JanetPerezEckles-Use

“You have to go to school,” my father ordered.

My 12-year-old heart beat fast with worry. Just off the airplane from Bolivia, I knew no English. And America was too big, too different, and strange. Weeks of anxiety at school made the adjustment harder.

But what paralyzed me with fear were the relay races in which I was told to participate. The distance I’d have to run between the starting point and the next runner where I’d hand off the baton made my stomach cramp. With each new race, I anguished—what if I should stumble or drop the baton? What if I fell or caused my team to lose?

Have you been there? A new year begins. Another race. One more stretch of life is before you, and you wonder if you’ll make it. Ahead is a journey, uncertain and often painfully foreign. Sweat pours out. And you ask, “Will I make it one more step? Will I have enough speaking engagements? Will my marketing efforts pay off? Will I make it to the finish line?”

But while we question, God is not on the bleachers. He’s right on the racetrack, right beside us, hearing our every sigh of stress. Watching each obstacle in the way. And listening to each doubt that pours from our anxious heart.

And in the midst of it all, His reassurance pours and peace blots out fear. Even when we don’t understand the language of adversity, we step on the racetrack of life. And with the God of the universe as our divine coach, He takes us to the finish line with these seven promises:

  1. With the firmness of His Word, He will give us confidence.
  2. With His grace, He will lighten the load.
  3. With His promises, He will cheer us on.
  4. With His mighty hand, He will hold us up.
  5. With His mercy, He will bring us through.
  6. With His strength, He will keep us on track.
  7. And because of His love, triumph will shine.

And with fear left in the locker room of negative emotions, God’s cheering fuels the soul: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Father, thank you for preparing the gold medal of triumph when we run on the track of your grace. I will run fueled by your power, and cheered on by your promises. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  • Will this opportunity be different for you?
  • How will you face these challenges?
  • What obstacles keep you from reaching triumph?

Janet

Judson Press, 2011

Simply Salsa, Amazon Best-selling book

 

 

Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

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Maureen Pratt

Hello! Maureen Pratt here to bring another blog post to you. This time, I’m going to continue along the theme I began last month and talk more about capturing the visual aspects of writing – how working with a camera when you are writing can help you bring dazzling details to your work of fiction or non-fiction.

 

Sometimes, when we write (particularly fiction, but also nonfiction), we think that our work has to come from our imaginations. This is, of course, true to a point. But in order to make a place come alive to the reader, we have to draw a more precise picture of the people and places we write about. Even if our town is fictional, and our characters are all made up, they still have to resonate with connections to what readers find familiar in order for those cherished fans to relate to our stories.

Last week, I finished a magazine project (very big whoop of happiness inserted here!). I worked with a photographer with whom I’d collaborated twice before, and our final piece of the puzzle was a photo shoot last week. It was an outdoor shoot – and rain was on the way. In fact, as I was driving out to the site, drops spritzed my windshield as if to warn me of impending gloom.

Read More →

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Pam-Fave 7 closeupHi all. Pamela S. Meyers here with another post on marketing your books. We are nearing the end of another year, and I’ve been thinking about what kind of New Year’s resolutions we authors can make as they relate to marketing.

Happy day after Christmas! If you’re not out shopping the bargains, now is the perfect time to put those marketing goals into place. What they might be depends on if you just had a book release, or have one coming up in the new year.

In my case, my Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is releasing April 1, 2013, and Love Will Find a Way, the sequel to my debut novel, releases sometime in the next few months. April may seem far away, but I’ve learned the hard way, it’s never too late to lay the groundwork for a
successful marketing program for your book. I can and should be doing as much as possible ahead of April. Here’s my list so far:

1. Book a blog tour.

Many people love to host authors and their books on their blogs, and many bloggers are already booking for at least the first half of 2013. That has to be the first item on my marketing resolution list for 2013. When you book a visit, if at all possible, offer to do a giveaway of a free book. The possibility of winning a free book, always brings more visitors to the blog, and if they don’t win, chances are they will look for your story to purchase it.To Do List with Hand

2.  Book personal appearances and signings. 

I already have booked the Geneva Lake Museum for a presentation and signing on April 27th, but there are other places I need to contact such as the local library and an upscale gift shop that has already shown interest in hosting a signing event for me. Try to think out of the box and come up with some unique places that might be willing to host an event for you.

3. Contact local news media.

Always look into the local paper where you story is set. People love to read books set in places they know. I’ll be contacting the
editor of the paper to arrange for an interview. Since Lake Geneva is my hometown I’ll have somewhat more interest than usual, but I haven’t lived there in many years and a lot of people who live there now don’t know me at all. The more that read about my book prior to my event at the museum, the better opportunity I’ll have for a turnout and for sales. Also, if the location has a local radio station, contact them to arrange for an interview. But don’t stop with local media. Internet radio is fast becoming as popular as broadcast radio. Check into what programs are looking for authors to interview on the air.

4.  Order promotional items.

Now is the time to order bookmarks, postcards, and other items such as pens, sticky notes, or whatever clever items that could tie into your storyline. In my case, since my main characters work for the local weekly newspaper, I might look for something related to their profession, or something that promotes the town.

That’s the start of my marketing to-do list for 2013. I have a feeling more will be added as I think of them. Can you help me out and remind me of anything I may have forgotten?

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Gail Gaymer Martin

Gail Gaymer Martin

 

Wishing you Christmas blessings from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailgaymermartin.com Drop by and see my lovely new website.

On November 9, Dissecting Your Novel – Part 1 covered three aspects of editing your own work with a fresh look to tighten and brighten your novels. The elements I covered were: Motivation-reaction unit, cause/effect arrangement of sentences, and the plight of using adverbs. This post will continue with the last three elements:

 

  1. Placing the most important/emphatic in a sentence. Margie Lawson, Lawson Writer’s Academy http://www.margielawson.com/ and Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
  2. Use beats instead of tags. Browne and King, Self-editing For Fiction Writers
  3. Revise with scissors – Strunk & White, The Elements of Style

These elements will help your novel be the best it can be.

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10666-Cat-and-dog-in-the-snowOften when I see only a glimpse of a scene, or a reflection in glass, it strikes me
as a doorway to another world—a magical place I long to go. The same sort of feeling a favorite book does for me—like Heidi taking me up the Swiss Alps, or Ash and Anjuli-Bai from Far Pavilions whisking me off to long-ago India.

From my living room couch I can look into my kitchen and see the glass door to the pantry. This is often what I see when I’m having my devotions, while I have a cup of tea in my hand, the dog at my feet, and the cat at my side.

From this cozy spot I can either look through the window to the backyard trees, or glance at the glass pantry door and see not the real trees and shrubs, but a reflection moving in the breeze.

In case you haven’t realized, there’s a strong streak of imagination to my inner person. You’d never know it when you look at me, though. On the outside, no one could be more banal, prosaic, or no-nonsense. In the Lord’s dealings with me, most decisions boil down to good old common sense. But this dream-like aspect to my soul colors a great deal of my relationship with the Lord.

This is not to say my faith is airy-fairy. Christ’s atoning death on the cross couldn’t be more logical.

God the Father is perfect Justice . . . and

Humanity broke God’s laws . . . therefore

Someone had to pay the penalty.

No human court of law could get more down to earth than this need to set things right. That truth, and my acceptance of what Christ did for me, is as real as the silver birch in my backyard.

But the fact that the Son of God set aside His glory to come to dusty old earth to make that sacrifice, sky rockets that event into the supernatural, the unexplainable—something only an omnipotent God could come up with.

When I sit on the corner of my couch with my cup of tea and my Bible, my eye leaves the reality of my backyard and strays more often to the reflection in the glass. Sunlight dances on the snow, throwing out flashes of color. The scene in the glass shows me a familiar place, yet not quite. My inner walking with the God of my Bible draws me to think far and above, to break free from mere
common sense to the…enchanting.

Like the poets say—to chance…to dream. Do we humans stop ourselves from taking great leaps of faith because we would rather cling to the down-to-earth when our hearts hunger to soar for the impossible?

Colossians 3:1 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

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