Tag Archive | writing

Writer Wednesday: Cathe Swanson

cathesquareToday I want to introduce you to Cathe Swanson. She’s been a valuable member of our ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer’s) group and just released her first novella! So proud of you Cathe!

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

I was a reader as a child, and being an author was my dream job. I wanted to create stories, preferably in series like Little House in the Big Woods, Anne of Green Gables or the Nancy Drew mysteries. But I didn’t; I just found more books to read. Later, when I was homeschooling my sons, I wanted to write better stories for boys. But I didn’t; I was too busy teaching them.  I wrote devotionals for ministry events and some articles for a boys’ magazine and newsletters for different organizations, but I never wrote fiction. Then, just after my youngest son graduated, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I finished the 50,000 words in about a week, and I kept going. The story fell from my fingertips. It consumed me. I thought about my characters all the time. I wrote bits and pieces on scraps of paper while I was driving (even more dangerous than texting). I wrapped up that manuscript at about 175,000 words, and then I just kept writing more books.

What’s your pet peeve?

I object to man-bashing: memes or cartoons that mock men, implying that women are smarter than men, or television shows in which the men are portrayed as bunglers and the women are more intelligence. This is not sexual equality. It is sexism.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My best friend is married to a chief of police in a small town out west. I called her one evening with a question about whether or not a woman could be compelled to testify against her husband in a criminal court case and then more specifically if that woman could be questioned by the police during the investigation and be pressured to answer their questions. She said her husband wasn’t home right then, but she thought it was best to avoid answering any questions without a lawyer there. I thanked her for that non-answer and went back to my story. She called back ten minutes later – she had called her husband out of a city council meeting to ask him what I should do. She thought my question was about ME! Oops.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Self-discipline and avoiding the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” trap. I am easily distracted and have many things I enjoy doing, from gardening to cardmaking, so if I sit down to write and my character has an upcoming appointment, it reminds me that I need to check my planner for the time of my own upcoming appointment. Then I see that one of my grandchildren has a birthday coming up, so I open Amazon to do some shopping. Then I think about party ideas, which is even worse, because I open up Pinterest. Or I might decide to make her a card or go to the basement to get wrapping paper and see a box of Christmas fabric and bring that upstairs and see a piece with holly berries on it and decide to go outside and check on the boxwood tree and pick some branches to make a centerpiece… By then, my husband is home and I need to cook dinner. I love to write, but I am squirrelly.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

As a brand new author, I’ve been very blessed with encouraging reviews.  When the negative comments and reviews come, as I know they will, I might get discouraged for a while, but I usually bounce back quickly. I am pretty good at weighing the value of other people’s opinions and responding accordingly. I hope I will be humble enough to accept criticism.

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

Um… Snow Angels? Actually, I think my best success is that I have pushed myself to become more open about my work. I’ve written for years without telling anyone or letting anyone read my stories. I tend to be a very private person, almost reclusive, and you just can’t do that as a modern author.

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

There aren’t many authors newer than me, but I would tell them:

1.  Find a supportive writing community. That doesn’t mean a group of people who will applaud everything you do, but they should be encouraging you in your efforts – just as you will encourage them – and celebrating your successes. I prefer a group with a Christian worldview because that defines me and my writing. I like online communities because I can engage from home when I have time to do so, but in-real-life groups are very beneficial.

2.  Never stop learning how to be a better writer. Attend workshops and seminars, read writing craft books, find beta readers and critique partners. I am a podcast junkie. I listen to writing and book marketing podcasts while I garden, clean house, drive, or work out (okay… that’s a lie. I haven’t worked out in months.) Most importantly, read good books.

3.  Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do – including writing books – glorify God. Before we are Christian authors, we are Christians. Not everything you write has to be evangelical, but remember that everything you write is a witness.

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

Like all Christian authors, I would like to lead others to salvation, bring attention to terrible social injustices, end hunger and bring about world peace. Those are impressive goals, but I think I am better at touching people’s hearts on a more personal level. In Snow Angels, I created characters like Hub, a Vietnam veteran. Instead of just showing his sad plight and having him sitting around being homeless, I wanted the reader to see him as a regular guy with his own personality, engaging in daily life in community with others.  I like to write entertaining stories that make readers laugh and maybe cry a little, but I hope that they will also be inspired to see other people more clearly – not as stereotypes, but as individuals, as God sees them.

What is your current work in process?

I am currently working on revisions for Baggage Claim, a book I wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. It’s part of the Great Lakes collection, set about two years before Snow Angels, and will introduce Phoebe. It is scheduled to be released in mid-February.

Christmas Lights novella collection is going to be FREE From Dec 15 to Dec 19. Also, we are having a great giveaway: http://christmaslightscollection.com/christmas-stocking-mash/  The actual giveaway form is here: https://promosimple.com/ps/abb4  but it doesn’t list everything in the stocking.

My new book, Baggage Claim, is available for preorder at http://amzn.to/2gwfFnW It will be released – God willing – on February 14.

christmas-lights-boxLinks to social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatheSwanson

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

Instagram: https://instagram.com/CatheSwanson

My blog: http://catheswanson.com/blog

My newsletter: http://catheswanson.com/newsletter/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/CatheSwan…

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cathe-swanson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/catheswans…

Latest Book Release :    Christmas Lights – a novella collection

 

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

 

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: Andrea Boeshaar

AKB 2013_small picI met Andrea a few years ago at a writer’s conference. Later we began carpooling together to our local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writer’s meetings. We had so much fun we became not only friends, but critique and accountability partners for our writing and pray for each other over all the ups and downs of life and writing. I’m glad you got meet her!

When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I started writing as a child. My earliest recollection of actually producing a work of fiction, was when I was in 4th grade. I wrote a story called “Little Miss Mouse.” Each day, on my way home from grade school, I used to stop at the library and write. I was quite proud of my lined notebook and penciled story. Little did I realize my mother kept it. I found it among her belongings after she died in 2012.

What’s your pet peeve?
Cleaning my house. Seems such a waste of time. It just gets messing/dirty again.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
Realizing that a proposal I had sent to an editor had many, many misspellings in it.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

The slow pace at which I now write. It didn’t always used to be that way. In the 1990s, I could write four 50K word novels and one novella per year. Now it takes me a good four to six months per book!

ebook_seasonsoflove copyHow do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
My first book was published in 1994 by Heartsong Presents (Barbour Publishing). Since then, I’ve written some 40 books, fiction and nonfiction. Therefore, the way I process rejection and negative views has morphed greatly over the years. While once I let such things ruin my day, now I don’t let it rent space in my head. Too many characters live there anyway. Writers cannot take rejection personally. It happens. It’s a part of being a writer and journeying toward publication. As for negative reviews…if a reader states something like, “The book was too boring. I set it down after two pages.” I consider the comment, but compare it to the other reviews posted. If all other reviews (except that one) are glowing, I discount it as merely one reader’s viewpoint. But if the majority of reviews are negative, I take them to heart AS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE and try to figure out how I can make my next book better.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
I have helped at least a dozen authors get published and when I see their success, I rejoice. They are precious gems in the crown I will lay down at my Savior’s feet someday. I love to encourage other writers which is one of the reasons I partnered with Lynn Coleman, Tracie Peterson, and others to begin ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?
1) Don’t give up. 2) Work on being the best author you can be. 3) Rejoice with others when they share their good publishing news – even if you’re feeling envious you can’t share similar news. Amazingly, God will use that for His good – and I speak from personal experience.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
I want to be known for stories that are Christian-based faith in action. Stories that touch others’ lives, whether they’re Christians or unbelievers, in search of the Way, Truth, and Life. I’m already seeing a wee bit of my legacy in one of my sons who is writing a nonfiction book. And I see my legacy unfolding in one of my grandsons, who, each time he visits, has to sit at my desk and pretend he’s “writing a book.”

What is your current work in process?
I’ve actually got more than one WIP because, even though I might not actively be working on a book, it’s still percolating in my head.

ATSF cover_smallToo Deep for Words, book 2 in my Shenandoah Valley Saga (coming February or April 2017). After it’s finished, I plan to work on revisions for a super cute novel for Prism Book Group that I’ve tentatively Building a Dream. I can’t wait to dive into that project. After that, it’s on to a secret fiction project that I can’t yet discuss (but I can tease about…ha, ha…) I’ll follow that novel up with writing There Is a Season, book 3 in the Shenandoah Valley Saga.

Links to social media:

Website: www.andreaboeshaar.com

Facebook      Twitter       Pinterest

Blog: “Everything Writerly

 

Writer Wednesday: Linda Yezak

Linda 2010Linda Yezak has become a friend made through social media who has been gracious in helping me with my own book promotions. It is with delight that I interview her for my blog and she’s offering to do a drawing for a copy of her latest novel, The Final Ride as well! Someday I’m going to enjoy meeting the resident of 777 Peppermint Place in person and it will be so much fun. Enjoy getting to know Linda and her journey as an author.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but when my husband and I moved from our hometown, I took it up again. I didn’t get serious about it until I actually typed “the end” on my first (awful) novel. I got so excited–and knew absolutely nothing about the business–that I sent the manuscript to a publisher without letting anyone who knows anything about writing read it. By the time I got their inevitable rejection letter, I was hooked on writing, and decided to take it far more seriously.

What’s your pet peeve?
Drivers who see me coming at them on the highway at 75 mph and pull out in front of me anyway. There’s gotta be a special kind of punishment for them.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
When I discovered Google Alert the hard way. Not once, but twice. The first time is a two-parter, when I critiqued William Brohaugh’s Write Tight. I included a comment that sometimes we have to rely on the reader’s common sense. The reader can probably figure things out without us having to be so particular about how we write them. He responded. Who knew he’d even find my measly post on a blog that is just one kazoo in a zillion-piece orchestra?

Then I responded to him, not expecting to hear from him again, and he responded to that.

But that was a good experience. The second was a huge faux pas on my part, and I still kick myself for it.
I’d landed an agent. I was so excited, I was cartwheeling. We just needed to make the deal official with a contract, but I was finally an agented author.

Problem was, at the time, I didn’t know much about hiring an agent. Mike Hyatt had a post about predator agents and he wrote a list of questions to ask. I wrote a post on my own blog, telling about my experience with getting this new agent and how I felt uncertain of myself because of what Mike had written. I said something along the lines of “I don’t even know this woman.”

Well, “this woman” found the post and got offended, not that I blame her. Bye-bye agent.
Since then, I’ve been far more careful.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
Learning the business end of the business–promotions, marketing, the algorithms that make the system crank my books higher in visibility. I spent so much time polishing my craft, that I neglected all this. I hate discovering how many things I’ve done wrong. Sigh.

GiveTheLadyARide_2016 KindleHow do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
I blow them off. People have their opinions. One lady wrote that she didn’t like the way my character in Give the Lady a Ride took the knee and bowed to God after his bull rides. She said it was too Tim Tebow-ish. Problem is, cowboys have been doing that since long before Tebow was known. Probably before he was born. Another wrote that my story bored her. She’s pretty much alone in the reviews on that one. Another couple of reviews on different books were spot-on, so I can’t complain about them.

More often than not, however, I get really good reviews, so the bad ones I get don’t bother me.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
Winning an honorable mention in the Saturday Evening Posts “Great Fiction” contest. I didn’t get anything for it other than to be published in their 2016 digital anthology of the 2015 winners. Still, it definitely lands in the plus column.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?
Take a moment to sit down and evaluate what all this business requires–aside from writing great books–and set goals. Then determine a game plan to meet those goals. This applies whether you want to go indie or the traditional route. Even though others may take care of some of the business details in traditional publishing, you should still have enough knowledge and savvy to know whether you’re getting treated fairly. Of course, if you’re indie, it’s all on your shoulders. The more you know, the more successful you’ll be.

Network with as many people as you can in this industry. I’ve been so fortunate in my years to be able to swap favors and reviews with book cover designers, editors, promo specialists, critique partners, beta readers.

Study the craft. Study and learn from other authors and write, write, write.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
I want my readers to understand that no matter how far they stray from their God, he is faithful and just to forgive. I see my audience not just as women of a certain age who like romantic comedy and such, but also a subset of those women who need to know it’s okay to come home, back to the fold. God isn’t a grudge-holder.

What is your current work in process?
My current WIP is Skydiving to Love, a novella I’m writing to add to a set of romance novellas some friends and I are doing together. We had a wonderful idea: Four friends, facing their thirtieth birthdays, dare each other to do the wildest thing on their bucket list. Each story is about what the author’s character chose from her list and how she goes about fulfilling it. It’s going to be fun. We just got our fourth writer recently, so we’re hoping for a fall publication.

cover proof

Leave a comment below and sign up for her newsletter, and she’ll draw a winner for a free copy of The Final Ride from those who sign up.

Links to social media:
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GivetheLadyaRide
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LindaYezak
Goodreads: http://dld.bz/dSPmg
777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com
Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda
Amazon: http://dld.bz/LindaWYezakAmazon

Back cover copy for The Final Ride:
With her duties for her best friend’s wedding finally behind her, Patricia Talbert looks forward to discovering what “normal” will look like at her new home in Texas. She owns a ranch, is in love with its foreman, and is ready to assume her duties. Discovering what those duties entail isn’t an easy feat for a displaced socialite from Manhattan. But when her aunt Adele arrives on a mission to bring her back to New York, Patricia’s primary duty is to deflect the bumbling and bullish attempts–until one of Adele’s tricks takes her by surprise.

All of Talon Carlson’s dreams for the Circle Bar Ranch are coming true, along with another dream he never expected to be fulfilled–a chance to love again. Patricia is everything he ever wanted and more, but he made a promise to her not to ride bulls again, a promise he may have to break. His desire for a better end to his riding career is intensified by vicious rumors about why he quit. If he rides again, he will provide the ammunition Adele needs to make Patricia leave. If he doesn’t, he’ll prove the gossips right.

Patricia or Talon. Which one will take The Final Ride?

The “God Answered my Prayer” Conundrum

Lots of things stew in my crazy brain. Much of it I’m sure you’d not want to read about. Complexities and backstory would bog down the fact that emotionally turmoil is festering underneath what many perceive to be a cheerful exterior.

One recent thing though has been cooking. I have a friend who has a book doing extremely well. She’s breaking all the “rules” for promotion and marketing. I love her to bits and I’m thrilled at her success.

No. Really. I am. She’s a dear sweet friend.

I asked her what she thinks is the secret to her success. Her response: “We’ve been praying.” She does. She prays. She has people who have prayed as she’s worked on her novel for over 10 years. Yes. You heard me. Ten years.

Here’s where the conundrum comes in. I pray too. I’ve had people pray for me as I write and struggle with life. My books haven’t sold as well although they get great reviews and I’ve done so many things to promote them. I’ve had people who I respect as authors, promise to read and promote my books who have failed to do so. I’ve done so for their great novels. Grrr. Frustrating to say the least. But God can take care of them.

God is doing 10000 thingsWhich leads to a variety of thoughts.

  • Does God not love me or my book as much as He loves my friend’s?
  • Success isn’t really about how many books I sell.
  • But I could really use the money sales could net for me due to challenging life circumstances (duh, like we all don’t face those?)

And then I scold myself.

  • It should be enough that I worked hard and my books are well-received and people have found their faith encouraged or challenged by reading them.
  • It should be enough that God has brought people into my life to minister to and encourage because I have written and published my novels.
  • It should be enough that God knows my heart and my needs. All of them. He’s got my future in the palm of His hands.

So why isn’t it enough? Why do I struggle?

The issue isn’t God.

It’s me.

I’m a fallible human who struggles with insecurities on so many levels.

I struggle with depression and anxiety.

I lack support from people who should be there for me but who had sought to sabotage me every step on my journey.

They failed.

Because: God.

God has gotten me to where I am. He has brought me through so many struggles and pain beyond what I could ever dare to share here.

And my writing isn’t a job. It’s a calling. I need to own that and realize that a calling doesn’t come with a windfall. It comes with a cost.

And a blessing.

But sometimes I fail to see that amidst the pain and struggle that sometimes visits my life.

So I’m grateful for my friend, her faith and our beautiful relationship. She is also called and God’s blessing on her work has no bearing on the way He is at work in my life.

Because we are all unique and God’s work in and through us is also unique.

How often I forget that when the “should’s” come knocking on my door.

How about you? Where have you struggled with the “should’s” in your own life?

Writer Wednesday: Beth Ziarnik

Beth's head shotBeth Ziarnik has been an unexpected blessing early on in my own writing journey and it’s a thrill that after all she’s invested in me and so many others, that I can celebrate with her the fruit of her efforts: her first published novel, Her Deadly Inheritance.

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

I was in elementary school—maybe nine or ten years old. Standing within our small town library, I gazed at a shelf of fairy tale books—the Green Book, the Red Book, the Blue Book, the Yellow Book, and so many more. That’s when I decided I’d love to write stories that gave readers as much enjoyment as those books gave me. Actually, I’m not far off the mark as I writing romantic suspense. Fairy tales are love stories, right? And each has some huge and frightening obstacle the heroes and heroines must overcome. It wasn’t until my late teens that I fell in love with romantic suspense. About fifteen years later, I began to dream and plan to write my own novels—long before Christian publishers considered releasing the genre. I’ve learned since then that dreams are often planted in our hearts by God who is already guiding us along paths that prepare us to take hold of those dreams.

What’s your pet peeve?

I’m not sure I have one. Twelve years of severe Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome knocked a boatload of impatience out of me. As for the illness, the Lord healed me almost 16 years ago.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

During the 2013 Write-to-Publish Conference Awards Banquet while relaxing after dinner and enjoying the presentations. When Chris Richards announced the winner of her company’s award, she said something about “Beth” and not wanting to butcher the writer’s last name. I looked around, expecting some other Beth to stand up. I turned back, and Chris smiled at me and nodded. I totally froze! Couldn’t move a muscle. Not until the writer next to me grinned and leaned over to whisper, “Beth, you have to go up and receive the award.”

I quickly joined Chris and turned my back to the microphone to ask her, “Are you sure?” Yes, it was real! And, from the soft, supportive laughter in the room, it seems everyone there knew at the start that I was the Beth Chris had been talking about.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

her deadly inheritanceHanging in there down through the years as I was learning the skills to become a published novelist. Especially the last few years before Rowena Kuo at Lighthouse of the Carolinas offered a contract to publish Her Deadly Inheritance. During that time of waiting for breakthrough, I knew I was close but couldn’t quite make it. Editors and agents asked for the full manuscript. No one made an offer—though they all encouraged me to keep seeking the agent who would love and champion my work. That agent turned out to be Jim Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. I signed with him in August 2013. Then in December 2014, Rowena offered a contract and teamed me with editor Chris Richards who, about the time of the contract offer, had joined the LPC family.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejection is difficult, but I’ve learned not to take it personally. Editors and agents want us to succeed, but first, we have to get to the necessary level of skill, and then offer them something they can actually use in their magazine or book line-up.

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

Making the multitude of wonderful friends in the industry—writers (published or unpublished), mentors, editors, agents, conference directors and staff. All with beautiful hearts determined to serve the Lord and honor him with their growing talents. I am blessed and so thankful to God for them. I feel the same about readers, whether or not they have responded to my articles and columns to let me know what those writings have meant to them.

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

  • Be patient and keep working on your craft. It will happen! You will get published, if you don’t quit. Keep learning and practicing.
  • Go to writer’s conferences and seminars. You will learn more than you ever dreamed. You’ll be encouraged, make lasting friendships, and have the blessed chance to encourage others. You will also speed up your journey to the land of published works and learn how to continue to grow in skill and be published.
  • Pray! God alone knows your path to published works. Lay your ideas and manuscripts at his feet. Ask him for wisdom and guidance to both write and market. He’ll be happy to help you, if only you ask and obey.

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

That, through my writings, I have encouraged others to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and to love in the beautiful, unselfish way the Lord describes in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

What is your current work in process?

I’m writing a continuation of Jill’s and Clay’s story as they face another life-threatening situation and new challenges to their growing love. It’s Christmas time as they arrive at her birth father’s Milwaukee mansion to spend a few days getting to know him. There they find him gravely ill and his life in danger from some unknown source—a danger that spreads to include Jill. Add to the mix, Jill’s former fiancé who decides to give Clay serious competition.

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