Finalist!

I’ve always enjoyed reading historical novels. As a child I actually imagined living in the mid 1800s. My grandmother fed my imagination by supplying me with hoop skirts and costumes of the age. She also granted me endless hours typing on her electric typewriter. I fell in love with Gone With The Wind and imagined myself writing my own book one day.
I’m currently dabbling with Time Travel. I’ve renewed an old manuscript by adding the Time Travel element. I was curious to see how it would be received and I’m happy to report my manuscript The Bridge Between is a finalist in the Romance Through The Ages Contest!
The first round judges were kind and generous in their review of the manuscript. It takes time to read pages of someone else’s work and give your honest opinion. I appreciate the feedback I received and have considered it as I move forward in completing the revision.
Check back for more updates. And until then, write on!

Chance to Win $10,000

I don’t have $10k to offer you…. keep reading………

From Thomas Nelson:

One of the highlights of our days in the Fiction department at Thomas Nelson? Receiving reader letters—either directly addressed to us or passed along from our talented authors. It’s critical to be reminded that at the end of our long days acquiring, editing, designing, selling, marketing, and publicizing books, those stories are reaching readers, striking nerves, changing lives. We want readers’ feedback. How stories have given you hope. Which authors’ series you can’t help from sharing with everyone you meet. We want to know what makes you stay up late in the night to finish a story, and conversely what turns you away.

We’re conducting a series of surveys—seeking answers from readers who love Christian fiction. Up for grabs is a free ebook for every respondent who completes the survery, as well as a $10,000 prize for one entrant. The responses we gather will help shape the future of the books we publish for years to come. As well as the data we’re collecting here, we’ll also seek more in-depth feedback from a panel we’ll develop over the next year. More details to come. The note below from one of authors gives a specific picture of how reader feedback shapes her work. In short, your opinion matters! We thank you for your time and appreciate your responding.

Thomas Nelson Fiction

Dear Friends—

Publishing books is a team effort, and there are a lot of players—authors, editors, cover designers, marketing staff, and a host of other behind-the-scene folks who help get the books on the shelves. And readers are also a large part of the process. Your input matters, probably more than you know.

When I hear from readers, I really listen to what they want. This is particularly true with my series books. For example, Seek Me With All Your Heart (book #1 in the Land of Canaan series) wraps up nicely at the end, but one of my minor characters (Katie Ann) was left pregnant after her husband left her. I received lots of emails about Katie Ann from readers, so book #2 in the series—The Wonder of Your Love—is Katie Ann’s story.

With the popularity of social media resources such as Facebook, it has allowed me to keep in close contact with readers and to seek opinions and advice. Several times, the publisher and I couldn’t decide on a cover, so we posted the cover options on Facebook and let readers decide. And if you’re posting anywhere on my Facebook Fans Page, your name could end up in a book. I often scan the names there, so you are unknowingly helping me just by being on the site.

Readers also made it clear that they wanted books in digital format, large print, and audio versions. Authors and publishers listened, and most (if not all) of my books are available in multiple formats.

As an author, I hope to write entertaining stories that will be enjoyed for many years. As a reader, I have favorite authors, and I’m not afraid to let them know what I want in future books. We listen to the likes and the dislikes in our effort to bring you the best stories we can, so don’t be shy. Tell us what you think!

Warmly,

Beth Wiseman

Author Spotlight on Pam Hillman

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Debut Author Pam Hillman. Pam is an award-winning author and writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age.
Her debut book, Stealing Jake, won the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest and was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest. 
Pam lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.  
You can find Pam on Seekerville and catch up with Pam on her personal blog and website

   About the Book:

    When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.
     
    Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy–literally–while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town–as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off–Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can’t seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

 Read the prologue and first chapter:

Buy Stealing Jake at any of these fine retailers:
Amazon:
Barnes & Noble link:
Christian Book Distributers link:
Pam’s hosting a giveaway… and it’s a KINDLE giveaway!!!! Go to:
And make sure to enter for your chance to win!


And now for our interview! Welcome Pam! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with me today.
I understand part of your journey was entering many contests. Many of those you won! Congratulations! How did you decide which contests you wanted to enter?
Christy, I am the queen of contests. I thought I had a post in Seekerville outlining how to decide on contests, but I can’t find it. But there are lots of good posts there detailing which contests to enter, and about once a month we have a list of writing contests listed on Friday. And the comments section is a huge goldfield just waiting to be mined! A quick answer to your question is that most authors just starting out need to enter for feedback. As your scores improve, you’ll become more specific on which contests to enter. When you start finalling, you enter based on who the finalist judges are, usually agents and editors you’d like to work with.
You mentioned in previous interviews and on your website about dealing with rejection. That’s a real obstacle no matter where an author is in their career. Any advice to pre-pubbed writers out there to make sure we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and plug on toward our dreams?
That’s just it. Pull yourselves up and keep moving forward. If you can walk away from your dream, do it. If not, don’t. Writing, submitting, and getting rejections are just like going to school. And the rejections don’t stop after you land that first contract. If you work at your craft and send your best work, you can be proud of what you sent in, even if it is rejected. Seekerville rule #1: You’ve got 24 hours for a pity-party, then you gotta pull up those bootstraps and try, try again! Come to Seekerville and we’ll give you a hug and a Ruthy-style pep-talk.
 I didn’t realize that constantly editing a manuscript and revising it was simply an example of
 my fear within my writing. Can you share any fears you’ve dealt with during your journey
 and how you conquer them?
When I first started writing years ago, I connected with another woman in my area who wanted to be an author. But she couldn’t get past those first few chapters. She’d enter a contest and restructure the chapters, her paragraph structure, agonizing over each sentence, all the way down to every word. I determined then and there that I wouldn’t get hung up on that first attempt. And I didn’t. I never finished some of my first few manuscripts. Either the plot was too flimsy or the characters too flat, or I wrote myself into a corner and didn’t know how to get out. Those ideas are still there in my head, so I haven’t abandoned those characters, but if I ever decide to write their story, I’m confident I can do them justice now.
I understand you have been an avid reader since you were a child.  
       What’s your favorite book?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is an all-time favorite.
 We all have a 1st book that will never find its way to publication. That first book we wrote, thought was awesome at the time, but now, want to keep it buried in our drawer, safe, wherever.  If you have that kind of book buried, can you tell us what it was about and what spark encouraged you to begin writing it? What encouraged you to begin writing as a career?
The first book I started writing was about a girl who lived behind a waterfall in a secluded valley. Her parents had died (but I didn’t dwell on that aspect for some reason), and she was living alone, self-sufficient with the crops, animals and everything they had accumulated throughout the years. Then she sees this poor cowboy racing across the plains being chased by outlaws. He’s shot and she rescues him.
After he gets well, he takes her to the nearest town because …now I can’t even remember why other than the fact that she was alone and he thought she needed to be “rescued”! If I was writing that story now, I would give her a passel of younger brothers and sisters and how they squabble over letting the man leave because he might expose their hidden valley to others. Hmmm, that story might have some redeeming qualities after all! Lol Oh, and since I was so bad at dialogue, she rarely spoke, and I gave the excuse that she’d been alone for so long she was not used to talking to people. It was horrible!!!!
I’ve always wanted to be a published author ever since I can remember, but I didn’t start pursuing publication about seventeen years ago. As a child, I was fascinated by how authors put all those stories on paper. Somehow, my brain just naturally made up stories. But for years, I didn’t write them down. I tried to get started a few times, but didn’t know how to construct a compelling story with an interesting beginning, firm middle, and satisfying ending. So out of lack of knowledge and fear of failure, I just kept dreaming. I think I had the idea that as long as I didn’t attempt to write, I couldn’t fail at writing. In 1994, I decided that if I was ever going to write, I had to stop kidding myself and get to work.  
Pam, I agree, that story has a lot of promise!  I could sit here and talk about writing all day!
 
Christy, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog today!
Thank you for being here! 
 
Don’t forget to head over to Pam’s blog and enter to win the Kindle. There are several books that will be loaded on it. Winner will be announced in October. And right now, for those of you who have your own Kindle, Stealing Jake stayed at #1 on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestselling Free books for five days and is still riding in the #3 spot. Grab your free download while available!
     

R – Reviews & Winning

I gave a book review of Ruth Logan Herne’s Waiting Out The Storm on the FAITH Blog and am giving away a copy. I’ll announce that winner on Friday, April 22nd. Ruthy has graciously said she’ll also give a winner Made to Order Family.  I’d love to see you hop over to the FAITH Blog and leave me a comment for a chance to win!

And be sure to check out Friday’s post here on At Split Ends to enter to win Lindi Peterson’s Debut Novel, Her Best Catch!  The winner of Her Best Catch will be announced TOMORROW!!!!

TTIN Challenge: Heydays 6 & 7 *** AND A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE BOOK!

Over the weekend I managed to complete a synopsis for my historical. Now, I need to go back and write the chapters according to the synopsis. I ran out of time this morning.

Our newest goal and giveaway is this:  The person to reach 5,000 words by February 1 will win the book I just reviewed yesterday – Digitalis by Ronie Kendig. You’ll get your very own, brand new copy – cause I’m not giving my copy away – it’s too good to be without!

What this means is you need to keep checking in with me and letting me know of your progress! 5k is doable! We just have to stay focused and keep writing!

Inspiring You Days 3 & 4

I was off work on Friday, however that does not mean I rest. I cleaned floors, washed clothes and managed to run a few errands while chasing my 8 month old son around the house. My 5 year old daughter also keeps me busy, although she’s a great help.

However, the busy-ness of the day kept me from posting my progress yesterday. Though minimal, I did manage to continue plotting my book and I started two charts for my 2 main characters.

That progress continued this morning. I’m happy to report I’ve gained another 500 words to my draft as of yesterday. Today, my total is 2,423. I’m approaching the middle of the book. I’m working between reviewing some brief plot points I made a few weeks ago when I outlined the book. I used Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure. I’ve got to say, this tool really helped me visualize each major part of the story.   

I also use a GMC chart that Debra Dixon teaches in her book: GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. You can actually purchase a copy at the link above. Using GMC helps me to understand where my characters have been and where they are going. Although, I always have doubts as to whether the GMC is strong enough and the character’s GMC will usually change, and should change, as the story progresses. Right now, I don’t know that I have a strong handle on either character’s GMC. I know where they’ve been and where I want them to end up. It’s that sagging middle that always worries me. And right now, I’m at the point of plotting where I wonder how I’m going to overcome that sagging middle problem.

After all, I want my story to be that svelte hourglass-figure shape… not that unhealthy pear shape.

How do you overcome the sagging middle? Or, a weak character? Do you just write and write and worry about the flaws of the story in revisions?

Inspiring You: Day 2

I’m so excited about this challenge. I ended up sleeping in later, but knowing I had all of you working with me and working on your own projects, I knew I had to accomplish something!

This morning, I began what I’m calling my STORY DRAFT. I’m letting myself free write, I refuse to worry – at this time – about how badly I’m telling, or what words do or don’t sound right. I am drafting as I see the story unfold in my head. I’ve got about 2 subplots going and the one major plot working. I’ve found I need to give some of my character’s names and need to work on the background for them. All of this I plan to come back to. Right now, I’m drafting and I’ll worry about everything else later.

This is the first time I’ve approached a story in this manner. Or, maybe in my earliest drafts, this is what I did, but I thought I was properly writing the story. I’m hoping this maneuver will help me as I work toward the completed manuscript and will better prepare me to attack revisions when that time comes.

Today, my word count is 1,191 for the rough draft. More than I expected! Woo-Hoo! I pushed through this morning and am excited about this progress. I can’t wait to hear how all of you did yesterday and this morning. Please share!!

(Don’t forget, some lovely prizes await you at the end of the month for those who reach their appointed challenge!) Check out Day 1 for more details.

Inspiring You Challenge: Day 1

It’s time. 

Time to light a fire under your butter bean.

It’s time for another At Split Ends Accountability Race.

I need you. You need me. Together, we will inspire each other and keep each other accountable to reach our goals.  Earlier this year, you helped me finish my book. Rebecca finished hers and Lindi and Dianna worked on theirs right along with us…

Well, folks, it’s that time again…

For this challenge, I’m inviting anyone –


(L) Me & (R) Edwina Cowgill
 at the National Corvette Museum
 in Bowling Green, KY, September 2010



Writer or Not – Come Forth and Declare Your Goal

Are you assisting a loved one and need support or prayer? Do you want to reorganize your closet? In the middle of renovation of that one room that you can’t seem to finish? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to make it to the gym daily? Are you trying to finish writing your book? Are you planning to start a new business?

Whatever, your need, let’s declare it here on ASB

But wait! You’re not done. Declaring the Goal is ONLY the first step!  Then you have to hold yourself accountable and come back to this Blog and give me your progress.

Here’s how it works.

1)Declare your Goal.
2)Report back to the blog daily – whether you made an achievement or not. Everyone involved in the challenge will be reporting and you will get support from all of us working on our goal.

3) By October 31st – we’ll see who has met their challenge.
4) Reward!!!

If you finished that room renovation, I’ll send you a Home Depot Gift Card.
If you finish writing your book, I’ll send you a Walmart gift card. And so on…

Basically, if you truly finish your stated goal, you will get a reward from me 🙂
(However, I cannot mail out of the country, so United States participants only, please)

Now mind you, the gift cards won’t be anything fabulous. $5, $10 will be the max. But the fact is, I appreciate my friends and I want to help you reach your goals.

I’ll go first… My challenge is to start a new book – working title, Sinking Sand. I’d like to have a rough draft completed by October 31st. My target word count for the book is 60,000 words, but I am not holding myself to that for this first challenge. That will come with rewrites. I simply want to have the beginning, middle and end down from all of the character’s perspectives.

Are you up for a challenge?

Declare it and Let Us Begin to Inspire You!

Annual Shoe Contest on Writing By Faith Blog

For the last 3 years, the group blog I post on each Sunday with Angela Breidenbach, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Lindi Peterson, Missy Tippens, and Mindy Obenhaus has sponsored a contest following the ACFW Conference. To win a free gift, all the reader of our blog needs to do is guess which shoe belongs to which FAITH girl. But this year, we’ve shaken the contest up a bit….

You see, FAITH girl Lindi wasn’t able to attend conference this year, so there are only 5 FAITH girls in the shot, but there are 8, yes EIGHT, shoes in the photo. The other 3 shoes belong to literary agents. It’s your job to guess which one. So jump on over to the Writing by Faith blog to throw in your guess and for a chance to win the free gifts from each FAITH girl. We’ll post clues every day this upcoming week, so you’ll need to check back with us to figure it out and win the prize.

Good luck!!! F. A. I. T. H. Following.Always.Intently.Trusting.Him.: Annual Shoe Contest!

Congratulations, Finalists…

And a special congrats to Missy Tippens

who finaled in Bookseller’s Best (Greater Detroit RWA)

Here are the finalists in the Inspirational Category:

Sandra Bricker ~  Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida




Amanda Cabot ~ Paper Roses




Irene Hannon ~ An Eye for an Eye




Trish Perry ~ Sunset Beach




Marlo Schalesky ~ If Tomorrow Never Comes




Missy Tippens ~ His Forever Love