Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Not only is he a captivating writer, but after touring both the east coast and west coast with him, visiting book stores, schools, hospitals, and community centers, I can attest to the fact that Wayne Batson is an awesome guy who loves his readers.
One way he shows his love for readers is by holding awesome contests. Here's his current one:
Want to win a new Kindle Fire, Books-4-Life, your very own Star, or even have your name as a Character in a Future Novel??? Enter the Starseeker Contest, my biggest, most epic Reader Contest to date!
Be sure to check it out - and all his books!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Devotion Guide #3 (Excerpted from The Restorer-Expanded Edition)
Read: The Restorer chapters 7-8
Read: Romans 12:2, I Peter 1:13
Mind poison. We live in an age where we’re exposed to non-stop clamoring voices. Marketing experts do all they can to stir discontent and a perceived need so we’ll purchase their products. Television commercials sing a siren song promising us the world if only we’ll buy a cheeseburger, a cleaning product, or a shiny new car. Magazine ads remind us that we haven’t yet accomplished the goal of being one of the world’s “beautiful people” – but would be a step closer if we use their makeup, hair color, or fashion accessories. A million “how-to” books remind us that we are never enough. Never smart enough, thin enough, rich enough, popular enough.
Meanwhile, we battle with our own sinful nature that murmurs lies in the background of our thought life – sometimes just below the level of our awareness. And fellow flawed people, sometimes well intentioned, say things that pierce like splinters and remain beneath the skin to fester. All the while, the enemy of our soul, Satan, also tempts us by twisting and distorting the truth.
Is it any wonder that the onslaught of messages we face each day can leave us reeling?
Catch a few of the thoughts that have drifted through your mind in the past day. Look at them closely. Do you spot any lies?
Ephesians 5:19-21 gives us a glimpse of one powerful way to protect our minds and hearts from lies. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs can change our perspective, drawing our eyes off the false picture that mind poison can paint – and back to God, the source of all that is good and true. Think back to the lies you’ve battled recently. Can you find a verse of scripture that speaks specifically against that lie?
Can you find this scripture set to music? Many hymnals include an index that will help you find a hymn based on the verse. A Google search might also uncover a contemporary scripture song melody. You can also form your own simple melody to help you memorize and internalize the verse and carry it with you throughout the day.
Lord, thank You for the gift of your Word, the Truth that drowns out the clamoring lies around us. Please transform our thoughts, our minds, our deepest motivations. Thank You also for the gift of music. Help us remind our own hearts of Your goodness through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Guide us to specific verses and songs that will help us hold to truth in the specific area where we are most tempted today. Amen.
We chatted about faith, arts, inspiration, our love of fantasy and sci-fi, and The Restorer - Expanded Edition.
And if you're a fan of Star Trek, be sure to check out Rick's links to his Star Trek parody songs. They gave me lots of giggles.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
If you want to treat yourself or others to a book (which is still one of the best, most enduring entertainment values around in my humble opinion - hooray for books!) I wanted to alert you to some "Black Friday and Beyond" specials.
Be sure to check out Marcher Lord Press - If you order The Restorer-Expanded Edition (at their discount price!) you'll get two free gifts. But visit soon, since it's a limited time offer. And check out all their other books by terrific authors. Huge discounts for two days only.
AND if you want a gift under $5 - take a peek at . . .
The Secret Life of Becky Miller (a would-be super mom struggles with her spouses job loss)
Renovating Becky Miller (coping with a disability while juggling a home remodel and more)
Symphony of Secrets (musical mystery with a touch of romance)
Stepping Into Sunlight (inspiring novel of a woman's emotional healing)
Those aren't used books, either. Those are new, autographed, and will be personalized to you, or whomever you wish to give the book to.
Happy gift giving and happy reading!
Blessed Thanksgiving everyone!
I'm thankful you are in my life.
By the way, several writers (including me) shared why we're grateful to be writers over at the "Working Writer" blog.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Getting that book for free!
Visit Lena Nelson Dooley's blog today to learn about her give-away of a copy of
The Restorer-Expanded Edition.
And feel free to spread the word to other friends who might be interested!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Some writing friends recently compiled their top tips on treating your writing as a business. Loads of great ideas for writers – and probably other freelance professions, as well!
Just as you take your writing business seriously, take your publisher's business seriously as well. Never, never blow a deadline (unless it's a matter of life and death). Respect your relationship with your publisher and they will respect their relationship with you.
--Melody Carlson, author of River's Song from Abingdon
Christian publishing is a small industry. Be kind and professional in your dealings. A reputation lost or a bridge burned will never be re-established.
--Gayle Roper, award-winning author of Shadows on the Sand
When it's writing time, I set my email preferences so that no email is delivered unless I do it manually. That eliminates that delightful little "ding" that tells you a new message has arrived in your Inbox. When I reach my word count for the day or my writing time is finished I reset my preferences and turn it back on. This has helped me focus during my writing time and get more done.
--Carrie Turansky, award winning author of Christmas Mail-Order Brides
Invest back into your main employee (you, the writer!) with occasional classes, retreats, or gatherings with other authors. Always keep learning!
--Sharon Hinck author of The Restorer-Expanded Edition
Using a system of trial and error, discover the time of day when you are the most creative and use that block of time for your writing. Use the remainder of your workday to take care of accounting, answering email, interacting on blogs and so forth.
--Judith Miller, author of the Daughters of Amana series
Keep it in perspective. Writing, while rewarding and often seen as one's ministry, is still your JOB. It shouldn't become the fulfillment of your life. That place of honor belongs to your relationship with God first and family second. It can be easy to ignore the relationships when the accolades and excitement of a book in print arrives. But everything suffers when we put something besides our heavenly Father in "first place." So keep a watchful eye (and heart!) on your priorities. Your life will be in better balance because of it.
--Kim Vogel Sawyer, author of A Whisper of Peace
Treat your business like a business. Have regular work hours and exercise discipline. You will have to train your family and friends to respect your work hours––this is part of working at home. But they will never take your job seriously if you don't.
--Denise Hunter author of A Cowboy's Touch
Make sure you are spending the majority of your time on income-generating endeavors (like actual writing!). Facebook, blogging, promotion, twitter, are all helpful, but only after you've spent most of your working time doing what actually makes the money––writing! Log your time so you know where it's being spent.
--Marlo Schalesky, award-winning author of Shades of Morning
Perseverance is sometimes the only thing that keeps us going, but if it's bathed in prayer, it's enough for the moment.
--Gayle Roper, award-winning author of Shadows on the Sand
While its important to understand the business of writing, don't let it consume you. Remember why you started writing in the first place: because you love it. You are called to do it. It's easy to lose sight of that when mired in the business end of publishing. Don't ignore business matters, but don't put them above writing and creating the best work you possibly can.
--Kathleen Fuller, author of What the Heart Sees
Track your time or word count. That’s how you treat writing like a business. I use an excel spreadsheet that lets me see where I am in relation to overall word count, in each chapter and on a daily basis. Even before I had a contract, I used this system, and it helped hold me accountable like a time clock.
--Cara Putman, author of Stars in the Night
Make a commitment to show up or "assume the position of a writer." A certain number of words or a certain amount of time is less important than making the commitment to appear. My earliest novels began with the alarm going off at 4:00AM and my commitment was to be at the computer by 5:00AM. Some days the writing went well; some days not so good. But every day I showed up was a winning day and gave me energy to keep writing.
--Jane Kirkpatrick, best-selling author of Barcelona Calling from Zondervan
It's amazing how little things can turn into big things. For example, I spoke at a library event that had a very tiny audience, yet a woman in the audience enjoyed the talk. She asked me to speak at a hospital benefit luncheon of over two hundred attendees! I try to look at each event or signing with the perspective that size isn't important. Individuals are.
--Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of The Lancaster County Series
Keep a close eye on how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Managing cash flow is tough for writers because we don't know when a manuscript will sell, how much it will sell for, or what royalties a book will earn. Set up a business checking account and get a business debit or credit card. Track spending, and avoid spending money you don't have.
--Judy Christie, author of the Green series, including Rally 'Round Green
Use email as a reward for meeting your first daily word count goal. The Internet can suck up hours of your day, but if you delay opening your Inbox until after you begin working on your book, you will establish your priorities for the day and you’ll accomplish far more. Focus first on writing, and then on communicating.
--Virginia Smith, author of Lost Melody by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith.
Work hard at separating your personal, sensitive, creative self from your business self. Train yourself early on to understand that rejection, critiquing, editing and negotiations are not personal. NOT PERSONAL. They are business.
--Charlene Ann Baumbich, author of Divine Appointments from WaterBrook Press/Random House
Set up a business account to keep professional expenses separate from personal/family ones. It makes doing your taxes much simpler.
--Gayle Roper, award-winning author of Shadows on the Sand
Always remember that your number one customer is not the end reader nor the bookstore owner nor even the head buyer who makes the big book-ordering decisions. Your number one customer is the publisher, and you should direct most of your marketing and promotional efforts toward supplying them with what they need to get your books into the hands of readers. The easier you make their job, the more they can do for you in return.
--Mindy Starns Clark, co-author with Leslie Gould of the #1 bestseller The Amish Midwife
Get a good accounting program and USE it!
--Marlo Schalesky, Christy award-winning author of Beyond the Night
Keep an Excel or Word spreadsheet of your research resources and divide it by series or book so that when you need to produce authority for your novel, it is readily available. In addition, it becomes an excellent resource when you need to locate some of that same information for another book. Someone (I don’t remember who) told me to keep a file with the names of characters I had used in my books. Otherwise, you may use the same name several books and readers notice such things.
--Judith Miller, author of the Daughters of Amana series
Put fingers to keyboards no matter how little you can think of to say. Set a timer for thirty minutes and write as many words as you can in that thirty minutes. You'll be amazed how may pages you can write with that timer ticking.
--Hannah Alexander, author of The Wedding Kiss
Marketing your book isn't just important for an author these days, it's imperative. Yet never forget that the best marketing tool of all is to write the best book you can as quickly as you can, then get it to your readers. A well crafted story beats a thousand clever tweets any day.
--Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of A Lasting Impression, a Belmont Mansion novel
Make an annual plan with your top priorities and the dates by which you'll tackle those priorities, including writing projects, professional development and marketing. Take a fresh look at your goals at least once a quarter to make needed adjustments. Don't let distractions, which seem to come out of the woodwork, draw you off course.
--Judy Christie, author of the Hurry Less Worry Less series, including Hurry Less Worry Less at Work
I sit down with every book and figure out how long it will take me to finish the it and then, on my computer calendar or paper calendar, write down how many pages I need to write every day. I try to focus on the work for JUST that day. If I look too far ahead, the project can be daunting. If I don't meet the goal for the day, those pages get added to the next day.
--Carolyne Aarsen, author of Daddy Lessons, #2 in the Home to Hartley Creek series from Love Inspired
I work way ahead of deadline. Way, way ahead. So far ahead that it drives my editor a little crazy. But doing so helps me to stave off anxiety--which paralyzes creativity--and allows plenty of time for my favorite part of writing: polishing the manuscript. I think of that part as icing a cake.
--Suzanne Woods Fisher, award winning author of Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World
Expect your advance to be all that you make on the book. That way when a royalty check comes, you'll see it as a bonus and won't be disappointed as much if it's a low amount.
--Vickie McDonough, ACFW treasurer and author of the Pioneer Promises series
When you finish an article, make a list of ten markets in a folder. Send the article out to the first market. When the rejection letter comes back, read the article once and send it to the next market on the list within 24 hours. Identifying markets when we're feeling good makes it easier to have a next step when that rejection comes back. And resending with 24 hours keeps that work from dying in a forgotten file. To be published, we have to risk getting the work out into the world.
--Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of The Daughter's Walk from WaterBrook Press/Random House
Write your work hours in ink on your calendar at the beginning of each week or month, and treat them as you would an appointment. If you choose to take a day off, be sure and reschedule those hours of writing time back onto your calendar just as you would reschedule an important appointment.
--Deborah Raney, author of the Hanover Falls Novels from Howard/Simon & Schuster
Remember that you can't do everything. You will often have to say "no" to one thing to say "yes" to something else. Guard your writing time, but remember that you are unique. Assimilate all the tips you pick up and determine what works best for you.
--Judy Christie, author of Wreath, a young adult novel
This hint was given to me by Jane Jordan Browne after I first signed with her agency: "Remember, editors are not your friends, and you must never hold that against. them." I've gone back to that many times over the years.
--Charlene Ann Baumbich, author of Finding Our Way Home from WaterBrook Press
Be professional in all your dealings. Don't backstab other writers or badmouth editors or publishers, because this is a small world and your words will come back to haunt you in painful ways.
--Hannah Alexander, author of the Christmas novella Silent Night, Deadly Night
Maintain a sense of humor and a sense of distance. Focus on your projects, the things you like to write, and don't make it less or more important than the work of fellow writers. God called you with your own abilities and weaknesses and you know best what you should be writing. Find your strengths and be faithful with what you've been given.
--Carolyne Aarsen, author of The Rancher's Return, first in the Home to Hartley Creek series from Love Inspired
When you get a writing-related receipt, like from a restaurant or for gas on a research trip, be sure to circle the date and amount of purchase and write a brief note explaining what it is for. By the end of the year ink often fades on receipts making them hard to read and memory also fails if it's been a long while since you took the trip.
--Vickie McDonough, author of the Texas Trails and Texas Boardinghouse Brides series
One of the 'secrets to my success' took me some time to learn--that's to delegate chores and tasks to others (without going on a guilt trip). When I realized the actual value of my writing time, it became much easier to let someone else do the grocery shopping or mail books or clean house.
--Melody Carlson, author of The Christmas Shoppe from Baker/Revell
Take the money-making/business aspects of writing as seriously as you would any other business, but learn to discern divine interruptions. After all, the freedom to rearrange your schedule is one of the best perks of being a writer, and no one ever wishes on their deathbed that they'd spent more time at work; however, many wish they'd spent more time with family and friends.
--Deborah Raney, award-winning author of A Vow to Cherish
My top two tips are:
2. See #1.
--Stephanie Grace Whitson, author of A Most Unsuitable Match
Friday, November 11, 2011
I've been reading Mark 1: 16-20.
Whenever I read this account in Mark, my heart beats a little faster. I stand on tiptoe, hoping to be ready to spring into action when I hear the call of my Savior asking me to follow Him. I’d like to think that if Jesus walked up to my fishing boat, I’d respond “without delay” and follow Him.
But in daily life, I tumble into situations or am confronted by challenges that invade unexpectedly and these situations and challenges don’t feel at all like God’s call to follow Him. They feel like accidents.
In The Restorer, Susan was listening for God’s call in her life. She wanted guidance in her choices about which committee to join at her children’s school, or where to volunteer at church. She would have loved a few insights into how to grow in patience when the needs of her household left her frazzled and exhausted.
Instead, change invaded. Dramatic, inexplicable, confusing change. It didn’t feel like God’s call to follow. For her it felt like being tossed into a place where she was lost to Him.
What changes have recently intruded into your life – whether changes that came unasked for, or changes you initiated?
When I wrote about Susan being pulled through a portal into a new place, I thought about women I know who faced sudden change. A child with a learning disability. A friend diagnosed with cancer. A parent who develops Alzheimer’s. At some point in all our lives, we are pulled into a new world where we don’t know the rules, and we just want to go back to the familiar.
Sometimes my response to change is to use all my energy trying to get things back to normal. Or I scream for others to fix the problem. Or I curl up in despair. Or I grit my teeth and plow ahead. But when I read this account in the Gospel of Mark, I hear Jesus' gentle call, and I ask Him to show me how to follow Him in this new place.
We aren’t here by accident. Even in this new place, we can trust Him to guide us.
Dear Lord, sometimes I don’t have much choice about the changes that hit my life. But I do have choices about how I’ll respond. I’ll admit that there are challenges in my life I’d like to run away from, problems I want to barrel through in my own strength, situations I’d love to berate others for. Instead, please give me the courage to take up my cross and follow You. Amen.
(Adapted from the devotion guide in the back of The Restorer-Expanded Edition, 2011)
Friday, November 04, 2011
I love "Signed by the Author." It's a great site that connects readers and authors, and provides you a chance to have your book signed and personalized (makes a great gift!)
I love writing a birthday greeting, or confirmation blessing, or Christmas note to the person the book is for.
I've just added The Restorer-Expanded Edition to their site.
Not only that, but I've listed all my contemporary fiction novels from Bethany House at a huge discount - so they would make a super affordable gift. If you need recommendations for the people on your gift list, just email me with your questions. I hope you'll check it out.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
So from now until Thanksgiving Day, I have two free gifts (both developed by Stacy Oliver of Christian Book Preview) for readers who enjoy The Restorer-Expanded Edition.
1. FREE - A beautiful 36-page in-depth literary guide (great tool for homeschoolers who are using the book - or for book group discussions)
2. FREE - A fun party planner with creative ideas for a book club gathering or a Restorer-themed party.
Just share online about something that inspired or encouraged you about The Restorer, or something you particularly enjoy in the new expanded edition. Then email me through my website contact page with a link to where you've shared, and I'll send you the down-loadable booklets via email.
You can post at:
or at Goodreads or Shelfari, or on your own blog.
So jump on in! Post your thoughts online and send me the link, so I can send your gift. I’m giving thanks for every time God has used this new edition to inspire or encourage a reader…and giving thanks for the readers who share the land of Lyric and Braide Wood with me.
...stories for the hero in all of us
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
NOVEL MORSELS is an e-book with contributions from over 80 Christian authors, sharing recipes that come from their storyworlds.
I'm delighted that Susan Mitchell's recipe for caradoc skewers (which she ate on a back street in Lyric on Feast Day) was included in the book!
You can check it out here.