Friday, November 30, 2018

My Journey to Publication by Laura Hervey

Laura Hervey
Are you trying to write your first book? Your second? Your tenth? When we sit down to write, many of us face challenges and occasional doubts. Author Laura Hervey shares her journey to publication and encouragement for us all. Enjoy! ~ Dawn

My Journey to Publication

I published my first novel, Scarlet Tears, this past July. My journey to publication began in a high school English class more than forty years ago. We were reading Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles.” I still remember thinking, he created an entire world with words. I want to do that. Unfortunately, at that time, I believed only geniuses, such as Hemingway or Faulkner, could write novels. Flash forward a few years and my college fiction writing professor tells me, “You’ll never find your own voice until you stop trying to write like Hemingway and Faulkner.” His advice, though spot-on, told me only what not to do. Duly noted: do not try to sound like someone else.

Four years later, my marriage ended. Brokenhearted, I concentrated my attention on my daughter and my baby due to be born in a month. When they were eight and five, after tucking them into bed each night, I wrote my first book, on lined paper, and then, on an old Smith Corona typewriter. That book allowed me to find my voice and to learn how to put together a novel. Of course, it didn’t sell.

Determined to proceed in a more systematic manner, I enrolled in a correspondence course with The Institute of Children’s Literature. After completing two courses, I sold my first short story. For several years, I sold opinion pieces, articles, short stories, devotionals, and greeting cards. I also received countless rejections, and as every writer knows, rejections can feel as if someone is siphoning off your lifeblood until you’re convinced you can’t survive another heart-wrenching disappointment. Ever. But you do, because when you are born to write, no other creative activity can silence the urge to create worlds on a page.

I have come to see writing as a reverent act of worship. Showing up at my pages honors God because He fashioned me as a writer. I write every morning—even if it’s only for fifteen minutes before getting ready for work—because when I am writing I am better at everything else I do. Writing is not a selfish choice. The simple truth is when I honor the person God created me to be, I am happier. I can be in the moment with my 9th grade ELA students and with my family and friends. I no longer hear that nagging rebuke in my head, You really should be writing. Why aren’t you writing? I trust God’s plan for me, for my books, and for my readers.

No matter what obstacles may come into our lives, we can trust God to bless every work He has planned for each one of us to accomplish for His glory. If you dream of publishing a book, put yourself in God’s hands, show up at your computer, and one day, He will change someone’s life with your words.

Scarlet Tears

 Caught in a romantic triangle with her brother’s best friend and a charming pastor, former call girl Carly Lawrence struggles to start a new life. To escape her past, she must learn to forgive herself and Alan Rutledge, her sometimes-boyfriend and owner of Rutledge Escort Services.

Abandoned as a child, Joe Callahan, Carly’s former neighbor and now a Buffalo police officer, must forgive his mother before he can fully forgive Carly her past and earn her trust.

When Carly meets Ryan Edgar, a young minister pastoring his first church, she finds his attraction to her amusing. Surely, he must realize she could never make a suitable pastor’s wife.

Does her attraction to these two men mean she hasn’t changed at all?

An American Christian Fiction Writers member, Laura Hervey writes inspirational romance. She teaches high school English and is the author of a variety of short works, including articles, opinion pieces, poetry, short stories, and devotionals. Scarlet Tears is her first published novel. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys spending time with her two children and her grandchildren. She shares her home with two dogs, a German shepherd and a miniature Dachshund.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Keeping Your Joy as a Writer by Marilyn Turk

The first time something I wrote was accepted by a publisher, I was excited for months! The thrill of having your work liked well enough to publish is such affirmation that you’re on the right track, that you have a gift for writing.

My story had been accepted by a respected magazine. The acceptance gave me credibility, motivating me to continue to write. The excitement stayed with me through my next publication and the next, then I won a couple of contests. I was on my way to success as a writer!

Then I went to a writers’ conference where one of the keynote speakers said, “Very few of you will ever be successful writers.” It was as if he’d dropped a bomb on the audience. The reason for his dire prediction was because many would-be writers don’t follow through on requests for submission, and those that do face slim odds in the face of a sea of other authors. He was trying to give us a reality check.

But I didn’t need to hear the reasons why I wouldn’t get published. I needed to hear that I would. I wanted encouragement, inspiration, and motivation to forge ahead. I needed to know why I should write, not why not!

Are there people in your life that try to dampen your enthusiasm or steal your joy? They can be well-meaning, even friends, but feed you negative thoughts that stifle your enthusiasm.

Perhaps the negative voices aren’t coming from outside, but in your own head. We doubt ourselves and our ability. And if we receive rejections, our self-confidence takes a dive. When I pitched my first book idea to an editor, she wanted to see it plus synopses for a series. But by the time I was ready to send the proposal, the editor was no longer with the publisher. I was disappointed of course, but I had made progress by preparing the proposal, so now I knew how to proceed, contract or not. That series eventually sold because I didn’t give up on it.

So how do we keep our motivation, our joy of writing?

1. Celebrate little successes. If you meet your word goal for the day or the week, pat yourself on the back! Reward yourself with something besides food, like maybe being able to watch a TV show or a movie. Sometimes just knowing you met your goal is reward enough.

2. Look at how far you’ve come. We all started somewhere, and each time we take on another writing task, we’re making progress.

3. Fill your mind with motivational words like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) Reject negative talk because it does not come from God, but from an enemy that wants to kill your joy and rob you of your motivation, so he can prevent you from doing the work God gave you to do.

4. Even rejections can be motivational because they can tell you what you need to do to fix your manuscript, and even if they don’t, realize that just because one publisher doesn’t want your manuscript, it doesn’t mean no one will.

5. Realize that only you can write your story your way. There may be similar stories, even similar titles, but no one will write the story just like you do.

6. Surround yourself with supporters, writing friends or readers who encourage you. I don’t know what I’d do without my support group, or as some say, my “peeps.”

7. Thank God for the gift and the opportunity to write. Ask Him to help you use your gift.


Multi-published author Marilyn Turk calls herself a “literary archaeologist,” because she loves to discover stories hidden in history. Her World War II novel, The Gilded Curse, won a Silver Scroll award. When readers asked what happened to the characters after the book, Marilyn wrote the sequel, Shadowed by a Spy. Her four-book Coastal Lights Legacy series—Rebel Light, Revealing Light, Redeeming Light, and Rekindled Light—feature Florida lighthouse settings. In addition, Marilyn’s novella, The Wrong Survivor, is in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection. Marilyn has also written a book of devotions called Lighthouse Devotions. Marilyn also writes for the Daily Guideposts Devotions book.
She is a regular contributor to the Heroes, Heroines and History blog, ( is the director of the Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat.

She lives in the panhandle of Florida where she and her husband enjoy boating, fishing, and playing tennis when time permits (and it’s below 100 degrees).

Website: @

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Everything is Fodder for a Writer By Michelle Ule

Michelle Ule
How long are you going to work on your family history?” My husband asked.

“Only until we jump the ocean,” I laughed.

The story, which involved many nationalities, traditions, and wars, consumed far more of my attention than I anticipated.

I often wondered why I was wasting time in stuffy libraries rather than staying home to write the great American novel.

But all that research and writing turned out to be invaluable in the future.

What is fodder and how does it apply?

Webster’s Dictionary defines fodder as “readily available material used to supply a heavy demand.”

Novelists need story ideas.

We can find them anywhere.

In my case, when an opportunity arose to write a 19th-century historical novella featuring a log cabin, I merely reached into my family history and pulled out a compelling incident.

I even included my 3x-great-grandfather Thomas Hanks as a character.

The same thing happened a year later, this time using Thomas’ son as a character. I ended up liking him better as a result!

Innocent fodder

Novelists often overhear dialogue that lodges in their minds.

Clever words and turns of phrase can provide fodder for character construction.
A novel can spring to life from an inspiring book written by someone else.

Unexpected smells, tastes or experiences often trigger our imaginations in surprising ways.

Memories of long ago hurts can provide a deep emotional connection with stories.

What about endnotes?

A cousin challenged me when I wrote my family history, “You’re a good writer, Michelle, but you need to cite all your references.”

I grimaced but made sure to cite every source.

Twenty years later when I wrote my proposal for 
Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional, I pointed to those 932 endnotes as an example this novelist had the skill to write a proper biography. 

Twenty-five years after finishing my family history—which included clever quotes from ancestors—I’ve mined the research experience and stories well.

Check out your diaries, letters, and memories. 

I’ll bet you’ve got fodder for a compelling story!

Click to Tweet:
Novelists need ideas. We can find them everywhere. @MichelleUle joins #SeriouslyWrite with ideas to find story fodder.

Memories, unexpected tastes, family history and more fodder sources for novelists from @MichelleUle on #SeriouslyWrite.

About the Author
A Poppy in Remembrance
by Michelle Ule
Michelle Ule’s most recent novel, A Poppy in Remembrance, was inspired by a great book (My Utmost for His Highest), family history (WWI), and includes many memorable quotes from her father. She blogs regularly at

Spanning three countries and the four years of World War I, A Poppy in Remembrance is the epic story of an American woman struggling to become a journalist in a man’s world. As she searches for where she belongs—spiritually, professionally and emotionally—Claire Meacham discovers God and love through her relationships with Oswald and Biddy Chambers, an earnest YMCA worker, and a dashing New Zealand soldier, all the while seeking that elusive byline.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Christmas Lights by Mary Manners


Christmas Lights

By Mary Manners
When the subject of Christmas gifts comes up, most people think of packages wrapped in colorful paper and shimmery bows, sitting under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened.
When I think of Christmas gifts, I think of my dad, who passed away seventeen years ago this holiday season. He was a man of many gifts, including the joy he shared for the traditions of Christmas.
Dad loved light—especially the light that brightened a fresh-cut pine tree in honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each December first, like clockwork, Dad piled his family—all seven of us—into our Chevy station wagon and drove us to the tree lot where, shivering in the Chicago-winter cold, we oohed and aahed over each and every tree until we found the perfect one.
Once home, with the tree safely arranged in a metal stand and watered, Dad climbed the ladder to our attic (a mysterious place, indeed) where the Christmas lights were stored. He’d lower the battered cardboard box (re-used, season after season) to the floor below and dust it off.
Then my brother and sisters—five of us—gathered ’round him in the living room and waited, eyes huge with wonder, as he carefully unraveled the strands of lights and tested each one. No matter how stubborn the bulbs, dad always managed to get them working.
Beautiful, vibrant colors turned the room to a kaleidoscope, dancing over walls and windows with the feel of winter magic. One by one, my siblings and I each took the place of honor beside Dad, helping him to adorn the tree with light. Pine sap clung to our fingers, but we didn’t care. All the while, our hearts soared with happiness and child-like wonder.
Finally, dad gently gathered the Christmas star from the box. Hushed with awe, we waited while Dad chose one of us to hoist to his shoulders for the greatest thrill—placing the treasured beacon of light—the Baby Jesus Star—atop the highest limb. Somehow, Dad always sensed who needed that extra touch of attention, and there was never any argument.
With the lights in place (just in time for nightfall—always) we circled the tree and held hands to sing Silent Night. In the earliest years, the tune didn’t always carry and the words were sometimes off, but Dad didn’t care. He knew we understood what the tree—and especially the lights—symbolized…the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. The most wonderful gift of all!
This year, Mom joined Dad in their eternal Happily-ever-after. Though the loss is great, memories of the many happy times we shared fuel my days…and my writing. Each Christmas brings a fuller, richer sense of wisdom that is woven into the legacy of the stories I love to share.
So, as we journey into another holiday season I would like to remind you to treasure every day…every precious memory made…and I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

Nestled into five beautiful acres just outside Hope Creek, Tennessee, Christmas Inn is an unforgettable place known for its joyful atmosphere and festive setting. Holiday decorations adorn each room. Trees glittering with ribbons and ornaments, gorgeous wreaths, velvet stockings and pine-scented candles brighten visitors’ stay at this vacation spot dedicated to Christmas all year, every year. The resort offers all the usual enticements plus one unique amenity…love. The little white chapel behind the inn, built by the Christmas family in the 1890s, boasts bell tower bells that toll when couples fall in love.

Every year people come to the inn looking for their Christmas spirit. Sometimes they find love too. Will the bells ring again this year?
Mary Manners lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and their rescue dog Axel, mischievous cats Colby and Rascal, 6 rambunctious chickens, and 13 fish.
Mary writes small-town family romances laced with faith, hope, and humor. Her books have earned multiple accolades including two Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, the Aspen Gold, the Heart of Excellence, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Mary loves long sunrise runs, Smoky Mountain sunsets, flavored coffee, and chocolate…lots of chocolate.

Friday, November 23, 2018

It’s Never Too Late by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
I just celebrated another birthday. I have to admit that as I check more of those boxes, the realization of having more behind me than before is an ever-present thought.

Enter Stanley Martin Lieber, better known as Stan Lee. Unless you have spent the last few weeks climbing K2, then you have probably heard about the founder of Marvel Comics/Marvel Studios passing away at the age of ninety-five.

Born in 1922 to immigrant Romanian parents, Lee spent his twenty-something years stateside, writing training manuals for the Army Signal Corps during World War II. In his free time, he moonlighted as a comics writer. It would be another seventeen or so years before Lee’s first comic book hit, The Fantastic Four, took center stage. Followed by The Incredible Hulk and Spiderman in 1962, Marvel Comics was well on its way to rival competitor DC Comics for the hearts and minds of “kids” worldwide.

Live action versions of these series didn’t hit televisions until the CBS series, The Incredible Hulk, starring Bill Bixby, appeared in 1978.

The movie versions didn’t appear until May 3, 2002, with the first being the version of Spiderman with Toby Maguire. Since then, Marvel Studios has amassed in upwards of fifty billion dollars worldwide from all of the films since that time.

What’s the point? You’re never too old to start something new.

Lee had been drawing comics—ones apparently few people know about to this day—as a moonlighter for around twenty years before the first comic book version of Spiderman released. He published more comics, created new characters, and continued in that industry for almost seventeen additional years before one of his first characters in a series, The Incredible Hulk, was made into a TV series. It would be another twenty-four years before Toby Maguire developed his “Spidey sense.”

Did you keep track of how old Mr. Lee was at each of those junctures in his career? It was this question that made me realize just how “young” I am as a writer, compared to Stanley Martin Lieber, despite celebrating another birthday of my own. It also caused me to pause and consider how much could lie ahead if I just stay the course and keep writing, regardless of my age. Nobody knows if they will ever write their own Spiderman or Captain America or Ironman or Incredible Hulk or Thor or Fantastic Four or Avengers. Nobody knows if they will ever see those characters hit a screen, silver or otherwise. But there are some literary constants in this whole writing business affair:

  • Nothing gets published that doesn’t get written.
  • Nothing gets transformed into another media that doesn’t get written.
  • And age is no barrier to the creative heart and mind. It just may very well be the catalyst.

So, I leave you with this on the day after we celebrated a time of Thanksgiving: Do you have the motivation, the internal fortitude, to stay the course in this writing biz like Mr. Lee? And are you thankful for the years God has given you? And for the years to come? Whatever those years may bring? Regardless of how many remain?

The Tide of Times

(The Blake Meyer Thriller Series, Book 3)

A Perverse Tale. A Precarious Truth. A Personal Tribulation.

Supervisory Special Agent Blake Meyer is at an impasse. Bound and beaten in a dilapidated warehouse halfway around the world, Blake finds himself listening to an unbelievable story. Right and wrong warp into a despicable clash of ideologies. Life quickly becomes neither black nor white. Nor is it red, white, and blue any longer.

Every second brings the contagion's release closer, promising to drag the United States into the Dark Ages. Tens of millions could be dead within months.

Every moment adds miles and hours to the expanding gulf between him and his family. What is he to believe? Who is he to trust?

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The first three books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out! Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, and Book 3, The Tide of Times, are now available! Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, is getting closer!  Also, the second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too. It’s quite elementary, actually.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart; I will show forth all they marvelous works. - Psalm 9:1

Seriously Write is closed today to allow us to spend the holiday with our family and friends. We wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. We will be back tomorrow and look forward to visiting with you then.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

What If Only One Person Reads My Books? by Morgan L. Busse

This is a thought that crosses my mind at least once a year. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if you’re doing what you’re supposed to as a writer. Doubt is always there, lurking in the back of your mind. My rankings are down, should I still be writing? My royalty check makes me blush, should I still be writing? I feel like I’m letting my publisher, agent, etc… down, should I still be writing?

Is anyone even reading my books?

So as I was once again re-evaluating if I should be writing (aka, I’m not feeling like I’m successful and wondering if my life would be better served doing something else), I had this thought: what if only one person ever reads my books? Then I took it a step further. What if what I was writing was meant for just one person? That God wanted me to spend my lifetime writing multiple series for a person who I will never meet, but someday would need to read my books because through those books God would change them? And not just one book, but God would use all of my books to help that one person?

Would it be worth it?

Would it be worth all the hours I pour into writing, the sacrifices I make so I can make time to write each day, the other “good things” I could be doing, but instead I am writing? Honestly? In my flesh that thought makes me cry. Just one person? But as I pondered this thought, I realized that God would do that, because of that one soul.

When we think of God doing above and beyond what we can imagine, we think of grandiose plans and ideas. But what if God’s plans involve a lonely writer, writing her heart out for the rest of her life, then connecting her books to one person who needs to read those books—every single one of them—and by reading them, comes to know God?

That’s exactly how God would do things, because to Him the value of a soul is priceless. He would do anything to reach another person, including using the lifetime of a writer and all of her books to reach that other soul.

This thought plagued me over and over again for a few weeks. What if only one person ever reads my books? And not just one book, but will read everything I will ever write, and by doing so will connect with God? Is that worth it?


That’s not to say sometimes I wish I had more to show for my writing, but when my focus is on God, it’s then I believe that what I’m doing is not in vain, even if it might be for just one person. After all, every soul is precious to God. And that makes writing worth it.

How about you? Are you struggling with what you’re doing? Do you wonder if it’s worth it or do you want to throw in the towel? I can’t tell you yes or no, but I can tell you anything you do with hands held up to God is never fruitless, even if you don’t see the results.


Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of numerous award-winning Christian fantasy and steampunk novels including her latest novel, Mark of the Raven, from Bethany House. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. You can find out more about Morgan at

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

“Praise God!” by Zoe M. McCarthy

Thanksgiving is a time to praise God. Please enjoy a short story that came true about my mother’s salvation twelve years after I wrote the story. - Zoe

Illustration by Greg Lahti
“Praise God!”

        Eight women sat in a circle in the large hall in the old building of the church. Two exchanged recipes, three talked about the youth retreat, and three discussed a Christian book on prayer.
        “It’s six thirty,” Betty said. “We should get started.”
        The women wound down their conversations and turned to the center of the circle.
        “Let’s go to the Lord in prayer,” Betty said. “Father, we’re gathered here to share our concerns. We invite the Holy Spirit to direct our time together this morning. Amen.”
        Some women turned to fresh pages in their prayer journals while others dug pens from their purses. Just then, the large door to the hall clunked open. All the women turned to the sound. The door opened, but no one appeared in the doorway. After several seconds, an elderly woman, preceded by an aluminum walker, slowly entered the room. When she cleared the doorway, a younger woman stuck her head into the room.
        “I’ll return for you in an hour, Charlotte,” she said.
        The elderly woman nodded and continued her place-and-step journey across the hardwood floor toward the circle of women.
        The women were so taken off guard by the unfamiliar elderly woman’s presence that it took a full minute before Blaine went to greet the woman.
        Once Charlotte was seated, each woman introduced herself. Charlotte nodded to each woman in turn. Then she waved her hand, indicating they continue with their business.
        Ellen glanced at Charlotte. She felt uncomfortable sharing her concerns in front of a stranger.
        “Would you continue to pray for my son, Jerry?” she asked. “Please pray that God will give me the words to say to him. I don’t want to push him further away from me. I’ve been praying so long that God will help my Jerry find his way to Him that I wonder if God hears me. I trust He does, and so I keep on praying for Jerry.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte said.
        Charlotte’s outburst startled the women. They glanced at one another.
        “God does hear you, Ellen,” Cynthia finally said. ”We must be patient. I’ve been praying a long time for that man I sleep next to every night. Don sees my church as the ‘little thing’ I do to keep occupied. Please put him on your list—again.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte said and smiled.
        The women shifted in their chairs or doodled in their journals.
        Candace smiled at Charlotte. The poor old dear was probably senile. She turned to the other women. “My son, Billy, is discouraged with his job down at the plant. I’m certain if he knew Christ, he could have peace about it. The owner, Buck Grayson, really put the screws to him last month. Please pray for Billy to come to Christ.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte said.
        Betty glanced Charlotte’s way, then spoke. “Buck Grayson has done so many heartless things to the workers over the years. He docked my daughter’s pay because she took too long vomiting in the bathroom during her pregnancy. She asked if she could use the fifteen minutes she was in the bathroom as her morning break. He said no. He said her morning break was scheduled for ten o’clock, not nine. As if she could schedule her morning sickness! By the way, put Amy on your lists. Her faith has been lukewarm lately. I fear she won’t bring up my grandchild in the church, just as I failed to do with her.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte said. She lifted her frail arm to add punch to her statement.
        Blaine made certain Charlotte wasn’t going to say more before she spoke. “My son, Bert, is a supervisor at the plant. He told me that something incredible has been happening since last week. Buck Grayson has been doing kind things. In the elevator on Monday, he wished Bert a good morning and asked him if he was ready for the Christmas holiday. He told Bert he was especially looking forward to Christmas himself this year.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte said.
        “Are you sure it was Buck Grayson?” Pam asked. “I used to work at the plant, and he never spoke to anyone, even when he was alone with someone in the elevator.”
        “Yes, it was Buck Grayson. Bert said the company lowered their cafeteria prices too.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte said.
        “Billy also mentioned the lower cafeteria prices,” Candace said. “He was worried someone would be fired to make up the cost.”
        “And then yesterday,” Blaine said, “Bert said he and the other supervisors received a notice that, for the first time, Buck Grayson will shut down the plant at noon on Christmas Eve. It’s being announced today.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte said.
        Candace burst into tears. “Yes, praise God.” She wiped her eyes and composed herself. “Billy was so sad to tell his son he couldn’t watch him play Joseph in the Christmas pageant that afternoon. Now he can go. Maybe God will touch Billy’s heart with the Christmas story.”
        “Praise God!” Charlotte drew out the word praise. “Ladies,” she said, her voice quivering, “don’t ever stop praying for your lost loved ones. Keep dropping to your knees no matter what. Hold on to what Isaiah prophesied: All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. I’m here to tell you ladies God will answer your prayers. I’m going to join you here as long as I’m able. I’m going to pray for Jerry, Don, Billy, Amy, and Bert. I’m going to pray for them every day and help you ladies bring your loved ones to Christ doing just that. If you’ll back off and let God do his work in them and just pray for them, He’ll answer your prayers too. I know. God just answered my repeated prayer of thirty-eight years for my son, Buck, to come to know Jesus.”
        All the women shouted at once, “Praise God!”

*Illustration by my nephew, Greg Lahti.
About the Author
Zoe M. McCarthy
A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, author of The Putting Green Whisperer, The Invisible Woman in a Red Dress, Gift of the Magpie, and Calculated Risk, writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. When she’s not writing, Zoe enjoys her five grandchildren, teaching Bible studies, leading workshops on writing, knitting and crocheting shawls for a prayer shawl ministry, and canoeing. She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Zoe blogs regularly at
The Putting Green Whisperer
by Zoe M. McCarthy

The Putting Green Whisperer
Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for the father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie's reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sports science degree to become his trainer...and then she falls for him.

Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn't ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he's content to be her fist-bumping buddy...but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she's become a distraction to Shoo's career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Monday, November 19, 2018

It's All About Discipline by Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
My writing time—those moments when I can sit in front of my computer and completely lose myself in my characters my stories—is limited.

Only by acts of supreme discipline, by making sure I commit even a small part of my day—every day—to my craft have I been able to keep moving forward as an author. There are no tricks. No secrets to share. All I have is this, and it’s truth: Long-term writing requires discipline. 

If you find yourself in the same boat as me, keep three words in mind: Sit, plot, type. 

Some of what you produce will be garbage. Some of what you produce will be beautiful, and take you (and maybe even your story) by complete surprise. But at the end of the day, in order to succeed, you have to log the word count. You have to commit yourself to task of sticking to your scheduled writing time even if you’re exhausted, even if that blinking cursor just keeps blinking at you. Push forward, even if you write no more than a few words, a few scene ideas, a few plot twists. 

Also, don’t limit yourself. If you’re trying to write chapter 3, but developments in chapter 5 are calling, write chapter 5. Don’t waste precious time agonizing. Write the scene that’s living in your heart and mind, then save it to be inserted later. Or, outline that plot twist and save it. When I create, I write fresh, and then re-read it the next day when I continue my story. This gives me an opportunity to polish and tweak, to add layers. I review again and again as my story grows, so I don’t hang myself up on writing perfectly the first time. Round one? I simply want to write from the heart. 

The holidays are coming, and there is so much for which to be thankful, so many blessings to rejoice in and to share. As an author, try to remain dedicated to the stories you have to tell. Guard your time as best you can, and keep pushing forward. It’s all about the discipline. 

Until next month friends—be thankful, share richly, and be blessed!


Dustin Farrell is expected to succeed. He’s gifted with the means and ability to take the world of business development by storm…and he’s doing just that, right on plan. 

As Christmas approaches, he’s called home, to Hope Creek, Tennessee. He’s been given a slam-dunk objective from his investors: Take a small, local art shop and expand it into the retail mainstream. 

Lillianna Bennett, Dustin’s former high school classmate, is part owner of Purple Door Art Market. Long ago, her shy sweetness captured his imagination, but nothing came of the affectionate flame between them. 

Until a reunion at Christmas Inn. Dustin presents his offer, realizing the wallflower of his youth has bloomed into a confident, talented woman with the kind of free-spirited heart for which he always longed. And he wonders: Is a life of expectation, and ‘more’ what he really wants? Will his professional quest end up compromising Lillianna if her gifts and business become part of a wider view? 

Most of all, will love be lovelier...the second time around?


Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laude her work as “Riveting,” “Realistic and true to heart,” “Compelling.” 

Her Christian fiction debut, Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Her follow-up novel, Forgiveness, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors as did her book Hearts Communion. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award for her books Then & Now and Finding Home. 

Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. You can connect with Marianne at