Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Joy's June Promotion Commotion presents: DEBBIE ARCHER!

{alert}    ABANDONED    {alert}    

-  by Debbie Archer
As writers we all have a collection of books that we rely on to either inspire us or to help direct us along he writing journey. An outstanding group member of ACFW Arkansas Chapter, Rosie, recently shared a few titles from her collection during a stellar program which she conducted. Her collection was, to say the least, impressive. It made me realize a couple of things as I listened to her outline each book.

  • She knew her books well and depended on them regularly
  • I have a bunch of books, and I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually looked at them. Well, except for Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Roget's Thesaurus and the 2011 Edition of Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's Market Guide.
Those two revelations tugged at my mind. I'd invested a small fortune, as we all do, in reference books of one sort or another, yet I was guilty of book abandonment ! It caught me off guard and to be quite candid, the more I thought about it the stronger the urge 
became to race home and pull out every title and 
"Are you ever going to read me,
hug it - which I did - immediately after dinner and dessert. I got home around nine that night and went to the office.
I stood there surrounded by all those lovely books. Old, new, borrowed, blue . . . oh, wait that's something else. Anyway, I sat down on the floor and began pulling "my babies" out and looking at them, flipping through their pages (many of which are yellowed) and soaked in the lovely messages they had to tell me. I was there for quite some time and when I finally called it a night I got up slowly (quite slowly because every muscle was at that point locked into place). I promised to return the next day and visit with the rest of my collection. But just as a child drags her favorite teddy bear to bed, I had two books cradled in my arms that just needed to be held a bit longer. So, I took them with me.

My husband is used to me dragging books to bed with me. I’m a librarian. Didn’t even phase him. I crawled into bed, lugging my volumes with me and once I had myself tucked in, I pulled the first one to me. It was one a writer friend told me about five years ago. FIVE YEARS AGO, people! Yes, I’d ordered it. Yep, I’d flipped through it. But I’d never really listened to what it had to tell me. Is anybody else out there guilty of this? Here are the two books I’m talking about.
Kirsch’s Guide to the Book Contract by Jonathan Kirsch is probably THE most concise, wonderful book in the world for authors, publishers, editors and agents. It breaks things down into my kind of language. so much so, that when you pull up a copy of an author’s contract, you can go to this book and locate the meaning of every vague term ever dreamed up by any attorney anywhere. It’s priceless. It’s also now out of print, so you need to begin looking online to find your elusive copy. Amazon.com is a good place to start, and of course eBay. But also try alibris.com . I always go there when I’m looking for hard-to-find books.
The other title I hauled in with me was The New Book Of Lists: The Original Compendium of Curious Information by David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace. Positively brilliant. Here are a few of the lists you’ll find waiting for you inside:

q       33 Stupid Thieves and 3 Dishonorable Mentions
q       Benjamin Franklin’s 8 Reasons to Marry an Older Woman
q       14 Librarians Who Became Famous in Other Fields – (I realllllly liked that list)
q       4 Places With More Pigs Than Humans
q       10 Afflictions and Their Patron Saints
q       10 Celebrated People Who Read Their Own Obituaries
q       16 Famous Events That Happened In a Bathtub
q       . . . and that’s a mere smattering, my friends.

I’m telling you, the book is full of the kind of quirky information that will ignite every writer’s imagination. Yes, I am a recovered book abandoner. I know. Abandoner is not a real word, but that’s what I was. No more. I’ve learned my lesson. due in large part to Rosie and her program. Rosie who also bakes a mean coconut cake. The woman has endless talents. She is not, however a book abandoner.

What about you? Hmmmm? Ever been guilty of this travesty yourself? If so, take a gander at your collection and share with us which jewels have been allowed to gather dust. Which titillating titles have gone too long without having their pages peeked at and preened over? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Please meet the author of the above piece that has challenged me as I'm sure it must have several, if not all, of you.

Debbie, please, would you tell us about yourself?
Sure, I began writing several years ago for Sparks, a regional magazine specializing in children's book reviews.

I’ve been blessed with some success regarding publications in my professional field of Library Science. During the summer, I travel presenting professional development to educators in the fields of Library, Literacy, Language Arts and Social Studies. In addition, I act as a liaison between the schools and our state department of education. I’m active in many state and national organizations including ACFW, ACFW-Arkansas, International Reading Association, Arkansas Reading Association, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and American Library Association.

I’ve served two consecutive terms as state judge for a national writing competition for students – Letters For Literature.

Most recently I accepted an appointment as consultant and presenter for Barnes and Noble in the launching of the first Literacy Fair in the state of Arkansas.

My Focused Genres:
q       Contemporary YA
q       Contemporary Romantic Comedy

I became a Christian at about the age of twelve and began writing at fifteen.

I was privileged to have founded The Writer’s Council in 1989 – Local writer’s group for emergent and established authors.

I joined ACFW 3 years ago (I think)

Also became a member of the newly chartered ACFW-Arkansas Organization – (Woohoooo)

Blog for ACFW-Arkansas – www.acfwarkansas.com

I dipped my toe into the Genesis Contest this year – no final but loved the excitement.

Heartland Writer’s Guild – Second Place Finalist in the Great Beginnings Writing Competition

The Story Teller – First Place for Short Story – Fiction

I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education

Master’s Degree in Library Science

Currently teach full time – Grades K-8

Awarded Teacher of the Year
And a Three-time recipient of Who’s Who Among American Teachers
But, Debbie, that's not all - aren't you forgetting something you should be sharing with our readers?

Oh, you mean - The Frasier?

Yes, and . . . and . . .

Oh, that!  I have received word that I am a . . .

For my entry - "ETCHED"  Free verse - Prose.

Pumping out the Prose

Would you mind terribly - sharing about your personal life?

Not at all - you know everyone loves romance, right?
Well, I met my husband Mack on a blind date set up by my neighbor (his aunt). It was love at first sight and from the rear.
All I could see were his broad shoulders as he strolled into his aunt's apartment the evening of the date. My hair was in curlers as I peeked out the window and I realized I had no snacks to offer him after the date. I quickly yanked out the curlers, drove to the store, got my nibblies and went to my car, which would not start. I phoned a friend, got a ride and raced home. By the time I finally got there, I had frizzy hair, no makeup and ten minutes to get ready. BUT, I had chips, dip and Cokes! In nine minutes, I showered, slapped on my dating face and met him with a smile when he came knocking on the door. I grabbed my coat, locked the door and walked out as he held the door for me (such a gentleman) feeling like I'd conquered the world.
The door closed. The lock clicked.
My key was inside. Every bit of pride vaporized as I had to climb in the skinny kitchen window and retrieve my key. 
And - still - he proposed - but not that night.
Moral: Snack food is bad for you.
Aunts, however, are blessings. We married two years later at 27 and are still on our honeymoon.
We couldn't have children, but I have my school babies. Sometimes I think that's' why God put me in the teaching field.
Mack and I live in Northeast Arkansas.  With rescued, loved and somewhat spoiled animals - (shown below)
Still honey-mooning - Debbie and Mack
George (Front) - Cares for the ill
Anna Belle (Back) - found in a culvert
Bear (can you guess which)
Maybelline (Just in time)

I am currently working on a romantic comedy set in the south.
Active Ingredients: Quirky characters, southern traditions, lots of money and one hot bait-shop owner!

Debbie, is there anything you'd like to leave with our readers before you go?

As a matter of fact there is one more thing I'd like to add to what I stated in the article,
It's important that we remember that God gave us, as writers, the gift of words.
He allows us to weave them daily into a pleasing array of emotions. He's given us the sense to know when we need help. That is, after all, when we run out and purchase these gems.
Don't abandon those wonderful books that you've gathered. Keep them close. Treat them as the friends they are and treasure the blessings you glean from them. 
Writing in them, highlight special passages, share the titles and the actual books with others, but please . . . don't abandon them.
Writers have big hearts. We rescue things, animals, people . . . and books.

"So, is anybody going to bother to read us?"

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing the great article, those personal touches that give each of us a sense of the heart of the writer within.
May God bless  you in each endeavor as He directs your path. Please come visit again. You are always welcome!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Joy's Joy~Filled June 'PROMOTION COMMOTION' Welcomes ~ PATTY WYSONG ~

I want to introduce you to this fantastic Christian, Wife, Mother, Homeschool Teacher, Bible Study Writer/Instructor, Blog-Site Designer,Writer, Author of numerous blogs, and the list goes on . . . and the list goes on. . .
Welcome to Joy's Joy~Ful Journaling, Patty.

Thank you for having me, Joy! It's so cool to be here, visiting! And I get to talk about blogging and blog design! =) It doesn't get much better than that!

Water Daisies
Yanno, as writers we're told to blog—that every writer needs to blog. While there's much truth to that, let me say right up front that blogging is not for everyone. But in the very same breath I want to add that I think it's for more people than realize it. Why? Because of all the good a blog can do—for you personally and for others.

So what good is a blog to you?
Summer Stripes
  • It's a great way to market yourself—whether you write, speak, perform, or doodle.
  • Blogging gets your name out there and builds name recognition.
  • You connect with people, the ultimate goal of building a platform, which is crucial these days.
  • It's a tool we can use—for free—which is an important feature in today's cash-strapped world. Free puts it into everyone's price range!
  • Blogging requires a serious investment of time, thought and energy. If done well, the return on your investment makes it very worthwhile. (Remember, you make time for the things you think are worthwhile.)
  • Blogging is about being you, online, which can be scary for some people and a relief for others.
How do you go about being you online?
May'd for Plaid
  • Voice—blogging helps develop your voice and allows you to try things on to see if they work for you.
  • Personality—you can freestyle, relax and be yourself.
  • Topic—it's okay if you don't know what you want to blog about at first, and even if you do, that's simply a guide, not a hard and fast rule—unless you make it that way, and that moves you into a niche blog rather than blogging toward your purpose.
  • Perspective—blogging allows you to give your perspective on things and life in general.
  • Site design—this is my fave. Your site design is your online representation. It's what people see when they visit you, before they even read your words. I have to admit, there are some sites I can't get to the content, which I know is good, because the site is awful.
Summer Clouds
So why should more writers should be blogging? Because as we write authentically and transparently, God will shine through us. We can let God flow through us so others can see God working in our lives and the difference He makes in us. God uses each individual voice, personality, perspective and style to reach different people.

But I sure didn't know any of this when I first felt God nudging me to blog. See, I started blogging because I couldn't escape Him. I knew the next step He was pointing me toward was blogging—even though I had NO idea what I was to write about. Blogging was an act of obedience, not something that I wanted to do. My reasoning was “In the big wide world of cyber space no one will ever find my puny little blog.”

Um, wrong.

Spring Plaid
Blogging is so much more than I thought! And I'm so thankful. I began writing and posting all those little things that flittered through my brain—things that I always wanted to write, but didn't see any reason to—things like the mini devotional thoughts that seem to body-slam me all the time. Like the lesson I learned from seeing ducks swimming in a mud puddle rather than the nice pond that was half-a-mile away.

Marbled Green
Blogging opened up a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities that I didn't even know existed. One thing led to another and before I really knew what I was doing, I had a good start on a platform, with blog followers and as a monthly contributor for a few women's devotional sites. Since I hope to someday have a book on the shelves, building a platform is a very good thing, especially in the eyes of agents and editors. But even if I never have a book published, I still have the satisfaction of knowing I'm obeying God and writing and connecting with people. The results are up to Him, I'm responsible for my obedience and doing the best job I can.

Through the learning curve of setting up my blog and helping friends set up theirs, I discovered something cool. I learned that I dearly love helping people build their blog and their platform.

Scriptie Scrollie Sophisticate
What I do and why
Making sites that reflect their owner is something I really enjoy doing, and I do everything from setting up blogs and websites to giving them make-overs to doing accessories like buttons and siggies. But even more than designing, I love teaching others to work on their own sites—after all, you know what you like and the image you want to portray better than anyone else. To do that, I have an online class, tutoring, as well as webinar workshops. You can find out more in the Blog Design, Premade, and Workshops tabs on my site.

Why is all this so important to me? Well, after experiencing the great changes in my life as a result of blogging, and seeing the opportunities that have come my way, as a result of blogging, I want others to have similar opportunities. I see blogging as a way to connect with, and have an impact on those around us. In today's world, our cyber neighbors may live in South America or Russia, as some of mine have, and if we each reach out to those around us, wherever they may be, we'll have more of an impact and testimony for God. And that, my friend, is where the real value is. =)

The giveaway! =)
See all the blog designs above? I'm giving away the winner's choice of one of those premade designs OR 2 lessons from my blog class. And if there's 20 or more unique commentors, I'll tell Joy to draw two names from the hat. =) If you have any questions about the premades, there's some info about them in the Premade tab on my site, or you can ask me. =)

Thanks so much for having me, Joy!

Some others have stopped by to add to your post today.
They’ve been touched in several ways by your life and wanted to express
some thoughts before this is published. You may want to sit down, Patty, if you aren't already.

Oh, and Patty,
The Joy has been all mine! 
Thank you for bringing your wonderful presentation to my

Tribute To Patty;

 Last year, I was the recipient of a free CLEARING THE BLOG FOG Class instructed by Patty Wysong, and what an awesome class that was! Three times a week, Patty posted on-line lessons, and we “groupies” interacted online as we did our homework. We learned how to set up a blog, and then had to actually start a blog!
Patty has the patience of a saint, and was willing to respond to all of our questions.
Patty made it fun, and when the course was over, we experienced withdrawals. But Patty stayed with us; encouraging, answering questions, problem solving, whatever was needed to build our blogs.

I’ve kept my blog, yet posted less and less each month. My aspiration to write has fizzled and I’ve had nothing to talk about. That is, until a couple of weeks ago, when Patty started up the blog ‘meme’ “From A 2 Z”. Patty admitted to being ‘of a desert mind’ and challenged folks to write a weekly blog using the alphabet. Suddenly, ideas are abundant, and I’m having fun writing stories for my blog.

Patty has a multitude of projects she is working on, yet she is always there to encourage and teach others.

Thank you, Patty, for reaching out for help, and in turn, you are helping others to express themselves. You are an awesome lady and a blessing from God!
-Barbara Lynn Culler

FOR PATTY - (Peej);

 Peej makes me think of Mary Poppins, and I would love a peek inside her carpetbag, Peej’s bag that is.

Her daughter, Esther, is among my facebook friends. It didn’t take much interaction with Esther to realize what a hands-on and caring mother she has. Five children and Peej makes being a terrific mom seem as simple as curling up with a favorite book.

Thanks to Peej, I now have a blog. As a teacher, she is both patient and caring. Her classes are creative, fun and spunky. Unless you don’t like the idea of riding brooms to visit the other class members, oh my, she had Sunny (another class member) in stitches. Not only did I  finish her blog workshop with a brand new blog, I finished it with fond memories tht still cause me to giggle, now and then.

I adore Peej’s mothering style. As a teacher she is amazing. But more than both of these, it is her love for God that touches my heart. It shows in the articles she writes, it shows in the kind of friend she is, and it shows in the way she allows Him to lead and guide her life. A couple of examples are the ‘JEWELS OF ENCOURAGEMENT’ blog. At ‘JoE’, Peej created a place where we can go and receive encouragement, get a fresh perspective on life, or put a spark of hope in our day. Then there is the ‘A2Z4U & ME” meme, which is going into its third week now. How fun to see what each person comes up with.  Thanks to Peej, I am posting to blogs and loving it.

Yeah, I sure would like a look inside Peej’s carpetbag. Not only does she put fun and sizzle into all she does, she does it with elegance, grace and flare!

Love you, Peej. Your friendship blesses me in so many ways.
-Rita Garcia

To Patty;

You’ve given me so much. I signed up for the CLEARING THE BLOG FOG Course last year hoping to learn what a blog is and how to put one together.
I had no clue what those twelve (now sixteen) lessons would do for me. Thank you for opening a whole new venture for me. I have a blog, posting fresh words each week, interviews/features of other authors, tributes to those who’ve done so much for us in so many ways, sharing my feelings, my life with those who’ve become followers/readers and allowed me into their computers via cyber-space every Tuesday.

Patty became my instructor first, then she became a mentor but oh, my, it didn’t take very many days on that CTBF loop to find I was making some wonderful friends – hosted by Patty, of course. So generous in her question answering, the time she took/takes for me whenever I cry, ‘HELP, PATTY’ and the ability she has to make me feel even I can blog.

Patty, you’ve been a teacher, friend, encourager, hand-holder, mentor, excellent example of the Proverbs 31 woman, and above all those, you’ve been such a lover of the God who created us both that I cannot help but be reminded of Him when ever I am in your presence (cyberlly of course).

Thank you, for being you, Patty, and know this – you have an open door to my blog -anytime for any reason.

I thank God upon every remembrance of you, Patty. May He bless you abundantly above all that you can ask or think.
I love you, Patty-page, and I am
so glad God connected us just a year ago!
-Joy Avery Melville

About Patty,
I absolutely enjoyed taking Patty Wysong's Clearing the Blog Fog class - in fact I saved all the lessons in my email, so that if I ever decide to change my blog, I can refer back to them. There were places I got stuck, but Patty was so gracious in offering her assistance. I never once felt stupid for asking a question. I learned so much taking this class, although I know that if I ever wanted to change my blog, I would definitely have to refer to my emails for some aspects! Funny thing, on one part of it, I don't know HOW I got it to work... because I'm not sure I followed the steps exactly, but I'm glad I got it to work! Heehee.

Thank you so much Patty for your patience and assistance! You rock! God bless,
- Pamela
Re: Patty--
     "I first met Patty when I asked people on the ACFW Loop to tell me how long a blog posting should be. Since I'm returning to writing doing mainly non-profit organizational work and going to grad school, this blogging thing is all new to me, and I wanted to do it right! Patty was one of the people who replied, and at the same time, immediately invited me to join her "a 2 z 4 u & me" meme. She then answered endless "how-to" questions to help me launch my fledging "baby" blog, and her patience, enthusiasm and encouragement are what gave me the courage to take the plunge. There's so much to learn, and I then decided to take the blog class from Patty. She's a fantastic teacher and a wonderful cheerleader--one of those people you feel you've known for years just after meeting her!"
 -Kate Hinke

Don't forget the Give-Away - Did you see that? What a choice in prizes Patty is offering!