#CoverReveal – Clare’s Christmas Wish


#CoverReveal of…
Clare’s Christmas Wish

This is for those of you who are not connect to me on Facebook or Twitter. Those of you who are got to see the cover reveal, because I was given the go-ahead on my anniversary.  😀  And let’s face it, I couldn’t wait. *sorry. heehee*

Clare’s Christmas Wish was a labor of love and I will go through a few posts later on and tell you my inspiration for this story. I hope it inspires readers to look past themselves and to give. Clare’s Christmas Wish is a book on volunteering and being thankful for what you have.

Without further ado, I give you the cover art of…



Eugene Ruble did a fantastic job on the cover.  I haven’t gotten to see the gallery yet, but a I cannot wait.

Guardian Angel Publishing is the publisher for this book and it is my 7th book with them. *I think they like me*

Let me know what you think of the cover!
Would you be interested in doing a review of it?
Stay tune for the BOOK TRAILER, links, and the ‘What Inspired Me’ post!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!


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SOUTHERN BREEZE WIK BLOG TOUR: Janice Hardy, writer extraordinaire

Hello all,

I was scheduled to post this while we had a family emergency. For those of you who are friends with me on FaceBook… Tim, a/k/a The Hubs, had another stay in the hospital this week with heart problems. When he got there they had to put nitro paste on him and wound up giving him 3 nitro tabs back to back to back (while the paste was on him too) to finally get the pressure to ease off. Then they ran the gauntlet of tests and great news… he is text-book material for what you want to look like post-op!!! They are treating him for angina right now and we are following up with his cardiologist.

So yesterday was my catch up on sleep day. And now I’m finally getting this to post….

I am excited to be hosting an interview for one of our panelist of the Southern Breeze WIK conference coming up  next month. Please welcome:


Janice Hardy

Hi Janice and welcome to ‘a writers’ blog’.

I wanted to ask you some questions about the writing process and your upcoming workshop.

  1. Your upcoming workshop will help writers focus more on the ‘showing’ part of their writing. What is the biggest mistake a writer does?

I don’t know if it’s the biggest, but the most common is to shift out of the character’s point of view and start explaining, which almost always comes across as told and distances the reader from the character.

  1. What is the easiest way to spot ‘telling’ in a story?

I look for red flag words that often appear when we’re telling. Adverbs are big ones, as they can usually be rewritten to show more. Motivational flags like “to” and “with” are also common. A few emotional red flags include felt and saw. These are all types of words I’ll be talking about in my workshop, actually.

  1. How you approach your manuscript with an editor’s eye?

I let the manuscript sit for a few weeks to gain some distance on it before editing. That lets me see what’s actually on the page and not what I remember writing. It’s also helpful to pick one or two things to check on at a time so I can focus. Like I’ll check for character motivations, or look for awkward phrasings, maybe search for known troublemakers like passive verbs or my “use way too often” words (just and only are some of mine).

I’ll also do marco structure and story edits first, then work down to the smaller lines edits. There’s no use polishing text if the story itself isn’t flowing well and working as a whole. Once the plot and story arcs are how I want them, then I’ll start on the text itself.

  1. Has joining SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) helped in any way?

It’s been a great support and networking system, and the conferences are always fun and educational. We writers spend so much time alone, it’s good to get out and mingle with our peers.

  1. How do you handle teaching the fundamentals of writing?

When I was starting out, I found it frustrating to read advice such as, “show don’t tell by using strong nouns and verbs” that never went into more depth on the specifics. I knew what I should have been doing, but I had no clue how to do it, or if I was doing it right.

On my blog and in my workshops, I offer tips and examples that someone can apply directly to their work. The examples are incredibly helpful since I can point to exactly what’s making a sentence weak and show how a few tweaks can improve it.

I also like to analyze the whys of writing as much as the whats, because it’s all so subjective and what works for one writer might not for another. If we understand the reasoning behind a “writing rule” then we have the tools to apply that concept however we choose.

  1. What are some of the key steps you think new writers need to grasp?

I’m a huge believer that mastering point of view will solve 99% of common writing problems. If a writer understands POV, then showing comes naturally, description is easier to write, character goals are clear, the stakes are personal, and stories feel more organic.

  1. What about key ingredients to bring a reader into your work?

My high school creative writing teacher said something that has always stuck with me. Stories are about interesting people solving interesting problems in interesting ways. So I try to give readers an interesting character trying to do something intriguing and make them wonder what will happen next.

Basic terms: a great character doing something (not being passive) that poses a question the reader wants an answer to. For example, the opening line of my MG fantasy is: “Stealing eggs is a lot harder than stealing the whole chicken.” That poses several questions that might hook a reader. Why are eggs harder to steal than chickens? Why is the narrator stealing eggs? Will she get caught?

  1. Is there anything you see more experienced writers miss more than others?

I don’t think it’s a matter of missing things, more like everyone has their own pet peeves or styles. For example, I have a hard time getting into books with distant narrators, so omniscient third person is a hard read for me. I could say “that writer needs to work on their POV” but that’s not accurate, because they might be doing an awesome job at third omni, but it’s just not my preference. Same as someone who loves descriptions would probably say I need to work on mine, because I prefer to be sparse there.

  1. Any other advice you would like to give?

First drafts usually stink, so don’t worry if yours does. It’s more important to get the story down and then edit after. There is no right way to write, there’s just the way that works for you. If something isn’t working, try something new. Processes evolve as writers evolve. No matter what problem you might be having, take heart in knowing that another writer somewhere is going through the same thing. You’re not alone.

Thanks so much for your time!!! I know a lot of Breezers are looking forward to your workshop and will receive great advice.

Go check out Janice’s bio, her web site and have a great time at the WIK Conference all!!!

Janice Hardy Bio:

Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, BLUE FIRE and DARKFALL. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel. You can chat with her about writing on her blog, The Other Side of the Story, or find her on Twitter @Janice_Hardy.


Blog: http://blog.janicehardy.com/

The Healing War Trilogy

The Shifter

Blue Fire


and while you’re at it, go check out the other stops of our SOUTHERN BREEZE WIK CONFERENCE BLOG TOUR!

Aug. 28            Author Matt de la Peña at Stephanie Moody’s Moodyviews

                        Editor Lou Anders at F.T. Bradley’s YA Sleuth

Aug. 29            Author Doraine Bennett at Jodi Wheeler-Toppen’s Once Upon a Science Book

                        Author Robyn Hood Black at Donny Seagraves’ blog

Aug. 30            MFA program director Amanda Cockrell at Elizabeth Dulemba’s blog

                        Illustrator Prescott Hill at Gregory Christie’s G.A.S.

Aug. 31            Author Heather Montgomery at Claire Datnow’s Media Mint Publishing blog

                        Editor Michelle Poploff at Laura Golden’s Just Write

Sept. 3             Author Nancy Raines Day at Laurel Snyder’s blog

                        Author Jennifer Echols at Paula Puckett’s Random Thoughts from the Creative Path

Sept. 4             Editor Dianne Hamilton at Ramey Channell’s The Painted Possum

                        Author Janice Hardy at Tracey M. Cox’s A Writer’s Blog

Sept. 5             Author / illustrator Sarah Frances Hardy at Stephanie Moody’s Moodyviews

                        Agent Sally Apokedak at Cheryl Sloan Wray’s Writing with Cheryl

Sept. 6             Agent Jennifer Rofe at Cathy Hall’s blog

                        Author / illustrator Chris Rumble at Cyrus Webb Presents

FreePass Friday… Get a glimpse into the publishing world

Good Morning and Happy Friday!

I am happy to be able to go indepth today and give you a glimpse into the publishing world by posting an interview with Editor/Publisher of Guardian Angel Publishing, Lynda S. Burch.
Hope you find some great tidbits…


Welcome to FreePass Friday. Today I am interviewing Lynda S. Burch, Publisher/Editor of Guardian Angel Publishing.


T: Hello, Lynda.

L: Hi Tracey


T: Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself and your publishing house?

L: I’m the sole owner/publisher of Guardian Angel Publishing.Where our publishing goals are to lovingly create fun, affordable and educational print books and ebook computer experiences for your preschoolers and primary age children. Guardian Angel Publishing believes we can change the world by investing in children one child at a time. The seeds of the influence from our books will live longer than we do and a harvest of knowledge and vibrant faith will help transform a time we may never see.


T: Guardian Angel Publishing was producing eBooks before the bigger names ever thought about going to this line. What made you decide to go into eBooks?

L:  I saw a need for children’s ebooks. When I started writing musical eBooks to be played on the computer, I got wonderful feedback from big publishers but they didn’t know what to do with them. So I started Guardian Angel as an eBook publisher and opened to submissions, but within about about a year we expanded our lines of books and we started going to print, too.


T: What different formats are Guardian Angel Publishing’s eBooks available on?

L: Our ebooks are in PDF, Flip book format on CD, many are in video TV formats, Adobe Digital Glass Books, Mobi & prc- for Kindles, epubs, and are presently working on new formats for the iPhone, iPad and android generation- like the Demibooks which are in Beta testing. We also have books available at BeThereBedtimeStories where you buy a book and record yourself with your video cam reading the stories and playing them back to your kids or grandkids wherever they live- an awesome ebook product for traveling, military families and more.


T: Where can you find Guardian Angel Publishing’s eBooks?

L: Our ebooks are available at Follett Digital Resources for schools and libraries, B&N ebookstore, Fictionwise ebookstore, and ebook distribution networks globally and some are at Amazon- but not all until they come out with a color Kindle. We also sell heavily in the homeschool market at The Old Schoolhouse Store.


T: Do you feel as if you have a leg up on the competitors? Even the bigger houses because you have been doing eBook formatting for a much longer time period?

L: Yes undoubtedly and we also share in the bestseller market even though we are a small independent publisher and are positioned to change and expand our ebook market and formats with much more speed than most companies.


T: Guardian Angel Publishing has printed books available. What made you go into printing?

L: Buyers still wanted to hold books in their hands so we accommodated them.


T: How has the conversion to eBooks come across to you? Have you seen more respect? How are people taking it all in?

L: Yes of course- the big boys are scarmbling to catch up particularly since the ebook market exploded and so many people are self-publishing their own ebooks.


T: Guardian Angel Publishing is a labor of love for sure. How do you decide what type of books you accept?

L: The simplest description is they have to grab me. I need to be able to “see” the art for a story. Or I have to feel my heartstrings get tugged.


T: Are there any major turnoffs?

L: Yes too many submissions of poorly written stories. Or people don’t even look up what kind of publisher we are. We only publish for 0-12 year old children. But you wouldn’t believe some of the submissions we see. Also a big not- not everyone can write rhyming stories.


T: What types of things really stand out and catch your attention to a storyline?

L: Its not one thing in particular but I do love an educational value added or a story with a moral built-in but nothing preachy or domineering.


T: What piece of advice do you wish all writers would take?

L: Hone their writing skills. Writing in an evolutionary process. We are constantly growing and learning new skills and techniques. Join writing groups. Learn their market and see what is published.


T: How many submissions does Guardian Angel Publishing take in during the times you are open?

L: 800- 1000 submissions and we are only open 6 months a year for submissions.


T: I know that it is tough to get published. The amount of submissions you receives gives us a glimpse of the staggering numbers that are against us. Of the submissions you receive, about how many do you offer contracts for?

L: I publish about 60-70 books a year. Do the math.


T: What is your goal for Guardian Angel Publishing? Where do you see the company in 5 or 10 years from now?

L: Onward and upward. We are already establishing ourselves with national and international award winning books and always hope to achieve more.


T: Any other tips or tid bits you would like to add here? Include the magazine?

L: We expanded our internet presence in January 2010 with our free monthly online magazine- 

Guardian-Angel-Kids.com where kids can read, be read to by the computer, play online games, download free books & coloring pages, read articles, stories, poems, watch book videos and more. Its pretty cool and all for free with no commercials or popups to take the kids into unwanted territory.


Thanks bunches, Lynda. I really appreciate all you have done for the publishing industry and having the forethought of eBooks.

Til next time,




FreePass Friday

Welcome everyone. I want to welcome Margaret Rose to my little corner of cyberspace. Pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee and get ready to dig into writing.

Tracey, thanks for having me. This is my very first appearance on a GAP family member blog and I’m so excited to be here.

Margaret, would you like to tell me a little bit about your writing career?

I have a degree in news writing and editing and have been a professional writer for more years than I’m going to say. My favorite job was as a disk jockey and to give you a clue as to how many years ago, I spun the disks for Saturday night requests. 😉

In between, I’ve managed multi-million dollar ad campaigns and worked with shoestring budgets, too. I freelance feature articles for business-to-business magazines mostly about commercial construction, architecture, oil refineries, and road construction – all the cool stuff guys like to talk about but not with girls. LOL Men are always surprised when we start talking and I “get” the subject even if I don’t know the details. I really love writing for magazines. If the market ever came back strongly enough, I’d quit my day job – which is writing direct marketing in the credit union industry – and just write for magazines. It’s quite lucrative and there’s always something new to learn.

I began writing fan fiction about four years ago and that turned into writing romance novels. I sold my first book in late December 2008. Since August 2009, I’ve had five novels and my children’s book published.

Wow, Margaret! That’s very impressive. You have definitely been playing the field in literature. You mentioned that you write for children and adults. What is the biggest difference between the two?

In some ways there’s no difference, because you are writing to appeal to a specific type of reader. So, you need to understand that and not lose sight of it when you’re developing your story and characters. I’m noodling on a young adult piece about not caving into peer pressure when your passion happens to be an unpopular choice. In this case, I’m delving into the mind of a middle-teen and trying to appeal to the emotions and choices they must make to be happy while fitting in to the pressures of high school. I have a child this age at home so I feel more comfortable writing this than if I didn’t. Kids are smart. They’ll nail you if you aren’t believable just as adults will.

The other significant difference I experience is the complexity of plots and subplots. Adult books give me much greater leverage to explore subjects and characters that I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing as a young adult/children’s author.

How do you get your ideas between the different genres?

Sometimes I see a photo or a concept comes to mind and I just let my subconscious work on the image or story concept for awhile. For example, I’m going to write a ghost story soon. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking about these characters, coming up with names, and bits and pieces of the plot will come to me. I’ll write those down. When that book comes in cue, I’ll start fleshing out these areas – in fiction writing, I’m called a PLOTTER not a PANTSER (I do not “wing it”). My young adult piece has been swirling in my brain for months. I’ve scrapped one approach completely and am now working through story issues.

How did you get started writing?

I’m a born writer. It is my passion. I write almost every single day and between my writing job, the books and all the promotion that goes along with it, I probably write 60 hours a week.

What are your biggest goals with your writing?

I just want a reader to be glad they spent the money on one of my books and enjoyed every word. That seems a simple goal, but it’s not. Writing is very subjective and the reader reactions are equally so.

How do you hold yourself accountable to those goals?

I’m very disciplined. I have a 1,000 word-per-day goal and I work hard to improve as a writer. Many readers think we can just write what we want, how we want. But authors know that isn’t true by any stretch of the imagination. Excellent writers have mastered the most challenging aspects of writing and know there is always something new to learn. I want to be an excellent writer.

You are a true testament of hard work paying off. Writing is definitely something you have to work at. If you could write anything and have it published, what would it be about?

LOL Gosh, that’s a good one. I don’t think I know. I will say, however, that I’m really glad to live in America and be able to write what I want. There are many brilliant authors whose voices are silent because of political and religious censure.

What is the worst idea you’ve ever come up with?

Teasing a bull in a pasture and then trying to dive through an electrified fence to escape. It was hair-raising.

Hahahahaha! ❤ it!!! Which story of yours do you think is the best?

I like them all for different reasons. As an author, you have to be passionate about what you’re writing or it’ll be soggy on the page. I have favorite characters and scenes, and great memories from each piece I’ve written.

How do you market yourself and your books?

I pound the electronic pavement pretty hard. I belong to several author groups, including Guardian Angels, and a number of reader sites, such as Goodreads. It’s all pretty time consuming, when you add this to your website (I have two), blogs (I have three), and e-mail (don’t ask…I might implode). I participate in contests, reviews, volunteer to help other authors, trade blog appearances, I have signings, send out autographed books, and I leave my cute bookmarks accidently here and there (a sneaky marketing thing to do). I recently walked into an electronics store, Googled myself on all the iPads and left them up that way. 😉 I’m very involved in social media for my adult books.

ROFL!!!! I must remember the iPads the next time I’m in the electronic department. VERY SAVY!!!! How do you separate yourself from the world to write?

I have an office at home but I also have children at home and my husband works at home. The kids have grown up with mom banging on the keyboard. I worked from home for about 12 years, too, so they sort of get that they need to stay out of my hair some of the time. But they live there and I spend a lot of time working – yes, I’m a workaholic – so it’s unreasonable to ask them to tiptoe around all the time. I’ve learned to tune things out and get in the zone or spend my time answering e-mail and writing blog posts until it’s quieter. It has to be pretty quiet for me to edit.

If we could know one thing about you, what would surprise us the most?

I’ve panned for gold in Alaska (and found some).

Also, give yourself a plug… any web pages? Books? Or any other tidbits you would like to include.

Since we’re talking family books here, then of course I want to recommend my sweet nursery rhyme, First Spring! It’s the story of a young child’s experiences with Mother Nature after a long, cold winter.

First Spring by Margaret Rose

You can find me at Margaret Rose Writes (www.MargaretRoseWrites.blogspot.com). Please come by to say hello! It’s always hard to get to know new people. Please become one of my blog friends!

Buy a copy of First Spring at Guardian Angels Publishing. http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/first-spring.htm

I’m excited to announce that Margaret has been gracious enough to run a contest too! WOOO-HOOOO! Look below to find out how you can enter for a chance to win an autograph copy of “First Spring”.


I’d love to give away an autographed copy of First Spring. I wrote this book for my son, Dylan, and we’re having so much fun co-autographing the copies. He has created many special memories for me and doing this with him has created special memories for us.
So this is what we need you to do:
Leave a comment here sharing your favorite memories of you with your child in nature. Was it a first swimming lesson? A crazy frog that scared your child in the grass? A bug that chased you into the house or out of your sleeping bags? Silly, heartwarming, scary, crazy, I don’t care, just tell your story. You could win the book. If you live outside the U.S. or prefer, you will receive an eBook instead.
Don’t forget your name & e-mail address!
We will announce a winner January 28th.

Til the next time.
Best wishes,