Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Writer's Guide to the First Amendment: The When, Where, and How of Public Speech

You walk into a public park, climb onto your literal soapbox, and start speaking. Then someone calls the cops, and you get arrested. Have the police violated your First Amendment rights?

It depends.

The government can’t regulate what you say, but it can regulate when, where, and how you say it. The regulations must be viewpoint neutral, meaning the outcome should be the same whether you are opposing abortion or defending it. The regulations must also be tailored to serve a significant public interest, meaning that they should not restrict speech any more than is necessary. But as long as these tests are met, the government can regulate the time, place, and manner of your speech.

Let’s flesh out the facts mentioned in the first paragraph. You walk into a small neighborhood park at 5:00 a.m., put your soapbox on the top platform of the children’s jungle gym, and speak into a microphone connected to an amplifier that rattles the windows in every house for a two-block radius.

And let’s assume that the town has the following ordinances:

·         Neighborhood parks are closed between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.,

·         Adults are not allowed on the playground equipment, and

·         Amplification devices are prohibited within 100 yards of a residential neighborhood.

Although these restrictions are not aimed at your speech, they effectively prevent you from giving it when, where, and how you want. So are they valid?

Probably. They all serve significant public interests. The park closures keep vagrants from sleeping there and may also protect children from dangerous people. The rule banning adults from the playground equipment does two things: it helps insure that children have uninhibited access (at least while the park is open), and it decreases wear and tear on the equipment. And the noise ordinance prohibits a nuisance that reaches into people’s homes without their consent. Furthermore, none of the ordinances prevent you from expressing yourself. You simply have to move your soapbox to the middle of the town square and deliver your speech during the prime hours of the day.

But you’re a writer. You don’t want to give a speech, you just want to write it and hand it out. Does that make a difference?

It changes the facts slightly, but the tests are the same. You still can’t pass out your leaflets in the park at 5:00 a.m. while standing on the playground equipment. There’s even an amplifier equivalent. You can’t leave a pile of leaflets on the ground or the benches if doing so violates an anti-littering ordinance.

And there are some types of speech that you can’t even utter in the town square. We’ll start there next month.


Kathryn Page Camp is a licensed attorney and full-time writer. Her most recent book, Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal (KP/PK Publishing 2013), is available from and other retailers. Kathryn is also the author of In God We Trust: How the Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions Affect Organized Religion (FaithWalk Publishing 2006) and numerous articles. You can learn more about Kathryn at

Friday, March 21, 2014

Release Dates and Titles for my Debut Series from Whitaker House Books!

The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall

~ Set in New England during the Gilded Age
~ Long Inspirational Historical Romantic Suspense Series
~ Written from First Person POV
*** I just had my very first look at the covers YESTERDAY
I can't share them yet, but I will soon! *** 

The Hesitant Heiress
The Everstone Chronicles, book 1
(previously known as Amaryllis Brigham)

~ Releases August 2014 from Whitaker House Books
2013 ACFW Genesis Contest Semi-Finalist 
~ 2012 Clash of the Titles Olympia Contest Semi-Finalist

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been "managing her life" isn't who she thought at all.


The Bound Heart
The Everstone Chronicles, book 2
(previously known as Meredyth Summercourt)

~ Releases November 2014 from Whitaker House Books
~ 2012 ACFW Genesis Contest Semi-Finalist
One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from their unfortunate past.          

When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web of deceit she’s convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption... and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?


The Captive Imposter
The Everstone Chronicles, book 3
(previously known as Estella Everstone)

~ Releases February 2015 from Whitaker House Books
~ 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist
Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion at Everston, one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine. Within the week, Estella discovers that her ex-fiancĂ©, Jay, is in the area and has a new fiancĂ©e who he’s rescued from a nearby brothel and plans to take West with him. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella forms a friendship with the manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley. She soon discovers that he is not simply the manager, but the new owner.

Saddened by this fact, Estella severs their friendship. She manages to avoid Dexter until she finds herself fired from her position due to a misunderstanding. Coming to her rescue, Dexter offers her a job as companion to his sister. Though she doesn’t want to be indebted to him, Estella sees no other choice. While rebuilding their friendship, Estella realizes that although she’s been lying to Dexter about her identity, she’s never been freer to be herself in her life. However, when he proposes, she has to tell him the truth—a truth he isn’t happy to find out.
Photo by Lauren Richwine
Dawn Crandall writes inspirational historical romantic suspense from first person point of view and is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. Her debut series, The Everstone Chronicles, will release beginning in the summer of 2014 through Whitaker House Books. 
She is the Secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter as well as an associate member of The Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She has a Bachelor Degree in Christian Education from Taylor University. She's been a stay-at-home-writer for the last few years, but will be taking on another new and exciting job THIS WEEK as a stay-at-home-MOMMY... as well as writer. And yes, she would value your prayers while she takes care of a newborn and edits her first three books and continues to write new ones... 

Visit Dawn online at, at her
Facebook Author Page or on Pinterest. Dawn hosts a book review blog called A Passion for Pages and tweet those reviews at @dawnwritesfirst

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hollywood, Texas ~ A Compelling Novella of Inspirational Contemporary Romance

One of the current publishing trends I adore is the rise of the novella. A novella is typically 20,000 to 50,000 words, an easy length to read without a major time investment.

When I was in school, I would dive into 600+ page tomes without blinking an eye. Now, a husband, six children, a home, a blog, and my own fiction writing all vie for my precious reading time.

The busier I get, the more I appreciate novellas, especially from master storytellers like Kathleen Y’Barbo. Characters are still developed fully, and backstories are complete. But we see just a snippet of the lives of the characters. Although, to tell the truth, I was sorry to see my acquaintance with Amy and Adam come to an end.

But now I’m getting ahead of myself….

Amy Foreman is the girl next door from Hollywood, Texas. But her time acting in Hollywood, California, has heralded her as the next Grace Kelley. When personal trouble brews in California, Amy runs home to hide… right to Adam Chambers’ veterinarian practice. According to Adam, though, she’s a trespasser and the girl who broke his heart.

I love a happily-ever-after as much as the next reader, but when Adam calls Amy a trespasser in the very first sentence of the book? Ooo, that’s conflict. *biting nails*

It's a quick, sweet read (71 pages) at a sweet price – only $1.99 on Amazon.

And my favorite part?

Adam Chambers is one of the most adorable heroes I've read who, quite frankly, reminded me of my own husband. He's skilled in his job. He has a heart for the Lord. And the way he ignores the flirtatious waitress at the steakhouse? Love. It.

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Title: Hollywood, Texas
Price: $1.99
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date Published: February 20, 2014

I was given a digital copy of this book by Kathleen Y'Barbo herself in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Quite frankly, I requested the copy to review because I knew it would be good. J

Meghan Carver attended her first ACFW conference this past September where she had the unbelievable pleasure of driving Kathleen Y'Barbo and her husband from the airport to the hotel. She still reels from the experience of having a best-selling author in her van at the mercy of her driving skills.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writer's Advance Boot Camp

By Kelly Bridgewater
            Last month, on February 21-23, I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina with my husband. What a long eight and a half hour drive. After watching the temperature descend from 68 in the mountains with the sun shining and the birds chirping to 28 degrees in Lexington, Kentucky with white-out conditions in a matter of hours, I never thought I would be so excited to see Indiana again. This conference was jammed packed with a variety of different classes by Lynette Eason, Ann Tatlock, Yvonne Lehman, Mike Dellosso, Edie Melson, Steven James, etc. I learned a lot about writing and had a productive weekend.
            After reading through a number of his hilarious rejection letters, Steven James started his discussion:
11.)    Failure is in the eye of the beholder.
Tons of people asked John the Baptist, Who are you, but he never gave them a name.
According to Jesus, John the Baptist is the greatest man to ever live (Luke 7:28). John the Baptist replies, “I must become smaller so God becomes greater.” (John 3:30). What are you doing today to honor God? Are you pursuing him? Why are you always following after what others have accomplished? Why are you never (enter your name here)?
22.)    There will always be a reason to start tomorrow.
We all are familiar with the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). But read it again. Steven James made us ponder about what we are doing with the talents or ideas for stories that God has given us. Does God give us five stories ideas and we multiply those ideas into ten best sellers? Are we blessed with two story ideas and write four great novels? Or are we the one with only one story idea and we ignore the urging from God? We allow excuses to stop us from pursuing the idea. If we’re not faithful with little, God takes it away.
33.)    As long as you’re a perfectionist, you won’t reach your full potential.
Jesus was perfect. Was he a perfectionist? No, of course not. Don’t worry about making your writing perfect. Make it exceptional. The story will come. Pray. Write the story. Revise the plot. Edit the grammar. But do not spend forever focused on the little things and allowing the words God has given you to stay in a file cabinet. God placed the story on your heart to be read by at least one person, which could change their life.
Are you a perfectionist? Ask yourself these questions:
a.)    Perfectionist act from a place of fear.  Exceptionalist act from a place of confidence. What are you afraid of? Your novel being rejected.
b.)    Underlining principles-Perfectionist play it safe. Trying to avoid failure. Exceptionalist take risks. Why aren’t I risking more? To write, you must risk.
c.)    Perfectionist says, “I have to do it right.” Exceptionalist say, “I can do it well.” Ecc. 11: 3, 6. What’s holding me back?”
d.)   Perfectionist easily lose perspectives. Exceptionalist change perspective with changing situations. In five years, I want to be in the will of God.  Where does God want me to serve him right now?
e.)    Perfectionist can’t stand making mistakes. Exceptionalist can’t stand offering less than their best. What do I have to do?
f.)     Perfectionist base their self-worth on their performance. Exceptionalist don’t depend on applause, but they build their confidence in Christ. “Being Christ, old things have passed away, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Where do I get my self-worth? Your self-worth should be from God. You are worth dying for!

I’m all in or not at all! Don’t wait to play it safe! You don’t want to hand God back an empty notebook someday. Get your writing out there. God does not want you to waste the stories and words he planted on your heart. If the desire comes from God, it will happen.

Kelly Bridgewater holds a B.S. in English and a M.A. in Writing from Indiana State University on the completion of a creative thesis titled Fleeting Impressions, which consisted of six original short stories. She has been published in the Indiana State University Literary Journal, Allusions, with her stories titled “Moving On” and “Life Changing Second.” In fall 2011, she presented her essay, Northanger Abbey: Structurally a Gothic Novel, at the Midwestern American Society of 18th Century Studies Conference. Kelly’s writing explores the ideas of good prevailing over evil in suspense. Kelly and her husband reside with their three boys and two dogs.