Thursday, July 18, 2019

Thomas Kinkade: A Warning

In May, I wrote a tribute to the popular work of Thomas Kinkade--the  beauty of his art and how it beckons the soul to rejoice in creation. However, there was a dark side to Kinkade.  I hope he never walked away from his faith in Christ, but the world and Satan infringed on the relationship between him and Jesus. Problems arose associated with addiction, and he died far too young.

What happened? Perhaps, the heady power of monetary success corrupted a soul that wasn’t prepared for the world’s acclaim. Perhaps, pressure from the crowds got to him.

What does that tell us about our writing? What should we prepare for if God allows us to have the rock star status of New York Times bestsellers?

Here are my top four suggestions.

1. I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. Never forget that. Jesus is your first Love, your Savior, your Lord.

2. God has given you great responsibility. If millions buy your book, may your life reflect the love of Christ. Make Him proud of you!

3. Choose wisely. Hundreds, maybe thousands, will request your presence at an event. Prayerfully choose which opportunities you should attend. Where does God want your testimony to shine?

4. You will feel adored. Just remember—Jesus is the One to be adored. Tell your audience!

Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.
A wife, mother of three, grandmother to seven, Linda regales the youngest grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!

Where Linda can be found on the web:

Saturday, July 6, 2019

I Love the Way You Cook

I recently had breakfast at a bistro in Lexington, Kentucky, and was impressed by the fact that the cook prepared and served my food in a distinctively bistro manner. I ordered an item called the Bistro Breakfast Sandwich. Out came a sandwich of scrambled egg and bacon covered with a light hollandaise sauce and served on a grilled French knot bun. It was accompanied by a miniature bowl of a light-green vegetable which I took for pale steamed broccoli until I tasted it. Its flavor was quite unlike broccoli, but I couldn’t identify it until my daughter said, “If you’re not going to eat that mashed avocado, I’d like to have it.” The bistro chef had served me a breakfast sandwich with panache.

If I had walked down the street to a MacDonald’s, I could have ordered my usual Mickey D’s breakfast: a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. I would have gotten a compact wax-paper bundle with a standard-sized biscuit, scrambled egg, and two strips of bacon but no condiment or fancy side dish. I’m sure I have eaten hundreds of of those biscuits in my lifetime, from MacDonald’s restaurants throughout the United States and Canada. The food always looks and tastes the same, no surprises. That’s why I keep going back.

Then there’s the Cracker Barrel breakfast. Like MacDonald’s, their menu items are a standard size and shape, but they come with some extras that lend a homespun flair to the experience. Those little bottles of maple syrup—yum! Smoke-cured bacon and ham—yes! A roaring fire in the blackened fireplace—seat me near that, please! The food will be satisfying, but the atmosphere will be even more so. The smell of wood smoke and fresh coffee will stay with me through the morning, reminding me of my home in East Tennessee.

Our writing has distinctive features, too. It doesn’t simply convey our story line. It puts our readers in a time and place of our choosing, with a panache that lingers in memory long after the particulars of our plot have been forgotten. Good writing nourishes the souls of our readers, so let’s give careful attention to how we prepare what we serve.

Fire up the stove. Blend the ingredients that make a story distinctively yours. Plate it with a flair that draws us back to your place when we’re hungry for more.

Now where’s that maple syrup?

Joe Allison writes both fiction and nonfiction, and has been a member of the Indiana chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2010. He lives in Anderson, IN, with his wife Maribeth and daughter Heather.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Brainstorming: Starting with the Back Cover

-By Darren Kehrer-

“Just the facts, please…”
  1. When you are browsing books (online or in a store), it’s the front cover that lures you in; however, it’s the back cover that gives you true insight regarding the story. 
  2. When it comes to brainstorming your next great story, there are so many ways and tools that can be used to plan, record, and develop your plots, locations, and characters.
I’d like to suggest a new tool for your brainstorming sessions: a merging of both the back cover read and whatever process you use to spin ideas. I call it, “The Backside Tale Spin.”

Permission granted by Rick Barry
Directions: Take a story idea that you’ve been working on and write the back cover.

Although you may be feeling this puts the cart before the horse, this kind of exercise serves to get a bird’s eye view of the beginning of your story and potentially lays out the “shiny gold objects” that causes that intrigued browser to develop an interest in your store. 

While this method wasn’t used in Rick Barry’s, “The Methuselah Project,” such a wonderful story would have been a great candidate for this exercise. 

In summary, this is a very simple tool that can be used many, many different ways to help you brainstorm your next great story. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.