Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--December 30, 2013--Leads

A Step in the Write Direction

December 30, 2013

Update: Such a good sermon this morning. Will pass on some of the highlights. In talking about the disciples being in the boat and Jesus walking on the water toward them:

1) (my thought) They were where Jesus had told them to go, but the storm still came. Christians aren’t immune from storms.
2) When God comes in the midst of a storm, it scares us because He doesn’t come the way we expect Him to.  3) Too often we’re locked into the past, but we’re not who we used to be. Old things are passed away; we’re now a child of the King.
4) Our self-esteem is wrapped up in our ability, not on His love for us. It’s not who we are, but who we are in Him.
5) He will keep that which we’ve committed—our money, our life, our children—unto Him against that day….

This was a good service for us as my husband still hasn’t been feeling good, and I’ve also been helping my sister who is losing her eyesight. It’s so good to know that the same Jesus who stilled the storm for the disciples is still the same today and will still the storms in our lives. Someone has said, “Sometimes Christ stills the storms in our lives, and other times He chooses to walk through the storms with us.” Either way, we won’t be walking alone into this New Year—which I pray will be a good one for all of you!

Thought for Today: “Ultimately, nostalgia can be dangerous to the life of faith because time does not lean backward toward the good old days. Time leans forward to something we have yet to experience.”...So God beckons us, not to the past, but to the future, God’s future” (Martin B. Copenhaver, “It’s About Time,” Journal for Preachers, Advent, 2013, 15).

Laugh for Today: My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She said, “I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds.” I bought her a bathroom scale. And then the fight started…. (If you want more of these, email me at:

Song for Today: The following was the favorite song of my lifelong friend (his mother was my mother’s best friend) who we said good-bye to yesterday:

But “I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that d He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”
            —Daniel W. Whittle, 1840–1901

Writer’s Tips:

(The following is taken from Cecil Murphey’s “Writer to Writer” newsletter and is used with his permission):

Within the past five years, I've published five compilations. The submissions arrived, and I rewrote them for a consistent tone and voice.  Too many of them started badly. Here are two examples:

1. "It was the saddest Christmas of my childhood with no food and no presents until an angel named Harry Reeves brought us a large box on Christmas Eve."

2. Many patients die during surgery, rush through a dark tunnel, see a brilliant light, then find themselves at the pearly gates. I suffered from cancer, was pronounced brain dead, and found myself in the company of angels.

In both instances, the writers summarized the story in the opening sentence, so why would I want to read them? Good stories grab my attention and emotion with the first words and beguile me with what lies ahead.

"We won't be able to celebrate Christmas this year." With tears in his eyes, Dad turned his face away from us.

That's a good beginning because the opening
* grabs our attention;
* shows tension—a problem;
* makes us care.

I like to think of beginning sentences as earning the right to receive readers' attention. Readers owe me nothing—so my first task is to interest them enough so they'll continue to read.
Good beginnings entice readers to continue reading.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--December 23, 2013--tax deductions for writers

A Step in the Write Direction

December 23, 2013

Update: This has been an interesting week. My husband was in the hospital for four days because of a foot infection, dangerous for a diabetic. They took a nuclear bone scan to make sure it wasn’t osteomyelitis (which he had ten years ago. In fact, they had an appointment set for amputation back then, but it improved). This new scan was negative, so they diagnosed it as cellulitis, an infection in the soft tissue….Then our daughter, who broke her foot before Thanksgiving, had new x-rays which showed it wasn’t healing, so she can’t work for three weeks. She’s decided to visit her sister and family in Oklahoma after Christmas….The same daughter, while visiting her dad at the hospital Thursday night, had a car accident in the parking lot (not her fault). She wasn’t hurt, but her car was damaged….So, as you can guess, we’re looking forward to this new week!!...Re: A Step in the Write Direction, I couldn’t get my rights back from the original publisher, so we’ve decided to go ahead and let them combine the original version with the Student version. I have quite a large inventory here of the Student books if you know of a home school parent or a Christian school who would like a good deal on them—$10 each, plus postage! A Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you all!

Thought for the Day: “...there ain't no more to write about, and I'm rotten glad of it, because if I'd 'a' knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't 'a' tackled it, and ain't a-going to no more” (from the last paragraph of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain).

Laugh for the Day: Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents the week before Christmas. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers when the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs. "I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE! AND AN XBOX! AND I PRAY FOR THE NEW IRON MAN COMIC BOOK!" His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn't hard-of-hearing." To which the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!"

Song for the Day:

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

            —“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,”

Writer’s Tips:

It’s time to start thinking about getting your records together for Uncle Sam. To see a list of tax deductions for writers, go to my web site:

Three most commonly misspelled words I’ve found in editing books are: lightening/lightning, lead/led, and reign/rein.

Christmas Devotional:

Jesus Is Missing

When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him (Luke 2:45).

I wrapped my jacket around me as I made my way to my car that windy December night after visiting my husband in the hospital. Thankful we lived only a few blocks away, I drove
onto our street. Pulling up in front of our mobile home, I immediately noticed something different. There was no lighted Nativity scene in the center of our front yard.

I hope no one’s stolen it, I fretted. After I parked the car and made my way around to the porch, I saw the figures in the side yard.“I guess You got blown away, Jesus,” I laughed as I picked
them up and put them on the porch where they stayed until after Christmas.

My words came back to me later as I prepared for bed. I felt Jesus had been blown away the past two weeks as my husband battled for his life in ICU. Visiting him every day, doing chores he normally did, and trying to keep up with self-employment duties had robbed me of much of my Christmas spirit. I had shoved Jesus out of the center of my life and relegated Him to the porch. That night I asked His forgiveness and invited Him to regain His rightful place in my heart.

Lord, let me not keep You on the porch of my life. May the light of Your birth shine in the center of my heart—during this season and the rest of the year.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"
"The Freedom of Letting Go"
"Motivational Moments--100-Plus Devotionals for Writers and Speakers"
"Healing in God's Time"--story of Dave Clark, songwriter
Anthologies: Christmas; Mothers/Grandmothers; Fathers/Grandfathers

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--December 16, 2013--"I or me"; end of page tip

A Step in the Write Direction

December 16, 2013

Update: A busy week with 4 editing/proofreading jobs: 50 pages, 261, 304, and 406. Done except for the 406-page job, a novel….Had more trouble with the COPD, and specialist thought it might be pneumonia. Chest x-ray not back yet, but antibiotics are helping a lot!... Really good Advent sermons the last few weeks. The first week our pastor talked on the Second Coming of Christ. Today he used the words of  “Joy to the World”—“far as the curse is found,” saying we are under the curse from Genesis, but Christ took our curse upon Himself at the cross. And “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” Good promise to remember, especially this time of the year when things can seem so crazy in the world (like here in Mesa where they found the body of a14-year-old girl in a Dumpster, and arrested the mother’s ex-boyfriend). Reminds me of the words of another song that “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.”

Thought for the Day:
If you truly believed that the Lord would return in, oh, let's say a week...
  • What would you do differently today?
  • What would you do differently tomorrow?
  • What would you do differently during the week ahead?
  • What would you do differently in whatever time you had remaining?
  • Would you examine your own life to be sure you're ready?
  • Would you live differently somehow? Would you immediately give up some habit that you wouldn't want the Lord to find you engaged in when He returns?
  • Would you talk with your friends and loved ones to be sure they're ready?
  • Would you have more of a burning desire to be sure your friends are ready to go?
  • Would you be more likely to witness to your co-workers at your place of employment? (source unknown)
Laugh for the Day:
·         Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
·         Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: “You stay here; I'll go on a head.”
·         I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
·         The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
·         When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
·         Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
·         Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
Song for the Day:
Light the fire and trim the tree
It won't be long 'til Christmas Eve
So close your eyes and make believe
That dreams really do come true

Manger scenes and mistletoe
Christmas cards from friends we know
They'll disappear like melted snow
At least for another year

Watching children as they play
Makes you wish that Christmas would stay
All year long just for
Dreamers like me
And those who believe
The joy of the season would stay
All year long like a December snow
That just won't let go
Let's hold on to Christmas this year

(Lyrics by Dave Clark; recorded for 4HIM Christmas album 20 years ago.)

Writer’s Tips:
Two common mistakes I found in a book I just edited—when to use “I” and when to use “me”. In the following sentence the author wrote: Does it have to do somehow with Lydia and I?” Leave out the words “Lydia and” and see how it sounds: “Does it have to do somehow with I?” You know that doesn’t sound right; correct would be “Does it have to do with…me?” That’s how you can always tell.

Another thing I found in this particular book was that, at the end of a chapter the author spaced down until they reached the end of the page and it went automatically to the next page. You don’t have to do this (and it’s difficult for a publisher also to have to delete all these extra lines). After typing your last line, hit Enter to go to the next line, then CTRL Enter,  and that will take you to the next page.

Christmas Devotional

The Light of the World

I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12).

It was not how I planned to spend Christmas Day. Locking the door of my car in the darkened hospital parking lot, I made my way toward the entrance. For the past five days I had gone to
my husband’s room at 8:30 a.m., left for an hour or two in the afternoon, and returned around 5 or 6:00 p.m. Now he was facing surgery the next day.

At the hospital entrance, I stood for a moment, enjoying the decorations on the lawn. Lights everywhere—on the trees, on wire-formed deer, on wooden wagons full of gifts. Lights spelling out Christmas greetings. “He really is the reason for the season. He is the Light of the world,” I realized anew.

Entering the hospital, I thanked God that His Son came into the world for just such a situation as I was going through.

•  He came to give assurance—in my dark moments, when the doctor told me that my husband was “high risk” and might not pull through the surgery.
• He came to give comfort—in my fear when the surgery had to be postponed and my husband taken to ICU for six days because of heart problems.
• He came to give joy the next week—in the waiting room when the surgeon said everything came out okay.

Lord, thank You for sending Your Son to bring light to my world. May I walk in that Light during this Christmas season, as well as the rest of the year.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"
"The Freedom of Letting Go"
"Healing in God's Time"
"Motivational Moments--100 devotionals for writers and speakers"

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--December 9, 2013--Advent devotions

A Step in the Write Direction

December 9, 2013

Update: I was excited to get my copies Thursday of the new anthology Grandfather, Father and Me—Memories, Poems, and Good Food. This is the third—and as far as I know, the last—of  the Memories trilogy, following the Christmas one and Grandmother, Mother and Me….I “accidentally” fell in to the Agent career the last couple of weeks. My friend from our critique group signed a contract for her novel, then I also signed a contract with a new friend who wrote a great book on recovery from an unexpected divorce. It’s at a publisher’s now….Don’t know how far I’ll go with this new venture, but…who knows?...What was first diagnosed as cellulitis in our daughter’s foot two weeks ago turned out to be a broken bone, so she’s walking with a “boot” now. Praying for a quick healing and for her boss that she will give her desk duty for two weeks.

Thought for the Day: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison” (Nelson Mandela).

Laugh for the Day:
 1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
 2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
 3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
 4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
 5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
 6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
 7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
 8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
 9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
 10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
Song for the Day:

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

            —“Be Thou My Vision” (Dallan Forgail, 8th Century)

Writer’s Tips: (Christmas devotions continued from Preparing Your Heart for Christmas Advent book).

A Cry for Help

In my distress I cried to the Lord, And He heard me (Psalm 120:1).

Our four-year-old son marched boldly to the front of the church and prepared to sing “Away in the Manger.” He had sung it without a hitch in the rehearsals but, unfortunately,
not with the microphone. When he hit the first note, his voice echoed back at him. He jumped back, startled, which brought laughter from the audience—and tears to his eyes.

I left the front row and knelt before him, helping him get started again and finish the song—this time to applause.

How many times have we cried for help in our distress and Someone came to our rescue?

•  When we were in doubt over which road to take in life

•  When we were depressed over an unending illness

•  When we were worried over too many bills and not enough money

•  When we grieved over the loss of a loved one or friend?

•  When we were convicted over sins in our lives

At those times, Someone knelt before us and helped us get started again. That Someone was God’s Christmas Gift to us—His only Son. And someday when we reach the end of our performance, we’ll receive not applause, but a “Well done, faithful servant.”

Lord, thank You that when I cry out for help, You are there to rescue me and help me begin again.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"
"Preparing Your Heart for Christmas"--31 devotions for the Advent season
"Healing in God's Time"--story of Dave Clark, songwriter
"The Freedom of Letting Go"

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--December 2, 2013--Advent devotions

A Step in the Write Direction

December 2, 2013

Update: Can you believe it’s December already! My mother used to say that when you got older, the time went faster—and she was right! At church yesterday, the first Sunday of Advent, our pastor talked on the Second Coming of Christ, and he suggested that one way to show His light is to do one act of kindness for the next 24 days. Is this something you could do? Pay for someone’s lunch (maybe someone in the military), let someone ahead of you in line, shovel someone’s sidewalk—if you live in snow country?...I know the Advent devotions I used last week and today aren’t really Writer’s Tips, but yet in a way they are as they show you how you can use everyday events in writing devotionals or as illustrations in nonfiction articles….If you live in Arizona and would like to schedule a one- or two-day writers workshops, let me know. I’m making out my schedule for next year. Possible sites so far: Tucson and Prescott Valley but would like more in Maricopa County. I’m also available for speaking at luncheons, retreats, etc.

Thought for Today: Either we Christian writers mean business about winning souls for God, or we should go out of business….If you have been ordained to write, woe to you if you put everything else first. Woe to you if you do not give to God the best part of the day when you are most alert, when…the juices are flowing and the mind is creative….We have the greatest subject in all history, the Man from Nazareth…the greatest commodity, the gospel; the greatest book, the Bible; the greatest gift to offer, eternal salvation. If that doesn’t motivate us…we’re in trouble (Sherwood Wirt, late editor of Decision magazine).

Laugh for Today: A man was told he needed surgery.  "Let me tell you how quickly I work," said the doctor.  "I believe in getting my patients up and around very quickly.  Three hours following the operation you'll sit up.  Five hours after, you'll stand up.  Eight hours later you'll be walking."
"Fine," the patient agreed, "but will you let me lie down during the operation?"
Song for Today: (My nephew, Dave Clark, is one of the co-writers of this song, along with Don Koch, David Allen, and Mark Harris, which will be performed tonight on CMA Christmas by Roscoe Flatts.)
A Strange Way to Save the World
Sure he must have been surprised
At where this road had taken him
'Cause never in a million lives
Would he had dreamed of Bethlehem
And standing at the manger
He saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel come to life
And Joseph said...
Why me, I'm just a simple man of trade
Why Him, with all the rulers in the world
Why here inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she's just an ordinary girl

Now I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world
To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth
But Joseph knew the reason
Love had to reach so far
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must have thought...
Now I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world
...this is such a strange way to save the world...

Writer’s Tips:

(Day #2 of Preparing Your Heart for Christmas—31 Devotions for the Advent Season)

It’s Mine!

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (1 Corinthians 5:17).

I was only seven years old when it happened, but I can still remember the details clearly.

My older brother had a job putting bicycles together at a local hardware store. One night, just before Christmas, as I sat in the car waiting for him to finish, I saw the owner place a
beautiful doll in my brother’s arms. Rolling down the window, I heard the man say,“ Give this to Donna for Christmas.”

I kept my excitement hidden when he got in the car, not wanting him to know I had heard. But when he told my mother at home, “This is for ‘Susan’ (the owner’s daughter that he liked), I shouted out, “No, it’s mine! I heard ‘Mr. Parker’ say so!”

My mother called Mr. Parker, straightened out the story, and gave the doll to me.

Aren’t you glad that when God gave us the gift of His Son, He didn’t give Him to just one race of people, or just to the wealthy or beautiful or super-intelligent?

Even though some may say we can’t have a personal experience with Christ, I’m so thankful I can say, “He’s mine! I heard God say so!”

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

SALE: Books by Donna Clark Goodrich

Will take IOUs or postdated checks for up to 30 days!!
Christmas Is Coming…These Will Make Great Gifts!!

            Title of Book_________________                Regular Price             Sale Price (plus s&h)

A Step in the Write Direction, the Complete
            How-to Book for Christian Writers                $25.00                         $15.00

A Step—Student Edition w/assignments
            throughout book                                             $17.00                         $10.00

The Freedom of Letting Go                                        $15.00                         $10.00

Healing in God’s Time—story of Dave Clark,
songwriter of 25 #1 songs                               $15.00                         $10.00

Preparing Your Heart for Christmas—
            31 Advent devotions                                      $10.00                         $  7.00

Ohio Cookbook                                                          $10.00                         $  7.00
Michigan Cookbook                                                   $10.00                         $  7.00
Writer’s Club Booklet (self-published)                       $15.00                         $15.00 (Sorry!)
Motivational Moments                                               $10.00                         $  5.00
Celebrate Christmas anthology—stories,
poems, and recipes                                          $24.95                         $17.00

Grandmother/Mother anthology—stories,
            poems, and recipes                                          $24.95                         $17.00

Grandfather/Father anthology—stories,
            poems, and recipes                                          $24.95                         $17.00

Divine Healing—365 devotions for dieters                                                    $10.00
* * *
Coming in 2014: The Little Book of Big Laughs (joke book)—160 pages for only $5.95
     Rhyme-Time Bible Stories for Little Ones—12 Bible stories in poetry

Donna Goodrich,;; will send writers’ blog every Monday to your email, or go to: