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Matthew 17:20, my favorite verse. "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."



Monday, January 19, 2015

Romance and Marriage

My husband and I have been happily married over twenty-one years. And because of that, I was recently asked to speak to a group of women about romance and marriage. Following, is what I shared that evening.

How do we keep romance in marriage? In order to begin, the first thing we have to do is empty our heads of negative thoughts. There may be some of you that justifiably have reasons to resent your spouse and might be tempted to put up a mental block to the things I have to say.
Let’s keep in mind, we’re not here to feed negativity. We’re here to learn and grow. How do we do that? With positive thoughts! So pull out a mental drawer and empty your head. Then slam the drawer shut. You can’t open it for the extent of this post and anytime a negative thought starts to creep in, repeat, In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, get thee behind me, Satan! (point A)
Also, you have to come to terms with a couple of nitty-gritty facts. The end result of romance is love-making. If romance is what you’re after, be ready to see it all the way through. Fact number two; as shocking as it sounds, men want to feel wanted and desired as much as women do.
The ideas I’m going to give you will require a servant’s heart, but oft times, our good deeds return good deeds. So if there’s any negative thoughts hanging around, maybe like men are only after one thing or he’d never do that for me, empty your head and repeat, in the name … (you got it, go back to point A)
Okay, let’s get started.
What is romance? According to Google’s dictionary, romance is a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. Which in turn, tends to give remoteness from everyday life.

Some synonyms would be: love, passion, adoration, devotion and affection.   
 
Romance also can be described as to court or woo. Some synonyms to that would be: chase, pursue, seduce. Am I on track?

If you’ve been married for any length of time, these synonyms can get lost in a pile of verbs such as; washing, sweeping, mopping, mowing, fixing.
But they’re not supposed to.
Here’s how you can keep or reinstate romance in your marriage.

For women, this starts in our heads. Throughout the day, prepare yourself for romance. Start by diffusing an oil that calms your mind and stimulates sensual thoughts. Remember with fondness a romantic time you’ve had with your spouse in the past and let it fuel your desire for more. Consider some of your favorite qualities about your him. Make a mental list and let it bring a smile to your day. Keep an oil, like Joy, near you to keep your thoughts happy.

Next, think about your favorite parts of his body. Visualize this. Build on it. (You get the idea.) Since romance starts in our heads, we need to prepare for it in advance.

When he comes home, take time to visit, talk about your day. That way, by evening, your intimate time with your husband won’t be mentally invaded by unresolved issues or tasks.

Do you laugh with your spouse? You should. It relieves tension and builds your friendship, bonding what God tied together. Instead of sharing the latest drama with him about whomever, share the funny thing that happened that day. Or simply play. Buy two nerf guns and have a war, or play flash-light tag (only when the kids are gone as I’ve heard of married couple doing this in the nude). J Think of things that can lead to him pursuing you—since this is natural for him anyway. Then choose to be caught.

Do you like unexpected gifts? Odds are, so does your spouse. For no reason at all, buy him a tool he’s been wanting or a book. This lets him know you were thinking of him. For her, what woman doesn’t like clothing? Maybe a flattering blouse or if that’s too hard, try a magazine she enjoys but doesn’t often purchase, or for either, something as simple as their favorite candy bar. (This is where knowing their lists of favorites can be very handy!)

“Be devoted to one another…Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10).”
Flirt with your husband. When you’re walking across the room, wink, blow him a kiss or just wiggle a little for him. Love is a verb—an action. Actively choose to love him, flirt with him, and enjoy him. Throw in some sexual undertones in a conversation. Stare at him then follow it up with a compliment.
Never stop courting. I choose to remember whom I’m romancing, my husband and my best friend. Therefore, I always prepare to catch his eye, impress him, honor him, elevate him, please him, and smother him in love.
And don’t forget. Kiss passionately every day. Especially as he’s leaving—give him a desire to want to hurry back to you. J
Here's a link to a blog you might find helpful ... Warning: she covers a lot of 'stuff' here, but you don't have to read it all. I found the first half very helpful. The latter ... a little too personal for my taste. :)

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-1-the-act-of-marriage/

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Look

Good Morning--at least that's what my new back ground makes me think. I wanted a blog that might help in inspiring me to actually use it. The leaves that I had were very pretty, but also too relaxing. So here's to a new year and new blogging!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Please welcome, Keely Brooke Keith!

Keely Brooke Keith is the author of The Land Uncharted, a book pulling in five-star reviews that some readers describe as a Christian, Historical, Sci-Fi mix. 


Image of Keely Brooke KeithWhen my husband challenged me to write my first book, The Land Uncharted, I accepted the challenge, assuming I would only write a few sentences at a time and over the years slowly produce a manuscript that my future great-grandchildren would one day find beneath a tattered stack of Reader’s Digests as they cleaned out my Bengay-smelling room at the nursing home. And that’s about the pace I wrote at for the first few months. Then without warning, inspiration struck and a torrent of words starting pouring out of me. Snippets of dialogue, the scent of a scene, or emotions that had nothing to do with my real life would wake me at 4 or 5 in the morning and there was no going back to sleep. My fingers couldn’t type as fast as the story came and within weeks, my few pages of not-really-a chapter turned into a full-length novel.


Before that sweet, providential challenge slipped from my husband’s lips, I was already busynot crazy busy, but my daily schedule was full. I ran a home, did the bookkeeping for my husband’s business, homeschooled our daughter, and worked as a musician. Once the book was written and the publishing adventure began, 40-50 hours of writing work filled every gap in my already full weeks.

Now, nearly two years into this process, The Land Uncharted has been released as the first in a three-book series and I’m still happily running a home, helping with a business, homeschooling my daughter, and playing music. And after “What is your book about?” the second most frequent question I’m asked is “How do you do it?”

My answer: by the grace of God.

It’s true. But it’s more than that, or different somehow, because the gift of God’s grace is available to all peoplemulti-tasking truckloads of creative work is not. All I know is: He has given me this ability in this season for His purpose. He has given me a passion for writing and as long as He leads me down this path, I will follow. I have friends who routinely work 18-hour shifts in the Emergency Room, and I have no idea how they do it. I pray over missionaries who live in deplorable conditions to share the Gospel, and I have no idea how they do it. I go to church with women who care for their aging parents and watch their grandbabies at the same time, and I have no idea how they do it.

…Other than by God’s grace.

God’s grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness. My prayer is that I try to constantly stay in check with what the Lord has for my life. I know that in this season I should help my husband and teach my daughter and prayerfully accept jobs playing music that brings Him praise. And I know that as long as the stories keep coming, I should faithfully continue writing.

 
My debut novel, The Land Uncharted, is now available on:


Connect with me on:


 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Self-Publisher Ends Contract with Advocate Distribution


 
For those of you who haven’t read my earlier posts, I signed under Advocate, a division of Send the Light, one and a half yrs. ago.

I was excited to be accepted by them and be able to say that as a self-published author, I also had a distributor. It seemed to give me more credibility, but oh ... at such a cost.

First, I had to pay $500. I believe this was to be in their magazine—which, although I was pictured within the same pages as Kirk Cameron, I saw no sales come from this. (Still, it’s neat to have on hand and peruse through sometimes—but it did cost me!)

I was told I wouldn’t make money unless they made money. This seemed to make logical sense to me. (However, someone other than me was making money.) I agreed to pay to have a poster of one of my books displayed at the International Christian Retail Show. This brought in a few sales but nothing to get too excited about. Probably not enough to pay for the $150 poster.

As a member, you’re offered numerous ads to participate in. One of which was the Munce catalog. I was accepted by them, which I was told through someone at Advocate this was something special as not every self-pubby gets through their doors. Then I was told what ads I should probably go with in their magazine. In three months, they would showcase four of my books in half page ads for a total of $3800. I swallowed hard, stared at the money in my book account, and said okay. I had the money, it was set aside to ride this roller coaster and see where it would take me, so no worries … right?

Lots of books went out to places like Ingram, Anchor, and smaller places. However, not enough to cover even a small portion of what I’d paid. Therefore, I chose not to do any more ads until I made my money back. However, without doing consistent ads, my name wasn’t out there. Without my name out there, no one was buying my books.

Long story turned pricey. Ingram and eventually Anchor, plus some of the smaller places, returned my books. Ouch. Then I had to pay back what I’d earned, plus now pay a small stocking fee.

So when all was said and done I realized this wasn’t working for me. I wrote another large check to close my account with Advocate and have the returned books sent to me. This gave me a ballpark figure of $5500 in all that I had spent with Advocate.

Does this mean you shouldn’t venture down this lane? Not exactly. I think it might have worked out if I hadn’t done a big ad or any ad for that matter, because the small ones I tried before getting out never brought in sales either. So if after reading this you still want to give it a try, join but don’t agree to ads. Then if someone asks you where they can get your books, you can proudly tell them anywhere. Any bookstore can order them. Keep a low profile until you decide you want to drown yourself in marketing and keep your name alive—maybe then the ads would pay off.

A note to consider. I could have paid for the same Lifeway ads that you see in your mailbox. Yes, I could’ve made myself look as popular as Joyce Meyers. This put things in a new perspective. Yes, Joyce is well known now and probably very gifted although I’ve not read any of her work. However, what worked for her is having someone believe in her and be willing to risk enough money to keep her in the lime light. If only we all had that we could all be so famous.

One last note, in the short time I was with Advocate, they went through a lot employees. Although they were all very kind in my dealings over the phone and email, there were some expensive foul ups made. That first $500 charge—well that was charged to me twice. Had I not caught it, well … And that wasn’t the only accounting error … always in their favor. Now I don’t believe anyone did this on purpose, but if you sign with them, check your monthly statements carefully!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No More Rejection Letters/Submit Proposal the Easy Way!

As most of you know, I'm a self-published author. I chose to go this route to avoid any additional stress to my life while homeschooling my children. However, I feel ready to accept the challenges of a traditional publisher now and am writing an inspirational comedy romance with the intent of becoming a hybrid author. What this means, is that I'll be both traditionally published and self-published in hopes the traditional route will draw more attention to my books that are self-published.

But ...
I do not want to go the stressful route of facing rejection letters. Nor do I have to. ChristianManuscriptSubmissions.com is a site designed to connect writers with publishers. You can find out more by going here: http://christianmanuscriptsubmissions.com/authors/create_pp.php

If you want to leave your work with them, here's what you'll need to prepare:
This is a sample of the "Create Your Proposal" form

SAMPLE FORM FOR REFERENCE ONLY - DO NOT COMPLETE

*Required Fields


My Proposal
Tentative Title*:
Proposal Category*:
Topic:
Intended Audience:
Similar Books:
Promotion Ideas:
Manuscript Length
(Word Count):
Completion Date:
Book Summary* :
Word Count 500
Table Of Contents:
(Chapter titles only)
Writing Sample*:
(Word Count 3000)
Interest in Self-publishing: Yes No
Interested self-publisher or partner-publisher will provide editorial services and print your book for a fee.
Agents May Contact Me: Yes No
Interested agent would represent your book to a publisher and follow AAR guidelines to charge you nothing up front and share in a small percentage of the book proceeds after publication.
How did you hear about us?
 

SAMPLE FORM FOR REFERENCE ONLY -
DO NOT COMPLETE

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Does God Still Speak Through Dreams


In Fourth Time’s the Charm, God speaks to my heroine through dreams and warns her of what’s to come. I was drawn to the idea because of a young girl’s admonition years ago. She told me she’d had a dream of who she was going to marry. Despite the disbelief of her parents that the dream held truth, she believed and it came to pass. They’re still married to this day with two children and a third on the way.


Does that sound outrageous to you?

I also have another friend (a Christian like the afore mentioned woman), who often experiences vivid dreams that carry messages for her life. And the beautiful part I have in this, is that God will sometimes use me to interpret them for her. I’m often blown away by the impact her dreams have—often ringing true even months later!

The Bible tells us that in the last days, sons and daughters shall prophesy, young men shall see visions and old men shall dream dreams. -Acts 2:17

In researching for people God spoke to through dreams in biblical times, I came across the following article. I think it’s well written and gives insight into one of the wonderful ways God works His Spirit in our lives.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Planning a Book Cover

When planning a cover for my latest W.I.P., I try to capture the essence of my characters, location of the story, and if possible, a link to something of importance.

For Abandoned Hearts I have a vehicle driving away, virtually abandoning my hero. He has a hand on his head as if he still doesn't understand why she's leaving and it's clearly in the Ozarks.

In Unexpected Kiss, it mirrors the kiss in the book. Ethan Durham plans an opportune photo shoot with a stranger on a city street. I didn't need anything else but the kiss as the cover also stands in as the photo he needed to finish up a class he was taking.

Now in my newest release (that's not yet released), Four Times a Charm, my hero is the sheriff and my heroine is a waitress. The title comes from the four times the sheriff saves her, but the heart charm I want in the cover comes from a gift he gives her.

What I want in the cover is my sheriff at a table against a wall with a vest, badge and even a hat on. (We'll forgive him for wearing it inside for the sake of the cover!) He'll be in the center background. Then in the front right side, I'll have a close up shot of the waitress carrying a pitcher and wearing a heart charm around her neck or wrist. Ideally, I want her close enough we don't have to have her face in the photo.

So when planning your next cover, consider three elements of your story and ask yourself, how can I pull them together for a cover.