Shannon here: I’m excited to host Ellen E. Withers today. I’ve run into Ellen for years at local writer’s conferences in Arkansas. I’m excited to share the news about her debut Dual Timeline Mystery, Show Me Betrayal. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a print copy. Deadline: May 27th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Ellen:
It Takes A Book Village:
My very first book is coming out on May 16. Imagine my excitement!
Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but being published is quite the opposite. There is no doubt God had a hand in making my dream come true. He provided a “book village” of people, skilled and supportive, needed to make my book a reality. It took a lot of work, prayers, and blessings to accomplish this mighty task.
As the publication date nears, I appreciate Shannon Vannatter for giving me an opportunity to express my deep gratitude to everyone who worked hard and contributed toward transforming my dream into a reality.
I’ve always wanted to write mysteries. Mysteries are like a puzzle, where readers put all the pieces together and allow us to cheer when the bad guy gets caught. Even my insurance career involved solving mysteries, such as, “How did this fire start?” “How did this collision occur?” “Who was at fault?”
The first step to publication is to learn the craft. Figure out what makes a publishable manuscript and then follow the guidelines. Embrace the fact that you will ALWAYS need to be open to learning. Be an eager student. Immerse yourself in the knowledge and encouragement of those who lecture at writing conferences. I’m grateful to those writers, editors, agents and publishers who shared their secrets.
In addition, established writers who share their expertise and nurture ambitions are a blessing to us all. I was blessed with talented writing friends who provided me with constructive critiques. They helped me learn and hone my craft.
In my insurance career, I wrote factual reports as an insurance investigator, but longed for more creative writing. Writing conferences and books provided information about nonfiction writing opportunities. It wasn’t long before I secured freelance assignments from a local newspaper. That led to the blessing of writing for a Little Rock magazine in 2006. Seventeen years later, I’m writing quarterly book reviews and an occasional article for that same magazine today.
God’s hand was involved in my being mentored by Dusty Richards, a three-time Western Writers of America Spur award winner and Arkansas Hall of Fame recipient. I met him at a local writing conference. Over the years, he helped many writers benefit from his expertise and encouragement. I believe he is still encouraging us from Heaven.
Being able to write about my actual hometown has been one of the most rewarding things involved with this book. Its fantastic architectural structures and unique history have been a bonus to my work.
An offer of publication came at the right moment, when I took a leap of faith and entered my work in an annual contest sponsored by Scrivenings Press. Linda Fulkerson, owner of Scrivenings Press, is a multi-talented publisher and graphic designer. She created the cover for Show Me Betrayal, which sets the perfect mood for my mystery. Additional help from Elena Hill, as content editor, and Susan Page Davis, as line editor, elevated my work “to the best it could be.”
There is always more to learn as a writer. I recently joked at a conference that if my grammar issues (noted by my line editor) were a beauty pageant, I would be “Miss-Placed Modifiers.” This was a humorous reality check for me. This writer will concentrate on improving her modifier placement in the future.
I’m also grateful for the blessing of friends and family who encourage my writing and share my excitement at publication. Every writer needs at least one friend who cries while reading your book, crying because they are holding a long-time dream, reading the words and experiencing the emotions of a story that took years to accomplish.
If you are a writer, I hope you have your own “book village” to help you reach your dreams. If you are a reader, this article gives you a glimpse into all the skills and talents needed by the author and the “book village” behind him or her to create one book. With God’s help, we can accomplish anything.
Question for Readers: Where is your hometown and how do you feel about it. Do you still live there? Or did you move away? If you had the chance to write a book about your hometown, would you do it? What would your genre and title be?
About Ellen: Ellen is an award-winning fiction writer, freelance writer and retired insurance fraud investigator. She is excited about her mystery/dual-time series, Show Me Mysteries, set in her picturesque hometown of Mexico, Missouri. Scrivenings Press will release the first book of the series, Show Me Betrayal, May 16, 2023.
She is also proud to be one of three contributors to a Christmas novella collection titled A Gift for All Time, due for release September 26, 2023, from Scrivenings Press.
Ellen is also hard at work on a nonfiction book to help writers win writing contests. Magic Words: Enchant Judges & Conjure Contest Wins for Novels, Short Fiction and Nonfiction is scheduled for publication by Scrivenings Press March 2024.
More information about Ellen’s books, writing tips and guest author highlights can be found at her website. Follow her column on how to win writing contests in Writers Monthly Magazine PDF.
When not writing or reading, Ellen enjoys spending time with her family, traveling the world with her adventurous friends and performing with Top of the Rock Chorus, a Sweet Adeline chorus in central Arkansas. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Show Me Betrayal:
A joyous event years ago turned into a horrible nightmare. Has the nightmare returned?
Two deaths occur decades apart. Is it possible these deaths are related? What motivates a killer, who got away with murder sixty years ago, to kill again? Was it uncontrollable rage or the hope of silencing someone who fit all the puzzle pieces together and deduced who committed the crime?
Set in the picturesque town of Mexico, Missouri, Show Me Betrayal takes flight in words and emotions of rich characters woven together into a dual timeline story you won’t want to put down.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Come back May 19th for Aubrey Taylor!