An Inspirational Pep Talk from Author Rachel Muller!

OK… shoot me. I was supposed to post this on Monday but anyone who is doing NaNoWriMo this year knows just how crazy things get!

Rachel Muller has been through an intense couple of years and she has a unique outlook on how writing and publishing works…

Every obstacle in her path, she has found a way around, under or through it – so I thought it would be a great idea to have her write a little pep talk for us too!

 

So here it is…

 

Rachel Muller_Headshot

Wow! If any of you feel like I do, I’m sure you’re saying right now, “Where did November go?” Thanksgiving is very swiftly coming upon us. Soon we will find ourselves scooped into the arms of loved ones and counting our blessings from the last 12 months.

As the air around us turns colder and daylight lessens, I not only find joy in family gatherings, but I also find this time of year most inspirational in my writing. While I have never participated in NanoWriMo, I know plenty of authors who have. I know the personal deadlines and quotas can become grueling as Thanksgiving approaches and the end of the Nano draws near.

You’ve passed the 50% mark in your novel, now you’re whizzing by 85% and probably about 90% through your rough draft. Way to go! Grab your favorite chocolate bar and reward yourself for sticking to it and getting this far! Your novel is nearly complete!

But maybe you’re exhausted. All this seasonal planning, and Autumn cleaning, and housing in-laws is distracting you from typing out those 1500 words or sitting down for one hour intervals of writing time. I know. I feel it too. My book due out in January is still under content edit and still needs to go through final edits before January 1st! Now we’ve hit a slump.

How do find strength and inspiration to finish that last 10%? I have a few ideas and encouraging thoughts that may help:

  • The end of Hebrews 12:1 and beginning of v. 2 tells us, “…let us run the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”

If the burden to write has been placed on your heart, it wasn’t by mistake. Divine appointing has gifted you with the talent to write. Use it for God’s glory and don’t ignore the calling placed on your life. Somewhere down the road, someone will receive a blessing from your story. You’ve started the “race” for November, cross that finish line and look back on what you are capable of handling.

  • You may be hitting that slow spot in your novel and you’re ready to speed things up a bit. You’re ready to have everyone kiss and make up, and your fingers are itching to write “The End.”

Whoa! Hold the reins! Slow down just a tad. Remember, this is YOUR story. These are the lives of YOUR characters. Allow them to develop. Allow the plot to untangle itself. Take one chapter at a time and let those characters and scenes have the spot light.

  • Maybe you’re feeling uninspired. If you’ve written faithfully every night this month and dried up all those creative juices, you’re probably sitting at that white screen in front and…

          STARING.

What does character X say now? What should happen to Mrs. Y?

Well, there are a few different avenues to help get those creative juices flowing once again.

  1. Walk away from the screen. Give yourself a little break. Find your happy place. It may be a nice walk in the woods. A drive in the mountains. A trip to the local zoo. Maybe even that book with the great cover that’s on your To-Be-Read pile. (and here’s where I put that plug in for my WWII novel, Letters from Grace) 😉

Wherever that happy place is, embrace it. Allow your mind to settle and relax. Some of my greatest lines comes to mind when I lay down for the night. I keep a handy notepad and pen at my bedside at all times for moments like those.

  1. Bounce your ideas off someone you trust and whom you feel comfortable taking advice from. Sometimes outside situations and friend-to-friend conversations will help you think outside the box.
  1. Pray.

John 14:14 says, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

As a new and emerging author, I have committed to start each writing session with prayer. I pray that the words flowing from my imagination and onto the screen in front of me will find that someone who will find strength encouragement through not just the words I’ve written, but the words God has given me to write.

I want to thank Rachel Miller for inviting me to guest post today. I wish every participant of NanoWriMo the best in your writing endeavor. It is an exciting, frustrating, mind-boggling, and fulfilling accomplishment to come this far. Never give up.

For those first-timers out there: Find the strength to write those last few chapters. In just 6 days you will be able to look at your computer screens and say, “I just wrote my first novel!” Be proud of yourself. You have accomplished what few people have in life.

For those who may not be able to finish by November 30th: It’s okay! Don’t stop there. You’ve come this far already. Get right back to it on December 1st and pen that next chapter. Give yourself a new deadline. We’ll all be cheering you on!

Blessing to everyone and have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Yeah… shoot me! We all could have used that a week ago. Oh well… These WONDERFUL words will help me get to the end. And for those who are not participating in NaNoWriMo… or those of us who will continue writing when November is over and no one is counting our words anymore – Rachel’s words will help us keep going when we really want to quit!

I know when I read them the first time, I felt so inspired and just in awe of what a wonderful message Rachel wrote out for us! God has truly blessed her!

THANK YOU Rachel! You are such an encouragement to me!

 

Rachel writes beneath the belly of B-29 Superfortress, one of the many inspirations radiating from her World War II-themed office. Her debut novel, Letters from Grace, released September, 2014, and became an Amazon Top 100 Best Seller. She resides in Central Maryland with her husband and four children. Readers can learn more about Rachel at www.racheldmuller.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, and Goodreads. She also write for the Modern Belles of History Blog!

You can purchase her most recent release: Letters From GraceHERE!

Advertisements

An Inspirational Pep Talk from Author Jennifer Beckstrand!

Any of you who are doing NaNoWriMo this year will have seen the Pep Talks. And as much as I appreciate them, there’s just not a lot there for those of us who write Inspirational Fiction…

Let’s face it, Inspirational Fiction authors rarely end up on the same level as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Oh every once in a while we have one – Karen Kingsbury comes to mind but it’s much rarer for those of us who infuse our work with God’s Love than for those who write pure fiction.

So I figured we could use a little extra encouragement! And Jennifer Beckstrand has written a wonderful Pep Talk for us!

 

So here it is…

 

How to Get Through NANO by Jennifer Beckstrand

I love it when people ask for my advice, because 1) no one ever asks for my advice, and 2) it means they think I actually have something to say that’s worth hearing—either that or they are just humoring me to make me feel good about myself. This is why I love helping my kids with math. They think I’m smart by the time we’re finished.

My delightful online friend and faithful street team member Rachel Miller asked me to pen some advice for inspirational authors during NANO.

My first disclaimer is that I have never personally tried Nano. November tends to be one of the worst months in my life to try to write a book. January would be much better.

My second disclaimer is that I’m not an expert—like Stephen King who wrote a book about writing or J.K Rowling who wrote a book on a napkin—but I have completed 11 books, and I spend several hours a week pursuing a writing career. For what it’s worth, I am happy to pass on what I’ve learned.

First, some general pieces of advice to help make your writing better

  1. Read. Good writers are good readers. When I get in a rut with my word choices or characterizations, there is nothing like a good Orson Scott Card or Jane Austen to inspire me.
  2. Read about writing. Story by Robert McKee is one of my favorite books. Self-editing for Fiction Writers changed my life. There are dozens of blogs out there about everything from grammar usage to plot development. These can be extremely helpful.
  3. Get an education. Attend writer’s conferences and writing workshops. This is a great way to meet other writers and learn about the craft.
  4. Enter writing contests and/or get a critique partner. These can be scary because people actually read your stuff and give their opinions about your writing. It’s always a risk to put yourself out there. Unflattering comments about your writing can be painful, but they are also very helpful. How do you get better if nobody ever points out what you’re doing wrong?

Now on to Nano specific advice

  1. Most importantly, remember from the outset that YOU WILL ALWAYS BE ENOUGH. You don’t have to write one more word EVER. To God, you will always be enough, just the way you are. Sometimes the anxiety about plotlines or word choice or character development can overwhelm you. Take a deep breath and remember why you are writing a book. Did God call you to do it? Do you enjoy the satisfaction of sharing your talents? Do you love to write? Remember the why. It will help you conquer the how. But God will always love you. You don’t have to prove anything to Him. As long as you remember that, you’ll be okay.
  2. God loves you just the way you are, but I think one of the reasons He gives us His grace is because He wants us to stretch and grow. Jesus’s sacrifice was not only a gift He gave to us, but an investment He made in us. Use that enabling power of grace in every aspect of your life.
  3. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Just like lifting weights makes us stronger, struggling to write thousands of words a day makes us better. We wouldn’t improve if it wasn’t hard. Nobody wants to stagnate. You have to push through the hard times. Write junk on the page if you must, but WRITE.
  4. Remember that writing is work. HARD WORK. I had hoped after I wrote my first book that writing would get easier, that I could sit down at the computer and jot off three thousand words in a matter of minutes. This is not the case.
  5. Writing isn’t like cleaning toilets. Cleaning toilets isn’t fun, but at least you know exactly what you have to do to get the job done. With writing, I might put in three hours and have a paragraph to show for it. That’s the nature of the creative process. Ideas don’t flow all the time or even most of the time.
  6. So, even though it can be painful, it is important to sit in that chair and write, even if you can’t think of anything to write. Even if you know that most of what you write is going to get deleted. No writer has a book handed to her on a silver platter by the Muses or by God.

 

I don’t know about you but WOW! Just WOW! That was great! I know it gave me such a boost of confidence. THANK YOU Jennifer! You are such an encouragement to me!

 

For more information about Jennifer and her writing, You can click the links below.

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK   TWITTER   GOODREADS   KENSINGTON

Have You read these yet?

Yesterday I discovered these two articles and they are WONDERFUL!

Click the images below to go read them.

 

And by the way…

There are FOUR writers in our house.

They are each fiercely loyal to their own brands

They all write VERY different genres

And they all have a myriad of strange habits, idiosyncrasies and opinions!

 

So it’s not just you!

WHO IS READY FOR NANO! Anyone?

So, the person who mostly writes this blog has been essentially MIA since the ACFW conference. I’m sure you’ve noticed…

Anyway, she’s basically a sleep-walker at the moment but she’s trying to rejoin the land of the awake by consuming massive amounts of caffeine because HEY! Tomorrow NaNo STARTS! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Anyway, since she’s not really awake yet, she is leaving a little funny for you to enjoy until tomorrow!

NaNoToon courtesy of nanotoons.net (Image is clickable)

 

HAPPY WRITING!

 

Author Spotlight: Rachel D Muller | And a SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!

 

Today we welcome Debut Author:

Flower Corners Rachel

 

 She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.

She has also graciously offered to host a giveaway!

Thank You Rachel!

God Bless You!

 

OK, first – questions:

 

– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was “Letters From Grace” your first completed novel?

In fact, it was not. The very first novel I wrote is set in the 1920s. However, when the premise for Letters from Grace came to me in the early morning hours of one August morning, I ditched the first novel and found myself completely lost in Grace and Luke’s story. The ideas came to me without hesitation.

As for the first novel, I still have plans to incorporate that into a series of its own…just a little further down the road.

 

– Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to self-publish?

There are so many little details in the publishing industry. I won’t get into all of them, but for myself it was more personal than professional. I had everything lined up; an agent, even a press! But the timing was all off for me. I’m thankful for the wonderful people God used in this process and decision. Everyone in the traditional publishing spotlight was incredibly supportive and understanding of my situation. All I wanted to do was write, and I had a whole series ready for publishing. All I needed to do was grab a cover designer and editor and hit the submit button.

This decision has also enabled me keep time as my own. I am in charge of my deadlines and how quickly I want the next stories to appear online. It has also gifted me with experience I never would have ventured into before. I am learning so much about marketing resources, cover design, formatting, and HTML codes–it’s all a new language for me! And I love it!

 

– Would you mind sharing with us a bit about your publishing journey? How did you find your cover artist? Who put together the insides for you?

My publishing journey has been amazing. So many agents and editors have encouraged and walked me through this process with invaluable insight! My cover designer is actually a well-known author. I contacted Roseanna White (Author of historical romance) when I learned of her cover design side business. I already had a sketch of what I wanted my cover to look like and sent that file over to her. She then chose the photos and models and based upon my questionnaire put together the most amazing cover…it was exactly what I imaged it to look like, but with so much more beauty than I could have hoped for (if that makes sense). I plan to use her in the future and can’t say enough about her talent in this area. She’s a peach!!

As for the inside layout and format, that was all moi. There were times when it was frustrating, but when I figured out I was doing it all wrong, the right way was so much easier. 😉

– Are you planning to continue self-publishing the entire series? Or… if a traditional publisher wanted to buy the rights, would you go that way?

As of right now, yes, I do plan to continue with self-publishing. The 2nd book in the series, Maggie’s Mission, is due for release in January, 2015.

If the Lord should move a publisher to contact me on publishing through their brand, I would take careful consideration in prayer before I gave my answer. There are many details that come into play, and depending on my standing as an author and the pros and cons of the business, I would need to consult with my higher authority. 🙂

 

– Do you have any special suggestions or advice you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

I sure do. I would suggest those writers to keep plugging away in writing what they LOVE. Your best work will bleed through the outpouring of your heart. Listen to that nagging voice that says, “write the story.” I truly believe all my 5-star reviews have come about because I wrote what was on my heart.

Secondly, learn and ask questions. Don’t ever stop learning about the craft of writing. The industry is constantly changing. Rules have changed. Keep up with the latest news and techniques and incorporate those things into your writing.

And last, but not least, ask someone to critique your work and don’t be afraid to hear what you could do better. It will in fact enhance your writing capabilities and push you to put forth your best effort. I have crit partners and I still receive red marks across my manuscripts. It’s not a bad thing, and it will open your eyes to new angles and fresh ideas.

 

Thanks for having me here today!

 

Please join me in thanking Rachel for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.

 And I hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!

Keep reading for details on the giveaway.

 

 

Now for some other info about Rachel and her debut novel:

 

And you can find more on her WEBSITE.

Rachel Muller_Headshot

Obsessed with World War II since the tender age of 17, Rachel has been studying The Greatest Generation for 13 years and composing stories of love and war for three years. Her first project,Letters from Grace, claimed a spot in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest in 2012 and semi-finaled in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, 2014. Letters from Grace, book 1 in the Love & War series, released September, 2014. She resides in Central Maryland with her husband and four children. Readers can learn more about Rachel at www.racheldmuller.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.
You can connect with Rachel by clicking the links below:
Modern Belles of History Blog: www.modernbellesofhistory.com

Don’t miss Rachel’s DEBUT novel, “Letters From Grace”

Letters from Grace

Letters from Grace, Book 1 – Now Available! 
Get your copy at Amazon.com

Can she risk losing her heart and the man she loves…again?

Scarred from the death of her fiancé in World War II, Grace Campbell must learn to love again. Lieutenant Luke Brady could make falling in love easy…except he’s going to war. Only one thing will keep a delicate thread tied between—letters. But the suave Dr. William Keller enchants Grace with his charm and proposes marriage. She must choose between them. Will she settle for comfort and safety or risk losing her true love on the Normandy beaches?

Endorsements:

In LETTERS FROM GRACE, talented author Rachel Muller proves that nothing–fear, misunderstanding, lack of faith, not even war–can stand in the way of true love. Readers will identify with the tough choices faced by Muller’s characters, and wait with bated breath for the next installment in the Love and War series. Make room for these novels on your “keepers” shelf, because you’ll want to read the realistic, heart-pounding stories again and again! (Loree Lough, bestselling author of more than 100 award-winning books, including “A Child to Love” and “Those Marshall Boys” series from Harlequin Heartwarming.)

SOUNDS EXCITING DOESN’T IT!

 

 

WOW!

And this is only the first book of the series!

 

Rachel Muller is a particular inspiration to me for a couple of reasons.

She did what she was supposed to do. She wrote, rewrote, edited, had her work critiqued and rewrote again before sending it out to various editors and agents.

Her book was even a finalist in Harlequin’s “So You Think You Can Write” contest!

But, when it all came down to it, and when the timeline didn’t work for her, she knew it was more important that she get her story in front of readers – so she did what she had to do and self-published!

And I don’t know about you but I think her story is such an inspiration to writers everywhere!

GOD BLESS YOU RACHEL! And may you continue writing for years and years to come!

 

AND NOW…

… our GIVEAWAY!

 

Rachel has graciously offered to give away TWO prizes!

First Prize is ONE signed copy of “Letters From Grace”
and Second prize is ONE signed bookmark!

What do you have to do?

First you have to SHARE this post!

You can share it on the social media site of your choice!

Then come back here and post a comment below with the link!

 

FOR FACEBOOK:

Click HERE and share our Facebook Post.

And apparently Facebook will NOT let me see all of the shares due to privacy settings so…

You can chose whether to post a comment in this post with the link
or on the FB post itself.

 

The contest will run from today until October 6th.

Winner will be announced no later than October 7th

rules and regulations for all contests can be found HERE.

You will get one extra entry if you LIKE our post
and another if you FOLLOW our blog!

 

God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

SPECIAL POST – REMEMBER | Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 14 Days to go

Remember…

 

 

 

In honor of the tragedy that took place thirteen years ago today, I am doing this post a little differently.

 

Today I want you to take a moment to REMEMBER with me.

Remember why we write Christian fiction.

I don’t know about you but I write Christian fiction to help shine God’s light into a hurting and lost world. It’s not just about showing lost people the way to God, it’s about lifting up His children and helping them to hold onto Him as we make our way through this world.

 

Remember Who is inspiring our writing.

One of our favorite pastors has a motto that I just love. “Our number one job in life is to make Jesus look good.” – David Gibbs Jr.

In this life, we have a job as followers of Christ. We are to show the world the light of Jesus that shines through us. For writers, that means that our words should reflect that light. They should show the world how wonderful God is and not dwell in the darkness of the world.

And it is possible to write about that darkness while still showing the light of God through it!

It’s not easy but it is possible. If it were easy, every writer would do it.

 

Remember what our message is!

Our message ultimately, whether you write Amish fiction or speculative is LOVE – God’s love.

Remember that and you will be just fine.

 

And lastly…

 

REMEMBER the sacrifice!

Remember the sacrifice that so many men and women made willingly on that fateful day thirteen years ago in the effort to save as many as they could and remember the sacrifice that so many men and women make every day on the battlefields, fighting for our freedom.

 

But most of all, remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for you and for me on that day more than two-thousand years ago on a cross! Remember that sacrifice when you write, when you promote, when you are on social media, when you attend conferences and when you speak to people in everyday life.

Remember that Jesus wants to shine through your life and do everything you can to make Him look good, every day, in every thing!

 

 

Good Day and GOD Bless!

~ Rachel