Monday, December 21, 2020

Farewell to Seriously Write by Annette M. Irby

 

A little history

It’s hard to believe, after eleven and a half years, that the time has come to say adieu. But don’t worry. All the posts will remain here on the blog for the foreseeable future, with a convenient search option in the sidebar if you’d like to look up a topic or guest’s name.

Warning, gushing ahead!

I remember the day in June of 2009 when I first had the vision for what Seriously Write could be. Previously, I’d launched a couple of blogs and shared articles and book reviews. I knew I wanted to provide an avenue to encourage writers. As a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) for a few years by that time, I’d had the honor of meeting many editors, authors, publishers, and fellow dreamers. I pondered asking them to guest post about writerly topics. Would they join in? They did! They wanted to give back too, while we promoted their work. A win-win.

Also, through ACFW, I met a local writing buddy, and we became very good friends. Right after launching this site I got in touch with my critique partner Dawn Kinzer and asked her if she’d be willing to join me in writing posts, scheduling guests, promoting, etc. She jumped in immediately. Thank you, Dawn! Seriously Write would not be what it is today without your faithful involvement for over a decade!

Through the years, other hostesses joined us to write posts, network, and schedule guests. Many, many authors, fellow editors, publishers, and fellow dreamers contributed. They shared devotions, how-tos, writing craft tips, journey-to-publication stories, and above all—encouragement. The writing life is challenging, given all the sacrifices and rejection. We wanted to tip the scales in the opposite direction and provide hope and support.

If you served as one of our hostesses over the years—thank you! I’d name you but I’d hate to leave anyone out. You are appreciated! My current fellow hostesses include: Dawn Kinzer, Sandy Ardoin, Terri Weldon, and Mary Felkins. Thank you for all you’ve done to enrich the writing community. Words aren’t enough, but God knows. May He richly bless you all for blessing writers!

Each hostess oversaw a weekday, and I tackled Mondays. I’ve had several awesome folks join me as regular contributors over the years. If you’re one of them, thank you! My current team for Mondays includes: Peter Leavell, Patty Nicholas-Boyte, and Melissa Henderson. Sending gratitude to you for your contributions and faithfulness month after month, year after year.

And dear readers of SW, know that we’ve prayed for you, that you’d be encouraged and blessed. That you’d find tips you could use. It’s been a privilege to serve you, and we hope you’ve found uplifting content here. Thank you for reading and sharing. You’ve encouraged us!

Writers rock!

If you’ve contributed to the blog, whether as a hostess, regular contributor, tech support, or a guest—thank you!! Seriously Write would not have survived this long without your contributions. May God richly bless you.

Technology changes a lot in eleven years! Gratitude especially goes out to Angie Arndt and Emily Conrad for answering panicked emails and helping the rest of us negotiate social media through those changes. You’ve saved the day several times. I think I speak for all the hostesses and some regular contributors when I say a hearty “thank you!”

Encouragement

If you’re here for a last dose of encouragement, here you go: Write on! Don’t give up! Continue studying books in your genre. Keep reading writerly blogs, articles, and books. You can use the search box on the right to find articles here on multiple aspects of the writing life, from homonyms to Hallmark movie adaptations. Keep learning the craft. There is always more to learn. There are always new ways to grow in your writing. Dream new dreams. Trust that God will both inspire your dreams and fulfill them as you delight in Him.

Benediction

We began Seriously Write with a dedication. So, it’s fitting to end with a benediction.

With that, brothers and sisters, I must say goodbye.
Make sure that you improve. Accept my encouragement.
Share the same attitude and live in peace.
The God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Cor. 13:11 GW


Go, and do your creative best for His glory!

Make a careful exploration of who you are and
the work you have been given,
and then sink yourself into that.
Don’t be impressed with yourself.
Don’t compare yourself with others.
Each of you must take responsibility for doing
the creative best you can with your own life.

Gal. 6:4-5 MSG


And finally, a personal favorite:

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Ps. 90:17 NKJV


Thank You, Jesus, for all You’ve done through SW and for blessing the work of our hands. Please guide each reader and writer into whatever is next. The glory is Yours.

With prayers and gratitude,

Annette, along with my fellow hostesses and regular contributors here at Seriously Write. We wish you all His best.

It's the end of an era at #SeriouslyWrite blog. Join @AnnetteMIrby as the blog signs off. #amwriting #authorlife

photo credit: pixabay

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Like the Closing of a Book by Sandra Ardoin

By now you know that we’re saying goodbye to Seriously Write, so I wanted to add my own farewell—or let’s just call it a “see you later”—to those of the others you’ve read this month. 

Don’t worry, you’ll still have access to past articles, and I hope you’ll come back here on occasion, looking for answers to some of your questions, or maybe some encouragement to keep plugging away in this business.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Are You Fervent About Your Writing? by JoAnn Durgin

Meme about being Fervent in Our Writing

Are you fervent about your writing?


In my ladies’ Bible study, we’re currently working through the book, Fervent, written by Priscilla Shirer. “Fervent” is an intriguing word, isn’t it? It’s not a word we’re used to hearing in everyday conversation. Most of the ladies in our group hadn’t heard of the word at all. Here’s the basic definition of fervent: “having or displaying a passionate intensity about something.”

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Saying Goodbye Can Be A Good Thing by Terri Weldon

This is my last post on Seriously Write. The last time I’ll ever pull up Blogger and load a post that will be published on This and That Thursday. It feels bittersweet.

My journey on Seriously Write has been progressive. I guest blogged, then became a regular contributor, and eventually moved to hostess when Dora Hiers felt led to pursue other writing related goals. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

The ladies on the blog: Annette Irby, Dawn Kinzer, Sandy Ardoin, Dora Hiers, Angie Arndt, and Mary Felkins have been a joy to work with. I’d also like to give a special shout out to the regular contributors I’ve been blessed to work with: Sally Shupe, Patti Jo Moore, Susan Tuttle, and Heidi Chiavaroli.

Sounds sad so far – right? So you may be wondering where the Saying Goodbye Can Be A Good Thing title comes in. Each stage of my Seriously Write journey has been filled with anticipation of what each step would bring. That’s even true of the end of the blog.

I know God isn’t through with me or my writing yet, so I’m left to ask, “What’s next, Lord?” Seeing what God has planned and anticipating what the future holds is exciting. Knowing I’ll have more time to write or time to serve a writing group in some extra capacity is encouraging. Is the end of Seriously Write scary? Not really. When we discussed ending the blog it seemed as if God was leading us to do so. We may not know always what His plans are for us, but we know they are far greater than anything we could plan for ourselves.

Seriously Write has been good to me. I’ve made friendships I hope to never lose. A quote often attributed to Dr. Seuss says it best, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

So I leave you today with a smile. I’m feeling joyful that I was invited to be a part of Seriously Write. Blessings my friends – both now and forever.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all." —2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT 

Saying Goodbye Can Be A Good Thing



A quote often attributed to Dr. Seuss says it best, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”



Terri Weldon
feels blessed to be a full time writer. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in the Heartland of the United States. Terri is a member of ACFW and RWA. Readers can connect with Terri on her Website: www.TerriWeldon.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

‘For We Saw His Star when It Rose' by Patty Smith Hall

‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast ordained; What is a man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?’  Psalms 8:3-4

When I was a little girl, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. We’d put up our tree, one fresh from my Granddaddy Smith’s nursery, the second week of December and spend a Sunday afternoon decorating. I remember lying under it, watching all the twinkly lights reflect off the store-bought ornaments and tinsel and thinking it was the most beautiful tree I’d ever seen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Keep the Faith by Shannon Redmon

The End…Two words that carry a multitude of meanings. 

When a writer completes a story, these two words bring joy and satisfaction. When a chaotic year comes to a close, these two words signify relief and hope for a better tomorrow. 

Many of us look forward to 2020 coming to an end. But when these two words are included in a sweet goodbye to our very own Seriously Write Blog, sadness resounds and reflection begins. 

These two words may conclude the end of our blog, but the writers, contributors and readers will continue forward. Our call to write and read is still clear. Instead of an ending, let this be a new chapter in our lives, an open door, a new mission from God. He’s freed up time for us to do something new. 

And who doesn’t love something new? 

Especially at Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐ŸŽ„

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Writer's Final Repose

Seven and a half years have gone by since I first blogged for Seriously Write. The mission? Reach out to writers. Encourage them. Engage. Maybe entertain. But most of all, equip. Give writers tools to succeed. However, as you know, writers are freaks—their interests are so bizarre you never know what will win and what will be tossed onto the slush pile. I opened my history to see what received the most hits. 

So, for the past seven and a half years of my column, what have you freaks been interested in? 

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Season for Everything – My Farewell to Seriously Write by Dawn Kinzer

A Photo of a Tree in All 4 Seasons

A Season for Everything
My Farewell to Seriously Write 

One of my favorite Bible verses expresses so perfectly the path we’ve now chosen for Seriously Write.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens... (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

This is the last post I’ll write for this blog, and I’ll admit that while I strongly believe to my core that it’s time to close the doors to this ministry, there still lingers a bit of sadness in my heart.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

YULE Be Blessed by Patti Jo Moore

As the Seriously Write Blog comes to a close, I want to say how very blessed I’ve been getting to know so many of you in this community. Yes, we may have only met online, but I consider you a friend nonetheless.

When Terri Weldon (waving at this precious lady!) asked me to be a regular contributor, I was humbled and honored. I know I still have much to learn on this writing journey, yet if I can offer even a bit of encouragement to one person, I’m happy to do so. And so, in my final post of Seriously Write, may I offer encouragement to you today. Please don’t give up---no matter where you are in your writing journey. If things are going well for you, be thankful, celebrate, and try to bless others with what you’ve learned along the way. If things are not going well, don’t despair! If you’ve prayed and genuinely feel called to write in this season of your life, keep writing. Many authors go through a “dry season” and go for months (or years) with no writing contracts. Some authors feel the sting of a poor review, while others start second-guessing their writing career. Then, just like the first twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, things begin to look brighter. Maybe a new contract is offered, a writing contest win gives a boost, or readers eagerly ask for more books - - all giving much-needed hope to the author.

Just as with any career, the writing journey is not always smooth or easy. But if you seek the Lord’s guidance, work hard, and are willing to share what you’ve learned with others, your blessings will abound. Even in a challenging year like 2020, when many are wondering if they’re having a bad dream and will suddenly wake up to a “normal” year, there are still blessings. Lots of them.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I want to wish each of you a happy, healthy Christmas - - no matter how different your celebration might look this year. May you feel the joy and peace that comes from being truly thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ. Because if you have Jesus in your life, you are blessed beyond measure.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 

I know I still have much to learn on this writing journey, yet if I can offer even a bit of encouragement to one person, I’m happy to do so. And so, in my final post of Seriously Write, may I offer encouragement to you today.



SCROOGE'S HOLLY DAZE


Holly Sims loves Christmas and children, so when she’s asked to help plan a Christmas festival for foster children, she’s thrilled. As a newcomer to Pine Valley, North Carolina, Holly is eager to become involved in church activities and meet people. When she continues seeing a handsome but sullen man in town, she’s curious about him. Why does he appear so unhappy?

Rick Bates is fine with being an introvert. After being shifted from family to family throughout his childhood, he knows he cannot depend or trust anyone and must guard his heart. Running his small business and taking photographs of nature scenes are all he needs in his life. So why does he continue thinking about the auburn-haired woman he keeps seeing?

When Holly asks Rick to take photos at the Christmas festival, he’s ready to decline—until he learns it’s a festival for foster children. When he arrives at the event, Rick is in awe of the decorations, including countless twinkle lights. But the joy on the children’s faces stirs his heart even more. With help from a Christmas-loving lady, a friendly town, and a kitten named Taco, Rick knows the ice around his heart is melting.

Patti Jo Moore
is a retired kindergarten teacher and lifelong Georgia girl. She loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee, and is blessed to be published with Forget-Me-Not Romances. When she’s not spending time with her family (including her two sweet grandbabies) or writing her “Sweet, Southern Stories” Patti Jo can be found feeding cats—her own six and local strays.

She loves connecting with readers and other writers, and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore or her personal blog at http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Purpose-Driven Fiction 8 Questions for Your Writing Journey by Cathy Gohlke

You want to write fiction; you want your story to matter, to have meaning. You want readers to walk away changed for the better, drawn closer to the Lord, but where to begin? How do we find The Story we’re meant to tell in the midst of the world’s many deep needs?

I’m convinced that we are wonderfully made, designed by our loving Father for a unique purpose—and that includes our writing. To help discover your unique story, consider asking these questions:

1. What makes me pound the table and weep that also breaks the heart of God? What does He continue to bring to your attention through quiet time with Him or through the news? This will help you focus on a topic.

2. Is my heartbreak more for the world or the church? This will help focus your writing for your readership.

3. What moves and inspires me to greater heights? This will help your character find their “aha moment”—establishing the needed trajectory of your protagonist’s character arc.

4. How has God uniquely prepared me to pursue this passion? What has prepared you emotionally/spiritually, physically/psychologically to write this story? Can you trace God’s preparations in your life’s journey?

5. How has God uniquely prepared me to write this specific story? What have you learned, experienced, or done that relates to the characters’ journeys? What are your strengths and your spiritual journey—especially as they might be found in your protagonist or mentor character? What are your insecurities, demons, things you’ve overcome or continue to struggle with that might be found either in your protagonist or your villain?

Do you have friends, family, or personal connections to help with your research?

6. How do I know what genre to write? What kind of stories best speak life lessons to you? What do you love to read? What did you love to read as a child, as a young person, as a young adult, as an adult? We usually write best what we love to read.

7. Which comes first—the need God placed on my heart or the story? Which came first to your mind?

If you thought first of the need, ask in what time period, culture, among what type of characters this need would best be played out. Often our natural inclinations and familiarity with people in our lives can answer this.

If you thought first of the story, develop the characters you “see” in your head and ask how they would confront or deal with this need in the context of the plot you have in mind.

8. What helps my characters grow? Trouble. Give them trouble. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble”—and He wasn’t kidding. Ask what challenges will help your characters grow, change their course of action, repent and surrender in order to allow redemption to take place. That’s the goal of all our stories—the ones we write and the one we live. 


8 Questions to Ask to Discover Your Story via @GohlkeCathy #SeriouslyWrite



~~~~~~


Four-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning author Cathy Gohlke writes
novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.

Visit her website at cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

LINKS:

Media Center Link for Night Bird Calling –where you can access Media Alert, Author Q&A, etc.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Are You Seeking Excellence or Perfection? By Marie Wells Coutu

How long should it take to revise a novel? 

That’s a loaded question, of course, since very writer is different, every story is different, and every season of life is different. 

Given the weirdness of 2020 you may have had much more time to work on your writing this year—or much less. A more important question is, “How do you know when you’re done revising? When is the manuscript ‘finished’?” 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Copyediting is Subjective by Annette M. Irby

 


There are as many editorial preferences as there are editors.

Publishers generally have in-house style guides for their editors and authors. Their teams can reference those guides to answer stylistic questions, especially when trusted, outside sources vary or fail to cover the topic in question.

Below, I’ll share examples of preferences that may vary among editors and publishers.

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Battle Belongs to the Lord by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says  "Writer Life"

The Battle Belongs to the Lord 

In this difficult time, the Lord’s intentions are for our good. He is refining our character and teaching us important truths. As Christians writers, our desire is to learn, to cooperate, and to seek out what He’s trying to get across to us. May we be quick to learn.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Friends and Family by Sally Shupe

Who do you call on when you need something? Who understands you and supports you, who can you rely on? Who can tell by the look on your face what kind of day you’re having? Friends and family, right? It’s the same for our writing journey, or if we’re going through a rough patch, or trying to accomplish something that seems to be harder than we imagined or thought we could deal with. Friends and family are our backbone, our support system, our encouragers. It would be a very lonely journey without them, wouldn’t it?

There is a saying, there is safety in numbers. This is so true. When you have something to celebrate, it’s so much more exciting when you can share that with someone. If something happens that’s hard to handle, a disappointment, a let-down, a set-back, it’s easier to walk through if we can share that struggle with someone. For instance, if you receive harsh feedback from a writing contest judge, it’s easier to handle when you can talk about it with people who know your writing. If you’re trying to clean out your closet or organize your craft room or finish writing your first novel, you’ll be kept on track if you share your goals with someone. Then, if you struggle through the process or hit roadblocks, you have someone to commiserate with, someone to keep you accountable. But then when you do finish? You have someone ready to celebrate with you! The more the merrier.

Find a tribe of people. Reach out to people who write in the same genre as you do. Connect with people who like the same hobbies or who have the same interests. And keep in touch. You never know what someone may be going through, and your contact may be just what they need.

Is there someone who’s always been there for you? Has someone, or a group of someones, been in your corner and you didn’t know it till you looked up and saw them there? Give them a shout out below. For my writing journey, I have two people who call themselves my number one fans. My best friend Sandy and my son. Without them, I wouldn’t have continued writing once I started. I would have given up before I reached out and found writing friends and groups and special contacts (writing sisters!). Without them, I wouldn’t have completed stories, or continued learning the craft of writing to improve those stories, or continued writing new stories. Sandy and Cory, here’s to you. Thanks for your support, your prayers, being my first-readers, and most of all for your honest feedback.

When I heard the news that Seriously Write was ending, this was the first thing I thought of. Friends and family. I have so enjoyed my time here. But this isn’t the end. We are friends and family! We may not be able to keep socializing here, but we can connect in other ways. If you need encouragement, someone to cheer with you, someone to pray with you, reach out to me. We’re here for each other on this journey! I would enjoy hearing from you! 

 

When I heard the news that Seriously Write was ending, this was the first thing I thought of. Friends and family. I have so enjoyed my time here. But this isn’t the end. We are friends and family!



Sally Shupe lives in southwest Virginia with her husband, has two grown kids-a daughter still at home and a son not-so nearby, and a whole bunch of pets: four dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and birds at the birdfeeder (and the mandatory snowman when the snow cooperates). She is an aspiring Christian author of small town contemporary inspirational romance, with two completed manuscripts and several more in progress.

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/content editor for several e-book publishing companies; performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews; is a member of ACFW; and loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

Sally publishes weekly blog posts that can be found through her website: https://sallyshupe.weebly.com/, and she posts on the first Thursday of the month at https://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Attention Deficit? by Cherrilynn Bisbano

I couldn’t concentrate. After years of research and my son’s diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), I finally had the answer to my fidgeting, unfinished projects, and my urge to blurt things out during a conversation for fear the words would escape me. I too have ADHD.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

How to Have It All as a Christian Writer by Emily Conrad

 

Line of books

I’ve had the privilege of talking with a bunch of established novelists this year, and as you might guess, I’ve learned a lot. But perhaps what’s most striking is what I’m unlearning.

Monday, November 30, 2020

First Fruits by Melanie Campbell

 

Melanie Campbell

One old piece of writing advice is to “write what you know.” The worthiness of said advice is up for interpretation. In my Whispers of Grace series, I’ve taken what I know—both literally and emotionally—and created a trilogy of stories. The stories are deep, yet full of hope. Though many say they can’t put the books down, these are not light or easy reads. One of my goals was to take the reader on a journey in the life of someone they otherwise may not be able to identify with. It’s what I believe God gave me the ability to do.

One Way Home, the second book in my series, was released on November 1. Who knew my second book would be released in the middle of a pandemic, political upheaval, and economic uncertainty? In the midst of such sorrow, who wants to read an emotional book about a recovering alcoholic? As my sales numbers remain discouraging, I’ve questioned God’s timing on the release of this book.

This is the faultiness of my human, earthly thinking.

In Deuteronomy 26:9-11, the Israelites are commanded to allow the first crops to ripen just prior to harvest. They were then to offer those crops as an act of worship and as a blessing on the rest of the harvest. The Whispers of Grace series are my first published books. I’ve given them to God. All my profits from the first book, One Woman Falling, are being donated to charities who assist families affected by abuse and addiction.

You see, these books are not about sales numbers or best-seller’s lists. God gave me a ministry in the writing of these stories, a mission to reach others with a message of hope in real-life situations that seem impossible to overcome. I have poured my own life experiences, my complete heart, my best writing, into these stories. They are for Him and His purposes, not my own. These are my first fruits.

In James 1:17-18, James says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” (ESV version)

Every good gift, including the stories God gives us to tell, comes from the Father of light. There is no variation or shadow due to change. The turmoil of the year 2020 doesn’t stop God from doing His work or His truth from being known. His light shines in the darkness. The work that is from Him is eternal, unhindered by the times in which it was birthed.

I know my books will end up in the hands of readers who need them, whether it be today or ten years from now. From God’s good, eternal hands into the hearts of those who need hope.

I have poured my own life experiences, my complete heart, my best writing, into these stories. They are for Him and His purposes, not my own. These are my first fruits. @MelanieJean_27 #amwriting

~~~~~
One Way Home

She’s hanging by a string—with only one chance left.

A recovering alcoholic and longtime widow, Sharon has struggled to build a new life. She’s made amends with her only daughter, Cassie, who’s been through a treacherous divorce. Cassie’s daughter, Renee, too young to understand her grandmother’s earlier mistakes, has become the light of Sharon’s life.

But Sharon can’t seem to escape from her past. Her mother’s deathbed confession haunts her. Convinced the answer to truly overcoming her addiction lies with her biological father, Sharon sends off a DNA test in the hope of finding him. When the results of the test aren’t as revealing as Sharon anticipates, she and Cassie team up to find the truth.

Meanwhile an old flame shows up. Sharon doesn’t think she can ever love again, but what Johnny offers seems like a dream come true. His charm and kindness shine so bright, Sharon can almost believe he’s changed.

As the search for her father continues to frustrate and tensions escalate with Cassie, Sharon wonders if leaving it all behind for a life with Johnny will save her crumbling heart.

Will the truth set Sharon free? Or it will it be the final blow to her sobriety?

~~~~~

Melanie Campbell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and ACFW. Her debut novel, One Woman Falling, won the 2020 Oregon Christian Writer’s Cascade Award for contemporary fiction and was a finalist for the Selah Award for first novel. One Way Home, the second novel in her Whispers of Grace series, released November 1, 2020. Melanie is 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 family and several spoiled pets.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Announcement from Seriously Write

 

Hi, everyone. Annette here. I'll share more later, but I wanted you to be the first to know that we've decided to close Seriously Write as of late December 2020. A lot of prayer and conversation went into this decision because we hostesses have been committed to bringing encouragement for your writing journey for well over eleven years.

I'll share more in my final post on December 21, 2020. Until then, you can continue to expect fresh content every weekday, as always, from our regular contributors, guests, and hostesses. 

Thank you for visiting Seriously Write. Write on, friends!

Make a careful exploration of who you are and
the work you have been given,
and then sink yourself into that.
Don’t be impressed with yourself.
Don’t compare yourself with others.
Each of you must take responsibility for doing
the creative best you can with your own life.

Galatians 6:4-5 MSG

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Child Was Born by Pattie Frampton

Photo of the Nativity

A Child Was Born 

We all know the story. It has been told in various ways over the years. In song, movies, books. Some of us learned of it in Sunday school. Others from Linus in his impassioned speech alongside a sorry little Christmas tree. In some way, shape or form, the Christmas story has reached all of us.

A child was born.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. -Psalm 100 

Seriously Write is closed today to allow us to spend the holiday with our family and friends. We wish you a blessed and safe Thanksgiving. We will be back tomorrow and look forward to visiting with you then.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Seriously Write Team

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How I Write a Novel by Elva Cobb Martin

Writing a novel is no easy task. Do I hear some amen’s from the back row? Having just finished my fifth novel’s first draft, I now have a workable plan that I stick to in order to get a novel finished on time. BTW, the FIRST novel was the hardest to finish, so don’t give up. Get that first one done, and it does get easier. ( :

Here are tested and tried tips that work well for me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Confident in the Write Way by Emily Wickham

 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5, NASB)

Sitting at the traffic light, I was frustrated when the green signal repeatedly skipped my lane. I thought I knew how to solve the problem although I questioned my instinct. I also was blocked in by other vehicles. Finally, however, an opening emerged that enabled me to move forward. Now at the head of the line, I pulled up far enough to trip the light. Sure enough, our signal turned green in the next cycle. 

I was elated, feeling great about my success even though I hadn’t been entirely confident at the outset. 

Writers also encounter problems and question their sense of how to respond. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

What Happened to my Handwriting Skills?

My computer sits on the desk waiting for me. I have my writing area near a window so I can glance outside from time to time and enjoy the view of the neighborhood. People taking leisurely walks, children creating fun designs with sidewalk chalk, and delivery trucks stopping to leave packages on doorsteps.

I try to write(type) every day. Stories, devotions, articles and more. Most of that writing is done on the computer. However, I do enjoy writing snail mail to friends and family. A postcard, a note, a special celebration card or thinking of you card are all included in my daily writing.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Finding Inspiration by JoAnn Durgin

Mark Twain Riverboat

Finding Inspiration 


Some of the world’s most notable authors have found inspiration for their literary success in interesting (and sometimes peculiar) ways. Here are a few examples. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 - What Are You Thankful For? by Terri Weldon

2020 has been a year for the record books and it is all too easy to focus on the negative. Since Seriously Write will be closed on Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I wanted to take a minute to talk about our blessings today. Then we can take the week leading up to Thanksgiving to reflect on the good things in our lives.

1. God is still soverign. No matter what happens we can hold firm and fast to that truth.

2. My household is COVID-19 free. In the state I live in the virus is running rampant, so I'm very thankful for a healthy family. 

3. I have a roof over my head and plenty of food to eat. Things I take for granted, but necessities many don't possess.

4. Friends I can keep in touch with via technology even when I'm not able to see them face to face.

But wait, Seriously Write is geared toward writers. So how does this apply? Here are a few writing blessings I'm thankful for.

1. More time to write. Normally my calendar is jampacked with more to do than I can get done. A slower paced life, even if it is forced on me, provides more writing time. Now to make myself take advantage of that writing time. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

2. More online opportunities for learning than I've ever seen before! I attended two conferences and countless workshops.

3. NaNoWriMo. I'm not participating this year, but I've seen some fabulous word counts.

4. Trusting God like never before to decide which direction to take my writing.

a. Traditionally published or focus on indie. I'm not telling yet!

b. Trying a different genre. There is a genre I've been wanting to try for quite some time and I'm going to give it a whirl!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

I hope you and your family have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving Day.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever. - 1 Chronicles 16:34 

Trusting God like never before to decide which direction to take my writing.

A Match Made in Sheffield 
by Terri Weldon

Natalie Benton bounced from one foster home to another until she landed on Ellie Alexander’s doorstep. Natalie’s vagabond childhood caused her to yearn for a secure life, which led to Natalie’s five-year plan: complete her law degree, marry the perfect man, become a partner at Montgomery, Haynes, and Preston, and produce one child. Getting arrested wasn’t in Natalie’s plan. Needing a public defender wasn’t in her plan. Falling for Grady Hunter, her public defender, definitely wasn’t in her plan. Can Grady convince Natalie there is more to life than her five-year plan? Is Ellie the only one who sees a future for Natalie and Grady?

Terri Weldon feels blessed to be a full time writer. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in the Heartland of the United States. Terri is a member of ACFW and RWA. Readers can connect with Terri on her Website: www.TerriWeldon.com 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Before You Hit Send… by Patty Smith Hall

At various times in my writing career, I’ve been in the unique position of being a deciding factor in whether a manuscript was accepted for publication or not. As a first reader for Harlequin and now as an editor for Winged Publications, I’m often the first person to see your manuscript after you hit send. 

So many times, I wish I could have caught the writer before he or she hit send. Then I would have shared the five things to do before you send your manuscript off.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Lost Job, Found God: Life Lesson for Writers by Shannon Redmon

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 

Faith is always easier to read about than when God requires us to put our trust into action. The stories of Bible heroes walking on water or passing through the Red Sea tend to grab our attention and foster up dreams of experiencing supernatural miracles with God. 

But what happens when we, like our Bible heroes are required to put our faith into practice and step into the dark, stormy waters? 

The daily slog through life is often easy, sometimes quite comfortable...until life sways from our carefully laid plans, like I discovered this week when my company decided to cut positions due to COVID-19. 

Mine was one of the positions eliminated. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Answering When God Calls by Patty Nicholas-Boyte

I think we can all agree that 2020 definitely has been a year full of challenges as well as some unique opportunities and, if we’ve been looking for it, some God sightings. 

I’ve studied through the book of Nehemiah at the end of last year and into the beginning of this year. I have written out of Nehemiah and God has not let me move out of the lessons I’ve learned this year. If you permit me, I’d like to share some of what God has taught me this year. 

Many of the life lessons I’ve learned this year have directly impacted my writing. I hope this lesson will Impact your writing as well.

Nehemiah 11:4-6
New International Version
while other people from both Judah and Benjaminlived in Jerusalem):
From the descendants of Judah:Athaiah son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, a descendant of Perez; and Maaseiah son of Baruch, the son of Kol-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, a descendant of Shelah. The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 men of standing.



 In Chapter 11, the Israelites had a problem. Even after the city of Jerusalem was rebuilt, it remained vastly unoccupied. There were several reasons for the empty Holy City; one of them being fear, another being, people had already settled in outlying towns before the walls had been repaired, and thus they did not want to uproot their families and move. Therefore, it was necessary to cast lots and select people to move into the city. 

The majority of chapter 11 is a long list of names of those selected to move into the Holy City. If you are like me, I often skim long sections of names in the bible, but today, I want to highlight a few of the people listed above. First, Nehemiah starts with the lines of Judah, and of Benjamin. The first two kings over Israel arose from these two tribes. King David from Judah, and King Saul from Benjamin, so it was intentional that these two tribes had top billing and begin the repopulation of the city. 

Next I want to focus on the fact that the sons of Perez are listed in a prominent manner. Perez was the illegitimately conceived son of Judah and Tamar. If you are not familiar with the story, you can read about it in Genesis Chapter 38. I believe God gave the sons of Perez an important part of repopulating His Holy City of Jerusalem because of the man’s difficult past. 

I believe both the lines of the kings, as well as those with a checkered past are mentioned because God welcomes all who will come into His presence through His son. He draws us all to Himself. All to His Holy City. The city on a hill. 

Isaiah 10:14 
“And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest, And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth; And there was not one that flapped its wing, opened its beak, or chirped.” 

What can we learn from Nehemiah? 

  • As the first two tribes were called upon to do God’s work, they answered the call. When God calls you to work, or write for Him, be the first to answer when God calls. 
  • God has given you a story to in your heart, do not let your past hinder you from doing what God is asking of you. 
  • Obey God’s word, make a step of faith and we will have a part of His Holy City. 

 Whether you are published, or as I like to say, pre-published, making a step of faith may not seem safe or comfortable, but He will reward you for making the move.

making a step of faith may not seem safe or comfortable, but He will reward you for making the move.

It took courage for these men to move their families from a comfortable home in the country to a city that wasn’t necessarily safe, but God not only honors our faith, but also our actions. He listed these men as men who took the steps and moved into Jerusalem. A city on a hill, which contained God’s Holy presence. What steps of faith is God calling you to make? 

James 2: 14-17 “What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” 

  1. What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change? 
  2. What work has God given me that I am afraid to do? 
  3. What is holding me back from moving in my calling? 
  4. What can I do to listen more intently to the Holy Spirit? 
  5. What is in my past that is causing me to doubt God’s call? 
  6. What Holy City is God calling me to make into?

Multi award winning writer, Patty Nicholas-Boyte lives with her Husband Brian 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 and Word Weavers International. She is a mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three. She writes Bible studies and devotionals as well as contemporary romance. 

Patty Nicholas-Boyte

She is a regular contributor to the Cove Blog.
Devotions are published in compilations by Lighthouse Bible Studies.
facebook.com/patty.l.nicholas
twitter.com/PattyNicholas2
https://thecove.org/blog

Heart Renovation a Construction Guide to Godly CharacterFeed Your Soul

Friday, November 13, 2020

Why Do Podcasts About Books? by Chautona Havig

Although many of us are introverts, it’s still important and exciting for us to sometimes challenge ourselves and do something a little different in our writing world. That’s why I’ve asked my friend, Chautona Havig, to chat with us today and share part of her personal journey and the “because fiction
 podcast. ~ Dawn


Why Do Podcasts About Books? 

“Don’t you think there are enough podcasts out there? Why do one about books?”

I’d anticipated the first question. It’s not an unreasonable one—one I’d asked myself before I decided to do it. The perfect answer presented itself before I even had a chance to think about it. “Are there enough books out there?”

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Carrot Confessions by Patti Jo Moore

“Hello, my name is Patti Jo, and at one time in my life, I was addicted to carrots.” Yes, you read that right - - carrots. Not the Bugs Bunny variety of carrots, but the tiny baby carrots—juicy, sweet, and crunchy. Easy to carry with me when I taught school years ago, or wanted a snack while driving my car in the afternoons as a busy soccer mom. I figured they were a healthy snack, right? But the more I ate, the more I wanted. It’s as though my body craved baby carrots.

That winter when I went for my usual thyroid check-up, the doctor gave me a good report, but then added his only concern was the yellowish-orange tint of my skin. I simply laughed and replied that it must be the pound bag of baby carrots I consumed daily. He appeared stunned and wouldn’t let me leave his office until the nutritionist on duty had a talk with me, strongly urging me to limit the carrots and add celery and broccoli to my snack choices. What I learned that day was concerning. The excess Vitamin A I was getting in the little orange nuggets was not only coloring my skin, but giving me headaches (which I’d thought were from teaching lively first-graders!). She informed me that taking in that much Vitamin A was toxic to my body. I was horrified.

Needless to say, I cut way back on the carrots. But to this day, when I walk past the bags of baby carrots in the grocery store, my mouth waters. Seriously. Recently I was reminded of that time in my life, and that old phrase “too much of a good thing” echoed in my thoughts. I’d honestly thought I was doing something good when I began snacking regularly on the carrots, but little did I know I gradually did harm to my body. Another phrase comes to mind: All things in moderation.

As so often happens, my carrot-related thoughts led to writing (of course). ๐Ÿ˜Š Just as too much of a certain food isn’t healthy for us, putting too much of anything in stories doesn’t help and often turns away readers. I’ve posted before about my tendency to include many eating scenes in my stories. After all, my stories are set in the South, and food is an important part of our lives, right? But I’m trying to limit the eating scenes, although it’s a challenge.

When writers attend workshops, we’re often reminded not to give too much backstory at the beginning of our story, even though we’re eager for readers to know what’s happened in our character’s past. We’re told it’s better to sprinkle in the information gradually, rather than in excess at the beginning. Some years ago, I read a story that had so much description of the setting in the very first paragraph, I had to re-read (several times!) to let it sink in. Moderation is key - - in eating, and yes, in our writing too!

If you ever read a story and learn that a character has an unusual habit of eating too many carrots, don’t assume something so strange could never happen. Hopefully the writer will use moderation, and not include too many unique habits for the characters. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading to my refrigerator to find some broccoli---not my first choice, but it’ll do.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
 Psalm 139:14 

SCROOGE'S HOLLY DAZE

Holly Sims loves Christmas and children, so when she’s asked to help plan a Christmas festival for foster children, she’s thrilled. As a newcomer to Pine Valley, North Carolina, Holly is eager to become involved in church activities and meet people. When she continues seeing a handsome but sullen man in town, she’s curious about him. Why does he appear so unhappy?

Rick Bates is fine with being an introvert. After being shifted from family to family throughout his childhood, he knows he cannot depend or trust anyone and must guard his heart. Running his small business and taking photographs of nature scenes are all he needs in his life. So why does he continue thinking about the auburn-haired woman he keeps seeing?

When Holly asks Rick to take photos at the Christmas festival, he’s ready to decline—until he learns it’s a festival for foster children. When he arrives at the event, Rick is in awe of the decorations, including countless twinkle lights. But the joy on the children’s faces stirs his heart even more. With help from a Christmas-loving lady, a friendly town, and a kitten named Taco, Rick knows the ice around his heart is melting. 



Patti Jo Moore
is a retired kindergarten teacher and lifelong Georgia girl. She loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee, and is blessed to be published with Forget-Me-Not Romances. When she’s not spending time with her family (including her two sweet grandbabies) or writing her “Sweet, Southern Stories” Patti Jo can be found feeding cats—her own six and local strays.

She loves connecting with readers and other writers, and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore or her personal blog at http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

7 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Characters to Ensure a Deep and Powerful Story by Allie Pleiter

We all want our stories to go deep, to be significant, to matter to our readers. Often that means tackling difficult issues. For a writer like myself known for humor, that poses a challenging balance. How do you deliver joy and hope while at the same time going to those deep and often dark places?

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Are You Tired? You’re Not Alone By Marie Wells Coutu

Everyone seems to be wearied by 2020. 

The pandemic, the election, hurricanes, fires, a derecho*, illnesses and deaths of loved ones, layoffs and closed businesses, canceled events. Even Black Friday will be different this year, to avoid “spreader” crowds. 

We’re just so tired of it all. 

On Facebook, Kermit the Frog declared he would not set his clock back when Daylight Saving Time ended. “I don’t want another hour of 2020,” he said. 

I get it. 

This post is as much for me as for you. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Obsessed Historical Fiction Writer

My history professor was agog that fact checkers looked over my manuscript before it was published. 

His arms flailed about in frustration as he spoke. “It’s fiction. You’re making it all up. Why do you need fact checkers?” Rather than push him out the second story window, which would be unkind, I explained the three kinds of historical fiction writers. 

The Flavor Writer 

This historical fiction writer wants the flavor of the past without being burdened by accuracy. In other words, this writer drives up to the fast food window and says, “I’ll take the swords, armor, countries, political structures, generalized living conditions, but leave out the historical facts. And a small diet Coke to go, please.” 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Encouragement in the Race by Melinda V. Inman

Photo of people running a race on a track

Encouragement in the Race 

In high school, I ran track, the 440-yard dash and the 880. Track was then measured in yards, not meters. A 440-yard sprint was one lap around the entire football field. When rounding the final curve, runners had depleted their energy reserves. Yet still, the entire race was a sprint.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

2020-The Year Anything is Possible by Sally Shupe

I’ve been thinking back over the year, and what’s happened, and have come to the conclusion, anything is possible this year! From the pandemic that shut everything down to murder hornets to a super storm named after me ๐Ÿ˜Š we’ve seen it all. It is so easy to get caught up in all the storms around us. But in the midst of the storms, the pandemic, the rough patches of our lives, God is still there. What we choose to do with our time, is our choice. What have you chosen to focus on this year?

At first, I was focused on figuring out how to work from home. I’ll admit, it took me a while to get adjusted. If you’ve got kids at home, home schooling was a big adjustment.

But the other day, I was in a Zoom meeting, and it changed my perspective. I had hope again, a change in focus. We had planned a trip to see our son and his wife. My colleague stated that except for COVID, we probably would not have planned as long a trip. She was so right! In normal times, I would have taken just enough time off to stay a few days and rush right back. I would not have slowed down or even thought about taking a little more time to enjoy my stay. That opened my eyes. What other things had changed or happened over the course of the year that I hadn’t really paid attention to?

Two events stick out in my mind. We had to put two of our pets to sleep over the summer-- Our 14-year-old Jack Russell, Pumpkin, and our 22-year-old cat, Sassy. But then I got to thinking. Since I was working from home, I was able to spend so much time with them. I still miss them so much, but I’m so thankful for the extra time I had with them. I’ve also been eating better. Since I’m at home, I’m able to prepare healthier lunches and snacks. I’ve been exercising more. Not having the commute back and forth gave me extra time. And let’s not forget having to learn Zoom and other computer programs! What are some things you’ve had to adjust to or struggled with?

How many of you attended virtual writing conferences? I got to attend three or four writing conferences, since they were being offered online. They were awesome and I learned so much. I submitted work to a couple of contests for the feedback. Thinking back over the year, I accomplished so much more than I thought I would or did.

What are some things that you’ve experienced over the past year that you’re thankful for? Did you make it through each day? Did you get that one room cleaned out? Did you start or finish a story? Did you submit a story or get published? Think on these things. Let’s not get mired down in the disappointments, the uncertainty. Let’s be thankful, rejoiceful, cheerful. Share a smile and a word of encouragement with the next person you meet. If you’ve struggled through this year and can’t believe it isn’t at least 2022 already, it’s okay. God hasn’t forsaken us. He gives us strength to face each day. If you’ve thrived during this time at home, that is great also. Let’s finish this year strong. What is one thing you’d like to accomplish before this year is over? Share below so we can encourage one another. Let’s make 2020 the year anything is possible. Reach for your dreams!

Sally Shupe
lives in southwest Virginia with her husband, has two grown kids-a daughter still at home and a son not-so nearby, and a whole bunch of pets: four dogs, three cats, a rabbit, and birds at the birdfeeder (and the mandatory snowman when the snow cooperates). She is an aspiring Christian author of small town contemporary inspirational romance, with two completed manuscripts and several more in progress.

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/content editor for several e-book publishing companies; performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews; is a member of ACFW; and loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

Sally publishes weekly blog posts that can be found through her website: https://sallyshupe.weebly.com/, and she posts on the first Thursday of the month at https://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Writing isn’t for wimps or what I learned during in my journey … by Pat Nichols

 

If you're just starting out in the business of writing, you'll soon learn that there's a lot to learn. Pat Nichols shares some of her experience. 


Lesson one: 

Nine years after retiring from the corporate world the loss of a close family friend inspired me to write a story loosely based on her life. Why not? I loved to read and thanks to my career I had plenty of experience writing business letters, training materials, even some newspaper articles. So, I opened my laptop and typed chapter one. A year later I finished the manuscript with images of publication dancing in my head. 

Until…

Monday, November 2, 2020

Rethinking Your Writing Goal by Emily Conrad

The problem first developed as I collected critiques on my work.

It didn’t strike me as a problem, though.

Instead, this problem masqueraded as a goal: To write submissions so good, my critique partners had as few comments about weaknesses in my manuscript as possible.

The more positive comments I could win, the better.

As I advanced in my writing career, I took those goals with me. Only, then, in addition to wanting to avoid constructive criticism and earn praise from critique partners, I also hoped to achieve the same from editors and readers.

Why do these tandem goals—avoid criticism and earn praise—now strike me as problematic?

Where Do I Begin? by Annette M. Irby

Dream*

On October 20, 2020, one of my publishing dreams came true. A team of fellow authors and I published a Christmas novella compilation together. (see below)

Probably twenty years ago now, I spent holiday seasons reading Barbour Publishing’s four-in-one novella compilations. I loved them—historicals. Contemporaries. Small-town, countryside. Homey. Romantic. Christmassy. These collections became a part of my holiday tradition. They inspired me, creatively.

And I dreamed of one day being a member of the team who published a novella collection.

I had no idea how long I’d have to wait.