This weekend was a fun time interacting with writers and publishers at the Write2Ignite conference. I hadn’t been to a conference in several months and had forgotten what an encouragement and inspiration it was to be with other writers. The conference team did a great job of organizing and providing a wonderful conference. I enjoyed the fellowship, worship, and reconnecting with other writers.
I was reminded of the tremendous value in hanging out with fellow writers. Only writers understand other writers. Only another writer can know what the writers life is like and can empathize with another writer. Everyone needs encouragement whether we are writers, editors, publishers, or another occupation far removed from the publishing industry.
Have you wished for some fellowship or encouragement with other writers? You can find it at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC, April 19-20. Great fellowship will be accompanied by many workshops, a brainstorming session with genre groups, and a keynote speech by Jack Countryman from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Want to know more? Visit www.fbs.org/writers. And while you are there, register so you join other writers and benefit from these information-packed two days.
In the last post I passed along a plea from a fellow writer to locate the identity of the homeless man, Willard Parker, on the front of her book, Unexpected Christmas Hero. After only a couple of months, someone showed the picture to a lady who did not know where her father was, asking, "Isn’t that your dad?"
The lady joyfully contacted the author, Kathi Macias, and confirmed that the model on the cover of the book was, indeed, her dad. They are in the process of being reunited. What a blessed Thanksgiving miracle!
Will you join me in praying blessings on this family reunion?
The article below is a plea for help to find the family of the man on the cover of this book. Won’t you join Kathi Macias, author, and others to help give this Christmas Hero an unexpected blessing this Christmas?
This is the cover for my (Kathi Macias) 2012 Christmas novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero, releasing from New Hope Publishers in mid-October. It is a story about a family (mother and two small children) who become homeless when their husband/father dies unexpectedly and leaves them in terrible financial straits. The family is befriended by a homeless Vietnam vet who becomes their “unexpected Christmas hero,” despite his own precarious position. I just learned from my publisher that the man on the cover (Willard Parker) truly is homeless but graciously agreed to pose for this photo. He told the photographer that he is separated from his family and would like very much to be reunited with them (particularly his grown daughter). So I thought about all you wonderful blog followers and social networking friends and decided, Why not band together and try to make this happen for Mr. Parker? I am posting the story from the photographer below so you can see how Mr. Parker ended up on the cover. If you recognize/know Mr. Parker and/or have any information about his family, please leave a comment here with your contact information or email me at email@example.com. Meanwhile, please pass this information along to anyone you can–via your own blogs, social networks, email loops, whatever way possible to help get the word out. Let’s make this go viral and bring this family back together!
Story from photographer/designer:
We (designer and photographer Michel Lê and spouse Christine) were Christmas vacationing in Asheville, NC.
I had Kathi’s book cover to design and needed photos of homeless people. Christine remembered seeing homeless people under some bridge in town. I grabbed my camera and off we went.
After unsuccessfully circling around for an hour, I decided to call it off and head back.
That’s when God told Christine to persevere, and to go in a different part of town. And there he was, Willard Parker, the perfect physical representation (in my opinion) of Kathi’s Unexpected Christmas Hero‘s main character. We stopped the car and asked him if he was homeless and willing to pose for a few photos, after explaining to him the book story.
Willard said yes and was very accommodating. While driving to a suitable place for the photos, Willard offered us a glimpse of his life. He lost his house a few years back. He has a daughter somewhere north (maybe Detroit?) whom he lost touch. Willard also believes in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We had a sense of great sadness in his life, that it didn’t turned out the way he hoped for. WIllard had a very humble and kind spirit. But we sensed a quiet yet powerful sparkle and desire for life. He longed to see his daughter, and we felt how hard that would be for him in his present situation. He is basically illiterate as I found out (when I asked him to read and sign the Model Release).
I wanted to buy him lunch in a restaurant but he politely declined (maybe for fear of not being “part of the crowd”). We gave him some money and left, with a heavy heart and deeply moved.
While designing the cover, I prayed that the one with him would be chosen (there were others being considered), so I could send him a few copies, that in turn he could send one to his daughter (assuming we locate her). I prayed that God would make this happen, that He would flood his daughter with new love for her dad after seeing him on a book cover, that she would be proud of him, that she would have a great desire to reunite with him, just like we long to reunite in love with our Father. I hoped and prayed for it to happen. It would be the greatest Christmas gift of all for Willard.
Then the cover with Willard was chosen and the author decided to launch a campaign to find Willard’s family and reunite them. Thank You, God! We hope/pray that many of you will join us to spread the word. Sooner or later, someone out there will recognize Williard’s picture and/or name and know how to contact his family. Thank you all for being part of this! Now let’s get to work and see what God can do!!!
Today’s guest is Janice Hanna Thompson. Not only does she give a great interview but she is offering her latest book, Make Money Writing, to us. For this week, March 12-17, her book is a free kindle download. Just follow the instructions here and enjoy learning from Janice.
Welcome, Janice. Can you tell us about your latest venture?
Thanks for having me. I’m thrilled to share about my latest book, MAKE MONEY WRITING, which is now available from amazon for kindle users. The book, which is loaded with helpful hints for freelancers, is free from March 12th – March 17th. After that, it will sell for $4.49.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your writing experience?
Sure! I write under the names “Janice Thompson” and “Janice Hanna.” I just signed contract #79 (For QUEEN OF THE WAVES) and have written in a variety of genres, including romance, historical, contemporary, cozy mystery, juvenile fiction, non-fiction and more. I’m best known for my light-hearted contemporary novels and for my quirky characters. I’m pretty passionate about writing, and even more passionate about helping others discover their writing talents and abilities. For the past seven years I’ve worked as a full-time freelancer, earning my living with my books, teachings, articles, and write-for-hire work.
Why did you decide to write this book?
For several years now I’ve divided my time between freelance writing and teaching. So many aspiring writers discover that I’ve published several books and they come to me to ask the inevitable, “How do I get published?” question, usually followed by, “Is there really money to be made in publishing?” Over the past couple years I’ve put together several freelance writing courses to answer their questions, but I felt the need to do more, so I compiled all of my mini-teachings into one book.
Will readers get all of the same materials they would get in one of your courses?
No, the courses are very specific to their individual topics. MAKE MONEY WRITING covers a variety of areas of interest to the freelance writer, including: earning top dollar, magazine article writing, write-for-hire work, writing the novel and/or non-fiction book, the submission process, succeeding as a freelancer, and more. The book is not a textbook. Instead, it is motivational in tone and focuses on offering encouragement to freelancers and giving them basic tips for success in each of the areas listed above.
Can you tell us a little more about the book?
Sure! It might make more sense to share some of the chapter titles because they will give you an idea of some of the topics readers will find in the book.
Earning Top Dollar
Jumping the Hurdles
In the Beginning. . .the Writer Set Goals
What Industry Pros are Saying about Goal-Setting
Write. . .for Hire!
Revolutionize Your Writing
Girls Just Wanta Have Funds
Double Your Word Count in Two Weeks
Cash in on Magazine Articles
Stop, Drop and Roll (Adding the Crisis Scene)
From Mii to Wii (learning how to incorporate the “we” factor)
Make ‘Em Laugh
Elevating Your Elevator Pitch
Seven Days to Better Writing
Five Things a Writer can Learn from American Idol
Becoming a Public Speaker
Writers are from Mars, Readers are from Venus
. . .and much, much more!
What other projects are you working on?
I’m currently writing QUEEN OF THE WAVES, a novel set aboard the Titanic. Very compelling story, I must say! And I’m tickled about my upcoming release, Wedding Belles.
You mentioned your courses. Can you tell us what’s going on in that world?
Yes, thanks for asking. I’m tickled about the recent release of my Non-Fiction Writing Course. I recorded this course in the studio several months ago and had a blast doing it. I’m convinced this is the most comprehensive package I’ve ever put together. Non-Fiction writers should be able to take this course and find some degree of success building their platform, writing short pieces and fully developing a non-fiction book. There’s even information on how to pitch (and ultimately market) the non-fiction book.
Here are the ten topics within the course:
From Magazines to Books: Building Your Platform
Understanding Non-Fiction Book Types
Best Selling Topics
Compiling Your Information (Braiding the Book)
33 Tips to Strengthen Your Writing
Incorporating Fiction Techniques in Your Non-Fiction
The Submission Process
Making the Sale (Includes all aspects of the contract/sale/edits/production)
Marketing Your Book
How to Stay in the Game
As with all of my courses, this one is available online at www.freelancewritingcourses.com.
How can readers get the free kindle book?
They can follow this link to amazon: http://amzn.to/yBeVBh. The book will be free from March 12th – March 17th and will revert to is usual $4.49 price after that.
Janice, how can readers reach you?
I love to chat with my readers! To learn more about my books, visit:
To learn more about my writing courses, including my new non-fiction course, visit:
Romans 12:18 “If it is possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
If we are true to that verse, we cannot be selective in practicing it. Neither can we limit ourselves to equipping others through our Personality Training seminars. We must be available to train people in the church, workplace, educational arenas, and more.
While I was judging a literary meet at a local school, one of the administrators stopped by to chat. She mentioned a problem in one of the classrooms.
“You know what you need?” I asked.
Surprised by the promise of help, she responded, “No what?”
“Your teachers need the Personality Training. If they understood some of the basics of how their students think, they could help them learn more effectively.”
A week later I received an invitation to be the guest speaker on the subject of the Personalities at the next teacher inservice day.
Over 75 educators came into the room. Most chatted excitedly. A few melancholies and phlegmatics sat quietly waiting for time to begin. But the air in the room was full of expectancy.
We had a great time of learning and fun. Each time I gave a specific classroom situation to analyze, there were snickers and whispers of “I have him in my class” or “That’s exactly the way she does her assignments.”
Since that time I have been asked to come back to that school and teach the same thing to the entire senior class!
Not too long ago I received a phone call from the Director of my church’s Newlywed Sunday School class.
“Could you teach the Personalities to our class in November? I think it would be such a blessing for them to have this information as they start out together.”
Hmmm. Hadn’t thought about teaching Personalities in Sunday School but why not? What a sensible use of our time in God’s house understanding how He made us and how we can best “live at peace with everyone.”
These were wonderful Sunday mornings with fifteen-twenty precious couples. Grins were exchanged, eyes rolled, and elbows constantly poked spouses’ ribs as these newlyweds confirmed how God had brought them to complement and complete each other.
An email from one of the school administrators recently said, “Since you left, there is a sweet buzz around campus about our personalities and how we can minister to each other and our students.”
Isn’t that what we should be doing no matter where we teach the Personalities? We should equip others to create a happy buzz of loving and understanding those around them so they can, as much as it is up to them, live at peace.
Understanding yourself and those around you can make a tremendous difference in your relationships and your writing.
Hippocrates first labeled the four personality types with words that are still used today. The sanguine personality is the happy, playful person. They dress to be noticed. When you attend a party, you immediately notice the sanguines – they are the life of the party. The melancholy person is also known as purposeful, introspective, and dedicated. At a party you will find the melancholies away from the action, possibly engaged in deep conversation with one individual. He or she may also be content to sit quietly and enjoy observing those around. The choleric individual will probably be involved in group settings in some way. They enjoy short conversations but prefer to keep things moving toward the goal of the gathering. If need be, they can help with that by taking charge. The phlegmatic person loves to be around people but can tire easily of high energy gatherings.
Why does personality make such a difference? Usually our expectations are for people to react and enjoy things just the way we do. But with four distinct personalities in the world, rarely is there a gathering of more than two people that would include only one personality. And no matter what the program, entertainment, or topic of conversation every personality will interpret it differently.
It is so helpful for those involved in groups to understand how other react. Group dynamics work much smoother and relationships grow through that understanding.
For example, our extended family is made up of all four personalities. When there is a family crisis, this is what happens.
The cholerics immediately begin to make a checklist of what we need to do to fix it.
The melancholies handle the emotional side of things, comforting those involved, organizing prayer chains, and doing the practical things.
The sanguines are, as always, glad to have a group of people around. Being very tenderhearted, they want to console and help even though they are sometimes easily distracted.
The phlegmatics tend to withdraw. If we give them a specific assignment, they rise readily to the task and do an excellent job.
You can see from above, that some of all those things is needed in time of crisis. God knew what He was doing when He made us all different. But sometimes we need to realize that everyone is not like us. It is up to us to love each other for who they were created to be and not try to make them fit into our personality mold.
As writers, we need to keep in mind that our readers are from all personality types. So we need to vary our style so that we reach sanguine, melancholy, choleric, and phlegmatic readers with the message God has given us.
When our children learned to walk, they imitated what they saw going on around them. Often a close adult took them by the hand and encouraged them to take just a few more steps.
But the stairs were different. In order to be safe, we wanted them to continue to sit down or slide down on their tummies. And, hard as we tried, these cute tiny people didn’t understand our explanation. So I sat at the top of the stairs with the current toddler in my lap and said, “Watch Daddy!”
My husband patiently demonstrated how to turn around down on all fours, push with his hands, and safely slide down the stairs.
When Dad got back up to the top of the steps, he again got down on all fours. Our toddler crawled down from my lap, turned around and did exactly what his daddy had just done. Together they slid slowly and carefully down the steps.
When I began writing over two decades ago I was in a similar predicament. I wanted to know how to write and needed to learn how to do it the correct way. So what did I do? I looked around to see how other people were succeeding in the writing business and I looked for someone to show me the way.
At that time resources were scarce and writers conferences were not plentiful. I read every current book I could find but there were not many. A new writers conference was organized in Florida and I attended at the invitation of my neighbor. I never knew anything like that existed. The entire conference was full of writers who loved the Lord and wanted to write for Him just like me! Friendly editors genuinely cared whether or not my writing dream was realized.
At that conference God had my writing path cross with Sandy Brooks. Sandy was such an encourager. She knew I needed encouragement and direction. She provided it without ever making me feel like a rookie. She offered instruction and answers to my questions. Most of all, she became my lifelong friend.
I still have my meager first attempts at writing devotions. They have Sandy’s profuse green markings on them, showing me how to make them stronger and explaining why what I had written would not work. In the beginning I felt like there was way too much green on those pages. But as I read her wisdom and realized her intent was to make me a better writer, I appreciated the way she came alongside me and mentored me right into being a writer. As the years went on and our friendship grew, she continued to model to me what a committed, godly writer looked like.
Ron Benson and Lee Warren are mentoring writers every year through the On Ramp program at the CLASS Christian Writers Conference. For six hours before the conference begins, they have an all-day workshop so that the attendees can get the most out of the conference.
The 2010 CLASS Christian Writers Conference introduced the book project. For one hour each morning, attendees were in small groups with a professional writer/facilitator. Many of those group times produced lasting relationships as knowledge and the benefit of experience passed from one person to another. Another project result was the beautiful book, Out of the Overflow.
Esther Burroughs says, “Mentoring…means using the best part of yourself to help another see and be the best that they can be.”
Whether writing, speaking, or teaching grandchildren to go up and down the stairs God is pleased when we take what we have learned and pass it on to someone else. And in coming along side and partnering with others along the way, we multiply our own ministry through the ministry of others.
One morning I sat on the porch as the sun was coming up. I was alone and enjoying watching the day put on its brilliant colors. I looked at the swimming pool in the backyard, so still, looking like the surface was highly polished glass.
As the sun made its way over the hill the light caused there to be a crystal clear reflection of the trees lined up around the perimeter of the property. In the pool was a mirror image of what was around it.
Sitting there I realized there was a reason the pool could reflect like that. The reason the pool had such a clear image of the things around it was because of what was in it. It was full to the top with water and the water was reflecting the beauty around it.
Isn’t that the way it is with our relationship with God? If we are full of Him, not half full but totally filled up, we will reflect His love and light to the world. Those around us will see His beauty reflected from the Living Water that fills us. Whether we are writing, speaking, or chatting with someone in the grocery store, His love and light will be reflected.
So each of us must pay attention and nurture our relationship with God. We must work hard to fill ourselves with His love that can overflow to those around us and reflect the Kingdom in everything we write, say, or do!
Being a writer on mission is to be focused. To set your sights on a goal and work unwaveringly to reach that goal. To feel so passionate about your calling you work tirelessly to communicate your message to others.
As writers who are believers, our message is clear. We write to bring honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean that every word, article, or book we write must be a sermon. That doesn’t mean that everything we write must be evangelistic. However, it does mean that everything we write no matter what the subject should be written with excellence and in a way that honors our Lord.
Christian writers need to write about every subject, even those that seem to be “secular.” The world needs writers who are on mission to bring hope to those who feel none. Missional writers need to be the bright spot in a reader’s otherwise dreary day.
So let’s move forward to be the very best writers we can be. After all we have the very best message – a message of hope for a hurting world.
How do you know if you are called to be a writer? Does God whisper it in your ear or speak it through a friend? Some writers have known for a long time that writing was their passion and they have second grade essays to prove it. Others dabbled along in other activities collecting great material before discovering the pure joy in knowing God’s direction for their lives.
Answering the question of “How do you really know if you are called to be a writer?” is a personal matter. The answer can come only from God. Seeking that answer can take hours of prayer, soul searching, and counsel. Look deeply in your heart and find your true desires. Yield your life to God and watch how He leads you. Are doors opening that could only be His doing? Are there opportunities presented to you that could only be divine intervention?
Once you have established your calling and feel God’s direction to write, you know what your goal is: to be the best writer you can be and to write for Him with excellence. You may not write full time, especially in the beginning, but whatever opportunity you have to write must be approached with equal dedication and commitment.