Calling All Writers!


If you are currently a writer, whether published or still working on it, you’re invited to check out my new Facebook group Real Time Writers for tips, encouragement and accountability.

We’re having a good time learning our craft, helping each other with advice and interacting.

Some of us are published authors, some are newbie writers and some are wanna-be-someday writers. It’s a fit for all of the above.

To join you will need to make a request and answer a few questions pertaining to where you’re at in your writing journey.

In the near future, I’ll be offering classes too!

Join with us on your writing journey.

Remember The Miracles of the Past


On Thursday, a fellow author featured my book on her blog. DSC_0020

Thank you to Toni Shiloh! I appreciate how she promotes new authors. I hope you’ll check out her blog and books too. You can read the post here. If you comment, you’ll be entered to win a free copy of the book!

What I love about Toni’s Throw Back Thursday blog is that it reminds me to think about the miracles God has done in the past. My book she promoted, The Miracle of Us: Confessions on an Online Dater, was released nearly three years ago which was a miracle in itself! It took four years of writing, editing, changing it and rewriting before I landed with something I felt people would find enjoyable, entertaining and encouraging.

But that story began nearly nine years ago.

Here’s the thing. Every time we retell the miracles God has done for us, our faith grows. We remember how big God is. We encourage others. And the best part? God says in Revelation (12:11) that our testimony helps defeat or overcome our enemy, the devil.

Amazing what sharing a story can do.

So thank you, Toni. I hope my story will encourage someone. And remember, friends, to share your stories! Tell people about the wins in your lives. Remember those miracles from the hand of a big God and look forward to what is to come.

What story can you share? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Does This Mean War?


My daughter is studying the Civil War for history.Kookaburras at Australia Zoo

As I’ve prepared her lessons, read books, directed her projects and watched Gone with the Wind and Shenandoah, I’ve been struck by the analogy to the current trend in publishing. Not to make light of the tragedy of our American Civil War, nor to imply that the publishing world holds the same weight as the potential division of a nation and the issue of slavery. Nonetheless, I find some similarities between the two.

Traditionalists fight for a publishing norm and standard. Publishing has been handled a particular way for centuries. Authors submit their labored words in hope they will capture the attention of those in charge of determining who is worthy of publication. If so deemed, contracts are made in which, ideally, both the publisher and the author will be satisfied with, well, let’s be honest, sales. As we’ve been reminded, even in Christian circles, publishing is a business, after all.

Indies (self-publishers) desire freedom on various levels. Freedom to write and publish whatever moves them. Freedom to retain more of the income from their hard work. The ability to write and publish when they wish rather than waiting for the long process of submitting, waiting for acceptance (am I good enough?) and finally the time allotment for release date and length of time on the shelves. They may not be convinced the publishers actually have their best interests in mind.

Compelling arguments exist on both sides.

My traditionally published author friend, Sherry Kyle, (Delivered with Love, The Heart Stone, The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style and The Girl’s Guide to Your Dream Room) made some valid points in a conversation yesterday.

  1. Publishers have access to retail connections. Her upcoming book (Watercolor Dreams October 2014) is already listed on Amazon for pre-order and in catalogues.
  2. An agent deals with all the financial aspects and details of finding avenues for publishing. I thought about the difference between having a real estate agent and selling your home yourself—having been an agent once, I would never sell my house without one. The business, legal and financial dealings are too complicated without the trained knowledge an agent provides.
  3. While traditional publishers are paying less and expecting more from their authors in the realm of marketing, they at least have marketing plans and connections already set in place.
  4. In addition, a publisher edits (invaluable) and creates a cover design. Two crucial aspects.

Self-publishing offers advantages as well. Since I’ve recently released my first book (The Miracle of Us: Confessions on an Online Dater) which I self-published through CreateSpace, I’ve learned a little about that option. These are the benefits I see:

  1. Self-publishers earn more in royalties.  Thirty to fifty percent versus five to twenty percent. And we know exactly how many copies have sold every day. No guessing or waiting for statements.
  2. An author can publish as many books as fast as he/she can write, edit and format them. No limit, no waiting. That builds a momentum of keeping readers reading. How many times have you finished a book by an author you loved only to find you had to wait a year until the next book was available? I know enough authors to know this isn’t always because they aren’t writing books fast enough. I can think of two series I quit reading because I lost interest waiting and went on to find another book to read.
  3. Readers set the standard of what they will read rather than a publisher choosing what they think will sell.
  4. Self-published authors are not limited to a brand created for them by a publisher. A couple of articles convinced me of this situation. Both told of well-known authors who sold numerous traditionally published books in particular genres. When they wrote outside that genre, publishers, even though they loved their work, refused to publish their new projects because it didn’t fit their brand.  Publishers and agents will say “choose one type of writing and stick with it.” That may make sense from a business perspective, but what if an author feels like writing something else? What if I feel God leading me to delve into fiction, but I’ve been branded as a non-fiction author? Self-publishing allows for variety.

I haven’t decided what I’d like to do with my next, nearly completely book. I always thought I’d submit to an agent and go the traditional route. I’ve spent a few years honing my craft and building a network for that very reason. But, I’m also tempted by these new benefits. I’ve heard great persuasions from both sides. Some authors do both successfully.

In the Civil War, the Union won, keeping the nation together and abolishing slavery.

Although, that victory didn’t necessarily change the hearts of all people. I’d like to think that in the battle of the book, both sides will bring good to the table. In the end, millions of readers have a smorgasbord of brilliant (and sometimes not so brilliant) writing to choose from whether from traditionally published or self-published authors.

What do you think? Traditionalist or Indie? Or…both?

Delightful Read – Great Gift!


blog post motherhood Want a unique gift for the mothers in your life?

This little gem has it all! I laughed, cried and found myself nodding along with this delightful     collection of anecdotes, advice, and famous quotes from and about mothers. Throw in  a dozen easy recipes and a colorful, creative background and you have the makings of a wonderful, re-readable keepsake. “You Might Be a Mommy If…” had me rolling with understanding laughter.

 

I highly recommend this lovely gift book:

  • For new mommy’s to start them on their journey
  • For in the middle mom’s who need a new perspective and a boost to keep going
  • For mothers and grandmothers who have weathered the parental storms and will enjoy the reminiscing

A collaborative work of five experienced authors who have lived out the joys and challenges of motherhood, this book would make a wonderful shower gift, birthday gift or Mother’s Day gift. Or even give it as an encouragement for a family member or friend who’s having a difficult time in the parental realm. I also appreciated the inclusion of adoptive parenting difficulties and victories.

Available here on Amazon.

What I’m Learning From My Illness


I began getting sick more easily last November.

And it seemed to take longer than usual to shake it off. By January, I had been sick two more times and still felt under the weather. An unexplained rash began taking over my body with painful itching. At first, I didn’t make any connections. Stress governed my life due to family pressures, a beloved friend losing her baby, my grandmother passing and my push to sell myself to an agent. I assumed sleep would take care of my health issues. That is, if I could get any.

During the Mt Hermon Writers Conference, I silently itched and couldn’t sleep for the pain. But, after meeting with an agent who had some great ideas for me, I put my goals in place and plowed into my writing and marketing plans. Within a couple of weeks, the rash on my fingers had turned into painful, oozing blisters. My hand was so swollen I couldn’t type. Complete exhaustion prevented me from speaking a cohesive sentence let alone putting one in a book.

It was difficult to drag myself out of bed at all.

After numerous tests, the bottom line is a depressed immune and adrenal system – the result of a variety of issues. One of which is the driven, non-resting me that ties my worth to my productivity as a person, wife, mother, educator and writer. In the furthest recesses of my heart, what I do and how I perform dictate my value. Oh, my head knows this isn’t true. Jesus loves me based on who I am, not what I do or don’t do.  A recent read of Embracing Grace by Daniel Brown, PhD,  reminded me that God’s love is unconditional and complete. But sometimes my broken places scream otherwise. Especially when my defenses are down because of external or physical stress.

Here are a few things God’s been showing me:

  1. As I admired the amazing diversity of God’s creation on a recent trip to Florida, I was struck by a whisper of God to my heart.  “Just as my creation praises me by being what I created it to be, so are you my creation and praise me by your existence. I delight in you simply because you are.” Wow! DSC_0018Really? Still wrapping my mind around that one.
  2. Rest is more spiritual than physical. Yes, I need to get enough sleep. But on my vacation, during which I basically slept or lounged all day, every day, the Lord showed me that my soul wasn’t at rest which was just as exhausting as not sleeping enough. I’m trying to grasp that I can be still because God is God and has everything under control. He says “I have everything you need. Relax. I’ve got your back.” I am finding peace by spending time each day in his presence—simply sitting and listening for his voice. I’ve read Psalm 23 about 100 times. Really.
  3. I need to listen to what God says. Not agents or bloggers or other authors (no offense to all you wonderful, wise writers out there). I was crazily trying to learn everything and do it all even as it shifted from week to week. Knowledge is helpful. God tells us to “get knowledge.” But God will lead my steps. His direction may or may not fit with the “101 Steps to Getting Published.” Therefore, I need to be selective with what I read (I do not have time or energy for all of it, even if it’s good advice), and I need to submit it to God to see if it fits with his plans for me. He’s the one who can make his good plans for me happen. I got off track. It’s easy to do.
  4. Reacting to others or circumstances rather than seeking God first sends me into emotional overload and gives the enemy a place to attack. Instead, whenever I start freaking out inside, I’ve been trying to ask God, “What do you say about that?” Sometimes it takes some sorting out the truth from the lies that swirl through my mind. Today my husband reminded me that whenever the thought I hear accuses or belittles me, it isn’t my thoughts or God’s about me. Satan hates me and wants me to hate myself. He is the one who tells me lies.

I’ve been learning  so many great things. And while I’d rather have God heal me miraculously, I believe this has been the better way. Of course, God knew that.

And now I need to get to bed 🙂

Perhaps you can relate to feeling overwhelmed or exhausted because of an urgent driven place inside. Would you be willing to share your experiences?