Hello from children’s author Crystal Bowman! I love the challenge of writing for children, and I love teaching other writers the craft of writing for children. In previous blogs I’ve talked about the many different genres of children’s literature as well as sharing tips on writing for children. Today I want to give you an inside look into how I got my most recent book published. Read More →
Greetings from Marti Pieper in lovely Mount Dora, Florida, where October means we’ve turned off our air conditioner and opened the windows. Our weather doesn’t get cold enough to produce leaves with true autumn color, but we do have plenty of pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice coffee drinks to help us join the rest of the northern hemisphere in celebrating fall.
Today, I’m delighted to introduce to you a friend-by-writing, Dena Dyer. I “know” Dena from several mutual friendships and of course through the Christian Authors Network, but we have yet to meet in person. Her Texas home is near Fort Worth, where my husband and I married and welcomed our first two daughters into our family. I have just enough in common with Dena to want to get to know her better, so let’s all do that via this interview.
Welcome, Dena! How did you get into writing and how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I started writing as a second grader, when I discovered a passion for stringing together words and making people laugh. To date, I’ve had seven books released with royalty publishers and have an eighth that will come out next year. It’s a humorous devotional book for couples, which I’m writing with my hubby. My latest release is 25 Christmas Blessings: An Inspiring Countdown to Christmas! (Barbour), a devotional book for individuals and families. It includes 250 service ideas, which I’m really excited about. Before that, I wrote Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope when Life Hurts (Kregel) with my friend and fellow minister’s wife, Tina Samples. Read More →
Hola from Janet Perez Eckles…Igniting Your Passion to Overcome
I was excited, I was prepared, and I was grinning at God’s grace to allow me to be on radio. Sound familiar? That was a couple of decades ago. And sitting behind that microphone, I began…and didn’t stop. Maybe I took a breath, maybe not. But my host might have been gasping, annoyed with my endless gab. I thought I had a killer interview, but instead I killed the audience’s interest. Then I figured out interviews that sing over the airways, and those that prompt a second and a third invitation, need refining. Read More →
Kathy, please tell us how you got into writing.
About twenty years ago, a friend from church asked me to help her with a conference she was running. She said I was so much help, she asked if I’d like to attend for free. “I don’t know. What kind of conference is it?” (Clearly I hadn’t paid much attention to the material I was stuffing into three-ring binders.) She told me it was a writers’ conference. “But I’m not a writer,” I said. She replied, “Maybe you are and you just don’t know it yet.” At the conference, I met people whose names were on the covers of books I had at home. I felt like I was meeting celebrities! But they were “real” people, a lot like me. And they wrote in their spare time—it wasn’t a full-time day job, as I’d always assumed. Deciding to take a shot at it, I wrote an article and submitted it to a magazine I’d never heard of until I picked up their writers’ guidelines on the freebie table. They sent me a check for $100. I was hooked!
Jesus used words pictures to carry His message so, to follow in His example, in today’s media culture, a photo is often “worth a thousand words”. Getting a great promo shot that captures you and your brand can feel nearly impossible – especially if you have a shoestring budget.
Here are a few tips for getting that W.I.N.N.I.N.G. photo:
Wear what you LOVE- and what loves YOU: Test clothes ahead of time with simple snaps on your cell. You will soon see what colors, lines and fabrics look best on you. It is also helpful to know what mood or purpose your photos will be used for so you can plan wardrobe and setting accordingly. For images your graphic designer can easily trim around for web or graphic design, then shooting in front of a plain white back drop or green screen might be advantageous. If you need casual shots, wear casual attire. If you want to show you can function and minister in the world of high finance, leadership, business or politics, then wear clothes you would wear for those activities.
Invest in a professional image consultation. My friends Jill Swanson and Manda Hall are two fashion wonder women who have helped me grow in this area. Consultants help you look up to date, in style, and can help you discern what best reflects your style and personality. Often image consultants can give tips on make up, poses, and jewelry and clothes to bring out your best and cover your flaws. For example, I have even trained my family to take photos from higher than my face (shoot down) to make me look thinner and younger! For example, my friend Jill gave me simple advice selecting “Your best colors” – your best colors will be the color of your eyes, your hair and natural lip colors. For me, just the simple decision to wear long pearl necklaces have a slimming impact that help me be more
confident of photos taken of me.
Notice what photos of others you love: scan Pinterest, magazines and other websites. Make a file of images and ideas you love. Make note of creative uses of themes or images, like these two of my friend Linda Goldfarb. Bill and I discerned that we like photos that captured a feeling not just an image. The last shot of a family Christmas photo shot when I yelled, “dogpile daddy!” (Ken Hansen) or our son, daughter in law and kids had a “tickle fight”—or the sensitive moments of a private kiss (above) have become some of our family’s favorites(Rebecca Friedlander). Make a shot list so you can efficiently get the photos you desire and not forget a vital one.
Note the time of day (like sunset) that you might want to capture a mood. Time of day will also help avoid harsh shadows. A certain season may give the result you are hoping for, like a walk in the fall leaves, or this shot where my top matches the hillside of flowers that only bloom for 2 months each winter in our yard. Various weather options can capture a need or a unique moment. For example, the little bit of rain actually produced a fun and favorite candid I can use for retreat PR. (Carl Cramer)
Investigate photographer options. Professionals can be worth the financial investment if you need very high end mass media photos. But for most of us, a local photographer who knows you and makes you feel confident and comfortable will work for your needs. Also, often photographers who are new are might be open to free or discounted sitting fees to build their portfolio. Student photography students or amateur photographers who you have seen and loved their work might be able to catch great shots because he or she is willing to shoot longer to offer multiple choices. Some photographers might be willing to barter for one of the skills or talents you possess in exchange for photos (We have traded relationship coaching for great pictures!)
Go for the unique. Contrast high fashion against a very casual setting (like wedding clothes on the beach, or bright red against a natural wall or background); Use props that are a contrast to the setting . For example, our talented photographer, Rebecca Friendlander, encouraged us to haul an old wing back chair to the beach. We then took glamour photos sitting right IN the waves. I also grabbed a red umbrella and dress for that pop of color against a rustic sea wall cliff.
You are unique—so lighten up! No photo will be perfect because, “we are all in the PROCESS of becoming our best selves”.
Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 44 books, including her newest 7 Simple Skills for Success for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together. www.Love-wise.com