Monday, February 17, 2014


As an employment missionary, I've begun to notice the similarities between hopeful authors and job seekers. This post helps answer the questions "What do I say? What do I do?" for both.
The ANWA writers’ conference is nearing. It’s time to lay a plan to make this event work for you. To do that, you should think of it as a networking opportunity. The best, actually.

How often do you get the opportunity to speak with 100 or more writers/authors/editors/agents under one roof? Don’t be afraid of those ‘more published’ than you. Don’t shy away from the editors and agents. Take a deep breath and remind yourself, they are here to meet you.

It takes a bit of the pressure off to remind yourself that they are also human. So, don’t sit back in the shadows. Go out and make a few contacts. Meet some new friends. Enjoy the company of ‘old’ friends. And remember the rules of networking:


State your name clearly

If you shake hands, don’t be a limp fish.

AND, do not monopolize the time of others no matter how fascinating you find them.

Visit. Don’t be overlooked, but don’t be pushy or aggressive. In other words, treat them as you would wish to be treated if you were in their shoes.


ME IN 30 ... WHAT?

As many years as it’s been around, the Me in 30 second statement (a.k.a. summary statement) is still gaining ground. Most people we talk to have never heard of it.

All it is, is a few prepared sentences about yourself that are focused on your prime objective.

It’s a simple thing. Really. Then why does the mere mention of it elicit terror?

I’ve decided there are several reasons. One reason may be that we don’t really know our for-real-and-true prime objective. To get a job, sure, but doing what? Most people we talk to could be equally successful doing any number of things.

And, that’s the great thing about the Me in 30. We can have more than one! Yay! And then, depending on who we’re talking to, we can say something different. The Me in 30 is to keep us from babbling, and to help us sound intelligent. Heh.


We already have an idea about saying things in the least amount of time. We have several names for it. The Elevator Speech, a Tag Line/ Log Line/ blurb—they’re all a little different, yes. But, they are each meant to help us get right to the point.

Our goal is similar to that of the unemployed; we want our book published/ they want a job. Learning on how to focus on our facts is an important part of sounding publish/ job worthy.


1. Give a brief introduction. Include your objective/ genre

“Hi. I’m Tina Scott, and I write Historical Fiction with a romantic twist.

2. Share a few specific examples of your accomplishments in that regard/ or how you are qualified. Basically, let them know why they should care.

“Many of my ancestors are from Denmark, and I feel their life stories are interesting. According to the 2009 census, there are over 1,500,000 people with Danish ancestry living in America. I believe my books speak to this often overlooked part of our population.”

3. Share a few things that set you/your book apart from the others.

“Since there are many popular books on pioneers in America, my books are set mostly in Denmark or aboard their immigrant ship.”

These brief statements are meant to whet the appetite of your listener; to get them to ask more. So, be sure to have more prepared and ready to share if the opportunity arises.
Good luck, and happy networking!



Monday, February 10, 2014


The writers conference/ job interview is drawing near, and it’s time to update your makeup.

No, really.

Most of us started wearing makeup in Junior High, or Middle School – depending on where you’re from. And, depending on what our friends, or frenemies said, we found what worked and stayed with it.

There was a girl in one of my classes when I started wearing makeup that loved to ridicule my eye shadow. I had a makeup kit that came with some blush – probably a ghastly shade of pink – and a pale green and pale blue eye shadow. Ug.

I have a physical reaction whenever I see someone wearing those colors of eye shadow. [This is me shuddering.]

In High School, I tried fake eyelashes. I thought they looked great. But, I carpooled with a frenemy. She begged to differ. Now it’s one of the things I notice.

If you’re a model, or have a big face, a bushy set of long eyelashes might be just the thing. Otherwise it’s just an added expense. Everyone knows they’re fake, so what’s the point?

(Kind of like fake boobs. Don’t get me started on those. But, again, if everyone knows they’re fake, what’s the point?)

Back to the task at hand – updating our makeup.

Don’t go overboard. What looks good on the makeup models is not what will look good on you.

Trust me on this.

Before you change your makeup, Google it. I Googled “Makeup Tips for Women over 50” and watched several YouTube demonstrations and read up before changing my makeup style. Another good idea is to Google, "Actresses over 50," or 40, or however old you are. You may be surprised.

Why did I change? Because I noticed a new trend. And because I saw some women a bit older than me wearing dark eye shadow to church. Though it looked nice enough up close, from half way across the room it was a different story. Think Goth.

I don’t know when it happened, but I know I’m not the only one to realize that although I still feel 20 (ish), my eyelids sag a bit. Add dark eye shadow to that and your eyes all but disappear.

The point of the eye shadow is to bring attention to the eyes in a good way – to accent them and make them look prettier, to help brighten up your face.

Wear a light color under the eyebrow and along the upper lash line. Blend in a darker color in the crease. That’s it.

About eye liner. Be sure to wear it, but don't wear eyeliner 'wings' like some models wear in magazine ads. Eye liner will succeed in bringing out your eyes much better than that heavy eye shadow. It’s up to you whether to use liquid or a pencil. I like L’OREAL liquid pencil eye liner. It has an eraser at the other end that’s helpful if I make a mistake.

I used to wear brown/black because I have brown hair, but black helps lashes look thicker and to show up nicer. Use a thin line and get it as close to the lashes as possible. 

Don’t go clear to the inside point of your eyelid (where upper and lower meet). It makes the eye appear smaller. Start where your lashes start. With the lower lashes, start a thin line from the outer corner (where the lashes start) and continue barely to the middle, or continue to the other edge of the lashes. Blend it in so it looks natural.

In applying mascara, let the brush touch your eyelid in your lash-line. Just a bit. It helps give the appearance of thicker lashes. Make sure it doesn’t go below the lash line though.  People will notice.

When you finish a favorite tube of mascara, rinse off the brush. You can use it to smooth out clumps of mascara on your lashes so it looks more natural.

Although there are plenty of YouTube suggestions to use a white stick. Don’t. Unless you’re a model. Or appearing on TV. You don’t want anyone staring at your eyes trying to figure out why you have a streak of white on your eye. You want people to think you’re a natural beauty.

About blush:

You need way less blush than you think. Just a touch. That big streak of red on the faces of women on TV is not necessary or even desirable in real life.

The whole point of makeup is to not to look made up. Repeat that in the mirror.

One more thing, if your eye shadow won’t last the day, buy some primer. It works.

I can’t say it enough: Go for the natural beauty look, and not the look of a makeup queen. Your frenemies have probably all grown up and have too many other things to think about. After high school, you can’t count on their ridicule to clue you in any longer.

Practice a few times before the job interview or writers conference so you feel comfortable.



Monday, February 3, 2014


In Midnight in Austenland, Shannon Hale once again proves her stuff as a master storyteller. Hale took the same setting and many of the same characters from her first Austenland novel, and spun it into a completely different tale. Good job.

I got to meet Shannon Hale at the library here. Now that we’re friends, I just have one thing to say. Shannon, can I be you? Minus the twins. My sister has twins, and besides I don’t want to start with having young children again. I really, really wouldn’t want the Abraham’s Sarah experience, from the bible. Whoa there! I just want to spin a tale that readers rave about. One that makes readers marvel and sigh, and say, “I want to write like her!”

Midnight in Austenland:

Charlotte Kinder is nice. She’d been nice all of her life. She married a nice man, James, and had two nice children, Lu and Beckett. After the kids got old enough that they didn’t think Mom was all that interesting, Charlotte grew a simple idea into a prosperous Internet business and discovered she was also cleaver.

Unfortunately, Charlotte wasn’t cleaver enough to keep her husband interested. She blamed his cheating on herself. Of course she did. All nice people do. When Charlotte and James divorced, and he got half of all her money, Charlotte realized that he’d been cheating on her for a while.

Enough of that though. This story is about a middle-aged woman tainted by life. Beaten by the betrayal of the very man who was supposed to love and protect her. Betrayed by the two children who were supposed to adore her forever. The audacity. They grew up, and didn’t.

It’s a universal fact that toddlers and children adore their parents with a hero-worship love. It’s also a universal fact that once they hit middle-school that adoration melts into something less discernible as love. Mom is a swear word, and swear words are cool.

Let it be said; Her previously perfect life was stomped into the dust of nothingness.

After she found a long-lost “bucket list,” that she’d written as a kid, and discovered the bottom item, read Jane Austen, Charlotte did. And loved it.

But a person cannot live vicariously though novels of the 19th century forever. When Lu got angry with Charlotte for spying on her boyfriend, and swore she hated her mother, Charlotte realized one thing: she needed a vacation.

You got it. She booked a vacation at Pembrook Park, vacation destination for all Austen enthusiasts.

This is not the ordinary Austenland, however. Charlotte and the other guests/employees become involved in a story of the nearly disintegrated Abby nearby, and how all of the nuns were found dead with no reasonable explanation. Everyone suspected young Mary Frances, who was the sole survivor and who always refused to talk about the incident.

During an innocent game of Murder in the Dark, Charlotte comes across what she believes is a real, dead, body. When she takes the others to see it, Charlotte can’t even find the room, and of course everyone thinks it’s part of the script.

Colonel Andrews is an expert at entertaining and he is thrilled that Charlotte is “into” his game.

In a land where nothing is as it seems, it’s easy for Charlotte to convince herself that the “murder” is all part of the entertainment. Especially since each visitor’s story is written to their specifications, and as with all Austen novels, Pembrook Park visitors can expect a little love story mingled in.

Charlotte continues investigating the pretend dead body as part of the Abby Mystery. As she gains more clues, things start looking more real and it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.
In the second homage to Jane Austen, Pembrook Park is the same, many of the actors are the same and they still have their duty to entertain the guests. Miss Charming is there. Seems she’s adopted Pembrook Park as her new home. The grumpy Mrs. Waddlesbrook is there as is her husband.
This is where the story similarities to Hale’s previous book, Austenland, end. I won’t give away the story. Just know it’s a good one.


Monday, January 27, 2014


I have to admit that I've never made an omelet. Embarrassing? I don't know. When you're raising seven children, what're they going to do with an omelet? A mom would have to make seven omelets, and by then it would be time for lunch.

On our mission, however, I've learned how to make an omelet. Since I've never read an omelet recipe, I'm not certain if I'm doing it "correctly," but they're fairly easy, and good. Omelets are a good and healthy breakfast. A great way to start the New Year.

Since I didn't read a recipe, mine is not fully organized. It's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, type of recipe. Here goes:

1 small, non-stick fry pan.

1 tsp of butter
3 eggs is best. 2 will work
approximately 2 TBSP milk
vegetables such as:
onion - 1/4 of a small one sliced and diced fine
fresh mushroom - 1 or 2
1 slice of ham, diced - optional
approximately 1/3 C. shredded cheese

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a small bowl, then set aside.

Melt the butter in the pan and cook the vegies and ham over med - med hi heat until just done and not over cooked. If you are not using ham, salt the vegies a little.
Put this mixture on a plate or in a bowl, and set aside. Add another tsp of butter to the pan, melt it, and add the egg mixture. Salt to taste. Cook over med-low heat, covered, until the top is nearly set.

Notice how the top of this still looks a little liquid. You don't want the omelet too dry.

Sprinkle the cheese across the middle. Add the cooked vegies.

Fold the egg over the top. Hold it still with a pancake spatula for a few seconds until it sets.

Slip it onto a plate and enjoy. My husband and I share this, but a hungry person might be able to finish it him/herself. Yum!