With over 500,000 books published in 2010 alone, how do you and your books stand out from the crowded arena of other published authors?  It’s enough to make your head spin and then maybe even run away and hide due to the overwhelming task of succeeding.  Success goes to the person who persevered and never gave up.  Success goes to the person who tried just one more time and said the dream was worth it. 


With the advent of the internet and now the eBook, publishing and marketing books has been taken to a whole new level.  The playing field is now equal and there is so much free publicity at your fingertips, you just need to know where to get started. 

One of the main things you need to do is stand out from the crowd.  You need an online hub or place where people can readily find you and your books.  This would be your website or blog.  I have a website and my blog is one of the pages on my site.  Your blog can be separate from your website, but you need to link both places together. 

Blogging is important and may seem tedious and like a thankless task with no rewards, but again—if you keep working at it, you will get blog followers and it is a way to keep drawing people to your website.  That is what you want.  If you only have a website that is static and never changes, why should people continue to flock to your site?  It’s all about online content.  People want to read new and fresh ideas and content online and if your blog offers that, you will keep your current followers and draw new readers. 

Join a blog alliance.  It will be another way to draw people to your site.  I am a current member of the Clash of the Titles Blog Alliance and Book Blogs (their buttons are on the sidebar of this blog).  

So what on earth do you blog about every day?  If you get all caught up in that and thinking no one will even read what I have to say, then no one will.  You need to believe in your blog before anyone else will.  When I started my blog back in August 2010, I wrote short posts about my day or the status of my writing projects, but it didn’t even seem interesting to me and I knew it wasn’t interesting to anyone else.  I’m a new author; who cares anyway?  That’s why I needed to make the blog interesting. 

On Mondays, I post author interviews on my blog.  Tuesdays are days that I post info for blog alliances.  Wednesdays are open for author inspirational writing journey spots or book features / reviews.  That leaves Thursdays and Fridays for me to post blogs.  Of course, not every Wednesday or Tuesday always fill up so I may have to think of something to write those days too, but my Monday schedule has taken off and I’m booked until August. 

Social networking is very important.  Start your own personal facebook page and then a fan page.  Open a twitter account.  I have my blog linked to post to twitter and also my facebook personal and fan page through Networked blogs and it posts to my book blogs page; this is a great way to get multiple avenues of exposure from one posting.

Try to do as many online author interviews or guest blogs that you can do and post links on your social networking pages.  Have reviews done on your books.  Look into doing radio interviews.  Think about doing book giveaways of your books on your own blog or when you are a guest on another person’s blog. 

Another big part of succeeding in the publishing world is to market your name, not your book.  Yes you need to market each book you write, but your name recognition is what will pave the way to continued sales.  If a reader likes one of your books, he or she will look into your backlist to see what else you’ve written.  You also need to continue writing books.  Don’t stop.  After you publish one book, go back to the drawing board and get started on a new book.    

There are so many avenues for success, you just need to keep your eyes open and be willing to think outside the box.  What works for one author may not work for you.  Be open to that fact and to find what does work for you.  Be open to change and trying new ideas.  Not everything you try will always work, but never give up.  If you give up, you won’t ever find what could have happened if you stayed with it and kept persevering. 

For anyone who comments today and tomorrow on my blog posts, you will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my eBook, Mr. Shipley’s Governess.  Thank you for stopping by!    

Please welcome author, Jan Scarbrough to my blog today.  She is here to share her inspirational writing journey.  Please feel free to visit for a while.  She'd love to hear from you.

I developed a love of writing in 9th grade because of a very good teacher.  When I went to college, I majored in English and history.  My high school teaching career didn’t last long, because I wanted to use my writing abilities.

For over twenty years I’ve been fortunate to do just that—I’m a technical writer by day and a romance writer by night. 

But I didn’t have the courage to write a novel until I almost died in 1988.  After that, I knew I had to not be afraid of failure.  I was published in 1998, and have written consistently in the last few years for small presses. 

I may not be a NY Times Bestseller, but I’ve followed my dream. That’s what counts.

That's so true ~ following your dream is what counts.  Do you have a favorite inspirational quote you'd like to share?

"Courage, real courage, is no quick fix.  It doesn't come in a bottle or a pill, it comes from discipline.  From taking everything life hands you and being your best either because of it or in spite of it."

~Ty Murray
  7 Time All-Around World Champion Cowboy

Can you share with us about your book, A Father at Last...

Kelly Baron’s parenting job is done.  Her daughter married, she can start her new life in North Carolina, single and responsible only for herself—but first, she must visit her mother back home in Indiana.

Rob Scott, newly divorced, has returned to his small town roots. Last thing he’s looking for is a relationship—until he runs into Kelly, and a secret she’s been keeping from him for twenty-one years.

Sounds intriguing.  This book is a sweet romance published by Turquoise Morning Press.  Can you tell us where to find your book online and what's your website address...

Purchases link: http://www.turquoisemorningpress.com/2009/12/father-at-last.html 

Website: http://www.janscarbrough.com

Jan, it was so nice for you to stop by today.  I'm looking forward to posting your interview here on August 1, 2011.  

How is the conflict meter in your writing?  Do you have too much conflict or not enough?  How do you find the balance of just the right amount to create believable tension in your story?  I was not always the best writer when it came to inserting conflict into my manuscripts.  My initial stories often fell flat because although I had a good story line, I did not have the right mixture of plot plus conflict.  
The good thing about bringing conflict to your story is that there is no specific right or wrong way to actually get it into your story, you just need to figure out how much is the perfect amount for your story.  

There are hundreds of thousands of books published every year by a variety of authors and the thing that is so unique about the situation is that every author is distinctive.  Don’t copy someone else or try to model your writing after another author.  Of course you want to model your work after correct grammar and good writing skills, but to bring a believable and enjoyable story to the reader; you need to find your own inner voice

Writing a story without conflict is pointless.  The reader wants to be pulled into the story to fully embrace the protagonist’s conflict and feel his/her pain as the conflict unfolds and the character pulls through it to the end—as a new person, changed and renewed in some way. 

When we think of conflict what comes to mind?  Usually we think about a fight or a war; or a sharp disagreement or emotional disturbance.  We need to bring this conflict into our story but make sure the right type of conflict fits the genre of story we are writing about. 

For example, if you are writing a romance, you’re not going to have a conflict that involves fighting and war.  Your conflict will be emotional and between the two main characters.  There will be a push and pull of this conflict throughout this story and it needs to be resolved at the end, not before. 

If your genre is mystery, the conflict is the mysterious aspect of the story.  There was a crime or murder and it needs to be solved by the end of the story.  There different types of mystery novels like cozies, detective, police procedural, thriller, amateur detective etc.  You need to figure out which specific genre you want to focus on and then go to town with creating and solving that conflict. 

Of course, an emotional conflict can still exist in mystery novels but it is not necessarily the main conflict as it would be in a romance or a drama. 

As a writer, do you find it difficult to create tension in your novels with the perfect conflict?  How do you come up with the conflicts you weave into your stories?  As a reader, what is one of the best books you’ve read that had a very well-written conflict and really drew you into the story? 

For anyone who comments today and tomorrow  and Friday on my blog posts, you will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my eBook, Mr. Shipley’s Governess.  Thank you for stopping by!  

Good morning.  Hope everyone is having an awesome day!  I'd like to welcome author, Shellie Neumeier to my blog today for an interview.  
Shellie Neumeier holds a degree in Secondary Education 
from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a minor in 
Psychology, Sociology and Social Studies. A devoted 
mother of four, Shellie previously worked on staff with 
Northbrook Church as the King’s Kids ministry assistant 
(serving children in grades 2nd through 5th), developing 
and writing curriculum, involving families and volunteers in 
King’s Kids programs and encouraging the spiritual growth 
in school-aged children. 

Shellie’s YA novel, Driven, is now available in electronic form and is scheduled for print release March 1, 2011 from Risen Fiction. She is an active member of SCBWI and ACFW as well as a contributing author at various blogs including Samiesisters.comthebarndoor.net, and ya_noveling.com.

Website: http://shellieneumeier.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000790438847&sk=wall#!/profile.php?id=100001729933656
Twitter: shellie_c

Can you share some more about your book, Driven...

Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…

Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting 
cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.

Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, 

because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop 
her—no matter the cost.

Driven can be purchased through the following links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004EHZU28?ie=UTF8&tag=shellneume-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004EHZU28">Driven</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=shellneume-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B004EHZU28

Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Driven/Shellie-Neumeier/e/9780984093151/?itm=1&USRI=shellie+neumeier

Risen Fiction (publisher): http://www.risenfiction.com/store

Sounds like an awesome book.  Thank you for sharing.

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I usually get into some type of trouble when I have too much time on my hands and power tools in reach, so when my job wound down my husband suggested I write the stories I tell. He thought it would be safer than the power tools. I’m not so sure though, you should see what I do to my characters.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

My characters are like Frankenstein’s monster. They’re a miss-mash of personalities, ticks, and quirks I’ve noticed throughout my life, never stemming from a single person, but from the best of many.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? 

Does virtual research count? If so, there’s a scene where Robyn, the heroine, goes ice sailing. I’ve never been, but I’ve watched, so google had to help me with the mechanics of their boat and how they’d sail it. I think it would be a lot of fun to ice sail especially at night, but I’m not sure my medical insurance is ready for that, yet.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

Yes. My youngest two children contributed to a mid-grade novel last year that is in the querying phase and I’m contributing two novellas toward a four-in-one collection which is still being cleaned up. And of course I’m tinkering with a Driven sequel.

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

My writing schedule depends on the season of the year. In winter, I’m employed as a tax agent (this is where I muster some of my most creative thinking), so I write later in the evenings and for short bits of time although I’m hoping to work a thousand words a day, this time around. In the spring and fall, my children are still in school and I have nothing but my dogs to distract me, so I can write for hours. In the summer, all bets are off. Some days I get a couple hours in, others are bone dry. I try to save my summers for editing or short stories rather than an all-consuming novel.

How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

My friends and family have been wonderful. My husband takes the children out if I need a bit of intensive writing time, my parents are some of my most avid critiquers, and I force let my children read everything I’ve written.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?      

My writing struggles with saggy middles and a fierce adjective addiction. Fortunately, I have some great crit partners who prod me through those bland middles (my husband once said, “throw the fire alarm, that ought to get things moving,” so I did and it worked—go figure) and I’m slowly learning how to carve off the extra descriptors before an editor sees the page.  

Shellie, thank you so much for stopping by.  I enjoyed our chat and learning more about you and your work.  

I'm pleased to welcome author Jo Ramsey to my blog today for a guest blog on dealing with writer's block.    
When Writer’s Block Attacks

A week or so ago, I did a guest author appearance at my town’s middle school. I spent the entire day in the school library, doing presentations to the classes who have library this quarter, and one question that I was asked by nearly every group was, “Do you ever get writer’s block?”

Short answer: Yes. Frequently.

I don’t think there’s a writer alive who doesn’t deal with writer’s block at one time or another. If such a writer exists, I’d really love to meet him or her and find out the secret to not getting blocked! No matter what one is writing, there are always going to be times when the story isn’t going quite the way you want it to, or when you aren’t sure what way you want the story to go. Eventually the block gives way and the writing starts to flow again, but sometimes that can take a while.

So what does a writer do when writer’s block attacks? Personally, I’m usually working on more than one project at a time. I write romance (under a super top-secret pen name) as well as young adult, so I kind of have to have more than one project going or I wouldn’t be able to get everything written that I need to. Sometimes that pace is a little hectic, but it does give me a way to deal with writer’s block. If I get stuck on one story, I just work on another one for a while. Sometimes all I need to get past the block is to stop trying to figure out where the problem is.

That would be my advice to any writer. If you’re blocked, put the story aside for a little while. Work on something else, or go for a walk, or watch a brain-candy TV show. When you try too hard to push through the block, sometimes it backfires and you end up more stuck than you were before. Or you end up with a bunch of words that you have to delete because you only wrote them to get past the block and they don’t really work for the story.

If you step back from the story and focus your mind on other things, part of your brain will probably keep working on that story. At least, that’s what happens with me. As soon as I stop consciously thinking about the block and how I can work through it, part of my mind keeps processing and all of a sudden, the perfect solution pops into my head. I don’t know if everyone’s brain works that way, but if you’re fighting writer’s block, it might be worth a try.

And you might end up with something better than what you expected.

Thank you for sharing.  Great advice!

Please share what your book, Cutting Cords is about.  

When Shanna’s father moves out, leaving Shanna alone with her mother, her home life goes from bad to worse. At least she has Jonah to remind her that she deserves a good life, even if she doesn’t always believe him.

Stressed about her parents’ separation and worried about what it will mean for her, Shanna is glad for the distraction of her friend Tammi’s request for information about guides. 

Although Shanna is still learning, she knows how to answer Tammi’s questions. The problem is, the entity Tammi is asking about isn’t really a guide. It’s a dead spirit who wants to take over Tammi’s life. And Shanna discovers that another entity, one with the power to destroy our universe, wants to use Tammi as well.

Guided by Jonah and Tethys, and helped by another being of light, Shanna must send the dead spirit to the afterlife before it’s too late—for Tammi and for the entire Universe.

Sounds like a great book.  Can you share an excerpt?

Loud voices yanked me out of a dream. My parents’ voices. Angry, as usual, and growing louder by the second. I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep until they finished.

My heart pounded as the argument continued. Dad’s voice faded, which meant he’d completely lost his temper. The angrier he became, the more quietly he spoke. Mom’s voice rose as if to make up for Dad’s low tone. I pulled my pillow over my head. Come on, people. I had school the next day. It would have been helpful if my parents had started fighting earlier, before I went to bed.

Or if they’d argued somewhere else. Like Antarctica.

Their voices drilled through the pillow. Loud, angry tones. They’d always argued a lot, and it seemed to be happening more often the past two or three weeks. My dad spent more time out of the house than in it, trying to escape from my mother. Unfortunately for me, his leaving all the time just made things worse. Mostly for me, since when he took off, I became Mom’s object of focus.

My chest tightened at the thought. I’d been seven when my doctor had told my mother I'd developed an anxiety disorder. My mother, of course, had called the doctor an idiot and informed him that a seven-year-old had nothing to be anxious about. I’d never seen that particular doctor again, and the symptoms that had led to the diagnosis continued. Stomach pains and nausea, chest pain and trouble breathing. I’d learned to control them somewhat, especially since my friend Jonah had taught me to meditate and focus. When something really stressful happened—pretty much every day at my house—I still had attacks.

Love it!  Jo, thank you for stopping by today.  

I just want to remind everyone that Jo will be giving away an autographed print ARC of the novel, Cutting Cords, to one randomly drawn commenter, so please feel free to comment on this blog post.  

Pleased to announce the winner of my eBook Mr. Shipley's Governess.  Congratulations Stephy!  Your eBook will arrive shortly.  
Thank you Stephy and everyone else who entered my book giveaway.  I hope you enjoy the book.  More contests and book giveaways to be announced in the future.  Have a great weekend!  

What do readers want anyway?  They want a spell-binding story that really draws them in and they devour each page—at the end they are left wanting to read more about your characters.  Sounds like a tall order but it is possible.  Think of some awesome books you’ve read that have kept your attention and you didn’t want the story to end.
Let’s break down what are some key ingredients to a spell-binding novel.  First of all you need compelling, believable characters.  Your readers need to relate to these characters and if they don’t get to know them, they can’t relate.  How do readers get to know your characters well enough to relate to them?  You need to write well rounded characters.  Dive deep into their point of view as you write their story.  Never head hop in scenes and make sure that you allow your readers to fully embrace who these characters are. 

For example, stay away from passive voice and utilize active voice.  What sounds better to you?

She was running away from him.


Her heart pounded rapidly and the hair on the nape of her neck stood up as she ran from the intruder.

When your characters are going through an emotional struggle, how do you portray that?  You’ve heard the saying, show don’t tell, well it is extremely important to let your readers in on what is going on in your character’s mind.  When writing a scene, you must only write from his or her perspective.  For example, what does your character see, hear, taste, smell or feel.  In one scene, you cannot jump from two different characters’ points of view.  It confuses readers and does not make for a complete picture of who your character really is. 

What sounds better to you?

Someone approached his desk but he focused on the file in his hands.  When he glanced up, he saw her standing in front of him.  


Marc Abrams heard someone wearing heels approach his desk, but he ignored the intrusion and focused on the file in his hands—until he smelled the familiar scent of jasmine and roses.  Not wanting to get his hopes up, he glanced over and there she stood.  She looked like a tall drink of water in the desert, with her slender physique and shiny hair and piercing eyes.

The first section tells what happens but doesn’t let the reader experience what Marc experienced.  When you read the second section, you are right there with Marc as he heard someone approach and then smelled her perfume.  You feel his excitement, hoping it’s her. Then you get to see how much this person affects him. 

Telling a good story is also about writing compelling, believable dialogue.  You need to write how the character would actually speak.  Not everyone speaks in correct English.  Make your dialogue become a work of art. 

(This is an excerpt from my current WIP, Bella Lucia.)

She smiled.  “You know, you always make me feel better.”

            He raised his eyebrows.  “Really, because that’s not the impression I’ve gotten from our last few encounters.  I thought you couldn’t stand me.”

            “You’ve grown on me.”

            That brought uproarious laughter from him and his nervousness eased up a little.  “Oh, like a fungus, easy to get and hard to get rid of—those words hurt, you know.”

            The way she scrunched up her nose, endeared her further to him.  “You remembered that, huh?”

            “It’s not every day that a woman calls me a fungus!”

            “You’re not like a fungus, just a little annoying at first.”

            They settled down on the rock wall in front of the police station.  “Ok, I can deal with that.  I know my partner thinks I’m annoying too, but he has his own issues.”

            “Don’t we all?”  The distracted look came over her face again and he took serious note of it.  Before he could ask what was on her mind, she shared her concerns.  “I think my boss is keeping something from me.”

Remember to also keep your facts straightDo your research.  Readers don’t like to read a book that is full of mistakes.  Don’t repeat the same word a lot in your paragraphs.  Just try to remember all of these rules to make your story come alive and have fun.  Write and write and write and then don’t put editing on the backburner.  Editing is essential to putting your best work out there.  

What is one of the best books you’ve read lately?  Please feel free to comment and you’ll be entered in a contest to win a copy of my eBook, Mr. Shipley’s Governess.  The winner will be announced on my blog this Friday, 3/25/11.

For all the sisters out there, you know how special it is to be a sister.  Of course, not everyone has a good relationship with each other, but when sisters get along, it’s great.  I hung out with my sister last night and it was long overdue.  We both have our own lives and get busy, but it’s so nice when we do get a chance to spend sister time together.  We live within five minutes of each other and attend the same church so I do see my sister, but it’s been awhile since we’ve hung out, just the two of us.  
Since this is a blog for writers and those who love to read I thought I’d segue that into a discussion on famous sister characters in books.  I am a huge Jane Austen fan and love the relationship between the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility.  This is one of my most favorite of Austen’s works, especially because I so well relate to their relationship.  My sister and I mirror those characters pretty well.  I’m more like Elinor and she is more like Marianne. 

In Pride and Prejudice I really relate well to Elizabeth Bennet and to her sister, Jane, more than to her other sisters, Mary, Kitty and Lydia.  The sister dynamic of this book reminds me of the same dynamic in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and how all those sisters relate to each.  I always loved the character of Jo and Meg, more than the other sisters, Beth and Amy.  Back to Austen’s Persuasion, out of the two sister characters, Anne and Elizabeth Elliot, I most related to Anne. 

Do you have a sister(s) that you love and is a best friend?  Can you relate to any of the above-mentioned famous sister characters?  Are there any other sister characters not mentioned above that you relate to? 

Feel free to comment on this subject and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of my eBook, Mr. Shipley’s Governess.  

So, you're stranded on a deserted island, and a genie appears to grant you three wishes.  What would you wish for?  Now I don't actually believe in magic genies; I am a very rational person of course, but forget about rational thought and play along.  
So what would I wish for?  Here are my three choices.  Comment on this blog post today and share your three wishes and you'll be entered for a chance to win a copy of my eBook, Mr. Shipley's Governess.

1.  I would wish for my husband and family to join me on the island.  There's no fun in being stranded all alone, right!!

2.  My second wish would be for a Kindle so I could read the Bible and catch up on all the books in my to be read pile.  

3.  The last thing I would wish for would be a plane to get off of the island after my vacation with my family and after I've had a chance to relax and read on the beach!  

Let's try to bring this little exercise in creative thinking back to reality.  As an author, does it sometimes feel like you are stranded, living on a deserted island and you have no way of getting out into a life of success?  

You may not be an author, but still feel this way as if your life is stranded  and stagnant and going nowhere.  

My first defense when this happens is to look up to what really matters in my life - my relationship with the Lord.  He never promised that life would be all roses, but He'd walk with us in all that we go through.  To me that's great comfort.  Life may not be today what you'd like it to be, but if you're breathing then that means you're alive for another day and that's a good thing, right!  God's not a magic genie, but He is the one I look to when things are good, bad or ugly in my life.  If I was really stranded on a deserted island, I'd be praying for sure.  

So, what would you wish for?  :-)

So glad to welcome author, Kristine Lowder to my blog today for an interview.  

Kristine, please tell us about yourself.  
I’m a native of sunny San Diego, recently transplanted to the soggy Northwest with my five boys.  I’ve been married to the oldest “kid” for nearly 30 years and am way too young to be that old! 

I graduated from Biola University with a degree in Communications shortly after the earth’s crust cooled.  I’ve been a child prodigy for over 50 years and have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.  Can I get back to you on that?  In the meantime, I’ve authored 12 books and all kinds of short stories, essays, and devotionals. 

I enjoy hiking, reading, camping (except for the tent part), swimming (except for the water part), fishing (except for the fish part).  Also Andrea Bocelli tunes and almost anything other than cleaning the oven.

Thank you for sharing.  Where can readers find you online?
Website: http://www.KristineLowder.com
Blog: “Roads Diverged”: http://www.kristinelowder.wordpress.com
Facebook Fan Page: “Kristine’s Klips”: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Kristines-Klips/157046047659927
Twitter: Road Diverged (singular, not plural. That one was already taken.): http://twitter.com/#!/RoadDiverged

We'd love to find out more about your writing.  

I write in both the fiction and non-fiction genres; a personal favorite is humor.  My latest inspirational fiction is Akeldama.  Set in first century Palestine, this historical novel of faith revolves around an unlikely trio of women and an enigmatic young rabbi from Nazareth.  Beautiful Yo-hannah’s tortured past has imprisoned her body and heart. Veronica’s mysterious malady has made her ceremonially unclean. A despised half-breed, Chava’s checkered past is about to catch up with her.

Thrown together from dead-ends, each woman seeks answers to her own desperation. Will Yo-hannah find the peace she craves? Can an unclean woman receive a touch of mercy? Where can a half-breed go to be made whole? And what about old Hadessa, whose shadowy past is as mysterious as the young man who crosses each woman's path? Each woman's life and future hinges on his answer to one question: Who are you?

From Living Stones Fellowship International.  Available from the Living Stones bookstore at: http://www.lsfi.org/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=389

  or from Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/Akeldama-Kristine-Lowder/dp/1885054742/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294103506&sr=1-2

Sounds like a great book! 

So, Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I knew I wanted to be a writer after receiving that first “A” on a story I wrote in Mrs. Margie Flickinger’s Creative Writing class.  I was in the seventh grade.  She encouraged me to keep writing and practicing.  So did my mom and dad.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? 

I spent about three years doing research for Akeldama.  It took awhile to develop a “head” for the era, which I felt was necessary to provide a backdrop upon which the story unfolds that’s true to the setting.  Since my main characters are a trio of women, I had to become a “fly on the wall” within a particular time, place, and culture.  It also meant immersing myself in as much material as I could relate to the time, so my heroines would think and act consistent with the historical context.  While the story is fictional, it’s rooted in the biblical record and rounded out by extra-biblical material. 

Where do you go to do your research? 

That depends on the project or subject.  Believe it or not, my favorite research venue is the library.  (Google doesn’t necessarily cover everything adequately and can never replace a good reference librarian.)

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

I’ve always got something “on the stove.”  Right now I’m working on a literary commentary on the Gospel of Luke called Buy the Book, a children’s fantasy, The Story Slayer, and A Likely Story, a novella about spiritual abuse (real topic, fictional characters and plot).  I’m also wrapping up a non-fiction book titled Forgiveness: What It Is, What It Isn’t, And Why It Matters and working on a memoir, The Mountain and Me, which revolves around Mount Rainier National Park. 

Just the other day I unearthed an unpublished manuscript from a deceased uncle, the guy who introduced my Mom and Dad to each other.  His title is: Life With an Italian Father, Mother, and Uncles.  Fascinating stuff dating back to 1890.  It was buried in my files for years. So I’m also working on getting that ready for publication.

Wow, sounds like you're busy!  That's exciting!

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?

My advice to beginning authors is: revise, revise, revise. I’d also suggest that whether or not your books hits "best seller" status isn't that important. What matters is what you think of your work. Hopefully others like it too, but be true to yourself and your story, first and foremost. Also, eat lots of chocolate following each rejection letter and keep the following quote from Patrick F. McManus in mind:

"Laughter is the best revenge, although being rich and famous and outliving all your enemies are good ones, too."

Love that...especially the part about eating lots of chocolate!

What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why?  Do you have a favorite literary author?

Man!  That’s like asking a mom which kid is her favorite!  But alright, if you insist, here’s the short list:

Contemporary: Frederick Buechner, Virginia Lee Burton,  Isak Dinesen, John Eldredge, Elisabeth Elliot, Richard Paul Evans, Cornelia Funke, Phillip Gulley, Jan Karon, C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, H.A Rey, Charles Swindoll, Corrie ten Boom, and the incomparable O. Henry.

Classic:Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, FyodorDostoyevsky, Alexandre Dumas, George Elliot.

Who is your favorite contemporary author?  Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

Whenever I’m sitting down I feel compelled to be reading something.  Anything.  Even the back of a cereal box.  I usually have three or four books going at the same time.  Sometimes more (so many books, so little time!).  Right now I’m reading a couple Gordon Korman books aloud with our youngest, Schooled and Everest.  I just finished A Christmas Carol (C. Dickens), Peace Like a River (Leif Engler), Going Rogue (Sarah Palin), and I am not SPOCK (Leonard Nimoy).  I’m currently reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein.

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

I write for at least an hour a day, often early in the morning or late in the evening.  This doesn’t necessarily mean I actually sit down alone somewhere for an entire 60 minutes of uninterrupted writing.  (Yeah, right.)  It may mean grabbing ten minutes of writing six times a day or fifteen minutes, four times a day.  It may mean jotting ideas, chapter outlines or dialogue down on a napkin or on the back of an envelope.  If I’m not writing physically, I’m often writing mentally – rolling around potential plots, conflict, dramatic tension and story ideas in my head until I can get throw them onto the computer or dash them down on paper.  I’ve learned to carry a pocket notebook and pen with me everywhere, because you never know when inspiration may strike!  BTW, I rarely “find time” to write.  I have to make timeTip: turn off the TV!

Definitely true about turning off the TV!

Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies? 

How much time do you have?  I will say that it drives me nuts when “its” (possessive) and “it’s” (contraction) are used improperly in print.  Another one is “your” vs. “you’re.”  What’s with that?

Kristine, thank you so much for stopping by today.  Enjoyed chatting and learning more about you and your books.

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