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 www.lenanelsondooley.com . 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. http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

And the readers can find me on Shoutlife: www.shoutlife.com/lenanelsondooley 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: www.acfw.com

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 http://www.incompetech.com/ 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 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]

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Opposite Side of Rest

Sometimes we think we need rest just to get...rest.

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: http://tinyurl.com/mrsmontana

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 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]

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.