Monday, September 5, 2011

September and ACFW

September pounced on me right out of the blue! I'm finding it hard to believe it's already time for another newsletter…but I'm always glad to have the opportunity to share with my Bookshelf subscribers. :)

I'm excited about going to the ACFW Conference at the end of this month (September). I'm scared out of my mind about going to the ACFW Conference at the end of this month. I'm terribly nervous about going to the ACFW Conference at the end of this month. I'm GOING to the ACFW Conference at the end of this month!


I've wanted to go to this amazing writer's conference for the past five years, but…well, it is a bit costly. No, scratch that. It's quite costly! But my honey started this little savings a couple of years ago and informed me its purpose was to make it possible for me to attend an ACFW Conference. So…

I'm going to St. Louis!

We robbed the savings a little bit before we should have. If we'd kept going for one more year, the savings might have actually paid for all the conference expenses, but I really wanted to go this year, and my hubby decided it was time. What a guy!

OK. Enough already. Just let me say one last thing…I'M GOING TO THE ACFW CONFERENCE! WOOHOOOO! J

Now, for this month's newsletter. Good stuff for y'all!

  • ·         Our Spotlight Author is Victoria Burks. If you're familiar with her, you know she's a delightful person. If she's new to you, prepare yourself to be delighted.
  • ·         The devotion this time around comes from Tanya Eavenson. Her devotion was forwarded to me by Lisa Lickel. I'm glad she sent it, and I know you will be, as well. Tanya's devotion is aimed at writers, but can be applied to anybody, in any career—or any phase of life.
  • ·         Melissa Norris provided the writing tips for this edition of the Bookshelf. With the ACFW Conference coming up at the end of this month. (Oh, did I mention that I'm going?)  :) I think it's timely and appropriate.
  • ·         The featured book review is from a White Rose Publishing author, Donna B. Snow. I truly enjoyed Daffodils, and am happy to recommend it.
  • ·         Don't forget to check out the Contest Notes. Did you win the drawing from the last newsletter?
  • ·         An extra little treat for you…one of my original short stories. Enjoy!
 As always, feel free to leave your comments—the writers will love hearing from you, and of course I will, too.

Until next time...

Author of Note: Victoria Burks

 Victoria Burks

Welcome to the Bookshelf Newsletter, Victoria! Please tell us a little about yourself. Who is Victoria Burks, the gal next door?

I’ve always considered myself an average wife, mother and grandmother. My husband and I raised a large family of eleven children. Therefore, I never had a lot of time for social contact other than “over the fence” socializing with neighbors and occasional get-togethers with friends from church. Also, I am the past, present, and future (until my husband decides to retire) office manager for my husband’s trucking firm. However, I found time over the years to be involved in our local church and community. I’ve been a Children’s Church Director, Sunday School Teacher for children and adults, Nursery Coordinator, a Girl Scout Leader and a Church Banquet Coordinator from which I recently retired after twenty years. I’ve always enjoyed serving Christ and my family in whatever way I could.     

Sounds like you're a busy lady.
How long have you been writing? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew that’s what you wanted to do?

I can’t say I ever had the “aha” moment, more like “You’ve got to be kidding me, God” moment. I never started writing seriously until about twenty years ago, had never even considered myself as a writer although I had previously written programs to enhance Sunday School lessons, Bible training courses and Christmas plays for both children and adult performance. To me that wasn’t writing, just something to better train my students about the things of God. Novel writing had never been an option until I had a strange dream while recuperating from a severe back injury.

In the dream I was standing at the back of an outdoor theatre observing a live performance of a romantic drama. When I awoke the next morning, I questioned God about the dream, since I’ve never been one to dream often. In my spirit I heard the words, “Write the book.”

Needless to say, I was stunned. I told God, “Excuse me, God, but I believe you are at the wrong address. I’m sure you meant to go to Victoria Holt’s house, not the home of Victoria Burks.” Nevertheless, the inspiration wouldn’t leave me. So in the following weeks, unable to sit in a chair due to the injury, I lay flat of my back and held writing tablets above my head and recorded the basic plot of my dream. After a miracle of healing several weeks later, I was able to develop the manuscript entitled, A Legacy of Love, on my computer.

What an amazing testimony to your calling!
I know you’re excited about your upcoming release, Bittersweet Justice. What inspired you to write this book?

Yes, the book is scheduled to be out late November or early December. Again, I have to give God the credit for that as well. One day the title, Bittersweet Justice, along with the plot just dropped into my mind and I begin to put the story on paper. I’m a “seat of the pants” writer. Sometimes I make a basic outline of scenes I think a chapter needs, but by the time the chapter is complete, those scenes may or may not be in that particular chapter.

I completely understand—I'm a total SOTP writer myself.
What’s your favorite scene from Bittersweet Justice? Can you share it with us?

I would have to say the court scene near the end of the book. It has such a dramatic vision of God’s love and mercy entwined into the story that I still get emotional when I think about it. Please forgive me for not sharing it, but that part of the plot is vital to the intriguing mystery.

You are forgiven. :)  We definitely don't want any spoilers on the Bookshelf!
Your debut novel, A Legacy of Love, released last November. Now that the book is in print, have you ever wished you’d written any scene/character/plot twist, etc., differently?

Notes of Devotion: Tanya Eavenson

What do disciples, writers, and faith have in common? 

 Sea of Galilee
Let me give you a hint with the word, “disciple.” Jesus called twelve men to follow Him. It was a call for them to be trained and to learn. As writers, we are much like these men with different backgrounds, temperaments, occupations, special gifts and talents. With those talents, we are continually learning the craft and the trade of the business. We submit to publishers and agents, enter contests, and attend conferences. All of these are important but we miss something of greater importance if our only focus is that all elusive contract. The disciples also looked toward the future, not their present time of training when they asked Jesus, who would be the greatest.

One of the places Jesus taught them was at the Sea of Galilee. This is where Jesus called four of his followers, where the raging storm brought fear to the disciples while Jesus slept in the boat, and where Peter walked on water. All of these occurrences displayed Jesus’s glory, power, and His provision. But it also showed His concern for them and a desire for His disciples to trust when they felt overwhelmed. 

Matthew 14:25-32 says, “25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 

How many times have we as writers been discouraged, passed over for a book contract, received a rejection letter or fought writer’s block? What did we do? 

Peter gives us a great example of what we should do. His faith inspires us to step out of our comfort zone and meet Jesus. But we can all relate to what happened next. Peter turned his attention to the storm. In a similar way, we take our eyes off Jesus. We begin to look at our inadequacies, our past, or an approaching storm, and if we focus too long on the waves, they will surely topple us over. When that happens, we miss Jesus’ teaching to take courage, to remember He is with us, to stop doubting and have faith.

Everyone who is a disciple will find themselves in training. If we allow God to have His way in our lives—through our experiences and the things we learn—He will use us to touch others in ways unique to us. But that kind of life is a journey, following the Author who fulfills His purpose in us, so whatever we do, in word or deed, He will be glorified.

About Tanya:

Tanya writes women’s fiction to help quench thirsty souls, one story at a time. She is a writer for Christ to the World.

Notes on Writing: Melissa K. Norris

7 Tips to Get the Most From Writer’s Conferences

 Melissa K. Norris

Read any agent’s or editor’s blog, and you’ll most likely find them advising you to attend at least one writer’s conference a year. There are many to choose from. Location and price will influence your choice.

So you’ve done it. Paid your fee, reserved your hotel room, and are ready to be inspired and attend the conference. Whether you’re a newbie or veteran attendee, you can always make your experience better.

1.   Pack wisely. You want to portray yourself as a professional, but conferences make for long days. Business casual is a good option. Chose low heeled shoes or flats. No tennis shoes. Dress in layers. Some rooms are hot, other’s cold.

2.   Come prepared. Bring a large purse or small tote. Most rooms have water glasses, but bring a water bottle along in case. A small snack, granola bar, banana, in case you get hungry in-between meals. A notebook for taking notes and storing handouts from classes.

3.   Hone your pitch. If you’re meeting with an agent or editor, have your pitch worked out ahead of time. Write it down on a notecard. Be conscious of the others time in group appointments. No one, including the agent/editor, likes a time hog.

4.   Business cards. You can print them yourself or go to for some inexpensive ones. Include your name, email, website, blog, and what you write. 

5.   Be social. This is your chance to surround yourself with other writers. People who get you and what you do. Even if you don’t know anyone there, find someone sitting or standing alone and ask them what they write. (Remember to return the favor if asked.)

6.   Pray. Really. Ask God to lead you to people at the conference. This is how I met my two blogging partners last year. Dedicate yourself to asking God for direction in your writing career. I promise He will show you the way to the path He wants for you.

7.   Relax. You are taking a step forward in your writing career. You are honing your craft. Enjoy this time focusing on your gift.

I’d love to hear your best for tips for conferences. What is your favorite conference?

I hope to see and meet some of you at this year’s Northwest Christian Author Writer’s Renewal May 20-21, 2011.

About Melissa:
Melissa joined NCWA in 2010. She is a wife, mother, and a lover of quilts and things pioneer, but can’t resist flashy jewelry and cute purses. Read an excerpt of her novel at . Grow your faith and find inspiration with your daily dose of Faith, Friends, and Frappuccino’s at

Notes in Review: Daffodils

The love of her life rejected her when she needed him most. Ten years later, he’s back and wants a second chance.
But Margaret Ellington is no longer the lovelorn young girl to whom Lukas North said goodbye even as she mourned the loss of her father. She’s a grief-stricken widow who harbors a tremendous amount of guilt for not having loved her husband enough. Peter was a good man, a beautiful soul, and he adored her. But Margaret’s heart had never been completely his, having already been lost to Lukas a decade before.
Margaret flees her life in Jamestown. Teaching in the same school where Lukas also teaches is too hard; memories of Peter in the house they shared are too vivid and painful. She starts over in a new town, with a new job, a new house…a whole new life.
But Lukas has no intention of letting her go this time, and Margaret finds herself reluctantly involved in a long-distance relationship. Slowly, she begins to trust again, and opens herself to the possibility that she might still have a future with the love of her life.
Can their blossoming romance survive the revelation that Lukas is hiding something from her?
This debut novel is an excellent showcase for the author’s talent. Daffodils is a sweet, touching story that makes the reader believe in love. Margaret’s heartbreak, sorrow, guilt—and cautiously re-emerging love—are expertly portrayed, tugging at the heart strings and tweaking the emotions. The pieces of the storyline come together, amidst a charming display of buds and blossoms, into a beautifully woven romance that won’t be easily forgotten.

Contest Notes

The drawing for this edition (September/October) of The Bookshelf will be held on the last day of October. Winner will be announced in the November/December edition of The Bookshelf. I will also contact the winner via e-mail. If I do not receive a response, and a mailing address, by the time I post the next edition of The Bookshelf, the winner will have forfeited their prize.

The September/October winner will receive TWO books: Surrender the Night and Surrender the Dawn. (Click on the titles to read my reviews of these wonderful novels.) They are books two and three in MaryLu Tyndall's "Surrender to Destiny" series.

The July/August winner of Morning Rendezvous and a $5 gift certificate to White Rose Publishing is:

Kathy Fawcett


 Note: You don’t need to “do” anything to enter the newsletter drawing each month. If you are subscribed to The Bookshelf, you will be automatically entered. Subscribe here. This will put you on my e-mailing list. You will then receive an e-mail link every other month when the newsletter posts, as well as occasional updates or announcements between posts.

Note: The books given away in these drawings are in excellent condition, but most have been read once for review purposes. Occasionally, the giveaway may be an Advance Reader Copy, sent to me for review before their final edit, so you might come across typos or formatting errors, and the covers may be different than those shown. All books are handled carefully and you will receive them in great condition.

An Extra Note: Short Romance

                                                 © Pares1 |

The Name Game

Raye Anne frowned when the doorbell ripped her out of her imaginary world and into the real one. She saved her manuscript and reluctantly went to answer the summons.
“Hello.” She mouthed a greeting as she swung the door open, then stepped back, surprised. UPS delivered packages to her almost daily, but the only thing familiar about this man was his uniform.
He did look good in it. From the tanned, muscled legs beneath his short pants to a pair of amazing blue-gray peepers, he made that drab outfit look fine.
“Well? Will I do?” A hint of humor turned up one corner of his lips and added a teasing sparkle to his eyes.
Raye Anne blushed. She’d ogled him as if he were a chocolate dessert. “I’m so sorry. You’re just—you’re not Sam!” Sam never saw the day he looked this good.
His laughter sent a ridiculous ripple up her spine. “Gary. Sam’s on vacation.” He cocked his head and repeated his question. “So…will I do?”
“Of course.” She lifted her chin, trying to achieve some semblance of dignity. “You have something for me?”
He glanced at the box in his hand. “I do if you’re R. A. Summers.”
“That’s me.” Raye Anne scribbled an indecipherable signature on the little electronic device he thrust toward her.
“What do the initials stand for?” Nice voice, deep and resonant.
“Hmm. I’m not sure I should tell you.”
“That’s OK.” He grinned and waved as he trotted off toward his waiting delivery van. “I’ll find out on my own.”
She rolled her eyes and returned to work, but it took some time to get her mind off the new delivery guy and back on her story. Not a good thing for an  author on a tight deadline.
When the doorbell pealed through the house the next afternoon, she didn’t even bother to hit save before she answered it.
“Hi.” She signed again and took the new package. “Thanks.”
“Sure.” He grinned. “Regina Anne?”
“No, but you’re halfway there. The ‘A’ stands for Anne.” She hiked a brow and gave him a teasing grin.
“OK, here’s the deal. When I get it right, you go to dinner with me.”
She hesitated. He seemed nice enough, but she didn’t make a habit of going out with strangers.
His lopsided grin tugged at her heartstrings. “Come on, R.A. I’d like to know you better. You can bring your own car if you’d like, and leave whenever  you’re ready. Besides…” He grinned. “You can always ask my brother about me. You know Ken Jamison, right?”
Raye Anne laughed.  Everyone in their small town knew Pastor Ken. “Deal, but only if you guess my name. And no fair asking your brother.”
“Works for me.”
The next morning Raye Anne gave her hair more than cursory attention, and even applied a small amount of makeup, which she rarely did unless she was going somewhere. Even as she brushed a touch of color onto her cheeks, she chided herself for behaving like a schoolgirl with a crush. But it didn’t stop her from keeping an eye out the window for anything brown.
“Hey, you look nice,” Gary greeted her that afternoon.
“Roberta Anne.”
She grinned and handed him the signed box. “Nice try.”
          “Wrong again.” She stepped back and started to close the door. “Better luck next time.”