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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Juggling Family & Writers Conferences

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan

Autumn is my favorite season because September and October bring several special dates to mind—my wedding anniversary, the birthdays of my two boys and the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference.

I’ve been attending ACFW since 2005, which is the first year I met Susie May and knew she was someone I wanted to help mentor me through this crazy writing journey.

That initial conference was everything I dreamed and even more. I formed friendships, realized I had a ton of things to learn about the writing industry and leaned into the knowledge God called me to be a writer.

Attending conferences are not required to get your books published, but they allow you to build relationships with other writers and industry professionals, which is one of the essentials for a writer’s career. Investing in a conference means investing in educating yourself as to what industry professionals are looking for as they read hundreds of proposals that come across their desks or fill their inboxes.

However, the months and weeks leading up to the conference can be challenging especially if you’re a parent, working inside or outside the home. When I made plans to attend my first conference, I needed to take time off from my day job and find care for our two boys, who were ages 14 and 11 at that time because my husband worked second shift at the time. We needed someone who could be available for our boys after school and help with their extra-curricular activities.

One more juggling act for writers wearing many hats.

For us, our primary responsibility was to find care for the boys. They stayed with friends who had kids close in ages to our boys, and they lived within walking distance to both boys’ schools. I felt confident leaving them with responsible adults because I knew they’d receive great care.

In order to help our friends take on the additional responsibilities of our boys’ activities, I used a weekly calendar and wrote out all of their after school activities and homework projects that needed to be completed while I was gone. I made sure my boys understood their responsibilities in seeing these things to completion. I wrote out checks for lunches, school pictures and made sure they had clean clothes for school and practices.

I reviewed everything with Hubby, the boys and the family who would be caring for them for those days. I made a few casseroles ahead of time that could be frozen, and I gave them to my friend’s family to help with evening meals. Even if they decided not to serve them for dinner, she had an extra meal on hand for some other time when cooking time was tight. Plus by adding two extra boys to their family of 5, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for her.

Once my boys’ needs were taken care of, I focused on preparing for the writers conference. I studied the ACFW conference information on the website, ordered business cards, prepared my one-sheet for pitching and communicated with my upcoming roommate. I packed my suitcase and printed boarding passes for one of the greatest adventures of my life.

Having peace of mind about things on the home front allowed me to keep my focus where it needed to be while sitting in workshops, meeting with editors, chatting with agents and getting to know other writers. I called my boys each night and talked about their days, making sure they were ready for the next day.

Once I returned home from conference and after passing out hugs, I made notes about what worked that year and what needed to be improved for the next year’s conference. Yes, I was already planning ahead because I needed that time to budget the money and have the days marked off my work schedule.
If you desire to attend a writer’s conference, but wonder how you can leave your family, don’t despair. With a bit of planning and asking family or friends to help out, you can work everything out in order to attend your favorite conference.


Juggling Family & Writers Conferences @lisajordan on @NovelRocket #writing

Want to attend a writers conference, but unsure because of family? @lisajordan shares on @NovelRocket #writing

Trying to balance kids and a conference? @lisajordan shares how she managed it on @NovelRocket #writing


Lakeside Romance

A Recipe for Romance Sarah Sullivan will do whatever it takes to make her summer youth program permanent. But when she's tasked to teach the teens basic kitchen skills, her hope goes up in flames. Not knowing the first thing about cooking, Sarah needs help. Smelling the delicious aromas coming from her neighbor's apartment one night, she thinks she's found her answer. Alec Seaver might know his way around pots and pans, but the lone-wolf widower doesn't want anything to do with the free-spirited beauty next door. But after he becomes Sarah's reluctant partner, Alec realizes that she might just be the key ingredient missing from his life.
Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Rachelle Gardner, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. She is the Operations Manager for Novel.Academy, powered by My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for almost thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys family time, kayaking, good books, and playing in her craft room with friends. Visit her at

Monday, September 25, 2017

1 Do, 1 Don’t and 1 Why Not? for Writers

by Beth K. Vogt, @bethvogt

Oh, how we writers love to give each other advice, don’t we?

Why, yes, yes, we do.
Between all of our mistakes and all of our successes – and please, no one ask the ratio between the two – we have a wealth of advice to share.

Keeping it simple today, here’s a Do, a Don’t and a Why Not?:Do something new.

Most writers want to improve their craft. They join professional organizations. They attend conferences or local writers groups. They read blogs – like this one – and magazines. If a conference speaker offers practical ways to improve your writing or if an article suggests steps to strengthen your social media presence – do it. Simple, right? But how often do we hear good advice and then never implement it? Last May, my agent spoke at the local ACFW Colorado Springs meeting on how to use Facebook to build your platform. One of her suggestions was to do FB Live. To be honest, I didn’t want to go live on my Author FB page. But I forced myself to do this one new thing because she said readers respond to FB Live. Since my first hesitant attempt, I’ve done FB Live two more times. And you know what? My agent was right! These posts have gotten great interactions. Next time you attend a conference or workshop or read a blog post or article ask: Based on this advice, what one new thing can I do? Hint: Accountability is a great motivator. Tell someone what you’re going try and ask them to check back for an update.

Don’t believe everything you think.We all struggle with doubt and face fears. But we can’t buy into to those doubts and fears so that they stop us from pursuing our dreams. As I was writing my second novel I thought, “Who am I to think I can write a book?”What a ridiculous thought since I’d already published a novel.Learn to monitor your thoughts. Evaluate if the doubt undermining your efforts is realistic or if you’re listening to a lie. When you are afraid, remember what author Mark Twain said: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

Why not celebrate someone else’s success?
Progress. Accomplishment. Win. There are all types of success along the writing road:
  • Finishing a rough draft
  • Surviving that first editor’s appointment at a conference
  • Landing an agent
  • Signing a contract
  • Holding your “real” book in your hands
  • Earning out an advance
  • Winning an award
It’s fantastic when success is yours – worthy of a HaPpYdAnCe in your living room or dinner out with family or an online celebration with friends.
But when someone else writes that first book … signs a contract … or is handed an award, sometimes we don’t want to celebrate. We wrestle with the blues … and the green-eyed monster. The best way to beat the blues and to conquer envy? Be the first one to celebrate someone else’s success!Shout it out on Facebook. Send them an email or a handwritten note or text. Before you know it, celebrating will be your first response, not a forced response.


1 Do, 1 Don’t and 1 Why Not? for Writers @bethvogt @NovelRocket #writing

Based on this advice, what one new thing can I do?  @bethvogt @NovelRocket #writing

Progress. Accomplishment. Win. There are all types of success along the writing road @bethvogt @NovelRocket

Almost Like Being in Love

She’s won a luxurious dream wedding—now all she needs is the groom!

Winning an all-expenses paid Colorado destination wedding might seem like a dream come true for some people—but Caron Hollister and her boyfriend Alex Madison aren’t even engaged. How is she supposed to tell him that she’s won their wedding and honeymoon when he hasn’t asked her to marry him? And while everyone says they’re perfect for each other, how strong is a relationship when it’s built around protecting secrets?

Realtor Kade Webster’s business savvy just secured his company’s participation in the Springs Tour of Homes. He never imagined he would run into Caron Hollister—the woman who broke his heart—right when Webster Select Realty is taking off. When Kade learns his home stager won’t be able to help with the Tour of Homes, he vaults past all the reasons he should avoid Caron, and offers her a temporary job helping him on the project. This time, their relationship is purely business—Realtor to Realtor.

Spending time with Kade again has Caron questioning who she is and what she wants. The man intrigues her—at times infuriates her—and reminds her of what she walked away from. Has she been settling for what everyone expects of her? How can Caron say “I do” to one man when she’s wondering “what if?” about another?

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Beth’s first women's fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding Series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What's Your Writing Mission Statement?

by Cindy Sproles, @CindyDevoted

I recently began attending an intense writing class. It’s true that a good writer never stops learning, and I want to always present my best work, so you can imagine my surprise when the first comment from the instructor was a question. What is your mission statement?

A mission statement was never something I considered for my writing. 

We have one in place for our ministry and for our conference, but a personal mission statement for my writing just never occurred to me.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Simplifying Writer Research

by DiAnn Mills, @diannmills

Writing and research go hand in hand. Every topic in a novel needs an element of research. If the manuscript isn’t accurate, the reader will recognize the flaw and toss our work aside. If a writer is spot-on, she will be rewarded with good reviews and more readers. Sort of a no-brainer for us writers.

How do we conduct the process effectively and efficiently?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

To Follow or Not to Follow the Yellow Brick Road of Writing Rules

by Ane Mulligan, @AneMulligan

When I added novels to my writing, I quickly learned I knew nothing else about writing fiction—other than dialogue. I picked up a couple of mentors and bought a few books on the craft. I absorbed and followed those “rules” of good writing until I had a good handle on them.

I remember hearing new writers complaining about published authors breaking the rules, so why couldn’t they? There’s a very good reason: an experienced author has mastered those rules learned how to break them. We can’t stop on the first broken rule and camp there, saying, “If they did it,so can I.” If you keep reading, you will discover most of the time they don’t break them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Look - Same Great Content

Welcome to the new look of!

At NovelRocket, our goal is authors helping authors launch their dreams. Launch your process of writing a novel. Launch your book to the next level. And, ultimately, launch your career.

The writing process can be a lonely adventure, but we want to be there to help you every step of the way with tips, ideas, and insights into the craft of writing, the publication process, and all aspects of the writing life.
Our contributors are published authors who all have all sorts of wisdom and insight in the world of writing and publication.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

You Would Resent Having Overnight Success

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

It’s true.

Even though you don’t entirely believe it. Neither did I.

When I went to my first writing conference back in 2006, I wanted the agent I submitted the first 10 pages of my manuscript to, to email me before I even got to the conference and say, “Oh, wow! You must send the rest! Now! Now!”

(Truth be told, in my deluded, uneducated state of mind, a small part of me expected that to happen.)

What I Needed, What you Might Need as Well