Friday, July 31, 2015

The Presence of the W in Your Life and Writing: Encouragement for Writers by Hannah Conway

Isn’t that an interesting title? Can you guess what the “W” stands for?  Author Hannah Conway offers a helpful and encouraging view of how our spiritual lives can parallel the stories we write.  ~ Dawn


The W—story outline, plotlines, hero’s journey—what’evs. The W, and its components, can be found in stories far and wide, in our writing, and in our Faith Journey. That same W is found in God’s Word, because it’s the outline of HIS STORY—His redemptive story to us.

It begins with Point A, at the top of the W: In the Beginning. Genesis my friends. Life was perfect then, but (enter thematic music)…

Point B: The point of no return, or the inciting incident. In God’s Word this is when sin enters the world, and we are separated from Him. There’s no going back my friends. We are forced forward from the Garden. The Journey begins! Yes, there are obstacles and twists along the way, but we hope to one day be reunited with God.

Point C: After many struggles, our hope is found! It’s that moment when it seems as if we’ve won! God provided Jesus, our ONLY hope to be reunited with Him. A great victory, my friends! However, another twist lies ahead…

Point D: The darkest night of the soul. For followers of Christ, this was the death of Jesus. All hope was lost. We would never be reunited with God (enter some serious sad music). Yet, wait…

Point E: He’s RISEN! Redemption! He’s alive, and there’s hope for eternal life with God for anyone who believes in Him!

OH WOW! Isn’t our God a MASTER at wielding a story? He has us on the edge of our seats drawing us in, inviting us to follow along. The perfect story. The perfect, true, story.

Take a minute to recall your favorite story, and or movie. Can you find the W, and all it’s points (A-E)? I’m mentally listing the thousands of best-evers right now. So many!

Every story has a beginning, an inciting incident, a victory, an all hope is lost moment, but then ends with a redemptive quality.

That’s God’s story! Awesome, right?

As Christian writers we get to use that W in our stories to make our readers flip the page, and stay up all hours of the night to get through one more chapter. Is it the power of the W? No. It’s the POWER of God’s Redemptive Story told a million different ways. 

Take another minute and find the W in your Faith Journey (life as a Christian). What is God’s redemptive story in your life? Maybe it’s more than one W. I know I have several W’s in my life.

Make the W. Fill in the plot lines, and be amazed at what God has done.

As an Army Wife, I can see God’s hand on the plotlines of my life. The W is clear. I’m grateful for His presence from beginning to the redemptive end.

I want to encourage you as writers to look for the W in your life, and let it overflow into your writing as you share the truth of His Words with your readers.

Hannah Conway

Hannah Conway, a Kentucky native, is an Army Wife of more than a decade, Speaker, and a Stay at Home Mother of two. She’s the author of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife, and Wedding a Warrior: A Novella Prequel to The Wounded Warrior’s Wife (FREE ON EBOOK) with Olivia Kimbrell Press, & member of the ACFW. She and her family reside in Clarksville, TN, near Ft. Campbell, KY.


Twitter: @hannahrconway

WHITLEIGH CROMWELL dreamt of a happy life with her newlywed husband. Army Private First Class COLLIER CROMWELL loved God, his wife, and his country, though the military demanded he pay a high cost.

When an unexpected deployment during the height of the Iraqi war sends Collier away for another year, their lives tumble down a path marked with struggles and fatalities.  War weary and faith crippled, Collier brings home a war of another kind leaving Whitleigh staring at the pieces of their shattered marriage.

Are there ever wounds too deep, and marriages too broken, that fall beyond even God's ability to restore?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Confessions of a Multi-Genre Author by Cindy K. Green

Cindy K. Green
When you start in this life we call the writing game, one of the first things you learn (after how to utilize proper POV, of course) is that as a published author you must brand yourself. That means you sell your name more than any particular book. When you pick up a Stephen King or Nora Roberts novel, you know what you’re getting before even reading the blurb. Readers need to get to know you—how you write and what you write. In the large New York publishing houses, their authors typically have to BRAND themselves and only write in but one or maybe two genres. But…what about those of us who love to skip around and experiment in the genres?

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. There are some big names who jump around in the genres. James Patterson is known for his mystery/suspense/thrillers. But he’s also penned some award-winning young adult titles and even a series of romances.  

When I’m asked: ‘What do you write? What’s your genre?’ I seriously have to make out a list. And I make no excuses for it. I love skipping from genre to genre, stretching my writer’s legs or fingers—or to be more precise my imagination and my writer’s niche. It keeps the writing fresh and exciting. I finally branded myself in a general sense with ‘Humorous, Heartfelt, Spirit-filled Fiction.’ My subgenres include: Inspirational Contemporary & Historical Romance, Young Adult, Chick-lit, Romantic Suspense. I’ve even written a high fantasy. I told you it was a lot.

So, I’ve been asked, ‘how do you write in all those genres? I feel like I’d get confused.’ Well, here’s my confession—it’s very easy to get confused. If you write in several genres you have to go through steps to bring it all together. Let me take you through an example.

I’ve recently been writing two different YA series. In doing so, I had to purge from my mind the voice and tone of my just finished historical western. I was now an almost eighteen-year-old girl full of insecurities while watching my life spin upside down. So, first step, I have to read some YA books. A little Meg Cabot, some Jenny B. Jones and a bit of Melody Carlson and I’m set. I listen to music that’s for the young or young at heart. And then I watch lots of teen movies. Basically, I get into the mindset of the American teen. (I also have a teen living in my house and that’s the best prep work there is.)

I do something similar for whatever genre I’m writing. It’s like I’m priming myself to write. You see there is a tone, a set a verbiage that is necessary to each sub-genre. I have to get myself into that place before I start writing. Now if you only write in one genre that isn’t really a problem. No matter what you are reading or watching it won’t affect your writing. You’ve trained yourself how to write your genre. But when you write several genres, you have to equip yourself to write many different ways and your muse needs a reminder as to what hat to put on today. 

Dora here. Do you write in multiple genres? If so, how do you "prime" yourself to write?
If not, have you considered writing in a different genre?

Cindy K. Green has worked as a middle school history & English teacher, a frozen yogurt server and a golf magazine employee. Today she's a multi-published, award-winning author, a mother, a wife, and a homeschooler too. This native Californian now resides in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and two cats named Chloe & Kassey.

Connect with Cindy:
Join her newsletter by sending an email to Visit her website & her blog She's on Facebook (Cindy K. Green) and Twitter (@cindykgreen) too. Connect with her on Pinterest: and Google+: as well. 

Her latest release Andrea & the Five Day Challenge is a Christian YA novel, the first in the Aubrey Christian Academy Series. A Bible Study Challenge, a Prayer Journal and Homecoming. The combination just might change her life.

Buy Links:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Using Google Books to Discover the Past by Sandra Ardoin

I was a late-comer to the Internet. Oftentimes, I wonder what I did without it—specifically, Google. You know … when in doubt, Google it.

As a writer of historicals set in the 19th century, I have no first-hand knowledge of life in the 1800s (no wise-cracks, please), so I can get bogged down when it comes to research. One of my favorite sources for knowledge is Google Books. Putting aside the lawsuits regarding copyright infringement, as of 2013, Google had scanned in information about, or the full text of, over 20,000,000 books. Wikipedia says 30,000,000.

The texts of their public domain books and magazines are precious to my searches. For instance, if I decide I want my 1890 character to decorate a room for Christmas, I’ll click on the little books icon in my browser, add a subject like “Christmas decorations,” and click “Search Books.” It will bring up pages and pages of books and magazines with those words and highlight them for me.

But I don’t necessarily want current books. I may not want books from the early part of the 19th century either. To narrow my search, I’ll click on “Search Tools” at the top. From there, I’m given a choice of three different centuries or a custom search in the “From” and “To” (whatever years I add.) I may only want to view what was popular from 1875 to 1890. Under “Any Document,” I’m also given the chance to choose between books and magazines. Doing a Google Books Advanced Search allows you to add even more specific information to narrow the search.

Additional advantages:

  • Use the cutting tool to outline portions you want to save. Rather than the whole book, I usually only need a small paragraph, or one page, or a line that contains the information to make my story pop with accuracy. That’s when I’ll use the cutting tool to paste the information onto a page with my research notes. I always want to be able to go back and find the information easily.
  • While searching, I’ll sometimes (okay, usually) run across books or magazines I find interesting and ones I want to read later, even if they don’t have the particular information I’m looking for at the time. So I won’t forget about it, I have the option to add that book to my library. 
  • I’ll also use Google Books to look for certain words or phrases. If I think it’s something that might not have been used during my time period, or used in a different context, I’ll check for sources that might include the term I’m looking for.
  • The ads in old magazines and periodicals are priceless. Most include a section at the end or throughout the pages devoted to advertising, just as they do today. You might find something fun to add to your story.  
  • When I wrote A Reluctant Melody, I found a Branson's business directory. It included the various businesses in towns in my setting's area. It gave the churches and pastors, mayors, aldermen, etc. It gave me the information I needed to build my own town and include the types of businesses one would find, along with the type of law enforcement, the landscape and agricultural products. It was invaluable. 
There are many ways to use Google Books for research, and I keep learning more.

Have you tried it? How do you use it? What is the most surprising thing you've learned from a Google Books search?


Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance, such as her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel and the January 2016 release of A Reluctant Melody. She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina.

Visit her at and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dream Big! by Susan Anne Mason

Susan Anne Mason
I think I know how actors feel when they finally get that breakout movie that thrusts them into the spotlight. Suddenly they have ‘made it’, and people call them an overnight success — even if they’ve been acting for years. Like them, I had been writing for years, getting rejection after rejection, when suddenly everything seemed to happen at once.

In August 2013, I entered my historical romance, Irish Meadows, in a contest and prepared my pitch for the September ACFW Conference. Sadly, my appointments seemed a waste of time. I found no interest for my book, and in fact, received a lot of negative comments and advice. Yet I wasn’t discouraged. I had confidence that when the time was right, God would give me the desire of my heart.

Meanwhile in October 2013, I got the wonderful news that two of my contemporary stories would be published by a small publisher called White Rose. During the following excitement, all thoughts of Irish Meadows got pushed to the background while I concentrated on revisions and galleys for these two books scheduled for release in August and December, 2014.

Then in early 2014, I found out that Irish Meadows had won the contest I entered, and an editor from Bethany House asked to see my manuscript! He loved it!! And in March 2014, I received an offer from BETHANY HOUSE for 3 historical romances! This book of my heart had now expanded to a three-book series! I could not believe it!

Imagine my shock when within a week of this astounding news, I learned that Harlequin’s Love Inspired line wanted to buy one of my contemporary romances! Now I had THREE contracts with 3 different publishers!

I hope my story gives hope and encouragement to other aspiring authors out there!! Keep trying, keep sowing the seeds that will eventually reap the harvest. It only takes one person to love your writing!

Persistence, hard work, and faith! Three key elements for anything you wish to achieve! And remember that God can dream a bigger dream for us than we can ever imagine! So don’t give up!
About the Author
Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She particularly enjoys exploring the themes of forgiveness and redemption in her stories. Irish Meadows is her first historical novel and won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Author chapter of RWA.

Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Learn more about Susan and her books at
Irish Meadows
by Susan Anne Mason

Irish Meadows
Irish immigrant, James O’Leary, has spent his life building Irish Meadows into a thriving horse farm and is not about to let hard economic times threaten its success. He intends for his daughters to marry prosperous men—ones who will secure the family’s rightful place in society, and at the same time, guarantee the future of Irish Meadows. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their father expects them to marry well. Yet despite his wishes, Brianna, the quieter sister, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards. When stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from college and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?

FB Author page:
Amazon :

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward

By Mary Manners

“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

~ Colossians 3:12 ~

I have been writing since I was old enough to know that words tell a story…about four years old. I have such vivid memories of standing in my basement in Chicago, leaning against the washing machine, and scribbling across a notepad because I had a story to tell. Of course, the scribble was just gibberish, but the story was clear in my mind.

My primary school librarian read wonderful stories from picture books. One of my favorites was Sam, Bangs and Moonshine. I loved the wonderful tale of the inquisitive girl and her cat, and the father whose love was overshadowed by grief over the loss of his wife…so many powerful emotions interwoven with haunting illustrations. As you can guess, library hour was my favorite time of the week.

In sixth grade, I had a wonderful teacher who nurtured my writing. She came to school early in the morning and worked with me, and I completed my first full-length novel that year. I will never forget this wonderful woman. We corresponded through my college years before losing touch. I will never forget her, though, or the boundless encouragement she gave me.

In high school, I had an English teacher who loved books as much as I did. He understood my passion for words, and encouraged me to read books with more depth and to appreciate their beautiful imagery. He also began a writers’ group, and published some poems I wrote in a school anthology. It was thrilling!

Without these dedicated teachers, I may not have pursued my love of writing…and might very well not be where I am today. I remember them as I teach my middle-school students, and try to ‘pay forward’ the encouragement I received.

So I ask…has there ever been a teacher who impacted you with compassion, dedication, or encouragement? If so, how did this teacher help you to get where you are today…and what would you say to him or her if given the opportunity?

Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus. She loves swimming, running, flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.
Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website:
Wisdom Tree
Sometimes the last thing we think we need is exactly what God has planned. ..

After the death of his parents, Jake Samuels has enough on his plate—including a fledgling church to lead and a mischievous younger brother to raise. The last thing he needs is a rambunctious woman to contend with.

Carin O'Malley is dealing with the death of her brother and a new job as an English teacher at East Ridge Middle School where Corey Samuels reigns as King of Chaos. The last thing she needs is to fall in love with a man...especially a handsome and complicated preacher like Corey’s brother Jake.

But when Corey's antics toss Carin and Jake together, the two must draw from God’s wisdom to find refuge in His perfect plan for them.

Friday, July 24, 2015

God’s Still On His Throne by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

You’ve probably heard the news.

Abingdon fiction. Gone. They join a long litany of publishers and imprints that have decided to get out of the Christian fiction market in one way or another citing the bottom line as the main reason. No one can blame them, really. It is a business. Businesses have to stay afloat.

Some of these publishers are relatively new to the game. Only been publishing fiction for less than ten years. They had a good run. Won lots of awards. Had good sales for such “fledgling start ups.”

The cry, however, from the news when it broke has been mixed. These were some of the “headline reactions” I noted when reading the various articles which arose from the ashes: 1) “Doomsday: Another Christian publisher bites the dust and makes getting Christian fiction published more difficult. Christian Fiction Authors are left scrambling for fewer contracts.” 2) “Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Abingdon hadn’t acquired anything new in a year anyway. So, everybody, just Chillax.” 3) “The Proof is in the Pudding: Too many Christian novels cater to the same, declining audience of Amish/Christian Romance fiction readers. That’s why sales are slipping.” 4) “Long Live the Indie Writer: The only way to survive these troubling times in the world of publishing is to join hands with Amazon and sing Kum ba yah.”

As I read and thought and prayed about my little boat in the ocean we call “Writing,” I had two primary conclusions. First, has anyone ever heard of a company called Apple? Does anyone remember Apple in 1996? The company’s stock had dropped to a 10-year low and was then $18 a share. So, in December of 1996, they spent $429 million and also gave 1.5 million shares of their stock and purchased a company called NeXT. In the deal, they acquired a guy by the name of Steve Jobs as a consultant. Out of the ashes, what you know as The Apple Corporation today arose to become a leader in the world of technology. They “reinvented” themselves and came out with a gadget called the iPod. No doubt, plans were well underway for the iPhone, the iPad, and the other spinoffs. The iPhone came out in 2007. Seems longer, doesn’t it. Just think about how the world has changed in a mere eight years. Oh, and by the way, Apple’s stock price as I write this blog is now $129.51.

Second, I’m a Christian. As one, I have two roads I can travel. I can be a wishy-washy, tail-between-my-legs kind of believer, a la Peter at the fire in Luke 22:54, willing to do whatever it takes to save my writing behind in this world of publishing, or I can be the kind of believer who stands tall for Christ, unwilling to compromise, run, or water down the message. Now, with that in mind, I also live in a world whose growing sentiment for anything even resembling God or Jesus is becoming more vile and “anti-Christ-like” with each passing day. Couple this with the sale of major Christian houses like Zondervan and Multnomah to secular publishing companies, and the venues in which I can write, publish, and sell my writing, especially if it has a “Standing Tall” kind of message, decrease exponentially.

When you look at the world in general, the message is becoming clearer by the day. Christians are no longer wanted on planet Earth. Our values, our morals, our God’s way of doing “business” are being vilified in the courts of judges, justices, and public opinion.

However, you and I both know that God’s not done yet, either. I haven’t heard any trumpets yet. My eyes and ears, looking to the heavens and listening for the “Shout of the Lord,” are still waiting.

So, I watch and wait. For a possible Christian “Apple Company” to rise up and become a viable leader in this crazy business. For the next Christian novel and next Christian movie to shine a light in the darkness of these last days. Hoping that, if God chooses to use me, one of those could be mine.

God’s not done yet. And when He’s still in play, you know exciting things will happen.

Something ominous lurks under the waters.

Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband's mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband's office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever...and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.

Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.

Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn's life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stand for. 


C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years experience as an administrator at the high school level.

A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:  
Kevin’s Educational Blog:  
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson