Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christian Writers and Spiritual Needs

Speed-the-Light Sunday at The Rock Church, Val...Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr--Christian group at church in Valdosta, GA, USA.

by Jean Purcell
Follow on Twitter @opinaripeople


We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God...  (2 Corinthians 10:5a-New Living Translation).

As I read from 2 Corinthians 10 this morning, I thought, "Believers face obstacles too," although the context was how to help others that seek God. You and I, as Christian writers, need reminders to destroy every proud obstacle, which is anything that prevents or tries to prevent us from knowing God. God helps us in our writing efforts if we seek Him, our dearest and wisest Guide:  
     When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek" (Psalm 27:8-NASB)
     Many obstacles appear through that "terrible thing to waste," as a popular slogan says of the mind. The mind is fertile ground open to good or bad thoughts; the bad and negative ones make barriers to knowing God and to the whole-health mental life that comes from God.    
     As Christian authors, let's be aware of our thoughts, intentions, and actions. We are subject to the same kinds of temptations that Jesus faced. The disciples and others were, too; yet like us they lacked Jesus' perfection. John the Apostle said to acknowledge and confess our sins and to repent. This is required obedience (e.g., read 1 John).
     Are we aware of proud obstacles? The psalmist prayed, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if  there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-25).
     Let us daily seek God in such a way, God who made us. Let us enjoy the writing work clear of obstacles, in the light and freedom of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Dear Lord, I offer deep thanksgivings and praises to You for Your salvation. Search my heart and my thoughts so that I may be with You day by day, nothing between us. Enable me to see, discern, and destroy every proud obstacle to knowing You. Amen. 

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LinkedIn Talk

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseby Jean Purcell
Follow on Twitter @opinaripeople (Opinari People)

Three top professional networking places on the Internet are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The  LinkedIn groups directory lets members find like-minded groups.
     One current favorite is the LinkedIn group Tools of Change for Publishing. Current discussion is about's recent move into publishing and the pros and cons for authors. You might want to take part.
     Writer or Author, if you are not a LinkedIn member, think about joining and building your network. It's a great place for resources if you spend some time there, learning the site and the kinds of groups you can try. You can move in and out of groups, as you like. 

(c)2011 Author Support blog
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do You Have a Blog?

by Jean Purcell

Coming soon, more blog and blogging information, with advice about LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter networking. Recent e-mail exchanges with another writer, Ken McCreless, who has a new book available digitally and soon in print, got me to thinking again about writers and blogs. 
     Every writer needs a blog, I opine. This is a theme I return to because many writers are thinking about creating their first blog and yet, they hesitate. Where to begin?
     My first tip is to create a Google account (free) and then sign up to create a Google blog through (all free). Start simply with a simple Template that appeals to you. The rest is a learning experience. You can begin to learn about widgets, Google ads (free to post; just don't click on the ones on your blog!), and Twitter/Facebook links, as well as LinkedIn.
     P.S. Once-Told Tales, by Ken McCreless mentioned above and cover image by Nook, is available for Barnes and Noble's Nook and's Kindle. . 

Copyright (c) 2011 Author Support blog and Jean Purcell
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Being Edited: Quote from Bestselling Suspense Writer, Philip Margolin

Supreme Court IMG_1062Image by OZinOH via Flickr - U. S. Supreme Court Bldg.I don't know about other authors, but I need a good editor to take my first draft and make it into a book that can be published. 
     Sally Kim did an excellent job cleaning up my mess. Thanks also to Maya Ziv, her assistant...

A quote from book by Philip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author 

Source: Acknowledgments (page 311), Supreme Justice, suspense novel. Copyright 2010 by Philip M. Margolin. HarperCollins Publishers, New York. Brief quotes permitted.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Professional and Entrepreneur Networking for Writers and Authors

Using Facebook to increase website trafficImage by johnscotthaydon via Flickr
Facebook and Traffic

by Jean Purcell
Follow on Twitter @opinaripeople

Writers should think of themselves as professionals. I urge this, and also urge published writers to think of themselves as entrepreneurs or business people. Writing and publishing are professional areas that mix for every author. Most authors today need to be more than skilled, artistic, literary, knowledgeable, and creative. Conceptualizing, planning, and writing (full of multiple layers of skills) are followed by interpersonal matters, like dealing with editors, publishers, and...the public.
     Many if not most writers not only love but prefer communication via written and/or taped or videoed words. Shy or introverted writers tend to deliver the best flow and ease with words and thoughts on paper, screen/monitor, or behind a video home, of course, or in the privacy of an office...or a public podium. 
     As a mentor and publisher, I have met many interesting and talented writers through this digital world we inhabit. E-mails were the beginning, and an e-mail-delivered newsletter I started for writers and for Opine Publishing, Opinari Newsletter now known as Opinari Quarterly. Now, add blogs and text messages. 
     Writers have contacted me about works in progress, and their personalities and talents have amazed, pleased, challenged, entertained, and informed me. Their backgrounds cover a broad spectrum from parents full time, to nursing, teaching, and even astro-science (I don't even know the correct terms for those who work on U. S. space projects!). Each person leaves an indelible place in my memory, all good. It is a way to continue learning, even while helping or consulting. I love this work!

     Here are some ideas for those of you ready to think "business" regarding your book or books, whether already published or under publishers' consideration. I placed years by each, and I think all have good ideas to choose from, or at least experiment with, for your professional networking: - Sign up or add names you intend to follow; publish blog post links on Twitter

12 Ways to Use Facebook Professionally (2007)

How To: Use Facebook for Professional Networking (2009)

32 Ways to Use Facebook for Business (2009)

How to Use Facebook Professionally and for Marketing (2010)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Personal and Professional-the Edited Author

Opine authors: outstanding and edited
Not every author is edited, and when no editing happens, it shows. The work that editors are supposed to do to help and improve a book's design, development, and writing adds up to significant improvement for the author, and also can help the author's next book. So, when editing is missing, it shows, often glaringly.
     On the other hand...when editing happens and yet is not well-done, that shows, too. I cringe for the publisher when I read outstanding book reviewers, such as Jonathan Yardley for example, opine, in effect: "This book and author would have benefited from better editing."
     A good editing process includes the author's focus and mission, and assesses the writing's faithfulness to that focus and its reading audience. Clarity includes exceptional use of language. However, ten-dollar and more expensive words will not add value, if used carelessly or to impress. Most readers appreciate readability, interesting style and flow, and an approachable writing voice. These interests are guarded, along with basic book requirements, by good editing. 
     Perhaps you've read academic or scientific works, including research summaries, full of technical terms not familiar to the general public. Use of such terms fails if it spills over into general market books. The general market reader recognizes when a writer is trying more to impress than to inform, explain, or enlighten. 

At a book distributor's sales conference, I heard a German publisher (children's books in English for the U. S. market) gave a good example of what makes books popular with readers: Even experts in publishing are never sure. His company's first book of a series was expected to sell a few thousand copies; instead, it quickly sold tens of thousands...and in the especially tough market that is children's books.
     Trends and interests can shift overnight, changing the climate away from one publishing focus to another. What was expected to be a big seller can lag behind a title not expected to make much impact, in numbers of sales. Good editing cannot ensure success. It is a must, however, for getting a book into the market with a favorable chance. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Author Support: Karen Kingsbury, Best-selling Christian Author of ...

Author Support: Karen Kingsbury, Best-selling Christian Author of ...: by Jean Purcell If you have not yet read any of Karen Kingsbury's books, then you and I are in the same b...

Karen Kingsbury, Best-selling Christian Author of Unlocked, about Autism

by Jean Purcell

If you have not yet read any of Karen Kingsbury's books, then you and I are in the same boat. I do not usually gravitate toward bestselling fiction. However, I want to pass this info along to you, and to make a note to myself, about Karen Kingsbury's NYT best-seller: Unlocked. The author's name appears in a list I published earlier, of best-selling Christian books of 2010.
Author Karen Kingsbury/PRWeb
     Unlocked came about from the author's experience, as many books do. Kingsbury observed the struggles of a young friend considered to be "autistic"; she saw his condition as a "locked in" situation. Her close proximity to autism issues led her to learn more about autism and what was called "the autistic community"--parents, extended family, friends of family, and doctors and teachers.     
      If you want to know more about autism and the sub-topic, very important, of bullying, you can go to YouTube for "special behind-the-scenes insight into the writing of the book and Kingsbury's personal connection to the disease, through family friends who inspired Unlocked" (PRWeb,  Thursday, October 6, 2011).  
     I'll ask for the book at my local library in Howard County, Maryland, where my husband Jim and I borrow fiction books. Unlocked is also available through brick-and-mortar stores and on-line booksellers. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Famous Fiction: Eudora Welty

Cover of "One Writer's Beginnings (Willia...Cover via Amazonby Jean Purcell
Opine eStore and Book Cafe

I have been a Eudora Welty fan for so long I can hardly remember when the admiration started. Yes, I was through her book Delta Wedding. I was a young wife and mother in my 20s, and the way she described the place of the wedding and a character tempted to break a lot of glass struck some indefinable chord that became unforgettable, yet still untraceable.
     Eudora Welty was a single, white, female, southern...writer. Mississippi, no less. When Medgar Evers was gunned down in his driveway in Jackson, Mississippi (1963), she wrote an article for the local newspaper describing the killer. When he was caught, not due to her description--"How could she know?"--he fit the profile she had written. I read about that years later, however. I felt that she must have had the sense of anger due that act, yet she kept her senses about write, to profile one real-life, ignorant, and hate-filled murderer. A friend of other writers, whatever their bent or background, she never married and, as far as I know, she lived all her life in the family home, in Jackson.
     What she could do with words and imagination! They were like twins of her writing landscape.
     One birthday, I received from our friend Sylvia Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings, based on a series of lectures she once gave somewhere. Some ivy league university, I think. After reading the book, I thought and felt that I understood better how and why she wrote.
     Another big part of the "how" she wrote lies in a story I once read about her in a newspaper. She would lay the typewritten pages of a chapter all along the dining room table. She would stand over them and read. And read. And examine. And dissect. Word by word by word.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm Frustrated

by Jean Purcell

"I'm frustrated" is a popular Google search phrase. The fact tells me that writers have a topic to think about and write about. Is the frustration due to money? time? relationships? education? job? no job? Could it be over a sense of being blocked regarding bigger things, such as "the meaning of life"? Frustration builds when anyone has a sense of being blocked, cut off from "something" that is known or elusive, or trying to go in too many directions at once.

As a writer, are you frustrated? Write about it.

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