Monday, March 31, 2014

Influencer Time!

By Andrea Renee Cox

Hi Friends! While my own books are still tucked away in my computer—trust me, I’m working hard on them!—a friend of mine has some she’d like to share with you. Kim Vogel Sawyer is searching now for people just like you to join her street team. These newest novels will be contemporary fiction instead of her usual historical fiction. If I know Kim, they're sure to be wonderful tales of hope that will lift your spirits.

Do you enjoy reading fiction?

Do you like to share your latest book with all your friends?

Do you spend time on social media sites or write a blog?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to fill out the brief application at Kim Sawyer’s website. She’ll be choosing her street team soon. Hurry! You won’t want to miss this opportunity.

I’ve been a member of Kim’s influencer team through three novels now. It’s been quite a blessing. Not only have I gotten an early copy of three of Kim’s books (and a few little extra surprises), but I’ve also built great friendships with the other folks in the group. When tough times come around, we share our concerns with the group and everyone prays through the problem. Good news is shared, too, and the excitement bubbles around the group so quickly you can’t help but feel good about whatever situation you find yourself in! Good days or bad, we support each other with prayer and kind comments. And a bit of humor, too.

Wouldn’t you like to come join the fun?

Visit Kim Vogel Sawyer’s Street Team page for more details.

Have you ever been part of an influencer or street team for an author? What did you like about it? Anything you would improve, if given the chance?

Please share your stories in the comments section. They may help someone else decided if influencing is a good fit for them.

Need a proofreader? Take a look at the services I offer.

Want to be my guest? Here’s how to submit an article.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Music Makes a Difference

Have you ever had a gloomy day turn to sunshine just by hearing a song on the radio? Music is a mood changer. So many times I’ve had a rough day, then put on a CD of one of my favorite singers. By the end of the group of songs, I’d be belting out the lyrics, pouring my frustrations and sadness out at God’s feet. If you’ve done the same, you know that freeing feeling that follows. You’ll recognize that God uses music to change your attitude, your perception about the circumstances you’re in at that moment.

One song that’s helped me a lot lately is “Help Me Find It” by Sidewalk Prophets. Take a listen.

The part that really hit me this weekend is the part of the chorus that says, "If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment. Whatever Your will, whatever Your will, can You help me find it? Can You help me find it?” I'm in a season of being still, waiting patiently (and not so patiently, at times). That's hard on me, especially when I feel like the instructions I've been given haven't been updated in a while. My prayer is becoming, "If I need to be still, please give me peace for this moment."

When I set aside that song to work on my writing, I’ve put music to work in a different way. I’ve built soundtracks, using Windows Media Player, for the two main characters in the novel I’m working on. In doing so, I’m hoping the personal music loops will help me when the inevitable brain freeze called writer’s block decides to rear its ugly head. The songs I chose describe who the characters are, the circumstances they’re going through, or the spiritual journey they’ll be taking through the story. This is the first time I’ve used soundtracks to accompany my writing. Hopefully I’ll find it a helpful tool instead of a detrimental distraction.

Here’s a glimpse of the soundtracks I created for each character. For a couple of the songs, I found YouTube videos to share with you. Feel free to spend some time searching for the others. They're not that difficult to find on, and I'm sure you'll enjoy them.


"Under Fire" by Abandon

"The Motions" by Matthew West

Caution: This video has scenes in a hospital. If you can't handle needles, you might want to look up a different video for this one.

"Blink" by Revive

"Don’t Give Up the Fight" by Revive

"What I Live For" by Luminate

"Breathe In Breathe Out" by The Afters


"Busted Heart" by For King and Country

"Let Go" by Abandon

"Worn" by Tenth Avenue North

"Where Life Will Never Die" by Tenth Avenue North

"Save a Place For Me" by Matthew West

"Broken Hallelujah" by The Afters

What songs have meant a lot to you lately? How has music changed things for you? Did a certain song touch your heart over the weekend?

Need a proofreader? Take a look at the services I offer.

Want to be my guest? Here’s how to submit an article.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Calling All Authors!

Starting next month, the third Monday of every month will be available for guest bloggers. This is your invitation to be one of my guests.

Are you able to write an article about something that inspires your writing, or something else about the theme of inspiration?

Do you have a book releasing soon and would like a place to shout it out?

Would you like to be a one-time guest or have a recurring role here at Writing to Inspire?

Are you looking to expand your readership by guest appearing on numerous blogs?

Courtesy of Simon Howden and
If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, please consider yourself invited to send me an article for review. I’d be happy to host you here at Writing to Inspire.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

Articles about the theme of inspiration. Feel free to play with the theme and think outside the box. Please keep your articles up to 600 words, written in Microsoft Word.

Please include a bio up to 30 words, a headshot, and any pictures pertaining to your article that you’d like me to include.

Provide any information (including a brief blurb) about any upcoming or current releases (not to be counted against the article’s word count).

Please include the links to your website, blog, etc. that you’d like me to include with your article.

Submit all articles to Andrea Cox at the following email address: andrearenee2004 at yahoo dot com. Please put “guest article” in the subject line of your email.

You may request a certain month for your article to appear. If that month is already assigned to another article, you may choose another open slot or leave it to my discretion. If you have no preference, scheduling will be first come, first served.

This information will also be located on the new “Be My Guest” page for future reference.

Thank you so much for your participation! I look forward to having you here at Writing to Inspire!

Need a proofreader? Visit this page for details.

Want to be my guest? View details here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 2014 Movie Wrap-Up

I enjoy movies. Watching them, collecting them, writing them… What more can I say? I really enjoy movies. Movies from this generation and generations past. Romantic comedies, dramas, action flicks. Silent films and talkies. Documentaries, shorts, and epics. I love movies.

Because of this appreciation for movies, this week I’m highlighting a few films I’ve seen lately that you might like to view. Warning! You may want to grab a box of tissues before you settle in for these.

In theaters now:

Based on a true story about a city that was swallowed up by a sudden and violent volcanic eruption, this film captured my interest with its poignancy and romance, even amidst the life of gladiators. I was afraid it would contain gruesome scenes with said warriors or the volcanic explosion, but it was filmed with sensitivity and beauty that you have to see to fully understand and appreciate. I’m (hopefully) seeing this one again soon; that’s how much I treasured it.


Available to rent or own:

Guy Pearce has played so many fantastic characters over the years (think Count of Monte Cristo or Iron Man 3), but none I found as heart gripping as Mr. Randall, a man who sponsors a girl in China for years. When Mei Mei travels to Australia with the orphanage choir, will she discover the man she’s gotten to know via postcards isn’t really who he always claimed to be?

Zhu Lin
Guy intrigued me with mesmerizing raw emotions—this one scene stands out: when he witnessed an attack, he froze up, staying rooted to the floor, but you could read in his face that he wanted to do something to help the guy, take a swing at the attacker, or just crumple up and cry. That restraint and conflicting emotions reflected in his eyes and other facial features had me holding my breath. In addition to Mr. Pearce’s tried-and-true talent, there was quite a nice surprise with the up-and-coming talent of the lead actress. Zhu Lin, the girl who portrayed Mei Mei, enraptured me with her innocence and ability to express her feelings so easily, so freely. This young lady is surely one to watch. I’m sure we’ll see more from her in the years to come.

This movie tells the story of a child who must handle several major disappointments in his young life. As he’s on a journey of self-discovery, the audience quickly discovers that he’s quite the child prodigy when it comes to playing the piano. As you’re viewing this one, pay close attention to the songs on the soundtrack. The final credits hold a surprise for you about those songs played throughout the movie.

This one had me crying, laughing, applauding and giggling, and crying again. It’s a gentle story of hope and faith that is safe for the entire family. I hope you’ll check it out and pass it along. Because anything is possible. (Okay, so I couldn’t resist playing on the title of this one.)

That’s my movie wrap-up for this week. When you get a chance to see them, please drop back by and let me know what you think about them. I’d love to hear from you!

What movies have you seen lately that you’d recommend? Any family friendly ones? Ones that made you laugh out loud or cry tears of joy (or agony)?

What do you like to see in a good movie: Great characters? Intriguing plot lines? Action-packed? Emotional journeys?

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn... Breeds Character

When I received The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn in the mail, I had no idea it would add depth to my character.

Available April 15, 2014
Tamsen Littlejohn “longed for the freedom to choose her own path”. In a courageous moment, she fled the life her harsh stepfather tried to force upon her. Enlisting the help of an Overmountain man, she trekked into the wilderness, leaving behind everything familiar, on a search for the freedom always held just beyond her grasp. Would she come to regret her first free choice? Or would her patience prove to be just the seed God intended to burst into bloom?

As Tamsen ventured beyond the people and places she knew well, I latched onto her hope, her perseverance. These things I thought I already had, but the world often tests the things I think I’ve learned. When that happens, the Lord shows me more about my character. He refines the character traits He’s burrowing deep into the core of who I am. In so doing, He’s preparing me for the life He’s laid out before me. Today, I hope for my turn to create a family. This day, I’ll persevere past any trials that pop up against that future.

Thankful describes me right now. Tamsen Littlejohn’s story helped me realize I had more patience than I thought I did. The author, Lori Benton, didn’t unravel the mysteries surrounding Tamsen’s journey until the very end. That is talent I appreciate in a novelist. That patience—waiting to find out what happened to the heroine of the story—I applied to other areas of my life this week, and it made for a happier, more easygoing me. Taking life as it comes is something I’ve struggled to learn over the years. The last several years I’ve done better, but I have a feeling it’s all going to look upward from here.

What have YOU learned from a book that was applicable to other parts of your life?

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for the complimentary copy of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn in exchange for this honest review.

Reminder: Proofreading services now available. See this page for details.