Like a Book? #Writing a Review Helps Authors

Reviews are the lifeblood for authors. Once a book has 50 reviews, it gets better exposure on Amazon. I borrowed this meme from Linda Yezak’s blog, 777 Peppermint Place, because it’s worth knowing. 

Do you write reviews? If you’re not sure how, go to Linda’s blog. I put the link above. She explains how to do it.

4 Platform Building Lessons from Ephesians – Guest Post by Joan Campbell

Joan Campbell lives in Johannesburg with her husband and daughters. She is inspired by South Africa’s vibrant mix of culture, language, music and folklore. Her country’s history also impacts her writing, with the themes of discrimination and reconciliation woven through her fantasy novels. 

 *** 

I’ll just come right out and admit it. The constant advice to ‘build a platform’ used to irritate me. A lot. I followed it not because I wanted to, but only in the hopes of impressing publishers. 

Once I signed a publishing contract my attitude shifted. With a greater incentive to build an audience interested in my books, I began to pay attention to how other authors tackled this. I saw plenty of creativity, audience engagement, powerful messages and savvy use of social media. 

Inspirational, right? 

 Well…no. Instead, I felt more discouraged and uncertain on how to improve my half-hearted efforts.

That’s when I began to pray about it. I hadn’t ever thought of seeking God’s guidance, mainly because I didn’t think of him as a modern ‘platform guru’. Yet almost immediately I received the direction I sought through a passage from Ephesians 4. These four keys to platform building are changing my outlook, turning something I’ve always done rather resentfully into a joyful part of serving God. 

 Engaging others is part of our calling 

“Therefore I… beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling for you have been called by God.” (Eph. 4:1) 

As a Christian writer, I have a message and ministry from God. I might prefer to huddle over my computer, working only on my manuscripts, but that’s not all God calls me to. He calls us to love others and speak truth into their lives. Our platforms are a powerful tool to do that, be it in the form of a newsletter, blog, Facebook post or speaking engagement. 

Work as a team to build God’s kingdom 

“Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace. We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.” (Eph. 4:3-6) 

In the competitive world of publishing, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that—as Christian writers—we are called to build God’s Kingdom. To do that we need to unite and pull together by encouraging and supporting each other, promoting each others’ books and doing all we can to get the message of Christ’s love into the world. We are a team. 

 Let our uniqueness and gifts shine through 

“However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ. He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” (Eph. 4:7,11) 

 As much as we are a team, we are also wonderfully unique. We have our own voice, own stories and message, own audience and own spiritual gifts. If our gift is teaching, this will be reflected in our posts and blogs. If it is evangelism or encouragement, that will be the thrust of our messages. Our platforms are not an end in itself, they are an extension of the unique ministry God has for each of us.

 

Be authentic and vulnerable 

 “So put away all falsehood and tell your neighbour the truth because we belong to each other.” (Eph. 4:25) 

In our scramble for attention, it can be easy to project something other than the truth, but God calls us to be honest and authentic in our engagement with people. That is the vulnerable place where the real connection happens between us and our followers/readers, and where our words have the greatest impact. 

Ephesians 4:29 tells us that our words should be an encouragement to those who hear them. I love this verse in The Message, which says our words should be gifts to the world. What an honour that God has given us words to write and speak and share. We need the courage to do this not only in ways comfortable to us, but also in ways that challenge us. Platform building is not about us garnering readers and acclaim. It is about being true to God’s calling to bring words of truth, hope and salvation to the world. 

 (Verses from The New Living Translation) 

 Connect with Joan on her Website, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter (she says she’s still working on her attitude towards tweets). 

 *** 

 Joan’s Books 

Chains of Gwyndorr is the first book of The Poison Tree Path Chronicles and published by Enclave Publishing. Joan started writing this book after she read The Chronicles of Narnia to her two young daughters and realised the powerful way in which a story can convey redemption. 
Buy it on Amazon

Legends of the Loreteller, the trilogy’s companion book, is a collection of short stories set in Tirragyl, the fantasy world of the The Poison Tree Path Chronicles. 
Available as a FREE DOWNLOAD on Joan’s website 

Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus brings readers face to face with Jesus, through stories from the gospels told in the voice of those Jesus encountered. The book is enhanced with reflections, prayers and art work.

Buy it on Amazon.

* * * * * 

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-five years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. 

Find Ronie online:
     Website: www.roniekendig.com
     Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction)
     Twitter (@roniekendig)
     Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/RonieK)
     Instagram (@kendigronie)
     Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/roniek/)

What Love Requires, Y’all

By Michael Ehret

(Scene: Country radio studio where the host, Jimmy Guffey, is about to talk with New Yorker Patricia Talbot, sweetheart of bullriding star Talon Carlson, the hometown boy. Guffey has heard that Talbot has talked Carlson into giving up bullriding and, as a longtime fan, he wants to know why. See the contest offered after the post!)

Jimmy: This is Jimmy Guffey on KPLR, Praise the Lord for the Rodeo Radio, 104.3, on your FM dial. Today, on “Bustin’ Broncs for the Kingdom,” we’re talkin’ to Patricia Talbert, a New York hoity-toity social coordinator who’s fallen hard for our #1 rodeo hero, Talon Carlson, from right here in Stephenville, Texas.

Jimmy says this is a photo of Talon as a
young cowboy.
There’s no proof of that claim.

Talon, as y’all know, loves nothing more than bullridin’ and the rodeo, save perhaps The Man Upstairs, so when this longtime fan of his heard he was givin’ up bullridin’, well, I just knew there had to be more to this story and, as one of Talon’s biggest fans, I’m itchin’ to find out the truth.

So, Patty, what’s the scoop? Fill us in, if you can. I understand a gal name of Linda Yezak—she ain’t country, now, is she? Not with a name like Yezak. Anyway, I understand this Linda has told your and Talon’s story. So tell us what you told her. How’d you convince our Talon to leave the circuit?

Patricia: Well now Jimmy, Linda may not have been raised in the country, but she’s always been country at heart. Her husband, on the other hand, was raised on a farm in central Texas. You want country? His family didn’t have electricity until he was six. Now that’s country!

You really want to know how I made Talon promise not to ride? Well, I decided to show him what it’s like to watch someone he loved get thrown. I rode Mostro—the wildest steer on the Circle Bar Ranch.

Talon taught me how to ride bulls. Even though they were fairly tame, he made me ride them without a flank strap, which, as you know Jimmy, tends to make the ride more dangerous. I wanted the strap when I rode Mostro, but I didn’t know what I was in for. It made him so mean and wild, he threw me into the next pen.

After watching me get tossed, Talon didn’t think twice about making the promise. Of course, it helped that he was recovering from a concussion and a broken arm he’d received when Burnt Biscuit threw him into the ER not days before. Linda told about that event in Give the Lady a Ride.

Jimmy, there’s a Bible verse comes to mind. It’s 1 Corinthians 13:7 about all the things love does—and not all of them are easy! In fact, they can all be difficult when you think about it. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I’ve been reading up on that lately, and when I think about it in connection to Talon and me, it gives me pause.

Jimmy: I’m glad you brought that up. As I understand it, you’re learning to put boots on that verse and walk it around the ranch, so to speak. Tell us about that. For instance, “Love bears all things.” What kinds of things are you willing to bear for love?

Patricia: I know what I can’t bear—to see Talon hurt again. But it seems Aunt Adele is pushing him to get back on a bull, just so she can see him ride. She’s my aunt and I love her, but Talon and I both have to bear with her attempts to take me back to Manhattan.

The verse says, “Love bears all things.” Love isn’t restricted to any particular type. It can be the kind of love Talon and I share, or the kind I feel for the ranch, my friends, and my family—even Aunt Adele. Right now, bearing with her is stretching my patience!

Jimmy: The next part of that there verse says that “love believes all things.” I dare say that could cause some problems. Let’s just say Talon has been known to stretch a truth a time or two—he ain’t perfect. So Patty, er, Patricia, beg yer pardon, why do you think you can believe him when he says he’s never going to ride another bull?

Patricia: Ha! You know him well. His practical jokes and tall tales are legendary. I still remember the one he pulled on me when we checked for estrus cows. Almost had me convinced that the only way to know they were in heat was to approach them with a thermometer . . . well, that’s another story.

For all his pranks, though, I believe in him. He’s not at all like the men I knew in New York—or DC either, for that matter. We’ve been together about a year now, and everything I see of him smacks of integrity. He’s the preacher at our Cowboy Church, and he’s highly respected around here. Not to mention how patient he has been with Aunt Adele. That alone just amazes me. I can’t imagine him breaking a promise to me or anyone else.

Besides, he had to do all his ranch work one-handed while he waited for his arm to heal. I’m certain he wouldn’t want to risk that again.

Jimmy: Hope is what keeps many a cowboy in the game, as you know. Hope that next time he’ll make the eight or win that buckle. “Love hopes all things.” What does that mean to your life?

Patricia: My hopes are centered around making a life here at the ranch. It’s totally different from New York, but I believe God wants me here. Aunt Adele thinks she can lure me back, but I love it here too much, love the people too much. I love Talon, and he belongs here, which means I do too.

I have hope that God will convince Adele—and my mother, who no doubt put her up to making my life crazy—that I am where I belong and with whom I belong.

But I also hope that the scars from my past will heal, and that this time, with this man, things will be different.

With God, all things are possible, and He is the source of my hope now.

Jimmy: Now I know you don’t want to give away too much, Patricia, and ruin things for Linda and her readers, but endurance—that there’s another great cowboy trait. I’ve seen Talon endure some pretty tough times, on the bull and off. But what does that mean to you? What are you willing to endure for your own sake? For Talon’s sake? For the Lord’s sake?

Patricia: That’s a great question, Jimmy. Honestly, at this moment, I don’t know for certain what God has in store for me here. So far, all I’ve had to endure is the insufferable Texas heat—and Consuela’s cooking lessons and a lot of ribbing from the men for being such a greenhorn.

But since I returned to my Savior last year, I’ve spent every day studying His word, learning who He is, and lamenting what I’ve missed all these years separated from Him. Whatever He sends my way, whatever I’ll have to endure in the future, I know it will be much easier than what I’ve endured in the past. Because this time, I’ll have Him to guide me through it.

Jimmy: Well, that’s about it for us folks here KPLR, Praise the Lord for the Rodeo Radio. Today we’ve been talking with Ms. Patricia Talbert about love and what it does—and what it requires. Look for the complete story of Patricia and Talon in the books by Miz Yezak, Give The Lady a Ride and the just released The Final Ride, available now in fine stories everywhere and online.

Y’all enter this contest!

Before you go folks, I am feeling led to announce a contest! That’s right, a chance for y’all to win both of these fine books by that Yezak filly.

No, I ain’t gonna make it easy on ya’—what’s the fun of that? But just answer this question below and you’re entered!  

Question: When have you had to put 1 Corinthians 13:7 into action in your life? Creativity and giggles count, so give it your best shot.

Here’s the skinny on that Yezak woman:

More than 25 years ago, after a decade of life as a “single-again,” author Linda W. Yezak rediscovered God’s love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God’s gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda’s novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

Connect with her at: Facebook Fan Page, Pinterest, Amazon Page, Goodreads, Newsletter, at 777 Peppermint Place, and on Twitter at @LindaYezak. 

____________________________________


Michael Ehret has accepted God’s invitation and is a freelance editor at WritingOnTheFineLine.com. In addition, he’s worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal at American Christian
Fiction Writers. He pays the bills as a
marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for
The Indianapolis
News and The Indianapolis Star.

Out of Order

by Marcia Lee Laycock

I’m what they call a “seat of the pants” writer.
That means I don’t sit down and concoct a lengthy outline and figure out my
story from beginning to end. I just dive in and write, figuring it out as I go.
I find this style invigorating. I never know what might happen in the next
paragraph.
The story usually comes to me in scenes – I’ll be
happily spinning my tale when, pop, here comes another scene that might not
necessarily be next in the plot. I stop and put these “out of the blue” scenes
into a separate file and add them in later. That works. Most of the time. But
there is a down side to writing this way. Sometimes things get mixed up.
Sometimes things are out of order. And sometimes I end up in an editing
nightmare.
Like the other day, when I was working on the second
book of my fantasy series and had the nagging feeling that something was out of
order. So I painstakingly did a chapter by chapter outline and found a couple
of things that had to be moved. A character can’t suddenly be talking to
someone she meets two chapters later. The villain can’t put his schemes into
action until he’s given the information he needs in order to carry them out. Those
kinds of mistakes are a little annoying to our readers! That’s why a structural
edit is crucial for writers like me. And that pertains not just to my work, but
to my life.
Sometimes our lives can be out of order. We start
the day in a rush and forget to even breathe a “good morning, Lord,” before
diving into our schedule. We’re half way through the day before we realize
something isn’t right. Maybe we’re a bit snappy with colleagues or our family
members. Maybe we just feel a little ‘off.’ And then there are those days when
things just go all wrong, things happen that don’t make any sense at all and often
they are difficult or even painful.
That’s when it’s time to do a structural edit of our
lives and put things in the right order; that’s when we need to “be still and
know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). And that’s when we can take great comfort in
knowing that there is a Sovereign over it all, an Author, who knows the
beginning and the end, and every single detail of the plot of our lives. He has
made sure that all is in order, even when it seems in chaos.
Hebrews 12:2,
says – “I desire to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat
down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
That’s the right
order – scene number one – focus on Jesus.
****
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife, mother of three adult daughters and
care-giver to two golden retreivers. She was the winner of The Best New
Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. Her second
novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary fiction
category of The Word Awards. Marcia also has two devotional books in print as
well as two ebooks. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke,
Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers is available on Amazon.