Interview & Book Give-Away, Kudos and MoGo7000 Results

Sheri Levy and dogsI’m thrilled to share Sheri Levy and her new book, Seven Days to Goodbye, with you today! Normally, this is where I tell you how I met Sheri, but she did such a good job in her interview that we’ll just let her explain it all!

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Sheri and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Sheri, welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den. Let’s start with an easy question: What inspired you to write?

For years I taught special education and tried to find the key to each child’s learning potential. Most of my students didn’t have a reading environment at home and it became my goal to instill their love of books. Each morning the students anticipated the continuation of a chapter book I read at the end of each day. They’d lean forward in their desks, hanging on to each word I read. When I retired, remembering their delight motivated me to write for children. I took my first pages to a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) conference and discovered quickly, writing a book was different than writing a letter or an academic paper. I signed up for classes, discussions on writing, and met Vonda Skelton.

I remember that day very well! What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Beginning to write brought feelings of insecurity, questions–if this was a worthwhile desire? The biggest change in my life was writing for hours at a time, and giving-up free time with friends and my husband. I have kept my promise of turning off the computer at 5:00, most evenings! Receiving rejections broke my spirit. Luckily, after hearing Vonda speak about her rejections, and how she bounced back and continued sending them, I realized rejection was part of the writing career. She gave me hope, inspired me to work hard, and not give up.

I’m so glad that encouraged you, Sheri! How do you stay motivated?

I’d not be writing if it wasn’t for friends, new acquaintances, and my critique buddies supporting me. Once again, Vonda reached out to me. Was this a coincidence, or was God stepping in? Vonda knew I was writing about service dogs and she sent me an email. Her editor with Clubhouse Magazine wanted a story about a service dog that had changed a child’s life. I had already met Hayden, an eleven-year-old boy, walking with his Diabetic Alert dog in Walmart, and had interviewed him, completed his story, and was starting to query. After one revision, “Scent with Love” was published in Clubhouse Magazine, July, 2010. Another online friend, Sheila Webster Boneham, PhD, encouraged me to join the Dog Writers Association contest. In 2011, “Scent with Love” won a nomination for a Maxwell Medallion and won in their Special Interest category. Having my first article published was a thrill and a confidence builder.

How did Seven Days to Goodbye find publication?Sheri Levy book cover

I read about Barking Rain Press being open for submissions. I researched them, sent my query, and received a request for the entire manuscript. I had done this a number of times with no results, so I waited. Months later, while drinking coffee and watching the Today Show, I scrolled through my emails on my phone and noticed BRP’s name. I clicked on their email and read it. I lost my breath, handed the phone to my husband, and had him read the message out loud. The rest is history!

My young-YA novel, Seven Days to Goodbye, is my heart book. With permission, I share Carol Baldwin’s description from her October blog.

“What do you get when you mix together a week on Edisto Island with a puppy raiser and her best friend connecting to guys for the first time, protecting a loggerhead turtle’s nest, finding her service dog relating to a young boy with autism, and agonizing over what comes next. You get the ingredients for Seven Days to Goodbye.” Carol Baldwin

Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?

Writers need a thick skin. After the story is completed and revised, send it to reputable blogs that generate contests and critiques. My favorites are Adventures in YA Publishing and Pitch Wars.

Take a break from the computer–do normal activities, allowing your brain to think and create.

Do Not Give Up! Start something new. Change Genres. But keep writing!

Great tips, Sheri! Thanks again for being with us today and sharing your writing journey with us. Best wishes for much success for your book!

And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for Sheri and you could win a free book. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Sheri Levy taught Special Ed for sixteen years, a Family Learning Program for nine years, and continues to tutor students once a week. She has two amazing adult children, two brilliant grand boys, and after raising four other dogs, now has two younger Australian Shepherds. Her most favorite activities besides reading and writing are her dogs, having her toes in a sandy beach, music, movies and ice cream. www.sherislevy.com

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Who do we get to celebrate with today?

Kudos to these Christian Writer’s Den writers for doing the work and finding success!

1.  Cathy Baker (SC): My story on a past miscarriage will be included in Chicken Soup of the Soul: Hope & Miracles, on sales February 10. (Vonda here: That’s TODAY! What a great way to celebrate with you!)

2.  Tammy Whitehurst (TX): 1)The United Methodist Publishing House just bought a 5th article from me. 2)I also wrote and sold a greeting card to Warner Press. 3)And I have been invited to speak at Gatesville Women’s Prison again. There is nothing that compares to it! I invite all of you to my daily devotional on Facebook. The page is filled with giggles and grins and a whole lot of God! Connect on FB at https://www.facebook.com/JoyForTheJourneyMinistry

3.  Beth Fortune (SC): 1)I had two more devotions accepted at ChristianDevotions.us; 2)I had another article accepted in Reach Out Columbia; 3)I was recently a guest blogger at the Christian Communicators blog!

Congratulations to these writers! Don’t see your own name on the list? Be sure to check back next week when I’ll have a whole new list of writing opportunities!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo7000 logo

Who were the first ones to earn entries into the 2015 MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

#1: Joan Hall – 7,055 words
#2: Suan Baganz – 16,866 words

Congratulations, Joan and Susan! You’re both off to a great start! And readers, don’t forget, every month you write at least 7000 new words on a book project, you can earn an entry. So what are you waiting for? Get to work!

And if you’re interested in finding out how you might win $100, check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page.

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Thanks for joining me today. Without you, it’d be a pretty lonely place. I appreciate you and pray for you and your work.

Blessings,

Vonda

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  • CCKoepp

    This is a fun little tale. Although it travels down some serious roads, it has a great sense of humor.

  • Frankie Orr

    My grandson goes to Ralph Chandler Middle School and he came home today very excited about a lady writer that came to his school. I thought it might have been you, Vonda. Now I know it was Sheri Levy. He has autism. He is high functioning. He was so thrilled when she asked to speak with him after class. He was most thrilled when said she had met Temple Grandon. She is one of Ethan’s Hero’s. I have not seen him this excited over anything else from school. I wish to thank Sheri for taking the time to talk to him one-on-one.

    • Oh my what a small world. I was so proud to have him come up and speak with me. He was so articulate and friendly. I have not met Temple Grandin but have read many of her books. PAALS founder who trains service dogs actually went to Denver and met her! I was terribly jealous!!! My grandson has Asberger’s and is doing great! Ethan is going to do well in whatever he decides he’s going to tackle. It was wonderful to meet him.

  • Such a lovely interview! So honest–right from your heart. Thank you! Don’t you love it when God sends along friends like Vonda at just the right time! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your title and book cover. Huge congrats!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Julie. And I love that He brought us together just at the right time, too! 🙂

    • Thank you, Julie. It was definitely meant to be. Thanks for your support!

  • Any book that includes Edisto Island immediately grabs my attention! Sheri, I love your story and advice. 🙂 Congrats Tammy and Beth! I can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather celebrate today’s book release, Vonda. 🙂

    • Yes! And I’m thrilled to be celebrating with you! So proud of you. 🙂

  • Nan Jones

    What a great interview. I worked with special needs children for over 10 years and loved every minute of it. Would love an opportunity to read this book.

    • I didn’t know you did that, Nan. I know those kids loved you, just as you loved them!

    • Thank you, Nan. The service dog connects with a child with autism. You can find the book at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Barking Rain Press, and locally at Fiction Addiction. Hope you enjoy the read. And maybe your name will be drawn!

    • Nan, you make me smile every time I hear your name. I can totally see you working with special needs children. They were so blessed to have you.

  • lorihatcher

    You mentioned Edisto Island — my absolute favorite happy place! Any book that takes place on that beloved island is destined to be a best seller. 🙂

    • We love Edisto, too, Lori. So restful–completely UNlike Myrtle Beach (the place most people mention for vacation in SC).

    • Thanks, Lori. I don’t know about being a bestseller, but those who’ve been to Edisto enjoy the connection. There’s still a Piggly Wiggly in my book!

      • Lori Hatcher

        Hooray! EDisto lost a lot of local flavor when BiLo bought the Pig. Sad:(

        • We were there the day they took down the Piggly Wiggly sign down and I took pictures for memories.

  • Elaine Carr

    Thanks! Sounds like the perfect story.
    Blessings

    • Hi Elaine! Thanks for joining in! Hope you’re doing well. 🙂

    • Thanks, Elaine. It was my heart book!

  • Loved the story about 7 days to goodbye! So encouraging and yet so simple. Praying for many more books to come!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Luisette. I know you’ve encouraged Sheri today.

    • Luisette, So you’ve already read it! Wow! Thank you…I’m finishing the last chapter to the sequel. Then onto revisions!! I’ll let you know!!

    • Thank you, Luisette. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I’m working on number two, and enjoying doing Middle school visits.
      Appreciate your support! I just happened to check for comments and didn’t see ihad already responded…so you get an extra thank you!!
      Sheri Levy

  • What an inspiring interview, Sheri! It reinforces the fact that God is in charge of the timing of our writing. Our job is to keep on keeping on without losing heart. Thank you for sharing.

    And Vonda, thank you for the introduction. You always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Coincidence? Only if you accept my definition. 🙂

    • I totally agree, Judith. God is totally in control of the timing of our writing, It’s our job to keep doing the work.

      And thank you for your kind words. And yes, I believe only in God-incidents as well. 🙂

    • Yes. I was at the right place to get my inspiration! Writers need lots of encouragement! Thanks for commenting, Judith.