it too high a price? Not when, finally, it all comes together. Your
book is born. Your dream becomes a reality. There is nothing like
holding that first copy of your new book in your hands . . . or so
I'm told . . .
I have yet to hold the first copy of Her Rightful Inheritance
in my hands.
I'm well past the dreaming stage . . . and a great distance through
the cost stage . . . I continue to labor.
the present time I'm preparing the proposal for my first inspirational
romantic suspense novel. Very soon I will launch its marketing campaign
and enter the endurance stage . . .
our beloved God knows if and when Her Rightful Inheritance
will take shape as a published novel.
the meantime, with your permission, I will share my journey with you.
Who knows? One day we may share a joyous cyber-shriek as I announce
the arrival of Her Rightful Inheritance in the "Promised
Land" of published novels!
Reader, thank you for accompanying me on my journey this far. Until
the next time . . . Dream big and go with God's blessing!
2003 Beth Ann Ziarnik
gripped me in the pre-dawn dimness! Had I tackled a writhing anaconda?
What made me think I could weave all the intriguing elements of fiction
into flowing perfection? What made me think I could capture readers'
attention . . . entertain them . . . inspire them . . . make them
feel my characters' passions as they pursued their dreams?
squeezed my eyelids shut and burrowed my head in my pillow. Even if
-- by some fluke -- I managed to do all that, what made me think
someone would publish my novel? The marketplace grew tighter every
day . . . the competition greater. I was getting older!
groaned. Was I out of my mind? O God, you gave me this dream.
I'm doing my best, but I'm scared to death I can't pull it off.
has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of
a sound mind.
. . . ? The words from 2 Timothy 1:7 (NEB) wrapped me like a warm
blanket -- words I had written on a note card and kept on my desk
as a reminder that fear is not from God. His enemy uses it, pressing
in to squeeze the life from my creative efforts . . . to stop me from
accomplishing the good God gave me to do.
threw back the covers and bolted out of bed, wielding the words like
a sword. "God has not given me a spirit of fear!" I shouted,
"but of power! Of love! And a sound mind!"
took a deep breath and marched into my home office, vowing to fight
fear with the Word of God every time it showed its scaly head. For
"I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength
(Philippians 4:13, NIV)" and "with God all things
are possible (Matthew 19:26, KJV)."
down before my computer, I prayed as I booted up. Time to get to work
. . . with the Lord.
again, dear reader, for sharing in my journey---a writer's journey
not unique to me. Until the next time . . . Fight fear and work with
2004 Beth Ann Ziarnik
slumped at my desk and closed my eyes in an effort to trap the tears
that threatened to escape. "I'm ready to give up, Lord! I've
worked on this manuscript and worked on it some more. It's just not
weary of the battle, Lord. I don't think I'll ever finish this novel."
Tears traced wet paths down my face.
great! I palmed them away. "Please, Lord, if you have an
idea to share, I could use it now."
your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.*
Surely God knew I had dedicated all my writing to him from the very
your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.*
cold fist hit my heart. Obviously I was missing something behind those
twelve short words. Something important.
hours later, I pushed my concordances, commentaries, and dictionaries
aside and picked up what I had distilled from them. I stared at the
pages. So that was the problem.
my work to the Lord was more than offering a quick prayer before I
barreled ahead with my writing plan. It was spreading everything before
the Lord each morning -- my manuscript, plans, deadline schedules
-- and most of all, myself. It was sharing my difficulties and delights
with him, whether writing and otherwise. It was praying, "Lord,
here am I. Use me. What do you want me to accomplish today?"
knelt down to do that very thing.
long I saw significant progress in the novel's development. Excitement
about the project returned! I couldn't wait to get to my desk each
morning and boot up the computer.
glad I am to have learned this valuable lesson: Being a Christian
writer isn't a simple matter of being a Christian and writing. It's
being a Christian who lays her writing gift at the feet of the Lord
and obeys him. As I look back, every one of my published manuscripts
was a fruit of God's plan, not mine. Painful as all the years of struggle
have been, I am grateful that God continues to preserve that precious
Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)
Reader, this piece has been a long time coming, and now you know why.
Until next time . . . look to the Lord. He will help you overcome
2005 Beth Ann Ziarnik
Lord, I thought I was finished!
I vividly recalled the moment I wrote the final word of my novel.
Heroine and hero had lived through danger and discovered love. Better
yet, they surprised me with the unique manner in which they concluded
their story. I had breathed such a sigh of satisfaction!
what's this? All the rewrites I'd labored on, perfecting their story
were not enough? My novel required yet more work?
won't do it. I don't want to do it. I . . . sputtered to a stop.
truth was, I had no idea what to do next. Everything I'd learned had
only taken me this far. What more was there?
. . . confused, I wandered in a fog for two months, doing my best
to ignore that troublesome novel. Besides, I had plenty to keep me
busy -- including my (yea!) new novel.
that first novel refused to let go. It waited in silence until I could
stand it no more.
I did want to do whatever it took to bring it to a publishable state,
but . . . was I even capable of pulling it off?
closed my eyes and sank back in my chair. Slowly breathing in and
out, I willed myself into a calmer state.
will it take? What must I do? Please show me the way through this
unfamiliar territory, this terribly dark place.
I'd read earlier that morning flowed back to me.
"I will answer them before they even call on me. While they are
still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer
their prayers" ~Isaiah 65: 24 (The
Living Bible, Tyndale
sat up, eyes wide open.
this mean the book I had ordered about revision and self-editing was
one thing was sure. Before I ever called out to him, God saw my need
and had gone ahead to answer my prayer. Without a doubt, he would
also show me the way out of this awful writer's fog. He would enable
me to finish my novel.
Reader, many challenges test a writer's resolve. Are you In a fog?
Call out to God, and you'll find the answer already on its way.
2009 Beth Ann Ziarnik
Am I getting close, Lord?
to find out, I entered American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis
Contest for unpublished novelists.
Weeks later, my scores arrived. I didn't final but -- oh, joy! --
had missed by a mere fraction. One of the judges, a multi-published
romantic suspense author, gave my entry an astounding "100"
and assured me I had a publishable manuscript.
is it true?
A month later at the Write-To-Publish conference in June, the manuscript
evaluations for the first chapters of my two novels came back running
over with enthusiastic comments. The publicist who evaluated them
surprised me by inviting me to use her name to contact a Guideposts
editor she believed would consider the manuscripts.
was stunned, but God
the same conference during an evening critique session, a well-known
author of romantic suspense listened as someone else read a portion
of my manuscript. "Now that's great writing! " she said.
I was overwhelmed.
in September at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference,
agents and editors and published authors shocked me with their enthusiasm
about the novel I pitched. Not only that, but one agent told me the
publishers at the conference all said they were looking for romantic
suspense. Somehow I had slipped into writing publishable fiction just
when Christian publishers were seeking my genre.
God's answer was abundantly clear. "For the Lord is a just God.
Happy are all who wait patiently for him" ~Isaiah
30: 18 (The
Living Bible, Tyndale
years of hard work and waiting on the Lord, my time had come.
Reader, you may be hurting now. You may wonder if all your hard work
will ever result in publishable fiction. Please don't give up. God
is with you, working behind the scenes to bring you to that right
then, believe in your growing ability and God's purpose and for your
writing. Trust in his timing.
2010 Beth Ann Ziarnik
have I waited too long?
finished my novel, this time with no niggling feeling that insisted
something still needed fixing.
I sent it to a published novelist who offered to read it, and she
declared it ready for publication. I then sketched my plan and set
out to find
an agent . . .
. . only to quickly hit the snag.
replies to my query letters. A "pass" on the requested proposals.
Times are hard, Lord, but what's this all about?
barreled into the dark of my bedroom and hissed in my ear, "Why
are you writing your next novel? No one's even interested in the first
one. You don't have what it takes. What
a waste of time! What a waste of the many years you've invested."
and turning, I finally abandoned my bed and turned on the light in
my office. I prayed and read my Bible where God encouraged me to continue.
looked up at my bookshelves. Grabbing
a book from one of them, I devoured its chapter on finding and working
with an agent. It advised writers not to feel too hurt if an agent
isn't interested in that first novel. I sighed heavily and read further,
my attention soon snagged by a suggestion that
a new author might want to query a new agent.
couldn't hurt to try. I did have such an agent in mind.
through the night, I tweaked and polished both the proposal and the
query letter. Would this new agent be the answer?
I did know was that while "pressed on every side" as I attempted
to market this novel, while "crushed or broken" by the current
lack of response, the Lord wanted me to "get up again and keep
going" ~2 Corinthians 4:8-9, (The
Living Bible, Tyndale
wanted me to trust in him completely (Proverbs 3:5) and work hard
(Proverbs 22:29). He wanted me to keep going until I reach my goal.
Reader, have you hit the snag? Are you trying to find an agent without
much success? God
sent you on this journey for good purpose. Please
push past each obstacle until you reach your goal.
2011 Beth Ann Ziarnik
is how you designed it to happen, Lord? Really? It
feels like some incredible dream!
couldn't have been more surprised
Wednesday of the last week in June 2013,
my left wrist--still recovering from being crushed--was trapped in
a plaster cast. Not knowing what
else to do as a writer, I decided to invite some people I knew in
the industry to link with me on LinkedIn. Before I knew it, I was
chatting online with a well-known and respected agent I had met at
several Christian writers' conferences. At one point she wrote that
she was bringing her son into her literary agency. Did I have any
projects I could send her?
I blinked. Is this you, Lord?
I sent her a list of my eight projects, and she chose my first romantic
suspense novel, now titled Deadly Inheritance. I spent four
days polishing its proposal before e-mailing it to her. Ten days later,
her son sent a message. He loved my sample chapters and wanted to
see the full manuscript.
I blinked again. Was I dreaming?
During the previous eighteen months, two other agents had requested
the novel's full manuscript but then passed on it. They were kind
enough to include very encouraging words about the quality of my writing
and my clear understanding of the romantic suspense genre. One told
me to keep my chin up. I would find an agent who loved my novel. I
did my best to follow her advice. Still, I failed to connect with
that elusive agent who would believe in me and what I was writing.
Someone who wanted to partner with me and see my novels published.
Would this be yet another round of encouragement, letting me know
I was getting close? Or . . .
Well, whatever the Lord had in mind, I decided to move forward. Take
that next step. I requested two weeks to go over the manuscript one
last time and then e-mailed it to him by our agreed-upon deadline.
How merciful the Lord was! He kept me busy for the next two weeks
on previously planned vacations with family. When I returned, an e-mail
message from the agent waited. My heart almost stopped as I read his
most welcome words. He loved my novel and offered me representation
which would make me as one of their agency's clients.
I was in!
Hardly able to believe my eyes, I called in a lot of prayer from friends
and tried to calm down. Then I sent him my phone number and told him
I would love to talk with him. That afternoon as we chatted, he asked
if he could send me a contract. I told him I'd be glad to look it
over but that I had a lot of questions. He said he would call me the
middle of the next week.
The next day as I prayed about this opportunity, I believed the Lord
wanted me to sign that contract. A few days later when the agent called,
I let him know I intended to sign the contract and then
ran my questions past him. That afternoon, I signed the contract and
put it in the mail. My heart danced
God's Word says, "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs
his steps" (Proverbs 16:9, KJV). Without a doubt, the Lord had
directed my steps, just as he does for each of his writers, no matter
what pathway he works out.
Dear Reader, it may not feel like it now, but your day will come.
Keep taking your next step forward as the Lord directs. The details
of how you team with an agent may not be the same as mine, but one
day the Lord will bring your agent partnership to pass.
God bless you on your journey.
2013 Beth Ann Ziarnik
the Lord knew the wonderful surprise he had in store at the 2014
of effort had taught me to do my best and take that next step.
Exactly what I did as I prepared for the conference, hoping I
might qualify to enter the Written World Communications Contest.
contest was open only to those who (1) attended the conference,
(2) made a one-on-one appointment with the publishing house rep,
and (3) attended one of her evening critique sessions.
of that would make a difference if I didn't first polish my novel.
weeks before the conference, I set a deadline of ten days to complete
that work. I divided its 310 pages and 28 chapters into roughly
equal parts and set to work. Nine days later, I finished. For
the first time, I believed it was not only good--as others had
tried to tell me--but the best I could make it at this time. No
more niggling doubts.
the manuscript for Deadly Inheritance copied to a USB drive,
I arrived at the conference. During my one-on-one appointment
with Chris Richards the first day, she approved my entering the
contest and took my USB drive to download my novel to her device.
third evening of the conference, I participated in her evening
critique group along with six other hopeful writers. When it was
over, I left knowing I had done all I could. The outcome was up
to the Lord.
next evening at the banquet, three other big awards were handed
out before Chris Richards went to the microphone. She talked about
the novel and mentioned something about "Beth" and believing
she might slaughter the writer's last name of she tried to pronounce
room fell silent as I waited for some other Beth to get up and
accept the award. Then I realized Chris was looking at me. I mouthed,
"Do you mean me?"
she smiled and nodded, I froze in my chair. The dear writer next
to me smiled, took my hand, and leaned over to whisper, "You
have to go up and receive your award."
stunned, I joined Chris. I turned my back to the microphone and
whispered, "Are you sure?"
grinned and nodded.
was true! God
had gifted me with a mentor and editing coach, the two desires
of my writer's heart. The award also carried the possibility of
publication, once we completed the chapter-by-chapter editing.
Word says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give
you the desires of your heart." ~ Psalm 37:4 (NIV).
Reader, do you sometimes wonder if God cares about the desires
of your writer's heart? He does! Know that at the right time and
in the right way, he will give you your desires. Until then .
. . delight yourself in him and keep moving forward as he leads.
2014 Beth Ann Ziarnik
waiting for that right publisher, I sighed. "How long will it
take, Lord?" I whispered. Only he knew.
agent kept me in the loop as my novel went out to publisher after
publisher. I prayed. My prayer team prayed. Others prayed as months
passed by. Then more than a year. Still we waited.
promising it appeared when most publishing houses began asking for
the full manuscript. But then, no contract offer.
worry," my agent said. He was absolutely certain the novel would
had to believe him because I felt as if the Lord were speaking that
same message to my heart. Soon, I heard.
what did this particular "soon" mean? Days? Weeks? Months?
Years? Again, only the Lord knew.
the meantime, my part was to walk in faith, continue to write and
improve my skills, and wait expectantly. I was also to help other
writers succeed and not lose heart about my own publishing possibilities.
I told myself, it would happen when the right time came. Ecclesiastes
3: 1 says: "To everything there is a season. A time for everything
under heaven" (NKJV). Surely that included the promised sale
of my novel, the beginning of my career as a novelist, the fruition
of my longtime dream.
long, O Lord?
Reader, like me, are you waiting for your longtime dream to come true?
A promise you feel the Lord has made to your heart? Wait patiently.
God will not fail you. At the right time, your season will arrive.
Mine, too. Let's believe this together.
2014 Beth Ann Ziarnik