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September 22nd, 2016

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It’s Good to Be Indie: Upcoming Blog Changes

March 27th, 2015

imageThere is an upside and a downside to being an independent author.

The Upside

On the upside, if things aren’t working well, I can make changes pretty quick. If I don’t like the design of a book or a marketing plan isn’t picking up speed like I’d hoped it would, I can tweak things mid-stream.

The same can be said of how quickly I can launch new books. I don’t have to wait a year before releasing the next one. I only need to wait for all my alphas, betas and my editing software to churn through the details of each book before releasing it into the wild.

That’s what’s great about being in complete control. However…

The Downside

Being in complete control also means that all the major tasks land right on my desk. I can delegate some things, but the bulk of this business of being a writer is all in my hands. That means if a monkey throws a wrench in my water works (nothing like mixing metaphors ;)), then I’m the one who has to fix it.

Right now I have a whole troop of monkeys throwing all manner of tools in my direction and I’m alternating between fixing the damage and playing dodgeball with them. But, as the dodgeball master said, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” (If you haven’t seen the movie Dodgeball, you really should. ;))

Hence this post…

The Monkeys

If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few months, you know that our home flooded — twice — and we have a new baby. And now (cue the dramatic pause) my day job has just gone from four days per week to five, with alternating Saturdays off. That means that, although I’m making more money in the short-term, my writing days during the week are gone.

So, in the midst of doing home repairs ourselves and raising two daughters, my writing time has been significantly reduced and the opportunity to record a monthly message has become non-existent.

But don’t fret, because, as I said earlier, being an indie has it’s upside.

Upcoming Changes

I believe God has called me to offer my readers the opportunity to meet Him in new and unexpected ways. That’s why I began posting monthly messages and Bible studies. I won’t be able to produce these in the same way for the time being, but what I will be doing is something new and exciting.

Starting in April I’ll be posting a short devotional once a month and an illustrated verse each week, except the week of the devotional post. For an idea of what the illustrated verse will be like, check out my post Wordless Wednesday: Matthew 4 4.

In The Meantime

My Bible studies are available at most e-tailers and on this site and I will continue to write more in the future, so be sure to sign up for one (or both!) of my newsletters or subscribe to this blog for updates on those future releases. You can also scroll down for purchase links.

Also, while I won’t be producing podcasts on a regular basis for some time, you can purchase One Servant’s Heart – Vol. 1, which is the first six messages as .mp3s in a .zip file, on this site for as little as $1. I will be compiling the rest into Vol. 2 over the next couple months. You can also scroll down for the purchase link.

I hope these exciting changes will inspire and uplift your spirit.

God bless!

***

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If you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

 

 

 

 

Front-Cover-25-percent

God promises to be with us through everything,
encouraging us to trust him through every situation we encounter.

Individuals and groups alike will find themselves
discovering that every day is a new opportunity to see God’s touch on their lives as they journey through scripture to uncover that:

    • No Matter Who You Are…






    • No Matter How You Feel…






    • No Matter What People Do…






    • No Matter What Happens..






    • No Matter Where You Are…






    • No Matter How Little You Have…






    • No Matter What You’ve Done…






    • No Matter How Old You Are…






    Trust God!
    Paperback edition also available on Amazon

    .

    Ebook version available for Kindle, InkteraNookKobo, and Scribd or…

    buy the .pdf version here

     

    Vol1Cover25percent

    Get six Bible based, inspirational messages by Virginia Ripple from the blog One Servant’s Heart all in one .zip file.

    Messages include:

      • Called to Forgive Called to Serve
      • New Beginnings
      • No Fear In Love
      • The Boneyard
      • The Dirty Little Penny
      • The Hardest Commandment

      Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

       

      Simply Prayer ebook

      When we find ourselves stymied by what we think prayer should look like, it’s time to step back and think like a child. God loves each of us and wants to hear from us.

      Prayer can be as complex as we want or as simple as we need, but sometimes we need a little help getting started. In this book you’ll discover the basics of:

        • What prayer is
        • Why we pray
        • How to pray
        • How to know your prayers are answered

        From repetitions to labyrinths to dancing to journals, it is all Simply Prayer.

        Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or…






        buy the .pdf version here

        You can purchase this book at Amazon.com or in my CreateSpace store front.

        Or Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

         

        Fear Not

        When life seems impossible to cope with, God reaches out to remind us of his promises for our lives. Journey through scripture to meet God in new and unexpected ways as you discover what it means to “Fear Not!”

        Anyone can use Fear Not to meet God in new and unexpected ways.  Each of the eight sessions begins with an introduction, then moves on to a scripture reading (included), questions to ponder, a meditation picture and lastly a list of possible hands-on projects you can do.

        The eight sessions are:

          • Session 1 … God is always with us






          • Session 2 … God is in control






          • Session 3 … God keeps his promises






          • Session 4 … God keeps us safe






          • Session 5 … God provides for us






          • Session 6 … God reveals himself to us






          • Session 7 … God gives us new life






          • Session 8 … God sends a Helper to us






          Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or …

           buy the .pdf version here

          Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.

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            "Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10 31 (World English Bible)   *** If you haven't already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they're published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email…
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              *** God promises to be with us through everything, encouraging us to trust him through every situation we encounter. Individuals and groups alike will find themselves discovering that every day is a new opportunity to see God’s touch on their lives as they journey through scripture to uncover that:…
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          January Reader Event

          January 15th, 2015

          image

          It’s an honor to have such wonderful readers as each of you and to celebrate your awesome-ness 17 of my writer friends and I have teamed up for a January Reader Appreciation Event from January 15 – January 30, 2015.

          Here’s the deal: It’s simple.
          In honor of YOU, the READER, we’re giving away prizes!

          1st prize – $250 Gift card (Winner’s choice)
          2nd Prize – $75 Gift card (Winner’s choice)
          3rd Prize – $50 Gift card (Winner’s choice)
          4th Prize – $10 Gift card (Winner’s choice)
          5th Prize – $10 Gift card (Winner’s choice)
          6th Prize – $10 Gift card (Winner’s choice)
          7th Prize – $10 Gift card (Winner’s choice)
          8th Prize – $10 Gift card (Winner’s choice)

          Scroll down to join this fantastic event and click the buttons in the Raffle below!

          We’re also having flash giveaways of eBooks, paper books and more at our Facebook Event.

          a Rafflecopter giveaway

          Master Cat Cover Reveal And Pre-Order Info

          September 23rd, 2014

          I want to thank everyone for helping me choose the cover for Master Cat. I’m so excited to show it off, so without further ado… the winner is:

          It was a close race, with one deciding vote. The majority of you voted for angry Toby for my new novel, Master Cat, scheduled for release October 27. For those of you who just can’t wait to buy the new novel, you can pre-order it now for your kindle.

          And in case you’re wondering what the breakdown was, here’s a pie chart showing just that:

          Percentage Cover Choices

          ***

          Catch up on the adventure with other books in the Malkin series.

          Apprentice Cat CoverApprentice Cat available in paperback and for KindleNookKoboScribd and iTunes.

          Buy the .pdf now 

          Also available as an audiobook on AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

           

           

          Journeyman-Cat15percentJourneyman Cat available in paperback and KindleNookScribdiTunes and Kobo.

          Buy the .pdf now 

          Also available as an audiobook on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

           

           

          Secrets-of-the-Malkin-sidebar-newsletterSecrets of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookiTunes and Kobo.

          Buy the .pdf now 

           

           

           

          Huntress of the MalkinHuntress of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookKobo and iTunes.

          Buy the .pdf now 

          God Reveals Himself To Us: Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19

          June 25th, 2014

          bigstock-Open-Bible-glowing-with-Cross-26156423

          Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19

          “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

          Matthew 16 16

          Whether it is in the face of a delighted child or the crash of thunder during a storm, God reveals himself to us. Sometimes he catches our attention in a way we cannot ignore, like when he appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Sometimes we miss seeing or hearing him entirely. Many times we eagerly race toward God only to become afraid as we begin looking around us, just as Peter did when he stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water.

          Although God wants us to see and hear him each time he reveals himself to us, he doesn’t stop reaching out just because we weren’t paying attention. God repeatedly revealed himself through Jesus even though those around Jesus often mistook his acts as those of someone else . The reason Jesus’ acts were attributed to the return of a prophet was most likely because God was revealing himself in a way the people of the time were not expecting, yet Peter saw him for who he was and proclaimed in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Seeing God reveal himself in our day to day lives means being aware of our surroundings and, sometimes, expecting the unexpected.

          As you read Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19, try to remember a time in your life in which God revealed himself to you. Then, download the Questions and Reflections and take some time to work through them before engaging in the Meditation Activities below.

           

           

          Meditation Activites

          Jynette w funky do

           

          Find a quiet place, preferably in nature, and take 10 to 20 minutes to contemplate what the above image means to you as it relates to the reading of Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19, then choose as many of the following suggestions as you would like to express your thoughts and feelings outwardly.

          1. In your journal, write a free-flow of thoughts and descriptive images as they come to you regarding the picture and its relationship to how God provides for you.
          2. Spend some time with a child. Notice their reaction to discovering something new. Think about how God might be revealing himself to you in a new way.
          3. Go to a park or zoo. Watch the people and animals around you and ask God to reveal himself in a special way. If you have the equipment, take some pictures. Put the pictures together in a scrapbook or collage to remind you of a time God revealed himself to you.
          4. Decide on your own creative way to express your feelings and thoughts regarding how God has provided for you.

          ***

          For more non-fiction work, including Bible studies, check out my Non-Fiction page.

          You can also purchase your eBook copy of Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives for NookKindleKobo, and on Scribd or a paperback copy from Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.

          New-Subscriber-thumbnailIf you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

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          • 85
            “Yahweh shall give you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to satisfy you.” Exodus 16 8 It is quite easy to believe God will provide for you when you have your basic needs. However, not many of us can say that we trust God to provide…
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            “It shall happen… according as he has promised….” Exodus 12:25 Believing God keeps his promises is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. We’ve often had others break their promises and been guilty of breaking them ourselves. However, God shouldn’t be measured by human standards. Whether we believe…
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            “[God] said, ‘Certainly I will be with you.’” Exodus 3:12 Have you ever watched the latest news cast and wondered, “Where is God in all this?” Have you ever sat under the stars, feeling smaller than the smallest ant, and thought, “Is God out there somewhere?” Have you ever asked:…
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            “Thus says Yaweh, ‘In this you shall know that I am Yaweh.’” Exodus 7:17 We have heard and read about the miracles God has performed both in the Bible and in modern times. Most of those miracles were obvious demonstrations of God’s power. However, the power of God comes in…
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          Clean Authors Promotional Event TODAY ONLY!

          September 13th, 2013

          clean authors promo poster
          Be sure to check your email inbox on TODAY, Sept. 13,
          to find out more about this super fantabulous clean authors event
          or go to the Clean Authors Web site.

          If you haven’t signed up for my monthly newsletter, do it now
          so you won’t miss out on getting some awesome new books.

          Upon Review: The Angels’ Footpath by Ronald R. Cooke

          June 23rd, 2012

          I love to request free books to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex, but sometimes authors contact me for a review. Such was the case of Ronald R. Cooke’s book The Angels’ Footpath.

          Here is the description that made me want to write this book review:

          This deeply written drama unfolds in an era of political oppression and chronic recession. There is talk of revolution. People of faith are being challenged. An infant with a special gift is born into this growing cultural chaos. We follow his life, share his experiences, and witness his wonderful transformation into a man of faith.

          The Good…

          As with the best dystopian stories, this book plays on our current fears about where the United States is going. Ronald does a fantastic job showing us where our economy could end up if we give up our say in what our leaders do. However, he doesn’t leave us in hell on earth. He gives us a glimpse of what might happen when regular folks choose to help each other and voice their concerns.

          The spiritual view Ronald takes in this story is unorthodox, but in many ways I felt it tied into what Jesus did in his own teaching. Through the main character, Rick, the author breaks down the idea that humans thrive when moral values such as  integrity, love, truth, charity, compassion, personal responsibility, etc. are practiced and that governments are better lead by people with those same strong values.

          The Not-so-good…

          Aside from head-hopping and various scenes that didn’t move the story along, the technical aspects of the writing were well executed.

          I skimmed the first two chapters and most of chapter 3, though, because I was anxious for the real story to begin, for there to be conflict between Rick and… well… anyone. Aside from his wife dying, Rick didn’t seem to face any real obstacles until his ISP business is shut down, which happens about half-way through chapter 3. From there things pick up speed, but not by much.

          The worst sin of this book is a lack of intimacy between the reader and Rick. We know Rick is struggling because the narrator tells us he is. We never get to experience it as Rick does, or, for that matter, as any of the characters do. We are told how they feel rather than being allowed to see and feel everything with them. It’s a classic case of a lot of tell and not a lot of show.

          The Overall…

          The Angels’ Footpath by Ronald R. Cooke is a lovely story that wants to reach out and touch our hearts, but doesn’t quite do it.

          Getting Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

          June 16th, 2012

          I want to thank everyone for your patience while I have been dealing with a family crisis. Things are getting back to normal at home, but it will be a few more days before I can get back to a regular schedule with One Servant’s Heart. Thanks again for being patient.

          Slow Progress Is Still Progress

          April 7th, 2012

          courage and single-mindedness overcomes fear

          Last weeked DH and I took our daughter, Blur, to a park. It was so amazing to watch her play on the slides with the other kids.

          I admit I was stressed the whole time because the slides were so much taller than anything she’d previously slid down and the kids were zooming around, pushing past Blur in their excitement. Our daughter, on the other hand, didn’t seem to notice any of it. Even though she’s developed a fear of heights, she was determined to enjoy one of her favorite activities.

          She took her time, concentrating on her goal of getting to the top of the chosen slide and then waited until she’d psyched herself up to let go. Each grin as she zipped down was precious.

          She was slower going up and needed a lot of time to convince herself the ride was worth the fear, which irritated some of the other kids. They had to wait or find another slide to go down. Sometimes they pushed by on the stairs. Thankfully the slides and stairs were encased in safety bars or I would have been frantic, not just stressed.

          It didn’t matter to Blur how fast the other kids were going or that they pushed her aside. She never missed a step. Always cautious and ever mindful of her goal, she made her way to the top of the slide and enjoyed the ride down.

          When we left the park, I was still amazed at my daughter’s single-mindedness and courage. She showed me what it means to be confident in yourself and your ambitions. Even the one time she tried to climb the ladder instead of the stairs and got stuck, she kept her cool and focused on finding a way out of her predicament so she could accomplish her goal of sliding down another time.

          I wonder what I could accomplish if I followed her example. If I stopped agonizing over my slow progress and the other “kids” zooming around, if instead I concentrated just on my goal, what would happen?

          How about you? What could you do if you had the courage and single-mindedness of a child intent on just one more slide?

          4 Nifty Apps to Organize and Store Ideas

          January 8th, 2012

          apps photoThe need to organize your thoughts and store new ideas isn’t just a writer’s thing. I find myself needing to capture ideas for all kinds of things, as does DH (who knew there were so many Star Wars hobby ideas? 🙂 ).

          If you’re cruising the ‘net on your laptop or smartphone and come across a cool web site you want to find again, it’s pretty easy to simply email yourself a link. But what happens when you go back to your inbox? Lots of clutter and the need to shift all those self-mailed emails into various folders (or you can do what DH does and just leave them in the inbox. Type A personality nightmare! :o)

          There’s a better way.

          If you’re a little tech savvy and prefer having your ideas accessible at any time from any computer or gadget, I suggest signing up for a free Evernote account.

          What makes this app great is the ability to clip web articles, add tags and comments, and save it all to one of several notebooks you set up. Not only can you save things from the web, you can include pictures you’ve taken on your smartphone and do the same thing.

          Oh! And did I mention you can take a picture of restaurant menus, wine labels, anything with text and do a search for a word in the picture? No tags necessary. Cool!

          I’ve even used it to keep track of things I planned to get for the Blonde Blur (formerly Tiny Tot) for Christmas. Just take a picture of the item at the store, tag it, and save it to the appropriate notebook. Voila! No more trying to explain to DH what toy I was talking about when we were narrowing the ideas down to fit the budget.

          These things alone make Evernote a great app to have. You can use it as a writer’s tool or for any thing you can think of that needs ideas easily accessible.

          What about brainstorming?

          Creative types, especially writers, often have ideas for their current project at odd hours. Often times, those ideas are just bits and pieces that may or may not link to other bits and pieces of a given project.

          For example, I’m brainstorming ideas for my second work of fiction (Apprentice Cat is in the “resting” stage).

          Roz Morris suggests in her book Nail Your Novel using a hatbox method. Basically you scribble your idea on a piece of paper and throw it in a hat box for later. I loved the idea, but, being a geek and a Type A personality, I wanted something just a bit more structured and digital. Enter Free Mind and Thinking Space (now called MindJet, apparently).

          Both are mind mapping software. Free Mind works on my laptop, Thinking Space on my smartphone.

          The only hitch to this perfect solution is that they don’t work together and I’m not willing to pay for a program that will.

          At least not yet.

          And for those longer items?

          I like to be able to access my blueprint for a book and what I’ve already written anywhere at any time. For those times I depend on the cloud.

          Until I read Joel Freidlander’s post Life in the Cloud, I hadn’t really given it much thought. I just carried a big bag with everything printed out. Not very efficient, but what else could I do?

          Then I heard about “the cloud” and I had to know what it was. When I discovered it was a way to save just about anything in the etherworld and there were free options, I jumped on it. I’d already begun using Evernote for my notes, why not find something to do the same with my documents?
          I won’t say Google docs is the perfect solution. I lose nearly all my formatting from my Word documents, at least for the comments and such, but it’s great for just reading what I’ve already done.

          It’s also a great way to simply store documents, like a backup drive that’s available at any time for any computer or smartphone.

          There are many other apps available for our organizational needs. It’s just a matter of a little research and the willingness to test them out.

          What apps or gadgets have you discovered to fit your needs?

          Photo by Jason A. Howie