Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Welcome Sandy Ardoin!


Ann:  Hello Sandy, and welcome to Write Pathway where writers and editors meet. We are thrilled to have you with us today.

Let’s begin today with a little information about you; then we’ll merge into thoughts about your book. Are you a native Carolina girl?

Sandy:  Ah, Carolina Girls … love that song. No, I was born in Indiana and moved to Texas when I was sixteen. I’ve been in North Carolina for the past (almost) 19 years.

Ann:  What would you do with your life if you didn't write?

Sandy:  Clean house. J I’d probably also roam the streets looking for antique shops to prowl through. I’d do more gardening.

Ann:  If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

Sandy:  Country. More specifically, Country-Pop—a little bit country and a little bit rock ’n roll. Not too wild, but definitely not citified.

Ann:  Who inspired in you a love for books?

Sandy:  Dick and Jane. I still remember reading those and getting caught up in the stories of Spot and the pony (maybe because I wanted a pony so badly myself).

After that, it was Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books (my historical side). Then I graduated to gothic mysteries—Jane Eyre, Rebecca—and then more contemporary romantic mysteries from people like Phyllis Whitney and Mary Higgins Clark.

I don’t come from a family of big readers, so I’m not sure where I picked up my love for reading.

Ann:  How many books have you published? Do you also write other things—articles? short stories? Etc.

Sandy:  The Yuletide Angel is my first published book—a Christmas novella. My first novel (a follow-up to the novella) releases in January of 2016. It’s working title is A Reluctant Melody.

I’ve been publishing since 1986—short pieces like cards, posters, devotions, short stories. In June, my short story “Ellie’s Escape” appeared in Splickety Prime. It was exciting to be in the same issue as Jerry Jenkins.

Ann:  Well, congratulations on getting in Splickety Prime with Jerry Jenkins.  

We all know that publishing is an arduous process and often takes many rejections before we get published. How many rejections did you get before you published a book?

Sandy:  Book rejections? More than I care to remember. Before The Yuletide Angel, my agent submitted three other books—two of them multiple times. Between those three, I’d say I’ve racked up at least twenty rejections.

Ann:  Which character in your present release, The Yuletide Angel, do you find most interesting?

Sandy:  That’s a tough one. I love my hero’s character. Hugh is really sweet and protective. He looks beneath the surface. My heroine, Violet, starts out shy and withdrawn, but she has an inner grit that I like in a female character.

Ann:  Tell us a little about your book.

Sandy: The Yuletide Angel is Christian historical romance set in 1890. Here’s the back cover blurb:

It's Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor. 

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others. 

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh's estranged brother shows up in town ... and in Violet's company. 

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.

Ann:  The Yuletide Angel sounds like my kind of book. I look forward to reading it. Got it on my Christmas list.

Would you share a favorite Scripture verse or passage of Scripture that means a lot to you?

Sandy:  I have several, including Jeremiah 29:11, but I really like Isaiah 55:8-9.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Those words remind me of the awesomeness of God and that He is in control. I can’t do anything, think anything, plan anything that equals what He can do or who He is.

Ann:  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Sandy:  Thanks so much for having me here, Ann. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions and introducing your readers to Hugh Barnes and Violet Madison, the main characters of The Yuletide Angel

Ann:  Thank you for sharing your debut novella with us, Sandy. We hope when the next book comes out, you'll revisit us here at Write Pathway. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Write Pathway Welcomes Linda Yezak

Linda, I'm so happy to have you with us today to learn a little about you and about your new release The Cat Lady's Secret. Right there, you've piqued my interest because I love a secret and I used to know a cat woman who had about two hundred cats. But first, let's learn about you.

What would you do with your life if you didn't write?

I love being a freelance editor and thoroughly enjoy helping others polish their manuscripts or helping them reach an epiphany pertaining to some aspect of the craft. I’ve held positions as editorial assistant for a literary agent, content editor for a small publishing company, and copy editor for a small ezine–even had a short blast as an acquisitions editor.

For the sake of my writing, I gave up what jobs were not already defunct (the e zine saw only a couple of releases), but if I didn’t write, I’d pursue editing more actively. Love it.

How many rejections did you get before you published a book?

My first book, Shattered Crystal, received only one rejection, and it was enough to make me take the craft more seriously. I dumped that manuscript in a drawer and started a new one. The second, Petting Wet Cats, showed promise and improvement, but it landed in a drawer too, without ever being pitched.

I thought I had a winner with Give the Lady a Ride, but it received several rejections–all encouraging, but rejections just the same. I finally offered it to the publisher I worked for at the time, and she took it. One reason I stopped submitting it was because of the insanity going on in my life at the time–deaths, illnesses, long stints away from home–which didn’t end until three years later.

How many books have you published? Are all of them published by traditional publishers?

Five books bear my name, either as author or a co- or contributing author. My first nonfiction, Public Speaking for Newbies, was self-published just because I wanted to see if I could do it. I was one of 31 contributing authors for 31 Devotionals for Writers, also self-published, but by the instigating author, Suzette Williams.

The Cat Lady’s Secret, Give the Lady a Ride, and Writing in Obedience, which I co-wrote with literary agent Terry Burns, were all traditionally published. However, Ride was released by the original publisher, so I put it out myself earlier this year.

Tell us a bit about The Cat Lady’s Secret.

Like many people her age, Emily Taylor has a past; unlike others, she goes to extremes to hide it, particularly from her high school sweetheart. Their newly rekindled romance brings joy to her quiet life. But when her generous contribution to the family of a young man with a brain tumor draws the attention of a journalist, her security as an anonymous benefactor is threatened. And when a string of arsons throw her into the limelight, that security begins to crumble. Instead of living in fear of being discovered, Emily decides to confront her past head on . . . in prison.

This intricate tale of love, forgiveness, and second chances started out to be a comedy, but I wrote much of it during the “crazy years.” The tone of my life during that time affected the tone of my work. Now it’s a comedy/drama that holds much more depth than it would have otherwise. I’m excited about the results.

What two or three things would you do differently if you were starting your publishing career today?

I’d be more patient. Far more patient. I’m tickled with what I’ve accomplished over the seven years I’ve been at this job and not complaining at all. But I can’t help wondering what would’ve happened had I waited out the storm in my life before offering Ride to its publisher, or what would’ve happened if I’d waited until I was well from my last bout with Crohn’s disease before pitching Cat Lady.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

First thing I do is write the first several chapters, as far as my ideas for each scene go. Next I grab a spiral notebook and show myself what I’ve learned about my characters and their stories. I can’t call myself an outliner yet–my first draft usually serves as my outline–but I do stop writing to sketch out a few scenes and play with my characters.

Have you received a particularly memorable reader response or peer honor? Please share.

The Cat Lady’s Secret was a finalist in the Genesis contest, back when the contest had only two rounds. I haven’t yet submitted it to any other competition.

Give the Lady a Ride was my first finalist in the Genesis, and also a finalist in the Carol contest in the “debut novel” category. It won the 2011 Grace Award.

Those honors are amazing, but my favorite responses were from a couple of readers, both commenting on Give the Lady a Ride. One was going through a rough patch in her life and found comfort in a comment made in the novel. Hearing that humbled me and warmed my heart. 

Another response was a stern reminder to watch my words. A veterinarian from Georgia caught me calling a steer a bull–something totally unintentional, but it slipped past all the edits. She wrote, “You do know the difference, don’t you?” Well, I’m from Texas, and of course I do, but she had no way of knowing. I still giggle every time I think of the letters we exchanged. She was a sweet lady.

Oh my, those are amazing results in just seven years. Congratulations, Linda! What's next? 

Coming in August is a novel I co-wrote with a friend, The Simulacrum. Brad Seggie had a marvelous idea for a story similar to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, but instead of tweaking the noses of Christians, as Mr. Brown does, Brad tweaks the noses of evolutionists. His research is impeccable and his logic is flawless, and both are illustrated through characters who are chasing a killer from Texas to Virginia. Finding the man who pulled the trigger only reveals more secrets, and our heroes won’t quit until they get answers.

This conspiracy thriller not only entertains, but also provides food for thought for those who still waffle about Intelligent Design. The Simulacrum is Brad’s debut novel, and I expect it to be a hit. 

Wow, that sounds like a real thriller that anyone would love to read.

Well, again, thank you for being with us today, Linda. We look forward to reading The Cat Lady's Secret.

And thank you for having me on Write Pathway, Ann. I hope the person who wins my book will enjoy it. I look forward to reading comments from your readers.

To win a copy of The Cat Lady's Secret, please leave a comment about the interview. Linda will be checking to see who's reading about The Cat Lady. If you follow me, you will be entered twice in the contest. If you tweet or post about it on fb, you'll be entered for each time. Just send me a copy of your tweet or fb post. Be sure to include your email in the comment in order for me to contact the winner. Good luck!

Friday, May 9, 2014


"God bless America, land that I love." Where would this land be without the men and women who so valiantly defend our freedom? Today I want to say "Thank you" with all my heart. No matter which branch of service you have served in, you are the reason we are free today. Please know that your sacrifices do not go unnoticed by the people who love the America given to us by those who went before. You are our heroes! You make a difference! We depend on you! We celebrate you and your service.

And we thank God for your selfless devotion to our great country. We are equally thankful for the families who are left behind, who stand with you in the good times and support and love you during your difficult days of deployment.

Futhermore, we pray for you! We want the best for you and your families and we know that includes being able to live by the faith that sustains you. We pray that God will restore your freedom of religion that our government taken away from you over the past year. May God richly bless you for your service to our country.

To show my appreciation for your service, I am offering a 25% writing or editing discount to military personnel, past and present, active duty or reserve. Material to be edited or written must conform to Christian publishing standards and proof of service is required. Offer is good through May 31, 2014.

If you need help writing or editing your story or book, please contact me for more information

Ann Knowles

Writer - Editor - Speaker - Teacher

Friday, January 31, 2014


Kathy Ide’s book, Polishing the PUGS is the first book I reach for when I am writing or editing and need help. When I teach at writers’ conferences, I recommend it to the people in my class and usually have one on hand to show to them. I also tell my editing clients about it and suggest they purchase one.

Now Kathy says, "Don't buy Polishing the PUGS." What? Why?

And the answer is---Kathy brings us a new book, Proofreading SECRETS of Best-Selling Authors. In the introductory pages Kathy explains the importance of good editing. She says "Words and Punctuation are the tools of a writer's trade and calls this book 'the owner's manual for the tools we use in our writing.'"

This book contains most of the material from the PUGS book, updated to correspond to the latest editions of the industry standard professional books for writers and editors: The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Kathy doesn’t just tell you the rules; she gives you examples and cites her sources.

The first twenty-six pages of this book contain additional helpful comments from Kathy and the SECRETS she promises in the title. She quotes such well known authors as Gayle Roper, Kathie Macias, Cindy Woodsmall, Renae Brumbaugh, Mary DeMuth, and Wanda E. Brunstetter. The book is endorsed by Cecil Murphey, author and coauthor of more than 135 books, Pam Pugh of Moody Publishers, Nanette Thorsen-Snipes, freelance editor, and several other authors and editors.
Proofreading SECRETS of Best-Selling Authors has just been released. Order your copy today and come back here to leave your comments about the book.