Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pen to the Page: How to Become a Writer (Giveaway)



Do you have a story inside you that's itching to get out? Does this sounds familiar?

"Writing is hard and WAY TOO COMPLICATED TO LEARN, especially since I don't know which end of a sentence to start with!"

And why do people write books by themselves in the first place? What about all that grammar? Spelling? Outlining and plotting? Yikes!!!
These are good questions and I'd like to help answer them. How about we begin at the beginning.

The process of writing, whether it be poetry or a novel, begins with a pen and paper or the keyboard of a computer. That sounds rather simplistic but it's the truth. Someone can have a multitude of sonnets and stories floating around in his or her head, but until those words find their way to the page, that person is not truly considered a "writer."

Getting Started: Can you be a writer?

The Checklist

____ Characters
____ Story
____ Words
____ Desire to Learn
____ Determination
____ Paper/Computer
____ Time

How did you do? Do you have all of the traits of a writer? The "time" thing might take a bit of rearranging, but if I can write with a full-time job, you can too. I promise.

Now, I'd like to talk to you about what I think it takes to become a writer. If you'd like to try after listening, go for it! Join your local writing association, ACFW, or RWA . . . whatever you think will help you grow as a writer. Touch base with me through my blog and I'll give you pointers as well.

God bless and always,

In Christ,


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Book Giveaway:

Digital Copy

One winner chosen from comments
by random draw on October 2, 2016.
(valid entries must leave their email address)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

About the Book:

He appears the beast but she sees the man.
Architect Aimee Hart, determined to locate her father, infiltrates Miles Stratton’s engineering firm as a secretary. Her presence wrenches the shaggy, wounded man from his penthouse, and the quest begins.
He’s been betrayed by his best friend. Miles would rather hide than help, especially his daughter. But it isn’t over. Someone’s trying to destroy Stratton Industrial. A war veteran, he knows how to defend his own, the Beast of Stratton can do it again.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Coffee Corner: The Layers of Lisa Lickel (With a Fantabulous Giveaway)

Howdy, folks! Welcome to the Coffee Corner.

This week we’re chatting with a great friend and author from Prism Book Group. Please welcome Lisa Lickel to the blog.

I can’t wait to get started but first, I want to mention the giveaway. Lisa’s giving away copies (print or digital) to TWO winners! Make sure you check out the details at the end of the interview, but for now let’s find out more about Lisa…

Renee: Hi, Lisa, I’m so glad you’re here in my corner of the woods. Thanks for coming. Everybody’s waiting, so I guess we’ll dig in. How long have you been writing and why did you start?

Lisa: Thank you, I’m happy to be here, Renee. I started writing professionally, that is, getting a wee bit of financial compensation, in 2003, after completing the Christian Writers Guild course online. I started taking the course because I wanted to learn how to jump in, and the Guild had a good reputation. I had been involved with my local historical society in putting together a community history which involved research, interview, editorial work, and even biographies and press releases. I was fascinated and forgot how much I enjoyed writing.

Renee: Wow. I’ve never thought of writing stuff like that! It’s sounds interesting, though. So how do you decide what to write about and when do you do your research?

Lisa: Early on, I learned of an opportunity to write for Barbour Publishing’s new mystery book club. It didn’t last long, but that was my first lesson is learning to write for the market. A few years later when I was ready to write on topics that intrigued me, I chose to mash several variables, stem cell research and medical ethics, the mysticism—but not really—of an 800-year-old Catholic Brotherhood, and the dynamics of broken families. I researched by shamelessly using my new sister-in-law, who’s in charge of research studies at a prestigious university hospital, people I know who practice their faith, newspaper articles, and the Internet.

Renee: I guess we all have our “sources,” if you know what I mean? How do you pick your character names? Do you pick them from a hat or do you have a more “unique” way of choosing them?

Lisa: For this book, Innocents Pray, I decided to make the character’s names an intrinsic part of the story, yet I didn’t want them to get in the way. They needed to be common and easily pronounceable, yet convey even subtly the larger message of the book. The two main protagonists are Brother Able and Liberty (Libby). Libby’s husband is Victor. The main antagonists are Libby’s son, Jordan and the doctor, Richard (Rich). I’d love to hear what those names summon up for you.

Renee: Considering I haven’t read the book yet, let’s see—now remember, I’m shooting from the hip here—Brother Able makes me think of a competent man of God. Liberty brings to mind freedom. Victor, of course, instills the thought of conquering or victory. Jordan brings to mind the Jordan River in the Bible and to be on the right side of the Jordan is to be on God’s side. And Rich? Well, our riches are not always in gold. How’s that?
What about your titles? How do you pick those?

Lisa: This has been my worst nightmare of this process. Innocents Pray is going to be my twenty-first book release and the first one I’m putting out for myself under a limited imprint I developed for my editorial clients a couple of years ago. The title is one that I researched and decided on early on, at least the one I wanted to submit to publishers and agents with. The manuscript netted me contracts with three agents and received two publisher contract offers, but neither of them ended up being right. Some of my early readers, including my dad, weren’t enchanted by the title, so I went through a month of frantic self-doubt and at least two online discussion forums begging for opinions and help. I learned that if you ask blank, you’ll get every possible title idea under the sun, but if you ask more specifically, the advice is tighter. In the end, I chose not to change the title but added a verse epigraph.

Renee: Titles are tough. I always start writing with a title in mind and it’s hard to let go. Beast of Stratton was that way. When I started that book, it was entitled Another Legacy. I changed it later. I didn’t want to let go of my original title, but the story and marketing required it. Not so much the setting. Speaking of that, is your setting unique and how did you select it?

Lisa: The setting for Innocents Pray starts out in a real place, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the Alexian Brothers have their home, and where my characters Libby and Vic, live. The story then moves to a fictional southern California coastal community where Dr. Rich has his famous hospice and where Brother Able serves as hospice chaplain. I selected these places mostly because Milwaukee was familiar to me, and I could still enjoy creating a setting of my own in California.

Renee: I can understand that. I do that with my Snowy Range Chronicles. I love my Wyoming home so much that I created the small town of Timber Springs to share a bit of this rugged life with them. What advice do you have for the new writer?

Lisa: You can do both—enjoy this journey, and be professional—but if you’re going to be serious about writing professionally find a good mentor and treat your work as a business. Learn all you can, be flexible, never give up, and never surrender.

Renee: I agree with you. If you treat it like a hobby, you won’t dedicate the love, energy and time it requires. We know you’re a writer, but are you a reader? If so, what’s your favorite book and where do you like to read the most?

Lisa: My favorite book, fiction, of all time is Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. It’s not really science fiction or even fantasy, but a fictionalized account of growing up in northeastern Illinois in a small community during the forties, when the world was exciting with the possibility of exploring outer space, and there was hope. It’s about being a child on the cusp of adulthood, transitioning into maturity yet able to hang on to childhood and sort out the best parts to take with you. It’s an amazing set of short stories of the first and last summer and always the best summer of your life. I love it and read it at least every other year.
My favorite place to read is wherever I am.

Renee: I can read almost anywhere except the car. Time to get a little personal. Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do when you aren’t working?

Lisa: I love to watch or go to movies, listen to music or the radio, do Sudoku puzzles, play with my grandkids, and take pictures.

Renee: Today’s life isn’t easy. We all struggle in one way or another. I won’t try to dig out any horror stories, but is there a special quote or saying which comes to your mind in times of need or adversity?

Lisa: I’m always comforted (or exasperated) to be reminded that God doesn’t make me go through anything we can’t handle. And there’s always the precious sagacity from Jeremiah that He knows the plans He has for me.

Renee: Yes, God is with us no matter what we face in this life. I cling to the fact (yes, it’s a fact for any skeptics out there!) God offers not only His love but His almighty strength to overcome whatever we must in this fallen world. After all, He may not have caused the fall of Man, but He didn’t abandon us as we deserved.
Thank you so much for visiting the Coffee Corner today, Lisa. It’s an honor and a pleasure. I can’t wait to read your new book!

Okay, folks, now it’s your chance to win a book! TWO people will get a chance to do so, too. Simply answer the question below and comment on the blog (NO, not Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, LOL.) I’ll draw for the two winners in a week from the date of this blog. This looks like an awesome book AND giveaway! Have fun.

----------------- BOOK GIVEAWAY -----------------

Winner's choice of



(Answer in blog comments. Leave your name and email address for valid entry.)
***Five comments required to validate contest***
****WINNERS selected by random draw on 9/25/2016 and announced on blog****



Justice, mercy, and humbleness collide when four people pray for different answers to the same situation. How will God answer all of them?

What is wrong with trying to cure cancer? Brother Able, hospice chaplain, asks himself that question every day. His boss, Dr. Rich Bernard, performs closet genetic experiments at Paradise House. He blackmails Able into keeping his secret. When a grieving husband asks Able to pray for his dying wife, Able finally breaks his silence.
Libby Davis might be prepared to accept death, to sacrifice herself for Rich’s greater cause but fails to comprehend the love of a husband who cannot let her go and the son who’s a whisper from the edge of reason. Brother Able wades into battle for those innocents in her life. If he wins, it won’t be only Libby’s family he saves.

Purchase links:


Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and sometimes magazine editor. Visit