September Winners

October already? Where did September go? And why am I so late announcing our latest winners? Well, that’s a story in itself.  No time for that but we do have a few winners to discuss.

Are you on our list?

Lindsey P. Brackett’s book, Still Waters, has been won by Jacqueline Kimball. Congrats!

LelandandBecky have been picked to win a copy of Lynn U. Watson’s book, The Essence of Courage. Congratulations!

Brenda S. Anderson’s latest book, Planting Hope, goes to donnabrookmyer !

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment.

And keep watching.  We’ll be posting details of our next contest soon…

 

A Lot Can Happen in 10 Years!

by Harriet E. Michael

When I thought about this topic, so many things came to my mind. So much has happened in the last 10 years, nationally, internationally, with friends, with my family, and with me. It was hard to decide what to write about. I chose the single biggest change in my personal life that has occurred in the last 10 years.

10 years ago, I was not a published writer!

typewriter

Writing is a new work God is doing in my old age. It’s a huge blessing to me and I can only hope it blesses others too. I thank Him daily for opening these doors, even though as is often the case, it was born out of adversity—from a difficult and even dark time in my life that started in the summer of 2003.

By 2009, I had an unpublished manuscript written on the topic of prayer. This is what later became my book, “Prayer: It’s Not About You” which started out four years earlier as a journaling exercise as I sought to learn more about prayer. Interested in writing, I attended the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference, hoping to learn how to get a manuscript published. I came home thinking that goal was not achievable, unless I self-published but I had learned three things: 1) I knew very little about the publishing world, even after the conference, 2) I have editing issues. 3) I didn’t have a platform.

I now know that a writer can pay an editor, and hire out other parts of the publishing process and turn out a good independently-published book. But at the time, getting a book out seemed impossible.

itsawriterthing.tumbler

Writing still intrigued me. Actually, it did more than that; it pulled like a magnet. I had words I wanted to share and had spent the previous four years honing my ability to put them down on paper. (Learning to write on a computer came later. My 60,000+ word manuscript and my first few articles and devotions were all hand-written and transcribed onto a computer.)

The wheels started turning in my head. If I could start getting small pieces published, then I would be scratching that writing itch while building an income and a platform. So, I sat at my kitchen table one day, shortly after returning from the writer’s conference, sharing my thoughts with my daughter. I sheepishly told her about the great workshop on how to freelance small pieces and confessed my desire to try my hand at it. But who did I think I was fooling? I was not a writer.

My daughter looked up from her orange juice and said profound words that jump-started my writing career. She said, “You know mom, the average American reader only reads at a sixth-grade level.”

I burst out laughing and replied, “I can write at that level!”

And I sat down immediately and began transcribing a devotion I had handwritten in my journal onto my computer to send to The Upper Room. That devotion, titled, “The Day of Small Things” based on the question posed in Zechariah 4:10, “For who has despised the day of small things?” became the first piece I ever submitted. It was not the first piece I ever had published, because it takes a very long time from submission to publication with some devotional magazines. It was published a year and a half later in the February 2011.

Today I have somewhere around 200 small pieces published in magazines, devotionals, anthologies (more if you count each individual devotion separately). The places I have been published as a freelance writer include: Chicken Soup for the Soul, several Lifeway magazines and their devotional, Open Windows, several David C. Cook and Standard Publishing magazines, The War Cry, Upper Room, The Secret Place (just to name a few).

Now I also have three books published, both independently and traditionally, two more under contract to be released this winter and next summer, and others at different stages of publication.

And, to think that 10 years ago, I was not a writer. Today, I cannot imagine not writing! I think I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

freedom

(Click to Tweet) I think I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. #amwriting #freelance

Writing Prompt: Ben highlighted, then deleted every word of the story he’d spent two hours creating. Now what?

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Blast From the Past

It has been called the last great decade. I don’t know about that. But for me, it was one exciting ride! During those ten years, I had two babies.

My son made quite an impression. He was the biggest baby in the nursery weighing 9 lbs., 6 ozs.

Not one to be left out, my daughter weighed 9 lbs. and was the only girl in a nursery full of boys.

Blast from the Past house moved

While our family grew, we moved our house to its current position and remodeled it. Later on, this former drop-out became a life-long student and chose to homeschool her children.

No question about it. The 90s were unforgettable—the good and the bad. Do you remember…

News

First Gulf War-Operation Desert Storm
Mandela freed from prison, won the Nobel Peace Prize, became President of South Africa
Presidential candidate William Jefferson Clinton (D) became the 42nd President of the United States of America
Genocide in Rwanda
O. J. Simpson Trial
Oklahoma City Bombing
The Una Bomber
The Clinton Scandal

Television

Friends (Remember the raves over Rachel’s hair?)
Seinfeld
Home Improvement
Full House
Family Matters
Saved by the Bell
Dawson Creek
X Files
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Law and Order

Movies

Titanic
The Silence of the Lambs
Forrest Gump
The Matrix
The Lion King
Saving Private Ryan
Jurassic Park
Home Alone
Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace
Men in Black
Beauty and the Beast

Books

Notice a lot of these books became movies. Do you have a favorite on the list?

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Golden Compass
Harry Potter
Outlander
Ella Enchanted
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
The Notebook
The Firm
A Walk to Remember
The Pelican Brief

Sports

Tiger Woods (21) youngest golfer to win the Masters
Tara Lipinski (14) youngest figure skating champion
LeAnn Rimes (14) youngest Grammy winner.

Toys

According to Stitchlabs.com the top selling toys of the 90s include the following:

Ninja Turtles
Power Ranger action figures
Razor scooter
Furbabies
Beanie Babies
Buzz Lightyear
Tickle Me Elmo

Prices

Fun facts from 90s.com

Postage stamp: .25–.32
Bread: 1.29–1.62
Milk: 2.15–2.41
Gas: 1.08–1.11
Cars: 9,437.00–13,600.00
Houses: 128,732.00–119,250.00 (No, I didn’t write the number backward. Houses were less expensive at the end of the decade. WOW!)

Now you know my story, how about sharing your own blast from the past in the comments!

Click to Tweet: It’s been called the last great decade – A Blast from the Past.

Writing Prompt:

From the headlines above, choose one incident and write a scene. Where is the setting and what is your character doing? Try to incorporate all five senses to help your reader visualize the scene.

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Twenty Years of Grandma Status

by Betty Thomason Owens

Bill Clinton was the POTUS in 1997.

In China, they slaughtered 1.25 million chickens due to the bird flu. Tony Blair was Prime Minister in the UK, and Princess Diana was killed in a car crash.

For me, the fall of 1997 launched a new era, as I became a grandmother for the first time. My granddaughter was two when she called me grandma, and I thought that was truly the most beautiful title in the world.

The next two decades would bring five more granddaughters and two grandsons into the family. The first time they call me grandma still warms my heart.

Another life-changing event happened in the last twenty years. I began my publishing journey. I never set out to write books. If someone had told me I’d one day be an author, I would’ve laughed. Uproariously.

If the publishing industry had remained as it was two or three decades back, I may not be a published author today. I started out as an Indie writer.

Kindle and the entire e-book industry changed the publishing world—turned it upside down. Publishing exploded, as it became more accessible to the average, or not-so-average writer. It became a race. Some authors tried to write really fast to keep up with their readers’ demands. The more they wrote, the more they sold. Write fast. Sell ‘em while they’re hot.

But not everyone. Those were mostly romance writers. I started out writing inspirational fantasy adventure. They sold, but not like romance. Romance sells like IHOP pancakes. Stacks and stacks. All you can eat. Really good romance, mixed with suspense, will fly off the e-shelves.

Well, I’ve swerved off the twenty-year topic here. You can see what an intriguing subject Indie publishing is.

So, back to me, and my journey. After publishing those two fantasy books, my historical fiction novel was picked up by a small publisher. Then I sold another historical fiction to the same publisher, so I now have two series going on. Currently, I’m finishing up the first series, book number seven for me. I have almost as many books as grandchildren.

The name “author” feels pretty good. “Published author” sounds even better, and “award-winning author” (thank you, Grace Awards), is the thrill of a lifetime. But I think the name Grandma is still my personal favorite. Listing published book titles is fun, and claiming an award is a great honor, but naming all my grands and trying to remember their ages is the most fun of all. And perhaps the greatest challenge.

CLICK TO TWEET: Grandma and published #author: both are titles I’ve earned in the last #20years.

Writing Prompt: Take a look at the picture below. What comes to mind? Does it inspire you? Write a caption, or start a story, using this photo as inspiration.

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What Has Happened Within the Last Twenty Years?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Twenty years. A long time?

It depends how you look at it. To a ten-year-old, it’s forever. To a mother with four  children, it flies by. Think perspective. In today’s world, a LOT has occurred within a twenty-year span.

So much that it boggles the mind. We, here at the blog, are going to discuss the subject in depth. Some will look at inventions or products that have changed our lives. Others will talk about the path their own journey has taken them. Either way, we’ll get some interesting posts we’re sure you’ll enjoy.

Two things came to my mind when we decided on October’s topic. The search engine, Google, and cell phones. Here’s my take on them.

Google. The Google story begins in 1995 at Stanford University, the brainchild of research students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The project was incorporated in 1998 and now has 60,000 employees in 50 different countries.

The positive? Google has made information universally available. If I wonder how many calories are in the sandwich I’m eating, I Google it. Need to find a new nail salon? Google can point the way. Lost in Dallas? Google Maps can direct you to where you need to go.

The negative? Too much information can be crippling. News is instantly available, especially bad news. Tragedy. Devastation. Catastrophe. Complete with photos. And some information doesn’t need to be easily accessed. Want to stalk someone, build a bomb, or disable a motor in someone’s car? You can also Google it. In years to come, we’ll see if the good outweighs the bad with all search engines.

Cell phones. Could we live life today without them? I guess we’ll never know since people from five to ninety-five years old have them. The Motorola StarTAC was billed as a personal cellular phone and put phones in the hands of ordinary people. If you could afford the $1000 price tag, that is. A flip phone,  the StarTAC was one of the first cell phones with vibrate alert and featured a flashing green indicator to show if you had network connection. Later models featured texting.

The positive? Cell phones can go anywhere you can manage a signal, from mountain tops to beach-side to jungles. They are less expensive, depending on what kind you buy, and can act as a mini-computer.

The negative? With cell phones came distracted driving, especially when texting became so easy to do. Medical Daily gives five reasons why cell phones can be harmful.

  • Negatively affects emotions.
  • Increases stress levels.
  • Increases risk of illnesses.
  • Increases chronic pain.
  • Increases risk of vision problems.

As with most things, moderation and wisdom are the key. Use Google and cell phones with this in mind, and they can make life more enjoyable.


Check out our Monday and Friday posts throughout October for more about our last twenty years.

Click to tweet: What has happened within the last twenty years? A lot. #technology #Google http://wp.me/p2YFil-3bD

Writing Prompt: Jill grabbed her cell phone and began to Google the recipe before she…

And stay tuned. In November, we’ll share information about our big Once Upon a Christmas giveaway. You won’t want to miss your chance to win…

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