Friday, October 24, 2014

Ace Collins: The One Thing We Don't Want An Editor To Say

Everyone's Story welcomes this week multi-published author Ace Collins. A writer who grips one's heart and thoughts, Ace is my type of storyteller and I imagine he will stir up a bit of interest from others these next few days as well. Please take a moment to check out his exciting Giveaway offer of his newest release, THE COLOR OF JUSTICE, as well as read his piece on point of view--both thought provoking for both the reader and writer. Ace and I look forward to hearing from you.

Ace is offering 1 copy of his new release THE COLOR OF JUSTICEThe winner will be announced here on Friday, October 31st, between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!


     Point of View by Ace Collins

In the world of novels, editors are constantly quizzing authors about POV (point of view). Establishing POV is vital for two very important reasons. The first is obvious — a strong POV helps the reader follow the storyline. The second is often overlooked but is what separates an average book from a really good one — the author needs to deeply understand the characters he or she creates. We have to understand their motivation. We must live inside their heads and walk in their shoes. If we don’t have a full grasp on the complete nature and personality of those we create then our readers will never fully identify with our characters. While POV is essential for “growing” a good book, it might even be more important for growth in life.

In my childhood America was a segregated nation. There were schools for white children and schools for blacks. Stores and restaurants were divided by color as well. Community housing districts were also cordoned off by race. During my youth I can’t begin to count how many times I heard the expression “separate but equal.” The old lie was trotted out every time school integration was mentioned. Yet if those who used this conversational crutch had spent a day in one of those supposedly equal schools they would have noted the poor facilities and out of date textbooks. Then if they had walked the halls and visited with the students, they would have been forced to realize the only facet of their excuse against integration that held any truth was the separate part. There was no equality.

During his three years of active teaching Jesus made the establishment very uncomfortable. Rather than write off people of other races, religions and social standings, Jesus demanded that those doing the judging walk a mile in the “sinners” shoes, get to know their motivations and understand their needs. This kind of “don’t you dare throw that stone” philosophy led to those in power deciding the best way to deal with this radical teacher was to get rid of him. So rather than listen to the message or look into the mirror and see the shortcomings that were reflected, they opted to silence the messenger.

When I mess up POV my editors ask me to redevelop my characters. That is a good practice for life too. If you are so settled in your ways and traditions that you have no room for those who are different, if you believe you don’t have to associate with the modern equivalent of the woman at the well or the Samaritan, if you don’t have the courage to challenge your convictions and your prejudices, if you think you should only live in a world where people agree with your POV, if you only want to listen to one side of an issue, then you are likely not very well informed. That also likely means that your character is not likely fully developed and what a shame it is for you to short-change yourself and your potential simply because you have not opened your eyes, your ears and your mind to others ways of viewing the world.

Those who preached “separate but equal” not only lacked insight and wisdom, they were cowards. It terrified them to give up power and control even if they knew it was the right thing to do. And while they were nothing like Jesus, many used His name to justify their POV. Let’s hope we are all a bit braver, wiser and more ready to hear “the editor’s” words in 2015. Time to toss out the old antiquated thinking, take a dose of courage, expand our world and grow! After all, when our real life story is finished we don’t want an editor pointing out to us we didn't fully develop our character.

Ace's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Author @AceCollins: 2 reasons why POV is vital (2nd one is often overlooked). (Tweet This)

Everyone has a story: Meet multi-pub author @AceCollins & see how his childhood shaped his writing. (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of THE COLOR OF JUSTICE by Ace Collins. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio
Citing his Arkansas heritage, Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. In that capacity, Ace Collins has authored more than seventy books for 25 different publishers that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play.

In 2014 Ace is releasing Man’s Best Hero, a book on dog heroes, a courtroom novel, The Color of Justice, that examines racial prejudice in 1964, and a groundbreaking ebook series, In The President’s Service, that provides readers with a new adventure each month. He has several more novels set for release in 2015 and one of his books was just optioned for a motion picture. His fiction writing has covered everything from value-driven plots, to adventures, mysteries, historical stories, sentimental tales and comedy.

Beyond his fiction and nonfiction books, Collins has penned more than 2000 magazine features, appeared on every network morning television show, as well as CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Fox. He also does scores of radio interviews each year. His speaking engagements have taken him from churches and corporations to the America’s Dog Museum in St. Louis and the National Archives in Washington DC. Collins has penned several production shows and speaks to college classes on the art of writing.

Collins’ hobbies include sports, restoring classic cars, Wurlitzer jukeboxes and running. He is married to the Chair of the Department of Education at Ouachita Baptist University. The couple lives in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and has two sons.

Places to connect with Ace:

An Exciting Announcement

Hark… do you hear what I hear? 
Soon to be released, my Christmas short story, THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS GIFT will be in a heart-touching short story anthology titled 

You will laugh, cry, and cheer along with these additional authors:

Patty Wysong
Joanne Sher
April Strauch
Susan Craft
Donna Scofield
Karla Akins
Kathleen Rouser
Anne Evans
Karen C. Prough
Karen Wingate
Linda S. Glaz
Christina Rich
Karlene Jacobsen

Purchasing details to be shared shortly.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mindy Obenhaus: Wonderful Things Happen Outside One's Comfort Zone

Everyone's Story welcomes author Mindy Obenhaus. Perhaps Mindy is an expert at poking more than a toe out of her comfort zone--she dared to believe in her dream of writing and publishing and with God's grace, certainly has succeeded. Congratulations, Mindy! This week Mindy shares with us her journey outside this boundary. She also is offering her current release as a Giveaway. Please take a spin down Mindy's tracks and see if you can relate. Both Mindy and I look forward to hearing from you.

Mindy is offering 1 copy of RESCUING THE TEXAN'S HEART
within the US only. The winner will be announced here on Friday, October 24th, between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

Bye, Bye Comfort Zone By Mindy Obenhaus

We all have our comfort zones, parameters we establish in our lives that make us feel safe. And, let’s face it, we love them. Why? Because they’re so…comfortable. I have a nice, comfy recliner and, if I had my choice, I would stay there all day, every day. However, I find that if I sit there for too long, I get stiff and the backs of my thighs start to ache. So, eventually, I get up and walk around and my legs start to feel better.

Our little dog, Maddie, loves to play ball. But if that ball should come to rest too close to the pool, she will not retrieve it because the pool out of her comfort zone. We refuse to pick it up for her, though, and because her desire to play ball is so great, eventually she steps out of her zone and retrieves the ball so the game can go on.

Sometimes we choose to leave our comfort zones. Like when I chose to go ice climbing as part of my research for my September 2014 release, Rescuing the Texan’s Heart. Ice climbing is not something I would normally do. But in the name of research…

Our family visits Ouray, Colorado as often as we can. When we do, we have to do some exploring. After all, Ouray is the Jeeping capital of the world. Normally, I drive, but only until we reach the one-vehicle-width mine roads with the sheer drop-off on one side. Then I typically turn things over to my husband. This year, I kept going. Out of my comfort zone? Yes! But it was also empowering. I did it. I actually did it.

Unfortunately, there are times when we’re forced out of our comfort zones. A wild fire at our ranch in 2011 took our family way out of our comfort zone. Health issues are another zone wrecker. Injury and illness are never planned. And they often set us on a course to someplace we don’t want to go. Luckily, as Christians, we never have to face things alone. God is always with us. He walks with us, and, sometimes, carries us. I can’t think of a better traveling companion.

Over the years I’ve learned that there is a wonderful thing that happens when we leave our comfort zone, whether by choice or by force. Stepping into those new realms stretches and grows us as a person. We come out stronger, if not better for the experience.

How attached are you to your comfort zone? How do you proceed when those unexpected things arise that force you out of your zone?

Mindy's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Author Mindy Obenhaus asks how attached are you to your comfort zone? (Tweet This)

Readers: Like #LoveInspired romances? Win @MindyObenhaus #BookGiveaway of RESCUING THE TEXAN’S HEART (Tweet This)

Writers: @MindyObenhaus asks will you go beyond comfort zone for research? (Tweet This)

Author's Bio
Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and two of her five children. Her debut novel, The Doctor’s Family Reunion, was a finalist in ACFW’s 2014 Carol Awards and her second book, Rescuing the Texan’s Heart, is a September 2014 release. When she’s not writing, Mindy enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her grandkids. You can connect with her via her website, or Facebook,

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jennifer Slattery: The One Word That Counts

Everyone's Story welcomes back Jennifer Slattery, who is now appearing as a debut author in full-length fiction. Jennifer, warm congratulations on your novel BEYOND I DO. I know this is just the beginning of many more heartwarming stories from her! I've had the pleasure of talking with Jennifer in a lovely phone chat, learning that Jennifer is a sincere, thoughtful, and most caring woman. It is no surprise that these traits are evident in her reflective blog Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (link below). This week Jennifer shares with us a peek at her novel BEYOND I DO as well as her thoughts about the one single word that matters. Both Jennifer and I are looking forward to hearing from you.

Blurb for BEYOND I DO:

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

For your reading pleasure, a peek at Jennifer's opening:

Used by Permission. Beyond I Do: A Novel, by Jennifer Slattery (New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL) 

Ainsley’s stomach churned as she eased into the Whispering Hills Apartments’ parking lot. Broken beer bottles and other trash littered the ground. A few tenants had draped sheets across their windows. Other windows were boarded up. One was busted in, shards of glass held in place by silver duct tape. 
Please tell me this isn’t where Marie Nelson lives.
Ainsley compared the address Deborah had given her to the rusted numbers on the complex in front of her. This was the place. And from the looks of it, the very place Ainsley shouldn’t be, at least, not alone.
Her phone chimed, making her jump. She glanced at the screen. Her fiancé’s number flashed. Cutting her engine, she answered. “Hey, Richard, what’s up?” She shoved her purse and computer case under the passenger seat.
“Where are you?”
 “Doing a favor for Deborah.  Why, you need something?” She grabbed her pepper spray from the glove compartment.
As if she hadn’t talked about the woman countless times over the years. “Deborah. Eldridge, the one who told me about Christ.” And kept her from going completely insane or spiraling into rebellion when Ainsley’s home life fell apart. “Sometimes I wonder if you ever really listen.”
A pack of muscular and hard-faced men gathered around a navy pick-up watched her, causing her already queasy stomach to cramp. There were four of them, two dressed in black with thick chains draped across their neck. The largest was covered, neck and arms, with tattoos. She looked away, suddenly acutely aware of her shiny Honda Accord and department store garb.
Oh, Lord Jesus, please keep me safe.
“That Deborah. Right.” A keyboard clicked on the other end of the line. Richard was probably working on final edits on his book. “Now I remember. So you’re in Smithville?”
“Not exactly. More like…” She scanned her surroundings again, her gaze lingering on a used diaper decaying on the ground ten feet away. “More like… the Admiral Boulevard area.”
 Richard made a choking noise, as if spewing coffee. “You’re where?  Please tell me you are not in the crime center of Kansas City.”

**BEYOND I DO is currently available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99.

One Word That Changes Everything by Jennifer Slattery

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to rise to new challenges while others appear to do all they can to avoid them? And why is it some press on after failure, even sustained failure, while others bounce back like little boys on pogo sticks?

These are the questions my father asked me during a conversation one day. And now that I’m grown, now that I’ve seen some of my dreams come to pass, I’ve begun asking these same questions. Because like my dad, I want my child to succeed and to find the fulfillment that comes from reaching her full potential. And as I contemplate this, I’ve come to realize “success”, in whatever field, is made up of many necessary ingredients: perseverance, diligence, pursuit of excellence, resilience, dedication . . . confidence.

And a healthy amount of risk taking. 

Courtesy Google Images
I suppose we all have areas of weakness that keep us from living up to our full potential. Insecurities that hold us back. Bad habits that steal our productivity. But I can’t help but wonder if at the root, our greatest hindrance comes from fear.

When the recession hit and 1.2 million Americans lost their homes, my daughter began asking about recession proof jobs. She was only twelve, an age when you or I were still dreaming of being baseball players, actresses, or rock stars.

Luckily, my husband and I helped her get past this, not by assuring her of tomorrow, for we all know another recession, or war, or epidemic, could hit at any moment. (Sounds a bit eerily familiar, doesn’t it?) Nor did encourage her to dream bigger. Rather, we reminded her of the power of the Dream Giver.

Because ultimately, God decides who “succeeds” or fails, though His view of success is much different than ours. But when we adopt His view, everything changes.

We change. Or more accurately, we surrender ourselves to His change within us. Understanding and accepting God’s definition of success, in my opinion, encourages the growth of all those character traits I listed above.

For you see, God’s definition of success is quite simple: obedience.

This means, every hurdle and setback is actually a chance to shine. To please our Heavenly Father and to sense Him saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

When an obstacle hits, rather than getting frustrated and longing to quit, we’ll turn our eyes upward as we pray about the best way to overcome.

When “failures” come, and they will, we open wide our hearts to receive the instruction only God can give.

When the journey feels long, arduous, confusing, and uncertain, rather than allowing the uncertainty to paralyze us we can turn it into an opportunity for spiritual stretching.
And this is when something beautiful happens. Once we boil everything down to obedience, we place ourselves squarely in the Father’s—the dream giver’s—hands.

The only One able to equip us for that which He created us to do.

This was what I found, anyway. When I first sensed God calling me to write, I grabbed hold of that dream with both hands, stressing over every rejection and setback. But once I made it about obedience, everything changed. I loosened my grip and focused on being the best writer I could be.

A funny thing happened. Once I relinquished control, the doors I tried to barrel through began to open.

And it stirred my heart to praise, which is the only proper position for a redeemed, transformed heart.

You can read Jennifer's previous Everyone's Story's post, When God Has Other Plans, here.

Jennifer's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Author Jennifer Slattery: do you rise to new challenges or avoid them? (Tweet This)

Jennifer Slattery on Everyone’s Story: One Word That Challenges Everything. (Tweet This)

Jennifer Slattery asks: Do you and God define success differently? (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it on the Amazon link below.
Places to connect with Jennifer:

To read a free 36-page excerpt of Jennifer's BEYOND I DO visit here.

Add This