Archive for the ‘Simmer Starters’ Category

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Simmer Starters and News – December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016

Hello, friends!  My blog has been rather quiet lately. Awhile back I stopped posting the Simmer Starters because I noticed not a lot of people are interested in them…but I found that I miss sharing cool links! 😛 I’ve decided to pick up the practice again, but post only when I have a collection of links gathered, or maybe monthly.  I also hope to start blogging more again soon.

I have some Simmer Starters for today, but first, some general news…

Writing!

My newest writing project, Until She Dies, has been unfurling slowly. The story is taking its sweet time to ravel together, but that’s okay! I’m allowing it to marinate and trusting it will all fit in due time.

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Click to see my Pinterest board for Until She Dies!

Reading!

This month, though, I’m taking some time off writing to recharge – I’ve been in “writing mode” so long that my reading side has suffered and I’ve felt my creativity starving for fuel.  I would love to make reading more of a habit and read many more books in 2017.

I’m hoping, too, that giving my mind a break from fiction writing will help unlock more bloggable thoughts and I’ll have more musings to share here. 🙂

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Tentative TBR for the month, to finish or start for the first time: a beta read for a friend, Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H.L. Burke, A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, and Unblemished by Sara Ella.

Party!

Tonight, I’m being featured as one of 12 authors in the Twelve Writers of Christmas Facebook party! It’s my first time being a “special guest” at a Facebook party, and I’m pretty excited about it. 🙂 Stop by tonight at 7 p.m. EST, and you might win books or an Amazon gift card!  (Click the picture below to go to the party page.)

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#WIPjoy

Writers, don’t forget that the next #WIPjoy is coming up in January! Throw me any ideas you have for the next one in the blog comments! 🙂

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Future Giveaway!

On the subject of giveaways, too, keep your eye out for a giveaway coming here to the blog sometime this month! 😉

Pssst, there shall be pretty handpainted bookmarks!

Pssst, there shall be pretty, hand-painted bookmarks!

Simmer Starters!

And now, as promised, some inspiring writing links!

Speculation and Christmas (Rebecca Luella Miller) – “Perhaps sin has hardened us or perhaps it has given us a correct understanding—apart from intervention, we will live without hope and help. We will remain alone and lonely. We will not find fulfillment in our selfish pursuits. But our Christmas stories show intervention. The supernatural comes into the world in unexpected ways, and it changes everything.”

Storytelling Saves Lives (James Scott Bell) – “Stress relief can extend life. Entertainment can make the present life better. Sure, we can have challenging fiction of various kinds, but the real power comes from the ‘lostness’ of a reader inside a compelling narrative.”

Why Your Writing Matters – Even if You’re Not Famous (Janeen Ippolito) – “Writing is a hard field. Never let anyone tell you any differently. But while it has unique challenges, it isn’t any harder or easier than many other career choices. It takes guts and passion and drive. It takes focused creativity when you’re ready to quit and the ability to see new possibilities and opportunities–or even to create them.”

How To Identify Your Story’s Premise (K.M. Weiland) – “It’s not enough just to come up with a cool idea for your book. You also have to make it work on every single page. Otherwise, no matter how cool it is, it quickly becomes the wrong premise. The key to solving this problem before it even gets started is learning how to identify your story’s premise—and more specifically the most important aspect of that premise—right out of the gates.”

What’s up with YOU lately? What books are on your December TBR?  What books are you hoping to get for Christmas? Have you ever been a host or featured guest at a Facebook party?

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Simmer Starters – August 5, 2016

August 5, 2016

I’m currently recovering from VBS, which was back-to-back with my trip to Philly for Realm Makers!  I will blog about RM next week, Lord willing, and I have plans to shift to a new style of Simmer Starters…one where I add more of my own personal thoughts on the links I choose to share.  Please comment and let me know if that’s something that would interest you more! 🙂

For now, I’m simply sharing the links I’ve gathered recently, as always.  Do check these out, because they are all wonderful!

Storytelling with Faith and Free Will (R.J. Anderson and Stephen McCranie) – I enjoyed this dialogue about faith and storytelling. There’s a lot of good stuff to glean here.

5 Reasons Writing Is Important to the World (K.M. Weiland) – “Let’s face it, people, the world’s a mess right now. I think the vast majority of us agree on that, to one degree or another, regardless our worldview. And what are we doing about it? What can we do about it?… We’re just folks who put words on paper. We’re just people spinning little tales that make us happy or fulfill our own fantasies: romance and superheroes, dragons and femme fatales. We’re just writers. That doesn’t seem like much right now. It certainly doesn’t seem like enough.”

Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me (Andrew Peterson) – ALL OF THIS. “I couldn’t get Harry’s story out of my head. I doubled over in the back of the auditorium and sobbed with gratitude to Jesus for allowing his body to be ruined, for facing the enemy alone, for laying down his life for his friends–Jesus, my friend, brother, hero, and king–Jesus, the Lord of Life, who triumphed o’er the grave–who lives that death may die! Even now, writing those words, my heart catches in my throat. In that moment I was able, because of these books, to worship Christ in a way I never had.”

Why Christians Should Paint, Dance, Quilt, Act, Compose Music, Write Stories, Decorate Cookies, and Participate in the Arts (Mark Altrogge) – I LOVE this post so much. And the title of it reminds me of that quote from Joss Whedon: “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”

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Simmer Starters – July 15, 2016

July 15, 2016

Brace yourselves!  After missing it last week, I have a ton of Simmers to catch up on. 😀

Hospitality and the Holy Imagination (Zach Franzen) – Some fascinating, worthy thoughts here (it takes a bit for the article to really get going, so stay with it). “Artists should be good hosts. At the very least they should serve a meal they are willing to eat themselves.”

How Worry Steals Your Magic (K.M. Carroll) – “I’ve spent the last decade learning to be afraid. Learning to worry. Learning all those dark, negative things that help you survive adulthood–but they cut off your shining Neverland. In its place, I built a narrow, dystopian world of darkness and fear.”

Thinking Biblically About Worry (Paul David Tripp) – Speaking of worry… “Worry and rest always reveal the true treasures of your heart. You will rest the most when what you treasure the most is secure, and you will worry the most when what you treasure the most is at risk. What does your world of worry reveal about the true treasures of your heart?”

Teaching Jaded Characters How to Trust (Angela Ackerman) – “[Our characters] have suffered pain, emotional wounds that leave them paralyzed when it comes to trust. Somehow, we must help them move past their pain. We must convince them that a willingness to being vulnerable by trusting another will lead to something deeper and more meaningful than they ever imagined.”

Homosexuality in Christian Fiction (Elijah David) – Whether you agree with this post or not, I believe this is a very important conversation for Christian writers to have. “Thus we approach this issue as we approach any other delicate issue regarding a character’s traits and motivations. We write them with excellence and complexity. We show these people are not forced to represent all women, all people of color, all blind people, all the LGBT movement. Stereotypes and generalizations get us nowhere as writers, as storytellers, as students of human nature.”

When Motherhood Squashes Your Talent (Courtney Allison) – This is applicable beyond the topic of motherhood! Comforting words for those who yearn to write but are “stuck” in a difficult phase of life for it. “In the middle of my nausea. When my life was reeling with surprise and sickness. When my chief avenue of processing, thinking, and meditating (i.e. writing), was cut off to me. God knew that would happen. So, I quietly closed my journal, logged out of my blog, and walked into my every day.”

Women, Trade Self-Worth for Wonder and Awe (Jen Wilkin) – YES! “You can tell me that I stir the heart of God, that I am sung over and delighted in, that I am beautiful in his eyes, that I am set apart for a sacred purpose. You can tell me these things, and you should. But I beg you: Don’t tell me who I am until you have caused me to gaze in awe at ‘I Am.’

Why Single is Not the Same as Lonely (Sam Allberry) – Because friendships are a blessing! “A friend is someone who knows your soul. Someone who doesn’t just know lots about you, but knows you. And, Proverbs shows us, we cannot hope to live wisely in God’s world without such soul-to-soul friendships. All of us need them, not just those who are single.”

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Simmer Starters – July 2, 2016

July 2, 2016

Fear Not, the Universe is Wildly Out of Your Control (Ricky Alcantar) – “Psalm 97:1 says simply ‘The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!’ This of course implies that we do not reign ultimately. On many days I don’t like that. But rather than cause for anxiety the Psalmist encourages us that it’s cause for celebration. Because the Lord reigns.”

We Are Not Superheroes (Kevin Frye) – This!  So many times this.  This applies to any spiritual gift.  “One time an associate pastor was talking to me, and he complimented me on how freely I could dance and worship with my whole heart. I looked at him and said, ‘You can do it, too, you know. I’m not doing anything special. Everyone can experience the Holy Spirit and find joy and be set free.’ I didn’t want to be the only one dancing.”

Who Will You Serve and Surprise This Week? (Tim Challies) – “If we are to live in such a way that we bring glory to God by doing good to others, we owe it to them to serve and surprise, to fulfill duty and express delight. So who do you need to serve and surprise in the week ahead?”

Dumpster Diving (Nancy Ann Wilson) – A good reminder to take every thought captive.  “We all know how our minds drift all the day long, and we tend to be easily carried along to where ever they might take us. But thoughts left to themselves often go dumpster diving, digging through fleshly things, carnal things, earthly things, untrue, ignoble, unjust, impure, unlovely, and unkind things. The dumpster is always full of this stuff: your own past sins and failures, the sins of others, bitterness, worries, and lusts. And then we wonder why we are worried, envious, lustful, bitter, anxious, or fearful. But we’ve been feeding on this stuff from the dumpster all day!”

Why Your Character’s Childhood Dreams Matter (Ruthanne Reid) – “With very few exceptions, all characters had a childhood. What did your character want to be when they grew up? When they were young, what seemed like the best future path? What job did they want? What skills did they crave? What misconceptions did they have about that job?”

Parenting a Difficult Child (Julie Lowe) – I don’t often post specifically parenting-related stuff since not all my readers are parents, but I thought this was a good article, and encouraging. 🙂

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Simmer Starters – June 24, 2016

June 24, 2016

Today we’ve got some writing articles, a culture/faith article, and two marriage articles. Enjoy!

Why You Should Stop Searching For Your Authentic Voice (Enchanting Marketing) – This is a fascinating and refreshing look at the topic of finding your writing voice.  “What if you liberate yourself from your search for authenticity? Could you find a voice resonating strongly with your audience because you focus on your readers instead of yourself?”

What’s Your Third Book? (Dan Bal0w) – Why it’s important to have more than one idea stashed away if you want to write professionally.  Also, good advice on finding your writing niche.

In Lieu of ‘In Lieu of Flowers’ (David Greusel) – Love this article for its defense of beauty and why beauty is necessary. “Have you ever sat in a funeral and looked at a big flower arrangement at the front of the sanctuary, and thought, ‘Wow, that must be $300 worth of flowers — that money could have been used to feed a whole lot of hungry people?’ Congratulations. You think just like Judas.”

What the World Needs Now is Better Wine (Lori Roeleveld) – Beautiful article about marriage. “There is a better love than the one I originally offered my spouse. I am now eternally grateful that I ran out of my own watered-down version of love because when I did, I turned to Jesus for a miracle.”

Why Sex Isn’t the Best Thing Ever (Lore Ferguson Wilbert) – This is especially good for singles, but a great reminder for marrieds as well. “When I hear those who are not married say ‘But at least you get to have sex! And live with your best friend!’ Well, first, I’d warn against saying at least in regard to much. But second I want to say your words betray a much, much deeper need…”