Friday, May 31, 2019

A Winding Road Led to My Destination by Cindy M. Amos

Cindy A. Amos
Not all writers start out in their youth planning to become an author. Often, the road we take is not a direct path. Author Cindy M. Amos shares her journey to publication and how her former career has influenced her novels. ~ Dawn

A Winding Road Led to My Destination

It often takes a winding road to arrive at our true destination, like my quest to become a published writer of books. My first stepping-stones came with technical writing of scientific reports in graduate school in North Carolina, a skill that helped me reap the reward of becoming a coastal marine biologist. Next, I traveled a sandy road as island naturalist and wrote press releases plus a quarterly newsletter for a small nature nonprofit involved with sea turtle conservation. Along a palm tree-lined road at an environmental consulting firm in Florida, I became the in-house technical writer, mostly for large regulatory documents. The culmination of my public career came as the supervisor for a division of Palm Beach County government where I wrote more environmental reports.

When I became a stay-at-home mom in 1994, the fiction bug hit pretty hard. I had always admired novels and gravitated toward the wholesome, happily-ever-after kind, but how to go about writing it seemed a mystery! Oh, how I feel for some of those early contest judges who had to comment on my error-ridden entry. I remember their endless editorial marks up and down the margins. Thus, the tracks of a self-taught fiction writer always appear in red ink! By the grace of God and some plucky perseverance, I ascended the steep grade of this trial-and-error path.

In 2016, publisher Cynthia Hickey of Winged Publications read the opening chapters of the first book in a series entitled Landscapes of Mercy and offered a five-book contract. In August 2016, my debut book, Redeeming River Rancher, released with Forget Me Not Romances. My themes always include man living close to the land, as reflected in my tagline: Writing Romance onto Nature’s Landscape.

In 2019, I have the privilege of working with literary agent Linda Glaz to place my longer fiction into a larger publishing house for enhanced marketability. I embrace the challenge to diversify. To date, I have the privilege of listing 26 published titles with Winged Publications, along with 15 boxed set collections. Each release advances me a few steps further down the road to becoming the author God intends me to be.

Endeavor On

A terrible hesitation that hits many aspiring writers is to stop for a considerable period of time after that first manuscript has been written. At this juncture, it will benefit you to consider the process of writing—not the product. You are on a journey, so I encourage you to stay in motion.

Endeavor on. Take your next best idea for a premise, brainstorm on its development, and then let your creativity out of its stall and set loose on the track of writing your opening scene. What you learned by writing your first book, you can apply with some level of confidence for this second book. You may have attended a writing workshop in the interim, so add what you’ve learned to your natural creative process. Your capabilities are expanding by moving on. A book-list is born through perseverance.

Craft Tip: Your proposal should read as if your manuscript is already a book. Make it read like a certainty. Don’t try to convince the editor that this should be a book. Convince them it is a book.

Thank you, Dawn and the SW bloggers, for allowing me this unique opportunity to share!

Ocean's Edge: Romance on the Tides

Book 1 of the Adventure Brides Collection

Is she simply building sandcastles that will wash away?

Or is there hope at the ocean’s edge for something meant to last?

Ready to escape high-and-dry Kansas, Wynn Yardley arrives too late for the Dreams Come True event, but her request for a trip to the ocean’s edge still falls within foundation director Teague Montgomery’s power to grant. Following his plan to cut expenses, Teague brings Wynn to the Outer Banks at his grandmother’s beachfront timeshare while he stays with an old family friend in Millionaire Row. Wynn’s open-eyed delight of time spent on the shore fills a lonely spot in Teague’s heart. A walk on the pier takes them beyond the ocean’s edge to forge a romantic bond, but a situation at the Mansfield cottage soon challenges their togetherness. Only quick thinking will yield a workable plan, but Wynn feels the pain of being an outsider during the deal.

From a background of natural resource management and endangered species conservation, Cindy M. Amos writes both contemporary and historical inspirational fiction about man living close to the land. Whether plotting to save the family ranch or detailing a vacation in the wild, Ms. Amos takes the pulse of the land through her characters. Romance is typically at the helm, although the waters may not always allow for smooth sailing. Ms. Amos writes from Wichita, Kansas where she lives with her aircraft engineer husband, having fledged two sons to college and successful engineering careers. The family ranches each weekend on the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills. For hobbies, the author enjoys tranquil nature study, gardening and home canning, and is fond of riding her beach cruiser along local Rails to Trails bike paths.

Member: American Christian Fiction Writers and Heart of America Christian Writers’ Network

To connect with Cindy and learn more, please visit:

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Blank Page by Terri Weldon

When I started this blog post I couldn’t think of a single thing to blog about. I had put out numerous feelers to find a guest blogger with no luck. So, it was up to me to come up with something witty to say. Warning to readers: I am not a witty woman, proceed at your own risk. So, I opened a new file on my computer.

Is there anything scarier than a blank page? Whether it is a pristine white sheet of printer paper, a blinking cursor on your computer screen, a lined sheet of notebook paper, or the back of an envelope when it’s empty, it’s scary. Especially when you can’t think of anything to cover all that empty space.

Countless times I’ve read that readers like white space. And they do. They just don’t like it when all the space is white. If they did, I could write a New York Times bestseller.

My dilemma got me thinking. What do writer’s do when they can’t think of anything to fill up a page? I’ll share a few things I’ve done and I hope you’ll leave a comment sharing your tips.

1. Sometimes I just write junk and then that junk will get my creative juices flowing. Other authors call it freewriting.
2. I’ve been known to write the beginning of a new story. Same reason – just to get the muse to work. Once it is, then it’s back to the story at hand.
3. Other time I just plow through it. The words might be stinky, but they can be fixed in the editing phase.
4. Ashamed to admit this, but sometimes I shut the file and do something else.
5. Pray for words.

The most enjoyable of the tricks is writing the beginning of a new story simply because that’s my favorite part of any new book.

The most beneficial is plowing through and fixing whatever is wrong during the editing phase. That way I stay on track and finish my story on time.

What do you do when facing the dreaded blank page? What tip works best for you? I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment. Plus, you’ll save me from looking at more white space! 😊

Terri Weldon feels blessed to be a full time writer. 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. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. Terri is a member of ACFW and RWA.

Readers can connect with Terri:
Seriously Write

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Getting Started: Tips From the Greats by Sandra Ardoin

We all have what we believe are award-winning ideas, those ambitions to write something others will find stupendous and page turning.

But sometimes our plans are bigger than our know-how or, let’s face it, our courage. Maybe we’ve let our fears of failure keep us from getting those first words on the page.

So while you consider how you’ll occupy those upcoming poolside hours or sent-the-kids-to-camp-I’m-free days, here’s a little nudge from some of the greats to get you started on your path to writing success.

If you want your writing published, you have to understand that it is a job. Set regular hours and treat it as if you're actually getting paid for what you do. 😉 By the way, who in their right mind argues with Stephen King? **shivers** 

Don't wait for the right time to begin your story because there will be no right time, only procrastination and "I want to"s. Go on. Get moving. 

You'll never lack for ideas, so choose the one that excites you the most and stick with it. Don't be tempted by all the shiny new ideas that come calling before you've written "The End."

It's amazing how often I've written something off the top of my head and later found it to be incredibly useful to my plot. To me that's God writing my story. For Ray Bradbury's "intuition," I would substitute God.

Follow that Peter Rabbit trail and enjoy the journey!

What writing quote gives you inspiration?

A little nudge from some of the greats to get you started on your path to writing success. via @SandraArdoin #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


A Love Most Worthy

She didn’t know which was colder, an Arctic winter or her new husband’s heart.

Hallie Russell believes life should be lived to the fullest. For that reason, she sails to the gold
rush town of Nome, Alaska to take her cousin’s place as the mail-order bride of a respected shopkeeper. But when her aloof husband’s wedding-night announcement rocks her plans for their marriage, Hallie sees her desire for a family to call her own vanish as quickly as the dreams of hopeful miners.

Tragedy led Rance Preston to repent of his rowdy ways and open a general store for the miners in Nome. He’s content in his bachelorhood, but his two orphaned nephews deserve a proper and serious-minded mother. Duped once by a vivacious female, he’s determined to never again let his heart overrule his head…until the high spirits of his new bride threaten his resolve.

When a misunderstanding comes to light, will they allow the gale force winds of insecurity to destroy what they each need most?


As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her at Connect with her on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

As a gift for her newsletter subscribers, Sandra wrote a short story to accompany A Love Most Worthy—a “prelude.” It provides some insight into Hallie’s story, something those who read only the novella won’t receive. Join the Love and Faith in Fiction community and keep up with what’s new, discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Mistakes Learned & Lessons Learned by Emily Wickham

When I embarked on my writing journey 13+ years ago, I didn’t realize where God would guide my steps. I’ve attempted to walk this road with excellence, yet I’ve made mistakes along the way. However, God has grown me through those experiences, and I pray He uses the lessons I’ve learned to help you.

MISTAKE #1: Seeing the Publication Path as a Sprint Rather than a Marathon

Writing is hard work. Building a platform can be even harder work. Then there’s the art of marketing before and after your book is published—a requirement if you desire to sell books. Did I mention that God’s call to write involves hard work? It often requires years, too.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9, KJV).

LESSON #1: Success as a writer includes patience and diligence.

MISTAKE #2: Being Unprepared

I once followed some well-meaning but incorrect advice when I met with a conference faculty member. Instead of taking a book proposal with me, I simply presented a one sheet. It looked fabulous. It got the agent’s attention. But then he wanted to read a writing sample, which I didn’t have. The agent peered at me over the top of his reading glasses while I fumbled for words, quickly concluding our time was complete since I couldn’t produce anything for him to read. And that was that. I’ve never forgotten.

“Go to the ant ... Observe her ways and be wise, which... prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8, NASB).

LESSON #2: Always be prepared.

MISTAKE #3: Lagging Behind on Conference Requests

About two years ago, a VP and associate publisher expressed interest in two of my manuscripts. She requested proposals for both, and I was thrilled.

I returned home from the conference fully intending to submit my proposals. However, I didn’t sense any urgency because professionals prefer quality submissions over hastily sent material. After revising one proposal, I e-mailed it almost five months later.

Perhaps it would have turned out great except the industry professional I’d met no longer worked for the publisher. I contacted the company directly and explained the situation, but they never replied once they discovered I lack agent representation.

I’ll never know what might have been.

“Be careful how you walk ... making the most of your time” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

LESSON #3: Submit requested materials in a timely manner.

God always helps us when we ask because He cares about our needs. Let’s learn from the past and move forward with the Lord. His timing is perfect, He equips those He calls, and He entrusts us with writing opportunities.

Learn from one writer’s mistakes and the lessons she’s learned. #WritersLife #WritingCommunity via @emilywickhamPH @MaryAFelkins

Note: This article is adapted from a longer version first posted at

EMILY WICKHAM seeks to stir hearts toward Jesus. She writes for Journey Magazine, a LifeWay publication, speaks at ladies’ events, and shares “Devotions for Women” videos on social media. Emily encourages Christian women plus equips Christian writers on her blog, She is the author of one Bible study, which was translated into Spanish in 2016. Emily, a resident of North Carolina, is Mark’s wife of 29+ years. They are the blessed parents of four children and one daughter-in-love. God’s faithfulness and love inspire Emily on her journey through life as she purposes to exalt Christ through written and spoken words.

Connect with Emily:

Book Blurb:
Whether you’re a Spanish-speaking sister who longs to grow closer to Christ, or you’re looking for a Spanish Bible study to use for outreach in your community, please consider using Alcanzando la Justicia. It guides women through the book of Esther, challenging them to grow in righteous behavior—to make God-honoring choices each day. Daily prayers, Scripture readings, observation sections, author reflections, and application questions are included. This workbook is designed for individual or group use and contains instructions for following a one month, ten week, or thirty-one week schedule.

See Emily’s website for special offers or purchase her book on Amazon.

Monday, May 27, 2019

My Greatest Cheerleader by Mary Manners

My dad was my greatest cheerleader when I shared with him at a young age that I wanted to be a writer. He told me to enjoy the good days and to embrace the not-so-good—even the awful—since they would provide a foundation for my writing, as well as my life.

This was tough advice to swallow on one particularly rough school day during my early teen years. Luckily, I arrived home to find him sitting on the front porch waiting for me. He spent a good hour listening while I vented about the trials and tribulations of being a thirteen-year-old in a cruel, cruel world. I imagined he had no idea what I was going through, since he couldn't have possibly ever been as young as thirteen. Little did I know!

The next day, Dad came home with a small treasure for me--a poster with the most forlorn-looking bloodhound sitting in a washtub full of soap bubbles that had been dumped over his head. The caption read, "Was today really necessary?" Dad helped me mount the poster in a place of honor on my bedroom wall, and then we sat together and talked some more. That's when I began to understand the power of adversity in shaping who I am as well as my life's path.

Today, I use the trials of my life--both the small inconveniences that jab like bony fingers along my rib cage as well as the tsunamis that sweep through to wash away any semblance of sanity--to shape and mold my writing. Characters and storylines come alive. The passion to write the next story burns continuously inside me, and with every detour that comes my way I know that the round-about will lead to another exciting chapter.

My dad succumbed to Non-Hodgkin lymphoma eighteen years ago, but his memory is alive and well in the poster that has traveled with me through the decades. It now holds a place of honor on the wall across from my office desk. Each time I glance up to read the caption, I smile and think, "Yes, today is really necessary."


Honeysuckle Cove Inn has been in the Brennan family for three generations. When Maggie Brennan’s parents retire, they call her home to Honeysuckle Cove and hand over the reins of the historical inn. If Maggie successfully maintains the business over the course of a year, the inn is hers forever. Maggie considers the timing perfect, with one exception—she finds her path entangled once again with that of Dylan O’Connor.

Dylan has made a name for himself as the go-to guy when it comes to renovations and repairs in Honeysuckle Cove, and he’s waited nearly a decade for high school sweetheart Maggie Brennan to return home. But his handyman skills will be put to the test when it comes to rebuilding the bridge between Maggie’s heart and his, and designing a future…together.


Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime sharing her joy of writing. She lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and their rescue dog Axel, mischievous cats Colby and Rascal, 8 rambunctious chickens, and 13 fish.

Mary writes stories full of faith and hope. Her books have earned multiple accolades including two Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, the Aspen Gold, the Heart of Excellence, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Mary loves long sunrise runs, Smoky Mountain sunsets, and flavored coffee. She enjoys connecting with reader friends through her website:

Friday, May 24, 2019

For Whom You Write by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
There have been people in the hills,
in the Blue Ridge Mountains, they say,
talking and thinking about
what they should write.

How they should write,
when they should write,
where they should write,
were the topics of delight.

But the day has now come,
the day is now here,
when they must go home,
and face their fears.
To the hustle and hurry,
the obstacles and worry,
the joys and the strife,
of what we call “life.”

But understand fully, My introverted friend,
this group is not unique.
There have been many before them.
There will be many who come after.
Experiencing the enchantment.
Experiencing the exhaustion.
Experiencing the camaraderie.
Of like-minded folk
who fantasize similar dreams.

They all may not meet in NC,
in May.
But in Cali or Georgia.
In Oregon, Florida, or San Antone.
In February, April, June, or September.
Hearing about Grammar,
with all of its parts.
Hearing about Marketing,
with all of its smarts.
Hearing about Social Media,
with all of its hearts.
The importance of Networking.
The impertinence of Reviews.
The impotence of a Sagging Middle.
Enough information,
Overloaded, actually.
To launch the introvert
into a post-traumatic committal.

But just know this:
May I say it now?
It never was about how a fickle cow,
or a nervous sow,
or a squirrel with a twitching brow,
made it onto the page,
of a children’s book.
It never was about wizarding wizards,
leaping lizards,
waltzing matildas,
suspenseful romantics,
or spaceships from afar.
For although the story is important,
and the characters are, too,
in the end of our run,
when the final racer crosses the line,
on that narrow path,
on that final day,
when the trumpets sound,
it’s all about truth.
The kingdom of another world.
Another way.
The Way.

So, remember this, wayfarer friend,
As you enter therein.
This writing biz has a mind of its own.
It can lead you astray,
Into desires for pay,
Aspirations of lights with a name,
Fifteen minutes of earthly fame.
Traded for what is truly significant.
If you do not stay affixed
to The Rock.

We hope you enjoy(ed) your time,
Be it exhilarating or sublime.
In NC or wherever.
But when you sit tight,
facing the blank page,
never forget for Whom you write.

For although the story is important,
and the characters are, too, in the end...on that final day...
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

When the Clock 
When the Clock Strikes Fourteen

Strikes Fourteen

The Blake Meyer Thriller Series Book 4

An Insane Retribution. An Insidious Radical. An Intense Reunion.

When he got married, Supervisory Special Agent Blake Meyer worried that shielding his family from his past would prove to be formidable. Now, as precious time ticks away, Blake finds himself flying over the ocean at twenty thousand feet, searching for his family, and watching helplessly as his greatest fear wraps its tentacles around his past, present, and future, inextricably weaving them into a deadly game of vengeance.

With the help of his longtime friend, Harrison Kelly, and a small band of soldiers, Blake sets out to rescue the only people he has ever truly loved…before it’s too late.

However, unbeknownst to Blake, retooled plans have been set in motion to keep the contagion in play. To keep the threat alive. To bring a country to its knees. And forge the dawning of a new era.

One free of American interference.

One dominated and controlled by those who survive the carnage.

One without Blake Meyer.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out! Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, are now available!! Also, the second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is also now available!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Instagram: ckevinthompson
Pinterest: ckevinthompsonauthor
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson
BookBub: C. Kevin Thompson

Thursday, May 23, 2019

What You Can Gain From a Writing Conference by Kathryn Spurgeon

I had many writing questions and needed a renewed vision.

Which of my writing projects should I work on next?

Which direction was the Lord leading?

How should I go about marketing?

Mostly, I was weary. Having twelve grandchildren, hosting international students in my home every week, and caring for an ill mother, I needed spiritual encouragement.

I’d heard about the Mount Hermon Writing Conference, and this year, the Lord (along with friends and family) nudged me to attend. I’m so glad they did.

The area is a summer campground on steroids. Giant redwoods, wandering trails, and the bubbling Bean Creek running throughout. A friend whispered reverently as we enjoyed the cool, perfect breeze, “It’s like a Garden of Edin.” Well—almost. I can now imagine quaint, little cabins perched on a beautiful mountainside in heaven.

I can’t say what was best, the relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful location, or the tons of information I received. I met writers, editors, poets, publishers, and song and script writers. The information given—and I’m a seasoned writer—was very useful and valuable. Tracks were available from newbie writers to those who have written for years.

The camp first opened in 1907 and the writing conferences began fifty years ago. The conference helps Christian writers learn, connect, and achieve their publishing goals. This conference is a secret I want to keep to myself, yet at the same time, shout out to the Christian writing world.

This little hidden village of writing smurfs is well worth the time and money. So much was crammed into three glorious days.

The Lord’s presence surrounded us. I loved the awesome Palm Sunday service, each individual encounter with like-minded professionals, and the informational and uplifting classes. The professional leaders offered not only relaxed, open discussions, but guided prayer times pointing us to the Lord for guidance.

As writers who seek to share the message of hope with others, this congregation of followers is a light in the darkness. To carry our missive effectively, it’s essential to unite and lift each other up. Mount Hermon Writing conference is a fabulous way to recharge spiritually as we carry on the important work God has given us.

I left with a plan, a renewed vision, and additional knowledge to help me as I continue writing. Lord willing, I’ll be attending again next year. Hope to see you there.

For more information see

Susie May (Thomas Sister Series Book Three)
Amazon Buy Link
Susie May, the cute, petite, shy middle sister, marries the most attractive band director in the country. After many moves and disappointments, what will she do when his tragic, double life becomes known in her home town?

Each of the five Thomas sisters face extreme circumstances that tests their faith.  Living in Oklahoma during the 1930s Dust Bowl makes these issues more challenging.

Kathryn Spurgeon writes FAITH STORIES FROM THE PAST. Christian historical novels with a focus on 1930s America using true stories and actual locations. A winner of a 2018 Illumination Award, she has also won many other awards for her short stories, articles, and poetry.

She studied creative writing at the University of Central Oklahoma after earning a degree from the University of Oklahoma. She has spoken at many women's conferences around the world.

She grew up on a farm in Oklahoma before moving to South Korea and adopting two daughters.
Kathryn and her husband, Bill, have six children and twelve grandchildren,

You can stay up-to-date with her by joining her newsletter:  Kathryn's Newsletter

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Encouragement for Writers by June Foster

Whether we're beginning writers or multi-published, we all get discouraged. Sometimes it's tempting to say, "I quit." But, I hope this devotional offers a bit of insight and hope.

When I read passages from the Bible, I can't help but relate them to the task of writing. This morning Psalm 37: 4 jumped out at me.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

So as Christians and writers, we delight ourselves in the Lord daily. How can editing tough passages and receiving rejections from editors and agents be delightful?

First, I believe we should firmly understand our identity—who we are. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." 2Corinthians 5: 17. We are different creatures now with new purposes and motives. We don't write for our own glory but for His.

Next, we trust in God's leadership. He has the ability to accomplish his work in us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3: 5. Even if things aren't going like we think they should, trust that God is in control. Since I received another rejection letter today, I can speak with certainty and first hand experience.

So, now that means God will give me the desire of my heart. Right? Yes, definitely. Whether it's publication of a novel or another use of our writing talents, God will accomplish His purpose for us and we can delight in that. Then someday, we'll hear those words: "Well done my good and faithful servant."

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Dear Lord, help me to trust in Your perfect plan for me through my writing. You instilled the desire within my heart so I can be confident You have a purpose for my work. Amen.

How can editing tough passages and receiving rejections from editors and agents be delightful? via @vjifoster #SeriouslyWrite #devotion #amwriting

Frances Matthew Hall is obedient to family tradition: all firstborn sons will serve as a priest. Now Matt officiates at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. But when on Easter Sunday, he notices a beautiful young woman who takes his breath away, he must fight against his attraction to her or leave the priesthood and alienate his entire family.

Mary Louise Graham is a middle school teacher and devout catholic. Yet no amount of service to the community can ease the heavy load of guilt she carries. God can never forgive her unspeakable mistake. But when Father Matt tells her about a forgiving God through His son Jesus Christ, she's free. Only thing, the Godly priest now means more to her than he should.
Can two people find their way to each other amidst insurmountable obstacles? 

Dreams Deferred is inspired by the author's great grandfather and great grandmother's story.

June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next contemporary romance or romantic suspense. June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. To date June has seen publication of 19 novels and 1 devotional. Find June at

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Flaws by Shannon Redmon

Flaws. We all have them. No matter how we try to hide them, sometimes the little monsters emerge forth from the shadows of our soul and mar the perfect façade we think we’ve created. We become exposed, broken—some might even say weak.

But thankfully God uses flawed and foiled people for great things.

King David was a man who followed after God’s own heart but also committed adultery and murder. When he recognized his flaws, he repented and God continued to use him.

Moses, also a murderer, humbly knelt on holy ground before a burning bush and accepted God’s call to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.

Peter stuck his foot in his mouth more times than not, denied Christ three times, and grieved his shortcomings. God used this man to add thousands to his eternal kingdom.

The key to their success was not their failures or imperfect actions, but their ability to recognize their flaws and give them to the One who could turn their tainted choices into something beyond themselves.

We must do the same, not only in our lives, but also in our writing.

How many times have we written a story, submitted the work for review, to a contest or even to a publisher, only to find later there were mistakes in the first paragraph? We thought we had the piece perfect, checking and rechecking, but low and behold, there is a flaw staring us right in the face like a huge pimple on our foreheads with the prom only a few hours away.

Our minds go into overdrive. How can I fix this? Should I resubmit? Maybe I’ll pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone so nothing like this happens ever again. Our thinking turns negative and we cry, thinking to ourselves that no one will ever love our writing with its flaws.

The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Isn’t this what we want? That God’s power be made perfect through our flawed writing? When we are weak, He is strong.

So, let’s pull back our hair from our faces, our arms from covering the incomplete words God gave us, and show off our imperfections. Let others know we aren’t perfect in life, in our choices, or even in our writing.

Remember, God loves to use broken, repentant authors.

The key to the success of many biblical well-knowns was the ability to recognize their flaws and give them to the One who could turn their tainted choices into something beyond themselves. #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting @shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins

Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown up book she checked out from the neighborhood book mobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop teenage chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.
There's nothing better than the power of a captivating novel, a moving song or zeal for a performance that punches souls with awe. A rainbow displayed after a horrific storm or expansive views on a mountaintop bring nuggets of joy into our lives. Shannon hopes stories immerse readers into that same kind of amazement, encouraging faith, hope and love, guiding our hearts to the One who created us all.

Shannon's writing has been published in Spark magazine, Splickety magazine, the Lightning Blog, The Horse of My Dreams compilation book, Romantic Moments compilation book, Seriously Write blog and Jordyn Redwood’s Medical Edge blog. Her current fiction novel was selected as a top three finalist of the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest and she is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

Connect with Shannon:
The StoryMoore Blog, named in memory of her father, Donald Eugene Moore.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Sometimes Story Overrides Rules by Annette M. Irby


The story gushed onto the laptop screen. Wait, let’s back up a second. Not the story first. First, the characters. Vibrant. Living. Talking-to-me-already characters. I could see them. I learned their names. I easily found matching photographs online for the ensemble cast. I hadn’t written books with so many characters before. But this book’s hero had a posse. These guys hung out together, rooted for each other. And, rule-breakers that they were, they were on screen from the opening pages of the book. As if they didn’t care that we writers have a slew of rules, one of them being to keep the character count to a minimum as a story opens. Nope. Turns out, they were more concerned with the story, and jumping right in meant finding them in the inciting incident scene with my hero. A heap of peeps. Together and indifferent to my plight.

I didn’t set out to write an ensemble-cast novel, but the story took me for a ride.

NaNo is a time of fast-drafting—where you prepare ahead of time with character sketches and perhaps an outline or a thought or two, and then dive in once November 1 rolls around. Your goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. No small feat during the holidays. On deadline for a contract, that’s what I did—prepped ahead. I can tell you where I was sitting as, in late October, these guys filled my head, showing up and, as adrenaline junkies often do, showing off.

So, should rules dictate how our stories come together, or how they read at completion? Yes and no. I’ve worked in acquisitions, and I’ve published novels. I understand both sides. I’m guessing I’ve rejected a manuscript because the author didn’t follow the rules, but if the story reeled me in and held on to me, some writing rules were negotiable. (I know. Eeeps!) At various writers’ conferences in my life as an author, I’ve heard publishing representatives say repeatedly, “I’m looking for a good story. A new, fresh idea. Strong story is everything.”

Should rules paralyze us? Maybe not, and here’s why:

Rules change. Even spelling preferences change. A few years ago, the preference in the editors’ go-to choice for spelling (Merriam Webster online) for “goodbye” was “good-bye.” Then, without warning, replaced their preference and poof! All of us had a choice to make. Publishing house style guides were rewritten. A rule had changed. What about the pesky comma before "too"? Used to be, we needed to include it. Now, not so much, most of the time. Or what I call "priority commas," where you forego using one or more commas because others already in the sentence aid meaning without an overload of punctuation. Some houses practice this, some do not.

Trends change. A decade or more ago, a genre known as ChickLit thrived. But you won’t find many books in this genre coming out these days. Point-of-view is another area that has changed over the years. Now, editors and readers prefer purist point of view, rather than switching heads within a scene (head-hopping), or seeing things from God’s perspective (omniscient), or, what I call “collective POV” where we experience more than one person’s perspective at any given time. Like: They all felt better when the fire alarm stopped blaring. That may be true, but show us through your POVC (point-of-view character) rather than getting into everyone’s perspective at once.

Various editors and publishers have their own style guides. The Chicago Manual of Style only covers so much. The writers of CMS leave many things to interpretation, indicating that clarity should be the editor's  (and writer's) goal. Because of this, editors and publishers have in-house style guides for what-to-do-when-faced-with most textual situations. You could appease seven in ten editors, and the other three may shake their heads at your grammatical, spelling, or storytelling choices.

Preferences differ. Oh, find me a roomful of folks who can all agree on anything and you may have worked a miracle. Editors have varying opinions. Readers, the same. Some love a genre, some hate it. Some have pet peeves that you’ve never thought of as you write. Poke one of those, and you may receive a negative review. Some readers balk because they read your Christian book and you included talk of . . . gulp, Christ in the narrative.

One of the keys for writers and editors is avoiding confusion. If you can write a story that engages us without disorienting us, you're halfway there. Editors can help you clean up any other manuscript issues. At times, story rules over writing rules.

Done well, story sweeps both writer and reader away, and extra kudos to the storytellers who can transport editors. Though I had a partial outline, I didn’t anticipate all the elements I’d include in my Bainbridge book. I was surprised as I fast-drafted. And then, the story seemed to be working, so, since it was NaNo and since the story line was engaging, I didn’t back down. Sure, I knew the rules. The story, the characters, the plot didn’t care.

Your turn: Have you ever had to overcome a writing rule in order to write a stronger story? How did that go? Would you do it again? Does knowing the rules of story paralyze you? How do you overcome?

When story overrides writing rules. Today at #SeriouslyWrite. @annettemirby #seriouslywrite #amwriting #BainbridgeIslandNovel

That time my ensemble-cast characters didn't care about writing rules. @annettemirby #seriouslywrite #amwriting #BainbridgeIslandNovel


FL on Bainbridge Island
Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington by Annette M. Irby

Book Two in the Washington Island Romance series.

Find book three, the latest release, here.

Kindle Unlimited members can read the Washington Island Romance series for free.

Neither of them is ready for a relationship, but love may not give them an out.

Jenna-Shea Brown considers herself a broken therapist. Years ago, she witnessed something that caused PTSD. She can’t let her boss or her patients know about her battle. Who would want to trust her to help them, when she can’t help herself? She’s finally able to find a fresh start in her family’s beach cabin, but the renovations aren’t complete. Her parents have hired her ex-boyfriend to finalize them, but his negligence led to her being in the wrong place at the wrong time all those years ago.

Liam Barrett is trying to prove he’s nothing like his deadbeat dad. He’s working hard, yet still failing. Adrenaline and adventure offer him a diversion, but maybe he can’t escape his genes. He’d like to make things right with Shea, but he’s unsure if she’ll forgive him. Meanwhile, he’s challenged to forgive his father. He’s also worried about Shea and all these episodes she won’t explain. Now that they’re back in close proximity, he’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past?


Annette M. Irby*

Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more here on her Seriously Write Page.

Laptop photo credit: Pixabay
Author photo credit: Sarah Irby; Irby Photography

Friday, May 17, 2019

QUÉ, SERÁ SERÁ (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) by JoAnn Durgin

Meme that shares John 14:27

QUÉ, SERÁ SERÁ (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

Beloved film actress/singer Doris Day died this week at the age of 97. “Qué, Será Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” was a popular, Academy Award-winning hit song that became her “signature” tune. Many people are familiar with it, but not as many know (or remember) that Doris performed the song in Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Doris Day was a performer who never let her celebrity affect her and who she was. Her longtime manager and friend, Bob Bashara, was widely quoted after her death as saying, “She was always the little girl from Cincinnati who was extraordinarily talented and went out in the world and did what she loved to do despite herself.”

Every author in the world is as unique as the story they have to tell. That’s not a profound statement by any means, but it’s what differentiates authors yet also binds us together in the desire to share our story, whether with one person or the world. In social media—blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter—I see posts all the time from novice writers who are praying and hoping for an agent and/or a contract. I’ve followed along in many of their journeys and rejoiced when they’re blessed with success. The overwhelming distinction I’ve seen in those who achieve their goal of publication—either through independent or traditional means—are these two qualities: discipline and determination.

Everyone on the planet has a story to tell, not only authors. I visited a women’s clothing store recently while killing time before meeting a friend for dinner. Both my daughters used to work at the store and I know the manager. As I was speaking with her, she asked how the “book writing” was going. The other employee in the store, Mary, perked up at her question. Soon enough, Mary told me she was writing a book about her husband’s cancer journey and how God has seen him through what seemed like a hopeless situation. She said the Lord laid it on her heart to write their story and wanted to be obedient to that call.

When I asked Mary how much she’d written, she said she had 250 pages of a draft manuscript. That impressed me, and I told her so. My usual expression is, “That’s more than half the battle.” When asked that same question, the majority of wannabe writers will look away or fidget while mumbling something about not having enough time to write anything yet. That doesn’t mean they’ll never find the time, but as with anything else, it’s a mindset and a heart attitude.

As far as sitting down and actually writing that story, it’s not so much about those who can or can’t as those who do. It’s about making the time. Giving our story life needs to be that burning need and driving passion inside which spurs us on to keep writing in spite of setbacks—personal or professional. That’s what will transform a novice writer into a mature author.

Most authors will never face the pitfalls of “celebrity” Doris Day faced. However, one of the biggest hurdles for any published author is getting past biting, stinging criticism (often in the form of online reviews). That’s the type of thing that can negatively affect us if we allow it. We work too hard on our “baby” only to have it torn down by a faceless person behind a computer. At times, the criticism is invalid or flat out wrong, but keep in mind that not all criticism is necessarily bad. It’s my personal assertion that most authors must be sensitive souls in order to create characters that spring off the page and into our hearts. Ironically, it’s that sensitivity and vulnerability to criticism that makes them so fabulous. Working through negative criticism can be compared to the five stages in the grieving process (to a much lesser extent)—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The good news for authors is that (1) the effects generally don’t last long; (2) the act of writing eases the hurt, and (3) when God calls us to write, He instills in us the desire to keep going. My joke is that my last words will likely be, “Wait! I need to make one more edit!”

I could write a blog post about the meaning of “Qué, Será Será” and a more God-focused interpretation of “whatever will be, will be.” Doris Day wanted no memorial, no funeral, and no grave marker. Why? Because she “didn’t like death.” In fact, she feared death. I find that incredibly sad. As believers in Christ, we have no reason to fear anything. In John 14:27, we can derive great comfort: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)

Take heart and remember these notes of encouragement:

  1. If you’re called to write, effective discipline and dogged determination will help you realize your goals.
  2. Putting your work “out there” for the world is a major accomplishment that most people never achieve.
  3. You never know how one sentence or paragraph you write could change a reader’s heart or somehow impact his/her life.
  4. If you’re criticized, it’s only because your work is indeed reaching readers! As difficult as it might be to accept, it’s unrealistic and illogical to believe everyone will love what you’ve created.
  5. Negative reviews can actually be good for book sales.

So, perhaps “Qué, Será Será” does and should hold meaning for us. Yes, whatever will be, will be, and the future may not be ours to see, but as long as we acknowledge Who’s in control, we have no reason to worry or fear—anything.

Now, go out in the world and do what you love despite yourself and for His glory!

Until His Nets Are Full,
Matthew 5:16

Transforming a novice writer to a mature author. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads

It's all about discipline and determination. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Thee Will I Honor
Thee Will I Honor

After serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, First Lieutenant Matthew Henry Martin, returns to Meadowvale, his beloved hometown nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Wounded in a roadside IED attack that killed two of his comrades, Matt’s devastating leg injury ended his military aspirations. At 25, he’s earned his degree but unemployed and facing a move back into his childhood home. Surely God has a higher purpose and plan for his future?

Lesley Ann Randall is a woman on a deeply personal mission. A small Virginia town is the last place her older sister, First Lieutenant Faith Randall, was spotted. Could a sleek red Mercedes hold the clue to her whereabouts? When Lesley speeds into Meadowvale, she immediately captures the attention of the sheriff, the pastor, and a handsome war veteran with secrets of his own.

When these two join forces, will they discover something greater than they could ever have imagined?

Join the adventure with Matt and Lesley as they navigate romance, mystery, adventure, and cutting edge issues ripped from today’s headlines—all within the pages of an inspirational novel with heart and humor celebrating faith, family, and love.

THEE WILL I HONOR is the highly anticipated second book of The Treasured Vow Series by USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin. She is also the author of the beloved, bestselling Lewis Legacy Series, The Wondrous Love Series, The Starlight Christmas Series, Catching Serenity, Heart’s Design, Gentle Like the Rain, The Valentine Verse, and Whisper to My Heart.

Thee Will I Cherish (Available Now)
Thee Will I Honor (Available Now)
Thee Will I Love (Coming Soon!)

JoAnn Durgin
JoAnn Durgin is a USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty contemporary Christian romance novels, including her signature Lewis Legacy Series. A native of southern Indiana, JoAnn likes to say she’s “been around in the nicest sense of the word” after living in four states across the country before returning to her hometown with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, JoAnn loves to travel and spend time with their first grandchild, Amelia Grace. Feel free to connect with her at or via her website at

Thursday, May 16, 2019

How to Overcome Procrastination by Sherrinda Ketchersid

I am the world’s worst procrastinator. Seriously, I am. I’ve been procrastinating writing this post by taking the dog out (again), cleaning the kitchen (what?!), and checking my email (for the 100th time today). Can anyone relate?

Procrastination is really just a form of fear.

We fear that our work will not be good enough. We fear that we will be exposed as an “imposter” posing as a writer who knows what she is doing. But if we are honest with ourselves, we would realize we are hardest on ourselves—our own worst critic. I know this is true for me.

Sometimes fear stems from not knowing what to write about. I struggle with this when I’m trying to think of something to blog about. I wonder what I have to say that would be of interest to others. I suppose that is another example of the “imposter syndrome”, but not knowing what to write about can be paralyzing.

How do famous authors combat procrastination? Check out these authors and what they do to get themselves writing:

• Victor Hugo – His procrastination got so bad he stripped and made his servant hide his clothes. This forced him to stay at home and focus on writing.
• Haruki Murakami – He swims 1500 meters every morning to wear out his nervous energy so he can focus on his work.
• Douglas Adams – His procrastination was so bad a friend stayed with him to keep him writing.
• William Gibson – He incorporated naps into his routine so that when he awoke, he would be fresh and ready to write.
• Maya Angelou – She would go to a hotel and have all distractions and stimuli removed from the room so she could focus.
• Friedrich Schiller – He let apples rot in his desk drawer, saying he couldn’t write without the stench.

What can we learn from these authors who found a way to deal with procrastination?

• Do something to get your mind and body able to focus. Whether it is exercising or napping, do what allows your mind to clear and attend to the task at hand.
• Find an accountability partner. I know this helps me when I am under the gun to get a writing project finished. Having to tell someone at the end of the day how much I accomplished is a huge motivator for me.
• Find a new place to write. I know many writers who leave their house to write in a coffee shop, restaurant, or library. This gets them away from the mountain of chores and responsibilities at home.
• Instigate a ritual to signal writing time. For me, I like to light a good smelling candle and have a cup of coffee by my side. This signals my brain to get started and most of the time it works, though if it is a rainy day, I just want to read instead of write.

As a Christian writer, I have found that when I go to God with my procrastination—my fear of not being good enough or not being inspired—He manages to ease the way for me. He has given us the gift of words and we need to fan that gift into flame. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Don’t be timid. Do not be afraid. Don’t let procrastination rule your life. Just write from the heart. Write as you are led. Your words on the page will not be perfect the first go-around, but at least there will be words to work with and polish.

What do you do to combat procrastination? What writing quirks or rituals help you begin writing for the day?

Amazon Buy Link
Lord of Her Heart

He’s fighting for his future—she’s running for her life.

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.

Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite
of her conniving ways.

Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are
determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only
way either of them survives.

Sherrinda Ketchersid is a lover of stories with happily-ever-after endings. Whether set in the past or present, romance is what she writes and where her dreams reside. Sherrinda lives in north-central Texas with her preacher husband. With four grown children, three guys and a gal, she has more time and energy to spin tales of faith, fun, and forever love.

Connect with Sherrinda:




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