Thursday, November 14, 2019

Be Kind To Others - - - And To Yourself 😊 By Patti Jo Moore

As Christian writers, we want to show kindness. This is done in countless ways—including encouraging other writers, sharing lessons we’ve learned in our own journey, posting great reviews for books we’ve enjoyed, and lifting up an author-friend who may have gotten a not-so-great book review.

If we’re published, we also want to be kind to our readers. This can also be done in countless ways—from corresponding with them via e-mail and blogs to giving away prizes to show our appreciation for readers.

But I was recently reminded of another way writers need to be kind, and that is to ourselves. I’ve battled a rotten cold for a full week—nothing major, but still feeling miserable. My worst day of this pesky cold was last Friday. I’d been home since Wednesday, not even venturing out to my mailbox. I was reminded of the fact I have a December first deadline, and had gotten behind (okay…waaay behind) on my word count. I had everything I needed—medicine, tissues, coffee, soup, and my kitties napping close by—and the sunshine was streaming in my window next to my desk. It was the perfect setting for me to dive in and let those words flow.

Except…I did not feel like doing a thing. Not one thing. Even my favorite hobbies of reading and needlepoint held no appeal. What was going on? I didn’t want to turn on the television (not even to the Hallmark channel!) and couldn’t think of anything at all I wanted to do. So guilt poked me with that annoying voice. You’re wasting this entire day. Since you’re not sleepy, you should be at least doing something! Remember all those words you still need to write before December?

And it hit me then—something I’ve often heard other writers say. We tend to be hard on ourselves. Sure, it’s great to push ourselves to write or do writing-related tasks even if we’re not feeling motivated. But when we are ill—even from nothing serious—our body still needs rest. And if that means simply gazing out your window and being thankful for the sunshine and Autumn leaves, then that’s okay. 😊 Even Jesus took time to rest.

So with the holidays fast approaching, if you should become sick (which I hope you won’t!) or even overwhelmed with the dozens of items on your To-Do list, please take some time and rest. Without feeling guilty. Then when you’re feeling better, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever has been waiting on you! Be kind to others—and to yourself.

And be ye kind one to another. Ephesians 4:32

Amazon Buy Link
Sadie's Dream

In a coastal Georgia town in 1900, a young woman prepares to serve as a missionary in Africa.

After being jilted the previous year, she's certain she's meant to remain single.

When she meets a handsome businessman from Savannah, she begins struggling with doubts.

Over time she learns that the Lord's plans are best, and dreams really can come true.

Patti Jo Moore is a retired kindergarten teacher and lifelong Georgia girl. She loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee, and is blessed to be published with Forget-Me-Not Romances. When she’s not spending time with her family (including her sweet grandbaby) or writing her “Sweet, Southern Stories” Patti Jo can be found feeding cats—her own six and local strays.

She loves connecting with readers and other writers, and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore or her personal blog at

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Never Give Up! By Elva Cobb Martin

Have you ever thought of giving up on getting your book finished and published? Well, I want to encourage you. Never give up that dream. God is in the business of helping you finish what He has begun in your heart, according to Philippians 1:7 “Being confident of this very thing that he which has begun a good work in your will perform it...”

I wrote my first novel, Summer of Deception, after attending a writers' conference. Once I started submitting it to publishers and agents, it was rejected 26 times. But I kept revising and rewriting. Meantime, my husband and I were called into full-time ministry, and the manuscript went into my attic for the next 20 years. End of story. Right? 

Nope. Summer of Deception, an inspirational romantic suspense, was contracted and published in 2017, thirty years after that first draft. It has spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers’ List for Women’s Religious Fiction. A prequel, In a Pirate’s Debt, the story of the pirate ancestor of the hero in Summer, soon followed. November 12, Marisol, a heroine who would not give up, was released.

My Five Steps to a Book Contract

Step 1 – Keep God’s Confidence in Yourself and Never Give Up
Many may reject your manuscript, but someone will love it, if you don’t give up.

Step 2 – Hone Your Craft (Planning Your Novel blog series
Carve out praying time, writing time, sharpening craft time, and reading time in your genre.

Step 3 – Find Writing Workshops and Critique Groups
How about your local American Christian Fiction Writers’ Chapter?

Step 4 – Help Other Writers
This is a spiritual principle. You will reap help you need when you sow into others.

Step 5 – Learn how to Submit to Editors and Agents
 Follow their submission guidelines.

Can you add to my list? What helped you not give up?

Never give up that dream. via @ElvaCobbMartin #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


Elva Cobb Martin,  a mother and grandmother, lives in South Carolina with her husband and a senior mini-dachshund named Lucy, and a sea green bird named Atticus. She is the upcoming president of her state chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, a retired teacher, minister, and now calls herself a full-time writer. Better make that rewriter. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. She desires to share exciting love stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sticks and Stones by Marie Wells Coutu

Words have power.

The familiar children’s adage proclaims, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”

But that is a lie. No doubt the saying has been used by well-meaning mothers and teachers to make children feel better about being taunted and teased, but the truth is that words can hurt.

As writers, we know they can also soothe and heal.

We make friends by sharing our thoughts and feelings and lives—especially through our words. That’s also how we touch readers—by inviting them into stories where they can share in the thoughts, feelings, and lives of our characters.

Words have substance and shape. They have identifiable characteristics. They represent order.

Words can glorify God and make Him visible. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:1, 14, NIV)

Jesus came into the world and made the Word visible. His physical body provided us a way to see and relate to God. It’s much easier to communicate with God through the man Jesus than if we only knew Him as Spirit. Similarly, we can converse with one who is the Word more easily than if He were only “thoughts.”

In God’s Word, the Bible, we learn about His plan for humanity, His eternal truths, and the laws He provided for our benefit. These laws form the basis for all of civilized society. In giving us His Word, God showed us every aspect of His love. He wrote this love letter to us with the blood of His only Son.

When we write stories based on God’s love letter, our words can heal and restore wounded hearts and broken spirits.

God our Maker signs each life with His unseen mark just as a potter puts his signature on the bottom of a vase or an author signs her book. By inscribing His name on us, He has given us a sign of His love. In our writing, we can reveal His imprint on our lives, and we can help our readers discover His mark on their lives.

Through our stories, God can turn harmful lies into truths that heal.

When we #write stories based on God’s love letter, our words can heal & restore wounded hearts & broken spirits. @mwcoutu on #WritingChristianFiction #whywewrite #amwriting @MaryAFelkins

“Sticks & stones may break my bones, but #words will never harm me” is a lie. @mwcoutu on #writing truth for #SeriouslyWrite @MaryAFelkins

Through our stories, readers can see God’s imprint on our lives & discover His mark on theirs. @mwcoutu on #WhyWeWrite #ChristianFiction on #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting @MaryAFelkins

Marie Wells Coutu finds beauty in surprising places, like old houses, gnarly trees, and forgotten treasures. When she’s not writing about finding restoration and healing through God-designed journeys, she enjoys taking broken things and making them useful.

She is currently working on historical romance novels set in the 1930s. One manuscript won the 2019 Touched by Love Contest and the 2019 Sheila Contest, and a second novel also won in the Sheila Contest.

Her published novels are women’s contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. The Secret Heart, her newest release, and Thirsting for More, the second book in the series, were finalists in several contests.

You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook author page and her website,,
Follow her on Twitter @mwcoutu or on Amazon.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Prepare to Define Yourself: Dueling Authors

This author is driving me insane. I disagree with him, and I’m calling him out.

You can read his post here. He says we’re content creators—filling in reading spaces such as social media, blogs, speeches, podcasts. We’re not novelists, we’re creating entertainment for the masses.

I don’t like this guy.

The problem is, the writer is me.

Content Creator

He claimed we’re content creators. A writer focuses on entertainment values, formulas, bottom lines that result in numbers—readers and dollars—to build a resume.

Writing is a business. To this end, the business must grow. The writing, then, is a product and the product must sell. The call to action for the content creator, in the end, is to keep reading more of the content creator’s work.

The Artist

When a writer thinks of self as an artist first, the perspective changes. From self-promotion to human condition, the artist breaks from formula and studies with obsessed purpose the written word to create beauty.

As a content creator, I examine my past and see a gold mine. How did I make my dreams coming true? How did I overcome obstacles? Flashing quick stories and antidotes here and there makes for interesting reading. And it makes me look awesome.

Creating an artistic work resounds more deeply in people’s lives.

For example, I’ve seen my writing life in three stages, and they’re reflected in my western series.

Book One: West for the Black Hills. Philip Anderson wants to remain anonymous but is forced to step into the public eye to defend those he loves. In my life, I won $20,000 and a publishing contract. I can no longer sit on the couch and do whatever I wanted. I am an award-winning author, and I must act like one.

Book Two: Shadow of Devil’s Tower. Philip Anderson must take the next step in his life and become a leader in order to rescue the people he loves. In my life, it wasn’t enough just to write. I had to step up and lead.

Book Three: IN PROCESS. Philip Anderson will have to face his past, the past of others, and deal with injustice. No longer simply to lead, he must effect change in the world. While this book is still being written, it reflects my final stage from being a 100% introvert to comfortably standing in front of many and leading through example and direction.

Be the artist you were meant to be. Take the moments you are creating content and spend some time reflecting. Write deeply reflecting the human condition.

Be funny. Be deep. Be ironic. Be clever. Be bold. Be an artist.

Be funny. Be deep. Be ironic. Be clever. Be bold. How to be an artistic writer. #seriouslywrite #writerslife @petereleavell

prepare to Define Yourself: Dueling Authors. Content versus artistry. #seriouslywrite #writerslife @peterleavell

How to use your life to become art. #seriouslywrite #writerslife @peterleavell

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at

Friday, November 8, 2019

Why I Chose the Long Road to Publication by Karin Beery

Karin Beery
Do you want a writing career? Do you want something in print to share with family and friends? Your goals will determine the steps you take. Author Karin Beery shares her personal decisions and why she made them. ~ Dawn

Why I Chose the Long 
Road to Publication

“I love writing books! It’s so much fun, and really easy to do.” (unnamed writer)

The ease of publishing all depends on what you want to achieve as an author. There are writers who simply want to get published. They don’t necessarily care about industry trends, genre rules, book sales, or reviews. They have stories to tell, and they want to make them available to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with that. It works for a lot of people.

I, however, have different goals.

I want to write as many books for as long as possible and sell them to as many people as are willing to buy them. I want to share my advice with other writers and help them do the same. In a perfect world, I’d like book publishing—specifically fiction publishing, including writing and editing—to be my full-time job. More than a hobby, I’d like to actually get paid to spend my life writing, reading, editing, reviewing, marketing, and publishing novels.

Most of the time it’s fun, but (like any job) it’s also a lot of work. I often hear new writers talking about self-publishing because they’ve spent 1-2 years writing and pitching a book that’s getting rejections. 1-2 years.

I wonder if those writers have any idea how long doctors and lawyers go to school before they’re allowed to do their jobs.

I wrote my first novel in 2007. My second in 2008 (and 2009 and 2010—it went through several revisions). Then I had to stop for a while because I couldn’t handle any more rejections, but I knew what I wanted (full-time fiction work!), so I got back to it. While I worked on another novel, I wrote for the local newspapers and learned to write marketing content (I needed something to pay the bills).

In 2014, with my third novel, I finally landed an agent! He submitted my manuscript everywhere, and I received some of the nicest rejections ever. It took four more years (three weeks before my 40th birthday) before I signed it—my first book contract. It took 11 years and three manuscripts to make it happen, but it did.

Last month, I celebrated the release of my second novel, Practically Married. I’ve also edited five published novels, teach writing and editing at conferences and online, and even work for a small publishing house.

I could have taken a different route and published a book a decade ago, but that wouldn’t have helped me achieve the publishing goals I’d set for myself. It’s been hard (and not always fun!), but this path put me exactly where I wanted to be, even if the timing wasn’t quite what I’d expected. I decided to take the long road, and I’m glad I did.

The ease of publishing all depends on what you want to achieve as an author. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @karinbeery
I decided to take the long road, and I’m glad I did. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @karinbeery

Practically Married
Practically Married

Ashley moves to a new town to marry her fiancé. Instead, she buries him.

Ashley Johnson moves to northern Michigan to finally meet her fiancé face-to-face, but she arrives in time to go to his funeral. With no home back in Ohio, she decides to stay in what would have been their house, except his cousin Russ lives there too, and Russ has never heard of Ashley. To complicate matters, her fiancé accidentally willed her the family farmhouse. Eager to please everyone and desperate to disappoint no one, she proposes a marriage of convenience that could solve her and Russ’s problems, if they can get past her aunt, his sisters, and an ex-girlfriend.

Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. In her free time, she enjoys watching University of Michigan football and action-adventure movies with her husband and fur babies.

Connect with Karin and learn more at these online sites:

Facebook Author Page:
Amazon Author Page:

Thursday, November 7, 2019

You Need A Goal by Sally Shupe

How is it November already? It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down, planning out my goals for this year, and very excited for the year ahead. And now I find the year is almost winding down. How did your year go? Did you meet the goals you set forth in January? Did you find goals that didn’t work and then set new goals?

I had a planner that I started using in January. I set goals regarding how many words to write in a week, brainstorm blog post ideas, find places to blog, come up with new story ideas, research agents, read a writing book a month, enter contests, participate in NaNoWriMo. Sounds very productive! After thumbing through the planner, I now realize I’d only written out how to meet these goals through February. My new goal is to be consistent!

Since this is the month of thanksgiving, I wanted to be intentional and thankful for what I’ve accomplished this year. One of my goals was met when I started blogging here monthly. Thank you for allowing me to do so! I also entered a contest and got feedback. Another goal I’d set, not related to writing, I’ve met each month as well. Then, my flashdrive broke and I had to set a new, fast goal. Recover my stories that were on there! I had sent some of the stories out to friends to read and so found several of them. The story I was working on I was able to get an earlier version of it, so another new goal is to work on it and bring it back to where it was. But at least I found a copy of it! If your story is only in one place, go right now and save it somewhere else as backup.

But the work doesn’t stop at writing out your goals. You can’t start a project and never finish it. Well, you can. But then you’ll have a hole in the floor, or the wiring showing in the walls, or a sink that overflows. By a dog named George. No, not really, but you get my point. (I wrote about the house-flooding dog in my previous post.) Anyway, you get the picture. Setting goals is for the purpose of completing them. If a goal ends up not working, you can change the goal as situations and circumstances change, but you have to have goals. Goals keep what you want to accomplish right front and center. Zig Ziglar said if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. That is so true with writing. Goals keep us writing when everything else comes at us and wants us to quit.

If you’ve met your goals so far, great job! You’ve made it this far, only two more months to go. You can do it! If you haven’t, you’ve got two months to uncover those goals, dust them off, and work on them. Consider what’s kept you from meeting those goals. Something beyond your control? Don’t fret about those. The ones you have control over, go after them! If you find a goal that won’t work, change it to something that will. But have a goal. This year still has two months left to make your goals a reality. You can do it!

If you need a critique partner, someone to share your writing accomplishments or struggles with, a writing partner, an encourager, a NaNoWriMo buddy, contact me. Send me an email or contact me on social media. I’m on NaNoWriMo as sallyshupe. Writing can be lonely, as it’s just you and a piece of paper, or a screen, or talking into Dragon Naturally Speaking software, but it doesn’t have to be. Reach out to others. We’ve all got different gifts and abilities, and we’re all on this road together.

Now go forth and write. You’ve got two months. Unless you’re doing NaNoWriMo. That gives you like four months in one, right?

Sally Shupe lives in southwest Virginia with her husband, two grown kids, and a whole bunch of pets: five dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and birds at the birdfeeder (and the mandatory snowman when the snow cooperates). She writes contemporary Christian romance, with two completed manuscripts and others in progress. They are part of a series located in small town Virginia.

When Sally’s not writing or working full-time, she is a freelance editor for several authors who write fiction and nonfiction; students working on dissertation papers; a copy editor for Desert Breeze (now closed); a content editor for Prism (became part of Pelican); performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews on her blog and with Valley Business FRONT’s monthly magazine; is a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia; and loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

Sally uses her love of words to write about God’s amazing love.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Our Ways versus The Lord’s Ways by Cindy Williams

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11

"The End." We write those sweet words at the end of our story and breathe a sigh of relief… maybe post it online or celebrate with friends. We’ve plunged our characters into danger, immersed them in intrigue, struck them with love. They’ve been driven with purpose, fixed on their goals.

But what if you get to the end and realise that all their plans, all the things they were so concerned about, all the situations that drove them to achieve or fight or flee were not what the story was about at all!

This is the case with my new book, The Silk Merchant of Sychar. It is based on the John 4 account of the Samaritan woman at the well: a woman who had had five husbands and was currently with a man not her husband.

In the culture of her time marriage and children brought honor and security. Yet this woman had married and lost one man after another – five times! Imagine what thoughts occupied her mind. When she went out to the well, was she thinking of Jesus? Was she planning to do something great to please God? I don’t think so. She was coping with life in all its messiness.

Yet God used this woman as one of the first evangelists for Jesus. She was so excited after speaking to this Jewish man that had told her ‘everything she ever did’ that she rushed back to town to tell everyone. As a result, the town leaders invited Jesus to stay – a radical move as there was no love lost between Jews and Samaritans. He taught them for two days and many believed.

The Lord works the same way in our life. We may be trying to live a life pleasing to God or simply trying to get through the day. We may be doing the things we think He wants us to do and writing the words we feel called to write. Yet when the Author of Life planned and created us perhaps He wove in a few fine golden threads that He uses to His glory without us even trying, or maybe even knowing.

The Lord knows the plans he has for us and when we finally get to meet him we may be amazed at what seemingly insignificant events in our life bring a smile to his face and the words to his lips: "Well done good and faithful servant."

"...when the Author of Life planned and created us perhaps He wove in a few fine golden threads that He uses to His glory..." #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


Cindy Williams is an Australian author. For over twenty years she spoke and wrote about

healthy eating. Now she writes a more varied diet – of history, health, food and faraway places.

Exercise is her stress relief. Prayer is her sanity. Coffee and croissants are her downfall.

She writes stories of flawed women who battle injustice, and sometimes find romance.

She reviews for the Historical Novel Society, blogs for International Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers, and teaches scripture in schools.

Her first novel, The Pounamu Prophecy, was short listed for the 2016 Caleb Prize.

One woman, five husbands and a weary rabbi at the well who
knows everything she ever did.

The day after they bury her husband Leah Marcellus loses her
baby. A widow and childless, what man will want her now?
Her father arranges a second marriage – a profitable business
arrangement – sealed on Mount Gerizim, the holy mountain
where every true follower of Yahweh worships. But Leah’s heart
belongs to another. Her passion only brings trouble - jealousy,
murder and lies.

Leah’s skill at the loom and the secrets of dye – the woad, the
murex and madder – brings her renown among the Roman
women of wealth.

Yet death and betrayal soon steal her security. Leah is determined
to protect her family ... at any cost.

From the olive groves of Samaria to the bloodied sand of a
Roman stadium to the exquisite silks brought from the East,
The Silk Merchant of Sychar weaves colour into the biblical
account of the woman at the well.