Encouraging others is important to me, so I’ve decided to be more intentional about it in hopes that it might rub off on those I come into contact with. I’ve started the hashtag #shinelight as a way of encouraging others online and through social media to live this way.
There are so many reasons! First, Jesus said to. That’s good enough for me. But also, because it glorifies God the Father, and it lets other people see Jesus in me.
Also, because I’ve done this. I’ve loved my neighbor and, while it can be scary or hard sometimes, it’s always worth it. I need to show others that people have value. Too often in our world today I only think of myself. I push past others, plow them down, ignore them because I’m so busy and tired and only care about my own needs at that moment.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Everywhere I go. “Like stars in the sky.” I am living in a “warped and crooked generation.” If God is in me, people should see him in me always. I should shine his light whether I’m at home or at the bank, the post office, or picking up my child from school. No matter what mood I’m in or how I feel that day. Whether I’m talking to my husband or kids or to a perfect stranger. Shine, Jill! Shine!
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault online and through social media.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2: 14-16
It might only take a smile. A “Hello!” to a stranger while jogging. A “How are you?” followed up by a “But how are you really?” Shining light is being kind. It’s having good manners. It’s giving someone else the last donut, letting someone go ahead of you in line, giving when you have no reason to, speaking up for someone who has no voice. It’s taking that extra moment, whether it be a second or an hour, to show other people that they have value. It’s not complaining, not arguing, not gossiping, not muttering, and not throwing a hissy fit. If we follow Jesus’s ways, we won’t walk in darkness. We will be shining light.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12
If I’m not shining light, I’m sucking it up. I’m dark. What good is that? I’m no different from those in the world. I’m too selfish to notice others. It’s all about me. Is that what I want? Is that who I want to be?
No way! I was created for so much more than mediocrity.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7
So, brothers and sisters, let’s shine light in this world. Let’s take the extra moment to show others that they have value and worth.
Who’s with me?
I have had a busy summer. So busy that I completely abandoned my blog. Here is a re-cap of what I’ve been doing for the past several months.
The day after the last day of school for my kids, June 10, we drove to Portland and flew to Alaska to visit my family. While I was there, I got to do a workshop with my mother at the Big Lake Public Library. It was really my mother’s workshop, but I was able to share about RoboTales and our art contest.
The day I returned from Alaska, I went to the Pacific Northwest Association of Church Libraries in Vancouver, Washington. I taught a workshop there on middle grade and teen books for libraries.
A few weeks later, I traveled to the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop in Olathe, Kansas. I taught several workshops, two with my friend Stephanie Morrill. I also revealed the cover for King’s Folly here first.
The start of July took me to the Nazarene Youth Conference in Louisville, Kentucky as a chaperone for six teens from our youth group. This is where I discovered Rend Collective and For King and Country, my two new favorite bands.
Two weeks later I attended the YOU Lead Women’s Ministry Leadership Conference in Boise, Idaho with some ladies from my church. We attended several inspiring workshops. Two of my favorites were one on different generations and one on different spiritual gifts. The day after the YOU Lead conference, we went to Beth Moore Living Proof Live. It was amazing. I learned so much that day.
August started out with Realm Makers. Realm Makers is a writers conference organized by the Faith and Fantasy Alliance. It was a lot of fun. I got to attend a class by David Farland. I enjoyed his teachings on how he helped to make Harry Potter, Twilight, and Fablehaven into the successes they are. He also taught Brandon Sanderson at BYU.
I hung out with six Enclave Publishing authors (formerly Marcher Lord Press) and the publisher/owner Steve Laube. My friend John Otte was unable to attend, so I reinvented my Stephanie head-on-a-stick for him! I got to meet many people I’ve always wanted to meet, like author Kerry Nietz, cover designer Kirk DouPonce of DogEared Design, author Donita K. Paul and her daughter Evangeline Denmark, and author Robert Liparulo.
I also met up with some OYANers, some Go Teen Writers peeps, my agent, and some dear friends. I recommend you spec fiction writers out there think about attending Realm Makers 2016.
Right after Realm Makers, I attended the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Coaching Conference. I taught a night owl pitch lab, in which conferees learned several different ways to pitch their book idea, then broke up into groups to practice them. I also got to do mentor sessions, meet lots of old friends, meet Jane Kirkpatrick, and my editor friend Becky Miller. I was also surprised and honored with the Trailblazer Award, which is given each year during the Cascade Awards to an author “who has distinguished him/herself in the field of Christian writing.” Apparently OCW thinks that’s me! I was so surprised and honored that I cried and babbled on stage. Sounds about right, huh? *wink*
August brought many forest fires to the Northwest, including a big one to my small town of John Day/Canyon City. The fire was called the Canyon Creek Complex. It began on August 12, started by lightning. It destroyed at least 39 homes, some belonging to people I know. Over 900 firefighters have been living in our small town of 2000 for nearly a month. The local fairgrounds has been a tent city for weeks, but today as I went on my jog, I noticed that most the tents are gone. The fire that burned 110,422 acres is 90% contained now and personnel is down to just over 200. I am so thankful to all the volunteers who helped to put contain this fire, save homes, donated to those who’ve lost homes, and that no lives were lost in this fire.
And at the start of September, my kids went back to school, I tried to catch up to all the things I was so far behind on. But I had bought my husband tickets to Weird Al for his birthday, and the conference was September 4.
And most recent is the water problem. Some ten days ago, we noticed a puddle of water on the sidewalk in front of our house. There had been no rain, and nothing was dripping off the roof. My husband dug a hole and discovered a gushing leak underground. We called the water guy, and he said we were leaking a gallon a minute! So we shut off the water and have been doing without. Sort of. We are fortunate to live next door to our church. So we shower and do our dishes at the church where there is hot water, do our laundry in the empty parsonage house, and use the bathroom facilities at the annex house next door. It’s been a challenge some days, but things could be much worse. Finally today the men came out to do what was necessary, which is to dig up the front yard and see where the pipe goes, then call the plummer to replace it. Here’s a picture I took this morning.
As you can see, life has been pretty busy. I’ve also had edits come on King’s Folly, have been hard at work on King’s Blood (book two), and published RoboTales (official announcement coming soon).
How about you? What have you been up to lately?
The time is almost up! All you artists out there, be sure to get your entries emailed to me for the RoboTales Student Art Contest. Winners will be published in the finished book. Contest closes July 31, 2015 at midnight Pacific Time.
Many of you have told you were drawing an entry, so be sure to send it in before the deadline or I won’t be able to consider it for the book. To learn more about the contest, click here.
Thanks, and good luck!
I’m so excited to show you all the cover for the first book in The Kinsman Chronicles, called King’s Folly.
Isn’t it gorgeous? Thanks to the staff and artists at Bethany House for putting this together. I love it!
For more information on the book release, check out webpage for The Kinsman Chronicles.
Help me show everyone my new book cover by sharing this post or downloading the cover and sharing it wherever you like.
Add King’s Folly to your TBR list on Goodreads by clicking here.
Keep on reading!
Last week I attended the CHOIS convention in Nampa, Idaho. This was the sixth year I’ve gone, and I always have a wonderful time. The CHOIS convention used to be held at College Church of the Nazarene, but they outgrew the space, so this year they were in the NNU gymnasium. My friend Angela Strong joined me with her wonderfully funny Fun4Hire middle grade series. Here we are in our booth.
The best part of the convention is seeing all the friends I’ve made over the years. Below is me and my new friend Trinity, then me and my good friend Abby, and finally me and Josiah, who I see every year since he and his sisters work in his father’s apologetics booth. I always have a wonderful time talking books with Josiah.
Happy Tuesday, everyone. I have an amazing deal for you. To celebrate the upcoming summer vacation, I’ve partnered with six author friends to release an ebook compilation of seven full-length novels for only .99. What a great way to get all your summer reading in one place!
The set is called Turning Point. It’s not really in a “box” since the set is digital, but all seven full-length, inspirational, young-adult novels come in this single download for only .99! The genres in the compilation range from contemporary to fantasy with both male and female protagonists. The one element all the stories have in common is that they focus on a turning point in the main characters’ lives.
The set is on pre-order right now on Amazon.com, but will be available on all ebook platforms on June 1, 2015. This set will only be available for a limited time.
Includes By Darkness Hid and books by Staci Stallings, Laura L. Smith, John W. Otte, Nicole O’Dell, Kathrese McKee, and Laura Anderson Kurk. Here are the covers of the books included. Have you read any of these? Of those you haven’t read, which look most interesting? (See box at the bottom of this post of a description of each novel.)
My son Luke and I are hosting an art contest. We are looking for young artists to help us illustrate the interior of Tinker (RoboTales, book 1). If you love to draw, your artwork could end up in a published book!
Artists must be under 18 to enter and have permission of their parent or legal guardian. No cost to enter. Contest runs from May 11 to July 31, 2015. To learn more, check out the contest pages here: http://jillwilliamson.com/robotales-tinker-contest.
I’m thrilled to reveal the cover for Tinker (RoboTales, book 1). This is the first in an eight-book series that my son and I have been working on for the past three years. It’s so exciting to finally have a book cover! What do you think?
The RoboTales books are advanced chapter books/early middle grade. Tinker (book one) is a retelling of Cinderella for boys—though my daughter really liked it too. Tinker won’t come out until late August 2015.
Why, you ask?
That will be announced tomorrow.
That’s right. Exciting news coming tomorrow!
Today, I wanted to give you a little backstory on how this project came to be.
The dream began in 2012. Luke was in fourth grade. That year I spoke to his entire elementary school to promote the local public library. The books I’d published at that point were best for readers in middle school and up, yet my visit got kids wanting to read my books anyway. Several checked out the 500-plus-page tomes. Some of the fifth and sixth graders stuck with it and read the stories, but most the younger kids lost interest. It made me want to write something for readers ages 7-13.
I went to Luke for help.
Over the course of the next six months, our family brainstormed. Luke had been studying fractured fairytales in his class, so we decided to write a children’s chapter book series of fairytale retellings. The series would take place in a fictional solar system, and the stories would be tied together by a lost robot dog who was trying to find his way home. We called the series RoboTales.
There were already so many fairytale retellings for girls. We thought it would be fun to target this series to boys, though girls would like the books too. I read the first three stories to my daughter Kaitlyn, who particularly loved Robo and the creatures he met along his journey.
As I worked on the books, Luke became my writing partner, naming characters, creatures, and helping to plot out the stories in detail. He even designed Robo out of LEGOs. I couldn’t have done it without him. He’s quite creative.
But with my other writing contracts, my speaking schedule, and the busyness of life, the series hovered at the bottom of my priority list. I just couldn’t find the time to get them written.
From the fall of 2013 to the spring of 2014, I made time. With Luke’s brainstorming support, I finished the first three books in our planned eight-book series and we plotted out the other five. It was every writer’s dream to have someone to brainstorm with constantly. Luke and I can’t wait to get these books into the hands of young readers!
Stay tuned tomorrow for that exciting announcement!
I’ve been hard at work on the rewrite of King’s Folly. It’s a BIG book, so it’s taking more time that some books might. The rewrite is due back to my publisher on June 10. I should have a cover in late June to show you all. The release date shifted a bit. Now the first part ebook release is set for December 2015 with the full print version coming out April 2016.
This is an ebook collaboration I’m participating in with six other authors. We are putting together a temporary ebook set of seven YA books to sell for .99. This is in an effort to reach a wide, new audience with our books. Check out the Amazon.com preorder page to see the books that are included. Could be that there are some you’ve never read. And please consider helping us spread the word about this set. We’re only planning to release it for a month or so, then it will vanish forever. You can preorder now on Amazon.com, and it will be available on all ebook platforms June 1.
We’re expecting a book cover any day now for Tinker (book one), and then we will have an exciting announcement to share. We can hardly wait!
Broken Trust (Mission League, book 3)
This book is almost done. So close. But my King’s Folly edits arrived before I could finish it, so it moved to the back-burner. I will have a cover to share soon, though. I am determined that Broken Trust will release in 2015, I just don’t know when.
The Achan and Vrell Novella
This, I’m sad to say, might not happen as planned. *weeps* There is just not enough time in the day, especially when one is working on a massive epic fantasy. I’m not giving up hope entirely yet, but I’m not sure I will find the time to write this in 2015. :-/ (Click the image of Achan and Vrell to watch the book trailer these two starred in.)
CHOIS convention (Christian Homeschoolers of Idaho State) – June 5-6, Nampa, ID. I will have a booth at this event. Come say, “Hello!”
PNACL conference (Pacific Northwest Association of Church Libraries) – June 19-20, Portland, OR. I will be teaching a workshop at this event.
OYAN Summer Workshop (One Year Adventure Novel) – June 22-27, Olathe, KS.
RealmMakers – August 7-8, St. Louis, MO. I will be on staff at this conference, teaching and serving on panels.
Oregon Christian Writers Conference – August 10-13, Portland, OR. I will be teaching a night owl pitch lab.
Salt Lake Comic Con – September 24-26, Salt Lake City, UT.
Any questions? Will I see you in any of these places? Which project are you most looking forward to?
Did you hear about the free ebooks?
Enclave Publishing has put the kindle and iTunes ebook versions of By Darkness Hid and The New Recruit on free for a while. (I’m not sure about international stores.)
Go buy them now for nothing! And if you already have them, please tell your friends. Share the love, guys. Share the love.
Here are the links:
By Darkness Hid on Kindle
By Darkness Hid on iTunes
The New Recruit on Kindle
The New Recruit on iTunes
Purchasing these free books helps me because it shows Amazon and Apple that the books have more buyers, and that changes the dynamics of the “customers who bought this also bought” sections in the online stores. Plus, it has the potential to get readers hooked into the series.
These aren’t the only ebooks Enclave Publishing put on free. There are more deals to be found! Check out this blog post to snatch up the other ebooks. And feel free to share any of these links with friends who you know love to read.