Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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CrossPs. 107:8-9 Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. For he satisfies the thirst and fills the hungry with good things.

Praise the Lord for His great love. He is love. There is enough love in the heart of God to love everyone who has ever lived or shall yet live on earth. There is no depleting God’s love. God loves the lovely and unlovely. There is no bias in His love. There is nothing anyone can do to not be loved by God. Everything God does is blanketed by His love.

Praise the Lord for his wonderful deeds. God’s love is balanced by His holiness and goodness. It is a wondrous thing to observe what God does amongst men. We don’t always understand His workings at the time, but when we see what God does from the perspective of time, we stand in amazement at the goodness of God in all He does. God works amongst men for their good and for His glory. God knows what we need to have and experience in life in order for our hearts to be holy before Him. He knows how to treat us well.

Praise the Lord for He satisfies our thirst and fills our hunger with good things. The Lord is our provider. He takes care of all that we need. What we need more than anything else in life is pure hearts. We may want more, but we don’t need it. The Lord purifies those who hunger and thirst for Him. Those who desire to be made right before God will be given all that is needed to be holy.

Praise the Lord for He is love. Praise Him for His wonderful deeds. Praise Him for He satisfies all the longings of our souls when we seek Him.
C Through Marriage

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chaper on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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Integrity & Writing by SUZANNE D. WILLIAMS

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When I was originally going to write this blog, I had a list of “tired” storylines, plots that have been used and re-used, but I realized in scanning it, that much of what was listed was simply my opinion. Opinion, by definition, is simply a personal view. Thinking of it positively, it isn’t necessarily right or wrong. If John prefers beets, but Mark hates them, neither John nor Mark are right or wrong about the flavor of beets.

Applying this thought to writing, take a genre like Amish fiction. We can argue the merits and faults of it all day long and come away as divided as when we began. I, personally, don’t care for it, but it’s intensely popular. It isn’t wrong for me to avoid it. It isn’t wrong that others love it. Both are the result of opinions.

What one reader enjoys, another dislikes. I have had both five-star and one-star reviews on the same story. One person loved it and thought it was unique, the next one found it boring. Thinking of this in reverse, I’ve read stories that have dozens of five-star reviews, unable to understand why anyone cared for it.

But … and here’s my point … all of that is the result of opinion.

Good opinions sell books. Forming good opinions is a result of far more than genre or even quality of writing, though. I think every author needs to study writing. I also think some people have no talent for writing and, like people who try out for dance or singing competitions without training or any sort of gift for it, should find another hobby. But what makes me buy books, what helps me sell books, is integrity.

As a Christian, integrity means treating others fairly, not gossiping, being generous – shutting off my opinion where it hurts others. It does NOT mean tolerating sin. Let me make that perfectly clear. But it does mean moderating my tone when I talk and my words when I write them. It’s being “me”, but a good, kind “me”.

In order to be a light in a very dark world, I cannot afford to douse the candles people are holding.

Some Christian fiction caters to Christians. Some of it stretches its hands to reach those on the fringe of the church. We need both types of books and cannot afford to take offense on either side of the bookshelf. We should, instead, focus our lives on godly living, on integrity and honor, no matter how strongly we love or hate someone’s personal style.

I can be me and write the stories that are laid on my heart, and you can be you and write what’s given to you. The only opinion that matters on either side is God’s.

Indian Summer

Available at Amazon and other retail outlets. http://amzn.to/1RhBJgX

After long correspondence, Ona Privett accepts the marriage proposal of a man she’s never met, swept away by the beautiful words he’s written of their promising future. But when she arrives, far south at the edge of the Florida wilderness, she discovers the man she intended to marry died within weeks of their last communication.

His son, John Cole, knows nothing about their letters, any pending marriage, or why such a beautiful girl is so determined to stay. Nor does he want the responsibility of a wife, though that was his father’s wish. He likes his freedom, spending his days fending for himself, relying only on his horse and the inborne skill of his mother’s Native American ancestry.

Yet that ancestry mixes with his father’s Caucasian blood to form powerful prejudices in the townspeople. Poisonous bigotry that, despite their growing passion, continues to fuel his doubts. Perhaps, the irresponsible youth he’s been isn’t strong enough to protect her. And maybe the hatred of those around them will ultimately destroy them both.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Williams

Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit http://www.feelgoodromance.com.

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God’s Hope for Us by Staci Stallings

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The following is a sermon preached in Staci Stallings’ brand new release, “Mirror, Mirror” available now…

“In the words of St. Paul that Sister Phillis read so eloquently,” Pastor Steve said. “We hope for what we do not see, what we cannot see. Who hopes for something they already have, right? St. Paul, the man of wisdom, tells us that hope must be ours especially when we cannot see how something will work out. And he goes on to tell us how to have hope. It’s not about knowing what we can do to fix things. It is about having hope in our weakness, in our frailty, in the midst of our human suffering and trials. Hope is not about when things are going well. Hope is about when we’re stuck in yuck, and there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it.

“Hope is what says, ‘God has a way even when there seems to be no way.’ In fact, the Scriptures today tell us that even when we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit will step in and pray for what we most need. This is being in the middle of God’s grace. Seeing our circumstance and knowing we don’t know how to fix it but knowing that even if we don’t, He does.”

Sage smiled, wondering if he had written these words for her. If so, she was thankful.

“I want you to understand that just as we cannot be faithful enough in our own faith. We also cannot be hopeful enough in our own hope. There will come a time and a place where we’re going to want to give up because we don’t see how this is ever going to get any better. That’s when we have to stop relying on our own hope and start grabbing onto His hope. God’s hope, just like His grace and His mercy, does not end. He never gives up on us. Ever. He doesn’t say, ‘Well, okay, I’ve wasted enough time on him or on her. I give up.’ God never gives up. He is

constantly working to set things right in our lives, in your life, in a very up-close-and-personal way. Why?

“Because He made you with a purpose. He set you where you are, as you are so that the world can see Him working in your life. So when things go wrong and we make bad choices or wind up on the downside of the up ladder, remember that God is not finished with you. If you will let Him, He can take even this and show you Him and by doing so, He will show the world Himself as well. With this in mind, we strive forward, forgetting what has gone before, reaching for that prize of faith, which is Jesus Christ Himself standing before us ready to welcome us home—not some day in Heaven. Right now. If we will let Him. He hopes for us, and He never gives up. Let our hope begin to be found in Him as we reach up and let Him take hold of our lives in a powerful, real way today. So that His life, His love, His faith, His mercy, and His hope will be channeled through our lives into the world that needs Him so desperately. Amen.”

Closing her eyes, Sage breathed a sigh of peace. God had a plan, and if He hadn’t given up on them, she wasn’t going to either. “Amen.”

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

 

 

NOW AVAILABLE

An EPIC LOVE STORY from Staci Stallings

Mirror Mirror

“I fell in love with Sage. My heart went out to her, and I could so relate to how she felt. It’s no fun trying to be someone you’re not even when you don’t know that’s what you are doing.”

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EM3SW2S

Get lost in the saga of one young woman thrown into a life of secrets and lies, and one young man trying to save her from it all.

Mirror Mirror

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Author Interview: Valerie Comer

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Today we are happy to interview Valerie Comer. Thank You Valerie for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.

In looking over your recent books, it’s clear you like farming and romance. That’s an interesting combination. Can you tell us how you arrived at it?

They say to write what you know! I’ve been happily married for [cough] quite a few years now, and have lived on a farm about half my life. My husband and I did the gardening, preserving food, and cooking/baking-from-scratch thing from necessity for many years. Suddenly we are stewards of information the next generation is craving, and it seemed very natural to incorporate the whole local food lifestyle into my fiction. It’s the in thing!

So far, what has been your favorite book that you’ve written and why?

Wow, this is such a difficult question. It’s like asking which of my children is my favorite — there’s just no polite way to answer, so I’ll just say it’s usually the one I’ve just finished, and my least favorite is always the one I’m currently working on!

What’s your new book about?

After a six-book series exploring food culture on a communal farm, it was time to move venues and look at it from a more urban angle. Secrets of Sunbeams is the first in my new Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, a spin-off of my Farm Fresh Romance series.

In Secrets of Sunbeams, we find one animal control officer with her own escapee goat and one solar architect whose report has been eaten. Can romance and urban farming blossom on the same city block?

This one is part of a collection of books. What can you tell us about the collection?

Yes, I’m thrilled to debut Secrets of Sunbeams in the multi-author box set, Whispers of Love! Twelve bestselling authors of Christian contemporary romance have joined together to offer twelve all new romance novels for our readers at the absolutely unbeatable bargain of ninety-nine cents. That’s like eight cents a novel!

Why would we do such a crazy thing? To reach more readers, for sure, but I’ll be honest. Sometimes it is just plain fun to work amid a group of friends to do something really cool. I have great respect for each author in this collection, and am so honored to call them all my friends.

Who would you say has been your biggest writing inspiration? Why?

Hmm, this isn’t an easy question to answer. I think I’ll say fellow Canadian author Janette Oke. While her genre was historical romance rather than contemporary, she really opened many doors for those who came after. Even though her first book was published when she was over 40, she has many dozens of titles out now. What a legacy and inspiration!

Who has been your biggest personal inspiration? Why?

My girls. That includes my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and my three young granddaughters. They are gardeners and real-food-lovers and often give me story ideas.

What is one thing about being an author that people would be surprised about?

When I was a child, it never occurred to me that normal people could write books. Once I finally began writing stories in my forties, I began to realize that my initial perception was correct. Writers really are not normal! But you can’t tell from the outside… usually!

Still, everyday life is the same as yours. I go to work (in front of my computer), do laundry, forget to make dinner, and allow weeds to overtake my garden.

What’s “next” for Valerie Comer? More farming or are we going somewhere else?

I’m excited to have two new series on the go right now. I’m nearly done writing the second Urban Farm Fresh Romance, Butterflies on Breezes, which is centered around a city community garden. I’m also working on a related Christmas series which will begin releasing in the fall. There are many ‘real food’ stories left to tell, and I’m not planning to stop writing them in the foreseeable future.

Where can people find out more about you and your books?

Come visit at http://valeriecomer.com where you can find my books, read my blog, learn more about the local food movement, follow me on social media, and join my email list.

About the Author:

Valerie ComerValerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Her debut novel, Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance, won the 2014 Word Guild Award for best contemporary romance by a Canadian author. She injects experience laced with humor into her tales of farm living in this farm lit series that includes Wild Mint Tea, Sweetened with Honey and Dandelions for Dinner. Valerie also writes fantasy as Valerie R Comer.

Find out where food meets faith and fiction at http://valeriecomer.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

Valerie’s book, “Secrets of Sunbeams” is featured in the upcoming collect, Whispers of Love. 
12 All-New Books.
12 Best-Selling Contemporary Christian Romance Authors. 
Only 99 cents!  
PreOrder Your Copy Today!
Whispers of Love
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Gems From Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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CrossPs. 103:15-17 Our days on earth are like grass, like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone–as though we had never been here.

Look around you. People are dying every day. We are not invincible. We, like them, are going to die too. Life goes by so quickly. I look back over my life and I can’t believe that so many years have gone by now. I can still remember some of the living I did as a child growing up. I can remember some of the seemingly insurmountable circumstances of my life. I can remember my struggles of faith over the years. I can remember some of my doubts and fears. Many of the things that seemed so important to me in the past are long done and over with. I have done so much living and I scarcely have realized it.

Life does not stand still for anyone. We are born, live, and then die. What we do while we are living is soon forgotten. Our names may linger, but soon no one knows who we really are. We try to live in such a way that we are appreciated and remembered, but to no avail. Our names etched on a tombstone are the only reminder that we have lived. We become nothing more than a note in our family genealogy record.

When we live for earthly recognition or achievements, life indeed seems so futile. If life is nothing more than a name to be written down somewhere for others to note, then Solomon is right, “Vanity of vanities, life is but vanity.”

But, when our names are written down in God’s Book of Life, life is not vain. Life does have purpose and meaning. We are not soon forgotten. God etches His name on our hearts and we forever will be known as a child of God. We are not just a memory, we become a legacy. Because of our living in Christ, we impact people for generations to come. We let our lights shine and many will come to the Light because of us. We do not die and are soon forgotten. We live and are forever known by God and His children as we live forever with Him.

The Lord gives us this life so that we can prepare for life to come. We can spend our days squandering our opportunities and wasting our lives away, or we can live in Christ and impact our world for all of eternity. The Lord has given you a chance to bring many others to heaven with you when you die. You will do it if you live in obedience to Him each day of your life. You may not know who all will be in heaven because of the life you live, but someday you will.

Seize the day of opportunity while you have it, because soon it will be gone. We have but one opportunity to live in Christ and prepare for eternity. Don’t waste it. It goes by way too quickly.

C Through Marriage

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chaper on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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One Moment by Staci Stallings

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This still amazes me—how I can pinpoint the one moment of my life that literally changed everything about everything I would live after that. One decision on which still swings the entire direction of my life and really even my eternity.

I remember the decision was not an overly easy one. Oh, no. I struggled with it.

I can remember sitting with my fingers on the keyboard, the scene in my mind, playing out before my eyes as I sat here trying to decide what to do.

That surely sounds overly dramatic to you, but it did not feel overly dramatic to me. I would not, at the time, have been able to tell you that the rest of my life hung on that decision, but I knew even then it was important.

You see, 20 years ago I was working on my first novel (second if you count the one I wrote in 8th grade!). I had always loved writing and had always dreamed of writing novels, but this was the first stab at it I had taken since stepping away from teaching the year before. And now, here I sat, with a young woman in a life-threatening situation, and I froze.

If I was that young woman, I would be praying like crazy, but…

I had read a lot of romances and never had I read of anyone praying in them.

I had read a lot of books, and the only kind that ever talked about praying were not fiction titles.

I knew from having talked to others that you could not mention God in a book and have any hope of it ever being published.

Oh, yes, I knew all of this. If my character prayed, I was almost assuredly dooming this book to never being published…. Ever. If she prayed, this would be for me and only me. Was I willing to accept that, or should I go “around” the praying part in order to make this book “marketable”?

It was a valid question, and one I knew I couldn’t make lightly. So I sat and I thought. At the time I, ironically, would not have thought about praying about it. I did not have a lot of the spirit-understanding techniques I have today. Those have developed since then.

Finally, I just said, “They say, ‘Write what you know.’ I can’t write what I know if these characters can’t pray. I just can’t. Prayer, reliance on God—that is what I know.”

So, this young woman cried out to God for help in a very desperate situation.

And that cry literally changed my whole life.

I have gone on to write many very Christian books, and God has opened the way since then for a whole world of Christian fiction to open up like arms waiting to embrace the books I wanted to write.

But I will tell you, that decision was not easy. It was as if Satan was saying, “You can have the world’s idea of success, or you can stick with God, but you can’t have both.”

I know now that was a lie.

The coolest thing is, after 20 years, that book and that scene will soon be in readers’ hands. That book, “Flight 259,” is featured in the upcoming collection “Whispers of Love.” And the best thing is, you don’t just get my book, but 12 all-new novels by some of your best loved Contemporary Christian Romance authors. All for only 99 cents. Yes, I’m hoping you buy it and love it.

But what I’d really like to state for the record is this: Thank You, God for giving me the courage to stand with You when the world tempted me not to. I will forever and into eternity be grateful that on that day, I chose You, no matter that the world tried to tell me I was stupid for doing so!

May that choice bring You honor and glory! I know it’s already brought me more peace, joy, and love than I ever could have imagined!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2016

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

Staci’s book, “Flight 259,” is featured in Whispers of Love
12 Brand New Releases from
12 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Authors
PreOrder Your Copy Today!
Whispers of Love
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Author Interview: Leslie Ann McDaniel

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Today we are speaking with Leslie Ann McDaniel. Thank you Leslie for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.

What genres do you most like to write in? Why?

I started out being “genre-less”, not really sure where my writing fit in. Was it chick lit? Women’s fiction? Cozy mystery? That was a good sign that I needed to fine-tune my plotting. I fell into romance, honestly because that’s the best-selling genre out there, but my passion falls more in line with women’s fiction. I like romance as a plot thread, with more going on than just the how-will-they-wind-up-together question. I also write YA, although I haven’t released any to the world yet.

So far, what has been your favorite book that you’ve written and why?

You have to know that’s like asking me which one of my kids I like the best.

I have a special place in my heart for PURE HOLLYWOOD, which is the first of my YA books that I hope to be releasing soon. It’s the first book I ever wrote, and really the story that sat in my head for years before I started writing.

What’s your new book about?

OCEANS APART is a romance about a woman who owns an inn on the Oregon coast. She’s hosting a wedding, and one of her key employees up and quits. Just when she thinks everything is going to fall apart, the handsome best man steps in to save the day.

This one is part of a collection of books. What can you tell us about the collection?

I’m so excited to be a part of WHISPERS OF LOVE, a boxed set of 12 full-length romance novels by 12 different authors. It’s fun to be a part of a project like this, and I really appreciate the opportunity to get to know some new readers. It’s going to be a limited release for the amazing price of just $.99. After that limited time, each of the books will be available individually. I can’t wait for the set to launch this summer!

Who would you say has been your biggest writing inspiration? Why?

That’s a tough question, because there have been so many. I would say my biggest inspiration is Lisa Wingate, because I love her writing so much. I think her style is similar to mine, and her quality is what I aspire to.

Who has been your biggest personal inspiration? Why?

Personal inspiration is even harder to nail down. I’ve been inspired by so many people who face obstacles and choose to overcome them rather than giving up or trying to take an easier route.

What is one thing about being an author that people would be surprised about?

The one surprising thing would probably be that writers don’t always love writing. In fact there are times when we flat out hate it.

What’s “next” for Lesley Ann McDaniel?

I have several projects in the works. I’m finishing up the last book in my “Crescent Cove” series (OCEANS APART is book 2 in that series); I’m working on book 2 of my “Madison Falls” series; and I’m writing a pilot episode for a TV show. We’ll see where that leads me!

Where can people find out more about you and your books?

People can visit me in numerous places:

Website: www.lesleyannmcdaniel.com

Facebook: facebook.com/LesleyAnnMcDaniel

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lesleyannmcdaniel

Twitter: @LesleyMcDaniel www.twitter.com/LesleyMcDaniel

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lesleyannmc/boards/

Over 2,000 pages of ALL NEW contemporary Christian romance novels from some of today’s bestselling Contemporary Christian authors for only 99 cents!

12 Best Selling Christian Romance Authors *** One AMAZING Collection!

PREORDER your copy before this spectacular limited time offer disappears forever! 

(buy on Amazon with this link:  http://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Love-Christian-Romance-Novels-ebook/dp/B01DMH1FME )

Whispers of Love Boxed Set

About the Author:

LESLEY ANN MCDANIEL is a lifelong lover of words, animals, and musical theatre.

While earning a degree in acting at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, she fell in love with theatrical costuming, and pursued that as a career while nurturing her passion for writing on the side. Through God’s guidance, she has shifted her focus to honing her skills as a writer of romance and young adult fiction.

Between working as a homeschooling mom and as a professional theatre costumer, Lesley has completed several novels. She would have done more by now if she didn’t also occasionally stop to clean the house and fold the laundry. Fortunately she loves to cook, so no one in her family has starved yet.

She is a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and a wonderful critique group. A native Montanan and a Big Sky girl at heart, Lesley now resides in the Seattle area with her husband, two daughters, three cats and a big loud dog. In her spare time (ha!) she chips away at her goal of reading every book ever written.

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Crowdfunding and Authors – An Opinion Part One by Parker J. Cole

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Crowdfunding is a wonderful vehicle to get ideas started and generated. Instead of the practice of seeking well-heeled investors who want a giant chunk of the profits for your idea, you invite the general public and those potential well-heeled investors to see if they want to partake of your idea.

The concept is one that worked for some time now. Many ideas have been discovered. I remember salivating over the idea of the household robot Jibo (until I saw it and it has a major creep factor for me but the hubby wants one) and was amazed at the level of support it received. I mean, who doesn’t want a household robot? I’ve seen the use of crowdfunding among friends and strangers who request assistance for anything from medical expenses to the ingredients of potato salad.

Of particular interest to me is how the crowdfunding actually puts power into the idea generator’s hand. They determine, based on certain levels of financial donation, what you the investor receives. For a donation of $5.00, you get X and for a donation of $500 you get X, Y, Z, and a star named after you.

So in general, I like what crowdfunding has done for many people whose voice may not have been heard before. I see it especially useful for inventors, developers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.

But crowdfunding and authors? I’m not so quite sure about that.

GIVE ME MONEY SO I CAN PRODUCE A QUALITY WORK

I can hear you saying, “But Parker, you just said you like the idea of crowdfunding.” And I do. However, I come from a mindset of the appreciating the age old position of the starving artist making their mark in the world through sacrifice, doubts, and plain old hard work.

Yet, a lot of authors have taken to crowdfunding sites to gain funds for their projects. The reasons vary but the majority I’ve seen has been for editing costs, cover art costs, marketing, and shipping costs. There may be more but I’m just going by what I have seen. Some people, who want to be potential authors, will do a crowdfunding campaign stating something to the effect of, “I want to be an author full-time and I need your money to do that.”

I can definitely understand wanting funds to pay for an editor. A good editor is a worthy investment. The range of editing costs are all over the place. I’ve worked with editors that charge an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a per word rate. Some editors charge based on the level of critique you’d like –from copy to content editing to development editing. So I understand the need to get a good editor.

The question is this: do I go to a crowdfunding site and ask people to give me money for an editor or are there things I can do now so that I can pay the editor myself without help? Can you cut back on frivolous expenses and save that money? Can you barter? Or, can you work out a payment arrangement? I think there are alternatives to using a crowdfunding site for costs of this nature.

The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has been thrown into the bottom of the sea. In fact, nowadays, a good cover will sell a book right along with a great blurb. With the market saturated by books of all kinds, your book needs to stand out with a fantastic cover. I see how authors utilize the lure of a crowdfunding site to help with cover art costs. I looked up a few companies who provide graphic design services and the prices range from $100.00 to upwards of $700.00. A good cover, again, is an investment you want to put money on. But I go back to my point — are there things I can do in order to pay for the cover myself without soliciting the help of a crowd of people?

And the dreaded marketing! Goodness gracious, marketing is a bear with acid tipped claws. You have to fight this bear in order to let people know your book is out there. You’d rather not fight the bear (literally and figuratively) but if you don’t who’s going to know about what products you have to sell? But does an author need to go to crowdfunding site in order to get help with marketing? There are dozens of free and inexpensive ways to market. Networking with other authors, developing some sort of online platform, blogging, contacting bloggers, doing a virtual book tour, developing your email list, etc. are all sweat equity ways to get the word out.

So I’ll end on this note with a disclaimer: This is an opinion. Opinions can be taken with a grain of salt. This opinion does not in any way decry, denounce, ridicule, or shame any author who has used crowdfunding sites to their advantage. The author of this opinion is fallible and subject to change her mind should life experiences do so. For those who have been successful, more power to them.

The next part of my opinion in regards to this topic will focus on this:

GIVE ME MONEY SO I CAN STOP WORKING AND BECOME A WRITER

About the Author:

Parker J. ColeParker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com

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Gems From Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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CrossPs. 103:13-14 The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust.

Dear child of God, are you acting like a child? By that I mean, are you simply trusting in the Lord to take care of you? We are prone to want to take care of ourselves. We often don’t take advantage of the Lord’s provisions and instead we strive to provide for our own needs. We often don’t turn to the Lord for advice before we make decisions in life. We often don’t take the time to come before Him and let him lavish His love on us. We often don’t appreciate what He is doing for us. We often take advantage of our relationship with Him and do what we want to do and not what He commands us to do. We often act like spoiled brats who don’t appreciate what it means to be a child of God. We often don’t show our Father the love and respect He deserves. So often, it is difficult for others to even know that we are God’s children.

On the other hand, our Father is tender and compassionate towards those who fear Him, towards those who respect Him as their Father and honors Him in their lives. Like any loving father, God has nothing but good in mind for us. He wants nothing but what is best for us and He knows what that is. Our Father is patient and kind towards us because He knows how weak and fragile we are. He knows we will stumble and fall and He is there to pick us up, dust us off, and help us on our way. He understands our weakest points and strives to help us avoid them. He understands what it takes to raise a child and lovingly stays with us all through the process, not matter how exasperating we may be to Him.

“Thank you, O Lord, for indeed you are our Father in heaven. Thank You for all you do for us and your patience towards us. Thank You, for loving us as you do. Forgive us for when we act like spoiled brats who don’t appreciate your loving care. Forgive us for when we shame Your name. Forgive us for all those times in which we stray from Your loving care. And, we know you do. And, we thank You for it and praise you today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
C Through Marriage

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chaper on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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Vision, Planning, Courage by Staci Stallings

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Recently I’ve taken a leadership role in a local church organization. When I first started, I didn’t realize the intense spiritual opposition that would be creating conflicts and obstacles with every step we tried to take forward. As I worked and worked through problem after problem, some small, some quite large, I became aware of a process I have employed most of my life but one I had not previously thought about or through.

The more I have thought about this over the past couple of months, the more I see how I do things when opposition hits or when I have a goal I feel called to pursue. I call this process “Vision, Planning, Courage.”

Vision

Have you ever heard the old adage that you can’t hit something you’re not aiming for? Well, that is as true in an organization as it is in an individual life.

I have a daughter in college right now, and one of the issues I see time and again with those she is going to school with is lack of vision. They are in college. Why, they’re not really sure. For what, well, they’re hoping they’ll figure it out. For now, they’re just kind of marking time, going forward but really not.

One of the things I saw a lot when I first started in the organization (and others I’ve been in) is a lot of marking time. Why do we do it this way? Because that’s the way it’s always been done. What if it’s not working? Well, it would be too difficult to change it, even if circumstances have changed drastically. Call it marking time in the midst of an earthquake… hoping if you just keep moving in one place eventually things will settle down. Very often, they don’t.

So the first thing I did with the problems we were facing is ask, “What is the vision? Where do we WANT to be—even if that sounds impossible?” Once you have a target identified, you’ve begun the process of setting your direction to get there.

I see this so clearly with my books. My original “vision” was that I had stories I loved to tell myself and I wanted to capture them so I could enjoy them over and over again. Now, God had a plan for that vision I never could have imagined back then. But that’s where this writing journey started for me.

However, there are some people who have BIG visions but somehow they stay just that—visions. “Dreamers” – that’s what people call them as if that’s a bad thing. It’s not! We NEED dreamers, but we need dreamers who can then work through those dreams to create a plan.

Planning

I can have a dream of building a waterfall in my backyard, but if I simply dream of it, trust me, the waterfall never materializes (I know because I’ve tried this!). However, if I make a plan for my waterfall—draw up blueprints, figure out where I want it, how big I want it, how much and what supplies I will need, contract with someone to build it…. Now, I’m on my way to actually seeing the waterfall become a reality.

So with my books, when my “vision” expanded to consider sharing these stories, I then had to think through HOW to get them out there. That wasn’t easy, and there were a lot of bumps and changes along the way, but it was my willingness to make a plan that allows you to read my books today.

Courage

There is, I think, one final step and that is having the courage to take action. The best laid plans will still be laying there if you don’t put some foot soles to the pavement. Yes, action is hard. In fact, that’s why I think I started this step not with “action” but with “courage.”

Let’s face it, it’s hard to step out there. It’s hard to put your dream on the line and work to make it happen. There is nothing “easy” about it.

Even now, even with “best seller” tacked to my name and to many of my books, it’s not easy. It takes concerted effort—advertising, writing for blogs, putting out new books, learning new online systems, rolling with all the punches the distribution sites throw. It is NOT easy.

But oh, how much fun it is to see what once was just a “vision” come to life and explode into reality!

So if you’re facing a problem today or if you have a dream, know it’s time to put Vision, Planning, and Courage to take Action to work in your life. Those three twined and laced with God can work miracles!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2015

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

 

 

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Whispers of Love

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