Novel Rocket

Friday, February 05, 2016

Be Warned: Toxic Writing Companions Can Spoil Your Chance of Success

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Toxic writers can affect your own publishing success.
There are very few of us who can write in a vacuum. The actual act of writing is done in seclusion, but we gravitate to others who share our struggles. 

Sharing the journey can make success easier . . .  if we choose the right companions. So my question to you is this, have you chosen your tribe with care?

Be warned: toxic writing companions can spoil your 
chance of success.

None of us want to consider that there are those we should avoid, but there are. This doesn’t mean that we can’t encourage them from afar, or interact with them in certain situations. I’m not suggesting we become elitists, only banding together with those who have something to offer.

But I am suggesting we choose our traveling companions with care. Today I’m going to share some traits that might be a warning to keep your distance.

1. Writers who only talk about writing, but never produce anything of their own. These wanna-be scribes are interested in an exclusive club, not in the painful work it takes to succeed. Beware or their excitement with what might happen may replace your own willingness to put in the work necessary to get there.

Take a no-excuses-allowed attitude.
2. Writers who always have an excuse for not producing anything. These are the first cousins of the group mentioned above. They always have a reason for not having anything to show for their time. Truthfully, we all have legitimate reasons not to write. It all boils down to what we’re willing to give up to follow our dreams.

3. Writers who always gossip about other writers. This type can range from subtle to blatant. Don’t get sucked in by their negativity. If they’re sharing gossip about others, you can bet they’re sharing gossip about you with others.

4. Writers who cannot accept honest critiques. These writers can range from those who get angry to those who want to argue every point. I’m here to tell you that there is very little in this world more painful than hearing something you wrote doesn’t measure up. But it’s that kind of feedback that will push us above average and onto publishing success.

Avoid those who put others down to build themselves up.
5. Writers who put others down to build themselves up. Pointing out the mistakes other writers make is a seductive thing. If we’re not careful, we can set ourselves up as an expert at the expense of others. Sure we need to offer critiques, but we offer suggestions, never put down the effort.

6. Writers who legalistically follow the rules. These are the type who will argue commas and semi-colons for days. They can bring a productive critique session to a screeching halt with insisting everything in publishing is black and white and everyone must work the same way. The truth is that very few things in this industry are black and white.

7. Writers who insist that there is only one correct way to write. You’ll run into writers who outline and writers who work more intuitively (commonly referred to as seat-of-the-pants writers). The way you write has more to do with how you’re wired than convention. Don’t let anyone insist theirs is the only right way to do something.

8. Writers more interested in a life support group or relationship than in encouraging each other to write. There’s nothing wrong with sharing aspects of life with those we’re close to. I’m talking about that person who dominates every meeting with personal-life challenges.

9. Writers who put themselves above others after success. Yes, there are things to celebrate—contest wins, publishing contracts, etc. But success doesn’t mean we’re better than someone else. We all have contributions to make and need to remember that.

These are the things I’ve seen in others that can keep me from moving forward. Even scarier—these are things I’ve seen in MYSELF that can keep my companions from moving forward.

If you’re on the path with someone who’s turned toxic, you have reached a decision point. How long are you going to hang in before the relationship begins to hamper your forward motion? There’s no right answer to that question, only you can answer it for yourself. But we need to be aware of what’s going on around us its affect.

I’d love to know how you handle toxic traveling companions, and what traits you’d add to this list.

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

What Still Matters?

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 15 novels, including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards and 3 Selah Awards. Three of his books were finalists for Inspirational Book of the Year (RT Book Reviews). Dan is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in the Daytona Beach area where they love to take walks and spend time with their grandkids. Click here to connect with Dan or check out his books.

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As I write this, presidential politics are front and center in the national news. The first official presidential election event just happened, the Iowa Caucus. Of course, presidential politics has been in the mainstream news every day for months. One of the big stories is how some of the leading presidential candidates are overturning everything that used to be considered the norm. On the Republican side, Donald Trump is shaking things up in a big way, while Bernie Sanders is doing the same with the Democrats.

The pundits are saying the mainstream political parties--the Establishment--are completely confused by these developments. Everything they used to do to influence the public isn't working anymore. It's like people are doing their own thing now. They aren't listening to the "powers that be" anymore. 

It almost seems like the same kind of shakeup is taking place in the publishing world. I came onto the publishing scene in 2009, when everything seemed to run the way it always had for almost a century. There were norms in place that were widely followed and acknowledged by all to be "the way things are done 'round here."

In the last couple of years, it seems like all of that has changed.  

I find myself asking this question: "What still matters?" Certain things were emphasized in publishing just a few years ago as being essential and of critical importance for success. Now? Some of those same things don't seem to matter much anymore at all. Other things matter. Newer things. Just about the time I figured out how to do some of the older things well, now it seems no one cares about these things anymore. They care about other things (things I'm not very good at and not sure I want to learn).

Let me give you a few examples:

Blogging - Used to be everybody who is anybody has a blog. You need a blog. I need to blog. Regularly, faithfully. If possible, also join a blog with several other authors. And you need to appear in other people's blogs and leave comments, not just lurk. Now I'm wondering...Does blogging still matter? Hardly anyone reads blogs faithfully and blogs that used to garner dozens of comments every day now barely receive a few.

Agents - Used to be every author needs an agent. And not just any agent, an A-lister, a real mover and a shaker. Without an agent, you're sunk. Publishers won't even look at your manuscript unless you are represented by a great agent. Does this matter anymore? With the rise of indie publishing, do authors even need literary agents anymore? If so, when? Is there a new norm when it comes to agents?

Print Books in Retail Bookstores - Used to be you weren't a bonafide author unless you had been signed by a mainstream publisher, because retail bookstores only accept books vetted by traditional publishers (well actually, this is still the case). Again, with the massive influx of successful indie authors and the rise of people reading their books on digital devices, does this even matter anymore? Do authors even need to worry about getting their books printed and made available in brick-and-mortar retail stores? I read articles that say traditional bookstores still matter but, if I'm being honest, I hardly ever see anyone in the bookstores anymore. Except in the coffee shop. I still love to go to bookstores, but I almost never see anyone browsing through the shelves. A few years ago, the same aisles used to be full. Additionally, I've met many indie authors over the past 2 years who are selling tens of thousands of books and making a great deal of money who've never seen even one of their books in a brick-and-mortar store.

I've got a number of other items I could share in this post, things I'm wondering whether they still matter, but blog posts aren't supposed to be this longThen again, does that even matter anymore? I'd love to hear from some of you on these things (that is, what do you think? What's still matters in publishing and what doesn't matter so much anymore?).

And while I'm talking about things that matter, here's a pic of my newest novel, Rescuing Finley. This matters a lot (at least to me). It's a great book. That's not me saying it, but the 65 other people who've reviewed it on Amazon the last month or so (avg 4.7 stars). It's FREE on Kindle Unlimited and only $3.99 on Kindle. It's about a rescue shelter dog named Finley who winds up rescuing the female inmate who trains him and the Afghan war vet who adopts him. Click here and check it out. 

Dogs always matter.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

How to Be an Editor's Dream Writer

by Linore Rose Burkard

Wouldn't we all love to be an editor's dream writer! But what does that mean?
Perhaps it will be useful to examine what it doesn't look like, first.
Ready or Not! Here I Come! 

The Wanna-Be Who Will Never Be

I've met unpublished writers at workshops or conferences who believe they are the dream writer who simply hasn't been discovered yet. They're roving around, searching for some agent or editor to take them on and discover their brilliance.

But here's the thing: They don't really care which agent or publisher. They just want SOME agent, or SOME publisher. And that, in case you didn't catch it,  is evidence from the get-go that they couldn't possibly be the dream writer. A dream writer won't query a publisher or agent who isn't a good fit for them. It's a waste of everyone's time. A dream writer reads guidelines, studies a publisher's catalog, and checks out an agent's blog posts. She knows where she won't be wanted, and thus where she ought to target her efforts.

Here are a few other reasons that some writers are not that dream writer; reasons they won't divvy up right away and possibly never own up to:

1. They're desperate for affirmation and willing to cut corners to get it. 

There's nothing wrong with wanting affirmation. It's natural for human beings to seek positive feedback for what we do. But being desperate for it can make you hurry projects, scribble out queries, seek a publisher or agent too soon, or the wrong publisher or agent, all because of that overwhelming NEED for affirmation. Even if you've waited until the work is relatively clean, the desperation trickles through--it's sort of like trying to hide dirty laundry behind a curtain: It still smells, and it will sour the process, and probably the results (any work that is published).

ANTIDOTE: Pray for guidance and patience while studying the industry. Listen to advice and trust God to lead.

2. They're "done" studying the craft of writing; can't be bothered to get a critique or two and won't receive criticism anyway.  

Once this writer finishes their first book they feel they've "arrived." They are now an author and no one, not no one, is gonna tell them how to improve their craft. Besides, anyone can see their book is perfect already!

ANTIDOTE: Pray for guidance and patience while studying the craft of writing. Listen to advice and trust God to lead. 

3. They write what they think will sell, never mind the market or what industry professionals seem to think. Their book is the exception to every rule. (Isn't it obvious?)

ANTIDOTE: Pray for guidance and patience while studying the market. Listen to advice and trust God to lead.

4. If they acknowledge some errors or sloppiness in their work, so what? The publisher's editor will clean it up. It's what they do, right?   

ANTIDOTE: Pray for guidance and patience while studying the craft. Listen to advice and trust God to lead! 

So what does a dream writer look like?

By contrast, a dream writer continues to study the craft, always learning and striving to improve.
She targets her queries to carefully chosen markets, or publishers or agents. She behaves like a pro even before the big break, getting a professional headshot, a website or quality blog, and invests in the business end of writing.  She has a business card, a reliable email server --and not a cutesy email address, either, like, "susiescribbles@..."--(please forgive me if your name is Susie and you scribble, but you get the idea.). She doesn't wait for success to ACT like success. And, then, when the contract is in hand, she comes through with her manuscripts, on time, every time.

Said manuscripts are squeaky clean--they may need revisions here or there, some polishing of the plot or trimming of fat--but they're not a chore to read, and don't cause undue work for an editor.

In short, professionalism counts. Act like one, and you'll be treated like one. Do the necessary rope climbing to earn that affirmation--and it will come!  

Linore Rose Burkard wrote a trilogy of genuine regency romances for the Christian market before there were any regencies for the Christian market. Her books opened up the genre in the CBA. She also writes YA Suspense/Apocalyptic fiction as L.R. Burkard. Married with five children, she home-schools her youngest daughter, preferably with coffee in one hand and iPad in the other. Her latest book, PULSE, a tale of  apocalyptic suspense, takes readers into a "chilling possible future for America!"

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

You're invited!

By Michael Ehret

We’ve all received invitations from friends, family, co-workers.

Some came in the form of phone calls; others were text messages or even Facebook event e-vites. All of them nice. All of them with the potential to lead to something fun, instructive, entertaining, or more.

Even in these days of constant social interaction, nothing is the same as a hand-written invitation created just for you by the one doing the inviting. Makes me think of the times in elementary school when kids would hand out invitations to birthday parties. Thoughts raced through our minds:

  • “Will he give me one?”
  • “Am I good enough?”
  • “Is my name on one of those envelopes?”
  • “Am I on her list?”

(Set aside your mental protestations that not everyone was receiving an invitation. This was a “once upon a time” that took place before self-esteem trumped all and before the creation of soft people who needed to be protected from reality.)

There was a healthy mixture of fear and anticipation as the invitations were distributed. A little turmoil in the tummy as the expectancy built. Finally, the exhalation of relief as the invitation was placed in your hands.

My invitation

Last September at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in his workshop The Wildness of Writing with God, presenter Allen Arnold announced that he had prayed for all of us and had asked God to give him the words each of us needed to hear about our creative lives. Then, he said, he had written those words into a notebook that he would present to us.

I felt that familiar tummy turmoil as he walked around the room randomly handing out notebooks. Questions raced through my mind as anticipation and fear warred.

Then Allen set a notebook in front of me. My notebook. And I knew it was not a message from him—he was just the conduit. It was a message—an invitation—from God.

And I feared to open it.

But isn’t that often the way? We get what we want—I had asked God for a sign before the conference—and then are afraid to open it. Afraid that it won’t be what we hope, but instead some cruel joke.

Unlike the kids in my elementary school classes, God issues His invitation to everyone, including you.

However, just like those kids the choice about what to do with God’s invitation is up to us. Will you put your invitation into your backpack where you forget about it, it gets lost, and you miss the party?

Will you carry it home eagerly, set it on your desk where you can look at it every day for encouragement—but never R.S.V.P.? And worse, never attend?

Or, will you run home, full of excitement, and tell everyone about your invitation? Will you talk about it as you go to the mall to buy the perfect outfit? Will you clutch it in your hand as you knock on the door, watch it open, and step into the party?

It’s your choice. What will you do with God’s invitation?


You may be wondering what message my notebook contained. That, friend, will be my next topic. See you next month!

Michael Ehret has accepted God's invitation and is a freelance editor at In addition, he's worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal at American Christian Fiction Writers. He pays the bills as a marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Suffocation by Social Media

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of Rapid-Fire Fiction. After twenty-five years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. She can be found at:
     Twitter: @roniekendig
     Instagram: @kendigronie

Reviewers call Ronie's newest release, EMBERS, "Simply amazing!" 

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I have a confession: I'm easily overwhelmed...with social media. Sometimes, it feels like I'm being pulled in a thousand different directions by just as many platforms. While I *love* people, sometimes, it starts to feel like Suffocation by Social Media. And all I want is...OUT! 

VVolt N629 (ret)
The publishing industry has changed, and it's now expected of an author to "on stage" and performing to the crowds, so to speak. Some authors thrive on this demand for in-person engagement. Some of us feel like we're drowning. Don't get me wrong--I ADORE getting to know people, hearing their stories, learning about them. But I also have a family and children to homeschool, a retired military working dog that I can't shut up about, and--oh yes, I need to write. :-)
So, how can we not only survive, but thrive in this digital world? I scrounged up some tips to help. 
  • Be There! - Today's readers demand interaction with their favorite authors. Most have come to feel its disingenuous for authors not to engage with readers, and while I agree to a point, we must also guard our time and energy for writing. So to avoid Suffocation by Social Media, schedule time to be online and choose one  (or two?) forms of social media that works for you, and Be There! 
  •  Be A Champion! – We all had help in one way or another getting to whatever point we're at. Be that to someone else. Find an author or aspiring writer, and champion their journey. Be there for them. We all had help climbing the ladder, so reach back and help someone else climb. Not with critiques or whatever. Just cheer them on. I've been determined about this for the last couple of years. It feels so empowering and fulfilling to help others, to Be A Champion!  
  • Be Authentic - Readers definitely want to know about your books--after all, that's how they probably discovered you in the first place. Because our readers want to engage with us, they love learning about you, about your life. Everyone needs to be careful what you share, but when you are smart about what you share, it creates an atmosphere of friendship and fun. Show readers glimpses of the real YOU. Be Authentic. 
  • Be Protective! – Our family endured a frightening incident a few years ago when a woman ingratiated herself into my writing world through one of my social media accounts. She then friended my then-14 year old daughter. Next thing we knew, this supposed fan had my daughter’s full name, phone number, our address, and had put my daughter in contact with two older men.She then offered to “come and get” my daughter, if she wanted to leave home. What?!?!?! It happens, so be alert. Be smart. While it's important to engage, we also must be careful and remember that we have no obligation to share private information. So, be there, but Be Protective! 
  • Be You! –  The amazing marketing guru, the Great Rudini (aka: James L. Rubart, author of the new The Five Times I Met Myself) once told me, "Ronie, the reason people will buy books is because they like you.” The last "you" could be replaced with "the author." The point: Relationships have to be built, and building requires engaging. So, talk to your readers. Find out what’s happening in their lives. Engage readers with questions like “what do you. . .?” or “what is your favorite. . .” This is an invitation for readers to not only get to know you, but for you to get to know them. And it's so much fun--just Be You!
  • Be fun!! Don’t we all want to be there’s laughter and smiles? Then create some of your own. Have fun with those who are willing toe engage and the “party” will become contagious and draw others. Find what works. Be fun!!  
  • Be Short and Sweet! - We live in a fast-paced world that demands information in tidbits, short and sweet. Remember, they're the same people upset when the drive-thru takes longer than 5 minutes. Messages longer than, oh say...140 characters, make their eyes bleed. Engage, but let's Be Short and Sweet! 
So there you have it. Being an author is hard work, but if you break it down into some bite-size pieces, it'll be manageable--and fun--and you'll practice good netiquette at the same time! 

Do you have a favorite tip to avoid Suffocation by Social Media?
Let us know in the comments, please!

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"Simply Amazing!" 

Ronie's most recent release, Embers, is an epic fantasy adventure that  is wowing readers! 


Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but he is crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the Nine has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?

Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-wielding ability to her brother. When she does, it comes at a terrible price and arouses their father-king's wrath. 

Haegan flees alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for his sister and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Presumptuous Provoking Design


by Marcia Lee Laycock

It’s an old story, one taught to children in Sunday School because it’s all about obedience. After the flood God gave the people who stepped out of the ark a command: “multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” (Gen. 9:7). He wanted them to scatter. But some decided it was a better idea to stay together and build a fortified city and a tower that “reaches to the heavens ... (Gen 11:4).

They decided their plan was superior to God’s. They did it to keep themselves safe, perhaps thinking a city and a tower would save them from another flood, even though God had promised never to flood the earth again. And they did it “so that we may make a name for ourselves...” (Gen 4b).

In his commentary on Genisis 11, Matthew Henry states: “These Babel-builders put themselves to a great deal of foolish expense to make themselves a name; but they could not gain even this point, for we do not find in any history the name of so much as one ... Philo Judaeus says, They engraved every one his name upon a brick, in perpetuam rei memoriam-as a perpetual memorial; yet neither did this serve their purpose.” Henry calls the tower of Babel, a “presumptuous, provoking design.”

As I read those words my conscience was pricked just a little. I realized I’m too much like those Babel-builders in wanting to make a name for myself. With every book I’ve written I confess I’ve thought, maybe this one will make it onto a best-seller’s list. Maybe this one will make me known.

It’s a common failing, and a very old one, according to the scriptures. We all want to make a name for ourselves. God’s intent is that we make His name known. That’s why He told the descendants of Noah to scatter and multiply, so that God’s glory would be revealed, His promises remembered, His plan for humanity accomplished.
God foiled the plan of those early inhabitants of the earth by confounding their language. He will foil any of our plans that are not according to His will. He does it because, as Matthew Henry says, “It is just with God to bury those names in the dust which are raised by sin.” God’s justice prevents us from the chaos that would result from our own impudence. He knows all of our failings, our inclinations to foolishness like carving our names in a brick and believing it will last forever.
As I ponder these things my prayer is that I will be obedient to the calling God has put on my heart, that I allow Him to direct not only my work but my life. I pray one more thing Matthew Henry said will stay with me – “What a difference there is between men's building and God's; when men build their Babel, brick and slime are their best materials; but, when God builds his Jerusalem, he lays even the foundations of it with sapphires, and all its borders with pleasant stones, Isa. 54:11, 12; Rev. 21:19.

Lord save us all from presumptuous provoking designs. 


Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has three devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies, including the Hot Apple Cider books. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Mrcia Le

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords or on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format on Amazon.


Her most recent release is A Traveler’s Advisory, Stories of God’s Grace Along the Way.

Visit Marcia’s Website

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur

Friday, January 29, 2016

Putting it Aside

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin's mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage--two aspects Robin weaves into each of her 25 published novels. When she isn't writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-five+ years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons--in the South, where else? She serves the writing community by serving as Executive/Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year.

I remember the first manuscript I hacked out on a typewriter. (Showing my age, aren’t I?) It was bad, and I mean, bad. That was back in the 90s. Thank goodness I lost that manuscript in one of my moves. Yes, it was THAT BAD. The good news was (and still is) one story does not a writer make.
The next one I hacked out wasn’t AS BAD, but it was still pretty bad. And the next one—well, it was improving, at least. Again, one story does not a writer make.

Then I wrote a story I just loved. Wrote it, rewrote it, polished it until it was “ready.” Submitted it to a publisher. Imagine my surprise when I received a form rejection letter. You know the ones that are addressed to Dear Writer? And another. And another… Back then, I didn’t even realize that “unsolicited manuscript” would get that form rejection letter quicker than quick. That was early in 2000.

Between then and now, there have been many a manuscript on my computer in various stages. Some completed, some not. Some I really love, some…well, not so much anymore. But there is a story on my system that I love. It’s one that comes straight from my heart. It is ready for submission. Again, let me reiterate, I LOVE this story. My beta readers love this story. But for some reason, editors don’t. Or it’s not right for them. Or it’s too similar to something they’ve already contracted. Or . . .

Know what I’m talking about? There comes a time in every writer’s career when they have a story that means so much to them, is so personal to them, that it’s almost obsessive in the way we write, rewrite, and edit that story. When it’s finally ready to go out, we just KNOW it’s going to be snapped right up. But it doesn’t.

Each writer will come to this crossroads sometime in their career. Each writer will have to cross the hurdle, much like overcoming writer’s block. Each writer will have to make that painful decision to either independently publish, or put the story aside and move on. Yep, you heard me—put the story of our heart aside and move on to something else.

Ouch, that hurt. For me, it was several months of pouting. Kicking the couch. (Would never kick my dogs) Pouting again. Stomping around the house until the hubby and kids were cowering in closets. Depressed. Angry. Pouting.

And then I grew as a writer.

I saved the story of my heart onto a jump drive. (Ok, two different ones—I’m obsessive, what can I say?) Then I did the hardest thing: I deleted it off my desktop. My heart pounded, I felt nauseous. But I knew I had to. I didn’t break down. My heart ached only a little before I did the unthinkable—started a new story. I’d learned there’s a time to put away a story and move on to something else. One story does not a writer make.

I still miss that story of my heart sometimes. Every six or seven months, I pull out the drive and read through it. I don’t save it to my computer though. I read it, then put it away. In early 2000, I’d moved on to something else, and doing so got me published.

One story does not a writer make.

One day . . . one day it’ll be that story’s time. It’ll be its turn. And I’ll take it out, probably revise it for the millionth time, and send it out again. Who knows? It might be snapped up in a minute. Or I might publish it independently—the timing might be right for it then.

Until I decide, I’ll keep pressing forward. Keep writing what I can. Keep giving each current story all my attention. I’ll keep doing so because I want to be an author, because I DO have more than one story in my heart.

One story does not a writer make.

As a white water rafting guide, Katie Gallagher must battle the forces of nature on a daily basis. When sabotage becomes apparent on a weekend rafting trip, Katie must determine who she can trust—and who has their own agenda. Hunter Malone has a mission on a business adventure trip on the Gauley River, a mission that didn’t include a spunky guide who could handle the class-five rapids better than he’d ever imagined. But can she handle the truth?