Monday, April 30, 2018

The Power of Story, Part I: Why I Believe in Story by Annette M. Irby

Finding Love on Bainbridge Island books with bookmarks and pen*

A woman stood chatting with me about fiction during one of my book signings. The Bible bookstore was stocked with gifts, Bibles, cards, journals, and of course, books. My stack of novels decorated the table. Her husband joined her. Where she had been kind and wore a generous smile, this man brooded. He wore a scowl, and he glared at me and the pile of books as if he might catch something by proximity. His wife and I were discussing story and she glanced at her husband, almost afraid, and said, “I used to read a lot. Now, my husband doesn’t want me to read fiction anymore.”

The man’s scowl deepened. 

“One of the reasons I write fiction,” I answered her, “is because Jesus used story to bring the truth to people. It’s a powerful tool—all those parables.”

The man kept glancing between me and the books on the table. I have no idea what he was thinking. Maybe he'd decided all Christian fiction was useless. Perhaps he thought romance wasn't something God condoned, as if God didn't invent it and doesn't live in an unending romance with His people. Finally, the man urged his wife away, but not before I saw what he carried—a box of gospel tracts. 


Jesus didn’t carry tracts around. There are many, many ways to share the good news.

Jesus didn’t scowl at friendly people making wholesome conversation about uplifting works.

Jesus didn’t tell people not to read. He never denounced story. In fact, all of time is His story, which I’ve heard explained is the reason we label the past “history.” 

In his parables, Jesus used stories to touch people, nudge them to lower their guards, and teach them truths. People could relate with relationships in His parables, like the prodigal son parable. Parents likely related to the father who worried and waited for his son to return. Sinners might relate to the desperation and regrets of the lost prodigal. Saints might relate to the older brother and how he felt excluded while, motivated by bitterness and harassed by jealousy, he set himself up as judge.

Story changes lives, and Jesus demonstrated this in His parables. That’s why I believe in their power, that and I've seen this play out in my own life. As for that frightened and controlling man? Jesus probably has a story that can help him.

Write on, friends.

Come back next week for part two as I discuss the power of themes in story.

Your turn: Have you ever watched story change someone? Has story ever changed your life?


FL on Bainbridge Island, Washington
Releases 5/1/18 from Mountain Brook Ink. Kindle Unlimited members can read the first two books in the Washington Island Romance series for free. Print version available now! The Kindle version is also free if you buy the print version.

Neither of them is ready for a relationship, but love may not give them an out.

Jenna-Shea Brown considers herself a broken therapist. Years ago, she witnessed something that caused PTSD. She can’t let her boss or her patients know about her battle. Who would want to trust her to help them, when she can’t help herself? She’s finally able to find a fresh start in her family’s beach cabin, but the renovations aren’t complete. Her parents have hired her ex-boyfriend to finalize them, but his negligence led to her being in the wrong place at the wrong time all those years ago. 

Liam Barrett is trying to prove he’s nothing like his deadbeat dad. He’s working hard, yet still failing. Adrenaline and adventure offer him a diversion, but maybe he can’t escape his genes. He’d like to make things right with Shea, but he’s unsure if she’ll forgive him. Meanwhile, he’s challenged to forgive his father. He’s also worried about Shea and all these episodes she won’t explain. Now that they’re back in close proximity, he’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past?


Annette M. Irby**

Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more here on her Seriously Write Page.

Links to connect with Annette:
Twitter: @AnnetteMIrby
Facebook Reader Friends Group:

* Photo of books tack credit: Annette M. Irby
** Author Photo credit: Sarah Irby at Irby Photos

Friday, April 27, 2018

Five Tips on How Not to Become a Writer by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

Do you have a story to tell? Do you have a book inside you just waiting to be written? Are you looking for ways to squash those feelings so you won’t be viewed by your peers as a weirdo who likes to spend more time with his computer than his buddies? Want that desire to die so you can say yes when your girlfriends ask you to join them for a ladies’ night out? Well, look no further. I have “Five Tips on How Not to Become a Writer.” Or you can call them “Five Secrets of the Not-So-Successful Writer Wannabee.” Or how about “Five Keys to Burying Your Foolish Dreams of Becoming a New York Times Bestselling Author”?

Regardless of the title of this workshop, you are going to learn ways that will help you take the necessary detours around the glamourous, eighty-hour a week, hermit-like life of the average author so that you can live a normal, human existence. So, let’s get started!

Tip #1: If first you don’t succeed, keep it up.

Ninety-percent of the battle of having a good day at work is showing up. If you don’t show up, you may have a great day somewhere else, but it won’t be at work. Same goes for writing. If you never sit down to write, it won’t get written. So, don’t do it. If you go to the donut shop instead, eat an extra glazed donut and have another glorious cup of donut shop coffee. If the beach is calling, pick up the phone. Make that date. And don’t take your computer. Computers hate sand and water. Remember, the worst thing you can do is believe in yourself and start writing.

 Tip #2: Social media should be your daily companion.

If you do make the mistake of turning on your computer, make sure you open up a web browser and access all of your social media accounts (you should have at least five). But we suggest using your smart phone instead. This way, you can utilize this tip without being tempted to open up MS Word. A rule of thumb here is to spend no less than thirty minutes with each social media account. If you’re lucky, your desire to sit down and write will fade by account number three, and before you know it, your morning (and more importantly, the time you could have spent writing) will be gone. Remember, mankind has never produced a bigger time-wasting activity than social media. For a writer wannabee, this is golden. Use it to the fullest.

Tip #3: Give your idea to someone else, then forget about it.

Real writers not only write, they save their work. That’s because they not only want to finish it, but they want to take credit for it. But if you wish to be the best writer wannabee you can be, stay away from flash drives, jump drives, thumb drives, and external hard drives. If you happen to jot down some notes on a napkin, ala J. K. Rowling, burn them. Then, find someone you know who actually does this kind of thing for a living and give them your ideas verbally. You can even donate any research you foolishly spent time collecting so it may help them produce a work worthy of publication. They key here is for you not to have a legal leg to stand on if the book becomes the next blockbuster. You want to cut all ties. Remember, once you hand over the keys to your idea, walk away. And do it with your blessing. And if you must use a drive of some sort, make it a long one along the beach. And who knows? That writer friend who now owns your idea may even mention you in the acknowledgements.

Tip #4: Make sure you are blogging…a lot.

Blogging is a great way to help folks get to know you. It’s also a great way for writers to help other authors get exposure to new readers. It’s also a great way to help build your brand as a writer. But for you, the writer wannabee, those reasons are all the taboo. But if you must write something, write a blog nobody wants to read. Suggestions for topics could be:

  • Anti-Gardening: For Those Who Hate Flowers But Love Destructive Insects
  • Yo-Yo: Living in the Motherhood and Other Tales From the Crib
  • Sports: For Those Who Actually Need to Participate But Don’t, or
  • Creative Ways to Use Aluminum Foil Outside the Kitchen.

Why? Because when you write about these kinds of things, you won’t develop an audience. You won’t develop a brand. (Unless you’re really funny, which in that case, don’t be. Boring is the best…think: Sominex in print. The last thing you want is to become a stand-up comic. They travel way too much.)

We also recommend writing as many blogs as you can in a month, then add about five more so you never really write for any of them with any consistency. Remember, there are two major foci here: You want your blogs to monopolize your time, and you want your blogs to make you look like an unmarketable oddball. Accomplish this, and you are well on your way to the writer wannabee life.

Tip #5: If you read, read anything but books on writing.

One of the most dangerous acts a writer wannabee can perform is talking to an actual writer. If you do, they will begin to tell you about their latest project. They also will tell you about how their published works are doing because to be polite, you will have started off the conversation by asking, “So, how are your books doing?” Don’t do that. Why? Because they may tickle your fancied, inner writer. They may even get you interested in wanting to know more. And if you fall completely down the rabbit hole of temptation, you may even ask more questions, which will turn your five-minute, superficial, “Rats, they saw me…I guess I’ll have to say hello now” conversation in the grocery store into an Amazon Prime order of books on the craft of writing, grammar, parts of speech, sentence structure, plot, and all those other terms you hated in your high school English class. Remember, if you read, read for fun. Maybe even for personal edification. But never about writing.

I hope this has helped you learn the ways of a non-writer. Think of this class as a “Writer Wannabees 101” class. There are more tips we can share at a later date, but for now, start with these.

I guarantee you, if you employ the secrets I have shared with you, you will be living the life of a writer wannabee in no time.


(The Blake Meyer Thriller Series, Book 3)

A Perverse Tale. A Precarious Truth. A Personal Tribulation.

Supervisory Special Agent Blake Meyer is at an impasse. Bound and beaten in a dilapidated warehouse halfway around the world, Blake finds himself listening to an unbelievable story. Right and wrong warp into a despicable clash of ideologies. Life quickly becomes neither black nor white. Nor is it red, white, and blue any longer.

Every second brings the contagion's release closer, promising to drag the United States into the Dark Ages. Tens of millions could be dead within months.

Every moment adds miles and hours to the expanding gulf between him and his family. What is he to believe? Who is he to trust?

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The first three books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out! Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, and Book 3, The Tide of Times, are now available! Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, is coming soon!  Also, the second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available!

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. It’s quite elementary, actually.

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Seasons of Writing by Terri Weldon

April has been a tricky month this year. Early on I had beautiful tulips in pink, red, and orange blooming in my yard. The slow growing redbud trees put on their prettiest show since they’d been planted. Then the freeze came. The purple blooms on the redbuds shriveled up and the tulip blooms leaned over as if their necks had been broken. Where was spring? 

The weather warmed up again and surprisingly the tulips fared better than expected and their blooms perked back up for the most part. Then it froze again. 

This time I had a little more hope, I knew some of the tulips would wither, but others would make it. Plus I had a crop of late bloomers waiting to burst out. Even through the chill I knew spring was coming. 

So what does this have to do with writing and why am I rambling about my flowers? Because when I started thinking about what to write for this post the seasons of writing popped into my mind and I realized writing, much like the weather, has seasons. 

When I first began writing it felt like spring. Story ideas abounded. Excitement sprang up much like the tulips in my yard. Writing was fresh and new. I wrote fast and furiously. 

Now admittedly I had a long spring season, but finally summer arrived. I sold a book. Nothing seemed impossible. I had a request from an editor at my dream publisher. Like my garden in the summer, everything was in bloom. 

But have you ever designed a flowerbed and it didn’t quite turn out like you expected? Or planted a flower just to have it die? Yeah, well now you know how my book at my dream publisher fared. Fall had arrived. Most blooms were stripped away. Still there were snippets of hope. While the publisher rejected my book they did welcome other submissions from me.  Plus I had a request from a small publisher for a novella I had written. So just like fall, things were changing, but there was still beauty. 

I guess we all know what comes after fall. Winter. You guessed it, the novella…it was rejected. My writing, my creativity had taken some hard hits. And just like winter everything seemed frozen. Should I keep on writing? Was I spinning my wheels or was there hope? That’s a question each author has to answer for themselves. There is no wrong choice as long as you are doing what God wants you to do. 

Thankfully winter isn’t the end. There is always another spring coming. I made the decision to keep writing and while I wish I could say I’m enjoying an endless summer I’d be lying. The seasons have come and gone. I’m still here and thankfully have a novella coming out this July. After that, well I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.  

I think Solomon said it best:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
I hope you’ll share a little bit about your writing seasons and where you are in your writing journey now.

The Matchmakers Anthology
A Match Made in Sheffield (Book Two by Terri Weldon)

Nalie Benton bounced from one foster home to another until she landed on Ellie Alexander’s doorstep. Natalie’s vagabond childhood caused her to yearn for a secure life, which led to Natalie’s five-year plan: complete her law degree, marry the perfect man, become a partner at Montgomery, Haynes, and Preston, and produce one child. Getting arrested wasn’t in Natalie’s plan. Needing a public defender wasn’t in her plan. Falling for Grady Hunter, her public defender, definitely wasn’t in her plan. Can Grady convince Natalie there is more to life than her five-year plan? Is Ellie the only one who sees a future for Natalie and Grady?

Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an award winning author by night. Her novella The Christmas Bride Wore Boots won the best novella category in the 2016 Lyra Awards. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, spending time with her family, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in the Heartland of the United States. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. Terri is a member of ACFW and RWA. She is a member of the Seriously Write Team ( Readers can connect with Terri at