Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Overcoming Without Being Overcome

Image courtesy of morguefile.com
Angie, here. There are times in a writer's life when he or she is overcome by ... well, life. Illness, family drama, financial woes -- all these can cramp up the creativity. I know, I've been dealing with a couple of these myself. In fact, I've even thought I might quite writing. But to quote R. A. Salvatore:
“If you can quit, then quit. If you can't quit, you're a writer.”
I just can't quit. Believe me, I've tried. If this sounds too familiar for comfort, then this post is for you.

Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is a compact book so full of deep wisdom and practical direction. One of my favorite verses in this little gem of a book is the last part of the 13 – 14th verses of chapter 3:

“… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me …” (Philippians 3:13b – 14a, NIV)

Written by Paul around the first century, it still holds truth today. On those days that I can’t move without pain, when I can’t read, write or focus on anything but what must be the most insane sitcoms, I can look at that verse and take comfort.

Did you know that Paul had a chronic illness? His illness was so bad that in his second letter to the church at Corinth, he tells them that he prayed for healing three times, but God told him, “No,” each time.

It was then that Paul, instead of wallowing in self-pity, made a decision to embrace his weakness. In fact, verse 10 of chapter twelve says,

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)

By that he meant that he’d reached a point where he couldn’t do anything (you know you’ve been there), that’s when he let God take over. And God always works in mighty ways. That’s the prize that Paul wanted – the life that God created just for him.

And that’s where we’ve got to find our joy when life get’s to be too much. The prize that God planned for us is just over that hill of pain, discouragement, loneliness or grief. Isn’t that great? We’ve just got to keep climbing until we get to the top.

I'm going to leave you with one more verse to think about and that's Jeremiah 29:11 [ESV], "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for [peace]* and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

What verse(s) do you cling to when you're overcome by life? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

*Bible Gateway

Monday, April 29, 2013

Creative Best Series: One

Annette M. Irby
As a writer and a lover of words, and as a lover of Scripture, I find the following verse delicious:

Make a careful exploration of who you are
and the work you have been given,
and then sink yourself into that.
Don't be impressed with yourself.
Don't compare yourself with others.
Each of you must take responsibility
for doing the creative best
you can with your own life.
(Galatians 6:4-5 MSG)

Over the next several Mondays, outside of Mike Ehret’s fourth Monday posts, we’ll break this verse down and explore how the passage applies to our lives as writers. For now, though, I’m going to leave this post simple. Go ahead, read the passage again. Encouraging, isn’t it? In a world that may not be hospitable to creative types all the time, we have this exhortation to delight in creativity. I love this passage so much I’ve pasted it over a lovely background, printed it out and posted it near my computer in my writing space. Enjoy!


Husband Material
Wyatt Hansen has no fears about commitment, but only three years have passed since his beloved wife died, and he can't bring himself to break their annual dinner date—that is until he meets restaurant owner, Lara Farr. Lara doesn't have time for romance; she has a business to run. At least that's what she tells herself so she doesn't have to admit that commitment scares her. But Lara's business is failing, and it just may take a miracle—or marketing analyst, Wyatt Hansen—to save it. Can Wyatt rescue Lara’s restaurant, help her overcome her fears, and prove he is good husband material? 


This series first appeared on Seriously Write in 2009.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Don’t Give Up by Darrel Nelson

Darrel Nelson
The road to publication can be long and challenging, but we’re often told that if we’re tenacious and work hard, we can reach the desired destination. Author Darrel Nelson is here today to share his personal journey, which is a true testimony of perseverance. Draw encouragement from his story and hang in there!  ~ Dawn

Don’t Give Up

My journey to publication spans thirty years, and yes, it’s been a long road. This may not seem like a positive introduction, but as the title suggests, my message is one of encouragement. Everyone faces challenges in writing and promoting their work, and sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that as writers we have much in common and can learn from one another. On that note, here’s my story.

After teaching high school for five years, I resigned in 1979 so I could write a novel. I pulled out all my savings and jumped in with both feet. Two years later I completed the manuscript and sent out letters of inquiry. No luck. Letters of rejection began piling up so fast that I stopped saving them because I ran out of storage room.

I returned to teaching and remained in the classroom for the next thirty-two years. During that time, I wrote ten more novels and sent out many more letters of inquiry. Rejection became a way of life as I tried one genre after another, always hoping that the next book would be my breakthrough.

In 2002, I hit upon an idea for a storyline based loosely on my family history. It took six years to develop it into a novel because of time constraints. When it was finished, I sent out more letters of inquiry. Again, no luck. So I rewrote the novel completely and sent out further queries. This time I was accepted, and I signed with Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. She shopped the manuscript around for a year without any progress. So I rewrote the novel again, changing the theme from Christmas to an anniversary. A year later, Joyce was successful in placing The Anniversary Waltz. It was a ten-year journey from start to finish!

Then I discovered that the journey was only beginning. I had to promote the book, and I found this to be as much work, if not more, than writing it. I’m talking book signings, visiting book clubs, writing articles, doing blog interviews, starting a webpage, entering parades, and keeping in contact on Facebook and Twitter. And while these promotional efforts were going on, I was writing my second novel, The Return of Cassandra Todd, the story of a young woman, on the run from her abusive husband, and the young man she meets who risks his life to help her. It too has a long and varied history, but I’ll save that for another article.

So now the words of encouragement: Don’t give up. It took me thirty years to find a publisher. And if I can do it, you can do it too. And hopefully in a lot less time. But if not, remember that we often need the journey to give us experiences that prepare us to craft the story we were not ready to write earlier.

Click to  reach Amazon.

About Darrel Nelson . . .

I am a schoolteacher by profession and taught school for thirty-seven years. I retired in June 2012 so that I could write full time. Raymond, Alberta, is my hometown, and I attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school, majoring in English. I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers).

But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world. The Anniversary Waltz was published in May 2012. It is the story of Adam and Elizabeth Carlson's courtship, set in northern Montana at the end of World War II. The Return of Cassandra Todd was released in February 2013. It is set in modern day Denver, and is the story of Cassandra's desperate flight from her abusive husband, and the timely assistance she receives from Turner. I am currently working on my third novel, Following Rain, which deals with the saving power of truth and love.

For more information, feel free to check out my website at http://www.darrelnelson.com.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Are You Connected?

You thought I meant social media, right? 


Dora here, and today I want to talk about connecting to a local writers group.

"Just one more thing to swallow more of my time." 

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on the group. The dynamics, the schedule, the speakers, even the centrality of the meeting location.

Recently, under the leadership of newly elected president, Myra Johnson, (Yay, Myra!) our group transitioned to every other month meetings from our previous quarterly schedule. We also moved to a new, permanent location, a fire station "community room" conveniently located to a major interstate that connects both North and South Carolina. The new facility boasts a kitchen, WiFi access, and a large meeting area that accommodates up to fifty people.

Carolina Christian Writers ~ New Meeting Location

Like the new digs? Yeah, me, too.

But I digress. Of course, you're not just interested in visiting the fire station. But what if a Fire Chief talked about fire scenarios for your fiction? What if he cited examples or helped untangle plot issues? 

Missy Tippens, Love Inspired Author
OK. Maybe you're not working on a fire scene right now. You're polishing your manuscript and praying over it before you send it off to a publisher. Would you be interested in the advantages of working with a smaller publishing house? Or in a multi-published, award-winning Love Inspired author's presentation on Writing Proposals That Sell The First Time?  

Perhaps you just received a rejection from a contest entry. Would you want to hear an author with vast experience in winning and finaling in contests share tips? 

Or maybe you just want to connect with like minds and hang out with some of your favorite authors?
From L-R: Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Myra Johnson, Dora Hiers, Sandra Ardoin (standing), Mary Annslee Urban, Lynette Eason, Jennifer Fromke, Amy Clipston. Where is Angie Arndt?

There she is! Angie Arndt

Would it be worth a couple hours every other month?

Not yet? Really?


What if you received a publishing contract from one of these meetings?

Ahhh...your eyes just lit up. Now I have your attention.

I'm a member of the Carolina Christian Writers, the local ACFW chapter serving both Carolinas. My first contract with Pelican Book Group (PBG)/White Rose Publishing was a direct result of one of our meetings. One of my CCW friends directed me to PBG, who was about a year old and hadn't blipped my radar yet. Would I have found my publisher had I not connected with CCW? Only God knows that, but He definitely opened a door where I had no idea one even existed.

For me, the benefits and blessings I gain from my CCW connection far outweigh the time commitment. You see, on March 15, I celebrated my fifth release with White Rose.

What about you? Are you connected with a writers group? 
If not, did I convince you to get connected?
If you are, what meeting topics would interest you?

Purchase Link
After a humiliating breakup, best-selling romance author Teal Benning flees to Promise Lake to complete her current novel, minus paparazzi and flashing cameras. Suffering from writer's block and a broken heart, Teal accepts the offer of help from neighbor, Hunter Miciver. 

Hunter longs to be more than the friend who picks up the shattered pieces of Teal's heart, but when Teal finds out his secret, will she see him for the man he is—a man of faith and devotion, a man who would cherish her for the rest of her days—or will she lump him into the same category as all the other men in her life, including her father?

Will Teal recognize when truth whispers her name?