From Captivity to Freedom-Author Gail Porter

Gail Porter’s new release addresses a subject we all struggle with, rejection. she’s here today to share her writing journey and a bit about herself. Welcome, Gail.

Let’s start with how you began your writing journey toward publication.

The opportunity to become a serious writer opened up when I timidly joined the Orlando Chapter of Word Weavers International. Having the chance to know this encouraging group of writers and sit in a critique group each month improved my writing and built my confidence to create non-fiction articles and books.

Participating in the annual Central Florida Christian Writers Conferences also gave me the chance to sit in on professional workshops and make appointments with editors, publishers, and agents to pitch my current manuscript. The conferences honed my writing skills and paved the way to become a published author.

I love Word Weavers. I wouldn’t be published today without the critque help. I learned so much. So, tell us about your newest project.

My latest book is Will the Real Person Please Stand Up: Rising Above the Fear of Rejection. God’s direction to write this book about the fear of rejection took me by surprise. Most of my adult life I’d been unaware that this devastating fear ruled my life. Through writing this book, I learned a lot about myself. Isn’t that often what happens to us writers?

Absolutely true. What kind of research did you do?

Writing this book thrust me into a deep search for what my early childhood was like. From my adult perspective, there was no reason why a fear or rejection had evolved. Yet, a trusted counselor and a friend gifted in the healing of our pasts, helped me see with child’s eyes. I made crucial discoveries and uncovered buried memories that helped shed light on how I felt in those days: sad, lonely, unimportant, and unloved. For the first time in my life, I realized that my parents’ inability to create a loving connection had left me with unfulfilled longings for their love and acceptance.

Wow, I’m impressed with your willingness to share your heart with us.

Fear of rejection had ruled my life and my lack of love and acceptance fueled my efforts to try to be the person everyone else wanted me to be. I built many emotional defenses against rejection, which served to only keep me alone and isolated from people. Realizing this truth gave me the courage to come out of hiding and let God tear down my defenses so I could walk on His path of freedom. Because of my journey, I am passionate about helping others escape captivity and experience freedom to be all God created them to be.

What a powerful ministry, Gail.  Now let me ask a few questions I always ask my blog guests.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

While attending one of the Central Florida Christian Writers Conferences, the keynote speaker looked over the audience of perhaps 400 people and made a declaration that became a turning point in my life. He said, “If you write, you are a writer.” Accepting that truth, freed me to write with confidence and share His words so that readers could know about Him and His plan for their lives.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

While writing my book, Galatians 5:1 became my theme verse: “It was for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” I became a slave to my fear of rejection and hid behind an invisible wall and emotional masks to protect myself from rejection. God rescued me from my life of slavery so I could experience the freedom Jesus died to give me. I need to stand firm in this freedom and never become enslaved again.  

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Be myself. Write what God lays on my heart and trust that He will use my words to help change the lives of readers. I am uniquely designed, so I have no reason to compete with anyone else.

Where is your favorite place to write?

If you visited me, you’d find me writing at my dining room table, in front of two patio doors, where I can look out and see foliage of every kind, colorful flowers, and many Florida birds. Writing for hours is not a problem for me, because each time I lift my head from my computer, this scenery refreshes me and gives me an outward view.

 Sounds lovely and inspiring.

More about Gail Porter

Gail Porter is an inspirational author, speaker and workshop leader. She spent fifty years serving with Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. as well as in the Philippines. She’s had extensive experience in speaking at women’s conferences in many countries. Gail is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and Word Weavers International (WWI.)  Her latest book, Will the Real Person Please Stand Up: Rising Above the Free of Rejection, highlights her passion to help those who struggle with the fear of rejection know how to escape captivity and experience freedom to be all God created them to be.

Gail lives in Orlando, Florida. In addition to writing and speaking, she enjoys ballroom dancing and her favorite role as aunt to her nieces and nephews.

Visit Gail’s Website to learn more about her books and to request her to speak. Follow her Blog and  connect with her on Facebook: gail.porter.731.

Grab a copy of Gail’s books.

Links to her books:

Will the Real Person Please Stand Up?    Amazon Link Redemption Press Link  Barnes & Noble Link

Life Through Loss     Amazon Link  Barnes & Noble Link

 

Click here to take the Fear of Rejection Quiz.

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About the Book

Will the Real Person Please Stand Up? Rising Above the Fear of Rejection offers hope to those who long to be set free from the fear of rejection. In this life-changing book you will read Gail’s own experiences, stories of real people, and input from those in the medical field. You will learn how to identify and acknowledge the defenses you’ve built that keep you isolated and alone. Gail helps you escape captivity and experience freedom to be all God created you to be. She knows from personal experience the devastation that comes from choosing bondage instead of freedom. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter make this an easy book to study in a small-group setting.

If you want to keep discovering more new releases and writerly things please subscribe to Jubilee Writer before you leave. Please and thank you.

Cindy

A Resource to Help You Choose the Right Job for Your Character + Giveaway

Hi everyone! Today I have something fun to share…a special chance to win some help with your writing bills. Awesome, right?

Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them so they can tell you about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!

Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?

It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.

Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles…or bringing you joy and helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here’s one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)

GIVEAWAY ALERT: THE WRITER’S SHOWCASE

To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles for Your Characters

Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past. What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right? To access this list, GO HERE.

Happy writing to all!

 A note from Cindy

I love this Thesaurus and all the others I have from this wonderful team of writers. Grab a copy- you will not regret it.

Rebuilding an Author Brand After an Absence

Norma Gail is an inspiration to me and I asked her to share her story. Perhaps you will be inspired to press forward toward your publishing dreams.

Rebuilding an author brand after an absence is as difficult as building your brand in the first place. It takes persistence to gain recognition of a tagline or phrase synonymous with what you write. Silence for a long time period causes name recognition to be lost.

 

My brand went silent from July 2018 through January of 2020. I had four major surgeries in the space of two years. The death of my mother, moving an elderly aunt and uncle to a care facility near me, my aunt’s death, and the sale of both homes along with changed family dynamics overwhelmed me.

 

These life-changing events destroyed all desire and motivation to promote my first book, Land of My Dreams, or maintain my blog schedule. At the same time, my husband moved his office home, our son moved in. As I began to gain recognition again, the COVID crisis led to my husband’s retirement and uncertain book sales. Life as I knew it ceased to exist.

 

My two brands, 2MefromHim Devotionals and Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit vanished from daily social media. There are seasons to be gentle with ourselves. I finished the blogs I had scheduled and walked away. What I write is written for God. What I become is up to God. What is important is to cling to God.

 

I discovered that to edit and rewrite my book in progress was therapeutic. The familiarity of my characters and their story ministered to my heart. God allowed my own fiction to refresh my spirit.

My social media presence consisted of shared scripture and memes that ministered to my heart. While my following on Facebook increased, my other social media accounts lay quiet.

That book was rejected. Challenges in my personal life damaged my confidence. However, someone believed in my story and offered to publish Within Golden Bands. With a miracle from God, I’m now a hybrid author. The royalties revert to me when the publisher is paid back. I learned from the criticism and rewrote entire sections. During a recent promotion, it remained in the top spot in three Amazon categories for three days.

 

The brand still suffers. COVID has changed everyone’s marketing and social media. I don’t receive the comments I did formerly on my blog. Land of My Dreams recovered well.

 

I have no secret to share. Look for opportunities. Trust God to create and recreate your brand. Make pleasing Him your aim. He is faithful.

 

© Norma Gail Holtman, June 26, 2020

Author bio:

Norma Gail’s debut novel, Land of My Dreams, won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. Within Golden Bands releases May 19th. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals have appeared in several publications. She lives in New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

Book Links:

 

 

Thank you so much for this. Life does sidetrack us but He is faithful to get us back on track in His time.

 

 

Writing while in the car traveling-Not

I have a question for all you writers out there? Have any of you ever figured out how to type while traveling in a car? My laptop needs to be plugged in or the battery dies fast. The smooth ride I’m used to isn’t there if I am texting or typing in the note program on my Kindle. The road is bumpier with my fingers on a keyboard. How do other authors use their keyboard in the car? I must be uncoordinated or have the wrong set up.

I find writing out longhand in a notebook is just as challenging. My penmanship isn’t great and adds to that vibration and it’s illegible later. And I haven’t tried dictating my novel on a trip. Not sure hubby would appreciate it. Besides, I create better with fingers on the keyboard.

Here’s what I did instead

While traveling to see our son and hug our new granddaughter, I did a lot of reading in the car. One novel and four novellas completed, and another novel started before returning home.

Reading is a big priority for writers. If you don’t read creativity can dry up and your phrasing can become dull. I love stopping to consider a well-written sentence. Usually, I write reviews for the books I read.  Doing reviews helps practice writing tight. It’s also an opportunity to practice the sandwich method. Placing negative comments between the positive.

Beyond reviews

On a trip, reading can make the time speed by. It transports you to a place where there is no traffic jam. (We were stuck in a few. Argh.) And the story you’re reading can stimulate ideas for future stories. I’m not talking plagiarism. Instead, the setting might be an appealing place to set a story. Or a minor character’s job becomes my new hero’s occupation. Even the past of a character could send me researching to create a new storyline. Reading keeps me in tune with what is popular in various genres. Things change quickly in the publishing industry.

I enjoy following the story arc to its conclusion. But dislike cliffhanger endings unless the next installment is available for sale.  It’s fun noting how all the threads of the story are tied up by the end.

When I return to my WIP, I’ll be more aware of its story arc and any places that need improvement.

Back to my original thought

Still, I’d love to learn how to write in the car on a trip. I’d love to say I finished a novel while traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains. But then again the scenery is so breathtaking why bury my face in work or my Kindle.

When not in the car I didn’t write much either

By the time we reached our hotel for the night, I’m was too fatigued to write. And once at my destination, well… who wouldn’t want to hold a sweet baby all day? I did get a bit of writing done early in the morning, but not to the caliber of other writers while on vacation.

This is my post to encourage myself and others that even if you can’t write in the car, you can still find solace in reading others’ work. It’s my confession that I haven’t figured out how to take time during vacation to write a few hundred words daily.

How do you manage to write while traveling in the car? I would love to know.  

What do you prefer to do as a passenger on a trip?

When do you find time to write while on vacation?

Please comment below.

 

 

 

 

Small towns are popular settings in novels

My husband in front of replica of Mayberry Courthouse.

Take a careful look at many of the fiction books you read. How many take place in small towns? There is something about those settings that draw a reader in far more than large cities. Some of my favorite authors in a variety of genres set their stories in a small town and introduce me to a plethora of characters that eventually are featured in another book in the series. Sometimes those characters play a bigger supporting role in future stories while never moving away from their secondary character status. Don’t we all love those characters?

Mayberry fans- does it look familiar?

Setting can become a character all its own. Only in that small-town setting can the whole town know your business. Only in a closed community can stricter moral codes be enforced, i.e. Amish or historical settings.

My husband and I are presently visiting my son in North Carolina. On the way to his home, we took a side trip and visited Mount Airy, North Carolina, the prototype for the Andy Griffith TV Show setting of Mayberry. A show I grew up watching religiously.  Visiting this town and the fun sites they created to pay tribute to Andy Griffith and the cast of Mayberry was nostalgic. They even have replicas of Mayberry’s police car, which they use for driving tours of Mount Airy. It felt so much like I was visiting a long-lost family. The characters in the show were based on actual people and some of the stores and sites were actually in or near Mt. Airy at one time. (Remember Mount Pilot?) Some of the buildings are still standing and others were recreated for tourists. There is an Andy Griffith museum to tour.  And of course lots of souvenir shops.

Fun tour of Mount Ary in a replica of Mayberry Patrol car. The tour guide would run the siren and town’s folk and tourist would wave. So welcoming.

We took the patrol car tour and were introduced to other things in Mount Airy beyond Andy Griffith and the fictitious Mayberry. The driver was not only knowledgable but friendly. He made us feel like we were listening to family stories.

This is why small-town settings in novels bring readers back time and time again. Whether the story is a mystery,  historical romance, or a Love Inspired novel, small-town settings draw readers.

Not that you can’t set your crime drama in Chicago or New Orleans. But there is just something about a dead librarian that warrants an investigation by the citizens of the village. And the possibilities for quirky characters abound.  And who would Andy Taylor be without Barney, Gomer, and a town full of nosey caring neighbors? If he were sheriff of a large city his character would be labeled a buffoon. But in Mayberry, we accept his southern wisdom and a bumbling deputy Barney, who we immediately loved.

Otis’ personal cell in Mayberry jail.

You can set a romance in New York, Paris, or Tuscany. But it often focuses on a small niche of people rather than the whole city. But a series of romances circling around a family of males, be they firefighters, ranchers or billionaires set in a small town keeps readers coming back to purchase the next installment until all those hunky men are wed. Readers fall in love with the whole family and the secondary characters and can’t wait to see the next brother’s happily-ever-after.

If the setting is written with a you-are-there feeling, then the reader wants to return to that town time and time again. Some publishers prefer small-town settings because that is what sells for them. And sales are the bottom line. So consider creating or borrowing a real small-town setting for your next WIP and see how your characters develop.

Do you prefer small-town settings? What is your favorite book set in a small town?