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Monday, October 30, 2017

Writing- test of endurance and willingness to take a LEAP OF FAITH

So many points along the writing journey have required a leap of faith.

--Taking a writing course (even when it cost money)

--Believing that my manuscript was good enough to submit to an agent, magazine publication, or a book publishing house.

--Submitting the manuscript for the possible acceptance/rejection of that agent, publication, or a book publishing house. (FOLLOW THROUGH)

--Going to a Writing Conference

--Signing up for a 15 minute appointment with an expert at the Writing Conference

--Talking to other people that I didn't know at the Writing Conference

--Joining a critique group

--Setting up a Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter promoting the fact that I am a writer.

--Actually telling people face-to-face that I am a writer.  That was and is probably the hardest!  Especially when I don't have anything published to show for myself (yet) :)

I have taken each of these steps of faith along my writer's path! And survived! God was (and is) with me every step along the way.

And, currently in my writing journey, I am facing another LEAP.  Can't explain the whole thing, but it is there.  And looking very impossible!

So that's why I'm reminding myself of the faithfulness of God.

Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Not to take this verse too far out of context but.. 1 Thess 4:24 "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

Many of Jesus's miracles required the person he was helping to take a leap of faith.

Can you think of any examples?

Here's an example from something I studied last week:

Jesus's first miracle...turning the water into wine.

Have you ever noticed that the servants had to take the "water" to the master and present it to him as wine.  The question is, when exactly did they KNOW they had wine in their jars?

I admire their faith.

I want to imitate their faith.

I will take my leap of faith.  (Hold me accountable, please!)

I will let you know how it goes.  Are you facing a leap of faith?  I'd love to hear about it.

P.S. BTW, a good reminder. Even if what I want to happen doesn't happen, God is there.  And HE is enough!

Friday, October 27, 2017

5 Minute Friday -- OVERCOME

Giving the 5 minute prompt a try again this week!

The word is OVERCOME

The first thing that pops into my mind is Mandisa's Song "You're an Overcomer."  Love that song, and I ran to it regularly when I did a couch to 5K Bible study.

I was overcoming my fear of running, my fear of making a fool of myself in a running group, and my fear of not being able to do it.  

It's not on my current playlist, but if I hear it, my mind goes straight to the memory of that group, and the new friends I made while in it.

Mandisa's song "Overcomer"

Then, my mind is drawn to all of the things that overcome me...

-I am overcome by fear
-I am overcome by anger and bitterness
-I am overcome by my obstacles
-I am overcome by my bad habits.
-I am overcome by worry

But every writer knows you get RID of the passive voice!  Use strong verbs!

So that needs to flip!

-I overcome fear.
-I overcome anger and bitterness.
-I overcome obstacles.
-I overcome my bad habits.
-I overcome worry.


A verse come to mind...

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!" (Rom 12:21)

That verse gives a strategy --Good overcomes evil.  Kind of like fighting the negative with the positive.  

(My inner voice says...But I lack the strength to do that!)

So I keep searching the Scriptures... love this verse!

Jesus said "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."   (John 16:33)

As my time limit draws to a close, I'm summing it up with...

Jesus = key to overcoming--being an overcomer in his strength and not our own!

Now to go live it!  I'll tell you how it goes, if you tell me how it goes for you :)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Cover reveal for TRUE HORIZON by Laurie Winter

You may remember Laurie from a blog post I did a few months ago.  Laurie and I have the same literary agent.  That is one of the best things about this publication journey.  Meeting new friends along the way.

This weekend Laurie is revealing the cover for her next book featuring main character Heath Carter.  Looks great, Laurie!  Best wishes!

Buy True Horizon on Amazon

Back Cover Blurb:

Back home on her family's Texas Longhorn ranch, Grace Murray is busy preparing for her wedding. After a scruffy tattooed drifter saves her life, she takes on the mission of helping her savior, Heath Carter, find peace. The steady friendship and unconditional acceptance she receives from him encourages her to trade an old dream for a new one—a dream true to her heart. When she calls off her wedding, Grace is finally set free to fully love Heath.

After a decade of military service, Special Forces veteran Heath Carter is living with war's tragic consequences. Struggling with PTSD, anger, and guilt, he travels through Texas, solitarily moving from job to job. Working with Grace on the ranch, Heath's guilt over his past actions make him feel unworthy of her love. As their paths lead them in different directions, Heath needs to discover the courage to fight his toughest battle yet—the one inside himself.

Friday, October 20, 2017

5 Minute Friday DISCOVER

Today I'm trying something new--or should I say "discovering" something new!

It is called a 5 minute write.  I'm hoping it will help me dive more deeply into "Blogging World."  

I'm actually scared to death to post this because this is my writing. On display. And probably to other blogger/writers!  But here goes:

The word today is DISCOVER.

What am I discovering?

How insecure I am?...  Nah.  I knew that already.
How much I still have to learn?  Maybe... 

Or, how refreshing it is to try something new...learn something new...find out something new!

New things for me happen constantly...
1.  In the World Language classroom as I shift the style of my teaching practices and try new techniques. (I teach Spanish)
2.  With my teenagers (I have 3 of them--talk about another culture) as they try to teach me what it is they are saying, doing, and buying.  
3.  Technology...need I say more?  (Look at me today...attempting to embed my post on someone else's blog...incredible discovery about to take place!)
4.  Conversation connections that surprise me--I am amazed at what I discover I have in common with the least likely candidates.
5.  In Scripture...I discover a thought that gives me the strength to meet the day.

What about you?  What are you discovering? What keeps you from discovery?

Well, my five minutes went quickly!  (I have to admit it was more like 15...but hey this is my first attempt) 

Countdown to Publication...11 more months!

Would you like to help me on my publicity team?

Here is a Google Form that will help me to connect with you:
Marketing sign up for Mouse's Christmas Gift

Only 11 months until my manuscript becomes an actual book!  (Although it has been almost a decade since I started down this path!)

If you are willing, here are a few of the ways you can help me in the next year as I continue to build my social media platform:

1.  Go to my Facebook Author page and like it, share it, and comment on anything and everything.  It is helpful if you invite others that you think may be interested to like my page.  The address is:

2.  Twitter.  Retweet things like my blog posts and tweets, especially as things get rolling and I do my cover reveal and other promo tweets like that.  My twitter is @mindybakerbooks

3.  I am now on Instagram.  (mindybakerbooks) You can follow me there, too!  I don't know much about it, but I will be learning.

4.  Goodreads and Amazon.  I will tell you more about this as time gets closer.  I hope to do some give-aways.

5. Become a follower on this blog (SO GLAD YOU ARE ALREADY HERE).

You may wonder where we are at in the publication process (and it is a lengthy process!)

The illustrator is Dow Phumiruk.  She is so talented!  You can see samples of her artwork on her website  I have seen the cover and it is adorable!  I am really looking forward to the big reveal for that!

Dow's art

I want to thank you again for your interest, friendship, and support.  It means the world!  I am counting the days until October, 2018!

Thursday, October 12, 2017


If you have a toddler or are a grandparent of a toddler, you will want to add SNUGGLE TIME CHRISTMAS STORIES to your Christmas book collection.  The beauty of this book is the word choice.  It is "just right" for little ones, helping to instill God's beautiful story in their hearts at a level that makes sense to them.  I can also see this book being used in toddler classes in churches everywhere.  

It is a beautiful padded board book--very eye appealing with foil and glitter.  There are 13 short, individual poems that each include a reference from Scripture.   My favorite poem is "Hee-Haw, Said the Donkey."

Hee-haw, said the donkey.
Squeak-squeak, said the mice.
Cheep-cheep, said the chicken, 
This baby is so nice!

Moo-moo, said the cow.
Baa-baa, said the sheep.
Shh-shh, said the pigeon.
Jesus is asleep! 

I have been around toddlers enough to know that animal noises are a hit!  And I can picture all of the little darlings acting out the noises and then rocking baby Jesus to sleep in their arms.  So precious!

Thanks, Glenys for another beautiful book that will impact little hearts with the beautiful message of God's love for them!

Amazon link:  Snuggle Time Christmas Stories

About the author:  GLENYS NELLIST was born and raised in a little village in northern England.  Her stories and poems have been published in children's magazines where her writing reflects a deep passion for bringing the Bible to life for young children.  Glenys lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband, David.

Glenys Nellist's Website

Twitter: @Glenys Nellist
Facebook: Glenys Nellist: Author

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Interview with Laura Sassi about GOODNIGHT, MANGER and other AUTHOR INSIGHTS

Book Trailer Link

So excited to have Laura Sassi here today to tell us about her holiday-themed title, GOODNIGHT, MANGER.   

 Laura, thank you so much for joining us!  I would love to hear how you came up with the idea for GOODNIGHT, MANGER! 

First of all, thanks so much for having me on your blog, Mindy. It’s wonderful to chat with a fellow Zonderkidz author. Christmastime is a favorite season at our house and I love to decorate in anticipation and that what’s led to my moment of inspiration.  One the centerpieces of our Christmas decor is a little plastic nativity set. It’s plastic because, when my children were little, I wanted them to be able to interact with the figures and really get a hands-on sense of the story of the birth of Christ. Well, one day, I overheard my daughter playing with the little Baby Jesus.  She was gently carrying him around the house saying things like, “Baby Jesus crying. It’s okay, Baby.”  As I watched, she gently fed him with an imaginary bottle. Then, she sang him a lullaby until he stopped crying. Finally, she placed him ever so softly back in the manger.  Before listening to this tender play, I’d never thought of Baby Jesus as ever crying. After all, we rarely see him crying in the Christmas cards we send and he doesn’t even sniffle in the carols we sing, but he was human (and God) and so he must have cried. And that’s how I got the idea for the story.

What a beautiful image of your sweet daughter.  My kids loved to play with our nativity sets, too.  I can easily picture them doing things like that even though it has been a few (just a few ha ha) years since they were that little

2.  You seem to have a special way with word choice and rhyme.  Are there any techniques you use that help you to choose "just the right word?"

Well, I’ve used this analogy before, but it’s a good one, so I’ll share it again. Writing in verse is a lot like knitting. To flow smoothly and be pleasing to the ear, the piece must have a consistent form both for the rhythm and for the rhyme.  My poems and stories in verse tend to follow an AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme and I’ve used a variety of meters. The important thing is not so much which pattern I choose for the rhythm and rhyme, but sticking with it. As with knitting, the fun comes in finding creative ways to express myself within that structure.  This is where “choosing just the right word” comes into play.  Sometimes, I’ll spend pages and pages, or even a whole notebook, playing with words for a story in progess. And I as think about word choice, I’m thinking about so much more than just the rhyme.  Each word I choose must, in its own way, push the story forward - either via plot or character development. I make it a rule never  to use a word just because it rhymes.  That’s not good enough. It also has to be the best word possible that makes sense for the story.  Done right, writing in verse enhances a story – making it extra pleasing to young ears.  My technique for this:  many, many rounds of revision.  =)

Revision is definitely key for any author!  I like the idea of selecting the word that not only rhymes but pushes the story forward.  Very insightful.

3. I also noticed that you have developed some arts and crafts and extension activities to go along with GOODNIGHT, MANGER.  Can you tell us about them? 

Oh yes!  Reading GOODNIGHT, MANGER is just the beginning - the conversation starter, so to speak, to what the Christmas story is all about - that God sent his son in precious human form, to be the Savior of the world.  And that, just like each of us, Jesus, too, was once a baby who felt all the things we feel and who even cried - and what joy this brings to know that He can relate to each and every one of us on this very human level.  I have several extension activities perfect for little ones on my blog. 

  Extension activities  (From Laura's blog)

You can find more ideas at my guest appearance on Noelle Kirchner, The Ministering Mom’s website.

The Ministering Mom's Website

8 activities to teach little ones about the Nativity

 Sounds very helpful for new moms. I loved nurturing my own children along in their faith through activities like this.  What wonderful resources.  Thanks for sharing them!  

4. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

In addition to writing daily and being involved in critique group (which I highly recommend), my biggest recommendation for serious writers hoping to publish a book traditionally would be to seek agent representation. I’m convinced that it was that, coupled with many, many hours of writing and improving my craft, that landed me my first book contract. And even with an agent, landing that first contract took well over a year. Especially nowadays, when the competition is so intense and so many of the large publishing houses are closed to un-agented submissions, I think seeking representation of a good agent is crucial. Other than that, my biggest word of advice for aspiring picture book authors is to be patient. Keep honing your craft and don’t be in a rush to send your manuscripts off. Let them settle and then revisit them at regular intervals, allowing them to improve with age.

That's great advice.  It is hard to be patient, but being a writer takes lots of patience!

5. What has been the most rewarding part of publishing children’s books? 

This is a hard question, Mindy!  It’s rewarding on so many levels.  First, it’s just such a joy for me to write. And that in and of itself is a wonderful reward. I’m very easy to please - just give me a pen and a scrap of paper and I’m happy as can be!   It’s also a rewarding, yet humbling, feeling to know that the story you wrote so carefully and poured all your heart and soul into, is now out there for children to read and enjoy with their families. I would also add that I am LOVING this post-publication stage where I get to go to schools and libraries and bookstores and share my stories and interact with my readers. I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always loved interacting with kids and now I’m getting to do both.  

The photos that I have seen of these events seem wonderful.  I hope I can attend one sometime! 

6. Finally, what’s next? Are there more picture books in the pipeline? 

2018 is an exciting year for me because I have two new books coming out. The first, which releases in March with Sterling Children’s Books, is called DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, about an opera-loving mouse who wants to help and the diva who thinks she deserves bigger help than a mouse. The second, which releases next December with Zonderkidz, is called LOVE IS KIND, about a little owl who searches for the perfect gift for his beloved grandmother and learns about love along the way. I can’t wait for these to release so I can share them with my readers.  

What fantastic news! You must be absolutely thrilled.  Congratulations.

Thanks for having me, Mindy!  It’s been so lovely. And I do hope that NEXT Christmas - when your book comes out - that you will join me at my blog so we can chat in celebration of your holiday release!

Yes, I would love to join you to share about my book when it comes out NEXT Christmas!!!

It has been wonderful having you visit my blog.  I admire and respect your work, and I wish you all the best!

P.S.  Laura will be running a Goodreads Giveaway of copy of the hardcover edition of GOODNIGHT, MANGER, signed by both author and illustrator which makes it extra special!

Check back to my blog for the link in the upcoming days...

Bio: Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme.  Her picture books include  GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014), DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, 2018) and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018). She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. She is represented by Lara Perkins of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Other favorites by Laura Sassi