Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grab your pots!

Tuesdays with Tiffany
by Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach

Last week I posted a blog on my main writing site where I basically gave a dose of tough love. If you haven't read it, go check it out. I didn't tell my regular blog readers but that book was written by a pastor and was addressing the Body of Christ.

For the last 5 years our family has struggled to adopt a special needs daughter, and then to raise her. We've struggled through my husband's cancer diagnosis, treatment and healing. We've battled financial giants, unemployment and maintaining our testimony in the midst of it all.

We are now in a place financially where we can see the end of the battle [financially] but we aren't quite there in the physical yet. I've spent a great deal of time seeking God and His wisdom. I know that the key to our success and victory in this will come with faithful obedience to God and His call. I also know I'll have a role to play in executing His plan.

This last week as I sat alone with God I began to meditate on the story of a woman who had lost her husband and faced losing all she owned and all she loved [her sons] to a creditor. [2 Kings 4]I cannot imagine the misery the woman must have felt. The situation seemed impossible. She sought the prophet for a word.

The prophet said to her "Tell me, what do you have in your house?" [verse 2, NIV]

The woman only had a bit of oil.

The prophet replied to her, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side."

Go to the Bible and read the rest of the story in detail. When she obeyed God multiplied the little bit of Oil she had in the house. She was able to sell it to repay the debt AND live on what was left. But the key was to USE what she had, ASK for help when necessary and OBEY the unusual direction from the prophet. This woman's blessing was only limited by her willingness to respond to what she was told.

That morning the woman was losing all she had, by evening she had more than what she needed.

That is the power of our God.

Knowing that, why aren't you following her example?

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 www.WritingCareerCoach.com
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. [www.TheBalancedLife.com]
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog. [http://tiffanycolter.blogspot.com]
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.[http://writersrest.blogspot.com]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Golden Keyes Parsons, author of In the Shadow of the Sun King

By Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Golden Keyes Parsons—a fellow author and friend. As most of you know, my novel Sanctuary was a historical about the Huguenots and set in France. Well, Golden’s novel, In the Shadow of the Sun King, is also set in France and about the Huguenots. Golden, tell us about all your published novels. Also, tell us about your upcoming novels and include your web address.

Thank you for having me, Molly. In the Shadow of the Sun King is my first published novel, and is number one in a four-book series, published by Thomas Nelson. The book is set in 17th century France and is based on my family genealogy. In the course of the story, I deal with the persecution of the French Huguenots under Louis XIV’s Catholic government and the struggle of the Clavell family to escape the tyranny of King Louis and worship God in freedom.

The second book in the series, A Prisoner Of Versailles, is due to be released in August ’09, and continues the adventures of the Clavell family.

My website is www.goldenkeyesparsons.com

Great. Now tell us who Golden Keyes Parsons 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.

I am a child of God who grew up in a dysfunctional, alcoholic family. God reached down and pulled me to himself when I was a teenager, and I never got over it. I felt a call to ministry from the beginning of my walk with him. His hand has been so evident in my life as I went to college on a scholarship, met my husband and we raised our family.

I’ve always been in ministry in one way or another – either in lay positions or on staff of a ministry or church or as a pastor. Yes, I am an ordained pastor. That journey and struggles of a woman in ministry could fill a book. Maybe I should write about that!

Hobbies would include music – I’m a pianist. Of course, I love to read. We are avid fans of our alma mater’s sports – that would be Baylor University.

I love fresh fruits and vegetables. Not real crazy about fast food. Dislike the little card inserts that come in magazines. I tear them all out before I start looking at the magazine. I don’t like poor manners and sloppy attire on anybody. I love young people who are in love with Jesus – especially college students. I love anything blue.

And top of the list – I love, love, love our family. We have three grown daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

How do your religious beliefs affect your writing?

I cannot write without those intrinsic beliefs poking through the lines. My beliefs form my worldview, so my writing is from a biblical worldview. I don’t mean I put Scripture on every page, or prayer or God, but the basic thrust of the storyline is through the eyes of one who holds that perspective.

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

I think the majority of my writing will be historicals. I love trying to bring dusty history to life, and what better way than through a historical novel?

Thanks for sharing with us this month, Golden. Come back soon. To find Golden’s books at online bookstores, write Golden Keyes Parsons in the search slot.
Next month author, Lena Nelson Dooley, will pay us a visit.
See you then.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Few Good Points

Posted by Eileen Astels

I've been working through James N. Frey's How To Write A Damn Good Novel lately and want to share a few key points that struck a cord with me as I feverishly work on edits once more.

#1: "...as soon as you open your story, give your reader an emotional touchstone--plunge a character into an emotion-provoking situation." Isn't that so true? When I think of the books that grabbed me right from the first line, they were all ones where I was immediately emotionally invested because the character dealt with some emotional challenge.

#2: Indirect dialogue makes a character "more unique and interesting." James Frey gives some awesome examples of how a straight shooting guy asking a girl on a date can be transformed from boring to a highly-charged character-revealing and entertaining scene. Indirect dialogue really does work to liven a scene. Have you tried it lately?

#3: When writing dialogue consider the following check list of questions. "Is it in conflict? Is it trite? Can it be said better indirectly? Is the line as clever and colorful as it can be?" Just thinking of going through all my dialogue and quizzing myself over and over with these four questions makes me nauseated. But...from seeing James Frey's samples and how altering to comply with these suggestions makes the dialogue so much richer, I know it will be worth the creative challenge.

And finally,
#4: Did you know there are seven senses for a writer to consider? And hear I thought I was writing to appeal to only five all this time. James Frey's seven senses are: "hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, the psychic sense, and a sense of humor." I love it. Don't you? By appealing to all these senses throughout our stories we create a fuller, all-encompassing read that has the ability to touch our readers. Do your characters have intuition or feel fear just because...? That's a bit of psychic sense, isn't it? And humor definitely goes a long way in grabbing and keeping my interest. Humor can really come alive in indirect dialogue. Have you tried it?

There is, of course, much more in this book to make a writer scramble for more editing time, but I thought I'd share the top four for me to work on in my manuscript. Is there any particular area you heavily address in your editing phase? Inquiring minds want to know.

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's a quiet whisper

It seems so often we look for God in some great manifestation. We forget that Elijah heard God not in the Earthquake, but in the still small voice.

Does that mean God wasn't with Elijah during the Earthquake and everything else? No. God is always there, but the scripture says "God wasn't in the Fire/Earthquake". It was after the rumbling that God came in a quiet voice.

So many times as writers we want to see a gigantic manifestation of God's presence. We want a sudden 5 book deal and Christy win to show the greatness of our God.

This past weekend, however, I found God in the midst of a quiet moment. The storms had been raging in my personal life all week. Things I had dreaded and never believed could happen to me...suddenly were happening. I felt like a failure and a fraud. I knew God was there but I was feeling like all the work we were doing was simply pointless.

Then as I sang a praise song with the radio Saturday my heart suddenly broke. As if in a movie I saw in my head where that week God had silently stepped in and answered a different prayer. One I'd been praying for 4 years. The answer was suddenly, simply THERE.

I look at the Fire that was tearing through one aspect of my life. I looked at the Earthquake that shook our foundation last week. But I hadn't let go of God or his goodness. I kept saying over and over during the "Earthquake" in my life last week "God is taking care of this. It's almost over."

I wonder if Elijah felt that way? As he was on that mountain and he felt the shaking he knew God had led him to that place to come face to face with God. He was afraid for the moment but, when the destructive forces of nature stopped, there was a quiet voice giving Elijah an assignment.

Last week my world was shaken, it felt as if a wind and fire were raging in my life BUT THEN a still, small voice spoke to me when I got in to worship with God. He gave me a clear set of directions. He gave me peace and He revealed to me where He's been active in my life during this time of upheaval.

Listen for the quiet whisper in the midst of your storms.

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 www.WritingCareerCoach.com
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.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Oh For the Good Old Days

by Molly Noble Bull


About a week ago, my husband and I sat down to watch an old TV western, and I expected to be entertained. I wasn’t.
Though it featured famous actors, an interesting setting, and good conflict, the movie fell flat. I think I know why. At least, I know what I didn’t like about it.
Except for one minor character who died before the end of the movie, there were no good guys. There was nobody to root for.
The main character and his brother were criminals. They robbed banks and killed people without a thought. The heroine was a former prostitute who loved the hero’s worthless brother. I never understood why. I lost count of the number of banks the brothers and their gang robbed and the number of people they killed.
By the end of the movie, I wanted to throw something at the television set.
At one time, the motion picture industry held to a code of conduct. According to the code, there could be bad guys in a movie, but the good guys had to win. The bad guys always got their just rewards. Either they were killed in a shoot-out with the good guy or went to prison. A bad guy was never the hero.
Not so today.
I like books and movies where there is a clear choice between good vs. evil. Today, we constantly see evil vs. evil in books and movies. The handsome hero is a burglar or a bank robber, and he not only gets away with his crimes without any sort of retribution, he also gets the girl at the end of the movie.
Oh for the “good old days.”