Writer’s World Blog Tour

My friend and fellow board member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), Karen Whiting, asked me to participate in the Writer’s World Blog Tour. She participated last week. I want to thank her for the invitation and suggest you check out Karen and her newest books. She has a heart for families and it shows in her books, whether she’s writing for children or adults.

Here is her information and links:
KarenWhitingKaren Whiting is an international speaker and award-winning author of seventeen books. She’s the former television host of Puppets On Parade. Her newest books are Nature Girl: a guide to caring for God’s creation and The One Year My Princess Devotions. Her upcoming releases are The One Year Devotions for Active Boys and Hope From His Heart (a devotional for women). Karen loves to let creativity splash across the pages of her writing as she encourages families to thrive, treasure one another, and connect to God. I hope you’ll connect with her at:

Blog: http://karenwhiting.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KarenHWhiting
Website: www.karenwhiting.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KarenHWhiting
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/KarenHWhiting


As part of the tour I’ve been asked to answer the same four questions all the authors have been answering:

1. What am I working on?

I’m juggling a few projects at the moment, including a book about spiritual lessons from our rescue boxers, a children’s devotional on the names of God (as a companion to Daily Reflections on the Names of God), and another children’s book on God’s incredible creation.

I also teach a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class from September through May, so between teaching and writing, I spend most of my time doing what I love!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The phrase “A passion for God’s Word and a compassion for His people” is used by BSF, and I truly resonate with it. Whether I’m writing for children or adults, I try to incorporate even the hard teachings of Scripture, but in a way that delivers hope and encourages transformation and restoration.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I have grown so much as I walk with the Lord and teach His Word. Sometimes it feels as if I would burst if I didn’t share what I’m learning. My hope is that readers might learn the easy way what I’ve learned the hard way!

4. How does my writing process work?

I maintain an idea file for future projects. Each time I come across a resource, quote, illustration, and relevant Bible passage, I file it away in the appropriate file until I’m ready to work on the book.


Now that I’ve shared a little about myself, I’d like to introduce two friends and authors who will follow me in this tour. Next week Dave Fessenden and Marjorie Vawter will answer these same four questions on their own blogs. I hope you’ll check them out! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at their information:

 
Dave FessendenDavid E. Fessenden is a literary agent for WordWise Media Services and an independent publishing consultant with 20 years’ experience in editorial management for Christian publishers. In previous positions Dave served on the communications staff of Elim Bible Institute and was editor of a regional edition of the largest Protestant weekly newspaper in the country.

Dave has published six books, produced study guides for two titles by A.W. Tozer (published in the back of the books), written hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and edited numerous books. His two latest nonfiction books, Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract and A Christian Writer’s Guide to the Book Proposal, published by SonFire Media in 2011 and 2014, grew out of his years in acquisitions for Christian publishers. Dave enjoys speaking on various topics at Christian writers’ conferences and other venues. He also conducts Sunday school teaching workshops based on his book, Teaching with All Your Heart.

Dave’s first novel, The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy, teams up Sherlock Holmes’ smarter brother, Mycroft, with Dr. Watson’s son, Thomas, to solve the murder of a speakeasy owner and his card-playing cronies in 1920s Philadelphia. It was published in November 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. His blog on writing is www.fromconcepttocontract.com.

 

Marjorie VawterMarjorie Vawter is a professional freelance editor who proofreads and edits for CBA publishers, edits for individual clients, and writes. An avid reader, she also judges for several prestigious awards in the inspirational marketplace, and she serves as conference director’s assistant and appointments coordinator for the Colorado and Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conferences.

A graduate of Bob Jones University with a bachelor’s degree, she has taught elementary school (1st and 4th grade) and high school English and Spanish. In 2005, she “retired” to edit and write full-time. She has published several articles and numerous devotionals, including Discipleship Journal and several devotional anthologies published by Barbour Publishing. Her first fiction book, A Shelter from the Storm in Sundays in Fredericksburg (TX), released in April 2013 from Barbour. She has also indie published with her online critique group (aka The Posse), another novella in Threads of Time, available at the Amazon Kindle store.

Calming the Storm Within, published by OakTara, is Marjorie’s first nonfiction book. Marjorie speaks at conferences and writers groups on topics relating to editing and writing and to church ladies groups and retreats on depression/anxiety, and grounding in biblical truth. Readers can contact her through her website:  www.MarjorieVawter.com


 
How Do You Handle Disappointment?

New year. New possibilities. Good thing, too, because many of us look back on various events in the old year and say, “Good riddance!”

Still, despite the “Happy New Year” greetings, disappointments will follow us into the new year, too. So what do we do with them?

For me, handling disappointment, (and positive events, too!) begins with remembering who I belong to. My perspective changes radically when I filter everything that happens to me through the attributes of our great God. Consider these examples:

Sovereign – God is both Sovereign over world events and the things that happen to me personally. Nothing touches me that hasn’t first been sifted through His fingers.

Father – God’s tender care for His children means that even when He allows negative things to happen, they are for my eternal good.

Omniscient – while events may be a surprise to me, they are never a surprise to my heavenly Father.

Provider – Because He knows my needs before I do, He will provide what I need at just the right time. Sometimes it will be resources, other times it will be strength, courage, or encouragement by others.

Accessible – He is always with me and is only a prayer away.

Gracious – He doesn’t give me what I deserve, but He does give me what I don’t deserve – so grateful for His mercy!

These are just a few of the characteristics of God that remind me I can trust Him no matter what the new year may bring. I hope you can say the same.

As we begin the new year, what attributes of God bring you comfort as you face the unknown?


 
The Center of the Universe

I’ve recently been thinking about black holes. According to Wikipedia, black holes form when heavy stars collapse at the end of their life cycle. Many astronomers believe black holes exist in the centers of galaxies. Especially intriguing is that a black hole is believed to continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings.

This information probably would not have made such an impact on my life except for a blog I read a couple of weeks ago by author and editor Joel Miller. In it, he makes this point:

“This is an exciting truth: God made us to bless us, to love us. Sometimes we assume that we were created to serve, love, and worship him. These are good and holy actions, but they are responses to God’s initiating act of love. He did not require service, love, and worship, and so created servants, lover(s), and worshippers. God’s only requirement is to be himself, to love. We are born—all things are born—from that divine desire.”

What he wrote is all very true.

Yes, God made us.
Yes, God loves us.
Yes, our service, love, and worship are responses to God’s initiating act of love.

But I believe he stopped too soon in his assertions. If we stop there, the implication (at least to me) is that we become the center of the universe: God made us to love us. Like an astronomical black hole, our egos can easily begin to grow as we absorb a level of self-importance that rivals God for His rightfully preeminent position.

By stopping there, I believe we do a disservice to the very nature of God. He is Yahweh, the eternal I AM – dependent on no one and nothing else. If we say He made us to love us, we must go back one step further and ask Why?

The Bible is clear. He did it for His own glory. He made us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). He loves us for His glory. He chose Abraham as an act of His grace to show His glory. He rescued Israel during the Exodus to show His glory (Exodus 15:11). He brought them back from Babylonian exile to show His glory (Isaiah 48:11). He sent His Son to show His glory (John 1:14).

Instead of backing into this truth, I believe we need to start with it. We start with God’s glory, and everything else – and everyone else – flows from that source.

God’s love for us is as lavish as love can get – so lavish that He did not hold back His own Son. What a privilege to know that He made us for His glory and He loves us for His glory. It doesn’t get any better than that!


 
Don’t Just Read a Blog. Comment!

Before I began blogging last year, I spent several months reading a variety of blogs. I subscribed to book review blogs, political blogs, spiritual blogs, and blogs for writers. I read posts written by those who had just entered the blogosphere, and posts written by those who had been blogging for years. I finally initiated my own blog, Pen Station, in May, 2010.


But there’s more to blogging than writing your own blog and reading those written by others. The blogosphere is a community, and community means interaction. Most blogs are not intended to be monologues. They’re meant to be part of a dialogue between writers and their readers. The ensuing “conversation” can broaden the worlds of both parties.

So how do you join the community and add to the conversation? The easiest way is to provide meaningful feedback by commenting on individual blog posts. Many bloggers make it a practice to end each blog post with a question that invites the reader to participate. What do you think? Have you had a similar experience? How have you responded to this situation? What would you do if this happened to you?

The way to answer these questions, and perhaps post one or two of your own, is by leaving a comment. Most blogs have a Comment hyperlink at the top of the post or a Comment box at the end of the post.

What kind of comment should you leave? In her book, Blogophobia Conquered, social media expert and Blogging Barista Laura Christianson notes, “When readers compliment my writing, it stokes my ego, But the comments I value most are the ones that challenge my statements, share information I forgot to include, or offer meaningful commentary.”

Laura also identified several types of commenters:

Fervent Fans – people who love the blog
Personal Promoters – people who comment to promote themselves
Happy Hecklers – people who post nasty comments just to irritate the writer
Deferential Dissenters – people who courteously disagree and open a dialogue with the intent of learning through sharing
Irrational Inciters – people who hate the blog

I would add one more type: the non-commenter or lurker. I confess I am often guilty of belonging to this last category. I slip in and out of blogs, reading but not responding. Taking, but not giving. Listening, but not adding to the discussion.

I want that to change. Community requires interaction. Conversation requires dialogue. I’m looking forward to not just learning, but also sharing what I’m learning.

Care to comment?

What type of commenter are you?


 
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