Friday, November 21, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
So far today, I have written CHAPTER ONE and one, count 'em, one sentence. Hoping to improve that score before the day is done, DV.
Send your e-mail to Kathy Carlton Willis , WillisWay @ aol. com (close spaces) , with your contact information.
Congratulations! (And sorry to be so late!)
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Too many people say they have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ, yet a little probing finds that He is either in the passenger seat, in the back seat, or even in the trunk. Stuart Migdon expounds powerful biblical principles that show that there is only one place for Him to be-at at wheel.
Ray Comfort-Co-Host of The Way Of The Master TV Show-Author of more than 60 Christian Books.
Just like a fast-paced game, our lives are full of events that can quickly steer us off track. Jesus Take the Wheel is the game plan all of us need to get us on the right track with God and keep us there.
Byron Scott- NBA Head Coach- New Orleans Hornets.
About Stuart Migdon
Stuart Migdon was raised in Reformed Judaism. He married and became a father at the age of 18. With no money and no one to help, he quickly determined he had to take control of his own life. He developed a "don't quit" attitude and set out to beat the odds that were already stacking up against him. While working a full time job to support his family, he also managed to graduate college in four years, and to do it with high honors. That same stubborn persistence propelled him to become a CPA and later a successful insurance agent. With a commitment to hard work and excellence, Stuart continued to achieve every goal that he set for his life. However, all the success in the world could not fill the emptiness that was growing within him.
In 1991, things began to change. He came to know Jesus as His Messiah and felt a strong desire to live a life that would really be pleasing to God. A life that he somehow knew was radically different than the one he had been living. With every ounce of his being, he was now determined to live that life.
Since then, Stuart has become an avid student of the Bible. Over the last five years, his thirst for more has led him into a detailed study of God's Word, and specifically the lives of the Bible's two central figures, Jesus and Moses. During this time he also began to realize that what had been driving him in his own study was more than just a personal quest for knowledge, it was actually a calling from the Lord. As a result, he began a new adventure as an author, and in 2008 published his first book,Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God.
Today, Stuart is a successful Christian businessman and serves as an elder and biblical counselor at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in New Jersey. Stuart's growing understanding of his own need to let Jesus take the wheel of his life, has equipped him for the many situations he faces in ministry today. In every area, he challenges those he encounters to begin living a transformed life by letting Jesus have His rightful place behind the wheel of their lives.
Stuart and his wife Jeanne have two adult children, Jennifer and Jason, and one grandson.
Stuart Migdon is available for phone visits to your bookclub or Bible study. For information on how to have Stuart speak to your group, e-mail Kathy Carlton Willis with the name of your club or study. E-mail for Bookclub Tour Information
Friday, September 19, 2008
DO YOU DESIRE TO BE KING OF THE HILL?
The key to being used by God for His glory is that we give over control and realize all glory and honor goes to God alone. True Humility. The great love of God allows us to see the changes that need to be made in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the greatest can be humbled.
It's never too late to change as long as He is the one changing us. Most people won't admit that being important matters to them. But if we seek recognition in one way or another, we have revealed through our actions that we desire to be self-important. Here's a five-point test to see just how significant self-importance is to you.
How many times have we heard people talk about a time when they did something for someone else, and the person they did it for wasn't appreciative, didn't say thank you enough, or in some other way didn't show enough gratitude? Doesn't that show that they were doing it for the recognition and not to help someone else? It's hard not to want recognition--we feel like we deserve it. That's the sin nature with which we constantly struggle.
The fight is only won with God at the wheel. In order to do so, you need to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and relinquish control of your life to Him. When you give to others without looking to feed your own ego but only to see good being done for someone else, your reward is from God, and it far surpasses any reward of recognition you can get from man. Keep in mind that recognition can be good if it comes naturally, but if you do things with the intention or motive of being recognized, you're making yourself too important!
Whenever a good deed is not done because it brings no attention to you, then it is really about your own importance. How about when you assess a certain situation and you decide not to help if you don't get recognition. Perhaps you decide not to give to a good cause because your gift would be anonymous. Or you decide not to help someone unless there are enough people around to see--an audience, so to speak. Some people are notorious for showing up to help at a charitable event only for the recognition, the photo op so to speak. Once the cameras are packed away, they leave. We do the same thing when we choose not to do good deeds when there is no acknowledgement in doing so. If that's your thinking process, it is obvious that recognition is your motivation, and you've put too much significance on your own importance. The recognition may come, but it is your only reward. God will have no part in it.
When you are looking for opportunities to tell people about your accomplishments, it's really all about your own importance. Have you ever been in a situation where you've heard someone telling others about their own accomplishments, their job titles, degrees, money, house, or material possessions, when there's really no need for others to know? Or maybe you've been around someone looking for opportunities to fit these kinds of things into the conversation? It's out of context, and it's a clear sign that they're doing it for recognition, putting too much significance on their own importance.
When you worry about what others think of you, you are too focused on your own importance. If you are constantly worried about what other people think of you and you make decisions based on this concern, you are placing too much significance on your own importance. It could be deciding to go someplace or to be with some people because you think others will look more favorably on you. Or perhaps you stay away from someplace or some people because others would think less of you if you didn't. Self-importance matters to you if you are concerned about the actions you take or the things you say based on what other people might think.
When you admire others based on their possessions or status, then your focus is on your own importance. If it's all about their power or prestige, then you're impressed by the wrong elements--these things do not make a person truly important. If you are impacted by the importance of others, then importance matters way too much to you.
In summary, whenever you attempt to accomplish something with a reason other than for the love of God and the love of others, it is done to demonstrate your own importance, and it gets in the way of God's love. Rather than desiring to be "king of the hill," yield to the King of the Hill. He was victorious over death on a cross on the hill of Mt. Calvary; He will be victorious in transforming our lives as well.
Jesus Take the Wheel is a valuable resource for spiritual growth and discipleship. Through applying the biblical principles and truths contained throughout its pages, readers will begin to discover that what has been impossible alone, is very possible with God at the wheel of their lives. Each day's reading is followed by an application aimed at applying the day's biblical truths and principles to the real circumstances of life.
While many in our world today know that they need and want change, they often fail to allow Jesus to have His rightful place in their lives simply because they don't know where to start. In Jesus Take the Wheel, readers are given an easy and practical plan to follow each day that will teach them what they need to do in order to begin letting Jesus be the One in the driver's seat.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
According to your bio, you are a Messianic Jew. Tell us your conversion story.
I was raised in Reformed Judaism, made my Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and was even confirmed in my Reformed Temple, playing the role of God in the class play! When I was 18 my girlfriend Jeanne got pregnant and we got married and had our daughter Jennifer a short time later. Suddenly, in addition to going to college full time I was working 50-60 hours a week to support my family. Money was tight, we were very poor and life was a struggle. I had no time for religion in my life and only focused on finishing college in four years, becoming successful and making a lot of money so I would never have to be poor again. My life was consumed with striving for success and eventually I became physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. In my quest for success I decided to track down the leading salesman for an insurance company I worked with. I hounded Ron for months to meet with me and he finally agreed. During the meeting he told me many things he did for success but the last thing he told me is that he prayed before each sales appointment. I told him I thought that was strange and because of my answer he reached under his desk and handed me "the book" which he told me was the bible written in fourth grade language for anyone to understand, I took the bible and decided that I was going to read the Old Testament which I did just about every day for three years. I was searching for God and I didn't really even know it. Even though the bible Ron gave me had the New Testament in it I never considered opening it; I was Jewish and Jewish people did not read the New Testament. About three years later at the age of 33 I walked into a meeting with a prospect of mine, looking to sell him some disability insurance. As I walked into Sal's office I noticed a bible on his desk and asked him why it was there. He told me that he was going to be leaving his job as the controller of a very successful company to become a full time minister. I told him that I couldn't believe that he would leave such a good job to do this and I also told him that I had been reading the bible for the last three years. Sal asked me some questions and then he asked me if I could ever believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. That was 17 years ago but I can still remember my response word for word. I told Sal that it would be easier to believe that I was a female then to believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah! Sal was surprised by my answer and asked me if he could pray for me. I told him no but he insisted. After making him explain exactly what he was going to do and say, I agreed to let him pray for me. Before I left, Sal invited me to his ordination as a minister which was scheduled in a month and to my surprise I agreed to go. I somehow felt drawn to go and I was even looking forward to it. During the service for Sal's ordination, I heard the gospel message for the first time in my life and I felt an irresistible desire to repent of my sins and receive Jesus as my Lord. I left my house that evening to go to the ordination a Jew who knew nothing about Jesus and I came home a Jewish believer in Jesus!
Most people would assume that when you began your relationship with the Messiah that Jesus was automatically in charge of your life. Did you find this to be true, or was it a struggle to keep Jesus in the driver's seat?
In the first few years as a Jewish believer I was fascinated by Messianic prophesy and I studied these prophesies regularly. I really enjoyed reading a prediction about the future coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament and then reading about the fulfillment of this prophesy in the life of Jesus. This study was strengthening my faith which was my daily prayer to God. However, in reading the bible every day I realized that God desired for me to live a certain life for Him and I wanted to learn more about what that life was. Before knowing Jesus I had read many self help books about how to live a successful life but none of the advice made sense to me anymore. Although I was changed by Jesus instantly, I was slowly learning what He required from me, how He wanted me to live for Him. I had lived such a "me" centered life before knowing Jesus, always thinking about how things would affect my life, that there was a lot of changing that needed to take place. I was a control person and so giving Jesus the wheel of my life was a difficult process. Fortunately the bible is filled with examples of how to let Jesus take control of your life and the joy that it brings when you do!
What have you found to be a Christian's biggest obstacle in allowing Jesus to take the wheel?
The biggest obstacle Christians have in letting Jesus take the wheel is pride. We say that we have no pride but our actions speak differently. We think that we can control our lives and when we need God we call out to Him for help. The world around us is so "me" centered that we can easily be indoctrinated into believing the lie that we are good enough and able to be in control. In order to begin to let Jesus take the wheel, we must understand what it means to live in our relationship with God with childlike humility, which is the opposite of pride. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel begins with understanding childlike humility and why it's so important to God and how to live it every day in our relationship with Him.
Are there practical tips you can briefly share that help Christians keep Jesus at the wheel?
The most important thing to do in keeping Jesus at the wheel is to recognize whether He is truly there in the first place. We often think He is at the wheel of our lives but when probed, we find He is either in the back seat or in the trunk. One of the best indications of determining whether Jesus is at the wheel is to take a look at what you worry about. If you are worrying about your children, your job, your finances, your health, your spouse or anything else for that matter, chances are that Jesus is not fully at the wheel. Once you recognize that you need to move over and let Jesus drive, you are ready for the journey necessary to allow Him to remain at the wheel. This comes in changing life patterns and actions to no longer imitate anything of the world around us but instead to imitate Jesus. It's the journey to self denial that leads to total joy in Jesus.
Explain the benefits of trusting God completely.
When a Christian totally trusts the Lord there is a peace in their life that transcends all comprehension. Even through trials and difficulties, through tough times and sorrow there will be an inexplicable joy that only God provides. God never tells us that life will be easy when we truly deny our self, take up our cross daily and follow Him, He instead tells us that it's the best way to live. Why? Because trusting Him provides a childlike dependence on the Creator of the universe and all else seems secondary to a life dedicated to Him. When we live a life totally trusting God, scriptures come alive without doubting and our commitment to God is unwavering. That's why Jesus Take The Wheel focuses on the lives of biblical characters who have trusted God no matter what and what we can learn from them to do the same.
How do you hope to reach Jewish people with the message of this book?
I am a Jewish believer in Jesus. The book, Jesus Take The Wheel is written for the Christian audience who is looking for a closer relationship with God and all the joy that brings. Therefore the book is not specifically designed for Jewish people who do not know the Lord. However my life as a Jew before knowing Jesus is depicted in the book and my new life as a Jewish believer reveals a changed man, only changed by the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Himself. Christians that read this book will be encouraged to tell their Jewish friends about the Jewish Messiah and be able to introduce them to a Jewish believer by recommending they read the book. What's also interesting is that one of the focal biblical characters written about in the book is Moses, the Most revered Jew of all time!
How destructive is pride in the life of a believer? What's the cure?
As I said earlier, pride is the biggest obstacle in letting Jesus take the wheel. Pride is why the Devil rebelled against God and why we do as well. Pride causes us to sin against a holy God. The only cure for pride as a Christian is to live a life of self denial. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel is focused on doing just that. It's easier said than done and Christians need an action plan of how to live their life with no focus on self. It must be a daily plan that uses the scriptures to reveal the ugliness of pride and the beauty of a forgiving God.
How has your experience as a church leader helped to develop the methods used in the book?
As a church leader, I have had many opportunities to listen to the various struggles Christians have in their lives and how they attempt to deal with these struggles. With the responsibility to counsel other Christians comes the obligation to provide the best biblical counseling possible. That comes only as we dig deep into God's Word for the answers of how to live for Him today. I discovered that the only answer of how to do this to learn how to let Jesus take the wheel.
You're a Christian businessman. How do you think other businessmen could benefit from the principles of your book?
I have been a businessman since graduating college. I first started my career as a Certified Public Accountant and then went into the financial planning field, ultimately settling in as an insurance broker. When I first began my career in business I was struggling financially and raising a family. As I faced the many trials and circumstances that businessmen encounter, I started to spiral into striving for success and all that I believed it would bring. The striving ultimately led to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual exhaustion. Many businessmen face the same struggles and will relate to my experiences. After coming to know Jesus, I continued in business but with a different perspective. The more I let Jesus take the wheel the less striving became a part of my life. The book is written from a businessman's perspective and reveals how, as a Christian I deal with the many obstacles that are part of the business world.
So many of us are "control freaks." Does this mean we aren't letting Jesus take charge of our lives?
The short answer is yes. The bible tells us that we must decrease and that Jesus must increase. Jesus must be Lord of our lives and in total control in order for us to truly live as His disciple. Jesus Take The Wheel was written by someone who struggles with wanting to take control of his life but realizes that Jesus must be in full control. So even so called "control freaks" can live a life letting Jesus take the wheel. It takes a commitment to run the race for God but it is well worth it!!!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
DJP: Thanks for having me.
HC: What gave you the idea to write Reforming the Potter’s Clay?
DJP: It goes back to why I got back into writing in the first place. I had a dream experience where I felt I was being told to write a book about evolution. In the morning when I fully woke, I asked the Lord, "did you ask me to write a book about evolution?" For perhaps only the second time in my life that small still voice spoke to me as clear as an actual voice with the words "And when you're done with that, I want you to go after Harry Potter and the sexual revolution." Potter's Clay is my attempt to be obedient. As far as the content, I wanted to out Potter JK Rowling. I patterned the story after the Potter books with kids being the heroes and getting into adventures, playing sports, etcetera. I do invoke a lot of humor in my work, not something that seemed to be evident when I read the first three books of the Potter series as research for my book.
HC: I can tell from your writing that you care strongly about the subject matter. It comes across in your characters, as well. What do you most want to get across to your readers?
DJP: The goal in this work is to make people see that the Harry Potter books may seem innocent on the outside, but the attraction to witchcraft is a doorway into the occult. Some people want to argue that point. For some reason a vast number of Christians choose to embrace Potter. After I finished the book, I felt strongly that I needed to add one more sentence to the ending – one directed expressly at Christians. I'm not really giving away the ending, so here is the dialogue: "I simply ask them, if Harry Potter isn't evil, what harm will it cause them to avoid him, anyway. And if Potter is demonic, what harm is it going to do to their Father in Heaven and his kingdom on earth if they embrace Harry?" The way I look at it, life is a journey on a treacherous road. If we keep in the middle of the road, our chances of going off a cliff are diminished. So I preach avoiding even the appearance of evil. Of course, I didn't feel that strongly about Potter until my experience that fateful morning that diverted my life. A lot of church leaders have spoken out about Potter and many non-fiction books have been written on the subject. Some novelists tried to diminish Potter power by writing their own magical stories with Christianity involved. I felt the need to fight Potter with miracles and not magick.
HC: I think this story would make a great film, if you could get around copyright difficulties in mentioning the books that formed the idea for the story. Would you be open to having it made into a film, should the opportunity arise?
DJP: I don't believe there is a copyright issue with mentioning books. Copyrights protect the inside of the book, not discussion concerning the contents. I definitely am interested in getting into the film industry. I've reached a point where I don't think my future lies in the world of books. I am not a very good writer of description. My strength is dialogue, and frankly, that is all I want to write. In the near future, I plan on writing a movie script. I have blue prints for several stories, but it's becoming clear to me that video is much more influential over people than the written word. My goal is not to entertain people, but to change their lives, so the movie route looks like the ticket. Obviously, I can't self publish a movie so there is no guarantee that my work will ever be offered to the public.
HC: Some of us who are with you on the American Christian Fiction Writers book club yahoo boards know that you’ve started a publishing house, Sword of the Spirit Publishing. Please tell us the story behind that, what gave you the idea, how you did it, and whether you’d recommend starting a publishing company to others.
DJP: When I discovered Lulu Publishing, the wheels started turning in my head. At the time I didn't want to abandon the goal of landing a contract with a traditional publisher. However, after a trip to the Mount Hermon conference, it became painfully clear to me that my goals were not consistent with the agents and publishers that I encountered. I could see that even if I found someone who wanted to publish my books, it was very likely they would ask me to tone down my John the Baptist approach. I'm not going to do that, just to be more popular and make more money. How I did it was pretty simple. Anybody can start their own publishing company. With Lulu when you buy their distribution package, you can choose to do so as the owner of the ISBN number, making you the publisher and not Lulu. All of their infrastructure is available at your fingertips for creating the book and distribution it across the internet. Prospering such an organization is a whole different story. This is a very competitive industry, and the chances of SOS flourishing are probably similar to a snowman standing next to the fireplace. If success occurs, it definitely will be a God thing. I wouldn't recommend to anyone to get into the writing game in any capacity, unless God has called you to that ministry.
HC: I noticed at the website, you aren’t yet accepting manuscripts from other writers. Do you have any idea at this time when you will open the door to submissions?
DJP: I have to get all of my current books on the market first. That is just about accomplished as I have five done and two to go. However, let me warn your readers that my goal as a publisher won't fit most writers. I'm not looking for the next great mystery or love story. Other publishers can handle those manuscripts. I'm looking for controversial things which apply the word of God. Jesus said that in the latter days men would not be able to endure sound doctrine. I aim to keep man's feet to the fire to hold fast to the rock and not be led astray by deceptive voices. So my hope is to be seriously looking at other people's work before Christmas.
HC: Thank you so much for joining us on the blog today! We pray that Sword of the Spirit Publishing will be a true success, and that the Lord continues to bless your writing!
To be entered in the drawing to win a copy of Reforming the Potter’s Clay, just leave a comment here or at the other blog, or send an e-mail mentioning this interview to hope _ chastain [at] yahoo [dot] com. (Replace the [attributes] and close up the spaces.)
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Let me tell you what I think freedom isn't:
- it isn't a license to do whatever you want regardless of the consequences or who gets hurt
- it isn't just a slogan
- it isn't just for Americans, although it certainly is for us
- it isn't to be treated lightly
- a priceless treasure that costs a great deal, in time as well as in the lives of the men and women who fight to protect it
- a chance to do the right thing because you want to, not because you have to
- a chance to become whatever you have the desire to become
- not a right, but a privilege
The ultimate freedom is spiritual freedom, and the chance to live forever. That freedom was purchased on a hill just outside the gates of Jerusalem a couple of thousand years ago. Unlike the freedom of the United States, a person isn't just born into that freedom. You have to choose whether to accept that freedom. It won't cost you anything, but it cost Jesus everything. If you'll let Him, He'll give you a freedom that surpasses anything you've ever known. Just put your trust in Him. Be free this Fourth of July!
Monday, June 23, 2008
So, get those ticks off with tweezers, if you find any, and be on the look-out for red spots that spread. If you have those, get to the doctor for some antibiotics as soon as you can! (Tweezer tip: grab the body of the tick and pull slowly until it comes out. If you pull too fast, you can leave the head inside you.)
Another tip for getting rid of ticks came to me through the internet: liquid soap. I actually had occasion to use this tip last year, and it works. Take liquid soap, put onto a tissue or some cotton, and start rubbing the tick. If it hasn't gone too far in yet, it will come out. This is handy if you can't reach the spot with tweezers (e.g., the middle of your back). I discovered a tick right before our church band gave a concert at another church in the state next door, and the liquid soap trick rescued me!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Here's my suggestion: Choose either the Equinoxes or the Solstices to change the batteries. They come six months apart, giving the batteries a chance to be useful and not wasting them. Just be sure to choose one or the other, so that you aren't changing batteries every season.
I'm choosing the solstices, since summer solstice is today in the northern hemisphere, and winter solstice in the southern hemisphere.
It's just a suggestion, but it could be a life-saver. Pass it on!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
It takes blogging out of the realm of the fun and jams it firmly into the domain of work. It turns it into a daily column. Not a work of art, but a work of necessity. And this (most often) without pay, a volunteer position.
How many of us have something interesting to say every single day? And, if we do, how many of us have the chutzpah to post it online, where anybody in the world can read it? If I stopped to think about how many page hits I get, would it make me blog more or less? And does it really matter?
Today's blog is only interesting if you're a blogger, I think. Tomorrow's blog: well, that should be something completely different!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Hollywood Screenwriter Takes On Real Life
"I thought my life was over."
Hollywood's Dirty Little Secret
by Misty Taggart
Don't you want a Life Coach who has been in those stuck and dark places ... a coach who knows how it feels to be frozen in place by fear and hopelessness? Give it a 4-week try! You will be amazed at what you will accomplish.
See: http://www.ordinarywoman.com/TASTEYOURNEWLIFE.html For more about Misty's Life Coaching, go to:
GRAND PRIZE DRAWING!
INTRODUCTING MONDAYS WITH MISTY!Start your week off with inspiration & a coaching tip of the week!
You will receive a return email with the Dial-In number and Access Code! MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
INTERESTED IN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MISTY? CONTACT HER PUBLICIST, KATHY CARLTON WILLIS, TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW OR SPECIAL EVENT.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The rules are easy. Just sign up for a community ID (it's free!) at eHarlequin.com and start blogging about the books you read. For those of you who'd rather listen to a book than strain your eyes (or for those who need it), even e-books and books on tape/CD/DVD count. Every book you blog about will count toward the community total. Our aim is 100,000 books this year, since we completely blew away our goal of 10,000 books last year! Every book blogged will equal one book that Harlequin Enterprises will donate to NCFL!
When you blog about a book, don't think of it like one of those old book reports from school. You don't have to do a blow-by-blow description of the plot. Just say a few things you liked about it, mention the names of the main characters, and why you recommend (or don't recommend!) the book. The idea is to make people want to read the book, so please don't give away the ending!
One more thing: since this is promoted by Harlequin Enterprises, they ask that at least 50% of the books you read and blog be one of their lines. However, they have plenty of lines from which to choose, including Worldwide Mysteries, for those of you who wouldn't be caught dead reading a romance!
So, please, come join us, and help stamp out illiteracy! Remember, this is a free challenge. Thanks!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Sometimes it can be hard to persevere in the face of rejections, power outages, computer programs that eat our words and misfile our files, people who don't understand us, time constraints, distractions, other things that "have to be done right this minute!", etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum... It's all too easy to get discouraged, to forget why we do this in the first place. When that happens, we have to remind ourselves: we are WRITERS. Writers write. No matter how hard it gets, somehow, there will always be a story out there waiting for us to tell it.
When you feel as though you've written the last paragraph you can possibly ever write, stop and rest a while. Then start again. You are Writer. Write.
I know I will. Thank you, RWA, for your confidence in me!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
- Risk life, limb and hard drive by typing during thunderstorms?
- Write in longhand?
- Use an old-fashioned manual typewriter (which, incidentally, is usually made of metal and could also conceivably draw lightning)?
- Decide that since it's storming, you should do something else, like curl up with a good book?
I've been facing that a lot lately. Spring has arrived, and with it, masses of unsettled weather. So far, I've still managed to work on a manuscript, but only when it isn't storming. When it is, I've
- Taken notes in longhand on a future novel
- Sorted laundry
- Gone through a lot of my To Be Read pile
- Cleaned out drawers and sorted clothes
I could go on, but I hear thunder....
Friday, March 21, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
- Jason thought if he went sailing in the Argo, he may find the Golden Fleece. Okay, is Jason thinking about something he has done, something he's doing now, or something he wants to do in the future? This sentence is inherently confusing, because the first clause is in the past tense, and the second clause is in the present. To avoid ambiguity and confusion, either change the sentence to Jason thinks if he goes sailing in the Argo, he may find the Golden Fleece or Jason thought if he went sailing in the Argo, he might find the Golden Fleece.
- Miss Eliza Bennett danced with Mr. Darcy, and later bid him goodnight.
What's wrong with this sentence? Well, bid is present tense. The past tense is the rapidly disappearing bade (pronounced bad). The sentence should read: Miss Eliza Bennett danced with Mr. Darcy, and later bade him goodnight.
- If I would have known that in advance, I may not have made that mistake. This sentence has two glaring errors: the may in the second clause, and the If I would have known in the first clause. This is an error I see and hear more all the time. The use of the conditional conjunction If precludes the necessity of writing would have. It should say If I had known that in advance, I might not have made that mistake.
Friday, March 14, 2008
- ...more angry...
- ...less small...
- good, better, best (not "more good" or "gooder"; exception: "Put that money where it will do the most good." This isn't really a comparison at all, but could be confused for one.)
- angry, angrier, angriest
- little, smaller, smallest (or tinier, tiniest; never "littler, littlest;" exception: when the person speaking in dialogue is either uneducated or a child; and you won't want to use it in prose or narrative.
- tired, tireder, tiredest
- fast, faster, fastest
- slow, slower, slowest
- nitpicking, more nitpicking, most nitpicking (yep, applies to me and grammar, and, see, there are times when "more" and "most" are used with an adjective! More examples include "monumental," "phenomenal," "fabulous," etc.)
- able, abler, ablest (yes, really; the antonyms are "less able" and "least able")
If you have any questions about a particular comparative not listed here, please feel free to inquire!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Writing a novel isn't easy, as you may know from experience. However, selling that novel once it's written can be even harder. Getting a book published can be compared to archery. If you just shoot a lot of arrows into the air without aiming at anything, you may hit something, but will it be what you really want to hit?
Just like archery, if you have a target, something at which to aim, you'll come closer to hitting it and getting where you want to be, i.e., published. Market research isn't always easy, though. Where do you begin? How do you find out who is publishing what?
A good start is Writer's Market. They have a new edition every year, and have even started issuing specialty editions dedicated to Novel & Short Story Writing, Children's Writing and Illustrating, and Poetry, among others. In addition, you can join their online website. For as little as $3.99 a month, you will have access to all the latest marketing information, including changes of personnel at publishing houses.
Another good place, if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, is to check into the individual sites of publishing houses. Many of them have guidelines for writers that will tell you how to submit (or whether you can submit without an agent). Browsing their catalogs and reading what they publish is the best way to get a feel for what each house handles. You wouldn't submit a tender inspirational romance to a publisher called Hot & Heavy, Inc., or a western to Future Worlds, Ltd. (Not unless you enjoy wasting postage, time and energy, that is!)
Once you've found your target market, the place where you aim to get published, start reading. If you (like many of us!) can't afford to buy everything they have out, go get a library card (if, by some unlikely chance you don't already have one). If the publisher has more than one line, especially in genre fiction, read at least one book in each line, preferably more. Find the line that reaches out and touches your heart. That should be your target line. Read the dedications by the authors, and the "thank you" pages. If they mention their editor by name, take note. You are seeing what an editor likes by what is published.
If a particular publishing house says they accept only agented works, don't waste their time and yours by sending them anything. You'll only be branding yourself as a novice who hasn't done your homework.
In conclusion, finding your target market may be hard, but it is definitely worthwhile. If your manuscript doesn't quite fit, you may want to consider putting it aside for a while (I know, I can hear you screaming how long it took you to write it---been there) and writing something that is perfect for the line. Once you are published, dig out that manuscript, reread it, polish it, even rewrite it if necessary and ask your editor (who by now should be your friend) to have a look at it. If you're willing to do the work, getting published should become inevitable!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
- I lay
- you lay (thou layest, if you're writing Shakespearean or Biblical English)
- he lays, she lays, it lays (he, she or it layeth)
- we lay
- you lay
- they lay
- I laid
- you laid (thou laidest)
- he laid, she laid, it laid (he, she or it laideth)
- we laid
- you laid
- they laid
Past Perfect Tense
- I have laid
- you have laid (thou hast laid)
- he has laid, she has laid, it has laid (he, she or it hath laid)
- we have laid
- you have laid
- they have laid
Past Imperfect Tense
- I had laid
- you had laid (thou hadest laid--or maybe it's haddest)
- he had laid, she had laid, it had laid, (he, she or it hadeth laid)
- we had laid
- you had laid
- they had laid
INFINITIVE: to lie
Present Indicative Tense
- I lie
- you lie (thou liest)
- he lies, she lies, it lies (he, she or it lieth)
- we lie
- you lie
- they lie
- I lay (See, this is where the confusion comes in!)
- you lay (thou layest)
- he lay, she lay, he lay (he, she or it, layeth)
- we lay
- you lay
- they lay
- I had lain
- you had lain (thou hadest lain)
- he had lain, she had lain, it had lain (he, she or it hadeth lain)
- we had lain
- you had lain
- they had lain
- I have lain
- you have lain (thou hast lain)
- he has lain, she has lain, it has lain (he, she or it hath lain)
- we have lain
- you have lain
- they have lain
Notice that these past tenses for to lie do not apply to prevarication, where the variation is on lied.
Monday, February 25, 2008
The problem: spaces
E.g. This is the first sentence. Between this and the first sentence, there are supposed to be two spaces. However, there are three. Visually, you can hardly tell there's an extra space there, but it's there.
E.g. This is the second sentence. Between "the" and "second" there are two spaces, when there should only be one.
These are minor, but attention to detail can put you ahead of the game with editors, who have to look at enough bad grammar and punctuation without having to deal with a manuscript that doesn't look quite right.
The fix: "Find"
The "find" feature (in Word you press alt-E, F) will allow you to find those extra spaces. Enter two spaces in the "find" box and then click on "find next." It will put a small black rectangle between every sentence. If the rectangle moves on to the next sentence, you have exactly two spaces after the period, question mark, or exclamation point. If, however, the rectangle just moves slightly and stays between those two sentences, you have an extra space. You can eliminate that with either backspace or delete.
The same holds true for extra spaces between words. Most times, the internal grammar checker will underline those in green (in Word), alerting you to the problem, but sometimes it doesn't. This will show you where those mistakes are while you're busy checking to make sure you don't have extra spaces at the end of your sentence.
Another good reason for looking for extra spaces: sometimes you can fit more onto a page and avoid "widows and orphans," as Word calls those pages with a single word or sentence at the top and the rest of the page blank. Think of it as one more way you can line edit more easily. Happy editing!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Shrink is actually a regular verb. From present, through past, and past perfect, it is
Conjugated in the same way, we find
However, a few other -ink verbs are not regular. That is, it isn't
although it makes perfect sense, and sometimes one encounters "thunk" in dialect or comic writing. The proper conjugation is
Similarly, we find
Unless you have delved into verb conjugation while studying another language, you probably don't give verb tenses as much thought as you should. It's easy to get lazy and write in the vernacular. While this is proper in conversation for conveying character (although, in the above film/TV case, a supposedly well-educated scientist should know how to conjugate a verb!), in our descriptions and action beats, we should never let our verbs get the best of us!
Do you have a verb usage question? Feel free to ask in the comment box, or just leave a comment if this series is helpful to you! Thanks!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The “I or me” problem usually happens because, as a child, the writer misused “me” in sentences like “Jimmy and me went to the store.” After years of hearing “and I,” the child mistakenly thinks (consciously or subconsciously) that “and me” is never correct. That isn't the case, of course. "And me" is always correct when it is part of the object of the sentence.
Determine which of the following is correct.
- Joey and me need some answers.
- Joey and I need some answers.
- Janet gave Bill and I some coffee.
- Janet gave Bill and me some coffee.
In order to figure out whether to use "and I" or "and me" in sentences, take out the other party, e.g., Joey and Bill. Since you would never say "Me need some answers" or "Janet gave I some coffee," it's easy to see which ones to use. Your correct sentences are below:
- Joey and I need some answers. (I need some answers.)
- Janet gave Bill and me some coffee. (Janet gave me some coffee.)
Who and whom. I have read some published books where the author was unsure about whether to use who or whom in a sentence, and the editor didn't know, either. While I have no objection to their being misused in conversation (after all, proper usage goes to indicate education levels, and you wouldn't expect someone with a third-grade education to use who and whom properly; unfortunately, in real life, I've heard people with doctorates misuse them!), in prose, it just reflects badly on the author and the editor.
- Who did you say was calling?
- Whom did you say was calling?
If the sentences above were:
- Who was calling?
- Whom was calling?
you wouldn't have any trouble picking the right answer, because it's obvious. The two earlier sentences are trickier, because, at a glance, they both look right.
In order to determine who or whom, just substitute the proper pronoun for the person who is calling. E.g. the answer to the above question, if keeping to the who/whom subject/object format, comes out like this:
- He was calling (or she was calling).
- Him (or her) was calling.
That makes the answer easy to see!
In conclusion, just determine whether your pronoun is the subject of the sentence or the object of the verb. The subject will be I, you, (thee), he, she, it, we, you, they. Object pronouns are me, you, (thou), him, her, it, us, you, them. So, It and You remain the same whether they are subjects or objects, while the rest of the pronouns are irregular.
Monday, February 18, 2008
More people seem to have trouble with conditional verb usage than any other form. May and might are used interchangeably. Lay and lie are likewise confused. There are scores of others, but we'll start with these two samples.
May or Might: which one should you use? To find out, try them in sentences.
- You may have been killed!
- You might have been killed!
OK, the response to the second is, "But I wasn't killed. I'm okay."
The response to the first could easily be, "Oh, my goodness! Was I killed?"
In determining which one to use, may or might, first determine the time and intent of the sentence. Is it something that, if it happened, makes the question possible? Does it make sense?
When in doubt about whether to use may or might in a sentence, substitute can and could. That translates the above sentences to "You can have been killed" and "You could have been killed." Obviously, unless you're talking to a ghost or a vampire, you wouldn't tell someone that they can have been killed.
Lay or Lie: If you've been brought up to believe that to lie is only to prevaricate or tell an untruth, then let me introduce you to a better definition.
- I'm going to lay down.
- I'm going to lie down.
In the second sentence, I realize you're probably tired and want a nap. In the first sentence, I want to know what you're going to lay down.
Again, using synonyms for the words in question can get you out of a sticky situation where the reader may misunderstand you. A synonym for lay down is put. A synonym for lie down is recline.
- I'm going to put--- [Famous sample, first line of "Down By the Riverside:" "I'm gonna lay down my burden..."]
- I'm going to recline. [I can almost see the recliner now, can't you?]
Set and Sit: often confused because they're similar, short, and sound alike.
- Set down and rest a spell.
- Sit down and rest a spell.
(Yes, I know the examples are Southern. I'm in the South now.)
Using synonyms will help you out of the jam. Set=put. Sit=be seated.
- Set down that bag of groceries and rest a spell.
- Be seated and --- no, I'm sorry, folks just don't often use be seated in conjunction with "rest a spell," but you get the idea.
Check back soon for more commonly confused verbs!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
CONGRATULATIONS! Please e-mail your mailing address to Cheryl at anavim 4 him [at] gmail [dot] com (removing all spaces and replacing [at] with @ and [dot] with . ). Cheryl says you may have your choice of regular or large print, so please be sure to indicate your preference when you write.
Thank you to all of you who participated in this great experiment in blogging! You are what makes blogging fun!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Something Different: a book giveaway, blog interview, book review and guest blog all rolled into one!
Welcome back to my too-long neglected blog! Some of you may know that my mom fell and broke her hand, which took away all my blogging time. However, I'm back, and with a wonderful combination for you all! I'm going to start it off with the book review of A SOLDIER'S PROMISE, Cheryl's first book for Love Inspired. Exciting news: Cheryl is giving away not one, but two copies of A SOLDIER'S PROMISE, one for each of my blogs, so be sure to enter by either e-mailing me (hope_chastain [at] yahoo.com) or commenting here on this blog or the other blog!
HC: Hi, Cheryl, and thanks for agreeing to do an unusual combo review/interview/guest blog today!
CW: Thanks, Hope, for featuring me! What an honor to be on your blog today.
HC: Congratulations on being published! I know you struggled a longtime and have been pursuing this wholeheartedly, especially Steeple Hill. What made you choose the Steeple Hill line of inspirationalromances, rather than another publisher?
CW:Thank you for the congrats. I targeted Steeple Hill for many reasons. One being, I love their books and have read them nearly since close to the inception of Steeple Hill. Secondly, in hanging out on the warm, funny community at the Steeple Hill message boards, I saw the heart of the authors there and so longed to be among them. They were so helpful and encouraging at every stage in the journey. I also feel my stories would fit the Steeple Hill readership. I love to read and write romance, and love category romance in particular. Then upon meeting the editors and talking with them, it seemed like a good fit. I loved their vision for their house and how they talked about their authors in such an uplifting manner. Also, Harlequin markets their authors well in my opinion, which makes it easier to build a readership with their house.
HC: What does it feel like to get "The Call?"
CW:Honestly, the feeling is out of this world. It's the kind of super-charged giddy feeling and so surreal that words can't even touch it. There is such relief and excitement. You understand the true meaning of stunned for sure. LOL! It's almost like you can't believe it and hope, really, really hope they haven't called you by mistake. LOL!
HC: Did your editor give you a list of revisions, and if so, how manyand what did it feel like?
CW:My post sale revisions were about two and a half pages of things. A couple paragraphs of general type stuff, then a couple pages of specific stuff where they mention the page and line numbers. There are basically scenes that need stuff taken out and scenes that need to be built up or maybe even added. There are usually character issues to deal with as well as plot...like how I always seem to have Scooby Doo endings. I'm trying to get better about that though. LOL!
HC: What is your working style when you're writing?
CW:Depends on what I'm writing. Research and character charts are relaxed. So is layering. BUT, when I go to do the mess draft, it is INTENSE and I can't stand to be interrupted because it really throws me off. LOL! And synopsis writing makes me very grumpy....but I push through it.
HC: What does your faith mean to you, and how does it affect yourlife, including your writing?
CW:Faith is vitally important to me. God means everything to me, and faith is attached to Him....anything attached to Him is of utmost importance. I consider my writing a gift from Him and one that I can also give back to Him so it's all interconnected. I'm thankful for the ability to make people laugh and cry. LOL! I get great enjoyment out of that. Welll, making them cry in a happy, poignant sense.
HC: Thank you so much for answering all my nosy questions! And now, I turn the blog over to you, on the subject of perseverance in writingand seeking publication.
CW: Thank you Hope! It's been fun!
Thoughts on Perseverance.