Friday, December 20, 2013

Following a Dream, and a Friend by Lisa Belcastro

Lisa Belcastro
At any given time, even when we don't expect it, God can bring people or circumstances into our lives to help make our dreams come true. Such was the case for author Lisa Belcastro.  

Enjoy her journey to publication. ~ Dawn

Following a Dream, and a Friend

by Lisa Belcastro

“I’m going to a Christian Writers’ Conference,” I announced to my family. I had, in the previous week, finished the third draft of my first full-length novel, Shenandoah Nights. I was ready to compose my proposal and pitch my story.

I’d been to one other writers’ conference and had loved it. At that time, I didn’t have a book to pitch. I’d spent years as a journalist, but novels were a whole new ballgame. I was impressed with the number of agents, editors and publishers who attended the conference. I heard many writers comment that a conference was the best place to sell your book.  I made a mental note to remember that advice when I finished my first novel.

Two years later, manuscript in hand, I flew down to Florida with my list of agents and editors that I hoped to pitch my book to.  Attendees were allowed three appointments. I read through the list, crosschecked the publishing house with what genres they were publishing and looking for, and then decided on my three.  I was beyond excited. The classes were informative and fun, the daily worship and large group events inspired and lifted me, and I met new friends.

One of those new friends was nervous about her publishing meeting, and asked me to go with her. They were scheduled to talk over lunch, so the meeting was more informal than some of the pitch appointments.  I had already been to two of mine. Both editors had been kind and had asked to see my manuscript. I was floating on Cloud Nine. My friend Beverly was in knots about her upcoming meeting. I agreed to go.

We met Ramona Tucker from OakTara, and Bev pitched her trilogy.  The series wasn’t the right fit for OakTara. Over lunch, the three of us began to chitchat. Ramona asked if I was also a writer and what I was writing. Without a thought about an elevator pitch or back cover blurb, I told her about Shenandoah Nights. She asked more questions. I bubbled with enthusiasm and shared how the story came to me while chaperoning my daughter’s school trip aboard the schooner Shenandoah.

Do you know what happened? Ramona asked if I had hard copy of the first three chapters. I did, back in my hotel room, and promised to give them to her before dinner that night. The next morning, Ramona found me and said she wanted to read the full manuscript and that she was “very interested.”

I had no plans to meet with Ramona, but God knew better. I’m on my third book with OakTara, and Beverly is getting ready to publish her third book, too. We were both blessed by the conference. Going to a conference was some of the best writing advice I’ve been given. Next year I’ll attend three, and I’m eager to see what new friends, new ideas and new inspirations will meet me there.


Going to a conference opened the door to publication for Lisa Belcastro. Click to tweet.

God can provide people or circumstances to help make our dreams come true. Click to tweet.

Lisa Belcastro shares her journey to publication on Seriously Write. Click to tweet.

Tess Roberts may live on Martha's Vineyard, vacation spot for movie stars and presidents, but the Island feels anything but idyllic. Tess has had it with lousy dates, lying, cheating men, and the rules that forbid her from working on her family's centuries-old schooner, Shenandoah. Lucky for Tess, she knows a secret-the Shenandoah has magical powers. Her best friend, Rebecca O'Neill, once stayed in Cabin 8 and discovered a time portal that transported her to 1775. A month after Rebecca's "disappearance," Tess's father, brother, and Shenandoah's annoying first mate, Hawk, plan to shut down the time travel for good by dismantling the cabin. 

But what if Rebecca might someday need to come home? What if Tess isn't ready to say good-bye forever? Sneaking onto the ship late at night, Tess slips into Cabin 8 and drifts off to sleep. She wakes anchored off the New England coast amidst the American Revolution in 1776. The British frigate HMS Greyhound has seized Shenandoah and taken the crew, cargo, and all onboard hostage. To make matters worse, Hawk is relentlessly tracking her, determined to bring her back to the twenty-first century against her will. Sparks begin to fly, from more than cannonballs and gunpowder....

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves chocolate, reading, writing, running, working in her gardens, including weeding, and almost all outdoor activities—as long as the temperature is above sixty degrees! Being on or near the water is pure joy for Lisa.

When she’s not at her desk working on her next novel or writing the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine, Lisa is volunteering at her daughters’ schools, serving in her church community, gardening and cooking up those vegetables, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.

To learn more or connect with Lisa, please visit:
Author website at
Author Facebook page at