Tag Archive | writing

Dream Chaser

It has been some time since I’ve written here and I wish I could give you some grand excuses as to why. Life has been busy and to be honest, I don’t want to write something just to have a post unless I believe I have something of value to say. If I think long and hard I could probably come up with things, but as a single mom of three Hobbits (that’s what I call my teenagers), life gets crazy at times.

I often use my rare profundity in my real-life, face-to-face interactions with people, whether my friends, or those I meet at conferences when I go to speak, teach, and encourage. 

I admit that life is a challenge at times too.

Depression is an old friend who comes to visit when I least expect, uninvited and unwanted. 

I’m heading into shoulder surgery in a few weeks and that has me a bit scared. Not of the surgery itself, but of the recovery as I am unable to take most pain medications.

I will survive somehow. By God’s grace, I always do. 

I took this photograph in May when I traveled to Colorado. This is south of Pike’s Peak and it was a stunning sight to see I couldn’t help but try to take a picture.

Seeing this display of God’s glory was breathtaking. The mountains, the people I met, the chance to be in a new environment and watch what God would do, was inspiring. 

I realized something very striking.

I live my life too small.

My characters in my novels much more readily go above and beyond in their adventure in living. But not me. I sit behind a keyboard and fabricate stories that hopefully share God’s truths to the reader while entertaining them. Not a bad job by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a lot of hard work for little gain.

That sounds so negative, doesn’t it? Maybe I should clarify that is monetary gain.

God continues to provide for the needs of my family. And sometimes our wants. I get to travel periodically and meet amazing people on my journeys. That’s bigger than the life I used to live by far. And the future holds more promise of the same.

I’ve been challenged recently to dream. To think beyond my daily needs to greater things God might want to do in and through me. What’s surprising is I want to do what I’m doing. I get to write. What an honor to be able to do that. it’s not a smart career move financially but it’s a calling that God has honored. It is hard work. Not all of it is fun by any stretch of the imagination. And I ashamedly get so busy with writing and editing that I sometimes forget that I have a book to promote. Shameful, I know!

But I do want to do so much more than that and not surprisingly it’s not about making money.

It’s about having more opportunities to serve others, encourage them, and watch them dream wilder and bigger.

So I’m praying and have been challenged to dream bigger.

To stretch my imagination with “What if’s” and do things that might help me get there. It means stepping out of my comfort zone. Trying new things even if they scare me…like internet dating!

It means I might fail. I want to be responsible. I have three young people counting on me to be there for them. It might hurt (surgery).

It might mean letting go of some things to make room for better ones. 

So what are your dreams that you’ve been afraid to dream? Can you trust God with those and seek His guidance in reaching for them? If you struggle with depression it can be hard to dream of bigger and better things…but when I look at that photo of the mountains, I’m reminded we have a BIG GOD who can do amazingly, abundantly, more than we could ever think to ask. So I’m seeking Him as I lean into the future and I challenge you to do the same.

What are some of YOUR dreams?

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Writer Wednesday: Peter Lundell

I met Peter Lundell at the Denver International Airport on a trip to Colorado a few years back. We had to find each other, having never met before, and then, in the midst of construction, somehow try to figure out which level we were to find our ride on. It could have been a scene from a sit-com and is a fond memory. We reconnected this past spring in Colorado without the airport adventure. I invited him to be on my blog because that’s what you do to great authors who have come into your life, and with whom you’ve shared an adventure and some laughs. So please meet my friend, Peter Lundell, a great guy, a fabulous author, and an inspiring preacher.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

When I was in junior high I grew enamored with Ernest Hemingway’s short stories and wanted to write like him.

What’s your pet peeve?

Lack of clarity. When people are vague in communication; when people circumvent a point at hand, whether out of evasiveness or dull-wittedness.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My first attempt at ghostwriting with a mega-millionaire and my old crappy laptop would hardly work. I felt like a fool and an amateur. And I lost him.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Selling the books I write. A.K.A. building a platform and marketing effectively.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I get momentarily depressed and go for a walk. I may do some work around my home or church property. Then I go back to writing.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My highest-selling book has been Prayer Power. Probably my most consistent success has been in ghostwriting, rewriting, coaching, and substantive editing. I help others communicate their story or message well to influence audiences I would otherwise not reach.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up-and-coming authors?

  1. Learn and work hard to write well. You’re not as good as you think you are. And if you are good, then work even harder to be the best. Do not neglect this. The world is awash with crappy writing by authors who refuse to acknowledge their crappiness.
  2. Learn and work hard to be professional. This includes the mechanics of your writing, your interaction with others in the publishing world, the way you present yourself and conduct yourself in all interactions.
  3. Read and always continue to grow. If you think you’ve arrived, you begin to stagnate.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I want there to be thousands of people whose lives have been eternally changed because of something I’ve written or written for someone else with an important message.

What is your current work in process?

The Sailboat and the Sea, a conversation between a sailboat and the ocean. LittleBoat’s journey with BigSea is a representation of the reader’s own life as it relates to God and the big issues we all face.

Wind, a novel, the story of pursuing a dream, the conflict of dreams that collide, and the price a person is willing to pay.

Links to social media:

www.PeterLundell.com

www.Facebook.com/pnlundell

Latest book release:

Reprint of Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God

Writer Wednesday: Peter Toeg

Today I’m thrilled to bring you author, Peter Toeg who I met recently. I have his book on top of my “to be read pile”. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Peter!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

About the eighth year of the fifteen-year effort to write my first novel. I’ve always loved writing. For those first years, I would get a rush after writing a few hundred words. Like a coffee high.

What’s your pet peeve?

Nothing major. I tend to avoid reading what other writers have to say about writing and the process. Writing skills, yes. Inspiration, style, technique. Not so much.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Having my wife read my first novel and a couple of short stories and picking up on my inspiration or word choice. We laugh about it. I steal anything.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Getting a response from people whom I’ve asked for a beta or book read. I’m discriminating about what I read, but always try to accommodate someone.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Depends on the day. I tend to fall back on positives and my editor’s comments.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

I don’t care for Christian-talk in general, but I know when I am inspired by the Spirit. And I know when I’m not.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

Write a lot according to the rules, before breaking them. Get an editor to screen some of your work after no less than two years of writing. Take a lot of showers or walks or find a place where you can catch an idea and run with it.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

My pastor friend told me the answer to that question after reading my second book twice. “I never knew you.” A paraphrase.

What is your current work in process?

I’m on a third draft of a third manuscript I’ve run by my editor. I write shorts during the process. I think I’ve written 20,000 words worth of shorts in three months. Great diversion.

Warriors With Holy Hands published by Westbow Press. On Amazon, different formats.

Writer Wednesday: Kimberly Miller

Kimberly Miller is our featured writer today. Even though we’ve not met face to face I feel like she’s become a great friend as we have so many things in common. I’m so happy to have here as a featured writer on my blog.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

When I was in junior high school a friend said she wrote stories. In them, she’d put herself into situations with famous musicians and actors mostly. We wrote these stories for years and would read them to each other over the phone. I wrote all the time back then- nonstop! Then, in college when my first major fell through (athletic training… what was I thinking?!), I ran back to the safety and comfort of English and writing. I’ve been writing ever since.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who don’t put the shopping carts back in the ‘return’ areas in the parking lot. And people who text and drive.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

When I first ordered business cards and the lady on the phone asked if ‘freelance’ was one word or two. I had a brain-freeze and said two, and ended up with cards that said I was a ‘free lance writer’. UGH.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Just finding the time to write! I have a busy schedule with work (as a writing and film professor) and family, so it’s often true that I don’t write on a daily basis at all. But, in the summer, I try to make up for that.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I see if there’s something I can learn from them… as in, is there any merit to the critique? Otherwise, I try to file them away and remember why I’m writing—for God’s glory, not mine.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

First, it was getting an agent, and now it is the release at the end of August of my first novel.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

Keep writing, continue to learn and sharpen your writing skills, and read a lot of different kinds of books, articles, and many authors.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I enjoy keeping people entertained and making them laugh (or even cry when the mood/ tone of the book warrants it). I hope I’ve done this for my readers

What is your current work in process?

Currently, I’m editing a novel tentatively titled ‘Roundabout’. The piece is about a man who is trying to do right for his family but struggling with how to protect them, while still dealing with some difficult truths. It is a story about forgiveness and second chances.

Thanks for checking out Kimberly as she starts her new writing career! You can connect with her at these following links.

Links to social media:

Twitter @K_Miller_author

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Kimberly.Miller.Author/

Blog https://kimberlymmiller.wordpress.com/

Website-  http://millerkm.weebly.com/

 

The Metaphor of Steel in Sofi’s Bridge (Blog Hop)

The main theme of Sofi’s Bridge is how people deal with grief and trauma. Can grief make us stronger, or cause us to collapse? Each major character brings their own struggle with grief to create this plot.

Neil: This Irish physician is wanted by the British police for the murder of a man who had previously caused the death of Neil’s father. Neil, still buckling under the guilt of losing control of his emotions on the night his father died, explains how many men deal with grief in this excerpt:

Neil wrapped an arm around Sofi’s shoulders. “From my observation, females tend to worry over their grief, keeping it to themselves. Not like men who battle against their trauma with exploits. Not always the right kind of exploits, mind you. Trying to force things. Make things right. Seeking revenge.” His brows pulled together, and his eyes grew bleak.

Sofi: When Sofi’s father drowns, she takes on the role of savior in her family. By suppressing her own grief, the toxins of Sofi’s sadness are building, and may cause her to collapse. Or perhaps, Sofi will learn in good time to express her grief, and with the Lord’s strength be there for her family in their time of need, and also in time to save the bridge she designed.

Sofi’s Sister: Trina personifies the well-documented syndrome of Post Traumatic Stress. After observing her father’s drowning, Trina becomes almost catatonic, and their Seattle physician wants to treat her at an asylum for the mentally unstable. Seeing this, Neil, who is pretending to be their gardener, cannot ignore his Hippocratic oath. Plus, his overwhelming personality trait to give aid, even while placing himself in danger, is the catalyst that propels Sofi and Neil to flee to the
Cascade Mountains with her sister Trina.

Sofi’s mother Roselle: Another favorite secondary character of mine, reacts to the grief of losing her husband by becoming addicted to physician-prescribed Laudanum.

The metaphor of steel: Throughout these character’s lives, in the center of the story, stands the bridge that Sofi designed, but which her father’s business partner has taken control of. But is the steel being used to build her bridge strong enough? Has the metal been fired long enough in the foundry to refine it so that it is strong enough to convey people to safety?

The steel in Sofi’s bridge is the metaphor for grief and trauma, asking the questions: Does God use our canyons of pain to refine us, make us strong enough for the labor of our heart that He places in our lives?

About Christine:

Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama.<br />

Christine’s fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest.

This author’s non-fiction memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me is the true-life story that started this award-winning career in Christian fiction and non-fiction. This book is a must for anyone whose life has been touched by adoption. Christine is currently writing a new fictional series set on the majestic coast of Ireland and loaded with her use of setting as a character that will sweep the reader away. Subscribe to her newsletter on her website www.christinelindsay.org

About the Book:

Seattle Debutante Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them.

But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Nei, the gardener
continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

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Writer Wednesday: Cathe Swanson

cathesquareToday I want to introduce you to Cathe Swanson. She’s been a valuable member of our ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer’s) group and just released her first novella! So proud of you Cathe!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I was a reader as a child, and being an author was my dream job. I wanted to create stories, preferably in series like Little House in the Big Woods, Anne of Green Gables or the Nancy Drew mysteries. But I didn’t; I just found more books to read. Later, when I was homeschooling my sons, I wanted to write better stories for boys. But I didn’t; I was too busy teaching them.  I wrote devotionals for ministry events and some articles for a boys’ magazine and newsletters for different organizations, but I never wrote fiction. Then, just after my youngest son graduated, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I finished the 50,000 words in about a week, and I kept going. The story fell from my fingertips. It consumed me. I thought about my characters all the time. I wrote bits and pieces on scraps of paper while I was driving (even more dangerous than texting). I wrapped up that manuscript at about 175,000 words, and then I just kept writing more books.

What’s your pet peeve?

I object to man-bashing: memes or cartoons that mock men, implying that women are smarter than men, or television shows in which the men are portrayed as bunglers and the women are more intelligence. This is not sexual equality. It is sexism.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My best friend is married to a chief of police in a small town out west. I called her one evening with a question about whether or not a woman could be compelled to testify against her husband in a criminal court case and then more specifically if that woman could be questioned by the police during the investigation and be pressured to answer their questions. She said her husband wasn’t home right then, but she thought it was best to avoid answering any questions without a lawyer there. I thanked her for that non-answer and went back to my story. She called back ten minutes later – she had called her husband out of a city council meeting to ask him what I should do. She thought my question was about ME! Oops.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Self-discipline and avoiding the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” trap. I am easily distracted and have many things I enjoy doing, from gardening to cardmaking, so if I sit down to write and my character has an upcoming appointment, it reminds me that I need to check my planner for the time of my own upcoming appointment. Then I see that one of my grandchildren has a birthday coming up, so I open Amazon to do some shopping. Then I think about party ideas, which is even worse, because I open up Pinterest. Or I might decide to make her a card or go to the basement to get wrapping paper and see a box of Christmas fabric and bring that upstairs and see a piece with holly berries on it and decide to go outside and check on the boxwood tree and pick some branches to make a centerpiece… By then, my husband is home and I need to cook dinner. I love to write, but I am squirrelly.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

As a brand new author, I’ve been very blessed with encouraging reviews.  When the negative comments and reviews come, as I know they will, I might get discouraged for a while, but I usually bounce back quickly. I am pretty good at weighing the value of other people’s opinions and responding accordingly. I hope I will be humble enough to accept criticism.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Um… Snow Angels? Actually, I think my best success is that I have pushed myself to become more open about my work. I’ve written for years without telling anyone or letting anyone read my stories. I tend to be a very private person, almost reclusive, and you just can’t do that as a modern author.

snowangels-bigcoverWhat would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

There aren’t many authors newer than me, but I would tell them:

1.  Find a supportive writing community. That doesn’t mean a group of people who will applaud everything you do, but they should be encouraging you in your efforts – just as you will encourage them – and celebrating your successes. I prefer a group with a Christian worldview because that defines me and my writing. I like online communities because I can engage from home when I have time to do so, but in-real-life groups are very beneficial.

2.  Never stop learning how to be a better writer. Attend workshops and seminars, read writing craft books, find beta readers and critique partners. I am a podcast junkie. I listen to writing and book marketing podcasts while I garden, clean house, drive, or work out (okay… that’s a lie. I haven’t worked out in months.) Most importantly, read good books.

3.  Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do – including writing books – glorify God. Before we are Christian authors, we are Christians. Not everything you write has to be evangelical, but remember that everything you write is a witness.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

Like all Christian authors, I would like to lead others to salvation, bring attention to terrible social injustices, end hunger and bring about world peace. Those are impressive goals, but I think I am better at touching people’s hearts on a more personal level. In Snow Angels, I created characters like Hub, a Vietnam veteran. Instead of just showing his sad plight and having him sitting around being homeless, I wanted the reader to see him as a regular guy with his own personality, engaging in daily life in community with others.  I like to write entertaining stories that make readers laugh and maybe cry a little, but I hope that they will also be inspired to see other people more clearly – not as stereotypes, but as individuals, as God sees them.

What is your current work in process?

I am currently working on revisions for Baggage Claim, a book I wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. It’s part of the Great Lakes collection, set about two years before Snow Angels, and will introduce Phoebe. It is scheduled to be released in mid-February.

Christmas Lights novella collection is going to be FREE From Dec 15 to Dec 19. Also, we are having a great giveaway: http://christmaslightscollection.com/christmas-stocking-mash/  The actual giveaway form is here: https://promosimple.com/ps/abb4  but it doesn’t list everything in the stocking.

My new book, Baggage Claim, is available for preorder at http://amzn.to/2gwfFnW It will be released – God willing – on February 14.

christmas-lights-boxLinks to social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatheSwanson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CatheSwanson

Instagram: https://instagram.com/CatheSwanson

My blog: http://catheswanson.com/blog

My newsletter: http://catheswanson.com/newsletter/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/CatheSwan…

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cathe-swanson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/catheswans…

Latest Book Release :    Christmas Lights – a novella collection

 

Writer Wednesday: Liz Tolsma

liz-tolsma-headshot-2I’m happy to introduce you to author Liz Tolsma who I’ve been acquainted with for several years and has been part of starting up our local chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She writes, edits, speaks and has been a delight to know personally.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…

I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic and wanted to be an author. I got really serious about it after 9/11, because I realized then that my life wouldn’t last forever. I didn’t want to have any regrets, so I gave writing a shot.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who leave doors open.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

It just happened. I didn’t recognize one of my street team members right away when I met her in person. Thank goodness she had a nametag on!

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Just finding time to write. With children to shuttle places, including one with special needs, and a house to run, and my editing business, it’s hard.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I’ve really learned how to deal with them. For rejections, I trust God’s perfect timing. If He has meant for it to be published, he’ll send the right contract at the right time. And for negative reviews, I try to balance them against positive reviews. I just got a review for my first book that said the romance wasn’t very strong. The next review said they loved the romance! You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Definitely being a finalist for the Carol Award.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

1. Read as much as a can, both inside and outside of your genre.

2. Write, write, write. Once you have words on a page, you have something to work with.

3. Find a really good critique partner or even an editor who can see things you can’t and who can help you learn and grow as an author.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

That my books have touched many hearts for Christ.

railstolove_cover

Recently released!

What is your current work in process?

Right now, I’m writing The Song the Heart Sings. It’s the second book in my next WWII story. It’s set in Poland. What many people don’t know is that Hitler hated the Poles almost as much as the Jews. In fact, as many Polish Christians died as Polish Jews. So, the story takes place at a forced labor camp in southern Poland.

This is Liz’s latest release: Rails to Love

Circus costume designer Ellen Meyers rides the rails from city to city with the troupe, but when mystery and suspicion fall on her, can her newfound love with trainmaster Will Jorgenson and their faith in God survive?

BIOGRAPHY

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. The Rails to Love collection released in October 2016. The Matchmaker Brides collection releases in February 2017, and her next WWII novel, The Melody of the Soul, is scheduled to release in April 2017. She is a popular and an editor. She has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), and LinkedIn. She is also a regular contributor to the Pencildancer blog and the Midwest Almanac blog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.tolsma.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizTolsma
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/liz-tolsma-64992ab7?trk=hp-identity-name
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/liztolsma/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorliztolsma/

Buy links for Rails to Love:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook.com