Screen shot 2012-05-29 at 8.50.40 AMSherry Kyle here writing from my laptop in California. 

Have you had a good laugh lately? 

I’m not talking about a slight chuckle, but a good ‘ol belly laugh—the kind that makes your stomach hurt and the tears roll out of your eyes. There are certain friends and family members that bring it out of me. My husband is one of them. I love his sense of humor and how he can brighten my mood. Who makes you laugh? 

I’m so glad God loves laughter. He wants us to enjoy life. 

Psalm 126: 2-3 says,

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.' The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”


John 10: 10 says, 

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 


Philippians 4: 8 says, 

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” 

It may seem strange that I'd write a post on laughter for a writing blog, but writers need a little humor in their lives. We all know this business is tough and how important it is to keep it all in perspective.

Have a great day . . .  and laugh often!



ParablesParables and Word Pictures from the New Testament: Following God series by Cheri Cowell

Publisher: AMG Publishers
ISBN: 0899573495

Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament is a 13-week workbook-style study of 118 parables from Jesus, Paul, and the apostles. This comprehensive look at the New Testament parables will help readers develop an ear for the message they convey—that the Kingdom of God is both here and near. Through the study readers will be challenged to live faithful and holy “Kingdom lives” in a broken and unholy world. Of the thirteen weeks, the first nine explore the parables of Jesus in the four gospels; the next three look at the parables in Acts and those from Paul and the apostles. The study culminates in a look at what the author calls living parables, with Jesus as the Parable of all parables. Through Him we come to know God the Father, and through Jesus we come to live as living parables in a world begging to “see God.” Living story-shaped lives allows others to see God in us—this is Kingdom living.

Author, speaker, and sidewalk theologian, Cheri Cowell is passionate about discipleship and challenging the body of Christ to holiness of heart and life. As the author of Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life (Beacon Hill, 2007) and over 300 articles, Cheri’s love of story and the Holy Word shines through in her writing and teaching. In 2009 she was one of six journalists chosen for a tour of the Holy Land by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, a blessing that only deepened he love of the parables Jesus told. Cheri is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary where she learned the Inductive Bible study method used in this study to encourage, challenge, and equip the body of Christ to live Story-shaped lives. Cheri and her husband, Randy, call Orlando, FL home.

This new release information was uploaded by Cecelia Dowdy. Happy reading!


Pic for website 2012     Hello, again! Maureen Pratt here with my monthly blogpost about the craft of writing. Today, I'm going to focus on techniques to employ to find and write distinctive voices for each of your characters or individuals in fiction or non-fiction.

    I began my professional writing career as a playwright, earning my Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts with a concentration in playwriting from UCLA and later having a number of plays produced. Unlike writing for the movies, playwriting "runs" on dialogue. A professional script for live theater contains very little, if any, description except to set the scene, and actor's notes should be non-existent. (Once a play has been published, which assumes it's been produced, these notes are usually inserted as guidelines for subsequent productions, however, original scripts do not include them.) So, it's vital that a playwright master the art of dialogue, crafting lines that contain meaning, emphasis, and character without "indicating" these in the script.

Example: "Mary: He did what? How? I don't believe it" instead of: "Mary (raising her voice and her eyebrows): He did what? (She sits down on the sofa) How? (She sighs) I don't believe it."

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Hi all, Pamela Meyers here and back with another installment on what I’ve learned while marketing my debut novel.

When I received THE call aboutPam2011SmallChinFist a year ago telling me I’d sold my first book, I knew right away I had a lot of work ahead of me. Not only did I expect deadlines for edits, but I also knew marketing would eat up some time. Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about marketing my novels, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned with you on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

So far, I’ve covered the prep work required before I wrote the story, what I learned about a successful book launch party, and the making of a book trailer. This month I want to talk about the dreaded (at least for me) video interview.

I really have to start back way before my debut novel, Thyme for Love, was published to a time when I was on the ACFW Board and was to be interviewed on an Internet radio program about our annual conference. Although I’d never participated in an interview before, I’d been overseeing the Mentor of the Year award  for several years and could talk about it in my sleep. No problem.

Boy, was I wrong.

I never met a word I didn’t like to say, and when asked  a question, I gave my answer, and then more, and then more after that. I’m sure the host wanted to tell me less is more, but I probably didn’t give him  time to get a word in edgewise. Suddenly, the interview was over. I’m not sure he even ran it. If he did, it had to have been edited way down. I felt too embarrassed to even try to listen.

This past December when my good friends, Sandra Moore and Lisa Ludwig at the Borrowed Book blog agreed to interview me for my new book, I assumed the interview would be the usual typed questions to which I would type my responses and return them for their editing and posting.

Boy, was I wrong!

They wanted to interview me on video, using a webcam! I was game, especially after I learned I would provide my own questions and give the answers on video in separate segments.

I went into Photo Booth on my MacBook started recording. It felt weird staring at a computer screen of myself while I talked, and it required few takes before I got through the first question without getting tongue-tied. But I finally got comfortable with it and soon sent off the takes to my friends. Done.

Boy, was I wrong.

Like the radio interview I’d rambled on way too long. The segments were so large they couldn’t be opened on the other end! That was when I learned my first lesson in this new medium. Each answer could be no longer than a minute.

It took a few takes to finally did get it tightened, but that wasn’t the end of my education. I also learned I have a quirky habit of rolling my eyes far into my head while I mentally put my answers together. Not a pretty sight looking at the whites of my eyes every other question.

I also found out the hard way that lighting is very important, as is the angle you are to the camera. The closer you are, the viewer will see lines in your face you never even see in your mirror!

I’ve summed up the main tips I’ve learned from this experience short of asking to wear a paper bag over your head while you record.

  1. Know what color looks best on you and wear it. A lot of still photographers will tell you to wear long sleeves, and I can’t help but think that should apply to video interviews as well.
  2. Even if you don’t wear makeup, try to dab a bit of color on your lips and a light dusting of blush. Otherwise, you may appear very washed out.
  3. Try to have the webcam situated so that it is either directly even with your face or better yet, a bit above it. Never have it lower!!!
  4. Be careful to not have lights on behind you, and those you have in the setting should soft in tone, not harsh and bright.
  5. Don’t sit only a few feet away from the webcam, unless you are under the age of ten and have no lines in your face. Experiment with different distances to see which is the most flattering. An author I know set her webcam halfway across the room and the picture showed a full view of her sitting on her couch. Never saw a single line in her face LOL.
  6. Practice your answers ahead of time and time them. If they are long past a minute, you know what to do.
  7. Do a practice run, by actually recording it and look for quirky habits to avoid such as my eye roll thing.
  8. Practice your smile until it looks natural and not forced.
  9. Enjoy yourself!

You can watch the video interview I made at:  My eye roll is still in there in places, but not as bad as it was. I also didn’t do anything about the lighting, but you can be sure I will next time!

Note  in the interview I say that my Summerside Press novel, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, will be out June 2012. That release date has since been pushed back to April 2013.




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It's Grace Fox with a devotional thought to start your week.

Sometimes life leaves us baffled or bruised. We wonder if God is as wise as He claims to be, and we question why circumstances don’t happen how and when we wish they would. When I feel this way, I take courage from the Scriptures.

Recently I read about the prophet Samuel’s boyhood. One word—meanwhile—popped up several times in the account. It reminded me that, no matter what life looks like, God’s at work behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes. 

  •  “And the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:21).
  • Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the LORD and with the people” (1 Samuel 2:26).
  • Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the LORD by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon” (1 Samuel 3:1).

Events both good and bad unfurled on a daily basis at that time. Meanwhile, God was quietly raising up a prophet who would honor Him and faithfully proclaim His word.

The beauty of meanwhile remains true today. A couple years ago, Stonecroft Ministries asked me to produce a DVD-based Bible study to accompany my book, Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. I had no funds and no clue how to do this. The thought of producing such a resource made good sense, but it also unnerved me. And so I prayed: “God, if You want this project done, then You’ll need to bring me a team of skilled people to help. And you’ll need to work out all the details including funding.” 

For the next year, I went about my usual business of writing, speaking, and ministering overseas. Meanwhile, the bi-weekly women’s Bible study that my daughter-in-law organized lost its teacher.  “Can you teach it now, Mom?” asked Cheryl. “Preparations won’t take long if you teach from Moving from Fear to Freedom because you already know the material.” I thought about the DVD study. Using this opportunity as a test run seemed divinely orchestrated, so I agreed and started writing the lessons. 

Meanwhile, I met a man in my church who’d specialized in audio-visual work while a missionary in Africa many years prior. He had a local friend who owned two filming cameras. Both agreed to help. 

Meanwhile, a national women’s ministry set aside money for projects such as this. One day the president handed me an envelope containing a grant application. “Fill out the form and ask for funding,” she said. I applied, and the committee approved. Within a year, the DVD-based Bible study became a reality. 

Perhaps you’re facing a challenge today. You’re not sure what’s goin’ on, and life looks like a puzzle with a few pieces missing. Pray and take courage in the Scriptures, especially in the word meanwhile.

You work. You wait. Meanwhile, God is on the move behind the scenes to fulfill His plan.


Visit for more devotional thoughts.