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. twitter.com/SandyKQuandt

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.