This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Celebrating the Crossover

This month marks a one-year anniversary of when I felt led to switch from secular fiction to Christian fiction. I knew I needed to be writing for the Lord--to glorify Him. This was not an immediate decision. I pursued publication in the secular market from 1996 to 2002. It was at the end of this year I took a three-year break from my writing. During this time God dealt with me and I grew and changed.

In October 2005, the desire to write again hit me. I couldn't imagine writing for myself as I did before. While I was not a new Christian, I had experienced a spiritual renewing in my life. Writing was part of my life and I felt this spiritual renewness should reflect in my writing.

Now one year later, I've converted two complete manuscripts from secular to Christian. I've plotted five new novels and started writing two of them. I have a well-respected agent representing my work. I've created a website, this blog, and a newsletter. Soon I will join six other writers on a new blog and I've agreed to serve on the Public Relations Committee of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Today, one year later, I also received another rejection from a publisher that had requested revisions. For the first time in my writing career, I didn't feel the pain of rejection that I usually feel. If I didn't know better, I would claim that I'm just becoming immune to it after all these years, but I do know better. I know that isn't the case. I feel a peace and a trust that I didn't have before.

I have given my writing over to the Lord. If it wasn't meant for me to be published by that particular publisher then I'm okay with it. I know God will bring about the circumstances to match me up with the right publisher for my writing style. During my three years sabatical from writing, God taught me that sometimes timing is everything. You cannot reap a harvest when you are in a planting season. Right now I am in a season of restoration in my personal life--spiritually, emotionally, financially, perhaps in my writing life as well. I've only been writing a year since my three years of nothing. I look forward to the things God has planned for my writing career. I will keep writing and keep submitting, until my season of publication comes.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Writing Contests

I have a confession to make. I don't like writing contests. Now that I've made that statement, I also want to make it clear that there are many advantages to entering writing contests. It is for these reasons that I enter and I am very selective.

Now that the major writing conferences are over, it will soon be time to enter contests again. Writers around the world will be revising and polishing their manuscripts for another chance to see their work shine forth above what others have written.

I have only entered four contests in eleven years, and I only finaled in one of those contests. I wasn't impressed with some of the comments. A few of the judges gave some very bad advice. Others gave good advice and I put the good advice to work on my manuscripts. In the last contest I entered, a judge insisted on critiquing a one-page synopsis that wasn't supposed to be critiqued. It was optional to include and I assumed the contest rules would be adhered to, especially by the judge. I was wrong.

I keep an open mind to entering contests because not everyone is going to love my work no matter how well I write. Once my work is in print for the whole world to read, some will like it, some will be indifferent to it, and others will hate it. This is a fact I have learned to accept. However, my goal will be to find people who like my writing style and sell my books to them. In the meantime, contests will help me prepare and deal with the compliments and criticisms I receive from others.

Other advantages include getting your manucript in front of an editor or agent, building writing credentials on your bio, gaining you exposure to the publishing world, givng feedback and a better writing experience, etc.

Because of some bad experiences, I have been reluctant to enter more contests. They cost money and I have to make sure that my investment will be worth it. Therefore, I have learned a few lessons to determine which contests to enter.

1. Choose a writing contests that has a category for what you write. Some contests do not have categories for women's fiction, young adult or inspirationals. Don't waste your time and money if they don't have a category for which you write.
2. Enter a contest that will have an agent or an editor judging the category for which you are entering. If your manuscript finals, you will be given a chance to have your manuscript read above the slush piles on their desks. This can take years off your "waiting to be discovered" period.

3. If you are entering a contest to receive feedback on your writing, only enter a contests that provides written comments from judges. If the contest uses generic score sheets, you might not be getting the kind of feedback you want written directly on your manuscript.

4. Only enter contests with reasonable fees. The average contest should be no more than $15-35 per manuscript. If it is a huge contest where hundreds are entering, the fee might be anywhere from $50-$150.

5. Don't assume that trained judges or published judges are the final word on what is right. Research their comments and suggestions to determine if they are valid before you revise your whole manuscript on a few comments.

6. Don't have any expectations. If you final and win -- wonderful! If you don't, use the good suggestions and discard and forget the bad suggestions. Some comments will be totally off and you will know in your spirit whether or not to ignore them.

7. Judges are volunteers and writers themselves. Therefore, they may recognize a manuscript they have critiqued for a friend in a critique group from online or a local chapter.

8. Keep an open mind and prepare your heart with prayer and supplication. You may honestly need some of the critiques you receive.

I pray your submissions will go well in your next contest.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blurring the Lines Between CBA and ABA Markets

While the CBA Market (Christian Book Association) continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the lines between what is considered Christian and secular (ABA Market) is blurry and confusing to some consumers. According to, Christian Publishing is a substantial portion of the $4.2 billion-a-year of the Christian products industry. As a result, many of the ABA publishers are buying and merging with traditional Christian publishers and/or starting their own Chrisitian publishing divisions to cash in on as much of that money as possible.

For several years, Harlequin has been publishing Christian books under the imprint of Steeple Hill. Warner Books started out with their imprint as Warner Faith and recently converted to a new line called Hachette Book Group USA. Penguin Putnam created Penquin Praise, and most recently Multnomah, a traditional Christian publisher, was purchased by Random House.

A concern I have heard from some Christian writers in my writing groups, as well as book reviewers, is that more authors who traditionally write secular books have turned to writing what they "claim" to be Christian books with no real Christian values based on bibilical principles. Just because a writer happens to mention God a few times in the story doesn't mean it is a Christian novel, nor should it be marketed as such. When this happens people do not get an honest idea of what Christian fiction should be. True Christians reject it and those who don't know any better, embrace it with the wrong perception of God's Word.

To make matters worse, there are some authors who started out writing secular romance books and later converted to Christian fiction. Therefore, some of these writers may have both kinds of books out on the shelves and it confuses readers who may just be learning about them. Two writers that come to mind are Robin Lee Hatcher and Francine Rivers. These Christian women are writing wonderful Christian fiction, but a new reader who happens to pick up one of their old secular books may refuse to read any of their new works because that reader may not know about their conversion.

With so much hype out there on the shelves in promotion and marketing, how do we writers go about educating our readers so they do not waste money on books they didn't intend to buy? Or prevent a reader from avoiding Christian fiction because they might have gotten the wrong impression with their first introduction to the CBA Market? I believe we have to educate them on how to buy books. Readers need to know which publishers are traditional Christian publishers and which ABA imprints to buy.

Readers can check out several Christian fiction writers by visiting, American Christian Fiction Writers. CBA publishers and ABA imprints are also listed at, a webpage from the Faith, Hope & Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. Read Christian book reviews and check out the CBA online website at, where you can find the top bestsellers in the CBA Market.

According to several publishing statistics, Christian fiction is not only growing, but a market that is here to stay. Christians want to read fiction without compromising their faith.

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