“Look, Ma! No Hands.”

A lot has happened in the last five years since the Inkspers began our blog, so it’s my turn to share what I’ve been up to. My husband and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary next month and we are now empty nesters since our kids went to college and moved out, leaving us forlorn and dejected. (Unless you count the addition of Hank, the four legged, furry goof who now calls our farm, and sunroom, home. This pooch made the transition a whole lot easier, and amusing to say the least, but he’s a whole different chapter, so I won’t go there today.)

McKenzie's Montana MysteryIn the writing world, I saw the release of my first 3 books in the Camp Club Girls series and the reprint of the first two in 3-in-1 volumes. Yippie doo dah!

In my personal life, I’ll have to admit I’ve gotten a little braver now that I’m–uh–more mature. Not only do I sit on the back of a Harley now without having to pry my fingers out of my husband’s belt loops when we get home, I have done even more brave and noble things lately. For starters, several years ago this scaredy pants girl who’s afraid of deep water, went snorkeling in the ocean and loved it, but only after freaking out while in initial panic mode. Once I relaxed and simply held onto the paddle board they give to wimps, my husband towed me around at his leisure while we swam with the fishes.

Then several weeks ago while on vacation in Costa Rica, my legs wobbled like a Weeble as I crept across the hanging bridges, swaying and bouncing high in the treetops of the rainforest. (For those of you who don’t remember Weebles, they’re round, funny looking little toy people that wobble but don’t fall down. Get it?) Okay, back to my story. I prayed the entire time on those hanging bridges that gusts of wind wouldn’t flip us over. I didn’t really want to hang there swinging by a thin, little wire like Indiana Jones, waiting to smack into a cliff. I never thought I’d feel such relief to walk that final bridge and reach the zip-lining tower. Knowing the only way down was to either go back across those dastardly bridges, or zip-line, I chose the latter. When the guide explained how this whole zip-lining thing worked, he focused on me and stressed, “Hang on. If you let go you will flip upside down.” Seriously? He thought I might let go. Wow, he must think I looked pretty courageous. I had planned to ride tandem, but after his vote of confidence, or maybe I was delirious, I opted to go it alone. When my turn came, he hooked me up and soon I was gliding through the treetops, whirring like a zipper. This was so much better than those shaky bridges. It fact, it was down right cool.

At one point the guide asked us if we wanted to fly like Superman. In this ride, you’re hooked up to a guide who controls braking while you sail through the air with your hands in front of you. Since I didn’t want to look like a weenie and let my husband outdo me, I agreed. So there I am all hooked up to the guide and he says, “Scoot farther to the edge.” I thought I was pretty much scooted as far as I could get without hanging my toes over, but I scooted anyway. Then while I’m gripping the line above me, he picks my legs up from behind and holds them on either side of him.Superman

Then he says, “Let go.”

Then I ask, “Let go?”

He says, “Yes, let go.”

“Now?”

“Yes, now, and stick your arms out like Superman.”

So, I let go and for one daring minute, I wasn’t a bird, I wasn’t a plane–I was Superman! I highly recommend this form of sheer lunacy for brave souls everywhere. Oh, and did I mention I’m afraid of heights?

Well, that about sums up the highlights of my last five years. Now I know you’re thinking, “My, she’s so brave!” (Oh, come on now. I know you’re thinking it. Admit it already.) Though I have achieved some brave and daring feats, I really don’t laugh in the face of danger. I’ll be honest here. I’m sort of adventure challenged, so if you ever find yourself clinging to a hanging bridge, I’m really not the woman to swoop in and rescue you. Because, you know, that would scare the jeebers out of me.

*****

Don’t forget to leave a comment ! Every time you leave a comment during the next two weeks, you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Inkspirational Messages mug and a surprise collection of books. The deadline to leave a comment is Friday, March 13.

Looking Back

 

Happy Anniversary to the Inkspirational Messages Blog!

I wasn’t an original member of the inkspirational messages bloggers. I have been blogging with them for approximately two years now and having a blast. I love networking with the wonderful bloggers and meeting their fans, relatives, and friends through comment interaction.

Anniversaries are a time to reflect, so here goes. In 2009, I finished and submitted inspirational romance novel aimed at a manuscript call the Barbour Heartsong editor put on their blog. She had a need for ‘gray haired love’.  In December of 2009, the editor requested the full manuscript. In June of 2010, I received an acceptance email which was bittersweet for me because my mom passed away two months prior to this acceptance. She helped me research Biblically named quilt blocks for my story and was anxious to see this book in print.

5th Anniversary 1This book was accepted on the terms I could have all the required edits completed by September so it could go into print. My manuscript was filling a void left by another author who couldn’t fulfill her contract obligations. Of course, I said I could and did! The book released the last week on of December 2010 and sales were good. By June, though, the line announced it closure. The remaining two books in the series wouldn’t be published. Disappointment isn’t a strong enough word for how I felt. However, I pulled myself up by my boot straps and prepared a contemporary and historical aimed at the Summerside Press’s Love Finds You In line of books. I attended my first ACFW conference and learned, Barbour was prolonging the close of the Heartsong line of books because someone was interested in buying the line. Rebecca Germany told me the other two books in the series would be contracted!

Those books were caught in the buyout and although books were sent to subscribers, they were hard to purchase otherwise. The silver lining on that cloud is Barbour would release all the books in ebookDakota Love format and eventually release the series in their 3-in-1 collections.

Harlequin was the publishing company that purchased the line of books and their editor contracted seven books from me. Four made it through the publishing process before Harlequin announced the closure of the Heartsong line. *Sigh*.

So for the past five years in between blogging and working a day job, I’ve been writing and marketing inspirational romance novels! My newest release is Dakota Love, the 3-in-1 collection from Barbour.

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment ! Every time you leave a comment during the next two weeks, you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Inkspirational Messages mug and a surprise collection of books. The deadline to leave a comment is Friday, March 13.

What a difference five years makes

Five years ago, I was working in a dead-end job for an employer I didn’t like, doing menial work that I only enjoyed some of the time, and living in a one-bedroom apartment with my husband. I had a dream to write a novel and wrote in my spare time, believing blindly that this novel would be my ticket out of there.

Fast forward to five years later, and I am now working for an employer I really enjoy and respect, doing work that I really love, and living in a three-bedroom house with my husband and a spunky Boston terrier. I have one novel completed, and am now working on a murder mystery. I have the opportunity to blog with the wonderful Inkspers.

To say things have changed would be an understatement.

Things were difficult five years ago. But God still blessed me.

I hated my job and desperately hunted everyday for a new employer that didn’t make me dread getting up for work every morning, that would pay me enough money that my husband and I could start a family and breathe a little between paychecks.

But God still blessed us with jobs, and not unemployment.

BazingaI wanted to be a mother before I was 30, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I am currently mommy to Bazinga Belle Ludwig, an ornery, lovable, cuddly Boston terrier.

I wanted to write a book, and even though it took me four years, I completed my first novel.

And God blessed me friends who are also writers, who encourage me, pray for me, and challenge me. He continues to give me inspiration for more stories.

Five years from now, I hope that one of these novels will be published. I hope I will be a mother. I hope that if I am not still working for my current employer, that I had a very good reason for leaving, and that I enjoy whatever my job is.

Most of all, I hope I can still praise God for the blessings, the tragedies, for whatever comes my way. Because He is my constant, and, I pray, my source for everything.

Now for some fun! Five things people don’t know about me:

1. I have watched every episode of Gilmore Girls at least three times.

628x353-otter-cu-yawn2. I have a collection of stuffed otters, one of my favorite animals, and regularly find videos of them online to watch, just for the cuteness factor.

3. I have read Anne of Green Gables more than any other book. My childhood paperback copy (really, the entire Anne series) is the most tattered book I own because I have read it to so often.

4. On the subject of books, I can’t stand to break the spine of a book. I am very particular in who I lend books to because of this reason. If I hurled the epithet of “spine breaker” at someone, this would be a true insult indeed.

5. As a newspaper reporter, I had the opportunity to: shoot a gun, drink homemade wine, ride on a police boat in a flooded river, sit in on a horse gelding at a vet’s office, sweat through a workout at a new gym, eat homemade chocolates, visit a bakery in the middle of the night, pray with a family uprooted by Hurricane Katrina, weep with families who lost loved ones in accidents, hear stories of courage and bravery from World War II vets, including one who helped liberate Dachau, and meet the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark.

Don’t forget to leave a comment ! Every time you leave a comment during the next two weeks, you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Inkspirational Messages mug and a surprise collection of books. The deadline to leave a comment is Friday, March 13.

 

Celebrating Our 5th Anniversary!

It’s party time here at Inkspirational Messages! Our blog officially began in Aug. of 2009, however, since we had to take some time to rebuild the blog, we are celebrating five years of blogging for the next two weeks.

First of all, we want to thank you, our dear reader friends, for honoring us with your gift of time. There are a lot of blogs out there you could read, and we are so grateful that you chose ours.

Second, what would a party be without presents? Every time you leave a comment during the next two weeks, you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Inkspirational Messages mug and a surprise collection of books. So be sure to stop by every day and drop us a line. The more you comment, the more chances you’ll have. The winning name will be drawn by Random.org. The deadline to leave a comment is Friday, March 13.

Five Years Ago

All the Inkspers will be sharing what has happened in their lives in the last five years. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but for many of us, these five years have been life changing.

This blog was formed to be a place where we could find reader friends who could use a daily dose of inspiration whether it was about faith, reading, or friendship. We wanted to make this a place our reader friends wanted to come to–a home–and we hope that’s why you come back day after day.

making wavesFor me, my first book, Making Waves, released in May of 2010. My sixth book, As Love Blooms, releases this May. I got to feel a dream come true in hands when I held that first copy and cry every time I hold one of my books for the first time as I thank God for what he’s done. Only God could have orchestrated everything it took for the words he put in my heart to become words in a book on a shelf.

It’s hard to explain how much becoming a published author has changed my life. My hobby became a career. For the most part, I’ve learned to balance deadlines and edits. I’ve found the joy of writing a scene and knowing it’s a good one, and I’ve struggled through days when I stared at the screen. I know now that one of the things I love most about being a writer is having wonderful real writer friends and wonderful imaginary friends on the pages.

Parker & MomIn my personal world, two of my three children went off to college during those five years. The oldest graduated last May, and the next day, I lost my father. Last week , my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. There have been birthdays and births, weddings and funerals. There’s been days at the beach and days on the run.

What happened in the last five years?

Life.

And I thank God for ALL of it.

What about you? What were you doing five years ago today? This month?

Remember, leave a comment to be entered in drawing for the Inspirational Mug and the surprise book collection.

 

Pinterest Made Me Do It

Everybody knows that Pinterest is the ultimate place to find recipes and home improvement projects. You can also find hundreds if not thousands of DIY and craft projects. Most people joke about how they will never accomplish any of the pins they find, but two years ago I found one craft project that I had to do.

007It was a Kathy Orta purse scrapbook. At Christmas each year I buy my nieces a Kathy Van Zeeland purse. That year I made it my goal of making each of them and Dylan’s then girlfriend Jordan this purse scrapbook.

I found Kathy’s site, bought the pattern, bought the supplies and worked on the starter project before beginning the purses. It took me six months, but I did it. Now I have made several wedding albums, baby albums, and Christmas wallet scrapbooks for friends and family. I have more scrapbook paper than I will probably ever use, several paper trimmers, tools and stickers.

The best thing about doing these scrapbooks was that I was floundering in my writing. I 031had to have a creative outlet or I was going to go crazy. Now, two years later, I’ve set the scrapbooking aside so I can have enough time to write. I believe the scrabooking was a kind of bookmark until I could get back into my stride writing. But I also have this great ability to put together amazing scrapbooks that will bless others.

Black Friday Book Deals

If you’re like me and you abhor going Black Friday shopping anywhere but at home, here are some deals for you to look into. I’ve scanned the deals and found a few for you to take advantage of right from the safety and sanity of your computer.

 

Christianbook.com has over 2,100 deals on Christian books and gifts. Save up to 96% until December 1st for this amazing deal. Here are some wonderful examples:

Beth Moore’s Portrait of Devotion is marked down 40%, from $24.99 to $14.99

Beth Moore's Portrait of Devotion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melody Carlson’s The Christmas Cat is marked down 50%, from $15.99 to $7.99.

Melody Carlsons Christmas Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And our dear friend Judith Miller (along with other favorite authors) The Immigrant Brides Collection is marked down 83%, from $14.99 to $2.49. Now that’s a deal!

Immigrant Brides

Get on over to Christianbooks.com to check out their deals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian books is not the only one having sales. If you don’t know, Barnes & Noble are trying to lure customers in their stores by offering a hundred books for sale that are signed by the author. Go to B&N.com and enter your zip code to find the stores near you to take advantage of this offer!

Don’t forget our very own Brenda Anderson’s newest book, Pieces of Granite is now available for your Nook for only $3.99. Don’t wait to get this pieces of granitedeal.

 

Amazon has an extra 30% off any book on any book by using this promotional code, good from 11-26 thru 11-30-2014. Brenda’s book is ready for downloading on your Kindle there for $3.99 also.

 

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday, and much to be thankful for. Happy Shopping!!!!!

 

 

 

Introducing – Marketing for Christian Writers

A few weeks ago, I got one of those “God-nudges.” You know the kind. For me, it was an overwhelming realization that I was spending all my time training small business owners how to market their goods and services, yet I could (and should) be using my talents and experience to also train Christian writers and speakers how to be more effective marketers.

I know there’s nothing wrong with helping handymen, day care owners, and donut shops market their wares, but I’ve been asked to speak a few times about marketing lately at Christian writers’ groups, and over and over writers have told me how lost they are when it comes to marketing. There is a lot of training on how to market available, but, trust me, much of it isn’t suitable for Christians to listen to or watch. (***shudder***) Therefore, I felt the real need to start some sort of marketing for Christian writers training program.

And if you know me well, you know the first thing I did was plan a website. <grin>

When I went to register a domain for this new project, I was amazed that something as simple and straightforward as “MarketingForChristianWriters.com” was available. In fact, God practically gave me the tagline, too, which is: promoting our words in order to spread His. Things have come together too quickly and too smoothly for me to think this is something I did alone. I know God has plans for this project, and I’m excited to announce its launch!

So, what’s Marketing for Christian Writers all about?

The website has tips, tools and training about marketing. For instance, one of the Blog topics is “Today’s Tip,” which shares not only what you can do to market, but gives step-by-step instructions on how to do it. Coming down the pike will be video training to supplement the “how-to” posts, for those who are visual learners. You’ll be able to watch “over my shoulder” as I go through the steps to implement whichever tip we’re learning how to do.

Another fun interactive part of the site is the Weekly Poll. You can access these polls in the Blog tab or under the Resources tab.

The podcast is slated to launch in mid-June, as is the members’ area, which will provide exclusive members-only content (such as the videos I mentioned earlier). Some of the member content will be free, some paid, in order to help offset the costs of producing and maintaining the project. I’m also working on an ebook series, which will be published on Kindle.

Whew! Lots going on!

Take a few minutes to browse through the site and let me know what you think. Oh, and while you’re there, be sure to download your FREE copy of 102 Ways to Market Your Stuff. If you’re not sure exactly how to do some of those 102 ideas, then sign up to receive free blog updates via email, because the Today’s Tips blog posts will explain how to do those tips (and more!). For those who do download the free report, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the free email-training course, which goes through the step-by-step process of developing an effective online presence. Signup forms for both the free report and the free email blog updates can be found on the sidebar of the Blog page.

So, there is a lot of free information already available with more to come. We’re scheduling guest posts from Christian writers, who will be sharing their experiences with marketing. If you have a personal marketing story you’d like to share or a great marketing tip, please contact me (marketingforchristianwriters@gmail.com) and we can schedule you to write a guest post, too.

Another free resource available is to have me write a guest post for your blog on the marketing topic of your choice. So far people have requested such topics as Twitter, Pre-release marketing tips, how to overcome the stigma many Christians have about “tooting their own horn,” and more. There’s a handy “Where on the Web is Linda” widget in the blog sidebar with links to where I’m guest posting if you want to read some of those posts.

I take requests, so if you have a burning marketing question you’d like to ask, please post it in the comments area and I’ll write a blog post about it on the MarketingForChristianWriters.com website.

So, how can you help Marketing for Christian Writers grow so we can work together to spread His word?

First and foremost, you can pray for this ministry to grow. And yes, I do consider it a ministry in many ways, although it does have a business side to pay for the time and tools necessary to produce all the content and training materials.

You can also:

  • Post a link to this article on your Facebook page, Twitter or other social media.
  • Put a link to MarketingforChristianWriters.com on your website or blog
  • Write a guest post for the site
  • Invite me to guest post on your website/blog
  • Share the word about this in your critique groups, writers’ groups (online and off), social media groups- anywhere you can think of where writers hang out.
  • Think up your own ways to let people know about this.
  • Thanks for your help!

Thanks, also, to the Inkspers for letting me share this post on here today. 🙂

Cooking up a Winner!

Congratulations to Shelia Hall. You’re the winner of the While Love Stirs Giveaway. You’ll receive a copy of While Love Stirs, a Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and a glass cutting board with the “Recipe for An Amazing Woman” on it. Watch your e-mail, Shelia!

 

And thank you to all who took the time to share your birth order stories with us. Get ready for a new giveaway in the next two weeks as we celebrate Rose Zediker’s newest release,  The Widow’s Suitor.

While Love Stirs Promotion

NEWSFLASH!!!

We have exciting news to share with our Inksper readers!

First, our own Brenda Anderson has just signed a 4-book contract with Winslet Press. We are thrilled for her and hope you will join us in congratulating her.

Our second big announcement is that we are getting a new face. We are in the process of doing a rebulid of our site. We’re very excited about the changes and the new face.

We’ll keep you posted as to how things are developing in the meantime.

Thank you, dear readers, for being part of our Inksper family. We’re going to have a great 2014.