Monday, April 6, 2020

Writing Through the Storm by Angela Ruth Strong

Angela Ruth Strong
Find it challenging to write right now? You're not alone. Fellow MBI author Angela Ruth Strong is here to share her advice for writing (or not) during tough times. Read on. ~ Annette


How has the pandemic affected your writing? We all wanted more time to write, but quarantine can be a little extreme. It’s especially hard to focus your creative energy on imaginary problems when you’re facing real-life challenges.

On the other hand, writing can be a great way to express emotions or escape from the constant, depressing news updates.

So what should you do? Here are some options:

1.) Use your extra time to write that novel you’ve been putting off. Apparently, this is what Shakespeare did during the Plague, and there is currently a Quarantine Writing Challenge going around. I offer these tips to help leave your worries behind and get words on the page.

Set goals. This can be a chapter a day, a word count goal, or even just setting a timer for yourself. Do the math to figure out how soon you want to finish the book, then divide the work up so you know what you have to do each day. My writing friends and I have sprints where we race each other for half an hour to see who can get the most words in. This keeps us focused on moving forward when it would be so easy to get distracted by changes at home or in the world.

Find a schedule that works. If you have kids home from school or your spouse working from home, your writing time is going to look a little different. You might need to plan to get up early before everyone else or write after they go to bed. If you don’t make these kinds of adjustments, you could end up frustrated by unmet expectations and quit. You can’t control the things that happen outside your home, but you do get to control your time. Use it wisely.

Turn off social media. This will be easier for some more than others, but it’s a must for me. If I get distracted by every little Facebook ding, I never get deep enough into the story that the words start to magically appear on their own. I sabotage myself. However, when I let myself be completely immersed into the joy of writing, I come out fulfilled and encouraged, able to face my own challenges with a newfound strength.

Write out of order. This is my secret for meeting deadlines. Though I can force myself to write a scene I’m not feeling, it’s slow and painful. If I can jump to the scenes already fully formed in my imagination, it’s a better use of time and more fun. Then those scenes that lacked direction earlier now have a target for which to aim.

Don’t let yourself edit yet. There will be time for this, but you don’t want to lose momentum. You’re also still too close to the story to know whether that scene that needs reworking is going to get cut or for you to see your mistakes and moments of brilliance for what they really are. Plus, your ending might surprise you, in which case you’d have to go back and change all those things again anyway. Get to the end so you have a whole story to work with. And also, get to the end because it’s one of the best feelings in the world, and all our emotions could use a little boost about now.

2.) Write something different. This is what I’ve been doing through my chemotherapy treatments. As much as I would like to finish all the novels on hold in my head, I lack the creative energy needed to make up stuff from nothing. Instead, my brain is contemplating the meaning of life, and I’ve had this well spring up of inspiration I’m compelled to share. I’ve done so through my newsletter, blog, and the devotionals I’ve been asked to write. This isn’t the career I planned for myself, but it’s been good for my own spiritual and mental health as well as connecting with readers on a different level. God doesn’t waste a thing.

3.) Take a season off. This isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t quitting. When I went through my divorce, there was no way I wanted to keep writing romance, so I didn’t. I know another writer who had to back out of a book set because she was in the middle of a move. Transition is hard, and your health is more important than your characters. Maybe your family needs you right now. Maybe you’re healing from a loss. Give yourself time to breathe. Be still, and let God fight for you. He’s always working behind the scenes in ways not even you can imagine.

Be still, and let God fight for you. He’s always working behind the scenes in ways not even you can imagine. #amwriting #writingcommunity #quarantine #Christfic @AngelaRStrong

Once you’ve found the writing choice that is right for you, don’t feel bad about it. Every author faces conflict that affects their work.

I remember Linda Windsor saying that when she turned in her manuscript after her husband died, the editor remarked that it looked like a rough draft, and she hadn’t even realized it. Robin Lee Hatcher shared that when going through her divorce, her editor had to make her add conflict because she subconsciously refused to let her characters face any of the pain she was dealing with.

I wish you the best with wherever you are at, and I look forward to reading all the deeper messages that will come from what you learn through your trials.

~~~~~

A Latte Difficulty
Can two baristas track down a gunman after the espresso shot heard ‘round the world?

When Marissa witnesses an attempted murder during the 4th of July parade, it starts a battle for her independence. She is forced to hide out in a safehouse, leaving her co-owner, Tandy, to run their coffee shop, track down the criminal, and, worse, plan Marissa’s wedding. Thankfully Tandy has help, but can she really trust the P.I. in a bow tie, her new deaf barista who acts more like a bartender, or a wedding planner who’s keeping secrets?

The threat on Marissa’s future goes from bad to worse when her bridal gown is covered in blood. Though her fiancé, Connor, agrees to give up his identity to join her in the Witness Protection Program, Marissa refuses to wave the white flag. Instead, she enlists Tandy to help her fight for truth, justice, and the Americano way.



~~~~~

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there's nothing else she'd rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. She’d loved it if you stopped by her website for a visit at www.angelaruthstrong.com.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Writing Words of Grace to a Captive Audience by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says "Writer Life"

Writing Words of Grace to a Captive Audience

Do you have any idea how significant our words are right now? God has us here, at this time, in the middle of a pandemic, writers with skill, all for a significant reason.

In this time of social distancing, of flattening the curve, of choosing to confine ourselves in order not to harm one another by spreading this new virus, COVID-19, the writing of words is crucial. Though homebound, we’re able to stay in touch through texts, posts, tweets, letters, and messages. Via Facetime, Zoom, and other platforms, we stay connected.

We can’t meet for coffee. Our churches can’t gather. We can’t dine in a restaurant. But, we can write words and gather together electronically, speaking to one another from a distance.

Social media usage rates are up by 50%. Twitter has become an even more significant place to interact. Along with Facebook, Instagram, and others, these provide opportunities to share the love of Jesus. Here we offer God’s Word. We write the grace-filled encouragement that others need in order to keep going, to process their own mortality, and to know they aren’t alone. Cries of distress are sounding from souls who are afraid, who are abandoned, who need hope.

We have the ability to encourage one another from afar, to build community with those who need someone to listen, to hear what troubles them as they exist all alone at home. This is the time to read and to hear what others are saying. This is the time to offer to pray and to type that prayer out into the next tweet or comment. This is the time to console.

Meme about Writing Words of Grace

This is also the time to soften this tragedy with humor. From a distance with family members, we scrolled through one after another ridiculous joke at the expense of the toilet paper hoarders. Lighthearted memes poking at the silly amidst the deadly serious cause us to laugh, to share these with one another. They provide another way to form and to sustain community from afar.

But now, we’re deeper in. We’re going to be here for a while, so both humor and gravity are required. A couple of weeks was initially predicted, but now officials are building hospitals in football stadiums and calling upstate National Guard units to help. There’s no humor here. We pray. We write the truth, avoiding unsubstantiated anecdotal information that provokes misunderstandings. We pen serious, factual, grace-filled content.

This may play out longer than we expected. If we get a reprieve in the summer, we may all dance in the streets and hug strangers who pass by at the moment of our release from captivity.

We hope and pray our human losses are few. We pray our future holds an economy which hasn’t collapsed entirely, employment once again for those laid off, a surge in wages, and, by the grace of God, a vaccine for COVID-19, transforming it into another seasonal illness like the flu.

Can we hold on? We must.

Pray for strength. Be kind to one another. Use gentle voices, no matter the discomfort and provocation of close quarters. Give one another grace. Remember our ancestors one hundred years ago, who faced their own pandemic. Following their example, stay calm and carry on.

Our feelings will not shatter us, for the Savior is with us. We focus our hearts and minds on him. He has the power to save us and to carry us through, no matter the outcome. He’s with us in the fearful middle-of-the-night moments, in the brave “I got this” moments, and in the moments when we may find ourselves or a loved one sick, precious lives cradled gently in Jesus’ strong hands. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us.

Our responsibility now is to write about him, engaging in real conversations with real people who are terrified and who want to know Jesus better. Use humor. Use compassion. Within the walls of your confinement, use the words God gives, writing of his grace.



God has us here, at this time, in the middle of a pandemic, writers with skill, all for a significant reason. #SeriouslyWrite #Encouragement via @MelindaVInman
Our responsibility now is to write about him, engaging in real conversations with real people who are terrified and who want to know Jesus better. Use humor. Use compassion. #SeriouslyWrite #Encouragement via @MelindaVInman


The Shadows Come
The Shadows Come


Sequel to No Longer Alone
(WW1 Based on a True Story)

Germany threatens all of Europe. Millions have died. President Woodrow Wilson makes the declaration that the United States must enter the Great War to rescue our allies. Congress approves. Our story begins. In America’s heartland, everyone hunkers down to provide food for the world and resources for the war effort. A draft is necessary, and all young men must register. One by one, these are called to war. With this threat looming, Prentis and Avery raise the necessary horsepower, cultivate the needed crops, and contribute their labors to the Red Cross.

But crises at home, an insidious busybody, and one after another called up to fight in Europe bring the greatest dangers they’ve ever faced together. Then there’s the influenza pandemic. Will they survive the war abroad and the war being waged at home, threatening their love and their lives? Will their loved ones make it home again?


Melinda V. Inman, Author of Fallen: Refuge:
No Longer Alone; and The Shadows Come

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

Connections:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MelindaVInman/
Website: https://melindainman.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelindaVInman
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/melindavinman/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00GFYI0RU






Thursday, April 2, 2020

Everybody Has a But by Sally Shupe

This past week I worked on transitioning to working from home, BUT it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. (I am so thankful I still have my job, but I miss my office-a whole lot more than I thought I would!) No more quiet office space. No more office. No more space. My office is now the side of the dining room table.

Have you come across any BUTS? I’d be rich, BUT. I’d run a marathon, BUT. I’d be a writer, BUT. What do those BUTS do to us? They discourage us; they hinder us; if we let them, they’ll determine our future before we even get started!

What BUT is holding you back? Can’t get that first paragraph going? Can’t finish the first draft? Why not? I’d start working on that paragraph, BUT? I’d finish the story I’m writing, BUT? But what? I’d clean my refrigerator, BUT? The first thing that pops in my mind is: I don’t know where to start. Let me help with that.

Pick up your sponge and cleaner. Pick up a pen and paper. Or log onto your computer, open a blank document, and put your fingers on the keyboard. Ready? Now go! Give yourself 5 minutes. 30 minutes. Whatever you want to start with. Just start. That’s all it takes. You’ll be amazed at the progress you make. You can have a clean refrigerator. You can have all the laundry washed and dried. Maybe not put away, but it can be clean lol. Until the next pile starts. But that’s okay. If just one load gets done, that’s one more than you had done. If you only get one paragraph written, that’s okay. You’re one paragraph closer to finishing your book. Just get started. If you run for 20 minutes, you’re on your way to running a marathon. Look at you go. Nothing can stop you now!

Everybody’s timeline is different. Don’t compare yourself to others. If it takes all day to get one thing done, that’s fine. You did it. Or got started. Because we all know as soon as you sit down to do something, something else will happen. Be kind to yourself. Decide what you want to accomplish, and go for it.

This week, let’s kick those BUTS to the curb. Let’s do this thing, whether it’s cleaning house, that one thing you don’t want to start, getting that first draft finished, entering that contest. We can do this. There are no more BUTS!

Share what your one thing is and let’s support each other in getting that one thing done! My one thing: Finishing this story I started. It’s about halfway done. Let’s get started!

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

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

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

Connect with
Sally:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sallyshupewritings/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SallyShupe1
Blog: http://sallyshupe.blogspot.com/
Email: sallyshupe1@gmail.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sallyshupe1/
Website: http://sallyshupeseditingservice.weebly.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sally-schreiner-shupe-8217a639?trk=hp-identity-name

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Bigger Story by Susan G Mathis

I love to inspire writers to see their lives as a part of a much bigger story that God has for them by sharing Him with others. Yet it seems that these thoughts transcend writers—they are for anyone who wants to touch the lives of others with God’s truth and love.

Why is our desire to connect with others so important to our human experience, whether in person or through story? While there may be a few hermits and others who are anti-social, most of us long for human interaction. 

We were, indeed, made for relationship.

We are created in His image, the God who longs to be in relationship—with us! Moreover, God wants us to speak into His creation, so He allows us to be a part of His work on this earth.

How cool is that? We don’t have to have a degree or a license or anything the world sees important. We don’t have to be articulate or even a great writer or some spiritual giant. He freely beacons us to be His partner in speaking His truth to whomever we meet!

He’s also planted a desire in us to share His truth, whether that’s as a writer, a friend, a parent—whatever! And even more than that, He wants to fulfill a very special purpose in our lives and in the lives of others.

When my children were small, it was such a joy to share the love of Jesus with them. Now as a writer, I get to share that same truth through my writing. In my novels as well as all of my writing, I include God’s truths in the story and my prayer is that it will touch people’s hearts just as if I were there, sharing those truths face-to-face.

He gave you gifts and talents to use, and He wants you to express them. And He has a unique ministry, audience, or group that only you can reach. He also wants you to deliver a specific message, and feel the joy of sharing life with others.

How can you connect with someone this week and share God’s love with him or her? I’d love to hear what happens. Go for it!



In my novels as well as all of my writing, I include God’s truths in the story... via @SusanGMathis #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


~~~~~~



Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Katelyn’s Choice, the first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, is available now, and book two, Devyn’s Dilemma, releases in April 3, 2020. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family LegacyChristmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are available now. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

Susan is also a published author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children's picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her wonderful husband, Dale, and relishes each time she gets to see or Skype with her four granddaughters. 

For up-to-date information on these, connect with Susan here:
Lighthouse Publishing: https://shoplpc.com/devyns-dilemma

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Diligence Today Brings Success Tomorrow By Barbara Latta

Sometimes I am like Scarlet O’Hara. I’ll think about that tomorrow. Although I don’t think I procrastinate to quite the extent that southern belle did, I am still in need of lighting a fire under myself to accomplish my goals at times.

I have plans to exercise. I know my legs need to walk and my middle needs to burn some calories. The idea is in my head but on some days it doesn’t make it to fruition. The same goes with my writing. I have all these ideas and they are floating around in my head, but they need an organized space to get on the paper, or should I say computer screen.

I discovered Bullet Journaling a few months ago after a lengthy resistance. While I am still in the process of becoming proficient at this method, I can say it has made the calendar and loose notes scattered around all gather in one place like little chicks who follow the mother hen. The post-it notes stuck all over the house and decorating the inside of my purse like wallpaper are now lying in the Bullet Journal nest where they are warm, happy and waiting to hatch.

What I have learned from my sometimes-not-so-productive life is what not to do. While I could work successively for several days, I would get lax on others. Praying about my frustrations at lack of completion of projects brought these words from the Lord, “Consistency is the key.”

Haphazard application in anything will not bring success. A structured lifestyle will. God reminded me that living like a scattered jigsaw puzzle will not put the pieces together. Diligent and consistent placement makes the picture whole.
With the BuJo as my weapon of choice against inconsistencies and frustration, I armed myself with my calendar, list of goals and reminders. I have learned that this is God’s secret to having a fruitful and productive life. After all, He is consistent in all His ways and as His children we are to imitate Him.

Writing is like any other goal we aspire to reach. We must be steadfast in our efforts and follow a plan. Whether it is character development in fiction or research for Bible studies or devotions, our finished product is completed one minute, one hour, one keystroke at a time. Day by day stability will bring the reward of a finished manuscript or article. Diligence today brings success in the future.

Scarlet O’Hara may still be thinking about that tomorrow, but I’m all for running with it today.
What about you?

God is consistent in all His ways and as His children we are to imitate Him. @barbaralatta @MaryAFelkins #seriouslywrite #amwriting #diligence

Connect with Barbara:
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

Barbara Latta is the author of God's Maps, Stories of Inspiration and Direction for Motorcycle Riders and has contributed to several anthologies and written for online devotion and article sites. Her latest contribution is to The Power to Make a Difference published by Lighthouse Bible Studies. She also writes a monthly column in her local newspaper, The Pike Journal-Reporter and is President of the Madison, Georgia Word Weavers chapter.
Her desire is to share the truths she has learned through the Word of God to help those in bondage to negative emotions become free and have an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Write a Psalm by Annette M. Irby



Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

Psalm 62:8 NKJV

Hey, writers. Have you been distracted by the news lately? Sitting down to write can mean a quiet mind, while we ponder the next step in our stories or the next theme in our nonfiction. Unfortunately, quiet minds are sometimes easily bombarded by the latest statistics or social media rants. I imagine you’re like me these days—using time in God’s Word to combat those thoughts/fears/worries.

The Book of Psalms offers a little bit of everything. Nothing’s off-limits, it seems, to the psalmists. They wrote from hearts full of praise to hearts full of angst. They wrote about attacks and then deliverance. They wrote of God’s answers to their prayers. They wrote what they wanted to see. They wrote out of a place of need or when they wanted to change their focus.

I’ve been a prayer journaler now for decades. About thirty years ago, I attended a retreat where the leaders asked us to write our own psalms to God, with no plans to set them to music. Our psalms didn't have to be poetic or rhyming. They are basically written prayers in which we pour out our hearts to Him. (Psalm 62:8)

If ever there was a time for pouring out our hearts to God, this is it.


If ever there was a time for pouring out our hearts to God, this is it. Write a psalm to God. #amwriting #ampraying @annettemirby

You can write about:

* Any theme

* Desire for God (Psalm 63)

* Longing for His Word (Psalm 119)

* Lament (Psalm 102)

* Justice (Psalm 94)

* Desperation (Psalm 55)

* Deliverance (Psalm 98)

* Repentance (Psalm 51)

* Sustenance (Psalm 23)

* Declaration of protection or provision (Psalm 91)

* Worship (Psalm 45)

* Praise (Psalm 150)

* God's greatness (Psalm 65)

* Rehearse past times when God delivered you and/or your family (Psalms 106, 136)

* Hope for deliverance followed by God's powerful and decisive answer (Psalm 18)

At times, the biblical writers began their psalm with desperation, but by the end, they were encouraged; their tone changed. (See Psalm 55)

Have you noticed this in Luke’s Gospel: It’s when the disciples are telling stories of the resurrected Christ, and how their hearts burned within them, that Jesus manifests His presence among them. He was already in the room, but He appears to them when they talk about Him. Rehearsing how God has provided (or healed) in the past, brings Him into your current situation. He’s right there, but as our faith rises, He demonstrates His nearness. (see Luke 24, especially verses 35–36)

Once we’ve poured out our hearts to God, we’re more able to focus on our writing goals for the day.

I encourage you to write out your psalms, dear writers. Let the words flow. It’s cathartic, but it’s also prayer. And as you know, prayer changes people and situations.

Your turn: What other themes would you add to this list? Which are your favorite Psalms and why?
~~~~~

Finding Love on Whidbey Island
Could what drove them apart be what draws them back together?

Liberty Winfield lives with loss every day. She’d rather leave her history behind her, but when faced with moving back to her hometown, the past becomes unavoidable. She takes a job at the florist shop owned by her ex-boyfriend’s family from a decade ago. Now he’s unavoidable.

Clay Garrison knows the pain of ruing his mistakes. Most of his regrets center around Liberty. If he could undo his poor choices, he would. Liberty is back. He has one more chance to make things right. She doesn’t believe anyone could love her unconditionally, so he sets out to prove her wrong. He must also try to right the biggest wrong of their past, knowing that in doing so, he could lose her forever.

Will addressing the past together help them find love?




~~~~~

Annette M. Irby*
Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more here on her Seriously Write Page.





Photo credit: woman writing: Pixaby
Author photo: Sarah Irby

Friday, March 27, 2020

Prayer Changes Things…Even God’s Mind by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
Read Deuteronomy 9:18-10:11 first.

“Prayer changes things.”

There is no place in Scripture where this phrase has more meaning than here in Deuteronomy and where it actually happened in the books of Exodus and Numbers.

This passage is a retelling by Moses to the next generation of Israelites about what happened to their forefathers. Moses explains why their forefathers were formed into a nation, and what God wanted to accomplish through them. He also explains who their forefathers were as a nation in relationship to God. He then goes on to describe their present state of affairs and where they were about to go.

Into the Promised Land.

However, if it wasn’t for Moses praying for their forefathers—twice—the nation Israel would look very different and maybe even have a different name. “Toast” is the one that readily comes to mind, for God was going to wipe out Israel on two separate occasions and make Moses into a great nation in its place. They could have been the Sons of Moses instead of the Sons of Abraham.

One of the two times Moses prays occurs in Exodus 32. Aaron and the Israelites created the Golden Calf, and God had made up His mind to destroy Israel for their disobedience. However, after Moses prayed and asked God to turn from His fierce anger, verse 14 says that God relented and did not bring disaster on the people like He threatened.

Then in Numbers 14, the nation Israel rebelled against God again. When Joshua and Caleb came back from their exploration of the Promised Land and stated that the land could be won, the people did not believe them. Instead, the people believed the other spies who had said that there was no hope for Israel. The people began to grumble against Moses and Aaron, and began that tired song and dance of “If only we had died in Egypt!” So, in verse 12, God says that He is going to strike them down with a plague and destroy them. However, Moses prays for the people again, much like he did in Exodus 32, telling God that if He destroys the nation Israel, then the Egyptians will believe that He was not capable of delivering the people completely. So, for a second time, God answers Moses’s prayer and relents.

For a lesser person, God’s offer might have been a proposal he couldn’t refuse. “I could replace Abraham? My descendants would be named instead of Isaac and Jacob?” In essence, Moses’s response would have been in total compliance with God’s wrath being exacted against the nation Israel so that he could rise to prominence. Instead, Moses prayed for mercy. He reminded God of His promise to Abraham in so many words, and how it would look in the eyes of the Egyptians and others if He killed Israel in the desert.

So, God spared their forefathers. He did alter the plan, though, as sin always has consequences, even if God relents from His initial plan. As a result, instead of total annihilation, God made the nation Israel wander in the desert for forty years until every last man alive in Exodus 32 and Numbers 14 passed away.

As writers, do our prayer lives change anything? Do we even have one? Or does writing, pitching our stories, marketing our books, and all the other stuff writers are supposed to do eat up all our time?

We, as Christian writers, always want our writing to affect people for God. How much more so would that be if our prayer life matched our writing life? Not that we pray to manipulate God into more sales, like some genie in a bottle. I’m talking about deepening that relationship so that God’s heart and character flow through our words, reaching readers in ways no one else can.

Moses had a very close relationship with God, wouldn’t you say? And his prayers changed the course of history for a nation. His writings, inspired by the Holy Spirit, change lives every day, even now. Therefore, one could say we mirror Moses more than we may have thought previously.

And in light of our world’s current panic with the Coronavirus, surely our prayers can make a difference.

And maybe, possibly, change the direction of a nation that fears the unknown because they do not believe in the unseen (cf. Heb. 11:1).


As writers, do our prayer lives change anything? Do we even have one? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
We, as Christian writers, always want our writing to affect people for God. How much more so would that be if our prayer life matched our writing life?
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
Moses had a very close relationship with God, and his prayers changed the course of history for a nation. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson


The Letters
The Letters


THE WORLD IS A CRAZY PLACE
WHEN THE LIVING ARE DEAD
AND THE DEAD ARE ALIVE.

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 out as well. Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, are now available! Book 5, A Pulse of Time, is coming Memorial Day 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.

Website: www.ckevinthompson.com/
Kevin’s Writer’s Blog: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Instagram: ckevinthompson
Pinterest: ckevinthompsonauthor
ACFW Fiction Finder: https://www.fictionfinder.com/author/detail/595
Christian Authors Network: https://christianauthorsnetwork.com/c-kevinthompson/
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson
BookBub: C. Kevin Thompson




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Journaling Through the COVID-19 Pandemic by Laurie Wood


We here in North America are into week two of what I’m going to call the “awareness” of the global pandemic of COVID-19. We’ve become “aware” of the need for social distancing, self-isolation, handwashing, what businesses are considered “essential”, and who’s getting laid off and who can work from home.

The rest of the world figured it out in January and February, but Canada and the US managed to keep our rose-coloured glasses on till the week of March 9th. That was the week my husband, who’s a Major in the Canadian Armed Forces (Air Force) started getting serious dispatches about how our military was about to cope with the pandemic reaching our shores. And on Friday, March 13th, around lunch time, I went grocery shopping and decided I’d “stock up” on some essentials before there was a run on them.

Well, the joke was on me because the shelves were already half bare. There was no toilet paper to be had, Kleenex and paper towels were nearly gone, and the meat department looked like the night stock boys hadn’t finished their shift. I managed to score the last two packages of chicken drumsticks. I stared at my “essentials” list and realized that people who were better organized, more up on the news, had already stripped the shelves of hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes and spray, toilet bowl cleaner (apparently Winnipeggers really care about having clean toilets), and dishwasher detergent.

That was the beginning of my family’s “work-at-home-self-isolation”. Our adult children have Down Syndrome and we kept them home during Week One even though their program was still open. My husband was ordered to work from home. My writing routine of peace and quiet was immediately disrupted with three other adults home all day, every day.

The above paragraphs are from a letter I sent to a far-away friend. And then I got the idea to keep a specific journal. Journaling during this pandemic is an excellent idea if you’re a writer. Your experiences as a family, or as a single person, stuck at home and dealing with the social isolation and supply shortages, are crucial to your family history. Recording your thoughts and the events of your days will be special to your children who’re dealing with being out of school, their anxieties, and new experiences as they Facetime with friends from their homes.

Here’s some ways to record or journal your way through this pandemic:

1.      Bullet Journal: keep lists of the TV shows your binge on Netflix, the movies you watch with your kids, the science projects & activities you do with them. Keep a list of how many books you read/review. Keep a list of any new hobbies you learn. New podcasts, webinars, online courses you take. The trivia of your days are the details future generations will cherish.

2.      Keep a video log of your children each day. Have them say something they did that was fun during the day, something new they learned, something they wish was different, something they look forward to when this is all over. Take videos of them being active outside when the weather is good. 

3.      Journal in long-hand for the “bigger” experiences…how your perspective has changed. What is more important to you now than it was a month ago? What is better? What are you grateful for in this time of uncertainty? How is God more real to you now?

We bring hope to readers with our stories. We write to entertain people. We write to record human experience and right now, the global pandemic is bringing the world together in a way it hasn’t experienced since 1918 with the Spanish Flu. Those days are with us again.

Let’s make sure that the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is recorded with words that speak of our generosity, compassion, bravery, love, and the bright light of the human spirit. Let’s rest in Jesus’ assurance that “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 15:33 He will never leave us or forsake us.

It’s not to late to start that new journal. Grab a new notebook, or binder paper, or open up a new Document on your laptop. Have you thought about doing this?  Please share your experiences in the comments. 


 BOOK LINK: Amazon

Northern Deception
(Heroes of the Tundra Book 1)

Reunions can be deadly.

After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.

Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.

Laurie Wood is a military wife who’s lived across Canada and visited six of its ten provinces. She and her husband have raised two wonderful children with Down Syndrome to adulthood, and their son and daughter are a wonderful blessing to their lives. Over the years, Laurie’s books have finaled in prestigious contests such as the Daphne du Maurier (twice), the TARA, the Jasmine, and the Genesis. Her family lives in central Canada with a menagerie of rescue dogs and cats. If the house were bigger, no doubt they’d have more.


           

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Are You Stuck on One Book? by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Last year at my local writer’s group meeting, a friend and fellow member was upset. We’ll call her Jane. She’d signed with an agent, then been dropped. Her book had been rejected several times and she wasn’t sure what to do next.

Over several years, I’d traveled to a national conference and roomed with her, as well as attended several writer’s meetings and retreats with her. During the entire time I’ve known her, Jane has tried to get this one book published. So as she poured out her heart and frustration at the meeting, advice bubbled up in me.

I’ve known several Janes. Tirelessly and doggedly peddling that one book that nobody wants right now. I was Jane. I pitched one book for four years. Even though at the time, I’d completed five, I was stuck on the one because it was the book of my heart.

Finally, I met Mary Connealy at ACFW. Once she got published, she had books coming out faster than I could keep up with. She said she kept writing books and pitching different ones because with each book, you learn and improve. By the time Mary got a contract, she had dozens of books ready to go. I wrote another, then another. And another.

Back to the meeting. I took Jane’s hand and gently suggested she write another book. I told her about Mary, about the book I’d set aside, and about learning and improving with each book you write. I shared that it’s hard to let the book of your heart go so you can move on. But I assured Jane that she didn’t have to give up on it. Just write more while waiting for a home for that first book.

I cried. Jane cried. A few months later, she did the devotion at our meeting about being a willing vessel for God. She gave us each a small lump of play doh and told us to make a vessel. Then she told us how sometimes you feel like you’re doing really well being a vessel, moldable and pliable to God’s will when someone, like Shannon, comes along and crushes your dreams. She brought her fist down smashing her play doh vase and looked at me.

“I’ve been waiting to do that for months.” Jane started laughing. I did too, relieved that she wasn’t really mad at me. Then she went on to share that sometimes when you think your dreams have been crushed, that’s when you find new purpose. She thanked me for my advice and shared that she’d started a new book and was loving it. And loving writing again.

Recently, a new opportunity opened up for the book of my heart. Once the book I’m currently contracted for is finished, I plan to revise that old book since I’ve learned much since then and see if it can find a home. If it does, I’ll be ecstatic. If it doesn’t, I’ll write another book. And another. And another. . .


I pitched one book for four years...because it was the book of my heart. via @stvauthor #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


~~~~~~



Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy
romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.
She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.
Connect with her: Shannon’s Website, Shannon’s Blog, Shannon’s Facebook, Shannon’s Goodreads, Shannon’s Pinterest, Shannon’s Twitter, and  Shannon’s Amazon Author Page. Sign up for her Newsletter to get a free e-book and behind the scenes info: Shannon's Newsletter

This cowboy has one more chance to make it right…

He already lost her once…

Now he’s fighting for her—and their daughter.

When Rance Shepherd takes a job stocking cattle for a local rodeo, he’s shocked that his new client is his ex-sweetheart, Larae Collins. Now he’s determined to prove to the single mother that he isn’t the restless cowboy she remembers. But when he discovers her little girl is his, they both must forgive past mistakes for a second shot at a future together.

Get your copy:



(Available at Walmart from mid-March until mid-June)



Blog Tour for Hill Country Redemption

Giveaway Details: Ten copies of Hill Country Redemption will be split among commentors on Shannon’s blog tour. Winner’s will be revealed on Shannon’s Blog on April 13th. 

March 1st - Becky Van Vleet’s Blog: http://www.beckyvanvleet.com/home-decor-with-nostalgia/
March 17th – Shannon’s Blog: https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/inkslinger-blog/
April 7th – Jennifer Hereen’s Blog: http://jenniferheeren.com/blog/
April 6th – June Foster’s Blog: https://junefoster.com/?page_id=855
April 2nd – Joy Avery Melville’s Blog: https://www.journeystojoy.net/
April 7th – Catherine Castle’s Blog: https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/
April 9th - Laurie Wood’s Blog: https://www.lauriewoodauthor.com/author-my-blog