3 Questions Wednesday and YOU!

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January, already? It’s a brand, new year. We are so excited about our plans for the blog in 2017.

Yes, it’s here, and we’ve been talking about YOU! We want to help you even more than we have in the past. One of the ways we can help you is through online presence and publicity.

Th Writing Prompts blog has lots of Wednesday interviews to fill! That’s good for all of you writers and authors. Why?

  • Visibility
  • Free publicity
  • Expanded reach
  • Book releases
  • Books & WIPs on virtual display
  • Advertise with buy links
  • New readers via book giveaways
  • Readers getting to know you
  • Makes it easy for potential readers to find and connect with you

Would any of these marketing strategies help you? Well, we offer these for a very low price. Absolutely FREE. All you have to do is contact us through a comment below, or use our contact tab [Click Here]. Let us know you’re interested in participating in 3 Questions Wednesday.

A few facts about 3 Questions Wednesday interviews:

The questions change every year. There are only three, so it’s quick and easy. We’ll need the following: publicity photo, short bio, book cover, book blurb, buy links, and links to you (your social media, author page, etc.).

Click here for a preview of next year’s 3 Questions.

Contact us today. Spaces fill quickly.

And let’s not forget our readers! If you’re not a published writer, you are a reader. Many of our authors give away free books. All you have to do is leave a comment on their 3 Questions Wednesday post to be entered in the giveaway. It’s that easy. And the authors respond to your comments. We encourage you to ask questions about their work. This is your opportunity to get to know them even better. Then follow them on their author page, and check out their other books, or works-in-progress.


Thank you!

Five Reasons Why You Should Attend a Writer’s Conference

By Jennifer Hallmarkpen-994464_1280

It’s August and we, at the Writing Prompts blog, are dedicating the whole month to writer’s conferences. I’ve attended several, and they’ve made a major difference in moving my writing from hobby to serious vocation.

We’ll be sharing our own experiences this month about some of the different conferences we’ve attended, both large and small. You’ll see what you can expect if you’re trying to decide whether or not to take this big leap of faith. What goes on there? What do people wear? Whom can I meet? What if I don’t have a clue about what I need to do? Hopefully, we’ll answer these questions and more. So stick around and learn a little more about the place where writers go to connect with others, celebrate accomplishments, attend classes, challenge ourselves, and conquer fears and doubts about their personal writing journey…

What are five specific reasons to attend a writer’s conference?

  • Connect-Writers tend to work alone so connection with other writers is always a positive. I’ve made some wonderful friends at these meetings and enjoyed talking shop. And don’t forget about meeting editors, agents, and publishers. I like to discuss current trends in the industry and if I have an article, short story, or novel ready, to pitch my idea.
  • Celebrate-At most conferences, there is some type of writing contest. It’s a good place to enter your work and celebrate victory if you’re chosen. It’s equally important to celebrate with others for their achievements. I always buy a few books and chat about good news with other like-minded people.
  • Classes- And don’t forget all the classes and workshops offered to strengthen your writerly skills, learn about marketing and current trends, and just be encouraged to keep going a little bit longer. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like giving up, only to attend a class that filled up my depleted soul.
  • Challenge-As an introvert, conferences are extremely challenging, and that’s the main reason I try to go as often as possible. I need to be stretched and take chances if I plan on writing material that will lift up, build up, and stir up the people that God wants to reach through me. I also make sure to schedule appointments, though I’m usually shaking and sweating by the time I make it to their table. I keep finding out that people really are nice at these conferences.  🙂
  • Conquer-By the time a conference is over, I’m tired and overloaded with new information. I’ve exchanged business cards with numerous people and usually have arranged with at least one editor or agent to send a query or proposal. I load everything back in my car and release a giant sigh as I drive away. Once again, God has helped me to put most of my anxiety and uncertainty aside so I could enjoy and benefit from another conference. I’ve conquered, and there is no better feeling when I make it home and rest a day or so before going back over all that I’d learned.

 

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Betty and Jennifer at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference

Below I’ll list a few of the ones that you can attend in the upcoming months. I would encourage you to schedule one of these conferences to visit in the future. You’ll be glad you did…

Aug 3 – 6, 2016: Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference  (Langhorne PA)

Aug. 12-14, 2016: Writer’s Digest Conference East (New York, NY)

August 15-18, 2016: Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference

Aug. 1820, 2016: Atlanta Christian Writer’s Conference

Aug. 20, 2016: Toronto Writing Workshop

Aug. 25-28, 2016:  American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) annual conference, Nashville, Tenn.

Sept. 9, 2016: Sacramento Writers Conference (Sacramento, CA)

Sept. 10, 2016: Writing Workshop of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

Oct. 7 &8, 2016: The Tenth Annual Breathe Christian Writers Conference (Grand Rapids, MI)

Nov. 5-6, 2016: Show Me Writers Masterclass (Columbia, MO)

Nov. 19, 2016: Las Vegas Writing Workshop (Las Vegas, NV)

Feb. 17-19, 2017: The Asheville Christian Writers Conference – Writers Boot camp (Asheville NC.)

Feb. 22-26: Florida Christian Writers Conference (Leesburg, FL.)

Feb. 26 – March 3, 2017: Writers Winter Escape Cruise (departs Miami, FL)

Writing Prompt: Deanna placed her hand on the door knob, biting her lips. Her first class at her first writing conference. What was she thinking when she signed up? Too late to back out now. She turned the knob…

A Dash of Daring by Elizabeth Maddrey

ElizabethMaddreyHeadshotToday, we welcome Elizabeth Maddrey on our blog to showcase her latest release, A Dash of Daring. So glad you dropped by. First question:

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Elizabeth: You know, I really have. I gave up on it as impractical for a while, though it didn’t stop me writing. But it’s always been one of those dreams whispering in the back of my head. Now that I’m published, I still sometimes have to pinch myself when I see my name on the bottom of a book cover.

What’s your favorite method for keeping a story’s middle from sagging?

Elizabeth: Ugh. They really like to try and sag, don’t they?! Honestly, I just keep writing. Then I edit the Dickens out of it. (Really, I capitalized that on purpose – ever notice that no matter how much you like a Dickens book, those middles of his are deadly?)

Do you write every day?

Elizabeth: I try to. Realistically, I end up getting actual words down five out of every 7 days, because life…just seems to really like to get in the way.

How will you market your book?

Elizabeth: Marketing is the hardest thing for me. I do a combination of blog interviews (like this one!), some paid ads with various reader websites, some pre-release reviews, and I’ve been working with The Book Club Network as well as a way to try and get out in front of more readers that way.

Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author?

Elizabeth: This summer, we went to a family reunion for my husband’s side, and I typically put my book news in my Christmas letter that all the family gets. But I guess they don’t all read down to the bottom (and I don’t make a huge deal out of the book stuff, just more a few lines at the end.) Anyway, at the reunion, I had four different people ask me if I’d written my second book yet. There was much laughter when I finally managed to explain (trying to spare feelings as much as I could) that I had just released my tenth book, so yes, the second book had, in fact, been written.

Great story! Thanks so much for taking a few moments to chat. If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Elizabeth’s newest release, A Dash of Daring, please leave a comment. You’ll have your choice of e-Book or print.

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God doesn’t always call us to do what’s easy.

Amy Harris is the after-school care coordinator and long-term sub at the same inner city high school she graduated from. She’s always avoided the complications of dating outside her multi-ethnic heritage. Until Zach got hired.

Zach Wilson took a teaching job in a D.C. public school as part of a student-loan forgiveness program. Nearing the end of his commitment, a possibility arises to move to a magnet school in the suburbs. But will leaving the city end things with Amy before they really have a chance to start?

As Zach and Amy work together on the school’s annual holiday program, they must each decide if they’ll dare to follow where God calls.

 

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

Social Media:

Website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

Twitter: @elizabethmaddre

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emaddrey/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ElizabethMaddrey/posts

 

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Sarah Rowan

sarah rowanToday’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is author Sarah Rowan.

Welcome to the Writing Prompts blog, Sarah. Let’s start out with your reading interests.

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Sarah:   The author I would never get tired of reading would be Ravi Zacharias. He is a Christian Apologetic. He preaches and teaches people how to defend their Biblical Worldview in today’s culture. I have seen him speak 7 times in person and read countless of his books. His books are deep so you can always learn more each time you read them.  I love his writings because they make you think.

I love authors that make me think. Second question:

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Sarah: I’m not sure if I have a favorite fictional villain, but the one that I remember most when I was young that gave me nightmares and made me scared to go to sleep was Freddy Krueger! The movies scared me to death, yet I remember waiting for the next one to come out so  Freddy could scare me to death again!  This fictional villain still scares me and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t sit through a movie now with him in it!

Scary. I couldn’t sit through one of those movies either. Now, about yourself. 

What project are you currently working on?

Sarah:   I am currently working on Unspeakable Joy:  Devotions for the Slumbering Believer.  This will be my second book. I am naturally drawn to write devotionals. They are little life lessons from the Lord that relate to the real world. Writing my devotionals helps put some of my emotions and perspectives in their proper place. They help me keep God as my central focus.

Sounds like a great book. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by, Sarah. If you’d like a chance to win a paperback copy of Sarah’s first book, Authentic Happiness: Devotions for the Slumbering Believer, please leave a comment below.

sarah rowan bookAuthentic Happiness: Devotions for the Slumbering Believer

Could you be a slumbering believer in Christ and not even know it? Is it possible that you are physically awake but sleepwalking spiritually? Do you have the deep and growing Christian life God intended, or are you sleeping through it? The Lord tells believers to wake up several times in the Scriptures. What makes believers go to sleep in the first place? Once awake, how can believers stay awake? Authentic Happiness is a collection of personal journals of one slumbering believer’s journey of awakening. While the answers to some of these questions were less than desirable to hear, the truth that was revealed changed a life forever. Every believer should ask these same questions and seek the answers for themselves. This devotional encourages all believers to look at their own Christian lives a little closer to see how awake they really are in Christ. It may surprise you.

Sarah Rowan is a Speech Therapist by profession. She works in an inpatient rehab facility in Albany, GA. She started writing personal journals about 3 years ago, sending them out to friends and family. From there she was encouraged to join her journals together in a book. Those journals  became her first book titled Authentic Happiness  Devotionals for the Slumbering Believer. She enjoys teaching youth in her church, along with reading and writing.

Find Sarah at  www.sarahrowan.com and Facebook. Her email is srowanslp@yahoo.com.

The Curious Education of a Writer

writing450By Jennifer Hallmark

Education. It’s the Writing Prompts word of the month. One of the meanings of the word educate is to give (someone) training in or information on a particular field. A doctor needs a minimum of twelve years of specified training. A lawyer needs a four-year bachelor’s degree, then 3-4 years of law school before taking the bar exam and obtaining a license.

But a writer? I used the word curious in the title because it can mean strange or unusual, a good description of the education of someone who picks up a pen or keyboard and goes to work. Like artists and others in creative fields of work, writing is subjective and there are many ways and means to become educated. A college education can be helpful when it comes to writing. Stephen King graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in English. However, many well-known authors did not have college degrees. Mark Twain dropped out of school at the age of twelve to support his family after his father died. H.G. Wells also left school to support his family.

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Today’s writers have a plethora of opportunities to learn their craft, from online courses to writing and critique groups to one-on-one mentoring. The information is out there. You just need to search for what’s right for you in your own walk of life. If you are looking for more education or groups, I’ve listed a few places to check out.

The paths we follow on this journey vary. One of our blogging crew, Karen Jurgens, spent a lifetime teaching and began her writing journey after she retired. I had a similar journey as my friend, Sandra Ardoin. We both started with Community Education classes, writing groups, then onto blogging and novel writing.

Another Crew member, Betty Thomason Owens, said, “I took a short story writing class at the University of Louisville to get started. The rest of my “training” has come from ACFW Scribes and the many classes at the conferences. And reading Edie Melson’s blog, among others.”

As you can see, right and wrong ways to learn the craft do not exist. Whether you start writing in high school or college or after retirement, do everything you can to learn the craft. Read well-written books by the dozen. Discuss writing with others who know more than you and less than you. I truly believe you can learn from anyone.

Keep learning.

Stay curious.

And keep writing.snoopy writer

A Christmas Mosaic by Karen Jurgens

IMG_1927Today, we welcome Christian writer and speaker, plus our own Crew member, Karen Jurgens, on the blog to showcase her first contemporary romance novella, A Christmas Mosaic.

Hi, Karen. So glad you could drop by for a visit. First question:

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Karen: Yes, I have written short stories ever since I was a child. I attribute my love of writing to my love of reading. Instead of watching TV, I had my nose in a one of the Bobbsey Twins books (I collected the entire series, which I still have in my possession). I tackled my first romantic “novel” at the age of 10 and have written stories ever since.

What’s your favorite method for keeping a story’s middle from sagging?

Karen: I like to reserve the middle for surprise twists and turns in the plot and character development. I don’t let that part lag because I know the reader will lose interest. Making each scene relevant to the plot is my constant objective as the chapters evolve, pulling the reader along with a thread that keeps it fresh.

Do you write every day?

Karen: Mostly, I do, but weekends are reserved where I just live my daily, busy life with family and attend church. Writing is a solitary business, which is necessary for my concentration, but I need breaks for interaction and exercise during the day. If I am substitute teaching, I take my iPad and write sporadically in my free time. My best creative hours, along with my mug of coffee, are in the evening and into the wee hours of the morning.

How will you market your book?

Karen: This is my first to be published. Lena Nelson Dooley is publishing this anthology of ten novellas on Amazon, and we ten authors are marketing it through our social media.

Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author?

Karen: Since I am brand new at this, I can’t relate a funny experience yet. But the best part so far has been my fantastic critique group led by Lena Nelson Dooley and all the fun and friendships we share—and especially the dark chocolate we indulgence in while we critique.

Sounds like my kind of critique group! Thanks so much for stopping in, Karen.

Karen has graciously offered to give away a Kindle copy of Warm Mulled Kisses to one blessed commenter. Please leave a comment to be entered…


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A Christmas Mosaic

Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling?  Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust? 

Karen Jurgens, a native Cincinnatian, has been a Texan transplant for thirty years and counting. Since retiring from teaching in 2014, she has begun a new career writing, blogging, and speaking within the context of Christian ministry.

Her first contemporary romance novella will be published in October, 2015. A Christmas Mosaic will be part of a multi-author anthology, Warm Mulled Kisses. The second novel, Desire’s Deception, is in progress with an anticipated release mid-2016.

She is a Crew Member at Jennifer Hallmark’s Writing Prompts, Thoughts, and Ideas blog and a member of ACFW. You can follow her blog about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries: www.karenjurgens.com.

Tech Talk with Brian Knack

home-office-336377__180During the month of August, we’ll be posting interviews during our popular Saturday segment, Tech Talk. We’ll speak with editors, photographers, and other people who help writers become the best they can be in their chosen field. 

Stay tuned each Saturday for a new interview!

Today, we’re talking with Brian Knack about self-publishing. Brian recently launched Authorpreneur University  to help other authors successfully realize their publishing dreams. I’ll let him tell you about it:

Why did you start helping authors?

They asked me. When I started self-publishing, I had to learn everything for myself. I’d look online and read and watch whatever resource I could find. About 4 years ago, a friend asked me about writing a book. I told him what I knew and he asked me to help him publish one. I helped him through the process and within a few months, he self-published his first book.

Since then I have helped several other people self-publish their books and have recently started Authorpreneur University separate from my personal author blog, to get the word out and help as many as I possibly can.

You said, “My mission is to help you take your idea and turn it into a business, a book or both, and to be successful at it.”–How do you accomplish that?,

Most authors think that once they publish, that’s it. It’s not. Your book is a business and like every other business, you need a business plan before you do anything else. One thing I’m stressing is for authors to see their books as a business and start to create a business plan before they publish. Part of that business plan is understanding your target market and knowing who they are. It’s a little more in-depth than just saying people who read.

The second thing I am stressing is building a following (a platform) with an author blog before you publish. This way, once you have your business plan fleshed out and your book is ready to launch, you have a large list of people who are already willing to buy it. Not only does this help your pocket book but it will also help your book move up the Amazon list and help your confidence.

I also know that there are authors who still want that traditional publishing deal. With that in mind, I have written a number of blog posts on helping authors find, approach and land a literary agent. It’s not as in-depth as I’d like and I plan on doing more in this area.

I notice you blog. What topics do your blog posts cover?

Well, I have recently separated my personal author blog BrianKnack.com from Authorpreneur University. There were just too many things I wanted to talk about personally (Faith, Family, Politics, Love, Relationships and whatever else comes to mind) that can tend to be controversial. I thought it best to create a separate business site.

On Authorpreneur University, I try to stick to 4 main topics; Publishing, Writing, Marketing and Platform Building. Starting early next year I’ll be posting regularly once or twice a month. There will also be a podcast to go along with the blog post. Everything I talk about will fit into one of those 4 main topics.

Share three pieces of wisdom with a new author.

There is no such thing as writers block. It’s nothing more than an excuse not to write. Just write even if it’s merely random thoughts… WRITE! Some of my best stuff has come from a slew of weird gibberish.

DO NOT OBSESS OVER OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS. They are merely their opinions based on their personal preferences. Critics don’t matter and neither do publishers or editors. The only opinions that matter are yours and those of your readers. That’s it.

If you want to sell books build real, genuine relationships with your readers. Be you and connect with them as you, not so and so the “Published Author.”

Where can we contact you?

The easiest way to contact me is through my e-mail (brian@brianknack.com) or by the contact form on my blog.

You can also find me on Twitter – @brianlknack, on my Facebook page at Brian Knack and on Goodreads

Brian’s Bio:

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I was born and raised in a small Hamlet in upstate NY called White Sulphur Springs. I was raised by my paternal grandparents from 18 months on and grew up on a dairy farm. My wife and I recently moved into a beautiful house in Simpsonville, SC.

I am the author of I’m Born Again, Now What? A New Believer’s Guide to Walking with Christ [Paperback] & [Kindle Edition], W.A.R. Devotional and Study Guide and most recently, the sci-fi adventure, Destiny – Book 1 of The Legacy Series [Kindle Edition]. I have been blogging since 2010.

I offer Cover Design, Formatting and Book Video Trailer Services through Authorpreneur University.

Readers – Purchase a service from Brian and mention you saw this interview on Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! and he will give you a 25% discount.