Wednesday, December 21, 2022

A Time to Write and a Time to Love




Waiting for the Promise

To arrive.


The LORD did arrive,

And He taught us to

Savor the moments in life.

To bask in those moments when the Holy Spirit envelops us in His love.


My Choice


For me, the past month has been filled with the frenzy of first-time publication. I can get caught up in the obsession of Amazon rankings, or I can fill the heavens with praise and thanksgiving. I can search the web for reviews on my book, or I can love on my children and grandchildren and let the Lord take care of spreading the word about my literary endeavors.

I choose praise and thanks and joy.

I choose family and friends.

Come January 2, 2023, Christmas celebrations will subside, visitors will travel home, and I will assess my objectives for the new year. The time to write will arrive again.

But for this day in this season of loving our God who came to earth to save the world from sin, I will rejoice in each moment as I spend time with my Savior and with my family and my friends.

May you also find blessings and joy unspeakable and full of glory in this season of Christ’s love for us.


  Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen.

Linda always figured she’d teach teens and tweens for sixty-five years, at which point, school authorities would present her with a retirement wheelchair and roll her out the door. 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 becoming an author.

A wife, mother of three, and grandmother to eight, 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:

Friday, December 16, 2022

A Non-Boring Christmas Tradition

 Yesterday my ten-year-old grandson and I each signed 125 Christmas letters. He practiced his penmanship as he chuckled about the contents of the greeting that utilizes his age-adjusted perspective in a newsy highlight of the family’s year. It’s a tradition we birthed the year he was birthed.

“What if I write the family Christmas letter from the perspective of the newest member?” I mused the year our first grandchild arrived. It seemed a cute idea. One that I liked more the longer I noodled on it. But could I pull it off? The yearly communique had presented more of a challenge some years than others. A particularly challenging parenting year almost made me skip the tradition. But I focused on the songs of the season that trying year and produced an acceptable holiday greeting. So, how difficult could it be to use the  occasion of a wee bundle of joy as inspiration?

That first grandbaby-inspired letter actually came together quite well. It was fun to write—who knew I could slip into newborn mode so easily? And folks loved it. Obviously, grandma was shifting into this new chapter in fine fashion.

By our little guy’s third Christmas, I thought it time to resume my version of the yearly update. But when I tried to use my own voice, the results were less than stellar. In fact, my account could only be described as boring. Bland, uninteresting, yawn-worthy. It was awful. It seemed a toddler’s version of our family happenings proved to be much more entertaining than this gram’s tale. So, you guessed it. I scraped my pitiful attempt at a newsy Christmas greeting and donned a toddler mindset once again. The result? A thoroughly delightful letter if I do say so myself.

I haven’t looked back since. And folks continue to love it. I am thinking, though, that in a year or two, I may pass the baton to the young lad, so he can try his hand at composing the traditional letter. He’s quite creative (as you can see above), and I’ve not a worry that his rendition will be anything but boring.

We’ve all tossed a book aside because it was bor-ing. It didn’t hold our attention. Was bland, uninteresting, not worth of our time. What makes a book boring? What keeps it from being boring? What elements grab your attention? What makes a story worth the investment of your time? I'd love to see lots of answers to these writing-craft questions, so please, drop your thoughts in a comment.

And in the spirit of my grandson's  Christmas greeting, may yours be a joy-filled Christmas season with family and friends, as we remember & celebrate the birth of JESUS.



Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Your Dream Writing Life

A few weeks will bring us to January, named for the Roman god Janus, who faced both the future and the past. It’s a good time to reflect on the year just ended and dream of the year beginning, so let me challenge you to an exercise that a workshop leader once gave me: Describe a day in your dream writing life. Include plenty of sensory clues, because these will help you enter the dream and prompt your subconscious to make the dream your reality.

Here from my notebook is how I described my dream writing life in 2019:

I am strolling along the sidewalk in Saugatuck, Michigan, admiring the colorful gifts in shop windows. It's a sunny autumn afternoon and a balmy breeze from the harbor scatters leaves before me. I feel a sense of elation as I approach the corner bookstore where a signing of my new book has been scheduled, because I can already see that a couple dozen people are browsing the tables outside the shop and going inside. We'll have a busy afternoon.


When I step inside the shop, the manager greets me warmly.  She offers to make me a cup of tea before she seats me behind a table where two large stacks of my novel are waiting to be signed. My tweed jacket feels a bit warm, but I decide to keep it on because I like the professorial air it gives me. Immediately, a vivacious lady introduces herself and says, "I've been looking forward to this, Mr. Allison. I've read all of your books and can hardly wait to read this one tonight!"


I inhale the smell of fresh paper and ink that pervades the shop. It reminds me of so many pleasant afternoons I've spent in Borders, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores, exploring the world of knowledge and imagination. It's satisfying to know that now I am part of that world.

You might say this is not a very realistic picture because the writing life is primarily one of hard discipline and frustration. The days of seeing our work in print and talking with enthusiastic fans are few and far between. Fair enough. But remember, our assignment is to capture the dream, not the many weeks of hard work that lead to the dream. Delightful rewards beckon us into the future, so we need to see them clearly at the turn of the year.

Now a savory cup of Earl Gray tea or the fresh-ink fragrance of Barnes and Noble reawakens my dream within me. It’s still very much alive, luring me into the new year.

How would you describe your dream writing life?

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.