Tag Archives: Acfw

Stunning Headshots by EA Creative Photography!

Oh. My. Word. Look at that, will you?

I just have to brag on Emilie Hendryx of E.A. Creative Photography a little bit here.

I’d been wanting professional headshots for forever and ever, and I’d been following Emilie on Facebook and other various social media for a while. (She takes professional headshots for authors at Realm Makers and ACFW). Oh man, did I want a session too!

Well my time came at Realm Makers 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

It was raining. I was sweating–ahem, “glowing”–from running around to get to my session in time and, you know, cause it’s hot in Philly in July. Hot.

And I was totally freaking out to step in front of that camera. But I did anyway.

And she did it. Emilie took my damp hair, “glowing” skin, and extra baby weight (That sucker’s a year and a half. This is supposed to go away sometime about now, right? Right?) ;-) and somehow made me look beautiful.

 

I have no idea how she did it. But I have my guess.

One word: magic.

Thank you, Emilie Hendryx, for taking such stunning professional headshots! I am in awe!!!

In Him,

Michele

A Day in the Life of Ralene Burke

I am so excited to have Ralene Burke with me today! Author of Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior, Ralene is a powerhouse, helping organize Realm Makers, volunteering at ACFW’s national conference, and leading her state chapter of ACFW.

How does she manage it all? I’m so glad you asked!

Here is a peek into a day in the life of Ralene Burke:

I’m an author. I’m also an editor and a social media manager. I also homeschool my three kids. And volunteer. And on rare occasions when there’s a blood moon, I enjoy reading or cooking or cuddling with my husband.

People often ask me how I do it all. I have a confession to make. I don’t. Ever.

Now, that’s not to say things don’t ever get done. Obviously, since I managed to self-publish an entire fantasy serial and then turn it into a whole book. And my kids can read. And do math. Most of the time.

I am one of those people who totally believes there’s no such thing as balance, something always falls to the wayside. But there is such thing as good time management when you make use of priorities.

I typically get up about 6:00 in the morning. I’ve tried to get up earlier than that in the past, but my body just refuses to believe that life can be sustained before 6:00. I try to kick off each day with some Bible study and quiet time. This often gives my mind time to wake up and focus, plus lets me fill my cup, so to speak. The days always seem to be easier if I start by giving it to God.

Then the family starts waking up, and we all get around to breakfast and morning chores.

School starts around 8:30. From then until about 3:00 p.m., it’s a mix of cleaning and school. We do a lot of reading and projects together. My kids have individualized programs for reading, spelling, and math; but the rest we do together. On different days, we also have homeschool co-op, therapy, gymnastics, and Tae Kwon Do.

If all goes well and we’re done by 3:00, then I have time to do some writing before dinner. I feel so much better when I get to write during this time, instead of feeling crunched later.

Dinner is often a family affair, including the making of and the cleaning up afterward. We can be so hurried throughout the day, whether to our various activities or just in homeschooling, it’s nice to sit down and catch up.

After dinner, I’m off to work. Granted “going to work” means my little office two feet from the kitchen, a room without a door. But still, it’s all mine. On good nights, I hide out in there until 10:00 at night. But sometimes I’m tired and it only lasts till 8:30 or 9:00. Here, I often jump between freelance editing and social media work. Then if there’s time, I add some words to my own WIP.

Then it’s reading time! I put on my PJs (assuming I changed out of them in the first place), snuggle up under the covers, and pull out a good book (okay, sometimes it’s a TV show instead). I try to keep my reading time to about 30 minutes with lights out around 11:00. Or 12:00. 1:00? Which is why 5:30 a.m. does not exist in my world.

Now, this is an ideal day. On any given day, I can wake up to any number of things that throws wrenches into my best laid plans. And I have to be okay with that. I have to be flexible and go with the flow, rearrange my expectations, adapt. In the end, I can only do my best and give the rest to God. He is the only one who is ever really in control.

On a side note, I am really excited about the release of Bellanok. This is the culmination of many years of work. You can find out more about Bellanok on my website, including the fabulous video Amy Brock McNew at Amaeris Designs Productions created, as well as the many amazing posts on the rest of this blog tour and my Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much, Ralene!

Now, a little more about her delicious book, Bellanok.

A haven for myths and legends…until evil discovers a way in.

With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

Isn’t that cover beautiful? And I absolutely love the range of mythical creatures Ralene includes in her story world.

Check out the book trailer by Amaeris Designs Productions!

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m so excited about this new book!

In Him,

Michele

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for several freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time…

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

Realm Makers, Gen Con, and ACFW, Oh My!

Let’s just say I’ve been busy. Extremely busy.

So busy, in fact, I’ve been sick for about three months straight.

I know! Not cool, right?

But the conferences, book signings, conventions, editing jobs, book releases, etc. etc. etc. have all been so wonderful, I couldn’t resist!

(And now I’m being forced by my body to slow it down and take care of me…then I’ll be off and running again!) :)

So now a little about my time at Realm Makers:

And Gen Con:

And ACFW:

Isn’t that incredible? Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, and being able to dress up in a Star Trek uniform! (Though I would say meeting both authors was a tad more exciting than dressing up…) ;)

There’s more–so much more–and I will do my best to share a plethora of my favorite pictures I took from all three of these events at a later time.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you read any incredible books lately?

I haven’t had time for personal reading lately, and I find I’m desperate for a few good recommendations.

What have you read and loved?

In Him,

Michele

Book Expo America 2016 and the Indianapolis Homeschool Convention

Right now I’m in Chicago at the Book Expo America 2016. Squeal! Isn’t that amazing?

I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to come, but I felt so strongly I needed to be here this year, my husband moved heaven and earth to make sure I could attend.

Isn’t my husband the sweetest man on earth?

I’ll have pictures next week! :)

But for now, a little on my time at the Indianapolis homeschool convention.

To say I dislike homeschooling would be an understatement. “Detest” is more accurate.

Why? I was homeschooled. And I hated it.

So when God put the IAHE convention (Indiana Association of Home Educators) on my heart and said, “Do this,” I said, “No way.”

I wanted to go to Comic Con. Well guess what? Comic Con was sold out. Their waiting list never opened. And God didn’t stop saying, “Do this.”

I reluctantly agreed and contacted the president of our Indiana chapter of ACFW, Rick Barry, to reserve a spot. Of course a spot was available. Of course. ;)

And I loved every minute of it.

Guess what? Homeschooling parents aren’t psychos bent on never letting their kids have friends, have fun, or go outside.

Each person I spoke with was intelligent, scrounging through every single piece of material available for the very best to offer their kids. Science, math, art–these people were intense. And overflowing with love.

They genuinely loved their kids and wanted the very best for them. I saw it over and over and over and over again.

And God spoke very clearly to me. He said, “This is why you’re here. Get over it. Get over your hatred of all things homeschooling, of homeschoolers, and be free. I love them. And I love you. I want you to be free.”

I had to sit down.

Really? I mean, really? That’s why God had me there?

I’d been waiting for most of the convention, you see, to find out why on earth God had practically forced me to go to a place I didn’t want to go. There was a reason, and I was going to find it.

I just assumed it was so my book could bless somebody. (Um, pride anyone? Lol.)

Nope, it was so I could get over myself, so I could be released from bondage (it’s just so much working hating something for so long, you know?), so I could see through God’s eyes, even just a little.

He did it for me.

And now I’m crying. Oh, man! Wasn’t expecting that! Haha! (As I blow my nose…)

So I’m raving to go back next year and take as many ACFW Indiana members with me as I can. This convention rocks. I met so many wonderful people I just can’t even get over it. Selling my book was like the cream cheese vanilla icing on the rich fudge chocolate cake.

(And now I need to go raid my pantry…)

And best of all? I met fellow ACFW member April Frazier, and we got to talk editing. (Happy shiver. Day made. Right there.)

Next week? How awesome was the Book Expo America 2016? Well, I’ll tell you. ;)

I love you all, goodnight, and thank you for reading my post!

In Him,

Michele

(P.S. I totally apologize if any of my pictures are upside down. Yes, I’m scared of this. Really! Last time I took pics with my iPhone and slapped them on my blog post, they went out into the world … upside down. I kinda wanted to die. Since this post is scheduled–I am in Chicago, you know–I’m awaiting its post with fear and trembling. Please, please, please post the right way–please!!!)

Wisdom & Folly at the Indianapolis Homeschool Convention

Guess what? I’m taking Wisdom & Folly to the Indianapolis Homeschool Convention next weekend! Oh my goodness, I hope they love it!

The IAHE (or Indiana Association of Home Educators) hosts a yearly convention, full of workshops, general sessions, and exhibits galore.

And I get to be one of the exhibitors.

The Indiana chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) of which I am the current treasurer, purchased a booth and invited their members to bring their fiction. Of course I jumped on it!

(I’m so attending the session “Never Give Up: The Critical Importance of Finishing What You’ve Started.” That can apply to so many areas of life!)

I remember being dragged–ahem, I mean, attending–a few homeschool conventions with my mom when I was young. My favorite booths were those that sold books, preferably the fiction kind, as my mom learned everything new and trending in the homeschool world. I didn’t care about any of that other stuff back then. I just wanted to read.

I can’t say my perspective has changed much (Me? Homeschool? No way. I would kill my kids. Kill. Them.) but my passion for fiction remains the same.

(Please let me say many of my friends homeschool, and I admire, respect, and pretty much adore them for being able to do what I cannot. Rock on! So jealous.)

The part of me who remembers that little girl, hungry for a good story, hopes to be able to bless someone at IAHE as I wished a certain vendor (corner both, stuffed full of discount books, didn’t want kids around unless their parents were paying) would have blessed me. A little grace for a lover of stories with grimy hands.

Wow. I feel like that got real fast.

Back to fun and happy!

So anyway, I will be there, selling my book, and signing as many copies as possible!

Will you be there this year? I would love to see you!

In Him,

Michele

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