I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Join me at Life Signatures

Today I'm  blessed to be interviewed by Lawrence Namale from Life Signatures about my journey of becoming a published author.

I'll be discussing person information about my past and failures, as well as answering challenging questions about "The Precipice".

Hope you'll join me over there even though I've been away from blogging for so long. Click here to read the in depth interview.Comment on Lawrence's blog for a chance to win a FREE copy of my  book, "The Precipice" (if you already own my book, you can have me send it to someone you know).

I officially return to the blogging/writing world in SEPTEMBER.

Psalm 73:25-26 NIV, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Interview with Amazon's Best Selling Author: Heather Day Gilbert #GiveAway!

I'm still out on Medical Leave. I'll be returning in SEPTEMBER. 
I was blessed to do this interview with Heather last month. I pray that if you're interested in Self Publishing that you're blessed with all her helpful tips and insights. Have a wonderful week. I'll be back to the blogging world soon!
Also, July 31st, don't miss my interview with Lawrence Namale from Life Signatures talking about my own testimony of God's goodness in helping me write.

Heather, you’re a true blessing to me as a Christian mom and writer. Your journey to being published is a testimony of God’s goodness and your determination. Thank you for taking the time to share with us about your writing career. You’ve successfully self published two books, God’s Daughter and Miranda Warning.  I don’t read much fiction, but your books, which are told in first person narrative, hold my attention. I look forward to reading more of your work. Now on to the interview:

1.        Heather, your journey to being a published author is inspiring. It’s one riddled with challenges, setbacks, and amazing blessings from God. Please share some of the highlights. 

Oh wow! There were plenty of highlights and lowlights over the course of the past 6-7 years.
Highlights were landing some great agents, getting some great editorial reviews from publishing houses, and finally, the biggest highlight of all--finally having readers! Many of my readers have followed my writing journey via Facebook or my blog and they rejoice with me at each book that is finally out in the world.

Low points were definitely those six years I felt I was in prison, waiting for God to move to get my books published, praying and feeling He wasn't hearing me (I related to Jeremiah a lot), and getting numerous rejections from Christian publishers. I kept thinking about quitting and every time God would send me a clear message not to, be it through a comment from a total stranger or encouragement from those who knew me and were praying for me. Suffice it to say, even though I felt God was hidden behind a thick cloud then, I now see He had a bigger plan for me. He knew I needed to self-publish my books. I'm an independent author on all fronts and don't like being told what genre to write and what time period is marketable. He knew I needed more freedom in my writing.

2.       On this same note, will you tell us some of the most challenging moments you’ve encountered as you’ve battled to get your books into the hands of readers?

Again, I think it was knowing I had a mission with my Viking historical, a mission that would glorify God by showing true love in marriage and Christianity's light shining in a time of paganism, and yet not seeing God bless with publication for years. Also, because there is still some pushback in Christian author circles toward self-publishing, I had all kinds of unsolicited advice about how I had to pay for professional edits (from people who had never read my book and just assumed it), or I ran into reviewers who outright won't read self-published books. There are a lot of assumptions about self-publishing, but I see Christian authors breaking down those walls with quality books that could compete in traditionally published circles nearly every month.

3.       Was there ever a time you thought about giving up? If so, what kept you going?

Definitely, as I said before. God did send rain in season, as I said above, with kind words and encouragement from various people. But feeling He wasn't moving was the hardest part. I can handle taking big leaps of faith and obeying when God tells me to move. But when I'm doing what I know He wants me to be doing and HE is not moving, then I get a little crazy. Every time I seriously considered quitting the whole writing gig, it became clear I should not and I actually COULD not.
I actually did a blogpost on this topic here.

4.       What’s one thing(s) you wish someone would have told you about Self Publishing.

How rewarding it is. That's why I'm committed to bringing helpful self-publishing info to writers who are considering it. Yes, it's not for everyone, and it takes so much work (if you don't outsource a lot), so it's like a full-time job. But for me, the rewards far outweighed any drawbacks. I was already spending all my time checking emails and waiting on the line for a publishing contract. Now my author life is no longer on hold.

5.       How do you maintain balance between being a wife, homeschooling your kids, maintaining your blog, writing/publishing books, and marketing them?

Oh, boy, I'm like the worst person to ask about balance! I'm still working on it. I'm going to try and make a time schedule next school year, for when I need to be online, school hours, etc. Marketing can truly take up my entire day if I'd let it. I'm hoping to take a break this August and just re-coup from getting two of my books and one of my aunt's books out this past year.

6.       What marketing advice do you have for new authors? What things should they avoid as well as what are some of the things that have really helped you sell your books? 

I have a lot of thoughts on generating pre and post-publication buzz on my blog here. It's actually a series for those who are thinking about self-publishing. But my two key tips are: a) don't rush the process for a quality product, and b) have early readers who can get reviews ready to roll when your book does (or even before on Goodreads). 

I also try to bring relevant marketing/publishing info specifically to self-publishers in my monthly column, every third Thursday on Novel Rocket. If you don't follow that website, you should! Great info for authors.

7.       Miranda Warning just came out. It captivated me. Tess, the main character, has a rich personality and background. Share with us how you develop your main characters. 

Oh, wow. They kind of develop themselves. I have a good idea of who my characters are when I start writing my books--it's the plotline I have to figure out. I think this is why I like writing in first-person. I can basically morph into that character's head and just say what they would say. Of course, sometimes those characters really jump the tracks and start doing/saying stuff I didn't even think they would! Ha.

 MW FB cover

8.       What books can we expect you to publish next?

I hope to complete my second and final book in my Vikings of the New World Saga, titled Forest Child, next year. After that I plan to focus on my contemporary mysteries in the Murder in the Mountains series.

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Thank you so much for letting me visit, TC! All the best with your writing!

Author Bio:
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Seventeen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as eleven years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Audible.com. Her Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, released June 20th. 

For a chance to win a ebook copy of her book, Miranda Warning, leave a comment below. The winner will be contacted via email. Thanks so much. Also if you could, please tweet about the Give Away! 

What Questions do you have for Heather about Self Publishing? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Why We Need To Rest To Be Restored - GUEST POST

This is a Guest Post from Dave Arnold.This  originally was published in my June Newsletter. (If you haven't signed up for my Quarterly Newsletters you can do so here, just make sure to complete the activation in your email.)

I decided to re-share this post with you because it's such an important reminder for all us bloggers and writers. We tend to get so busy we forget the importance of rest for our selves, and how it enhances our relationships with God and our families. 
As you know, I've  been away from blogging for a few weeks due to health reasons, this time away has really blessed me spiritually. God knows we all need rest. I pray you're refreshed by reading this. I look forward to returning to the blogging world in SEPTEMBER! (Next week you'll see an interview by Amazon's Best Selling Indie Author Heather Day Gilbert, if you're thinking of self publishing I HIGHLY recommend reading this interview!) 

As a bonus, Dave has offered a FREE copy of his book, "It's Possible" if you will subscribe to his email list by clicking this link.

I'm still out on medical leave, so Dave will be replying to all comments. Enjoy reading and have a blessed week.

                       Why We Need To Rest To Be Restored

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word rest?

If you're working crazy hours at your job, or if you are a parent with small children, you're probably thinking of one thing: a bed.

Granted, to rest does involve sleeping; but the rest I want to talk about is more about restoration and recharging than sleeping.

The prefix "re" - as in restore, recharge, renew - has the idea of returning to an original condition.

For the past two months, I have resolved to "return to" those things that are most important by resting  from my work, refocusing on my relationship with God, and spending quality time with my family.

I'd like to say I've done wonderfully in my endeavor to rest, but the truth is it's been a challenge at times.

I am a person who tends to find my identity in what I do (i.e. my work). It's hard for me to slow down and "just be."

Moreover, I think it's hard for us living in the culture we live in, a culture, sadly, that is dominated by work and performance and busyness.

And because we live in a media-driven world, it's even easier to work all the time (checking our status, emails, etc.).

One of the areas I needed to detox in was my incessant checking of my email and social media sites on my phone. I've come to realize that having my smart phone attached at my hip is not healthy.

So now, instead of checking my phone the first thing in the morning after I get up, I spend time in prayer.

So why is rest important and why should we do it?

(1) To reflect. God created the world in 6 days and then rested on the 7th (Genesis 2:2).

Did He need to rest? No. But He did as an example to us. Work is good, of course, but rest is just as vital, for it allows us to reflect on what we did and say, as the Lord did, "it is good."

(2) To refocus. If you don't stop to rest from your work, it becomes all-consuming. 

It takes stepping back, evaluating, and refocusing your energies.

When we don't do this we burn out. 

(3) To be rejuvenated. Taking a break from your work or daily routine allows for margins in your life.

Think about a piece of paper without margins. It would be chaos. It's the same with our lives. 

When we don't step aside of our busy routines it leads to chaos. 

Life without margins, without a pit stop, leads to stress and health problems and all sorts of nasty things.

There's a reason God instructed us to rest - and He always knows what's best.

Question: What are some ways you rest?

Don't miss out- tomorrow (7/2/14) three awesome Christian bloggers have join together for a FREE webinare discussing Faith and your Calling. click here to learn more about what Lincoln Parks, Dave Arnold, and Paul Sohn will be discussing. Thanks and God bless.  

Congrats Brandy on willing the book, "Spreading Joy" by Marie Wikle. I know you'll be blessed by it.