Thursday, November 15, 2018

Writer Under Construction by Terri Weldon

Today’s post is a little out of the norm. Right now my office looks like a construction zone. And let me tell you, it’s not conducive to writing - at least not for this writer. My computer isn’t hooked up and unlike so many authors I actually use a desktop computer. 

I somehow connected the router and modem, hope I’m even calling them the right things, up to where the phone isn’t working. Since the phone isn’t required for my internet service I’m not sure how I managed that one. 

Not to mention my desk is covered in books that need placed on bookshelves. 

My plans for a lovely, private, and organized office have gone askew. Believe me, I thought I’d be back in my office by now. I need in that room!

All of this has made me think about how rarely things in life go the way we think they will. I should have factored delays into my schedule and I should have asked for help in reconnecting my internet! lol

Writing is a lot like my office. When you’re working on your book don’t let moments of chaos and confusion overwhelm you. Stay focused and even if it takes longer than you originally planned you’ll finally type THE END.

As for me, I hope to have my dream office soon. Maybe I’ll share a picture or two.

What about you - where is your favorite place to write?

Terri Weldon is a blessed to be a full time author. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, 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 and has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. Terri is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. You can connect with Terri at www.terriweldon.com 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

When the Story Stalls in the Middle by Sandra Merville Hart

There are stories where the words tumble from an author’s imagination onto the page from chapter one to the ending. In my stories, I usually know how it starts and ends with only a hazy idea of how the characters get there. Yes, I’m a pantser.

For those who do not outline but allow the story to unfold with the telling, it may stall in the middle. A character bores you. Ideas dry up. If this happens, here are a few suggestions that have helped me.

If you've pushed yourself to your creative limits, you may simply need a break. Do something completely different for a day or two. Creating is hard work. Rest.

If the ideas don't return after a few days away, alter the story. Add a feisty new character or a trouble maker and see where it leads. Don’t try to control events while in this creative surge. Allow the characters to take the lead until your imagination soars again.

If you find yourself bored with the story, your reader probably will too—and so might the editor. If a character bores you, have them do something unexpected but not against his or her nature. Shake things up.

If you still have writer’s block, return to your research notes. For my historical novels, I often have over a hundred pages of single-spaced notes. Rereading these sparks new ideas when my story sputters to a stop. It also renews my enthusiasm for the writing. I want to bring that historical period alive for my readers and transport them to another time and place. Research is the key for remaining authentic to the time period. If your notes don’t inspire ideas, do more research.

It's also possible that you chose the wrong path for the story. I recently completed a romantic suspense novel. Since I write by the "seat of my pants," I didn't know the killer when I began the novel. When it came time to reveal the killer, I still didn't know. I finally selected someone and began writing. The story halted. No words came. I couldn't figure out what happened next.

When I selected a different killer, the story flowed to the end. Your story may be on the wrong path, too. Save your old version and then change the part of the story where it stalled.

Much of the action happens in the middle of the story. This is where your readers fall in love with your characters and don't want the novel to end. Give this section as much attention as the beginning and the end.

Your readers will love you for it.

~~~~~~



Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover little-known yet fascinating facts about our American history to include in her stories. Her debut Civil War Romance, A Stranger on My Land, was IRCA Finalist 2015. A Rebel in My House,
set during the historic Battle of Gettysburg, won the 2018 Silver Illumination Award and second place in 2018 FHL Readers’ Choice Award. A Musket in My Hands, where two sisters join the Confederate army with the men they love, releases November of 2018. Her novella, Surprised by Love in “From the Lake to the River” released in September of 2018. Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” releases in August of 2019. Find her on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

Sandra Merville Hart’s third Civil War romance, A Musket in My Hands, follows two sisters as they disguise themselves as soldiers and join the men they love in the Confederate army—just in time for the war to grow progressively difficult for Southern soldiers. Tough marches lead them to the Battle of Franklin. How can anyone survive?

https://www.amazon.com/Musket-My-Hands-Civil-Romance/dp/1946016675

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Escape Your Writing Cave By Marie Wells Coutu

Writers write.
Maybe NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has you barricaded into your writing space, pounding away on the computer keyboard and churning out your next work of literary genius.

The familiar adage of BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) works. Any writer who’s serious about his or her craft needs to follow that advice. When you have a deadline to complete a novel, whether it’s self-imposed or by contract, the only way to finish is to keep at it.


But there is a time for everything. Even during NaNoWriMo or when under deadline, it’s good to take some time away from writing and not feel guilty about it.


Too often, I find myself putting off other things I could be doing—family activities, exercise, visiting a sick friend—in order to “write.” Then I pour the guilt on myself for not doing those things. But if I do take time away from writing, in creeps resentment because I’m not writing.


Never mind that I sabotage my writing time with Facebook, Solitaire, or TV. I accept the blame for those times, but that doesn’t keep me from jealously guarding my time, while also feeling guilty about the “good deeds” I don’t do.


I repeat, a serious writer must spend time writing and guard against time-stealers. But there are occasions when we have to come out of our writing cave.


The other day, I finally took the time to visit a friend who’s in a nursing home. She loves to read, so I bring her books from my stash as often as I can. I confess to being grateful when I find her napping so I don’t feel guilty about dropping off the books and leaving. But I know how much it means to her to have someone take the time to talk. So this time I did.


As I drove home afterward, I realized how much I had enjoyed the visit. I had learned more about her life, episodes that may even find their way into a book in the future. And I resolved not to feel resentment when spending time with other people takes away from my writing time. If I allow myself some time for such things, I’ll have no need to feel guilty about the hours that I do spend writing.


Here’s my new motto: Don’t let word count stop you from doing what counts. After all, if I am called to write books that show God’s love to a fallen world, shouldn’t I also be willing to demonstrate that love to individual people in my world?

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 (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu) or on Amazon.com.

Marie is a regular contributor to Seriously WriteFor more posts by Marie, click here.

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Veteran's Spirit in Historical Fiction

by Peter Leavell @PeterLeavell

Historical Fiction is a powerful tool to bring the past alive.

How we see the past, how we portray events forever stays with the reader. The responsibility is heavy.

On Veteran’s Day, the celebration is about the soldiers who come home to a hero’s welcome, or return to castigation, or those at duty’s end is filled with a loneliness that cannot be filled and such despair that only a brother or sister in arms can understand. The horrors are forgotten by a nation but live on in the minds of the soldier.
Photodune

And what will history say of these men and women who sacrificed time and well-being so that we might stand in fancy suits and long gold chained watches, adjust our glasses and shake our heads and proclaim that, now we see through the lens of history, their cause wasn’t worth the sacrifice?

If only politicians had done…

If these soldiers had been more kind…

If a repressed people had more rights….

And the soldiers march on. And the veteran’s boots gather house dust while he or she agrees,
Photodune
disagrees, and screams for understanding.

And still, the veteran glances at the world, closes eyes and sighs and dreams the unholy nightmares of battle, longs for the tedium of the military work, the friendships of the mechanic bay, the base patrol buddies, the well-deserved R & R after truly important slog. Civilian mundane, hourly wages without repercussions for lazy or whining or doomed fellow workers filled with poor choices are no replacement for a tight ship, a clean bunk, a swift justice to the slacker.
Photodune


Historical Fiction authors research without end because a veteran’s story deserves to be told. We endlessly explore because our lens through which we see them is distorted, listing to the side by our experiences—our overarching patriotism or unending hatred of war and those who take part.

Historical Fiction authors write perspective. Our ship of characters does not focus unendingly on love, violence, hatred, compassion. To tilt the past with one focus is to drown all the passengers of the past in untruths. So, we focus on one thought.

The spirit of the age.

What was it like to live in the past, why did they live as they did, who were these men and women, when did they find time for romance and families and dreams, where did they serve. How are they doing after service?

And in this, we civilians salute the men and women who offered their time in service to our country. Thank you.

Tweetables: click to tweet!


Honor veterans in your historical fiction novel by capturing the spirit of the age.


          ~~~~~
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 www.peterleavell.com.
     ~~~~~~

Friday, November 9, 2018

Two Reasons for Not Giving Up Writing and Two Reasons to Quit by Melissa Jagears

Melissa Jaegars
Have you ever thought about giving up writing? Why haven’t you? What has inspired you to continue? Author Melissa Jaegars shares her thoughts, experiences, and important things to consider. ~ Dawn



Two Reasons for Not 
Giving Up Writing and 
Two Reasons to Quit

I often want to quit. Whether I’ve stumbled upon a bad review of one of my books, taken an editor’s criticism too personally, read an article about the decline of book sales, or read a problematic draft of my WIP—time and again, I’m a breath away from chucking the keyboard.

But each time, I talk myself out of quitting—why?


Reason to Write 1: If I quit, what will I honestly do with my free time?

Before I wrote novels, I frittered away pockets of time playing addictive computer games, rearranging furniture, and cleaning house.

Though I could probably stand to clean my house more often, there’s no reason to let Minesweeper steal any more hours of my life.

As my husband likes to remind me when I’m ready to toss the keyboard, “If you quit writing, you’ll just fill up your time with something else.”

And then I think of the things I’m pondering doing instead. Will it truly be something more fulfilling than writing?

Be honest with yourself, what would you fill up your free time with if you gave up writing? At the end of your life, will you be able to say, “I’m happy I spent my time on that instead of writing”?


Reason to Write 2: Nothing thrills like holding something you’ve truly labored to obtain.

Most mothers who’ve gone through childbirth can likely attest to the sheer craziness of one second believing “I can’t do this anymore” to the sheer wonder of seeing a new person show up in the room and thinking “I just did that” while the agony floats away like a distant memory.

I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to produce 400 pages of words deemed worthy enough to share with strangers. All the agony of writing and every sacrifice of time fades when you hold a book you’re proud of in one hand.

The anguish was worth it.

If I had quit when I was a new writer facing the monumental task of filling up more pages that I’d ever filled before, I’d never have finished a book.

If I had quit after receiving an awful contest score from a favorite author, I’d never have spent eight months trying to rework the book to impress her which landed me my first contract.

If I had quit after a reviewer claimed my book was so bad I’d ruined her desire to read my genre ever again, I’d not have written the next one which made someone say, “Romancing the Bride is probably the best book I've read this year!”

Things worth having rarely come easily. Are there stories still in your head or heart that are worth laboring over? Will it bother you if that book never exists?


Reason to Quit 1: I have no more stories worth telling.

When I can say I’ve done my best and there are no more stories in my head worth my time or hard work, what would be the point of continuing?

Have you done your absolute best and have no more stories worth laboring to tell?


Reason to Quit 2: Writing pales in comparison to something else.

One day, something may come along that will be more important to spend my time on than continuing writing. If that happens, I’ll give myself permission to put my whole heart into that.

Putting away your writing to focus on something better worth your time should cause no guilt. Is there something you should be doing that writing is keeping you from?




Romancing the Bride

Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?




Award-winning author, Melissa Jagears, is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance into the wee hours of the night. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children. Her ebook novella, Love by the Letter, is her Carol Award-winning novella and free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com

Along with writing, Melissa runs the Inspirational Historical Fiction Index which she started when she was scrambling to find comparables to add to her book proposals. Do you need to find books set in Kansas with a Mail-Order Bride in the 1860s? A time-slip that features WWII and a medical professional? A Regency Love Triangle set during a holiday? You can search to see if anyone else has written a book like yours on the Index.






Thursday, November 8, 2018

Where the Past and Present Collide With Faith by Candice Sue Patterson


When I began seriously pursuing publication seven years ago one of the first things I was told was that every author needed a brand, a punchline that tells readers what to expect about their books. I fretted over this for some time, as I wasn’t really sure what overall theme my books would contain. A few titles later I settled into it: Modern-Vintage Romance—where the past and present collide with faith. Since I write contemporary romance with threads of nostalgia weaved in, it fit. 

 
 
 
Then last year I let one of my critique partners talk me into joining her and five others in a proposal to Barbour Publishers for a collection of historical romances involving Great Lakes Lighthouses. But I write contemporary, I thought. Writing a historical is intimidating, I thought. When will I ever have time for all that research, I thought. But we’ve been critique partners long enough that she knows I love a challenge, so she dangled the idea in front of me like bait. (Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.) 

Was it intimidating? To me, yes. 

Did it require a lot of research? Absolutely. 

And I loved it! 

My first historical, Beneath a Michigan Moon, is part of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection that released November 1st. As an author of both contemporary and historical romance, I wanted to share some of the challenges I faced writing in two different time periods. 

First, you need to understand that I was doing extensive edits to my contracted contemporary novel How to Stir a Baker’s Heart (book #2 in my Cadence of Acadia series) while I was writing the first draft of Michigan Moon, while plotting my next contemporary series. 

(Conclusion: I’m crazy.) 

Challenge #1: The Romance Trope 

I’ve always wanted to write a marriage of convenience story. I love the tension it creates between characters and that fact that their relationship blossoms into real love through their daily journey together. This is easy enough to write in a historical because it was common for people to marry for necessity back then. Mail order brides, widows without family and no means of caring for themselves, arranged marriages, etc. Writing this trope in a contemporary, however, isn’t as easy. So when I started writing a new series set in South Dakota using this trope, I had to get creative. Gmail took the place of the postal service for word that the hero was looking for a bride. Both the hero and heroine enter into an agreement needing what the other is offering. And it all plays out on prime time television. While the director continually throws in surprise after grueling surprise. 

Challenge #2: Communication 

Nowadays, we have many ways to communicate. So in my contemporary romance How to Stir a Baker’s Heart, the hero and heroine chat through text, cellphone, email, and face-to-face. At times, the technology doesn’t work the way it should (especially along the coast of Maine where the book is set) and it causes issues. 

In Michigan Moon, it was much harder to get messages back and forth. When the heroine (light keeper at New Presque Isle Lighthouse on Lake Huron) starts to run low on supplies, she receives a telegram that the supply train derailed, and she’ll have to ration what she has until another shipment can be sent out. This accident happened days before, so had there been faster modes of communication on all sides she would’ve been able to ration sooner, keeping her from having to rob old supplies left in a nearby abandoned lighthouse. But it worked to my advantage because this scene turned out to be a pivotal moment for the hero and heroine. 

Challenge #3: Clothing

I’m familiar with today’s styles: midi-dresses, skinny jeans, joggers, flyaway cardigans...you get the idea. I dress my contemporary characters accordingly. However, I was fairly ignorant of the terms for historical items: reticules, chemises, chignons, frock coats. Historical romance is my favorite genre to read, so where I’d heard those terms before I had no idea what era they fell in, or what items were layered over what. This took extensive research both online and books from my public library. I didn’t want to receive any bad reviews simply because my timeline was off. 

Will I continue writing historical romance? I’d like to. I think being hybrid would keep me on my toes, help keep my writing fresh. I enjoy taking modern themes and fitting them into an old-fashioned world. Just like I enjoy taking contemporary settings and lacing history into the plot. 

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection featuring Beneath a Michigan Moon is available now in print and eBook at all major online retailers. Amazon Buy Link

Look for How to Stir a Baker’s Heart, releasing April 2019 from Pelican Book Group. 

To keep up to date on my latest news you can find me on Facebook as Candice Sue Patterson-Author or visit my website at www.candicesuepatterson.com 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My Favorite Places to People Watch by Keely Brooke Keith

One of a writer’s best tools is the art of people watching. Here are some of my favorite places to people watch:

Airports
Songwriter John Mayer nailed this one in his song Wheel: “Airports see it all the time where someone’s last goodbye blends in with someone’s sigh cause someone’s coming home.” Airports are a parade of human experience. It’s in the pastor praying over departing missionaries, the businesswoman stomping toward her gate and the rhythm of her suitcase wheels rolling behind her on the tile floor, and the soldier’s welcome home kiss with his wife who is holding their newborn.

Malls
Not quite as dramatic in emotional depth, but bubbling with frustration, chaos, and teen angst, a shopping mall is a like a catalog of human features. The faces range from the overwhelmed mommy who brought the double stroller but neither of her toddlers will stay in it, to the Botoxed suburbanite dashing from Macy’s to Banana Republic, to the senior citizens in arch-supporting sneakers power walking their daily laps.

Churches
A tour of several church denominations is necessary for the full scope of church people watching. Every church has its own culture and feel, but I’ve noticed some commonalities in the sanctuary pre-service. Watch the pastor’s wife, flustered as she wrangles her four children into the second pew from the front, suddenly straighten her posture and broaden her smile when the congregants start to arrive. Watch the early birds who sit in their routine seats, sigh with contentment, and absorb the peace. Watch the middle-aged man who slips into the room halfway through the service, perches on the edge of the back pew, and drops his face into his hands.

If you’re a writer, go people watching for inspiration. If you’re a reader, download my new book Uncharted Journey, and see if you enjoy how my hobby of people watching enlivens my writing.


~~~~~~



Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely Brooke Keith was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving 80s kid. She grew up in a family who moved often, which fueled her dreams of faraway lands. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys teaching home school lessons and playing bass guitar. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Uncharted Journey
Young widow Eva Vestal assumes loneliness is God’s permanent plan for her life. She keeps busy by raising her son and co-managing the Inn at Falls Creek with her elderly father, but her heart yearns for more.

Solomon “Solo” Cotter has spent his life working with horses, but he secretly wants to write a book of the children’s stories his grandfather told him as a boy. He barters with Eva’s father for a 40-night stay at the inn, a needed respite from work to get his stories on paper.

Once Eva discovers the barter, she believes Solo is taking advantage of her father’s failing memory. But when tragedy strikes and Solo works hard to save the inn, Eva sees his true nature. As her heart stirs with feelings for Solo, she wrestles with the guilt of loving someone new.

Meanwhile, outside the Land...

Bailey Colburn arrives at the coordinates of the Land on the autumn equinox and finds nothing but ocean. The sun sets, ending Bailey’s dream of a safe and simple life with the family she’s never known. Just when she decides Justin Mercer lied about visiting a hidden land in the South Atlantic Ocean and meeting Bailey’s distant relatives, the atmosphere around the boat changes and ushers her into an uncharted world, but her entrance into the Land comes at a devastating price.

Book Links:
Signed paperback copies available here.
Uncharted Journey is available on Amazon.
Add Uncharted Journey to your Goodreads shelf here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Gratefulness By Laura V. Hilton

"Just Breathe" Coloring Sheet
Thanksgiving is approaching in a couple weeks. I’m kind of excited for it – my daughter will be home from college – and kind of dreading it as my husband will be working two different jobs and I have to work, too or else I’ll never reach my deadlines. 

I was thinking about what to say in my second to final post for this blog (I think) and God brought to mind the verse from Philippians 4:11: 


“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”


At the end of September, our church had its Fifth Sunday Singspiration and we were told that in order to request a favorite song we had to give a testimony. I think it was designed to work so that no one would request a favorite. 


And then we have me. I am a pastor’s wife. I may hate speaking in public but I can do it. If God gives me something to say. And I have a favorite song. (Insert big smile)


So the song leader looks at me after I request my favorite and says, “You have to give a testimony.” He had a look in his eye that said, “Yeah, she’s going to back out.”


I might have smirked as I stood and made my way to the front. 


The song leader told me I didn’t have to go up there. He knows me so well. 


I said, “It’s sort of an object lesson.”


Sort of, because I didn’t have a clue what I was going to say, just that I had some coloring pictures and God said, “Go.” 


So I went forward and shared how we were having money problems and didn’t know how we'd pay our bills past mid-October. I talked about how it worried me that we'd have to tell the girls that we wouldn’t have Christmas and how God said something to me that my husband always says, “Breathe. Just breathe. I got this.” 


Then I held up the coloring picture that said, “Just breathe.” 

Sure enough, God provided my husband with a second job so we would be able to meet our expenses. 

"As for me, I will always have hope." Psalm 71:14

Then I held up the second coloring page. 

“As for me, I will always have hope.” Psalm 71:14 
And I am still clinging to that HOPE, giving thanks for His provision, and in this time of not-plenty, I'm being content with what He provides. 

God is in control. Breathe. He’s got this. With God everything is possible. Nothing is impossible. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Let’s give thanks to God right now for providing for our needs. As you pray the prayer below, share with us in the comment section.


Lord God, You are powerful and You are good. Please protect my relationship with You, keeping out anything that would take my eyes off You. Today I give thanks for _____________ Amen.


For more posts by Laura V. Hilton, click here.
About the Author


Award-winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and three of their children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Laura also has two adult children.

Laura V. HIlton

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: 
Patchwork DreamsA Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as a three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow GlobeThe Postcard, and The Bird House in September 2015.

See below for information on Laura's latest, The Christmas Admirer. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.


Connect with Laura

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q
visit her blog: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Laura_V_Hilton or @Laura_V_Hilton
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/


Firestorm
Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton
 
   

Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.

Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.

As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Soul Care for Writers by Edie Melson

Edie Melson

Oh, friends, we're in for a treat today! Raise your hand if you've ever been burned out in your pursuit of your calling. Yeah, I see those hands in the back. (waving at you with my own raised hand) This fall, I learned about a book written by today's guest that has helped me find rest in the middle of the mayhem. Perhaps Edie Melson's advice will help you as well. Read on! ~ Annette

Soul Care for Writers
By Edie Melson

Those who write have opened themselves to specific stressors. We pull from what’s inside us to create a gift of words. Our specific goals and dreams are as varied at the words we use. But ultimately I believe we each fight this battle to bring forth words to make the world a better place. We are hope givers, joy bringers, and light shiners.

To do this though, we must have something to pull from. Writing is an exhausting endeavor and we cannot do it effectively when the well is dry. So we must constantly return to the One who understands us—and our craft—best.

God is the ultimate author, and it is His inheritance that we showcase when we put pen to paper. God planted a seed in each of us that bears the fruit of words. But this seed must be nurtured—shaded in the healing covering of His presence and watered by His spirit and His word.

It’s not always possible to stop in the middle of chaos and retreat to a place of peace. But we know from Jesus’ example that He often walked into chaos and brought peace. We carry His strength with us, so in the midst of deadlines, family struggles, even writer’s block we have that same inner core of peace inside of us. We just need to bring it to the forefront.

Tips for Soul Care When Chaos Threatens 

1.      Stop and Pray. I always pray before I begin writing—whether it’s an email, social media update, blog post or my current work in progress. In the spirit of transparency, you need to know that it took me way too long to develop this habit, but it makes all the difference. 

2.      Take a creative break. I know, deadlines are looming and it doesn’t feel like you’ve got thirty seconds to spare. But taking five minutes to reignite that creative flame may save you hours of work.
  •  Free write using a writing prompt
  • Download a coloring page and spend five minutes playing 
  •  Write out a Bible verse on a piece of paper. Doodle around it and add color, underline words that speak to you.
3.      Take a walk. Not only will it get your blood pumping, it will get your creative blood pumping. When you return from your walk, take an extra couple of minutes and write down what you noticed on your walk. 

4.      Turn up the music. When I need creative inspiration, music is one way I get that. I may turn up praise music and sing along, or movie themes and do a little (very private) dancing. 

5.      Pull out your camera. I’m also a photographer and something magical happens when I take time to view life through the lens of my camera. It helps me remember to filter out and focus in on what’s important. It doesn’t matter if you have a big professional camera or are using your cell phone. The effect is the same. 

6.      Write in a different place. Go to a different spot in your house. Visit the library (if you like quiet) or a coffee shop.


There are many things that deplete our creative energy, both outward and inward. We must be responsible to take time to renew our reserves and reconnect with the One who called us to this endeavor. When I take time for soul care, I reconnect with God. It’s during these times of closeness, His Spirit floods mine with truth. It’s the truth of who I am and more importantly—Whose I am—that brings me relief.

Now it’s your turn. How do you nurture your writing soul? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Blessings,
Edie

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Soul Care When You're Weary by Edie Melson
Soul Care When You're Weary

Our lives are busier each day, and the margin we have available for recovery and peace is shrinking. Edie Melson helps you find Soul Care solutions using devotions and prayers and opportunities for creative expression. She has learned that sensory involvement deepens our relationship with the Father and gives rest to our weary souls. She will teach you to tap into your creativity. Reconnect with God using your tactile creativity. Warning! This book may become dog-eared and stained. Draw in it. Experiment with your creative passions. Learn the healing power of play. Allow God’s power to flow through creativity. Soul Care When You’re Weary will become your heart treasure.





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Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, fellow creatives, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” Her latest book, Soul Care When You’re Weary is available online and in bookstores. Soul Care for Writers will debut in May 2019.

Her blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and has been named to the Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers. She’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and Soul Care Creative Conference. She’s on the board of directors for the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine. She’s also a regular columnist for Just18Summers.com and PuttingOnTheNew.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.