Live Through The Eyes Of Story

SONY DSCShe bounced him on her hip. His eyes lit up in excitement. He had never met his PaPa, David. David was an American GI, based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia during World War Two. He had to leave with the rest of the GI troops when his time was up. He loved Margaret and wanted her to come back to Pennsylvania with him.
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When entering writing contests…

Welcome Cassandra, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest Finalist. Learn some entering contest secrets! 🙂 thanks again, Cassandra!

As a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest Finalist (that’s a mouthful), I know a thing or two about entering writing competitions. Out of 10,000 entries, only two could win. The stakes were high, and the chances were low, but I was one of six finalists. Did I have an amazing time? Yes. Would I do it again? Maybe.

Contests aren’t for everyone. There’s much to consider when deciding if it’s right for you. But if you do decide to enter a contest, make sure you do it with your eyes wide open, and use these tips:

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Revising on the Road

I’d like to introduce Anushka to my blog today. She is a great friend and talented writer. Hope you enjoy her tips on revising your novel while traveling.

Punctuation, revising, Bad Spelling, Writing, Enticing, writer, Devin Berglund, Katie CrossDefinition: Revision (n): Condition sparking procrastination among writers.

The last two years has seen my current WIP travel with me to nine different countries. With each country, there is a beautiful memory of a scene that came to life and of chapters that have been born and revised. Like every writer, I have also experienced my equal share of procrastination.

However, there comes a time in a writer’s life when one discovers there is no more room for excuses. Especially when nearing the final stages of revision on a story that has captured your soul. Since my love for travel is not going to go away anytime soon, the beautiful Devin has asked me to share some tips I have found useful while revising on the road.

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Bad Spelling & Polar Bears

 Note from Devin : Please welcome my friend Katie J. Cross to the blog for the second time. Be sure to check out her first post here. Visit her at

Punctuation, Bad Spelling, Writing, Enticing, writer, Devin Berglund, Katie Cross

Ever heard of a polar bear challenge?

We used to do it at girls camp in the summer. You wake up at 0500 (does that hour even exist when you’re fourteen?) and go jump in a cold lake. Typically the rules stated you had to go all the way in. Wet hair and everything.

That’s it.

People give you accolades. Do it, and you’re cool.

Don’t do it, and you’re not.

Good spelling is a lot like a polar bear challenge. Do it, and you’re cool. Don’t do it, and you’re not. Is there anything more repelling for a writer/editor than misspelled words? No. Not really. Unless it’s people who eat with their mouth open. Or bad punctuation. If you’re confused, see my first post here.

Let’s talk about the horror of bad spelling and why it makes me cringe like a cold bath of water.  Continue reading “Bad Spelling & Polar Bears”

How to Write Opening Lines That Sparkle and Shine

I absolutely love going into bookstores and smelling new books. When you crack open a book, what do you smell? Does it fill your senses, like it does mine? I love that new book smell. What draws you into a book besides the cover art and back copy? What is the first thing that really determines if a reader will continue reading your book? The opening lines.

I don’t know what you do when you are looking at a book, but I flip to the first page. I find this is the test on whether I will like a book or not, as I have a short attention span when it comes to what I read. I’ve struggled getting into books when reading some first lines which resulted in my setting the book down on the shelf again. But then there have been other books where I have found myself reaching for the next page inquisitively.

Opening Lines, books, writing, writer, Devin Berglund

That is true of every piece of work out there! If the first sentence or first paragraph doesn’t make me want to keep reading, then I close the book and set it back on the shelf. I like it when an author pulls me into a story filled with intriguing characters, unique plot, and beautiful prose from the get go.

Do you want your readers to continue reading after the first line and first paragraph? Do you want your readers to be spellbound with your words from the first line of your book?

If you answered yes, then I believe I know a way to help you make your opening lines sparkle & shine. Click to Continue

Finished My Novel – On to Editing Round 1

I just finished my novel
The Mason of Hearts

Now, I am doing my first edit of the draft.

This last weekend I went away to a writer’s retreat with my boyfriend on an Island! We got a lot of writing done. I finished my book!! I know I already said that, but I’m excited!

There were moments when I thought it wasn’t possible. At times I swear it felt like a maze and to tell you the truth I hate puzzles and mazes. As a child I avoided them, because man they are difficult. Aren’t they? Or is it just me? Who likes coming to a dead end on a maze all to have to turn around and find out where in the world you are. Possibly just to get lost AGAIN!

(especially if it’s a real life maze and you are running through it trying to find the way out. I was in one in Montana last summer and it seriously took us 2 hours to get out of the maze… no lies.)

Or finding a puzzle piece that almost fits into the puzzle. I know I’ve squeezed one that didn’t belong there. All but to be told later by someone else that it doesn’t go there. Embarrassing! fit.)

I really am enjoying my characters. When I got to any dead ends – I stepped back and bumped into a character. Then they told me something completely crazy that I didn’t know before. So I guess all pain is gain! 🙂

I still feel like there is a lot to do ahead of me. This week I am going to do the first run through edit – which I am raving about inside my head. And when I say raving about… I don’t mean that my thoughts are dancing to techno music with strobe lights radiating off all the walls. This rave is more on the frightening note.

This is just a short update. What began over a year ago as another book ended in a first draft of 75,467 words. I am sure that it will grow as I edit. But Yes, I am so glad that a few months ago I decided to turn the book (I was writing a year ago) into a trilogy. This is the first book.

Hope you all have been great! I will update again soon. I am adding some pictures from the weekend at North Stradbroke Island. I will update with more as it was a beautiful Island, once I get Johan’s pics put on my computer. 🙂

North Stradbroke Island, I finished my book, writing, Devin Berglund

Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book, Johan Joubert

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book


I am so grateful and thankful for everyone that has been so encouraging to me during this whole writing process.

  • Johan – The love of my life, I couldn’t have done it without your belief in me and the nudges along the way. (Ones that I needed!) I really look forward to going through the editing process with you. 🙂 AND I love you, Greatly!
  • Momma & Daddy – You two have always stood next to me – telling me I can achieve anything I set my heart on. And you were right. Those stars are reachable. 🙂 You two are the best parents in the world!
  • Cassidy & Tony – Cassidy thank you for your help and ideas when I am writing or brainstorming. And Tony, thanks for always reading my books – it’s so encouraging to actually see the biggest book worm in the world interested in my stories. 🙂 You two are amazing!
  • Grandma Doris & Grandpa Beuford –  Grandma your stories were one of the reasons that I wanted to be a story-teller and you always encouraged me to write.Grandpa Beuford, I never got to know you because you went before I was born, but I found a great delight in going through your and grandma’s love letters from the Great Depression along with your stories that you wrote and placed in that black wooden box of yours.I love you both even though you are not on earth any longer. You have placed a footprint on my heart that will never disappear.
  • Grandpa Dennis & Grandma Ruby – Grandpa, you and grandma were always encouraging with my petal girl stories. I greatly miss you. Grandma thank you for always encouraging me as a writer. Love you!
  • My Dear Lord Jesus, YOU deserve praise for the story that I just finished. I actually received the idea for this book from from you in a dream. It was exciting. I will be sure to blog on this at a later time so that you all know how this story came about.
  • ALL OF YOU – It means so much to me to have a following on here. To know that 115 people are following my blog and adventures is such a great pleasure to me. I guess one may think their life isn’t so interesting that people would want to read about it. But I am so happy you are here. If you weren’t, it wouldn’t be as fun. I hope you all enjoy my blog and it means so much to have you visit.

After finishing my book…

On Monday, Johan and I are going to the print shop to get  my book printed! I can’t wait. I think it will be more REAL to me (that I actually finished the book) when I’m actually holding a thick stack of papers in my hands.

I tried finding as much information on editing as I could, but let me just be truthful – there really isn’t as much info on editing as there was on writing. So, I will be putting together a series on the different types of editing after each of my edits are done.

Either on Thursday or on Saturday this coming week Johan and I will be taking off with his mother in a van across Australia. It shall be interesting. I will keep everyone up to date with pictures and blog posts on my blog – so be sure to visit there. 🙂

ADDED LATER: 4/17/2015 – I actually wrote up a post on different editing techniques and resources. Check it out here.

Want other tips on revising your novel?