About Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Known as The Belle of All Things Southern, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a national best-selling author, speaker, radio host and newspaper columnist. Shellie’s last nonfiction humor title from Penguin Group USA, "Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy" came out with a hearty endorsement from legendary comedian Jeff Foxworthy, a blurb Shellie adamantly denies purchasing. Watch for Shellie's first faith book to be released from Random House in 2014!

Top 3 Ways Launching a Book is Like Birthing a Baby!

As you may have deduced from the heading, I’ve recently given birth to a new book baby. This is a little list I put together to celebrate the arrival of Heart Wide Open. It will bring you smack dab into my world.

It hit me when I was heavy with this last literary child. Launching a book feels a lot like birthing a baby. I’ve done both. Granted, it’s been a while since I birthed my human offspring but that’s not something a girl forgets. Drawing on those delightful memories, I give you:

TOP THREE WAYS LAUNCHING A BOOK IS LIKE BIRTHING A BABY

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Number 3. When it comes time to have a book/baby, you will be thrilled because you have made it to the big day without inflicting pain on the people who use their outside voices inside to inquire, “When on earth is that book/baby of yours coming out anyway?” (The temptation to use violence will be strongest when the question is asked as if you don’t want to share your little bundle of joy with the world but are keeping him/her/it all to yourself in a fit of spite.)

Number 2. When it comes time to have a book/baby you may find yourself in a phenomena called “nesting”. It’s a sudden urge to tidy up the place before you hit the road. If you are a southern belle, this can probably be attributed to the indoctrination you received from your southern mama. She who has likely spent years warning that if you should die in a traffic accident or, heaven forbid, be knocked in the back of the head by someone up to no good while you’re walking into your hotel room, knows the whole world would then find your house in disarray. (If you are a well-raised southern girl, you will not mention to her that should you die, you would never know if someone found your dust-bunnies or not.)

And the Number 1 way launching a book is like birthing a baby–

When it comes time to have a book/baby, you may have all sorts of well-laid plans about the launch and you may have made all sorts of vows to yourself as to how you’re going to handle the details/promotion/heavy labor with grace and aplomb. Warning: These intentions might fall like a house of cards and you will wonder if and when you can have anesthesia.

I thought of more earlier, but the baby is here and she and I need our rest. I will be asleep in .02 seconds but do leave me a note. I’ll be sure and get back to you because your comments are very important to us. (Sounding like an automated recording is yet another sign that the details are getting to you.)

Happy Writing, friends.

Hugs, Shellie

Now tell me, what similarities have I missed?

Words from Another World

“Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me!” Wrong.

As an adult I’ve long since conceded that the childhood nursery rhyme we sang to protect ourselves couldn’t be further from the truth. I no longer deny that words can inflict lasting pain but my fascination is with their power to change the world.

This ability of ours to communicate, it’s combustible.

fire

Picture if you will the disciples of Christ sitting in an upper room waiting and praying, praying and waiting. Before leaving in the clouds, Jesus had promised to send them power to take His message to the ends of the earth. He didn’t tell them what this power would look like or how long they’d have to wait for it, only that they must.

Finally, after days and nights of waiting, after all the anticipation and questions surrounding this mysterious force Jesus had spoken of, after weeks of wondering what this supernatural aid might be and how they would wield it, God’s promised fire fell “as cloven tongues of fire.”

How interesting. Fiery cloven tongues of an other-worldly origin.

I find it fascinating that out of all the body parts the writer could’ve used to describe this amazing scene when God’s fire power fell on man, he chose a human tongue. What a visual of God’s plan to employ these fleshy instruments of ours to speak from the understanding of one human to that of another, each witnessing of the consuming fire lit in his or her heart.

In light of such a mission, is it any wonder that we’re so strictly charged to monitor our tongues and the power of language? How can we allow ourselves to use whatever words we want with whomever we want whenever we want-–knowing that God has chosen these same tongues as holy messengers to take His gospel into all the world?

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:10

For those of us who feel called to write, these questions should weigh even heavier.

My prayer is for our words and our tongues to have fire power because they’re yielded to His will instead of our whim.

Hugs, Shellie

Words from Another World

“Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me!”

Wrong. As adults we’ve long since figured out that childhood nursery rhyme we sang to protect ourselves couldn’t be further from the truth. We no longer deny that words can be mighty painful. As authors, what both fascinates and challenges us is their power to change the world, and it’s all by Divine design.

scrabblePicture, if you will, the disciples of Christ sitting in an upper room waiting and praying, praying and waiting. Before leaving in the clouds, Jesus had promised to send them power to take His message to the ends of the earth. He didn’t tell them what this power would look like or how long they’d have to wait for it, only that they must.

Finally, after days and nights of waiting, after all the anticipation and questions surrounding this mysterious force Jesus had spoken of, after weeks of wondering what this supernatural aid might be and how they would wield it, God’s promise fire fell “as cloven tongues of fire.”

How strange. Fiery cloven tongues uttering words of an other-worldly origin.

I find it fascinating that out of all the body parts the writer could’ve used to describe this amazing scene when God’s fire power fell on man, He chose a human tongue. What a visual of God’s plan to employ these fleshy instruments of ours to speak from the understanding of one human to that of another, each one witnessing of the consuming fire lit in his or her heart.

That said, is it any wonder that we’re so strictly charged to monitor our tongues and the power of language?

How can we allow ourselves to use whatever words we want with whomever we want whenever we want, knowing that God has chosen these same tongues as holy messengers to take His gospel into all the world?

Hugs, Shellie

Marketing by the Dozen

marketing]My next book, (which for our purposes here shall henceforth be spoken of as “The Faith Book” because it remains untitled), will release from Random House/Waterbrook early 2014. My dear editor, our own super agent Greg and his fantabulous wife, myself, and every friend and stranger I can pigeon-hole for a title discussion are in the throes of finding that elusive title. Oh, yes, I’m something of a bore about it. Feel free to run if you see me coming.

The mission is simple, and familiar to my fellow non-fiction authors. When my target audience sees this book on the shelves, he or she needs to connect with it, feel the need to purchase it, shove aside the huddled masses that have been awaiting its release, and hoof it to the checkout stand in record-setting speed. Whoa. I must have wandered into a daydream. Back to the real world and your regularly scheduled post.

The reality here is that “The Faith Book” will be vying for attention scraps among countless of those big dog authors, not to mention scores of worthy books, new and old, from authors of every other genre, gracing the shelves. If funds allowed, and they don’t, I would hire an outside publicist with the energy level of Richard Simmons and the marketing skills of whoever is behind Justin How-Did-That-Happen Beiber to beat the drum for it. Instead, I will send it out into the world and recommit to living by my own Happy Dozen Marketing Commandments:

- I will help Waterbrook’s in-house publicist to help me by remembering that I’m only one of many authors she has been assigned and I will remind myself that any media contacts or leads I can gather or pass on to her will help maximize her time, and thus my book’s exposure.

- I will design and mail out postcards for “The Faith Book” to AT LEAST the bookstores that hosted signings for my last book and as many more as I possibly can.

- I will maintain a current database of the stores that graciously welcome me in for a signing and I’ll try to be prompt about following up with thank you notes.

- I will interact with the public as much as possible at book events and do my best to see each individual before me instead of a group. Everyone has a story and every event is an opportunity to capture new ones.

- I will have material (book marks, business cards, etc.) to hand out at book signings so potential book buyers can feel comfortable walking away to consider the purchase instead of being put on the spot to purchase the book.

- I will call radio stations and ask if they are interested in doing giveaways of my book and I’ll consider it a good investment for the trade-off in airtime.

- I will attend as many book festivals as physically possible to connect with readers and writers.

- I will continue to make every effort to see that my weekly newsletter is entertaining and informative, keeping in mind that this is my way of giving back to the All Things Southern community.

- I will not use social media selfishly. Communication, by definition, is a two-way street. My readers are people, not numbers, and they deserve to be treated as such.

- I will support my fellow authors. (Towards that end: Dear author friends, please contact me if you would like to guest on my blog at All Things Southern.)

- I will do readings at area libraries. Their patrons may not buy books, but they are readers. As writers we have a shared responsibility to promote reading.

And number twelve of my Happy Dozen:

- I will enjoy my life while I’m promoting my work, knowing that I am living what I first dreamed many years ago as a little girl perched in the top of my reading/writing mimosa tree. I am a writer and I will be grateful for that privilege.

Hugs,
Shellie

There’s Only One King of the Hill

Kids Playing in the DirtIt couldn’t have been more than a few yards of black gumbo dirt, but it was prime real estate in our grade school perspective. The Hill sat on the playground of a now defunct country school once known as Briarfield South. Perched on the side of a drainage ditch that ran alongside a cotton field, The Hill doled out dirty jeans and scraped knees to all comers and transitory crowns to a select few who managed to make it to the summit.

Reaching the top meant one had successfully outmaneuvered the opposition. This was quite a feat and one to be fully celebrated, for the moment of glory was destined to be short-lived. No resting on your laurels. If the recess bell didn’t require you to surrender your throne, there was always another valiant warrior headed your way who was bent on taking you down.

Memories of The Hill have me thinking about Writing World. Sometimes, when I’m surrounded by other authors at a book festival or similar public event, I’m tempted to check out the knees of my fellow wordsmiths who have made it up the rugged publishing hill. We all know that here in Publisher Land, you’re only as successful as your last book. The next contract rests on your latest sales numbers. If getting published is an uphill climb, staying published can be like writing on a tight rope without a net. Let me be clear. If I’m not diligent to keep this thing surrendered to the Lord I can succumb to the anxiety just as often and just as quickly as my peers who make no claims of following Jesus.

The uncertainty of Publisher Land is just one more reason to be grateful for the solid rock beneath my spiritual feet. It’s such a welcome relief to rest on the One who has fully saved and fully accepted me. Hebrews 7:25 reads, “Therefore, because he always lives to intercede for them, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.”

The blessed news is that I’m not on a continual evaluation with my God. Oh, He’s still working on me and with me, (the high dollar word for that process is sanctification), and He’ll keep working on me until He presents me before His Father and mine, redeemed and glorified. But I don’t have to fight and scratch to hold onto my place in His heart and neither do you! Our work is to keep Him in His rightful place in ours.

Hugs,
Shellie