Friday, July 10, 2020

Focusing on the Full Story by Lorri Dudley

Many of us are facing challenges not only in our writing journey but also in our personal lives. Take heart! Author Lorri Dudley encourages us to remember that what we’re dealing with today is only a part of our story. ~ Dawn 

Focusing on 

the Full Story

Would you want to be the character of a romance novel? We might relish the thrill of the hero and heroine’s gazes holding a tad longer than appropriate, the quickening of pulse as their fingers brush, or the intimacy of their mingling breath as a loose strand of hair is tucked behind an ear. We might sigh with longing at those romantic moments, but my answer is a firm, no, thank you. Granted, I may have a different perspective as a writer.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Who Are You? By Patti Jo Moore

Many years ago, I was in a local store with my three children. A nice lady approached us, greeting me enthusiastically and asking how I’d been. The more she talked, the more obvious it became she knew me. She did most of the talking, and a few minutes later, we went our separate ways. When we’d gotten further away, my oldest daughter whispered to me, “Who was she?” I shook my head and replied, “I have no idea. No idea at all.”

Later we laughed about that incident, although I never figured out where I’d met her. But it was likely at one of the schools where I’d taught, or maybe she’d visited my church. Or we could’ve chatted at a Little League baseball game. Yet as she’d chattered away in a friendly tone, I could not bring myself to ask, “Who are you?”

Thinking about that incident recently made me think about my fictional story characters, and how important it is for me to “know” them. The more I learn about my characters, the more believable they can be in my stories. Beginning with a “Character Information” sheet for each main character, I jot down the basics: Physical appearance, Age, Education and job, family and friends, pets, hobbies, and so on. But I need to know more than these basics—I must know what my characters’ goals are, what motivates her/him, and what fears they have. And of course, there will be conflict for the characters in the story (confession: I still have a difficult time adding enough conflict, although I know it’s essential in stories!).

Some writers begin with a special setting in mind, others have their character(s) already formed, while other writers have a really good plot idea. Many writers have detailed plots and outlines of their stories before they actually begin writing. I admire these writers! But I am in the SOTP (“Seat of the Pants”) group, because for me personally, the joy in writing comes in discovering what happens next as my story progresses. Yet, I still *must* know my characters. And yes, even when a writer knows the character, that character can still “surprise” us sometimes. I become almost giddy when I’m writing, and a character says or does something that I didn’t expect. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Again, for me personally, that’s the joy of writing fiction.

My current manuscript is almost completed, and then I’ll send it to my editor. I’ve been working (off and on) with this particular story since last Fall, but just haven’t been satisfied. Something was missing. A few days ago, a very important detail about my heroine came to me—something she’d been through in her past that has impacted how she feels now. Aha! “I wish you’d told me sooner, but that’s okay.” (No, I didn’t speak this aloud, only in my writer mind, LOL). But I knew that detail was what I needed to complete her journey in this story.

Even as I work hard on getting to know my characters, and enjoy writing about their individual journeys, I strive to remember that I always want my words to honor God. After all, He is the Master Storyteller!

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Colossians 3:23

A few days ago, a very important detail about my heroine came to me—something she’d been through in her past that has impacted how she feels now. Aha! “I wish you’d told me sooner, but that’s okay.”

...I strive to remember that I always want my words to honor God.

Sadie's Dream

In a coastal Georgia town in 1900, a young woman prepares to serve as a missionary in Africa.

After being jilted the previous year, she's certain she's meant to remain single.

When she meets a handsome businessman from Savannah, she begins struggling with doubts.

Over time she learns that the Lord's plans are best, and dreams really can come true.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The End is Just the Beginning by Linda Fulkerson

Don’t you love memes for writers? I collect those cute, quirky, fun-to-share graphics that bundle a nugget of truth inside a lump of laughter. And not that long ago, I coined my own meme-worthy quote, “There’s more to writing a book than writing a book.” As soon as I blurted that phrase in the midst of a book marketing class I was teaching, I had to literally stop and Google it to see if it was original. No exact-match results displayed, so I later created a graphic, plastered my quote onto it, put my name as the author, and blasted it all over my social media profiles.

The truth inside my meme isn’t exactly hidden. There IS more to writing a book than writing a book. Much more.

Monday, July 6, 2020

What's a Weary Writer to Do? by Emily Conrad

person with book open over face

In myself and in many of my friends--both writers and not--I see widespread weariness like I've never seen before.

As Christian writers, many of us feel a certain sense of responsibility. When we see the weariness around us, we want to offer words to help.

Though our hope remains the same--Jesus!--expressing that hope in meaningful ways when we're weary ourselves becomes a challenge, doesn't it?

It certainly does for me. So, what's a weary writer to do?

Checklist for Identifying Yourself as a Writer by Mary Davis

Mary Davis
Anyone else need a pick-me-up? Someone to come along and say, "Oh, you do that too?" Today, Mary Davis shares a list of oh-so-relatable fiction writerly items. I chuckled as I read. Enjoy! ~ Annette

You know you're a fiction writer when...

…you fall asleep at night with pen and paper in hand.
…you go shopping at a physical store for your imaginary character’s wardrobe.
…you have an argument with one or more of your characters and lose.
…your made-up story feels more tangible than your real life.

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Blessings of Liberty by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says "Writer Life"

The Blessings of Liberty 

We ride the bumpy roller-coaster of a pandemic coupled with racial conflict. When 2020 began, not many had any inkling of what we would face this year, but some were already keeping a wary eye on reports of a vicious new virus on the other side of the world. Still, no one had the vaguest idea of how this novel coronavirus would play out across the entire globe.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

What Is Your End Goal? by Sally Shupe

Happy Thursday! We are halfway through the year. I had to look at my calendar to see if that was true. It is so hard to believe it is July already! Did you set weekly, monthly, yearly goals? Where do you stand on meeting those goals? On reviewing where I started, what I’ve accomplished, and where I’d like to be, I realized a few things.

Celebrate how far you’ve come. Have you been working on a sewing project? Cleaning out the basement or garage? Starting a new book, or finishing one you’d already started? Look back at where you started. If you’ve gone through one box in the garage, that’s one box you don’t have to go through now. Do you have a few rows started on your sewing project? You’re farther along than you were. How many words do you have in the book you’re writing? That’s more than you had. Write each day, and you’ll have even more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Looking Forward to a New Adventure by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

From the moment I finally got a publishing contract, after nine and a half years and over two hundred rejection letters, I wanted to help other writers achieve their dream. I started by teaching classes, even though I’m an introvert. My least favorite thing to do is be the center of attention or get up in front of people. Especially if I have to say something. But writing changed all that. I had this burning need to share what I’d learned, what it takes to get published, and to help others learn from the mistakes I’d made along the way.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Writer's Paralysis By Katie Powner

All of us authors have faced writer’s block at some point. We’ve hit a wall in the middle of our story, or lost focus, or maybe we received some feedback that stopped us in our tracks and we struggled to continue.

But what about writer’s paralysis? Writer’s paralysis is like writer’s block except with a global pandemic, national unrest, record unemployment, social upheaval, and weeks of isolation piled on top of it.

Anybody have any tips for that one?

I’m not going to lie. For the past couple months, I’ve been struggling. Struggling to post on my blog. Struggling to finish my WIP. Struggling to even write a tweet without paralyzing self-doubt and over-analysis.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Five Reminders When Writing a Book Series By Carla Laureano

Carla Laureano
Have you written a series? If so, did you interconnect the characters in an intentional way? Award-winning author Carla Laureano is here with tips for planning ahead so you can avoid pitfalls. Enjoy! ~ Annette

2020 has been a big year for me in terms of series completion. Not only did I release the last book in my Supper Club series, but the long-awaited third book in my MacDonald Family series, Under Scottish Stars, released after a long five-year wait! While it’s always nice to see a group of characters get their happily-ever-afters—they begin to feel like family when you’ve lived with them for so long—it’s also bittersweet to know that you have to move on.

But there are particular considerations that go into writing a multi-protagonist book series that determine whether you and your readers give it a tearful “goodbye” or a relieved “good riddance.” And the planning starts before you put the first word on the page.

1. Realize that your characters’ lives start before they appear on the page and continue after the reader closes the book.

It’s easy to act like your characters don’t exist until they appear in your book. But the richness of an interconnected series comes from a sense of shared history among all your (eventual) point-of-view characters. Before you begin writing, make sure you understand their shared backstory. Otherwise, series books can come off as a procession of stand-alone stories about people who just happen to cross paths once in a while. And while interconnected stand-alone books have their place, they’re not what a series is about.

2. Know your characters well, even if they aren’t the main focus of the current book.

It’s tempting to put all your focus on the main character of the current book and treat the other series characters like window dressing. But part of what makes a series work is the feeling that the other characters are just as interesting as the protagonist of the current volume. It’s what keeps readers intrigued about the next story in line and coming back for more.

3. Don’t be afraid to be a little mysterious.

Just because you know your characters well doesn’t mean you have to spill all their secrets. Once you’ve got a secondary character’s backstory figured out—and hopefully know where their story is going in the future—hints are a powerful hook to keep readers moving through future volumes. It’s enough to make readers wonder what the whole truth is . . . and get them to pick up the final book in the trilogy.

4. Realize that once it’s on paper, you’re stuck with it. Make sure that you can live with—and work around—any plot twists.

It can be tempting to throw in shocking plot twists for the good of the current book. But if the main character’s best friend gets hit by a car and falls into a coma—and that best friend is supposed to get her own love story in the next book—you need to understand how the accident and coma impact her arc. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by introducing elements that will be hard to work around in future books.

5. Have your exit strategy planned from the beginning.

The last book in the series is particularly tricky, because not only do you have to write a fully formed story for your protagonists, you also have to wrap up the stories of the early books’ characters. Have an idea of how you’re going to bring them full circle early on. If they’re scattered across multiple continents, you’re going to have to get them in the same place so readers can say goodbye: make it a plot point. If they’re struggling with real-life issues that arose after their happily-ever-after, make sure that the main character is somehow involved so that the reader can see the situation through his or her eyes. And plan how you’re going to tie off loose threads, either in the course of the last book or through an epilogue. There’s nothing worse for a reader than investing attention in characters whose story seems to have no adequate conclusion. A series ending should leave a reader with a happy sigh and the feeling that after the last page is turned, all will be right with the characters’ world.
While writing series can be trickier than their stand-alone counterparts, they allow for a richness of story world and an emotional investment on the part of the reader that is without equal. A little planning and foresight early in the series can pay big dividends in creating a satisfying, long-term reader experience.

“The richness of an interconnected series comes from a sense of shared history among all your (eventual) point-of-view characters.” Planning ahead for writing a series. #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting @CarlaLaureano


Under Scottish Stars
Releasing July 7, 2020

Recently widowed Serena MacDonald Stewart focuses on her children to the exclusion of her career, her art, and her sanity. When her brothers ask her to oversee the family guest house on the Isle of Skye, it’s a chance to dust off her long-ignored business skills and make a new start. But her hopes for a smooth transition are dashed when the hotel manager, Malcolm Blake, turns out to be irritating, condescending . . . and incredibly attractive.

Malcolm Blake gave up everything—his home, his girlfriend, and his career—to return to Skye and raise his late sister’s teenage daughter. With few job opportunities available on the island, he signs on as the manager of the MacDonald family hotel, which he’s soon running successfully without interference from the owners. That is, until Serena shows up, challenging his authority and his conviction that there’s nothing missing from his new life on Skye.

Before long, Serena and Malcolm have to admit the spark between them is more than mere irritation. But as single parents, there’s more on the line than their own hearts. Will their commitment to family be the thing that draws them together or the only thing that could keep them apart?


Carla Laureano is the two-time RITA Award–winning author of Five Days in Skye, London Tides, and the Saturday Night Supper Club series. She is also the author of the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Last Days by C. Kevin Thompson

With sadness, we say goodbye to Kevin as a Regular Contributor. I’m sincerely grateful for all he’s given to Seriously Write over the years. Through his creative, thought-provoking, and well-researched pieces, he’s challenged us in a variety of ways. We couldn
t ask for anything more. ~ Dawn 

The Last Days 

It is with fond memories that I write this post. In October of this year, it would have been six years since I started writing for SW. My face becoming part of that box on the home page labeled “Regular Contributors” was a fluke, of sorts, actually.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Keep Chasing Our Dreams by Sandy Kirby Quandt

What dream has God placed on our heart? What is the one dream we want fulfilled above all others? What one thing do we spend time perfecting and pursuing?

I'm not talking about the dream of the perfect island getaway, or best pecan pie ever. I'm talking about the thing that makes us tick. As we age, some of our dreams may change, but deep deep down inside, at the core of who we are, I believe there lives one dream God placed inside us before we were born. A dream he wants us to realize. A dream he enables us to achieve through his power.

Our dreams are as varied as we are. And that's a very good thing, is it not? How boring would it be if we all pursued the same dream? Or looking at it differently, in an overly crowded field, can you imagine how wanting the exact same dream in the exact same way at the exact same time would threaten to steal the joy of our dream clear out of us? It's hard enough realizing our dream as it is.

Chasing after our dream can be tiring. It can be beyond difficult. It can be exasperating to the point of giving up. How well I know. It can also be fulfilling. Joyful. Rewarding. This I know as well.

One key to remember as we chase down our dream of writing in all its many facets and avenues is God created us to chase this dream. We can’t not do it. Even during those times when we wish we could.

This is the dream God placed inside us. This is the dream he will reward us for. This is our dream. It is not a dream someone else dreams.

At the end of the day, God will look at us and see how we’ve handled the dream he gave us. Did we chase it with everything we had, or did we let it pass us by?

So what dream are you chasing?

At the end of the day, God will look at us and see how we’ve handled the dream he gave us.

Sandy Kirby Quandt is a freelance writer and follower of Jesus with a passion for history and travel. Passions that often weave their way into her stories and articles. She writes numerous articles, devotions, and stories for adult and children publications both print and online including Christian Devotions and Inspire a Fire. Her devotions appear in two Worthy Publishing compilation books; So God Made a Dog and Let the Earth Rejoice. Sandy won several awards for writing including the 85th and 86th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition in the Young Adult category, First Place in the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Children’s Literature 2016 Foundation Awards, First Place in the 2017 Foundation Awards in the Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Flash Fiction categories. Looking for words of encouragement or gluten-free recipes? Then check out her blog, Woven and Spun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

3 Things I've learned as a Publisher that Make Me a Better Author by Misty M. Beller

As a full-time writer, I’ve been published by both small and large presses, as well as publishing many of my books myself. For years, I’d been mulling over the idea of starting my own small press, but never felt that peace in my spirit that comes from knowing a decision is God’s will. Then at the beginning of 2018, things began to change. I felt God saying, “Yes. Now.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Jealousy: A Common Emotion We Deal With as Writers By Sondra Kraak


It’s messy, hot, uncomfortable and, well, ugly. 

It eats at the bones. It smolders in the chest. It exhausts the heart. We see another writer get a contract, or another’s book get praised, and jealousy flares within us, and that leads to a sense of competition, and into a spiral of comparison that makes us doubt our calling and gifts. 

Friends, how can we adequately dive into the struggle of jealousy in a 700-word post? We can only play around in the shallows of it, but maybe that will get us looking deeper into our motivations, our fears, and our struggles as writers—as they relate to jealousy.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Walking and Sparking

Ideas for blog posts, stories, devotions, articles and more can jump into the mind of a writer at any time. Recently, I was preparing to write a blog post for my personal blog and wondered what message I could share. Many writers go through periods of “writer's block” and some say they just don’t have any fresh ideas.

I, too, have experienced times when I had to pause and think hard about a topic to share. During those times of uncertainty, prayer gives me comfort. A small piece of paper is taped to my computer. The note states simply, “PRAY FIRST”. There’s also a heart drawn on the paper.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Packing Our Story “Suitcase” by JoAnn Durgin

Meme says: Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

Packing Our Story “Suitcase”

Whether happy, sad, or anything in-between, real life-based stories make good fiction. One of the funniest things that ever happened in my life wasn’t the bit least amusing at the time and hasn’t made it into one of my books—yet.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Releasing Your Debut in the Middle of a Pandemic by Connie Queen

Thank you Terri Weldon and Seriously Write for inviting me today. 

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Importance of Building Relationships by Patty Smith Hall

Patty Smith Hall Headshot
God didn’t not give you influence so you could lead people better; He gave it so you’d love people more. 

Bob Goff

This statement from Bob Goff’s book, Live in Grace, Walk in Love, has hounded me since the moment I read it during my daily devotionals. I’ve never considered myself much of a leader, though others have thrust me into that situation many times in the past. I’ve been a Sunday and Vacation Bible School teacher, led volunteer efforts in my community, even served on the national board of my writing group, yet I’ve never understood what it meant to be a true leader until these last few months. So, what did I discover?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

He Restores the Writer’s Soul by Candyce Carden

It's my pleasure to welcome inspirational author Candyce Carden on Aspiring Tuesday. She learned a powerful truth while at the beach. No doubt her experience will inspire and encourage you in what might be a difficult season of writing. ~Mary A. Felkins 


On a trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast, I witnessed a beach restoration project. The beach, seriously eroded by high winds and surging waves caused by tropical storms, had all but disappeared. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Building Spiritual Walls/ Writing in Community by Patty Nicholas-Boyte

Nehemiah 6:15-16 (NASB)
6:15-16 “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God”. 

 In an amazing span of fifty-two days and in the midst of one attack after another, along with wave, after wave of trials, including a famine, the walls around God’s holy city were completed. Not only did Nehemiah and the Israelites finish the work in record time, the day they completed the work was on the 25th of Elul, which “happened” to be the Day of Atonement, otherwise known as Rash Hashanah.

To me, writing has often been a solitary part of my life. A time that I get into my own head and get lost in the story. I have found, as I am sure most of us have, that life today has made everyday tasks a challenge, let alone a project such as a romance.

As I write this, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, plus, the American people are embroiled in an unrest that I have never seen in my lifetime. An unjust murder sparked peaceful protests, which intensified the situation and exposed racial division across our land like never before.

My spirit grieves along with the family of the lost, as well as with those whose businesses were destroyed. I wonder if we as a nation will ever recover. Instead of sitting at my desk to tackle my work in progress, I wept for days, and days, and have travailed in prayer. I’ve cried out to God for His hand to cover this nation and to heal our land.

I have been studying in the book of Nehemiah for almost a year now, and as I reviewed this passage, I was drawn to the fact that in a very short period of time, God’s people, from all walks of life, regardless of skill stepped in to do the work. Farmers, priests, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and soldiers fortified the holy city, and build the walls of security around their homes. People from neighboring cities joined in the build. In less than two months’ time, and on the Day of Atonement, their work was completed.

Also, during this unprecedented time, I’ve had friends whose books have launched. What a time for a book to release. What do friends do but come together and find a way to help get the word out any way we can.

It has been through community that I have seen the body of Christ work in practical ways. #SeriouslyWrite @PattyNicholas2 #amwriting

It has been through community that I have seen the body of Christ work in practical ways. Like the Israelite people who joined the effort, performing tasks completely out of their area of expertise, I am finding that no task asked of me is too little, or out of my comfort zone to help.

We also, as the church need to use this time to rise up and seek God’s help to build the spiritual walls around this country. Imagine what we could accomplish if we each took a “section” and committed to prayer.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (NASB).

What can we learn from Nehemiah? God’s timing was perfect.

  • Not only did they finish in record time, they also finished on the holiest day of the year. 
  • Even if a book is scheduled to launch during this time, trust God’s timing. 
  • He just may have awesome things planned that couldn’t have happened during “normal” times.

The situation may seem hopeless, but just as in the days of Nehemiah, there is power in working together with other believers and other writers. We love you and will do what we can to help. Even when we do come together, it is God’s hand, along with our obedience, when impossible things are accomplished.

Multi award winning writer. Patty Nicholas-Boyte writes Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Bible Studies, Devotions and Blogs. Patty 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. She is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Group and a member of the Suspense Squad a group of romantic suspense writersShe is a mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three. She is a regular contributor to the Billy Graham Training Center Cove Blog.

Devotionals are  in compilations by Lighthouse Bible Studies.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Grace in the Midst of the Storm by Carol Cox

Carol Cox
There may be days when you feel worn down from all that’s currently happening in the world. Many writers are finding it difficult to focus, and creativity sometimes feels elusive. Today, let's soak in these encouraging words from author Carol Cox
~ Dawn

Grace in the Midst 
of the Storm

Back when quarantine and shutdowns were just a possibility and not a fact, who would have anticipated the upheaval we’ve lived through over the past months?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Are You Hungry? By Patti Jo Moore

Chances are if you grew up in the South, many of your memories are associated with food. Even if you grew up somewhere else, this could also be true. But since I’m a lifelong southerner who writes stories set in the southern states, much of my writing is based on personal experience over the years.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Avoiding Anachronistic Words in Historical Fiction by Christy Distler

Writing good fiction—no matter the genre—takes time, talent, and fortitude. Writing historical fiction adds some challenges to the mix, one of which is avoiding anachronisms.

An anachronism is anything that’s out of place in terms of time or chronology. For example, a dairy farm using

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Let's Remember: Readers Might Actually Be...Reading by Mary A. Felkins

Our motive for writing is simply this: we want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! 
I John 1:4 (The Message)

A few months ago, I received an email from one of my website subscribers who, struggling under the weight of the pandemic, wrote:

I’m a staffer for the US House of Representatives. We’re all working ourselves crazy through all of this. Your writing sure helps to stay focused. Thank you so much, Mary!

At that, I literally sat upright, eyes widened at the screen.

People really are reading my stuff.

Well, she was.

She’s a reader. My audience, one of many to whom and for whom I write.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Only a Conversation Writers Should Have

As a writer, I suggest you kill all your characters. All of them. Sit down, and in one setting, write the demise of Every. Single. Character.

"No! I love them too much. And besides, it's not a very nice thing to do."

I understand.

Yet, I suggest you create a death scenario or two for each and every person in your manuscript. You may decide not to kill them. But have a plan in your back pocket to kill them. Why?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Christlike Words by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says "Writer Life."

Christlike Words

Our words are powerful. They’re able to help or to destroy. We can speak Christlike words of life to those around us and write them to our readers, or we can destroy all hope, devastate our listeners/readers, and bring emotional destruction.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Dig In for the Long Haul! By Sally Shupe

It’s June. Where has the time gone? Seems like just the other day it was February. As I thought about this, I got to thinking about where I stood with the goals I’d set in January.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Surviving a Book Launch by Jennifer Slattery

You wrote a book, signed a contract, and now are awaiting its release. If this is your first launch, you’ve likely come close to hyperventilating on more than one occasion. You’ve probably spent numerous nights fretting over way too many what-if scenarios.

Monday, June 1, 2020

What A Book Costs Its Author by Emily Conrad

stack of books with blank page

Amazon recently emailed to say I’m “just a couple steps away” from getting the audio version of my debut, Justice, free. I smiled and thought, I’m the author. I didn’t pay a thing to experience the book.

Or did I?

I sobered with the realization that no book comes free to its author.

Life is Heavy, Let’s Lift Each Other Up by Annette M. Irby

I scroll through Facebook, faster or more slowly, depending on the images and stories. A beachy scene—refreshing. Stop. Study the light, the seascape, imagine walking the sand, inhaling a salty breeze. Consider sharing the post. Keep scrolling. Another political post. Eeks. My stomach gets tight along with my lungs.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Speaking Life by Robin W. Pearson

Robin W. Pearson
During this time of additional challenges and uncertainty, how are we using our words to make a difference? Author Robin W. Pearson encourages us to think about the role we take in the lives of readers and listeners. ~ Dawn

Speaking Life

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”
~ Habakkuk 3:17-19

Yet. Such a powerful word, those three letters.

In this passage, it means “nevertheless” or “but at the same time,” and the minor prophet uses this little word to great effect. The tone of Habakkuk’s “music” moves from mournful to exultant, from a plaint to a praise. “Though the fig tree may not blossom…Yet I will rejoice in the Lord…”

As a believer, I know there’s power in the Word. It lives, breathes, and creates. The Word was with God; the same Living Word abides with and in us. We can rely on Him to encourage, exhort, discipline, teach, and love us (2 Timothy 3:16).

And as a writer, I appreciate a well-placed word, how it helps me wiggle a sentence into a paragraph, making it fit just so. A well-woven story not only connects characters and themes; it knits together readers from different backgrounds, cultures, and spots on the map by reminding them of their shared beliefs in faith, love, and family.

In my debut, A Long Time Comin’, Beatrice Agnew often wielded her spoken words as a sword; they cut to the heart of the matter, sometimes to the quick. Suffering drives her to use letters to convey what she couldn’t bring herself to utter. Prayer, contemplation, and faith—and some intercession from her granddaughter—season her thoughts with grace as she puts them to paper.

Habakkuk’s words, though they were also birthed from pain and doubt, reveal a conversation, not between him and his own sons and daughters but with God. He seeks answers, for he has none to give, and he approaches the Lord expectantly for a word of encouragement. One a fictional woman, the other a very real prophet, each in need of the Lord’s comfort and direction. Both compelled to write down the answers, to share them and “make it plain on tablets.” (Habakkuk 2:2)

These days when we’re facing so many unknowns, we can use some “fitly spoken”—and written—words (Proverbs 25:11). Folks are doing a lot of talking, but what are they saying? Consider their overriding message. Does it point to joy, love, and peace, or does it convey judgment, fear, and anger? In God’s eyes, the state of the union pales in comparison to the state of our heart. Our words should be a spiritual overflow of what beats inside, encouraging listeners and readers to trust in the Lord, just as Habakkuk’s words pricked the heart of God’s people Israel.

What words describe your life of faith? I can think of two.

Yet God.

A well-woven story not only connects characters and themes; it knits together readers from different backgrounds, cultures, and spots on the map … #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson
Folks are doing a lot of talking, but what are they saying? #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson
In God’s eyes, the state of the union pales in comparison to the state of our heart. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson

A Long Time Comin’
A Long Time Comin'

To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she’s dying doesn’t mean she can’t keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they’d best take it up with Jesus. There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks.

Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice’s doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother’s heart and home inside out. Evelyn’s meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide.

Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots, her faith, and the love of her sweet husband, seven children, and her dog. In her twenty-five-year editorial career, she’s corrected grammar up and down the East coast, and her debut novel, A Long Time Comin’, has earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Follow @RobinWPearson on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and to read about her adventures in faith, family, and homeschooling.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Unexpected Blessings of the Writing Life by Robin Patchen

Every time I’ve taken a test to place me on the introvert/extrovert scale, I’ve landed right in the middle. In other words, I need to be alone right up until I’m desperate for companionship.

I haven’t been short on companionship lately. We are so blessed that our grown children moved home for the quarantine, joining our third child, a recent high school graduate. This spring, I had my entire family together for Easter and Mother’s Day for the first time since 2015.

And, though it’s been a challenge to make space for three adults to work from home, I’ve enjoyed every minute of this family time.

What I’ve missed these months is my friends. Even though many of them don’t live nearby, there hasn’t been much time even for phone calls and Zoom meetings. And, while I love my family, there’s nothing quite like friendships with other writers, people who get this strange writing life.

For me, this community of other writers has been the greatest and most unexpected blessing of the writing life.

In recent months, I’ve grown my circle of writing friends to include eight other Christian romantic suspense authors. These women whose names I’ve seen in my “also-boughts,” whose books have decorated my Kindle, have become my friends. Together, we’re putting together a box set (more on that below) that will release in October. Honestly, I thought the Lord called me into this boxset to grow my audience and, perhaps, by His grace, to allow us to see our names on a bestseller list.

Now, months into it, I realize He had more in store for me than just business. (Doesn’t He always?) The Lord has blessed me with new friendships. He’s teaching me about working with others, about yielding to those who know more than I do, and about trusting Him to make it all work out. He’s reminding me that friendships don’t have to be tied to the community where I live. Great friendships can be borne over distances like never before.

That last lesson is particularly important for me right now.

After twenty-four years in Oklahoma, we’re relocating to the Austin area. I’ll be saying good-bye to my church family, my extended family, and my friends, many of whom are fellow writers. It’s going to be a challenge. But already, God is planting new friendships in my life. I know his plans for me—for all of us—are good. Despite the unknown lurking ahead, I will trust in Him.

Amazon Buy Link

Lives...and hearts...are on the line in eight brand-new Christian Romantic Suspense novels from the genre’s most explosive authors

Glimmer in the Darkness: Robin Patchen

When Cassidy learns another child has been kidnapped from her hometown, she's convinced the man who took the girl she’d been babysitting seven years earlier is behind the recent abductions. She alone holds the key to finding him. Though James blames Cassidy for his sister’s death, he’ll help if there’s a chance to save a child’s life. Can Cassidy and James identify the serial killer in time to rescue his latest victim?

About me:

Robin Patchen is one of the authors of the Dangerous Deceptions boxset, which includes eight brand-new, full-length Christian romantic suspense novels from best-selling and award-winning authors. It’s available on preorder for only 99¢.

Preorder Dangerous Deceptions at Amazon or your other favorite e-book retailers.
Learn more about Robin Patchen at her website and download a free copy of Convenient Lies

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

When You Can’t Write Because Life Hurts by Norma Gail

When you can’t write because life hurts, what do you do? Quit? Take a break? Write the hurts? We each react a different way. If you’re like me, matters of the heart and spirit pour over into your writing. Experiences that hurt either stifle our writing or open it up like a flower bursting through hardened soil and opening under the brilliance of the sun.

I took a break for a year and a half. In the same way a crimped water hose staunches the flow, no words streamed from my heart or gushed from my keyboard. I could deal with what was already written, so I edited. However, the pain in my heart was so raw and ugly, filled with anger and grief that I didn’t even want in a journal.

Within two years’ time, I experienced three relationships torn apart, our son went through a divorce, my mom died, I became caretaker for an elderly aunt and uncle, my husband went through a job change, and finally forced retirement. I underwent four major surgeries. My mind, body, and heart were worn out. My tears flowed freely. My words did not.

As time passed, scripture touched my wounds with healing balm. God’s word confronted me about attitudes, words, and actions that required submission to him. It became clear that I must seek and offer forgiveness out of obedience. Hurtful emotions had to be left to him. My heart became a garden where weeds threatened to choke the fruit. However, forgiveness kills spiritual weeds.

To forgive heals even when the heart hasn’t caught up. Peace comes when I pray God’s will and not my own. Rest happens when I walk away from the throne and leave my burdens there.

As writers, our hearts speak through words. It doesn’t matter what the form, devotions, inspiration, fiction, or non-fiction. Our emotions break their silence through words. Yet silence is necessary to hear God’s thoughts above my own. Whatever our struggle, it impacts our writing with new meaning which can touch our reader’s hearts with power.

It’s all right to take a break. I jotted down feelings, sentences, quotes, and scriptures. None formed a written piece of any kind, although their impact is etched in my spirit. God met me through those broken sentences.  

When we survive the trials life sends, we grow. However, we don’t grow in a vacuum. Others experience similar times. Psalm 37:23 says, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

I survived. I’m stronger as a person and a writer because God upholds me with his hand. When life hurts and stifles words, rest in the Father’s arms, soak up his word like healing balm. Allow him to grow you in new ways. He will not let go.

© Norma Gail Holtman, May 11, 2020

When you can’t write because life hurts, what do you do? via @Norma_Gail


Norma Gail’s debut novel, Land of My Dreams, won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. Within Golden Bands released May 19th. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals have appeared in several publications. She lives in New Mexico with her husband of 44 years.

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. Though her husband says he has accepted her infertility, she fears his reaction when her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage. However, Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” As a result, his parents reveal a family secret involving an altered deed and missing aunt. Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of her child, Bonny struggles with depression. 

As Kieran's elusive attacker stalks the family, threatening their safety, the couple is forced to hire bodyguards. Bonny still longs to be a mother but Kieran fears his deep-seated opposition to adoption will drive them apart. Are faith and love strong enough to keep their fledgling marriage on solid ground? Will they choose to trust God when his ways are impossible to fathom?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Three Ways to Increase Your Impact by Emily Wickham

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances”
(Proverbs 25:11, NASB).

Words reach into far places. And as Christian writers, we aim to impact people’s lives with our words. We can achieve a more significant influence by implementing the following three practices:


It can be tempting to limit our writing to all things favorable, but we should open up about our struggles from time to time. Life includes the not-so-great, and occasionally we behave not-so-great. Let’s just be real.

Authenticity also looks different for each person, so we shouldn’t seek to adopt another writer’s pattern. Some excel at sharing their innermost feelings while others practice caution in this area for worthy reasons. Various writers pen truth in an ultra-direct way as opposed to those who craft gentler messages.

Each type of writer appeals to certain readers. The point is, Be. You. God has gifted each of us uniquely to impact the audience He brings our way.


Writers are creatives, yet a lack of diligence can accompany this blessing. Jumping from one activity to the next doesn’t bode well for writers. Rather, we must write through all of life’s adventures.
Instead of carrying out the ‘tyranny of the urgent,’ let’s look ahead with wisdom. Choose a writing routine that works best for you as well as your family… and stick to it.

By planning a doable schedule, we’ll experience encouraging results. We’ll find we work more efficiently while producing consistent content. Focusing on our God-given projects along with our commitments will benefit all.

Let’s attend to the writing opportunities God provides—whether blogging, composing articles, authoring a book, and/or other endeavors—with diligence.


I’m unsure why this practice can easily elude us. Perhaps we underestimate the impact prayer plays in reaching others, or maybe we’re so excited to share each blog post/links to our work that we simply forget to pray. Yet I’m convinced our prayers contain tremendous power.

God provides each word we write. He also directs readers to our material. He hears us when we ask Him to use our words for His purposes, and He answers according to His will. All of this is pretty amazing. Let’s be faithful to pray after we post, knowing God holds a plan for each message.

By being authentic and diligent, and praying after posting, we can eternally impact our readers. Every step toward this goal is noteworthy.

Which of these three ways resonates with you the most?

Note: A previous version of “Three Ways to Increase Your Impact” first appeared on July 3, 2018 at

Consider three ways your words can significantly influence others for Christ. @emilywickhamPH @MaryAFelkins #WritingCommunity #Impact #SeriouslyWrite #writeauthentically

Emily Wickham seeks to stir hearts toward Jesus. She writes for LifeWay, speaks at ladies’ events, and shares Devotions for Women videos on social media. Emily encourages Christian women plus equips Christian writers on her blog. She is the author of one Bible study, which was translated into Spanish in 2016.

Emily, a resident of North Carolina, is Mark’s wife of 30+ years. They are the blessed parents of four adult children and two daughters-in-love. God’s faithfulness and love inspire Emily on her journey through life as she purposes to exalt Christ through written and spoken words.

Connect with Emily:

Alcanzando la Justicia
Do you know any missionaries to Spanish-speaking women? Or, is your church involved in outreach to the Hispanic community? Emily would love to put her Bible study on Esther into their hands, and she’s willing to fundraise for this purpose. Please see her website for more information. You also can purchase Alcanzando la Justicia on Amazon.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Showing Appreciation for Authors

Book signings, local vendor events, library “reading” hours and launch parties can be part of the daily schedule of an author. The story is written and a publisher is found. No one knows the time and dedication an author has put into each story, article, devotion or whatever they have written.

The finished product is released into the world and another waiting period begins. Will people like the story? Will someone or hopefully many people purchase the story? Not all stories are written for payment. Some pieces of writing are written for enjoyment or to help others or to simply get the author's name out to the world.

When I read a great piece of writing, I like to thank the author via reviews. There are times when I can find a “contact me” page on the author website or social media page. A short note is a great way to let an author know you enjoyed their work.

I’m a published author and I appreciate when readers take the time to review my work. Also, when I receive special messages sharing how the writing impacted them. Smiles from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters and other authors are appreciated, too, when they share how much they like “Licky the Lizard”. My children’s book is being read online and before the Covid-19 situation, was read at schools, preschools and medical offices.

I am very appreciative of other authors who are writing and sharing their unique talent. Every person has a story inside their thoughts, whether they write the story or speak the story. Our imaginations are filled with possibilities for stories.

If you are a reader, you have a wonderful opportunity to encourage authors. Even if you are a published author, there are many ways to share appreciation for other authors.

First, read their stories, blog posts, articles, devotions. Reading helps us become better writers.

Second, post reviews. The same review can be shared on various sites. Just copy and paste.

Third, if you are able, send a note of thankfulness to the author. Search online for their website and contact information.

Also, share their work on social media. Share with family and friends.

Most of all, thank God for giving people the desire to write and share unique stories.

Have you thanked an author lately? If you are an author, let me say “Thank you”.

Have you thanked an author lately? If you are an author, let me say "Thank you". @mimionlife #seriouslywrite

Melissa Henderson

Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages. Her first book for children, “Licky the Lizard”, was released in 2018. She also has a story in the compilations “Heaven Sightings” and “Remembering Christmas”. She contributes articles and devotions to various magazines and websites. Her passions are helping in community and church. Melissa is an Elder, Deacon and Stephen Minister. She and her husband Alan moved from Virginia to South Carolina to be near son, daughter-in-love and first grandchild. The family motto is “It’s Always A Story With The Hendersons”.
Follow Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and at

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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Humor in the Midst of Intensity by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
During this “pandemic” we call the COVID-19 Coronavirus, there have been some funny things that have come across my social media feeds. Some of the ones that made me laugh out loud were:

Three hours into homeschooling: One is suspended for skipping, and the other one has already been expelled.

Day 4 of Homeschooling: All my students passed for the year today.

(Picture of a mother holding a cloth in front of her son’s face): Day 7 of Homeschool Biology: Testing to see if Chloroform has a smell.

(Picture of a man’s belt draped over a doorknob): Just hired an assistant principal for our homeschool.

(Three weeks into the stay-at-home order): Is it okay to shower now, or do I just keep washing my hands?

Our homeschool has raised the bar for our “school”! Now, only the adults can reach it.

(Teacher speaking): I’m so tempted to text my students while they are in class with their parents.

Okay, teachers…well played. We will give you respect and raises now. Just give us the antidote so we can send our kids back to school!

I tried donating blood today…NEVER AGAIN!!! Too many stupid questions. “Whose blood is it?” Where did you get it from?” “Why is it in a bucket?”

(Sign outside a bookstore): Post-Apocalyptic Fiction has now been moved to the Current Affairs section.

If you want to save money at Christmas, now’s the perfect time to tell the kids that Santa didn’t make it through the pandemic.

Saw a picture of the “Corona Lisa” (Mona Lisa) with long hair that has gone gray down the part.

(Caption underneath a photo of a picturesque mountain scene with scrolling words fading into the heavens): Due to less air pollution, we can now see the Star Wars intro again in the night sky.

I’m giving up drinking for a month.
Sorry. Bad punctuation.
I’m giving up. Drinking for a month.

Saw a picture of a woman all dressed up, standing near a beach. Her hands are over her mouth in utter surprise. A man is kneeling before her, in the obvious marriage proposal position. His hands are lifted up, holding a roll of toilet paper. “OMG!” the woman said. “He went to Charmin!”

To protect myself from these new Murderous Hornets, how much toilet paper do I need to buy?

We laugh at these memes because in some capacity, there is a truth in there somewhere. Of course, that’s what makes humor funny. That’s how comedians make a living.

We, as authors, should remember not to abandon a chance to toss some humor in our WIPs when it is a natural and needed place to do so. Even if you write mysteries or thrillers, action-adventure, or dark fantasy, humor is a natural part of life. It comes in many forms. It doesn’t have to occur in dialogue alone. It can be physical comedy. It can be satirical. It can be at another character’s expense. It can be a play on words. It can be an off-the-cuff, comedic response to a serious inquiry. It can even be a specific glance or look. No matter how you insert it into the story, it just needs to be natural and authentic, not forced, like some sign in front of your reader, flashing the words, “Laugh Now!” If you have to tell them to laugh, they won’t like it.

Natural and authentic humor is the kind of humor that gets the most laughs in real life. The same is true for fiction. I bet that if you start thinking about the books and/or movies you like the most, it is the comical moments that left their mark on you. For me, it’s the movie Jaws where Chief Brody sees the shark for the first time and says to Captain Quint in a somewhat PTSD state…

You know the line, don’t you? You just said it, didn’t you?

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Why? Because the humor, embedded with this intense moment of realizing they are going to die, was authentic, not contrived.

Or take this six-minute clip from the movie Star Trek: The Search for Spock. Humor sandwiches this scene with little bits sprinkled in the middle. What makes it work, though, is the comradery amongst the characters. Their friendship and idiosyncrasies make it a fun section in an otherwise suspenseful scene.1

Or take this clip from a comedy show that is dealing with a serious issue of interracial relationships, trying to fit in, and being something you’re not, and using a play on words in a hysterical fashion: Everybody Loves Raymond – Robert Trying to be Black.

Humor at the right moment can be such a great linchpin. It ties the reader into your story, sometimes in no better way. It makes for memorable moments and memorable characters. Ones that resonate with readers, possibly, for the rest of their lives.


1I have to admit, I’ve used Scotty’s line about stopping up the drain multiple times in real life. Comes in really handy as an educator. We’ve been overhauling the plumbing of public education for decades now.

Humor at the right moment can be such a great linchpin. It ties the reader into your story, sometimes in no better way. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
We, as authors, should remember not to abandon a chance to toss some humor in our WIPs when it is a natural and needed place to do so. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

The Letters
The Letters


Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.

In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.

Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?

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

The second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available! The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are now available: Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen! Book 5, A Pulse of Time, is coming Summer 2020! And, his newest standalone novel, The Letters, is now available in both e-book and paperback!

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

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
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Twitter: @CKevinThompson
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