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.