Sunday, May 18, 2014

Alten Ink Publishing

G8Press has officially closed its doors. Please come visit us at Alten Ink.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Contest, Leave a Comment for a Chance to Win Children's Book, Melinda's Museum Magic

It's a cute little book, it's a fun little story for kids 4 and up ... written by author Kelly Hashway and illustrated by Diane Madison Pitman, published by ... us (G8Press). Every page is fully illustrated ... takes up the whole page in amazing brilliant colors, really it does. Just sayin'.

If you wanna win Melinda's Museum Magic, don't edit this post and leave a comment on our G8Press Facebook page. And hit the like button, okay?

That's it, except to say the contest is open to USA peeps only. So sorry. And this little giveaway will close with a bang on July 4th. 

She's also in our E-store and available on Amazon

Monday, January 21, 2013

Writing Tips From Sandra Schoger Foster

Written for the writers at
Redlands, California
Missionary Care Team meeting
Sunday, September 16, 2012

Writing Tips for … Mind the Gap

Job 6:25, how forcibly are right words!
Revelations 21:5,and He said to me “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”
Habakkuk 2:2, and the Lord said to me “write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may be able to read it easily and quickly as he hastens by.”

Hymns: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, 1680, fourth verse: “Praise to the Lord who doth prosper their work.” So He will prosper our work as we write Mind the Gap.

Ye Servants of God, 1744, first verse: “and publish abroad His wonderful name.”

The Love of God, 1917, “Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole tho stretched from sky to sky.”

This song is from a song writer’s heart, and when the breadth and width of his words are pondered it’s so expansive one can hardly take it in. And we will be writing about the love of God in the form of ministering to missionaries. Let’s get our important message out!

The key to unlock your writing potential:

• Choose to be courageous.
It shows courage just to take the first step in writing
David stood up against Goliath, I Samuel 17
There are giants in our life (writing)
David was an unlikely person to stand up to Goliath (and you might feel like an unlikely person to write)
He was the youngest child (baby of the family)
A harpist (musician, could be viewed as not necessarily a muscular person)
Shepherd (babysat the sheep)
• What made David courageous? He took initiative.
You have to take initiative to write your passion about caring for missionaries from your perspective, and no one else can write that but you because it’s from your experience.
• David wouldn’t wear armor, but instead took five smooth stones (that’s courageous).
• What is the message God has given you to share with other churches about how to care for missionaries? He will carry it through.
• Take God seriously, but take yourself less seriously (Chuck Swindol).
• The courageous know the victory comes from God. One of the victories is holding Mind the Gap in your hand someday and seeing your name printed in the list of contributing authors and know you were obedient to the call. Another victory is knowing missionaries in the field will benefit from their home-church care team as they are ministered to in new and different ways. He’ll take your effort to write and bless it.
• The courageous look at this opportunity as an adventure.
• The courageous put aside procrastination (not easy).
• The goal is not to worry about writing perfectly, but just start typing and get something down and keep at it.
• Draw in the reader in at the first sentence. Make your chapter be a page-turner.
• Although this is basically a “how-to” or a technical type book, add heart-felt, personal times when you were on the field and someone from the church helped you … or maybe didn’t help you, and the Lord provided.

A. From my personal experience: “When Ray and I were in Papua New Guinea to help build two churches with 30 members from our church in Pasadena, it just so happened we were there over the 4th of July. Anticipating that beforehand, I purchased some red/white/blue items to celebrate amongst ourselves, festive table napkins and paper plates. Another thing I brought was a package of toothpicks with a small American flag attached to each one at the top. On each piece of cake I poked one in each slice, and put them in all our food dishes. We all loved seeing Old Glory so far from home.” That could lead into writing about mailing American items to the missionaries for July 4th, and at other special times of the year.

B. Or you could say, “Shortly after we arrived as missionaries in [name country if possible] my husband had to travel to a neighboring village for meetings and I was left home alone.” And then share the way the Lord comforted you, kept you safe and drew you close to Him. What scripture did you turn to, and how those women or men who are frightened to find themselves in a foreign country and are alone for a short or long period of time, are taken care of by the Lord … and by their home-church missionary care team.

C. Or, “When we had to send our children to boarding school it was almost unbearable. We had to go on with the business at hand as missionaries, but our hearts were torn right in two.” And share how the Lord comforted and got you through the worst of the situation, or how you home-schooled the next year, or a package came from your home-church with all sorts of treats just at the right time.

That’s meeting the “heart-felt” need. It doesn’t have to be a long story, but something to add a personal touch. In Mind the Gap you’re showing how to care for missionaries, and these are some of the things that happened and how we were helped by the care team.

Every paragraph needs to move the story forward that you’re weaving. Each sentence builds on the next, and if it doesn’t, delete it. Example: “One day I came home tired from teaching the missionary children and the phone rang.” Unless the phone was answered and it moved the story forward, it doesn’t need to be in there. It’s called a “rabbit trail.” And I might add, writers have them. I certainly do. In fact, I’ve had them in this document. That’s why editing is so important. We have a DELETE key and we use it.

Write in the positive and avoid starting paragraphs in the negative. Example: “Don’t let your missionaries go for several weeks without hearing from someone on the care team.” Instead, turn it around … “Let your missionaries hear from someone on the care team every other week or more often. Mind the gap here and keep in close contact.” Freely use the word “mind the gap” in your writing like I have done in this document. It will keep that mind-set before the reader and ties in the title.

Have enough interesting things to say that the reader can’t wait to get a missionary care group started, or enhance the one they have. The Lord will give them ideas and direction how to transition what Trinity is doing to what they can do in their church.

Have your writing edited by and editor. A relative or a friend will think everything you said is wonderful and leave it at that, which is not helpful. The Smiley library has students from the University of Redlands who are studying creative writing and will edit writing as a service. I’ve taken advantage of this service and found it very helpful. Check with the library to see if this has started up yet this fall. Find an editor somewhere who can do it. Even call the UofR and ask if a student in the English Dept. or in the creative writing dept. could critique your writing. They need the practice.

Do not start a paragraph with “I” … I did this or I did that, or I think, or I hope … that is a total writers no-no in nonfiction and fiction. You’re writing for the reader. It’s not about you, it’s about them … the churches and their missionaries. Instead of starting with an I, start it like “In our situation on the field, I found it helpful to … [whatever].” It gets in there but NOT at the beginning of a paragraph.

Avoid using “you” or “I” as much as possible. Read instructions on something you just bought. It doesn’t say “then you put this together this way,” or “I always tried to make sure….” Instructions and directions can be given without those two words. On driving directions it just says “turn right at the first street after the light” or “at the fork of the road keep to the left.” “You” and “I” are absent. It’s ingrown to use those words when giving instructions. It needs to be outward and reach toward the reader.

It’s easy to be “preachy” and “teachy” when writing a how-to book. I know something you don’t know and I’m going to tell you it right now mind-set. It can come across like that even if you don’t mean it that way at all. That’s why we edit. Fresh eyes see what writers can so easily overlook. It’s just part of the process. We want it to be a I’m coming along beside you and standing in the gap with you mind-set. I was told in a writers critique group that my book Daddy, Will You Dance with Me? was too preachy. And I did have the father admonishing the daughter in every scene as they danced together, teaching her the way of life. I took all that out and stayed with one theme that he said to her in every scene.

So when I wrote Daddy, Will You Play Catch with Me? I remembered not to be preachy and teachy, but I still found places like that and changed them to make the text softer and gentler. It’s a tendency we have and that’s fine, but it’s for this that we have edits.

Edits are your friend. When you see something crossed out or changed, rejoice. Your chapter is becoming all it can be, and being morphed, if you will, into a masterpiece.

Be sure to write DOUBLE SPACED, not single spaced. When it is being edited, the room is needed to make notes in-between the sentences. If you don’t know how to double space, please don’t try to just hit the return, or Enter, key twice. Go to Format at the top of the screen and click on Paragraph. It will say “Line Spacing” and in the box will probably say Single. Click on the wee arrow and it will give several options, one of which is DOUBLE. Click on that, and then click OK. Some computers may be different, but if help is needed ask someone to assist.

When you’re writing your piece think of “word count” and not how many pages you have to write, because you’ll be writing double spaced and it will look like a lot more pages than it really is. Use your word count under Tools along the top of your screen, and click on word count. It may be found elsewhere on a different computers. Check the word count ever so often as you write. It’s surprising how quickly the words add up. The word count that Dave wants from each writer is to be determined, I believe, but set that idea aside and just start writing. The actual published book Mind the Gap is to be about 200 pages, so the 8 ½ x 11 pages you’re using will be much different. That’s why we go by word count.

Write as though you’re sitting across the table, or room with a person from a missionary care team in another church who wants to know to how to mind the gap with the missionaries from their church. Or, start typing as if you’re writing a letter or on the phone. What would you say to them? Whatever it is; say it. Then Mind the Gap will come out very personable, easy to follow, and user-friendly. It will seem to the reader that you are right there talking with them, one-on-one, about your experiences on the field and your thoughts as how to assist the churches.

Show don’t tell is very important and a phrase I hear at every writers conference or writers critique group meeting. Don’t tell people, show them what you mean. Example: “He was very mean to me” is telling. “He locked me in a closet for three days with no food or water.” The word “mean” wasn’t mentioned, but you know he was mean because the writer showed you. This can transition into nonfiction too. Please, please be aware of this as you write.

No fancy punctuation. Expound with words not punctuation. Commas and periods will do nicely. No exclamation marks!!! Let the reader put those in their head as he/she reads, if they’re needed. An exclamation mark is when someone is shouting and we don’t want to be shouting to our targeted audience. If you’re writing about a situation in the field when the house was on fire and someone had to shout to the people to run for their lives, then yes, use exclamation marks!! I’ve read manuscripts where there were so many exclamation marks it wore me out.

Write important things early on. Don’t make the reader wait several paragraphs to find out what the little girl’s name was who almost died. Example: “Our hearts were heavy when our little neighbor girl, Tanika, was hit by a car in front of our house.” And then don’t write a backstory of her life and leave the reader hanging if she lived or died. Quickly say, “We were thrilled when we realized she
was just grazed by the car. Her injuries were minimal and she overnighted in the hospital for observation. We were able to minister to the family during this time and make inroads into their lives for Jesus’ sake. Soon Tanika’s mother started attending our Bible study.” Transition this example to a heart-felt story you want to include.

A word on editing: Please don’t think your first draft will miraculously turn into the copy that will be used in the book. Each piece contributed by the authors of Mind the Gap will have multiple edits.

Your story has to come out seamless, it has to flow, be believable, easily grasped and understood by the reader, and a whole host of things. It just can’t happen in the first, second, or third draft. My style of editing is to slice and dice. I don’t look at the author’s name and think awww she/he is so nice, I’ll go easy on them. Ask Bill Born or Dave Wilson. I would be doing a disservice if I edited that way, so please don’t take it personal. Take yourself out of the equation. It’s not about you. It’s about having a sterling book that Trinity can be proud of.

Before I ever see your work, you should edit it and edit it and edit it some more. Read it aloud. It will sound different to you than just reading it. Go over it and over it and make changes. If you’re called to write, you’re called to edit. It is tedious, boring, painstaking, but can be fun too … when you see the end-result coming closer and closer. People weren’t born knowing how to write, or paint or play a musical instrument. There is much hard work in learning these things by practice, practice, practice.

What about all the authors who wrote chapters in the Bible that we enjoy today? What if they would have said, “Ah, ya know, I’m just not a writer. I’d rather go fishing, or preach to people, or take a swim in the Lake of Galilee. It’s just not my thing.” We wouldn’t have the Bible as we know it today if any one of them took that attitude. The words burned within them and had to come out. Choose to approach this project in this manner.

If you speak to the hurting, you’ll always have an audience. You’re actually helping missionaries in the field more than you’re helping their home-church. Missionaries are hurting in one way or the other. Loneliness, homesickness, depression, language barrier, culture barrier, getting along with co-workers … you name it. They might not be hurting 24/7 but there are bouts that come and go, and the Lord will use what their home-church does in reaching out to them and help them be an overcomer.

Enter into silent worship and prayer with the Lord before one word is typed. Ask Him what He wants the missionaries to hear. Maybe He might not tell it right that minute, but as you walk in faith and start typing, He’ll reveal it and the words will flow. Schedule a time on the calendar and take time to write every day even if it’s just for a half hour. Keep a notepad handy and jot down ideas.

View what is ahead, keep your eyes on the goal … which is churches ordering Mind the Gap which includes your expertise and knowledge that only you were uniquely qualified to write. It’s Him who has put a message in your heart and called you to contribute to this book for His honor and glory and His purposes.

The pain of childbirth is forgotten holding a newborn, and the pain of writing will be forgotten when you hold Mind the Gap and realize how many people you’ll probably never meet on this earth who will benefit and be strengthened because of what you wrote.

God will bless the work of your hands.


Editorial Services

Author of the gift book Daddy, Will You Dance with Me? published by Thomas Nelson
and Daddy, Will You Play Catch with Me? published by G8Press.

She is a freelance writer and her publishing credits include writing her personal experiences with the Dobsons in Family Man, The Biography of Dr. James Dobson by Dale Buss. She contributed two chapters in Making the Blue Plate Special, The Joy of Family Legacies, by Florence Littauer, Marita Littauer, Lauren Littauer Briggs. She is a contributing author in Bein’ a Grandparent Isn’t for Wimps by Karen O’Conner, and has written numerous articles and is writing a novel. She is called upon to edit many manuscripts, articles and blogs, and has edited the writing of Bill Born and Dave Wilson, to name a few.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Book Release: Olivia's Pod: An Orca's Tale

Just in time for Christmas, right? We're really proud of our newest release, Olivia's Pod: An Orca's Tale by Kurt Meidinger. It's suitable for 1st to 4th grade students. Here's a little ditty about Olivia and Kurt.

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This magnificent creature of the sea will come alive as children follow her ocean journey. Excellent photography accompanies the story. Readers will not be disappointed. ~~ Marilyn J. Woody.

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Kurt Meidinger grew up in Hilton NY. He teaches elementary school in Yucaipa, California. Kurt began writing books to teach his students academic vocabulary and science concepts that align with state standards.

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Olivia's Pod is available in our e-Store and Amazon ... and other outlets soon.

Merry Christmas from G8Press

Friday, November 30, 2012

PazNaz Christmas Boutique

We're having a blast with our writers group, The SGV Inklings. G8Press is there with our books and I've made a few scarves which I'm selling for $5 each because we just wanna share the Christmassy feeling. People love those bargains and we love giving them. We also love to see kids enjoy books.

And here's our famous and fearless leader, children's author Marilyn J. Woody, manning our table.