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:

Cynthia Roemer can be contacted 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

Amazon Buy Link
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

Amazon Buy-Link: 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Writing My Story By Marie Wells Coutu

You’re a fiction writer, an author. You create characters and move them through the ups and downs of your plot. You develop an arc for them to complete that will change them. You know the purpose you have for them, and you know how their story ends. (If you’re a “pantser,” you may not know this until late in the process, but before the book is published, you will know!)

During Sunday school recently, a friend made this comparison between me as an author and God. For my characters, I am like God acting in a fictional world. As the author, I am in control of their “lives.”

It was a good reminder for me that God knows me and has a purpose for my life. Before time began, He wrote my story. He has chosen a path for me and wants to make me a part of His story.

God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Ephesians 1:4, ESV).

Sometimes our characters do or say things that we didn’t originally intend. We can choose when we’re writing whether to force the character back into the box we planned or to let them take over the story.

In the same way, we humans don’t always follow the plan God has laid out for us. He never forces us to follow His design, His plot for our lives. But He knows in advance what we will choose.

More, even if the decisions we make are counter to His plan, He can redeem our choices if we ask Him to.

Joseph told his brothers in the Old Testament, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20, ESV).

When I’m writing, my heart’s desire is to glorify God. Knowing how difficult my characters can be gives me renewed awe that God created me and loves me no matter what. He has already written my story, and it is good.

In what ways do you see God writing your story as an author? Can you use His plan as inspiration for your characters’ journeys?

Just as we create our characters and plan their journeys, God wrote my #story before time began. He has chosen a path for me and wants to make me a part of His story. @mwcoutu @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #SeriouslyWrite

Marie Wells Coutu finds beauty in surprising places, like old houses, gnarly trees, and forgotten treasures. When she’s not writing about finding restoration and healing through God-designed journeys, she enjoys taking broken things and making them useful.

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

She grew up in Kentucky, has lived in Kansas, Connecticut, Minnesota, Iowa and South Carolina. With her handyman husband of four decades, she now divides her time between Florida and the Midwest.
You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook author page and her website,
Follow her on Twitter @mwcoutu or on Amazon.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Earth is an M&M: Advice When You Are Close to Finishing Your Manuscript by Peter Leavell

You’ve been writing your first work like a crazy woman or a madman, and suddenly, you wonder what happens next.

Doubt in your writing is like cruising your bike along a trail and someone shoving an iron rod through the spokes. Or thinking the earth is a giant Peanut M&M and you dig a hole through the candy shell and chocolate layer to arrive at the center of the earth and find a giant, overcooked chickpea. You’re thrown off-track, and things aren’t quite like what you’d thought they’d be.
M&Ms on Abbey Road: Commons

You think your work is good and has excellent potential for publication. But what will everyone else think?

There’s so much to consider. Experienced writers, when asked for advice, are put in an extremely difficult position. There’s a small element of an oracle about it, reading the future and prophesy.

Yet, here are the considerations I contemplated before I looked up from my work and saw I was an award-winning author.

Remember, you’re critically analyzing your situation, which means each point is a different angle. Don’t just pick one point to run with. Instead, think through your situation from the top, sides, bottom, and inside out.

Top—Empirical evidence. This is raw data from agents and editors. What are they saying about the work? If they’re saying it’s not ready, or there’s no slot for it, it' a strong indication the manuscript needs some rework or there truly is no slot for it at this time. As much as editors want to do the opposite, most must make business decisions, not artistic decisions.

Bottom—Emotions. If you’re sick of this project and it’s finished with all the rewrites, has been sent to everyone under the sun, and ability to write is strangled, then the project no longer has wings. It’s time to set it aside. Never throw it away, because you don’t know what the future holds. But passion is an important element in writing.

Sides—State of the manuscript. If you don’t feel like it’s ready, don’t stop. At the very least, this is great practice in finishing a full piece. Go all the way. Make sure it’s completely edited and ready for publication. Then you have an important decision. Self-publish? If self-publishing is not your cup of orange juice, then write another manuscript with less pulp—different from your first work.

Inside Out—Consider changing your mentality. You’re not actually writing books, but instead you’re training to become an author, and one of these days, one of your manuscripts will stick.

This is all humanistic advice, without the input of what you feel God wants you to do. But these considerations are a start in knowing what you will do next. And someday, I hope you find yourself on a planet that truly is a Peanut M&M, and all your dreams come true.

The Earth is an M&M: Advice When You Are Close to Finishing Your Manuscript by @peterleavell #writerslife #seriouslywrite

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

Created to Write by Melinda V. Inman

Meme with picture of elderly woman.

Created to Write

It’s great fun to write this post today for Seriously Write. The timing is perfect! This is my usual time to write, the first Friday of the month, and yet this particular first Friday is my sixtieth birthday!

The BIG 6-0! That’s right! You read that correctly!

Seriously Write is a site specifically planned and executed for writers like us who take our writing seriously. This special birthday provides a perfect opportunity to address the fact that writers are created by God, woven together in each one of our mother’s wombs with the particular bent that produces a writer. We’re designed for this task, and that’s pretty significant.

My mother taught me to read when I was three, and then, horrified at what she’d done (what would I do in first grade, she wondered), she backed away and gave no further lessons. I loved books. I memorized poems. I drew stories before I could write them. One of my granddaughters started doing this at the same age, and inwardly I smiled, happy to see the writer gene passed down. I’m sure that many of you can relate to all of this.

As the oldest grandchild in a storytelling family surrounded by great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and the accompanying aunts, uncles, and cousins, I listened to the cadence of a story, enjoyed the roar of laughter that followed the punchline, and carefully noted all the stories told and retold within earshot. Many of these appear in my historical fiction.

I didn’t become a writer. I am a writer. This is how I’m made.

Like you, I don’t know what I think about a matter until I’ve dissected it in writing. Like you, I grow in my desire to write well, and the older I become, the more wisdom I bring to my writing. Aging sits well on writers. It gives us richer experiences and opens doors to the soul previously unexamined.

Some of us were able to jump right into our writing, perhaps majoring in journalism or literature and then embarking on a professional career as a writer. Others took different paths and journaled our way through life before turning to fiction writing when our experiences granted us the space to do so. This was my path. I always knew I would write fiction, but first, I had youngsters to instill with knowledge and to prep for life.

Then there was all the fun of learning to write fiction well, of using Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King until I’d pretty much worn off the cover as I worked point by point through the book. There was the practice of reading all dialogue out loud to hear the unique voice of each character, of learning how to elegantly describe scenes, and of weaving in sights, sounds, and smells. This included tearing apart manuscripts until the writing sang as each lesson was applied.

There were conferences. There was critiquing. There were beta readers.

We all had different ways we approached our careers as writers. We started for unique reasons, just as we write unique stories. There’s only one writer like each of us, and we are it. So, humor me. On my 60th birthday, I’m interested in learning how you knew that you were a writer and what you did about it. Choose one question or more, and weigh in.

How did you get your beginning?

When did you know you were a writer? How did that look in your life?

How did you hone your craft?

How have you pursued this high calling of putting God’s stories into written form?

I'm interested to know how you knew that you were a writer and what you did about it. How did you get your beginning? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @MelindaVInman
When did you know you were a writer? How have you pursued this high calling of putting God's stories into written form? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @MelindaVInman

Melinda V. Inman

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda Viergever Inman now spins tales from her writer's cave in the coastal South. Her faith-filled fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives.

Shattered Illusion and Benjamin's Blessing

Melinda has two projects releasing this fall. One is a novella—Benjamin’s Blessing, Book #2 in a Mafia Princesses and Mountain Men series written with a group of Christian writers. If you loved 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, you’ll love this modern take on the story. Book 0 is already available for preorder at

Melinda’s other project for 2019 is the sequel to No Longer Alone—the novel The Shadows Come, publishing near Thanksgiving, just in time for Christmas gifts! All of Melinda’s work, including past titles, can be found on her Amazon Author page at

You can also connect with Melinda and learn more about her books here:

Facebook Author Page:

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Find You and Do It Well by Sally Shupe

Welcome! Today is my first time blogging as a regular contributor here on Seriously Write. How exciting is that?! Thank you so much for having me here. I enjoy writing and sharing words of encouragement. I’m so honored to get to do that right here! I look forward to seeing you every 1st Thursday.

I have been so excited to share with you today. My hope is that my journey will encourage you in your writing journey. Writing can be a lonely job. But when we gather together, there is camaraderie, encouragement, hope, lasting friendships.

My writing journey seems to have taken a back seat to other pressing life events. It didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen all at once. I didn’t even realize it had happened. One day, I just realized I hadn’t been writing. Have you been there? Floating along and then all of a sudden realize you’re not doing everything you need to be doing? That’s where I was. Work, home, church, family, projects, everything was taking over my life, and my writing was taking a back burner. So what did I do? I’m so glad you asked!

I discovered I had gotten discouraged. Not having an office to write in and a set place to write, not being able to block off 3 hours of time to write every day, not being able to consistently write 1,000 words a day had taken the joy out of my writing. But you know what? We have the best job ever. We can work wherever, whenever. All we need is our imagination and pen/paper or a computer.

If writing is your calling, you can do it! Pick up that pen and start writing. Turn on that computer and start typing. Make your dreams come true starting now. Everyone is different. Everyone has different writing styles. Some write every day; some write on weekends, or only a few minutes a day. Some already have a contract; others are writing in anticipation of getting a contract. Get your imagination flowing, keep pen and paper with you at all times. Stuck in line at the grocery store? Pull out that piece of paper or your phone and plot out the next scene in your story, nail down the descriptions, goals, motivation, and conflict for your characters. Watching a movie? What do you do during the commercials? (Unless you skip them!) Plot out the next chapter in your story. Work on your synopsis. Can’t figure out how to get your characters from point A to point B? Use the commercials to jot down scenarios, and by The End, you just might have figured it out.

There are as many different ways to write as there are snowflakes. (Do you love snow? I love snow!) Your office might be your dining room table, or the arm of your chair, or a nice shady spot on your back porch. You may be able to write 500 words a day or more, or you may be able to write a few words at a time. But those words add up over time. The key is consistency. If you write 20 words a day, that’s 20 words you didn’t have before. Each one’s habits are different, but they are your own. What works for you may not work for someone else. What someone else does, may not work for you. Find you and do it well! No one else can be you. No one else can write what you write. Someone needs to read your words, but that will never happen if you don’t write them. Your mission for today: Go write!

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, September 4, 2019

Commitments to Your Characters by Janet Sketchley

With my newest release, Hidden Secrets, I was strongly tempted to publish without using an editor. Sure, I’d needed one for each of my previous books, but the manuscript felt good to me. I’d self-edited it many times, and after three novels and a novella, I had a pretty good handle on this writing thing. Plus I’m blessed with naturally good spelling and grammar.

Are you laughing yet?

My editor is, if she’s reading this post.

Common sense said the professional thing to do was to find an editor. Find, because the editor of book one, Unknown Enemy, had moved on to other work. I’d heard good things about Brilliant Cut Editing, and when Deirdre agreed to squeeze me into her schedule, I sent off my manuscript.

She’d find a few things to tweak, I expected, and I should be on track for a fast revision and a late 2018 publication date.

You’ll notice it’s now summer 2019 and I’m writing about my “new release.”

The document came back with 926 comments. Nine hundred twenty-six. And a cover note about it being pretty raw in places.

As well as assigning a mountain of work, the comments identified strong points and those which could become even stronger. So many of them addressed punctuation errors that I’ve dubbed myself the queen of misplaced commas and run-on sentences.

Writing can be humbling. But I’d far rather be humbled by editors and beta readers—who are on my side—than by readers and reviewers after publication.

I remember working on my first novel, Heaven’s Prey, and rewriting for years. My commitment to my characters was that as long as I could learn to do better with their story, I’d keep revising. Working with a trusted editor, beta readers, cover artist, and any other necessary resources, is part of keeping that commitment. We writers owe it to our characters.

What promises have you made to your characters as you write?

I’d far rather be humbled by editors and beta readers—who are on my side—than by readers and reviewers after publication. via @JanetSketchley #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


Janet Sketchley is an Atlantic Canadian writer who likes her fiction with a splash of mystery or adventure and a dash of Christianity. Why leave faith out of our stories if it’s part of our lives? You can find Janet online at

The secrets of Captain Hiltz may not have died with him.

When Landon Smith returns to the Green Dory Inn, she finds innkeeper Anna Young still shaken by the recent vandalism and unable to cope when the inn is targeted in an online vendetta. Prickly neighbour Bobby Hawke can help with Anna’s cyber woes, but when the attacks escalate to physical threats, Landon and Bobby must work together to unmask the culprit.
A cryptic message about a tunnel points to the property’s original owner, a notorious Prohibition-era sea captain rumoured to have left hidden wealth. Contraband, treasure, evidence of things better left buried…
How far will Anna’s enemy go to claim the tunnel and its contents? Protecting Anna will require courage and faith as Landon battles the locals’ attitudes and the scars of her past. Even then, she and Bobby are tracing the faintest of clues. With Anna on the brink of emotional collapse—and danger rising like the tide—time is running out.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Writing: A Worthwhile Risk by Emily Conrad

We each risk something when we write. The risk is different for each of us. It relates to our fears, who we are, and who we want to be.

As a people-pleaser, I risk rejection by writing. As a perfectionist, I risk showing my imperfections. As a believer, I risk conflict. As one who’s been broken, I risk showing my vulnerabilities. As one who’s being healed again each day, I risk raising questions I can’t answer. As one who is growing, I risk error. As one who needs to live within certain means, I risk investing in a career that will never pay me back financially. As one with numbered days, I risk my time on words that may never touch a reader.

Risk is penned into the curves and corners of each letter. When those risks become reality, that’s the cost of writing.

We can reap wonderful benefits as we write, too, but we can never know in advance what the outcome will be for any particular piece.

And so, we feel the risk when we make submissions. We feel it when our siblings/mothers/best friends read our manuscripts. We feel it when we field feedback, when we sit across from an agent as they read our pages, when we gulp and act on an editor’s request for a full.

writing in notebook

As drawn as we are to words, the risk whispers doubts. And when we must pay a cost—when we’re rejected or misunderstood or wrong or fill-in-the-blank, risk says, “I told you so.” The doubts shout that continuing isn’t worth risking more.

And then we have a choice.

Yes, a choice.

Though writers are drawn to words and sometimes claim we don’t have a choice about being writers, the truth is, we do.

We could quit. We could cut our losses, refuse to risk anything more or pay a price any higher than we already have.

Writing is a choice, and a brave one.

So why risk so much on words?

Because risk is inherent in touching hearts and changing lives. It’s inherent in attempting to make someone smile or sigh. Loving like Christ loves is a risk. He was rejected and despised, after all. And yet, to this kind of love we are called.

writing is a brave choice

When we focus on meeting someone else’s needs to the point that we’re willing to be vulnerable about our own struggles, we break down walls. When we risk words, we unbury our similarities despite our differences. Jesus can use words to illuminate truth with light that is somehow both gentle enough to get past defenses and searing enough to refine hearts. Our own hearts first, and then the hearts of others.

Words come with risk, but they also have magnificent power. As believers in the Word become flesh, we have access to the Spirit who can give us stories that will change eternities.

If God calls us to some other mission instead of (or in addition to) writing, so be it. But whatever that mission is, it will also come with risk. So when we consider our choice to continue writing or not, let’s never let the risk deter us.

Make the courageous choice. Write the story. Risk it all in the name of your Author’s love. Risk it all for the readers who need what Christ can say through your words. Risk it for the work Your Father will do in your own heart as you put His call before your worries.


Though writers are drawn to words and sometimes claim we don’t have a choice about being writers, the truth is, we do. #Writing is a choice, and a brave one. @emilyrconrad on #seriouslywrite #faithwriter

Make the courageous choice. Write the story. Risk it all in the name of your Author’s love. A #writetip for the #Christianwriter from @emilyrconrad on #seriouslywrite

Words come with risk, but they also have magnificent power. As believers in the Word become flesh, we have access to the Spirit who can give us stories that will change eternities. @emilyrconrad on #seriouslywrite #faithwriter #writing

Rose and notebook photos by Emily Conrad

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Emily Conrad headshotEmily Conrad writes Christian romance and a blog to encourage women of faith. Her debut novel, Justice, released from Pelican Book Group in 2018. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence Justice is set mostly in a coffee shop!) She offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she's pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake's coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. Can Jake and Brooklyn overcome the obstacles thrown in their path, and finally find the truth in God's love and in each other?

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Monday, September 2, 2019

The Power of the Word by Dr. Richard Spillman

As Christian writers, we have a weight of responsibility to fairly and prayerfully include God in your work. Our guest today, fellow Mountain Brook Ink author, Richard Spillman, is here with encouragement as we write. Read on!


This is a story of the amazing power of the Word of God. It contains all the elements of a Hollywood script: drama, conflict, good vs. evil, angry crowds, and a single righteous man willing to speak the Word of God.

It took place several years ago in Palo Alto, California, at a time when Ray Stedman was the pastor of Peninsula Bible Church, the largest church in the community. A few weeks earlier a local developer had filed an application for a liquor license. He wanted to build a liquor store only blocks away from both Peninsula Bible Church and the local high school. The application was accepted, posted, and the zoning board set the date for a public hearing.

In the days leading up to the hearing things were relatively quiet. It appeared as if this proposal was going to easily slide through the approval process. Later the developer would tell the local news outlets that it looked like he was going to be able to walk out with his license in less than fifteen minutes.

The day arrived. The developer and his attorney were a little early, so they took their assigned seats at the front table. Occasionally one of them would glance back at the entrance and watch as the room filled until it was standing room only.

At the posted time the meeting was called to order and it began in a businesslike, calm fashion. But that didn’t last for long. Tension, yelling, interruptions, even red faces all slowly built up. Citizens expressed their outrage, citing the need to protect their youth from the temptation to buy and drink alcohol. The developer argued that if the students wanted alcohol, they would get it even if his store were located farther away. It was the parents’ responsibility not his to keep the kids away from his store.

Just when it looked hopeless, a solitary man sitting in the back who had remained quiet during all the arguments stood and raised his hand. At first no one reacted to this man but as the whisper circulated that it was the local pastor, Ray Stedman, people quieted down. He walked up to address the zoning board and asked for permission to read a short passage of Scripture. The board agreed.

Pastor Stedman opened his Bible and turned to Luke 17:1-2. As he read the words aloud, a hush fell over the crowd.

He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

Without a comment, Pastor Stedman closed his Bible, turned, and walked back his seat. After a few moments of silence, the man who wanted to open the liquor store stood up and withdrew his application.

Just as Christ used the Word to rebuke the enemy, Pastor Stedman had used the power of the Word to set things right in his community.

Since most of us are readers, writers, or both, this is a story we can take to heart. When we write our books, especially when those are Christian works, we need to understand that even if our book is a romantic historical piece, an adventure, or a cozy mystery, as soon as we put God in it, it has the potential to become powerful. We have a responsibility to ensure that the way we involve God in our stories is Holy Spirit led.

To that end, I pray, and I ask you to pray with me, that we will always keep Christ at the center of every word we pen.

Words are powerful, especially when our books include God. #amwriting #Christianfiction


Everyone dies once…what if a chosen few were raised from the dead?

Now that the threat from Abdul Ba’ith has been eliminated, Lazarus and his team at SOAR hope to help Ricki discover the secret in his journal. That hope is dashed when he discovers that the UDs have even bigger plans in the works—plans that threaten the stability of the entire world.

North Korea is ruled by a UD who has overseen the development of a deadly airborne disease. The virus is on its way to the Middle East by boat where ISIS will use it to destroy Israel on October 10th. Lazarus joins a team sent to North Korea to eliminate the UD responsible for the program while another team searches for the virus in the Middle East, hoping to destroy it before it can be used.

The odds are stacked against both teams as twist after twist arise to impede their progress. Will Lazarus be able to free North Korea of its dictatorial leader? Will Shiri’s team be able to locate the virus and neutralize it before it is released on Israel? It’s a world-wide hunt with more that the existence of Israel at stake, because the virus will spread from Israel to the rest of the world.


Richard Spillman has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and has taught Computer Engineering for over 30 years. After his recent retirement, Richard took up his life-long dream to write novels. His first novel, The Awakened, was a Genesis Semi-Finalist and a Cascade finalist. Richard is active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Wattpad and LinkedIn. You can learn more about Richard at his website: