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.

Photo_043009_025 cropped

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.

Almon Gunter - DSC04660 - Cropped

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.

DSC04580 - Compressed

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.

DSC04591 - Cropped

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

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Resnick Urges Writers to Use Their Gift

When people use the word author, it is assumed that writing books is the person's livelihood. Hal Resnick, an author of five books, sees writing more as the natural extension of his work!

Harold Resnick

He used three different means of publishing, he expounded on the pros and cons of each method.

McGraw Hill contacted Hal while he was a professor at Temple University.  They asked him to write an education series to inspire middle school students into careers in Engineering and Construction. This added to his credibility as a writer but was also a marketing tool he could use when promoting his consulting business.  As writers, big name publishing companies are the Holy Grail of success.  It is a coveted position to be sought after by one of these companies.  Aside from the up shot of adding credibility, working big name publishing companies is not the satisfying experience one would think. The writer is no longer the Integral component of the process. It is now in an assembly line  though red tape and equipment which will eventually lead to a book.

The second method was when he was contacted to write a book to help kids with the metric system.  Here he needed the book to be a camera ready copy.  He turned the book in to a math publishing company. The book was published within three months and he never heard about it again.

The third way was self-publishing or the print on demand, such as LuLu.  This option is readily available to all writers.  With this method you pay a small fee, you receive your ISBN numbers, some connections to websites and other services a writer may need. a nominal fee is than charged for the book to go to print.  You set the sale price, pay the fee and viola you can have as many books as you want printed. Books are only printed when paid orders are received - and can be printed in batches of one! Hard cover books cost more than paperback and will take a few weeks longer to publish.


Writing and publishing books are Hal's way of giving back to the world.  He is very knowledgeable and meticulous.  He owns his own consulting business and recently published Energizing Workplace Performance. He writes articles for Jacksonville Business Journal and sends out a monthly e-newsletter. He can be contacted at

His final words of advice;"Do it! Don't be afraid. It is a gift to others and yourself"

By Tracy Redman, FCCW Treasurer