How To Spot A Book Addict

How To Spot A Book Addict

You’ve seen them:

-pale faces because they never see daylight

-eyes gruesomely glued to pages

-may attack if forced to set aside their book.

They roam bookstores at odd hours, their eyes hungry and their hands frantic. (Generally protected by an impenetrable shield of books, but we’re not concerned with attacking them at the present.) You speak to them, but those hungry eyes apparently also are glass, because they simply look through you.

These addicts may physically live in our world, but their minds continually seek fresh planets of habitation.

They use books for pillows. They get high off of the smell of ink. They talk and breathe and fight in imaginary worlds.

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I know because I too am a book addict.

Yes, I hear voices too. Can we keep that quiet?

They speak to me out of pages and ink and worlds of imagination. Paper friends who come to life in my soul.


Books are friends that come to life in your soul

I am the characters I read about. I am the lowliest peasant. I am the richest emperor.

A princess.

A dragon.

A soldier.

A spy.

Within the pages of a book, I can be anything that I wish to be.

And that is the greatest superpower in the world.

What about you? Has a book changed your life?

 

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Until next time. . . happy writing!

 

Coming Next Week: Interview with Author Molly Jo Realy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motivation Monday: Interview with Speaker and Author Julie Dibble

Motivation Monday: Interview with Speaker and Author Julie Dibble

Hi, Julie! Thank you for joining us today! How long have you been writing? What inspired your quest to become a writer? I have been writing with professional intent for almost two years. Following a profound transformation with God in my early 40’s, He called me to speak for Him. One year following the call to speak, He pulled me back to write. It was December 2015, and I was disappointed. I am an extrovert who draws her energy from interaction with others. Social media doesn’t cut all the time for extroverts. We need to be with real smiles, varying tones and hugs, if appropriate. Writing was something I had thought about long ago. When I was in elementary school, I wrote stories on notebook paper and illustrated them with colored pencils. Through my Godless life (where I didn’t know Him, but He knew me), I journaled my pain, wrote poetry, and at different points had book writing ideas. Now I realize God had created a writer within me.

Tell us a little bit about your writing journey! In the last two years, I have poured out poetry. I have dabbled with short fiction stories. However, the bulk has been nonfiction writing about the power of God in my life. Purpose Magazine has accepted two of my nonfiction articles for publication. In September of 2016, I began blogging. Currently, I am working to write two books.

What is the greatest praise you’ve received about your writing so far? The greatest praise I have received about my writing was its timing. In December 2016, I wrote about my parents’ death on my blog. This was not my idea, but God’s. With the way He orchestrates everything, I received a message from an acquaintance who said they saw my post because someone shared it. Just that night, they found out their father-in-law suddenly died. That post, to date, has the most views. God’s plan, not mine.

Describe your writing style in three words. Transparent, relatable, emotive.

What is your favorite thing about writing? The process of ongoing discovery. I never would have known certain parts of myself without writing. Some ideas and stories have surprised me.

What is your least favorite thing about writing? My least favorite thing is the solace required.  For me, I need pretty much total quiet to concentrate, brainstorm, etc. It can get lonely for me sometimes.

Your most creative ideas come when. . . My most creative ideas follow meditation. For me, that includes prayer, walks outside, or even focusing on an image.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Quite humbly, I suggest to aspiring writers to simply read and write. For writing, it doesn’t matter what or how grammatically correct it is. Set apart at least 15 minutes a day to write. How long must you do this? No clue; you will know as ideas begin to formulate into a bigger “something”. The reader part is natural for some writers. If it is not, find a way to incorporate books into your life.

Can you give us a teaser about your WIP? My current book project is a memoir of my marriage. The teaser I can offer is that both Satan and Jesus have their parts in our marriage story. The beauty is Jesus is always victorious.

Thank you for joining us, Julie! Happy writing!

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About Julie

Julie Dibble, MA, is a Christian speaker and author who has a passion for truth. With a late-in-life transformation, Julie is forever grateful for Jesus. She and her husband Jason life in Central PA with their sons, Braedon and Jackson.

Julie writes at her blog http://www.juliedibblewrites.wordpress.com and has two published articles in Purpose Magazine.

Julie will speak to both secular and faith-based groups: MOPS and other women’s groups, retreats and conferences.

You may connect with her:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

The One Thing That Keeps You From Success

The One Thing That Keeps You From Success

I am a coward.

I sat down with an author friend in a coffee shop last week. After sharing stories, she asked what my next step would be. I knew what I’m supposed to say —follow up with agents and publishers who expressed interest in my book— but instead I hesitated.

“Well?” my friend said. “When are you going to submit the book?”

Time froze. In that instant I felt only the panic gnawing its way up my spine. “I don’t know.”

I’ve been writing for twenty years, and working toward publication for ten years, but still I found myself paralyzed. Uncertain if I could actually do this.

The only way for me to succeed is to move forward. Move past my mental roadblocks and conquer the irrational fears that paralyze me.

I’ve passed the stage where I can afford to hesitate. Either I move now and take this giant crazy terrifying mortifying exhilarating amazing dream horror of a step…or forever lose the opportunities that have been offered my book.

More and more I’m learning that other writers are not our competition— but we are our own competition. We slack off, we hesitate, we doubt, we are our own worst adversaries.

You are the greatest obstacle your writing has to face.

“Come on,” you’re saying. “This doesn’t apply to me. I would never be crazy enough to miss a chance like this.”

But what are your fears? Dig deep. Probe into everything that makes you afraid. Are you scared of rejection? Evil reader reviews? Maybe a sense that your writing will never measure up? Maybe you lack a solid grasp of the craft, or your story has grown stale and old.

But that is never a reason to give up.

We must look ourselves eye to eye in the mirror of truth and confront the fear that holds us back. We will fight hard and never give up, never give in.

A writer always faces opposition. Those who succeed are the ones who don’t quit.

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Face your own heartache and battle forward. Learn what you’re lacking. Get professional feedback to help you overcome your weak areas.

Together we will conquer this.

Together we will attain our dreams.

Because we are the only ones holding ourselves back from success.

What fears keep you from reaching your goals? How do you plan to conquer them?

 

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Until next time. . .happy writing!

 

 

Monday Motivation: Interview with Author Aaron Gansky

Monday Motivation: Interview with Author Aaron Gansky

Hi, Aaron! Thank you for joining us today! How long have you been writing? What inspired your quest to become a writer? I’ve been writing my whole life, really. At least as far back as I can remember. I’m not quite sure exactly made me want to write, other than my father was a writer, and we did some stories together early on. We never finished them, so I wanted to. I was pretty much hooked after that.

Tell us a little bit about the Hand of Adonai series! At first, Lauren Knowles is thrilled to wake up in Alrujah, a digital fantasy world she created with her best friend, Oliver Shaw, but the exhilaration of serving as a magical princess fades when she senses a demonic force lurking in the shadows. Though they designed a world of wondrous beauty, blue-leafed forests, shimmering silver rivers, and expansive medieval castles, Lauren and Oliver soon find their secret realm to be an ever-changing land of dark oppression and deadly sorcery. With the help of Aiden Price and Erica Hall, two friends from their high school in North Chester, the four teens must find a way out, a way that can only be discerned from the dusty pages of the ancient leather-bound tome, The Book of Things to Come. Faced with questionable allies, invisible enemies, and increasingly dangerous levels of difficulty, the four must learn to work together, to trust each other…or be forever lost.

What is the greatest praise you’ve received about your writing so far? Good question. I think Lori Roeleveld has said some really nice things about my writing, but I liked award-winning author Ann Tatlock’s praise for Who is Harrison Sawyer. “Aaron Gansky’s characters reach out from the pages and grab with a literary fist, taking readers along on a roller-coaster ride of mystery and conspiracy. [The novel] left me wanting more from this talented author. Definitely another winner!”

Describe your writing style in three words. Character-driven, detail-rich, emotionally-powerful. I hope hyphens are OK. 🙂

What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite? My favorite part of writing is imagining new worlds and characters. My least favorite be the tedious editing process. Some parts of editing I like, other parts are simply draining. I usually like editing less when I’ve gone through the same work multiple times.

Your most creative ideas come when. . . I allow myself to daydream. I actively participate in mindless activities (doing dishes and the like) to allow myself some time to think and dream.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Stop aspiring and start writing. 🙂 The only thing keeping you from writing is you. Once you commit to writing, you’ll get better and better. Also, READ. That is all.

Can you give us a teaser about your WIP? I don’t want to say too much, but I will let you know  that I am, again, writing outside my genre (of course, every time I do that, I add another genre to my resume– this is something my dad has done numerous times). This time around, I’m trying my hand at a sci-fi.

The one item you would take into a zombie apocalypse is. . . My laptop. There are bound to be some slow times when I can get some writing done. Like, when the zombies are shambling toward me at their top speed of, oh, say, one mile an hour.

About Aaron

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In addition to being a loving father and husband, Aaron Gansky is an award-winning novelist, teacher, and podcast host. In 2009, he earned his M.F.A. in Fiction at the prestigious Antioch University of Los Angeles, one of the top five low-residency writing schools in the nation. Prior to that, he attained his Bachelor in Arts degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from California State University of San Bernardino, where he studied, in part, under Bret Anthony Johnston, now the Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University.

His first novel The Bargain (2013, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a finalist for the Selah Award for debut novel. Two years later, The Book of Things to Come (2015, Brimstone Fiction), the first book in his Hand of Adonai YA Fantasy series, won the Selah Award for YA Fiction. He has written two books on the craft of fiction; Firsts in Fiction: First Lines and Write to Be Heard (with Diane Sherlock). 2016 saw the publication of two more of his novels, The Blood Sword: A Hand of Adonai Novel and Who is Harrison Sawyer, an emotionally-evocative mystery/political conspiracy thriller.

In 2013 he began his Firsts in Fiction podcast with Steve McLain. Shortly after, Heather Luby joined the line up. Lately, he chats with his father, novelist Alton Gansky, about elements of the craft. Each week they dispense practical, in-depth analyses of how to write  powerful fiction. If you want to chat with him, you can find him at aarongansky.com

 

Write Pursuit: My Conference Experience

Write Pursuit: My Conference Experience

After all, I was afraid.

Last year, the writers conference was my fairy godmother, and my every wish came true. This year? I knew what was ahead of me. Work. Hard, brutal, frustrating work.

I pitched to an invisible agent the entire drive to the conference.

Grew teary over my imperfect one sheets and proposal.

I was the only one to blame if I failed. I had reason to be afraid.

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Strange? Why, yes, we’re writers.

I came to the conference expecting to forge my own path, only to find that I could not succeed alone. I wept with newbies as they received their first critiques. Leaned on friends  to keep me going when I failed. My days were fueled by advice from meetings, critiques and keynotes: Talent without persistence is useless. Set aside all reasons to ignore the call. Quitting is the only path to failure.

I came to the conference to pursue my dreams.

Only to realize that we all have dreams. We all are important.

And to succeed, we must put others first.

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One of the best things about a writers conference? The opportunity to meet your author heroes.
Writing is not a race for a destination. It is a journey. A slow journey. We grow impatient, demanding the success we are certain we deserve. We scavenge for fame. Expecting everything to fall into place when we have not laid the groundwork for our castle of dreams.

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Spending time in the lobby with a sweet new friend.

Our writing journey is like building a stairway. Either your foundation will be solid and you can climb all the way to the top— or your foundation will be hollow and you will crumble. Life will throw unexpected twists in our paths, but we must keep going.

Pray.

Hope.

Work.

For now, I will focus on building my stairway. One step after another until I reach my dreams.

The only way to success is to keep climbing.

Do you have writing goals? What are they? How do you plan to reach them?

 

Coming Next Week: Interview with Author Aaron Gansky

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Until next time. . .happy writing!

 

Monday Motivation: Interview with Ralene Burke

Monday Motivation: Interview with Ralene Burke

Hi, Ralene! Thank you for joining us today! How long have you been writing? What inspired your quest to become a writer? I’ve always been writing, even when I was little. I had a short essay on Martin Luther King Jr. published in a city-wide magazine in the 3rd grade. In 2005, a conversation with the head teller at the bank where I worked inspired the novel that really set off this journey to write as a career.

Tell us a little bit about Bellanok! A novel inspired by nothing more than a fervent prayer for new ideas, Bellanok is my first published novel. My baby!

A haven for myths and legends. . .until evil discovers a way in.

With evil darkening the mountain to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated — a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him that he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to open the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

What is the greatest praise you’ve received about Bellanok so far? I had a reader email me to tell me how Bellanok inspired her to make some changes in her life, to embrace who she was meant to be. That’s the highest praise, in my opinion.

Describe your writing style in three words. Encouraging, embracing, and empowering.

What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite? I love brainstorming and discovering the heart of a story. It’s thrilling to “meet” new characters and dive into their lives, their worlds. Of course, then I go back and read what I wrote and wonder how I’ll ever make it as a writer. Self-doubt is probably the worst.

Your most creative ideas come when. . . I’m trying to sleep. I’ve decided I have a mild form of insomnia.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Take the time to learn your craft. You have to know the rules/guidelines in order to effectively develop your own voice and style. Or, as some say, you have to know the rules to break them.

Can you give us a teaser about your WIP? I’m working on Soter, a sequel to Aletheia (the one due out in September). Here’s a little snippet:

Out of nowhere, Sam stopped. He didn’t turn. Didn’t say anything.

Tristan slowed and clapped a hand on his shoulder. “What are you doing?”

A low growl emanated from the trees. Red eyes appeared in the darkness.

Tristan’s breath froze in his lungs. So now would be the moment of the attack. He flung his bag away from him, and Sam did the same. Tristan noted that there were no lupens behind them on the plain. He forced himself to breathe slowly.

A giant lupen stepped from the woods– the largest he had ever seen. Its massive paws has to be about the size of his chest. Fear wasn’t an emotion he dealt with often, but now it was evident in the pounding of his heart and the sweat dripping down his back.

A lone lupen. Were there more hiding in the trees?

“Why isn’t it attacking?” Sam whispered, his voice shaky.

You stand between two portals. One opens to a fantasy world and the other to a spaceship. You would open the portal to. . . Fantasy, of course! I love a good fantasy story–and what I wouldn’t give to visit some of those lands. Although, if that “spaceship” was the TARDIS…

About Ralene

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Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for several freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website

Here There Are Dragons: Overcoming the Unknown in Our Fiction

Here There Are Dragons: Overcoming the Unknown in Our Fiction

The cartographer dipped his pen into the ink and hesitated. His finger rested on the spot where the words would go, but he could not bring himself to pen it. On the far end of the table, a lone candle smoked into the dimness of the room, twisting the shadows into gruesome monsters of his imagination. . . much like the creatures legend said existed in the empty spaces of his map. He stared into the space where man did not dare to go and where untold dangers had never been explored.

He lowered his pen and wrote in careful letters:
HC SVNT DRACONES.

Here there are dragons.

Much like the cartographer’s map, our stories face vast, empty spaces where we fear to go. We feel we must follow a rigid outline, make sure a book is “acceptable” and follows the genre rules. Which leaves us in a tangle: write a predictable, this-had-possibilities story. . .or take our stories off of the map.

Into the realm of danger and dragons.

Will you dare to take your story into the unknown?

Coming Next Week: Motivation Monday: Interview with Speculative Author Ralene Burke