Managing writing and a full-time job with R. J. Thompson

A common excuse I hear from people is that they don’t have enough time. Why haven’t you finished writing your book yet? I don’t have enough time. That is one of the lamest excuses. Yes, we have jobs and family and other things that take up our time, but if writing is your passion then it should become a priority. Make time to write.

R.J. Thompson reached out to me as an aspiring author who also manages a full-time job. Here’s what he had to say: Continue reading


Stephanie Smith

60c8fb_8c8f43c6d9f74d9da56abf7cfda08101Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith is a contemporary inspirational romance writer whose debut novel After September will be released in September 2016. She’s always had a love of the written word but it wasn’t until she was in her forties that she wrote her first novel. Her heart’s desire is to continue to write stories that bring glory to God while offering hope to people of all beliefs.

Connect with Stephanie:

Did you use an agent to find a publisher?

I spent months seeking out an agent to represent me. As each door closed, I looked into publishers that didn’t require an agent. Just when I was about to go the self-publishing route, I was contacted by Desert Breeze Publishing and offered a contract. I was in disbelief when I read the e-mail. I actually thought it was spam and had to read it a couple of times to understand it was legitimate. After pitching the idea of turning After September into a series, I was contracted for two additional books!

How important were your social platforms to the publisher?

A lot of agents I pitched to required a marketing strategy, so I began the process of creating an online presence. I’m sure it helped my publisher to know I’d already started the foundation of having followers prior to being offered the contract. I don’t think I realized how important it was to have a platform, until I signed my contract.

What caught the publishers attention to acquire your book?

I’m not sure about that! I can say what caught my attention about this publisher is their willingness to accept Christian fiction that deals with “real life” struggles, which is what I write about. People make mistakes, but God’s mercy is bigger than any of our mistakes. That is the message I want readers to know and am grateful I found a publisher who understands. Praise God!

I hope you enjoyed this brief interview with debut author Stephanie Smith. If you didn’t catch it, her book After September will be released September 2016. What we can learn from Stephanie’s journey is that agents and publishers like to see a pre-existing social following to consider supporting/publishing you. Also, getting an agent isn’t an absolute need to get published, although those in the publishing industry would still highly recommend you find one. Chances are if you happen to get acquired by a publisher without an agent, they will eventually encourage you to get one.

Please leave comments for Stephanie about how she got a book contract or anything else you were left feeling curious about.

And don’t forget to come back to Living Lit Up next Tuesday!

J’nell Ciesielski

Thanks for coming today for my interview with J’nell Ciesielski. She has written several historical romance books and is one of many writers still waiting for that lucky day to come to be snagged by a publisher. Until then, she’s continuing to write and promote herself to gain an audience (you!). Please share in her journey, as she discusses what kinds of books she has written, what she thinks is holding her back, and what she’s doing to promote herself.

About J’nell

Born in Florida, I spent a happy childhood splashing on the sugar white beaches only known to the Sunshine State. While in middle school, my dad got a job transfer to Texas where I graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Psychology. Not knowing what else to do with my life and seeing as how writing wasn’t paying the bills yet, I joined the Air Force. Stationed in Germany I was privileged to travel to France, Austria, the Netherlands, England, and my favorite Scotland. I also met my awesome husband over there. Finding him was worth wearing camouflage and combat boots every day. After serving our four years, we now live in Virginia where I’m a stay-at-home mom to a busy two year old and a very lazy beagle.

Connect with J’nell:

Continue reading

Teen writer Elizabeth Newsom talks about publishing

As promised, today I have an interview with blogger/writer Elizabeth Newsom who has agreed to discuss the beginning of her writing journey, what she is doing to get her first book published, her motivation to write, and her experience sharing her manuscript with readers. She has an inspiring story you won’t want to miss!

Elizabeth Newsom

e. newsom


Elizabeth Newsom is a romance writer, who manages to find time in between school assignments to work on her novel. Her love of romance is evident on her blog,, where she posts weekly book reviews on clean romances along with writing tips and spiritual insight. In addition to this, she’s one of the writers for a YA fantasy group blog, LandsUncharted. Elizabeth finds it strange and Gollum-like to speak about herself in third person, but does so when necessary, such as in her bio at the beginning of an author interview. Continue reading

Self-Publishing with Karen Tomlinson

Today we have with us Karen Tomlinson, a writer from the UK, to share with us her experience from writing a novel to beginning the road to publishing on her own. Her first novel is set to be published this coming fall. Read her story as she discusses what led her to choose self-publishing, what she’s experienced with it so far, and what her process has been.

Karen Tomlinson

karen tomlinsonKaren Tomlinson is the author of The Guardians of The Goddess series of Young Adult fantasy books. Book one A Bond of Venom and Magic will be released autumn 2016.

Karen has been an avid reader since being a child. Her taste in books is eclectic, but she likes nothing better than a fantasy romance. She lives in Derbyshire, England with her husband, gorgeous twin girls, and her dalmatian Poppy. Karen trained as a nurse and currently works as a resuscitation and clinical skills trainer, which involves training a wide variety of health care professionals and medical students. In addition to being a full-time working mum and author, Karen has many hobbies. She has been training at Shotokan karate since being thirteen, likes walking, mountain biking, and (for something completely different) cake decorating. She is currently working on book two in the Guardians of The Goddess series, A Bond of Blood and Fire. Continue reading

Debut author Patricia Beal talks about her journey as a writer

Welcome to LivingLitUp! Today, we have a guest author Patricia Beal who will answer some basic questions about her journey as a writer. What holds a lot of us writers back is that we don’t know the next step to take after writing a book. Also, taking the next step doesn’t even seem like a reality. For me anyways, I have always seen becoming an author as an unreachable goal. I gave up on telling people that’s what I wanted to do with my life, because so many people never took me seriously. It was like telling them I wanted to be the next Jane Austen. Well Jane Austen didn’t know her books would make it onto the required reading list for English classes or turn into some women’s favorite movies. She just wrote. Writing isn’t about the fame but rather the journey of inspiration and self-discovery. Read Patricia’s story as she discusses what it was like to write her first book and have it published, what her writing schedule looks like, how she built up her social presence, and overall advice to new writers. Continue reading