Monday, October 15, 2018

Need a Kick in the Motivation? By Marianne Evans

I don't know about you, friends, but in my little slice of the world, life is moving at Mach 3 and I'm just hanging on for the ride. Between work life, writing life, family life, I get to feeling drained at ties. Are any of you battling the time monster?

Those are the moments when I count on my faith, my family, my friends, to lift me up. So, with that in mind, I hope you'll allow me the privilege of, hopefully, giving you a shot in the inspiration. 

I pray you enjoy the following, and discover a few moments of joy and uplifting hope!

To start...….

Are you moving a mountain in your life right now? Is the season before you draining and full of an uphill exertion? Maybe there's purpose? An end result that isn't quite visible yet? …

I'm a 50-something, and, at work and in my writing life I sometimes wonder: Am I still 'valuable'? Are my goals and objectives, my words and efforts, still important to building God's kingdom? When I feel doubt, I force myself to acknowledge the following:

It's often said worrying about tomorrow steals the joy you can find today. 
That in mind, I thought these words were so on-point (and I certainly need to take them to heart!! How about you?)

OH....YEAH. The power of perseverance. There have been (and, at times, ARE) times I come so close to quitting on the things I love. Is the same true for you? Do you feel knocked down?

Another powerful message of affirmation and being an overcomer.
C'mon can DO it!!!!

And, when things don't go to plan....?

Tweak that crown on your head, stare into the mirror and belong to GOD!!

In conclusion, here's the most important piece of encouragement
I can offer you today...

With hugs, love, and many blessings to you, friends - until next month!


Sometimes, the hardest path to walk is the one that leads you home.

After college, Phillip Fisher shook the dust of Antioch, Indiana from his dress shoes and took off for Indianapolis. For the eldest of the three Fisher men, a business career promised stability and a fruitful future...until unemployment and exhausted resources force him back home.

He returns to Antioch to find his father's declining health, a family farm in disrepair, and heavy doses of resentment from his brother Aaron.

A repentant Phillip pays regular visits to Sundae Afternoon, the sweets and sundry shop run by Mila Thomas. Sundae Afternoon and the Thomas Grocery Market are staples of Antioch, just like the Fisher farm. A less than steady peace exists between the families, but Phillip always intrigued Mila. She admires his attempts to break free; at the same time, his return speaks of a noble, caring man.

But what happens once the farm is restored? What happens when Phillip is called back to Indianapolis? Mila’s roots are firmly grounded, and Phillip might leave all over again. Is returning home and the discovery of an extraordinary love, enough to bring them together forever?


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, October 12, 2018

Getting Back to the Heart by Abbey Downey

Abbey Downey
Writing is hard work—sometimes to the point that we may become weary from all that is required. Need a little encouragement to not give up? Author Abbey Downey (aka Mollie Campbell) reminds us where we need to turn. ~ Dawn

Getting Back to the Heart

What first inspired you to write?

I’ve always processed life through words. I spent hours as a child writing in diaries, but I don’t remember what inspired the fiction stories I later found scrawled in notebooks.

However, I do remember several moments when I was inspired to try my hand at fiction as an adult. That was often my go-to fantasy when a plot twist would hit my life and force a change in my career path. What if I could write books, instead?

The moment I decided to take it seriously came after one such turn in my path. My part-time job babysitting in our home was coming to an end. My kids were babies, and while I loved being at home with them, it had been nice to have something else to focus my mind on at the same time. What if I could write books?

I’ll never forget when the inspiration for my first story hit me. It was a rare evening when I was out on an errand alone, driving home and thinking about what I would write if I could. And the whole idea clicked into place. Characters, setting, the start of a plot. But I didn’t know anything about writing fiction.

It didn’t matter. For the first time, I knew God had given me a story that needed to be shared. He’d given me a story of hope. And for me, that’s what writing always comes back to, sharing the hope we find in God.

After several years of writing, two books published, and more than that rejected, it’s easy to wallow in how hard the writing life can be. Building social media platforms, creating blog posts and newsletters, constantly trying to come up with the next great idea. A writer can get mired down in all the extra stuff.

But every time I drive past the corner where my first inspiration hit, I remind myself of the heart of my writing. God has given us a passion to write and His message is what drives our stories. They’re important because each one points others to God’s forgiveness and love.

If you’re frustrated by the slow world of publishing or the more tedious aspects of being an author, try getting back to the heart of your writing. Find what God is speaking through you. That could be what’s needed to rekindle the spark of excitement.

If you want to share in the comments, I’d love to hear about the inspiration for your writing!

Orphan Train Sweetheart

Finding a Frontier Family

Spring Hill is the orphan train’s last stop—a final chance for Simon McKay to find homes for his young charges. When his fellow placing agent quits, Simon enlists help from the frontier town’s pretty schoolteacher. Cecilia Holbrook is as intriguing as she is independent, yet Simon’s devotion to his mission will soon call him back to New York.

Long overshadowed by her flirtatious sister, Cecilia is done with waiting for a man to choose her. She’s already fighting the school board to keep her position. Now she’s struggling not to lose her heart to Simon. Could their shared concern for the children show them how to follow a new dream, together?

Abbey Downey never expected her love for writing to turn into a career, but she’s thankful for the chance to write inspirational romance, with two books published under the name Mollie Campbell. A life-long Midwestern girl, Abbey lives in Central Indiana, where her family has roots back to the 1840s. She couldn’t be happier spending her days putting words on paper and hanging out with her husband, two kids, and a rather enthusiastic beagle.

Connect with Abbey and learn more about her books here:

Twitter: @AbbeyDowneyAuth
Facebook: @AbbeyDowneyAuthor

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What Motivates You by Terri Weldon

Hey, guys, I first ran this post in 2016, but since I'm needing motivation to write more I decided it needed a second chance. Actually, I need to hear from you guys so I can get myself in gear!

When I sat down to write this post (in 2016) I was watching Dr. Who. And it occurred to me that at times my inspiration comes from movies, other books, television programs, sermons, a sentence in a conversation (mine or someone else’s), and most definitely scripture.

Do all these sparks of inspiration turn into a book? Not even close, but they do spark my creative juices. I’ll never write a character like Dr. Who, but while watching the program I might wonder why people are so drawn to him, so devoted, and willing to follow him anywhere. That query sends my mind in two directions:

1. Can I write a strong hero, perhaps military, whose troops would be willing to follow him anywhere?

2. It would be totally wicked to write a villain with that kind of pull over people.

I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve watched The Fugitive. Trying my best to figure out how the writer wrote a screenplay that draws you from the beginning and refuses to let go. Wouldn’t we all love to have that gift?

When I’m reading my daily Bible I might run across a verse that inspires me or even just a few words. When I do I jot them down in the notes section of my phone. One day I simply listed the book, chapter, and verse and said good scripture for a suspense novel. A word of caution, put in a few more details. There have been times I’ve looked at that verse and wondered why I thought that.

Since I’ve shared a little bit about how I find inspiration I’m hoping you will do the same. What inspires you? What sparks the creative genius in your brain? Trust me, I REALLY need to know.

Terri Weldon is the award winning author of The Christmas Bride Wore Boots. It 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
The Matchmakers
The Christmas Bride Wore Boots
Mistletoe Magic


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Season of Pruning by Marissa Shrock

Deep down, I always thought getting the contract for my first novel was too easy. I spent five years learning to write fiction. When I was ready to seek publication, I found an agent and had an offer from a publisher within less than a year. A year and a half later, my young adult, dystopian novel was released and went on to final in a major award.

But sales were low, and my publisher refused to buy the sequels. My agency purged its client list, and I didn’t survive the cut. The career that’d once seemed so promising was dying before it’d had a chance to live.

As I walked this difficult road, I concluded that God was using this painful experience to prune away attitudes and junk in my life. The good news is that when God prunes, it’s to make us more fruitful (John 15:2).

I learned I should never compare my season of pruning to someone else’s season of fruitfulness. Comparisons are easy when we meet and become friends with other writers. As we celebrate our friends’ successes, we secretly wonder why contracts or massive amounts of sales aren’t happening for us.

God showed me all authors write one word at a time, and those words matter to him. Just because he chooses to bless someone else with more talent, more contracts, more money, more awards, and a bigger platform, doesn’t mean that what we’re writing isn’t important. It’s humbling when expectations don’t match reality, and when God’s plan isn’t what we expected.

Though this experience was difficult for me, God has been faithful and has provided a way for me to share my stories. I’ve indie published the sequels to my debut novel and have moved on to writing cozy mysteries.

Though I’m excited by the new possibilities, I remind myself daily that my novels will be what God wants them to be. He’ll take my books where he wants them to go, and he’ll do the same with your work as well.


Marissa Shrock loves to read a variety of genres, so her own work includes dystopian thrillers and cozy mysteries. She’s the author of the Emancipation Warriors Series and the Georgia Rae Winston Mystery Series. Her debut novel, The First Principle, was a Carol Award Finalist. Marissa enjoys playing golf and traveling to new places, and her home is in Indiana.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Four Reasons Why Writers Should Read Newspapers By Marie Wells Coutu

Early Morning Newspaper
With so much information at our fingertips via our phones and tablets—or through voice control, like “Alexa, what’s the news?”—there’s a tendency to skip buying or reading the newspaper. After all, we have Facebook, TV, and news apps to keep up with what’s happening in the world.

But in the last few days, I’ve found several reasons to keep reading newspapers (or magazines). All were items of interest that I would not have discovered or gone looking for on the Internet. So here are four reasons writers need to keep reading newspapers, at least once in a while:

  1. Story ideas.
    My local paper runs a column every week that looks back at some interesting tidbit of state history, such as an Iowa woman who became the first female ticket agent for the railroads. That article went in my “Ideas” file, since I’m now writing historical novels. For speculative writers, the Science and Health section of a recent Minneapolis Star-Tribune contained several items that might inspire stories: the disappearance of key flying insects such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs; a man-made rover exploring an asteroid surface; a link between air pollution and cognitive decline. I doubt I’m the only writer who sees plot potential in those items, even though I don’t expect to use them in my writing. (I’m sure you suspense writers already mine the newspapers for story ideas.)
  2. Character development.
    The same section featured a story on personality types. Instead of using Myers-Briggs Type personality assessment—which apparently social psychologists dislike--for your characters, a huge new study has defined four distinct personality types: Reserved, Self-centered, Role Model, and Average. Since I’m always seeking ways to develop characters that are not all like me, I found this article useful. These four types are based primarily on five established personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. I look forward to learning more about these traits and the four types to help me in creating interesting characters.
  3. Marketing.
    In a typical newspaper, you might find listings of local clubs you could approach to offer yourself as a guest speaker. Or you may learn of a news event that relates to your book, providing newsy posts for social media. And of course, you can check out the book reviews or best-seller lists to stay aware of the competition.
  4. Humor.
    Don’t skip the comics. You may think you’re too busy or that reading the “funnies” (as we always called them) will distract from your writing. It won’t, as long as you finish in a timely manner and get back to work. Every now and then, you may even find a comic strip that resonates with you as a writer (besides Snoopy writing about the “dark and stormy night.” The laugh break will do you good and may inspire your creativity.
What have you read in a newspaper recently that inspired you, helped you with your craft, or made you laugh? I’d love to hear about it.

Click to Tweet

 4 reasons #writers need to keep reading #newspapers by Marie Wells Coutu @MWCoutu  on #SeriouslyWrite.
About the Author

Marie Wells Coutu
Marie Wells Coutu’s newest novel, The Secret Heart, from Write Integrity Press, was named a finalist in both the 2018 National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Awards and the 2018 Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the Selah Awards Contest and a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards. An unpublished historical novel set near Golden Pond has been a finalist in five contests.

The Secret Heart by Marie Wells Coutu
You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (, or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu) or on
Marie is a regular contributor to Seriously WriteFor more posts by Marie, click here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Envy or Individuality

by Peter Leavell @peterleavell

The most dangerous game you can play as a writer is comparing your career to other writers. The following three reasons show the futility behind the envy that creeps into your heart and threatens to hold you back. To counterweight the bad, we’ll glance at three ways to flaunt your individuality.


1. Writing journeys vary. Your unique experience is yours alone, and your trials and circumstances show in your work, creating an inimitable work of passion that only one person could create—you.

Comparisons, then, are completely fruitless, for if experience is different, then the outcomes must be different. Of course you will have a different amount of fans, a distinctive book cover that doesn’t look like theirs, a different plotline. It’s impossible to have the same, because you’re not the same person. That would just be creepy, and similar to bad utopian societies I’ve read about.

2. Readers vary and need difference in work. Getting to know a new author is a pleasure. You might be that new author. E
nvy might make you write like someone else because you want to be like them. Be a distinct voice. 

Also, envying another writer’s success shows in your writing as a lack of confidence. Jealousy makes it easy to let negativity flow from your tongue or from your fingers and onto the page. 

3. No author I know considers themselves a success. Not even the Pulitzer Prize winner. However, other writers envy your level of success. This Ping-Pong tournament could last forever. Let it stop with you. Be an example to other writers and avoid envy.


If you chose to glance at another author to envy their work and their following, you’re missing out on the focus that builds your own portfolio. So, stop it. But that’s far easier said than done. Focus on these three tips to break the envy cycle.

1. Be friends with other writers, not their colleagues. Ignore their work when you can. With my friends, we all have our own careers, and while I respect their work, we’re not competing. We’re talking, enjoying each other’s company.

2. Be so focused on bettering yourself, you won’t have time for envy. I believe this thought comes from the Bible. Be so focused on your search for God's character, you've no time for jealousy. 

One philosopher I've read sequestered himself from others in his field because they influenced him, and he needed to break from their subjective mindsets. He worked in a stone tower and only emerged when he'd finished his book.  He'd learned from other careers, but didn't envy them. He focused on his own work. Build that stone tower in your mind. 

3. Action! Pay attention to what's working for someone that sparks your jealousy, and make that thing yours. If they're doing great things on twitter, but you love Facebook, do great things on Facebook. Make it yours! 
Ask how they're getting good book contracts instead of wishing you had one. Then shake your head on how they did it, and do it your way. Take action!

This is about your story, your experience, your value—which is considerable. Don’t squander it by envying others. The following references lead to a few of the many Bible verses about envy that help put jealousy’s consequences into perspective. Take great pains to focus on you, your own journey with God, your own skills and value. Your fans will thank you for your efforts!

James 3:16. James 4:2-3. Proverbs 14:30. Proverbs 27:4. Ecclesiastes 4:4. Song of Solomon 8:6. Job 5:2. Galatians 5:26. 1 Corinthians 13:4. Romans 13:13. Matthew 27:18

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at

Friday, October 5, 2018

Why Writers Need to Read by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Why Writers Need to Read

We love to read. This is one of the reasons we grew up to become writers. We spent our summers in libraries and carried heavy tomes around with us to read in our spare moments. To extend our reading long into the night, we stuffed towels under our bedroom doors, lest our parents see our lights were on.

Our reading shaped us into writers, people who feel in our bones the rhythm and rhyme of a story. We often penned our first tales before we could even write words, illustrating them with the primitive art of storytelling. Later we wrote in notebooks, keeping our own private volumes of stories. We kept journals. We recorded our lives.

We who are older grew up on manual typewriters, feeling the rhyme of the story in the staccato strokes of the keys, the cold steel of the carriage return lever, and the swinging thud of the return.

Manual Typewriter

But, as we became immersed in our lives as writers, cultural and business changes in the publishing industry cast us into the role of marketer as well as author. We didn’t count on this. It consumes more than half our time.

This is not what nurtures a writer’s soul. We need the intake of words.

To encourage you, I’ve been suggesting radical actions—helping one another by reviewing the work of other authors, writing the words God gives you, no matter how controversial, and trusting him to secure the audience for those words.

Now I have another suggestion: Don’t neglect your reading.

I’m going about this in a way that allows me to read new works of fiction, so I can leave reviews for other authors. But, I’ve also realized that my soul craves, and indeed needs, those classic works of fiction that motivated my writer’s soul in the first place. I’m returning to Dickens, Austen, Undset, Bronte, Alcott, and Gaskell. 

These authors knew how to write a moral tale without preaching. They knew how to make the point within the story and to shape the story to present the moral choice in a way that transformed the reader. Now that we’re writers with an eye for method, reading them reveals exactly how they did it.

I’m also reading Christian writers of the last century—the ones who wrote with such superlative skill that they were featured by secular press like the New York Times Magazine.

The poetic words of Marjorie Holmes were a catalyst for me. I’m revisiting her work. A new discovery for me is Christian writer John L. Moore, who started out as a newspaper man. While reading his work, I’m observing how a man tells a tale—a vital lesson for a female writer with a male audience. Because I’m working on my western sequel, Moore’s work in the Ezra Riley series is timely.

I’m sure you have your own favorites. So, why isn’t this a waste of time when we should be marketing?

There are several reasons. 

We have the souls of writers and the hearts of people who love the Lord. To write for Jesus, we must nurture both aspects of our spiritual selves. We must read stories and poems that uplift our souls and touch our hearts. Also, we must meditate on and fix our roots down deep into God’s Word and into stories—Biblical and otherwise—that impress upon us those truths. These are non-negotiable if we want to continue without burning out and giving up.

Additionally, we must develop our craft. If you’re like me, you have shelves full of books on writing. You've worked through those, implementing what you learn there. But, we also need to read good fiction in order to feel and absorb these lessons, so they become a natural part of us. Reading makes us better writers. It always has.

And so, dear writer, I’m encouraging you to read. If need be, neglect your marketing to do it. The fruit is too valuable. Feed your soul.

Melinda V Inman, Author of Refuge; Fallen; and No Longer Alone

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda Viergever Inman now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the Midwest. Her faith-filled fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Find her weekly at To find her work and to be notified of future published novels, follow her at


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Making yourself known by Patricia Lee

I’d finally done it.

After several years of writing, editing, and submitting manuscripts, a publisher had offered me a contract. Forgotten in the moment were the tears I’d shed over a rejection, or the nail biting while I polished my story, or the weariness I’d endured attending one writing conference after another.

I had arrived. Nothing could stop me now.

Except for one small problem. Nobody knew me.

Oh, I had all the social media accounts in place. I had a website. I blogged. I twittered with the best of them. Would that be enough? I doubted it would be.

A bigger hurdle loomed. How would I make myself known in the community where my books would be sold? Do bookstores automatically put my books on their shelves?

My first reality check. No. They don’t.  I would have to introduce myself.

I started small. I took bookmarks and business cards with me as I visited local venues. I always left my contact information and asked for the name of the manager. When I didn’t hear anything, I returned a week later to meet him (or her) and to ask if he’d order my book. One prominent bookseller agreed. Ecstatic, I offered to sign copies. Sure, he said—all two of them.

Yep. Two.  That ought to boost me to the Best Seller’s list—posthumously.

Here’s where my social media kicked in. I let my Facebook family know those books were there. And they sold.  So the  manager ordered two more. They sold. Then five more. Progress! When he ordered fifteen, I was ready to ask him for a book signing date.

He agreed—any time.

Now I’m not stupid. I knew advertising a book signing for little-old-me might interest my family and maybe one true friend. But to get enough people to make a splash, I needed a strategy.

I thought about concerts I’d attended. The main attraction always came with opening acts to entertain the crowd until the headliner group was ready. Those opening acts were usually a group no one had ever heard of, but because they were billed alongside the main attraction they were getting exposure.


I decided to do the same. I would be like the concert’s opening act. After I’d prayed about who to ask, I invited two other published authors to join me for the book signing. Would they suggest another? One did—a well-known author who lived two and a half hours away. I doubted she would make the trip, but I asked anyway.

This is where God gets in the picture. James 4:2 tells us we have not because we ask not. I asked.

The author said she would ALREADY be in my city mid-September (isn’t God wonderful?). If she could do the book signing the day before or a day after she’d be happy to come. All of us were excited.

I scheduled the event with the bookstore and prepared posters. Each author sent   ISBN numbers to the manager. Orders were placed. Store publicity posted. The newspaper printed a full page spread about the well-known author and her attendance at the event. But my name was there, too, along with the other two panelists—exposure I might not have gotten otherwise. The radio aired news information spots—again with ALL our names.. Prayers were sent up—not for numbers, but for impact. Our community needed inspirational authors.   

The night of the panel, people arrived thirty minutes early. The bookstore manager set up all his chairs. Still they came. He emptied the coffee shop of seats. Still they came. At the meeting’s opening, every chair was filled and a standing room only crowd stood at the back. Ideas were discussed, laughter shared, books sold for all of us.

I had successfully launched my book. I made a name for myself. I’d gained a friend in the bookstore manager. I’d debuted as a new author.

New York Times, here I come!

Well, I can dream, can’t I?
A Kite on the Wind 
Is love strong enough to overcome the walls they hide behind?
Left waiting at the altar, Claire Simpson has buried her past and moved on, carving out a life for herself as a teacher on the Oregon coast. When her former fiance appears, he threatens to unravel the peaceful independence she has worked so hard to achieve after their relationship failed. 
Montgomery Chandler has moved to NOAA headquarters in Newport, Oregon to make new, happier memories for his children after his wife died of a lingering illness. Their home in Seattle held nothing but the whispers of their earlier lives. Starting over will help all of them heal, but Monty is resolved not to risk love again. 
When the handsome widower enrolls his hurting children at the school where Claire teaches, her resolve to remain uninvolved vanishes at the whim of a snowstorm. This family needs her expertise. Can she help them without losing her heart again?
Patricia Lee is a published author, having written since she first learned what words could do at the age of six. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Oregon. Articles to her credit have appeared in Moody Monthly, Power for Living, Expecting and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse as well as in two anthologies— Cup of Comfort Bible Promises and In the Company of Angels. She is part of a team of bloggers who submit short devotionals for

Patricia is a member of the Oregon Christian Writers and of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have two adult children and live in the Pacific Northwest with two sleepy cats.

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