SM Ford’s Path to Publication Story

Today SM Ford is hosting my blog, and telling her Path to Publication story. Without further ado, here’s SM Ford…



Thanks, Christi, for letting me share today!

Growing up I never thought seriously about becoming a writer. Writers were extraordinary people who lived in far off places—I was just an ordinary teen living in a small town in Oregon. It was the seventies and computers were new and interesting, so that’s what I headed off to college to study. Meanwhile, I met this guy . . .

Fast forward to the early eighties—now married, I was mom to two lovely daughters, but still wanting to write. I came across a writing for children correspondence course. I applied and was accepted, but when I learned the cost, I figured it was a no. However, my wonderful husband encouraged me take it anyway. Looking back I can see I didn’t dedicate enough time and energy to the course, but eventually I passed. Meanwhile, I wrote some adult novels.

In the early nineties I connected with other writers and got involved in the children’s writing community. I sold my first short story in 1992. During that decade I started selling more and more pieces to children’s magazines and even two books to small presses. (I write for children under my maiden name Susan Uhlig.) I also sold a few articles for the adult audience. But the adult novels never sold.

To date I’ve sold over 160 magazine and online pieces. And in 2008, I became an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature—the very same place who offered the correspondence course I’d taken in the eighties.

In this decade, I also did work-for-hire picture books and easy readers for two different Korean publishers. But my adult novels? I gave up on them a long time ago.

Until this past fall. I pulled out my favorite adult novel manuscript and started rereading. Wow, had I learned a lot since I wrote it! I started editing, tightening, and deleting. In the end I reduced the word count by over 11,000 words. Almost on a whim, I sent the book to Clean Reads.

I was honestly surprised when I got an email that began with, “PLEASE tell me this book is still available!” and had a contract attached. Of course, signing the contract resulted in more work on the story with the help of a number of editors and copy editors. I’m so grateful for all their input to make ALONE a better book.

I wish my teen self could see it.


Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation because of this job.

Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the trouble that lies ahead?


Available for Purchase at the Following Retailers:

Amazon       Barnes and Noble       Smashwords         Kobo      iTunes


About the Author:

SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too.

When she was thirteen, she got hooked on Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense books, although she has been a reader as long as she can remember, and is an eclectic reader. Inspirational authors she enjoys include: Francine Rivers, Bodie Thoene, Dee Henderson, Jan Karon, and many more.

SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, but has also lived in the midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can’t figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.

She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.


Social Media:




Sunlight Photography

Last weekend I got a “Sunlight Print” kit. Over the next few weeks I’m going to try homemade photography, and hopefully have fun while trying. Plus, I’m going to have my twins do this with me, so even if we can’t figure it out we’ll make some fun memories.

Anyone have experience with cyanotypes (using the sun and special paper to create a photograph)?


Annie Douglas Celebrates Another Release!

I’m excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!


And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!


Bensin, a teenage slave and
martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused
of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early
death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue
him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment
designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his
choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty
of the arena system and
seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and
later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her
students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially
fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with the Author Online:

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

Or find the giveaway at this link:

Path to Publication: Carol Riggs

Today’s Path to Publication story is from Clean Reads author, Carol Riggs.

Without further ado, here’s Carol…


Carol Riggs author photo_headHello, and thanks so much to fellow Clean Reads author Christi for inviting me to be a guest here on her blog!

I had a long and convoluted path to publication. In high school and college I dabbled with writing, collecting my first rejection slips for short stories in high school. When my daughters went off to kindergarten, I started writing in earnest. Here are some stats before my debut novel, The Body Institute, released in September 2015:

  1. I completed 12 novels (the first half-dozen were short, 100-150 pages long)
  2. I amassed over 350 rejections from publishers and agents
  3. I wrote for a total of 11 years before selling my debut novel
  4. I got discouraged and quit for 8 years as a single mother; I started up again in 2009
  5. I spent a LOT of money on manila envelopes and postage; in the 1990s, submissions were sent directly to publishers via manila envelopes and SASEs (self-addressed, stamped envelopes)

In 2010 I met my agent-to-be at an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators) retreat, and signed with her in April 2011 for my debut novel. I learned to revise. I signed a contract with one publisher (Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robots in the UK), only to have them go out of business 5 months before the book was due to come out…ugh! That was really discouraging. Back to square one with submissions. The Body Institute finally came out via Entangled Teen, 4 years after I signed with my agent.

During those 4 years, I also wrote 4 other young adult novels. After my agent and I amicably parted ways in 2015, I dusted these manuscripts off, shaped them up, and sold two of them on my own. One was Bottled, which releases from Clean Reads on July 7, 2016. I’d submitted less than a half-dozen queries on this one—cue excitement! I’ve always had a soft spot for this novel, and really enjoyed writing it. I also appreciate Clean Reads’ policy of no graphic violence, sex, or profanity.

Why did I write Bottled? I used to watch “I Dream of Jeannie” all the time as a young girl (yes, I am that old), along with “Bewitched.” I loved those shows. Except I have to admit sometimes Jeannie drove me NUTS with all the torturous scrapes and tangles she got her master into. Such chaos! I decided I wanted to write a novel about a genie, a more serious tribute to the enchantment of this show, with a splash of romance in it. Unlike Jeannie, my genie has limited powers; Adeelah isn’t able to use her abilities to reach her own goals. Having limitations with the magic made things more challenging and fun plot-wise.

I’m currently writing a fantasy novel, a retelling of an obscure French fairy tale. I’ll probably query when I’m finished and try to find an agent for it, because an agent is SO helpful when negotiating contracts, and taking care of the business side of things. Otherwise, I’ll just wing it and see what tomorrow brings!

The takeaway from all this is that if you have a dream, a goal that’s important to you, keep learning and persevering. Wouldn’t it be sad if you were a week away from reaching your dreams, and you gave up?!



At seventeen, Adeelah Naji is transformed into a genie and imprisoned in a bottle. For a thousand years, she fulfills the wishes of greedy masters—building their palaces, lining their pockets with gold, and granting them every earthly pleasure. All that sustains her is the hope of finding Karim, the boy she fell in love with as a human. When at last she finds a note from her beloved, she confirms he has access to the elixir of life and that he still searches for her.

But someone else also hunts her. Faruq—the man who plots to use her powers to murder and seize the life forces of others—is just one step behind her. With the help of a kind master named Nathan, Adeelah continues to search for Karim while trying to evade Faruq. To complicate matters, she begins to experience growing fatigue and pain after conjuring, and finds herself struggling against an undeniable attraction to Nathan.

As Faruq closes in, Adeelah must decide just how much she’ll risk to protect Nathan and be with Karim forever. How much power does she really have to change her future, and what is she willing to sacrifice for an eternity of love? If she makes the wrong choice, the deaths of many will be on her hands.


Carol Riggs is an author of fiction for young adults (and adults!) who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. Her debut novel, The Body Institute, released Sept 2015 from Entangled Teen, exploring body image and identity. Her fantasy YA, Bottled, will release from Clean Reads on July 7, 2016, and her sci-fi YA, Safe Zone, will release from Entangled Teen in October 2016. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.








Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads


BUY LINKS:   Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  |  iTunes


Krista Wagner’s Path to Publication

Today Krista Wagner stopped by to share her Path to Publication Story. Without further ado, here’s Krista…



My first novel, Intent, a spiritual dramatic thriller, came to me as a surprise. The plot, the characters, their growth, all of it came at me suddenly and developed in a matter of weeks. The idea for my book formulated during my Advanced Screenwriting class for my MFA in Creative Writing degree. At first, I knew the premise and I knew how the story would end. How to get to that conclusion proved challenging because I had to make Raylee, the main protagonist, able to figure out who the villain was. That meant she had to break free from the mundane life, overcome her bitterness and heartbreak from losing loved ones, and question those she had once trusted. Within four weeks, I had the entire outline of each act completed and an entire screenplay ready to go. That was in May 2013. The next month, on a family road trip, I completed the novel version of Intent. I wanted to get this published. It took over fifty query letters to agents and to two publishers to get a contract. In August, 2014, TouchPoint Press released Intent. I was thrilled to see my work in print, and my family and friends were just as overjoyed! That’s why I kept writing, publishing my second novel Rian Field, a mystery thriller in January 2016 and my third novel The Gold, a middle-grade fantasy.

I wrote a three page story “The Gold” back in 1998. It always held a special place in my heart, but I didn’t ever think about turning it into a novel until last year. It was amazing to me how the story expanded. It became a simple little tale that grew into a more complex and fantastical story than before. I sent several query letters to agents and a couple of publishers and I heard back from a few, but it was only Clean Reads that wanted to publish it. I can’t say I ran into any “lows” with publishing this one (my third novel). In January of this year, Clean Reads sent me a contract, by March we started edits, and then got scheduled for a June release. I’m amazed not just with the product and the depth of its plot but also by the smooth process of getting THE GOLD out there for all to read.


About the Book:

Ten-year old Amanda is constantly teased and tormented in school. Her home life is less than satisfactory where her widower father, often away on business trips, leaves her in the care of her indifferent teenaged sister. Worse, not a day goes by when Amanda doesn’t miss her mom. To escape reality, Amanda creates fantasy stories, but when she discovers a talking golden pebble, her imagined world turns into a new-fangled reality.

Buy Link: Amazon

About the author:
Mother of three and Adjunct English Instructor Krista Wagner has been crafting short stories of dramatic events like murder and kidnapping since she was in high school, and has been writing in general since she was seven years old. Wagner received her B.A. in English from UMBC, her M.A. in English Composition with a Literature Concentration from CSUSB, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from National University. Her debut novel Intent, a spiritual dramatic thriller, was published by TouchPoint Press in 2014. Outside of her professional life, Wagner enjoys watching suspenseful films, reading the Bible, and spending time with her family. Her psychological thriller Rian Field was released January 2016.

Contact Krista:

School’s Out for Summer!

I have twins, a boy and a girl, and summertime at the Corbett house means workbooks and fun. In that order…


Welcome to summer, Boy Twin and Girl Twin!

IMG_20160620_112824577FYI: They’re at Sports Camp this week, and swim team starts next week, and they’ve been to our town pool’s open/family swim every day, so they’re not just slaving over workbooks. The X-Box hasn’t been turned on yet, but I know it’s coming :)

Girl Twin’s journal is now held in a plastic bag because she broke the spine so the pages all fell out, and Boy Twin threw his against the wall so many times I had to stop him because I was worried he’d put a hole in the drywall (the tasks they’re given end up destroying the journal, which is the ultimate goal. They got to throw it off the roof last summer.)

I’m doing the math workbook pages along with them as a refresher, and I’m sad to say I’m not so good with the long division anymore, but I did get 100% and a smiley face on my multiplication (Girl Twin graded my work)

How’s your summer going?

*Parents, I highly recommend giving your kid, whatever age they may be, a “Wreck This Journal” journal. They’re so fun! CLICK HERE for the Amazon link. Worth every penny!