Saturday, August 31, 2013

Writing Prompt Image— Faith to Follow Your Dreams

How do you find the faith to follow your dreams?

"For to have faith, is to have wings." J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Life Lessons—When Write Doesn't Go According to Plan

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

Let’s face it. Life doesn’t go according to plan. Neither does your writing. Your best laid plans and prose could end up in the reject pile. It’s enough to make you crazy if you let it.

For the last forty-eight days, I’ve been living on my bicycle and traveling down unknown roads throughout America on my Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour. Throughout each day, amazing stories unfolded, women came forward who were suffering in silence from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Calendar Days—Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days in September

It's time for Calendar Days again!

It's that time again—Calendar Days. I sure hope you all are enjoying this column as much as me. It's funny, as I research these each month, I think of so many of you.

For example, on the eighteenth—Hug a Greeting Card Writer Day, I think of my friend, Barbara Parentini with her gorgeous line of cards. 

On Punctuation Day, I think of all my fellow editors, who are also writers, like Beth Vogt and Cindy Sproles.

And I can't help but giggle at the holidays that fall on the same date, like the thirteenth, which is Defy Superstition Day and Fortune Cookie Day.

I always share this info on the last Thursday of every month. So be sure to drop by. Today I’m going to continue with the upcoming crazy and normal holidays in the month of September.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Do I REALLY Need a Craft or Critique Group?

Only if you want your writing to improve!

Writing for publication is an endeavor built on forging relationships. And those relationships can ultimately determine your success or failure in the writing industry. Here’s a list of those relationships.
  • Between you and other writers.
  • Between you and the reader.
  • Between the reader and the subject or characters.
  • Between you and the editor.
  • Between you and your agent.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Social Media Monday—Define Your Blog’s Audience

There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs in cyber-space. That being the case, how do you help your blog stand out in the crowd? The foundational answer is at once simple and hard—you must define your blog’s audience.

I know I said simple…but simple isn’t easy. But it is worth it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Freeing Your Imagination

What sets your imagination free?

"My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring and carried aloft on the wings of the breeze." Anne Bronte

Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Life Lessons—It's NOT About the Bike

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

Seriously. It’s not about the bike. When I struck out on a cross country trek on my bicycle on July 13th, I looked in my helmet mirror and saw Edie pulling away. It was official. I’d started the Road to Freedom Tour and my life would never be the same.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I just knew it was about the bike. Turns out, I was wrong. Today is day 42 of the tour. I’ve met hundreds of people, ministered to countless women who are struggling fearfully through a great big world.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Think Ahead When You Reference Time

You don't have to write science fiction to get caught in a time warp.

We all write about time more often than you think. From my writer’s bio where I share how long I’ve been married, to the announcement about my newest books coming out next month, I give time clues to inform my audience. But do I do it in a way that makes time clearer or muddies the issue?

The truth is, it's HOW a writer references time that makes the difference.

We don’t live in a static universe. Time passes, and what was relevant last week, last month, even last year, has changed. 

And if we don’t give solid time references we leave those reading what we’ve written adrift and uncertain where they are.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What to Wear at a Writers Conference

Today I’m going to continue my series on getting ready for a writers conference. Last week I gave you a over view of Things You Need to Know to get Ready for a Writers Conference.

 One of the most asked questions I get is about appropriate attire. Below is my opinion—you’ll find others who disagree—but it’s always worked well for me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Social Media Monday—How Much is Too Much to Stay Safe online?

As writers we know the importance of developing an online presence, but is there such a thing as too much information out there?


The result of too much information online can range from the irritating to the dangerous. But it is possible to be smart and still have an online presence that will garner you the right kind of reader notice.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Worship—Prepartion

Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. II Corinthians 8:14

This past week I had the opportunity to spend a good bit of time on airplanes. And the one thing they all had in common (except NEVER being on time) was the spiel flight attendants give before each flight takes off.

As I sat trying to appear like I was listening for the fourth time in two days, the lady sitting next to me spoke to me in a low voice. “That makes no sense at all.”

When I looked up to see what set her off I saw the oxygen mask dangling from the stewardess’s hand.

“If I was traveling with a child or someone who needed help I’d put their mask on first.”

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Direction

How do you determine your life...and when opportunities appear?

...your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Life Lessons—Just Over the Hill

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As you all know, I’m in the middle of my Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour Across America to help women who have been the victims of violent assault and who suffer from PTSD.

As I type this, I’m sitting at the riverside park in Owensboro, KY overlooking the Ohio River. The sun is setting to the west and I am satisfied after a long day in the saddle.

At some points on my trip, I faced hills so steep, they reminded me of cliffs. My lungs screamed for more air and my legs begged to turn around and coast back down. But I wondered what I would do when I got there.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Business Basics for Today's Writer—Is There a Time you SHOULD Turn down a Book Contract?

I know that for a lot of us, getting a book contract is a dream come true. This is true for first-time authors  and just as true for those of us who are multi-published. So the thought of turning DOWN a contract may not have even seemed like an option.

So is there a time you SHOULD turn down a book contract?


Not only is it an option—it can sometimes be the BEST career decision you can make.

Today I want to share some good reasons to walk away from a book deal.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Things You Need to Know to Get Ready for a Writers Conference

Last week I addressed pitching at a writers conference. Today I want to back up a little bit. and give you more of an overview of preparing for a conference. This post will give you the basics of the things you need to know to get ready for a writers conference. 

One of the most important things you’re going to do at an conference is network. You’ll meet with editors agents, and especially with other writers. Often these other writers will be some of your most valuable contacts in the years to come.

But you need to be prepared.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Social Media Monday—Plug in through Social Networking BEFORE the Conference Starts!

Many writers have the mistaken idea that social networking is only beneficial for connecting online. Or that it only helps when you can’t be at a conference. But it’s important to plug in through social networking BEFORE the conference starts!
Connecting early can greatly increase what you get out of the event. And that is so true for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference coming up in September. Conferences are expensive and you'll get so much more for your money if you plug in early.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekend Worship—Only Still Water Reflects

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

What a great vacation we’ve had, spending an entire seven days at the beach. We've had time to take long walks, search for shells and watch the birds. But I have to say, the hours we've spent lounging in our beach chairs—feet in the sand, has been my favorite part.

It’s also been a time when God has spoken to my soul, reminding me of some basic truths.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Living in the Moment

How do you combat the busy-ness of life and live the moments more fully?

"If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live
more richly those moments." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Conference Season is Here—Have You Practiced Your Pitch?

Many of us will be attending ACFW (American ChristianFiction Writers) in just 32 days. It’s an amazing conference, and one I look forward to each year. It’s a time to network, learn, and pitch our manuscripts to agents and editors.

Attending a writers conference can be a stressful undertaking—even for a seasoned writer. A lot of writers have gravitated toward our profession because we’re not comfortable with crowds, especially crowds of strangers.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CrossReads Book Blast: Keeper of Reign by Emma Right

Keeper of Reign By Emma Right

About the Book

Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema. Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn't get himself killed first.
Emma RightEmma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one. Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.
Follow Emma Right Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Social Media Monday—Don’t Give Away the Ending with Your Social Media Updates

Everyone knows how important it is to post regular updates on social media. But what a lot of people don’t know, is how important it is NOT to give away the ending with your social media updates.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekend Worship—Stay in Step

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

One of the things I looked forward to the most when I got ready to enter high school was being a part of the marking band. It was something I’d dreamed of doing.

My father is a classical musician, and taught at our local university. Every year, during football season, I loved sitting in the stands and watching the college band perform at half time. The music and the intricate designs that unfolded on the field inspired me, and made me yearn to join them on the field.

I remember the anticipation I felt when I finally entered high school and had the opportunity to be a part of the band. The summer ended early for band members because we were all required to attend a week-long summer band camp. It was there the freshmen were taught to march, and we began working on the programs we'd perform at the home football games that fall.

Once there, I found out just how hard it is to march in step with a large group of people. It became even more difficult when you added playing a musical instrument to the equation. 

I’ve never been overly coordinated, and marching in the band pushed the outer limits of my ability. Contrary to what some may thing, the key lay in paying attention to only one person, the director. I had to focus on the music, and follow the beat of his baton. If I got sidetracked by what everyone else on the field was doing I'd get lost and distracted.

Day after day, I fought unsuccessfully to master this skill. I was either able to play the right notes or stay in step, but not both. Occasionally I’d manage a couple steps, but soon would find myself marching to my own internal beat.  It was hard to ignore what came naturally and focus on following the director.

But I kept at it, spending hours each day that week learning to master this skill. It paid off. When school started, I was right there on the field with the rest of the band, successful.

Sometimes I my life feels a lot like marching band. I get out of step with God. Things happen in my life and in the lives of those around me. I get distracted and find myself following my own path, marching to my own beat trying to fix things.

It’s only when I look up and focus once again on the Director that the intricate designs of life begin to unfold and make sense. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Hope

What do you do to keep HOPE alive?

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don't give up." Anne Lamott
Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Life Lessons—Look a Little Deeper

Shiloh battlefield in Corinth, Mississippi

I’ve been so blessed to have spent the last several days in and around the little town of Corinth, Mississippi. It is so rich in history, particularly surrounding the Civil War.

Every place I turn has a story that altered the face of our nation. The ground that I walked on was rich with events of the past… of heroes and legions.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday Review—The First 50 Pages

by Lynn H Blackburn

I want to write a book that keeps people up at night. Before that can happen, I’ve got to write a book that will keep an agent, and then an editor, turning pages…and then ask for more.

If you’ve read any books on the craft of writing, or attended any type of conference, you know how critical those first 40-50 pages can be. Those are the pages you submit to contests, the pages you include in proposals, the pages that must—not should be, not need to be, not ought to be—MUST sparkle and shine so brightly that when your dream agent reaches the end, they are distraught to discover that they’ll have to request the rest of the book to find out what happens next.

So, no pressure. None at all.