Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Interview with Author and Writing Instructor, Janice Hanna Thompson

Hi everyone! Hope you have all had a Happy Mother's Day with your families. I want to introduce you to Janice Hanna Thompson who is a friend of mine, a multi-pubbed, multi-genre author of fiction, and freelancer who has just started the new venture of teaching others how to freelance. Although I haven't had time to yet take this course, I have sat in her classes at ACFW conferences and enjoyed her humorous, very-helpful style. And at the bottom you can read several endorsements from those who have taken her classes.

Janice, could you tell us a little about your new venture?
Of course! Thanks for asking. On April 20th, 2010, I debuted my new writing course “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The sole purpose of this venture is to teach struggling freelance writers how to earn money with their writing. Here’s how it will work: students can purchase one lesson (for $24.95) or all ten (for $199). They don’t have to feel compelled to buy the whole package, though they will get a package price, if they do. Each lesson will include an audio file and a video power point presentation of me teaching the lesson (available with just a click of the mouse), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where I will meet with authors for some group mentoring (at designated times). Right now there are ten lessons, but eventually those ten lessons will become ten separate categories with multiple lessons in each. For example, the current lesson on magazine article writing will eventually have multiple other lessons underneath it—all meant to teach writers how to make money writing articles. People who take these courses will have the benefit of meeting other freelancers in the forum and can also chat with me about their projects. Best of all, the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be available. (I’ll be recording new lessons routinely.) I’m so excited, because I know that struggling freelancers can and will learn how to make money with their writing.

What prompted you to set off on this new adventure?
For years I’ve been writing novels and non-fiction books. I’ve been so blessed to have over fifty books published, as well as dozens of magazine articles and even a movie script. It’s been quite a ride. . .and it’s not ending anytime soon! I’m currently contracted through 2011. The longer I’m in this business, however, the more I’m aware of the basic need of the average freelance author to make “better” money. Sure, many of them eventually sell books. They get advances and royalties, (though, not often in the range they had hoped). As a full-time freelancer, I’ve faced this myself. Several years ago, I found myself hollering, “Where’s the money?” I made up my mind to find as many creative ways as I could to bring in money as a freelancer. I’ve learned so much since then, and want to share what I’ve learned with others, so that they can benefit, too.

Why are you so passionate about teaching others how to make money with their writing?
I meet so many struggling writers. So many are just hoping and praying to sell a book. They pour all of their energies into that venture. Most don’t realize that they could be making money much sooner if they would explore other avenues (besides just books). The possibilities are endless. If I can share what I’ve learned about the money-making aspects of writing, then I’ve helped another struggling writer on his or her journey.

Tell us a little about your own writing.
As I mentioned above, I’ve written just about everything! Most of my writing is for the Christian market, so my stories have a clear faith element. Lately I’ve been writing romantic comedies, (most recently the “Weddings by Bella” series), but I also enjoy writing mysteries, kid’s stories, historicals and more. I continue to write magazine articles, because they provide a great financial supplement. I’m also very excited about my many write-for-hire projects, because a huge chunk of my income comes from those. To learn more about my books visit my author site at www.janiceathompson.com. Books can be ordered directly from the site.

What has it been like, supporting yourself full-time as a freelancer? Is there really money to be made?
As I mentioned, there was a time (back in 2007) when I wasn’t sure I could do it. At that time, I hadn’t set any real goals for myself. That all changed in the fall of 2007 when I began to strategize about the future of my writing. Instead of worrying about the challenges I faced, I got busy and put together a plan. I began to look for non-traditional ways to earn money with my writing. . .and it worked! That’s not to say I’ve “arrived,” but I have managed to support myself full-time from that point till now.

If you could list one of the biggest frustrations that freelance writers face, what would that be?
The biggest frustration of all is this: Some markets don’t want to pay. This is especially true when it comes to the Internet. It’s so challenging to make a living when you can’t figure out who pays and who doesn’t! But that’s why I created this course! There are so many markets that do pay, and many of them are relatively untapped. Freelancers can earn money. . .they just have to discover where the money is! (And I plan to help them in that journey!)

You’ve said there’s money to be made. . .but where? What avenues are available to freelancers?
At www.freelancewritingcourses.com, students will explore multiple areas where they can earn money with their writing. Lessons include:
· Setting Career Goals
· Magazine Article Writing
· Write for Hire Work
· Marketing and Public Relations
· Becoming a Public Speaker
· Becoming a Creative Writing Teacher
· Making Money as an Editor
· Writing and Selling the Non-Fiction Book
· Writing and Selling the Novel
· Secrets From the World of the Pros
Each lesson will cover a host of possibilities and will give real, practical suggestions.

You’ve mentioned other lessons that aren’t yet available. Could you share a few here?
Sure! Each of the ten topics listed above will eventually become its own course (with multiple lessons in each). I’ll be heading back into the recording studio soon to cover the topic of magazine articles more thoroughly. I’ll also record lessons covering all aspects of fiction writing. We’ll talk about passive vs. active writing, plotting, characterization, and much more. I’ve also got a host of lessons coming up related to non-fiction books. We’ll delve into specific topics related to write-for-hire work (my favorite!) and will share a host of lessons on marketing and PR. Hang on for the ride! Participants in these various courses will get the tools they need to work as a pro in the industry.

How, exactly, will these courses work?
When participants sign up and pay, they will be granted access to the “inner sanctum” of the site, where they can view the various components of the lessons, (the audio file, audio script, worksheet, power point and forum). I would suggest folks start with the first lesson (Setting Goals) and go from there. They can print up a copy of the worksheet and follow along with the audio and power point presentation. Then, at a designated time, participants can meet with me in the forum to discuss the topic at hand. I love the fact that this is all so user-friendly and participants can work at their own pace.

If you could tell beginning freelancers one thing, what would it be?
Don’t give up. Keep going and keep looking for creative ways to make money. Examine new markets. Learn all you can about the industry. Become friends with editors. The potential for money-making is there, but much of it is relational.

Why do you feel so strongly about stirring up the gifts?
There’s a scripture I love where the apostle Paul speaks to his young protégé, Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (II Timothy 1:6 NIV) The King James version uses the words “stir up the gift” instead of “fan into flame the gift.” The idea is the same. Gifts need stirring and fanning. As a published author, I make it my goal to “stir the gifts” of those hoping to be published (or hoping to be published in more markets). I know that these lessons will stir people up. I could sense it as I recorded them. Changing lives. . .and encouraging writers. . .what could be better?

I understand you won the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers “Mentor of the Year” award. Could you tell us more about that? What role does mentoring play in your life and how will you incorporate mentoring into your online writing courses?
I have a theory about mentoring. I believe that everyone should have someone they’re mentoring and someone they’re being mentored by. If we ever think we’re too “big” to be mentored, we’re in trouble! And it’s imperative that we pour into the lives of those who are learning the writing craft, especially if we’re published and/or doing well in the industry. I’m tickled that I received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award. I can think of nothing better to be remembered for than mentoring others, to be quite honest. Writing books is great, sure. And getting my name out there is fun, too. But if I don’t mentor. . .if I don’t pass along what I’ve learned, then my writing is nothing but selfish pleasure. I don’t ever want to be known as a selfish author. I want to be known as a giver and an encourager. My prayer is that people who take this course will see my heart for all writers to succeed and earn money doing what they love!

Janice, where else can people find you on the web?
My freelance writing courses site: http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com
My book-related website: www.janiceathompson
My blog: http://janicehannathompson.blogspot.com/
My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson?ref=profile
My facebook reader’s page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Janice-Hanna-Thompsons-Readers-Page/303537684650?ref=ts
Explanation of the Course on YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-5IZSNaZFU

Writers, would you like to make money doing the thing you love most? If so, then this announcement should be of interest to you! Janice Hanna Thompson, author of over fifty novels and non-fiction books, would like to announce the debut of her writing course for freelancers titled “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” available at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The purpose of this course is to strategically train freelance writers so that they can earn top dollar with their writing. Students can purchase the entire course (Ten Lessons) for only $199, or students can choose to purchase individual lessons for only $24.95 each. Each lesson will include an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where Janice will meet with authors for group mentoring (at designated times). Currently, there are ten lessons available, but the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be added. If you’ve been looking for creative and exciting ways to earn money with your writing, your time has come! Please visit www.freelancewritingcourses.com and sign up for the newsletter, or write to Janice at booksbyjanice@aol.com for more information.
What writers are saying about Janice’s course:
“I've taken a number of classes since starting on this journey of writing, but Janice's course on freelance writing has been the most helpful. Full of tips, suggestions and her own writing experiences, Janice's course has something for everyone. If you are considering signing up for her writing lessons, I urge you to do so. You won't regret it!” – Edwina Cowgill, American Christian Fiction Writers member.

I've not only had the pleasure of taking online classes from Janice, but also attending seminars. I love the practical working knowledge she teaches because I was able to put much of it into practice immediately. From the classroom to real life in a snap, Janice Thompson gives the steps, the encouragement, and the simplicity to help any writer become self-sufficient. Would I tell you to take her courses? ABSOLUTELY! You will grow the ability to earn money with your writing! Every writer's teacher, Janice Thompson. -
Angie Breidenbach, Author of Creative Cooking for Colitis, ACFW PR Officer, Mrs. Montana International 2009

I participated in Janice’s online course in January of ’10. I found her to be very thorough and very concise in her explanations. She also took pains to offer lots of feedback and make it interactive. I know her classes will be great! – BK (Brenda) Jackson

Monday, May 03, 2010

Two New Book Reviews--Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris and A Case for Love by Kaye Dacus

Today I want to share two new books out by two of the best new authors on the scene in the past few years. I have met both of these authors at ACFW conferences, and know they are genuine followers of Christ who seek to use their writing talents for Him. And we get to reap the benefits of reading stellar writing from a Christian worldview. And both of these ladies write in more than one genre, so I know you can find something you will like here.

Until I read Blood Ransom, I had only read historicals by Lisa Harris, but I am so glad she took the chance on branching out to international political intrigue. Blood Ransom is set in a fictional nation in Africa, the continent which Lisa knows very well after living there the past several years with her husband as missionaries. I hope you will find out more about her and her books by visiting her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com and her blog at www.myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com

In Blood Ransom we are introduced to Natalie Sinclair who works for an agency which is trying to eradicate diseases in Dhambizao. She is thrust into the middle of slave trade and election rigging, even a possible assassination attempt when she reconnects with a former translator, and also a doctor, Chad Talcott, who is on sabbatical from his clinic in the States to volunteer at a small clinic in Dhambizao. This trio has to decide how much they want to be involved in African politics, and whom they can trust along the way.

Although this book is very different from anything else I have read of Lisa's, I am so glad I did. Her poignant words and masterful plot swept me into the drama surrounding Natalie and Chad and made me want to read it as fast as I could to find out what happens to them and the people they are trying to help. I hope you will order a copy from Lisa or www.amazon.com so you can travel this exciting journey, too.

Kaye Dacus is also pubbed in two genres--several books in the regency category and what I consider modern romantic comedy with her The Brides of Bonneterre series. The book I am reviewing today is the final book in that trilogy. The title is A Case for Love, and the subtitle gives you the romantic comedy feel I mentioned--All's Fair in Love and Lawsuits.

I just checked out Kaye's website at www.kayedacus.com and saw that she is currently writing another modern series entitled The Matchmakers. I can't wait to read them!

But, back to the review for A Case for Love. I have read all three of the books in this series, and I believe they just keep getting better and better. If you haven't read the first two books, Stand In Groom and Menu for Romance, you are in for a treat! I suggest you first read them, for the sheer enjoyment, and to know more about the Guidry family as you begin this story of Forbes Guidry, a lawyer who has been a major character in the other two books, but now takes on the starring role as the male love interest, instead of standing in the wings, manipulating his brothers' and sisters' and cousin's love lives.

His heroine, Alaine Delacroix, has also been introduced in the other books, and this book lets us get to know her better, even sharing some of her family secrets and her own desires. Alaine is a local newscaster who feels torn when her family's business is threatened by the Guidry family. Can she stay neutral and watch what her parents have worked all their lives for be taken away? Is there any way a Romeo/Juliet match can be successful in this modern-day conflict? You'll have to read the book and find out. Kaye's website mentions seven places where you can order any of her series, so hurry on over! Happy reading!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Two New Winners! Will you be next?

I'm happy to announce my two winners for today's drawings from the list of those who commented last month. The winner of Sandra D. Bricker's hilarious The Big 5-0 is Lynda Schab and the winner of Angie Breidenbach's very helpful E-book on Creative Cooking for Colitis is Donna Winters. Angie and I will be sending their books out pronto.

And now, if you want to be the newest winner, just leave a comment and your email info on one of my posts for the month of May. The drawing will be held June 1st and everyone with a US mailing address is eligible except this month's two winners, so what is stopping you? Oh, you want to know the name of the book you could win? Then check out my post from April 17, 2010 and read more about Abbie Ann by Sharlene MacLaren. It's another keeper!