Monday, February 28, 2011

Launch of New YA Suspense Thriller by Shellie Neumeier

I met Shellie Neumeier through the John 3:16 Marketing Network and am excited to introduce her here. She is coming out with a new YA Novel, Driven. 

Tuesday is the launch of Driven on Amazon. Here is a sneek peek of her new book starting with a short inteview. 

1. Tell us about your latest book Driven.  Do you have a favorite passage you'd like to share?

I can share the back cover blurb: “Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…

Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.

Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost.”

And how about the first couple paragraphs…

“From a comfortable height above the trees, Sebastian circled the abandoned paper mill, drinking in the atmosphere of dereliction and decay surrounding the property. This place has more character than most of the humans I know. Half broken windows winked like the evil eyes of wayward souls, while snow drifts gathered in the corners. The wind toyed with the snow, whipping trails that could chill his feet and ankles. If he had feet and ankles, that is.

"Slipping through a second-story window, Sebastian watched a rat scurry across the dusty floor in a dash for the shadows. Like an angry cloud—black as asphalt, thick as cigar smoke—Sebastian floated after the rodent, watching with mild interest as it raced for another shadow and nearly collided with an old tom cat whose eyes glowed bright with hunger. The tom sprang, but

"Sebastian turned away. He didn’t have time for these cat and mouse games today, no matter how much he enjoyed them. He had bigger game to consider, and as he moved over the room, he thought about the girl he’d come to destroy.”

2. Also, please share some of your writing goals.  What's next for you?

I’m thrilled to say I’m under contract with my mid-grade chapter book to be released in 2/2012 (MuseItYoung Publishing) entitled The Wishing Ring. My twelve and nine year-old helped develop the plot, which makes the story one wild and imaginative ride. I’ve also teamed up with Lisa Lickel in writing a romance novel. I enjoyed writing the young adult sections. But my favorite project is another YA novel written about a young boy with special needs. After a fit of rage, he finds himself struggling to survive life in a treatment center.  It’s been eye-opening writing that piece.

3. What do you hope readers will get from reading your book?

Hopefully my readers will come away with a renewed sense of power. A sense of I-can-do-that, whatever “that” may be in their lives. And of course I hope they come away having enjoyed a great ride from the story.

4. On a random note, if you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Hmm. I’d love to be a Jaguar, filled with grace and speed; or a she-lion, fierce in her cub's protection; but my husband likens me to that dog on UP (the one that says “squirrel” with energized distraction).


Driven is a new take on the age old battle of good versus evil. Gripping from the first page, this is one book you won't want to put down.

--Leanna Kay, co-creator of - a place for Christian girls to grow in faith.

Driven is a breathtaking book of tension, intrigue, and heartwarming emotion. From the moment I began to read until the very last word, I couldn't put it aside. It held me enthralled!

--Lindsay Below, author of Head Over Hand-Bought Heels

In the tradition of This Present Darkness and The Screwtape Letters, Driven pulls back the veil between worlds and reminds us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against Satan and his minions. But the journey of Robyn and her friends against both physical and spiritual enemies also illustrates the more exciting truth: that ultimate victory rests with our God.

--Anne Mateer, author of Wings of Dream, September 2011.


• Purchase Driven on Tuesday, March 1, and receive a personalized, signed book plate mailed directly to you plus. . .

• Free signed bookmarks to share with your friends

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview of Tracy Krauss about her new novel My Mother the Maneater

Meet up and coming author Tracy Krauss, as she talks about her novel, My Mother, the Man Eater.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Although I have always loved the creative process and have been a ‘story teller’ for my entire life, I started writing about 25 years ago. Of course, in those days it was a compulsion I found time for during my children’s naps. I hammered out reams of paper on my mother’s old typewriter, or filled notebooks with my scrawl. When the home computer age came to be, it revolutionized my writing, but I spent many tedious hours retyping what I had previously written and discovered most of it wasn’t really worth the paper it was written on! I finally started looking more seriously into publication about eight years ago.

2. How do you write? By the "seat of your pants" or outlining?

A little of both. Once I get the inspiration for a novel, I like to create very elaborate background stories for each character. I like to know my people inside and out and understand what makes them tick. Then I do a rough outline, eventually expanding into plotting each Chapter or scene. Invariably, though, when I start the actually writing process, lots of things change and I go with that. The characters seem to take on a life of their own and often surprise me with what they say and do.

3. Tell us about your new book--where the idea came from, how long it took you, what inspired you, and how people can get a copy?

MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER was originally inspired when I was playing the Sims! The characters and interaction mushroomed into the idea for this book – a forty something cougar on the quest for fulfillment. From the time I actually sat down and began crafting the idea into a book until it was finished was about four years. I tend to work on several projects at once, so this was while working on three other novels and about six plays. (Not to mention working etc. etc.) It is available at the usual online stores - Amazon, B & N, Chapters/Indigo (in Canada), Blessings Christian marketplace and others. It is also for sale in several local brick and mortar stores in my area, Chapters/Indigo Stores, or directly from the publisher.

4. What would you say to a writer who aspires to write fiction? Any good tips?

Never stop learning. The moment you think you know it all is the moment you become stagnant. This means writing, writing, writing and sharing your work with a critique group or other trusted friends. (Start with people who won’t be too hard on you.) After that, seek critique from unbiased and professional people. These commentaries often hurt, so get used to it and get tough. It makes you stronger and makes you a better writer. Taking courses and workshops is probably also a good idea as is reading lots of books in various styles and genres. Finally, examine your reasons for writing. If it is to get rich and become the next NY best seller, then maybe you should quit and do something else. If it is your passion, however, you really don’t need me telling you what to do. You already know: WRITE.


Buy MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER on February 24 and receive loads of FREE e-gifts from these generous supporters:

Sample chapters, short stories, children’s books, and magazines from acclaimed, best selling and debut Christian authors, such as April Gardner, Shawna Williams, Shellie Neumeier, Sana Edoja, Delia Latham, Ray Lincoln, Stacy Padula, Elaine Cooper, Stacy Juba, Lisa Lickel, Joann Durgin … and more!

Plus – free manuscript critiques, manuscript editing, and marketing and promotional tips from journalists, editors, authors and speakers, Lorilyn Roberts, Linda Yezak and Bonnie Way.

And – beautiful downloadable art cards courtesy of artist and author Brenda Hendricks.

All if you buy your copy of MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER at on Feb. 24! These free gifts are valid on Feb. 24 only. All the links will be operational on the ‘Book Launch’ site at Click HERE for more details link:

DISCLAIMER: This Best Seller book launch has been coordinated with the help of the ‘John 3:16 Marketing Network’ and many other generous supporters. The free gifts are deliverable electronically over the internet or by email by individual authors and supporters. They are not in any way associated with, nor deliverable by,

Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan.  She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, BC. My Mother the Man-Eater is Tracy’s second published novel. A third novel called Play it Again is currently in the production phase and is the sequel to her debut novel And The Beat Goes On, an archeological suspense. Other published works include a play called ‘Ebenezer’s Christmas Carol’ available through Pioneer Drama Services.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughts on Creative Writing, 2 of 15, Get Real

My comments are based on Ken Kuhlken's book, Writing and the Spirit.

2. Get Real

Becoming the person God created me to be has been fraught with unbelievable obstacles. I don’t know whether it is so with others, but from the time I was a child, I have struggled with being “me.” A broken home at an early age, unrealistic expectations, lack of spiritual truth, insecurity, and a failure to recognize myself as “created in God’s image” kept me on dead end roads for years.

The gumption never to give up in search of truth was God’s gift. His unconditional love has enabled me to overcome the demons from the past, the lies I believed, and the grace to let go of the hurt. Redemption is the reward in this world for a life well-finished in spite of perilous beginnings. And for that I am thankful.

Thoughts on Creative Writing, 1 of 15

My comments are based on Ken Kuhlken's book, Writing and the Spirit.

1. Begin with the Spirit

I have discovered the greatest killer of creative writing for me is lack of sleep. The second greatest obstacle is worry—about the future, my family, my career, or not being in control.

In recent years, I have made sleep a priority, but I haven’t conquered this dragon. On some days he roars out and I am beat completely. I tell myself, this, too, shall pass. Tonight I will get a good night’s rest and tomorrow I will begin again. The first step, though, is recognizing the need and then pursuing the need with commitment. I have found the commitment is attainable, though not without sacrifice. Sometimes other things don’t get done. But to be creative, I must get sufficient sleep; no ifs, ands, or buts.

The second obstacle presents a more slippery slope. I call this the battle of emotions. My human nature is to worry; my spiritual nature is to trust God. As pointed out in the chapter, I must begin with the “spirit” to even have a chance of winning this battle. Without God, I can’t do anything. My writing is stale and I don’t even have a desire to write. All my energy is consumed with whatever I am besieged with, and the result is depression.

I have come to realize there is something circuitous about this; I write not to become depressed, but I can’t write if I am depressed. So it begins with the Bible, focusing on God, and prayer. These tenets of the faith help me to be in the right mindset to overcome evil, and I believe it is evil that prevents me from writing. It is a battle of the mind for control—worry versus trust, belief versus unbelief. These battles, though, can be woven into wonderful stories with redemption. That is why I write.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Gumption Factor in Writing and Getting Published

In my advanced writing class at Perelandra College, Professor Ken Kuhlken wrote, “When we have preconceptions, we need to let go of them if we hope to find new answers.”

Preconceptions can set us up for failure if we are rigid. But what if we use our preconceptions to catapult us to a level of excellence not limited by our finite vision?

A couple of years ago, I wrote my memoir about the adoption of my two daughters as creative nonfiction. I meticulously researched facts and details I had forgotten. I scoured the Internet to verify locations, names, dates, and chronological order of events. I pulled out every document I had saved from both adoptions and poured my heart and soul into my writing.

I asked many friends, professional acquaintances, and editor-journalism-communication types to read Children of Dreams and offer suggestions on how I could make it better. I listened and made revisions that created an almost unbelievable story.

Two weeks before the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference in 2009, I sent off my completed manuscript to be reviewed by an editor attending the conference. I spent $50 and downloaded a file to prepare me for the right attitude while at the conference. I had attended this conference twice before and came away both times disillusioned. This time I was determined not to let that happened.

I couldn’t think of anything that an editor could say to me for which I would not have an answer. I launched my website before the conference and signed up for the marketing class with Randy Ingermanson. I was ready to dive in and market my book if an editor or agent offered me a contract on Children of Dreams. I did not feel like I was setting myself up for failure. I always set lofty goals and then leave the outcome in God’s hands.

The conference arrived and I was excited to be there. I couldn’t wait to share the joy of my book with others. But when I showed my manuscript around, I was surprised by comments.

“No one is publishing memoirs right now,” one person said. “Oh, a memoir,” another stated. People stepped back from me like I had bad breath. Nobody would read one line and acted like I had written something “C” rated at best. But I remained positive. I was certain when I received my manuscript back from the reviewing editor the next day, he would be interested.

The moment arrived when all the reviews were handed out to the attendees. When mine wasn’t, I went up and inquired. Despite the volunteers looking everywhere, they didn’t have mine. While my book was “lost,” all the remaining slots to meet with other editors filled up. Nobody knew where my book was. If the editor who had received my manuscript didn’t like it, I would have no opportunity to present my book to someone else.

To say I was disillusioned is an understatement, but it didn’t come close to what I felt when my manuscript was found. I read the note the editor wrote. “You might consider submitting this to a magazine.”

If the editor had read one paragraph of that 235-page manuscript, he would have known the story couldn’t be condensed into an article. I had presented part of it to a “Focus on the Family” editor a year earlier, and her comment was, “It’s too long. If you can shorten it, we would love to take another look.” I was unwilling to cut it down any more, and it was that comment that made me realize I needed to write the whole story. It took 235 pages to do the story justice.

I did meet later with a couple of editors at the conference and was told by them—as well as an agent, “When you have one thousand people on an opt-in list, come back and talk to us.” While I was nice to them, I thought to myself, if I had one thousand people on an opt-in list, why would I need you?

As a result of that experience, my “gumption” kicked in. I reassessed what I really wanted. What was important to me? Sometimes “no’s” become wonderful opportunities to think “outside the box.” We are free to pursue goals we never would have considered if we had been given what our preconceived ideas told us we wanted.

The key is to be open to change, to give up something to receive something better. Since God controls the outcome, we should focus on the process and what we can do to enhance our chance to achieve our goal.

I have never met an author who didn’t have a lot of gumption to become published. Good writing and successful marketing are key, and money helps the process to go faster as far as exposure, but without the seed within us never to give up, the chances are we won’t go anywhere with our writing.

Today I have forty-three reviews with five stars on Amazon. I thank all my friends and professional contacts every time a new five-star review goes up, knowing without their honest input—and yes, some of it hurt—Children of Dreams wouldn’t have all those wonderful reviews.

My gumption not to give up is still intact, and I am more determined than ever to share my writing with others. Preconceived ideas have long gone out the window. I am setting a new path into the unknown with the John 3:16 Marketing Network, writing a new young adult fantasy novel, obtaining my Masters in Creative Writing, and hopefully someday will teach at the university level in China when I finish my education.

God gives us a cup overflowing with opportunity when we commit our way to Him. Gumption is the human quality He endears us with to get us started. If God is for us, who can be against us?