A God-Wink Book

by Rose Allen McCauley

Have you ever heard the term Godwink? I had the privilege of taking a Christian cruise a few years ago with Squire Rushnell and his wife Louise DuArt. They used this phrase and wrote a whole series of books about the times God has winked at them and others by revealing something unexpected to them. I was reminded of this term a few weeks ago when Squire appeared on The Mike Huckabee Show. Also when Kathleen Gifford used the term over Christmas in one of the Hallmark shows we watched.

My latest book from Barbour came about through a Godwink God sent me through a library magazine. I read about real life canal boats and the hardships the workers went though while working on the Erie Canal. I thought it would make a great Christian fiction book about romances along the Erie Canal at its various locations. So, I contacted Rebecca Germany of Barbour, and she liked the ideal and suggested my agent Tamela Hancock Murray and I find some other authors to write it with me. And that is how The Erie Canal Brides Collection came about!

It was not only a Godwink, but a true blessing to me and the other six authors. We had so much fun working together and learning more than we ever knew about the building of the canal and the people it affected. Like in my story, I learned that the women of Zoar Ohio helped the men of the town build their section of the canal. Some of the women even ended up partially bald from carrying baskets of dirt on their heads! Ouch!

So, the next time you have a strange idea or encounter I hope you will stop and ask God what He might be trying to reveal to you. Then listen! You never know what He can make of it!

Click to Tweet: Author Rose McCauley shares her “Godwink” experience and a chance for readers to win “The Erie Canal Brides Collection,” via @InspiredPrompt. We’re giving away books throughout March! #CR4U #romance

The Erie Canal Brides Collection

The Erie Canal Brides Collection has seven romance stories that take you back to the building of the Erie Canal and the opening of the Midwest to greater development.

Completed in 1825, the Erie Canal connected the Great Lakes to the Hudson River, and soon other states like Ohio created canals linking Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Suddenly the Midwest was open to migration, the harvesting of resources, and even tourism. Join seven couples who live through the rise of the canals and the problems the waterways brought to each community, including land grabs, disease, tourists, racism, and competition. Can these couples hang on to their faith and develop love during times of intense change?

Who am I? A former city gal who married this farmer over 50 years ago. Last spring we celebrated our 50th anniversary on Maui after the dinner our family gave us with friends from middle school, high school, college and all throughout the years. I like to read and write stories set in small towns with quirky characters. And thank God and give Him all the glory for all that He has given us!


Writing Emotional Scenes

by Rose Allen McCauley

Randy Ingermanson aka “The Snowflake Guy” is the first teacher who started me thinking about the perfect emotional scene—one that makes the reader so identify with the characters that they can’t stop reading!

I’ve been a lifelong reader since the age of five. When I first started writing as an adult, I knew a little about plot and characters, but Randy’s premise is that if your readers can’t relate to your plot and characters it doesn’t matter. Why would they spend time reading about something or someone they can’t identify with? That set me off on a path to find and read as many emotive writers as possible.

This leads us to the first lesson in writing emotional scenes.

Read and study the writers who touch your own heart.

My favorite writer of emotional scenes and characters (along with many other readers!) is Karen Kingsbury. I met her at one of the early ACFW conferences and bought A Time to Embrace (about a marriage about to disintegrate) and the first book of the Redemption series (containing adultery and murder.) Although I didn’t have any personal experience with any of those topics, Karen wrote such believable, flawed characters, often with kind hearts, that I wanted to keep reading about them and rooting for them!

Another author whose characters I can easily relate to is Deb Raney.  Her first book was A Vow to Cherish about a woman with Alzheimer’s whose husband has many decisions to make. Again, I had never faced anything like that, but the love and caring between the husband and wife made me want to keep reading to see how they handled it.

I hate to even try to name other authors out there who write great emotional scenes because there so many of them, and we each have our favorites as well as favorite genres. If you are not sure whom you want to try, I suggest you ask a friend with similar tastes in books or look through a CBD catalog or read the back cover blurb in bookstores or the library or online.

A second lesson in writing emotional scenes is Show instead of Telling. Parts of all books have some telling for smoothness or brevity, so some narration or description is okay.

But, instead of: Mark was angry when he got off the phone with Sharon.

Try this: Mark punched the button to disconnect the call, pulled his arm back and let the phone fly in a pitch that would’ve made Hank Aaron jealous. The phone ricocheted off the couch and clattered to the floor.

“That woman!” he spat out.

A third way to keep the readability factor going is to use foreshadowing to show that something you mention in an earlier chapter is going to factor into a later chapter—just make sure you follow through with that promise!

A great example of this is what literary greats refer to as Chekhov’s Gun: “If in Act One you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act.”

Use objects, people, phrases, and even situations to set up your reader for what will eventually become a pay-off if they keep reading.

Great writers are also known for using evocative words to describe the scenery to suggest mystery or danger, so make sure you use all of the senses and keep editing until you find the perfect words to describe each scene or character.

Another way to keep your readers reading is to make characters have to decide between two, or more hard choices. We’ve all had to do that in real life, and so can sympathize with the character who has to make a hard decision—often one that is going to affect someone they care about.

Most of us like characters we can sympathize with, and some people even like characters they can love to hate! We all have different personalities, so keep experimenting until you find characters and writers who keep you coming back for more. To me, the main thing that makes me want to read the same author again is if I keep thinking about the characters after I finish the book, because they have become so real to me! Like the Velveteen Rabbit! I think that is the reason many of us love series.

I once read that Elmore Leonard wrote,  “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” I hope my thoughts will help you do that by using some of these tips to write emotionally charged scenes.  And if you are like me, you will find it is a lifelong pursuit!

Here’s a writing prompt in case you want to try to add some of these tools to your writing box:

Pretend you are writing the follow-up book to Where the Red Fern Grows, or Charlotte’s Web. Write the opening paragraph in a way that grabs your reader by the emotions. Feel free to share your work in the comments below. 

Click to Tweet: Most of us like characters we can sympathize with, and some people even like characters they can love to hate. Writing Emotional Scenes via @InspiredPrompt #amwriting #writingtips