Thursday, March 12, 2015

Feeling the Fog

Fog is an amazing thing. It captures my attention and quiets my mind and soul.

Yesterday, on Facebook, I posted a picture like this and asked my friends how fog affects them. Some said it quieted them and a couple commented on driving in it and how difficult it is. As I thought about that it made me think about my Christian walk…

Often when the outside world is fuzzed out and not in sharp focus my heart and mind are quieter, more at peace than when everything in my world is easily seen. That fog tends to insulate me from all the goings-on around me. I know it’s still all there and happening but it’s not right in my face. I like that. It’s soothing.

Then there are the times I feel like I’m living in a fog bank and can’t see anything at all. Sound and light are muted and I feel isolated from everyone and everything, even though I know they’re very close by. Like a foggy day, I find I reflect more and think about deeper life things that I’m often too busy to bother with.

While I like the reflection and peace the fog often brings, I tend to get disoriented and lost easily when I’m feeling like I’m living in a fog bank. And when I try to move forward it’s hard. I want to go my usual speed and hurry along but have to slow down. Sometimes the fog feels so thick I have to feel my way along. That makes me hold on to my Father’s hand tighter, relying on His vision and guidance. And that’s a good thing! It’s uncomfortable, often scary, and can make me chomp at the bit because I like to move fast and get there—but holding onto God and needing HIS guidance is good!

Maybe that’s one reason why He sends the fog our way sometimes.

So tell me, what comforts you when the fog descends on your life?

Not my Facebook friend? I'd love to be friends there!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Cookie for Your Thoughts

One of my favorites...


Sometimes, a cookie makes everything better.
At least a little.

So tell me, what do you do when your moment gets unpleasant?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blogging Workshop

Coming to a location near you...
if you live in Southern Illinois or thereabouts.  ;-)

Date: Saturday, March 14, 2015. 
Time: 10-2ish 

Part One:
Blogging Basics--the who, what, where, when, why, and how.

  • What exactly is a blog? (It's not just a blog!)
  • Do you need a blog? 
  • Why do you need one anyway?
  • Who's your audience?
  • What do you write about?
  • Where do you blog?
  • How do you do it?

Part two: 
Build a Blog! Hands on building, not just theory. 
(Bring your computer! Internet provided.)
Time: 12-2ish


Cost: FREE! (lunch details coming)

Where: 1522 North Main, Benton, IL. (The old True Value building on Rt. 37, on the north side of town.)


Feeling called to write? Want to learn some basics that will help your writing and lay a foundation you can build on? Blogging is more than it first seems but it doesn't have to a dizzying, scary ride. 

I've taught blogging and platform classes several times, online and at small conferences. If you're interested in joining us at the workshop or have questions, let me know. I'd LOVE to see you there!! 

Everyone is welcome, and feel free to share this with friends!! :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

I've Missed You

Have you returned somewhere after being gone a real long time? You know that feeling of hesitancy? Nervousness? Even a touch of fear mixed in with the anticipation… Will they remember me? Will they still like me? Have our lives moved on so much that I won’t fit in or that we won’t connect like we used to?

That’s how I’m feeling.
I’ve been gone a long time. I never dreamed I would be gone…silent…for so long. During that time a lot of water has gone under the bridge (yes, a cliché. Forgive me?). We’ve both changed, grown. But friendships can survive time and distance. I hope ours can too.

I’ve missed you.

I’ve come to visit with you often, but like Zacharias, nothing came out when I opened my mouth, set my fingers to keyboard. There was so much I wanted to say. So much to tell you, but it was all too fresh. Too raw in my heart and mind. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know how to start. So I’d leave the keyboard, the blank page disappearing into the fog I was walking through. But I never forgot you. I often thought of you, prayed for you, my friends.

But now it’s time.
The burning in me is greater than the hesitancy, the nervousness, and the fear. I’ve remembered why I came here... Why I write.

Obedience.
And obedience leads to joy.
I can feel it returning even now. Joy welling up, clogging my throat and filling my eyes…

And now that I’ve started, the words are coming fast. Crowding, anxious to catch up with you.

I know I’ve changed over the time. My thoughts, my actions, my voice. Age and experience do that to us. But inside I’m still me. And I bet you’re still you, changed but still you.

Cookie, one of our newest additions to the family.
Remember the old nursery rhyme… Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? Like the cat, I feel like I’ve been to London to visit the queen…only I’ve seen so much more than the queen. LoL. Family, fairs, fun. Mom-stuff, monkey-stuff, mail-stuff. More change than I ever, EVER would’ve guessed. But through it all: God’s presence and faithfulness. Always. In all circumstances and all situations.

And now? Now I manage a shipping warehouse. I have a wonderful, God-given job that I love. My boys go to the warehouse with me everyday and are able to finish their homeschooling even though I work full-time. The family is constantly in-and-out of the warehouse, visiting, working, eating lunch, hanging out. It’s wonderful. It’s like having my cake and eating it too. Something I’ve always enjoyed. ::grin::

So tell me, what have you been up to? What’s new in your world?
I’ve missed you.

Monday, November 03, 2014

10 Ways Introverted Writers Can Handle Marketing Their Books

Today I'd like to introduce you to Zoe M. McCarthy, one of my accountability partners and someone who has amazed me with all she does as she systematically plans her work and works her plan. Her debut novel, Calculated Risk, comes out this month and here she's sharing some secrets on how she's dealing with the marketing as an introvert.

I’m a writer not a promoter. When writing, I do little socializing. I research my books on the Internet. My agent is happy to correspond through email. I even got contracted through email.

So, how do I become a marketer and face live people, saying clever things?

We introverts can market our books as well as our extroverted friends. Click to tweet.


Introverts get their energy from within, not from other people like extroverts do.

So, all the interacting introverts must do to promote their books siphons their fuel.



Here are 10 ways I handled marketing activities.


Approaching Experts for Help

Way 1 - Talking to experts. First, I always researched the subject on the Internet. When I knew terminology and what I was asking about, I wasn’t as intimidated to talk to experts. This helped in calling about newspaper ads, booking a signing, and ordering promotional materials.

Way 2 - Ordering Promotional Materials. I used the “chat now” option when ordering bookmarks, posters, etc. After written exchanges with the expert, I got comfortable with the person. Then when things got complicated, I was ready to communicate in a more efficient manner – a telephone call!

Way 3 - Talking on the Phone. Before I called newspaper reps or bookstore managers, I made a cheat sheet. I wrote my own name and phone number, the name of the company and contact person, the title of my book, any dates I was considering, all my questions, and anything I might trip on. Just writing it calmed me.

Way 4 - Calling on Fellow Authors. I joined several author groups and participated through emails and Facebook. We help each other. Some are veterans at marketing activities. They share what they’ve learned and field questions. It’s much easier to ask my questions of a friend, even a cyber friend, than a stranger.

Way 5Finding the Energy. I tackle visits and phone calls in the morning. Because I lose energy quickly in interacting with others, I need to be well rested. I also make time to pray.

Way 6Using the Internet. I belong to a Yahoo group of authors with the publisher of Calculated Risk. They organize group ads published in a popular magazine. They also hold monthly Facebook meet-the-author parties with readers. I haven’t done a blog tour, but I accepted invitations to post on several blogs, all through relationships with online writer groups.

Being The Focus Of Promotional Events

Way 7Getting the Right Helpers. For my local book launch party, I enlisted two helpers who are active in church and the community and know many people. They amazed me when I listed the people I needed to contact. Each took turns saying, “I’ll do that.” Helpers like these are an introvert’s dream.

Way 8Interacting from a Distance. For promotional exposure, it’s easier for me to give a prepared talk from a podium than to mingle in social events. I know numerous introverts who are energetic speakers, but flee from circulating with attendees afterward. I lead writing workshops and speak at spiritual retreats. It’s dining with the participants that’s hard for me. But the more I do it the easier it is.

Way 9Role Playing to Interact. Many actors are introverts. After dress- as-your-character dinners at conferences, I learned it’s easier to promote my character than me. Others concentrate on the costume and the character, and less on me. So, I’ll wear my Cisney marketing rep costume to signings and my launch party.

Way 10Giving Yourself a Break. Radio and TV interviews can be effective to promote books. Even with prepared answers, I’d be terrified interviewers might ask unscheduled questions. The clever answers would occur to me ten minutes after the interview’s end. I gave myself permission to avoid such torture. I compensate by signing up for as many written interviews as I can.

My marketing attempts might be ineffective, but it won’t be because I’m an introvert.

What ways do you other introverts handle marketing your books?


Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins inspirational contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is “Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites.” Calculated Risk, Zoe’s debut novel, will be available November 21, 2014. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing, speaking about her faith, planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren, and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Deerfield Fair with the Girls

A to Z blog hop at Patterings
Welcome to A to Z!
We'd love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

This week is the letter D.

If you're joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.
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Deerfield Fair. It's been part of our family forever. Forever? Yes! It's the fair my mom grew up going to and when my older sister and I were kids, still living in Maine, we'd make the trek and go to the Deerfield Fair whenever we could...which wasn't often, but it was enough to engrain it into us.

It's the fair of all fairs in our family. Still.

So, this year when Mom said she wanted to go to the fair, we converged in Boston. (Did I mention the fair is in Massachusetts?) We flew in from IL, MO, AZ, and Puerto Rico.

This last summer I went to a LOT of fairs and let me tell you, Deerfield Fair is nothing like them. It's bigger and better and cram-packed with people and events. Country events--things like horse pulls, oxen pulls, horse shows, 4-H shows...all that fun stuff.

The big event for us was the heavy horse pulls. We spent hours sitting in that arena watching the horses and teamsters and listening to the announcer. It didn't take long for us to loose our Rs and start talking how we used to. Start became staht. Horses were hosses and we cahfully remembered where-ah we pahked the cah.

We spent hours and hours sitting in the horse arenas (plural--one for pulling and another for the horse shows, which were super cool to see!) Cheryl was smart, she brought her toys and did some journaling with her paints. Talk about cool!!  I loved watching her dip and dab while we waited for the shows to start--cuz yanno, we couldn't lose our good seats. =)



We had a BLAST! The fair was WONDERFUL, but being together was the BEST. We talked and ate and acted goofy and did all those fun things sisters do when they get to go on a trip with their mom. hehe.

So tell me, did you go to the fair as a kid? What was your favorite thing?


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If you're joining us for the A to Z meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter D, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here. Also, if you don't have the linky gadget on your site, click the link to get the code so you can add it.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Time to Celebrate!

A to Z blog hop at Patterings
Welcome to A to Z!
We'd love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

This week is the letter C.

If you're joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.
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It's time to celebrate!!

Our baby has a name!
What? You didn't know I had a baby in progress? LoL. Actually, some of you did. It's the Christmas anthology I've been compiling.

Awhile ago the idea to put together a Christmas anthology hit me. It was a full-blown brain blizzard. I put it off but the idea wouldn't leave me alone so I finally shared it with some people...and that led to going for it.

A group of us, represented by the wonderful Linda Glaz, decided to take the plunge and go for getting a book out in time for Christmas. I've had the privilege of compiling the book and I have to tell you, I have been SO BLESSED by the stories. I cannot wait to share them with you!

At this point I don't have a cover or release date but that's okay. The book is well underway and it's all I can do to sit quietly and wait.

Oh, wait!
I still haven't told you the name! LoL. (Did I mention how excited I am?!)

*drum roll*

Christmas Treasures: 
A Collection of Christmas Short Stories

Stay tuned for more information as I get it.

So tell me, what's your favorite kind of Christmas story?

PS--Keep an eye on Facebook to see who has stories in Christmas Treasures!

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If you're joining us for the A to Z meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter C, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here. Also, if you don't have the linky gadget on your site, click the link to get the code so you can add it.




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