National Holidays

National Holidays are reminders of those who have died in wartime, in training, or while on duty, in order to protect us and our freedoms. One way to celebrate their lives is to take one name from a graveyard headstone, from the Vietnam Wall, from Arlington Cemetery, or the like, try to look up some information about them, and then take that name with you on vacation, remembering that it was their sacrifice that provided the freedoms you enjoy today.

This is just a thought, a way of saying “Thank you!” to them and their family for making a way for you to be something, go somewhere, have a career, that may not have been possible had they never served.

I’ve written a song, “Bless God, America!” I hope you’ll take time to listen to it and believe our nation is truly blessed by God, and that He wants us to bless Him for all He has done for us.

God desires our repentance, unity, prayer, and worship. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and needs to be our focus in daily living. Let Him be your Savior and Friend; and the Holy Spirit your Guide and Counselor.

“Bless God, America!” is the way to bring revival to our nation, and holiness back to our churches. “Bless God, America!” is a way for America to set the example for other nations to follow!

“Bless God, America!” is saying to our neighbors, cities, states and nation that God is our center, our hope, our focus in life. He is our strength, our shield, our bulwark, our Helper. No nation should be without the Living God on their side! No nation should seek any other Face, than the Face of the Living God, the God of heaven, who dwells inside of those who want Him and seek Him and have invited His Son, Jesus Christ into their hearts.

It’s time to “Bless God, America!”

Encouragement For You!

I have been busy writing encouraging notes (encouragement for you) to my fellow toastmasters with Quail Lake Toastmaster’s Club in Colorado Springs. I want to share some with you.

I’ve also completed two major Bible Studies on Integrity for Men. While writing and studying God’s Word, I’ve booked my next signing for April 15, 2017 at the Barnes and Noble Booksellers at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs. Hope to see you there!

Here are a few excerpts from my writings:

Encouragement for You!

Emails I’ve written over the past few months

 

Have a wonderful, productive, positive week. If you get tangled-up in the details of life’s awkwardness, keep some O-Live Oil handy. Rub it all over your situation and see if you can’t slip out of the tangles of life. Keep your mind sharp so you can cut away any anxious thoughts that try to bind you up. Hopefully, if you feel any stress attaching itself to you, breathe deep and then blow it off! Kick back and while you’re kicking, kick that stress away through some exercises: de-stress!

 

You are valuable beyond price, diamonds-in-the-rough, unique and precious.

 

You will be blessed and be a blessing as you find other ways to share your life and your awesome creative energy and wisdom with others. Keep up your momentum and open yourself to the newness of God’s resourcefulness. You are a light and a voice and a presence He can use elsewhere and within your new sphere of influence.

 

Never stop dreaming! Never stop dreaming about your possibilities! Never stop long enough to stop too long. Never give up on your goals! Never let your feelings be your launching pad: let love for God, love for others, and love for yourself be your launching pad!

 

Because the launching pad burns up as you take off, you’ll have to dream up another way to land! So, dream big and broad and wide and high and deep and diagonally and create new ways to land that no one has ever dreamed!

 

You are amazing! You are the only one of you, so make your mark and make it count!

 

Remember, you only have today. Make today the best day of your life. Be productive, but also take time to relax and appreciate where you’ve been! Appreciate who you are and who God is and who your neighbor is. Reach out to someone today who may not be having such a great day. Buy a gift of sorts to give away to someone today. Just buy something at the dollar store or grocery store and plan ahead to give it to someone to bless them.

 

You are a gift. You are a sign of hope. You are a voice of peace. You are significant. You are loved by God. You are a blessing to someone everyday. You are a smile someone looks forward to seeing. You are related to others by blood, and by friendship. Be thankful. Be joyful. Be you.

 

What do you want for Christmas for others? I want the homeless to have a warm bed and shelter; I want the imprisoned to find peace with themselves and with God; I want the disappointed and distraught to know there’s hope and forgiveness, and direction through life’s hardships, to a better place; I want college students and business people to find our club and learn to communicate and lead better…

 

 

 

 

Hang In There, Writer!

Are you new at writing? Hang in there! Have you given your audience something exciting to read and enjoy?  Hang in there! Maybe you’ve published a book or two and haven’t had much action or attentiveness to your book or website. It’s ok. Hang in there! Don’t get too upset if you haven’t made the bestseller list. Time and experience are the key ingredients to success. And keep writing! Hang in there!

Thanksgiving means being able to thank God and people and yourself for your initial investments in writing. My books have been out there for nearly four years. Bestsellers? Not by a long shot. But read and enjoyed by many of my audience and fans: yes! I’ve hung in there! And so should you!

I love my story about James and Kevin, Jessie and Christopher! It took three books to tell it and there’s still more to tell. But what I’ve shared so far is exhilarating and fun with lots of dialogue and challenges the kids face throughout their journeys together. I’m hanging in there! You should too!

Hang in there, dear writer! Hang on to your storyline and fill your story with lots of conflict, strong characters, and meaningful outcomes. Keep your point of view character always telling the story, always from his/her perspective, and growing personally.

Write well, finish well, and learn the craft of writing along the way. Read books, take classes, write what you love, and become a better writer each year you invest your deserving time into this art form. And by all means, hang in there! You will win if you hang in there till you reach the finish line of each project!

 

Putting Words on the Page to Write a Book – How I Did It

You Need a Method. Putting words on the page to write a book begins with choosing a method. NaNoWriMo.org is a great tool, program, and starting place for beginners. You are challenged to write every day for one month. You get coaching, mentoring, and even prizes at the end for reaching certain goals.

Another program is through ACFW.com, for Christian fiction writers. They offer a novel writing track and an editing track. You can write every day for a month and set your own goals, be hooked into critique groups, and take separate classes.

Start your novel at the beginning of a month of your choice. But don’t wait or put it off. Start in November by signing up now at one of these two websites. You’ll be glad you did!

I used the NaNoWriMo website four years ago and wrote three books! If you have a story inside of you begging to get onto paper, take the NaNoWriMo challenge. I wrote approximately 19,000 words in November, 2012. By December, I had approximately 27,000 words. By the end of January I had written 34,000 words. By the end of February I had nearly 42,000 words. By the end of March I had nearly 52,000 words. By the end of April I was counting up to 59,000 words. (All these are guess-ti-mates).181041__dragon-riders-of-the-realm-front-cover-682x1024

You May Need an Editor. I hired an editor from David C. Cook. She helped me with cohesiveness and content. She didn’t have time to correct all my grammar because I had a pending deadline. But she was excellent with what she pointed out regarding my overall storyline, that every scene had meaning and good transitions.

You Need a Publisher. I completed my novel in June and hired a self-publishing company, Xulon Press, out of Orlando, Florida. My first title came out in 2013, second in 2014, and third in 2016. I completed my trilogy and I am so proud of it. It’s entitled, Dragon Riders of The Realm. Self-publishers are not cheap. So, weigh the options compared to traditional publishers.

My publisher took care of the ISBN number, front and back cover art. I wrote the back copy for the back cover. I wrote the front pages: dedication, prologue; the back pages: author information, and bibliography. Xulon took care of the binding and typesetting. Xulon prints the books as needed, on demand. Xulon sells my books at a discount from their online bookstore. My books are returnable if the purchaser decides they do not like them. Xulon placed my books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple.

I am re-editing book one due to some grammatical errors. Mentally, this re-editing will take a load off my mind that has rested there for four years. I’ve also added a map of The Realm of Lasting. I hope new readers will enjoy my trilogy and old readers appreciate the fresh, new look. This second edition of book one should be available by the end of October, 2016.

Writing: Write and Get Professional Help!

Not everyone has a best seller to their name. That’s the truth about writing. But we keep  writing. Writing is either a gift that comes with your skill set or with a lot of hard, time-consuming effort. Either way, writing requires hard, time-consuming effort. You may know how to punctuate but need help with a coherent storyline. Or vice versa. No one knows everything, but everyone can write in a way that is readable and/or memorable.

My advice: join a writing club like Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild or American Christian Fiction Writers. Also, find and join a writers critique group in your community. Without the help of others who are in the professional writing industry, you won’t get the personal and skilled reviews of your writing necessary for publication.

You want to get your writing published. Don’t write and store your work in folders, in a file cabinet or on your computer, just to sit there forever.  Determine to get your work into the hands of professionals, of traditional publishers. I made the mistake of starting with a self-publishing company and have spent tons of money for very little return on investment. Self-publishing is your tenth best choice. Don’t start there!

Believe in yourself, your writing, and your money. You definitely want all three to be in the hands of those who care about you and not just your money! Do as I say: get into a critique group and start hearing and seeing what professionals look for in a good story. You may not like it at first, but over time you will gain valuable insights that could propel your writing to the next level. You may even make money on your writing. Would’t that be great? Yes.

More than the money, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve learned things about writing you can apply again and again to your next piece, and the next, and the next. Writing is a learning craft. Publishing is a learning craft. Pursue both. Be the Writer you were meant to be!

www.acfw.com

www.jerryjenkins.com

 

 

Experience and Contraband Writing

Writing is not the only thing writers do. We have hobbies such as astronomy, biking, hiking, birding, scrapbooking, selling products as representatives of small businesses, and the like. In many cases the other things that we do bring newness and freshness to our writing because life is full of experiences, and it is those experiences that give us ideas to make our writing stable, steady, and sound.

Stories for our books come out of stories in our lives. Tell your stories in non-fiction and wrap your stories with fantasy and engaging characters for fiction.

Write something everyday, even if it seems awkward or distant from whatever you’re working on at that moment in time. Writing off the top of your head is fun. Let your mind ponder a subject and write out of your gut rather than giving your opinion like you would in a group of friends.

Underground writing is writing that might be contraband to your friends and family, but it’s your true self speaking out, addressing issues and soapbox telling. This is what publishers are looking for – ideas that are fresh, challenging and point-blank.

Write!

Even if you only have five minutes, pull up a chair, open up a new document or get out a pen/pencil and paper, and write. Is there a recent idea you’ve had rolling around in your mind in the last few days? Is there a scene that stumps you? Is there a poem you’ve wanted to start? Is there a list of ideas or topics you felt needed to be scribed down?

Write! Take a moment and write! Take two minutes and write. Even in the middle of kids yelling and ransacking the house; even in the middle of a big whumtido! Write something. Etch something on a blank piece of paper! Get out your journal and write out a paragraph of a recent happening and date it.

Delay is decay! Write now, not later! Putting it off could put it out! Invest the time to write a bit and cook the idea that’s on the spit (grill). You can do more by writing a little, than thinking a lot about what to write. When ideas come, don’t be numb. Write them down and set them aside. This is the best way to build a story, a building, anything meaningful that others may value. Do you get the hint? Write!

 

Write! Query! Submit! Get published!

Many new writers feel they’re too busy to write. But when a topic is burning in your heart, just get out of bed or leave the TV show you’re watching, and go write on the topic. Just do this. I did this for a month at different times and ended up writing fourteen different articles on the same topic.

But writing isn’t enough. A writer must find a publication and submit her/his writings for publication. Study a magazine or newspaper and know what they’re looking for, what they will pay you for. Then, write a query letter indicating who you are, why your article will fit their audience needs, and ask if they’d like to see your material.

If they ask to see your article, send it in their required format and style. Follow their writer guidelines and send them your article. Get paid and be ready for other assignments.

Never write for a filing cabinet. Never put your work aside and let it rot in a manilla folder. Write to be published. Write to be read and heard and appreciated or disagreed with. Write because you are gifted and need to use this special gift. You are never too busy to write and publish your work. Never.

Book Signing at Antlers Hotel

My next book signing will be February 19-21, 2016 at GalaxyFest at the downtown Colorado Springs Antlers hotel. Please stop by, say “Hello,” and purchase copies of my trilogy, Dragon Riders of The Realm, published by Xulon Press. I wrote it especially for teens and youngsters who love dragons and fantasy.

Presently, I’m working on one non-fiction book about integrity. I’ve also started writing a suspense novel about a young single man who has a dream and seeks to find its meaning.

Hoping to see you in two weeks at the Antlers Hotel.