Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Spotlight: The Master's Calling by Amber Schamel

The Master's Calling, Volume 3 of The Days of Messiah, released! Here's the blurb:

After generations of waiting, the Messiah has come at last. And not a day too soon. All his life, Malon Ben-Tyrus has been stifled beneath Roman laws and religious traditions, and he longs to be free. The oppression of the Romans worsens every day, and the religious system led by the Scribes and Pharisees has grown corrupt. 

Malon believes his life calling is to become a disciple of the Messiah and help free Israel from bondage.  When Jesus heads to Jerusalem for the Passover feast, Malon knows this will be a historic event. Jesus will enter the city as the Son of David and take His place as the Messiah of Israel. He longs to follow Jesus to Jerusalem, but his family won't allow him to go.

When at last his family consents, Malon arrives in Jerusalem only to discover that he is too late. The man he thought to be the Messiah has been crucified, and Barabbas—his greatest enemy—has been set free.
Appalled by the cowardice of Jesus' disciples, Malon returns home seething with frustration and despair. Everything he believed he was destined to become died with Jesus. Was he wrong about his destiny?

And here's the buy link.

If you enjoy Biblical fiction, Amber's books are sure to please. Congratulations!

Writers:  Have you considered writing Biblical Fiction? If so, please share.

Readers: Do you read Biblical Fiction? What do you like about it?


Friday, November 27, 2015

Strategy/Social Media/Illegals/Devo/Description

1.  Zoe M. McCarthy examines the subject of, "A Smart Strategy: Let Readers Write Portions of Our Stories." Think about all the obvious details we know about a hospital room and then avoid describing them in your story. She goes on to say that "...too much description kills a readers engagement." Fascinating stuff.

2.  Do you know your Social Media I.Q.? Jennifer Brown Banks summarizes the advantages/drawbacks of several social media platforms.

3.  Rick Marschall, of blog, writes we'll soon be the Illegals.

4.  Susan Panzica, at Eternity Cafe, shares her reflections on Homeward Bound.

5.  Jerry Jenkins talks about why readers skip over crucial parts of our stories.

Writers:  How do you increase readers' interest in your story?

Readers:  Are there parts of a story that you skim over? What are they?

Photo Credit:  xx lawrence

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sticker Shock

Between migraines and the need for a magnifying glass, I decided it was time to get my eyes checked. Reading hasn't happened without my specs for quite awhile, but this was ridiculous. Armed with vision insurance, I made an appointment with a new provider.

After the exam, an assistant ushered me into a room with the familiar wall of frames. Once we narrowed down the choices to a particular single-vision lens, she helped me select a snazzy number (purple - be still my heart). The price made me gulp. "I'm not paying that much for frames." She did some calculations and whittled it down to a manageable level. My urge to run subsided, but I should have left.

As an author, I could use some professional editing. One editor charges five cents per word. On the surface that doesn't sound like much, but when you have a 93,000+ word manuscript, it's eyes-glazed-over-shock. I'm still trying to regain my equilibrium.

I reminded myself that prices have gone up, whipped out the plastic, and paid for my eyeglasses. The salesperson pointed out that if I didn't have insurance, the price would have been triple my cost. Since I needed another pair and my insurance wouldn't cover them, the math almost made me faint. I took my prescription and went elsewhere.

The editing? I'm still shopping around, but books on self-editing and my critique partners are gaining more appreciation by the minute. Maybe I can find someone who will work on a couple of chapters and give me some pointers regarding pacing, characterization, and all that good stuff.

I think I'll go have some chocolate.

Writers:  Have you used the services of a professional editor? Please share your experience.

Readers:  When was the last time you had "sticker shock?" Please share.

Photo Credit:  Thiago Felipe Festa

Friday, November 20, 2015

Windows 10/Non-Fiction/Love/Turkey/Alphabet

1.  All those with Windows 7 and 8 have been prompted to install Windows 10 for free. Hmm, Microsoft giving away an operating system for free? Here's an article about the move toward having MS peering over your shoulder every time you're on the Internet.

2.  I realize that not all writers are into fiction. The Write Conversation had a post on picking the right story. Items covered:  Does the story I'm using to illustrate a point relate well with my topic? Does the story have the same mood as the rest of my writing? Is the story believable?

3.  Let's face it, in the publishing business marketing is a fact of life. How do we get past our discomfort with it and learn to embrace the process? Kathryn Craft, at Writers in The Storm, talks about how love sells books. Yes, love!

4.  Turkey is the star of Thanksgiving Dinner. Check out their recipes for some mouth-watering ideas.

5.  Marja Meijers, at Fresh Insights On Ancient Truths, is going through a Bible Alphabet. She's up to the letter, "G." 

Non-Fiction Writers: How do pick your topics?

Readers:  Have you downloaded Windows 10? Please share your experience with the browser.

Photo Credit:  Maria Rodrigues

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Mary Had a Little Lamb by Susan Panzica

There are many Christmas books available for readers, but this one is so special. Susan Panzica has written a beautifully illustrated re-telling of the Christmas story for children. She also includes some facts at the end that will appeal to adult readers.

If you're looking for a book to read your kids during the Christmas season, grab this one. Susan's daughter and son enjoyed her poem as children. Now, your little ones can as well.

Here's the blurb:

"Destined to be a new Christmas classic, MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB tells more than the familiar Christmas story. With beautiful illustrations, contagious rhyme, and a powerful surprise ending, it tells us all what Christmas is really about, imparting essential life lessons, most importantly, that God is real and speaks to us today. A parent guide provides myth-busters and key talking points to bring truth and deeper meaning to the well-known story."

Susan will give away one print copy of her book to a commenter via a drawing. To be eligible you must be a resident of the U.S. This giveaway is void where prohibited.

Disclaimer: The blogger has not received any payment for this book spotlight and giveaway. My short review at the top is my honest opinion. 

Congratulations, Susan, on your book!

Friday, November 13, 2015


1.  Jean Fischer blogs about Motivation Hacks for Writers. I need to get back to work. My "vacation" has stretched into several months.

2.  Self-publishing Review gives us the skinny on Amazon's review policy. While there are some big no-no's, there are plenty of ways to get honest reviews. One major point - a review without a verified purchase will raise a red flag.

3.  Laura Drake, at Writers in the Storm Blog, gives us a lesson on The Most Important Edit That No One  Talks About. She's right. I can count on one hand the number of blog posts I've seen on this subject.

4.  Someone once said that the premise of The Moses Conspiracy could never happen here in America. I beg to differ. Check out this article where a pastor warns Christians to prepare for persecution.

5.  I love crockpot cooking! A friend posted this website on Facebook, and I thought you might be interested in 100 Days of Meal Plans Whole Foods Style.\

Writers:  We're all familiar with line edits where we correct grammar, spelling, typos, etc. Have you ever done a substantive edit? If so, please share your experience.

Readers: Are you a fan of crockpot cooking? What kind of things do you make in your crockpot?

Photo Credit:  Svilen Milev

Monday, November 9, 2015

Preparing for a Radio Interview

On Saturday, October 24, 2015, Travis Owen Bryan had me on his LIVE Christian radio broadcast. I'd been on once before, so I knew the basic format.

When his friend, Jay Mather, connected us the first time, I didn't know what to expect other than we'd be talking about my books. What are some of the ways I could have prepared and lessened the nervousness?

1.  Pray. Well, I did that - quite a bit. I get specific, asking the Lord to give me wisdom and cause my words to glorify Him.

2.  The next time I'm invited to go on a radio show, I'll listen to a sample recording or tune in to an actual broadcast. If I'd done that, I would have known:

            A.  Travis values an author's testimony. He wants to know about our walk with the Lord and how it impacts our writing.

            B.  He asks probing questions about what it's like to be a writer, our journey to publication, and what kind of advice we'd have for aspiring authors.

            C.  I'd also know that he gives plenty of time to answer his questions.

3.  Notes - It's always good to have a page or two to jog your memory. Our minds can go blank in a fast-paced interview, so these are helpful tools to break through the brain fog. The last time I was on the show, I wrote down the following items:

            A.  A short blurb about Out of the Mist, the third book of The Moses Trilogy.

            B.  How I felt about finishing the trilogy - both relieved and bittersweet.

            C.  Where readers could find my books and connect with me.

4.  I'd think about written interviews I've done, what I like to know as a reader, and give plenty of takeaways for the listener.

5.  A glass of water and hard candy are good things to have on hand in case your throat gets dry.

With a little planning, a radio interview can be a fun and rewarding experience. The nice part: You don't have to worry about how you look. :)

My thanks to Travis Owen Bryan, of the LIVE show, in Elkton, KY, for being such a great host.

Writers:  Have you ever been on the radio? How did you prepare?
Readers:  Have you done any public speaking? How did you keep stage fright away

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sidebar/Referrals/Market Research/Devo/Recipe

1.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, discusses what belongs on the sidebar of a blog. This is Part 6. I think I need to go back and read the other 5 posts.

2.  California governor, Jerry Brown, signed a bill ordering faith-based pregnancy centers to refer women for abortions. Check out this article.

3.  Penny Sansevieri guest posts at Writers in the Storm about How to Create a Book that Sells and a Marketing Plan that works (every time).  Yeah, that title grabbed me as well. She gives some great tips on researching your market.

4.  Dena Netherton shares 3 Thoughts on "Little Zeke's Gift." This boy has a unique ministry that he faithfully exercises.

5.  I confess my idea of making cranberry sauce is to open a can and empty the contents into a pretty serving dish. For those of you who are more into homemade, you might like this recipe from

Writers:  Whether you're published or pre-published, did you research the market prior to writing your book? Please share.

Readers:  What special dishes do you make at Thanksgiving? If you'd like feel free to share a recipe in the comments.

Photo Credit:  Keira Bishop

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Spotlight & Giveaway - Outrageously Fruitful by Maria Morgan

Maria is not only a children's book author, but also a devotional writer. Below is a blurb on her newest offering, Outrageously Fruitful.

Society's message is clear: live for yourself. God's message is revolutionary: live for Him and others. This sounds radical, right? We all want love, joy, and peace to saturate our lives. But the Holy Spirit's plan begs us to look beyond our own little world and see His bigger picture.

So how do we win the battle against selfishness? Outrageously Fruitful addresses this question and more. This 10-week study is made up of a series of brief daily lessons that encourage an honest look at current behavior and provide a biblical foundation to rekindle faith and put it into action.

Maria I. Morgan explores the characteristics the Spirit longs to cultivate within us. A fresh perspective is given of each characteristic, disarming some of today's popular misconceptions: *Love is a feeling *Circumstances determine joy *Absence of conflict is the key to peace *Why be long suffering? Take the easy way out *Meekness is the same thing as weakness *Temperance is outdated: if it feels good do it Let go and let God make your life outrageously fruitful!

Giveaway Details: Maria will be giving away one copy of "Outrageously Fruitful" (print) to one commenter. To be eligible, you must leave your email address and be a resident of the U.S. Void where prohibited. 

Disclaimer: No payment was made to this blogger for featuring the author and her book. 

Writers and Readers:  Are devotional books part of your quiet time? Please share.