Friday, April 11, 2014

Step by Step Guide to Creating a Newsletter Part 2: Linking Documents

I hope you've started to design your newsletter and worked on your incentive for sign ups. If you missed last week's post, catch it HERE. Today, we'll pick up where we left off after we hear from Jeanie.  

Jeanie is a fellow Wordsower and newly published author with a story appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen. Released February 4, 2014. Every week, she shares her journey experience of building a platform. 
Connect with Jeanie: 
website (you can sign up for her newsletter here as well)

Jeanie tell us about your WIP: King Elyon. The first chapter is one of your freebies and the book is the reason you’re building your platform. Tell us what your book is about. 
Orphaned twins Asher and Zadok slave in a nightmare world ruled by the brutal Overlord. A mysterious Voice in the night propels the teens on a daring escape. Pursued by vicious Watchers and other savage creatures, the brothers seek out the forbidden Wise Woman. Her startling revelations point them toward refuge with King Elyon, the powerful ruler of Galya.

Along the way lies and deceptions drive the brothers apart. With danger pressing on every side, each must decided who to trust. Will their journey lead to freedom...or destruction?

Who is your audience? 
I originally envisioned King Elyon for 5th-6th graders. Based on input I received from several authors, I have expanded it to a young adult fantasy novel applicable for both the CBA and ABA markets. I'm writing it as an alternative to the Harry Potter and Twilight type books.

Why this book? 
I'm praying that people who don't know God will be drawn to him through it. At the same time, I shy away from being "preachy."

You are going the indie route with self-publishing. Why not look for a traditional publisher? 
Julie Christensen's self-publishing class struck a chord with me. The market is changing. Bookstores are closing.  A traditional publisher may be less likely to publish my work, given the wide range of established authors they already have. Self-publishing gets manuscripts to market quicker, and I have more control over my content.
Are you looking forward to Lee’s presentation at our monthly meeting next week? 
Lee has years of experience in the market, both as an author and as an editor, so I'm eager to hear what he's sharing. I hope he touches on the editing aspect of self-publishing. I've seen self-published books that would have been great had they been edited. Even the most beautiful gems need to be cut and polished to make them shine.

How-to Link your freebie to your newsletter. 

1. Have your document in PDF form. 

2. Open the text box where you want the link to your freebie to appear.  Within the text in your text box, highlight the word(s) you want to link your document to. 

3. Click on the link button.

4. When this box appears, click on the arrow for the drop down menu. Choose "file".

5. When the file manager box appears you can now upload the PDF document you have ready. Click on browse for a file then upload. For future issues, if you already have the file uploaded, you can choose "files" on the bar across the top and choose it from there. 

6. Once you have chosen the file you want uploaded, this box will appear. Click "insert". Your document is now inserted into your text. 

7. At the top right of the design frame click on the preview and test button. On the drop down menu, click on "enter preview mode" (NOT send test email). From here you can make sure it looks right and test the links. 

I do not recommend sending a test email until you go back and check all your text, pictures and design. You can preview and test links at any time through the design process.

Next week, we will cover sign up forms, scheduling your newsletter and sending out a test email. 

If you have any questions, please leave them below. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lee Warren Brings News of the Changes in the Publishing World

Before the WordSowers 2014 conference in March, we posted an interview with Lee Warren, our workshop presenter for this Thursday, April 10. Take time to read the first interview and you’ll know Lee even better. 

Lionhearted Kat: In the last interview you said by attending the HACWN conferences in KC you “…ended up building a relationship with an editor I met at one of those quarterly conferences and I still write for him to this day, even though he has changed publications.” We have many authors writing books. Do you recommend beginning with writing articles, a book, or building relationships?

Lee: Every writer’s journey is different, but I don’t think these three options are necessarily mutually exclusive. At the very least, writers need to be involved in building relationships while also working on articles or a book.

I started by writing articles. I landed an on online singles column with Christianity Today long before most people were online. But not much grew out of that experience because I wasn’t building relationships with other editors. I don’t even know I was supposed to, but when I received a flyer for the HACWN conference, it sparked an interest in me to know more about the publishing industry, so I attended it.
At that conference, I met the editor for Decision Magazine (published by Billy Graham’s ministry) and began to build a working relationship with him. Two years later, he published my first article.
Meeting with editors and publishers at a writers conference--photo by Kat 

Later that same month, I met the editor of Sharing the VICTORY Magazine (published by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at an HACWN quarterly conference. He’s the editor you mentioned in your question. After writing eight or nine articles for him there, he went to another publication and when he needed freelancers, he asked me to join his stable. I’ve probably written forty or fifty articles for that publication, and I continue to write for it.  

Writing articles helped to build my creditability, both as a sportswriter and a journalist. As I met more editors at conferences and mentioned my article writing experience, they were open to talking to me about book ideas. My NASCAR book, Racin’ Flat Out for Christ stemmed from one such conversation with an editor.
In my case, books flowed out of articles and relationship building.  

Lee Warren has more to share--on the interview page (for the rest of the story.) 
Lionhearted Kat: The April workshop info is found below. See you Thursday. 

April 10, 2014—Lee Warren presents: Navigating the Self-Publishing Maze
Two major shifts are occurring in the publishing world right now. Large traditional publishers are narrowing their pool of authors in favor of authors with large platforms. And at the same time, the price to self-publish is dropping dramatically as many options abound. In this informal workshop we will talk about the self-publishing process, whether or not you need to hire an editor or cover designer, and we'll examine a number of low cost (or even free) self-publishing options

Lee Warren is a founding member of WordSowers. He has written six books and hundreds of articles for various magazines, newspapers, and websites. He critiques manuscripts for The Christian Communicator Service, on-staff with CLASSeminars and owns Christian Manuscript Editing Services.

                                                                  Follow Lee

Friday, April 4, 2014

Step by Step Guide to Creating a Newsletter Part 1

Jeanie is leading the charge on building your platform.  Let’s touch base with her and see how it’s going with her newsletter.

Jeanie is a fellow Wordsower and newly published author with a story appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen. Released February 4, 2014. Every week, she shares her journey experience of building a platform. 

Connect with Jeanie: 
website (you can sign up for her newsletter here as well)

After you figured out how to work with Mail Chimp, how long did it take you to put your newsletter together?
4.3 seconds. In my dreams.

Here again I turned it into a horrific process. I came up with an overload of ideas unrelated to anything. I'd write a segment, then delete it. Rewrite. Delete it again. Days of furious writing wound up in my computer's dungeon.

Instead of one Spring story, I wrote four.
I agonized over what to offer as a sign-up incentive.

I didn't want to take 5-10 minutes to choose a template (which can be reused for subsequent campaigns). Heck no! Instead I spent hours creating my own plain-Jane one. Bad idea for someone whose artistic skills are limited to drawing stick figures.

What should have been a few hours work turned into 2 weeks.

How did you decide on what to offer in your newsletter? 

I looked at other authors' newsletters.
Took advice from experienced writers.
Prayer interspersed with hair-pulling sessions.

 What kind of signup response have you had?

My mom and I comprised my first list. (Thanks Mom. You're fabulous!) So even though I don't have a huge following yet, I'm excited to see people signing up every week.

Is there anything you will do differently next time?
Absolutely. My first newsletter is such a homely baby even this momma can't pretend any differently.

My next edition is brighter, bolder, and easier to read. I used a MailChimp templates. In about 30 minutes I finished the basics of the Summer newsletter (including finding the pictures). It looks sooooo much better.

Plus I've chosen the perfect gift card for the next drawing.
Any advice for those who are just starting to consider a newsletter?

Don't panic. Keep calm and write on.

Read other author's newsletters to see what you like about them. Utilize the things that resonate with you...and I'm not talking plagiarism here. Check out their sites to get an overall feeling for what you want in yours.

People are inundated with online invitations daily. Offer an incentive for them to join you.

Think your content through, but don't second (and third...and fourth...) guess yourself.

Ask for help. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

Now it's your turn - let's get started. 
You've decided on the content. What's next? 

1: Choose your service and set up an account. Since I use Mail Chimp, all illustrations for this article will be from that service.

2: Get familiar with what your service has to offer. Let's start at Mail Chimp's dashboard. The two icons you need to know about for this post are the campaigns and lists icons. 

 3: Create a list:

 Lists are the groups of people who sign up to receive your newsletter. You can have multiple lists. For example. Here it shows my two lists. One is for my RSS driven campaign, sending my blog posts to my readers by email. The second list is my quarterly newsletter. 

Click the list icon on the dashboard and you will be sent to this page. To create your list, click on the create a list button in the top right hand corner of the list page. The instructions will walk you through this. 

Once you have a list and you click on that list on the lists page, you will be able to manage your subscribers. 

4: Create a campaign: 
Campaigns are the batch of newsletters you send out via emails. For each edition of your newsletter you have to create a new campaign. If you send out welcome editions in between your scheduled newsletter, you have to create a new campaign. 

Click the campaign icon on the dashboard and you will be sent to this page. To create your campaign, click on the create a campaign button in the top right hand corner. At the bottom of the next screen in the black band, you will see  the buttons to click on to guide you through the process. 

Once you have a campaign, if you click on one of the campaigns you can see all of the stats. How many people opened your newsletter. How many clicked through for what you are giving them. 

5: Choose your recipients 
Once you click on the create a campaign button, the first thing you will be asked to do is to choose the recipeints. You will have a choice between the different lists you have created. 

If you notice the buttons along the bottom in the black band, you will be able to tell which stage of designing your campaign you are in. The great thing? Until you hit the send button at the very end, you can change anything or scrap it all and start over. So, relax and have a little fun. 

The first campaign you want to set up will be the welcome edition of your newsletter. The reason you want to have this ready is so that when you have new subscribers you can send this out to them ASAP even if you are between regular campaigns. If you wait, they may not remember they signed up and quickly unsubscribe. You will be able to resend this same welcome edition as many times as you want, only changing the recipient. More on that next week. 

In the next few steps you will be plugging in all that wonderful content you have decided to include. My instructions today are fairly simple, but Mail Chimp has some great tutorials if you need more information. Take advantage of them. Or feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer the question. 

6: Set up the campaign. That is when you name the campaign and choose a few social media options if you want them - let it post to FB and Twitter are two. I didn't like the way those posts looked, but it may work for you. 

7: Choose your template to work with. Nose around and see what you like. Once you have a design you like, you can save the template to use in the future to make it simpler. I'm going to walk you through the Basic template choice. I like this selection because you have greater freedom to personalize it. However, as you read in Jeanie's Q & A, she prefers the pre-designed template. Find what works for you and go for it. 

8: Design your newsletter. When you click on Basic you will go to this screen next:

Have fun and play around. Click and drag the boxes on the right into the sections on the left. Click the edit button to add content. In the top right hand corner you can click on the preview button at any time. DO NOT test at this stage. In the free service you only get a few tests and you want to save those for just before you actually send the campaign. 

Next week we will pick up with the "confirm" stage of the design. But you want to have everything in place before we get there. So between now and then, be working on the steps we have covered so far.

About the freebie. You want to give people a reason to sign up for your newsletter, that’s why you offer something free just for signing up (sent with your welcome edition). Work on your freebie. Make sure it looks professional. Next week we’ll talk about how to link your freebie to your newsletter.

We will also cover designing your sign up form and where/how to share those. Scheduling and putting it out there.

Of course, don't feel like you have to wait on us. Step into the adventure and forge ahead if you are so inclined.  

If you have any questions, be sure and leave them in the comments below.  See you next week.

Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, enjoys sharing what she is learning on her platform building journey. She lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son, now in the Marines. She loves God, her family, good stories, and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook. Sign up for her newsletter here

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Next Wordsowers Meeting April 10th

April 10th, 2014 

Lee Warren

Topic: Navigating the 
Self-Publishing Maze

The Garden Cafe 

 108th & Center 
Rockbrook Village
Omaha, NE

Food and fellowship 6:00 pm
Meeting 7 to 8:30 

Wherever you are in your writing journey, come join us. We would love to have you. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Newsletter Primer

You’ve decided to embark on building a platform. You know a blog is important and you are in process of getting that set up and deciding what to blog about. But are you ready for company to drop by?

As you design your website/blog, there is an important factor you don’t want to forget. Getting permission from your readers to contact them in the future. This is how you build an audience that will want to buy your books.

Building a mailing list is the best way to get that permission. But people won’t just give you their email address for no reason. You have to give them something in return. Enter the newsletter.

Never fear, services like Mail Chimp (which is free up to 2000 subscribers) make it easy to design and mail out newletters to your audience.

To get you thinking, here are a few things to remember as you put together your newsletter:
     ·         Have a welcome edition subscribers will get right away, or they may forget 
           that they subscribed to you, then opt out once you send the next issue.
·         It doesn’t have to be weekly to be effective. Just enough to keep your name in front of them. I send mine quarterly.
·         Be consistent and follow through on promise of delivery.
·         Give them something free right up front to encourage them to sign up.
·         A collection of devotionals you have put together in a PDF format for them to download. A free short story. A free ebook (PDF download) of some sort of “how to” advice. A collection of your own poetry. ETC.

We will be writing more details next week about the newsletter. Our Google+ Hangout in April will cover newsletters, as well. Until then:
     Brainstorm ideas for what to  write about offer as an incentive to sign up. 
     Look at those newsletters you have signed up for and see what others are doing.
     Sign up for an account with Mail Chimp. Nose around and get familiar with it. 
     Check out these resources (sign up for their newsletters): 
              Michael Hyatt * Jeff GoinsTim Grahl

Before we go, let's ask Jeanie about her newsletter experience. 

Jeanie is a fellow Wordsower and newly published author with a story appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen. Released February 4, 2014. Every week, she shares her journey experience of building a platform. 

Connect with Jeanie on her website 
or on Facebook .

How did you first feel at the thought of starting a newsletter?
Confused. "How often should I send one out? What would I include? Can't I just hide 
           in the corner with my Hershey bar?"
Reluctant. "Do I really need to do this?"
Overwhelmed. "I don't understand the technical aspects of getting it to people.       
           Where do I even start?"

What benefits are you looking for with your newsletter? Instead of screaming into the vast virtual world, "Hey, look at me," my heart is to give people hope and encouragement. I want to engage people by offering them things they can use. For example, my first newsletter came out March 20th. In it I shared:
3 different organizing methods to speed up Spring cleaning
A 4-in-1 story, “Perspectives."
A fun interactive editing/voting opportunity.
A drawing for a $20 Visa gift card.

Did you run into any roadblocks along the way? Yes, an epic battle with Evil MailChimp. Actually, it's a wonderful email marketing service...once it's mastered. MailChimp and I wrestled like God and Jacob. Except for my nose getting out of joint, I came away fairly unscathed. I bogged down watching tutorial after tutorial, but the monkey's off my back.

How easy/hard was it to start? I made it harder than it should have been. I was convinced that it would be a drawn-out, painful process. So I turned it into one.

What is the link for people to sign up for your newsletter? Go to Sign up before March 31st to be eligible for the Visa gift card drawing. (Cha-Ching)

Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, enjoys sharing what she is learning on her platform building journey. She lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son, now in the Marines. She loves God, her family, good stories, and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook.
You can sign up for her newsletter here

Friday, March 21, 2014

4 Things to Help you Know What to Blog About

Are you struggling with what to write about on your blog? If you’re anything like me, these are some of the thoughts going through your head:

Why would anyone listen to what I have to say?
There are already so many bloggers out there.
I’m not an expert in anything.

Let’s catch up with our resident beginner (fast becoming experienced) and ask her a few questions about blogging content.

Jeanie is a fellow Wordsower and newly published author with a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen. 

Here on Jeanie's Perspective, she shares the process of building her platform. Connect with Jeanie on her website or on Facebook

What do you blog about? Do you have an area you stick with or do you blog about whatever is on your mind at the moment?
Recently I started blogging about the oddest or most challenging event of my week. I format it like this:
1) Share a true, usually quirky, event. Like when I hid from the nativity scene in my front yard, or cooked a possum.
2) Apply a nugget of truth, lay my soul bare, and ask who else might be struggling in that area.
3) Give encouragement through a related scripture.

Do you have a tag line/mission statement?
I thought "Truth Through Fiction" would be an awesome tag line. So did about a thousand other people who are already using it. My blog's focus is hope, humor, and encouragement. I want people to know God's crazy in love with them, ala John 3:16  
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Do you ever doubt your choice for your blog topic? 
Pretty much every time I sit down to write it. The rule of thumb is "narrow your focus to broaden your audience." I know it, but haven't accomplished it yet. Last week I learned of an author who writes Amish science-fiction. Seriously. Now that's narrowing your focus.

In order to determine what to blog about, 
it helps to know 4 things.

Know your mission/purpose. Some people like to write a mission statement. If you don’t want something long and involved, try a tag line. Can you put in one sentence what the purpose is behind your writing?

For me, my tagline is “stories of surrender, transformation, and hope”. In other words, through each story I write (and each blog post) I want to encourage women in their faith walk. I think this tag line expresses that. Here are some questions to ask as you think about what your purpose is.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Is there a pattern of what God is doing in your life?
What is your personal life message?
What is your personal life verse?

Know your audience. Its common to want to include everyone. But the funny thing is, the more specific you get, the broader appeal your message actually has. When you have a very specific audience in mind, it is easier to get personal with them. Ask yourself:
What is their age range?
What is their gender?
What are their interest?
What are their talents /abilities?
What life issue/problem are you going to help them solve/answer?
What is their life circumstance (married, single, kids or no, working, retired, etc)?
What is it about their life that gets them interested in what you write?
Is your reader fellow writers or just readers?

Know yourself. You are the heartbeat of your writing. It’s how you shine through and stand out from everyone else. People are attracted to YOU, not just the WHAT you write.
What is your personality?
What is your passion?
What do you enjoy writing about?
What do you like to do?
What appeals to you to learn about?
What is your writing style? Don’t try to be someone else.

You are the heartbeat of your writing. 

Know what you know. People like to know you’re for real. And whether you outright state it or not, when you know something, it comes through. Your expert status shows. Ask yourself a few questions to shine some light on these areas.
What do you do in your spare time?
What are your talents and abilities?
When do people listen best to you?
What do people ask for your help with?
What is your degree in if you have one?
What are your experiences?
What topics “flow” out of you?

Do you see any common themes in these 4 areas? Take a minute and make some notes.

If you’re still struggling, ask those who love you to share their perspective. Write a few sample blog posts and run them by fellow writers. Then, if you’re still not sure, just START. As you blog, your spot-on-topic will rise to the surface. Don’t be paralyzed by fear or indecision. 

Are you ready to get started? Did you get any aha moments as you went through these questions? If you have already started your blog, tell me what you blog about. 

Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now off to the Marines. She loves God, her family, good stories, and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook.

Friday, March 14, 2014

4 Things to Do to Overcome the Post Writers Conference Blues

Conferences are an important part of building your platform. But after you attend one, the amount of new information you try to apply as you balance writing work with life may prove challenging.

The Wordsowers Writers Conference was Jeannie's first. I asked her to share her perspective of the conference and the days after.

What did you think about your first writers' conference?
It was incredible. The Friday night kick-off concert with Phil and Pam Morgan set the stage. I don't like to use the word "amazing" too freely, but they were. Then Lee Warren gave us a conference overview. He guided us through a maze of industry terms, and readied us to speak confidently and intelligently with industry people the next day. On Saturday, between the keynote speakers, workshops, one-on-ones with editors and publishers, skyping, and networking, I came away with a clearer understanding of the industry.  

What was the most helpful thing that you learned craft wise or marketing wise? 
I learned the importance of professional editing. I'd submitted chapter 1 of my novel for use in a workshop demonstration. It had been critiqued several times...and we have a tough critique group. I didn't expect the editor to find much to change, and was floored by everything he pointed out. Wow, what a wake-up call. I'm grateful for his expertise, and am rewriting the chapter-and book-utilizing his notes to make it stronger.

What roadblocks have you run into putting these things you have learned into practice?
I was so excited by the advice I received at the conference that I started too many things at once. Result? I have half a dozen projects half done, and none finished. For example, I'm signed up to guest blog on Kristena Tunstall's "The Journey" site, started an article to submit to Thriving family magazine, started re-working my entire novel, etc. I need to stay focused and finish one project (or chapter) instead of jumping back and forth between them constantly.

Are you looking forward to your next conference? I can't wait! 

It's not uncommon after a conference to come home and hit the ground running to catch up on what was left undone while you were gone. You keep looking at the stack of business cards or lists of names and wonder if you will end up wasting all that opportunity because you are so busy you can’t find time to follow up.

Maybe you put off submitting to one of the editors or agents you talked to because you don’t believe they really like it. You second guess positive feedback you received. Or the one project you pursue pushes all others aside. You wonder if you have focused on the right one.

Its easy to get frustrated and discouraged. If you find yourself in anyway frustrated after the conference and approaching the Post Writers’ Conference Blues. Here are 3 things to help you overcome this temporary set back.

·         Stop whatever you are doing and set aside 15 minutes to make first contact. This is time to send an email thank you to editors/publishers and other connections who spent time listening to your pitch, encouraging you and maybe even inviting you to send in your manuscript.
·         Set aside another 15 minutes to make a priority list. Be realistic about how much time you have to dedicate to following up with submissions and pace yourself. Tackle one project or goal at a time.
·         Start. One thing, one day at a time. Work your list. Just do something toward your goals. Today.
·         Give yourself grace. You don’t have to do everything all in one day. This is why you have a priority list. Do what is on your list for today and let the other items wait until their appointed time.

 Have you ever run into the post writers conference blues? 
What has helped you to overcome?

Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 22 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son who is now off to the Marines. She loves God, her family, good stories, and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook.

Jeanie is a fellow Wordsower and newly published author with a story appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen. Released February 4, 2014. 

Connect with Jeanie on her website 
or on Facebook .

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interview with Skype Publisher Sherri Langton from Bible Advocate

Sherri will skype from Colorado  

Learn how to target your writing towards a specific,
 focused audience at the Wordsowers Writers Conference (Click to Tweet)

Sherri Langton, an Associate Editor for Bible Advocate and Now What? Meets new writers and gives workshop at many conferences. I’ve talked with her at the Oregon Christian Writers Conferences, Heart of America Christian Writers Conferences and this year she will skype into our spring conference. She’s a woman of God who faced, fought and survived cancer.
Lionhearted Kat: You have been with Bible Advocate for 24 years or so—why did you start there and why did you stay?

Sherri: I started at the Bible Advocate in July 1989, after being laid off a job at a bank and being out of work for seven months. I knew I didn’t want to go back into banking; I had a degree in English and loved writing. So I looked for jobs in communication and the like. I found the Bible Advocate in a reference book at the library, sent in my résumé, and landed a job as editorial assistant. The story is wonderful of how God brought me to this office, but it’s long! I will just say that God definitely brought me to this organization. I am now associate editor. The Church of God (Seventh Day), which publishes the magazine, has been very good to me!

Lionhearted Kat:  I think I first met you at OCWC conference in Oregon about 2002. Several times we’ve been at HACWN together. What do you find is the biggest blessing from attending a writer’s conference? 

Sherri: I think meeting one-on-one with writers and helping them with their writing. I also like teaching and guiding writers to improve their work.

Lionhearted Kat: You are an Associate Editor. Do you ever write stories or have you written a book?

Sherri: I have never written a book, and frankly, I’m not a book writer. I love writing articles and personal experience stories, however. I’ve been published in over 40 Christian publications, including Decision, In Touch, Focus on the Family, and many others. I’ve also had stories published in two Chicken Soup volumes and other book compilations.
Lionhearted Kat: Give us three “good to know facts” about Bible Advocate. 

Sherri: The Bible Advocate is one of the oldest Christian magazines in the country. It celebrated 150 years of print on August 10, 2013. Though it’s a denominational magazine, a large percentage of the readers are not members of the Church of God.

Personal Questions:

Lionhearted Kat: You were diagnosed with lymphoma a year ago. Did the diagnosis come as a surprise, genetic and how did you deal with the first realization your life would change?

Sherri: The diagnosis was a total surprise. I did not handle the initial news well — lots of anger and fear. But God showed His mercy to me in so many ways during treatments. And I praise Him that my last scan was clear!

Lionhearted Kat: What did you learn through your journey?

Sherri: I don’t think I’ve realized all the lessons yet. I’m still processing all that happened and asking God to guide me through it. I do know that God is closer to me now than before the ordeal.

Lionhearted Kat: If you were sitting across from a lymphoma patient filled with fear of dying and you only had a few minutes to talk, what would you share with them?

Sherri: It’s OK to be afraid and even angry — let yourself be human. Even if you don’t feel that God is with you, He is. Know that His grace will see you through each day, one step at a time.

Lionhearted Kat: Is there a specific scripture that has helped you through tough times?

Sherri: My life verses: Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NIV):  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

And John 16:33 (NIV):  I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Lionhearted Kat: How can those reading your interview pray for you?

Sherri: Please pray for follow-up blood tests that are part of the post-treatment routine. I always get nervous when I go in to the doctor for those. I feel great and praise God for His touch in my life.

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Interviewed by The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author of Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide forCaregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. After the death of her husband she wrote From theEyes of  joyful Widow.