Monday, February 24, 2014

Chasing Down a Reluctant Heroine

Chasing Down a Reluctant Heroine

Authors love to introduce their characters and I’m no exception. I can’t wait for you to meet
Dr. Lisbeth Hastings, the heroine of my new book Healer of Carthage.

Lisbeth is a driven, young professional with her life as a doctor all planned out. However, that was before her tragic mistake. I won’t say too much about the mistake (after all I want you to read the book) but I will say her error in judgment thrust her into a world stranger than anything her archeologist father ever dug up in one of his forgotten caves.

You’d think the threat of medical malpractice would have humbled this young intern a bit, but … well … I’ll let you be the judge of her current emotional state.

She’s the one being drug to the baths of a third-century villa.

Be warned … she’s ticked.

Me: Excuse me, Dr. Hastings. Could I speak to you for a minute?

Lisbeth: In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little busy. Hey, what is this place?

Me: It’s a bathroom.

Lisbeth: A bathroom? It’s bigger than my entire apartment back in Dallas.

Me: Nothing is too good for the wealthy Roman, Cyprianus Thascius.

Lisbeth: Roman?

Me: Calm down. I’m sure you’ll come to appreciate every amenity I dropped into this story.

Lisbeth: I don’t want to appreciate anything. I want you to get me out of this nightmare.

Me: Well, I can’t. I put you into the third century to change the world.

(Lisbeth has crossed her arms and is tapping her foot. She seems a bit too snarky, but I can see how unexpected time travel could have a tendency to make someone a tad defensive. Besides, if I sent Lisbeth home before she met the handsome hero what kind of love story would this be?)

I take a deep breath and continue.

Me: Maybe I went overboard a bit with the floor-to-ceiling murals, cascading water, and exquisite tile mosaics, but I actually toured the ruins of a Roman bath in England and thought the Romans masters of luxury. In fact, I think you’d find their medical knowledge equally as impressive. Frankly, Lisbeth, I’m jealous.

Lisbeth: Jealous?

Me: You’re going to wear some of the most beautiful gowns, have the most amazing adventures, and meet the most incredible hunk, and—

Lisbeth: You’re obviously not the one stuck in the past, half drowned, stripped to your birthday suit, and staring at woman coming at you with a metal claw.

Me: (Looking quickly over my shoulder, I sigh with relief.) Oh, that’s not a claw. The Roman’s call that a strigil

Lisbeth: A what?

Me: An exfoliation tool. First a slave slathers you with oil, then scrapes the blade over your skin … Lisbeth … Lisbeth … wait. I can explain.

(As she tries to bolt past me, I really have no choice but to push her into the tub. I’ll try to take up this interview once she’s dry, but I don’t have high hopes. Lisbeth Hastings seldom cooperates...with anyone.)

Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. Her newest novel, Healer of Carthage, is the first in The Carthage Chronicles series. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright with several full-length musicals and a children’s theater curriculum to her credit. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer whose first love is spending time with family.

Author Contact info:
Facebook: Author Lynne Gentry 

Healer of Carthage is the compelling adventure of a disgraced twenty-first century doctor dropped into a third-century Roman plague. Romance, courage, and justice propel Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to a harrowing choice: Save the past or return to the future?

Healer of Carthage: A Novel (The Carthage Chronicles)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When You Can't Find the Words

When You Can’t Find the Words
3 Tips to Break the Ice of Writing
By Susan Lawrence

What can you do when all the words seem frozen in an ice jam with no sign of a thaw in sight?

Try these three ideas. They’re not the only ways to thaw your frozen words, but they’re worth a try!

Carry a small notebook everywhere you go. Or, use an app, such as Evernote, which syncs to multiple devices so you have your notes wherever you are (and always have them backed up). Look around and notice everyday details. Writers don’t just write when they’re sitting in front of the screen. They write all the time, one word at a time. Good writers are good observers. Take notice, write key words and phrases, and check your notes often. You’ll find many of the ideas and illustrations you need surround you every day.

Tell a story. Make a list. We can get stuck on a particular article or chapter, but when we’re stuck, we simply need to start writing something…anything! If you’re stuck on a nonfiction article, write a story, any story, perhaps about a childhood experiences or parenting mishap. If you’re stuck in fiction, try something removed from storytelling. It can be a simple list of words that start with “r” or a brainstorm session of six-letter words. It can be a practical list to help you get organized or a list of frustrations you experience when you can’t write!

Pack up and move. You don’t have to pack up your belongings and hire a moving company, but you may need to pack up your thoughts and move to another location. It might be as simple as taking your laptop to a coffee shop, but you might leave your laptop in the car and literally move, such as taking a walk or riding a bike. Soak in the natural noises around you or play your favorite “get moving” music. Be sure to have a notebook or voice app available so you can record your thoughts and observations.
Every writing project gets done one word at a time, so don’t get discouraged when the easy flow of words doesn't come to you. Start with a single word. Then put one word in front of another, and soon you’ll be swimming in sentences!

“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." ~ Isaiah 43:19 (NASB)

Susan Lawrence is a women’s ministry consultant who also partners with women with writing goals. She speaks around the country, has written multiple Bible studies and devotionals, and blogs daily. If you’d like to start a conversation with her about your writing goals or other ministry needs, connect with her on

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Let The Words Flow

Christian writers, when the words bubble and flow straight to your heart from The One who made your heart, let the words flow! And please always remember Who you represent.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What's Next? 3 Steps Writers Can Take

What’s Next?
3 Steps Writers Can Take

Whether you’re just getting started and you don’t know where to begin or you have lots of words in a document (or many documents) and don’t know what to do with all of them, the next step can look daunting. In fact, you might not even be able to see where the next step is. It feels as if you’ll be stepping off a cliff if you step in any direction, so you hunker down and sink into a quagmire of uncertainty.

Help is on the way!

Ask “Why?” Why do you want to write? Why did you start writing? Set aside the distractions and be really honest about it. Do you want to record something to pass along to others as a legacy? Do you want to record all the advice you seem to get asked over and over again so you’ll have something succinct to share? Do you want books to sell when you speak? Do you want to become famous? Don’t kid yourself with a Sunday school answer. Unless you clarify your goals, you won’t know how to get to them.

Count “1.2.3.” Write one word, whether it’s a theme, memory, name, or phrase. Spend two uninterrupted minutes writing everything you can think of that relates to that word. Don’t worry about complete sentences. Just write whatever comes to mind. You can keep a small notebook with you or use your keyboard or phone, whatever works best for you. Keep it to two minutes. (If you get on a roll and want to continue, at least mark your two-minute mark as a completion to the task. If you begin to consistently run over the allotted time, you’re likely to push pressure on yourself to gradually increase your times.) Repeat the exercise three times in the same day. Setting aside large blocks of time are productive for certain stages of the writing process, but when you’re stuck, getting any amount of words on paper or screen is an improvement. As you create small assignments throughout the day, you’ll notice yourself connecting the dots, noticing details and finding ideas throughout the day. Repeat this routine for no more than a week. It’s an exercise for getting unstuck, not for maintaining a long journey.

Ask for Help. I coach many women through the writing and publishing process. Some simply need someone to ask clarifying questions to determine direction and options. Others need careful proofing and editing. Still others need to hand off their unfiltered words for someone to make sense of it all for prospective readers. It’s such fun to share the journey with others, because there’s shared excitement when the process goes well and shared burden when obstacles get in the way. Writing is a relationship. Eventually, it becomes a relationship between the author and readers, but along the way, it’s relationships among those who shape the words along the way.

Susan Lawrence is a women’s ministry consultant who also partners with women with writing goals. She speaks around the country, has written multiple Bible studies and devotionals, and blogs daily. If you’d like to start a conversation with her about your writing goals or other ministry needs, connect with her on