“New Solve-It-Yourself Mystery Book Coming…”
by Focus on the Family

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It’s up! Hear about my new Jones and Parker Case Files book on the Adventures in Odyssey podcast! Co-authored with Bob Hoose, it’s full of 16 original solve-it-yourself mysteries. Check it out!

Be Thoreau


In Walden, Thoreau talks about three limestone rocks he had put on his desk for decoration. He liked them at first, but then realized each one needed dusting daily. So he promptly picked them up and tossed them out the window.

“I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.”

I wonder how many things we allow to sit on our desks, requiring our attention, when we should stay focused—without compromise.

We must, like Thoreau, be “terrified” and “disgusted” at those distractions…enough to take action.

In this video, Darren Hardy shares insights from when he interviewed Jim Rohn. In short:

  1. Don’t wait for things to change. Change and things will change with you. We often wait for our job situation to change, our family situation to change…but they will change with us if we make a change.
  2. Success isn’t something you pursue; it’s something that comes from within.
  3. Hardship is hard, but success is easy. So why doesn’t everyone practice principles of success? Because they’re as easy not to do as they are to do.


Make plans now to attend the October 24-25, 2014 “Write Well, Sell Well” Writer’s Conference in Oklahoma City. Registration is available via EventBrite, including discounted “early bird” ticket options. The 2014 conference conference will be even more exciting than last year! Our lineup of speakers includes Jeff Robison, an award-winning co-screen writer of feature movies, a new children’s book track, Friday afternoon sessions, banquet and keynote. This year our conference will span two days instead of one, giving writers more opportunities to learn and network together. Check out our updated Speakers page for full biographies on our conference faculty for 2014 including Rene GutteridgeMelanie HemryCheri FullerVictorya RogersChristopher MaselliStacie JenningsGina Lynnes, and Wesley Fryer.

We will be adding descriptions and additional information to our 2014 Tracks and Sessions page in upcoming weeks. Seven different tracks are planned for our 2014 conference including:

  1. Fiction
  2. Non-fiction
  3. Screenwriting
  4. Writing for the Children’s Market
  5. Social Media & Marketing
  6. Independent Publishing / E-Books
  7. Ghostwriting

In addition to Jeff Robison‘s Friday night keynote (focusing on following your dreams as a writer) the conference will include a Saturday General Session by Christopher Maselli on Book Marketing and Social Media. A diverse array of breakout sessions will be offered by conference faculty including:

  1. Designing Your Career in Hollywood
  2. How to Get an Agent
  3. Ghostwriting
  4. How to Be Your Own Editor
  5. Writing From Your Heart
  6. How to Stand Out
  7. Creative Book Builder for iPad Workshop
  8. Independent Publishing Options
  9. Marketing Your Writing Effectively

We’ll also have a panel discussion on “Navigating Your Way Through Independent Publishing,” in which authors share their experiences working with different companies and services including “print on demand” publishers.

Please help us spread the word about the conference, register early, and get ready for an awesome two days of learning at Write Well, Sell Well October 24 – 25, 2014 in Oklahoma City!

Date: October 24, 2014—October 25, 2014
Event: Write Well, Sell Well Writer's Conference
Topic: Children's Writing, Book Marketing and Social Media
Sponsor: 2014 Write Well, Sell Well Conference
Venue: Crossings Community Center
Location: 2208 Hefner Rd
The Village, OK 73120
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

“Dear Lucky Agent” contest from Writer’s Digest

I’ve long been a proponent of contests when it comes to getting your work published. They’re a great way to get your manuscripts before editors and agents and avoid that dreaded slushpile. If you’re looking for a good contest location, check out Writer’s Digest. They regularly hold contests over a variety of topics, genres and skill…

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“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.” – Henry David Thoreau


Join us for an all-day Roundtable Workshop featuring Frank Ball, Henry McLaughlin and myself!

  • Develop your story idea.
  • Use storytelling to communicate a life-changing story.
  • Make your existing manuscript even better.
  • Transform your important message into something important to your readers.
  • Learn essential techniques for both fiction and nonfiction storytelling.
  • Engage readers online without having to be a techie.
  • Raise your elevator pitch to the top floor.

Bring your laptops, notebooks, paper and pens for interactive teaching, writing practice and discussion.

Cost is $99 and includes lunch. REGISTER BY JULY 1 AND PAY ONLY $69!

Oh no! This event was cancelled. Check my events page for more upcoming events!

Date: July 26, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.-4:30p.m.
Event: Roundtable Workshop
Sponsor: North Texas Christian Writers
Venue: Camp Fire
Location: 1700 Meacham Blvd
Fort Worth, TX 76137
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.
Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps

Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith (Zondervan, 2009)

Very interesting book on the way technology has influenced us as a society, and how that influence trickles into not only what we can do, but what we believe.

One of the more profound discussions is how reading and writing have transformed our Western society, especially America and affected the way we interact with one another (community) and the way we approach our faith.

For instance:

When my daughter Harper was two, we started singing the ABC song together. In the process we introduced her to one of the most powerful technologies the world has ever known. It’s the one you are consuming right now: the technology of letters, the invention of writing. In a way, teaching her how to read is actually teaching her brain to do something completely unnatural. The skills of walking and talking arrived intuitively over time, but reading and writing forced her brain to operate in a way that was not innate. She had to learn to compress reality into line after line of strange shapes arranged in sequence. Such a technology takes work to master and, when mastered, completely transforms our consciousness.

Also some very interesting thoughts on the difference between the way we view words vs. images:

Our brains process printed words and images in different ways. The printed word is processed primarily in the left hemisphere of the brain, which specializes in logic, sequence, and categories. Images are processed primarily in the right hemisphere, which specializes in intuition and holistic perception rather than linear analysis. I apprehend an image all at once, while I read text word-by-word and line-by-line.


In the simplest sense, written words stimulate and liberate the imagination. Images, on the other hand, usually captivate the imagination. When you read the statement “The boy is sad,” your mind could create any image it desired for that statement. The number of possibilities was only limited by the amount of time spent thinking about them. But when you saw the picture of the sad boy, the image fed you every last detail. There was only one specific possibility, so your imagination was no longer required. These differences make it impossible for the finite choices of a movie director to match the infinite choices of a book’s readers.

More of a series of essays than a complete work from beginning to end, if you’re looking for a book that’ll make you think about technology and faith, Shane provides great food for thought.