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BLUERIDGE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE

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The mist outside my window on the 4th floor of Mountain Laurel is so thick I can just see the outline of nearby trees. Frogs are singing from the little pond below and most of the writers here are still at the evening comedy skit. I needed a power nap and woke up a few minutes ago. It's alomost dark and a few lamps are glowing outside to light the way for those who will soon return to their rooms, exhausted and mind-boggled from the days events.

It's amazing how much I can pack into a day at a writer's conference: three great meals, a continuing education class with Steven James on Writing Suspense, Action and Thrillers, a meeting with my acquisitons editor Debbie Marrie from Strang/Realms, a How to Get It Done, time management classs with Angie Hunt, reviewing the days events with new friends and old ones, and the list just keeps on growing.

Today I was reminded that:
Tension drives the story forward.
Multi-tasking is a myth. It's all about focus.

We can't afford to waste our time.
James 4:14 (New International Version)
14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Do you remember the special moments from that last writer's conference you attended? There's nothing like it in my opinion. So much to learn. What's one of the things you've learned that you think others may benefit from hearing about?

Write On!pen Pictures, Images and Photos

Make Yourself Come True

Steve Chandler wrote a little book with a lot of great ideas. Actually, there are 100 great ideas in his book titled, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself. Change Your Life Forever.Photobucket

If you've ever had difficulty getting motivated to do anything I suggest you go out to your local library or favorite bookstore and pick up a copy of this little gem that packs big ideas.

For instance, from pages 60-61 Steve recommends you Find Your Inner Einstein. I've never even imagined that I could have an inner Einstein. E=MC2. Do I have an inner Einstein? I don't think so.


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But then I read Steve's pages. He says that Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Wait a minute! Wait just a minute. Maybe I do have an inner Einstien. I have imagination!
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Steve goes on to tell us about a song for teenagers that Fred Knipe wrote so that teens could visualize themselves succeeding at what they wanted to do:
"That's you/in your wildest dreams/doing the wildest things/no one else can do. If you/just love and keep those dreams/the wildest dreams/you'll make yourself come true."

I LOVE THIS! It's motivating to me. Steve goes on to say,"But the greatest thing about active dreaming is not in the eventual reaching of the goal-- the greatest thing is what it does to the dreamer."

Are you making yourself come true? How? What are you doing? How do you stay motivated?

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JUST IMAGINE.

The Organized Writer

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I found an interesting site that has given me some visual ideas of how to organize the spaces I work in at home and in the office. http://www.keyorganization.com/photos.php
Don't you love those before and after photos? I sure do.

Since I'm embarking on my new journey of a three book deal with Strang/Realms, I'm taking my need for organization very seriously. If you've had success in the arena of organization please share your thoughts and ideas.

I'll be checking in now and again for what I'll call "mini-blogging" as I get my writing done. Please stop by at least once a week, if time allows, and I'll keep you posted on my progress related to organization and the happenings in my writing life. Have a great week.

Come to the Inkwell

Please come visit me at The Inkwell today, Wednesday, April 14th, for the latest news.

http://inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/

FREE TO DREAM

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I’m doing a study with my church called, FREE. It’s a six week series and I couldn’t wait to dive into it. The first chapter is about following your dreams. How blessed I am to know that I am truely free in Christ. Do I always know that with my heart? No. Do I always know that in my head? Not really. So am I a weakling in my faith. Absolutely not! I just can't wrap my mind around the workings of God. And that's as it should be. BUT I'm not always satisfied with that answer. :)

I want you to hear this as a message of encouragement. That no matter what your dream is you can begin it now, not knowing the outcome, but maintaining the hope and enjoying the journey; the climb. I think you've all heard Miley Cyrus sing, The Climb. Have you listened carefully to the lyrics? The first line of the song is: "I can almost see it, that dream I'm dreamin, but there's a voice inside my head sayin, you'll never reach it."

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Don't listen to those negative voices inside your head. Those are lies staight from the pit of hell. Satan does not want you to succeed, especially if you are following the path God wants you on. He will tempt you, taunt you, torture you with self-doubt and self-loathing. This is when you must climb into the Word and wrap it around you like a warm blanket.

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Now week two of "FREE" was not easy. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this digging up of old wounds. It didn't surprise me at all that I like to escape. I didn't have the easiest of childhoods, but I felt like I'd dealt with it and moved on and I believe that. BUT, there's always a but isn't there? Now I've completed week two where I discovered that it's still possible that I may feel rejected and unloved. Rejected?I'm a writer! I've been rejected for years. Most of us writers are at one time or another, and for a long time. BUT I can't help but wonder if experiences from childhood, of feeling rejected or not good enough, have led me to the writing life. Weird, huh? Has anything like this happened to you?
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As a counselor I think there are healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with lifes disappointments and hardships. We can allow rejection, fear, and self-doubt beat us up and then give up, OR we can find ways of coping, like writing, that can not only help us cope BUT allow us to thrive.

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Be aware that if you've ever been deeply hurt or rejected by people throughout your life or at a particularly vulnerable time, that you don't start feeling rejected by God. That's what I uncovered in week 2 of "FREE." I still harbor fears of rejection in this life, not the writing rejection so much, but the rejection that leads to feelings of abandonment. Jesus overcame difficult circumstances and so can we if we will only wrap ourselves in the blanket of his love and of his Word and listen.

Research Fun

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Bath, England (Roman Bath)

PhotobucketI love researching my Regency era novels. For those of you who haven't ventured into this kind of research yet be warned: it's addictive. Of course you have to love history or it might not have the same effect on you.:) I'm a counselor by day and have worked in the mental health field for years so it shouldn't surprise anyone that I'm fascinated by books like: Undertaker of the Mind: John Monro and Mad-Doctoring in Eighteenth-Century England (Medicine and Society) by Jonathan Andrews and Andrew Scull and Customers and Patrons of the Mad-Trade: The Management of Lunacy in Eighteenth-Century London, With the Complete Text of John Monro's 1766 Case Book by Jonathan Andrews and Andrew Scull.

PhotobucketI always felt sorry for King George III. Can you imagine losing your mind and your job, let alone the ability to reign as king because of a medical disease that no one even knew existed?





PhotobucketRoy Porter wrote my kind of books: Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine, The Cambridge History of Medicine, Quacks: Fakers & Charlatans in Medicine (Revealing History),Patients and Practitioners: Lay Perceptions of Medicine in Pre-industrial Society (Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine), Medical Fringe & Medical Orthodoxy, 1750-1850 (Wellcome Institute Series in the History of Medicine). If you've never heard of him just go to Amazon.com and look up the volumes of books this guy wrote. I think he wrote something like 80 before he died at age 55 not long ago. Porter is an incredible resource.

PhotobucketWhile researching information about the origins of the stethoscope I discovered via Porter's book and the internet that the stethoscope was invented in 1816 by Rene Laennec.

Dr. Laennec had been trying to listen to the heart of an obese woman and because it was necessary for him to put his ear to her bare chest he didn't want to be inappropriate, so he rolled up a newspaper and listened to her heart that way and voila it worked well. He could hear the sounds of the heart more clearly and the history of medicine took a new direction: the development of the stethoscope.

THE MONAURAL STETHOSCOPE

PhotobucketI've read that it was Charles Thomas Haden who brought the stethoscope to England. He became a friend of Jane Austen when he attended her father.

Internet resource:
http://www.antiquemed.com/monaural_stethoscope.htm

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The movie Miss Austen Regrets depicts a jealous Jane Austen silently fuming over the attentions paid by a young doctor to her 22-year-old niece, Fanny Knight. The doctor, Charles Thomas Haden, is portrayed by Jack Huston, with Olivia Williams as Jane and Imogen Poots as Fanny. http://www.jstor.org/pss/25407454

There's so much more I wanted to share with you, but it will have to wait for another post. I hope you've enjoyed this post today and I look forward to sharing more in the future on the subject of fascinating historical medicine.

Questions: Do you like doing research? Have you ever discovered a historical fact that just blew you away? What historical novel, romance or other, have you read lately that delighted your spirit?

Communicating with Your Agent

Hi Everyone! I'm so excited to announce that Rachelle Gardner has become my agent. I think it's really important if you haven't had an agent before or if you've recently signed with an agent to address this very important issue of communication. This is taken directly from Rachelle's blog. Please go to http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/ for outstanding information.

Monday, February 22, 2010
Communicating with Your Agent

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One of the primary questions my clients ask when I first sign them to the agency is "How should I expect to communicate with you?" This is a GREAT question by the way, and one that should always be addressed in a new agent-client relationship.

While each agent will have their own preferences, I believe most of them have the same general philosophy as I do:


1. Email is the preferred method of communication.

2. There are times when it's necessary to talk something through, and it's especially helpful at the beginning when you're first getting to know one another. So don't hesitate to call if necessary (if your agent has indicated that it's okay) or even better, email to set up a phone call.

3. Once you have an agent, you shouldn't feel guilty or hesitant to contact them. I've noticed clients are usually very considerate, not wanting to "bug" their agent, and it's appreciated. My philosophy is that, once I've agreed to represent you, I like to keep an open line of communication, so don't avoid contact when you have questions or concerns.

4. If you have several minor questions or comments, you may want to save them up for a once a week email. Write your questions in an email, save it to "draft," then later when you have more things to say you can add to it.

5. Many agents are on Twitter and/or Facebook. It's perfectly fine to have casual conversation with your agent via social networking sites (including blogs). But if you have something important to say, it's best to do it through email rather than a Facebook message or a Twitter DM. Here's why: My email inbox is my top priority each day. It's one of the ways I keep track of what needs to get done. Twitter and Facebook are not anywhere on my "to do" list during the work day, and I may not be checking them. If your communication is important, I really need an email.

6. When in doubt about how best to communicate, ask your agent what he/she prefers.

7. If you're having trouble reaching your agent, i.e. you've emailed a couple of times and haven't heard back within a few days, there could be an email glitch. In this case it's appropriate to try another method—phone call, Twitter, Facebook—and ask if they've received your emails.

What about communicating with an agent who is not your agent?

→ Email only.
→ Twitter and Facebook are fine for casual conversation, but don't always expect a reply.
→ Don't call on the phone or stop by the office (yes, it happens).
→ Do not add agents to your newsletter or other mailing list.

ANYONE SEEN MY MOTIVATION?

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I've been having a difficult time concentrating. Maybe it's because the snow piled up about nine inches high over the past three days and all I wanted to do was sleep. Is that normal? I know a lot of people have been snowed in worse than we were here in Ohio, but I thought that would give me lots of time to get things done. Not! At least not writing. Maybe it's because I was snowed in with my hubby, youngest daughter (17), my Mom and six assorted critters. The more I think about it the more I wonder how I got anything done at all. Oh, and the Olympics were on. Duh!

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I'm starting to feel that tingle in my fingertips. My computer screen is calling to me and more plot ideas are forming in my foggy, snowed in brain. I have got to go exercise. What was I thinking?

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Ahhhhhhhhhh. That's better. Now I can get down to business. What do you do when the words won't come or you can't get started?


Wait. Wait just a minute. I'm back!

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The Power of Habits

Photobucket Habits can make you or take you in directions you don't want to go. Instead of focusing on all the bad habits you've developed and want to change, pick one, just one. This way you won't get overwhelmed and quit before you get started. Think about it. What is it that's most important for you to change. What will make the biggest difference for your life? What's been preventing you from making this change?



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Procrastination is my worst bad habit. I think if I didn't procrastinate I'd have a real headstart on those other habits I need to work on. But before you think there's no hope for me or you, don't despair. We all have good habits too.

By perseverance... Pictures, Images and Photos


What is something that you are proud to have made a good habit in your life? I know for me that reading my Bible and going to church are healthy habits that feed my spirit and bring peace to my hectic life.

What is a habit you long to change? I desperately want to show up at my computer screen each day and type my 3-4 pages I need to get my next novel finished, but it's really proved difficult. So I am going to work on that this next month. I discovered a cool website at www.habitforge.com I encourage you to check it out. It's easy to sign up for and you can share your progress or keep it private.

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Let's see if we all can't make some headway on these habits we want to develop. Feel free to drop in anytime and share your experiences.Photobucket
Smiles and Blessings,
Jill

Refuse To Live In Fear

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I’ve wrestled with different types of fear my entire life. My parents separated when I was six. I had nightmares until I was in college related to the fear that many kids believe, and that’s that they are somehow responsible for the break up of their parents. Not true, yet many kids feel or have felt this way.

I was very sick and hospitalized when I was in second grade. In 1963 children were on wards and in beds next to each other, (at least it was my experience). The children on either side of me died. I became afraid of death. My brother died when he was 27 years old and I was 29. I became even more afraid of death.

PhotobucketI experienced a lot of other reasons to fear in my lifetime: car accidents, my own children’s illnesses, the death of friends, the death of other family members. The list goes on and on. I’m 54 now and I’m not afraid most of the time. Do I occasionally let my fears slip in? Yes. I’m not able to banish my fears completely, but I finally figured out that no matter how hard I try, in my human strength, I cannot keep bad things at bay. I don’t have control. God does. All I can do is the best I can do, trust God for the rest, and remember the mustard seed.

PhotobucketHe replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20 NIV

So have faith, not fear. Peace, not fear. Trust, not fear. Hope, not fear.

Bible for HopeIn my counseling Bible, The Bible for Hope, NKJV, the introduction to Numbers talks about fear. The first paragraph states, “Fear can immobilize. Fearful people often do not think straight and run off in the wrong direction to escape the source of their fear. The world can be quite scary, and at times, Christians will become afraid. On those occasions, they can either run away from God, thinking that he cannot handle their fears, or they can run to God for protection.”
Photobucket“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV). 2 Timothy 1:7

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Question: What are you afraid of? What are you going to do about it?