Monday, October 27, 2008

Can't get enough Christmas anthologies? Here's hoping I can "pique" your interest with a sneak "pique" at my latest novella, slated for release from Barbour Publishing in 2009.

I'll Be Home For Christmas by Elizabeth Ludwig


There it was again. The look on Marcus Taggert’s face that said he was totally disgusted. Chris had seen it once before, in this very same office, on this very same spot—only her grandfather had been alive to see it, too.

“I’m surprised you came, Ms. Scheirer.”

Heat crept over Chris’s face. Why wouldn’t he be? She hadn’t been home since she’d asked Grandpa for her share of the inheritance. She cleared her throat. “Yes, well, it has been awhile.”

“Six years.”

Marcus’s eyes were as cold as their surroundings. Hard, like the massive oak desk he stood behind. Intimidating, like the brass plate with Attorney at Law lettered beneath his name.

She gripped her purse strap tighter. “I suppose you’ve heard that my grandmother intends to remarry.”

At the mention of Carol Scheirer, Marcus’s gaze softened. He took his seat and gestured to one of the rum-colored club chairs in front of his desk, which she slid into, gratefully. “I had heard that. I’m happy for her. Alex is a good man, and she’s been alone a long time.”

No thanks to her. A familiar wave of guilt rippled through Chris’s stomach. She ducked her head to hide her face and pulled an envelope with Marcus’s address from her purse. “Your note said if I was ever back in town, I should stop by. You have something for me?”

“So, you’re here for your grandmother’s wedding, is that it? I wasn’t aware Carol and Alex had set a date.”

“December 26th, the day after Christmas.”

His eyes narrowed. “That’s three months away.”

Three months, but not nearly enough time to make amends. Chris returned the letter to its spot beside her billfold and stood. “I’m sorry, Mr. Taggert. This may not have been the best time. I apologize for dropping in this way, I just thought—” she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, “well, I’m not sure what I thought. Please, excuse me. I won’t take up anymore of your time.”

The door seemed much further away than when she’d come in. She crossed the navy carpet, her shoes swishing softly in her haste.


Confused for a split second, she paused with her hand on the knob. Marcus was looking at her, calling her by her full name, not referencing the holiday. She shook her head. “It’s Chris. No one’s called me Christmas in years.”

He looked disappointed by the information, but he rose to his feet, one hand extended toward the seat she’d vacated. “Please, come back. I do have something I think you should see.” When she hesitated, he added, “It’s from your grandfather.”

Grandpa Scheirer’s face swam in her memory—his cheerful smile, twinkling gaze, snow-white hair. She trudged back to the chair and sat.

Brought on by stress, the corner of her eye twitched. It wasn’t all that visible, she knew, but it added one more thing to the already hefty stack of weapons Marcus Taggert wielded over her. As if sensing her discomfort, he dispensed with further conversation and retrieved an envelope, yellowed with age, from the filing cabinet.

“I ask that you read it here.” His tone was firm, his face somber, but otherwise impassive.
“Another letter?” Her fingers shook as she reached for the envelope. She snatched her hand back when their fingers grazed.

Marcus laid the letter on the desk, his eyes sharp as he slid it toward her. Gingerly, Chris picked up the note and slipped it from the envelope.

My Dear Christmas,

Chris closed her eyes and took a breath to steady herself. Grandpa’s handwriting was strong, bold. The pain of missing him was tangible, even after all these years. She swallowed hard and forced her eyes open.

My Dear Christmas,
Welcome home, my darling granddaughter. How I’ve missed you! I had hoped to speak these words to you in person, but since you’re reading this letter, I can only assume it was not to be. Still, I want you to know that I forgive you, my dear one.

At this, a fountain welled up from Chris’s chest and spilled down her cheeks. What a fool she’d been to stay away after she heard of Grandpa’s illness. How selfish to be so consumed with her desire for publication that she’d refused to see anything else.

“Are you all right?”

Marcus’s voice startled her, as though he had no right to be there, interfering as she gazed into the past. She rubbed her index finger under her lashes. “I’m fine.”

Her strangled tone said otherwise.

Marcus reached behind him for a box of tissues and held it toward her. She took one, blew her nose, then wadded it up and dropped it into the trashcan he slid around the desk.


He nodded then sat back and folded his hands over his midsection. Apparently, he intended to wait while she struggled through Grandpa’s letter. She picked it up again.

I hope you have found happiness. Though it was difficult to see you go, I would not have tried to stop you from experiencing the world for yourself. I pray it has been kind.

My darling, though I say once again that I have completely forgiven you, I must ask something of you. I must ask that you make amends with your family, especially your father.

Her stomach tensed. Her father’s disappointment had been so much sharper than anyone else’s.

He loves you, Christmas, even if he can’t bring himself to say the words. Your leaving hurt the family deeply, him most of all. Even so, there is something in you that has always been apparent to me, something that tells me the future of our family rests in your hands. I have sought the Lord’s will in this. His peace fills me, which is why I left a gift with Marcus, to be given to you once you prove that you have indeed changed from the self-absorbed child you were. I do not say this to hurt you. I’m merely stating what hopefully you already know.

I pray God has blessed, my dear. You have all my love,


Drawing a deep breath, Chris lifted her eyes to Marcus. He watched her intently, his blue eyes measuring. “You knew about this?” she said.



Rather than answer, Marcus withdrew a slip of paper from a drawer in his desk and passed it to her. “Read it.”

As in her letter, Grandpa expressed his love for Marcus and his family, and asked that he do his best to ensure Chris was worthy of the “gift.”

“Is he kidding?” Chris lifted her hand and rattled the page. “He expects you to follow me around everywhere I go? Just what is this ‘gift’ anyway, and why is it so important?”

Marcus carefully folded then replaced the note. “Your grandfather was a lot of things, but he wasn’t the kidding kind.”

“No, I guess not.” Chris sat back in her chair, debating. She couldn’t up and leave, not without seeing her grandmother and telling her how sorry she was for hurting everyone. But could she go that extra step? Could she truly make amends?


Again, Marcus’s voice snapped her from her thoughts. She bit her lip. “I don’t know.” To her dismay, she felt her chin tremble. “My father was so angry. I. . .I’m not sure. . .”

His eyes narrowed. “I see.” He got to his feet and crossed to the door. “Well, I can’t say I’m surprised, though I had rather hoped that you’d care enough to at least try and find out what your grandfather left you.” He paused with his hand on the knob. “Have a safe trip back to New York, Ms. Scheirer. Can I call you a cab?”

A sudden flash of anger dried the tears in her eyes. Bad enough Grandpa favored this arrogant, egotistic snob, but he deemed himself fit to judge her, too? She’d just see about that. Gripping her purse to her side, she lifted her chin and got up from the chair. “No, thank you, Mr. Taggert. I’ve changed my mind. I’ll be staying in Boulder, after all.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

I have a new writer's group.

The Christian Authors Network, CAN for short, is a group of authors dedicated to the sales, marketing, and promotion of quality Christian fiction. Along with a list of services, CAN offers writers teaching tips, promotional tools, and much more! Here's a bit of info from their website:

As a Christian writer, you know the joys and struggles of a career in producing God-honoring books. Your writing is an offering to the Lord, a sacrifice of hours, love, and hard work. Take heart, dear writer. God honors the offerings of your heart.

But how do you share those offerings with others? What makes your book stand out on the shelves? The world of book marketing can be confusing, and at times, downright discouraging!
We at the Christian Authors Network understand. We’re a group of multi-published Christian authors who have joined together to spread the news about books to book lovers everywhere. That mission requires a certain amount of marketing savvy. As you know, promoting a book is hard work with many unknowns. No one person has all the answers. That’s why we’ve pulled together to share our knowledge, to encourage one another, and to offer advice on a variety of marketing strategies and avenues.

We invite you to visit our marketing blog, where you will find a wealth of knowledge from our group of experienced authors.

But it's not all about writers. CAN offers READERS the chance to check out the absolute best of Christian fiction with free books, contests, and a host of other prizes. Check us out! You'll be glad you came.

Monday, October 20, 2008

All right you romantic suspense lovers, here's hoping I can "pique" your interest with a sneak pique at my latest WIP!

A Walk of Faith by Elizabeth Ludwig


Blood trickled a fiery path down the side of Isabella’s face.

“Help!” Her cracked voice rang foreign in her ears. “Please.”

Stretching out her hand, she reached for the shadowy figure splitting the white light searing her eyes.


Her heart sped. Is that what happened? A car hit her? She swallowed a sudden rush of saliva and did a quick check. Pain wracked her limbs, back, and sides. Her head. . .

She blinked, forcing the fuzzy edges of her vision to clear and mentally beat down the panic gripping her chest and stomach. “I’m alive,” she whispered, pleading. Instead of drawing near, the figure paused, hovering inches from her grasping fingertips, and then retreated. Tires squealed. Acrid exhaust and burnt, smoky rubber filled her nostrils.

Tears mingled with the hot, sticky dampness covering half her face. The throbbing in her temples intensified. “Don’t go! Don’t leave me.”

The silent night air mocked her. She was too late. She couldn’t move, could barely breathe, and she was all alone.


“Nice to see you again, Detective Malloy.”

Wynn grimaced. “Right, Alex. Always a pleasure.” He snapped on a pair of latex gloves, adjusted a paper mask over his mouth and nose, and stepped closer to the table. “Whatcha got?”

Alex Marion, Jefferson County Medical Examiner, bent over the pale form lying on the examination table. “Adult male, approximately thirty-five years old, good health.” He motioned to a chart where he’d already recorded the victim’s height and weight, and posted the results of an x-ray. “He’s been dead awhile.”

Wynn nodded, trying not to breathe as Alex finished the visual inspection phase of the autopsy.

Alex redirected the bright light attached to a band encircling his head then picked up the victim’s hand. “You said they found him in a dumpster?”

“Yep.” He dropped the copy of the case file Alex had requested onto a gleaming metal countertop. “Everything’s in there.”

“Good.” Alex lowered his chin and spoke into a microphone attached to his shoulder. “Indentation around left ring finger indicates wedding band. Possibly recently divorced.” He went back to scraping gently under the victim’s fingernails.

“He doesn’t look unhealthy enough to be a drug addict.”

“No he doesn’t,” Alex agreed in a soft whisper. “So why murder him, I wonder?” He straightened, laid a glass slide alongside an already long row of slides, and moved to the victim’s head. “No clothes on or near the body when he was found?”


Alex mumbled to himself, sometimes speaking quietly into the microphone, other times, shaking his head as he worked.

Well familiar with the routine, Wynn leaned against the counter to wait, redirecting his gaze when Alex began his internal examination. In his fifteen years of law enforcement, Wynn rarely missed the autopsy of a victim in a case he was working. He loathed the sterile process, the meticulous method with which Alex performed his duties, yet recognized the absolute necessity of the task. Plus, he appreciated Alex staying late to see it done. The clock on the wall said it was well past quitting time.

Several hours later, Alex put the closing remarks on his notes.

Wynn straightened. “Well?”

“We’ll need dental records to ID him. If that doesn’t work, we might compare his photo to our list of missing persons.” Alex clicked his pen and slid it into the breast pocket of his lab coat. “Toxicology will take a couple of days. I’ll let you know when I hear something.”

Anxious to be finished with the examination and away from the smell, Wynn stripped off his gloves and dropped them into the trash alongside his mask. His clothes were a different story. They’d go into the wastebasket at home.

“Initially, it looked to me as though the victim had been strangled.” He grabbed the manila folder off the counter and following Alex down a hall lit by humming fluorescent lights.

Alex nodded, peeled off his gloves and apron, and dropped them into a bin next to his office. “Foam in the throat and back of the mouth, contusions on the neck, it all seems to bears that out. I’ll let you know for sure once I’ve compiled the information. Got the case file?”

Wynn handed him the folder. “I’ll work on getting an ID so we can contact the next of kin.”

“Sounds good.” Alex gestured to the paperwork. “Once we establish his identity, the rest of this should be routine—cause and manner of death, mechanism, time,” he waved his hands, “all that.”


An internal tremor shook Wynn’s spirit. Cut and dried. Just your typical, everyday murder. He scowled as he swung through the glass doors of the county morgue into the humid Texas air.

Uh-huh. Routine. Tell that to the family.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Well, it was a long time coming, but after several years of query letters, proposals, and pitching, I've finally signed with an agent.

Chip MacGregor, of MacGregor Literary has agreed to represent my work. His reputation and business savvy are well known in CBA, and his knack for reading the market is almost uncanny. Add to that a comprehensive knowledge of the industry—from book development to writing, acquisition to production, marketing to sales, and you'll understand why I'm so thrilled to be working with him!
Here's a little info on my new agent:
Chip has secured more than 1,000 book deals for authors with all of the major publishers in both CBA and ABA, including Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Integrity, Baker, Tyndale, Broadman & Holman, Crossway, Multnomah, Revell, Harvest House, Waterbrook, NavPress, Cook, Howard, Random House, Ballantine, Crown, Doubleday, Broadway, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Fireside, Warner Book Group, HarperCollins, Avon, Viking, Penguin, Berkley, and Jossey-Bass, among others.

As an editor, he discovered Phillip Gulley, worked with bestselling authors such as Kay Arthur and Neil Anderson, and helped craft books for some of the best names in Christian publishing, including Chuck Swindoll, Bruce Wilkinson, and David Jeremiah.

Chip has written more than two-dozen titles, including two books that hit #1 on the bestseller lists in their category. He has also been the collaborative writer on books with people like Howard Hendricks, Joe Stowell, Andre Kole, and Bruce Waltke.
During his tenure as a publisher at Time-Warner, he helped the company grow into one of the world’s biggest providers of Christian books to the general market, acquiring some of the best known Christian fiction and nonfiction authors on the planet: Greg Laurie, Robin Jones Gunn, Sigmund Brouwer, Tim Clinton . . . the list goes on and on.

This longtime agent has represented such luminaries as Brennan Manning, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Jill and Stuart Briscoe, Alistair McGrath, Neta Jackson, Donna Partow, the MOPS organization, and Hearts at Home. His work with Lisa Beamer and Ken Abraham led to Let’s Roll hitting #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, eventually becoming the bestselling nonfiction book that year.

A popular writer’s conference speaker, Chip has presented workshops at more than 100 locations, spoken at colleges and universities, and is frequently invited to speak to writers groups around the country on the topics of writing and publishing. Chip earned his BS with High Honors at Portland State University, earned an MA with Honors from Talbot Theological Seminary at Biola University, and did his doctoral work at the University of Oregon in Policy and Management, focusing on organizational development. He has been written up in numerous writing and publishing related magazines and newsletters.

Chip says his greatest desire is to help authors create great books that make a difference in the world. My greatest desire is to write those books! I look forward to seeing what our collaborative effort can produce.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm home, exhausted but happy with the success of the ACFW book signing, held at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. What a wonderful experience! Over 150 authors descended on the Mall, and thousands of fans were there to witness the event.

Never been to the Mall? Check out this picture, built entirely from Legos!

And here I am with dear friend and former critique partner, Virginia Smith. It's a late night at the ACFW conference, but those smiles are genuine, folks. It's always great to catch up with friends.

More than anything, attending writer's conferences gives me a chance to gear-up and fellowship with other authors. I made several contacts, met with two agents, and spoke with several editors. All in a day's work! But what would a great conference be without a little fun...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My class on Self-Editing for the Fiction Writer has been moved to Thursday, October 9th at 7:30 at Houston's First Baptist Church room 259. I'll be covering the basics of technique, story arc, characterization. . .everything you ever wanted to know, packed into a short powerpoint. I'll be giving handouts of all my notes, including a list of resources that no writer should be without.

Afterward, I'll have a booksigning table set up, so stop on by.

See you there!


Monday, October 06, 2008


Debut Author - Sushi for One? by Camy Tang, Zondervan
Bayou Justice by Robin Caroll
In Between by Jenny B. Jones

Contemporary Novella - Finally Home by Deborah Raney, Barbour Publishing
Moonlight & Mistletoe by Carrie Turansky
Remaking of Moe McKenna by Gloria Clover

Historical Novella - Love Notes in Love Letters Anthology by Mary Davis, Barbour Publishing
Beyond the Memories by DiAnn Mills
The Spinster & The Tycoon by Vickie McDonough

Lits - Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh, Multnomah Books
Sushi for One? by Camy Tang
Tie: One Little Secret by Allison Bottke & The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt

Long Contemporary - Within This Circle by Deborah Raney, Steeple Hill Books
Like Always by Robert Elmer
Autumn Blue by Karen Harter

Long Historical - Tie: Veil of Fire by (Marlo Schalesky, RiverOak, Where Willows Grow by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Bethany House
Tie: Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake & Then Came Hope by Louise Gouge
Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist

Mystery - Your Chariot Awaits by Lorena McCourtney, Thomas Nelson
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn
Sticks And Stones by Susan Meissner

Short Contemporary - The Heart of Grace by Linda Goodnight, Steeple Hill Love Inspired
Heart of the Family by Margaret Daley
Wedded Bliss by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Short Contemporary Suspense - Caught Redhanded by Gayle Roper, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense
Pursuit of Justice by Pamela Tracy
Tie: Nowhere to Hide by Debby Giusti & Her Christmas Protector by Terri Reed

Short Historical - Tie: Canteen Dreams by Cara Putman & Barbour/Heartsong PresentsGolden Days by Mary Connealy, Barbour/Heartsong Presents
A Wealth Beyond Riches by Vickie McDonough
A Time to Keep by Kelly Eileen Hake

Speculative - The Restorer’s Son by Sharon Hinck, NavPress
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee
DragonFire by Donita Paul

Suspense - Black Ice by Linda Hall, WaterBrook Press
Coral Moon by Brandilyn Collins
Abomination by Colleen Coble

Women’s Fiction - Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney, Howard Books/Simon & Schuster
Watercolored Pearls by Stacy Hawkins Adams
A Promise To Remember by Kathryn Cushman

Young Adult - In Between by Jenny B. Jones, NavPress
Sara Jane: Liberty’s Torch by Eleanor Clark
Saving Sailor by Renee Riva


Chick lit, Mom lit, Lady lit Category:
1st: Erica Vetsch, Pam On Rye
2nd: Lynda Schab, Mind Over Madi
3rd: Tiffany Kinerson, Stand On My Own Two Hands

Contemporary Fiction Category:
1st: Dan Case, The Voice
2nd: Christina Berry, Undiscovered
3rd: Jim Rubart, Book of Days

Contemporary Romance Category:
1st: Annalisa Daughety, Love is a Battlefield
2nd: Kathleen Haynes, The Quarterback Club
3rd: Cara Slaughter, Joanna's Treasure

Historical Fiction Category:
1st: Mona Hodgson, A Thimble's Worth
2nd: Rachel Moore, A Trail of Waves
3rd: Lori Benton, Trouble The Water

Historical Romance Category:
1st: Patty Smith Hall, Flights of Freedom
2nd: Karen Witemeyer, Cloud by Day
3rd: Erica Vetsch, Marriage Masquerade

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Category:
1st: Jane Thornton, Menace
2nd Donna Alice Patton, Wrestling Demons
3rd: Janice Olson, Don't Look Back

Romantic Suspense Category:
1st: Jenness Walker, Deja Vu
2nd: Dani Pettrey, Quest
3rd (tie): Kelly Ann Riley, A Cowboy's Prayer3rd (tie): Jane Thornton, Be Anxious

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Allegory Category:
1st: Chawna Schroeder, Metamorphosis
2nd: Lynda K. Arndt, The Song of Blood and Stone
3rd: Valerie Comer, The Girl Who Cried Squid

Women's Fiction Category:
1st: Heather Goodman, 50 Things To Do Before I Turn 30
2nd: Cynthia Ruchti, They Almost Always Come Home
3rd: Kristian Tolle, When Autumn Comes

Young Adult Category:
1st: Carla Stewart, An Unexpected Journey
2nd: Stefanie Morris, The Dragon of Delarest
3rd: Kasey L. Heinly, Broken Glass

Congratulations to all!!

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