Sunday, July 22, 2018

There are comforters, then there’s THE Comforter

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Never scrimp on an electric blanket. Electrical currents on top of your body. While you’re sleeping. Think about it. Also, if the lights flicker when you plug it in and you smell bacon you should probably forget the whole thing and just get a Snuggie. Or also if you wake up in a morning and find it melted into a puddle of liquid wool and smoking wires. Snuggie. If you hear sizzling at any time. Snuggie.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Embracing the New Normal

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

The ringing phone woke me from a sound sleep. The caller ID flashed bright in the darkness. It was from the memory care assisted-living, where my husband had been for three months. The voice on the other end was somber. “Your husband has collapsed and is unresponsive. We’ve called EMS.” After a pause she added, “But he’s breathing.” 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Professional Polish for the Indie Publisher, Step One

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

One of my “made it moments” in indie publishing was the first message I got from an author asking if Proverbs 31 House Publishing was accepting submissions. It’s not. It’s barely even taking my own work. But I knew when I got that message that I was managing to make books that felt like “real” books to other authors. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

For the Love of Reading: How Books Shaped My Destiny

Edie here. I know how much you love hearing from this Great American Author. Today he's sharing a video that I know will inspire us all!

For the Love of Reading: How Books Shaped My Destiny
By Warren Adler @WarrenAdler

For the love of reading: how books shaped my destiny - @WarrenAdler (Click to Tweet)

Warren Adler is the author of The Fiona Fitzgerald Mysteries series and his stand-alone cozy mystery, Flanagan’s Dolls. You can learn more about Warren’s popular titles here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Would Your First Lines Sell Your Book?

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

If someone read the first line of each paragraph in your book, would they buy it? I tried that exercise once, afraid of the answer. It taught me to pay closer attention to my paragraphs. Each line that begins a paragraph is like one of those people who are hired to stand on a corner and hold a sign that says: Come visit so-and-so. Except, your first lines hold an invisible sign that says: Keep reading! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What Can Happen with Your Writing One Year from Now?

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Whoever invented the phrase “the wind rustling through the leaves” obviously sat on this screen porch in these woods. The breeze is so cool, the leaves are dancing, the birds are singing, and I am remembering one year ago when I sat right here and asked God to guide my writing of a new book.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Don't Break Up with Social Media—8 Tips That Help You Stay Committed

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We all know it’s important for writers to have a solid presence online. 

But many of us struggle with Social Media commitment issues. We have good intentions, but our follow-through may be less than stellar. 

So today I’d like to share some tips to help you stay on track.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Baggage or Luggage—Which Am I Carrying?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble forgiving myself. For some reason I expect a level of perfection from myself that I would never expect from someone else.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Embracing My Story

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

My friend, Sherrinda, recommended the book The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus. (I’m not going to comment on his wonderful middle name—Raphael—at this point. But I mean … really … Raphael.)

One thing Sherrinda said was how she was underlining the book like crazy.

So I bought the book … and I am doing the same thing. McManus’s book just breathes truth to my thirsty soul.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Am I Purposed to Write?

by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

I like to encourage people, to inspire them by sharing examples of others who have done something of interest. But today, I’m taking the “misery loves company” approach for those of you who may have returned from a conference high in hopes but are now scraping bottom, or those of you who can’t get even your mother to buy your book. Take heart. Here’s what a few giants who have trod that road before you have to say:

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What to do When I Don't Feel Like Writing

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I love writing. And I love talking about writing.

Sitting around with other writers, discussing all things literary is one of my favorite things. It’s one of the reasons I love attending writing conferences.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Swimming in a Sea of Article Ideas

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Recently I attended a swim meet to watch some of the grandchildren. Chatting with a few friends between events, someone asked, “How do you find ideas to write about?”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Novels are Way More than Just Writing a Story

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

I’ve been writing seriously for the better part of fifteen years, and I still love to sit at the feet of those who are successful and pick their brains. They offer valuable guidance. When a new writer hands me a manuscript it’s easy to see their passion for the story. The concept is good, and they have an idea where the story should go, but as I begin to read, things start to fall apart.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Serendipity of Hope

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

When the unexpected becomes the serendipitous we rejoice. We are glad and our hearts are grateful. When our spirits are fragile, the smallest of blessings can overrun us with their beauty and our sense of sentimentality boldly presents itself. Tears of gratitude are evidence of its effect on us. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

How Can I Tell My Story?

By Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

I love watching the expressions on people’s faces when I tell them I’m a writer. Most people have heard of such people but have never knowingly met one. Usually there’s acknowledgement, sometimes they ask questions, and, occasionally, they will stop and say, “You know, I’ve thought about writing. How can I tell my story?”

Friday, July 6, 2018

Make Your Creative Juices Sizzle with a Summer Day Trip

by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

Summertime offers a plethora of opportunities for us to explore, learn, and hone our writing skills. Intentionality is the key, unlocking the power of creativity to sizzle through our stories. 

It’s no secret that our brain re-engages when faced with new experiences, so today I’d like to encourage you to plan a day trip. The only caveat is that this destination must be a place you’ve never visited before. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

When Your Writing Conference Doesn’t Go the Way You Planned

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I love writing conferences. I love attending them, and I love teaching at them. 

No two events are exactly the same. Even the same conference will have a different feel from one year to the next. Some years, I look back and see them as crucial networking years. Some years they are fun. Some years are educational and informative. All are important in their own way. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Triangle of Structure Part 3

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Part Three - the Black Moment
The Black Moment is the third and final structural element of our Triangle. It‘s also called the crisis or the emotional climax. I like to call it the 'all is lost' moment, since it's where the protagonist has the absolutely toughest decision in the world to make. How will he decide between what he wants and what's right? Will she hold onto her original goal if it causes her to lose what she now wants? This last decision has to hurt and has to matter. Be mean! Even if you don't want to torture your character!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Book Launch Teams – What Authors Need to Know that Will Make an Author's Life Easier

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

We’ve been studying book launch teams for several months. In previous articles, I shared insights on how to run a launch team well from authors Mesu Andrews, Cathy Baker, Lynn Blackburn, and Rachel Dylan. Today, we’re going to focus on tips that make an author’s life easier during a book launch.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Importance of Hashtags, Titles & Images for Blog Posts

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

A little teaching moment... 

With the chaos of social media, and the strict guidelines now in place with email, our digital connections have gotten more complicated. But one thing hasn’t change—the ability to be found through an organic search. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Why Writers Need Each Other

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

And in (Christ Jesus) you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 3:22

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6

Hiding in my bedroom as a little girl, I pulled out the tattered yellow legal pad I confiscated from the heavy wooden desk my mother used to pay bills. With a rush of relief, I spilled out on paper all that brimmed in my heart. The words filled the pages like beautiful filigree, transforming each one into a chronicle of my childhood. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Dozen Hacks to Make the Writing Life Easier

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s life isn’t an easy one. So much of what we create comes from some place deep inside ourselves. Giving that way can be exhausting, not to mention frustrating, when we feel empty.

The good news is that there are things we can do to help ourselves. I’ve come to learn that we either set ourselves up for success or we set ourselves up for failure.  Today I’ll share some of the writing and blogging hacks that every successful writer needs to know.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Stupid Things People Say to Writers (and how we'd like to respond)

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Below is my list of comments I’ve received over the past years since I’ve admitted to being a writer. 

In the parenthesis after each comment is what I wish I could have said. 

I’m happy to report I’ve not given in to the temptation…yet.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dealing with Stress for Writers (and Everyone Else)

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Stress: a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existing equilibrium (Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11thEdition)

If we’re breathing, we all feel stress. Something is always trying to disrupt our equilibrium.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fiction Writing From A to Z

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Reminders about our craft burst our imaginations into creative mode. From A to Z, we find sources of inspiration to keep us writing. I’ve chosen the first word that entered my mind as a means to keep my imagination in full gear.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dipping the Quill Deeper: Writing to Live

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

American author and screenplay writer, Ray Bradbury, said, And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Publishing vs. Encouraging

by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

According to a song lyric by Linda Rondeau

Home, home in the industry
Where the writers and publishers play
Where seldom is heard 
An encouraging word
And the skies are so cloudy all day 

Thanks, Linda for letting me borrow the lyric. Yes, I've experienced discouragement in my writing journey. Maybe it was a rejection, or comments from a contest judge, but they threw ice cubes on my dreams. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

More Faith, Less Fluff

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

I accidentally put one of my favorite “lay flat to dry” sweaters in the dryer. Somewhere in the last fluff cycle, somebody must’ve slipped in and traded it for some kind of little teddy bear sweater. What am I supposed to do with this? I guess now I have to buy a little teddy bear.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Planning Your Virtual Book Launch Event

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

Your book is completed, and now it’s time to plan your launch. If you’re not considering a virtual launch event, you’ll be missing out on an easy and powerful strategy to ensure that more of your prospects learn about your book and your content. Additionally, planning a launch event will also help you in preparing content that you’ll use to share your book’s message when you speak for conferences and programs.

Friday, June 22, 2018

3 Surprising Benefits of a Nonfiction Book Proposal Rejection

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Let’s be honest. Writers, like most human beings, hate rejection. Especially when we’ve put so much work into a project. We refine our purpose, target our audience, and select our best chapters. We agonize over our hook and drive everyone around us crazy by testing alternate book titles on them. Anyone who’s ever written a book proposal will agree—completing one is like birthing a porcupine—with no epidural. 

It’s no surprise, then, that we experience disappointment and sadness when our proposal is rejected. Once we put some distance between the rejection and the project, however, we can usually learn from it. If we apply the lessons to our next proposal, we’ll increase our chances of receiving a yes instead of another heartbreaking no.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

12 Things to Let Go of to Find Writing Success

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Successful writers sacrifice a lot to get where they are. Often we forget this and just see the end result. The dream of becoming an overnight success is just that, a dream. This post isn’t meant to discourage anyone. Rather, I want you to focus on the fact that, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can find writing success. To that end, I’m sharing 12 things you need to give up to become a successful writer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

6 Tips for Submitting to a Compilation

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

The anticipation of submitting an article, the adventure of writing it, and the hope that it will be accepted—writing for compilations can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

5 Tips for the Discouraged Writer

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

You got excited. Inspired to write. Motivated to minister. Challenged to pursue dreams.

And, for a while there—surrounded by kindred spirits cheering you on—you could almost taste the success. A book published. A conference keynote scheduled. A popular blog.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Why Tags and Labels are Important to Blogging & How to Use Them Correctly

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I get the opportunity to evaluate a lot of blogs, from writers I meet with at conferences to clients. And they all have many of the same questions. One of the most common is what are some tips to help their blogs get found.

There’s one easy answer—proper tagging/labeling with each post.

When I give this answer, I get a lot of blank looks. This is one critical step a lot of blogger miss when posting a blog. Today, I’m going to give you the tools that make labeling/tagging a breeze and immediately help your blog come up in the search engine rankings.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

She’s Got Her Father’s Eye

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

It's been almost two-and-a-half-years since Daddy won his ultimate battle with Alzheimer's and Jesus took him home. Today, in honor of Father's Day, I'd like to share some of my memories of him. 

My daddy was a man who knew how to follow his dreams—always traveling via the scenic route. As a young man, he played in numerous bands—the big band type, not the rock band type—built his own sailboat, and took to the road as he embraced his love of photography and travel. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

How Writer Dogs Can Add Dimension to our Stories

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

I’ve been looking for a dog. Not just any dog. A writer dog—a well-behaved pooch who will follow me into my writing room and lay at my feet until I’ve written my word count for the day. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

How to Build an Indie Empire—What You're Selling Matters

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

*disclaimer. This series is about following rules. I know that Indies don’t have to follow rules. That’s the whole point of being indie. But indies who pay attention to what rich and famous authors do, have a much better shot at fame and riches.*

I mentioned a software program called Vellum in part 5 of this series. I highly recommend you get this software, by hook or by crook. It makes life as an indie so much easier! Sure, you have to invest in a Mac computer to get it, but empires cost money. If you have Vellum, with the push of a few buttons, your perfectly formatted ebook becomes a perfectly formatted paperback, and having a paperback for sale matters.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Social Media Strategies in this New World of Algorithms

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

This has been a world-shifting year in the realm of social media. It began with the new Facebook algorithms in January. This was followed by the changes in the Twitter algorithms. Directly related to these two shifts, we've seen somethings change. Thunderclap has been shut down, and this past week so has Klout.

With all these changes many people are scrambling and scurrying. Chasing trends, new apps, and giving up aren't the way to deal with this new world. Today I'm going to lay out my strategy to help you find a blueprint to continue to make valuable online connections.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Book Signings – What’s a Writer to Say?

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Recently I was signing a book for someone and a friend stood nearby. After the reader left, my friend said, “How do you decide what to write when you sign a book?”

Good question. As I pondered that, several things came to mind.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What a Writer Gains By Entering Contests

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

And the winner is. . . 

It doesn’t matter if you’ve entered one writing contest or 20. Waiting on the result makes your heart skip a beat. Writers work hard on their manuscripts, and stepping out to enter them in a contest is a little scary. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Numbers Reality and the Writer’s Responsibility

by Kristen Hogrefe @kjhogrefe

My first solo lasted two whole verses. I was thirteen, and since I don’t do math, that was a while ago. But I still remember the chorus by heart: “It was little by little, minute by minute, for little is much when the Lord is in it …”

Those words well-describe God’s work in my life and perhaps my whole career as a writer.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

What Song Plays in You?

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

Focused in nature, thematic in expression. Central, intrinsic, permanent, though not static. Unmoving, but not unbending. 

There is something in you fitting this description. A force you hold unique to yourself. You may have unearthed it, or maybe not. Others may see it more clearly than you do, but it is there. In the core of who you are is one melody that plays, one song that sings, one message that rings out. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Lessons Learned

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

I like John Wayne. To be more specific, I like his movies. Some of my favorites are Hatari, Hellfighters, The Quite Man, Rio Bravo, The Searchers … okay, I’ll stop there. I had fun weaving my love of John Wayne movies into to my newest novel, Somebody Like You. My heroine, Haley, likes John Wayne movies too.

Friday, June 8, 2018

One Writer's Story of the Takeaway

by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

Several years ago my memoir manuscript, Call of a Coward, won the nonfiction award at a writers conference. The following week, puffed with pride, I shared the first few pages at our critique-group meeting. To be sure, even if I didn’t mention my recent honors, I was certain everyone would be impressed with my excerpt.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

It's Okay to be a Beginner

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

A few months ago, I learned to SCUBA dive. 

I was so excited! I’ve wanted to learn for a long time. 

Unfortunately, I was NOT a star student.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Triangle Structure for Writers, Part 2

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

We’re working on the Triangle of Structure, to understand how even a three-point structure can make the difference between a good book and a great book.

If you missed it, here's part one of The Triangle Structure for Writers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Book Launch Teams – What Authors Need to Know About Picking Members, Part 2

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyADict

Earlier this year, I contacted authors Mesu Andrews, Cathy Baker, Lynn Blackburn, and Rachel Dylan to learn about their experiences with book launch teams. They shared so many great ideas, I had to break their insights into multiple posts. 

Last month we looked at how to design your book launch team. If you missed the tips for envisioning your team, getting help, or initial planning, check out part one of What Authors Need to Know About Book Launch Teams.

This month, we’re taking the next step, investigating how to fill your team.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Increase Your Writing Productivity by Finding More Time to Write

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I had always believed that I needed at least an hour, and preferably three, to make any progress at all with my writing. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Tethered Writer

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Tether: to tie with a rope or chain so as to restrict movement (New Oxford American Dictionary).

“You are tethered!” said my friend, her blue eyes sparkling. 

Her eyes were not supposed to be twinkling with mirth, the corners of her mouth turned up in the shadow of a smile. Eyes brimming with tears, I had just poured my heart out to her about how overwhelmed I was, how many difficult things had happened since I signed the contract for my first book. My friend was supposed to murmur in sympathy and cry with me. But she seemed to be happy about my misery!