Posts Tagged ‘Judith Miller’
Posted on August 19, 2012 - by Brenda Anderson
Thank you very much to all the authors–Judith Miller, Christine Lynxwiler, Shannon Vannatter, Rose Ross Zediker, and Kathy Sattem Rygg–who shared a bit of themselves with us this past week. We loved hearing your personal stories!
Thank you also for generously providing your books as giveaways.
And a special thanks to all our readers who took time to chat with us. Our door is always open, so you’re welcome to stop by anytime!
Now, here’s the announcement you’ve been waiting for: Giveaway Winners!
A HIDDEN TRUTH by Judith Miller: Bethany! Please contact Lorna Seilstad at LornaSeilstadATyahooDOTcom.
THE RULUCTANT COWGIRL by Christine Lynxwiler: Mary Holmon! Please contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/
COWGIRL AT HEART by Christine Lynxwiler: Marianne Barkman! Please contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/
WHITE DOVES by Shannon Vannatter: Karen! Please contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/
RODEO HERO by Shannon Vannatter: Marianne! Please contact Shannon Vannatter here: http://shannonvannatter.com/contact/
JOB’S TEARS by Rose Ross Zediker: Karen K! Please contact Shari Barr at ShariBarrATShariBarrDOTcom.
ROSE OF SHARON by Rose Ross Zediker: Deb Hauser! Please contact Shari Barr at ShariBarrATShariBarrDOTcom.
Posted on August 13, 2012 - by Lorna Seilstad
When I first joined ACFW, I was invited to meet to Pella, Iowa to meet with a group of Iowa writers. Dawn joined ACFW mostly so she could come along with me that day. (But the writing bug had aldready bitten her and was beginning to itch.)
I thought I was embarking on the first leg of my writing journey–reaching out to meet to new writers. Little did I know, God was sending me to meet one of the women who means the most to me in the world.
Judith McCoy Miller, Judy to me, happened to be in the area doing research for her Amana books and decided to join the group. As we talked, she said she wrote for Bethany, but because she’d introduced herself as Judy, I didn’t place her books. She offered to read the synopsis I brought. I still remember what she said when she was done with it. “This is good, but it won’t sell right now. Go home and write that other book about the lake you were talking about.”
We went back in the coffee shop for her to sign them. When we hugged goodbye, she gave me her card and said, “You can write me anytime.” And we said goodbye with tears in our eyes.
It was the beginning of one of dearest friendships I’ve ever known. Since then, my “writer mom” and I have shared trips, laughter, tears, plot talks, and secrets. It my great honor to share a little bit more about this woman who has blessed my life so greatly.
10 ABOUT JUDY MILLER YOU MAY NOT KNOW
1. Judy recently redid her office. She used antique typerwriters as a motif and found a great set of typewriter book ends to decorate her desk. The idea is carried to the wall with a typewriter print. On top of her bookcase, she has framed covers of some of her more than 30 books.
2. Judy has a gorgeous new website. Check it out at judithmcoymiller.com. You’ll notice she carried the antique typewriter to the top of her home page. The old photos at the top are old family photographs. You can also see some old family photos on her photographs page. For the first time, Judy also has a personal blog and you can get to it through her website.
3. Judy has it BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD for sheep and lambs. Since her newest release A Hidden Truth is set in East Amana where the colonies raised sheep, she had to do a lot of research about the wooly animals. Of course, Judy didn’t want to leave any stone unturned and on our last Amana trip, we had to traverse the countryside to find some real Iowa sheep. (Sheep arent’ raised in East Amana any more.) We finally found some, but the owner wasn’t home. Imagine the poor lady’s surprise when she did return to find three women (Judy, Dawn, and I) taking pictures of her sheep. With a strong Czech accent, the woman answered all of Judy’s questions about the sheep.
The cute little fellows at the left cuddled up in Judy’s basement for a photo op to introduce Judy’s newest release and the “Shepherd’s Hand Traveling Books.” Check out her website soon for more information on this upcoming event and to watch how far these “sheep” travel.
4. Judy treats her traveling companions to delicious delacacies like rye bread and cheese curd sandwiches. Okay, there’s a story here. I’ve joined Judy in Amana for a couple of book signings during the Mayfest and Oktoberfest. We sign at the General Store in Main Amana, and with her series of popular Amana books, Judy is quite a celebrity and is busy most of the day. (I get to sign an occassional book, too. )
One Saturday, we were so busy we couldn’t even stop for lunch. When we left the store, it was late and the restaurants were closed. Starving, we stopped at the only store still open–a meat market. Judy came out with a loaf of rye bread and a bag of cheese curds. We gobbled up cheese curd sandwiches all the way back to our hotel.
5. Judy loves coffee and is quite fond of her Keurig. When her brother visited, she sold him on the Keurig’s virtues. She still finds it hard to believe I don’t drink coffee. She’ll probably get me hooked yet.
6. Last year, Judy planted a new tree in her front yard. As far as new trees go, it was a larger one, but it has required a great deal of care–especially in this years drought in Kansas. Judy has had to add “water tree” to her list of things to do in the midst of tight deadlines and edits.
7. Besides coffee, Judy has never met and ice cream place she didn’t like. While visiting her sister on the east coast earlier this summer, she happened upon a store which served these mammoth cones. When Judy ordered a large cone, the girl asked, “Are you sure you want a large?” Of course Judy said yes and this is what she got. She ate the whole thing and retured two more times for large cones before she left her sisters.
8. At the beginning of the summer, Judy joined her agent Wendy Lawton and fellow authors Lauraine Snelling and Julie Klassen on a trip to Bethany House publishers. While in Minnesota, she visited a woman who specializes in make-overs. Judy learned that her favorite fall colors should remain on the walls of her house and not on her body as she is a “true summer” and not a “fall.” Who knew?
9. Judy loves old cemmetaries. It’s not a surprise that as someone who takes her research seriously, Judy finds the headstones a wealth of knowledge and a great source for period and area appropriate names.
10. When we are traveling, Judy and I love to try out the local bakeries. Naturally, it’s for research. Someday we may really write the “Bakeries of Iowa” series. Really. We might. Meanwhile, the kolaches in Cedar Rapids were delicious.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. If you want to know something else about this wonderful lady, leave a question and she’ll stop by and answer it.
To honor the day, Judy is giving away a copy of her newest release A Hidden Truth. Just leave a comment along with your e-mail and you’ll be entered! Names will be drawn by random.org. on Sat., Aug. 18.
Posted on October 6, 2011 - by Regina
This year, at ACFW, I learned that short women would not make good stagecoach drivers. I learned that green beans can be cooked a variety of ways and STILL not be what I consider “done.” I learned that a few minutes of prayer in the prayer room is an amazing way to start a full day.
It was my second conference. I wasn’t as nervous as last year, and I expected it to be similar. It was. It was also different. WHAT was different? The conference? Or ME?
- Amazing worship with author Rachel Hauck and company (I still feel sorry for the guy manning the computerized lyrics!)
- Master-of-ceremony duties by the inimitable Brandilyn Collins
- Inspirational sessions with an amazing keynote speaker – last year was “Bug man” novels author Tim Downs, this year premier historical author Tracie Peterson. What an amazing speaker and woman of God.
- Recurring-theme food – last year was asparagus at every meal. This year? Crunchy green beans. This Southern girl likes her green beans cooked DOWN, y’all.
- Wonderful classes that made me stop and think deeply about what I write, why I write, and for WHOM I write.
- I went to the prayer room. Jim Peterson was on duty, and everyone who came in, he offered to pray with them, or not, whatever made them comfortable. I prayed alone, but when I left, I spoke to him, thanked him for being there. He grinned and said, “what part of New York did you say you were from?”
- I wasn’t a first-timer anymore. Besides my good friends, I saw others that I remembered, and that remembered me. What a great feeling!
- Instead of rooming with 3 other ladies, I took my husband with me. Last year was more chaotic and fun, but this year was more calm and relaxing – and I needed that.
- I got to eat at the AV guys’ table at the banquet – Yes, seating was a challenge, but personally, I think we ended up at just the right place. Those guys were great!
A few things about the conference made me feel like it was truly meant for me to be there. When Janice Thompson opened the first workshop with prayer, I cried. First, because I was finally THERE, and was going to meet Janice Thompson, one of my favorite authors, and second, because of her prayer. She truly ushered in the Holy Spirit. The name of the workshop was “Plotting Your Fiction Career.” What could have been an all-business, how-to-get-to-the-top how-to course, but it wasn’t. We heard Janice’s testimony about how she was called to write full-time.
That wasn’t the last I heard about plotting. DiAnn Mills’ sessions on “How To Write a Bestseller” focused on plot and how to dig DEEEEEEP within yourself, not just your character, to make your book the best it can be. Susan May Warren’s “Book Therapy Live” took a passage, piece by piece, and did a live critique. Janice’s other session, “A Merry Heart: Writing and Selling the Humorous Novel,” and Susan’s other session, “All Glammed Up,” helped me know how to put some polish on a story.
Needless to say, I’m still in information overload. I’m one of those people who try to glean as much learning as possible from any opportunity. Since I’ve been home, I’ve just today pulled up my manuscript. Would you believe I’ve already found things I want to change?
I was supposed to be at ACFW this year. I was supposed to get those amazing hugs from my sisters in Christ, and fellow-writers. I was supposed to meet the new people I met and with whom I enjoyed a meal, or a bit of downtime between sessions or appointments. I was supposed to grow as a writer, and as a Christian. I was supposed to meet God there, and I did.
There’s an old saying common in the Jewish faith: “Next year in Jerusalem.” For ACFW members, right now, it’s “Next year in Dallas.
What will be different next year?
Posted on June 8, 2011 - by Dawn Ford
It all started so innocently. A simple road trip a few years ago with Lorna Seilstad to meet up with a group of Midwestern writers. I was only along for the ride and helping a friend. I ended up on a path to becoming a writer also.
From that fateful day we met the most amazing group of writers which just happened to include Judith Miller. Judith has become a mentor to both Lorna and me. She was the one who encouraged us to get involved with the ACFW. That September Lorna and I went to the conference in Minneapolis, scared out of our minds, but having each other to lean on in the sea of unknown faces. I remember hearing someone’s knees knocking the whole time. I’m pretty sure they were mine.
In Minneapolis we met Lorna’s online friend Marlene Garand. I fell in love with her humor and French Canadian accent. It was like a slumber party for the three of us as we shared one hotel room. Honest to goodness I had never had that much fun and learned so much at the same time. I realized how much I didn’t know, but the amount that I learned from the classes was overwhelming. My head was full to overflowing when we returned home.
Every year has been better than the year before at the ACFW conference. The sea of unfamiliar faces becomes less and less until now it is only a small pool of people I haven’t had a chance to get to know or see from the ACFW message boards. Many of my friends on Facebook are other writers who are also affiliated with the ACFW. The encouragement they share along the way is priceless.
One of the perks of becoming friends with these writers is that you get to travel their publishing journey with them. I get personally invested in their books as well. I find out about the book they are writing, what kinds of difficulties they experience along the way, and how they are able to overcome the obstacles in their own lives. It helps me to know that I am not the only one who struggles to get the words on paper and with finding time to fit it all in my crazy schedule.
As for the conference itself, you will never find more bang for your buck. The knowledge that is shared in the classes is equal to classes you would find on a college level. And if you consider how much college costs, it’s a bargain. One of the things that amazes me the most is how willing the ACFW authors are to share what they know. My friends at the Seekerville blog have a party everyday as they share volumes of information on the publishing world, contests, and how to/how not to get it done. I would never have known what BICHOK was before meeting these ladies.
When someone asks me about what they need to do to get started in writing, the first thing I tell them is to join a group such as the ACFW. Then I tell them to network with other writers in their area to learn the craft and find a critique group they can join that fits their needs.
No, I’m not published yet. But I always stress the word ‘yet’. I believe as I learn and grow it is just a matter of time before the words of incredible wisdom I hear during these conferences sinks down far enough to my fingertips and makes its way onto my page. So many other writer’s paths have been such a ‘God thing’ that I know if it is His will, it will happen. After all, I’m only along for the ride.
Posted on October 14, 2010 - by Lorna Seilstad
With Marlene traveling more than the Travelocity gnome these days, she asked me to make sure her day to blog was covered. She feared not having reliable internet service wherever she found herself on this fine Thursday.
I gladly accepted the challenge myself given the subject of research because I wanted to share how three authors I know approach their research. If you are a reader, I think you will grow to appreciate their books even more. If you are a writer, I think you’ll admire their devotion to the craft. If you’re both, like me, I think you will enjoy hearing their stories.
Judy’s book More than Words just made #17 on the ECPA Bestseller list! More than Words is the second book in the Daughters of Amana series. When I think of commitment to research, Judy always comes to mind. Recently, I traveled with Judy to Amana for Oktoberfest where we were both signing books. I got to see firsthand the respect of the people of Amana there for her work. We walked into the museum and the curator greeted her by name. That alone says volumes.
I met Judy in April of 2008. She was returning from a trip to Amana for research and it was already her second trip there. She did not begin writing her first book in the series, Somewhere to Belong, until Not only has she made several trips there, she has crate of books and a host of personal sources.
Judy’s attention to details makes her work come to life. She has told me she works hard to get things “right” out of respect for the people who live in the area and the history. “History is a funny thing,” she said. “People in an area feel like they ‘own’ it. If I’m sharing it with the world, I want to treat their history with respect and make sure the details are correct.”
And whether she is writing about the Pullman company, carousel painters, or the Amana colonies, her attention to detail makes the time period come alive.
Click here to learn more about More than Words and all of Judy’s other books.
I asked Laura to tell us a little about the research she does. Since her first two books are set in the 1700′s, research for these earlier time periods is especially difficult. Laura’s newest book, Courting Morrow Little, released in Here is her response:
“The very word research involves work . To me it’s like a treasure hunt, unearthing just the right character name in census records for your time period (Ann or Martha, not Daniella or Mystique), uncovering the right medicinal herbs and treatments (ginseng for stamina, sassafras for purifying the blood), digging up archaic fashions (clocked stockings and pudding caps) and exploring old recipes (apple tansy, coffin pie, spoonbread).
My favorite way to research beyond looking things up in books or online is to spend time in the actual setting of my novel. For my purposes, it’s Kentucky, frontier forts, and the hills and hollows there. I’ve discovered that the best research books are often sold at these historic places and they’re often not available anywhere else. I rely heavily on the Draper Manuscript Collection (considered the Bible of frontier fiction for Kentucky and Ohio, etc.) and publications from the Kentucky Historical Society.
All in all, I love research almost as much as writing so it’s really not work to me. If I hadn’t majored in English in college I would have chosen history. A happy day is one that’s half filled with research and half filled with writing (not editing) – and a few Lindt chocolates and Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry!”
Laura’s next book, The Colonel’s Lady, releases in August 2011. Click here to learn more about Laura’s books.
I asked Sarah if she’d share a little about her WWII research for her Wings of Glory series. A Distant Melody was book 1 in that series and book 2, A Memory Between Us released in September. Because Sarah is writing in a more recent time period, she has to be extra careful. There are still people around who lived through these experiences. Sarah gladly sent this:
“I started off with some basic texts on World War II to remind myself of everything I’d forgotten since high school. Man, that was a lot! First I read everything pertinent on the shelves of my local library. I found bibliographies helpful to point me to great resources—some appeared in multiple bibliographies or just had intriguing titles. For free, my local library can obtain books from other libraries in the county, and for a small fee, they’ll locate books throughout the nation—one of my favorite books came from the Library of Congress. Very cool. And some of my favorite books (including a reprint of the B-17 flight manual) came from online historic aviation sites.
Of course the internet was vital. I found great historic maps of Riverside and Bedford, complete combat chronologies of the Eighth Air Force, and oral histories of flight nurses.
For atmosphere, nothing beats being there. Every time the B-17s come to our local airport, I stroll through to smell the oil, feel the metal, and realize just how cramped those men were. I was also blessed with an opportunity to visit England and Germany, and to walk the ground my characters walked.
I have to confess, I have over two hundred books and websites in my bibliography for this series. Yes, that’s sick. I started with basic texts on World War II, then got more detailed. Bibliographies are a great resource—when a book is mentioned in multiple bibliographies, it warrants attention. On the internet I found a company that sells copies of the actual B-17 pilot’s manual and the training film, which were pure gold! For A Memory Between Us, I did lots of research into nursing during World War II, flight nursing, and Army hospitals.”
Click here to learn more about A Memory Between Us and Sarah’s next book.
I want to thank all three of these talented authors for sharing today. What a treat to have you!
Leave a comment today to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Sarah Sundin’s A Memory Between Us. I just happen to have an extra on my shelf.
Posted on September 16, 2009 - by Dawn Ford
I hide my face in shame. I have done less reading in the past year than I ever have. I have been working hard on my own manuscript, which included reading how to articles (too numerous to mention). And after learning more about writing I find it harder to enjoy reading because, like Shannon, I break down the writing instead of letting the author take me into the story. But, true to nature, I am getting back in the reading saddle again.
I was so excited a couple of weeks ago when I received in my mail a large envelope. I love receiving mail, so I dug right into it and found a wonderful treasure. It was Judith Miller’s book, The Carousel Painter. Judith did not let me down. Her characters are always so full of life, I can see them clearly in my mind’s eye. I loved the conflict and how she didn’t make it an easy resolution. It was a very welcomed break from pulling my hair out over my own writing. Thank you, Judith, now I won’t have to wear a wig to Denver.
I am also researching the genre I am writing in. This past Saturday Lorna and I had the pleasure of seeing Mary Connealy at her book-signing in Omaha. While we were in the bookstore I picked up not only one of Mary’s books, but also four juvenile fiction books. The first book that I finished from that excursion is “Just Call Me Kate” by Dannah Gresh, which is part of the Secret Keeper Girls series. Dannah did a good job of honing in on the angst that so permeates pre-adolescence. She added a great mentor for our main character Kate in her art teacher Mrs. Velasquez. She gives Kate assignments which helps her to realize her crush is no more than an infatuation. In the end Kate is able to focus on the important things in life instead of obsessing over her older brother’s friend.
I am currently reading “Sophie Under Pressure” by Nancy Rue, a Faith Girlz series book. So far I have found this book to be closer to my own writing. Although I am only a third of the way into the book, she has brought into play an undercurrent of conflict in which Sophie’s parents are not getting along. Sophie herself is in therapy once every two weeks. The part of the villain is played well by a group of popular girls our heroine has named the Corn Pops. Her group, from an earlier book in the series had been coined flakes, so they call themselves the Corn Flakes. Another conflict shows through with a group of boys who taunt the girls, whom they aptly name the Fruit Loops. I actually identify with the main character, not only for the conflict she is beginning to go through, but also due to the fact she is constantly side tracked by her imagination and day dreaming. I feel like I am back in school and wanting to come to Sophie’s aid.
The other books I chose to research, but haven’t read yet are: “All That Glitters” by Nicole Dell and “What’s Up With Her?” by Bonnie Compton Hanson. Bonnie’s book is a Ponytail Girls series book, having come complete with a hair scrunchy attached. I also have Mary Connealy’s book “Cowboy Christmas” in my pile of must read books. I think I am remembering how to ride that horse. If not, I am sure Mary’s cowboy tale will remind me.
Posted on September 14, 2009 - by Lorna Seilstad
I cannot hide this painful truth any longer. My name is Lorna, and I’m a book-a-holic. And unlike some writers, I read both inside and outside my genre. So, not only do I read historicals, but I also read classics, science fiction, suspense, romance, women’s fiction, and non-fiction. Now, do you see how to-be-read book pile grows?
My nightstand looks like Barnes and Noble had the mother of all sales, and I took full advantage of it. However, the book pile has actually accumulated all summer—and most were bought at full price.
I have one that belongs in everyone’s to-be-read pile. The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller is a terrific historical that will transport you to a new place and time. Judy’s research makes her writing so rich with detail that you could swear you smell the paint at the carousel factory. Not only will you love the main character, Carrington Brouwer, but you’ll also come away falling in love with carousels all over again.
Perhaps one of my most enjoyable reading experiences this summer was listening toThe Pawn by Steven James. A suspense novel, The Pawn had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It had a wonderful tangling of two plots that made me think of our own Marlene’s writing. For an inspirational novel, it was gorier than I expected, but not any more than CSI. Steven James was awarded the Christy in suspense for the sequel, The Rook.
And I have to tell you about Marlo Schalesky’s Beyond the Night. Another Christy (2009) winner, this romance is simply amazing. It’s a story of love conquering all, but with a twist I didn’t see coming. When the main character is injured in car accident, the reader is taken on journey through her memories—finding how love developed between her and the man now constantly at her side. If you haven’t picked this one up, you’re missing a great read!
Another one I recently finished was Stephanie Whitson’s A Claim of Her Own. This historical romance had a great plot, and a nice twist. But what impressed me was the author’s ability to dig into deep emotions. I was amazed at how she was able to depict grief inside her characters. That’s a hard emotion to nail down, and if you’ve experienced it yourself, you know when the author isn’t portraying it realistically.
I also had the opporunity to listen to the original Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder on CD as my daughter and I drove to and from Minnesota. As I child, I remember being fascinated with Laura’s incredible adventure of moving to Kansas. Reading this classic again as an adult was eye-opening. I saw it more through the eyes of the parents—how much courage they needed and how much strength to settle in this virgin territory, only to be told to pick up and move on. My daughter and I also visited the Little House on the Prairie museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, which made this re-reading experience especially rich.
So, what am I reading right now? I have a romantic suspense, Against All Odds by Irene Hannon, in my van which is as good as the Dee Henderson books I’ve read and loved . In my living room, I’m reading A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher. And as for that bedroom pile, the debut book of fellow Revell author Maggie Brendan has reached the top of the pile, and I couldn’t be enjoying No Place for a Lady more.
So, do any of these tickle your reading bone? I sure hope so because each of these books is worth every penny and should take care of any reading fixes you might have.