Saturday, May 22, 2010

He's Just That Into You

Everyday Miracles by Julia Royston reminds us that the move of God is constant. The content places focus on the fact that His grace and mercy far exceeds the bells and whistles most associate with a miracle.

From the segment on Chores to the reminder that He’s Just That Into You the reader is given opportunity to assess their lives and seek the best from whatever stage they’re at as they embrace the Everyday Miracles that surround them.


Julia Royston is an anointed singer, songwriter, poet and producer poised to expand the boundaries of Praise and Worship with her anointed voice and uplifting lyrics. In 2002 she established For the Kingdom Ministries with the mission to ‘Build God’s People to Build the Kingdom of God’ through education, empowerment and encouragement.

To learn more about Julia you can visit her at:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In All That You Do – Give Thanks

In a world where the separation of church and state has become the rule, Sistergirl Devotions: Keeping Jesus in the Mix has made a necessary declaration – You cannot separate who you are from what you do!

Within the pages of this valuable devotional Ms. Mackey opens the eyes to the necessity of having a plan and allowing its foundation to be built upon and guided by the ultimate Leader.

Whether your place of business is within or outside of the home, there is much common sense and encouragement extended from the pages of Sistergirl Devotions from one sister to another.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Research is the ingredient that helps to bring realism to the grand idea that is your novel, or in the words of Zora Neal Huston, “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”

Research not only brings realism to your story, it also stretches you and your reader. It will, only if the research is correct and relevant.

Relevant: having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue.

So how do you begin? With a plan.

Think – What do you already know about the subject? Create mind map adding avenues of possibilities to explore. Engage those well-versed in the subject matter. Add to the mind map.

Consider – What is the conclusion you want your story to come to? What information on the mind map will get you there? Based on your goal, eliminate what is not relevant.
Research – Investigate your sources. Utilize living sources.

Notes – Keep good notes.

Evaluate – See what’s in your hand. Organize and trim the fat.

Have a Plan – How do you plan to use this information to the benefit of the story?

Seek Wise Counsel – Do not be afraid of constructive criticism. Fresh eyes help to build solid foundations.

As those fantastic ideas swimming inside your mind demand release, remember the necessity of research. Research is the necessary tool that will bring those ideas to life and to sustain them for years to come. It will not always be easy and will require patience and a critical eye. But know that it is worth the effort, for research has value beyond your literary need and possesses potential to take you places you did not intend to go and open doors of opportunity for one you may never encounter. Therefore, do not look upon the task as a chore to be done, but more as a level to ascend to. See research as an opportunity to expand your horizons.

I have enjoyed this mini-series and pray that it has in some way been helpful and encouraging to you. Please remember to visit us often. Until then – be blessed and don’t forget to use your words to bear good fruit.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Chesapeake Weddings is a collection of inspirational stories that are as different as they are familiar.

Bittersweet Memories introduces Karen Brown, who, after suffering heartache and shame brought on by a former fiancé, returns home only to face unexpected challenges from a surprising source.

Milk Money relays the story of polar opposites, Emily and Frank. Despite their personal and religious differences they join forces to straighten out the financial tangle that will place the dairy farm Emily’s father established, into her hands.

John’s Quest gives us insight into what can happen when anger collides with the power of innocence. This happens when college professor John steps in to tutor Monica’s blind nephew.

Inside each story Author Dowdy has the ability to draw the reader into the story with her special brand of storytelling. Neither story is a heavy read, nor were they meant to be. What they are, are memorable stories, told with a fresh voice.

I spent the first ten years of my life on a military base in Aberdeen, Maryland since my dad was in the Army. We moved to North East Maryland when I was about ten. I always remember the joy of opening a book, and reading mesmerizing stories that entertained me for hours! I went to the University of Maryland in College Park, earning my degree in Finance! My freshman English teacher claimed I was a great writer, and recommended that I change my major from Finance to English, but I didn’t heed his wise advice!

Instead of pursuing a literary career, I worked as an accountant for a travel agency for ten years. During that time, I traveled all over the world, including the following places: Germany, France, England, Tahiti, New Zealand, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Santo Domingo.

In 1994, I began writing for fun, and I kept doing it until I sold my first inspirational romance novel. Before I sold my novel, I wrote sweet romantic short stories regularly for national women’s magazines. I’ve published thirty-seven of these stories.

I love both secular and Christian fiction. I also love young adult fiction, and I hope to have my own young adult inspirational series someday!

I've been happily married to my husband for six years. We currently reside in Maryland with our son.

To learn more about Cecelia connect with her online at:

*Book was purchased by reviewer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If Two's Company...

They say that your testimony is never for yourself, but for someone else. In keeping with the validity of those words of wisdom, I’m going to share one of my literary testimonies with you.

When I began writing I embraced the view of ‘Art Imitating Life’. Not a bad vision to follow, wouldn’t you say? Well, my editor did not agree with my point of view as it pertained to the cast of characters I thought anyone could keep up with. Two seconds into the first round of developmental/content editing, two characters (I considered vital to the story), their supporting cast and 20,000 words were surgically removed from the story.

I say surgically removed because in my mind they were intricate to the story. They had become so necessary that it took some serious convincing to get me to agree that removing that literary tumor was the only way to save the life of my story.

If any of you have had surgery or have walked with one prior to, during and through the recovery process, you understand that each step is vital for a positive outcome. In my case, removal of what did not move the story along was the easy part. Following the procedure I was sent to ‘Dig Deeper’ rehab in order to strengthen what flesh had been left the bones of the now emaciated story.

In order to do that, I had to have the will to change. Change what? My mindset. As noble as that sounds, that couldn’t transpire until I first understand the benefits of the change. This happened through being able to apprehend and understand the types of characters that creat a story and their appropriat functions. For your conveniences a list of types of charcters and their functions are below.
Protagonist: The main character – one who is essential to the story

Antagonist: The one(s) who bring opposition to the protagonist

Supporting Character: A compliment to the major character – is useful in moving the story along

Minor Character: Plays a small role – Example: He is the private investigator who feeds info to the attorney who is a supporting character.*

*Rule of Thumb – don’t give him/her a name. Name insertion often leads the reader to want to know something about the character. Their information does not move the story along.

Understanding the roles of the character(s) is not enough. Having the right balance coupled with effective use of their roles is the winning combination to be applied. Once I understood this and the pitfalls of its absence, it became my job to rebuild the shell of what and who had been left, into a feasible story. That’sthe therapeutic role of rewriting.

Initially it was a challenge, but like all therapy, you have to work through the pain until the results of your commitment is seen by not only you, but by your editors and readers.

That’s it for today. Next week we will conclude this mini-series with the topic of RESEARCH. Until then – be blessed and don’t forget to use your words to bear good fruit.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

In Memory Of

In tears we saw you sinking, and watched you pass away.
Our hearts were almost broken, we wanted you to stay.
But when we saw you sleeping, So peaceful, free from pain,
How could we wish you back with us, who suffer that again.
It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone,
For part of us went with you, the day God took you home.

If roses grow in Heaven, Lord please, pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother's arms and tell her they're from me.
Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile,
Place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile.
Because remembering her is easy, I do it every day,
But there's an ache within my heart that will never go away.

Don't think of her as gone away her journey's just begun
Life holds so many facets this earth is only one
Just think of her as resting from the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort where there are no days and years
Think how she must be wishing that we could know, today
Now nothing but our sadness can really pass away
And think of her as living in the hearts of those she touched
For nothing loved is ever lost and she is loved so very much.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Too Much Drama

As a content editor one of my responsibilities is to determine when conflict crosses the line into unnecessary drama that dilutes the story.

Conflict is necessary in order to support the central theme of the story and to keep the reader engaged. However, authors can unknowingly cross into the danger zone, when drama becomes the constant that: 1) Does not move the story along; 2) Occurs with no feasible reason (just there for the ‘drama factor’; and 3) Occurs so often that if it is removed, there is no real story.

The fiction author’s job is to engage, inform and entertain their reader. Pacing is the key in order to maintain interest. Fleshing out the characters and the feasibility of the plot is equally important. In doing so you should be moved, at the least, to research the character’s: 1) Strength and weaknesses; 2) Temperament; 3) Habits (good and bad) and 4) Worldview.

Armed with this information you apply it to the central theme. Ask yourself how these characters effectively fit into that theme and how do you keep them true to who you have built them to be. Build on the conflict that comes with working through the plot in your mind, on paper and with others. In doing so it will give you a clear view of how to arrive at your destination.

Please note, you DO want to engage the reader with some drama, but not so much that it overshadows the intent of the story. Below are two examples of works with drama. You determine which is feasible.

Example: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Something from one or the others’ past comes to light. Couple separates. In the interim scenarios or someone or both strives to keep them apart. They overcome obstacles and learn from whatever it is the book was set up for them to achieve.

Example Two: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Something from their past comes to light. Couple separate. Everything under the sun from, high-speed car chases, fist fights, a carjacking, baby mama drama and two or three added lovers, make their way onto the pages. Add to that an ending that ties up no loose ends and/or makes any sense and you have the too much drama factor.

Now before you ask the question allow me to answer it. You can have a fair amount if not all of the elements above incorporated into your story and still make it a winner. It’s all in the presentation. Think through how this could possibly happen without using vague, non-supportive reasoning to justify the ending and leave the reader scratching their heads.

I hope this has been helpful to you all. I’m looking forward to discussing and hearing your views. So as always, until next time – Use your words to bear good fruit.