Great News about “A Shadow on the Snow”!

I hope you can tell from the look on my face that I am thrilled beyond words. Actually, not really beyond words because I’m typing this post to you. But I’m still in shock. I sold my WIP, my YA Christian mystery A Shadow on the Snow, to Mt. Zion Ridge Press. They published my two short stories, but this is my first book. I’m a novelist!

I got the news while we were taking a spring break vacation at Burr Oak State Park in Morgan County, Ohio. It’s fitting that I read the email there because southeastern Ohio is the setting for my mystery.

This has been a long time coming and yet I wouldn’t want it to have happened any sooner. I’ve been writing stories since I was seven. I’ve dreamed of publishing a novel since high school and began writing regularly when I was a freshman in college and was recovering from an appendectomy. I took time off when I had my kids. Not a conscious decision, but I didn’t have the time or brain power left after a day of wrangling preschoolers.

For the past six years, I buckled down to effort of getting published. I’ve also learned so much about writing, mostly gaining an understanding of the current interpretation of “show, don’t tell”. The effort forced me tackle things I’d never considered possible, like social media, which I’m still learning, and flying by myself.

I’m very grateful to Mt. Zion Ridge Press for giving me this opportunity. But mostly I’m grateful to God. A Shadow on the Snow is truly His story, and I am so happy that I could work on it with Him. As a Christian writer, I know God wants me to use these stories to touch and help people. But He also uses the writing process to help me get to know Him better. That’s what I love and find so exciting about writing for and with my Father. I’m always learning something new about Him!

I’ll have lots more about my novel this year. So happy I can share this with those of you who have been kind enough to follow me. Stay tuned!

WIP Update

This is how I was feeling Friday afternoon. I finished it!

Yes, after working for a year, and despite all the obstacles the pandemic hurled at me, I’ve finished the sequel to “A Rose from the Ashes”! A Shadow on the Snow begins three weeks after the end of “A Rose” and climaxes on Good Friday.

Although the manuscript is complete now, some chapters are more polished than others. I usually write five or six chapter by hand. Then I type them. I may go over them a third time before pressing on to the next five or six chapters. So the beginning of my novel is well-polished while the last fifty pages are still in a first draft.

But I find editing and polishing much easier than creating out of my imagination, so I expect this stage of working to go much faster. I polished the first two chapters yesterday, going over them for about the tenth time, and I loved the work. Looking forward to making the rest sparkle!

WIP Progress

I thought I’d take time today to update you on my WIP progress, a YA Christian mystery with the working title A Shadow on the Snow. It’s the sequel to my short story “A Rose from the Ashes.”

Since I haven’t written a novel in years, I’m discovering what writing habits work best for me. So far, I’ve discovered that I write best when I handwrite five to ten chapters, type them into a second draft, go over them again, then press on with the first draft of the next five to ten chapters.

As of August 2020. I have 57,000 words in very good shape. I need to get another 20,000 to 30,000 down on paper and polished. I believe I’d be further along if I hadn’t spent nine weeks teaching my kids their online lessons. That put our computer time at a premium.

But the story is taking shape nicely. I really enjoy the polishing process, taking out tangents, enlarging minor characters necessary to the story, and making all the elements sync up. For a mystery, syncing up clues and red herrings are critical. Such as if it’s important for my main character to use her self-defense skills in the last chapters, I’d better mention that she has those skills somewhere earlier in the story. Or if the fact that Mr. Delaney is left-handed is a clue, I have to introduce it to readers in a way that they notice it but not too much.

One obstacle I’ve encountered is writing a story set in January, February, and March at the height of summer. If I’m having trouble describing the setting, I can’t go outside and get first-hand inspiration.

I’d love to hear about your WIP progress and your creative process!

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