3 Strategies for Tracking Chronology

A few weeks ago I turned in my latest manuscript to the publisher. And a few weeks after that, it was back on my desk with the editor’s queries about where the chronology didn’t quite match up.

With the exception of one book that happened in the scope of 10 days, my stories span several months. This was my ninth novel, the ninth attempt to turn in flawless chronology, and the ninth time a manuscript came back with chronology mistakes. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a few hours or time of day. More often, I lose track of days or weeks.

What am I doing wrong?

Here are some methods I’ve tried for tracking chronology as I plot, write, and edit.

  1. Print blank calendars. As I do my first sweep of plot planning, I start with fixed dates. (My stories usually have a historical thread connected to true incidents.) Then I pencil in the events of my story, keeping an eraser handy. When I think I have it figured out once and for all, I transfer everything to a clean copy of the calendar that—theoretically—becomes the authoritative reference tool.

Pro: I’m visual, so it helps to see relationships between events.

Con: One alteration in the manuscript because I changed my mind on something minor has the potential to throw off multiple chapters.

  1. Compile a list in a Word file. I’ve done this during my final editing stage. Each entry includes the chapter, the date, and the key event. I can see in list format the pace at which the story moves forward.

Pro: Transferring everything from the manuscript to the list forces me to double-check, and then I have a document to pass on to the editor so she can triple-check.

Con: Again, if I miss one reference to a time change, or make an error in the transferring, multiple problems may result.

  1. Add day and date tags to each scene. I write in Scrivener, but the method would work just as easily in Word. I’m an outliner, so before I start writing I usually have a pretty good scene-by-scene map. In my outline, I include a day and date tag in the outlining feature of Scrivener. As a back-up, when I start writing, I transfer that information right into the manuscript in italics at the start of the scene.

Pro: I have the information in front of me all the time as a steady reminder of where I’m supposed to be. Later I can double-check and match up before deleting in the final version.

Con: I’ll find out! My current project is the first time I’ve tried this.

I’m about halfway through another manuscript, and this time I started with Method 1 as I plotted, and then transitioned into Method 3 as I began to write. I may backtrack to Method 2 as I edit, before turning in the manuscript, because I like the idea of handing off a chronology to the editor. In fact, some publishers require this. When I get my editorial notes back on this manuscript, I’ll know whether I came a little closer to that perfect chronology.

  • Have you found a reliable method that works for you to track chronology?


Member Monday: Ft. Morgan ACFW chapter

By Kathy Brasby, Chapter president

Members of the Fort Morgan ACFW chapter will meet on Monday, Oct. 21, at 6 pm to discuss goals and plans for the group. This is the chapter’s regular October meeting at Life Fellowship in Fort Morgan, although the starting time is a half hour earlier than usual.

Chapter members will brainstorm ideas for goals and for next year’s schedule, including special speakers and meeting topics. We’ll also be working on some writing prompts as part of the meeting.

Dues (only $10 a year) can be sent to our treasurer: Becky Brasby, 21267 Co. Rd. 20.5, Fort Morgan, CO 80701.  We welcome associate memberships at $5 a year, too.

You can connect with us at our website  http://acfwfortmorgan.acfwcolorado.com/ or  on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/spunkandspirit

October 2014: News from ACFW Colorado Springs Chapter


ACFW National Conference is behind us and fresh inspiration in front of us! We hope you’ll connect with your local chapter throughout the year. Here is what has been happening at ACFW Colorado Springs.

ACFW Colorado Springs meets the first Saturday of the month from 10 AM to noon at the First Evangelical Free Church on 30th Street in Colorado Springs.

October’s meeting featured Dan Gammie, a Forensic Chemist. From crime scene investigation to blood pattern analysis, Dan walked us through the basic elements that any writer could potentially use in their writing. Fantastic workshop from this working professional!

Interested in coming next month?


Saturday, November 1st
10am – 12pm

at First Evangelical Free Church
820 N. 30th Street, Colorado Springs

Speaker: Leah Apinuro
Founder of Impact Author Services 


Social Media for Authors

Workshop Plan to be engaged with hands on training! Leah will address the role social media plays for your author platform as well as addressing the pros and cons of the top 5 Social Media platforms. Not sure of the differences or purposes of each and how you approach them? That will be addressed. Come with your laptop ready to make updates or implement suggestions as we work together. As time allows the floor will be open to ask specific questions. Facebook tips & Impact Author’s MUST DO resources will be provided.

BIO: Leah Apineru is a thirteen-year veteran of the publishing industry. She launched Impact Author Services five years ago, helping best-selling authors, publishers, and online start-ups maximize their social-media strategies, freeing them to do more of what they do best: writing, speaking, and engaging with their readers. When Leah isn’t analyzing Facebook Insights, scheduling client posts, or tracking the swiftly changing social media scene, you can find her in her kitchen or garden with family and friends, or enjoying a quiet moment with her coffee and snacks from Trader Joes. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and daughter.


ACFW Colorado Springs Member News!

Jeanne Takenaka takes the My Book Therapy Fraiser win at the 2014 annual pizza party and celebration during the ACFW conference. Congratulations Jeanne!!

Opportunity for ACFW Colorado Springs Members:

ACFW Colorado Springs critique group: Join the weekly critique group on Tuesday nights from 6-9 PM. The group meets at the First Evangelical Free Church on 30th Street (the same location as our monthly meeting). You can bring 10 double-spaced pages of your work-in-progress (WIP), to be critiqued when you attend.

Have you heard about the Stories for Christmas ACFW initiative? 

ACFW has an opportunity to impact even more readers with our novels. Now through November 1, 2014, we’re conducting an ACFW-wide *STORIES FORCHRISTMAS* initiative to provide hope-giving reading material for men and women behind bars through Christian Library International http://www.christianlibraryinternational.org

Christian Library International serves adult and youth prison inmates by providing Christian books and other materials to prisons, jails and youth detention centers. The materials are shipped directly to chaplains who distribute them by means of a lending library, a book cart, or by personally giving them to the inmates. Christian Library International reports that God matches up just the right book with just the right inmate at just the right time!

Whether published or unpublished, ACFW members can contribute a copy/copies of published Christian fiction. Members are asked to mail their books directly to CLI. The organization advises that if you want to contribute multiple copies of a title, please send one copy first, since their reviewers screen all material for content fitting for the prison populations they serve and the prison guidelines under which they operate.

*Children’s* Christian fiction is welcome, too. Some prisons are incorporating programs to videotape prisoners reading to their children, in an effort to keep family relationships intact even when a parent is behind bars.

*Publishers* may also want to participate in ACFW’s STORIES FOR CHRISTMAS initiative. Please know authors or publishers are individually responsible for shipping books to the distribution center. *The cost of shipping is part of your contribution.*

Mail books to: *CLI, 3800-A Hillcrest Drive, Raleigh NC 27610.*

ACFW has prepared a mailing insert http://www.acfw.com/uploads/CLI_inclusion_card.pdf you can include with your book or books to let Christian Library International know that your donation is part of ACFW’s STORIES FOR CHRISTMAS program.

Please send your books *no later than November 1*. Take a moment right now to pray for these stories to reach the hearts of those who are so hungry for hope. When you have mailed your book/books to the above address, please send a short email to acfwrelations@acfw.com so the ACFW leadership team can keep track of the number of members who participate and the number of books sent. Thank you for your generosity.

This information in .pdf form can be found here: http://www.acfw.com/uploads/CLI_stories_for_Christmas.pdf

We’re hoping for significant participation by our generous ACFW members.


Memories and Memoirs

My father has an interesting life story as well as an interesting family story. He recently approached me to write these two stories down, and I took him up on the offer. He understood that his story wasn’t unique, yet the people were. His goal was to get the details down for the family as a keepsake. I saw something bigger.

Growing up in a small town in the 1930’s and 40’s would make an interesting book in and of itself, were it not for the well-kept—and not-so-well-kept—secrets that abound in every family and every town. The question became how to present the story.

Memories can make a great foundation for any book. For example, you might recall an incident from your childhood where a neighbor boy steals your bike, and your father makes you retrieve it. I was about four, and that actually happened. So I made that part of one of the backstory for my character, Betsy Rollins, a feisty rancher woman in northern Colorado. The real incident happened far from its fictional setting, but that doesn’t matter—this is the kind of event that could happen anywhere.

Another memory I have yet to weave into a tale—perhaps I’ll bring it out in my current project—is of my father and my mother’s father eating cherries and spitting the pits against the side of our mobile home to see who can spit the furthest. That in itself is a treasure, but next I recall my mother’s mother coming to the door to chastise them. But when she turns away, she is smiling.

Did that really happen that way? I don’t know, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Memories can make wonderful fodder for stories, but when they are bolstered by facts and details written at the time, these memories take on a whole new authority—that of a memoir. And my father provided me with a box of contemporaneous and near-contemporaneous records. I have the cash books from his father’s general store with notations on the happenings of the day, including births, deaths, marriages, suicides, vacations, operations, and who came to visit. I also have letters written thirty or forty years after the fact that refer to some of the events mentioned in the cashbooks.

Structuring a memory-based memoir poses some problems that are not unique to stories, and include:

  1. Who is the story about? Figure out who your main characters are, and what you want the reader to know about them.
  2. Who is telling the story? I have decided that to get into the essence of the characters, his biological mother will tell her story, and he will tell his stories. Because he has two stories: the one of his growing up years, and the one of his reunion with his half-brothers and –sisters.
  3. Where to start? Memoirs have a pattern of starting when the character is born and going through, following a chronological order. I chose to start his birth mother’s story on the day after her mother is buried, a turning point in her life. I use flashbacks, then move forward in leaps and bounds, often skipping months or years. In my father’s story, I start where he learns that his sister is his mother. And in the third part, where he meets his biological father’s children, I go forward from their first meeting.
  4. How much truth? So much time has gone past that a completely accurate retelling of the story is impossible. Memories fade, people die, and the internet doesn’t have all the information. The best you can do is research the setting and the people, then go forward from there. Fill in the gaps so long as it’s possible the event might have happened. For example, since my grandfather owned a general store, and I have some inventory notations, I can mention various goods sold in the shop. However, he never went to France, and to say that he did, would be wrong. I could say he went ice skating on the harbor ice, because he probably did at some point in his life.
  5. What about if the truth hurts someone? I am writing this story using the real names of the people involved. I will likely change those names before I submit it anywhere, but for right now, it’s easier to keep the names straight by using their real names. I am writing this story to record a period of time in my family’s history—and in the town’s history—that shouldn’t be lost. My goal is to show these people in the best light possible, to show they can and did change for the better, even if they didn’t. But that’s the fiction part of the story. And I am sprinkling in enough fiction so that this is not a biography.

Memories told in a memoir style is simply another way to tell a story. You want the reader to say, “This could have happened just like that.” The reader understands that the way you string the story together is for the benefit of the story, not of the history. We are not striving to rewrite history with our memory stories; in fact, we keep the facts alive by dressing them in another suit of clothes.

Do you have an interesting story from your family that would make a good foundation for a book? Perhaps the story is simply a nugget and would be good for backstory, like my bicycle story. Or perhaps the history is deep and wide enough to propel an entire novel.

Author bio: Donna writes historical suspense, which you can check out at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com or www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com, and her alter ego, Leeann Betts, writes contemporary suspense, which you can check out at www.LeeannBetts.com or www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf at AKA Literary, LLC (www.AKALiteraryLLC.com). Check out Donna’s story at www.livebytheword.com.

5th Annual Novel Crafters Seminar of the Rockies

This year’s Novel Crafters Seminar is proud to present, Jeff Gerke. Jeff GerkeJeff is an award-winning editor of fiction and non-ficiton, mutli-published author, and internationally acclaimed fiction teacher. He has served as editor for Multnomah Publishers, Strang Communications, and NavPress, and in 2008 launched Marcher Lord Press (now under new ownership as Enclave Publishing), an indie publishing company specializing in Christian speculative fiction, which won several Christy Awards and ACFW Carol Awards. Jeff is also a founding member of The Bestsellers Society and the CEO of FictionAcademy.com.

Author of six novels, five non-fiction books, and co-author/ghostwriter of several more, Jeff’s well-known Writer’s Digest non-fiction craft books include The First 50 Pages, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, Plot Versus Character, and Write Your Novel in a Month: How to Complete a First Draft in 30 Days.

Jeff lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and three children. Visit his website at JeffGerke.com.

When did you first realize you were called to write, and what steps did you take in order to fulfill that call?

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt called to write. Maybe I just don’t like to use that term because of how it’s been abused. When I was in seminary and saw all my friends taking pastor positions at churches, I got a little disgusted by them saying they felt called to go to a church that paid better or they heard the call of God to a church in some resort destination. Look, if you want to go to another church, just go. Don’t say it’s the voice of God.

Ahem. But for writing, I felt I wanted to write, and I did want to write stories that had apologetic value or just challenged and yes entertained the church. I attempted to get published the way everyone tries, and eventually it happened. I found I had an aptitude for writing, or so people said, and I certainly enjoyed it. So I pursued it.

You’ve walked a wide-variety of roads during your writing journey: author, editor, publisher, teacher, digital artist. How do they blend together for you, and do you have a favorite?

You left out typesetter, guitarist, and amateur dance instructor for kids. [grin] They’re all aspects of who I am. They’re expressions of what’s in me that needs to come out. If I could do just two of them, it would be to do my art and write my fiction.

We know you’re a fan of Speculative Fiction, but what other genres do you enjoy reading and teaching on?

Yeah, I think I do prefer science fiction and fantasy and the other subgenres of weirdness over any other kind of fiction, as a reader, a writer, and a teacher. Spec authors are just more fun (sorry, everyone else!), as sharing a meal with a group of them will quickly demonstrate. I like teaching any kind of novelist, and I love when I get a chance to reach a wide readership or audience. But there are few audiences as wacky and out of the box than the spec nerds.

You have a number of writing “how to” books published through Writer’s Digest, one of which, “The First 50 Pages,” is the topic of our Novel Crafters Seminar. What exactly will “The First 50 Pages” teach our audience?

It teaches you how to begin your novel. Those first 50 pages are bearing a whole lot of weight for the book, and they also are the “sales document” used at literary agencies and publishing houses to help them decide whether to represent or publish the book. I won’t have time to cover everything in the seminar time that the book covers, but we’ll make a big dent in it.

You have decided to take anonymous submissions from Novel Crafters Seminar attendees to use as examples during your teaching in November. How will this method help the writer?

By mortifying them, of course! Um, no. It’s so hard to see certain things in fiction when you’re simply hearing someone speak about them in the workshop setting. You may perfectly understand the teacher (or not), but then when you get back to your own manuscript, you aren’t able to notice if you’re doing that right or wrong.

An in-between step is to begin to be able to see these things in other people’s fiction, which is what we’ll be doing with these examples. Of course, for the anonymous writers being eviscerated—er, used as examples—they’ll suddenly be able to see it in their own fiction, because we’ll be talking about their own fiction.

Everyone talks about “the changing Christian market.” What does that mean and how does/will it affect writers who are Christians?

I don’t personally think the market for Christian fiction is changing at all. At least in traditional Christian publishing. For the last generation or so, Christian fiction has catered to white, American, Evangelical women of child-rearing and older ages. That has not changed.

What’s changing is the technology and mood of Christian culture that says we want books that don’t appeal to that same demographic. Since traditional Christian publishers aren’t interested in reaching other audiences, other ways of reaching them are springing up. They’re basically leaving traditional Christian publishing behind. Those “legacy” companies are going to wake up one day and find that they’re irrelevant. It’s possible that day has already come.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new writer, what would that be?

Just sit down and write. Yes, it will probably not be the great American novel, but it probably will be something that God uses to speak to people. Writing is a craft that can be learned, not a gift that you either have or you don’t. Now, no one agrees about what good fiction craftsmanship is, which can be frustrating. Just concentrate on telling stories that readers have to read to the end of, and you’ll be fine.

If you could give one piece of advice to a writer who is no longer a novice, what would that be?

Same answer!

Do you have any new books coming out from Writer’s Digest?

Yes, in 2015, watch for What Readers Want, which has two revolutionary components: 1) how to deal with the conflicting rules of fiction that leave writers paralyzed and, 2) how to use brain science to gain and keep readers’ attention to the end.

The 5th Annual Novel Crafters Seminar of the Rockies is sponsored by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) North Denver Chapter.


Early bird registration ends September 30th.

Serialization: Pros and Cons for the Reader

For the past two months, I’ve written about the experience of writing a 13-part serialized novel, which released weekly. For much of the project, I was writing only a couple of episodes ahead of what readers were consuming.

For both the publisher (Barbour’s Shiloh Run Studios imprint) and me as the author, this was a grand experiment full of lessons. Many of those lessons came from readers. Here are some pros and cons for the reader of reading in weekly episodes, based on comments made in online reviews.

1. Rapid digital publishing “feeds the beast”

2. Frequent releases possible through digital publishing or serialization responds to anticipation of what a writer has next.

3. Readers don’t have such a long wait for releases from favorite authors. Something new is just around the corner.

4. Whether they realize it or not, readers are used to episodic storytelling because they watch television. Anticipation is a function of modern entertainment.

On the other hand, many readers have trouble adapting to this new delivery system of a story.

1. Readers don’t have custody of the entire story when they begin it. Some want to read straight through a story they love, not wait for the next part, no matter how good it is.

2. To readers, it might feel as if they are being asked to pay more, even if this is not true when measured against the total length of the story. Just the frequency of purchase feels like “too much.”

3. Some feel tracked or tricked into repeated purchase and claim they would not have started the story if they’d realized it was a serialization.

4. Others are suspicious of the unfamiliar. They’d rather stick what with they know.

5. They may measure value against the short term promotional price–or free–of a traditional book, and therefore the price of the series feels expensive.

Even readers who praised the story itself left hesitant or negative comments about the delivery system of getting a story in installments and whether they would do it again. Obviously a traditional publisher would need to turn this ship in order to build an audience for people willing to buy books delivered in episodes. An established author with a strong following motivated to buy the author’s next book might be more successful than a new author in this format.

As imperfect as serialized publishing may be right now, it’s certainly a trend to watch for the future, both in the general market and the Christian market.

Olivia Newport’s latest release is Wonderful Lonesome, a historical Amish story.

Writing: It Takes a Village    

I’m going to ‘fess up to something: For years, I was a proud writer, and I don’t mean proud in a good way. I mean the kind of proud that says, “I’m right, I can do it, and I don’t need any help.”

You know… the same kind of pride 3-year-olds exhibit when they defiantly announce, “I do it myself,” and then proceed to put their shoes on the wrong feet, their shirts on backward, and their pants on inside out. That kind of “proud.”


I just turned in my third (yes, third… go ahead, laugh!) round of edits on my novella, “Santiago Sol,” which will be published by Pelican Book Ventures as part of their Passport to Romance collection. If I ever find myself in the same room as my editor, I will probably hide behind the nearest potted plant and hope she doesn’t notice me.

In addition, I self-published a Christmas novella with a group of other authors this month, an opportunity for which I am insanely grateful. Yesterday I uploaded what must have been my sixth revision to Amazon, as readers (including my parents) have graciously pointed out the errors they’ve noticed and I’ve scrambled to make corrections.

These humbling events have reinforced a belief which I only came to hold after I joined ACFW: Writing is not a solitary sport. For a writer to become everything God has called him or her to be, it takes a village. Sure, your actual writing—putting the words on the page in some semblance of order—is generally done alone (for which we are thankful), but everything else in the process can (and in some cases must) include others, from brainstorming to plotting to revising, from editing to proofreading to reviewing.

I have a writing friend who is the undisputed queen of brainstorming titles, a gift which I lack. Another friend has a knack for seeing me through plot problems after I’ve written myself and my characters into a box canyon. I have writer friends who encourage me when I think I should just quit and get a “real” job… oh, wait, I have one now, and I still can’t quit writing! And I have other friends who offer constructive criticism in the form of critiques, and more who can pick out my particular writing weaknesses and faithfully correct them without making me feel like a loser. (For writers whose love language is “words of affirmation,” this is a particularly important gift!)

Now that I’m involved in the traditional publishing process, the population of my village has increased yet again. There’s a publisher who sees enough potential she’s willing to take a financial risk on my writing ability, and an editor whose assigned job it is to bring my story up to the publisher’s standards, find all my errors, and help me turn my story into something that’s better than I could have created on my own. Sure, I had the idea, and came up with the characters, but for my story to become the best it can be, I need help. LOTS of help.

Back when I first started writing, I never imagined myself needing a team to accomplish my goals as an author. That attitude was an indication of my immaturity and lack of experience. Today, I’m always on the lookout for more teammates, from editors to critique partners to beta readers to influencers to prayer warriors.

Do you have a team? Are you missing a few key players? (I will studiously refrain from any mention of the Broncos here…) I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to show you where to find your particular team members, the individuals best suited to help YOU fulfill your God-given assignment to write. In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits of being part of an organization like ACFW is that it provides an instant network of potential teammates. (Yes, that’s a shameless plug for ACFW membership and participation, and I’m not sorry!)

I hope each and every one of you have a full team to support your writing journey. If you’re still looking, let me know. I’ll do whatever I can to help you connect with other like-minded writers within our glorious state. Blessings (and GO TEAMS!)


Niki Turner
ACFW Colorado Area Coordinator

Member Monday: ACFW Fort Morgan Chapter

By Kathy Brasby, President, ACFW Fort Morgan Chapter

For many writers, seeing their work through their reader’s eyes can provide information to hurdle problems the writer didn’t know he or she had. At least for more inexperienced writers.

The ACFW Fort Morgan chapter has scheduled quarterly critique meetings to give our writers – many of whom are pre-published – feedback we hope helps them move their work to a new level.

Our next meeting, on Monday, Sept. 15, from 6:30-8 pm, is the third critique meeting of 2014.

We try to provide writers with a reader’s perspective on what was written. Did it grab the reader’s attention? Did it make sense? Were characters clearly defined? Was the setting described adequately?

Our critique meetings have been some of our favorites.

Submissions should be emailed to spunknspirit@gmail.com.  We’d prefer submissions to be under 2000 words.

If you’d like to join us via Skype or FaceTime, please let us know at the above email address.

Dues (only $10 a year) can be sent to our treasurer: Becky Brasby, 21267 Co. Rd. 20.5, Fort Morgan, CO 80701.  We welcome associate memberships at $5 a year, too.

You can connect with us at our website  http://spunkandspirit.acfwcolorado.com/ or  on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/spunkandspirit

Conflict vs. Tension

“I can’t believe you said that to me.” She would never have said that to him.

“Well, it’s true.” And sometimes the truth hurts.

“It wasn’t very nice.” She always tried to say nice things to people, even if they weren’t completely true.

“Wasn’t meant to be.” Doesn’t the Bible say to speak in truth?

“I’m not putting up with this.” If she’d known he was going to treat her like this, she’d never have married him.
The door slams.

“Fine,” he muttered. “Walk out, like you always do.” Just like my mother always walked out on my father and me.

Just about every writer’s conference I’ve attended tells us to have conflict on every page. Fine to say, more difficult to accomplish. The above passage, filled with head-hopping to make a point, is filled with conflict, every sentence venomous and filled with reactions to hurt.

While this passage has conflict, or disagreement or a failure to understand the other person’s point, it is not particularly tension.

Conflict happens when two characters confront each other.
Tension happens when two characters strive for opposite goals.

Conflict is fine in small doses, but this type of verbal sparring becomes tiresome. I recently watched a British historical drama, seasons one through three, one after the other. By the end of season three, I needed a break. One of the characters, a mother of five, had a hot temper, and she was forever arguing with somebody about her rights and her sacrifice for her family. I was tired of it.

Tension is more difficult to attain. We can increase tension by:

  1. Upping the stakes. For example, a police officer who is looking for the bad guy, and the bad guy kidnaps our character’s wife.
  2. Introducing another goal our character can’t have. For example, our police officer’s boss takes him off the case because he’s too emotionally involved and puts him on a case involving child pornography.
  3. Adding to our character’s backstory. So, we find out our police officer was once addicted to kiddie porn but overcame the problem through the love and support of his wife. If he works on the pornography case he might get addicted again.
  4. Dropping in something completely out of our character’s control. So, character follows the bad guy in his spare time, stows away on the bad guy’s plane, his wife tied up just feet from him, and the plane crashes, stranding the three of them in the mountains, and he finds out the bad guy is his wife’s half-brother, and out of love for his wife, wants to save the half-brother’s life.

I know, a convoluted story, but as an example, we have all the necessary elements for tension: a love interest, a career goal, a time bomb, a wounded hero, and a dangerous setting.

Tension keeps a reader turning pages well into the night. Conflict makes a reader toss the book aside if it’s overdone.

Author bio: Donna writes historical suspense, which you can check out at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com or www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com, and her alter ego, Leeann Betts, writes contemporary suspense, which you can check out at www.LeeannBetts.com or www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf at AKA Literary, LLC (www.AKALiteraryLLC.com). Check out Donna’s story at www.livebytheword.com.

September 2014: News from ACFW Colorado Springs Chapter


Are you on the path to success with your writing? If you’re working hard the answer is: YES.

ACFW Colorado Springs meets the first Saturday of the month from 10 AM to noon at the First Evangelical Free Church on 30th Street in Colorado Springs.


September 6th  10 AM to noon

Speaker: Sonia Meeter (Life Coach)

The Resilient Writer


Are you finding it difficult to be disciplined in setting aside time for writing? Does constructive criticism or flat out rejection of your work feel like a personal attack? Are you struggling to find purpose and balance in your life?

If this sounds familiar, what you need is a little more resilience – the ability to adapt and persevere when life delivers adversities! In this workshop, we will discuss the challenges common to writers – minor irritations and major setback, and how to approach them in a way that helps you to overcome and rest in your purpose. Resilience enables you to achieve excellence in your writing and to have deep heart to heart connections with others that enable you to fully live the life you were created to live.

image003BIO: Sonia Meeter is a certified social emotional intelligence coach. Social emotional intelligence (EQ) is the single largest determination of a person’s success but is something that is rarely addressed in business planning and development.

Sonia helps you increase your EQ and overcome limiting beliefs to reach your full potential using her “Whole Person at WorkTM System,” an integrative approach which incorporates your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual capacities to develop a plan to live the life you were called to live.

Sonia is living her purpose in Colorado Springs with her husband and two teenage daughters.



Beth K. Vogt is the keynote speaker for the 35th Annual Southwest Christian Writers “Write for His Glory” Conference on Sept. 19-20

Debut author Brandy Vallance has a Victorian themed book launch on October 18th to celebrate her novel The Covered Deep. All the details…

Come celebrate the launch of The Covered Deep in grand style. Taking place in the remodeled historical Ivywild school, guests will be entertained and taken into the 19th century world of Bianca Marshal (incurably romantic bookworm from Appalachia) and Paul Emerson (historian of the British Museum in London). Victorian decorations galore. Tea and pastries catered. Themed giveaway baskets every half hour including tea pots, books, gift cards, etc. Victorian dancing led by a historical dance master from 11-12 (Virginia Reel, British dancing, etc.). Book signing, reading, etc. The Covered Deep can be purchased at the party for $15 or you can bring your own copy to be signed. Come anytime between 9am-2pm. Sign up on the Facebook event.

Kim Mahone is teaching a workshop at the Women Writing the West Conference (October 16-18th in Golden, Colorado) called “Characters in Corsets: How to Incorporate Fashion in Your Writing”

Erin Healy has a new book due out November 11th, called “Motherless”

Opportunity for ACFW Colorado Springs Members:

ACFW Colorado Springs critique group: Join the weekly critique group on Tuesday nights from 6-9 PM. The group meets at the First Evangelical Free Church on 30th Street (the same location as our monthly meeting). You can bring 10 double-spaced pages of your work-in-progress (WIP), to be critiqued when you attend.