Springs of Inspiration with Erica Vetsch

I met Erica Vetsch almost 2 years ago at ACFW in Indianapolis. It was a pretty memorable event. We met just outside the bar, waiting to shmooze with the Seekers – and I think I was already in my frumpy pajamas. (To the left is a pic of me, Mary Connealy, and Erica. Cute bunch, eh?)

Is that right, Erica? 🙂

You’ll find that both online and off, Erica has a vital and engaging sense of humor, not to mention a sprawling vocabulary. It’s embarassing how many cool words she knows…and how few of them I can define 😉

And she has a great tip on ‘inspiration’ for us today. Check it out.

My favorite inspirational scene…that’s difficult to say, but I’m going to go with my most recent release, A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas. The hero, Miles, is trying so hard to change his life instead of letting God change it. His wise friend Jonas speaks some truth over him about who needs to perform the change and who needs to let Him. 🙂

 

 
Jonas stopped pacing. “You’ve been carrying around a lot of burdens. I stand by my earlier assessment. You’re one of thebravest men I know.”
 
 
“I sure don’t feel like it. Have you ever tried not to be something you’ve been your whole life?”
 
 
“Every day.”
 
 
That answer, when Miles expected a denial, made him blink.
 
 
“Every day I have to let God be in charge and change me. It’s when I try to do the changing, or when I get bucky and refuse to change, that things get fouled up.” He clapped Miles on the shoulder. “Get some sleep. You’re going to need it. We’ve got quite a few mysteries to solve.”
 
 
Miles closed the door after his friend. When he put his head on the pillow, he thought he’d have trouble getting to sleep, he had so much to think about and work through, but as his eyelids grew heavy, he realized that in sharing his troubles with Jonas, he’d lightened his burden.
 
Would he experience the same easing of his troubles when he confessed everything to Addie?
 
 
The Bible verse that helps me when I’m stymied? The same one that helps me in so many ways. Often when I’m blocked or stuck or procrastinating, it’s because I’m afraid. Afraid I won’t be able to give life to the vision in my head, that I won’t live up to my and readers’ expectations.
 
 
That’s when I need to remind myself of a profound truth.
 
 
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
 
 
Thanks so much for the reminder, Erica….and I’m looking forward to getting hold of your book! YAY!
 
Stop by on Thursday for a visit from Ruth Axtell Morren.
 
Blessings,

Songs of Christmas – Of the Father’s Love Begotten

How many of you do NOT know this hymn? If you raised your hand, then it’s IMPERATIVE that you click here and listen to it. Here’s another version by John Michael Talbot. This Medieval song is a combination of a Latin poem and an ancient melody known at Divinum Mysterium.

For those who enjoy solid doctrine housed within a beautiful (almost haunting) melody – this is a song you will enjoy. Imagine 16th century monks’ voices echoing through the hallowed halls of a European monastary as you listen to the recordings.

Now, which author listed this hymn as their top Christmas song pick??

My favorite Christmas song is “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” The first verse goes like this:
Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He, Of the things that are, that have been, And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!
I love the truth contained in the words, and I love the melody because it’s so gentle and haunting. It always carries me away to a peaceful place in my heart. If you’re not familiar with the song, here’s a YouTube clip: http://youtu.be/OWqAKP9lAVw

Friends in ‘westerly’ places

While at ACFW I have the wonderful opportunity to meet people I’d only chatted with online. Of course, meeting the fabulous FIFITEEN of Seekerville is always a delight – and getting to hug on my fellow Alley Cats from The Writers Alley was another joy.

 

But I also got to meet marvelous ladies like Susan Ann Mason, a constant encourager and fabulous writer.

 

A Genesis finalist and magnificent lady, Karen Schravemade (who happens to have one of the coolest accents around)

Authors I want to be like when I grow up – like Ruth Axtell Morren, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Kaye Dacus.

 

And friends I NEVER grow tired of hugging – like Audra Harders, Laura Frantz, Mary Connealy, and Angie Dicken.

 

It’s pretty remarkable how God takes all these different people from different places and binds them together with a love for Him and the joy of writing.

I am SOOOOOOO glad He does! Aren’t you?

ACFW!!

Just a quick stop in to share some pictures from ACFW. You can see some more over at The Writers Alley.

It’s been a fun time so far. I’m not expecting crazy stuff to happen (unless I’m spending time with the Seekers), so the HIGHLIIGHT of my trip has been getting to meet some of the Alley Cats – and especially rooming with Casey Herringshaw and Mary Vee. Our other roommate is Carol Moncado, my long lost twin. It’s been a blast.

(this pic is of me, Angie Dicken (Alley Cat), and Mary Vee (Alley Cat).

This next photo is just how crazy things are with Casey Herringshaw. Seriously! Look at that face. 😉

 Big stuff is going to happen for the gal to my left. Ashley Clark was a fantastic buddy to make – perky, fun, and totally nailed her pitch to a certain agent that I saw. WTG, Ashley.

There’s more to come, once I upload the pictures from this morning. But I hope you enjoy this sneak peek 🙂

 

Conference Tips with Cara Lynn James

It’s time for another visit from one of the fabulous fifteen of Seekerville. Cara Lynn James, author of Love on a Dime  and Love By the Book,  has an impressive contest history of winner of The Noble Theme (now Genesis contest) and a finalist in the Golden Heart.  Her stories pack a sweet combination of history, fun, and romance. She’s also a wonderful encourager and expert fish-face maker 🙂

What will Cara always make sure she brings to conference?

I ‘bring’ extra room in my luggage for the books I buy,

bookmarks to giveaway and business cards,

a few good pens,

and my friends’ cell phone numbers so I can get in touch with them in a big crowd.

Cara, I’ve DEFINITELY made sure I have a phone list. There are some people I CANNOT leave St. Louis without having met. You’ll be there, won’t you?

If you all haven’t visited Cara’s website – stop by and learn more about her books.

Conference Tips with Audra Harders

There are some people God brings into your life at the perfect time for the perfect reason. Steeple Hill Love Inspired author, Audra Harders, was one of those people to me last year at  ACFW.

Besides being a partner in workshop ‘sneaking’, Audra was also an encourager during my nervousness. She took me under her wing and prayed for me right in the lobby of the hotel. It was a beautiful experience – an example of her gentle, kind, and lovely personality.

Audra is another one of the fabulous fifteen Seekers and her novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, debuted in January 2011.

So Audra, what are your conference tips?

 1. Bring your sense of curiosity and adventure. I know writers tend to be hermits, but a conference is no place to bow to those tendencies! Get out of your room and snoop around the hotel, you never know who you’re going to run into at the coffee shop or lobby. Or exercise room. Or pool.

 2. Think about your “brand” and bring a gimmick. It can be as simple as a business card with your picture, your log line, or anything to identify you and your genre. Or maybe something that relates to your genre such as a creative (crafty) bookmark representing the era you set your books, or special chocolate from the region where your book is set. Market yourself as simply, but as powerfully, as possible.

 3. You can’t look confident and relaxed if you’re not comfortable. While workshops and meetings are in session, dress for the image you want to exude. If it’s western, pack a jean skirt; if it’s urban, try stylish trousers and flats. Comfortable does not mean frumpy. Don’t leave your sweats at home if you like to relax in them, but make sure they’re publicly acceptable before you pack them. But don’t get too comfortable. I remember a conference I attended a few years ago where one of the authors was lounging in the lobby. This isn’t a bad thing…except she was wearing an old ratty t-shirt, dollar store flip-flops, and couldn’t have slumped down deeper into the overstuffed chair if she tried while she typed away on her laptop. Unfortunately, that is the image now burned into my gray matter of this author.

 Remember: Comfortable, not sloppy!

Thank you! Thank you, Audra.

And Audra brought the ‘brand’ word! Whew….tought stuff. What’s your brand?

To find out more about Audra visit her website, or stop by Seekerville.

And Audra – SEE YOU IN ST. LOUIE!!!!!

Conference Tips with Mary Connealy

Well, if you’ve been a frequent follower of this blog, you’re already well aware of what a Connealy fan I am.

I happily own all of her books, and look forward to her newest releases- especially more of the Kincaid Brides series.

Now, let me tell you that one of the highlights of my first ACFW conference was getting to meet the Seekers – and especially Mary Connealy. She and Siri Mitchell were the first authors I read who wrote something similar to what I liked to write – and were the first authors to help me find a ‘home’ in Christian fiction.

Mary is also the one who introduced me to the wonderful world of Seekerville.

She creates stories about as fast as her heroes can round-up cattle- and all of her romances are filled with fabulous humor, adventure, and male-female banter.

Last year at ACFW, Mary won the coveted Carol Award for her novel, Cowboy Christmas. That’s me with Mary after she received her award. Does’nt she look so happy!!!

Okay, okay – back to conference tips.

Mary, what are three things a writer should never forget to bring to conference?

Unpublished?
One sheets
Business casual clothes
ten times your true courage
_________________________________
Published?
Ruthy Logan Herne’s cell phone number
that’s it. I can survive everything else.
__________________________________
Okay – 10 times my regular courage? I can definitely see how that’s helpful. Time to visit the Wizard of Oz…or would that be the Ruthy of New York? 😉 I’m sure she’ll pump me with enough courage, or scare me more than any editor ever could – right Mary? 🙂
Good thinkin’
Do you have a favorite Connealy Classic?
You can find out more about Mary’s books at www.maryconnealy.com
Saturday – come find out what Laura Frantz top 3 conference tips are 🙂

Conference Tips with Missy Tippens

With hometown hospitality and good-ol-fashion sense, Missy Tippens brings her conference tips to you today. Missy is one of the awesome 15 of Seekerville, a writing blog to inspire and entertain.

Missy’s fiction with Southern Flare are filled with a real sense of homecoming – sometimes an actual physical homecoming of the characters, but certainly a homecoming for two hearts. You can find more out about Missy’s books on her website or by visiting her blog. She’s also a contributor to the writing blog, F.A.I.T.H. girls.  

So…

what are the top three things that Missy says you need to bring with you to conference??

1. A list of agents and editors you’re interested in meeting. Of course, you’ve already done all your research ahead of time! You want to make sure you know who you want to tackle–er, try to meet–beforehand so when opportunities arise at meals, you’ll be ready to pounce–er, take advantage. 🙂
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2. Your good sense. Do not leave this at home. 🙂 For example, be careful what you say about other’s work…and about other people. It’s a small world out there. And don’t complain about judge comments on your latest contest (you may be talking to a judge!). Don’t talk or text during workshops or while someone’s speaking. (Yes, I’ve been in a workshop before when a woman answered her phone and had a short conversation.) No matter what I said in number one, do not pounce on editors and agents. And if you do land at a table with your dream publishing professional, do not monopolize the whole conversation. It’s not exactly the best way to make friends with other writers at the table. 🙂 So I reiterate…be sure you take your good sense with you to conference!
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3. Sensitivity. No matter how anxious or outright scared you might feel in a conference setting, be on the lookout for writers who look terrified or lonely. I assure you there are others–possibly first timers–who find conferences and social settings stressful or even painful. So try to step out of your comfort zone and make a few new friends. The best piece of advice I got at my first conference, as I stood against the wall with my stomach in knots, was to try to make 4 new friends at every conference I attended. I’ve tried to do that ever since.
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Thanks so much, Missy. GREAT points too, whether at a writer’s conference or back home, tips 2 & 3 should be out of our overflow of Christian charity anyway, right? Unfortunately, we need to be reminded way too often…heaven help us! (literally)
Anyone had an opportunity to read Love Inspired? If so, have you picked up one of Missy’s? Her newest novel, A Family for Faith, was a beautiful story.

COME VISIT ME!!!!!

If you’ve followed me at all, you know I’m a BIG fan of the Seekers!

And….

Today (FRIDAY) I AM THEIR special guest blogger.

Please stop by and give me a ‘shout’. I hear there giving away some fabulous prizes too!

A Visit with Author Krista Phillips

If you don’t know this already, I am a member of a fantastic group writing blog known as The Writers Alley. It’s such a fun place to be – with nine awesome aspiring authors to help bounce ideas, share prayer requests, enjoy funny moments, and gab about writing. Interestingly enough though, many of us have never met in person. We started the Alley online last May with five: Mary Vee, Casey Herringshaw, Krista Phillips, Sherrinda Ketchersid, and me.

In the fall of 2010, God sent five other authors our way: Julia Reffner, Angie Dicken, Sarah Forgrave, Wendy Miller, and Cindy Wilson.

Since ten is one of my favorite numbers, I think our group feels pretty complete. But what would make it even better is to get to meet in person.

We’re all scattered throughout the U.S. so that makes meeting very hard, but this weekend I had the opportunity to meet Krista Phillips. Unfortunately, we met at the hospital where she’d just brought her sweet baby girl, Annabelle, back to the PICU. To learn more about Krista’s amazing journey with Annabelle this past year, you can visit her fantastic blog here.

It’s such a blessing to meet any of these ladies who’ve inspired and encouraged me so much this year. I was grateful to meet Wendy, Sarah, Angie, and Cindy at ACFW last year (and that was WAY before The Writers Alley ever came to be – cool, huh?!?)

With ACFW 2011 just around the corner, I look forward to meeting more of the Alley Cats. Particularly, Casey and Mary – but we’ll be joined by Sarah, Wendy, and Angie too.

Other writing buddies will be there – such as the EXCELLENT Seeker-gals! Oh dear, I love them!

And friends, Carol Moncado, Keli Gwyn, Laura Frantz…and so many more!

Any writing pals-meetups in your future? Whether at ACFW or otherwise?

Also, here are a few pics of the Parthenon in Nashville- a exact replica of the original Parthenon in Greece.