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What 47 Looks Like on Me

Posted by Julie on April 8, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve been doing this a few years, post-birthday, sharing where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I hope to go.

How 47 Looks On Me

I have to say, 47 is weird. It’s a stone’s throw to 50, and wow, that’s an age I never gave a lot of thought to as a college student. That seems like yesterday.

One problem.

My SON is the college student, not me.

In fact, I just got notice my college reunion, #25, is this year.

Wow.

It’s a year where two of our children, Tom’s first two that I met when they were 12 and 10, are expecting sons this summer. We’re going to be grandparents. Yet, we have a middle schooler. And honestly? I relate more to teens than senior citizens. I’m eligible to be in the senior group in less than 10 years. And I just can’t see myself jumping all in for that. But the youth conferences I’m invited to attend as part of the adults helping out? I love it. Love it.

Weird.

I have to color my sassy red hair monthly, but if I felt it were safe and I had that kind of money, it could be every other week. Red is hard to maintain, but what it covers is white. Snow white. And I am NOT going there just yet.

If ever.

But 46 was a stumble, if not all-out free-fall in confidence. Menopause has been part of my life for years, thanks to surgery. Something about 2016 was a marker for everything to flip on me. Waking every hour. Volcanic temperatures. Voracious hunger. Mood swings I had not had in years. Depression. Anxiety. Weight gain.

So entering 47 is with a bit of trepidation. Thankfully, an endocrinologist helped get my health straightened out and I feel a lot better. But a tiny part wonders if it is short-term. There are times emotionally I feel completely fragile, and I hate it. People need me. And I don’t like spiraling out with no reason except hormones.

Yet, in those tears and exhaustion, so much happened that was GOOD. Our oldest son of the four kids got married to a wonderful woman. Our son graduated from high school and started pursuing education at Kent State. I started my own writing and speaking business/ministry. In three months I released two books in both print and eBook form. Now my hormones rebelling makes more sense…

It’s in writing I feel I’m on more stable ground. When I questioned God if I was doing the right thing, it was at 3:23 in the morning I woke and knew I was supposed to open my Bible to Colossians 3:23.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

I feel free from numbers. Where my books rank. How much money they generate. I want to see readers living free in Christ. This 47th year I am on track to finish my first contemporary romance series with ENGAGED and start the first of six book in my new series about surrendering what others think. I’m not scared. I’m excited.

I take into 47 an amazing piece of wisdom my pastor shared when I doubted I could survive the stress and changes. He told me to picture an arch, and imagine Jesus on the other side. As long as I stayed on one side and Him on the other, a million tons of stuff could be on that arch and it would not break. That held true through all the things I mentioned, plus much more I have not.

It is true as I’ve watched the kids grow in Him through their personal valleys I know all too well: rejection. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. Doing the right thing and feeling completely alone. Their pain has been the most devastating thing to observe and feel so helpless. Yet, we’ve had the deepest most intimate prayer times we’ve ever had. In those times, God revealed so many awesome things. Messages of hope. Encouragement. That they are not alone. They are deeply cared for.

I’m 47 and full of hope for the world and people around me. Not because of the election results or new administration, but because there are so many promises I’ve prayed and prayed and believe breakthrough is close at hand. For our family. Friends who are hurting. Ministries that are 1000% ready to give all God asks of them, and have 1% provision as far as the world sees. I don’t know how or when, but I know it’s close.

And I guess to sum it up, it’s the same two words I’d use for turning 47.

I’m ready.

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Why I Write by Candice Sue Patterson

Posted by Julie on November 12, 2016 in ACFW, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

14947902_1352541198089241_2198005185639595850_nWhy I Write…
Books aren’t material objects to me–they’re a passion. My love for the written word began before I could read. As a child, I’d surround myself with stacks of books and pretend I was either the librarian or the patron, looking for that special book guaranteed to whisk me away to another time and place. On a rainy summer day, I could be found in my bedroom with my Casio radio and a blank cassette tape, recording audio books for my own enjoyment.

As I grew older, I began to dream of seeing my own books in print. Time passed as I studied the craft of writing. I met the hero of my life’s story, started a career, and had three energetic–and wonderful–boys. Though I set my dream aside, it never died. Shortly after my third son was born, God told me it was time to unearth that dream, blow off the dust, and use it for Him.

My husband and I are very nostalgic. We prefer antiques and odds-and-ends over anything modern, and we love the stories and lessons that can be learned from the past. That’s why I write Modern-Vintage Romance–a contemporary setting with raw, modern characters and threads of nostalgia. Why not have the best of both worlds? I love to hear from readers. You can contact me via my contact page. God bless!

Visit Candice here.

How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, IPG, Pelican Book GroupBooks-A-MillionWalmart, and Target.

Read the first chapter here!

Watch the book trailer!

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Write for the Reader by BJ Bassett

Write for the Reader

B J Bassett

“You write for the reader,” Dr. Sherwood “Woody” Wirt, founding editor of Decision Magazine, said during our one on one meeting.

When I left, my feet didn’t touch the path at the Mount Hermon Conference grounds. Instead, I floated to my room. Dr. Wirt’s words inspired me then and they still do today. His encouraging words were unlike any I’d heard before.

Beginning at an early age, the words I’d heard were, “Not good enough.” “Stand up straight.” “Don’t slouch.” “Why can’t you be like Linda?” “Four eyes.” And “Loser.” I was labeled a daydreamer in school because I’d rather gaze out the window than pay attention during class. Today, I’d probably be considered as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). If, in fact, I was ADD, I learned to live with it. Yes, I was a daydreamer. Is it any wonder I became a writer? I was primed for rejections. And I got them. Lots of them.

In high school I daydreamed about writing for the school paper. What was I thinking? My spelling, grammar and punctuation were horrific. After I was married and raising a family, the death of my brother in Vietnam was the catalyst that changed my life. I’d read somewhere that sometimes when you lose a loved one, you take on one of their characteristics. My brother, Danny, enjoyed writing.

I felt the nudge to take a writing class. The instructor discouraged me. Those familiar words of my youth echoed in my mind, “Not good enough.” “Loser.” I didn’t’ give up. Living on a tight budget, there wasn’t any money to invest in my passion. Fortunate to live near a large library, I checked out every book and magazine on writing. I devoured them, took notes and eventually began to write. I started a critique group and began to submit my work. I amassed a heap of rejections.

I was persistent—a lesson I learned from my dad. Before my dad became a building contractor, he was a carpenter who wanted to work for a big name builder in Beverly Hills, California. So Dad knocked on the builder’s door—once, twice. The third time Dad asked for a job, he was hired.

A personal experience piece I wrote about my daughter’s anorexia received twenty-two rejections before Focus on the Family published it. After publication, it continued to receive rejections. It’s also been reprinted in a dozen publications.

I’m a jack of all sorts, master of none. I write articles, book reviews, curriculum, devotionals, features, greeting cards and books. As a writer, speaker and teacher, my forte is to inspire others.

Like my anorexia article, I have other favorite projects. One of those is my historical novel, Lily. And like my anorexia piece, Lily was rejected over and over again. Words that brought tears to my eyes were when my daughter Melanie said, “If Lily isn’t published during your lifetime, I’ll make sure it gets published after you’re gone.” Melanie believed in Lily as much as I did. Maybe I’m selfish, but I wanted to see it in print during my lifetime.

Lily was self-published as a result of a horrific car accident. I used the money from an insurance settlement to publish it.

  Writing a book is hard. Promoting one is harder. Recently I told Melanie, “I’m not making any money from Lily.” Her response, “Mom, you didn’t write Lily to make money. You wrote it for the reader.”

She’s right. Her words remind me of what Dr. Wirt said all those years ago at the writer’s conference. “You write for the reader.”

BJ Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher and speaker.

Her books include a historical novel Lily; A Touch of Grace—The G.R.A.C.E. Ministries Story, and coauthor of My Time with God which sold 55,000 copies while in print. Her recently released contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, is now available. Visit her at www.bjbassett.com.

She teaches writing workshops at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon and at writer’s conference. As a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she tells her story of rejection and acceptance, not only in life, but as a writer as well. She also offers book talks, including discussion questions and shares the journey—from the seed of an idea to a publisher book.

She enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, knitting, munching warm scones oozing with butter and strawberry jam and sipping earl grey tea. A native Californian, she now lives with her husband of 57 years in Roseburg, Oregon.

GILLIAN’S HEART

In Gillian's Heart, BJ Bassett knew to Write for the Reader.

In Gillian’s Heart, BJ Bassett knew to Write for the Reader.

Abandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart — her stable, longtime friend Josh — or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house?

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COTT: The Laurel Award Open to Authors

Posted by Julie on February 16, 2016 in COTT, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

 

A NOTE TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS:

The Laurel Award is open to authors.

If you had a novel release any time in 2015, you’re invited to submit to Clash of the Titles’ Laurel Award!!

 

The Laurel is a contest available to any genre of Christian fiction published in 2015. The novels are judged by their audience—readers well-versed in Christian fiction yet not associated with the CBA industry.

Authors write for readers, so why not have readers be the judges?

With a submission fee of only $15, easy electronic submission, a bevy of prizes, and judges devoted to Christian fiction and author encouragement, the Laurel is a contest like no other.

 

But act quick! Slots are limitedTo avoid overburdening our volunteer judges, we are limited in the number of submissions we can accept.


* All previous COTT champs whose winning novel was published in 2015 have an assured spot (fee waived) in the 2016 Laurel.

 

The Skinny:

 

ELIGIBILITY: Christian novels (30,000+ words) of any genre published between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.

 

PRIZES: One first place winner will be chosen. The winner will receive a special feature on Clash of the Titles’ blog, a tour through COTT’s Blog Alliance, a dedicated page on COTT’s site for a full year, an on-line radio interview with author and CAG board member, Cynthia L. Simmons, a digital winner’s badge, and a beautiful plaque to display at home.

 

COST: $15 USD

 

Novels participating in the Laurel are judged by their audience—readers who are well-versed in Christian fiction yet not a part of the CBA industry. This contest judges the first two chapters (or 3,500 words) of published novels. Any genre of Christian novel (30,000 words or more) is eligible, including indie.

 

SUBMISSION DATES: February 4, 2016-February 26, 2016

Learn more about the Laurel Awards HERE.

 

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Thankful: It’s Hard to Pick Just One by Jill Barlow

Posted by Julie on November 18, 2014 in Guest blogger, Life Lessons, Thankful November guest blogger, Writing |

In the beginning of 2013, I felt led to start my own blog. I wrote about God, but nothing in particular. I also ended up going through a divorce that year, which completely changed my life. I was married for 19 years. I was a stay at home mom for a great deal of that time. The last 3 years had been dedicated to my three children, because we pulled them out of public school to home school.

 

As I sit and type this up, I am thankful for so many things. It is hard to pick just one.

 

I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who has gotten me through the rough spots. This  journey we call life is not an easy one. Being a Christian is not a “get out of trouble” free card. We are still going to have hard times. Jesus even said, in John 16: 33, “33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”john16_33

 

It’s not an IF, it’s a WHEN type thing. God is always here for us, no matter what.

 

I am also thankful for my children, friends and family. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. They have made me laugh, hugged me as I cried and told me the truth when I did not want to hear it.

 

God has really moved in my life and heart over the past several months. He has started talking to me in every day ways. I have started writing those things for others to see that He is there, daily. He cares about our daily lives and He just wants to help us make it to tomorrow.

 

Take a moment and think about what you are thankful for. Maybe it’s totally different from me. And, guess what? That’s ok. 

 

ME_edited

 

Jill Barlow is a mom of three, an administrative assistant to two, and a writer. Divorced after a lengthy marriage, she started finding God in her every-day life. Jill says, “God really cares and is interested in talking to us through the little things. Showing people His love and character in a way they might not have ever experienced is my passion.” You can find Jill at www.coffeewithsnoopy.blogspot.com and on Facebook .

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Video of the Week: The Art of Characterization by Fay Lamb

Posted by Julie on November 10, 2014 in Writing |

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It’s the video of the week on the right sidebar! Another great book by Write Integrity Press author Fay Lamb. To purchase, click here.

Put on your director’s cap and prepare to set your story world’s stage with memorable scenes and unforgettable characters.

Great storytelling isn’t done haphazardly. Storytelling is an art which requires practice to master. In The Art of Characterization authors are shown elements of storytelling which, when practiced correctly, utilizes forward–moving description and back story, deep point of view, dialogue, and conflict to create a cast of characters readers will never forget.

Take a look! to



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