It was our favorite Mexican restaurant and hubby and I sat across the table from friends with whom we re-connected after decades.

And in the lively conversation a comment was made that jolted my senses. I positioned the wheelchair beside the table (I still couldn’t put weight on the foot with the broken bone). The comment came innocently, I’m sure. “Janet is blind and now lame,” he chuckled. “So… so much for this Jesus thing.”

Although it was a comment in jest, he had a point. Amigos, does the world think that when you become a Christ follower, life is perfect? Or does it mean that when you commit your life to Jesus, troubles end? Contracts flood in, and speaking engagements jam our calendars?

The answer is a resounding “no.” Life will not be perfect. But you will be perfectly equipped to face the fierce storms in life. And even when life is ugly, here are seven ways to know joy, true joy that plays the melody of confidence in the symphony of Jesus’ promises:

  1. Joy comes
    because we know His love will transcend all—blindness, illness, broken feet, broken hearts and broken plans.
  2. Joy comes
    because He promised to bring solutions we never dreamed.
  3. Joy fills
    our heart because loneliness is a foreign word. The constant whisper that God would never abandon us echoes while sweet sleep comes at night.
  4. Joy is ours
    because when the rest of the world is searching, looking and hungry for fulfillment Christ fills the void, feeds the spiritual hunger, and puts in place the piece that makes us whole.
  5.  Joy is complete because our purpose is defined: To Love God with all our mind, heart and soul and love one another. Love those who wound us, ridicule and insult us.
  6. Joy sings
    in our heart because this life is short, often dotted with trials, but we live in anticipation of the forever eternity promised to those to whom Jesus is their Lord.
  7. Joy is our promise
    Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, and you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20).

Father, the joy you promise is the treasure that shines beyond setbacks, pain or troubles. For that gift, I praise and thank you in the name of your son Jesus, amen.

• Where do you find the joy that keeps you going?

• What is the force that ushers peace to your nights?

• Where do you turn in painful moments?

Janet Perez Eckles

Judson Press, 2011

Simply Salsa, Amazon Best-selling book

Grateful for the
privilege of inspiring you…




Maureen pic from booksigningIn the Book of Genesis, God created the world – all of it! - in 6 days and rested on the 7th (and I daresay He's been busy ever since)!

Was it then that began humankind's fascination, or perhaps sometimes obsession, with things "faster, bigger, greater?"

Biblical reference aside (God is, after all, above and beyond us mere mortals), all around us, we hear of the things people accomplish in seemingly, amazingly brief periods of time. As workers in the written word, we marvel at bookstore shelves where certain authors take up whole rows, or whose volumes even ripple down to a second or third shelf, too!  How quickly their fingers must lightning over their computer keyboards! And, even more quickly, how their minds must race to the next project and the next!  They are incredible, these super writers! It's only natural to aspire to just such achievement, such work.

But, wait.

Whether written quickly or slowly, lasting books, stories, and other pieces of writing do not have, at their core, a time clock as the central attraction. Indeed, the reader or audience member probably has no idea how quickly something went from idea to fruition. He or she also probably doesn't care. What is important is the truth of the matter, the depth, breadth, heart and soul of the piece. And this can only be achieved if the story is allowed to unfold in its and God's good time.

I once wrote an entire screenplay in one weekend. Yup. Fade in to fade out in less than 72 hours. But I can say in all honesty, it was not a very good screenplay. An exercise in speed typing, perhaps. But just not fit for the silver screen. I did not let that story unfold as it should, giving it room and time to breathe. Reading back on it, I recognize some "flashes of brilliance." But otherwise..I'd like to say I could keep up at that pace and turn out good work, but it just isn't, well, me.

As each of us moves farther along the writer's journey, we begin to realize not only what we want to write about, but how we work best. Some produce truly good work after good work at a quick clip. Some have multiple books in progress, or other projects at various stages of developement at the same time. Others turtle along with one book and cannot start another without completely finishing the work at hand.And still others, some authors who have written one amazing work and others like them who are to come, might write everyday, but will only have one book in print for years and years. Think Margaret Mitchell. Think Charlotte and Emily Bronte. Think John Kennedy Toole. Ones and twos each of  them – but, oh! What books!

Besides discovering and nurturing our unique writing pace, another task that is crucial to allowing stories to unfold as they should is to as effectively as possible manage the externals – deadlines, agent/editor/marketing rep expectations, reader demands. These can easily propel us onward with energy (theirs) and frustration (ours), if those demands do not match our inner "clock" for writing. Yes, it's hard to stand up to people who are so eager to see what we're writing (and to publish and read it). But, if, for you, quantity does not beget quality, pray for courage and the right words to say in response. Play Mama Bear, if you must, so that you "cub" develops (unfolds) into a great grizzlie of a work!

I'm reading through a book of letters written by Flannery O'Connor ("The Habit of Being"). O'Connor is considered by many to be one of the greatest American, Christian-themed writers. Early in her career, she had been writing short stories that were the chapters of a novel-in-progress. O'Connor had won an award for the work, and a few of the stories had been accepted for publication in literary journals. In a query letter to agent Elizabeth McKee, O'Connor writes, "The novel, except for isolated chapters, is in no condition to be sent to you at this point…I am a very slow worker and it is possible that I won't write another story until I finish this novel and that no other chapters of the novel will prove salable. I have never had an agent so I have no idea what your disposition might be toward my type of writer"

Talk about an author who understood her process! And, who had the courage let others know what it was! McKee agreed to represent O'Connor, and to great success for them both.

Whether you write quickly and produce volumes, or you have one book to gift to the world, allowing the work to unfold in time and deepen with nurtured ripening will undoubtedly yield great fruit,stories that are true, and books that last.

Blessings of joy and peace!






Sundin #D70 ©2008 Linda Johnson Photography web (2)Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California, where we’re welcoming cooler temperatures. I have the joy of interviewing multi-published nonfiction author Jan Kern today. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jan at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, where she serves on the faculty. She has a true heart for following God’s lead in her writing, covering difficult but crucial topics—and now following Him into an uncertain transition period. As so many writers are in transition nowadays, you’re sure to be inspired by her example.

CAN Jan KernJan, how did you get into writing?

I’ve always loved books and playing with words. As a little girl I wrote to Mr. Walt Whitman at Whitman Publishers and asked how I might become a writer. He wrote back saying I should study hard in school and write often. And no, at that time I didn’t realize that Walt Whitman had been dead for more than half a century, but I’m grateful for the kind soul at Whitman Publishers that took time to write to a little girl.

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Pamela S. Meyers

Pamela S. Meyers here with another post about book marketing.

Since last March I’ve been on a promotion blitz for my April 1 release, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a historical romance set in one of the most beautiful vacation spots in Wisconsin. I’ve held speaking and signing engagements, given a slideshow presentation on the history of my setting at a museum, a library and even a retirement home. I’ve also held speaking and signing events, and much more.

Last March, I visited the gift shop run by the boat company that gives guided tours of the lake. These tours give a peek into Lake Geneva’s history by showing what is left of late 19th Century/early 20th Century mansions that fill the lakeshore. What a perfect place for my book to be featured! While in the shop, I took note of several other Lake Geneva books, including a self-published time travel set in Lake Geneva that was published over 20 years ago. I remembered when that book first came out and it is still filling the shelves, especially during tourist season.

Walworth III spoke to the store manager about my book and gave her a complimentary copy for her boss, since the boss was out of town. About a week later, the store manager emailed me to ask how they would go about ordering my book. I immediately gave the email address of the woman at Guideposts Publishing and went back to working on preparing for my book launch.

All summer I intended to stop in at the shop and say hello and find out how books sales have been going. The shop is in another village on the lake and not in the actual town of Lake Geneva, and time got away from me.

This past week, I took an out-of-town friend to Lake Geneva to ride one of the excursion boats and
Ready to Embark show off my hometown. While waiting for the boat to begin the tour, one of the boat staff walked past me carrying some books. Was my book on that pile she carried? I raced to the back of the boat and all I saw was some pictoral coffee-table type books and the 20-year-old self-published book. I asked the woman if they ever have my book on board and she said she’d never seen it.

Effort to get my book featured in the giftshop and on local boat tours: Fail

I should have gone back.

After the tour, as the boat was pulling into the dock, the boat captain started telling his passengers all about the self-published book and gave a pretty good pitch. And I sat there sinking lower in my chair…shoulda, coulda, woulda.

As I left the boat, I asked the captain if he was aware of my book and he was not.

Boy, did I learn a big lesson!

And, I hope to all who are reading this now are learning one too. Never, ever drop the ball. To make one contact and think all is well, is not a good idea. The key word is follow-through. Never presume anything.

My book has the potential to linger year after year, the same as the time-travel one does now. It just came out this year, so I have to keep a presence in the stores for years to come — not only the boat company’s gift shop but all of the retail stores in the area.

The interesting thing is that the author of the other book died a few years ago. He’s already done his work and his book is living on, still being purchased and read. Mine could have the same fate if I work hard at it while I can.

What lessons have you learned the hard way when marketing your books?


My current nonfiction project is a book on writing that was solicited by a publisher. Since I have already been given a contract for the book, and I have a tight deadline, you may be surprised to hear that one of my earliest steps in the process is writing a proposal.Dave&books What?

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