Wednesday, August 29, 2007

October Sky and how it encouraged me

I recently watched the movie October Sky. Based on the memoir Rocket Boys by Homer Hickham, the movie tells: "The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes."

I was encouraged by this movie in ways I hadn't expected. Homer wasn't afraid to follow his dreams, despite severe opposition from his father and other towns folks. I kept asking myself as I watched, "Would I have had the guts to follow my dreams when faced with that kind of opposition?" Probably not. And unlike Homer, I have a supportive family.

The movie challenged me to strive for more and give my writing all of my dedication. If a teen boy like Homer can do it, so can I. But I need to want to succeed as a writer as much as Homer wanted to succeed with his rockets. And the cool thing is, wanting something badly is half the battle. Homer was horrible at math, but he studied and learned and eventually understood it. Deep in the mines he was pouring over his textbooks during lunch breaks. He got little sleep. He was dedicated to his dream.

How dedicated to your dreams are you? God puts dreams in our hearts for a reason. He has some way of fulfilling them if we will commit them to Him and follow that still small voice leading us. Don't be afraid to do something toward your dreams today. Even if it seems incredibly small. You won't be able to take big steps until you take the small ones.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Word A Day

I've been silent lately. Sorry about that. This summer has been a busy one! But I wanted to point you toward a great reference tool I've been using for many months now.

A Word A Day is an e-mail service of that sends you a new word (and its definition and usage) every day. Usually each week has a theme as well. For instance, this week we're learning "words with hidden animals". Today's word is:

perihelion (per-i-HEE-lee-uhn_, -HEEL-yun) noun

The point in the orbit of a celestial body that is nearest to the sun.

[From Greek peri- (around, near) + helios (sun). The point farthest from
the sun is called aphelion, from apo- (away).]

If you can get a friend to sign up with you, then it's even better because you can each challenge each other to use the day's word in a sentence.

Subscribe to Word A Day by following this link. It's very easy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I wasn't looking for another place to visit online, but when Angela Hunt sent me an invite to Shelfari, I had to check it out. Bibliophiles beware---this is a great way to waste your time! But it's fun. Basically, it's a way to display all the great books you've read recently (or that appear on your shelf) to your friends. People can comment, tag, rate books, you name it. You can also add your shelf to your blog (which I've done but am still fooling around with). Everything's very easy and aesthetically pleasing. Check out my profile here, if you're interested.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

How much do you spend on your writing?

On a writing e-mail group I belong to, the discussion on writing expenses was recently covered. What's been the most valuable investment in your writing career so far? Many of the participants mentioned writing conferences. Certainly a valuable experience for some, but at hundreds of dollars a pop, they can add up.

Over the years I haven't had many major writing expenses. But what I HAVE spent my money on to further my career is ... books. Writing how-to books, research titles, and novels (this is vital to any fiction writer). These tomes have proven to be my most valuable investment. A great way to buy these books is through the Writer's Digest Book Club. I was recently surprised to realize I've been a member for almost ten years!

Second, I've been a subscriber to Writer's Digest & The Writer magazine for nearly a decade. These may not seem like huge investments, and that's what's great. They aren't.

I'd like to offer some encouragement today to those whose budgets are slim: It IS possible to succeed as a writer without going to a writer's conference (though I certainly am not debunking going when the time is right for you). But that's the key. Make sure the time is right for YOU. It's very easy to feel pressured to do things you're not ready for. Listen to your heart, and if you're a Christian writer like me, trust that the Lord will show you exactly what you're supposed to be doing (and investing in) at this point of your career. Sometimes the right thing for you is completely opposite from what everyone says.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Karen Kingsbury Interview

Karen Kingsbury has been called the Queen of Christian fiction, so it was a great honor to interview her for She had many insights to share, so I hope you'll hop on over to the site and check out the interview here.

Says Karen:

"I cry whenever I'm writing a novel--tears are good for us. Ice collects around the edges of our hearts. Tears happen when a little bit of that ice melts."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FIRST Blog Tour - Bad Idea by Todd & Jedd Hafer

It is AUGUST 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author(s) are:

and their book:

BAD IDEA a novel (with coyotes)

(NavPress TH1NK Books, August 22, 2006)


Todd and Jedd Hafer previously teamed up to write Snickers from the Front Pew: Confessions of Two Preacher's Kids, which has now sold more than fifty thousand units.

Todd is editorial director for the inspirational book division at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jedd is director at The Children's Ark in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a home for troubled teens, and travels the country as a standup comedian.

Visit them at their website.

To read the first chapter, click here.