Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

Because mine is a how-to blog, writing a blog-hop interview this week is a treat. My nominees, the rules, and their questions follow the interview.

Thank you, Paula Mowery, for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

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Here are Paula’s questions and my answers:

What is something you would count as a “success” from this past year?

Naturally, debut Calculated Risk’s release. But when I launched my weekly how-to blog in 2012, I wondered how long it’d be before I ran out of things I knew how to do. So my 2014 success was celebrating my 100th blog.

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Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

Naturally, Jesus. Unfortunately, also the Enemy, the devil, with his relentless temptations. But through Christ’s victorious influence, I know Him and have eternal life.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Naturally, stoves are hot. But in 1981, I protested to John that I was too much older than he to marry. When he was eight, I could’ve been his babysitter. He said, “Look at it this way, when you’re eighty, I’ll be seventy-two.” Our age gap is actuarially sound. We should die about the same time. 

If you could have a week to retreat, where would you go and what would you do?

photoNaturally, heaven. But my sister and brother-in-law and John and I have already scheduled a winter retreat in the Dominion Republic. I’ll sit under a palm tree on the beach and read instead of write books. And celebrate my sister’s birthday.

 

Looking back on this year, what are five things you are especially thankful for?

Naturally, my five senses. Equally, my five grandchildren who keep me young and laughing.

What is one lesson you feel you learned this past year?

Naturally, book promotion is overwhelming. More importantly, God is the Great Orchestrator.

If there were no limits, what is one goal you would like to achieve this year?

Naturally, to win the Christy Award. No limits? I’d like to finish this next book within six months.

What is one Bible verse that is special to you and why?

Naturally, Proverbs 21:19 (below). But staying positive, Galatians 6:9. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. One thing I do well is persevering.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?

Naturally, lose 10 pounds if I did. But I don’t make resolutions. For fifty-two weeks, I send weekly goals to my accountability partners. That’s enough.

512px-David_and_GoliathDo you set goals for yourself in your spiritual life? Give an example.

Naturally. This year I worked on inner giants that hinder my faith walk. Nagging is one. That’s why I mentioned Proverbs 21:19 above. Better to live in a desert than with a … nagging wife.

Paula, thank you for this opportunity to join in and introduce interesting and helpful bloggers to others.

My nominees:

Valerie Comer, Kristen Blankenship, Jane Thompson, Joanne Sher

The rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
  3. Answer the 10 questions you’ve been sent.
  4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.

Their questions:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What was the topic of the blog you wrote that had the greatest impact on your readers and why?
  3. What is your process from getting a blog idea to announcing your just submitted post?
  4. What is something you’d like to learn how to do to improve your blog this year?
  5. What kinds of blogs do you enjoy reading?
  6. What are three words that best describe who you are?
  7. What book did you most enjoy reading last year and why?
  8. What is a non-blogging goal you’d like to accomplish this year?
  9. When you’re not blogging, what do you enjoy doing?
  10. What was a spiritual lesson you learned in the past year?

2 Reasons Why You Must Make Your Characters Struggle

“You can’t relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle.” — Timothy Dalton

 

by grafter
by grafter

Recently, I read about people being intrigued with reading or writing books with characters traveling in time. Characters get to go back and right a wrong. Or prevent a future undesirable event.

So why would I say it’s important to make characters struggle if readers enjoy stories where characters can change bad outcomes?

Reason 1

If characters could go back or forward in time at will, they’d less likely learn from their mistakes and struggles. And why would they even try when they could always go back and redo what they didn’t like. Or go forward to prevent a disaster.

Characters who’ve risked nothing in the game of life do not attract readers. Click to tweet.

Even animal characters in children’s stories have struggles and lessons learned. Those three little pigs certainly did.

Image courtesy of Dr Joseph Valks at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Dr Joseph Valks at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Time travel authors know this. Characters in time travel books are usually allowed to time-travel only a limited number of times. And they still have obstacles and struggles in each time period. And sometimes what they accomplish is something different than what they set out to do.

I think the unique kind of struggles time travelers face makes these stories appealing.

Reason 2

I think many readers are attracted to books whose characters handle struggles similar to theirs. If nothing else, they take comfort that others deal with problems like their own.

We love the conflict between the hero and heroine in romances. But usually these two characters face other struggles as well.

by AuntLaya
by AuntLaya

In Marion Ueckemann’s Helsenki Sunrise, Marion shows in this delightful romance how God orchestrates the bad things that happen in our past into something beautiful. It depicts how we waste our precious time being bitter and missing out on what God has for us.

In my contemporary romance, Calculated Risk, Cisney can choose to be hassled by her father or stand up to him. As a reader, besides the romance between two opposites, I’d like to see how Cisney learns to respectfully stand up to her father. Especially in his trying to control her profession and who she marries.

As a reader, I want to grow in character from the books I read.

Readers grow when they learn how characters deal with their struggles. Click to tweet.

If Cisney in Calculated Risk is still accepting her father’s bullying by the end of the book, why would you be, or not be, satisfied?