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Writers’ Spaces Wednesday: Edie Melson

Writers Spaces Wednesday

I’ve always been fascinated by other writers’ spaces. Some of my writer friends have beautiful offices. Others frequent their favorite Starbucks, Panera, or local libraries to write. Some write at their kitchen tables or living rooms. Because I love to see where others create, I’ve started Writers’ Spaces Wednesdays.

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Edie Melson, crop, low resI met Edie Melson at the 2009 or 2010 My Book Therapy pizza party held during ACFW, and we’ve been friends since then. She’s also on the MBT Leadership Team, serving as My Book Therapy’s Social Media Coordinator. If you have questions about social media, she’s your go-to gal. 

As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, Edie lived this book before she wrote it. Edie understands what it is to face adversity and come out triumphant on the other side. Her years as a wife, mother, and ministry leader have given her a unique perspective to reach out 
to others facing the same struggles.
 She’s the Military Family Blogger for Guideposts.org, social media director for several writing websites, and a popular ministry and conference speaker. Connect with her on her blog, The Write Conversation, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Edie, thanks for being here today. Tell us about your writing space.

My favorite writing space is my back porch. It’s screened in from floor to ceiling. Since it’s in the middle of our wooded lot it feels like I’m writing in the woods.

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Your back porch looks like something from a gardening magazine. What makes it special for you?

I love feeling like I’m writing in a wilderness glade. The birds flit from tree to tree, calling to each other, while the squirrels play chase through the oak branches. Beyond that, I’m always joined by my cat, Emily Dickinson, and my dog, Jake.

Emily and Jake relaxing while I write (1)

Emily posing with the pumpkins in the fall (1)

Ahh, tranquility at its finest! What is one element of your space that makes you smile?

The peace that I feel out in the midst of nature. I’ve successfully conquered many a wrestling match with writer’s block on that porch.

View from the porch during a spring rain (1)

I can see why. 🙂 What are your “must-haves” when you sit down to write?

My cat and dog, a mug of chamomile tea, and my Macbook Air.photo-30 (2)

I’m surprised you can get work done with such an amazing view. Share a typical writing day.

When I get up I have my quiet time, then begin wading through email and scheduling my social media for the day. About 9am I move to the back porch—that’s my reward for finishing the business part of being a writer—and begin to create. I guard my creative writing time, usually my best creative time is from 9am until noon.

I break for lunch with my husband—he also works his engineering company from an office at home—then it’s back to writing. If I’m on deadline, I’ll force more creative time in the afternoon. Otherwise, I’ll write blog posts, work on editing, or marketing.

I try to be finished by supper, although I may put in an extra hour or two after dinner, if necessary.

NMS_0734 (1)

Sounds like a productive day! If you could choose the ultimate writing space, where would it be?

Truthfully, I think I have it.

I think you do, too. 🙂 Tell us a little about your latest release.

WMSS, final, low resThousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands. In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

You can do more than wait. You can pray. There is nothing stronger than the power of prayer. While Your soldier is serving their country, you want to pray for them, but sometimes it is hard to find the words. These rich, powerful prayers for protection, peace, strength, wisdom and faith are written from the heart. It is perfect for the spouse, parent, friend or even prayer group who is praying for one special soldier or for all who may be in harm’s way.

Edie, thanks so much for sharing your small slice of paradise with us. Readers, do you have friends or relatives who are serving currently in the armed forces? Tell us how we can pray for them.

 

Lisa Jordan
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Welcome to My New Online Home!!

Come in.

Welcome to my new online home!

I’m so thrilled you came to visit.

Would you like some tea? Or maybe coffee?

Jason Walker of Website Ministries designed this beautiful site and worked with me oh so patiently to get it exactly how I wanted it. Isn’t it beautiful? He’s very talented. 

When I emailed Jason, who is also the hubby of one of my good writing buddies Jenness Walker, he asked what I wanted in a design. I viewed more sites than I could count and pulled bits and pieces of what I liked from those sites. From there, Jason designed 10 sample templates to show me what he could put together for my site. 

While all of his designs were lovely, I kept gravitating to this particular design. I loved the soothing aqua and white color scheme, the swirls, the playful font. I wanted light and airy with a touch of grown-up whimsy. And Jason captured that so well. 

He continued to stay positive and patient while working with me. Our project would have been done sooner because he is consistently on the ball, but with my schedule, I was slow in getting necessary stuff to him. But we are here now.

So I won’t be posting on my Blogger site any longer. Please update your bookmarks. Get comfy and check out my new home. If you are looking to have a new website created or a makeover for your current site, please consider Website Ministries

Also, check out my friend Keli Gwyn’s beautiful new site. Jason designed hers too.

Your turn: Have you considered having a site makeover by a professional? What elements do you look for in a site? What are your pet peeves with websites? 

Photo credit: bschwehn

Lisa Jordan
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Litfuse Blog Tour: Wish You Were Here

About Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt: 

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom’s brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a “Runaway Bride” complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend’s car doesn’t seem to solve her problems. Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

Lisa’s Thoughts:

I have the privilege of calling Beth friend. I met her in person at the beginning of her fiction career. When she called with news about her book deal, I happy danged (danced) with her. Then when I had the opportunity to read Wish You Were Here, I cried. I cried for my friend’s writing dream, but the beauty in her novel massaged my heart in a way that had me laughing in places, crying in others. Beth takes a Runaway Bride-type plot and twists it. And she adds a deeper spiritual element that gives the reader a wonderful message of grace. Beth adds a couple of unique elements to her story that delighted me. And her characters….wow. Love them. I could see myself being friends with Allison if she were a living, breathing person. And what’s not to love about hunky Daniel. Wish You Were Here is a sweet story of reconciliation and second chances.

About Beth: 

LitfuseBeth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God’s lavish grace. She’s a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Beth has discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She writes contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They’ve been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and – thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a “daughter-in-love” and “son-in-love,” enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado. Read more about Beth at her website: http://bethvogt.com

Beth is giving away an iPad 2! 
Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway! 


Enter Today – 5/15-6/4!

Beth Vogt Wish You Were Here iPad2 Giveaway
One “happy” winner will receive:

  • A brand new iPad with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth’s Website
Just click one of the icons below to enter. Tell your friends about Beth’s giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

  

 Blog Tour Schedule
Visit the rest of the blogs on this tour! Wish You Were Here Blog Tour

Lisa Jordan
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Freedom Comes With a Price

Greater love has no one than this, 

that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 NIV
In the midst of your summer kick-off plans, home improvement projects and holiday weekend sales events, take time to remember those who have gone before us to secure our freedoms. Be sure to thank a veteran or a service man or service woman today for continually keeping us free. Freedom comes with a price…and someone else paid it for me. 
Lisa Jordan
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Guest Katie Ganshert: From Broken to Beautiful

I’m excited to host Katie Ganshert, friend, agent-mate and fellow author, as my guest blogger today. I’m  drawn to Katie’s quick smile, sense of humor and heart for God. 

Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. You can find her online at her blog and on Facebook

It can’t be coincidental that around the time my publisher titled my debut novel, God began a work in my heart that would eventually lead to adoption.
The title of my debut novel is Wildflowers from Winter.
There’s a scene in the novel where the heroine, Bethany Quinn, is sitting on a rock, by a creek, late at night, snow falling all around her as she talks to her grandfather’s farmhand, Evan Price.
Evan explains to Bethany that really snowy winters produce an abundance of wildflowers in the spring, a truth in nature that encompasses the overarching theme in the novel.
The truth that God is at work, even during those barren seasons in our life. Even when He feels absent. Even when our hearts feel cold. Beneath the frozen layers of pain, He is working. Preparing the way for something beautiful.
If that isn’t a portrait of adoption, I don’t know what else is.
In a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t exist.
Biological children would be with their biological parents—all together in a loving home.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. And every single adoption is born out of pain.
Whether it’s death or poverty or sickness or drug addiction or frightened pregnant teenagers or governments that devalue life or women with empty wombs.
It begins with pain.
Yet God uses what is broken and makes something breathtakingly beautiful.
God makes families.
Families that are not bonded together by blood, but by love.
Wildflowers from winter.
The theme unravels in Bethany Quinn’s life. The theme unravels in my life too.
Thank you, Katie, for sharing from your heart! Let’s hear from our friends.
Your Turn: Pain hurts. No denying that. When has God used your pain for something beautiful? Have you received an abundance of wildflowers from your winter?

Lisa Jordan
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Verbal GPS of Friendship
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Last August, the night before my mom was due to have major heart surgery at medical center about 90 minutes from home, I drove out to the hospital.

Thankfully, Erma and Gert (not their real names–my nicknames for them), two of my closest friends live in the same city as the hospital, so I was able to crash at the beach house–our name for their house.

I had printed out directions to the hospital going the way I usually take into the city. I have been gifted with the ability to loose all sense of direction when I get flustered. Somehow I managed to take a wrong turn and ended up away from the hospital without knowing how to get back.

Near tears and frustrated with myself, I called Erma and basically bit off her head. “I’m in this stupid city and I’m lost and I don’t know how to get to the stupid hospital.” Calm and collected (and probably giggling at my rant) Erma asked where I was by landmarks. I told her the parking lot I was in. “No problem,” she said. Right. No problem for her.

Erma calmed me down and stayed on the phone with me, being my verbal GPS and refusing to hang up until I had parked my car near the hospital and walked into the hospital lobby. Before we ended the call, she said, “Call me when you’re ready to leave, and I’ll come get you.”

Now that’s a great friend!

I was stressing already about my mom’s triple bypass surgery. Who knew what would happen? Okay, God did, but I’m human so I worry. When the nurse kicked me out of Mom’s room, I texted Erma from the lobby. She and Gert arrived to take me back to the beach house. I rode with Erma while Gert drove my car. I’m sure they decided it was best for the rest of the population in the city.

When I called my husband that evening, I demanded in my sometimes-not-so-nice-wifey tone that we get a GPS for my car. I told him I was sick of not knowing where I was going. He replied in his most-of-the-time-voice-of-reason-tone and encouraged me to calm down. Things would work out.

Sometimes life provides unexpected detours. Sometimes our dreams hit roadblocks, or even dead ends. Sometimes we may have an idea where we’re headed, but still end up lost.

Change is a great motivator for suddenly feeling lost. Change in your job situation may leave you wondering about your place in the world. Change in your education may pave the way to freedom, or it may be a one-way road to a dead end. Change in your family structure may leave you feeling you’ve been circling the same block many times with no exit in sight.

Even though those moments may leave you feeling frustrated, flustered, discouraged or even angry, remember those are valid emotions. Validate them. Appreciate them. Deal with them. Move past them.

My friends have helped me through many of life’s traffic jams. Being a verbal GPS or just being, they manage to speak truth, provide comfort, and continue to love me during those detours.

Your Turn: How about you? Have you had moments of being lost and a friend stepped in to help out? Has a friend been a verbal GPS for you? How have friends helped you find your way to your destination?

Lisa Jordan
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Date Night…at the Grocery Store?

My writing friend, Beth K. Vogt, was a guest on LindsAy Harrel’s blog this week, promoting her debut release, Wish You Were Here. Beth and LindsAy asked readers, “Where’s the best place you’ve ever traveled to and why was it the best?”

I replied, “My favorite place to visit is any place I’m spending time with my hubby. Some days this may be wandering the grocery aisles at Walmart, collecting shells at dawn on Sanibel Island, fishing together on Pine Creek, or just watching NCIS together in the living room.While places can be amazing, I find more joy in sharing them with someone I love.”

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So how can wandering the grocery store together be romantic?

I guess it depends on your significant other. I’m the primary grocery buyer in our house. Hubby will go to the store if I give him a list. And sometimes he goes with me.

When he goes, I can expect to go beyond our budget. I don’t know if it’s my guy or other guys are the same way, but he’s not as price conscious as I am.

When we go together, sometimes he channels his inner ten-year-old and races the cart down the aisle or puts things in the cart I usually don’t buy–how many different kinds of Oreos are there anyway–or he takes out the healthy stuff, deeming it unimportant. All of these things make me laugh…which is his point.

Our time in the grocery store is spent wandering the aisles hand in hand or hand over hand if one of us is pushing a cart. We talk about what meals we’re going to fix–he’s a very good cook. We talk about the boys’ favorite foods. We talk about our days. The point is we’re communicating, laughing together and turning a chore into a fun time with each other. After all, grocery shopping doesn’t have to be boring.

Your Turn: Who does the grocery shopping in your house? Do you go with your mate? What good times have you had while checking out the produce together?

Lisa Jordan
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Should Christians Read Secular Fiction?

In the 16 years since I’ve been a Christian, Christian fiction has grown at a rapid rate. After giving my heart to Christ in 1996, I asked Him for quality Christian romances. As a happily ever after girl, romances are my first picks to read. Having read secular fiction for most of my life, I’m not a stranger to the stronghold some secular fiction can have on a reader. Some of my favorite authors write secular fiction.

But, in my baby faith, I didn’t want to fill my mind with things that went against God’s Word. 7 months later, the Love Inspired line debuted. God answered my prayer. And that’s the reason I wanted my first novel to be published by Love Inspired.

When I became a new Christian, Christian fiction seemed limited (at least to me) to prairie romances and Grace Livingston Hill novels. I’m not dissing either of those, but I wanted more. One of the first Christian fiction authors I read and adored is Dee Henderson. Her O’Malley series and Uncommon Heroes series still sit on my shelf.

What sets Christian fiction apart from secular fiction is the belief in Jesus Christ and the faith element woven throughout the stories. Christian fiction keeps the language clean, violence toned down and the bedroom door closed. Intimate scenes between characters are male and female and sex happens with a husband and wife, but behind closed doors. Christian fiction focuses on the emotional impact of intimacy rather than the physical.

I’m not saying all secular fiction is graphic or violent. That’s not the case at all. Readers can pick up secular sweet romances that are closely related to Christian fiction, but those sweet romances limit the faith element if it’s mentioned at all. And many Christians like Debbie Macomber write for secular publishers.

I still read some secular fiction because, as an author, I need to be aware of what is selling in the secular publishing industry. Some of those secular trends spread into the Christian publishing industry. Speaking only of myself, I’ve chosen to be more selective about the secular fiction I read. I had a couple of favorite authors whose books I chose to stop reading because the content disregards God in a hostile, negative way or the language and sex scenes are too graphic.

I believe lumping all secular fiction into a “no-no” pile is a mistake. Each reader needs to follow her own convictions about the novels she reads. I’ve chosen to let go of those favorite authors whose content violates my belief system. For me, those books create a wedge in my relationship with God. That’s when I know I need to say no.

Your Turn: Do you feel Christians should read only Christian fiction? Why or why not? 

Lisa Jordan
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My Hope is in You
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, 
we wait for it patiently. 
Romans 8:25 NIV

Last Monday, we received a call that presented a possible new job opportunity for Hubby. Within 15 minutes, he had changed out of muddy, wet clothes into a suit and tie, printed his resume and headed out the door. His 90-minute interview offered a glimpse of hope at a full-time job with a decent wage and benefits.

I rallied my prayer warriors and asked for God’s favor.

He received a follow-up email on Thursday, stating they chose a different candidate. We were bummed. This hadn’t been the first interview Hubby had that resulted in a different choice made. I hugged him and told him I was sorry he didn’t get it. He remained quiet for the rest of the evening.

I started bath water (my comfort zone) to soak away my worries. As I poured a capful of bubbles under the rushing hot water, I asked God for hope. I think I whined a little–why God? When is Hubby going to get his turn? Please give us some hope.

Immediately (I’m talking “whoa, what was that?” immediately) the lyrics of My Life is in You, Lord flooded my thoughts.

Peace like the bubbles foaming in the tub welled in my spirit.

Instead of whining about lost opportunities, I chose to give thanks about our present circumstances.

Hubby has a job, even if it’s not what he wants right now. I have a job. He has fly tying orders. I have book contracts. Our boys are happy and healthy. We’re each living our dreams–at least on a part-time basis. Hubby’s is to be a full-time professional fisherman and fly tyer. Mine is to be a full-time author. Even with our cut in income, our bills are paid, including paying off all of our credit card debt.

God continues to be faithful even if He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should. He hears our cries. He comforts us. As our heavenly Father, He knows what is best. We’re the icebergs, and He’s the foundation holding us above the water.

Your Turn: Share a time in your life when you felt your cries fell on deaf ears. Think back to how God responded to you. What hope would you share with someone else going through a similar situation?

(Congratulations to LindsAy!! You won a copy of Beth K. Vogt’s debut novel, Wish You Were Here.)

By the way, I’m blogging at MBT Ponderers today, talking about Faith in Those First Steps.

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Author: Beth K. Vogt
I’m delighted to have Beth Vogt, one of my writing BFFs, as my guest blogger today. I met Beth through My Book Therapy. She is the Soul to my Heart. 


Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God’s lavish grace. She’s a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Beth has discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She writes contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth is also a leader in helping women realize a satisfying life doesn’t require perfection. To learn more about her, visit her site at www.bethvogt.com

Leave a comment along with your e-mail address for a chance to win a copy of Beth’s debut novel, Wish You Were Here
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Sometimes you have to let go of your idea of “perfect” to find what’s right for you.
In my debut novel, Wish You Were Here, the heroine runs away from her oh-so-perfect happily ever after. Why?

Because Allison faces walking down the aisle and saying, “I do” to everything she thought she wanted for the past six years . . . and realizes she can’t do it.
Everything that seemed so right feels so wrong.
In front of hundreds of wedding guests, Allison pulls a Run Away Bride Redux.
Some of you might call Allison a coward for abandoning her fiancé at the last possible moment.
But Allison’s decision to say, “I don’t” instead of “I do” to Seth Rayner, her husband-to-be, is Allison’s first courageous act in a long, long time.
It wasn’t that Allison didn’t love her fiancé. But somewhere along the way to happily ever after, Allison lost herself. The romance became more about safety and security – and less about being her true self.
Funny story:I overlooked how my own life mirrored the fictional life of my heroine until the final edit phase of Wish You Were Here. And then I had an “Oh, yeah!” moment when I remembered Allison Denman wasn’t the only woman who ended an engagement.
I broke off an engagement too.
No, I didn’t leave my fiancé at the altar.
But there was a ring – and a lot of people thought I made a huge mistake when I gave the ring back. I remember one friend asking me, “How can you break up with such a perfect guy?”
I let this friend – and all the other people who doubted my decision –have their say. I was the one who’d been in the relationship, not them.
Yes, I let a (supposedly) perfect guy go.
But I was doing what was right for me.
And in the end I found romance again – and love that surprised me and led to an “I do” that has spanned decades. Funny thing is, when my husband and I got married, people took bets against us. We looked like anything but the ideal couple.
One of the truths I embrace is that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be satisfying. This holds true for romance too. That perfect guy? He just may be all-wrong for you. But the one who doesn’t measure up to your dream-come-true ideal? Look again. He just may be your Mr. Right.
If you had to choose: Would you pick happily ever after and losing yourself along the way? Or would you choose less than perfect and staying true to yourself?

Remember to leave a comment along with your e-mail address for a chance to win a copy of Beth’s debut novel, Wish You Were Here
Lisa Jordan
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