Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Words Are Light

A huge THANK YOU to Seekerville for letting me hang out here today! Y’all rock and I love telling aspiring writers that Seekerville is the equivalent of a gold mine when it comes to growing as a novelist.
I’m heading into my fourth year as a published author and is it ever a roller coaster ride! The kind of ride that can be super-scary and super-amazing all in the same day. From squealing over my first published-author contest final, to staring blankly at a less-than-glowing review of one of my novellas, it’s emotionally intense, to say the least.

One thing never gets old though, and that’s coming across a copy of one of my books. This happened recently when I attended a conference at a large church near Detroit, and spotted copies of The Convenient Bride Collection while strolling through their tiny bookstore.

As I sat in a session later, I glanced down at the bag of books I’d purchased (all three copies of The Convenient Bride Collection!) and a single thought swamped me with slam-dunk intensity.
The words I type, alone at my computer, are printed and reprinted thousands of times.

 Wow.

What an inspiring…and almost scary thought. Those of us who are published authors (and pre-published too!) bear a huge responsibility. We’ve been given an awesome privilege, and that is the gift of being read by many. We don’t know all of the people who are touched by our stories. We don’t know the places those books are taken. Hospital waiting rooms. The line to pick kids up from school. Prison libraries. Everyday places and extraordinary ones.

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What we create in solitude possesses magnificent power.

And sometimes, in the craziness of deadlines, marketing, and life, we tend to forget that. I know I have. It’s an easy thing to do. Writing is fun, but also work. So I asked myself, sitting in that church auditorium, how am I using my words? Am I seeking the Lord through each and every page I write? Because sometimes the story I want to tell isn’t the one that needs to be told. God knows every person who will hold a copy of our book in their hands. He knows their pain and, believe me, the pain of those who sojourn on this earth is great. Are we writing with sensitivity to our readers, choosing our topics based on their needs?

Or are we plugging away at our contracted novels, just because we’re on deadline, or just because we have a fan-base that expects us to produce such and such? The greater the quantity we create, it becomes easy to buy into the idea that our category romance really isn’t all that important. But sometimes those category romances and novellas have a far greater reach than a traditionally published novel. Walk down the book aisle of your local Walmart and you’ll come face-to-face with the evidence.

I’m sure if I asked each of you to share how fiction, particularly Christian fiction, has changed your life, you’d each have different, but equally beautiful answers. Though I was raised in a Christian home, it wasn’t until my early teen years when I was introduced to novels like Julie Lessman’s A Passion Most Pure and MaryLu Tyndall’s Legacy of the King’s Pirates Series, that I began to seek Jesus personally, instead of simply going through the motions. To this day, the novels I read continue to play a huge part in challenging me in my walk with Christ. Cathy Gohlke’s Secrets She Kept is a recent example.

And it goes beyond our stories. A reader may be blessed by a book, but if they reach out to the author, how are we responding? Do we take the time to engage with them, listen to them? Or are we just concerned with connecting with them to the point that we know they’ll continue to stay a fan, buy our next book, but nothing more? This is such an easy trap to fall into, especially in the current industry where we’re required to do more marketing than ever.

Of course, a new fan is wonderful. Gaining one is pretty easy to achieve, with a quick reply to their social media comment, a smiley face perhaps.
But a moment of holy is even better. And in the end, that divine appointment counts for far more in eternal value, than those easily-made fans or a trophy announcing our latest novel won some accolade.
I leave you with a challenge. I already know many of you do this so well. But next time you’re sitting down at the keyboard to fulfill your daily word count, take a moment, pause, and pray. For your own creativity, yes, but also for the person who will be reading your stories in search of truth spoken into their heart. Pray to be used to speak that truth. Pray for grace and wisdom to convey it well.

Our world is steadily growing darker by the day.
May our words be used to bring light.
I’d love to hear your story of how fiction impacted your life, or how one of your stories touched a reader!

GIVEAWAY-Comment today for a chance to win a copy of My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls New York, and since this is Seekerville, a chocolate treat!
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ECPA bestselling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story – a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes inspirational historical romance, penning stories that transport readers to a variety of locales – from the sweeping coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, to the rugged landscape of Central Texas. Her novella, The Truest Heart, finaled in the 2017 FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.
A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, who kindly put up with the invisible people she calls characters.
These days, Amanda can be found reading way too many books, watching an eclectic mix of BBC dramas and romantic chick flicks, and trying to figure out a way to get on the first possible flight to England.

She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.
Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.
Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.
 On a sightseeing trip to the Falls, Adele meets several eligible suitors. Incredibly wealthy and pompous, Franklin Conway takes an immediate fancy to her. But Adele would truly like to marry for love.  When she encounters the mysterious Drew in the garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves?




182 comments:

  1. Hi Amanda!

    You are so right! Christian fiction have definitely challenged me in so many ways. Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure was one of the very first Christian fiction I've read that changed my perspective on what Christian Fiction is. I didn't know it existed without being preachy, but inspiring, encouraging and NORMAL. Normal in a way that it is REAL. OK, I'm off tangent. I'm not a writer, but as a reader reading stories that makes an impact, I'm blessed indeed. And I pray that Christian fiction will continue to make an impact on our much needed world. So keep writing,authors!

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    1. I love, love this! I think a lot of people have a negative expectation of what Christian fiction is, and I’m so grateful for books like Julie’s and Francine’s that are out there to turn that expectation upside down. I truly believe that fiction is able to work in ways and go places nonfiction could never achieve, so I’m incredibly grateful for the blessing of being a writer and a reader in this very special market! :)

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    2. Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love made an impact on me. Well, just about everything by her does. :) The Mark of the Lion series...

      That woman knows how to yank my heartstrings!

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    3. Francine Rivers is brilliant! She definitely has God-given talent!

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    4. Yes yes Amanda! I also think fiction can convey a certain message that hits home or relate much more than nonfiction can. It's the fact that it is fiction, that's where creativity can really shine, and "anything is possible."

      Francine River's Redeeming Love is in my TBR pile. I need to get on it! I've heard such great things!!

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    5. WOW, Annie, you just blessed my socks off with your comment, so THANK YOU, my sweet friend!!

      And I'm with Pam on Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series -- that really impacted me, more so than Redeeming Love even.

      I'm interested in seeing your thoughts on Redeeming Love. I subscribe to your blog, so I will definitely see your review when you post it. :)

      HUGS!
      Julie

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  2. I've been very blessed by Christian fiction as a reader! I know I will always find some nugget of truth in there somewhere & God will speak to me through the pages of a book somehow. And it's ALWAYS just the thing I need to hear or be reminded of :-) You writers have such an opportunity to use your books as a ministry, or as I like to also see it, a mission field. You never know what someone will get out of it.

    I also love when authors connect with us readers. I've written some over the years on how the book impacted me or what I got out of it and I've always get such a positive response back from them. I think writers need encouragement just like we readers do...it's a win/win all around!

    Amanda, I'm happy to say that Barbour has chosen me to read & review My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey via their review crew I am part of :-) I just got notified in my email today and will have the book within a week, yay! I can't wait to devour this one, I've enjoyed each My Heart Belongs book I've read. So no need to toss my name in the barrel (you know to ride in over the falls with, lol!) to win a copy.

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    1. Trixi, I used to LOVE the little excerpts publishers would put in their books about the author's life... It made me feel connected to them, and they seemed larger than life.

      That's part of why I love Seekerville and facebook. I can connect with people. Chat... develop relationships beyond the excerpt in a book.

      That's the blessing side of social media.

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    2. Trixi, I always love your perspective. It speaks for all us readers!

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    3. Ruthy, I love reading the author excerpts and acknowledgments in books. It helps me to know the author better and their thoughts on the book at hand.

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    4. Annie, I agree. And that insight really drew me to certain authors. And I still enjoy those authors today, even the retired or deceased ones. Books sometimes carry on a life of their own, well past ours!

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    5. Trixi, you're so right about the encouragement! I just said that in my comment below. Reader letters have offered me encouragement to keep going at times when the writing journey is tough.

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    6. Your comment blessed me so much, Trixi! I love how you called Christian fiction a mission field. That’s so very true! Whenever I’m listening to a missionary speak at church, I’m always reminded that though I may not be serving in a third world country, writing IS a ministry, and can be used by God to touch lives and change hearts.

      And I absolutely love it when I as a reader, reach out and connect with an author, and are blessed and encouraged in return. I’ve experienced this whenever I’ve attended ACFW. As well as following the Seekers as writing bloggers, many of them are also favorite authors of mine, and I was always so starstruck to meet them! :-) I remember walking away after meeting Julie Lessman, and feeling so giddy at the thought that someone so talented actually took the time to talk to ME!! Now that I’m a published author, and have experienced that side of things, I always pray that readers are encouraged by their time with me, either on social media, or face to face.

      Yay! I’m so glad you’ll have a chance to read and review the novel! That’s super exciting!!

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    7. LOL, Amanda -- you were sixteen and impressionable, so I had it made! ;)

      Hugs!!
      Julie

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  3. Amanda, when I a kid for a while I wanted to build roads. Now I am HUGELY older than you, but I remember the interstate highway being built out here in Nebraska. It didn't get here for a while.
    And the first time I drove under an underpass is a vivid memory. I must've been studying Ancient Rome??? In school about that time? Elementary schools and world history, right?
    Anyway I'd read about the Apian Way and I was fascinated and thrilled thinking parts of something so ancient were still around.
    (they'd invented interstate highways and maybe archeology...was that when I was young???)
    But I thought those roads, those huge interstate highways, they'd be as eternal as the Apian Way and I thought that would be a thrilling thing to be part of, creating something that would last for centuries.

    And now I write books...and I've realized books last, too. Words last.
    In my own far less-cementy way, I ended up doing something that thrilled me as a child and I like knowing that.

    And writing for the Lord, how there's eternal for you. :D

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    1. Mary, even though I know how they make a concrete bridge/overpass, I still wonder how it all stays in the air.

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    2. Mary, that's a wonderful thought!

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    3. MARY!!!!!!! I love your analogy! That’s spot on! Words definitely outlast us, both spoken and written ones. I think about Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, who, though they weren’t necessarily CBA authors, wrote novels that traveled far beyond their small English towns to touch and inspire millions.

      And…you could always incorporate a hero who builds roads or bridges into one of your novels. :)

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    4. Mary, I remember when the first interstate was built in New Hampshire. It used to take forever to get anywhere, especially when a dour Yankee gave you the wrong directions. You CAN get "they'ah" from "he-ah," but you didn't necessarily want to.

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    5. Less-cementy is my new favorite Mary-ism.

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  4. Amanda, isn't it amazing to think God knows who will read the books we write and what they need to hear? It gives me chills. I just pray my words touch someone's heart. I try and always pray about what I write. I'll admit sometimes I wonder how my words can reach them or help them. Especially when I'm writing a murder. Maybe that's why so far I'm not published in suspense! But seriously that's when I pray God will show them every aspect of life is better with Him.

    You're so young if you were reading Julie as a teen! Congratulations on your new book and throw my name in the hat. Oh, and I have to ask, did you tell them in the bookstore that you were the author?

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    1. Terri, thank you so much for stopping by! I love your thoughts! I’ve only responded to a few comments so far, but I’m already blown away by all the wisdom around here!

      Now, as for the murder thing. :) I actually believe Christian novels with suspense can reach readers no other genre could. There’s a demographic that tends to gravitate toward those kinds of stories, that wouldn’t necessarily pick up a sweet historical romance. That demographic is full of people who need hope and truth! Sometimes, in those dark situations that tend to occur in suspense novels, God’s light can shine out all the brighter.

      Yes, I did tell them I was the author, and they thought that was pretty cool. I actually got the contact info of the person who arranges events, to talk about doing a book signing.

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    2. Gives me chills, too. I'm pre-pubbed but I've written a lot for magazines and Sunday-School papers, and I never know who's reading what. hope they're blessed.
      KB

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    3. I know they do, KB! I still read magazine articles that touch and impact me. I love that you’re using your talents for the glory of God by writing for magazines and Sunday school papers, as well as working on fiction. That’s such an incredible ministry!

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  5. I grew up in a family that reads. A house full of books. My home now seems to have a bookcase in most rooms. Books, reading, fiction a part of life.

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    1. Me too...or at least each room will have at least 1 book (o, except the bathrooms - I'll never do that). Lol

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    2. Mary P, one of my kids had an assignment when she was in elementary school. She was supposed to count the number of books in her house. I was almost embarrassed! LOL I think the number was something around 1500. And that number has multiplied since then, because we gave away about that many when we moved in 2016, and I still have a gazillion.

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    3. Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary! Our house has a bookcase in almost every room too! I love going into those rooms and looking at the shelves, remembering the wonderful stories and times spent reading them. While e-books are amazing, there’s something special and unique about those shelves lined with well-worn books.

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    4. I’m sure the teacher was quite impressed with that number, Missy! She definitely knew your children were getting a great education at home, as well as at school. I’d try and count the number of books we have in our house, but in the time it would take me to count, my favorite authors would keep putting out books to add to them!

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    5. A room isn't a room without books. BOOKS THAT YOU READ, hello. I also read a lot of home decorating magazines and blogs, and I'm amused at how the decorators perceive books. I just saw a "wall" filled with old books with their spines in and pages out, what is the point of that? And there's a place where you can order Books By the Yard for your décor. It is a crazy world out there. I have enough trouble finding space for the books we DO read.

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    6. I always feel that a house without books is like a house without a soul. When I go to someone's house, I'm always checking out the bookshelves. Finding an old familiar title on someone's bookshelf is like finding out you're related to that someone because you have the experience of that book in common. :) #ReadingUnites!

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    7. I do this to the point of being a snoop, Erica! I’ll be standing in someone’s living room, and (of course) absolutely must cross the room and peek at their bookshelves. And then I start looking at the spines and picking one up… Thankfully, most of my friends are also avid readers, and totally understand the fixation. :-)

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    8. lol! Me too!! When someone does an interview on tv in front of a bookshelf, I am totally trying to read the titles and see if there are any that I've read. Ditto movies and tv!

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    9. It must be a “reader who is also a writer” thing. :-)

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  6. Amanda!!! You were not this grown up and polished the last time I saw you, but that was years ago... and you're just as lovely inside as out...

    Thank you for these heartfelt words of wisdom. You are so right... and huge thanks for the shout out about category romance. Being blessed to have written both, long books and category, the tens of thousands of people we touch with a $5 book at Walmart amazes me.

    And humbles me. My cowboy books for Waterbrook didn't break any sales records as $14 big books... but when they released them as Mass Market paperbacks, the sales tripled.

    Not everyone can afford the bigger books so how fun to give them a choice in the Christian market!!! Thank you for saying that!

    Touching hearts... and souls.

    Best job ever!

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    1. RUTHY!!!!! I still remember meeting you all those years ago at ACFW!! You were so sweet and encouraging to my newbie conference attendee self!

      Yay for category romance! It’s mind-blowing the people those stories reach! Cost is definitely a factor when it comes to the full-length books, so yes, it is wonderful that those category stories are out there, and just as amazing and full of spiritual truths as their full-length counterparts.

      And weaving stories is truly the best job ever!

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    2. I live in a small town and the nearest Barnes & Noble is 20 miles away, so there's a convenience factor as well as a price factor in picking up a book at Walmart. Plus, I've gotten to know a number of Love Inspired writers through this blog, and it is so fun to be out shopping with someone, point to a book and say, "I KNOW her!" Even more bang for the proverbial buck.

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    3. That IS fun, KB!! I’ll be in Walmart buying bananas, and have to take the hike back to the book section, just to get in on the action. My sister will tell you I do waaaay too much pointing and squealing. :-) I was out shopping the other day, and saw Gabrielle Meyer’s newest LIH – looks amazing, by the way. She’s a dear friend of mine, and I was giddy to find her story on the shelf.

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    4. Kaybee, I love that part of the blog and social media. Just the chance to get to know you guys. Love it!!!!

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  7. Hi Amanda! Christian Fiction is really all I read now. May a "sweet" story every once and a while will find it's way into my hands but I try to stay away from books that won't feed my inner spirit. I love it when a book speaks to me.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. That should read, "Maybe a 'sweet' story..."

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    2. Cindy! I love what you wrote about staying away from books that don’t feed your ‘inner spirit.’ While I do occasionally read a secular novel, and enjoy those stories for their research, good writing, etc., I always end the reading experience feeling like something is missing. Christian fiction novels, as well as producing brilliant plots and characters, have an element of hope that ABA books lack. And I know that that hope comes from the author’s relationship with God, and His truth spoken into their stories.

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    3. Cindy and Amanda, me too. I do read some secular mystery and suspense, but only if there's no graphic sex. There are books I can't finish, so I don't. It needs to feed something in me.

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  8. Welcome Amanda, Great post. I am a reader and many books have encouraged me. I also love when an author takes the time to reply when I reach out and send an email. I remember when I was reading some of the Gilbert Morris novels and I snail mailed him via his publisher and he wrote to me and we exchanged a couple of letters. It made my day and I still have the letters and photos.

    I visited Canada in 2008 for a friends wedding and we visited Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. (I was a little disappointed because it was so built up as I am use to waterfalls in the wilderness but the waterfall is amazing). I have read quite a few of the My Heart Belongs in books and loved each one of them.

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    1. I love interacting with authors on social media, and am always thrilled when they comment back. Laura Frantz is an author who always takes the time to comment heartfelt replies to her readers, and I know it touches them immeasurably. Interactions like that are so needed, as our world becomes more and more me-focused and disconnected.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Jenny!

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    2. Laura is so stinkin' nice that even I LIKE HER!!! :)

      We got to have some time at CFRR in 2016 and oh my stars, what a wonderfully nice person.

      She's a peach.

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    3. She is!!!! She truly radiates joy to all around her!

      Speaking of CFRR, I seriously need to join in the fun there sometime. I’m always so jealous whenever I see the pictures. :-) :)

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    4. Amanda, I love CFRR because it's a direct link to readers. I love readers. I don't need the whole conference thing anymore, I can get together with writers on my own... and not spend $1000 + to do it! But readers... touching base with them, that's my wheelhouse. So that kind of thing works for me. And you would LOVE it.

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    5. I know I would! I’m definitely looking into it the next time author registration opens. Being able to meet encourage and meet face-to-face with readers is such a special experience. Plus, I love hanging out with all the fabulous authors. :-)

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    6. Jenny, that is so awesome. I am always AMAZED when I receive a card or note from authors. They are so sweet and for them to take that time to write to little ol' me?! Well, that just makes my day.

      As a reader, I think that time we spent with authors at events like CFRR brings their stories to life a bit more for us. It's not only our favorites, but also how these stories have influenced the author, and readers alike. Being able to pray and worship together...speechless. It slashed the distance I once felt between authors and readers, at least to me.

      Amanda, we'd love to have you at CFRR!! We plan to have author registration info up by early Spring or even earlier. *wink wink.

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    7. CFRR sounds like such an incredible experience! The opportunity to share, pray, and connect face to face--author to reader…wow! I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for author registration. :)

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  9. Good morning, Amanda! I'm constantly dumbstruck that stories and settings and characters and emotions that come out of my heart & imagination can touch the imagination and heart of those who read my books. It's an amazing partnership--God, me, and a reader--that makes the story truly come alive.

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    1. That's so true, Glynna! And you're right. It's an amazing partnership.

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    2. Wow, Glynna! That’s so true. I wrote this blog post before the author copies for my novel arrived, and it was so special and surreal holding that book in my hands. Words that I wrote when it was just me and God, now on the printed page is a feeling like no other. It makes me so grateful for the opportunity to minister to others as an author!

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  10. Hi Amanda, Christian fiction has been my choice throughout life. As a teen I read the classics too, but found other choices were not for me. My mind replays what I read and wholesome stories keep my thoughts in the light. I could never do horror. Too many replays.

    Thank you to all the past and future Christian writers who keep that light alive or lead someone to God's light through their words. What you do or hope to do is a ministry of encouragement.

    I've read several of the Love Finds You series and enjoyed them so please put my name in the drawing. Hi from your neighboring state Ohio. Brrrr.

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    1. Bettie, you are so right about Christian stories keeping a reader’s thoughts focused on the Light. Popular entertainment is so full of darkness, and I love that Christian moviemakers, songwriters, and novelists, are able to offer an alternative that glorifies God.

      Stay warm in Ohio! It’s definitely winter-temps in Michigan.

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    2. Agreed. It's way too easy to get sucked into the gutter these days... and each baby step becomes harder to recover later on.

      I like the Light.

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    3. Bettie, so true! That's one thing that really differentiates CF with stories of the general genre - the light and sense of hope.

      I was at a young adult book festival earlier in 2017 and was so apalled by the content. Granted, there were kids (young tweens) at this conference too. I think nowadays, even young teen books are stretching the limit in terms of appropriateness and what message they're trying to bring to their readers. Sales probably played more of a role than the eduacational aspect.

      Goodness - there I go rambling again.

      Anyways, stay warm. We're in the blizzard warning tonight through Friday!!

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  11. HEY AMANDA!

    As a reader, I SO appreciate authors that glorify Him with the talents He gifted them with. Stories are a beautiful way to share the Gospel message of HOPE. May the Lord continue to bless you in your journey.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Hi there, Caryl! Fiction is such a great way to bring the gospel message into the life of an unbeliever. They might not read a tract…but they might pick up a story in a genre that intrigues them. That’s why I love that Christian fiction is across the board – from romance, to suspense, to comedy. It offers something for everyone.

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  12. Hi, Amanda. Knowing that God called me to write for Him is very humbling. And I have learned time and again that if He isn’t a part of the writing process, the story just doesn’t work. The times I’ve had the most rewrites is when I’ve ignored what He wants me to write and done things my way. Usually because what He wants me to write causes me to dig deeper and sometimes it’s difficult to go there, to those uncomfortable places I know He’s leading me. Funny thing, though. When I do things His way, the story always works. Honestly, every story is a journey and I never know what He’s going to teach me.

    Thanks for such a great reminder.

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    1. You are so right about every story being a journey, Mindy! I often find that God is teaching me truths right along with my characters. I once got contracted for a novella, and wasn’t really sure where the spiritual journey fit in. I remember sitting at the table, struggling with forgiving someone, and felt the Lord speak to my heart about forgiveness. That led to my including characters in the story whom my hero and heroine struggled to forgive. Writing is definitely a blessing to me, along with my readers.

      I love your insight! Thank you so much!

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    2. I love that, Mindy. Even as a reviewer. I pray for the right words. Sometimes I know when I ignore the nudge to be constructive, my words come off harsher than necessary. We are Christians, and I think our actions and words should exemplify that.

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  13. Good morning, Amanda! You have such a sweet spirit, lady! What an encouraging post!

    Y'all, Adele and Drew's story is not to be missed! I love what Amanda does with this storyline!

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Beth! You’re so encouraging!

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  14. Thanks for being here, Amanda. Your post is such a great reminder of what we've been called to do. I'm not published, so not a lot of people are reading my work :), but I wrote a blog post nearly five years ago, mostly for myself, when my two-year-old niece was diagnosed with cancer. It was an encouragement to myself and our family that God was there in the middle of the uncertainty. I cried while I wrote it. It has been read more than anything else I've written and my sister often shares it when she speaks to groups about their journey. That is so very humbling to me and reminds me that when I let God into my writing, He can take a few words from me about something very personal and make it fit each person and their circumstance. How could we ever hope to do that on our own? Thanks again for being here!

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    1. Hey Glynis- will you give us a link to the blog you mentioned? I'd love to read it! Thank you!

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    2. http://glynisb.blogspot.com/2013/04/death-of-dragon.html

      Thanks so much for your interest, Jana. I hope you are encouraged by it.

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    3. What an incredible story, Glynis! A great testimony to the truth that it’s ultimately God Who decides how many lives our stories will reach. Often, the industry pressures us to think about the numbers, and while those are important in career terms, I think the parable of the woman looking for the lost coin is the way God sees it. One heart touched, changed, encouraged, means as much to Him as hundreds of thousands.

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    4. Glynis, "Death of a Dragon" was beautifully done. Marvelous.

      Thanks for giving us the link!!!

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    5. Thank you all! I realized after I posted that I never talked about how Christian fiction has influenced me. I loved the books of Janette Oke, Frank Peretti, and Brock and Bodie Thoene when I was younger. They all influenced me as a reader and a writer. Then later, the books of Rachel Hauck and Sharon Hinck expanded my horizons. And so many others that I can't even name!

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    6. Those are all wonderful authors, Glynis! Brock and Bodie Thoene are “new” authors to me, but I’m looking forward to reading more of their books this year. I read Vienna Prelude last year, and am excited to read more in the series soon!

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    7. Glynis, thank you for sharing this with us. A testimony of His sovereignty.

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  15. Hi Amanda and thanks for being with us in Seekerville. Very encouraging post! We who are called to write may indeed reach many with our printed words. My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls is next up on my TBR and I can't wait to get started!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Cindy! I’m thrilled My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York is next on your reading list. I’m looking forward to getting started on reading some January releases myself. These chilly Michigan temperatures are perfect for curling up with a blanket and a good book!

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  16. Oh my, Amanda, you're all grown up! I remember when Julie Lessman introduced you to us at the first ACFW conference you attended. You were so sweet. NOW? You're a beautiful young lady full of fire, waiting to see where your books will take you!

    Oh, so proud of you!

    Amen to every single word in your post. You touched my heart with your honesty. I've learned so much about myself while reading Christian romance (I hate to say it but romance is really my only reading thing, LOL). Our books wind up in the hands that need them, and so much more.

    Keep writing, Amanda. I love the path you're on!

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    1. Aww, you are so sweet, Audra! You blessed me when we met at ACFW, and I know your wonderful stories are continuing to have a life-changing impact on readers!

      Romance is my go-to genre as well, and I’ve had some of my most powerful reading experiences in that genre. A recent example is Becky Wade’s “True to You.” I still think about the truths she so seamlessly relayed in that story.

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  17. Thanks for the words of advice about praying for those that will be reading the words we pen. That can be applied in so many different ways!

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    1. Amen to that, Paula! It can even go a step further than what I talked about in the post, and relate to the words we speak as well. I’m a TobyMac fan and love his song Speak Life.

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  18. AMANDA!! What a WONDERFUL post, my friend, and HOW it blesses me to see the incredible progress God has bestowed upon you since that first email I received from an adorable 16-year-old regarding her passion to write!! And thank you for your sweet mention of A Passion Most Pure -- you are a sweetheart!

    How many books do you have under your belt now, my friend? And I LOVE the cover for your latest, My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York!

    You said, "But a moment of holy is even better."

    That gave me chills -- warm ones -- because you are SO right!! Those moments of "holy" are not only life-changing for reader and author alike, but they are a warm hug from the God we serve as He whispers in our ear, "well done, good and faithful servant."

    May God continue to bless you in your career and life, and I hope to see you in Nashville this year, God willing!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. JULIE!!!!!!!!!! So, so special to hear from you! Your novels have definitely had an impact on my life, and I know on many others as well.

      I have six novellas out, with a seventh releasing in March, along with My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York. It still amazes me to look at the space on my bookshelf reserved for my books. When I first got the bookshelf, there wasn’t anything to fill that space. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams, and I’m so grateful for friends like you who encouraged me along the journey.

      Those moments of "holy" are not only life-changing for reader and author alike, but they are a warm hug from the God we serve as He whispers in our ear, "well done, good and faithful servant."

      THAT gave me chills, my friend! You are so right! I’ve had so many of those moments, both while reading your blog posts and your novels. I was just thinking about Isle of Hope the other day, and how much I want to reread it. :-)

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    2. Okay, now you're going to make me cry, my friend, with your sweet, sweet comment!! Thank you for your support, but most of all your precious friendship!!

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  19. Good morning, Amanda!

    I love stories where the main character is not what she seems to be. My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls looks adorable.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Connie! I’m so glad you think so!

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  20. Thanks for a great post, Amanda. I have loved Christian fiction since I first read Janette Oke. Now I enjoy writing it. Working on my first book. Ready to start revising. I need to remember to pray each time I write. Now I will also pray for my future readers. Please enter me for the book.

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    1. Praying for our readers is such a privilege, Sandy! With the busyness of releasing my novel, I’ve been reminded that I need to do more of that. I think it was Martin Luther that said “I have so much to do today that I must first spend three hours of prayer to get it all done.” I’ve always loved that quote.

      Excited for you as you take the next step in your writing journey!

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  21. Hi, Amanda!

    What an encouraging and challenging post! It's one I'll need to read again as I re-think how I approach all the aspects of writing and marketing. Thank you!

    And yes, like many others my life was impacted by Christian fiction. Back when Janette Oke's first books were being published (yes, it was that long ago!!!), they provided a message that I hadn't heard anywhere else. Or maybe I had heard it before and wasn't ready to listen. Either way, God used those books to bring me closer to Him, and I'll always be grateful.

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    1. I love your story of how Janette Oke’s books impacted your life, Jan! I was privileged to attend the ACFW conference where she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. She wasn’t able to attend the conference to personally accept it, but witnessing that occasion, and thinking of her life and how it has impacted hundreds of thousands for eternity, was so special. She’s definitely a shining example of an author who has used her career for the glory of God.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share!!

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  22. As a reader I have had many occasions where I felt the author was speaking directly to me, gently reminding me of something I need to hear at just that time. Amanda, in My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York I needed the reminder to “ wait upon the Lord.” Often I am more inclined to follow the belief that the Lord helps those who helps themselves, forgetting to stop and ask Him before I forge ahead. Thank you for that reminder and for the wonderful trip to Niagara Falls through Adele’s story!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Julia! You are SUCH a blessing! I’m so humbled and grateful that Adele’s story spoke to you. Writing her journey was an incredibly personal experience for me, and I was again reminded of Isaiah 40: 31 this morning. It’s been an intense couple of weeks, and remembering that “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength,” was so timely.

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  23. Amanda, welcome!! We're so glad you joined us. What a great post. I especially appreciate your reminder to pray for the people who will be reading my words. I really needed to hear that today.

    As for your question... I recently came across a sweet reader email that I had saved that truly touched me. The reader shared how the my book had helped her in her faith journey. I was so glad I found it again, because it came at a time I needed the encouragement.

    Those of you who aren't writers, you'll never know how much your letters mean to us! Sometimes, those letters are what keeps us writing through the tough times.

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Missy! I love what you wrote about the reader letter. It’s so true. On the tough days, remembering the kind words of readers and reviewers can be such a blessing. Releasing novels definitely opens up the door for criticism, so those who take the time to share and encourage are golden!

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    2. Missy, that's so true, those reader letters are priceless! I am amazed (though I shouldn't be!) how often I'll have a setback or be discourage or wondering if my writing career is OVER (yes, I have a touch of drama about me when things get hard!) and at that moment, BAM! a reader email or book review or sweet note will arrive, lifting me up and allowing me to carry on!

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    3. Erica, God's timing is amazing, isn't it? :)

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  24. I adore the My Heart Belongs series! Thank you for a post that means much to a reader like me. I love reading Christian books for the daily convictions I get from the character's lessons learned. So many times I have read something that hit me hard and I realized it was my own struggle that was being brought to light. Thank you authors for writing those words that do touch our hearts and keep us going on our straight and narrow path!!

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    1. Thank YOU, Susan! Knowing there are readers out there like you keeps us going on the hard days. And from a reader’s perspective, I agree 100%. Christian fiction impacts me as much, if not more sometimes, than a sermon. I’ve been convicted so many times while reading a novel. I love being able to take those books and share them with others who are struggling. It’s definitely a great ministry!

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    2. Susan P! You would be amazed how often the lesson my characters are learning in my work-in-progress is PRECISELY the lesson I need to learn at that moment, too. God is cool like that.

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  25. I love Christian Fiction! I live and breathe Christian Fiction! These stories have made a HUGE difference in my life. And I didn't know it even existed until 7 years ago! The inspirational threads woven into these stories have ministered to me in so many ways. Have definitely contributed to my growth as a Christian -- even challenged me in uncomfortable ways from time to time.

    And it's definitely a God thing that had me discovering Christian Fiction at the same time I got a freaky infection that left me dealing with a neuropathy nightmare which ended with me going on disability leave. For months I barely left my house and even now I can only go out for about three hours (including travel time) if I want to keep my pain levels down. You know what's gotten me through? Kept my spirits up? Brought the outside world into my limited one? Books!!!! And not just any kind of book -- Christian Fiction! I am so grateful to authors like you who share their faith through their fiction. It really makes a difference in my life every single day. Hugs and sincere gratitude to all of you from this Canadian bibliophile!!!!

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    1. Kav, you are an inspiration! You have such a good attitude, and it blesses writers so much to hear your testimony and others like it. To be able to bless my readers is such a HUGE BLESSING to me. I thank God for this. And I pray you will continue to improve, Kav. Love and hugs!

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    2. Kav, I'm going to agree with Melanie because you and your story have been an inspiration to US! And your blog posts, your shout outs, your support of authors and stories... oh my sweet friend, this is huge for all of us.

      Thank you!!!

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    3. Your words touched me so much, Kav! Like Melanie said, you are a true inspiration! As an author, there are days when I’m discouraged, or tired, or burnt out. Hearing a story like yours is such an encouragement to keep going, even on those days. I’m so grateful to God that He has used Christian fiction to touch you in such a personal and profound way. And I’m so grateful to you for all you have done to support authors, and spread the word about their stories, even during your own struggles. That’s incredible!

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    4. Kav, you've made us all into cheerleaders of one of our best cheerleaders! Your story is so inspiring! Keep striving, lady!

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  26. Welcome to our new digs, Amanda! Love this blog post! Sometimes we get so caught up in the business of life, that we forget the business of light.

    And this... "But a moment of holy is even better."

    Powerful!

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    1. So great to see you here, Pam! I love the part about being so occupied with the business of life that one forgets the business of light. That reminds me of “A Christmas Carol,” one of my favorite stories ever! Scrooge was so occupied with accumulating wealth that he forgot about the people traveling life’s path around him. While most of us don’t take it to his extreme, I think we all can remember a time when we’ve been guilty of that. I know I can.

      And, speaking of the new look, it’s fabulous! I love all the exciting changes happening on Seekerville!

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  27. This is a great reminder, Amanda! We do bear a big responsibility, since we have the power to influence. It's true of everyone, not just writers. We influence those around us, in our friend group, our church, our workplace, and our family. It's good to remember that we need to spread LIGHT! Love it!!!

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    1. Preach it, Melanie! I love what you said about it being true of everyone, not just writers. Sometimes I think those in ministry are tempted to limit themselves as to the realm of that ministry, since they spend their workday serving. But as Christians, our work extends far beyond our day job, even if that day job is what one might consider ministry. It continues when we go to the grocery store, visit friends, and—my favorite one—interact at the drive-through at a fast food restaurant. :-) People who work in jobs like those are often treated with a huge lack of concern, and it’s great to be able to smile and be a light to them.

      Well… that was a bit of a tangent. :-) Thank you so much for taking the time to share!

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  28. Thank you for this post. It is so true. I would love to win a copy of your book.

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  29. Powerful is right, Pam. Welcome, Amanda! I have Debby Guisti's writer's prayer tacked up on my wall next to my computer. Pray it every morning before I type. It gives me the help and strength I need to power through my writing sessions. Thanks, Debby!


    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. I have Debby's prayer framed and on my desk. I use it as an outline when I pray before writing - changing or adding things.

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    2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Marcia! Debby’s prayer is a great example of words encouraging and guiding others! I love it!

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  30. Amanda, such a beautiful post. I was talking about you this morning at church to a young teen who is a writer. I told her about meeting you at your first ACFW conference and how you worked hard and now are multi-published with a wonderful following! I hope I have this young girl's mother's email so I can send a link. I would love for her to read your blogpost. Your writing journey is inspiring!

    Yes to writing for our readers. When God leads us, we can be better assured that the final story is the one he has chosen...perhaps for that one special person who needs to read what we've written.

    Congrats on your success. Your Niagara book sounds delightful!

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Debby! Meeting so many of the Seekers at ACFW was such an inspiration to me. You all were so gracious and encouraging!

      Writing for our readers is such a great reminder amid the craziness of deadlines. Sometimes it’s easy to get stressed about wanting to please people in the industry, and forget about those whose hands our book may find itself in. I love your words of wisdom!

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  31. My first exposure to Christian fiction was, as it was for many, Janette Oke.I thought, "I didn't know you could do that!" The books that changed my writing life were the Zion Chronicles. Those made me think, "I wanna do that!" Finding new ways to tell The Greatest Story Ever Told. What's not to love?
    Had a few hiccups in implementing my new writing schedule. The pipes froze AND the washing machine died. Pipes are restored but not washer, so off to Laundromat. Will edit or read while the clothes cook, so day not completely lost. May be back later,"
    KB
    Off now, back later.

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    1. Hi KB! The Zion Chronicles is a series I’ve known about for a long time, but only recently started reading. It’s soo good.

      So sorry to hear about the rough start to your day. This winter weather is definitely causing things to freeze and break down.

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  32. Hi Amanda:

    I noticed that your name, 'Amanda', means 'one who is worthy of love'. This makes me think that a good writing objective for Christian writers would be to write in such as way as to be worthy of the reader's love.

    I think that would be all writers would have to do. Missy is outstanding in doing this. I love reading her books.

    BTW: last night some items fell off my bulletin board above my computer. This happens from time to time because too many items are posted up there and there is also second bulletin board off to the left that is in range of my keyboard. I moved the fallen items away and at the bottom was "A Prayer for our Military" by Debby Giusti. Now given your advice today to pray before writing and given Debby's prayer falling on my keyboard, maybe God is sending me a message!

    My prayers before writing have been a little AWOL for a while!!!

    Actually, Debby's "Writer's Prayer" had already fallen behind my computer "L" table setup where I can't get to it so I was using the "Military Prayer".

    Sometime God answers even when we haven't prayed!

    Vince

    P.S. Please enter me in the drawing. Niagara Falls in the spring is like being in Switzerland with all the magnificent flowers everywhere!

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    1. Hi Vince!
      I enjoy learning about the meanings of names, and have always thought mine very special. And you are right about that being a good objective for Christian authors. The Seekers are amazing at modeling this in their lives and stories.

      Having those prayers near your desk is a great reminder to remember to seek the Lord before beginning to write. I love that Debby has made those available!

      And I love your comparison of Niagara Falls being like Switzerland. Both are beautiful places and visible reminders of our Creator’s handiwork.

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    2. Vince, you're sweet to say that about my books!

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  33. Hi Amanda!
    This is awesome,
    "But next time you’re sitting down at the keyboard to fulfill your daily word count, take a moment, pause, and pray. For your own creativity, yes, but also for the person who will be reading your stories in search of truth spoken into their heart. Pray to be used to speak that truth. Pray for grace and wisdom to convey it well."
    Love it! Congratulations on all your success!

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    1. Thank you so much, Eva! The quote you shared from the post is such a great reminder to me. Lately, I’ve been taking a break from writing, as I’ve been working hard to promote my novel. But I think praying for those we touch with our words applies to whatever we write-- social media posts, blog comments, etc.

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  34. AMANDA! SQUEE! Yep, I'm happy dancing! You see, I can always say, "I knew her when..." I loved meeting you at your first ACFW Conference, and I have treasured getting to know you better since. Who knew so much wisdom and passion and determination and TALENT were packed into that wide-eyed teenager?

    Well, God knew! :)

    I love this post. It's such a good reminder, because it's easy to feel all alone and isolated when you're deep into a story. But God is there, and He has readers in mind who need your story.

    "But a moment of holy is better" is wonderfully profound! Strong work, lady!

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    1. ERICA!!!!!!!!!! You’re so sweet! I’ve loved sharing so much of this writing journey with you! You’ve been such an inspiration to me.

      Writing is a solitary occupation for most of the process. It’s incredible to know that God is with every author that seeks to put Him first, even during the times when it’s just a writer and their keyboard.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, fellow My Heart Belongs in… author!!

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  35. Such a great post, Amanda! So glad to see you on Seekerville, and to be a part of the My Heart Belongs series with you! BIG congrats on your book release!!! So excited for you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Angie!! Congrats to you too!! It's so exciting to be in this series with you!

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  36. Hi Amanda! You're a 'new to me' author ... and your story locales intrigue me. Been to all and totally enjoyed them. Niagara Falls, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, were super ... as was nearby Buffalo. Please enter me in the drawing.

    In the meantime, I plan to look up your book that takes place in Texas :-)

    Thanks for the reminder you share in your post.

    Nancy C

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    1. Hi Nancy! Niagara is such a beautiful locale! And though I've never been to Buffalo, quite a bit my novel takes place there. Research was so fun!!

      So happy you're going to check out the Texas collection! That story is so dear to my heart! It's a similar theme to Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, and the seven of us who collaborated to create the stories had a BLAST! :)

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  37. Hey!I would like to become a member of the Seekerville Community! I'm 14 years old and write Christian Romance. I'm looking for a critique group/partner as well as any advice I can get! I want to get to know other writers! Thank you! Brenna Mckay,

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    1. Brenna, welcome to Seekerville! We're happy to meet you! We've got great information stored in the "Archives" seekervillearchives.blogspot.com and it's like a college course of wonderful information there.... But you can also hang around here, get to know folks, and see what you think about everything. There's so much wonderful inspiration to soak up here!

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    2. Hey, Brenna! Welcome! As Ruthy says, browse the archives, hang out with the SeekerVillagers, and enjoy!

      What genre do you write? Or have you settled on one yet?

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    3. right now I am working on a Christian Romance Novel and have really enjoyed it, but I am not bound to just that. I'm up to try other genres if I find something I think I would enjoy writing.

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    4. Yay! I love romance! Keep writing, experiment, enjoy the journey and soak up all you can about this crazy writing life! <3

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    5. Hi there, Brenna! So great to hear from you! If you’re looking to become a better writer, then Seekerville is the place for you! I’ve learned so much about the writing craft and been encouraged and inspired through following them. My best advice to you would be to read their daily posts. The topics covered here are varied and deal with all aspects of writing, and if you have questions, usually the authors who write the posts are willing and happy to answer.
      As far as seeking a critique partner, ACFW is a great resource. You pay a yearly membership fee to join, and they offer all kinds of help and support, including a place where you can meet critique partners. I’d definitely recommend looking into that!

      Best wishes on your writing journey!

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    6. Brenna, we're so glad you joined us!

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    7. Thanks so much for the support y'all! I talked to my parents about ACFW and my Dad said that if when I finish my book I can get it published and such that we will look into it. Seekerville seems like a great place and I can't wait to get to know other writers (And readers) here!

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  38. Happy Wednesday Seekerville! It's been a long time since I've posted but have been lurking all along. Amanda, your post was beautiful and thought provoking.I absolutely love your phrase "a moment of holy." This is something I've been convicted about lately. Early last year, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After surgery and recovering from chemo, I've had plenty of time to reflect on things. God has been showing me I need to have more moments of holy when I'm conversing with others. I'm a compassionate person but I tend to keep it to myself and do things behind the scenes if someone needs help. Now, I hear God telling me these people need to know we care. Maybe not our actions, but simply know we care. Certainly not a new concept but like you said, it's so easy to forget.

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    1. Wow, Pat! What an incredible story of God using challenging circumstances to draw you closer to Him. I hear you on becoming more outwardly compassionate. I’ve struggled with that myself. It’s easy to get caught up into our own little world, and become blind to those in need. There are so many hurting people out there, and like you said, just taking the time to show them in small ways that you care, can be such a blessing! You’re spot on!

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  39. I'm such an idiot! I had forgotten and have just remembered I'd posted yesterday and told y'all about my health issue! FORGIVE ME FOR REPEATING MYSELF PLEASE!!!!
    I'm blaming it on chemo fog. Thats my story and I'm sticking to it ha Thank you all so much for your prayers on my behalf. I'm totally convinced that my excellent prognosis and healing has come because of the prayers prayed for me. This community is one that has God's hand all over it. Thank you!!!

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    1. No worries, Pat! We're just glad you're here! :)

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    2. No worries, Pat! So happy to hear you’re receiving good health reports! Praise the Lord!

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    3. Pat, don't apologize! We'd rather hear something multiple times than not hear at all. That's a great reminder to keep praying. :)

      And I love your thoughts on showing people we care.

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  40. Amanda!!! So glad to see you here on one of the best writer sites EVER!! Congrats on all your wonderful success as a writer, but even more importantly, on your perspective as an author. Big picture. Heaven-eyed view!!

    Pepper

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    1. It IS one of the best writing sites ever! The wisdom on this blog could fill several college courses!

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! I’m so happy we’re fellow MHBI authors!

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  41. Amanda (sorry, sent before I meant to) I remember seeing you at one of your first conferences and thinking...wow, what a sweet, mature young lady. Can't wait to see what God does with her! Woohoo!! Glad to be on this journey with you.

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    1. Aww, thank you, Pepper!

      I remember sitting at the same lunch table as you during my first conference, talking with you about your trip to England. That was so special! Actually, we were both sitting at Rachel Kent’s table, who became my agent a few months later. I have so many cherished memories of that conference. :)

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  42. One time when I was at my local library for a teen writing group, the librarian brought in a bunch of books from the YA section for us to look through and there amongst the rest of the books WAS MY BOOK!

    She'd not only bought it for the library, but also chose it as one of the books to display.

    I was walking on air the rest of the day!

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    1. That's so cool, Nicki! How exciting

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    2. That’s so cool, Nikki! I can imagine that was pretty exciting. I love all the special moments that come with being a published author. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    3. How COOL is that!! I get all giddy when my library have books I loved. I can't fathom what that means for authors to see their books printed, sold, let alone featured!!

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  43. Thank you for such a powerful, inspirational post, Amanda!

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    1. You’re welcome, Laura! I usually don’t write posts of this nature, but am grateful God gave me the idea for this one. It’s something I’ve been pondering on for a while, so I was excited to be able to write about it.

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  44. Great post, Amanda. So thankful we've met. Wishing you all the best in your writing as you go forward into 2018. Can't wait to see what you write next. :)

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    1. The same goes to you, Anita! Seeing your smile has been a highlight of several ACFW conferences! I’m always dreaming and planning future stories, and am excited for opportunities to write them in 2018. :-)

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  45. Thanks for the post, Amanda. I know how you felt when you saw your books in a random bookstore. Last year I found my books (non-fiction Illinois travel/trivia book) at an Illinois state park bookstore! It's been out for several years, so I didn't expect to see it. The park ranger made a fuss about meeting the author. I left feeling giddy and grateful.

    Best wishes on all your 2018 projects!

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    1. Lyndee, I bet that was so cool!

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    2. What a special story, Lyndee! It always makes me feel so grateful when people take the time to encourage me as an author.

      Best wishes on your 2018 writing projects too!

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  46. Thanks for the post! Your book sounds wonderful!!

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    1. Aww, thank you so much! Starting the year with its release has been so special.

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  47. Hi Amanda! That was a beautiful post. Thanks for keeping the why and who in our mind. Many different works of Christian fiction have impacted me but the most recent is probably Erin Healy's "Motherless." It brought me to literal tears.

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    1. I love when a book touches me at that level, Kelly! I’ve never read anything by Erin, but have heard a lot of great things about her writing.

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  48. Great post Amanda! Blessings to you in 2018!

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    1. Same to you, Natalya! I love your name, by the way!

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  49. Amanda, A couple of comments that really struck home: "Sometimes the story I want to tell is not the one that needs to be told." and "A moment of holy is even better. That divine appointment counts far more in eternal value..." Thank you for the reminder! Blessings to you and yours in 2018!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing the lines that touched you, Edwina! This post was a great reminder for me as I wrote it. Sometimes, you write something to share with others and then God uses it to touch you as much as them.

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  50. When I started working at our public library in 1991 we had a very small collection of Christian Fiction and these books were shelved among our regular Adult fiction. As the demand grew, we started putting a red dot sticker on the book spines and printing INSP on the spine label. Eventually the Inspirational Fiction was given its own section in our library and these books remain as some of the modt popular books! God has given many people the ability to create wonderful stories and I am so glad that many are using this talent to bring him glory!
    Blessings to all of you!!

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    1. That’s an amazing story, Connie! I love how your library worked to build their Christian fiction collection. That’s definitely opening up new doors for people who wouldn’t usually pick up a Christian novel, to read one. I think people who check out a book from a library tend to be willing to take out books they wouldn’t normally purchase, so libraries are a great way to introduce readers to Christian novels.

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  51. Replies
    1. Thank you, Beth! The first time I saw the cover I couldn’t believe it was mine. Kind of like a mom seeing their new baby for the first time. :-)

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  52. Thank you, Amanda!

    I love this: "May our words be used to bring light."

    Christian fiction blesses me in many ways but I think the best is seeing Christians grow closer to God.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. That is so true, Phyllis! It’s incredibly humbling to know someone has been touched, even in a small way by something I’ve written, and brought closer to the Savior.

      May God bless you, Phyllis, and thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  53. I followed Amanda. I would love to read this story.

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  54. Amanda, thank you for the reminders and encouragement! My first experience reading Christian fiction was the Left Behind series. Reading the beginning chapters of the first book was such a spiritual experience for me. "Experiencing" Jerry Jenkins's portrayal of the rapture was so powerful.

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    1. Jerry is a shining example of someone who writes for the glory of God! I was privileged to hear him speak, and he is such a humble, giving person!

      So glad you enjoyed the post, Karen!

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  55. Dear friend, your words inspired me to pray on Wednesday night before I sat down to write that the Lord would use them to be a blessing. This isn't something I really thought about (I'm always thinking about how to write a good story). Thank you for this reminder! I'm hoping to pray this prayer often this year!

    Love,
    Schuyler

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    1. So glad you stopped by, dear friend! This isn’t something I really thought about either, until recently. Like you, I’m always thinking about how to write a dramatic, compelling novel. It’s a discipline to take the time to pray before writing, but definitely worth it!

      Love you!

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