I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Wedding in our Family!

When your only daughter begins to plan her wedding, you tend to have all things bridal on your mind! We're thinking about cakes, flowers, venues, invitations, showers, registries...oh my! And then big one--the dress. We did have fun with that one. (I'll be back someday with a picture!)

Then there's wishes, dreams, and ever so many decisions. So many choices, in fact, that the wedding planner warned my daughter to stay off of Pinterest for two months before the wedding!

But I keep thinking of the more important issues. How Christian counselors remind us of things like "love is a verb" and "communicate your feelings to your spouse". How can my daughter and her fiancé keep their romance alive?

And I've contemplated weddings in the Bible: the touching stories of Abraham and Sarah,  Isaac and Rebecca, Boaz and Ruth and many more. I even wondered once if so many wedding plans were Biblical...but, of course, they are. Revelation speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb and how "the wife has made herself ready".  I like to think that the Lord is smiling down upon the preparations.

I can't reveal much yet, but my daughter, Sarah, doesn't just do everything the traditional way...at least not to this old-fashion mother of hers! And I'm thankful for that. She's grown into a strong woman who knows what she wants and what she doesn't. It's helped her make choices like saying "yes" to the young man who proposed to her in front of a house full of relatives!

How about you? Have you seen some non-traditional ideas at weddings recently? Or maybe you've read a great book lately about romance or a wedding. Tell me about them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Adding Words to your Manuscript

By Patricia Bradley

From Printmaster
Last month I talked about cutting words from your manuscript. This month I'm talking about adding them.

Someone asked me if it's easier to cut or add words. Personally, it's easier to cut words. Adding words means new writing and editing is always easier for me. 

Most of the time, when I write my first draft I'm laying down the suspense part of my book. Then I go back and layer in the romance, emotions, scene details and make sure the Inspirational element is solid. If I still don't have enough to meet my word count, I'll think about adding another subplot, with or without a POV character.

Another way to add words is to flesh out your main characters. Give them another problem to deal with. Or, in the words of Raymond Chandler, if you're writing along and the going gets dull, bring in a guy with a gun. 

It doesn't have to be a literal gun. It can be anything unexpected--an accident, a phone call, an illness, a burned meal, a body...you get the picture--any type of sudden shock will do.

I also go back and make sure I don't have talking heads. Characters talking back and forth without a setting. Readers like to picture where your characters are and what they're are doing. This is also the time to give your POV character interior monologues. Let the reader know what the character is thinking. It's also a great place to have her to say one thing but think another.

So these are a few of my tips for increasing word count. What's your favorite way? Or are you a writer who never needs to add words? 

Leave a comment and be entered in a drawing for a copy of either Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, or my Harlequin sweet romance, Matthew's Choice.

Drawing limited to Continental United States for hard copy. An e-file will be available for all other entries.

Patricia Bradley
Follow me on Twitter: @PTBradley1
Follow me on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/patriciabradleyauthor

Shadows of the Past - Revell February 2014 
A Promise To Protect - Revell October 2014
Matthew's Choice - Heartwarming September 2014
Shop Amazon for my books under Patricia Bradley

I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why God Asks Us to Lay Down Our Dreams

You’ve been dreaming about it again, haven’t you? Publication, speaking engagments, awards and accolades. “Just wait until I get published! Than watch and see what happens.” 

We’ve all been there. 

Whether its a cherished gift we've hoped for at Christmas time or that dream job. We've all gotten stars in our eyes over something at least once in our lives. 

Let's face it. It’s amazing when a dream comes true. But what about those dreams God placed deep inside our hearts that haven't come true yet? 

Be honest with yourself. You're disappointed aren't you? 

Well what if I told you that God placed those dreams in your heart because He intends for them to come to pass.

Yes, He does. But here's the thing. Not at the cost of you.

If our dreams are paramount in our lives, then they have become idols, things that take precidence. We think about it all day, whittle at it, sort it, all trying to figure out how to get 
it to work. Many times we lose sleep because, let's face it, if we don't worry about it no 
one else will. Right?

The plain truth is:

“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭37-39‬ NLT)

I used to dream about seeing my books in print and had so many stars in my eyes that rejection letters would leave me feeling worthless for days. Funny how I took my identity from those letters.

I wasn’t ready. I was losing myself. Laying down my life for the idols of, Publication and Recognition.

It took time to learn how to lay it down. One page, one moment at a time, trusting that He would be faithful.

Publication is nearer now than ever before. But I don't worry about it, because it is not my focus. Doing what I see the Father do and saying what I hear the Father say, is my focus. Publication is a result of my diligence in perfecting my craft and not the end all be all of 
writing. It is not even the finish of the race. It is merely one of the milestones along the 

way. There is a timing for these things and God's timing is perfect.

Here’s something to think about:

Joseph-- had dreams that were fulfilled in time, but not until after many trials and testing of his faith.

Abraham--had a son even when the time for having them had passed both he and his wife. And then he was asked to give up this son. But he received him back from God whole (Genesis 17, Genesis 22

Israel--went into the promised land but not until all the disobedient ones or unbelieving 
ones had perished so their infectious unbelief would not be passed on to the next generation. (Numbers 13)

David--became king but not at the expense of his predecessor, Saul. He refused to take the easy way even though Saul had been delivered into his hands more than once. He waited on the Lord to fulfill the dream in its right season. Side note: Saul was delivered into Davids hands and we might take that as permission to kill our Sauls off in our lives, but 
David understood something about taking matters into his own hands. "I will not touch God's anointed" . (1Samuel 24) 

Ginger R. Takamiya

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Truth Trumps Fiction, or in Honor of Honest Abe

Delores E. Topliff 
Fiction often draws from  historical peoples’ lives for character development. Except some life patterns are so amazing, they’re not believable. I remember talking with a Zondervan editor sharing a poignant true event of my mother’s life I’d included in a book I was writing when she responded, “Not plausible, that couldn’t happen." Except it had.

Nine days from now we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Abe knew people worked hard to earn money and as a young Illinois store clerk, walked three miles to return six pennies he’d accidentally overcharged a customer. Therefore, since his 100th birthday in 1909, his picture has appeared on the U.S. penny, our smallest coin, to honor his role model  honesty. In fact, that kind of integrity became part of the body of stories growing up him that were the best P.R. possible and eventually put him in presidential office, besides securing a place in our hearts.

Next consider Diogenes, the Cynic, who lived in ancient Greece. By choice he lived in a barrel walking around carrying a lantern searching for an honest person since he was convinced no truthful honest man or woman existed. Too eccentric for a hero or anti-hero? Probably, but unforgettable all the same.

Lincoln once said, “You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.” In other words, not much should be able to do that. He may be paraphrasing Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

For my money, I’ll take Honest Abe, saluting his character every time I jingle his pennies in my pocket.

Old-timers  say, “Beauty is as beauty does.” Homely? Ungainly? Kind! His conduct was beautiful.

Therefore, in my books, Lincoln was the most handsome president we’ve had. I slip a Lincoln penny into the cake I bake on his birthday to serve grandkids while talking about his life and honesty.

Tell us how you celebrate him or another favorite person of your choice.