Celebrate my Birthday!

My brother spent several years in a country where they celebrate birthdays differently than we do in North America. The person who is having a birthday throws a party for his or her friends. I thought I would try that this year.

The price you see listed includes shipping. I think it’s a win/win. You are able to get some new books to read at a super discount, and I’m able to share some of my writing with you. I hope you join the celebration at http://ruthlsnyder.com/shop!

The books include:

If you’d like to know about other special offers and learn along with me, sign up for my monthly newsletter.

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Musical Countdown to Christmas: Go Tell it on the Mountain by John W. Work Jr.

Musical Christmas7

Welcome to Day 7 of my Musical countdown to Christmas. Today we’re going to take a look at Go Tell it on the Mountain, shared with the world by John W. Work, Jr.

Who was John W. Work, Jr.?

  • Born on June 15, 1901 in Tullahoma, Tennessee
  • Son of a church choir director
  • Grew up in Nashville
  • Earned his Master’s degree in Latin
  • Taught Latin and Greek
  • A professor at Fisk University
  • A professional musician who published more than 50 compositions
  • Decided to collect songs sung by American slaves

The Story Behind Go Tell it on the Mountain

  • The song was sung by American slaves as far back as 1865
  • In 1960 John W. Work III published Folk Songs of the American Negro, which included the song called, Go Tell it on the Mountain (author unknown)
  • Peter, Paul & Mary changed the lyrics and renamed the song, Tell it on the Mountain
  • Paul Schlossal rewrote the lyrics for children and named the song, Go Tell it on the Swingset
  • The song has been recorded by over 20 popular artists through the years

Historical Context

  • 1955 – Winston Churchill was defeated
  • 1955 – First transistor radio was produced by Sony
  • 1956 – Elvis Presley released his first song
  • 1957 – Soviet Union launched the Sputnik
  • 1958 – NASA was founded
  • 1959 – Xerox produced the first commercial photocopier
  • 1960 – Students protested segregation in Greensboro, North Carolina

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

A paperback copy of the Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas, which contains 12 stories by 12 different authors. My story, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, is number seven in this series.

12 Days of Christmas Cover


Free Christmas Short Story!

Beggar boy sleeping on cardboard sheet

 

This month I would like to give you a Christmas short story called Hope for Jimmy. All you need to do to receive this story is fill in the form below with your name, e-mail address, and tell me what you’d like me to blog about in the coming year.

I hope this story will remind you that there are people who need our help at Christmas time. Ask God how He wants you to reach out and give hope to someone this Christmas.

Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV)

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

(From The Bible Gateway)

Merry Christmas!

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The importance of asking questions!

Tips on Becoming a Better Writer shared by Glynis Belec

The importance of asking questions!

In my last post, I shared that I was getting ready for our InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference. It was great to reconnect with writer friends and meet some new writers as well. Last week I shared a summary of the conference on the InScribe Writers Online blog. Today I’d like to share some tidbits I picked up in a workshop offered by Glynis Belec. (The quote above is one of the gems she shared.) Here is some advice from Glynis, along with some additional comments from me (in parentheses):

  1. Make sure you read and write daily (This one is still a struggle for me, but I’m writing this post at 6:00 a.m.)
  2. Join writing groups (I belong to InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, The Word Guild, and The Christian PEN)
  3. Use writing prompts (Google “writing prompts” and you’ll find all kinds of interesting inspiration.)
  4. Read your story out loud, record it and listen to it; Get feedback from others
  5. Expand your vocabulary; Use a dictionary and a thesaurus (I’ve switched to using online resources like dictionary.com and thesaurus.com
  6. Re-read books and articles and examine writing structure/words/etc.
  7. Use proper grammar – check out the grammar course from universalclass.com
  8. Watch out for cliches – get a copy of the Dictionary of Cliches
  9. Don’t underestimate the power of the word “said”
  10. Know your audience and focus on them
  11. Edit with a professional
  12. Know who your literary heroes are; Read both historical and contemporary authors
  13. Make good use of your local library
  14. Meet other writers (Attending writers’ conferences and workshops is a great way to do this!)
  15. Write what you know or what you’d like to read – make sure you do your research (I enjoyed sharing some of my early childhood by using the Kalahari Desert for the setting in Cecile’s Christmas Miracle.)
  16. Try different things to find your niche
  17. Focus on how God wants you to tell your story
  18. Focus on the success of your individual story, not on trying to become the next best-seller
  19. Keep an idea book or file
  20. Journal when you are going through something (Glynis shared how her book, Mrs. B Has Cancer, was written using her journal she kept when she was going through cancer.)
  21. Writing needs to be fun too
  22. Make sure you make time to move your body while you’re writing – take breaks often and stretch
  23. Enter every contest you can and ask for feedback every time you can (One of the perks of membership with InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship is monthly contests. These are a lot of fun and you get feedback from other writers.)
  24. When you submit and receive a rejection, don’t take it personally. Your work just doesn’t fit at this time. Did you know Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 123 times?!

Thanks, Glynis for your helpful suggestions on becoming a better writer!


5 Ways to Effectively Market your Book

Book Marketing Blog Hop

For the past several weeks I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about book marketing from many different authors. Dvorah Lansky put together The Book Marketing Challenge with a diverse cast of authors who took turns sharing marketing ideas which have worked for them. Some of the strategies I knew about, but having access to specific “how-to” posts was very helpful. My only regret is that I haven’t had time to try them all out. Here are five of my favorites:

  1. Host a blog hop – this is a great way to share information and increase your audience. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in several blog hops over the past few months. If you want some tips, check out my previous posts on hosting a blog hop and creating a button for your blog hop. You can also use a blog hop to run contests or have people enter for a free copy of your book.
  2. Create something of value to give away – This sounds counterproductive; why would you spend time creating something of value and then just give it away? If you want people to BUY products from you, they need to trust that you have something that will be valuable to them. Most people are willing to give you their contact information (name and e-mail address) in exchange for something free. I’m currently in the process of updating my blog/website. When I launch my new site, I’m planning to give away Twitter Tips and Tricks for Writers as a way of building my contact list.
  3. Create graphics to share on social media sites – Whether your book is fiction or non-fiction, you can find quotes or snippets to share. Go through your manuscript and highlight what you want to share. Then, create graphics using software like The Logo Creator or Logo Design Studio Pro. This can be as simple as using a plain background and placing the quote on it or pairing the quotes with pictures you’ve taken. Make sure you include the title of your book and the link to your website so that it’s easy for people to find more information. Once you have a graphic, you can share it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  4. Interact with your audience on your Facebook Author Page – This is a strategy I’m just starting to experiment with. (You can connect with me at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRuthL.Snyder). If you haven’t set up an author page yet, check out this tip page offered through the book marketing challenge. Facebook Pages give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience, “boost” posts you want more people to see, and receive stats that will help you determine how to use the page most effectively. If you want more information, check out The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing on Copyblogger.
  5. Use press releases – I’ve found this to be a very effective way of letting people in my local area know about my books. When my novella, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, was released I put together a press release and sent it out to four local papers. Three of the four responded. One paper printed an interview, another paper printed the information in the press release almost word for word, and the third paper highlighted the release of my book. For more ideas, check out Connie Dunn’s post on Marketing Your Book with Press Releases and 4 Tips for Creating the Essential Press Release by Sandra Beckwith.

What have you found effective in marketing your books? Please share 🙂


Blog Tour for the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour LogoIn preparation for the official launch of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas paperback on Thursday, May 29th, many of the 12 authors are participating in a blog tour. I invite you to come along as we get to know other authors who participated in the collection. Here is the blog tour schedule, along with links to the authors’ blogs:

Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour

May 19 – Ruth L. Snyder at http://ruthlsnyder.com/

May 20 – Anne Baxter Campbell at http://pewperspective.blogspot.com/

May 21 – Marcia Lee Laycock at www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca

May 22 – Mishael Witty at http://bluebrownbooks.com/

May 23 – Christine Lindsay at www.christinelindsay.com/

May 24 – Sheila Seiler Lagrand at http://sheilalagrand.com/

May 26 – Jessica Ferguson at http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com

May 27 – Kathy Bruins at  http://www.kathybruins.com/writing-speaking-and-other-interests/

May 28 – Peg Phifer at http://www.whispersinpurple.com

May 29 – Jeanette Hanscome at http://jeanettehanscome.com/

What Does Christmas mean to you?

What do you think of when you hear the word “Christmas”? Snow? Turkey? Family get-togethers? Gifts? Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? Decorations? Sleigh Rides? Church? Caroling?

Sometimes we don’t stop and think about what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a different country, on a different continent. In Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, my main character, Cecile, is spending her first Christmas in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. There is no snow. In fact, the temperature is hovering in the high 30 degree range (Celsius). She is hot, and sweaty and dealing with bugs and poverty and corruption. There is no air conditioning. There is no turkey, or family to get together with, or decorations. Obviously, without snow, there are no sleigh rides, and many of the Christmas songs she grew up singing don’t fit. Well, maybe I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas does. Although the people she serves have strong beliefs, most of them don’t believe in Jesus Christ because they’ve never had the opportunity to hear about His birth, life and death. They have no Bibles. In fact, many of them don’t know how to read.

Here in North America, it’s easy to lose sight of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Often we get caught up in the commercialism of pretty wrapping paper, exquisite decorations, expensive gifts, and lavish meals. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. However, we need to remember who and why we’re celebrating. Jesus Christ, the God-man was born in a humble cattle shed and laid in a manger. He left the splendor of Heaven and laid aside His rights to take on the form of a servant. He walked this earth, ministered to people, and lived a sinless life. Then, He chose to walk the road to Calvary where He willingly gave His life as the Lamb of God. He took my place and yours on the cross. He accepted our punishment so that we can have a personal relationship with God. Then He rose again. Some day He’s coming back to earth to gather all who believe in and follow Him so that we can spend eternity together in Heaven.

It’s my hope that Cecile’s Christmas Miracle will show you what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in a different country. It’s also my hope that you will remember people you know who are overseas, whether in the military, as missionaries, or for work. Make time to send them a care package, or schedule a Skype visit with them. Better yet, go visit them and take a “walk in their shoes”. The first Christmas was about giving. Will you follow in Jesus’ footsteps and give what you can to make the lives of others better?

Enter a comment below for your chance to win a free paperback copy of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas. I will be making the draw on Thursday, May 29th and will announce the winner on my Facebook Author Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRuthL.Snyder. NOTE: You must be 18 years or older to participate in the draw.


Expectations and Cecile’s Christmas Miracle

Book Cover for Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Kathi MaciasWe all have expectations, whether we realize it or not. Here in North America we expect, even demand, comfort, food and water whenever we want them, freedom to choose where we go and what we do, money to spend on our whims, and the list goes on. In many other countries, people do not have the same expectations. In fact, in some countries people expect to die, expect to do what others tell them to do, and expect very little in the way of human comforts.

With access to information on the internet, we understand more about what life is like in other countries. We hear about airplanes going missing and not being found. We advocate for girls kidnapped from school in places like Nigeria. However, the adage that we don’t really understand someone until we’ve walked a mile in their shoes, is still true.

My main character, Cecile, from my novella, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, has expectations too. She, like many of us, doesn’t realize what some of her expectations are until they aren’t met. She knows she volunteered to serve people in a third world country, but she doesn’t expect the ignorance of basic hygiene. She knows she’ll be away from her parents and other family members, but she doesn’t expect the overwhelming feelings of loneliness, especially when she’s surrounded by many people. She knows the culture and language will be different, but she doesn’t grasp how different it will be spending her first Christmas in the heat and dust of the Kalahari Desert. One of the reasons I wrote this story was to show people in North America how different life is overseas and to remind all of us to think of others while we are celebrating Christmas with our lavish feasts and expensive gifts.

Paperback cover for Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas which includes Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. Snyder

Cecile’s Christmas Miracle has been available in e-book format since early December 2013. (You can purchase the e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.) This month my novella is being released in paperback, along with 11 other Christmas stories in the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas. (You may purchase your copy on Amazon or by contacting me at sun dot beam3 at Yahoo dot com.)

To celebrate the release, several of us who have stories in the 12 Days of Christmas collection are participating in a blog tour. At the end of the tour there will be a draw for some free copies of the paperback collection. I’ll be posting details of the tour and the draw later this week. Stay tuned!


Coming Soon: Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas in paperback!

Paperback cover for Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas which includes Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. SnyderOfficial release date: Thursday, May 29th

Includes: Cecile’s Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. Snyder

Individual Christmas stories that cover a 12-day period – to be celebrated all year long! That’s the heart of this unique Christmas collection, compiled by best-selling author Kathi Macias and including historical, contemporary, romantic, mysterious, and even Amish tales that will warm your heart, whether sipping hot cocoa while sitting in front of the fireplace in winter or under the shade tree in the summer, nursing a frosty glass of iced tea or lemonade. Beginning with a scene set 12 days before Christmas, these stories move readers, one day at a time, toward that spiritual hush of Christmas Eve, where anything is possible. Authors from various geographical locations and walks of life have spun tales that will enchant readers, even as they are drawn closer to the greatest Gift ever given. And each story, though vastly different from the others, makes the same offer: will you make room in your heart for the Christ-child as He shows up in  your life and beckons you to join Him?

Available from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or your favorite retail outlet. You make also purchase copies from me. (Send an e-mail to sun dot beam3 at yahoo dot com).

NOTE: This book is available for Kindle and Nook as well.