Music for the Soul, Coffee for the Brain

Hello! Thursday Morning!

I am well into my second cup this morning as I worship with one of my favorite bands via YouTube — yes, I also own their music. I like to test out new music before I buy, so this is a good way to do it.

And, this is how I usually start my day.  A short devotional, a chapter or so of the Bible, while filling my heart with praise via music.

I’m not wasting time, it’s the equivalent of mental and spiritual exercise. It gets me ready to face the day and whatever comes.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. — 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

Most mornings, as weather and work permits, I’m out walking early. A great start to anyone’s day, if you can do it. All things, done in a good and proper order.

  1. Feed the spirit
  2. Feed the mind
  3. Feed the body
  4. Tackle the day.

It just feels good. Do you have a morning routine? How do you feel when you accomplish your routine in proper order?

It’s like making your bed as soon as you get up. You’ve finished something. If you can’t finish anything else the rest of the day, you done one good thing.

So who am I listening to this morning? Elevation Worship. Love their music!

What am I studying? Learning to pray simple prayers. Wait, what? Why does anyone actually need to learn how to pray simple prayers?

Well, it’s like this. I’m a writer and I tend to try to create beautiful passages, and outdo others when I compose (yes, I’m competitive).

But know this: when praying, simple is often best. You don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling, or sentence construction. Just speak from your heart. Sometimes it’s as simple as: “Lord, please save my daddy.”

That heartfelt prayer preceded a day when my dad ended a long career of binge-drinking. He finally started on a journey that led him to a better life. Not that I had anything to do with that, but I was hurting so badly for him, I had no words. I just prayed what was in my heart.

We truly saw God move that day. There was no other explanation for the sudden turnaround.

So today, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee, listening to great music, and getting ready to read and study. Looks like the rain has stopped, so I’ll hit the pavement afterward and breathe in the fresh morning air.

Thanks for stopping by. May God bless your day — that’s my heartfelt prayer.

[Click to tweet] Music for the soul, #coffee for the brain. What’s your morning routine? #HelloThursdayMornings

Next week – Author Sandra Ardoin is my guest. So grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage and pop by for a visit.

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This is in progress right now! Write Integrity Press (my publisher) has a fantastic sweepstakes going on. If you’d like a chance to win an 8″ Kindle Fire, along with $100 and many more prizes, you can enter the sweepstakes by clicking this link (or click the picture above): Write Integrity Press.

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A New Thing at Write Integrity Press!

It’s been an exciting (and busy) month at Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing! I’ve watched and prayed as the ownership changed. That happened today, October 1, 2016. Here’s an excerpt from the official press release:

Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing announce a change in leadership. Marji Laine Clubine brings a fresh enthusiasm to the publishing companies along with a vision and strategies for growth and maintaining the high quality readers have come to expect. Tracy Ruckman, founder, will remain as Creative Director for WIP and PNP and will continue as publisher of the subsidy press, TMP Books. “It is our expectation and hearts’ desire that God will continue to use these businesses to bring glory to Himself,” says Ruckman.

Why am I so interested? Write Integrity Press is my publisher for the Legacy Series (Amelia’s Legacy & Carlotta’s Legacy), and the Kinsman Redeemer Series (Annabelle’s Ruth). This move is a positive one, though I am sad to lose Tracy Ruckman, the former owner. She took a chance on me, helped me in so many ways, to grow as a writer. Of course, she’ll still be around as Creative Director for WIP and PNP, as a personal friend, and one of the mentors in my life.

As the initial shock of the announcement wore off, excitement crept in…

New logo for Write Integrity Press
New logo for Write Integrity Press

I wait with “breathless anticipation” to see what the future holds for us at Write Integrity and Pix-N-Pens.

Marji Laine Clubine calls this a new chapter in her life. She has some great ideas going forward, and a fresh perspective. I love the work she’s done so far freshening up the website and logo. You can check it out HERE.

While you’re over at the website, check out the books and other excellent writers published by WIP and PNP.

If you’re interested in joining our ranks, you’ll find a submissions tab near the top of the page. Click on it for more information.

Marji Laine Clubine
Marji Laine Clubine

Congratulations and God bless you, Marji Laine Clubine, in your new role. I look forward to working with you!

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” — James 1:17 NLT

Freeing Ellie by Joan Deneve

View More: http://photos.pass.us/joan-deneve
Author, Joan Deneve

Welcome to my blog, fellow Write Integrity Press author, Joan Deneve. I’m excited about Joan’s new release, Freeing Ellie, the second book in The Redeemed Side of Broken Series. I so enjoyed her first book, award-winning Saving Eric.

Betty: Joan, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Joan: It was crazy! Writing came to me, I didn’t go seeking it. Over twenty years ago, I had an idea for a story, but I never ever planned to write it.

Then, four years ago, during my summer break from teaching, I was sitting on my back porch reading a really good book. When I finished it, I read on the back cover that it was the author’s debut novel.

Just for fun, I decided to grab a composition notebook and a pen and play around with that story idea.  From then on, it took on a life of its own.  I wrote like a possessed woman, barely stopping to eat or sleep. My poor husband indulged my obsession, and even massaged my hand when it throbbed and cramped. Six weeks later my debut novel, Saving Eric, was born.

Betty: Wonderful story! What is the most surprising thing you learned while writing one of your books?

Joan: This is going to sound crazy, but I learned that the characters will actually talk to me and kind of tell me which way the plot should go. I’m a pantster, which means I don’t plot out the entire novel before I start writing.

In my first novel, something happened to the main character that I really didn’t want to happen, but the character seemed to be telling me he had to go through it. Weird, huh?

And I’m ashamed to admit this one, but one big surprise was how much I had to learn about the craft of writing. As a novice writer, I wrote the entire book without knowing much about the craft. I knew nothing about deep point of view or the importance of “showing versus telling.” I’m very thankful for the writer friends who took me under their wings to teach me those concepts. The first draft looks nothing like the published novel.

Betty: Most authors will get that, Joan. I, too am very grateful to the many who helped me learn the craft–in process! So, where do you write best?

Joan: Believe it or not, I still write out the entire novel on paper and then type it. I still write best on my back porch where it is quiet and peaceful and the only interruptions are birds and butterflies and buzzing bees.

Betty: Sounds wonderful to me. Tell us about your latest release.

Joan: I’m happy to announce Freeing Ellie was published in May of this year and is available on Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/25fGKza

Back cover blurb:

Freeing Ellie FRONT COVERLife couldn’t be better or sweeter for Eric and Ellie Templeton as they begin their life together as new Christians and a newly married couple. But Ellie enters her marriage with some baggage of her own. What if Eric goes back on another mission? What if she loses this man who has become her life? Even worse, what if God never lets them have a child of their own?

God has some spiritual surgery to perform on Ellie to free her from the deep-seated feelings of guilt and doubt that have bound her soul for years.

God painstakingly and lovingly creates the perfect storm of events designed specifically to bring Ellie to the place where she can “let go” and fully trust God. No. Matter. What.

Betty: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about the book?

Joan: In Saving Eric, the first book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series, we meet Eric and Ellie, two thirty-something strangers who have some brokenness. couple-915984_1920God brings them both to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and radically changes their lives. They fall in love and marry… happily ever after, Right? Well, almost.

As the back cover of Freeing Ellie suggests, Ellie struggles with many fears and anxieties. I wanted to show a character that loves God with all her heart but still finds it hard to trust God, especially when something hard comes into her life.

Ellie struggles with self-doubt, guilt from past sins, and most of all, clinical depression that rears its ugly head during times of crisis.

But the book has light moments, too. As newlyweds, Eric and Ellie have some fun banter and some tender moments. They are both learning how to adapt to married life and also to their newfound faith.

It’s my hope that the reader’s faith will be strengthened to trust God with the outcome: No. Matter. What.

Betty: Beautiful. Any fun discoveries while writing these books?

The students in my junior high and senior high English classes are some of my biggest fans. I love chatting over plot ideas with the students, and I’ve gotten some really good tips from them. Nobody knows how to keep it real like a teenager!

person-1281536_1280One very special student asked if she could please read the manuscript of Freeing Ellie because she didn’t want to wait until it was published. I caved and let her. She even did an oral book report on the book without giving away the ending. In the conclusion of her report she added, “I loved the characters and consider Ellie to be one of my best friends.” Needless to say, that student received an A+. 🙂

Another gratifying moment was discovering that my best friend in Texas named her new puppy Eric T. after my character, and my daughter named her new puppy Ellie.

But probably my best discovery was this whole world that opened up when I became a serious writer. I go to conferences and meet people just like me, who spend a lot of time thinking, and planning, and talking to imaginary characters. I’ve made new life-long friends who are really cool people whom I never knew existed. What fun!

Betty: Yes, writers are wonderful and fun. I’ve made so many friends since beginning this journey–including you. 🙂 So, Joan, what’s next for you?

Joan: This summer I will be writing the third and final book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series. Loving Brock will take place on the mission hospital compound where Brock Whitfield, Ellie’s father and spiritual mentor, faces a personal crisis of his own. This book will address what many Christians experience: How to obey God when He asks us to do something we really don’t want to do.

Betty: Oh, boy, I’m facing that right now. I look forward to reading the next book. God bless your writing journey.

More about Joan Deneve:

Joan Deneve grew up in a small town in Alabama where she and her husband of forty-two years now reside. They have two happily married children and seven phenomenal grandchildren.

Joan teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and find His purpose for their lives.

Betty: How can readers connect with you?

Joan: I love to hear from readers! You can email me at cjdeneve@hotmail.com or look me up on Facebook under Joannie Deneve.  I also have an author site: www.joandeneve.com

Joan would like to give away an autographed set of her books: Saving Eric and Freeing Ellie (because it would be better to read Saving Eric first). By the way, Saving Eric is a 2015 Grace Award winner!

Betty: If you’d like to receive these two books, leave Joan a comment below. If you have any problems commenting here, use the Contact Me tab to send me an email. In the message, write “Joan Deneve’s giveaway.”

Saving Eric front coverFreeing Ellie FRONT COVER