40 video/audio lessons that take you step-by-step from idea to finished novel, taught by an award-winning, best-selling novelist and nationally acclaimed writing teacher. Easy, understandable, foundation elements essential for every genre. Learn Skills, Secrets and most of all... Story.


A great book isn't written. . .it's rewritten. Learn how to analyze and fix your novel’s problems with this unique “self-editing” system. . .then arm yourself with over 40 Advanced Fiction Classes and rewrite your story into publication.


You’ve worked too hard to quit now. Your story is nearly ready, but now it’s time to sell your novel. Learn the steps to creating a powerful proposal, secrets to pitching, the key elements to your marketing plan, a social media primer and how to create rabid reader fans. It’s time to ignite your career.

Richard Mabry

Today, we’re celebrating one of the authors who helped us make the Frasier Contest possible! Richard Mabry’s recent book, Rancher Under Fire, is a contemporary suspense.

Q: Anne, can you tell us a little bit about your next book?

Playing by Heart released in September. It is a historical novel (more of a true romance than my previous three books) set on the home front during World War I.
Lula Bowman has a plan for her life. That plan includes a post-graduate degree in mathematics. But when tragedy strikes her sister’s family, Lula finds herself thrust out of academia and into the role of music teacher and girls basket ball coach—two pursuits she considers frivolous. Determined to do her best, get her sister back on her feet, and return to her plans, Lula doesn’t count on the giving her heart to a man who understands her in ways she never dreamed possible.

Q: How did God change you through the course of writing your novel?

All four of my novels have explored in different ways the general theme of Proverbs 16:9: The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his path. Through the writing of Playing by Heart the Lord reminded me yet again that when there seems to be a huge wrench thrown into my plans my life is never out of His control. It might not be the situation I hoped for or dreamed of, but I’m coming to the place where I can trust God to change my expectations. We tend to hold our expectations tightly, feeling their fulfillment is owed to us in some way, and yet Jesus asks us to give everything to Him, even our most dearly loved aspirations. Lula and Chet reminded me that the Lord is faithful to see me through whatever unexpected change occurs in my life, and that He can also bring unexpected blessing in the course of those changes. I love when writing a book renews and bolsters my own faith in the Lord, for then I have hopes that it might do the same for a reader. .

RLM headshot 2Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award. His latest, Critical Condition, is his seventh published novel, and will be followed this coming spring by Fatal Trauma. You can follow Richard on his blog, on Twitter, and his Facebook fan page.



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one word

Writers and word count: One Word in 2015

We’re writers. We’re all about words.

Writing a novella? You’re concentrating on producing around 25 thousand words.

Writing a novel? You’re focused on approximately 90 thousand words.

Words and more words. Yes, sometimes we have — GASP! — edit and rewrite … maybe delete a scene or a chapter. But it’s all about the words.

Today, I want you to consider focusing on one word.

There are 13 days until January 1, 2015.

A lot of us are thinking about the new year and what we want to accomplish. We’re setting goals, maybe mulling over New Year’s resolutions.

Consider this instead:

  • Tear up the list of resolutions you’re writing out. If you’re like me, you’re going to lose track of it by the end of January, right?
  • Pick one word for 2015. It’s simple to remember one word, right? Focus on that One Word for the entire year. Ask God to use that one word to change you through the year.
  • Anchor your One Word to a Scripture verse. I also look for a “visual” of some sort: a photograph with a quote or a bracelet or necklace with my One Word on it. This year a writer-friend sent me a mug with my 2015 word on it.

This is my 10th year choosing one word. My previous One Words have been:

2006: gratitude – I kept a gratitude journal and found my “glass-half-empty” attitude revolutionized.
2007: simplify – A severe illness turned this word into survival. I embraced simpler things in ways I never imagined.
2008: content – as in “be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5) I bought a lot less that year!
2009 & 2010: forgiveness – I had a lot to learn and unlearn about forgiveness.
2011: hope – A word I clung to when life hurt or when my heart ached for others who were hurting. There were times I could have asked “Why?” Instead, I asked myself, “Are you going to abandon hope?” My answer: No.
2012: trust – During a year of change, I faced doubting versus trusting — and chose to trust. I also began posting trust quotes on my Facebook page to encourage myself and others.
2013: confidence – I feel so much stronger emotionally after keeping my heart and mind set on “not throwing away my confidence.” (Hebrews 10:35-36) And yes, I continued the tradition of posting confidence quotes on my FB page.
2014: think – I tried to anchor my thinking to truth more and more, rather than letting my thoughts go wandering into comparisons and expectations and flat out lies.

This year my One Word is collaborate. Isn’t that a beautiful word? I’m specifically applying this word to my writing. I want to collaborate with God as I write.

Collaborate means to work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something. Synonyms: co-operate, join forces, team up, band together, work together, participate, combine, ally.

As always, I’ve wanted a verse to anchor my word to, and my treasured friend, author Cynthia Ruchti, shared the perfect one with me while we were at a writers retreat in Monterey:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it (complete it) until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6 NASB)

What about you? Have you ever chosen One Word to focus on for the year? Are you considering One Word for 2015?


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Thank you! in typewriter

Social Media Minute—5 Tips for Using Hashtags Correctly

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Hashtags—especially for Twitter—can be incredibly valuable in helping us increase out audience. But only if we learn to use them correctly.

They’re not that hard, but there are some rules you need to follow so you’re not wasting valuable real estate in your tweets.

Hashtag Refresher

First, lets back up and evaluate the reason we’re all working at building an online presence. We are looking to deepen existing relationships and build new ones. But building new ones can be difficult if the only people we interact with are those we already know, either online or in person.

We can get a little bit of exposure to new folks by our existing connections introducing us, but that’s a time consuming way to go about it.

What if there was a way for someone to search a given social media network by topic and find new, interesting people to interact with? That would be a great way to grow our connections.

THAT, in the simplest of terms, is the purpose of using hashtags.

When you compose a social media update that includes one or two hashtags that summarize the topic—you are giving folks who wouldn’t otherwise have a connection with you—a way to find you.

Here’s an example of the correct way to do this. this is the tweet I use to share this post (minus the link):

5 Tips for Using Hashtags Correctly – via #SocialMedia

Mentor @EdieMelson #twitter 

5 Tips for Using Hashtags Correctly

  1. Don’t overload your social media updates with hashtags. The optimum number of hashtags depends on the social media network you’re on.
  • Twitter: two hashtags is best, but one or three will also work.
  • Facebook: no more than one hashtag per update, otherwise you may be unintentionally spamming your followers
  • Instagram: two hashtags is best, but one or three will also work here as well.
  1. Take time to research the best hashtags. Some hashtags are better than others. You won’t know which ones are most current unless you take time research them. The best way to do your research? Do a search on the social media network where you want to use the hashtag. You can also research a hashtag by typing it into the Google search engine and seeing what updates come up.
  1. Making up a new hashtag is fine—if you pair it with a popular hashtag. If I wanted to try to make #TheWriteConversation into a writing hashtag, it wouldn’t do me any good unless I paired it with another popular #writing hashtag. No one is going to know to search for #TheWriteConversation unless I educate them. If I just use #TheWriteConversation, it’s no more than wasted space in my social media update.
  1. Remember a space ends the hashtag. So often I see people forget and add a space in between two words in a hashtag. Once you hit the space bar, the hashtag ends. So #Social Media is really only the hashtag #Social, instead of #SocialMedia. NOTE: this is also true of the @ sign. If I type @Edie Melson, it’s just like I’m typing @Edie, and that person is NOT me.
  1. Leave some room at the end of your tweets so your hashtags aren’t cut off if it’s retweeted. Tweets are only 140 characters long. If I use all 140 characters, then if anyone retweets it, the end will be cut off because there’s no room for the retweeters information that goes at the beginning of the tweet. I try to leave 10 to 15 blank characters, but my absolute minimum is 7. This insures at least one unchanged retweet.

These are my top 5 tips for using hashtags correctly. I’d love for you to share yours. Or, be sure to leave any questions about hashtags you have in the comments section below.



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