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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baby Boomer Jude Urbanski Launches New Career

Jude has written nearly all her life in some fashion, but only with retirement a few years ago, has she been able to indulge her passion. Since then, Jude has produced a non-fiction book (in both print and eBook format), magazine and newspaper articles, and two inspirational romance novels in eBook format. She has been a columnist for four years with Maximum Living magazine and currently has her third novel with a publisher for review.

Jude, you've published a co-authored non-fiction book, short stories and articles. How long did it take you to get a full-length fiction contract?

In 2005, I scoured long and hard for a publisher of the true story my daughter and I had written about our family’s journey through her traumatic brain injury. The way I hooked that publisher surprised, to say the least. I had called because they had left the submission guidelines off their web site. One thing lead to another and the publisher asked for a proposal! The book was published in 2006.

I began to write fiction after that first book, but did not receive a contract until January, 2011. A lot of rejections filled that time. It was a time of honing my craft, taking classes, going to conferences. And rewriting. And rewriting.

Was there a specific 'what if' moment to spark this story?

The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing series focuses on spinning tragedy into triumph, which is an evergreen and universal phenomenon, I believe. The stories start in the post-Vietnam era, which will always remain in my memory for several reasons. The other ‘what if’ moment relates to the fact my mother wrote sweet, love stories in the 1930s with this same setting (that ‘center of the universe’ in Tennessee where we both were born). So it was fun to take off from this vantage point, too.

Do you have a full or part time day job? If so, how do you balance your writing time with family and work?

Ane, I’m “retired” but nearly as busy as when I worked, just don’t get paid!  One would think it would be a cinch compared to young motherhood and, while it isn’t as all-consuming, a balancing act is still required. I volunteer at church, in the community, still do an occasional day of paid work, and have a huge family, including a good husband, to love and cherish. All of which takes considerable time.

I write usually in the mornings and whenever Conrad, my husband, is gone! Sometimes I just quit and run those ‘errands’ with him.

Did anything unusual or funny happen while researching or writing this book?

Not so much unusual or funny, but I sure enjoyed visiting the setting in Tennessee and meeting and befriending folks. I even lapsed into southern dialect at times! On one visit, we tried to reach “Bald Rock” (a mountain in the story), but became so concerned about our car getting stuck we abandoned the adventure.

Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between?

I started out as a plotter and an outliner. I don’t have the oomph or daring to be a pure pantster, so accept I am somewhere in between. My characters sometimes take over and give me word upon word, which is pure joy for a writer. Once in a while, I must place them back on the page where they belong and let them know I am the author.

Have you discovered some secret that has helped your process for writing?

Oh, Ane, would that I had! I’d certainly share, but my notion is this is different for each of us. The music I play, the little rubber frog (FROG=forever relying on God) I keep close by, the candle I burn and the pin-covered baseball hat I wear all help, but none are magic.

That said, relationships with other writers help tremendously in our solitary world.

What are your thoughts on critique partners? 

The best writing tools in our toolbox. The partnerships take time to develop, but are worth the effort. I’ve also found it best to critique with writers of like genres.

Do you ever pound your computer over writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?

Certainly figuratively! I let things ‘stew’ and do something else for a while. Or use someone for a brainstorming session.

What's the most difficult part of writing for you?

I’d say creating conflict takes me the most time to thoroughly develop. I’m a pacifist kind of gal (hangover from the 60s maybe) and I have a hard time taking my beautiful characters through hardship. I also write women’s fiction, combined with inspirational romance, where the journey traveled becomes a slower-moving conflict.

What's your strength in writing?

From contests entries, I’ve been told ‘voice’ and character development are strengths. I feel that honing our craft is an ongoing process and all areas can always be strengthened.

Did this book give you any problems? If not, how did you avoid them?

My first two novels have been eBooks, but will be in print next year. Marketing has been more challenging than with a print book. Not everyone, especially older readers, is on board with an electronic reader or even a computer. It has taken more creativity, but has also been fun to be part of the cutting edge of electronic publishing. Through Kindlegraph, eBooks can also be autographed.

Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy attic nook?

In a condo! We have a great room and this is where I write. At one end of our big, dining table. I have an extra book table to my side, holding my most important items. Everyone knows all the action happens in a great room and sometimes that is distracting. The magical feature though is I look out patio doors at a beautiful and secluded yard where woodland creatures, flowers, and tall cedars speak to me.

When I really need a break or want to exercise, I take the nearby ‘river walk’ for a time of regrouping.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard?

We not only write, we must rewrite.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Write because you want to and know being published doesn’t necessarily validate you as a writer. Know it takes discipline and perseverance to accomplish goals.

 Nurtured in Purple, Book Two in The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing, continues the now-married love story of Seth Orbin and Kate Davidson of Joy Restored, Book One, but nemesis' Willard Wittenberg and Elizabeth Koger come center stage still pursuing personal vendettas against Seth and Kate. 

Seth again faces potential loss of wife and child with Kate's life-threatening pregnancy complication, while Willard maneuvers to ruin Seth's business. Willard and Elizabeth, once lovers, engage and marry, but her flame for Seth has never died. Married life proves ragged. Late-blooming love comes to Ninville Cornelius and Margie Craig and new characters of Ruby Moody, alcoholic wife of a deceased Vietnam vet, and her small son Bobo are introduced. 

Can Seth and Kate, modeling God's grace and forgiveness, bring hope and light to Willard and Elizabeth and Ruby and Bobo, all so needy of God's redeeming love?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are You My Mentor? by James L. Rubart

Have you connected with a mentor? A person a little farther down the publishing road who offers you knowledge, wisdom, support, or introductions to agents and/or editors?

One of the biggest surprises to me when I first jumped into the pub world was how willing established authors were to help. Many gave me an injection of hope, industry insight, and encouragement. A few turned into full fledged mentors who stayed in touch and offered any help they could.

And I continue to find authors who are ahead of me, reaching back to pull me on. And I love offering my hand to those a few steps behind.

Turns Out We’re Divinely Designed to Help Each Other

I was talking to my youngest son, Micah about authors helping me and vice versa. He said, “It doesn't surprise me. We’re wired that way, Dad. I watched this video clip on WIMP.COM of two-year-olds that instinctively help people without any prodding. It’s born into us to care—even though sometimes the world can drain it out of us. (Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

Uh, Jim, I've Been Trying to Get a Mentor For Years

My guess is some of you are saying exactly that right now. You’re wondering if the above is true, why you haven’t found that mentor. I wish I had a solution but I don’t. If I had to offer an answer I’d probably encourage you not to try so hard.

For me, being the mentor or mentoree has come naturally. I didn't try to get my mentors, and frankly, the people I’m mentoring didn't try to get me. It just happened. There was a connection and I wanted to help them. Or, they wanted to help me.

It’s Always, Always, Always About Relationship

Have you heard the saying, “Most people are human lie detectors?” I believe there’s validity to that sentiment. Along the same lines, I think potential mentors can tell if they’re being played. In other words are you approaching your potential mentor with respect and even thinking about what you can offer? Or it just about what you can get out of them? If that's the reason plan on continue searching.

I've had the what-are-you-going-to-do-for-me kind of aspiring author approach me and I can spot it light years away. And I can also spot the author that is humble, engaging, and grateful. I’ll take the latter every time.

In The End

They want to help you. They’re wired to help you. But a mentor/mentee relationship isn't all about you. It’s a mutual exchange of friendship, encouragement, and help.

Your turn. If you had or currently have a mentor, how did the relationship develop? What tips would you offer someone looking for a mentor? If you are a mentor, why that person? What drew you to them? Or what turns you off?

James L. Rubart is a best-selling, award winning author. Publishers Weekly says this about his latest release, SOUL’S GATE: “Readers with high blood pressure or heart conditions be warned: this is a seriously heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and “builds wings on the way down.”

He lives with his amazing wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest and loves to dirt bike, hike, golf, takes photos, and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at

Monday, October 29, 2012

Conference Debriefing: Easing Back into the Real World

Conference is over. You met with like-minded people, heard amazing speakers, and spoke with an editor or to, but you're back home and easing into the real world. Normal life must continue despite all the emotions and excitement you've just experience, so how do you handle it all?


You're body and mind has just been through an ordeal. Maybe conference was a fabulous experience for you, maybe  it was a disappointment. No matter what category you fall into, your body needs to rest and your mind and emotions need to recover. So sleep in if you can, cancel some activities. Have an extra cup of coffee. Order take out for your family. Don't feel the need to unpack your suitcase and put everything back in it's place. Even if you have to jump back into your work routine, you can still slow down someway. Find what works for you and don't feel guilty about it!


You've met hundreds of people, collected just as many business cards, had more conversations with more people than you can count, how do you keep them all straight in your head? At conference, if I had a memorable meeting with someone I had just met, I tried to jot something significant about them on the back of their business card. Unfortunately, I didn't do this as often as I should of, so now I will sort through my cards and camera photos and try to write down what I can remember about each person. Thankfully, most business cards have photos, and since I'm a visual learner I often see where I met that person and recall some of the conversation. So take sometime today to try and remember the conversations you had before they totally slip your mind.


Ever year conference is different for me, but every year it's memorable. I want to remember the good and the bad so I can learn and grown. I want to remember those God moments, the new people I met and conversations I had. And the best way for me to do that is to journal or blog about them while it's fresh in my mind. Somethings are meant to be shared, other things are meant for just me, but in order to remember them with the passion and emotion of the moment, I need to write about them now. Take some time this week to do that!


I always plan on sending thank you notes to the editors and teachers who've impacted me during conference. While my intentions are good, I don't always follow through. This week I'm making it a priority to send off an email or written note to people who played a part in my conference whether or not they requested my manuscript. This business is about making connections, not just making sales. One of my best editor meetings was with someone who didn't request my book, but I left satisfied. I want that editor to know what a meaningful conversation we had. In your note, try to include something about you or your conversation to jog their memory. After all, they met with hundreds of people and while they might not remember your specific meeting, being thanked and appreciated will make an imprint on them. Just remember to be sincere and not gimmicky. Whether coming home from conference is a let down or relief, life does go on and everyone must get back to the routine of life. But if you  take time for conference debriefing and ease back into the real world, your body and mind will be prepared for the normal demands of life.

Let's Talk: How do you debrief from conference? 

Gina Conroy, a.k.a. "the other Gina," is a monthly contributor to Novel Rocket. She's the founder of Writer...Interrupted and is still learning how to balance a career with raising a family. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012 with her second novel Digging Up Death releasing in November.   

Sunday, October 28, 2012

8 Ways Authors Turn Off Potential Readers

I recently stopped following two authors on Twitter because almost every post was about their own books. They may have been good writers. But I’ll never know. They were too busy publicly flogging their own product for me to care. It got me thinking about other ways that writers turn off potential readers.

* * *
Recommending your own books. You know, someone asks for recommendations for a certain genre, a thread starts, and an author pops in to say, “May I recommend MY novel.” Um, no you may not!

Gimmick giveaways. Giving away your books can be a good thing. But there’s a point at which it smacks of desperation. “Once I reach 5K FB Friends I’ll be giving away a Kindle Fire, a case of Red Bull, and a lifetime subscription to my newsletter!” Or gaining giveaway “points” by having someone do any combination of things to promote you:  “Just leave a comment here, re-post to your Facebook page, re-Tweet, and mention me on your own blog for your best chance to win!” ding! ding! ding! Not interested.

Listing your book in your list of favorites and/or must-reads. Even if your book is number 10 out of 10 on your list, don’t do it. Let someone else praise you. Besides, this tactic makes me feel as if the list was posted just to get your book in it!

Complaining about another author’s success to push your own product. “It’s sad that he / she could sell _______ thousand copies of that junk, while MY book — which is just as good — gets buried.” What’s sad is that you think disparaging another author earns you points with readers.

Turning every conversation back to your novels. “Yeah, the economy sucks, mountain gorillas are near extinction, and global unrest threatens millions of lives. Coincidentally, I addressed these issues in my last novel. Here’s the link!”

Make me Like you before we’re Friends. I’m fine with you asking me to Like your page. But asking me to Like you BEFORE we’re Friends just seems backwards. If we become Friends, I may discover I like you enough to actually Like your page. Unless you’re already famous, multi-published, I know you, and I already like your stuff, I probably won’t Like you. Whew!

Ulterior-Friending: When an author Follows / Friends you with the intention that you Friend them back so that they can send an automated reply to thank you for following them back on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or whatever, followed by an endless stream of updates about their novels. Listen, if your request for my Follow / Friendship is a veiled attempt to jam your books down my throat, please don’t ask.

Cheesy, Unprofessional website: If you actually get me to your web home, at least make it look like you got your sh*t together. An author who can’t invest enough time and money to at least make their home page look decent, can’t be trusted to make their novels any better.

* * *

Okay, there’s eight. Any you’d like to add to the list?

Mike Duran writes supernatural thrillers. He is a monthly contributor to Novel Rocket, and is represented by the rockin' Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Mike's novels include The TellingThe Resurrection, and an ebook novella, Winterland.  You can visit his website at

An Uncompromising Message

The dictionary’s definition of uncompromising is “making no concessions; unyielding; without reservation or exception; undeviating.” 

 This doesn’t exactly describe our loving Savior! … Or does it? When a sacrifice had to be made on behalf of all of mankind, Jesus stepped up in love. He loved us so deeply, in fact, that he surrendered his spiritual home for a time and presented himself as a lamb to the slaughter for the forgiveness of our sins. 

That’s a kind of love that our human brains may never be able to fully comprehend. But at the same time, once he arrived, Jesus certainly made no excuses for the seriousness of his mission. This loving Savior of ours often came off to unbelievers — both then and now — as harsh. He was no politician; he never once changed in deference to the unwillingness of others to comfortably receive his message.

When one of his disciples told Jesus (in Matthew 15) that the Pharisees were offended by his teachings, he didn’t apologize for what he knew to be the truth. The main objective of Christ was to deliver that truth to an unsuspecting world; and he also knew that it wasn’t going to be well received in some circles. Did that stop him from delivering it?

From birth to death to resurrection, Jesus never once compromised on his message:

  • Humble yourselves before the Word of God.
  • You can only repent of sin after you’ve acknowledged its power over your life.
  • Hit your knees and receive the forgiveness and redemption promised to you because you can’t get to God any other way.
  • Now get up and walk the path of grace, sharing it with others.

When the beggar at the temple gate (in Acts 3) asked Peter and John for help, he had a specific picture in his mind of the kind of help he wanted: Money. He was probably stunned, even irritated at first, when Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

Though he may not have realized it then, the beggar undoubtedly later looked back on that moment at the gate as a pivotal turning point in his life and, more importantly, in the lives of countless witnesses.

A turning point, which always starts with one small step, can only be recognized as such after the passage of time. When Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, for instance, he no doubt hadn’t looked beyond the simple goal of creating an easier way of separating cotton from its seeds. He probably had no idea that his little invention would spur the South’s economy into a plantation system, initiating a conflict with the North that contributed to the Civil War and beyond! How could Whitney have known that his single invention would mark a turning point in American history?

Like in the case of the beggar at the temple gate, often what we think we need is not at all what will set us free in the bigger picture; however, in Acts 3, we learn that all things come to a straightforward and uncompromising resolution through faith in Jesus Christ.

Simply stated: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” -Acts 3:19-20

Jesus Christ never wavered or compromised; and yet he delivered a resolute and steadfast message that was consistently wrapped in love and which was always based in the fact that he — unlike us! — knew the end result. Despite the fact that we may look foolish to unbelievers, following the directives set before us by a loving and omnipotent God is so simple at the core:

Tell the truth (and it shall set you free); turn toward Christ (because we can never please God without doing so); trust in God’s works in your life (because He’s faithful to complete them); examine yourself and confess your sins (as you minister to others from your experience). 

Easy? Not always. But simple in the miraculous and unwavering candor of the message? Absolutely.

  # # #

Sandra D. Bricker is a best-selling and award-winning author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the Christian market. Her most recent book, Always the Designer Never the Bride is the third of a series of four novels in the Another Emma Rae Creation series from Abingdon Press Fiction. Check out her BLOG and sign up to receive her weekly posts by e-mail.  

Sandie leads a team of writers in creating the Living It Out daily Bible study for CedarCreek Church. Today's devotion is based on the Living It Out study on Christ's uncompromising message. If you enjoyed it, feel free to check out the daily studies by e-mail or audio podcast by clicking HERE.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Teen Culture and YA Books

At a rcent children's writng conference, I did several critiques. I noticed that while many published children’s books have characters that curse and have sex and know people who engage in destructive behavior, many unpublished manuscripts have naive characters that look like they stepped out of the 1960s.

What Are Teens Like Today?

It’s not enough to give characters computers and video games. Children today look and sound different from children of the past. They are street wise. They see sex and violence on the TV every night. They’ve experienced the pain of divorce either in their immediate family or their extended families. They have gay friends and relatives. They don’t have the luxury of being naive.

I’ve long said that teens today want the same things that teens have always wanted: They want to love and be loved. They are sure they can do better than their hypocritical parents did, they're idealistic.

But today’s teens are also different from teens of the past. For one thing, the causes they champion are different. What kids consider to be unjust today is different. Today, the majority of young people in the world see pollution and bullying as terrible sins and they see homosexuality and abortion as good things.

What Kind of World Do They Live In?

·       Abortion is acceptable even during and after birth
·       Assisted suicide is legal and/or widely accepted
·       Homosexuals and transgendered people are considered normal
·       Alcoholism is seen as a disease
·       Creationism is taught as fairy tale, while evolution is taught as proven fact
·       Teachers cheat by changing test scores
·       Teachers have affairs with students
·       Gunmen, or students, go on shooting rampages
·       Bombers blow up building and buses full of people
·       Communication is immediate—no time to think before you speak
·       Movies are available on the phones kids have in their pockets
·       Video game addiction is a concern for their parents
·       Teens are expected to be sexually active
·       Porn is available from a very young age
·       Billboards and the TV shows are full of sexual images

I’m not remarking on the rightness or wrongness of any of the things above. I’m not arguing that evolution is an unproven theory or that alcoholism is more sin than disease. I have my opinions on these things but they aren’t what this post is about.

This post is about the shift in worldviews that has occurred in the last three to five decades.

When I was a child all sex was kept in the closet, regardless of whether it was heterosexual or homosexual in nature. Even married folks, like Rob and Laura Petrie, had twin beds on TV.

True story: When I was eight or nine there was an ultra brite toothpaste commercial in which a pretty young woman blew a kiss at a handsome young man. Then a woman sang, “Ultra brite gives your mouth sex appeal.” I asked my dad what “sex appeal” meant and he said, “It’s a dirty word.” That same man, once a conservative, Bible-believing minister, went on to speak out in favor of homosexual rights. He came to believe the Old Testament and most of Paul’s epistles were bogus.

This is how much some people’s views changed in three short decades.

How Does This Shift Affect YA Books?

More and more we see kick-ass heroines and heroes out for revenge. We see assassin heroes—loveable hit men and wise-guys. We empathize with killers. No one wanted Katniss to lay down her life—to refuse to fight and kill. We believed she had to kill. She had no choice. Well…yeah, she did have a choice. She could have died instead, which would have been seen as the truly heroic thing, once upon a time.

Today we live in a world with more than fifty shades of gray. Everything is a shade of gray. No black and white. No absolutes. The god whom the people of the world believe in, is a god who just wants everyone to have a good time.

So how do we engage children and teens today?  Can we give them a Katniss who leads a revolution without killing innocents? Can we give them street-smart characters that do the right thing? What do you think?
 photo credit: Shavar Ross via photopin cc
The ABC couplet contest brought in several stellar entries. It had to go a tie-breaking judge. The final decision was a hard one but in the end...
Marti Pieper,
Facebook or email me, and I'll get you your prize.

Sally Apokedak is an associate agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She's in the process of building a dynamite list of authors. She is also active in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the American Christian Fiction Writers, and Toastmasters International.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Debut Author, Sharon Srock, Don't Give Up Too Soon!

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday school teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

Tell our readers a bit about your journey. How long did it take you to get published?
I’ve been a reader all my life, but writing was never my dream. I remember cringing in English classes when a single page paper was due. One night I went to bed a reader and woke up determined to write a book. I was very involved in Star Trek fandom, had some short stories and poetry published in a fanzine here and there. My first full length project was a Star Trek story. Now, I’m Pentecostal, so you’ll have to work with me here…One night, about 25 years ago, we were in a revival. The evangelist, who didn’t know me from Eve spoke a word of prophecy over me. In paraphrase…  “I’ve put a pen in your hand and a light by your side. Use it for me.” Well at that point in my life the only Christian writing I knew about were lessons or theological works of non fiction. That didn’t seem like me, so I stopped writing altogether. Three and a half years ago, a new employee stopped by my desk to introduce herself. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she was a writer. I told her that that was my dream at one time. She gave me the oddest look and spoke five words that have changed my life. “You gave up too soon.” That night I started writing Callie’s story.

Tell us about your debut book:
Callie’s spirit is broken after a child she was trying to help is murdered by his abusive father. Little Sawyer would still be alive if she’d minded her own business, wouldn’t he? God refuses to allow Callie’s life to be defined by undeserved guilt and blame so he places her in a situation she can’t walk away from. Iris and Samantha Evans need help and Callie is the tool God wants to use. When she steps out in faith and begins working to reunite these girls with the father who abandoned them ten years ago, Callie discovers that God is rescuing her right along with the Evans family.

Was there a specific 'what if' moment to spark this story?
There really was. Once I thought I had the story completed, a fellow author read it and told me that the story seemed to belong to Iris, not Callie. That was not good news. A friend and I started brainstorming and she suggested that somewhere in Callie’s past, a child she had tried to held had died. If she hadn’t been fifty miles away on her own computer, I’d have kissed her right on the mouth!

Are you a plotter, SOTP writer or somewhere in between?
If there is something more extreme than a SOTP writer, that’s what I am.

What's your process for writing a book?
I wake up with the beginning and the end of the story in my head. The three in the series that I consider complete have stayed pretty true to those beginnings and endings. Not the beginning scene, but where my MC is in her life. I write, I go back the next day and read and expand. I follow this process until there is too much story to do that. Everythig gets about six complete edits before I'm happy.

Do you ever bang your head against the wall with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
I’m forced to write in such short bursts that writers black hasn’t been a real problem. That is not to say that there aren’t days when I sit with one paragraph on my screen, staring at it…

Do you consider yourself a visual writer? If so, what visuals do you use?
Not really. I used to have pictures of my women in my cubicle at work, but once they gave me covers and the images didn’t come anywhere close to matching, I found the old images distracting.

Novelists sometimes dig themselves into a hole over implausible plots, flat characters or a host of other problems. What's the most difficult part of writing for you?
Keeping my women on track. They are all waiting for their story to be told and once in a while they try to steal the show away from the current MC.

What's your strength in writing (characterization, setting as character, description, etc)?
I love to write dialogue.

Did this book give you any problems? If not, how did you avoid them?
Just those pesky women and their determination. I’m still learning to beat them back.

Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy attic nook?
I write where I am. At my desk at work during break and lunch times. At my desk at home, in the car. picnics. The only time I refuse to write is during a planned vacation. Some things are sacred.

How do you balance your writing time with family and any other work you do?
It pretty much gets all lumped together. I’m used to stopping and starting. I rarely have a problem bookmarking my place to fix dinner or something. My husband knows that if I’m writing and he needs something and I say “just a minute” I’m on a streak and he needs to go help himself.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard?
To get some critique. I have the best critique partner in the world.

Do you have any parting words of advice?
Not to give up. If you have a dream, even a new one, pursue it.


Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.
Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing.  And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.