Genre Month: True Southern Fiction

By Jennifer Hallmark

The woods are full of regional writers, and it is the great horror of every serious Southern writer that he will become one of them.” Flannery O’Connor

The Deep South: South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and of course, Alabama. That’s the definition I found online. Some added in Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, and Florida—but everyone knows Florida isn’t too Southern since its population is from everywhere.

Why is this information important on a genre-based post? Look at Flannery O’Connor’s quote again. Anyone can write a book and throw some Southern lingo and sweet tea into it and call the work Southern fiction. To me, fiction of that sort is more of what O’Connor calls a regional book.

True Southern fiction has to be lived. One must mingle with the people of the Deep South, taste black-eyed peas, embrace the aroma of jambalaya, the texture of freshly picked cotton, the humidity, the Bible belt, and the redneck. Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how our ancestors shape each and every character.

You must be able to write in such a way where it’s not like reading about a foreign country, for those who’ve never set a foot below Kentucky. It must have its own flavor but be relatable. One must be able to feel the emotions and live the story as if it could happen to them. Readers need to feel the sweat, swat the mosquitos, and relish the fried okra right along with the characters.


Only then do you have a story that is immersed in the culture. That’s the kind of Southern fiction I read.

 

New to Southern fiction? Classic writers include:

And some of my favorites are authors I call friends:

Check out any and all of these to put an overall face and voice to the South. And don’t miss my debut Southern fiction release, Jessie’s Hope, releasing on June 15, 2019, published by Firefly Southern Fiction.

Click to Tweet:  Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how our ancestors shape each and every character. #South #amreading

Writing prompt: Dixie grabbed a red solo cup and filled it with sweet tea. She made her way through the church fellowship hall toward…

3 Questions Wednesday with Ginger Solomon

Ginger 6 - brightened smallIt is my sincere pleasure to welcome author, blogger, and mother of 7, Ginger Solomon to 3 Questions Wednesday. Let’s get started!  First question–

 Can you describe yourself in three words?

Ginger:  Introvert, Mother, Writer

As a mother of 7 children, I would bet you have lots of patience also! Next question–

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Ginger:  Scotland, hands down. I would love to spend the time researching and visiting the castles. 😊 I’ve done my ancestry, and I’m not in any way Scottish (I am mostly Irish and English), but I have had a love for that country for a long time. I love their accents. I love castles. I have to say, though, that I will not be trying haggis. LOL

haggis-3094697__340Haggis is a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep’s or calf’s offal mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal’s stomach.

I had to look that up…ewwww!!  Now–

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Ginger:  It’s a newer song, but I’ve related to “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.

I have often felt like I’m not enough, that I will never measure up to other’s expectations. But one line keeps running through my head. It says, “The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me, in You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.”

I have to remember, daily, WHOSE I am. As another song says, “I am a child of God.” He is my father. He loves me. And even when I fail, He is there to pick me up, wipe away the grime, fix my boo-boos, and encourage me to try again. And again. And again.

Those are lovely songs with such beautiful messages.

Thanks, Ginger, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions and help your readers get to know you better.

Readers, Ginger will be giving away The Heart of Christmas collection to one commenter. So, leave her a comment, or ask her a question, and your name will go into the drawing for the book.

Click to Tweet: Author Ginger Solomon is our guest today at 3 Questions Wednesday. #InspiredPrompt #Interview #Christmasgiveaway


The Heart of Christmas: A Romantic Christmas Novella Collection

Announcing five new stories filled with faith, hope, forgiveness, and of course happily-ever-afters. Each story focuses on an element of the Nativity, from the angels to the wise men. Be swept up in the love of the season and the promise of forever that the Christ child, the true Heart of Christmas, brings.

On Angels’ Wings by Ginger Solomon
Bakery owner, Jenna Wing prepares to spend Thanksgiving alone—her first without her family. When her former neighbor, Thomas Hayes, invites her to dinner, she finds that she can’t say no. Their previous friendship turns to something more, but Thomas’s family issues threatens their new-found relationship.

No Room in His Heart by Bonita McCoy
What happens when Evie’s car breaks down on the highway and her only hope is the handsome, sure of himself inn owner who can’t find his phone and lives off pizza?
A sweet Christmas romance … with lots of zing that will have you laughing.

Born for You by Leah Fornier
Ryder has never set foot in a church. But when his best friend, Kenna, begs him to direct a church Christmas play, he can’t refuse. As he and Kenna work through a series of mishaps, Ryder finds himself drawn to the One born for him. And also to Kenna.

Finding Wisdom in Noel by Janie Winsell
Travel photographer Billie accepts an assignment in Noel, Montana, to escape her ex-fiance’s wedding. Aiden takes custody of his nephew Kris and embarks on a journey of parenthood. When a luggage mishap brings Billie and Aiden together, they must find healing and wisdom in order for their love to flourish.

Season of Forgiveness by Darcy Fornier
Ruby Larson adopted Ivy Carlyle as her granddaughter when Ivy helped her arrange her funeral. When Ruby’s estranged grandson, Denver Reese, appears, Ivy is reluctant to share Ruby’s attention. As the two plan Ruby’s Christmas, unexpected attraction draws them closer. But Ivy’s painful past challenges their friendship.

Introductory poems by Betty Boyd


Ginger 6 - brightened smallGinger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, books are on her mind.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.

You can connect with Ginger at:

Website

Inspy Romance Blog

Facebook Author Page.

Twitter @GingerS219

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

More Winners in November

Happy holidays! Christmas will be here before you know it.  Have you finished your decorating, baking and shopping? Me either.  But  I’ll get to it as soon as I tell you about our November winners…

Anne Baxter Campbell will give away a print or Kindle copy of Blessed by Time to Marilyn RCongrats!

Jean Peterson would love to give a gift card to her personal website to Katie Clark. Yay!

Judythe Morgan is gifting either a print or a Kindle copy of her book, When Love Blooms, to Ginger Solomon. Woo hoo!

Donna Schlachter is offering a free print copy of MissAdventure Brides Collection to Linda Matchett .

Our faithful readers mean so much to us. We appreciate each and every one of you. THANK YOU!

Myths and Merits of the Romance Genre

by Bonita Y. McCoy

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So, you think you want to write romance. I don’t blame you. The romance genre holds many wonderful opportunities for writers. Within romance, you can do serious, funny, suspenseful, or quirky stories, and the real plus, the readers always want a happily-ever-after ending. My favorite.

However, there are some myths about the genre that are floating around like bubbles on a sunny day, and they need to be popped before you settle on this genre as the one for you.

Myths

  • The Romance Genre is the easiest genre in which to write.

Wrong. All the same grammar rules and industry standards apply to the romance genre. It is no easier or harder than any other genre being written in the market today.

What should determine your genre of choice is what type of stories you love to read? If you love romance and stories that have a romantic subplot then you are a great candidate for becoming a romance writer, but if you lean more to adventure or science fiction and skip over the romantic sections, you won’t enjoy writing it any more than you do reading it.

  • With Romance, you only need to develop two characters.

Again, wrong. You may only write from the two main characters points of view, but just like any other genre, all the major characters need to be fully developed and well thought out.

Another aspect of romance writing that we forget is world building. If you write small town romances, you as the writer will have to build the small town. If you write about a character’s apartment or place of work, you will need to map out these places, so you can easily describe them in your novel.

  • The plot is not as important in a romance as the characters.

Do I need to say it? This too is a myth. No matter what type of story you write both the characters and the plot need to be believable. Though some genres are more character driven while others are more plot driven, both must run like a well-oiled machine. No holes, no clogged parts, no missing pieces.

  • The love will carry the story.

Emotional tension is the essence of good story telling, but the love in a romance can not be the only conflict or tension in the story. Your characters need baggage. Emotional, physical, mental, and any other type in order to make them real to the reader.

The love story should be powerful, but there must be more depth to the characters for the reader to be willing to go on the journey with the hero and heroine. Be creative in this area. Bring in something new and different for your characters to deal with in their daily lives. A handicapped relative, a retired parent, a critical diagnosis from the doctor, a crisis of faith, something that your reader may be dealing with in their own lives.

Now, that we have looked at the myths in the genre, let’s look at the merits. There are several advantages to writing romance.

Merits

  • It is the largest genre in the industry.

According to a Bookstr article in January 2017, romance was the number one best-selling genre clearing somewhere around 1.44 billion dollars. It is a large pond and plenty of room for newcomers to join in the fun.

  • Sub genres and tropes make the difference.

Another positive about writing in the best-selling genre is that there is a small sub genre for almost any trope you would like to write. If you want to write matchmaker romances, there is a sub genre for that. If you want to write billionaire romances, there is a place for that one too.  How about cowboy, boy next door, or fake relationships? They all fit as well.

  • Hope can be found in romance novels.

One of the best aspects of writing romance revolves around the encouragement romance writers give to their readers. Romance novels give hope. They uplift, encourage, rally, and entertain the reader through hard places in real life. They transport the reader to a place where even when its tough love conquers all. And for some, that is a place they need to visit to find a seed of hope for their own lives.

  • A Bond develops between the reader and the writer.

The romance genre weaves the threads of lives together to create a lasting bond, not between hero and heroine, but rather between reader and writer. Romance writers have a sacred trust with their readers. We will write a story that meets readers expectations of hope, love, and a happily-ever-after, and our readers will be loyal to return again and again to go on the journey with us. Romance readers are a loyal band.

Writing romances can be demanding just like any other genre of fiction, but the rewards far outweigh the frustrations. Once you’ve identified the myths that surround this genre and embraced the truth that any writing is work, you can better decide which genre is the right fit for you and your goals as a writer.

Remember, there are myths and merits in any genre. However, if you adore a sweet romance and you can’t wait to see how the hero and heroine end up together, then you might just be a romance writer who has found her home in the fiction world.

Click to tweet: The romance genre weaves the threads of lives together to create a lasting bond, not between hero and heroine, but rather between reader and writer.  #romance #amwriting

 

Writing Prompt: Maggie felt a little blue. She knew the next two weeks during Christmas would be hectic, but she consoled herself with the thought of the books she would take with her. Her own private world tucked in her suitcase.

Heart of Christmas bookAnnouncing five new stories filled with faith, hope, forgiveness, and of course happily-ever-afters. Each story focuses on an element of the Nativity, from the angels to the wise men. Be swept up in the love of the season and the promise of forever that the Christ child, the true Heart of Christmas, brings.  Available on Kindle and in Kindle Unlimited.

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Shelly Roark

Welcome to our latest edition of 3 Questions Wednesday, and say hello to Shelly Roark. Shelly is a senior copywriter for Focus on the Family and has released her debut children’s picture book.   Let’s get started!

First question:

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Shelly:  Giggly Chaotic Hugger.

Sounds like you’re a fun person. 🙂 Now here’s an interesting question—

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Shelly:  Right now it would be New York City and the reason can be summed up in one word . . . CHRISTMAS! I would absolutely love to hang out in New York and enjoy the wonderful onslaught of sights and sounds of the holidays.

That would be my kinda trip too. Last question—

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Shelly:  Hmmmmm. The Mission Impossible theme song. Not because my life is an impossible mission, but because I like to think of it as one exciting adventure after another. And, quite honestly, the music just makes me happy.

I like it!  Thanks, Shelly, for visiting us at 3 Questions Wednesday, and allowing our readers to know you better.

Click to Tweet: Focus on the Family senior copy editor, Shelly Roark,  answers our 3 Questions and you could win a copy of her debut children’s picture book release, The Bubble Who Would Not POP!  @InspiredPrompt   #Interview #giveaway

Readers, Shelly will give away a print copy of her book, The Bubble Who Would Not POP! US entries only. Please leave a comment below to be entered.


The Bubble Who Would Not POP!

The Bubble Who Would Not POP! shares the adventure of a determined bubble on a mission. Billy Bubble must get the green-eyed girl’s prayer to heaven! It’s not easy for a bubble to keep it together . . . will he see God before he pops? Join Billy on his surprising journey as he learns some life-changing lessons about God’s love and the power of prayer.

The book is available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Target, and other online outlets.


 Shelly Roark has been writing professionally for more than 25 years—from early years as a newspaper reporter to ghost writer for ministries and non-profits. Today, she is a senior copywriter for Focus on the Family.

Her debut children’s picture book—The Bubble Who Would Not POP!—recently received Gold in IBPA’s 2018 Benjamin Franklin/Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Children’s/YA) and the 2018 Silver Medal Illumination Book Award. Shelly and her husband Geoff live in Texas with their three teens. Website

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