Showing posts from February, 2017

The Power of Collections in Generating Blog Traffic: by Trevor Thorn

Image from Lent, Holy Week and Easter Collection In most of my recent posts to this blog, I have tried to pass on information about my own five-and-a-half years of blogging experience and to highlight some of the simpler ways I have discovered to attract viewings to the site. Here, I describe briefly the way in which ‘Collections’ can be helpful. I describe how I use them on ‘Blogger’ and assume there is a parallel sytem on ‘Wordpress’ (although Wordpress users will have to explore).
It is fairly simple. I use a ‘Page’ in the Blogger ‘New Post’ side menu to create an index of posts with a common theme. Each item listed has a hyperlink to the post itself. Then every original post refers back to this index with a simple final line ‘If you have enjoyed this, you may also enjoy my other poems with an Easter theme (for example). Click here to see the complete Easter collection.’ To some degree, the same can be achieved through tags – but the advantages are that the Pages menu will record th…

Assembling the pieces, by Lucy Mills

In previous More than Writers posts, I've talked about taming the tentacles and using up leftovers.

Today I'm talking about assembling the pieces.

A caveat, first of all - as I'm so intensely working on my book my writing energies are so diminished for 'other stuff' that this blog post may make no sense at all.

You have been warned.

I feel the need to be lyrical about this, so why not write an off-the-cuff sort-of-poem for you?

I hold it in my hand consider its shape, its colour, its form. Where does it belong? I ponder its texture, see where the lines fall - how big is it? And where does it belong?

There are others like it, still mismatched I cannot force them in, they still wait for me to understand them, resolve them, place them where they belong...

Assembling the pieces the jigsaw initially seeming impossible especially when the picture on the box has the audacity to keep changing. Where do they belong?

A moment of satisfaction - a sigh of delight - as one suddenly clips onto an…

Warning: traces of God

by Fiona Veitch Smith
I’m currently writing a series of murder mysteries set in the 1920s. They are about a young, female journalist called Poppy Denby who solves mysteries against the backdrop of the wild, care-free jazz age. She is the daughter of Methodist ministers but, since her move to London, has discovered that not everyone lives by the same moral code. Her aunt is – possibly – gay, her best friend a flapper with a string of suitors, and her boss a hard-drinking gambler. Poppy herself tries to live a moral life, but her real challenge is to live out her faith in the ‘real’ world. Poppy does not seek to change those around her – although she will challenge them when she feels they are being selfish, unkind or unjust – but rather to live out her faith through seeking truth and justice for the victims she encounters in her job.
In the first book, The Jazz Files, we see Poppy wrestling with God because of the death of her brother in WWI. She struggles to reconcile a God of love with…

A Roundabout Journey, by Fiona Lloyd

Given that Lent is almost upon us, I thought I’d start with a Christmas question: How many wise men visited the infant Jesus?

If you’ve listened to as many Christmas sermons as I have, you’ll know it’s a trick question. Tradition – and countless school nativity plays – tell us there were three, to correspond with the number of gifts brought, but the Bible itself is not specific on this point.
In 1895, Henry Van Dyke’s story The Other Wise Man was published. It tells of how there were originally four magi, who agreed together to go and seek out the new king. The fourth one, Artaban, arranges to meet his travelling companions at a set time and place, and packs his bag with three precious jewels to offer to the baby. However, he misses his rendezvous, because he stops en route to help a dying man. Undeterred, he races off to Bethlehem, only to find that his friends (and the holy family) have moved on a few days previously. What’s more, Herod is in a foul mood…
If you want to know how the s…

Iwerne me

Ben Jeapes beat me to it. I wrote this post a fortnight or so before now, but in the meantime Ben has posted a helpful and intelligent response to his experience as a camper at Iwerne Minster in the 1980s. I’ve decided to leave my thoughts in place, as they largely corroborate in brief what he says in more detail.
Embed from Getty Images

I was a so-called ‘senior camper’ at Iwerne Minster in 1969 and 1970. Without going into the details of the case that has been publicized, I can say straight away that I never encountered anything at Iwerne that might have suggested any kind of abusive behaviour. The set-up was indeed quite hierarchical, as has been pointed out in the media, but 45 or so years ago that would have been normal. Camps had a three-tier structure: the officers, who were clergy, schoolmasters, and undergraduates; the senior campers, who were undergraduates; and the campers, who were schoolboys from the top public schools.
Senior campers all had housekeeping tasks to do which k…

Things you already knew - by Helen Murray

God loves you.

You know that, don't you?  Of course you do; this is the ACW, after all. We are in the business of writing, yes, but more than that, we're Christians. At some point we've heard about and responded to God's love.
We probably know John 3:16 by heart: ' For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'   God loves you. He does. Jesus died to clear the way of sin and rubbish so that we could live in relationship with him, here on earth, and later on for eternity. He loved us so much that when things went badly wrong he organised a rescue plan to remove all obstacles between us. 
He wants us to be together. He enjoys spending time with us. He created us for his pleasure and he didn't want to lose us, even when we turned our back on him and told him we were not interested. 
You get that? Yes? 
So did I. I got it the day I became a Christian at an outdoor meeting on a…

Duet? by Emily Owen

My three year old nephew recently decided he’d like to play the piano, so he climbed up onto the stool and began pressing the keys. Before long, his one year old brother toddled over to see what was happening. Seeing led to wanting to join in, so he, too, began pressing keys. But his older brother didn’t like it. “Tell him to stop it,” he complained to me as he struggled to push his brother’s hands away from the piano keys, “I’mdoing this by myself." “Maybe you could play a duet?” I suggested. His nose wrinkled: “What’s a duet?” “It’s where two people play the piano at the same time.” “Oh.Well what’s it called when only one person plays?” “That’s called a solo.” He thought about it, then started pulling his brother up onto the piano stool beside him. “Come on, we can do a duet.” And the two of them began bashing away at the keys. Together.
My nephew didn’t know that it's ok for two people to play the piano at the same time. But once he did know, he didn’t want to go back to playing solo.

A chip off the rock.........Part 1 by Ruth Johnson

"He shall cry unto Me.  
Thou art my Father, 
my God, 
and the rock of my salvation."
                              Psalm 89:26

‘He’s a chip of the old block’ refers to a person who looks, has the personality or character of their family, particularly their father!As Christians I think we’d probably all like to be seen as a ‘chip off the rock’ of our heavenly Father, the God of our salvation.
We are each hewn from that rock of salvation, which we know is far more than just being saved from sin and eternal life. Ps.24 says, we need ‘clean hands and pure hearts’ we should, 'lift up your heads oh you gates…that the King of glory may come in'.As Christian writers’ I'm sure we all want to use our writing gift  to draw people into a relationship and ongoing knowledge of the goodness and love of our heavenly Father.
In Revelation it is written that each gate was made of a single pearl and the foundations of the Kingdom are precious stones yet the stone we know as most preci…

A quest for simplicity by Sue Russell

Not long ago I came across a thread on social media, emanating from a writer in America, asking her fellow-writers if they preferred complex or simple sentence constructions. It reminded me of a discussion I had many years ago regarding the works of C.S.Lewis. I am an admirer of his and was trying to persuade my friend to read his books, but he complained, 'His sentences are far too long. By the time I get to the end I have to start again.' It's true there are some very long sentences to be found: I came across one recently that contained 78 words. For me, because it was all consummately logical and perfectly punctuated, it presented no problems, despite the proliferation of subordinate clauses. I then remembered a novel I'd been lent while in hospital, which caused increasing irritation such that the story was completely lost. The sentences were almost all very short - some only three or four words. To my eye and inner ear it read in jerky fits and starts.
So perhaps …

Body lines, by Veronica Zundel

'Only try to do it yourself and you will learn how arduous is the writer's task. It dims your eyes, makes your back ache, and knits your chest and belly together. It is a terrible ordeal for the whole body.' So wrote Prior Petrus in the early C10th, in the manuscript of Liebana's 'Commentary on the Apocalypse' (no, I don't know who Liebana was either).

Petrus was of course describing (see what I did there?) the life of a scribe, who sat with quill pen and inkwell, bent over a slanting desk, copying the words of others and perhaps creating wonderful illuminations in the margin (as well as grumpy marginal comments about the physical toll of writing). But his words could equally apply to our day of computer screens at the wrong height and dodgy typing chairs liable to collapse at any moment. We often forget, to our cost, that writing involves the body as well as the mind and spirit. Do you get up from your toils every hour or so to stretch your legs and focus o…

On Reading, by Wendy H. Jones

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body Ecclesiastes 12:12
Our usual blogger can't do the slot today, so I'm stepping in. As well as being a member of Association of Christian Writers, to whom this blog belongs, I am also a member of The Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers. At a recent Fellowship conference we are asked to write for 5 minutes on the verse above. This was my attempt on the day.
"Times are changing." "Nothing is the same." "It wasn't like that in my day."
These words have echoed down the centuries in one shape or another. Whilst they can be applied to any situation, I would venture to say that they are particularly true when talking about literature. Not just books, but the written word in every form. As a child, as I remember, books were treasured. A visit to the library, or a book for a birthday or Christmas, was a wondrous occasion. This was a time of excitement, knowing you would hold that…

The waiting process By Claire Musters

I am in the very fortunate position of having just signed a contract to write the book I’ve had on my heart for quite a few years now. It has been a long journey, though, as it was during 2014 that God first whispered to me: ‘Tell your story. Write it down.’
I began to tentatively write, then approached a publisher I had edited for – and had a great response. I then had … a two-and-a-half year wait! I wrote a little about that last January.
Last autumn I started approaching publishers again. There was a lot of encouragement but so often I heard the words ‘not quite right for our list’. Then, not long before Christmas, I received an offer. I was so excited – but wanted to be sure that I was moving in the right direction. Because God had spoken to me clearly again at a conference in November, saying that I no longer had to strive to get my book noticed – that He was going to champion it now.
Soon after the first offer, an unexpected one came from the original publisher, who I hadn’t e…