A Peek to Pique Your Interest

Spring is always a hectic time in the Anderson household. The weather can’t make up it’s mind whether it wants to stick with winter or if it will usher in summer. We’re hoping it doesn’t get too hot too quick as our house in desperate want of a paint job, and our driveway is begging for a new coat.

Then, it’s the end of the school year which is always busy. We pick up Son #2 from college on May 12th. He begins his new job the following week. Son #1 will be graduating with his AA Degree (in Creative Writing – he’s an amazing poet, if I do say so myself!) on Friday the 13th of May, then he gets to dorm it at Valleyfair (Minnesota’s Amusement Park) while working there all summer before we drive him to his new school in Tampa, Florida in August. As we pass through Nashville, I’ll be waving at all the ACFW Conference attendees. Maybe we’ll stop in…? Anyone else going this year?

In between school year endings, and graduations, and school beginnings, I’ll be writing and editing furiously as my book release schedule was recently moved up by four months. Risking Love (a Where the Heart Is romance), which was a Genesis finalist in 2012, will be coming out the first part of October! I’ve seen the cover, and I’m in love! My designer keeps putting out works of art. You want to see it, you say? Well, how about a sneak peek?

Sneak Peek

What do you think? I know, you want more right? Well, that’s going to have to wait a few months, unfortunately, as it doesn’t go up for pre-order until the first part of July. Sorry about that! Book 2, Capturing Beauty, is schedule for a February 2017 release, then the final book in the series, Planting Hope, will come out in May of 2017 (assuming I finish writing it!)

I’ll get to work on Planting Hope as soon as I finish novella #1 in my Coming Home series, Becoming Lauren. Readers wanted to know more about secondary characters, so I’m penning four or more novellas especially for readers.

So that’s my life. Kids. College. Graduation. Writing. Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Writing Time

This past month has been filled with writing events and time spent with fellow authors.  April 8th I spent time with memoir writer Gail Kittleson in Boone, Iowa for our first ever ACFW Iowa writer’s meeting. It was a small group, but it was powerful in topics and discussion. Gail even put together a wonderful activity that spurred each of us on in our creativity for our stories.

 

Gail has a new story out titled In Times Like These (see the above photo). I’m reading it now and loving it! Get your copy from Amazon here.

Dawn and Mary at Pitchapalooza
Dawn and Mary at Pitchapalooza

On April 15th I went to the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Pitchapalooza conference in Omaha, Nebraska. There I learned how to more effectively pitch to editors and agents. Chip MacGregor, from MacGregor Literary Agency came to speak to the attendees. He and Linda Camancho from Prospect Agency took appointments to listen to and critique the pitches from the conference-goers. If you get a chance to go to a Pitchapalooza, I highly recommend it to polish up your content and presentation.

 

Earlier last week I had a chance to spend time with fellow authors Mary Connealy, Erica Vetsch, Lorna Seilstad, and Bonnie Lacy at a writing retreat. With no internet, I was able to get the majority of one of my manuscripts revised for a different ending than first envisioned. Not too bad for a couple day retreat.

 

Dawn and Stephanie Ludwig at WordsowersAt the end of last week I attended the Wordsowers Conference in Bellevue, Nebraska at our own Stephanie Ludwig’s church. Wordsowers did an amazing job of getting qualified presenters for several different topics to help the Christian authors in their writing craft. I laughed along with Sherri Shackelford in adding humor to your writing, learned how to make my writing more active with Cheryl St. John, and had Jennifer Slattery bring fullness to my story arc. All in all it was a terrific conference! The best part, however, was spending time with all of my author friends, including our former Inksper Rose Zediker.

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Rose at Wordsowers

Now, all I have to do is apply what I’ve taken in the past month to ensure a novel you won’t want to put down.

 

Splickety LogoShamelss plug: for those of you who want to break into writing, or love to read/write flash fiction, there is still four days to enter Splickety Publishing Group’s Havok contest, Heroes vs. Villains. See the information on that contest here. Splickety editors do a great job of editing your work and letting you know how to improve your story, whether or not you get published in the magazine. It’s well worth the ten dollars you spend for the contest, plus you get a year’s subscription to Havok magazine when you enter! That is an amazing deal, and I’m not just saying that because I work with Splickety.

 

Happy writing!!

Inksper Updates – February 2016

Welcome to our monthly Inksper update post! It’s a day we’ll use to celebrate good news and spread word about new Inksper books or any other updates that come about during the month.

Lassoed by MarriageCongratulations to Rose Ross Zediker! Her new release, The Lassoed by Marriage Novella Collection, in which she collaborated with eight other authors, made the Top 20 ECPA List for Christian fiction! Look at #18 on the list >here<.

Coloring Book for WritersColoring books for adults are the big craze right now, and our own Linda Fulkerson has created two coloring book especially for authors! Check out the books >here<.

Coming Home Series 4-in-1 Box SetAnd Brenda Anderson has put her Coming Home Series into one nice box set for ebook readers. All four ebooks for only $9.99! You can purchase the set >here<.

Christianity–The Most Persecuted Faith

Forty nations actively persecute Christians in the modern world. These nations include China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. According to Prison Alert Ministry, China  is holding the most prisoners. Because we cannot get accurate numbers from hostile countries, I believe the numbers are actually much higher, but that’s just my opinion. You can look HERE for a prayer map to pray over the nations who are considered restrictive or hostile.

Christianity is the most persecuted faith in the world.

As of this month, China is ramping up their attack on Christian activists and human rights lawyers. Between July and December of 2015 over 300 lawyers and activists have been detained, interrogated, and imprisoned for “subversion of the state” offenses. This type of charge carries 15 years imprisonment for inciting subversion, and a life sentence for actual subversion.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide dubs 2015 a year of exceptional challenge’ for Christians in China. See that article here.

Last month Salah Farah, a Kenyan, sacrificed his own life defending Christians. He was riding a bus in the Kenyan county of Mandera when he and others were ambushed. Their captors told them if they were a Muslim, they would be safe. But Salah and other Muslims stood up to their attackers, and Salah was shot. He lived to speak out against what happened, but expired during a surgery just this month. Although it was a Muslim man who ended up dying, it was because he stood up for Christians that he lost his life. Check out that article here.

And if you think one form of religion that believes in God is precluded from such activity, take a look at what’s happening in Mexico.

Prison barsInternational Christian Concern has reported that Seven Evangelicals were jailed in Chiapas, Mexico after refusing to convert to Catholicism. Hundreds of people have been taken in and questioned. If they refuse to convert, they are told to leave, creating a homeless population across the already poor Mexican nation.

Although American state and federal authorities were informed of threats to the Evangelical population, they refused to do anything about it. This is the newest trend of religious persecution that is going on throughout the rural areas of Mexico. Read more on Mexico’s persecution here.

It’s not hard to find cases of religious persecution around the world. The hard part is what do we do to fight against such hatred and violence?

We use our voice. First, we pray because we have a God that is in control when the world is out of control. Second, we contact our representatives and let them know how you feel about these events that unfold on a regular basis.

Why does that do any good? Because it’s those who speak out against such atrocities that eventually get the attention and sway opinion. Washington will never bring issues to the forefront if people don’t do their best to represent their morals and values.

They’re certainly not going to do anything if you stay silent. Why should they care if you don’t? There are no easy answers to these issues, but nothing is going to get accomplished if we sit on our cushy couch, in a heated/air conditioned house, and tsk at what’s happening in the world, but don’t do anything about it.

We have a choice.

So, I have taken to signing petitions and sending letters and emails to my representatives. I have made my voice voteheard. And the greatest part of living in America? I get to vote for the ultimate representative–President–this year. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to make my vote count.

And maybe it will make the difference in our local policies, our state policies, our federal policies, and our international policies. Maybe we’ll get a Godly leader who will not sit on the happenings of the world and allow our country’s voice to grow silent. Maybe we’ll finally realize what is gained by doing business with such countries is not worth the lives sacrificed on behalf of a faith they don’t agree with.

But it starts with your voice.

What are you doing to combat Christian persecution?

 

 

 

As Love Blooms Winner

What a bloomin’ great time we had last week looking at parks and gardening. I want to thank all of our Inksper friends for celebrating the setting of As Love Blooms with us. Using Random.org, we chose a winner from those who commented during the last two weeks.

The winner is Jackie Smith!

Jackie, please send your snail mail address to me at lornaseilsta@yahoo.com, and I’ll get your book out to you.

 

Anniversary Drawing Winner!

We want to extend a BIG thank you to all of our readers for joining us the last two weeks as we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of the Inkspirational Messages Blog. As part of our celebration, we held a drawing for a one of a kind Inkspirational Messages mug and a collection of books.

Every time a person commented, their name was entered. The winner was then chosen by Random.org.

Congratulations, Samantha B! Look for an e-mail from us in your in box.

Still Riding the Roller Coaster!

*** LAST DAY TO ENTER CONTEST***
Opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind Inkspirational Messages mug + a book surprise bundle!!!
***
To enter, leave a comment below and / or on any of the Inksper posts dated March 2 – 13, 2015.
Winner will be chosen via Random.org


Wow. Has it been five years already? That’s hard to believe! It’s certainly been a fun and eventful five years. My very first post as an Inksper was From the Front Seat of a Roller Coaster. Well, it’s safe to say I  never got off that coaster!

Here are few things that have kept me busy since 2010:

  • I’ve made THE BEST friends ever through this blog!
  • My daughter graduated high school and college.
  • Two sons graduated high school.
  • My husband and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2012 by spending a week at Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World. I wanna go back!
  • In 2012, my contemporary romance, Hearts at Risk, was a ACFW Genesis Finalist. That same year, my now-published, Pieces of Granite, was a semi-finalist.
  • In 2013 my 4-book contemporary family drama series was contracted for publication.
  • Chain of Mercy came out in April 2014
  • In later 2014, my publisher went under, so I went indie.
  • In November, 2014, Pieces of Granite released under my personal imprint Vivant Press.
  • And now I’m preparing to release book #3, Memory Box Secrets, in one month!

Those are just the highlights. I’m looking forward to having another five years on this roller coaster. It’s been a lot of fun!

And what is a peek back at five years without pics? Here are a few I dug up:

Inkspers 5Inkspers 4Inkspers 3Inkspers 2Inkspers 1 -353x210

Inkspers-353x210

Five Years and Counting

 

Five years. Wow. 2010 seems like a lifetime ago. I had just gained control of my chronic illness and sent my baby to Kindergarten. Looking back, a change of season took me down a road I never anticipated. At that time, God whispered across my heart an enormous task I thought impossible to accomplish. Write a book. What? Me? Write? You’ve got the wrong person.

But I entertained the idea and dreamed. What if I did write a book? What kind of book would I write? Definitely a romance, definitely a page turner. But how in the world does one write a book? I prayed and began to write. Four months later I finished my first novel.

It. Was. Awful. I often apologize to the people who faithfully read that first draft as I’m surprised it didn’t kill them.

I encountered a reversal of destiny. Growing up I hated to read, let alone write. But God called me to do something I never dreamed capable. That’s how I knew He worked through me. I could not do this on my own.

I soon realized I needed training. I took continuing education courses and found a local writing group. As I learned more about the craft, I edited that first manuscript and entered it into contests. It received an honorable mention at its first contest (that’s how I met our dear Shannon Vannatter).

After finding ACFW and entering it in The Genesis, the feedback received told me it had potential, but wasn’t ready for publication. I worked on two sequels and soon realized I had been in the same story world for three years. Unsure of putting that project down, I prayed and decided to start anew.

Back to the drawing board I went. God kept pushing upon me the idea of non-fiction. Really Lord? But I LOVE fiction! I ignored Him and pressed on to my next fiction project. I gained insight and understanding of the concepts needed in the fiction world, but I soon lost interest as the need to help people consumed me. I finally waved my white flag to God and said, “Yes, I’ll write non-fiction.”

He gave me concepts of spiritual transformation from my own journey and how to show the love of Christ in actuality. What loving like Christ looks like in real life, not just in theory. So as I journey through this process of letting God lead, I’m confident I’ll be published within the next five years. I’m not sure how or when, but I know God has a plan and a purpose. I’m just following His lead.

I have many random facts unique to me that others would not know.

  1. I’m a military brat, so I’m pretty well rounded and cultured as I’ve been part of many different places and congregations across and outside of the United States.
  2. I was born in the Philippines. My husband often tells people he married a Philippino.
  3. I almost died at birth and as a result have no belly button.
  4. I received Jesus in my heart and was baptized into Christ at the age of ten. In July, spiritually speaking, I will be 28 years old.
  5. Believe it or not, I am a half cup empty kind of gal. I struggle to find that silver lining each and every day. But if I can do it, so can you!

 

Question: How has God used your weaknesses to do great things?

Leave a comment today and the rest of the week and you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Inkspirational Messages mug and a surprise collection of books. The winning name will be drawn by Random.org. The deadline to leave a comment is Friday, March 13.

Five for Fighting

Five years ago I was only beginning my writing journey. I had started writing a romantic suspense story, but it fizzled out half way through—right in the middle. I realized that though I loved these characters and much of the storyline, it wasn’t what I really loved to read or write. I just liked the idea of it. I was ready to try again.

Next I penned my middle grade fantasy novel, whose idea came to me on a lazy summer afternoon when I was a young girl. I had daydreamed about this idea for years before I ever thought I’d put pen to paper. When I finished it, it was my first whole manuscript, but it still wasn’t quite right. I did present this story to agents and editors at conferences, and they liked the idea, but said there was something missing. So, I kept trying.

My second book was a spiritual warfare novel which I still love to this day. There was so much about the story that was right, but there was much about it that was not quite there yet. I had a couple of nibbles from publishers, but nothing that panned out. I kept typing away.

The next story was one that you sit down to write and it just flows. Pages would fly by as I typed my merry heart away at this story that had to have been delivered to my brain directly by God above. There was no way I was coming up with this stuff, it was too good.

Half way through this novel my husband’s grandfather died. My muse shriveled up. When word came through that summer that the Missouri River was going to flood our area, my muse gave notice and moved to another universe. I struggled with this story so I began writing one another one. It worked until my brother had a massive heart attack. I was by his side in the hospital room for the month it took him to recover before tragedy happened, my mother collapsed and passed away. I was beside myself.

For the next year and a half nothing I wrote felt right. I had enough written to take to my critique group for some time, but eventually I ran out of stuff to bring. I began to wonder if this is really what I’m meant to do. What if my muse left me for good?

I found things to do that were creative. It kept my brain functioning and working its way through the emotional fog until one day I was able to sit down and make sense of what I was writing. I finished both of the above novels and while I got a few more nibbles, I received no concrete requests for them.

Last year while my husband was watching a fishing show an idea came to me. I worked on editing my other novels as I plotted this idea out in my mind. I outlined it during a writer’s retreat last spring and got the story started by writing a handful of chapters. I set it away while editing my two other manuscripts. Then during NANOWRIMO last November I took that ‘fishing’ story idea and wrote, wrote, wrote. Over fifty thousand words later and the novel was done except for the last chapter.

I finished that chapter last night. I’m on my first edit on that story and feel pretty confident in the content. During the process of getting this book written, which is quite a departure for me by the way, I figured out what I do best is write about small town life. This new story is an adult romance, but there’s still an element of fantasy in it with the main character making a wish. In the end the wish comes true, although my poor protagonist gets put through the wringer throughout the story. I can identify. My path to getting to this point in my writing career has not been a smooth or an easy one. I’ve had to hold tight to my dedication in making it this far. And I still have a few steps to go before I can say my wish has come true.

The last five years held highs and lows for me. I fought through it all and finished five manuscripts. I;ve learned a lot and I’m ready for the next five years.

One song I listened to during this process was Five for Fighting’s The Riddle. I think it’s appropriate to celebrate finishing my current novel by sharing their video. Here’s The Riddle.

Leave a comment today and the rest of the week and you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Inkspirational Messages mug and a surprise collection of books. The winning name will be drawn by Random.org. The deadline to leave a comment is Friday, March 13.

Q&A

Let’s test your Inksper knowledge.

  1. Which bloggers have their own personal blogs that do book reviews and interviews?
  2. Shhhh! Which current and former Inkspers are librarians?
  3. Name our sister Canadian Inkspers, current and former.
  4. How many total Inkspers have there been?
  5. Which Inkspers have been published?
  6. Which Inkspers have NOT been published—YET?
  7. Each Inksper has a particular genre they write in. Name three Inkspers and the genre they prefer.
  8. How long have the Inkspers been blogging? (this should be an easy one!)
  9. Who are our resident Inksper pet lovers?
  10. Which states do the Inkspers live in?

How well did you do? Are you an Inksper aficitionado?

Every time you leave a comment today and next week, you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Inkspirational Messages mug and a surprise collection of books. The winning name will be drawn by Random.org. The deadline to leave a comment is Friday, March 13.