Lucie Ulrich: Path to Publication

I’m excited to announce that Lucie Ulrich, fellow Clean Reads author, has agreed to host my blog with a Path to Publication post. Without further ado, here’s Lucie…



Unlike so many aspiring authors who knew from a young age they wanted to write, my bug didn’t bite until I was in my mid-forties. Having no college degree, and never having taken a creative writing class—or any sort of writing class, I ventured out on my own.

I worked as a drama director, at my (then) church, and eventually took on the position of performing arts director at a small private school. I wrote skits and plays with ease—whether serious or comedic. Novels, on the other hand, were a different animal.

Since I dealt with kids, I assumed I’d write for young adults. I was wrong. As time passed, I realized that romance with plenty of family drama better suited me best, and once I got going, I was hard to stop. I wrote so much, in fact, one of my first attempts ran nearly 150,000 words. Needless to say, I had a lot to learn.

My training began with a small online critique group which included a published author, an editor, and two college professors. To say I was intimidated would be a gross understatement. Though I got some great feedback, I needed more, and after a year or so, our little group moved to a much larger critiquing site.

Learning the ins and outs of POV, active vs passive voice, info dump, punctuation (though I still struggle there), and so much more took years, but what an education it was.

When I felt I was ready to submit a manuscript, I learned, by way of a few rejections, that most major publishing houses wouldn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, and I was in no position to search out an agent. The author from my first critique group told me about a site for inspirational authors to submit a general query that would be made available to a plethora of publishers. There was a fee involved, but I felt it was worth it. My second attempt resulted in a contract with an up-and-coming imprint looking for fresh voices in Christian fiction. “Broken Vessels” came to life. Though I only published the one book with them, it was all I needed to keep going.

A Facebook pitch party brought me to my second, and current publisher, Clean Reads. “Finding Hope” is my most recent release, but I just signed my fifth contract in four years, and I hope for many more.


Nearly sixteen years after relinquishing the rights to his unborn child, Noah Cooper is stunned to discover his daughter, Hope, wants to meet him. With the love and support of his family, Noah sets off from Elk Flats, Montana to Albany, New York, having no idea what changes are in store for him.

Cancer survivor and widow, Beth Peterson, is more than a little nervous to meet her daughter’s birth father. Their initial meeting goes well, but things decline in a hurry when Noah invites Hope to spend time at the ranch without speaking to Beth about it first.

Determined to meet her new family, a battle of wills ensues between Hope and her mother. While Hope longs for a connection, Beth fears losing her daughter to virtual strangers—strangers who live two thousand miles away.

Struggles and misunderstandings abound between Noah and Beth, despite their growing attraction for one another. Noah is ready to commit, while Beth can’t let go of the memory of her husband and the imperfections cancer has forced her to live with.
Will hope, patience, and prayer be enough to pull this family together?

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About the author: Lucie Ulrich is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction. Her books are filled with stories of faith, family and forgiveness. She was honored to receive a RONE Award for her second novel, “The Rose Ring.”
A former performing arts director, Lucie now enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She continues to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.


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Path to Publication: Melanie D. Snitker

Melanie Snitker stopped by to share her Path to Publication story. Enjoy!


I want to send a big thank you to Christi for giving me the opportunity to share my path to publication.

When I was a child, there were three things I yearned for: I wanted to be a stay at home mom to my kids when I grew up, I wanted to write and see what I wrote published, and I wanted to be a marine biologist and swim with the sharks.

Since I was too young to SCUBA dive, I had to settle for checking out every book I on sharks that I could find at the library. Meanwhile, I created episodes of Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers, using images from coloring books to illustrate my stories. Later, I wrote scripts for episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I submitted both of them — on pages created with a typewriter. Of course they were returned, but there was the excitement of knowing that someone there had held my manuscripts in their hands.

I wrote a lot through my childhood. I created a science fiction world and wrote my first novel (approximately 70,000 words) by the time I finished high school. At that time, I wrote everything in notebooks and I still have most of them.

I sent stories out to a lot of different magazines and kept every single rejection letter I got. Eventually, I did get one short story published in a tiny little magazine. I doubt more than five people read it, but it encouraged me to keep going.

When I started college, my writing fell to the background. I took one creative writing course, but most of my time was spent working through classes to obtain my BS in life science with a focus on marine biology. I even got the opportunity to take SCUBA diving lessons. Diving off the Oregon coast was amazing, but it made me realize something — swimming with the sharks wasn’t going to be for me. I enjoyed everything related to marine biology and I still feel a pull to the ocean and its creatures, even if I don’t feel the need to dive with them anymore.

I married my best friend at the end of our senior year of college. After we graduated, I wrote off and on for nine months before I started working for a local newspaper. I met a lot of wonderful people there and enjoyed the work. But I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wrote here and there, saving all of my partial stories and ideas as I went.

When our first child was born, I quit my job and became the stay at home mom I’d always wanted to be. It was a dream come true and while life was hectic at times, I loved the time with our son. I don’t think I did any writing that first couple of years or so, even though there were times ideas would go through my head. Some I jotted down. We welcomed our second child when our son was five.

Throughout this time, my husband continued to encourage me to write and would often remind me to do so. I never really felt like I had much time. I would go through spurts where I would write regularly for a week or two and then something would change and I wouldn’t write for months again.

When our daughter was two, I finally began writing more and I realized just how much I missed it. Not only that, but it served as a creative outlet that I desperately needed. At the beginning of 2014, I decided to make the commitment to finish one of my many storylines. I knew several people who published independently and my husband encouraged me to look into the details more and go that route myself.

I ran into an online group that seemed like the perfect fit and I joined them. This amazing group of authors all wrote clean books like I did and were on the independent publishing journey. They helped keep me going when I wanted to give up and they offered a lot of advice. Most of all, seeing their stories and what they were going through reminded me not to give up.

I published my first book, Calming the Storm, in August 2014. This was a book that had been on my heart since college. I had written several different versions of the beginning, it had gone through many different title changes. But it had always remained unfinished. The day I got the last of that book on paper was the day I finally felt like I could do this.

I just published my third book and I’m nearly halfway through writing my fourth. This latest book I’m writing is a story line that I had jotted down years ago and has been waiting for its turn to be finished and polished up.

For me, writing has been such a roller coaster of a journey. One of the biggest sources of discouragement as I have gone through this life-long process is when I would read that a writer needs to write a certain number of words every day. There were many times in my life where that just wasn’t feasible and it made me feel like I wasn’t a “real” writer.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned and that I like to share with other struggling writers, it’s that you write when you get the chance to do so. It might be a paragraph, it might be a chapter. But you’ll be glad you did.  Those ideas and bits of story will eventually find their way to where they belong — just like we as writers will as well.


FindingHope-FINALFinding Hope is the second book in the Love’s Compass series.

About the Book:

Cancer. That one word has rocked Lexi Chandler’s life to the core. Her focus has always been to help others. She loves being a nurse and enjoys spending time with her family. Things had been going according to plan. Now she’s struggling to pick up the pieces and make sense of the changes in her life.

Lance Davenport has cared for Lexi since they were kids. Between their age difference and bad timing, he’s turned burying his feelings into an art. Now, watching Lexi battle with cancer has made him realize just how much he’s missed. He doesn’t know what their future holds, but he’s determined to not waste another minute.

The people closest to Lexi pull together as she tries to navigate her way down a path none of them ever dreamed she’d have to travel.

Finding Hope is available on Kindle and in paperback

Amazon Barnes and Noble

Other books by Melanie:

FindingPeaceWebFinding Peace (Love’s Compass: Book One)

Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.

Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.

When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.

Will the past get in the way of their future?

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

CalmingtheStormWebCalming the Storm

A marriage of convenience isn’t exactly what Rachel Peters had in mind.

What else can she do if she wants to raise her young niece, and give her a more stable home than she and her sister grew up in? Rachel is at risk of losing custody of her last blood relative, and she needs to prove she can provide for her niece and raise her in a nurturing environment.

Professor Brandon Barlow is invested in his college students’ lives, wanting to ensure their success. When it is clear that Rachel is struggling, he takes a personal interest in trying to help her. But can he keep his heart from getting involved in the process?

Brandon reaches out to Rachel as he tries to break through the walls she has built up over the years. With love and patience, Brandon hopes to help Rachel realize that, even when she experiences storms in her life, she isn’t always alone.
Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

About Melanie:


Connect with Melanie at:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
E-mail | Amazon Author Page | Pinterest