Tag Archive | author

Writer Wednesday: Liz Tolsma

liz-tolsma-headshot-2I’m happy to introduce you to author Liz Tolsma who I’ve been acquainted with for several years and has been part of starting up our local chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She writes, edits, speaks and has been a delight to know personally.

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

I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic and wanted to be an author. I got really serious about it after 9/11, because I realized then that my life wouldn’t last forever. I didn’t want to have any regrets, so I gave writing a shot.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who leave doors open.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

It just happened. I didn’t recognize one of my street team members right away when I met her in person. Thank goodness she had a nametag on!

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Just finding time to write. With children to shuttle places, including one with special needs, and a house to run, and my editing business, it’s hard.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I’ve really learned how to deal with them. For rejections, I trust God’s perfect timing. If He has meant for it to be published, he’ll send the right contract at the right time. And for negative reviews, I try to balance them against positive reviews. I just got a review for my first book that said the romance wasn’t very strong. The next review said they loved the romance! You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

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

Definitely being a finalist for the Carol Award.

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

1. Read as much as a can, both inside and outside of your genre.

2. Write, write, write. Once you have words on a page, you have something to work with.

3. Find a really good critique partner or even an editor who can see things you can’t and who can help you learn and grow as an author.

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

That my books have touched many hearts for Christ.

railstolove_cover

Recently released!

What is your current work in process?

Right now, I’m writing The Song the Heart Sings. It’s the second book in my next WWII story. It’s set in Poland. What many people don’t know is that Hitler hated the Poles almost as much as the Jews. In fact, as many Polish Christians died as Polish Jews. So, the story takes place at a forced labor camp in southern Poland.

This is Liz’s latest release: Rails to Love

Circus costume designer Ellen Meyers rides the rails from city to city with the troupe, but when mystery and suspicion fall on her, can her newfound love with trainmaster Will Jorgenson and their faith in God survive?

BIOGRAPHY

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. The Rails to Love collection released in October 2016. The Matchmaker Brides collection releases in February 2017, and her next WWII novel, The Melody of the Soul, is scheduled to release in April 2017. She is a popular and an editor. She has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), and LinkedIn. She is also a regular contributor to the Pencildancer blog and the Midwest Almanac blog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.tolsma.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizTolsma
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/liz-tolsma-64992ab7?trk=hp-identity-name
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/liztolsma/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorliztolsma/

Buy links for Rails to Love:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook.com

 

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Writer Wednesday: Dixie Jarchow

image1I met Dixie at a writer’s conference and to date I don’t know of any author who has ever pitched a story to me with so much enthusiasm. I began to believe the story she was telling me was true, that it happened to a friend! It began a great relationship between us as authors and as editor to author when I signed her. The benefit for us is she also lives in a nearby town so we’ve even connected to talk about life and writing while sipping coffee (for her) and chai (for me). I happily introduce you to Dixie Jarchow (who has also written as Daisy Jericho).

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

I decided I would write a novel when I was pregnant with my second child and had to be on bedrest with a 5-year-old to entertain all day. A friend brought over a huge box of romance novels. After reading about 40 in a row, rapid-fire, I began to see a pattern. I teach physics and engineering.  Patterns appeal to me. So my journey began.

What’s your pet peeve?

My pet peeve is when writers read and ask for comments in my writers’ groups and then argue with the person who is giving feedback. Non writing peeve? No coffee. Must not be allowed!

TheLoveThiefWhat was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I admired some local writers when I was just starting out and they told me I wasn’t good enough to be in their group. It inspired me to write more and get better. None of them have published a single book to date. I’m on my third. Persevere and have faith!

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Finding the time to write.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I take them way too personally. Then, I get stubborn and dig in and do better. Upon reflection, they usually have a good point.  i usually cannot even read the rejection letter at first. It takes me days.

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

test copyI think being able to share my journey with my high school students and let them know how tough it is but how worthwhile and that they can do anything they set their minds to.

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

Listen to criticism, accept criticism and then ignore criticism. Listen to everyone and make it better but ultimately, it is your story to tell.

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

I would want my legacy to be that I will always be proud to have my future grandchildren read my stories.

What is your current work in process?

I am currently working on Mixed-Up Christmas due out this Christmas.

Writer Wednesday: Anita Klumpers

SONY DSCAnita Klumpers is the author of Winter Watch, a fast paced romantic suspense set in Northern Wisconsin. She lives in the Madison area and was willing to give me a few minutes to share a glimpse into her writing journey.

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

I’ve always enjoyed beginning a story. When I was little I’d start long rambling tales. Sort of the print version of The Song That Never Ends. In college I even looked forward to writing term papers! Until the time came to finish them. That was always my problem. Pulling it all together.

My mom wanted me to write children’s books but that was a skill I just don’t possess. I wanted to write a novel just to see if I could develop a plot all the way. This tiny core of common sense said it couldn’t happen because I’d need to actually complete something. So I got stubborn, rebelled against my common sense, and did it.

What’s your pet peeve? 

Inanimate objects. They stub my toes, drop on my head, need to be turned when I want to push, burn out, break, freeze up, topple, and are oblivious to my scoldings.

WinterWatch_Ebook (2)What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

When the barista at the coffee shop said she liked my book but saw a couple of typos. And I had to admit that for the most part, they were my fault.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author? 

Writing. Promoting. Quadruple each of those and you have my most difficult challenges. I love to write but seem to think I require long, uninterrupted, isolated days. But that isn’t the real world. Neither is expecting the book to sell itself. I practically apologize when I ask if someone would like to read it.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Pretty well, actually. I don’t think I have a particularly fragile ego, and know that I have a long way to go as a writer.

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

I’m at the infant stage of my writing career. So I guess just being born. In other words, I got published!

Anita can be found on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anitaklumpers

Her blog:  http://www.thetuesdayprude.com

Writer Wednesday: Loree Lough

Loree main photoI have had the honor of getting to know best-selling and prolific author, Loree Lough. We’ve connected on-line when I had messaged her about an error I found in an ebook (so she could fix it!). That wonderful story is Jake Walker’s Wife by the way. LOVED IT!  WE connected after that in person and I have been delighted to get to know her as not only an author but a woman who generously gives to her readers and other writers.

Loree once sang for her supper, performing across the U.S. and Canada. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two, but mostly, she writes novels that have earned hundreds of industry and “Readers’ Choice” awards, 4- and 5-star reviews, and 5 book-to-movie options. Her 100th bookSaving Alyssa, #3 in “A Child to Love” series for Harlequin Heartwarming, released in March of 2014. Next up, the “Secrets on Sterling Street historical series from Whitaker House, and “Those Marshall Boys” contemporary series from Harlequin Heartwarming. Both series will release during 2014 and 2015.

Loree enjoys sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry. Her comedic approach makes her a favorite at writers’ organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, and college and high school writing programs in the U.S. and abroad.

A writer who believes in giving back, Loree dedicates a generous portion of her income to favorite charities. (See “Giving Back” http://www.loreelough.com to see the list.) She loves hearing from her readers, and answers every letter, personally.

So, Loree, when did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

After about seven years as a “beat reporter” and freelancer, I began to notice a disturbing trend in the newspaper industry: Publishers, changing salient facts to appease advertisers. While grousing about this over supper one night, my husband joked that, for all intents and purposes, I was writing fiction. “So why don’t you just write a novel!” We had a good laugh over it, but the notion wouldn’t leave my brain. I started fiddling around with a plot, and characters, and conflict, and before I knew it, I’d written Pocketful of Promises. I submitted it to Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line…and Steve Reginald called about a week later to say they wanted to issue a contract. The book was released on our 22nd anniversary, in August of ’94. 100 books later (with 6 additional books slated for release between now and mid-year 2016), I’m still suffering from what he jokingly dubbed “fiction addiction.”

What’s your pet peeve?

You’re kidding, right…peeve? Singular? <g> I guess if I had to choose just one ‘life type’ pet peeve, it would be pettiness. You know, people who seem to look for reasons to bicker and complain, or make mountains out of molehills, or whine about a headache when their neighbor is dying of cancer, or wish for bigger houses when some of their own family members are barely making ends meet.

If asked to choose a writing-related pet peeve, it would be professional envy. Writers who moan and groan every time a peer takes a step forward in her career. You’ve probably heard fellow writers say things like “I’m a better writer than she is, so why did she move up another rung, while I’m still stuck here at the bottom of the ladder!” or “She must know somebody, because I’ve read her stuff, and frankly, I’m not impressed.” or “I pray and go to church and tithe and do good deeds. Why is God rewarding her and not me!” The silliness of stuff like that tests my patience like few other things do. Why can’t we, instead, be truly happy for our peers when they advance among the ranks? Why must we compare our ‘place’ in the pecking order to theirs, or compare our writing styles to theirs? Why can’t we just accept that—if we’re writing to glorify God and spread His word—maybe His plan for us is different than His plan for them. Maybe,  instead of griping about why we aren’t moving up in the writing world, we should give thanks for where we are, and accept that it’s where He wants us. Then, maybe, when we congratulate our author friends when they share good career news, it’ll be the truth.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Years ago, I was invited to Ireland to lead a few workshops for an international writers’ group. They asked me to read from my work in progress during the mega book signing. So the nice lady who invited me stood at the microphone, introduced me, said a few words about the book, and brought me to the lectern. I started reading, and quickly realized I’d grabbed the wrong file. Instead of reading from a lighthearted historical set in Ireland, I read the opening scene from a dark and gritty contemporary…a short story set in New York City! Thankfully, the Irish really are the good-humored, gracious people all the tour books say they are!

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Coming up with storylines, characters and settings, plotting, developing conflict…those things—while certainly not easy—aren’t particularly challenging. Balancing church and family obligations with the demands of work? That is by far the biggest challenge this author faces!

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I’ll answer the ‘reviews’ question first…. Experience has taught me that it’s impossible not to feel the sting of a negative review. So I go with it…for a couple of minutes. Then I re-read the thing with an eye to learning how the review, whether written by an industry pro or a reader, might help improve my work. Example: Years ago, when Suddenly Daddy, my first Love Inspired novel was released, a magazine reviewer said a lot of good and glowing things about the story and the characters. But she gave the book 3 stars. Why? Because it contained too much narrative and backstory for her tastes. Upon re-reading the book, I had to admit that she was spot on! She taught me a valuable lesson, and now as I write, I’m very careful not to make that mistake again.

Rejections are similar, in that we can learn from them. So go ahead, wince at the sting…but don’t wallow. And by all means, view them as stepping stones, not stumbling blocks, because that’s truly what they are!

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

When readers write to tell me they identified with a character or a situation in one of my books, that’s when I feel successful. Because isn’t that our objective as writers…to craft stories that speak to each reader, if not as an individual, then to what she’s coping with at that point in her life.

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

1.) Read, read, read, and not just the stuff you want to write. If you’re writing historicals, read contemporaries (and the other way around). If you’re writing gritty suspense, read comedic novels. Read things that aren’t faith-based. Read non-fiction. Because in every book, you’ll learn something you can apply to your own writing.

2.) Attend conferences. If you can’t afford the big, national shindigs, find some local workshops and seminars, and sign up. Not only will you learn how different authors approach the craft, you’ll meet people who understand what life as a writer is like. And, God willing, you’ll meet people who have the decision-making powers to represent and/or contract your work.

3.) Ask yourself one, all-important question: Why am I writing? Your answer will determine your career path.

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

Naturally, I’d like to think I helped someone reconnect with the Father, or get to know Him on a personal level for the very first time.

In a perfect world, I hope at the end of my life, readers will say “She made us laugh and cry, and I’ll never forget the characters/storyline of (insert title here).” And I hope my tombstone will say “She meant it when she said ‘I’ll retire when they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands.”

Currency of the HeartWhat is your current work in process?

At the moment, I’m working on two novels. Currency of the Heart is Book One in the “Secrets on Sterling Street” historical series for Whitaker House, due out in Janurary. And Summer’s Hero, a contemporary, is Book One for Harlequin Heartwarming’s “Those Marshall Boys” series. (No cover for that one yet, but it’s also scheduled for release in January.)

Links to social media:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoreeALough

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/loreelough/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/112813046204335213917?hl=en#112813046204335213917/posts?hl=en

How to Help an Author

For those of you who read, be kind. Authors work hard for little to no pay compared to the amount of time they invest in the story you hold in your hands. If you have an author you love, do them a favor:

  1. Friend them or like their fan page on facebook. Subscribe to their blog.  Let them know you appreciate their hard work. They struggle with real life challenges just like you do. Follow them on twitter.  Help them get the word out when you know they have a book coming out and let people know you like them!
  2. Write a review on amazon, B&N, Goodreads, CBD. Be kind but also be honest. If you didn’t like something, it’s okay to say so. Just don’t be mean. And don’t pan them just because you didn’t like the book at all. If that’s the case, chalk it up to personal preference and walk away and do nothing. If they do a book signing, go meet them! They love to hear how you’ve enjoyed their books.
  3. Buy their books. Join their “book release parties” and be part of the fun and get to know them as people. (They really are flesh and blood humans!)
  4. If you see an unkind review that is just nasty – click the “unhelpful” button on that reviewer. The more we do that, the sooner some of them won’t be able to post things like that.
  5. I’m not saying every book deserves a five-star review, but unless I have to, I will rarely review if I have to rate low. Unless i have an excellent reason to do so. For instance I had to give a 1 star to a Regency that violated all the well-known facts of inheritance in the aristocracy. Not a hard thing to research but it ended up a key plot point. If the author had billed it a fantasy I would have let it slide , but come on! Basics should be right. Authors are human and errors happen so be kind when you can. Philippians 4:8 rings true here: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (NASB). Another way to put it: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
  6. If you find an error in an ebook- instead of panning it – privately contact the author and let them know so they can correct it! You’ll be doing them a favor. They will most likely be horrified, but grateful.
  7. Pray for your favorite authors. There is an enemy that is trying to keep God-glorifying excellence in fiction from being written much less published. The fact is, if you like an author, their future ability to write and sell books lies more with you, the audience, than it does with their ability to write a book. Poor sales and reviews can keep a publisher from being willing to invest the time and energy in printing their books. If you really connect with an author, offer to be a beta-reader or to be a prayer warrior for them. It’s not about hero-worship, but about supporting and encouraging a fellow brother or sister in Christ as they pursue their calling.  When that book comes out you can smile and know that in some way, you got to be part of that. Hearts will be touched and doors to the gospel could be opened and you can be a part of that.

If we as a body of believers universal support each other, whether a reader or a writer, we can can help change the world, one heart at a time. One great story at a time (remember, Jesus used stories too!).  Thanks in advance for helping us all reach the world with hope.