Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Karen Fleming

Today we welcome Karen Fleming, who writes as KD Fleming, the third of our special guests from the Golden Heart finalist class of 2012.

Karen is a finalist in Inspirational Romance with her novel LOVE’S ADVOCATE. She describes herself as a “Happily Ever After” addict whose favorite books are historical romances set in Regency and Victorian England.  (Excellent taste, Karen! *grin*) Her other addiction is movie theater popcorn: I’m a popcorn pig at the movies. I don’t share with anyone. I will buy them their own so they leave mine alone.”

We decided to do today’s guest blog in interview format, so grab a cup of coffee (or some popcorn if you’re ready to run defense) and join us for a little conversation.


 Congrats, Karen on the Golden Heart final! What was it like getting that coveted phone call telling you you’re a finalist?

I was sick with a sinus bug and my head was pounding. I didn’t expect to final. I had a friend who entered last year and she said her scores were all over the place, so I entered more because I had set a goal for myself to enter this year and I was going to achieve it, but hadn’t thought past that point.

When Maggi Landry introduced herself and explained why she was calling me at 9:14 in the morning ( and yes, I looked at the time) I didn’t hear much after her congratulations and question of what name I wanted them to include in the announcement. I cried when I hung up. It was the most amazing validation of all that I’ve been working toward. It still feels surreal at times.


Oh, it’s very real, Karen! You’ll know when you get to Nationals and strangers come up to congratulate you. (Okay, I guess that’s a pretty surreal experience, too.) How fabulous that Golden Heart pushed you to finish a terrific book! Can you share the blurb for LOVE’S ADVOCATE?

Katherine Harper buries herself in volunteer work. As a child’s advocate and former foster kid, she knows what a need there is for someone with compassion and time on their hands. Nick Delaney’s method of giving back some of what he’s been blessed with is a life of public service, and he’s starting with a seat on Pemberly’s city council.

But a fated meeting between the two sets in motion a painful resurrection of old hurts for Katherine and a sense of divine intervention for Nick and stirs hope for reconnecting with someone who mattered to him. Working against them is his father and Katherine’s decision to run for his coveted council seat. How can two people with the best intentions for the city have such varied ideas on how to accomplish those goals? Will Nick’s dream of serving in public office cost him the chance of a lifetime if Katherine won’t allow God to teach her how to not only forget her past but forgive it—and Nick, so she can receive the blessing of love waiting for her?


Ooh, great conflict!! And I confess to being a total sucker for former foster child heroines!! Have you completed other manuscripts before this, and were they romances too?

I started writing in February of 2009. I have 2 sweet contemporary stories stuffed in a drawer that no one needs to read–they are really bad. I started what I thought was a women’s fiction story that my critique partners think is more literary, but I haven’t finished it. Love’s Advocate is my first inspirational.


 Wow! You just started a couple years ago, and already wrote a Golden Heart finaling book! What got you writing in the first place?

I started writing because a friend begged me to write her a story. I thought she was crazy, but honestly by the time I was on page three of the story, I was hooked. My fingers couldn’t keep up with my mind as it played the scenes of the story in my head. I wrote every night after work and on weekends getting that story down.


What’s your biggest source of inspiration?

Music–Casting Crowns to be specific. My Sparta series was inspired by their Until The Whole World Hears CD.


What is your writing process like? Do you keep to a schedule? Plotter or pantser?

I’m a plotter with a very flexible skeleton of an outline with a tendency toward panster.

I spend a lot of time getting to know my h/h in my head before I start writing their story. I make a lot of notes about them, as if I’m interviewing them or I’m a PI following them around. I know what the big conflict will be and what some of the major plot points are before I start writing so I have something to work toward but leave myself enough room to follow a tangent if it will make the story stronger.

I write at night–after dinner and sometimes very late, if the story is buzzing along and I can’t stop. I’m always thinking about my story, but I may not write everyday. If I don’t feel connected to the scene when I fire up my laptop, I know what I’ll force myself to write will get deleted the next day because it did nothing to enhance the story.


Do you have a new Work-In-Progress? Care to share what it’s about?

I’m working on a series about three sisters (Tara, MacKenzie, and Eliza) set on a farm in the fictitious town of Sparta, FL. Each sister experiences a crisis of faith she’s forced to overcome in order to grow in her spiritual relationship with Christ. And, of course, there’s a man that drives her crazy but despite that, she can’t help but fall in love with him.  :>)

Eliza is a sort of goth Tinkerbelle with attitude. The farm is hers. Tara is a fashionista who returns from the big city and starts a catering business while serving as nanny to her six-year old nephew and his best friend. MacKenzie is a timid soul who escaped a verbally abusive husband and is raising her son with the help of her two sisters. She opens a bookstore in a converted bed & breakfast in downtown and has a secret on line identity she uses to review children’s books.


Sounds like a fabulous series! The heroines all sound fascinating (and I love contemporary series based around sisters!). I have to admit I was surprised by the descriptions of the heroines, though: “goth Tinkerbell,” “fashionista,” and a woman who’s escaped an abusive marriage. That seems edgier than I’d have expected for inspirationals.

I said Casting Crowns’ CD Until the Whole Word Hears inspired this series, and there’s a song titled “Always Enough” that says God’s love is “peace to the broken, faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak…”

I wanted each sister to be a real woman that a reader could relate to or that possibly reminds them of someone they know, to show that God cares about everyone and that people of faith don’t live in a bubble untouched by worries, heartache, and regular struggles like the rest of the world. They survive/overcome the trials they face mainly because of their faith. Their faith gives them hope to face what comes against them.

Things in their lives have to be hard, economically, relationally, emotionally, and all the other fears that we, as real people, face every day in order for their stories to do what the category requires–inspire. Or, as I like to believe, share hope.

I just want people to realize they aren’t alone when they are going through tough times. God uses family and friends to support and comfort us so we have a tangible reminder that we aren’t facing the world alone.
Well, that’s what all romance novels do, really, isn’t it–give us faith at least in the power of human connection and of love. And the romance-writing community is all about mutual support and lifting each other up. Speaking of which, do you have a CP or beta readers or a writing critique group that help you keep moving along? How do you work together?

I have two of the most awesome critique partners–Carol Post and Dixie Taylor. Carol is a fellow GH finalist this year in the same category with me. Dixie is the queen of conflict and tension. The three of us were introduced through TARA, our local chapter of RWA. The TARA Critique Coordinator uses us as her poster children for success with the matching system she utilizes. We email each other whatever we need critiqued and state our timeline. We each decide if we’re able to meet that deadline and if not, we say so up front. Then we send our comments back via Track Changes in MS Word. We schedule face to face time during lunch at our monthly meeting and sometimes stay over if we’re plotting or brainstorming if one or more of us need the extra time because we’re stuck in a scene or thinking about starting a new story.


Fabulous process—and how great that you and Carol get to celebrate finaling together! (You must be doing a great job as CPs for each other!) Are you going to Nationals (and have you ever been before)?

Absolutely. This is my first GH entry and this will be my first conference. Everyone will recognize me as the glaze-eyed newbie walking around in awe at the conference.


What’s the best tip you can give other writers?

Keep writing and studying the craft. You’ve heard the saying “Practice makes Perfect”. Well, in writing, “Practice can get you Published”. Writing well is a skill just like painting or playing a musical instrument. You have to hone your skill in order to get better if you want to move forward.


What’s your dream for where you’ll be in five years?

This may sound corny, but I would count it as the ultimate prize. I want one of my book series to be picked up by one of the TV movie channels like Hallmark or the Family Channel.


Beyond your writing, what’s going on in your life?

A lot. That’s why I didn’t list a specific writing schedule. My father-in-law has been sick since the fall of last year. Helping take care of my in-laws has become my job since I’m home. I’ve had to set some boundaries for “me time” that’s just for my writing but my husband is super supportive. His job has been insane since the first of the year, so I’m the family cheerleader—encouraging everyone that it will be okay and we’ll get through all the challenges we’re facing. Some days I can convince them of that, others, not so much.


Wow–you’ve got a lot of strength! Go, you! Anything else you want to say before we sign off?

The people who make up the world of writing–writers, agents, editors, and everyone else, are amazing. I have never experienced such a kind and supportive group of people. It is an honor to be a small part of this wonderful community and to be able to call so many of you my friends.


Karen’s offering two lucky commenters today (drawn at random) a $10 Starbucks card, so jump on in and say hi.

Here’s Karen’s question for all of you:

What do you expect to get out of a story you read?  If an author doesn’t deliver, do you banish them from your “authors to read list” forever?

Visit with Karen on her blog at
You can also join her on  facebook at

88 responses to “Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Karen Fleming”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks for joining us today, Karen!

    I love that your author photo has a Ruby red background–you fit right in!

    I’ll take a shot at the question: the #1 thing I want from a romance is that I genuinely get lost in it. The characters, the situation, the problem, whatever it is, has to make me care enough to draw me out of my own world and into theirs.

    If I’ve really, really loved several of an author’s books, I’ll keep buying even after a stinker. Three or four stinkers in a row though….that might put me off for awhile, at least until a friend I trusted said that the newest book was really good again.

    Have fun today!!

    • I think I’m the same way about books I select to read. I love to lose myself in the story.

      And thank you again, Elisa for giving me this awesome opportunity to reach out to your readers and introduce myself to the big wide world of writers, readers, and publishers. This has been an amazing year and the Rubies have helped make finaling even more special.

  2. Tammy Baumann says:

    Karen, when we chatted offline from our GH loop, I’d asked if it was hard to final in the same category with a CP. You said something that I thought spoke so highly of your character that I hope you won’t mind me sharing.

    Karen said something like, she and her CP, Carol, are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, so deeply engaged with each other’s work, that it honestly didn’t matter who won, because it would be a win for both of you.

    Loved that and I feel the same way about my CP’s!

    So,here’s wishing the best of luck to you both!!

    • Thank you Tammy. I think finaling with Carol is making it all the more sweeter. I have someone to jump up and down and squeal with who knows what an honor it is to final. I know on the GH finalist loop we’ve all said that finaling was the win for each of us.

      I can truly say that I wish Carol and Kristen and Jan the best for Saturday night, July 28th, no matter which title they announce as the top one in our category. We are all winners for getting this far.

      And the best of luck to you and all the other finalists for this year.

    • I’ve had people ask the same thing about finaling with my sister (though in different categories), and loved your response, Karen! It’s not like we’re jockeying for position towards winning — we’ve already “won” with the GH status. And to get to do it with someone whose work you champion? Icing on the cake!

      I also loved this: “I’m a plotter with a very flexible skeleton of an outline with a tendency toward panster.

      I spend a lot of time getting to know my h/h in my head before I start writing their story.”

      That’s me. I call my self a pantsalotter. I sketch out a plot that gives me the key points. Then I spend time in my garden talking to the characters and getting their input (and more than a few odd looks from the neighbors.)Then, after a good bit of time, I finally put my fingers on the keyboard and let them fly.

      Can’t wait to meet you at Conference!

      • Eileen,
        How super awesome for you and your sister. It is definitely a little extra special feeling. And I love your title “pantsalotter”.

        Good luck to you and yours in Anaheim. I can’t wait to meet you.

      • Amanda Brice says:

        Welcome, Karen!

        And your description of plotting/pantsing is me to a T. 🙂

        Your ms sounds wonderful, as does your Sparta series. (I grew up in Sparta, NJ, btw. LOL)

        • I had a different name for the town when I started plotting the series Amanda. But someone pointed it out so my dear husband got the atlas out and studied all the city names. He came up with Sparta, pointing out that almost every other state had a city by that name but Florida didn’t. I took that as a good sign. My Sparta is a collection of some small towns in different states that I’ve visited and little areas that struck me as quaint and welcoming. So you can be my first live honorary Spartan. :>)

  3. AJ Larrieu says:

    I love your question–it made me think. What *do* I want from the books I read? I like Elisa’s answer: to be transported to another world. There’s not much that will banish an author from my to-read list forever, except a lack of internal consistency. If people start acting out of character, or the rules of the world start conveniently changing, I get pulled out of the story and frustrated, and I probably wouldn’t pick up a second book by that author.

    This was a fun way to get to know more about you. How cool that you and your CP both finaled!

    • Thanks AJ. I agree, there isn’t anything more frustrating than starting to settle into a story and get excited about what’s happening to the characters then turn the page and have them do something they would never do without any sort of logic tied to it.

      The Rubies are wonderful advocates for providing us ‘newbie finalists’ especially with a platform to launch into the big pool of publishing. Can’t wait to actually meet all of you at Nationals in July.

  4. Like Elisa, I need to be transported away from my day-to-day by the books I read, and to do that, the writer has to make me care on several levels. I don’t have to like the hero and/or heroine at first–sometimes it better if I don’t–but the writer must change that. I love it when I’m reading and suddenly realize I’m rooting for that unloveable character.

    I have picked up a book by an author who disappointed me, but only if that author has pleased me in the past. Everybody’s entitled to a screw-up or even two—as long as they don’t come one right after the other. If that happens, I feel the author has lost her edge. As I’ve often said to my CP: The ability to write well (craft good sentences, etc.) doesn’t necessarily translate into the ability to tell a good story.

    Congrats on the GH final. You’re going to love National.

    • Thanks Gwyn. And your answer reminds me of what I’ve heard so many authors say when teaching a workshop on writing. “You can’t teach voice. It comes from writing the story(ies)and it develops over time, because it is unique to every writer. Like a fingerprint.”

      Looking forward to meeting you, too.

  5. Diane Mabry says:

    Hi Karen!!
    I am so proud to say I know you personally and you are a true women of God. I can’t wait to read your book and the new series sounds wonderful. I love series books whether about sisters, brothers, or just different folks in the same town. Like the others have said the thing I need most from a book is to get lost in the characters and really get to know them and care about what happens. The thing that tells me a book was really good is when I hate to finish it – especially with series books. But I also want a good message of hope that I can relate to when I am down. That “happily ever after” can be found – just not necessarily where we thought it would be.
    Good luck with the contest. We are cheering you on!!

    • Hi Diane. Thanks so much for stopping by. Isn’t it crazy that what we expect from a work of fiction is for the characters to be real and believable? And I’m the same way. I love a book more when there’s at least an epilogue to give me a glimpse of what their life is like after the happily ever after.

  6. Great interview, Karen. Congratulations on the Golden Heart final!

    I want and need a strong emotional reaction to a book from the beginning to end. If I don’t feel it within the first couple of pages, I put the book down. And, yes, I sometimes never try that particular author again. I used to always finish a book I started but no more. There are so many fabulous books to read, I don’t have time to invest in one that bores me, or doesn’t give me a powerful emotional experience.

    I wish I could be at the conference to cheer you on, but it won’t work out this year. I’ll be cheering you from home.
    Good luck and enjoy the conference!

    • Thank you Cynthia. I wish you could go to CA with us too. Hopefully you can make it to Atlanta next year.
      A story that grabs my heart on page one means my hubby may have to eat take out that night (Without explaining I got lost in a book is why I forgot to cook dinner). :>)

  7. Gillian says:

    Congratulations! I know you’ll have a wonderful time at conference.

    I expect to be really happy after I’ve read the book. And I usually give an author a second chance if it’s a recommendation.

    • Hi Gillian, and thank you. I’m super excited about conference.
      My favorite stories are the ones that make me happy too. I can get into mystery and intrigue, but painful unkind characters in a story make it harder for me to enjoy a book. I read fiction for escapism (period).

  8. Kat Cantrell says:

    Hi Karen! Great interview and the book sounds wonderful. 🙂

    I struggle to answer your question because my criteria has changed since I became an author. After much thought, I’d say voice is the thing that draws me in and has to stay consistent. After that, the story has to have really strong characters and really strong conflict. I love it when the characters have room to grow! So that’s what I expect. If it’s not there, I’m probably not going to read that author again. I will admit, I do give some authors more leeway than others. 🙂

    Looking forward to meeting you in Anaheim!!

  9. Liz Talley says:

    As someone who’s working on her…let me see…ninth book to be published, I constantly fear I’m working too fast to make good books. But then another part of me, reminds the really insecure part of me that I read Outliers by Malcom Gladwell and learned that to be really good like The Beatles I need lots of hours put in to hone my craft. Every book I write I strive to make it stronger and tighter and more wonderful. Hard to know if I’m successful, but that is always my intent. I really don’t want to hit the point where everyone’s like “Another Liz Talley book? Meh.” cause that would really suck in a multitude of ways. So my biggest caution for myself is to work hard on EVERY book no matter what. SO with that in mind, off I go. But I wanted to congratulate you on your accomplishment! Such a wonderful blessing 🙂

    Hope to see you in Anaheim (oh, and just FYI, the fabulous NYT bestselling and multiple nominated RITA finalist Darynda Jones and I are doing a workshop on Voice there. Yes, I’m riding that woman’s coattails :))

    • I think you’re focused on what’s most important about writing a story, Liz. I know several pubbed authors who have honed their writing skills with continued effort so that they are able to turn in to their editors maybe the 2nd or 3rd draft of their story. I want to be able to do that. Right now, it takes me way more than that. And I will be on the lookout for yours and Darynda’s workshop. Thank you for the congrats and well wishes. Happy writing to you.

      • Liz Talley says:

        I’m about at that point though my process is more write, polish, move on, so that by the time I’m finished, my story is pretty much where I *think* it should be. I usually find out I’m not all the way there when I get revisions. But, so far, I don’t think writing fast has hurt me too badly.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      You’re doing beautifully so far, Liz!

      I love your books!

  10. Hi Kat. My hero in Love’s Advocate calls the herione Kat. :>)
    Becoming a writer has changed the way I read a book as well. I didn’t realize my appreciation for how an author tells a story was their voice. I just thought they had an amazing talent for weaving the perfect words together to thrill me. And watching a character grow throughout the story makes them more real and believable.

    We have less than 3 months to go until CA.

  11. Congratulations, Karen. You’ll know it’s all true when someone comes up to you at the conference and starts GUSHING about your entry and how they told all of their friends about it.

    • Thanks Laurie. If this floaty, happy feeling over finaling stays with me until Nationals, I’ll be walking on air in the corridors and won’t have to worry about comfortable shoes. But I’d welcome anyone who wants to gush about my story to their friends. :>)

  12. Tracy Brogan says:

    So wonderful to read your personal story, as well as learn about your GH finaling manuscript!! All very, dare I say it? Inspirational??? 🙂
    Best of luck to you!!

  13. Jean says:

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for taking the time to share your story. Your walk is full of strength and it shows. Good luck and enjoy your first conference. The excitement is energizing. And thanks for the Casting Crowns CD recommendation. I’m off to find it.
    Enjoy the ride. I’m cheering for you.

  14. […] The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood hosts Golden Heart Finalist Karen Flemming. […]

  15. Cheryl Mansfield says:

    great blog post. I love the sound of your current works and wip. And I’m super excited for you and our other TARANS in the GH contest. Wish I could be there in person to cheer you on.

  16. Diana Layne says:

    I love this: >>I’m a plotter with a very flexible skeleton of an outline with a tendency toward panster.<<

    That's the way I work! Congrats on your final and thanks for sharing with the Rubies!

  17. Vicki Lane says:

    I can’t wait to read this book and the other series as well. So excited for your GH final!!

    When I pick up a book I want, like most people, to be transported to the world the author has created. But I also want to believe in the characters. To feel as if I know the H/H well enough to be friends. And to be dying to get back to the book when I do have to put it down to come back to the real world.

    If I read a book that isn’t all that good I’ll give the author another chance, but if it continues to happen I’ll stop and maybe try again with the next series.

    • Thanks Vicki, my wonderful blurb mistress.

      And I totally agree about wanting the characters to be my friends. Considering how much time it takes to read a book (as compared to a 2 hour movie) usually you can only afford to invest that amount of time in your friends, not some stranger you picked up off the shelf.

  18. Hi Karen! Loved the interview. I’m especially intrigued by the series you’re working on. These sisters sound like people I’d like to meet. 🙂

    As to what I expect in a story, it’s pure escapism. I want to be lost in a story–caught up in someone else’s world. If I’ve ever “banished” an author from my reading list, I can’t recall it. For me, it’s all about the book I’m either holding in my hands in the bookstore or reading about online and making a decision about whether the characters are people I want to spend time with or not. Perhaps if I’ve read the author before and not been engaged by the story there’s a higher bar for a future book.

    Congratulations on the final! I’m so looking forward to meeting you in Anaheim!

    • Thanks Susan. And I have been in the bookstore with three books in my hand. If one of the author’s didn’t wow me the last time I read her, she might get put back on the shelf unless the blurb on the back and the snippet tease in the front are super enticing.

  19. Congratulations! How exciting!

  20. Big congratulations on the final, Karen! “Practice can get you published.” Love that…and it’s so very true. You have to go after those dreams (and keep going after them) in order to catch them.

  21. Hi Karen, Obviously, practice made perfect for you! Congratulations on your GH final. As for what I expect in a story is to lose myself in another world – for me, another time period is my greatest escape from the day-to-day world. That’s why I like historicals so much. I also like to be kept guessing at every turn of the page, so I like a little mystery and suspense in the stories I read as well. Thanks for taking the time to post today.

    • Thank you Kathleen. I’m so glad you stopped by to post. Love’s Advocate has been through 2 years of edits and polishes before it got to what it is today. I knew nothing about how to write when I started with it. I have had numerous wonderful writer friends who have given so much of themselves to help me learn how to improve my writing and help shape the story into what it is today.

      Even though I write contemporary, I absolutely love historicals. My favorite authors are Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn and Victoria Alexander for that time period. How awesome that 2 of them will be at Nationals.

  22. Kay Hudson says:

    Great interview, Karen. Thanks for being one of the early brave guest bloggers. I’ll be looking foeward to seeing you in Anaheim.

  23. Karen,

    Great interview. I am so proud of you and the whole critique group!I wish I could make it to Anaheim to cheer you on.

    What I expect out of a story is a bit vague. I want a story and characters that engage me and make me want to keep turning the pages. My favorite is the type of book that you want to sit and read all at once.

    If an author I love disappoints, I will give another chance , maybe two. If it is a new author, it is unlikely unless something about the next book really interests me.

    • Ah, our Clever Critique Coordinator. Hi Cindy. Thanks for stopping by. 2 of us finaled and 3 of us will be sitting at the table–I’m making Dixie my date. And we have Terri B. in another category as well.

      I wish you could be there too.

      Your reason for not going for a second story by a new author if the first doesn’t live up to its promise is the reason I bite my nails and pace the floor when an agent/editor asks for a full and I’ve sent it to them.

  24. Great to “meet” you, Karen, and congratulations on your GH final! I empathize with your cheerleader status and taking care of sick loved ones. I spent the last year doing that, and boy it can be draining. Hang in there. (And keep writing!)

    As for what I look for in a book…that’s an elusive answer. Voice definitely has something to do with it, but I’m currently reading a book by an author I’ve loved for years and I was disappointed when she threw in some gimmicky stuff toward the last third that seemed like it was meant to simply add more external conflict. It was so odd it jolted me out of a story I’d been loving up until that point. I just didn’t get it. (And the pubbed author in me wondered if she was up against a deadline or something.)

    Mostly, I look for characters and emotion I can relate to, I guess. 🙂

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Yeah, Anne Marie….as much as we talk about the importance of “craft,” when the seams are too visible around creating conflict or motivation, the illusion falls apart, and I lose interest as a reader.

      Oh, a recommendation for all of you who like historicals of any kind: I’m in the middle of Courtney Milan’s latest novella, THE GOVERNESS AFFAIR.

      Good, good, good!!!!!!!!!!

      I can’t wait to read the next part!

  25. Connie H. Taxdal says:

    I agree with several of the comments; characters, drawn into their world, voice, consistancy, conflict. These things are why I purchase a book and start reading it.

    But what makes me continue to read, not matter what genre, is if the book speaks to my emotions, heart, and soul. If it doesn’t stir at least one of the three, I put the book down and usually won’t read that author again.

    I encourage any writer to join a RWA chapter. Our TARA brothers and sisters are the best and our chapter has so many great programs and workshops that have helped me in my endeavor as an author.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed for you and our other TARANS in the GH contest!

    • Thank you Connie. And I totally agree. Our TARA brothers & sisters definitely rock. I have them to thank for guiding me to where I am today.

      RWA is an amazing tool for writers no matter if they are just starting out and need to understand more about the business and craft or if they’ve been writing for years. There is always something new to learn or to teach. And I honestly believe that sometimes you learn more from teaching because you have to take a deeper look at the focus you’re presenting and it helps you see your work through the eyes of others.

      Okay, the family cheerleading is seeping into the writing industry now. Go Writers. Yay. :>)

  26. Hi Karen,
    Wonderful interview. I loved this bit about your WIP – I can’t wait to meet these characters:

    “I wanted each sister to be a real woman that a reader could relate to or that possibly reminds them of someone they know”

    Looking forward to seeing you in Anaheim!

    • Thank you Deborah. The characters spend so much time running around in my head, they have to be real or I’d be, well, in one of those white jackets with buckles on the back. :>) Can’t wait to meet you in CA.

  27. robena grant says:

    What a lovely interview, Karen (and Elisa.)

    I think what I look for in any novel is an escape from my own world and to sink into the storyworld of the book. It doesn’t matter the genre, each story will bring to me some realisation that we all go through similar emotional problems in our lives. The only time I don’t return to an author is if he or she doesn’t deliver that sense of being able to relate to the heroine’s journey.

    • Thanks Robena. Isn’t it amazing that almost all the responses are that we want to lose ourself in the story? For me, that’s part of the joy of writing a story as well.
      I’m looking forward to seeing you in CA.

  28. Hope Ramsay says:

    Hi Karen, welcome to the Ruby Blog, and congratulations on finaling in the Golden Heart. I’m looking forward to seeing you in California this July — your series sounds truly wonderful. I love small town stories with a little faith element thrown in for good measure. 🙂

    I think Elisa answered your question best. A book that takes me away in some way, whether because of the setting or the characters or the story, is a book I’m going to love reading. And if the author can also make me laugh or cry, then the book will end up on my keeper shelf.

    • Thank you Hope. All The Rubies have been fantastic. This was my first guest blog and I was so nervous, but Elisa is super amazing at asking the right questions and feeding off one answer so it flows so smoothly into the next question.

      I look forward to meeting you. I’ll be the short one with a big goofy grin on my face the whole time.

  29. M. Kassel says:

    What a wonderful, inspiring interview. Congrats on your well-deserved final! By the way, Karen, you won’t be the only nervous newbie at the conference 🙂 See you there!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Hey, even those of us who’ve been there a bunch will be nervous!!!

      I’m still smacking myself in the forehead over the time I chatted for a good ten minutes with a very gracious lady in the elevator and all the way through the hotel to a reception we were both attending…and only realized later that it was STEPHANIE LAURENS and I hadn’t recognized her. And I was a GH finalist in Regency at the time (we were going to a finalist reception, where she was up for a Rita in Regency). Someday when I work up the nerve I will go and grovel and apologize.

    • Thank you. I’ll keep an eye out for you. Maybe we can all wear an extra pin on our badges that proclaim us as newbies so we can be excused for any faux pas.

  30. Kelley says:

    Congratulations, Karen. What I love most about your post is how specific you are with your goals. I think the more specific, the more likely you are to get where you want to go. I hope Hallmark does call you someday soon! Or Lifetime. Either one-or both. Congrats!

  31. Carol Post says:

    Good evening, my awesome critique partner!

    I loved the interview and can so relate to everything you said. I’m a plotter in the sense that I’ve got to get the plot points down and plan things out pretty well in order to start writing, but then once I get going, I deviate from my outline quite a bit. Even though I don’t use big chunks of it, that’s the process I have to go through to get the brain in gear for writing.

    As far as what I want in a book, I’m looking for the same things as everyone else–characters I can relate to, situations that seem real, etc.–but as an author, I’m much more drawn by an author’s writing style than I used to be. I love it when I read a paragraph and think, “Oh, that sounds so cool!”


    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Congratulations, Carol, to you and Karen both!!

    • Hi partner in crime. Should we tell them that we weren’t happy just finalling in the same category, we plan to ride to the airport together and we booked all our travel arrangements together and you’ve graciously offered to share your hotel room with me?????

      Thank you for stopping by tonight. I find myself oohing and aahing after a particularly great description or climactic scene when I’m reading. I honestly believe I’m a more appreciative reader because of what I’ve learned as a writer.

  32. Addison Fox says:


    So glad you joined us today!!!


  33. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks again, Karen, for being with the Rubies!

    With the help of, here are the winners of Karen’s $10 Starbucks cards:

    Tammy Baumann
    Susan Boyer

    Congrats, Tammy and Susan! I’ll pass your email addies along to Karen, and she’ll be in contact so you can claim your prizes!

    • Yay ladies. I’ll get in touch with you for the necessary info and get your little gifts to you ASAP.

      Elisa & the rest of the Rubies,
      Thank you again for orchestrating this wonderful opportunity for me to share a little of my journey on the road to getting pubbed. It was so fun. I hope everyone could “see” my smile in the replies I posted.

      I can’t think of a better place than here to launch into the deep end of the ocean.

      Good luck to everyone in the Golden Heart/Rita finals and in all your writing endeavors. You will go far, and I believe in you and your amazing talent.

  34. Anne-Marie Carroll says:

    Great post. Congrats Karen on your Golden Heart final. I want to be drawn into the characters world and live it with them.

  35. Debbie Gillespie says:

    Hi Karen!
    First of all, let me say that I am more than proud to be your friend and also one of the first ones that you ever told about your writing and one of the first you ever let read Love’s Advocate! I am so excited for you, and I can say without reservation that your first books are NOT terrible at all….they did what I expect a book to do…keep me interested and unable to put it down because I want to know how it all ends. You are an inspired and an inspiring writer and I can’t wait to celebrate with you when your book is finally published! Love you, girl! So proud of you!!

    • Thank you so much. It means the world to me to have your support. One of those 2 contemporaries may see the light of day in an inspirational sense. We’ll see what the future brings. Thank you again for stopping by and for believing in me and my talent before I believed in myself. That’s what a best friend is for. Love yah.

  36. Suzanne Chandler says:

    Karen, we are so very proud of you!! It is so neat to see how God blesses us individually with certain talents….obviously this is one of several that you have. Can’t wait to read the book! And you never know….we might just one day watch your story on the Hallmark channel (love those movies)! Praying for God’s best as you move forward!

    • Thank you Suzanne. This is the adventure of a lifetime and I’m loving every minute of it–even the editing part (maybe more like tolerating that part.) I’m thanking God for this wonderful opportunity and the fabulous support of friends like you.

  37. Barbara Lemely-King says:

    Karen ,

    How exciting. Cannot wait until your published. I will be looking everyday for the release.


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