Because getting published, like everything else in my life, is all in God's hands. I do my part and God does His. We work together. A book won't have a chance of getting published if you don't write it. I write books and lay them on the altar to God. It's that simple. 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Now fear doesn't mean afraid in that sense; it means, reverent. Once you know and trust God, you know that your prayers will be answered and God knows best how and when to fulfill them. Sure, waiting is frustrating. I was going to say can be frustrating, but you and I know that's not true. Waiting is frustrating! Many writers wait years and years to get that call or that contract in the mail, and many others wait as long to get another contract.

So, take heart! Spend some time in prayer. Write down the goals hidden in your heart. God already knows about them. He knows everything about you. There is nothing hidden from Him. Go ahead and write them all down. Find your verse. Break the heart of that verse into categories and subcategories and build your dream goals into it.

Finally, pray over those dreams and work at the parts you need to accomplish. Don't try to manipulate your way to a blessing. Many people try to make things happen when God doesn't fulfill their requests right away, so they act and expect God to rubber-stamp His blessing on it. Do you want the good, acceptable or perfect will of God in your life? I don't know about you, but I want the perfect! God will accomplish the impossible part. You do the writing!

Here's a prayer to offer up to God:

Dear Lord--I thank you for all the gifts You've given me, specifically for the ability to write. And if this desire in my heart to be published is from You, I ask You to get my work published in the right time, at the right publishing house and through the right agent. I release all my goals and dreams to You and know that You are the Author and Finisher of my faith. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" Hebrews 12:2. Amen.




Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Her latest novel Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An Interview With Lil' Ole Me (Linda Kozar)


An interview with Moi...
on
my latest release


Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was hired by a publishing house to write this cozy mystery with a craft theme. The title was already picked out as were the character profiles, settings, etc. My job was to flesh out the characters and write the story in under six weeks. I did it in four and have the gray hairs to prove it. Oh, wait...no I don't. Thank you Loreal.

What genre does your book fall under?

Strands of Fate is a cozy mystery, meaning that it is a mystery without all the blood and gore, more in the tradition of an Agatha Christie whodunnit.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Maureen O'Hara in her prime would have been perfect for the role of Shannon McClain! But alas...maybe Jessica Chastain? She has red hair and is a fantastic actress. Now for the role of  the brooding Michael Stone, hmmm, I guess Patrick Dempsey or Matthew Fox would work nicely.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?


Strands of Fate will introduce you to Shannon McClain, who has been in mourning since the tragic death of her husband three years ago. With two children to raise and her money running out, she receives a mysterious letter from the United States, informing her she has just two weeks to claim a large inheritance -- part of which is a fortune in jewels that can only be found by solving cryptic clues stitched in a needlepoint by her late grandmother. But she is blindsided when she meets an aunt and uncle she never knew existed, who are most unhappy she has arrived.

You'll share Shannon's fear and excitement as she uses the last of her late husband's insurance money to travel with her best friend Coleen from their small village in Scotland to a quaint town in the northwestern United States. Stay away from Apple Grove ... or else.But right before they are to leave, she finds a threatening note nailed to her door -- written in red ink, dripping like blood.
"Stay away from Apple Grove... or else," it warns.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I was contracted to do the book by a publishing house. I have no problem with indie publishing though and look forward to indie publishing one of my previously unpublished nonfiction works in 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

As I said, I was on a very tight deadline. Mine is the first book in the series, all books written by different authors about the same characters. Since I was writing the first book, all the other authors were anxious for me to finish so they could get started. Hence the hurry. Good thing I work well under pressure. Plus, I had to write it during the time of year I care for my mother who has Alzheimers. My sister, brother and I take turns caring for her. So that was a bit tricky in terms of meeting my deadline. But I worked it out by getting up super early every morning to write. Mom always sleeps late, a real blessing for that project!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Although I am branching off into historical and contemporary romance now, this book fits nicely in the cozy mysteries I've done in the past. My other series was "When The Fat Ladies Sing." My very first editor, Susan Downs thought that up. The books are Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket and Dead As A Doornail and are Kindle books. I still love writing mysteries however and will probably always produce a few here and there.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This series incorporates various crafts. If you knit, you'll enjoy the little group of ladies who call themselves "The Purls of Hope." They get together each week to knit and unravel mysteries...

Strands of Fate also includes jewelry making and silversmithing techniques. Shannon McClain learns the technique for casting silver jewelry designs. My friend Dannelle Woody (www.dannellewoodyjewelry.com) was my source for the how-to's, so everything is accurate, tried and true!


Thanks for reading! Next Wednesday, please visit the following fantastic writers and friends to read about their new books or works in progress (both fiction and non-fiction):
Sharon Leaf
author of 
Lady and the Sea
www.sharonleaf.com 



Gleaning Through Your Words--By Linda Kozar

Do you ever spend all day writing what you think is utter brilliance, then read through it the next day and hit the delete button?

Are our tastes that arbitrary? Remember your teachers, professors and the dreaded TAs in high school and college? Their taste in the written word always seemed to be arbitrary. And sometimes editors seem to share that trait.

Perhaps mood is a factor. What might be seen as insightful one day seems like drivel the next. Could the gulf of opinion be due to an upbeat frame of mind or a cynical one? I'm not sure.

Sometimes the opposite is the case. If I free write all day and think I've written nothing of any noteworthiness, I might look at it the next day with a bit of admiration, wondering where those sparkles of thought came from.

And I've learned to delay the delete button. Instead, I save everything. The odds are that even if 90% of what I wrote is awful, there will still be 10% to salvage and use. That's the way I look at it, anyway. Also, I know my mood will change. The words I might have cast off one day, might one day reach someone else's heart in a way they did not reach mine.

So save what you write. That's my advice. Save it, shelve it and go back to it later to glean through. Whether you favor cream-filled or caramel chocolates, your favorites are sure to be somewhere in the box.

Linda Kozar
Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Her latest novel Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.



Friday, December 14, 2012

The 12 Cozies of Christmas! "Tis the Season for a Great Whodunnit!"

Enter to WIN One of MY books TODAY!

*UPDATE
Here is the 12/12/12 blog post: http://www.spyglasslanemysteries.com/12-cozies-of-christmas-day-1-ebook-giveaway/

Also, there is a glitch with Pinterest. People who create boards will have to leave a comment here with a link to their board for their board to be entered.





Posted: 10 Dec 2012 07:12 PM PST

‘Tis the season for a great


whodunnit!


If you love cozies as much as we do, then you’re in for a holiday treat! From December 12 – 23, we’re giving away one cozy mystery EVERY DAY!
So light the fireplace and grab a cup of hot cocoa, because you just may have a free cozy mystery coming your way!

HOW TO ENTER
There are two ways to enter:
  1. Create a Pinboard entitled My 12 Cozies of Christmas. Fill it with 12 Spyglass Lane titles that either you want to read, or have already read and love! Be sure to use the #12CoziesofChristmas hashtag in the description of each pinned book cover. One pinboard will automatically enter you in each daily drawing!
  2. Tweet about Spyglass Lane mysteries. Simply Tweet about  the giveaway or one of your favorite Spyglass Lane Mysteries or authors and include the #12CoziesofChristmas hashtag along with the www.spyglasslanemysteries.com link. You may Tweet as many times as you want each day! Only Tweets sent out the day of the giveaway will be considered for that day’s drawing.
Follow us on the Spyglass Lane blog, Twitter @SpyglassMystery or Facebook for the latest info on the 12 Cozies of Christmas giveaway! Each day, we’ll reveal which Spyglass Lane cozy mystery we’ll be giving away.

GIVEAWAY INFO
  1. Each day, we will reveal which Spyglass Lane mystery will be given away that day
  2. A “giveaway day” runs from 12AM EST to 11:59PM EST.
  3. There will be one winner per day
  4. Winners will be announced the following morning
  5. A Pinboard (see rules above) counts as one entry each day of the giveaway. Tweets (see rules above) only apply to the day in which they were originally Tweeted. For example, if you send 10 Tweets on Thursday the 13th, you will be entered 10 times in that day’s drawing. But those Tweets will not apply to the next day’s drawing.
  6. Winners will be chosen via Randomizer.org, with Tweets and Pinboards each assigned a unique number
  7. Winners will be announced via our blog, Twitter @SpyglassMystery or Facebook. Winners will be contacted via email or social media. If a winner does not hear from Spyglass Lane, they may contact us at SpyglassLaneMysteries (at) gmail (dot) com.
  8. Winners will receive their prize in the form of a Smashwords coupon that they can redeem at Smashwords.com. Smashwords accommodates all ereader devices, though it may require the device to be directly connected to a computer for proper download.
  9. The same person may win more than once!
  10. There is no entry limit
  11. Participants are expected to play nice! Inappropriate behavior (including but not limited to foul language, bullying, trolling, arguing) will not be tolerated and Spyglass Lane reserves the right to exclude such people from these and future giveaways
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Cozies of Christmas--Day 2--Enter to WIN a book!



12 Cozies of Christmas: Cozy #2 Ebook Giveaway

We’re on to our second cozy mystery giveaway! In case you missed it, we announce the winner of yesterday’s giveaway here.

Today, we’ll be giving away the gardening-inspired cozy, NIPPED IN THE BUD by Susan SleemanHurry up and ENTER TO WIN.
Nipped in the Bud
Here’s a bit about the book:
WHEN YOU FIND YOUR BOSS PUSHING UP DAISIES. . .
Life in full bloom, landscape designer, Paige Turner, scores her first landscaping contract to spruce up the park, her radio talk show shoots to number one, and her retail shop is simply blossoming. Yes, her life is a bed of roses. Until she finds City Manager, Bud Picklemann served up on the blade of her favorite shovel mere hours after she’s threatened to have his head on a platter, then the thorns come out. And there is none thornier than the local police chief declaring Paige the one and only suspect and threatening to plow her under.YOU’VE GOT TO FORMULATE A PLANT OF ATTACK . . .
Paige teams up with dashing attorney, Adam Hayes to weed through the list of suspects, and clear her soiled reputation. A bigmouthed Parrot who often spouts Mr. T-isms, and a giant pickle mascot join in quirky Paige’s quest to once again cultivate control of her life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cocoa, Cookies and Blog Hopping! By Linda Kozar


Love a steaming mug of hot cocoa (with little tiny marshmallows, of course!) this time of year. Except when the temps in Houston are in the 80s, thankfully not the situation today. For now, and I stress the frailty of the situation, the temps are in the 40s:) I'm loving it! As we say in the Lone Star State, "It may be chili today, but it'll be hot tamale."

So here I am with my cup of cocoa, inviting you to come back to my blog NEXT Wednesday. In the meantime, I hope you'll visit my dear friend and fellow author, Sherry Kyle's blog.
Next Wednesday, I'll be participating in a Blog Hop Tour and answering questions on my blog about my recent release, Strands of Fate. My friend, Sherry Kyle, invited me to join along, so I hope you'll hop on over to her blog today, and learn a few things about Sherry and her latest book AND ebook, The Heart Stone

Here's the link: http://www.sherrykyle.com/Sherry_Kyle_Author/Blog/Entries/2012/12/5_Blog_Hop.html

And here's her website too: www.sherrykyle.com 




Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Her latest novel Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.

Cozy Mysteries by Linda Kozar

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