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
So as we are reviewing Psalm 119, I found out that my good friend Debra Hutto Bateman has a book written on the subject. We will continue with our verse study next week, but I know you will be interested in this deep study of this wonderful verse. Enjoy!
Excerpt from Psalm 119: Thy Word is a Lamp unto My Feet
By: Deborah H. Bateman
Teach Me, O LORD
This portion of Scripture in Psalm 119 starts with the Hebrew letter HE. HE is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the letter 5 or can be 5000 when speaking of years. The Psalmist cries out to God to teach him the statutes of the LORD. He asks God to give him understanding and he promises to keep God’s law and observe it with his whole heart. The Psalmist asks God to help his heart to be inclined toward God’s testimonies and not toward covetousness. He asks God to help him to walk in the path of God’s commandments, because he delights in the laws of God. He prays to God to turn his eyes from vanity and help him to walk in
the ways of God. The Psalmist fears the judgment of God. His desire is to be rooted and grounded in the word of God, so he can live righteously before God.
Daily Bible Scripture: Psalm 119:33-40
33 HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
Things to Think About:
- Have you ever prayed and asked God to teach you His word?
- How can we protect our eyes from seeing evil?
- How can we protect our ears from hearing things not pleasing to God?
- Do you long to be righteous before God?
Prayer of the Day:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for this Scripture in Psalm 119 where the Psalmist asks You to teach him Your ways. LORD, help us to understand Your word. Open our hearts, minds, eyes, and ears to see, hear, and understand Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Bio for Deborah H. Bateman
Deborah H. Bateman is a Christian author, publisher, blogger, and website designer. She is the founder of Christian Daily Resources a Christian online ministry, dedicated to “Sharing God’s Word.” She enjoys studying the Bible and sharing it with others. She wrote this book to share with you the importance of hiding God’s Word in your heart. You can connect with Deborah on her author blog at http://DeborahHBateman.com
If you want to get your copy of this book click on the link below or the book cover at the top.
Psalm 119: Thy Word is a Lamp unto My Feet (Daily-Bible-Reading Series)
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
It’s been said that writer’s block is nothing but a time when our imaginary friends won’t talk to us. As writers we get frustrated because once we finally settle down, are able to shut down social media, and we are in the middle of a promising good scene; then poof, words just go away.
We tend to forget that our imaginary friends can get tired, hungry, and bored just like us. I understand and have experienced that their timing tends to be very inopportune, but since we need them, just like with babies, you have to adjust to their schedule.
When I’m on a roll with my writing and my muse just stops, I have to check to find out what my imaginary friends need so that I can get them talking again. Sometimes when I lay down for a nap, the funniest thing happens. They go from being absolutely mute to arguing amongst themselves about how the plot should go. At that point I tell them to shut up. If they weren’t willing to talk to me when I was in front of the computer, this is not the time to talk. So they finally calm down. Sometimes they seep into my dreams showing me whatever conclusion they came up with during their argument.
Other times we both need food. The “glamorous” life of a writer comes with long work hours and ironically we sometimes forget to eat. I had not discovered this particular need of my imaginary friends, until recently. I used to keep a plate with junk food right next to me during my writing times. However, now that I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and making sure I eat what my body needs and not just what it wants. I don’t keep anything at my desk, other than water. I’ve discovered that sometimes when my imaginary friends stop it’s to get me off of the computer and get me to eat.
The other thing that I’ve discovered that helps me sometimes, is to take a walk. My dog particularly appreciates when my imaginary friends coincide with the fact that she has been laying at my feet for hours without relief. Yes, your muse (our imaginary friends) gets bored too and sometimes a walk can help. I’ve read that for some people working out does the trick. I guess that depends on your physical condition. While I try not to pass out at my Zumba class, it’s very hard for me to think of anything other than not dying. However taking a walk through the neighborhood, looking at the trees, and watching other people interact can help entertain them and when we get back they feel more incline to start talking again.
So when your muse aka your polka dot people (don’t judge, not all little talking people are green or pink) try to see what they need and they may start cooperating again.
If you want to read a different type of novel that will keep you at the edge of your seat. See the story that God placed in my heart to share, a story that will definitely touch your heart: The Road Home
- What do you do when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you? (redheadcarol.wordpress.com)
By Karen Baney
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. Psalm 71:20 (NIV)
When I was thinking about what to write for this post, I came across this verse. It’s one that I wished I had known before I published my novel A Life Restored, because it sums up the theme of the book very well.
In the novel, Thomas Anderson has faced many bitter troubles. Even though most are consequences of his actions, there are times where he struggles to catch a break. At one point he gets very discouraged and even starts to look away.
Do you ever feel like you can’t catch a break? Have you been tossed around by trial after trial after trial? Maybe you’re not currently facing so many troubles but have in the past. How do you deal with it?
From this verse, we can remember that God does restore lives and will bring us up from our deepest lows. I know it’s hard to remember when the waves feel like they are drowning you—but that doesn’t make it less true. Over and over in the Bible, we learn that God never leaves us. He never forsakes us.
The next time you face insurmountable trials, I hope you’ll remember this verse and be encouraged. No matter how deep or how long they last, God will restore you and lift you up again. Ask him to give you the strength to live through the trials well.
Karen Baney writes Christian historical and contemporary romance novels. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys traveling the state of Arizona with her husband, exploring museums and the picturesque landscapes the state has to offer. Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs.
For a limited time only, pick up a free copy of A Life Restored (Prescott Pioneers #3) by Karen Baney.
My dear friend Staci Stallings is visiting us today with a special message for us, without further delays I’ll let you enjoy this delightful read…
By: Staci Stallings
My almost-ten-year-old daughter got a little too much of her mother in her. What is it with this perfectionist gene? You’d think one generation would be far plenty for it to run its course and leave us alone. Alas, it has not.
My gorgeous, lovely, loving, wonderful daughter got this one in spades. I first knew this the year she took violin lessons and adamantly REFUSED to play for anyone she knew. When Grandma came over, we begged and pleaded and bribed… to no avail. She simply would not play a note lest she not sound just perfect and reveal to all the world that she was anything less than.
We battle this monster in school. She has all-A’s for now. And truth be told, I’m not looking forward to that streak coming to an end. (I still haven’t recovered from MY OWN three-week cry-fest when I got my first B in 5th grade. Don’t laugh. Trust me, it makes it worse!)
With the beginning of volleyball, we are wading once again into the deep waters of perfection psychosis, and I have to be honest with you–I would have thought that since I’d been through this one, it would be easy to diagnose and treat in my own child. Sadly, I was mistaken. The diagnosis has been easy, but wow is this thing hard to heal.
Tonight on the way to volleyball, my beautiful, kind, wonderful little girl spent most of the trip in tears. “Why does everyone think I have to be perfect?” “They don’t.” “Yes, they do. If I do one little thing wrong, they yell at me.”
Now, really. How do you argue with that? Because too often we do sound like we’re yelling. Our corrections sound to a delicate perfectionist like we don’t or won’t love them if they aren’t perfect. It’s such a vile, rotten trap.
On the way home later, we were hashing out the whole perfection thing again because this time it was the coach who yelled, “just because I missed one serve! I got all the others.”
I finally made this simple observation. “You know, you’re not perfect. You’re priceless.”
That stopped her. “What does that mean?”
“It means you are not perfect. You have chips. You have flaws. You make mistakes. But God and Mama still believe you are priceless, and no matter what, that will never change.”
Strangely she stopped arguing and crying at that point, and inside, so did I.
Maybe I’m not perfect, but God says I am priceless, and who am I to argue?
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2008
Thank you Staci for those wonderful words. Guys, don’t forget to enter into our Valentine’s book giveaway. Go to the top and give us your email address for a chance to win one of three copies of “Love Letters to my Queen Bride”. The winners will be picked on Valentine’s day and announced on Friday February 17th.
To add sweetness to the pot, you can get your copy of Growth Lessons for $1.99 until Valentine’s day (better than chocolate).
Find Staci online:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/StaciStallings @StaciStallings