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Writer Wednesday: Joanie Shawhan

I met Joanie Shawhan with some mutual friends for lunch several times to talk about our writing dreams, before either of us ever got published. I instantly fell in love with her bubbly personality. She’s gone through the shadow of ovarian cancer and her passion to help others going through cancer is inspiring. I asked her about her writer’s journey.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I had journaled for years, but I had never planned to be an author. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, that I realized I had something to say that would be helpful to others going through chemotherapy. I searched for ovarian cancer survivors, but there were no ovarian cancer support groups. I wondered if there were any other survivors. So, I started writing the book I would have liked when I went through chemotherapy—a book with stories that validated my experience, concluding each chapter with a scripture and a prayer.

What’s your pet peeve?

Book series in which I have to read the next book to find out how the main conflict is resolved.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

In my first review of a friend’s piece, I gave a one-star when I meant to give 5 stars, but the program used for the review would not allow me to change my stars. 

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Since I had no experience in the writing and publishing world, I needed to learn the craft of writing and the publishing industry so I attended numerous writing conferences and joined a writing critique group.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejections are hard. How could they not like my book baby? I have to realize that the rejections are not personal, but often related to their business goals. Sometimes negative reviews or comments are just personal preferences. But the reviewer may also make a valid point which I can use to improve my writing.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My new release, In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer, which chronicles my ovarian cancer journey and the cancer stories of eleven other women.  

What is your current work in process?

Lessons I learned from my spiritual mother.

Bio: Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes articles and encouragement for women undergoing chemotherapy. Publishing credits include The Upper Room, Coping with Cancer Magazine, God Still Meets Needs and In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer. She is involved in an ovarian cancer social group, The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side up and speaks to medical students about ovarian cancer in the Survivors Teaching Students program. When not attending one of her two book clubs or her writing critique group, Joanie enjoys designing jewelry, swimming and knitting.

Find Joanie at these online locations!

Website: www.joanieshawhan.com

Newsletter:  blog on my website: https://joanieshawhan.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanieshawhanAuthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/joanshawhan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmshawhan

Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/joanieshawhan

Latest book release: March 2019: In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer

Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/2TaEiZz

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Why Attend a Writer’s Conference?

My husband Ben and myself are heading out on a road trip from Wisconsin to Philadelphia. We love being together and figured it was less expensive than flying and renting a car to do any site-seeing while out there as we padded our time to be able to do that.

I am attending as a faculty member at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference: Write His Answer. At heart, I’m a homebody. I get stressed doing the prep for a conference, the packing, making sure my notes are in order and arrangements for someone to stay with my kids and dog…

Then I attend and I am blessed beyond measure by the people I connect with, the friends I’ve made over the years who I get to see again, and the new ones I’ll make. Some vacation time in advance is always welcome. I love to teach so that is always fun.

Coming to be on faculty is not necessarily a financial boon to our family. This is a labor of love. A ministry to writers who are where I once was, wondering what I was to do with this story God had given me and not even realizing just how much I needed to learn!

Now I get to be on the other side, encouraging other writers on their journey, listen to their stories (fictional and real) and pray with them. So even if I take a financial loss, it is worth it from an eternal perspective.

I will leave blessed and drained. It will take me days to recover when I get back home because at heart I am an introvert.

Why should you attend a Christian writer’s conference?

  1. You will be blessed by the worship and teaching: inspired to write!
  2. You will make new friends. I have dear friends around the country who I met at writer’s conferences and our friendship goes beyond the written page.
  3. You will learn. Every person you meet, every one-on-one appointment with an agent or editor doesn’t need to result in a contract offer – but it can be a great opportunity to learn. And maybe at some point, that contract will happen! My first writer’s conference with agents and editors led me to one book contract within two months, a flash-fiction and a short story published within five months! Now the non-fiction didn’t pan out in the long run but I have to say that I learned so much from every person I met with, faculty or conferee.
  4. You’ll be exposed to great teaching and have the opportunity to bounce ideas off others.
  5. The people at a Christian writer’s conference understand you as a writer. The joys, the fears, the ups and downs. Not everyone outside of Christian publishing will get it. If you are a Christian author, these are YOUR people.

I’m sure I could come up with many other reasons but those are the first few that come to mind. If you want to come to Philly this week – there are still spots available and I’d love to meet you! Check out the website: https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/

Blessings!

Susan

Writer Wednesday: Linda Yezak

Welcome to my writer friend, Linda Yezak!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

Like most authors, I’ve been writing since I gained dexterity with a crayon. When I was in college, one of my professors tried to talk me into pursuing it as a career, and considering how much the industry has changed just since I’ve joined in, I wish I had. But I didn’t take up writing seriously until I was in my fifties. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone younger would have the time, but apparently, they do. Anyway, after a long series of events that kept me from working outside the home, I needed something to do, and writing turned out to be it.

What’s your pet peeve?

Depends on what we’re talking about. As an author, my biggest peeve is robo-calls that draw me away from my work.

As a reader/editor, it’s characters who cry all the time, as if tears are the only way to react to emotion.

As a human being with a driver’s license, it’s the idiots on the road who don’t respect other drivers. The ones who wait until they can see your eye color before pulling out in front of you, or the ones who ride your bumper as if pushing you is gonna make the guy in front of you go faster.

Well, oops. I think we hit a nerve. Moving on . . .

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

There are so many. So very many. But I think one of the worst was at an ACFW conference. I was sitting in a continuing ed class held by Susan May Warren and someone else—just me, the instructors, and 40 or 50 other people, and my new cell phone that I thought I’d muted.

This was the first year that we’d met in Indianapolis, and my husband and a friend’s husband were checking out the city.

Just as the class started, my phone rang. Loud. I fumbled with that stupid thing I wasn’t yet familiar with, trying to figure out how to answer it or turn it down or something. My face got so hot, the folks around me were slipping off their sweaters because of the radiated heat.

Eventually, I turned it off, or thought I did because it quit ringing, and the class resumed. An instant later, here we go again—and I still couldn’t figure out what to do. I was about to lower it to the floor and drive my heel through it when it finally stopped.

The third time, I gave up. I grabbed all my stuff and the stupid phone and left the classroom. I finally figured out how to answer the call. It was my sweet Billy (aka MSB) asking if I wanted to go to a Colts game.

He’s so cute.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

At this point, marketing, promo, and sales. I have a social media presence, but I’m not organized enough to do all of it and do it well. I need a secretary.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I do what everyone else does—I slam a few cabinets, then curl up in a fetal position with my blankie and suck my thumb. For a while. Then I look to see if the review or rejection explanation (when they bother to explain) has merit, learn from it and move on.

But negative reviews don’t really bother me. I don’t get that many. Most are from people who didn’t realize they were getting a Christian novel and felt obligated to bash me and/or my work. That’s fine. The ones that get me are written by those who do read Christian fiction. Some remarks were mean-spirited. I expect this from the world, but I’d hoped Christians would try harder not to be hurtful.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

So far, gaining an honorable mention in Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction contest in 2016. They published my “Slider” in their anthology that year.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up-and-coming authors?

Study the craft.

Treat this as a business.

Build your platform—even if you haven’t written your first word.

What is your current work in process?

Loving a Harvey Girl, a novella for Smitten’s Cowboys Collection to release inAugust  2019. The Harvey Girls worked in a hotel/restaurant chain started by Fred Harvey back in the late 19th century. These ladies were educated and refined and, thanks to their jobs at the Harvey House Restaurants all across the nation, were independent in an era when most women weren’t allowed to be. I’ve had a blast writing it. Can’t wait for the release!

 

Ride to the Altar, a Circle Bar Ranch novel (book 3)—Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must conquer their pasts individually before they can face their future together.

Linda is offering a giveaway prize to one lucky entrant! As pictured, the prize includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube just for fun. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment.

The more posts you comment on during my tour, the better the chance you have of winning the drawing! If you’d like to play along, the next blog to check is author Cathy Rueter’s Up in the Attic.

The winner will be announced Monday, August 6, on Linda’s blog, 777 Peppermint Place.

Bio:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

Latest book release:

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Peter Lundell

I met Peter Lundell at the Denver International Airport on a trip to Colorado a few years back. We had to find each other, having never met before, and then, in the midst of construction, somehow try to figure out which level we were to find our ride on. It could have been a scene from a sit-com and is a fond memory. We reconnected this past spring in Colorado without the airport adventure. I invited him to be on my blog because that’s what you do to great authors who have come into your life, and with whom you’ve shared an adventure and some laughs. So please meet my friend, Peter Lundell, a great guy, a fabulous author, and an inspiring preacher.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

When I was in junior high I grew enamored with Ernest Hemingway’s short stories and wanted to write like him.

What’s your pet peeve?

Lack of clarity. When people are vague in communication; when people circumvent a point at hand, whether out of evasiveness or dull-wittedness.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My first attempt at ghostwriting with a mega-millionaire and my old crappy laptop would hardly work. I felt like a fool and an amateur. And I lost him.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Selling the books I write. A.K.A. building a platform and marketing effectively.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I get momentarily depressed and go for a walk. I may do some work around my home or church property. Then I go back to writing.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My highest-selling book has been Prayer Power. Probably my most consistent success has been in ghostwriting, rewriting, coaching, and substantive editing. I help others communicate their story or message well to influence audiences I would otherwise not reach.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up-and-coming authors?

  1. Learn and work hard to write well. You’re not as good as you think you are. And if you are good, then work even harder to be the best. Do not neglect this. The world is awash with crappy writing by authors who refuse to acknowledge their crappiness.
  2. Learn and work hard to be professional. This includes the mechanics of your writing, your interaction with others in the publishing world, the way you present yourself and conduct yourself in all interactions.
  3. Read and always continue to grow. If you think you’ve arrived, you begin to stagnate.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I want there to be thousands of people whose lives have been eternally changed because of something I’ve written or written for someone else with an important message.

What is your current work in process?

The Sailboat and the Sea, a conversation between a sailboat and the ocean. LittleBoat’s journey with BigSea is a representation of the reader’s own life as it relates to God and the big issues we all face.

Wind, a novel, the story of pursuing a dream, the conflict of dreams that collide, and the price a person is willing to pay.

Links to social media:

www.PeterLundell.com

www.Facebook.com/pnlundell

Latest book release:

Reprint of Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God

Writer Wednesday: Peter Toeg

Today I’m thrilled to bring you author, Peter Toeg who I met recently. I have his book on top of my “to be read pile”. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Peter!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

About the eighth year of the fifteen-year effort to write my first novel. I’ve always loved writing. For those first years, I would get a rush after writing a few hundred words. Like a coffee high.

What’s your pet peeve?

Nothing major. I tend to avoid reading what other writers have to say about writing and the process. Writing skills, yes. Inspiration, style, technique. Not so much.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Having my wife read my first novel and a couple of short stories and picking up on my inspiration or word choice. We laugh about it. I steal anything.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Getting a response from people whom I’ve asked for a beta or book read. I’m discriminating about what I read, but always try to accommodate someone.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Depends on the day. I tend to fall back on positives and my editor’s comments.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

I don’t care for Christian-talk in general, but I know when I am inspired by the Spirit. And I know when I’m not.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

Write a lot according to the rules, before breaking them. Get an editor to screen some of your work after no less than two years of writing. Take a lot of showers or walks or find a place where you can catch an idea and run with it.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

My pastor friend told me the answer to that question after reading my second book twice. “I never knew you.” A paraphrase.

What is your current work in process?

I’m on a third draft of a third manuscript I’ve run by my editor. I write shorts during the process. I think I’ve written 20,000 words worth of shorts in three months. Great diversion.

Warriors With Holy Hands published by Westbow Press. On Amazon, different formats.

Writer Wednesday: Emily Conrad

I want to introduce you to Emily Conrad. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a book signing and discovered that she not only lived not too far away from me – but was also a Pelican Book Group Author. I am an editor for that publishing company but Emily is not one of my authors. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy her words of wisdom!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I started writing short stories in eighth grade English class, and by the end of high school, those stories had lengthened into novels. Sometime in there, I decided I wanted to be a writer. In that way, it was something I fell into, but the decision to pursue it as a full-time endeavor in 2014 was more of a calling. I felt God had orchestrated just the right events to make it clear that it was time to give this writing thing my full effort at least for a time.

What’s your pet peeve?

Chewing and crinkling noises. I’ve been known to leave the room if my husband sits next to me with a bag of chips. My whole body buzzes with tension if I hang around. However, my husband’s not the only one who eats (go figure, right?), leaving isn’t always an option, and I recognize that it’s totally unfair to be annoyed with people for eating. I eat, too, and sometimes I’m the one who put crunchy food out! So I’ve developed one semi-successful coping mechanism: I think about puppies. I’d never fault a puppy for chewing loudly. On the contrary, I find it cute. Believe it or not, imagining a cute little puppy eating next to me helps!

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I’m sure the worst is yet to come, but I did once go up to talk to a couple of authors I respected and got the title of one’s book wrong and probably showed I didn’t really understand the plot of the other writer’s novel—I made a comment based on her title—but to my credit, I did say that I hadn’t read the book yet… They were both very gracious, though.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Trusting God when things don’t look the way I thought they would. From waiting much longer than I’d hoped to find a publisher to other surprises along the way, I’ve learned that reality usually doesn’t match the dream. That’s when frustration and discouragement pile on, but because I’ve seen God work in hard situations before, I know He’s in control and can be trusted, even when my plans fail.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

In community. I haven’t yet had negative reviews (that I know of!) because Justice is my debut, but I know my work doesn’t resonate with everyone. Once, a very low contest score combined with some harsh feedback sent me into a tailspin. My writing friends came around me with encouragement that helped to get me through. Not everyone is our target audience. Not everyone will like every story. That’s okay. There are so many different writers and readers in the world, and there’s room for all of us.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My debut novel is coming out in two days!

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

  1. Trust God, even when everything looks bleak. He loves you with an everlasting love, and He will never leave you or forsake you. He’s not just stringing you along. He has a purpose for you and your dreams.
  2. Find writing friends. Friends will give you pep talks, help you improve your work, and, when you get to releasing your first novel, they’ll be invaluable cheerleaders. Plus, you’ll be able to help them along their paths, too.
  3. Have fun writing. Maybe you have your more serious novels and that blog you have to keep up with, but carve out some time for writing fun, too. Dabble in lighter short stories. Write that rock star novel and see where it goes. Read for the fun of it. The variety will help keep the spark for writing alive.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I often borrow inspiration from Biblical accounts. For example, some elements of the plot in Justice are inspired by portions of Mary and Joseph’s story (though Justice involves a sexual assault, which of course, Mary and Joseph’s story does not). I would love my fiction to inspire deeper faith in the God of the Bible. Today, we serve the same God Mary and Joseph served 2000 years ago, and that’s exciting to me. He is alive and well and active. He’s powerful and loving. His grace is more than sufficient.

What is your current work in process?

Did you notice the rock star mention in point three above? Well, I wrote a rock star romance, and I’m currently writing a second one, about another member of the same band. The stories have been so fun to write while also tackling meaningful questions. I hope someday, readers get to enjoy these novels as much as I’m enjoying writing them.

Links to social media:

https://www.facebook.com/emilyconradauthor

https://www.twitter.com/emilyrconrad

https://www.instagram.com/emilyrconrad

www.emilyconradauthor.com

https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Emily-Conrad-ebook/dp/B0792HGXQN

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justice-emily-conrad/1127841580

Biography: 

Emily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence her debut novel is set mostly in a coffee shop!) She offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.

Justice

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she’s pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake’s coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both.

Writer Wednesday: Kimberly Miller

Kimberly Miller is our featured writer today. Even though we’ve not met face to face I feel like she’s become a great friend as we have so many things in common. I’m so happy to have here as a featured writer on my blog.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to…?

When I was in junior high school a friend said she wrote stories. In them, she’d put herself into situations with famous musicians and actors mostly. We wrote these stories for years and would read them to each other over the phone. I wrote all the time back then- nonstop! Then, in college when my first major fell through (athletic training… what was I thinking?!), I ran back to the safety and comfort of English and writing. I’ve been writing ever since.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who don’t put the shopping carts back in the ‘return’ areas in the parking lot. And people who text and drive.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

When I first ordered business cards and the lady on the phone asked if ‘freelance’ was one word or two. I had a brain-freeze and said two, and ended up with cards that said I was a ‘free lance writer’. UGH.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Just finding the time to write! I have a busy schedule with work (as a writing and film professor) and family, so it’s often true that I don’t write on a daily basis at all. But, in the summer, I try to make up for that.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I see if there’s something I can learn from them… as in, is there any merit to the critique? Otherwise, I try to file them away and remember why I’m writing—for God’s glory, not mine.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

First, it was getting an agent, and now it is the release at the end of August of my first novel.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

Keep writing, continue to learn and sharpen your writing skills, and read a lot of different kinds of books, articles, and many authors.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I enjoy keeping people entertained and making them laugh (or even cry when the mood/ tone of the book warrants it). I hope I’ve done this for my readers

What is your current work in process?

Currently, I’m editing a novel tentatively titled ‘Roundabout’. The piece is about a man who is trying to do right for his family but struggling with how to protect them, while still dealing with some difficult truths. It is a story about forgiveness and second chances.

Thanks for checking out Kimberly as she starts her new writing career! You can connect with her at these following links.

Links to social media:

Twitter @K_Miller_author

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Kimberly.Miller.Author/

Blog https://kimberlymmiller.wordpress.com/

Website-  http://millerkm.weebly.com/