Friday, June 29, 2018

Five Ways to Boost Your Writing Career by Cindy Patterson

Cindy Patterson

I’m so honored and excited to be here today. Thank you, Dawn, for inviting me.

As I thought about what to write, my mind took me in all different directions, but I settled on how to make this the best writing year yet. I don’t know about you, but I need a boost. And what a perfect time!! My birthday's tomorrow :)

Five Easy Ways to Boost Your Writing Career


Write every day. The name of this site says it perfectly. “SERIOUSLY WRITE”

If you take time to write every day, you'll get better. Find a routine and stick with it. Just imagine ...  500 words a day, 5 days a week equals= 2,500 words a week. If you do this for 52 weeks you'll write 130,000 words a year!! WHY AM I NOT ALREADY DOING THIS??


Read every day. There's so much inspiration in reading. Writers definitely need to read books on improving our writing. But do you read other writers’ fiction while working on a project?

Some would say no, but I find it stimulates my brain in different settings, pacing, and plotting. It encourages me to evaluate my work with a sharper eye. Experiencing different writers’ techniques also makes me question am I doing the best I can do. And if I'm in a writer’s block, reading a few chapters of another book helps tremendously.


Take a notebook with you everywhere. Write down your favorite words, books, describe your favorite places. Here’s a sample of my some of my favorite things...

1~Hugs and kisses from my babies
2~Soft puppy fur beneath my fingers
3~A movie with a really good story that brings me to tears
4~God’s Holy Word and how it blesses every part of my life
5~Sprays of pink across the sky, late in the afternoon
6~A beautiful book cover
7~The gentle touch of love when my husband takes my hand
8~Peppermint ... anything with peppermint. I love that stuff!
9~Rainy days, especially when I don’t have anything planned
10~My hot cup of coffee every morning
11~The strength of both my sons
12~The girliness of my daughter
13~The freedom to worship my Lord and Savior, Jesus
14~That God has a plan for me
15~My huge family who I love to pieces


Always keep a pen with you. Without a pen, number three is useless. And use that pen to edit the mess out of that manuscript.

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

—Mark Twain


Don’t settle on one style. Try something new. Read a genre you’ve never read. This can lead to problems. Especially when great ideas cause a lot of work. This quote says it all.

“Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”

—Annie Dillard

Thank you for stopping by and may God bless you in all your journeys, whatever they may be.



Paul Fischer's a plain man with big dreams and an even bigger problem—gaining his uncle's approval. He's just settled on how to accomplish that while maintaining loyalty to his family and heritage, when a beautiful Englischer shows up threatening to defeat all his efforts.

A romantic relationship with Rachel is forbidden and he soon discovers it will take more than simply guarding his heart. The more time he spends with her, the more he wants to overcome every obstacle that's keeping them apart.

Rachel Adam’s home was once filled with happiness. It now occupies only painful memories. Even still, she never dreamed she'd have to leave Florida. She’s determined to return, until an unlikely attraction brightens her outlook. Drawn to Paul like a butterfly to a flower, she begins to imagine a future in Paradise. A future very different from her life-long plans. A future only Paul has the power to rewrite ... unless a devious plot destroys it first.

Chasing Paradise is a story rich in emotion that beautifully portrays love and loss and confronts the difficult question—How far would you go to protect the one you love?

Cindy Patterson is the award-winning author of Broken Butterfly and Chasing Paradise. She believes in life-changing fiction and happily-ever-afters that start with Jesus. Her passions include Jesus, her husband, children and her family. She’s an ordinary girl wanting to do extraordinary things for Christ. In her stories, she loves to give glimpses of how God can use brokenness and make them whole. She reads a lot, drinks too much coffee, and wishes she had more time to write. She loves to connect with her readers.

Chasing Paradise Trailer:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Just Be Yourself by Patti Jo Moore

Most likely at some time or another, we’ve all been given the age-old advice, “Just be yourself, and you’ll do fine.” Maybe when we were in school and had to stand before our class to give a dreaded book report (Ugh! I did *not* like doing those), or attending a social gathering where we knew no one, many of us have been encouraged by a parent or friend to be ourselves. If you think about it, that’s really good advice, because usually folks can tell if someone is trying to imitate or be someone they’re not (or “putting on airs” as we say here in the south). ๐Ÿ˜‰

It recently occurred to me that this is true in our writing, also. As writers, we’re told to “find our voice” and work hard to be the best writer we can be. Yet sometimes we read books written by well-known, award-winning authors and start thinking that maybe our books would sell better (or garner more awards) if our writing style and voice closely imitated those authors we admire. If we’re not careful, that silent self-talk of doubt will creep in, telling us our writing isn’t up to par. Although everyone, I’m guessing, has been visited by those pesky negative voices, we must learn to ignore them. Yes, easier said than done, I know. But if necessary, contact a writing buddy or mentor and share with them what you’re feeling, and they can give you the needed pep talk to help you get back to focusing on your writing rather than the feelings of doubt. I will insert here that for me personally, prayer and reading uplifting Bible verses also help. For those of us who truly feel called to write in this season of our lives, meditating on a few Scriptures can do wonders. ๐Ÿ˜Š

So while we do need to read books by various authors and in different genres, and work very hard to improve our writing, it’s so important to stay true to our own, unique voice. Because we never know who might read our words and be impacted by them. Maybe your story contains a faith thread woven in, and it happens to be exactly what a reader needed at that time—you never know! Or maybe your story provides a good dose of entertainment that helps a reader escape life’s troubles, even for a little while. I was reminded of this a few months ago. My very first book (a clean, sweet romance) had been published about two months earlier, and one day I received a Facebook message from a long-ago friend (I’ll call him Tom). We’d been casual friends decades ago in college, but hadn’t been in touch except for connecting on Facebook a while back. I had no idea that Tom was battling cancer until I read his message. He wrote that he’d gotten a copy of my book and it had been a very good diversion for him as he underwent cancer treatments. Wow. I told my husband that if Tom was the only person my story had helped or entertained, my entire writing journey—trials and all—was so worth it. We just never know who our words might touch, so we need to write those words and not try to copy anyone else. We need to just be ourselves, because…as the very old saying goes, “There’s no one else quite like you.” ๐Ÿ˜Š   

Gracie Norton has happily relocated from north Georgia to a quaint community on Florida’s gulf coast. Since she loves children and animals, she’s thankful for her new job as a veterinary assistant, and she’s drawn to the precious twins who’ve moved in next door. Their handsome but reserved father is a different story, however.

Widower Blake Donovan hopes moving his young twins to a small coastal town will give them all a fresh start. Yet his dissatisfaction with his job and his unwanted, growing attraction for his pretty neighbor are frustrating him. He wonders if he will ever feel a sense of peace again.

When a serious situation occurs, Gracie must overcome her biggest fear to help Blake and his twins. In doing so, she realizes how much she cares for the children and their father. Blake’s medical emergency results in a restoration of his faith—and helps him realize he can’t deny his feelings for Gracie. Could young twins be the matchmakers to bring about an unexpected romance?

Amazon Buy Link:  An Unexpected Romance

Patti Jo Moore is a life-long Georgia girl who loves writing sweet, Southern stories. She also loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee, and is blessed with the most precious grandbaby ever. Her very first book, A Seaside Romance, released in December, and her second book, An Unexpected Romance, just released this month (both are from Forget-Me-Not Romance). Both books are available on Amazon, in print and Kindle form. Patti Jo loves people, and you can connect with her on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore, or on her blog: 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Ups and Downs of the Writing Journey by Narelle Atkins

When I was a pre-published writer, I learned from more experienced writers that the writing journey is not for the feint of heart.

For writers seeking traditional publishing opportunities, the arrival of rejection letters becomes a normal part of the process. The rejection letters with constructive feedback provide a glimmer of hope that a future contract offer is possible.

For writers seeking independent (indie) publishing opportunities, there’s a steep learning curve in not only how to write well, but in learning all the steps involved in the publishing process.

I sold my first book to Harlequin Heartsong Presents in 2013 in a six-book contract. My debut contemporary inspirational romance released in February 2014, and I had a book releasing every three months until May 2015. In 2013 I also signed with my agent, Steve Laube, after meeting him at an ACFW conference appointment.

It was a busy eighteen months, from signing the contract in March 2013 to submitting book 6 to my editor in September 2014. And then it happened...

In November 2014, the month my fourth book released, Harlequin announced they were cancelling the Heartsong Presents line. I was fortunate to have all six books release before the cancellation date, but what next?

By 2014 many of my author friends had dipped their toes into the indie publishing world. I decided to join them. I released my seventh book in a multi-author box set in mid-2015, followed by two more box set novella releases in 2016.

2016 and 2017 were hard years from a writing perspective. Family commitments arose that limited my ability to write. I started a new day job in early 2016 with longer hours. I reached a point in 2017 where I was prepared to walk away from my writing. I was overwhelmed with life, in general, and I couldn’t see how I could add writing deadlines into my busy schedule.

I prayed and I waited. The answer I received was to persevere and keep going. The characters in my head started talking again, and I embarked on writing a new novella, Solo Tu, for an indie group project.

In 2017 I participated in a Writing Immersion retreat with Margie Lawson, and I’ll be attending another Immersion later this year. I made the decision to hold off on re-publishing my out-of-print Heartsong backlist. I want to update the stories before I indie publish them.

I’ve learned to be content with my writing journey, and to wait on His timing. My backlist will be available for new readers when the timing is right.

Have you experienced unexpected twists and turns in your writing journey? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, NARELLE ATKINS was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What Watching "Brother vs. Brother" Taught Me About Competition by Beth K. Vogt

Competition is part of the writing game. But do you stand up to the clash with other professionals – or do you avoid it?
Beth K. Vogt

Have you ever watched Brother vs. Brother? It’s so much fun watching identical twin brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott compete against one another on their house renovation TV show – especially when I’m cheering for Drew and my daughter, Christa, is cheering for Jonathan. The odd thing is, I’m not a natural competitor myself.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Scott Brothers and the format of their show, here’s a brief run-down of the format:

Drew, a real estate expert, and Jonathan, a licensed contractor, choose a locale – this season it’s San Francisco – and then are given a budget to purchase and renovate a home. There are weekly challenges for a specific living space, i.e. living room, kitchen, master bedroom. Various judges decide which brother wins the challenge. At the end of the season, the houses are sold, and the brother who makes the most profit is the overall champion. The proceeds from the sale of both houses are donated to charity.

Drew and Jonathan work together – and they also compete against one another – again and again and again. Here’s what two very successful identical twin brothers have taught me about professional competition:

  1. Embrace Competition. Even Better, Have Fun with It. The Scott Brothers are TV celebrities who’ve built an empire on buying and renovating houses. Every occupation includes competition, but they put a spin on that and decided to compete against one another – and they have lots of fun while they do it. They verbally joust with one another and pull pranks on one another. Even better, each week’s competition usually includes a special prize for the winner, as well as a you-aren’t-going-to-want-to-do-this consolation prize for the loser. Think: a behind the scenes tour of Alcatraz Island vs. being locked in solitary for two hours. 
  2. Know Your Competition – and Then Be Yourself. The brothers know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as each other’s quirks. So they’re often trying to guess what their brother is doing. But more than anything, they work with their construction and design teams and go with what they know and like best.
  3. Make a Plan to be Successful – and then Adjust When Things Go Wrong. House renovation never goes according to plan. No matter how much they budget and plan, and despite their individual expertise, Jonathan and Drew learn this week after week.. They plan like pros and adjust like pros – and they admit their frustration, too. 
  4. Don’t Forget to Include Your Family and Friends – Who Can Also Be Your Competition – and Have Fun! Drew and Jonathan’s brother, J.D., coordinates the show and shuttles judges back and forth between the two houses. Judges are often personal friends of the Scotts who are also house renovators or real estate experts, as well as TV personalities in their own right. And at all times, the interaction is laced with jokes, laughter, and good-natured rivalry.

The overall takeaway for me after watching Brother vs. Brother? Drew and Jonathan have discovered ways to enjoy competition and, behind it all, they are for one another, no matter who wins the contest.

About the Author

Things I Never Told You
by Beth K. Vogt
Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A Christy Award winner, as well as an ACFW Carol Award winner, Beth’s first women’s fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018.

Things I Never Told You
It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

Click here for a sample chapter of Things I Never Told You.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Too Blessed to Stress by Mary Manners

Too Blessed to Stress

Mary Manners
Who says deadlines can't wait? Not me, because wait is exactly what my deadlines did as I enjoyed precious downtime with friends and fellow authors at the recent Wild Deadwood Reads, held in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

There's no room for stress with the blessing of friendship. And these ladies are the best of the best. Over the course of seventy-two hours they taught me that some things are more important than meeting a writing goal or plotting out the next series. Lovely doesn't begin to describe them.
Sometimes it's a great idea to step away from the laptop and task calendar to enjoy a little down time. Recharging one's energy also serves to rekindle the creative juices. Nothing relaxes better than laughter and an authentic carriage ride. Or ice cream. Lots of ice cream.
Yes, we enjoyed exchanging loads of books and talking a little shop, but the friendships shared were what made the weekend memorable. I'm already looking forward to next year!
Feeling stressed? Grab a blessing and spend a little time with friends. You might find your creativity flowing again in ways you never imagined. Even for a writer.
Happy storytelling!


Brooklyn Jones loves a good mystery, and none is more perplexing than the one that led Tyler Culhane back to Honeysuckle Cove. When Tyler left to pursue his dream of becoming a baseball superstar, Brooklyn swore she’d never cross paths with him again. But now he needs her help, and she has a decision to make.

Tyler Culhane swallows his pride as he darkens the doorstep of Brooklyn Jones’s preschool. Though the two once shared a bond Tyler thought unbreakable, he managed to destroy their love—and the promises he’d made to her—with a single decision. Now, his family has fallen on hard times, and Brooklyn’s the only one who can help rescue them. But will that rescue lead to heartache…or redemption?
Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime sharing her joy of writing. She lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and their rescue dog Axel, mischievous cats Colby and Rascal, 8 rambunctious chickens, and 13 fish.
Mary writes stories full of faith and hope. Her books have earned multiple accolades including two Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, the Aspen Gold, the Heart of Excellence, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Mary loves long sunrise runs, Smoky Mountain sunsets, and flavored coffee. She enjoys connecting with reader friends through her website:

Friday, June 22, 2018

An Author’s Forum on the Four-Letter Word We Have All Grown to…eh, Love? Marketing! by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
Return on Investment. It’s called R-O-I in the business world. Well, actually, it’s called that everywhere these days. I’m an educator by day, and we use it. It speaks of whether or not what you spend your money on has the old “bang for the buck.” The same can be said of time we spend. And as I get older, the former is just as critical as the latter!

So, as a writer, what are your ROIs? Think of what you spend and what you spend it on, and ask yourself this simple question: Is it giving me the bang for my buck?

I just read an article recently that said authors (not just people, but authors) spend an average of two hours and twenty minutes on social media a day. No doubt, much of that is marketing stuff. And no doubt, some of it is that “Squirrel!” moment when you went to that social media site on a mission and found yourself sitting there thirty minutes later laughing and shaking your head at the internet’s latest version “The People of Walmart” photographs.

The article brought up a good point, though. How much writing could you do with an extra two hours and twenty minutes a day? They did the math. That’s twenty business, 40-hour work weeks a year.


Some people could crank out a novel or two in that amount of time…

It sure got me to thinking. For authors, social media marketing has changed over its short history. What used to work doesn’t really work anymore, unless you pay for it via ads. And even those don’t work as well as they did six months ago.

So, what’s an author to do? What do you do when you try to get the word out about your book? Do you use the old standbys like book signings and book tours? Are you a social media guru? Are you a cutting-edge kind of person? What’s your deal? How are you growing your readership? What’s working? What has been a goldmine? What’s not working? What was a total flop?

I’m sure a fellow author or two or a hundred would love to hear about your triumphs and/or tragedies. We’re all here to grow, right? We can all learn from one another, right? Then, let us hear from you! Let’s have a mini-writers conference in the comments below.

The Serpent's Grasp

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 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.

To connect with Kevin and learn more, please visit:

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Story Ideas by Terri Weldon

Have you ever read a book and wondered where or how the author came up with the idea? Boy I have – on more than one occasion. And usually right after that I’m wondering why I don’t have their story genius. 

Ideas for books often come to me in strange places. I came up with one story idea while having my hair done. What would happen if my hair dresser decided to give me my final haircut and then kill me? Frustrated with a job I had at the time, I came up with the idea of a woman whose actions propel her career forward in a most dishonest way. And I’ve had so many story ideas pop into my mind in the shower that I wish I could find a waterproof notepad!

I have more story ideas then I’ll ever be able to write. In fact, there are so many that I’ve been reduced to keeping them in a file labeled ideas in my desk. You never know when they’ll come in handy. Oh, I wish I was productive enough to pen the plethora of books those ideas represent. While that’s doubtful I still keep them. 

A friend of mine who is a much more prolific writer than I am says she never has more than one idea at a time. She believes God provides the ideas as she needs them. It is obviously working for her, she’s a wonderful author who publishes steadily. 

What about you? Where do you come up with your story ideas? Are you like me and have ideas waiting in the wings? Or are you like my friend and only have one idea at a time? I hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know.

The Matchmakers: A Match Made In Sheffield

Natalie Benton bounced from one foster home to another until she landed on Ellie Alexander’s doorstep. Her 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?

Amazon Buy Link: The Matchmakers
Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes – a habit she really needs to break. Problem is they make new, cute ones every season. 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 Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – or they have her, she’s never sure which. Terri is a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. Her dream of becoming a published author came true when her novella Mistletoe Magic was published. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Your Precious Family History by Donna B. Gawell

Writers of all genres need to carve out some time to write about their ancestors, as their stories will only be preserved if someone takes the time to write them down. As a genealogist and author, the inspiration for my novels comes from the lives of the few ancestors who were infamous and the majority whose lives were less spectacular.

I assumed all of my ancestors were like my grandparents: ordinary folks who did little more than be born, marry, work, and die. Most were average citizens, but I learned some were abolitionists, many in Poland were serfs until 1848, and others served honorably in each American war or skirmish. I now see about a dozen stories right there!

You might discover an infamous ancestor such as my 9th great grandmother, Mehitabel Braybrooke.  My first reaction was “Wow! That’s an ugly name!” when I first found her in my family tree. Then, I started noticing the word “witch” pop up! And so my first historical novel, In the Shadow of Salem was born after making sense of the bits and pieces found in town and court documents from the 1600’s.

Another source for a fascinating family history story is your ancestors’ setting. My current novel-in-progress is set in the village of my great grandparents in Poland during the Holocaust. They lived in a wilderness area where Hitler built the largest SS training camp outside of Germany and his top-secret research facility for the V1 and V2 rockets. My family, who were forced-laborers for the Nazis, and their priest are the main characters in the novel. They were very poor Catholics who lived during these extraordinary and terrible times. I just returned from a whirlwind research trip to Poland and came away amazed at the bravery of the Polish people.

Other stories were inspired as I unearthed more ancestral records. There was my Swedish great-grandmother Augusta who found herself the recipient of an unwelcome “parting gift” when her beau (my great grandfather) went to America to work as a seaman. I found numerous records from Sweden revealing her real story, not the one she told in America to cover up the birth of her illegitimate child. My Mennonite ancestors’ records tell of their frightening experiences as German settlers in western Pennsylvania when hostile Native Americans besieged them in the early 1800’s.

Family history doesn’t have to be written with the intention of big-time publishing. Start small and write the stories your parents or grandparents told you. You may be like I was−the “document poor” descendant who inherited no family Bible, diary, or even photos before 1940.  You might be one of the fortunate who inherited “the stuff.”

Historians note that we rarely know any stories about our ancestors who came before our own grandparents. This ignorance is a literary and genealogical tragedy. Of all the types of writing we can do, none is more precious than the stories of those who came before us.

Is there a relative in your family background whose life might make an interesting story?


Donna is a writer and genealogist who enjoys writing novels about her infamous and more humble ancestors. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mark. Her website, features history and travel articles.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

What Calms You Most? by Zoe M. McCarthy

My dear friend’s hip was in bad shape. She experienced much pain, especially at night. She could no longer sit on the floor with her great-grandchildren, and this devastated her. It determined her to schedule surgery for the love of her little ones. While she waited months for surgery, she didn’t let her pain keep her from coming to Bible Study. During the study, she told us that when she was with us deep in God’s word, her pain left her. The surgery went so well the doctor sent her home the following night. She has left me two phone messages. Praising God often, she said she no longer has pain, only soreness.
Zoe M. McCarthy

The bolded sentence above touched me and made me think of others in great physical or emotional pain.

Are you anxious, fearful, in pain, and sleepless?

Perhaps you have a

  • book releasing in a few days,
  • speaking engagement,
  • pitch scheduled with an editor or agent,
  • test results pending,
  • surgery tomorrow,
  • court appearance looming,
  • appointment to face a foe,
  • a child in the hospital,
  • house inspection, or
  • a trip on a rickety jeep in a foreign country.

Have you ever thought the following activities might calm you?

In God’s presence,
  • shop for toys and school materials for four six-year-olds with a friend and together fill the children’s Operation Christmas Child boxes,
  • gather with close friends, ask them to lay hands on you, and then tell humorous stories about each other,
  • attend a Bible study that goes through a book of the Bible line by line,
  • read Billy Graham’s and Corrie Ten Boom’s autobiographies or the biographies of George Mรผller, Oswald Chambers, or Eric Liddell.
  • knit or crochet a shawl for someone that’s in a similar situation as you while watching inspirational movies,
  • pray for the needs of a hundred people, then write notes to fifteen of the ones you prayed for,
  • read through and pray the psalms, or
  • memorize the twenty-third psalm and ten verses to recite in bed at night.
Pick one activity now and do it. If you’re concentrating hard enough, you won’t have room to host pain, fear, or anxiousness. May God bless you.

About the Author

A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, author of The Invisible Woman in a Red Dress, Gift of the Magpie, and Calculated Risk, writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. When she’s not writing, Zoe enjoys her five grandchildren, teaching Bible studies, leading workshops on writing, knitting and crocheting shawls for a prayer shawl ministry, gardening, and canoeing. She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Zoe blogs regularly at

Cooking Up Kisses (Five Sweetly Scrumptious Novellas)

Cooking Up Kisses (Five Sweetly Scrumptious Novellas)

Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.

Toni Littlebird believes that when she meets the man God created for her, she’ll know—and she’ll love him in that very moment.
But then Dax Hendrick roars into Hummingbird Hollow on a noisy, crippled Harley, stinking up the air and chasing away her beloved hummingbirds. One look into the intruder’s eyes and her heart sinks. He’s “The One.” She’d been right about knowing, but wrong about something far more important: She will never love this man!

Cara Peyton is content with her life, her trendy Baltimore bookshop is perfect for her. But when her ex turns up to remodel the store, asking for a second chance, she’s torn and unsure about risking her heart again. Can he convince her to trust him, and God, before the job is finished?

Another Valentine’s Day and Quinn Randolph prefers to spend it with her sweet rescue lab. Who needs men and their broken promises? Especially Pierce Karson’s! Years ago, his desertion shattered her. Now he’s trying to steal the property she targeted to expand her florist shop! Pierce only wants to belong…and for Quinn to choose him. His Valentine Promise…

Candace Parks lives a passionless life in Richmond. The computer programmer returns to the empty family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains solely to evaluate her job, faith, and boyfriend. Her high school crush, Trigg Alderman, who barely remembers her, visits his Gram next door. Sorting her life out? How about nothing of the sort!ร‰