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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Welcome Donna Patton and The Gift of Summer Snow

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. IF there is a book giveaway, your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


DONNA ALICE PATTON is a freelance writer who lives in rural Ohio. In her writing journey, she has written just about everything including game clues, recipes and household hints!

As an avid contest participant, she won the Genesis (2nd place in the mystery/suspense/thriller category) for a WIP Wrestling Demons and an Honorable Mention in the W.I.N. Smartwriter’s Contest for The Cattle Rustling Catastrophe. Donna is the author of two books for children. The Search for the Madonna (Behold Publications) a depression era mystery for mid-grade readers. The Gift of Summer Snow (Philothea Press) is the first in a series of garden inspired mysteries also for mid-grade readers. Her work has also appeared in many Gryphon House publications such as Learn Everyday about Seasons and The Giant Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, sewing and trying to get organized!

by Donna Alice Patton
Published by Philothea Press


Becky McGuffey is an ordinary eleven-year-old who likes to grow flowers and enter them at the county fair. She especially loves roses because they're beautiful and because they remind her of her favorite saint - St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, also known as the Little Flower. Becky is getting her flowers ready for the all-important junior garden show which is just a few weeks away. She's got her heart set on winning the grand prize so she can buy her grandmother a special gift. Everything's coming up roses until Becky discovers that someone has been snipping her prize-winning rose, Summer Snow. She sets out to catch the culprit and save her flowers but she literally doesn't have a clue where to begin. After taking crime-solving lessons from her family and a couple of helpful neighbors, she's soon on the trail of a likely suspect. But when she confronts the alleged rosenapper she sets off a string of unexpected events that teach her about competition and charity, pride and humility, suspicion and trust and what it means to imitate a saint.

Readers, buy your copy of The Gift of Summer Snow: A Tale from the Garden of Mysteries today!


Writing Outside the Covers

Okay, that’s probably not the best title for this piece. But, you’ll understand in a second. When you think about being a writer – a real writer – where do you imagine seeing your name in print? Isn’t it almost always on the cover of a book? A real book –paper or hardback? If you’re honest about it, it’s the dream most of us have before we’re published and even after we’re published. Don’t we all see our books lining a shelf in the library or the bookstore? Admit it. It’s the Great American Dream of the writing world.

You’ve probably heard the saying “think outside the box.” Well, how about “writing outside the covers?” You’ll have to relinquish the belief that the only real writing worthy of calling yourself a writer is between the covers of a book. But, you might find opportunities you never dreamed possible. If you focus on “writing outside the covers”, God might lead you in unexpected paths you’ve never imagined. Even to a book contract or two.

For years I wrote – dreaming – hoping – praying to see my words immortalized between the covers of a book. A book was solid proof that I had arrived. I was a real writer at last. But, when my first book, The Search for the Madonna was published in 2010, I realized something profound. (For me anyway!) Looking back at my writing journey for the previous ten years, I made a discovery. I didn’t need a printed book to validate my becoming a real writer. While finally having a book in print at last (burst of the Hallelujah Chorus here) was fantastic, it only proved that I’d taken another step up the writing ladder.

Throughout the years as I worked on my books, I’d also been writing outside the covers too. By the time my first and then second books were published, I was already a real writer with a well-paid job writing K-12 worksheets for an educational website. I’d also become a regular contributor to pre-school and early education workbooks, had a list of magazine and newspaper credits, and with two other ladies co-edited a monthly page for children called, Cookies and Milk. (Our page is now syndicated in four Ohio counties and recently celebrated its 50th issue.)

Many of the articles I wrote for the paper eventually ended up in online children’s magazines or as feature articles in print magazines. This summer, I’m doing a series of assigned articles for History Magazine, writing a unit study to accompany my first book and deciding if I should take on a project of writing craft books for a homeschool boy’s group! None of these exciting opportunities would have happened if I hadn’t let go of my rigid belief that only a book counted as real writing.

Have you ever thought about writing outside the covers? Writing a book takes a long time and plenty of commitment. Writing shorter pieces for a magazine or newspaper take less time. While the gratification isn’t instantaneous, being able to look forward to a nice little check once in awhile is a terrific boost for morale. Even if you only make enough to buy a new pack of printer paper or a milkshake, it’s proof that someone wants to pay you to write! Heady stuff when you’re alone all day staring at a blank computer screen. It makes slogging away at a book seem easier.

Writing outside the covers is also a great way to build up credits. Agents and publishers are more likely to look at your book manuscript if you can show that you’ve been published before – even if it’s just in the hometown paper. You can also build up credibility as a writer in your chosen field. Let’s say you’re writing a book set in Regency England. It might help the publisher to know that you’ve also written a dozen articles for a historical publication or drafted a curriculum used to teach middle school children more about that era.

Today I’d like to challenge everyone to try “writing outside the covers.” The possibilities are endless and you might be surprised at what God has in store for you!

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Thank you, Donna, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Have you ever thought about writing outside the covers? What would you do to make that happen? If you're currently writing outside the covers, what are you doing?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE mug with a rooster on it filled with strawberry candies. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


April Erwin said...

Writing outside the covers is hard for me. I did freelance for a local paper doing features for almost a year (which I enjoyed), but since then I've only focused on my books. I haven't found a position like that again. I tend to 'blank' when I try to find side projects to write to add to my resume. Does any one else have that problem? I would love to see my resume grow.
Great advice Donna. You're a fantastic example of talent meets perseverance. I guess I need to try harder to find my 'outer cover'. :)

Giveaway Lady said...

I don't write myself but this question kind of makes me think. I will make sure to write "outside" the covers on a daily basis:)