Friday, January 31, 2014

Up, Up, and Away!

At one time, I lived in an area where we'd occasionally see a colorful hot-air balloon. Everyone would stop what they were doing and gaze at the sight.

Sometimes I surf the Net, drifting through cyberspace until I reach a pleasant landing spot. Here are some of the websites I've found in my travels:

1. Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, gives tips on how to keep your writing on track during the holidays.

2. I stayed on Edie's site, The Write Conversation, and found a great article on the correct usage for quotation marks. This one gets bookmarked on my computer!

3.Wendy Paine Miller, of Thoughts That Move, asks us why we read fiction.

Writers and Readers:  Why do you read fiction?

Photo Credit:  sloopjohnb

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened...

on the way to my third novel. I discovered I missed crocheting. Maybe I just needed a mental break from editing, writing, and more editing. A picture of a ruffled scarf on Pinterest sealed the deal.

I headed to my local craft store and purchased yarn. Unlike the old days when I'd crochet non-stop for hours, I savored the experience. This small project re-charged my creative side, and the writing ideas began flowing again.

Have unrelated creative endeavors sparked another area of your life? I'd like to hear about it. :)

Photo Credit: twasa

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Few Bright Ideas

Don't you love it when an idea or tip works? If I had time, I'd try a bunch of the interesting suggestions on Pinterest.

Here are some things my brainstorming yielded recently:

1.  I noticed how often I click on links to books on Facebook. When talking about my book on my author page, I included the link to Amazon. Someone clicked on it and purchased The Moses Conspiracy. Yay!

2.  Scripture tells us that we need to make our requests known to God. He wants us to ask. That got me thinking. Would that principle work with people? Why not ask my Facebook friends if they'd heard about my author page? I then requested them to visit and "like" it. I now have seven new "likes."

3.  Follow-up is vital. So is showing our gratitude. I'm so thankful for the many friends and acquaintances, who take a few minutes to comment, share posts, follow me on various social media, and do any number of nice things. I do my best to reciprocate. Relationship involves more than me, myself, and I.

Writers and Readers: Does an author request/link prompt you to take action? What makes the scale tip in that direction?

BTW - The Moses Conspiracy on Kindle can be found here.

Photo Credit:  raia4u

Monday, January 20, 2014

Entertainment, Enlightenment, Enrichment

I've written both non-fiction and fiction. A recent conversation with a reader had me scratching my head. The person dismissed my novel saying, "I just can't get past the fact it's something someone made up."


Most authors have a theme in mind. Their stories illustrate principles such as forgiveness, mercy, the consequences of bad behavior, the blessings of wisdom, and many others. Fiction, whether meant for entertainment, enlightenment, and/or enrichment, will put forth the author's views about life.

We're in good company.

When the prophet came to David and told him a story about a man with a cherished lamb and how someone stole it, the king was enraged. The prophet used a fictional story to drive home his point that David had sinned with Bathsheba.

Jesus illustrated many of His sermons with parables. They were stories with a message.

Hmm, it seems to me that fiction is a vehicle to promote truth and ideas just as non-fiction. It's a different method but a valid one nonetheless.

Writers and Readers: What's your opinion on the subject? Agree or disagree and why?

Photo Credit:  ugaldew

Friday, January 17, 2014

Back in the Saddle

After a two-week blogging break, I'm back in the saddle. What fun I've had taking a leisurely ride around the Net! Here are some of the goodies I discovered:

1.  Jeff Goins, at Goinswriter, gives tips on how to develop the habit of writing. It's a plan I've started, so ask me if I'm following it!

2.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, discusses A New Perspective on Social Media.

3. The Scent of Fear Blog Tour is almost over (January 16th), but there's still time to enter the $25 Amazon GC/ebook giveaway. Check out the kick-off post. It has a list of participating bloggers. You can also jump on the Rafflecopter there.

Writers and Readers: What is your pet peeve when it comes to Social Media?

Photo Credit:  scotsxc

Monday, January 13, 2014

Avoiding the Writing Deep Freeze

Snow, Ice, and freezing temperatures conspire against our ability to move about and perform daily tasks. The treacherous piles make each step an opportunity to exercise our faith.

We may not be able to prevent every difficulty caused by storms, but we can minimize their impact on us. Here are a few steps for making life easier during winter:

1) When you're parked, pull the wipers away from the windshield. Now, this isn't a good idea if there's a blizzard. I wouldn't want them snapping off. However, in a run-of-the-mill snow/ice storm, it could prevent your wipers from freezing.

2)  If snow is expected and then an icy mix, don't clean the car off until the storm is over. The snow underneath will make it easier to get rid of the ice.

3)  Carry a bag of kitty litter in your trunk. If you get stuck it will provide much-needed traction.

The writing deep freeze can be just as daunting as a winter storm. The freedom and ease of getting words into a computer document or on a page disappear. Every word comes with tortuous exertion. Here are some preventive measures:

1)  Fear often precedes a writing deep freeze. You've got an assignment for an article, a guest blog, a short story, or a novel. Thoughts start swirling around your head: Can I really do this? What should I write about?

I deal with this issue by: A) Reading scripture verses regarding fear such as II Timothy 1:7. B) Asking God to give me the ideas I need. C) Relaxing and trusting they will come.

2)  If an interesting thought or event captures your attention, go with it. A winter storm provided the idea for this post. Warning: These tidbits have a way of flying through your brain and disappearing. Seize them, and examine their facets using the why, what, where, which, and how questions.

3)  Visual prompts can inspire you and keep brain freeze at bay. I love flipping through sites with pictures. When looking for a graphic for one post, I may see five more that give me writing ideas.

Any venture, whether writing, painting, sculpting, or crafts, can suffer from a creative freeze. Keep those ideas flowing by exercising the gift God gave to you.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of the ways you use to prevent brain freeze?

Photo Credit:  MEJones

Friday, January 10, 2014

Goals and Action Plans


I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions, but I do have dreams and plans for 2014. Here's the short list:

1.  Finish The Scent of Fear Blog Tour.

2.  Do guest posts/author interviews to highlight all my books.

3.  Contact some organizations that might be interested in my genre.

4.  Write the third book in the trilogy, Out of the Mist.

5.  Participate in a series my publisher has in the works for 2014.

It's wonderful to have goals, but I'm also considering the steps I need to take to reach them. I have folders for each project to keep everything organized. Scheduling time for implementing my plans is also a big part of making them happen.

What are your writing/reading goals for 2014?  What kind of action steps are you taking to fulfill your dreams?

Photo Credit:  svilenoo1

Monday, January 6, 2014

Move Forward

At the beginning of each year, Christians like to seek the Lord for direction. In 2013, my words were, "hold steady." How I've needed those words! Many wonderful experiences awaited me: an agent, a book contract, release of The Moses Conspiracy and The Scent of Fear, a full-time position, and an introduction to new social media sites.

I've been asking the Lord what words would be appropriate for 2014. In November 2013, I read a blog post by my friend, Maria I. Morgan, an excellent devotional writer. Two words jumped out at me:  Move forward.

The first year as a published author is a lot like the first year of marriage. There are many adjustments and "firsts" along the way. Now that I've had two novels published and gone through the craziness of book launches, I'm ready to press on to new challenges.

Some of my writing goals for 2014:

1.  Finish the third book in the trilogy and see it published.
2.  Sharpen my writing skills.
3.  Expand my platform.

Personal goals for 2014:

1.  Develop a listening ear for God's direction.
2.  Nurture others in their relationship with the Lord.
3.  Get a handle on time management and achieve a better balance between family, work, and ministry.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of your goals for 2014? Do you have a word or words that define your direction? If so, please share.

Photo Credit: cobrasoft