The Greatest Wish

 



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Wednesday
Nov092016

A Childhood Dream

When you were a child, what did you dream that you would grow up to become? Was it an astronaut or an artist? Perhaps you were an outside the box sort of dreamer, like my husband, whose first aspiration was to become a pumpkin. When I was a child, the two things that I cherished most were my loving mother and the richly illustrated pages of my many treasured books. So each time I was asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my unequivocal answer was, “a great mother and a children’s book illustrator.”

Just before Thanksgiving of 2015, I discovered that my lifelong dream of motherhood would be realized in less than nine-months. With a baby boy growing bigger each day in my belly, I was reminded of another dream from so many years before, to become a children’s book illustrator. In my newfound condition, I felt inspired to create something wholly original, a unique gift to welcome my son into this world.

I set out to create a story that would fully engage young readers, encourage early language and reading development, and promote a strong positive moral lesson. And, of course, the illustrations needed to be colorful, imaginative and full of fun. This is how the concept for the Everchanging Story Book was originated – a decision-driven book series for young children.

The first book of the series, titled The Greatest Wish, involves a boy who dreams of becoming something other than himself, something truly incredible like a rocket ship or a rainbow, but ultimately realizes that being happy with himself is the most amazing thing of all.

I was determined to finish The Greatest Wish before my son was due to arrive on August 1st, and breathed a heavy sigh of relief when I completed the final illustration with a month to spare. In a serendipitous stroke of luck, my mother, a published author, had recently made a new acquaintance at a book conference she had attended in Washington state. Following her advice, I immediately contacted Naren Aryal, the CEO of Mascot Books, and sent him a preliminary copy of my completed book. Within a week, I was thrilled to learn that The Greatest Wish would be published before the year was out.

My son, Morgan, made his appearance on July 25th and is undoubtedly the greatest joy of my life. He enjoys looking at the many colorful illustrations of the books I read to him, and I sometimes wonder what he will dream of becoming when he’s older. Will he imagine himself as a writer or a veterinarian? Or perhaps he’ll aspire to become a happy pumpkin, just like his father.

 

Amanda Yoshida first dreamt of being a children's book illustrator when she was a mere toddler, growing up in the suburbs surrounding Portland, Oregon. As a child, she spent countless hours drawing and studying the artwork inside her stacks of colorfully illustrated books. She favored the rhyming words and silly drawings of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, and claimed one day she would be an artist. Eventually, the pens and pencils that were always in her hand became paint brushes in her exploration of creativity. At the age of fourteen, her original artwork was displayed and sold at her family's art gallery in Portland's Pearl District and lead to substantial private commissions. After graduating from the elite Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Los Angeles in 2009, she fell in love with the digital canvas and began working solely in this media.

Amanda returned to her beloved hometown of Portland in 2013 and began working as a freelance graphic designer and digital painter. While in the midst of growing her successful business and putting down roots with her husband, the dream of becoming a mother and published author was realized. Two months before the birth of her first child, she received word that her first children's book would be published. Amanda is now looking forward to reading her debut book, "The Greatest Wish", to her new son, after it's official release by Mascot Books in October 2016. She plans on writing and illustrating many more books in the future.

Monday
Sep192016

Five Bucks and an Empty Can

When I walk along the street, I’ve learned to utter words of gratitude to the Lord for my home, work, and meals. I also pray for those I see on the side of street begging for coins. It’s heartbreaking to see an old man or woman begging for food. While I wish I could give more, I can only share what I have.

Five dollars cannot fill an empty can but it can fill the heart of an old man with joy knowing that someone cares about him and wants to help feed his empty stomach.

Helping others is not easy if you do not have a compassionate heart. You may think it’s a scam or they will use the money for something else. When you do not have God in your heart, you will never feel the compassion, love and sympathy that you need to give to others. You will only feel selfishness because you only think about yourself. 

At the end of the day, those negative thoughts in your mind didn’t help anyone; you lost the opportunity to be blessed and be a blessing to others. God gave you a big heart to comfort and to give compassion to others.  He gave you long arms with pair of hands to reach everyone and help in the best way that you can. Because of God, you know your purpose. A truly beautiful person has a compassionate heart, helping hands and a divine purpose in living.

Mission out of Passion:  Your Divine Calling and Purpose in Living

There are many things people are passionate about: cooking, sewing, biking and more. I know a lot of people who run three miles a day or go biking. Some go hiking and look for adventure on their way. As people say, you will never tire of doing what you love. People choose work related to their passion because they want to enjoy every minute doing their job. If you want to grow in what you are doing, make sure you do things out of passion and not from responsibility or duty. Likewise, you should do your mission, divine calling and purpose in living out of passion.

With some people, you can feel their love as they approach and talk to people. Their passion is to share the Gospel with others, going from town to town or, sometimes, other countries and living with their families abroad. If you have this kind of passion as missionaries, you know you following your divine calling and purpose of living. This is the same with Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19:

 “19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law, I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak, I became weak to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.”

If you have seen or known a missionary, you may think and ask their reasons for going out of the country. It’s natural to think and ask, “Why go to a nation I have never been before to live outside of my comfort zone?” God will show you the answer as He did to the missionaries.

If you have the heart to win others for Christ, you will go out and share the Gospel. This is the sacrifice that missionaries are going through. They go from different places just to share the love of God with us. They give their time and devotion to share with you the good news God wants you to know.

God may call you as a preacher, doctor, teacher, soldier, or another title. Wherever you are, your main purpose is to share the Gospel and win others. Two ways to win others:

1. Showing Christ-like Character: Galatians 5:22-23 says:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” You may ask why showing a Christ-like character is the first instead of sharing the Gospel. Well, while you can share the Gospel, they may not believe you if you are not living what you preach. Christ lived His everyday life with the qualities mentioned above, being a perfect example to the people. Having these qualities will help you to win others, especially your family. You do not need to say anything or push the teachings on them so they may believe; you need to show them naturally. Live what you have learned from the Gospel. As a believer in Christ, you have to show how God changed your life. He taught you how to live and obey His teachings as a new creation of God. As Ephesians  4:22-24 says: “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful  desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness  and holiness.”

Setting yourself as a good example will encourage others to believe that God is really in you. Remember, you are not the one who is calling them; instead, God is calling them for a purpose. He is using you as a channel to share the Gospel and show to them His miracle in changing your life.

2. Sharing the Gospel: Matthew 28:19-20 says:

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The person who sees the changes in your life is also the person who will go to you and ask for your help. You can either approach others and share the Gospel or they will approach you to learn what changed you. Either of these opportunities will allow you to share the love of God. Remember that you are God’s ambassador; share what the Lord did for you.

Sharing the Gospel is not the end of the process. You have to teach them what you know and care for them as God taught and cared for you. Teach them to know the Lord deeper, committing themselves to God by building a strong relationship with Him. Start a small group and lead them in knowing Christ better. Each of us has different callings as we have different missions in life. As a believer in Christ, you can win your family, friends and co-workers by sharing the Gospel by living your everyday life with your Christ-like character. You cannot win them if you are showing an attitude that goes against the teachings of the Lord. Do your mission out of passion, your divine calling, and purpose in living and you will be on the right path.

I am a massage therapist as this is my passion. I also love doing charity work and giving free counseling by listening to people’s  problem, giving advice, comforting them and praying for them.

I did not know what I was passionate about until God showed me my divine calling. He saved me, and continues to teach me the right way to live my life. I believe I am doing my mission out of passion and love for God. This is my divine calling and purpose in living.

 

Valerie Jambrovic is a personal development guru. After turning her energy toward Bible study, she discovered the strength of God within her soul. Her first book, Beauty In The Mirror, made a life-changing impact on countless people around the globe. In her newest work, Valerie hopes to bring faith, hope, and healing to the world! Valerie lives the words she writes, and enjoys a level spirituality that far exceeds the boundaries of religion. Motivated to guide others toward the bliss divine grace and inspiration afford, Valerie delivers a powerful and practical manual to lead the way. A native of Brazil, Valerie moved to the United States in 2004. She resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband, David, and twelve-year-old daughter Shiraz. She has designated 20 percent of this book proceeds for charity.

Tuesday
Sep132016

Full Disclosure - That Is What Authors Want!

When it comes to services for Indies, the internet is the one place most of us go shopping. Yet, finding what we need is not a simple thing. Our first stop will always be a search engine, but as we go through the list of companies, and begin the click-through process, we realize quickly that we not only don’t know what we are looking for, in many cases the websites we are checking out don't even specify the costs clearly. That and the justified fear of scams is enough to paralyze new authors on the spot when it comes to searching for services that might work for them. In my opinion, we should all be able to shop for services the same way we shop for groceries and clothes. In all honesty, the 'full disclosure' policy should also be applied to people, and thus my new profile pic, showing all my shades of gray! Following are some things to consider when searching for publicity and promotional help through the internet:

  • The first thing to do is to sort out the websites that offer services a la carte and those who do not disclose services or prices.
  • Then tackle all the places that show details. Make a selection of a couple that call your attention, not just on prices but also on the detail of services described, as well as any additional information about the staff, and the company's mission statement. Don't shy away from contacting them to get a feel for them, and ask questions. 
  •  Once you have an idea of what publicity services look like, check out the ones that pique your interest and compare those companies to make an educated choice.

In the end, there is no wrong or right, just what works for each one of us, but we can’t figure it out if we don't have the necessary information! For more on how we help authors visit readerviews.com.

 

Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, a book review and author publicity service where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors.  She is also Managing Editor of First Chapter Plus, an online e-Catalog that introduces books to Libraries, Bookstores, Media, Reviewers, Bloggers and Readers.

Susan published her first book : Innocent War: Behind An Immigrant's Past - Book 1 in 2009, and released her revised edition in 2011.  Her sequel to Innocent War, Emerging from the Rubble is scheduled to be published later this year. Tuma: The Tribe's Little Princess was published in 2014 under her own label, I Have Something To Say Press.


Wednesday
Aug172016

Categorizing Your Title in a Literary Awards Contest

With the end of summer approaching, the deadline for our annual literary awards contest gets closer and closer.  As the submissions coming in keep piling up, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some awards wisdom with our authors!

        Each literary awards contest has different guidelines, categories, and submission requirements. So when submitting to various contests, it is always a good idea to keep a log that not only keeps track of when you sent each one but also shows the guidelines, fees, categories you submitted to…etc. Doing this will help to keep track of the current submissions, and it will also create a chart with information about each contest, which will be helpful for upcoming books.

·         Authors are right to assume that the genre of their title should be the main category to enter in the contest. Does this mean that it must be the only one? The answer is no. A literary novel, for example, could also be historical fiction, mystery, thriller, or all of the above! Consider submitting the title in a few categories, or even submitting the title in different categories for different contests to improve the chances of scoring an award!

·         Choosing which category to enter in an awards contest is important mostly because the category selected will determine the judge who will read the book. If the author chooses to enter their Christian fiction title in the general fiction category, it will be reviewed by a judge who prefers to read general fiction. A better fit for the title would be the judge that reads Christian fiction titles. It is essential to choose the category that is the best fit for the book’s topic.

·         As some categories are more generalized, they will have more submissions than the more specific ones. In other words, the fewer the number of titles in a category, and the number of categories entered improves the chances of being picked as finalist or winner.

In the end, all authors want their title to win. When shooting to win, competitors need to make sure they give their submission the best possible chance. In my opinion, the key is to categorize the book correctly and even submitting in different categories applicable to the book’s topic. Keeping all this straight and organized will also help when strategizing submissions and make the process easier for your next title. For more information about the Reader Views Literary Awards, click here. 

Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, a book review and author publicity service where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors.  She is also Managing Editor of First Chapter Plus, an online e-Catalog that introduces books to Libraries, Bookstores, Media, Reviewers, Bloggers and Readers.

Susan published her first book : Innocent War: Behind An Immigrant's Past - Book 1 in 2009, and released her revised edition in 2011.  Her sequel to Innocent War, Emerging from the Rubble is scheduled to be published later this year. Tuma: The Tribe's Little Princess was published in 2014 under her own label, I Have Something To Say Press.