Friday, March 21, 2014

I Fell in Love

I arrived at the hotel conference room scared to death. I was attending my first writers conference, a one-day event in another city. I asked myself: “Who will I talk to?” and “Where will I eat lunch?” I probably shouldn't have come; I could never be a writer.

That day, over thirty years ago, I fell in love – with writers conferences. I will never forget the woman who sat by me on that first day. When we broke for lunch, she asked me if I wanted to go to the restaurant downstairs and eat with her. I did and we talked and talked about writing. I hope she has published many things and touched lives. She made difference for me on that day. 

Since then, I have attended over thirty conferences. As writers it is really a must to attend one every year. There are all types of gatherings from one to five-day to virtual conferences dealing with craft, marketing and technology.

One of the most important things at a conference is the people you meet. Other writers and editors and agents come together to learn, meet prospective authors and support each other.

Two writers buds, Cleo & Millie

As a staff member of the Write-to-Publish Conference, I am busy doing my part to get ready as we convene June 4 -7. If you are in the Midwest and haven’t decided on a conference, you might consider this one. March 31 is the early bird deadline to save a little money on tuition.

If you live in another part of the country, attend a conference near you. But, if you are a writer, make it a “don’t-miss” thing this year. Remember, almost every conference offers scholarships, if financial considerations are holding you back.

How about you? Do you have a conference you will attend this year?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Teresa Slack's Runaway Heart Launch & Giveaway

The winner of Teresa’s book, Runaway Heart, is Diane.

Today I welcome Teresa Slack to my blog. Her new novel, Runaway Heart, releases today and she is giving away a free 
e-copy on this blog. To be considered for the giveaway, please leave a comment and your e-mail, using (at) and (dot) to avoid spammers. Deadline to leave a comment will be Thursday, March 13 at midnight (CST).

About Runaway Heart:

Running at the first sign of opposition is nothing new to Kyla Parrish. She’s never held onto a relationship for more than a few months, and she’s quit more jobs than most people apply for. Until Will Lachland. He’s the first man who ever made her think of getting serious about something, about putting down roots. He seems like a dream come true, but like every other man she’s ever met, he expects more than she’s willing to give.

Kyla is determined not to end up like her mother with a string of bad relationships and dead end jobs behind her, but she can’t find a balance between trusting someone with her heart and losing control of her life. But she’s tired of running. Running from life and running from love.

A new man and a new life on the farm where she spent her childhood summers seem like the answer to her prayers. But things are never as simple as they seem. Her heart yearns for love and security. Can she find it even though she can’t forget Will? Or is something else, something greater, calling her heart toward home? 

Teresa has answered a few questions for us:

Why do you write? I write because I love making an impact on people through stories. I love creating characters and story worlds and inviting a reader in to get to know them. I love to entertain and encourage people. Doing it with stories just comes naturally. But the main reason I write as I race toward the half-century mark is because life is short and I don’t want to leave anything undone.

Are you a plotter or panster? Definitely a panster. One of my most popular titles, A TENDER REED, (which is being re-released as an e-book at the end of March) was inspired when I couldn’t sleep because of my barking dog. So I started a book. I had written three chapters before I realized the heroine didn’t have a first name. I’m not quite that undisciplined anymore. It’s a very inefficient way to write. But I love sitting down with a nugget of an idea and going crazy. To me, that’s when I feel the most creative.

What do you like to see in a hero or heroine? Flaws. In so many books the hero or heroine are almost perfect. I like it when characters make mistakes and sometimes say the wrong thing. Of course, I want to love them and root for them. But that’s easier for me to do if they’re human.

Tell us one thing about your heroine that may or may not have come out in the Runaway Heart. She never told anyone, but she always dreamed of being part of a big family. She’s afraid of making the same mistakes as her parents and hurting any children she might bring into the world. It’s easier to avoid the whole situation than figure out a way to break the cycle. Though she’ll never admit it, she’s not as courageous as she likes to think.

I’ve never heard of shrimp farming in Ohio. What made you include it as a story element for Runaway Heart?  Small family-owned farms are shrinking or disappearing throughout Ohio. I wanted to explore viable options for farmers looking to create additional income. I’d never read a book about shrimp farming, either. Investigating and learning about it was fun.

What do you read? My favorite books are mysteries, especially ones with a romantic element. The most important thing I look for is a good storyteller. Some of my favorite authors are Daphne DuMaurier, Ken Follett, James Michener, Fannie Flagg, John Grisham and Tess Gerritson. I also love a good romance as long as the “cheese factor” is kept to a minimum. Not so crazy about a damsel in distress. Humor is important. I also love historicals and hope to write one. I enjoy Gilbert Morris, Lawana Blackwell, Deanna Gist, Debbie Macomber, Brock and Bodie Thoene, John Aubrey Anderson, to name a few.

What’s the last thing you ordered at a restaurant? Does take-out count? I ordered pizza on my way home from work because the grandkids were visiting and they always eat us out of house and home.

Why did you decide to self-publish? Life is short. Over the last few years I’d gotten so far away from writing, I didn’t even feel like a writer anymore; I hated that feeling. I don’t want to be a busy person who writes books. I want to be a busy writer. I’m tired of spinning my wheels waiting for something to happen in my writing career. If it’s going to happen, I have to make it happen.

Money being no object, where would be your dream writing getaway? I’m not particular as long as there is a rocky coast with a view of the water. Just thinking about it makes me want to write. Unfortunately, there aren’t many rocky coasts here in southern Ohio.

Can you share your long term goals for your writing career? Are there more romances on the way or are you working on suspense? Deciding on which book to work on next is one of my favorite decisions to make. I have some potential romances stirring around in my head, but there are a couple suspense novels I have wanted to focus on for way too long. I’ve completed the first mystery in a series, but I want to get a handle on the other books before I pursue publication. The very first task, though, on my to-do list is to release all my traditionally published novels to 

And last, but not least, what takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading RUNAWAY HEART? Life doesn’t come with guarantees, no matter how much we wish it did. We have to trust in something. People and circumstances will let us down or not measure up to our expectations. God is always there in our fear and disappointment. He won’t let us down if we call on Him.

Author Bio: Teresa Slack began creating stories and characters about the time she learned to hold a pencil. Her first novel, Streams of Mercy, won the Bay Area Independent Publishers’ Assn award for Best First Novel. The third book in her Jenna’s Creek Series, Evidence of Grace, debuted nationwide according to Christian Retailing Magazine. Her latest novel, Runaway Heart, releases March 7, 2014.  She grew up in rural southern Ohio, which provides the background for much of her writing. Her down-to-earth characters and writing style have endeared her to readers and reviewers alike. Teresa believes people who think nothing ever happens in a small town just aren’t paying attention. She loves writing in many genres, especially suspense, mystery and romance with a touch of humor stirred in. Someday she even hopes to write an historical. 

Here is where Teresa can be found on the web:


Don’t forget to leave a comment to be eligible to win 
an e-copy of Runaway Heart
Please leave your e-mail address, using (at) and (dot). 
Contest ends on Thursday, March 13 at midnight (CT).