Snapshot of my reading list over last handful of months ...
What are you reading these days???
Happy Summer!!! Is it summer?!? How is it summer already???
Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Louder than Words by Todd Henry
In the Name of Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Leading from Within (an essay) by Parker Palmer
The Gift of Acabar by Og Mandino and Buddy Kaye
On Writing by Stephen King
A Guide to Confident Living by Norman Vincent Peale
The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins
How to Be Here by Rob Bell
Indian Boyhood by Charles "Ohiyesa" Eastman
Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander (an awesome reread for me)
What is the Bible? by Rob Bell
Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
Quest for the Grail by Richard Rohr
Mrs. Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Powerful Results by Norman Vincent Peale
Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass
A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
Choose the Life You Want: The Mindful Way to Happiness by Tal Ben-Shahar
Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue
At a writer's retreat in TN this past week, I met a lovely English woman (who now lives in Texas), and her mum recently passed away. They held a funeral service for her mother, and it happened to be on this past Tuesday the 10th, the 4th anniversary of my own mother's passing.
All that to say, this lovely English lady emailed me a poem that was read at her mother's funeral, and I thought it was so, so good.
I thought some of you would appreciate it, if you have lost someone you love.
Let Us Be Contented, By Winston Churchill
Let us be contented with what has happened and be thankful for all that we have been spared.
Let us accept the natural order of things in which we move.
Let us reconcile ourselves to the mysterious rhythm of our destinies, such as they must be in this world of space and time.
Let us treasure our joys but not bewail our sorrows.
The glory of light cannot exist without its shadows.
Life is a whole, and good and ill must be accepted together.
The journey has been enjoyable and well worth making-----once.
This post is specifically for all you readers who are also writers.
Last week at a local writer's group of which I'm a part, we had the honor of welcoming Pamela Clements, mentor and publishing consultant, most recently a VP in publishing at Worthy Publishing Group in Franklin, TN. She spoke for two hours. We listened, asked questions, and pondered. She was direct, powerful, loving, kind, and very, very insightful.
Here are tidbits of wisdom, straight from her mouth. I type them here for you, but also for myself, to help me digest them all over again. So brace yourself. And get out your notepad and pen.
Let's dive in:
"Tell the truth. Your book has got to be authentic."
"Can you tell me what your book is about in seven words?"
"Books get ranked and placed in specific spots on the publisher's list for a million reasons. Sales, marketability, viability of author, if people will champion it, etc."
"Publishers hate it when there is no comp title. You must have comp titles."
"You just are who you are. You just are. You're just you. And God loves YOU. That's all. And that's everything."
"Good business makes for good ministry. Bad business makes for bad ministry."
"You want the editor or marketer to put your book down (after reading it the first time) and say to herself 'How can I make this work?' Meaning: 'I don't want to let this book go.'"
"If you have a book that is very specific, about a very specific need, but not a mass need ... if you have a book that an editor says to you 'This is a good book that somebody needs, but nobody's going to sign this book.' Then this is the perfect type of book for self-publishing. Because people can find your book online after you write it. And somebody searching for help/support for that specific [thing] needs to hear your story."
"Don't be focused on a particular format of delivering content that is no longer attached to your readers' needs."
"You don't have to chew all the flavor out of everything you put in your mouth."
In regards to over-committing yourself to ANYTHING: "You can just say no. No. It's a complete sentence."
"Steady sales are what's important to keep your book on the shelf at bookstores. Not massive sales, but definitely steady sales. That's what people are looking for when deciding not to remove your book from the shelf after six months."
"You need to sell YOU to the agent. Then you sell your book. Presence first. Get his/her attention."
"Agents and editors are friends. It's a powerful relationship."
"Am I proud of the books I represented through the years? Yes. But the biggest impact I know I've had is with other women in the industry. Speak life into other women. Women make a difference. Be the light. Take time to touch others while you're doing your work."
AND FINALLLY, MY PERSONAL FAVORITE, straight from the mouth of Mrs. Clements herself, her answer to questions about the ever-evolving industry of books and writing:
Thank you so much, Pamela, for coming to speak to us! Your words and wisdom touched us all!
Here's more on Mrs. Clements:
Pamela Clements was most recently the Vice President and Associate Publisher of Worthy’s Inspired and Ellie Claire imprints. Clements is an industry veteran, having also served as Associate Publisher of Abingdon’s Christian Living and Fiction books which from its launch in 2011, published over 15 award-winning fiction and Christian living titles and was named Publisher of the Year by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Prior to that, she was Associate Publisher at Hachette. Clements began her career at Thomas Nelson in publicity and marketing before becoming publisher of its General Interest and Lifestyle imprint. She was instrumental in the launch of such best-selling authors as Andy Andrews, John Eldredge, John Maxwell, Babbie Mason, Ted Dekker, Cynthia Ruchti and Barbara Mahaney. A life-long reader, Pamela is committed to helping authors craft books that touch and change lives. Throughout her career, she has been privileged to work with other women in many different roles and believes that women supporting other women is important especially as the next generation takes its place in both business and ministry.
Hey everyone! Only five days left!
The Mod Code is part of a group of books for sale at STORYBUNDLE.com.
You get YA books for sale in a bundle—and you set the price you're willing to pay.
Go here to learn more. https://storybundle.com/ya
Sale ends at midnight EST on March 15, 2018.
My friend and show host Jason Suel interviewed me on his local Fox TV Show, Later with Jason Suel, last Saturday!
Thank you for having me, Jason! Delightful!
Catch full episodes at LaterWithJasonSuel.com or at 9pm CST on Saturday nights on the NWA local Fox Station.
If you know me very well, you know I'm not one for small talk.
Nope, no small talk here. Can we please get straight to the heart of our lives? Can we talk about what matters?
I long for this in my relationships with other human beings. I think we all do, if we let ourselves be vulnerable enough to recognize it.
And this fact about myself is probably why I fell in LOVE with one of the songs on Andy Grammer's new album. (He's an amazing artist and I resonate with so much of his work.)
You must go and listen to his song, The Good Parts.
Here are the lyrics:
I'm sorry if I seem impatient
I'm not a fan of pleasantries
I get bored with the weather and what's in the news
The topics we all hide beneath
I could not care less about your day job
The gossip or ordinary stress
See, every relationship I've ever loved
It starts when someone says:
Show me where it hurts. Give me something real.
Lead me to the part of you that never really heals.
Say the words that burn when they leave your mouth
Tell me your story ... but don't leave the good parts out.
Tell me all about your failures
The little things that make you cry
Tell me the acts that you preach but cannot seem to practice
That leave you compromised.
Show me where it hurts. Give me something real
Lead me to the part of you that never really heals
Say the words that burn when they leave your mouth
Tell me your story ... but don't leave the good parts out.
The song goes on from there, and it's fantastic. Please go listen to it right now. When I heard it for the first time, it felt like Andy Grammer had gone into my headspace and read my mind.
(He also has another great song on his new album called Civil War ... and I loved 85 as well ...)
I hope the end of January is unfolding beautifully for you!
all my love,
This little grammar book is entertaining me again. How is it possible?
The writing nuggets draw me in, every time.
Last night, I sat fireside (during an unusually cold, three degree Fahrenheit evening in Arkansas) and read a most helpful reminder, found on page twenty-one:
"If those who have studied the art of writing are in accord on any one point, it is this: the surest way to arouse and hold the reader's attention is by being specific, definite, and concrete. The greatest writers—Homer, Dante, Shakespeare—are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report the details that matter. Their words call up pictures."
When I write, please help me to do this.
Now ... back at it! (Back to my writing, that is...)
Hugs to all,
P.S. The Mod Code book #3, The Lost Lineage, releases in less than one month! (Feb. 14th, 2018!)
Hello Readers and Friends,
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, a blessed December, and a Happy 2018.
Keep doing whatever awesome things you're doing, and I'll keep doing the same.
I'm excited to share more delicious stories with you in the coming year.
In the meantime, savor your family and friends, and soak up the precious memories made over the next few weeks.
Life's a gift!
love and hugs to all,
My dad loves buffalo. He loves the Kansas plains where he grew up, and he has a sacred respect for the flatlands. And boy, does he love those bison.
His office is covered in buffalo paraphernalia. Some that's pretty cool stuff, actually.
Dad went so far as to register the license plate "BUFFALO" with the Kansas State Department of Motor Vehicles and drove around in his pickup truck for at least a decade with the license plate "BUFFALO" proudly displayed.
So, the other day, I found a buffalo sweater:
It's geeky. And warm. And I bought it in tribute of my dad. It's officially become my "writing" sweater. Meaning, it hangs on the back of my writing chair, and when I get cold while typing, I wear it.
And somehow, I feel more "at home" in the buffalo sweater, because, well, I think that's just what heritage does.
My dad loves Kansas, and I love Kansas because he taught me how.
The Kansas plains—and buffalo—will always have a special place in my heart.
Do you have a "buffalo sweater"? Something that makes you warm and cozy and think of good people that came to this earth before you?
Hope you're having a Happy Thursday everybody!
p.s. Mod Code Book #3 COMING SOON (Feb. 2018)!!