To All My Followers: A Message About All The Silence

With this post, I want to take a moment to thank the many subscribers I have that watch for regular announcements of my work. Your support has been amazing and helped me grow my writing business. I couldn’t do what I do without you, and I hope you will continue to follow this journey.

That said, I went quiet without explanation about August 2022. I want to apologize to all my fans for that abrupt pause, and I want to explain what happened here now.

What Happened

When I started blogging, it was a side thing to help my students. In 2021, however, I left teaching to pursue other opportunities including building a full time writing business. I loved being able to travel freely and write all over the place. It was liberating to finally have control of my own time. But to be successful, I had to cut expenses, think outside the box, market myself like crazy, take on jobs outside my passion, and hope it all worked out. I was scared a lot but also building faith in God to be my provider.

I struggled financially a couple of times and by July, I cried out to God to help me because I didn’t see a way forward anymore. I was stressed and tired of trying to talk people into the value of my work. I’ve never liked sales, so the marketing side of my work was sucking the fun out of my writing passion. I was also growing anxious and living in a lot of fear. It wasn’t healthy for me.

Family suggested that I get back into teaching. I did not want to teach at all, but I went looking to appease them. I found a couple open positions in a nearby school and started applying. I got halfway through the process and talked myself out of it.

Then one day one of my writing commissions asked me to take a bus ride with the district’s superintendent. Not only was he a nice guy, but everywhere we went seemed happy to see him. That impressed me. One of the schools we visited happened to also be the one where I left a partial application.

I went into that school and met the teachers and administrators as a reporter. The next day, they called me in for an interview and offered me the job. Thereafter, I found out that the job wasn’t supposed to be listed and my application wasn’t supposed to be in a pool to interview because it was incomplete. The job came to me when it wasn’t supposed to be mine at all. I took that as God moving and orchestrating things in my life.

My New Chapter

I accepted the teaching job with great joy. I had a lot of support from my colleagues and comfort in the subjects I had to teach because I was already familiar with the material.

What I was not prepared for was the students. Teaching teens really is a lot different than adults. For one, they are not there by choice, so you are fighting uphill against apathy for their attention. The other thing is they are driven by their emotions. Teenagers love, hate, and fight before they even think twice about consequences. In my first semester of teaching them, I had more lockdowns than in all eight years of teaching adults.

Where I am now has been scary, but it is rewarding when even one kid feels safe enough to come to me with his problems and talk them out. Making a difference in their life will be a legacy of change I can be proud of. Teaching teens has started a new chapter in my life.

What Now

I’ve decided to stay the course with teaching, and that means I also have to become a student again to get my teaching license. Every age group has qualifications required to teach it, and I never pursued qualifications to teach kids before. Now I will have to in order to keep my job.

I haven’t stopped the writing business, but it has slowed down to give me room to focus on this new chapter.

The Good News

Expect to see new content on here starting on Mondays at noon this month!

As much as possible, I am building new content for you now. I didn’t have time amidst my other writing jobs and teaching, but I am working on all that now.

I hope you enjoy the new stories. Thank you again for reading.


The Power of the Written Word: Charles Martin Books

If you love a good story, get ready for a treat! Today’s post is about a modern author whose work is so good, we’ve read every one of his books–multiple times. I don’t recommend every book I have read much less every book by a specific author, so why am I giving Charles Martin this credit?

Martin is a talented author, but it is the presence of God and the anointing he invites into his books that make me return to them as a resource.

(Part of a response I posted to a question on Charles Martin’s Facebook fan page.)

Criticism about Faith

Charles Martin is not overtly honest about his faith in his fiction writing.

Though Charles Martin is open about his Christian faith on his website, his books focus on story content and people–not religion. Some readers have strong reactions when they discover Martin is a Christian author. One threw his book in the trash and wrote to Martin that he needed to “quit all the Christian crap to get more popular”. This is how Martin responded:

First, can I just say that I’m sorry.  It sounds like some Christian somewhere wounded you.  Please forgive us.  We don’t always get it right.  Loving people like Jesus is not easy.  I fail here often.  But that book you threw in the trash is not one of those failures.  My books have a tendency to pick at scabs and that can be difficult for the reader.  I’m not saying I know you or what made you hurt, but the story in my story may speak to and bring healing to the wound you feel.  I wrote it for that purpose: because it’s only the love of The Father that can get past the tough, calloused places in us and touch our hearts where they’re still tender….

Charles Martin, Response to an Angry Reader

Martin’s Writing Process

Charles Martin maintains a strict writing structure of 500-1000 words a day–most days. Though he doesn’t go into great detail about how the magic happens, Martin does acknowledge the Source. In September, after completing his second book in the Murphy Shepherd series, Martin posted the following on social media:

Last Thursday I clicked ‘send’ on the third installment of the Keeper series…I have a whole new respect for authors who write series…this book challenged me in ways I don’t think I’ve ever experienced…I can’t tell you the number of days I doubted me, my craft, everything. 

To all you aspiring writers or artists or anyone who creates – when it gets tough, and you can’t see around the corner, and have no idea what to do next, I have 2 thoughts:

1 – just show up.  Put your butt in the seat.  Sweat it out.  Don’t quit. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Writing is quite possibly one of the most humbling things on the planet  – Books don’t write themselves. Regardless of yesterday – and whether it was awesome or not – we show up to a blank page.  The book doesn’t care – You get no credit for what you’ve done.  So, sit down and get to work.  AND

2- most importantly, remember that the first verb in scripture is ‘create.’  It’s the first description we get of God’s nature.  It’s who He is.  What He does.  So, everyday I sit in this chair I remember where my strength comes from. The well for the words and usually before I write a word, my conversation with Him sounds something like, “Lord, it’s me. I’m back. Help. Please sit here with me today. Help me create something, which at the end of the day, whether it’s accepted, praised, thrashed or whatever, is a Roadsign to Jerusalem. That it sounds like your heart for us. That it reflects you and points people to you.”

Charles Martin, September 14, 2021 Facebook Post

Publication Schedule

Though no official schedule is posted for Martin books, all the fiction titles tend to come out once annually in June. Non-fiction titles and blog posts have no set schedule. They seem to follow the writer’s inspiration and availability.

The Books (and How To Use Them)

A Life Intercepted

A college football star headed to NFL fame has his life (and marriage) derailed when he is falsely accused of a crime and sent to prison. Can he right the wrongs dealt him and clear his name or will he be doomed to live in the shadows? This book is a sobering read for athletes and anyone at the top of their game with fame and fortune. It is a good reminder of what is important in life.

Chasing Fireflies

He survives a horrible train accident and is eventually adopted, but the shadows of Chase’s identity still haunt him as an adult. When a new journalism assignment reminds him of old questions, he will have to go on a quest to discover the truth. This story is inspiring for anyone in the adoption/foster care system. It is also a good read for writers and those wanting to make a difference in the life of an orphan.

Long Way Gone

The son of a preacher with big dreams to be a famous musician steals from his father and runs away to Nashville. Struggling on the streets, will he make it to the stage or will he find the courage to go home? This book is an award-winning modern Prodigal Son story. It’s an excellent read for musicians and especially healing for estranged loved ones.

The Dead Don’t Dance & Maggie

When Dylan’s wife goes into labor and hemorrhages, his son is stillborn and his wife goes into a coma. He takes a job teaching to pay the medical bills and connects with his students but he wrestles with God. If tragedy leaves you questioning God, this book and its sequel are for you. These books are also inspiring for teachers, gardeners, and those believing God for a miracle.

Send Down the Rain

A Vietnam veteran, a single mother with two kids fleeing an abusive relationship, an old flame, and a 45-year old secret converge on the Florida coast. This book is good for military readers, truckers, and travelers. It is also a good read for those who carry guilt over and haven’t made peace with their pasts.

The Mountain Between Us

When bad winter weather causes their last flight out of Salt Lake City to be canceled, two strangers charter a plane to get to their destination only to crash in one of the largest wildernesses in the United States. This story was made into a movie but, unfortunately, Hollywood altered the story significantly. The book is a thrilling survival story and a good read for those who like the great outdoors.

The Water Keeper & The Letter Keeper (A Murphy Shepherd Novel, Books 1 & 2)

When a young woman is suckered into a human trafficking ring, a man with a boat and spy-like connections sets out on an adventure to find her and save her before she is lost forever. This first Martin series follows the unfolding mysteries of the people affected by human trafficking. This series is good for anyone wanting to better understand how human trafficking works. It is also a good read for those who have been victimized, survived, and struggle with the trauma of their past.

They Turned The World Upside Down

This second non-fiction title uses Martin’s storytelling charm to tell the story of the first-century church in the Book of Acts. This book is good for an approachable Bible study about the apostles, evangelism, and the early church. It is also a good opportunity to discuss Christian theology and why we believe what we do.

Thunder and Rain

A modern-day cowboy and Texas Ranger has survived by developing a tough skin to life, but all that changes when a woman and her young daughter arrive in town needing his help and protection. Capturing the grit of life in the West, this book is a good read for Western lovers and tough guys. It is also good for those who thought love wasn’t in the cards for them.


An actress miserable in her fame, the priest who knows her secrets, and a Boatman with secrets of his own pair up to make the ultimate disappearing act. In leaving the rest of the world, they just may find what is really important. This book is a good read for those with a taste for international travel as well as those who love a good mystery. It is also good for those who live busy lives and long to get out of the rat race.

Water for my Heart

A young street-smart man finds his way through Harvard and into a lucrative business in Miami–in the illegal drug trade. He gets the chance to right his wrongs by going to Central America, but he finds more than he bargained for. This book is a good read for those who love Latin cultural influences as well as travel. It is a story of hope and redemption for even the most unlovable characters.

What If It’s True?

This first non-fiction title uses Martin’s storytelling charm to tell the story of the Gospel and Jesus Christ himself. This book is good for an approachable Bible study about Jesus Christ and why Christianity worships him as the son of the one, true God.

When Crickets Cry

A seven-year-old girl with a vivid scar on her chest sells lemonade to a stranger in a small Southern town. Her kindness sparks a friendship that leads them both toward healing. This book is an inspiring read for those in the medical field or those with a heart for sick children. It is also inspiring for anyone needing a miracle or a touch of healing.

Where The River Ends

When two star-crossed lovers marry against their families’ wishes, they know they have an uphill battle. They build a stronger marriage in their commitment to each other, but that commitment is tested when one of them receives a life-threatening illness. They can take it lying in a hospital bed, but they choose to take it on a 130 mile trip down the river. For anyone battling incredible odds or feeling defeated by sickness, this book is for you.

Wrapped in Rain

When one man’s brother escapes a mental facility, he is forced to face the demons in his past to find him. Along with bringing his brother to safety, he will have to find a way to make peace with the past if he wants to truly move forward. For all those struggling with mental health issues or trying to forgive things in the past, this book is for you.

How to share the books to build community

A Martin book is a great way to talk about issues in small groups. They open the door to discussion of often difficult topics as you discuss the fictional stories organically. They are also really good ways to approach discussions of faith with people strongly opposed to them in any other direct context. You can share life together with a Martin book.

My favorite person to share life with through a Martin book is my dad. He became blind and could only read through audio books. We discovered Martin after this interview.

We started reading his work, and haven’t stopped since. We read the books independently, discuss the characters, and awe over his writing together. We have both reread the books, but dad has read them at least 3x as much as I.

A message to Charles Martin

Thank you for writing such well-crafted stories. You inspire us to take writing seriously and tell our own stories in a similar fashion. We marvel at your talent and hope to write like you.

Thank you for the gift of your faith made real on the page. Thank you for your vulnerability to show how each day is a collaboration with God and, at times, a humble struggle.

Thank you for creating a safe space to talk about hard issues. Whether intended or not, your books have become tools of evangelism on the market today.

The Story of The Bohemian Princess Journal: How This Blog Came to Be

I’ve heard a lot of stories about stay-at-home moms, traveling writers, photographers, and techies starting blogs to earn money, but that’s not my story. My story begins in a little town in western North Carolina: Morganton. While visiting the town for the first time in 2014, I was overwhelmed with the warmth of the people; everyone had a story to tell and was eager to tell it. As a graduate of a prestigious writing program and a life-long writer, I felt a hunger to reconnect with the writer roots I had let go dormant. So the blog began.

I began writing on a private website for the students I taught in adult education. I shared the blogs with friends and family, but I still kept the words privately circulating amongst my friends and students for over a year. Nevertheless, the website got traffic and even pulled in business for some of the people I talked about on the blog. That’s when I decided to take it a step further.

Between 2014 and 2019, I blogged publicly on three different blogs and two class websites. I became well known for it and was even featured in a cover story by a local newspaper for my writing. I was writing in seperate places to keep ideas and branding seperate, but it became quickly overwhelming. In 2019, I decided to take stock of my blog inventory (over 50 blogs at the time) and define my content areas. Using the tools available to me through WordPress, I consolidated the blogs into one site under my name and organized the content by categories and pages.

2021 was a big year for us. Early in the year, I left over eight years of teaching to pursue other career options and, ultimately, start my own entrepreneurial business in writing. We finally gave the blog her own name, The Bohemian Princess Journal, and gradually increased publication frequency to weekly then bi-weekly posts.

Readership continued to grow. By the grace of God, in 2021 we crossed unimaginable boundaries. We were able to touch readers across the entire United States and over 30 countries with 10,000 views and counting.

Before the year was done, I had written more content in one year than almost all previous years combined. It is humbling to realize just how far I have come from the dormant writer I was in 2014 to the prolific book-length content creator I am now.

Justin Williams Pope: A Follow Up To The “From Dream To Reality” Event

We are back with Justin Williams Pope, journalist and writer of the Henry and Matilda’s Adventures children’s book series.

Justin visited us earlier in a live interview in October. We decided to follow up with him here to learn a bit more about his experiences.

Let’s jump back in!

On Education And Success

You have to dare yourself and challenge yourself to grow. If you don’t ask to do it, how will you know if you might get the opportunity? Most people miss out on these things because they are afraid to ask how they can pursue it!

Justin Williams Pope

You spent five years at Wayne Community College, in part, because you didn’t put your best foot forward in your work. What motivated you to take your education seriously? 

My dreams and desires to be successful. I knew that Education was the only route for me to attain success in the area I wanted to be in and I needed to buckle down and get my education.

You struggled with a lot of different career path ideas before you ever left Wayne County. How did you focus enough to pursue a degree in Communications at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington?  

I certainly did struggle. Honestly, I fell into communication studies due to my love for writing as well as my disdain for Math. I knew to be a Communications (Com) major, I could just take statistics and I could still pursue Public Relations or Journalism.

Looking back on the successes you have had so far, how important has college education been to your success as an artist in multiple genres? 

A college education is invaluable because, if anything, classes teach you the best skill of all: time management. It may help teach you something specific to your major, yes. However, the biggest takeaway, in my opinion, of obtaining an undergraduate degree is the ability to manage and balance your time successfully. It is so important. Yes, you may have the skills, but if you don’t know how to manage the time you have, you can never obtain any degree of success.

What advice would you give to students like you that struggle here in their studies today? 

Keep on keeping on. Take advantage of the tools and resources that are on campus: Writing Center, Math Lab, tutors, advisors, etc. to get advice from along the way.  All of those are to your advantage in your educational journey. USE THEM.

You have an amazing gift for pursuing dreams and passions without fear of failure because you believe in yourself and know you can’t fail or succeed without first trying. You have not always felt this way. What helped you take such a positive approach to living your life?  

You have to find that within yourself.  I may not be the smartest person ever, but I have just enough about me to ask the question. For example, I think about how I ended up in the internship at One Tree Hill. I was folding washcloths at Belk one afternoon when I realized I was going to walk into my intern advisor’s office the next day and ask for that internship. Those more daring things have only served to assist in building my confidence. I also credit my yearning to know about things and to dare myself to do it. i.e – dangling nine stories up from the WFD fire tower or wading out into the intracoastal waterway without a lifejacket just to try to help find an endangered species.  You have to dare yourself and challenge yourself to grow and if you don’t ask to do it, how will you know if you might get the opportunity? Most people miss out on these things because they are afraid to ask how they can pursue it!

On Journalism And Acting

There are many different types of writing, but you really fell in love with journalism from the beginning as a student writer and editor for Wayne Community College’s Campus Voice. What made you realize this career was one you really wanted to pursue?  

I have two favorite mediums of writing – the first is that journalism/quasi-editorial of telling a story in a very interpersonal way. I had loved writing since 2nd grade and even when I look back at that now, I was writing very interpersonally then. I thank God for that talent and aim to use it to the best of my ability.  If you can convey a story to a reader, you can change a life! The second type of writing is Public Relations writing. I love writing Press Releases. I excelled at this in college as it was a professional, clear-cut form of writing but if you can make it sound good and clean, it will wow your readers.  It’s also nice to be on both sides: press release writer and then as a journalist, take that press release and create a story out of it. 

Journalists used to take pride in telling well researched, honest stories that were meticulously fact checked and edited for typos. Today, simple typos appear in every article and journalists intentionally report false news as much as real news. What do you think is the cause of this change? 

Sensationalism, unfortunately.  I think Social Media has added to this as many people fancy themselves as journalists when they are not.  Sadly, our world has changed with the advent of social media. We live in a 24 hour a day news, news, news and the need to fill space is there. Unfortunately, journalists are going so fast and there are so few of them for multiple platforms – on cam, on web, print, blog, etc. The medium is no longer just tv or the afternoon newspaper.  
As far as bias in journalism, all stories can be slanted to appeal to a certain audience or persuade a certain group. Or to make someone look bad. If you look back at a broadcast of the news from the 1970’s, Walter Cronkite reported just the facts of what happened.  Today, journalists often insert their own opinion or feelings when they should just report the facts but they want to have their story clicked on so the word sensationalism comes to mind because ultimately, journalism is a business. 

I remember pitching a story to freelance write for a local paper, and the editor took my idea and gave it to his own staff writers to complete. How competitive is journalism today and how can someone new get into it?  

I feel like that was hi-jacking your idea and that’s not nice on that editor’s part to take your idea and give it to a staffer. I have never had that happen to me, yet.  I feel like it is becoming harder and harder to break in as a freelancer in print media at least. There used to be 11 of us and we are now down to 3 in the Wilmington Market. Sadly, the newspapers are shrinking and the need for stringers are not needed like it was in previous years and there is just not the funding for them as advertising dollars are down. 

You have said the landscape of journalism is changing as less and less readers buy print media and the publishers are converting to online subscriptions. How has this changed how writers are managed today?

In my market, I write about happy/community things so it has not affected what I do. I write about church anniversaries, school events, etc.  As we have grown smaller in numbers, my area has increased. Years ago, I was only allowed to write for Pender County but now I cover all three counties. It has been a pro for me because I can cover all three areas but the problem is that if you are looking for immediate news, your phone is the go to. By the time the newspaper comes out, Trump has tweeted something new. The online version is the way to go for instant find out!  I have not been asked to not cover something because I write about things that people will go to the box and pick up a paper.

How has the transition to online readers changed the types of stories you tell? Do you feel you have more or less readers now than you would have had twenty years ago?

No real changes on my story types. But size is much smaller than years ago. I used to write 850 words per story. Today – I cannot go over 350-375 or it will be cut. This is because reader’s attention span is much shorter and they will not take the time to read a longer story.  I feel like 20 years ago – the print subscriptions were much stronger, but online has only increased and the print editions have decreased. 

You were introduced to acting through local theatre here at Wayne Community College and, in the community, through Stage Struck Productions. One of the first things you developed to pursue a career in acting was a professional portfolio of pictures and acting experience. How important was this step towards opening the door in the acting world for you? 

Eh. I never saw myself as an actor. I only developed my portfolio because I needed to as part of my senior seminar at UNCW. It was indeed helpful but it wasn’t the direction I was going in. Whatever you do, however, it is good to have a professional portfolio. 

You had an internship with One Tree Hill in Wilmington. What you expected to be an open door into the world of performance art ended up being a dead end. How did you handle that seeming failure and reshape it into a positive experience?  

I just kind of felt it wasn’t meant to be. There are times in life when you know that it just wasn’t meant to be and that another avenue will open up if you keep pursuing.  I wasn’t going to act. I wanted to write but it didn’t seem to happen and now looking back I wouldn’t want it any other way.  

You have a gap between your two front teeth that is a rather endearing identifying mark, but it hasn’t always been treated that way. What negative comments have you received about your appearance and how have you handled them without letting them derail you?

I find my gap inspiring and I never wanted to change it. I did have it closed in as it was once even larger. It was hurtful when I was told that I would never be on television because it was so large. But there are people with that opinion. I like to think of it as a unique thing because not everyone has it. I’m special!! And again, you just keep going no matter what!!!

You joined a Writers’ Guild to improve your opportunities in the field of writing. There are professional guilds for many artistic careers including acting and writing. What is a guild and how can it be beneficial for an artist to join one?  

I never joined an actors guild, but I joined the Writers Guild. (It is good because) there are tons of resources that benefit a fledgling writer including agent opportunities and writer’s groups. It also gives you a professional standardization that resonates with those in the writing world. 

You transitioned from acting to creating and hosting a show you are pitching to The Discovery Channel now. You proudly claim the show, Sacred Places, will be a lasting legacy of something good you will give back to the world. How difficult has it been for you to take on this role, and what has been your best help in fulfilling it? 

I have had the good fortune to be able to utilize lots of resources to get this off the ground.  My University of North Carolina at Wilmington resources as well as my Wilmington Star News background.  The churches themselves are really the star of the show. They tell the story of our history and our time. I am just like the viewer, along for the ride but I am fortunate to be able to help share these stories with the audience and if picked up, hopefully the world. It has not been a hard task as it is something I love and I am thankful for the opportunity. 

On Creative Writing

You may have the skills, but if you don’t know how to manage the time you have, you can never obtain any degree of success.

Justin Williams Pope

You have explored different types of writing including short stories, screenplays, and children’s literature. How do you determine what genre a story should be in? 

It usually just starts with an idea in my head. It definitely varies as I have lots of ideas. I then use the clustering system to develop the idea and story. For my journalism stories, I use a set formula that makes it easier to write but still compels a reader in.  

You were inspired to tell a travel story as a children’s book that is now a published, ongoing series about a country dog and chicken exploring historic locations in America. How do you determine locations for the series to explore while still making them believable journeys for your characters?  

We have so many great places in America that I want them to travel too.  The first book was a no-brainer. New York is not your average market – it is a global market so I wanted it to be a “larger market” book that would sale lots of books. As we search for new locations, I try to look at what may educate our readers as well as take them to a place of new exploration, somewhere that is fun yet still with great learning opportunity.  Our 4th book that will publish in late 2020 will be in the mid-west and will be the first time we have adventured to that area. 

Some of the best advice given to young writers is to write from what you know. You have done that with the Henry and Matilda’s Adventures series because you grew up on a farm (around farm animals) and used real people to inspire your work. How similar are your literary characters to the real inspiration for Henry and Matilda? 

Henry and Matilda are best friends much like the real Henry (Me) and the real Matilda (my good friend Drucilla) are as we set out on an adventure to New York City. As far as what they are doing, the characters do take on a life of their own.  I like to think of Henry as being very loyal and Matilda as being very sassy but they both certainly love their adventure. 

As simplistic as a children’s story may be to an adult reader, it is actually far more daunting to write. What are the key factors that have to be considered when writing a children’s book?  

A large part is being in harmony with your illustrator. You have to ask ‘can she draw this?’  Henry and Matilda’s illustrations are fantastic painted by a professional artist who met with me in depth over periods at the farm to capture what I wanted. The story is formulated as Henry and Matilda will always go on an adventure together, the artist is the one who brings my story and vision to life. 

The market for children’s literature today is both saturated and competitive. How do you find and create a niche in that genre?  

You follow through and don’t give up.  You keep pushing and develop not only the story but if you want to last, you create a brand. 

In the past, writers wanting to get published would submit work to publishers directly and wait to hear back. Over time, less and less publishers have accepted unsolicited work, and many of them have closed up their doors. You used an agent to help market and get your book published. How did you find an agent, and how has that helped you?   

Any quality presentation would seek out assistance from the Writer’s Guild (yes, it costs money to do so) and their assistance is invaluable.  The Writer’s Guild brings a prestige and professionalism to your work. 

Many writers today are turning away from traditional publishing houses in favor of self-publishing and self-promotion. Presses like Amazon make it possible for writers to do their own layout and print only on demand as copies are sold. How has this made the world of writing better or worse as a whole?  

I don’t think it has made it worse. I think it has actually provided an outlet for people who may just want to see their story come to life. They may have no interest in being a professional writer or a lifetime story teller. I think online has encouraged creativity and has allowed people to see themselves as an author. They may never make tons of money from it but they got their dream of having their book published. 

Some writers feel they are not writers till they can write full-time and live off their writing income, but that is a pressure that often strangles creativity and is unrealistic for most writers. Do you feel writers shame themselves and each other into unrealistic goals?  

The reality is that most writers have another 9-5 job until they can become professional writers in some medium. I don’t know about “shaming themselves”. I can only speak for me, and I look at it as a business just as much as it is a creative passion. Some writers can never discern the two. 

Many writers benefit from the stability of a regular job and write around it. You currently write while working a 40-hour week in Public Relations in the healthcare industry. How has that job enabled you to be a better writer?  

Both are so different – I’m looking at things from two opposite spectrums so I feel l can write from both arenas and it strengthens my writing. 

Many of our readers are aspiring writers too (of all ages). What is your best advice to young, yet unpublished, authors?  

Keep writing. Remember, that there is no plot that has not been done. What can you do to make it unique but sellable? Who is your target audience and follow the correct business steps to get published. 

This concludes our two-part interview with Justin Williams Pope. You can find his Henry and Matilda’s Adventures series available wherever books are sold including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

We hope you were enlightened and encouraged by what was shared. Please leave a comment below and share how we have encouraged you and any questions you may have to continue the discussion.

Creating a Children’s Book Series

This post is written by Fiona Ingram as part of the blog tour for her latest book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. For more about Fiona or to join her blog tour, check out the information here.

Developing a children’s series is both rewarding and taxing for the author, and possibly gratefully welcomed by parents whose children suddenly discover a hero they can relate to and whose actions keep them riveted. Isn’t it wonderful when a child begs, nay, commands its parents to go out and buy the next in a favorite series because they ‘absolutely must know’ what is going to happen next? There are many children’s series currently on the market and perhaps many adults are reading them as well as their children.

Developing a children’s series is not an exact science and not a guaranteed road to writing success.

Sometimes an author will start out with an idea, and try to stretch the story over several books, but to no avail. They discover that when a story is done… it’s done! On the other hand, an author may find that the story takes off and grows into something that spills over the last two words (“The End”) and shapes itself into another and then another and then another book, before winding down to a great final climax. Yet another scenario is when the author creates a set of characters that have several adventures, each one clearly contained with a storyline. The characters have a particular history or set of circumstances to retain the familiarity for readers who keep coming back for more action.

Can a writer tell if the story has the potential for a series?

The plot will evolve naturally if the characters are appealing, and if their personal growth and development hold readers’ attention. Again, appealing characters are not worth anything if the action and conflict are not compelling. There must be a perfect marriage between plot and characters to sustain the strength of a series.

So why do children love an exciting series?

A gifted author will be able to create characters that readers can relate to, and either love or hate. The readers get to know the characters well as the action evolves and, as each book comes out, can explore something new about their heroes. Characters become friends to the avid young reader, who shares in the hopes, dreams and choices the characters make. Readers are amazingly loyal to their favorite characters, even though they may often disagree with the characters’ choices. A good writer can explore these further, enabling readers to begin to make their own choices, especially in a moral dilemma or emotional conflict.

Parents who make the time to read with their children, or who are interested in their children’s book choices, will be able to discuss these issues further. It’s a great way of dealing with ‘sticky’ issues because the discussion is less focused on the child and more on a fictional character. It may be easier for a child to express an opinion if discussing a topic via a character’s choices.

Sensible advice to writers

There are many good reasons why a first-time author should NOT start out with a series. But wait a moment, I hear you ask, aren’t you marketing your own books in a series. Yes, although I hadn’t planned on that initially. I thought I’d create lots of exciting, unrelated adventures for my heroes. But just after the halfway mark in Book One, things changed and the mythology behind the story grew and grew into almost a story on its own.

It was then that I surrendered and said to the characters, “Okay, you win, it’s a series.” Whereupon they all burst into mad cheering, especially the ones who made it into Book Two.

Perhaps writers shouldn’t set out to ‘create’ a series but rather let an original good story develop, allowing the characters and plot potential to determine the result.

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About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle-grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

You can find Fiona at –




Author Site:



Fiona Ingram’s Blog Tour for The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper

Good morning readers! If you have been following me long, you know that I have been involved in a blog tour before that promoted another writer’s work. A blog tour is like a traveling book tour, but all the traveling happens across blogs. The writer writes specific posts and shares them across the participating blogs, bloggers read and post reviews of his/her book, and promoters get the word out about the tour for a lot of people to come and see it. I was a bit skeptical to get started, to be honest, because I am very protective of you and the voice of the message(s) I share with you. Nevertheless, the tours afford me the opportunity to introduce myself to people who would not have found me otherwise. I have taken a chance on them with writers I felt were worth the effort, and I have not been disappointed.

Fiona Ingram’s blog tour starts this week and I can’t be more excited about this author! I’m so excited, that I am writing this extra post outside of the ones I agreed upon just to tell you about her. 

I have a lot of respect for writers–especially children’s book authors. I have a lot of respect for Fiona because she also adopted a child. Her adopted child will be stopping by to share her story on my blog about her “paper mom”. You don’t want to miss it. Check out the blog tour listed below and stay tuned to the posts forthcoming on my blogs from this author.


WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR OF The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper

Tour Begins August 13th

Book Summary

A plane crash! Lost in the jungle! Hunted by their old enemy, will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power? With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task. Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?


Print Length: 318 Pages

Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Adventure

Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated (November 2017)

ISBN: 978-1946229465


The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is available to purchase on 

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About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle-grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.


You can find Fiona at –




Author Site:




— Blog Tour Dates

Today @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning with coffee than a muffin? Grab your cup of morning brew and join us today when we celebrate the launch of Fiona Ingram’s book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.  You can read our interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.


August 14th @ Write Like Crazy

Make sure you stop by Mary Jo’s blog Write Like Crazy where Fiona Ingram talks about why your child doesn’t like reading and how to fix this.


August 15th @ Girl Zombie Authors

Come by Christine’s blog where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on writing about different places for kids.


August 16th @ Jessica Samuel’s Blog

Come by Jessica’s blog today where Fiona Ingram talks about how to transform your non-reader into a reader.


August 19th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog

Stop by Madeline’s blog today where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts with young writers on writing and creating characters.


August 20th @ Mari’s #JournalingPower Blog

Stop by Mari’s blog where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on developing characters that children will relate to.


August 20th @ Bairn’s Bard

Stop by Rebecca’s blog Bairn’s Bard today where you can read a post by Fiona Ingram’s daughter and also you can read about Rebecca’s thoughts on the book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


August 21st @ Cover2Cover Blog

Stop by Steph’s Cover2Cover where you can read Fiona Ingram’s blog post about choosing books for your kids.


August 22nd @ Look to the Western Sky

Come by Margo Dill’s blog Look to the Western Sky where Fiona Ingram writes about her experiences fostering (and later adopting) an illiterate African child who is now a lovely young woman who loves reading.


August 22nd @ A New Look on Books

Come by Rae’s blog where Fiona Ingram writes about the joy of writing for children.


August 26th @ Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi

Come by Karen’s blog where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on how to encourage your kids to start writing.


August 27th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Stop by Ashley’s blog where Fiona Ingram talks about helping kids read better with homeschooling. A must read as school is about to start!


August 27th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Come by Rebecca’s blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about using computers to improve reading skills.


August 28th @ Jennifer’s Deals

Stop by Jennifer’s blog where she shares what she her thoughts about Fiona Ingram’s incredible middle grade adventure book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


August 29th @ Jill Sheets Blog

Stop by Jill’s blog where she reviews The Temple of the  Crystal Timekeeper and shares what she thinks about the book.


August 30th @ Story Teller Alley

Visit Veronica’s blog and check out her thoughts on the book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


August 31st @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Make sure you stop by Ashley’s blog again where she shares her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


August 31st @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog

Stop by Rebecca’s blog again where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about writing a children series.


September 1st @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Visit Cathy’s blog today where Fiona Ingram shares the top ten things you never knew about Mexico!


September 2nd @ Break Even Books

Come by Erik’s blog Break Even Books where Fiona Ingram talks about how to make your books both enjoyable and educational.


September 3rd @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog

Join us over at Beverly A. Barid’s blog where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on developing a children’s series.


September 4th @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog

Make sure to come by Cathy’s blog again where she shares her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


September 5th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Come by Jill’s blog today where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on writing for children.


September 5th @ Ali’s Bookshelf

Stop by Ali’s blog where Fiona Ingram talks about whether books can help children cope with life.


September 7th @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog

Join us at Beverly’s blog again for her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s adventurous book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


September 7th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Stop by Anthony’s Blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about why a book series is so good for non-readers.


September 9th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Make sure to check out Anthony’s blog again where you can read his thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


September 10th @ Misadventures with Andi

Come by Andi’s blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about why children love reading about other countries and cultures.


September 10th @ Whitman’s Academics

Stop by Rebecca’s blog where Fiona Ingram’s talks about turning a non-reader into a reader.


September 12th@ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog where she reviews Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


September 13th @ Coffee With Lacey

Be sure to stop by again when Lacey interviews author Fiona Ingram and chats about her newest book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


September 14th @ World of My Imagination

Come by Nicole’s blog where she shares her opinion about Fiona Ingram’s middle-grade fiction book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.


September 15th @ Story Teller Alley

Stop by Veronica’s blog Story Teller Alley to read Fiona Ingram’s post on how she came about to write the series The Chronicles of the Stone.


Why Reading Is Important (Especially For Writers)

Just how important is reading in the life of a busy adult today? Can reading help you be a better writer? How do I become a better writer without surrendering my originality? I used to have all those questions and more about reading. This post is my attempt to answer them.

It is a not-so-hidden fact about myself that I love to read. I read books all the time, in every spare minute of my time, on trips, at home, in the day, and at night. The bare white pages freshly inked with words are a magical aroma better than any perfume. I can go anywhere in a book. I can be anyone in a book. I have an unlimited passport and a free ticket to wherever I want to go in a book. I live to experience these moments.

Or, I should say, I DID…

Until I grew up.

There is something about grownups that’s gone terribly wrong in the world. Somewhere between high-flying fairytales and real-life careers, we have forgotten how to dream anymore. Heck, we work so hard we barely sleep anymore. Worst of all, we stop reading–apart from the latest status updates on social media and the mandatory readings for our careers, that is.

But did we really run out of time or did we run out of love? Where did the love of reading go?

In the home stretch of my Master’s degree, my love of reading got sucked up in all the boring mandatory texts I had to read for my career. I’ve read more textbooks and articles than I can count–I’ve written some too–but I can’t remember past the highlights of a few of them.

After college and in my career, I found my way back to reading through audiobooks. The commute became my favorite part of the day because my head was filled with the skilled craftsmanship of my peers: other writers. Something happened to my heart and mind in all that reading time. Books were strengthening my spirit and honing me in my skill.

When I became a remote worker and the commute went away, reading became something I had to be intentional about. I couldn’t listen during a Zoom meeting. I couldn’t listen while processing through writing. But that didn’t change the fact that this was still a very important part of my life and learning.

I couldn’t always give it the same quantity of time per day, but any amount of time I gave it made me stronger and more focused. I also discovered that I could read self-help books better when I had the physical book in my hand, so I used this intentional time to help me get through some books that were more like textbook pills for me to swallow.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut… If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.

Stephen King

Writers have a lot of opinions on what it takes to be a writer, but more often than not, they all agree on this point: you can’t be a writer if you aren’t a reader first. For more quotes from writers on this subject, check out Austin Kleon’s blog.

Final Thoughts

I used to wonder why I struggled so to read self-help and textbooks, but I could remember full plots and details of the stories I read and loved. What’s the difference? The difference is love. When you find a genre that resonates with you, embrace it. It may be that it will speak life into the work you are supposed to do down the road. Either you will write for that genre or it will be an inspiration for what you do in service to your community.

The people and places and things we see and do and say that we enjoyed, leave a mark on us. We are shaped by these moments of pleasure as much as we are the moments of pain in our lives–if not more. When I look back on a childhood filled with books, I see a life full of adventure and joy.

Adults have to make a conscious effort to read for fun today. Turn off the TV and pick up the book. Skip the talking heads and play the audiobook on your daily commute. Share the experience; sit and read a book to a friend. I promise you will get more out of it than all that other stuff. I am.