Saturday, December 31, 2016



…That is my new word for 2017. A word to be studied, experienced, and felt. A word to be savored and paid keen attention to. The faithfulness of God is to be appreciated and this is my promise—to stick with this word, meditate on the meaning and power and peace of this word. I want depth of my lack of understanding in this—more than a word—rather a character trait—to meet with the grace of the King of Kings. And then—bring Him Glory.

The idea to even find a word for every year came from the book called, ONE PERFECT WORD One WORD Can Make ALL the Difference by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Debbie Macomber.

Is this one of those New Year’s Eve resolutions? Even though this is the last day of 2016 this journey is hardly that. I began thinking about and picking this word on December 17th. After I choose “faithfulness” I dug into my store of available journals and discovered one that had a title, GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS PROMISE JOURNAL. Not only is there space for my scribblings, but quotes and scriptures on this theme are scattered throughout.

I already realize that His faithfulness will not always have the face that I expect or the expected end. I know that He is God and that He has all in control. But to experience this word shall be amazing. I know that Abraham and Sarah and Joseph and David etc. experienced this word and knew Him better for the journey. Oh, to be clay in my FATHER’S HANDS, may all the unwilling, hard places in my heart surrender well and quickly to His ministrations and loving grace.


P. S. My sister gave me a bracelet with Psalm 46:10 engraved on inside this Christmas. Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Selah

And so the journey begins….  I wish you and yours a fabulous New Year in 2017!

Friday, November 18, 2016


Manitowoc Public Library – author/speaker Beth Ann Ziarnik


6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Pens of Praise Christian Writer’s Group is hosting a debut author event in the Balkansky Community Room A in Manitowoc Public Library.

Beth will share her writer’s journey and the adventures she experienced while researching her novel's setting in Munising and on Grand Island, MI. The event will include a book signing. She is a Wisconsin writer with local ties! Beth’s page-turning romantic suspense novel, Her Deadly Inheritance, has stayed on several Amazon bestselling lists since its release in January.

Find Beth online: 


Wednesday, November 16, 2016



Let us know if your attending so we can save a seat just for you!

November 21, 2016

Monday 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Faith Free Church

2201 42nd St.

Manitowoc, WI  54220


“Bringing Your Story To Life” taught by Taya Schreiter is our next exciting teaching! Taya writes with imagination and spunk and she gracefully accepted the invitation to teach our November class. Bring pencil or pen and paper or your laptop for some writing exercises. Engage your mind in the who, what, where, when, why and how of story and be prepared to see your pages come to life under Taya’s direction!


“Breath of Life” or “For the Life of Me” or “Hello Adventure” are our prompt choices for this month, pick one and just have some fun. (I didn’t get to write to last month’s prompt! I thought I’d take a swing at it.) Write in the genre of your choice and share/or don’t share if you want to and if time allows. We are a safe group and for the last—8 or is it 9 years— no tomatoes have been thrown at the speakers or those sharing their latest work in progress!


Stop at a local coffee shop or bring your own coffee or soda and relax with us a while.

May the Lord bless your writing endeavors as you write for Him! Any concerns or questions feel free to contact or





Monday, October 17, 2016

Old Message - Fresh Revelation


Though the Bible is an old message, the wisdom rings true for today and tomorrow.  Becky McLafferty and myself are taking the challenge that many of our American Founding Fathers took. Reading the Bible through in a year.
I am behind on my reading because I've been luxuriating in the depth and pattern of relationships I see in these gold rimmed pages. I'm thrilled to have taken the challenge. The influence of this ancient wisdom touches my day by day decisions and goals.
How about you? Do you want a sweet adventure that is cushioned by wisdom that has proven true for ages? This message is guaranteed to be relevant time without measure...
Many of our Founding Fathers read through the Bible each year which effected their choices of what guidelines and freedoms our constitution provided for our country.
Thank you Annette for allowing your well loved Bible to pose for this post! You are an amazing teacher and your heart is made from the gold that is found inside these pages.
Like apples of gold in settings in silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 25:11 
For a better today and tomorrow.... 

Saturday, October 15, 2016



Monday, October 17, 2016
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 

Faith Church

2201  42nd Street, Manitowoc, WI  54220
   Faith Church is located next to Festival Foods
   Not far from the Manitowoc exit off Interstate 43
“Drama, Drama, Drama & A Bit of Structure Too, Part 2” is our topic this month. Inspired by K.M. Weiland’s “Structuring Your Novel” Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story and “Story Trumps Structure” by Steven James. Rebecca McLafferty and Susan Marlene will lead the class covering ACT II. Do not fear – topic outline will be provided, which also covers last month’s class, but bring your paper and pens for note taking! Are you ready to experience the amazing journey of structured plotting with the pacing and rhythm that your story thrives to embrace?

We are a safe place to share. We invite you to bring your WIP (Work in progress!) for a five minute read.

The prompt for this September is…
“Hello Adventure….”

Bring your favorite coffee or tea with you! Our precious Kathy Leist brings treats—we all appreciate her so! J

As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact  Becky McLafferty @ or                                                             
 Susan Marlene@

Monday, September 12, 2016

Drama, Drama, Drama & A Bit of Structure Too


September 19, 2016
Monday 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Faith Church
2201  42nd Street, Manitowoc, WI  54220
   Faith Church is located next to Festival Foods
   Not far from the Manitowoc exit off Interstate 43
“Drama, Drama, Drama & A Bit of Structure Too” is our topic this month. Inspired by K.M. Weiland’s “Structuring Your Novel” Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story. Susan Marlene will lead the class. Bring your paper and pens and be ready to take notes! Are you ready to experience the amazing journey of structured plotting with the pacing and rhythm that your story thrives to embrace?
We are a safe place to share. We invite you to bring your WIP (Work in progress!) for a five minute read.
The prompt for this September is…
“And the plot thickens….”
Bring your favorite coffee or tea with you! Our precious Kathy Leist brings treats—we all appreciate her so! J 
As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact Becky McLafferty @ or

Sunday, August 21, 2016



Susan Marlene

Research can make your project shine and the lack thereof can lay waste to a perfectly great idea. Let’s consider the many flavors of research to strengthen your writing, be it fiction or non-fiction.

Agent WEB sites: Proposals/Writer Business set-up info * Free *                                                    
Here are some of the delicious nuggets these agents offer.

·       Links to their author blogs by name

·       Links to writers’ conferences

·       Proposal Info

·       Business for the writer

·       Editorial Services

·       Blog posts about writing topics

Resources and Chip’s Blog Info

·       Choosing An Agent

·       Submission Guidelines

·       Recommended Reading

·       Blog by Chip McGregor

Research Books:

Writing Business and Mechanics of Writing:

Book proposals that Sell by W.Terry Whalin; The Christian Writer’s Market Guide  Jerry B. Jenkins; The Elements of Style by Strunk/White/Kalman; Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Brown & King. The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal; Punctuation Plain & Simple by Edgar C. Alward & Jean A. Alward. Various dictionaries.

Books on Plotting and or Technique:

Anything Donald Maass and or James Scott Bell. Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland; Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins, Wired For Story by Lisa Cron; Story Trumps Structure by Steven James; From the Inside…Out   discover…create…and publish the novel in you! Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck; Jeff Gerke “The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction” and other books he has written.

Relationships & Psychology & Human Behavior:

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman; Emotional Vampires by Albert J. Bernstein Ph. D.; Overcoming Emotions That Destroy by Ingram Johnson; What Every BODY is Saying by Joe Navarro with Marvin Karlins, Ph. D.; For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn;  For Parents Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice; Psychology book; etc.

Spiritual Influence:

Bibles and Bible studies and reference books. Abingdon’s Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Devotionals, Old history books with the character of our founding fathers. David Barton’s The Founder’s Bible

What is your genre?

Books available for the time period in which you’re writing. The technical or specific information you are writing about. (Rocket ships, horses pulling wagons, transportation, tools, food and clothing to match your stories time period.) Travel information and photos etc. J

Writing for Men or Women? 80% more women read fiction – it is a chemical thing. 

Look up brain chemicals that fire during fiction reading.

Inform from Jeff Gerke and Wired For Story

1)      Catch the reader’s attention.

Must convince reader your story is more interesting. Use Braine Science.

Ø  Danger—Self-preservation – JG.  Mirror neurons pg. 66 Wired For Story. “If you start with the mundane and ordinary the readers brain will move on to something else.” Quote from Jeff Gerke. Jane Austin – relationship danger to 007 danger.

Ø  Surprise-unexpected/humorous/ intriguing (reader surprise not necessarily the character.)

Ø  Appropriate TONE --for your story. (It could be the wrong start no matter how excellent it is written, because it doesn’t match the tone of the story.)

2)       Connect the reader to the character (s).

Ø  The emotional engagement “Your job as a writer is the have the reader become the character.” Dr. Zach…  Wired For Story pg. 67 states: “…readers mentally simulate each new situation encountered in narrative. Details about actions and sensations are captured from the text and integrated with personal knowledge from past experiences.”  Called Transportation – character is in a situation and you are feeling it…rapid heartbeat, sweaty hands/emotional or physical reaction.

Trick to transportation – character is vulnerable – releases oxytocin.

3)      Present a Story of Struggle
Internal and external which build as the story progresses.

Present a story of struggle. Let’s Make a “Tasty Fruit Salad of a Story Beginning” by creating delicious sentences from these basic boring ones. Use our research tools. Use these notes or the sample research books and any other information and I believe you will be amazed at the sparkle and flash you will discover in your writing sample today.

Sentence choices:

A.      Joyce ran to the store with her car. She shopped for special ingredients and checked her list to make sure she purchased everything. Tonight would be real special _______________________________________________________________________

B)      The unusual circumstances for amount of time he would be away were puzzling. After all he had special reasons for this trip ________________________________________________________________________

C)      Cats and rats and tomatoes? How could these have anything in common? And what was


____________________ to do with___________________________________________



D) It was a birthday like every other year. _________________________________________


*Add in a love language, goals, motivation, conflict and detail using strong nouns and verbs.

*Add in punctuation or twists or plot turns (watch out for our Kathy!) Okay everyone enjoy!

With great knowledge there is huge responsibility! Use your words wisely to build and not tear down. To bring truth and displace lies.

Realize that people, editors and agents want to be engaged in great story or helpful non-fiction. Let’s do our research, sprinkle it like a perfectly seasoned meal, and serve it out to the masses!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rose Chandler Johnson's Author Interview

I had the pleasure of meeting Rose Chandler Johnson a couple of years ago at the Write To Publish Conference. We reconnected on goodreads recently and talked about our writing goals and projects. Though I just started reading Her Father’s House, and have not finished,  I wanted to share Rose with you by way of interview.  We can all identify with busy schedules. Even if you are not a writer, I believe you will enjoy Rose’s thoughts. If you have a dream or goal you desire to pursue, I invite you to grab a cup of sweet ice tea and read about Rose and her writing achievements.  

When did you realize you wanted to write?
As a child, when I was no more than eight or nine, I wrote plays for my two sisters and brother and me to perform in a large back room of our house. I can’t imagine why they always listened to my directions.  My stage name (Sandra Blake) was always the same, the most beautiful name I could imagine at the time. Later, in high school, I dreamed of being a writer one day and started writing in college.

Who is your targeted audience?
My writing is faith based, but I hope to reach a secular audience as well as Christians with my fiction. Women, in particular, and especially the 20 to 40 age group.  Teenagers, couples, and men have enjoyed my devotionals.

Are your stories historical or contemporary?
Contemporary, but I’d love to write historical fiction too.

Tell us about the non-fiction you write?
I write devotionals. My devotional, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments, was published in July 2013. I’ve written some essays and articles and a little poetry, as well, but I’m particularly fond of writing devotionals.

Do you work outside the home? And if so, how do you carve out time in your busy day to write?
Yes, I teach.  I’m an adjunct English instructor at a community college.  In addition to that, I’m a mother to six adult children and nine grandchildren. My youngest child is twenty and a student at the University of Georgia. So, my biggest challenge as a writer, and the greatest roadblock, continues to be managing my time to write. My family has always been my priority, so I have to work very hard to carve out time to write. Often I have to give myself permission to make writing time for myself. Besides journaling early in the mornings, I crave out blocks of time on different days for writing.

Why did you want to write this novel, My Father’s House?
I wanted to write a story about a young woman with an indomitable spirit who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness.  The story begins with a quote from the 23rd Psalm.  I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the main focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose finds herself in an abusive marriage. I know from firsthand experience how devastating that can be.  The question is: Will she survive it? Lily Rose’s warm heart endears her to the reader who wants to know that she’s going to be all right, as her father had said.  When Lily Rose reconnects with family and her faith, hope is restored and we get a glimpse of the bright future God has in store for her.  The setting needed to play a critical part in the story as well.  So, with my roots firmly planted in Georgia, I modelled my fictional town after so many small Southern towns, and I set in some of my love of nature. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright meanness, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm.  One reader wrote that the story “made my heart smile.” I’m happy to accomplish that with this story.
When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story? What do you want to tell your readers?
No matter which road we take, God is always watching over us.  And I sign this book with the verse, Matthew 6:28  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
My Father’s House, a novel by Rose Chandler Johnson
“At once a sweet romance and a page-turning thriller” (Christy Award–winning author Ann Tatlock). Still reeling from a childhood tragedy, Lily hopes marriage will fill the hole in her heart. But when her relationship turns dark, it is her connection with God that will illuminate her path. 

Connect with Rose:
Link to My Father’s House:
Link to God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments:
Author Bio:  
My Father’s House is Rose’s first novel. Her devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments won the Georgia Author of the Year Finalist Award in 2014. It was also awarded the Selah Finalist Award in the same year. Rose enjoys writing for her blog, Write Moments with God and engaging with her readers. A native Georgian, Rose has lived in a suburb of Augusta for the last thirty years. Before retiring from Georgia’s public school system, Rose taught English, French, and ESOL. She is currently an adjunct English instructor at a community college. In addition to reading and writing, Rose enjoys cooking, sewing, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their growing families. And yes, sweet iced tea is her beverage of choice.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pens of Praise August Meeting Reminder and Prompt


August 15, 2016
Monday 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Faith Church

2201  42nd Street, Manitowoc, WI  54220
   Faith Church is located next to Festival Foods
   Not far from the Manitowoc exit off Interstate 43

WONDERFUL FLAVORS OF RESEARCH is our topic this month. Susan Marlene will teach the class. Bring your paper and pens and be ready to take notes! Are you ready to experience the amazing journey of writing with the pacing and rhythm that you were born to!

We are a safe place to share. We invite you to bring your WIP (Work in progress!) for a five minute read.

The prompt for this August is…

Count your ___________________ “what?” or count on – or count with…come on now, you are a writer- use your imagination for this one!

We will share a few book titles for researching a novel and how to write!

Bring your favorite coffee or tea with you! Our precious Kathy Leist brings treats—we all appreciate her so! J 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact Becky McLafferty @ or


But, here is a tip...don't research with your eyes closed!  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Winner!!! the hearts we mend by Kathryn Springer

ARIA decided to help Grandma (me)
 pick a winner for
a fantastic novel.

So we tossed all the names in the plastic
bowl and her little fingers
picked the winner!

ARIA thought it best for the bird
to see it first!

And the winner is!!!!!

I'll be contacting you soon!

Jiffy Day

Jiffy Day is a FaceBook author friend of mine. He has a remarkable story that I wanted to share on my blog. I welcome you to come and learn about this man’s unique story. I will be discovering his message along with you!  I’ve never had the privilege of reading Jiffy’s books. This is a first for me, for I have read the books in all other such posts. Time constraints have caused me to make this an author interview only and not a book review. Jiffy Day, it is time to find out about your story.

1)  What technology or programs do you depend on to write?
     Please bear with me now, I'm going to tell you not being able to read or write how technology come to my rescue. When I had the idea of trying to be a writer I knew about Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but a few years ago the technology was not up to the level it is today. So, I called the company told them my situation, that I want to be a writer. They suggested Dragon NaturallySpeaking premium 13. And the funny thing about that was they asked me where I lived. I told them Southwest Virginia. I think they actually programmed it for me--direct to my southern slurs and sayings, which really helped. And then after that, I call the geek squad and developed a working relationship with one of their representatives. He has been working with me all through the process getting ready to write my first book. That's how technology came to my rescue. The geek squad has worked with me and taught me how to use the computer to my advantage and as time went on I have learned how to be confident in what to do and how to work it. I asked the gentleman from the geek squad what I needed and did he know someone to do some proofreading. He gave me a young lady's name who came in and proofread my manuscript. From there, I went through one editor-- a nice lady, but didn't quite work out. Finally, I found a retired journalist from a newspaper in Salem, Virginia. She took my manuscript and brought it down to 294 pages and made it readable for everyone. From there, I self published to create space and I'm doing my own marketing. God has blessed me and opened many doors.

2)    Who is your target audience?
     I write about the subculture in the mid-70s in Southwest Virginia, Vietnam vets and their way of life during those times. And yes there's some marijuana growing in it, but it's also about a young man who becomes a Christian. He gets his character attacked. He does not know how to handle this without resorting to violence. He has to grow spiritually with the help of the grandmother to confront the wrong that has been said about him. Also, about a beautiful black girl who fell in love with a white boy in 1964 in Galax High School. A tragic love story. My target audience would most likely be baby boomers, Vietnam vet,s and people who come up through the late 60s and 70s.
3)    Is this a Christian novel?
     There are three different stories in this one book. Indirectly it is a Christian novel, but it deals with reality.
4)    Is this the typical Christian delivery of a novel? (Language and content?)
     This is not a typical Christian novel, it has content and adult language and adult issues with a Christian theme.
5)    Do your stories come from your imagination or experience?
     My story comes from my personal experiences and also with people that I have met through the years. Real life experiences--everything in my book--the growing season is based on reality and real people.
6)    Jiffy what issues do your novels address?
     Certainly the issues of life. It addresses race relations in the mid-60s also in the 70s it addresses abortion. It addresses first love and the pain of it I must say it again it addresses the issues of life.
7)    Since your operation, how appreciative are you about second chances for a longer life?
     Looking back since I'll be 67 years old, I appreciate the second chances and the favor of God on my life  and how many times has he spared me. Several instances are when I was being threatened with guns  and when having my stomach bleed before they discovered the tumor on my brain. I was incubated for 30 hours and was given five units of blood. They lost my pulse, but God saw me through. A year and a half later, they discovered the tumor and it was removed and God spared my life. These are more than second chances this is the mercy of God. I am a writer today because of his favor and his mercy and I thank him every day for it is he who give me this gift for I have done nothing to deserve it. There's no words that can be spoken to give him enough glory in my life.
8)    What amazes you most about your writing career?
     How God has opened the doors for me and the feedback I'm getting from people who are reading my book. I now have 15 five-star reviews on Amazon--unbelievable my readers are waiting for my next book! They tell me they can hardly wait on it. From the beginning, I asked God to open up the doors I should walk through. Also, for him to close those I should not enter, and give me the wisdom to know the difference. My book is surprisingly doing very well in Southwest Virginia. I would hope more people would read it. There's been some young people who like to read about my generation in Vietnam and the subculture in our way of life, through most of us never forgot God and his mercy. God is truly amazing and has showed me great favor.
9) Do you have fans contacting you and letting you know the impact you’ve had on their life?
     Yes, I've been invited to a luncheon with six of my fans in Galax who want to talk about my writing and get me to sign my books. One lady wrote on my Facebook that she can barely read the last few pages because of tears in her eyes, that gave me a sense of accomplishment, that people are liking what I'm writing and they won't to hear about my next novel.
10) How would you like your readers to contact you?
     My book is available on Amazon and Kindle and you can order it from my website. You can go to Amazon and put in The Growing Season by Jiffy Day. Amazon lets you read the first six pages and people can read my 15 reviews thank you again.

Thank you Jiffy Day! Your writing journey is very unique, interesting and inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions I sent. I wish you the best of success and we both know that God is amazing and the journey with Him is never dull or pointless!