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Seekerville: The Journey Continues

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Another Winter Gone

 It's a saying we use up north and it's usually uttered cryptically, sarcastically or candidly ..

"Got through another winter."

There may be a wry note or a hike of expectation. It might be a declaration of success or an anticipation that no matter what you do, winter will come again.

"Got through another winter."

It's funny... and sometimes sad. Sad because not everyone makes it through a rough winter. It's not a guarantee.

I was thinking of this the other day as we were organizing the attic. My attic is finished. It's got two finished rooms, long before the advent of "bonus rooms" in houses up here.

FYI: Bonus rooms are a clever way of getting around a bigger septic system because the size of your septic system here is governed by the number of bedrooms in your house. So a 4 bedroom house must have a bigger system than a 3 bedroom or 2 bedroom and septic systems here are five-figure investments... So that adds up really quick. So houses have begun incorporating "bonus rooms" so that they're not flagged for a bigger, pricier septic system.

I love my attic. At least I will love it again when it's cleared out, so between yesterday and today we organized, filled totes, labeled and moved all those books to the big shed. The sales shed is 14' x 36' so it's like a small house. :) We love this shed. Built by a formerly Amish family in Pennsylvania, they trailered it up last spring and I honestly don't know what we did without it! But I digress, the two-room attic had become a hidden harbor for books. 

Another Winter Gone

So many books! My books! The generosity of publishers meant I had hundreds of books to give away every year so even if I had 50 books that didn't get given away, over 11 years, that's 550 extra books. :) That's a lot of books.  So we've been doing book giveaways for assisted living centers, nursing homes, senior apartments or neighborhoods, fundraisers... we've been making sure that we're getting them out there, but there were still enough to fill 14 plastic totes of varying sizes, but we got smart.... We sorted them, got appropriately sized totes, labeled them and they're all living in their own spot in the big sales shed... My goal to reclaim my attic is near at hand. :) 

What does reclaiming the attic have to do with writing or books or winter?

Stories are created in a step-by-step fashion. They're never a single entity, they're a blending of setting, characters, plot, angst, desire, goals, conflict and resolution, and when an author finishes a book... when we do that last round of edits, that final polish, that slice-and-dice to tighten the laces on a really great new pair of boots, it's like clearing out the attic. Or a closet. Or a pantry. It's that feeling of success and satisfaction. Only--

At least at Blodgett Family Farm--

No one pays me to clean a closet or an attic or a room or anything, LOL! 

But they do pay me to write books, and that's a wonderful reason to finish the book, wrap it up, take a deep breath and move on to the next one.

In my life there's always another room to clean and in my professional life (so far)...

There's always another book to write because it's a lot like getting through another winter. The truth is that I love writing stories...

And I actually like winter because there's nothing like the anticipation of spring and color and grass and flowers and warmth once you've mastered winter. It's a natural high...

So I'm happy to say...

"Got through another winter."

And we're mighty glad it's spring! 

Another Winter Gone



Another Winter Gone

Bestselling inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is living the life she dreamed of a long time ago when she was a little girl, longing to write the stories she loved to read. Here she is, author of nearly 70 books and co-owner of a popular pumpkin farm that delights old and young alike. Come see her on the farm, friend her on Facebook, email Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com , visit her website or visit with her here in Seekerville. She makes a mean cup of coffee and loves to chat with people! 


The In-Between Times

Erica here. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends!

The In-Between Times



Here we are, on the Monday between Christmas and New Years. It’s a bit of a limbo time. The big rush of Christmas Day has passed, the gift giving, the caroling, the feasting is mostly done. And we’re days away from New Year’s.

But the kids are still home from school, there are still some family gatherings to navigate, and the need to start thinking about removing decorations begins in the back of your mind. You're stuck in the 'in-between' time.

In the writing life, there are lots of ‘in-between’ times, too.

  • The time between when you decide to write a novel and when that novel is completed.
  • The time between when you submit a novel to an agent or editor and when you hear back.
  • The time between when you hear from your agent that she is submitting your work to a publisher and when you hear a verdict on the submission.
  • The time between when you get the call from your agent that a publisher is offering a contract and when that contract arrives and you can FINALLY share about it.
  • The time between when you sign the contract and when you get your first edits, second edits, third edits, cover art, a release date, a marketing plan, and FINALLY hold the book in your hot little hands.
  • The time between when book one and book two release.
  • The time between your first contract and when you might get another one.

As you can see, there are lots of ‘between’ times, and these are only a few you may encounter. So what is a writer to do in those ‘between’ times?

This may sound boring, but the number one thing a writer should do is…WRITE. If you’ve submitted a novel to an agent, don’t sit by the inbox waiting. Write the next book. If you’re waiting to hear from a publisher, write the next book. If you’re waiting on edits from your publisher, write the next book.

With so much ‘between’ time factored into the writing life, it can be easy to fritter away the days, waiting, thinking, doing all the things that aren’t writing. But writers write. That’s all there is to it. Write a novella as a lead magnet for your newsletter. If you don’t have a contract currently, write the next book. Start a new series, target a specific publisher, and write the book!

Perhaps you won’t write at the same fever-pitch as when you have a solid deadline, but don’t waste time either.

The In-Between Times

 

Why, you ask?

1. Writer’s write, and your writing muscles will atrophy if you don’t use them.

2. More than one agent has gone to a client and said, “A publisher needs X in a hurry. Do you have anything that will fit?” If you’ve been resting on your laurels instead of writing, your answer will always be, ‘Um, nope.’ (Sad face emoji.)

3. If a publisher is interested in  you, they may very well ask, “What else do you have?” And believe me, you want to have lots of completed things to show them.

Those are just some of the reasons you don’t want to squander the in-between times. Rather than sit and be frustrated at not getting any news, get your fingers on that keyboard and create something new! Be a good steward of your writing time and opportunities, and don't waste the 'between times!'

The In-Between Times
Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn't spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They've been living double lives as government spies--and they're only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family's legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors--not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents' last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

The Debutante's Code is now out in the world! You can get your copy HERE: https://amzn.to/3GQnoZt Or wherever you buy your fiction! 

The In-Between Times


Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she is married to her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!




 

 






You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

 You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

by Jill Kemerer

It’s been five weeks since your book released. The months leading up to it were exciting and, yes, chaotic. You did whatever you could to get the word about that bad boy out there. You poured time and energy into making the launch as impactful as possible, and yet, you wonder was it enough? Reviews trickle in—some good, some not-so-good. You can’t seem to shake this deflated feeling.

Everyone’s moved on from your book. Everyone except you.

Now you’re sitting on your couch, sipping tea, trying to figure out what to do next. You mentally tick through what you should be doing.

Writing, duh. But the thought of getting back into that manuscript sends a cold shiver down your spine. You have forty-three pages written.

They are not good pages.

The urge to post on your social media sites hits you strong. You need to stay relevant, right? But what would you even post about? You’ve spent so much time and effort promoting the book, it feels weird to go back to normal.

Maybe that’s the problem. You don’t want to go back to normal. Can’t every day be launch day? Can’t every day be special and exciting and full of celebrating a book you wrote?

Unfortunately, no.

You wish there was some way to check your numbers. Or, if you self-published the book, you check your numbers. All. The. Time.

Are my sales good? Bad? How do they compare to other authors in my genre?

You don’t know. You won’t know. You will never truly know how your sales compare to your peers.

Did I earn out my advance? What happens if I didn’t? Will this contract be my last?

Frowning, you take another sip of tea. And lunge for the nearby muffin.

Slowly it hits you that this is it. You’re back to the same you before you had a book launch to plan. You splashed in the happy waters of a book-release summer, then slid into the autumn of ongoing promotion, and now you’re staring down the writer’s winter.

Work lies ahead, and this winter is cold.

As you sit there, you force yourself to block all those pesky thoughts about sales. You ignore Facebook. And you breathe. A sense of relief tickles the edges of your funk. For it is a funk.

But it’s one that can end at any time.

After brushing off the muffin crumbs from your fingers, you finish your tea and turn on your laptop. You open a file containing that dreadful draft, all forty-three pages of it. For a moment, you close your eyes and say a prayer. Then you start to read.

It’s bad.

But ten pages in, you’re kind of digging it. You clean up a few paragraphs. Jot down some notes.

And there you have it. You’re writing again.

You start thinking ahead to when this book will release. Then you chuckle and shake your head. You have to write it first. And it hits you. This is the fun part, too.

Do you struggle with the feeling of letdown after a book release? How do you deal with it?

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Jill's new release, The Prodigal's Holiday Hope (paperback for US, ebook for international)

You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

He’s learned from his mistakes…

But can he prove he’s changed?

 

When Sawyer Roth is hired to work on his childhood ranch, he knows he has a damaged reputation to repair. Tess Malone, the new ranch owner’s daughter, is the hardest to win over. But as Christmas approaches, Tess and her toddler son find a way into Sawyer’s heart. He lost everything the last time he put his trust in love. Can he risk it all again?

 

Click HERE for Purchase Links and More


 

You Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. Over half a million of her books have sold worldwide. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,jillkemerer.com.

 

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Polishing Your Manuscript

Polishing Your Manuscript

by Mindy Obenhaus

Congratulations! You’ve labored for months (maybe years) and, finally, your manuscript is complete. It’s out of your head and on the page. You can’t wait for your editor to read it. But, slow down. Before you hit Send, have you made sure your shiny new manuscript truly shines? Or could it use a little polishing?

This is where I currently find myself in the writing process. I’m almost ready to send off another manuscript, but not until it undergoes a little polishing. This means I have to read the story in its entirety with a few specific things in mind.

Flow. Does the story move smoothly, or does it feel disjointed? Sometimes I’ve got the right stuff, it’s just in the wrong order. By shifting around a couple of scenes or even approaching the scene from a different POV, things feel more organic, like they were meant to be that way. Sometimes I have to delete things. Flow is important. If something trips you up or doesn’t feel right, then some tweaking might be in order.

Continuity. Things sometimes change as I’m writing.

  • Character names. Like when my heroine’s mother’s boyfriend was named Jerry and I soon discovered that reading “Mom and Jerry” in a sentence had my mind conjuring up images of a certain cat and mouse. So, Jerry became Bill. However, the Replace function doesn’t always catch everything, so it’s good to double check.
  • Descriptions. Everything from hair color to eye color needs to be consistent. Unless, of course, your character colors their hair midway through the story or is wearing colored contact lens. This also applies to…
  • Setting. If I don’t have a clear vision of a setting in my head from the onset of the story, it’s apt to change. As someone who’s used both real and fictitious settings in my books, I can honestly say this is where a real setting is an advantage. Still, the places in which your scenes take place can evolve during the writing process. What I thought I wanted at the beginning isn’t necessarily how they remain, so I need to make sure I’m consistent throughout the story.

Tightening. Do I have repeated words? Can sentences be rephrased to be more succinct? Do I really need all that description of something in chapter six after I’ve already talked about it in chapter two?

Hooks and chapter endings.This is important. We don’t want a reader to sigh with contentment as they close the book at the end of chapter seven, set the book aside and go to sleep. No, we want to leave them hanging so they can’t wait to move onto chapter eight. Some of the greatest compliments a writer can hear are things like, “I couldn’t put it down,” or “You kept me up late because I couldn’t stop reading.” Save the satisfying ending for the end of the book. But hook the reader at the end of each scene so they want to keep reading.

Completing your manuscript is always something to be celebrated. But don’t be so eager to send it off that you overlook that all important polishing process. Remember, the hard work is already done. So you may as well take just a little more time to make sure it shines.

Writers, what tips do you have for polishing your manuscripts? Readers, what makes a book one you can’t put down? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my upcoming release, Their Yuletide Healing (print US only, digital for international). And check out the book trailer HERE!

Polishing Your Manuscript

As her plans unravel, can she give her children what they truly need?

Foster mom Rae Girard’s determined to make her children’s first Christmas with her the best they’ve ever had—and she’s shocked when the town scrooge, attorney Cole Heinsohn, offers to pitch in. Rae’s young charges have melted Cole’s heart, and he wants them to experience the special day he never had. But when disaster strikes, an imperfect holiday might bring them something better: a family…


Polishing Your Manuscript

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

Four Tips to Distancing Distractions to Get the Writing Done

Four Tips to Distancing Distractions to Get the Writing Done

by Lisa Jordan

I glanced at my calendar to see what today’s to-do list entailed. I saw I had a blog post due for Seekerville. I’d been pondering a topic, but nothing concrete had come to mind. I decided to work on something else and then I’d go back to the blog post.

As I began working on my characters’ backstories for my new novel, I sneezed, reached for a tissue, and realized I had grabbed the last one. So I broke down the box, tossed it in the recycling and went to retrieve a new box. But along the way, my dog needed to go outside, so I took her to the door. On the way back to get the box of tissues, I noticed an empty dish in the living room. I grabbed it and took it to the kitchen. I set it in the sink and realized I had started to brew a cup of tea but never finished it. I carried the reheated tea back to my writing chair and started to sit when my dog scratched at the door to come back inside. I let her in, gave her a treat, then refilled her water dish. On the way back from the kitchen I glanced at the few dishes in the sink and decided to put them in the dishwasher. But first I needed to empty it. As I emptied the dishwasher, a puddle of water from an upturned bowl spilled on the floor. So I grabbed a towel and wiped it up. I tossed the towel in the bathroom hamper and noticed my hair brush still on the counter. I put it away, then decided to give the bathroom a quick wipe-down. I returned to the kitchen, finished the dishwasher, and reloaded the few dirty dishes. I gave the counters a quick wipe, then headed back to my computer. I sat, grabbed my cup of tea, and then sneezed again.

I had forgotten to grab the fresh box of tissues.

Okay, I admit not all of my days go like this. I can be pretty linear with my to-do list—I focus on one job until it’s done. However, there are days when my mental train of thought would be a good plot for Laura Numeroff’s If You Give… series. And the same goes when it’s time to write. If I’m not focused on that day’s particular goal, I’m as distracted as Dug in Up.

So how’s a writer to distance himself or herself from distractions when the writing needs to get done?

Many of us who frequent Seekerville on a regular basis have multitudes of distractions every day. We have spouses, families, careers, additional day jobs, church responsibilities, pets, community engagements, and extracurricular activities to manage.

I’m the kind of person who needs to plan out my day. If I don’t, then I don’t have the right focus to get things done. I also like a routine, and that goes for my writing as well. I don’t thrive in chaos. So when life throws curveballs, I do try to be flexible by rolling with flare-ups need to be dealt with that day.

Four Tips to Distancing Distractions to Get the Writing Done

When I’m on deadline, though, I need focused time to get my writing done so I can submit on time. So here are my four tips for distancing distractions:

  1. Plan. Like I said, I’m a planner. I use My Book Therapy’s My Brilliant Writing Planner to map out my story goals, my monthly appointments, events, and deadlines. Then I break down my monthly goals into weekly to-dos. Each day, I write out a to-do list of what needs to be done. I begin with the top three important tasks, then I add in less important things such as housework and laundry. 
  2. Pray. Once I have an idea of what my week is going to be, I give it up to God and ask Him to order my time. I also ask for peace when I need to be flexible and not to stress when I don’t meet my writing goals for the day. Most of all, I want to stay centered in His will and use my time wisely. 
  3. Pause. When it’s time to write, I pause to reflect on what I had written the day before and where I need to take my characters on their story adventures. Then I pause notifications on email, social media, texting, and phone calls. My phone is set up to allow my family to notify me if it’s important. 
  4. Protect. In addition to being an author, I’m also the content manager for My Book Therapy’s online writing school, Novel Academy, so I don’t have all day to write. I’ve always worked an additional day job along with my writing, so I’ve had to protect my writing time. I try to write for two hours in the mornings when my brain is the freshest, then I can use the rest of the day for housework, appointments, and my day job. In order to get the words written, I need to protect that writing time. Sometimes that writing block does get interrupted, but I usually know in advance and can plan a separate writing block accordingly so I can still meet my word count.  

These habits, while not perfect, have helped me to establish the necessary boundaries and writing routine in order to grow my career.

Your Turn: What do you do to distance distractions so you can get words on the page. 

Mindy here. Lisa is giving away a copy of her new release, The Father He Deserves, to one lucky commenter (US mailing addresses only, please). 

Four Tips to Distancing Distractions to Get the Writing Done

A determined dad. A wary mother.

Making amends is never easy… Injured in a kayaking accident, champion Evan Holland returns home to train rescue dogs. But his unexpected partner is the woman he left behind, Natalie Bishop. And she has a secret: a son Evan never knew he had. Now Evan must prove he can be a real father. But earning Natalie’s trust back will take hope, forgiveness—and risking everything on forever…

Four Tips to Distancing Distractions to Get the Writing Done

Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Cynthia Ruchti of Books & Such Literary Management, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. Her latest book, The Father He Deserves, releases in July 2021. She is the content manager for Novel Academy, powered by My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for over thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys quality family time and being creative with words, photos, fibers, and papers. Learn more about her at lisajordanbooks.com.

  

Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright

Please welcome guest Jennifer L. Wright as she shares a bit of her writing and faith journey with us.

I have always wanted to be a writer.

Even from a young age, I had a love of books, and I wrote my first “novel” in the seventh grade. For the longest time, I believed my future lay in journalism, but it took only a few short months of working local news to realize it wasn’t a good fit for me. After my son was born and I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, I decided it was time to take my passion in another direction: I was going to write a book.

So I did. Then I wrote another one. And another one.

But none of these novels went anywhere. I couldn’t get a publishing deal. I couldn’t get an agent. I couldn’t even to find someone outside my family to read my writing.

I knew—just knew—writing was what God had called me to do. It was the only thing I’d ever felt drawn to, passionate about, inescapably bound to pursue. But if this was God’s plan for me, then why was every door slamming in my face?

One particularly depressing day, I found myself at my kitchen table, Bible open in front of me, tears streaming down my face. I’d received another pass from an agent I’d been so sure was the one. Another false start. Another dashed hope.

It had now been six years since I’d begun my writing journey. Six years of constant disappointment, heartache, and rejection. The secular marketplace was looking for particular types of books—and they were not the books I was trying to write. I wanted to believe I wasn’t wrong, that I hadn’t misinterpreted God’s calling for me, but my spirit was crushed beneath the weight of my own failure. Surely God’s plan wouldn’t involve this much pain, right? I was at a crossroads; I could no longer continue down this path, and yet neither carrying on nor quitting seemed to be the right answer.

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright
So that morning, as tears wet the thin pages of my Bible, I cried out to God in my grief: “Lord, I can’t do this anymore. I was so sure this is what You wanted me to do, but maybe I was wrong. I am broken. I am lost. I am confused. What am I supposed to do?”

And then a voice answered me from inside my head, so loud, clear, and concise—so different from the muddled indecision clouding my brain—that I froze.

Wait.

If you’ve never had a moment with God like this, I don’t expect you to understand. But I knew I was hearing His voice. He had met me in my pit. He had heard. And He had responded in a way I had never experienced before.

Wait.

And so I did. I kept writing. I kept querying. I kept waiting.

Three more years went by . . . and still I was waiting. During that time, I had more rejections, more heartaches, more disappointments. But I remained steadfast, buoyed by the memory of that long-ago encounter. I knew I had heard God’s voice; doubt wasn’t the issue. Instead, my grief manifested itself as something else: impatience.

Sometimes, even with the assurance of God’s promises, we can grow impatient and irritated by what we see is a lack of action on His part. You said You were going to do this, Lord. So . . . when?

Or in the words of David, “How long?”

In Psalm 13, David writes: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (verses 1-2).

In just two verses, David asks “How long?” four times. The man had been anointed by Samuel, destined for kingship . . . and yet fifteen to twenty years had passed. In his waiting, he was pursued and persecuted, chased into the wilderness and hidden in a cave, fearing for his life. It was such a stark contrast: his eyes were on the palace, but his body remained in a pasture.

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright
It’s no wonder he began to get a little impatient.

But it was precisely in this waiting where David became equipped to become king. His courage was tested. His character was refined. His faith was strengthened. Faced with what could have very easily been perceived as at best inaction and at worst faithlessness on the part of his God, David chose to lean in to what he knew to be true instead: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6).

David couldn’t see an end to his waiting. He couldn’t see how this seemingly unwinnable situation would play out. And he certainly couldn’t see how he would ever move from a cave to a throne.

What he could see, however, was God.

Our waiting can often bring forth a type of “spiritual amnesia” where our present circumstances overshadow the ways in which God has been faithful, not only to His people, but to us personally in the past. During those years between that fateful morning prayer and when I finally signed with agent, I was tempted many times to discredit what I knew to be God’s voice. Leaning in to what I knew to be true about who He is and reminders of His past goodness were the only remedies for a present that didn’t feel quite so good.

God loves me . . . and He has told me to wait.

God has a plan for me . . . and He has told me to wait.

God has delivered me in the past . . . and He has told me to wait.

God is faithful, merciful, all-knowing, and all-powerful . . . and He has told me to wait.

My debut novel, If It Rains, will be released July 6 from Tyndale House Publishers—a full ten years after my writing journey began and four years after that fateful morning in which God told me to wait. I will not sugarcoat the experience—it was brutal. And yet, holding my first published novel in my hands, I can so clearly see how God used the experience to ready my heart. Ten years ago, I wasn’t ready for the plans and purposes He had for me. He used this time not only to grow me as a writer but to strengthen my faith and mature my spirit for this moment. 

Because this experience wasn’t just about finding a publisher. It was about finding Him.

What about you? Is there something you’ve been waiting for? You may not experience God’s voice the way I did that morning, but you can rest assured that He is just as much there with you as He was with me. Don’t let your impatience or frustration in your waiting distract you from the answer you’ve already received: Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who sees every tear, hears every cry, knows every longing. As we struggle through our waits, never knowing when or how or if the deepest desires will be fulfilled, we can still find peace in the arms of the Savior. By focusing our eyes on the God who holds our past, present, and future in His hands, we can boldly proclaim the words of David, who, while still in his waiting, penned this verse: 

“I am still confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14

 

One commenter will win a print copy of Jennifer's debut, If It Rains! (US only)

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright

Jennifer L. Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a master’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering the local news for her to realize that writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. 

A born and bred Hoosier, she was plucked from the Heartland after being swept off her feet by an Air Force pilot and has spent the past decade traveling the world and, every few years, attempting to make old curtains fit in the windows of a new home. She currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, two children, and one rambunctious dachshund.

Visit her website.


ABOUT THE BOOK

If It Rains by Jennifer L. Wright (Tyndale, July 2021)

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright
A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl.

It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.

Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.

Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home. Learn more... 


Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice Cantore

Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice Cantore

Please welcome guest Janice Cantore as she shares how persistence in writing goes hand in hand with learning to accept critiques.

I’m often asked how long it took for me to get my first book published. It was a long time—seven years—and there were many rejections before I saw my first novel on a bookstore shelf. Two lessons I learned from the process: (1) keep writing and (2) learn to accept critiques.

#1 Keep writing. 

Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice Cantore
Sometimes a painful rejection can make you feel as though you should be doing something else, that writing is not your gift. When I was in the police academy, the first few weeks were tough; they were meant to weed out people who did not have the mindset or skill set that would make them good police officers. At first, people were quitting left and right. Those of us who eventually stuck it out had a running joke: When things were hard and a classmate complained, someone would say, “I think Truck Masters is hiring,” meaning they could always quit and try something else.

I’ve talked to enough Christian writers who feel called to writing, whether it be devotional, fiction, nonfiction, or for the secular market, to know that rejections sometimes hit them in their faith. I don’t mean their faith in God; I mean they begin to wonder if writing is their gift after all, or if maybe they should be doing something else. If that’s the case, keep writing, no matter the rejections. I’m not saying ignore the rejections. Hopefully, you’ve received feedback to help you improve. What I am saying is you can’t edit a blank page. If this is your calling, you’re not going to be happy not writing. Quitting because someone said no will simply make you miserable.

No one ever told me that getting published was going to be easy. All I knew was that I had to write. I just kept at it. And I’ve never met a writer who said that since they believed it was their calling, every page came out perfect the first time. Great writers work at their craft.



#2 Learn to accept critiques. 

Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice Cantore
Number two goes hand in hand with number one. If you’re going to persist and keep writing, be honest with yourself about why the rejections come. I’ve heard stories at writers’ conferences about writers who won’t accept criticism. They are in love with what they have put on the page, and they refuse to listen to editors or agents who give helpful critiques. A person who can’t look at his or her writing honestly and make changes is not likely to ever be published. Just yesterday I deleted a page and a half from my work in progress because honestly, after reading and rereading it, as much as I loved what I had written, it was misplaced and completely slowed the story down.

My first book was rejected multiple times before a paid reader pointed out a major flaw in the first chapter. I’m glad I didn’t quit and that I accepted the criticism and fixed the flaw. I had a book contract a month later.

Don’t take rejection personally. Try to look at any criticism objectively. I sometimes think the writing process is a mess. I use so much ink and so many pages of paper before I get to the point where I think the book is ready. Then I send it to the editor, and it comes back all marked up with changes that have been made and notes about more changes that need to be made. Sometimes at first pass I don’t agree with the editor about what needs to be edited. And then after a few more passes, I realize that she’s right, and the changes make the book stronger. Most critiques are made to help you improve, not to destroy you.

In the police academy there were many reasons people quit. Some could not meet the physical standards. Some realized that wearing a uniform would make them a target. Others maybe realized that carrying a gun might mean they’d have to take a life one day. I just remember being glad I stuck it out, that when I completed the academy and was sworn in, I truly felt I’d accomplished something special. In reality, the work had only just begun, but that is another story.

It was the same with writing. When that first contract came, I was so gratified that I had stuck with it. It was such an exciting rush to see my words in print. And truly, the work had only just begun.

If writing is what you must do, keep at it. Read about writing, go to conferences, learn your craft. Absorb good critiques and forget bad ones. Keep writing, keep editing, don’t give up easily, and never give up if it is your dream.


One commenter will win a print copy of Janice's new release, Breach of Honor! (US only)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice Cantore
Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Her twenty-two years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories. She has penned twelve romantic suspense novels: the Cold Case Justice series, the Pacific Coast Justice series, the Line of Duty series, and Critical Pursuit and Visible Threat. Her latest novel, Breach of Honor, releases in July.

Website | Facebook | Romantic Suspense A-Team Facebook Group


ABOUT THE BOOK

Breach of Honor by Janice Cantore (Tyndale, July 2021)

Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice Cantore
As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero, and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.

Though public opinion seems ready to convict Leah, Officer Clint Tanner is one of the few to believe she acted in self-defense. As he works with Leah’s attorney to produce the evidence they need, new truths about Brad’s dark side come to light—and reveal a deep-rooted problem in Table Rock. There are some who have breached their sworn duty to serve and protect . . . and they’ll do anything to keep their secret safe. Learn more...

Creating Art from Language

 by Jan Drexler


Creating Art from Language

Words, words, words!

As writers, they are the medium we employ to create our stories. Where would we be without them?

But there is a difference between using words and creating with words.

We use words whenever we communicate – I’m using words as I write this blog post, and you’re using words as you read it. We use words to express ideas, feelings, suggestions, commands, complaints… We use words a LOT!

However, when I pull up the file for my Work-in-Progress, I’m using words to create a story in my readers’ minds. Each word becomes important – not only in its meaning, but in its sound as it is spoken aloud and in the emotions it evokes.

Let me use this great word as an example: TRUCK.

Creating Art from Language

 
If you’re like me, that one word brings forth a multitude of images and emotions to your mind. Let me name just a few – I think of dump trucks, semi-trucks, people driving trucks, pick-up trucks pulling campers or boats, work trucks hauling tools and equipment, ice cream trucks, delivery trucks, truck drivers, children playing with Tonka trucks…and then there are tons of off-shoots of those thoughts, including the movie ‘Convoy!”

But it is also one of my favorite words because it is onomatopoetic. Say TRUCK out loud. It sounds like what it means, doesn’t it? TRUCK. Solid. Utilitarian. No nonsense.

When I use the word "truck" in my writing, it is on purpose. I have chosen that specific word for a reason.

Creating Art from Language

 
When we’re writing, we want to choose words that will create a sub-text for our readers. Words that create emotion and go beyond the text on the page to give our stories depth and purpose. Words that make our writing sing!

How do we do that?

There is no easy answer, but I can give you a couple suggestions to point you in the right direction.

1) Stay away from clichés, like the one I used in the previous sentence. Instead of clichés, use your own unique way of saying the same thing. So, instead of “to point you in the right direction,” I could have said “to help you choose words that will add a lyrical quality to your writing.”
One exception to the cliché rule – sometimes using a cliché in dialogue can give our readers a clue about our character’s personality. But that’s in dialogue, not narrative writing.

2) Keep track of weasel words. Those are words that we find popping up in our writing too often. For one book, my weasel word was “just.” For another book, it was “shrugged.” Just when I get one weasel word conquered, another one shows up, shrugging its shoulders apologetically. (Yes, I did that on purpose.) When weasel words dominate my writing, my story doesn’t sing. It drones.

3) Use strong words, but don’t overuse them.

 

Strong words? What are those?


They are words that we use instead of common words to bring more interest and artistry to our writing. I use thesaurus.com to find synonyms for common words that will give me ideas. I often find a word that is perfect for my sentence.

But beware – I recently read a story that was so full of strong verbs and other words that it read as if the author or editor had gone down a list of synonyms and chose them without thinking. Don’t be guilty of that faux pas! We need to choose our words with care - verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.

The result of overloading our writing with strong words can sound like this:

Cindy detected a crack in the old, yellowed wallpaper. She ambled closer to inspect the fissure, triumphantly comprehending how this opening engendered the source of the secret door.

Do you see how too many “interesting” words creates a tedious set of sentences no one will want to read? The story gets lost in the dense underbrush!

Creating Art from Language

 

Which brings me back to writing stories that sing. It isn’t only our job. It isn’t only our craft. It is our art.

And art takes work.

We write, rewrite, and rewrite again.

Rewriting gives us the perfect opportunity to clear out the weeds and weasels to bring out the strong structure of our story.

What about you? Are you a word-lover? Or as K.M. Weiland says, a "word player?" 
What is one of your favorite words, and why? (And please tell me I'm not the only one that loves playing with word meanings and sounds!)


When Life Feels Like Plate-spinning By Tim Shoemaker

 I don’t know beans about spinning plates on sticks, and you probably don’t either. You’ve seen plate-performers amaze their audiences, though, right? They actually make plate-spinning look fun—but you and I both know they’re working hard.

Sometimes this writing life is a lot like spinning plates. We’ve got projects, proposals, family, church, jobs, and more . . . all needing our attention. And we don’t always succeed. Sometimes it feels like all we’re doing is walking on broken glass. I’ve noticed that my creativity goes down as my stress goes up. The more I worry about how I’ll get everything done, the less productive I become. Ugh!

The truth is, having more than one project to do—and rotating between them—sometimes raises the quality level of all my work. I stay fresher. More creative.

So how do we pull off this writing-life balancing act? Here are a few things that help me.

Deadline Driven. Every project has a deadline—or I create one. If I’m assigning the date, I leave some decent margin for the unexpected.


When Life Feels Like Plate-spinning By Tim Shoemaker
Image from Pixabay

Break Down Each Deadline. What steps do I need to take to make that deadline? I map out a route on my calendar.

Stick to My Routines. I roll out of bed and spend the first 15 minutes stretching and exercising. Have breakfast while reading my Bible. Walk two miles. Clean up. That’s my normal workday morning routine. When I deviate because I’m extra busy, I feel “off.” All day. And if I’m off, likely I won’t be as productive.

Dress the Part. I’m a writer. For me, dressing like a professional makes me feel professional too. Clean, comfortable jeans. Nice shirt. I don’t want to get sloppy with any part of my day. Not with how I dress—or how I write. 

Some like writing in sweats. They may choose a T-shirt with a neck stretched wide enough to drop a watermelon through. That’s not me. Even COVID never changed that. So much of our writing is impacted by our frame of mind, right? 

I dress in a way where I can go work in a public place without being embarrassed if someone recognizes me.

Follow Your Personal Tide Charts, and Navigate Your Day. High tide. Low tide. The water level on our coasts is constantly changing. And for me, there are high and low tide times of my day. Periods when I’m more creative—and less. I want to navigate my day so that a job needing high productivity or creativity is tackled when my energy tide is high.

And I tend to plan out tomorrow when I finish working today. First thing in the morning I have a hard time even picking out a shirt. That isn’t the best time for me to make decisions on how to schedule the day efficiently. 

Do the Worst First. Save the Best for Last. If there is a part of a project that I’m dreading or maybe I find it nagging at me when I head to bed at night, I may just schedule that as Job One tomorrow morning. If I procrastinate, it tends to keep tapping me on the shoulder all day. “Hey, remember me? I’m still here.” It’s distracting—and that isn’t good when I’m writing. 

I balance this by planning to work on a project that I really want to do later in the day. It becomes an incentive. A reward to get the pesky job done first.

Stay in Your Lane. When I’m driving the expressway, I have a feel for what’s happening in the other lanes, but my focus is on the one I’m in. With writing, I need to stay in my lane. If I’ve dedicated two hours to a particular project, I don’t check my emails while I’m at it. And I tend to keep my desk clear. I’ll only have the materials visible that I need for this project—right now. 

We hear how men tend to compartmentalize things. I’ve found this is a really helpful trait when there are lots of projects to do. The more I compartmentalize and focus on just the one thing I need to do right now, the less overwhelmed I’m going to get. I don’t have ten plates to keep spinning. I don’t have ten things on my list to get done. Well, I do, but I only focus on one thing—knowing I’ve blocked out enough time to get the segment done.


When Life Feels Like Plate-spinning By Tim Shoemaker
Image from Pixabay

Take Frequent Breaks. It’s hard to stay focused for long periods of time. I’m better off pushing hard for a bit—resisting the temptation to multi-task. So set a timer. Work for an hour—then take a stretch break before setting the timer again.

Make It Fun. I feel if I’m having fun, it will show in my writing. Readers will know I love what I do.

Work Outside. I made a “standing” desk that I can set up in a wooded spot behind my house—or I can pop it in the car and drive somewhere. The desk breaks down into just three parts, and I can set it up in a few minutes. Now I’m mobile, and I can work anywhere I want.

Fast food restaurants. Driving to a place where I can get a coffee—or a soft drink with a side of fries? It fuels my writing. To me, that’s fun. 

Snack time. I’ll almost always have a snack planned. If I’m taking my writing desk to a location, I might have a cooler with me loaded with fun stuff.

What is fun for you? How can you incorporate that into your writing routine?

Picture the Audience. It helps if I think of who will benefit from each project I’m working on. When I’m writing for kids age 12 to 14, I’m not writing for a nameless, faceless group. I’m thinking about people in that target range—or those who will be. So as I was writing Escape From the Everglades, I pictured about how Lily and Caleb and Claire and Miles would love it someday. And Norah and James and Daniel and Grace. Real people that I know. When I imagine their faces as they’re hearing the story for the first time? Well, that’s fuel to keep me going.

Build in Time for Family. I don’t care how busy I get, I’ve always got time for family. I’ve heard other writers talk about locking themselves in their room for three weeks before a deadline. They warn their family not to disturb them for anything less than an emergency. So in essence they’re shutting out the ones they love—to impact people they’ve never met? Something feels off with that approach. Family time keeps me balanced—and staying balanced keeps me productive. 

Ask for Help. If you watch any of the plate-spinning videos on YouTube, for example, often the plate spinner isn’t alone. Sometimes there’s a helper. I’ve got two helpers. I share my schedule with my wife. She’s really good at encouraging me along and helping me guard that time. She’s also good at telling me when I’m planning too much. And I pray—especially when the schedule is packed. I need God’s creativity to write well. His help to be efficient. And I’m not too shy to ask for it.

There’s instructional videos on YouTube that teach exactly how to master the art of plate spinning. But the truth is, I don’t have time to learn a circus act. And likely you don’t either. We want to write. Do you have a busy life—lots of projects or family that need your attention? Thank God . . . and remember you can keep everything in balance, with His help. 



About the Author

When Life Feels Like Plate-spinning By Tim Shoemaker
Tim Shoemaker is the award-winning author of the Code of Silence series and a popular speaker—especially for school assemblies. When he isn’t on the speaking and teaching circuit, he’s busy working with kids and writing more great stories!

He’s the author of eleven books, including Super Husband; Super Dad; Code of Silence; Back Before Dark; Below the Surface; Smashed Tomatoes, Bottle Rockets . . . and Other Outdoor Devotionals You Can Do with Your Kids; Dangerous Devotions for Guys; and more.

He speaks for schools, churches, and parachurch organizations (such as Focus on the Family, Iron Sharpens Iron men’s conferences, International Network of Children’s Ministry, and the Moody Pastors’ Conference). He also speaks at men’s retreats, women’s gatherings, couples’ retreats, youth worker conventions, homeschool conventions, and writers’ conventions, and he conducts family devotion workshops all across the country.



About Escape from the Everglades

When Life Feels Like Plate-spinning By Tim Shoemaker

Escape from the Everglades
is the first book in the High Water series and blends contemporary mystery and suspense, dramatic situations, and high adventure that both boys and girls will love.

A park ranger’s son hates the Everglades, and he thinks he’ll just die if he doesn't escape Southern Florida soon . . . and he’s right. After Parker Buckman is mauled and nearly killed by an alligator, he sees the glades as a place of death. All he wants to do is get out of the area, and he’s convinced he won’t truly be okay until he does. But he can’t leave until he finds a friend who goes missing.

Escaping a bad situation isn’t a matter of a geographical change. Sometimes the best way to a brighter future is to face the darkness of your past.









Giveaway

Thank you, Tim for stopping by Seekerville! 

Tyndale Publishers is giving away a copy of Escape from the Everglades to one reader today. Just leave a comment below for Tim and you're entered.

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


From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Asking Questions Can Make Your Story Shine with Guest Blogger Laurel Blount

 

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Asking Questions Can Make Your Story Shine with Guest Blogger Laurel Blount

by Laurel Blount

As a writer, two of my favorite things are telling stories—and asking questions that help me tell better stories.

I’ll start off with a story. I was sorting through a box of photos, and I came across this one from about twenty years ago. That slightly blurry girl is me, sitting in the Atlanta airport getting ready to fly off to Paris with three teacher friends.

That trip-of-a-lifetime was every bit as awesome as it sounds. I lit a candle and prayed at Notre Dame, explored Versailles, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and ate some truly scrumptious food. But you know why I smiled when I saw this photo?

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Asking Questions Can Make Your Story Shine with Guest Blogger Laurel Blount

It’s my haircut.

I’d never had short hair. Like…never. My whole life I’d had long hair, with swoopy bits that fell over my forehead.

I was tired of that look, and I wanted to spruce up for my special Paris trip. I just wasn’t sure what to do.

One day, I was sitting in the stylist’s chair—the same sweet lady I had been going to for years—peeking out from under my bangs at my frumpy self in her mirror. I mustered up my courage and asked her a question:

“If you could do anything with my hair, what would you do?”

And oh, my word, ya’ll. It was as if I’d flipped some kind of switch. That woman’s eyes lit up, she grabbed a book, and she started thumbing through pages. “This!” She pointed to a super short haircut. “This right here! This is the perfect cut for you. You need to get your hair off your face and shorten it up. And then for pity’s sake, girl, go get your ears pierced!”

The poor lady was bouncing with excitement. She’d been cutting my hair for years, and apparently had secretly been dying to tell me what to do.

But, see? I’d never asked.

I was taken aback, and I definitely wasn’t sure about going that short. She seemed really confident, though, and she knew a lot more about hairstyles than I did.

So after one long minute, I said, “Do it.”

And you know what? I loved that haircut! It was fun-looking and simple to take care of, and I bopped all over Paris with easy-care, cute hair. (And earrings. Because she was right about that, too.)

That experience taught me a lesson that I’ve applied to my life—and my writing process—over and over again. People are often eager to share their expertise—but you’ve gotta ask.

For example, I have a wonderful vet who reads my animal scenes. (This is especially important since I’ve ventured into Amish fiction. That’s a lot of horses, ya’ll.) I knew she was a very busy professional, and I hated to bother her. But finally, when I had a really tricky horse section, I just…asked. Turned out, she was delighted to help me, and she’s been such a blessing!

I also have a dear author friend who was an ob/gyn nurse, and I asked if she’d check a maternity scene in my Love Inspired in progress. She did, and she told me what I’d gotten wrong—which was plenty. (In return, I gave her tips when she was writing about milking a cow. Hey, I’ve got some skills, too!)

I’ve talked to doctors, journalists, social workers, farriers, adoption coordinators, former law enforcement officers, sales executives, ministers—you name the profession, I’ve probably cornered one of them and said, “Could I ask you a question?” Most of the time, they’ve been very gracious and generous with their knowledge.

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Asking Questions Can Make Your Story Shine with Guest Blogger Laurel Blount

When I considered delving into Amish romance, I hesitated. I’d read lots of books about the Plain lifestyle, sure, but those only take you so far. I wanted to hear a more personal perspective. So, I approached an acquaintance, Anna, who’d grown up Amish and left her community as an adult. I respectfully asked if she’d mind answering a few questions for me, and she agreed.

That led to some fascinating talks. She enjoyed some of my questions more than others—like the time I asked her if Amish sweethearts ever kissed while they were dating.  (If you’re interested, the answer—after some laughing—was yes.)

She also told me that Amish men often carry pocketwatches in the pocket of their pants, that families in her community generally kept only one horse until the children were older and needed one of their own, and that the seven mile buggy ride to town took her about half an hour. She described to me what the inside of a buggy smelled like and how the straight pins she used to fasten her dress would sometimes work loose and prick her, leaving little dots of blood on the fabric. She told me about the long talks couples are given by the leaders of the church before they are married—and how nervous she felt and so ready for that part to be over.

The personal insights she provided enriched my writing as I worked on Shelter in the Storm. I’m so glad I found the courage to talk to her.  As much as I love asking questions, it’s not always easy for me to approach the people I need to speak with, especially when I don’t know them well. Like most writers, I have a strong introverted streak. So far I’ve had the most success with people I know personally or those I’m introduced to by a helpful friend.

Since I started with a story, I’ll end with some questions. What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve learned as a result of asking questions related to your writing projects? Have any tips for finding experts who are willing to chat with information-hungry authors? Is there somebody you’d love to talk to for your current story?

And finally—one along the lines of my do-Amish-couples-kiss question. Has anybody ever tried these jams that I saw at our local Mennonite café? I’m so curious!

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Asking Questions Can Make Your Story Shine with Guest Blogger Laurel Blount

A commenter will be chosen to win one of these mystery jams along with a copy of Shelter in the Storm. As long as you promise to tell me what the jam tastes like. Because you already know…

I’m gonna ask.

 

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Asking Questions Can Make Your Story Shine with Guest Blogger Laurel Blount

Carol award-winning author Laurel Blount writes inspirational romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart. She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals. She writes for both Love Inspired/Harlequin and Berkley/Penguin Random House, and she is rep’d by Jessica Alvarez at BookEnds Literary Agency. Connect with Laurel at www.laurelblountbooks.com

 

Another Winter GoneThe In-Between TimesYou Survived Your Book Launch. Now What?Polishing Your ManuscriptFour Tips to Distancing Distractions to Get the Writing Done Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. WrightPersistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice CantoreCreating Art from LanguageFrom Ordinary to Extraordinary: How Asking Questions Can Make Your Story Shine with Guest Blogger Laurel Blount

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