Welcome to my blog. I hope you will return often for that second cup.

Writing has become more than a way to make lists or keep in touch with friends. It is a vital part of who I am. For the past few years I've been writing essays, devotionals, a memoir, and several novels. I invite you to join me on this site so we can explore ways together to improve our writings. Words can be beautiful or they can be hurtful - even devastating. The well-placed word or phrase, the choice metaphor, a fresh perspective - each can add to the reader's participation in sharing the thoughts of the writer. I invite anyone who wants to improve their work or even if you have never attempted writing beyond a grocery list to return often. Feel free to add your thoughts. There are no grades given - no critics to deter you. We do this as friends - chatting over their second cup of coffee. (or tea, if you prefer.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Interview with Author, Fran Fernandez

This week I'm interviewing a fellow writer, friend, and lover of God, Fran Fernandez. Fran is a minister, teacher, speaker and writer. She is also the pastor of Prince of Peace Church in Seaford, New York.

I met Fran several years ago at a writer's conference in Montrose, Pennsylvania. We correspond frequently and pray for each other. She's been a blessing in my life and we plan to spend eternity together, along with our other Christian friends and family members.

Fran Fernandez is freelance writer of magazine and newspaper articles, has inclusions in several anthologies. She’s a pastor, speaks at conferences, luncheons and retreats.   She’s married for 49 Years to her husband Frank, has three children, and eight grandchildren. Her passion is the Lord and His word. Fran loves in whatever medium is available to let people know how much the Lord loves them and bids them to abide in His secret place—tailored fashioned just for them.
Email:  Pop496@aol.com

Web site and blog: www.francesfernandez.com

The Best is Yet to Come

Hungering for more of God? The Best is Yet to Come is a go-deeper-higher devotional for women wanting more from their time spent with God. Sixty devos filled with the word, biblical and real life examples help light the way to the secret place. Each one comes with a targeted prayer and personal challenge to help apply it to your daily life. He's waiting!

Beautiful hardcover released by Zondervan. Available signed and discounted by author for $8 plus shipping: @ Pop496@aol.com or through PayPal on website.

Fran, What inspires you most as a writer?

As a child I loved to read and I still remember some books I loved such as Little Women and The Coat of Many Colors. I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries and wanted to be a detective just like her. And as I grew older God spoke to me through books which eventually led to me coming to know Him.

Also when I read a good book, or saw movies and shows that made me felt so good inside, I longed to write something that would bring people joy and meaning to people’s life. Now with the Lord in my life, I have the Source of all joy and meaning which I can share in my writing.

Do you write every day? How often, if not daily?

Because I am in full time ministry, I can’t write every day. But, I generally do something writing related, such as working on the promotion of my book (which is lifetime job), keeping in contact with agent, sprucing up proposals, and researching new markets for my proposals (I have four looking for a home)  I read writing magazines looking for new markets, and seeing what is new in the Christian market, and to further hone my craft. However, I know that once I get a publisher for a proposal it will be writing daily. 

Describe part of the research process it took to write The Best is Yet to Come.

Because The Best is Yet to Come is a devotional book, the main research is my bible reading and my walk with God. Having said that—I now say that I have a file with favorite bible verses, special things that I have heard or read, notes of things that God has done in my life. I also record personal insights God has given me, or of others. I have a file with inspiring stories of people from newspapers, magazines etc., knowing one day they will make a great illustration for God’s word to get across to someone.

How did you experience breakthrough to work with the big publishing houses?

Through going to writer’s conferences – setting up meetings with editors, authors, networking with writers, editors etc.

Also, getting an agent helps. But, having said that, I now say that I had already made the connection to an editor at Zondervan through another editor from Zondervan who was at Montrose Christian Writers conference; when she saw my work, she told me to use her name when I sent my proposal. So when I got an agent I gave her that connection and she followed through.

Share one tip you would like to give to a writer trying to break into the Christian market.

One tip – the most important one – and then I’ll sneak in a second one. The biggest and most important tip to breaking into the Christian market is that you would wrap everything you do in a relationship with God, prayer, reading His word, and keep asking along the way for wisdom and insight into what to write.

For how can we give out without getting it in first?

Having said that my second tip is – Never Give Up! If you have a desire and a heart to write something either for children or adults – I believe that God has put it in your heart and He will make a way for it, if you don’t give up. It goes without saying that you have to perfect your craft along the way; you must go to Christian writer’s conferences, for that is where you will meet others who have broken into the markets, and those to whom you can present your work to get into the market.

Keep writing, and writing, and rewriting, and then do it again. Always have something going around to possible markets. Always be looking for someplace to send your query or manuscript should it come back. 

What is the most satisfying part of your writing experience?

The most satisfying part of writing, hands down, is having someone email you, call you, or tell you face to face, that they were touched of God, or found a new truth in the Bible, or God spoke to them through your words. It doesn’t get any better than that! !

Thanks so much for sharing with my readers, Fran. As a personal note, I've read and re-read Fran's wonderful devotional and highly recommend it. I know God will continue to bless you, Fran, as well as you books.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Author Christina Freeburn

This week I'd like you to meet another fellow writer at Desert Breeze - Christina Freeburn, who has a new book out in electronic form called Led Astray

          I guess the first thing I'll ask is why do you write and do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?

     I write fiction. I enjoy making things up better. It's also why I create fictional towns rather than setting my stories in real ones.

          Chris, when did you begin to write?

     I was in the ninth grade when I started writing. The bus ride to school was 3o minutes long so a friend and I entertained ourselves by working on a teenage romance together. She got tired of the project after a few months, but for me it started a love of writing.

          How much time to you spend in preparation? In actual writing? In editing?

         It depends on the book, but I've noticed the more time I spend preparing,  (like outlining) , the less time I need for writing and editing as the story is already built in my head and I know the characters better.

     That sounds like good advise and who would you say is your best critic?

       I don't know if I have a best critic, but I do know I am my own worst critic which is probably why I surround myself with advisors and cheerleaders. Unfortunately, I carry a critic around with me. I'm really good at seeing what isn't working, so I need advisors that will help me see what is working. That makes it easier for me to go back and fix the places where I've written the characters into a corner or got them off track.

    What is your writing space like?
     A mess. Right now, my office is in a large closet that is off of the craft room area. My oldest daughter got married last summer and we're finishing up moving her out (her stuff at least) and that will soon become my office. I plan on going with a Disney and library theme as I have plenty of books and Disney (Mickey Mouse) items.

 That sounds like fun. Time wise - do you write daily? Weekly?  
     I write daily.

      Do you wait for inspiration?
     No, though it is a less of a struggle to get the words out when I'm inspired.
If I wait to work on the story only when I'm inspired, there would be days or even
weeks when I wouldn't get anything done. Sometimes other areas of my life can get
hectic and it does drain the creativity but I still have to sit and get a few words

      Most writers need a start-up, do you begin with coffee?
           Coffee is a must. (Ah, a girl after my own heart, says June)
    And I've also discovered that I'm more focused and the creativity flows better    
    If I workout in the morning.  (Just lost me, Chris)

     What is your goal -long term? 
            Right now, my long-term goal is to keep writing books that I love and have a 
    message to empower and encourage. I try not to make goals that can put me in a  
    place where I feel like I've failed. A lot of what happens (like trying to have specific
    selling target) is out of our hands. No matter how hard or how much time is spent 
    on marketing, promoting, and getting better at our craft, the outcome is one that can
    be planned.

  Any advice to wanna-be's?

    Celebrate but don't compare journeys to publication. There is a different path for
 everyone. What will work for one writer's unique situation and season in life won't
work for another. Keep writing. Keep reading. And most importantly, keep

Thanks so much for visiting here at my blog. I wish you the very best in your journey through life.

"Now, Pastor, I wouldn't make such a hasty decision." Mr. Kline pulled out another card and reached around Riley to place it on the desk. "Talk to the members of your church."

"I know their feelings on destroying the beauty God created." Riley picked up the card and started to tear it in half.

Mr. Kline gripped his wrist and squeezed, stopping Riley from completing the tearing motion. "Jobs are scarce in this community. There aren't many other companies wanting to bring other employment opportunities to this backwoods place."

Naomi gasped. Riley motioned for her to stay behind him.

"Pastor Coole, is something wrong?" A woman's soft voice drifted from the doorway.

Riley turned, and his breath caught in his throat. The heart-shaped face of an angel appeared through the slight opening. Lips lined in pink stood out from a smooth complexion. She stepped into the office and a questioning expression filled the sweet, young face as large green eyes focused on him and blinked. Once. Twice.

Thomas Kline's attention also turned toward the young woman, and the man raked a leer over her body. Riley clenched his fists. The young woman flipped strands of her unnatural colored hair, a hue resembling a brand new rising sunset, over her shoulders. Curls surrounded her neck and cascaded down her back, a cloak of multitude colors.

"Now who do we have here, Pastor." Kline stepped toward the woman. "You sure do like to have an array of woman about."

"And you like to ignore the word 'no.'" The woman strode forward, confident and menacing, the angel persona vanishing.

Kline took one long step forward and stood face-to-face with the spitfire. "What makes any of this your business?"

"From what I know, I was asked to be here, and you weren't."

Kline reached for the woman's arms. "I'm advising you to leave."

She jerked away. "Or what?"

Riley stepped between them, confusion revving his heart rate and causing his thoughts to swirl. Who was this woman, and why did she show up now? This wasn't a lost soul who stumbled onto the church and sought directions. This woman intended to be here, meant to wage war with Kline. Why?

"This conversation is over, Mr. Kline," Riley said. "The communities have no desire to sell any of the property to Peake Mining or anyone else.

"I wouldn't be too sure about, Pastor."

"I'm sure," Riley said.

"I think I'll poll the towns and see what they have to say."

"I wouldn't advise it," the woman said.

"Don't be making threats you can't back, little lady." The man cast one last look at the bold woman in front of him then headed for the door.

"Don't be foolish enough to think I can't."

(Sounds like a page-turner, Chris. Blessings.)
Christina Freeburn
Lost Then Found
Led Astray -- May 1, 2012
Stories of Hope and a Future