From Picture Book to iPad App: Step 8

Yikes, we have been busy! Kate has been cranking out the final scenes and animation pieces. Nur has been coding like a mad man. I’ve been tweeting, facebooking, Google+ing, writing press releases, working to set up the website for Purple Carrot Books…blah, blah, blah. Are we there yet?

Step Eight:
A. Run to the Finish
We are technically in alpha test phase. Nur has been sending regular app builds and we have been putting it to the test trying to break it or find issues that need tweaking. Of course passing it off to our 4-year-old mini-app-testers is part of that too.

Not much else to say here except this is when it gets pretty exciting. We begin to see all our hard work coming to fruition as the app comes alive with all its fun animations and interactions. It puts a smile on our faces.

B. Get the Word Out
As with all products, it may be the greatest, but if no one knows about it, how can they buy it?

I’ve subscribed to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to receive requests for queries from reporters needing qualified input for articles being developed. I’ve done one interview with Alice Walton, associate editor for She was fascinated by my story of beating genetic cancer with my diet. You can read more about my journey at

The Purple Carrot Books website is live. Go to Watch the book trailer and sign up to get email alerts when The Prisoner of Carrot Castle is launched in the App Store.

You can help spread the word by sharing on Facebook and Twitter. At go to the orange box below the book trailer and select Facebook and Twitter to share the website on your Facebook and Twitter feed.

Also, please go to the Purple Carrot Books Facebook fan page and LIKE it to get regular updates. And please tell your friends and family about The Prisoner of Carrot Castle iPad app coming soon. Published by Purple Carrot Books.

Follow @prplcarrotbooks on Twitter to get news about the launch and watch for and tweet #CarrotCastle.

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Chris Pedersen and her husband live with a chocolate lab named Brandy in the beautiful Sierra foothills in California. Chris writes for children and loves crafting nonfiction stories from real life. The Prisoner of Carrot Castle is her first iPad app. Her other work in process is a chapter book titled How I Survived Third Grade.

Published work includes Work and Wag, about dog jobs, in Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and A Saving Transformation, in THE DOG NEXT DOOR published by Revell. In addition, since conquering cancer with diet, Chris blogs about health, her heart passion, at Healthy Journey Café where she dishes out recipes and tips to achieve optimum wellness. Her writing journey is chronicled at Paws and Ponder.

Inspire Member Spotlight: Joanne Kraft

How long have you been a member of Inspire Christian Writers?

Four Years.

What prompted you to join Inspire?

I desired to take my writing more seriously and found Inspire on It was there I discovered that they had a critique group. I built up some courage and attended. One of the best things that I ever did!

Was there a particular moment when you knew you were a writer?

It took a few years and a couple published articles before I considered myself a writer. I’ve since realized that a writer is a writer long before they’re ever published. A writer writes. Period.

Describe your writing career high point and low point.

Writing career low point would have to be when my publisher rejected all of my book titles and went with one of their own. My writing high point continues to change because I have had a lot of them. Getting a book contract was a high point, but so is every time I have an article accepted and published.

Describe your most memorable interview.

That would have to be when our local newspaper showed up at our front door and I’d forgotten our appointment. I’d just returned from a three mile walk and hadn’t even showered yet! Their photographer took lots of pictures and I wanted to crawl under a rock when my photo made the front page of the paper!

What did you do when you received your first acceptance or publication?

Jumped up and down, laughed, and grinned from ear to ear for about two weeks!

Describe receiving your first book contract. Or agent contract.

As much as I couldn’t wait to share the news with my husband, it was Beth Thompson who got the first call after him. I think she was more excited than I was.

When I landed my agent, Rachelle Gardner, I was just as happy. I already had my book contract when she found me, so I can’t wait until I give her my next book proposal and see what she can do with it!

What project of yours is gathering dust?

Well, right now it would have to be my book proposal. I’ve been busy marketing my book, Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and remodeling our kitchen. (Which looks fabulous, by the way!)

What’s next for you?

I have a feeling there’s lots still in my writing future. For now, I’m speaking to women’s groups/MOPS groups/women’s ministries. It’s been a real joy to encourage women. I absolutely love it!

What have you read recently that you couldn’t put down?

I am one of those people who read lots of books at the same time. I am reading the memoir by Rhoda Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. Just finished The Lovely Bones and didn’t much enjoy that one. The book that I had a hard time putting down was Ginny Yttrup’s novel Words.

What does it mean to you to be a writer?

Being a writer is an amazing charge to keep. Thoughts, experiences, tiny moments captured in words—what a blessed career to have.

Was there a book that changed your life?

I can’t say there was just one. As a little girl, I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and the many Judy Blume books that showed me the power of story and the escape a good book brings.

Describe your writing environment.

My writer environment is pretty schizophrenic. Some days I write at my kitchen table, other days I’m on my couch, and there have been times I’ve written at my favorite coffee shop. My absolute favorite place would have to be my girlfriend’s cabin in the woods. God meets me there every single time.


To connect with Joanne, visit her blog:, friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter

Christmas Letters that Get Read

With the Christmas season approaching, each of us will receive our share of letters filled with family cheer.

Do you wonder if yours will get read?

As Christian writers, we take this opportunity to encourage and inspire. Here are some tips I’ve learned that make my letters fun to read:


I use a four-page newsletter format with a catchy title, columns, pictures, and lots of white space between articles, and at least one-inch margins all around. My title is “John and Sue’s Yule Log 2011.” It is always the same except for the year.

Small, fancy fonts on dark colored paper do not impress anyone and make letters hard to read. I use common fonts (Times New Roman or Courier) for the body of my articles, nothing smaller than 10 point. White paper and bright holiday graphics make my letters attractive and cheerful. I use two online image resources–iStock Photo and Plus! Image.


Instead of writing a rambling journal of things I did during the year, I make an outline of topics for my letter. Then I make each topic a subtitle for an article, using large, attractive fonts in bold print.

The feature article is my Christmas message. Whether it is devotional, inspirational, or humorous, I give it a strong beginning (hook), a cohesive middle, and a clear conclusion.

I also write family articles that highlight special occasions, events, and accomplishments. Children and grandchildren like the attention they get when I write about them, especially when they see their pictures with the articles. I enjoyed writing about my grandson who entered the Coast Guard, my niece who served in Afghanistan, my grandson who played in the Little League All Stars, and my daughter who placed in her first triathlon.

Relating to current events in my articles gives my letter a point of reference. For example, in the years following 9/11, I included people in our family who served in the armed forces in harm’s way. In 2009 I covered the Sacramento Tea Party and included pictures of my friends and me.

Although my newsletter is for and about family, not everyone in the family makes the spotlight every year. But over several years, all family members get their time in print.

Keeping my letter positive is important. If a family member has suffered from injury, bad health, or loss, I give an update and thank people for their prayers and support.

While style and design are important, my focus is on content. I want to make my newsletters inspiring and encouraging. My Christmas letter is one chance I get every year to highlight my family and share the meaning of God’s gift of His Son.


I carry my digital camera with me during the year to capture memorable moments. When it comes time to write my annual letter, the pictures are on my computer. Each snapshot is documented with names and dates, giving my letter more credibility. Every article doesn’t have to have a picture, but they are available if I need them.

Putting it Together

It takes about five minutes at the most to read my annual letter, but I have worked throughout the year, collecting information and photos. It’s fun to add recipes or poetry.

When I have gathered all my material, I craft a cheerful design and write my Christmas message and family articles. Then I send my letter with love.

More people will want to read our Christmas letters if we focus on making the content positive, inspiring, and encouraging. It’s another way we show love for the ones who matter most to us, but they have to read our letters to appreciate that love.

What about you? What do you think are the two most valuable ingredients of the Christmas letters you write and/or receive?

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Author of more than eighty articles and stories, Sue Tornai lives with her husband John and dog Maggie in Carmichael, California. They enjoy camping and fishing at Lake Almanor and the Feather River in Northern California. Sue has taught elementary Sunday school for more than twenty years. Her most rewarding experience as a writer is when someone tells her that something she wrote touched a heart or changed a life. “That’s why I write,” Sue says. “I write to inspire people about God’s amazing love. I write for His glory.”

Visit Sue on her website at




Take Control of Your Book Marketing

When my first book contract arrived, that cliché about drinking water from a fire hose made complete sense. My nonfiction parenting book Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical was a joy to write. Seriously. I thought that would be the hard part. It wasn’t. The learning curve came when I realized marketing this book fell squarely on my shoulders.

My book was released in June. Since then, my unnaturally patient husband has heard at least a trillion-bazillion times, “When my next book is published, I’m going to do things differently. Yesiree Bob. Lots differently next time!”

Not all marketing people are writers, but all writers must learn to be marketers. It’s not always a comfortable fit, but in a world where you Facebook your Tweets and Tweet your Facebook—it’s an area we must learn and grow in. I’ll be working on book number two very soon. My personal next time will include working on my marketing plan right alongside my book proposal.

Have you lost your appetite yet? I hope not. You’re a writer. You have a gift. Once you find a publisher to wrap your words in a cover you need to find a way to launch it so it lands softly into the waiting hands of the very people who will benefit from it.

I thought I’d share a few things to help make your first time my next time:

Brainstorm Media Sources

Even before you receive your book contract, begin thinking of ways you can market this book to your readership. Everyone wants a good write up in their local paper. So, what are you going to do to put that information in the media’s hands?

My next time? Create a marketing plan that includes a detailed marketing calendar.

Media Kits

The party favor of marketing. If you don’t know what a media kit is click here. I’ve emailed media kits, mailed media kits, and even packed up the kids in triple-digit heat to hand deliver  media kits in pretty packages to local radio/TV stations. I landed two call backs from the hand-delivered efforts—a  radio interview and morning TV show gig. I consider that successful.

My next Time? Work on media kit six months before book release. Oh, and start saving. Each of my media kits that I handed or mailed out, cost at least $20.00 if I included a copy of my book.

Book Trailer

It’s nice bling to add to your media kit, but I wouldn’t waste my money on that again. It cost me close to $400.00 and I really wasn’t thrilled with the end result.

My next time? DIY or hire a teenager.

News Release

I write nonfiction. I had no idea how to write a news release. Thank God for Google and a girlfriend in my writers group ( who works in PR. She guided me to Pitch Engine—a media site where you can put up your own news releases. The media (social media especially!) will take your news release and help send it into cyberspace. It’s free for the first thirty days. Try it out and see what you think. After that, it’s about $40 a month.

My next Time?  Write news releases months in advance, save them as Word docs in my media arsenal to grenade-launch weekly about three months before my release date.


Use chunks of your book and create articles that will appeal to your readership.  A gifted author-girlfriend of mine wrote a book for pregnant moms. Her publishing house landed her an article with MOPS magazine the same month she’ll be selling her book at the MOPS convention. Brilliant.

My next Time? I’ll create and submit an article from each completed chapter.

Social Marketing

Facebook, Twitter, blog regularly. Do it.

My next Time? Do it sooner.

Follow-up & Follow Through

If you leave here with nothing leave with this: Walk through every open door. Period. Reply, respond, call back, send letters, homing pigeons, smoke signals—whatever it takes to follow-up and follow- through.

My next Time? This is my most powerful marketing strategy and the one thing that has brought the greatest marketing dividends.  I do this pretty well.

Remember Your Manners

Please and thank you are still golden words to use no matter what your age. Make sure to send a thank you to each reporter, blog reviewer, TV/radio producer.

My next time? Have more postage on hand!

And lastly, if I could think of one thing outside of my faith in God as my ultimate marketing agent for my book, it would have to be the networking and help I’ve received from Inspire Writers, my agent Rachelle Gardner and my Wordserve family.

They’ve been incredible.

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Joanne Kraft is a recovering too-busy mom and the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. A writer and sought-after speaker, Joanne’s articles have been published by In Touch, Thriving Family, ParentLife, Today’s Christian Woman, and P31 Woman. She’s appeared on CBN News, Focus on the Family’s afternoon show—Your Family Live, Sacramento & Co., and The Harvest Show.

To connect with Joanne, visit her blog:, friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter

Inspire Member Spotlight: Elizabeth M Thompson

How long have you been a member of Inspire Christian Writers?

Since March, 2004 when I invited a handful of people to join me on this journey of starting a writers group.

What prompted you to join Inspire?

Something magical happens when Christian writers get together. I experienced it at Mount Hermon and again at a Christian Writers Seminar. I dreamed of a community of writers where we could experience the fellowship, the personal and professional growth and the encouragement of those events, but on an on-going basis.

Was there a particular moment when you knew you were a writer?

I was shy in High School and refused to read my work in front of the Creative Writing class. (I was afraid of rejection even then.) One day my teacher said, “Your writing is powerful and the class needs to hear what you’ve written. If you’re not comfortable sharing it, I will.” I relented and read my piece that day and consistently after that. The affirmations I received from the teacher and students helped me begin to believe in myself as a writer.

Describe your writing career high point and low point.

One of my high points came when I submitted an article via email and received an acceptance from the editor within a few hours. He said he wept reading it and shared how it ministered to him. Knowing something I wrote resonated with a reader and met a heart-need encouraged me to keep writing.

My lowest point in my writing? My first book proposal rejection. Yep. I wept like a baby. I’m not too proud to admit it.

Which of your stories is the closest to your heart?

That’s not a fair question. It’s like asking which of my children is my favorite. I love different things about each of my stories. Whispers on the Wind’s main character is thrust into a spiritual journey that mirrors part of my own. So, I’m quite attached to her.

What project of yours is gathering dust?

I’ve outlined several novels and at least a half dozen non-fiction books. I like to think they are percolating, not gathering dust. They are simmering on the back burner while I work through those on the front burner.

What’s next for you?

Getting a book published. I have one nearly ready which I plan to pitch at Mount Hermon this spring.

What have you read recently that you couldn’t put down?

I loved Words by Ginny Yttrup. In it she deals with deep, life-gripping pain with redemption and life-giving hope. Another page-turner I read recently was They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti. It kept me up late.

What does it mean to you to be a writer?

As a writer, I play with words, creating them and strategically moving them around in an effort to connect to the heart of my readers. If I do it anything close to well, my words will hold up a mirror and help readers see themselves more accurately and more importantly, to see themselves in light of God’s love and His redemptive plan for them. That’s what my favorite writers do and what I aim to do.

Was there a book that changed your life?

Yes, many. None has changed me more profoundly than the Bible. But they have changed me. I read The Chosen by Chaim Potok during a dark and lonely valley in my life. And I got it! It was the first time God spoke to me through a novel. Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner challenged me to live more authentically. I recently read Lost and Found by Ginny Yttrup. God is using Ginny’s words to free me from the trap of people-pleasing.

To get to know Elizabeth better, you can follow her on Twitter, friend her on Facebook or peruse the posts here on the Inspire blog.

Fragmented Sentences

Grammar teachers hate them. Writers use them to good advantage. What? Pieces of sentences that lack something—a subject or verb—to make them complete.

Fragments help pace. Sometimes you want the reader to stop. Abruptly. And pay attention to one word. Like I did with “abruptly.”

Other times you don’t want to bore the reader by spelling out needless words. For example, “What are sentence fragments?” in the place of “What?”

Fragments serve to break a thirty or forty-word sentence into bite-sized pieces. Years ago, people used commas and semi-colons to do this. Horrors! No editor or publisher wants to see a semi-monster anymore.

Consider the following paragraph:

Rodney kept coming. Full steam. Unstoppable. Like a freight train with a hundred cars and no engineer. No brakeman. No dead-man switch. Except me. If he doesn’t switch off, I’m dead.

This paragraph comprises two sentences with six fragments sandwiched between. You wouldn’t want to bite into it with a stream of connecting commas drooling out of your mouth. Nor would you want me to insert verbs into each fragment to satisfy the palate of your critique group’s strict grammarian.

No, tastes fine as is. (Translation: It tastes fine just as it is.)

Dana Sudboro is the Vice President of Inspire Christian Writers and leads our Rocklin/Roseville critique group. His zeal for writing romance stems from his passion for revealing the love of our Heavenly Bridegroom. His latest book, Continents Apart, recently released from White Rose Publishing.

To learn more about Dana Sudboro and his writing, visit his website:

My First ACFW Conference

“You get to have lunch with agents and editors.” I read this somewhere before attending my first American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in September 2011.

My insecure mind immediately pictured a high school cafeteria full of long rectangular tables and hundreds of uncomfortable plastic chairs – you know, the kind with the long, unwieldy legs ripe for tripping green writers just like me? Of course the nightmare wasn’t complete until I envisioned balancing a tray of self-served food along with my large bag full of writing gear and workshop handouts as I clumsily made my way to an empty seat, only to be told it was being saved for someone else.

That was my fear–that I would make a fool of myself, that I wasn’t ready to attend a huge writing conference. Not yet anyway. I still had too much to learn. What if someone said something writing related and I had no idea what they were talking about? Or what if I was asked a question and I had no intelligible answer?

People, fear is an ugly little word that was never supposed to be in our vocabulary. (Yes, this is something I have to tell myself all the time.) God did not give us a spirit of fear or timidity (2 Timothy 1:7) but many of us suffer from silent doubts and fears about our worthiness, our writing ability, our social acumen. Our lists can go on and on.

However, the truth is much more satisfying.

There is no cafeteria! Instead, picture a banquet hall full of round tables covered with white tablecloths. As you relax into the many soft-cushioned chairs, a waiter comes by and serves you, on your right-hand side, of course, a leafy green salad with raspberry vinaigrette followed by a delightfully arranged entree and dessert. Your water goblet is never empty and there’s always a friendly writer next to you that you get to meet.

That was the reality, the truth.

Sure, my experience at my first ACFW conference held a few uncomfortable moments for me but most of my time was spent meeting new people and learning new things.

Some of my favorite moments were:

The workshops.

What a wealth of topics to choose from and talented people that give their time teaching other writers. I would go again just for the classes. I wish they would take out a few of the breaks and squeeze in more workshops. Invaluable!

The worship.

There was a moment at one of the worship sessions when I looked around the room as we sang Great is Thy Faithfulness and saw a sea of raised hands worshipping the King of Kings. It took my breath away and I thought to myself, “This is what it’s all about!”

The networking opportunities.

Yes! You really do have lunch with some agents and editors. You really do pass them in the halls. You really can strike up a conversation and get to know them. You really will bump into them in the elevators and in the bar and in the lobby at the end of the day. Not to mention all the other writers you have the chance to meet and talk with.

The appointments.

ACFW guarantees every registrant one appointment with either an agent or an editor. Depending on how early you register and the number of other attendees, sometimes you may get two. God gave me FIVE! I was so dumbfounded I went and double checked to see if they made a mistake on my schedule. The thing is, God has His hand on every detail and every meeting. And sometimes He just wants to bless your socks off!

My husband says to me all the time, “Stop worrying about all that other stuff and just write your book!” Good advice, huh?

After all, God gave us a spirit of power and love and self-discipline – not of fear!

Have you attended a major writer’s conference?

What one word best describes your experience?

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Lacie Nezbeth is a stay-at-home mom with three children under the age of six.  In between nurturing her children and devoting time to her husband, she is immersed in blogging and writing fiction. Stop by her blog and say hello: Lacie Nezbeth

THE REAL DEAL: One Moms Journey To Having It All


Inspire Member Spotlight: Chris Pedersen

How long have you been a member of Inspire?

I’ve been attached to Inspire since Mount Hermon 2009 Christian Writers Conference, when I hooked up with Beth Thompson and a few other Inspire members. I was impressed with the servant’s heart that Beth and the group exhibited. At Mount Hermon, Inspire volunteered to help out with speaker support, bringing water and other needed/requested items to each speaker throughout the conference.

What prompted you to join Inspire?

Needing help with my writing, I was actively seeking a local group to join. I tried several groups. Once I attended my first Inspire Critique group meeting in Sacramento, I knew I found the place for me. I took full advantage of the various groups meeting throughout the region, submitting my manuscripts to several when I had publisher submission deadlines approaching.

Was there a particular moment when you knew you were a writer?

I first became a writer from a technical perspective, writing technical material, manuals and magazine articles. I knew I truly was a writer when clients began to pay me for my writing.

Describe your writing career high point and low point.

My high point occurred when I heard from an editor that my first-person, nonfiction piece was accepted for inclusion into a collection of stories about dogs. I celebrated by doing the “Snoopy Dance” on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
No real low point. But I could say it was a hard reality when I heard from an editor that I needed to completely rewrite and retell a picture book I wrote that meant a lot to me.

Describe your most memorable interview.

Recently, I was interviewed by Richard Knox for a health segment on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. The set-up to record over the phone (he in Boston and me in California) required that I hold a recording device to my mouth with one hand while I spoke to him on the phone using my other hand. Get the picture? Two devices held to each side of my face.
Although not feeling nervous, as soon as the interview started I began to sweat profusely. Drips of sweat dribbled down my arms. The crease of my bent elbows accumulated enough moisture to feed a river’s headwater. Was I sitting in a sauna? I mustered a mental focus, but physically I was uncomfortable. I shook off a wistful glance at the motionless ceiling fan above, knowing I had no hands to change the conditions during the 28-minute interview.
Note to self: Make sure the room is adequately cooled down before the next interview.

Which of your stories is the closest to your heart?

Closest to my heart is The Tale of Chessie, a story involving a dog whose special disposition created a picture of God’s character to a young boy. It’s based on my experience with one special dog in my life that showed a rare unconditional love and attentiveness even while she endured a painful accident.

That story is currently sitting on the proverbial shelf.

What did you do when you received your first acceptance or publication?

When I heard from an editor that my first-person, nonfiction piece was accepted for inclusion in a collection of stories about dogs, I told everyone who would listen to me. I celebrated by doing the “Snoopy Dance” on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris that spring.

What project of yours is gathering dust?

The Tail of Chessie

What’s next for you?

After my team and I finish and launch the iPad children’s app, The Prisoner of Carrot Castle, I will concentrate on completing my WIP, a chapter book for children titled How I Survived Third Grade. Since digital publishing is my current direction, perhaps I’ll publish that book as an ebook.

What have you read recently that you couldn’t put down?

I’ve racked my brain trying to remember the last book I read. I usually give books away once I’ve read them and it’s been eleven months since I read it. Yikes! It must not have been very memorable, but I’ll use the excuse I have a ridiculous schedule writing for two personal blogs, plus contributing to this blog, managing a team developing an iPad app, and taking time to prepare healthy meals for my husband and me.

What does it mean to you to be a writer?

As a writer I feel privileged to be able to impart stories and information in a friendly, readable form to an audience that will take what I write, embrace it, allow it to move their hearts and souls and put it to use. I believe God equips me as a writer do this for His glory.

Was there a book that changed your life?

The Shack by Paul Young changed my life. It ministered to me during a time of serious grieving. I just found out I had cancer, the result of a gene defect I was discovered to have. Young’s book helped me rest in God’s providence for my life and remain expectant to his presence and direction for my future.

To learn more about Chris Pedersen and her writing projects, visit these sites.

When the Words Won’t Come

One of the first things I learned about life post-contract is that waiting is part of the publishing world no matter where we are in the process. Selling a book doesn’t magically change things. We still wait.

And we wonder. Since each step in the process is new, we deal with the unknown on a regular basis. Even though I have friends who’ve gone through the process before, each publisher does things differently. No two situations are alike.

I wish I could say I took the waiting in stride and forged ahead, but I didn’t. I battled a severe case of Second Book Syndrome.

I don’t like to admit it, but the truth is that I duke it out with doubt on a daily basis. Having a contract hasn’t changed that. If anything, the pressure I feel and the doubts I experience have intensified.

For more months than I like to admit, getting any words written was a struggle. The voices in my head shouted messages like, “So what if you sold one book. Do you really think you can write another one?” or “You’re nothing but a One Book Wonder.”

Three things helped me get through the tough time when I tweezed out words.

1. I wrote even when doubts plagued me.

Many days I sat at the computer, plunked words on the page, and felt sure they were lousy. I didn’t allow myself to edit them, though. Instead, I forced myself to finished the story. I told myself I could fix what was wrong once the story was done. Since I had to rewrite three-quarters of the book that sold, I learned that I can make a story better. I just have to get the first draft written.

2. I reported my daily word counts to my accountability partners.

My critique partners offered to serve as my accountability partners. Each evening I’d report my word count. Knowing that I’d be checking in with them gave me the push I needed to write even when the doubts messed with my head.

3. I asked the Lord to go before me and help me tell the story He’d given me.

Since I’m a Christian, I find prayer to be a tremendous source of encouragement. The Lord has been my writing partner from the day I wrote the first word of my first story, and I know He’s there for me. Admitting to Him how scared I was and seeking His comfort and guidance helped.

I’m happy to say I survived Second Book Syndrome and completed my latest story last week. What makes me more excited is that I think it may even be better than my debut novel. In spite of my doubts, I have the satisfaction of knowing I did my best.

If you’ve yet to sell a book, how do you envision life on the other side of the contract?

If you’ve sold a book, did you battle Second Book Syndrome?

How do you persevere in the face of debilitating doubts?

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Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in a Gold Rush-era town in at the foot of the majestic Sierras with her husband and two skitty kitties. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, will be released by Barbour Publishing in July 2012. Keli is a member of the EDH Inspire group.

To learn more about Keli Gwyn and her writing, visit: Keli Gwyn’s Blog

Inspire Member Spotlight: Beth Miller Self

How long have you been a member of Inspire?

Since the beginning when the idea of a writing group was a twinkle in Beth Thompson’s eyes.

What prompted you to join Inspire?

I was seeking more depth in my writing.

Was there a particular moment when you knew you were a writer?

The first time a short story of mine was published in an anthology.

Describe your writing career high point and low point.

The low point was at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference when my book wasn’t what they were looking for in fiction. High point was giving my legacy book, Raising Paul, to family members.

Which of your stories is the closest to your heart?

Always the book I’m writing, A Time to Mourn, A Time to Dance. I live and breathe with the characters.

What project of yours is gathering dust?

Joy Bells, the story of my missionary sister-in-law’s life in Iran, is waiting for more editing.

What’s next for you?

Writing a three book series based on the first book, The Unintended Life.

What have you read recently that you couldn’t put down?

Brandilyn Collins‘ book on writing, Getting into Character, and all her novels.

What does it mean to you to be a writer?

A passion to rise and write the thoughts worked out in my dreams.


Was there a book that changed your life?

As a child, I couldn’t put down the Nancy Drew series. I wanted to write books like them.