What is a Novella?

Novella (nō-ˈve-lə)
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea––what do they all have in common? They are all novellas. 
What is a novella? A work of fiction, longer than a short story, shorter than a novel; a common literary genre. As you can see from the examples listed above, it’s not a new idea. 
From Robert Silverberg (Sailing to Byzantium): [The novella] is one of the richest and most rewarding of literary forms…it allows for more extended development of theme and character than does the short story, without making the elaborate structural demands of the full-length book. Thus it provides an intense, detailed exploration of its subject, providing to some degree both the concentrated focus of the short story and the broad scope of the novel.
Whatever its origin or purpose, the novella is a lovely idea. 
A Dozen Apologies is a collaborative* novella from Write Integrity Press. As the story begins, a beautiful young woman named Mara Adkins has lost her job, her confidence, and most of her self-esteem. She ends up back home with her parents. You can read the opening chapter here.
I was asked to contribute one chapter, creating a destination, a hero and his occupation. And the story would need to flow together with the chapters of eleven other writers. And one more thing––our readers would be asked to vote on their favorite hero. That guy will star in the final chapter and have the chance to win Mara’s heart. Sounds like fun, right? Especially since the readers––I hope that includes you––won’t know who wrote which chapter until it’s all over.
So there you have it. What began as a brilliant idea in the mind of the very talented Fay Lamb, (you can read about her idea here) and with the help of her editor, Tracy Ruckman, is now on its way to you. 
I hope you’ll have time to read the chapters as they become available. And when all the chapters are posted, please vote on your favorite hero. When the votes are in, the final chapter will be added and the completed novella will be released as an ebook on Valentine’s Day. Oh, and here’s the best part of all––it will be a FREE download on February 14th, 15th, and 16th. 
*produced or conducted by two or more parties working together

Jennifer Hallmark – God’s Plans vs. My Own

The Big Four Bridge and Hillbilly Tea!

The last Thursday of June followed huge thunderstorms rolling through our area, dumping several inches of rain on the Bluegrass. Along with a hefty helping of lightning. I got up this morning and checked our yard for fallen trees. Always glad to see them still standing.

I hope your summer is a grand one, filled with happy memories. I’ve walked across the Ohio River on the Big Four Bridge, with my youngest son, Todd. Once a railroad bridge, it’s now refurbished as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. It adorns the new Riverfront Park in downtown Louisville. It’s free and lots of fun. Good exercise, too. I applaud Metro Louisville for their efforts.

We visited a restaurant downtown called Hillbilly Tea, located in an old warehouse. They serve some fantastic teas, and something called bamboo ash biscuits. If you can get past the gray color of the biscuit, I think you’ll enjoy the taste.

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed a favorite author, Fay Lamb, regarding her new release, Stalking Willow. I gave away a print copy of her book to Debbie Malone, then a couple of weeks later, Linda Hillenbrand won the ebook copy. I love giving things away, especially since I enjoyed this book so much. By the way––you can read my review of Stalking Willow here.

I hope your summer is measuring out fun for you. If not, maybe you need to go out and find it. Take some time off or spend a Saturday out roaming around. Visit places of interest, historical sites, or museums. Walk along a riverbank in the quiet of the afternoon, or relax by the pool. Spend time with your family and take lots of pictures. Remember to relax and enjoy life a little. Sunshine seems to make everything better.

Thanks for stopping by and if I don’t see you before then, Happy 4th of July!

What Lies Ahead

What lies ahead? This question can be taken several ways.
(1) What lies ahead? Beware of liars. Lies can cause you pain.
(2) What lies ahead? Is that a tree in the road? Or a crocodile? Will the road I travel be worry-free? Or fraught with troubles?
(3) What lies, a head? Okay, that’s stretching it. Kind of like, “What you got on, your mind?”

What lies ahead for me is a little difficult to see right now. But with preparation and planning, my future will seem less of an obstacle. Light shining in the darkness dispels fear. Well, unless it shines on a big, hairy monster under my bed. But if it’s a big, blue hairy monster with a crooked grin…not so scary (Disney’s Monsters, Inc. for those of you not Disney savvy).

I’m trying to turn my scary future into a big, blue monster with a crooked grin. Something cuter and more cuddly than the looming unknown I see now. Thus the charts and graphs in my life. The timetables and calendars. I’m trying to gain control of a seemingly uncontrollable entity––time.

And then, there’s the other factor. Salability (is that a word?). Am I salable? Yep, it’s a word, looked it up. The real question is, “Can I produce work that will sell?” Well, I’ve already done that, to a degree. My books continue to seep out on the internet. I continue to receive funds in various accounts. Small, seemingly insignificant amounts, but there. I want to do more, so I have to make a push for something bigger and better.

So, what lies ahead for me? One of my favorite scriptures comes from Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

The context of these scriptures is this: God is speaking through Jeremiah about Israel’s return from captivity. Their future is bright; if they will follow His commands and seek Him with all their hearts.

Here, in this place, nearly halfway through 2013, I’m endeavoring to follow God’s commands and search out His road to my future. I’m writing down my vision, for without a vision, I can’t accomplish what I’m setting out to do.

I hope you’ll be encouraged by my ramblings, and plan your future also. Running willy-nilly towards the future is like cringing in the dark, afraid of monsters. Make a plan and stick to it. Accomplish your dreams.

As always, thanks for reading!

Contest winner!

May’s book give away winner is: Deborah Malone. You have won a copy of Fay Lamb’s Stalking Willow.

Thanks, all of you who took the time to enter my contest. I hope you will look for and find Fay’s books online. They are well worth the price of a download or purchase.

Expiration Date: June 15, 2013
It’s Not Over! This contest hasn’t ended. Until June 15th, you can still enter to win! Fay is giving away the Ebook Stalking Willow. Please leave a comment here and let me know if you want the Ebook!