Sunday, December 27, 2015

Setting Goals for Your Writing Career

by Brenda McGraw @BrendaMMcGraw

Setting Goals for Your Writing Career
I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. Can you believe it is the end of another year?

How did you do with your goals and plans this year?

The end of the year is the time to evaluate the current year 2015, before heading into 2016, so we can begin with a fresh start.

Sometimes this can be difficult. We can make excuses of what we didn’t get accomplished or we can resolve to execute the plans we will accomplish the upcoming new year.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Power of Small

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Have you ever attended a writers’ conference where they gave an award for “Smallest Blog in the Blogosphere”? How about a gold-embossed certificate for “Fewest Pageviews”? “Lowest Royalty Check”? “Subterranean Amazon Book Rating”? “Facebook Post with No Shares”?

Some of my writer friends have blog posts that have gone viral. Others have subscriber bases numbering in the Ks (15K, 20K). Some have dozens of books to their credit, and others actually get advances on their publishing contracts (I know, what’s a publishing contract?). They have editors pitching books to them instead of the other way around.

But they are exceptions.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ride the Wings of Morning

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

In my prayer time recently, I found myself meditating on Psalm 139:9,10 (NLT).
If I ride the wings of morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

My first reading of this focused on no matter where His plan takes me, He will be with me, guiding and supporting.

Then my spirit reminded me of something our pastor said when we were thinking of moving to Texas: “If you’re going to miss God’s timing, it’s better to be behind Him instead of ahead of Him.”

And I realized that even if I were so far ahead of God, I was as lost as a goose in a blizzard, I was not alone. It might feel like it—like I’m lost, without hope or anchor.

But it’s not. Because He’s still there. He’s waiting patiently for me to come to my spiritual senses, to wake up to the fact I’m living in disobedience. He’s waiting for me to recognize it, to admit I stepped out too far or I stepped out on my own strength or my own will, not His.

He’s waiting with loving eyes and forgiving arms.

He’s waiting with His eternal patience.

He’s waiting to guide me with His hand and support me with His strength.

All I have to do is turn to Him.

Have you ever felt so out of God’s plan it seemed like there was no way back?

Feeling like there's no way back to God's plan? Ride the Wings of Morning - @RiverBendSagas (Click to Tweet)

Henry’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest. 

He serves as Associate Director of North Texas Christian Writers. 

Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers. 

Connect with Henry on his blogTwitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Novelist’s Christmas

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Up on a bookshelf
A reader’s list
Filled with Christmas
Novels as gifts.
Down through the aisles
With lots of books,
All with metaphors and crazy hooks.

Ho Ho Ho
A writer would know.
Ho Ho Ho
A writer would know.
Oh, up on a bookshelf
Click Click Click
Down through the aisles
Comes a bestseller’s pick.

Grab me a Kindle
Writers heed.
Download multi-books to read.
Some with bad guys
Some with romance
All a reader’s adventure
Filled with mystery and suspense.

Ho Ho Ho
A writer would know.
Ho Ho Ho
A writer would know.
Oh, up on a bookshelf
Click Click Click
Down through the aisles
Comes a bestseller’s pick.

Writer note Pinterest,
Google Plus too,
Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter stew.
Tumblr, You Tube, 
Instagram, Blog
How can I keep up 
With the social media fog?  

Ho Ho Ho
A writer would know.
Ho Ho Ho
A writer would know.
Oh, up on a bookshelf
Click Click Click
Down through the aisles
Comes a bestseller’s pick.

Christmas is nearly here! What would fill your writerly stocking?


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Little Writing Experiences Lead to BIG Writing Experiences

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

Little Writing Experiences Lead to BIG Writing Experiences
I could not help but admire his courage. His ingenuity. There he sat, along the sidewalk of one of the busiest shopping avenues in Central Florida, with a folding TV tray in front of him. Atop it, an old typewriter. The kind you honestly don’t see any more, unless you’re a collector.

I immediately thought of a few of my writer friends—our precious Edie Melson being one of them. I almost stopped to take a photo with my iPhone for her and Alton Gansky, but then I noticed the sign.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Are You on the NAUGHTY or NICE List for Social Media?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’m in a holiday sort of mood, so I thought I’d carry it over into my social media post today.  

I hope you enjoy my impromptu quiz. To stay on Santa’s nice list, no cheating allowed. 

Take the quiz first, then look at the answers below.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Glance Back at Where it All Started!

Happy Anniversary to my dearest, darling husband!

My husband recently shared this image on his Facebook page and I thought I'd use it again here. This was taken after Christmas in 1978 on our very first date—a church potluck. I was 16, a junior in high school and he was 18, just having finished his first semester of college.

Today we're celebrating 34 years of wedded bliss. It's been an amazing time and I pray we'll have at least that many more years together.

I love you, Kirk!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Change I Want to See Next in Publishing

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

The Change I Want to See Next in Publishing
Do you ever watch Antiques Roadshow? I loved it so much when I was younger I almost went into antiques and appraisals instead of writing.

One thing I saw over and over again was a great respect, love, and appreciation for outsider art. defines outsider art as “art produced by untutored artists working by themselves and for themselves.”

In a Huffington Post article,10 Outsider And Self-Taught Artists Who Use Art To Create Their Own Worlds, Priscilla Frank says:

“While each outsider artist works in a radically different mode, all outsider artists create art that seemingly emerges outside of time, space and history, at least outside the dimensions occupied by most humans.”

Thursday, December 17, 2015

7 Reasons Why Star Wars “THE FORCE AWAKENS” Is Great For Writers

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

Only a few days before the official launch of the newest Star Wars movie hits the theatres, it has set another seemingly impossible milestone, 100 million dollars in advanced ticket sales. This staggering sum in not only a boon to the movie industry, but it should also serve as an encouragement to writers everywhere.

I’ve compiled a “spoiler-free” list of how The Force Awakens should encourage writers everywhere.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Write from an Outline and NOT Hate It

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Outlines are our friends, or are they?

I loved making outlines in my seminary class because they provided structure for the speeches I prepared.  

Things changed. 

In the past few years, I dreaded making outlines as I wrote books and blog posts. They seemed to confine the feeling I wanted to relay, and they stifled my outpouring of words.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Just You Wait

By Beth Vogt @BethVogt

Oh, the waiting games we play.

The I’m-not-ready games.

The let-me-practice-a-little-longer games.

The let-me-read-one-more-book-or-attend-one-more-conference games.

The you-go-ahead-of-me games.

We can stall … and practice … and puff ourselves up with knowledge … and even be polite and let someone else proceed ahead of us to success …

but we’re missing out on our lives. Our dreams. Correction: Our dreams coming true.

Could we fail? Yes! But that’s only an indication that we should regroup, rethink, and try again. Failure doesn’t mean we’re wrong. Failure just means our technique was off.

In Others’ Words: When have you been thankful you didn’t wait? What helped you get up and go after what you wanted: a dream, a job?

Oh the waiting games we play - thoughts from author @BethVogt (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, December 11, 2015

Seeing Red—In Christmas & (Writing) Critiques

by Vonda Skelton @VondaSkelton

Seeing Red in Christmas & Critiques
What color reminds you of Christmas?

Red is one of my favorite colors all year long, and it’s definitely my favorite color in December.

It’s safe to say that Christmastime brings out the red in us. Everything from our wardrobes to the decorations to the wrapping paper choices proclaim our love for all things red. All things, that is, except the manuscript. If we’re not careful, blood-colored marks on our carefully-written pages can cause us to see red!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Do Novelists Have to Be Politically Correct?

by Warren Adler @WarrenAdler
The recent flap over a romance novel titled For Such a Time whose plot features a concentration camp inmate falling in love with her Nazi captor has aroused the wrath of various critics and readers on grounds that it is too discomfiting and disturbing to have been published.

While I can understand why some readers are offended by the premise, it smacks of political correctness gone awry. The problem is that it has invaded an art form that can be dangerously compromised by the basic tenets of political correctness, which posits that any expression or attitude that discomfits others must be excised from all forms of public communication.

In its basic concept, what makes the novel unique is that it is a fictional portrayal in which the author not only relates the actions but imagines the thoughts of his or her characters. As they say, actions speak louder than words but actions in real life do not always mirror one's true thoughts and motivations. Those of us who assiduously follow the oral antics of politicians need no further explanation.