The Game Blocks of Life Copyright 2021 Beth M. Jones Book Cover Design Copyright 2021 Leah Merae Jones
Last night I finished the second edit on my new fiction book, The Game Blocks of Life.
Our talented daughter Leah, who is a graphic designer, designed the front cover for me. (Pictured above) I bought the image of the colored blocks on iStock, where I always find the perfect image for my book covers.
My goal now is to get the third edit done by this Friday (October 22) , and then print out the manuscript for a more thorough edit. There’s something about printing out a manuscript that helps you to find content, spelling, and grammar mistakes easier. Then I’ll do the final proofreading before publishing it at Amazon.
Do you love writing? Do you want to write a book? Joseph Epstein, essayist short story writer, and editor, said at the beginning of the new millennium that 81% of people want to write a book and that statistic likely still holds true!It’s time to write YOUR book!
I started a new, part-time job outside the home this year, so I’ve been extra busy and blogging hasn’t made the top of the to-do list.
But I decided this weekend to just sit down and blog, and wanted to share about my Serene September Writers’ Get-away I hosted and spoke at in fall 2018. Four Christian women writers attended, and it was so fun that we want to do it again this year!
The venue for this writers’ retreat was at the Bethany House in Butler, Missouri.It’s about an hour south of Kansas City, MO. This is a beautiful, fully-furnished house with three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms in a quiet neighborhood, that has been completely remodeled inside and out.
It is a relaxing, quiet place to pray, refill, and be refreshed. The women and I love it!
Outside porch with rockers
You can sit outside in a big rocker on the wrap-around porch, make some popcorn and enjoy a chick flick on TV in the living room, watch the birds with your coffee in the morning in the sunroom, or sleep in late in the master bedroom, queen bedroom, or upstairs bedroom decorated in a children’s theme, which is where I prefer to stay because it’s so cute and comfortable!
Living room to watch a good chick flick!
The sunroom is my favorite room. I love sitting in there in the morning, drinking my coffee, journaling, and watching the birds. The sun comes streaming in through the windows.
coffee in Bethany House cup
Windchime in sunroom
Stenciling in sunroom
It is so peaceful. I’ve stayed at the Bethany House several times overnight just to be alone, think about my life, and pray. The owner of Bethany House has pretty decor like this candle and angel below to set a tone of serenity and prayer for the house’s atmosphere.
candle and angel
I love buying gifts for people and bought the ladies attending a gift bag, each in different colors. I included goodies like a journal (to jumpstart their writing!), Sharpie ultra-fine, black pens, sticky notes, hand lotion, a little bag of tissues with sayings on them like “Seize this moment” and “Find your fearless,” chewing gum, and a Dove chocolate bar. They loved them.
I used my daughter Leah’s violin music stand to set my teaching notes on and we used used the formal dining room as our classroom and to eat. Both worked perfectly!
On Friday evening, I taught the first session of the retreat. Then we went out to eat supper at the local Mexican restaurant, El Charro–fun! When we came out of the restaurant, we saw a beautiful night sky!
Afterward, the ladies made popcorn and enjoyed the chocolates I’d brought them for the weekend, and stayed up watching chick flicks in the living room and talking. I think this set the right tone!
The next morning, I fixed the ladies breakfast (scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee). They were free to sleep in as long as they wanted!
Two of the ladies have a house full of kids, so they really needed this time of R & R!
The house has all the amenities of a nice hotel–including little shampoos and other toiletries and soft, white robes!
One of the attendees, my friend Liz, generously brought bagels from Einstein Brothers in Overland Park, Kansas, as she and her friend Simmie drove together to the retreat. She bought a variety, but one unique kind is their bagel with red onion, tomatoes, capers, and cold-smoked Nova Lox salmon. Delicious!
One of the attendees, Missy, and I talked prior to the retreat and I asked her to share a devotional on Saturday morning in the sunroom after breakfast. It was so good and she did a great job!
I had never met Missy in person or heard her speak before, but I am led by the Holy Spirit and my gut. Neither have ever led me wrong!
I’m so glad that Missy shared! It was anointed by God!
I taught several hour-long sessions during the weekend retreat, but I also gave the ladies some needed free time to be alone to pray, think, write, or to talk with each other. On Friday and Saturday night I went home to sleep, since I live right here in town and that gave the ladies more privacy.
The sessions included these topics: Why do you write, Getting Started, Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing, Writing Tips, and Resources that I use each time I write a book (I’ve written 17 and am about to write my next one. You can find out more about my books at my Amazon Author Page at http://www.amazon.com/author/bethmjones.
This retreat was intense with a lot of information for beginner writers, but we also took time out for FUN! That weekend was near my birthday (September 20) and Liz’s was that weekend (September 23) , so we decided to celebrate both of ours that weekend.
I brought cupcakes and Liz and I gave each other a gift. I loved the Paparazzi earrings and necklace that Liz got me! They have such cute jewelry for just $5! The ladies sang happy birthday, too!
I felt led by God to also offer Holy Communion at the writers’ retreat. This may sound unusual, but I desire to put God first with everything I do. He is the one who has given us this gift of writing, and I feel it is important to dedicate the writing of our books, blogs, and everything we pen to Him, for Jesus’ glory.
I ended the retreat by answering any questions they had about writing. I encouraged them that I’d be first in line to buy their books!
One of the ladies, Missy, emailed me this after the retreat: “We leave for vacation in Angel Fire, NM for the next six days and I have plans to write and take photos for my book project (an inspirational “coffee table” type book about all that I have learned “In the Valley” of this year) while I am there! I can’t wait to just start!”
Another lady who attended, my friend Liz, has written an exciting adventure novel and a devotional book on the Lord’s rest, both which she plans to publish soon. I’m so excited for her!
Before the retreat, I also prayed for God to give me a Scripture and a song for each lady there. We concluded the retreat by praying for one another. This was one of the most powerful parts of the retreat, where the ladies and I received prophetic words for each other. We were all ministered to and cried! God is so good!
I brought a few visual aids to the retreat for the teaching times, such as my Cinderella glass slippers (this is my signature speech) and the Curious George monkey that was a gift to me years ago when I attended renown speaker Florence Littauer’s CLASServices speaker/writer retreat. She said always be curious!
For my birthday, my family gave me some fresh beautiful red roses and sunflowers, which are my favorite kinds of flowers. They made such a gorgeous centerpiece in the sunroom!
The ladies loved looking at them all weekend!
If you’d like me to speak at your women’s conference, retreat, or event sharing my powerful testimony or about writing your book, I’d love to come encourage you and your friends. You can contact me here at my website.
One of the ladies at the retreat, Missy, gave this testimonial:
“Thank you for all of your planning and prayer and preparation for the amazing retreat this weekend. Your passion for encouraging women to find and follow God’s calling to WRITE is simply contagious. Your willingness to be transparent, genuine and compassionate toward each of us was a blessing. Every detail was covered, everything we could possibly have needed was provided for, and every question we had was answered. You went above and beyond to ensure that we were thoroughly blessed, carefree and able to remain focused on what God was speaking to our hearts this weekend. Saying “Thank you” doesn’t seem like enough! I have buried this dream for long enough. Because of this weekend, I am moving forward with three projects immediately, and I came home with a list of up to 20 additional writing projects to work on in the future. How amazing is that!”
Liz shared her experience about this retreat: “Beth had a great writing retreat in a lovely retreat center. She paid attention to a lot of little details, which added to our experience and had some great teaching time which was helpful. I personally needed more time to write. But I ran into some personal snags which kept me from writing. The rooms were great and the food was great, too! Loved it!”
This week I’ve been attending Chandler Bolt’s onlineSelf Publishing Success Summit, with 37 speakers on the topics of writing, marketing, and publishing your book. It has been excellent training, and I’m learning so much. I have only been able to catch a few of the replays, but the ones I’ve watched are so inspiring.
Some takeaways I’ve had with self-publishing your book/eBook on Kindle for Amazon (some of these I already knew):
Know your audience and what they really want-you can find this out by asking your subscribers in your ezine, through a survey, or by studying Facebook analytics;
Offer value, such as a permafree ebook or your reader lead (freebie at your website in exchange for their name and email address) and valuable content with your ezine;
Create a series on Amazon, because series do great and Amazon begins promoting them for you if the book does well;
What are your competitors offering on Amazon and at what price;
Storm Tossed ecover Copyright 2015 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net
The summit is timely, as I just released my first ever fiction book, Storm Tossed, which became an Amazon Best Seller the first day in its category and sub-categories. I’ve been surprised and so encouraged to see 5-star and 4-star reviews about it. You can check it out for your Kindle at Amazon here. The price right now is just $2.99.
Our daughter Leah and I are reading a great book right now called Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff. In today’s reading, Jon shares about starting out his public speaking career by speaking to only 12 people at a rehab center (not, as Jon says, the place someone typically aspires to speak at, to those who are in one of the worst seasons of their lives, and having to speak for free), and by joining finance whiz Dave Ramsey‘s team versus being on his own.
Why did he speak at the rehab center? Why does he want to learn from Dave Ramsey?
“Because I want to be led. I want to learn from a master. I want to admit time and time again, “I don’t know the best way to do this. Will you teach me?”
Jon encourages you and me: “Be led. Be taught. Remain a learner.”
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I desire for God to lead me in this exciting, and unpredictable and challenging, journey called life. I want Jesus and other smart, successful people to teach me what I need to know. I want to learn new things.
What about you? What are you learning lately? Leave your comments below.