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How can Inspire Christian Writers help you meet your writing and publishing goals? Your input helps us provide the information and inspiration you need to take your writing to the next level.

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Everlene’s Sky

How A Letter to a Sailor Ignited a Lifelong Friendship and a New Book

While serving in the Navy, aboard an aircraft carrrier in the Persian Gulf, Michael Russo received a letter from a stranger. That letter was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and the catalyst for his debut novel, Everlene’s Sky.

 

I interviewed Michael about his friendship with Everlene and the book he just launched, a novelization of her life story.

Here are some of the questions I posed to Michael:

  • Tell me about the first time Everlene made contact with you.
  • What propelled you to write back to her?
  • How did her correspondence impact you.
  • At what point did you start thinking, “Hey, this would make a great book”?
  • And when did you start writing it?
  • Prior to this, had you written for publication?
  • Describe your writing process.
  • How involved was Everlene in the process?
  • The title, Everlene’s Sky, comes from a quote from Everlene. Can you share that quote and why you used it for your book title?
  • Describe your publishing process.
  • How has the book been received so far?
  • What are you doing to help promote Everlene’s Sky?
  • What would you say to someone who’s in that place where you were–they have an interesting book idea and are at the beginning of the writing and publishing process. What have you learned that you can pass along?

Be sure to watch the 700 Club segment about Everlene Brewer and her unique ministry to U.S. service men and women.

You can connect with Michael Russo via Facebook or Twitter.

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Have you had an encounter with a stranger that became a subject of your writing? Tell us about it.

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beth_thompsonElizabeth M Thompson loves stories–fiction and nonfiction alike. Mostly, she loves God’s story and seeks to share with readers how they fit into it. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike. Connect with Elizabeth on her blog, Facebook or Twitter. She loves to connect with other writers!

Bethel Writers Workshop

June 10-12, Redding, California

 

Bethel Writers Workshop

Bethel Writers Workshop

DATE OF EVENT: Jun 10, 2015Jun 12, 2015

LOCATION: Bethel, 933 College View Drive, Redding, CA 96003

REGISTRATION

Registrants can register for the optional critique session and the optional writers’ contest

For more information and/or to register

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Are you attending? If so, please let us know: inspirewriters@gmail.com. We can save $39 each if there are 10 Inspire writers going.

Get Inspired! Workshop Recordings are Now Available Online

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We know you can’t attend every event Inspire hosts–and that you still want to learn and improve your craft. So, we’re happy to announce that our Get Inspired! workshops are now available on our website. These workshops are free for all Inspire members. Just log in on our website and you’ll have immediate access to the recordings. If you’re not a member, but would benefit from these and future workshops, you can join today and you’ll have access a lot of great content.

ScrivenerWordWorkshop  TIPS & TRICKS WITH WORD, SCRIVENER BASICS AND HOW TO SUBMIT TO INSPIRE FORGIVENESS
Michelle Murray and Lori Sinclair present a power-packed training workshop on the three topics listed above.
Publishing Smackdown PUBLISHING SMACKDOWN: Part 1 and Part 2
Traditional Publishing vs Indie Publishing: Not sure how you want to publish your next book? Listen in as Susy Flory and Lorena Bathey debate the pros and cons of both options.
DialogueWorkshop DIALOGUE WORKSHOP
Keli Gwyn and Candace Calvert lead an entertaining, educational and interactive discussion to help writers sharpen dialogue skills.
jennifer_harrision LINKEDIN WITH JENNIFER HARRISON
If you’re like most writers, you know you “should” be on LinkedIn. You may even have an account. But you have only a vague idea why you’re there. You’re not alone!
Kathy_Boyd_Fellure PINTEREST-PERFECT-PLATFORM WITH KATHY BOYD FELLURE
If you haven’t already discovered the picture wonderland of Pinterest you’re in for a treat. Board pinning is a fun, relaxing, and creative way to draw an international audience.
DrPortiaHopkins DR. PORTIA HOPKINS explores WRITING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE which leads to healing for both writer and reader as we engage with our hearts and write with vulnerability.
SocialMediaWorkshop  SOCIAL NETWORKING…HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
A panel discussion on how writers can effectively use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogging to connect with potential readers.

New recordings will be added soon, so once you’ve listened to these, be sure to check back frequently.

What would you like to learn? If you have a suggestion for a workshop, please leave it along with your comments. Your feedback shapes our mission!

Forgiveness: What’s Your Story?

BREAKING NEWS: The Submission Deadline has just been EXTENDED TO JULY 1.

What emotion does the word forgiveness evoke in you?

It’s not a neutral word, though we toss it about like a badminton birdie. It flits through our conversation without carrying much weight until that moment when we’ve said or done something hurtful. All of a sudden a gorge opens up between us and someone dear to us. This formidable canyon severs our connection and distorts or destroys communication.

Like me, you’ve been on both sides of the gorge. You’ve sinned and desperately needed someone to forgive you. And you’ve been hurt by someone you love. Trust and communication were destroyed. And then the grace of forgiveness brought renewed relationship, restored friendship, hope and trust for a better future.

What’s your forgiveness story?

Are you willing to share your story in order to inspire forgiveness in others?

Inspire Christian Writers is accepting submissions for our 2015 anthology, Inspire Forgiveness. We are looking for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, devotionals, and more on the topic of forgiveness. If you’re an Inspire member, you can submit your piece today. If you haven’t yet joined, you can join today for only $50 per year.

Submissions need to be fewer than 1,500 words, clearly relate to the theme, and follow the Inspire style formatting. Start preparing today. We can’t wait to see how God will bless our readers through your stories on this important topic.

We’re accepting submissions between March 1st and July 1st, 2015.

beth_thompsonElizabeth M Thompson loves stories–fiction and nonfiction alike. Mostly, she loves God’s story and seeks to share with readers how they fit into it. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike. Connect with Elizabeth on her blog, Facebook or Twitter. She loves to connect with other writers!

What Inspires You to Inspire Others?

As Christian writers, we serve a unique purpose: we want to inspire others through our writing, and offer hope to a hurting world. Whether our writing is fiction, nonfiction, devotional or any other format, our underlying purpose is the same.

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So, why do we do this? What inspires us? It boils down to faith. We have faith that God has called us to write, and to use our gift of writing to help others. Every day we get up and think what can I write today that will affect a change in others?

How do we decide what to write about? As Christian authors, we are in tune to the ways God has worked and continues to work in our lives, so our mission is to use those experiences to inspire others. We all have different walks with Christ, and because of that, we each offer a unique perspective to our readers, and therefore create unique content.

As projects develop and grow, it’s not always easy to stay focused on our original intent, and I think that’s the most pertinent part of what we do. We must remember that underlying any attention we, or our work, may get, the glory goes to God. We must remember that helping our readers to know God and His goodness is our underlying mission.

So, how do we stay inspired? Again, faith, combined with prayer. We must pray daily that God helps us get the message out to others that He wants communicated through us. We must serve to encourage each other as Christian writers that even on those days where our hope is low (because yes, it happens to us too!) there is a purpose to what we do. We don’t know when that one person who needed to hear our message that day may just see what we wrote, and be inspired. Maybe it’s a mother who’s at her wits’ end and just can’t see beyond the screaming baby and her messy house. Maybe it’s a father who is exhausted from trying to provide for his family and isn’t getting the positive reinforcement he wants at home, and needs hope to hang on and keep moving forward in a Christ-like manner. Maybe it’s a young person contemplating suicide. Maybe it’s someone who has never had Christ in their life, and your work opens their heart to Him.

You and I don’t typically know who we help, but we know who we serve. We serve God. So, each day, hold onto that promise from God. Know that He is proud of the work we are doing, and that together we will continue make a positive change in this world that can be so full of darkness.

We must remember as we do this work that not everyone has the same calling as we do, and not everyone will see the value or share the passion that we do in our work. Our passion comes directly from Christ, so do not be discouraged if you face controversy or negativity. Use these experiences to become messages in your writing. Continue to move forward and persevere in your mission. While others around you may not understand why you barely sleep and can’t wait to get your thoughts onto “paper,” why you feel this need to put so much time into writing that may not cause you to prosper financially, you and I know why we do it, and most importantly God knows why we do it!

May you continue to be inspired and continue to inspire others.

DMR Headshot B&WDenise Rezsonya is a Christian author and youth advocate. She lives in Noblesville, Indiana with her husband and two children. She inspires teens through her devotional resource books, Be the Light Volumes 1 & 2.  You can learn more at Denise’s website.

 

 

 

Peer Promotion: How to Promote a Book in 7 Steps

Excitement is growing at Inspire. Several of our members have books coming out this month and many more books will be released over the next few months.

13208387_sWe are having fun with launch parties, book signings and celebrating the successes. One of the questions I hear among our writers is “How can I help get the word out?”

In response I am listing seven things we can do to promote our friends’ books:

1. Pray for the ministry of the book. We write with a purpose of touching hearts and changing lives, which can only happen when the message is read. Inspire writers pray for each other’s projects, asking God to put them in the hands of readers who can benefit from the messages or stories being published.

2. Post book reviews. After reading your friend’s book, consider what you liked best about the content, style, and message, and write a brief review. Then post the review on Amazon.com, GoodReads.com,  Christianbook.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Readers rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions. Your honest review will have a positive impact on the sales of the book.

3. Blog to promote the book. By posting a well-written interview and/or book review on your blog, you can help generate interest in your friend’s book. Include a book trailer if possible.  You can increase interest by offering a free copy of the book. Don’t forget to mention the book in comments you leave on other blogs as well.

4. Tweet to get the word out. Twitter provides a great forum for peer promotion, allowing you to post brief, pointed tweets about the book or re-tweeting what others say about it. You can also re-tweet posts from the book’s author. If the book is mentioned in an article or review, you can tweet it out to the world. Tweet quotes from the book to whet the appetites of your followers. Then be sure to invite them to book signings.

5. Create a buzz on Facebook. Update your status with a positive comment about the book and “Like” the author’s page. Post quotes from the book. Invite your Facebook friends to a book signing. You can also give away a copy of the book on your Facebook page. Your small efforts help build a big buzz.

6. Distribute marketing pieces. Carry promotional postcards or bookmarks with you. Pass them out whenever the opportunity presents itself. Give them to your local bookstore manager and church librarian. Ask them to carry the book. Distribute a speaker packet to a church leader, ministry director, pastor—whoever makes decisions about speakers. Present bookmarks to your book club and encourage them to read the book. Personally recommend the book to a friend (or lots of friends!)

7. Help with the Book Launch Party or Book Signing event. I recently attended a book launch that was hosted by a dear friend of the author. The party was a huge success! The friend put the same care into the party as she would a baby or bridal shower. Every detail was perfect–and the author was relaxed and enjoyed her guests. Maybe you don’t have time to throw an entire launch party, but there are many things you can do: Invite friends to attend book-signing/book launch with you. Provide refreshments for the event. Offer to help with book sales at book-signing. Create a gift basket for a door-prize drawing. You can also host an intimate gathering in your home for a meet & greet with the author.

Your enthusiasm about your friend’s book can make a difference in getting the word out. Employing these seven steps will make your peer promotion efforts more effective.

Here’s a question for you: What steps are you taking help promote your friend’s books?

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beth_thompsonElizabeth M Thompson loves stories–fiction and nonfiction alike. Mostly, she loves God’s story and seeks to share with readers how they fit into it. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike.

 

Become a Writer In Residence

Do you dream of uninterrupted writing time, surrounded by nature’s beauty? Would you benefit from living and writing for several weeks among a community of artists?

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Why not apply for an Artist In Residence Program?

Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Artist in Residence Programs at the Headlands Marine Mammal and Nature Conservation Center in San Francisco. If chosen, you will be awarded a residency of four to ten weeks to devote to your craft. Residencies include housing, studio space, chef-prepared meals and much more.

Are you ready to learn more? You can visit the Headlands website for details about the AIR Programs and application process. If you’re interested, be sure to apply before the June 15 deadline. There is a $45 application processing fee.

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Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced a Writer in Residence program? Do you plan to apply? Why or why not? 

Putting Pen to Paper with Judi Braddy

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Judi Braddy, Presenter

Surely everyone’s mother said it: “Whatever’s worth doing is worth doing well.” This is especially true regarding the ministry of Christian writing. Since every biblical truth carries the weight of eternity, it is imperative that we make certain it is communicated accurately, clearly and with excellence.

Fact is, words put on paper—or computer—live longer than those simply spoken. (Some say internet postings may never be retracted—yikes!). Understanding the quality and far-reaching influence of our work, it’s apparent why sloppy, sappy writing should no longer be accepted just because it’s “Christian.”

The good news is that more care can be taken clarifying written words than spoken ones. One author defined writing as “refined thinking.” Indeed, if words are to be taken seriously and shared liberally, they must be crafted carefully.

Applying a few of Paul’s spiritually-specific admonitions to Timothy, this workshop will attempt to educate by sharing some basic tips and techniques to help Christian writers answer the following questions:

  • How Do I Know If I Have A Gift/Talent For Writing?
  • How Do I Develop That Talent?
  • What Are Some Basic “Nuts & Bolts”?
  • Where Do I Find Ideas For Stories?
  • How Hard Do I Really Want To Work At This?

Join us for Putting Pen to Paper

Saturday, May 16th, 9:30am to noon

At Oasis Christian Mission Center, 10255 Old Placerville Rd #1, Sacramento, CA 95827

This Get Inspired! Workshop is free for all Inspire members and only $15 for non-members!

Judi Braddy is an author, motivational speaker, licensed minister, wife, mom and (very young) grandma. The author of six books–Prodigal in the Parsonage; It All Comes Out in the Wash; True North;  Camp Gramma; Everyday Sabbath;  and, Simple Seasons–Judi has lived through scads of seasons and turned over a number of new leaves.  Basically she and King Solomon have come to the same conclusion—there is a time and season for everything.

She and husband, Jim, live in Elk Grove, California where he serves as a denominational executive. For more information about her writing and speaking, visit her witty website at www.judibraddy.com or email her at judibraddy@aol.com.

 

5 Lessons from the Creative Road

The Creative Road.

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We’ve probably all heard the famous Robert Frost quote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  The road less traveled, by its very nature can at times be a lonely road yet it is an adventure. Yet you and I have chosen this road for our own individual (read: warped) reasons. We skip happily along some days, and we sit and swat at the flies on other days.

I can say that I came late to this path in life, writing my first screenplay at the age of forty-nine, but I think that the creativity has always been there in one form or another. The lesson there: Never give up on your dreams. I caught my first wisp of the entertainment bug while in business school thirty years ago. Although I traveled the wide path for a while, the desire for this scenic byway was always there, ready to bloom when opportunity presented itself.  In my relatively short time along this wandering way, I have picked up a few gems of knowledge.

Lesson one:  Always be ready. Always be prepared and preparing at the same time. Learn all you can from those around you, keeping your dream alive as you move through the maze. You are never done learning and you are never “there.” Keep improving no matter how good you think you are. And don’t be afraid to teach to others what you have learned. They say that you know what you know when you teach what you know, or something like that. Being willing to give back will not only ingrain the information in your head, it will also gain you respect in the community, which is a commodity more valuable than gold in any market.

When I was first starting out, I read anything I could find… Screenplays, blogs, websites, books. I had to learn the lingo. I think the first time I was asked if my story was “High Concept” was when I discovered that deer-in-the-headlights is not a good answer. What’s a tag line or a log line and what is the difference? I have to admit, I still have no idea what a Best Boy does.  I’ll have to look that one up some day. I’m guessing that it is not the guy who goes to get the sandwiches.

Lesson two:  Talk the talk and walk the walk. I learned quickly that you had to have the lingo down to pitch a movie. The catch phrases that producers are looking for: high concept, grounded, four quadrant. Know what they want and how to communicate that you have what they want. And walk the walk. When you pitch or audition, you want to own the room. This takes practice, but it is an essential sales tool. Practice, don’t wing it, or you’ll never hold their attention long enough to make the deal. Ask anyone in sales, and they will agree. If you do it right, you will convince them that you have exactly what they want and that it was their idea all along.

Speaking of those mysterious god-like creatures that we call “Producers,” they are actually surprisingly human. So are agents and managers and everyone else in the industry. I have been truly blessed by the generosity of those in the industry willing to share their knowledge with me. They say that Hollywood is the only place on the planet where you can die from encouragement. That may be true, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t burst my bubble just yet.

Lesson Three:  Be yourself (unless you are a jerk, then you are probably better off being someone else.) People in the industry are interested in working with you, but they need to know who you really are in order to make that decision. Yes you need to have talent, but can you spend five years in the same room with that producer and not kill each other along the way. These are not people to be nervous around or afraid of. Be yourself, network, get to know them. If it’s a good fit, they will bring work to you. This also brings me to lesson four:

Lesson Four:  Get out of your cave. Many creatives are cave dwellers, especially writers. We like to spend our time in our own creative world. The preferred method of communication is email as it involves no real contact and doesn’t interrupt our creative “flow.” However, when you rely too much on email, you miss out on the real chance to make a connection with these people. When you pitch via email (which I have done) you miss out on the chance to see the producer’s reaction. You can’t counter their doubts or answer their questions. You have no idea what you are missing. Get out of your cave. We work in a visual industry, be visible.

One of the shocks I had to get over when I started was the time things take to get done. Everyone is busy and wants to be polite, but they don’t always have the time to respond. I come from an industry where if you didn’t answer an email within an hour, you were late.

Lesson Five:  The sands of time move slowly, Hollywood moves slower than that. Making movies takes time. The bigger the budget, the longer it is going to take to get a decision. This just makes sense. If you are going to put 100 million dollars on the table, you’d be darn careful to make sure you had it all right too. I have found that waiting months is not unusual. As long as the conversation is still open and they are still “looking” at it, that is good. That means they are lining up or trying to line up the various parts before they commit. This is a good thing. Of course if they just stop replying at all, move on. In the words of producer Pen Densham “Follow up is good. Stalking is bad.” Don’t be a stalker, if they don’t reply, move on.

Overall, my adventure is just beginning. Many of you have been down this path before me. I appreciate you blazing the way. Others are coming up behind me, following my lead and the lead of those around me. I hope each of you find my adventures helpful to you in some way. I look forward to meeting and working with many of you in the future. Best of luck in your adventure down this path. God bless and don’t forget to wave as you pass by.

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Do you currently write screenplays? Do you aspire to write screenplays? 

David HydeDavid M. Hyde is a screenwriter, screenwriting critique group facilitator and Board of Directors member for Inspire Christian Writers.  He has completed three screenplays, one of which was selected this year for the Sacramento International Film Festival, and two short scripts, one of which was first runner up in 2014 for the 168Film Write of Passage speed writing contest. He was also a quarter finalist in the Creative World Awards, 2014 screenwriting competition.