Searching for a Publisher by Paula Rose Michelson

Everyone who writes knows, or thinks she or he knows, that what they have written is the next best seller, destine to become a blockbuster movie. Perhaps I should amend the above statement to read, everyone knew that but me! If you wonder why I said that, being one who could not learn, and then had to learn everything everyone else had in four years in one summer, made me feel that any attempt at writing would be inept at best and most likely a disaster at the onset. Therefore, I am certain that you are not surprised to hear that having written the original draft of Casa de Naomi, I sent it to my publisher friend who had said she wanted to publish my novel, only to hear one excuse or another as to why we could not get together to negotiate a contract. Months passed, and finally my vanity battered and bruised, I decided to look elsewhere.

The word elsewhere does not seem to engender a world where there is no up and down, no right or wrong. However, that is exactly what the elsewhere world of the writer is; for no doors open invitingly while someone bids you, “Enter.” Even if one should open the novice, eager to step through, might find the wave meant for another. So it was with this erstwhile writer cast upon a sea of unknown depth and breath with no idea how to navigate the situation. If someone mentioned that I needed a platform, I had no idea what that person meant. Another might ask who was I to write about such and so. Yet another might question my literary background, or what classes I had taken to hone my craft. And having grown up with a mother who loved to point out my deficiencies, I knew what I lacked. Aware that I was not a writer who wrote whatever I wanted, but a scribe for God, I believed that the story Naomi and the other characters had dictated to me superseded the requirements that educators and many well-known authors held in high regard and began calling around and emailing inquires to publishers and agents.

I continued to hone my craft and little by little, I began to believe that what God entrusted to me had to be published by someone who would not tamper with the text without my permission or own the copyright. The more I thought about the novel, the more convinced I became that God would appoint the publisher as surely has he had appointed me to this project. By this time, it had become apparent to both my husband Ron and me, that my time working for Chosen People Ministries was ending. Neither of us was surprised because I had known, and told Ron in December of 2008 that God was closing the door. By that time, I was writing the third book in the Casa Saga and the more my research and work on the novel feed my soul, the more my work with the mission, which had born fruit, dried up. Ron knew I would not leave, although I had told him I must, until he as my spiritual head told me I could leave. That did not happen until the third Thursday in June of 2009. If you are wondering why I remember the day, it is because having quit at Ron's insistences that very afternoon without having a publisher caused me to wonder at my audacity since I had seldom left one situation without having another lined up.

My concerns where short lived because Marlayne Grion attended our Bible Study. By way of introduction, she mentioned that she was a published author. If any of you have seen the movie “Stranger than Fiction” this is where my reality took a turn that seemed to mirror that movie. Life imitated art when I mentioned that I needed a publisher. Before I knew which way was up, I was sitting in Marlayne’s house, reviewing her contract, and hearing her story. I am still not certain if I blinked before I exclaimed, “I thank God that you came to Bible Study because I know your publisher is the one I have been looking for!”

As certain as I was, Ron felt I needed to continue my search. However, a long drive to Big Bear, while I read the contract, and the beginning of Marlayne’s novel, "The Victor," convinced my husband that I should take the next step and email a query.

To be continued next week. Until then remember that our God will use whatever means he can to accomplish his purpose. If you want to join his team, invite him in and…
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After Writing … Endorsements’ by Paula Rose Michelson

Authors of any genre would admit, if asked, that endorsements’ or lack thereof can make or break a novel. Since I have always decided upon one book instead of another because of the endorsements, teaser on the back of the jacket, and author information that told me why this author was qualified to write about the topic I was going to read, reader/author endorsements have been important to me. Therefore, once I had finished book one and two, which were originally one book, I sought acknowledgments from those I knew whose opinions mattered to me. From an early age, I was taught not to bother scholars or heads of large organizations with expectations prior to asking. I followed that advise and a month prior to summer college recess, I spoke with both people and was assured that they could find time to read Casa de Naomi for endorsement purposes. I mailed the manuscripts out and waited expectantly for a word or missive.

September had almost become October before I had mustered enough courage to ask those who had agreed to read my text if they had found time to do so. One had but decided they could not endorse for personal reasons which as always is everyone’s right. However, it did seem odd to me that I had to track the person down and when we spoke, I had the distinct feeling that they might have not completed reading the text. That stuck me as strange because when asked to do a favor, it seemed to me that even if one had not completed the task they might have something salient to share. Instead, I read a brief email that said, “This is going to be a best seller!”

The second person I had hoped would endorse received the same query I had sent the first, asked for my phone number, and made an appointment for us to talk. This seemed very promising indeed and I was surprised to hear her state that the people I was writing about did not exist. In fact she told me that she would be happy to endorse Casa de Naomi if I set the story 100 years earlier, making the opening date 1852 instead of 1952. She challenged the validity of my research and refused to hear anything I said that might sway her. At my wits end, I finally suggested that she review the material gleaned from Simon Wiesenthal’s book Sails of Hope. To facilate her inquiry, I sent her a copy of the material I had found on the internet. However, she was convenced of her opinion and I received neither endorsement nor encouragement from her.

By this time I found myself asking if I really did need endorsements. Try as hard as I might, I was unable to make myself believe that I did not need what I had sought. A week passed, then another before I finally asked God why he had pointed these two people out as endorsers. Before I finished asking, I had the answer! One person felt that fulfilling my request could hamper her plans; the other debated the very existence of the very people I had spoken to who had befriended me. A lightning blot shot into my cerebral cortex I seemed to hear the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)say, You know the truth. What are you going to do to prove her wrong? Nothing in my life had prepared me to wage the battle I was about to enter, yet enter it I did as one by one my Sephardic friends walked down 16 stairs to my cottage, knocked at my door, entered my little office, and told me their stories. With each telling, I became more compelled than I was before. Compelled to make certain that these hidden peoples lives and struggles became known, in fact more committed than I had been about anything entrusted to me. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you might have read the personal accounts of three Sephardic women that I posted on January 19, 2011. If you joined this blog later, please visit tomorrow to read one of the three stories that comprise the Sephardic Voices in Book One of the Casa Saga. And if you wonder why I am posting this material in an interactive blog please drop by and find out.
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After Writing … Endorsements’ by Paula Rose Michelson

Tomorrow I reveal all I learned while seeking other peoples endorsements and how what I learned lead to me writing Sephardic Voices that you can read in the preface of Casa de Naomi.
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Writing for a Publisher or Writing for God by Paula Rose Michelson

Whether one is writing for a Regency type publisher, another publisher, writing historicals, mysteries, or any other type of novel, the overarching themes found in Scripture are the ones that resonate with readers. God fashioned us in our mothers’ womb creating at our core a need to align ourselves with him. We see this truth to be self-evident throughout Gods Word that shows us archetype heroes and villains, and tells us how certain behaviors will affect our lives.

Looking for a heroic man, check out David, from shepherd to King. Need a villain, look at Haman. Want to understand how prayer can save a nation, read Esther’s story. And on and on the list goes. I’m not a simpleton for I know that you know these things. However, I do believe they are worth mentioning because when we use or paraphrase Scripture by populating our writing with biblically based characters and situations, we are using Gods Word, which he promised would accomplish his purpose.

I have noticed that some refer to Jane Austin as the quintessential Regency author prototype. If she is, then count me amongst those Regency writer want-ta-bees because like Jane, I wish to show a world where good, and bad exist, and the heroine or hero must chose. Thereby creating a world where our readers and we discover what befalls the characters who make good and bad choices.

Growing up in the 50’s and coming of age in the 60’s I would have had to suffer through what most of that hippy-dippy era did if it weren’t for all the literature, especially Austin that I read, which informed me of the folly certain choices would bring my way. Since I was not a believer in Messiah (Christ) at that time, having these role models was critical to my sidestepping slippery slops.

Therefore, I do not want to discount what some categorize as Regency writers’ for reading about people that have achieved a certain lifestyle has caused many who came from modest means and did not have role models that had achieved much, to achieve excellence in. I know for my husband is one of these wonderful people.
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Never Forget! by Paula Rose Michelson

For many, ten years ago on this day, the world changed. For some, the world ended. For all who lived in America, it was a wakeup call that we will never forget, nor should we. To forget means that life has no value. To forget means it can happen again. To forget might mean it could happen to you or someone you love. Never forget, always be ready! Never allow the memory of those peaceful lingering summer, winter, spring, and fall days since we fought the last World War to dim. For if we do, we will reap what we haven’t sown, a world of anarchy and terror where who we are and what we believe will make us a target for others agendas.
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Historical Fiction - Accuracy vs. Readability by Paula Rose Michelson

Dear Friends,

Before you read the article titled, Historical Fiction - Accuracy vs. Readability, I must share that if you were disappointed that I reposted two previous articles, so was I. Although it was never my intent to do this, working through the galley proof of Casa de Naomi, in a timely fashion meant choosing between reposting or missing my self imposed deadline, which had to be adhered to if the novel was to be available on the dot coms before the holidays. Since this is the beginning of September, my concern may seem odd to you. However, the publisher informed me that they must have a published book before they begin the process, which takes three months to complete. So I did the math, and made sure that Casa de Naomi was in the mail on September 1st praying all the while that the necessary corrections will be done quickly enough for the novel to available by mid November.

Working through a galley proof in two weeks, instead of the month I was given, was a feat of endurance I would have never undertaken if the Ruach Ha Kodesh was not directing me. However, the Holy Spirit filled me, and gave me the energy to work 40 hours with only 10 hours of sleep.

Last Thursday Corrine and I prayed over the manuscript, and then mailed it to Tate Publishing. It has taken several days for my feet to hit terra firma because of the excitement of that moment which was four years in the making, and the powerful anointing I received while we prayed.

So here we are, seven days later. I am praising the Lord, and ask you to join me as I pray that this novel and the other novels in the Casa Saga accomplish Gods purpose.

Yours in Messiah,
Paula Rose Michelson

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Historical Fiction - Accuracy vs. Readability~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Several years ago, I joined American Christian Fiction Writers because I knew I needed to communicate with published authors, and writers who want to publish, as a means of visualizing my goal of becoming a published author. A few months later, I joined an on line chat for historical fiction writers and authors. Becoming a member of this group has proven invaluable to me for we affirm and support each other. Since this unique genre requires skills and hours of research, that other fiction does not, having people to discourse with about my craft has bolstered me up. I have spent hours isolated while researching little known facts, and been blessed to share my journey with others who need to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

All of this might sound as boring as dirt to you. However, without perusing every conceivable link that could yield information, the author of historical fiction has possibly done a shoddy job making her work a potential target of ridicule. Writing historical fiction is not for the faint of heart.

Both this and last month’s writers loop, focused on several things historical writers deal with. Since I found the discourse stimulating, I hope you will enjoy reading my synopsis of what I read, which affirmed me and my work.


Question: How do you handle it when writing things in a historically accurate manner makes it difficult to read by a modern day reader?


• There is a fine line between the historical accuracy needed to set the stage and pull your reader into the setting. Write so the reader can see the story unfolding in their minds eye, but refrain from being so accurate that you lose the reader because the story is shrouded in history that it creates a barrier making it impossible for the reader to identify with the characters.

• When being historically accurate creates a barrier between your reader and your characters, you may have become too historically accurate.

• If the language is too stilted or obscure it is difficult to read.

• Having read hundreds of books in my genre, I have gotten a feel for the dialogue of the era and that seems to give me the words.

• When looking at the language of a period, for example the 18th century, many wonder about using contractions. Researchers discovered that contractions were used throughout the history of the English language, and are found in the fiction of the mid-18th century.

Question: When does using the terminology of the period make reading what I have written so difficult to read that I might lose my audience?

• Most people who pick your novel are going to know exactly what these words mean because they read historical fiction.

• Research your work, and read fictions written in the period your story is set in.

• Write so that your reader will get lost in the story, merging with the time-period that the story takes place in. However, be careful that there is nothing jarring in the text because that can bring them back to the present.

• Use enough archaic language so the reader relates to the time-period, and knows that the characters do not talk quite as we do.

• When using archaic, or a foreign language, one needs to make sure that there is enough context around the word for the reader to be able to figure out the words meaning.

• Read a book aloud that is set in the same time and location. Then read your text aloud.


By now you might be wondering why none of the questions sighted dealt with hidden populations like the Sephardic Jews I researched, or noticed that I posted no questions or answers about any of the authors’ research into historical data. The reason, dear friends, is that when it comes to research my work differs from all the others. When they were asking historical questions about the pioneer days, or looking for information on the First and Second World War, my needs differed from theirs so completely that to give you an overview of what they were asking bears little resemblance to the work I did. However, I would love to tell you all, and since that would make to long an article, please send me an email inviting me to visit and I will share more of my journey than this blog could ever contain.
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Winning by Default by Paula Rose Michelson

As I near what some might call the finish line of being published, which as we writers know is the just the beginning of this publishing journey, many have read the first chapter of Casa de Naomi and sent me rave reviews. These accolades reminded of last year when I decided to enter a short story contest, thought I had won, and was told that the winner won by default since theirs was the only entry that was a short story.

Saddened by the certain knowledge that I had won but not won, I wrote the piece I am posting tonight. However, I will not keep you in suspense as I was for the twenty-four period between those enunciations. If you would like to know what happened, please read...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Winning by Default~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recently, I entered a story contest for writers. I had never entered anything like that before and hoped my work would be good enough to raise and eyebrow or two. I even imagined the judges saying to each other as they passed my work along, “Not bad…this shows potential.” I must admit that my fantasies soared so high that I envisioned them smiling as they proclaimed, “This is the obvious winner!”

I am certain that all the writers who entered their work were as anxious as I was to discover who had won. The day before the committee was to announce the winner, I discovered that only one entry could win since all but one had submitted their best, but the submissions were not stories.

Disqualification of my work was not an option, so I told myself that I had won. “Hurray,” you might say. “Good job!”

However, the idea of winning by default crept in. Now you might wonder why I did this to myself and so did I. Then I remembered the Jewish rabbis attitude towards people, God, and life. These wise men understood how we view the world and they discovered the use of the word adequate covered everything we would experience from cradle to casket. They taught us that when you are born – you are adequate. When you’re a Bar or Bat Mitzvah – your adequate. When you marry – you are adequate. When you graduate college – you are adequate. When you become a Roads Scholar, a doctor, a humanitarian, invent a means of illuminating nuclear waste, solve the problems of the world, and unify the solar system – you are adequate. In Judaism, one can never be more than adequate because according the rabbi’s we would be elevating ourselves to a position, which belongs to God alone.

This philosophy is valid until we apply it to God incarnate, Yeshua HaMashiach...Christ. In Him, we see the deity of the Godhead and all the humanity of man. Since he called us to be His and walk in a manner worthy of Him, I found myself wondering what He would think of wining or to be more specific, what would He thing about winning by default.

I sought Him, turned to Isaiah 55:8, and read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

I ponder these words, thought about the apostle Paul, and realized that he gave up everything. I assumed that he had wanted the rabbis to consider him adequate. Yet when Messiah called, he gave his desires no credence – none at all. And we are asked to do likewise.

Now I understand that winning by default or not winning has no value whatsoever unless I am trying to garner applause from men. If that is where my focus is, I will always loose in the end because the things of this world will perish. Only when I strive towards the goal, which is Messiah himself, do I win for then I remember that in Him, I am more than a conqueror!
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Paula’s Praise Report

Before I ask for prayer let’s praise God with a hearty hallelujah because last night I emailed my final edits to April who is working with me on the galley proof of Casa de Naomi! Today Corrine and I will pray over the hard copy of the novel before I overnight it to April.

If any of you were wondering what it is like to go from writer to published author, let me share that without the Lord, this crucible would have overwhelmed me. I have often wondered why many talented writers never pursued publication. I now realize that if they heard stories like mine, they might have been put of by the daunting amount of writing, rewriting, editing, and reediting. Perhaps the fear of having their work criticized and critiqued caused many wise people who are gifted writers to decide to forgo this experience by never submitting their work! I understand that concern. However, Messiah entrusted this work to me. Therefore, I pledged to bring it to fruition.

While Ron and I worked through the galley proof it became apparent to both of us that the story is so compelling, that our focus changed and we found ourselves reading the novel as any reader would. Instead of editing, we were enjoying! I discovered that our experience was not unique when I posted chapter one on my website and invited people to stop by and read the opening and discovered that two of my Face Book friends were discussing the novel on Face Book. One commented that the posting had errors; the other argued that those issues did not matter to her. Both of these women pre-purchased the novel!

Since my goal as a scribe for Messiah is for Casa de Naomi to be received as a stellar read and a well-crafted text, I cannot accomplish this without your prayers! I have done all that I know or could learn to do. Please pray that God will use the novel to reach the lost!
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