What’s Stopping You????

I am sitting at my small desk, quite a departure from my previous “office” of my last house. I now live on the second floor of a three story condo. Two bedrooms, two and a half baths. Small in comparison to the four bedroom, two car garage home I left behind. This past year, life has changed once more and it gave me an excuse to put down my pen for awhile. Too busy with the move and the changes that have come hurling at me as fast as a wayward hockey puck. have two big windows in front of me that face the road to the community garage. Cars come and go quite routinely. Being hyper-sensitive to distractions, my head bobs as though on a spring every time a car drives by or a neighbor decides to go for a stroll.

Before, in my large office, my windows faced a sprawling, peaceful field of gold. Rarely did I notice anything more than a fleeting butterfly or bird. Now, I have two big windows in front of me that face the road to the community garage. Cars come and go quite routinely. Being hyper-sensitive to distractions, my head bobs as though on a tightly coiled spring every time a car drives by or a neighbor decides to go for a stroll. To say I am distracted would be an understatement. Another excuse.

I close my eyes and say a little prayer for the wisdom and guidance I need to push myself   into the world I love. Suddenly, the words and thoughts start to flow! My fingers rattle over my keyboard and my words begin to come to life!

So it goes as a writer. One moment we are empty and giving ourselves a thousand reasons why we “can’t” write today. Then the next moment our minds are so full of stories, characters, and endings that we cannot be dragged from our desk for hours.

It is then I realize that the biggest enemy to my writing is ME! I am the one making excuses! I am the one putting my work out there! I am the one scared of rejection!

And so I pull down the shades on my windows and plod on. How about

How about you? What’s stopping you?

 

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A World Full of Surprises!

I woke up this morning, grabbed a cup of coffee and began preparing notes and a presentation for my upcoming speaking engagements. My joy is palpable as I so enjoy sharing what I have learned with others. Grabbing my iPad, I read my devotions and then caught the headlines of the news. The United Kingdom voted to break away from the European Union and the Prime Minister had resigned. Although the news was startling, to me, the people’s choice to leave the EU signals the uneasiness around the world that  no one can explain. We feel it in our own nation, as well.

I slapped my coffee cup to the table and laughed right out loud thinking that my days were mostly quiet.   Then it hit me that I hadn’t had a quiet day in months! I began to think of all of the startling days I have had recently. My wonderful publisher closed its doors. Then I had a request for my new manuscript. A dear friend lost her mother. Another friend lived through a certain death heart surgery. I travelled to Florida overnight to visit an elderly friend. I taught an awesome creative writing class this semester. I was confined to bed for several days due to a muscle spasm. I got three rejections. News poured in day after day. Some news has been good, others, not so much.

I couldn’t help but smile, as I realized how surprising EVERY day is! I don’t need the news to tell me that something wild and crazy is going to happen today. It is how I react to the news that keeps my head on straight and allows others to see I have a Rock to cling to even in the dark times. I’m learning to expect the unexpected….and with that to enjoy whatever comes my way.

 

Should Writer’s Rant?

I don’t spend as much time on Facebook or social media as my writing world demands, although I plan on making greater strides with doing so in 2016. Lately, I have been personally turned off by several posts of some wonderful writers I know and love.

As a reader of these writers, I often wonder if they realize that it is not attractive to post their “poor me” personal situations, their left and right wing politics or their narrow ideologies on the same public and social media meant to promote their work. I use social media as a way to happily engage with readers, friends, colleagues, and family, not to drive my social or political agenda.

I say all of this as I found myself engaged in a rant with a fellow writer whose views on almost everything in life, do not reflect my own. Though my words were not venomous, I left the conversation tongue-lashing myself for making any comment, even though the other writer’s angry words were directed at people who hold my beliefs.

But here is the kicker. The effect of the ranting writer’s post was that I stopped reading their work. I quit telling people that I knew about that writer’s work. Instead of being an advocate for that writer, which I had been, I made a conscious choice to stay silent.

I still care very deeply about that writer. Their work is breathtaking and relevant, but they offended me deeply with their ranting even though it was not directed at me personally.

I guess what I am saying is that a writer, any writer, takes a huge risk of alienating their readers by airing their own biased beliefs, prejudices or politics on social media. One offended reader can defer many others, just as one loyal reader can create many sales.

I am not suggesting that a writer changes who they are or what they believe to appease a buying crowd. Instead, I am suggesting that we, as writers, do not personally know all of our readers, so airing our ideologies and biased opinions in a public forum may alienate a once loyal reader and shatter the persona a reader once believed about us.

It’s time we writer’s “get” the point that the world doesn’t need or want to hear us “vent” about our daily personal woes, nor our public or political views on social media. It can drive a deadly wedge between a favorite author and a loyal reader leaving both parties angry and abandoned.

Tell me if I’m wrong.

A Time for Giving…and Winning!

I wanted to participate in the day of giving but didn’t know what I could do to make a difference in the life of someone who has struggled with childhood abuse. Those that know me well, already know that the most important gift I could give would be to share the hope and good news of God’s love and sacrifice for us, (like it or not, my liberal friends.) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16 (NKJV)

Next, I thought about something tangible, when out of the blue, a fellow Booktrope author suggested a simple way we could play a role in the beautiful giving spirit that today represents. We could give a book away and offer someone hope.

So, until midnight on Friday, December 4, I am offering a signed set of my books, award-winning Run, River Currents, and The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance!

To win:

Like my page and this post on Facebook.
Share the post (the more the merrier)
Tell me who you might give the books to for Christmas and why. If they are for you, but you know someone else who might be helped or touched by my stories then I’ll send them an e-book set as an extra way to share!
I’ll pick a winner on December 8 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time! Watch for the announcement!

About Run, River Currents

As the last of the mourners departed the ornate Catholic Church, Emily entered a side door unnoticed, walked to the coffin, and punched her dead father in the face. “You’ll never be dead enough,” she whispered. “Never.”

Determined to recover from the hands of a father who sexually abused her and an emotionally distant mother, twenty-seven-year-old Emily Evans seeks the peace she’d lost in her youth. Yet, shattered by the betrayal of those she was taught to respect and love, she fears that she may never overcome the devastating effects of generations of abuse. Will she ever let herself truly open up to the power of unconditional love?

About The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance

Growing up, Emily Evans of Run, River Currents, had always shared a special understanding with her grandfather, John Polk, even when she couldn’t fully see beyond the darkness of her father’s abuse. Yet John looked forward in faith toward what his God could do.

Years after her grandfather’s death, the unexpected delivery of a decorated tin brimming with odd-colored buttons, unlocks joyous memories and lets Emily realize she has finally discovered the secret her grandfather promised lay within the stories of the worn button box.

Told from the eyes of a godly grandfather, The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance, laces together a family’s heritage and the power of one man’s prayers, offering a lesson of how God’s grace can be seen in even the simplest thing—a button.

#dayofgiving

Thanks to Becki Brannen, author of Breathless for the great idea!

For Valentine’s Day, show a writer “a little love!”

Valentine’s Day is rapidly descending upon us. A plague of sorts brought on by greed. Millions of crazy-eyed men will rush, last minute, into florists, jewelers and grocery stores to pick up some costly trinket, fattening treats, expensive flowers and balloons to appease their starry-eyed wives and girlfriends. The women will expect a fancy dinner and a card that should aptly express the undying love of their partner in words only Shakespeare could possibly write. No matter what the man comes up with, the lovey-dovey moment will probably last a nano-second, replaced  by a snarky remark as quickly as the flowers fade.

Sound a little caddy?  It’s not. It’s the reality of a writer’s life, only you replace the man with the writer and the woman with everyone else.

As writer’s, we often are crazy-eyed, rushing to and fro, trying to please everyone with our work. We edit things out, add things in, and move things around as we work to please the reader. Just when we think we have given our best, BAM, someone gives more advice and makes us realize how much more work must be done. It is a never ending battle. Poor writer’s. They need a little love!

So…..I thought of a great idea! This Valentine’s Day, why not take a moment to write a review for your favorite author or artist. They work their tails off to give you enjoyable reads that entertain, encourage and motivate their readers.  It’s time to show them you appreciate it! What a great way to show an author you love them! It won’t cost you a dime and takes just a little bit of effort! Think about that as you are rustling up a last minute present for your sweetie!

And as a reward, just for today, you can download The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance FOR FREE!!!!

Now, get out there and show a writer “a little love,” won’t you?

 

 

Are Book Giveaways Worth It?

When a writer has a “giveaway” program, it seems as though it defeats the purpose of “selling” our work. We are actually giving away the product we slaved over for months or even years. Yet, I’ve learned a thing or two about todays’ new world of marketing that makes me understand the value of a giveaway. Giveaways promote sales.

This is how it works. You download a book for free. You read it and like it. You tweet about it. You Facebook it. You Instagram and Pinterest your thoughts. You post a review and tell your friends about it. By then, the giveaway is over. They buy it! The author becomes a best-seller! Wow! All of that from a free giveaway!

A promotional “giveaway” is a way to get readers to notice your work in the overcrowded world of published books. Overcrowding is a reality. Traditionally published books vie for attention alongside self-published books. Any writer, whether they have learned the craft of writing or not, can self-publish. Most, not all, self-published books are rarely well-written, nor do they display elements of understanding the craft of writing. When they are placed side-by-side with those who understand the elements of craft, they stand like lonely soldiers in a long gone war.

The sadness to this is that well-crafted books are often lost in the noise. The competition to be published is fierce. So what is a writer to do? Mark Twain says it well. “Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.” My addition to Twain’s quote would be…”and scream until someone notices you!”

So, I’m screaming! The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance is free for today and tomorrow in the first of two giveaways. Download it and if you like it, write a review, and use all social media avenues to tell your friends!

The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance is a simple story and a good family read for those who seek heartwarming tales. It centers around the surprise arrival of an old tin button box to the home of Emily Evans, a box of buttons that unlock memories of Emily’s youth. The read is quick and takes the reader on a wonderful journey where one man’s legacy to his granddaughter is passed on through the stories he told through buttons. Each button holds a memory and will take even the most cynical reader back to a time where actions mattered. Here’s the Book Trailer.

Enjoy the read. Share it with your friends. On this end, I’ll keep shamelessly promoting and watching the Amazon charts to see where you will take me.

In the end, I’m still going to write. I’m going to continue to hone my skills and learn how to enhance what I know about the craft of writing. Every manuscript I create will be better than the last and every story I tell will be more powerful than the one that preceded it. After all, the next “giveaway” might be my bestseller!

One More Time, Folks!

I just got notice that The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance WILL be available as a free download on Amazon on January 20,21 and 22, 2015. After the December issue of not being available when it was expected, I am certain that this time it will be a go!

So, tell your friends once more that the book WILL be available for a free download! Thank you all for your patience! Enjoy!