Renewing My Faith

by Carole Brown

Easter has come and gone once again. I ask myself the question: 

What did it accomplish for ME, in ME?

Here are some thoughts I have in renewing my own personal faith:

prayer free

 

  • Spend better time in prayer.  Life is busy. I always have too much to do, and many times I allow myself to get overwhelmed. I must remember that the most important is spending time with my God. If I permit other things and people to demand the time that belongs to the one who gives me hope and a reason for living, then I am denying myself the best!

 

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  • Allow God to search my heart by studying his word. The more I know and learn of his words to us, the better I am prepared to deal with life in my world. 

 

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  • Study his word and spend time in prayer. I need to open my heart and ears to listen and hear his words particularly to me, and then to follow and obey. Only in that way will I show my devotion and love for him. 

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  • Follow his guidance in dealing with others. I need to be more faithful in encouraging others, telling his word to those who question, and standing true in example and light to the world I live in. 

If I can be faithful in these few things, then I truly will be renewing and living out my faith.

How do you keep that spirit of renewal in your heart?

What Easter Means to Me

by Carole Brown

I’m sitting at my desk this early morning, typing and occasionally looking out the window. I see the beginnings of spring, with the earlymisty, sunrise morn free flowers, trees pregnant with a promised renewal of life, the sun rays strongly dissipating the heavy mists in the valleys. Reminders that Easter–Resurrection Day–is approaching. And I realize anew what an awesome celebration it truly is. 

  • First and foremost, our God is a true God that loves, faithful to do as He says, just, all knowing, and all powerful. How confident that encourages me to be!

  • Secondly, that such a God cared enough he sent his ONLY beloved son into the world for his creation: mankind. What a sacrifice! What a love! Unlike other so-called gods who demand and never give, our supreme God gave his best and only for us. How humble I feel to know he would, and did, do such a thing!

  • Thirdly, our God’s son is a LIVE Son. He’s not dead. Although, mankind killed him in a horribly, brutal crucifixion, he died to conquer death and the grave, that we might live through Him.  How wonderfully alive I feel because of that life-changing event. Forever more–through this life, even into death, I can have the assurance that I live now, and will live eventually with my God, my Savior and King! 

Thank you, God, for what you did for us, for your love and eternal life you’ve given! 

Happy Easter, my friends!

The Demons in Writing

by Carole Brown

We all have them. The times of dryness, weariness and pressure in our demon freewriting attempts. It’s up to each of us to put on all the armor we can to fight against those demons of writing warfare. In my own life, they vary from day to day, but they are there and very real. Keeping watch over these problems is a constant battle and it never gets easier. But that’s no reason for me to give up. If for no other reason, I’m a fighter (in certain things and ways), and I WANT to write. I WANT to produce more books, and I pray that God gives me the help and strength to finish my writing course! 

Here’s a short list of some writing demons in my own life:

 

Time:

clock freeIs there ever enough time for everything? Learn (again) that time waits on no one. Take those precious minutes, half hour, early morning, late evening–whatever you can fit in–and jot down those fifty or hundred or thousand words. 

Not enough words? Of course, it is. If you hadn’t written those words, you’d have been fifty, hundred, or thousand words less. Appreciate every minute of the day and take advantage of those minutes. Every one of them count for something. Don’t let it be for nothing.

 

Busyness:  

Too many items on my calendar. If that’s the case–and I’ve often found that to be so in my life–busy freethen it’s time to prioritize. We CAN NOT do everything, so pick those things that are the most important.

I suggest taking the time to make a list. You can have more than one: a personal, only you can see what’s on it, that goes into more detail, and a more general one. Here’s what my general one looks like, and there are times I have to rearrange, temporarily, some of them:

  • God, and his work
  • husband
  • family
  • writing
  • friends

Remember: these will rearrange occasionally, and some overlap (such as God and his work and friends, etc.). Also I haven’t mentioned personal interests, like hobbies, exercise, temporary demands, or sudden happenings that occur in each of our lives.

 

Laziness:

lazy cat freeI just don’t feel like it today (or tomorrow and probably the next day). Oh, my, how many times have I faced this one? 

 

 

 

 

 

Strength (Weariness):  

I’ve been sick, too tired, or life is wearing me down. I’m worn down from traveling to and frosick woman free helping out, or shopping for needed items, etc. Or I’ve not had enough sleep. Too much on my mind. I’ve had to deal with other issues and can’t think straight. An accident, injury, illness with which I need to contend. The list goes on and on. 

With this one, you will probably need to relax and recover. If you can’t write during this period either give your mind and body permission to take a break from writing. When you are up to it, jot notes, reread your work and mark spots that need edited. Go at a speed and with a mindset that lets you stay relaxed. Approach it as a reader and not with any pressure that you HAVE to get work done. 

Another suggestion that works well for me, is to talk with, get together with a writing friend, or friends, and socialize. Help them brainstorm, offer to read a chapter or two, encourage and mentor someone else and keep the focus off yourself. You may find you come away revitalized and strengthened to begin work again.

 

Discouragement: 

discouraged2 freeWhat am I doing? Do I really think I can be a writer? Who am I kidding? Ah, the hound of discouragement nips at many heels! It’s okay to wallow a little, but don’t let it get ahold of you. 

A few things that always brings hope and life back into me when that hound visits me:

  • If you have a supportive companion, talk with them. Many times they can talk you through this slough of despondency and encouragement you to keep on writing. 
  • Share with your true writing buddies, or if you prefer not to let them know, then at least fellowship with a few. Just being around mine encourages me to go home and write. Lately, I’ve struggled to make headway (because of some of the above) on a certain novel I’m trying to complete. But at a recent writing retreat, I was amazed as we all sat working, that I was able to see the manuscript with fresh eyes, and able to write again. 
  • If you’re published, reread some of your good reviews, whether one or twenty, they can give you the incentive to keep writing.
  • Remember who you write for. God? Yourself? Others? To make a difference? To share the gospel? For entertainment? Whatever your reason it, you’re the only one that can do it. Stay true to your purpose and write.
  • Talk with God. He’s always our best encourager. He’s always by our side. Listen. Then obey!

 

What demons to you encounter in your writing? How do you overcome them? 

Happy writing!

 

 

 

So They Hate Your Book?

by Carole BrownDislike hate deny free

I remember the first “three star, bad” review I received. Devastation. Hurt. Disappointment. Bewilderment. Anger. 

How could they? 

Yet, someone had and did “hate” my book. I wanted to cry, to have my friends and fellow-authors sympathize with me, to share it with everyone how someone could hate my beloved, debut book. 

The advice I got from my friends? 

  • We all get those.
  • Three stars isn’t that bad
  • Get over it.

And, yes, they loved me. But I needed to grow up as an author. So, my advice to you today is, when you get a poor review:

Take a Step Back

  • Give yourself time to relax and distance yourself from your book and a bad review
  • If you can, work on a different manuscript, or at least, re-read your own book with fresh eyes.
  • Only then re-read the review

Evaluate

  • Once you’ve re-read the negative review, can you glean anything worthwhile from it?
  • Are there fixable errors, weak spots and/or possible things you neglected to include?
  • Can you see that the reviewer is honestly trying to give advice (even if a bit harshly or insensitively hurtful)?
  • If it’s obviously a “troll” review, forget about it and ignore.

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  • That some reviewers don’t know the proper way to review
  • That some reviewers consider “three stars” as a high rating. I received one “three star” rating, which had me raising my brows, but the review was filled with praise for the book. I learned that the three stars meant it rated highly with the reviewer. 
  • Just because the reader bought/received the wrong genre, that doesn’t make it a “bad” book, and reviewing it harshly for that reason is not the proper way to review. Personal preferences and wrong genres are not good reasons for poor reviews. Writing issues, weak research, and a lack of proper editing are.
  • That most, if not all, authors receive poor reviews. There are many reasons for them. Study, if you wish, the reason for yours and act accordingly. Meaning, ignore it and toughen up. If a person is planning to stay in the writing business, you’ll probably get more–many more–of those. Either quit reading them or put on your tough armor and get through it–unscathed! 

Move on

  • Too many negative reviews raise a concern: Did I write a “bad” book? It never hurts to re-evaluate your book. As stated above, make sure the edits are crystal-fine, that your research is impeccably correct, plot lines in order, etc. Never underminReviewer feedback writing freee your work with sloppy writing. 
  • Learn that when asking for an honest review, be sure the people you request from are interested in your mystery/suspense (romance, sci-fi, etc). If reviewers love your genre, you’re more apt to get favorable reviews.
  • When you find those individuals, ask for honest feedback. When you send arc copies, ask for a timeline and where and when the reader will be able to post reviews. 
  • Look ahead to your next manuscript. Plot, edit and write. Keep learning as you go. Stay humble and willing to accept suggestions from readers. Find the best critique partners you can; ones that will do you the favor of being gentle, but honest, who loves your work, and is able to see the “holes” you might overlook. When you find that person(s), be sure to show thankfulness. They’re hard to come by!

Remember

  • Move past any useless negativity and use the constructive criticism to improve.
  • Never respond to negative reviews.
  • Never quit writing.

Have you ever received poor reviews? How did you respond? Were you able to move past the disappointment? 

Happy Writing!

Mystery Lovers, Beware!

by Carole Brown

mobile-home free

We love to travel and have done so since we’ve been married. From Washington state to Texas, from Alabama to Maine, we’ve gone traveling for business and for fun.

If you ask the Dentons, who love to travel, their vacation spots always seem to land them in mysteries. Now that’s an interesting thought and experience, but the Dentons take it in stride. Considering their love of fishing, buying new shoes and reading mystery books, it’s easily understood how they can get involved in any mystery that pops up at their newest vacation spots.

So far they’ve solved the Mystery of the Dead Motorcyclist in Tennessee (Hog Insane) and in New Mexico (Bat Crazy), they eventually found who was behind the Vampire Bats supposedly inhabitiFrontng a new cave.

(By the way, someday I’ll explain how I came up with these crazy, insane titles. Lol)

Now in Colorado, they’re helping long time friends Jeremy Meadows, who owns and runs a ski resort with his Down’s Syndrome sister Daffodil, discover the people who are tricking her and ruining their well-laid plans for the resort. And what do ducks have to do with the story anyway?

Can they succeed in finding the evil doer? Readers can find out in the third book of this delightful series: Daffy’s Duck, coming late 2017.

 

Check out the first two books in this series here:

Hog Insane:  Amazon.

Bat Crazy:  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Ten Things I Love About Spring

by Carole Brown

Spring, for me, is edging up close to number one as an all time favorite season. Could be the older I get, the less I enjoy wintry outdoor activities, or could be I’m just a baby about the cold. Whatever the reason, Spring is blooming in my heart!

Here’s my list of reasons why, in no specific order:

  1. Warm weather. Yeah, that. Cold winter winds that blow your features to a different location on your head is certainly not my cup of tea. sunshine free
  2. Sunshine. Love sitting outdoors, closing my eyes, and lifting my face toward the sun. Wonderful feeling of life through my body!sun free
  1. Lighter clothes. Yes, I love my sweatshirts and sweaters and boots. But shedding them for lighter shirts and sweaters and cute summer shoes is a definite feeling of freedom. It’s time to sport about in my favorite spring colors again: coral and aqua! Light, fun, and springy!clothing spring colors free
  2. Outdoor activities. Whether it’s once again picking up the walking/running or work on the property or grilling or gardening, it’s great to be outdoors again!garden tools free
  3. Gardening. It’s once again time to get ready for our vegetable garden. Hubby built raised gardens for me. Much smaller than we use to do, but enough for us, and we love picking cucumbers and tomatoes and broccoli (and strawberries!) fresh from our own work.garden strawberries free
  4. Flowers. I can barely wait to see the first flowers peeking through the soil and blossoming with determination and spreading their own type of joy to beholders. I’ve been asked before what’s my favorite, but that’s hard for me to pinpoint. I love them all.flowers spring free
  5. Grilling. Yeah, it’s time to cook outdoors again. One of my very favorite things to do is use my grill and come up with some interesting, different, and sometimes new menus. Awesome dinners.Grilling penquin free
  6. Leaves. Love the clothes the trees wrap around themselves when spring arrives. Those fresh, light green colors promise fun times are ahead.leaves trees free
  7. Holidays.

Easter is a holiday I enjoy. I appreciate the meaning and the feeling of renewal I always sense. I’m humbled at the love God had for us to send his Son to die for us. 

And later in the spring, knowing I no longer have my father and/or mother, I enjoy remembering them and all the reasons I loved them during Mother and Father Day Sundays. Easter free

10.  Lastly, it’s time to start planning for some spring and summer adventures. Whether at the beach, mountains, or wherever else our interests take us, it’s sure to be an amazing time. Spending time exploring, re-enjoying favorite vacation spots, and discovering new adventures with family and friends is a true gift from God. beach3 free

What’s not to love?

Do you have a favorite season? Why is that? 

Have a great Spring and Summer.

Iny, Miny, Miney, Moe…An Agent–or Not!

By Carole Brown

So you think you want an agent?

A writer is just that a writer. But he/she can, and many times are more than that.

  • Marketer. Sometimes a writer will find they’re very good at marketing. Learning what works and what doesn’t takes determination, attention, and perseverance.
  • Publisher. So you’re cheap. Or detail oriented. Or savvy with computer programs. Whatever. Many times writers find publishing your work is easier, better for you–timewise and moneywise–than working with an established publisher.

So do you need an agent? Here’s a few thoughts to help you make a decision:

Pros:

  • Literary agents have excellent industry contacts and most times good working relationships with editors and publishers.The level of trust between them gives them the confidence to work together comfortably. A really good agent can improve your chances of being published. Remember: publication is not guaranteed.
  • They know editors and publishers and that makes it easier to contact them. Editors and Publishers many times refuse to accept submissions unless agent-sent.
  • Agents have experience in the industry that enables them to negotiate favorable contracts and deals that won’t cheat you out of your royalties. They know their way around author-y contracts.
  • If need be and problems arise, they act as mediators between authors and publishing houses, softening constructive criticism, negotiating when contract problems interfere, and guarding that you aren’t robbed of your rights, regarding international publication and film rights.

Literary agent cons

  • Your literary agent will take between 10-15% of your royalties, depending on where in the world you are. If you go it alone, all the royalties will be yours.
  • You’ll have to wait twice as long before your book is published, this is because you first have to find a literary agent, who will make you jump through some hoops before sending your book to a publishing house, which will make you jump through some more hoops.
  • Again, if you are knowledgeable, you can “do the work” yourself
  • There’s always the risk of unreliable agents who will stiff you for work undone, for tasks unneeded and/or for small, meaningless tasks.

So, do you need an agent? That’s up to you. Just be sure to do your homework. Decide what your writing journey is and follow that journey. You’ll be glad you did.

March is read a book month! (But then, I think all months are “read a book” month!) Why not try a super fun and interesting new book?

With Music in their Hearts is a WWII spy book that is filled with music, teasing, romance and suspense!

One reader has this to say about this book:

With Music In Their Hearts is a mystery romance. This is the most adorable mystery ever! Emma Jaine is a strong character and I really like her. Not only does she run a boarding house, but she also takes care of her father and two younger sisters. She’s a spunky and pretty woman, and a few men at the boarding house are attracted to her.

Tyrell is a good-looking man and absolutely adorable when he teases and flirts with Emma Jaine. He is a reverend, a minister of a nearby church, but at the same time he’s an undercover agent for the government. His flirtations with Emma are appropriate for a minister and you can see the attraction between the two. I love the mystery that goes along with the romance. Romance and mystery make a book so much fun to read.