Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Author Behind the Story Series - Dawn Owens

As I write this, it's Saturday, June 9th. What a great time of the year. School's out. My Gator team is defending their national championship in baseball (they just beat Auburn in Game 1 of the super regional), and I had a great writer's critique group meeting this morning with a great group of writers. Love posting this blog series, too, because it also allows me (and you!) to get to know some awesome writers! Writers you may not have heard of before, but have now (Oh, and that reminds me...don't forget to subscribe to my blog via e-mail! Then, you'll get a notification each time I post here. Then you won't miss any of these!)

This brings me to the next guest in my Author Behind the Story series. Please welcome to the Florida front porch, Dawn Owens!


Dawn, in fifty words or less, who is Dawn Owens?

Dawn Owens, founder/executive director for The Link of Cullman County, a relational ministry to the poor in Cullman, AL. I also host a Radio Show where we talk about how to help people grow out of poverty. Most recently, I published my first book Like Me or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction.

So, let us get to know you better. You know, the person before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author. How old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?


I have had a love for reading since I was a child. Learning how to read at a young age, it came easy to me and once the skill was learned I could not get enough. I spent many a summer on a sofa or in a car with a book in hand and my mother trying to encourage me to go out and play. With it, I also found an affinity to writing. My writing started in journals and later through schooling turned into school papers. However, writing has always been a bit sacred to me. Writing took the form of journaling, which was more for me than it was for anyone else. I used it to process through the circumstances I was living through at the time.

What educational background do you have?

I grew up in a Suburb of Philadelphia called Havertown where I attended Haverford Senior High School. College was a desire of mine since Middle School, but when my parents got a divorce I thought I was going to have to let the dream go. Thankfully, I had cousins who grew up in poverty and already knew how to navigate the financial aid process. I applied to five schools, got into four of them and chose my college by the number of other people I knew going there, which was next to no one. I attended Kutztown University for both undergraduate and graduate school and then later attended Cincinnati Christian University to obtain a Masters of Arts in Religion, Pastoral Leadership. I am still two courses shy of completion.

After four years of trying to figure out what I was going to get my degree in at KU, I declared Professional Writing as a major and graduated with two minors in Public Relations and Speech Communication. I have also obtained a M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from KU.

Are you married? Single? Have any children?


My husband and I have one child, Sawyer, who is almost 9 years old. Sawyer is the joy of our lives and wants to be a scientist and preacher when he grows up. After that he’d like to be a paleontologist and then he says he’ll play golf.

What a vast array of jobs. :-) I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Song of All-Time: Good, Good Father
Chris Tomlin is a favorite artist of mine, but this song just reminds me no matter what my circumstances that my Father is Good.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible):  Breaking Free by Beth Moore
Breaking Free was one of the first non-fiction, Christian Living books that I read as a new-believer, and it’s stuck with me.
Favorite Bible Verse: Ephesians 3:20
I have seen God reveal this verse to me over and over again in the ministry He has given me to steward and in my own circumstances.
Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice.
I have probably watched it hundreds of times
Favorite Actor or Actress: Huge Anne Hathaway fan
Anne is such an animated actress, and I love how versatile she is her roles.
Favorite Novel: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
The love of God is overwhelming as it is but to hear it through the message of Hosea.
Favorite Author (other than you): Beth Moore
Because I was saved under Beth Moore’s ministry, she has become like a Momma to me in the faith, and I get discipled by her through her writing. God has used her in a powerful way in my life over and over again.
Favorite Sport: Tennis – played in high school
I played from freshman to senior year going to Regionals twice for doubles.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): University of Alabama. Roll Tide.
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: English and Criminal Justice
I always loved my English classes, but as I went into high school, criminal justice and the criminal mind became more intriguing to me.
Favorite Subject Now: British History
I love period movies and shows, especially ones that depict the monarchy. British is my favorite, but I do enjoying learning about others as well.
Favorite Teacher in School: Miss Angelo
She was my sixth grade homeroom teacher and English teacher. She always saw the potential in me, even when I couldn’t see it in myself.
Favorite Time of the Year: Fall
I love it when the air cools, the leaves start to change and the landscape becomes bright and colorful.
Favorite Place to Vacation: The Beach
Growing up not far from the Jersey Shore, I am a beach girl through and through.
Favorite Drink: I’m a coffee lover
Put me in a coffee bar, and I am near to heaven. Love me some coffee.
Favorite Food: Sushi
I could eat Sushi once a week but now I save it for the times that I want to celebrate something that the Lord has done.


For all the pet lovers out there, answer this question: Do you have any?

I used to have two dogs and one cat. Unfortunately, we found out my husband and myself were allergic. Though I did enjoy them, the freedom that I have without them outweighs my need to have the critters in my home.

What makes you cringe?

Lack of care for the dignity of human beings. As an advocate for the poor in my community (I am the executive director of a ministry to low-income families), it can get me pretty fired up when I hear people refer to those in poverty as “those people.” It almost sounds like they are second-class citizens. But God made us all in His image, so we should never refer to any other human being in such a tone.

Well said. Everybody seems to have a bucket list. Do you? If so, what’s on it? If not, why not?

Oh, I most certainly do have a bucket list. Two of my big ones on there are returning to England again to tour the countryside. I want to visit locations where Pride and Prejudice was filmed, visit Jane Austen’s home, stay in the hotel near where Downton Abbey was filmed and tour the castles and great homes in the area. After that I would want to extend my journey to Scotland and Ireland, and then to the rest of Europe to do the same.

I also want to visit Seattle, Oregon to visit the Fish Market, visit and eat in the Space Needle, and have coffee at the original Starbucks.

My wife and I have been on a British/Irish/Scottish/Welsh crime drama binge of late. We've been watching shows on Netflix like Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander (although it's set in Sweden and based on novels by a Swedish author, it has British actors and actresses in it...even "Loki" from The Avengers and Inspector Lestrade from Sherlock). Because of this, we now want to visit those places in the British Isles more than we already did. So, we get it. 

When the words aren’t flowing, what is your favorite comfort food and why?

I have a huge sweet tooth. So I tend to grab for sugary treats, which feel like a bit of a burst of energy too. Last night I was writing and ended up nibbling on some sour-filled Twizzlers, they are just enough zing to keep me going.

If your life was a story, and you were the lead character, what kind of role would you play?

I think I would be the underdog. My life has been filled with one challenge after another and each time I have learned (with and without God) how to press through. However, since coming to know the Lord at age 26, while going through a divorce, I realized going through these challenges with God is way more comforting and strengthening than without.\

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

Beth Moore is the first person that comes to mind. I was saved by her ministry nearly 17 years ago and she is still one of the women in my life that I constantly look to for biblical wisdom.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

Hmm. This is hard. I have two favorites, my go to guys are Moses and Paul. I would love to hear more from them for different reasons. But because my life has been one challenge after another, I relate to Job on so many levels. So I think my final answer would be Job because I would want to hear the rest of the story. How did he stay close to God, what did he learn from his trials, what would he have done differently.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?

Cliff jumping is the first thing to come to mind. I was in college and of course, all the “cool kids” were doing it. Ha. I had a boyfriend who loved it and wanted me to go with him. Well, I did and never thought I would actually take the leap, but I did, and it was exhilarating.

Why do you live where you live?

I am a Yankee living in the deep south. The only two things that could lead me to live her were my God and my man. So when my husband started to talk about wanting to start a church in his hometown, I started asking God whether it was His will for us to move. Over time God not only laid on my heart the desire to move, but gave me a passion to love the people of Cullman, AL. So when the church launched and closed within 6 months, I knew the reason we were here was greater than a local church. That was 8 years ago, and I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else.  This is home.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

The book that has had the biggest impact on me in the last year is A Secret to a Wife’s Happiness by Jen Weaver. This book taught me how I was supposed to be responding to my husband in the area of submission. Most of the time as women we are told we need to do it, but its rare, if ever, that we hear someone explain how to do it and what it looks like on a daily basis. Jen Weaver accomplished that and in doing so gave me the “ah-ha” I needed to start responding to my husband differently.

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, has a layout that is conducive to our family’s activities, only needing a little renovation, and that we can live well within our means with the payment.
                                                                                                        
When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

Comfort, style, and functionality are my big three.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

Book reading can happen in many different ways for me. Sometimes I read a book because of its cover sometimes because I know or have heard great things about the author. Other times is purely the subject matter and my desire to learn or improve in that area. Or just for the pure entertainment of the book.  But I would say more often than not, a book cover does help me to make a decision to purchase, unless I know for sure the content within is better than the cover itself.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

Isaiah 61:1-3 were the scripture verses that my husband and I originally felt called with when we moved from Cincinnati, OH to Cullman, AL. Today I feel like God is using me in that capacity in this community and now, through my book and beyond. Although there are many other scriptures that have impacted my life these are the verses that I believe God is transforming my life upon so that I can be used for His kingdom.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

Writing for me has been a challenge since college. When I was about to graduate I had to turn in a portfolio of my work to my Senior Thesis professor. In doing so, he was going to grade me and let me know whether or not I had a chance in this field. I had not been a professional writing major all five (yes, I was a five-year student) years of college and therefore had a tough time coming up with pieces over the last several years to add into my portfolio. However, when my I met with my professor for my review, his words stung me and changed me forever. He said, “This is just what we thought. You do not have any potential in this field and you will never be a published author. No one will ever pay you for your work. You should find another career altogether.”

That was many years ago, and God has done much to redeem those words meant for my harm. But the change for me was as I was writing Like Me or Not, it hit me that my writing this book was not a want to anymore, it was a had too. I was not longer going to worry about what other people thought, what my professor said, or whether or not the writing would be published. As I wrote I could sense the power of God in the words and I knew that someone else needed what I was sharing. It was in that moment that everything changed. It wasn’t for me or about me anymore, it was for someone else.

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?

Well, since Like Me or Not is my first published book, it is of course my favorite. But I do believe God had a MUCH larger purpose in it for me than just getting out my journey and His truth on the written page.

As the founder of The Link of Cullman County, I struggled with people-pleasing, insecurities, and fear of rejection. For God to complete His vision for the community I had to get in alignment with His Word trusting and obeying Him, rather than worrying about man at every turn. I was a foreigner (a Yankee) in this small southern community, a woman, and I knew next to no one. I was the last person on God’s green earth that should be pursuing this vision to minister to the poor. But God had another plan. It was our five-year anniversary and we were celebrating all that we had done. I did a one-take video of all God had accomplished through our volunteers, staff, board, and of course the thousands of people who were brave enough to start learning a new way to live. It was then that it hit me, what if I had said no. What if I allowed the fears of men to triumph over following God.

That is when I knew I had to write the book. I realized other people may be facing the same struggle of trying to overcome their fears of rejection and need for approval to do the dream God had called them to do compelled me to write for them and for the kingdom. Because really, when I do what I was created to do and you do what God created you to do, it’s then that we see the body of Christ acting, moving, and loving the way that it should.

As a writer, if you had one thing you would do over again, what would it be?

I would have taken more time to review the final edit of my book. The timeline of my final edit of Like Me or Not felt really rushed. I think I will read the entire book out loud prior to submitting to the publisher. There are places that the same word repeats itself (and in two close of corners) that I wish I had changed prior to it being published. It’s not the end of the world, but when I catch them it is super obvious to me.

Tell us about what project you are currently working on.

Currently I am working on another book that will address our need to sacrifice our comforts and walk in obedience if we want to see God use us here on planet earth.

Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?

When I am in book writing mode I sacrifice sleep, Netflix, lunches. Whatever I can possibly give up I do. I will then get up earlier, go to bed later, and write through every other opportunity that I can get during those times. I am taking my edits with me to the nail salon (pedicures are a great time to re-read what you wrote), doctors visits, and any other time I am in a waiting pattern.

But since I run a blog and write copy for our ministry, I am pretty much writing daily. However, I still have to carve out time in my schedule to do these because I need time to be creative in a quiet setting, which is not my norm.

Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?

The publishing field is constantly changing and now there are various ways you can get your writing out to the public. But those ways take a lot of hard work and commitment. In recognizing that I think it is important that you ask yourself and the Lord some questions. Is this for you or is it for someone else? If it never published will you be okay with that as an outcome? How hard are you willing to work to get it published? When I say that what I mean is, are you willing to sacrifice time, financial resources, and sometimes relationships to accomplish this goal? Answering these will tell you whether or not this is the time for you to go for it.

Basically how badly do you want it or feel like it needs to be read by more than you and your Mom? If you say really bad, then go for it. If you are excited but have other areas of life that are pulling you, then focus on those for now.

Has your writing crossed over into other areas? If so, how? If not, will it?

Yes, it has already crossed over. I have written articles, I am working on a devotional, and possibly a children’s version of the book. My son and I have been “working” on a middle-grade series of books. We are at the very beginning stages of this, writing book one. But learning fiction writing is a change of pace. I don’t walk around with characters in my head so I am really trying to pull the characters and their stories from an eight-year old's mind and get them down on paper.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

Right now they are purely coming from my son’s brain and when we come to a new character, I allow him to name them.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

My writing journey has been one of redemption. My life has been much like Joseph’s in God giving me a heart for writing at a young age and the devil trying to steal it from me.

Dawn, I want to thank you for taking the time to stop by and allow our readers to get to know you. May God bless your ministry in Cullman and your writing ministry.

Dear Reader, if you wish to find out more about Dawn, you can find her at the following locations:


Until next time, may God bless you, and may you bless God!

Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com
When visiting Kevin's website, don't forget to subscribe to Kevin's e-mail newsletter to get updates on new book releases, book signing events, and more! The form is located at the bottom of the home page!





Tuesday, May 29, 2018

My Third Interview in a Series of Three by Lena Nelson Dooley


I want to take this moment and thank Lena Nelson Dooley for having me on her blog. This is the third and final interview in the series (for now), featuring my Blake Meyer series.

Here's an excerpt:

Welcome back, C Kevin. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Completing the Blake Meyer series, working on my young adult series, working on the screenplays for The Serpent’s Grasp and The Letters, and anything else God allows me to complete. I also have a sequel series foreshadowed in the Blake Meyer series that will cameo Blake and focus on a fellow FBI agent, Julee Scarfano.

Tell us a little about your family.
I’m married to Cindy, my wife of almost 37 years. We have three daughters. Two of them are married, and we have five grandchildren. We have a rescue dog named Tiny. We live in the house I grew up in, but we’re looking to move in the next couple of years. We’ve lived in Florida twice, Western New York, Jackson, Missippi, Haltom CityTexas, and Des MoinesIowa. We’ve never been west of I-35, but want to see the western half of the U.S. soon.

You were almost a neighbor when you were in Texas. I live in Hurst. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Some. I read a great deal more research material than I used to. But that’s about it.

What are you working on right now?
I’m completing Book 4 of the Blake Meyer series, titled When the Clock Strikes Fourteen. Should be done any day now. Plans are for it to be available this fall. In my spare time, I’m writing a young adult series with the characters starting off in 6th grade. My writers critique group has told me that it’s the best stuff I’ve written so far. That’s a good sign.

You can find the rest of Interview #3 HERE!


The first interview can be found HERE!

The second interview can be found HERE!


Friday, May 25, 2018

A Heart's Desire (A Seriously Write Blog)


My wife has been reading Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted. She’s been reading me excerpts that have caused her to pause and examine her life. Generally speaking (because I have not read the book), Hatmaker challenges the reader to examine a life of luxury, comfort, and ministering to the saved only. It asks crucial questions about how we Americans live our lives, especially those of us within the sanctuary walls.

Of course, this “debate” is as old as the church herself. It actually predates the church and can be found in the Old Testament as well. Israel was blessed over and over again, only to wish God away for earthly kings and foreign gods. The Sanhedrin was nothing more than an Israeli form of our Congress in Washington, D.C., with liberals and conservatives, duking it out politically and religiously, all the while making sure their well-to-do lifestyle wasn’t negatively impacted.

It’s a constant trouble for those who live in affluent cultures, isn’t it? Having been born in one myself, like many of you reading this blog, it’s all I’ve even known. Sure, we’ve moved around from state to state. We’ve had very little. We’ve had plenty. But regardless of the situation or the time in our lives, God has always provided. His supply was not relative to our situation.

Read the remainder of this article HERE!





Wednesday, May 9, 2018

My Second of Three Author Interviews by Lena Nelson Dooley


Honored again to answer more questions about life and writing with multi-award winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley.

Here's an excerpt:


Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Wow, that’s a hard question, because there are really four days that fit that bill. First and foremost was the day I married Cindy Lawson. At the age of eighteen, we were young and in love, and most people said it wouldn’t last. And although we’ve been through our fair share of trials (at times it seems unfair), if it wasn’t for our relationship with God, we would have been another negative statistic about marriage by now. Satan has definitely been at work. But as I heard it stated once, “The general never tries to destroy his own troops. He uses them. So, if old Lucifer is attacking you, he must see your good works and wants to derail them, or he expects you to do good things, and never wants those to get off the ground.”

The second, third, and fourth happiest days of my life were when our three daughters were born. And because we have endeavored to raise them to love God and follow Jesus, that’s reason enough for Satan to be upset. He hates it when we help increase the numbers of God’s family.

That is so true. How has being published changed your life?
Well, it’s added about 30-40 hours to my work week…that already had 40-50 hours spoken for as an assistant principal (currently at a middle school). J Joking aside, it’s given me so many wonderful friends who do the same thing. It’s also changed the way some people look at me. Some people think I’m nuts for wanting to write anything. Others see it as “cool.” They ask all sorts of questions about “what it’s like to be a published author.” At writers’ conferences, when I mention that I won a Selah award, agents’ and editors’ ears tend to perk up a little more. But through it all, I’m still the introvert who forces himself to “get out there” and promote his work in a publishing world that seems to change with the wind these days.


To read the rest, click HERE!





The Author Behind the Story Series - Sinmisola Ogunyinka


Greetings from the Sunny South! Where we live in the high 80s, in high humidity, and with high hopes of having a calm hurricane season this year! To only reach the letter "C" on the name list for storms this season will be wonderful.

As I stated recently in a blog interview I did with Lena Nelson Dooley, one of the best parts of becoming a published author is getting to know so many people who share the same passion. Another aspect of that is getting to know authors from all over the world. This brings me to my next guest on my Author Behind the Story series. Please welcome fellow author, Sinmisola Ogunyinka!

Sinmisola, before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

I started writing at a pretty young age. I wrote my first story at the age of ten. So, before I had the first thought, I was home in elementary, playing with dolls. Lol. However, my reading teacher was quite engaging, and she sparked my first thoughts about creating stories of my own.


What educational background do you have?

I am originally from Nigeria, West Africa, and so all of my formal education was in my home country. I attended Federal Govt. Girls’ College a boarding school for girls, and went to Obafemi Awolowo University where I majored in Economics.

Are you married? Single? Have kids?

I got married to my college sweetheart, Afolarin, and we have four kids, three girls and a boy. The oldest, a girl, is currently a Freshman in Penn State University.

When the words aren’t flowing, what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Ice-cream…not so healthy haha, but, yes. It calms my within and makes me remember life can be “sweet.”



Do you have a favorite line from a movie or book? If so, what is it and explain why it is special to you?

My favorite movie is Sound of Music, lol. I think I have watched it a zillion times. And I still do crave it sometimes. I’d say my fave scene is the romance scene between the captain and Maria, especially the conversation when Maria said, “I’m sure the baroness will make things fine for you.” And he said, “There is no baroness.”

As a writer, if you had one thing you would do over again, what would it be?

I lived more than forty years in my home country where opportunities for career writers were limited to news and educational books. I wasn’t exposed to training until the millennium, and it was almost out of reach (due to the expense) so I’d say, if I had one thing I could do over again, I’d backdate my training by ten years.

It's never too late to start, is it? And when we do start and get excited about writing, it's so natural to want to turn the clock back, isn't it? Tell us about what project you are currently working on.

I’m writing my very first novel totally set in the United States. Since I’ve lived here for roughly a year, it is a challenging project but I’m working on it. It is set in Manhattan, and some other parts of New York, and I hope to visit New York City before I finish writing, to breath in the air. I should, I guess.

Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?

I have four kids so writing during the day is almost impossible. So, I am happy I am a night owl. The day starts for me at 1:00 a.m.


Wow. When do you sleep? Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?


Write it. Write, write. Write.


How do you come up with the names for your characters?


I do a lot of research on names. I am so particular about this because I come from a country with more than two hundred languages, and names have meanings. When I have decided on the setting of my story, I go in search of appropriate names for my characters, and then I practice how the name sounds by calling it several times. Some names just sound so wrong and I have to go search for other names.


If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?


I would have loved to meet Princess Diana, but she died, poor me. The next person I’d like to meet is Donald Trump. And not because he is POTUS. He’s done a lot in the business and entertainment world, and I am keen on getting some of his personal insights.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

I’d like to meet David. I am flawed like him, I guess. But he made so much impact despite his notable flaws.


We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?


Well, I read the John Maxwell book, Failing Forward, more than five years ago at a time I was deep in depression. My husband gave me the book because he couldn’t think of what else would help me. The book not only helped, it shot me out of my depressive moods. Till today, it’s still working. The magic in the book is still working for me. I think of all the testimonies of the challenges people faced, written in the book, and I realize I can make it, too!

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?



I love reading romance, all genres of romance give me a “kick.” But I like well-written books, and I look for strong, well-researched, and rounded characters. I like characters who are flawed. Most importantly, I want action from the start of the book, and I like the characters to surprise me.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

Most of my years back home, married, were spent being a stay-at-home mother and pastor’s wife, and I got a lot of inspiration from the voluntary services I rendered in our church. One scripture which impacted me a lot then is Proverbs 14:1 which says a wise woman builds her home but a foolish woman tears her home with her hands. My lifestyle was quite lonely, but this scripture encouraged me to look for more. This was the period I started to build a career as a writer.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

I want to thank all my readers and followers. I love getting your feedback, and I love interacting and engaging with you. I find people have a lot of talent, and I learn from everyone, which makes me appreciate God’s creativity. I also laugh a lot. And my philosophy in life is: live and let live.
Thank you so much for having me on the blog.

Sinmisola, thank you for being a part of our series! And may God bless your writing ministry.

Readers, if you want to get to know Sinmisola better, you can find her in these locations: 


Until next time, may God bless you all, and may you bless God,

Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com
When visiting Kevin's website, don't forget to subscribe to Kevin's e-mail newsletter to get updates on new book releases, book signing events, and more! The form is located at the bottom of the home page!




Friday, April 27, 2018

Five Tips on How Not to Become a Writer (A Seriously Write Blog)


Come check out this tongue-in-cheek, motivational speech/workshop on being the very best non-writer you want to be. These five tips are all the things writer wannabees can do to make sure they never follow any dreams.

And for the actual writer, these are five things that will definitely keep you from being all that you could be.

So, sit back, have a laugh, and read the Five Tips on How Not to Become a Writer.

Enjoy!





Thursday, April 19, 2018

My First of three Author Interviews by Lena Nelson Dooley


I was fortunate and honored to be interviewed by Lena Nelson Dooley on her blog.

Here's an excerpt:

Welcome, Kevin. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I’ve been told some of the phrases I use come out in the dialogue of characters. “I hear you say that,” my readers will tell me. But overall, I try to use certain things from time to time to help make the character more authentic. I remember putting into the manuscript of The Serpent’s Grasp a description of a car Micah Gregson used to own that caused him to purchase the car he owned now, a red Mustang Cobra. The car he “used to own back in the day” was a red 1971 Mach 1 Mustang with a 351 Cleveland. That was the car I had in high school and when we were first married (boy, do I wish I still had it now). Unfortunately, that recollection of Micah got axed in the final edit. However, he is driving the Mustang Cobra when he gets followed by the FBI agent, trying to find a news station that carries late, breaking news, and wishing he hadn’t allowed his satellite subscription to expire (another personal piece of info about me, by the way).

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’ve sat here for ten minutes, and I can’t think of much. I even asked my wife, who’s known me since we were 15. She can’t either. So, I guess I’m not a very “quirky” person. More on the conservative side when it comes to my actions, I guess. However, I suppose it depends on who’s watching, too. Some people would say becoming a writer is a little quirky. “How can you sit at a computer for hours on end?” Ever heard that one? I’ve also had others “say”—not with their words so much but more with their looks and actions—that becoming a follower of Christ is quirky, if not borderline crazy.

When did you first discover you were a writer?

I had an inkling when I was in middle school. Creating stories was an interest, for sure. However, I really didn’t have anyone around who noticed or encouraged it growing up, and there weren’t the opportunities available back then like there are now for young writers (which maybe answers why I wasn’t encouraged?). I finally got more serious about it in my mid-thirties, got more serious about it in my mid-forties, and now, here I am, wishing I’d gotten serious about it way sooner.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

With fiction, I enjoy mysteries and thrillers and wander around that section of the bookstore the most. That doesn’t mean I won’t pick up something else and give it a try, like a speculative fiction work or a science fiction piece. As for non-fiction, that’s all over the map, depending on what I’m doing. Christian spiritual growth books, if I want to read something for personal edification. Books about education, which are related to my day job as an assistant principal at a middle school (that job choice may qualify as quirky, too). Books about the subject I am researching for a novel I am writing. If you look at the bibliography in the back of The Serpent’s Grasp (and yes there is one…I put it there for a reason…), then you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about here.


Want to read the remainder of the interview? You can check it out HERE!





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Author Behind the Story Series - Ward Tanneberg


Hello, Everybody! We've had a couple of month lull in our series, but it's picking back up again with a great author who has an interesting story. That's one of the things I love about this job - getting to meet new people. And although it's through the cyberspatial realms of blogs, social media, and the like, we eventually get to meet face to face at writers conferences, as well as other events.

So, welcome to the Florida front porch! Pull up a chair. The iced tea is ready (it's already been in the high 80's here). Sit back, relax, and let's have a chat with my next guest, Ward Tanneberg!

Hi, Ward. For those readers who do not know you yet, why don't you give them a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Ward Tanneberg?


I’ve been in active ministry for 58 years, beginning as a young evangelist, serving as a denominational youth director, college public relations director, pastor in three churches, lecturer, adjunct professor, writer, blogger, novelist, and nonprofit organization executive director. I have spoken in hundreds of churches, adult retreats and ministry conferences, and meet with Christian business leaders, active and retired, in my living room on Wednesday mornings. I currently consult with Ministry Resources International and serve on the board since the very beginning of Assist International, and continue to speak in churches, retreats, and conferences. I’ve visited over 50 foreign countries, some several times. For example, my 11th visit to Israel leading a group will be in 2019.

Wow. That's a rich, full life, and one part of that has been writing. Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story?

My favorite story/book is always the one I’m writing now that has yet to see the light of day. Book manuscripts are to me like embryonic children still being formed, yet unnamed, and hoping for parents that someday will love and nurture them to success.

The memoir, Sacred Journey, is my newest true story. In fiction, I keep trying to make the next one better than the last. In that regard, it would be Redeeming Grace, a thriller that won a 2015 Bronze Jerry Jenkins Illumination Award.

Congratulations! It's always a great feeling to have others validate your writing with some type of award or recognition. Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?


I was the lead (only) pastor, in my early 20s, in my first church when I wrote an article for Pulpit magazine (now non-existent). It was accepted and they even paid … 10 cents a word! I was on my way. They published several more of my articles. I like to think it wasn’t my work that drove them out of business.

That's funny, and I'm sure it wasn't. You mentioned you were a pastor as well as how you have held numerous positions, etc. What educational background do you have?

I graduated with a class of 17 from Coulee City HS, a farming community in eastern Washington state; 2 yrs Central Bible College, Springfield MO; B.A. in Bible/Theology, Northwest University, Kirkland WA; graduate studies at Western Evangelical Seminary (now George Fox Theological Seminary), Portland OR and Seattle Pacific University, Seattle WA; Ph.D., California Graduate School of Theology, La Habra CA; additional: Core Coaching Skills; graduate FBI Citizens Academy; Stephen Ministries LTC.

FBI Citizens Academy, huh? Didn't know they had such a thing... Are you married? Single? Have kids? 

Dixie changed her address to heaven on 04 Aug 2015. We met while I was a 17-year-old Bible college student traveling with the King’s Ambassadors Quartet. We were married in Tulsa OK and soon after moved to the West Coast. We were married just over 59 years. We have two married children, 3 grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren, and 2 great grandsons. 

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's passing, but the hope we have as believers of it not being the end, but instead a new beginning, is joyous. And congratulations on 59 years. That's becoming more and more of a rarity. 

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Song of All-Time: The Prayer tops the list of many favorites
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Falling Upward by Richard Rohr is probably my most recent favorite; again it’s hard to pick just one.
Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 1:6 my mother sent me off to college with this verse.
Favorite Movie: North by Northwest (1959); Hidden Figures (2016)
Favorite TV Show: Blue Bloods (That is one of our favorites as well)
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Vicar of Christ by Walter F. Murphy
Favorite Author (other than you): Henri Nouwen
Favorite Sport: golf (I loved football, baseball, racquetball, tennis and played all of these at various stages, but I’m down to golf now. My dad taught me the game and I never ever beat him.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Mariners baseball team
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: PE
Favorite Subject Now: theology reflected in maturing adults
Favorite Teacher in School: Mrs. Neff, a no-nonsense elementary school teacher
Favorite Time of the Year: Autumn, Spring, Summer, Winter in that order here in the Pacific Northwest
Favorite Place to Vacation: the California desert
Favorite Drink: Water, coffee
Favorite Food: Cheese and onion enchiladas and other things Mexican


If your life was a story, and you were the lead character, what kind of role would you play? 

I like to think I’d be John Cain, the lead pastor in several of my novels.
 
For all the pet lovers out there, answer this question: Do you have any?

I have a 9-month-old, 54 pound, muscular Labradoodle named GAGE. He’s been the amusing topic of a couple of my ‘almost’ weekly Perspective blog posts. He’s near or on my feet while I am writing this.

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

The Apostle John who managed to do his best and most lasting work while in his late 80s, early 90s as an apostolic writer. I hope the same can be said for my work as well.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?

Mmm...Does sitting at a freeway crossroads with suitcases packed and flipping a coin to see which direction we would go (north or south) for our vacation qualify? How about kneeling by the side of a busy highway, watching an ant attempt to cross without getting run over? We were on a family bicycle ride from San Francisco to Mexico at the time. The ant made it. So did we.

I feel a song about high hopes coming on...

Why do you live where you live?

I like ‘extreme’ weather locations, for example, I’ve lived on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state (144 inches of rain annually); the California desert (very little rain and extreme heat in summers); and the Pacific Northwest (clouds and rain) where I now live in a low-rise condo surrounded by people in the heart of downtown Bellevue, WA.

There seem to be a great many writers in the Pacific Northwest...Does that have to do with the fact that you all have to stay indoors so much because of the rain? Just curious...

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

When I find a fiction author I like, I read as much of him or her as is possible, studying writing styles as I go. Catherine Coulter would be one. Lee Child, Joel Rosenberg, David Baldacci, John Grisham and others I read in the thriller environment.

In non-fiction, I find Roman Catholic writers, like Joan Chittister, Henri Nouwen, and Richard Rohr to be some of the very best. 

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you? 

In the city I prefer a condominium lifestyle; in the desert I like a gated community like Sun City. Lawns may be the most beautiful curse man brings upon himself, so I enjoy the beauty, but haven’t mowed one in 40 years.

Oh, I like how you think. Can I use that line next week when I have to mow again? I'd hate for anybody to curse me.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

Back cover copy and word of mouth are the two things catching my attention. Also a familiar author’s name that I like.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

My most difficult day was Valentine’s Day, 2014, when my wife received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Without therapy she was given 3-6 months. She chose therapy, wanting to hold her yet unborn second grandson in her arms. She lived 18 months. She was always a “teaching moment” to those whom she served as a pastor to women in two churches. That being the case, she agreed to let me write her story, filled with “teaching moments” that has since been published as the memoir book, Sacred Journey.

That is awesome. Tell us about what project you are currently working on. 

My current embryonic project is about “Life InBetween,” where we discover it’s not the high notes that thrill us, nor the mountain peaks that define us. A faith that transforms, that counts as right standing with God, is a faith bringing us straight to the heart of Jesus, who says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” This kind of faith is shaped in the “InBetweens.”

So I pick the man who was “called a friend of God,” and have begun unpacking the story of Abraham, whose greatest moments were not high points of success, but rather his “Life InBetween” such moments that shaped his faith journey. I’m using a combination of fiction, historical and biblical narrative, and life application. Not heavy, but meaty enough. When I write, I write for persons who were once broken, as well as persons who are broken still. Both are always at the very core of how and what I write.

Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing? 

I usually write in the mornings. I’m the freshest during morning hours. If I awaken in the very early hours, I may sit in bed and write.

I compose blogs one day a week, targeting living, learning, leading in life’s second half. My blogs touch on humor, pathos, marriage, family, leadership, church, retirement, anything that people in life’s so-called second half must face. Personally, I no longer speak or write about life in halves, but in thirds, but this is another subject matter.

In fiction, I am more of a pantser, with loose outlines that permit lots of things to “happen” rather than be tightly held together. However, I continue to learn as a storyteller, always seeking fresh approaches and insights. Currently I am enrolled in Jerry Jenkins’ online novel writing course and learning a good deal.

Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?

If you really are a writer, you will face discouragement, rejection, whatever, but you will keep learning and growing. And you will not quit.

Great advice, Ward. Starting is hard enough. Completing a book is even more difficult. But seeing it through to publication and beyond, well, that's an entirely different matter altogether.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?

I have written several inspirational thriller novels; a memoir of particular interest to caregivers of those suffering with cancer is Sacred Journey, my most recent work. I have lived 81 years. It is important that those of us in life’s “final third” share, with young and maturing adults, what life while being followers of Jesus has taught us.

Amen. As I get older, my perspective has changed. I used to dislike mornings. Now, they're not so bad. Time spent on seemingly worthless endeavors (like mowing the lawn!!!) are now "hours I'm not going to get back." It's so true.

Thank you, Ward, for taking time out of your writing life to spent some time with our readers. May God continue to bless you and your ministries.

Dear reader, if you wish to learn more about Dr. Tanneberg's writing ministry, check out the links below and the book descriptions.

Facebook: @wardtann
LinkedIn: Ward Tanneberg
Twitter: @WardTanneberg


Sacred Journeya memoir (2016)
From an Amazon customer: What a privilege to be invited into this very personal “sacred journey”. Life lessons abound! Be prepared to feel the pain and suffering of Dixie’s “Enemy Cancer.” The Enemy was brutal. Be prepared to encounter true love and commitment in action. Rare these days. Be prepared to experience genuine faith lived out and see hope penetrate throughout the “journey.” An incredible woman of substance and faith. Beautifully honest. Full of hope.
 
2) Redeeming Gracea novel (2015 Jerry Jenkins Illuminations Bronze Award)

From the back cover: Seven years ago, Grace Grafton died in a boating accident while partying on the Georgia, South Carolina coast. Was her death the result of alcohol and drugs or something more sinister? Nobody knows: her body was never recovered. Now years later, a woman reads in disbelief the note addressed to her: Hello Grace, did you think we wouldn't find you?

Those nine chilling words end Grafton's self-imposed sanctuary of witness protection. Now she and everyone she loves are in grave danger. Long believed dead, she has a secret that can change the future of America. She knows the man running for president is guilty of a double murder! But who will believe her?


Until next time, may God bless you, and may you bless God!

Kevin

www.ckevinthompson.com
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