Review From Multi-published Author Kimberly Adkins

A PLACE TO LAND
A Beautiful Love Story
Mary Vine is bringing ‘sexyback’ to ranching in this wonderfully crafted contemporary romance novel. I just loved this book in every way. The lush imagery she conveyed for the rugged Oregon backdrop was stunning as she managed to pull together the hot topic of a very controversial subject and the beginning of a smoldering relationship between two unlikely candidates. Uli, the heroine of the novel, is strong willed and determined to succeed throughout the storyline, but she carries a touching innocence that has you rooting for her all the way. Wow, what can I say about the sexy rancher, Jackson Holt, who crosses her path and finds her as irrestible as the reader? How about: Let me pack my bags and check out the ranches in Oregon myself!!
Be on the lookout for a few cameos from her previous novel and enjoy the charming banter between a couple of the secondary characters that had me laughing out loud. This novel is well worth the read and I look forward to seeing more from Ms. Vine in the future.

Writing Tips

Elijah writing a story
Elijah writing a story

First of all, believe you can write. Don’t let anyone’s opinion convince you otherwise. Poor contest scores or bad critiques can make you think about ending your writing career before it even gets started. My worst critique was done by a woman who said I had so many errors that she didn’t have the time or energy to critique more than a chapter, let alone a complete manuscript. Thankfully, I thought this was a rather outlandish thing to say to someone, sloughed it off and kept trying. It is a well-known fact that if you continue to write you get better. My writing improved and my manuscript went on to sell. Not everyone is going to like your writing, it is really all subjective; people don’t all like the same type of story.
What should I write about? Don’t worry about writing the type of story that is selling right now as something else may be in vogue when you finish. Instead, write the kind of book you love to read and add what you know or are interested in learning. Further, stretch your horizons. I thought I could only write fiction, but then found I could also write an article on something I knew about, and sold to a magazine, twice, before I sold a book.
Don’t wait for the perfect time to write; it will never come. I used to write on summer breaks from work, believing I could only write when I felt relaxed and stress free. Forget it. No one is ever stress free, so start writing. For example, I work with high school students and though I have many good days, today was not one of them, yet here I am at home this evening working on a blog.
Plan a time to write. Should I write on the weekend, after a busy week at work? Not necessarily. I discovered that if I wrote at least an hour after work each day, I had five hours of typing in and still had the weekend to spend with my family. If I had additional writing time on the weekend all the better, but if not I still felt like I’d gotten something written for the week and it was relatively easy to do.
Get your website started now-before you are published. I knew almost nothing about websites before my first book was published. With working full time, I focused on writing and thought I could worry about a website later. If you get your website started and learn how to get traffic coming through, this can be helpful information to include in your query and you’ll be able to focus on promoting your book when it is released.
Where do I send my work? Use a book like Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents, to find out who is looking for manuscripts similar to yours, plus find out what their hobbies or interests are. I happened to find a publisher that enjoyed stories about ranches, cowboys, and the gold mining history that I’d written about. Her interest helped me land the deal.
Don’t limit submissions. Shop your manuscript around, and don’t just submit to the big publishing companies. In this day and age of economic difficulties, the midlist is vanishing. Publishers have been sticking with big name authors who have proven to be money makers. If you can’t make a large house notice you, go for a smaller one. You’ll have an eBook or paperback you can hold in your hand, as well as writing credits an agent or larger company will take notice of.
Don’t be thinking you can quit your day job to write. Nora Roberts and Dean Koontz may have quit their day jobs, but Mary Vine can’t-yet. I know a writer who received $60,000 for a two book deal. That money may get one through a year, or two if you’re lucky, but you can’t count on a third sale coming when you need it. I’ve learned to write while I work and you can, too.
My best writing help didn’t come from a how-to book. Although I did learn about time management for the writer from a how-to book, my biggest help in making a sale came from joining a writers group. The value of a critique partner is considerable in getting your manuscript ready to submit. Believe it or not, you are too close to your work to see all the flaws, but a fellow writer can help spot them for you.
Keep reading. Reading is the way I learned how others put the words on the page, and gave me the desire to write. By continuing to read, my brain learned the process of weaving information, or details, into a book. One of the most important things to do is to keep reading; the more you read, the more you will learn how to write.

Happy New Year Review

Got a great review for A PLACE TO LAND from Coffee Time Romance:
“…A Place to Land is a thoroughly enchanting story. It has a mixture of romance, intrigue and wonderful characterization for the story to flow at a good pace. I loved the robust characters of Uli and Jackson, as well as the premise of the storyline. It was interesting watching Uli trying to develop her own style when coming to America. Mary Vine spins a story that is beautifully told, wonderfully composed and keeps the reader turning the pages. I love how she tells the story of the wolves. The reader gets a great visual view of the landscape, the wolves and the true beauty in this magnificent read. “

A Place To Land

Author: Mary Vine
ISBN: 978-1-934912-22-5
Price: $12.95 paperback
Price: $6.00 Ebook (PDF format)
Pages: 176 paperback

Coming 12.1.09!

Description:

She isn’t afraid of the big, bad wolf.
But he’s a little concerned about her.

When Uli Maslova’s impoverished family left Russia for America, she was only ten years old. From that point on, she’s been determined to make the American dream hers. When Headline Magazine offers the perfect story with which to launch her new writing career, Uli travels across Oregon to find out exactly how wolf and cowboy mix. As she finds her spirit guide in the wolf and her soul mate in the cattle rancher, a mysterious danger seems bent on finding her.

Movie-star handsome, Jackson Holt owns one of the largest ranches in eastern Oregon and like most ranchers, is none too happy with wolves crossing over the Idaho border near his livestock. The last thing he needs is a semi-environmentalist, journalist wannabe dogging his footsteps. Sure, Uli may be bright and sexy, but her need to prove herself and help her family threaten to lead her into the kind of harm he can’t protect her from—when all he wants to give her is … a place to land.

In Maya’s Gold, Maya filled a casserole dish with burritos and took them over to her neighbor, Alice. This is the recipe I was thinking about when I wrote this section of the story – Mary Vine

Maya Valentine’s Burrito Recipe            

(Burritos, Old El Paso Sun Country Mexican Cookbook)

12 8-inch flour tortillas
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 16-ounce cans Old El Paso Refried Beans
1 large tomato, chopped
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut in 12 wedges
Old El Paso Taco Sauce

Wrap stack of tortillas tightly in foil; heat in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Cook onion in hot oil until tender but not brown. Add refried beans; cook and stir till heated through. Spoon about 1/3 cup bean mixture onto each tortilla near one edge. Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado wedge. Fold edge nearest filling up and over filling just until mixture is covered. Fold in two sides, envelope fashion, then roll up. Arrange on baking sheet; bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through. Pass taco sauce. Makes 12 burritos.

The Writer’s Mind

Have you ever wondered what goes through the mind of a writer? Is the author constantly preoccupied with stories to write? Writers are often called eccentric and maybe it’s because they can spend hours alone writing at the computer without the need to see another, wearing a bathrobe all day and mumbling to themselves.  I usually make it out of my bathrobe in the morning and do see others, but I know I can be in my own little world, not always paying attention, yet I can usually get away with it as I use my blonde hair to my advantage.

In actuality, the writer’s mind may not be much different than any other brain; however, sometimes something happens in the sub-conscious where ideas flow naturally or even seem to come out of the blue. Perhaps that is where talent lies for other occupations as well, not only can one have the skills but also the enjoyment that comes along with it to make one continue a project until it is finished.

But then there are those times when the ideas don’t flow, what many would call writer’s block. For example, when I’m not working on my work in progress what passes through my mind is below and it goes something like this:

Typing my story:
Sally walked along the sidewalk with her hand in her purse and her eyes on a smudge of dirt on the toe of her new Prada shoe.

Typing stops, I’m thinking:
I better turn on the radio for some background noise. There. Good song.

Typing:
Stopping, she took her other hand and wiped the dirt off her shoe.

Typing stops, I’m thinking:
I think I’ll have some walnuts. I’ve read they’re good for me. No, maybe some yogurt –  less calories. That was good. Now, what should I make for dinner? Okay, I’ll get some chicken out of the freezer. Then maybe vacuum the floor.

Finally typing:
She looked up into steely blue eyes above shoulders the size of a quarterback’s and let out a squeak – no, breath of air –  and stopped on her toes.

Typing stops, I’m thinking:
I better check to see if I got an email from my publisher. I’ll just skim over the other emails <laughs> and then get back to writing.

Typing:
“Excuse me!” she said, appalled she’d almost mowed down this man. She looked him up and down…

Well, you get the picture. Now I’m not obsessed with food and I’m of average weight, but the truth of it is, this is what can go through a writer’s mind if he or she doesn’t have a plan. If the writer doesn’t have a plan when she sits her behind on the chair, she can definitely waste her time.

Many writers say they don’t use an outline to write a story. I wrote four without an outline. Back in those days, I had a more leisurely schedule. My writing time has suddenly become more important since I sold a manuscript, then two, and I’d like to finish writing another one within the next year as this is best practice for my publishing house. Times have changed for me; no longer can I pursue the business of writing without a plan. It’s a different world than when I started out writing. I now need some sort of an outline to follow, whether I look at it step by step or not.  I also need to write down how much time I will spend reading email, twittering, face book, blog, and getting my name out there online. Currently,  no matter the size of your publishing house, you are expected to get your book out there on the world wide web.

Believe me, I don’t want to sit in my bathrobe all day typing, but have more of a balance. Yet, the time I do have to write needs to be as productive as it can be and for me that means a plan will have to be in place, so that my writer’s mind will flow naturally.

web headquarters for author Mary Vine