Friday, April 30, 2010

More About Janice Thompson

For several years I have been in contact with Janice Thompson. I bought a course from her years ago and it has helped me with my writing. I am constantly going back and studying the part of proposals and query letters, a dreaded part of writing.

On May 4, from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM CDT, she will be conducting a Webinar. The title is "How To Get Started as a Freelance Writer." I'll be there via phone. I am asking you to attend with me by computer or phone. Go to or From what I have read in the lessons so far, I don't think you will be disappointed. I'll see you there.

Well, there are 21 more boxes sitting in my living room and kitchen. We went to Nashville and enjoyed the evening with our daughter and her family. My granddaughter did a fantastic job in her solo. She had the 50's down pat! I was so surprised that she sang so well and her rhythm was outstanding. Of course, she takes after her grandmother.

I hear the boxes calling me. I want to get the kitchen cleaned out today, then I can cook.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More of the Interview with Janice Thompson

It's been hard getting all my little ducks in a row with 26 more boxes to unpack. I'm having a hard time staying on track, but when all the boxes are gone and the stuff put away, I can get back to work. I did want to finish the interview with Janice. She is such a sweet person and a mentor to many. I worked the first lesson yesterday and hope to find time for the second one today.

I have to share this with you. Our oldest granddaughter, Savannah Turpin, has a solo tonight in Goodpasture Christian School chorus concert. We're going to Nashville to hear her. I am so proud of all my grandchildren. This is her day! Now more with Janice.

I know that you worked for several years as a writing teacher at a school of the arts. Could you share a little more about that?

From 1996 – 2001 I taught creative writing at a Houston area school of the arts that catered primarily to home-school students. What a blast I had! (Truly, these were some of the best years of my life.) Several of my students traveled with me to national writing conferences (like Mount Hermon and ACFW), and a few went on to be published in various genres. My students will tell you that I was the most creative teacher on the block. I was always looking for a new, fresh way to teach the writing craft. My writing lessons have been compiled into a text, which I titled, “Creative Writing for the Christian Student.” It is available to freelance writing course participants. I love stirring up the creative gifts in my students! I hope that shows in these lessons!

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, 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:

My book-related website: www.janiceathompson

My blog:

My facebook page:

My facebook reader’s page:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Interview with Janice Thompson

Janice Thompson has been a dear friend of mine for several years. She has encouraged me to write, edited my feeble attempts and mentored me along my journey.

Last week Janice started a new phase of her life. She is offering a course that will help us as writers to make money. It is out there and we need to take advantage of it. Last night, I signed up for her Free Lance Writing course. You know, it sounds easy and is something I should have been doing all along.

Janice is a wonderful person and teacher. I will have another part of the interview the remainder of this week. Please read what she has to say and sign up for the course so you can make money as a writer.

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 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 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.

I would think that the writing industry would be very competitive. Why do you want to see others succeed? Aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot when you hand off potential freelance jobs to other authors?

The writing industry is competitive, but that doesn’t mean I am! Sure, I want to make a name for myself, (most writers do), but I’m equally as interested in training up other writers to be the best they can be. Why? I believe that Christian writers have been called by the Lord to spread His love through their writing. How will they get the word out if someone doesn’t show them the ropes? I love to see others succeed because we’re all one big happy family and we care about each other.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We're Almost Moved

For the past six months or so, we have been moving. We would move a little along. Our little pickup truck knows it's way to Kentucky from Tennessee. Finally, we will be taking our last load from the house. There is still some in storage.

I don't know where we will put all the "stuff" and I'm sure we will have a yard sale. It's amazing what you accumulate in a short time. Most of the "stuff" has accumulated over many years. When my parents died, we inherited the bulk of their "stuff" and we have forty-seven years of "stuff" ourselves. Where did it all come from?

The only thing I can say is that we are all pack-rats. I've packed away things that I thought I might use later, but I didn't. My mother had the habit of keeping things that were no longer working. I have found coffee pots, toasters, and a host of other things in the basement. Those have gone in the trash.

We have tried to make it a habit not to purchase new things until the old ones quit working. Apparently my mother bought new and put the old in the basement. We have an array of crock pots to go with the coffee pots, some are in working condition. My husband says it's similar to my shoe buying. You shouldn't buy shoes until the ones you have are past wearing. That must be a man thing, because all women have to have shoes, numerous pairs of shoes.

Next week we will have everything out of the house and moved to Kentucky. We pick up our big Penske truck, load it and head this way. I will be glad when it is over.

How do I feel leaving the place where I grew up? Right now, it's fine. I know home is where your hear is and mine is with my family. There are memories, but they will move with me. I will miss the mountains, but the flat lands are nice also. The view from our house was amazing, but I have pictures and I still remember the mountains and watching the rain and snow come across them. I don't cling to things I can't change. This was our decision to be closer to our family and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest.

I am going to have more time to write when this move is over. That's one thing I'm looking forward to. I have so many stories chasing around in my head and I want to write them.

Until sometime next week, take care and have wonderful days.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Don't you love spring? I had always thought fall was my favorite season, but now I can claim spring. I love the bluebirds singing outside my window and the beautiful flowers nodding their heads at me when I pass by. The sky is a beautiful blue background for the new leaves on the trees. The pallet of spring is so beautiful.

It's nice to open windows until my allergies start acting up, then I put the AC on and the windows down. The house seems so much brighter in spring and lighter with a breeze flowing through the rooms. I love spring!

This spring has brought a different landscape. I've always enjoyed the mountains in the spring as they turn different colors of green. The flat land is just as beautiful. I have more trees in my yard and a much larger yard. That is a big plus and it is flat, no hilly yard. My husband can mow almost all of our four acres on a riding lawnmower.

In the spring, my mind is much clearer to write. After a week of non-writing days, I am anxious to start writing again this week. The break was wonderful and I feel better about writing and finishing the edit.

Saturday I received a nice surprise. Zondervan Publishing send me a new book, Blood Ransom, by Lisa Harris. It is set in Africa and I am so excited about it. Zondervan has a Breakfast Club where they send out snippets of books they publish. I read the first two or three chapters on the internet and I was so surprised to find the book in my mailbox, a present from them. Can't wait to get some free time to sit down and read. I know it will be hard to put down.

My muse is on my shoulder, hitting me in the head to open the file on Callie's Mountain. To keep from being too injured, I'd better get busy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Abbie Ann

Last week, I received a large envelope in the mail with a wondrous book inside. When I tore off the wrapper, I saw a large book, 501 pages to be exact. Sharlene MacLaren's book, Abbie Ann, was huge in comparison to other books I had read.

So it was 500 pages, well I'd read Harry Potter books, all of them. This book was not as large as they were and I started reading. I was surprised how easy it was to read, and I soon felt Abbie was a member of my family.

Set in the turn of the century with Women's Rights the forefront, I began my journey into an era I was not that familiar with. Abbie has a positive way of looking at life. She is independent and not afraid to speak her mind. I liked that about her. She was also funny. Her whole family was interesting from her English grandmother to her nephew.

At the first of the story we meet Noah Carson, a divorced man. At that time period, divorce was a black mark. I know, my grandmother was divorced around the same time. You never spoke of it, it reminded me of the plague.

Because of Abbie's faith in God, she doesn't know how she feels about a "divorced man." Especially when his faith is not strong. Oh, yes, Noah has a son, Toby. That adds to the drama and Noah is a shipbuilder by trade. On Lake Michigan, there are boats and races. He builds a boat and it is beautiful and fast.

One thing about Noah is that he is a hunk. Muscles, broad shoulders, and handsome. All the things you want Prince Charming to be. I fell in love with him and could see his muscular shoulders.

This is a very good, funny, entertaining book. Abbie Ann is the last in the series of Jacob Kane's Daughters. The others are not 500 pages and Shar promises that there will not be another book that long. I recommend this book with five stars. It is so good. Lose yourself on Lake Michigan and with Abbie, Noah and Toby. You will enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What will today bring?

Each day when I wake up, I plan my day. It doesn't always happen the way I plan, but I try to make it go by the plan. One reason is that I like structure. With anything you do, you need to have structure.

I'm housecleaning today. Sunday night our Personal Work Group meets at our house. It's the first time I have had that many people in this house. I'm not a neat unpacker, so most of the house is a mess. Isn't it funny when you look at a house and think of all the storage space you'll have, but when you start filling those spaces, they fill up in a hurry. That's what's happened to me. I still have a few more boxes to unpack and I'm afraid I'm running out of space. There is still the attic storage and I've thought about it.

In between cleaning, I've been reading a very good book. It is a big book, over 500 pages. I'm almost through and I stopped in a very exciting place. The name of the book is Abbie Ann by Sharlene MacLaren. It is well written and I must say Shar is a fruit cake. I've enjoyed reading a book that makes me laugh. I'm very anxious to finish it.

Next week I will be back to writing and my house will be clean. Have a good day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Six Years Ago

April 5, 2004 will be in my mind forever. That was the day my life changed. I'll never be the same again. Some of the changes are good and some are bad. Let me tell you this story.

My husband and I arrived at the hospital around 6:30 a.m. for my 7:30 a.m. surgery. I needed a hernia repair. The hernia was on my left side and it was causing me pain when I lifted anything or moved to the side, either side. The laposcopic surgery would be over in a short time and I would only have to take a few weeks off work. I'd researched the procedure on the internet and felt safe about it. The doctor was recommended by my general practitioner. No problems? That was the problem, there were problems.

During the surgery, the doctor looked around and found seventeen other hernias. He decided to repair all of them. In doing so, he inserted a large, dinner plate size, mesh in my abdomen. That's when the problems started. Remember, it is laposcopic and the hole in my abdomen was small. The mesh was large and he cut it himself.

The surgery was on a Monday, like today. By Wednesday, I was hurting and could hardly move. My husband returned me to the hospital and when they x-rayed me, the emergency physician told us it was air and I needed to walk more and sent me home.

On Friday, I was feverish, sick and mostly out of it. I called my general practitioner and she said to go to the emergency room. Back again, but to our local ER instead of to the hospital where the surgery was performed. The ER doctor found an infection in my lower abdomen. This time they rushed me and I mean rushed me to the out of town hospital where the surgery was preformed.

While on the way, my blood pressure started falling. I was dying. The ambulance turned the siren on and raced the rest of the way. I was immediately taken to surgery. This is the place where my memory fails and I have to take the word of my family.

My husband was taken to the holding area of surgery. The doctors prepared me for surgery and rushed me into the operating room. I did not wake up for another week. During that time, there were two more surgeries. The infection was rampant in my body. When I did wake up, there were tubes everywhere. I learned a piece of mesh tore my small intestines.

What did I learn? The biggest thing is to check the references Life is precious and wonderful. My family is closer to me than they have ever been and God is more important that I ever thought He would be. There was a peace over me during this whole time. I was never frightened. Today, I don't take things for granted. I enjoy each minute of my life.

What about the doctor? He has performed other surgeries and I know of one that turned out like mine. A friend of ours had a similar experience at the hands of the same doctor. If we had died, he would not have license to practice today, but we lived.

Today, I have turned a disaster into a rose. Sure, I have difficulties such as lack of energy, moving is difficult where the nerves did not heal correctly and my abdomen is horrible to look at, but I am alive and I love God, my family and my friends more than ever. I could bemoan the fact that I lost a week of my life and had to spend over six weeks in the hospital. I could cry that my figure is not perfect, but why? God gave me a second chance to make a difference in someone's life. Would I ever let that doctor operate on me again? Not ever! In fact, he can't even look me in the face now. I've seen him a few times and he ducks his head and moves on. Guilt? Could be.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Writers Groups

Last night was our monthly meeting of Marshall County Writers Group. It was a good meeting. Tammy, our leader, showed us her synopsis and query letter. The dreaded synopsis and query letter. That's what most writers call them because they hate to do them.

Our group is a mixture of unpublished and published writers. Some are Christian writers and some are main stream. I much prefer writing Christian books instead of having to worry about language. Tammy writes teen fantasy, which I don't read and she does go into language that I don't use. There is a market for what she writes.

Recently I did a synopsis for a contest. I hate to do them with a passion. I put it off as long as I can, but eventually the demon roars it's ugly head and I have to get busy. Why do I hate it so much? You have to tell about your whole book in one to three pages. Horrible! It has to be something that grabs the agent or publisher and wants them to read more. I spend hours on a synopsis. In comparison to my writing time on a book, it takes longer to write a synopsis than it does a 90,000 word book. To say the least, I HATE THEM!!!

Now the query letter . This is where you sell yourself and your book. It is usually the first thing an agent or publisher sees, and it has to be good. It has to be you sitting in front of them talking. I would much rather meet an agent or publisher face to face than write a query letter. You should tell them about yourself and why you think this book is the best ever. I get up tight and it doesn't come out very well. When I talk to an agent or publisher, I get the same way. When I talked to an agent recently, I didn't know what to say and I told her that. She was so sweet and kind. She said, "This is the time we get to know each other." I hope she liked me and I hope she will like my baby.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, in a couple of months, I'll be writing the dreaded query letter and synopsis, plus the other things this agent requires. I hope by writing this and telling you how I feel, that it will make me feel better when that day comes.

Have a wonderful week-end. Don't eat too many chocolate eggs.