Tuesday, June 30, 2015

While My Soldier Serves—Book Signing and a Chance to Win

I rarely use this blog for any kind of direct promotion. I want to make sure that almost all the things I post fall under the heading of information. 

But today I'm breaking my rule and asking for your help. This Friday, July 3, I'm having a big book signing at our local Barnes and Noble. I'll be signing copies of While My Soldier Serves.

What I need your help with is sharing the information on social media. Below is a graphic you can share on Facebook.

If you're in the Greenville, South Carolina area, I'd love for you to join me! But if you're not, don't despair, I'm including you in the fun. To all those who comment, telling me they shared this on social media, I'll add you to a drawing. 

I'm giving away a $15 Barnes and Noble e-giftcard, and 2 Patriotic reusable shopping bags. So there will be 3 winners in all.

Be sure to share this info through your social media and leave a comment saying you did. You don't have to leave a link or anything, we work on the honor system here!

Thanks & Blessings,

Honor those who serve by supporting their families - Share & be entered to win (Click to Tweet)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Social Media Basics for Writers, Part V—Dealing with Facebook Spam

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

This past week the unthinkable happened. I was tagged in a horribly, sexually explicit Facebook post. I wasn’t the one who discovered the post, either. It was my good friend, Angie Arndt. She saw the post, with my name attached, and was a good enough friend to contact me and let me know.

Let me say right now, bringing a post like that to someone’s attention is difficulty and the most loving thing you can do. Please do not ever hesitate to let someone know if they’ve been tagged in an inappropriate post.  After Angie contacted me, even as social media savvy as I am, I did the same thing most of you would have done, I panicked.

I immediately did the wrong things, in the wrong order, and then spent the next hour undoing them, and doing the right things.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Strength in the Storm

One thing I've learned over the years is this. The greatest growth of my faith takes place during the darkest storms. How about you?

"If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities
where our faith may be tried and strengthened." -George Mueller

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, June 26, 2015

Butt In Chair (BIC) Might NOT be the Best Advice for Writers

by Lori Hatcher @lorihatcher2

If I asked you to describe a writer, you might use adjectives such as introspective, sensitive, creative, and introverted. Would you also choose the words hunchbacked, overweight, diabetic, and more likely to die a premature death?

Recent articles in The Huffington Post and The Washington Post have raised awareness about how dangerous a sedentary lifestyle is. When I think sedentary, I usually think of little old ladies sitting on their couches watching soap operas all day long or pimple-faced teens playing hours of video games, but, sadly, hard-working writers can also fall into the category of sedentary if we’re not careful.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Are You Being Tossed About by Every Writing Wind?

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Ephesians 4:14 NLT

In my small group recently, we were discussing critiques. One member had submitted to the same national contest two years in a row. After the first year, she took the judges’ comments to heart and revised her manuscript. The second year, the judges’ comments were the exact opposite of the first year. It’s amazing sometimes how two people can read our work and give us contradictory advice.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thesaurus—A Treasure Box for Writers

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Thesaurus—a treasure box for writers.
While touring the Acropolis Museum in Greece, I stumbled upon a stone relic that caused me to smile, as though I’d just learned a powerful secret. The English translation said simply: thesaurus, a treasure box.

The meaning that fueled my interest is the idea of a storehouse or a treasury. The ancient Greeks used a thesaurus to store treasures, and for writers, our words are our treasures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Things We Discover when We Write Through the Tough Times

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’ve never met anyone who had an easy life. I’ve met a lot of people that looked like they did—from the outside. But once I’ve gotten to know them, I quickly learned that things were never what they seemed. This holds true for writers.

Those who have the luxury of writing full-time have the same struggles faced by those who have limited time.

That leads me to what I think is one of the biggest lies about writing—the myth of finding time to write. Truthfully, that time is never found. It’s carved out of our busy lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bestselling author or just starting to put pen to paper. And whether or not we consistently carve out that time, no matter what’s happening around us, will determine how successful we are.

As writers, we need to realize tough times will come. And it’s during those times that our commitment will be tested and our resolve will be forged.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hope for a Healthy Heart

by Brenda McGraw @BrendaMMcGraw

My brother-in-law just got out of the hospital after being admitted for chest pains. This Friday they are flying to South Carolina for my daughter’s wedding. Of course, all kinds of thoughts float through our heads. 
  • “Will he be okay?” 
  • “Will they keep him in the hospital, and neither he nor my sister will make it to the wedding?” 
  • “What if he has to have surgery to have stent placement?”

His hope is for a healthy heart. Our hope is for everything to be okay and that our plans will go as scheduled.

However, sometimes our plans don’t work out. Things are out of our control.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Beautiful Season . . . Summer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Here in South Carolina summer is in full swing. Although my favorite time of the year is autumn, summer has its joys as well. I love the long days, the beautiful flowers and the ability to sit on my back porch and write.

What are some of your favorite parts of summer?

The followed that beautiful season... Summer... Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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, June 19, 2015

What I Learned about Blogging From the Hunger Game's Katniss Everdeen

A while back, I got to visit Katniss Everdeen country.

I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with my BCGE crit partners on a writing retreat. (Waving to Charity Tinnin, Amanda Stevens, Jess Keller Koschnitzky, and Erynn Newman.) We were tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where part of the Hunger Games was filmed.

The weather was brisk and beautiful, perfect for snapping pictures of the mill village that served as the set of her home in District 12. While I clicked happily away, I got to thinking about Katniss and how she’d played the game.

I realized I could learn a lot by applying some of her principles. Today I want to share what I learned about blogging from Katniss Everdeen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blogging for the Bible Study Writer

Edie here. Today I'm really excited to introduce the newest team member here on The Write Conversation, Katy Kauffman. I've known Katy for several years and watched her blossom into an amazing writer. Her specialty is Bible studies, and her current book is FAITH, COURAGE AND VICTORY; The Stories, struggles, and triumphs of 24 Characters of the Bible. I know you'll want to join me in welcoming her to our community!

Blogging for the Bible Study Writer
By Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I sat nervously in James Rubart’s marketing class and wanted to raise my hand. At the 2010 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Jim wanted to show us how to create a blog, using someone in the class as a guinea pig. So he asked for a volunteer. I knew that if I ever wanted to start a blog, it needed to be then, and with his help. But I hesitated, and another lady volunteered. 

Disappointed, I watched as he tried to sign into Google (which owns Blogger) with her username and password. It didn’t work. When he asked for another volunteer, my hand shot up, and so my adventures in blogging began.

Blogging once a week or more can seem like a daunting task. Especially for the Bible study writer. Our focus is sharing messages of hope and encouragement from the Word of God, and that requires some study time. Plus, blogging takes time away from writing books. So why is it worth it?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tips for the Distracted Writer

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowell

How well I remember hearing the phrase, "Interruptions are my ministry!”

At the time I was on the staff of a large church and I totally got it—at any given time I was called up to meet with a parishioner or counsel a walk-in or fill in for another teacher. I was also mothering four young children and learning that key parenting moments occur when there's a knock on the bedroom door or a phone call from school or a simple cry of "Mama....." from another room.

In all those cases it was the distractions from my immediate task that propelled me to an even more important task. I get that.

However, distractions for the writer rarely lead to a more important task. Real writers know that writing is hard work. There is always, always, always something more enticing or immediate or tempting to see or read or do.

But that won't get the manuscript written or the research completed.

When I'm distracted in my writing I turn to these 5 helpful tips:

1. Unplug. Yes, you heard me right. Type on a computer that is NOT connected to the internet. Turn OFF your cell phone. And unplug the cord of your landline phone, if you happened to be one of the few who still has one. What you will discover (after fidgeting for awhile) is that it is much easier to focus on writing when you are not constantly checking in online with every vibration, beep or trill.

2. Set small goals. I'm much more productive when I have a plan. That small goal might be to write the opening paragraph. Or it might be to finish a whole chapter. Many writers set a goal of a certain number of words written for a time period. The guideline is to have a plan and then do it. When that work is finished, take a break. You will feel a sense of accomplishment, which will encourage you for the next small goal.

3. Go away. If you are able to leave your place of primary responsibility and write for a time at another place where you have few or no responsibilities, you will find many less distractions (well, unless it's a seaside resort at which point all bets are off). During the intense creative process of putting a new book together I will often housesit for a friend way out in the country. All I have to do there is think, pray, focus and write. Yes, it's a luxury but often works with trading places or perhaps renting during the off  season.

4. Take a break. If someone you love is in a crisis and you need to touch base or if the bills are overdue or there is something hanging over your soul that refuses to let go, then take a break and deal with it. Call the person. Pay the bill. Take a walk and ask God to help release you from the nagging concern. Be open to the fact that it might be the Holy Spirit nudging you to do something. Then, return to your writing.

5. Pray. I listed this last, but I actually use it first as my 'go to' response to distractions. Here is one of my favorite prayers in such a situation:

Celtic Prayer for Spiritual Concentration
“God, help my thoughts! They stray from me, setting off on the wildest journeys. My thoughts can cross an ocean with a single leap. They can fly from earth to heaven and back again, in a single second. They come to me for a fleeting moment, and then away they flee. No chains, no locks can hold them back. No threats of punishment can restrain them. Dear holy Christ, who can see into every heart and read every mind: Take hold of my thoughts. Bring my thoughts back to me and clasp me to Yourself. Amen."

I sincerely hope you are having a productive summer of writing, even as you take a break and read this blog. Full confession: I have enjoyed the "distraction" of writing my monthly offering for "The Write Conversation" but now I have to get back to the task at hand—one more chapter on my manuscript before supper break!

Life happens - @LucindaSMcDowel offers 5 tips for the Distracted writer on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Meeting #writing deadlines can be tough, tips form @LucindaSMcDowel on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is the author of 11 books, contributing author to 25 books, and has published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she studied at the Wheaton Graduate School of Communication and served as Communications Specialist for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (Thailand) and Editor for Billy Graham’s International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Netherlands). A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), she has received “Writer of the Year” awards from both Mt. Hermon and Blue Ridge Writers Conferences. Cindy speaks internationally through her ministry “Encouraging Words” and co-directs the New England Christian Writers Retreat. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England. Visit her online at www.EncouragingWords.net 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Social Media Basics for Writers: Targeting Millennials: Snapchat’s 3 Most Dominant Brands & Their Tactics

Today I'm excited to continue my series of SOCIAL MEDIA BASICS FOR WRITERS with a guest post about snapchat. Lucas Miller has just the information we need to understand how this medium ca help us reach the Millennial audience.

So be sure to give Lucas a big welcome and leave all your questions in the comments section because he's the expert on this, not me!

Targeting Millennials through Snapchat!
by Lucas Miller @DennisPunderson

Since its founding in September of 2011, Snapchat has managed to take the world of smartphone apps by storm. As arguably one of social medias newest, most unique channels, Snapchat allows users to exchange disappearing videos, photos and messages. Following in the footsteps of Vine, all transmitted information is brief, existing for no longer than 10 seconds. Though temporary with its content, Millennials have taken to Snapchat and simply cant get enough of it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Helper

by Sarah Van Diest

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 14:26

There it is. Strong and clear. A beam of light; a tone of pure beauty. I see it. It calls to me. It pierces that deep and darkened place in me. It strikes like lightning on my soul. It fuels and ignites. Impassions and inspires, infusing its electricity into my spirit. I could soar. I could fly.

It is music. It is light. It is air and water. It is life.

Intoxicated by this vibrancy, the attachment grows; the longing intensifies. The empty place long covered is revealed, the straw raked back, the debris blown away… hope of its filling floods the air; sundrenched, warm, and brilliant.

Life breaks into the dark, shattering its bleak surface into shards of obsidian dust filtering out onto the wind.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Don't Miss the Small Joys

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

"Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the the big happiness." Pearl S. Buck
I can spend my days so focused on the one big thing that I hope will ensure me happiness …  fame … or accolades … or some sort of self-satisfaction that creates an “I’m enough” feeling — however fleeting …
Or I can gather the small joys that make up the every days of my life.
  • Laughter shared with friends
  • Hugs given so freely by my still-can’t-get-over-the-miracle-of-her GRANDgirl
  • A favorite song that I play over and over again because it draws me closer to God, reminding me who He is … and Whose I am
  • A too-brief phone call with a long-distance friend that refreshes my heart, mind, and soul
  • A sunrise … or sunset … or clear blue Colorado sky
  • The silence of the house in the middle of the night when I’m the only one awake, writing — pursuing my dream — while everyone else is asleep, dreaming
  • The noise of family filling my house up to overflowing — making memories

Is it wrong to pursue the one big thing? No, probably not. But how many times have we trampled the small joys — ignoring them in our haste to succeed?

In Your Words: What small joys did you discover in your week?


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, June 12, 2015

Could Anthologies Be Your Ticket to Publication?

by Vonda Skelton @VondaSkelton

Not long after my first children’s book, Bitsy and the Mystery at Tybee Island, came out, I had the opportunity to submit to a compilation, Mystery Readers Journal: Religious Mysteries. (And just so you know, the words “Religious” and “Christian” are not synonymous!)

I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was they were looking for writers of “religious” mysteries to share something of interest with mystery readers. Surely I had something of interest to say! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Don’t Let Your Backlist Titles Evaporate into Thin Air

by Warren Adler @WarrenAdler

When I decided to set up my own publishing company, Stonehouse Press, I had published 27 novels with major legacy publishers. Many had been translated into numerous foreign languages and nearly half this output were sold or optioned for films. Two feature films had been made, “The War of the Roses” and “Random Hearts,” along with a three-hour trilogy on PBS, titled “The Sunset Gang.”

My plan was to digitize all the novels and set them up in both eBook and Print-on-Demand form. They were older backlist titles under contract long before eBooks and Print-On-Demand were created, but I was able to get the rights back from the original publishers. Some were out of print. My motive, then and now, was to keep my authorial name alive beyond my lifetime and attempt to take control of my writing career, never again to be beholden to agents or publishers to determine the course of my creative life.

While admittedly attaining contemporary fame and fortune is a most seductive and primary lure, the possibility of longevity can be a powerful fantasy that lodges itself secretly and obsessively in the mind of the serious artist. Since no one can truly predict the future, this field of dreams will always remain an intriguing possibility whatever the tenor of contemporary judgment.

It follows that I was hopeful that my past novels and those that would be written in the future were worthy of longevity, and would remain “shelved” and available in cyberspace forever, never declared “out of print” and be always available for the possibility of discovery by readers.

Transferring my backlist to eBooks and print-on-demand was, thankfully, not economically challenging to me at the time. It has since become much less expensive for the novice self-publisher. Of course, the transfer is only the first step. By self-publishing even one novel you are essentially going into business and this entails investment in marketing alongside time and self-promotion on every avenue available, both on the net and off.

Stonehouse Press has now published 13 additional novels by yours truly. It has proved to be a major investment, staffed to carry out not only promotions to introduce new novels but funding for promoting older novels. With no middlemen to interfere with my creative production, I have found myself growing ever more prolific now that I am essentially working for myself. Self-determination really focuses the mind.

We allocate time and funds to old novels as well as to new novels, although the introduction of new novels requires additional expense. Distribution is handled by Rosetta Books, a pioneering company that has, like Stonehouse, been through all the growing pains of what is essentially a new medium for the distribution and marketing of books.

There was a time when traditional publishers who believed in a particular writer might “stake” him or her and publish two or maybe three subsequent offerings, knowing there would be a revenue loss but hopeful that the writer would catch fire commercially at some time in the future. That type of publishing gamble is unlikely to happen in today’s publishing environment.

There are, of course, publishing choices made on the basis of what is considered “literary” or “critic friendly” but within the publishing houses they are largely considered loss leaders, published for supposed prestige. Occasionally there is a breakout surprise.

Today there are literally thousands of schemes being offered to allegedly help those with ambitions to self publish in cyberspace. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand and those who wish to enter the fray are cautioned to be wary of cleverly packaged promises geared to guiding the author/publisher into marketing and sales success. In the end, once the hopeful author is parted with his money, reality sets in and the disappointed victim is left to ponder his or her naiveté.

Self-publishing still carries with it the “vanity” label. There is no screening process by experienced editors and bean counters among the traditional publishers who choose their novels on the basis of what is believed to be their sales potential.

Then there is the stark fact that the cyber pipeline is choked with reading choices both from the legacy publishers and a myriad of self-publishers. Combine this with the media competition from other sources and the new paradigm that favors short content.

A significant handicap of self-publishing is that a self-published novel done in Print-on-Demand mode has no chance of being shelved in Barnes & Noble or independent bookstores and there is really no way of being reviewed in the major media outlets still in existence. Even as they decline, traditional publishers still have the clout to control the agenda of the “prestigious” novel market, that pantheon of prestige which awards the serious novelist with ecstatic reviews, literary awards and recognition – a space practically non-existent for a self-published novel.

When I started this self-publishing venture I must admit that I had not foreseen the mind-boggling effects of the digital revolution. There are many unintended consequences to deal with that have occurred and are still occurring at an astonishing pace.

Keeping up with new start-ups and applications designed to assist making an authors fictional output viable, reader-friendly and relevant in all categories is a challenge in itself. For the serious novelist it is a gargantuan task. Nevertheless beating the bushes for readers, while important, is fortunately not the sole motive for undertaking such an enterprise.

It is the work itself that gives meaning and dedication to the pursuit. Those practitioners who labor in this creative vineyard know exactly what I mean.

As for the lessons learned by this scribbler over many years, if you have a backlist or are building one from scratch keep it in the game via eBooks or print-on-demand and continue to hope that one day a spark of interest will grow into a conflagration.


Warren Adler is best known for The War of the Roses, his masterpiece fictionalization of a macabre divorce turned into the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated dark comedy hit starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. Adler's international hit stage adaptation of the novel will premiere on Broadway in 2015-2016. Adler has also optioned and sold film rights for a number of his works including Random Hearts (starring Harrison Ford and Kristen Scott Thomas) and The Sunset Gang (produced by Linda Lavin for PBS' American Playhouse series starring Jerry Stiller, Uta Hagen, Harold Gould and Doris Roberts). In recent development are the Broadway Production of The War of the Roses, to be produced by Jay and Cindy Gutterman, The War of the Roses - The Children (Grey Eagle Films and Permut Presentations), a feature film adaptation of the sequel to Adler's iconic divorce story, Target Churchill (Grey Eagle Films and Solution Entertainment),Mourning Glory, to be adapted by Karen Leigh Hopkins, and Capitol Crimes (Grey Eagle Films and Sennet Entertainment), a television series based on his Fiona Fitzgerald mystery series. Warren Adler's newest thriller, Treadmill, is officially available.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Who Really Sells Your Books?

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

I’ve always been a hometown gal. I buy my groceries at the hometown grocer over the larger superstore and shop at the local small town hardware store, who—by the way knows my name and still says, “Hi, what can we do ya for today? I buy my flowers from the street side plant store, and my veggies at the Farmer’s Market.

I love our local small businesses, but when my debut novel hit the shelves, I fell prey to the obvious; the chain stores from the Christian stores to the big boys like Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble. Not one of them carried my book instore. Needless to say, I was disappointed. My book was, after all, published by a large traditional house. Shouldn’t it be on their shelves?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Social Media Basics for Writers, Part II—When Should a Writer Start Building a Social Media Network?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Over and over, I’ve been asked when a writer should get active on social media. And the answer surprises many. 

The truth is, you need to have a solid social media platform BEFORE you ever get published. 

If you wait until you get a contract, you're already way behind. 

But what's involved in building a social media network? Today I'll lay it all out and give you the basics.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

What is Blossoming in Your Sound Garden?

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

What's blossoming in your sound garden?
As a writer, words are my lifeline. I spend hours with them. As I put them on paper, they help me bring order out of the chaos that is life. I use them to bless, to inform, and to challenge. At times it seems that the tapping of my fingers on the keys of my computer echo the heartbeat of my soul.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Inviting Your Creative Self On A Date

by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

Engaging God & your creative senses!
Your creative energy called. Yet the only thing it heard on the receiving end was a busy signal: 

Beep. (My schedule is packed.)
Beep. (I'm not a creative person.)
Beep. (Who has the energy for creativity?)

No wonder it feels a bit neglected, even forgotten. It's time to take the artist within on a date. 

The Artist Date is a basic tool of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. She asks her students to undertake one Artist Date per week.