Believing “I Can” with Lisa Albinus

12552659_1101643753180045_6760201956927515323_nMy name is Lisa Albinus, I get to live the dream of being an artist as I live my life with a Bible tucked under my arm and a paintbrush in my hand. My greatest desire is to breathe hope into the latent, creative dreams of your childhood and the crayons that have been abandoned. We trade in our crayons for deadlines and status, abandoning color for the more mundane daily living that permeates our being.

Remember the easier times when a fresh box of 96 crayons was heaven on earth? The smell as you opened the box and saw all of the little soldiers sharpened, pristine, ready to be called out of the ranks and used for great masterpieces? Let’s return to a time of wonder and unlimited potential. When we glorify the Lord through color, there is a sweet freedom of expression.

Join me at the Write2Ignite Conference, and let your fire of creativity be rediscovered. I will take you on a colorful, creative adventure where we will find beauty in the darkness and rescue her from your past. Friday night we will discover the freedom in mixed media journaling, awakening color within. Let’s clear away the cobwebs and make a stand against the lies that whisper, “You can’t”.

In addition, on Saturday, adults and youth can join me as we explore the sketching of faces and people, always within the context of mixed media. Don’t be afraid. Be bold, be fearless as you embrace new things and dormant dreams. Allow the child of yesterday, that squealed with delight at the new coloring book, to be your guide. You can -and I will help you.

Let’s change the world, together, through color.
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How to Write a Query for Schoolhouse Teachers Part Two

How to Write a Query for Schoolhouse Teachers Part Two

If you’ve been working on the assignment I gave you last month, you’ve thought of one or more good ideas that you want to write about. Now let’s get in to the meat of how to make this a course that kids can enjoy.

You’re going to need three main pieces to your course:

  • The basic text the students will read
  • The activities that will go along with the text
  • Assignments for further exploration

The first question to answer about your text is what age you are writing for. This can be a range, but it’s important to know your reader, just as it is when writing fiction. Not only will it make a difference in your word choice and sentence structure, it will play a huge part in exactly what specific topics you can cover. For example, if you are writing about plants for a child who is six, you are probably not going to spend a week discussing photosynthesis. You are going to discuss things like the types of common plants they see every day, what shape they are, how they grow from a seed, and things relevant to the world of the reader.

Once you know the age of your reader, you can start planning your main content. I’m an outliner, so I like to lay everything out ahead of time and then fill it in. If you prefer just sitting down and writing what comes out, please skip over this section and get busy writing. Let’s say I want to write about the geography of the United States. Two ways to outline this topic come to mind:

  • By region
  • By state

If I choose to outline it by region, I’ll have five divisions (depending on what map I consult): Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West. If I choose to outline it by state, I’ll have fifty separate sections.

If this is your first time creating a course, I strongly suggest you start with the five divisions instead of the fifty. Otherwise, you may find yourself planning for the fifty, starting strong, and wondering what you were ever thinking right around number seventeen!

This month, I want you to outline how your main idea might break down into units and then write. Don’t worry right now about what form the course will take in the end, or what kind of activities you will create—though certainly make note of any ideas you have about those as you go. Write as much as you can, and include as much information as you can. Keep track of the sources you use to gather and verify your information. Your job this month is not to write a polished piece of content. Your job is to learn as much as you can about your idea, divide it into logical chunks, and write as much as you can about. Next month we’ll start turning it into a course.

If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comment box below. I look forward to seeing you in April!

Bonnie-Rose-Hudson-200x200Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.

The Tale of Three Authors

by Cheri Cowell

Cheri Cowell I am an author/publisher. I began writing in 2000 with magazine articles and seven years later published my first book. Recently, I had my fourth traditionally published book release with Zondervan; but it is helping my fellow authors extend their reach through my company, EABooks Publishing, that gives me the most satisfaction. So here is my opus, the Tale of Three Authors.

Amy* was considered a successful author with two books published by traditional publishing houses. However, there was one book she’d pitched and pitched and had been unable to sell. The book represented her heart’s cry and passion and she wouldn’t rest until it was published.

Chip* was a leader in his local critique group, winning several writing awards, and the admiration of many. Yet, when he sat before editors at writers’ conferences he performed poorly and never knew how to answer the platform question. He wasn’t good at selling himself or his work, but he was a good writer with a lot to say.

Bonnie* was a retired high school English teacher who’d married her high school sweetheart. Together they’d served as missionaries around the world. Now that her husband was gone and her years waning, she’s begun to look at the legacy she was leaving. Her grandchildren loved the story she always told about a young girl in Bangladesh, the true story about a girl and her life of faith in a foreign land. Bonnie knew she didn’t have the funds most self-publishers were charging, and yet she didn’t fit the profile of the up and coming author the traditional publishers were looking to sink their money into. Was there a place for her in this publishing world?

These three writers found a place with EABooks Publishing

The same year Amy released two traditionally published books, she released the book of her passion as an e-book. She timed it perfectly to piggyback on the publicity from her traditionally pubed books. Now she knows the message of her ‘passion book’ is reaching people and making a difference.

Chip has published five books with EABooks Publishing, some as e-books and others as print-on-demand. He’s found a new outlet for his creativity, and with marketing help from EABooks he’s developed a fan base. And he’s even making a little money. His fans can’t wait for the release of his latest project—an audiobook.

It took Bonnie a long time to make her decision, but when she finally decided to go with EABooks Publishing she found the whole process empowering. When her book began selling on Amazon she sent a link to a friend, who decided to purchase hundreds of copies for the children’s home he supported. Bonnie would have been happy to sell only to her family and friends, but sharing the gospel with hundreds of needy children makes her heart sing.

This tale is still being written and has room for the stories of more authors. Come share yours with Cheri Cowell, Owner and President of EABooks Publishing. She’d love to hear about your book.

* Names and genders have been changed but these stories are true.

www.EABooksPublishing.com

 

Write Exciting Things for Kids

Some of you know that I am a teacher as well as an author. I learn from my students and fellow teachers every single day, even  – and sometimes especially – those who are brand new to the profession.

What does teaching have in common with writing?

So. Many. Things.

ButtonsI was sitting with a new teacher who had inherited some classroom materials from her peers. Although she was grateful for each item and the generosity of the givers, I heard her sigh as she examined one thing. It was a counting chart.

“Oh. I wish it was something a little more interesting to count.”

I looked around her classroom that was decked out with super heroes. I understood what she meant. Her job was to draw in and engage children, to get them excited.

Isn’t that our job as children’s authors?

Here are some ways to keep our writing perspective exciting for children and teens. After all, we are writing about the only true super hero, Jesus Christ. Our writing needs to reflect his power, glory, and amazing acts.

  • Surround yourself with His Word. Be true in your personal Bible study.
  • Immerse yourself in time with Him. Pray.
  • Spend lots of time with your young perspective readers. Interact with them in as many places as possible – home, church, school, and community activities.
  • Read what they are reading. Ask children and teens what they are reading. Ask why they like it.
  • Read new books. Look for the new releases from Christian publishers and books that have won awards.

So there it is – our task as Christian authors for children and teens in a few words.

Write exciting things for children.

What exciting things will you write today?

Carol

Carol McAdams Moore is the author of two devotionals for preteens.

Dare U 2 Open This Book Cover    Just Sayin' Cover

Always a Learning Curve

by Vicki H. Moss

Merry Go round Dove and Dahlia - eThere’s plenty of advice available about what to write and how to “speak” to children readers through story. But how do you get your stories out there to parents who buy a large percentage of children’s reading material after you publish those fantastic tales?

You can Google information on how to use Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media for marketing but with Instagram and Pinterest, remember, photographs and captures are a necessity.

And since the population at large has become consumers of quick glance phrases and instant gratification through visual photos without reading more than a sentence or two—I had one Insta user tell me she gets irritated even if captions beneath photos are too long—how does an author market books and magazines to make it to first base and a sale?

Bible Job Roses Teapot - eOne way I get books and magazines to the attention of my followers is through curated photos. Not simply a picture of a book, but something that will entice the reader to take a closer look to keep their attention on the capture longer. I might place a scarf with a book or a purse or sunglasses with a magazine—anything to draw a reader in for more than a cursory glance.

To reach a broader audience, I post interesting photos of more than books. That way, a potential follower can scroll down through my gallery to see if they might like to follow me without being bombarded with a visual sales pitch every week. The key is to occasionally post what I’m marketing, not turn someone off.

Caveat: There’s always a learning curve to any new social media outlet. So think about what your interests are and decide what “feel” or “look” you want your Instagram gallery to have. For instance, I’m also interested in cooking, knitting, and equines and post some of all at different times.

I can now hear you moaning and groaning—“But all of those photos to file and categorize! I have to take the SD card out of my DSLR camera, get on my computer, then name all of the photos, then email them to myself so I can open and save the photos to my iPad or iPhone. Organize, organize, organize! Not only does that take up a lot of storage on my mobile devices, but when will I have time to write?”

Keep this in mind: If you have no way of getting your writing out into the world, your writing is in vain unless you’re writing strictly for yourself, family, and friends.

To dive into the marketing world and another dose of reality, grab a cup of coffee, notebook, and pen, and I’ll share a few tips that will make organizing those photos easier. Or, to save time, copy and post these tips to your Ipad Notes or take a photo of them with your iPhone: Invest in an Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. I purchased mine online for approximately $33.99 with free shipping through

Amazon and you can have it delivered to your mailbox if you loathe trekking to the mall like I do.

Then you can:

1) Use Dropbox and the accompanying carousel that backs up all of your phone images.

2) You can take photos off your camera to post on Instagram by dragging the image to the Dropbox icon on your PC or Apple desktop and they instantly go to your Ipad for posting to social media.

3) You can then save time by using the iTunes App Snapseed and edit further in Instagram and don’t have to wait on email and airdrop to deliver the photos. (The regular Dropbox Pro gives 1TB of storage and is approximately $99 per year.)

Instagram - eBy using a variety of social media outlets to market your work, you’ll meet potential worldwide readers of your work. And people are always looking for a good book for a birthday nephew, niece, or grandchildren.

And don’t forget to make sure you have your work available as an eBook. I know. I sympathize with your moaning over another learning curve. But perhaps I can touch some on eBooks at the Write2Ignite conference workshop on “How to Write for Kids’ Magazines” I’ll be teaching. See you there!

To check out my latest photo captures, some curated—some not, follow me on Instagram (@vickihmoss). I will follow back!

Vicki H. Moss is a speaker and writing conference workshop instructor as well as Contributing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine. Also a poet, she’s author of How to Write for Kids’ Magazines, several nonfiction eBooks for adults, and Writing with Voice. Published in numerous compilations and anthologies that can be purchased through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Billy Graham’s The Cove bookstore, and Grace Publishing, Vicki blogs at www.livingwaterfiction.com