Saturday, October 27, 2012


Tips for October 31st

By Molly Noble Bull

I always think of wrestling and boxing as guy things. In most cases, women fight with the tongue in the form of gossip and spiteful acts. All these are examples of man against man or woman against woman. But according to the scriptures, our fellow humans are not our enemy.
Then who is?
Click onto this video and turn on the sound to find out. 
The Bible says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.
But who are these principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness? And what about spiritual wickedness in high places? Are we talking about people or otherworldly beings?
Beings, in my opinion. Can you spell demons? 
Currently, spiritual warfare is making a comeback. Many Christians fight demons daily in the name of Jesus.
Others don’t believe demons exist, accepting the world’s view that demons are harmless mythical characters with batwings, horns and pointed tails or ghosts and goblins. Not only do they refuse to believe that demons are real as the Bible plainly states, they honor these beasts on their high holy day by decorating their homes with pumpkin-heads and portraits of skeletons, witches and other Halloween symbols. If that was not bad enough, they dress their children in costumes depicting the very powers and principalities the Bible warns against.
It has come to my attention that some Christians are able to actually see these demon spirits—often when they close their eyes at night in hopes of going to sleep. One person reported that at first glance they look like ordinary people you might see in the course of ones everyday life—on the street, at Wal Mart, anywhere. Yet if those seeing these other worldly beings delay in rebuking them, the beings slowly change. Instead of looking like ordinary people, they melt into the demons they actually are—much like in a horror movie.
True Christians don’t engage in a wrestling match with other humans. They rebuke Satan and his fallen angels and demons in the name of Jesus Christ. 
The name Jesus is powerful in the spiritual world. When demons hear that name, Jesus, they flee.
Instead of celebrating the demon’s high holy day this year in shades of orange and black, pray against them in the name of God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ—our Lord, Savior and King. 
Please leave a comment. We want to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Interview with Eddie Jones, Author of Dead Man’s Hand


eddie-jones-500I’d like to welcome Eddie Jones to Writer’s Rest, today. Eddie is the author of eleven books and over 100 articles. He also serves as Acquisition Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is a three-time winner of the Delaware Christian Writers' Conference, and his YA novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Children's Book Award and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult Fiction. He is also a writing instructor and cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries. His “He Said, She Said” devotional column appears on ChristianDevotions.US. His humorous romantic suspense, Bahama Breeze remains a "blessed seller." When he's not writing or teaching at writers' conferences, Eddie can be found surfing in Costa Rica or some other tropical locale.

Tell us about your upcoming release, Dead Man's Hand, with Zondervan.

First, it’s a fun, fast read aimed for middle school boys, but we’re also getting nice reviews on Goodreads from teachers and mothers. But my aim is to give boys a book they can enjoy, one taps into today’s fascination with the occult. This is the first book in the Caden Chronicles series and each story involves one element of the supernatural. Book one explores the concept of ghosts, spirits and what deadmanshandhappens to our souls when we die.

Zonderkids is a Christian publisher, so the paranormal aspect is surprising.

I added the paranormal aspect because I want parents and youth to struggle with eternal questions. We’ve created such a culture of blood-letting through books and movies involving vampires, zombies and survival contests, that the reality of death doesn’t carry the sting it once did. In high school my youngest son lost several friends to driving accidents. When another friend recently died, we asked how he felt and he replied, “I’m numb to it.” I fear that’s what we’re doing with our youth: desensitizing them to the horrors of death. In Dead Man’s Hand, Nick and his family discuss spirits and ghosts and the afterlife because I think it’s important for teens to wrestle with these questions before they’re tossed from a car and found dead on a slab of wet pavement.

You've spent the last few years dedicating yourself to helping others get published. Tell us a little about your publishing company and what motivated you to take on such a huge endeavor.

We started the publishing arm to publish devotional compilations for Christian Devotions Ministries. We wanted to give some of our devotional writers their own byline in print. Part of mission is to launch new careers for first time authors. We wanted to create a publishing house where writers who were happy selling from 2,000, to 5,000 copies of their devotional book. There is a big jump from unpublished author to “three-book contract” author and we wanted to serve as a stepping-stone for those writers.

My problem is I hate telling people no, especially when they have a solid project. When it comes time to reject a manuscript, it pains me because I’ve been and continue to be on the other end of rejection. I will delay saying no as long as I can in order to rework the e-mail. I try to give authors good advice for how they can improve their writing. The problem is, if I’m too nice, then they keep coming back and asking to resubmit the same project. My advice to those authors is, improve your writing and send me something new.

We currently have forty authors under contract, have published over thirty books and distribute around four thousand dollars a month in royalty checks. We pay our authors monthly, not quarterly, because we want them to feel like writing is a real job. In fact, I teach a class on how, if an author will write five books a year, they can make over twenty-five thousand dollars. And these are large books. Most are under thirty thousand words. The goal is to have five books that sell 125 copies, (print and ebook combined). a month.

I get jazzed when one of our books launches or sells well. I know what it feels like to see your book growing legs and garnering positive reviews so I get excited for our authors. Sometimes I think that’s how God feels when we’re doing the thing He’s called us to do. When we’re in our zone, doing the thing we love, we feel His joy. That’s what is great about working for God: sometimes you get paid for playing.

But the only reason I’m able to publish books and write full time is because four years ago I told God I’d work for Him full time. I figure if I was working for God I’d never be out of work. I may not make a lot of money, but he says there’s plenty of work and not enough laborers, so to me, that meant job security. I took a blank sheet of paper and signed it one day during my devotions and said, ‘Okay, God, I’ll do whatever it is you ask me to do, because I’m tired of working for other people. I want to work for You.’ Making up stories for boys, writing devotions, creating humorous romantic novels for adults, I get to do all this plus make dreams come true for other authors all because I agreed to work for God full time.

You're passionate about getting boys interested in books. Why do you feel it's so important to get boys reading fiction at an early age?

I fear we’re on the verge of losing the male reader. I don’t mean men and boys won’t learn to read: they will. But the percentage of males who read for leisure continues to shrink and this could be devastating for our country. We can’t lose half our population and expect America to compete on a global level. Reading forces the mind to create. With video the scene and characters are received passively by the brain. There is very little interaction; it’s all virtual stimulation, which is different from creation. When you read, you add your furniture to the scene, dress the characters, add elements not mentioned by the author. This is why readers so often complain, “the movie was nothing like the book.” It’s not, because the book is your book. The author crafted the outline of the set but each reader brings their emotions and expectations to that book, changing it forever.

In general, boys would rather get their information and entertainment visually. This is one reason books have such a tough time competing for male readers. It can take weeks to read a book, even one as short as Dead Man’s Hand. Meantime, that same story can be shown as a movie in under two hours. So in one sense the allure of visual gratification is robbing future generations of our ability to solve problems. I believe Americans only posses one true gift, creativity, and it’s a gift from God. Other nations build things cheaper and with fewer flaws. They work longer hours for less pay. But the thing that has always set America apart is our Yankee ingenuity. We have always been able to solve our way out of problems. That comes directly from our ability to create solutions to problems we didn’t anticipate. If we lose male readers and fail to develop those creative connections necessary for the brain to conceive of alternatives, then we will lose our position as the world’s leader.

What advice would you offer to parents to get their children interested in reading at a young age?

Watch for clues. If your child shows any interest in reading, reward the activity with trips to book fairs. I remember in grade school how excited I got when we were allowed to order books. All we had to do was check a box, (or so I thought), and wham! A few weeks later boxes of books showed up and the teacher began dealing them to the students. I didn’t learn until later my parents had mailed the school money for those books. I still have most of them.

footballBut not all children like reading and you can create an anti-reading environment if you push too hard. An alternative for boys are comic books, graphic novels, or simply cartoon books. I read a lot of Charlie Brown cartoon books and still remember the plot: Lucy has the football. Charlie wants to kick the ball. Lucy promises she will hold the ball in place but at the last moment… We know this story because it’s repeated, not in a novel, but in a cartoon.

Okay, we're going to be really nosey now, you've been married a long time. Tells us a little about your family, how you and your wife met and your family.

I met my wife at a stoplight in West Palm Beach, Florida. She was in the backseat of the car behind us. The driver honked and I crawled out the passenger window, a brown Pinto. The door didn’t work so it looked like I was a NASCAR driver getting out on pit road. The car behind us was full of girls from Meredith College. They asked where I went to college and I told them I went to Meredith, too. "It's a girl's school, you dork," one of them said. I told them I was taking Old Testament that semester, can’t remember the professor’s name, now, and one of the girls yelled, "Hey! You're in my class!” I explained when been surfing all day and didn’t have a place to stay and needed to hose off and asked if we could borrow their showers. They led us back to their hotel, my buddy and I washed off and left. Driving home a week later we came upon the same car in the slow lane of I-95. The girls were afraid we’d fall asleep driving home, my buddy couldn’t drive at night, so they agreed to put one girl in the car to keep us company. She’d get in, tell her life story and at the end of the hour, another would get in the car. Our last passenger was this cute girl wearing a funny Gilligan hat. She never said a word, not for the whole hour. We put her out, the girls drove off and I finally got home, exhausted. The next week I invited that shy girl to a Warren Zevon concert. Four years later, I married her.

You've freelanced writing newspaper columns for the last few decades on boating. Do you have an interesting boating story you can share?

All my boating stories are interesting. I collected the columns into two books, Hard Aground and Hard Aground… Again. The column began in the late eighties when an editor read a couple of essays I'd written about trying sail a boat with my wife. He seemed genuinely amused someone of my limited boating experience would think a woman of my wife's refined nature would enjoy peeing in a bucket in the cockpit of small sailboat. He informed me that I had correctly spelled the minimum number of words to meet his editorial standards and since someone on the staff had mistakenly sold one ad too many for the next issue, the publication was in need of some copy to balance out that page. I didn't know this at the time. I thought he was genuinely impressed with my writing abilities. I've been told I still suffer from this delusion."

The editor told me the column needed a catchy name. I purchased a few sailing publications and knew all boating columnist were subject matter experts. The only thing I was an expert on was running off the boat ramp, running aground on clearly marked shoals and running into the dock. I decided I would become an expert on making the best of tough times. When you run aground in a boat – in life - you have two choices. You can cuss and complain or you can grab a good book, kick back and wait for the tide to float you off. It's all a matter of perspective and pennies and I'm cheap so I usually wait for the tide.

Tell us about your ministry, Christian Devotions. How it got started, what you all are up to these days and what your plans are for the future.

Cindy Sproles and I started the ministry years ago to help authors publish their devotions. We’d go to writers’ conferences and on the last day find all these writers in tears because no one wanted their work. I had a web business and knew how to build web sites so I put up a home page and invited contributing writers. We figured we could at least give new writers a byline, even if it was only on the web. Cindy had been writing devotions every day for two years, partly because of something Alton Gansky said at a Blue Ridge Conference and partly as a commitment to God. The odd thing was, Cindy I didn’t know each other at that first conference but we both wrote down Al’s words. It was like God spoke to each of us separately to work together. Weeks after that conference I was under my willow tree doing my devotion when I heard God whisper: I meant to register the domain but by the time I got to my upstairs office, I forgot. A few weeks later God spoke again. Once more, I forgot. Few more weeks past and this time I wrote it down in my journal and marched upstairs only to find that was taken. I registered ChristianDevotions.US, instead. The dot com domain is worth over ten thousand dollars, now. Procrastination has a price.

For months Cindy and I were the only writers on the site, then slowly God grew the readership. Now we have thousands of readers, a ton of subscribers who get the devotions daily in their email and Kindle subscribers who receive the daily devotion on their Kindle eReader (99 cents a month). We have a teen’s ministry,, kid’s web site, and last year we purchased That’s our mission-oriented web site. We have a radio ministry, prayer team, finances ministry and of course the book publishing. We didn’t set out with a marketing plan to do what we’re doing. We simply responded to a need in the marketplace, walked the mountain with God and asked how we could help. Find a need and fill it.

What's one thing you wish I wouldn't ask you and pretend I asked you that question.

How I became a writer. I started my sophomore year of high school when I told my English teacher I wanted to write for Cat Talk, Millbrook High School’s newspaper. Mrs. Hough said, “Eddie, you can't spell and you’re a terrible grammarian.” But I wrote a couple of articles, and she seemed to like the way I could put words together, so I won a spot on staff. My senior year Mrs. Pollard begged me not to major in English. In fact, she was shocked I would even consider going to college red tiebecause I’d never be accepted. She was right. NC State rejected my application. A few days later I made an appointment with the admissions office. The day of my interview I wore a pair of red and white checkered polyester pants my mom made me, white shirt and a red tie. State admitted me into Industrial Arts, which I thought would be pretty cool since I thought Industrial Arts meant I’d get to paint buildings. I flunked English 101 twice before passing with a D. I graduated from N.C. State four years later with a degree in English/Journalism and four years of writing experience for the Technician. I’m still a lousy proof-editor but I learned long ago storytelling trumps grammar.

You're writing for children right now with Zondervan. Besides the upcoming Cadence Chronicles Series, what are your dreams for your writing future?

Each day I walk around my yard reciting the Lord’s Prayer. This is my conversational time with God. Part of that prayer time is me putting on the armor of God. When I’m about halfway fitted out I say, “Lord place across my chest your breastplate of righteousness that my thought may be pure, honorable and good and my dreams secure: my dreams of sailing around the Caribbean, writing a best selling novel and surfing reef breaks.” Beyond that I don’t have any grand writing goals.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write devotions, don’t focus on the praise, book sales and reviews. surfingForget about trying to find an agent and editor. Once you’re successful, they’ll find you. Explore the wounds in your life and minister to others through your writing. If God allowed you to be hurt, you can speak to that with authority. The rest of us, cannot. Ask yourself where your passions lie. I love surfing. If I could do anything, be anywhere, I’d be in a hut on a beach surfing a point break alone. I love playing and hate work. This is reflected in the types of books I write. I love pulling for the underdog, this comes out in the ministry God gave me. Only you can write the stories God dropped in your lap and if you do not, they will die.

Where can we find out more about you?

Please come find me on

Thanks so much, Eddie!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

What your cell phone says about you

Cell phones. Smart phones. It’s hard to remember the days—a few years ago, really—when we fumbled through our busy lives without phones equipped with alarms and calendars and global positioning devices. They do so much for us. They say a lot about us too. I recently read about a guy at MIT who gave out 100 free mobile phones for a PhD project and then charted them over the next few months to examine how they were used and what the data revealed about the users. He did not listen to the calls. He only wanted the numbers, duration, time of day and location of calls. You probably know your cell phone works off towers and those signals ping off of other towers at an alarming speed as we move around the planet. You can’t go anywhere with your phone on that can’t be tracked later by an enterprising investigator. We seldom think about the information our cell phones record. By the end of the MIT study, the data revealed what time the phone users woke in the mornings, where they worked, where they shopped, what they bought, their best friends, vacation destination, favorite restaurants and hobbies. That made me wonder—coz I’m a writer and we wonder about stuff the rest of the world doesn’t care about—what would happen if I became the focus of a criminal investigation. What would my phone say about me? What would authorities discover that might help build a case against me? Here are my top three. 1. I spend a lot of time on the highway between Pike, Jackson, and Meigs Counties in southeast Ohio. Lots of places to dispose of evidence on those windy, hilly back roads and byways, btw. 2. I use that time to catch up on phone calls, mostly to my mother. 3. I never forward friends’ emails, even if said emails guarantee untold wealth and worldwide fame, and I delete the same friends’ pics of their grandkids without even looking at them. Now it’s your turn. What three things would your phone reveal should you turn to a life of crime?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


333 Skills That Will Get You Out Alive

A Book by Rich Johnson and the Editors of Outdoor Life

Reviewed by Molly Noble Bull

I don’t study the Mayan calendar to learn the future of planet earth nor do I look to other sources for that kind of information. I read the Bible and try my best to follow the teachings found in it, and the Holy Bible has a lot to say about the future of mankind as well as the future of the planet.
However on the physical level, there are lists of things to do that could keep a person alive during dangerous times and ways to prepare for whatever disasters might come. A good example of this is found in the pages of The Ultimate Survival Manual
Do you know how to survive in the wilderness? 
Do you know how to prepare for a coming disaster?
Do you know what to do to save yourself and your family after a disaster hits?
And what about urban disasters like terrorism or a nuclear attack? 
What should you do and when should you do it?
When should you prepare?
I cannot give you all 333 survival skills in this short article, but I can tell you that if you buy and read The Ultimate Survival Manual you will have a better chance of getting through it than if you don’t. And if you do the things suggested in the manual, you will have an even better chance.

Friday, October 12, 2012

MEET JEFF GERKE -- Author, Editor, Book Publisher

by Molly Noble Bull

I am honored to interview Jeff Gerke—a talented man and the owner of many hats.
Besides being a book editor, author, and book publisher, Jeff is a seminary graduate, and a professional artist. He writes non-fiction books under the name Jeff Gerke and novels under the pen name Jefferson Scott.  

Welcome, Jeff. I ordered two of your books on fiction writing and just finished The First 50 Pages
Now I am reading Plot Versus Character, and I have no doubt that I will learn even more. I also read your e-book, UFO’s and the Christian World View

So, please tell us about those books and how you came to write them.

Plot Versus Character began years ago when I was realizing something about my own fiction writing. I knew I was very good with plot and story ideas, but I also had this hunch that I really didn’t know what I was doing with characters. They all seemed like stereotypes, flat and undifferentiated. But I didn’t know what to do about it.
My revelation started when I discovered a psychology book called Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey. It’s a book on the Myers-Briggs temperaments, which I’d never heard of before then. It was a wealth of information. Not only did it explain to me what the 16 main personality types are like, it also showed me what those types are like as employees, as parents, and spouses, and more. It was the best book on character creation I’d ever found, and it wasn’t even a writing book.
It occurred to me then that some other writers were, like me, plot-first novelists, people who came up with story ideas but for whom character creation was a lost art. So I put together an interactive system called Character Creation for the Plot-First Novelist, which you can still purchase at
Not long after, I had requests from character-first novelists who wanted something similar to help them create solid stories for their awesome characters. These people write beautiful characters and sparkling dialogue, but they often don’t know how to find anything interesting for these story people to do.
I thought, “Hey, I can help!” So I sat down to write Plot Creation for the Character-First Novelist, but then I renamed it to the much more user-friendly How To Find Your Story. That too is still available for purchase at (Buy both interactive systems together for a discount by purchasing The Writer’s Foundation at
I began teaching the material at Christian writers conferences. We’d start by building a main character together (from the Myers-Briggs temperaments, and then layering), then we’d give the hero a fascinating inner journey. Finally, we’d create a satisfying plot with a solid three-act structure as the stage upon which this main character would go through his or her character arc.
Writers Digest Books listed the books they wanted someone to write. One of them was on plotting. I contacted WD and pitched the character and plot system I’d developed. The result became Plot Versus Character.  
Next came The First 50 Pages –another of the books on the editor’s list. I’d been teaching about how to begin a novel well, so this was a natural. My experience at Christian publishing companies gave me the ability to write the section they were most excited about, which was on getting inside the minds of acquisitions editors and literary agents and how the first 50 pages of a novel are used to decide if a book is going to be published or not.
I have a contract for a third book for Writers Digest. The possible title will be How To Write A Novel in 30 Days—And What To Do With It.
I wrote UFOs and the Christian Worldview (which you can get for the Kindle at Fascinated with the UFO phenomenon, I tackled the topic head-on. I brought my seminary, systematic theology mindset to the phenomenon and endeavored to integrate it into the Christian worldview.
I want the message to get out as widely as possible so the e-book is just 99 cents. It’s a quick read—only 35 pages—but it’s information you will want to already know before the End Times begin.

Now tell us about your novels as Jefferson Scott and where we can find them. 

The best place to try ’em before you buy ’em is You can read sample chapters and see the cover art there.
I have written two trilogies. One is a trio of near-future technothrillers about virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering. They’ve held up well, but the only thing I’d change is to set them 30 years further into the future. We’ve caught up to the dates I set the books in, and we’re nowhere near the tech level I posited in the books.
The second series is a trilogy of Christian military thrillers called Operation: Firebrand. They’re about a privately funded group of ex-military types recruited by a Christian billionaire to undertake high-tech missions of mercy around the globe. And of course there are two beautiful women on the team, so there’s lots of romantic tension between members. But beware: It’s romantic tension as a guy would write it. LOL.
All of those novels have gone out of print and the rights have reverted to me, so watch for re-issued Jefferson Scott novels from Marcher Lord Press at some point in the future.
Besides that, many of my short stories have appeared in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine, and I also wrote a SF novella that was included in Ether Ore, an e-book by Marcher Lord Press authors. More about Ether Ore here:

Before you became a book publisher, you were a book editor. Please tell us about that part of your exciting career and how it led to becoming a book publisher. 

After Multnomah published my first trilogy, I got a job with them as an editor. That began my dual career track as novelist and editor. Playing both sides of the desk. The job at Multnomah led to a job at Strang Communications, which led to a job running the fiction department at NavPress.
Over that 12-year span, I learned the whole publishing process. While most everyone else in these publishing companies stayed in their silos (editors hung with editors, sales guys with sales guys, etc.), I was always out learning about what other departments were doing. I did it just because I was curious. I had no idea I would one day become a publisher and would need to know what every person at a publishing company did.
During my time at those publishing houses, I’d been frustrated with how few fantasy and science fiction books I could get through the publication process. And then I was frustrated with how poorly those few published books actually sold. So for over a decade I was ruminating on what was going on and what could be done about it.
When I left NavPress, I had a well-formed theory for why certain types of Christian novels sold well and why the kinds of Christian novels I loved sold poorly. I also had that broad knowledge of publishing, so I knew what tasks were involved in publishing books.
In 2007, I decided to put my money where my mouth was. And in September 2008, Marcher Lord Press was born and released its first three novels. We’ve had good sales, great reviews in PW and elsewhere, and several awards (including Christy and Carol Awards) in the years since.

Now tell us all about your publishing company, Marcher Lord Press. Marcher Lord Press publishes Speculative novels. Please define Speculative and share your goals for the company.

My short definition for speculative fiction is “anything weird.” Science fiction, fantasy, time travel, paranormal, superhero, steampunk, alternate history, urban fantasy, supernatural thrillers, spiritual warfare, end times fiction, and horror/chiller are just a few of the subgenres under the speculative fiction umbrella.
Marcher Lord Press publishes the finest in Christian speculative fiction. I love what I do! People ask me who my favorite Christian novelists are. Though it sounds corny, it’s true: My favorite Christian novelists are the ones I publish.
I want to give hope and voice to the amazingly talented authors of Christian speculative fiction—and to connect them with all the lovers of Christian speculative fiction who have had to swallow the world’s philosophy and morality just to get the fantastical fun they crave.

You teach at lots of Christian writers conferences. Are you doing more this year?

I certainly am. I’ve done several already this year, and I have several more on the schedule for this year and next.
But the best place to hear my teaching is at I launched FictionAcademy this year as part of the Bestseller Society (, which I co-founded with Mary DeMuth and Thomas Umstattd.
At, you’ll see hours and hours of professionally recorded video of me teaching how to write great fiction. Plus there’s peer support, special guests (like Michael Hyatt), and access to industry insiders and bestselling authors.
When you go to a writers conference as an attendee, you have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, you have to dedicate several days to it (days not of your own choosing), you have to leave home, and you receive a fire hose of information in a short time span—from teachers who range from great to not-so-great.
The idea behind the Bestseller Society is that it’s much better to spend a fraction of that amount ($37/month for FictionAcademy or $55/month for the full Bestseller Society membership), to give whatever time to it that you find convenient, to learn at your own home (in your fuzzy slippers) or on the go on your device, and to have as much time as you want to watch the videos as many times as you wish so you get it all—from teachers who are at the top of the quality list.
People are just now figuring out that writers conferences are so very expensive and not always a great investment. They’re just beginning to say, “Man, I wish I could do this for less investment and on my own schedule.” And there we are, ready to equip them.
I’d like to offer your readers a free month of full access to the Bestseller Society (which includes When they subscribe, they can use the code jeffgerke and get a free month.

Thanks for stopping by, Jeff. Come back often. To find Jeff’s books at online and walk-in bookstores, type “Jeff Gerke” and/or “Jefferson Scott” in the search slots.   
If you haven't yet read THE OVERCOMERS: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities, please give it a try. I wrote it with four other Christian authors. 

To find THE OVERCOMERS in a bookstore, write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Perseverance, Patience, and Humility—By Rita Gerlach

Today, Historical author, Rita Gerlach, is going to show us how God uses those long spaces of time to … stretch us.
Sitting on my desk is a small piece of cross-stitch that I finished years ago and placed in a marble frame. It says, “Commit your works to the Lord.” Beneath the verse is a cluster of bright red tulips, a wickerred tulips basket, a pair of garden gloves, a trowel, and a green watering can with a heart on it. There isn’t a day gone by that I do not see those words before my eyes, next to my blue willow mug filled with pens and highlighters. Committing your work to the Lord takes perseverance, which has a few different facets that define it: tenacity, steadfastness, grit, and determination, but never pride. It’s all about trust. Not how tough you are.
I learned this lesson one day in late July 2008. I had been submitting my novel out to literary agents for almost two years. Some gave me excellent feedback on how I could improve the manuscript. But for the most part, I received nice rejection letters, some saying their client lists were full, or that this was not the book for them to represent. A few agents I never heard back from. One took an entire year to reply.
I had a large list of agents to submit to and I had just about exhausted it. I also had a list of publishers, but it was much smaller that the list of agents. I must preface this story by saying my experience with agents is not meant to deter you from submitting to them or to discourage you in any way. By all means, submit away! It just so happened that the agent highway was not the route I was meant to take in order to find publication. But it was meant to give me valuable lessons about the industry, protocol, and the importance of submitting a well-written, polished manuscript.
That summer morning, as I sat down at my desk to begin my day, I felt down. The creamy mug of coffee with a shot of chocolate in itcoffee wasn’t enough to cheer me up, nor the beautiful sunny day outside my window. Discouraged, I stared at the computer screen, then I opened Outlook and randomly read a few emails. No replies to my query. The last one I sent out was earlier that month to a big-time New York agent. I knew it was a long shot. Still, I hoped I’d hear from her.
It was one of those dark moments in my life where I felt like giving up, throwing in the towel, crawling under the blankets and acknowledging defeat. Then I looked over at my little piece of cross-stitch and lifted my fingers off the keyboard. I placed my head in my hands and prayed.
I asked the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do, which path I should take, whether I should stop writing or continue. Should I pack it all up and go out and get a day job? What did He want me to do with this novel? If He wanted me to stop writing, or never have this novel published, I needed an answer…clearly and distinctly.
Again, I looked over at my cross-stitched verse and read it back to myself. There was no doubt in my mind this was the only thing I could do, and that I had to lay it at His feet, and accept whatever was in God’s plan for me. I did not have the power within me to make anything happen.
About fifteen minutes later, I opened up Brandilyn Collins’ blog, Forensics and Faith. Brandilyn had posted a piece entitled New Fiction Line about her friend Barbara Scott, Abingdon’s senior acquisitions editor for fiction. Immediately I perked up. Could this be an answer to prayer? I wondered.
I began to devour every word slowly, so to absorb the news about this exciting venture. Abingdon was established in 1789 as an imprint of the United Methodist Church. They had published a lot of nonfiction, and now they were ready to launch a new course in their long history. Abingdon had a solid five-year plan for developing the fiction line, and looking for four or five novels to release in the fall of 2009.
I scanned the list of genres that Barbara was looking for. Romance. Historical. My genre, inspirational historical romance, was included! In addition to this, Barbara wasn’t interested in going after authors with big names. Instead, she was excited about building new authors who had worked on their craft but hadn’t been able to break into publishing. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was a miracle.
I had the genre she wanted. I had published three novels print on demand, but I had not broken through in the traditional sense, and I had a complete manuscript to offer. After reading how to proceed in contacting her, I pulled up my query and read it over. A writer has to present a stunning query, one that grabs an editor from the get-go, with your title, word count, genre, a one-paragraph synopsis, and a few lines about any publishing credits you may have. It cannot be any longer than one page.
With this all in order, I emailed Barbara, telling her I had read Brandilyn’s post about Abingdon’s fiction line. Shortly afterwards she replied back and requested I email her my synopsis and the first three chapters. My foot was in the door, but that was all. Yet it was enough to make me do the Snoopy dance.
Patiently I wait. I was prepared for a long duration of several msurrenderonths before hearing back from Barbara. A few days later, she requested the full manuscript and loved it. She then went on to champion my novel to the fiction team, and by the end of August, I had been offered a publishing contract for Surrender the Wind, with Abingdon Press, one of the most reputable Christian publishers in the industry. Not only that, but my novel had been chosen to be included in the launch come August 2009, an honor that I still in awe over.
As an aspiring writer, ask yourself if you have the patience to continue writing after receiving rejections and harsh critiques. Do you have the steadfastness to improve your writing? Are you willing to learn the craft of good storytelling? Do you have the determination to continue to send out your work? Do you have the tenacity to remain true to your goals even if it means it could take years before you publish your first book? Can you be persistent and humble at the same time?
For a writer to truly master the craft of writing, it takes work, and you can never believe you’ve so arrived that you no longer need to improve or grow. Pride can lead to a fall. A humble heart keeps you open to learning. Patience and persistence will help you along the way.
When you have those difficult days where you feel frustrated and alone, just remember every person that has ever written a book, has had the same feelings. Join a writing group in your area, or one online. Join network groups of writers so you can connect and build friendships with other authors.
The writing life is indeed a joyful one. Take my advice; be patient in your search for publication. Do not rush it. After you polish your manuscript to a high sheen and you are ready to submit, study how to write a query letter and a book proposal. Make a list of publishers or literary agents you wish to submit to. If you receive a rejection, know that this is the norm, and tell yourself ‘this was not the agent or publisher for me’. Move on. Keep the momentum going and write another novel while you are putting the other one out there.
No matter what happens, if you have a burning passion in your soul to write, never let rejections discourage you.  It may take a while to produce a polished manuscript. It may take a long time to find the publisher that is right for you. I learned waiting for that to happen was worth it.
The industry may be tough. But there is one thing for certain. Whether you are published or not, no one can say you are not a writer, and no one can take away the talent that God gave you. Only you can decide what you will do with it.
Rita has also been on answering my tough questions about the writer’s life ;o). Come see!
Re_1Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.
In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Currently she is writing a new historical series for Abingdon Press entitled 'Daughters of the Potomac'. Scarlet Dawn and Beside Two Rivers have been released. See her 'Novels In Progress' page to learn more.Series
She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs. Her family claims that storytelling is their blood, handed down from centuries of Irish storytellers. Rita believes there just may be something to that theory.   

Saturday, October 6, 2012


by Molly Noble Bull

I will not be voting for the present administration or any Democrat in 2012 because their stand on abortion and other important issues is contrary to mine. I'm not too excited about Mitt Romney either though he is certainly a very nice man.
What should I do?
I watched both the Republican and the Democratic conventions, and what a difference. Some of the Demos booed our Lord at their convention this year and refused to support the Nation of Israel, and their platform supports abortion and “Gay” marriage. Yet the Republican platform opposes abortion and “Gay” marriage, and God is mentioned in the Republican platform with respect and honor.
So after much prayer, I finally have my answer. I can support the Republican platform without reservations. So I will be voting straight Republican in November. That way, I won’t have to put an X or a check by the name of either presidential candidate. I will be voting for the Republican platform.
This is possibly the most important election ever, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Please vote for this wonderful platform in 2012, written by true believers.
My suggestion?
Vote straight Republican in 2012, and don’t forget to pray. Pray for the President of the United States and all in authority no matter who wins, and pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.