Wishing You Love

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As writers we don’t often get fan mail. Our reviews aren’t always kind, some are even cruel. There is no special day set aside–National Novelist Day or National Children’s Writer Day. Our accolades are often few and far between.

We may hear a condescending tone when they  remark: You’re a writer? Why would you do that? Or I could write a book. Makes us feel unappreciated. Some of us have family members who’ve never read our work. Never attended a book signing or even purchased our book for no other reason than being  kin.

 

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Today, I send you love.

Good Job!!

 

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You’re wonderful.

Your words have value.

Even in those times when discouragement grabs you about the throat and chokes out your creativity, know you are loved by a creator who gave you this gift. Who sits with you while you write cheering you on.

 

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Saint Valentine was martyred for secretly marrying soldiers rather than allowing them to live in sin, going against the Roman Emperor’s decreed.  I like to think that each writer is following their heart even when those around them  think their time could be better spent doing something else.

I’m proud of your perseverance. You continue creating words, sharing stories and helping your readers to understand truths and concepts. Without you the world would be a dismal place.

I wish you love today, fellow authors. Without us valentine cards would not exist. (You know I had to add that.)

 

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Sending you lots of love and encouragement.

Happy Valentines Day to all my readers.

 

 

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Returned Rights and Navigating the Writing Journey

By Dr. Martin Wiles

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My rights have been returned!

Wait a minute. The rights for two books I signed over to the publishing company. The rights they accepted. Now, they were returning them. What exactly did that mean? That my two books would no longer be available? The separate year-long journeys I had made of edits and re-edits. The waiting game I had played—on design, on production—to finally hold a copy of my very own book and know I had written what lay inside the covers. All over.

I emailed my executive editor, a successful novelist, editor, and devotional writer. I needed comfort … reassurance. Was I finished as a writer?

“What they’ve done is typical,” she emailed back. “About two years is the life span for a devotional book. If it’s any comfort, they returned my rights too.” Mine had exceeded the norm. I guess something could be said for that.

 

Wait a minute. Did she say they had returned her rights? It shouldn’t have, but her statement made me feel better. If she—as a moderately successful writer—could have rights returned, then maybe … just maybe … I wasn’t finished as a writer after all.

A few months before receiving this news, I had learned about the fate of my first three books—published with another company. Perhaps I should have examined that entity more carefully, but I was a newbie to the publishing world. I hadn’t heard anything about royalties in a long time. When I googled my three books on Amazon, I noticed their prices scaled the roof.

I typed the publisher’s url address in my search bar. Nothing. So I asked god … the little god—Google. The company had been bought out by another company which declared bankruptcy shortly thereafter. The problem was, they had not returned the book rights of any author. Lawsuits ensued. Now my first three books are unavailable, and so are my last two.

 

Is there any saving grace in this dog-eat-dog world of publishing? Sure. Try another publishing company. I did, and I have another book in the works.

Grits Grace and God

I display a copy of each of my five books behind my desk in my classroom. Sometimes students remark, “You have written five books?” As if they wonder why I’m still teaching since I’m such a successful author. They’re too young to understand the writing world completely. The world where most writers—and other artists—starve if they quit their day jobs and try to do full-time what they love most in life.

So, what’s my advice to writers?

  • Dream of and work toward becoming a full-time writer, but in the meantime keep your day job. According to the Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey taken in 2014, “Just over 77% of self-published writers make $1,000 a year…with a startlingly high 53.9% of traditionally-published authors, and 43.6% of hybrid authors, reporting their earnings are below the same threshold.”

 

  • Accept the fits and starts of the writing life. Continual writing assignments or book contracts might not come. I must make efforts to make them happen at all. But I’ve learned that about the time my spirits are low and I’m saying to my wife, “I’ve haven’t had anything accepted lately,” that I’ll get an email offering a writing assignment or wanting to accept a devotion I’ve sent.

 

  • Let rejection feed your determination. Even successful writers receive more rejections than acceptances. What makes the difference is their determination to keep writing and to keep sending their writing somewhere.

 

  • Release jealousy. Jealousy is perhaps the biggest temptation writers face. Each journey is unique. And if I’m a believer, God designs my journey, and I must be satisfied with my journey, while rejoicing over the journeys He sends others on. As writers, we’re not in competition. Enough room exists for us all.

So, put your pen (or pencil or keyboard) to paper, and get busy writing what presses heavily upon your heart.

About Dr.  Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, and author. He also serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as web content editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is the author of five books and has been published in numerous publications. His next book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Busy World, in under contract with Ambassador International.

Check out his website:

www.lovelinesfromgod.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinwilesgreenwoodsc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/linesfromgod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovelinesfromgod

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-wiles-5a55b14a

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/martinwiles

 

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The Birth of a Series and a Giveaway

I am excited to have Author Elaine Marie Cooper back as a guest. She has a wonderful new series Dawn of America. I am fascinated to learn how a series comes to be.  Elaine is going to share the birth of her Historical romance with us. Hope you enjoy this peek into the creative process of a skilled wordsmith.

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A “chance” discovery while I researched online revealed a historical incident that occurred during the American Revolution in Connecticut: The British troops attacked three towns along Long Island Sound in 1779. I had never heard of these battles before and was amazed by the significance of them. Yet the stories of the residents of New Haven, Fairfield, and Norwalk, Connecticut, seemed buried in the annals of history.

I couldn’t wait to unearth the past, set in fictional format!

Thus was birthed the idea for Love’s Kindling, a love story set in the backdrop of 1779 Fairfield and New Haven. My characters came to life for me as I created their stories. Zadok Wooding, a blacksmith frustrated with his ordinary life, finally has a chance to become a hero, until an accident thwarts those plans. Aurinda Whitney, who lives a Cinderella existence with an unloving father, struggles to keep her faith in the midst of war. The two meet and the adventure begins, fraught with terror, bravery, and, of course, love that kindles in the midst of war.

The back story of Zadok and Aurinda is featured in the prequel, War’s Respite. It is set in 1763, at the very end of the French and Indian War. War’s Respite is a short novella and is an introduction to the entire 4-book series entitled Dawn of America.

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When I signed my contract with Burnett Young Books, the publisher wanted Book 1 to be a Prequel to Book 2, Love’s Kindling. I’d never written a prequel before and I found it completely enjoyable to go deeper into the back story of my characters. It required minimal changes to Love’s Kindling, except a few lines between the characters. It almost seemed as though Book 2 was written to have a prequel! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I took pleasure in writing it.

In the works are Books 3 and 4, Winter’s Ravage and Courier’s Return. I hope this new series blesses you and touches your heart.

 

                                   Back Cover Copy, War’s Respite

In 1763, the war with the French came to a close. While most Connecticut colonists breathed in relief, others are faced with unexpected conflicts as battles of a different nature ensue at home.

Veteran Abijah Whitney regrets leaving his pregnant wife behind when he was called away to war. The news of her death during childbirth as well as the ugly brutalities of war have left their mark. His only comfort is the knowledge that his daughter survived. But his plans for her upon his return will cause an uproar in many lives, including the aunt who raised her.

Primrose Allan’s sole consolation after the death of her sister in childbirth is the baby girl who lived. The aunt raises the girl as her own, fearing that one day the girl’s father might return for her. But Primrose never imagined the nightmare that would ensue.

Dr. Isaac Northrup is a friend caught in the middle of the turmoil. Always desiring to bring healing, he feels helpless in the events that cause pain and heartache to others, as well as himself.

Jonas Wooding, the town’s blacksmith, is caught in the strife, made all the worse by a serious epidemic. Bound by constrictions of local law and forced to face his own grief, Jonas’s trust in God is stretched beyond endurance.

When all seems lost, will faith endure? loveskindling_cover

      Back Cover Copy, Love’s Kindling

During the American Revolution in 1779, Aurinda Whitney lives with her cold and calloused father, an embittered veteran of the previous war. Aurinda’s life changed forever when her father returned for her after that war, taking her away from the only place she’d ever experienced affection. Since her father blamed Aurinda for the death of his wife in childbirth, Aurinda is convinced she is unworthy of love.

Zadok Wooding believes he is a failure as he tends the smithy at home while others go to battle against the British. Just when he has an opportunity to become a hero, he is blinded in an accident. Now he fears he will never live up to the Biblical “mighty man of valor” for whom he was named.

When the couple meet, they are both challenged to overcome adversity as well as their inadequacies. Unexpected secrets of their past emerge that can change their lives forever. But can they look past their present circumstances to heal—and find love.

Author Bio

Elaine Marie Cooper has two E-book releases January 18, 2019: War’s Respite (Prequel novella) and Love’s Kindling. Paperback version of Love’s Kindling will follow. These books are the first two novels in the Dawn of America Series set in Revolutionary War Connecticut. Cooper is the award-winning author of Fields of the Fatherless and Bethany’s Calendar. Her 2016 release (Saratoga Letters) was finalist in Historical Romance in both the Selah Awards and Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She penned the three-book Deer Run Saga and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. You can visit her website/ blog at www.elainemariecooper.com

Elaine is giving a way a copy of both e-books to one lucky commenter. Let me know in the comments on this blog that you’d like to be entered in the drawing. Comments on social media are not eligible. I’ll draw a name on January 31st. Elaine will contact the winner.

 

 

 

 

Ten Tips for Early Conference Preparation

conference word cloudOne area I feel writer’s fall short is preparing ahead for conferences.  I mean way ahead. We’re too busy writing and marketing. So, we wait until the last minute to get our act together leaving us anxious and worn out before the opening day. This is January, let’s see if we can’t change that. It’s possible I’ll be attending three this year when one is my average. So, I’m preaching to the choir here.

I’ve put together my ten-point checklist. If you can sprinkle the months leading up to your conference with time to get these things done. It leaves the weeks before for fun stuff, like shopping for a new outfit. Your conference experience will be so much more enjoyable.

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  1. Choose the conference you plan to attend.

You’ll base it on affordability and distance from home.  Perhaps there’s a dream conference you’ve had your eye on, and this is the year.

  1. Fund it ahead.

Set money aside each payday or paycheck from a writing assignments or royalties. Don’t be shy about applying for scholarships. Some conferences offer work scholarships.

Watch for flight deals. Sometimes the earlier you book the sweeter the deal. The same goes for hotels.

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  1. Prepare your Manuscript.

Start now to clean it up and tweak it. Ask for others to go over it. Trade critiques with another writer. Run it through Grammarly or ProWritingAid or both.  Make sure it’s the best it can be.

  1.  New headshot

No one should use an old photo. We age, our hairstyle changes and we don’t want an editor to not remember us because the business card photo does not look like the person they met. Photographers often have a reasonable price for headshots. Having a copy on your computer allows you to put it on business cards, bookmarks and sell sheets. Paying for a bit of touchup is a good idea.

  1. Get your swag on

Buy new business cards if needed to reflect changes in your writing status. Some authors add the book titles to the back of their card or use a folded card for any additional information. Create new bookmarks, notecards and sell sheets early. It gives you time to have a reprint if you find an error. It also spreads the cost over months instead of weeks.

I carry my clips and samples in a three ring binder with plastic sleeves.

  1. Gather clippings throughout the year.

As you receive bylines put them in a clip file. Put your favorites together in a folder to show an editor. No one wants to see them all. Make sure whichever clips they choose to read are your best work.

  1. 7. Put out the word if you have a need

Well in advance of the event request roommates or a need to carpool. It gives you a better chance of finding the right match.

  1. Set aside spending cash

Decide what your spending cash goal is and try to save that ahead of time. Throw change in a jar. Cut your grocery spending by $10 and put that in an envelope for the conference. Use cash only or a prepaid debit card for on-site conference purchases. This keeps you from overspending.

  1. Bath the event in prayer.

Pray for the conference and seek God’s direction months before the registration day arrives. God’s peace will rest on you before, during, and after the event.

  1. Request the days off now

Ask for the time off now. Add a day before to get things in order, and a day after to rest, and recover. Waiting until the last minute usually ends in fewer days off or too much going on at work to use your PTO. Request the time now before anyone else takes those dates.

This is my checklist. What other things would you add?

I know you’ve thought of something I’ve missed.

 

 

My thoughts on Endorsements

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I’ve got a bee in my bonnet I thought I’d shared today. I love getting endorsements for my books, and I love giving them. But the thing that bugs me; fake endorsement.  Readers may stop trusting the endorser. Not what I want as a writer and blogger.

The Bee

It is acceptable among authors and publishers for writers to ask for an endorsement by sending a line or two they have written themselves. The celebrity, authority or author whose name appears on their book cover adds clout. So, they call or send a note. “I know you’re busy. You mentioned endorsing my upcoming book. To save you time I’ve written one for you. If you’re comfortable with the wording, may I add your name?”  Or something along those lines. Many are happy to do it.

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Not me. I know people are busy, and it’s hard to set aside time to read a book. But for me, it is putting words in their mouths and I won’t do it. I ask for endorsements and send the person the pdf and the summary. Then let them write it in their own words. If they don’t finish the book and still write the endorsement then they’ve read enough to feel comfortable adding their name to the cover.

I always read the books I endorse. If I don’t have time, I decline the opportunity. Just as I give an honest review, I want to give an honest endorsement. I consider being asked an honor, and I don’t take that lightly.

The Sting

I was appalled to read the words “well-written” by an endorser for a book that wasn’t. It was amateurish and lacked professional editing.  Apparently, the individual endorser didn’t read the book. Some writers think readers don’t know what a well-written book looks like, so it doesn’t matter. Oh, but they do. Readers who trust the endorser for an honest assessment will be disappointed if their expectations aren’t met. I’m referring to terms like well-written or excellent wordsmith. Granted we all have our own opinions. If the endorser found it riveting, I may not. That’s different.

My Caution

In our effort to get a well-known person to endorse our work, we may find them more receptive if they don’t have to write the endorsement. Then you have a big name singing your praises on the cover. It may have little to no effect on your sales. Or your sales may skyrocket, but if your words are not well-written, the buyers will not return for your newest release. And if they trusted the endorser and were disappointed, the next book endorsed by the same person may be rejected out of hand by potential readers.

There now, the bee has escaped from my bonnet and I feel better.

What are your thoughts on getting and giving endorsements?

 

I’ve Gone and Done it for 2019

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I’ve finally went and done it. Done something I hadn’t planned on doing and avoided for years. Something to encourage me through 2019.  I dropped the new year’s resolution thing long ago. We all know we break those by February, a few hangers-on by summer.  I’m slow to comply and resistant to making promises I may not keep. The latest craze that has caught on over the last decade is a word for the year. I didn’t take that too seriously either. I lumped it in with writing down everything you eat before you start a diet. Not something I want to do. This year I can’t help it. I  believe I have my word for 2019. It’s BRAVE.

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Not the kind of brave that requires swords or donating a kidney. Instead this next year I will be brave enough to be who I am. I will not compromise my faith. I will finish the two novels I need to by bravely stealing time each day to get my word count done.

It takes bravery to say no to stuff I shouldn’t be wasting as much time on -like TV. Saying No to things others should be doing for themselves.  Saying no to other’s ideas of how I should be spending my time.

I’ll need bravery to continue to market myself. I’d rather help others get noticed. But I must be willing to put myself out there more. Bravery will hold me up as I continue to learn new ways to market and arrange more venues to sell books.

 

As a mom and grandmother, I often give over my time to others. Bravery puts guilt aside. Without guilt plaguing me I’ll take time for myself and enjoy it.

I’m looking forward to seeing how brave plays out in my life in 2019.

What is your word for the year?

If you’ve not subscribe to jubilee Writer why not start out the year with me. I’ve got some wonderful authors guesting on my blog this year. And I’ll give you periodic updates on how brave I’m being. I always try to provide helpful writerly information and book reviews. 

 

Andrea Merrell Shares: Is There Room in the Writing World for You?

Although this blog was posted on The Write Editing before Christmas I feel Andrea Merrell’s insights are spot on as we enter the New Year. A career in Writing is a difficult journey and as 2018 closes it’s easy to get discouraged and doubtful. I hope you find Andrea’s words as inspiring as I did.

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Is There Room in the Writing World for You?

By Andrea Merrell

It’s hard to know for sure how Mary must have felt the night she was about to give birth to the Savior of the world. Weary, cold, most likely hungry, and going into labor she was surely ready to climb off that donkey and crawl into a soft, warm bed.

But the only words she heard over and over were “no room.”

I can only imagine the other words she heard that night. “Sorry. Filled up. You should have gotten here earlier. Come back another time.” She might have even been told “our rooms are reserved for frequent, high-profile guests.” An earful of discouragement.

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At times we might face that same discouragement as writers—especially after a long journey of conferences, critique groups, appointments, classes, devouring books on the craft … and rejections.

 

No room. Sorry, that category is filled up. You should have submitted your proposal earlier. Come back another time after you rewrite your novel or come up with a new story. Your genre is not quite what we’re looking for at the moment. Yes, we have spots open, but they’re reserved for our high-profile, well-known authors.

That’s when the Enemy fills our mind with thoughts like: I might as well give up. What’s the point? I’m tired of trying. God must not have called me to do this after all. Maybe He’s even forgotten about me.

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That’s when the fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. We either go into hiding or fight for what we want. We might shut down our computers and quit or try to break down the door that has been closed to us. Either way, it’s a waiting game.

 

So, what should we do while we’re waiting? Just keep on, as they say, keepin’ on. Do what God has called us to do. We should never be tempted to try and promote ourselves. That’s God’s job, and He takes it seriously. He’s also very good at it. We need to look to Him for acceptance and approval, find our significance and self-worth in our relationship with Him. One pastor says, “In God’s kingdom you don’t achieve success on your own, you receive it from God. Let others compete and compare. Just stay faithful in what God’s given you to do—and when the time is right … He’ll come and get you.”

I love that statement “He’ll come and get you.” Just like He came after David as the young shepherd was tending sheep, doing the job he was given to do, while his brothers were striving to be Israel’s next king. God had a plan. He knew exactly where David was and how to find him. When the time was right, God sent for him.

The truth is in God’s kingdom there’s always enough room—for all of us. When we belong to and work for the Creator of the universe, the Master of Creativity, there is never a shortage of opportunities. The venue you have in mind may not be the one He has reserved for you, but it’s there with your name on it—not someone with more notoriety.

As a child of God, He has a plan and purpose for you and for your writing. He knows exactly where you are and how to find you. Trust Him for His perfect timing. He will open doors of opportunity that no one else can. There is more than enough room in the writing world—for you!

 

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I loved the encouragement Andrea brings to my writer’s heart. It is hard to soldier on in our calling as Writers when doors are closing all around. And even when publishers doors open wide and we feel at last we’ve arrive our own lack of confidence can sabatoga our career goals. I’m starting 2019  with a commitment to renew my trust in the Savior to guide me through the next twelve months as I continue to write, allowing him to be in charge.