My One Word for 2017: Persevere

By Cynthia Herroncynthia-herron

Welcome!

I’m so glad you stopped by.

Now that another year’s behind us, I’ve reflected on past goals mastered and met, and a few things I didn’t accomplish. I’ve set new goals for the coming year and I’ve realigned priorities.

As I mentioned in my recent newsletter, I rarely (if ever) make New Year’s resolutions, which are too easily broken, forgotten, or made in haste. I opt for “goals” instead.

Goals force us to examine our dreams and desires, usually through a step-by-step process. We might organize a plan to attain our goals and then enlist mentors to keep us focused and on track.

Last year, along with new goals—for the first time ever, I chose one word to ground me and center my thinking. That word was encourage. It fit me. It’s my life philosophy.

This year, as I contemplated my word, the choice seemed obvious. It’s a tough one—a word writers know well.

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My one word for 2017 is PERSEVERE.

As some dreams withered and died, others have been resurrected. Still, this writing journey isn’t easy.

The writing life takes tenacity, focus, and flexibility.

It demands work, self-direction, and wit.

It requires courage.

Balance.

Shoe-leather skin.

Transparency.

Good judgment.

The high road.

A sensitive heart.

An intuitive spirit.

A listening ear.

Drive.

Determination.

Sometimes, tears.

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As one year melds into the next, defeat would seem the saner option.

However, I’m a writer.

Sanity is overrated.

And you know what they say about insanity.

However—I would add this caveat.

We persevere until we get it right.

As we learn, grow, and try new things—while testing what works and discarding what doesn’t—while envisioning success.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…” (James 1:2-4 NIV)


cynthia-herronCynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

A hopeless romantic at heart, Cynthia enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. She has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

Cynthia is a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her short story Words from the Heart appears in The Story Anthology (Karen Kingsbury/Family Fiction) via Salem Publications, 2014.

Besides writing, Cynthia delights in serving the Lord and spending time with her family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple. Join her at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ for weekly encouragement.

3 Questions Wednesday with Randy Tramp

randy-trampToday, we welcome author, Randy Tramp, to 3 Questions Wednesday. He facilitates the Word Weavers critique group I’m a part of and has just released his debut novel, Night to Knight.

So let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Randy: (Jesus is my number one motivation.) When I think of inspiration, I consider what keeps me moving forward. I read and study the works of a lot of very good authors. Dan Walsh is at the top of my list. In life, I use WWJD, but in writing, I use WWDW (What would Dan write?) He was my mentor as I wrote Night to Knight, and his advice still lingers in my mind. I also get inspiration from my Word Weavers group.

Good answer. 🙂 Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Randy: I’ve always liked the color purple. I’ve learned it’s the color of royalty.

 That’s interesting. I’ve also heard it denotes wealth, wisdom, and spirituality.

 Now, last question–

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Randy: I was ten when the U.S. landed a man on the moon. So I wrote NASA asking for a moon rock. They sent me something much better. A whole package of large pictures. I loved it and wanted to be an astronaut.

Nice! Do you still have the pictures? Thanks, Randy for joining us today…

Readers, Randy is offering a copy of his book, Night to Knight, to one blessed reader. Just leave a comment in the comments section below to be entered to win an e-book.

Here’s more information about the book:


Night to Knight

night-to-knightSpecial Forces Mark Steele commands an operation to save two American Missionaries. He’s injured and dismissed from the Special Forces. Not wanting to take a desk job, the Navy discharges him. Mark becomes discouraged until he discovers a new purpose in life—locate and return abducted children to their family. To protect his wife from emotional stress, Mark doesn’t tell her. During one of Mark’s missions, Kaitlyn finds a crumbled paper in the wastebasket next to his desk. She calls the number and hears a female’s voice, then Mark’s voice in the background. “We’re a married couple headed to Phoenix,” Mark says…

Read more about Randy’s book here.


randy-trampRandy Tramp is a freelancer, writing articles for newspapers and magazines. He’s just published his debut novel, Night to Knight.
He served in the Navy for eight years, supervised inmates at a Federal prison for twelve years and ministered as a children’s Pastor for twelve years. During this time, while on a missions trip, he taught African’s about children’s ministry.
His passion is to see families strengthened and relationships restored. He and his wife Kim are parents of eleven children (eight adopted) and five grandchildren, ranging in ages from two to thirty-two.
You can connect with Randy at:

 

Weight a Minute

by Carlton Hughes

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Erma Bombeck, and it resonates deeply with me.

“In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.”

scale-403585_1280Yes, I am the person who greets each New Year with the resolution to lose weight. I’ve stuck to those resolutions with varying degrees of success, but I have my work cut out for me this year. The holiday treats were especially tasty and abundant at the end of 2016.

I’ve thought about this weight loss resolution that is so popular in our society and have decided to interpret it differently this year. How about looking at the Biblical weight reference?

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1.runner-802912_1280

That one hits me where I live. As much physical weight as I have to lose, there are many spiritual weights I need to release. Fear? It needs to go. Low self-worth? Out the door. Procrastination? Forget about it.

salad-652503_1280So, as I begin this year eating lettuce, carrots, and protein bars, and pretending to exercise, I will also pray about the spiritual weights and those doubts that so often sneak their way into my mind. I pray that you will do the same.

Writing Prompt: David opened his email, and there it was, staring him in the face—another rejection for his writing. Scrolling through his inbox, he noticed another message, one for a new writing opportunity. He thought for a moment, closed out his email, and . . .

A New Year’s Resolution Failure

By Tammy Trail

To be honest, I was not planning on New Year’s resolutions this year. Failure is my best friend. I know … defeating and humiliating.

All my writing goals were eaten by the beast of procrastination. Reading the Bible in a year fell into the Land of Nod. Getting my bedroom redecorated became a testament to the lack of time and money.

Before you start feeling sorry for me, I am proud of a few of my accomplishments. After my yearly physical in August, I was diagnosed with diabetes. My doctor had warned multiple times that I needed to get my weight gain under control. Obviously I didn’t heed her warnings, but now I am serious about it. I told my doctor that my intention was to no longer need diabetic medicine. hands-1892965__340I am now eating better, taking my meds, and checking my sugar levels often. My husband took me shopping recently because my pants were getting too big. That made me very happy, and it was a great incentive to keep going. My success is determined by me.

 This summer I looked at my bedroom and realized it was a storage room with a bed. Paint would do wonders for it, but hubby and I cannot agree on a color. I went to the local home improvement store to buy tiny samples of paint. Now one wall is starting to look like a patchwork quilt. The lack of money interrupted my plans for a total makeover.

paint-933395__340Instead, I cleaned it from top to bottom. I took everything out of our walk-in closet, washed down the walls, and vacuumed the carpet. I also filled several boxes with clothing to take to our local mission. Then I cleaned the carpet in the bedroom, rearranged the furniture and bought a new quilt for the bed. It was not the plan I had in mind, but it turned out to be a very satisfying project.

I have also made new writing goals, but I find it so hard to focus after working all day. So, this year the word count is smaller. I am going to finish that book I started.

As for reading the Bible in a year. I bought a new devotional for 2017, and my goal is to stick with it to the end.

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No, I didn’t make resolutions for the New Year. But looking back over last year, I did get a lot done. Maybe this year I will get my bedroom walls painted. I found another shade of blue that I think my hubby will like.

Writing Prompt: Arlene’s new year started off with a definite bang. At three in the morning, the closet rod gave way. Her closet resembled something from that television show about hoarders. She collapsed in a heap on the floor and stared at the mess. What now?

 

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3 Questions Wednesday with Jerusha Agen

Jerusha AgenWelcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Jerusha Agen.

I had the privilege of meeting Jerusha this past August, at the ACFW Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I was happy to find her a beautiful and intelligent young woman, well-grounded in her faith. I have to say, I’m a big fan of The Sisters Redeemed Series. Yes, I’ve read all three of them. I just wish they’d had more sisters…

So let’s get to the first question:

What inspires you?

Jerusha:  Tough question! So many things inspire me: giant, fluffy snowflakes falling onto a pillow of sparkling beauty; a terrific movie; tight dialogue or silent action loaded with subtext; brilliant prose; clever wit; demonstrations of love, sacrifice, or mercy; friends who remind me of scriptural truths; the Words of the Bible…I could go on forever!

I can almost hear the snowflakes falling. Nothing beats tight dialogue in a story, or a rich undercurrent of action. Your words inspire me!

Next question is a bit of fun–

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Jerusha:  Black! Because it’s my favorite color. 🙂

I love that. The color black denotes dignity. Now, last question–

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Jerusha:  As a very young child, I announced to everyone who asked that I wanted to be a doctor. Specifically, a family practitioner. I was pretty young for such big words, which explains the laughter I received from many adults when explaining my career aspirations. By the time I was thirteen, though, I’d found my true dream—to be a writer.

Ha ha! It would’ve been easier if you’d known to say “writer” at that young age, but not as funny, of course. Jerusha, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our 3 Questions.

Readers, Jerusha is offering a copy of her book, This Redeemer, to one blessed reader. Just leave a comment in the comments section below to be entered to win a print or Kindle version (reader’s choice).

Here’s more information about the book:


THIS REDEEMER

Not all prisons have bars.

This_Redeemer_FRONT_COVER resized (655x1024)Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her dying mother believed would help her.

Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with Charlotte, these strangers could discover the truth about her. Will they send her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christianbook.com


Jerusha Agen

Jerusha Agen

Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner, but knows God is there, too. So naturally, she writes romantic suspense infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. With a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting, Jerusha is the author of The Sisters Redeemed Series and The Heart Seekers Series novella collection. Jerusha writes about fighting against fear in our everyday lives at The Fear Warrior Blog. Visit Jerusha at www.JerushaAgen.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Endless Possibilities for 2017

by Gail Johnson

Have you made plans for 2017?

I admit it took me a while to understand this thing called New Year’s Resolution. In the past, my resolutions were nothing more than a wish made and broken in the same month. Unfortunately, without a fairy godmother to wave her magic wand, I was doomed to fail every year. But not this year!

This year I didn’t stop with a resolution. I took it a step further and made a plan. That’s right, this pantser made a plan. And that process began with questions. Lots of questions.

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Why make a resolution in the first place?

One synonym for resolution is the word purpose. Purpose, for me, brings stability to my life.

 

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How will I reach my goal?

How encompasses the what, when, where, and who. Knowing the how keeps me from wandering aimlessly throughout the year.

 

 

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What do I want to do this year?

That is the question we must ask ourselves. The answer, for me, was obvious. I want to publish my book.

 

 

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When do I have time to work on my goal?

I failed in the past because I forgot to make room for life. Life happens. If I can’t write for one hour a day, I write for thirty minutes. If not thirty minutes, then fifteen minutes. This plan also works well in pages.

Did you know if you wrote one page a day you would have 365 pages at the end of the year? Even if you pencil in two months for holidays and vacation, you can still write over 300 pages in a year! That is a book, my friend! So, don’t set yourself up to fail. Live your life and set aside a portion of your time to write.

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Who can help me?

You will find many writers who will happily share their knowledge with you. When you find these generous people, cherish their friendship. Do what you can to help them by promoting their books by word-of-mouth or by a review on social media. Both if possible. You won’t regret it.

However, not everyone will bother to answer your questions. Don’t take it personally. Discouragement is the enemy of productivity. Move on. Find someone else to ask and keep asking until you find someone willing to share the answers.

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Where do I go to get helpful information?

This may take a little longer. In fact, it may take a lot longer. In the past eight years, I’ve waded through the overwhelming number of writing websites only to glean just a few keepers. Some sites I bookmarked and still visit often, and others I discarded. It wasn’t the person or the information–just the same info in a different package. Choosing the perfect ones for me was a combination of things. Along with writing advice, I looked for interaction and teaching technique. In the end, I found my fit. Find your fit and stick with them. They will teach and encourage you along the journey. And while you are looking for that perfect site, don’t forget Writing Prompts. We would love to have you visit every week!

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So, if you haven’t  made your New Year’s resolution, why not take the time to do it now?

The possibilities are endless!

 

Writing Prompt: Mary read the letter once more before laying it aside. Rejected. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe God had other plans for her. Staring at the blinking cursor, her hand hovered over the delete button…

How Can a New Year’s Resolution Help My Writing?

By Jennifer Hallmark

new-years-eve-1941665_960_7202017. Relief washes over me as I realize it’s a new season. A time to start again, with a feeling almost like spring bursting forth in all its glory.

Except it’s cold. And nothing is blooming.

But it’s still a time of newness, and many people make resolutions or set goals every January for what they’d like to do, see, lose, gain, or buy during the New Year. Others, like myself, don’t like to promise to do things (mainly lose weight or write more) since they probably won’t follow through. But resolutions are worth looking into…

I pulled up dictionary.com and looked up the definition of a resolution. They say a resolution is: the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action,method, procedure, etc. A decision or determination; the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.

Oh. This sounds more like a plan than wishful thinking. Maybe there is something to making resolutions. But first, I always pray about a focus for each year. A thought or scripture to wrap my mind around so when life gets hard, I can remember and not lose heart. This year, my focus is to be thankful. Just pure, simple gratitude.

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Okay, so I have my focus to remember to be thankful. And maybe coming up with a plan is not a bad thing. I’ve researched this and found some very useful articles. So if you’re a writer and need help getting started this year too, here are the results of my research:

(1) Writer’s Digest. How to Develop a Writing Plan.

(2) Writers Helping Writers. Will This Be Your Year? Making a Writing Plan and Take Out the Guesswork.

(3) The Write Conversation. 9 Writing Productivity Mistakes to Avoid.

(4) Helping Writers Become Authors. 5 Ways to Make Better Writing Resolutions in 2016. 

(5)  Writer’s Digest. The Setback: How to Successfully Start Writing Again.

pencil picCheck them out. Then, like me, sit down and write out a plan or guide to keep you moving forward in 2017. And if you decide on choosing a focus, write it down and place it where you can see it often.

And let’s keep on writing!

Writing Prompt: Edith stared at the computer screen. She’d written Chapter One at the top of her page. Her first novel began with three words, the ones she couldn’t get out of her head. They were…