Saturday, December 27, 2014

Goals for 2015

It's that time of year again! Is is crazy that I look so forward to setting goals for the upcoming year? Even though I often fall short, I'm happy to keep checking my progress throughout the year.

My previous update for 2014 was in October. Here's where I stand to close out the year:

Daily Bible reading between 8 and 8:30 a.m.

I stuck with this goal for a while, but as soon as I started working it fell by the wayside. Though I've read several times since my last posting in October, I'm not reading daily.

Reduce blogging/reviewing duties.

This was an easy goal because I am out of the house so  much I don't get a chance to read as much as I once did.

Complete the first draft of my middle grade historical Amelia's Mission by February 28th.

I'm disappointed that I couldn't meet this goal, but I have plans for 2015 (see below).

Research one new publisher/agent a month. I want to submit more often.

I didn't follow through with this one enough, but I am slowly checking out names and places.

Complete editing projects.

This was an addition in the latter half of 2014 once I received word from these clients they were proceeding. I am currently working on these two projects, but they will overlap into the new year.

2015 Goals

Since I already know that the main focus for 2015 will be on expanding my real estate business, my other goals are very trim. If I find I have more time, they can be expanded.

Daily Bible verse reading.

As long as I read one verse a day, I'll be happy.

Complete editing projects.

Two projects came in at the same time: one moderate and the other substantial. I plan to be done with them by the end of January--God willing.

Complete Amelia's Mission by May 31st.

I have surgery coming up in February, so I'm thinking I might be able to use some down time to complete this story. I'm 15 chapters in, so I really feel that's doable.

Reconsider blogging duties. 

I started two new blogs in 2014 that I would like to post to at least twice a week. I also plan to keep The Book Connection and The Children's and Teen's Book Connection going. I'm considering getting rid of The Busy Mom's Daily or making it strictly posts to its Facebook page.

As far as real estate goes, I've set a monetary goal and I have a business planning meeting all set for next week with my manager. I would like to hire a part-time marketing assistant to help me get my name out there. I've got two listings now--one that will close in January--and another listing on the horizon. I'm also working with some buyers, renters, and landlords, so I know I want to focus on the meeting and greeting end of the business. A marketing assistant will free up more time for me to concentrate on that goal.

Hope you had a wonderful 2014. Feel free to share some of your accomplishments and challenges. Are you setting goals for 2015?

Happy New Year! Blessings of peace, joy, and happiness.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Books Make Great Gifts

It's rare that I don't get my girls at least one book for Christmas. I think I've already bought them more than that this year. They really make great gifts.

As you are going about your shopping, I hope you'll consider one or both of my books.

Summary: Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Can he trust the miracle of Christmas to keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Links to purchase:

Guardian Angel Publishing

Summary: Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Links to purchase:

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Book Blitz: Climbing for Roots by Alan Noble--Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title:  Climbing for Roots
Author: Alan Noble
Religion/Spiritual Growth/Christian Life
Publisher:  Axiom

Climbing for Roots will explain fully the sin that so completely corrupted creation, and the plan of God for our salvation. We learn that Jesus is not only our Savior, but is also the Lord of our lives. What does that mean? That obedience will never earn us God’s love but it will always produce blessing. We learn that our salvation is secure, but we must strive for obedience because we are created to do good works.
When we trust Jesus for salvation, we become members of a new family—the family of God, also known as the church. Imagine! God is now our Father. As members of this incredible family, certain changes take place within us. We get learn about worship and praise, and have a relationship with Him. Climbing for Roots will teach us about ourselves as new creations, about this church, and about Jesus, the Son of God! We learn about the two ordinances or rites Jesus has given His church that will help us to remember who we are as Christians—baptism, and communion. As a member of God’s church, we learn that we are to serve each other in unity. We must consider others more important than ourselves. We learn that we need to persevere together, so that when Jesus returns, He will find us doing what He has left us here to do—serving Him by serving others.
Purchase at:
Barnes and Noble:

Alan R. Noble is a born-again Christian, schooled in the Word since childhood. He was fortunate to sit under capable preaching and teaching throughout his life. His passion for the spiritual welfare of young people grew out of his years of work experience, and his understanding of the Scriptures. He realizes that young Christians need instruction in the meat as well as the milk of the Word (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Mr. Noble was educated at William Paterson University, a liberal arts institute in Northern New Jersey, and received a B.A. in education, with a certificate to teach elementary school. Later, he received an M.A. in Communication Arts, and a certificate in supervision. He worked as an educator for 31 years.

After his retirement from public education Mr. Noble enjoyed teaching in Christian Schools in New Jersey and Texas.

These days find Alan and his wife Kathie enjoying their travels between Kansas City and northern New Jersey as they visit their daughters’ families that include six beautiful grandchildren.

Pump Up Your Book and Alan are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
• This giveaway begins November 3 and ends on November 28, 2014.
• Winner will be contacted via email on December 1, 2014.
• Winner has 72 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Climbing for Roots Book Blitz Schedule
November 3
November 4
November 5
November 6
November 7
November 10
November 11
November 12
November 13
November 14
November 17
November 18
November 19
November 20
November 21
November 24
November 25
November 26
November 28

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blogging at Write2Ignite!

Today I am blogging about being thankful for the gift of words over at Write2Ignite! Hope you'll visit at

Christian Living Resource: Killing Lions by John Eldredge and Sam Eldredge

A recent college grad, Sam was seeking solid direction for his life. Where did he turn? To his dad! In this series of conversations, the older Eldredge shares wisdom with his son concerning love, money, work, and God. His timeless insights provide trustworthy guideposts for men of all ages as they navigate life's challenging road.

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400206707
ISBN-13: 978-1400206704

Purchase here!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christian Living Resource: The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun

You've seen the headlines---government crackdowns on Chinese churches; mass arrests; human rights violations . . . but this intensely dramatic autobiography makes it real! Learn how God took a young half-starved boy from Henan Province and enabled him to stand strong on the frontlines for Jesus, braving horrific opposition and impossible odds. Life-changing!

Paperback: 351 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (December 23, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082546207X
ISBN-13: 978-0825462078

Purchase here!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christian Living Resource: Get Real by Derek Maul

Derek Maul (In My Heart I Carry a Star) has a deep concern for men, whether in the spheres of work, family, or other relationships, and how they relate to their spiritual lives. To serve this vital part of the Christian community, Get Real is a celebration of modern Christian manhood. A true Christian man should be unaffected by cultural imperatives and its imposed values of power, acquisition and individuality, rather finding strength in a discipleship role. Short chapters address desire (where our treasure is), discipleship (putting ourselves in submission to Christ), devotion (how we worship God), and daring (living our faith) as Maul offers his life experiences to illustrate these elements that should be integral to a true Christian life. The offer of a true connection with God is real and available to any man, and Maul makes that clear in his book.

Publisher: Upper Room (March 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0835899241
ISBN-13: 978-0835899246

Purchase here!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors Today

Following with the theme of Christian living resources, I'm blogging today about mentoring young believers and Alan Noble's Climbing for Roots: Christian Foundations for Young Believers. This book and a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway will be featured at my blog on November 28th.

You can find today's post at

Christian Living Resource: Live Original by Sadie Robertson with Beth Clark

Seventeen-year-old Sadie Robertson---daughter of Duck Dynasty stars Willie and Korie---represents everything that a well-adjusted teenager should be, even while growing up in the spotlight! Her inspiring story reveals how she's been shaped by the values that make her family what it is---including think happy, be happy; do something; shake the hate; and more.

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (October 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476777802
ISBN-13: 978-1476777801

Purchase here!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christian Living Resource: So Long, Insecurity: Teen Edition by Beth Moore

This magazine-style book is a teen version of So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. Mixing words of wisdom from Moor with pictures, quizzes, surveys, scripture, and more, the goal of this book is to help girls ages 12-16 live based on God's truth about them, opposed to the world's false messages. Each chapter include: a Q & A with Beth, Sweet Notes (scriptures that pertain to the chapter's subject), Your Stats (a survey/poll of what girls think regarding the subject), Interviews with real girls, and so much more.

Age Range: 12 - 16 years
Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 22, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414380437
ISBN-13: 978-1414380438

Purchase here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christian Living Resource: Battlefield of the Minds for Teens by Joyce Meyer

Did you know your mind is a battlefield? Well, it is. Let's face it: Teen life can be a constant battle. But the most important fight you'll face won't be in the halls of your school, in Internet chat sessions, at an after-prom party, or even in your family's living room. The most important fight of all will be waged in your mind.

Battlefield of the Mind for Teens takes an honest look at what teenagers face every day--peer pressure, expectations for your future, the struggle for independence. With solid research, interviews with young people, and no-nonsense, biblically based advice, Joyce Meyer gives you the ammo you need to make your brain a clean, mean, fighting machine.

There's no getting around the fact that the world is sometimes a difficult place. Joyce Meyer wants to make sure you win the battle for your brain--and she wants you to win big. So crack open this book and let the battle begin!

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (June 13, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446697648
ISBN-13: 978-0446697644

Purchase here!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Christian Living Resource: A Girl After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

Upbeat and positive, best-selling author George now provides biblical truths and suggestions so your 8- to 12-year-olds can thrive! Helping tween girls establish healthy guidelines that honor God, she addresses common issues including how to build real friendships, talk with parents, put Jesus first, dress appropriately, handle schoolwork, and more. 112 pages, softcover from Harvest.

Age Range: 9 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780736917681
ISBN-13: 978-0736917681

Purchase here!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christian Living Resource: Praying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson

Become a praying parent! Based on his bestseller The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson shares five key lessons to help you become extraordinary influences in your children's lives. With biblical insights and practical advice, he illustrates how to create prayer lists unique to your family, claim God-inspired promises for your children, and discover their individual life themes.

Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (July 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310325501
ISBN-13: 978-0310325505

Purchase here!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christian Living Resource: Culture Shock by Chip Ingram

Bring light---not heat---to divisive issues! Helping you talk openly and respectfully about today's challenging topics, Ingram reveals and calls into question presuppositions on both sides. He believes that basing our convictions on research, reason, and biblical truth, we'll be able to speak the truth in love on abortion, homosexuality, sex, politics, the environment, and more.

In Culture Shock, bestselling author, pastor, and radio personality Chip Ingram shows readers how they can bring understanding to the most controversial and divisive issues of our day. Covering topics such as right and wrong, sex, homosexuality, abortion, politics, and the environment, Culture Shock is every engaged believer's must-have guidebook to replacing reactionary hate with revolutionary love.

Publisher: Living on the Edge (2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605932221
ISBN-13: 978-1605932224

Purchase here!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Christian Living Resource: The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

Having trouble deciding which situations deserve a "yay" and which a "nay?" Are you living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul? Let Lysa TerKeurst help you discern the option that shapes all your other choices - the best yes! Offering Scripture-laced insights on effective decision-making, she encourages you to be honest, imaginative, focused, trusting, and humble as you discover the role God most wants you to play.

In The Best Yes Lysa will help you:

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your best yes today.

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 12, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400205859
ISBN-13: 978-1400205851

Purchase here!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors

Today is my day to blog at Christian Children's Authors. I'm sharing some Advent resources. Check out my list at

Christian Living Resource: Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey

In his landmark book What's So Amazing about Grace?, Philip Yancey issued a call for Christians to be as grace-filled in their behavior as they are in declaring their beliefs. He now returns to this vital subject, asking why Christians continue to lose respect, influence, and reputation in modern culture.

Yet people everywhere still thirst for grace. How can Christians present truly Good News amid the changing landscapes of our time? Why do so many people dislike Christians? How can we communicate faith in an appealing way to future generations?

Using his trademark journalistic style--story-filled, compelling, accessible--Yancey explores how grace can bridge the gap between Christian faith and a world increasingly suspicious of it.

Paperback: 111 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Pck Pap/Dv edition (November 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031082558X
ISBN-13: 978-0310825586

Purchase here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Christian Living Resource: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to everyday amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of experiencing the constant presence of God that will bring you deep and lasting joy. There is purity in simplicity and a breathtaking beauty that can be found even in life's slightest details and heartbreaking moments. Ann Voskamp welcomes you in to explore her grace-bathed life of farming, parenting, and writing, and encourages you to live a life filled with gratitude, no matter where you are.

Inviting you into her own moments of grace, she gently teaches you how to biblically lament loss, turning pain into poetry; intentionally embrace a lifestyle of radical gratitude; and slow down and catch God in the moment.

Not a book merely to read, One Thousand Gifts begs to be embraced as a dynamic, interactive primer inviting you to engage with truths that will serve up the depths of God's joy and transform your life forever.

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310620856
ISBN-13: 978-0310620853

Purchase here!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Christian Living Resource: The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel

During the month of November, I will be featuring some Christian living titles. It all leads up to the special feature of Climbing for Roots by Alan Noble, which was released early this year. The author's Book Blitz includes a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway; perfect for this time of year. Make sure you check out my blog all month long and enter for your chance to win on November 28 when Alan's book will be featured here.

Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning? Some say he would become a great moral leader. Others, a social critic. Still others view Jesus as a profound philosopher, a rabbi, a feminist, a prophet, and more. Many are convinced he was the divine Son of God.

Who was he really? And how can you know for sure?

Consulting experts on the Bible, archaeology, and messianic prophecy, award-winning legal journalist Lee Strobel searches out the true identity of the child in the manger. If Jesus really was God in the flesh, then there ought to be credible evidence, including:

  • Eyewitness Evidence - Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?
  • Scientific Evidence - What does archaeology reveal?
  • Profile Evidence - Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?
  • Fingerprint Evidence - Did Jesus uniquely match the identity of the Messiah?
The Case for Christmas invites readers to consider why Christmas matters in the first place. Somewhere beyond the traditions of the holiday lies the truth. This little book is perfect as a gift or for use in ministry during the Christmas season or any other time of the year.

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (September 27, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310266297
ISBN-13: 978-0310266297

Purchase here!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Review: Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough

I usually don't feature secular books here, but since Laura Ingalls Wilder has been such an influence on my writing career, I felt this book would fit right in with my blog.

"Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs."  This sentence opens Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the first in a series of children's books that gave middle grade readers a glimpse into the life of America's pioneer families. And for some--like myself--this would be the start of a lifelong desire to learn more about the real life of Laura, her sisters Mary, Carrie, and Grace, and her parents Charles and Caroline Ingalls.

In a style similar to the  Little House books, author Yona Zeldis McDonough has created a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder aimed toward middle grade readers that not only helps point out the fact and the fiction behind Wilder's classic children's books, but also celebrates the independent mind of the Quiner and Ingalls women along the way.

McDonough's book opens not with Wilder, but with a brief prologue discussing the life of Caroline Lake Quiner, who would one day become Caroline Ingalls. This sets the tone for the rest of this biography, as it highlights how Caroline's mother, Charlotte, believed in higher education for girls; something Ma Ingalls also wanted for her daughters.

Told in chronological order, Little Author in the Big Woods follows Wilder's life and the journeys she took not only with her family, but later with her husband Almanzo and daughter Rose. It talks about the hardships the Wilders faced as a young married couple and of their leaving De Smet, South Dakota to settle in Mansfield, Missouri. Readers learn about the building of the dream house on Rocky Ridge Farm and Wilder's early career writing for the Missouri Ruralist, before moving on to the creation of the Little House series. McDonough ends with an epilogue that discusses the longevity of Wilder's work and Michael Landon's classic television show, Little House on the Prairie, which is based upon the books. Readers are also treated to quotes from Laura Ingalls Wilder, details on some of the games that Laura played, crafts, and recipes. Also included is a list of other writings by Wilder and a list with some of the other books about her.

While I have to admit I learned little new about Laura Ingalls Wilder as a result, I believe middle grade readers will enjoy getting to know more about her real life and the independent nature of the women in the Quiner, Ingalls, and Wilder families. With a similar writing style and design to the Little House series, readers will feel right at home with this book. Jennifer Thermes did an excellent job in capturing the essence of McDonough's book and Wilder's life with her beautiful illustrations. I'm thrilled to add Little Author in the Big Woods to my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection.

 Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: Christy Ottaviano Books
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080509542X
ISBN-13: 978-0805095425

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Writing World Update

My last writing update was in August, so I am overdue. I've pretty much stuck to the goals I began with in January, but I removed one of them because I knew it wouldn't happen. Here is where I stand now.

Daily Bible reading between 8 and 8:30 a.m.

I originally set this task for the morning because I knew once I got into my day it would never happen. Since I am now doing my best to get to the office by 9 am, this time frame no longer works. I've tried switching it to just before bedtime, but I'm tired and fall asleep without reading anything. I was able to get some reading in this past week, so hopefully that continues.

Reduce blogging/reviewing duties.

I haven't taken on many new books to review this year, but I have taken a few through December. I pretty much figure that by January I will be concentrating solely on my TBR pile and not take any new reviews until I catch up; especially since spring is a busy time for real estate and I plan to focus on that.

Complete the first draft of my middle grade historical Amelia's Mission by February 28th.

As we all know, this didn't happen. I'm 13 chapters in and meeting with my writing group once or twice a month to see on what I need to change. October's meeting found that perhaps Amelia and the butler are too friendly, so I want to edit that section soon. After that, I hope to keep plugging away through the winter a little at a time.

Research one new publisher/agent a month. I want to submit more often.

I've been using my 2015 Guide to Literary Agents to help with my search. I haven't submitted yet, but I am farther along than I was in the process. I want to be ready once Amelia's Mission is in good shape.

Complete editing projects.

This is a new addition. Two editing projects came my way unexpectedly. I'm thrilled. Not sure on the time frame for both yet, but once I know I'll update my goal.

That's it right now. I am looking forward to the end of the year. The Lil' Princess is turning 11 in a couple of weeks, and soon Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Daily Bible Reading - 2 John, 3 John & Jude

I'm doing my best to get back into the habit of reading daily from my Bible. It's just been hard because I am so tired from working that I often fall asleep without reading anything. The important thing, though, is that I find myself praying more and more these days.

Here is some of what I've read from lately.

Favorite verses:

1:3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.

Favorite verses:

1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Favorite verses:

1:20-21 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Write Angles Conference 2014

Another Write Angles Conference has come and gone. It's amazing how months of planning is done in an instant.

Here is a list of this year's panels:

Doing What You Love: Sustaining Your Writerly Practice
Panelists: Liz Bedell (moderator), Áine Greaney, Christian McEwen, Holly Wren Spaulding
Do you ever struggle to find time to write, or to make best use of the time and space you have to write? Do you wrestle with burnout, writer’s block, or the muse’s fickle attention? This panel will explore what is really at the heart of the matter: how to nourish and sustain your writing self, amidst the perils of both external responsibilities (job, family, community) and internal distractions (self-doubt, dithering, curiosities).

The Essay: A Genre for All Reasons
Panelists: Daniel Jones, Alison Lobron, Bill Newman, Darlene Smith-Ash (moderator)
We read them everywhere – op-eds, reviews, on-line commentary, and profiles of the famous and the unknown. The length varies as much as the subject matter. This panel promises to be scintillating and surprising as we consider the many facets of the essay.

“Who’s Speaking and Why Does it Matter?”
Workshop leader: Ellen Meeropol
Choosing the point of view(s) for your fiction is critical. Through discussion and writing exercises, this workshop will consider who speaks, to whom, and at what distance from the action. Bring pen and paper!

Building a Platform: What Is It, Do You Need It, and How Do You Create It?
Panelists: Linda Cardillo, Avital Norman Nathman, Jean Stone, Julie Winberg (moderator)
In the evolving publishing climate, it has become more and more important for authors to engage with their readers and create a “platform” that demonstrates visibility, creativity and reach to a defined audience. Panelists will discuss what it means to build a platform, whether we need one, and how to develop it?

Pen in the Sickroom: Getting the Illness/Caretaking Experience on Paper
Panelists: Jeanne Borfitz (moderator), Joanna Lillian Brown, Jan Freeman, Nell Lake, Suzanne Strempek Shea
Why does experience with illness and caregiving turn ordinary folks into writers, novelists and poets into memoirists, and writers of prose into poets? What pulls at us from the depths of our souls and compels us to translate intensely personal experiences and conflicted emotions into words? How do we unload such heavy emotional burdens while continuing to hold their meaning close? How can our words provide inspiration, strength, and hope to readers? Panelists will discuss why and how they write about their own and others’ experiences with illness and caregiving.

Read & Weed: Critiquing for Growth
Workshop Leaders: Liz Bedell, Cheryl Malandrinos, Jean Marie Ruiz, Darlene Smith-Ash
Plucking through garden weeds and flowers takes knowledge, tools, and a gentle hand. This applies to writing as well. Some words or phrases are unnecessary weeds, while others are exotic, beautiful flowers meant to blossom and enhance a narrative. In this experiential workshop facilitators will guide participants in the art of helpful critique. Using one-page, blind samples of participants’ writing, we will focus on the writer’s words and concept, resisting the temptation to re-write. Honest critiquing, like earnest weeding, is beneficial, but knowing where to stop can be tricky. This session focuses on the art of giving constructive critique, giving you strategies you can apply to your own writing to become an active editor in your own garden of words. You will be asked to submit a single page of writing (in any genre) immediately after registration. Please be sure to mark the box on your registration form, indicating your interest in this workshop. The workshop size is limited to 24.

Muse or Method? The Poetry Process in Perspective
Panelists: Sally Bellerose, Terry S. Johnson (moderator), Gail Thomas
A lively presentation about how poets work, and an opportunity for the audience to try out various approaches. A handout will be available with options and prompts.

The Agents
Literary agents tell what they look for in a publishable manuscript.

I took in the panel on essay writing first thing in the morning. Then I worked with a group of others on the critiquing workshop panel. After lunch I sat down and listened to what the agents had to say. This is the first year I didn't leave with a handful of books--only because of the limited space in my office.

The planning committee wrapped up the fun by going out to eat.

I can't wait to see what we do next year!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors

I'm blogging about writing through changes today at Christian Children's Authors. This year has brought a great deal of change in our family's lives. Here's how I'm helping myself and my kids to deal with it:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Blogging at Write2Ignite

Today I am blogging at Write2Ignite. The Write2Ignite Conference For Christian Writers of Literature for Children and Young Adults is for those Christian writers who desire to write for Children’s and Young Adult markets. Now that it's October, my mind is on reviewing my goals for 2014 and plotting out my goals for the new year. Today's topic is "Be Positive about Your Writing Goals." It encourages writers to think positive when assessing their writing year. Hope you'll visit at

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors

Even though it isn't my regularly scheduled day, I am blogging at Christian Children's Authors. You'll find my review of the middle grade adventure story, Saving Samuel, at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness by Jim Greene

Title of Book # 1: Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness

ISBN:  978-1-105-46980-0
Genre: Spiritual Maturity, Christianity, Discipleship Training
Publisher: LuLu Enterprises, Inc.
Publication Date: 2005, 2011

Just like there are specific physical exercises that are good for physical conditioning, there are specific spiritual exercises that are good, in fact, essential for our spiritual conditioning and growth. If you want to grow spiritually, you have to do spiritual exercises. (1Timothy 4:8)

This book looks to Jesus for “duplicate-able” activities for the model for our growth. For years Christian writers have identified specific activities regularly evidenced in his earthly life and called them Spiritual or Christian Disciplines. I believe that if it was useful for Jesus to be disciplined in his worship and praise to God, then it is useful for us as well. Further, I believe that the inclusion of Christian Disciplines in our lives, or what I call the Disciplined Training Approach places us in obedient submission to God and that is where we are supposed to be. 

Book excerpt:

God has outlined a plan for living that when followed will bring us into a closer fellowship with Him. All the treasure in the world will not purchase it, but God will provide it for free to whosoever really wants it. No matter how worthless you may think you are, you can become one of the greatest treasures in the world.  You can become the person God wants you to be, equipped with all the supernatural power for the Kingdom work He wants you to do!  

Simply put, if you hear what God tells you, trust that He will not lead you astray and do what you’re told to do, you will experience the peace God planned for you. More than that, the consequences of ignoring God can be anxiety, frustration, depression and even eternal separation from Him.

People, however, are not simple.  In fact, we go to great lengths to take something simple and complicate it.  Our relationship with God should be personal, based on the time we spend with Him.  We can’t manufacture a relationship with Him, but we can come to know him based on our personal experiences.

If you want to be blessed, comforted or reassured in a small way, then exercise a small amount of faith.  If however, you need your life changed… it may take more. It starts with regular prayer, regular meditation and regular listening. It continues when we do things outside our comfort zone and that’s exactly where faith begins.

Your life will change when you realize God’s ability
zone is greater than your comfort zone.

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Title of Book #2   God’s Answer, Praying the Scriptures Back to God

God gave us the Bible as a constant reminder of His love and plan for us. More than a historical document, it is truly alive. As we read His Word and become heart-linked with Him, a supernatural transformation begins to take place in us.  God’s Word is alive and we can’t comprehend it all at once. That explains why you can read a passage several times over weeks or months and receive a different message from the same verses.
God gave us prayer as an avenue or vehicle that He designed for us so we could be in constant communication with Him. God’s Answer seeks to bring you to His Throne of Grace, where prayers are answered, (Hebrews 4:16) so that you can claim the promises God makes about today’s problems. That’s a tall order, so let’s look at what He said about prayer in His Living Word, the Bible.

Several times He promises us that He will hear and in fact, answer our prayers. It would be great to think that we always get what we want or that we could just name it and claim it, but that simply is not the case. What we can claim is the promises God makes and we will be exploring those. Let’s examine a few passages and see what they reveal beyond God hearing us and answering our prayers.
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Title of Book #3        A Place of Faith, When There is No Place Else to Go

What or where is the place of faith?  Is it a physical location? No, it is where we are when we step out into the unknown in a blind, yet obedient faith because that is all we have left.  Our Christian vocabulary is filled with ideas, quotes and even promises from God that are meant for comfort and reassurance. As real as God’s Word is, what happens when all has been recalled and rehearsed and we still find ourselves alone at the place of faith. A Place of Faith defines faith from a real and practical viewpoint, then develops it’s progression from a measure of faith, to a step and then a leap of faith.  Most importantly, time is spent on the Enemy of Faith and the Trial of Faith and finally, The Results of Faith. Each chapter concludes with a hymn that reinforces the points made in the chapter and a few reflection questions.

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Title of Book #4  Living on the Dark Side of Faith

While faith has two sides, they are both sides of the same thing. The word faith cannot be substituted for the word belief or theology. It is more than a collection of thoughts about religion. It is more than simply believing in the existence of God, the demons in Hell do that. The faith we speak of is in God and how, though we may not see how, He will provide for His beloved. The faith we have is certain; it is the evidence of things to come. It begins with a measure and increases with experience and that often means a trial or test of our faith.

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About the author:

Jim Greene makes his home in Knoxville, TN in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. An avid backpacker, his countless hours in the outdoors have often blessed him with many topics to write about.
As a layman Sunday School teacher, he challenges himself and his class to strive for and enjoy a closer relationship with God. Each of his books look to God as the ultimate authority in our lives. He is the author of Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness, God’s Answer, A Place of Faith, When There is Nowhere Else to Go, and Living on the Dark Side of Faith. His next book is entitled, When Waiting isn’t Working.
Jim feels God speaks to him personally through journaling and his books primarily came to answer a question in his life. They may just help you too.

Pump Up Your Book and Jim are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Terms & Conditions:
§  By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
§  One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
§  This giveaway begins September 2 and ends on September 26, 2014.
§  Winner will be contacted via email on October 1, 2014.
§  Winner has 72 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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