My Writing Journey

  • My Writing Journey

    Celebrate Lit Tour for Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise: Day 2 by Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations!

    Today’s Celebrate Lit Blogger is Debbie Curto. Follow the link below to see what she has to say about Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise!

    (In case you missed yesterday’s post, from December 9-22, my book is part of a virtual book tour through Celebrate Literature. Not only can you see what popular bloggers think about the book, you can also enter to win a free print copy AND a $25 Amazon gift card! Be sure to enter every day by returning to check out each day’s blog post!)

  • Books,  My Writing Journey

    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise Releases Three Weeks from Friday!

    Ruth's Ginger Snap Surprise

    From the “Heart of the Amish” series, published by Barbour Publishing, comes Book Two of the series, which launched in September with Mindy Steele’s wonderful book, “The Flower Quilter”, which is set in Shipshewana, Indiana.

    “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” is the second book in the series, and takes place in the fictional town of Willow Creek, in the real Holmes County, Ohio.

    This is my first published book, and I couldn’t be more excited. It seems as if every day I get more thrilling information from my publisher about this amazing journey.

    Most recently, I learned that my book will be part of a blog tour in a partnership between Barbour Publishing and Celebrate Lit!

    “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” will be featured by a different Celebrate Lit blogger every day from December 9 to December 22!

    I’ll post the blog post from the previous day each day during that period here, on my blog.

    I’m so honored that all these people are going to read my book, and then take the time to post about it. Hopefully, they’ll all like it!

    Here is a list of the bloggers who will feature my book on their popular blogs for a day:

    You can read more about this very cool, online book tour, at

    Ouch! (That was just me, pinching myself again to make sure this is all real!)

    Have you pre-ordered your copy of “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” yet? It’s available from a number of places, including, Barbour Publishing,,,, Barnes &, and in Christian bookstores! And I just discovered that my second book in the series, “Mary’s Calico Hope”, is ALSO available for pre-order. I’d be honored if you picked up a copy.

    I’m doing a happy dance! 🙂

  • My Writing Journey

    Ohio Author Festival; a Great Opportunity to Meet Fellow Authors and Try Out my Author Table Set-up!

    Last weekend I was privileged to be invited to participate in an Ohio Author’s Festival at my local library branch. Here I am, pictured with my author table and my stuffed Ginger Snap kitty! I honestly did not realize the photo was mimicking the cover painting! I’ll bet my good friend, who took the picture, did that on purpose! Most of the other authors at the event came from a couple hours away, and were much better known than I am.

    Of course, being better-known-than-I-am is not hard to do; my first book doesn’t come out until December 1! So I was quite happy to be included in this illustrious group, even though I had no actual, physical books to sell that day.

    The event also gave me a chance to set up my table display, which I will use for future author signing events, for the first time.

    This was a good thing, as I found out my banner is way too big to hang from a standard table! I guess I should have asked other authors how big their banners are before ordering mine! I’ll look at this as a humorous learning opportunity.

    I think my stuffed orange kitty was a big hit, though, and people seemed to like the cat stickers I was giving away.

    I’m not as certain about my original painting of Ginger Snap. You can see it in the bottom left corner of the attached photo. It’s a bit cartoonish, but I like it. I am giving it as a gift to one of the people who attended the event and signed their name and email in my pretty, little notebook. I need to pull a winner’s name and mail it off! I’ll do that later this weekend.

    Two of the authors attending spoke to the group, and both were amazing. One woman was a fellow Amish romance author; although she had us all in stitches explaining how she writes Amish murder mysteries, and apologizing for “killing off Amish folks right and left”.

    The other spoke about how some of her books have been banned, and why. She really got me thinking about this disturbing topic.

    There was a wide range of genres represented at the event, and I looked over all the work of my fellow authors, and made some notes about books I wish to purchase.

    Several of my friends attended the event and come over to wish me well after hearing the speakers. That made me feel great!

    Next time, I’ll be prepared with a banner that fits my table, and I’ll actually have books available for purchase!

    This little shake-down was good for me, and fun. I hope to see you at a future event! Maybe you’ll win an original, Anne Blackburne, painting! I plan to do them for all the kitties in my books.

    My next event will be at the Christmas Open House at Kerns Christian book store in Akron, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 2. That’s the day after my book releases! It’s really getting close! Drop in and say hi if you are from the Akron/Canton area. I’d love to meet you!

  • Life Outside the Pages,  My Writing Journey,  Writing

    The Publishing Journey: It Begins!

    The Process:

    From a Newb’s Limited Point of View!

    A number of years ago, I decided to write a book. I’ll tell you now, this is a process requiring courage, commitment and preferably total ignorance of what lies ahead. Not for nothing, but finishing an entire book is a big deal, even if it isn’t very good.

    I’ve written a number of books, ranging from a really bad romance back in the 90’s to a couple of middle readers that never saw the light of day to a silly look at those lying letters we all get at Christmas to a paranormal romance to an Amish romance that may be getting some traction. More on that . . .

    Back to the process. So you write a book. Then you have to edit that book, meaning you read it over and over again several times from front to back, looking for errors, finding gaps in your plot and patching those up. This becomes more difficult each time you read the thing, because all the scenes melt together until you can’t remember whether you’ve read that section this time through, or if you’ve got the scene when they do whatever in the book more than once! I recommend taking notes. It kept me on track.

    Once you decide your brain child is ready for someone else to see, it’s time to give it to your Beta readers. These can be friends who read the genre you’re writing in, members of your writing club or paid pros. Doesn’t matter. They’ll read your book and then give you – hopefully honest – feedback. This part can hurt! But honesty is what you need, because agents and editors won’t give you feedback on a bad book; they’ll toss it and say, “Next.” Better to hear it when you have time to fix it.

    So working with the helpful input from your Betas, you tweak that book some more, and then maybe you decide to enter it into some writing contest or other. If you’re lucky, you’ll get feedback from the judges, who are going to be even more brutal than your friends and your Aunt Sally. You won’t like some of that feedback. I remember reading feedback from judges a couple of times and arguing with them out loud, as if they could hear me. But you NEED this feedback. Listen and learn. Start at the beginning again, and read the book through again, trying to see what those Betas and judges meant by things like, “Needs more conflict,” or “Why would he ever do something like this? Doesn’t play.”

    Once you’ve done that, it’s time to decide whether you’ll try to go with traditional publishing, or independent (Indy) publishing. I went with traditional, so I don’t know much about Indy. I was exploring it as a possibility when I found an agent, so I let it go. You can find a lot of information online on this option.

    If you’re going traditional, this is the time to query agents, to try and find representation for your book. This is really scary. If you do it right, you painstakingly research which agents represent your specific type of book, and you go to their websites, and carefully follow their directions for submitting your baby to them. Follow these directions like it’s your new religion. There is no point wasting anybody’s time by sending your steamy romance to a conservative religious agency. Nor is there any point in sending your thriller to an agent who represents non-fiction self-help books. You get my point; agents take the time to say what they want. Stick with that, or you might as well save your time because you won’t get anywhere.

    So follow the directions and take the plunge! Keep notes on whom you’ve queried, and about how much time they say it’ll be until you hear back from them.

    Then . . . you wait.

    Agents can take a really long time to tell you no.

    Some will be very nice when they tell you no, saying things like, “Thank you so much for considering me to represent your book. Unfortunately, it doesn’t meet my needs at this time. But another agent may feel differently, so keep trying!”

    You’re not going to get a letter telling you your book stinks. Don’t worry.

    Don’t let the accumulating rejections get you down. Each rejection gets you closer to the agent who likes your work and asks to see your full manuscript, until one bright and glorious day, an agent offers to represent you in the big, scary world of book publishing. You’ve hopefully done your homework before soliciting that agent, so you already know he or she is legit. So you say Yes! Please! Represent me! Thank you so much! Where do I sign?

    And you’ve got an agent. Congratulations!

    This is where I am in the publishing game right. now. My shiny, brand new to me agent has my book, and wants to represent me to potential publishers! I’ll tell you what happened the day after we first spoke in my next post.

    For now . . . just keep writing!