A Preview of What’s Happening At MBT in 2013!

We have lots planned for MBT this year!  If you’re wondering why you might want to stick around, bookmark the blog, get the flashblog or join our free or paid premium membership…well, here are a few reasons!

1. Focus on SCENES!  We’re going to focus on building great SCENEs this year – both in our Advanced Member lessons and our Peptalks!   We’re going to be doing live critiques on the Peptalks – (anonymous!) as well as pulling apart powerful scenes to show you how they work.  In the Advanced Member lessons, we’ll take apart the elements and show you how to build them into your own novels.

2. The Business of Writing!  We know that becoming an author is much much more than just writing a great book. Today’s author must know how to market their story, as well as manage the business of writing and their career.  We’ll be tackling all aspects of the writing journey with an in-depth look at the Business of Publishing. Here’s a sneak peek of our upcoming webinars:

  • Writing Short Stories for the MBT Splickety Contest. Why this is important for your career and What’s in it for the author.
  • Writing a Breakout First Chapter for the Frasier
  • How to self-publish a book
  • The AuthorPreneur: How to create a small business as an author
  • What truly makes a book sell?
  • Creating a fan base that will fight for you.
  • Marketing Yourself for success, Part One: Branding
  • Marketing Yourself for Success, Part Two: Social Media
  • Marketing Yourself for Success, Part Three: Getting the most out of events
  • Non-traditional Publishing: the New Tradition.
  • Do it the Right way: Setting up the Business of Writing
  • Incorporate or not? Expenses, deductions and taxes. Record keeping.
  • Get Noticed! How to Make Websites, social media, speaking, connecting with tribes work for you

Although these will be open to the public for a fee, they are FREE to Premium Members!



3.  Blogs that answer your questions!

We have a great line up of blogs this year!

  • Mondays: Head Coach Susie May will be covering advanced Q & A in her new Vlog series!
  • Tuesdays: One Thing Marketing by Marketing/Events Coach Melissa Tagg on simple steps you can take to market your book!
  • Wednesdays Line up: 
    • Skills Coach, Beth Vogt explains writing terms and how they fit into your novel
    • Social Media Coach Edie Melson blogs about Connections: How to use Social Media to build a tribe
    • Bleachers Coordinator, Lisa Jordan teaches on finding Balance in life and writing
    • Retreats Hostess and newbie writer Alena Taurainen talks about the Next Step – baby steps to publication.
    • Brainstorm Coach Michelle Lim talks about: Idea Sparking your way out of writer’s blog
  • Thursdays: Head Therapist Rachel Hauck teaches on the structure of FairyTales and how they help us build better stories!
  • Fridays: Find our Featured Fiction from our Frasier Judges!
  • Saturdays:  Life Coaching with Dr. Reba J. Hoffman

Bookmark the blog and/or sign up for the Flashblog and don’t miss a thing!

4. A New Retreat!  Kiss and Tell – how to write a Romance.  This romance retreat is designed for those who want to learn to write everything from a thread of romance to a full out romance.  Check it out at: http://www.mybooktherapy.com/magento/kiss-and-tell-retreat.html

All this along with all our regular fun – from our Monday Night Chats, to our Frasier Contest, to our Deep and Wide retreat (2 spots left!) to our annual Pizza Party and WriMo celebration.  Are you member?  Join us for free!  (www.mybooktherapy.com/join-the-team)

We’re going to have a great writing year!  Are you ready?

Susie May

Friday Fiction: Code Triage

  I so appreciate the opportunity to meet with you here—thank you for hosting me. I love that Susie graciously offered an enthusiastic endorsement for Critical Care, my first exciting medical drama. The Mercy Hospital series now has three books. The third, featured today, is Code Triage. I’m still pinching myself that it is currently an ECPA best seller—love welcoming new readers to “scrub in” with my stories of hope!


 Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, nurse chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to ER duties. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? Determined to prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.


Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of theAlamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.


As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode, and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart.


Once again, it’s great to mingle with you here. I would be honored to have you “scrub in” with my hopeful medical fiction. Come discover how “Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul.”


 Blessings, Candace 




Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. HerMercyHospitalseries offers readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northernCalifornia.


Finish the Race Well

At My Book Therapy we kicked off NaNoWriMo on the Monday night chat with advice from Beth Vogts. Susan Warren ended the evening with cyber karaoke of Stand By Me. I love these classic words, “I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid.”

Part of writing a novel, whether in a month or in a year, is overcoming fear. Insecurities surface. Life interrupts and demands our attention. Two pages into our opening paragraph we discover we’ve already written every great idea we had about the book and now we’ve no place to go!

The temptation is to quit. So we never start at all.

 As you attempt NaNoWriMo, keep these things in mind.

1. Writing is hard work. Period. Forget what everyone else is doing, how fast they are writing, how their crit partner loves the story or that they had a 10,000 word day while cooking, cleaning and sewing a quilt. It’s probably all hype. Those 10K only happened in his head. So, just roll up your sleeves, plant but in chair and write.

2. There are some free programs to shut off the internet for a set period of time. I use Concentrate. Look into downloading one of those. It’s amazing how it keeps me on track.

3. Do your pre writing work. Don’t start NaNoWriMo, or any writing venture, without having a plan. Even pantsers need a plan. We talk about this all the time at My Book Therapy: have developed characters! Do your character work. Dig deep. Don’t just stay on the surface. What is your heroine’s greatest fear, secret desire, the lie she believes, the dark moment from her past? All of those mold her story journey and play into the plot.

4. Don’t edit. If you have to go back and read a few paragraphs from the day before, that’s fine, but don’t edit. Let it go. Imagine you’re standing in front of a beautiful block of marble. You’re going to chisel the image in your head. Aiming your tools, you start to carve away at this amazing stone. The image looks like noting at first. Eyes look like nicks in the stone. As you carve and work the stone, the image eventually comes to life. Distinct features take place. It actually looks like a face in the marble. You can’t stop, you have to keep carving. If you go back and try to “edit” the eyes and nose, you’ll ruin the image and the marble. Why? Because you don’t know what the rest of the image looks like yet. You have to carve it completely, THEN you can fine tune, hone, and polish. It’s the same with a story, you must finish it to get the whole picture, to understand what you’re dealing with. KEEP WRITING.

5. Don’t worry about finesse. You don’t need pretty words. If all you have is dialog and action, a few of the senses, you’re doing well! 

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, best selling author who’s made plenty of “author mistakes” and lived to tell about it.


A trick to jumpstarting your next chapter

Yesterday, I showed you a little trick I use to keep the momentum going between chapters.

Here’s how I’m going to apply that trick!

After I interview my character and let him take a little breather to recoup for the next scene, I begin to mull this interview over and take notes. (you do keep a book buddy beside you to help you write your chapters, right?)



Here are my loose notes on the next scene:

  • Luke POV.  Show that Kenzie is trying to not be a burden, but she’s bored.  Maybe he finds her acting out a scene?
  • Keep up with the suspense thread….what is happening with Dark Secret?  Does he Google the book?  Does she see it?
  • Have her in town, doing something mundane like the laundry…getting back to her roots.
  • Does he google her?  Maybe he researches her past?

Now that I’ve checked in with Luke, I want to take a look at the synopsis, just to make sure I’m not veering way off base.


Luke POV

Kenzie can’t believe the lies the media can pile up.   And sitting around this cabin isn’t relaxing…it’s suffocating.  Not only that, her cell phone doesn’t work, and there isn’t a even a radio.  And it would help if Luke didn’t treat her like a prisoner.  So she burned supper – she could cook, just hadn’t done it for a while.  And, okay, maybe she shouldn’t have shrunk his wool sweater…that was an accident.  How was she supposed to remember that wool shrunk in a dryer?  It’s bad enough she’s doing laundry in town, at a Laundromat, but she hasn’t worn wool in years.  Ever, maybe.

She needs a decent meal – preferably away from Luke’s dead zone cabin in the woods.

Fine.  Luke relents and takes her to a local roadhouse where they’re having open mic night. He probably shouldn’t be surprised that Kenzie wants to get up and sing, but most of all, he can’t believe that he finds himself up right next to her, singing an old Sonny and Cher song.  What’s wrong with him?

Maybe he’s going stir crazy.   Yes, maybe they’ve been sitting around the cabin too long (forty eight hours can seem like an eternity with a woman who can quote every line from the Princess Bride).  Luke takes her on a hike up the Appalachian Trail, hoping to distract her.

Okay, and yes, she makes him laugh.  And, on the hike he realizes there is more to MacKenzie Grace than the tabloids make her out to be.  She’s refreshing in the way she sees the world – as if it is something to be experienced, even devoured.  She thrives on discovery…and Luke finds his skills as park ranger appreciated for more than just clearing forests and tracking down poachers.

Maybe bodyguard duty isn’t such a chore…


Okay, so I’m right…we need to veer into the romance a bit.  But, although I wrote they are going for a hike, I’m shortening the book a bit, so I’m going to fast forward to the roadhouse scene, keeping the goals overall intact.


Based on those thoughts, I’ve established the following Author Goals:


Suspense:  In this chapter, I want to ramp up the suspense – put in that sense of danger from his side of the story.  I’ll do this by continuing the threat of exposure by having an article published about him, and thereby alerting the people who want to find him.


Romance:  Now that Kenzie is interested in him, I need to make Kenzie appealing to Luke.  And, because I’m going to keep this novel fairly short (for the blog purposes), I’ll also weave in another essential element – like connecting them at a value level.  So, I’d like Luke to Google her and learn about Kenzie, and realize she has a past not unlike his own, and that she loves her family.


Inner Journey: For Luke, who believes that he’s better off alone I’m going to start dropping in truthlets that perhaps being with Kenzie is a good thing for him.


Character Change Roadmap:  We’re still at the attempt/failure step of Act 2, so his goal is to stay under the radar – we’ll expose him here.  His deeper character goal is to shake free of the past and heal.  We’ll then drag up the past and make him think he can never heal.


Action Objective:  We’ll have him realize he’s in danger, and yet Kenzie will show up with a flyer for the roadhouse and ask to go.  We’ll also bring his family – touch base with his sister as he checks on his father (showing again his protective nature).


Now, I’ll put this all in my Scene Starter:  (SHARP)

Stakes – He needs to protect her, but she is about to burn out, also.  She can’t spend another day there, and she decides to go to the roadhouse, so he’ll have to go with her.

Hero ID – Frustration over the fact he’s being muzzled, but also the sense that he isn’t in control (like when he was imprisoned in Columbia).  And, he has this woman who has a mind of her own (not unlike the little boy who was killed helping the escape.)

Anchoring – it’s a beautiful day out, spring is here, but he’s trapped inside (a metaphor of how he feels).  Kenzie drives up in her car (she’d left hers at the station) in between doing laundry.

Run – the paper is on the table, it’s been 4 days, and he thinks everything is fine until he sees the article.

Problem – She is going stir crazy, but he has to protect her.


And, the first line?

The woman was trying to get him killed. 

 Read the Chapter Here! Chapter 5 Luke

Hope my notes and tricks help!  Have a great writing week!

Susie May


**a note – for those who read this blog regularly – next year, we’ll be applying editing techniques to this novel, doing a three-pass editing technique I use, so, not only is this the rough draft, but next year we’ll be focusing on a Spit and Polish: Editing yourself to Publication series.

See you next week as we move into the middle of Act 2, more romance, more suspense, and a journey toward real character change.