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Lessons Learned from Writing: Divine Fun

Now, why did I start this series of posts with this one? Because initially when I started writing in 2009 and understood nothing much about the craft, I had fun. So much fun! I believed God told me to write that November for National Novel Writing Months (nanowrimo.org). When I started I was fearless because I didn’t know any better. I had a blast finally writing the story I wanted to write: The Virtuous Viscount. I’d started years ago on paper and I think I scared myself. But God called and I obeyed.

I wrote a lot of words in 21 days – more than winning two NaNoWriMos. I was exhilerated and in my ignorance thought I’d written a wonderful tome. I cut my teeth as an author on that novel and still love the story.

So I had fun and thought that was it. I was a stay-at-home mom and lived in the country and served in Women’s Ministry at my church and didn’t have much interaction with those who didn’t share my faith in Jesus. I reached out during that month and connected with another stay-at-home mom in my community. We both crossed the finish line and I reached out again to suggest we get together. I gave her my real name, not the name on NaNo and she responded.

She was a friend from high school I’d been praying for, for over twenty years. Wow. Just wow. We connected in person along with others from back then and I heard many sad stories. Now my own story wasn’t that wonderful as I was in a difficult marriage, but I listened and loved. I was newer to Facebook in those days and invited my friend to connect with me there.

She remembered my strong faith in high school and even though I didn’t usually post spiritual stuff then, I was usually more silly, she told me it was as if God was poking her in the shoulder with every post I made. She understood my life was challenging. She was aware of my ministry work, and never once did I talk to her about Christ. She was well aware of the truth she’d turned her back on years ago. I was just being silly old me.

God led her back to Himself. She said later that she believes the only reason she was to write that November was to reconnect with me so God could get a hold of her. She joined a church, she led worship, she’s taken a theology class that I taught, and she made dramatic life changes. Life has been challenging for her in the process, but she’s stood firm.

I thought I was just having fun—but God had a bigger plan.

Her name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life long before my humble gothic regency ever saw the light of day in print.

So go ahead and have fun. Enjoy life. If God calls you to do something unusual because it might be fun? Do it! You may never know the heart you may touch just by being yourself in those moments.

“Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” Saint Francis of Assisi.

What kind of fun might God be calling you to? Don’t dismiss it as frivlolous–He may have a bigger plan than you realize.

Writer Wednesday: Lori Ann Wood

I want to welcome Lori Ann Wood to my blog as she shares her own unique journey to publishing. I personally love hearing these stories because it’s a good reminder to us all that God’s call on each of us is unique and the path He puts us on will also be distinctively our own. I hope you enjoy meeting Lori Ann.

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

Since grade school, I had written short pieces and filed them away. I have always loved the art of arranging words into thoughts that stir emotions and evoke action. So for most of my life, I have known there was a book inside me. However, practicality convinced me to study business in college. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with end-stage heart failure a few years ago that I started blogging, writing articles for publications and websites, and eventually writing a book.

What’s your pet peeve?

I particularly dislike inauthenticity, whether on social media, in writing, or in person.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I strolled into my first writing conference expecting to snag a contract on the spot. I had no idea what genre I would write in or even who my audience was. My very first blog post came out on the second day of the conference. I had about 50 subscribers, mostly family, at that time.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

As for most authors, my biggest hurdle is building a platform. I started from scratch on Facebook and Instagram just over three years ago. It has been a steep learning curve for someone who thought she’d never need social media. (My next challenge will be learning Pinterest.) Using social media to form relationships with my audience and other writers has been paying off. My email list is growing as I continue to share with other authors and serve their audiences as well.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I had conditioned myself from the beginning of this venture that rejection was part of the process. I soon learned that if I wasn’t getting several rejections in a given month, I wasn’t trying enough. Now I see rejection as a honing of my audience and purpose. When I learn what not to write or where not to submit, I have a clearer focus on where I should be spending my time.

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

My best success is having my manuscript acquired by CrossRiver Media. Although I have had dozens of articles published in the last three years in national and international publications, the vote of confidence from a Christ-centered team to pick up my work and invest their time and resources into it is by far the best kind of success.

What is your current work in process?

A book of essays on life’s three biggest questions titled Divine Detour: The Path You Didn’t Choose Can Lead to the Faith You’ve Always Wanted

Biography:

Lori Ann Wood lives in beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas, with her husband, the love of her life whom she found in 9th grade. She is mom to three great young adults, one amazing son-in-law, and a miniature dachshund named Pearl. Lori Ann currently serves as the founding leader of the Parenting Education Ministry at the church of Christ in Bentonville. She also serves as WomenHeart Champion Community Educator for Arkansas and American Heart Association Ambassador.  Lori Ann was awarded the Frederick Buechner Narrative Essay Award and her work has been published in numerous print and online venues, including Heart Insight Magazine, The Christian Century magazine, Just Between Us Magazine, The Joyful Life Magazine, Bella Grace Magazine, Sweet to the Soul FAITH Magazine, Pepperdine University Press, and yahoo.com. Having discovered a serious heart condition almost too late, Lori Ann writes to encourage others to find joy in the divine detours of life. Read more from her at https://linktr.ee/LoriAnnWood.

Website: https://loriannwood.com

Newsletter:  https://loriannwood.com/hope

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loriannwood/

Latest book release: Coming early 2023 – Divine Detour: The Path You Didn’t Choose Can Lead to the Faith You’ve Always Wanted

All Understanding

I was cleaning up a workspace that had been left for over three years. I tossed out so many boxes of garbage! It felt soo good tossing them into our wood stove/boiler. I even found some things that I’d thought were lost forever.

This was a poem I wrote back in the spring of 1990. I was so young back then, but it still speaks to me. Maybe you’ll enjoy it as well.

All Understanding

Broken people

Broken hearts

The sin of our parents

Now tearing us apart

Satan doesn’t have to work too hard

The damage has been done

The patterns long established

Started before our lives had begun

Yet Lord, You give the courage

To help us right our past

Convicting us about our status quo

You bring healing and peace that surpasses all understanding

So we struggle

With hurts from long ago

Satan has to work harder now

He doesn’t want to let us go

Yet we belong to Jesus

Our hearts washed white as snow

We are cleaning out our closets

The skeletons must go

Yet Lord, You bring the strength

As we change our wrongful ways at last

Encouraging us by Your Spirit

Bringing healing and a peace that surpasses all understanding

You understand us, Lord

More than we ever could ourselves

With compassion, You look upon us

As You bring us to Yourself

Your love abounding always

Though we slip and fall at times

Your grace still reaching out to us

A love that doesn’t constrict or bind

Lord, continue to give us the stamina

To change the grains of time

Gifting us with wisdom and patience

Bring healing and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Have a beautiful week trusting in Him.

One Word: Empowered

I have a heavy writing schedule this year and part of that terrifies me. For the most part, over the years when I’ve written it has been because I wanted to–not because I needed to. When I focus, like with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month nanowrimo.org) I can write fast and finish a full-length novel or at least go over the 50,000-word goal for the month. But now I have a contract for four more books and I need to write, write, write.

I prayed about this before agreeing to this contract. Part of the challenge is that I’m co-authoring with a dear friend, DeeDee Lake. But our lives and schedules sometimes conflict for even basic brainstorming of ideas. We’ve set up a schedule for how things pass between us but then there’s this thing we can’t account for called LIFE.

I usually pick one word for the year and this year it is: Empowered. I cannot accomplish these tasks on my own and I want to make sure that in the process of doing this I don’t miss what’s really important in life: time with my husband, kids, friends, and family. My dad died in October and maybe I’ll write about that another time, but it drove home to me the importance of making every day count.

I select Scriptures to put on my screen savers so I’m constantly reminded of my dependence on God for these tasks. The first uses a verse from 2 Corinthians 9:8 which says: “And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may exalt in every good work.” (HCSB)

The second uses a verse from 2 Timothy 1:9 which proclaims: “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (HCSB)

I don’t know what you’re struggling with today. But maybe those Scriptures can help. I’ve found that when I’m overwhelmed by the tasks the best thing I can do is write them down and pray and ask God: What would you have me do next? And then do it. One task at a time.

I’ve accomplished a lot in January because God has enabled me to. I’ve been frustrated at what I couldn’t do sometimes due to circumstances out of my control so after I have my own little internal temper tantrum because things didn’t go according to my plan, I pray and adjust my goals for that day, week, and maybe even month.

I had hoped to start writing last week on a novel but didn’t get the information I needed. So today, I’ll be working on a different project I had planned for later in the year. I shuffled my schedule and plans around and have built-in buffers because so much, wait, really ALL of life is beyond my control. So I will pray, focus and get to work to do what He has led me to do and trust Him for the outcome.

What is overwhelming you? Can you lean on God to empower you? He does give us more than we can bear simply so we need to lean on Him. Our Lord is faithful and generous in His grace and mercy to us! Embrace that and press on. Do you have one word for the year? Why is it important to you, I’d love to hear about it.

Writer Wednesday: Lori Lipsky

May be an image of Lori Lipsky and glasses

I’d love to introduce you to newly published author: Lori Lipsky! I met her years ago and found her tobe the sweetest person you’ll ever want to meet.

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

In 2009, I was an avid reader who dreamed of writing a book someday in the future. A good friend decided to form a writing group at that time and invited me to join. The group submits and
edits each other’s work each month. Twelve years later, our group is still going strong.

I’m thrilled to say that my first book—the book I once dreamed of writing—is now published.

What’s your pet peeve?

Most of my pet peeves happen to be driving related. Just the normal stuff. Like when a driver pulls up to a four-way intersection and doesn’t look left (there I am, on their left, just hoping
they’ll see me) before proceeding.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Any writer who puts their work out in the world risks embarrassment. It lies in wait nearby.
Editors provide armor, guarding writers from all sorts of embarrassment. Our little writing group
edits many of my pieces before I submit anywhere, so the group provides a terrific wall of
protection. I hired a professional editor for my book, and prior to that our group edited each story
that found its way into the collection.

Even with terrific editors, mistakes happen. I’m a bit of a coward who is convinced that bravery
is a must-have for writers and creatives. I’m sure that as long as I keep writing and publishing,
embarrassment lurks around the next corner.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Balancing the demands of life. I’m a part-time writer, part-time piano instructor, part-time
childcare provider, wife, mother, and grandmother to one sweet little girl.

Over three years ago, a writing partner and I began to report our writing times to each other
every day. What a huge difference reporting has made! And now I have two daily writing
partners. I never put off writing or doing writing-related work anymore. Every single day, I
write. Before nodding off to sleep I text each partner a quick report of my writing-related
accomplishments of the day.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Once I realized that the more a writer submits, the more rejections a writer receives, rejections
became a sort of badge of honor. One year when I was focused on submitting short stories to
journals and magazines, I decided to embrace the goal of collecting 100 rejections in a year. I
didn’t submit enough to reach my goal, but the challenge helped increase my submissions
number. Those types of mental games help me battle the sting of rejection.

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

It has to be the publication of my first book, Used Cookie Sheets: Very Short Stories.

What is your current work in process?

I’m working on another collection of very short fiction. The planned date for the book release is
January 2022.

Bio: Lori Lipsky lives in the Midwest with her husband and a tender-hearted blue heeler. Her
first book, Used Cookie Sheets: Very Short Stories, was published in June 2021. In addition, she
is a contributing author of the book Wit, Whimsy & Wisdom. Her short fiction stories and poems
have appeared in The Avalon Literary Review, Every Day Poems, Creative Wisconsin Magazine,
Mature Living Magazine, The Penwood Review, Poppy Road Review, and various other
publications.

Lori currently teaches a crop of piano students at the Arboretum Music School in Waunakee,
Wisconsin. She holds a degree in music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When she
isn’t writing or teaching, Lori loves to read. She is an enthusiastic audiobook fan, and she has
been a member of the same book club and writing group for more than a decade. When visiting her dad each week, they try to outperform one other as they compete at games like Five Crowns, Dominoes, and Pinochle.

Website: https://lorilipsky.com
Blog: https://lorilipsky.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriSLipsky
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lipsky0220/_saved/
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lori-Lipsky/e/B08ZJKVVD7/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Latest book release: Used Cookie Sheets: Very Short Stories released in June of 2021.

Writer Wednesday: Richard S. Brown

I am excited to introduce you to another writing in my own family!

Richard S. Brown is my dad’s cousin, which makes him my second cousin. I thought it would be fun to interview him for my blog here. So enjoy meeting Richard!

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

Since I was a freshman in high school, I’ve enjoyed writing. I worked on school newspapers and had dreams of becoming a journalist, but my life took a different direction. I’ve always been interested in history and, over the years, often thought about writing a book, but my work took precedence. However, about twelve years ago, after retiring from a civilian career with the U.S. Army, I no longer had the excuse of too much work. I decided to write and self-publish a memoir that I could leave to my grandchildren. After publishing that memoir, the writing bug grabbed me, and I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. I’ve had two novels published since and am working on a third.

What’s your pet peeve?

 I live across the street from a walking trail, and I walk for exercise almost every day. My biggest peeve—and yes, it’s a pet peeve—is when dog walkers fail to pick up after their dogs. Most walkers are very conscientious about it, but there are those few who apparently never learned what it means to be considerate of others.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

 My most embarrassing, and potentially costly, moment was when I realized that the photo cover I’d approved for my first novel about the Korean War had been used on at least two other books. Before publication, my publisher invited me to provide ideas for a cover. I found two black and white photos on-line that I determined to be in the public domain, and I forwarded them to the publisher. He selected what I thought was the better photo and used it for the cover with some minor color tinting. I didn’t think the photo had been used before, but after the book came out, I discovered on Amazon two non-fiction books with the identical photo on their covers. I never heard from the authors, or anyone else, about the duplication, and since the photos were in the public domain, I don’t think there would have been any legal issues. Nevertheless, I felt personally embarrassed by a mistake that I will never make again.

What has been your biggest challenge as an author?

Like other authors who have commented on Susan’s blog, I don’t like the marketing aspect of publishing books. I don’t think I’m very good at it, and what makes the task more difficult for an unknown author is the high price the publisher sets for paperback books. E-Books are an easier sell, but there’s a cost involved for on-line advertising. I’m willing to spend some on that as a cost for a hobby that I like, but there’s a definite limit to what I’m willing to spend. Fortunately, I don’t have to depend on royalties for a living.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

When I started out sending queries to agents and publishers, the rejections were hurtful, because I thought I was a pretty good writer. Then I started taking some creative writing classes on-line, and I joined a writers critique group. I found that I wasn’t as good a writer as I thought. I’ve learned to accept criticism, understanding that my perceptions are limited, and I try to use those criticisms to better my writing. When my first novel was published I received a few negative reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but I’ve learned to accept the fact that reading is a very subjective matter and that you’re not going to please everyone. There are many books I’ve read that are considered classics or great writing that I wouldn’t give two cents for.

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

Success for me was finding a publisher who would publish my book. If I were writing to make a living, I’d be in the poor house. Fortunately, for me, I’m simply writing for personal enjoyment and satisfaction that there may be a few people who also enjoy reading what I’ve written. I admire those who love to write and commit themselves to writing as a career, knowing that there are so many good writers who never get published or recognized. When I finally found a publisher, I felt, not only that my book was worthwhile, but I was very lucky. In my mind, I compare the search for a publisher like being one of a thousand fishermen dangling lines into a small pond where there are three or four fish. What’s the chance of one of those fish biting on your hook? Not much. I consider myself a decent writer now, but also a very lucky one.

What is your current work in progress?

 I’m working on an historical fiction novel about a family of settlers, the Weavers, who migrate from Ohio to Wisconsin in 1855. A major plot element revolves around the relationships between the native-born white settlers, the white European settlers, and the Native American Indians. It covers the period from 1855 to about 1880.

BIO:

Born in Elgin, Illinois, I moved to Wisconsin at age 8 when my father began working for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. After high school, I served in the U.S. Navy for three years, then attended Northern Illinois University where I majored in political science. After completing graduate school at the University of Hawaii, I began a thirty-year civilian career with the U.S. Army working in civilian personnel human resources.  I’m retired now, married with two grown children, and live in Overland Park, Kansas. My most recent publication is a novel set in Wisconsin during the 1950s titled Going off the Rails. It’s about a train engineer falsely convicted of manslaughter for causing a derailment resulting in multiple deaths.

Writer Wednesday: LoRee Peery

Please welcome author LoRee Peery to Writer Wednesday!

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

Back in the mid-80s we were on I-80 in western Nebraska, driving back from vacation. I slapped a magazine on my lap and spouted, “I could write better than this.” My husband challenged, “Why don’t you?”

The Lord wouldn’t let me put that out of my head. I started with short magazine romances. So pitiful, I submitted them without rewrites. I tried different things, piled up rejections, and learned as much as I could. I didn’t get the call until going through three editors in 2009-2010. I have learned notebooks full and gathered more cyber friends than I could have ever imagined. And I can’t forget the blessings!

What’s your pet peeve?

I’m sure they’ve changed over the years. I was always good at English grammar and worked as a proofreader/editorial assistant for 20 years.

I remember someone using sense for since. The irksome it’s / its.

Transposed ending punctuation, as in quotation marks before the period.

There had to have been many, but I must have overcome the bothersomeness (made-up words are not a pet peeve).

Right now the words after, before, and when signal passive writing to me, indicating that the order is backwards. If any of my sentences start with those words, they’ve come from someone else.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Oh, boy. I remember sending off for some kind of journal kits, those were the days before the Internet. I probably read something in a Writer’s Style Manual. Oh, it just came to me. They were called press kits. I later pictured whoever opened those requests roaring and/or shaking heads over my stupidity.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Voicing the mechanics of story. I’ve heard all the terms, and understand them. But if someone asks me to describe my character’s journey with plot pinches and turning points, I go “duh.” For a while there was psychology of character as in taking some kind of test for those made-up people and incorporating that into story. I’m sorry, but that stuff just goes over my head. I’m all for simple, though my characters meet tough real-life situations, and they somehow grow, overcome, and change. As in life, they can’t do those things without the Lord.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

It’s been a while since I received actual rejections. My White Rose Publishing editor has asked for rewrites. She didn’t care for the heroine of one of my upcoming releases, so I changed her backstory and motivation. A reader’s comment from my first Christmas story bothered me for a long time. This person didn’t like that I referenced God, yet one of the main characters worked in a bar. (She or he obviously doesn’t know that in small-town Nebraska, many restaurants are housed in the town tavern.)

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

How does a person measure success? It sure isn’t money for me, or a number of sales. I always think of the words from my publisher’s editor-in-chief. My calling as a writer is just as legitimate if I never make a dime. This call to write is a sacred invitation. A soul is a good return for my writing investment.”

I’ve had highlights. Finally, after decades of writing on the topic, I self-published the story that haunted me, based on my father’s unsolved homicide. I solved the crime in fiction. Once Touches of Time released, peace concerning the event filled my soul.

I petulantly mentioned to a writer friend that I felt left out that no other author had invited me to be part of a boxed set for release on Amazon. Within a few months, I received an invitation and couldn’t be more tickled to have been asked to take part again.

What is your current work-in-progress?

I’m waiting for a critique partner to return my Christmas Extravaganza story. I’ll edit it and submit by the end of April. Here’s what I call my 40 working words for “A Cup of Christmas Kindness”: Violet returns home. Her twelve days of kind Christmas deeds to help Heath through his grief instead churns bitterness. His daughter is intrigued by the Advent tributes, grows close to Violet, and seeks to draw the old lovers back together.

The title and setting are clear for my next story, but at this time, that’s all I know. Brainstorming will kick in soon.

Thank you, Susan, for letting me visit on Writer Wednesday.

Bio:

Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Rom

 

ance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. Her Frivolities Series and the book based on her father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time, are available on Amazon. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author. Connect with LoRee through this Website: www.loreepeery.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/LoreePeery

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

Pelican Book Group http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/LoRee-Peery/e/B004UAGL2W/ref

Latest book release:

Repurposed     https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086J2QDQF?ref

Writer Wednesday: Barbara Britton

Please welcome author Barabar Britton to my blog. I’ve known Barbara for a few years as we attended a writing group together. She is also published by the Pelican Book Group, the publishing house I work for and publish my own work through. 

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

I had no idea that I would become an author later in life. When I was younger, no one mentioned being an author as a career choice. I enjoyed my creative writing class in high school, but the teacher never encouraged me to go further with my storytelling.

Many years later, I was teaching chapel to elementary students at my children’s school. Every week, I would create or mold curriculum to teach the Bible to my students. When I prayed for “creativity” to help me put all my lessons together, I received a prompting to write stories. Eight years later, my fourth story sold to a publisher and wouldn’t you know, it was a take-off of a Bible story.

What’s your pet peeve?

At home, my pet peeve is when people leave their dishes where they finished eating. The dishwasher might only be a step away. When I was pre-published, I avoided telling people that I was a writer because the first question that came out of their mouth was, “Are you published?” It is very difficult to be traditionally published and many readers do not understand the years of rejection it takes to receive a “Yes” from a publisher. Writers need all the encouragement they can get.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

 I don’t know if it’s embarrassing, but it sure is interesting to gauge people’s reaction when I say that I write Biblical Fiction. I’ve heard:

-my grandmother reads that.

-the sound of footsteps fleeing my table.

-isn’t that a tad redundant? (I didn’t think that was funny, but it was said by an atheist)

 What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Marketing consumes a lot of my author time. Authors have been delegated most of the marketing and discoverability aspects of their career. What once was done by a publisher is now done by the author. I am not a tech savvy person, so I have had a big learning curve since my first book debuted. Once you figure out a system, everything changes in the cyber world.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejections are part of writing. They aren’t fun, but I amassed over 200 rejections before I sold my first manuscript. Negative reviews hurt my feelings—for an instant—and then you have to let them go. I bathe my writing in prayer and I have a Christian publisher, so I am comfortable with my stories. Not every story is for every reader. You never know what a reader is going through in their life. Sometimes a story can be too real for them to read, or it’s simply not their genre or story trope.

 What is your current work in progress?

I am working on another Bible story, but the daughters of Zelophehad have one more book to go before they claim their land. “Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey” will release in April. I have a Historical debuting in June. If you liked “Me Before You” but disliked the ending, then you will like “Until June.”

Bio:

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.

Website: http://www.barbarambritton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraMBritton

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-M-Britton-173432342754243/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Barbara-M.-Britton/e/B01C800ADG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Latest book release: “Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey.”

Book blurb:

Noah bat Zelophehad might have broken tradition by being able to inherit her father’s land, but her heart’s desire is to have the finest herds in all of Israel, something an orphaned and unmarried woman has never achieved.

Jeremiah ben Abishua cannot speak, nor hear. God has made his thoughts captive to his mind. But he can communicate with one shepherdess, a woman who sees his skill with animals and treats him like a man worthy of respect.

When their people disobey God and incur his wrath, Noah and Jeremiah must overcome tragedy in order to change perceptions in the tribes of Israel. Will their kinship desire to care for one another and the four-legged creatures God has placed in their care, be able to flourish in a land filled with enemies of the One True God?

God gave Noah bat Zelophehad four sisters, a way with four-legged creatures, and a strong spirit. She will need all three gifts to thrive in the Promised Land of God and find love with a special shepherd.

 

Writer Wednesday: Carol Raj

Welcome Carol Raj to Writer Wednesday!

When did you decide you would be an author?
When I was in second grade, my story about a duck received a gold star and a prominent place on the classroom bulletin board. I had always loved books and stories, but had never realized that real people actually wrote them.

What is my pet peeve?
The new practice of editors and agents not responding at all to submissions. It leaves authors hanging. How long would it take someone to type “No thanks” and hit “Send?”

What was my most embarrassing moment as a writer?
I haven’t had one yet.

What is my most difficult challenge as an author?
Marketing! It’s against my nature and my upbringing to draw attention to myself.

How do I take rejections and/or negative reviews?
My response ranges from stoic acceptance to internal grumbling.

What do I feel is the best success so far in my writing career?
I was very encouraged by a review calling my novel, “The Curious Prayer Life of Muriel Smith,” a “hidden gem.” It was very encouraging.

What is my current work in progress?
A Young Adult novel entitled “Charlotte Masterson Gets a Life” is under contract. I’m also working on another faith-based YA novel and a secular adult novel. I’m not yet sure which one will take off.

Writer Links
Website: http://www.carolraj.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carol.raj.79
Pinterest: pinterest.com/crajmerr
Twitter: twitter.com/CarolRaj4
Amazon link for Muriel: http://amazon.com/dp/B07V39G9PR

Writer Wednesday: Carol James

Welcome author Carol James to Writer Wednesday!

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

While I have always loved reading and happy endings, I never aspired to write. I majored in English education in college because I love grammar (weird, I know) and I believed that class would allow me to get to know the hearts of my students better than math or science.

I definitely was called to write. I was teaching part-time in a small private school when my husband suffered a health issue and lost his job. It was up to me to move out into the “real” world to support our family until he could get back on his feet. One morning I was sitting in our local park eating a Chick-fil-a chicken biscuit (some things are worth the calories), when God showed me some verses in Isaiah. Isaiah 43: 18-19

 

18 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

19 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I realized then that He would take this time in our lives and use it for His purposes and glory.

For about ten years, I tried various different ministries and activities, but nothing was the “stream in my wasteland.” Then my boss confessed to me that she was an aspiring author, and asked if I would edit her current work in progress for grammar errors. I did, and a little spark was lit in my heart. If she could do this, I could, too. We could be like C.S. Lewis J.R.R. Tolkien. When I put my first words on the paper, I knew this was it. God was calling me to write as a ministry.

What’s your pet peeve?

Oh, I r-e-a-l-l-y hate to say this, because it’s so unpopular in our relaxed culture. My pet peeve is tardiness. My father was a career Air Force officer, and his mantra was, “If you’re on time, you’re late.” I cannot remember a time when we were late for anything. We were always on time, generally early. This was drummed into me as long back as I can remember. I have come to believe that being on time shows respect for other people, and habitual lateness shows a lack of respect for another’s time and schedule. But, I will love you anyway, whether you’re on time or late.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I still remember the first writers’ conference I attended. One of the workshops was about crafting conflict. I’d only been writing for a couple of months. I was working—I was certain—on this world-changing, earth-shattering number one best selling novel. I sat down at the table, so sure the moderator would see the artistry of my writing and the magnificence of the plot. Right? When she started asking me questions about the conflict, the black moment, etc, I had no response. I didn’t even know what she was talking about. Obviously, I had a lot more learning and work to do before I graced the world with my work. LOL

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

My most difficult challenge is not to compare my work to that of other authors. It’s easy to compare my success, or lack of it, with contemporaries. I have to constantly remind myself that my job is to be faithful and obedient to the ministry to which I have been called, and the rest will follow. I may never write a number-one bestseller, but as long as my words minister to and uplift those who read them, I am being obedient. And it might be a life-changing book to that one person who needed to hear the message.

 How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

You know, as writers we have so much time, sweat, and emotion invested in our work, that rejections feel like someone telling you your brand new, precious baby is ugly. Rejections hurt, and I’ve been known to go to my husband and complain about how thick-headed that reviewer was, how he or she didn’t get it. How they don’t know what they’re talking about. But then, I take a deep breath and ask, why exactly did that person say that? Often, I can see the validity of the critique. Some of what started out as the harshest critiques have ended up being the best and those that taught me the most.

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

One of the most memorable moments I have experienced was after my first novel, Rescuing Faith, was released. It’s the story about a woman who’s husband has been unfaithful to her and how she moves past his infidelity and rejection. Not long after the novel was released, a gentleman at church came up to me and gave me a big hug. He said the book addressed exactly what his daughter was currently living through and that reading it had really ministered to and encouraged her. To me, that is success. That is my whole purpose for writing.

 What is your current work in progress?

My current work in progress has a working title of A Time for Singing. It’s a story about two people who have both been left at the altar and how they overcome those rejections. It’s set in an old Victorian Inn in a small Texas town. Several years ago my husband and I stayed at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Massachusetts. One of the most exciting surprises was discovering the Secret Drawer Society. The letters we found were sometimes fiction, but other times they were accounts of the writers’ life-changing experiences. I knew then, I would write a novel that included the SDS.

Bio:

Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.

Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.

Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been a number one bestseller on Amazon.

Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

Website: www.carol-james.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/CarolJamesAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/caroljamesauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolJamesAuth  

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Carol-James/e/B00IGMW2WI?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1573587965&sr=8-1

Latest book release: The Unexpected Christmas Gift, November 2019

Coming 2020: Season of Hope