Category: Authors Page 1 of 12

Combat!- Part II

“In the Christian life, one fact is crystal clear: we are at war. It involves every Christian—and collectively the entire Church—and it is a holy war. It does not involve physical combat; it is against spiritual enemies. It is a hard-fought war, demanding everything a believer has and is…To do their part in this war, individual believers must engage the spiritual enemies with the weapons and equipment with which God has endowed them. We can learn about all of this through God’s Word, but His truths are also illustrated through the events that have occurred in human military history. This book uses both, surveying the military history of Israel from Abram’s operation to rescue Lot through the fall of Jerusalem and examining our spiritual warfare in the light of military history and modern military organization.” (From the back cover.)

Write2Ignite featured Dennis Peterson last April talking about his path to publication for his latest book, Combat! With the release of the book in February by TouchPoint Press, Dennis is now on the other side of the process. In this second interview he answers more questions about the book and how he plans to market it.

How did you research the military aspects of Combat?

 Having taught history for a number of years, and having conducted quite a bit of research as a history textbook author, I already had a good background in military history. I conducted even more specific research into biblical Israel’s warfare and military theory and strategy by reading copious amounts of material by experts in the subject–ancient historians, Sun Tzu, Jomini, Clausewitz, and veteran high-ranking officers from America’s modern military. I then applied what I learned from that research to the individual’s spiritual warfare.

Do you think of the book as a devotional? 

If it is, it’s an awfully long devotional! I see it rather as a Bible study. Each chapter has four or five (or more) discussion questions that relate to the information contained in the chapter.

How are you marketing Combat?

I posted Facebook updates on its progress all along the way, announced its release date as soon as I learned it, announced when it was available for preorder and where, and then announced its actual release. I also had several partners (I guess the term for them now is “street team”) who also promoted it on social media using their platforms, thereby broadening the reach of the news. I also printed business cards that showed the cover on one side and basic ordering information on the back and bookmarks, which also showed the cover and ordering information but also gave a description of the book and information about the author, and began handing out those at every opportunity.

Are you speaking to any groups?

I have spoken in one local Christian high school’s chapel. I am willing to consider more as opportunities become available.

Are you planning on holding bookstore events?

There are several local bookstores that I intend to approach to arrange book signings.

The believer is to “put on the whole armor of God,” as the complete Roman panoply shown here illustrates. Illustrator: Preston Gravely

What was different about writing and publishing this book?

 

The publisher of this book was different than the one for my first book. The previous publisher was an academic publisher that tended to market solely to libraries and schools, and they did little to help spread the word beyond their catalog. The current publisher has posted numerous social media announcements about the book. They even monitored my own Facebook posts about the book and shared them, further broadening the market. They expressed confidence in me and my work, even offering me a contract for my next book! The only negative aspect that I’ve experienced is not having access to my book earlier. The first publisher had author’s copies to me several days before the book was available to the general public.

Have you had any reviews?  Interviews?

I had the first customer review appear on Amazon as soon as the Kindle version was available. It was written by one of my former Basic Composition students, and it made me feel as though all my efforts in the classroom so many years ago actually had made a difference after all, at least in one student’s writing life! “Suite T,” the blog site of Southern Writers magazine, published Part I of a two-part feature story about the book on February 21. Here is Part II of that feature.  As for interviews, a reporter for the Greer Citizen newspaper interviewed me and devoted about 1/3 of a page in the paper’s entertainment section to a write-up about the book before it was released.

Thanks, for sharing all of this with our readers. In addition, TouchPointe has contracted Dennis to write his next book which is titled, Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies. Look for an upcoming review of Combat! on this site.

Check out all of Dennis’s books at Amazon.com by searching “Dennis L. Peterson.”

Visit and follow his blog at: https://dlpedit.wordpress.com.

 

CONTENTMENT: MY Writerly Word for 2020

This past year was a difficult one for me. Due to our financial situation, we have not been able to travel, which has always been my go-to for inspiration. A new destination has the ability to shake up my brain cells and send them in a new direction, but this year, they stopped. Cold.

It’s as if I had a brick in my hand, and couldn’t lift my pen. My creativity was on lock-down. My mind was a blank. Oh, I could compose an email, and even write blog posts. But a story? Nope.

Have you ever had that feeling? Not comforting, is it?

What’s more, I felt jealousy rising within me whenever an author friend signed a new contract or received a raving review from Kirkus or Horn Book. It hurt when fellow authors posted about their school visits or bookstore signings.

It’s not that I hadn’t put forth the effort. Not at all. I had been contacting local bookstores and schools daily during the Fall, dutifully sending my one page of info immediately after I hung up the phone. I even kept a spreadsheet of the contact info and details of the email or phone call.

I felt like quitting Facebook and Instagram. Twitter, especially, was the worst. A knife went through me each time I witnessed someone’s successes as I scrolled. It’s not that I wanted to steal their joy or take away their accomplishments. Of course not. But I wanted it to happen to me as well.

It was then God brought the word CONTENTMENT to my heart and mind. If God has gifted me as a writer, then He knows what I need, right? And He has perfect timing. If He can move mountains and calm the sea, He certainly can remind my contacts to call and arrange a school visit. Or not. And, He can spark my creative muse in an instant. Or not. My part? To be CONTENT with what the Lord brings into my writing life.

My Word last year was PERSEVERANCE, and boy, did I persevere. I contacted over 30 schools, bookshops and conferences asking if I could share my author’s journey or teach a writing course. But in 2019, I had five events to attend where I could introduce my debut MG historical fiction, The Heart Changer.

This year, I want to rest in God’s plan for me. I have classes to take, and blog posts to write, and short trips to take as I search for ways to be inspired. And as I rest, do you know what is happening? Little by little, I see the Lord, my Master Designer, taking control and connecting me in almost imperceptible ways with my readers. What a freeing experience! I am released from my duty of cold-calling and reminders. CONTENTMENT is coming into focus as worry and doubt are banished.

I’m coasting down a gently flowing river on a raft, letting the current take me wherever it will. I lift my face to the sun, feeling its warm glow. I don’t need to worry about the destination, God has it all under control. I only need to rest.

Although I want to be content with my writing life and schedule, I am still open to connecting with the public in any region of the US. If you know of a church, school, bookstore or conference looking for a middle-grade author to participate in a bookish event, check out my Visit page. I love to share my passion for the Bible, history and the writing life with my readers!

Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on the lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Her debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International April 26th, 2019. Connect with her at her Author’s Website.

The Minimalist Writer

Along the city wall in York, England – a bow window used in the time of war. It’s all about focus!

As a writer, I can get caught up in FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Each time a new blog post or newsletter alerts me of a webinar I must attend, a book I should be reading, or a social media task I need to engage in, I get panicky.

Which is the most important? What if I make the wrong choice?

 

There is too much to do in a limited timeframe. Authors have families, other jobs, people and pets to care for, let alone places we’d like to go – just like anyone else. How do we fit it all in??

Can I make a suggestion?

We don’t need to!

As far as I’m concerned, there are only seven things we authors MUST do . . .

READ. WRITE. CONNECT. CRITIQUE. SUBMIT. INSPIRE. MENTOR.

Sound easy? It is!

 

#1 READ

Books that

– intrigue
– inspire
– inform

In addition, you must read in the genre you are writing in. And occasionally, to shake things up, choose a genre you would not normally read, or try an e-book or an audiobook. You’d be amazed at how a story gains another dimension when you listen to the words.

Join Goodreads, and find fellow readers who will share their favs. And you, in turn, can recommend yours.

 

#2 WRITE

For obvious reasons, if you are going to be a writer, you need to, well, write!

Every day, in some way.

It could be a letter. A blog post. A one-page prompt. An entry in your diary. Some creativity needs to flow from your pen.

I find having a weekly blog post forces me to write. Sometimes, being part of a challenge like NaNoWriMo brings out the creative juices. Or perhaps you work better with prompts. You can find prompts online or in a book. Take your pick.

 

The Charles Dickens Museum

 

#3 CONNECT

Connecting with others is a must — readers, writers, and professionals (agents and editors).

How is that done?

Through Social Media — pick one!

Facebook: if you love to post links, ask questions, share your travel pics, post cute animal photos, and share FB posts with others.

Pinterest: if you love to categorize images in a visual file for future reference, collect images for your next book, or writing tips to use later.

Twitter: if you can be succinct, love to connect with professionals, use GIFs and images, and ask questions or participate in pitch parties, etc.

Instagram: if you are all about a single photo, love to go live, to inspire others, and can tell a story in one image, but don’t necessarily care to share.

Also, writers’ groups like 12×12 are a great way to connect. You will find your friend list and writing skills growing faster than you ever thought possible! Memberships to professional organizations like SCBWI and ACFW are a must.

 

#4 CRITIQUE

Every writer needs a critique group. You can’t write in a vacuum. You need others to point out flaws in your writing, so you can perfect it. If signing a contract with an agent or editor is on your wishlist, then you need critique buddies to help you get that manuscript in shape.

The groups I’ve mentioned above will have critique groups to join as well as Word Weavers International, specifically conceived to help writers perfect their manuscripts in a friendly environment. They gather online or in person to encourage one another in their writing pursuits.

 

#5 SUBMIT

Of course, if you are going to be published, you need to submit! Here is a comprehensive guide to help you. Find the Writer’s Market 2020 here. The guide gives you tips of all sorts, and the categories are divided according to genre, subject, and type of publication. For those who write faith-based works, The Christian Writer’s Market Guide is a must-read.

And don’t forget the importance of writers’ conferences such as our own Write2Ignite and others like The SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference.     Each year, you have the opportunity to schedule appointments with agents and editors who might be waiting to publish your story!

 

#6 INSPIRE!

I don’t know about you, but I need to get out every so often and be inspired. Since I am a historical fiction writer, nothing gets my little grey cells working more than a trip to a historical town or museum. When I visited Bath, England years ago, my daughter and I had tea at this famous bun shop.

When we finished our treats, I visited the tiny museum in the basement of the shop which you see below. There was a small sign indicating that the woman who started the shop was a Huguenot girl who escaped persecution and fled to England. That tidbit of info was all I needed to begin my story, which I titled “Because of a Bun: Soli’s Saving Grace”.

 

 

#7 MENTOR

Just as the Brontë sisters mentored each other, and modern-day writers, too, as their classics wind their way into our hearts, we as writers need to find someone a bit farther behind us to come beside us on our journey. Have coffee with them and ask about their projects. Give them links to helpful resources. Offer to critique a story for them. They will thank you, and someday, do the same for another.

Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments below!


 

The Heart Changer - MG Historical Fiction

Jarm Del Boccio’s debut MG Historical Fiction, “The Heart  Changer”

Jarm Del Boccio’s debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer, released with Ambassador International April 26th. You can connect with her at https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/  Purchase The Heart Changer HEREJarm loves reviews, as does any author! 

Here’s a handy Teachers’ Guide to use with The Heart Changer as a unit study.


Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on the lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history. Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

The Blessings of Fall

Jean Matthew Hall founded Write2Ignite in 2008. For ten years she and I have encouraged one another in our writing and publishing pursuits. I was delighted when she received a contract for four picture books with Little Lamb Books; one for each season. The first  one, God’s Blessings of Fall in the Bountiful Blessings Series just came out in September; here’s a sneak peak into it with some of Jean’s words and some of Olya Badulina’s illustrations.

Sounds!

One of the first things I noticed about God’s Blessings of Fall are the sounds which Jean included. “A squirrel steps lightly, slightly on crisp leaves. Crackle. Crunch. He snatches fallen acorns nuts, and stuffs them into his chubby cheeks. His little nose twitches. His bushy tail swishes. His tiny feet leap and scamper to the top of the tallest tree.” Besides the onomatopoeia of the sounds of the leaves, do you hear the alliteration of chubby cheeks and tallest tree? How about the internal rhyme of lightly and slightly; twitches and swishes? Every spread includes one or more types of poetic language that will tickle the reader’s tongue and will keep a young reader’s attention.

Smells!

Not only are the sounds of fall represented, but also the smells, tastes, and textures. “Piles of leaves red, gold, and orange huddle around the roots of trees, then take to the sky! The rusty, dusty smell of musty leaves floats over fences and fields. Ah-choo!”  

Sights!

This sensory book includes some of the visual details one would expect in a book about fall such as geese flying in a V and owls hooting in a tree. But, there is also the unexpected prowling raccoon and spider hanging from dry cornstalks.

Tastes!

“Baskets sit piled high with apples ready for baking breaks and pies. Yellow apples, green ones with a sour thing, blushed ones that crunch with every bite. Some are shiny, red, and sweet. All so good to eat!”

Textures!

“Pumpkins rest at a cozy farmstand. Some fat and smooth as your skin. Some bumpy and warty, some tall and thin.”

This beautiful picture book will be a addition to your child’s or grandchild’s library; or as a classroom resource in a church library or Sunday School. For as the book concludes:

 

 

Look for two more books (probably winter and spring) next year. You’ll be sure to hear about both of them right here!

 

 

 

What About Rejections–Part II

Following up on Monday’s blog, here are more rejection stories from our 2019 faculty.

VIJAYA BODACH

Rejections! Oh yes! Thank God because I only want my best in print, but in my haste and excitement, I’ve sent out pieces too early, before they were truly ready. It’s only in hindsight I can appreciate these form rejections.

But the personal ones have been so educational. The first is encouragement to keep at it–it is good to receive a letter saying that while they cannot use this particular piece, they want to see more from me because they enjoy my style of writing. The second is pushing me to dig deeper into a story. And third, realizing that although a story is just right, they feel they cannot sell enough copies to make a profit, that they hope another publisher will see it differently.

Marketing can shoot down many proposals; it *is* a business after all, but even marketing can be wrong. It’s a guessing game, a gamble. Nobody knows if a book will soar or tank. Some books make a splash, other books grow in readership steadily, and some books tank even after throwing good money into advertising.

Publishers are often averse to taking a risk on an unknown author. So what’s a writer to do? First believe! Have the courage of your convictions. Focus on the craft. Learn the business. And try again. Thank God the big Five aren’t the only options. There are mid-sized, smaller, independent publishers as well as self-publishing. This is a great time to be writing, shining, reflecting the Light of Christ. In an ever-darkening world, your light needn’t be big to dispel the darkness. Be salt and light. Be “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” ~ I love this title of Cal Newport’s book and taking it as my motto for this writing life God has given me. Follow Vijaya on her blog.

ANDREA MERRILL

The road to publication can be a long, arduous journey. While many press on ahead and overcome the obstacles and setbacks, others lag behind wondering if they’ll ever make it. They might even wonder if it’s worth the price they have to pay. I’ve seen a few give up and walk away from their dream and passion.[spacer height=”20px”]
Let’s face it, rejection can be difficult. And criticism—even given constructively—is no picnic. And the waiting can be torture. Watching others rise to the top can make us envious and cause us to question our own talents and abilities. We begin to doubt ourselves and focus on our weaknesses, wondering if we even have what it takes.[spacer height=”20px”]
When that discouragement sets in, we are faced with the decision to quit or keep moving forward, trusting the One who empowers us to do whatever He has called us to do. God has a plan for us, and His timing is always perfect. Take to heart these words by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling:[spacer height=”20px”]
“My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back. Then, when the time is right, the way before you suddenly clears—through no effort of your own. What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift.
Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly. As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles. Miracles are not always visible to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. “[spacer height=”20px”]
  If God has given you the gift of words, trust Him to open the right doors of opportunity in His perfect timing. While you’re in the waiting stage, do whatever you can to hone your skills. Take a class. Attend a conference. Join or start a critique group. Study books on the craft of writing. Start a blog. Update your blog. Enter a contest. Submit a magazine article. Write a devotion and submit it to www.ChristianDevotions.us (that’s where I got my start).[spacer height=”20px”]
Whatever you do, don’t quit. Keep writing for the Lord, and remember the words of Jeremiah 29:11: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (MSG).[spacer height=”20px”]
How have you overcome obstacles and conquered discouragement on your own road to publication? We would love to hear from you.

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