CrystalBowman300-225x300Hello from Crystal Bowman. I am happy to tell you that I am spending the summer in Michigan rather than my home in Florida. I have three grandhildren in Michigan, so besides the beautiful weather, those are three great reasons to be here! I have been writing for children for over 25 years and also have an editing service for children’s writers who are trying to get their books published. When I review proposals, I often see a good proposal with the manuscript tacked on at the end. What I often don’t see is a paginated manuscript. Read More →

Marti Pieper

Marti Pieper

Greetings from summer-steamy Mount Dora, Florida. It seems less steamy than usual, however, because of the almost-three weeks I spent on a mission trip in the tropical country of Panama during June and July. It’s all about perspective, right?

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris

Today, we have an encore perspective from one of our CAN authors, the lovely Kathy Harris. Let’s see what she’s learned about book promotion since the last time we featured her here on our CAN blog.

Welcome, Kathy. I look forward to learning more about you. Let’s get started! How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest?

RTM_ABINGDON-downsizedOne novel, The Road to Mercy (Abingdon Press, 2012), and several nonfiction anthology contributions.

Such a great title! You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?

In 2010, I began interviewing writers and entertainers for my blog, Divine Detour, asking them about the detours in their lives. Since that time I’ve experienced several of my own, including being widowed and becoming the primary caregiver for my elderly parents. Through it all, I’ve tried not to lose sight of my writing goals. Or my passion for writing.

We often hear it said that God’s timing might be different than our own. But, I believe, if we will remain prayerfully connected to Him, we can be confident that He will help us complete what He has called us to do. Read More →


Winner of the 2016 CAN Scavenger Hunt is… Mary McClellan!
CAN Scavenger Hunt
(Blog Hop for Books and Prizes)
July 17-23, 2016


Congratulations to Mary McClellan for winning the grand prize!


In every story, the premise can be found by analyzing the story. In the Star Wars trilogy, the evil empire is taking over the universe. A young man who is full of goodness, perseverance, and integrity is forced to fight the empire. He wins. “Good triumphs over evil” is clearly the premise. Every film or television program with that clear–cut premise, “Good triumphs over evil,” tells a different story by proving that premise in a different way. However, it is the process of proving the premise that satisfies the expectations of the audience.

Every parable Jesus told through the Bible has a premise. Plays, books, short stories, and even TV commercials all contain a premise. As an exercise, you may want to try to discover the premises in some of the parables. Pay close attention to the next commercial or movie preview you watch, try to find and state the premise.

Many well–produced films, television programs, and other media communications fail, not because of the quality of the production, but because of a defective premise. Such defects include a double premise, or just an unclear premise. Each of Shakespeare’s plays offer good examples of clear–cut premises, as do the parables of Jesus. Without a clear–cut premise no idea, thought, or conviction is strong enough to carry you through to a logical conclusion (Lajos Egri, Ibid). [1]

The movie 2010 was beautifully produced, but failed because three–fourths of the way through the premise changed, and the second premise was never proved through the medium of the story to the audience’s satisfaction. The first part of 2010 told the story of how “cooperation triumphs over adversity.” Then, after proving the first premise, a second premise, “supernatural being(s) bring peace,” was introduced which took the movie in another direction.

A badly worded or false premise will force you to fill space with pointless and irrelevant material. A communication with more than one premise is confused because it is trying to go in more than one direction at once. Note, however, that an anthology, variety, or series of separate and distinct communications will have separate premises for each communication, but no one distinct communication should have more than one premise. A premise that says too much is ambiguous and says nothing. A premise that does not take a position is ambivalent and says nothing. Don’t write what you don’t believe!

In storytelling genre, if there is no clear–cut premise your characters will not live, because without a clearly defined premise, it is impossible to know your characters. No single premise expresses the totality of universal truth. Every premise is limiting. For example, poverty does not always lead to crime, but if you have chosen the premise that poverty leads to crime, then it does in your case, and you must prove it.
The elements of a premise are a subject, an active, transitive verb, and an object. The verb must be active—present tense—not future or past tense, to give direction to your communication. If the verb is past tense, the goal of your communication has been achieved historically, and there is nothing to prove. If your verb is future tense, then your premise is purely speculative. The verb must be transitive to motivate your communication. An intransitive verb states a fact and portrays a static picture, giving you no basis for proving your premise and reaching a conclusion. To say “Jesus is love” is a static portrait of a fact. To say “Jesus loves you” sets up a dynamic situation where starting with Jesus, there must be a demonstration of his love for whoever “you” is, and the questions: How? Why? Where? When? and What? become relevant and necessary to answer.

Here are some sample premises:

Hope triumphs over despair.

Greed consumes itself.

Great love conquers death.

Ruthless ambition destroys itself.

Jealousy destroys love.

Love conquers jealousy.

Poverty encourages faith.

Faith conquers fear.

Honesty defeats duplicity.

Pride leads to a fall.

Good triumphs over evil.


If you pay close attention, you can find premises everywhere. Look at an interesting situation and ask what motivates that situation. The best premises and characters come out of genuine experience. Look at a strong, even militant character and examine their motivations. Look at an idea and ask what that idea means translated into action. Your premise expresses the motivation, action and reaction, through a subject, active verb and object, which in turn, drive your story to its conclusion.

If you are starting with a novel, before you write the script, write your premise. In this regard, the great director Alfred Hitchcock said that the worst books make the best movies. The corollary that good books often make bad movies can be seen with movies such as Bonfire of the Vanities, The Name of the Rose, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Often, a good book is too complex with too many goals and too many characters. So, the first step must be to choose the storyline you want to follow in the book and express that storyline as a premise.

To be continued…

Please read HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL) for a complete guide to filmmaking.


Marketing in today’s world takes a team—a well- oiled machine of wisdom–  or at least a circle of friends committed to share each other’s PR and “street team” nuggets so everyone moves their ministry and business forward.  This year at ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) the CAN Author Bootcamp was just that– a WEALTH OF CBA CAN auhtor boot camp pamWISDOM!~ ! In a wonderful “meeting of the minds” CBA (Christian Bookstore Association, CAN and Harvest House Publishers sponsored a very informative morning. I had the joy of kicking off the morning with a keynote on 7 Simple Skills to Success in Publishing where I shared  the God-empowered story of how Bill and I have survived and thrived for three decades in Christian publishing. (watch here (video thanks to Linda Goldfarb)

I have always loved passing right along any wisdom, connections, links, advice others have shared with me because this world is so dark that it takes ALL OF US holding up God’s light of love and truth to piece the darkness. Because of the world’s great need, we cannot, not should not, be selfish with the information we have gleaned or the advice others have passed on to us. That is what I love about CAN! Each person helping encourage and equip the other for greater success.

cba author bootcamp cba presI had the joy of hearing from so manty BRILLIANT leaders at the author bootcamp. Here is a quick list and my grateful THANKS! Because my husband and I learned SO MUCH TOO ) :

The Seinfeld Secret by Anita Agers Brooks

Websites and Plugins by Angela Breidenbach

15-Minute Writer by Dena Dyer

Marketing With Memes by Linda Kozar

Organizing Your Writing Life by Susan G. Mathis

Professional Organizations for Authors by Ava Pennington

CAN Your Marketing Movie by Maureen Pratt

Know Your Audience by Cynthia Ruchti

Reaching Reader Groups by Karen Whiting

Connect With Sponsors by Lynda T. Young

Ava Pennington shared a long list of organizations, affiliations, and networks that authors can join. Other than CAN, let me share four others that have been a source of encouragement, equipping and inspiration to me in this past year.

(Handouts from these mini seminars  available here)

cba author bootcamp Can bar harvest hosue

AWSA: Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. This group, started by author, Linda Shepherd, in 2011, is compromised of the top 10% of women Christian authors. AWSA hosts an annual summer conference the few days pam carol kent linda shepherd icrs 2013leading up to ICRS. In addition, they offer MasterMind groups for the more serious entrepreneur author; and a daily online “loop” filled with encouragement, equipping and positive support for the group’s members.

Bridge Builders: This is a new group to  most, but it’s founder, Maria Keckler is a long term friend of ours. We first met Maria when she and my husband, Bill, were both working for Dr David Jeremiah at Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego . Everything Maria has ever done is EXCELLENT A+ quality! I had the joy of being a cheerleader to her as she penned her first book, Be a Bridge Builder. She has gone on to create a power-packed online pam maria arlene at m hayattprogram for entrepreneurs’: Business Breakthrough University (of all kinds of businesses including writers/ speakers) . She is brave, bold, and Biblical and she has the ability to synthesize information gleaned from some of the world’s most successful business minds into a use to access, easy to implement format. Maria is a brilliant encourager and equipper who can take a person’s hopes and dreams and help turn them into a successful reality.

CWEN: Christian Women Entrepreneurs’ Network is a local (San Diego) networking group founded by Rebecca Garcia. These women, pam rebecca cwenfrom a wide variety of businesses, are joining together to equip one another, support one another but mostly grow in Christ so as they work their businesses they each reflect Jesus and glorify the God who gave them their talent, dream and platform.  If  you do a little research in your city or community,  you may have a similar network of Christians in Business.  I have three of four other local networking groups I speak for and am a member of– nothing like home town friends who you can hug, pray with and can pray for you!  If you can’t find one, maybe God is calling you to start one!


pam bill happy hug sail lightenedPam Farrel is the author of 45 books including best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. She and her husband, Bill, are Co-Directors of When they are not writing, or speaking some place around the world, you will likely find them walking the beach or sailing.