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 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.
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.
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.comhttps://www.facebook.com/ginny.d.brant/
Greetings from Marti Pieper in chilly Seneca, South Carolina. As I wait out the pandemic in my warm home, I can’t help but think about my friend Grace Fox and what her winter must be like where she lives. But I’ll let her tell you about that—as well as her new devotional book, which sounds perfect for such a time as this.
Welcome, Grace! Please tell us about your new book, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos.
This devotional contains 90 meditations and thoughtful quotes written to encourage and strengthen those whose minds are on overload. After a year like 2020, we all know people in that position.
For sure! And why did you write this book?
I’ve faced a few crises, and I understand the need for encouragement from God’s Word in those desperate times. I also understand how it’s difficult to be in that position and remember what day it is let alone focus on reading and recalling a lengthy Scripture passage. I wrote this book to provide a resource for those whose hearts are heavy and minds are on overload. My prayer is that they’ll find each day’s brief meditation doable and, as a result, discover the hope and strength needed to survive and thrive in their circumstances.
That sounds like a wonderful way to minister through your writing. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will grow in their knowledge of who God is—wise, sovereign, strong, and good. As they grow in their understanding of His character, they will learn to trust Him even though they feel like their lives have flipped upside down. Trust will help them hold onto hope, and fear won’t be able to drag them into despair.
How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
I wrote this book during the pandemic and a family crisis that involved my elderly mother and her battle with a brain tumor. At the same time, I was suffering from a frozen shoulder and a broken tailbone. Studying the Word and writing these meditations kept my mind on God and His promises during those difficult days. The overall message of learning to trust His wisdom, sovereignty, strength, and goodness kept me anchored in the storm.
That’s beautiful. What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
I always return to the importance of knowing who God is. Everything about us flows from those beliefs, so we’d better ensure we’re basing our beliefs on the truth of God’s Word.
I love that. Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
One day about seven years ago, I felt very discouraged with my writing career or lack thereof. Seriously, I was ready to quit writing and turn my entire focus to working alongside my husband in our ministry. I remember praying, “God, if You want me to stop writing, then I’m ready and willing. But if You want me to persevere, then I’m ready and willing. Please show me what direction You want me to take, and do it today.”
My phone rang five hours later. A woman’s voice said, “Is this Grace Fox, the author?” I said yes. She continued, “Please don’t think I’m a whacko or a groupie. I’ve never called an author, but today I felt compelled to phone you and tell you that your book, Moving From Fear to Freedom changed my life. And for what it’s worth, I also feel compelled to say, ‘Please keep writing. We need more books that teach the truth.’”
I sat in stunned silence for a few moments, and then I started to cry. I told her what I’d prayed that morning, and then she started to cry. “I heard Him,” she said. “I heard God!” “Yes, you did,” I said. “And you did what He said even though obedience didn’t feel comfortable. Thank you for listening and obeying.” An unforgettable moment, that was.
Truly unforgettable! What ministries are you involved in, and why?
In 2007, a USA-based mission organization –“International Messengers”—contacted my husband and me and asked us to launch its Canadian office. We’d been missionaries in Nepal in the ’80s, and we’d worked at a year-round Christian camp from 1996-2007, so we were well familiar with career missions and said yes to this new opportunity.
Our interdenominational organization is a sending agency that serves 225 missionaries in 28 countries. We recruit, train, and lead volunteer teams to host evangelistic English-learning family camps in Eastern Europe every summer. As part of my role, I teach missionaries-in-training in the Middle East and have trained pastors and church leaders in Nepal. Why do I do these things? Because I felt God’s call on my life to career missions when I was in sixth grade. Believers are to be His ambassadors, and this ministry is His specific assignment for me within that capacity.
And you carry it out so well, I know. But it seems everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I list my writing deadlines on paper and keep that paper beside my computer at all times for easy reference. I gauge how much time each assignment will take and what my schedule looks like, and I do my best to stick to it. If that means spending less time on social media, so be it. If it means having to get up at 4:30 for several mornings, I do it. It helps that my husband works from home and offers to help with household tasks like laundry and meal preparation when deadlines are tight.
Great encouragement! What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
I enjoy walking, photography, beginning watercolor painting, and sailing. My husband and I live on a forty-eight-foot sailboat near Vancouver, British Columbia, and the coastal islands provide scenic, solitary space when we need to step back from ministry and rest. I also value every minute I get with my three children, their spouses, and my nine grandchildren.
I understand! Now, please tell us about your next project.
I taught two women’s Bible studies via Zoom during the latter half of 2020 and am developing them into projects that other women’s groups can easily use.
I know those will meet a need as well. Thank you, Grace, for sharing your work and your life with us today.
Book Review for Editing Secrets of Best-selling Authors
by Kathy Ide
Kathy Ide’s book, Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors is a writers’ helps book containing tips from professional freelance editor Kathy Ide and numerous best-selling authors on how to edit a fiction or nonfiction book manuscript.
Aspiring, beginning, and intermediate writers will learn how to polish a manuscript to get it ready for publication.
Established authors can use these tips to edit other writers’ manuscripts, either in a critique group setting or as an editorial freelancer.
Here’s a review, reprinted with permission, from Denise Loock, General Editor, LPC Books:
If you want to wow an acquisitions editor, then you need to implement the tips in Kathy Ide’s Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. She covers everything fiction and nonfiction writers need to know. From organizing and plotting to formatting and legalities, Kathy explains what will move you forward in your writing career. Every chapter is chock-full of practical tips that will improve your writing. And, as if her expertise wasn’t sufficient, she has added tips from seventeen best-selling authors too. You’ll pull this book from your shelf again and again as you plan, write, polish, and proof your manuscript.
Editing Secrets is the second volume in Kathy’s writing craft series. Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors covers what writers and editors need to know about punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. Proofreading Secrets also contains handy reference points so you can easily locate additional information in The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style.
As I was talking with a women’s ministry director at a church training conference, I hoped she would invite me to speak at her women’s retreat. I enjoyed one of the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies set before us while we sat in the lounge of the convention center. When she asked my opinion on some important issues, I spoke with confident tones. I was thrilled to see her staring at my mouth, obviously eager to hear my every word. Surely, I was impressing her. All I have to do is say the right things, I assured myself, as I anxiously tried to think of what those “right things” might be.
After we concluded, I headed for the restroom feeling content with the open door God had given me. I walked through the restroom door and saw my reflection in the mirror. What’s that dark thing on my lip? I went closer and realized chocolate was dripping down my lip and chin. Oh, no, how long has that been there? I realized the mess had decorated my face during most of our conversation. For whatever reason, she had not felt comfortable telling me.
Oh, Lord, what have you done to me? What about my pithy statements and wise admonitions? How foolish I must have looked. How humiliating!
In a flash of truth, I recognized my dissatisfaction with God’s plan. And I started laughing. Oh, Lord, you do have a sense of humor. Please forgive me for my pride and self-importance. I fell into that trap again. But I also acknowledged God’s power because rather than being discontent with myself for the next five days (like other times), the reflection in the bathroom mirror brought immediate joy. I started laughing! My heart rejoiced! I thought, I have grown in this area!
Kathy Collard Miller is an international speaker and author of over 55 books including Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a women’s Bible study on Proverbs. www.KathyCollardMiller.com
I’m writing to you from deep within the Iowa farm country. It’s chilly, but a small price to pay while on my way to ride my horse this morning. To warm the heart and soul, I’m thrilled to share an interview with professional coach, author, speaker and teacher Linda Goldfarb. A favorite on the AWSA and CAN circuits, and serving as Regional Group Director for CAN, Linda blesses others with her thriving coaching practice. I caught up with her today and look forward to sharing the wisdom with you.
Thank you for joining us today, Linda! Let’s start out learning about some of your passions. What would you like to share with us about the passions of your heart?
First, I must say thank you for making passion plural. As much as I am a multifaceted daughter-of-the King, my passions are equally numerous. I will say the root of all my passions stems from my love for God’s truth. I’m known for being a Truth-talker by choice.
I’m passionate about my spirituality as I seek God’s Word daily to know more about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and how I can walk out His best for me.
I’m passionate about my family and the role I play in the lives of my four adult children, my grandchildren, and my,(he really is) amazing husband, Sam.
I’m passionate about my health and being a good steward of my body. My goal is not perfection. My goal is to be the healthiest me I can be in the time God has given me here on earth.
I’m passionate about helping my coaching clients grow from strength to strength to experience God’s best life.
I’m passionate about helping others discover more about their God-given personalities.
In addition to serving as the CAN Regional Group Director, where else do you volunteer in your spare time? Spare time? What’s that? LOLO(Loving Our Lord Out-loud) I’m blessed to have a balanced life – though it hasn’t always been that way.(I’ll leave for for another time.) As far as volunteering—I’ve had the pleasure of serving in multiple capacities in my local church as the women’s ministry director, parenting ministry director, and more. I’ve traveled on mission trips with the youth and adults. I’m honored to volunteer with the San Antonio Marriage Initiative, speaking on parenting, marriage, and personalities across the city at local YMCA facilities. I also mentor writers, speakers, and parents on a regular basis, outside of my coaching clients. Whew!!
How do you use this experience in your writing? Hmmm, good question. God has used every experience I’ve walked through in my writing and speaking. No wasted pain, no wasted relationships, no wasted time.
What short, humorous thing would your readers want to know about you or your writing life? I am a pantser. I write in spurts and pray all the dots connect when I’m finished. I talk to my dogs while I write, sharing a thought or two when I get stuck. Their usual response is to wag their tails, lick my face, and lay back down. I take this as affirmation—I’m doing a good job so far!
Do you have a funny story relating to your writing or an event? There’s one memorable moment coming to mind. I was the keynote speaker at a ladies retreat in the piney woods of east Texas. Our event took place on a lake and the room we were in had floor to ceiling windows facing out to a deck directly on the water. This one evening, I was sharing on the power of the Holy Spirit in us. As the full-moon cast its glow across the lake it spotlighted a large opossum on the deck who made his presence known by standing up against the window and scratching the glass. Mind you, I was closing out the talk and we were at a pivotal point in the message. The last thing the group needed was a distraction. In that instant the power of the Spirit showed up in a great way. Without hesitating I said, “There are many of us here today who shut down as though playing dead when we are faced with unfamiliar obstacles in our lives. (I threw my shoe at the window, the opossum fell backwards with his feet perfectly still in the air I went on) But, unlike that opossum who has been stopped in his tracks, we have the Holy Spirit who will make a way when there seems to be no way. Let’s pray.” There were many of the women who cornered me to ask how I planned that so perfectly. I replied with a smile, “All things are possible with God.”
Did you find a fascinating fact/story while doing research for your book? The book, Loving the ME God Sees, is about embracing relational transparency for women and it is based on the book of James. For me, I was fascinated by the way God moved me to put pen to paper. It wasn’t with a still small voice, He used a 2×4!
It began on a Monday morning in September of 2009 with my usual routine of getting up early before the rest of the family. Positioning myself on the couch in our sunroom, I read God’s word and contemplated its Truth, current relevance, and finally how I was to apply it to my daily life. This one morning everything was going along as usual when I felt a specific prompting in my heart, “I want you to write a Bible study.” Believe it or not, I actually looked around the room.
Once again an inaudible voice clearly said, “I want you to write a Bible study.”
I chuckled out loud, “You have got to be kidding! There is no way I could write a Bible study. I speak; I don’t write. Well, okay I write articles and How-to Books maybe, but not Bible studies. And besides, I’m not what anyone would consider a Bible scholar.”
I breathed in a deep sigh and quietly justified my feelings, I think there’s been a mistake. With that, I went on about my day refusing to acknowledge a “whisper” as Bill Hybels calls it, from my Father—the struggle was on.
Over the course of two months, God’s whisper remained a constant companion during my quiet time as did my refusal to consider it. Finally on a Friday morning early in November 2009, I’d had enough. His whisper was not going away.
“Fine, if You really want me to write this study, I need to know it’s of You and not just a whim I’m dreaming up. So, today I am claiming the wisdom You say You want to give me according to James 1:5 and I am believing this day You will make it clear if I am to begin writing a Bible study.” With that, I closed my Bible and walked into the rest of my day.
Late that afternoon, I was meeting with some friends of mine from church. When I arrived at our get together, Brenda Blanchard (a dear friend and mighty prayer warrior) walked up to me in her usual sensitive and caring way and said, “Linda, you know I pray for you everyday, right? Well, this morning during my quiet time, God said you were writing a Bible study. What’s it about?”
After a moment of standing there dazed by her pronouncement, I looked up towards the sky, looked back at Brenda and sputtered, “What did you say?”
We laughed together in amazement when I explained the last couple months and my refusal to obey God and His persistence to not let me go about business as usual. The rest as they say is—this story of Loving the ME God Sees. Is God good or what?
What a wonderful story, Linda! Thank you for sharing your heart and your stories with us today!
Linda Goldfarb is a bold communicator who’s passionate about personalities. Her frequently quoted mantra, “transparency transforms” is most definitely experienced by her readers, audiences, and clients. This Powerful-Popular personality is an award-winning author, international speaker, certified personality consultant, professional actress, audiobook narrator, and board-certified Christian life coach. When Linda is not performing, speaking, podcasting, or equipping her clients, you’ll find her sipping frothed coffee and photographing nature from odd angles while she and her hubby, Sam, play golf and hike their way across the USA
Release date: Feb. 1, 2018 from Harvest House Publishers
About the book:
When You’re Together …But Feel Miles Apart
What do you do when your marriage isn’t broken, but it doesn’t seem to be growing, either? Noted author and speaker Cindi McMenamin shows you the small changes you can make to touch your husband’s heart in a big way in her Feb. 1 release from Harvest House Publishers: 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. Renew and reglue your relationship as you discover ways to strengthen your marriage and reignite the passion you and your husband once shared. Cindi will help you:
try seven new ways to “switch it up” at home
“close the gap” that seems to grow through unresolved wounds
see the bigger picture when misunderstandings arise so you can build a deeper trust with one another
About the author:
Cindi McMenamin is a pastor’s wife, national speaker, and author who helps women find strength for the soul. She has more than 30 years experience ministering to women and is the author of 16 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, and Drama Free. Cindi writes regularly for Crosswalk.com, HomeLife and Journey magazines, and has appeared on numerous national television and radio shows over the past two decades. Cindi lives in Southern California with her husband of 30 years, and they have one grown daughter.
It’s a busy season full of wonder, miracles, and–let’s be honest–at least a little stress! Gift cards are an easy option when we’ve run out of ideas or energy, but how about the gift of literature? After all, a book is like a present that you get to open again and again, right?
Here are two new titles that have recently released from our CAN authors!
Care to put a little mystery and suspense in your holiday shopping? Try Pendant, a new
release from M L Hamilton.
A field trip gone awry. A student gone missing.
Haunted by her student’s disappearance for more than a decade, Elaine finally stumbles
onto a vital clue–and discovers someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden. When her life is threatened, she allows the one person she trusts to whisk her away to safety in Texas. But assuming a false identity and hiding among the quirky residents of a retirement home is not what she had in mind. Now, Elaine must solve the mystery from afar, as soon as she figures out if her friends is keeping her from danger…or keeping her from the truth.
The newest book release of Kathy Collard Miller is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. Her goal is to inspire Christian women to seek God’s glory with purified motives. Included are biblical principles, inspiring stories, and discussion questions.
Experience an intimate connection to your heavenly Father with the Daily Wisdom for Women devotional collection. Featuring a powerful devotional reading and prayer for every day of 2018,this beautiful volume provides inspiration and encouragement for your soul. In these pages you’ll find comfort, challenge, and spiritual blessing as you experience an intimate connection with the Savior all 365 days of 2018.
Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where it’s finally cooling down. I’m looking forward to our “winter” that is never a winter wonderland, but still wonderful.
Years ago I created an Advent family activity I called, “Box of Blessings.” It helped our family’s thoughts focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Here are the directions to create it.
Wrap a large box with Christmas paper, wrapping the lid separate. Gather 24 visual aids, wrap each one individually, write out tags for each with an object lesson, Scripture and discussion question. (On each tag, write a number indicating the order it should be opened). Place the gifts in the box.
On December 1, open the large gift-wrapped box containing 24 small wrapped gifts, and read the enclosed tag: “Today we are beginning a Christmas project. We will open a different present for the next 24 days to help remind us of God’s most precious gift His Son Jesus.”
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing for your own “Box of Blessings.” If you’d like to receive a full list of the 24 visual aids along with the object lesson, Scripture, and discussion question, reply to this email or email KathyCollardMiller@gmail.com and write “Box of Blessings” in the subject line. I’d love to send it to you.
Gift: Several pieces of any kind of food. READ: Does food always stay the same even after a long time? No, it changes when it gets old, doesn’t it? But Jesus never changes; He is always the same. (Hebrews 13:8) Why do you think it is important that Jesus never changes?
Gift: A heartshaped object. READ: Hearts remind us of love. We love others, but did you know that God loves us even more? (I Corinthians 13:47) How many things about love can we find in these verses?