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Does Your Character Believe a Lie?

 by DiAnn Mills


Lies distort a character’s view of the world. The lens of reality twists the truth, causing the character to react in unforeseen ways, which is win-win situation for the writer. The result is an unpredictable and unexpected plotline fueled by a character who is motivated by a lie.

Have you ever believed a lie? The emotional ramifications can destroy us if we don’t muster the courage to explore the truth. Consider your character. With the personality, culture, and life experiences assigned to them, how does the writer weave a powerful story?

The character who learns he or she has been the victim of a lie faces the devastation of hurt, anger, and betrayal. The person who spoke the fabrication may deny it, and that becomes another issue for the character. To maintain good mental health, the character must reach deep for forgiveness and take cautionary steps for the future. The relationship may or may not ever be restored. Trust must be earned.

How the character responds to the realization of a lie shows the inner character and lays the foundation for a protagonist or an antagonist. The determination of a lie can motivate the character into a positive realm or a negative one.

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
Lies influence the character’s goals, wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, dialogue, behavior, and emotion. When rage drives the character’s actions, unpredictable behavior sets the stage for a page-turning story. Yet the process of weaving all the intricacies of literary techniques into a profound story takes hard work.

But what about the lies our characters accept about themselves? How does a character journey on an adventure when they hold a false outlook of life? Aren’t our characters supposed to embrace strength? How does that affect their decisions and motivate them into action when they accept a distorted truth destined to stop them from reaching their full potential?

Perhaps the problem with our character is not what the writer believes about them, but what the character believes about him- or herself.

Writers develop situations that force a character to face a lie. Those powerful drama-filled scenes move the story in exciting directions, often explaining how and why the falsehood entered the picture. Some characters do not have the courage to accept the truth and will never change their beliefs or values. They flee from scenarios that force them to examine their true selves. The result is a weak character who cowers to life happenings or becomes an antagonist who strikes out in rage.

The origin of a character’s misconception is often rooted in childhood. During the development years, physical, mental, and spiritual stimuli mold a child’s view of where he or she fits in the world and how to cope with life’s trials. Peer pressure and those who are respected can instill admirable or detestable behavior.

The character may believe
  • I have no choice but to be perfect.
  • Life isn’t fair.
  • I’ll never be happy unless I have lots of money.
  • Everyone is out to get me.
  • God’s love must be earned.
  • Without a face-lift and tummy tuck, I’ll never be beautiful.
  • Morals are a personal preference.
  • Laws are to be broken.
  • Relationships are fifty-fifty. Anything less and I’m out of here.
  • The only way for someone to love me is for me to take care of them.
The character may choose to believe
  • No human is perfect, but we strive to do our best. We make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward.
  • Life isn’t fair or easy, but challenges have the potential to grow us into better people.
  • Money buys what we need and sometimes what we want. It’s a vehicle to provide for ourselves and others. True happiness is internal.
  • Bad attitudes result from selfishness. Take steps to put others first in a healthy way.
  • God’s love is unconditional. We can’t do a thing to cause Him to love us more or less.
  • True beauty is an attitude of the heart and how we treat others.
  • Right vs. wrong behavior is established by spiritual and moral resources to show justice, equality, and love.
  • Laws are in force to protect us from danger and keep us safe.
  • Relationships are always 100 percent of what we can give, not what we can take.
  • Caring for others is admirable but caretaking is not the vehicle of self-worth.
For writers determined to create real and unforgettable characters, I encourage the following:
  • Study psychology books, reputable blog posts, and articles that focus on the behavior of one who experiences a lie.
  • Interview counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are trained professionals in human behavior.
  • Explore respected websites that focus on human behavior and counseling techniques. 
  • Stay alert to people and the world. Keep a journal of conflicting emotions that could have resulted from a lie.

When a writer discovers the source of what a character internalizes about him- or herself, the character must choose. Is he or she motivated to change? How does the process work? Will it be painful? Does the character grasp the courage to process the lie and step forward with truth? The result is an impressive novel certain to entertain and inspire readers.




About DiAnn


Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers through her website at diannmills.com.



About Concrete Evidence


Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Releases October 4, 2022.




Giveaway*


Please leave a comment for DiAnn for a chance to win a copy of Concrete Evidence.


*Giveaway courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers and is subject to giveaway terms and conditions of Seekerville and Tyndale House Publishers. US Mailing addresses only.

Are We Living a Kaleidoscope Life?

 by Diann Mills


Kaleidoscopes show us the many characteristics of light and color. With the twist of the wrist, mirrors and colored pieces of material, usually glass, reflect beauty in various shapes. Each glimpse of the art becomes a gift for those who appreciate a dynamic creation. Much like each one of us is a unique gift to the world.

How we react to life’s ups and downs reflects how we examine and process life. Every experience fuels an emotion that adds light and color to our image. We can choose to enjoy the splendor and cultivate hope, or we can block every hint of it.

The most ordinary of shapes are made spectacular through a kaleidoscope’s lenses. Similarly, ordinary lives become extraordinary when courageous people choose to defy odds that could otherwise keep them chained to a dull, formless worldview.

A display of lives explodes across the horizon. People empty themselves of selfishness and greed to let goodness mirror their actions.

  • An underprivileged youth works hard to attend college and help his siblings continue their education.
  • A woman forsakes a life of abuse and seeks counseling.
  • A retired couple forms a nonprofit to help military personnel who are struggling with PTSD.
  • A wealthy businessman sells his firm to serve as a missionary.
  • A group of neighborhood teens does odd jobs for shut-ins.

To live a kaleidoscope life, we use all our resources to war against the dark, ugly shapes that have the power to stagnate our mental, spiritual, and physical growth. Our yesterdays do not define us, and we are determined to turn heartache and pain into a life lesson that makes us stronger.

We need setbacks to help us focus on what is important. Most of the time, the critical need isn’t ourselves. We accept truth as reality and apply it to the way we react and respond to every life happening. With new information, we can reevaluate how we spend our time, love our families, work successfully in our careers, push forward in our goals, and allow kaleidoscope living to shine with light and purpose.

An object viewed through a kaleidoscope never appears the same way twice. Don’t we want the same distinction? Don’t we want to examine the world new every morning?

While we want to ensure our faith, morals, and values remain intact, we also need to examine our core values. If they line up with truth, we are standing on a firm foundation. If they need adjustment, we find the strength to change.


What is one way we can show kaleidoscope living?


ABOUT DIANN


Are We Living a Kaleidoscope Life?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her FBI: Houston series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014. Her upcoming novel, Trace of Doubt, releases from Tyndale House Publishers in September 2021. Connect with DiAnn at diannmills.com.




ABOUT TRACE OF DOUBT


Are We Living a Kaleidoscope Life?
Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.

Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

Audience interest points:
  • While working undercover to solve an embezzlement case, an FBI agent becomes convinced of the wrongful sentencing of Shelby Pearce, who served 15 years in prison after confessing to the murder of her brother-in-law.
  • Bestselling Christian author DiAnn Mills releases another action-packed, suspense-filled romance novel for fans of Dee Henderson, Lynette Eason, and Dani Pettrey.
  • The importance of treating all people with honor and respect, regardless of what their backgrounds may imply about who they are.
  • The value of seeking out truth and justice, lifting up the voices of those who have been silenced in the past.


GIVEAWAY


Tyndale Publishers is giving away a copy of Trace of Doublt to one reader today. Just leave a comment below for DiAnn and you're entered.

(Seekerville's Giveaway rules applied. Open to US residents with a US mailing address only.)

In Pursuit of the Writer’s Holy Grail


by DiAnn Mills

In Pursuit of the Writer’s Holy Grail

Are you in pursuit of a writer’s holy grail? A holy grail can be defined as a sought-after prize of great significance that brings happiness and accolades and can even provide special powers. It’s often termed elusive—just beyond reach but dangling, teasing, urging the person to keep moving forward.

A writer’s holy grail is different for each of us, and the vague definition makes it difficult for us to comprehend. The concept is personal. Sometimes we aren’t sure what the individual achievement is or how to attain it. Or if we’re supposed to pursue it.

Our quest begins by describing what the writer’s holy grail means to each of us. Examine the whole picture: professional, personal, physical, spiritual, and mental. Be honest with ourselves. A well-grounded writer understands that challenges promote change and growth in every aspect of our lives.

Do one or more of these seven items reflect our list of goals?

1.        Publication by one of the Big Five publishers
2.        NYT bestseller status
3.        Receiving a distinguished award
4.        Winning an incredible international contest
5.        Movie contract with a large studio
6.        Interviews on all the big TV networks
7.        A six-figure advance

Are we doing all we can to make our holy grail a reality? Do we search for methods and study tips guaranteed to help us climb the rungs to a bestseller? Are we actively involved in establishing relationships through social media, not to sell books but to offer our experience and expertise? Are we participating in a writers’ group and helping other serious writers learn the craft? Do we attend workshops and conferences? All of these are solid practices. Are we raising the bar on our craft and growing as respected writers whose work can be trusted?

What if we’re doing all the things the experts claim will bring our desires on a golden platter, and nothing’s happening except discouragement? What could be a few reasons our quest hasn’t been realized?

     Writer expectations are too high
     Novel or book project is not a high concept
     Market is saturated by the same genre or topic
     No one knows about the book
     The quest is all about us
     We forgot to pray and give all the glory to Him

Perhaps the last point should be our first. . . .

Where does God fit into our plans?
Has he purposed our holy grail of writing? Has our crusade taken the place of God, who gave us our gift? Are we ignoring the guidance of respected professionals in the industry? These are tough questions to ask ourselves, and the answers require prayerful reflection. Read this paragraph first, then review the entire post top to bottom. Does the rest of the information make more sense when we establish God as our priority?


What does the holy grail of writing mean to you?  

(Comment below for your chance to win a copy of DiAnn's latest release, Fatal Strike, courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In Pursuit of the Writer’s Holy Grail
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader's Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014. Connect with DiAnn here: www.diannmills.com.





In Pursuit of the Writer’s Holy Grail
There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

Proactive Marketing and Promotion

Guest Blogger DiAnn Mills

Proactive Marketing and Promotion

A successful writer builds her marketing and promotion platform long before a single word is written. When a story idea settles into the writer’s heart and mind, she considers how the story content can draw in readers. This doesn’t mean the writer looks to the latest trends to mine book topics, but it does mean she actively seeks opportunities to share her story in ways that provide inspiration and encouragement for her readers.

The focus on marketing and promotion doesn’t divert from creating a quality project. It adds value with fresh writing and enhances the ability to propel the project into the reader’s hands.
                    
When developing a marketing and promotion program, consider all that drives a book to the retailer’s shelf: readers’ specific needs, dreams, strengths, challenges, and desires.
      
How can story content meet those criteria? Develop blog themes, contests, memes, book signings, speaking events, hashtags, giveaways, podcasts, Pinterest board(s), posting tips, videos, speaking topics, and whatever other social media platforms that will fit into the writer’s brand.

Agents and editors are attracted to writers who embrace a can-do attitude to marketing and promotion. The following are a few items to consider in proactive marketing and promotion.

        When a writer has a grasp on how to approach readers with a targeted topic or genre, every thought has value.
        Each scene or section of a book has potential. Look to the subject matter for distinct possibilities to draw attention to the writing project.
        At the completion of the book, the writer is able to compose and calendar blogs, contests, memes, hashtags, tweetables, giveaways, and events.
        The writer can request guest blogs months in advance, ensuring the exact date of the book release corresponds with the blog post.
        Promotion events can be scheduled, planned, and perfected months ahead of the designated time.
        A successful writer who has mastered marketing and promotion is eager to begin the next project.

Proactive Marketing and Promotion


For example: Bonnie Bestseller is writing a novel about a heroine who works as a coffee barista in Telluride, Colorado. The story takes place in January when the town is filled with skiing enthusiasts. Business is booming, and the coffee shop centers as a conversation spot. Bonnie has sworn off dating and refuses any of the male flirting tactics.

In the midst of keeping customers happy, the coffee shop is sold to a single man who knows nothing about roasting coffee beans, making delicious drinks, or keeping patrons happy. He’s shy, extremely good looking, knows nothing about snow or skiing, doesn’t drink coffee, and requires the heroine’s help to make the coffee shop a continued success. The thought of working for her boss is detestable, but she has no choice.

The writer creates a spreadsheet titled: Marketing and Promotion. She lists the ideas that pop into her head with the understanding some will be tossed and others will be valuable. For example:
      
       Blog:
       Skiing Tips the First Day on the Slopes
       Coffee Addicts are Fun
      
       Memes or Instagram:
       A photo of someone reading your book and drinking coffee - “Common          Grounds is the best romance ever!”
      
       Facebook:
       In my new novel Common Grounds, my heroine is a barista who works for a man who hates coffee or tea. What is your favorite go-to beverage when it’s cold outside?

       Tweet:
       Love #coffee and #romance? Common Grounds @BonnieBestseller will thrill you. (click to tweet)
      
       Videos:
       A humorous video on grinding coffee.
      
       Contest Giveaways:
       Coffee
       Gift card to Starbucks
      
       Speaking Topics:
       Coffee Research
      
       Pinterest:
       Board about coffee roasting, brewing, etc.
       Board about skiing tips
       Board about what to see and do in Telluride
       Where I find story ideas.

Re-visit and complete this process when the story is in the galley stage while the contents are fresh on your mind. The technique saves time and is filled with numerous ways to promote your next book.

Click on this link where you’ll find a spreadsheet titled Proactive Marketing and Promotion to assist in the process of marketing and promotion during the writing phase. 

With a little forethought, traditional and Independent publishing efforts become enjoyable and simplified.


Are you ready to accept the challenge?


Proactive Marketing and Promotion

Proactive Marketing and Promotion
https://diannmills.com/books/high-treason/
High Treason

When someone attempts to assassinate a Saudi Prince on U.S. soil, FBI Agent Kord Davidson and CIA Operative Monica Alden head up a task force to keep the Prince safe and find those responsible to avoid an international incident that could have devastating consequences.


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

Proactive Marketing and Promotion
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.


DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook: www.facebook.com/diannmills, Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannmills or any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.
In Pursuit of the Writer’s Holy GrailProactive Marketing and Promotion

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