Archives For My writing journey

img 3518 2 My name’s Renee Ann Smith, and I’m so happy to be participating in 5 Minute for Mom’s Ultimate Bog Party 2014!

Who am I? The tagline bio I share on social media usually reads something like: I teach literature in a Christian high school by day & write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share book reviews, devotionals, and heart-touching stories on my blog Doorkeeper.

I start out with the label teacher because I’ve been teaching ever since I can remember. As a little girl, I would line up my dolls and instruct them in the ways of their pretend world. As a teen, I taught real kids at Vacation Bible Schools and backyard Bible clubs. So far, I’ve spent twenty-five years teaching literature and writing to Christian high school students. My students inspire and teach me daily. They bring excitement, wonder, and joy to my life! And some of my students love to read the same books I do—JOY!

I’m a writer. Right now I write this blog. But I’m in the midst of writing a 3-novella series for a small ebook-only publisher. I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a winner of the 2011 Genesis Award and Daphne du Maurier Award for unpublished writers. One of the best decisions I’ve made so far in my writing journey was joining author Susan May Warren’s awesome group for writers, My Book Therapy. A highlight of my year was attending the My Book Therapy Deep Thinker’s Retreat this past February in Florida. Here are some of my favorite photos from that week!at the beech 2

iPhone 2

I’m a book lover. I love inviting folks in to my favorite author’s worlds & sharing their wonderful stories. There’s no way I could write about all the great books I’ve read. So I share two to four book reviews a month of the novels I consider Must Reads.

I also love snapping pics with my iPhone and making graphics. I offer a new graphic for free download every Wednesday. Here’s one of my recent favorites! Feel free to pin, tweet, download & share!

Blessed 1b

Why is my blog called Doorkeeper? Though I’ve spent half my life in the classroom, that’s not where I encountered my greatest inspiration. It came from the men and women who muscled through some challenge or problem in life, and then beckoned me through the door they had opened, calling, “I found the way. Follow me.” 

I aspire to be a Doorkeeper. And maybe if I’m faithful in this life, I’ll be tenured into the position for the life to come!

Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a Doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

Here are a few of my favorite posts & pages:

Free Graphics

Embracing NEW

My most recent book review: It Had to Be You

Corrie ten Boom: Hero of the Hiding Place

Mom, Me & Heaven Is for Real

Thanks for stopping in for a visit, friends! If you’d like to connect, let me know that you’re following from UBP14 & I’ll follow back!
Here’s where you can find me:
“It’s okay to dream big. It gives you something to reach for. Expand your imagination. Just because it most likely won’t happen tomorrow doesn’t mean that it won’t happen at all. That’s what long range goals are all about!” ~Sharon Jenkins, Authorpreneurship~

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how to become a writer

I recently previewed My Book Therapy’s latest publication, Authorpreneurship by Sharon Jenkins, and highly recommend it! If you or someone you love is interested in writing for publication, this book is a great place to start. Sharon doesn’t make false promises about propelling you to the top of the best-seller’s list.

But she does share detailed information to help you determine what God’s dream for your writing might look like and how to get there.

Why should you take Sharon’s advice? She’s an expert in authorpreneurship. Is that word new to you? Here’s Sharon’s definition: “Authorpreneurship is the business of authoring, marketing, and publishing your work. You actively participate in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the process to create your book, eBook, blog, editorial, whitepaper or article, and its distribution as a partner or independent publisher.”

“Writing is serious business! The goal of this book is to teach you how to ‘handle the business side of writing.'”
What I liked best . . .
  • How Sharon’s book inspired me!
  • The practical application shared for each topic
  • The information covers all levels of writing experience—beginner to advanced
  • Great Resource: an overview of the Writer’s Life compiled in one place
What topics are covered . . .
  • Your WHY for writing
  • Pros & cons of publishing modes (self or traditional)
  • Step-by-step business plan for either
  • Time management tips
  • Assessments to determine how you work best or what you want to write
  • Sample blog entries
  • Six traits of good writing
  • Strengthening your skills
  • Apps & websites
  • What is a book proposal
  • How to ready your manuscript
  • Submission guidelines
  • Evaluate your literary assets and liabilities
  • Branding
  • Selecting a support team
  • How to financially support your dream
  • Writers’ Organizations
  • Even a personal financial assessment
  • PLUS MORE!!!

how to become a writer


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A final word from Sharon: “My dear aspiring authors, you have been under close scrutiny in my petri dish for years and as a result this book is my thesis. I offer it because I love you and greatly admire the courage that you possess in sharing your heart and soul with the world through writing. You are my literary heroes and this is my tribute to your greatness, to God be the glory because without Him, I could do nothing.” ~Sharon Jenkins~

What you should do next . . . 

Use one of the links below to grab your copy! ****Thanks to Sharon Jenkins and Susan May Warren from My Book Therapy for providing an ebook for me to review.

SPECIAL DEAL: Follow this link to buy Authorpreneurship from the My Book Therapy Store. If you purchase between now and February 6th, you get 2 FREE Video Classes with your order! (See bundle details!)

Follow this link to purchase Authorpreneurship from Amazon.

Ms JenkinsokAbout the Author: Sharon C. Jenkins is a literary project manager, author, motivational speaker and visionary who serves as the Inspirational Principal for The Master Communicator’s Writing Services.  Formerly the managing editor of four electronic and print journals (business, community, health and wellness, faith-based) for one of the largest African American marketing and communications companies in Houston, she has also written articles in various national and local publications. These include Yahoo Shine, Diva Toolbox, Beauty Come Forth Magazine, Gospel Truth,, Houston Black Book and Small Business Today.

Jenkins is also the best-selling Amazon author of Beyond the Closet Door and has co-authored two other books, Songs of Three Sisters and Ready, Set, Succeed: Making Your Dream Come True.

Known as the Master Communicator, because she is proficient in communicating in multiple forms of media, radio, newspapers, magazines, and spoken word, her prevailing mission is to equip authors to live their literary dreams without emptying their bank accounts. She started this undertaking four years ago with the Desire to Inspire Workshops, which progressed to the 2010 – 2013 Authors Networking Summit, which were hosted in Houston and Detroit.

Sharon can be found at:

***I created the quote graphic with a free image from rgbstock photos and the magic of PicMonkey. (Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.) Continue Reading…

UPDATE: A winner has been emailed!

You don’t have to be online for long to run across articles on marketing yourself, making money online, building a platform for your business, and finding or creating a community for support and encouragement. The folks I’m writing about today have mastered all of these areas, and we can learn a lot from them.

They are Christian wives and mothers, business women, writing mentors, talented authors, and bloggers at one of the most popular sites in the writing world. Several years ago, these women banded together to promote their books and services and encourage fellow Christians who might be interested in venturing out on a similar journey. They’re the ladies of SeekervilleMary Connealy, Janet Dean, Debby Guisti, Audra Harders, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James, Myra Johnson, Glynna Kaye, SandraLeesmith, Julie Lessman, Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe, and Missy Tippens.

What will you find at the Seekerville site?

  • A wonderful example of online community. (If you leave a comment, one of the Seekers is sure to respond.)
  • News about the latest in Christian fiction.
  • Writing tips, how-to’s, contest updates, and encouragement.
  • Free stuff—lots of opportunities to win free books.
  • Favorite recipes.(Follow this link to the Yankee-Belle Cafe.)

What more could you want?

The Seekers are some of the most generous authors in the American Christian Fiction Writers. They and their guest bloggers shared information which spurred me on in my writing journey. But even if you’re not interested in books and/or writing, you can learn much about how to present yourself online from Seekerville. So head on over and visit the ladies today!

Now for a GIVEAWAY! The ladies of Seekerville write wonderful stories. However, because of time constraints and promises to the companies that offer free books in exchange for blog reviews, I have not reviewed many of their books on my site. I’d like to encourage you to check out their novels. So I’m offering a $10 Amazon email gift card to one lucky commenter.

Steps to enter the giveaway: (1) Visit the Seekerville site and view the “Our Books” slideshow in the sidebar. (2) Leave a comment telling me which books you’re most interested in reading. The contest will run until Saturday, March 3rd. Enjoy!

At the 2011 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, I was fortunate enough to meet several of the Seekerville authors . . .

Author Julie Lessman, ACFW 2011

Author Debby Giusti, ACFW 2011

“God made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure.” ~Ephesians 1~

So here’s my first attempt at a video blog. I had fun playing with my gadgets. The sound needs work, but I think it has potential . . . What do you think?

I’m linking with Soli Deo Gloria, Playdates with God, We Encourage @Call Me Blessed, Women Living Well, Encourage One Another, and Good Morning Girls.

All Carrie Courtland wants is to hide from a life that has brought her nothing but pain. Her quiet hometown seems just the place—-until a murder turns her world upside down. A woman who is afraid of life. A man who has seen too much of it. Can they find common ground in time to defeat a ruthless killer . . .

These are the first lines I came up with to pitch the book I wrote.* They’re supposed to help readers empathize with the heroine and entice them to pick up my story. Have you ever felt like Carrie? I wrote her character this way because I can relate—well, except for the handsome leading man and ruthless killer part!

In the past, when the chaos of this world pressed in, I sometimes found myself wishing for a safe place to hide. And when hiding wasn’t possible, I tried to keep my life uneventful and narrow it down to the bare essentials. In some superstitious part of my mind, I figured then I’d have less to lose when trouble came along.

How I picture the bookstore Carrie owns

I felt this way until about ten years ago when a coworker at my little Christian school contracted cancer.  Here she and I were “sacrificing” to be in ministry. The only way we could afford an apartment was to share one. All this young woman wanted was to teach a few years, then marry a man in uniform, and settle down to raise a family of her own. But her life ended at age thirty after months of suffering.

I remember saying to God, “Wait a minute. We have nothing—no fortunes, no families, no power, no prestige—only our lives. How could you let Satan or disease or disaster take the only thing we had to call our own?”

And that was my first mistake. I forgot that our lives are not our own. I’ve been bought with a price. I belong to Christ. As did my coworker. My second mistake was this: I forgot that the Lord did provide a secret place, not for our bodies but for our souls. Colossians 3 tells me that I’m hidden with Christ in God. Here’s the whole section . . .

A Ron DiCianni painting

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Isn’t that a great promise? It’s even better in the Message: “Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.”

So whether on earth or in heaven, He is my safe place. And I praise Him for that!

***Today I’m linking up with Write on Edge!

How about you? Have you ever wanted to hide from what was happening in your life? How did you handle it? Any words of encouragement or praise? Please share with me!

*Are you wondering if Carrie ever learned the lesson of the safe place?  If God opens the door, you’ll be able to read her story for yourself! To keep tabs on my progress, you can sign up for the monthly newsletter I’ll be starting in 2012 at this link.

I’m linking up with the Monday Blog Hop, In, On and Around Mondays, Sharing His Beauty, Hear It on Monday, Use It on Sunday, Playdates with God, Write It, Girl, Soli Deo Gloria.