Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marketing Your Novel--101

by Molly Noble Bull

Do you spend a lot of time marketing your books to fellow writers? If so, maybe you should consider another strategy and another group of readers. Writers are interested in selling their novels, not buying new books. Besides, they can get plenty of free books by visiting various blogs and entering contests.
So, to whom should you pitch your books?
I think the list should include Christian women of all ages and moms who home school. I suggest creating a blog that would be of interest to these Christian women and be as different as possible from other blogs out there. In other words, find a unique niche.
I would start with your hobbies. What do you like to do when you are not reading or writing? Let's say you like to knit and are really good at it. You might create a blog for knitters.
Maybe you could call your blog
Knitting R Us.
(Below is an example of what you might post as the first lines of that blog.)
Can you knit one, pearl two and read a book at the same time? If so, this is the blog for you.
See what I mean?
Some writers might actually like to knit—either that or have a grandmother who does. So you would use this same pitch when promoting your blog to them as to readers and get Google or other search engines to promote your blog so that knitters from everywhere will read your info on knitting and perhaps buy you book.
Yep. You should also promote your book at your knitting blog but over to one side. The primary focus of your blog should be knitting. But your books should be plainly displayed as well.
Perhaps your blog readers will think that since they like your ideas on knitting, they might also like your books.
Happy writing and knitting—or whatever it is that you do.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Avatar--a Movie Review

by Molly Noble Bull

The dictionary as well as Hindu mythology states that an Avatar is an incarnation of a god, and like most Christians, I call any God but the Lord a false god. I also pray in the name of God's only begotten son, Jesus.
Nevertheless, I saw Avatar in a movie theater recently but don’t have a lot of good things to say about it. Exotic settings, an interesting storyline and exciting special effects might cause some Christians to allow their children and teens to see the movie.
Regardless, Avatar is very much a film about what Bible believers would call “lying spirits” and false gods—with a hint of demonic possession thrown in for good measure. Cursing and bad language only make matters worse. The movie also has an anti-military message, and its “tree hugging green” theme is so clear even Albert Gore would be proud.
In the film, Jake Sully—a paralyzed ex marine, goes to the planet Pandora to help obtain certain minerals for Planet Earth. Once there, Jake is given a new body in a dark shade of science fiction blue in order to look like the natives, and he soon falls in love with a young native girl and finally switches sides.
According to the Bible, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. To me, the Lord is the only God there is, making the Hindu-like god of Pandora a false one. It bothered me that in the movie characters cursed my God while praying to Pandora’s false god.
So, should Christian parents allow their children to see this movie?
However, if a Christian parent is willing to see the movie with the child, cursing and all, and then sit down and discuss the movie from a Christian perspective, perhaps it could be a good thing.
It is hard to explain Idolatry even to some adults. Avatar provides a perfect opportunity for adults and teens to discuss God’s Word, learn why cursing is a sin and what the worship of false gods really means.
I give Avatar three and a half stars for the special effects and cinematography. Zero for inspiration and content.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blind Side--A Movie Review

by Molly Noble Bull

With all the poorly conceived and downright filthy movies out there, it’s hard to find a film worth seeing anymore. But so far in her career, Sandra Bullock has made two what I call outstanding and family friendly “feel good” movies. The first was While You Were Sleeping and now, Blind Side.
Blind Side would be a good movie in any case with an excellent script and characters that seem so real you think you know them personally, and I wanted to shout for joy when I realized these characters were Christians. I won’t tell the plot because I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, but what makes this story so special is the fact that it actually happened. At the end of the movie while they were showing the credits, moviegoers got to see the real people these actors played on the screen.
With a possible score of five stars, I give Blind Side a five—and then some.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Honey and Cinnamon are good for what ails you.
by Molly Noble Bull

As writers, we are always looking for bits of interesting information we can include in our books and articles. Well, the informtion found in this article was forwarded to me from a veterinarian’s wife, and I can't say where she got it. But just because her hubby treats animals instead of humans doesn’t mean the amazing facts aren’t true. Still, I’ll bet drug companies would like to hide this one in a corner somewhere.

Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:
It is found that a mixture of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases.

Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada , in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:

Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder,
apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack.
Regular use of the above process relieves loss
of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In
America and Canada, various nursing20homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.

Arthritis patients may take daily, morning, and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University , it was found that when the doctors Treated their patients with a
mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were
totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.

Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and
one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder.

Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of cinnamon powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours.
As Mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon Lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.

Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomachache and also clears Stomach ulcers from the root.

According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that if honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron=2 0in large amounts.. Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.

Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ' Ingredient' which kills the Influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder and three cups of water and boil to make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans also increases and even a 100 year old, starts performing the Chores of a 20-year-old.

Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.

Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.

Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.
Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half Tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body within a week.

First thing in the morning, people of South America gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.
&nb sp;
Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restore hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

You might want to share this information with a friend, kinfolks and love ones

~ everyone needs healthy help information

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trish Perry, author of Sunset Beach.

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Trish Perry. Welcome to Books That Inspire.
Trish, tell about your exciting Beach House series and the names of your current and upcoming novels. .
I’ll try not to gush or ramble, Molly. This is a little like asking a grandma about her grandkids.
The books in The Beach House Series each feature different characters, but they’re all set at the same little beach house in San Diego. Sunset Beach is my most current installment in the series. It’s about a young woman, fresh out of college, who engineers a gathering of people at the beach house in order to uncover a lifetime’s worth of secrets about her parentage and family history. She gets more than she bargained for, including a romantic flash from her past.
My other beach house book is Beach Dreams. It involves a brand new believer—a formerly bad, conniving girl who we come to love. Through a scheduling mix-up, she has to share the beach house with another woman who would be a challenge to Mother Teresa’s patience, let alone our formerly snarky heroine’s. When the roommate’s wonderful, unappreciated boyfriend arrives in town, he further complicates the situation and eventually adds an unexpected spark of romance to our heroine’s beach getaway.
My first two published novels are The Guy I’m Not Dating and Too Good to Be True. The Guy I’m Not Dating is about a fitness trainer who vows to go the no-dating route to relationships right before she ends up on a road trip with an amazing guy who seems perfect for her.
And in Too Good to Be True, an elementary schoolteacher, whose philandering husband divorced her a year prior, falls for a charming male nurse but struggles with the fear of being hurt again. And both of these dear young people have major mommy issues.
My upcoming novels will be for a new series called The Tea Shop Series, set in beautiful, historic Middleburg, Virginia. The first booking the series is The Perfect Blend. It will be release until early 2011.
My blog is on my website, which is
Thanks. Now tell us a little about Trish Perry.
I was born in Newfoundland, Canada, but I’ve lived in the U.S. since I was a toddler. Although we traveled around the country like gypsies when I was very young, I’ve lived in Northern Virginia most of my life, and I’ve always loved it here. Much of my family still lives in this area, which is wonderful.
I have a gorgeous adult daughter and a brilliant and hilarious son.
What would you like to say to young people who might want to one day become novelists? Is there a special book on fiction writing that you can recommend?
I always say this to any writer who will listen: pray about your writing. Every day. Ask for God’s guidance with regard to your writing, and turn your writing efforts over to Him every day. That way, you’ll always know your writing is going the path He’s set for it. That knowledge eliminates so much of the angst that can go along with this craft. And try to get into the habit of writing; you’ll see how that habit will sharpen your skills at observing life around you. You’ll notice more about people, about sensations, about emotions. Write down what you notice—you never know what God might be preparing you for in the notes you take.
The book that helped me get started on my first novel, back in the 90s, was Donna Levin’s Get That Novel Started (and Keep it Going ‘Til You Finish). Very helpful in simplifying what seemed like an overwhelming task. I think her more current version is called Get That Novel Written. There are oodles of books I’d recommend to anyone farther along the writing path, if they want to contact me through my website.
It was great having you today, Trish, and I hope you will come back real soon. Next month my guest will be Linore Rose Burkard. See you then.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


by Molly Noble Bull

My husband and I met our granddaughter for the first time on Monday of this week. She is five months old—twenty weeks. Our son and daughter-in-law were there, too, along with the baby’s maternal grandmother. Our granddaughter is so cute. She lifted her little arm really fast as if she was waving to us, and there is a DVD to prove it.
So far, we haven’t held her and don’t know what her name will be yet. Her parents are still deciding. But by the time she is forty weeks, they will have decided. Around that time, we will be able to hold her for the first time. We can hardly wait.
Our granddaughter has a half-brother who is six years old, and she is the little sister he has always wanted. She has four cousins on our side of the family and one cousin on her mother’s side. The cousin on her mother’s side is a little younger than she. Our granddaughter also has a step-cousin on her mother’s side that is also a little younger than she is. So she will have plenty of family members to hold her and love—not to mention her adoring parents.
Our first visit with our granddaughter brought back memories of a time when her father was only three months old. Back then, a mother could only discover whether or not she was going to have a child via a doctor. I was teaching school at the time and chose to have a “rabbit” test. On the day I called for the results of the test, I was given permission to use the phone in the principal’s office, and I will never forget what happened during that phone conversation.
The nurse said something like, “The results were positive.”
“Positive yes or positive no?”
“Positive yes.”
“Do you know how old I am?” I asked.
“Yes, we do, Mrs. Bull, and if you would like to have an abortion, we have a number you can call.”
I was shocked that she would say such a thing.
Then I said, “You don’t know who you are talking to. I am a pro-life activist. I don’t do things like that.”
I wish I’d said more. But I had to get off the line. It was a public phone.
Now I can say what I wish I’d said then.
We have three grown sons, and like their parents and grandparents, all three were humans at conception. Our family didn’t come from animals, and yours didn’t either. We were humans from the beginning and made in the image of God.
I pray for our sons, our daughter-in-laws, our grandchildren and our descendants and their spouses for as long as there is a world.
And what do I pray?
I pray that they will seek and find the Lord so that they will go to heaven when they die. I also pray for their safety.
Abortion is not a woman’s right because abortion is a death sentence to the unborn child. In this country, we execute criminals—at least in some states. But we execute unborn children in all states.
My five-month-old granddaughter is safe in her mother’s womb. Many other babies her age are not safe.
We have laws preventing our tax dollars from paying for abortions, but it’s not enough. The killing must stop! By now, the blood of the innocence has reached to the top of the horses’ backs—perhaps higher.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
To learn more on this topic, please visit my blog.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Are YOU Working On?

They say writers love to talk about themselves. I used to laugh at this. I'm generally quite shy, and don't tend to be a conversation starter. I certainly avoid being the center of the conversation. If you've ever attended a writer's conference, you can just imagine my discomfort at certain times.
Pitching, for instance. Yes, I know, you make your appointments, go sell your stuff. Nobody forces you to do it.
Ahem. I beg to differ. You all know who you are.
Then there's the meals. I usually dig in and keep my mouth fairly full so when my turn comes I have an excuse not to talk. But usually, at some point over five days, somebody is bound to ask, "What are you working on?" or "What do you write?"
The latter is much easier to answer. Spit out a genre and move on. But what am I working on? This second? What did I come here to pitch and hope to get a good response for?
I need to work on my marketing skills. And a bunch of other issues I have.
If I ever do sell a book, it's pretty much going to have to be one of those million dollar babies that just sells itself. I'll be the reclusive writer hiding away in a cave in an unknown land, such treacherous territory that only the stupidest of journalists would brave the terrain to get an interview.
That's my dream, but it's not very realistic, is it?
So I thought we should all band together, suck it up, and get some practice in here. We've only got nine months until the next ACFW conference!

You can do a full pitch if you want, or just tell me what you're working on at the moment. I'll be nice, I promise. I've had coffee.
I'll go first.
I'm working on a short contemporary romance that we'll pitch to Steeple Hill. It's an old manuscript that I'm rewriting, pretty much completely. So far so good. I haven't worked out a pitch yet. Ha. Good excuse, right?!
I'm also working on getting down some ideas for a new book idea that's rattling around in my brain. It's going to take place in Thailand. I think.
And I'm working on finding a home for my Vietnam book. Am I a little masochistic or what? Time will tell.
Well, that's me.
What are YOU working on?

This post is cross-posted over at My Blog
Why? Because I'm lazy. And I'm actually supposed to be writing all day today, not writing blog posts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Writers' Collectives, Are they worth it?

Posted by Eileen Astels Watson

I have heard plenty about writers' groups and critique partners through the years, so when I was presented with the idea of getting involved in a local Writers' Collective run as a program through our library, I squinted, wondering why the weird name.

Turns out it's called a Collective for a very good reason. It's basically like working with a critique group only in person, but none of you have each others email address, phone number, or even full name, so you keep the "stranger" aspect intact. The Collective takes the personal aspect out of the whole process. With the exception of meeting in a designated room to discuss your submitted work once a month, you don't interact. For me, turns out that "strangers" who are also writers, prove to be the best no-nonsense, here's-how-it-is, critiquers. As a result, I'm all for Collectives now.

If your library doesn't have such a program, and you're in desperate need of a slap upside the head regarding your writing, beg, plead, and/or petition to your library's events planner to start working on such an opportunity for writers in your area.

Here's the just of how our events planner runs this program.

Each collective has a minimum of five, and a maximum of eight participants. Rooms in each of the library branches are booked from 6:30 pm to closing on the fourth Monday of each month for a "neutral" meeting place. The events planner is the staff liaison between the Collective members, so not getting chummy with one another is totally doable. You have no interaction other than at those set meetings.

The week before your scheduled meeting you send in to the events planner your five page double-spaced submission, with each paragraph numbered (turns out that although this is a pain to do, it works wonderfully in the round robin critique time), or a maximum of 2 poems, with just your first name and last name's initial on the top of each page and in the document name. The staff liaison then sends the submissions out to each member of your Collective to look over, critique, and bring with them to the monthly meeting.

I've got to say, that the single most blessing of this type of Collective is the DISTANCE we have from one another. That may change over time, as we become familiar with one another in those concentrated meetings, but I hope that's a long time coming. No one in my group was mean spirited, or belligerent, but they were HONEST and FORTHRIGHT with their assessments and told it like it was. They shared openly what bugged them about each others piece of writing. They threw in some niceties of course, too, but I glossed over them, and just clung to the eye-openers they passed along. Talk about seeing through unbiased eyes. There is no greater way to learn if you're serious about honing the craft than through the eyes of strangers who are also writers.

What about you, have you ever been involved in a Writers' Collective? If so, what did, or do you find the most beneficial? How does yours run?

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's My Profound Pleasure...

to introduce you to my lovely and talented critique partner and friend, Jenness Walker!

See, told ya she was lovely!
Jenness and I have been friends for oh, about four years now. We met in the strangest of places. If you know us, you'll guess pretty easily, but I'll go ahead and tell you - it was through an online forum. Yep, we were both going to be attending the American Christian Fiction Writers conference for the first time, we were on the boards talking about our writing and how to pitch (neither one of us knew how and we were terrified) and we started shooting pitches back and forth. Next thing we knew, we were meeting up in Dallas. We became critique partners shortly after the conference, and the rest, as they say, is history. She still can't get rid of me.
We both became agented authors in the same year. We used to dream about publication together. Now I'm happy to say, I'm the only one who's still dreaming. Jenness has realized her dream with her debut novel, Double Take, published through Love Inspired Suspense.

I had the pleasure of critiquing this novel in all its various stages, and I have to say the finished product is pretty darn good. I won't give a review here, because I'm biased, but here's the blurb, and when you're done reading, go on Amazon and order Double Take! You won't regret it!
Cole Leighton can barely believe his eyes. A woman on his bus has just been abducted—in an exact reflection of a scene from the bestselling novel he's reading. Someone is bringing the book to life…and isn't above forcing an innocent woman to follow the story to its tragic end. Using the novel as his playbook, Cole catches up with the beautiful victim—but rescuing Kenzie Jacobs doesn't keep her safe for long. The killer is writing his own ending, and none of the twists and turns lead to happily ever after.

Jenness Walker fell in love with books before she could even read them. Growing up, she read while she walked in line, ate lunch, played the clarinet, showered and brushed her teeth. Unfortunately she still hasn’t figured out how to clean the house with a book in hand. Blessed with a vivid imagination—sometimes too vivid—Jenness loves to create her own stories as well. Her writing journey has spanned over twenty years so far, from the contest she lost in first grade to the creative writing correspondence course she took through high school and the first novel she penned in college. Now Jenness lives in Florida with her beloved Web site–designer husband and almost-equally-beloved laptop.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Writing Between the Lines

Guest posting is quite an honor. Someone is trusting you to connect with their readership. They trust that what you have to say is valuable and interesting.

It's an excellent marketing benefit, but takes additional time out of your day to research the blog, write the post to fit the unique ambience, and go back to respond to comments. Sure, you can just send over a guest post, but what if it doesn't fit the blog theme?


Take the time to read several blog posts where you will be "visiting." Become familiar with the blog author's followers.

When guest posting, I've always felt more blessed than those I'm supposed to be blessing. I'll admit I'm always surprised that what I wrote helped someone else. Not that I don't expect to help people--I do. But writing a guest blog is a little tougher because on any given day, no one really knows if people will come to read and comment.

Rest in the writing. No one can guarantee writing a guest post will be the most amazing thing ever. But when we write, the story is in God writing through us.

What is it God is trying to teach?

Is God teaching it to others or to us?

What's the message between the lines?

May God use your writing as a guest poster to bless and encourage others while blessing and encouraging you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Meet Maggie Brendan, author of No Place For a Lady

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing author Maggie Brendan about her wonderful new western romance series Heart of the West. By the way, Maggie’s first book in the series, No Place For A Lady, received a fantastic rating of four and one half stars from Romantic Times magazine, and that book is still available. Book Two in the series, The Jewel of His Heart, will be published this month, received a 4 Star from Romantic Times, and A Love of Her Own will be published in June of 2010.

Maggie, tell us a little about each of these books, including their settings, and then give us your web and blog addresses so our readers can learn even more about you.

No Place for a Lady is a story about a Southern Belle who leaves Georgia for Colorado where her Aunt has a cattle ranch. A proper Southern Belle, Crystal is determined to hold her own in this wild land—even if a certain handsome foreman named Luke doubts her abilities. Just when she thinks she’s getting a handle on the constant male attention from the cowhands and the catty barbs from some of the local young women, tragedy strikes. Rising to the challenge, she struggles to save the ranch or return to Georgia defeated.

The Jewel of His Heart is a about Juliana Brady, drawn to a handsome gentle sheepherder, Josh McBride in Montana. When Josh discovers a rare kind of sapphire on his property and considers striking out on his own path in the world, he is forced to decide what’s most important to him: the world’s riches or the eternal value of love in a woman whose eyes rival the rarest of gems.

A Love of Her Own is about April McBride who’s used to having the world revolve around her. Life becomes a real hardship when she has to learn to do without and do things for herself that she always took for granted. Besides having servants care for her every need, her father doted on her and gave in to her every whim. She is high-strung, argumentative as well as manipulative and spoiled rotten. But who wants to tangle with her type?

When she decides on the spur of the moment to take a trip to see her brother, Josh in Montana, she finds more than she bargained for in the form of a contrary cowpoke named Wes, who’s rough around the edges clear down to his dusty leather cowboy boots and spurs when it comes to finery and manners. He’s used to getting by with very little and sees no need to live any other way, until his path crosses tall willowy April with her silky long blond hair and striking blue eyes that belies her stubborn mind-set.
John Barnum is more her type; refined, educated, good-looking, and most importantly to April, wealthy--All the components that appeals to her. Her life would be nearly perfect, or would it? Has April met her match? Will she lose her prideful control and learn that material possessions will not give her happiness? Will she finally learn that true love only comes without a price tag attached?

I’m presently working on a new series about mail order brides. The series title is The Blue Willow Brides. It’s about a young woman and her two younger sisters who come to America in the 1800’s. Catharine Olsen feels responsible for her two sisters and answers a mail order bride’s ad. She’s leaving behind a tragic past that will re-surface when she goes in search of hope and a better future. I’m really excited about this new series.

Readers can find me on my blog or at Bustles and Spurs were I am a resident blogger.


I know you are a southern girl. So tell as much about your background, home, and family as you are willing to tell. Then tell us why you decided to write western novels.


I had many dreams as a child, but was from a large family and the youngest of eight, so I had a hard time growing up and those dreams never happened. My father was an alcoholic and was hardly ever home, which left my mother working and playing both parental roles. (Side note-Molly’s book, The Winter Pearl, helped me see the other side of an alcoholic and be more understanding of my father). In the same way as Molly’s book, I had to forgive my father and God has blessed me above and beyond what I deserve. Since I was a child I always had a fascination with the West even as a child. I loved westerns like Roy Roger, The Lone Ranger, John Wayne movies, Wagon Train, and the like. I used to tell my mother that I was born in the wrong century. I wanted to be a cowboy!

When did you know you were a writer? And tell us about some of the people and books that inspired you to write and sell novels.

Even in the third grade I could see myself as a writer and would craft stories. My teacher gave me paper to use once I told her what I was doing. She encouraged me a lot.
I think reading Zane Gray books impressed me with the code of the west and a lure to the Rocky Mountains which did come true for me after I had two children. I loved Gone With the Wind and I was greatly inspired by LaVyrle Spencer’s romance novels. Though not Christian novels, she was a wonderful historical writer and I wanted to emulate her writing style. My brother, Jess McCreede, who wrote historical westerns, was huge encourager of my writing. He passed away five years ago quite suddenly which made me see how short my time on earth is so I worked even harder than before to get published.


I know that a faith in God is important to you. How do you present your person moral and religious beliefs in your novels?

I try to do that through my character’s roles in making decisions that will impact their lives and how they relate and treat others in my story. I want to elevate them to use their faith even in times when it seems impossible.


What else would you like for our readers to know about you?

I love researching my novels, even though it’s work for me. I adore my children and grandchildren and love spending time with them. All of them are truly a gift from God.
I love singing with my church choir and have sung since grade school. My husband and I once sang with an ensemble back in MS and went around to different churches performing. I’ve acted in many Easter Story performances and worked in the Worship and Music office handling among many things, our pastor’s sermon orders and compiling a ten year catalog for his radio ministry, Right From the Heart, now heard across the world. I’m a private “prayer warrior” which continues to build my own faith and trust in God when I receive answers to those prayers. Many people have no idea that I’m praying for them, but that’s okay by me because He knows. One of my little quirks is that I have started nice collection of different versions of the Bible, and I’m about to purchase the latest one, The Apologetic Bible. I recently bought myself a small Celtic Bible engraved with my pen name. I enjoy getting to know other authors and don’t mind helping aspiring writers because so many encouraged me along the path to publishing my books.


Molly: Thanks for sharing with us this month, Maggie. Your books sound great, and I know our readers will think so, too.
And remember, to find Maggie’s books at an Internet bookstore, write Maggie Brendan in the search slot.
Next month, author Tish Perry will pay us a visit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Survey Says...

Okay readers, bloggers, friends, countrymen...I need your help!
Some of you may know that I am the Director/Moderator for the Beyond the Borders group, within American Christian Fiction Writers. BTB consists of those of us who belong to ACFW but happen to live outside of the United States. Most of us are not American.
Lately, we've been having a discussion (passionate at times!) about the strange phenomenon that books with a foreign setting are a very difficult sell within the Christian market. Many of us have written stories that take place in different countries, and have yet to place them with a publisher. It would seem that the majority of readers who buy Christian fiction only want to read about stories that take place on American soil.
What gives?
We know that it's possible for authors to write (and sell) books that take place in foreign lands, but most of the time these are well-known authors and not such a risk to the publisher. We also know it comes down to numbers, and the publisher will not take a chance on a new author if they don't think the book will do well. They have the facts and figures we're not privvy to obviously, so it would seem that right now there is no market for the kind of books we're writing.
But I think what I'm struggling to understand is the fact that Americans only want to read stories about Americans, in America. Really? Is this true? If so, why?
I grew up in Bermuda in a heavily British-influenced society. My reading was as varied as possible. I read British authors, American authors, stories that took place all over the world, and I loved them! Still do.
I have to wonder if there is an untapped market out there. Perhaps there are folks who wouldn't set foot in a Christian bookstore because they do want something different, and it's not there. Yet.
I wonder if someone were to create a website dedicated to giving a taste of what we 'foreigners' can write about, how would it do? Would you read the stories and give honest feedback?
So I'm curious and I want to hear from you and everyone you can possibly pass this information along to. Tell us what you're reading and why, and whether you would buy a book that had a foreign setting. If not, why not?
Let the games begin!
(This is cross-posted on my blog CatherineWestBlog).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A New Day

I'm not a morning person. Actually, I can probably count the number of sunrises I've witnessed on one hand. I believe all two of them were out the window of a plane, but I would've been under the influence of some heavy duty relaxants at the time, so I may just have been seeing things.
While I can't say the thought of rising at the crack of dawn gives me warm fuzzies, I love the idea, the theme of a sunrise.
The vision the word brings to mind for me is that of a yellow glow off in the distance, just cresting the top of pine-covered hills, stretching out long golden arms to embrace the morning. Shards of light slowly make their way across the still lake, and the world begins to wake.
That's kind of where I am in life right now. Just waking up.
Most of you probably don't even know me as a contributor on this blog, even though my name is right there on the sidebar. For reasons beyond my control, I've had to step back from a lot of things this past year. And now I'm back, if the wonderful writers here will still have me.
I see we have a lot more followers now, and I'm looking forward to meeting you all.
If you feel like taking a moment to introduce yourself in the comments, that would be awesome. Did you go to the ACFW conference this year? Tell me about it! I had to miss out and that makes me sad, but I'm already looking forward to next year.
It's great to be back!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Swirling Breeze

Sometimes the wind blows and bangs doors. The air feels harsh and hazardous.
I have weeks like that.

Sometimes the breeze is so light that I can't feel it. The air feels stilted and stuffy. My mind can't lock onto purpose and direction. I have days like that.

Sometimes the wind is fresh and floating. The air feels uplifting and unbelievable.
I have moments like that.

And His voice was in the small breeze.

Speak to me, Oh God, I'm listening. Craning. Leaning into the quiet to hear your voice.

Where are you today?

Angie Breidenbach

Author/Speaker Bio:Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009 working with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries, the American Heart Association, the Jadyn Fred Foundation and drawing awareness to Fair Trade practices. She serves as the American Christian Fiction Writer's Publicity Officer and is a multi-award winning inspirational author and speaker. Angela’s calling is as a purposeful life coach and educator. She’s also certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and Assisting Minister. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom's brain, but she is also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital. She is married, has a combined family of six grown children, one grandson.

Personal growth = Powerful living!
Purposeful Living Educator & Coach.
Helping people battle inner pirates and uncover gems of wisdom to live a rich life.
Come uncover your gems of wisdom at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Amy Wallace, author of Enduring Justice

Today I am interviewing Amy Wallace—a wonderful author who writes mysteries. Tell us about Enduring Justice and your other Defenders of Hope novels.

Thank you, Molly!

Each of the Defenders of Hope books raises a question that required some major wrestling on my part before I could write the story. My first novel, Ransomed Dreams, delves into the issue of forgiveness and asks, Can Dreams Be Redeemed? Here’s a little taste of the story:

Gracie Lang is being watched by a man who will stop at nothing to hide the truth from her. Having lost the only man she ever loved and the children who were her world, Gracie embarks on a quest to find out what really happened. Then she meets Steven Kessler, a Crimes Against Children FBI agent, assigned to uncover an international plot to kidnap the British Ambassador's daughter. Steven revives the possibility of a life Gracie desires. A life where healing and peace crowd out the nightmares. But his case and her past are dangerously connected. Suddenly, Gracie must decide if she's able - let alone willing - to pay the required ransom to redeem dreams and restore hope.

Healing Promises
Faith Under Fire

When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But not even the ugly things he’s seen during his years working in the Crimes Against Children Unit could prepare him for the beast of cancer. As he continues to track down a serial kidnapper despite his illness, former investigations haunt his nightmares, pushing him beyond solving the case into risking his life and career. Clint struggles to believe God is still the God of miracles. Especially when he needs not one, but two. Everything in his life is reduced to one all-important question: Can God be trusted?

The third Defenders of Hope book, Enduring Justice, tackles the question of healing from the past~ is it possible?

Enduring Justice
Secrets Can’t Last Forever

When the dark secrets of Hanna Kessler’s past threaten to destroy those she loves, she must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories. Crimes Against Children FBI Agent Michael Parker wants to help. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else. Then a racist's well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line between the two is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?

To find out behind the scenes info and more, my website is Dark Chocolate Suspense: I’d love it if folks stopped by and stayed a while. Also on the site are cool book readers with first chapters for each novel. Here’s the link to read the first two chapters of my latest novel, Enduring Justice:

My Heart Chocolate blog is:

Your mysteries are well plotted. Can you tell us a little about how you plot your novels?

I’m a major plotter, so much so that my family avoids me on those working days where I’m in another world surrounded by mounds of paper, mumbling strangely. But no matter how strange I might sound or look, I love this part of writing.

I usually start with both a strong sense of who the characters are and what they’re searching for. Then I do tons of research. For my FBI series, I read biographies and books written by FBI agents, I scoured the FBI website, and even had the privilege of interviewing a federal agent. After I’ve immersed myself into my characters’ careers, hobbies, and inner workings, then I compile a mass of sticky notes and scribbled on computer papers into a basic chapter by chapter outline. Once I like how things are fitting together, I get to work writing.

Thanks for sharing with us this month, Amy. Come back soon. To find Amy’s books at online bookstores, write Amy Wallace in the search slot.

I would like to invite you to visit my new pro-life blog, Voice of the Unborn, and if you left a comment and became a follower, that would be great. Here is the address.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Relaxation often comes after ...

I spent a bit of time freezing in 50ish degree weather, rain, and ... a dunk tank!

As Mrs. Montana International, I had the opportunity to help raise funds for pet adoption and responsible pet ownership. One of our local businesses, Rods -n- Dogs, offered to provide a dunk tank if Mrs. Montana would allow herself to be dunked. Who knew August would feel like November!

Well, I'm up for fun and unique ways of raising funds for my community :-D

So in I went! Whew! It was an icy polar plunge in the bad weather, but we drew a crowd and had a blast anyway!

But something much later surprised me.

At dinner, I suddenly realized how relaxed my body had gotten. Really uncommon. I felt almost languorous.

I think it had something to do with the extremes. So cold, so mentally UP in order to go through with it :-) Then I snuggled into a hot tea and seafood at a pleasant restaurant with my hubby. About half way into dinner, I recognized the languid feeling as if I were a cat sleeping on a warm hearth.

Thank you, God, for helping me understand how the mountains and valleys work together and that not all valley places are depressing. Sometimes they are incredibly comfortable.

And yes, I put up lots of silly pics on facebook under the Mrs. Montana International album on my facebook page (It's Angela Breidenbach.) Come see for some giggles.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Synopsis Writing: Get To The Point

by Molly Noble Bull

“Would you like to drive into the city?’ the man asked.
“I’d have to go to Target first,” the woman replied. “No question about that. And I need to have my nails done.” She showed him her hands. “Just look at these. Have you ever seen fingernails this bad? Well, my toenails are worse, if you can believe it. And of course, I’ll have to phone Anita. I promised I would.”
“Get to the point, honey.”
“Oh, I almost forgot about Pretty Cat. We can’t leave her behind. She's expecting kittens. I guess we could just leave her in the back seat with a window down a little.” She shook her head. “No, she could become overheated. We’ll just have to leave her at home in the air conditioning. Besides—”
“Honey, I asked you a question twenty or so paragraphs back, and there can only be one of two answers—either yes or no. So, would you like to drive into the city?”
“My goodness, sweetie. Weren’t you listening? I already answered that question.”

Did she or didn’t she? You can only give one answer. Either yes or no.
Does this dialogue sound like it came from your mouth and from your husband's? It sure sounds like countless conversations my husband and I have had.
The gift for gab is fine when writing a novel. But when writing a synopsis, you need to get to the point. In other words, write it the way your hubby would.
“Would you like to drive into the city?” the man asked.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Recovery-how long does it take?

In the beginning...I unpacked in the first hotel room getting ready to compete for Mrs. International. Little did I know how much energy it would take to get through the week!

We had early mornings and some late nights. Lots of rehearsing a dance number and meeting new people. We had personal appearances, interviews and a constant sense of stretching. I had a wonderful week in Chicago even though, no, I didn't win.

Behind the scenes: my feet hurt like crazy! Living on someone else's schedule is hard. I had to switch rooms mid-week when my hubby came. Learning new things outside of my experience kept me in constant fascination but also in constant awareness. That in itself draws on energy supplies.

Back at home, I thought it would take a day or two to reacclimatize to my regular schedule. Oh was I wrong!

Although playing with my grandson brought my head and heart right back to reality and how much my family means to me! His smile is so sunny, his joy chasing my exercise ball and just hugging him infuses me with energy.

Today, almost a week later, I'm feeling a bit more back to normal. I started thinking about why it took almost as long to recover as it did to compete. It was the lack of private recovery time. I'm a huge people-person. But one thing I do back at home is take private time to recharge. So home is a very quiet, peaceful place.

Ah, the energy. One week of constant, non-stop "up" energy. It's totally me, no problem, to visit and enjoy all the people I love meeting. The normal daily life allows time away, time to think, time to sleep! But it also allows down time away from people. No matter how much we love others, we still need our time to refuel and refresh. One week of solid drawing on those reserves depletes them completely. Not because it isn't fun or exciting, but because anytime you deal in non-stop people-it takes a different kind of mental energy.

When you are feeling drained, I'd like to suggest getting away by yourself and refilling your energy reserves with quiet, private time.

PS Please come visit and see the jewelry that helps support the Sanctuary of Hope orphan homes in Kenya.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tamela Hancock Murray, author of Love Finds You In Maiden North Carolina

By Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Tamela Hancock Murray—a fellow author and friend and a literary agent. In fact, she is my literary agent. Tamela, tell us about all your published novels as well as your upcoming novels and please include your web address.

Thank you, Molly. I am very appreciative of the chance to be here with you today, and am honored to represent you!
As for my novels, I love to write romance. One of my latest books is LOVE FINDS YOU IN MAIDEN, NORTH CAROLINA, released by Summerside Press. Set in the 1920s, this is the story of a maiden with a secret. I love the fact that this story has a happy ending for everyone. To research, my family and I visited Maiden. We enjoyed our time in such a lovely town.
I am also excited about my current release from Heartsong Presents, THE MASTER’S MATCH. This rags-to-riches historical was a lot of fun to write. I enjoyed watching my heroine grow from a little match girl into a fine lady.
I have many other releases, including a few Bible trivia books. Find out more about them at

Great. Now tell us who Tamela Hancock Murray is when she isn’t writing and promoting books. What are your hobbies? Likes? Dislikes? And tells us as much about your family as you feel comfortable telling.

As you can imagine, I’m an avid reader. I often read books I know I’ll disagree with just to challenge myself. However, I enjoy uplifting fiction.
I love coffee, but for some reason I can’t eat – or even smell – beets. If you love beets, please don’t write us letters of protest! (laughing)
As for family life, I am blessed that my husband doesn’t need to travel much for his job so we enjoy our evenings together. We try to hit the gym a couple of times a week, although I don’t work out as hard as I should! We still have a teenager at home. She’s a lot of fun. Our eldest daughter just graduated cum laude from my alma mater in Virginia, Lynchburg College, and she plans to go to South Korea to teach.

How do your religious beliefs affect your writing?

My religious beliefs permeate my writing because they affect my life. My faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, is so much a part of me that my worldview is evident in my prose even when I’m not writing about my faith.

Will your future books be historical novels? If not, what other kinds of books can we expect from you?

My next story, Courage of the Heart, takes place during the War Between the States. It will appear in a collection titled A BLUE AND GRAY CHRISTMAS from Barbour Publishing.

Thanks for sharing with us this month, Tamela. Come back soon. To find Tamela’s books at online bookstores, write Tamela Hancock Murray in the search slot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God has perfectly qualified you

It is worth remembering-You are perfectly created to be the person God created you to be. Notice what I did not say there, you are not fully equipped but you are perfectly created.

If you look in Ephesians 4, Paul starts by giving a charge to believers:

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” [Eph 4:1, NIV]

This is a verse we’ve read often enough for it to have very little meaning to most people. Okay, I’ll live a life worthy of my call. What does that mean exactly?

Here is how the Amplified says it.

“1I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God's service,…” [Ephesians 4:1, AMP]

This is a little deeper. We are urged to have behavior that makes God look good. We need to practice what we preach. We shouldn’t be judgmental hypocrites going about judging people and living by grace.

I think the Message Bible really gets to the heart of what God is saying to us through the Apostle Paul:

“1-3In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” [Ephesians 4:1-3, Message Bible]

Look at that urging. We are told to walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called us to travel. What road is that? Well, we are told to spend time in God’s presence, not in a religious way but talking to a friend. God loves us just as our spouse or best friend loves us. He wants to know about what is on our mind. He want us to take the time to hear what is on His mind.

But—and this is where many writers miss it—once we know what He has to say about it we are to RUN! Most writers I know are barely walking. They read a novel then spend 2 hours a week REALLY writing and wonder why they aren’t published in a year. That is not the road God called us to.

The other thing we do is constantly question our call. It is good and right to pursue God’s will for our life, but many writers are simply stalling. When I prayed and asked God if I should go to college I didn’t wake up every day and ask if I should go to class. I didn’t say “God, would you rather me pray for 3 hours instead of do my homework?” No, I did all that was necessary to become an excellent student. God honored that with many awards, scholarships and honors.

Likewise, when I became pregnant with our first child I didn’t ask Him every day “God, do you still want me to be a mom today?”

It would seem ridiculous to most people for me to feel I needed to ask God if he wanted me to feed and nurture my kids. It is clear in scripture that God calls me to be a loving mom and to set a good example for my kids. Furthermore, it is clear that I am to teach them and care for them. There are specific issues I ask Him for guidance on, but I know I am called to be a mom. I know how to do it because God laid it out in His word.

The same is true of your call to be a writer. Once you know that is a calling you need to pursue it with all gusto. You shouldn’t turn in substandard work and say “But God gave me this story. You MUST publish it.” You wouldn’t allow a doctor to cut in to you simply because “God called them to be a doctor.” [Having had surgery last week that has a DOUBLE Amen coming from me today!!]

Why am I beating up on you today? Truly, I’m not. What has inspired me is the amount of reading I’ve done recently on highly successful people. The people who excel do it because they become obsessed. That is where we need to get. We are taking God’s call to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you” as an excuse to do sloppy work. We say “I was too busy seeking God. I didn’t have time to do a good job.”

If we are seeking God first in all we do it means He is the first one we seek. Once we’ve sought Him we honor Him by doing Ephesians 4. Or we honor Him by doing Habakkuk 2:2 “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” God calls us to make it plain.

God calls us to honor Him with our work. God calls us to seek Him for our call, then work by the sweat of our brow and He’ll “give us all these things besides”.

The Christian life is one of activity. Even in the land of perfection [Eden] God gave Adam and Eve jobs. Each of us has a call on our lives and in those calls are God’s provision and fulfillment.

This week let’s all make progress rather than excuses. That includes me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fun with Dialogue

Posted by Eileen Astels

One of the reasons I love writing dialogue is because I as the writer have time to ponder great one-liners for my characters. In real life, there are many times I walk away from a conversation and stomp my foot thinking, oh, why didn't I think to say such'n'such instead? What a lost opportunity. Then I sigh and mope for a little longer wishing time could be reversed for just a little bit.

Well, fellow writers, our characters never need mess up their words again, unless of course we want them to [wink wink-- we can be so devious, can't we.] Revisions are on our character's side, so next time you're in edit mode with your story, take a good look at your dialogue and ask yourself these four questions about each line. (Yes, I said each line. There are no shortcuts to good writing.)

These questions come courtesy of James N. Frey via How to Write A Damn Good Novel.

  1. Is it in conflict?
  2. Is it trite?
  3. Can it be said better indirectly?
  4. Is the line as clever and colorful as it can be?

But remember, as you answer these four questions you must stay true to who your character is. Make sure that the dialogue, as clever and colorful as it may be, reveals who the character is, and isn't something just dropped in to liven the exchange.

I leave you with one more quote by James N. Frey, "Direct dialogue expresses exactly what is on the character's mind with no attempt on the part of the character to demur, use subterfuge, lie, be witty, and so on. Fine dialogue expresses the will of the character indirectly."

And it is much more fun to "express the will of a character indirectly", and your readers will thank you for the extra effort too. But like everything in life, the punch comes in moderation. Not all dialogue lends itself to indirect dialogue, but you can still work on the conflict, triteness, cleverness, and colourfulness for those lines too. The point of these questions is to check that each line is exactly what you want it to be, and to know why.

Any great indirect exchanges out there you'd like to share? We could learn from each other.

Surrendering to Him,


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Battle Your Inner Pirates--And Win!

Today I sent the class introduction for Battle Your Inner Pirates and win! to the members of the American Christian Fiction Writers free online class.

ACFW offers free courses 10 of the 12 months to its members. We have about 1900 members now and many love to take advantage of this free benefit. If you are not a member, you can join by going to and then after signing up, you can find the course links on the member home page to join the classes.

I'll be teaching a one week course starting tomorrow so you have time to join ACFW if you want to take it :-)

As a life coach, I help people battle their internal pirates--all those negative attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that hold you back from reaching your goals and dreams.

Our topics this week will be:
Monday - Friday instruction days. Tuesday/Thursday discussion. I teach this in 17 chapters or in life coaching at your personal pace. It's obvious we can't do it all, so we will do our best to do justice to what we can. We'll try for 3 of the topics and a quick wrap up on Saturday.

Consider this as a way to find what is blocking you, yes, but also consider it a study in characterization. If your main character were going through some of these mental/spiritual issues, how would they respond?

Be sure to make notes on a different sheet than your personal journal for your character's responses. By doing this, you allow your character to answer differently and grow or become more complicated.

As you work through those pirates that hold you back from your goals, you will be battling for a gem of wisdom. Our goal this week is to win 3 for your treasure chest!

We will deal with these battles on M-W-F:
1. Reframing-- Our Pirates: Rumination, Destructive Scripts, & Assumptions -- Awarded Gemstone: Garnet
2. Ownership vs. Empathy-- Our Pirates: Ownership-- Awarded Gemstone: Opal
3. Courage-- Our Pirates: Fear & Short term thinking -- Awarded Gemstone: Obsidian

Here's a glimpse our treasure hunt together. You may find some of these landmarks mapping the journey in our class this week. It's based on life coaching from, Insanity Rules: Gems of Wisdom, while we battle those internal pirates that hold us back from reaching our goals:

Pique Points: Thought-provoking questions to discuss.

Ponder Points: Tidbits to entice an open mind.

Personal Places: I may share a tender and true story, from the heart of a research volunteer, shared to help others.

Pirates: Those cutthroat negative attitudes, situations and feelings that get in the way of healthy living and healthy writing presented through fictional allegory. In this one week class, we won't be able to deal with all of them, so we will give our attention to the three listed.

Putting It All Together: Tying all the loose ends together in each lesson so it’s easy to understand and easy to then put into practice.

Polishing Point: Real life options to solve real life dilemmas and suggestions on how to put them into practice.

Gems: Gems of wisdom awarded as new concepts are learned along the treasure hunt route.

Definitions: A little more perspective on some words and ideas.

Tips: Tried and true, these are little gem chips that have worked for others. AND these may very well come from you or your classmates!

Ahoy there, Matey. Welcome aboard.

If you are more interested in personal life coaching rather than the spin towards writers, you can contact me here or go to the site for more information.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Setting aside one goal for a season...

Sometimes we get on the train heading in one direction only to realize that it takes several changes in station to achieve the destination.

My writing has had to take back seat this summer as I build the platform to support it into the future.

Although writing is my first choice, no one person can do it all. I decided mid-May to wait until after mid-July to continue my projects. I have to put a lot of energy into building the business side.

Now my new website is up, the jewelry is online and beginning to sell and I am off to compete for Mrs. International.

The energy. I keep coming back to that word. I've loved every bit of it. But energy is something we need to be good stewards of also. I think it's often missed.

Yes, I'll be getting back to writing in just a few weeks. I have a companion journal to finish with my non-fiction book and the second book in the Gems of Wisdom series to write. Then I need to reintroduce myself to a contest winning fiction manuscript that I put away when my mom passed. I put it away for a season. The season is ending.

Are you feeling drained?

In what way can you be a better steward of your energy?

Are you at the beginning or the ending of a season?

PS Please come visit and see all the new stuff!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lena Nelson Dooley, Author of Cranberry Hearts

By Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Lena Nelson Dooley, my very good friend from Hurst, Texas. Lena and I are members of a national organization titled American Christian Fiction Writers.
Welcome to Books That Inspire, Lena.

Lena: Thank you, Molly. Glad to be here.

Molly: I understand you have a new book release. Tell us about it.

L: Cranberry Hearts, the new release, contains three short novels set in Massachusetts. I wrote the first one, Lisa Harris wrote the second one, and Elizabeth Goddard wrote the third one. The families in the stories are related to each other, and each book is a contemporary romantic suspense

M: Have you written suspense before?

L: I’ve had a mystery before, but this is my first suspense. The title of my book is: Who Am I? The heroine has a lot of surprises in her life, and soon she finds out that someone wants to kill her.

M: Sounds interesting, Lena. I know that you’re multi-published. Just how many books do you have?

L: Cranberry Hearts is my 20th book release. God has really blessed my writing career.

M: What are you working on now?

L: I just finished writing a historical romance in trade paperback size. A publisher is interested in it, too. I don’t want to say any more about it right now.

M: How can the readers find you on the internet?

L: I have a lot of presence in cyberspace. My web site is . In the monthly newsletter, I give away at least one copy of one of my books. Some months, I do several. All readers have to do is sign my guest book.

I also have a blog where I interview other authors about their recent releases. I do about 3 a week, and we give away a free copy of each book.

And the readers can find me on Shoutlife: If your readers don’t know, Shoutlife id a Christian Internet community. (like My Space, but Christian)

M: Do you have any advice for authors just starting out?

L: Lots of it really. My passion is to help new authors learn. They need to connect with a group that writes the kind of books they want to write. If they’re into fiction, I highly recommend ACFW. You mentioned them at the first of the interview. They can be found at:

Read, read, read (especially the kind of book they want to write). Write, write, write. And be willing to accept helpful critiquing. One of the things a writer needs most is a teachable spirit. None of us were born with the ability to write for publication. We all had to learn and hone out skills.

And don’t give up. The only authors who get published are the ones who submit. . .and submit. . .and submit.

M: It was great having you today, Lena, and I hope you will come back real soon.

L: I’d like that, Molly. Thank you for having me.

M: Next month my guest will be author and literary agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, from the state of Virginia. See you then.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Writing as a Hobby, or Not?

Posted by Eileen Astels

I attended a writer's conference last week, and one of the hot topics that kept recurring for me was the concept of writing as a professional, rather than as a hobbyist.

So, what defines one from the other?

Well, the consensus seemed to hover around the concept of commitment. Are you committed to write for publication (even if you don't know when that day will come), or are you just a dabbler, testing the literary waters sort of speak?

In one session of the continuing education class that I took, three elements that make you a professional writer was proposed.

1) Structure
2) Vision
3) Support System

Under Structure, setting a specific time to regularly write each day came into discussion. But what if you can't write each day, even for ten minutes? Are you doomed from the professional status if instead you write eight hours straight every Friday? Not likely. The idea is to develop a schedule, one that is strict, that you maintain faithfully, but works within your lifestyle, full time job, family responsibilities, etc.

Once you define when you are going to write, the next thing to consider is where. Create a place that is solely for your writing needs. Like your day job, you have a place that is yours, even if it's only your locker; in writing, you need a defined place designated for creating your written work. An office would be wonderful, but with technology today, a little alcove for you and your laptop would suffice, as long it's a place where you can concentrate and punch out words.

Of course, writing isn't much good if you don't have an idea and a goal to work on and toward. To be professional, you'll be typing words with a specific idea in mind (for some form of publication, paid or not) and you'll be working toward a daily goal of say four pages, a set number of hours of diligent writing, a short article, research findings, or whatever your specific goal of accomplishment is for that designated writing time.

Administratively, to be professional, you'll need to begin growing a contact list for the future marketing days ahead, and you'll need some type of filing system to keep all your writing needs organized. As well, a calendar for scheduling your WRITING TIME, writing commitments, project due dates, speaking engagements, research appointments, etc. is a tool every professional writer requires. Personally, I like to see a month at a glance for this and since I'm one of those people who keeps updating my calendar, I like to print mine out and use sticky notes on it that I can transfer from one version to another easily. You can check out for free online calendars.

Once you have your structure in place to be a professional writer, a vision is required. What's your vision? What do you hope to achieve via your writing? Short articles to sell to magazines? Non-fiction or fiction for publication in book form? What are you trying to write and what financial goal do you have in mind? How can you achieve your financial goal? How many articles will you need to sell this month to bring in that desired compensation? Be realistic. If you're lucky enough to not require income from your writing right now, what non-financial vision are you working for? A completed book to pitch at your next writer's conference? Ultimately, a vision is linked closely to your goals. Get them aligned and do what is necessary to achieve success.

Lastly, get a support system in place. Through the years I have discovered that writing is 10% first draft, and 90% revision/editing (With my earlier novels, it's more like 1% first draft, 99% revision/edits). So, if you are like me, you'll need critique buddies, readers, and mentors who support your writing vision. Once you get to a certain point you'll then need professional editors and agents to further guide your writing efforts. And, of course, you'll require your families support so that you have the time to write (guilt-free), and the emotional backing and encouragement required to push you over the tough hurdles and into the next valley.

So, what are you? A writer hobbyist, or a professional writer?

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


You hear the term thrown around "We are Ambassadors for Christ". I have been abroad and I've been at an Embassy. I understand the unique nature of an Embassy compound. However, I think many times we get the idea of rich people having lavish parties in Paris at the Embassy stuck in our minds and it clouds the true mission.

See, being an ambassador is not about position-it is about calling. It is a representation of AUTHORITY. When the Ambassador speaks to a foreign leader he/she is speaking in the name of, and in the authority of, the nation that sent them. The ambassador can negotiate an agreement, sign it and it holds the same authority of the President's signature. The Ambassador must consult their Commander-in-Chief but once he has received direction his WORD has the authority of the country that sent him.

Furthermore, the Embassy [the home of the Ambassador] exists as a sovereign 'state' within another state. For example, when we adopted our daughter in Russia 4 years ago we had to go to the US embassy. Even though we were in Moscow once we stepped through those doors of the Embassy we were in America. It is a funny concept to wrap your mind around.

Think about the implications of scripture now. God gave us His word in scripture. He also speaks to us through the Holy Spirit as we spend time alone communing with Him. Once He has shown us the path, we speak on His authority. Our homes, though living in this kingdom are not subject to the laws of lack and need that exist in this world. Our laws are scripture. When we are obeying God with our tithes and offering. [Tithe is 10% of ALL increase. Offerings are more besides.] When we are honoring God with our time, our talent, our words, our actions. When we are honoring God by spending time with Him and in His Word to learn what his thoughts are on a subject, we then go out and operate on His authority. We are no longer limited to what this world has or says. We are subject to the laws of our Home Leader [God] and to His Kingdom's Laws!

If a president of a foreign country [let's say France to make it easy] ever came in to the US Embassy uninvited he could be removed. He has no legal right or authority to be there. He is on American soil and subject to American laws. Yet we allow Satan and the Kingdom of darkness dance all through our homes, our children and our lives. We say "well, in this world you'll have trouble". [John 16:33]

That is where we stop because we haven't taken the time to LISTEN to our leader. Look at this same verse in 3 different translations. [Verses Complements of Bible Gateway.

John 16:33 (New International Version)

33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

John 16:33 (Amplified Bible)

33I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

John 16:33 (New King James Version)

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”


1. John 16:33 NU-Text and M-Text omit will.

So, this isn't a matter of "That is Life" and acceptance. We have allowed an illegal invasion of territory that belongs to us and God.

It is not God who has failed us. It is us who need to walk in the authority we already have.

Go be REAL ambassadors!

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group's next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website. []
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog. []
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.[]

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Opposite Side of Rest

Sometimes we think we need rest just to

But today I had a prayer request come through that struck me profoundly. The request was for rest to build strength for the next round. Now for this person, it meant the next round of chemo. Often for us, though, it means the next difficult trial whether that is chemo or getting past a hurdle at work that has been especially draining.

We think that if we rest, that means the trial is finally over.

Another purpose for resting is to rebuild and renew in order to gather strength for the battle ahead. When we continually chug forward without taking time to recharge, there isn't the fuel to successfully meet the challenge.

So today I'd like to suggest we all take a short time out to build strength for what is to come.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where the Truth Lies by Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery

Reviewed by Molly Noble Bull

Published by Heartsong Presents
ISBN 978-1-59789-530-9

Page One:

Case Alexander stared across the coffee-stained desk at the Pine Mills detective peering down his nose at her. “That’s not what the police in Virginia Beach told me. They said you contacted them with news she was missing. They didn’t say anything about suicide.”
“We didn’t have any information at that point. That’s why I needed to speak with you, confirm some of her activities. Unfortunately, our investigation has turned up a few, shall we say, details, which make me believe it’s more than just a missing person case.
(Excerpt from Where the Truth Lies by Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery.)

Casey Alexander returns to her aunt’s home in Pine Mill, Massachusetts after learning from the police in Virginia Beach that Aunt Liddy was missing. But the police in Pine Mill insist that her aunt isn’t merely missing, she committed suicide. The police give Casey a letter from Aunt Liddy stating that her aunt intended to take her own life. However, a body was never found. Casey knows her beloved aunt would never kill herself. If Aunt Liddy is dead, she was murdered, and Casey sets out to prove it.

In her quest for the truth, Casey befriends a librarian named Monah and Luke Kerrigan, a handsome young man who loves plants and owns a nursery. Casey has good reasons for thinking Luke is trying to frighten her if not kill her. At the same time, Casey is attracted to Luke, and he seems attracted to her.

To calm Casey’s fears, Monah assures her that Luke is as straight as an arrow, and Casey hopes that is the case. However, she has little time for romance. She has a possible murder to solve.

Where the Truth Lies is a cozy mystery you won’t want to stop reading until the very end, and amidst lies and half-truths at every turn, Ludwig and Mowery do a good job of keeping the reader as interested in solving the mystery as Casey is. This would be a good book to take with you when you go on a vacation or spend a day at the beach. You will enjoy all 243 pages of Where the Truth Lies and wish for more.

To learn more about Elizabeth and her writing, visit her website.
To see a book trailer of Where the Truth Lies, click below.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Technology for Mrs. Montana International Interview Tonight!

One of the most exciting new methods of communication today is the Internet teleseminar. This is similar to a radio interview but much, much simpler. A teleseminar is an interview that is broadcast over the phone lines and the Internet at the same time. The speakers are using their the telephones. To attend, all you need to do is dial into the special conference number and put in the ID code. You'll immediately enter the conference and hear the entire interview. You can even listen on your cell phone while in the car.

Or if you'd rather, you can listen from a special web page. The interview will come over your computer speakers just the same as if you were on the phone, but this method is free to anyone in the world--no international charges. People on the web page can also ask questions and hear the presenters answer them right there from their computer speakers.

Tonight, I'm going to be interviewed via teleseminar with Rosey Dow. Please join us and see how this amazing technology works. It's as simple as making a phone call or clicking a web link. And if you can't be there for the live event, you can listen to the replay. It will be up almost immediately on the web page.

To attend, just go to:

and enter your first name and email address. Once you do that, you'll get the phone number and also the web page information via email. The interview is tonight. I hope to meet you there.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Your Invitation to join me tomorrow night :-)

Just a few weeks ago I was thrilled to be crowned Mrs. Montana International. In this position, it's my pleasure and blessing to help bring awareness to the work of Hope's Promise Orphan Ministry, the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign and the Jadyn Fred Foundation.

June 15th as Angela Breidenbach talks about filling your treasure chest with Gems of Wisdom and her passion for helping children at home and abroad through Hope's Promise Orphan Ministries, The Jadyn Fred Foundation, and promoting healthy lifestyles with the American Heart Association.

In addition, I'll be encouraging personal growth, healthy lifestyle, and intentional living by uncovering the unique purpose knit into each person’s DNA through uncovering your own gems of wisdom.

You can sign up on facebook here:

Or you can go directly to the page online and listen in here:

I would be really honored if you would join me on the teleseminar tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Thank you,

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

People want the truth

Recently I have begun to try to be "Real" with people who read my blog. While I always strove to give accurate and useful information I feel that sometimes my blog was not as forceful as it should have been. I know because I can give myself as many excuses as anyone else. I know every reason why I don't have the time to accomplish a particular task. I make excuses [offer REASONS] and essentially give up.

Then I decided that I needed to toughen up and work in a way that truly honors God. I need to fully use my gifts so God is collecting interest on the talent he gave me.

A remarkable thing happened. When I took a tough love stand on the issues people responded with overwhelming positive comments.

They also responded by making meaningful changes and working to improve-rather than excuse.

This got me thinking. So many times we want to make the life of a Christian nice and sweet. We want to show God's "Good side" as if He needs us to explain Him to other people. What I have decided is that God needs to be allowed to be God. That means where He says that he will judge, we need to take that message seriously and offer warning and guidance to those who are headed for judgment. We need to do this in truth and love, not in demanding and judging.

People want the truth. People want passion and conviction. They want individuals to move beyond making excuses for themselves and everyone around them. They want to know God cares and we care enough to warn them.

As you create your stories, show God as He is. God doesn't need us to explaing Him. He can do it just fine himself.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group's next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website. []
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog. []
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.[]

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Great Escape Summer Reading Contest

Please scroll down and read all the great articles on this page, but I wanted to tell you about a website where you can win free books for your summer reading pleasure without having to pay postage or anything.
The Christian Pulse is sponsoring The Great Escape Summer Reading Contest, making it possible for you to win free autographed copies of books. Each book is only available for one day, and the daily contests continue until the end of June 2009. All you have to do is go to the address below each day and click.
Then click on the Great Escape ad near the top of the page and click again. Check the title of the book available to win on that day because the titles change daily. After you click on the ad and checked the title, you will be given an email address to click on. Click on the email address and put The Great Escape Summer Reading Contest or a similar title in the subject line. Write the title of that day's book in the text of the message. Also write your name, mailing address, phone number and email address in the text of the message. That's all you have to do. You will be notified if you win.
Please forward this message to Christians and others who like to read. On June 29, 2009 you will have the opportunithy to win a free autographed copy of my book, Sanctuary, because Sanctuary will be the The Great Escape Summer Reading Contest selection on that day.
Molly Noble Bull

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

As unto the Lord

I've been doing a great deal of thinking lately. It seems that the 7 1/2 years ago when God grabbed a hold of me and let me know that He liked me and wasn't disappointed in me there was more that changed on my insides than I'd realized-and not all of it was good.

At that point I became so focused on giving God the credit and the glory for everything right in my life that I let the 'workhorse' in me die.

Let me explain.

Prior to realizing that God was actually involved and interested in my life I thought that I had to do it all myself. God only worried about me after I died. If I wanted to get anywhere in life it was up to me and me alone. I worked long hours. I punished my body. I studied. I strived. I was successful.

However, once I realized that God was working along side me I wanted to be sure He received all the glory. I never wanted someone from the outside to say "Well, of COURSE you made the best seller list, you worked hard, studied and had a great book."

See, in college I worked and studied long hours and felt I deserved and acolades I received. Of course I did because I'd earned them. During that time I'd beg God to help me remember what I'd studied but that was only after spending more than 16 hrs a week in lectures and more than 20-30 hours a week with my nose in a book studying. I worked hard and asked God to help me remember everything I'd done.

With my writing I felt that somehow my effort would cheapen God's glory. My success would be viewed as having been achieved through my own effort. No one would say "Wow, look what God did in/for/through Tiff."

How silly!!

In January I spent a month praying, fasting and digging deep in to scripture. I asked God for wisdom and favor. I asked God for breakthrough and provision. I asked God for understanding and success.

Over the last few months I've felt gradual, incremental revelations. As if windshield wipers clearing dirt from the glass. The first swipe revealed a murky path ahead so I sprayed on more prayer and Bible reading. That lead me to a few books, a few scriptures and a few messages at church that swished back and forth to wipe off more and more of the haze.

Now I'm beginning to see a clear path ahead of me. While it is exciting it opens up a second set of questions. I know God will reveal each of these in time as well. I simply need to grow where I'm planted with the revelation He's given me.

So as yourself the tough question. Are you using God and His grace as an excuse to do less than your best in ANY area of your life? Are you lazy in your parenting knowing that God will pick up the pieces? Are you lazy in your marriage knowing that you're comfortable with each other? Are you lazy in your call to write knowing you have an excuse in a 'bad economy'?

The Bible tells us to do everything "As unto the Lord". I sometimes fear that the body of Christ doesn't take that as a call to excellence but rather as a call to 'good enough'.

I've issued a challenge on my writing career coach website to set out 3 main goals for this week. Pop over to writing career coach and look at the Friday May 29 and Monday June 1 blogs for more information.