Friday, April 27, 2018
News Roundup

Prayer journal leads to published book and writing career

As a member of Brandon Christian Writers, author Rick Christensen receives feedback and encouragement from his peers. • The group, which includes established and novice writers, cheered Christensen on through the writing of his first book, Discovering and Sharing Grace: Words of a Gentle Witness, a 30-day devotional published in February. • Christensen, 61, earned a master's in mental health counseling from the University of South Florida. Formerly a counselor to at-risk youth, he works full time in the financial business. Christensen, a Carrollwood resident, came to writing late in life to help others find their way to Christ, he says. • I spoke to him about his newfound craft and the benefits of joining a writers' group.

What inspired you to start writing?

The author thing is not something I expected. About 15 years ago, I started writing in a prayer journal. A few years later, I felt this call to my heart that I needed to write a daily devotional. I talked to my spiritual mentor and he said if you believe it is a real message you are hearing, then you need to start writing, so I did. First, I wrote a self-published 20-day devotional. Then, I started on the 30-day devotional. I joined Brandon Christian Writers and went to a writers retreat, which connected me with my now publisher. My second book is due out in September.

What type of devotionals did you include in the first book?

The devotionals cover a wide range of human emotions. There are days dedicated to everything from life struggles to the simple joys of God's amazing grace. I wrote it to help people see what they may think are random events or coincidences may really be God events.

Did you grow up in the church? Has faith always played a major role in your life?

I did grow up in the church, and I was very involved with the church through college. After that, I kind of lost my way. I walked away from it for a while. A friend brought me back to the church and that is when I started journaling. My story is a big part of my writing because my friend was a gentle witness to me. He didn't push but inspired me to reconnect with God. That is what I hope my writing can do for others.

What do you enjoy about being a member of Brandon Christian Writers?

It is such a big help. We meet once a month. We share samples of our writing and offer one another constructive criticism. It's helpful because I get immediate feedback. I get to hear what people like or don't like about my work. I receive helpful suggestions. Everyone in the group is welcoming and encouraging. It is open to anyone who enjoys writing, whether they are working on a book or just like writing poetry. There are very successful authors in the group to offer advice.

What is your advice to new writers?

To join a writers' group. Attend conferences and retreats. Most importantly, to write for the joy of writing.

Contact Sarah Whitman at [email protected]

Comments
Softball: Plant City perfect in district finals with Ashley Bullion on mound

Softball: Plant City perfect in district finals with Ashley Bullion on mound

PLANT CITY — Plant City softball coach Ashley Bullion is 4-for-4 after Thursday night.Four years at the helm, four district titles.The latest championship came in a 4-1 victory over East Bay in the Class 8A, District 6 final, a victory highligh...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Softball: Recent momentum carries Mitchell past Sunlake

LAND O' LAKES — Despite being on the wrong end of two lopsided outcomes to Sunlake during the regular season, recent events gave Mitchell hope in its Class 7A-10 district final rematch with the Seahawks.Just two days prior, the Mustangs be...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Softball: Robinson makes it 10 straight wins vs. Jefferson

TAMPA — For the Robinson softball team, the perfect 10 was complete.The top-seeded Knights defeated No. 2 Jefferson for the 10th consecutive time Thursday and claimed their fifth district championship in a row, a 12-2 five-inning victory in the...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Itís April, so Chamberlain is winning

TAMPA — Coach Bob Diez and his Chamberlain Chiefs have always believed in this motto: "Be good in April."This is their season.The Chiefs added another Class 7A-8 district title Thursday against Gaither with a 7-0 victory.With the win, the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: East Lake is aggressive from the start

TARPON SPRINGS — If strong pitching and defense are the bellwethers of a deep playoff run, consider East Lake ready.Playing second seed Pinellas Park on Thursday night for the Class 8A-7 title, the host Eagles (22-3) used that philosophy to mak...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Educators see red in Arizona, Colorado; funerals set for some Waffle House victims; Ford ditches U.S. cars; more in U.S. news

Educators see red in Arizona, Colorado; funerals set for some Waffle House victims; Ford ditches U.S. cars; more in U.S. news

ArizonaEducators, students see redA sea of teachers clad in red shirts and holding "Money for Schools" signs reached the Arizona Capitol to press lawmakers for action Thursday, a key event in an unprecedented walkout that closed most of the stateís p...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Another reason the Bucs took defensive tackle Vita Vea at No. 12

Another reason the Bucs took defensive tackle Vita Vea at No. 12

TAMPA — The selection of Vita Vea is a move the Bucs made for the present and the future. While Gerald McCoy remains a dominant defensive tackle, he turned 30 in February and is due to make $12.3 million this season and $13 million in...
Updated: 3 hours ago
NFL draft: Chargers take FSUís Derwin James with No. 17 pick

NFL draft: Chargers take FSUís Derwin James with No. 17 pick

Former Florida State safety Derwin James fell farther than expected Thursday in the first night of the NFL draft before being chosen by the Chargers with the No. 17 overall pick.James became the fifth former Seminoles defensive back ever drafted in t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

Lakewood High alumnus and former Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn was drafted No. 23 overall Thursday by the Patriots.Wynn becomes one of the highest drafted offensive linemen in Tampa Bay history and the first Pinellas County player to go in th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

TAMPA — Vita Vea loves to tell the story about the trip he took to French Polynesia with some University of Washington students and the group coming upon some enormous rocks."So over there, their strongman competition is they have a tradition w...
Updated: 4 hours ago