Categories
Encouragement General Humor Inspiration for Writers

First Impressions

Today’s Fascinating Friday insight comes to us from award-winning author Linda Rooks.

It was my first book to be published, and I was excited about flying to Colorado Springs to meet my publishers at their headquarters. 

Coming from Florida and having been warned of the possibility of a late spring snowstorm in Colorado, I carefully picked out my clothes for the trip to make the best impression, strategic about packing a separate suitcase for cold weather and snow.  But the next day when the plane arrived in Colorado, my suitcase with my cold weather gear was missing.

I awoke the next morning to find a blanket of freshly fallen snow outside my hotel window. Wanting to look my best, I donned my new suit, fussed with my hair, then pondered what to do about shoes. My boots were in the cold weather suitcase that had been lost, and all I had otherwise were the open toe shoes I wore in Florida. One with high heels, one with low. I decided to go with the low. 

When I arrived at my publishers, I was surprised at the long winding snow-covered walkway leading from the parking lot to the front entrance. I looked at my open-toe shoes and the distance to the front entrance and sighed. 

Nevertheless, raising my umbrella to protect my carefully coifed hairdo from the falling snow and blustery weather, I gingerly stepped onto the snowy path. My feet immediately sank into two inches of snow.

Halfway up the walkway, a gust of wind seized my umbrella and pulled it inside out. 

Mustering all the confidence that every new author should have, I continued slushing through two inches of snow in open-toe shoes, with my umbrella inside out and my button-less coat flapping back and forth in the wind. 

And there they were, watching from the front door and holding it open—all smiles— with a large banner behind, saying, “Welcome Author Linda W. Rooks.”

Yes, my publishers all had a good laugh at this Florida girl wearing open-toe shoes on the worst snow day of the year. My only consolation was that I had enough sense not to wear high heels. 

 Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her award winning book, Fighting for Your Marriage while Separated, and her first book, Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation walk with those in the midst of marital breakdown to bring hope and practical guidance to those desiring reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family, HomeLife, and Today’s Christian Woman. Linda has participated in numerous radio and television interviews across the North American continent. She and her husband reside in Central Florida and thank God for the many reconciled marriages they witness through their ministry and the classes they lead.

Categories
Encouragement General Inspiration for Writers

Collected

            The bear showed up again last night, and trash lay all over the driveway and front lawn. 

            Black bears start bulking up from midsummer through fall before they hibernate for the winter here in the Sierra Valley. It’s easier for them to forage through people’s dumpsters than through the forest that surrounds our mountain valley, so they wander from neighborhood to neighborhood looking for fridge castaways.

            Groaning, I began the gross and time-consuming task of collecting the litter. One more thing. It was one more thing on my cluttered to-do plate.

            After a four-day conference halfway across the country, I came home to a cluttered desk, writing deadlines, numerous Zoom meetings, and shopping and other prep for a four-day writing retreat I would host just a few days later.

            I felt as scattered as the trail of trash spread out in front of me. If I could only collect myself, I muttered as I picked up eggshell fragments and cans of Dinty Moore beef stew–my husband’s go-to meal when I’m gone.

            How would I get it all done? Why did I say yes to so many responsibilities? What was I possibly forgetting?

            Back inside a half hour later, I determined to clear my desk. After I filed away receipts, bills, and sticky note reminders, I saw what I had forgotten. My Bible sat there waiting for me to read that God collects scattered people (Jeremiah 28:25-26). He patiently allows me to blow away in the winds of struggle and hardship and even prideful too-much-to-do, so that I get to the place where I just cannot pull things together on my own. And then he gathers to himself those fragments of me that I have become, sets me securely in the place he has made for me, and gives me the security of his arms.

            And somehow he makes beauty out of a collection of litter.

Janet McHenry is an award-winning speaker and author of 24 books—six on prayer, including the best-selling PrayerWalk. A former high school English teacher, she and her husband Craig raised four children in the Sierra Valley, where he is a rancher. She would love to connect with you: https://www.janetmchenry.com.

Categories
General Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Asthma Treatments in History

In the process of writing Testing Tessa, I learned that asthma is not a recent affliction but has been around for thousands of years. First mentioned in Chinese records around 2600 B.C.,  the disease wasn’t given its current name until around 600 B.C. when Hippocrates linked the symptoms to environmental triggers. He recommended a concoction of owl’s blood and wine to alleviate symptoms, not recognizing that asthma was, in fact, a disease.

Through the years, other cultures attempted other treatments, including heating of herbs on a brick and then inhaling the fumes in 1500 B.C. Pliny the Elder, in 50 B.C., realized pollen was a contributing factor, and prescribed an early predecessor for epinephrine to alleviate breathing problems.

In the late 1800’s, Dr. Henry Salter tried various non-traditional remedies, including sleep; avoidance of opiates; hot, strong coffee; and the conservative use of belladonna. 

In 1892, Sir William Osler, noted the similarities between asthma and other allergic conditions, such as hay fever. As a result, doctors and pharmacies distributed medications to calm airway spasms. 

Once treating the symptoms was recognized as not solving the problem, researchers addressed the cause and long-term management, including strengthening the immune system, avoiding triggers, and enabling the body to repel the auto-immune reactions.

In my book, Tessa’s interest in medicine and her time of medical training in medical school and under the tutelage of a doctor propels her to read and study the latest innovations in medicine. 

About Testing Tess

In 1868, Tessa, a Mennonite nurse graduates from nursing school and is assigned to the Amana Colonies in Iowa because of her expertise in treating asthma and other breathing problems. Will she be able to use her skills? Or will her gender keep her from helping those who truly need her?

Seth, a widower in Amana, is still nursing a broken heart from his sweetheart’s passing two years before. Now raising their invalid son Caleb on his own, he wonders why God didn’t listen to his prayers for healing for his family. Can he trust God and trust medicine, or is faith in one mutually exclusive of faith in the other?  

Check out the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Testing-Tessa-Donna-Schlachter/dp/1943688761

About DonnaDonna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, Capital Christian Writers Fellowship, Faith, Hope, and Love Christian Writers, and Christian Authors Network.

Categories
General Inspiration for Writers

On Telephones & Stethoscopes

Did you ever play telephone with the tube inside paper towel rolls? You aren’t alone. The first stethoscope was nothing but a rolled-up piece of paper. In 1816 Dr. Rene Laennec wanted to listen to the sounds of his patient’s heart. Rather than place his ear on the person’s chest, he improvised. It worked! He coined the name stethoscope and called the process auscultation. About twenty-five years later, Dr. Camman added earpieces so he could use both ears. 

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband have five grown children and reside in Atlanta. A Bible teacher and former homeschool mother, she writes a column for Leading Hearts magazine. She has written homeschool curriculum, Bible studies, and a series of historical fiction novels. Presently she serves as president of Christian Authors Guild, gives workshops on writing and parenting, and coaches writers. She is fond of history and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio and #Momlife chats to offer women the elegance of God’s wisdom.

Cynthia L Simmons

Categories
General Humor Inspiration for Writers

God’s Humor Is Pretty Fascinating

I’m always fascinated when I read the Bible and identify God’s humor. That’s what happened when I was writing God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-written with my husband, Larry). Our book examines the questions God asks in the Bible. His questions are fascinating because He asks as if He doesn’t know the answers. But of course, He does and that’s what makes it humorous. He knows everything and asks questions to make people think and examine their motives and comprehension.

The book of Job is filled with God asking questions. They are fascinating because many of them are asked with humorous tongue-in-cheek. After God allowed Job to vent his frustration, He pointed things out in His created universe that are pretty outrageous. In Job 38:4, God says to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

It would be easy to picture God as a vindictive, sarcastic, and mean-spirited being because of this wording. But knowing God as a lovingly-purposed God gives us confidence He responds to us in only redemptive and loving ways—even when He’s using humorous, huge contrasts to point out His outrageous obvious deeds—and our lack of power. He’s saying, “Have you forgotten the beyond-comprehension things I’ve done and how it contrasts with you? You can trust in Me. If I can lay the foundation of the earth, I’m in charge. But let me know where you were at the time. Maybe I didn’t see you.”

Thankfully, Job responds with humility after God compares Job’s abilities to God’s incredible works. I don’t have any trouble imaging God’s huge smile as He’s asking His question. He smiles at us also when we understand how He is reaching out to us.

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books and a thousand blog posts and articles. She has spoken in 9 foreign countries and over 30 US States. Her books include women’s Bible studies, devotions, Christian living topics, and commentaries. She and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Categories
Encouragement Inspiration for Writers

Better Than Nostradamus

By Jesse Florea

Jesse Florea
Jesse Florea

Growing up, stories of Nostradamus intrigued me. I was amazed that a man who lived in the 1500s could predict events that occurred 400 years later, such as rise of Adolf Hitler or the assignation of President John F. Kennedy.

No, I wasn’t a Christian. But I was curious. 

I began investigating Nostradamus’ actual claims and discovered his puzzling poetic predictions could be interpreted numerous ways. In addition, he made more than 6,000 prophecies. With that many guesses, certainly a few would come true—especially when he used such ambiguous language.

My curious nature didn’t end when I became a Christian as a teenager. I dug into the Bible and discovered dozens of men who God gave the ability to foretell the future. These prophets didn’t use puzzling language like Nostradamus. Their predictions were purposeful and clear.

The fact that Jesus’ birth fulfills dozens of Old Testament prophecies has been chronicled by many scholars and writers. But as I put together Defend Your Faith: 100 Devotions for Kids With Questions, I discovered an amazing prophecy about the ancient city of Tyre.

God’s prophet Ezekiel predicted this city would be completely destroyed. At the time, Tyre was one of the most powerful cities in the world. Nobody would’ve thought it could be brought to ruins. But Ezekiel said its stones, timber, and soil would be thrown into the water (Ezekiel 26:12).

Soon after Ezekiel gave his prophecy, Tyre was attacked by Babylon. After thirteen years of fighting, Babylon defeated Tyre and left it in ruins. However, some of Tyre’s people escaped to an island offshore and built another strong city. Nearly 250 years later, Alexander the Great conquered that island city by building a half-mile long path through the water. History shows Alexander’s armies created the “path” by throwing all the rocks, lumber, and dirt from the original site of Tyre into the sea. 

Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled!

The accuracy with which this prophecy was fulfilled caused some people in recent history to claim the book of Ezekiel was written after Tyre was destroyed. But Ezekiel lived and prophesized nearly three hundred years before Alexander the Great attacked Tyre in 332 B.C. 

The Bible is full of prophecies like this. And it’s this kind of detail that continues to strengthen my faith. All of God’s Word is true . . . even when something seems impossible. 

Jesse Florea has worked at Focus on the Family for more nearly twenty-eight years as the editor of the children’s magazines—Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. He has written or edited more than forty books, including the Defend Your Faith apologetics Bible for kids and the Case for Christ Young Reader’s Edition with Lee Strobel.

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Mining For Gold

Miss Wetherham's Wedding
Miss Wetherham’s Wedding

We think of gold primarily as either bullion or jewelry, but the precious metal has many other uses. In the old days, it was used for tooth fillings and even the odd false tooth. Nowadays, uses range from industrial to medical, to agricultural. For instance, gold is used to treat pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It is liquefied, injected into muscle tissue, and reportedly helpful in 70 percent of cases. 

Writing historical fiction doesn’t only mean researching the time period of the book’s setting. For my newest release, Miss Wetherham’s Wedding, my heroine owns the controlling number of shares in a tunneling gold mining venture that’s gone dry. As I dug up whatever I could find on gold mining, I came across some interesting facts most of us probably aren’t aware of.

Another interesting tidbit is that 10 billion tons of gold circle the world in seawater! Before you start panning, the gold isn’t just floating around in specks or nuggets. In fact, the cost of recovering it unfortunately exceeds its value.  

And here’s something to wrap your brain around:  worldwide, the amount of steel poured in just one hour is more than the amount of gold that’s been extracted in all of recorded history! That’s how rare gold is. 

In my book, Miss Wetherham has neither the money to explore the mine for more gold, or the heart to try it even if she did, for there is danger involved. For these reasons, she finds herself in precarious financial straits–the perfect place to introduce a hero, even if he is, by all report, a rogue. 🙂       

Linore Rose Burkard An award-winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book (Before the Season Ends) opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense, contemporary romance, and romantic short stories. Linore resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots. 

Categories
Inspiration for Writers Writing craft

Writing is Like Fighting…

Happy Friday! Today CAN member Carla Hoch inspires us with writing perspectives told from a fighter’s point of view.

Mohammed Ali estimated that over the course of his career he had been hit about 29,000 times. Twenty-nine thousand! Now, I don’t know how many of you have been punched in the face, but it ain’t fun. A solid punch can rock you to your core. And, after the fact, you are sore in places you never thought you’d be. Including your spirit.

Writing is a lot like fighting. You pour your heart into it and sometimes the “win” doesn’t come.   The agent isn’t interested, the editor isn’t impressed. And, it hurts. Literally. Rejection and physical pain ride the same pathways in the brain. Biologically speaking, a solid rejection can rock you to your core just like a punch and hurt you in places you never thought you would. Including your spirit.

Ask a boxer if they ever get hit when they train and they’ll probably laugh. Of course they do. They get hit a lot. And it’s not because aren’t trying or aren’t good at what they do. For boxers, taking punches is part of the process, essential to the product and integral to their profession. Achievement comes with ache. Ali wasn’t the greatest of all time despite those 29,000 hits. He was the greatest of all time, in part, because of them.

The rejections we as writers get are not signs that we should give up. They are proof that we’re doing something right, that we are still in the fight. You know what kind of writer doesn’t get rejected? The kind who won’t step in the ring, who won’t send in their MS. Folks, what if after a hundred punches Ali had called it quits? What if Seuss, Golding, Joyce, Faulkner, Potter, Plath, L’Engle, Kipling, and countless others, had taken their rejections as proof that they weren’t any good, that they should just hang it up?

Writers, achievement comes with ache, punches are part of the process, pain is essential to the product. And all are proof that you are still writing, still fighting. Take the hits. Get ok with them. Expect them. Welcome them. Make them a sandwich and sit on the couch with them. Because you won’t be a success despite them. You’ll be a success, in part, because of them.

Carla HochCarla Hoch is the author of the Writer’s Digest book Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes and proprietor of the award winning FightWrite™ blog. She is a Writer’s Digest author and instructor and regularly teaches workshops on the mechanics of fighting for writers as well as the craft of writing fight scenes. Carla is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter with training in nearly a dozen fighting styles. She lives just outside Houston, Texas with her family and host of mammals.

 

Categories
In The News Inspiration for Writers Marketing

Excellence in Marketing Awards

EXCELLENCE IN MARKETING AWARDS

Christian Authors Network Presents…

Welcome to the 2021 #CANMarketingAward!

Excellence in Marketing Awards

The Marketing in Excellence Awards Celebrate Excellence in Christian Media and Marketing by Authors.

Purpose of CAN Excellence in Marketing Awards: To recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of all Christian authors.

PLEASE READ ENTIRE PAGE BEFORE STARTING YOUR ENTRY FORM BELOW:

Download a copy of the Excellence in Christian Marketing Awards Rules PDF

Who can enter: Traditional and independent authors are welcome to enter the CAN Marketing Excellence Awards. Multiple unique submissions within a category are accepted as well as entering both categories. However, no single submission may be entered across multiple categories. Each individual entry is counted as a single submission. You may enter as many times as you like. Each entry must be fully complete with payment per category to be eligible. 

Cost per entry: $40 CAN Member/$80 non-member, paid via Paypal. Once you’ve submitted your entry, please proceed to the Paypal buttons to pay for your entry. Verify the name on your entry is the same as the name on your payment. Please note which category (or categories, if more than one) you are paying. We must be able to match your payment to your entry.

Who may not enter: Current contest director and the CAN board (who may need to judge).

Follow #CANMarketingAward on social media

Contest opens: August 1, 2021!

Last day of entry extended to: September 15, 2021.

Finalists announced in advance of the Excellence in Marketing Award Event.

Final Marketing in Excellence Awards presented in November (TBD pending travel restrictions, otherwise will be presented online.)

2 Categories—Fiction and Nonfiction:

  • Online Presentation: website, blog, newsletter, memes, social media and interactions.
  • Physical media: print materials such as postcards, posters, flyers, etc.
  • Broadcasting: television, radio, podcast, vlog, video, etc. Your entry may be a focused segment of a longer show or be the entire show. All must be specific to the author or their book, series, or brand via interview or themed presentation.

Judging Components:

· 35% Engagement (real human interaction)
· 35% Innovation (creativity)
· 20% Investment (financial and time)
· 10% ROI (Return on Investment)

Judges are independent and are not current CAN board or committee members or the conference director. Should an emergency occur, the CAN board may choose a replacement judge. All decisions are final.

Contest Rules: 

  • Marketing campaign entries must focus on a book, book series, or brand.
  • The marketing campaign must have started between January 1, 2020 and July 30, 2021. (The campaign does not need to encompass the entire 18-month span, only begin within those dates to be eligible.)
  • Entrants will submit a description of the marketing campaign to include, but not limited to:
    • Goal of campaign with measurable outcomes. We are looking for results.
    • Calendar of campaign events.
    • Overview description of campaign expectation and results.
    • Links to campaign and/or promo videos/website/broadcast that represent well the full scale of marketing/promotion.
    • Meme(s) or meme campaign (submit as jpegs and include response numbers if you are cropping a screenshot.)
    • Bookmark (submit as pdf or jpeg).
  • Links to any online submissions must be included and be viewable at that link during competition judging.
  • We accept multiple submissions, as long as they are not the same campaign. Separate entry form and fee must be submitted for each unique entry.
  • Multiple unique submissions within a category are accepted. However, no single submission may be entered in multiple categories. Each individual entry is counted as a single submission. You may enter both categories. Each entry must be fully complete with payment per category to be eligible.
  • Any book/book series with multiple authors is eligible per the appropriate category. However, the award acts as a group award though a trophy or certificate and will be awarded to each individual representing the same award level.
  • Christian Authors Network board and contest director may, at their discretion, update the rules annually.
  • Depending on the number of entries, categories may be combined at the discretion of the Christian Authors Network board and contest director.

What makes an eligible campaign?

A marketing campaign is a marketing plan built for recognition and/or sales that integrates multi-faceted engaging, shareable, effective strategies to communicate the book, book series, or brand to readers, retailers, and/or librarians.

The CAN Marketing Excellence Awards recognize that each book, book series, and/or brand are individual. Submissions should portray the full scale of the marketing campaign. Eligible submissions could include, but are not limited to:

  • Website: WordPress, Blogger, etc. Stats independently verified by judges. Websites cannot be a static landing page, though a specialized landing page can be part of the media strategy in the campaign.
  • Newsletters: Authors must submit a pdf of the newsletter and/or series of newsletters that make up one marketing campaign.
  • Blogs: Blogs must be accessible through the author’s website. Judging will focus on the overall blog, not an individual blog post.
  • Social Media: Authors must submit jpgs of memes, screenshots of interaction with their audience, etc. that make up one marketing campaign. Interaction numbers should be visible as of the date of the screenshot. Do not cut them out of the cropped photo.
  • Physical media: Authors must submit pdfs of print materials: postcards, posters, flyers, etc., that make up one marketing campaign. Please be sure the images submitted are not blurry or pixelated.
  • Broadcast: Ongoing broadcast or single broadcast can be on any audio or audio/visual platform such as podcast/vlogcast, Facebook Live, Instagram TV, talk radio, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. It can also include audio and/or audio-visual media interviews of which the author must be the featured guest. If a broadcast is within a private group, judges must be able to access for the purpose of judging.
  • Other: Book tours, talks, etc. that make up one marketing campaign. Authors must submit pdfs, jpgs, etc. of events or other marketing campaign elements.
  • Additional options: Apps for smartphones and tablets created for the purpose of the campaign may also be submitted. CAN will need to utilize a generic login/password, if required for the app, so the judges can view without divulging their personal information in order to protect the anonymity and objectivity of the judging process.

2021 Awards Entry Dates:
August 1 — Sep 15, 2021
Entry Form Click here

Questions? Email awards[at]christianauthorsnetwork.com

Categories
Encouragement Inspiration for Writers

Why I Wrote the Book I Never Wanted to Write

Ginny Dent Brant, Author
Ginny Dent Brant

Today we welcome CAN member and author Ginny Dent Brant as she shares the story behind her inspirational book detailing her healing journey.

Hearing the words, “You have cancer,” was a shock to this health nut. When I saw my real life MRI flashed up on a screen, it looked like a tornado had invaded my body. Bewildered with disbelief, I asked to meet with a chaplain.

The first words from my mouth, “How could a health nut like me end up with an aggressive and deadly cancer like this?”

“Ginny, consider it a gift from God,” encouraged Pastor Sewell.  “Sometimes God allows things in your life for you to help others. As an author and speaker. your experience in this journey can be a guiding light to others.”

“Never.” I insisted. “I’d never write about cancer. It’s the gift I never wanted.” I was praying desperately this cancerous thorn (tornado) would be taken from me.

“Yes, I can see it now, your next book with this inscription—‘It was the book I never wanted to write.’” He chuckled. “In time you will see the hand of God. I promise.”

My diagnosis and that tornado sent me on a quest to discover what caused my cancer and what I could do to help my doctors to beat it. As I began to connect the dots between nutrition, the immune system, conventional and integrative medicine, medical research, and the Word of God, I was able to pull back the curtain on cancer for me. The more I learned, the more I felt led to share my findings with others to help them prevent and survive cancer.

Unleash Your God-Given Healing by Ginny Dent Brant
Unleash Your God-Given Healing by Ginny Dent Brant

Pastor Sewell was right. These words appear on the first page of Unleash Your God-Given Healing: “This is the book I never wanted to write.”

And that tornado that invaded my body became my book’s analogy to The Wizard of Oz.

 

Ginny Dent Brant is a counselor, educator, speaker, and wellness advocate. Her recent book, “Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer,” contains commentary from an oncologist. It won a Golden Scrolls Award and was featured on CBN News. Cancer prevention and wellness blog at www.ginnybrant.com  https://www.facebook.com/ginny.d.brant/