Thursday, March 28, 2019

Life Lessons from a Physiology Exam

Yes, that is a molecule. Yes, you're in the right place. But hang with me, y'all, because I'm about to go where no writing blog has ever gone before. I (Laurie) have a huge exam on Saturday, and won't the Lord speak to me while I'm studying?

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

This cutie is a hemoglobin molecule with a quaternary protein structure. It may look like a hot mess, but it’s one of the most important molecules in the body. 

And it’s exactly the shape it needs to be to perform the important functions God created it to do.

I think so many of us buy into the lie that God is waiting to use us until we’re in a better, more stable place—until we get our life together. 

The other day he gave me the image of a hand and a new generation using what’s in their hands, right now, to change the world. Starting with their little corner.

Hands letting go of the distorted misconception that they have nothing to offer the Kingdom. 

We don’t have to wait until the floors are clean, our platform has doubled, our book gets published, we finish school, or get that promotion. Even the messiest of stories reveal the Father in the light that shines through the cracks and the grace that glues the whole thing together. 


 Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author of That’s When I KnewWith No Reservations, and The Long Game, currently featured in the Once Upon a Laugh novella collection. She believes that God’s love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. You can connect with her on her WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

#TipfulTuesday An Easy Reward For Readers

#TipfulTuesday An Easy Reward for Readers

My family always, and I mean always, watch movie credits to the very end. We point out unusual names. Note film locations, (especially cool to know the crew and actors went to the amazing place rather than cheat with a sound stage). Occasionally, we'll see a name honored, wonder why, then look up the information on IMDB. 

BUT the real reward comes when, as we sit alone in the theatre, an Easter egg rolls, (so many moviegoers miss this). That added trivia that gives a glimmer into the next movie in the series or explains a secret. The Easter egg can be more. It is also the treasure hidden in a scene, a cultural reference, something that only a fan would take the time to examine, discuss, then proudly proclaim: Did you see it??!! 

My question is: why do movies get all the fun?

You may say, she's probably crazy enough to read through the acknowledgment pages in a book. I do! You would be surprised what tips can be found there. The best one: how to write an interesting acknowledgment page, (every person you mention will read it and show it to their friends and family...and well, it says something about you, the author).

Back to the point. newest book, Fire and Thorn, release date April 10, has...wait for Easter egg. Readers who look for this treasure will find it. 

Once the idea popped in my head, I was so excited to choose what to reveal, write the Easter egg then find a place to hide it. This is so awesome!!

You gotta try it.

~Mary Vee
Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay 

#amwriting #EasterEgg #treasure #authors #writers #readers #acknowledgement #thewritersalleyblog #thewritersalley #MaryVee

Link to Mary's books:
Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter
 Meet my new fantasy story, Fire and Thorn.  Release date: April 4
The Perfect Easter Gift!

The day the king of Aerlis heroically dies and his lovely queen is viciously carried off to the dark north, dragons invade the land. Crops and homes near the border burn to the ground. Prince Gilbert must give up what he wants most to save his father's kingdom and himself.
The Keeper of the Kingdom advises Gilbert to go into the north country where he will find the answers he seeks, great wealth, and power. But the north is infested with dragons.
Gilbert's wise uncle instructs him to go to the Valley of Sharon and bring back what can only be seen by the bright and morning star. This quest alone will save the kingdom. The journey requires sacrifice and is filled with great danger, the same perils that recently killed his father. 
Time is short. One choice will save his kingdom. The other will silence him and his people--forever.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

#TipfulTuesday How Time Produces The Best Books


We live in an instant society and are conditioned to rush everything we do. We want the wedding day to come, to toss our graduation cap in the air, the baby to be born, for Johnny to read his first word...the list goes on. Wouldn't it be nice to relax? Enjoy devoting time to a quality project?

Our view of time can be our downfall. Rushing a task leads to poor quality. (this does not mean we should swing the pendulum by slacking in our endeavors). 

A great writer:


Takes time to experience life-this grows vivid descriptive scenes and heartfelt emotions.

Humbles themselves by devoting hours to studying the craft-attending conferences, joining writing groups, chatting with other writers.


Allows others to read their work, asking for critique, BEFORE submitting to an agent, editor, or self-publishes.



Recently, a gentleman posted a video explaining how he wrote a book in eight days. He took off work and devoted the time to writing the book. I considered all his planning before the 8 days. The research. The outlines. Character plotting. Processing the ideas. Yes, he could have written a draft, but not a polished manuscript in that time. It seemed that the video didn't truly represent the seedling to full grown-ready to send to an agent/publisher/self-publish process. 

Writing a book worthy of readers takes time.
A desire to clearly communicate
And most of all...devotion

Oddly enough, all these ingredients produce an indescribable joy!

~Mary Vee
The two photos: a sycamore seed and full-grown tree. 
Taken in Israel, by Mary Vee

#amwriting #time #devotion #authors #writers #loveswriting

Link to Mary's books:

Mary Vee -  Mary Vee - Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, earned her MA in Counseling, and married an Air Force vet.  Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her websiteblog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Dear Authors... Stop Attacking Reviewers

Hello, friends. Today's post may seem a little punchy at first glance, so let me start by saying I have no one specific in mind who I'm trying to subversively call out. HA! Truly. But I do want to speak to a trend I've been seeing on social media that seems to be worsening as the months go on: authors mocking bad reviews, or otherwise seeking validation online.

Now, I get it. You poured your heart and soul into this thing, shed tears over what might've been months/years of rejections, worried about the next contract and the sales numbers and Amazon's algorithms and you really, really need people to take this thing seriously - only for Nancy to show up and say your characters are flat. (Apologies if your name is Nancy.) You want to lash out. You need to lash out because this crazy person doesn't know what the heck she is talking about or the fact that your hero Jack's eyes have little flecks of the golden sun that represent his dreams and how could anyone call that flat?

But here's the thing. You wrote the book. You got a chance to bring your beautiful, heart-tugging story into the world - a privilege, by the way, denied to most - and that is your part. None of us have any business engaging with reviewers unless they contact us personally. We certainly have no business discussing it publicly on social media because if we are being honest, the only real motive for that is our own validation. Ouch. I realize that stings. I don't mean to sound harsh. I also realize you need to vent sometimes, and reviews can hurt. But Facebook, Instagram, you name it, is not your front porch with your mama or a coffee shop with your best friend, or even a private message on any of those online platforms. Social media is by nature... well, social. And we need to be intentional about what we are doing in those spaces.

More than anything, though, as Christian authors - as Christian people - we are called to honor one another. I realize that may feel like giving up or letting someone who totally missed the heart of your story have the final word. Trust that your story speaks for itself. 

All of us want readers. Part of that means having readers who just don't get it.

Our decision to honor is not an endorsement of others' character, but an endorsement of our own.

When you read mean, horrible things about the story you love so dearly, by all means, tell some trusted friends who can get you back on your feet again. Tell the Lord you feel broken and doubt your ability to write the next book. And if it comes to it, stop reading reviews entirely. But please, friends, let's stop dragging our bad reviewers through the mud of social media - even if we think they deserve it. They may, in fact, deserve it. But we are called to more. We do not get true validation from strangers' words on a Goodreads account, any more than we find it with a slew of kind comments on Facebook from friends who empathize. Because the thing about it is this - there will always be another bad review. I just went to Redeeming Love's reviews on Amazon for the sake of illustration, and the first one that pops up is ONE STAR. Francine Rivers, y'all. We cannot allow our confidence to ebb and wane with the words of whoever comes along that particular day. 

Each person is going to come to a text differently, according to life experience, values, preferences - you name it. Maybe those things caused them to see your book ALL WRONG. But still, on some level, they engaged with your story - your story. There is a phenomenal privilege in that. Let's honor it well.


Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and teaches literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW, and when she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals or finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her website, - she would LOVE to have you as a newsletter subscriber so you can get her weekly devotionals. You can sign up on her website.