Monday, July 24, 2017

Freelance Writing

Look what came in the mail today! A box of 10 copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul's, "The Dog Really Did That?" It releases August 8th but as a contributor I get 10 free copies a few weeks early.  No automatic alt text available.
I love freelance writing and have been a successful freelancer since 2010. I started freelancing before I ever had a book contract and have continued even as I also now write books.

For a snapshot of my writing work, right now, I am under a deadline for my newest book which is tentatively scheduled to release in early Dec . (So I should be working on that instead of blogging. lol!) But also in the last 30 days, I have received contracts for articles from 3 magazines--"War Cry", "SEEK", and "Thriving Family" and am waiting on payment from a devotional who contracted me last year for 10 devotions but pay on publication (meaning they pay at the time the work is published.) And today, my Chicken Soup contributor copies arrived. How I love freelancing!

I teach a workshop on freelancing, btw, if any writer's conference or group is looking for a faculty member / speaker.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Apples of Gold

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."

This verse from Proverbs 25:11 paints such a good mental picture of the importance of words. Proverbs 15:33 says, "A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!"

Words. They can be so many things and bring out so many different reactions and emotions. Words can be harsh, ugly, demeaning, or discouraging. They can be frightening. Or they can be comforting, funny, encouraging, and uplifting. As these passages point out, words can bring joy and a word spoken in due season can be good.

This is why I write. I want my words to lift up, encourage, or entertain in a good way.

I may not always achieve my goal when I sit at my computer to write because that goal is a lofty one. I am hoping to carefully place those apples of gold in the silver pitchers and serve them to my readers.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Writing Updates

I have some big news to share! ...and some other not as big news to share too.

The big news? I have signed a new contract with Pix-N-Pens Publishing to co-write a devotional book focused on prayer. My co-writer is childhood friend, Shirley Crowder. We wrote a seasonal devotional together a couple of years ago and discovered that we make a good writing team.
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This book, tentatively titled, "Glimpses of the Savior Through Prayer", will be the 3rd in our prayer series while also the 2nd in our Glimpses of the Savior devotional series.

Our prayer series includes:
"Prayer: It's Not About You" (by me)
"Study Guide on Prayer" (by Shirley)
"Glimpses of the Savior Through Prayer" (by both of us)
and one more book, to be announced later.

Our Glimpses series includes:
"Glimpses of the Savior" (by both)
"Glimpses of the Savior Through Prayer" (by both)
and hopefully a couple more that are currently in the planning stages.

As  you can see, I /we have a lot of writing to do! But I am not neglecting my freelance writing. Currently, I have a story coming out in Chicken Soup for the Soul's book, "The Dog Really Did That?" releasing August 8, a short article / parent tip just contracted by Focus on the Family's "Thriving Family" for the Oct./ Nov. 2017 issue, 5 devotions in the August/ Sept issue of Reflections, articles coming out in SEEK in August, Sept, and November, and devotions in The Secret Place's current and next issues.

Whew! And as if that's not enough, I have a few engagements to attend: I'm serving on the nonfiction panel at the KCWC (Kentucky Christian Writer's Conference) in a couple of weeks, and have a book signing at the Craft Memorial Library in Bluefield, WV August 3rd.

Our completed manuscript for the new Glimpses is due to our publisher no later than Sept 1! I've got my summer work cut our for me. Good thing I love being a writer!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Writing Quotes

A lot of people like to collect things--I collect quotes. Here are a few for the writers out there:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” --Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”  --George Orwell, “Why I Write”, 1947

"Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed." --P.G. Wodehouse

“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.” --Mel Brooks

“That’s what we story tellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.”  --Walt Disney character in the movie, “Saving Mr. Banks”

"...once I began writing, it became clear to me: This is not a foreign language; this is my native tongue." --Elizabeth Gilbert 

"...don't demand that your art supports your life. Instead, make a promise that your life will always support your art." --Elizabeth Gilbert 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

On Mentors and Mentoring

In the last two days I have been impacted by both my writing mentor and a young writer I have mentored.

The one writer whom I credit with launching my writing career, Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress, has seen many sorrows in her life. Her first husband died many years ago from cancer, her only daughter (she has four sons) lived life handicapped and passed away quite young, and her second husband suffered a severe major stroke five years ago. Yesterday, he passed away. My heart has been heavy for Lettie and her family.

In 2009, when I was still unpublished, I attended a writer's conference where Lettie taught a workshop on freelancing small pieces like articles and devotions. I went home and successfully applied the information she taught in her very informative workshop. Without her willingness to share what she knew, I would have never known the basic how to's of freelancing. She opened up the world of writing to me.

Though my heart is heavy for my mentor, today it filled with joy over a young Nigerian writer I have mentored. Some years ago, a Nigerian man sent me a FB friend request. I am very selective in accepting friend request from people I do not know, especially men. I checked out his profile & saw that a) he was young enough to be my son, and b) his statuses we're very Christ honoring so I accepted his friend request.

His statuses kept grabbing my heart. At Christmas he wrote that he walked into work & all his coworkers were downcast & dejected because they had not been paid in two months, he told them, "This is the season that we celebrate the birth of our Savior! Be of good cheer!" 

That along with some other similar statuses prompted me to send him a private message telling him he would make a good devotional writer. Via email & FB, I mentored him in devotional writing. And I also sent email inquiries to the various devo magazine I write for. Sadly, the only one that could get a payment to Nigeria was The Upper Room. 

Today I received my complimentary copy of The Upper Room (because I am a contributor.) To my joy, not only was a devo in there by him but also by a young woman in his church whom he has mentored. 

On the heels of these two very different events, I am left pondering the joys and sorrows of connecting with others, of mentoring and being mentored.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

New Release

It's release day!!!! YAY!! My debut novel, published by Olivia Kimbrell Press, based on the lives, love, and calling of my parents is now available on Amazon. Woo-hoo! Amazon will eventually combine the paperback and kindle but for now there are two links. Both can be found on my author page

The two characters in the book, Kyle and Ali, are very like my parents, Keith and Alice, and many of their adventures come straight from my parent's lives. However, Ali and Kyle also have adventures of their own which came from my imagination rather than stories I've heard my parents tell.

When I embarked on writing their story, it soon became clear to me that it would be easier to write and make a livelier read if wrote it as fiction. Had I chosen nonfiction, I would have had to make sure every little detail was absolutely as it happened. In fiction, I had more leeway ... and well, I took it. I combined some characters into one in a couple of places and added made-up adventures in some places.

I sent the manuscript to my mother, chapter by chapter as I wrote it over the past couple of years and she loved it! She once called me up and choking back tears, she told me how much she liked the way I was writing her and Daddy's story She added, "It didn't all happen this way, but it could have."

This book was written from my heart for my parents and it has their stamp of approval.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to share the cover of my upcoming novel! The book will be released soon from Olivia Kimbrell Press and I will share the links with you at that time.

It is my first novel, a fiction based on fact. In it I tell many stories from my parents' childhoods, love, and their calling to the mission field. It was a labor of love, a work from my heart. But as I began to contemplate writing it, I quickly realized it would work better as fiction. So, though it is based on my parents' lives and much of it actually happened just the way it appears in the book, other parts are completely made up.

It is the story of Ali Blackwell and Kyle Edmonds who grow up in very separate worlds--she the daughter of a poor farmer, he the son of a wealthy doctor. Though based on the lives of Alice Blankenship and Keith Edwards (my parents), Ali and Kyle's story is their own.

This book was so much fun to write! I discovered I love writing fiction. It felt like I was a kid again, playing make-believe. At this point I do not have any future fiction projects in the works, and am juggling several nonfiction ones, which will keep me busy for a couple of years. But I do hope to write another novel some day.

Here's the cover: