Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Potpourri

Here are some posts that give wise advice concerning motivation, publishing trends, and being authentic. Many of the principles apply whether or not you're a writer. I thought I'd share them with you.

1.  Bryan Hutchinson, at Positive Writer, shares 11 tips on how to motivate yourself.

2.  Jody Hedlund shares 9 things she's learned so far about publishing.

3.  Wendy Paine Miller, at Thoughts That Move, talks about being true to yourself online.

Writers and Readers: Do you have any tips about keeping it real online?

Photo Credit:  saflora

Monday, February 24, 2014

Birthday Reflections

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday. It's natural to reflect on years gone by, as well as wonder where they all went!

Here are a few thoughts that occupied me during my birthday month:

1) My appreciation for the gift of time grows daily. It's a non-renewable resource. My desire is to live for the Lord and produce what has eternal value.

2)  When thinking about how I'm treated, my attitudes are filtered through the Word of God. Bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, and holding grudges will:

A)  Sap my joy
B)  Hurt my spirit, soul, and body
C)  Keep me from moving forward in God's plan for my life.

3)  God is love, and I want that to be the most important part of my character.

Writers and Readers: What thoughts go through your heads on birthdays? For those of you who write, how have the passing years affected your work? 

Photo Credit: yokim01

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wise Words and Other Gems

The Blogosphere introduced me to wonderful writers and authors, delivered encouragement to my computer screen, and educated me about a vast array of subjects. Here are a few links that gave me a lift:

1.  Dena Netherton shares her experiences with boundaries and the urge to challenge them.

2.  MarjaMeijers talks about being a resting place for God. Now that's intriguing!

3.  Jeanette Levellie shares what truly attracts others...and it's not a great marketing plan.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of your favorite devotional blogs? Have their words comforted you in times of distress? 

Photo Credit:  Kolobsek

Monday, February 17, 2014

Breaking the Worry Cycle

One of my tasks involves answering the phone and directing callers to the appropriate person. In order to connect them to someone else, I must dial an extension and disconnect them from me. Sometimes the caller keeps dialing my extension for one reason or another. Until I find someone to take responsibility for helping them, I must either take a message or come up with a solution.

At times, worry forms a connection with me. It resists my efforts to break the cycle. It keeps coming back, whispering what-if's in my ear. Now, as a writer, part of my equipment is asking what-if questions, but that can get twisted and turned against me. No one can stop this endless circle but me. It's my responsibility. Here's how I deal with worry:

1.  I've memorized scriptures that deal with fear and worry. Isaiah 41:10, 2 Timothy 1:7, and others are part of my arsenal.

2.  How do I apply these verses? In prayer, I thank God that He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. I thank Him that He is with me and will help and strengthen me.

3.  It's all about replacing thinking contrary to the truth of God's Word.

This short circuits the connection with a non-productive emotion. It may try to come back, but as I apply these principles, it finally gives up. I'd much rather be connected with the peace and joy that comes from trusting the One, who holds my life in His hands.

Writers and Readers:  How do you fight worry?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day and Thoughts of Love

Photo Credit: ChIandra4U

When people think of Valentine's Day, a picture of romantic love between a man and a woman dominates. Yet, love is not limited to romance.

Did you know that in Biblical Greek, there are several kinds of love and each has a different word to describe it? Phileo love refers to friendship. The city of Philadelphia is also called, "The City of Brotherly Love." Eros refers to physical love. Last, but not least, is agape, or God's love.

Within the structure of a book, characters can exhibit love. A friend takes a bullet to save the hero's life. A person discovers God loves them even though they've lived life blaming Him for their troubles.

Love is expressed through forgiveness. It manifests through sacrificial service to others. While many people love a good romance (including me), think about other ways love is expressed. It is not only an emotion, but also an action reflecting the heart of God.

Writers and Readers: What are some of your favorite stories that expressed love in a context other than romance?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Monday, February 10, 2014

We All Have to Eat...

Photo Credit: mikehome

and so do our characters. I noticed the folks in both The Moses Conspiracy and The Scent of Fear have a serious taste for apple pie. They are virtually gourmets on the subject. Whoopie pies and apple strudel come in a close second and third.

While Ellie Zimmerman tries hard to balance the sweets with healthy meals, her husband rebels when salad is mentioned.

Photo Credit: lori5000

John Zimmerman is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and loves his wife's apple pie.

Writers and Readers:  What kind of menus do you design for your characters/family? Do your characters eat the way you eat? Please share. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Better to Hear You, My Dear

I love reading articles on writing, marketing, and good books. Here are a few that caught my attention recently:

1.  Penny C. Sansevieri guest posted at Working Writers and Bloggers. Wow! She had some great tips on using audio to sell your books, as well as referencing other articles.

2.  Now that you've read the first article, here's a How-to Create and Market a Stellar Podcast on The Blogging Bistro. BTW, this site has some awesome how-to articles. Even if you're not a writer, you can add some zip to your blog with their guidance.

3.  Once again, The Blogging Bistro is my choice for a handy-dandy blog/story starter. What's a seaplane doing in the middle of the road? Find out here.

Writers and Readers:  Do you listen to audio books, book trailers, podcasts, etc.? Why do you like/dislike them?

Photo Credit:  Raven3K

Monday, February 3, 2014

Blending My Words

I sometimes make sweet and sour meatballs. Three of the ingredients, pineapple juice, BBQ sauce, and cranberry sauce, require mixing to achieve the right consistency. If I don't mash the jellied cranberry sauce into small enough chunks, it won't merge with the other flavors.

As I work on my book, I blend words together. Does this sentence stir my heart or intrigue my mind? If I add a bit more dialogue, will it improve the flow of the story? Is there enough setting detail to ground the reader or so much that it stops the action?

I allow the plot to simmer. My heart and mind travel down different paths to see where they will lead. This direction will add tension, while another resolves a problem. I return to season my tale with the fresh insights I've gained.

Writers: What are some of the ways you "cook" your stories?

Readers: What makes a book go from good to awesome for you?

Photo Credit: Duchessa