This week we have:
Susan Page Davis
The first book I ever wrote was a police procedural mystery-suspense-romance. That book has never been published. But that’s okay. If you want the whole truth, I wrote an entire six-book series of detective novels that never got published.
I was a rank amateur, both at writing fiction and at marketing. I didn’t know anyone in the publishing world. I knew only a couple of other authors, who wrote books very different from mine. I didn’t know American Christian Fiction Writers existed.
But I was getting better. They say that you don’t truly find your voice until you’ve written at least a million words. About the time I passed that mark, my husband told me, “Why don’t you write something else? Your later books in the series will never be published if the first one is never bought.”
He was right, of course. I started combing Writer’s Market for publishers open to unagented newcomers. I picked Heartsong Presents because at that time they seemed very open to people like me, and they published 52 novels a year. I read several of their novels and was confident I could write one they would like. I began storming the bastion.
Poor Jim Peterson. He was the acquisitions editor at the time, and I peppered him with manuscripts. Of course, at that point in my career, a complete manuscript was needed each time. So I wrote about eight more novels. Shorter, minus the police detective unit and the dead bodies. Jim kept saying things like, “Your writing is good, but the competition is fierce.”
Finally, after I’d submitted several “near misses,” he said, “Why don’t you write a historical?” Half the books he bought were historicals, yet three fourths of the submissions he received were contemporaries. I took his advice, and many months later, after several rounds of revisions, Jim Peterson called me. “It’s really me,” he said. “And I’m really buying your book.” After all the necessary steps of publishing, and another 18 months, I held Protecting Amy in my hands. It was a long-held dream come true.
Check out some of Susan's books!
Writers, pray and commit your words to the Lord. Ask Him to guide you, give you inspiration and open the “right” doors. Find your unique voice and your passion, and then write the book of your heart. That’s what Awakening is for me, as it’s loosely based on my love story with my husband. He’s “Sam Lewis” to my “Lexa Clarke” (they’re contemporary romantic adventures). Stay strong and determined, and never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done (if you’re like me it makes you all the more determined). Keep writing, keep reading, keep editing. Awakening became the first book in what is now called The Lewis Legacy Series. Book #2, Second Time Around, released in September this year. I am truly blessed.
Nutshell synopsis of Awakening: A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. For Sam and Lexa Clarke, it’s a combustible combination.
Nutshell synopsis of Second Time Around: A fateful misstep steals a newlywed’s memories and becomes her groom’s fall from grace. Join the journey as Marc and Natalie discover that surrendering all isn’t failure, it’s faith.
Thanks so much for allowing me to share with you today! May each of you enjoy a blessed holiday season! Blessings always. Matthew 5:16
The Write Time is Now
“I’m going to take a creative writing course,” I told my husband.
“When does it start?” he inquired. “I know how much you’d like that.”
At last at age fifty-two I was getting serious about this. Most of my life I’d dreamed of becoming a
published author. The time never seemed right to pursue my goal. So I satisfied my yearning by being
an avid reader.
Getting a late start has been my experience. I got married at forty, adopted a baby at forty-six and gave
birth at age forty-eight. Motherhood is fulfilling for me. But I still had my dream of getting published.
Again I was back in school at midlife. An experience I found exhilarating. I wanted desperately to learn
the craft of writing because I had an inspirational true story that I knew would be helpful to someone
else. This motivated me to attend my first class that autumn day. During the course I was introduced to
the basic steps in the writing process, and I learned how to use them. With the help of a class critique, I
worked on my story readying it for submission.
If I thought writing would be easier than being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling, I soon found
out otherwise. Anyone who writes knows it’s hard work. I wanted to be a professional writer
nonetheless. So after many rewrites of my story I submitted my manuscript to a national print magazine
and waited. I felt that I’d accomplished something. I’d actually sent my work off.
I joined a writing/critique group for mothers who combine parenting with writing. Here I found new
friends with a common goal of becoming more professional. We read each other’s work and offered
helpful criticism and suggestions for improvement.
I became better informed about publishing and marketing my work through writing groups, the
Writer’s Market, other “how to” publications and from just the experience of submitting. The Internet
and e-mail became invaluable tools. I slowly realized that writing for publication required a
commitment of time, perseverance, organization and actually learning by working at it. I had some
success in small non-paying markets. But I wanted to write for larger publications, too. This wasn’t
As the months went by, I learned to carefully read each prospective publication and to study their
writer’s guidelines to determine what they wanted and the preferred way of submitting material. I
realized the necessity of carefully following these instructions. I discovered how to submit a brief but
detailed query letter to interest an editor in my work.
I tried not to take personally each rejection, but to see it as part of the writing process. I kept a list of
possible markets for each manuscript. On occasion an editor would write a few encouraging words or
useful suggestions on the letter. This was always an encouragement and provided an incentive to
persevere. After each rejection–and there were many of those–I would rework, refocus and send the
piece out to the next publication on my list. I became a better writer in the process of redrafting my
piece. Anticipation is always a driving force. I discovered that not only moms, but writers live in the
Eventually, after numerous submissions I found an editor who was thrilled with my first piece and
wanted to publish it and pay for it. This was such a boost for me–not only did she love my story, but
she praised my writing. And I now had a published clip when querying or submitting to other paying
Since then I’ve gained more confidence. My essays, articles and short stories have been accepted by
other print and online publications, and my true stories appear in multiple titles of Chicken Soup for the
My husband built a web site for my writing, I joined a professional organization for fiction writers
(ACFW), attended writers conferences and joined social media sites for networking.
I completed an historical inspirational novel and been successful in finding agent representation.
I realize that more of life’s experiences and the inspiration that my family provides equips me to be a
better writer. Gaining a family and continuing to learn the craft of writing has made life more fulfilling.
I’ve discovered that with God’s help and guidance, it’s never too late to realize a heart’s desire and
never too late to learn and to grow. My husband and sons take pleasure in my writing life, too.
“My Mom is a writer,” I heard my son tell his friend.
Pat Jeanne Davis lives in Philadelphia, PA. To learn more about her and her writing, please
I would like to encourage other aspiring writers to trust in God's timing. I feel the key to getting published is to believe in the power of prayer, to think positive, be persistent and continue to be patient.
Pat's short stories, essays and articles have appeared in Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul books (5 books), Guideposts, The Lookout, GRIT Magazine, Brave Hearts, Bible Advocate, Renewed and Ready, Faith & Finances-In God We Trust, God Answers Prayers, Blessings for Mothers, Blessed Among Women, Woman’s Touch, Woman Alive Magazine and Take-A-Break Magazine (UK) and Horizon Magazine (Canada). She has agency representation for an historical inspirational novel set in the WWII era.
Visit her at http://www.patjeannedavis.com/
Recently I wrapped up the Women of the West series with a novel near to my heart. Not only is The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck (Waterbrook) my fortieth book, it is also the book I completed on my honeymoon. Not only was Charlotte's marriage inconvenient, so was the work to finish the book! However, all those hours not spent in the Hawaiian sunshine have paid off as The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck has been named a 2011 Romantic Times Readers Choice finalist. And all those years spent learning, hanging out with writer friends, and trying to figure out how to be a "real" writer? I was nominated for a 2011 Romantic Times Career Achievement Award-a thrill I never dared to imagine while standing in the word processor aisle at Office Max back in 1996.
"Oh the places we will go," says Dr. Seuss.
I can't wait to see what's next for this "real" writer. But while I'm waiting, I love the fact that this is a journey that I'm taking along with a whole bunch of others heading the same direction. What a blessing!
RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few.
Her newest historical novel, THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK (Waterbrook) released in June 2011, and in 2012 she debuts a contemporary Texas beach series for Love Inspired.
Kathleen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the Public Relations Society of America. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division. In addition, Kathleen also served exclusive publicist for Books & Such Literary Agency.
A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has a daughter and three grown sons. She recently married her own hero in combat boots (read about their real-life romance here!) and is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.