Quality Resources for Christian Writers 
Newsletter #3
December 15th, 2013
A Book Review of He Rejoices Over Me 

He Rejoices Over Me is a heart-felt book written to commemorate the life of Crystal Marie Skula and point to the source of her hope, Jesus Christ. 


   The story is written by Nicholas Skula Jr. as he remembers his thirteen year old daughter who lost her battle with brain cancer.


   From the start of the book, readers fall in love with Crystal Skula, a spunky little girl built by the hand of God and packed full of courage.


   Whether facing an opponent in her martial arts class or the adversary  himself as she faced the threat of death, Crystal's faith could not be shaken.  


   He Rejoices Over Me could be a strength zapping, heart wrenching, grab the tissue kind of story. Though I freely admit to crying at parts, the overall story of Crystal's life, her family and her faith are not devoid of hope.  


   You'll find God all over Crystal's story and it's the family's hope that others in their shoes would be encouraged to face their grief with, and not apart from, God's amazing comfort. 


   Every chapter reflects something that mattered to Crystal, life lessons they uncovered as a family and things that linger in a father's memory after he's laid his baby girl to rest.


   I appreciated the gentle and natural tone in Nicholas' writing. Though wracked with loss, the family made a beautiful and sincere decision to honor Crystal's memory and they have certainly done that within the pages of this book. 


   Pick it up. Grab a tissue, but cry for joy. Crystal's story doesn't end here and someday, we believers will get to meet this little firecracker of faith.   


   Purchase your copy of He Rejoices Over Me directly from the author or through Amazon.


More reviews of this book will be coming soon. Read them here

Are you an author or creator? Submit your book, product, app or resource for review.   

The Craft: Conflict In Fiction

Fiction writers are often told to raise the stakes. We must create an obstacle for our characters to overcome. This can't be too easy or we'll bore our readers.


We have to put our characters up against a challenge that seems impossible, a truly large mountain of an obstacle. The climb brings growth and awareness to both the character and the reader as a struggle ensues to find a solution that isn't obvious. 


As Christian writers, we often reflect on Hebrews 12:2 and its reference to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. 


As an author, God uses the same technique in our lives raising the stakes until we're uncomfortable, stretched and ultimately changed. 


The book reviewed above is a true story. Imagine being in the author's shoes. It's in these trying times that our character is defined and it's what made He Rejoices Over Me a beautiful read. They met their challenge, the loss of their daughter, with faith. That isn't easy to do.    


God allows us to have our backs up against the wall, stuck in situations that seem too big for us. 


Just when we think there is no way out and we are truly stuck He often drafts an incredible twist that provides an unthinkable escape. The answer is usually hard. It requires effort on our part, but the success of overcoming the obstacles restores our faith. 


When you think about all of the tough spots you've been in and all that you've survived, it's easy for emotion to overtake you and gratitude to fill you up. 


Do this for your characters. Make fiction imitate life, with all its nuances and meaning.


Allow characters to struggle. Give them the gift of a backbone as they fight every interference to their peace that you can boldly create. Get them out of their comfort zone. Stretch them. Stretch yourself.


Here are some tips to build the conflict in your story:


  • Deny your character simple pleasures. Go ahead, even make their coffee pot break. Think of Job. The test could have stopped at the death of his family, but it didn't. The devastation stretched far and wide, including the simple and complex areas of his life. 
  • Surprise your character with an unexpected tragedy or crisis. We can all brace ourselves when we see a problem approaching, but what about when it occurs with no warning? Shock sets in. Stunned distress. Use it to build a meaningful story. 
  • Challenge a character's core beliefs. For example, I'm not personally an organ donor. I have my reasons and I'm comfortable with my decision. Now, if my child needed an organ I can honestly tell you I would be re-evaluating my position real quick. How can you challenge your character's beliefs so that the opposite of what they believe seems plausible?
  • Set a deadline. Time does a number on our priorities. Think about it, if you only have a year to live, I bet your day is going to look a lot different. Let your character feel the weight and stress of a deadline. Bring them right up to the cutoff time. Maybe even make them past it.  
 Another consideration, sometimes bad things happen and there is no solution. The escape isn't there and nothing we can write or invent can stop the turmoil for our characters. This is okay. Let them hurt. Let them grasp for hope and discover the sovereignty of God in any situation. You will touch your readers' hearts in these moments. 
Bring on the conflict. Your readers will thank you.
Market News: A New Year in Market Guides

 As 2014 approaches it's a great time to get a jump start on the changes and additions to the Christian Writer's Market. 


Whatever guide or service you use to keep you in the loop, remember that the information is only helpful if it's used. 


As the stakes in your personal writing story are raised with crowded publishing houses and an influx of fresh competition, don't shy away from the challenges before you. 


Get out there. Take your own risks, and submit your writing to agents or publishers.


Rejections may come, embrace them. Use them as fuel to make you better. 


Do not allow fear of success or failure to keep you stagnant. 



"There are 365 "fear nots" in the Bible. One for every day of the year. Today I will fear not."


~ Robin Jones Gunn,Gardenias for Breakfast

I pray that God would shake up your writing endeavors this month, stretching you, bringing inspiration to stalled projects and equipping you with the creativity to do His will through your writing. Face your fears head on. A mighty God is with you.


 Heather Randall
 Christian Women Affiliate LLC
In This Issue
A Book Review of He Rejoices Over Me
The Craft: Conflict in Fiction
Market News: A New Year in Market Guides
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