WordServe News: September 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

41rajcxlqwl-_sy346_Stephen Arterburn and Dave Stoop released Take Your Life Back with Tyndale Momentum. Your past circumstances don’t have to define you, and they don’t have to determine the direction of your life. This book offers proven advice to help readers move from reactive attitudes and behaviors to healthy, God-honoring ones. Two additional resources are also available: the Take Your Life Back Workbook, and the Take Your Life Back Day by Day devotional.

51vdnmrjnklSara Davison released The Morning Star RisesBook 3 in The Seven Trilogy, with Ashberry Lane. As martial law continues in Canada in 2054, Meryn O’Reilly faces a dark and uncertain future after shocking revelations devastate her life. She is determined to follow God’s call, but her plans could cost her everything. She struggles to surrender everything to a God who is always in control, even when circumstances suggest otherwise.

51rynvgx3pl-_sx322_bo1204203200_-1Jan Drexler released Mattie’s Pledge with Revell. The second book in Jan’s Journey to Pleasant Prairie series, Mattie’s Pledge offers readers a poignant glimpse into Amish life in the 1840s, including the Amish migration west from Pennsylvania–and into the yearning heart of a character they won’t soon forget.

51qtfwstnrl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Leslie Leyland Fields released Crossing the Waters with NavPress. The gospels are set in a rich maritime culture on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, yet we’ve missed much of this perspective―until now. Leslie Leyland Fields―a longtime Alaskan fisherwoman―takes us out on the Sea of Galilee, through a rugged season of commercial fishing with her family in Alaska, and through the waters of the New Testament.

51ju4nleiplJim and Lynne Jackson released Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart with Bethany House. Did you know that the way we deal (or don’t deal) with our kids’ misbehavior shapes their beliefs about themselves, the world, and God? With warmth and grace, Jim and Lynne Jackson, founders of Connected Families, offer four tried-and-true keys to handling any behavioral issues with love, truth, and authority.

scripture-doodleApril Knight released ScriptureDoodle with Cook, a 6-week devotional experience to help readers connect creatively with the Word of God. Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, facing grief, and more, this devotional provides inspiring exercises, prompts, and ready-to-color designs to give your heart the creative space it needs while helping you integrate God’s Word into everyday life.

41rpmextf5lKara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin released Growing Young with Baker Books. Churches are losing both members and vitality as increasing numbers of young people disengage. Based on groundbreaking research with over 250 of the nation’s leading congregations, Growing Young provides a strategy any church can use to involve and retain teenagers and young adults.

hungryShellie Rushing Tomlinson released Hungry is a Mighty Fine Sauce with Shiloh Run Press. Tomlinson, the Belle of All Things Southern, serves up down-home southern dishes with a healthy side of laugh-out-loud entertainment in the book, which features dozens of tried-and-true recipes complemented by entertaining stories.

New Contracts 

Chris Conlee signed a two-book deal with Baker Books. The first book, Love Works, will look at biblical love and how to put it to work in our lives, and will release at the end of 2017.

Craig Selness signed with Worthy Publishing for his book How to Manage Your Pain Without Becoming One, addressing the reality of chronic pain and encouraging and equipping the reader to endure and still thrive.

New Clients

Wendy Holtz, Gwen Ellis, and Scott Watson signed with WordServe this month. Welcome!


What We’re Celebrating

The California Gold Rush Romance Collectionwhich includes contributions from Dianne Christner, hit the EPCA Bestsellers list for September.

Terry Brennan’s book The Aleppo Code won the 2016 Carol Award for excellence in Christian fiction in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. Congratulations, Terry!

Sara Davison’s new release, The Morning Star Rises, received a glowing review from RT Book Reviews.

WordServe News: July 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

51CZjAw6uPL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Julie Cantrell re-released Into the Free and When Mountains Move with Thomas Nelson. Into the Free, now a New York Times Bestseller, follows the story of Millie Reynolds in Depression-era Mississippi as she tries to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse. When Mountains Move takes up the story as Millie prepares to get married and move to the wilds of Colorado–only to find she can’t truly leave her old past behind.


Rebecca DeMarino 
published To Follow Her Heart, the concluding volume of her Southold Chronicles Series, which plunges readers into a 17th-century world of tall ships, daring journeys, and yearning hearts.


097740Cheri Fuller released Mothering by Heart with Barbour. Through engaging short stories, inspirational reflections, Scripture, creative ideas, and thought-provoking questions, this short book encourages mothers to relax, embrace their children’s individuality, and rely on God for the wisdom they need.

Excelling-at-the-Craft-of-Writing-CoverGreg Johnson, along with many Water Cooler contributors, released Excelling at the Craft of Writing: 101 Ideas to Move Your Prose to the Next Level with FaithHappenings Publishers. The easy-to-read, engaging essays cover a range of topics, from organizing and outlining your work to creating powerful characters and dialogue to fine-tuning your language, style, and voice. The perfect place to start for any writer hoping to reinvigorate their writing!

51PHIOI-G4L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Sarah Parshall Perry released Mommy Needs a Raise with Revell. Women know that raising children will be different from climbing the corporate ladder. But nothing can truly prepare them for the mind-muddling world of motherhood. With her signature wit, lawyer-turned-full-time-mommy Sarah Parshall Perry invites mothers to join her as she gives up one thing to get something better–and ends up finding out what she’s worth along the way.

memoryJordyn Redwood released Fractured Memory with Love Inspired Suspense. United States marshal Eli Cayne saved Julia Galloway’s life once…and he’s prepared to do it again. But his task would be easier if she could remember him—or the murderer who almost put her in an early grave and seems to be hunting her once more. Fractured Memory keeps readers on the edge of their seats as the two work together to confront Julia’s past—and the feelings growing between them.

518qxTPFZ-L._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_Mike Yorkey released Playing with Purpose: Tackling the Truth with Barbour Books. Filled with inspirational readings that draw spiritual points from players and coaches, important games throughout football history, and teams spanning the NFL, college, and high school, this book will challenge and inspire you to draw wisdom from both the game and God’s Word.

New Contracts 

Carole Avriett signed with Regnery Publishing for her new book, The Boys from Coffin Corner. Releasing in early 2018, it will tell the true story of a WWII B-17 crew shot down over German-occupied France and the unlikely survival of all ten men against incredible odds.

Jan Drexler signed a 3-book deal with Love Inspired for a series of Amish novels, The Prodigal’s Brother, His Chosen Family, and His True Path, for publication in 2017 and 2018.

Marjorie Jackson signed with Barbour for her novella Devoted, for publication in 2017.

Jordyn Redwood signed a two-book deal with Love Inspired Suspense for The Doctor’s Redemption and The Doctor’s Spy, due to be released in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Christopher and Michael Ross signed with Harvest House for Finding Faith in a Minecrafty World, a devotional that guides young readers through the fantastic landscapes of Minecraft, revealing clues for a stronger faith and much more fun in the real world.

New Clients

Carey Lewis signed with WordServe this month. Welcome!


What We’re Celebrating

Cristóbal Krusen’s film, Sabina K., received a Special Jury Mention at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival!

When the Honeymoon is Over

When I firJuly 17, 1982 001st started writing…

I was living the dream. I spent an hour every morning adding words to my Work in Progress before our homeschooling day started. There were no deadlines; no one demanded anything of me. I dwelled happily in my writer’s cave, isolated from the world, reveling in the company of my characters.

Yes, it was a honeymoon, and everything was perfect.

But as we all know, the honeymoon has to end sometime, right? For me it came to a screeching halt when I signed that first contract.


Just like a honeymoon gives way to the reality of married life, my writing honeymoon quickly turned into the reality of being a published author. But that was all right. I didn’t want to live in a perpetual newbie-honeymoon state in my writing career. I wanted substance. I wanted long-term. I wanted a lifelong commitment.

Thanks to my hard-working agent (hi, Sarah!), I’m on the threshold of that long-term writing life. And that means multiple projects. I’m marketing one book, editing another, writing a third, and proposing a fourth. This is the challenge I thought I wanted back in the writer’s cave days.

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So how does a writer handle a challenge like that?

Here’s some advice I’ve received from writing friends:

  • Keep writing. Write 1000 words a day. Do the math: 1K per day (without Sundays) becomes 320,000 words per year. Piece of cake!
  • Keep on target. There is no magic potion. Get in a groove. Make that 1K per day a habit. Every day, same time, same place.
  • Keep learning. My 1K per day takes about an hour of “bottom in the chair, hands on the keyboard.” I spend part of the rest of my time reading writing craft books or taking on-line classes. Even after publishing four books, with two more in the pipeline, I still have a lot to learn!
  • Keep planning. I also spend part of my writing day planning the next project. After I turn in the last book for my current trilogy from Revell, I’d really like for them to publish another one. So I’m starting to lay the ground work for that series. I’m also in the middle of planning a new series for Love Inspired Historical. These new projects keep my creative juices flowing!
  • Keep dreaming. Kariss Lynch wrote a great post about the difference dreaming makes in our creative life. You can read that post here: The Importance of Dreaming
  • Keep living. The honeymoon really IS over if your writing becomes an all-consuming passion. Spend time with your family and friends. Give yourself time off.

Every once in a while, I ask myself if my current life is meeting 046my expectations.

Is the challenge I thought I wanted during my writing honeymoon satisfying enough? Is it worth the work? Does it have substance enough for a long-term, lifetime commitment?

Yes. Oh, yes.

What about your writing life? Are you still in the honeymoon stage, or on your way, navigating through deadlines and contracts? Is it worth it?

WordServe News: January 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary in the first month of 2016!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books released this month along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

037628Julie Cantrell released The Feathered Bone with Thomas Nelson.

While chaperoning her daughter’s trip to New Orleans, Amanda Salassi’s worst fears come true: her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears without a trace. As Amanda’s daughter sinks in depression and her husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief, Amanda knows she has to save herself before it’s too late. As she continues to search for Sarah, she embarks on a personal journey, seeking hope and purpose in the wake of so much tragedy and loss.

Hannah's Choice-Book Cover

Jan Drexler
released Hannah’s Choice with Revell.

The first book in a brand-new Amish historical series, Hannah’s Choice follows the story of a young woman in Lancaster County as she struggles between the choice of two men–and the choice of whether to remain near her family or follow God’s call West.


Michael Fechner Jr. released Lessons on the Way to Heaven: What My Father Taught Mewith Zondervan.

This poweful book tells the story of Mike’s father, who co-founded an urban renewal ministry and sold all he owned to fund it and serve the poor full time. When Mike was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live, he discovered what it meant to truly lose his life for the sake of finding it.


Ken Gire released The Centurion with River North Fiction.

This gripping work of historical fiction follows Lucius, a Roman centurion who witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus and is changed forever. When he is called away to lead military campaigns and returns to find that Rome has lost its allure, he must decide who he is, what is real, and what is worth dying for.

31EYnNNE9PL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Jan David Hettinga 
released Still Restless with Kregel Publications.

A pastor at Cascade Community Church in Monroe, Washington, Hettinga relates good news in his newest book: God has always had time for honest seekers, even when they have hard questions or objections. Walking readers through the gospels, Hettinga uses the life of Jesus to demonstrate the necessity of frank conversations with God–and their potential for spiritual transformation.

51OfAMN99UL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Melissa K. Norris released The Made from Scratch Life with Harvest House.

Operating under the belief that when you surround yourself with things made from the hand of God, you can’t help but see Him, Norris inspires readers with practical and easy methods to help you cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprints in your everyday busy life.


Tina and Dave Samples released Messed Up Men of the Bible with Kregel Publications.

Reminding us that even the most flawed among us can be used by God to accomplish His purposes, Tina and Dave’s book traces the stories of some of the Bible’s most messed up men to show how God’s power is perfected in our weakness.


FH_PublishersFaithHappenings Publishers released a new series of devotional books called “Day Starters.” The initial release includes five titles: Day Starters for Men by Steve Farrar; Day Starters for Women by Cheri Fuller; Day Starters for Couples by David and Claudia Arp; Day Starters for Students by Greg Johnson; and Day Starters for Moms, edited by Shelley Hendrix. Each book includes daily devotionals and Scripture to encourage readers to renew their focus on their walk with the Lord in the midst of daily life.

cover Day-Starter-for-Women-FINAL-Cover-Only Day-Starter-for-Couples-Cover-Only Day-Starter-for-Students-FINAL-Cover-Only Day-Starters-for-Moms-Cover-Only


New Contracts

Jim Burns and Doug Fields signed with InterVarsity Press for their new book, Teenology, planned for early 2017.

Angela Ruth Strong signed with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Books for her next book, Twice Removed, due out in early 2017.


What We’re Celebrating!

Julie Cantrell’s The Feathered Bone was named a 2016 Winter Okra pick, an honor given by SIBA for “Great Southern Books, Fresh Off the Vine.”

Conflict: The Heart of Your Story

One consistent problem most writers – new or seasoned – have when they’re developing their stories (present company included!) is to bring enough conflict into the story.

It’s normal to want to protect our characters from conflict. We like these people. We want them to have happy lives.

But do you know what you get when you give your characters happy lives that are free from any conflict? That’s right.

Boring fiction.

You need to bring conflict into their lives!

But how?

The first thing to remember is that conflict can be defined as goals that are blocked or defeated. So before you can have conflict, your character needs to have goals.

I hope you’ve all heard of Debra Dixon’s book, Goals, Motivation and Conflict. That’s a great place to start learning to develop your character’s GMC.

Conflict in the back story

As I develop my characters’ GMCs, I begin to discover their back story. What happened in their past that is affecting them now?

For example, in the proposal I’m working on now, Samuel and Mary’s story, Mary and her sister move from Holmes County, Ohio to Shipshewana, Indiana to live with their elderly great aunt. But why would they move away from home? What is at home that they want to get away from?

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It has to be a conflict strong enough to force them to take this life-changing step. For Mary, it’s a tragic event that happened to her two years earlier.

A Conflict within the story for each character

So the next step is to find Mary’s story conflict. I had to ask myself: What is the worst, the absolute worst thing that could happen to my character?


In my proposal, Mary’s past tragic event is that she had been attacked by a man two years earlier, and since then the attacker has been threatening her and intimidating her–blackmailing her into keeping his secret.

So what is the absolute worst thing that could happen to Mary? That’s right. Her attacker finds her in Indiana and starts the intimidation and threats all over again.

The story conflict is more powerful if it has ties to a past conflict in your character’s life.

Of course, both characters need to have a conflict, so you need to do this exercise for both your hero and your heroine.

Let the Conflict in your story increase toward the crescendo of the Final Battle

In my proposal, the hero, Samuel, is an alcoholic. He’s fighting his addiction throughout the entire story. That’s his first level of conflict.

His battle becomes much worse when he feels inadequate, threatened or guilty. When he sees Mary with her attacker, he assumes that they have a romantic relationship. That’s the next level of conflict for him.

But when he finds out he’s wrong and Mary is in danger from this man, he faces the “dark night of the soul,” the Black Moment, and is on the verge of taking that drink he’s been fighting throughout the story…and the conflict tension ramps up.

Your characters’ individual Conflicts work against each other, driving your hero and heroine apart

Ramping up the tension raises the stakes; the characters’ relationship is in danger.

Samuel’s alcoholism and feelings of inadequacy make him pull away from Mary just when she needs him most.

Mary’s fear of revealing her secret–and of being close to any man–makes her pull away from him just when he needs her most.

Levi Zook's farm, Eden Township, Lagrange County

I want my readers to question how these two can ever overcome their conflicts and have a happily-ever-after ending!

So the most important part of the story comes when the characters need to fight against this force that is driving them away from each other. The satisfying ending to the story comes when they triumphantly stand firm, fighting this final battle together.

Share with us!

Are you guilty of letting your characters get off easy? What can you do to help ramp up the conflict in your story?

Jan’s newest book is “Hannah’s Choice,” the first in the series Journey to Pleasant Prairie from Revell Books.285198_HannahsChoiceDrexler_FBHeader


Just Beyond the Manger….

Christmas Eve!001 (2)

Busyness and noise…presents yet to be wrapped…Christmas dinner – has the turkey thawed yet?…the table covered with cookies, frosting smears, and stray sprinkles…and someone – we won’t name names – is singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” at the top of her voice.

On top of everything else, if we don’t get a move on, we’ll be late for Christmas Eve service!

Is that cat climbing the Christmas tree again?






As silent as snowflakes dusting the ground, Christmas comes in pristine whiteness. The babe in the manger, the choirs of angel voices, the shadow of the cross.


With painful glory, the promise is repeated. Do you hear it?

Hope is born.


Life takes on new meaning.

God enters our lives.


A turn of the head and the glimmer of light is captured at the edge of our vision.

God enters our lives in peace, hope, promise, life.


Joyful anticipation.

God enters our lives to bring us to Himself.


And a baby is born.


WordServe News: September 2015

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books released this month along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases



Sandra D. Bricker released Be My Valentino with Abingdon Press Fiction.

Book 2 of the Jessie Stanton series, Be My Valentino follows Jessie after the truth about her husband’s double life has been exposed. Struggling to grow her business and manage her feelings for a new love interest, Jessie finds herself in the middle of an intriguing mystery and a relationship that could end in disaster.



Jim Burns & Jeremy Lee released their new book, Pass It On: Building A Legacy of Faith for Your Children through Practical and Memorable Experienceswith David C. Cook.

Parents often experience a “freak out” moment when they realize their children’s view of God will primarily come from what they learn at home. But while the idea of strategically passing down our faith can seem intimidating, the annual “Rites of Passage Experiences” contained in Pass It On make it easy for your family to celebrate milestones from kindergarten through high school graduation.



Debora Coty  released her companion journal for her popular book Too Loved to Be Lost: Too Loved…a Journal for Women.

Created for women needing the loving assurance of a heavenly Father who forgives and accepts–“quirks, meltdowns, zits, and all”– the journal includes the complete text of Too Loved to Be Lost and offers simple, practical steps to help you revitalize your spirit and your faith.




Sara Davison released The End Begins (Book 1 of The Seven Trilogy) with Ashberry Lane.

After a series of terrorist attacks in 2053, martial law has been declared in Canada and the military has taken over. When a radical Christian group claims responsibility, Christians find their freedoms severely restricted. As a romance blooms between a young Christian woman and an army captain, their uncertain future is threatened by forces far beyond their control.




Jan Drexler released her third Love Inspired Historical, A Home for His Family

Set in the Dakota Territory, the book follows Sarah, a pretty schoolteacher, as she helps a newcomer struggling to raise his orphaned nieces and nephew. Sarah’s. Her childhood as an orphan taught her that opening her heart to love only ends in hurt. Yet helping this ready-made family set up their ranch only makes her long to be a part of it—whatever the risk.


9781634091152_p0_v3_s192x300Cheri Fuller released Dangerous Prayer with Barbour Publishing.

Dangerous prayers happen when you turn your all over to God and offer yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). They don’t take you to a comfortable, easy place; they test you, stretch you, and take you where you wouldn’t have chosen. They change not only your life but the lives of other people. In her new book, Cheri illustrates—from Bible times to today—what happens when God’s people pray dangerous prayers.


9780825442285_p0_v1_s192x300Kelli Gotthardt released her first book, Unlikely Rebel, with Kregel Publications.

Between the desire to please God, the need to feel valued, and the compulsion to make everyone around them happy, women often find themselves denying their desires. It’s safer to stay in the life of “shoulds,” even if it means being spiritually and emotionally disconnected. But that’s not the abundant life God intends for us! Unlikely Rebel is the story of how Kelly, a pastor’s wife and “good girl,” slowly shed shoulds and shame, learning to love God and love who He created her to be.


9780800722357_p0_v2_s192x300Rick Johnson released his latest parenting book with Revell Publishers, 10 Things Great Dads Do.

Every father can be a great dad, and this clear and to-the-point book gives them the tools they need to do it well. Rick Johnson offers helpful strategies to enable dads to help their kids find the humor in life; surround their family with healthy friends and role models; communicate clearly with their children; help their kids develop self-esteem and respect for others; and much more.



9780764211362_p0_v2_s192x300Peter & Heather Larson along with David & Claudia Arp have released their parenting
book She’s Almost a Teenager with Bethany House.

A guide to meaningful parent-daughter conversations, this book equips parents to connect with their daughters as they move into the teenage years. Offering practical ways to encourage daughters in their faith and talk about the challenges they face in school and with friends, She’s Almost a Teenager is an invaluable tool for moms and dads everywhere.



9781941720172_p0_v1_s192x300Angela Ruth Strong released her fourth title in the Fun4Hire series, The Pillow Fight Professional with Ashberry Lane.

A middle-grade novel pack with humor, The Pillow Fight Professional follows Joey Michaels as he trains his sister’s friends to hold their own against older siblings. Encouraging values of faith, forgiveness, and friendship, this latest installment from Angela Ruth is one you can’t miss.



9781400206742_p0_v1_s192x300Bob Welch released 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol with Thomas Nelson

Award-winning author Bob Welch takes readers deeper into the nuances of this classic by Charles Dickens. From the miserliness of Scrooge to the innocence of Tiny Tim, 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol will inspire readers to live for what really matters, not only at Christmas, but all year long.



New Contracts

Debora Coty signed a contract with Barbour Publishing for the Too Blessed to be Stressed Daily Devotional, due out in 2017.

Jordyn Redwood received a contract offer through Love Inspired’s Blurb to Book contest for her novella The Hangman’s Noose.

Dr. David Stoop and Dr. Jan Stoop have signed a contract with Revell Publishers for their book, Smart Love, due out in Spring, 2017.

Tracie Miles signed a contract with David C. Cook for her next book, I Give Up (2017), and a forthcoming title (2018).

Sarah Varland signed a 3-book deal with Love Inspired for her Treasure Point series, for publication in 2016 and 2017.



What We’re Celebrating!

Sara Davison’s The End Begins received a Top Pick 4 1/2 star review from Romantic Times.

Leslie Haskin’s Between Heaven and Ground Zero made the New York Times bestseller list, at #4 in e-book nonfiction.

Angela Ruth Strong’s The Snowball Fight Professional received recognition for excellent craftsmanship at the OCW Cascade Awards in the Young Adult/Middle Grade category. Congratulations!