Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekend Worship—The Freedom of Transparency

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

The past few years I’ve been doing a good bit of public speaking. Since I'm a writer, you might assume that's a good thing. It probably should be, except for one thing—it’s way out of my comfort zone. As a matter of fact, if I wasn’t certain God was asking me to share what He’s doing in my life, I wouldn’t be doing it.

Even the knowledge that I'm being obedient doesn't help a lot. I’m just not comfortable with the spotlight shining on me. It feels wrong—like I’m calling attention to myself rather than to God.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Do you REALLY believe you can?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We're coming to the end of the year, and with that a lot of us begin to evaluate how we've done. If you're like me, you'll tend to wait the failures heavier than the successes. When I do that, two things happen:
  1. I get a lopsided view of the past year.
  2. I get discouraged because I'm not where I expected to be.
Neither of these helps me enter the new year on an optimistic note. So before we get caught up in the things that didn't go well, I'd like to pose a question. 

Where are you headed, and how much closer to your goal are you than this time next year? 

Believe you can, and you're halfway there. Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, November 28, 2014

4 Secrets Writers Won’t Tell You About Themselves

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Writers have a reputation for being a little odd. Kind friends call us “eccentric.” Unkind friends . . . well . . .  we won’t dwell on them. When writers get together, however, we often find that our unique quirks and habits aren’t as unique as we thought. We discover that some of our quirks are simply shared characteristics of gifted word painters.

Today I’d like to share four secrets writers won’t tell you about themselves:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Writer’s Guide to Thanksgiving

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

For some people, Thanksgiving is about the food. For others, the holiday is about spending time with family and friends. Some can’t wait to finish the meal to tune into the football games. Then there are writers. Oh, we love the food, family, and friends, but what about the inevitable questions that shake the foundation of our self-confidence? I’m talking about the statements that cause us to wonder who the real turkey is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Indie Tuesday—Using the Kindle App to Edit

Jessica @AuthorKeller here: A few weeks ago I shared Easy Ways to Reach Word Count and part of that is "stealing time" where you write and edit in short chunks of free time. One thing I mentioned was that there are ways to do that even if you don't want to lug around a computer. I invited my friend Dawn Crandall to stop by today to share how she edits her work using the Kindle App (on a Kindle, IPad, or even on a phone).

Using the Kindle App to Edit
by Dawn Crandall @DawnWritesFirst
Did you know there’s a way to self-edit your WIP without using ink or paper? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Social Media Monday—Successful Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

You can look at this digital age we live in as a blessing or a curse—and there are merits to each viewpoint. Since I’m a glass half full type girl, I happen to take the positive approach. I like the connectedness of this time and place. I like connecting in person and online—especially through Facebook and Twitter.

A word of warning here, it’s possible to let these tools (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) eat into your writing time. For myself, the way I combat that temptation is to schedule my networking time.

Many of you have asked how I schedule my day so now is as good a time as any to share it with you. Now, please know that I am NOT an organized person, but this loose arrangement of my day helps me to stay sane in the insane world of freelance writing.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekend Worship—Confidence vs. Arrogance

by Sarah Van Diest

“For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught” Proverbs 3:26.

Where does confidence cross over into arrogance?

To be confident that the Word of God is truth is one thing, but to presume that my understanding of it is truth is another. Yes?

I know very little when I look at the whole of what I know in an honest light. I have very little I can stand on, but that which I stand on is enough. I don’t need much to keep my feet above the lies running hotly all around me. I only need space enough to stand.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Balance Between Sharing Life and Experiencing Its Sweetness—A Social Media Image

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

There's a lot of emphasis on capturing moments. We grab them through images and video on cell phones and mobile devices. We share them on social media. And while I think it's good to connect with others through things that touch our hearts, it can be overdone. 

"That it never comes again is what makes life so sweet." Emily Dickinson
It's easy to get so carried away with sharing that the experience of the moment is lost. And with that we lose the sweetness that is life.

No mistake, I see the irony here. I'm sharing an image to use on social media and whining about too much sharing. When I took this image, I was totally present in the moment. One of my closest friends, Mary Denman, and I had gone out that day to enjoy the snow and take photographs. 

We didn't share anything on social media. We just spent time together, enjoying the beauty of a rare South Carolina snow.
How do you draw the line between sharing life and experiencing its sweetness?

Share your thoughts 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, November 21, 2014

Life Lessons—Sometimes Life REALLY Gets In The Way

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of stress. This is nothing new to anyone who writes. But I mean a lot of stress.

Here is just a sampling:
  • A honey-do list longer than Santa’s.
  • Neighborhood problems that cause me concern for the safety of our residents, especially my wife.
  • Two recall notices on my car.
  • Trees that have grown so large their shade is killing my lawn. But the weeds love it.
  • A hole in the bathroom wall screaming for attention.
  • Four bedrooms, one hallway and one stairway that need carpets re-stretched.
  • A sloped lot with extreme erosion issues and a budget that requires my doing all the work.
  • A need to hand dig a trench and install a French Drain while nursing pulled back and chest muscles.
  • Other health challenges that require extensive research and prayer.
  • And just to make it interesting, I decided to write 50,000 words in 20 days.
But enough about me. What do you think of my situation?

Truthfully, we all face a great deal of stress in our daily lives. Some put on us by circumstance, some by our own agendas. And if you’re like me, most stress does not make for good writing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Failure: Your First Step to a Writing and Speaking Ministry

by Vonda Skelton @VondaSkelton

Okay, I admit it. I’ve failed. Many times. But the good news is, God can take my messes and use them for His glory . . . if I let Him.

It all depends on what I do with my failures.

As writers and speakers, we can either work really hard to hide our frailties and present the illusion of perfection, or we can admit our struggles and present the answer to our need. Yes, our success as sharers of the Gospel can depend on what we do with our failures.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Should a Writer Stick to only One Genre or Not?

by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason 

I thought I’d blog about a topic near and dear to my heart. As you may know, I write Romantic Suspense (RS) stories. I started writing in the RS genre because that’s what I love to read. I love suspense and I love romance. When you put it together…wow! LOL. So, yeah. But I have to say, I love other genres too. I really enjoy a good historical—especially if it has a thread of suspense in it. And I like Women’s Contemporary—especially if it has a thread of suspense in it.

Okay, okay…you get it. Ha.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Indie Tuesday—Tips to Survive the Rapid Release Model for Indie Publishing

Jessica @AuthorKeller here: There are two schools of thought within the indie world when it comes to book release strategies. The first is to follow the same pattern that the traditional industry has, which is about a book a year—causing a series to span for 3-4 years on a release schedule. This strategy follows the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race model. It's the strategy I'm using, not because I picked it, but because it fit best with my career plan (and sanity) as a hybrid. The second model is a rapid release model. That can span days to a few months maximum between book releases. Many of my author friends are doing this release strategy with excellent results. Author Carol Moncado is one of those friends and she's here today to talk about why she chose the rapid release plan.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Social Media Monday—Are You Blogging or Lecturing?

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Blogging is a great way to build relationships with your audience. 

But a lot of people forget that, just like building relationship in person, it’s never a good idea to talk so much that others don’t have a chance to share their thoughts.

I often visit blogs where I want to ask the reader, “Are you blogging or lecturing?” There are things we can do to make sure our posts encourage conversation. And there are things we can do that discourage interaction.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Every Leaf Speaks Bliss to Me—A Social Media Image to Share

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As I've mentioned before, I love autumn. I especially love to go leaf peeping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I'd love to know what places you go to watch the magnificent colors of fall.
Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.  Emily Bronte

Share your thoughts 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, November 14, 2014

Creativity: 5 Tips to Nurture the Writer’s Best Friend

Edie here. Today I'm so excited to introduce you to a writer friend of mine. Jerusha and I finally got to meet in person at the ACFW conference this year and I convinced her to be my guest here. She's an amazing writer and I know you'll love her as much as me!

Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story--a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series, which includes the titles This Dance, This Shadow, and This Redeemer.

Jerusha co-authored the e-books A Ruby Christmas and A Dozen Apologies from Write Integrity Press. Jerusha is also a film critic, with reviews featured at the website,

Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her three large, furry dogs and two small, furry cats.

* * *

5 Tips to Nurture the Writer's Best Friend

Creativity and I have been friends for years. But, we don’t always get along. Sometimes I’d call our relationship sort of love-hate. Yet, as a writer, I need creativity. Without it, I can’t write at all. With only a smidgen of creativity, I can’t write well.

When I’m trudging along on some writing project, I feel like my creativity forgot to show up for our appointed meeting time. When I get stuck in a big way, unable to write or think of ideas, I wonder if my creativity has died. If it were still alive, it should be by my side, helping me write, shouldn’t it?
At such times, I tend to panic and wonder if my creativity is gone for good. What if it never comes back and I’ve lost the ability to write forever?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Book Launch and the Aftermath

by Warren Adler @WarrenAdler 

The launch of a book, be it the first for an author or their most recent release, has always been the established gateway for traditional publishers to introduce a new work. The launch of a book is like the birth of a baby: crucial and necessary. There is, after all, no future for an unsuccessful birth. For the author, like anything born into a lifecycle, it is the aftermath that really matters, and for those authors seeking career continuity, and even enduring recognition, digital publishing has offered a widening arena of options for keeping a book from disappearing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Indie Tuesday—Easy Ways to Reach Word Count

By: Jessica Keller @AuthorKeller

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Then word count is probably on your mind right now. One of the main traits of a successful indie/hybrid author is the ability to write prolifically. Most research shows that indie authors don’t start making decent money until they have at least three books out (and usually a series). In most cases, it’s suggested to have the first three books out within a six month time period. This feeds the Amazon algorithms, therefore sparking more sales and more discoverability for your books.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Social Media Monday—My Grandmother Would Approve of Social Media

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I believe social media is a return to a
simpler age.
Social media is a return to a simpler age. And I'm convinced that my grandmother would approve of social media. More than that, I think she'd have enjoyed it.

I can see the skepticism on your faces from here, but bear with me. I think you’ll see the connection.

First, I’d like to invite you to remind yourselves of the standards I, and a lot of you, were taught growing up. We were raised by certain ideas about how to treat others. My mother and grandmother had a name for it—polite society. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pursuing Dreams—A Social Media Image to Share

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

Dreams are a reoccurring topic of conversation for me.

Discovering dreams.
Pursuing dreams.
Fulfilling dreams.

And I’m okay with that—talking about dreams, I mean.

When I was younger—wow, I say that a lot lately!—anyway, when I was younger, dreams were so self-centered. So wrapped up in me—what I thought about, what I wanted to accomplish.

But now . . . well, now the dreams-coming-true are woven through and through with my relationship with God. And so, as I pursue the dream, I find myself drawing closer to him — dream come true or not.

In Your Words: How do you live in the moment where your dreams and your relationship with God intertwine?

Share your thoughts 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!

Can pursuing our dreams bring us closer to God? Thoughts from @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Discovering Dreams...Pursuing Dreams...Fulfilling Dreams - thoughts from @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’Words.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Writing Life Lessons—Is The Way You Write, Right?

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

I struggle with editing while writing my first draft. I can’t help it. When I see that something could be done better, I stop and work on it until I’m satisfied or exasperated. This prevents me from producing more than about 500 words an hour—and often less.

In an effort to overcome this, I entered NaNoWriMo this year. I hoped the pressure of writing 50,000 words in 30 days would motivate me to ignore all those editing opportunities. And just to make it more interesting, I have the added pressure of a schedule that will allow only 15 to 20 writing days.

Today is November fifth and I’ve only written about 500 words. To be fair to myself, I didn’t get started until the third and I’ve had a couple of urgent life issues to deal with. Still, I’ve had two and half days to produce and only managed to pound out 500 words.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

6 Things You Should Do BEFORE You Sign Your First Book Contract

by Lynn H Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

You’ve been writing for a while now. You’ve got a book or two written. You’ve entered a few contests, pitched to a few agents, even attended a few conferences. 

You’ve been doing this writing thing long enough to know you want to keep doing it. You know you want to see your name on a book. But what do you do while you’re waiting for that first sale?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Making the Most of an Opportunity—Organization Tips for Writing a Series

by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason

Good Wednesday morning to you! I hope you all have been having an awesome week. I just got back from Pigeon Forge, TN this past Saturday. My family and I went for a mini vacay. It was some much needed fun and rest. Oh wait…scratch the rest part. We stayed at a water park, did one of the racetracks, played mini golf (i.e. putt putt), ate at the Apple Barn and Old Mill, went shopping, played in the rain and the snow and the sun (yes, we experienced all four seasons while we were there… and…well, you get the picture.

Driving home, we ended up at a complete stop on I-40 thanks to a wreck. We decided to take the long way home instead of sitting for the next 2 hours (according to the highway patrol my husband questioned as to the amount of time we would be waiting.) Yes, our three hour trip turned into a six hour detour. We ran into this: all within an hour.  It was so weird to see the beautiful fall colored leaves covered in snow. Ha.

So, in order to pass the time, I worked. I thought I’d share a bit of how I’ve been keeping track of the details in my current novel. It’s book one in my next series for Revell and doesn’t have a title yet. I’ve been calling it Book One. Ha.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Social Media Monday—5 Tips for Using Hashtags Correctly

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Hashtags—especially for Twitter—can be incredibly valuable in helping us increase out audience. But only if we learn to use them correctly. 

They’re not that hard, but there are some rules you need to follow so you’re not wasting valuable real estate in your tweets.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Autumn—When Every Leaf is a Flower - A Social Media Image to Share

I have to admit autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the vibrant colors that God uses to paint the season. What's your favorite part of autumn or favorite  memory?
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. -Albert Camus
Share your thoughts 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!