Sunday, August 3, 2014

“Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.” 
Jeremiah 1:9

 Never read reviews, write  what God gives you then throw it into the soil. Let him grow it the way He wants to.  Negative comments are like darkness keeps us from pride but can steal away our confidence, plus we never want to listen to people over listening to God’s direction.  Positives can puff us up, we set up an idol for ourselves, who wants to go through the chastisement of that?

Never for a moment think you have arrived.  Continue to listen to others, grow, press yourself to become better, never settle nor become the know-it-all.  Be kind to those who want or need your advice and never snob anyone, even if they snob you.  Remember you are writing for God alone and pleasing him is the only thing that matters.

Be authentic and transparent, be yourself, laugh at yourself, don’t try to impress people or compare yourself to others.

Engage with others, be interested in them, truly, ask them questions, get to know them, invest in other’s lives, build relationships, not a platform. (remember the old strategy of LOUD commercials, LOOK at ME, LISTEN to ME, MEMEME... Wrong, wrong, wrong.  It’s not about YOU, its about Them and how you can bless them for God.

Be generous, gracious, kind, go beyond what is expected of you, do something for your audience, don’t look for what You can GET, look for what you can GIVE. (if you have a need, sow a seed) this applies to everything.

Marketing used to be conversations, remember the stories older people would tell you when wanting you to do something, “I walked 5 miles in the snow, barefoot.”  Stories have an impact on people far greater than telling them to do something, “Follow me, share me, tweet this, comment here, buy my book.” It has to draw them into the experience with you where they become part of your story.   Instead, “I’ve learned this, let me share it with you, Help me, Join me on the Journey, Let’s be friends.”

Become meaningful and memorable, leave an impression that lasts, a smile or an encouraging word that lingers and lifts the mood of those in your company.  When you impact the people within your sphere of influence, it begins the ripple effect.  When a stone is thrown into a lake, it hits a specific mark, but the ripples continue on until they bounce back from the shoreline to the place that they began.  Word of mouth is like this, the ripple effect carries farther than any other marketing tool you can use.

Never disrespect your competition, no matter how great they are or how horrible they treat you.  Your respect, especially toward a demeaning competitor will grow a compassion for you while setting a high ethical standard that is very attractive in today’s dog-eat-dog world, plus it’s an attribute that God can and will bless unlike the opposite.

Build meaningful relationships, use people’s name, look them in the eye, don’t interrupt, don’t always have the first say so, or talk the whole time, involve them, this is connecting with people, which lasts longer than building an image or name or product.

 Give people and yourself room to fail, so you may say something you didn’t mean or others took it wrongly, don’t dwell on the negative, give the correct response and move on.  (I remember Kay Arthur telling a group at a Deeper Still event (in the Q&A segment) how painful it is to be totally misunderstood by something said or quoted out of context. She said, “If I somehow get my words wrong, haven’t we been together long enough for you to know my heart??” It hit me so powerfully.-Beth Moore)

 Make sure you know why you are writing and why you would want anyone to read it, what will it do for them, increase value and worth to their life, change something for the better.

 Good leaders provide: insight, initiative, influence, direction, counsel, and integrity.

 Don’t frustrate your fan base.  Supervisors frustrate their employees and this can be the same for your readers.  

DON’T: call too many meetings, (emails, tweets, blogs, etc). Don’t be late to your meetings, always be on time, be there early and plan to stay later than expected.  DO: understand the work process and where each writer is in their career, don’t expect them to understand everything you do, take the time to patiently walk them through anything they haven’t learned yet without talking down to them or being redundant.  BE: Responsive, interested, listen and give their ideas and thoughts a chance, they may be onto something really good.  DO: return calls, emails, letters, don’t brush away people and treat them like they don’t matter, remember when people did that to you and how bad it felt.  MAKE: time for everyone, make them feel special and give them attention.

Be gracious to those who do not like you or are critical of who you are, what you look and sound like, what you believe, what you write, how you write, the characters you write about, the setting and plot that you write about.  Keep things in perspective when others say hurtful things, remember what’s important is God’s word in your heart and your obedience to what He’s told you to do.  Jesus, the perfect story teller, had many enemies, yet he rose from the grave and His stories still affect, move, and save trillions.  No, you’re not Jesus, but you have his power to overcome, to be excellent, (even and most assuredly in the face of evil, prejudice, and hatred).  You’re not writing to please everyone and anyone, only those God gives to you, or impresses to read what you’ve written.  Always look for treasure, a word of wisdom that you can use in all the criticism, make good out of evil.  Never respond to a negative comment, but move on.  Never strive to please people, that’s a no-win situation.  Enjoy what you’re writing and the journey you’re on, otherwise find another career.

 Don’t force something when it’s on the verge of breaking something else.  Take time to relax, refocus, and possibly wait on God’s timing.  It may not be the project you are to work on, it may need to be reworked from a different angle, or it may be a distraction.  Either way, if you are at the point of forcing it and nothing is working, it’s time to back off.

Always be moving forward, believe in what you’re doing, Say it out loud as many times as needed everyday!  Don’t let excuses stop you, find a new creative way to move forward, don’t spend time on perfect, do what it takes to push through, you can always go back, give room for mistakes, they may actually be better than what you planned, move no matter how small or slow as long as you move, what’s the rush, “Keep Moving Forward,” Walt Disney summed it up. William H. Murray said  “The moment one definitely commits oneself … all sorts of things occur to help one that would never have." 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

31 Days of Praise ~ How to Renew your Mind, Attitude, and Dreams

During one of the most difficult moves we made, (#21 I think, I've lost count),  a dear friend gave me a little book by Ruth & Warren Myers, 31 Days of Praise, Enjoying God Anew.  It was heartbreaking to leave our home, friends, lifestyle, and family behind.  Most of the earlier moves were quick and short stays so no real permanent roots were set.  But this time, it felt like I was being ripped from the ground without an once of compassion.

What was most upsetting was that my kids were heartbroken.  I couldn't bear to see them in agony and fear of the move.  Worse was leaving behind my oldest in college still recovering from his second knee surgery in less than a year with all his dreams of playing college soccer washed down the drain.  My husband's business, which we had invested a lifetime in, not to mention a life savings, gone too.  It was horrible!

I was angry at God.  How could He let this happen?  At the same time, I had an unexplainable "knowing" that this was His will for my family.  It wasn't what I wanted at all!  Why wasn't God doing what I asked?  

Have you ever been there?  You knew God was moving in your life but the direction He was taking you in wasn't what you wanted?  It's gut wrenching.  Your mind wants to take over and reason it all out and when it doesn't make logical sense, you start to fight it with everything you've got.

If you are there now, or want to prevent yourself from total frustration when things don't make sense,  pick up your copy of this little book today.  It's been a lifesaver for me.  I read a chapter each morning.  Each chapter reminds me of all the things, people, events, to be thankful for and eases my fearful heart.  

It's been five years since that move (#21) and we've moved again. This time I knew God had it all under control.

31 Days Praise Enjoying God Anew

As Always, Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Meet Author ~ Jolina Petersheim ~ Bestselling Author of The Outcast

(Please leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of The Midwife)

Hello Jolina,

Tell me about yourself: 

My name is Jolina Petersheim, and I live with my husband and young daughter in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Who is your all time favorite book character and why? 

Anne from Anne of Green Gables.  She is spunky, creative, and resilient—despite the fact that she is constantly getting into scrapes.  She was my role model growing up; actually, she’s still my role model! For the longest time, I wanted red hair just like hers, and my daughter’s middle name is even “Anne” in her honor!

Who is your least favorite character and why?

Arthur Dimmesdale from The Scarlet Letter.  He is hypocritical and has no backbone.  I know he is a tortured soul, but I never really understood what Hester sees in him—except for the fact that he is a man of some power within the Puritanical community before. 

What character do you think you most resemble and why?
Jane Eyre—though I am an extrovert and like sparkles and high heels, and I imagine that Jane does not. 

What character would you like to have lunch with and what are three questions you would ask them?
Scarlett O’Hara, and I would ask, “Why do you think Ashley is something special?” “How does it feel to wear a curtain?” “Have you ever considered counseling?” Then I would politely shake some sense into her and ask for another cup of tea. 

Did you design your book cover? If not who and how did you come up with this design?
Tyndale House Publishers designs my book covers. They were very kind to ask my opinion on book covers before the process started, so I was able to share what I like: simple covers with evocative images and no faces showing—or at least not all of the face, so as to retain some mystery. I have been so very happy with both of my covers for The Outcast and The Midwife. 

Are you an outliner or a seat of your pants writer? Why and why would your suggest your method to others?
I’m a mixture. I keep everything in my head, but I usually have to verbally process it with my husband (bless his heart) before beginning to write. I like to allow the story to lead me during the journey, but I almost always end up where I had imagined. 

What is your particular method of writing?  All by computer, special program? Index cards, notebooks, binders?  Why did you choose this particular method?
I just use my Dell computer—no notebooks, no binders, no special programs. I write from Monday through Friday from 6-8, then I write again from 12 to 2 or 3, depending when my daughter gets up from her nap. I have realized, though, that one must remain flexible! Sometimes that means closing the laptop during vacation or pushing through writer’s block. 

Are you a picture or image person?  Do ideas for books come from pictures or images you see or things you hear or read?
I do like images—they usually come to me during the writing process, though, and not before. For instance, for my work-in-progress, I could imagine the ending scene involving two silhouettes backlit by a wall of fire. Then everything else came together from this.

What do you think the future will be for writers in 100 years?  Will books be published on paper at all?

I will not lie: the image of a library full of paperless books saddens me to the core. I have always loved libraries—the smell, the texture of hard backed books and dusty, deckled pages. I want my daughter and grandchildren to experience this magical world, too, so I greatly hope that books will continue to be written and read. Most of this starts at home, which is why my daughter and I read together for twenty minutes every day. Our passions usually become theirs.

If you could go back in time and be a writer during a certain period, when would that be and why?
I know I romanticize Jane Austen’s era, but I wonder if I would be as brave as Jane and attempt to become a woman writer when it was still so unprecedented in that culture. 

What part of the editing process is most painful and has there been a situation in which you found letting go of a particular piece extremely difficult?
I really love to edit. The hardest process for me is the first draft; if I can just get the story down, I know I can rewrite and polish and polish and rewrite until I am happy with my work. I thankfully have a wonderfully proficient editor at Tyndale who makes the editorial process even more of a joy. She is very gentle and kind, even when she’s suggesting I chop an entire scene. 

What is your fashion style?  And how do you dress for success?
I like Gypsy clothes—furry boots, layered skirts, chunky sweaters and scarfs with lots of jewelry and embroidery. However, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I mostly wear jeans with a sweater and some jewelry and perfume. The perfume makes me feel like a lady, and my two-year-old daughter always wants some, too. Dress for success? Well, I usually select whatever’s on the sale rack and is just my size. 

Where is your most favorite place at home and why?

My front porch during spring.  I can see the entire field while writing.  It is so peaceful taking a break to watch the red-tailed hawks swoop and dive.

What is your favorite food to celebrate a complete project with?
Sushi and ice-cream!  

How do you reward yourself for finished goals?
Take a long walk or eat a bite of dark chocolate. 

What are some of your out-of-the-box ways to get your writing going?

Just close the laptop and read a book instead.  It’s amazing how it refreshes my creative juices.

Are you interested in other bloggers interviewing you?

Of course! 

Awards that have you won.  
Library Journal’s Best Books of 2013
Christian Manifesto’s 2013 Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction

Include your website, blog, books, book signing, speaking and teaching events.

The Outcast

The Midwife

Tyndale House Publishers announces the June 2014 release of The Midwife, the second novel from 
Jolina Petersheim, author of the acclaimed debut novel The Outcast.  Named one of the best 
books of 2013 by Library Journal, The Outcast became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon 

Set in an Old Order Mennonite community that reflects the author’s personal family heritage, The Midwife brings twenty-first century issues into a culture resistant to change.   Since the day Rhoda Mummau was baptized into the Old Order Mennonite Church and became the head midwife of Hopen Haus, she’s been torn between the needs of the unwed mothers under her care and her desire to conceal the secrets of her past. Contact with the outside world could provide medical advantages, but remaining secluded in the community gives her the anonymity she craves. 

Graduate student Beth Winslow is on a path she never would have chosen.  Heartbroken after surrendering a baby to adoption, she devotes herself to her studies until she becomes pregnant again, this time as a surrogate.  But when early tests indicate possible abnormalities, Beth is unprepared for the parents’ decision to end the pregnancy—and for the fierce love she feels for this unborn child. Desperate, she flees the city and seeks refuge at Hopen House.  Past and present collide when a young woman named Amelia arrives bearing secrets of her own.  As Amelia’s due date draws near, Rhoda must face her past and those she thought she had left behind in order for the healing power of love and forgiveness to set them all free. 

Jolina Petersheim drew her inspiration for the story from the experience of a college friend who considered using a gestational surrogate after antirejection medicine following a heart transplant left her unable to conceive. 

“I mulled over the concept for surrogacy for many years,” comments Petersheim. “What if the surrogate became attached to the baby she carried? What if something was wrong with the child? What if, God forbid, one of the biological parents died? When I began writing The Midwife, the surrogacy thread became more of a tapestry of what it means to be a mother: genetics or love.” 

About the Author – JOLINA PETERSHEIM is the bestselling author of The Outcast, which Library Journal gave a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013.  The Outcast became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Tennessean.  Jolina’s sophomore novel, The Midwife, also taps into her and her husband’s unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Petersheims live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. 

The Midwife, Jolina Petersheim. 
Tyndale House Publishers/June 2014/ ISBN 978-1-4143-7935-7/ softcover/US 

As always, thanks for stopping by.