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What’s So Great About a Conference?

I’m doing quite well on my own, you say. And you may be completely right. But often writers believe they’re doing fine without the camaraderie, networking, instruction, and excitement of the conference because they haven’t experienced it. Or they’re published now, so they aren’t convinced there’s more to be gained by investing in attending the ACFW conference.

Consider these truisms:

  • You can’t know what you don’t know. Most of us attending the ACFW conference this year are aware that waiting for us at the conference is some bit of important knowledge, insight, or new tool for helping us tell our stories better, smarter, and more effectively. We attend year after year because we continue to collect valuable information we need for our writing careers, but we don’t know before we go what that nugget will be. Two publishers are asking for a new category in a proposal (for example), and I might have missed that if I’d decided not to attend?
  • Face-to-face is undeniably a relationship accelerant. Not only is that true as a general rule, but the Apostle Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that on most issues, we see things as if “through a glass darkly.” His reference was to the incredible difference when we see Jesus face-to-face. Even though we know and follow Jesus, it’ll be on another whole level when we’re face-to-face with Him. Not as dramatically, of course, but it is true that the connections made at the conference, when we can see other authors and the industry personnel in person, relationships go deeper, grow stronger. Some agents even say they won’t represent someone they haven’t met.
  • Discovery can’t be predicted. Those who show up at the conference with an agenda in mind set themselves up for disappointment. But those who remain alert and mindful are often amazed by what they needed rather than what they thought they needed. It’s always like that when God’s at work.
  • Unexpected encounters of the holy kind abound in that atmosphere. Talk to any past attendee of an ACFW conference about their take-away from past conferences and you’ll find many who report it was the corporate worship that had the greatest impact, or the prayer room. Even hotel employees report that the atmosphere changes when ACFW shows up. We plan, prepare, and pray. God initiates and inspires.
  • It’s a family reunion that doesn’t feel complete without you.

Have you made your reservation for this year’s conference? The date will be here sooner than we can imagine. Do yourself a favor and invest in attending the 2019 ACFW conference. For all the reasons above and more, it will be worth it.

Your ACFW Conference Team

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Learning, worship time, appointments, fellowship are all part of ACFW’s national conference. And this year, we are looking forward to the Early Bird session at the ACFW Conference with best selling author Robert Dugoni!

“The Advanced Fiction Writing is the acclaimed national seminar. Using lecture, in-class assignments, and examples of his own and other best-sellers, Bob brings a nuts & bolts approach to writing the novel from the initial idea to the final edit.”

Interested? Make sure you add this to your conference registration! Find our more about the Early Bird session here:  https://www.acfw.com/conference/early_bird

Meanwhile, don’t forget about our giveaway!

Your ACFW leadership has created a brand new listening opportunity for you–listening to all* the instruction and encouragement offered during the upcoming 2019 ACFW conference! One blessed ACFW member will be given the complete mp3 of the conference recordings. What a valuable resource!

How can you be that ONE?

Help us spread the word about the conference. Our best advertising for the conference is you. Whether you’ve attended a past ACFW conference or not, and even if you already plan to attend in September in San Antonio, you can help other people hear about the conference, people beyond the scope of ACFW’s reach.

We’re enlisting your aid for the sake of those who can benefit from all the conference has to offer.

Once you’ve promoted the conference on social media with the hashtag #2019acfw with a sentence or two that encourages fiction writers to consider attending, you’ll then be eligible for the Rafflecopter giveaway for an mp3 recording of all* the 2019 conference workshops, spotlights, and panels. (*Note that one or two of the workshops may be copyright protected by the instructor and not included.)

Here’s the giveaway link via Rafflecopter for you:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for “listening,” and for participating in our “let’s get the word out” promotion.

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If you’re still considering attending the ACFW Conference this year in San Antonio, TX add this to your consideration: As part of your registration cost, you have the opportunity to sign up for slots to meet with agents and editors!

These appointments are perfect for creating face-to-face connections that will be imperative for your writing future!

See our list of attending editors here:
https://www.acfw.com/conference/appointments_editor
And our list of attending agents here:
https://www.acfw.com/conference/appointments_agent

ALSO – DON’T FORGET:

Your ACFW leadership has created a brand new listening opportunity for you–listening to all* the instruction and encouragement offered during the upcoming 2019 ACFW conference! One blessed ACFW member will be given the complete mp3 of the conference recordings. What a valuable resource!

How can you be that ONE?

Help us spread the word about the conference. Our best advertising for the conference is you. Whether you’ve attended a past ACFW conference or not, and even if you already plan to attend in September in San Antonio, you can help other people hear about the conference, people beyond the scope of ACFW’s reach.

We’re enlisting your aid for the sake of those who can benefit from all the conference has to offer.

Once you’ve promoted the conference on social media with the hashtag #2019acfw with a sentence or two that encourages fiction writers to consider attending, you’ll then be eligible for the Rafflecopter giveaway for an mp3 recording of all* the 2019 conference workshops, spotlights, and panels. (*Note that one or two of the workshops may be copyright protected by the instructor and not included.)

Here’s the giveaway link via Rafflecopter for you:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for “listening,” and for participating in our “let’s get the word out” promotion.

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By Tammie Fickas

Can God use you for His glory? Do you ever wonder about that? Writers are often their own worst critics, and the enemy loves to capitalize on that. He can get your thoughts all tied up in knots until you are certain that your life has nothing of value to offer in written word, and that God would never use someone as insignificant as you.

Sound familiar? From what I’ve heard from other writers, it happens, even to the best of us. Unfortunately for me, it’s all too familiar. I was surprised recently when I heard that a multi-published and award-winning author had doubts about their own writing at times. It may be that this is part of God’s way of keeping us humble. When we lean on our own words and plans, we may not offer much, but when we let God take control, things begin to look up.

Throughout history, God has used the most unlikely of people to spread his message and share his love. Remember Moses? In Exodus 4, God is sending Moses to Pharaoh to implore him to let God’s people go. God has just gone through showing Moses that with His power, Moses could turn a staff into a snake, turn his hand leprous and clean again, and change water from the Nile into blood. And still Moses responds, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Oh my, I can relate to Moses at that point in time. I think many of us can. The task seems so big and foreboding, and surely God doesn’t think little old you can handle it. Could He?

Sure, God can get His message across through someone else, but if He has chosen you, there is a reason. When I read this Bible story, I came to the words in verse 14 “Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses…” God did relent and let Aaron deliver the message, but He wasn’t happy.

As we battle doubts about our abilities to write eloquently and spread God’s message, we need to remember God’s anger.  He did give Moses what he wanted, but not without cost. Moses felt God’s anger at his choice. God had given Moses the ability to do this particular assignment. He coached him and encouraged him, then Moses chickened out. He didn’t trust his God given authority. If God has given you the gift of writing, He has also given you the authority to do so.

My friend and mentor, Jim Rubart, sat across from me one day as we were discussing my writing and said, “You need to believe that you have the authority to tell your story.” That conversation reminded me that I am the only one who can share the lessons learned from my life, just as you’re the only one who can share your wisdom. While our stories may be similar, the way we’ve lived them out is different. In that difference comes our individual right and privilege to join God ministering to others.

The enemy is always going to try to get you off track. He relishes the idea of you not believing in yourself or the talent the Lord has instilled in you. As a Christian writer, our fight needs to be against that lie so God may pour out His blessing through our words. We will never be exactly like our favorite writer, but that doesn’t mean that our writing doesn’t worth and purpose Believe in yourself and your story. Keep fighting the good fight and trust God in His decision to send you.

Don’t chicken out. Trust God to use your writing. Blog by Tammie Fickas. #ACFWBlogs #writingtips #writing
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Tammie Fickas loves a good story. A former columnist for the Broken but Priceless magazine, she also has an essay in the anthology, God’s Provision in Tough Times. Tammie loves Jesus, her daddy, her sassy cat, Wilson, corny jokes, and encouraging people to step out to experience abundant life.

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By Kristi Holl

Starting a new novel can be overwhelming. Our minds jump around as we fill dozens of colored sticky notes with snippets of ideas. Eventually we end up with hundreds of bits of information. Where do we start to make sense of it all?

One summer I found a solution when putting together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with my family. Initial excitement at the gorgeous mountain scene on the box was followed by an overwhelming pile of puzzle pieces dumped on the table. Many days later, we had a beautiful picture suitable for framing.

The parallels were clear. After that, I began to use a simple “puzzle method” to plan novels and calm that overwhelmed feeling I experience at the beginning.

Getting Started

When beginning a puzzle, I find the four corners, which provide anchors for my picture. I approach my novel the same way. The four anchors of my story include the setting, my main character, the plot genre, and the theme. (For example, the four “corners” of my novel-in-progress are 1850s England, a vicar’s daughter, mystery, and the 23rd Psalm.)

Plotting and Outlining

Next, in assembling a puzzle, I use flat-edged pieces to link the four corners and make a picture frame. Likewise, in my novels, I next connect the four corners (plot, main character, setting, theme). What are a few ways they are joined?

  • The plot shapes character growth.
  • The setting influences plot development.
  • The main character’s gifts and callings impact the plot.
  • The theme (God’s truth that you are illustrating) affects the climax and ending.

Framing the novel is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Always pray as you work. “God will not fail you nor abandon you [but will guide you in the construction] until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” (1 Chron. 28:20 Amp.) I need guidance in the construction!

Patience

After the puzzle frame is complete, you still have 900 pieces to fill the gaping hole in the middle. Use the picture on the box to sort the pieces by major color or feature. Leave the small details for last. Likewise, I next outline my novel with major pivotal scenes and unusual features and characters. This gives me some structure.

After adding main features to the center of your puzzle, you will still have about 400 pieces left that are mostly blue and green. Lots of sky pieces. Lots of tree and grass pieces. At this point you grow tired of looking for the “just right” piece. Occasionally you force a “nearly right” puzzle piece to fill the hole. You hope no one will notice and press it down to keep it from buckling.

It’s the same with our novels. But when a character or plot twist “buckles,” the Holy Spirit may be saying, “This doesn’t fit here.” We sometimes ignore the nudge, hoping our critique partner or editor or agent won’t notice the little misfit. But they do. Eventually we learn that when the Holy Spirit tries to “course correct,” we are wise to stop overriding His voice.

Veteran puzzlers advise that whenever you are confused, consult the image on the box. Remind yourself of the final picture. They also warn you to be patient. If you get frustrated, you might abandon your puzzle. Novelists also face confusion and frustration. We, too, need to stick with it so we can eventually say, “I have glorified You [down here] on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do.” (John 17:4 Amp.)

So, the next time you must organize a mountain of scribbled notes for your new novel, try this idea. Piece by piece, put it together with the puzzle method.

Use this simple “puzzle method” to plan your next novel. @KristiHoll #ACFWBlogs #writingtips
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Kristi Holl had forty-eight juvenile books published with both Christian and mainstream publishers before deciding to write for adults. When writing her eight novels for adults, she re-discovered her love for historical mysteries. One of those novels features Jane Austen. A Dangerous Tide is still housed today in the Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, England.

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By: The ACFW Leadership Team

Writers write. And research. And ponder. And listen.

We listen in on conversations so we can write authentic-sounding dialogue. We listen to podcasts about marketing and to interviews to incorporate historical accuracy in our stories.

Your ACFW leadership has created a brand new listening opportunity for you–listening to all* the instruction and encouragement offered during the upcoming 2019 ACFW conference! One blessed ACFW member will be given the complete mp3 of the conference recordings. What a valuable resource!

How can you be that ONE?

Help us spread the word about the conference. Our best advertising for the conference is you. Whether you’ve attended a past ACFW conference or not, and even if you already plan to attend in September in San Antonio, you can help other people hear about the conference, people beyond the scope of ACFW’s reach.

You know other authors. You have friendships with other writers and aspiring writers. Within your circle of acquaintances are those who dream of becoming writers but don’t yet know about ACFW. And they may not have told you of their dream.

So we’re enlisting your aid for the sake of those who can benefit from all the conference has to offer.

Once you’ve promoted the conference on social media with the hashtag #2019acfw with a sentence or two that encourages fiction writers to consider attending, you’ll then be eligible for the Rafflecopter giveaway for an mp3 recording of all* the 2019 conference workshops, spotlights, and panels. (*Note that one or two of the workshops may be copyright protected by the instructor and not included.)

Here’s the giveaway link via Rafflecopter for you:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for “listening,” and for participating in our “let’s get the word out” promotion.

Letting
Information
Seep
Through
Every
Neuron

(Disclaimer: We write fiction, not acronyms.)

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By Linda Thompson

I spent an evening a couple weeks ago at a Bible study, discussing John Chapter 2 and the wedding at Cana. The story is a familiar one. Our Lord turned water into wine, and the master of the feast, who didn’t know where the wine had come from, declared it the best he’d tasted at the feast.

That story is packed with powerful truths, but for some reason the words that spoke to me loudest were these:

Pair of stone waterpots, circa 70 AD, excavated at the Burnt House in Jerusalem. Photo credit: Amir brener [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


“Now there were set there six waterpots of stone… Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the waterpots with water.’” (John 2:6-7)

No detail in the Bible is extraneous. So, what were those waterpots doing there?

One of my Bible study buddies had an answer that still rings in my ears. “If you want the Lord to fill you, you have to show up empty.”

Show up empty. Yikes! I tend to show up pretty full. Place stock in my own competence, or failing that, at least in my ability to push through by dint of sheer determination. But as Christian creatives, we endeavor to be God’s instrument in at least a couple of processes that only He can bring about.

  • Putting a story on the page that will move hearts with spiritual truth; and
  • Bringing that story to the exact hearts that need moving!

It’s so important that I not lose track of where I fit in that process. An intermediary, nothing more, by which God will do what only He can.

Whether you’re a performing artist, a visual artist or a storyteller, there’s a lot of pressure—internal and external—to grasp at the glitter. To focus on the things that glorify you, rather than God, and that you hope will help your work find a bigger audience.

Jeremy and Kaci Neely perform at a U.S. church, and help lead worship at a church in Cuba.

I’d like to introduce you to a couple who’ve had a profound impact on me. My son and I formed a friendship with Nashville musicians Jeremy and Kaci Neely while serving in 2015 at Creation Fest UK, a Christian music / teaching festival in Cornwall. Jeremy and Kaci are a husband / wife singer / songwriter / “musicianary” duo. While I love their music (check out one of my favorite songs), they’ve had their biggest impact on me through their approach to ministry.

Here’s one episode I don’t expect to forget. Standing in the lengthy buffet line for Creation Fest volunteers, Jeremy talked to me about the addictiveness of the spotlight, and how Lucifer had been seduced by his own glory as the worship leader in heaven. When we reached the front of the line, the server noticed Jeremy’s silver “band member” wrist band. “Why are you standing in this line? There’s a special dining area for the bands,” she said.

Jeremy smiled and shook his head. “Thanks, but we’re good.”

Maybe declining a little well-earned preferential treatment wasn’t a huge thing, but the way Jeremy and Kaci lived out their convictions impressed me. That was their first trip overseas to minister, but they’ve since done several more.

I spent my first career doing marketing in corporate America, so unlike many authors I know, I have an itch to get my fingernails dirty marketing my book—it’s in my blood! But it’s critical to maintain the right perspective. At the end of the day, the battle to impact lives through anything we create is a spiritual one. Any credit, and any real and lasting success, belong to the Lord.

“And in the hearts of all who are skillful, I have put skill…” (Ex 31:6)

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

– C.S. Lewis

If you want the Lord to fill you, you have to show up empty. @lthompsonbooks #ACFWBlogs #writing #Christfic
Click To Tweet

Linda Thompson stepped away from a marketing career that spanned continents to write what she loves: stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is a 2019 ACFW Carol Award finalist (Debut) and 2016 Genesis winner. Linda lives outside Phoenix with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot.  Visit her at www.lthompsonbooks.com.

 

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by Laurel Blount

Let’s talk about chickenhawks–and writing.

My sister and her husband recently adopted a beautiful little girl, and our whole family fell in love. Hayleigh is spunky and and refreshingly honest–as three year olds tend to be. My sis, previously blessed with an adorable, rough-and-tumble little boy, has entered the world of pink dresses and oversized hair ornaments. Hayleigh has innumerable bows in every possible shade, most of which are roughly half the size of her head.

Hang on. There’s a point to this. I promise.

Hayleigh loves to be told stories–more proof that God was behind this adoption–a child who craves stories nestled into a family of storytellers. What could be more perfect? My creative sister was delighted to oblige, and thus began the saga of  Chickenhawk–a sneaky bird who liked to fly down and steal little girl’s hairbows. He was a convenient villain. Hayleigh loves her hair ribbons as much as her new mommy does, and she doesn’t want to take them off in the evenings. Chickenhawk made surrendering them a lot more fun.

Tales about Chickenhawk were told with appropriate swooping gestures, and Hayleigh would giggle, hands clasped protectively over her head. The story would end with tickles and happy squeals as Chickenhawk succeeded in unclasping the precious bow.

This game went on for weeks, as Hayleigh grew more comfortable and confident in her new home. Then one day, the little worm turned.

Hayleigh had begged for a Chickenhawk story, and my sister was in full storyteller mode, voices, swooping gestures–the whole nine yards. Then she reached the climax.

“And,” my sister said, “then Chickenhawk swooped down to steal that little girl’s hairbow–” she prepared to deftly unclasp the bow.

Suddenly instead of giggling, Hayleigh straightened up on the sofa.

“But I punched him right in the mouf!” A three-year-old fist waggled menacingly up in the air at the imaginary bird, “And I told him (voice drops to a growl) Not today, Chickenhawk!”

Chickenhawk retreated, properly vanquished, my sister almost died laughing, and Hayleigh wore her huge pink bow triumphantly for the rest of the evening.

This is now my favorite kid story of all time–and I have four children of my own, so that’s saying something. For Christmas we have already decided the entire extended family is getting t-shirts that say “Not today, Chickenhawk!”  We believe in solidarity–and the protection of hairbows.

Okay, you’re thinking–that’s cute–but what does this have to do with writing?

A lot, I think.

We’ve all got our Chickenhawks, don’t we? Nasty, sneaky villains  that swoop down to steal our sparkly joys. Self-doubt may be your Chickenhawk. Or comparison to other writers. Or rejections. Or perfectionism. Or procrastination.  Bad reviews–or–worse–NO reviews. Unsupportive family members.  Disappointing sales.

The list of writing-related chickenhawks is endless–and when they’re swooping over us, they seem overwhelming. But I think Hayleigh hit on the right answer–and it’s Not today.

The Bible instructs us clearly to live our lives one day at a time–and warns against borrowing trouble from tomorrow. We should battle our discouragements in these small bites of time–focusing only on what we’re dealing with right now.

And when we face our daily writing-relating Chickenhawk, we now–thanks to Hayleigh–know exactly what to do.

We shake our fists and growl, “Not today!”

Today I’ll focus on the good in this God-given calling of mine. I’ll rejoice and refuse to be discouraged by my enemy.

Today I will write.

So clench your fists, dear friends, and hang onto those hairbows. I–along with your readers–are cheering you on.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll even get a t-shirt!

Battling the chickenhawks of writing--one day at a time! @laurelannwrites #ACFWBlogs #writing #writingtips #encouragement
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Award-winning author Laurel Blount lives in Georgia with her husband, four children and assorted spoiled animals. Her days are a happy whirl of writing, housekeeping, homeschooling and hobby farming. Her newest Love Inspired romance Hometown Hope is now available for purchase! Sign up for Laurel’s monthly newsletter at laurelblountbooks.com.

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July 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

Hometown Hope by Laurel Blount — In the three years since her mother’s death, widower Hoyt Bradley’s daughter, Jess, hasn’t spoken—until she suddenly begs him to save her favorite bookstore from closing. Hoyt is desperate to hear his daughter’s voice again, but he and the bookstore’s pretty owner, Anna Delaney, share a less-than-friendly past. Working together is complicated enough…but can they avoid falling in love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Heart Surrendered by Joy K. Massenburge — Since her teens, pastor’s daughter Sharonda Peterson devoted her life to church service and solitude after the one night she gave Carl Ray Everhart everything. Sobered by a near-death experience, prodigal Carl returns home from an acting and singing career to serve as the worship leader at Sheronda’s church, and she finds that it takes every ounce of her resolve to resist his pursuits … not to mention memories that threaten to overturn the delicate balance she’s created. Can she finally surrender the one thing she’s tried all these years to protect: her heart? (Contemporary Romance from Harambee Press [Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas])

Starting Anew by Melanie D. Snitker — He’s afraid to trust. She has a secret that could change everything between them. Will they let go of their fear, or allow it to rob them of their chance at happiness? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


Historical:

Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller — Can shy, sweet Cecilia overcome her family’s prejudice to see a future with the recently returned prodigal son from next door? (Historical from Kregel Publications)

Benaiah: Might Man of God by PH Thompson — A novel of Biblical, historical fiction about Benaiah, one of King David’s mighty men, examining the premise: What happens when the king’s most obedient soldier is issued a wicked command? (Historical/Biblical from Word Alive Press)


Historical Romance:

Waltz with Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield — When the men and women of World War II marched off to war, they didn’t know what lay ahead. All they knew was that upon their young and inexperienced shoulders rested the plight of the free world. (Historical Romance from CrossRiver Media Group)

Thimbles and Threads by Mary Davis, Grace Hitchcock, Suzanne Norquist, and Liz Tolsma — Enjoy four historical romances that celebrate the arts of sewing and quilting. When Tilly, a schoolteacher; Alice, a bridal shop owner; Sarah, a seamstress; and Melissa, a rag doll designer, put needle and thread to fabric, will their talents lead to the surprising gift of love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Refiner’s Fire by J.M. Hochstetler
Will the promise their hearts cling to finally find joyful fulfillment, or will war’s refining fire separate them forever? (Historical Romance from Sheaf House Publishers)

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson — To escape an arranged marriage, Cassie Kendrick enlists in the Union army as a man, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer. Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase past guilt, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships along the way, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding. Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Express Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse — Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:

Legacy Rejected by Robin Patchen — She’s not giving up her home, no matter what threats come against her. Realtor Ginny Lamont’s family has abandoned her, leaving her with nothing but a warning that she’s in danger. But Ginny’s built a home in New Hampshire. After a childhood of nomadic living, she’s not running again, certainly not because of some nameless, baseless threat. Real estate developer Kade Powers is thrilled to go out with Nutfield’s beautiful new real estate agent. But the prowler they surprise after their first date offers a glimpse into Ginny’s past and the legacy of lies her parents left her with. She brings a mystery, one he’s determined to help her solve. With Kade’s help, Ginny searches for the truth of her parents’ criminal activity while her enemies close in. When mobsters show up in her quaint New England town, will she find a way to bring them down, or will she lose the home—and the man—she’s come to love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)


Suspense:

Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig — Mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets–and dangers–never before seen on earth. Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is once more given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as Viorica snatches the volume right out from under them. Iskra “Viorica” Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most–freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe, and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives, and entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of their past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in centuries-old words could unleash a storm of their own destruction. (Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Speculative:

The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin — Deceiving an empire is a treacherous game. Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret–Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse. As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone–least of all herself. The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers, and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent. (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)

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By Shannon Redmon

Writers run scared sometimes. Like my friend Chelsea. She loves to write, but her fear of rejection has kept her fiction writing hidden away in the cave of her desk drawer. When I encouraged her to let others read her stories, she refused with the reason she was to afraid she wasn’t good enough.

Elijah, God’s chosen prophet, ran scared too.

This powerful prophet witnessed one of the greatest miracles provided in Bible. He built an altar of twelve stones, placed meat on top and flooded the sacrifice with twelve jars of water.

Then he prayed.

God sent fire from heaven to devour the meat, wood, stones, soil and the twelve jars of water poured over the sacrifice. Talk about an adrenaline rush.

But after a threat from God’s enemy, Elijah ran and traveled for forty days and nights into the wilderness and up to a mountain cave where he hid. While on the journey, he begs God to take his life. He’s exhausted, fearful and depressed.

I used to struggle to understand how Elijah could be “on fire” (pun intended) for God one minute and running away the next. Judgment comes easy when we look back on a Elijah’s situation and see him for the human man he was, instead of applying the message to our current lives.

How many times have we received rejections, discouraging critiques or missed opportunities, then tucked our tail and ran?

I’ve been guilty of retreating to my cave on more than one occasion, ready to give up God’s calling on my life to write, but then my heavenly Father provides comfort, shows up and gently draws me back into his mission to work.

God Meets Our Needs

God met Elijah’s physical need by providing bread, water and rest. He even delivered this heavenly meal, not by Grub Hub, but by an angel. Imagine that. God was in the delivery business way before our time.

Then he asked his servant, “What are you doing here?”

What a beautiful picture of our God providing for our needs, not only physical ones, but also emotional. Then he listens to Elijah’s answer.

His prophet was not in a good place. Some might even say he was depressed, fearful and frustrated. God gently reminds him that this dark cave, out of sight in the mountains, was not where he was supposed to be.

Elijah wasn’t meant to be hiding. He as supposed to be anointing kings and prophets, continuing God’s work, never to cower to an evil woman like Jezebel. Easier said than done.

Sometimes, we need a little encouragement, like Elijah. That’s when God shows up.

God Shows Up

When we win an award, get a book deal, or receive an amazing royalty check. We praise and thank him. He’s ever present in those moments and we believe life couldn’t get any better.

Elijah had his big moments too. God sent a powerful wind, an earthquake and a fire. Can you imagine standing at the mouth of a cave watching those things roll by. But Elijah recognized God in the quiet whisper that came after.

I often wonder what words God said. Maybe he reminded Elijah he’d never leave him alone no matter where he ran when he was afraid.

We hold to his same promise. God will show up for us when we’re fearful, feel alone or when we receive discouraging news about our writing.

He may even ask us, “What are you doing here?”

He had a plan for Elijah and retreating to a secret place in fear was not part of it. God instructed Elijah to return back the way he came, to anoint two kings and a prophet. Then He revealed that he was not the only one who still worshiped God. There were seven thousand others.

Elijah was obedient and returned to the work God called him to do. Will we do the same?

Will you run scared from your writing? @shannon_redmon #ACFWBlogs #writing #writingtips
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Shannon Redmon has been published in Spark and Splickety magazines, the Lightning Blog, a Revell compilation book, and the Seriously Write blog. She has finaled in the ACFW Genesis Contest and won first place in the Foundation’s Awards. Shannon is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.  Visit her on Facebook, Twitter @shannon_redmon, and Linked-In.

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