Industrial Earthquake

Fourteen years ago I attended my first writers conference – if you don’t count the California Publishers Conference in college when I was awarded the most misleading headline. In the whole state. And yes, it was misleading on purpose. “Stones Come To Campus; Rock Fans Gather.” What? Didn’t you immediately think rock and gem show?

I had two books published with the fine folks at Bethany House when I attended Write to Publish 14 years back. Bethany had spoiled this new author with an awesome editor to work with – Ann Parrish. Late one night after the formal conference goings-on, an editor offered to moderate a fiction critique group. We all read a bit of our work in progress and then the editor read a short story he had penned.

With my two nationally published books and a couple college journalism awards – journalist of the year – I thought I was a writer. Until I heard Dave Lambert’s story. The piece still haunts me and I hope some day to write that well.


This week I am at another writers conference – this one coordinated by Dave and Cindy Lambert and the folks at Somersault. And somersault may be an accurate description of what is happening in the publishing industry. Or earthquake.

No longer are the large publishing houses the key to a writer’s career. Today writers can pen for smaller houses, unique publishers, independent publishers, or self-publish. Those who have made their career in publishing have to flex and go with current options or be left behind (pun intended).

The good news is there are many more avenues for excellent writers to be heard and shared. My first writers conference had workshops that focused on craft and technique. This year’s conference includes workshops to help writers understand what is happening in our rapidly changing industry.

The methods and vehicles that deliver the written messages have changed. Are developing. Will continue to evolve. I would not have dreamed of having a website or a blog 14 years ago. Writing has moved from a task primarily done in isolation to becoming a team sport. And one powerful constant is that the writers that connect to readers are those who write really well. Authors who weave words together with skill that rocks and haunts our thoughts. I hope to write that well.







Wanna Be a Pre-Reader?

This is the fun part. Okay, so all of the writing process is the fun part. And this is where the interaction begins with my readers.

Who would like to serve as a prereader for my new novel Für Elise?


I am looking for two dozen readers who will read Für Elise and write an honest review. If that is you, let me know and I will send a pre-release copy to you.

Monthly Meet Authors

Writer’s Workshop upcoming events…

This Tuesday, September 9, Dawn Crandall, author of The Hesitant Heiress, is our guest. She will talk about the journey of writing a historical romance, getting an agent, and having her book release with a national publisher last summer.

How to Write a Winning Blog is our topic for October when Leilani Squires is our guest. Manager of PayProMedia’s writing department, Leilani was an adjunct instructor at Taylor University’s Professional Writing Department, has a BA in Professional Writing, Masters in Screenwriting, and serves as a writing mentor for the Christian Writers Guild where she worked prior to coming to the national marketing company PayProMedia. Leilani specializes is writing blogs that readers return to over and over again.

November’s guest is Janine Petry, writer for national magazines. How do writers break into writing for magazine articles? What are sought-after article topics? What are the essentials of writing for magazines?

All workshops are held on the second Tuesday of the month from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Roanoke Public Library. Sponsored by the Roanoke Lions Club.

Celia Bandelier, Library Director

Roanoke Public Library

314 N. Main Street, Suite 120

Come to the Maranatha Writers Conference

Ya’ll come!


Maranatha Writers Conference takes place in Michigan, September 15-18. I will present workshops and would love to have you join us. Meet with successful authors, agents, and speakers. The conference is packed with workshops, keynote speakers, and opportunities designed to help you improve your craft and achieve your dream of writing well, and being published.

Sign up in August for a discount. Maranatha is reasonably priced, on the water, there is a discount to sign up in August, and our dear Cec Murphey has provided scholarships. For information:


Link to the Ten Best Decisions for Single Parents

What are the ten best decisions a single parent can make?

Go to this link and hear author and speaker Pam Farrel, WBCL Midmorning host Lynne Ford, and me talk about important decisions and shifts that make all the difference in the world for single parents.



Ten Best Decisions A Single Parent Makes

The Ten Best Decisions A Single Parent Can Make is our topic tomorrow when award-winning author Pam Farrell joins award-winning me and host Lynne Ford on award-winning radio WBCL’s Midmorning Program.


How do you make excellent decisions? Do our decisions impact our children? What good decision can you make today that will impact your family in a positive way by noon?

Listen at


Got questions of your own? Ask our experts at 260-745-9090.
Or email your questions to:

Visit Pam Farrell’s website at

Ahoy! Writers’ Conference Ahead

Maranatha Writers Conference happens next month, September 15-18, at the beautiful Maranatha Center on the lake!

For writers and those thinking about writing, this event is your resource for inspiration, instruction, and networking. Even more, I get to be faculty, and when you register this month, you can take advantage of the special August discount.

Author, editor, business owner, and today’s guest blogger, Cindy Lambert is part of the team producing the upcoming Maranatha Writers Conference. Here is her experience.

By Cindy Lambert
I wonder sometimes when I’ll stop being surprised at how God shows up at writers’ conferences.

I’ve taught at quite a few over the years, and each time, I’ve had that “goose bump” feeling more than once when I’ve witnessed God at work among his people. Serving on faculty at a writers’ conference means being given front-row seats to God’s story at work in the lives of writers and aspiring writers. I meet people who’ve encountered devastating loss and yet are willing to put their pain to God’s use in reaching out to others through their writing. I’ve seen new relationships formed when writers find kindred spirits from miles away and forge a bond of encouragement. I’ve seen people with great ideas meet people with the skills to capture their message effectively in writing. I’ve seen discouraged conferees come to grips with the reality that they have much to learn and are far from publishable—yet they seek God’s wisdom and discover that their writing is never wasted, never, because in the very act of writing they’ve grown to know God better and love him more. I’ve seen faces from years before and remembered when that person was an overwhelmed novice, so awkward on the page, so clueless about the process of publishing, and now they are successfully publishing and coaching others.

At the last conference where I served (Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference), I met a woman with a story that touched me so deeply that she and I have already forged a bond and are now working together. I was handed a copy of a published book that had been only a dream a few years before – and read in the acknowledgments that I’d helped shape that book! Who knew? I spoke to a dear elderly woman who had been a displaced, victimized orphan in Europe during WWII, and now all these decades later she is ready to write the account of God’s provision for her as her legacy to her family. She sought me out with a burning question: How do I write the truth of what was done to me without bringing pain or shame to the grandchildren of my abuser? My throat tightened with emotion as I looked into the gentle wise eyes peeking out of deep wrinkles. Her story could have produced an embittered hater, yet before me stood the evidence of a God of grace who’d worked his love into this woman’s heart. Now his work will spill out onto her pages and into the lives of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I confess: I wanted to write her story myself, just so I could experience more of God’s grace personally!

God has whispered to me, shouted at me, nudged, guided, humbled, amazed and refreshed me at writers’ conferences. Why? Because his people have gathered together to seek him out, to follow his leading, to learn and stretch and grow and dream. God calls them there and meets them there. He is at work in his body! Is there a more beautiful sight?

That is why we’ve chosen this year’s theme verse at Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference:  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
 Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)

That is why our 2014 theme is Every Writer Needs a Team. It’s true! None of us can go it alone. God has given us his body, filled with experience and skill and insight, and he’s fashioned us to work together to grow into all he calls us to be.

Today I was praying over the list of faculty and registrants (and yes, there is still time to register) and I was overcome, thinking of all the lives that will be intersecting September 15-18 along the lovely shoreline of Lake Michigan. God has already written the story of what will unfold there–lives to be touched, skills to be honed, discoveries to be made, relationships to be forged. I can’t wait to capture a glimpse of what he will be accomplishing.

I hope to meet some of you there and discover more of God’s story through you.

Cindy Lambert
Program Director, Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference
Publishing Strategist, Somersault
Collaborate Author, Freelance Editor

To learn more about Maranatha Christian Writers Conference, visit

SPECIAL OFFER: $25 off all full event registrations. This discount is good through August 31. Enter promotional code buildmyteam2014 when registering.

Cindy Lambert, publishing strategist for Somersault and collaborative writer, is a veteran of the publishing industry devoted to excellence in furthering the impact of Christian publishing on our global culture. Cindy began her career as owner of an award-winning independent Christian bookstore in Maryland, then expanded into leadership roles in distribution, editorial, consumer research, and publishing at Ingram, Simon & Schuster, and Zondervan, where she most recently served as vice president and associate publisher of trade books. Lambert, editor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Mistaken Identity (Howard Books, 2009, Van Ryn, Cerak, Tabb), has worked alongside such bestselling authors as Mark Batterson, Kyle Idleman, Kay Warren, Ruth Graham, Debbie Macomber, and Christine Caine. As a collaborative writer, Cindy co-authored the bestselling book UnPlanned (Abby Johnson, Tyndale and Focus on the Family, 2010), 40 Days for Life (Bereit and Carney, Cappella Books, 2013) , One Light Still Shines (Marie

When A Cowgirl Goes To College

When a cowgirl goes to college, it is packing for two; the cowgirl and her trusty steed.

The night before departure: be 75 percent packed. After running around all day doing errands and making a special trip to see the nephew, bonfire with brownies and roasted sweet corn from the neighboring farm. Hug family friends including one that is not typically a hugger. A couple strong guys help load hay and boxes of daughter’s stuff into horse trailer. One leaves flowers. Play cards until midnight. Stay up three more hours going through drawers and packing other things she wants or may need.

Day of: Up early, load the rest of the stuff. Hug the Golden Retriever ranch dog (Whiskey) and cry good-byes. Wrap horse’s legs for travel and load horse, hay, tack, wormer, and countless other horsie stuff into trailer. Remember that we forgot to get horse’s manicure and will have to schedule that in the new location. Hug barn owner. Fuel truck, buy shavings for the trailer floor under horse, and Starbucks. 90 minutes later than the target time to set out, we leave town to begin what the GPS calculated as a 16-hour drive across the nation.


Play copious amounts of country music. Loud. Sing. Rotate drivers to accommodate naps. Listen to a recorded Clive Cussler story rented from Cracker Barrel.

Stop every two hours for gas. Give horse water that she mostly ignores, hay, and a cherry or apple flavored sucker (de-sticked) collected from visits to the bank. Smile and nod while an older lady comes by the trailer and says she knows all about horses because she knows someone who has one. Let small child pat horse. Allow a mom to take a photo of her child with the horse.

In Kentucky we are south enough to order sweet tea. “Do you want sweet tea or un-sweet tea?” Travel the hills of Tennessee without putting on the ‘pull and haul’ mechanism of the truck. No, that was not on purpose.

By evening we are south enough to get dinner at a Zaxby’s including Zaxby’s sauce. If you are from the North, this may be a foreign name to you. Those in the South are nodding and smiling.

Along the way, mom thinks of several – okay, many – important things to say. Talk to God everyday, read your Bible, floss your teeth, change your oil, eat fruits and veggies, don’t kiss boys just because they want to, tithe ten percent of your income, save ten percent of your income, and remember that no matter what I always love you and you belong and eternally have a home to come to.

Arrive at the barn at midnight and settle the horse in her stall. Brush teeth and go to bed at dear friends’ house until tomorrow morning when we will unload my daughter’s stuff at her dorm. Travel tally: lots for gas; reasonable total in meals; good amount in snacks; laugh until tears blur the driver’s vision – priceless!

It is early morning when we go to sleep. And I wonder if I told her enough that I am proud of her, believe in her, and love her so abundantly that there are not words or the ability to measure the quality or quantity. “My darling, your future and possibilities are as unlimited as the Son.”

What Do You Take to College?

As I help my daughter populate her college apartment/dorm, I am noticing the essentials and usefuls of our daily life. Here are this week’s. I’d like to hear yours.


1) Bag balm. Keeps lips moist. A light coat under socks at night keeps feet soft.

2) Vinegar. White vinegar applied to garments before putting them in the wash removes yellow perspiration marks – for other people, of course. You and I don’t sweat.

3) Peroxide. Put on any boo-boos. Swish a capful for white teeth.

4) Excedrin and ibuprophen. Sudafed. For those of us who get headaches.

5) Dark chocolate. Makes everything better. Especially homework.

6) Tea. Black currant, Earl Grey, and Savannah Grey which is the Earl with lavender. Include a fun mug to drink your tea from.

7) A computer that is cleaned and tuned.

8) Dependable vehicle with good brakes and tires.

9) Cell phone with GPS. (Remember to call your mom now and then. Of course the college student is fine. Mom just needs to hear your voice for her soul’s well-being.)

10) Canned refried beans to quickly put together burritos, or chips and bean dip. Healthy protein for you and friends that pop in to study.




The Humane Art of Appreciation

Author Michelle Howe joins Lynne Ford and me in November on WBCL’s Midmorning program to talk about the joys in being a parent. Here is her guest blog so you get to know her. Her new book is Faith, Friends, and other Flotation Devices.


“The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out.”

Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends & Influence People

There is something wonderfully enigmatic about sensing that another person notices your efforts, weak attempts though they may be, and kindly expresses such recognition with even a single word of thankfulness. One paltry word, even? Yes. A mere word can make or break a person’s spirit, depend upon it. On any given day, individuals, young and old, from every life background have an inner (frequently unidentified) longing for a bit of expressed goodwill. All people have this need to realize a sense of validation for their accomplishments, their purpose, and their very person.

Cynics grouse that there’s a fine line between appreciation and flattery. Well, it isn’t so. Flattery is simply verbal manipulation that benefits the speaker alone. Appreciation runs deeper. It marks another’s actions or attitudes and sees the benefit in the attempts … no matter how insignificant. Real appreciation alters both the speaker and the recipient, for the good. It spawns renewed vision, encourages continued efforts, and lights a fire for ongoing perseverance toward excellence.

Perhaps the most significant difference between flattery and appreciation is that one offers life (in abundance) while the other signals an inner death knell to the listener.

People instinctively know if they’re being schmoozed and it’s always unattractive. The question then is how to offer praise genuinely when someone is glaringly lacking from every visible vantage point. Drawing from Emerson, Carnegie reports, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”

As we practice the art of identifying people’s strengths and offer words of consistent appreciation, we take part in their success, which will naturally spill over positively affecting countless others. Today, focus on the strong points of people and then commit to communicating daily sincere appreciation to all. These few powerful words, which cost us so little, will be treasured by the recipient long after we’ve forgotten them, and there’s nothing insincere about it.

Build appreciation into every personal encounter.

  • Adopt a learner’s mentality. With friends and strangers alike, view every person you interact with as someone you can learn something from…and then do it.
  • Focus on meeting the needs of others by learning what is important to them. Ask intelligent questions, listen carefully to their responses. Spend more time discussing your friend’s interests than your own.
  • See people with fresh eyes. Familiarity can bring with it a lack of gratefulness. Look closely at others’ gifts, talents, and abilities … and thank them for the difference they are making in your life and in others.
  • Be open hearted by sharing friendships. Welcome newcomers into your circle of friends and acquaintances with warmth. Genuine hospitality begins in each individual heart and works its way outward in ever-widening circles.
      Michele Howe, Author