What I’ve Learned Lately … With Lisa Lickel

I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from the blogging world, thanks to work things and enjoying spring break with our kids. It’s nice to be back today, and especially nice to introduce you to author Lisa Lickel. Lisa and I met through American Christian Fiction Writers and are both posters over at the Favorite PASTimes historical blog. She’s also a regular contributor to other blogs that have great posts about writing and life in general. So, yes, she’s a busy lady!

Here’s the official short bio … Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and fifty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine and loves to encourage new authors. Find her at LisaLickel.com.

And now here’s Lisa!


Learning Experiences in My Corner of Life


Thank you, Leigh, for having me.


A Matter of Perspective


I’m like a lot of you, I think — my mom calls fairly often. We live across the state from each other; in the winter, across the continent. I dread the question I know she’ll ask: “Anything new with your writing?”

Perspective, attitude, goals, discipline: these all change the same way we introduce ourselves to different people. When strangers ask me what I do, I sound glamorous; when my family asks, I can be more honest about the drearier side of being an author—the constant submission whether by me or my agent; the waiting and the hoping.

A recent message I wrote about attitude took a page from winning Super Bowl coach Mike McCarthy’s playbook: when do you get measured for your Super Bowl ring? The fact that the coach had his players measured the night before they played and won probably didn’t cause the players to win the game, but I’m sure it reminded them of the goal. Winning in this business means being read.

To reach that goal of establishing a readership, I employ discipline. And here’s where I tell you my other secret: I don’t put clean words on fresh paper every day. The act of writing takes a village of disciplines. The successful author knows that research in many forms, editing, reading and marketing actually take up the bulk of the process we call writing.

Being an author is always thrilling in one form or another: either we’re riding high or we’re on the down-swing of the bungee ride; the wind beneath our wings. The journey involves both trust and vulnerability. I write from my gut, spilling out my best words and phrases, sharing my dreams, my heart, in the hope of somebody (in the best Sally Field moment) will LIKE me! And tell all their friends.

What’s new with me? I’ve written two novellas and will start another batch soon. I’m so delighted by the direction my new group blogs are taking. Check out thebarndoor.net and reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com. I’ve sold some short stories to Harpstring Magazine (check out writtenworldcommunications.com). I became the editor-in-chief of a Wisconsin literary magazine, I’ll be leading two workshops in March and April; I’ll be teaching a course for ACFW online in May, and my sales are picking up.

Who else will bleed for you like an author? What’s new with your writing?


Great thoughts to leave us with, Lisa. Whether we’re writers, readers, or just trying to get through life, we need to work on perspective and discipline. Sounds like it’s definitely working for you, and it will be great to hear when some of your other projects find a publishing house. Thanks for stopping by today!


Check out Christian Store Day

Want to support relief efforts in Haiti and support local Christian book stores? Then check out Christian Store Day on Saturday, Oct. 23.

I just read about it through American Christian Fiction Writers, and it sounds really cool. Several big-name Christian publishers, authors, and musicians have teamed together to support local book stores while helping Haiti. On Oct. 23, participating stores will have events, give-aways, and a special CD just for that day — a CD with Christian music and e-books from some of your favorite musicians and authors. The CD only costs $5 and all money will go to Haiti relief efforts (and they mean all money — none of the authors or musicians will receive royalties from the CD sales).

The money will be distributed in partnership with Compassion International, World Vision, and Operation Christmas Child — three phenomenal organizations that help children in all sorts of ways.  

Go to the Christian Store Day website to learn more about it and to check whether any stores near you are participating (the two Lifeway stores closest to us are on the list — yay!). Then help spread the word and stop by on Oct. 23 to help Haiti!

PS — I realize that any of you who keep up with this blog are probably going into shock because I’ve actually posted 3 times in the last week. Just proof that miracles do still happen. 🙂

Choices, Choices Everywhere

If there’s one vice our entire family shares, it’s reading. Well, and maybe a love for Sonic shakes or sundaes, but we won’t get into that one here.

We were on vacation last week because the kids were out of school for fall break. What’d we do a few days before leaving? We visited our local Books A Million store to let everyone stock up on beach reading material. I was a good girl and got one book; the kids and my husband all got two books each.

But before you start feeling sorry for me because I didn’t get as many books as everyone else, you might want to look at my “to be read” piles …

Here’s a look at a partial stack of novels I’m ready to disappear into (not counting the Percy Jackson series I’ve finally started reading after my son has bugged me about it for two years and a book that came in the mail afterwards that I’ll write some reviews on).

And this one shows a partial stack of non-fiction titles waiting to enlighten me (not counting some of the titles I’m partway though).

Once you put all these books, the ones I’ve read, piles of papers for work, and various other stuff in my office, you can only imagine how things look. And, yes, I’m leaving that one to your imagination because I’d be too embarrassed to post pictures of it for the world to see.

I actually read three books while we were out of town and sneaked in one more since getting home. Now to decide which one to tackle next … but what a wonderful dilemma to face!

Happy reading. 🙂

Great Reads: 2010 Christy Award Winners


If you’re looking for some great Christian fiction to help fill long summer days, Christy Award nominees are a great starting point.

The Christy Awards are given each year during the International Christian Retail Show, and honor books in 9 Christian fiction categories. The 2010 winners were announced over the weekend, and I was glad to hear that some of my favorite stories (and authors) won. Here’s the list of nominees, with the winners for each category in bold. Congratulations to everyone!

Contemporary Romance

Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers) 

How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group) 

Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus (Barbour Publishing)


Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas

 Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson (Thomas Nelson)

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth (Zondervan)


Contemporary Standalone

June Bug by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)

Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle (Tyndale House Publishers)


First Novel

The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry (Moody Publishers)

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent (Tyndale House Publishers)

Scared by Tom Davis (David C. Cook)



A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey (Revell Books: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)


Historical Romance*

*The Historical Romance Category includes four finalists due to a tie in scoring.

Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander (Thomas Nelson)

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)



Intervention by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)

Lost Mission by Athol Dickson (Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster)

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)



By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)

The Enclave by Karen Hancock (Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik (Tyndale House Publishers)


Young Adult

Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma (Thomas Nelson)

The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason (David C. Cook)

North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

If you’d like to read back-cover blurbs for the winners, check out the official press release from the Christy Awards. You can also visit the Christy Award website for more information on the awards and past winners. I’ve read several of these books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Looks like I have some more good reads to add my wish list, though!