About Casey Herringshaw

Casey Herringshaw, is a native of Eastern Oregon, transplanted to Colorado Springs where she met and married her pilot husband. When not planning their next adventure in the Colorado Rockies, Casey jots words down on the screen, sharing a lot of snark and sarcasm and maybe a nugget of truth here and there. Connect with her at her website and blog: caseyherringshaw.com

An Interview with Best-Selling, Christy-Award Winning & Wordserve Author, Marcus Brotherton

Marcus-Brotherton-Feast-For-ThievesAs interviewed by James Shupp, Author of “Who Killed My Church?”

What prepared you to be a writer?

My father was a minister and my mother was a journalist. So I grew up in a world filled with “thoughts about God,” writing, and books. I always loved putting my thoughts on paper and expressing myself through the written word. Then in college and graduate school, I studied theology and journalism. After graduation, I spent eight years as a youth minister and then made a fairly sharp career switch to work for a newspaper. It wasn’t very glamorous work. I was a general assignment reporter and wrote about everything from school bus strikes to murders to the new pastor in town—a smattering of community life. As a journalist, you learn how to parachute into the middle of a situation, ask the right questions, and write fearlessly. I had to write and edit a thousand words a day. In that situation, you can’t sit around waiting for inspiration or allow yourself to suffer through writer’s block. You just have to do it. It was a great training ground.

You began writing non-fiction. What was it like to enter the world of fiction?

I found the process of writing a novel to be much more difficult. It took longer. You have to write well and string sentences together in a way that helps the story flow. You also have to create the story world and answer these questions: Who are these people? Where do they live? Why are they there? Who are they interacting with? What do they talk like? What do they do with their free time? In a novel, you have to create the structure of a book. You need to know how to build action sequences and bring them to a sense of resolution and relief. I finally got smart along the way and began reading “How To” books. For three years, I read everything I could on the subject. After throwing away my first three novels, I wrote Feast for Thieves. From start to finish, it was a ten-year process.

How does a storyline present itself?412130

First comes the idea, then it’s a combination of mathematical outlining and imaginary mind play. I had always begun with an outline for my non-fiction books. But with fiction, I just wanted to sit down and be free to enter a state of right brain immersion. In Feast for Thieves, I finally resorted to outlining, which proved to be really great. It gave me a sense of where the story was going and provided the big picture. So if I wanted or needed to change something, I didn’t have to rewrite the whole story. It can be disheartening to throw away large chunks of your story, but with outlining that doesn’t happen much. Therefore, you save a lot of emotional energy working this way.

How do you connect emotions with your characters?

It begins with the process of immersing yourself in the characters. I ask myself the questions: If I was this person, what would he say? How would she respond? What emotion is he feeling? Can I picture a time in my own life when I felt that same emotion? How did I respond? So at the end of any day, it’s a real rollercoaster. You’re feeling happy, scared, sad, apprehensive, even rage—all the strong emotions that you connected with while writing.

How do you power through frustration as a writer?

Frustration can derail you. I think it’s okay to be in that state for a time. Sometimes you come to the end of a project, and it doesn’t work out for you. Then you sit for a while, not knowing what’s next. Some people have five- and ten-year plans. That’s never worked for me. I believe what gets you through the frustration as a Christian writer is finding the answer to the question, “What is the Lord telling you to do?” It’s being content in the angst or the not knowing or in the question. The question is part of the journey.

What is the role of self-esteem in writing?

Here’s a tweetable: “Writing is a performing art with all the insecurities that go along with that.” Once you publish a book and get it out there, that’s your permanent record and it follows you around for the rest of your life. In these days of instant Amazon critiques, everyone’s a critic. People can be every combination of very gracious to very ruthless, particularly if they disagree with you, which does happen. When a critic nails you, you always have to ask yourself the hard questions: “Is any part of this criticism valid?” “Can I learn anything of value from this critique?”

Hemingway talked about handling negative reviews. He compared it to sitting in a winter cabin next to a crackling fire in the woods. In the distance, you hear the howling of wolves. The satisfaction is in knowing that you’re safe. You have published, and that’s something that the wolves don’t have.

What fears or insecurities do writers deal with?

I think every writer wonders, “Do I really belong here?” This is not a profession where people hold the door open for you and say, “Welcome.” This is a profession where all the doors are closed and you have to knock quite loudly and long just to enter. When you finally walk through the door—into that party—it’s hard to believe you’ve made it. A sense of humility with your readers about this is a good thing. Sometimes people classify me as a military historian, simply because I’ve written so many books about the soldiers of WWII. But I’m always quick to point out that I’m not a historian. I didn’t train to be one, and I have a high degree of respect for those who did. I’m a journalist and a storyteller. That’s the party I want to be invited to.

How did you come up with the title, Feast for Thieves?

At one point, we had about two hundred options on the table. I chose this one as a layered title. This first layer comes from the Book of Isaiah where the prophet talks about how salvation is a feast—a wonderful bounty. “Come and dine” is the message of Chapter 55. The second layer of my title originates from the crucifixion. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He hung between two thieves. I love how He offered this same feast to both—a feast of mercy, grace, peace, love, and joy. One accepted the Lord’s offer, and this is what I call, “The first feast for thieves.” The good news is that this feast is still available for us today. It’s a lavish banquet. The table is spread with great food, and the feast is still free.

Did the characters in Feast for Thieves become real to you?

I felt in the process of writing “Feast” that my imaginary characters became friends of mine. It’s like when you read a really good book and come to the end, you’re kind of sad. Because you know that the story doesn’t continue for these people. In my book, I wanted to have more adventures with my characters, but I knew this particular story was finished.

When you won the Christy Award, what went through your mind?

It was great. I didn’t come here expecting to win. I’m just honored to be at the party. One thought, however, really sums up this whole experience for me. In the writing industry, you hear so many “nos.” In fact, you get used to hearing the word, No! This happens over and over again, and you have to learn how to power through. You have to keep going and remain optimistic. Last night I heard a “yes.” It’s a strange and unusual word to hear in the writing industry, and yet, what a great sound to hear. Finally, at last, “Yes!” But you don’t want to get too used to it, because the next day you have to go back to the canvas and start painting all over again.

Who was the first person you texted, tweeted, or emailed after you won?

I texted a picture to my wife and kids. They were all happy. Also, we have some great friends that I texted. One is our prayer warrior support who had been praying for this moment. My dad and other family members who live in Canada were following online. They let out a cheer and sent me an email. This morning I had breakfast with my college journalism professor from twenty-five years ago. I didn’t know he was here, but it was great to reconnect and reminisce about the journey.

As a journalist, if you interviewed yourself, what would be the angle of the story?

I think it’s interesting that a guy who used to be in the ministry is now a writer. Frederick Buechner talked about how he was a preacher/writer. He wanted to communicate “thoughts of God” to a receptive audience through the vehicle of writing. I want to communicate the ministry of Jesus Christ through the art of writing. That’s my calling.

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WordServe News: June 2015

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Bryan Bishop, researcher with Youth With a Mission, released Boundless with Baker 9780801017162_p0_v2_s260x420Publishing

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Arnie Cole and Pam Ovwigho released in partnership with GoTandem9781630583736_p0_v1_s260x420 Resources, Managing Your Family’s High-Tech Habits.

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Rebecca DeMarino released her second book in The Southold Chronicles with Revell, To 9780800722197_p0_v3_s260x420Capture Her Heart.

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Greg Johnson and Michael Ross released in partnership with GoTandem Resources, 10 Reasons to Stay Christian in High School9781630583750_p0_v1_s260x420 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jonathan McKee with Danette Matty released The Skinny on Volunteers with Group 9781470720858_p0_v2_s260x420Publishing.

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Bill Myers released his nonfiction title with Barbour Publishing, The Jesus Experience. 9781630589899_p0_v2_s260x420

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Michael Ross and Brian Doyle released in partnership with GoTandem 9781630583743_p0_v2_s260x420Resources, Words that Heal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael and Tiffany Ross in partnership with GoTandem Resources released 101 Ways 9781630583729_p0_v3_s260x420to Strengthen the Parent-Child Connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New WordServe Clients

Matthew Mellema and Julie Parker signed with Wordserve Literary!

New Contracts

Larry Dugger signed with Charisma for his book, The Other Side of the Wilderness. Due out in Summer 2016

Karen Jordan signed with Leafwood Press for her debut nonfiction book, tentatively titled, Words that Change Everything. 

Jim Putman signed a three book contact with Baker Publishing, the first book releasing in the Fall of 2016.

Linda Znachko signed with Kregel publishers for her memoir, 13 Hours that Changed My Life. Due out in Fall of 2016.

WordServe News: May 2015

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Mary Davis released Winning Olivia’s Heart with Heartsong Presents, the third book in9780373487837_p0_v2_s260x420 her series with Heartsong.

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Robert Morris, with agency client Marcus Brotherton released Truly Free with Thomas 9780718011109_p0_v3_s260x420Nelson publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Joe L. Wheeler released My Favorite Miracle Stories with Pacific Press.download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New WordServe Clients

Jared Boyd and Karon Phillips signed with Wordserve Literary!

What We’re Celebrating!!

Cheri Fuller was interviewed on the Focus on the Family Radio Broadcast. Listen here. 

Lauren Scruggs and Lisa Velthouse’s book Your Beautiful Heart came in at #1 on the NYT Bestseller list for Fashion, Manners, Customs. See the full list here!

Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers (The Writing Sisters) are a finalist in the 2015 Selah Awards for The Shepherd’s Song in Women’s Contemporary Fiction.

Margot Starbuck is a finalist in the 2015 Selah Awards for Not Who I Imagined in Nonfiction Christian Living.

Shellie Tomlinson is a finalist in the 2015 Selah Awards for Heart Wide Open in general nonfiction!

WordServe News: April 2015

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month, you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers (The Writing Sisters) released their novel Shepherd’s 9781501108037_p0_v2_s260x420Song with Howard Publishers, in paperback.

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Cheri Fuller released her nonfiction book, What a Girl Needs from Her Mom with Bethany9780764212246_p0_v2_s260x420 House Publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael Hidalgo released Changing Faith with Intervarsity Press.9780830836956_p0_v3_s260x420

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Angela Ruth Strong released her third book with Ashberry Lane, The Food Fight 9781941720158_p0_v1_s260x420Professional.

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Tricia Williford released her second book with Waterbrook/Multnomah publishers, Let’s9780307732002_p0_v1_s260x420 Pretend We’re Normal 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Contracts

Barry Corey, President of Biola University signed a contract with Tyndale Publishers for The Receivable Life. Due out Spring 2016. Greg Johnson, agent of record.

Denise George has partnered with Robert Child and Berkley Publishers to write The Wereth Eleven Massacre, due out in Spring 2017. Greg Johnson, agent of record

Rick Johnson signed another contract with Revell publishers for Overcoming Less than Perfect Parenting. Due out Fall 2016. Greg Johnson, agent of record.

What We’re Celebrating!!

Marcus Brotherton’s debut novel, Feast of Theives is a finalist for the 2015 Christy Awards!

Doug Fields’ book, 7 Ways to Be Her Hero is a finalist in the Men’s Nonfiction category of the 2015 Christian Retailing’s Best Awards!

Amanda Jenkins and Tara Reeves’  children’s book, The Knight and the Butterfly is a finalist in the 2015 Christian Retailing’s Best Awards! Also, celebrating the release in paperback and translated into South African!

Adam Makos’ book A Higher Call was released in Polish in hardback!

Linking Your Social Media Platforms

tree-200795_640

We’re told to be on as many platforms for social media as we can get our fist around. Not every social media is for every person and I would more encourage you to find two or three you really love and connects you with different people through each platform.

Are there ways to maximize your time?

Absolutely.

In this post I’m going to cover several of the larger social media platforms and how you can link each one to reach your audience in each market.

**Note: (and this is purely my personal opinion) if you have crossover audiences between your social medias that you’re sharing the same content on, I would advise against this. Seeing the same thing over and over, weakens your audience’s interest in what you’re offering. Just keep this in mind.**

**ALSO PLEASE NOTE: in offering these multiple ways to link your platforms, you stand the potential for limiting your reach, especially due to Facebook algorithms. This should never be a total substitute for going in and posting real time updates directly to your social medias, especially Facebook. Take this information with a grain of salt and don’t assume that all your work will now be taken care of. :)**

Linking Facebook:

To send Facebook updates to Twitter see this link: https://www.facebook.com/twitter/ this will give you instructions for linking your profile page and each of your public fan pages you might have.

Linking Twitter:

Login and navigate to your settings (under edit profile which is found by clicking on your profile picture). Go to apps and it’s as simple as choosing an account and loading your password.

Linking Instagram:

You’ll have to do this from your phone’s app. Go to your profile and click the three dots in the upper right hand corner. Under settings choose Linked Accounts. Here you can connect Facebook and Twitter. If you have a picture you don’t want to post to one of these medias, just click off those options before it posts.

Linking Google+:

This topic is more complicated. But it can be done! I’m directing you to this resource that I found online for linking your Google+ updates into Facebook.

Linking Goodreads:

Go to the edit profile function. (Found under the drop down arrow next to your picture in the upper right hand corner). Click the “apps” tab and connect the social medias you want linked. Goodreads also has widgets you can add to your blog that are customized to your book lists.

Linking Pinterest:

Log into Pinterest. Visit your profile page—this is where you’ll see all your boards and pins. Click on the “wheel” in the upper right hand corner and choose account settings. Scroll until you see “Connect Your Social Networks”.

Linking Your Blog:

The easiest form of promotion. You write a blog post. It posts to Facebook. Get started here: http://www.networkedblogs.com/ But note: when you accidentally hit publish it does show up on Facebook, but you CAN remove it. 🙂 If you have hooked your Facebook to Twitter, it will also automatically post there. However there is a pretty big BUT with using Network blogs and you can read that more fully here. You can do this, but be aware, that Network blogs does diminish your reach, especially if you’re using the free version. If you pay a high enough price, Network Blogs won’t route through their platform just to boost their own numbers (what they do on the free option plan). Facebook also limits your reach in using this platform to their social media as only Facebook can. There are positives: posting your blog automatically to Facebook and other social medias. But there are negatives, so weigh both carefully, before handing your blog link over.

Host platforms for scheduling social media updates:

You can schedule updates across multiple platforms so you only have to load an update once and pick the publish time. A couple different options to research for which one best fits your needs are: BufferTweetDeckHootsuiteEdgar (though not free) to name a few.

 

So there you have it! A few tips to connect each of your social medias. Don’t be daunted by this, take it one at a time. And let me know of your success or failures. Of which I hope there is many of the first and none of the last!

 

WordServe News: February 2015

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Arnie Cole and Michael Ross released Overcoming the Hurt in partnership with 9781630583712_p0_v1_s260x420goTandem.

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Mary Davis released a new title with Heartsong Presents, Romancing the Schoolteacher. 9780373487721_p0_v2_s260x420

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Cheri Fuller released Replacing Worry for Wonder with goTandem. 9781630583705_p0_v2_s260x420

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Rick Johnson saw the release of Romancing Your Better Halfwith Revell Publishers. 9780800722340_p0_v2_s260x420

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kariss Lynch released her sophomore novel with Realms, Shadowed. 9781629980065_p0_v2_s260x420

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Tara McClary Reeves and Amanda Jenkins released their second children’s book with 9781433681202_p0_v1_s260x420B&H Kids, The Pirate and the Firefly. 

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Michael Ross released his latest book for teens, Dating, Relating, Waiting with 9781630583699_p0_v1_s260x420goTandem.

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Lauren Scruggs with Lisa Velthouse released her second book,Your Beautiful Heart 9781414376714_p0_v2_s260x420with Tyndale Momentum publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amy K. Sorrells released her sophomore novel with David C. Cook, Then Sings My Soul. 9781434705457_p0_v2_s260x420

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Jennifer Strickland released her latest book for girls with Harvest House 9780736956345_p0_v2_s260x420Publishers, Pretty from the Inside out

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Mike Yorkey released Everyday Finances for the Everyday Family with goTandem. 9781630583682_p0_v1_s260x420

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New WordServe Clients

Marjorie Eastman signed with Greg Johnson.

New Contracts

Tim Maurer signed a contract with Baker Books for Simple Money. Greg Johnson, agent of record.

Joe Wheeler has signed with Pacific Press for a three book deal, in a collection of favorite stories. Greg Johnson, agent of record.

What We’re Celebrating!!

Co-authors, Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph received a great stared review in FIRST magazine for their latest book Nourished!

Should Indie Publishing Be For You?

stack-letters-447578_640The average writer is no longer required to only do one form of publishing these days. When I started to investigate the literary world ten years ago, publishing houses just a few years before had started taking queries exclusively from agents and to publish your book without a publishing house was a frowned-upon shortcut for those who didn’t want to do the work on their book to make it publishable. Getting an agent to represent you was difficult as there were only a handful in the industry, but publishing houses wouldn’t look at your work without an agent and agents wanted you to come to them with a contract in hand.

Now, there are more agents than editors—all of them with projects they want to pitch to the handful of remaining houses, hoping their well-known or debut author will strike the fancy of the over-worked editor on the other side of the desk.

In consequence, agents are finding it increasingly difficult to land their talented authors and those that are landed are getting smaller deals or having to settle (which isn’t always settling depending on the author’s attitude) for a smaller house.

Publishing is far from what it used to be. Even as a reader, you can’t help noticing this fact.

So where does this leave the writer who is struggling to get picked up, is consistently being told that their product is good and has interest, but no publishing house is up for actually buying it? Are you settling to indie publish or are you giving yourself a leg up in a vastly changing industry?

First: It depends on the type of writer you are. Are you a go-getter? Are you fascinated by the publishing process and like having the control in your hands over the cover design, interior layout, editorial, content, price and release dates, just to name a few? Then indie publishing could quite possibly be for you.

Second: Indie publishing should not be your choice just because you haven’t been able to sell in a larger market. While it is often the #1 reason writers investigate this avenue, it shouldn’t be your only reason. Why? Because in our impatience to have a book published, oftentimes we can overlook the major flaws that have caused us to be rejected.  Which leads to my third point.

Third: Find out why you’ve been rejected as best you can. Is it because the publisher doesn’t think your topic will sell right now or is it a structure/voice/grammar/ability to write issues? To succeed at indie publishing, you’re still going to have to do the work, which means you better have a darn good product to release. Readers aren’t going to care if you’re publishing with a Big Five house or your own press; you write a poor story, that baby ain’t going anywhere.

Fourth: Be prepared to do the work. There aren’t any shortcuts about this: indie publishing is hard work. But then again, so is traditional publishing. There should be much wisdom taken into the decision to self-publish. If this is for you, I absolutely encourage you to get out there and get it done and I’ll be the first in line to buy your well-done product.

Self-publishing is all about the research. Research is King in this industry and knowing what you’re getting into beforehand, as best you can, is definitely Queen. Do your homework, ask those who have gone before you and succeeded and failed. On both sides of the fence. In doing this, you’ll be best prepared to make the right publishing decision for you.

Question: would you ever indie publish your books? What do you see are the pros and cons? And if you are a published indie author, what do you love or hate about the process?