Second Key to Publishing

Last week, I wrote about what I see as the first key to publishing, researching the industry. This week, I’m discussing the second key to publishing, networking. I don’t really like the tern “networking”. Although it refers to professional relationships, it still sounds cold and a bit predatory. So when networking, not only should we get to know people who can help us in our publishing journey, we should look for people we can help as well. Networking should be a two way street.

Getting to Know People

I would have published nothing if I hadn’t crept out of my introverted shell and began talking to people in the publishing industry. My first step was to join the Ohio chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Writers with different sorts of successes were in the group and welcomed me as a rookie. Two years after I joined the chapter, two authors, Tamera Lynn Kraft and Michelle L. Levigne, proposed our chapter publish a collection of Christian fiction short stories set in Ohio. I jumped at the chance.

Tamera and Michelle decided the anthology would be the first book published by their new press, Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Because I worked hard to write a decent story and acted professional as I met deadlines and helped to promote the anthology, I established some credibility with them. When they asked for submissions for a Christmas anthology, I wrote “A Rose from the Ashes”. Tamera and Michelle like that so much that they wanted to see what I wrote next, which led to A Shadow on the Snow.

All of these stories saw the light of print because I got to know writers in my writing group.

Helping People You Know

As I’ve blogged and attended writing conferences, I’ve met writers I can help. When author Philip Rivera, who writes funny family stories, asked for critiques, I was able to give him my opinion. When YA author M. Liz Boyle asked for information on doing audiobooks as an independent author, I asked Michelle Levigne, who provided detailed advice. Author Therese Van Meter and I phone each other regularly to offer encouragement on our writing journeys.

I feel better if I can help someone, especially if I can offer help that I wished I’d had when I first looked into writing and publishing.

What’s your opinion on the best way to network?

I’m So Excited!

The reason I’m so excited is that I am a finalist in the Anthology category for the Selah Awards! Blue Ridge Christian Writers gives these awards at their conference in May. I hadn’t realized they announced finalists, so I wasn’t expecting to hear any news until the awards ceremony.

I entered my YA mystery short story, “A Rose from the Ashes” from Christmas fiction off the beaten path. A huge thank-you to the publishers of Mt. Zion Ridge Press, Tamera Lynn Kraft and Michelle Levigne for accepting my story and being so enthusiastic about it. Another huge thank-you to editor Jenna Kraft for giving me so much good advice.

It may be a cliche to say that it’s a thrill to be nominated, but I am very happy with fulfilling that cliche!

Writing Tip — Guest Blogger, Tamera Lynn Kraft

Web1I am so pleased to introduce another friend I met through ACFW. Tamera Lynn Kraft also writes historical fiction set during a wide variety of different times in American history. 

Me: Why did you select pre-Civil War and early twentieth century American history as the time periods for your novels?

 Tamera: I love American history, but I can’t choose one period I like better. At the moment, I’m finishing up a post-Civil War novel, and I have plans for a series in Colonial Jamestown.

 Me; Which comes first – research or storyline?

Tamera: I usually find a storyline by reading about a period of time in history. My mind starts germinating ideas about what it would be like for the people living through those events. At that point, I start researching, and the storyline comes out of the research.

 MeWhat resources do you rely on for research?

Tamera: First I find out everything I can by Googling the period in history. Then I like to read books about the events and visit the places where they take place. In my latest novel, Red Sky Over America, I visited Oberlin College and talked to the head of the library archives for the college. He was a treasure trove of information. He also steered me toward the right books and journals to read. I also visited Maysville, the Harriet Tubman Museum, and the John Rankin House in Ripley, Ohio and did some hiking across the river from Ripley where most of the story takes place. Lastly, I visited the Freedom Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Me: What is the most unusual resource you have used?

Tamera: In Alice’s Notions, I interviewed my family. The story is set post WW2 and based in rural West Virginia in a fictional town near Kimberly. My mom and uncles grew up in Kimberly, West Virginia, so they were my go to resource about the culture there.

Me: What advice would you give to someone interested in writing historical fiction?

Tamera: Research, research, research. Don’t write a story and try to make it fit into a certain time period. The time period should be so much a part of the store that it is almost like another character.



Red Sky Over America — Ladies of Oberlin, Book 1

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

William and America confront evil, but will it costs them everything?

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America’s classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

“Red Sky Over America tackles the most turbulent time in history with thorough research and fascinating characters. Tamera Lynn Kraft has woven a tale about the evils of slavery that should never be forgotten.”  — Mary Ellis, author of The Quaker and the Rebel, The Lady and the Officer, and The Last Heiress.

​To learn more about Red Sky Over America, check it out on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. Her newest novel, Red Sky Over America is Book 1 of the Ladies of Oberlin series. Alice’s Notions is a historical romantic suspense set shortly after World War II. She also has novellas published in eBook and print.

Tamera been married for 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.




Word Sharpeners Blog:



Writing Tip — Researching History

library-1697314_1280Although I am a history major, I have never felt inspired to write historical fiction. If you are interested in that kind of fiction, learning how to conduct research is critical. I know several authors who write historical fiction and their sites have many articles giving advice on research.

Cindy Thomson writes books the Ellis Island series and two books set in ancient Ireland. She is also a professional genealogist.

Sandra Merville Hart has written two books set during the battle of Gettysburg.

Tamera Lynn Kraft had set Resurrection of Hope in 1920 America, Alice’s Notion’s during World War II, and A Christmas Promise in a Moravian settlement in Ohio, 1773.

At writer’s meeting I went to, Sandra gave advice on how to kickstart your novel if it stalls in the middle. One idea was to go back to your research notes. Whether you have researched languages, locations, or legends for your writing, keeping your notes organized and available will help you find your creative spark when you need it.

Writing Tip

keyboard-453795_1280Guest Blog

For the first time, I am a guest blogger on the site Word Sharpeners, a blog created by two writer friends Tamera Lynn Kraft and Carole Brown.  I hope you enjoy it.   (By the way, I have upgraded to contacts since my senior picture was taken.)

I have another link to another post on Word Sharpeners.  It list the expected word counts for different genres of fiction.  If you are interested in publishing your writing as a novel some day, you must know the acceptable words counts for it.  Agents and editors are only interested in words counts, not page counts.  I wish I has known what as the appropriate word count when I started writing my first novel.  It was already at epic length when I realized I would have to whack it half to make acceptable to publishers.


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