Friday, July 20, 2018

Turning Life into Comedy by Janetta Fudge Messmer

Janetta Fudge Messmer

Think of all the excuses we come up with for not writing. For instance ... there’s not enough time, we keep getting interrupted, or we don’t have the right space. But author Janetta Fudge Messmer’s experience is a testimony to the fact that if we really want to write, we’ll find a way. ~ Dawn

Turning Life into Comedy

My tagline for my books is: Turning Life into Comedy. If truth be told, humor follows me (and my hubby) around. As full-time RVers, and me writing and getting published while on the road, life is always interesting. Reason being—I have to find time to write and still see the sites around the area we’re camping in.

I struggle with the balance of the two. Most mornings, sightseeing calls my sanguine soul. But my brain—with the Lord’s prompting tells me, “Janetta, you have to finish the scene (or book) before the turn of the next century.”

Thankfully, I listened to the right Voice and completed Early Birds in 2016. The other three books in the series followed (Southbound Birds, Girly Birds, and Blessings Birds). They’re Christian Comedies with a splash of Romance, published with Winged Publications (Forget Me Not Romances).

And they all happened while traveling in our RV. The schedule I find that works for me is writing in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, we go see the sights. On travels days, you might find me buckled into our banquette, writing or editing. Yes, I can write while Ray drives. I’ve learned to take advantage of those times and get work done.

Oh, if you’re wondering how I came up with the idea for the series—my hubby and I tease that the idea for Early Birds came from our pooch, Maggie. She ‘told’ us to quit our jobs, sell everything, buy an RV and get on the road. Which we did. And we love our tiny-space living. It’s cramped at times, but we’ve made it all work.

There’s another perk of our RV adventure and it’s helped my writing too. When I’m out and about, I listen to people. They never cease to amaze me. The best one yet was a one-side phone conversation we overheard about the other person’s itch. J My suggestion: Next time you venture out, bring a notepad and listen to those around you. They’ll give you plenty to write about.

In conclusion, I guess what I’m saying is writing can be done…whatever your circumstance. Don’t get discouraged if you have limited time or space. Keep putting the words down. Whether you’re doing it on your lunch hour, or at midnight on your closet floor. The words the Lord has given you need written. 

Take it from me—you can do this. Remember, I’m writing mine in an RV. J

And, ONE MORE THING. Now until the end of the month, the e-books of Early Birds, Southbound Birds, and Girly Birds are available for .99 cents each on Amazon at:  SUCH A DEAL!!!

Before the Early Birds leave Florida, on their trek up the East Coast, Rose Wilford shares another idea with her friends on how to help humanity. They love it, but the concept needs a little fine tuning. One things for sure, they’re not letting Rosie out of their sight the rest of the trip. If they do, she’s liable to alert more than the media. Buckle up for a mixture of merriment and mayhem from the Early Birds.

Janetta Fudge Messmer is an inspirational author, speaker and editor. Her Early Birds series (Early Birds, Southbound Birds, Girly Birds and Blessing Birds) is sure to make you chuckle and want to hit the road in your own RV. Janetta, her hubby (Ray), and their pooch (Maggie) are full-time RVers. Writing and traveling go hand in hand as they see the USA in their twenty-five-foot Minnie Winnie.

Connect with Janetta and learn more about her books here:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Method Acting for Writers by Preslaysa Williams

Before I started writing, I was an actor. I’d started acting at the age of nine. From the start, I worked on TV commercials and Off Broadway work and print ads. When I was fourteen, I landed my first television role on Nickelodeon’s “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo”. Acting came naturally to me, and I had fun working on Nickelodeon set with the likes of the late Pat Morita and then television writer Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games series).

My acting “training” was through watching TV. I have vivid memories of watching my favorite weeknight sitcoms and mimicking the characters on television. I’d also read a lot of books on acting technique, but I didn’t work with an acting coach until I was a college student. It was during this time, that I learned the actual method behind what I’d been doing instinctively: accessing the character’s emotions. Learning acting technique enabled me to prepare for auditions on a moment’s notice. It also helped me when I worked with Academy Award-winning screenwriter and playwright, the late Horton Foote, in his production of “The Death of Papa.” That was a challenging role and the techniques I learned helped me bring my best to each performance.

When I started writing in 2008, it felt like pulling teeth. Translating a character’s feeling onto pages while also juggling the thousand other Do’s and Don’ts of writing made me freeze and either: 1) not write at all at worst; or 2) write cardboard scenes.

Unfortunately, I carried all those paralyzing writing rules in my head for a long time until I finally learned to trust that I knew what I was doing. 

That freed me to let loose on the page.

Still, writing dramatic scenes wasn’t so simple. So later on in my writing journey, I recalled all the acting techniques I’d learned. One of them that stood out for me is a technique called sense memory.

Sense memory is an acting technique where an actor takes one simple image or memory—like the feeling of standing outside in the snow waiting for a school bus (one of my memories)—and applying it to the scene in order to connect with the fictional character.

(Disclaimer: NEVER use actual traumatic memories for writing or acting scenes. Please consult with a medical professional or counselor to help you with processing painful life events.)

Prior to sense memory work, it’s best to relax so you can fully focus on the memory and the scene you’re about to write. I once had to write a scene where a secondary character felt like they were being slighted by the school principal. For this, I asked myself: What in my past best serves this text? I used a memory of being picked last for a dodgeball team in gym class, and I relived it. The key is to relive and not just remember the memory since you’re pulling from your physical experience.

Strong acting and strong writing is both imaginative and deeply personalized. Yes, those two dynamics—imagination and personalization—seem at odds with one another, but they aren’t. You can build entire fictional lives and stories from the seed of one real life experience. 

(Back to my dodgeball team example!) I spend a few moments reliving the feelings of being picked last: the self-doubt, the insecurity, the speculation, and worry. I try to feel those emotions all over again. Sometimes a relived experience will be easy to relive and other times, I’ll have to dig and ask: how did it feel physically when that happened? However, if I have to dig too deep, I’ll simply search for another memory.

Then, I move from that emotional experience directly into either writing the scene or asking my character a few pre-writing questions about the scene.

In Uta Hagen’s book, “The Challenge for the Actor”, she created “Six Steps” for creating a character. The Six Steps hold a lot of similarities to writing techniques. Writing and Acting are first cousins! So, after re-imagining my past experience, I’ll use these questions for my scene. They are:

1. Who am I? (What is my present state of being? How to I perceive myself?)

2. What are the circumstances? (What time is it? Where am I? What surrounds me? What are my immediate circumstances?)

3. What are my relationships that I’ll encounter in this scene? (I also like to add ‘How do I feel about the relationships in my last scene and how do my feelings affect this one?’)

4. What do I want? (Character Goal)

5. What is my obstacle? (Character conflict)

6. What do I do to get what I want? (What is my behavior? What are my actions?)

Then I write! After doing a sense memory exercise, the first draft usually provides me with a lot of fodder to re-work and polish at a later point. After I write one scene, then it’s back to the drawing board with pulling a memory for my next scene and reliving it through my senses.

The famous writer-actor Sam Shepard said this about writing and acting: “There are places where writing is acting, and acting is writing. I’m not interested in the divisions. I’m interested in the way things cross over.”

I’m also interested in the way writing and acting cross over, and my interest helped me stave off writer’s block and keep writing forward. 

Question for You: How do you, as a writer, get into character prior to writing or revising a scene? 

Bio: Preslaysa Williams is an award-winning author and actress. After graduating from Columbia University, she began writing fiction. In her spare time, she enjoys spending way too much time on social media and training for half marathons to force herself to exercise. Visit her online at
You can also find her lollygagging on Instagram and Facebook @preslaysa or on Twitter @preslaysawrites 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Two Writing Tips (Bonus: Helpful References) by Joanie Bruce

If you dream of becoming an author, I hope you will find something helpful in this post. I remember how thirsty I was for information on writing techniques and tips when I first started writing. Being able to talk to an author and ask questions would have been amazing, but fortunately (for them) I knew no authors personally to pester. (lol) In this post I’d like to share two of the most important tips I’ve learned about writing as well as some of my most valuable resources.

1)Listen to and learn from your critics.

Hearing harsh words about your new “baby,” (your story) hurts … especially when you receive that first one-star review. Man, did it smart! But when I listened to the reasons for the low rating, I almost always learned something. If one reader doesn’t like it, then there are bound to be others who feel the same way. Granted, sometimes they say, “I just didn’t like it,” or “It wasn’t my thing,” and that teaches you nothing as a writer, but most critics have a reason they dislike the book. Even if you don’t agree with them, look long and hard at their suggestions before you ignore them. My writing improved little by little, and some of it was because I studied the bad reviews and tried to improve upon those weaknesses.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret … even the best-of-the-best writers have bad reviews, lots of them … even one-star reviews. So if you receive a bad review, consider yourself right up there with the big-time authors. You’ve arrived. 😊

2) Read your manuscript out loud before you send it to the publisher.

My husband loves to listen to my completed manuscript before I send the final draft to my publisher, and I almost always find typographical or grammatical errors while reading it to him. I think reading out loud works because while reading the story this way, you read slower than you do when you read silently. Try it. I think you will like it. 😊

And for the last tip of the day, I would like to share with you several links to my favorite writing resources. Every person has their own style and way of doing things, so I’m not saying all the references I recommend will suit everyone, but I hope you will find something in this post to help you eventually get your own book published.

Thank you for reading my post, and I hope you will feel free to message me if you have any type of questions about your writing.

Joanie's Recommended Resources:

Evoking emotions for your reader: The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass:

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King:

Rivet your Readers with Deep POV by Jill Elizabeth Nelson: https:

The Emotional Thesaurus by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman:

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus:

The Positive Trait Thesaurus:

The Rural Setting Thesaurus:

The Urban Setting Thesaurus:

Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell:

Mystery Writers Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America:

Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain:

Do you have any writing resources you can recommend?


As an avid reader, Joanie welcomed the transition from reading to writing and considers it a wonderful way to honor the Lord. She has written three published Christian suspense novels, a Christmas Trilogy, and a novelette. As an artist, Joanie recently illustrated a picture book which released in April.  She lives with her husband on their Black Angus cattle farm and enjoys writing and painting from her home in the country. She also enjoys playing with her grandson, various hobbies, and taking long walks on the farm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Memorizing Scripture Verses by Zoe M. McCarthy

I was six years old, living in St. Petersburg, Florida. My first-grade teacher said, “I need a volunteer to read Psalm 100 at the assembly tomorrow.” My arm shot up, and I got the job. At home, I couldn’t wait to share the news with my mother. Her eyes widened. She knew I couldn’t read. We sat together and practiced until I memorized the five-verse psalm. I still recall verses in the King James Version.
Zoe M. McCarthy

Around age forty, I became a Christian. I fell in love with the Twenty-third Psalm. Again, I memorized it in the King James Version. I recite the psalm a lot. It comforts me. John 3:16, too, but in the NIV.

Sometime after that, I memorized 1 Chronicles 4:10, the prayer of Jabez in the NIV. Probably because it was a fad, I remember the gist but the words have left me.
As a more mature Christian, I attended a Christian church conference. In one workshop, a woman recited the whole book of Ephesians, speaking as if she were Paul. Her performance awed me. I couldn’t stop contemplating how she took the time to memorize all six chapters and become Paul for others. 

While a children’s leader for Bible Study Fellowship, we studied Romans. The eighth chapter was rich with meaning. Recalling the woman who memorized Ephesians and moved on to memorize Philippians, I decided to learn the words of Romans 8. I did much of my practice when I had insomnia, but I mastered it. The meanings of the verses sank in, and I liked to think I was Paul, as I recited them to myself.

I drew enough courage from the Lord to recite it at a BSF leaders’ group fellowship. I spoke it, as I believed Paul would emote the words. Now, I can’t recite Romans 8, but I understand that chapter better than most.

A friend has scads of verses memorized. I can count on her to know a verse when we need it in the Bible study I lead. Her retention of so much Scripture is a gift.

What is your verse-memorizing story?

About the Author

A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, author of The Invisible Woman in a Red DressGift of the Magpie, andCalculated 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

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!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Deadwood or Bust by Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
What better slice of Monday encouragement could I possibly deliver than in sharing the joy I experienced recently via time spent with reader friends and some of the most incredible author peeps on the entire plant?

In June, I was blessed to spend time in Deadwood, South Dakota at a reader event aptly named: Wild Deadwood Reads. Over 80 authors and well-over a hundred readers, turned out for a three-day extravaganza celebrating the love of all things story. Long story short? I was in heaven.

There were meet-and-greets, readings, carriage rides, rodeos, and even panning for gold at a real-life Black Hills mine. The best part? I met a number 0f authors and readers face-to-face for the very first time, this after spending years getting acquainted with them on line, either via book connections, writing stories together, or sharing life circumstances/battles/victories. I learned, in powerful ways, how the books I’ve written have impacted people who were kind enough to not only support and encourage me but share their deepest hearts and affirm my mission to share love, and God’s truth, through the written word. 

From time to time, I’m the kind of author who lives in somewhat of a bubble. I’m an introverted extrovert. Does that make sense? Then, once I send my ‘baby’ into the world, I never truly know how or why (or IF!) my creation will strike a chord in someone’s spirit or deliver just the right message at just the right time, to help them through a tough spot in life. That’s God’s job, not mine—I just move the pen as He directs—but sometimes I wonder if what I do matters. Deadwood affirmed me. I came away amazed and awestruck. Abundantly blessed.

I also loved the time spent brainstorming with my fellow writers, or, as I refer to them, my Sisters in Spirit. When you get a tight-knit bunch of authors together in one room, that’s what we do. We go crazy plotting, planning, creating, supporting one another (Oh, and laughing. Did I mention laughing? Yeah, there was lots of that!). There are no egos, there’s no competition, nothing but love and encouragement. Sisterhood.

What a gift, and one I can’t wait to experience again soon—hopefully next year. Until then, I hope to take these feelings with me to help move past any frustrations or roadblocks I might encounter on the journey to come. Blessings, friends, until next month!


Amy Monarch is a tireless volunteer at the Dupont Rescue and Recovery Center, an establishment for the destitute founded by her mother. There, Amy has kept her identity a carefully guarded secret. She is actually Princess Amelia Marguerite Louise DeLaGrande of Remeth. Working at Dupont offers the opportunity to serve in blessed disguise.

Fresh into a promising career in commercial real estate brokerage, Patrick Sawyer returns to the picturesque isle of Remeth intending to reconnect with his collegiate study abroad friends and figure out ‘what’s next’ in his life. Since his father’s passing, the world he knows leaves him uninspired. He volunteers at Dupont during his visit, and becomes enchanted by Amy.

But Amelia is trapped within a silken web. When she reveals who she is, Patrick pulls back. He’s not interested in royalty—at all—but how can she ever break free? How can she find a way to service and God’s plan for her life? Most of all, how can she reconcile the call she feels toward a remarkable man who may be ‘common,’ yet is ‘uncommon’ when it comes to matters of the heart?


Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laude her work as “Riveting,” “Realistic and true to heart,” “Compelling.”

Her Christian fiction debut, Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Her follow-up novel, Forgiveness, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors as did her book Hearts Communion. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award for her books Then & Now and Finding Home. 

Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. You can connect with Marianne at

Friday, July 13, 2018

Your Dream - God’s Timing by Cynthia Roemer

Cynthia Roemer

Many of us have pursued publication because of a dream God planted in our hearts. For some, that desire has come to fruition in unexpected ways and timing. Author Cynthia Roemer shares how and when her dreams came true. ~ Dawn

Your Dream
God’s Timing

We all have dreams…those driving pulses that spur us to action and set our souls aflame. Whether great or small, each of us has deep-seated wishes we’d like to fulfill. For me, it’s writing. Nothing ignites my creative energies like sitting down at my computer and pouring out words that prayerfully will encourage and strengthen others in their faith.

My thirst for writing began when I was 16 when, through the prompting of my high school English teacher, I entered a short-story contest at a local collage. My short-story won first place, and I was hooked. I knew then, the Lord was calling me to write.

While in college, I began to do research for the historical novel I had churning around in my mind. By the time I graduated, I had written a rough draft of Under This Same Sky, yet my dream of seeing it in print took a back seat as I took a job, married, and raised our two sons. Though I continued to write articles and short-stories for various Christian publications, my novel lay tucked away untouched for a number of years. 

In 2012, over twenty years later, my dream of writing novels was revived when I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers’ group. With the help of critique partners and online courses, I began fine-tuning my writing skills and entering contests. In August of 2016, I met with the owner/publisher of Mantle Rock Publishing who requested a book proposal and later a full manuscript. In September of 2016, MRP offered me a two-book contract. In April 2017, nearly thirty years after I’d penned the original draft, Under This Same Sky was released, though a much different version than the original. And recently, my second novel, Under Prairie Skies released, doubling my blessing. The Lord at last allowed my dream to become a reality!

Though my dream all these years was to become a published novelist, my goal has always been to touch lives through my writing. And, while I had to wait three decades for my dream to be realized, my goal of touching lives was fulfilled each time the Lord enabled me to write an article, short-story, or devotional that sowed seeds of hope and encouragement into reader’s lives. I want readers to know that no matter what they are going through, the Lord is there, cheering them on.

Whatever your dream in life may be, I encourage you to pursue it, but to allow the Lord time to ripen and mature it. Don’t try to rush it. Instead, enjoy the journey. Let God open the doors and bring about the fruit in His good timing. And while you’re awaiting your dream, don’t forget to make it your goal to touch others’ lives in whatever way the Lord deems best!

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under Prairie Skies is Book Two in her Prairie Sky Series.

Connect with Cynthia and learn more about her books here:

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Joy and Pain of Editing by Kathleen Friesen

Some aspects of writing bring great joy. The thrill of “meeting” new characters, the little surprises they share as the story unveils, and the satisfaction of a story well told. Great stuff!

But editing? Um… Not quite as much fun. Necessary, of course, but oft times rather painful.

My dearly beloved and I recently moved from British Columbia to Saskatchewan, nearly 1200 miles, from a fully finished and landscaped home to a much smaller fixer-upper with thousands of yellow flowers instead of lawn. In preparation for our move, we spent months purging. Until remodelling is complete, our move took us from five bedrooms to one and a half (long story), a large, gorgeous kitchen to a small, dark one, and from a well-appointed shop for my husband to that yellow-dotted, otherwise-bare yard. So everything extra had to go.

Old clothes, extra copies of books, rarely used furniture—getting rid of them made sense. But some purging tugged hard on the old heartstrings. I’d spent years collecting books, fabric, and craft supplies. At least half had to go, and it wasn’t easy. I spent a long time reading and sniffling though the box of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards made for us by our children decades ago. I kept most of them. They didn’t take much room, after all. Some things are just too precious to discard.

Editing is pretty much the same as purging belongings. Some words and phrases are obviously extras. Surplus. Easy to let go. Others, our little darlings, wrap themselves around our emotions and (let’s be honest) egos.

But just as purging stuff becomes freeing, so does editing. The story shines brighter the tighter it gets, and you’ll find that many of those things you thought were necessities were actually weighing it down. So go ahead, slash those superfluous phrases, the telling words, the over-dramatic scenes. Let it go! Cuddle your darlings, those turns of phrases that caress your ear, and make the difficult decision. Do they enrich the story? Really? If so, pack them in bubble wrap and carry on. If not, say goodbye.

When you’re done, re-read the entire story. I’ll bet you love it even more. And if you need any ands, thes, or thats, I have plenty of extras hiding in my manuscripts.

Hearts Unfolding

Kennedy Rockwell enjoys pouring concrete for her family’s business, Rockwell Concrete Works, but dreams of branching out into her own landscape design venture. Strong and independent, she has the drive to achieve her goals. Romance can wait…until Austin Warner turns her emotions inside out.

Austin Warner works hard to fulfill his dreams, too, but the one closest to his heart is something he’s never really had: a family of his own. Kennedy Rockwell seems to be the answer to his prayers until a small complication brings huge consequences.

Challenges to their relationship and hurts from their pasts push Kennedy and Austin toward the only One who can give them the desires of their hearts.

Amazon Buy Link: Hearts Unfolding

Kathleen Friesen writes contemporary tales of faith that can overcome tough trials and deep heartaches. Her desire is for her readers to see themselves in the characters of her stories and to realize that Jesus Christ is the true hero for everyone, whatever their circumstances.

Kathleen and her amazingly patient husband recently moved back to Saskatchewan so they can spend more time with family in between renovations, landscaping and adventuring in new places.