Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Is your writing like Julie Andrews, Etta James or Lady Gaga? Recognizing and maximizing your voice.

with guest Lisa Carter.

Each story has a flow of sound like music. A unique beat, rhythm, tone. Writers, too, have a voice, recognizable throughout their entire body of work. Some singers have a crystal clear quality of tonality like Julie Andrews. I think of it as a bubbling, high arching fountain. Others, a deep, full sound like Etta James with a rich, Mississippi River quality.

Editors and agents look for authors with a strong or unique “voice.” Your writing voice is already part of you, the sum total of your personality and experiences, your distinctive way of looking at the world. The indefinable essence of who you are—Your voice is defined by what you have to say and how you choose to say it. 

Writing voice will be determined by—

•Gender—Tom Clancy will never be mistaken for Barbara Cartland
•Time period—Herman Melville vs. Ernest Hemingway
•Culture—Charles Frazier vs. Maya Angelou
•Target audience—J.K. Rowling vs. Nicholas Sparks
•Area of expertise—John Grisham vs. Kathy Reichs
•Worldview—F. Scott Fitzgerald vs. Francine Rivers

Writers reveal a great deal about themselves—more so than they realize—in the stories they feel compelled to tell, in their empathy for characters they create, in their passion for particular story themes, and the insight with which they develop character actions/reactions.

Your natural writing voice will flow—and overflow—out of the abundance of your individual life journey. It is only out of this—what you know plus a good dose of an innate ability to imagine—that will enable you to write with honesty, conviction and courage. 

Voice is not style or technique. It’s not branding. Although, understanding your voice will help you market yourself. If you want to make a living selling your words, you must understand you are selling yourself—your life perspective, your unique beliefs, hopes, fears, memories and passions. The honest-to-God, real you. And that will require a great deal of courage. Because we are trained from childhood to mask our real selves, to hide behind the facade of who we think we should be. We allow the world only a glimpse of the self we want them to see.

Writers with a strong voice have managed to overcome this fear of exposure to share their real self with gut-wrenching honesty. You have to be brave enough to put yourself on the page. And when you get beyond the false you to the real you—it is a powerful, exhilarating experience.

Start by giving yourself permission to say things in your own way. You don’t speak or sing like anyone else. Why should you expect to write like everyone else?

Donald Maas advises, “ To set your voice free, set your words free. Set your characters free. Most important, set your heart free . . . Your voice is your self in the story.”

How to Enhance Your Natural Writing Voice

1. Read—Writers are readers first. Your choice of reading material is often a good indicator of a writing style that resonates with you and what you write. Reading can develop your natural gift and quicken the cadence of your writing “ear.” Cadence is the mix of narrative, description and dialogue in your writing. The juxtaposition of long versus short paragraphs, sensory details and choice of POV—the rhythm of your voice.

2. Write—Your writing voice is like a muscle. You must exercise this muscle to fine tune and nurture the gift that lies within. Write what you see and think and know. Allow yourself to write dreadful. Nothing you write will be wasted. All of it becomes part of developing your authentic voice, increasing your range and gaining mastery of your craft.

3. Listen— Hone your observation skills. When people speak, tune your ear to the subtlety of what they’re really saying. Find what’s authentic and transfer that authenticity to your words.

4. Discover—What is your passion? What do you love? What draws you? More than just writing what you know, NY Times bestselling author, Virginia Kantra says, “Write what you love.” This is where the musicality of your voice resounds. You will make music when you find the heart of your stories and that core message/truth only you can deliver. Which once discovered, you will deliver story after story, again and again.

5. Embrace—Find other authors who “get” you and the stories your heart longs to tell. Sometimes it requires a friend/outsider to help you to identify your true voice. Most of us, consciously or not, find ourselves writing book after book which reflects a central life theme/truism for us as individuals. Probably arising out of the broken home of my childhood, the stories my heart wants to tell revolve around creating family, restoration and hope.

6. Release—Let go of the fear that holds you back from expressing your truest self. Learn to trust your voice. Authority, power and confidence come with the repeated practice of expression. Continue to grow your voice with new experiences; beware of complacence and stagnation. 

Vocalists always begin with arpeggio exercise runs just as athletes develop their own muscle warm up routines. Deepen your characters. Dig down deep to their—and your—emotional heart.

Writing is not for the timid. Take risks. Fear can be a writer’s best friend. As one author once lamented, “Every morning I sit down, figuratively slit my emotional veins, and bleed out all over the screen.”

Sometimes it is only in our brokenness that we enter those “thin places”—where for a moment the veil between humanity and the divine is lifted. By delving into the deep waters, we find and become a part of where the Spirit of God is at work—in us and in the world. 

When you find yourself on the edge of your seat while writing—your heart thumping, your hands shaking—you’ve probably written something that will be worth reading. Don’t allow fear to stop you. Don’t be afraid to confront your personal barriers to truth in voice. The next time you read something that moves you, realize that writer moved beyond her own fears and wrote those words anyway.

Now go and do likewise.

Has a particular book or favorite author moved you? Where have you encountered a “thin place” in your writing or someone else’s?

GIVEAWAY! Lisa is giving away 2 copies of Beyond the Cherokee Trail. Please leave a comment letting us know you'd like to be entered! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Blending Southern and Native American fiction, Lisa Carter writes “Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder”. Her latest release is Beyond the Cherokee Trail, a 4 1/2 star Romantic Times Top Pick. The Christy-nominated, Under a Turquoise Sky is a 2015 Carol Finalist. The author of seven romantic suspense novels and a Coast Guard series, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales and researching her next exotic adventure. As a North Carolinian, she has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball. Connect with Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

  Beyond the Cherokee Trail

180 years may not be long enough to heal the wounds of the past…

When Linden Birchfield arrives in the Snowbird Cherokee community to organize the 180th commemoration of the Trail of Tears, she runs head on—literally—into arrogant, former army sniper Walker Crowe. A descendant of the Cherokee who evaded deportation by hiding in the rugged Snowbird Mountains, Walker believes no good can result from stirring up the animosity between his people and the white Appalachian residents whose ancestors looted the tribal lands so long ago.

Though at odds over the commemoration, Linden and Walker must unite against an unseen threat to derail the festival. Together they face an adversary whose implacable hatred can be traced to the events of the Trail, a dark chapter in America’s westward expansion. Walker must thwart the enemy who threatens the modern-day inhabitants of tiny Cartridge Cove—and targets the woman who has captured his heart.


  1. That resonated with me: "write what you love." What a great article, Lisa. And living in Arizona, having several Native American friends, I love stories about that people like you write. God bless, and I hope I win.

  2. Hi Lisa! I'd love to be entered in the drawing for your book. I'm a reader, not a writer, but a character that moved me was Dani Pettrey's Gage McKenna.

  3. Thanks for joining the conversation, Leola. I loved writing about the Navajo in two previous books. I decided to write about the Native American tribes in my own home state of NC for Beyond the Cherokee Trail.

  4. Hi Loves to Read—I love Dani's Gage McKenna, too. The whole series is great romantic suspense. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I love this description, Lisa! It brings an often vague concept into something easily felt and understood. Music is such a huge part of our culture, it especially connected with me. :) I have several authors I've been moved by, and I might name a different one depending on the day you ask, but Harold Bell Wright's Shepherd of the Hills is one that still touches me even after years of reading it. As for my own writing, I find my thin spots usually lie in the description of the setting. I'm more of a conversation and in the head, what are they thinking and feeling writer. I have to add a lot of the description in when editing to fill out scenes for the reader that until then only I see in my head. :) Congrats on the book. It looks great.

  6. First, this book sounds wonderful with a capital WWWWWWWW!!!!!!!

    Second, this is stellar advice about not just researching the book, but searching ourselves, a key component to a successful writing career.

    Third, Lisa!!!!! Welcome to Seekerville!!!!

    COFFEE HAS ARRIVED and I can't say it's a minute too soon!

  7. And by the way, I found the post title intriguing.

    It's the post in a nutshell. Perfect!

  8. Hi April! Thank you for such a wonderful post. As a reader I am all about the characters. If the characters don't engage me then the heart of the book never reaches my heart. There are so many wonderful authors that I read on a consistent basis it would be hard to choose just one character. I do love Dani Pettrey's characters and Sarah Sundin's. In fact I fell in love with Sarah Sundin's Ensign Jim Avery in her newest book Through Waters Deep.

    I would love to win a copy of your book. My husband has Cherokee blood in his family line and we love to visit the Cherokee area of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee.

    Have a blessed day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  9. Different writing styles do resonate with me.

    Count me in thank you.

  10. Love this!!! Thank you. Great examples and meaning behind voice.
    I've always been a picky yet voracious reader. Now you've got me wondering what I have in common with my favorite authors. :-)

  11. Welcome, Lisa! Congratulations on your ACFW final and your great RT review. WOW! Are you pinching yourself?

  12. This is absolutely a stunningly beautiful and touching comment:

    Sometimes it is only in our brokenness that we enter those “thin places”—where for a moment the veil between humanity and the divine is lifted. By delving into the deep waters, we find and become a part of where the Spirit of God is at work—in us and in the world.

    I needed to hear this. Thank you.

  13. It's great to be once again at Seekerville. Thanks for letting me come, Ruthy and Tina.
    I'm so glad you have coffee. Tomorrow before dawn breaks, I'll be on a plane bound for ACFW.

  14. Thanks for stopping by, Jessica Nelson. What do we have in common with our favorite authors. Food for thought . . . Speaking of which—where is the food? Did you bring any donuts, Ruth?

  15. Thanks Mary Preston for joining us today.

  16. I agree with you about strong characterization, Cindy W. That's what make certain novels stand out to me above the rest. And it's characterization which will cause me to remember certain books years later.

  17. April Erwin, it is interesting how each one of us come to the writing process. For me, it's like seeing a movie reel in my head. And I'm just trying to get it all down on paper via the computer screen as quickly as I can. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  18. Good morning, Lisa! Thanks for stopping by Seekerville. Ruthy makes a strong cuppa joe.

    Voice is one of the most difficult concepts to explain to authors, but you've written the absolute best post I've ever read about it! This is a keeper!!

    I'd love to read and review a copy of your book BEYOND THE CHEROKEE TRAIL. Like many other Americans, I can trace my ancestry back to the Trail of Tears and before. We think part of our family escaped into Kentucky, up to Indiana, and eventually crossed into Missouri where they settled on the Gasconade River near the Waynesville area. This is a heart-breaking part of our history that is seldom told. Thanks for tackling the story!

  19. Thanks so much, Barbara Scott. There are so many incredible true life stories involving the Trail. Thanks for sharing your family's history. As I was writing this story as I said in the acknowledgments, there were parts of this story that I'm not sure where they came from except that "thin place." I lived the Trail during the time I was writing this book. It was a hard place, a broken place and yet ultimately a victorious place. If you ever get a chance to visit the Snowbird country in NC, you would love it—where literally Cherokee is the first language.

  20. Good morning!

    The first person who mentioned that I needed to find my voice surprised me. I wish I'd had this post to read back then.

    We've been talking about the Trail of Tears at work for the last week. I'd love to be entered in the drawing. And I'll definitely mention your book at work.

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. Hi Lisa,
    You are so right when you describe the "thin places" of brokenness as the meeting place of humanity and the divine.

    Refuge of the Heart brought me to that broken place this summer. As I read all the sufferings the refugee Lena experienced, it changed me, softened my heart, caused me to start looking for ways to make a difference and pray for our current refugee crisis. So much more than a fictional read.

    Beyond the Cherokee Trail sounds so interesting and the cover adds to that air of mystery. I'd love to read it, please enter me in the drawing, thank you for offering it and thanks for the great quote TINA mentioned. I'll be writing that one down as it so perfectly describes that somewhat indescribable experience.

  22. Thanks Jackie for stopping by this morning. Glad you found this post helpful. God's blessings on you and your writing.

  23. Tracey Hagwood, I love your observation. That's the best kind of book—which changes us and causes us to start looking for ways we can make a difference. I read Jeanette Windle's book on Guatemala several years before I began going to Guatemala to work in an orphanage every summer with my family. Her book gave me an insight that I would not have had otherwise into Guatemala's troubled recent past and enabled me to minister with compassion and knowledge in the present. Thanks for stopping by.

  24. So. Much. Truth.

    Lisa, really appreciate your insights this morning as I prepare to dive back in to the edits.

    Thankfully, I don't have to worry about MY voice, since May tells the story... BOL!!!
    (kidding of course. I type it up for her and have the editing position...)

    On the way to a recent school visit here in TN, we passed one of the places along the river where 3 groups left.
    The Park wasn't open at the time since it was early, but we want to return and learn more.
    I had no idea that some of the Trail was so near.

    Thank you for writing what you do. Looking forward to reading your work!

    Have a happy wonderful day!

  25. Lisa, thank you for this amazing, inspiring post! Your tips are practical and yet so beautifully written. This is a keeper post that challenges me to always write what I'm called to say with courage.

    Congrats on the RT Top Pick and your Carol Final!! I look forward to reading your book.

    I enjoyed seeing you in NYC.


  26. Lisa, what a beautiful post. I'm always trying to figure out my voice. Your wisdom here is so helpful. And I'd never thought about the truth that our truest voice comes out when we can write uninhibited by ourselves or other's thoughts/judgments/expectations of us. Thank you for giving me so much to ponder today!

  27. Hi Lisa:

    Thank you for this very informative analysis of the term ‘voice’. It makes me think of new musical bands rattling the walls of their parents' garages for years while trying to ‘find’ their ‘sound’. And yet, while ‘sound’ seems to be an ideal metaphor for music, I do not feel the same way about the term ‘voice’.

    While ‘voice’ is a useful metaphor for writing, I’ve always found the term to be too auditory and too determinative. 'Voice' gives the impression that for each author there is only one natural voice which cannot be altered if one is to be true to one’s self. I find this idea to be unintuitive and too narrow in scope.

    I prefer the term ‘personality’ in place of ‘voice’. One’s personality can be naturally changed by changing what one believes. Moreover, a writer’s voice includes both the author’s personality and that of her characters.

    With a more expansive ‘personality’ POV of ‘voice’, a writer is not faced with having to ‘discover’ her true ‘voice’ but rather given the creative opportunity of inventing her ‘voice’ – that is, creating her ideal writing ‘personality’.

    I’ve lived in Oklahoma for over 35 years and I’ve been hearing about the ‘trail of tears’ even since the first day I arrived. What a great theme for a novel. Please include me in the drawing for “Beyond the Cherokee Trail”.


  28. KC—I've not been to that Park in TN but hope to one day. Thanks for joining the conversation. I'm not sure why God gave me these particular stories to write, but I'm so thankful He did. :)

  29. Janet—It was great to see you in NYC. You and all the Seekerville ladies have always been so gracious to me. I began my writing career by learning through Seekerville. You are a blessing to so many.

  30. Hey Jeanne—Thanks for stopping by. Will you be at ACFW this year? If so, hope our paths cross. :)

  31. Thanks for Vince for sharing in the conversation. Blessings on your writing.

  32. I've never heard about The Trail of Tears -- but I'm Canadian and so my American history is sketchy -- usually attributed to what I've read in fiction so this must go on my TBR list.

    I agree with the comments about connecting with characters and they can certainly define a writer's voice but another aspect that seals the deal for me is the way the author handles the setting. I've just finished Myra Johnson's The Sweetest Rain and it is set in Arkansas at the beginning of the Depression during a drought. The way she incorporated that setting into the story, seeing it through the eyes of various characters -- wow, not quite sure how to describe it exactly but it made the characters stand out more, made me connect with them in a deeper way. Hope that makes sense.


    For instance, you said, "Writers reveal a great deal about themselves—more so than they realize—in the stories they feel compelled to tell, in their empathy for characters they create, in their passion for particular story themes, and the insight with which they develop character actions/reactions."

    SO very true, which is one of the biggest reasons our books are our babies -- a piece of ourselves that we dare to reveal to the world, making us vulnerable in ways we usually don't experience in our "real" lives.

    You also said: "If you want to make a living selling your words, you must understand you are selling yourself—your life perspective, your unique beliefs, hopes, fears, memories and passions. The honest-to-God, real you."

    Ah, more vulnerability at work here for sure, but oh the thrill of freedom at being able to express who you are inside through your characters, taking them from paper-thin to flesh and blood who engage, enthrall, and endear readers.

    And I really appreciate this following reminder, Lisa: "Allow yourself to write dreadful. Nothing you write will be wasted. All of it becomes part of developing your authentic voice, increasing your range and gaining mastery of your craft."

    One of my biggest problems, according to my husband anyway, is I will labor over something till it's perfect in my eyes, which costs me time and books. My husband had a saying in business and that was, "Sometimes done is better than good," because at least you've accomplished something and made progress. Revision is a natural part of a writer's life, so it will get revised eventually. We just need to make it the final process, not the beginning one.

    Okay, now repeat that back to me because I SO need to hear it -- and apply it -- again. :)

    Great post, Lisa!


  34. Lisa, this post was an encouragement to me. Thank you

    I would love a copy of your book. It has special significance for me. I live in Western NC near Cherokee. I am not Cherokee, but my name is. There is a legend that Wilani's husband Tsali gave his life so some of the Cherokees could stay in NC. I have always wanted to read Wilani's story. I have not had much success in finding it. So I have been thinking I might have to write it. I have begun my research. I have always felt a special kinship to the Cherokee even though I am not Cherokee.

  35. Welcome, Lisa! Such a powerful post--thank you! I think I'm going to be rereading it regularly!

    I have two strong personal memories about finding my writing voice. The first was a very hurtful rejection of one of my earliest efforts at novel writing. During a telephone call with the editor, she brutally told me, among other harsh criticisms (not all of them related to my manuscript), that my story and characters had no voice. (In her defense, I think she must have been having a really bad PMS day or something.)

    The second memory is much more positive. It's when the initial idea for my indie-published novel Pearl of Great Price started percolating. One afternoon I just couldn't help myself--I had to begin writing. And Julie Pearl poured out on the page in a voice I could never have planned or imagined. I didn't even have to think about it--she was just there.

  36. Kav—I agree with you about setting. In the books I enjoy most the setting becomes a character in its own right.

  37. Thanks for sharing yourself with all of us. I've learned so much as a writer, a wife and daughter of God from reading your books, Journal and hearing you teach. Will I see you at ACFW this week? Hope so. :)

  38. Wilani—you and I need to get together. We're kindred spirits. I am not Native American but since the time I was a child this is where God had put my heart. I've been posting about this very thing on my blog as I chronicle the physical, spiritual and emotional journey this novel took me own in the writing and research. I took a trip to the Snowbird, outside Robbinsville which was very powerful in recreating what happened for my book. If I'd known you were so close by . . . Thanks for joining the conversation. (You've got dibbs on Wilani's story). :)

  39. Myra—I find the same thing to be true. When I get in "touch" with the character, I'm actually getting in touch with my voice an the story pours forth. Thanks for stopping by.

  40. Good morning Lisa and welcome to Seekerville. What a great post. We hear editors saying all the time they are looking for that unique voice and we all sit there and say"What does that mean?" Thanks for addressing that issue. You did a great job.

    I remember when I was first writing, critique partners would say; "Your male characters are so deep but your female heroine is so shallow." And the reason is just what you have described. I didn't want to expose my inner self. I didn't know that, but over the years, I discovered what that meant.

    Your article will help many to just go to it and not have to try and figure out that that meant. smile Thanks again and have a fun day.

  41. Hi Again LISA, I too love using the native AMerican culture in my stories. My new release, Love's Dream Song takes place on the Navajo lands and features their culture. Its fun to learn about other cultures. I think it will be exciting to read about the Cherokee in your home state.

  42. Great article! Thanks for the chance to win your book :D

  43. Hey there, Lisa! I love your asking about the "thin places" where we honestly face ourselves in the mirror and write about the deep things we see there. Writing like that is hard and stressful, but to connect with others, it has to be real or it will be nothing. You've described the components of voice so well! Thank you for such a great post!

  44. Welcome, Lisa. This is a wonderful post. My favorite line "set your heart free." I love it! That's when the best writing happens.

  45. Lisa, great words of wisdom!! "You have to be brave enough to put yourself on the page--indeed. My husband told a friend, "Hope feels like she's naked," regarding people reading my stories. "Let go of the fear that holds you back from expressing your truest self." Love it. You are so right--writing is not for the timid!

  46. Thanks Sandra for joining in the conversation. It's hard to go to that deep place in ourselves. I almost felt shell shocked coming out of the 3 month writing/editing of Beyond the Cherokee Trail just because of the harsh conditions and trauma. It takes you a while emotionally to move beyond it—just like the characters do in their story arc in the novel. The hardest experience I've had in writing was with the next one, The Stronghold, releasing in March. The issues of that book—surviving rape—was a place I dreaded and shrank back from going—hence why it became the toughest to write to date for me. But when I finally found the courage and allowed myself to feel deeply of that pain, I was then able to get my voice to be authentic through the character.

  47. Hey Sierra. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings.

  48. Natalie—I love what you wrote: the "thin places" where we honestly face ourselves in the mirror and write about the deep things we see there. Writing like that is hard and stressful, but to connect with others, it has to be real or it will be nothing.

    Most wonderful and excruciating thing in the world.

  49. Lovely, Lisa, as your writing always is. Thank you for sharing from deep within your heart!

    I loved your comment about going to the “'thin places'—where for a moment the veil between humanity and the divine is lifted." Beautiful. My prayer often is for God to lift the veil. Sometimes he does. Your words resounded in my Spirit!

    Congrats on your success. So deserved. Your latest sounds wonderful. Love the Trail of Tears connection. Lots of emotion, which is what you write so well.

    Missed you at the WPA this year! :)

    Enjoy ACFW. Eager to hear the results SAT night! Hugs and love!

  50. Channeling that inner part of us that is our voice is a challenge, but when we do it's like a runner in the zone. It flows. Wish we could bottle it. Essence of true self!!!

  51. Jill—There's a reason Soaring is my all-time favorite ride at Disney. Through Disney's "magic carpet" we've been set free of the shackling constraints that bind us to the earth. Over and above, we float, we fly, we soar. We see the world below from a unique and singular point of view. And in doing so, we find ourselves awed, humbled and transformed. When we write from that deep place of passion, from obedience, with painful transparency, we find ourselves set free of the chains that bind us and we enter that thin place where not only we will be changed but we have the chance to impact others, too. To change their point of view. To see themselves and their circumstances from a different perspective. How glorious is that! What a privilege.

  52. Hope—The wonderful thing about the writing community, especially Seekerville, is that we give each other the courage to learn, to grow, to stretch, to be all we've been called to be and do. To move beyond our fears in faith. You, my dear friend, have been a very precious encourager and fellow pilgrim on this writing road.

  53. Debby—Your sweet spirit has meant so much to me over my journey these past 6 years. I missed being at WPA. Maybe next year. Packing for ACFW now. Resting in God's plans and purposes. And you're right—in that moment when God lifts the veil, what a sacred time of fellowship with Him.

  54. Tina—I love that zone place. It doesn't happen for me every time. But when it does? I'm humbled, thrilled and exhausted all at the same time.

  55. Lisa, if you are ever back in western NC, I love a chance to meet you in person.

  56. Oh, Wilani—I'd love to. I'm still wanting to go back to Graham County and find that waterfall that I talk about in this post—http://wp.me/p1GKzp-Ej. Enjoy the beautiful fall colors about to emerge. Wish I was there. :)

  57. Waving to Hope! Another WPA 2014 survivor! LOL!

    So good to see you here today! Of course, you'd be supporting your dear friend, Lisa! :)

    I've brought cookies from Fresh Market and sweet tea. Is anyone ready for an afternoon snack?

  58. Lisa, welcome! What a great post! I loved when you said this: "And that will require a great deal of courage. Because we are trained from childhood to mask our real selves, to hide behind the facade of who we think we should be. We allow the world only a glimpse of the self we want them to see."

    This really spoke to me. I think I do hold back sometimes. I need courage to write what's in my heart. Thank you for sharing!

  59. I'm so glad you brought cookies and sweet tea, Debby. We all need an afternoon pick me up.

  60. Hey Missy—It's so hard to be real. We all fear what others will think of us because of our writing. Some of those vulnerable places within us are still raw wounds. And others are only scabbed over. Perhaps we write from that one life theme which resonates so clearly for us—but which requires great courage to reveal to the world. Writing is not for sissies. :)

  61. Adding PSL to the afternoon mix. Pumpkin Spice Latte's. We can eat well while we are singing and finding our voices.

  62. I'm ready for some pumpkin spice lattes. In fact, that will be my first purchase when I arrive in Dallas tomorrow.

  63. Writing without my glasses as I'm watching my son's football practice. Somebody please let me know if I wrote something untoward here. 😀

    Your book sounds great.

    As for the post, this is a particularly difficult one for me. I like to think I've found my voice, as I know what I like to write about. However, because I don't have that validation (the traditional sale), I wonder if I truly have found it or are not communicating it well.

  64. YES! It is actually PSL time again! I saw the ad the other day. :)

    Walt, I've found that our friends and critique partners often know when we've found our voice. There's just something that resonates.

  65. Hi Lisa! I've read this post twice already ... and no doubt will be reading it again. So much beautifully-expressed wisdom. This especially spoke to me: "When you find yourself on the edge of your seat while writing—your heart thumping, your hands shaking—you’ve probably written something that will be worth reading. Don’t allow fear to stop you."

    Thanks for a super post! And congrats on your achievements.

    By the way, "Beneath" "Under" and "Beyond" have the most interesting, beautiful sky on the covers :-)

    Nancy C

  66. Walt, I agree with Missy. And don't give up. Keep working the writing craft muscle. Blessings to you.

  67. Thanks for stopping by Nancy. I love the covers for Beneath, Under and Beyond. Abingdon does such a great job with the covers.

  68. Hey back, Debby! Yes, I'd love to go back to WPA. Maybe next year, Lisa?

  69. I'd like to be entered for your book! Sounds like one I'd enjoy!

  70. I didn't get here yesterday, but I just wanted to tell Lisa that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her books and I really enjoyed this post. I look forward to reading this newest one. I'm putting it on my "to buy" list if I don't happen be fortunate enough to have my name drawn.

    If you don't have Lisa's other books, you really gotta read 'em!

    I'm going to be revisiting this post. I think I'm still working on discovering my voice.

  71. Thanks so much Deb H for coming by. You don't know what a blessing and encouragement your words were to me. Writers work in isolation most often and we don't always know how our books will be received. So glad you've enjoyed the books. God's blessing to you.

  72. Thank you Tina and Seekerville for allowing me to share my thoughts on the writer's voice. You gals are the best. :)

  73. Lisa, I appreciate your own vulnerability that does, indeed, bleed over the page. Thanks for an inspirational and practical angle to the forever challenging "find your voice" issue.

  74. Thank you so much for sharing, Lisa. You sum this topic into words so beautifully.
    I think Lori Wick will always be one of my favorite authors. Her stories had such depth and well-drawn-out characters. They included wonderful godly messages, and I strive for the same kind of things in my own writing. Mary Connealy is right (or should it be "write"? ;) ) up there with Lori, but she has a wonderful humor and lively action to her stories that make even the hardest topics tackled easier to swallow/handle.

    Thanks again for this post. May we all be brave and bleed all over the page.

    Happy Trails,
    Crystal L Barnes

  75. I'm just a reader, not a writer...this book sounds fantastic. I switch back and forth from WII era to books about pioneers and native Americans. I just can't seem to get enough of them!

    I enjoy learning what it's like to be the author behind the book. I appreciate all of the work you put into them!


  76. There are definitely books that I find easier to read than others. I try to figure out what about their voice makes it click with me more. I would love to win a book :)