My Monster

Guest Blogs for Mary E. Twomey, author of Saga of the Spheres.

Writing is a strange monster. Gorgeous, unpredictable, terrifying, and precious. One moment you love what you’re into, the next you’re swearing you should scrap it all and declare yourself an illiterate just so expectations can be lowered. Learning to spell your name would become a note-worthy feat. “Wow! You did it yourself? Amazing! Sit down and take a rest. Have a cookie, you smart bunny.” Alas, with an English degree, more is expected of you when the pen hits the paper. If it’s not Shakespeare, and if you don’t use fanciful words like “alas”, then it must simply not be worth anyone’s time, lease of all yours.

This kind of thinking led me to deleted documents, trashed notebooks, abandoned plots and a total tailspin. If it wasn’t completely hatched and grown gracefully into an adult by the end of the page, it was obviously a failure. A plot that wasn’t complete before the first word was scribbled was a waste. Being a notorious math class disappointment led me to the conclusion that if you don’t have the right answer – all the right answers – it’s best to keep your mouth shut and your head down. Mistakes are for people who will never find the solution, and wrong guesses are for people who should find a new calling.

Oh, Mary. Silly Mary.

Oh, you reader. Silly you.

Today I write to encourage you to stop judging your imperfections. It’s odd that we are often the first one to cast the stone at ourselves. We’ll be amazingly polite and kind to others, but when it comes to giving grace to the person with the funky morning hair in the mirror, we plum run out of mercy just about every time. You would never tell your husband or your best girl friend, “What a stupid idea. That’ll never work. Look how many things you still have to figure out. Best just watch TV and leave the high heels to the big girls.”

Fortunately for all of us, today is a new day. Today we will be different. We will be kind to ourselves. We will look in the mirror and believe the things our loved ones say about us. We will trust our ridiculous ideas and not shoot them down just because they are ours. Today we take ourselves seriously and give an honest effort to becoming that person who can see the possibilities.

A funny thing dawned on me in the midst of writing and editing the Saga of the Spheres. I allowed the ink to flow for fun. I did not write for other people. I did not plot for the masses. I wrote, laughed, swooned, and bit my lip as an unknown world shifted into focus on the page. I’m very excited to share the keepers, the seers, the spheres and the wombats with you. My hope is that you find your own possibility, take the first step, and then start running.

 

Mary E. Twomey

The Silence of Lir

By Mary Twomey

ASIN: B0087LX826  $2.99

Book One

Genre: young adult fantasy fiction

Behind the scenes of our spinning earth are keepers of the elements who make sure that tornadoes don’t destroy cities, fires don’t ravage forests, earthquakes don’t decimate towns, and floods don’t take out humanity. They wrestle with the natural elements to ensure that the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis.

Since the beginning of time, the Sun has been fading, and the light that shines on the earth is dimming, causing the elements to be more volatile and impossible for the keepers to control.

Now they must enlist the help of one man, Finn, to help them bring the light back to the Sun. The keepers war, the North Star steals light from the Sun, and the Moon is in disrepute. The end of existence is coming, and all the while the king, the Moon, Lir, remains silent.

About the Author:

Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and two adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.

Connect with Mary:

www.facebook.com/#!/SagaOfTheSpheres

Twitter @shesleepssoftly

www.SagaOfTheSpheres.com

www.JackandYani.com

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The Importance of Reviews

By Susette Williams

While the most common thought of using a review would be to help a customer decide whether or not to buy a product, there are other reasons for leaving a review as well. Believe it or not, writing can be a very discouraging profession. More often than not, people tend to leave reviews when they don’t like a product and are less likely to leave a review letting you know how much they do like your product, or in this case, your book.

You may have heard that musicians are moody. The truth can be said of the authors, but the reason these creative types have the ability to be moody, or have a wide array of emotions is it allows them to connect on an emotional level with the character in their book or song. That also enables them to connect with the reader or listener. For this reason, authors can often use encouragement and one way to give it, is by leaving a review of their book. While it does not take very long to leave a comment, it really does help to encourage the author when you leave a review and tell the author that you enjoyed their story, and what you liked about the story.

But what should you say in the review? It is important not to leave too much information or you may spoil the story for another reader. Tell the author what you liked, if there was a specific scene, or how the story made you feel. You want to leave just enough information that another reader can tell that you actually read the book and the author didn’t ask all of their friends and family to leave glowing 5 star reviews for them.

There has been a lot of controversy lately concerning a few authors unethical practices concerning reviews.  Principals to consider when leaving a review:

  1. You should never write reviews for your own book. Writing a synopsis, blurb, or back copy of your book is different. Reviews are generally endorsements, telling readers what you liked, or did not like, about a book. Reviews are generally left at places your book can be purchased, or in forums where book readers will read about their favorite authors’ books.
  2. You should never leave a bad review because you do not like the person or their beliefs. Also, if you have a problem with downloading a book on Kindle, Nook, etc. do not give the author a bad review. It is best to contact customer services with the place you are purchasing the book from and settle the downloading issue with them. The author has no control over this and it is unfair to rate their hard work based on problems with the distributor.
  3. It is unfair to an author if you downloaded their book as a free promo and have not bothered to check and see if the book is the type of genre you prefer to read or not. Example, if a person downloaded a book that had pornography, religious aspects or content they would find objectionable and would not intentionally set out to pay for that type of story to begin with, should not write a negative review for the book because your mindset is already against that book and its content. This is one of the downsides to offering a free book promotion—because consumers see free and then begin reading the story to only realize this isn’t their normal type of reading material. The author should not suffer because you chose something you would not normally read.
  4. A negative book review should only be left if the writing is poor, there are obvious problems with the plot, the story is inconsistent, the author didn’t check facts, etc.
  5. You should never leave negative reviews for an author because you purposely want their book to do bad. There have been some authors who leave bad reviews for competitors. When the public has found out about this type of practice, it generally will cost the unethical author sales and readers because of their attempts to manipulate consumers and their purchases.

Authors need positive reviews for encouragement and to sell books. An honest review allows readers to see what other people thought of a book and may help sway them in their decision to also purchase the book.

If an author does a book promotion, especially the free book promotions, many of the promotion sites will not carry the author’s books unless they have a set amount of reviews, and usually they must have at least a four star average rank in reviews.

The most natural place for an author to seek reviews is through customers who have purchased their books. Previous customers who have reviewed books can also be a great resource for future book reviews. Build a rapport with readers and offer them a free copy of a future book in exchange for an honest review. As a reader, you can also contact an author and offer to write a review if they will provide you with an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy).

Another place an author can solicit reviews are through Facebook groups for reviewers; or groups that connect readers, reviewers, bloggers and/or authors. Also, if you are looking for more reviews and do a special book promotion or free book promotion, whenever you post about the promotion, ask people to share the information and ask them if they would please consider leaving a review.

Always be polite and considerate, whether or not you are an author, reader, or reviewer. Consider other people’s feelings, and when leaving criticism, try to make it constructive. It also helps if you can find something positive to say, because it will help to take the edge off of negative comments.

Please take the time to show your favorite authors some appreciation by leaving them an encouraging review. It will inspire them to continue writing and sharing their stories with loyal readers like yourself!

Books by Susette Williams:

 

falling in loveMaid for Murder: Deadly Business http://ow.ly/hJKp2

Accidental Meeting http://ow.ly/fR7ft

Falling in Love (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR717

Winter Chill (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR75F

The Quakers of New Garden (New Garden’s Conversion) http://ow.ly/fR7bB

 

Books for Children:

The ‘In’ Crowd (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fGsul

On My Own (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fR7GG

 

Author Website: www.susettewilliams.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Susette-Williams/182094681851446?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusetteWilliams

 

The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving

The Treasure Seeker CoverLargeThe Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father was written to encourage and equip women who are either seeking God or who want to grow closer to God & Christ. At the heart of the book is the concept that we are a valuable treasure and when we finally connect with God and allow him to “find” us, we’ll enter an amazing rich relationship we never knew existed. Once we enter that relationship, God goes from the role of Treasure Seeker to that of Master Jeweler who will refine and make us into the gemstones we were meant to be. It’s about becoming a woman of excellence without all the pressure to be perfect.

Unique accompaniments:

  • Intriguing treasure stories
  • A study of the “Lost” parables including the lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the treasure hidden in a field, and the pearl of great price
  • Points to ponder at the end of each chapter for reflection and discussion
  • A chapter highlighting gemstone attributes allowing readers to determine which gemstone they are most like
  • A Treasure Seeker Jewelry line created by author/artist Teena Stewart available at a discount when you purchase the book.Receive 10% off when you purchase the book and show proof of purchase. Here’s the link to the jewelry line.  http://www.serendipitni.com.

Women can use it for personal study or for group study. It’s a great resource to  share with someone you may want to understand the gospel in a very simple and non-pressing way.

Teena Stewart is an author and artist whose work reflects the spiritual message of being broken and yet valuable in God’s eyes—a Teena COmessage incorporated in her book  The Treasure Seeker: Finding Value and Love in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father (Wine Press). When she isn’t creating up-cycled treasure (artwork and jewelry) from discarded and found objects, she is writing articles and books or leading ministry for Java Journey, an innovative coffee shop ministry in Hickory, NC.

Teena understands firsthand what it means to go from something of seemingly little value to a beautiful and valuable treasure in God’s eyes.

The Treasure Seeker is available in paperback and ebook from and can be purchased at the following locations Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/anf7wza), Teena’s Website (http://teenastewart.com/) and Wine Press Books (http://tinyurl.com/a3v7byk) and most other book stores.The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

The ebook version of The Treasure Seeker will be free on 2/17 & 2/18 on Amazon.com

How to Connect with  Teena

Her website  www.teenastewart.com

Her blog  http://nearly-brilliant.blogspot.com/

Personal Facebook http://www.facebook.com/teena.stewart

Facebook Author Pages http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Teena-M-Stewart/216334111720519

Twitter  @TeenaStewart1

Marketing to Readers vs Networking with Authors

KarenBaneyBy Karen Baney

As an author, I’m faced daily with the challenge of reaching out to quality readers. But, like many authors, especially in the early days of my book marketing, I found myself marketing to authors and not readers. This is fine if your book is for authors. If it isn’t, then I hope this discussion will help you understand the difference and give you ideas on how to refocus your marketing plan.

Networking vs Marketing

Every author needs a support system of other authors—people you can go to for advice about the business of writing (marketing, publishing, etc.) or the craft of writing (editing, POV, characterization, etc.). But many authors confuse the fine line of networking with authors with marketing to authors.

When you network with other authors, your mindset is about sharing information, learning from each other, and lifting each other up through cross-promotion, advice, critiquing, or whatever it is you are seeking from your peers.

Nothing frustrates me more as an author than when I join an author community and it is full of link dumping. I feel like authors are marketing to me. While I don’t mind some marketing, I prefer a community that is focused on networking with and not marketing to authors.

Link Dumping Is Spam

What is linking dumping? It’s the practice of dropping a link into a group, forum, or even on your own Facebook / G+ page with no explanation of what the link contains. If you did this in an email, your message would be marked as spam. We’ve been trained when it comes to email that we shouldn’t click on links that are in a message by themselves with no explanation. Why? Because it’s a common technique for trying to steal someone’s information or propagate a virus.

Yet, when it comes to social media, as authors, we’re using this same technique, hoping that we can draw readers to our website or our books. We don’t realize we look like a spammer.

But I’m Not A Spammer

How can we correct link dumping?

First, if you are doing it yourself, please stop. It’s okay to post links, but tell your group or fans why you are posting this link. What is contained in that page that is worthy of my time? Why should I go there? Is it an inspirational post that will encourage me today? Is it news about your new release? Is it helpful tips on how to write a better story? Is it a picture of ugly cats? What is it?!?!?!

For this blog post, here’s what I might write to introduce the link:

Have you ever thought about who you are marketing to? Are you networking with authors or marketing to them? Read more to learn about the difference and how you can change your ways.

See. Now you’re interested, because I’ve told you what this blog post is about.

What not to do? Don’t say, “Here’s my blog post for today.” That’s not any better than saying nothing. Hook your readers.

Ok, the next way to correct link dumping is to kindly ask those who are doing it in your group to please let the group know why they feel the link is worthy of sharing. What about the post inspired them to rush out and share it with their friends? Simple questions and kind wording can hit the point home without upsetting them.

Market to Readers

Go ahead and look at your Facebook and Twitter followers for a few minutes. How many of them are authors? What about the “readers” groups you’re in? Are they full of authors and only have one or two readers? If so, congratulations! You’ve found a ton of author friends to network with (and not market to).

But, Karen, how can I find readers then? Where are they?

  1. Readers love eBook discovery services, like ChristianEbooksToday.com. Did you know that ChristianEbooksToday.com’s reader following (not authors) is over 80 – 85%? In general, eBook discovery services are dedicated to seeking out new readers. They market to readers, use tactics to draw readers in, and they have a bigger base of readers than the typical author, because they offer readers a wide variety of what readers want—books.
  2. Readers follow book bloggers. Book bloggers focus on providing reviews and giveaways that appeal to readers. There are tons of book bloggers out there. Get them to review your book. Send them free copies. And don’t be stingy here. If the blogger wants a Kindle copy, pay the retail price of your book and send them a gift copy through Amazon. It’s a better user experience for the blogger. In the end, you still get a royalty on the book and the rest is an advertising expense. It’s the cost of doing business.
  3. Readers are in book clubs online and in real life. One of the coolest ways I’ve ever connected with readers was when an out-of-state friend of mine got her book club to read one of my novels. When they finished it, they ask me to video chat with them and answer their questions about that novel and my other novels. They were all extremely excited to talk to a real author and many expressed an interest in reading my other novels. If nothing else, they will remember me because they met me, virtually of course.
  4. Readers like to keep track of authors they like. One of the best things you can do to connect with readers is to include a link to your website in the back of your books (both eBook and print). Make sure your website has a link to all of your social media accounts and to your newsletter. Give readers a way to follow you once they discovered they like you.
  5. Readers see and respond to paid web ads. Yes, I just said paid. A well-designed ad strategically placed can really draw readers to your website. Or link it straight to your product page on a specific retailer. If you have a book that appeals to women ages 25-40, try placing an ad on a Christian mommy blog. Think about what types of readers you want to attract, where you can find them, and invest a little in your book.
  6. Readers do respond to reading related twitter hash tags. Both genre specific hash tags like #christian #romance, and more general hash tags like #amreading or #mustread or #ebookalert get the reader’s attention. Also try device specific hash tags like #kindle, #kindlefire, #nook, #kobo, #ipad. Just make sure your links take the reader to the appropriate retailer for that hash tag (i.e. iPad takes them to iTunes, Kindle takes them to Amazon).

It takes time to build up a reader following. Most of the time it takes years of dedicated interaction with readers where they live. The above are ways to help speed up that process. But, if you want to build up a reader base on Facebook / G+ / your website, you have to keep things reader centric.

Stop marketing to authors. Start networking with them and start connecting with readers.

Best-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a10 Keys Cover Med Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website: karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

 

Have you ever felt God calling you to do the impossible?

by Heather Hart

I had that happen recently. God is constantly bringing me writing opportunities, some, He tells me about just to have me turn down – He has to teach me how to say no. Others, He brings me seem impossible, but He calls me to trust. The latest assignment He gave me was like that, and it hasn’t been easy. Early on in 2012, I set the goal of finishing an entire book – on my own – before the end of the year. I have started dozens of books in that time, and finished a few joint projects, but all the ones that were mine, God kept telling me, “not yet.”

marketing bookFinally, I felt God give me the go ahead on my book for 2012. It was to be called, “A Year of Book Marketing,” and would be released January 1st 2013. The problem – God didn’t give me the idea for the book until November. I kept telling Him that it was impossible to finish the book by that date, but He kept telling me to try. Simply try, and trust Him. So I did.

I won’t tell you that I had perfect faith. I stressed over this decision a lot, and went back and forth about how smart it was to write and publish a book that fast, but God kept telling me to obey.

Before the book was even completed, God prompted me to start marketing it. I argued with this as well. I said, “God, it’s not even done yet! What if I don’t make my deadline?!” And His response? “It’s not your deadline, but mine. And I will meet it, so you don’t have to worry about it.”

So I obeyed. The project continues to grow, and God finally calmed my fears by allowing me to publish the Kindle edition of the book in two parts. Part one was released earlier this week, although I’m still not sure if God called me to write it for a specific author who needed it, or even just to teach me a lesson about trust, but I’m happy to announce that it is finished. Part two will be released in May of this year.

If you’d like to learn more about “A Year of Book Marketing,” you can find the information about it on my website at: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/p/book-marketing.html or it is also available on Amazon.com

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Helping other authors since 2009, Heather Hart lives in Texas with her husband, Paul, where she fills her days caring for their four heatheryoung children, writing for Christ, and studying God’s Word. Heather works as a self-publishing-coach.com liaison, author, and authors assistant whose desire is to glorify Christ through her work and to help other authors do the same. You can learn more about Heather by visiting her website: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/

Or, by connecting with her in the following places:

Twitter: @_HeatherHart

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

PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION

by Lillian Duncan

My writing journey has been a long and twisted path—and I made some wrong turns along the way. But God has been with me every step of the way and He has made a way in spite of my wrong turns.

I didn’t start writing until I was forty. For the life of me, I can’t figure that one out since I always had stories in my head. Daydreams I called them. But they were very detailed with interesting characters and plots. Sometimes happy endings and sometimes not so happy.

One day I realized—hey, I’m supposed to be writing those stories down so I did.

It took me a year to finish that first manuscript and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time so I started another one and another.

Even though I was a Christian since my teens I wasn’t living a Christian lifestyle at the time. Along with starting my writing journey, I was also beginning my spiritual journey back to my Christian roots.

My first attempts at writing a novel were mystery and suspense and just like the books I read they were filled with four letter words and gratuitous sex.

When someone called me on the language, I explained that’s how bad guys talk but…I began to wonder about that and the more I prayed about it, the more uncomfortable I became.

About the same time, I got very tired of reading that same bad language and titillating sex scenes in books that would have been much better without them. But the thing that really bothered me the most with some of the mainstream books I read was the negative portrayal of God, traditional values, and Christians.

That led me to Christian fiction.

It occurred to me that you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. I wanted to be part of the solution. And a Christian fiction writer was born.

I am so thankful that my earlier “raunchy” attempts—oops—I mean mainstream suspense didn’t get published. I’m so glad I didn’t add to the problem.

DARK ALLEYS is a story about a woman who ends up homeless and alone in a dark alley on a cold winter night. She witnesses a murder while in a drunken stupor and almost becomes his second victim. She awakens in the hospital with no clear memory of how she was injured. She attempts to put her life back together but, of course, the murderer has other plans.

I wanted to write a story where the main character was the queen of underdogs and I think I succeeded. Tessa is a mess, just like the rest of us. She could give up and no one could blame her, but she doesn’t. She keeps going—putting one step in front of the other.

And some days that’s all any of us can do.

Those are the days we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

And one step at a time He will lead out of that dark alley and into His light.

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or aspeech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan

As an early Christmas gift to your readers, anyone who purchases a copy of THE CHRISTMAS STALKING can receive a FREE e-copy of either DARK ALLEYS or GEESE MATE FOR LIFE. Once you purchase it, simply go to my website (www.lillianduncan.net) and send me the order number. I will email you a copy of the book of your choice. Merry Christmas to all!!

Happy Birthday GNFA!!

It’s amazing to look back at all the accomplishments that we’ve had in a year. It’s amazing that what started with a handful of authors wanting to get together with one vision, working together to provide quality Christian books to the readers and support Christian authors throughout their careers, it’s now close to 200 authors and tons of books published all in one year.

The best way to celebrate all those accomplishments this group has had in the last year is to hear from some of the authors themselves about their experience with GNFA.

 

Mary C. Findley-“I wouldn’t know much of anything about Christian book promotion or have as many awesome fellow writer friends if it weren’t for GNFA.”


Ada Brownell-“I am thankful for GNFA because of how it has increased my horizons in marketing, camaraderie, support, and given me spiritual encouragement and blessings. What a blessing all of you have been to me!”

Precarious Yates-“I have had increased sales because of GNFA, that’s for sure! Also, the encouragement from fellow authors who ‘get’ the trials of an author–that is priceless!”

Mikayla Kayne-“Oh the things I would have done differently if I had GNFA in my life two years ago. It’s been an amazing resource for education, encouragement, and friendship. I especially love seeing the excitement and rallying around new releases and chart climbers.”

Lynnette Bonner“GNFA is a place where authors from all walks come together to support, encourage, uplift, and promote one another. It is also a place where those new to marketing can come to find fabulous tips and ideas for what works and what doesn’t work in promotion. I’m thrilled to be part of the group!”

Suzanne WilliamsGNFA taught me how to market my books and provided encouragement to keep writing.I’ve made lots of great friends.”

Heather Hart“I love the fellowship, encouragement, and advice offered here.”

Diane Lesire Brandmeyer- “GFNA has shown me how to focus on marketing in a small amount of time. The support of this group is priceless.”

Bev Schrader Nault-”When I felt alone and clueless, the GFNA community embraced me.”

April McGowan-”GNFA has taught me to push ahead and try–not to wait for someone else to market my book. They’ve been a place of encouragement, a place of celebration–a place of support and prayer. I’m so grateful to be part of the group!”

Shelley Hitz-“I love GNFA. Being part of an active community of Christian authors has been so encouraging for me. Writing and publishing can be very lonely at times and yet GNFA has provided the much needed camaraderie encouragement and support I needed during a difficult time in my life. Thank you Staci, Naty and every one of you…I’m so thankful to have found this group.”

God Bless you all and looking forward to another year of great writing! Stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter

Staci Stallings                                       Naty Matos

Interview with Sharon Srock

Welcome to Grace & Faith for you Sharon. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.

I totally understand, tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love a good courtroom drama. Fantasy when it’s well done. By well done, I mean it has to completely draw me into a different world. Mysteries, and Romantic suspense are devoured at my house like chocolate covered cherries.

How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?

I guess I’m a product of our environment. I like being busy. Even on a vacation I have to consciously tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sanity…I’m a writer, that option took a hike a few years back.

What is your favorite food?

I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.

I totally agree, I’m a chocolate and cheese person myself.  So, If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?

Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.

Haha! I like that. So now that you have released Callie, What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

Where can our readers find you online?

Sharon Srock
The Women of Valley View. Ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things.

Thanks for your time Sharon, it has been a pleasure having you with us.

You can obtain Callie at:

And here’s the chance to win a huge basket of gifts. Keep reading

A copy of Callie’s story
A certificate for Terri’s story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card
The rules are easy. For every reader that comments on this post, you get an entry into the drawing. A winner will be drawn Monday November 19th. The items add up to well over 100.00 in value.

Understanding Partnership

By Sharon Srock

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT)

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.

I love it when I stumble across something in my daily Bible reading that applies to the moment I’m living in. I’ll be the first to admit that this would happen more often if I was listening more closely. But this just sort of slammed me between the eyes. One of those good news/bad news moments, just when I needed that still small voice of calm to perform a reality check in my soul.

At Grace and Faith Authors connection, we’re all about supporting each other and helping each other promote our books. That’s an entirely good thing as far as I am concerned.

As I stand on the brink of the release of my first novel, I am a marketing basket case. Blog tours, interviews, book signings, launch party, social media, and God help us all, a video…

I’ll admit that I don’t have a clue, but God has given me lots of resources, and some brand new, never met face-to-face friends to help with tweets and blog space. I think I’m going in the right direction, and I’m grateful. But have I left something out?

Take a look at the verses above and since I always like the good news first, read verses 7 and 8. My agent is fond of saying that there are only two reasons to write Christian fiction. Either as a calling or an offering. I’m good with that explanation. Either way, calling or offering, it’s a 95/05 partnership as far as I’m concerned. I’m the lesser number.

Words can not express my gratitude to the wonderful network of friends, published or unpublished, experienced or rookie, old or young, who have joined me in this journey. But I wonder, have I left the most important thing undone?I never want you to think I take you less than the blessing you are, but my success or failure will not be measured human influence or endorsement, blog posts and tweets.

The Bible also tells me in Psalms 127:1 (NLT)

Unless the Lord builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.

It comes down to where my trust, hope, and confidence is placed. I want my writing to be a well watered tree, not bothered by the heat of negative criticism, the drought of reader rejection. I want the leaves of my stories to produce continuous fruit for the Father.  If this project isn’t built on God from the first stoke of the keyboard, nothing any of us can do will ever make it fly. But together, you, me, and GOD. The possibilities are endless.

The Women of Valley View. Ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things.

Following Our Dreams through Dangerous Delight

Following our dreams can be a lot like Alice following the White Rabbit into the tumbling tunnel that landed her in Wonderland. Think of it — dreams and nightmares — ever notice how closely the two are tied together? Even in our sleep, dreams dancing before our eyes can easily take a hideous twist. Life’s dreams can seem to do that too. Chasing after our dreams means the possibility they might not turn out or they will surely take us someplace unknown and even dangerous. Dangerous to our heart, at least.

Dreams thrill and fulfill us. But in following them there is the possibility of loss. We might lose money or end up jobless. We might be carried far from friends and home. We might endure criticism (actually, I’m certain we will). But that’s what happens when we chase after the vision God has planted in us — an ideal, a passion — and it stretches us beyond ordinary limits.

I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer since I was ten years old. Some people back then didn’t believe it. (Can you imagine?) I hoped to be a published novelist by age 24. I even dreamed of being an award winning journalist. Hmm… I’m 50, and while I’ve been writing pretty much all along, some of my biggest achievements, like publishing a novel, only happened a few years ago. If I had known it would be so tough, would I have pursued this dream for nearly 40 years?

Um… Yeah, I think I would have, because God didn’t take the dream away.  I think I did know it would be tough. I was aware that upsets and interruptions would come. They have to. After all, who wants to miss out marrying their high school sweetheart and raising five kids and homeschooling and farming and buying and selling and going on escapades…

Life is full, but adventures await us. The dreams cling and we pursue them if we don’t let fear stop us.

However, if we agree to follow the path down which our dream will take us there is one thing we can surely expect: the really hard, though always inspiring life-lessons that come in the process. While we follow our dreams, God uses the journey to teach us awesome things about His Divine Nature. Sometimes the revelations split our hearts wide open so He can pour them full of His love. Other times, our hearts yield less easily because the lesson is painful. It can be that our hearts are chapped, cracked, dry, and He needs to massage them until they are soft again, and willing to open to His trust-worthy hands. Sometimes He squeezes and it hurts. But in the end, we learn things about ourselves, about the people in our lives, about the process of developing our dreams as He etches them on our hearts. We learn about the greatness of His love.

What holds you back from chasing your passion? Do you fear failure, rejection, and hardship? Or do you dread facing inability and attack?

Give your fears and dreams to God. If He planted a desire in you for something that just won’t go away, step across the line and take a closer look. See if it doesn’t grow. See if it doesn’t grow you. Following your dreams will almost never be easy, and you won’t be guaranteed absolute success. But it will keep you from wishing you’d tried. It will keep you from forever being stunted by what “might have been” had you only cast your fear aside.

 Naomi and her husband Jeff enjoy the splendor of Wisconsin’s north woods along with their five young adults who live nearby or at home. She writes both historical and contemporary women’s fiction in which her aim is to surprise and entertain readers by telling stories of imperfect people who are finding faith and hope to overcome their struggles. Her most recent novel, The Black Rose, concludes her three-book Empire in Pine historical series. Naomi also served as a staff writer for the Christian newspaper LivingStonesNews for five years and has published numerous magazine articles for the encouragement of the homeschool community. She’d love to greet you online at:

Her Website:http://www.naomimusch.com 

Blog: Write Reason

Facebook: Naomi Musch – Author

Twitter: NMusch

With other writers at A Novel Writing Site and The Barn Door

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