Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Meet & Greet Author Darin Michael Shaw

MnGDarin Michael Shaw is one of seven published authors who’ll be featured at the MEET & GREET LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS event scheduled for Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin St., Nashua, New Hampshire. Guests will enjoy FREE admission, refreshments, book-signings, special discounts, and a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Click HERE to register!  

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” ~ Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

CLARICE: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?Darin Michael Shaw

DARIN: I’ve been writing my entire life. I’ve known I wanted it to be both a career and ministry for the last twenty or so years.

CLARICE: Who supported you in this dream?

DARIN: My wife, family and church families have all been huge supporters of my writing endeavors.

CLARICE: What did you do before you became a writer?

DARIN: I spent 21 years in Pastoral Ministry. It’s only since January of this year (2014) that I’ve been writing full-time.

CLARICE: How did you get involved in writing for publication?

DARIN: Writing, blogging and preaching for years, I suppose it just felt like time to package some of that up in book form—so in 2013, I added author to my bio.

CLARICE: What genre do you prefer to write?

DARIN: Big Buts is non-fiction/Christian living, but I also dabble in other genres. I have a historical fiction title and a ‘how to’ out there. I’ve got a follow-up to Big Buts coming this fall, and I’m working on a religious thriller for 2015 release.

CLARICE: Which authors have influenced your writing and how?

DARIN: Those who’ve influenced me aren’t typical for a Christian writer. My literary coach Ariel Gore has had a significant influence on my craft. She’s helped me find my voice and style. I also very much enjoy the work of Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin. They’re great biographers, but even better storytellers.

CLARICE: What do you want readers to experience while reading your books?

Shaw ButsDARIN: Great story. Whether fiction or non-fiction, to be able to get what I’m trying to convey, and enjoy it as it unfolds—that’s my hope.

CLARICE: What do you want your readers to know about you?

DARIN: I want them to know that I am very, very thankful that they’ve picked up a copy of my book and read it. What a privilege that is for me!

CLARICE: Tell us a little bit about your book Big Buts of the Bible: A Revealing Look at Jesus Christ.

DARIN: But: The little three-letter conjunction that will forever change the way you read the bible.  In 21 years of pastoral ministry I met so many people who wanted to read their bibles more often and get more out of it when they did. I believe this book—this concept, looking for appearances of the conjunction ‘but’—will help.

CLARICE: What is your writing style and/or voice?

DARIN: I consider my writing voice and style a little irreverent—not in a moral or religious way, but in a literary way. I write like I speak, and sometimes that throws grammatical curves. But I am a grammarian at heart—so my voice is grammar irreverent, with a conscience.

CLARICE: Which comes easier to you? Coming up with the story idea or actually writing it?

DARIN: I am surrounded by story at all times. Daydreaming it up comes easy. Writing it is more challenging.

CLARICE: How has your faith played a role in helping you write/share your story?

DARIN: My faith is a part of everything I write.

CLARICE: What writing projects are you currently working on?

DARIN: A follow-up, Big Buts of the Bible: Insights from Hindsight, which will trace the 160 appearances of the word ‘but’ through the book of Genesis. I’m also working on a Native American religious thriller called Ghost Dance.

CLARICE: Where can our readers (or listeners) meet you and get a copy of your book?

DARIN:  I’ll be at the Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors Event with seven other authors from 3:00 to 5:30 pm Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin Street, Nashua, NH.

 

 

 

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Meet & Greet Author Nancy Ferrin

MnGNancy Ferrin is one of seven published authors who’ll be featured at the MEET & GREET LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS event scheduled for Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin St., Nashua, New Hampshire. Guests will enjoy FREE admission, refreshments, book-signings, special discounts, and a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Click HERE to register!  
Nancy Ferrin

CLARICE: What do you want readers to experience while reading your books, Nancy?

NANCY: My books, Where is My Baby and When a Prodigal Breaks Your Heart: The Search for Understanding and Hope (Westbow Press, 2012) address difficult life situations, so my desire is that readers find hope and encouragement as they relate to what is shared. Each book recounts my personal experience, ties it to scripture, and includes application questions to further engage the reader. Ideally the reader will be surprised by what we have in common and then optimistic that the Lord will provide the strength needed for their journey.

CLARICE: What do you want your readers to know about you?

NANCY: I am an ordinary woman, serving an extraordinary God. There is nothing commendable about me except that the Lord saw fit to enable me to share from the heart about my broken places. I am available via email for those who desire some personal support. Future plans also include the formation of support groups for parents of prodigals.

CLARICE: Tell us a little bit about your book When a Prodigal Breaks Your Heart: The Search for Understanding and Hope (Westbow Press, 2012).

NANCY: It’s a book for those who are experiencing the heartbreak of a wayward child or young adult. Each chapter addresses a common emotion felt by the parent in this situation, along with biblical truth to anchor the heart.

CLARICE: What inspired you to write this particular book?

NANCY: When one of my sons chose the prodigal path, I was worried about his choices and had no thought of writing a book. Over time, the Lord showed me the outline and I was ready to write. However, He closed the door on my ideas and I sensed in my spirit that I should wait. A few years later, my daughter choose a similar path and I realized I had more to learn before writing. One summer, the floodgates opened and I wrote the first nine chapters in less than two months. Another “hold” was placed by God so I waited nearly a year before writing the last chapter. In the years following, another one of my five children chose a different, but equally divergent path. So this life journey continues to challenge me to trust God’s plan despite what I see – to walk by faith and not by sight. I know He will be faithful.

Ferrin ProdigalCLARICE: If you could impart one thing to your readers, what would it be?

NANCY: You are not alone. God has not forgotten you or your prodigal. He can be trusted to complete what He has begun in each one of us. Keep looking to Him!

CLARICE: How have your readers responded to your personal stories?

NANCY: Readers have been extremely supportive and kind. Many have told me they could relate to what I shared and have found hope in their own struggle. My two children whose stories are shared in the book are glad to know their troubled past is being used to shed light and spread hope to others.

One reader wrote: “I appreciate your insights and your honesty. You have walked a long and often lonely road and found victory in Christ. I’m grateful for the praying and encouraging friends God put in your life. He does indeed take care of His own.”

Another shared: “I read your book and felt such encouragement as I read it… Thanks for writing this book. Your sweet sweet spirit and strong faith shine like a beacon of hope. May God bless many lives with this book.”

CLARICE: How has your faith played a role in helping you write/share your story?

NANCY: God directed the process for each book. They were written according to His timetable and sometimes the words just poured into my mind as my fingers tried to keep up. Much prayer has surrounded the project, asking that He would use my words to encourage others. Funds were also miraculously provided for the expenses involved with getting the prodigal book into print.

CLARICE: What did you do before you became a writer? Or what do you do besides write?

NANCY: Besides writing, I enjoy leading ladies’ bible studies and speaking at retreats and workshops. Occupationally, I was a computer programmer for many years, and now teach math at a public high school.

CLARICE: Where can our readers (or listeners) meet you and get a copy of your books?

NANCY: At the Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors Event, 3:00 to 5:30 pm. Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin Street, Nashua, NH. They can register online by going to www.EventBrite.com and searching Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors. If they have questions about this event, they can the Event Planners Clarice James at 603-578-1860 or Cindy Saab at 978-821-6547.

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. ~ Luke 15:22-24 (NIV)

MORE ABOUT NANCY: Nancy is the mother of five adult children, two of whom chose a prodigal path. Her ministries include Bible studies, speaking at retreats and workshops, and overseeing discipleship and women’s ministries. Formerly a computer programmer, Nancy teaches math at a public high school.  www.steppingcloser.com


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Meet & Greet Author John Theo Jr

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John Theo Jr is one of seven published authors who’ll be featured at the MEET & GREET LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS event scheduled for Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin St., Nashua, New Hampshire. Guests will enjoy FREE admission, refreshments, book-signings, special discounts, and a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Click HERE to register!  

CLARICE:  What genre do you prefer to write? John Theo Author Photo

JOHN:  Young adult fiction. In this genre you can address both adult and youthful themes. For instance you can deal with crushes, peer pressure, etc. along with macro themes like life and death. In adult fiction you are more limited on scope and range. I also like screenwriting as it is very formula driven and, compared to prose, easy to write in.

CLARICE:  Tell us a little bit about your novel The Grotto Under the Tree.

JOHN:  Sebastian and Sara mistakenly descend into a mystical land where elves, mermaids, gnomes and other mythological creatures live. The two discover they have stumbled into an ancient battle between these fair folk and evil creatures called the Kylo. Their guide on this journey is Capri, an elf  lord who is on a quest to find his lost tribe. The Kylo chase the children and Capri in his flying galleon north into the Arctic Circle where they find the most unlikely ally. During the final battle the children learn about sacrifice, love and ultimately forgiveness.

I also re-address the caricature of Santa and try to bring him back to his Christian roots.

CLARICE:  Which authors have influenced your writing and how?

JOHN:  Tolkien and CS Lewis were very big influences. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the Christian themes embedded in the Narnia and Lord of The Rings novels were the things that really separated them from other fantasy novels and stuck out to me.Theo Grotto

CLARICE:  What do you want readers to experience while reading your books? If you could impart one thing to them, what would it be?

JOHN:  Obviously I’d like them to be transported to this imaginary world I created. I hope they can scratch the surface and understand the Christian theme(s) in my writing as well. In Grotto the theme is that there is only one path to salvation.  If I could encourage anyone to come to the Lord or grow in their Christian walk I would be thrilled.

CLARICE:  What lessons have you learned from this journey? How has it changed your life?

JOHN:  Writing this book has shown me that I can stay focused and finish projects, and that writing is hard work and rarely glamorous. Ironically the process has taken some of the allure from writing enough to realize it’s not “all about the art” like a lot of people believe. Life is more important than art. My faith and my family are more important than my writing.

CLARICE: Which comes easier to you? Coming up with the story idea or actually writing it?

JOHN:  Probably coming up with the story. I am a militant “outline geek.” Taking it from that mess of thoughts and putting into a story is very hard laborious work.

CLARICE:  As a committed Christian, do you plan to seek publication solely in the Christian market? If not, how do you see yourself fitting into the general publishing market?

JOHN:  Grotto is published through a secular publisher, Astraea Press. They label themselves as a “clean” publisher and carry a bunch of Christian authors, so they reach across a lot of markets. For future novels I’m not opposed to Christian or secular publishers. If my writing is published via secular outlets there is a strong argument that it will reach more non-believers.

CLARICE:  What writing projects are you currently working on?

JOHN:  I’m about to hand in a dystopian science fiction manuscript (Mission Trip) to my agent. It’s a retelling of the Pilgrims story. In the future there is a societal collapse. Christians are persecuted in the United States and a group of them flee the country to start anew on a floating city in the middle of the ocean. The themes are sanctification along with “those that do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.”

I’m also halfway through a story that takes place in the White Mountains of NH (False Flag). It revolves around a Christian Park Ranger who stumbles across a governmental conspiracy. The theme/questions I ask in this story go back to the Revolutionary War. How involved should churches be in culture and politics? I address the potential need for the Black Robe Regiment to come back. These were pastors labeled as terrorists by King George because they stirred up the people to rebel.

CLARICE:  How would you encourage others who have a story to tell?

JOHN:  Just do it. Start allocating time and just write. Don’t worry about getting published. Find a mentor if you can. This will shave years off your learning curve.

CLARICE:  Where can our readers meet you and get a copy of your book?

JOHN:  You can order the book online at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Or get a copy and meet me in person at the Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors Event scheduled from 3:00 to 5:30 pm. Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin Street, Nashua, NH.

MORE ABOUT JOHN THEO JR: In addition to John’s middle grade fantasy, The Grotto Under the Tree, published by Astraea Press in 2013, he also has numerous published articles on arts, culture, and sports figures. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. During the day John serves as Vice President of Operations for Blue Sky Holdings and also as an adjunct professor at Endicott College in Beverly, MA, where he teaches screenwriting. John and his wife live in Manchester by the Sea, MA. www.johntheo.com.


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Author Marketing Campaign: It’s Not All About You

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ~ Luke 6:38 (NIV)

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Marketing. Branding. Promoting. Platform. These are all important considerations for those in the business of writing and selling books. However, as Christian authors, the foundation you build on is not all about you, is it? Here are a few tips to help you develop a balanced and spiritual marketing plan.

BE ENGAGING: Engage others in conversation in person and through email and social media. And not just to get them to buy your book, support your cause, or attend your event. Try sending a handwritten note or card to encourage someone. You know, on real paper with a real pen; it’s not done often nowadays, so it means that much more.

GET PERSONAL: People respond positively when they feel that someone cares about them. Keep it simple: 

  • Learn their name and use it.
  • Ask about their family.
  • Show interest in their job.
  • Praise their achievement.
  • Address their concerns. 

Who knows, some of the people you engage may be potential friends, others potential readers, and a few could be angels. Start now. What are you waiting for?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

  • First don’t avoid people in the grocery store or post office or hurry to the parking lot right after church. (Gotcha, didn’t I?)
  • Spend maybe 10-15 minutes a day to see what your Facebook friends are up to and comment when appropriate. Keep it light, be honest, and use your own voice. For instance, “Sounds like fun!”  “Great idea!” “What a cute grandchild!”  Please, if someone posts that their grandmother just died, do NOT click “Like.”
  • Unless you write books about politics, try to stay away from political posts. True, some may agree with you, but your political rants won’t change the mind of those who don’t.

Mona Lisa SelfieLIMIT SELFIES: And I’m not just talking about the pictures you post of yourself on Facebook. (But, really, do I need to see your duck face for the umpteenth time?) By selfie, I mean “it’s all about me” posts—your book, your problem, your success, your kids, your awards, your cat, your dog (no matter how cute or cleaver you believe they are). More people will listen to you once you listen to them.

PAY IT FORWARD: Point out the good that someone else is doing. Recommend a book you’ve enjoyed. Post information about an interesting event totally unrelated to you. Boast about the good work of a certain ministry. Brag how God has blessed you with a particular friend. Do all this and don’t expect one thing in return.

PRAY ABOUT THIS: If you’re sincere in your efforts to reach out to others, I believe God will honor the desire of your heart.

What’s that you say? You’re afraid all this do-gooding will give you a big head? I’ve got a fix for that. Try doing something for someone anonymously. And don’t tell a soul, not one soul, about it.