Friday, December 17, 2010

A Social Network Christmas

This is one of the most creative pieces I've seen in a while! Enjoy! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's in Your Wallet?

What’s in your wallet? If you’re a fiction writer, that’s what you need to ask your main character. Look! He just dropped it on the ground. Let’s go take a peek!

Of course, he has the usual driver’s license, insurance information and at least one credit card. Wait! What’s that? Interesting, it’s a Visa that expired three years ago. Let’s keep looking. Aw, there’s a nice picture of his family. It’s a bit faded, soft and worn around the edges. One corner’s actually stuck to the plastic holder. Must have been there awhile. Looks like something’s tucked in behind it. Weird! There’s a pink string off his wife’s favorite blouse and a crumpled gum wrapper with “I love you” written on it. I think we know enough. Let’s return the wallet to its owner now.

What you find in your main character’s wallet are the things that matter most to him. The things that matter most to him are the things that define his character. His character is what drives the story, what makes the reader care. In fiction, something happens to someone. If the reader doesn’t care about the someone, he won’t care about the something either, and he will close the book.

So what about the wallet’s contents? I think what’s in there explains the fight he has taken to City Hall. If he can illegalize dump trucks and get them off city roads, maybe, just maybe he can prevent the death of another innocent mother and her children. If only that one hadn’t barreled through the traffic light on Main Street three years ago…

What’s in your main character’s wallet is what makes your reader laugh—or cry—it’s what makes them feel the character’s angst. Help us get to know your characters as well as you know them. Take another look in that wallet!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Andrea Carter and the Price of Truth, by Susan K. Marlow

Trouble has no problem finding thirteen-year-old Andrea (Andi) Carter. Despite best intentions, her plans almost always get thwarted. In this sixth and final book of the Circle C Adventures series, Andrea Carter and the Price of Truth, Andi secretly plans to earn money herself so she can give her mother a very special birthday gift. But keeping those plans a secret from her family is easier said than done.

One of Andi’s ideas seems to be working out. That is, until she identifies an upstanding citizen, and her brother’s best friend, at the scene of a back-alley murder. When the town bully holds her beloved horse hostage, pressuring Andi to recant, the young girl must decide if the price of telling the truth is worth the cost of losing Taffy. Her thoughts express her frustration, “All I did was tell the truth, and now everything’s in a muddle.”

While this book brings the series to a close, Price of Truth is quite enjoyable on its own and can stand alone. I do recommend reading books one through five, though, to get to know Andi, her friends, and her family, and to catch a glimpse of the Old West and 1880s America.

A FREE, downloadable, 24-page enrichment guide comes with each book in the Circle C Adventures series and includes:
• Vocabulary
• Discussion Questions
• Geography
• A "Closer Look" at history that ties in with the book
• "Just for fun" hands-on activities, crafts, cooking, or games
Lapbooks are available by separate purchase for grades 3-6. Find it all at Circle C Adventures!

Now younger children can get to know Andi too! The first two books of Susan’s Circle C Beginnings, a new series of early reader chapter books that introduce a six-year-old Andi to the elementary audience, have just been released. Each Circle C Beginnings book has color covers and illustrated pictures, with FREE supplemental activities available online. Visit Andi’s blog for an adorable treat to hear little Andi herself tell all about it.

The Circle C Adventures and Circle C Beginnings series are wholesome reading for the entire family. Read more about Susan in this Aim for Perfection Editing interview or by visiting her website.

Compensation Disclosure: I received one complimentary copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for reviewing it on my blog.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Sharing Recipes

In light of the holiday season, I'm sharing a couple of my favorite recipes with you! Hope you enjoy them! And do feel free to share with friends and family.

"Your Best Writing Ever!"

  • YOU
  • A dash of creativity
  • Sprinkle of inspiration
  • 1 Comfy chair
  • 1 Computer word processor (may substitute pen and paper)
  • Peace and quiet to taste
  • Optional ingredients: dictionary, thesaurus
Prepare YOU ahead of time by spending time alone in prayer and the study of God's Word. Here you will receive the creativity and inspiration to spice things up. Once YOU are prepared, situate YOUrself in your favorite workspace, complete with comfy chair and preferred writing utensil. The necessary simmer time varies per project and may require anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. I have found the optional ingredients tend to improve flavor.

Serve fresh to anyone who requests!

OK, here's one you can eat!

"Pumpkin Soup"

1/4 C onion, finely chopped
1/4 C celery, finely chopped
1 small clove fresh garlic, minced
1/4 C olive oil
1 C chicken broth (reserve remainder of can)
1 15-oz can Libby's pumpkin (I've tried other brands & it turns out yucky! Use Libby's!)
Half & Half
Ritz or Club crackers

Saute onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until vegetables are transparent. Lightly salt and pepper them and stir. Add 1 C of chicken broth (reserving remainder) and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 can pumpkin. Add 1 C Half & Half and stir out lumps. Add remainder of pumpkin and another C Half & Half and stir til smooth. (Add additional cream or reserved chicken broth if needed for desired consistency.) Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with Ritz or Club crackers. (Serves 4.)

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Red Ink, by Kathi Macias

Zhen-Li, a young Chinese woman raised in a prominent family, marries a Christian peasant and adopts his faith. Her parents, obedient to the Chinese government, are appalled and ostracize Zhen-Li and her husband. When Zhen-Li becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, her family pays to have her kidnapped and the baby aborted.

Zhen-Li stands firm in her faith and boldly teaches children about Zhu Yesu ("Lord Jesus"), distributing Christian literature every chance she gets until she is imprisoned and accused of adopting a foreign religion “who regularly surrendered state secrets to foreign devils.” Her faith does not falter during torturous “re-education” sessions, and Zhen-Li continues to minister to her cellmate, fellow prisoners, even the brutal prison guard, Tai Tong.

Kathi Macias’ Red Ink is based loosely on the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, who is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China for printing and distributing Christian materials, particularly to children, and for whom the author prays daily. As a reminder for Christians to “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3 NIV), a secondary story line follows two ladies in a nursing home in California who see to it they accomplish one thing if nothing else each day, to pray for those afflicted, especially someone in China.

Though I have enjoyed other works by Kathi Macias, this is the first of her novels I’ve read. So far, there’s been nothing she’s written I would not recommend. Kathi is a very talented, multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. She has taught writing courses, been a guest on many radio and television programs, is a popular speaker, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, California, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley. You can learn more about Kathi at her website or blog.

NOTE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by New Hope Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes

I relieved the nursery caregiver during the children’s naptime. For a few minutes, I rocked beside a little girl asleep on her mat. I glanced down to see one little eye peeking up at me. The other opened and together they blinked away dazed confusion.

I smiled and kept rocking. The little girl’s eyelids heavied. She pulled her blanket up over her eyes, and returned to peaceful slumber.

I’ve done that before. I’ve believed, “If I can’t see the monster, it’s not really there!” And I have closed my mind to scary possibilities, believing if I shut my eyes and squeeze them tight, the danger disappears.

If I can’t see the monster, it’s not really there!

Obviously, in real danger, that way of thinking doesn’t work, but when it comes to writing for publication, it’s a downright good idea. Many times I’ve been on a roll, writing pages and pages and pages, when into my subconscience creeps a great big, ugly monster: Fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of acceptance. Fear of insignificance. Fear of importance. A dichotomy of desire and doubt that halts my progress and tempts me to hit DELETE.

So I close my eyes to the monster. Because, you know what? It’s not really there! Fear is a perception. It’s an emotion. It’s a deceiver. It’s Satan’s trick to prevent me from accomplishing God’s goals. If I let it scare me into quitting, I will make no impact on the world at all. I will not “go into all the world and make disciples” with my writing. I will not be a “good and faithful servant.” I will be serving the wrong master.

Next time that big, ugly Fear monster creeps up on you, do what I do. Go ahead and pull the wool up over your eyes!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Twitter Tutorial

A good friend of mine who is relatively new to the Twitterverse asked me for a tutorial. She wasn’t sure how to make the most of social media. I’m sure this is not comprehensive, but here's what I know. If you have any helpful advice to add, please let us know in the comments. Thanks!

OK, so the obvious first step is to set up an account and sign into Twitter. You should choose a user name that accurately reflects what you represent. I suggest using either your own name or your business name so it’s easy for others to find you. Likewise, your profile picture should be either a quality, professional-looking photo of yourself or one of something that identifies your business.

Most of the initial setup depends on your personal preferences, like backgrounds, mobile settings, etc. You can use Twitter’s assortment of backgrounds, upload your own, or download one from a third-party site like twitrounds or twitterbackgrounds. Tweets will not be sent as messages to your cell phone unless you select that option. When you write your brief bio, be succinct. You have one sentence to communicate to the world who you are and what your tweets will be about.

Ready to tweet? You have 140 characters or less to express yourself! If you’re not a minimalist, this may seem daunting, but with practice and abbreviations, you’ll do fine. Here are some things you’ll need to know:
• Start following people! You need to follow to get followed. Be sure to create lists so that as the number of people you follow increases, you'll be able to keep them organized for more manageable viewing.
• Please follow more than 50 people. Most people who follow me and don't follow many other people call me a Twitter queen, because I do tweet frequently. To be effective, you need to build a following with whom you converse & build relationships, and you should post a minimum of 8-10 tweets a day.
• Direct messages are private conversations between you and a friend. You can only direct message (DM) someone who is following you. Even if you are following that person, it will not go through unless they follow you back.
• To mention someone without direct messaging, use @name (ex: @JodiWhisenhunt). This will show up on their sidebar mentions section. Check this often so you know when people are conversing with you!
• Fridays are "Follow Friday," when people recommend their favorite tweeps to follow. You'll see the hashtags #FF, #follow, or #FollowFriday. I think some people do this for every weekday, but Friday is the main one.
• Hashtags are used to help people search for topics of interest. They’re Twitter’s version of keywords. For instance, if you tweet a lot about Disney, you’ll want use #Disney to help people find your tweets.
• Twitter people are very courteous. We thank others when they mention us (aside from just conversing - like when they #FF us) and we thank them when they RT us.
• RT means retweet. That's when someone re-posts something someone else said. Like, if you tweet about a great book you reviewed and I want to let my followers know about it too, I will post: RT @yournamehere Just read great book! #bookreview (or whatever you've said) You will see this in your mentions and reply to thank me for the RT :) [By the way, I have seen statistics that tweets posted between 3:00-4:00PM on Friday afternoons are most likely to be RT’d.]
• You ought to use URL shorteners like to create an abbreviated link so you have more room to say what you want to say.

Several third-party social media managers exist for those who multitask. HootSuite, TweetDeck, TweetLater, and are some that allow you to manage several accounts in one location. You can pull feed from and post to multiple social media sites simultaneously, schedule tweets to post at a specific date/time, or pull RSS from blogs or websites. You can also view your mentions and direct messages all on one convenient page. I am not really an expert in any of those, although I do use TweetDeck occasionally.

Pulling your blog feed to Twitter can be done different ways. Twitter itself does not offer that option; it has to be through a third party like the social media managers mentioned above or through sites like Twitterfeed. Twitterfeed requires three simple steps: 1) sign up, 2) identify your RSS, and 3) create the feed. If this method does not work for you, see if your webmaster can add necessary adjustments. I believe blog hosts like Wordpress and Blogger offer the option to post updates to Twitter (correct me in the comments if I’m mistaken!). Personally, I prefer to tweet my blog updates myself. I do this so I can customize what the tweet says. Automatic ones usually just put the title and a link or a generic statement. I usually want to add a hashtag and additional information.

You can also pull your Twitter feed to display on your blog. Most blog hosts have widgets to assist you, or you can simply click the RSS feed option at the bottom of your Twitter page’s right-hand sidebar. Be sure to add a “Follow Me on Twitter” button to your blog or website.

Mainly, be relevant and stay current. You will lose followers and/or stop gaining them if you do not maintain your presence. Click here to see an earlier post of a video I made about the benefits of social media networking. Happy tweeting!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Deceit, by Brandilyn Collins

During my time away from Aim, I was pleased to receive and read Brandilyn Collins' Deceit. Her trademark is "Seatbelt Suspense," and this latest work fits right into that category.

Main character Joanne Weeks is a skip tracer, a bounty hunter. Seven years ago, her best friend, Linda Jackson, mysteriously disappeared. Joanne always suspected Linda's husband, Baxter Jackson, was responsible for the crime, but as a church elder and beloved member of the town, he walks the streets a free man.

Now Baxter's second wife has died in susupicious circumstances. Joanne is certain Baxter's to blame, and she sets out to prove his guilt in both crimes. As Joanne drives home on a cold, rainy night, a hooded, masked man darts in front of her car. As she squeals to a stop, she clips the man's leg. She gets out to check on him, and he tells her the Baxters' former foster daughter, Melissa Harkoff, had witnessed Linda's murder. If Joanne could find her, she could put Baxter behind bars. Joanne finds Melissa and puts both of their lives in danger. Just who was that man in the road?

Well-incorporated twists, turns, and flashbacks reveal Linda's killer-or killers-while keeping the reader's seatbelt tightly fastened!

I was not disappointed in my first Collins read. You won't be disappointed by Deceit either.

Find Brandilyn at or

Compensation Disclosure: I received a complimenary ARC of Deceit, released by Zondervan July 2010, in exchange for reviewing and publicizing the book.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm Back!

Thanks for your patience! My blog background disappeared for a while and some other issues were plaguing the site, but we're back up & running! Boy, am I long overdue for an update. It's coming Monday morning, I promise! I've been waiting a month to tell you all about Brandilyn Collins' Deceit. Stop by around 10AM, OK?

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Apologies!

Apparently, some changes have been made to my blog without my knowledge or permission. Please excuse me for a bit til I can get things fixed back up! Sorry!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What's on Your Bookshelf?

Warning! Audience participation is required!

My friend Jennifer McCarty asked these questions of her readers, and her friend (and my new friend) Jodie Bailey borrowed it from her, so I naturally had to snag the list myself. (My answers are in blue.) I'd love to hear what you've been reading too! Please chat with me in the comments below.

1) How many books have you read so far in 2010?
I have read at least 10 that I can think of right now: Thin Places and Life in Defiance (DeMuth), Rise and Shine (Higgs), Crazy Love and Forgotten God (Chan), Lost Mission (Dickson), Songbird Under a German Moon (Goyer), Love Finds You in North Pole Alaska (Lough), Power of a Praying Wife (Omartian), Deceit (Collins).

This excludes another 14 or 15 books I've read and researched for Magical Mouse Schoolhouse Disney details.

2) What percentage is fiction/ non-fiction?
Looks like 60% fiction / 40% non-fiction.

3) What’s your favorite 2010 read so far?
Athol Dickson's Lost Mission. It just won a very well-deserved Christy Award for Suspense!

4) What are you currently reading?
I am reading an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Brandilyn Collins' Deceit. Tune in next week for the review!

5) What’s at the top of you to-be-read pile?
Tricia Goyer's Arms of Deliverance is next in line.

Your turn! What's on your bookshelf?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Are You Passionate?

Three teen girls giggled late into the eve of Youth Camp. They talked of hairstyles and makeup, fashion trends and boys. Ah, yes, boys! Carly already had a boyfriend and Cyndi was too shy, so the question hanging in the air alighted upon Me.

“So who do you like?”

Without hesitation, “Richard Whisenhunt,” escaped my lips. We didn’t know each other well. In fact, he was more a friend of my brother’s than of mine, but an overwhelming peace sifted through my entire being that assured me he was It. I knew in that moment Richard would be my life mate, and the spark of passion ignited.

Twenty-five years have passed since that night, and as you can guess from my last name, I married Richard Whisenhunt. When my husband is passionate about something, he becomes almost obsessive. Take for instance, cycling.

Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s seventh Tour de France victory, Richard began road bicycling. Let me tell you that’s a world of its own, and Richard dove right in. Through trial and error, he learned proper riding techniques, assembled top performance components, and learned necessary maintenance workings. He rode with experienced riders, studied online and print tips, and asked lots of questions. Oh, yeah, and he rode (and still rides) an average of two hours a day, trekking thirty to forty miles or more each ride. Occasionally, he participates in pay or charity rides, and recently he took up racing. Riding is Richard’s passion. Through dedication to the sport, he has become confident and masterful.

My husband’s devotion to his passion has taught me quite a bit about my devotion to my own passion. To develop confidence and mastery of writing, I too must prove dedication. I have to dive right in, try and err, learn techniques, assemble components, know how to fix problems, and implement improvements. I need to study seasoned professionals, research online and print tips, and ask lots of questions. Oh, yeah, and I need to write a set amount of time or a determined number of words each day. I need to get my work out to the readers, and I need to kick it up a notch from time to time.

For nearly seventeen years, without hesitation, I’ve been honored to say, “I’m Richard Whisenhunt’s wife.” An overwhelming peace still permeates my soul in knowing he is It. I’m awed by my husband’s commitment and I’m inspired by his passion.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Revisiting the Top 10

After reading some articles that recently crossed my desk, I feel compelled to re-publish a bit of slapstick sarcasm, Top 10 Ways NOT to Improve Your Writing. While I jest, the advice is spoken in love and sincerity. I do want to enable my clients and blog readers to present the best quality material they possibly can. It's important to write with correct structure, formatting, grammar, and word usage so that errors don't detract from your message. It's never a good thing when your reader laughs at a mistake and misses the point you're trying to make.

10) Don't use a thesaurus. Go ahead and say "season" twenty times on one page.

9) Overuse the semicolon; it's such a cute little punctuation mark; and gets so little respect.

8) "Always put the period outside the quotation marks".

7) Use cute little "catch phrases" and be sure to place quotation marks around them so the reader "gets" it.

6) Devote your first five chapters to your main character's history. Don't get to the action til the reader has completely lost interest.

5) Write like you text, using hip abbreviations like omg and lol, and be sure to end each sentence with lots of exclamation points!!!!!

4) Writing long and drawn-out sentences will surely entice the reader and lead him into the story by preventing him from lifting his eyes from the page, something that would divert his attention from the intense scene being played out before him and would thus alert him to the fact that he hasn't eaten in several hours or had a drop to drink since he awoke that morning; hence, such weakness may incite hallucinations that cause him to wonder if the characters about whom he is reading are truly fictional or if they are indeed living, breathing people stalking him, hovering over his shoulder, about to throw him from the train.

3) Reciting lofty words and abstract thoughts will educate your reader and require him to utilize a nearby dictionary and encyclopedia.

2) Give your characters unique names that are impossible to pronounce.


1) Be sure to take excessive pride in every word you write, knowing each first draft is a certain masterpiece in need of no editing.

Follow these 10 simple guidelines, and you will definitely NOT improve your writing. May God grant you discernment to avoid these fatal flaws, and may you receive lots of acceptance letters!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mary DeMuth's Life in Defiance

As Ouisie Pepper’s mysterious new friend, Elijah, observes of her, Ouisie has “prisons aplenty.” To Hap’s abuse, to the knowledge of Daisy’s killer, and to alcohol addiction Ouisie remains captive. But what grieves her most is her disobedience to the Lord. The Voice beckons her to baptism, for only by dying to herself will she be set free from her burdens. But she consistently resists.

Ouisie confesses, “All I know is that someone seems to be watching me out behind the woods, Sheba’s bent on fixing me, and Hap’s not going to be thrilled with the state of the house when he gets home. It’s all too much, really. Too much for a woman to bear.” All the secrets she holds inside drag her down and hold her under. They stifle her, suffocate her hope. She fears releasing her secrets will unleash a torrent and “send [her] drowning on a river [she] never knew was there.” Ousie’s longing to make God smile outweighs her fears, though.

Justice. Finally.

Readers of Life in Defiance, Mary DeMuth’s third book in the Defiance Texas Trilogy, anguish in Ouisie Pepper’s hesitance to expose Daisy’s killer, reel from the blows of Hap’s fists, and, sighing relief, revel at her release from burdensome secrecy. Read all three in the series and find it is better to reveal truth than to live with the consequences of burying it forever.

Compensation Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for reviewing it on my blog.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Benefits of Social Media Networking

Below is an abbreviated version of a presentation I gave at a recent Homemaker CEO meeting. Many people miss out on the benefits of social media networking because they hold fast to stereotypes and misconceptions. I am active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and The Homeschool Lounge, and I produce three blogs. Social media networking has brought me editing clients, industry advice, genuine friends, and a wealth of information. It's not just about who ate what for dinner or how many loads of laundry need washed! Watch the video. If you'd like to hear more, ask me in the comments section. Thanks!

Jodi Whisenhunt on the benefits of social media networking:

Monday, May 17, 2010

How Do You Respond to Critics?

If you write for publication, you will encounter criticism. Let’s put it this way, if you write your thoughts down, if you release them from your mind and record them in any medium, you will be criticized. You may hear, “That’s nice, but…” from a variety of friends. Your mother will likely say, “But that didn’t happen like that.” Your siblings are apt to blast you for painting them in an ill light. Then will come rejection letters from editors, and after some success, judgment from professional critics. (How bitter does one have to be to call himself a professional critic?)

How will you respond? Will you weep? Will you cower? Quit writing? Will you dispute? Will you defend? Retaliate with a sharp tongue (or sharpened pencil)?

A few years ago, I was blasted by some people close to me. I was called evil, accused of criminal behavior, judged, condemned, and threatened to be sued. There was much more, but I'll spare you the details. Needless to say, there was a major riff between us for a number of years.

During the time I was, well, assaulted, I held my tongue. I knew my innocence. I knew the slander did not apply to who I was. Sure, I was insulted, but I turned the other cheek. I let the critics talk (and they did a lot of that behind my back!). I remained who I was. While I may have been tempted, I did not strike out in anger or retaliation, because the Lord says, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay" (Deuteronomy 32:35).

I prayed to God often Psalm 119:154, "Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise." I claimed that! I also trusted in Psalm 37:5-6, which says, "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn." I committed my way to Him, to carrying on in His work and doing what I felt honored Him. I depended on God to defend me while my offenders continued their abuse in my silence.

This incident taught me to take the negative with a grain of salt, to accept it but to maintain a degree of skepticism. As salt flavors food and makes it more palatable, assess words spoken against you but swallow only truth. And while it may be tempting to lash out at those who attack you, practice self-control. Remember the Lord will defend you. Trust in him and commit to honoring Him in all you do. In doing so, you will maintain a favorable reputation.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Dreaded "P" Word: Platform

The word platform connotes a certain mental image in my mind. And it’s not a pretty picture. I see a sweaty, burly carpenter covered in sawdust. He’s unshaven, rugged. His clothes are tattered and smelly and plaid and denim, and he’s intent to measure twice, cut once. He saws, hammers, builds. He toils many months in the blazing sun, pouring rain, heat, and cold. In the end, he inspects his work, makes adjustments, and gives final approval, then hands the masterpiece off to its new owner.

Seems like a lot of work for something the builder cannot keep.

As an aspiring author, I’ve been advised to build my platform. No, I don’t think agents and editors want me to build a deck. Although, that would provide a nice writing retreat on clear days, but no. The platform to which they refer consists of everything I’m doing right now to establish an audience who would someday read my book. Those might include the following:
• Regularly post blog entries.
• Guest post on other people’s blogs or participate in blog carnivals.
• Actively participate on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
• Do public speaking.
• Teach workshops or courses.
• Do radio and/or TV interviews.
• Network with others in the field.
• Attend writers’ conferences.
• Publish articles.
• Do whatever I can to establish readership and a fan base.

And, oh yeah, write that book while I’m at it.

It’s not a pretty picture. The efforts wear on me. I’m covered in Post-it notes, my glasses askew. My hair’s disheveled. I wear plaid. I am intent to measure twice, cut once, so my words are sharp and accurate. I write, I cut, I build, toiling months in my element. In the end, I will inspect my work, make adjustments, give approval, and hand it off to its new owner—the Reader.

See, my work is not something I can keep. The written word must go out. The stronger the platform, the more masterpieces get passed on.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

2009 Amy Writing Awards

Celebrate with me, friends! I was awarded a 2009 Amy Writing Award for "thought provoking, skillful presentation of biblical truth, reinforced with scripture in a mainstream, non-religious publication." My article, "Ready for the Storm," which appeared in the April/May 2009 issue of McKinney Kids Magazine, received 5th Prize and publication in the Amy Foundation’s booklet. The winning article is posted on my website, and can be accessed directly here. It will be available online at The Amy Foundation Monday, May 3, 2010.

I tell you this because yes, I am excited to be honored with this prestigious recognition, but also because I want to encourage you as writers. You see, “Ready for the Storm” was the first article I ever published! It first appeared in a Christian magazine, Living with Loss. I retained the rights and submitted it to McKinney Kids. When it goes live on the Amy Foundation website and is printed in their booklet, it will continue to take God’s message out into the world to places I may never go.

Keep writing, friends. Keep submitting your work. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Keep writing for Him!

Click here for more information about The Amy Foundation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Have You Done Your Research?

We covered the query letter in the last post, but let's back up a step. Let’s say you have an idea for a magazine article. You might even have a draft written. Before you query, you need to research. I don’t mean the research involved in sufficiently covering your topic. Of course, you need to do that, but  I’m talking about researching publications that produce your type of material.

I recommended this book for the query letter clinic, but the current year’s Writer’s Market is invaluable for this type of research! These books sell for about $30-$35 new, but you can find a used copy at Half Price Bookstore for $10-$15 or peruse the library's copy for free. I wouldn’t buy anything more than 2 years old, because editors change often, as do requirements and contact information. If you have an older version, it is still useful for providing websites to look up to get the current information. Plus, a lot of the other information in here is timeless, like the query letter clinic, agent query advice, and numerous helpful articles. They also offer an online subscription service.

Sally Stuart’s current year Christian Writers’ Market Guide is another essential tool. She lists publishers and agents who either work primarily in the Christian market or are mainly secular but also print for or represent the Christian market. She provides a lot of helpful resources for writers, like Bible research, songwriting resources, instruction courses, etc. 

So, let’s say your idea is an allegory on fishing for sport versus fishing for Jesus. What is your target market? Who might read this article? Men? Fishers? Outdoorsmen? Christian? Non-Christian? Pastors? Pick one & open up your Writer’s Market

Look for the proper outlet for your subject matter, whether they accept freelancers, whether they accept new/unpublished authors (if that’s you). Note their response time, whether they accept simultaneous submissions, and what rights they buy. A page near the front provides rights definitions. Typically, you want to look for those who purchase first rights, or first North American rights, or one-time rights. AVOID ones that buy all rights, or you forfeit ownership and the ability to market your material elsewhere in the future.

Narrow your search to a few specific targets, research their requirements, and review a copy. You can view some magazines online. You can request a sample copy of others. Or, you could always go to the library and/or bookstore to find a recent copy. You want to make sure your material is a good fit. Otherwise, you’ll waste the editor’s time and your own.  
Once you know the desired outlet, submit. But, check the publisher’s guidelines first! I can’t stress that enough. Very few accept unsolicited manuscripts. Most want a query letter first. Some want a query with previous published writing samples called clips or tearsheets. Guidelines are posted online or you can request a copy by mail. Also, those who want queries are specific about how they receive them. Some accept them by email (even that is picky – some want it in the body of the email; others as an attachment), some by fax, some by snail mail only. Very few accept telephone submissions. 

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. A friend in my writers' group has had great success with calling editors and publishers directly. BUT she researches her market and her target publisher BEFORE calling.  She is prepared with information in front of her before she picks up the phone. Based on my experience and what editors and publishers state in their guidelines, their articles, their books, and their blogs on the subject, most prefer the query letter.

Alright, get to work!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Query Components

Obviously, the first step to getting published is to write…then rewrite…then rewrite again, and again, and again.  You want to put forth your best effort.  First, or even early drafts are NEVER best effort. I've talked about that a couple times on this blog, here and here, and probably in a few other posts as well. But what do you do once you've reached "ready"?


Now, with magazine articles or other periodicals or nonfiction books, you don’t always have to have the entire piece written beforehand. This is good news! If you have an idea for an article but haven’t written it yet, you can submit a query letter and hope the editor then asks you to write it. Keep in mind, though, first drafts of query letters are NEVER best effort, either.  So, it’s very important to take time to edit yourself and look for ways to improve the piece. Have others read it and give their suggestions.  Participating in a writers’ group is very beneficial.  I would not have gotten my first article published if not for the gentle wisdom of my writers’ group peers.

So what is a query letter? It is a one-page letter used to get an editor or agent interested in your idea. When you query magazines, you’re trying to get the editor to buy your article or idea. When you query book publishers and agents, you’re trying to get the editor or agent interested enough to request a full proposal or the entire manuscript. It’s basically a sales pitch, and it needs to be very well-written. 

Writer’s Market, put out annually by Writer's Digest Books, contains a query letter clinic which gives examples of good and bad queries and details what made each good or bad. According to their experts, a successful query letter consists of four key components:  Be as sharp and concise as possible.

1) Author’s authority/qualifications: The author's authority is simply your expertise. The editor might like your idea, but why should he trust you to write it? What makes you the person to write this article?

2) The need for this book/article: Why do readers need this information? In this information age, it's relatively easy to get answers to pretty much any question, so why should this editor print this story?

3) Specifics about the book/article/story/idea: Ok, here is where you tell the editor what your article is about. Here is your hook. In ONE sentence, in a very interesting and appealing way, summarize your idea. This takes practice. In fact, I've had writers bring one-sentence summaries to critique meetings and work on that one little sentence the entire time.

4) Suggested word count: This is self-explanatory. Tell how long you anticipate the finished article to be. Please be sure to check the publication's writer's guidelines before you query! You want to make sure your topic is a good fit, but you also need to know what they expect, their word count limits, formatting, etc.

As I mentioned in a previous post, always be formal and professional. Address the editor by name (Mr. or Ms.), and make sure your name and contact information are complete. If mailing by snail mail, be sure to sign your letter. Editors and agents receive several hundred submissions each week. You want your letter to stand out because it is well-written and your idea is well-presented. Fancy fonts and pretty stationery are unprofessional and will usually land your submission in the garbage. Small details, like misspelling the agent’s name or mixing up your words (i.e. I’ve written a nonfiction novel… huh?) make a poor impression and can quickly lead to rejection. 

Are you ready? Get set. Query!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure, by Susan K. Marlow

I finished reading Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure today. It's a nail-biter! Lots of suspense, lots of action, lots of trouble. This fifth book in Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures series for ‘tweens continues to showcase the author’s readability and appeal to the younger audience.

Main character Andi Carter has recently turned thirteen and is struggling with the idea of growing up. After innocent horseplay lands Andi and her friends in jail, they venture into the Sierra Nevada mountains to pan for gold and leave their troubles behind. But trouble finds them. A shootout with bank robbers leaves her brother seriously injured and sheltered in a remote cabin. Andi must nurse him to health and fend off some serious dangers while keeping hope alive.

Andi is able to count on her friends to get through the tough times and comes to find out that treasure is more than just a handful of shiny gold.

Once back home on the Circle C Ranch near Fresno, California, with her brother on the mend, Andi realizes growing up might not be such a bad idea after all. She recalls her brother’s words to her from their first night on the trail, “I’d rather have a sensible young woman around—one who can think clearly and do what’s got to be done,” and rather likes the idea of being considered sensible.

While this book is the fifth in the series, Trouble with Treasure is quite enjoyable on its own and can stand alone. I do recommend reading books one through four, though, to get to know Andi, her friends, and her family, and to catch a glimpse of the Old West and 1880s America.

For further study, a FREE enrichment study guide is available for Trouble with Treasure and includes a geography study, a vocabulary list, and a recipe for Andi’s Beef [Jerky] Broth, as well as web links of period photos, an Annie Oakley word puzzle, and a creative rattlesnake craft. Click the PDF graphic at the bottom of Susan’s website to download. Lapbooks are available by separate purchase for grades 3-6. You can sample Susan’s panning for gold activity at this Magical Mouse Schoolhouse feature.

Read more about Susan in this Aim for Perfection Editing interview or by visiting her website. Be on the lookout this fall for Susan’s sixth and final Circle C Adventures installment, Andrea Carter and the Price of Truth. Andi's adventures are not concluding, however. Soon younger children can learn to read with Circle C Beginnings, an upcoming series of early reader chapter books that introduce a six-year-old Andi to the elementary audience. Each Circle C Beginnings book will have color covers and illustrated pictures. Look for Pony Trouble next winter. Visit Andi’s blog for an adorable treat to hear little Andi herself tell all about it.

The Circle C Adventures series is wholesome reading for the entire family.

Compensation Disclosure: I received one complimentary copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for reviewing it on my blog.

Monday, March 8, 2010

When the Picture Fades

Has this ever happened to you? You start a project with great energy. Your fingers fly across the keyboard. You write a page or two or fifteen. You down a pot of coffee to stay alert and try to keep up with the action. Your characters speak—and you hear them. You watch them dance. You fear for their lives. You cry their tears.

Then the picture fades.

What do you do? What happens when the spark goes out? Do you quit? Give up? Take a nap?

Here’s what you do. You clean the toilet, scrub the shower, and mop the floor. When you’re done, you wash your hands, of course, then you sit back down and stare blankly at your computer screen. You read your piece out loud very slowly, noting strong areas and highlighting weak spots. You listen to your own inflections and mark the sentences you tripped over. And you ask yourself the following questions:
  • Who cares? Is your story worth a reader’s time?
  • How did this happen? Did I exploit nouns and verbs?
  • Does it matter? Is every aspect significant?

You want to write something that people will read. Reading a book, short story, or article is a time investment. Offer something of value to your audience.

Eliminate as many gerunds and participles as possible. Minimize adverbs and adjectives. Reduce clauses. Show, don’t tell. Appeal to the senses.

Give your reader credit. Trust that he/she knows things like tears are salty and oceans are sandy, but do authenticate your characters with unique details. If your characters came to life, you’d want your readers to recognize them.

Now take another look. Has the vibrance returned? If not, go eat a snack, start a load of laundry, and give the dog a bath. And try again tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Aim for Perfection

Don’t settle for good enough. Aim for perfection.

The three words that title my business may seem to imply that I have “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable”[1]. I don’t.

I do, of course, attempt to present my best effort every time I publish an article or a blog post, but I really strive for the katartizo Paul urged of the church at Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 13:9, he prayed for their perfection, and in verse 11, he advised them to make perfection their goal. Did he want them to be flawless? No. He knew they’d make mistakes. Rather, he desired them to be complete in their faith, or to be completed by their faith in Jesus Christ.

The Greek katartizo, means to restore, put in order, mend; to make complete, equip, train, prepare, ordain; to complete thoroughly. Only by faith in Christ can I achieve these things in my life. Only by obedience to His plan can I achieve these things in my work.

I may never write a best seller. My words may affect only a few. But I believe the Lord has placed within me the desire and the abilities to accomplish His work by aiming for katartizo.

When clients seek editing assistance, I don’t expect them to produce error-free material. I do, however, expect them to work diligently to put each piece in order, to prepare each message for its task, to complete their writing thoroughly to the best of their abilities. In this way, their work will be perfected.

Today I will part with Paul’s adieu, “Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

[1] “Perfectionism,” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, Springfield, MA, 2008.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Remember Whom You Serve

Sometimes the people who should be our number one fans crush our spirits and fill us with self doubt. A friend of mine, Christy, is a newly published freelance writer. In the business of freelancing, not all pieces receive monetary reward. Simply put, you don’t get paid. When Christy received her first freelance paycheck, she phoned her mom to celebrate. She also told her about a weekly, unpaid writing opportunity. Upon hearing this new column would be written pro bono, my friend’s mother offered these words, “Well, Honey, it’s not like you’re a real writer.” Ouch!

Those few words left my friend wondering, “Am I a writer? Why am I writing? Can I say I’m a writer if I don’t receive payment? Should I stop writing?” When Christy called her mom she was excited and confident; when she hung up the phone she was dejected and insecure.

My friend’s experience reminded me of when Jesus returned to his hometown. The people discounted him, saying he was just the carpenter’s son and asked each other where he got his powers. “But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor’” (Matthew 13:57). In Luke 4:24-30, Jesus explains it further, giving comparisons to Elijah and Elisha. The people responded to Jesus’ reprimand by driving him to the edge of a cliff and threatening to throw him off. While it didn’t come to that extreme with my friend’s family, her mother’s words left her feeling as if she were thrown off the cliff of success.

Even Jesus wasn’t supported by those who should have been his number one fans. Author Teresa G. Lusk discusses a similar matter in the “Dream Patrol” chapter of her book, Good Enough to be a Homemaker and CEO. She points out that some people appoint themselves to manage others’ success. They encourage and inspire until time comes to step out in faith and progress toward goals. At which point their true opinions are revealed and they spew forth insults. Teresa advises, “Don't take it personally...Receive it as a combination of useful circumstances. One, they offer an opportunity to remind you who called you to your purpose. And two, personal and spiritual growth comes about” (Lusk 62-63).

I’m sure my friend’s mother loves her very much and is proud of her achievement. However, Christy and we fellow writers need to remember whom we serve. I know we want our parents to be proud of us, but, “If [we] were still trying to please men, [we] would not be servant[s] of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). Paychecks don’t define us. Others’ opinions don’t define us. Our Creator does, and it is He whom we should honor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Own Thin Place

On November 27, 2002, the veil between my world and God’s thinned and I glimpsed His glory.

Rachel Faith was born just after midnight. Blue and still, she gasped twice and was gone.  We held visitation Thanksgiving evening, her funeral the day after. My heart was shattered and crushed into fine dust, blown and scattered to all parts of the earth… irreparable.

First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Be joyful Rachel died? Pray—in vain? Give thanks for what? This was God’s will?

I blamed myself. However, in John 9, Jesus said, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." Oh! This happened for God's glory.

Be joyful always.” Yes, I could rejoice. Through my heartbreak, God brought healing to others. A friend held Rachel and said good-bye to a baby she had lost. A young woman chose not to abort her child. Rejoice? Yes!

Pray continually.” I did, though I struggled. God knew my desires and the Holy Spirit interceded when I could manage only a moan.

Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will.” Had Rachel survived, she would have faced surgeries, paralysis, cognitive compromise. She was graciously spared such struggle.

Rachel’s birthday is near Thanksgiving and I have many reasons to give thanks. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful” (I Timothy 1:12).  

*Revised excerpt from "Ready for the Storm" article published in Winter 2008 Living With Loss and May 2008 McKinney Kids.This version was inspired by Mary DeMuth's memoir, Thin Places.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Judging Books by the Table of Contents

I read a blog post last week that was written by someone I respect, someone very highly regarded in the publishing industry, someone who is in charge of what books get published. I normally enjoy reading this person's articles, because they're very informative. I even follow him on Twitter and am a fan of his on Facebook. One thing he said in this particular post, though, struck a raw nerve.

Regarding how to read a nonfiction book, this writer gave a list of ten tips. Item #1 recommended NOT reading a book all the way through. He basically said not every word is worth reading. I was shocked to see this coming from someone in his position, especially when he went on to advise "reading" the book by skimming through the author's bio, studying the table of contents, and scanning the text (taking note of bold headers and block quotes). In his opinion, following these suggestions would give the reader enough information to review said book.

Now let me ask you, is it possible to form an accurate opinion of a book without reading it in its entirety? If you read the beginning and the end but skip the middle, are you getting the whole message? Can you grasp the complete concept by skimming the table of contents? Would your answers depend on whether the book is fiction or nonfiction?

My simple answer to all of four questions is NO. 

Now, I understand there are some books that don't hold the reader's interest all the way through. I've read plenty of books that tempted me to put them down halfway through and never open them again. But I persevered. Yes, some disappointed, but others picked up the pace and revived my interest. I would not have known the outcomes if I had not continued to read.

The tips offered in that article may help generate a book review, but picking and choosing only certain pieces of a book to represent the whole will not produce a very reliable assessment of the material. It is not alright to judge a book by its cover or by its table of contents.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mary DeMuth's Thin Places

If thin places are those moments in which we are allowed to peer through the veil and glimpse God’s grace, then Mary DeMuth’s Thin Places is itself such an experience.

With this moving memoir, author Mary DeMuth struggles to make sense of her life, to find answers to all the whys. Why was she molested? Why did her father die? Why did her stepdads leave? Why didn’t her mother love her more? The weight of personal violation burdens her shoulders. The grief of fatherly loss shatters her heart. The glare of the victim target illuminates her shame. Mary frets about incompetence until she reaches that thin place of acceptance and realizes that despite many deep and lasting emotional injuries, God is more than capable of restoring and making her whole. For He is all she needs.

God repairs wounds. He pacifies sorrow. He fills voids.

I share Mary’s brokenness. I too am flawed, helplessly selfish, needy, and clay-footed, as Mary describes herself on page 100. Though, thankfully, I have not been physically assaulted, I certainly have experienced ample portions of pain. And what I realize, the blessing I receive from Mary’s message, is that I need to stop attempting to fix those broken areas myself. I know that God is all I need, but I don’t always allow Him to BE all I need.

I have been a Christian most of my life. Although I am no longer an infant Christian, sometimes I still crave pure spiritual milk so I may taste that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:2). Thin places remind me that I am ever in a state of maturing. Thin Places quenches my thirst.

A line from an old movie states, “I gave her my heart; she gave me a pen.” Mary DeMuth gave Jesus her heart and He gave her a pen. However, unlike the breakup scene of that film, Jesus’ gift to Mary was not meant to cover up a wound. His pen—or computer—enables Mary to expose human frailty and to reveal God’s grace to the world. Of the effects of her writing, Mary says, “I could say my writing is all for me, and it’d be a hint of truth…He shows me that my paltry words touch others…All I can say is: let the healing begin” (DeMuth, p. 70). For this reader it has.

Thank you, Mary, for allowing God to work through you in this mighty way. Thank you for reliving these memories, for recording the challenges of your life, and for offering your transparency as a thin place.

Compensation Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for reviewing it on my blog.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Win a Rosetta Stone Language Product

For my home educating friends, Rosetta Stone, Heart of the Matter, and Fusefly have partnered to offer an incredible foreign language/foreign land opportunity for homeschoolers:

Surround your family with language. By taking them there!
Travel to Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona with homeschoolers from all over the United States. Join Rosetta Stone Homeschool, Heart of the Matter and Fusefly on the inaugural Homeschool Language Learning and Networking Trip August 2-11, 2010. Become immersed in new lands, explore history, culture, art and community. And truly speak to the world.  For more details visit

Hurry, registration for the trip ends February 15, 2010.

For your chance to win a Rosetta Stone language product, please visit Heart of the Matter. Entries are being accepted until February 1st.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Little Things Matter

Comma, colon, semicolon, space, parenthesis, period.

Quotation mark, apostrophe, em dash, question mark.

Writers love to loathe the little things; editors loathe to leave them out. Proper punctuation clarifies communication. If writers want their readers to comprehend their messages, it is imperative to proof drafts.

Which of the following sentences is easier to read?
  • Johnny Mr. Home Improvement tripped over the warped floorboard the bargain plank he got at the salvage yard and tumbled headlong down the rickety winding staircase.
  • Johnny—Mr. Home Improvement—tripped over the warped floorboard, the bargain plank he got at the salvage yard, and tumbled headlong down the rickety, winding staircase.
The first sentence is exhausting. It took me two tries to read it through aloud without tripping over one or more words. The second sentence contains em dashes and commas to break the flow and guide the reader through the text. When I read it aloud, I paused at the em dashes before continuing, with a brief hesitation at each comma. We utilize these techniques subconsciously when speaking but in writing they must be shown by utilizing punctuation marks.

I read post after post after post from literary agents, editors, and others in the industry who all agree on one thing: quality writing gets published. Why, just two days ago, agent Chip MacGregor blogged about that very topic. He said, “So the single best thing you can do in order to improve your chance of getting published is to become a great writer.” He also said in his January 3, 2010, blog post, “I'm usually looking for great writing with a strong voice,” and said an author can get his attention “by showing me a big idea, expressed through great writing, supported by a strong platform.” I have to agree with him, “Do anything you can to improve your writing...and you'll find you stand a much better chance of getting published.” (Emphasis mine.)

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner often gives similar advice. In a January 2008 blog post, she said, “One of the most common reasons for agent rejections is that the writer simply isn't ready: they haven't spent quite enough time mastering the craft of writing.” In August 2009, she suggests that writers who have more than one completed manuscript send “the one in which your writing shines the brightest.” This entire post from May 19, 2009, is dedicated to learning the craft of writing.

When it comes to producing quality writing, the little things do matter. Read instructional books. Read books in your genre to learn from those who’ve already been published. Join a critique group. Attend writers’ conferences. Sharpen those skills and apply proper techniques and your novel idea may just become a best-selling novel.

In accordance with FTC Rule 16 CFR, Part 255, I am disclosing that I received no compensation for writing this post. What is this? See Michael Hyatt’s blog (for whose mention I received no compensation).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


  • I don't make New Year's resolutions. It wouldn't do any good because...
  • I'm terribly unorganized. I have good intentions but...
  • I keep stacks of work in strategic locations around my desk and around my house. This is why...
  • I work from a laptop not a desktop. To maintain structure...
  • I pray Psalm 90:12, "Teach [me] to number [my] days aright, that [I] may gain a heart of wisdom." It helps that...
  • I'm a slow writer. That seems to contradict how...
  • I sometimes rush through a piece and end too abruptly. I think it's because...
  • I worry I'll forget my point if I don't hurry up and write it down. Let me explain that...
  • I usually write late at night when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet. But I believe Psalm 37:5-6, which tells me...
  • If I commit my way to the Lord and trust in Him, He will do this: He will make my righteousness shine like the dawn. And that enlightens me so...
  • I enjoy researching terms in my concordances. It's fodder for good dreams that make me say...
  • "It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep" ("Fireflies" by Owl City). Sometimes when I awaken from sleep...
  • I record my dreams in a journal. Recently...
  • I dreamed about giant stalks of celery growing up from a shallow river, all guarded by crocodiles that jumped and played like dogs. Perhaps it's preparation as...
  • I hope "...that our God may count [me] worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of [mine] and every act prompted by [my] faith" (2 Thessalonians 1:11). Because...
  • I believe my writing and editing passions are gifts given by the Lord. And...
  • I desire to bring glory to His name with the work that I do. So...
  • I don't make lists of things I'm incapable of achieving. Because...
  • I know I am not the keeper of my schedule. After all...
  • "If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

This sums it up ;)

This sums it up ;)