Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Cup of New Year’s Tea for Writers

By Kathy Neely @NeelyKneely3628

There are very few things as delightful as a tea party. Porcelain cups on delicate saucers. A decanter of loose-leaf Darjeeling. Sugar cubes and demitasse spoons. Lemon scones and clotted cream. 

When I retired a few years ago, I had a tea party for my staff. We talked about many tea words (…ty) that would serve them well in the face of change. Today, as we usher the old year out and transition to a new calendar year, many of those same words are applicable to writers. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Get Your Blog & Website Ready for the new Year

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

2021 is barreling toward us. With a difficult year behind us, and changes still to come, I find myself in a period of introspection. Actually, it’s a good thing. It gives me a chance to look back over the past year and decide what worked and what didn’t. It also gives me a push toward trying something different.

Monday, December 28, 2020

The Keeper of Dreams

by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

Have you ever traced God's hand through your life? 

When I did, I found the most amazing thread. It began long before I was born. On one side of my adopted-family tree, it began with my grandparents. From New Jersey, my grandfather, who was a jeweler for Tiffany's, decided to go to Alaska and be an assayer. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Enough, My One Word for 2021

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s path is a journey of a lifetime—one fraught with discovery and discouragement. We can avoid some of its pitfalls if we define that path early on. Today, I want to share some insights into my writing journey and the markers I look for to help me stay at least in the vicinity of the path.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Friday, December 25, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Remembered

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

As the day of Jesus’ birth draws closer, I’m reminiscing more and more. I’m not sure how accurate the memories are but they’re bringing back feelings of warmth and some head-shaking reminders as well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Writer, Christmas wasn’t Created for Stress

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Writer, please don’t open the unwanted Christmas gift of stress. The black paper and black bow with an attaching-grabbing tag, Open Me First will spoil your celebration. You’ll recognize the items inside:

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Dipping the Quill Deeper—Sitting Alone, With God

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

I sit down alone,
Only God is here;
In his presence I open,
I read his books;
And what I thus learn,
I teach. ~~ John Wesley

I recently went away for five days to study God’s Word and to write on a particular focus concerning it, all of which will assemble to be, I hope, my next work of nonfiction. For the better part of each day, I sat with four large books open—three versions of the Bible and one Bible commentary—a yellow-paged, lined legal pad, a pencil, and two pens. I’m not sure why I felt the need for two pens; I just did.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Forward Planning in Marketing and Writing

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

We need to always think about future possibilities. In writing and getting contracts, this can mean developing an idea into a series or listening to needs around you and brainstorming ideas to full the needs. In marketing, it means building your platform continually and developing new marketing strategies. If you nurture ideas and contacts, you will move forward.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Writer’s Loss of Words

by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

As writers, we have an affinity for words. Whether written, or even spoken, we are most often so full of words itching to be written or shared in some way we don’t have enough time each day to get them recorded or said. 

Until we aren’t found with any words left. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Writing From a Grieving Heart

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

That beautiful time of year is upon us. Christmas. The holiday we all love. For Christians, Christmas is more than presents, gathering with family, and traditions that go back many years. It’s the celebration of the greatest Gift—our Savior Christ the Lord. 

While the overwhelming sacredness of God’s act of love is ever before us, Christmas is also a time of remembrance of Christmas past. A time when we look back at tender moments we shared with those we love. It’s also a time of profound sadness when their seat at the table is empty. And that can affect our writing.

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Value of Poetry

by Crystal Bowman

At a writers’ conference several years ago, I sat in a room with a handful of aspiring poets, eager to share the words they had collected from the depths of their souls. As I facilitated this critique group, I was impressed with the variety of themes the poets presented. Some of the poems were serious and metaphoric, while others were inspiring or humorous. Though the poems varied, the poets all had one thing in common—they wanted to make their poetry available to readers. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Writer’s Shield of Faith

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

The door creaked, and another ounce of hope leaked from my heart.

“I’ll never get this done. Too much editing. I’m so tired.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

4 Ways to Support Your Writing Friends

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

As this year draws to a close, I find myself so incredibly grateful for how my fellow writers have come alongside me during tumultuous times – to comfort, encourage, and challenge. 

I hope you are part of a community of fellow writers – people who quite literally know what your life is like. No matter where each of us is on this writing journey, we have something to offer, and we are also in dire need of what others have to give us as well.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Speaking Opportunities for Authors in December

by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

Speaking opportunities for authors abound in December. You may raise your brows in disbelief. After all, live events are minimal with strict policies for masks, social distancing, and sanitizing measures. Let’s look at the reasons why you can still speak in December.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Silence

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

The message disturbed her.

Had her eyes deceived her, or had an angel just told her she would birth the long-awaited Messiah? But wait! She wasn’t married, although she did have a fiancé. She shivered at the thought of the ridicule and possible religious consequences ahead. How would it look when her pregnancy became obvious to others? What would they say? Would she have to leave town? The questions competed with her other thoughts.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Finding Hope When Our Expectations are Disrupted

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

We’re all adjusting our expectations for Christmas this year, aren’t we? 

With an ongoing pandemic, we’ll experience a “socially distant” holiday season, whatever that looks like in our states, our towns, our homes.

Friday, December 11, 2020

For Writers Trudging Through the Woods

by Joshua Master @JoshuaJMasters

My greatest Christmas memory came when I was12 years old. I can’t tell you what I got for presents that year. I don’t remember what we had for Christmas dinner or what ornaments we put on the tree. The reason that specific Christmas means so much to me is that I regard it as our first genuine family Christmas. Because that twelfth year was the one I met the man I call “Dad.” 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The 12 Ways of Christmas to Gift an Author

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

Want to be a not-so-secret Santa for fellow writer friends? Here’s 12 Ways of Christmas to gift an author. Pick a friend (or more than one friend) with a recent release and give one or more of the gifts below. Or, pick a dozen author friends and share one gift with each author. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Follow the "Writing" Recipe

by Linda Gilden @lindagilden


“Yum! This is the best turkey ever.”

“Oh, my goodness. This is delicious.”

I agreed the turkey was exceptionally good this year. But what was the difference in this one and all the other turkeys we had eaten for holidays and birthdays?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tips for Presenting Your Best Work as a Writer

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

There is no perfect work. Regardless of the number of eyes on a manuscript, someone will miss something. For example, my first novel went through edits, and three – count them – three proofers. and still, a conferee came up to me at a conference where my editor and I were talking and pointed out that my one-armed man was clapping his hands. 

Though we got a big laugh out of the mistake, it was still frustrating knowing we’d worked so hard to catch all the little details. Begin right now, to give yourself and your editors grace. There is no perfect manuscript.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Joseph, The Grace Giver

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” …When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus (Matthew 1:18-21, 24).

Joseph, the husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus, was a grace-giver.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

It’s Not About What We Don’t Have

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

This time of year, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, is my favorite season. Everyone just seems to be a little nicer to each other. The food, the music, the parties. The hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts. Christmas decorations, toy drives. Hearing ‘Merry Christmas’ shouted on the street, Christmas movies, chocolate. Families, churches and communities coming together, and—


Friday, December 4, 2020

Hope in the Warm Fuzzies for Writers

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Happy December, world! ‘Tis the season for spiced cider and sparkly lights and jingle bells and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. At least, that’s been the tradition every year for my lifetime, but this is 2020. And everything is different. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Senses of the Season Writers Challenge

by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Ah, the scents of the season. 

One of my favorite childhood memories is of waking up to the fragrance of turkey roasting in the oven on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I love the spiciness of cut pine, the yeasty aroma of homemade bread, and even the whiff of cardboard and paper from a freshly opened tube of wrapping paper.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Bane of Backstory in Your Novel

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

No character was born the moment the book starts – just like humans, characters have history: joy and sorrow, happiness and sadness, good times and bad times. The sum of our experiences make us what WE are and, ultimately, determine the choices we make. Characters are exactly the same. Backstory makes characters “breathe” – to come alive. Without backstory, there is no character. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Gift-Giving Basics for the Non-Writing Spouse

From Edie, I apologize for the repost that went out in email. This is the real blog post for today. 

Gift-Giving Basics for the Non-Writing Spouse

by Kirk Melson

Because it's Christmas Eve, I thought I'd share one of my challenges as the spouse of a writer.I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to be a little on the dense side when it comes to buying presents. I have great intentions, but I could never remember what my wife wanted when it came time to buy her a gift. Think I’m lying? I blogged about one of my most spectacular boo-boos here in My Life…In Print

Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Tribute to My Daughter-in-Law

I have three sons and as they’ve married, we’ve also added three precious daughters to our family. Each girl is as special to us as if they’d been in our family for their entire lives. 

This past week we lost one of our girls in a tragic accident. 


Katie was our oldest son’s wife and they recently had their first child. Baby Van is only three months old. 


It’s been the hardest week of our lives, but it’s been precious too as we’ve pulled together as a family. Our community has lavished love on us and buried us in an avalanche of food. We’ve cried, laughed and tried to figure out how we’re going to go forward with a huge hole in our lives. 


Katie was our first daughter. She’s been in our lives for fourteen years. She began dating Jimmy when he graduated high school and entered the Marine Corps. She was a year behind Jimmy and spent her senior year coming to our house after school three or four days a week while he was deployed. 


When she and Jimmy decided to move up the wedding date her mother was in Germany and she allowed me to go with her to pick out her wedding dress. Her caring heart and infectious laughter have added so much to our family. 


We all miss her so much.


She and one of our other daughters, Weslyn (Kirk’s wife), went through their pregnancies together. Katie delivered Van first, but Weslyn followed soon after with Rivers. The boys were born two weeks and two hours apart. 


And eight weeks later, we added our third daughter when John married Tiffany. Now it felt like our family was complete.


Oh the plans we had with these new additions—from beach trips to family photo shoots. 


Then the accident and the unthinkable happened. We’ve learned anew that nothing in life is certain and there are no guarantees. Nothing, except the faithfulness of God—even in the midst of the unthinkable. 


Many of you have reached out to us and I can’t thank you enough for this outpouring of prayer and love. I’ve tried to thank you, but it’s just not possible. Death brings with it a myriad of details. There are so many things that need to be handled just when your brain is incapable of processing information. 


But we’ve found that’s when God steps in—using friends and family to keep you going. There have been practical boots-on-the-ground help and there has been spiritual offensive help as prayer warriors place a dome of protections and peace over us. 


Each of you have eased our burden by sharing it and we cannot thank you enough. 


I do want to let you know about one way you can help our son and grandson. In the midst of this, Jimmy has started a GoFundMe for their son Van’s college education. If you’d like to donate, we’d be honored. And if you can share the GoFundMe, that would help as well. 


Here’s the link to our GoFundMe for Van’s College Education.


And thank you for allowing me to take one day to share this tragedy we have in our family. 



Edie Melson


Saturday, November 28, 2020

In The Studio: Recording Your Book

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

These past months I’ve spent some time in the studios, recording the audio book for On Your Mark, and video-taping the video book for Blog2Book and The Speaker Author (stay tuned for more information on this exciting project I’m working on with National Speakers Association member Chuck Gallagher). 

Here are my insights for those of you who are thinking about recording your own book.

Friday, November 27, 2020

5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Day Job

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

In the early days of writing, I envied full-time authors. If I didn’t have to divide my time between my day job and writing, think how much more I’d accomplish. And how wonderful to have the freedom to write for days when the muse struck. No more getting up early, staying up late, and writing a hundred words at a time during my lunch hour. I could put in an eight-hour writing day and reserve my evenings for friends and family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Holiday Conflict in the Stories We Write

by DiAnn Mills

Adding a twist to a story’s setting gives it a psychological zip. Holidays are no exception. As your characters enter the season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, place them in scenes where they are caught off guard—where they believe their mental, emotional, and physical world is safe until they are hit with conflict from unexpected places. What about a holiday is unpleasant for your character? What does the character appreciate about the holiday that hits him/ her blindside?

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Reasons I Might be Struggling as a Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Choosing to be a writer can be a daunting prospect. It involves courage, creativity, and yes, commitment. When we’re unwilling to make that commitment, we can doom ourselves to failure before we’ve had a chance to succeed. 

This post isn’t meant to beat anyone up, but rather to make us aware of some of the things that could be holding us back on our writing journey.

Monday, November 23, 2020

What to do When a Writer Gets Stuck

by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

I read a post I'd written for TWC in February 2019 about letting go. I had the location. I had the story. But the setting had a strange effect on my writing. The tale turned into something I don’t write—dark fiction. I write uplifting stories. I write about friendships. And I write with humor-colored glasses. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

What Am I Really Afraid of as a Writer?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, 
turning people away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27

We writers are a fearful lot.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Writing Truth in a Secular Society

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

“What is truth?” Pilate posed this question to Jesus after hearing His proclamation of His divinity. Rather than wait for an answer, Pilate turned from the Lord of the universe and walked away, deciding to come to his own conclusion.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Those Pesky Little Pronouns

by Crystal Bowman

Some of the shortest words in the English language can be as annoying as a mosquito in your bedroom when you’re trying to fall asleep. I’m talking about pronouns. They do not add creativity or emotion to your writing. They do not enhance the suspense of a plot. They simply give us an alternative to using a person’s name too many times. At first, they seem pretty innocent. But when you begin using them in your stories, they can mess with you. To cover the entire spectrum of pronouns would take numerous blog posts, so let’s just look at a few that tend to trip up writers. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Improve Your Website’s Domain Authority

by Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS @SusanNealYoga

Domain authority is a scoring system to determine how high your website ranks on search engines like Google. The higher the domain authority, the more likely you can obtain paid sponsors for your website. These paid sponsors could be in the form of ads or keywords added to blog posts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Stepping Stones of Our Writing

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Clunk, clunk, clunk. 

I hopped to each stepping stone and landed with a thud. This would be fun if I were five years old. The stones I had spaced were so far apart that crossing the yard felt awkward. Sometimes I had to leap. How unnatural. What was I thinking?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Writing to Felt Needs

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

What are your readers feeling these days – anxiety, fear, anger, confusion, despair, anticipation, celebration, emptiness, loneliness, and weariness? Our souls are full of emotions and needs, longing for someone to reach out in encouragement with answers, or at least something to point us in the right direction.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Holiday Marketing for Authors

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Tis’ the season for promoting books as gifts! Ideas of what to do abound, so consider the options and start planning and implementing holiday promotions.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Writer’s Accolade of One

by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

I finally entered a contest I finaled in. And the crowd roared, well, the crowd of one—and maybe my biggest fan—my hubby. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Choosing to be Grateful in the Face of Uncertainty

by Beth K. Vogt

COVID-19 continues to affect so many different aspects of both our writing and our real lives. The pandemic also has placed a huge question mark on the upcoming holiday season.

Friday, November 13, 2020


by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

Christian writers feel called to take part in the creative nature of God, emulating the greatest author in (or outside) history by changing the lives of others with words. 

But God writes more than words. In fact, Scripture says you are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). He’s authoring your life story, skillfully weaving a chronicle of hope, purpose, and transformation.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

What’s on your table for a Thanksgiving launch?

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

The month of November is a great time to celebrate the launch or recent launch of a book, because November encourages hearts and minds to be grateful for every small blessing and all those monumental ones, too. And what could be more monumental than launching a much-awaited book? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Tips for the Shy Author-Marketer

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Many writers feel that once they put the last period on their manuscripts their jobs are finished. All they have to do is email it to the publisher. 

But that is not quite the case. If you have written a book lately, you know that one of the sections on your proposal included how you were going to help market your book. Market your book? Isn’t that part of what the publisher does?