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Amy Leah Magaw is a born-again author and freelance writer with a passion for writing country-fried Christian romance, creative non-fiction, poetry, and inspirational short stories. A mother of two active teenagers, Amy spends her days teaching middle and high school—and loving it. She spends her nights escaping to her world of writing she affectionately calls, “The Oasis.” She is available for speaking at Ladies’ Conferences and meeting your freelance writing needs.  To learn more about Amy’s writings, visit her blog at www.AmyLMagaw.com, or email Amy at AmyLMagaw@gmail.com.

Friday, February 22, 2013

VBS Time Already? Join Our Team!

Heed the call, friends!  VBS time will be here before we know it, and I need some folks to join this quest! 

Every year, Oriental Trading puts out a Fun & Faith catalog, listed various products that support a particular VBS theme.  Some of those themed curriculum's are published by tradition carriers like Group and Lifeway, etc. 

Our church always writes our own VBS curriculum based on the KJV, because of the stand we take on that version of the Bible. 

So, we figure, if we're doing that, then more than likely there are others out there doing that as well!

Here's the idea:

I would like to host a forum page on this blog STRICTLY for ORIGINAL VBS Curriculum materials.  These materials will be made free for download for churches to use for their VBS programs this summer. 

I'm looking for week-long programs as well as One-Day Extravaganzas.  This would be the place to bring your ideas. 

We need lesson plans, ORIGINAL coloring pages (Please do not scan in a Dollar Tree Coloring Book page with a Bible verse typed at the bottom!  This is copyright infringement! All drawings must be original!) Games for outdoors, Creative Snack Ideas and music (NO MP3 Uploads-Songs can be written to be sung to the tune of familiar songs in the public domain i.e. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star OR ORIGINAL SHEET MUSIC.)

We need team members who are willing to do a small part and reap the full benefit!

Now, there are some rules:

All materials must use the KJV as their Scripture Base.
The materials must not infringe on someone's copyright-the materials need to be originally yours to post-you own the rights!
Materials need to support a particular VBS theme. 

If you are interested in joining this team, please email be at AmyLMagaw@gmail.com and I can give you more details. 

Here is the link to the two themes that OTC is going with this year, "Over The Top" (Amusement Park) and "Mighty Kingdom: Quest for Strength" Castle
Theme.  There are also some other themes listed in the column on the lefthand side, but there are not many products to go along with them.  They may have been from previous years, so I'd like to stick with the two new themes for this year.

http://www.orientaltrading.com/teaching-supplies-and-stationery/vacation-bible-school-a1-551532-5-0.fltr?categoryFromSearch=true&rd=vbs

If you look through the products of both lines, you will always find cut-outs and poster that have lesson themes on them.  These are the topics that we would base our lessons on. 

I would like to develop curriculum for both lines to post for all who need them. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why I Do What I Do

Since coming home from the Writers Conference, I've been looking over all of the information that I'd gathered this past weekend.  I was perusing comments on my work such as:

"You seem to push your characters being in the will of God, thinking about Him all the time, but it's not sounding realistic.  Their lives show what and who they are."

I agree that people's lives do show who they are and what they are, but the question is this: what is determining who they are and what they are-God or the flesh?  The books I write don't have the characters thinking about God ALL of the time, but a good bit of the time.  The reason is because they are Christians, and they are trying to live for God.  They make mistakes, they have character flaws, and the portions of their lives that I present to the reader are important, life-shaping scenes that model how we are supposed to seek God's guidance either through prayer and Bible reading or seeking Godly counsel from Christian Family and friends.  The reason that it sound 'unrealistic' is probably because many of us try to live our lives in the flesh and seeking the will of God has become foreign to us. The comment above seems to assert that my characters should be satisfied with settling for the status quo, living squarely in their comfort zone, living their lives without God.

I do what I do to try and help encourage Christians to be better Christians. 

In referring to Mandie's (Book #2 Wheels of Love) problem of being able to meet a man to have a relationship with while traveling on a Christian Music tour, this comment was made:

"If that's her biggest problem, she doesn't have a problem.  Where does she want to go and what does she want to do?  She apparently has fame and fortune and admirers and family. She is being presented as ungrateful."

Stars turn to drugs and alcohol daily to try and fill a void that only Christ can fill.  Fame, fortune, admirers and even family cannot satisfy that void.  Ask them if their problem is significant.

Even when Christians seem to have everything, there is a desire that God planted in an individual's heart to have a mate.  God looked at Adam in the Garden of Eden and said it was not good that man should be alone. Eve was created to complete Adam. 

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Genesis 2:18

God then made it official by taking a rib from Adam and creating Woman from that rib.  It it clearly seen here that man is not complete without a woman.  And even though women's libbers do not like this, woman was created to complete a man!  God did not say that "it was good" until the end of the 6th day AFTER THIS VERSE:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:27 

God didn't say "it was good" until both male and female were BOTH created-because they complete each other.

Now, with that settled, we see that finding that HELP MEET for you is a PROBLEM.  This is evident from the current divorce rates in America. 

Perhaps if more young people, Christians included, really PRAYED, and SOUGHT GOD'S WILL about their mates, maybe those rates would be lower.

This problem is not "spectacular" but it is a REAL problem.  It is an everyday problem that REAL people can identify with.  I write my stories to entertain, only as a side-goal:

I do what I do to try and show the lost that God loves the average Joes and Janes, and He cares about their problems by using real-life, everyday characters, with real-life average problems so that they can empathize and not idolize.  So that the lost will turn to Christ for their number one problem-their need for a Saviour-and then later they will be encouraged to turn to Him for all of their other problems.

I'm just saying...



Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tears On My Pillow

View from the Dining Hall at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove
Asheville, NC
     It has been quite a weekend here at the Writers Advance! Boot Camp Conference hosted at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, NC. I was privileged to attend this writer's conference with several other aspiring authors from around the country.  I have met fellow Christian writers from Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and even as far away as Arkansas! 
     I have been very blessed to have a roommate from Lumberton, NC, Mrs. Judy Taylor.  She has been serving the Lord in Women's Ministry for over 16 years.  She is seeking the Lord's guidance on compiling her collection of devotions into a devotional book.  She has been a real blessing to me this weekend.  I ask that you pray for her in her endeavors as she serves through Raft Swamp Baptist Church there in Lumberton. 
     We have attended workshops covering everything from using Social Media to market yourself, to determining whether or not your story is worthy of making movie.  There has been a wealth of information presented in a very small window of time. 
     The highlight of this venture was that I was able to schedule several appointments with agents, traditionally published authors, and publishing company founders in hopes of pitching my books and obtaining critiques.  I followed all of the necessary rules of submitting my books for a professional critique.  I anxiously awaited the appointment with this author who has had over 50 Christian Romance books traditionally published.  This lady really knows her stuff.  I expected my work to be thoroughly shredded.  The lady treated me with great respect and gave her advice in love, for which I was extremely thankful.
     I came back to the room after my critique interview to tweet my husband to call me.  I needed to hear his voice.  Through tears of disappointment, I recounted the events to him.  Evidently, just because I have those out there who like my work, who happened to not be related to me or my BFF's, evidently doesn't mean that I'm a good writer.  There are several things that I need to work on mechanics, plot development, and all sorts of things.  I need a very good professional editor to work with on my pieces.  Thankfully, I now have a host of resources at my disposal and I should be able to find one. 
     However, was I thrilled to see all of the "red ink" on my papers?  Not on your life!  After the critique on my first book, I felt like pulling if off of the market and throwing it away!  I was told that I might have a good little story going in my second book, but that one needed a whole lot of re-writing also.  Needless to say, I came away thankful for an honest opinion, but disheartened at the same time.
     Although my husband's voice was indeed comforting, the Voice that I needed to hear came in His still small way.  Will I pull book one from the cyber shelves?  No.  Will I rewrite it at a later date?  No.  Will I correct it to make it a better read?  Yes-but not immediately.  But, unless the Lord leads, I'll not be making any plot changes, even if that means that I'll never be traditionally published.  I truly feel that the Lord inspires these stories because He has given me this gift-and I intend to give the stories that He sees fit, not what will sell thousands of copies.  It's the message that He wants me to bring; even though I write it, I know He uses it to accomplish His work.
     I also met with an agent today.  When I told this agent that I was self-published, that was the end of the discussion.  I was informed that agents didn't pick up self-published authors, because publishers would immediately pull up their Amazon profile, see the lack of sales, and would assume that we indies weren't marketable.  Again, another closed door.
     So, will I continue to write?  Yes.  Why?  Because I must.  Writing for me is a gift that the Lord has allowed me to use to promote HIS agenda.  Instead of promoting myself on Facebook and Twitter I should be promoting HIM!  I need to let Jesus promote me when He is ready to do so, whether that be through traditional methods or other means.  I am more inclined to think it will be the latter for, "...God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;" (I Corinthians 1:27)

     I am thankful for the knowledge that I've gained through this experience.  I will take it to heart, and apply the knowledge to my current work in progress, Book Three of the Breaking Dawn Book Series, Coming Home.
     I am resolved to keep writing as long as the Lord allows me to.  I'm sure there will probably be many more tears on my pillow, but they will dry-and the pen goes on.