Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Magic of Collaborative Marketing for Writers

Sharing this WordServe Water Cooler post by Anita Brooks with our StoryWriting Studio friends.

WordServe Water Cooler

Zig Ziglar Motivational Quotes“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar, the ultimate motivator, knew that when we authentically and unselfishly support other people, great things happen. I’ve experienced the truth of this principle many times in my life, but especially recently, when I joined forces with two other WordServe authors.

Karen Jordan, Kathryn Graves, and myself decided to collaborate on writing a non-fiction book for women. By doing so, we discovered some surprising side benefits. We’ve found the magic of the collaborative process for writers improves marketing, increases our income potential, and adds a fun element to the author’s journey.

The pressures seems lighter, because we’re in it together.

Untangled A Women's ConfereneceOne of our most exciting accomplishments came from developing a women’s conference based on our book’s title and message. We outlined options for a one-day conference as well as a two-day event. We…

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You Are a Letter

People don’t write letters much anymore. We use social media to give little updates to the world about what’s going on in our lives. No matter where in the world we may travel, it’s almost always possible to connect to the internet to post our pictures. That’s nice in many ways. But I think maybe we’ve lost an art form.

The Old Way

In the olden days, before there was an internet and cell phones, we wrote letters and sent postcards to our friends and loved ones. I have some old letters written during the Civil War to one of my ancestors. The writer fought on the battlefield and the recipient ran the family farm in Missouri during his absence. The missing piece of information is whether or not our soldier returned home alive. If he did, no more letters would be necessary. If he didn’t, they wouldn’t be necessary either. Letters were for keeping in touch when separated.

But letters were sometimes written when people were not separated. My husband and I wrote letters back and forth the summer we were engaged and living in different states. But returning to college to spend all our free time together did not stop our letter writing and card sending. I have a rubber band-wrapped bundle of them, proving we each thought of the other almost every moment of every day. And we wasted no opportunity to communicate our love, whether in person or in letters or cards.


Photo: Pixabay

God’s Way

Did you know God writes letters, too? He does! In 2 Corinthians 3:3 we read about His letters: “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us [Paul], written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” God’s letter is not written on paper, or stone tablets like the Ten Commandments, but on our hearts.

We are the “paper” and the “ink” is the Holy Spirit. What does this letter say? What would the Holy Spirit write on us that He wants other people to read?

I can think of several things.

  • A return address–we belong to Him. I am a bonafide citizen of His kingdom and have a residence waiting for me in heaven.
  • Truth–I know the truth because I know God. He puts truth in my heart and I speak truth when I speak or write a message from Him.
  • Fruit–maybe drawn in pictures. But the fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The ink is the Holy Spirit, but He is invisible. The visible is the blood of Jesus Christ. Like invisible ink that only shows up when you color over it, these invisible writings only become visible when the blood of Jesus “colors over us.” When we believe and accept His sacrifice for us and surrender ourselves to Him, then the invisible things that the Holy Spirit gives us become visible to people around us. The letter that is us gets read.

Your Life Letter

What does the letter of your life say? Has God’s writing gotten smudged or worn away by time and failure to pay attention? My family heirloom letters are difficult to read in spots just because they are so old. But in other spots, a bit of moisture blurred the words–maybe tears? And there is grime from fingers that folded and unfolded them to read them over and over again. How carefully do you treat God’s writing on your life? How special is his letter on your heart? How easy or difficult is it for others to decipher the writing?

I think I’ll be paying closer attention to mine from now on.

by Kathryn Graves

Devotional Essentials, Part 1

Sharing this great info for devotionals writers with our StoryWritingStudio Studio readers. Thanks, Paul (Kent) Muckley and WordServeWater Cooler.

WordServe Water Cooler


A well-written devotional can remind readers of key truths of the Christian faith, spur thinking that leads to a positive life change, actually draw people closer to God. A poorly-written devotional? Well, God can use anything for His purposes . . . but let’s consider some ways to “do devotionals right.”

Just think how popular devotionals are—they comprise some of the best-selling and longest-lasting books in the Christian realm (for example, Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, and Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling), and they represent entire ministries (like Our Daily Bread, The Upper Room, and Living Faith). It’s no exaggeration to say that new devotional material releases every single day, in books and magazines, on-line, and in outlets like church bulletins. How can we best meet the needs of this hungry readership?

I’d like to propose a TEST for you—that’s Topic, Example, S

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How a Non-Writer Like Me Got Published: Barbara Cofer Stoefen

Have you considered writing a book about the lessons you’ve learned in life to help others who may be going through some difficult life experience? I think you’ll enjoy reading Barbara Cofer Stoefen’s story on the WordServe Water Cooler.

WordServe Water Cooler

(Continued from Part I)

I began writing my memoir by starting near the end. That first night, while sitting in front of a blank computer screen, I tapped out the images closest to memory, and likely closest to my heart. It was the account of a remarkable day… the day I delivered my daughter, Annie, to a drug treatment center in California.

 “It wasn’t at all the institutional setting I’d expected for detox… At that late hour, the street was quiet and still. A woman emerged from the far side of the darkened house, brushing by a wall of hydrangeas that cast an eerie glow of amethyst and silver in partial moonlight. Her hushed tones made it seem a clandestine transfer as she took hold of the pull handle on Annie’s bag and turned to escort her inside… Just before both disappeared into the darkness of an open gate, Annie turned around…

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Should a Non-Fiction Author Write Fiction and Vice-Versa?

Shiny Objects

Are Shiny Objects Tempting You?

One of my coaching clients has to guard against his propensity to chase every shiny new object. I can identify with his temptations, as I struggle with similar ones in my writing. Can I author both fiction and non-fiction? Can you? Let’s explore the question, and see if we arrive at the same conclusions.

Recently, I had a conversation with my literary agent that went something like this:

Me, “I’m grateful my non-fiction books are selling, and my platform is building in the genre, but I have these two great novel ideas. What do you think? Would it be okay for me to pursue them?”

Alice, in a gentle tone after taking a deep breath, (I’m sure praying for patience with this crazy, bling-chasing author she has to deal with), “We normally recommend trying to stick with one genre. Otherwise it confuses your audience.”

“Could I do it using a pen name? I have one picked out.”

“Possibly. But then you’re using twice the energy to build two platforms simultaneously.”

That sounded like a whole lot of work to me.

Alice, “Can you turn your novel ideas into non-fiction?”

“Fiction is more fun to write.”

“I’m sure. But why don’t we focus on finishing your current book, then revisit this when you’re done?”

She’s a wise woman. I’m sure she believed the luster of authoring fiction would fade with time. And to a degree, she was right.

I’ve since researched the subject further, and found there are some common concerns and benefits listed from those with vast experience and knowledge. Publishers, agents, and even high-profile authors said much of the same. Here are the highlights of what I learned about the subject.


1. Most readers will try a favorite author’s book in a new genre once, but if they don’t like it, may not buy any books written by them again. Including those they loved before.

2. Loyal readers often feel betrayed by the switch, and never regain trust. Genre confusion can cause authors to lose whole segments of audiences who now view them as promise-breakers.

3. If you switch genres, and the new book tanks, it can take years to rebuild publisher confidence and marketing momentum.

Pros:Do Ordinary Things Extraordinarily Well

1. Writing too much of a similar thing can cause an author to sound scripted, formulaic, and stale in later books. A change in the creative landscape can infuse fresh dimension into their craft.

2. Opportunities to cultivate new audiences grow with change. For example, if you write murder mysteries, but switch to a practical how-to, you chance reaching people who won’t read the mystery.

3. Authors like C.S. Lewis successfully carried their voices into cross-over markets, reaching many more people. If you are careful to stay true to your writing self, you potentially could do the same.

After talking it over with my agent, researching, praying, and much pondering, I think I’ve had a change of heart. Turning my novel ideas into non-fiction is feasible. And I know successful writers are teachable and flexible. If I want to thrive in the writing world, I need to mirror those traits, and listen to those with voices of wisdom.

Down the writing road, I may change my mind or the market may shift, but at this point, why mess with success? I’d hate to have a shiny new object deflect me from the blessings I already have.

Do you think it’s wise to write fiction and non-fiction? Why or why not?

Stories, Tips, Inspiration for Getting ThroughAnita Brooks motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and award-winning Author. Her latest book, released through Barbour Publishing, is Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over.

Anita is also author of First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, released by Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, and contributor to The Change Book Series. Her titles are available at all major bookstores, Amazon, plus other online retailers.

She is also host of the Fresh Faith Inspirations podcast. In all she does, Anita fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience, interviews, and research.

She’s energized by overcoming adversity, work with integrity, healthy relationships, identity issues, and abundant living. Anita inspires audiences all over the world to believe as she does — in business, as in life and love, it’s never too late!

Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of 30 years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to take life’s battles, and transform them into victories.

You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at Email to request information on having Anita speak or train at your next event.

Thank You! Offering a Prayer of Thanksgiving

“What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? … I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God” (Ps. 116: 12, 17).

Thanksgiving. Today, I’m making my lists and checking it twice, as I plan our traditional Thanksgiving meal—turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, all the sides, appetizers, and (of course) desserts.

Blessings. As I consider how I can express my thanksgiving to God for all His blessings, my family and friends come to mind. And I asked myself this question, What can I give back to God for the blessings He’s poured out on me?

Prayer. The psalmist expressed his gratitude by offering thanksgiving and prayers (Psalm 116:12). I agree–what a wonderful idea! So, in gratitude for God’s blessings in my life, I offer my thanksgiving and prayers for you—my family and friends.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I (ask) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe … (Eph. 1:16-19).

Happy Thanksgiving!

How can I pray for you this Thanksgiving? 


Sharing Family Stories at Thanksgiving

horn of plentyby Mary May Larmoyeux

Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s a perfect time to share family stories.

As our family will enjoy turkey and dressing this Thanksgiving, we’ll recall not only God’s blessings, but also share some of our family’s favorite stories.

I’ll never forget a time long ago when my mom and dad were visiting for Thanksgiving while Jim’s and my kids were still living at home. We were sharing our blessings and my dad said he was thankful that he had a good wife. Mom couldn’t understand him. “What?” she asked. “You want a new wife?”

We all leaned back in our chairs and laughed, and a Thanksgiving memory was etched on our hearts.

When I think of Mom and Dad, I can still see them holding hands (even after being married for 50 years) and kneeling side-by-side at the foot of their bed to pray. I am very thankful for the parents God gave me!

What is one of your favorite family stories?

Post © 2014 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Photo © Photodiane |
The Grandparent Connection

Visit Mary at She is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.


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