Archive for the ‘Confessions of a Writer’ Category


Recently I had the privilege of interviewing John Mark Miller, a musician and writer who leads worship at First Baptist Church of Sunset, Texas. John Mark inspires and encourages other Christian artists with his blog and has recently been showcasing various artists. I was blessed to be on his list.

What I admire most about John Mark is his genuine love for the Lord, music and fellow artists. He exudes grace and kindness. I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I have.

Hi, John Mark. Thanks so much for spending some time with us today. I’ve appreciated reading your blog and interacting with you through comments and emails. I guess we’ll jump right into the questions I have for you.

First, let me ask when did you first know you were born to be a singer and a writer?

I was born singing, and I caught on to writing as soon as I could! When I was just a toddler, my mom remembers finding me rolling around the back yard on my riding toy, singing a hymn that she and my dad had sung in church that morning. She was impressed that I remembered the melody perfectly, and started to encourage my musical gifts. I sang my first church solo when I was five years old and started taking piano lessons when I was seven years old. I honestly cannot remember a time when music wasn’t an important part of my life, and here I am all these years later, still making music and teaching others how to join in!

Interestingly enough, it was my dad who honed in on my gift for writing. He read some of the stories I wrote for spelling class and told me that he thought I had real talent. He was a pastor, and before I knew it I was writing articles for the church newsletter and helping him prepare Sunday School curriculum and church publications. One weekend as we drove to a funeral, he realized he needed a poem to recite for the Graveside Service and told me to write one on the spot! I did… and thanks to his belief in me as a writer, I’m still at it!

It’s great that your parents were so encouraging and helpful in fostering your God-given talents. Perhaps that’s one reason you are so great at encouraging other artists.

So, along those same lines, what is your favorite worship song?

My all-time favorite worship song is “Before the Throne of God Above,” but I also find great inspiration in “Give Me Jesus” by Fernando Ortega and “All of Me” by Selah.

I love that song by Fernando Ortega as well. A few of his CD’s spend time in my player!

And how about favorite books?

Where books are concerned, I’m going to have to break this down into categories! I would say that my favorite devotional book is “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, my favorite fictional book is “The Robe” by Lloyd C. Douglas, and my favorite biography/memoir is “Rocket Boys” by Homer Hickham.

That’s quite a nice collection. I read and re-read “My Utmost for His Highest” over a three year period, and it literally changed my life. What do you feel most inspires your creativity?

I feel most inspired when I spend time outside, either walking for exercise or just sitting and drinking in all of God’s beauty. Taking time to notice the splendor of Creation helps me to quiet the distractions, focus my prayers, and allows me to listen for His still, small voice. It has been during these quiet moments of reflection that many of my greatest ideas have come to me.

It’s amazing how even a little bit of time outside can bring out the creator in us!

Now this may seem like a strange question, but I think you can tell a lot about a person by their favorite “working” drink. I tend to stick with water or tea. How about you?

I absolutely love a steaming mug of hot tea (either Earl Grey or Vanilla Rooibos) while I’m working on a project. The warmth is comforting, and the aroma stimulates the senses. I’d have to agree with C.S. Lewis, who said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me!”

That’s a great quote! I might have to add it to my bulletin board. When is it that we would find you nursing that steaming mug of tea? Are you most productive in the morning or at night?

Though I’m married to a night owl, I will forever be a hopeless morning person! Much to my wife’s dismay, I wake up bright and early and ready to work. My best work takes place early in the morning, and I’ve noticed that my writing is much stronger and more focused after I’ve spent some quiet time with the Lord.

I so agree with you. Spending time with the Lord makes the difference between a good and rough day, writing or otherwise. Do you have a “life verse?” How does it influence your creative endeavors?

Since high school, my life verse has been John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” I used to get very nervous playing the piano in church, to the point that my fingers and pedal feet would shake uncontrollably and cause the entire piano to have tremors! I remember sitting in church waiting for my turn to play, and reading this verse on a small index card. It was comforting to remember that without God I could do nothing, but with Him behind me I was guaranteed to bear good fruit. I have clung to this through the years, and it’s just as helpful to me now as it ever was!

That’s a verse my husband has been meditating on lately. It’s so true that whatever we produce comes from Jesus working in us. It’s a great reminder. What would you say is the most important message you want your listeners or readers to take away from your work?

The sole purpose of launching my blog, The Artistic Christian, was to help people realize that the beauty of God is all around us. There is such rich beauty in the midst of the most everyday moments, and all of it declares the truth of Who God is. Psalm 19:1 says “the heavens declare the glory of God,” and each aspect of nature tells us something about God’s character. Immovable mountains declare His strength, soft rose pedals declare his tenderness and beauty, and so on. Not only this, but anytime an artist creates he or she is imitating God, since we are all made in His image (Gen. 1:26). Because of this, artistic works also point us to God, since they reveal the divine spark which lies in each of our hearts.

I hope that by reading my work, my readers will have their eyes opened to the beauty and splendor that lies everywhere they look, and realize that all of it was designed to draw our hearts toward worshiping God. And once they begin to see this, I want to remind them that if they will seek God with all their heart, they will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

I certainly get that from your blog. Where can people find your work? Can they purchase it yet?

I am still working on getting a book published, but my reflections on art, culture, and life can be found at my primary blog, The Artistic Christian, at http://theartisticchristian.wordpress.com.

Also, my sermons and thoughts on Bible Study and church life can be found at my self-titled devotional blog, at http://johnmarkmiller.wordpress.com

Finally, readers can keep up with my thoughts and latest releases by following me on Twitter: @JohnMark_Miller

Thank you so much for investing this time with us today!

Thank you for interviewing me. It’s been an honor.

Go visit John Mark Miller on Twitter and his blogs. I guarantee you’ll be blessed and glad you did!

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laurabennet:

John Mark Miller, Christian artist, musician and author has done a remarkable job showcasing various Christian artists. Thank you, John Mark, for this amazing blog post!

Originally posted on The Artistic Christian:

Laura Bennett Pic

“Words well used reach deep inside and stir our hearts…testimony overcomes the enemy.”

Laura Bennet

Christian writer Laura Bennet knows a thing or two about miracles. Though she has lived in California for most of her life, her husband and three youngest children claimed Australia as their home until just recently. “Brendan and I met online, Skype dated and married five and a half years ago when he moved with his children here. I have four grown kids, so together we have seven children and eight grandchildren!” The remarkable story of the way God drew this family together from across the world inspired Laura’s first book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater.

Though Laura has spent most of her career working as either a teacher or a homeschool mom, she loves reading and has always wanted to write. “Books take us to another world where we…

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In the distance, fireworks staccato an overture to 2015.DSC_0033

As this year comes to a close, I’m reflecting on all the difficulties, the challenges and the blessings of the previous year. Through it all, the good, the bad and the ugly, God has been faithful to heal, discipline, restore and redeem. Nothing is wasted with God. No trial too small or too big. No delight left unanswered. No heartbreak left unattended.

So, with all the pain and joy, it has been a good year.

A very good year.

And I want to thank you, my readers and comrades in this life journey for walking with me, offering encouraging words and prayers, supporting me and allowing me to speak into your lives with words that I pray have come from the Lord.

Will you celebrate with me over these milestones?

  • I published my first book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater. Yippee! And people like it. I am humbled and grateful beyond words.
  • I welcomed grandchild #7 and #8, a seven month old granddaughter who lives with mom and dad in Poland, and a grandson born one week ago yesterday. I have yet to meet Liwia, except on Skype for now, but we will become friends that way until I get to hug her in person. In two weeks, I will have the pleasure of holding my youngest grandson, Zion.
  • I finished writing my first novel, A Voice from the Past.  Double yippee! Looking for an agent, but may end up with another self-publish. We’ll see…
  • We got out of the moldy house!!!!!!!!! Feeling so much better, but still on the mend.
  • We moved across the country from California to Florida, and we all love it here. God has answered so many prayers with this move. (Though I sorely miss my family and friends – especially grandkids #4 & 6 – they grow so fast!)
  • My husband has 2 great jobs now which we pray will soon stabilize us financially. Thank you, Lord for provision.
  • I’m homeschooling our youngest two children in jr and sr high. I love having them around, and they are growing remarkably in every way.
  • I’m working on a new e-book which should be out in about a month or less….(you’re curious now, aren’t you?)
  • I’ve started work on three other projects: a non-fiction sequel called Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Becomes Reality that follows the lessons learned in our first six years of marriage ; a biblical historical novel Rachel’s Son, and a suspense novel Silk Stalkings. Only God knows in what order they will be completed.

Thank you all for your wonderful support in every way. May God bless your coming year with fruitfulness and joy.

What are some of your highlights of the year?

 

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Radio – the underestimated social media. Josh Brinckerhoff - Culprit Media Group

As you recall, I wrote about a great webinar I enjoyed last week put on by Steve Harrison. He interviewed author, Alex Carroll, who has created an entire lifestyle based on radio interviews, many of which he does from home in bed!

According to Carroll, here are a few advantages of radio interviews:

  • You have lots of time to talk.
  • Most listeners are commuters in traffic so you have a captive audience.
  • Since they are commuting, it means they have jobs, which means money, which means ability to buy…
  • You often get live audience feedback.
  • Radio hosts are eager to give out your contact information.
  • You can do them from home much of the time.

Carroll shared so much valuable information.

He gave a list of six things to do before you tackle radio interviews which included a detailed outline of his press kit and what to put in it.

He also described how to call to book an interview and what to say. Not only that, but he explained how to handle an actual interview in four steps.

In addition, he gave numerous miscellaneous tips.

Thanks to Steve and Alex, many people will find a new avenue of publicity/marketing that will be helpful to their businesses.

What has been your most productive form of marketing?
 
I do not receive any compensation for this post. I simply found it to be helpful information.

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The clue is: listen.

Image courtesy of sippakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sippakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I listened to a great webinar this week hosted by Steve Harrison about selling books on the…not internet, not Facebook, not Twitter, not in a store, not even on television (I feel like Dr. Seuss and Sam I Am in Green Eggs and Ham)…but, are you ready for this?

Radio.

Yep. You read that right. The forgotten media of radio. Some of you (though I doubt it) may remember an era before internet and even before television when people used to listen to radio as their sole source of information and entertainment. “My, my…” (as my grandmother often said) isn’t that unbelievable?

Yet radio is still alive and well. My guess is you may still listen to radio in your car on the way to work and the way home. Unless you are playing your song list through your phone or on Spotify. So why, with a captive audience of hundreds of thousands of people do we not think to market our books on radio?

Perhaps you are. Maybe you do.

I confess I didn’t give it much thought until an author friend, Sherry Kyle, mentioned she was doing a radio interview for her latest book, Watercolor Dreams, released just last month.

Say what??

Then came the webinar with Alex Carroll who has made a lifestyle from talking about his book on the radio. (I don’t advocate his book, but I was impressed with his plan, his persistence and all the free information he shared with his listeners. It made a lot of sense.

I wish I could share it all here.

Next week, I’ll give some of the highlights. But if you are interested to find out more or to purchase Alex’s complete package, you can check out http://www.radiopublicity.com/ (I don’t make anything from this. I just thought it was some great information.)

What’s your experience with radio publicity?

 

 

 

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I recently marked my third year anniversary of blogging.

Originally I began blogging to build a platform as recommended by agents and publishers in order to help facilitate an audience for the book I had been writing. And yes, I published the book, finished another and have more in progress. But the best part of blogging has been the people I’ve “met.”

Relationships make life worth living.

From the deeply intimate ones I enjoy with Jesus, my husband and children to the casual liked-your-post types, they all add so much to my life. Every week I’m challenged, encouraged, or uplifted by laughter not only because of my dear family and friends, but also through you, my readers and fellow writers.

I thought I’d take a jaunt down my blogging memory lane and provide some of my newer friends with the links of my fondest posts and those readers found helpful.

Mostly, I pray that whatever I write will point people to Jesus.

 Here’s the Top Ten:

 Did You REALLY Meet Online? About Us

A Shout Out

Is Online Dating Gaining Popularity?

The Emptiness of Sexual Encounters

What I’m Learning From My Illness

Miracles Do Happen

What is Intimacy?

Getting Well Series – How Do You Rebuild Your Life?

Online Dating…An Obsession?

IT’S FINALLY HERE!

Hope you enjoy!

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I finished my first novel yesterday.IMG_0368

I confess I cried. Yes, near the end it brought tears both for the characters and me. Finishing a project is like wondering what to do on the day after Christmas. Content, but sad. Joyful, but empty. The idea for this story began thirty plus years ago. Yet it ended far differently than I envisioned. (Those willful characters again.) Now that’s it’s done, I’m amazed at the way it turned out. And glad. But sorry.

I have plenty of other work to do.

But today I found myself wandering. Mentally, emotionally and even in daily life. I actually made dinner early for a change because I didn’t have to drag myself away from writing. I hardly knew what to do with myself. Like an empty-nester whose chicks have all flown off, I’m ready for the next adventure, but not quite over letting the last one go.

Even my blogging is uninspired.

And that’s that. The end.

 

How do you feel when you complete a writing project?

 

 

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