How To Improve Heroes, part one

Heroes can be improved dramatically with great writing skill. So how do we improve our skill?

Tip #1: Read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.

I’ve read and re-read this book, and I still learn from it. The chapters, from Show and Tell to Voice, give insightful instructions and clear examples. Misdirection in dialogue, removing an abundance of repetition in favor of highlighting meaningful repetition, and how to avoid proportion problems are just a few of the topics covered.

The checklist provided at the end of every chapter reminds the reader of four or five of the main points in a nutshell. I’ve made notes about particular things in the checklist that I want to pay close attention to. But I still thumb through the chapters to look for those circles I draw around important sentences.

I highly recommend this for writers of all levels because it focuses on the basics that are sometimes overlooked. Heroes are as weak as Superman in a Kryptonite jacket when they think something in narrative and then say the same thing in dialogue immediately afterward.

For more information about Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, get a copy for yourself.

Coming next week: Tip #2


At Christmastime, many people get lost in the busyness of preparing for the planned and unplanned festivities. For instance, they have to get Aunt Mildred's gift at a store she shops at so she can take it back if she doesn't like it. And many people make or buy gifts to keep around in case they get something from someone for whom a gift hasn't been bought.

If you've been lost in a crowd of shoving shoppers, or if you've lost track of the people you came with to a party, it's time to settle down and take a breath.

Today's blog post at Seek God With Me mentions what to do if you feel lost.

Janet Perez Eckles

Janet Perez Eckles is going for it. She’s trying to reach one thousand subscribers with her newsletter, Splash of Inspiration.

I like her newsletter. It's interesting and colorful. She tucks in little scriptures here and there, until it’s packed full of encouragement.

In her November issue, she described how she, a blind woman, picks clothes out of her closet and how that task relates to life. If you hurry, you can sign up for her newsletter before the next issue comes out.

Janet has been through many devastating events and has overcome adversity by leaning on her faith in God. Her speaking ministry brings a positive perspective to heart-wrenching topics. And her writing has helped many people from all walks of life.

In addition to writing many magazine articles, she’s been a contributing author in several books. She’s also been featured in the New York Times (see article ) and in other major publications.

Be a part of her subscriber list. To help Janet, send a blank email to Splash of Inspiration at getresponse dot com . Or see her web site.

There’s never a dull moment with Janet. She describes her author and speaker ministries as:
Faith & Love With a Latin Flair.

A Servant's Heart

Today on my Seek God With Me blog, I posted about how to become a great leader.

Jesus had to fuss at a couple of disciples who made a common mistake. Plenty of Americans make this same mistake. The trouble is that they can recognize it in others, but not in themselves.

If your goal is to learn from the mistakes of others, check out the blog.

Lightning and Lace by DiAnn Mills

Bonnie Kahler can’t help defending her son Zach when he gets into fights with other boys. She believes he’ll stop fighting and settle down eventually. After all, he’s still grieving for his father. Her heart hurts for him because she’s also having trouble handling her grief.

Travis Whitworth’s first day in Kahlerville is more than memorable. After he breaks up a fight, walks the boys back to school, and angers a beautiful woman, wasps sting the palm and top of the same hand. But as the new pastor of Piney Woods Church, displaying patience is part of the job.

Patience will come in handy for Travis since Reverend Rainer is retiring and the residents aren’t sure they trust someone like Brother Travis. Three generations of Bonnie Kahler’s family try to make him feel welcome, but Bonnie and Zach seem to need special prayers.

In this third book of the Texas Legacy Series, Kahlerville comes alive as romance and deceit changes the strong characters who must fight the dangerous lies that threaten young lives. DiAnn Mills captures hearts, ending the book with a whoop and a holler.

Heroes Are Vulnerable

Can anyone be so bold as to turn away God’s wrath? Moses did it with a vulnerable heart.

At a time when the Israelites were afraid they would die if God ever spoke to them, Moses went to the mountain to listen to God for them. On the front and back of two stone tablets, God wrote, carved by his own finger, laws to guide their behavior so they could have long lives on the earth.

But when Moses took too long coming down the mountain, they turned away from God.

Exodus 32:7-14 (NIV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’”

“I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “O Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a might hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth?’ Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

It takes a close relationship to put aside all the barriers and allow yourself to be completely vulnerable to someone who is obviously and overwhelmingly powerful. Moses didn’t try to be brave before God. He made himself vulnerable and accessible to God.

Numbers 12:3 shows us that Moses was more humble than anyone else. When you’ve spoken face-to-face with God and felt the weight of his presence, can you find room for anything but humility and vulnerability? Laying our souls bare before God helps humble us. Allowing ourselves to be real before God without any pretense of bravery humbles us.

When a humble man who cares enough for the people he’s been leading turns away God’s wrath with a vulnerable heart, he shows his heroic side.

Lanterns and Lace by DiAnn Mills

A grueling train ride to Kahlerville, Texas is almost too much for Jenny Martin, but she endures whatever humiliation comes her way in order to bring her niece back to her Ohio home. Jenny’s mission to find her sister’s daughter takes her on a journey that opens doors to life-changing events.

From the beginning, Jenny was wary of mysterious stranger Aubrey Turner. Would he help or hinder her quest? She needs information, so she steps from the rail car into one discovery after another.

At the home of handsome doctor Grant Andrews, she learns of her sister’s last request and peeks out the window at the child she’d been searching for. Grant takes her to her sister’s grave in the picturesque serenity of the Piney Woods Cemetery.

Jenny’s heart is strangely softened toward the people of Kahlerville. She even meets a friend who helps her find the key to hidden treasure.

In this second book in DiAnn Mills’ Texas Legacy series, we welcome back beloved Casey and Morgan Andrews and catch up on what’s been going on in Kahlerville since the first book. In Lanterns and Lace, Mills’ characters draw us into the wild Texas setting and keep us there for a romantic picnic under a large shade tree. There is suspense behind every door and a final twist that keeps readers turning pages until the very end.

To Know Christ

Do you know someone who acts like God is a real person that they know? Does that person have conversations with God like they were sitting right there together?

Is that person you?

There is a difference between believing that God exists and believing God. There is also a difference between knowing stories about God and knowing God. My desire is to put effort into knowing God better so my life will show that I believe God.

I want to obey God so I can be a blessing to others. But to obey, I must first hear God. And if I want to hear God, I must spend time getting closer to him.

Today's post on my Seek God With Me blog, is about a man who knew of Jesus. He even met him and spoke to him. But he didn't take the time to get to know him.

What could have been a really great story of success, turned out sad because of a mistake. Find out what happened here.

Leather and Lace by DiAnn Mills

Casey O'Hare had faith the size of kindling sticks and a heart the size of Texas. What she didn't have was someone to help rid her of outlaw Davis Jenkins.

How does a woman leave an outlaw gang and live? It took a long time for Casey to build up the courage to leave Jenkins, but once she did, she had to hide from both lawmen and outlaws.

Morgan Andrews pointed his rifle barrel at her one snowy night and took over her plans, complicating her flight to freedom. He was a man with a grudge, a bad temper, and turquoise eyes that stole her heart. When she was finally able to leave Morgan behind, she wished she could stop thinking about him.

Casey's life had been all about running, and she couldn't stop yet - not until Jenkins was no longer a threat. She hated endangering the kind people who gave her work and helped her along the way, but she couldn't survive alone. She had to learn to trust.

Her journey to freedom was filled with problems. When she faced her problems with faith and patience, she found God leading her to the solution she'd been longing for.

Casey's story is an exciting ride through dangerous territory. You don't know what to expect next in DiAnn Mills' adventure of faith, love, and the wild west.


I love that we have a national holiday to remind us to give thanks to God for all He's done for us.

My only problem with that is that we shouldn't need a reminder. We should be thanking God all year long anyway. But we don't.

On my Seek God With Me blog, I've posted about the lone leper who gave thanks to God while nine others went on their way. It's a challenging story. It makes me think about how often I've had opportunity to thank God.

If you want to challenge yourself, check it out here.

Impatient Heroes

News Flash: I'm still unpublished.

I know, I know. I'm supposed to save the "news flash" for the big announcement that I'm published. But thanks to Deena's offer to review my novels, I thought I'd mention that my novels are NOT in your local bookstore - - - yet!

That very sad fact is stretching the limits of my heroes' patience. They want to pound against the walls of my imagination, want to live in someone else's head for a while, want to be free.

They want to be unwrapped at Christmastime. But, alas, it will not happen this year.

I'm changing one story into two, and that takes some time. It's a lot of work, but I'm loving it. New situations are popping up and new details that I haven't see before.

My villain doesn't want to speak. I'm afraid of getting into his head too much because it's a dark and scary place that should only be entered in an extreme emergency.

My heroes aren't scared of the villains. But I am.

So I hand them a soft drink and offer them a seat and ask for their patience one more time.

And I ask for yours.

Thanks for staying with me, holding my hand, encouraging me. I'm hoping the wait won't be much longer.