Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hadden Shares His Business Perspective on Writing

Richard began working as a contract trainer for companies that had leadership training programs. He had begun speaking to other companies about these ideas. He got to travel a lot because of that opportunity. One day while landing in Orlando airport, and waiting in the airport that day he received a phone call from his old friend Bill. Bill talked to him for a while explaining that he wanted to see him and share his ideas for writing a book. His friend, Bill had been working on the book for a while. They later met up and shared their ideas and begun to develop the book until it was completed.

It was in 1995, that Bill called Richard and asked to meet him in Orlando. While they met, he shared with Richard his ideas for the book Contented Cows Give Better Milk. He wanted to reach the leadership of these businesses. By doing this, they could present it to the leaders and the leaders would then pass the message along to the employee's. While Richard was there in Orlando and talking with Bill, he had asked him to help him write his book as he had been struggling with the ideas of the book. So, Richard agree. Now, back in 1995 the only way they could view each other's work was through email. Google docs was not around at that time.

Luckily for them, they later discovered Google docs. Google docs allowed them to be looking at each other's work at the very same time. They could make their changes and save it to pass it back and forth. For a long time that was how they worked together as a team. Often times, they would call on another and share their ideas with each other to confirm each other's ideas. Once the book was finished it was time for them to decide how they would publish it. This became the hard part of publishing a book. Deciding who would do that. After much consideration, they decided to publish it themselves.

They hired a consultant that was a friend of a friend of Bill's. This really helped them with doing self publishing. They had no idea how to do any of the technical part of publishing. So, their consultant helped to accomplish this. The first book that was self-published came out in December 1997. This book was called Contented Cows Give Better Milk. They had several designs to choose from for this book. Needless to say, it was the cover that caused the book to sell.

Later they began to learn the marketing side of being a self-published book. They talked with several radio stations to help them with their search. As they began, that they printed about five hundered cards and sent them to those radio stations and got eighty five responses back. They were amazed by the amount of responses they got back. Within one of those responses they got an offer to speak with Clark Howard. Clark Howard was not the one that Richard spoke with, but had someone else that took his place that night. It was around Christmas time that this interview was to take place and all of the employees had gone home early. So, he got the replacement speaker. This was in 1997 in Atlant.

Nevertheless, Richard took the spot and took the call from his office. He began speaking with the young lady that did the interview. He answered the questions as best as he could and before he knew the phone lines began to ring. He wondered who was calling him on Christmas Eve. He didn't realize that it was peple responding from the interview.

His wife had set up a website for him that allowed people to purchase the book online. When he was done with the show and had gone home he had twenty one orders waiting. He was in disbelief.

They began to market the book after that speaking engagement. Richard was able to gain speaking engagements including CNN and many others. Richard loves to speak in front of people as that is his primary job. Contented Cows has given him the opportunity to share his business plans with many companies that are struggling in their leadership skills.

Christine M Ramey, FCCW Secretary

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Henderson's Gives Tips on Screen Writing

Ken and Lesa Henderson came tonight to talk to us about screen writing. Lesa began writing at the early age of ten. She knew from that moment she wanted to write somehow and in some way. Lesa had the dream of one day writing a novel. She later met her husband Ken, got married and got involved in ministry with him. Meanwhile, she pursued her writing and was published in national magazines such as Woman's World, Ladies Home Journal, Charisma Magazine and many others. It was not until later in life she felt God calling her to screen writing.

They began working together through the ministry of their church and through the work of writing. They seemed to be every where together and from that learned how to complete each other's sentences when speaking. For several years, they served on the board of MOVIEGUIDE and The Christian Film and Television Commission with Dr Ted Beahr in Hollywood.
They have had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful people through their work.

Ken and Lesa shared with us the tips to writing a well written screen manuscript.

They urged us to always have a beginning, a strong middle, and a great ending. These were very valuable points as it related to writing. It is valuable because many of the moviews you watch are formed in this way. Ken shared how as they were learning to construct a screenplay they would go to the movies together with a stopwatch to see where the Plot points in it were. They could sit down and watch a movie and have it timed by when the beginning was noted, the middle of the story arrived, and when the closing would come. These were all very important when writing for a screen play of any kind.

Today, they have their own production company and have produced a film 201 Belmont, and written two others ABOVE YOUR DREAMS AND FIRE OUT OF GEORGIA. The latter two are expected to begin filming in 2010.

Lesa also just celebrated the release of her first novel SOMEONE TO TRUST BY WHITROSE PUBLISHING. To contact Lesa on this novel or any other you can view her website at

It was interesting listening to the two of them share, as one would finish what the other was trying to say. They told us it was because of all the time they've spent together ministering and working. I guess that would be tru with anyone you work with as closely as they have to work together!

They also talked about the importance of sending a clear message. They want the message to be clear that they are writing for the Lord! They want those who are lost to receive the message loud and clear.
Christine M Ramey, FCCW Secretary

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quatrano Defines a "Professional Writer!"

Nancy Quatrano has a very warm and engagin presence. On Thursday's meeting, she immediately engaged the group by asking us to define the term "Professional Writer." The members in attendance all agreed that to us it meant being able to make a living from our writing. Nancy challenged us to broaden our definitions to "Anyone seriously interested in writing for publication is a professional writer!" With her definition as the backdrop to the meeting she explained "Etiquette for the Professional Writer."

Nancy provided handouts to assist us in following along as she expounded on the key components of etiquette.

Number one component is to be prepared. Be prepared to meet people and put forth your image as a professional writer. Know what you are going to say, be ready to answer questions and engage in conversations. Know your abilities. What do you want to do? What can you do? You need to be ready by reviewing these ideas and coming up wit the answers. Also important is to never pretend you know more than you really do. Don't have your own agenda. Be open to listening and learning something new. Which leads us to component number 2 Learn, Listen, Rewrite.

Listening is a great way to gather information. People talk about what they are passionate about. You learn about people by what they talk about. Also, listen to strangers talking. This is a great tool to help learn to write dialogue. It helps you pick up on dialect and regional nuances. You will be amazed how much you can learn simpy by listening. Keep notes in a 3 X 5 card file or a "dialog" folder in your desk so you can refer to them when you are writing an article or chapter and need that local "flavor."

Component number three Write to Submit. You will never get paid to be a writer if you never submit your work. "Be encouraged to do little things." Write articles and short stories, they are fast and easy ways to get published. You need to commit time to your writing and give yourself deadlines to get things done. "A Professional Writer submits their work." Submit to magazines, contest anything that will get you read and may be seen by editors. Join writing groups, go to conferences, submit to reputable contests. These will help you hone your own writing skills and shape your image as a professional writer. "Writers blossom with other writers." Becoming known will help you get noticed by Agents and Editors.

This is the Fourt component. To finally make it to the world of agents and publishing. Nancy reminds us, "God gives us our passions, our job is to use them." If we just use our passions, the results will be there.

God blessed Nancy with a voice and a gift to write songs. She was singing with the adult Wesminister Choir at Princeton NJ when she was nine years old, and professionally by the age of 13. By seventeen, she was making a comfortable living at singing. She planned to use her earning to go to nursing school, but soon decided there was too much life to be lived. After one year, she left nursing school. Her singing and songwriting passion turned out to be the stepping stone to her writing career. She sold her first commercial work in 1999 to Pisces Press in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which also resulted in two ghostwriting assignments and has published non-fiction, romance and mystery short stories every year since.

Nancy's final words; "Everyone is a work in progress, just like our writing. Don't give up our dreams. Writers who don't write are unhappy."

Nancy's website for more information on her books and services at or email her at Look for her short memoir "By the Grace of God" in the February 2010 issue of the Pasco County FWA Chapter newsletter.
Tracy Redman
FCCW Treasurer and Incoming President for 2010

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Douce Writes About His Dreams

Robert Douce of St. John’s Florida visited with First Coast Christian Writers to discuss his novel, Cosmic Light and his inspiration dreams about the book. He shared with us how God inspired him to write through six different dreams. All six of the dreams were in sequential order. He knew that this was something that God had called him to do. This is how Douce and his co-author Fernando Amandi wrote Cosmic Light!

Douce is a Customized and Technical Writer for academic and career portfolios; you can view his book at . He began to tell us why he wrote the book and turned to the book of Matthew and read about Jesus walking on the water. He was looking for strength and faith and focused on Peter to provide his inspiration. Douce stated he read that scripture thirty nights in row! On the thirty-first night a light bulb went off in his head! He understood that if God does the asking, he could not fail. Douce battled cancer in 2003, and wanted to find that same strength, faith and courage from Peter. He prayed for God during his 30 days of radiation treatments to ask him to be of service and serve for a purpose. It wasn’t until 2005, he received his first dream and the sixth and final dream came in 2008. He would awake after these dreams every morning at 2:30 AM. He felt compelled to write these spiritual intense dreams of hope for the future of mankind that he was given.

These dreams were all in sequel order and he knew this was unusual and felt the need to write about these dreams. He began immediately writing what he had dreamed. He went through two co-authors before he found Fernando Amandi who is also a cancer survivor and a neighbor.
They define their book as a “Christian Fiction” as it is an uplifting story. Their sequel may be A New Age Begins On Earth and involves the world. He then read a few excerpts from his Cosmic Light book! He began to share about the dreams he had in detail. His dreams involved advanced technologies in “energy and the elimination of fossil fuels.” “ He never saw technical names in his dreams, but the authors researched and found all the advanced technologies were in progress in scientific labs all over the world. The dreams include solutions for: “Energy, education, medical, crime, capital punishment to name a few. In the near future, criminals fleeing from the law in vehicles will be over with “A flip of the switch!” Douce stated. We will use space elevators and no need for gas and oil. These are only a fraction of the visions in the dreams.

The speaker’s 3 points in his speech were: Inspiration, Message and Outreach. “The Dreams served as his Inspiration to write, The Message is what God gave him in content to help others to find hope and a better world, and finally, Outreach is what each writer needs to accomplish after writing a book!” He went on to explain how he was the messenger. Douce shared that it is important for writers to have a marketing plan for their book. This is the Outreach. He is writing letters and speaking about his book. Letters have been sent to Oprah, Vatican, talk shows, etc. about solutions in the book that deal with crime to children in kidnapping, sexual predators, abuse. He has written to many other places in hopes to get their message out and to help market their book.

“Outreach is getting your message out and a need for a marketing plan!” He went on to discuss. His publisher’s website is: for the book, Cosmic Light. They interviewed around 10 publishers and this one was last on their list to check out. They loved how they did the large print, which they wanted to make it easier for the reader to read. They have been asked to print their book in Spanish and have over 35 foreign countries request on their website.

Their book has only been out on the market less than seven weeks. The publisher has advertised on facebook last week and they received over one hundred and eighty hits from the ad. This is part of their marketing plan and outreach goal.

The profits they make will go to cancer research, specific cancer patients, education and to churches they belong to. We enjoyed the inspirational story that Douce shared with First Coast Christian Writers. We hope that his book Cosmic Light continues to have much success.

Christine M Ramey, FCCW Secretary

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hanks Gives 10 Points of Good Writing Skills

When you’ve said what you want to say – stop!” explained Jerry Hanks as he conveyed to FCCW members the last of 10 tips for writing well. He and his wife, Bobbi de Cordova-Hanks, did just that on November 5 as they shared practical advice and endearing anecdotes to help writers improve their skills. With an astounding 80 years of professional writing and editing experience between them, Jerry and Bobbi know what it takes to write well.

Jerry, who holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, is a writer, editor and public relations specialist with extensive newspaper experience. He is co-founder of the local PR and writing firm, Hanks-Livingston, Inc.
Bobbi, who spent 25 years as a professional musician, has served as editor of number of trade publications in addition to serving as news bureau manager at what was formerly Florida Community College at Jacksonville.

Together they co-authored the book, Tears of Joy, which tells the story of their life together as a cancer survivor (Bobbi) and a cancer caregiver (Jerry).
In a similar “tag team” approach, the couple collaborated to impart valuable wisdom to both seasoned and emerging writers in the group. Some of the tips included:

“Know your readers. Know who your writing is intended to reach.” Bobbi explained this fundamental principle to the group while Jerry encouraged them to get a mental picture of their audience so as to write in a way that is personal and appealing.

“Know what you’re writing about and what you want to say.” Sharing a story from his college years, Jerry illustrated how important it is to know your subject matter and not to overlook obvious details and basic questions. In the example, the class was given a writing prompt regarding a church steeple collapse. Every student, while thoroughly covering the details of the accident, neglected to mention the height of the steeple!

“Write it the way you would say it.” Bobbi discussed how she translates complicated medical terminology into everyday language as editor of a trade publication for the Intercultural Cancer Council at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She admonished the group to make their writing interesting and real.

“If you’re having trouble getting started, try starting with a question.” A useful pointer, Jerry described how he gets a piece moving when the words won’t come. Asking “What does the typical reader want to know?” is a great way to get the ink flowing.

“Edit. Edit. Edit.” This advice is taken for granted by writers with potentially embarrassing results. Bobbi strongly encouraged writers to hire a professional editor to catch mistakes before they are in print. The value to the reputation of the writer and the quality of the piece far exceed the cost.

By the end of the presentation, each writer departed with easy-to-apply principles to elevate their craft and memorable stories to warm their hearts.

By Tina Givens, FCCW member

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chris Berman and His Book The Hive!

Chris Berman, a Science-Fiction novelist, joined First Coast Christian Writer's all the way from St. Augustine. The knowledge he brought to us was definitely inspiring. He taught us the difference between Hard Science-Fiction and Soft-Fiction Writing!

It was interesting to learn the reason he began writing; Chris took a simple ride one morning to rent a van that he was going to drive to Philadelphia for business from the Budget Rent-A-Car six miles from his home. On the way there, he was in a near-fatal bike accident as he was hit by a car.

He had several injuries that made him unable to sleep lying down for weeks. With nothing to do late into the night, he remembered his wife Laressa, had always encouraged him to write. However, with his work load, he never had the time. During his recovery, he had lots of time to write late at night as the pain would not let him sleep. Every night, he sat there working on his story, The Hive.

He spent many hours in research on astronomy for accuracy of the story. This never bothered Chris as it was his passion. He loved watching the stars and studying the science part of it. So, it filled his time as he sat up for weeks on end.

Chris began his discussion about the books he is currently working on at this point in his writing career! To get a publishing contract, he used the site He discover Xpress Yourself Publishing that offered to publish his book, The Hive. The Hive is complete and doing very well in major bookstores. He went on to explain that with using you will find agents and publishers are color coded by green, yellow, and red. The green means they are very good to deal with, the yellow means caution some aspects of their operation seem like scams, and red means total scam don't use!

He also told us about two others books he is in the process of writing. The first one is Red Moon, which is finished. He has sent those revisions to the ARC to be approved. Finally, he has begun working on one other book. This book he has only gotten about four or five chapter completed.

With his book The Hive, he has had the opportunity for book signings up as far as New Jersey, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and of course in Florida! The Hive he continued to explain is more of a "classic earth vs. alien" style of a book. In other words he explained as "we didn't put dinner on for the aliens, we became their dinner."

He described "Hard Science-Fiction has "technology based information, the hardware so to speak." He went on to say the "One author that came to mind was Arthur C. Clarke as he wrote 2001 and 2010. He also wrote the Fountains of Paradise and many others." Those were just a few titles that he wrote, Chris classified those as Science-Fiction books!

He then gave a description of "Soft Science-Fiction" by giving an example of the book River World written by Phillip Jose Farmer. As well as he named several other books written by different author's on both topics. That is on Hard and Soft Science-Fiction books.

He began the discussion about his book The Hive, and talked about the scientific parts of his books; such as the technology of building different rockets, drawing for us an example of one and explaining how the rocket works.

He spoke very highly of the Orion Project and how it worked. This was demonstrated in the drawing. He discussed the different components of the rocket and what each is responsible for. Definitely a lot of research was noted in his discussion of his book The Hive!

He also mentioned how that a theme in his book was to impart there was higher power, and a "God" was responsible for our early discovery of the approaching Hive fleet. A definite struggle between Man's and Hive technology! He has a driven mind and concept in reaching his readers to understand the glorious power of God's great love! That our God given intelligence as well as as a forewarning would be responsible for victory, but ONLY if we acted as a united human family. We wish Chris all the best of luck with his book The Hive and the many others that will come to follow it!

Christine M Ramey, Secretary FCCW

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FCCW Secretary & VP PR Positions Filled

Tonight was a discussion about the future of First Coast Christian Writers and were we would like it to go from here.

DSC00610 - AutocorrectedTracy Redman, FCCW Treasurer, addresses FCCW participants. 

Many talked about the possibilities of making us in connections with Toastmasters! The majority was in the vote and on the go with Toastmaster. Nevertheless, there were those whom did not like the idea of Toastmasters as it would change the group from what Dr. Lorraine intended for it to be.

Many commented on a job well done that Dr. Lorraine has brought to our group, and the many hours of labor and love she has brought forth to First Coast Christian Writers. This has been Dr. Lorraine’s baby. She had begun this group from the ground up. "The work I've done over the past two years has been very fulfilling, but now it's time to pass the torch to other leaders," says Lorraine.

Many things were talked about as the group discussed together the work that needed to be done. The first thing Dr. Lorraine brought up was the fact of needing to fill all the officer positions. There were several positions that needed to be filled and voted upon. Those positions were as follows: Vice President of Education, Vice President of Public Relations, Secretary, and Treasurer. It's too much of a load for one person to take on all these responsibilities. "The group needs strong leadership in order to be sustainable," says Lorraine. 

We talked about Toastmasters and we discussed the different possibilities, but the decision was to not go in that direction at this time. We decided as a group, and acknowledged it would be too much of a culture change to the group. First Coast Christian Writers was built based on a foundation of Toastmasters principles and procedures, but we're not going to move forward to become an official Toastmasters chapter at this time. 

Someone brought up was the possibility of having two meeting’s a month instead of meeting weekly. Someone brought up the idea of having a critique group one week and a speaker the next. Many other ideas were suggested. No times or dates as to when and if changes will be finalized will take place until after the new leadership team has a chance to discuss changes for 2010. The members who paid through December 2009 can rest assured that the weekly meetings will remain the same through the end of the year.

Ann Brinegar volunteered to work with the VP of Membership to match members as mentors/mentees for members who are interested in extra accountability to their writing goals outside the meetings. This supports our mission for holding each other accountable for reaching goals.

The point was brought back to the floor about needing to fill positions. As time was close to the end, votes were made.
 DSC00603 Lynn Rix

Lynn Rix was nominated and unanimously voted in as Vice President of Public Relations. Lynn wants to learn the public relations side of the writing business. 

DSC00607 Christy Ramie


Christine M. Ramey was nominated and unanimously voted in as Secretary. She is happy and honored to take it.  


Tracy Redman, FCCW Treasurer, was nominated and  unanimously voted in as new President for 2010. Tracy will shadow Lorraine Haataia through the end of the year, and will become the new president effective January 1, 2010.  

Karen Godfrey - Copy

Karen Godfrey is fairly new to her position as VP of Membership. She accepted this position a few weeks ago and is eager to serve FCCW visitors and members.

Buddy Putnam agreed to remain Sergeant at Arms. He has served faithfully in this position since the group began meeting in January 2008.



Bob Haataia has faithfully served as the club webmaster since fall of 2007. Before the group began meeting, Bob worked with Lorraine to build the club website, blog, and other marketing tools. Bob has agreed to remain the webmaster.

Although two positions still remain open, Vice PresidentLorraineHaataiaPhDCroppedCompressedIMG2340 of  Education and Treasurer, Dr. Lorraine Haataia was relieved and thankful that two officer positions were filled and she can now begin training new leaders and concentrating more on her own writing. Effective January 1, 2010, Lorraine will serve as the Immediate Past President, providing guidance for Tracy, and the new leadership team.

Everyone was pleased with the decisions that were made and the meeting was closed and bathed in prayer for the future of First Coast Christian Writers.

By Christy Ramey, FCCW Secretary

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Koerner Shares The Belief Formula

Pete Koerner has a refreshing message on the power of prayer.

DSC00356 - Pete Koerner - Cropped

Pete reminds us that prayer is the oldest form of problem-solving and healing, despite the fact it has been rendered marginally effective through years of ignorance and misunderstanding.  Pete recalls as a child in Tennessee how few people seemed to understand Biblical wisdom.  He remembers thinking that most adults just did not "get it," or grasp that everything is possible. 

His father worked for Delta Airlines, so Pete grew up around airports with a love for airplanes and anything that flew. Pete also grew up watching television shows about firefighters and other public safety action-adventures that fueled his imagination.  He recalls wonderful hours of pretending his big wheel was a fire truck or imagining how cool it would be to have a barber's chair in his room because it would have made an awesome helicopter.  His imagination was non-stop, always looking at how to make things more exciting and fun.  He was armed with his Biblical wisdom of "everything is possible" when he tried to copy his favorite actor on the TV show S.W.A.T. and burned his hands trying to rappel down a of the things he learned the hard way... So this was his quest in life; to make his dreams reality. 

Later in life Pete found the things he imagined as a child unfolding as realities in his life – becoming a public safety worker, firefighter and instructor as well as earning a pilot’s license and flying airplanes and helicopters. Whatever his heart desired, life would bring the opportunities and he only needed to say, “Yes,” and be willing to follow his instincts.  This is when he started to realize his gut and heart were “thinking-organs.” These “thinking-organs” would produce their own type of prayer life that gave life to his dreams if he simply followed their guidance.  They were his silent guides, leading him through life to the right opportunities with subtle feelings and impulses – and sometimes very clear “knowings.”

He questioned and questioned and in his journey the answers came, sometimes they weren't the answers he'd expect, but eventually he learned, “be careful what you ask for, you will get an answer!” He experienced his most profound "silent dream" coming to fruition in 2002 when he opened his mouth and out of nowhere his words said "I need a laptop." His wife, Jennifer, was stunned and asked, “Why?" 

"I am going to write some books." Pete answered. He had no idea where this compulsion came from.  He was as stunned as his wife.  So he went out and bought the laptop.  That evening, he found he had purchased a very expensive card game – not knowing what to do with the laptop other than play Solitaire.  But, after playing Solitaire for about three-days, he just sat down and started to type. Before he knew it he had typed 5,000-words.  He had no idea what he wrote, but it sounded good enough.  So, the next day this continued – and the next and the next.  Until eventually he had a number of lengthy essays. 

He had no idea what he had written or why he written it; it all flowed from his subconscious. Not knowing what to do with these essays – which turned out to be chapters of his book – he did what any good son would do; he gave them to his mom who encouraged him to keep writing.  In the end, it took him two weeks to write a book. Each time he would read the book he would become inspired to add to it. By the time he had read and re-read the book a few times, he had added another 10,000 – 20,000 words.  It took on a life of its own. 

The collective unconscious exists all around us, much like radio waves, and different frequencies of energy are all around us.  The collective unconscious has all knowledge in it; we can tap into this knowledge by tuning in the right frequency much like a TV or radio tunes-in to the right frequencies.  Desire becomes a practical tool to tune us into the right information.  Once we have connected to the right desire and information we now add the right amount of belief to achieve results. If you can clearly see what you want you will get it.  This is the science of prayer. This is where he came up with his Belief Formula.

Pete's life has been shaped by his openness to the word of the subconscious. It is through his openness to opportunity, that his gut and heart have taken him on impossible journeys. He never wanted to be a writer. As a matter of fact in high school he hated English class and was actually had to repeat it. But he did have big dreams that his writing and teaching have helped him accomplish. Because he said, “Yes,” to an impulse from his heart, an unlikely event led him to the realization of several dreams he otherwise may not have realized.

“Prayer is much older than any religion, and can be explained in such a way that it will become clear what a real and powerful tool we have access to in Prayer — ALL of us.
If you don’t pray because you think it is a religious thing, you should think again. Prayer is thought; thought is prayer. It is our thoughts that create our lives; we just need to learn what that means and start using what we learn. The greatest minds of all-time have always said thing like, “As a man thinketh, so it is done unto him.”
Prayer works the same way for everyone — the only difference between one person and another is their understanding of how such things operate. As a child, I knew I was supposed to be talking to God, but I had no real concept of how to make my wishes heard.”

After years of studying medicine, religion, religious history, physics, energy psychology, and the realm of the human mind and thought, it has become clear that we have simply been ignoring the obvious to our own detriment. We have a valuable and powerful tool in Prayer; we need only understand it and start using it constructively in our lives.

At times things might look scary, but if your heart says, "Yes!" you will achieve it.  People will look at a mountain, feel overwhelmed and never take the journey.  It is often believed it will be easier just to coast downhill. It usually turns out that coasting downhill can lead to a swamp; whereas the uphill journey leads to the top of the mountain and the best views of life. Your dreams need positive reinforcement from you; you have to believe to the point you know anything truly is possible.

DSC00360 - Tracy, Redman, Karen Godfrey, Pete Koerner, Lorraine Haataia, Lynn Rix, Frank Green

Pete Koerner with Tracy Redman, Karen Godfrey, Lorraine Haataia, Lynn Rix, and Frank Green.

As we can see, Pete has put the Belief Formula to the test throughout his life – flying airplanes, helicopters, driving fire trucks, scuba diving, mountain climbing, kayaking, and traveling to many parts of the world teaching the secrets of creating and loving your own life. Pete has successfully navigated the business and entrepreneurial world – starting several successful businesses – and he continues to explore new ideas for growth.
Pete is dedicated to helping humanity reach its highest potential by using ancient wisdom and cutting edge science to teach scientific prayer and techniques for personal growth and transformation. Pete conducts retreats and seminars, and speaks and writes on the subjects of healing, prayer, and philosophy. He has helped hundreds of individuals achieve better health and greater happiness with his transformational techniques and methods – helping them free themselves from limiting beliefs so they can achieve their hearts desires and live their dreams. For more information on what Pete is up to, or to read any of his hundreds of articles on the power of the human mind, natural health, weight-loss, success and relationship enhancement, just visit:

The link -- which is Pete’s blog site is an archived of his articles on the subjects of: Natural health and healing; Stress and Weight management; Relationship enhancement; Success; and the Power of the Human Mind (Prayer/Spirituality/etc...). There are hundreds of articles there; so, if you enjoyed The Belief Formula, or that concept, those articles offer that perspective on those subjects...

There's also a Free E-book available at that site. It teaches The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) -- a technique that Pete and his wife  Jennifer (and thousands of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, life coaches, etc...) use in private practice to overcome stress, anxiety, fears, phobias, and even allergies and other medical problems.   Pete has planted his world to open up to you at his website.  You will leave there refreshed and encouraged.  I know we all felt refreshed and encouraged just to hear him speak.

by Tracy Redman, FCCW Treasurer

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Phillips Provides Copyright Basics for Writers

AT FCCW we have many members in different stages of the publishing journey.  We have many beginners as well as many accomplished authors. 

DSC00185 - Cropped

Our latest speaker J. Winston Phillips, a retired physician, is currently working on two novels. The first, Making the South Beautiful One Procedure at a Time; Recollections of a Southern Plastic Surgeon, is told through the eyes of his main character, Bocephus Beauregard Beaumont, IV, MD as he recounts his life as a Plastic Surgeon in the fashionable Buckhead District of Atlanta, GA. His second novel, a medical-legal international thriller deals with human cloning and the legal issues surrounding the cloned individual.

Dr. Phillips has an extensive educational background which has contributed to his wide and varied interests both in fiction and in the business world. In addition, to an M.D. from the University of Louisville, Dr. Phillips also has an M.B.A. from Jacksonville University, a J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law and LL.M. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. While in law school Dr. Phillips took an upper level course in Intellectual Property, dealing in depth with copyrights and trademarks. It is this specific knowledge which is useful to the writer in protecting his writings.  Dr. Phillips hopes to educate doctors and writers with all his extension and knowledge in the field of law and business. It is this training that he shared with us.

A Copyright is a form of protection provided to authors of original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression which can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, clause 8 provided Congress with the power to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Rights to their Respective Writing and Discoveries. In addition, clause 3 provided Congress with the additional power to regulate Commerce among the several states.

The Copyright Act of 1909 provided for a dual system of copyright protection. Unpublished works were protected by common law (state law), while published works were granted federal protection upon publication as long as copyright notice was in the 1) correct form, 2) correct place, and 3) on all copies of the work. Otherwise, copyright protection would be lost.

The Copyright Act of 1976 did away with the dual system of protection. Fixation in a tangible medium of expression, rather than publication denoted the time when Federal rights attached. The Act retained mandatory notice requirements for copyright.

The Berne Convention Amendment, effective March 1, 1989, eliminated the notice requirements to comply with the Convention. However, Act provided that if proper notice was attached, defendant could not claim innocent infringement in infringement case.

Copyright protects the following categories; 1) literary works, 2), musical works, 3) dramatic works, 4) pantomimes and choreographic works, 5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, 6) motion pictures, and 7) architectural works.

Copyright does not protect works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression. In addition copyright does not protect titles, names, short phrases, slogans, ideas, works consisting of information that is common property and containing no original authorship and scenes a faire.

Copyright owners have the following exclusive rights; 1) to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords, 2) to prepare derivative works based on the work (e.g. screenplays, translation into another language), 3) to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, 4) to perform the works publicly, 5) to display the works public ally, and 6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work public ally by means of a digital audio transmission.

As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. Joint works protection last for the life of the last surviving author plus 70 years. Anonymous works, pseudonymous works and works made for hire enjoy copyright protection for 95 years from first publication or 120 years from the year of first creation.

Copyright ownership rights can be assigned or transferred individually or in combination with other rights. Portions of an individual right can be transferred, e.g. assignment of right to perform work in New York City only while retaining rights to perform work all other locations.

Copyright protection is secured automatically when the work is created when the work is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. Although not required, one may place people on notice by placing on copies of the work the following three elements; 1) the symbol ©, or the word Copyright, or the abbreviation Copr., 2) the year of the first publication of the work, and 3) the name of the owner of the copyright in the work.

© 2009 J. Winston Phillips

Although the work is copyrighted when created and fixed, you are not able to bring an infringement suit in federal court unless you work is registered. Additionally, registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

Registration of a copyright is relatively simple and inexpensive. The website,, provides the necessary instructions for submission. Requirements include a completed application fee, a non-refundable filing fee of thirty-five dollars if filing online, and one complete copy of the work being registered if it is unpublished or two complete copies of the best edition of the work if it has been published.

by Tracy Redman
FCCW Treasurer

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roberts Speaks About Children of Dreams

Lorilyn Roberts' first book, The Donkey and the King, had a second printing last year, and is a beautifully illustrated children's book published by Virtualbookworm.  

DSC00145 Lorilyn Roberts - cropped
In her latest book, Children of Dreams, the many pearls of suffering Lorilyn Roberts has experienced enable her to share deeply from the heart, and her writing, riveted with emotion, shows how God is able to restore dreams and bring redemption. Combined with her Biblical studies, she holds a unique perspective to write from a Christian worldview. 
Ms. Roberts is intimately familiar with adoption, having also been adopted as a child, and is able to present the spirit of adoption, as never before captured, in Children of Dreams.

As an author she shared her experiences with marketing her work.  She handed out packets to each member filled with information for Publishing and Marketing for the Unknown/New Author.  Less than a year ago Lorilyn knew nothing about marketing.  She took a seminar by Randy Ingermanson and she was off.  She meticulously kept a record of her trek through publishing and marketing. The packet contains resource after resource along with a mini critique about what she liked and what she didn't like.  "The hard part about being a writer is getting people to buy your book."  However, with new technology such as the Internet and Print on Demand publishing you can reach the world.  As Lorilyn puts it (Paraphrased) Here I am this unknown writer from Gainesville yet I had nearly two hundred hits to my website from people outside the US and over 8,230 hits here in the US.

She explained how she uses her website as a tool.  Her website sponsors have records of who comes to the website, how long they stay and what they are looking at.   Based on this information she can design a website that is more user friendly by adding more material that drive people to her site (such as pictures which account for 70% of the hits at her website).  Once she realized pictures were important to people on her website she added more pictures.  This has multiple benefits. 

1.    The more people that are drawn to her website the better she does in search results (like Google) Currently she comes up as the fourth entry on page one out of over a million results when you type in Adoption from Nepal ( this vary from day to day).  Since March 20, 2009 she has had 1,749 views at her website.

2.    Google Adwords, pays for clicks

3.    The more exposure she has for her book.

4.    Under Google images, she is the first ten results for videos of adoption from Nepal and adoption from Vietnam What an accomplishment! Again people see her name and book over and over again.  It adds credibility to her work and increases the opportunity people will buy her book.


Another way to come up in searches is to review other people's blogs.  If you do this, your review links to your own book and also brings your name or book up in a search result.

Reviews are important so you want to establish a social network to get reviews.  She gave us a list of resources on how and where to get reviews.  Also television or radio interviews are always great opportunities for the author to talk about their book.  But it also has the added benefit of linking to your website and adding to the audio visual component of your website.  As the statistics show, most people surfing the net are looking for visuals.  Video has an even higher rate.  Sites like Youtube offer another tool to get your name and your book out on the web.

This blog is just a snip-it of information that Lorilyn shared.  She has an amazing knack for research and organizing data.  She is a natural teacher in that, she saw value in every aspect of her journey to write.  In the end she became so much more than an author.  She became an inspiration to those going through the adoption process and a mentor for those going through the writing process.

by Tracy Redman
FCCW Treasurer

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bevan Encourages Writers to Use Their Gifts

Last night's impassioned guest was literary artist, musician and author Jan Atchley Bevan. 

DSC06827 - Jan Bevan

Knowing that the gift of writing is from God, Jan finds it a natural mission to be a mentor for writers with and without disabilities.  As a blessed writer and one who overcame her own challenges with low vision she knows her role to inspire writers comes in the telling of the story of her own work. By second grade her imagination was in overtime and hasn't stopped since. Her imagination has taken her life on a unique journey as a literary artist, musician, composer author and poet.  Her passions are too many to count.  She fondly recalls the eight years she spent at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens as Author in Residence and Museum Educator.  She worked with hundreds of children through Art Connections a "hands on" art experience, which is award winning from numerous sources in Art Education. Jan’s literary art education program encouraged many children in the Duval County Public School System to be better writers through the “joy of reading”.

Jan started off as a psychiatric social worker however she would often say "I'm a social worker who thinks she is an author."  One day this closet author met Christine Yovanovic a nurse who thought she was an illustrator and so Corky The Bathtub Who Couldn't Swallow was created.  After her book was published she learned "authors shouldn't give up their day job." In search of a new career Jan was hired as a staff member of Art Connections in the education department of the Cummer Museum. Prior to the literary Art opening of this, her first children’s book, Jan was given the honorarium of the Author in Residence.

Jan is an ambassador for VSA Arts (Very Special Arts). Founded by Jean Kennedy Smith, VSA Arts, an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., is an international organization that brings the art world to performing, visual and literary artists who just happen to have disabilities. Jan continues to be a teaching artist for VSA Arts of Florida.

Jan credits her imagination with her love of music.  Although she can not read music she has no trouble composing music.  She ascribes music with gifting her with discipline and imagination.  She uses music to assist her when she writes her books or works on the many projects she is involved in. Music is a gift for the soul. Jan told a story of a brilliant plastic surgeon who was struck by lighting while on the phone.  Prior to the lighting strike he could not read music, yet a month after the incident he could play Bach.

Her passion for music is evident yet the reward was even greater when her C.D. Heartstrings was produced by Museum Music of N.Y. a CD that includes the chamber music of Ensemble Encore Berkeley, California, the visual art of Susanne Schuenke, the photography of Ingrid Domiani, prose poetry of Jan Atchley Bevan and narrated by the beautiful voice of Penny Mitton Hamilton, Ontario. This all was made possible through a ten thousand dollar grant from the Able Trust Foundation in Tallahassee, Florida. This was Jan’s last produced work as Author in Residence of the Cummer Museum. You can buy the C.D. through the Cummer Museum or Museum Music of N.Y.

This was Museum Music’s first production of spoken word with chamber music, visual art and photography all set around prose poetry.

Providence continued to direct Jan’s life when a graphic artist and add agency Executive formally from Buffalo, New York found photos of World War II Japanese Soldiers tucked away in a tutored photograph album seemingly brought over to America by an unknown Solider of World War 11.  It is from this discovery that her lasted passion took root.  Jan and her co-author Ron Ferster have completed an historical fiction book titled Letters of the Lost Children World War 11.

They wanted to create fictional letters and stories from the point of view of the people in the photographs.  In order to do this Jan and Ron researched Ancient Japanese culture as well as the age of Imperial Japan which ended when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This extensive research allowed Jan and Ron to immerse themselves in the characters.  What resulted is a stunning work of art. Their book was previewed during the Exhibit of Japan in Jacksonville at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. It was well received and opened conversation to new views through old windows broken by War and World devastation. 

There are high hopes for this latest venture yet sadly the Japanese people do not have vast national memorials for their World War II soldiers, the war is viewed as a national shame and is not talked about nor was the history even taught in schools.  (Our prayers are that this work of art will give a voice to the lost children of that generation and heal a nation from the outside in.)

The research Jan completed for this project is par for course in any of her undertakings.  She attributes research, dedication to truth and integrity as the grit to accomplish her writing dreams.

She researched publishers, and prairie dogs and anything else she poured into her books.  After 9/11 Jan wanted to reassure children that the world was still a safe place.  Zachary Cooks Up Some Fun resulted, Ocean Publishing.  The main character was a prairie dog, true to form illustrated by Danna Kleiman Garfinkel a visual artist, educator, illustrator and graduate of the University of Texas. Jan takes on her responsibility to protect the innocents of children and have morals for her stories.  She also enjoys the props she accumulates that match the themes of her books.

DSC06847 - Jan Bevan speaking at FCCW

Her latest prop, uh!m I mean co-author is "Fluffy" a big white bunny, one of her characters in her next children's book Lemon-aid Summers, to be illustrated by Susanne Schuenke.

Jan reminded us "you are only as good as your last book."  Fluffy is there to remind her to sit down write, and to help her get into her new characters.  Props are also important for book signings as a marketing tool.  A remark about book signings; she once had someone ask her if the rolling pin she used as a prop was for sale? Often times at book signings some people even ask her "so what do you do?"  She truly enjoys the events but reading out loud to a group of children is even more rewarding.

Last May she had the opportunity to read her book Corky the Bathtub who Couldn’t Swallow to a group of primary students in Great Tew Oxfordshire England.  It was a delightful experience for her complete with the traditional cup of tea!

Life has literally been a journey of extraordinary pieces all coming together in Jan’s puzzle of life. Her end thoughts; “We all have gifts, which I see as the promises of God for our inner selves which allows us to bring our creativity into this world.”

Jan has always felt that she has seen life from the inside out, not from the outside in!”  She uses her publishing rejections as mementos of her attempts to see her work come to fruition.

By Tracy Redman, FCCW Treasurer

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beehner Shares True Wealth by the Book

Founder and CEO of Wise Counsel, John has worked with leading entrepreneurs over the course of his career, as well as owning his own businesses.

DSC06719 Cropped - John Beehner

That experience would perfectly position him to write his book, True Wealth by the Book – a collection of inspirational stories targeted to business leaders about how 100 well-known Americans built character and learned moral and spiritual truths.

Despite his business experience, a fear of failure and insecurities about writing made John reluctant to author the book even though he sensed God’s leading. He ultimately obeyed the call and decided to hire a ghost writer for the project to overcome his concerns. During the process of writing the book, John says that he grew spiritually as he sought God in a deeper way. He encouraged FCCW members to follow their calling at all costs even if it means losing money on the project and having to confront tough personal obstacles like fear or pride.

While researching and planning the book, John received what could be called divine direction as to how best to reach his audience. While on the treadmill one day, he got a phone call in which he and the caller discussed the Ten Commandments. The caller asserted that they were not only the origin of spiritual law, but all moral law as well. After reflecting on the call, John realized that foundation for the book should be about moral and spiritual principles for acquiring true wealth. Like the Bible, John’s book would use stories, parables and illustrations to communicate the principles to business leaders.

DSC06713 - John Beehner

With the book’s direction firmly established, John then needed to get his book printed and in the hands of CEOs and entrepreneurs. He determined that the best option for him was to self-publish. John shared his experience with the group including the extensive research he undertook before deciding on a printer in the Midwest.

To market his book, John joined PMA (a self-publishers group) and hired a PR firm to set up radio interviews. He also promotes the book through personal networking and his business workshops. The success of John’s book led to two subsequent reprints for a total of 15,000 copies printed.

Based on the principles in the book, John has also produced a video series called Genesis: The Business Workshop. John says that both the book and the video series have helped business leaders learn to trust God. He now hopes to take to the book and series to churches as well as marketing them on the internet.

To learn more about John Beehner, see his website

By Tina Givens, FCCW VP of Public Relations

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Levy Combines His Love of Food and Writing

Larry Levy spoke to the FCCW group on June 11th about writing as well as his love of food, which he attributes to the generosity of his parents.

DSC06615 Larry Levy - Cropped

“I grew up outside of New York City,” he explained, “Which made fine dining very accessible.” His parents introduced him to many culinary experiences, which sparked his love of cooking. Larry’s other passion, writing, produced several short stories and poems during his college years.

The combination of food and writing, as well as the influence of his daughters Mya, Lea and Ava all of whom have a penchant for helping out in the kitchen, became the catalyst for Mr. Levy’s first published book Harry The Hungry Frog, Harry Ventures Out. In this first book of the series we are introduced to a frog named Harry, who knows there is more to taste than bugs and flies. Harry goes on several adventures looking for yummy food and on the journey learns politeness and develops friendships. An added surprise is a pizza recipe at the back of the book.

In light of Mr. Levy’s personality, which is full of vivaciousness and enthusiasm, it’s no wonder he was dressed in a green shirt and frog patterned tie. As an entrepreneur who started and eventually sold his own business, Larry is no newcomer to the importance of promotion.

“You need to market your book as if it were a product,” Larry explained. And in doing so, Mr. Levy regaled us with many whimsical stories and encounters. “Marketing your book takes you out and about which only helps the networking process, thus producing sales.” The author showed true excitement and shared many stories about the process. Here is someone totally passionate about their work.

DSC06620 - Cropped

Mr. Levy commented on the fact, that through networking you can find the talent you need.

His short children’s story, Harry The Hungry Frog, took eight months to complete, from conception to store shelves. It took three months to find an illustrator. His, “Diamond in the rough,” was a stay at home mom who was an illustrator for children’s books. It was a perfect fit.

Larry first addressed the group with, “I’m going to re-kindle that desire within all of you to embrace writing, welcome the promotion process, and enjoy it every step of the way.” He discussed how he uses his vehicle as a traveling book sale van. “I have a table and promotional materials at the ready wherever I go,” Larry beamed, “You never know when an opportunity to promote will arise.” Mr. Levy stressed the importance of channeling through your local Chamber of Commerce. “Get out there and use all the tools available,” he encouraged.


Larry Levy has several children’s books on the horizon-it would not be surprising though if several stories came out of his many promotional experiences. He is available for speaking engagements and his talks are centered on running a small business, writing, and developing effective marketing techniques. Who knows he may even whip up a meal, food for thought anyone?

You can reach Larry Levy at

By Linda Feist, FCCW member

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mandela Recommends Dog Ear to Writers

"Dog Ear" spoke my language, says author Josette Mandela, who spoke at FCCW on Thursday, June 4th.


FCCW is blessed with many diverse writers.  Some always knew they  wanted to write, while others happened into writing.  Josette  Mandela is one of those writers that just happened into it.  She is  the author of Money is Freedom and Safety. Her book combines the  features of a workbook and works like a step by step guide on how to  get your financial house in order and have fun doing it.  She wrote  the book in just weeks, it just flowed out of her.  She wrote the  book freehand whenever she had the chance.  One time she was writing  in the repair shop while her car was being worked on.  The ease that  came with writing encouraged her to write another book.  This time  that plain white page seemed a little more daunting.

She shared her solutions for getting over writers block.  She  suggests going for a walk or really anything that will break your  routine and get your creative juices flowing.  Call that special  friend that always encourages you and stands by you no matter what.   Finally she said find your passion, the written word comes much  easier if you are passionate about what you are writing.

Josette explained how to get the most out of your walks;  observe your surroundings, you never know what unique information  you will discover from the simplest things.  She told a story about  this road she was traveling down.  The road had many different kinks  in the road, when she sat down to research why.  She discovered all  these kinks in the road turned out to be special places that the  builders decided not to pave over so instead they adjusted the road  to make room for the cemeteries and ancient places.  SO paying  attention to the littlest thing can bring out great inspirations for  stories.  Keep notebooks or a tape recorder with you all the time so  you can jot down ideas. After your walk take some quiet time to  meditate and let the information sit and sink in to see what God  will do with it.
Another trick for Josette overcoming writers block is to have  an accountability partner.  This is that person that you can talk to  and they never have discouraging words.  Many of us have friends who  can inadvertently discourage us from writing.  These are the people  that will often tell you "You can't write a book"    "What makes you  think you can be a writer"  Sometimes these people can be close  family and friends.  Don't listen and don't hold it against them,  just realize that in life there is always opposition.  More  importantly DON"T TALK YOURSELF OUT OF WRITING THE BOOK!  We all  have our little voices that can discourage us from time to time.  So  choose your support partner wisely, this should be the person that  would go skydiving with you!  You must allow them to be honest and  inspire you, remember they care about you and are not correcting you  to discourage you but to help you improve!

Once you choose your support partner you should now set  goals.  You will never complete the book unless you set goals.   Josette uses Outlook, creates tasks and  blocks off time to keep  herself accountable.  This helps her meet her goal of sending her  support partner an email at the end of everyday to make sure she is  working on her goals.  After a while you will discipline yourself to  write.

Once you've started writing, the key to keep writing is to be  passionate about your subject.  If you are not passionate about your  subject you'll notice you have dozens of start ups and never get  them done. Ideas are not the problem, its our passion about the  ideas.  Today with the Internet the world is literally at your  finger tip.  You can do research and bring Japan into your living  room.  If you are looking for ideas you can use Google trends, research  what people are talking about.  If you have an idea you are  passionate about research what's been written about it and maybe  find a new perspective on it.

If you need more inspiration Josette recommends the Prosperity  Bible.  It is a collection of short stories from successful people  such as Napoleon Hill and Ben Franklin.  It will help you see what  other people have done to be successful or inspired.

Josette learned from her first book that print on demand offers  the best publishing option.  She used Dog Ear Publishing.  She found  them very easy and fun to work with.  Her background in computer  science did not offer her any direction when it came to getting  published.  She found Dog Ear Publishing talked in a language she  understood, were reasonably priced and offered many extra  specialized services.

Right now Josette is focusing on marketing her current book.   She has a website and she blogs, to  help get the word out. She always carries several copies with her and found  that she could sell books just talking to people at the airport.   She has received positive feedback about her book, from how easy it  is to read to it offers immediate results.

By Tracy Redman, FCCW Treasurer

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tosca Lee Researching Book Number Three

Tosca is the award-winning author responsible for two Christian Fiction books, Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve.


The members of FCCW were in awe last Thursday night as Tosca Lee shared her writing experience and expertise.  Tosca's first book, Demon, challenged some of the Christian community with its unsettling title and cover.  "I wanted it to gain attention," Tosca said.  "I wanted people to think when they saw it." Demon is the account of history before the earth’s creation to the present day, as narrated by a fallen angel.

A management consultant, Tosca was driving home one day when the idea for Demon came to her.  At the time, she planned to complete a book about a woman warrior.  Demon’s story, however, did not let her rest until she completed the work.  Writing passionately for three months, the book was finished but did not sell for five years until she rewrote what was essentially a monologue into more traditional narrative form.  This doubled the length of the book—and won her a multi-book deal from NavPress.

As Demon went to press, Tosca was immediately under time constraints to complete the second book.  After six months of research and another six of writing, she completed Havah.  "Heinous and grievous," Tosca informed us.  "The first draft is always heinous." Havah, a retelling of Eve’s story, required expansive research or order to provide the known details regarding life back then.

She is now preparing to write her third book.


Tosca, the runner-up for Mrs. USA in 1998, is extremely approachable and human!  She answered our questions and had us sitting on the edge of our seats for more.  Her intelligence and creativity are obvious and alluring.

Her advice to writers: approach agents or editors with a stunning query. 

By Cyndi Rice, FCCW VP of Education

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cudd Writes to Help You Sell Your Home

Chrissie Cudd encourages writers to write about things they know and do. This is just what she did with her latest book.


First Coast Christian Writers was honored to have speaker Crissie Cudd, accomplished Realtor® and author, during their weekly meeting on May 14th, 2009. Her story presented the possibility of writing in our own areas of expertise for the benefit of others. For Crissie, this area is Real Estate. Though Crissie Cudd has worked in real estate for all of her adult life, she has been writing for even longer. Her first book, A Day in Outer Space, was written when she was only four.

As she grew up, her love of writing continued until, as a young mother, she wrote children’s stories for her own daughter. Later, while living in Naples, Florida, she also began writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper, which eventually led to writing well received articles in the same paper. Chances are good that you have read her real estate advice in the past, because she has published over a dozen articles for the internet’s “Total Real Estate Solutions”. Many of her high demand articles have been reprinted and are now posted all over the World Wide Web.

Little did Crissie know that the Real Estate market would take the terrible downturn it has taken over the past few years, and that it would become, for many, easier to sell a house in outer space than in today’s market. But, guess what – Crissie can sell, has sold and is selling houses, even now. There are secrets to selling in a tough market, and Crissie has revealed them in her latest book, Sell Your Home in a Tough Market Now. Sell now? That’s right – now. Like many other homeowners, I have personally wondered if now is a good time to sell, or if I should wait for a better day that might not come. Crissie has given me quite a sparkle of hope.


Originally intended to be an article, four months and many hours later the ‘article’ emerged as this timely book. The tried and true tips and professional advice presented in the book apply to every single economic level of housing sales in the current market, but will apply even if the market changes. How grateful we are to Crissie for sharing her interesting and encouraging story with us, and how thankful we are that she has taken the time to record such invaluable economic help. Sell Your Home in a Tough Market Now can be purchased at either or Barnes and Noble.

Click here for Crissie's blog.

Click here for Crissie's website I Coach the Best.

By Claudia Barrington, FCCW Member

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thomason Encourages Writers to Get Feedback

Bruce Thomason’s career in law enforcement began as a dispatcher in 1967. 

Bruce Thomason - DSC05935 - Compressed

In different jobs across three states there isn’t much that Bruce has not experienced--good and bad.  Yet, Bruce described the powerful feeling surrounding the privilege of serving citizens throughout his career.

Bruce’s first novel, Body Toll, is an action-packed cop thriller about a serial killer set in our very own oceanfront community of Jacksonville Beach.  Bruce shared that it took seven months to write the book.  Once Bruce began writing, ideas and stories from his lengthy career poured out more quickly than he could write, so he began recording his stories. 

Bruce shared his tips for both self publishing along and editing your manuscript.  While Bruce’s experience with self-publishing was a positive experience, he hopes to publish his next book with a major publisher. 

DSC05941 - Copy

The single most important tip Bruce stressed to the group was to have a good editor.  Whether it’s a professional editor, friend or relative, it’s extremely important to receive straightforward constructive feedback.

Once you read, Body Toll you can look forward to reading Bruce’s second novel, The 6 O’clock Rule.

By Linda Harvey, FCCW Member

Thursday, April 30, 2009

FCCW Members Spellbound by Chestnut & Son

Bobbie Jean Chestnut and her son Kent kept the FCCW members spellbound with their incredible story at the April 30th meeting.

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Whew, how did I ever do it?─ might be a question we ask ourselves, after finishing a presentation for work, getting the kids to soccer practice on time and getting dinner on the table. The FCCW members learned soon enough, that these tasks pale in comparison to what Bobbie Jean Chestnut has faced in her life.

Bobbie’s book, “Whew How Did I Ever Do It?” is an autobiography that has the reader in a “page turner” mode. Raising four children, moving 20 times in 21 years as a military wife during the Vietnam war, facing a 9.2 earthquake while living in Alaska are just a few of her challenges.

But Bobbie’s biggest challenge came to her on Valentine’s Day in 1965, when her son Kent was born. Kent was born premature with no arms, and no legs. He was not expected to live more than 24 hours. He survived. The recommendation was to place him in a facility. But Bobbie wouldn’t hear of it. As she said, “If your healthy child suddenly became handicapped from an accident, would you send your child away?”

Bobbie treated Kent like the rest of her children. She fought with teachers and principals to help him succeed and became an advocate for the disabled. Today, Kent is 44 years old, living independently, working and writing a book of his own.


Kent calls his mom, his hero. He stated, “You should embrace who you are. God has given each of us a purpose to be here.” Kent talked about being treated normally by his siblings. He never really felt different, which is a true testament to his mom, as she treated him the same as the other children. Both mother and son attest, that God has a way of sending people to you when you are in need. “God gives us strength to go through it,” Bobbie explained. She learned early on to swallow her pride and accept help.

On the writing process, Bobbie explains to listen to your inner voice to write, and then do it! No more talking, just do it, write (right) from the heart. Write what you know.

Listening to Bobbie and Kent was inspirational, to say the least. It was an education in love, patience, humility, strength and determination. One of Bobbie’s favorites, Philippians 4:11 states, ‘Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have found in whatsoever state I am, therewith, to be content.’

Proceeds from the book are slated to go toward a wheelchair van for Kent. To order your copy of Bobbie’s book go to:

You may e-mail Bobbie at:

By Linda Feist, FCCW member

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tory Wilcox is busy in the writer’s kitchen!

Don’t be surprised if on your way to breakfast, at an Original House of Pancakes restaurant, you spot an advertisement in the window for the book:

The First Pancake
A Recipe for Delectable Life Transitions
By Tory G. Wilcox.

Tory Wilcox - DSC04723 - Cropped

This was just one example of promotion and publicity Tory so enthusiastically shared with us at the FCCW meeting. Tory spoke from soup to nuts, so to speak, about the writing and publishing process.

Tory Wilcox is a psychotherapist, coach and author. Her book, The First Pancake, provides guidance to those undergoing a life transition using an original understandable pancake metaphor that normalizes the transition process and enables you to strive for more delectable pancakes.

Through Tory’s experience, of writing and publishing her book, she offered the group a concise and highly creative outline, titled “How to Make a Pancake; A Recipe for Success.”

Tory took us through several steps, directing and focusing on why one writes. Do you write to?

  • Leave a legacy
  • Help others
  • Establish expertise
  • Be part of a platform

“In asking yourself the question; Why is writing important to me?” Tory explains, “You will come closer to understanding your vision.”


Tory also reiterated more than once, that the most important component in the writing process is to realize and set your goals. A few examples of Tory’s outline:

  • What are your goals or vision?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your genre?
  • What makes your book unique?
  • Do you have time and money to market and publicize your book?
  • Do you want to use editorial services?
  • How many books do you hope to sell?

The group learned of several publishing options, as Tory was gracious enough to help us move forward through her experience. With passion and excitement, Tory shared her recipe for writing. Ready…set…bake!

You may reach Tory Wilcox at:

By Linda Feist, FCCW Member

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gunter Motivates Writers to Chase Dreams

First Coast Christian Writer’s Group had the privilege of meeting Almon Gunter, Author of the book Focus on the Final Seconds.

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Focus on the Final Seconds, has received 5 out of 5 stars on Almon considers himself a “country boy” and advises anyone who writes, to write however you talk.

“To have what you want you create it.” Almon ran for Florida State University until the age of 22, when he entered the corporate world, for 6 years. He then quit his job to chase his dream. At the ages of 29 and 33 he became the 13th fastest runner in the world, when competing in the Olympics.

Almon is passionate about everything he does. He wrote his book in 30 days, and says that your best writing comes when you do not understand your writing.

Almon also does motivational speaking, mostly in very large corporations, and runs several sports training camps for youth.

On February 18, 1988 he started his company, and his first client was CSX Transportation. Quitting his job at Barnett Bank, he did not turn back, and began achieving for himself. He cautioned us to be aware of family and friends that may say what we were seeking after could not be done. “Don’t waste energy on “downers”.” He goes on to say, “Friends that are not in from the beginning cannot get in at the end.”

Almon truly is a motivator, and is an inspiration to listen to!

To learn more about Almon, check out his website at:

By Karen Godfrey, FCCW Member

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elsheimer Urges Artists to Answer Creative Call

The delightful and funny author, speaker, musician and artist Janice Elsheimer treated the members of FCCW to a deliciously engaging evening during their April 9th weekly meeting.

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Her words were a feast of encouragement not only for those who wonder if they are artists, but also for those who do acknowledge their creative gifting but so far haven’t understood that it is an actual calling. An artist can be one that paints with colors or words or musical notes or plants or any of a hundred other mediums, but because she was speaking to a group of writers, the reality that Yes, I am a writer, was permanently impressed on the pavement of our minds.

Janice taught us that those endowed with creative gifts are especially connected to the heart of God – God the Creator, and that for these gifts we are responsible to Him. They are meant to be cultivated and executed not only for us, but through us for the sake of the world. Janice also presented the fact that artistic gifting usually partners with the gifts of teaching, wisdom, and prophesy.

We were privileged to not only view firsthand but also to hear a short excerpt from her 1973 ‘hippie’ journal with a peace sign on the cover. As she read the entry aloud, it was easy to see that the energetic and adventuresome woman she is today is the same adventurous and energetic young person who recorded in that notebook. The final words of her entry were “Truck on!” We all laughed. She encouraged us to keep a journal as well, and recommended that we write in it for only 20 minutes a day. “Not ‘I have to journal for 20 minutes’, but rather, ‘I will only journal for 20 minutes’. She assured, “If you journal, you’re a writer”.

She encouraged us to be avid readers in our individual genres, and to remember that though everything we write may not be classified as a ‘Christian” project, nevertheless it will be informed by our worldview. Her attractive personality enhanced her words, causing them to be unforgettable. In fact, I can still hear her admonishing us to be proud of publishing success “not because, I’m all that, but because He’s all that!” Amen!

As a child, Janice, like many of us, wasn’t encouraged to pursue a career in the arts, though that’s what God had placed within her. Her parents, like many, believed her creative gifts were hobbies rather than possible career paths. (This blogger can certainly relate.) But God is sovereign, His gifts and callings are irrevocable, and He promises to fulfill His purposes for each of us. Janice has certainly proved His faithfulness. Today she is not only educator and teacher, avid gardener and accomplished musician, but also the author of three published books which include Grounded in the Garden, Word Weavers, and the best seller entitled The Creative Call.

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The Creative Call was originally written for creatively gifted students that needed direction, but has become the attentive and nurturing parent that many Christian ‘would be’ artists desperately need. God is using this book to ‘fill up that which is lacking in the (creative portion) of the Body of Christ’. There is nothing else like it available. Earlier in her life she had looked hard for a book that would minister to her as a Christian artist, and couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for, so, she wrote it herself. Today Christian artists in many fields are thankful that she heard the creative call.

As the meeting ended, I wished I could just take Janice home for encouragement and clarity whenever I needed it, so I bought The Creative Call. After I returned home, I read the first two sections of my newly signed book, and was awed at the wisdom and skill in which the nutritious words were presented. I even cried a little as some of those words reached deeper than is humanly possible. Anyone who is hungry can feast on the words of wisdom that Janice has obediently transcribed for us, for she preserved within the pages nutrients we will need in order to reach our full stature.

Thank you, Janice, for your obedience in feeding the sheep. Keep on truckin’ sister!

By Claudia Barrington, FCCW Member