Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving from the Seriously Write Team

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How I Write a Novel by Elva Cobb Martin

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Confident in the Write Way by Emily Wickham

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2020

What Happened to my Handwriting Skills?

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

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

Friday, November 20, 2020

Finding Inspiration by JoAnn Durgin

Mark Twain Riverboat

Finding Inspiration 


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

Thursday, November 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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

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

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

A Match Made in Sheffield 
by Terri Weldon

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Before You Hit Send… by Patty Smith Hall

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Mine was one of the positions eliminated. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Answering When God Calls by Patty Nicholas-Boyte

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

What can we learn from Nehemiah? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Multi award winning writer, Patty Nicholas-Boyte lives with her Husband Brian in the mountains of North Carolina. She is a busy event planner for the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, and is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Group and Word Weavers International. She is a mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three. She writes Bible studies and devotionals as well as contemporary romance. 

Patty Nicholas-Boyte

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

Heart Renovation a Construction Guide to Godly CharacterFeed Your Soul

Friday, November 13, 2020

Why Do Podcasts About Books? by Chautona Havig

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


Why Do Podcasts About Books? 

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

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

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Carrot Confessions by Patti Jo Moore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCROOGE'S HOLLY DAZE

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

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

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



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

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

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

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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

Everyone seems to be wearied by 2020. 

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

We’re just so tired of it all. 

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

I get it. 

This post is as much for me as for you. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Obsessed Historical Fiction Writer

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

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

The Flavor Writer 

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

Friday, November 6, 2020

Encouragement in the Race by Melinda V. Inman

Photo of people running a race on a track

Encouragement in the Race 

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

Thursday, November 5, 2020

2020-The Year Anything is Possible by Sally Shupe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Sally’s not writing or working full-time, she is a freelance editor for several authors who write fiction and nonfiction; students working on dissertation papers; a copy editor/content editor for several e-book publishing companies; performs beta reading for various authors; publishes book reviews; is a member of ACFW; and loves genealogy, running, and crocheting.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

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

 

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


Lesson one: 

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

Until…

Monday, November 2, 2020

Rethinking Your Writing Goal by Emily Conrad

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

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

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

The more positive comments I could win, the better.

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

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

Where Do I Begin? by Annette M. Irby

Dream*

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

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

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

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