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Friday, September 09, 2011

Welcome Pam Hillman and Stealing Jake


PAM HILLMAN is an award-winning author who writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. Her debut book, Stealing Jake, won the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest and was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.

Pam on the web:
My website:
My personal blog:
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by Pam Hillman
Published by Tyndale House


When Livy O'Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she's helping to run an orphanage. Now she'll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff's deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy--literally--while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town--as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off--Jake doesn't have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn't willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

Interwoven throughout is a group of street kids arrested in Chicago and sold as child labor. Leading this band of ragamuffins is young Luke, a scared, determined orphan intent on rescuing his little brother at any cost.

Readers, buy your copy of Stealing Jake today!


Write Smarter, Not Harder

As a teenager, I made up stories. I had my favorite about a girl name Sylvia. Every night when I went to bed, I started at the beginning and let the scenes play out in my head. All these years later, I could probably write the opening scenes of that story easily. But there was one problem….I always fell asleep…oh…around chapter three or so.

And that’s what my readers will do if I don’t plan ahead. (Okay, I know there are plotters and pantsters. Plotters are the ones who plan everything out ahead of time, and pantsters write “by the seat of their pants”. There is no right way or wrong way. I’ve done it both ways and am still not sure what my natural inclination is. But I have found that plotting seems to work better with my limited writing time.)

When I do have an hour or two to write, I’ve found that I need to have a very detailed plot in place so I can get started quickly. I thought I was doing pretty good, but then I discovered that either I had mapped out the external thread of the story or the internal for some scenes, but hadn’t fully developed both areas.

By internal and external threads, I mean, "What needs to happen in this scene?" Sometimes my paragraph for a scene might be two or three sentences that focus on the internal. For other scenes they might focus on the when I start to write the scene, I have to think about the one I didn't flesh out. And I discovered I really needed that information ahead of time. I can get discouraged and/or bogged down if it takes thirty minutes to work out the logistics of a scene and I only have an hour to write.

For instance, let’s say I have a scene ¾ of the way through the book where the hero finds out that the heroine is a crook and a swindler. Sounds pretty good, huh? So I sit down to write my scene, and I’m at a loss. What are the “stage props”? Where are they? Whose POV is the scene in? Is it cold, hot, raining? Is it day or night? Are there secondary characters in the scene?

In a plot driven scene, the external "stage props" are key, so I would develop that first, then develop the internal to go with in. But in the above scene, the internal thread is what will move the story forward (or rather in this case, drive a wedge between the hero & heroine). I could just as easily set the scene in a bank, a restaurant, or in a hotel lobby....or anywhere, I guess. What I'm saying is that their physical location wasn't as important in this scene as what they're thinking and saying. I would go so far to say that in a character driven book, the backbone of most scenes will be the internal thread, and in an action adventure, the external thread the most critical. Not that the other isn’t important, but one has to lead.

So, I’m making a concerted effort to plot more deeply, to know where my scenes are going ahead of time, internally and externally. Hopefully, I’ll be able to churn out twice as many words when I do have time to write.

I’d love to hear other people’s methods for writing smarter...not harder!

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Thank you, Pam, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: If you write in any way, what are some tips you employ for writing smarter...not harder? If you don't write, what tips do you have for *working* smarter, not harder, in order to accomplish your goals?

GIVEAWAY In lieu of a free book, Pam is instead giving away a FREE KINDLE. Check out the details here:

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

1 comment:

Pam Hillman said...

Tiff, thanks for having me on your blog today!