Packing for the Publication Road

by Kristy Cambron, @KCambronAuthor

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

“Realistically, what can we stand to lose?”

I stared down at four small carry-on bags that wouldn’t zip closed. My husband responded with: “Well, let’s start again and see.”

We were packing for a nine-day research trip overseas and since we’d be road-tripping across Ireland, our luggage would likely never find us if it was lost in transit. So, we opted to carry-on for two adults and two kids… That meant we had to pack light—and right—for the journey ahead.

But we didn’t step into the fray unprepared. We took the journey seriously, investing in the right research ahead of time. I found Pinterest travel hacks—’How to pack for Ireland’ posts were pure gold.  I researched the weather in places we planned to stop—Do I really need that bulky sweater when a rain jacket will pull double-duty? And you’d better believe I tucked a ball cap in my carry-on for those hat-and-go days when we wanted to explore in the rain.

If you’re new to this transition from the aspiring road to a published one (or if you’ve been here for a while), you still need to pack the essentials. So get your carry-on ready… we’re about to tuck in(5)must-haves for those heading out on the publication road:

  1. GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND— I’m asked the “How do I get published?” question more than any other. It may be obvious for aspiring authors, but it’s certainly not the only one. There are many to consider before you take your first step out: Am I called to fiction or nonfiction? What genre? Traditional or indie publishing? What about working with an agent? Who’s my dream publishing house? What do they publish?There’s a massive travel trunk full of questions. With your future cheerleading section (spouse, family, friends…) and God, you’ll have to wade through them all.Have questions? Then research everything you can to make sure you get on the right road for you.
  2. CRAFT IS A VERB—Before a writer can master the ins and outs of story craft, they must first fall in love with storytelling. That’s reading. Writing every day. Attending conferences and signing up for workshops. So much of what we do isn’t glamorous—instead of being whisked around on a book tour, authors are more often hashing it out on the laptop at 3am, working our way through a second pot of coffee while wearing a messy bun and the same yoga pants for the third time that week. Why? Because it’s work. Hard work. And if you develop an authentic love for storytelling before you’re published, you’ll have an anchor to fight through those writing deadlines AND to rejoice if you do get a book tour after.
  3. COMMUNITY: Remember that cheerleading section we mentioned? Share your dreams with them. Family, pastors, and mentors will encourage you. Fellow authors will share knowledge and experience. Critique groups will rejoice with you when the news is noteworthy… and lift you up if rejections come. Invest wisely and often to surround yourself with a community of Jesus-chasers who will defend your dream—this group will help carry the load as you walk the road.
  4. SOUL-CARE: The author life is an amazing calling, but remember that a vocation cannot define who we are. The road to publication is paved by what Jesus did for us… not what we do for Him. Find times of intentional soul rest along the way. Celebrate the milestones. And know that timing is everything; God’s plan is bigger and better than we could ever imagine.
  5. IN THE WORD: This is the answer I always give to “How do I get published” question. It begins and ends (and stays in step) with Christ from start to finish. He gets us to the right road, brings our support community together, and cultivates the storyteller’s heart beating in our chest. Fix your eyes on Him and fuse your heart to the Word, then start walking.

I look back on our family research trip and smile because we actually did it!

We emptied the carry-ons of one life for another. We sacrificed. Scaled down to the essentials. Organized and packed again. And we prepared for the journey… until the bags finally zipped closed and we were on our way down the right dream-chasing road.

What about you? If you only had a carry-on, what essentials would you take on the start of a publication journey?

The Lost Castle

Broken-down walls and crumbled stones seemed to possess a secret language all their own. What stories would they tell, if she finally listened?

Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved old woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . .

Each piece that unlocks the story seems to unlock part of Ellie too—where she came from and who she is becoming. But her grandmother is quickly disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a forgotten castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley in hopes that she can unearth its secrets before time silences them forever.

Bridging the past to present in three time-periods—the French Revolution, World War II, and present day—The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged in the hearts of men, and an enchanted castle that stood witness to it all, inspiring a legacy of faith through the generations.

Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named toPublishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received 2015& 2017 INSPY Award nominations. The Lost Castle (HarperCollins Christian Publishing, 2018) is her fifth novel. Her first Bible studies, The Verse Mapping Series, will release in 2018.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read. You can connect with Kristy in her WRITING DESKNewsletter at: Facebook: Kristy Cambron | Twitter: @KCambronAuthor  | Instagram: kristycambron Pinterest: KCambronAuthor

Prequel to The Remnant, by Author Monte Wolverton

The Remnant by Monte Wolverton

By Monte Wolverton

On a sweltering noon in late September of 2062, Bob Day was walking south along the narrow 2nd St. NW in Washington D.C. He was on a lunch break from his job at a small Capitol Hill publisher. He had skipped breakfast that morning and he was ravenous—seriously drooling for a California Chicken Club at Hamilton’s Bar and Grill. Bob rationalized that the avocado would certainly cancel out the bacon. Not that there had been any California avocados for the last 40 years. Now they all came from Mexico or Central America—the world’s breadbasket.

Bob was well aware of the big international standoff that had been going on for a week—something about a Russian-backed coup in Mexico City, and the Pope (who was staying there in the Western Vatican) being under house arrest. The U.S. wanted the Russians out. Other nations had taken sides. Powerful warcraft with armed particle beam weapons were cruising around the skies. It all sounded nuts to Bob, and the D.C. culture made even the most earnest person jaded about such crises. And anyway, skilled diplomats and politicians were surely negotiating some kind of truce—possibly within a few blocks.

Bob pushed open the old oak door of Hamilton’s, stepped into the cool air and claimed a table. He ordered a sandwich and a Widmer Hefeweizen (still made in Oregon, but from Mexican hops, wheat and barley). While he waited, he got involved in a holovideo of an ongoing soccer game floating in the center of the room. Coup notwithstanding, Ciudad Juárez was pummeling Atlanta.

His food and drink finally came. Darn—he had let time get away from him, and he still had 50 pages to edit this afternoon. He wolfed down the Chicken Club and quaffed the beer, scanned his ID tat for the 52 dollar tab and walked out the door. This time he decided to walk south around the block and take 1st St. back to his office.

As usual, a view of the brilliant Capitol dome in the midday sun gave Bob a twinge of pride. Funny thing was, when he looked skyward, he saw what seemed to be two suns. One was the normal sun, high in the southern sky. The other was a pinpoint of rapidly intensifying light directly overhead. Then the air began to shimmer. Cars careened off the street. Pedestrians fell limp in their tracks, and with a wave of searing heat that seemed to catch the very air on fire, the capitol dome began to vaporize.

Bob’ mouth opened but no sound came out. He barely had a chance to experience horror, sadness and pain as everything, including Bob, turned to powder. Next thing he knew, he was in some kind of different place.


Prequel to The Remnant, by Author Monte Wolverton (Click to Tweet)

New Book Sneak Peek by Monte Wolverton (Click to Tweet)

Author Monte Wolverton

Monte Wolverton is an author, illustrator and syndicated editorial cartoonist. His 2014 novel, Chasing 120, won an Illumination book award. He serves on the boards of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and Plain Truth Ministries, where he is also as associate editor and contributing writer. His work has appeared frequently in MAD magazine and more recently in Washington (DC) Monthly magazine. He participated in the 2014 St.-Just-le-Martel Editorial Cartoon Festival in France, and in 2015 was invited to serve as a judge for the prestigious Xaimen International Animation Festival in China. He is an ordained minister and holds an MA from Goddard College in Vermont. Wolverton resides in his native southwest Washington State with his wife Kaye.

4 Platform Building Lessons from Ephesians – Guest Post by Joan Campbell

Joan Campbell lives in Johannesburg with her husband and daughters. She is inspired by South Africa’s vibrant mix of culture, language, music and folklore. Her country’s history also impacts her writing, with the themes of discrimination and reconciliation woven through her fantasy novels. 


I’ll just come right out and admit it. The constant advice to ‘build a platform’ used to irritate me. A lot. I followed it not because I wanted to, but only in the hopes of impressing publishers. 

Once I signed a publishing contract my attitude shifted. With a greater incentive to build an audience interested in my books, I began to pay attention to how other authors tackled this. I saw plenty of creativity, audience engagement, powerful messages and savvy use of social media. 

Inspirational, right? 

 Well…no. Instead, I felt more discouraged and uncertain on how to improve my half-hearted efforts.

That’s when I began to pray about it. I hadn’t ever thought of seeking God’s guidance, mainly because I didn’t think of him as a modern ‘platform guru’. Yet almost immediately I received the direction I sought through a passage from Ephesians 4. These four keys to platform building are changing my outlook, turning something I’ve always done rather resentfully into a joyful part of serving God. 

 Engaging others is part of our calling 

“Therefore I… beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling for you have been called by God.” (Eph. 4:1) 

As a Christian writer, I have a message and ministry from God. I might prefer to huddle over my computer, working only on my manuscripts, but that’s not all God calls me to. He calls us to love others and speak truth into their lives. Our platforms are a powerful tool to do that, be it in the form of a newsletter, blog, Facebook post or speaking engagement. 

Work as a team to build God’s kingdom 

“Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace. We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.” (Eph. 4:3-6) 

In the competitive world of publishing, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that—as Christian writers—we are called to build God’s Kingdom. To do that we need to unite and pull together by encouraging and supporting each other, promoting each others’ books and doing all we can to get the message of Christ’s love into the world. We are a team. 

 Let our uniqueness and gifts shine through 

“However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ. He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” (Eph. 4:7,11) 

 As much as we are a team, we are also wonderfully unique. We have our own voice, own stories and message, own audience and own spiritual gifts. If our gift is teaching, this will be reflected in our posts and blogs. If it is evangelism or encouragement, that will be the thrust of our messages. Our platforms are not an end in itself, they are an extension of the unique ministry God has for each of us.


Be authentic and vulnerable 

 “So put away all falsehood and tell your neighbour the truth because we belong to each other.” (Eph. 4:25) 

In our scramble for attention, it can be easy to project something other than the truth, but God calls us to be honest and authentic in our engagement with people. That is the vulnerable place where the real connection happens between us and our followers/readers, and where our words have the greatest impact. 

Ephesians 4:29 tells us that our words should be an encouragement to those who hear them. I love this verse in The Message, which says our words should be gifts to the world. What an honour that God has given us words to write and speak and share. We need the courage to do this not only in ways comfortable to us, but also in ways that challenge us. Platform building is not about us garnering readers and acclaim. It is about being true to God’s calling to bring words of truth, hope and salvation to the world. 

 (Verses from The New Living Translation) 

 Connect with Joan on her Website, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter (she says she’s still working on her attitude towards tweets). 


 Joan’s Books 

Chains of Gwyndorr is the first book of The Poison Tree Path Chronicles and published by Enclave Publishing. Joan started writing this book after she read The Chronicles of Narnia to her two young daughters and realised the powerful way in which a story can convey redemption. 
Buy it on Amazon

Legends of the Loreteller, the trilogy’s companion book, is a collection of short stories set in Tirragyl, the fantasy world of the The Poison Tree Path Chronicles. 
Available as a FREE DOWNLOAD on Joan’s website 

Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus brings readers face to face with Jesus, through stories from the gospels told in the voice of those Jesus encountered. The book is enhanced with reflections, prayers and art work.

Buy it on Amazon.

* * * * * 

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-five years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. 

Find Ronie online:
     Facebook (
     Twitter (@roniekendig)
     Goodreads (
     Instagram (@kendigronie)
     Pinterest (

Of Moose and Men ~ by Torry Martin

by Yvonne Lehman
I want to introduce you to
one of the most delightful books I’ve ever read. Here are a few of my writers
group members talking about Of Moose and
(… lost and found in Alaska).

Well, Torry Martin is one
of the most delightful persons I’ve ever met. The hardest part in writing about
Torry is that he’s so multi-faceted, multi-talented, it’s hard to bring it down
into a few words.
In a few words: Torry is
an award-winning actor, screenwriter, comedian, speaker and teacher at writers
conferences, and has co-written screenplays for for several films.
Of Moose and Men is about his years in Alaska which he says were his hardest and the
happiest. This book is filled with stories that can make a person laugh out
loud (really loud! And for a long, long time! Even ROTFLOL!), cry, be scared to
death, and think seriously about life.
In the preface, we’re told
to “Bundle up in your long underwear and grab your bunny boots because we have
just crossed the Canadian border and entered Alaska.” Then when you do, just a
few of the things you encounter are: a moose getting its head stuck in Torry’s
window. A reindeer trapped in his kitchen. A bear almost preventing him from
leaving his cabin. And, he once woke up frozen to his floor. The amazing thing
is not that we encounter such things, but the way in which the stories come to
life in such hilarious, serious ways.
Torry experienced plenty
of miracles and mishaps, blunders and misfortunes, in the wilderness. He came
face-to-face with God and was changed forever.
I don’t think you’ll be
disappointed to journey with Torry as you read Of Moose and Men! It’s published by Harvest House Publishing and
available on and at Christian bookstores nationwide.
Torry says of this book’s
co-author, Doug Peterson, “He makes me sound smart! Not an easy feat, mind
you!” Doug is a Gold-Medallion-winning author of 60+ books including 42 for
Veggie Tales series and 4 historical novels, and writes for the University of
Torry Martin has
8 books of comedy sketches published by Lillenas Drama Publishing and is also the
creator of the character of Wooton Basset for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey. He has written 11 full feature length
scripts with co-writer Marshal Younger, including the comedies The Boonies, Helen of Troy, TN, Heaven Bound
and The Matchbreaker. His most recent
acting roles were in the Taylor Swift parody of The Office, Hallmark’s The Ultimate
, and the feature films Heaven
, The Resurrection of Gavin
Stone, The Matchbreaker, Skid,
“Mountain Top. 
Visit Torry at
@torry_martin, and Facebook: torrymartin.