author interviews, podcasting

Inspirational Journeys Presents: Special Guest Interview with Shawn Smucker

I had an amazing conversation with an author and a fellow podcaster. Listen or sit back and watch as we discuss his writing and how he and his wife got inspired to start his show called The Stories Between Us.
INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS PRESENTS!

Shawn Smucker!
Hello:
I’m proud to announce the following guest for your listening pleasure.
Please be sure to read onward after the following message to learn how you can be my guest here on INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS.
Thanks for listening and do write to let me and my guest know what you thought of this presentation.

WHO?
Shawn Smucker
WHEN?
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
WHERE?
YouTube:

Podcast:

MORE ABOUT GUEST AUTHOR Shawn Smucker…

Shawn Smucker is the award-winning author of Light from Distant Stars, the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, and the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him online at http://www.shawnsmucker.com.

His latest novel, which comes out today, is entitled These Nameless Things

Description:
Before Dan opened his door to find a wounded woman who had escaped from the tormentors in the mountain, his life had become rather quiet. He and the eight other people in the mostly abandoned town had become friends. They spent peaceful evenings around the campfire and even made vague plans to journey east one day and leave the ominous mountain behind.

But the woman’s arrival changes everything.
Who is she? How does she know so much about Dan’s brother, who is still held captive in the mountain? Why are long-forgotten memories rising to the surface? And why does Dan feel so compelled to keep her presence in his house a secret?
Purchase link: http://shawnsmucker.com/these-nameless-things/

Connect with Shawn online at the following links:
http://shawnsmucker.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shawnsmucker
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shawnsmucker/

BE A GUEST…

As authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs, we often find it hard to stand out above the constant chatter on the internet. If that sounds like you, I’d like to help you boost the visibility of your brand. My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes and I run a podcast called Inspirational Journeys. On my podcast I post solo episodes of value to my listeners, led by the Holy Spirit. I also talk to authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs who want to share their inspirational journeys with the world. If you’re interested in being a guest on my show, please send an email to annwrites75@gmail.com or fill out the form below.
Please be sure to leave Inspirational Journeys in the subject line of your email or in the comment section of the form so I can send you my featured book questionnaire for the show notes blog post associated with your interview.
Thanks for listening to Inspirational Journeys and have a Blessed Day.

Follow me on Social media:
https://www.facebook.com/annwritesinspiration

https://www.youtube.com/user/annsmusic1

You may also fill out the contact form below if you wish to subscribe to my newsletter. Please put Newsletter subscription in the comments section and I’ll be happy to add you to my email list.

author interviews

Inspirational Journeys Presents: Special Guest Interview with Patricia Bradley

I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to speak with my special guest today. Please click the links below to watch or listen to our delightful conversation.

INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS PRESENTS!

Patricia Bradley!

Hello:
I’m proud to announce the following guest for your listening pleasure.
Please be sure to read onward after the following message to learn how you can be my guest here on INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS.
Thanks for listening and do write to let me and my guest know what you thought of this presentation.

WHO?
Patricia Bradley
WHEN?
Friday, June 12, 2020
WHERE?
Our conversation can be seen on my latest YouTube video and heard on the latest episode of my podcast.

MORE ABOUT GUEST AUTHOR Patricia Bradley …

USA Today Best-selling author, Patricia Bradley is a Carol finalist and winner of an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in Suspense. She and her two cats call North Mississippi home–the South is also where she sets most of her books. Her romantic suspense novels include the Logan Point series and the Memphis Cold Case Novels. Standoff, the first book in the Natchez Trace Park Ranger’s series released May 5, 2020, and she’s finished the second book, Obsession and is hard at work on the third, Crosshairs.
When Patricia isn’t writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Patricia’s new book is entitled: STANDOFF, BOOK 1, NATCHEZ TRACE PARK RANGERS

Description:

The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It’s the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it’s being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers.

John’s daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father’s murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who’s going to keep him safe when he realizes he’s falling–hard–for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley introduces you to a new series set in the sultry South that will have you wiping your brow and looking over your shoulder.

Standoff can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book, or through the author’s book page.
Connect with Patricia through her author website, author blog, Amazon author page, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, Bookbub, goodreads, Instagram and Pinterest.

BE A GUEST…

As authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs, we often find it hard to stand out above the constant chatter on the internet. If that sounds like you, I’d like to help you boost the visibility of your brand. My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes and I run a podcast called Inspirational Journeys. On my podcast I post solo episodes of value to my listeners, led by the Holy Spirit. I also talk to authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs who want to share their inspirational journeys with the world. If you’re interested in being a guest on my show, please email me with Inspirational Journeys in the subject line of your message. If you’re launching a book, please let me know and I’ll send you my featured book questionnaire. I ask that you do this, so I can feature your book in the show notes blog post associated with the podcast
Thanks for listening to Inspirational Journeys and have a Blessed Day.
Please like my Facebook author page and follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and Podcast so you don’t miss another episode. Please fill out the contact form below if you wish to subscribe to my mailing list and receive a free short story.

#amwriting

A Nifty Little Challenge to help you Change Your Mindset about Perfectionism in Your Writing

The following is a fun little writing challenge written by Derek Doepker:

If you ever find perfectionism cramping your writing…
Give this a shot.
Set a timer for 2 minutes.
And write the worst possible draft you can.
I don’t mean “don’t try to make it good/perfect.” That’s the typical writing advice for working on a draft.
I mean actually try to make it suck. To the point of absurdity.
Encourage yourself to be non-nonsensical. To use spelling and grammar mistakes. To be boring and dry.
Try to make it the most incoherent or ridiculous thing you’ve ever written.
If it sounds remotely good… strive to make it worse.
Whatever your definition of “bad writing” is, embrace it wholeheartedly.
(You won’t be sharing this draft with anyone unless you want to for laughs)
After these two minutes, give yourself permission to write whatever you want. Good or bad – doesn’t matter.
Now, this isn’t a magic bullet to “cure perfectionism.” However, it can be fun. And what if fun and play is a shortcut to bypass perfectionism?
Plus, after you get sick and tired of writing so poorly, your brain may just feel compelled to give you something good to write. 🙂

Derek Doepker is a rock guitarist turned seven-time #1 bestselling author. He discovered a proven process that took him from struggling author to selling over 75,000 books. Now he shares this process with thousands of authors through workshops, courses, and retreats empowering them to turn their passion for writing into a thriving business.
Sign up for Derek’s newsletter
for more author tips and encouragement.

Now it’s your turn to take on the challenge. Please check out my YouTube video or my latest podcast episode where I share the bad writing challenge and give you my experience with this challenge. After taking Derek’s challenge, please be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments below.
Blessings,
Ann

You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Fill out the contact form below if you wish to subscribe to my email list and receive a free short story.

#amwriting

TMI Tuesday Q&A challenge

Hello everyone in the blogosphere, Today I have a fun blog post and challenge to share with you.

The following five questions were originally posted on TMI Tuesday . I copied them from Lynda Lambert’s blog. I’m also including my answers for your reading pleasure

Question 1: What is your phone screensaver at the moment?

Answer: Part of my business logo. The updated version is at the top of this post.

Question 2: What is currently on your playlist?

Answer: I have a lot of music that I love, but I have two playlists saved on Amazon music and one on YouTube at the moment. One called Healing music, which consists of music that I found comforting during my emotional turmoil, after being mentally and emotionally abused twice in my life. This list has grown to include songs and hymns that symbolize the strength that God has given me over the years, and hymns that resonate with me on a spiritual level. The second consists of songs that coincide with the novel I’m currently rewriting. I plan to create playlists for all my books. My YouTube playlist is called Songs that resonate with me.

Question 3: What are your last three internet searches?

Answer: How businesses can benefit from making their websites accessible to people with disabilities, the importance of website accessibility, and maintaining mental well-being during the COVID19 pandemic.

Question 4: What is your favorite sandwich filling?

Answer: I have a few sandwich fillings I love: Nutella, Peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese and pimento cheese.

Question 5: What is one staple item all men should own?

Answer: a tool box for making repairs at home or work.

Bonus question: If you couldn’t be convicted of one type of crime, what one criminal charge would you like to be immune to?

Answer: I really haven’t thought about this, but I guess I’d like to be immune to stealing inspiration from the books and music I love, though that’s not a real crime, because writers do this every day. Otherwise, I can’t think of anything.

Now it’s your turn. I challenge you to copy the questions above into your own blog and post your own responses. Please be sure to either leave the link to your post in the comments or leave pingbacks to the links above and this post, so we can keep the fun challenge going
Blessings,
Ann

Be sure to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel and my podcast. Please be sure to email me with any questions you have about my content, or if you have suggestions for future videos and podcast episodes. Please fill out the contact form below if you’d like to subscribe to my email list and receive a free short story.

#WritingTips

Inspirational Journeys Presents: How to Incert Hyperlinks in a WordPress blog post

Hello everyone in the blogosphere,
Here’s today’s video and podcast episode about inserting hyperlinks in your blog posts.

If you have any questions about this writing tip or you’d like to share tips you’ve learned during your author journey, please email me or connect with me on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Please fill out the contact form below if you wish to subscribe to my email list and receive a free short story.

#WritingTips

5 Narrative Mistakes to Avoid: Guest post by Desiree Villena

With so much writing advice available on the Internet, it would take forever to incorporate every single tip into your work. For this reason, it’s sometimes more practical to opt for the process of elimination instead. In other words: you can best improve your writing by keeping an eye out for common narrative mistakes to avoid.
So which false steps should you steer clear of in the minefield that is writing a book? Here are five of the most common narrative mistakes to avoid when you’re writing your novel.
1. Don’t just show — sometimes it’s good to tell
The old adage ‘show, don’t tell’ has a proven track record in encouraging writers to find subtle ways of expression. Still, it’s not an unbreakable writerly pact; on the contrary, it’s a rule you can (and should) defy when necessary.
Think hard about the context of the scene you’re writing and decide accordingly. For example, ‘telling’ things can be an excellent narrative technique if your character is unable to emotionally process a given situation because, say, they’re living through trauma. Here, you may find that simply stating, ‘Darren didn’t know what to do next’ can be a more effective way to portray emotional paralysis than an elaborate description of Darren wandering around his apartment and gazing out of the window. Sometimes, just telling can be punchier.
Finally, if you’re forcing yourself to ‘show’ instead of ‘tell’ purely to meet this rule’s demands, you risk ending up with some awkward turns of phrase. Your prose is the essence of your work, so don’t compromise its quality for the sake of ‘showing’.
2. Don’t overuse foreshadowing
Writers are often told to foreshadow ensuing turns of events to pique the readers’ curiosity. It’s a great technique for building suspense, and can be especially compelling when used in your book description, but overdoing it in the text itself can make readers impatient. And a frustrated reader does one of two things you don’t want them to do: they either skip pages or, even worse, give up on reading your book.
So, be kind to your readers — try not to irritate them with too many teasing clues. Most importantly, trust them to keep reading without the help of one too many a hint. After all, they picked your book and trusted you to take them on a fictional journey.
3. Don’t (completely) disregard genre
It’s fun to experiment, and brilliant books can be born at the intersection of genres. If you write literary fiction, a niche that really tests the boundaries of genres as a whole, you may have more room to experiment. For example, Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy is at home in the mystery genre as well as among literary fiction, and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being blends fiction with nonfiction in a characteristically ‘auto-fictional’ move.
In most other cases, though, it’s beneficial for your brand — and your story — to limit yourself to one or (at most) two genres: too many overlaps always pose the risk of alienating readers, and you might find even yourself mixing up genre tropes. It’s easy, for instance, to find people who either love historical fiction about Tudor England, sci-fi novels about alien invasions, or romance books about relationship turbulence. However, it’s much harder to find someone interested in all three, so a romance novel about an alien invasion of Tudor England would probably struggle to appeal to a decent readership.
Don’t forget that this tip also applies to your book cover design. Remember, even though we’re technically not supposed to, readers do pick books on the basis of their covers since covers can say a lot about what to expect from a book. As such, make sure your cover design effectively reflects your genre. (Bonus points if you can get your author website and other promotional materials designed with your genre’s aesthetic in mind!)
4. Don’t forget to pace effectively
As you’re writing, try to keep an eye on the pace of your story. Some days writing is a struggle, and though you may still manage to produce something, you might find that you wrote 1,000 words about your character’s stroll through the park and then spent a meager 200 on a crucial revelation. Similarly, you may have taken some time to get into gear for a new chapter, and ended up over-writing your character’s morning routine, when you could have launched straight into the action instead.
To prevent this, go over your work regularly, keeping note of how many words each section has taken up. If you notice an unreasonable inequality, you probably have to speed up certain sections. Which brings us to the final mistake you should try to avoid…
5. Don’t allow yourself to get too attached
You need to bear this one in mind while you’re writing, so you can be prepared for the next stage: editing, a.k.a. the stage in which you will probably need to kill some of your darlings.
Of course, no writer can help getting attached to their work, and that’s fine! However, being emotionally attached and emotionally blinded are two very different things. When you’re writing your first draft, try your hardest to get your story out on paper, and be proud of yourself — after all, the first draft is the part that requires the most perseverance.
But don’t take your armor off just yet, because you’ll need your courage for the editing process. To really mine the potential of your writing and remove elements that don’t contribute enough, you will have to detach yourself from how good it felt to write that one scene, how fantastic that one sentence sounds, or how funny that dialogue exchange seems. Editing is hard, but keep at it! Just remember, no one’s first draft is flawless.
Finally, though all these mistakes are important to bear in mind, don’t let them overwhelm you. If worrying about potential mistakes while you write is too stressful, write badly and courageously, as long as you get words on the page. One of the most widely accepted pieces of writerly wisdom is that “You can always edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page” — that’s what you should keep in mind as you write your own story into existence.

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with resources on self-publishing and professionals to help polish their books. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories. She tries her best to avoid all of these narrative mistakes!

book reviews

Series review of If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Hello everyone in the blogosphere,
Today I’m coming to you with a little something different. Instead of a single book review, I’m reviewing an entire trilogy. The series is entitled If I run and it was written by Terri Blackstock

The first book is the title story from which the series got its name. If I run, takes place after Casey Cox finds her father dead at the age of twelve, and years later she finds her best friend’s body. She has been accused of her friend’s murder and has to live off the grid, hiding from detectives Keagan and Rollins. Dillan Roberts is hired by Brent’s parents to find Casey. However, the more he learns about her, the more he begins to believe that she’s been wrongly accused.

The fact that Casey put her own problems aside and nearly got caught helping her new found friend find her kidnapped granddaughter in Shady Grove, Georgia, is what made me like her. I grew to like Dillan toward the end of the book, when he uncovers the truth about his “prey”. Gordan Keagan is a character you’ll soon love to hate, though I thought his intent on finding Casey was wise. However, my dislike for him grew stronger, when Hannah sent Casey the thumb drive from Brent, which contained incriminating evidence against Keegan. At the end of the first book, Casey Meets Dillan and sends him a copy of the thumb drive from a fake address.

In the first book, you learn a bit about Dillan’s PTSD, However, in the second book, you get to know him a lot more. He’s out looking for evidence against the detectives in the guise of searching for Casey. Oh, Dillan’s still searching for Casey, but for different reasons, he wants to protect her.

Casey puts her life on the line in attempts to save an abused child, who’s parents turned her over to her abuser in exchange for drugs.

The third book in the trilogy is entitled If I live. Before I tell you what I loved about this book, let me say that I give the entire series a 5-star rating.

In If I live, the killer’s true identity is revealed. Although I started with this book, the element that made me want to keep reading was the means by which Dillan and Casey catch the culprit. I won’t tell you what happens in each book of the series, but this is one set of Christian thrillers I absolutely loved. Terri Blackstock is turning out to be one of my favorite authors in the Christian suspense/ mystery genre.

Another thing I liked about the series is the fact that I can use Blackstock’s character with PTSD as a model for my own protagonist in A Journey of Faith, which I’m currently working on. I used this series as inspiration to give me ideas and questions to use in my research and character development.

Terri, if you stumble upon my website and you read this review, I want to thank you for giving me some points to consider for my own writing.

To Purchase the complete If I Run series box set as a Kindle eBook by Terri Blackstock, visit the link below:

Blessings,
Ann

Follow e on social media:
https://www.facebook.com/annwritesinspiration

https://www.instagram.com/annwritesinspiration

Subscribe to my podcast and YouTube channel at the links below

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Fill out the contact form below to subscribe to my mailing list and receive a free short story

author interviews, podcasting, poetry, publishing

Inspirational Journeys Presents: Special Guest Interview with Alison Hendrix

Today’s special guest is an author in her own right, a dear friend and a fellow Writing Warrior for Jesus. Click the links below to watch and hear our conversation.
INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS PRESENTS!

Alison Hendrix author photo

Alison Hendrix!
Hello:
I’m proud to announce the following guest for your listening pleasure.
Please be sure to read onward after the following message to learn how you can be my guest here on INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS.
Thanks for listening and do write to let me and my guest know what you thought of this presentation.

WHO?
Alison Hendrix
WHEN?
Thursday, June 4, 2020
WHERE?
Youtube:

Podcast:

MORE ABOUT GUEST AUTHOR Alison Hendrix…

Alison Hendrix lives in North Carolina with her husband and child. Her writing is inspired by her family and her faith, and she enjoys finding magic in everyday situations. Though she’s always enjoyed writing, her career as an author actually began when her daughter was born. Alison has written and illustrated children’s books, middle grade novels, short fantasy stories and poems.

Featured book::

Book Cover

Lenny the Last Lightning Bug

Description:
Lenny the Lightning Bug plays with his human friend, Molly, all summer. He teaches her about friendship, about saying goodbye, and about being a light to others.

Purchase Link:

Excerpt:
“No matter where you go or what you do, helping people smile is a nice thing to do!”

Connect with Alison at the following links:
https://sunriseblue.wordpress.com/
https://www.amazon.com/author/alisonhendrix
https://www.facebook.com/pg/alisonhendrixwriter

BE A GUEST…

As authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs, we often find it hard to stand out above the constant chatter on the internet. If that sounds like you, I’d like to help you boost the visibility of your brand. My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes and I run a podcast called Inspirational Journeys. On my podcast I post solo episodes of value to my listeners, led by the Holy Spirit. I also talk to authors, creative artists and entrepreneurs who want to share their inspirational journeys with the world. If you’re interested in being a guest on my show, please send an email to annwrites75@gmail.com or fill out the form found at:
https://annwritesinspiration.com/contact.
Please be sure to leave Inspirational Journeys in the subject line of your email or in your comment on my contact form so that I can send you my interview framework.
If you’re launching a book, please let me know and I’ll send you my featured book questionnaire. I ask that you do this, so I can feature your book in the show notes blog post associated with the podcast
Thanks for listening to Inspirational Journeys and have a Blessed Day.

Follow me on Social media:
https://www.facebook.com/annwritesinspiration

https://www.instagram.com/annwritesinspiration

https://www.youtube.com/user/annsmusic1

Please fill out the contact form below if you wish to subscribe to my newsletter:

#amwriting, Personal reflections, podcasting

How I visualize the world around me

Want to know how I visualize the world around me as a blind person? take a look at the video below.

Connect with me on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/annwritesinspiration

https://www.instagram.com/annwritesinspiration

Subscribe to my Youtube channel and my podcast at the links below:
https://www.youtube.com/user/annsmusic1
https://www.anchor.fm/inspirational-journeys

Fill out the contact form below if you’d to subscribe to my email list and receive a short story.