Thursday, February 6, 2014

Authorpreneurship: Build a Successful Business as an Author

Take control of your writing career!
What does it take to become a successful author in today’s publishing world?  It’s not enough to write a powerful book – today’s author must understand and leverage the business side of writing.  Authorpreneurship by Sharon Jenkins takes the aspiring writer from curiosity to career, combining both sides of publishing – author and entrepreneur – to empower writers with direction, publishing options, marketing solutions and business savvy to grow their career.
You’ll learn:
  • What publishing model is right for you
  • Branding and how it sells your book
  • Your publishing personality, and how to leverage it
  • A business plan for a successful book launch
  • How to manage your time
  • How to create a powerful product
  • Winning traits of a personal support team
  • How to financially support your dream
  • Strategic and easy marketing secrets – online and off!
And resources to help you apply what you learn!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lessons from Second Grade Girls

At my church this school year, I'm teaching the second grade girls in the mid-week program. I saw the appeal for teachers on Facebook on a Monday night and I felt drawn to it, but I'm not a religion teacher.

Surely there was someone more qualified. I argued this point with God.

Besides, I had other plans on the first night of class, so it had to be that someone else was destined to teach second grade this year. Tell you what; I bargained with the big man upstairs, if the ad is still in the Sunday bulletin, I will talk to Amy about it. But, I'm not the person, so you need to have someone else step up.

Do you know that bargaining rarely works with God?

Yeah, but I had my hopes. And here I am with 6 adorable, innocent little girls looking up to me one night each week.

And the truth is I feel inadequate. Surely, there is a soccer mom or a home schooling mom or a pastor wife mom who would be so much better at this than I would. The key word in that sentence is mom, and that is something I am not. Momma Girl to a fur baby doesn't count.

But I show up each week, and I ask God to give me the words and to fill in the gaps I might create. I pray that He will give me what I need.

It came to me as I lay here tonight, that maybe my being not a mom is the reason God has called me. My singleness isn't a topic of conversation with the second graders, but it's no secret. Maybe one of these sweet children will one day need to know that it's okay to be single and going on 50. Possibly 40 years down the road, it will be one of them struggling with being single in a married church. Being childless in a mom population. Needing to know there is life and love and happiness without a husband or children.

I'll be honest. Singleness is something I have never wanted to claim. I was the girl who wanted to get married young, have six kids, and be Grammy by the time I was hitting 50.

When my two younger sisters got engaged before me, I railed at God about the unfairness of it all. My baby sister was only 18 when her husband popped the question. I told her, it's not right, a younger sister getting married before the older.

Her response was a simple; I want to have kids before I'm too old.

Wow, she couldn't have known at that age how true her words would be because I'm still not married, and she has approached the age at which it soon would be too late for her to have kids. Good thing she's strong willed and has always known what she's wanted.

Both of my sisters became incredible moms, and I never once held it against either of them that they got married before I did. (My brother went off and got married young and had kids also, but it wasn't quite the same when the older brother got married before me!) I love all of their kids and relish my role of auntie.

Somewhere in my early 40s I came to realize that my having kids was not part of God's plan for me. He had another road for me to travel. It was hard and beautiful and heartbreaking, but truth is I wouldn't have walked away from this road because God had an incredibly important role for me, and he was there holding my hand the whole way. Along that road, he showed me how he had been working in my life. He filled me with the amazing knowledge that this was part of the plan.

And part of that plan was to teach second grade girls.

There are still nights that I wonder if I am really teaching them anything, but I try to remember that showing up, loving on them, listening to them - that's important. I trust that God is using my participation to minister to them in some way. Then a couple of weeks ago, one of the moms told me that her daughter loves coming because she really admires me. That made my heart sing!

No, most of life is not what I would have chosen, but God has his plans. And one thing I've learned is that God's plan is always better than mine.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lewy Body Dementia Month to Remember

It's that time of year again. October for the last few years has been designated as the Lewy Body Dementia Awareness month to remember.

Do you know Lewy? Few people do. Sadly, my family does.

Lewy Body Dementia affects 1.3 million people in the world today. It has always lived in the shadow of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, but it is a separate condition and just as devastating.

My mother had Lewy for at least the last ten years of her life, although we didn't have an official name for it until 2006.                                      

Lewy is a progressive form of dementia with hallucinations, fluctuating cognition, and Parkinson's type symptoms.

This month is a time for remembering those who have been taken too soon by this horrible condition. It's also a time to educate the world about it.

For more information, please visit the Lewy Body Dementia Association at

You can also read more about my families' experiences with LBD by reading these posts:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Living Lists

My friend Kara has been battling cancer for over a year now. She has bravely confronted, talked, and written about her struggles with this horrible disease. Her blog, Mundane Faithfulness, is a beautiful look into her world of love, family, suffering, and faith. I admire the way she bravely clings to what's important in life, even as her body is beaten and bruised by the cancer.

This week she has written about bucket lists and living. She talks of not being caught up in marking things off lists just for the sake of doing it. The post snagged my attention because I do have a list. If you've been here on the mountain before, you've read about my lists. I am a girl who loves lists. There is something in having all my things lined up in a little row like second grade girls on Pioneer Club nights (oh, you'll hear about this in another post!) that makes my heart sing.

My list started after Mom got sick. As I watched my amazing, 50-something mother slowly become unable to do the things she loved and wanted to do, I began to look at my own life. I've always had a bit of fear lurking around in the dark corners of my life. Fear of failure, or success, or living the wrong life. Through the years, fear held me back from truly living and experiencing life.

If my mother had fears as I was growing up, I was not aware of them. As an adult, she did reveal to me one of the fears she did battle with when I was a teenager. She didn't let it stop her; she lived life as it came and worked through it. She loved and nurtured and was always there for us. I want to be that kind of a woman.

So, after Mom got sick, I began to make lists that some people would call bucket lists. I've never liked the term. A bucket list is about all the things you want to do before you die. My list is about focusing on all the things I want to do as I live. I like to think of my list as the Living List...these are the things I want to do to live my life to the fullest, and not just eke my way through it.

My list encompasses the grand things like visiting Paris and climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It includes little things like sending notes to my grandmother regularly, which I'm embarrassed to admit I don't do often enough. It's about all those things that ensure that I am living and impacting others while on this journey.

At the end of my life, if I haven't seen the world from the top of the Eiffel tower, I don't want it to be because I was fearful, but because there was just too much living going on for me to get there.

 It's not so much about having people look at me and say, "Gosh, Tammie has a great list and she does amazing things." I think it's more that I want to get down to the end of my life, whenever that may be, and be able to say, "I lived. I loved. I experienced this world and made a difference."

I love reading Kara's blog because she is so real and so honest. Cancer is not beating her, it's making her a better version of who she was. She doesn't have a list, but she is focusing on living right here, right now. If you haven't visited, I encourage you to stop by her blog. There may be some tears as you read about what she has gone through, but there's a whole lot of life and beauty in her words!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Little Writer

Long ago, in a faraway land a little writer lived on the mountain of the Lord. She wrote her little stories and blog posts that came from her heart. And she was happy.

Over the years, life pressed in to her little valley and dropped hard boulders into her life. Slowly, her little home became hemmed in on all sides, casting darkness over everything, and she grew overwhelmed. Life dulled and dimmed, but she tried to keep going.

Then the rules and guidelines and suggestions rained down into her world. Good intentions pelted her, wounding that spirit within that made her want to write. She patched up the rough spots and plugged away.

Eventually though she grew weary and thought about giving up. But her Father wasn't ready for her to quit. He sent words of comfort and encouragement to bind up her heart. Because of His faith in her, the little writer began to fight for her little dream.

Listening to her heart, she was able to slowly move the boulders enough to allow the light back in. The shining light revealed how the rules, guidelines, and suggestions were not helping, but were instead hurting her. The faith of her Father in her dream gave her the strength to let go of all the was holding her back.

It's been a long road, but she is ready to put her words back out into the world. This time it will be on her own terms. She hopes that the words to come will encourage, entertain, or enlighten others.


Readers, I am that little writer and it's been a long time since I have ventured here to the mountain. I've been trying to do all the right things and be all the right things. I have felt stifled and frustrated. In the process, I lost sight of myself and my dream for my writing.

I am back though. I will be writing again on this little blog of mine. I don't know what the schedule will be yet, but I will be here on a regular basis. I can't tell you what I will be writing about, because it will be the things that are speaking to my heart at the time I'm writing. I hope you will come back and have a cup of coffee with me sometimes. If something I write resonates with you, please consider leaving a comment or sharing my blog with the people in your life that might appreciate it. Thank you for visiting here on my mountain!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Out of Time, by CJ Darlington - Book Review

Out of Time is a novella by CJ Darlington. The three short, easy to read stories are loaded with a message of hope.

Times are tough and everyday life can push people to the brink. In each of the stories in Out of Time, CJ shows how one simple act on our part can change the life of someone in need.

As with her two novels, the characters in this novella are real and down to earth. CJ captures people in the day-to-day. People all over the country are going through similar situations, and her words portray the desperation many are experiencing right now.

These stories got me to thinking about the people I meet every day and how a simple action from me could make a huge difference.


C. J. won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood, which released from Tyndale House in 2010. Her second novel, Bound by Guilt, released from Tyndale House in 2011. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over fifteen years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore.

In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction ever since. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a Paint horse named Sky.


*This novella was provided to me by the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review: The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow is the second novel in Olivia Newport’s “Avenue of Dream Series.” The book is a delightful read. It ties to the first book in the series, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, but is completely able to stand alone if you haven’t read the first.


With Lucy Banning married to Will Edwards and off to Europe on her honeymoon, Charlotte Farrow settles in for a summer of serving the Banning family. Charlotte’s secret has been well kept and her son, Henry, has been well cared for by Mrs. Given.

Just days before the Banning family is to return to Chicago from their lake house, Mrs. Given shows up unexpectedly at the mansion when a family emergency prevents her from continuing to care for the boy. Charlotte is desperate to find a solution since the knowledge that she has a child can cause her to lose her position. As the rest of Chicago is caught up in the glamour and excitement of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Charlotte searches for a way to care for Henry.

Olivia Newport weaves an intriguing tale of a mother’s love and devotion in this book. Her writing will transport the reader back to the 19th century. Her story comes alive with characters that are well developed and realistic.

Newport does a good job of defining the tension of the time between the staff and the wealthy families they served. She has done her homework, and it is evident as she skillfully melds history and fiction throughout her book. I found the details of the exposition and Mr. Ferris’s famous wheel added depth and entertainment to the story. The wheel itself acts as a nonhuman character that plays a role in the resolution of this story.

Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Accidentally Amish, and The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. She's been married for over thirty years and has two twenty-something kids. They live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in her back yard grow as tall as she is.

Visit her website here.
This book was provided free of charge to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts and review of the book.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Live in a Box

I live in a box. Not literally – I am very thankful for my little house with its running water, electricity, and heat.

No, my box surrounds me, but others cannot see it. I try to hide it from everyone but those very close to me, and even then, I don’t always let people know.

The walls of my box are comfort, fear, complacency, uncertainty. I sit in my box with my fingers in my ears. Sound seeps in, so I sing to myself. “Lalalalala, I cannot hear you.” Truth is I can hear. No matter how loud I sing or how deep I stuff my fingers, I can still hear.

It is God. The rustling I hear outside my box. He moves around me, touching my walls. Whispering words of courage, conviction, love. His voice always permeates my barriers.

I try harder. I pick up my box and run. God runs after me, loving me, not willing to let me flounder in my current situation.

He sees the future. I cannot. I try, but just cannot. I try to trust because He loves. Trust is hard, but it shouldn’t be. That stepping into the unseen fills me with trepidation. My heart pounds against my ribcage. It hurts, but it is not physical pain. It is the pain of hearing God and hesitating. This is not who I am called to be. My human sight focuses on the now, ignoring the divine and leaving me in this place where God never meant for me to live.

It is easier here in my comfort and complacency I think to myself. But then the fear and uncertainty push in. No, it is not easier here in this hiding from God, so I poke my head out of my box.

“There you are. I’ve been waiting for you.” God speaks and I know it will be okay, this living on the outside of my box. With God, it will be okay.