IT’S FINALLY HERE!


Many of you have been waiting…(drum roll)

🙂 I’m thrilled to announce:

The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater is soon to be released!

miracle book cover_0001

This four year writing project has taken many twists and turns along the journey, but at last, the ultimate love story will be released on February 7, 2014 in time for Valentine’s Day.

In case you haven’t been following the Confessions of an Online Dater portion of this blog, here’s the scoop:

They met online.

Laura was a twice divorced mother of four grown children. After two decades of marital devastation, she wasn’t sure if God would give her another chance at love.

Brendan, shocked and devastated after the sudden death of his wife, was left a widowed father with three children. He didn’t see how God could overcome their unexpected tragedy.

But God held all the shattered pieces of both their lives, and He had a good plan. Could He bring together two families 8,000 miles apart? How would they trust Him with the risks required for such a miracle? With each step of faith, God changed their lives and replaced their pasts with a new story. A story of hope, healing and redemption. And it all started on the internet.

The best news is I’m offering a couple of ways to get your FREE autographed copy.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Be one of the first 5 (five) people to submit your comment using the following form.
  2. If you have a blog, be one of the first 5 (five) people to volunteer to read the book and write a blog post with your review. I appreciate your honest evaluation. Use the following form to volunteer.

And that’s not all!

For anyone who pre-orders by January 24 (you have 2 weeks), you can get 20% off the retail price of $14.99. I will personally send you an autographed copy. Use the following form to pre-order, and I will email you secure payment information.

Thank you for your readership and support. Your encouragement means so much!

NOW ON AMAZON IN PRINT OR KINDLE EDITION

2013 in Review – THANK YOU!


I appreciate my readers and followers all over the world. Thank you for choosing to be here with me.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Failing to Grow


A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful conversation with my eldest son. 301

During the course of our discussion, he made two comments in relation to life and career:

If you are unwilling to experience discomfort, you will not experience success.

and

It’s okay if I keep failing as a result of trying to grow.

Since our chat, I’ve thought a lot about that conversation and the wisdom of those two statements. I think they apply to life in general, but I’ve specifically thought about them in regard to my writing career.

Sometimes, I must really push myself outside of my area of comfort in order to find get to the place I really want to be. With trepidation I pressed myself to:

  • write my first book
  • approach publishers
  • attend writer’s conferences
  • start a blog
  • join Twitter
  • write a second book
  • have my work critiqued (several times)
  • submit proposals
  • re-write both books numerous times
  • entered contests
  • learn, practice, learn more, practice again
  • write articles
  • seed out the advice of established authors
  • attend a mentoring class
  • read a lot (okay, so that part is fun)

For some people, those things may be easy. For others, the same activities may feel impossible. Looking back on the journey, I see that I am becoming more successful as I am willing to be uncomfortable. Because we’re only uncomfortable for a little while, until we try, learn and become comfortable again with our new knowledge or abilities.

And even though I’ve failed a lot doing the above things, I’ve been growing. So the failure is part of the process and actually something to be embraced, not avoided.

I want to see my life in the same light.

Pushing outside my comfort zone, trying, failing, learning, failing, and growing.

Thanks for sharing, Josh. I love you.

 

What makes you uncomfortable? Where have you found growth in failing?

 

 

A Thankful Heart


I don’t have anything great or inspiring to write today.

But, then I thought about all of you who read and follow my blog. Those who have commented either online or in person or email with such encouragement and consideration. I understand how many blogs there are out there, and the time it takes to read and comment. So many outstanding authors, bloggers, writers of wonderful and inspiring content throw their work into the pile and hope someone picks it up and feels helped by it. I never take your choice to read mine for granted!

So, I just want to say:

 

I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU, READERS!

 

Thank you. Sincerely.

Laura

Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!

A Little Tip With a Big Difference


If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a titled one worth?

Brendan's First Visit to AmericaThis week while browsing some published author sites, I hovered over a picture on a particular site. The author was huddled with someone in an interesting setting, and I hoped to be enlightened as to the identity of both the other person and their intriguing background. But alas, DC536, or some such photo identity glared back at me. Can you believe I was actually disappointed? I had been on a scouting assignment (of my own mental making) and denied the information I sought.

I realized then, that what I stumbled upon earlier this year, I had assumed everyone else already knew and implemented:

You can label your photos on your blog or website with catchy or informational titles!

Since I discovered this, I’ve labeled my photos (unless they are abstract) so you can tell where I took them and who is with me. Not only that, but they can also be linked. For example, if I post a picture of my husband and I on our anniversary zip lining through the forest, I can label it and link it to Redwood Canopy Tours. Why don’t you check it out here.

 

You can label your photos in Word Press by:

  1. Clicking on Upload/Insert above the toolbar
  2.  To add a picture from you computer click on Drop Files Here/Select Files
  3. When the photo loads, scroll down until you see Title – whatever your picture was saved as you’ll see here. You can change it if you like.
  4. Scroll down further to change the URL to link to a site
  5. Click on Insert into Post
  6. Click on photo – click on the icon on the left (edit). Click on advanced settings at the top. Scroll all the way to the bottom and check the box that says “open link in a new window.
  7. Click Update.
  8. In preview, test it to make sure the links have been saved correctly.

This may all seem very simplistic and technologically obvious (and probably is to many of you reading this), but perhaps you’re like me and are glad for every little bit of instruction. I’m happy to pass it on. If you already have been taking advantage of this, good for you! You probably have an easier/better way to do it!  Either way, it seemed worth the mentioning as a way to further connect our readers by making it easier for them to pursue their search for information.

Happy Label/Linking!

What little tips do you have to share that could make a big difference? Do you already label and link your photos? Have you seen a good result from doing so?

 

 

What Makes a Writer a Writer?


I just read a blog post by Jeff Goins that challenged writers to believe we are a writer when we say we are. I love that!

Last April I attended Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for the first time. I was terrified, but I wanted to write since I was a kid. Attending the conference made a statement to myself; you will take writing seriously. I set some goals and worked to learn the craft of writing. This blog confesses my amateur status, but when I read Jeff’s blog, I realized he’s right. Our confidence and professionalism begins when we decide to be a confident professional. The change may be gradual, as it has been for me this year, or it may come as an instantaneous choice to think differently.

A professional mindset will lead to success. If we work like a pro, we’ll be a pro.

This year I attended the conference again. At first, fear and insecurity ruled my thoughts, but eventually the surroundings felt familiar. Surrounded by professionals, I began to think like them, and act like them.

No, nothing is published…yet. But I’m having a blast being a writer,  and not many people can say that about their profession.

So, when did you decide you were a writer?

 

Conflict Makes a Story…Immigration Part 3


So, I just finished reading Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and his words still reverberate through my mind at various times through my day. (I highly recommend the book which you can check out at www.donaldmillerwords.com ).

In his book, he talks about the process of making one of his other books (Blue Like Jazz – another amazing work of art) into a movie, and what it took to create a story of his life that would be interesting and worth viewing. Truth is, he learned that he wanted a better story to his life period, so he began engaging in life in ways he had never imagined. Way to go, Don.

One of the things (too many to mention here) that grabbed me about his book was the idea of conflict causing change in characters. Now, I was taught in writing classes that a good story must have what we call rising action, a series of conflicts that build to a climax after which the action falls into some type of resolution. Writing 101. However, even though we write about life and things we know about or hope for, it never occurred to me that the conflicts in my actual life were creating a better story.

Since this blog(and the book in progress) is about my life, I asked my writing critique partner if she thought there was enough real conflict to make my story interesting. She assured me there is, and as I’ve taken another look, I’ve begun to see that what makes our story a great story–other people’s words not mine, though I agree–is not how romantic it is, but that there have been tremendous conflicts faced and overcome. We started on an impossible journey and watched the conflicts build and resolve as we kept saying yes and moving ahead.

Hence, the immigration issues we’ve faced make for a better story. Thank you USCIS.

To continue the story….

Within just two weeks we heard from America and Australia that the approved application for Brendan’s visa had been received, and he could submit all the necessary paperwork to the consulate in Australia. They kindly enclosed a list of about a dozen required items including a police report, fingerprints, a medical examination and clearance, all the previous documents in duplicate (what did they do with the other four copies?) and, of course, more money.

I have to confess that we cheated a little. I had already done extensive research to find out what things they would ask for before we got the letter asking for them so that we could be ahead if possible. Remember, we were in a time crunch with a wedding hopefully taking place in just six weeks. So when we received the letter, Brendan had already made the required doctor appointments for him and the kids in Brisbane, and was ready to head out the door to get his police report taken care of.

But when he called me hours later, I was crushed. The police report would take 6-8 weeks they said. And that was just one part of all the things we needed done before he could fly to Sydney (with the kids) to submit it all for the visa. We didn’t know what to do.

“Did you tell them you needed it as soon as possible??” I snapped at him. Like it was really his fault.

“Yes, darling. I did. No one really cares. They just said it would be that long when I asked, and then they moved on to the next person.”

I was so disappointed. I envisioned postponing our wedding for a second time. In all fairness, the website and letters we received made it very clear that we should not book tickets or plan weddings until a visa was actually in hand. Of course they didn’t take into account the details of planning weddings or travel now, did they?

“Well, I guess it’s another opportunity for a miracle. There’s no other option than to trust that God knows what he’s doing and will do the best for us.” I said the words more to convince myself than out of actual belief at that point. I certainly didn’t see how it would work out.

Brendan and I hung up, and I went and cried.