His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)


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New Novel, New Website

In support of publishing my first novel in a couple of months, I’m now launching my new author website, at cjpenn.com. The site went live late yesterday. This is a big step on my writing path, and I’m a bit nervous about it.

Working cover – final cover in design

Regarding my novel, I had previously posted a little something (link), and now I’d like to tell you a bit more.

We Called Him Yeshua

You know him by his Greek name, Jesus Christ. We see a lot in the Bible about Jesus’ story and his messages, as written by some of His closest disciples. But we rarely see the point of view of those outside the inner circle, whose lives Jesus changed with his acts of love and compassion. This soon-to-be-published novel tries to see Jesus and those times through the eyes of such people.

They knew Jesus by his Hebrew name, Yeshua. (read more on my new website)

In the weeks leading up to the book launch, I’ll be posting sample chapters on my cjpenn.com site. Once the book is live on Amazon, I’ll post a notice for a promo week, where the Kindle version will be free, and the paperback will be priced as low as Amazon will allow. If you’d like me to notify you about these upcoming events, please follow the link (cjpenn.com) and sign up to receive book launch email notices.


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Silence Outside – Racket Inside

Even though I’ve been rather silent on my blog the past few weeks, the rest of my life is loud with activities.

For example, I’ve been building a new website. I bought myself a crispy new URL… http://www.cjpenn.com. Don’t bother going there – it’s not live yet. But when it does go live, I’ll shut this website down. I’m hoping to make that cut-over in about a month.

I’m also in the middle of a crunch with my newest book, “Oh… Jesus!” I recently received the manuscript back from my editor. She filled it with lots of fantastic red mark-ups. I felt a bit of pain with my first glance at the large amount of suggested changes. But as I’ve worked through it, I’m now embracing all those edits. This book will be greatly improved thanks to my editor.

Here’s a random image for you. Consider an author is like a gardener. You plant a seed, water it, fertilize it, and nurture it to grow into a lushes bush. But not all the branches are even, and it’s a bit scraggly in places. The editor is like a hedge trimmer, who skillfully cuts out the scraggly parts and smoothes over the uneven patches.

Anyway, though I may be silent on my blog, there’s a ton of racket going on elsewhere in my life.

Cheerio


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Not for the Money $$$

dollar

I’ve shaken up my purpose for writing… or one of my purposes anyway. My dream for a long time has been to make enough money with my books to quit my day job and be a fulltime author. Common dream. But I’m giving it away.

While in the midst of my current book project, I discovered a better purpose, a better dream. I no longer want to sell books. Instead, I want to give my books away for free, to as many people as possible. Why? Well, the detailed answer is within the pages of the book I’m about to start giving away. You can check that out if you like when the book is released in a few weeks – more about that on my Home page.

But the effects of this decision are unexpected, and really cool.

Oh, I had studied up on all the popular book marketing techniques intended to maximize sales. Growing my email list; building up my “tribe” of followers; asking followers for help in selecting book titles and cover designs (I like this idea); leveraging all forms of social media to draw people to my website and build my “platform” (I’m tired of that word). Anyway, it all made sense, but it was getting complicated and stressful.

But that stress is now gone – I gave it away. Yet if I really want to give my books away to as many people as possible, the techniques are similar to selling books. But by removing money from my purpose, it’s all a lot more fun.

I’m still asking people to give me their email address, but not so I can send them some funky newsletter and periodic sales pitches to buy a book. I never liked that newsletter idea – I don’t want to contribute to email inbox clutter. But I will send an email when I have a new book ready to give away. And I may send an email when I need help on a book project, like selecting a title or cover design.

Anyway, I’ve discovered that by removing one of the foundational purposes for my writing – selling books – there’s much more room for the real purpose: to help people discover a better experience of life in their growing intimate relationship with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And, to help people see and accept that the solution to all of life’s problems is found in a personal relationship with the Spirit living within them.

Look, Jesus turned my life around. Without Him, I’d be miserable. Okay, not totally miserable. My wife is very special to me; I love her intensely, and her love gives me purpose. But Jesus’ love gives me a higher purpose, and a fuller life. I want to share that with other people – that’s why I write. NOT for money. This feels great!


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“Chasing Peace – Finding God”

This book has the potential to truly help people find and feel the Spirit of Jesus living within them. The Holy Spirit will no longer be a mere idea, but an intimate friend. This is the book I mentioned in a recent blog post, which is based on a series of posts about my journey to escape stress and find peace.

In working on the book, I’ve discovered it’s far from a collection of old blog posts. Those posts are just the starting point – I’ve found myself massively re-writing everything. And I’m excited about the result. I feel the messages are becoming more powerful, and helpful.

But I would like to invite you, if you’re interested, to join me on the final stage of launching this book. I’ll be looking for feedback on the next-to-final draft. Also, I’ll need help in choosing a final title. Chasing Peace – Finding God is a fine working title, but once you read a draft of the book, you might come up with a better one. And then there’s the cover design – I really need help here.

So if you would like to be part of this book project, please click the “Sign-up here” link below. This will bring up a window asking for your email address and first name – that’s it.

Now as mentioned on my websites home page and elsewhere, by signing up, I’ll of course give you a free copy of this ebook once it’s finished. I think this is what they call an ethical bribe for your help. I’d rather call it a thank-you gift. But actually, I’ll give you the book for free whether you help or not. All you have to do is sign up, and when the book is finished, it’s yours.

 

(Sign-up here)

 


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Maybe a Small Step, But it Feels BIG to Me

Yesterday I registered a domain name for my author web page – which doesn’t exist yet. Eventually you will be able to find my author page at www.cjpenn.com. But clicking on this link won’t get you anywhere today.

Though it was easy to get this domain name registered, I was surprised at how difficult it was. Confused? Me too. Technically it was easy. Emotionally it was hard. This feels like a huge step for me.

Though I’ve been writing for this blog for almost 10 years, and working on writing some books for almost 9 years (nothing yet published), I feel like I just took my first step into a whole new phase of my writing – the marketing phase. And it feels awkward and uncomfortable. I feel like I just climbed into a rocket about to blast off to Mars.

My author web page will be all about marketing me and my books. From the research I’ve been doing, an author page that’s separate from my blog is essential. But this whole marketing bit just doesn’t stir the passion and excitement in me that writing does. I’ll just have to force-feed the passion, I guess.

Anyway, I think I’ll start blogging about my experiences with this new phase of my writing life. So if you’re interested in such things, please check back in. AND, please give me some advice. I could use it. Thanks


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Book Challenge Day #94 – Deadline Done, But Book Isn’t

Deadline

Zero days left in my personal challenge to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months. The first draft isn’t even done. Oh well. But now that the first draft is almost finished, I’m starting to think about what to do next. Of course I’ll immediately start on the second draft. But I’d also like to get this blog more involved. Here are some ideas for upcoming blog activities. Please take a look and let me know what you think. Do you have other cool ideas that you could share with me?

  • Blog about a summary of the story, finally letting it out from the confines of my notebook. I haven’t mentioned much about the story yet, just because it’s been evolving. But now that it looks solid, I’d like to share it with you.
  • Ask for book cover ideas. Then I could take some of these cover ideas to my artist niece and see what she would do with them. Then, post the artwork for the ideas and have a vote to select the one to use.
  • After I hire an editor to do the final copyediting and I type up the final draft, I’d like to start posting the book on this blog, one chapter at a time. With sixteen chapters, and posting a chapter every day, in a little over two weeks you could read the entire story. And each chapter is short.
  • Hopefully, people who read the story on the blog will post some critique comments. I could then use those comments to make the story better.
  • And then, with the final cover and story, I’ll put the book on Amazon Kindle for free. I will then ask all of you who download and read it to leave a review. Then, after there’s a good collection of reviews, I’ll see what the consensus is. If people perceive the book as poor, with little value, then it will not be worth putting a price on it. If people see value in the book, then I’ll basically set the price based on how may stars it gets – more stars equals higher price. In this way, those who first read and review the book, will set the price for the book. After all, it’s the readers opinion that counts, not mine.

So what do you think? Thanks a lot, CJ

 

(October 18, 2015: day 93 down, 0 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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Book Challenge Day #90 – Oops

ghost writer

I thought I had the whole book mapped out, the book I’m trying to write and publish in three months. The first drafts of 13 of the 15 chapters are in the bank, written and typed up. And the remaining chapters have detailed outlines and notes – all I need to do is put them into a readable flow. And it all feels good…

… Except for the ending. I recently accepted that it sucks. Oh, it’s a necessary and critical part of the story, but it’s a painful way to end. It’s a bad place to leave the reader. I know I’d hate being dropped in that place, without a well lit pathway out.

Well, I was driving to work recently, whining to myself about the end of the story. I don’t think I had yet seen and accepted that it sucked. So I prayed about it. And as with all the chapters in this story, God gave me the new ending, the best ending (in my opinion anyway). By the time I got to work, I had complete notes recorded on my iPhone voice memo app. I so love writing with God, even in my car.

You may have noticed I have only four days left in my 3-month challenge. And the first draft isn’t done. Oh well. Anyone out there have a similar writing experience?

 

(October 14, 2015: day 89 down, 4 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)