The Call (Part I) by Christina Rich

I’m so excited about July’s topic that I’m starting a few days early. We’re going to talking about publishing. Big publishers, small publishers, vanity publishers, self-publishing, indie publishing, and I’m sure there will be several more thrown into the mix.

But first, let’s get some June business out of the way. It seems we have a winner. Drumroll please…………

This month’s winner of the $10.00 Amazon gift card is Karen! Congratulations, Karen, please contact me at christinainspirationals at gmail dot com with your email so I can get that to you.

Now, on to one of my favorite subjects: Publishing. And what better way to start July’s topic off than with a call story. Mine. 😉 I hope, no I pray, that if you’re on this publishing journey and frustrated by the closed doors and the slowness, that you’ll be encouraged by my story. I pray you’ll be able to find confidence in God’s timing and step from behind the mask.

shutterstock_80602333I’ve been writing forever. I can remember way back when thinking how cool it would be to write a book but I didn’t have a college education. I was a stay at home mom. I didn’t know much about anything, and according to those who did have a college education a person could only write about what they knew. I was kind of devastated. I put the dream away and continued being a housewife and a mom.

It wasn’t until 2005/2006 that I came across a writing contest through Avon. I entered, had a lot of fun, and met a bunch of other writers, writers who took the contest opportunity seriously. It was then I figured out I didn’t have to have a college education. It was then I started actively pursuing publication. In the grand scheme of things, seven years really doesn’t seem that long, especially knowing there are writers who’ve been writing for twenty plus years and still trying to make it in this business. However, when you’re writing and submitting and writing and submitting and spinning your wheels the years can get tiring.

In the spring of 2011, I was getting discouraged. Not from rejections, because I really hadn’t had that many, but I had attended a conference aptly called ‘Called to Write’. One of the speakers went into whether or not we were called and I began questioning whether writing was my desire or God’s calling on my life.

After I returned home from that conference I went for a walk, and I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Once I shut my trap, Psalm 37:4 came to mind. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. I glanced up at the blue sky and said, “Lord, if I take delight in you, then won’t you be the desire of my heart.”

A sense of peace washed over me, but I didn’t have my answer as to whether or not writing was in God’s plan for me.

Fast forward to the fall of 2012, after months of writing, revising and submitting new works, I found myself sitting in our upholstery shop sewing. Now, anyone who knows me knows I don’t really like to sew, much to my seamstress mother’s displeasure. I knew in a few months I’d be helping my BFF by subbing her daycare so she could fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse, and here I was helping hubs fulfill his dream of owning his own business. Realization hit me and I started to cry. I was sad. It seemed God had finally answered my question and I had to be okay with it. I wasn’t called to write, I was called to help others fulfill their dreams.

But I couldn’t not write. I’ve heard people say writing is what I do, but I knew that wasn’t true for me. Sewing was something I did, but writing was a part of me. It’s who God created me to be. I knew this now. Funny how it seemed once I acknowledged that I would give up writing if that is what God asked me to I began to feel as if God had called me to write. So, I continued writing, even though I was finally beginning to get a few rejections. I say finally, because I’d much rather have a rejection than nothing.

I entered one last contest with two different manuscripts. One, I wanted the feedback. Two, I felt as if both manuscripts were as ready as they were going to get. Besides, wouldn’t it be cool if I double finaled before I sold?

Well, the day for the finalist announcement came and went. I stalked the website like nobody’s business. Nothing. No announcement, no nothing. That’s okay, even though I was disappointed and a little discouraged, I didn’t need a final. I would just take the feedback, revamp and prepare for the big writing contests for unpublished writers: Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis. But for now I’d try my hardest to keep my head up, after all I now KNEW God had called me to write and I needed to trust Him and His timing.

Then I read a post on Seekerville by Myra Johnson. “That is SO Five Years Ago!” Something she said in her post really resonated with me. “I was at the end of my writing rope and ready to give up hope of ever becoming a published novelist.”

Amen, Sister. I am so with you there. *wipe tears from my eyes*

I was still reeling from the fact that God hadn’t opened the doors for me to attend ACFW Conference. I mean, I was more ready now than I had ever been. Two complete manuscripts, desire, passion, determination, that sixth sense that said I had to go to Texas to sell a book. I had it all, well, except confidence and the finances.

That’s okay though, at least it was on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I trusted God’s timing. The rest of the days, not so much. God and I had many a conversation as to whether or not I was bipolar or having a mid-life crisis. But in the quiet of the night, while I counted sheep and said my night time prayers, He’d say, “Trust me.”

I finally hitched up my big girl panties and trudged back into the murky waters of limbo. I had no idea where to go or what to do. After a few more tears and a bit of foot stomping, and some great advice from one of the most awesomest people I’ve ever come across, Tina Radcliffe, I decided to take a break from the historicals and give Love Inspired Suspense’s Fast Track a go.

Come back Tuesday for the rest of the story.

*portions of this call story was originally posted at Seekerville on November 6, 2012
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Linda Rondeau

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Today we welcome Linda Rondeau, author and Selah award winner, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

(1) Do you watch reality television? Why or why not?

Linda: I like a few reality shows.

Lately, we have abandoned most of them. When the Golf Channel first came out with Big Break, the show focused on the contestants, their hopes and dreams, obstacles, families, and how they got to this point. Then the producers pushed the sidebars of bad attitudes and behaviors. We still watch Amazing Race, although, the last couple of seasons have started going the way of the other reality shows. Less about the contestants and more about the underhanded antics and lack of respect. But there are still enough golden moments to keep us watching, like the brothers who gave up part of their winnings to help out another contestant’s family.

(2) What are your thoughts on e-publishing?

Linda:I resisted ebooks for a long time. Now that I own a Kindle, I’m not as biased. I enjoy the benefits of storage and being able to carry my library in a little electronic tool. But I still enjoy the smell of a book. I think e-publishing is not only here to stay but will become more and more prevalent, out selling paperbacks eventually as we look at the environmental benefits.

(3) Which do you prefer? Facebook or Twitter?

Linda: I definitely prefer Facebook over twitter. It easier to follow, and the posts are generally more interesting. I have a twitter page, and I think it has helped me to write tight and brief. I send out a few tweets every day. My following is growing. I see fewer and fewer younger people on Facebook these days. So don’t know if its day has come and gone. Can’t say I blame them. What kid wants to hang out on the Internet with his parents? That’s probably why there are new social media sites popping up all the time. From a marketing standpoint, it’s impossible to keep up with all of them. So I generally spend the most time on those sites that are the most popular with my readers.book

Thanks for hosting me and giving me a chance to share my two cents and then some.

Thank you, Linda, for joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! Make sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for any one of her books.

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Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own.

After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.

These books are also available in ebook format along with her other ebooks by Helping Hands Press: I Prayed for Patience/God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses. Songs in the Valley is scheduled for release this fall by Helping Hands Press.

Readers may visit her web site at http://www.lindarondeau.com or email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I am in the process of developing a multi-author devotional blog which will go live July 1 (Working title is Full-Flavored Living…based on John 10:10b).  Here is the temporary link http://fullflavoredliving.blogspot.com/

If anyone is interested in being a contributor they can email me and I will send them guidelines. At this writing I have nearly sixty authors.

A Plethora of Soccer Facts

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Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.

Soccer? I cringed as I considered June’s subject on Writing Prompts, Thoughts, & Ideas…Oh My! I’d never played soccer, and never attended a school that had any kind of soccer team. A quick Google search of those three schools confirmed my suspicions that they still have no soccer. So how can I write about a sport I don’t understand?

The internet.

If it’s on the internet it has to be true, right? Well, as most writers know, you better get many sources to confirm the data you collect on any website. So for my post this month, I am going to share a plethora of interesting facts about soccer.

Did you know…
**The World Cup is the biggest soccer tournament in the world and is held every four years.
**Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. [Not in Alabama]
**Most countries call soccer, football.
**Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is the only person to have won the World Cup three times as a player.
**The 1989 Hillsborough disaster was the worst stadium-related disaster in British history and one of the world’s worst football disasters. 96 people died, and 766 were injured in a crush to get in to see the game. 
**A four-day war was fought between Hondurus and El Salvador in 1969 after inflamed rioting during World Cup qualifying. It was known as the Football War. 
**Soccer became an Olympic sport in 1908.
**The first live coverage of a soccer match shown on television, was in the year 1937. It was a practice match of Arsenal and was played at Highbury stadium.
**The first set of rules for soccer were made by the London Football Association in 1863.Football_(soccer_ball)_svg

So there you have it. I learned a little bit about soccer, beside what I’ve learned from my fellow blogger’s posts. Time to go outside and practice my bicycle kick…

Today’s writing prompt: Eduardo rubbed his shin as he pushed himself from the ground. Santos would pay for making that goal…

Fay Lamb

charisseToday we welcome Fay Lamb, author and acquisitions editor , to 3 Questions Wednesday.

(1) Do you watch reality television? Why or why not?

Fay: I do not watch reality television. Nothing about it appeals to me. For me personally, I have several reasons. For shows like The Bachelor and The Amazing Race, I feel that they show people at their most depraved. They fight, gossip, and seek to destroy the opportunities of one another just so they can win something that will never last.

As for shows like American Idol, I have never liked to see anyone humiliated. American Idol producers and staff set people up and destroy their spirit. I think of a writer who believe he has the world’s greatest novel in his hand. No one has told him the elements of storytelling. His friends and his family, not wanting to hurt his feelings have led him to believe it is the greatest story in the world, and he believes them. What they as people who love him is that he writes like a five-year-old, and his story makes no sense to them at all. Armed with their albeit good intentions and invalid assessments, he attends a writers’ conference and approaches a well-known agent with his prize in his hands. The agent takes one look at it, and tosses it back at him. “This is no good, son. You shouldn’t be a writer at all.” [And this has happened.] The man’s heart is crushed. I have never liked to see anyone have their life decimated by someone else’s words or actions. Just because it happens on a television screen, doesn’t make it any less horrendous for me.

And let’s not get started on any of the “housewife” series. Those women live messed up lives. They seek joy in wealth, status, and sexuality. They seek beauty from plastic surgery. Nothing about them is real except their sin. What they need is Christ. Only then can they be happy. I’m not sure if you can tell, but I think strongly about this issue.

(2) What are your thoughts on e-publishing?

Fay:Since I’m not sure if you’re asking about self-publishing in eBook format or in having your book placed in eBook format by a traditional publisher, I’ll address both issues.

I believe that a writer who self-publishes an eBook should only do so after very sound edits and beta reading by professional writers. I say professional writers because readers don’t know the rules and elements that make a great story. Professional writers know this, and they can best help a writer produce a book they can be proud of for years to come.

Another issue to look at is the cost to the writer. This isn’t necessarily in monetary value, but that should definitely be a concern. How much money am I putting into this project, including formatting fees, marketing fees, etc., and can I reasonably hope to make my money back from this venture?

There is another cost to a self-published author that many may not realize. Before taking the plunge, make sure the story you publish isn’t going to be one that you may decide would be better traditionally published. Why? Because unless your work sells at a very high volume, a traditional publisher isn’t likely to take it. The reason is very simplistic: what publisher wants to vie against its author for sales. Books that are created on Amazon never truly go away. With regard to eBook publishing within a traditional market, my opinion has always been that it’s what the author desires. eBook sales are not miniscule. Smaller works are best suited for eBook format, and we can no longer argue with the statistics on sales. Now, if you want your novel in print, you might want to hold out for a print publisher who also does eBook, and I do believe that eBooks should always coincide with print when the publisher is a traditional print publisher.

(3) Which do you prefer? Facebook or Twitter?

Fay: I like both for two very separate reasons. Facebook is my playground. I love to attempt to make people laugh at the daily trials in which I find my myself. Laughter helps me deal with frustration, tiredness, pain, even the solitude of writing. I communicate with anyone who happens to comment back, and I enjoy the friendships I have established there. I do post some “marketing” information at times, and I love to announce book releases, contracts, and other good news that my friends have shared, but mainly I’m on my personal Facebook page to have fun.

I do have a fan page on Facebook for fans of my writing, but for me—any fan of my writing is a friend to me. So until FB makes me move some of my friends to my fan page, I will resist, and I won’t be moving my already-made friends. Personally, I do not like it when authors take it upon themselves to tell someone who was on their personal page that they are moving them to a fan page. To me, it screams, “I only friended you because I wanted to you see my promotions. I had no real interest in getting to know you.” I’d rather think if they have family they want to keep separate, that they would send them to a new page, but that’s just my opinion.

My other Facebook page is The Tactical Editor. There, I do what I feel I have been called to do: teach and share about self-editing. I post during the week little tidbits of information about writing. On Tuesdays, I post to direct them to the Pelican Book Group Staff Blog where I post Tactical Tuesdays: Advice for Self-Editing.

Twitter on the other hand is my avenue of promo. I try not to dump a lot on my followers. That can get tiresome after a while, so I tend to promote each upcoming release with one post a day. I also share the writing quotes that I have collected over the last few years, and I retweet things from fellow authors and from actor friends and even family to help them promote. I am becoming more comfortable on Twitter, and I do carry on conversations there from time to time, but it isn’t as natural for me to do so as it is on Facebook.

Thank you, Fay, for joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! Make sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for an e-book copy of her latest novel, Stalking Willow.fay

Fay Lamb is an acquisition editor for Pelican Book Group. She also provides freelance fiction edits.

Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has recently contracted with Write Integrity Press for two four-book series. Stalking Willow, the first in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series and Charisse, the first release in her Ties That Bind contemporary romance series are both available for purchase.

Fay is a past-secretary for American Christian Fiction Writers. She served for four years as the moderator for ACFW’s critique group, Scribes. For her volunteer efforts for ACFW, she received the Service Members Award in 2010. She was also a semi-finalist that year in the ACFW Genesis Contest.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

https://www.amazon.com/author/faylamb

Fay Lamb – www.faylamb.com