Sunday, January 01, 2012

Another New Year and a new path

Wow! Can you believe that it's 2012? It seems like yesterday everyone was freaking out about Y2K and we were celebrating the beginning of a new millennium. And here we are twelve years later and other than the fact that we've all gotten older, not a lot has changed in the grand scheme of things. The government is still too big, the environment is still a mess, the nations are still at war, the prisons are still too full, and I am still not published.

The last one is my own fault, no disputing that. I've been lazy and undisciplined about my writing, fearful of submitting, anxious about rejection, and overall uncertain about my direction and writing style.

However...I've had a breakthrough in recent weeks and I believe I need to take a step in a new direction. I truely feel that I'm being led to write faith based fiction/romance. I believe that God wants to use my writing as a way to reach people, to help and heal hurting people. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to dig up a book I started writing a few years ago- one that I truely love but felt somethingw as missing- and rewrite it with God and faith as the golden thread. I feel that is what is missing from the story and with that added I believe I'll be able to submit it with confidence.

So here's to a new year, a new path, new lessons to learn and a whole new outlook. I don't have any resolutions for the new year, just some hopes and dreams that I long to see fulfilled. What are your plans for 2012? Do you have some resolutions? Have you made promises to yourself or someone else?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Conflict block!

So, I've been studying the craft of writing the last few days, trying to make my own writing better. I entered a chapter into a writing contest and now that I'm getting some feedback on that chapter, I'm trying to think of ways to improve this particular story but I'm blocked! I need some better conflict, more action, to figure out what my character's motivation is. And it's tough! I thought this story would more or less write itself but now that I'm actually getting it down on 'paper' it's taking more effort than I anticipated because there's not much conflict.

What will keep my Hero and heroine apart? What is the conflict? What is their driving motivation? What are their goals and how will they go about achieving them?

I'm currently reading a couple of craft books that are helping some. One by Jack M. Bickham called The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them- is very helpful and has helped me see some other weaknesses my current WIP has and how to fix them. One is the lack of meaningful conflict. So I need to flesh out what really matters to these 'people' and make my story deeper. But gosh that's hard.

I suppose, though, that anything that comes easily isn't worth having. A book that is agonized over is one worth writing and reading.

The other book that I've found tremendously helpful is Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide for Writing Romance. Kate is brilliant! Now, if only I could send her my WIP and ask her to create some conflict for me....;)

Alright, I better get back to work. I think I'll have an inquisition with my characters and make them open up to me. Wish me luck!

And if you feel like reading my entry for the writing contest, go here:

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Pluggin' along

Howdy y'all! I don't really have anything to blog about today but I wanted to stop in and at least post a tiny bit of good news. I finally, finally, finally finished the first draft of Logan's Song. It's a story I've been working on for quite a long time and a story I love but couldn't seem to find an ending to. (Maybe I just wanted it to go on forever) Anyhow, my wonderful critique partner has it now and is doing a once, or twice, over on it before sending it back to me for edits and another go through to get it polished up enough to submit to the publisher. I know it has a ways to go but at least it's finally in it's completed first draft form :D Yay!!

And now, on to another work and hopefully this one won't take me so long to finish :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Encouragement is so good for the soul

My husband isn't a reader. He can read, but he prefers to read automotive magazines and how to books. In nearly 20 years of marriage I've never seen him pick up a novel or read a book for pleasure because it's just not his thing. He's never taken much interest in my writing- he humors me for the most part. I don't think he thinks I'll ever really get anything published because I tend to get bored easily and give up on things without finishing them.

But the whole point of this blog post is encouragement so something must have happened to change things, right? Of course :)

I'm spending my days out in hubby's shop answering phones, scheduling appointments, doing paperwork, filing taxes, etc. In my 'spare' time I've been writing. Well, hubby came into the office for a break yesterday and sat down at my desk where I had my current work in progress up on the screen. He started reading at page 14 then scrolled up to page one and read the whole thing. This is a romance novel mind you so that he even bothered to read page 14 was shock enough but that he actually was intrigued enough to start at page one and read everything I'd written was mind blowing.

Now here's the good part. When he finished reading, he said to me, "You're really good. I can actually picture these things in my head. You're descriptive without being overly so."

Wow! That made my day! It's like he's finally taking what I love to do seriously. He knows I can do it. He knows I have the heart for it and I was so encouraged by that. It's amazing how a few words from someone who hasn't really supported you in something can make a world of difference, give you a second wind and help you press on.

So, as soon as this blog is published, I'm back at it, pounding the keys, weaving my story to bring alive this world in my head so others can enjoy it too.

Tell me, what kind of encouragement have you gotten lately? What would you like to be encouraged in more?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'd rather live in a book!

I know many people read to escape real life and I have to admit, I often do. It's so much easier to deal with someone elses problems in a book than it is to deal with the problems that seem to bombard us day after day and living with 4 teenagers and trying to run a business there is never a lack of stress or issues to deal with.

Lately it seems that I try to find uplifting books, ones that are empowering, make me feel stronger so I can deal with all the junk life is throwing at me these days. Books like Jane Porter's 'She's Gone Country' or 'Mrs. Perfect' are great examples. Jane knows how to weave a story around life's ups and downs and make them managable and wonderful and valuable in spite of how hard they are. It's a beautiful thing when an author can do that.

So this week I picked up a book by an author I've never read, Jane Feather, and thus far I'm captivated by the heroine's gumption, how she sacrifices so much to solve a problem in her life yet comes out so strong in the end. Do I do that in real life? I'm not sure, I guess because I'm so caught up in the problems that it's hard to tell how I'm dealing with it until it's over and by that time I don't want to look back because I'm getting ready for the next blow, so to speak. I guess I should pay more attention to what I'm learning through life's issues so I'll know better how to deal with them next time...not to mention how to better write about them in my own books.

Do you read to escape? What are your favorite types of escape stories when life is really stressing you out?

And just in case you're interested, the Jane Feather book I spoke of is called, "Rushed To The Altar"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Today I'm in the Amazon Rainforest...

Have you ever read a book that you really, really enjoyed then years later tried to recall the title/author of that book and been unable to do so? Back when I was in middle school and struggling to, more or less, teach myself to read, I picked up a book in the public library. It was a big thick book and with a little bit of fear I checked it out, determined to read it cover to cover.

And I did it. I devoured all 360 pages of that book in less than two weeks. That might not seem like much of a feat but considering that I was- as a 8th grader- reading at about a 2nd grade level, it was quite an accomplishment for me. I read that book and I loved it. It was one of the first books that I truely enjoyed and it opened up for me a love for books and words and reading. My reading level improved very quickly after that.

Because I enjoyed this book so much, I wanted my daughters to read it but I, for the life of me, couldn't remember the name or author of the book. I searched Ebay,, public library sites, and finally I mentioned to someone that I was trying to remember this book and they blurted out the title and author! I was sooo excited. I went on Ebay and found a few copies but they were going for quite a bit more than I was willing to pay for a book- up around $40/copy. Ouch! So I went to and put the book on my wishlist. Last week I was notified that the book was just listed and did I want it?

OF COURSE I wanted it! It arrived today in near perfect condition and I'm settling in for a good read of an old favorite.

And in case anyone is interested the book is called Savage Journey by Allan W. Eckert. It was published in 1979 and it's about a 13 year old girl who travels to the jungle with her archaeologist father. Her father dies in a freak accident and the girl is forced to find her way back to civilization on her own. Powerful imagery, a wonderful, frightening, bittersweet adventure.

So, with that said, what book(s) have made an unforgetable impact on your life?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Another New Year

It's another new year, another new decade even. But more than that it's another new day. Every single day is another new day. While I realize that new days are far more common than new years, I believe that if we treat each one as a gift, we'll be far happier and get way more done. My resolution for this year is to cherish each day as it comes, to pack as much living into every 24 hour period as I can, to make as many wonderful memories with my kids as possible so that when they've moved away and I'm left alone with just my husband, I can look back on these days and know that I lived them fully. So that when my kids tell their own kids about their childhood, they can remember it fondly, they can tell their children that their parents were good parents who invested in their childhood and created joy and learning and memories.

So many New Year's Resolutions are forgotten by week 2- or sooner- but I can't afford to forget this one. My children are teenagers and I know they won't be living in my home, under my roof, for a whole lot longer. It seems like yesterday they were tiny babies, then they were starting kindergarden, and now I have one in college, two in high school and one in middle school. Where has the time gone? If the last 19 years has gone by this quickly, the next 5 will be gone in a blink and I'll have an empty nest.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are times (usually when I'm washing 8 loads of laundry a day or picking up some discarded project or another) when I think I can't wait for my nest to be empty and tidy finally. But then I have to wonder, how will I deal with the quiet all the time? What will I do with those hours I now spend cleaning and doing laundry? Will I end up being one of those annoying old ladies my kids will hate having around because I'm bored and demanding to be included in their everyday lives? Gosh I hope not. I will have to find things to entertain myself with but in the meantime, while my children are still here and I have loads of laundry to do and clutter to pick up, I resolve to enjoy it and try so very hard not to take these final years with my kids for granted.

What are your resolutions this year?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who says Time Travel is impossible?

I just finished a book recently called Confessions of a Jane Austin Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I enjoyed the read, in fact it left me feeling like I actually wanted to find some Jane Austin books to read as I've never picked one up. But what it also made me realize was that through books we can time travel! Through this book I was able to spend a couple of days in Regency era England and it was quite delightful. Of all the historical type books I read, I think Regency era is probably my favorite. For example, Julia Quinn is the Mistress of Regency Romance. I have all of her books and adore them. I truely feel like I'm part of the story with my feet truely in England in a long ago time.

Civil war stories are also among my favorites. I recently picked up a new copy of one of my favorite reads from when I was in high school. The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi is a book I read over and over when I was a kid and I just finished it last week and was once again transported back in time to the tumultuous 1860's. What a wonderful adventure!

Just because we aren't going physically through time, doesn't mean we can't travel back- or forth- in time through literature. Pick up a book and go visit sometime new or sometime old and familiar.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Love At First Sight

Here's a poem I wrote a few years ago about those wonderful feelings, those amazing, confusing, crazy feelings of young love.

Endless are the ties that bind.
Love that makes a heart go blind.
Whispered words on which we dined,
In hopes they’d be returned in kind.

Feasting ‘till we fill our mind.
Leave the weary world behind.
Seek the way in which to find
The love for whom we’ve always pined.

My heart for you, has been refined.
My life, with you, is redesigned.
You’re the heart and I’m the rind,
And thus our lives are now entwined.

© By Danielle M. Peck 4/20/2005

Sunday, September 12, 2010


This evening, while my husband watched a movie I didn't care to watch, I began thinking back on where my love of writing came from, when it began and it led me to pull out the file folder containing the poetry I wrote years ago, some of it decades ago- makes me sound old, hu? That I could have written something decades ago? Anyway, some of it is pretty rough, some of it is total rubbish, others aren't too bad at all and if I lined it up from earliest to latest the growth would be obvious.

Some of these poems force me to remember times in my life that were really bad, because they're full of anger, pain and tremendous dispair. It kind of awed me that I could write something that could evoke such feeling so many years after putting pen to paper...and I began to wonder if I could do the same with fiction work. Can I create characters that will grip my readers? Can I create scenes that will transport someone from here to there? Will I be able to produce a plot that is gripping and emotional from beginning to end?

And wondering this I am motivated to try. I know that my characters mean something to me but I want so badly for them to mean something to someone else as well. I want to touch someone and bring about strong feelings with my words on paper, to help them feel something they would otherwise not have felt; joy, laughter, sadness, angst, anger, love, excitement, anticipation, and in the end, fulfillment.

So tell me, readers, what kind of emotions to you like to feel when you're engrossed in a story? What makes you feel? What kind of characters evoke strong responses from you?

In the near future I may post some of my poetry on here, just for fun, so be watching for it :)