Friday, March 27, 2015

Be Still by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

I attended the 2015 Florida Christian Writers Conference last month. This was my 5th year attending. It’s close to my home, allows me to commute, and fits within my budget. All good reasons to go, right?

Learned a lot about the ever-changing face of the crazy world we call “Christian Publishing.” E-books are reaching a plateau (flatlining maybe?), unless you practically give them away. A year ago, everybody thought e-readers would become little Terminators and take over the publishing world. Now, it appears a simple business model may have actually done what John Conner struggled to accomplish in three movies.

Thank you, Kindle Unlimited.

Paperbacks are on the rise, especially with millennials, those twenty-somethings who always have their nose in a…, uh…, phone. Go figure. They like the “feel.” Paperbacks don’t turn off or keep beeping with notification sounds. It also seems highlighting sections of an online textbook and then trying to locate them later is a little difficult on an e-reader. Huh? Who knew? (And no, I’m not going to make any blonde jokes about putting white-out on the screen.) Other younger non-student-type-folks are finding that holding a book works better with the brain. “I know I saw that somewhere. It was on the left-hand page, right-hand column, halfway down, next to the picture of the liver.” Ever been there? Done that? (For more details, you can check out The Washington Post Article link below.)

Said all that to say this: Nothing is concrete. Nothing is unchangeable. Except God.

Book publishers come and go. Contracts get violated. Trends are just that. Trends. Sometimes they devolve into “Fads.” People scramble to catch the next big wave, but most waves only hit the shore and fizzle. Even tsunamis go away eventually.

Then, there’s those “Christian” people in the publishing world who sometimes don’t do “Christian” things, like taking the notes of workshop leaders and then hitting the lecture circuit, pretending THEY came up with all that knowledge. Oh, yeah. It’s happened.

Or what about publishers and bookstore chains who “go under” or file for bankruptcy? It happens. Some events are just unfortunate. Others may have been prevented if the business model was better. Point is, this crazy world of Christian publishing changes with the proverbial wind.

I learned one very valuable lesson this year. It’s a personal one for me. One I cannot elaborate upon in print for the world to see. Too many contractual issues involved, not to mention biblical teachings to follow as well. Suffice it to say, that there comes a time in every writer’s life when he or she has to step down, off the platform, and allow God to speak to him or her off stage. It’s not necessarily that God wasn’t controlling their life or directing them in their journey, and therefore God had to “grab the hook.” It’s more of a season wherein everything was humming along, and then God stepped in and said, “Okay, I have a plan for you, and it’s going to look a little different from this day forward.” I heard several people tell their stories this weekend. The message was eerily similar. Like a “movement” was afoot. Like God was cooking up something special. I, too, fell into that category. It’s not that I’m saying goodbye to writing. Instead, I am saying hello to other doors I had not considered or pursued before. Doors that seem to be open right now because of other ones God has closed.

So, what’s a writer to do when the tumult of the publishing world rages? Be still. That’s what you do. In Psalm 46 (NIV), the director of music, of the Sons of Korah says, “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” When the oceans rise and thunder roars, when the publishing houses close their doors and sales flit about like a water bug on a pond, be still. “The LORD almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (v. 7). He will guide. Like Moses and the Israelites, when Pharaoh’s army stormed closer, He will be exalted amongst the nations. And He will be exalted in your writing. If you’re still. And allow Him to bring you to the place where His Glory may be shown.

For more information on FCWC, go to
For The Washington Post link, click HERE.
Be Still and Know” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Something ominous lurks under the waters.

Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband's mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband's office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever...and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.

Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.

Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn's life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stand for.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister, having served churches in New York, Mississippi, Texas, and Iowa. He is married (for 33+ years), has three daughters, two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren. He speaks in churches on occasion, presently works as an assistant principal in a Central Florida school district, and plays the drums in his church’s praise team. He is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic too.

Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), ACFW, and Word Weavers International, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (OakTara, 2012; winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1 (OakTara 2013), as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.
Facebook:      C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter:         @CKevinThompson
Goodreads:    C. Kevin Thompson

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pinterest 101 for Writers by Dora Hiers

Last month, I introduced you to Pinterest. Have you checked it out yet? What do you think? Love it or leave it?

Today I’ll share some reasons why writers should love it. Lol.

Pinterest is viral. 
Here’s a quick example of the viral effect of Pinterest. Let’s say my sweet friend and fellow SW hostess, Sandy Ardoin pins several “late eighteenth century” gowns to showcase what her heroines might wear in her historical novels. Actually, take a second and check out this real boardBeautiful gowns, but aren’t you thankful that you don’t have to dress like that now? 

Let’s say Carla, a collector of vintage gowns and famous fashion designer, stumbles upon Sandy’s board. If Carla appreciates Sandy’s taste in late eighteenth century clothing, she can “follow” the board. Or, if Carla’s only impressed by a particular pin, she can “like” it using the little heart symbol, comment on it, “repin” it to one of her boards, or even “share” it on another social media site. Cool, huh? 

So Carla repins a gown to one of her boards, and her 20k followers see it in their feed. Also, because Carla’s board is categorized as “women’s fashion,” everybody who searches that category will see the pin. All these people have the same choice as Carla: like, comment, repin, or share. Similar to other social media sites, but more image centric.

You probably already knew all that, right? Here’s something you might not know. 

Pinterest is a popular hangout for females.
Courtesy of 2014 Media Bistro infogram
Out of 70 million total Pinterest users, 80% are women and 9 million connect their Pinterest accounts to Facebook*, doubling the value of a pin.

Surprising, huh? For those of you on the fence, did Pinterest just become a little more interesting?

We’re all writers here, and specifically, I’m a romance writer with a target female audience. Seems like Pinterest is a place I should hang out, right? Browsing Pinterest is something I enjoy in the evenings, more like a hobby than actual work, but I also use it as a marketing tool, which we’ll discuss more in length next month.

Pinterest offers analytics.
Did you know that Pinterest now offers the option of signing up as a business or converting? When I joined, a business account wasn’t an option (that I recall), so I just converted recently. During the conversion, I was also permitted to add “author” to my account name. That means that every time someone sees one of my pins, they will connect my name as a writer.

Also, converting to a business allows you to gather analytics, information such as most “repinned” pins, your audience’s interests, and what businesses they follow, and based on this data, they’ll offer strategic tips to reach more people.

If you’re already on Pinterest and would like to convert, the CONVERT HERE option is directly underneath the red JOIN US AS A BUSINESS button.
Although I converted, I haven’t uploaded the metatag to verify my website yet. Has anybody tried this already? What do you think? Positives? Negatives?

Make sure you stop by next month for Pinterest 101 for Writers, Take 2, and we’ll finish our Pinterest conversation. Until then, did I change your opinion about Pinterest? Any questions?

Oh, and if you love reading, writing and inspirational pins, check out my boards. Click the RED follow button upper right to follow all of them or the gray follow button under each board. Thanks! :)

Available by subscription
Police Officer Winter Evan and Navy SEAL Tanner Random are wrong for each other. Winter fears the water. Tanner skims through seas for a living. So four years ago, Winter convinced herself she’d be better off not worrying about his months at sea and his increased cajoling for physical intimacy.

But when she walked away, she lost a giant chunk of her heart.

Now Tanner’s back in town to care for his abandoned niece. No longer a SEAL, he’s sticking to the safety of the North Carolina mountains as a paramedic. Should Winter risk losing her heart all over again? Will God help them build what started years ago into something solid and secure? When love triumphs...

Dora Hiers is a multi-published author of Heart Racing, God-Gracing romances. She’s a member of RWA, and her local chapter, CRW. Connect with her on Seriously Write, her personal blogTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Created to Create by Jayme H. Mansfield

I'm sure we all have our creativity quirks -- those routines that prepare us to undertake a new project. I know I do. Today, author Jayme Mansfield shares how she gets in the creative spirit. -- Sandy

Jayme: It’s a bit quirky and most definitely a great procrastinator, but I have an innate need before I work on my manuscripts to straighten my desk, rewrite my to-do list, open the blinds, water the plants, refill my coffee…you get the picture. I like to think of this ritual as my version of a creative dance.

However, as much as those activities can wreck havoc on my word count (which if tracked, looks something like a cardiogram), I find those activities are actually my running start, my warm up, so to speak, to dive into the action for which the Creator called us to do—create.

If given the chance, I would have loved to ask author and Christian, Madeleine L’Engle what she did before sitting down to write one of her many books. In Walking on Water ~ Reflections on Faith and Art, she fills the pitcher to overflowing with her wisdom about the creative process, and most importantly, its Source. She shares that we are made in our Creator’s image, and thus are created to create.

She describes this mysterious relationship— “The artist cannot hold back; it is impossible, because writing, or any other discipline of art, involves participation in suffering, in the ills and the occasional stabbing of joys that come from being part of the human drama.” As writers, it’s wonderful to know that despite how we arrive at the final piece, the journey is never in isolation as much as it can feel that way.

Instead, even though throwing ten more balls to my dog and sorting paperclips in my drawer might be part of my choreography to write, I know my purpose is intentional. Ultimately, my true tasks as a writer are to listen, to be aware of the words and stories on my heart, and to finally park myself at the computer and respond to the Creator by creating.

Whether I meet a self-imposed word count or not, I must remind myself that sooner or later, the need to write will triumph. Because I, just like you, was created to create—and clearly, it is not of our doing to decide otherwise. So, before I open another file and make strides on my current manuscript, I think I’ll look out the window at the sunrise and thank God for a new day. For in the words of L’Engle, “In the act of creativity, the artist lets go of self-control which he normally clings to and is open to riding the wind.”

How do you prepare for that next creation? Do you have a particular routine you follow while you ponder the story?


Chasing the Butterfly
From a vineyard in the south of France to the sophisticated city of Paris, Ella Moreau searches for the hope
and love she lost as a young girl when her mother abandoned the family. Ella's journey is portrayed through a heartbroken child, a young woman's struggles during the tumultuous times surrounding World War II, and as a reflective adult. Through a series of secret paintings, her art becomes the substitute for lost love, the visual metaphor of her life. But when her paintings are discovered, the intentions of those she loves are revealed.

Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator. She provides vivid imagery as she melds her inspiring writing and artistic talents. Her debut novel, Chasing the Butterfly, released in October 2014 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Jayme is the owner of Piggy Toes Art Studio in Lakewood, Colorado. After a career in both the business and creative sides of advertising, Jayme received her teaching and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Creative Arts. For the past seventeen years, she has shared a passion for literacy and the writing process with her students. She teaches at Aspen Academy in Greenwood Village. Jayme is married to James and has three teenage boys.
To learn more and connect with Jayme, please visit:
The Blank Canvas blog:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Writer Resources by Angela Arndt

Write what scares you.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the Christian fiction industry has changed from the viewpoint of the writer.
  • Ten years ago you could pitch an idea at a conference and get a request for a full, even if you were unpublished. Now, it’s best to have a finished, polished manuscript before you approach an editor or agent.
  • Ten years ago, websites were optional. Five years ago if you had a blog and a few followers, you were doing great. Now it helps to have a presence on all the social platforms, a professional website, and an active blog.
If you want to be look professional, you need to have a great product (completed, edited manuscript), but you also need to act professional. This post is long for Seriously Write and there’s lots of links, but don’t be overwhelmed. Just skip down to the sections that apply to you.
  1. Do You Really Want to Be a Writer?
    Let's start with the biggie: should you be a writer? If you’ve been toying with the idea, but just don’t know if you’ve been called to write, take a look at these websites. Although they’re mainly for non-fiction writers and speakers, they can still help you find your genre niche or brand.

    Before You Decide What You Want to Do With Your Life, Do This First by Jeff Goins. This is all about looking at the way God has guided you through life to help you decide what kind of writer you are. In fact, Jeff Goins’ website is a great resource for anyone who needs a peptalk about career choices.

    Michael Hyatt’s website focuses on how to become intentional. It’s not just for writers, in fact, if you’re unsure about what to do with your life, Michael Hyatt has some pointers for that, too.

    Blogging Your Passion University by Jonathan Milligan, again, is for those who are motivational speakers or non-fiction writers, but it’s also great for anyone who wants to build a platform and a tribe. Jonathan’s videos, posts and graphics focuses on integrity and building a successful platform.

    One more and I’ll stop: Kevin Kaiser and his 1KTrueFans site are all about building a fan base. It’s good for those who are multi-pubbed or pre-pubbed because publishing houses want to know about your influence. Kaiser teaches you how to build that by building community.

  2. Community
    And speaking of community: writers’ online communities are filled with those who have made the same decision. One of my writer friends told me recently that people who aren’t writers are called, “normals.” Writers need others who speak the same language.

    American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) – If you write Christian or inspirational fiction and you aren’t a member of ACFW, you need to climb down from your ivory tower and join the land of the living. You’ll find moral support, lots of resources, workshops, classes, and reference information from others who write your genre. In addition to their considerable online presence, ACFW-er’s also have access to local groups and an out-of-this-world conference.

    My Book Therapy - If you have an idea, but you don’t know how to complete your book, MyBookTherapy is the place to start. Susan May Warren founded this site that has tons of videos and posts to help you write your novel. There’s subscription-based advanced levels, too. They have intensive workshops, mentorships and a terrific community. You can check them all out at the link above.

  3. Professional Writers Need a Professional Website
    If you want to create a professional website, but just don’t have the funds to hire someone to do it for you, these are the links for you.

    How to Launch a Self-Hosted Wordpress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less by Michael Hyatt – This post has everything you need to build a website on (also called a self-hosted website). If you’re starting from scratch, you can do it all from the links in this post.

    (This is different from a (free) site. If you want to know the difference, here’s a post (along with a great infographic) to help you decide which is for you.)

    Hyatt's post recommends using Bluehost to set up your website. In fact, they’re running a special until the end of March: $2.95/month for the domain name and the site. That’s about the cheapest paid site I’ve seen. You do have to pay for the whole year when you sign up. Please note: This links to Hyatt’s affiliate site. I don’t receive anything if you sign-up.

    Moving to from Blogger
    I just changed my personal website to one self-hosted on I like the clean templates and the tools that are available to get my website “out there.” After I created my site on using Hyatt’s video, I moved my posts – comments and all – from Blogger, using the instructions from this post on You can use their Search bar to find more tutorials, plugins and anything else you need to customize your website.

    More Website Resources
    Looking for an inexpensive, start-to-finish course on Wordpress? Here’s one. This link (One Million Lines) is to a free course on how to code. (Scroll down to Start Learning.) If you really want to customize your website on Blogger or either sides of Wordpress, these will help you understand HTML and CSS. has more free tutorials with lots of code examples to help you add to or customize your website. And if you want a custom font, get it here (free!): Google Fonts.

    Just because your funds are skimpy does not mean your website should be!

  4. Social Platforms
    Social networking can be the bane of your existence or the key to your success. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr and loads more are being created every day.

    So how do you decide how much to share, what to post, which to join? There happens to be someone who can help you with all your questions. Edie Melson offers Social Media Coaching Services and if you subscribe to her blog, The Write Conversation, you'll get social media hints delivered daily in your inbox.
Whew, that was so much information, wasn’t it? I hope it wasn’t overwhelming. I just want you to know that you’re not alone. If you’re a writer, we at Seriously Write have come along on that journey with you. Feel free to subscribe or check out the search box in the sidebar to find all kinds of great posts to help you.
    Were these links helpful? What resources can you recommend? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

    Monday, March 23, 2015

    Writing Through the Storm

    Writing Through the Storm
    By Mary Manners
    "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..."
    Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
    I recently heard a quote by former Lady Vols Coach Pat Head Summitt about perseverance. She said, "You can't always control what happens in your life, but you can control how you react to it." Those profound words hit home for me.
    Recently, my life has been bombarded by unexpected events. My mom has been battling an illness that is slowly taking her life. My mother-in-law is currently hospitalized with complications from a heart catheterization and complications due to diabetes and congestive heart failure. My daughter has begun a new job hours away that has limited her ability to come home and I miss her. My husband also just began a new job and his work schedule is challenging. One of these events might be considered difficult, but together they present a maelstrom.
    How have I coped? By reading more, studying the Word more, and turning to my Savior for guidance. I also cope by writing. Yes, it is often daunting to focus on my work-in-progress, but escaping to my writing bubble offers a sense of calm amid the storm. I have, in fact, learned to write through the storms of life. There is no perfect time to write...simply time carved from a brain-bending schedule.
    So, the next time the storms of life take you by surprise, take heart, dance (or write, or read) on and trust that those storms will surely pass.
    When Caroline flees Chicago following the brutal murder of her husband, the last thing she expects—or wants—is to fall for Matt Carlson, a builder with strong roots in the small town of Mountainview, Tennessee. She needs to focus on raising her six-year-old daughter and protecting both their hearts from ever being shattered again.

    Matt is struggling with issues of his own…guilt over the death of his wife and the responsibility of raising a cynical teenaged nephew who is dropped on his doorstep, abandoned by Matt's alcoholic sister. He doesn't have time to fall in love, yet he can't help being drawn to the woman who is ready to defend her home—and her daughter—with nothing more than a feisty attitude and a broom handle.

    Can Matt's help and friendship convince Caroline to trust again…and when Caroline's daughter goes missing, will Matt be able to find the girl before it's too late and he loses everything he loves…again?
    Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and daughter Danni, and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus. She loves flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.
    Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
    Learn more about Mary Manners at her website:

    Friday, March 20, 2015

    Venturing to Other Worlds by Angie Brashear

    Angie Brashear

    Have you ever felt God giving you direct confirmation that you should follow a particular path? I believe he did that very thing when after planting a seed in a little girl’s hurting heart, he continued to give signs that she was headed in the right direction. Enjoy Angie Brashear’s story as she shares her journey to publication. 
    ~ Dawn

    Venturing to Other Worlds

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, a childhood dream, and a journal. What do they have in common? Take a short venture with me to find out…

    My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world, for when I was in the fifth grade, my teacher read aloud The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.

    I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves. And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. Yet, I still feared the ways in which the Lord planned to use me.

    But I held on to my childhood dream of becoming an author, of escaping to another world and taking readers with me, though I kept my aspiration a secret. At least until my assistant, Terry Malovets, gifted me a beautiful journal filled with scripture for Christmas. In those moments between friends, she shared a surprising observation—she believed I should pursue a career as an author. Can you imagine my joy and shock? How in the world did she know my deepest childhood desire? The one I never revealed to her, or anyone else for that matter.

    I spent the next three months wondering whether or not I was willing to take the risk. Was I even capable? I possessed absolutely no professional training in the craft of writing. Through prayer, I decided to take the plunge anyway. After all, I didn't have to tell anyone, right? Before long I filled my journal with ideas and Of the Persecuted was born. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers.

    Seven months later, I finished the manuscript. Or so I thought. I learned the difficult way (through lots of rejections from literary agents) that my manuscript was flawed. I wrote in omniscient narrative, used passive voice, and filled the story with stilted dialogue—all rule breakers in current fiction trends. The entire manuscript had to be rewritten.

    In the months after I finished my first manuscript and sought representation from literary agents, I believe God called me to ask my Sunday school class to pray my work would glorify Him. But that required telling other people I had written a book. I felt vulnerable and feared ridicule. I mean, people in our nation suffered in multiple ways—abuse, poverty, and addiction, just to name a few. What right did I have to ask my class to pray for the publication of my novel? And how would I describe my novel to fellow Christians? Um, yeah, it's a love story filled with violence, but I promise the content is clean and the story will glorify God. So...please pray for its publication.

    The more I ignored God, the more he filled me with courage until I finally sought support from my class. No ridicule. No awkward silences. Just praises and thoughtful prayers. Blessings abounded.

    I joined ACFW, as well as a critique group, and studied the writing craft. Fellow writers began to recognize the potential in my voice and story, and took the time to help me. And, believe me, I needed a lot of help. Honestly, I still do. But Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” And with the fellowship of Christian writers, I can.

    Now, my debut novel has been released through my own Indie Publishing label, 4:13 Publishing. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to help another writer fulfill a lifetime dream someday.

    In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth no matter the type of persecution I’m forced to confront.

    In the meantime, you can find me venturing to other worlds in His name.

    Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. For the Rendow Clan rules the Woodlands Region, aiming to slaughter the Faithful. And she deserves to die. But Lars Landre, the man destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution, has other plans hidden behind his rare and mysterious blue eyes. Rescue.

    Following the daring escape, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge against the Rendow Clan. She embarks on a dangerous journey with Lars, one in which they endeavor to reach the promised safety of a magical village, to train for battle, and to ultimately assure freedom for those with faith in the Maker.

    Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?

    When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s a fan of speculative fiction and an avid runner, both of which perplex her nonfiction-reading, football-loving husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at,,  and