Monday, September 30, 2019

Writers are Warriors by Melanie Campbell

Melanie Campbell
Writers are warriors.

Maybe you haven’t thought of yourself as a warrior when you sit at your computer and start typing. But if you’re writing the stories God has called you to write, you can expect it to be a battle. It’s not the kind of battle you can prepare for by taking up karate or lifting weights at the gym (though those things may help with stress relief!). The battles we face are the kind the Bible tells us about in Ephesians 6:12:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

My debut novel, One Woman Falling, took years of starting and stopping before I completed it. The story of a woman who flees an abusive marriage and fights for custody of her four-year-old daughter was based, in part, on my own experiences. My heroine’s longing to see waterfalls also came from my love of nature and how I hear from God when enveloped in the beauty of His creation. My hope in writing the story was for other women in the same situation to realize God is there for them, even if they feel utterly alone and afraid. For readers who had never been in an abusive situation, my hope was they would have a new insight into the plight of abused women and their struggles.

While my intention in writing was to illustrate God’s love and offer hope to others, I had no idea of the trials I would face and how they would challenge me in those principles during the process of putting words on paper. Old wounds were reopened. Daunting obstacles stood in my way. I wanted to quit. I’ve heard of similar situations from other writers: the journey of writing their first (and subsequent) novels was its own story, with multiple plot twists and a black moment.

While these obstacles may be the enemy’s attempt to discourage us, I believe most are allowed or orchestrated by our loving Father, who knows the areas inside our hearts that need healing. It may be tempting when faced with these trials to put our writing aside and come back to it when we are up to the task. There are times when hitting pause is the only option. Having gone through this, though, I believe we are to press on and keep writing. Our trials, our pain, and ultimately our healing, will come through in our writing, creating a genuine story filled with emotional depth . . . a story that can bring hope and healing to the one who reads it.

It’s how God uses writers. He calls us to the front lines of the battle and equips us with words and stories to break through the darkness.

Your turn: As a writer, have you felt like a warrior? What are some topics you’ve written about that challenged you, maybe even nudged you away from the keyboard for a while? How did you overcome?

Writers are Warriors by @MelanieJean_27


One Woman Falling
After an unexpected police visit, Cassie realizes the survival of her four-year-old daughter, Renee, depends on Cassie’s courage to leave. What she doesn’t plan on is Derrick’s vengeful custody fight.

While walking through the treacherous world of divorce, Cassie is encouraged by her spunky new friend, Missy Langdon, to pursue her love of waterfalls. Cassie finds solace in the waterfalls on the agonizing weekends she’s forced to hand Renee over to Derrick. Meanwhile, unexpected help comes in the form of Brian Sutton, an attorney at the firm where Cassie works—but what price will she ultimately pay for his assistance?

As Derrick’s threatening behavior escalates, Cassie questions her choices. How long will her daughter suffer before the custody case is resolved? Why is she drawn to waterfalls during this chaotic time? And who will stand with her when everything comes crashing down?


Melanie Campbell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and ACFW. She wrote her first story when she was eight years old and has been in love with the power of storytelling ever since. She is also passionate about social issues and holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon, which she obtained during her stint as a single-mom. She’s now married and lives in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband, their three children, and several spoiled pets. When not writing, she does the bookkeeping and other office work for her husband’s painting business, obsesses over the well-being of their three daughters, and cooks healthy meals. In the spring, you may find her hitting the trails to one of Oregon’s magnificent waterfalls.

Connect with Melanie:
Twitter: @MelanieJean_27

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Inheritance of God by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
(I encourage you to read Numbers 18:20 & 1 Peter 2:4-12 first.)

You see it all the time. You even hear stories about it. People sitting around tables with bated breath in some lawyer’s office. Or family members staged in a personal library in a magnificent mansion. Steely eyes focused on every other relative in the room.

Waiting. For the reading of the will.

Everybody wants to know the answer to the question on everyone’s mind: What am I going to get? Usually, in these scenarios, we get a real, clear picture of the human condition under the spell known as greed. Very few people ever walk out of those little family get-togethers in, shall we say, their right minds. And the higher the stakes, the less “right” people’s minds become.

Aaron and the rest of the Levites were a unique tribe amongst the Israelites. God, speaking to Aaron, said, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them” (Numbers 18:20a). The Levites already had to rely on sacrifices for food. They were not allowed to work for money. Their funds came from the Atonement Tax. So, this “no inheritance in their land” business seems pretty harsh, if you don’t read the rest of the verse: “I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites” (Numbers 18:20b).

God was to be Aaron’s inheritance. He was to be the Levites’ inheritance, too.


That beats an Italian villa on Lake Como, a Ferrari, or a million-dollar stock portfolio any day.

Or does it?

This is what Peter was talking about 1 Peter 2:4-12. We, as New Testament believers in Jesus, are being developed into the new, spiritual priesthood, “offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). We are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Pet. 2:9). This was all Old Testament language used to describe the Israelites, more specifically, the Levites. Now, it is being used in the New Covenant to describe us.

“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:10). Therefore, as a result of this promise,
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Pet. 2:11-12), This is how God wanted the Israelites to live: “Be holy as I am holy” (Lev. 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7). Now, the admonition is the same for us.

God is to be our inheritance. We live as aliens. We are strangers in a foreign land. We are enemy combatants in a world that not only embraces sin, it elevates it to a deified status and challenges anyone who dares to call sin out for what it really is.

As a writer, ask yourself this question: Is God enough? If your books never sell another copy, if your publisher and/or agent drops you like a bad habit, would the inheritance of God be enough for you? Or would you cry out like the Israelites? “I want to go back to Egypt!”

“Oh, Kevin, that would never happen to me.” Okay, so what about booksellers, like Amazon, banning your books because of their inflammatory Christian message? Or social media outlets preventing Christians from advertising their books any longer via algorithms other folks have access to freely? Now, is God enough?

If you’ve never been published yet, could you live victoriously, never reaching that milestone in your current road of life? Would you see this situation as a stepping stone to deepen your relationship with God, or would it become a stumbling block, leading you to the “dark side”?

I know we all love to write. We love the creative aspect inside of us. We even see the Creator in us as we put words on the page. For creation was His idea, after all. However, do not allow the ways of this world to infiltrate your thought processes. Yes, we have to advertise, but do not allow greed for fortune and fame overtake you. Yes, it’s nice when we receive those checks for books sold, but don’t fall prey to glorifying your efforts, or the efforts of others who assist you, at the expense of glorifying God first and foremost. I often wonder if we, as writers, will one day have to toss our books at the feet of Jesus and ask forgiveness for thinking we actually had a hand in causing any success we achieved. God gave us our abilities, correct? God gave us the ideas, yes? God guided us as we put our hands to the keyboard, right? What part did we play, other than to be a willing vessel?

“Is God enough?” If He truly is, then all our praise for “bookish things” endeavored and accomplished will be directed to Him, for Him, about Him, and through Him.

If you’ve never been published yet, could you live victoriously, never reaching that milestone in your current road of life? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

As a writer, ask yourself this question: Is God enough? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

What beats an Italian villa on Lake Como, a Ferrari, or a million-dollar stock portfolio any day? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

30 Days Hath Revenge
30 Days Hath Revenge

A Clandestine Mission.
A Cryptic Message.
A Chaste Promise.

Blake Meyer dreamed of a peaceful end to a dutiful career with the FBI. Married now, his life was taking him in a new direction—a desk job. He would be an analyst. Ride it out until retirement. Be safe so he could enjoy his grandchildren someday.

But when a notable member of the IRA is murdered in a London flat, Blake’s secretive past propels him into the middle of a vindictive, international scheme so hellish and horrific, it will take everything Blake possesses—all of it—to save the United States from the most diabolical terrorist attack to date.

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, September 26, 2019

A Call Story by Connie Queen

I love call stories!

For years, I’ve followed writing blogs, and by far, my favorites were call stories. I loved reading about the hard times and then triumph when an aspiring author finally received the call. But I’m excited to say, this is my call story!

First, I want to thank Terri for inviting me to visit Seriously Write today. It’s an honor to be with you.

I submitted my first story in 1999 to a Harlequin editor and was rejected. I kept writing and entering a ridiculous number of contests on and off for the next twenty years. I had my very own Wall of Fame with my framed contest finals. Okay, a lot of that time I was raising 8 kids and not getting much, if any, writing done. That’s okay. When life began to slow down my writing picked up.

Earlier this year I entered a suspense into The Great Love Inspired Author search. On August 19th I received an email from Tina James and as soon as I saw the name, my heart sunk. I thought, "Oh, no another rejection. Or maybe it's a revision this time." I opened the one-line email and was temporarily confused as to why it was so short until I read she wanted to chat w/me on the phone. There's only one reason they want to talk on the phone! We get awful cell signal at my house, and after I emailed her, I ran outside so I wouldn't miss the call. There's no telling what kind of impression I made. I went from being silent to not being able to stop talking. After I got off the phone, I drove the 30-minute drive to my husband's work. There are some things you just have to say in person. Give my man brownie points. He knew exactly what "New York called" meant.

My only advice is don’t compare your journey to others. It took my twenty years to get a publishing contract, and a lot of authors do it sooner, some later. Don’t give up. Our obligations, struggles, and talents are different. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep submitting
Look for Justice Uncover in June 2020.

If you’re a published author, how many of you sold your book through a contest? Through an agent?

If you’re still looking for that first sale, what are you doing to get your stories in front of the right editor or agent? Contests? Sending out queries to agents? Pitching at conferences?

Until recently, Connie Queen has spent of her life in Texas where she met and married her high-school sweetheart. Together they’ve raised eight children and are enjoying their grandchildren. Today she resides in Nebraska with her husband, and Nash, her Great Dane, where she’s working on her next heart-throbbing suspense.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Growing in Courage by Gail Johnson

The following post from Gail Johnson ran on my personal blog in 2018. She has graciously agreed to share it with the readers of Seriously Write, because we all need an extra measure of courage on occasion. ~ Sandy

Some people are born courageous while others must learn how to cultivate it. I fit into both categories. I was fearless as a child, but later I had to learn how to squash the weed of fear so the fruit of courage could grow. And the gardening never stops.

When I planned to write my memoir, I faced questions. Why should I venture out into unknown territory, a place of vulnerability? What will people think of me after sharing my story? Where will I find the answers to finish this task?

But no matter what I did, my story refused to leave me alone. One morning I conceded and put my notes together. Oh, boy! The more I typed, the more dissatisfied I became. I failed to find the perfect formula to share my story. Still, something rose inside of me.

I printed out the pages and laid them on the table. After scrutinizing the text, I could see the personal stories needed rearranging. So I took scissors—yep, scissors—and separated the stories and then taped them where I believed they should go. By the time I had finished, they were in the order they are in the book.

Meanwhile a friend, who is a developmental editor, contacted me and asked if I needed her that year. I stared at the question. I had a choice. Say no, or commit to write like a madwoman to reach my goal.

Suddenly, the Lord impressed me with a date. I typed that date into a message even while fear screamed, “Have you lost your mind? You can't do this. You’ll never finish on time.” Still, I hit the send button.” She penciled in the date. I felt sick.

Courage is not instantaneous. It grows as we reach our goal step-by-step. I arrived every day to write, cry, mourn, and hope. And I’m so glad I did. It was the most liberating experience of my life.

Viewing my story as a finished manuscript, I connected the disjointed notes and saw every drop of God’s grace in my life. And during the following months of rewriting and publishing, I watched the Lord knock over every obstacle of fear and doubt. To this day, I have yet to miss a deadline. He truly is faithful.

Experience teaches us courage. Go ahead. Take that leap of faith!

Other than prayer and Bible reading, how do you grow your courage?


Gail Johnson enjoys sharing her passion for life and Christ through the power of the written word. Whether it’s through stories, articles, or songs, she invites her reader and listener to “taste and see” the hope she has found in a faithful God and loving Savior. Born and raised in Georgia, she is a wife and mother of two adult children. She enjoys lots of family time, good music, maple pecan ice cream, and southern living.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Writer Steps by Emily Wickham

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 37:5, NASB)

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and perplexed about how to progress in the writing world. At such moments, we can benefit from implementing three steps:

STEP #1: Establish a Prayer Team

Six years ago, I sent a Facebook message to several godly women, explaining my desire to form a prayer team and inviting them to participate. I requested a one-year commitment, which each woman accepted. My team was formed, and though membership has changed slightly over the years, it still exists today.

If you establish a team, practicing consistency will promote effectiveness. For instance, it’s helpful to create a daily, weekly, or monthly prayer schedule. Also, it’s best to specify needs rather than asking for prayer in general. Are you facing a critical deadline? Sending a proposal? Nearing your book launch? Details regarding your career should be communicated on a regular basis. Let's entrust our writing ministry to the faithful prayers of others. It makes a powerful difference. The Lord delights in the prayers of His people, and He answers.

STEP #2: Grow Your Platform

Blogging and social media help us build an audience, a necessary career component whether we self-publish or seek a traditional publisher.

Blogging Tips:
• Post regularly.
• Write valuable content.
• Choose a mission for your blog and stick to it.
• Limit posts to 1,000 words or less.
• Edit before posting.

Social Media Tips:
• Focus on using two platforms well (advice I heard from Edie Melson, who specializes in social media.)
• Utilize a scheduling tool, such as Hootsuite (also recommended by Edie Melson) – I use the free plan to post on Twitter. I don’t use it for Facebook, however, because of the FB algorithm.
• Incorporate video – People respond well to videos, and according to Bill Carmody, “video will dominate for the foreseeable future.” (Check out his article HERE for helpful insights.) I can attest to the effectiveness of video, too, due to my Devotions for Women videos. They generally reach farther on Facebook than my blog posts, and one video in particular has received 200+ likes on Twitter.

STEP #3: Write A Lot for Free

Following this advice from Cindy Jones in my early writing days has produced fabulous results. It encouraged me throughout my years of writing for Sophie Woman’s Magazine, and it prompted me to write for ZMI Family Ministries International, then known as Zookeepers Ministries. While I didn’t receive monetary compensation, these opportunities created name-awareness, improved my writing skills, and provided experience in meeting deadlines. PLUS… I met a retired LifeWay editor through ZMI. She connected me with LifeWay’s head of adult publishing, who connected me with my current editor for Journey Magazine. God is so good!

As you aim to move forward in your writing career, which of these steps will you take next?

Note: Portions of this post first appeared in “Writer Steps” on May 1, 2018 at

Feeling overwhelmed or perplexed about how to progress as a writer? Consider three steps that will enhance your writing career. via @emilywickhamPH @MaryAFelkins #ChristianWriter #WritingTips #SeriouslyWrite

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:

Alcanzando la Justicia:
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 the book on Amazon.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Writing During a Hurricane

Hurricane Dorian visited the Low Country of South Carolina recently. Our area was spared most of the devastating winds and rain the Bahamas and other areas experienced. Weather forecasters alerted us to the possibility of what was to come. Mount Pleasant SC and surrounding areas did not escape the hurricane, but we had less damage than other places.

Heavy downpours of rain and strong winds began covering our city as the hurricane entered as a Category 2 and turned quickly to Category 3. We were thankful when the storm left and cleanup could begin. When the sky was clear, wind and rain had ceased, we felt safe to venture outside to see the aftermath of the storm.

The electricity in our home flickered on and off. Flashlights were ready with new batteries. Provisions were already waiting in the pantry. Water, crackers, peanut butter, cookies and various hurricane essential items.

This storm brought opportunity to pause and write a few blog posts. House cleaning could wait. Laundry could wait. The television and radio were turned off. A good time for writing. If the power turned off and I couldn't use the computer, there was always paper and pen for jotting my thoughts.

I began typing words via the computer. Listening to the wind howling, I wondered if sitting near the window and the computer was a good idea. Paper and pen was the better choice. Turning off the computer, I located one of my favorite pens and a journal.

Ideas rushed into my mind. Stories about hurricanes, preparations for storms, safety of people and animals and ideas of what to do if the power turns off all jumped into my thoughts.

Telling myself, "I can do this. I can write during a hurricane." Boosting my confidence while positioning my chair and supplies away from windows, I was ready to write.

One lesson I learned about writing during a hurricane is that writers can find ideas for stories in any situation, even hurricanes. The longer I sat with pen and paper, the more excited I became over the story lines running through my mind.

From my personal blog posts to guest blog posts to children's stories to young adult stories to fiction and non-fiction, I was filled with story plots and twists.

I don't want another hurricane to visit the area but I am ready with pen and paper. Who knows what ideas will sprout?

Have you written any stories during a hurricane? Share what story lines entered your mind during a storm.

One lesson I learned about writing during a hurricane is that writers can find ideas for stories in any situation, even hurricanes. The longer I sat with pen and paper, the more excited I became over the story lines running through my mind. #seriouslywrite @mimionlife

Stay safe and have a blessed writing day,
Melissa Henderson

Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages through fiction, non-fiction, devotions, guest blogs, articles and more. Her first children’s book, “Licky the Lizard” was released in 2018. Some of her passions are helping in community and church. Melissa and her husband Alan moved from Virginia to South Carolina in 2017 to be near son, daughter-in-love and first grandchild. The family motto is "It’s Always A Story With The Henderson".

Website and blog :
Amazon link to "Licky the Lizard"
Facebook : Melissa Henderson, Author
Pinterest : Melissa Henderson
Twitter : @mimionlife

Friday, September 20, 2019

When Life Gets in the Way by JoAnn Durgin

Meme with the verse from Jeremiah 29:11

Ever felt like everything that could go wrong…did? When you think about it, wouldn’t life be boring without its annoyances, hindrances, stumbles, or grievances? I’m a firm believer that everything, from the minutia to the major events in our lives, happens for a reason because God is in the details. Simply stated, it’s what Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

Last September, for the first time, I’d been invited by a reader to join her and some of her South Carolina girlfriends at a beach house in Myrtle Beach for a week. We arrived at the beach on a Saturday, but Hurricane Florence took aim toward South Carolina, and we were ordered to clear out by Tuesday. Mumbling and bellyaching, I drove on the opposite side of the highway along the mandatory evacuation route. Not only that, but Florence also disrupted the remainder of my planned trip.

So, where do you go when you’re weary and disappointed? In my case, I trekked through the mountains to my beloved Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a personal mini-retreat. For the first time in years, I spent three days doing what I wanted when I wanted, including talking with the Lord, reading my Bible, and praying a lot. I also spent quality time working on my novel, Portrait. I returned home rested and rejuvenated—just not in the way I’d originally intended.

Now for this year’s trip to Myrtle Beach… I’d already decided to fly, but in the days leading up to my Saturday departure, Hurricane Dorian threatened the eastern coast of the U.S. By Friday, the hurricane had moved on. When I arrived in Myrtle Beach, I discovered the water and the elevators at the condo had been turned off but that service “should” be restored by Monday. Okay, I thought, taking a deep breath, I can rough it for a few days. Did I mention the condo is on the fifth (top) floor of the building and the stairwell is brutally muggy inside—a concrete cave with steep steps?

Thankfully, the water flowed freely on Monday morning, and the elevator was up and running by evening. In retrospect, the lack of those things was annoying mostly because they inconvenienced me. With so many blessings—friends, family, opportunities—I have no reason to complain.

Just as in our everyday lives, inconveniences and annoyances (a/k/a setbacks and disappointments) are an inevitable part of our writing journey. Whether it’s a delay or missed deadline, a rejection, a pesky issue with an agent or publisher, slow sales, or a less-than-stellar review, we can give our troubles to the Lord with full confidence they’re in His control.

An episode of The Big Bang Theory recently reminded me of a very real truth. The mother of one of the main characters frequently quotes the Bible. When someone snipped, “Maybe one day you’ll read another book,” she said, “When God writes another one, I will.”

While we certainly hope readers will find our books, reading about the issues faced by the men and women of the Bible reveals how we are not alone in our humanity. As we’re called to write for God’s glory, let’s rise to the challenge in a way that conveys His grace, mercy, and love—in spite of ourselves. Because, after all, everything else is really only a stumbling block along the way.

Blessings, friends,

What to do when life doesn't go "your" way.
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads
Everything happens for a reason because God is in the details!
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads


Once upon a time, when she believed in fairy tales, ten-year-old Lianna Chandler had a dream. As the princess of a faraway land, she stood by the shoreline at sunset as her prince galloped toward her on a magnificent white horse. Now, sixteen years later and happily prince-less, Lianna co-manages an art gallery and is a promising portrait artist in the charming land of Carmel-by-the-Sea. When she meets Evan Michaels, a man who embodies the handsome prince of her childhood dream, can she move away from past heartbreak to embrace her own happily ever after?

Evan Michaels learned early on that life wouldn’t hand him anything. Using his fists and street smarts, he fought his way out of a bad childhood to make his own way in the world. With divine help, he’s now a partner in an international shipping firm based in San Francisco. Although he’s proven himself to the world, something is still missing. When he meets the beautiful Lianna Chandler, Evan believes he’s found the woman of his dreams…until he takes a phone call that could change everything. Will the secrets and shame of Evan’s past come tumbling down around them, leaving their love in ashes?

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, September 19, 2019

40 Writing Tips for the Professional Writer by DiAnn Mills

Writers today search for tips to help them move forward in the craft. The following are 40 ways to sharpen your writing tools.

1. Pray for your writing ministry
2. Read in the genre you are writing
3. Read a craft how-to book each month
4. Read a marketing book each month
5. Study the bestsellers like a text book
6. Study daily a blog about the craft
7. Study daily a blog about branding, social media, marketing and promotion
8. Establish a daily writing schedule and stick to it
9. Establish goals for every area of your writing career and analyze quarterly
10. Analyze your career quarterly and make changes if necessary
11. Participate in a writer’s group, either online or face to face
12. Invest in a professional writer’s conference
13. Invest in time and knowledge to raise your visibility in the publishing world
14. Invest in text to voice software
15. Invest in techniques to learn effective speaking
16. Learn your genre and be an expert
17. Learn Facebook and post regularly
18. Learn Twitter and post regularly
19. Learn how to blog effectively and do it
20. Learn how to Instagram and post regularly
21. Use your knowledge and expertise on social media to help and encourage others.
22. Use the 80/20 rule in posting on social media.
23. Use a scheduling tool for social media posts
24. Use an app to check grammar on all writing projects
25. Mentor a serious writer who needs assistance
26. Edit everything you write before pushing Send.
27. Follow social media experts online
28. Follow writers online and post to them
29. Follow editors and publishing houses online
30. Develop a data base for libraries
31. Develop your brand
32. Schedule events not book signings
33. Visit bookstores and introduce yourself to manager or PR person.
34. Request permission to take photos with store owners and librarians. Post and tag on social media
35. Create a spreadsheet for blog posts
36. Create a social media library for all platforms
37. Create a street team.
38. Give back more to your street team than you expect from them
39. Remember your agent and editor(s) on special occasions
40. Remember your marketing and promotion team on special occasions

There you are! 40 tips to help you move forward in your writing career. What tip can you give that’s not mentioned above?

Amazon Buy Link
There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the direc-tor of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media spe-cialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here:

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Branding 101—Mission Statement and Goals by Patty Smith Hall

The closing of Lifeway’s brick and mortar stores shook me out of my comfort zone. For the past ten years, I’ve been blessed with continuous contracts, and while we haven’t been able to retire, it was nice to see my work gracing the bookstore shelves.

With Lifeway’s announcement and the ever-shrinking shelf space at Barnes and Noble, I realized it was time to re-evaluate and possibly reinvent myself for the changing market. Yet, how does a mid-list writer do this is the world of Amazon, Facebook, podcasts and You-tube?

I needed to revamp my mission statement and make a new set of writing goals.

Why make a mission statement and goals? Because what’s the point of branding yourself if you don’t know why you write in the first place? For me, a mission statement is my anchor. It’s the deep down-in-my-soul reason I stand at my kitchen counter for hours and write. It can be as complex—and I’ve seen some where I’ve needed a dictionary to decipher—or as simple as you like. The most important thing is that this statement reflects your core reason for writing.

I’ll be honest—I didn’t have a mission statement until this year. For most of the last ten years, I’ve concerned myself with getting and staying published. While that’s all good and nice, writing to get published can’t be the only reason a person suffers through writing a synopsis or a proposal. There has to be more to it, something one desires to accomplish with their writing.

My mission statement is simple—To glorify God in all facets of my writing. That just doesn’t mean the words I put down on paper. It includes the way I conduct business with agents and editors, how I start my daily writing time, the way I encourage other writers, even making the time to rest or take a break after a long writing sprint. Simple, yet effective.

Here are some questions you can use in developing your mission statement:

1) What makes me write?

2) What do I want to accomplish through my writing? This can be a monetary value, a fan base or like mine, reaching others for Christ. Whatever it is, it has to be the most important objective for you.

3) When I think about my writing, how do I measure my success? Is it the number of books sold or money from sales or something else entirely?

Goals are simple. They’re what make our world function. They give each one of us purpose, something to strive toward. They keep us on track and remind us what we’re working toward and how to get there. I use weekly, monthly and yearly goals.

How to use Goals:

1) First, write your goals down.

Every Sunday afternoon, I sit down and write my goals for the week. I figure out how many words I’d like to have written in the next week, then I make a plan on how to get them. In my goal-planning, I also include housekeeping, meal preparation and Bible time. Once I finish writing them down, I put them in a place where I can see them every day and mark off my progress.

2) Make your goals quantifiable. Every day, I know how many words I need to get down in order to reach my word count for the week. If I don’t make it, I may have to work on a Saturday or add words to my daily counts. If I write more, I give myself a little treat!

3) Give your goals a time limit. Deadlines are great reminders of this. Once I sign a contract, I have a certain period of time until I have to turn in a manuscript, or I’ll be in violation of the terms of the contract and that’s not a good thing to be. If you’re pre-pubbed, set deadlines for yourself and stick with them. You’ll not only make your goal; you’ll be getting into a habit that will help you when you do get the call.

4) Update your goals occasionally. Ten years ago, my only goal was to get published, and while that’s still a goal, it’s not the only thing I want to do now. Another reason to do this is the rapidly changing landscape of publishing. Ten years ago, the thought of Borders, Family Christian and Lifeway closing up was unthinkable. Also, when you achieve your goal, make another one to keep you focused. So, change your goals to reflect the times.

Homework: Work on your mission statement and goals for the month.


Patty Smith Hall lives in North Georgia with her husband of 36+ years, Danny. Her passion is to write tender romances based in little-known historical moments. The winner of the 2008 ACFW Genesis award in historical romance, she is published with Love Inspired Historical, Barbour and Winged Publishing, and is a contributor to the Seriously Writing blog as well as Journey magazine. Patty is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Lockdown by Shannon Moore Redmon

Sirens blared through the hallways. Not the typical shrill indicating a fire or burned popcorn in the employee lounge. This alarm was different. The police chief’s voice boomed through our community college speakers.

“This is not a drill. Find shelter in a locked classroom and do not come out until further notice.”

My colleagues and I stared at one another for a moment before jumping into active shooter protocol. We remained calm despite the wide-awake concern inhabiting everyone’s eyes. None of us dreamed we’d wake up, sip our coffee, drive to work and find our lives threatened. We planned to carry out our normal activities during a normal class day. Instead, we found ourselves on “lockdown” and unable to exit the premises due to shots fired near the campus.

Amazing what goes through a person’s mind and body when danger rips away our created safety nets. Heightened senses detect anything out of the norm, like every pop and thump echoing through the hallway. Is it gunfire? Fear trembles through our extremities as we lock the doors in haste to keep everyone safe. Students push desks and chairs against the door, then quiet their cellphones like they’ve been taught in the S.E.L.F. video we play every semester. Different scenarios race through our minds, searching for the best solution in case this nightmare becomes real life.

Then we wait.

Thankfully, our scenario ended well with no loss of life and the shots fired came from a neighborhood adjacent to our school. Our lockdown was a precaution to keep everyone safe and other than being a bit shaken by all the disruption, we survived with a new respect for our campus and city police who performed their jobs with skill.

Perhaps others of us have had more traumatic moments in life. These aren’t meant to be forgotten or pushed aside. Our jobs as writers is to transform those experiences into stories that can inspire, educate and transform the lives of our readers. We mustn't just slap words on a page in hopes of being published. Because we have a great responsibility to those who take the time to read our work.

Our job is to communicate every truthful emotion and persuade our audience to experience the story.

My hope is that you'll never find yourself in “lockdown” or any life-threatening scenario, but instead will be able to experience them from the safety of your net wherever it may hang.

We found ourselves on “lockdown” and unable to exit the premises due to shots fired near the campus. @shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #wisdom #SeriouslyWrite

A writer’s job is to communicate every truthful emotion and persuade our audience to experience the story. @shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #wisdom #SeriouslyWrite

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 her 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, and the Seriously Write blog. Her stories have been selected as a semi-finalist and finalist of the ACFW Genesis Contest and won first place in the Foundation’s Awards. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. The StoryMoore Blog is named in memory of her father, Donald Eugene Moore.

Connect with Shannon:
Twitter: @shannon_redmon

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Day of Rest by Patty Nicholas

As my wedding day approaches, an endless to do list grows to mountainous proportions, and a deadline is looming ominously. I have felt the Holy Spirit impress upon me the importance of maintaining a day of rest in my schedule. 

Sunday, after church, I had roughly six hours of time where I could have cleaned bathrooms, written on my work in progress, which is due in a few short weeks, or performed any plethora of other tasks that needed attention. 

Photo by Patty Nicholas
Instead of jumping into work, I sat down and prayed. I asked God to show me where to start on my extensive list. The next thing I knew it was two hours later. I had fallen asleep. Several years ago, as a new widow, I found myself on my own, trying to maintaining a home, working a full time job, babysitting my young grandson in the evenings, and starting my writing career. I sat with bible in hand, and prayed a very similar prayer. 

What God showed me then is equally true in my busy schedule of today. I needed to honor a day of rest. The Lord emphasized the importance of a rest in him by repetition. You can find the word Sabbath 146 times in the Old Testament, and 56 times in the New Testament. With a word repeated this many times, I took notice. 

Leviticus 24:8 Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. 

Photo by Patty Nicholas
To rest is also a healthy practice. God knew what he was doing when he told us to take a day to honor Him, to reflect on His goodness, and to give our bodies a chance to recover so we can be ready for the next week to come. Let’s face it, we may think we know what our week will look like, but only God has seen tomorrow. 

But what about meeting my deadline, or what about my mile-long list? It is my sincere belief, that when I am in obedience to His will for me, then He will bless my efforts. I trust that everything I have committed to will get done in a timely manner.

God knew what he was doing when he told us to take a day to honor him, to reflect on his goodness and to give our bodies a chance to recover.

What about you? Are you tired, over worked and over committed? How do you rest? 

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, September 13, 2019

Being Faithful in the Small Things by Cynthia Roemer

Cynthia Roemer
Today on Seriously Write, author Cynthia Roemer challenges us to ponder some important questions. How we answer them will affect our attitudes while traveling this journey—and how and what we write. ~ Dawn

Being Faithful 
in the Small Things

Every novel writer dreams of making it big—landing a contract with a large publishing house and selling millions of copies. Unfortunately, very few writers realize that dream. Most of us will travel a more subtle path, one that likely includes less recognition. But that doesn’t mean we’ve failed.

It’s been said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” There is so much truth in that one, simple statement. As writers, it’s tempting to compare ourselves to other authors—those who continuously win awards, make the Best-Seller list, or seem to effortlessly churn out dozens of books.

In Under Moonlit Skies, my hero, Stewart Brant falls prey to the comparison trap. He sees his rival as suave, sophisticated, dashing, and wealthy—everything he is not. How can he, a poor, uneducated, broken-down cowboy, compete with the likes of distinguished businessman, Lawrence Del Ray?

It takes some hard lessons to convince Stew where his true worth stems from. The Lord takes him on quite a journey as he wades through his insecurities to discover the truth of God’s love and purpose.

God has a mission and purpose for each of our lives. Sometimes that plan may look different than what we perceive it to be. Yet, He is the potter. We are the clay. We can kick and scream our way through life, trying to be a goblet when the Lord intends for us to be a bowl. God gives us the choice. We can spend our days striving to achieve our own goals and agenda, or we can yield to His promptings and fulfill the purposes He has in store for us.

Having aspirations as a writer is important. That drive to achieve can see us through many a discouragement and setback. But, more essential than the desire to succeed, is having the desire to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

As you travel through your writing journey, here are some questions to ponder.

~Am I glorifying God through what I write?

~Am I staying open to the Lord’s leading?

~Is what I write consistent with God’s calling on my life?

~Are there areas I need to adjust or draw to a close?

~What specifically does God want to accomplish through my writing?

~Is the Lord closing one door and opening another?

~What audience would benefit most from my writing ministry?

~Am I seeking my dream, or God’s?

When we’re faithful in the small things, the Lord will bless and multiply our efforts. Only when we submit to His will and refrain from comparing ourselves to others can we know true contentment and peace. It’s then we’ll hear God say…

“Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.”
(Matthew 25:21)

When we’re faithful in the small things, the Lord will bless and multiply our efforts. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @cynthiaroemer

God has a mission and purpose for each of our lives. Sometimes that plan may look different than what we perceive it to be. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @cynthiaroemer

Under Moonlit Skies
Under Moonlit Skies

(Prairie Sky Series ~ Book 3)

Her life was planned out ~ until he rode in ~

Illinois prairie ~ 1859

After four long years away, Esther Stanton returns to the prairie to care for her sister Charlotte’s family following the birth of her second child. The month-long stay seems much too short as Esther becomes acquainted with her brother-in-law’s new ranch hand, Stewart Brant. When obligations compel her to return to Cincinnati and to the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed, she loses hope of ever knowing true happiness.

Still reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy.

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, releasing September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons. Visit Cynthia online at:

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Thursday, September 12, 2019


I’m blessed to have an office room in my home, complete with a desk next to a window that overlooks my front yard. But the best part of my window view is seeing the two Elm trees in my yard—trees that resembled twigs in the ground when they were first planted over twenty years ago. I will go out on a limb and say that I’ve really grown fond of these trees over the years. 😉 (Couldn’t resist the pun!)

Yesterday as I gazed out my window, trying not to think about my To-Do list calling to me, I thought about these trees—particularly the one that’s closer to my window—and how that Elm tree reminds me of my writing journey. The tree started out very small, much as my writing journey when I began my first story. When I think back to my very first writers’ conference and all I did not know, I cringe! But just as the sunshine and rain have strengthened my Elm tree, other writers, attending conferences, and reading books have strengthened me. 😊 Authors I’ve admired have been so kind, offering prayers and encouragement. And yes, I still have much to learn. But I’m growing—just as my Elm tree has grown (and continues to grow).

Sadly, that Elm tree has also been struck by lightning, which damaged a large branch. But the tree continued standing! Only one branch came down, leaving the other branches and the trunk intact. As writers, it’s a guarantee that at some point we’ll have to face some less-than-pleasing news. Whether it’s a rejection from an editor or agent, a negative review from a reader, or even non-supportive family members, there’s bound to be something that “strikes” at our confidence as a writer. But we must learn to release it (easier said than done at times), just as my Elm tree let its damaged branch fall to the ground to be hauled away. We pray for guidance and keep writing.

When we’re able to reach a goal in our writing—whether it’s a completed manuscript, obtaining an agent, having our book published, or some other wonderful accomplishment—we feel revived and full of life, just as my Elm tree is now. 😊 The branches are full of healthy, green leaves, and squirrels and birds enjoy making nests on these sturdy limbs. The tree is able to offer protection to these creatures, while offering shade to me when I’m outside. So although I’m still learning in my writing journey, I’m happy to offer encouragement to others on this journey. Especially to someone just starting out who may feel overwhelmed! May I learn from my beautiful Elm tree, as I continue enjoying this view as I grow in my writing.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

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After being deceived by her beau the previous year, library worker Sadie Perkins feels she’s meant to remain single and serve as a missionary to orphans in Africa. Her plan is to return home to Riverview after a year, and open an orphanage in a lovely house she’s admired since childhood. She didn’t plan on losing her heart to someone who intends to demolish the house.

Widower Shaun O’Leary of Savannah yearns to make his father proud, and hopes to accomplish that by overseeing a hotel project in the town of Riverview. But first he must have a house demolished before hotel construction can begin. After meeting lovely Sadie Perkins in Riverview, he’s puzzled why she seems upset when he mentions his plans. He’s also saddened that she’s leaving for Africa soon, because he’s fallen in love with her.

As Sadie prepares to board a ship, she finally has peace and realizes what she should do, yet still feels sad that the house she loves is to be demolished. When Shaun suddenly has an idea to save the house Sadie loves, he rushes to the Savannah port to tell her, but the ship has sailed. When things seem hopeless, can dreams still come true?

Patti Jo Moore is a former kindergarten teacher who now writes full-time. Her “Sweet, Southern Stories” feature characters who face realistic struggles and challenging situations but always have a happily-ever-after ending.

Patti Jo loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee. When not writing, she loves spending time with her family—especially her precious grandbaby. She enjoys connecting with readers and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore. You can also visit her blog at

She has three contemporary stories and one historical, all with Forget-Me-Not Romances

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Who Do You Think You Are? by Betty Thomason Owens

“Who do you think you are?”

I heard that question, most often with a negative connotation, several times during my childhood. OK, many times. My mother used to say it when I’d overstepped my boundaries. I learned an important lesson. Soap does not taste good.

These days, I still contemplate this question from time to time. Who do I think I am? When another book releases, I’m worrying about how it will be received and whether I’ve overstepped my boundaries this time. Do I really know what I’m doing? Will my readers discover I know nothing and wonder why I think I can call myself a writer?

Who do I think I am? In my own opinion, I daily fall short in so many ways. But during those times, I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 10:12-18. Verse twelve says, “We’re not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they’re our superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.” [The Message Bible]

This verse alone is powerful, but the next few verses really drive the point home. I believe all writers (Christian writers in particular) should study this passage. “We’re not barging in on the rightful work of others, interfering with their ministries, demanding a place in the sun with them. What we’re hoping for is that as your lives grow in faith, you’ll play a part within our expanding work.” [10:15-16]

In short, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, or even ourselves, for that matter. What we do, what we accomplish, should be for God’s glory. If it’s not, it’s empty and vain. That doesn’t mean we can never be commended and praised for our accomplishments, it just means we should take it as praise to the Almighty, Who has given us this wonderful gift.

“If you want to claim credit, claim it for God.” – [10:17].

So, who do I think I am? I believe I am an ambassador, delivering the message God has placed on my heart. I hope the work that I do (what I write to share with others) brings glory to Him. I hope that I can continue to grow and learn and work, as He gives me strength.

Who do you think you are?

What we do, what we accomplish, should be for God’s glory. via @batowens #SeriouslyWrite #Faith #amwriting


Betty Thomason Owens considers herself a word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. Besides her work on the KCWC planning committee, she also leads the Louisville Area ACFW group and is a co-founder of the multi-author Inspired Prompt blog. Married forty-four years, she’s a mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. A part-time bookkeeper at her day-job, she writes for Write Integrity Press, and has seven novels in publication. You can learn more about her at Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

She's waited too long. When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn't ready to open her heart
to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle's heart is ready to love again?

Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate.
Drift back into the simple, country life of Tennessee in 1957 with this sequel to award-winning ANNABELLE'S RUTH.

“A 1950s Clean & Wholesome Romance”

Annabelle’s Joy – Kinsman Redeemer, Book 3
Genre: historical romance
Author: Betty Thomason Owens
Release Date: August 7, 2019

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