Monthly Archives: August 2014

Editor Spotlight: A Moment with Nicola Martinez

Today the Quid Pro Quills are honored to interview Nicola Martinez, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at Pelican Book Group (PBG).

QPQ: Thank you for joining us, Ms. Martinez.

NM: Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.

QPQ: Please tell us about yourself and the work you do at Pelican Book Group.

NM: I’m “the buck stops here” gal at PBG. 🙂 Ooooh! Sounds so powerful, doesn’t it? 🙂  In reality, it means that I have the privilege—and the responsibility—to make sure we put out an excellent product that will both entertain and spread the Gospel. I love it, mainly because I have the help of a talented group of faith-filled staff and authors who inspire me.

QPQ: So you’re active in many aspects of publishing at PBG. What’s the best thing about working there?

NM: Being able to set my own hours! Seriously, the best thing is being able to spend my days doing something that interests me but also doing something I know is pleasing to God.

QPQ: If you could only choose one PBG element to highlight, what would it be?

NM: Great question. I think I would set the spotlight on something people outside Pelican don’t know, and that’s how awesome our authors are as a family. To witness how each upholds the other—in prayer, during times of need; in cross promotion; in friendship. It makes for a terrific atmosphere.

QPQ: You do amazing work on book covers for authors. In fact, you’ve provided the cover art for three of the six Quid Pro Quills! How do you select the subjects and settings for your cover art?

NM: Thank you for your kind words. First, I read the cover information questionnaire that each author supplies, and I try to match that vision. I also keep in mind the genre and tone of the story and try to design something that is a marriage of all that.

QPQ: You definitely have a gift. Have you always wanted to be an editor?

NM: Thank you. Actually, being an editor never crossed my mind. I did think about starting a publishing company long before it came to fruition, but the editing aspect of that didn’t even come into play in my mind—don’t ask me why! It wasn’t until I was offered a job at a newspaper that professional editing entered. (Although, I’d done my fair share of editing by that point, just not as a profession.) After that, I landed a job at a publishing house, and the rest…well, you know what they say.

QPQ: Do you have an editor’s pet peeve? Would you share it with us?

NM:  Do I get only one? 🙂 I guess the most annoying thing is submissions that don’t follow our guidelines.  The guidelines are there for a reason, not just because we were bored one day and decided to make up some rules. On the other hand, I absolutely adore submissions that DO follow our guidelines.

QPQ: What’s the most important factor you look for in an author’s work?

NM: A great spiritual message wrapped in talented storytelling.

QPQ: Please share your vision for PBG.

NM: Truly, my vision for PBG is for God to make it whatever He so chooses, even if I don’t like whatever it is. If His will matches mine, though, PBG will always be a company that puts the Gospel first—in our actions and in our stories—and will continue to grow and to be the place authors and readers flock to, because it will be common knowledge that PBG stories are faith-filled, entertaining, and every title is a mega-best-seller!

QPQ: What’s happening at PBG? Any current news you’d like to share?

NM: Oh, always! Right now, though, we’re getting ready to launch a new imprint. Pure Amore is the first romance imprint to promote abstinence. It’s an awesome book-of-the-month club, and I can’t wait to get the books into readers’ hands.  (We also have a charity project in the works and a new series that will be open to all…but that’s all hush-hush for now!)

QPQ: How exciting! Great things are in store for readers and authors at PBG. As we conclude, is there a question you wish I’d asked?

NM: Hmm. You’ve done a pretty thorough job, already. Let me think. (Jeopardy! musical interlude) Nope. Still can’t think of anything.

QPQ: Thank you so much for being with us, Ms. Martinez. We anticipate Pelican Book Group’s continued success!

NM: Thank you! I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.

Nicola Martinez, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at Pelican Book Group, is blessed to work with a group of talented authors and staff.

Jericha Kingston



Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Interview


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Parenting and Apollo 13

Untitled design (2)Do you remember the movie, Apollo 13? There’s this scene where the astronauts are headed back to earth and have to perform a manual course correction. The plan is to burn the engines for 39 seconds while keeping the earth in the window, thus ensuring they’re headed in the right direction. Sounds simple enough, right? But then, they light the engines, and their ship dances around like an ADHD 4-year-old on Kool-Aid and cupcakes. For 39 seconds, they shift up, shift down, move this direction and that, while the earth goes in and out of view. And just at the last second when you think there’s no way they’re going to get their ship pointed in the right direction, the earth settles in the window, and they turn off the engines.

Sometimes, that’s what parenting feels like. You look at your tiny baby, look at your spouse, and say, “All we have to do is keep our eyes on God. Teach this little guy about the Lord, teach him Scriptures, teach him to pray. Get him educated and grow him strong. Ready and . . . go!

And then it’s 18 years of: “More church. Wait, that’s too much. Too busy. Back off. Read him Scriptures. Uh-oh, he’s rolling his eyes. Look for life lessons to teach. Wait, more Scriptures. Stop yelling. Oh, wait, that’s me. Less of this, more of that, get the Lord back in the window . . .” And then, God-willing, just as you’re ready to send them off on their own, they get it figured out. At least that’s the prayer.

I’m still in that crazy time, trying to figure out parenting. Just when one thing starts to work, another thing falls apart. What works for one kid sends another into a tailspin. I try, I fail, I yell, and I spend a lot of time—a LOT of time—in prayer.

If you’re in the throes of parenting and it feels like that 39 seconds on Apollo 13, you’re not alone. Find other parents to share your struggles with and pray a lot. If you’ve raised your kids, you might consider offering help, counsel, or prayer for a younger couple. And if you don’t have any kids, please hold back your judgments. The vast majority of us are doing our best, and it’s a lot harder than it looks.

Do you have any parenting advice to share today?

Have any parenting stories you’d like to share?


Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. She is the author of two books, Faith House and One Christmas Eve, both Christmas stories. Read excerpts and find out more at her website.


Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Parenting, Robin Patchen


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New Digs

2014, 08-25 New DigsMoving is exciting, exhausting, and full of expectation.

We’re excited to make the new place our home. The place we can invite our friends and family into. The place to hold our treasured book collections. The place we feel safe, secure, and free to be ourselves.

We’re exhausted from packing, sorting, cleaning, painting, hauling, resorting, unpacking, recleaning… you get the picture. It’s easy to forget the amount of work a move requires until the back pains and banged shins show up.

But we’re loaded with expectations of every good thing that can and will happen here. Here we’ll have more space – or less space to keep clean. We’ll have a better neighborhood – or no neighbors at all. We’ll have a huge yard and garden – or nothing that needs outside work. We’re closer to work – or off the grid. In short, this place will be perfect.

The Quid Pro Quills are happy to be in their new digs. We spent our first year with another web host company, but now we’ve made our home here at WordPress. As we can, we’ll be moving over all our old posts to this new site. And as always, we’ll be uploading new posts every week, and adding more author chats, book reviews, and photos as we can.

We’ve always got the coffee pot on, some hot water for tea or cocoa, and a cooler full of iced cola. The book shelves are full. The chairs are comfy. You’re welcome here! Make yourself at home.

~Pegg Thomas

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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Pegg Thomas


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Upcoming Writers Contests for Fall 2014!

2014 Hot Prospects Contest

2014 Hot Prospects Contest

Sponsor: Valley of the Sun Romance Writers Old Typewriter

Looking to sign your first book contract, switch from a small press to a large publisher or simply explore another genre of romantic fiction? Turn up the heat on your writing career with the Hot Prospects Contest.


Grand Prize Winner

  • The grand prize winner of the contest will have their entire manuscript (400 pages, Courier, 12pt, Double spaced) reviewed by two professional editors at Novel Needs


Valley of the Sun RW Members

  • $25

Non-Chapter Members

  • $30


Postmark Deadline: September 1st, 2014

E-Submit Deadline: September 1st, 2014


The Hot Prospects Contest is open to any work uncontracted and unpublished at the time of entry.


Trained judges for preliminary round, Editors for final round.

Single Title Contemporary-

Romantic novels released as individual titles, not usually part of a series. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.

  • Editor – Sue Grimshaw, Random House
  • Assistant Editor – Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks, Inc

Romantic Suspense-

a suspense/mystery/thriller plot is integrated within a romantic novel. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.

  • Editor – Associate Editor- Lauren Plude, Grand Central Publishing
  • Editor -Tera Cuskaden, Samhain


Romantic novels set in a time period prior to 1945. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.

  • Senior Editor – Esi Sogah, Kensington


Futuristic, fantasy, or paranormal elements are integrated within the love story. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.

  • Editor – Editorial Assistant –Kristine Swartz, The Berkley Publishing Group
  • Editor – Amy Stapp, Tor /Forge

Those entries that do not final will be returned approximately October 30th, 2014 to help those who plan to enter RWA’s Golden Heart.



  • Your synopsis should be between 3-5 pages.


  • Up to 25 pages of your manuscript.

Total Submission

  • Entry should be 30 pages max.  Entry or synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.

Category Information

  • The same entry cannot be placed in more than one category.  Contestants may submit more than one entry in a category or enter multiple categories, but each entry must be accompanied by a separate Entry Form and Fee.


Each entry will be judged by two trained judges in the preliminary round. Judges are published and unpublished authors who have been through the chapter training for contest judging. The preliminary judges are encouraged make comments directly on the manuscripts or in the electronic files and each will provide a score sheet to be attached to the manuscript for return to the contestant.

The total number of points possible is 65. If the preliminary scores for any entry vary as much as a 26 point spread, the entry will be judged a third time and the lowest score (of the three) will be thrown out.

For more information on how to enter and submit your manuscript to the 2014 Hot Prospects Contest click here.


We’re looking for short stories! Think you can write a winning story in less than 1,500 words? Enter the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference! The winning entries will be on display in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

Wondering what’s in it for you?

  • A chance to win $3,000 in cash
  • Get national exposure for your work
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference

Early-Bird Entry Deadline: November 17, 2014

Entry Deadline: December 15, 2014

One First Place Winner will receive:

  • $3,000 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

The Second Place Winner will receive:

  • $1,500 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

The Third Place Winner will receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

Fourth through Tenth Place Winners will receive:

  • $100 in cash
  • Their short story titles published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015Guide to Literary Agents

Eleventh through Twenty-Fifth Place Winners will receive:

  • A $50 gift certificate for
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection

Early-Bird Entry Deadline: November 17, 2014

Entry Deadline: December 15, 2014

For more information on how to enter the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition click here.



Have you ever had a eureka moment? Tell us about it.

Think back on the instant when everything became clear. The split second when you realized that you had chosen the right career. Or the moment when you knew that your dearest friendship would last forever. Whether your epiphany changed your life or just made your day, write it down and share it with us.

Enter Real Simple’s seventh annual Life Lessons Essay Contest and you could have your essay published in Real Simple and receive a prize of $3,000.

Send your typed, double-spaced submission (1,500 words maximum, preferably in a Microsoft Word document) to

Contest begins at 12:01 A.M. EST on May 9, 2014, and runs through 11:50 P.M. EST on  September 18, 2014.

All submitted essays must be nonfiction. Open to legal residents of the United States age 19 or older at time of entry.

Void where prohibited by law. (Entries will not be returned.)

Essays should be submitted in English at a maximum of 1,500 words and typed and double-spaced on 8½-by-11-inch paper. Essays exceeding this length or handwritten may not be considered. If submitted by e-mail, we prefer that you send the essay in a Microsoft Word document; however, we will also consider essays that are pasted into the body of the e-mail itself.

Also be sure to include your name, address, and phone numbers (home, work, cell) in the body of the e-mail and on any copies or attachments of the essay itself.

Here are a few pointers from the Real Simple editors who judge the contest.

  • Stick to the theme of the contest. Sounds obvious, right? But every year we get many entries that diverge—sometimes wildly—from the stated topic. You may have an amazing essay in the bottom drawer of your desk, but if it doesn’t cover the contest theme, it’s not going to win.
  • But don’t feel the need to parrot back the exact wording of the contest theme in your essay. For example, if the theme is “What was the most important day in your life?” try not to begin the piece with “The most important day of my life was…”
  • Check your spelling. Double-duh, or so you’d think. But as many as one in five entries has multiple misspellings.
  • Avoid clichés. (And please don’t try to work the phrase ‘real simple’ into your essay. It almost never works.)
  • Try writing on a less-expected subject. Many submissions cover similar ground: pregnancies, weddings, divorces, illnesses. Many of these essays are superb. But you automatically stand out if you explore a more unconventional event. In one year’s batch of submissions, memorable writers described the following: a son leaving for his tour of duty; getting one’s braces off; and learning that an ex-wife was getting remarried.

For more information about Real Simple’s Seventh Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest, fees and how to enter click here.

~ Kara Hunt

PHOTO CREDIT – stock.xchng


Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Kara Hunt, Writing Contests


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All Things

kid_made_cardA while back, my youngest son came down with the flu. As I sat with him on the couch, gently rubbing his back and bemoaning the fact that he was sick, I was reminded of the verse in Romans that tells us that God works all things together for good. But how, I wondered, could anything good come out of this but for him to be well again?

As the day progressed, my daughters prayed for their brother numerous times. They made him get well cards. They wanted to sit beside him on the couch so they could comfort him too. And the answer to my question was clear. These tender little moments would have been missed if he hadn’t been sick. God gave me a glimpse of how He’s working through my children, and I’m grateful. God is always at work, sometimes in ways we wouldn’t expect, but always, truly, working things for our good.

~Marge Wiebe

Find Marge on Facebook

Photo courtesy of Morguefiles

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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Marge Wiebe


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Releasing This Christmas – Silver White Winters!

I’m excited to announce my next Christmas novella Silver White Winters will release with White Rose Publishing later this year as part of Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Extravaganza!

Here’s a sneak peak into the story.

          She thought she had it all. Until she discovered the treasures in the snow. 

          Country music singer/songwriter Raelynn Rivers is a has-been. According to the latest gossip magazines, that is. Her last number-one hit was six years ago, and her songwriting ability has vanished. Her foundering career is all she has left, and she’s determined to once again hold the title of “Country Music Queen.” But Raelynn’s dreams are derailed when a coal mine collapses in her home town of Eve Hollow, West Virginia, trapping her daddy and brother inside.

            The man in charge of the mine rescue is Lane Ryan, her childhood best friend and the former fiancé she abandoned twelve years ago for her career. In the snow-covered mountains of Appalachia, Raelynn reconnects with family and rediscovers her musical abilities—and her faith. And no one has inspired her more than Lane. She’s finally ready for a relationship, but the secret Lane carries around is as big as Coal Mountain.

            Will Raelynn sacrifice her title, or say goodbye to Lane forever?

Watch for Silver White Winters this holiday season!

~ Candice Sue Patterson

My Blog

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Amazon Author Page



Author of Bright Copper Kettles

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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Candice Sue Patterson


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Author Chat with Dawn Crandall

Dawn Crandall’s debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress, released on August 1st. You can read my 5-star review of this excellent book on The Sheepish Scribe.

Today we welcome Dawn to the Quid Pro Quills to talk to us about her book.

QPQ – What is the single most exciting thing about releasing your first novel into the world?

DC – Wow, exciting?? Everything! Having readers!! I love to hear from readers―to find out what they thought about Nathan and Amaryllis’s journey throughout the pages. I also love to find out what parts/quotes stuck out to them.

QPQ – I can only imagine. And now the flip question, what is the single most frightening thing about releasing your first novel into the world?

DC – My answer’s the same―everything! Just today, I was wondering what I was ever thinking to wish for the stress of NOT KNOWING ANYTHING! That’s what happens when your book is published. It’s like letting a caged bird free… Some will think it’s beautiful, some might think it’s ugly, but regardless, it’s out there flying free for anyone who decides they want to read it!

QPQ – Your characters have such interesting names. How did you come up with Amaryllis Brigham and Nathan Everstone?

DC – I saw the name Amaryllis while stuffing envelopes full of information requested by perspective students while I attended Taylor University. Later that year I was still searching for my heroine’s last name. I saw the name Brigham on a wall hanging at one of my friends’ house and decided it was perfect. The craziest thing about this is that five years later my boyfriend/future husband lived in that same room! I totally made up the name Everstone that same year (1998, if you must know!) because I thought it sounded strong. I chose the name Nathan for my hero because it’s in my husband’s name, Jonathan.

QPQ – I love that your hero’s name comes from your husband’s name. That’s so sweet. All good heroes have a weak point or a blind spot somewhere. What is Nathan’s Achilles’ heel?

DC – I love this question! Because The Hesitant Heiress is written from first person POV of only Amaryllis Brigham, the reader gets to know him from his association and interaction with her. I don’t want to give too much away, but I think it’s safe to say that Nathan Everstone, at least near the beginning of the book, has a pretty inflated ego. Coming from the family that he does, it isn’t surprising! But really, falling in love with Amaryllis sure did end up as a lesson in humility for that man. He’s never had I work very hard for the attention of any woman… so he’s at quite a loss when it comes to her!

QPQ – What is it about Amaryllis that readers will relate to?

DC – I believe The Hesitant Heiress is written very honestly, almost transparently, when it comes to delving into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of Amaryllis Brigham. I tried very hard to make this so, because I wanted the reader to know what it felt like to be her. The reader begins the story finding that Amaryllis is filled with fear about the future. She’d nervous about associating with new people of a higher class than she and has a difficult time believing anyone will ever value her because of the ways she’s felt abandoned and unimportant over the years. One of my favorite parts about writing a book is executing the character’s journey and spiritual arc. I think readers will definitely be able to relate to Amaryllis, no matter where they’re coming from in life.

QPQ – Your setting in the story is very well done. What drew you to this particular time period and this location?

DC – Thank you! I can’t lie, I love the buildings of that era (1890, The Gilded Age), as well as the dresses! And the civility! And the manners! The expectations! But what I love the most is that people back then were just like us, only trapped at a different place in time. I think people nowadays like to imagine that people were better back then because of the strict ways of society, but that isn’t true. And I love the idea that, yes, there were “rules” for society and “good people” in certain situations… but that doesn’t mean they were obeyed to the every letter. Not that they were purposefully broken by everyone, but that things just didn’t always work out the way the rulebook demanded.

QPQ – I’m excited that this is the first book in a series. Can you tell us who the main characters are in books two and three?

DC – The main character in The Bound Heart is Amaryllis’s friend, Meredyth Summercourt. She’s a fiery redhead with certain plans for her future–a future she’s convinced she deserves because of past mistakes. However, her hero isn’t who she suspects at all… at least until chapter one of her book!

The Captive Imposter is about Nathan Everstone’s youngest sister, Estella. She, too, has had her heart set on someone—someone who has always seemed perfect in every way. But eventually, after years of pining, she realizes how wrong she’s been… and that what she’s really been doing was fooling herself. How could she ever trust her heart again after being deceived so easily for so long?

QPQ – I’m looking forward to both of those stories!

The entire first chapter of The Hesitant Heiress is available to read on-line. I highly recommend our readers check it out! Where else on the web can readers connect with you, Dawn?

Author Website

Thank you for joining us today, Dawn. I know readers are going to enjoy this story and those to follow. Write on!

Pegg Thomas

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Posted by on August 16, 2014 in Author Chat


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