As most of my readers know I am in the middle of NaNoWriMo. This is my 5th year in this challenge and probably the most challenging of all the ones I’ve done so far. When I did my first NaNo in 2009, I had never written a novel, I didn’t have a blog. I didn’t have a twitter account or a Facebook author page. I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was doing except for the fact that God was burning things inside of me to write.
Since then I’ve met lots of wonderful people, some authors, and some readers. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much and at the time I’m writing this post I’ve been blessed with the fact of publishing 4 books. To me that’s amazing and the Glory is all to and for The Lord who has seen me through this journey.
I’m also very grateful for each of you that have joined me in this adventure and I give you my word that the best is yet to come.
Having said all that, I’ve been thinking on how I could thank all my readers for all their support. I’ve decided to place ALL MY BOOKS on sale during the month of November. This will give you the opportunity to get any of them that you have not obtained already or to gift it to someone that you wish had read it. Here’s the breakdown in the order they were published
This was my first book. This one is my only non-fiction so far. I call it a devotional because you don’t it just includes life lessons that The Lord showed me during my first year of coming back to him and my first year into taking the plunge of writing seriously. This is what some of the reviews have said
- Mary C. Findley
Nancy Jill Thames
- Letetia Parker
I have to admit that I have a special attachment to this book. There are some parts of this book that come from my life experiences, but it was also my first work of fiction and also my first NaNoWriMo project. I learned a lot about myself writing this book. This is what the reviewers have said.
This is the last book I published. This book has a complicated plot. This was the first time I had challenged myself to have a book with these many characters where they all shine on their own. This one too started as a NaNo project. It’s a story that I personally enjoy reading beyond the fact that I wrote it. This is what the reviewers are saying.
“This is a story about interconnected lives and the consequences of the actions of everybody in the family. It’s not just about one black sheep and his struggle to change. The spiritual lessons you can learn from each member of the Benson family surprise you as you make your way through this complex story and navigate their successes and failures. This isn’t women’s fiction. It’s complex adult fiction with a message for everyone who has promises to keep” Mary Findley
Think about it for just $10 you can get all four :) So now that the holidays are here and you get some down time, stock up on good reading materials or stuff those e-readers that you are giving out as Christmas presents.
As always, Thanks You for your support. Until next time… be blessed.
By Rikki Strong
When I tell people I’m an author, I invariably get one of two responses. The first warms the heart: “Oh, you write books! How cool is that! What a great job!” The second… not so much. “Boy, it must be nice to have enough money to not have to have a real job.” (Coincidentally, those are the same two responses that I get when I tell people I’m a homemaker.)
But what is this glamorous job that allows me to stay home and do the two things I love best in the world? Well, here is a typical day for me:
7:00 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Since Hubby is working out of state, it’s up to me and only me to get Boy up, dressed, fed, and ready for school. Which, since Boy is six, that can take up to an hour and a half.
8:15 a.m.: Put the dog outside, let the chickens out, and Boy’s off to school. House is quiet.
9:00 a.m.: If I’m not out running errands, I’m home and the house is mine. This is my time. What’s it full of? Not writing. Nope. Marketing. Every author’s nemesis. This time is mostly full of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and actual work. Not the fun kind of work, either. Books don’t sell themselves, as much as people want to believe that my life is just sitting at the writing desk watching the money come in. This is a particularly busy time for me as I have a brand new book out.
11:00 a.m.: Suddenly remember that I should probably eat breakfast, but I usually choose to write a little bit instead.
11:50 a.m.: Pick up Boy from school (he’s still just in half-day kindergarten).
12:00 p.m.: Lunch. Finally, something to eat… well, something that’s at least semi-nutritious.
The afternoon is usually full of house work. It’s very difficult, though not completely impossible, to write to the video games’ fight music or while also reminding a certain someone that he has homework obligations.
6:00 p.m.: Dinner.
7:00 p.m.: Skyping with Daddy. Since Daddy is far, far away, we Skype every evening. Fortunately, time zones work in our favor this time. Family time is not a time for working.
8:30 p.m.: Boy is in bed. We are currently reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes as a bedtime book.
9:00 p.m.: Mommy’s time. This is my time to write (or read) until the eyelids can’t stay open and the eyes won’t focus. Usually, it’s less than three hours.
So, that is the life half of the people I meet seem to aspire to; glamorous, huh? It’s not all bonbons and soaps. Neither is it late-night cocktail parties discussing the plight of the common man and how high school English students should interpret our book. It’s just kind of… life.
Sure, there are some fun months, like NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) or Camp NaNo (http://campnanowrimo.org/), where the goal is to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. There are those weeks leading up to a book release that are full of marketing and the fun stuff—like this week, since I just released Flash (http://amzn.to/WNzPvV/). And there are other months—like when we will be moving to join Daddy—that very few days will have any kind of writing in them.
There will always be people who say, “Oh, that’s nice, but when do you plan to get a real job?” But this life is glamorous enough for me. Who needs a “real” job?
Rikki Strong has always been enamored with superheroes, and started writing the My Life as a Superhero series (currently Karis and Flash) when she was a sophomore in high school. She began writing for fun and profit in 2006 and has since written or ghostwritten more than 10 books and over 50 web articles. When not writing—which is most of the time—she is a stay-at-home wife and mom to a very active 6-year-old boy who is already about 500 words and 25 chapters into his own book.
FLASH Borrow/Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/WNzPvV
By Suzanne D. Williams
I’m going to give you the best key to successful marketing you will ever read. It’s so simple, and yet we as Christian authors fail to use it to our advantage. Because we do have an advantage. We have something that enables us to spread word of our writing, draw in readers, and push our books to great success.
Let me ask you a question. Have you prayed over your book? Now, I’m not talking a “please, God, please” prayer. I’m talking the fervent prayer of a righteous man, a prayer based on faith in God’s ability, willingness, and power to help you. (Jas 5:16) I’m talking a bold in-your-face prayer. (Heb 10:19)
“Wait,” you say, “can I pray that?”
Absolutely, you can. First, God said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Mt 7:7) He told you to ask, and he promised answers in the asking. (v8) However, He was specific about how to ask. He said, “Ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (Jas 1:6)
How do you do that? You find a Scripture and apply it to your situation. God has promised success and prosperity in numerous places in the Bible. Joshua 1:8 promises “good success” to the man who mediates (or spends time in) the Word. In 3 John 1:2, we find God wants us to prosper “above all things.” But I especially like the story of Joshua in Genesis 39:3. The Bible says of Joshua’s success, “And that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.”
That’s pretty amazing!
“But, I’m not Joshua,” you say. No, you’re not. You’re greater even than he was. You’re a child of Almighty God, washed in the blood of the Lamb, who sacrificed Himself to save you.
Salvation is all inclusive. It’s more than just your soul. It’s your job, your finances, your health, your children, even your dog. And also your books. God didn’t do a half work, but completed what He came here to do. In light of that, how can you not claim His promises over your writing? If He gave you the story, if you obeyed Him in writing it, then He will bring it to success.
Yet in all things we do, we often put Him last. We strive on our own, using social media, blog articles, and any other manner of getting the word out there and our books into the hands of the readers, forgetting all the while our greatest weapon is to let God do the promotion. He said we can have “exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Eph 3:20) So we should take Him at His word, stand, and having done all to stand, keep standing. (Eph 6:13-14)
Of course, along the way, there’ll be naysayers, those who don’t appreciate our work, or come against it in some fashion. I’ve seen this quite a bit with one of my stories in particular, and to be truthful, I struggled with that. I kept asking God why. And He showed me that I need to stop worrying about why and instead, once again, turn back to what He said in His Word.
Jesus gave us the answer in Matthew 5:44. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
Ah, blessing the enemy. I admit, this is the hardest thing to do, but it is also the most important because it has a two-fold effect. First, it removes the pressure from you. The devil can no longer hold whatever the negative situation is over your head as a threat. I mean, why bother you with it when it doesn’t bother you at all? Second, if every time something similar crops up, the person causing the trouble gets blessed instead, that’s not to the devil’s benefit.
“But I lost money.”
“But he hurt my reputation.”
“But my ratings went down.”
But Romans 12:20-21 says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Overcome evil with good and sew your prayers, and sometimes your books and your money, into the life of someone who needs it. Give them a blessing and move on. Then raise your hands to heaven, and thank God for your success, and let Him do His part. He is, after all, the best marketer there is.
Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.
I can’t believe we are at the doors of a new year. 2012 seemed to have lasted forever. This year has been one of a lot of growth for me, and of course with growth comes a lot of growing pains.
This past year brought me a new opportunity to start over again. I have taken my writing to a new level. Last year when I published Growth Lessons , in my head I knew that this was something that I wanted to do. 2012 taught me that this is what I was called to do and every day I’m more motivated to do even more.
I was given a new start in my health, when I went from being a pre-diabetic morbidly obese woman , to losing 40 pounds and gaining my health back. With my new body still in progress I’ve learned to eat differently, live differently, respect my temple in a total new way. (By the way it’s 60lbs, but the first 20 had been coming down here and there since the previous year until I got serious this past May)Went from a size 24 to a 14. So I have had to shop for clothes, what a drag, right? LOL!
On that note, I am finally using my gym membership. I’ve signed up for dozens of them, paid off the contracts and never went. This time I’m actually using it.
I have a new career path. God changed my 9-5 to remind me that my focus is in him and his purpose. In this new path, that is not so new because I’ve walked it before, I know he’s training me for the day when I’m able to fulfill my dream to be fully dedicated to my writing.
I published my first work of fiction, The Road Home (TRH) and my first novella, Season’s Greetings from Amelia (SGFA) in 2012. These two pieces have brought me many joys. I did 3 book signings for TRH and have received remarkable reviews. SGFA sold 5 copies within the first hour of publication.
I lost my favorite aunt, Juliana. I lost one of my best friends and one of my spiritual mothers moved over 600 miles away.
My 81 year old mother got an IPad for her birthday/Christmas present, got on Facebook and requested a Twitter account. Yes, I can’t get over that one yet, LOL!
As I posted the other day, I’m working hard on getting my next book out hopefully February or early March. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of a new year, a new beginning.
Happy and blessed 2013!!
By Lillian Duncan
I gladly admit that I hate commas. I much prefer to ignore them when I write. Those kind souls who critique my writing are always pointing out my comma failings (and I so appreciate them).
So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Since I needed to write a post about writing tips, I decided to improve my own writing in the process, or so I hope. Instead of writing about what I know I’m on a quest to find out what I don’t know about commas!
I asked some other writers to give me rules about commas as a first step. Here’s what they’re saying:
Linda Samaritoni gives us RULE # 1: Use a comma in direct address, meaning names.
EXAMPLE : I’m here to help you, friend.
Gail Kittleson, author of Catching Up With Daylight (to be published 2013), gives us RULE # 2: Use a comma after a subordinate clause used as an introduction to a
EXAMPLE: After we watched our team lose, we headed to the malt shoppe.
Louise M. Gouge, author of A Suitable Wife, December 2012, tells us about RULE #3: Use a comma to separate independent clauses (complete thoughts) when they are joined by these transition words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
EXAMPLE: We wanted to go to the movie, but none of the films caught our interest.
Amy Cattapan, aspiring author and a middle school English teacher, gives us RULE #4: When including a full date in a sentence (month, day, and year), put a comma after the year as well as between the day and the year.
Example: The conference held on September 21, 2012, was a great success.
I give you RULE #5: Use commas to separate a series of at least 3 objects or events.
EXAMPLE: She woke up, brushed her teeth, ate breakfast, and then left for the day.
I’m checking out the Chicago Manual Of Style, which is what many fiction writers use as the ultimate grammar and punctuation resource. I’ve spent more than an hour reading questions about commas and CMOS answers on their website.
A few things have become clear to me.
Commas are troublesome to lots of people not just me.
There are lots of ambiguous situations concerning commas, but the CMOS people have a consistent answer. If the comma helps to clarify a situation use it. If the sentence doesn’t need clarifying then don’t use it.
In many situations, commas can or cannot be used, and either way would be right. That makes me feel better. I guess it comes down to personal preference and what your editor prefers.
The CMOS website points out that good editing smoothes the way for the reader. And I guess that’s why writers need editors. My job is to create the story, and the editor’s job is to smooth out the bumps.
But I’m hoping my editor has a few less commas to add in my next story!
YOUR ASSIGNMENT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT:I purposefully left out some commas in the above post and possibly a few accidentally. Leave a comment if you find a sentence that needs a comma with an explanation why. You may refer to the above rules to make it easier.
Lillian Duncanwrites stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan
Jim: Christian eBooks Today.com is a website that is for fans of Christian fiction and nonfiction. It is a safe place to browse and learn more about great Christian eBooks without worrying about coming across any racy or explicit content.
Why did you start Christian eBooks Today.com?
Karen: I’ve been an avid reader of Christian fiction since I was a young girl. But, over the past few years as I started publishing books, I noticed that it was getting harder and harder to browse for Christian eBooks online without coming across some pretty embarrassing and racy covers. I just wanted to find a good clean Christian romance book and find new authors.
In August, Jim joined the ranks of the unemployed, so I asked him what he thought about helping me launch a site for Christian readers. It took some convincing, but he finally agreed to do it.
Jim: Hey! It didn’t really take much convincing. I like the idea of being self-employed.
On your Vision and Mission page on the website, you mention edgy Christian fiction. Can you tell us more about this?
Karen: Sure. Over the past few years or even a decade, the Christian fiction market is changing. Authors are writing more true-to-life characters that get thrown into some pretty tough circumstances, such as rape, abuse, abandonment, etc. In fact, some of my novels fall into that category.
Anyway, there is a bit of a divide in readership. Some readers don’t like the trend, while others prefer it. We wanted to mention that we accept those types of books on our site so readers are not surprised if they come across something like that.
So, your site includes Christian nonfiction too?
Jim: Yes. We include a variety of nonfiction genres, too. Bible studies, devotionals, self-help, Christian living and much more. We really want the site to be a place where readers can find any type of Christian eBooks.
Who runs the site, I mean really?
[Karen glances at Jim and giggles.]
Jim: We joke around. I’m the chief operations officer and Karen is the CEO. She has the vision and then I do all the hard work to make it happen.
Karen: [elbows Jim] I do some of the hard work, like marketing and writing content.
Jim: Okay, okay. I’ll give you that.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Karen: Yes. We have a feature on our website under the “For Readers” menu called “Reader’s Choice”. This is where readers can fill out a form telling us about great Christian eBooks that they’ve read. Each week, we will select one submission to appear on our website. Then, once a month we will randomly choose a winner from all of the submissions (even if they don’t get featured). The winner receives a $25 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Readers can submit as many eBooks as they want.
Wow, that sounds great! So, where can we see this new website?
Jim: Visit ChristianEBooksToday.com. You can also follow us on Twitter (@cebtoday), Facebook, or Google+. Check our site daily for our list of free fiction and free nonfiction ebooks.
Karen: Remember to sign up for our newsletter too. Just click on the envelope icon in the upper right corner of our site. Each week we email readers a summary of our key weekly features including: guest blog posts, great reads, author of the week, and the reader’s choice selection for the week.
Thank you so much for hosting us!
Sharon, thanks for being with us today at The Rising Muse. Tell us, How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
I don’t, intentionally, write any of me into my characters. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a little piece of me in all of the women. Callie teaches Sunday school and loves her guacamole, Terri is looking for God’s will in her life and arguing the whole way, Pam is learning lessons in forgiveness. Yep, there I am.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.
How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?
I guess I’m a product of our environment. I like being busy. Even on a vacation I have to consciously tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sanity…I’m a writer, that option took a hike a few years back.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m working with my editor to get Terri’s story complete. Pam’s story is close to being at the word count I want. Then I’ll start the serious editing process for her. Samantha is knocking…
If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?
Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.
What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: iPod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
My Kindle. It’s just the most amazing machine.
Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?
My characters constantly surprise me. Their individual determination to be front and center in my brain is relentless. I’m a SOTP writer. I don’t work with an outline, so I can’t give you an example of where I planned to go one way and they insisted on taking their own way, but I continue to be amazed.
Do you have a favorite scene in this book and what would it be?
I think where Pam, Karla, and Terri come to Callie’s house with groceries and stuff for the girls. That is exactly like it would happen, has happened, in my life. Our church family is so generous. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of help.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
A lack of time. I don’t think there is a way to overcome it until I retire. I just have to deal with not enough hours in the day.
Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?
For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.
As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look alike to go out and face the public.
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us. Please tell us where we can find you on the internet and where can we get your book?
Visit my BLOG at: http://www.womenofvalleyview.blogspot.com/
Connect with me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SharonSrock#!/SharonSrock
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SharonSrock
Find me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10758698-sharon-srock
The Women of Valley View. Ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things
Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.
Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.
Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.
For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.
You can obtain Callie at:
And here’s the chance to win a huge basket of gifts. Keep reading
Today at The Rising Muse we have the story of author and breast cancer survivor Katherine Bown. Katherine found out that out that she had breast cancer during her honeymoon. Let’s read her story:
In December 2008 I got married when my life was great; I had a brilliant job as a Marketing Communications Manager, I ran website, I had a busy social life – basically I thrived off being under pressure.
Ten days later on my honeymoon I found a lump on my breast, then got diagnosed with an aggressive (grade 3) tumor ( breast cancer). I then spent the 1st year of my marriage going through 18 weeks of chemotherapy and 3 weeks radiotherapy.
When I finished treatment I went back to work but I wasn’t the same person as I previously was, I lasted a year at work and then I took VR – pretty much to search for ‘my purpose in life’ (I’d literally scour the net for ideas; going to change my job, looking at doing charity treks, how I could raise breast cancer awareness, fundraising – pretty much I did anything I could to change my life and give meaning to why the cancer didn’t take me!)
Cancer was a big surprise to me. There’s no history of breast cancer or any cancer in my family whatsoever. I was the first person to go through this journey.
It took 5 months of soul-searching when a friend suggested I set up my own marketing consultancy which I did and has been going great for a year.
I always wanted to write a book, but never knew what kind of book to write. A few months I finally figured it out. I could use my life experience to help family and friends of breast cancer sufferers; explaining in ‘my language’ all of the medical terms, how the breast cancer patient will react in certain situations, the side affects of treatment, how they can help along the way.
I have found my purpose in life, I want to help Mums, Sisters, Best Friend’s, Husbands and caretakers of those dealing with breast cancer. I want to share how important they are to those of us, whom they love, and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, after all I’ve got 1st hand experience at it!
Wow, Katherine! What a story! Thanks for sharing it with us.
If you want to read more about Katherine’s journey and would like more to get her book ‘Your Guide Through Her Breast Cancer Journey’
More about Katherine Bown
Katherine was born Cardiff, South Wales, UK. She has worked in the marketing field for over 15 years. She was diagnosed at 33 years old with Stage 1, Grade 3 breast cancer in February 2009, after finding a lump in her breast while on honeymoon. She had 18 weeks of FEC chemotherapy, 3 weeks of Radiotherapy and is currently still taking Tamoxifen.Since completing treatment, she has given a lot of her time to supporting and fundraising for cancer research and breast cancer charities. Connect with Katherine on Twitter or Facebook
I observed a man this morning in a suit trying to push a wagon of boxes. He was truly struggling to balance the load and pushing the cart. The boxes were empty by the way. It reminded me that the things we do, do not define who we are.
People have the tendency to place certain professions, jobs, tasks or qualities in a pedestal. The body has many members, and all of them have different functions, but none of them are less than the other. Look at your hand for a minute, if you lost one finger, any of them, you would miss it terribly and you would have to make major adjustments to go back to “normal function”. The same is with the way we are as a collective, everyone has a function to do and nobody is better or worse for the position they have been placed.
I used to work with a brilliant doctor. It was a delight to hear this man speak, full of knowledge and wisdom, but totally technologically challenged. He couldn’t operate his computer or his cell phone. If some of us in the office didn’t pull out his e-mails and voicemails, he would not be in the loop of the things that needed to be done. That didn’t make him less or didn’t make us more. We had different skills and functions to complete.
I also remember being a manager. I’m a pretty gadget and technically savvy person, but for some reason the fax machine at that office and I did not get along (anyone remembers the movie Office Space, yes that was my relationship with the fax machine). I tried to not bother others and do my own thing. When I would disappear for a while and my assistant knew that I was not in a meeting, she usually checked the copy room and there I was fighting the fax machine. She would take the papers from my hands and get the job done in fifteen seconds.
My dad used to say, someone needs to sell hot dogs on the corner of the street otherwise I wouldn’t have a place to buy it, and someone needs to pick up the garbage, otherwise it would pile up in our house.
So no matter what you’re doing today, don’t look at it with the eyes of the world that classifies tasks as better or worse. Look at your job as a gift from God to render a service that in the large scheme of things it’s just as important as the next one to keep things working the way they should.
indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”