New Book Launch: The Compelling Heart of Christ

The Inspira Team is happy to announce the book launch of first-time author Carrie Jones: The Compelling Heart of Christ.

Carrie is a writer, speaker, teacher, and a mom raising four boys. Her passion is teaching the Bible, and she loves to find memorable treasures within it to empower and equip women. Carrie holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington and attended Capernwray Bible School in England. She and her husband, Eric, have been married for eighteen years and live in Tacoma, Washington.

It’s been a joy for our team to work with Carrie and see her determined vision and poignant message come to print. Using dramatic biblical accounts, along with engaging personal stories and illustrations from the lives of contemporary women, Carrie shares her insights and experiences up close and personally. Creative biblical narratives bring the characters’ thoughts and emotions to life, providing readers with a glimpse into God’s heart and an opportunity to connect with Him emotionally. Carrie says, “Strip away all religious assumption, and take a fresh look at the loving character of Christ. You will find a loving a trustworthy Man, worthy of your devotion and trust.”

Here are what people are saying about The Compelling Heart of Christ:

“With creativity and vulnerability, Carrie draws her readers towards the outstretched hand of a compelling God.” – Joy Zorn, Wife of Former NFL Seattle Seahawk Quarterback Jim Zorn

“What a penetrating, healing book! Carrie Jones has crafted a holy journey into the heart of Jesus that is hard to put down.” – Amy Rachel Peterson, Author of Perpetua: A Bride, A Martyr, A Passion

 “This is a delightful and unusual blend of imaginative storytelling, down-to-earth reality, and meditative prompts for those of us wanting to hear Scripture for the first time again.”  Julie Canlis, Author of Theology of the Ordinary

You can find Carrie Jones at, on Facebook at, and on We hope you’ll check it out as a resource for yourself or as a gift!


Developing Your Book’s Purpose Statement

Are you thinking about writing a book? If you’re feeling inspired, motivated, or simply have a message you want to share with the world, then maybe checking “author” off on your resume is in your near future. We couldn’t be more excited for you!

One of the most crucial steps in the book-writing process (potentially even THE most important step) is developing your book’s objective. Every book (except for fiction work) needs a clear and defined objective as it provides direction, organization, and gives readers a “take-away.”

In order to determine the objective of your book, ask yourself these questions: What do I hope people will gain by reading it? What do I have to say that is unique? Why is my mission or message important? Who are my readers? How will my book impact their lives?

At Inspira, we’ve developed a simple formula to help our authors create a purpose statement for their book. Once you’re ready, you can use this formula (as well as the questions listed above) to dial in your point and start writing with definitive purpose:

If. . . (Insert here the kind of people who will be reading your book, or your target audience. What is their gender, age, socioeconomic status? What are their interests? )

Read. . . (Insert your working title here. Read here for tips on naming your book.)

They will overcome. . . (Insert what you see as the readers’ main need or obstacle.)

And ultimately achieve/experience/be able to. . . (Insert the unique benefit or “take-away” you’re providing.)

Here is a sample purpose statement:

“If young millennials (age 18-25) read my book, 10 Steps to Getting Your Perfect Job, they will overcome joblessness, boredom, and anxiety, and achieve the skills they need such as determination, charisma, and flexibility to land their dream job in their ultimate career field.”

Your message is important and deserves to be shared with the world. If you’ve been considering writing a book but aren’t sure where to start, this could be the step you need to take. As always, Inspira Literary Solutions is available for consultations, writing coaching, developmental editing, copy editing, design, and even book production.

Happy writing!

If you’d like to learn more about what we do at Inspira and how we help aspiring and current authors of all genres, we invite you to peruse our publishing portfolio for samples of our work, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or email us at

New Release: Unshackled: A Story of Redemption

We are excited to announce that author John Swanger recently published his second book, Unshackled: A Story of Redemption. We were honored to be a part of John’s first book, Shackled: Story of a Teenage Bank Robber, and even more so to be a part of the sequel.

The Story of a Teenage Bank Robber.  Now how’s that for a catchy title?

At the age of 19, John Swanger gained the dubious distinction of being one of America’s most prolific armed robbers. Sentenced to serve 30 years in prison, he was set free after only three.

But a prison of the body is not the same as a prison of the heart . . . as Swanger relates in his second book. Continuing the story begun in the first, Swanger tells in gripping detail the account of how he went from inmate to evangelist, from prisoner to minister, called to set the prisoners free.

Here are some words about the book:

“If I could use two words to describe John Swanger, they would be “real deal.” This guy has lived life full throttle both before and after coming to Christ. His authentic, edgy, and often humorous communication style resonates within the hardest of hearts.

Mark Mason – Founder and President, Life on the Verge Ministries, Richmond, Virginia

“The stories of John’s speaking gigs in prisons are often best told by guards who have never seen inmates respond so favorably and enthusiastically. John’s that good of a storyteller (and it’s all true). This sequel, Unshackled: A Story of Redemption, tells the rest of the story. Buckle your seatbelts; this book completes the thrilling ride.”

Mike Sares – Pastor, Scum of the Earth Church; Author, Pure Scum: The Left-Out, the Right-Brained, and the Grace of God

We’ve been delighted to get to know John and he IS the real deal. He is a pastor, ministry leader, author, singer, and songwriter who has dedicated his life to ministering to prison inmates and ex-cons, feeding the homeless, and sharing his powerful testimony to audiences across the U.S. Along with his wife, Raylene, he is the founder of Unshackled Spirit, a ministry dedicated to serving people from all walks of life who are hungry for freedom and transformation in their lives.

John and Raylene reside in Gig Harbor, Washington, where Inspira is located (so we get to see them around once in a while!).  If you would like to order John’s new book, you can find it on Amazon or directly through their ministry website,




Edit Ruthlessly

One mistake many writers make is to write and edit at the same time. Trust me, at that pace, you’ll never finish!  I once heard the quote (and I thoroughly agree with it): “A first draft is simply you telling yourself the story.” Meaning, the first time around, you’re just getting it down on paper.

Next step: edit ruthlessly. That’s right  Kill your darlings. That means those lofty phrases you thought sounded so great when you first wrote them probably aren’t.  Trust me again, being concise is a much higher priority than being eloquent!

When I’m editing, I keep a file for that project on my computer  called “Holding Zone.”  When I “edit ruthlessly,” I put what I’ve cut into the Holding Zone. That way, if I decide I want it back, or want to use it elsewhere, I can retrieve and reuse it. Tracking changes while editing will also accommodate this goal.

Eventually, you’ll get better at slashing your own work. And, you’ll likely find yourself noticing it in other writers’ writing if they don’t catch on to this important principle, too!

Arlyn Lawrence is a developmental editor and writer and the founder of Inspira Literary Solutions. When she’s not cutting words from manuscripts, she’s probably cutting dead-heads off the rosebushes in her garden.  Same principle.  🙂

Capital vs. Capitol

Capital: Refers to money or assets, a city that is the seat of government for a region,  uppercase letters, or something significant or praiseworth (as in “a capital idea”)

Capitol: Refers to capitol buildings where legislators meet

Grammar hack to remember: referring to the physical building is the ONLY time you use “capitol” with an O!

Good spelling is not just intuitive or inborn. You can train yourself to spell well!  Just remember simple grammar hacks like this and you’ll be head and shoulders above everyone else who’s still making the same old mistakes! 

New Release: There’s No Right Way to Do the Wrong Thing!

The Inspira team is excited to announce the launch of author Christopher Gilbert’s book, There’s No Right Way to Do the Wrong Thing (catchy title, right?), released in May of 2018. Seriously, as our team worked on this book we all had numerous little “aha” moments as we became more aware of the “little things” we and other people often do–or are at least tempted to do–in the course of a day.  Even things like where we and how we parked that day in the office parking lot! (Oops.)  It’s how we all conduct ourselves in the little things that can have big impact in our communities, cities, and world.  That’s the message of this book.

Dr. Gilbert (aka Chris) has a Ph.D in Organization, Management, and Leadership Ethics, and teaches ethics at the University of Washington in Tacoma. He also has over thirty years experience in organizational development serving as a strategic facilitator and leadership and operations consultant.

Within the sphere of higher education, Dr. Gilbert has served as COO for Bainbridge Graduate Institute and global faculty at the University of Washington and educational institutions in the US, China, Switzerland, Iran and the Russian Republic. Whether providing a keynote speech or facilitating a workshop or team coaching session–or writing a book, for that matter!–Chris brings a unique blend of practical experience and accessible personal connection into all of his work.

There’s No Right Way To Do The Wrong Thing is an exploration in how we can all make better choices for a better world. It’s full of great insights and a lot of laughs as Chris tells humorous stories (sometimes about himself) about the ethical mis-steps we all navigate in life.  It’s a great book, and we hope you’ll check it out!

Arlyn Lawrence is the founder and senior editor at Inspira. One of her favorite things about her job is the many things she learns while editing our authors’ books!

Those Dang Participles!

Hang tight, because this one can get a little convoluted (but it’s important!).

Participles of verbs usually introduce subordinate clauses, and are used as a way to give extra information about the main part of the sentence (or main clause—the “point”). The participle describes an action carried out by the subject of the main clause. Sound confusing? Here’s an example:

“Peter, slowly tiptoeing down the hall, successfully snuck past his parents’ door.”

Here, the present participle (tiptoeing) is referring to the subject in the main clause (the fact that Peter snuck past his parents’ door).

Sometimes, however, we forget this rule and dangle the participle—meaning it doesn’t properly refer to the subject of the sentence. Doing this is grammatically incorrect. Here’s an example:

“Traveling to Morocco, the weather got hotter and hotter.”

If you were to read this literally (and follow participle use rules), this sentence would be saying that the weather is traveling to Morocco. Of course not! If the sentence were reworded to have to the participle referring to the subject, it would make more sense. For example:

“Traveling to Morocco, I found that the weather got hotter and hotter.”

We hope this helps you better understand participles and their use! As always, keep writing–and read, read, read to help improve your grammar skills!

This post was written by Inspira’s Managing Editor, Heather Sipes.

(c) 2018  All Rights Reserved.

10 Tips to Harness the Power of Networking to Promote Your (Non-Fiction) Book

The publishing landscape is, unfortunately, littered with books that never sold more than a few hundred (or even a few dozen copies). What makes the difference between a book that sells and one that doesn’t? There are number of factors, but I’ve found one that makes a tremendous difference, particularly with non-fiction books, is the power of networking.

For example, one self-publishing project I worked on, a leadership and life skills book and course for teens, found its way into educational networks, first in the Family & Consumer Science field, and more recently in the “at-risk” and alternative education realms. The books and its curricular resources are experiencing widespread success in public schools around the country, as well as in mentor organizations, and has been published in Indonesia and most recently in China.

Another author I worked with had his book and accompanying workbooks picked up by an international Christian ministry organization and ultimately translated into a number of languages including French, German, Arabic, Chinese, and more. As a result of the impetus initially gained through that ministry’s networks and international reach, the program is now experiencing widespread success not only in multiple countries, but on multiple continents.

Yet another, a marriage enrichment course developed by a non-profit organization in Seattle, fell into military networks. It eventually became one of only a few such courses approved by the Department of Defense for distribution and use on DOD installations in the U.S. and internationally.

The common denominator in the success of all these self-published projects was undoubtably the power of networking. How can an average author or organization hope to experience similar success through networking? Here are 10 tips:

  1. Identify what networks you want to get into. Who would like to read your book or use your curricular resources? At first, when we were launching the leadership and life skills books, we thought they might be a good fit for public school counselors. So, our first conference was with the NASC (National Association of School Counselors). It was there that multiple visitors to our booth told us, “You should really be at the national CTE (Career & Technical Educators) conference!” We heeded their advice, found our tribe with the FACS (Family & Consumer Science) teachers we met there, and the rest is history.
  2. Start by making a comprehensive list of probable organizations. It’s best to do this with a group of friends or colleagues, to broaden the list of ideas and possibilities.
  3. Brainstorm whom you know in those organizations. Assign various individuals the responsibility of reaching out to their contacts. A personal connection is your best calling card!
  4. Create and rehearse your basic branding:
  • two-sentence summary of your book
  • 30-second elevator pitch
  1. Develop an email list and feed it regularly. Send a weekly or bi-weekly email with useful content (not marketing).
  2. Be intentional with social media. Think Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn; post frequently and strategically. Encourage your tribe to comment and share to help boost your posts’ SEO (Search Engine Optimization), to make you more easily found on the internet by those searching your topic.
  3. Find out about conferences where you can exhibit and speak. For a small extra fee when you book an exhibit table, you can usually register to give a workshop or two and get in front of an audience. Give away books; it will make your booth a magnet!
  4. Contact bloggers and book reviewers in fields associated with your book. Read their guidelines on what and how to submit, and send them your book for reviews and give-aways.
  5. Be an active networker. This means: .
  • Carry business cards at all times with your book and website on them (and give them out freely!)
  • Include social media links on your email signature, as well as links to your book website.
  • Be constantly thinking: whom do I know that might be interested in this book? e.g., reconnect with your university/high school alumni, etc.
  1. Let people know you speak. Don’t be shy! Make yourself available for speaking engagements to anyone you know who has an audience or access to an audience. These generate opportunities to sell your book, just as having a book generates opportunities to speak.

Bottom line: put yourself out there. Don’t be shy. Get the word out to as many people as you can and ask them to pass the word to their friends and colleagues, too. You never know: your best friend’s aunt’s mother-in-law’s next-door neighbor might be the president of an organization that needs hundreds or even thousands of YOUR book. That’s the power of networking!

Arlyn Lawrence is an author and editor, and the founder and president of Inspira. She loves to see great books with important missions and messages find their way into the world and impact the lives they touch.





New Book Launch: “Am I Loved?”

The Inspira Team is proud to announce the launch of Shawn Petree’s book, Am I Loved? Petree_cover_frontThe Question You Might Not Know You’re Asking.

Shawn is a dynamic writer, speaker, and storyteller—a passionate ministry leader, teacher, husband, and father. In his book, he addresses the question many of us grapple with (and that some of us may not even know we’re asking) internally: am I loved? Shawn shares with readers his deeply personal experience with this question, and his passion for helping others find the answer is abundantly clear.

Shawn wants to help the reader answer other questions as well, such as: Is what the world says about me true? If I can’t love myself, how can others? What do I need to do to be loved? Who am I, anyway? His aim is to help tear down the destructive, self-loathing thoughts that so many of us play on a loop in our head. It’s a warm and provocative invitation to break free of the negative self-talk that tears people down, with detailed instructions on how to do so.

photo-5178553797836800The process in which Shawn’s book came to publication is a perfect example of Inspira’s “idea in head to book in hand” promise. He took advantage of the concept coaching service we offer, where he received coaching from the Inspira team on his book concept, layout and organization, voice, style, and more. From there, we completed a chapter-by-chapter developmental edit, working closely with him to perfect his voice every step of the way.

Since the launch of Am I Loved? on January 9th earlier this month, the book has already been fifth on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list of Spiritual Self-Help books on Kindle! It’s being welcomed with high acclaim by readers of all ages and backgrounds. If you would like to know more about Shawn’s book, his ministry, and his mission, you can ShawnPetree-1visit If you’d like to purchase the book (either paperback or Kindle), you can find it here:

It has been a joy and pleasure to work with Shawn on his project, and we hope you’ll check out his work and read the book.



Becoming Book Launch Party

On October 2nd, the Inspira team had the honor of attending the book launch party for one of our amazing authors—Super Bowl-winning former Seahawk, Clint Gresham. Clint’s first book, Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness, was released that same day and is available on

clint-book-launch-1002The venue for the launch party was a 114-foot yacht—Karina Jean—moored on beautiful Lake Washington near Seattle, which was generously provided by a friend to host all 50 guests. The Cascade Mountains silhouetted against the setting sun were a gorgeous backdrop to the catered event, which provided  delicious hors de ’oeuvres as guests sipped on drinks and enjoyed the view.

At the end of the night, Clint spoke to the gathering about his heart for Becoming, his mission, and his hopes and dreams for the future. It was an absolute delight for our team clint-book-launch-1064to be a part of the evening and hear him speak, as he is definitely gifted with words! We closed the night with a moment of prayer for Clint and his wife, Matti, as they embark on a nation-wide book tour for a couple of months. (Clint and Matti live in Dallas, Texas.)

Clint’s book, Becoming, starts a conversation with the reader about identity, and the parts of ourselves in which we find our greatest worth. The book asks really important questions, such as: Do we matter? If so, why? Who are we becoming? Who do we want to become? Becoming is about learning to love yourself and fully embracing the unique destiny you were made for.

Clint uses his experience as a professional football player to highlight the importance of NOT placing your identity in what you do, but rather in who you are. It’s a powerful and transformational message for people of all ages and walks of life.

clint-book-launch-1083It was a joy to partner with Clint in bringing Becoming to print. He is a passionate man of integrity and his words are bound to change thousands of lives—maybe even yours!