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These are a Few of My Favorite Posts from 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Myth of the Lone Ranger Author Rachelle Gardner's Blog who just happens to be my very awesome agent. :)

How I do It Live Intentionally but with Breathing Space My agency mate, Jody Hedlund.

The Difference Between Trying and Doing  Michael Hyatt shares the wisdom of Yoda.

Silencing Your Inner Critic  Kathryn Lilley at The Killzone.

From Romance to Corpses by Tess Gerritsen.

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss  by the awesome Julie Lessman. Okay I cheated. This blog post is from 2010, BUT heard Julie and Ruth Axtell Morren present it at The ACFW Conference in St. Louis this year.

Stuck in a Corner Martha Carr, agency mate, talks about writers block at The WordServe Water Cooler.

No Fear, No Envy, No Meanness by a mentor who knows how to make writing fun, the amazing James Scott Bell.

The Adjustable Publishing Dream  by friend and agency mate Rosslyn Elliott.

The Fine Art of Choosing a Pen Name  by moi. :) I thought this was probably the best post I wrote this year and because of it's nature wanted to share it with you here.

Well that's ten of my favorites. I didn't choose any of my worthy blog mates here at Just the Write Charisma because I didn't want to have to choose. That would be way too hard. It's been an awesome year and I look forward to sharing with you all and our visitors in 2012.

What's one of your favorite blog posts from this year?

The Games Afoot

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What is it about Sherlock Holmes that is so enduring? I've been in love with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved Sherlock and Watson since I was about ten years old. This past week I went to see the latest Sherlock movie, A Game of Shadows and I loved it. I would have liked more romance to balance out the action, but it was still great and I'm coming around to like Robert Downey, Jr. as a different type of Sherlock, I had trouble with that in the first one with Downey, but he seems to have captured Sherlock's intellect and shrewdness in this one and I like it. Jude Law is great as ever as Watson.

Professor Moriarity played by Jared Harris is an excellent villain.

Here's a link about Doyle's Biography A paragraph on this site reveals a lot and so much I didn't know: " The young medical student met a number of future authors who were also attending the university, such as for instance James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. But the man who most impressed and influenced him, was without a doubt, one of his teachers, Dr. Joseph Bell. The good doctor was a master at observation, logic, deduction, and diagnosis. All these qualities were later to be found in the persona of the celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes."

Also, I think he solved a dilemma that many of us struggle with. I wish it was this easy for me. He had a serious bout with the flu that nearly killed him. "When his health improved, he came to realize how foolish he had been trying to combine a medical career with a literary one. "With a wild rush of joy," he decided to abandon his medical career. He added, "I remember in my delight taking the handkerchief which lay upon the coverlet in my enfeebled hand, and tossing it up to the ceiling in my exultation. I should at last be my own master."

I love a great mystery. Is this what makes the team of Sherlock and Watson so enduring and endearing? This team goes on and on . . . why is that? 

My very favorite Sherlock Holmes book and movie was and is, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Do you have a favorite? 

What Will Your Verse Be?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

 How many of you remember Dead Poets Society? Look familiar?  If you've never seen it, I highly recommend you watch it sometime. I was using a clip from it for one of the classes I teach at the college where I'm employed and had a whole new appreciation for the movie and for Robin Williams character. I'm going to watch the whole thing again, but be warned, it's not a comedy although there are some great lines.

As we wrap up another year, prepare to celebrate Christmas, and then kick of a New Year I'm seriously wondering about life and death and what I'll do with whatever time I have left here on this planet. Don't mean to be too serious but I have a friend who is fighting breast cancer, and a young friend who is dying in hospice from ovarian cancer. Such things make me stop and think about what I want to accomplish with the rest of my life and I  know that without a doubt I want to continue to write, and I want to continue to counsel in my day job and more than anything I want to make my God proud as we celebrate the birth of Jesus and as I continue my journey.. I think my verse, my life, is and will continue to be one of encouragement.

In this clip, John Keating asks, "And the powerful play goes on. What will your verse be? "

So if I haven't gone too deep on you this close to Christmas I'm wondering, What will your verse be? Got a favorite poet? Favorite poem? Do you write poetry?

Cocooning-A Self Improvement Project

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I've been thinking a lot lately about self-improvement. Maybe it's because we are less than a month away from the New Year and resolution making and breaking. I've also been involved in a Bible study called The Truth Project.
This past week we watched Part IV and the leader talked about growing in our walk with God and changing and learning, etc. It was a lot deeper than that but he used the analogy of being in a cocoon and emerging and then entering another cocoon. And the process continues. This also made me think about growing in my spiritual life as one form of self-improvement. Again I considered how far I've come in my walk with God but what a continual process it is. I enjoy the idea of spiritual growth from cocoon to cocoon. Each year assessing where I've been and where I hope to grow.
A couple of my friends and I have been talking about some issues and challenges we face and have decided to do our own personal The Happiness Project. Of course Gretchen Rubin is the Author of the book. I was exercising today and started reading the book. "They say that people teach what they need to learn."  Gretchen states this as she discusses how she got started with her own project in the beginning of the book.

This made me think about my writing. I write Christian Fiction because it helps me stay in the Word. I explore personal issues as I write fiction. For instance, in my first novel, Secrets of the Heart, I'm really exploring 

2 Timothy 1:7...
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
 I learn and grow as I write and share my characters and stories. And then I get lost in the creative process and it's fun. Or I get stuck and it's painful. But just like growing in my faith walk, or my own little self-improvement journey, I see how I cocoon (emerge and then enter the next cocoon).

If you ever wanted to work on you there's also a fun book out there from the humorous Kathi Lipp titled, The Me Project 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted. The first chapter asks that all important question that has passed many of our lips, Is This All There Is?

There's lots of things I want to accomplish this next year; a lot of things I want to explore. Maybe I'll share some of those in January as we enter the New Year and I gain another birthday. :)

Right now I think I'm very much ensconced in my cocoon. Growing quite a bit and hoping to emerge again soon, show off my wings for awhile and then cocoon again. So where are you and what are you thinking about? Are you in a cocoon right now? Or have you just emerged with fresh insight that you are eager to share? If so, please let us know what you're discovering that might help the rest of us. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I love thinking about ideas, lots and lots of ideas. The future is only limited by your ideas. I'm thinking ahead to projects I may want to write about in the future. I'll write those down and file them away somewhere until the time comes that I need to make a decision about what I'd like to work on next. I love visiting creative websites of all types. Here's 65 that should spark something for you: 65 Very Creative and Funny Photoshopped Images

I also like exploring a picture such as this one and brainstorming all kinds of fun and weird stuff. I'm sure you've done this or something like it. What's about to happen in this picture? Or what's just happened and is over? Are you driving a car, riding on horseback, walking, running? Maybe you are flying a new gadget from another planet? It's the year 2050 or maybe 1820? The trees are about to attack like in The Wizard of Oz or maybe someone is threatening to chop them down. Get the picture?

If you are an artist of any kind, writer, painter, cake decorator, architect, etc. Where and how do you develop your next creative project? If you've got a favorite photo or website please share your link. Let's have fun as we create our next great project.

What could she be thinking?

Novel Building

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How do you construct your novel? I've been thinking about this more and more lately because I'm currently working on my third novel for my series. When Realms/Charisma bought the Ravensmoore Chronicles I had the first book in the series complete and I knew a bit about the other two but not that much. Of course when my first editor got hold of the novel she cut 26,000 words and I rebuilt and rewrote my book.

When I wrote the second novel, Chameleon, I decided to test my skills at novel building. I'm a pantser at heart. I don't know how to follow an outline and I don't enjoy the outline process. I wrote my second book by completing scenes in a a very loose format. In other words, it was nowhere near linear. However, when it came time to put this book in sequence I had a multitude of problems. Looking back, I think it was my timeline. It was not well defined and I paid the price for this in having to figure out how everything would fit and where it would fit. Chameleon is done and in my humble opinion it's going to blow your mind if others can refrain from telling you how it ends. My second editor had a lot to do with getting me and my novel grounded.

In the January 2012 Writer's Digest article, Zachary Petit interviews Diana Gabaldon. If you don't know who she is I suggest you order her first novel, Outlander. Gabaldon's books are huge in number of pages and huge in story. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she's a pantser, yet I couldn't figure out how she writes such complicated books without an outline. She's got a method, and you'll have to check out the article for the details, but somehow she's able to keep track of everything including her timeline. She must have super powers, really!   

So I'm wondering what forms of timelines do you use? Do you complete your timeline while you plot? After the novels done? What's the method to your madness? I found this Creating a Timeline and am thinking of trying it out. Got any other great sites or ideas?

Writing Your Passion

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If you're writing, I hope you're writing your passion. I don't think I really knew what my passion was for a very long time. I thought I did, but it became clearer over time that what I wanted to write was exactly what I think God wanted me to write. I was drawn to romance novels in my twenties, but it wasn't until I'd had my first child at thirty-five that I got the bug to write. I joined Romance Writers of America and I started to study the craft while I raised my children.

I attended my first RWA Conference in 2001 in Washington, D.C. I loved it. I met lots of other writers, I'd written a complete manuscript by then and I'd started another. Then my family got blasted when my oldest child became ill at the age of eleven: Hope Through Trials.  Life changed but I persisted in my hopes to become a published author. I met a dear friend, Mae Nunn through RWA and Faith, Hope, and Love, Inc.
and she eventually introduced me to The American Christian Fiction Writers who at that time where The American Christian Romance Writers. I think I've attended at least seven conferences since that time which got me through some really difficult years. Here's a picture from this years ACFW conference in St. Loius.

If you are struggling right now and have a desire to write I encourage you to find a way to write your passion. If you can't afford to attend conferences maybe you can purchase on of the CD's or MP3's from a conference you'd like to attend. I buy the entire conference of ACFW every year and then I can listen to the workshops in the car as I drive to work. There are many ways to learn and a long the journey you just might find your passion. My first book. Secrets of the Heart, Book One, The Ravensmoore Chronicles can be found on this page My Books where you can read the first chapter, watch the video trailer, and read some of the reviews.

I discovered my passion which is writing novels for the Christian market. I write the books that I want to read. I've been blessed with mostly good reviews. The most current review by  Richard R. Blake encompassed what has become my passion. I hope you'll read all my reviews because I love it that readers take the time to post these comments.

Part of my passion includes England, it's history, landscape, and people.

The bottom line is Write Your Passion. It will take you places you never dreamed of and will help heal your heart. Are you writing your passion? How did you discover what it was?


Friday, November 11, 2011

 Check out the resource link for help.

Veteran's Resources


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A couple years ago I created this post. I've updated it to give you encouragement in the face of fear. To show how God works in our lives over the years to make a difference. It reminds me now of
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

The years we walked through the most difficult part of this trial I don't think I believed these words. I had hope of getting published and though most of my strength was spent in this trial I still continued to attend a conference here and there and write. Doing those things gave me a sense of balance to some extent. Hope that I wasn't letting go of my dream even though it was obvious that it was not my time to be published.
My family and I had walked through a spiritually devastating desert for eleven years. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with a severe learning disability known as NLD (non-verbal learning disability similar to Asperger’s Syndrome). For more information you can go to In addition to that she’d developed complicated depression and anxiety issues. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade. My youngest was eight at the time and so very scared about what was happening to her big sister.

This past September my oldest turned twenty-two and though the problems persist they are not nearly as severe and she was able to get her high school diploma which is a huge accomplishment. She's even thinking about the possibility of college. We learned to trust God no matter what. Without Christ in our lives, our church, and many friends, I can’t see anyway we would have made it this far. But I’m a big believer in the power of prayer and in the power of hope. I even have a carved sculpture in my office that simply says, HOPE. But I didn't always feel that way. Jesus slowly worked in me until I could let go of fear. It took a really long time.

My youngest is now nineteen and a missionary with Youth With A Mission. She did her training in YWAM Texas and chose this route rather than college for now. She's been to Guatemala, Sri Lanka, various places in the states and will be headed to two other countries next year. God is good even when our situations are not so hot.


Several years ago, Robin Lee Hatcher, recommended I buy a copy of a daily devotional originally published in1925. That devotional is titled, Streams in the Desert, written by L.B. Cowman, and updated in modern language by James Reimann. Streams in the Desert is relief for the parched soul.

 One of the devotions in this book begins with Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The first sentence: “Why didn’t God help me sooner?”


And then later the text continues:

"I once heard the following statement from a simple old man, and I have never forgotten it: "When God tests you, it is a good time to test Him by putting His promises to the test and then claiming from Him exactly what your trials have made necessary."

The text continues again: "There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and then to be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever before experienced, and to accept it with delight as an opportunity of receiving a greater measure of God's divine grace.

"In this way, even the Adversary becomes a help to us, and all the things that seem to be against us turn out to assist us along our way. Surely this is what is meant by the words "in all these thing we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37). A.B. Simpson Page 342.

Let me say it can be very hard to learn lessons when our children are suffering. I don’t even want to think about learning a lesson in those circumstances. I just want results. Fast! But looking back over the past eleven years I have learned much. Okay, what you may say have you learned through this long, long, trial? Here’s my short list:
1) Patience
2) Prayer
3) Persistence


My long list begins something like this:
1) The need to let God work in a situation that I feel I need to control. That’s a tough one.
2) Wrestling God for a blessing and what that really means.
3) The need to REALLY take care of yourself even when things are awful because a long term illness of any kind will exhaust you as a caregiver and parent.
4) Hanging on to hope when you can’t find it.
5) Asking friends to stand in the gap and pray when you can’t pray one more word.
6) Finding peace in the Word, on a walk, in prayer, or in "being still."


Through all our trials as a family Christ has always been there for us even when we didn’t know it or feel his presence. Think about your trials and your “dry times.” What was it that you thirsted for? How did God provide?

Every morning on my way to work I pass a fountain that says: “Thirsty and ye gave me drink.” I roll my window down and listen to the calm of the water. It’s really nice when I get a red light and can enjoy it for a minute longer. As we dwell in this month of thanksgiving I ask that you would thank God for the many blessings that he bestows upon each of us each day even when we are unaware of them. I also ask that you pray for my family as we enter a new phase of our journey together. We treasure every prayer.

How has God shown you hope? What scripture strengthens your spirit? What song brings encouragement?

This weekend we went to a Casting Crowns concert: Come to the Well Tour. The words to this song that hit home.Lyrics to Set Me Free


Monday, October 31, 2011

So are you going to do it? National Novel Writing Month. Are you? I'm doing it. I hope to write 50,000 words this month. I've never done that. Ever! I'm going to push myself to just create and let that internal editor go on vacation. I don't have a lot of grand ideas that this is going to be easy, writing never is. But I am determined to do the very best I can do while working  a full time day job and taking care of my family and trying to stay healthy while I'm doing it. If you're a praying person I'd love it if you'd keep in your prayers. I've always said that slow and steady wins the race. I'm really a turtle. A NaNo Ninja Turtle that is!
I think I'll get one of those red bands to wrap around my head for inspiration at the keyboard.

So don't be surprised if you don't see long blogs on here this month. I'll show up every week and let you know how it's going. If I get the urge to blog about something really cool you'll see that too. But for now, I feel the need, the need for speed.

Cincinnati and Books by the Banks

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yesterday I blogged about my weekend experience at The Cincinnati Book Festival here as it relates to Marketing. There's even more though that doesn't necessarily relate to marketing, but relates more to being human. If you want to read up on what was happening and who was there here's a link, BBTB.

The first night we went to the author reception at The Mercantile Library. I've lived in Cincinnati for thirty one years and I had never been in that library. The library sits on the eleventh floor and you can get a pretty good idea from the link what it looks like. I wanted to curl up in one of the big chairs and read a book. Knowing that I was going to be at this huge event the next day I really had to push myself to socialize. I'm more introverted than extroverted so I have to make sure I get alone time to energize or power up.There wasn't a big author turnout, but a lot of library people who worked hard to put this event together showed up.

My hubby and I were thrilled to get a chance to talk to Dennis Lehane who had come to the reception as well. But the weird thing about writers is that most of us seemed more interested in looking at our surroundings than talking to each other. I did pick Dennis' brain for awhile and asked him to sign my copy of Shutter Island. He was a gentleman and willing to talk about what to expect at a big book signing, etc. But then I spent more time talking to the catering folks and a woman I didn't know from my suburb who was providing transportation for a couple of the authors. I just felt very relaxed and enjoyed myself and spending time with hubby, without getting all freaked out about trying to fit in with the crowd or how stressful the next day might be.

The next day at the event was great. I was assigned to a table with Donna MacMeans, Redeeming the Rogue who is another author from Ohio Valley RWA. Then I met Regina Jeffers, The Phantom of Pemberley and then sitting next to me was Carrie Bebris, Deception at Lyme. All delightful women.

The crowd was wonderful and I had a wonderful time talking to everyone who stopped at our table. I hope to get some more pics of the event up on the blog soon. I think my main point here is to say that it's just fun sharing your passion with others who, "get it." :) They all read and love books. Some write, some don't, but in the end we all  have passion for words.

Do you remember the last book event you attended?

Mental Illness Depicted in Books and Movies

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I have always been drawn to the way our minds work.(BEWARE OF THESE MOVIE CLIPS. ESPECIALLY SHUTTER ISLAND. ALTHOUGH I THINK YOU'LL GET A GOOD DOSE OF HUMOR FROM WHAT ABOUT BOB?  I'm fascinated with movies and/or books like A Beautiful Mind, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Inception, Shutter IslandOrdinary People  and even the humorous side of mental illness in What About Bob?? rings true to life for patients when their therapists or psychiatrists leave for vacation. If you've never seen the movie K-PAX it's very interesting, and Jack Nicholson in, As Good As It Gets, can teach us all a little bit about the difficulties of mental illness for the person with the illness and for those around them.

My first historical romance, Secrets of the Heart, Book One in the Ravensmoore Chronicles, released in May 2011 and will take you on a journey where some of the aspects of mental health and mental illness are explored in England during 1817. The more I researched for this book and my next, with the current working title of Chameleon, the more fascinated I became. Of course the treatment of mental illness was in its infancy in those days and the days prior to that. Many thought mental illness was due to demon possession. The archaic methods of treatment were barbaric for centuries.

Originally the priory of St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam began admitting patients who were considered unbalanced or mentally ill in 1357. Many people don't understand that these names are for the same place. Unlike the United States Bethlem was admitting patients when we were keeping patients in jails and alms houses.This hospital originally stood at Bishopsgate and then moved to Moorfields and eventually to St George’s Fields, Southwark.

If you would like to explore more about the fascinating facts of this institution please follow this link. 

What book or movie influenced the way you think about mental illness?

How Much Can You Really Control?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The short answer to this is: Not Much! The broader question I would ask you is: What are you afraid of? I've been a social worker for 31 years. I've been employed as a counselor for nursing students for the last 16 years. I've discovered that people who feel like they need to control others, or cling tightly to that which they believe they have control over, are really fearful.

None of us can really control anyone else. We can guide and give advice. We can encourage and nudge, but we can't make anyone do anything. Rather than trying to control others I'd recommend you look inside yourself to explore what it is that frightens you.  Here's a list of things I've wish I could control:
  1. The safety of my family.
  2. The raise I get every year if I'm fortunate. :)
  3. How many people buy my books.
  4. How many people like my books.
  5. How much I have to pay in taxes.
And that's just the beginning. Can you imagine what kind of shape I'd be in if I tried to control just these 5 issues? I'd probably stroke out! I know I don't want to live my life like that and I sure don't want to live afraid of all the things that can go wrong in this non-sensical world we live in.

So instead of controlling try:
  1. Praying
  2. An attitude change
  3. Talking out problems with others
  4. Setting boundaries
  5. Surrendering
When was a time you realized you didn't have as much control of your life circumstances as you thought you did?
    Read the Serenity Prayer and incorporate it into your life.

    God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And Wisdom to know the difference.

    Are You Attending Christian Store Week?

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    If you're a writer are you signing at a Christian Bookstore this week? If you're a reader are you attending a signing or visiting your local Christian Bookstore? This is going to be a great week, don't miss out on the fun in your area and say thank you to the people who keep our Christian Stores open. I love browsing through a Christian Bookstore. Love looking for new books, new music, and timeless ones as well.

    I have the honor of signing at The Logos Christian Bookstore in Alexandria, Kentucky on October 8th. Click Here for directions. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity and plan on enjoying myself immensely. Do I want to sell some books? Of course. But more than that I want to talk to readers of Christian Fiction and maybe even some readers who've never read a Christian novel. I love finding out what people are reading and why.

    I've always been in awe of the readers who are so very gracious that they choose my book among all the book choices out there to read. They encourage me by purchasing my book and in turn I hope I encourage them with my words. I hope I encourage them by escaping into the past with me to discover faith for the future.

    I've read some interesting blog posts recently. Check out Katie Ganshert's blog at The WordServe Water Cooler, Love the Reader. And then visit  Donald Miller and The Best Writing Advice  at his blog for some more insights about readers and writers.

    So what are you waiting for? Join in the fun this week.  And let me know where you are signing or what store you are planning to visit if you're a reader.  And if you are joining me at Logos in Alexandria, Kentucky, bring your smile because my awesome hubby will be taking pictures and your bound to end up on this blog as you are caught supporting Christian Store Week! Is it too early to start shopping for Christmas? If so it's not too early to start shopping for Sweetest Day, October 15th.

    ACFW in St. Louis/Was It Worth It?

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    I experienced the wonder of another American Christian Fiction Writers Conference this past week. I'm exhausted, broke, behind on my writing schedule, and very happy. No I haven't completely gone bonkers, although as anyone that's ever attended an ACFW Conference can tell you it may seem that way at moments.

    We all need to take time out now and then and invest in ourselves. That investment can take many different forms: a new website, a new computer, craft books, spending time with crit partners, and sometimes attending a conference among many other things.


    Don't go to conference expecting to sign with an agent or be offered a contract. These things can happen, but you're letting yourself in for huge disillusionment and disappointment if that's why you plan to attend.

    Do plan to meet with editors and agents and pitch your stories. You never know what will come of a meeting, but go to grow. Ask the experts questions that will help you get better at your craft and gain confidence among those who have been helping writers for a long time.


    Don't be shy. Or don't let your shyness prevent you from taking risks. Say hello. Introduce yourself. Make friends and make the most of it.

    Do take advantage of the many opportunities that present themselves. Schedule appointments that are important to you, attend workshops you think will help you grow, do something totally unplanned. By that, I mean you may have planned one thing, but a little voice whispers to you that you need to go do that something you didn't consider earlier. That may be one of your divine appointments.


    I learned a long time ago that even if I attend conference it's worth getting the MP3 because of what I've discussed above. You just can't do everything and be alert to learning all the time. Sometimes you have to go take a nap, go outside and walk and get some fresh air, do something unexpected and fun with friends, talk to someone over coffee instead of going to a workshop. Then you can listen to the MP3 another time and pace your learning so you can have more time to think about a subject and review.

    1. I attended as a published author and got to wear my Author ribbon.
    2. I met with my agent (Rachelle Gardner) for the first time since my book published.
    3. I saw my book selling in the bookstore.
    4. Went out to dinner with my agent and fellow agency mates.
    5. Video-taped interview for Christian Retailing and also completed video-tape for sales department at Realms/Charisma.
    6. My agent received the Agent of the Year Award and I was there to witness it. :)
    7. I took breaks and took naps.
    8. God had grown me over many years.
    9. I'd presevered and I'd presevered some more.
    10. I listened and watched for God moments.

    Was it worth it? Yep.

    Did you go? Have you gone in the past? What made it worth it for you?

    Need Some Encouragement?

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    I'll be attending the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (ACFW Conference) this week in St. Louis. If you are going I might see you there. If you're not going this year for whatever reason don't forget that you can order the conference CD's and MP3 and have the conference with you all year long.

    If you've been struggling lately you might want to read Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On by Stormie Omartian.

    If you are experiencing a difficult time in your life, or you know someone who is, this is a great book to use while you work your way through painful situations. I don’t say that casually. I’m employed as a full-time counselor for nursing students and have a master’s degree in social work, and I believe this book is a valuable tool for anyone.

    Stormie O’Martian discusses how we learn to walk with our heavenly father. This hasn’t always been easy for me because I didn’t grow up having a father in the house, so it was hard to learn to trust God when my earthly father had abandoned me. Perhaps some of you have faced the same experience. Once in awhile I still need a reminder that God is there, and providing just enough light so I don’t get overwhelmed.

    I love the image of just enough light because it helps me focus on what I can do today and encourages me not to look too far ahead. It reminds me of the scripture: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.Matthew 6:33-34.

    The Prayer Light in each chapter is a prayer related to the chapter. For instance, on page 36 following the chapter on, Refusing to be Afraid of the Dark, the prayer begins with “Lord thank you that because I walk with you I don’t have to fear the dark.”

    Footlights provide a list of several scriptures that shine light on the chapter subject, i.e., Isaiah 50:10.

    Stormie offers a study guide at the end of each chapter which is very helpful for further study and insight.

    The Bottom Line: If you’re walking in a dark place, a little light will help you find your way.
    Have a great week!

    Energize Your Marketing Strategies/Preparing for Conference

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    On August 1st I wrote a marketing blog, Marketing Can Be Fun, Really! to coincide with my agent Rachelle Gardner’s Blog, How To Market Your Book. What I want to do today this week is encourage you as you look for ways to market your product. Yes, our books are products and they are very important for our life’s work.

    I'm blogging on this topic at the WordServe Water Cooler on Monday. Here's the link: Energize Your Marketing Strategies. Come on over and join the conversation.

    I'm also preparing to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in St. Louis. It will be a bit easier this year since I don't have to schedule an editor appointment and I'm blessed to have an awesome agent, Rachelle Gardner. Rachelle just happens to be one of the agents nominated for Agent of the Year. It will be so much fun to cheer her on.

    So even though I don't have to worry about appointments I do have to think about what will help me as I attend workshops and the continuing education programs. Here's a look at what I'll be doing.

    • Getting in early to spend some time with friend and roomie, Vicki Cato.
    • Looking forward to visiting with my agent, WordServe authors, and other buddies.
    • Looking for other authors who might be able to endorse my next book, Chameleon.
    • Attending The Early Bird The Moral Premise
     I'm looking forward to workshops like:
    •  A Kiss Is NOT Just a Kiss presented by Julie Lessman and Ruth Axtell Morren
    • The Vise, the Rachet and the Hammer-Suspense so Good it Hurts presented by Kristen Heitzmann
    • Sometimes It’s Better to Tell than Show, Level: D, Presented by Erin Healy
    I need a review of Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method but don't think I can fit it in. I may have to use my conference MP3 I've already paid for but I have a feeling I should probably see the presentation since I'm a visual learner.

    I'm also looking forward to a Mentor Appointment. Don't know who I've been assigned to yet but I think it's a great way to grow.

    Conference is always a growth experience. God sometimes plans things we would have never dreamed of and it's wise to be open to a change in plans. If you're going I suggest you be flexible, sleep when you get tired and take advantage of worship opportunities.

    What are you looking forward to?

      Living Through Your Circumstances and Remembering 9/11

      Sunday, September 11, 2011

      Remembering 9/11 Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries look back on the day that changed America.

      Gaining Wisdom

      Tuesday, September 6, 2011

      I started writing seriously about twelve years ago. I made the decision to become a writer after my first daughter was born in 1989. I'm not quite sure why having a baby made me think about becoming a writer. Maybe it was a way of recreating myself. I vaguely remember saying that maybe I'd be published by the time both kids went to college. That worked! No one is in college yet. Maybe it was because in the back of my mind I really wanted to write and having my first child at the age of 35 made me think I was running out of time and I'd better decide what I want to be when I grow up. I'm not really sure why I chose that time to make my decision. I'd been a social worker for ten years by then and love that aspect of my life, but I wanted more. I wanted to write.

      I faced many blank pages and didn't really know where to start. I joined RWA, eventually joined ACFW, attended many writer's conferences from one side of the country to the other and studied the craft until I thought I had some idea of what I was doing. Of course most of us who write know the best way to learn is to do it, just do it. I wrote a lot of words that didn't make great stories for awhile, but I did eventually learn. James Scott Bell is a firm believer that writers aren't necessarily born we can all learn how to do it. I think the main ingredient must be a mountain load of passion and a mustard seed of talent. Hey, if I can do it I know you can do it. Really!

      I have more craft books than you can imagine but two of my favorites are 1) Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein                                            
      You need to invest in your future writing career just like you would in any other career; this is how we gain wisdom. I spent years in college getting a Master's Degree in Social Work. I went to class, paid for those classes, completed internships, did a lot of writing. I can honestly say I spent more time learning the craft and business of writing, which never really ends, as I did getting my social work degree. Of course even with all that work there is never a guarantee of publication. But in today's economy unfortunately even with a college education there is no guarantee of getting the job you studied for in college, at least not right away. Hopefully, that will improve soon.

      What have you done to gain wisdom? How have you invested in yourself? What's the number one investment strategy you would recommend? What has worked best for you in whatever career you have chosen to follow?

      Identiying Your Greatest Strength/Challenging Your Greatest Weakness

      Tuesday, August 30, 2011

      This looks like a strong rope. I like to visualize things I'm thinking about and this works just fine. I want you to think about whatever comes to mind related to how are you strong like this rope. Now take a piece of paper or open your word document and list the things your thinking of now.

      I'm strong like a rope because I'm:

      Now think about what gets in  your way. What causes weakness in your life? I know for me the list begins with:
      Stress Issues

      We all have strengths and weaknesses. The problem blooms though when we stop being aware of these issues and allow them to take over our daily routine.  If you are facing an ordeal, like climbing your own personal rock wall then some of these things  may help:


      If you live in awareness then you will realize when you are off course.
      Take time to re-focus your thoughts. This may come in the form of connecting with God in prayer and in the Word.


      We frequently hold our breath or don't breath deeply when we're stressed out or experiencing anxiety.
      B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Take a few minutes to monitor your breathing.

      Thought Stopping

      Where are your thoughts taking you? If you are up against a deadline at work, at home, or on your novel it's imperative that you stay positive. If you follow negative thoughts into a dark alley of despair you will become trapped in that alley. On the other hand, if you follow your thoughts into an open airy field full of wildflowers and blue sky you may just find yourself thinking you can succeed. We really are what we think.

      So what's one or more of your strengths? Weakness? How do you  challenge your weakness? How do you capitalize on your strengths? Is there something you've learned along the way that has brought you through a difficult time?

      Jillian Kent's Secrets May Surprise You

      Monday, August 22, 2011

      Hi Everyone!
      It's going to be a fun week. I've got two main blog posts this week. On Monday, August 22nd I'll be blogging and doing a book giveaway at International Christian Fiction Writers Blogspot and on Tuesday I'll be blogging about The Fine Art of Choosing a Pen Name at the new WordServe Water Cooler.

      Come join the fun and find out more about my passion for writing novels set during England's Regency era. As one of my Amazon reviewers, Lisa Richardson said: "It's tempting to try to cram all regency romances into a single box. But Jillian Kent's Secrets of the Heart isn't concerned with the typical backdrop of balls and arranged marriages . . . Toss in a mysterious woman who won't speak, a creepy lunatic asylum, and the labyrinthine mind of a dangerous opponent and you have a story that draws more from Jane Eyre than Jane Austin."

      Bedlam/Bethlehem Hospital

      Tuesday, August 16, 2011

      Hi Everyone,
      I"m blogging about Bedlam/Bethlehem Hospital at Just the Write Charisma this week. Please stop by and leave a comment there or here. I think you'll your find this post very interesting.