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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Welcome Andrea Boeshaar and Undaunted Faith

I am pleased to host Andrea Boeshaar here today. She has been an inspiration to me in my own writing career, and she's helped countless other authors realize their publishing dreams.

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


ANDREA BOESHAAR has 26 published novels, 8 published novellas, and a host of collective nonfiction under her belt. She knows the peaks and valleys of the publishing industry and loves to share her experience with other writers. She was an agent for more than 10 years, but is now writing full-time and is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.

Some of Andrea’s recent titles (2008 to present) include: Love Finds You in Miracle, Kentucky (Summerside Press); Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry (nonfiction with authors Sandie Bricker, Loree Lough, and Debby Mayne – Summerside Press); Heartland Heroes (a collection of 3 short novels, Barbour Publishing) and Seasons of Redemption series, which includes: Unwilling Warrior (Realms/Charisma House) Uncertain Heart (Realms) Unexpected Love (Realms) and Undaunted Faith (Realms). Another series, Fabric of Time, is already contracted for. The first book Threads of Hope will be released in January of 2011.

Additionally, Andrea is a certified Christian life coach. She is presently taking classes to be certified in Christian counseling.

Andrea is a cofounder of ACFW. She’s taught at several of the organization’s conferences as well as the Oregon Christian Writers Conference, Write-To-Publish, and Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

For more info, visit Andrea on the web, at:

by Andrea Boeshaar
Published by Realms/Charisma House


Can the McCabe Brothers Find Love Amidst the Chaos of the Arizona Territory?

The McCabe brothers have their hands full. Trouble on the range and trouble in town. But they never expected their sweet schoolteacher, Bethany Stafford, to join in the mix of woe. When her reputation is unfairly tarnished, Pastor Luke McCabe is quick to propose marriage. But Bethany wants better than just a marriage of necessity to save her good name. Could Luke ever come to love a plain "little field mouse" like her?

Dr. Annetta Cavanaugh has her own questions about men and their intentions. While Pastor Jake McCabe seems sincere, she still has her doubts about him. But after he accompanies her on a medical call, she sees a whole new side of him and can't help but admit her attraction to the handsome pastor.

However, there's evil brewing in town--a lawlessness that even the sheriff cannot tamp down. Finally, it comes face-to-face with both Luke and Jake and it threatens the lives of the women they love. Are the McCabe brothers ready for the fight of their lives?

Readers, buy your copy of Undaunted Faith (Seasons of Redemption #4) today!


Catching Your Dream

Do you have a dream, a goal, a vision for your life? Does it seem to be just short of your grasp?

I am an author of fiction and nonfiction, but I am I certified Christian life coach also. I enjoy encouraging and motivating other writers so I would like to share 3 ideas that might help you attain your dream – and change your life.

1) Pray about your dream-goal. If you’re like me, then you have lots of ideas. Not every one is worthy of our time – or is God’s will for your life.

We can get busied up in all kinds of meaningless things. So begin a journal and write down all the things you’re involved in. Pray over each one and ask God which to eliminate so you’ll have the time to journey down the God-given path for your life.

2) Practice “planned abandonment.”

In her book Jesus Life Coach, Laurie Beth Jones writes: “Planned abandonment doesn’t mean walking away from something that is difficult or isn’t working anymore. Planed abandonment means choosing between good and great, between better and best. Planned abandonment means that you are able to say no to all that glitters and discern what truly shines.”

I like to tell clients to search out all the EWs in their lives. I know EWs crowd in on me when I least expect them. EWs are “energy wasters” and we’ve all got them. They can be the meaningless business I previously mentioned and they can be people who suck your time. So, you know that neighbor who comes over every night to sit on the couch and bloviate? Well, as you begin to eliminate EWs that neighbor may have to find himself another roosting place.

3) Participate in your own life. Don’t just talk about all things you want to do someday – do them!

I recently watched the movie The Music Man and near the end of the motion picture, Professor Harold Hill tells Marian the librarian something quite profound, I think. He says something like, “If you keep putting everything off until tomorrow, all you’ll have is a collection of empty yesterdays.” How true that is!

And just remember, Tomorrow and Someday are days of the week on a planet that doesn’t exist! So quit procrastinating (and I’m pointing one finger at myself too!), turn off the “boob tube” (as my father called the television) and take steps toward accomplishing your personal goals. It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. Only small footsteps.

Dare to dream – and imagine yourself a part of that vision. It’ll change your life. God has put that power in us all. And with Jesus as our ultimate Life Coach, all things are possible!

* * * * *

Thank you, Andrea, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What dream(s) do you have for which you have told yourself you'll accomplish "someday" or you'll begin working toward it "tomorrow"?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Heartsong Presents -- Countdown to Demise

It is sad news week, I'm afraid.

Yesterday, an official announcement went out stating as of the end of 2011, the Heartsong Presents book club will cease to exist. The book club is being canceled. After nearly 20 years and over 1,000 titles released, this club will see its last shipment in December of this year.

To say I was stunned when I heard this doesn't even begin to describe the feelings I've been experiencing. Not only does it mean book club members won't be receiving those wholesome romances they love (both to read and pass on to friends or young female readers), but it means I have to find another publishing house for my books and writing. Two of my books promised for contract are now not going to be contracted.

A lot of big-name Christian fiction authors got their start by writing for Heartsong Presents. Authors like Tracie Peterson, Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, Denise Hunter, Mary Connealy, Judith Miller, Donita K. Paul, and at least 20 others. I just can't think of their names right now. :)

I can't say I'm surprised, as I've seen the club numbers dwindle over the past 3-4 years. The world of publishing is changing, and unfortunately, this book club no longer fits the needs and buying habits of the average Christian romance reader. Mass-markets are going the way of the dinosaur, and those looking for value-priced books are migrating to e-books by the thousands!

I joined this club in 1992 when it first began, and this club gave me my first publishing contract. It is with bittersweet fondness that I begin the process of saying goodbye.

At least the 4-in-1 novella collections will continue. And they are going to continue doing the repacks of Heartsong books until they have released ALL Heartsong titles in a 3-in-1 repack. Barbour Publishing will also continue with the Romancing America line with the novellas, and they have trade-length BRIDE/WEDDING single title romances coming out starting this year. This is in addition to their standard trade-length single titles in the romance genre. Romance is still strong with them. It just won't be through Heartsong Presents anymore.

So, what about you? Any thoughts or comments?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Mishaps with Mom

Ok, here we are at week 4 with this new series. You can always look at the labels at the bottom of the right column to find "monday mishaps with mom" and read up on any week you've missed. My goal with these weekly posts is to encourage mothers who might be feeling a bit frazzled, and to inspire giggles or laughs to help brighten your day as you start off your week. Also, to let you know you're not alone.

I've been receiving consistent comments on Facebook (since this blog feeds into both Twitter and Facebook), but so far, no comments here on the blog. Perhaps you'll be the first. This week is for all you artists out there.

We all want our children to express their creativity and explore their self-expression, right? We want them to be comfortable with their artistic outlets and have fun in the process. After all, art is the expression of the soul.

But what happens when your child decides to express herself (or himself) on the table, carpet, chairs, and her (his) own body?

I guess this picture to the left would be the result. Of course, I didn't get a good shot of the carpet and furniture. Just didn't turn out as clearly as my daughter's arm. But just imagine what you see on her arm also on the floor and furniture. :)

Oh, and she decided to do this just 20 minutes before my husband came home, and we had plans to go out to buy a "new" bed for our daughter. Guess what I had to do at the last minute? Yep...clean up the mess.

Thank God for washable markers!

How about you? What amusing art work stories do you have involving your kids?

Tune in next week for the next "Monday Mishap with Mom." See you then!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Welcome Carrie Turansky and Surrendered Hearts

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free e-book download.


CARRIE TURANSKY is the best-selling author of 8 novels and novellas. She has been a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, The Genesis, and Carol Award and winner of the Crystal Globe Award. She has been a member of ACFW since 2000. Carrie writes contemporary and historical romance for Barbour and Love Inspired. Her latest releases are Christmas Mail-Order Brides, Seeking His Love and Surrendered Hearts. Her website

by Carrie Turansky
Published by Flowing Stream Books


What makes a woman truly beautiful? Jennifer Evans wrestles with that question after a gas pipeline explodes and she is burned in a fire at her apartment. Jennifer was born into a loving Christian family, but at fifteen, after the death of her parents in an accident, she closed her heart to God. Sent to live with relatives who resented her, Jennifer searched for approval and acceptance by focusing on perfecting her appearance and excelling in dance, music, and acting. The spiritual truths her parents taught her continually tugged at her heart, but she could not reconcile them with the painful loss of her parents and the fire that altered her appearance and sent her fiancé running. So she heads to Vermont to reconnect with her brother and try to rebuild her shattered life.

Bill Morgan, head naturalist at the Wild Rive Nature Center and her brother's roommate, loves the outdoors and showing others the wonders of God's creation. Noted for his warm sense of humor and easy-going nature, Bill is content with his job, friends, and peaceful life in Vermont. But when he meets Jennifer Evans, she awakens deeper needs for love, companionship, and family. A man of faith and action rather than words, Bill struggles to share his faith with Jenn as he waits for her to open her heart to God's love and healing. Their story will touch your heart and remind you that God can take even the most painful experiences of our life and use them to draw us closer to Him.

Readers, buy your copy of Surrendered Hearts today!


Is It Time for You to Publish an E-book?
By Carrie Turansky

The world of publishing is rapidly changing. E-book sales have jumped dramatically in the last year. It's now possible for an author to load their own books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other E-book distribution companies at no cost. Authors who have the rights back to their out-of-print titles can publish them as E-books and reach new readers. And some authors are also publishing new titles.

Many people have asked me: "Why did you decide to self-publish Surrendered Hearts as an E-book when you are a published author who has many books already out with traditional publishers?"

I wrote Surrendered Hearts a few years ago as a sequel to my first novel, Along Came Love. I submitted it to two publishers, but it did not find a publishing home. Because it is around 60,000 words, it was not long enough to be considered by most CBA publishers who like novels to be 80,000 – 100,000 words. But I LOVE this story, and I wanted to make it available to my readers.

So I hired a freelance editor to work with me, and I hired an artist to design a beautiful cover. My husband is skilled with formatting, so he assisted me with that. Those were my only expenses. The low cost of creating the book allows me to offer it for $2.99 and I actually receive more per book than if it was sold through a traditional publisher. Amazon, B & N pay authors 70% of the cover price. That’s a huge difference compared to 15% - 25% of the net price that I would receive from a traditional publisher for an E-book.

Having the freedom to publish a book I believe will not only entertain but has a great message is a wonderful feeling. That’s one reason I’ve worked hard to become a published author, and I’m grateful for this new door of opportunity.

Read above for a bit about Surrendered Hearts.

If you enjoy heartwarming inspirational romance, then I think you’ll like book. If you don't own an E-Reader, you can download a free program from Amazon so you can read it or any other E-book on your computer. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and my web site.

Blessings and happy reading!

* * * * *

Thank you, Carrie, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Do you have an E-reader? If so, which one? And what do you love most about it?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win one of TWO FREE downloads of the e-book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Welcome Lisa Wingate and Dandelion Summer

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide.


LISA WINGATE is a magazine columnist, inspirational speaker, and the author of fourteen mainstream fiction novels, including the national bestseller, Tending Roses, currently in its thirteenth reprint. Her books have been featured selections for Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs, selected for The Reader's Club of America, have garnered LORIES Best Fiction and Reader's Choice Awards, and been nominated for the ACFW Book of the Year Award. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Her most recent books include Dandelion Summer (Penguin) and Larkspur Cove (Bethany House).

by Lisa Wingate
Published by NAL Penguin Putnam


The latest in the inspirational and heartwarming Blue Sky Hill series from Lisa Wingate.

All her life, Epiphany Salerno has been tossed like a dandelion seed on the wind. Now, at sixteen, she must move to the low-rent side of Blue Sky Hill and work where she's not wanted: in an upscale home on The Hill.

J. Norman Alvord's daughter has hired a teenager to stay with him in the afternoons. Widowed and suffering from heart trouble, Norman wants to be left alone. But in Epie's presence, Norman discovers a mystery- memories of another life and a woman who saved him. As he and Epie take an unexpected road trip through sleepy Southern towns, they form a life-changing friendship-and uncover long-held family secrets.

Readers, buy your copy of Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill Series) today!


What I Wish I Would Have Known...

As I'm celebrating my 'sweet sixteenth' novel launch for Dandelion Summer, I'm a little nostalgic and thinking back on the rocky path I've traveled as a fiction writer. I could have saved copious amounts of nail biting and agonizing if I'd known some things when I started out. Don't we all say that after life whips us around in the storm? Usually I put my life lessons in story, but today I'm just saying it straight out.

Write because you love it. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. If you really want to work toward publication, set a manageable daily page quota, or daily writing hours, and hold yourself to it. One of the hardest things about writing is holding yourself accountable for finishing a project.

Finish your novel. It’s almost impossible to sell a partial if you’re unpublished. Polish it and send it out, because as much as we’d like them to, editors won’t come looking in your desk drawer. While you’re waiting for news, write another book. If the first one sells, you’ll be set for a two-book deal. If the first one doesn’t sell, you will have eggs in another basket. Be tenacious, be a thick-skinned as possible, keep writing while you wait for news.

Rejection will happen. It isn’t anything personal; it’s just part of the business, and it’s to be expected. Your project isn’t bad just because it gets rejected. It may not be that editor’s (or agent’s) cup of tea, the house might not be buying right then, they may have another author under contract whose work is similar to yours, and so on. There are so many reasons a book can be rejected, and the real trick is to look at the rejections as a tool and then move on. Don’t make sweeping changes based on one opinion, unless there’s a imminent sale involved. Conversely, if you hear the same criticism from several editors (or agents), consider pulling out the red pen and getting to work

Writing as a career is an odd paradox, in that it is a solitary profession in which you spend your time trying to communicate thought, feeling, emotion, or experience to other people. What you find, after talking to enough people (real and imaginary), is that the human condition changes very little from life to life, from generation to generation. We all want happiness, contentment, a sense of belonging, to love and be loved. We all feel the spiritual pull to understand why we’re here, in this place, at this time. We’re all seeking life’s purpose. On any given road, you’re never the only traveler. God puts people ahead, and people behind. They walk in shoes like your own, and shoes that are different. We’re not meant to just pass each other blindly, but to learn and to teach along the way.

While you’re walking the road, be aware, be in the moment, don’t close your eyes even for an instant. You never know when you’re going to turn a corner and find, right in the middle of an ordinary day, the idea for a story. Several years ago, I received a nice letter from a reader, Ed Stevens, and that letter led to my newest novel, Dandelion Summer. Ed's history with NASA and the Camelot area of the American space program inspired the history of Norman in Dandelion Summer an aging widower who just wants to be left alone, but finds himself saddled in the afternoons with a smart-mouthed teenage girl. The memories that Norman shares with his young friend were shared with my by my special reader-friend, Ed.

Wherever you go in life, there are always nuggets of story along the trail. Sometimes you see them coming; sometimes you stumble over them. One of the tricks in writing is pausing long enough to pick them up and examine them. A writer's mind can take it from there, and a nugget can become an entire goldmine. That's where the joy is, that's when the magic happens, and there is no magic like the magic of story!

* * * * *

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What is one thing you "wish you had known" at the time you were embarking on a new adventure in your life?

Please answer it and interact with our guest author for this week. Thank you!

2011 ACFW Carol Award Finalists Announced!

It is with great pleasure I give you the 2011 Carol Award finalists. Congratulations to you all.

Debut Novel:
The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House - Dave Long/Sharon Asmus, Editors)
Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes (Tyndale Publishers - Kathryn Olson, Editor)
Rooms by James L. Rubart (B&H Publishing - Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)

Long Contemporary:
The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell - Andrea Doering, Editor)
Red Ink by Kathi Macias (New Hope Publishers - Randy Bishop, Editor)
Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House - Dave Long, Editor)

Long Contemporary Romance:
Plain Jayne by Hilary Manton Lodge (Harvest House - Kim Moore, Editor)
Anna’s Return by Marta Perry (Berkley - Ellen Edwards, Editor)
Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson - Natalie Hanemann, Editor)

Long Historical:
Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs (Waterbrook Press - Laura Barker, Editor)
Petra: City in Stone by T.L. Higley (B&H Publishing - Karen Ball, Editor)
Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren (Summerside Press – Susan Downs, Editor)

Long Historical Romance:
The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy (Barbour - Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Love Finds You In Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson (Summerside - Rachel Meisel/Connie Troyer, Editors)
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz (Revell - Andrea Doering, Editor)

Mirrored Image by Alice K. Arenz (Sheaf House - Joan M. Shoup, Editor)
Muslin Mystery by Vera Dodge (Guideposts - Beth Adams, Editor)
The Camera Never Lies by Elizabeth Goddard (Barbour – Rebecca Germany, Editor)

Novellas (Contemporary and Historical were combined into one category):
The Prodigal Groom by Vickie McDonough (Barbour – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Ride With Me Into Christmas by Rachael Phillips (Barbour – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
A Trusting Heart by Carrie Turansky (Barbour – Rebecca Germany, Editor)

Romantic Suspense:
The Silent Order by Melanie Dobson (Summerside Press - Rachel Meisel/Susan Downs, Editors)
Don’t Look Back by Lynette Eason (Revell - Andrea Doering, Editor)
Pursuit of Justice by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale Publishers - Karen Watson, Editor)

Short Contemporary:
The Wedding Garden by Linda Goodnight (Love Inspired - Allison Lyons)
A Father for Zach by Irene Hannon (Love Inspired - Melissa Endlich, Editor)
Winter’s End by Ruth Logan Herne (Love Inspired - Melissa Endlich, Editor)

Short Contemporary Suspense:
Night Prey by Sharon Dunn (Love Inspired Suspense - Emily Rodmell, Editor)
Legacy of Lies by Jill Elizabeth Nelson (Love Inspired Suspense - Emily Rodmell, Editor)
Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley (Love Inspired Suspense - Tina James, Editor)

Short Historical:
Her Healing Ways by Lyn Cote (Love Inspired Historical - Tina James, Editor)
Promise of Tomorrow by S. Dionne Moore (Barbour - JoAnne Simmons, Editor)
The Columns of Cottonwood by Sandra Robbins (Barbour - JoAnne Simmons, Editor)

Speculative Fiction:
The Wolf of Tebron by C. S. Lakin (AMG Publishers - Rick Steele, Editor)
Rooms by James L. Rubart (B&H Publishing - Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)
König’s Fire by Marc Schooley (Marcher Lord Press – Jeff Gerke, Editor)

Predator by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan - Sue Brower/Dave Lambert, Editors)
Fear No Evil by Robin Caroll (B&H Publishing – Karen Ball, Editor)
Medical Error by Richard L. Mabry (Abingdon Press – Barbara Scott, Editor)

Women’s Fiction:
Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett (Tyndale Publishers - Jan Stob/Lorie Popp, Editors)
They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon – Barbara Scott, Editor)
Beyond Summer by Lisa Wingate (NAL - Ellen Edwards, Editor)

Young Adult:
Anything But Normal by Melody Carlson (Revell - Lonnie Hull Dupont, Editor)
Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson (Zonderkidz - Jacque Alberta, Editor)
Katy’s New World by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Zonderkidz - Jacque Alberta, Editor) 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Mishaps with Mom

Ok, here we are at week 2 with this new series. I received a lot of comments on Facebook (since this blog feeds into both Twitter and Facebook) on last week's story. This week's is sure to bring a smile to those of you pet-lovers. :)

You can always look at the labels at the bottom of the right column to find "monday mishaps with mom" and read up on any week you've missed.
My goal with these weekly posts is to encourage mothers who might be feeling a bit frazzled, and to inspire giggles or laughs to help brighten your day as you start off your week.

This week, the mishap involves are rather resilient Betta fish. We picked him out last year at my SIL's wedding reception. They were part of the table centerpieces. Everyone else who took one home no longer has theirs, but ours has survived despite many mishaps, dirty tanks, forgotten feedings, and at times, cold water.

This time, though, I was making important phone calls and heard my daughter playing in the water in the bathroom. She usually just likes washing her hands.

But not today!

When I got off the phone, my daughter walks up to my desk with her hands held out in front of her....covered in hand soap. If only that was the least of my worries.

I followed her to the bathroom where I discovered--much to my dismay--she had not only washed her hands, but she'd decided to feed the fish while she was at it.

This included dumping the entire contents of the fish food container into the fish bowl. The treats of blood worms were all over the counter and in the sink.

And the poor fish was swimming around in his tank, underneath the food. I don't think there was any clear surface above him. Needless to say, my daughter got time-out for making such a mess, and I had to do an immediate tank cleaning and bathroom wipe-down.

What a shame our doorknob locks don't work on that door. And if weren't for the fact she needs access to that room to go potty, I'd lock it off from her. Guess I just have to lock the cabinet instead.

How about you? What amusing pet stories do you have involving your kids?

Tune in next week for the next "Monday Mishap with Mom." See you then!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Welcome Lillian Duncan and Failure

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. IF there is a book giveaway, your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


Stories of faith, hope, and love mingled with murder and mayhem.

LILLIAN DUNCAN lives in a small town in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a Master's degree from Kent State in Deaf Education.

Lillian believes books can be entertaining without being trashy. She writes the types of books she loves to read, suspense with a touch of romance. Along with writing novels, she writes devotions for

by Lillian Duncan
Published by White Rose Publishing


Reggie Meyers has spent her life pursing the American Dream, but now she’s the one being pursued— by an unknown killer. Putting her trust in Dylan Monroe, a man she barely knows, will either be the best decision she ever made or the last.

Reggie’s a big city lawyer and Dylan’s a country farmer. In the normal course of events, their lives would never intersect but some accidents just aren't meant to be avoided. When Reggie crashes into Dylan, it makes a bad day even worse or so she thinks. Dylan, on the other hand, is intrigued by the feisty lady lawyer and wrangles a way to spend a bit more time with her by offering to drive her home after the accident. And so the journey that will change both their lives begins…

Readers, buy your copy of Pursued today!



Yikes! I received an email reminder today from Tiff about this blog which is due tomorrow. Uh...the blog I hadn’t written yet. So what’s a writer to do?

Sit down and write, of course.

When I started writing sixteen years ago, it was because I loved books and I loved to read. Somewhere along the way, the reason changed. Now, I do it for the love of writing. It’s an amazing thing to see an idea go from one sentence to one paragraph to a seventy or eighty thousand word story.

Today, I thought I’d talk about FAILURE. That’s right, failure. If you’re going to become serious about writing, then you must accept the reality of failure. It can come in many different forms and they all hurt.

One type is failure to thrive. Not every idea is a good idea. I have tons of stories that I may have written partially but somewhere along the way, the story just wasn’t thriving. The original idea wasn’t strong enough to bring the story to completion. So what to do? Accept it and move on!

Another type is the failure of others to recognize how wonderful your story is. You’ve written it, edited it, revised it again and again, and polished it some more. But each proposal comes back with a big red NO written on it. What to do? This one’s a little more tricky. There are several options. Go back and rework the story if you want and send it out—again! Or it might be time to put it away and start a new story.

A writer may live in the land of rejections for many years. Rejections are a fact of live when you are a writer. When this happens, you can quit or Accept it and move on!

Now, your baby’s been published. You have it in your hot little hands. It’s so beautiful one else seems to care quite as much as you do. Friends and family are excited but not excited enough to buy a copy, though they’d love to have you give them one.

This one can be particularly painful for us sensitive, artistic types. It’s hard to imagine that others just don’t get it. But it’s a fact. What to do? Accept it and move on!

Now, comes the dreaded review. You know the one. The one that tells you that your writing is so bad, you shouldn’t even write a grocery list again. I can’t say I’ve had this experience yet and I hope I never do. But what am I going to do if it happens? Accept it and move on, of course!

The life of a writer can be painful. Most writers’ journeys are filled with self-doubt, criticisms from others, and rejections from agents and editors.

Ah, but the joy of finishing a story (whether it gets published or not) can’t be beat. The thrill of looking at a paragraph you created as you wonder where those words came from and how you managed to put them in the perfect order. Then, there are the more tangible successes, getting an agent, your first contract, your first book, and your first royalty check!

So, my advice to new and/or unpublished writers is to toughen up. There’s plenty of failures in your future but there are also plenty of successes out there waiting for you as well.

As long as you accept the failures as part of the process and keep on writing.

* * * * *

Thank you, Lillian, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: In or of what is your greatest fear of failure?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE digital copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Welcome Cheryl St. John with TWO giveaways

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for one of two free books being offered by Cheryl this week.


CHERYL ST. JOHN's first book was published in 1993 and she has written nearly forty historical and contemporary romances since then. In addition to receiving high acclaim from readers, her office walls hold framed covers and awards she's proud to display. She has received four RITA nominations.

Cheryl admits to being an avid collector who loves everything from teapots, cups and saucers and pitchers to depression glass, kitchenware and dolls. She especially enjoys browsing flea markets for antiques and collectibles, and claims her car automatically pulls over for a garage sale.

by Cheryl St. John
Published by Steeple Hill/Love Inspired


Bounty hunting was just a job for Gabe Taggart—one he needed to fund his sister's education. But now Irene has finished school, and Gabe is ready to settle down, find a husband for Irene and—best of all—set aside his past. His adventuring days are over…until his intervention in a train robbery leaves him injured, under Elizabeth Hart's care. Despite his plans for a quiet life, antagonizing his feisty caretaker is the most fun Gabe's ever had. Elizabeth provokes him, too, with her strong mind, kind heart and high principles. Gabe hopes to win her love, but will his dark history bar him from marriage to the preacher's daughter?

by Cheryl St. John
Published by Harlequin


Courtesan Ella Reed escapes dangerous city life to rural Wyoming and says "I do" to a marriage of convenience! But she may not live the life of a respectable woman for long if she can't keep her past—and her heart—under lock and key. For a self-made man with political aspirations, love is trivial in a paper marriage. Nathan Lantry needs a wife to secure his election and manage his rowdy little boys. Yet he can't stop wanting more from his irresistible new bride. Then her secrets start to unravel….

Readers, buy your copy of Marrying the Preacher's Daughter (Love Inspired Historical) and Her Wyoming Man (Harlequin Historical) today!


Cheryl has chosen to provide an interview as her guest blog today. Enjoy! And read to the bottom to see this week's reader question.

How much time do you spend writing and/or just pondering about your current book's plot?

When I'm on deadline I put in a full day's work, anywhere from six to eight hours a day at the keyboard. I have to plan to ponder, because out of sight is usually out of mind for me. I sit down with character grids and a notebook when I'm plotting. I always make a list of 25 things that could happen in the story, and I brainstorm the characters and story. After that, while I'm actually writing the book, I think about it during breaks to do laundry, make coffee, etc., but once the work day is over, I have so many other things to do, I don't normally just ponder my book. My creative time comes with my fingers on the keyboard.

I recently worked 15-hour days for a couple of weeks to get a manuscript finished.

Why did you become a writer? Why a romance writer instead of writing in another genre?

Writing was always exciting for me. The thrill of creating those first stories is a good memory. The job suits me perfectly. I set my own hours; I'm my own boss, and I don't have to get out of my jammies or put on makeup if I don't want to. Romance is what I love to read, and one of the first things we hear in writing classes is "write what you love" or "write what you know" -- well I don't know all that much, but I know what I love.

Where do you find inspiration for the romance and situation your characters experience?

Often in real life situations. I see a news story that affects me in a big way, and I want to embellish it or tweak it and tell it a different way, or figure out how this situation would affect the people for the rest of their lives. Often a really good book inspires me to write, and sometimes a movie inspires ideas. Romance is inspired by my belief that there's hope for all people and all situations.

A prolific writer doesn’t wait for inspiration, however. He just sits down and writes.

Why should we read romantic fiction?

Don't knock it until you've tried it. The most touching reader letters come from those who tell me that my stories gave them hope. Everyone wants a happy ending. There isn't anyone who doesn't want to connect with another person in a really special way. Romances kindle our sense of hope.

How much of your personal life is in your books?

Probably not nearly as much as people tend to think. It's fiction, after all. If my life was as exciting as my books, I'd be writing an autobiography! So okay, I like to surprise friends and family by slipping in a name or an inside joke and seeing how many recognize it and say something. Of course I have a wealth of unending kid traits and things they say, what with ten grandchildren. (Don't tell anyone, okay? Someone might get the idea that I'm past 30.) They're all so bright and funny, and I love to use them as prototypes for the children in my books. I'm often told how realistic my young characters are, and now you know why. I make sure they act and talk like real kids.

I think the writers who "become" their characters are the ones who touch readers’ hearts. I tend to place myself in the story person's skin, be absorbed by their situation and assume their backstory in order to determine how they're reacting, feeling, and what they will do next.

It's a writing technique to recall a joyous occasion or a black moment or high point in our own lives and put those feelings down on paper, even though the circumstance are completely different. Usually. :-)

What's your favorite indulgence? Your favorite quote?

I have many indulgences, now that you make me think. Chocolate. Hot tea. Thrift store browsing and shopping flea markets. Watching a favorite movie for the hundredth time is an indulgence. My daughter and I love to watch Hoarders and then clean and get rid of things. Netflix.

Favorite quote? "I do not sit down to work because I am inspired. I become inspired because I sit down to work." - Oscar Hammerstein

Cheryl would love to know your favorite indulgence. Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for one of her two new books. Two readers will be selected.

* * * * *

Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What is your favorite indulgence?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of one of the books above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

If you have a preference for one book or the other, please state that, and your name will only be included in the drawing for that book.

This week, the contest is open to U.S. residents only.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Monday Mishaps with Mom

Before I begin, I want to wish a happy 4th of July and Independence Day to everyone in the United States who might be reading this today. Here in Colorado, we're under extreme fire danger due to the lack of rain, so that means no grilling, and only controlled fireworks displays. Shucks!

Anyway, starting today, every Monday on this blog will be a short little vignette about the life of an author and writer with 2 little ones underfoot. Let me say this, it makes for rather interesting experiences...even without throwing my career from home into the mix. Those of you who have been through or are currently going through this phase in your life know exactly what I mean. :) But writing with young children brings its own set of adventures and mishaps.

My goal with these weekly posts is to encourage mothers who might be feeling a bit frazzled, and to inspire giggles or laughs to help brighten your day as you start off your week.

So, let's see. Which mishap should I highlight to start? Oh, I've got it!

I have revisions due on my latest manuscript for a book due out in the Fall this year. So, I'm working on those every spare chance I get. My infant son was down for his morning nap, and my toddler daughter was happily watching a Wiggles DVD.

Or so I thought.

It was rather quiet, so I decided to take a break and check on her....only to find out she wasn't in the room! With my ears, I heard her in the baby monitor and realized she'd gone downstairs to the baby's room (our bedrooms are on the lower level of our house).

Frantic, I rushed down the stairs, trying not to make too much noise and risk startling either child. Lo and behold, a sight that can only be described as comical greeted my eyes.

My daughter had climbed up onto the changing table and made her way into her brother's crib. She had pulled down several stuffed animals from the foundation ledge running along the one wall of the bedroom, and she'd managed to completely bury her brother in animals, surrounding herself with them in the process.

And my son? He was blissfully asleep and unaware of anything amiss.

Praise God for a sound sleeper!

As for my daughter? I immediately lifted her from the crib, returned the stuffed animals to their place on the ledge, and left the room, nudging my daughter out ahead of me. All the while, I managed to keep my cool and not yell. Thank God for that. :)

So, what sleeping baby story do you have to share? It can be from your own experience with your children or a story of another child. I'd love to hear some.

Tune in next week for the next "Monday Mishap with Mom." See you then!

Friday, July 01, 2011

July New Releases in Christian Fiction

Below is the list of July new releases from ACFW members as reported to ACFW's Fiction Finder site. Congrats to all the authors who have books coming out this month!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW FictionFinder website.

Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate -- General Fiction from Penguin Praise. J. Norman, recently widowed, aging and a retired space program engineer, eventually warms up to part-time caretaker Epie, an at-risk teen, as they search for his long forgotten roots when old, buried memories of a different home, a fire, red-headed children, and a black housekeeper surface.

Dangerous Reunion by Sandra Robbins -- Thriller/Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense. A woman deputy sheriff on a small barrier island off the coast of North Carolina struggles to stop a crazed killer's vendetta while battling her renewed attraction to the man who broke her heart years ago.

Love Finds You in Lancaster County by Annalisa Daughety -- Romance from Summerside Press. When Amish-born Lydia Ann Raber and Southern belle Caroline DeMarco discover a shared history of loss, the unlikely duo decides to open a gift shop in beautiful Lancaster County. There each woman finds friendship, a fresh start, and a second chance at love.

Odd Little Miracles by Fred Warren -- Fantasy from Splashdown Books. Follow the twists and turns of twenty-two bizarre tales, where odd is commonplace, little things make all the difference, and miracles are everywhere, if you know where to look...

Pursued by Lillian Duncan -- Thriller/Suspense from White Rose. Reggie Meyers has spent her life pursing the American Dream, but now she’s the one being pursued— by an unknown killer. Putting her trust in Dylan Monroe, a man she barely knows, will either be the best decision she ever made or the last.

Reinventing Leona by Lynne Gentry -- General Fiction from Tyndale. Residing in a parsonage is not for sissies, but living anywhere else scares the pastor’s widow spitless.

The Blessed by Ann Gabhart -- General Fiction from Revell. After being pushed into marriage to her preacher husband, Lacey Bishop follows her husband to a Shaker village. A community that believes marriage is a sin. And to make matters worse, she finds herself drawn to Isaac Kingston, a man who came to the Shakers after his young bride died. But of course any notion of love between them is only a forbidden dream. How will Lacey ever find true happiness?

The Nanny’s Homecoming by Linda Goodnight -- Romance from Love Inspired. After her fiancé calls off their wedding, Brooke Clayton has nowhere to go but home.

Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig -- Thriller/Suspense from Barbour. Former Green Beret Captain Canyon Metcalfe is unnerved when Nightshade is sent to a South American jungle that holds an eerie similarity to a dark tragedy from his past.