Friday, June 28, 2019

I Hereby Propose Summertime as the New NaNoWriMo by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
Those who created NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, are evil miscreants. They must not be favorable of anything American, like football, Thanksgiving, fall, or people who have birthdays or weddings in November. The only month more horrible in its choosing for such an endeavor is December, for obvious reasons.

That is why I hereby propose summertime to be the new, official NaNoWriMo.

Why do I proclaim it is anti-American? Take football, for example. Although baseball has been touted as “America’s pastime,” those days are long past. Empty seats at baseball stadiums, declining TV ratings, and long, tedious 162-game seasons are all reasons why baseball has fallen from its lofty perch. Football reigns supreme now. It has been thus for years now. And college football, with its playoff system, has reached stratosphere levels in fandom across the landscape of our country.

Or considereth Thanksgiving. It is hard to assemble the family, prepareth a meal, eat, sleep, eat once more, watcheth football, sleep, and eat once again if you are cooped up in your office trying to pound out 60,000 words or more by the end of your days.

Or considereth the season of fall. Crisp weather. Leaves changing. A hint of winter on the horizon. It is beautiful! You can worketh, playeth, hiketh, biketh, runneth, walketh, or paradeth about wherever you want outside without having to carry a barrel of water around to replenish all fluids you have lost because of excessive perspiration. Summer is for indoor activities.

As for the birthday and wedding anniversaries, I understandeth that is more of a preference than a real concern. However, when you couple it with Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, and Veteran’s Day, and the last days of November, which are really the beginning of the Christmas season (unless you are a Hallmark fan, then that season starts in July these days), it leaves to the imagination to comprehend why November is a poor choice. We must choose wisely.

The point is, summertime worketh the best. You can starteth early in the south, right after the children get out of school and be done by the Fourth day of July. Or, for the northerners, you can wait until after the Fourth and be finished, with plenty of time to vacation at Disney World, where you can carry around your barrel of water in August and lament about the sweltering heat.


Do you hear that?

That cacophony of voices…

People shouting at their computers, wanting my head on a platter?

“How dare he name the creators of NaNoWriMo miscreants?”

“How dare he even challenge the great wisdom of having ordaineth November as the month of all seasons for writers to channel their powers or ingenuity?”

“Off with his head!”


Okay, so maybe I went a little overboard with the whole proposal, but I hope you see that it really doesn’t matter when you write. It really doesn’t matter when you start and stop. It really doesn’t matter if it goes over the sacred “thirty days.” The real point is—and I believe the NaNoWriMo folks had this in mind when they set everything up—you need to write, you need to complete what you started, and your goal needs to be reasonable.

If declaring a specific time wherein you make it known from your housetop to all who will listen that this swath of the time you are claiming, whenever it is during your busy life, is “hallowed ground,” then so be it. So let it be written. So let it be done. Whether it be November or July, February or June, makes no difference.

What does matter is if you are writing…if you are writing with reachable goals…and if you are writing with the ultimate goal of completing what you begin as one of those goals.

So, I hope you caught my drift today. I don’t know anybody from NaNoWriMo. And I know they are not truly miscreants. I just thought I’d get your attention so I could make my point (and I do believe the summer is the best time, by the way…for me, that is).

“Many wish to begin the quest of a project of great length. But alas, they do not contain the wherewithal to finish that which they have begun.”

So, which span of days shall prove to be your best? Shall prove that you are as much of a finisher as you are a beginner?

For me, it will always be Summertime! Summertime! Summertime!

“Many wish to begin the quest of a project of great length. But alas, they do not contain the wherewithal to finish that which they have begun.”
#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, June 27, 2019

My Summer Reading/Writing Diet by Dana Mentink

Hi, all. Dana Mentink here. Summer is a special time for an elementary school teacher/writer. As we settle into that nice long break, my summer goal is the same this year as it has been my whole stuff myself with as many books as I can digest! This is a tricky balance since my job is to put words on the page too, not just read them. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

In the morning, I follow up my Bible reading with some devotional time. Isn't it amazing how many incredible devotionals exist? The stack is now teetering on my little table which is filled to capacity with gems! Old classics, modern volumes, and everything in between. I’m working on a C.S. Lewis devotional which taxes my neurons. Then it’s off to writing land! Four thousand words today, Dana, so get to it!

In the afternoon, I aim to push in some non fiction reading. Since I’m working on a proposal for a new four book series set in the desert, it’s time to learn all about all things cactus and scorpion! In addition, I’m part of a continuity series for Love Inspired Suspense that takes place in Queens, so that’s a whole other beast to tackle. I have learned more about the subway system than I ever thought possible! These details are super important and they have to be just right.

I keep the fiction books far away during this part of the day because pleasure reading and word counts don't go together! I've got books to write and deadlines to meet, so I must restrict myself to non fiction in the daylight hours. Such discipline, don't you think? Of course, the car is my loophole. If I must jet out to grocery shop or perhaps to make an emergency trip for coffee, why not listen to a book en route? Currently I'm listening to the P.G. Wodehouse collection. Bertie Wooster and Jeeves just crack me up!

In the evening, it's fiction time. Hooray! I've got a TBR pile of amazing fiction books next to my bed including mysteries, thrillers, sweet romance, romantic suspense, and other books that seem to defy genre labels. It's my favorite time of day to snuggle up and break out the fiction. I'm a traditionalist, so it's paperbacks for me, no ebooks here. (I've been reading more and more about the negative effects of electronic devices on sleep.) I can devour as many chapters as I can manage before the eyelids begin to close.

So what do you think of my summer reading/writing diet? According to my calculations, I should be able to read a couple of books a week at this rate. Of course, if I cut out walking the dog and have the groceries delivered, that would free up time to squeeze in another hour! Acck! Somebody save me!

What's on your TBR pile right now and how to you squeeze in time to read?

Don't Miss Dana’s newest release...Danger on the Ranch

After putting his serial killer brother in prison, former US marshal Mitch Whitehorse chooses a solitary country life—until his brother escapes. Now Mitch’s former sister-in-law, Jane Reyes, needs protection…for herself and the toddler she’s kept a secret. Mitch still isn’t sure of Jane’s innocence in his brother’s crimes, but to keep his nephew out of a killer’s grasp, trusting her is his only option.

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over thirty five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at, on Facebook, and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Waiting Room Blues by Jennifer Hallmark

Who loves waiting rooms? Not me. One of my Mother’s doctor's, who will remain nameless, lobby area is always overflowing with people almost stacked on top of each other. Our last visit proved to be no different.

As I sat with Mom, anticipating when her name would be called, I put together a nifty analogy between this particular waiting room and the writing world.

You see it coming, don’t you?

(1) They are both super crowded. This room has narrow chairs, shoved as close as can be, wall-to-wall with little aisle space. The writing world, whether traditional or indie, is also filled with people trying to leave the “waiting” room of the undiscovered and into the office of an agent, publisher, or better sales.

(2) All types of people wait here. All around me sit people of different genders, races, income brackets, and ages. But no matter how unique each person, they have the same goal: better health. In writing, many of us share the same goal: publication. Getting our story out. Race, gender, age, and other considerations really don’t matter in the writing world either.

(3) We all wait a loooong time. It doesn’t seem to matter if we arrive an hour early or five minutes before the scheduled appointment. We still have to linger in limbo. Writers wait. The traditional road tends to be long. It was eleven years from my first writing class before I signed my first contract for a full-length novel. Then another year and a half before publication. The Indie road involves time also while you write your book, go through the time-consuming process of uploading the finished work, choosing a cover, marketing, etc. An Indie author should also give themselves time to build their skills and readership.

(4) You can get called back to give blood or fill out paperwork, then sent back to the waiting room. When you hear your name, you might think you’ve made it then discover it’s only the first step. When I signed my first contract for a short story, I performed a Snoopy dance. It was like being called back. Then came edits, bios, a headshot, and then weeks before the magazine was released. Writing of any kind takes time.

(5) You finally see the doctor. Oh, joy! Mom’s name was finally called and I knew we’d be heading home soon. And with perseverance, you’ll reach your writing goals. Take it from me. Use your time wisely. Find something productive to do. Write blog posts, study the craft, and build your social media presence. You won’t regret it. And maybe the time will seem to pass a little faster. Or maybe you’ll get a lot done. And that never hurts.

Mom finally emerged from the office. I gathered my purse and notebook, made my way past all the people still waiting, and walked into the glorious outdoors. I’d made it through another session of the waiting room. Hopefully, I’ll remember this the next time the writing world seems to be moving at a sloth’s pace. And maybe you will too.

In writing, many of us share the same goal: publication. via @JenHwrites #SeriouslyWrite #writingencouragement


Jessie’s Hope

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her
from her father. When Jessie's high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie's grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for "his Jessie," one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles--including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather--highjack Jessie's dream wedding?

Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and has published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, released on June 17th, 2019.

When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on her two blogs. She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Jennifer Hallmark, Facebook




Jennifer's June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza - June 10th-June 30th (not associated with the Seriously Write blog)

Prizes include:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
$10 Starbucks Gift Card
Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

Giveaway details: Go to my Rafflecopter Page to enter and possibly win one of five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on July 1st. You can only enter by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. My visits include:

June 13th-Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud/Jennifer Slattery
June 14th-Favorite Friday Fiction/Jennifer Hallmark
June 15th-Inspired Prompt/Betty Thomason Owens
June 17th-Author Trish Perry/Trish Perry
June 17th-Southern Writers Magazine
June 18th-Author Liz Tolsma/Liz Tolsma
June 19th-Inspired Prompt/Betty Thomason Owens
June 21st-Snark & Sensibility/Linda Rondeau
June 24th-Fear Warrior/Jerusha Agen
June 24th-Author June Foster/June Foster
June 25th-Trumpet Tuesdays/Julie Arduini
June 26th-Seriously Write
June 28th-Heartfelt, Homespun fiction/Cynthia Herron
June 29th-The Write Conversation/Edie Melson

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Writing Under the Influence…of Fear by Sondra Kraak

Whether we recognize it or not, our culture runs on fear. Fear of growing older, fear of missing out, fear of future disaster, fear of being alone, fear of that other political party or religion. Advertisers and news sources prey on our propensity for fear, because when we are afraid, we buy things, do things, and consume things. We stay glued to our media source for essential knowledge. We splurge to buy that product that will make us look ten years younger or help us avoid cancer.

All because of fear.

But what about our writing? How is fear influencing our careers or our manuscripts? Consider the statements below.

Fear of man
• I need industry gatekeepers (agents, editors, publishers) to put their stamp of approval on my writing for me to feel like a real writer.
• I avoid certain themes I want to write about (for instance, abortion or divorce) because others might disagree or misinterpret or place labels on me.
• I say “yes” to projects God isn’t calling me to because others are telling me I should.
• Negative reviews crush my spirit.

Fear of provision
• I rush my writing because I need to produce more to increase my income.
• I choose avenues of publication solely based on money, ignoring the aspect of calling.
• I limit writing time because I don’t feel justified spending so much time on what isn’t producing much money.

Fear of rejection
• I come up with excuses not to submit to agents and editors, but really, I just don’t want to hear, “not interested.”
• I don’t pitch my dream ideas because they seem too outside the box.
• I don’t join a critique group because I’m afraid my writing isn’t good enough, or that I’m too sensitive to handle negative feedback.
• I don’t ask authors for endorsements or support because I don’t want to be turned down.
• I don’t attend conferences or events because I feel like I’ll be left out or overlooked by others who seem to be friends.

Fear of not being in control
• I don’t need critique partners—or I don’t listen to the ones I have—because I can’t trust other people’s opinions, and I think I know best.
• I publish independently because I don’t want to submit my writing to the structure and processes of traditional publishing.

The inventory could go on and on, right? But this blog post shouldn’t, so let’s close with…

Three Ways to Combat Fear-Decisions

1. Be intentional with social media. Humans are like herd animals. When we sense or see fearful reactions, we get pulled in. On the other hand, community also balances us, so be intentional with your how, when, and why of social media.

2. Listen to trusted industry voices. It’s easy to find a voice out in internet-land to affirm whatever we want to think. But what about finding an industry mentor who knows more than we do and submitting to his/her wisdom? Trust like that is hard but worthwhile, and the humility involved in sitting beneath a mentor does beautiful things to the spirit.

3. Stop thinking and keep writing. Fearful thinking is circular thinking. It rehashes the same lies and becomes like a tire stuck in the mud. This impedes productive thinking. Instead, turn off that inner critic and write.

What are the fears that plague you as a writer? And how are you taking steps to be free of them?

Fearful thinking is circular thinking. It rehashes the same lies like a tire stuck in the mud and impedes productive thinking. Instead, turn off that inner critic and write. @SondraKraak @MaryAFelkins #SeriouslyWrite

Sondra Kraak, a native of Washington State, grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, Instagramming about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women's Fiction Award. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook and join her newsletter for a free short story and information about special devotional series.

Connect with Sondra

One Plus One Equals Trouble
The one room schoolhouse isn’t big enough to hold thirty-four students, let alone the egos of two teachers. He can’t afford to lose the position, and she refuses to lose her heart. Washington, 1891 Humiliated after her broken engagement, Claire Montgomery flees her comfortable life in San Francisco for a teaching position in Pine Creek, Washington, a dot of a town nestled in the rugged Cascade Mountains. She’s determined to succeed—for once in her life—only to discover, upon her arrival, that success will have to be won. Thanks to a school board error, two teachers have been hired. When scandal forces professor Barrett Clarke from his position, he returns to Pine Creek where his uncle, chairman of the school board, sets forth an irresistible offer: teach one year in return for ranchland. For this would-be rancher, nothing is more tempting than resurrecting his childhood dream, and nothing can deter him from earning that land. Except perhaps Claire Montgomery. Losing the battle for the classroom means losing the ranchland, but winning may mean losing Claire’s heart. With large doses of humor and romantic tension, this Christian historical love story offers a picture of grace, forgiveness, and finding true worth.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Big Writing Secret by Mary Manners

The tasks in a writer's life are akin to the ebb and flow of waves that lap along the shoreline. No matter how many are checked off the list, there's always another heading in. Sometimes, like a boat caught in those waves, a writer can become overwhelmed. A few years ago I was tackling a full time job and a writing career, and I dreamed of the day I could retire from my day job to focus only on writing. I would have time to write the million stories dancing through my head.

Well, that day has come and gone and I still find myself searching for more hours in the day to get everything done. Most days, I cannot fathom how I managed to do it all with a fifty-hour work week as a school administrator. But somehow I managed...and I wrote a good deal of those million books because it was important to me, and I knew the biggest secret of writing.

So, what is this secret? Well, the biggest secret to writing successfully is so simple that it's almost painful. You must simply plant yourself in a seat and write. And then write some more. And continue writing, even when you don't feel like it. The more you write, the better a writer you will become. It takes time and patience to learn the craft. There's no magic fairy dust, no elves that come out at night to finish what you began (though sometimes I wish this was so).

My favorite time of day is early morning...the pre-dawn time when everyone else is sleeping. That's the closest thing I have found to any sort of writing magic, because the world is still and quiet and it almost feels as if I've found those extra hours I've been searching for. It's then the creativity burns brightest. I would suggest trying this, even if you are not a morning person. You might just be surprised by the outcome. Just don't message me to let me know until after lunch. ;-)



Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.

Donovan O’Reilly has loved Alana Mulvaney since he moved in next door to her at the age of five. But he broke her heart when he was forced to leave town, and now that he’s returned home to Winding Ridge he has a second chance to prove his love. But is it too late to earn her trust…and her love…again?


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, June 21, 2019

“We Are All Fools in Love” by JoAnn Durgin

Meme that says Finding Joy in the Journey

“We Are All Fools in Love”

Whether or not you’re a fan of that quote, it’s from Jane Austen’s beloved and much-revered novel, Pride and Prejudice. The subject of love is one of the most understood/ misunderstood, loved/hated, quoted and misquoted, subjects in the world. In its various forms and stages, love can be alternately enthralling, confusing, compelling, and even heartbreaking. One thing is certain: love of one type or another is the primary focus and driving force behind nearly every book ever written.

Courtney Walsh, New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist of the Sweethaven series as well as popular small-town romances including Paper Hearts and Just Let Go, had this to say about why we love a heart-satisfying romance: “I’m always drawn to the romance of any story. Even when I’m watching The Bourne Identity or a Marvel movie with my husband, I want to know where to find that happily ever after. In romance, there’s an expectation that your hero and heroine are going to end up together, and that is what I love. Now, I also love the depth of an emotional journey, but I want a story that makes me feel happy at the end so I write books I would want to read. The ones that make my heart swell, make me swoon and make me smile when I turn that last page.”

Who doesn’t love a great romance/love story? A happy ending makes us smile and fills our hearts with joy and hope. But hold on… What about Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, widely considered as one of the greatest love stories ever told? As a tragedy, why is it so beloved? For that matter, a number of the most beloved fictional love stories do not end happily or have bittersweet endings. There are many online lists of the best/most remarkable/unforgettable love stories of all time, including the likes of The Thorn Birds (forbidden love between a headstrong, beautiful girl and a priest); Jane Eyre (a young governess falls for her complex, brooding employer with a dark past); The Notebook (tear-jerking, decades-spanning story); Anna Karenina (woman in a loveless marriage embarks on a dangerous affair); and Wuthering Heights (lost love turns a good man evil). Of course, there’s also Pride and Prejudice (a woman’s pride and a man’s prejudice create stumbling blocks to forming a love relationship).

Notice the novels named above are considered “love stories” rather than “romances.” What are the differences between romances and love stories? I researched this topic and discovered the following:

♥ Romances have characters with flaws that might actually be strengths in disguise. Love stories tend to have more deeply and authentically flawed characters, but characters in both are universally relatable to readers.

♥ In a romance, the relationship is the plot of the story. How will they get together? In a love story, something besides love is at stake. Other relationships may be equally important to the main character(s), and his/her personal growth and change is crucial.

♥ The end is where the primary differences lie. Romances almost always guarantee the happily ever after. The hero and heroine end up together with an implied future. In love stories, the two main characters are often together and committed early on but external (and sometimes internal) circumstances drive them apart to the point where they may or may not ultimately be a couple.

Does this mean that romances are somehow inferior to love stories? Not at all! Although most Christian books with romantic elements are categorized as “romances” as opposed to “love stories,” they can certainly incorporate elements of both. As Christian authors, we’re called by the Lord to write for His glory. As such, one of our main goals is to write a story which espouses the value and importance of human relationships while showing how a personal relationship with Christ fulfills us in a more deeply satisfying way while also enriching our other relationships.

According to USA Today Bestselling Author Leah Atwood, author of historical and contemporary romances including the Always Faithful Series and the Modern Conveniences Series, Being a Christian is my identity. To leave it out of my books would be to deny who gave me the gift of writing.”

Kimberly Rose Johnson, award-winning and bestselling author of The Reluctant Groom (The Brides of Seattle Series) and the Love in the Cascades Series, shared the following: “I was a reader long before I was a writer. I didn’t know how to take God out of the equation. I can’t imagine trying to face life’s trials without Him. It’s much easier to write Christian romance because He is a part of who I am, and who I am comes out in my books.

Laura Frantz, the Christy-Award winning author of The Ballantyne Legacy Series and the upcoming An Uncommon Woman said this: “As a writer of love stories I’m always mindful that God is the Author of romance and when passion unfolds according to His plan, nothing could be more romantic! I like to shine the light on God’s way of doing things when two imperfect people or fictional characters fall in love, such a refreshing difference from the world’s way! Writing clean is classy, too.”

Offering the spiritual element in our books is what should separate our work from the others. No matter what genre we write, we are called to uplift, encourage, and give hope to our readers. Be that shining light He’s calling you to be!

Until His Nets Are Full,
Matthew 5:16

What's the difference between a romance and a love story?
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads

If You Believe
If You Believe

From the author of The Lewis Legacy Series, If You Believe brings readers the story of Brendan and Edlynne. Can a man struggling with a terrible tragedy and a woman wounded by betrayal find love together?

In charming Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the shadows of the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains, firefighter/paramedic Brendan Williams barely has time for himself much less a social life. After his world was torn apart by a family tragedy, the only woman he sees on a regular basis is Mimi, his beloved grandmother. He throws himself into his work and also moonlights as a paper supply company driver to keep his mind busy and to earn the money to replace something of great value for Mimi. When he meets a beautiful cake baker/decorator on his delivery route, he wonders for the first time if she could be “the one.”

Edlynne (“Edie”) Harris begins her days in a bakery downtown before dashing off to her job as a ticket agent at Asheville Regional Airport. Besides her two jobs, she volunteers for a ministry benefitting displaced and abused women. Edie’s content in her busyness until a handsome new delivery driver at the bakery snags her attention. She’s been fooled before, and the last guy she dated a year ago stole more than her smile.

When Edie and Brendan independently enter a Valentine’s Day contest, they’re challenged to plan the “perfect date.” For personal and unselfish reasons, they’re both determined to win the cash prize, but if chosen as finalists, they’ll be pitted against one another. Will the competition sour their growing attraction for each other, or does God have another plan? When the Almighty’s involved, anything is possible!

JoAnn Durgin
USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin is the author of The Lewis Legacy Series, including Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other novels include the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity, Heart’s Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain, The Wondrous Love Series, Echoes of Edinburgh, Perchance to Dream, Whisper to My Heart, The Valentine Verse, The Treasured Vow Series, Portrait, The Starlight Christmas Series, and The Serendipity Christmas Series.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana. She loves to hear from her readers! Please feel free to contact her.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

How Do You Write a Book by Sally Shupe

Are you strapped for time? See no way clear to write a few hundred words, much less a whole book? Does the thought of sitting down and writing just a few words seem daunting beyond belief?

My niece is getting married in a few weeks and I helped with the bridal shower. From carrying the supplies in, to setting everything up, to taking everything down and carrying it back out to the car, there were so many tasks to complete in a short amount of time. I learned quickly to delegate, break the tasks down into manageable parts. All the heavy cases of Coke, Mt. Dew, water, were much easier to carry when you only carried them a short distance and handed them off to someone else, instead of having to carry them the whole way inside and then to the back of the room.

How does this relate to writing? I’m glad you asked! If you write better during a certain part of the day, guard that spot and write. Do you write better knowing how many words you’ve written per day? Keep a tab of how many words you’ve written and reach your goal each day. If writing in scenes makes more sense to you, write and finish scenes each time you sit down to write. Just make sure you sit down and write.

You don’t have to pen a whole book at one time. Writing a book is an enormous task. Break it up into manageable parts. Need to do some research for your book? Do the research. Need to know what the market would be for your book, or how old the characters should be for the publisher you are targeting, or not quite sure how to tie in that pesky cat down the street to your story? Take time to do the research. And sit down and write. Which is the most important part, because if you don’t write, you have no story. Just like the old joke How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. so you write a book. One word at a time. You can do this!

If you’re planning to run a marathon, each time you run, your end goal is in mind. I’m doing this kind of training on this day so at a later point, I can run 26.2 miles. The same with a book. You have your end goal in mind each day you get up early, or stay up late, or squeeze time in to get that completed manuscript that you then have to edit. Each word, sentence, paragraph, scene, chapter gets you closer to your goal. Having your end goal in mind gives you perspective for each part that you need to complete before it all comes together.

God didn’t do it all in one day. So, you don’t either. If a few words at a time work for you, do that. If you prefer writing by scenes, do that. Whatever process works for you, do that. But do it consistently. Write consistently. Just do it. And before you know it, you’ll have that finished book that you always wanted. Go for it!

Sally Shupe lives in southwest Virginia with her husband, two grown kids-a daughter still at home and a son nearby, and a whole bunch of pets: five dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and birds at the birdfeeder (and the mandatory snowman when the snow cooperates). She writes contemporary Christian romance, with two completed manuscripts and three more in progress. They are part of a series located in small town Virginia.

When Sally’s not writing or working full-time, she is a freelance editor for several authors who write fiction and nonfiction; students working on dissertation papers; a copy editor for Desert Breeze; a content editor for Prism (became part of Pelican); performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews on her blog and with Valley Business FRONT’s monthly magazine; is a member of ACFW and a PRO member of RWA; loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

Sally uses her love of words to write about God’s amazing love.

Connect with Sally:Facebook:

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Branding 101—I know my brand. Now what do I do with it? by Patty Smith Hall

Last month, we talked about the importance of branding and ways to figure out what your particular brand is (click here to read). We asked ourselves the all-important question in branding—Who am I? What do I offer my readers that is unique?

You may be asking yourself why focus on ourselves instead of our work? Aren’t our books what makes our brand? The answer to both questions is no—we are our brand, and it’s important to know who we are before we enter into a relationship with our readers. Because branding plays a significant role in building relationships with our readers.

And relationships are what sell books.

What do you do when you’re in a relationship with someone? First and foremost, be yourself! When my first book was published with Love Inspired, I threw a book launch at the local historical society where I’d done some of my research. Thank heavens, there wasn’t an empty seat in the place! But what struck me the most is the cliché some of the people there had of romance writers—most thought I’d show up with a feathered boa around my neck rather than share the rich history of the Woman’s Army Service Pilots. Even my brother (who knows better!) asked me if I’d written a bodice ripper!

But relationships change all that. When you’re in a relationship with a person, they know the real you, warts and all. That’s what we all crave, isn’t it? To feel an honest connection with the people around us, sharing the good and bad, the silly and sometimes embarrassing situations we find ourselves in. For example, I decide to bake a ham for our family’s Easter dinner. I took pictures of me preparing it and after it was cooked, then posted them on Facebook. But when I cut into the ham, I found that ¾ of it was fat! Epic fail! What did I do? I posted a Facebook video about what had happened.

And the response blew my socks off!

How do we build a relationship with our readers? Through our website, our social media presence, newsletters and personal contacts. Let’s start with our website.

Take a good, hard look at your web page. This is the first impression most readers will have of you. Is it clear who you are and what you write? Do the colors and fonts tell your visitors what kind of books you write? What about your pages? Do you give your readers the opportunity to contact you or join your newsletter? 

For this experiment, I’m going to use my webpage as an example. If you look at it, you may think it’s not too bad. In fact, it’s kind of perky and sweet like me. Great, right? The problem is most people thought I wrote women’s fiction or contemporary romance.

That’s a problem.

I needed to use more muted colors as well as a font that give a historical feel to it. I offered a contact page but no area to subscribe to my newsletter or beta reader list.

So, I went to work. I added more pages including a newsletter and beta reader sign-up. I got a new headshot wearing colors that complimented the sedate colors on my page. I changed everything.

Next month, I’ll show you how it turned out! 

How can you change your website to compliment your brand? 

Branding plays a significant role in building relationships with our readers. And relationships are what sell books. via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite


A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 35 years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cease Striving by Shannon Redmon

Most of us have ambitions, dreams and goals to accomplish in this life and writers are no exceptions. The world tells us ‘if we work hard, then all of our dreams will come true’ and perhaps there is some reality to that statement.

After all, many people achieve the American dream through hard work.

But what if God told you to stop trying to obtain your dream, would you be obedient?

These are the words He placed in my heart and in front of my eyes over and over again, the week of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s conference.

“Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

By nature, I’m an ambitious girl. I go after what I want where my career is concerned. So, when biblical instruction included ‘cease striving’ or ‘be still and know that I am God’ I panicked. Cease striving meant no appointments, no meetings, and no pitches.

I can’t do nothing.

Yes, you can and know that I am God.

Obedience won out and I submitted my dreams, goals, and writing to the One who created those very ambitions. Over the week at the conference, God worked in my heart and challenged my faith in Him. He renewed a hope within me. He confirmed my calling to write through awards, unplanned sidewalk meetings with editors, and new writing opportunities. I came away with an increased trust in my heavenly Father like I’d never had before.

He will do the same for you, but before we run off and lounge by the pool instead of writing, let me share with you what this concept is not.

Cease striving is not:

An agreement to be lazy - God called us to write and we must continue to write every day. He gives us the stories to share, words that can impact lives and draw readers closer to him.

A license to be a hermit - God wants us to talk with others and be connected to writers. We share a bond like no other. One of the best things about being still with God was the people I had time to talk to and relationships he brought into my life. Those friendships are invaluable to me.

Giving up - When we give up, we quit. This is not about quitting. God wants us to write, but more than anything he wants us to know him, to know his love. This is a time where we let God work instead of trying to manipulate every detail of our writing lives. He wants to encourage our writing, give us hope, but sometimes we steal those moments away.

Cease striving is watching and waiting for God to move in our lives and giving Him the glory when He does amazing things above all we could ask or imagine.

Time to change up the old worldly adage and give all our dreams and writing goals to God. He wants more for us than we could ever imagine.

One of the best things about being still with God was the people I had time to talk to and relationships he brought into my life. Those friendships are invaluable to me. #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 Redmon’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, June 17, 2019

Discerning the Voice of God in Writing by Patty Nicholas

Good Monday to you all, my name is Patty Nicholas and I am very excited to join the Seriously Write family of bloggers. In my day job, I work for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as an event planner for the Cove. I've been a guest blogger on the Cove web site. I've written several devotionals that have been picked up in Bible Study compilation projects. I've also written devotionals for my church in some of their projects. My passion in writing is story telling, and I am working on my first novel, as well as a sweet romance novella that will be part of a collection next year.

A couple of months ago my devotional writing cup overflowed. Deadlines fast approached for a blog post at work, as well as two to three submissions for a Bible Study compilation project. Last but not least, my church wanted to put together a resource for women and asked me to write as many articles as possible.

 As a fiction writer, I always pray for God to guide the story He has given me to tell. I love having a time in prayer, and then watch the words flow through the keyboard. I relish my time with my characters and am excited as ideas come to life. I am surprised when the story takes fun and unique turns that I didn’t expect or see coming. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

 As a non-fiction writer, I also seek the Lord before I sit down to a writing session, but I feel a serious obligation when handling God’s word. I don’t want to misinterpret what the Holy Spirit is saying, and I certainly don’t want to relay any incorrect information. If God Himself has not given me the scripture and the specific topic to write on, then nothing will flow, and I am working in my own power. I think every writer out there can agree this is a bad place to be.

 So how does one come up with several topics, on tight deadlines, and not in human strength alone?

How does one come up with several topics, on tight deadlines, and not in human strength? Click to tweet it!

I employ several strategies to keep myself grounded so I can hear from God. These are just a few of them.

  1. Maintain a healthy prayer life. I know this sounds simple, but God loves it when we make the effort to communicate with Him. On days when I have an amazing time of study and worship with the Lord, my words flow. It’s not about me. 
  2. All the opportunities God has provided are to honor Him. When I place my work in His hands, I’m not anxious about deadlines. I know the message is for His glory and not mine and I can relax in the writing. 
  3. Have good accountability. I have been blessed with a critique partner who is a strong woman of God. She doesn’t mince words and keeps me honest.

Multi award winning writer, Patty Nicholas lives in the mountains of North Carolina. She is a busy event planner for the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, and is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Group. She is a mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three. She writes Bible studies and devotionals as well as contemporary romance. 

Devotions are published in compilations by Lighthouse Bible Studies.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome by Ralph Nelson Willett

Ralph Nelson Willett
We all feel a little insecure about our writing abilities at one time or another. Right? Who hasn’t almost given in to quitting—if even for a moment? Author Ralph Nelson Willett offers encouragement, as well as tips on how to overcome self-doubt. 
~ Dawn

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt that your work just wasn’t good enough, or that you didn’t belong in the same room as some of the talented people you see around you? Perhaps you’re an executive, artist or like me, an author, and you feel like you should be in hiding for fear that someone will discover that you are not who or what you say you are. In other words, do you sometimes feel like a fraud or an impostor? This is called “Impostor syndrome” and it may snag many of us during our careers.

Wikipedia defines Impostor Syndrome as “a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts his or her accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

Many very accomplished individuals often feel unworthy. Despite the external evidence of their awards or accolades, they believe that their success is due to luck or some other contributing factor not related to themselves.

The good news is that those individuals who don’t have these feelings are no more intelligent than we are, they just think differently about themselves. How you think about yourself can be changed. Let’s look at what we can do to change our thought process.

  • Take a moment and write down on paper what you were thinking the last time you felt like an impostor. If you wrote something like, “I don’t belong in this job,” then write down why you do belong in that job. Write something like, “I trained for this job,” or “I’m here because I know X, Y, Z.” There are always reasons why you are where you are. Write down what they are.
  • If you’re an author or an artist, make note of what your accomplishments are. For example, just writing a book is an accomplishment. How many people do you know that feel that they have a book inside them just waiting to get out? Almost everyone feels that way. How many of those people have ever sat down to write that book? Very few. Just the fact that you put the time and energy in to write a book puts you in a special category. You can own that.
  • Understand that everyone makes mistakes. Often, when you’re feeling like an impostor, you’re focused on the mistakes you’ve made. Change your view on what mistakes are: they are a stepping stone to perfecting your chosen craft. No one learns anything without making a few mistakes. Understand that any mistakes you may have made are all part of the learning process.
  • As a Christian author, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this for those of you with a similar faith. You are a child of God. (John 1:12) If you believe that, then you understand that no matter what your endeavor, God has gifted you to be able to do it. That’s a pretty powerful thought when you realize you are where you are because you are special in God’s eyes.

Everyone feels inadequate at times. Whether you feel what you’ve created is inadequate or that you’re inadequate for your role, understand that these feelings are normal and can be overcome. Changing how you think about what you do, what you’ve created, or even who you are, can greatly relieve the anxiety you may feel. Accepting that you do belong where you are because you have earned it can be a steppingstone to your next accomplishment.

Follow Ralph Nelson Willett for humor and inspiration tweets. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @NorthernOvation

The God Whistle
The God Whistle

Mary is a busy young wife and mother whose comfortable life is shattered by one guilty and costly mistake. No one will forgive her for what happened that night and although it changed her life forever, she has no memory of it.

Desperate to save her marriage, she is led into a relationship with God through the help of a mysterious old man. Seeing how her decisions in the past have shaped her life, Mary struggles to know what God wants of her now. If she can find out, will He return her family to her? Will He give her back the life she had before the night her world fell apart?

The God Whistle is a story of faith, love, and forgiveness. With a narrative that is, by turns, emotional, mystical, warm, and dramatic, the story slowly draws the reader into its spiritual themes. It is an emotional ride from beginning to end with surprises that will keep you riveted page after page.

Ralph Nelson Willett is a faith-based fiction author. He grew up in western Michigan and after marrying his High School sweetheart, he and his wife moved too far from the area they loved. When they became empty nesters, they jumped at an opportunity to return to west Michigan. Now he now works from home in technology and writing Christian Fiction books. He swears he would be able to write more books if he wasn’t addicted to telling the best jokes on Twitter.

Connect with Ralph and learn more about his books by visiting these online sites: