Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I Don't Have Time to Write, Part 2 by Angela Arndt

Last week’s post was about time-stealers: the things people will do instead of writing. And I love that yesterday’s post was Nine Tips for Finding Balance from Kimberly Rose Johnson, who somehow published nine books in 2017. Can you imagine having that much time? 
Handwriting is a hard way to write a book.


I hope today's list of tools, apps and/or programs will help with that and finally put an end to the excuse, “I don’t have time to write.” 

Dictation


Wouldn’t it be great to have a personal secretary to dictate your novel just like all those authors in the movies? There are a few programs that can do that. However, in order to save time, you're going to have to invest it first. 

Did you know your computer may already be set up to take dictation? Most computers have accessibility settings to handle speech-to-text. I don't need to post it here, because someone's already written anything you want to know about speech-to-text here


Sometimes There Are Distractions

Distraction-Free Writing

Do you ever wish for a simple program for writing? TextEdit is always available, but it's hard to write with all the dings, rings and pings. Then there's Solitaire, Friends with Words, and Candy Crush calling to you when you're stuck.

Is there a program out there to help you focus? Yes, there are several. 

A minimalist writing program has a simple screen with little distractions. Some reward you with typewriters clicks for each letter, another lets you write to the sounds of a coffee shop. If this sounds like it would be helpful, check the links below or Coffitivity for writing in a coffee shop.


Keep Your Notes in One Place

Have you ever had a notebook overstuffed with pieces of paper, envelopes, and sticky notes? Is your computer filled with chapters, scenes, research, and images related to your latest book? How can you keep them organized?
Too Much Information


Note-taking apps are great because you can take a photo of that article you see in the doctor's office and email it to an app. Take notes in a new document in the app or take a screenshot and import it. This post lists the app, price, and platform in an easy-t0-read chart.

The key to saving time is knowing what you need. You may not need to download a distraction-free app if you work from home in a quiet office. This afternoon, take a look at everything you accomplished today, identify your obstacles and figure out what you need to let you create more easily.

I hope these posts have helped. If you've used any of these programs and liked them, leave a comment and tell us how it helped. I'd love to hear from you.

Angela Arndt is a team member for Seriously Write. For more posts by Angie, click here.

About the Author

Angela Arndt
 Angela Arndt is Jesus-follower and God-lover. She loves to write women’s fiction with a thread of romance and tell stories of strong, independent women in difficult situations. Her biggest hope is that she will encourage others to overcome their own “back roads” to find their joy in the Lord.

She and her husband, Charles, live on a bee farm in the middle of a big wood with their three furbabies: Beau, Harley, and Buddy the Wonder Dog.

She's also team-member of Seriously Write. Click here for more posts by Angie. By the way, s
he'd love for you to join her on herwebsiteInstagramTwitter, or Facebook


Monday, July 30, 2018

Nine Tips for Finding Balance by Kimberly Rose Johnson

Kimberly Rose Johnson

Nine Tips for Finding Balance
by Kimberly Rose Johnson
This self-proclaimed workaholic learned a valuable lesson—writing should only be a part of a well-balanced life, not all consuming.
I love to write. It’s my passion, and it makes me happy. However, when my boys went away to college, writing became what drove me day in and day out. I had contracts to fulfill, plus other books I wanted to write, as well as a part-time job. I was stressed, overworked, tired, ate too much, consumed too much caffeine, didn’t exercise nearly enough, and consequently my quality of life suffered.
I have always touted balance, but I allowed my passion to take over, and I became out of balance. It had never been my intent to stress myself out. I simply wanted to meet my deadlines and make my readers happy with a new book every three or four months. I’m not doing this any longer.
In 2017 I published nine books! Five of them were books I’d received my rights back on, and one had been in a collection. That sounds easy enough, except that I couldn’t afford the price the publisher wanted to buy the digital files, so I had to get the books scanned. The scanning process causes mistakes! It took me a long time to get through those pages. Suffice it to say it was daunting. On top of that, I had one book release from my current publisher, and I wrote two more novels to finish off an indie series. It was a lot.
That year took a toll on me in every aspect of my life, and I learned a lesson—I couldn’t simply talk about balance, I needed to incorporate it into my life every day.
Here are some tips I’m putting into action:


·                     Spend time in the Bible
·                     Eat wholesome and healthy foods
·                     Make exercise a priority and incorporate weights as well as cardio
·                     Allow wiggle room in my schedule
·                     Give permission to take a day off
·                     Don’t stress marketing—but still do it
·                     Do what is necessary then let the rest go during busy times
·                     Cut back production schedule—I will only publish two books in 2018.
·                     Remember it’s okay to slow down

There you have it, my plan to finding true balance. I leave you with one final thought that Allen Arnold talks about: Co-create with God.

Your turn: Have you ever gotten out of balance in your writing life? How did you get back on track? What are some items on your “finding a balance” list?

~~~~~

The Sleuth's Miscalculation
The Sleuth’s Miscalculation

Two strong-willed sleuths team up to solve a mystery. Can they work together, or will their differences pull them apart?

Librarian Nancy Daley loves a good mystery and enjoys moonlighting as a consultant for the sheriff’s department. When license plates go missing in Tipton County, she’s on the case. This time things are different—she’s been partnered with the new deputy, and he’s not interested in her help. To make matters worse, she’s angered the wrong person and is now being threatened.

Sheriff Deputy Carter Malone expects Tipton, Oregon to be a sleepy small-town, but he miscalculated. He’d come to town for a fresh start with his nephew—one without the issues big cities deal with. Had he made a mistake? To complicate matters, he’s told he must consult with the sheriff’s daughter, who is not in law enforcement. When the minor case they are working morphs into something more, things quickly go from harmless to scary.

Can they solve the mystery before it’s too late, and more importantly, what will they do about their growing attraction?

~~~~~

Faith Hope and Love Reader's Choice Finalist, Kimberly Rose Johnson, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 

You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at:
http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

Connect with Kimberly here:
 


Friday, July 27, 2018

A Twist of Hope by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

I was browsing around the internet the other day, looking for some things screenplay related, and I ran across a blog by a British screenwriting bloke. In the upper, right-hand corner of the blog, it said something like this:


It’s not the rejection I’m afraid of. I can handle rejection. It’s the hope that drives me mad and has me up at night.


Ever been there?

“Oh, I hope that agent calls me back. She was so excited about my WIP.”

“I think my novel could easily be made into a movie.”

“Just imagine my non-fiction book stacked up five high, multiple stacks, just inside the doors of Barnes & Noble, displayed for all to see. Right next to all the big authors.”

“I’ve submitted my book into the awards contest. I hope I win.”


Hope can be a funny thing.

It inspires us. It’s probably what got many of us into this writing biz in the first place. It’s what motivates you into the wee hours of the morning, burning the midnight...eh, electricity.

It captivates us. Hope can dream big dreams. Most authors I’m sure have thought—at least once—about their name appearing in some prominent, writer-like location, where “the world” (it’s always the world, right?) can see it. The front cover of Time. The windows of B&N. In a promo spot on the Hallmark Channel.

It comforts us. Hope can be that rope by which we cling when our world is crumbling around us. It may be all we have at times, especially when we feel like people have abandoned us.

It can also drive us mad. Like the British bloke so aptly put it, we can hope so adamantly, so specifically, that when things don’t follow our aspired, inspired, and conspired comfortable game plan, then “all hope is lost.” “The world” has come to an end. It’s over. Just throw in the…eh, computer. We’ll never write again.

For those of us who name the name of Christ, our hope is in Him. Only He is solid ground. Only He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Everything else is transient. There is no such thing as a “sure bet.” Even sure bets, with whatever money is won at the track of human existence, will wither and fade. But that’s what happens when hope is built on sand instead of rock (Matt. 7:24-27). 

Job knew this. Talk about hope and rejection. Yet, despite all the bad things that happened to him, including not having a very supportive spouse, he said, “Though he slay me, yet I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15).

Solomon understood this writer’s life: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

Paul saw hope as an anchor (Hebrews 6:19). He saw the hope of salvation as a helmet that protects our head (mind, thoughts, beliefs; 1 Thessalonians 5:8).

Be mindful of the theme emerging from these scriptures and others like them. Our hope is to be placed in God and the things of God (justice, mercy, forbearance, kindness, peace, joy, love, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness). When we compare these things of God to our hopes of this writing life, being a published author or a conference speaker or an award-winning writer become chaff as God grinds us down to this kernel of truth: Hope isn’t maddening when it is properly ordered in the ways of God.

So, how do you hope?






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 and Book 2, Triple Time, are available! Book 3, The Tide of Times, just released in October! All three are on sale through New Year’s Eve! 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.

Website:                                www.ckevinthompson.com/
Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:         www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/
Facebook:                              C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter:                                  @CKevinThompson
Goodreads:                            C. Kevin Thompson






Thursday, July 26, 2018

Writing through the storm by Connie Mann

Some of life’s seasons are smooth sailing. They are calm and filled with gentle breezes and the lazy feeling of a day at the beach. Others start as a small rain cloud, then build up to a tropical storm, and before you know it, you are fighting the raging winds and stormy seas of a full-blown hurricane. For our family, that hurricane’s name was Alzheimer's, and the target it chose was my father.

How do you keep writing when your family is in crisis? Where do you find the time to sit down and focus your thoughts enough to actually put words on paper? How can you possibly meet deadlines when you never know what the next moment will bring? It is a challenge I have been wrestling with for over five years and it isn’t easy. Below are some things I’ve learned, which I hope will encourage you, when you face a storm in your life.

1 – Be realistic

If you realize you're not going to be able to meet a deadline, the time to speak up and ask for an extension is well before the due date. Don't wait till the day before to say something. Publishers can often adjust scheduling, but it will be much easier for them if they have plenty of advance notice. The challenge for me is that I always underestimate how long something will take. It requires taking a very critical look at exactly what I can and cannot do in the allotted time frame. Admitting I need more time is very hard, but is sometimes necessary.

2 - Keep your mind in your story

I had heard about people who wrote books at the sickbed of a loved one, but I will admit I was skeptical. How on earth could you possibly write at a time like that? But I found out it is possible. Maybe not writing long passages, but as I sat by Dad’s beside in the early morning hours, I pulled out my yellow legal pad and jotted plot ideas and character sketches and other things that kept the story at the forefront of my mind.

3 - Take opportunities where you find them

There were a couple of days at the end of Dad’s battle, while Mom and I took turns at the hospital, that I was able to come home and realize I had a few scant hours to get some words on the page. I'm the kind of person who needs a deadline to accomplish anything, so this worked in my favor. Since I'd been thinking about the story, I knew what I wanted to write, so I was able to make the most of those little snatches here and there and make some progress. Getting up crazy-early in the morning also worked some days.

4 – Take care of yourself

No one person can do everything, which is something I have a hard time admitting. But it’s absolutely true. Give yourself permission to take a nap, turn the ringer down on your phone, and draw some boundaries around your availability. I was surprised to discover that allowing myself to think about my story was actually a great mental break. Give yourself lots of grace. And when people offer to help, don’t brush their offers aside. Take them up on it.

5- Keep your perspective

Eccelsiates 3:1 tells us that, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every [a]purpose under heaven.” For me, the hardest thing about this season was knowing Dad’s “happy ending” would be when he crossed onto heaven’s shore, which he did on July 17, 2018. But after a valiant three-week battle, and the struggle with Alzheimer’s for years before that, we can’t wish him back. Though we will miss him like crazy, he is whole and healthy today, and better than he’s ever been. And we had the privilege of walking him home.

Life is an ever-changing mix of seasons, and staying afloat is a lot like piloting a boat. It requires skill and agility and a trust in the one who made the waves.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2)

When the storms hit, do what you can and let the rest go. Stand on God’s promises, enlist help, and do what you need to do—for your writing and for your family. Know I will be cheering you on.

Bio: Connie Mann is an author and a USCG-licensed boat captain. During this stormy season of her family’s life, she wrote the 3-book Safe Harbor series (Waterfall) and has written the first novel and a novella for her upcoming series with Sourcebooks. She is hard at work on the second book in the series. She also pilots a boat for her local school system, so when she’s not writing, she takes local school children out on the Silver River, showing many of them their very first alligator. You can find Connie online at: www.conniemann.com.

DEADLY MELODY (Safe Harbor #3)

Home is where the heart is. The danger, too . . .

The Martinellis were the closest thing to family Cat Johnson ever had. That’s why she ran—to protect them from her threatening past. The orphaned child of classical musicians, she’s been lying low in Nashville, and performing at the No Name CafĂ©. When Cat reluctantly agrees to attend the wedding of her beloved foster sister, the plan is simple: make a quick appearance at the Martinellis and then disappear again. Instead she’s thrust headlong into a nightmare.

After a wedding guest is murdered, Cat’s past descends with a vengeance. So does handsome and inquisitive Safe Harbor cop, Nick Stanton, who will stop at nothing to uncover the town’s secrets. That means exposing Cat’s as well. The more intimate Nick’s feelings for Cat become, the more driven he is to find out what she’s hiding.

As things in Safe Harbor take a terrifying turn, Cat realizes that the man she’s afraid to trust might be the only one she can turn to.
 
Amazon Link: Deadly Melody 
 




Deadly Melody