Friday, October 2, 2015

Letting Love Rule by Melinda Viergever Inman

As Christian writers, we have a war within ourselves. Creativity can demand almost idolatrous obedience. We can worship our words, our writerly needs, and our artistic process. Simultaneously, our belief in Christ and the inward presence of his Spirit transform us into people who place others first, submit our work to the Lord, and have no other gods before him.

As we begin the writing journey, this tug of war is one of the first battles we face. How do we keep Christ first, people next, and our work in its place? How do we let love of God and of others rule?

We start by keeping our time in God's Word prioritized and our hearts attuned, ready to listen. His Spirit speaks to us gently, not with a whip like our creative monster sometimes may use, demanding precedence and obeisance.

Adapting my writing to fit the needs of my husband and children has been a work in progress. Initially, I didn't do well, so I laid writing aside for a season. Finally I began again, learning to stay balanced. Within my own family, I obtain daily practice, and thus, constant improvement in loving people ahead of task, calling, or deadline.

To help others, the Lord may have us take our writing with us. One of a writer's greatest blessings is that, when necessary, our trade is portable and relatively adaptable to different locations and schedules. As always, that's easier said than done.

Writing in a different place with interruptions or adjustments can make particular kinds of writing, such as drafting a novel, fraught with anxiety and pressure. We then work fast and sloppy. For other writing, such as editing, interruptions are more easily accommodated and can be a necessary part of the process, keeping our brains sharp.

With amazing speed, I can pack my computer and go watch my grandchildren when their parents travel. This is the type of interruption that grandmothers love.
My husband and I live far from our parents. Adjusting my writing to show unconditional love to our parents has been required on fewer occasions, but these events have not been commonplace.

As I prepared my first novel to be passed to my editor in 2013, my mother-in-law was dying. Love demanded adjusting my work to meet my husband's needs and her requests simultaneously. In order to help ease the loss, I did everything I could to accommodate both. As a result, he vanished for six weeks in various time chunks of traveling back and forth repeatedly, and we made the trip twice as a family.

The grief, traveling, and family pain that accompanied the loss of his mother caused tumultuous upheaval and a realization that I was woefully overcommitted. After the funeral I was completely depleted and caught Epstein Barr. The mononucleosis wiped me out, and I have yet to recover over two years later.

When I imagined the outcome of selling my stories, I didn't have this in mind. It definitely wasn't what I'd visualized!

But remember the promise that underlies even a believer's tragedy. God has promised that he will orchestrate for good everything that touches the lives of those who love him.

Remember my realization of over-commitment? Through my illness God brought good changes into my life. All but two activities have been eliminated. I now write, and I serve once a week in the prison. Now I can keep up with my family and prioritize my health.

This month I am far from home with computer and chronic health care equipment in tow.

My mother scheduled her major surgery, we scheduled my flight, and I prepared to head out. Of course, that was the moment my second novel returned from my content editor for my final edit. The Lord superintends my days. No matter how it plays out, he will work this together for my good.

As you strive for balance as a writer, listen to God’s voice. It's the gentle one. Are you learning to let love rule?

Nudged toward evil by Satan, Cain 's hard-hearted hubris results in Abel's murder and Lilith's broken heart when he is banished, splitting the family and propelling mankind toward ever-increasing violence as their siblings seek revenge. Crushed by what he's done, Cain runs, certain he's destroyed Lilith, his parents, and the entire family. With Satan hounding his every move and no idea of the forces arrayed against him, can Cain ever find God after he's committed a sin of such magnitude? Can he ever be forgiven?

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S.—Wakita, Oklahoma, of "Twister" fame. There her parents met. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Refuge is her first novel. Melinda shepherds women in church and in prison ministry and writes inspirational material on her biweekly blog at With her family she is involved with Mission India, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students—

You can learn more and connect with Melinda here:


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Are You Still Waiting? by Susan Tuttle

The wait.

It’s the hardest part of this writing game. Putting words on paper for all of us is fun (writer’s block notwithstanding), but once all those words are down, we wait.

For an agent.

For a contract.

For those books to show up on our doorstep.

For reviews—the good ones.

For everything we just poured ourselves into to be noticed by someone…anyone.

We don’t pour those words onto a page to sit in a drawer and never be seen—unless of course they are our rough drafts. We write because we feel a burning need to tell a story that God has placed on our hearts, which means he must desire for someone to hear that story. And we truly believe he’ll share that story with the perfect audience he has for it.

But then we wait. For weeks. Months. Sometimes for years. And we start to wonder when God will open that door.

See, sometimes our crisis of faith isn’t if God can do what he says he can do, it’s when will he do it? We know he’s the same God who does the impossible. We believe in a God who can raise the dead, surely he can handle putting our books into the right hands. But if he’s capable, why isn’t anything happening? With that one question, or faith begins to ebb.

Friend, we need to remember that our God sees time so differently than we do. He transcends it He doesn’t play by the rules of time—he created them. And he created us, with a purpose, plan, and eternal calendar that has our names written across it. We feel like we’ve been waiting forever, but he designed forever. With his leading we will not arrive one minute earlier—or later—to our destinations than needed. His when is perfect, even if it’s carving out our patience along the way.

I love Isaiah 60:22. “I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.” If you’re wondering about his when today, keep this verse close to your heart and running through your mind. If God has called you to this writing life, he has a time appointed for you. It will happen, and it will be perfect timing, because God’s when always is.
Susan Tuttle
Susan Tuttle is a homeschooling mom of three who is crazy about coffee, dark chocolate, and words—both reading and writing them. Combine that love of words with her passion for leading women to a life-changing encounter with Christ, and you’ll find her crafting Inspirational Contemporary Romance stories laced with humor, love, and healing transformations. When not cheering on her Ironman hubby, chasing the family dog, or tackling complex math problems to teach her kids (yes, even the third grader), you can catch Susan at her blog, Steps.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In God's Waiting Room by Jodie Wolfe

One of the hardest parts about writing is waiting: waiting for news about a contest entry, waiting for news from an agent or editor, waiting for that first release, waiting for ... Well, you get the picture. Jodie Wolfe is here today to give us some tips about what to do during all that time of "waiting." -- Sandy

Jodie: Hurry up and wait. My husband and I once joked that this was the slogan of the Army. We were stationed in Germany at the time and had a young baby, which meant a lot of check-ups those first months. We had 'scheduled' appointment times, but it didn't mean we saw the doctor then. Often other pressing needs or patients trumped when our son actually got seen. We learned to be patient because we didn't have much choice.

What's a writer to do during a waiting season...especially if it's a really long one? I've been on 'wait' mode since I recommitted my writing to the Lord in 2009. I'd love to tell you I have a contract waiting in the wings or am published or multi-published by now but so far it hasn't happened.

I firmly believe waiting has a purpose. In this time when the answer is 'not yet' God refines us and our talent. He knows the right season for us to become published authors. Until then, we need to immerse ourselves in Him and seek His direction.

You may be wondering what I've been doing in the past six years. Here are some things I've found helpful along the way.

1. Keep writing. I've written at least four novels and am starting on a fifth one. I also tried out for other various writing project opportunities as they presented themselves.

2. Enter contests. While these can sometimes be a double-edged sword, they also are helpful with improving our skills. It's how I ended up landing an agent. :)

3. Attend conferences. Learn as much about the craft of writing as possible and find ways to share it with others so you can encourage someone else.

4. Work on building social media platforms. I had been in a rut in this area until I attended a conference this summer which gave some hands-on ideas. I decided to put them into practice. In less than two months time I tripled my friends on Facebook - all because I tried something new.

5. Look for new areas to grow. After a conference workshop I decided to try my hand at writing a devotion and sent it off to be considered. What a joy and surprise to have it accepted and posted online a few weeks ago.

6. Keep seeking the Lord. I believe God has big things in store for me and for you. Seek His face daily and ask for His direction for your writing. Come to the point where He is more important than seeing your name in print.

Keep your eyes on the goal of following the call God has placed on your life. Look for each step He leads you on, to reach the place He wants you to be. He's rooting for you and so am I. God bless!

So what are you waiting for? Where are you in that writing stage, and have you found that the waiting ever ends, even if you're published?


Jodie got bitten by the writing bug as a young girl after reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. She loves writing stories about feisty heroines and strong, godly heroes. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior’s faithfulness and forgiveness. Jodie is a columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine and had a devotion featured on Christian Devotions. She achieved semi-finalist status in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest and 3rd place in the 2015 Novel Beginnings at St. David's Christian Writer's Conference. She's represented by Linda S. Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

These Are the Times that Try Men's Souls by Sandra Merville Hart

Sandra Merville Hart
Thomas Paine, personal assistant to General Nathanael Greene, scanned the faces of his companions in the Continental Army on a cold day in December, 1776. The soldiers faced difficulties worse than separation from families and harsh winter conditions. The men were disheartened. How could an army one quarter the size of the British forces win freedom?

Paine understood their discouragement. Three thousand Colonial soldiers bravely stood their ground against a foe of thirteen thousand outside the fort at Washington Heights (Manhattan) until the British threatened them with cannons. One hundred forty-nine Colonial soldiers were killed or wounded. Over twenty-eight hundred at the fort surrendered. The Colonial Army also abandoned another fort, Fort Lee, in New Jersey.

To make matters worse, General Howe's British troops pursued General Washington's retreating army across New Jersey. The soldiers marched through the colony for sixteen days until they reached safety across the Delaware River.

The loss of three thousand soldiers struck the struggling army a difficult blow. New York City and all of New Jersey were under British control. Eleven thousand colonial soldiers gave up and returned home between September and December. Army contracts expired on December 31st.

Paine remembered the impact of his pamphlet, Common Sense. His words, published earlier that year in January, had been read by thousands. His writing somehow resonated with people in all walks of life.

All thirteen colonies must know of the recent British victories. Paine imagined those at home felt discouragement similar to the soldiers. After he pondered the situation, he sat down to pen these words:
These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.1
The American Crisis went to the heart of the problem from these beginning lines. The Pennsylvania Journal published Paine's work on December 19, 1776.

General Washington commanded the pamphlet to be read to his discouraged men. Paine's stirring words revived hope within their souls at a crucial moment. The results encouraged Washington. His plan for Christmas Day must succeed though he kept the details from his soldiers.

Regiments began assembling at specific crossing points along the Delaware River late in the afternoon of December 25th. Temperatures dropped causing the snow-covered ground to feel even colder.

Washington didn't want delays because after the troops crossed the icy river, they must march to Trenton, New Jersey for a surprise pre-dawn attack on the Hessian soldiers.

Unfortunately some soldiers arrived late to their designated areas. Snow, hail, sleet, and rain hindered their crossing. They contended with ice jams on the river. Dark, stormy skies made navigation difficult.

All this affected Washington's careful timetable. He almost abandoned the plan when faced with a three-hour delay. He trudged on.

Washington's surprise attack worked. The Continental Army won their first major victory.

Would the results have been same without Paine's passionate plea to stay the course? With all the obstacles that had to be overcome on that freezing Christmas Day and everything that led up to it, this author doesn't believe so.

Do our words matter?

You decide.
About the Author

Sandra Merville Hart

Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for and contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, and Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014.

A Stranger on My Land
A Stranger on My Land
by Sandra Merville Hart

Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find Adam, a wounded Union soldier, on their land after a battle near their Lookout Mountain home. Carrie takes Adam to the cave where her family has been hiding from the soldiers. Before long, she falls in love with him, but she can't save his life. He requires a surgeon. Carrie weighs the potential danger of revealing her family's hideaway with saving Adam's life. 


Barnes & Noble:

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas:


"Crossing of the Delaware," George Washington's Mount Vernon, 2015/07/27

"Ft. Washington Captured - Washington Retreats through N.J -1776," HistoryCentral, 2015/07/27

1Paine, Thomas. "The Crisis," 2015/07/24

"Thomas Paine," 2015/07/24

"Thomas Paine Publishes American Crisis,", 2015/07/28

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's All in the Perspective

It's All in the Perspective

By Mary Manners
Isn't it funny how the many experiences of life impact our perspective? I am reminded of this each time I have a conversation with my daughter. As a young teenager, she used to wonder at my exhaustion following a full week of teaching, caring for my family, and midnight hours spent writing. My only intermission from the daily chaos was piloting the family taxi as I carted Danni to dance lessons, band practice, and chorus recitals. I used to warn her that her 'time' would come and...lo and behold, that season of life has made its grand entrance as my daughter winds her way toward college graduation and the grand old age of twenty-two.
"Mom, I'm tired," Danni told me this week as we spoke on the phone. "I have four projects due over the next few days, a twenty-hour work week, and I went to a concert with my friend last night to help celebrate her birthday." I chuckled to myself as I listened, thinking...And she hasn't even begun her student teaching, worked her first day at a 'real job', cooked her first Thanksgiving meal, or changed her first diaper.

It's all in the perspective.

In the meantime, I'm heading toward retirement from my 'day job' and enjoying the task of penning the ultimate bucket list. What fun it's going to be to check off the adventures that equate to a lifetime of dreams as my husband and I meander through the next several decades together! As I travel down this uncharted road, I'll remind my daughter to stay positive and to always look for the wishes in her everyday tasks instead of the weeds, even when she's tired.

It's true that perseverance and a job well-done pay off in the end, and when the days are tough simply's all in the perspective. 

They say time heals all wounds…have the years taught them how to trust—and to love again?
Jade McAllister returns home to Pineyville, Tennessee to help nurse her estranged mother back to health. She's grateful her friend found her a job as an administrative assistant at Pineyville Church. That is, until she runs into Shane Calkin, the bad-boy-wannabe who broke her heart.

Shane's job as Youth Director at the church is a far cry from his high school days as the town's privileged rich kid. The death of his sister has left him with a young niece to raise and a rambunctious puppy to tame. He's not the self-centered person who once hurt Jade, and all he wants now is a second chance to love her. But how can he prove it to her?
Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus. She loves swimming, running, flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.
Mary believes everyone has a story to tell, and she loves to share hers. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Another Four-Letter Word by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

The very first blog entry I wrote for Seriously Write was entitled “How Many Four-Letter Words Do You Need?”  It was a tongue-in-cheek look at marketing. Most of the “four-letter” words didn’t actually have four letters, but they often feel it and roll off the tongue with the same air about them.

This month, I actually have a four-letter word I want us to address: TIME.

It’s a big deal. We’re so tied to it (and I’m not so sure that was God’s plan in the beginning). Every day is controlled by it. Our jobs. Our tasks. Our marriages. Our livelihood. All judged by some increment of time. As a result, it seems even our worth is inextricably tied to it whether we want it to be or not.

I’ve been struggling with this age-old dilemma (See? Even our phrases are tied to time!). As an assistant principal at a middle school, we are now four weeks into the school year. Time is literally of the essence these days. With the demands of education growing like amorous rabbits, it often feels like you can only be a good educator if you live and breathe it 24/7. Just ask a teacher you know. They’ll tell you. Doesn’t matter where they live in the U.S. The demands seem to cross all boundaries.

Now, I’m being strongly encouraged to take the next step and become a principal. Sit in “The Chair.” Having talked and worked with numerous principals I respect and admire, many of them being those encouragers of which I speak, I know what a pinch for writing time that move would be.

I, like you, am always trying to carve out healthy, productive blocks of time wherein I can do something I truly love. Sometimes, it’s twenty minutes here, forty minutes there. I often get up at 4:00 AM and spend upwards of two hours plunking away at the keyboard before getting ready for work. Writing in the AM is better for me. I’m fresher. My mind has had a chance to shut down and reboot. Conversely, writing at night is hard after a long day for me. The only time it works is when a lightning bolt of inspiration strikes, the adrenaline kicks in, and I have to get that “Eureka! Moment” down on paper before it fizzles out into a wafting rumble of thunder.

How about you? And no, I’m not going to ask if finding writing time is an issue for you. That’s like asking a dentist if he enjoys looking into the mouths of his patients. Some things are a given. They go with the territory, and you’d better enjoy dealing with it if you wish to be productive.

I’m asking the tougher question. What extremes are you willing to take to make time for your writing? I’m not advocating becoming a recluse and abandoning all family activities. So, don’t go and tell your spouse Kevin said you should stop mowing the lawn or cleaning the house or babysitting the grandkids because you have to write. Some sacrifices trump writing. But for those other activities you enjoy that have little or no eternal value, are you willing to enjoy them a little less for the sake of your writing? I find this to be the #1 reason why those who say, “I want to write a book!” never do. Like so many other correlations we could list here, writing “that book” will only be important enough to you if you make the time, sacrifice the time, and enjoy it along the way.

How do you sacrifice that precious thing we call time? What methods have you found useful? What works best for you?

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 with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years experience as an administrator at the high school level.

A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (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, as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:  
Kevin’s Educational Blog:  
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson