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Monday, October 19, 2015


       Karen Walker joins me with a guest post as she stirs awareness for her upcoming novel which is now available (see details below).  As one of my earliest blogging friends, Karen has appeared on my blogs as my guest a few times.  She's back with some timely advice as we approach National Novel Writing Month in November.  And now here's Karen:

By Karen Helene Walker

Thank you, Lee, for hosting me today.
Writing a novel is the hardest thing I’ve ever tackled. No kidding. There are so many things you have to think about. First, you have to have a story that is of interest to some segment of the population. Then you have to have a plot with twists and turns that will keep your audience turning the pages. Then you have to have characters. Interesting characters. Characters with flaws. Characters that your readers will hopefully care about. And as if that isn’t enough, you have to be able to describe settings and show, not tell, what happens to these characters. And of course, your novel must contain similes and metaphors and other literary devices that make the story richer and more readable.
Before I wrote and published my memoir in 2009, I’d written essays and articles in my career as a public relations professional in the health care industry. Those things are so much easier than a novel. You think of a topic, you research facts and figures, you find an expert you can quote, you write a good hook, put in the background info, put in a call to action, if required, and voila, you’re done. I don’t mean to imply this kind of writing doesn’t require skill. It does. It’s just simpler than writing a novel.
My novel did require some research, especially in the middle section, which takes place during the middle ages. But my novel is not historical fiction, thank goodness, so I didn’t have to be accurate with details. For example, there are wishing steps surrounding Blarney Castle in Ireland, but the wishing steps in my novel became something altogether different. Still, I needed to imagine what life might have been like for a wise woman during that era when the Inquisition was happening -- not an easy feat for someone who has difficulty visualizing what isn’t there. When we were building our house in 1998, it wasn’t until the dry wall went up that I actually knew what the house would look like. See what I mean? Novelists need a good imagination. I had to work at this. Hard.
So, what did I learn from this experience? Several things, actually. One, when I set out to do something, no matter how hard it is, I do it. And that feels wonderful. So, if you’ve always wanted to do something, go ahead and do it. You won’t be sorry. Secretly, in the depths of my soul, I’d always wanted to write a novel. Just didn’t think I could. Well, I could and I did.
Two, there is always help when you are working on something, anything, if you’re only willing and able to ask for it. I had wonderful support from my writing coach, editor, Mark David Gerson ( Without him, this book wouldn’t exist.
And lastly, listening to the whispers (which was the theme of my memoir, Following the Whispers) is crucial to my well-being. Writing this book became a deeply moving and profoundly healing spiritual journey. I needed to write this book. And I am so grateful I did.
Here’s the scoop on the story:
Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia
“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”
Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess
Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.
“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”
Rev. Clara Z. Alexander

About the Author:
Karen Helene Walker is a widely published essayist and author of the 2009 memoir, Following the Whispers. When she isn’t writing, you will often find Karen performing in nursing homes and retirement communities as part of the Sugartime or Sophisticated Ladies musical groups, traveling with her husband of 20 years, Gary, or relaxing with a good book at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visit the author’s website at

The Wishing Steps is  available now in both print and ebook versions at: You can also purchase it as an ebook on Kobo, I Tunes, and at Barnes and Noble.

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  1. Karen, I love the things you point out you've learned from this experience. It just goes to show, you have to listen to those voices you hear.

    Hi, Lee!

  2. Hi Lee, thanks again for having me here today.
    Mason, I think it's crucial to listen - it's our inner guidance.

  3. Writing a novel is difficult. I was fortunate I had years of imagining what wasn't there.
    Congratulations, Karen!

  4. Now you see... I find writing fiction much easier than non-fiction. I guess it's because non-fiction can be so dry and impersonal. Plus I have an imagination that can often carry me away... (like Calgon!)

    Congratulations, Karen!

    1. KAREN, congratulations!

      Although I have a great imagination and have spent years in alternate worlds, I'm with you. It's so much easier for me to write non-fiction and for some of the same reasons you mention.

      Writing fiction is fun and sometimes not so fun--especially when you want to pull in all those layers for your reader.

      To write and finish a novel, is a big deal and to go through the editing process and put it on the market is something to celebrate! Congratulations again. Wishing you the best with this book!

      Sia McKye Over Coffee

    2. Sia, thanks for these words. You know you are in my thoughts and prayers. You made me cry again today on your blog.

  5. Yes, Alex, I envy those of you with wonderful imaginations.
    Ha, Bish, it's funny what comes easily to one is so hard for another.

  6. As long as we believe we can do something, we can. :) When I wrote my first novel, I was alone. Alone, alone. I didn't have a single person who could read it or offer advice. Many years later, I started blogging and found a great community willing to help me and that is priceless. :)

  7. Hi Lee and Karen - so interesting and useful to have you write about the way you coped through the process of writing, and what you needed to do to bring the tale to life ... it certainly seems like you've succeeded. Cheers Hilary

  8. Congratulations Karen. I love all the details you pointed out that goes into a novel. -- It is a lot!

  9. Chrys, I can't imagine doing something like this alone - we have an incredible community here
    Hilary, Tom Clancy says you're a success if you write the book, so yes, I feel successful
    Southpaw, thank you - it sure is a lot - not for the faint of heart

  10. I've written both, and fiction is very different from non-fiction. It takes a different mindset.

  11. Fiction and nonfiction definitely require different skill sets along with a love of words! :)

  12. Thanks for the insight of what you have learned from that first novel. I wish I could write novels but will leave it to the experts such as yourself. Lovely post Lee, thanks for having Karen on as a guest.

  13. Diane, you're right - totally different mindset
    Jemi, that's true - must love words for either
    nashvillecats, you're welcome - thanks Yvonne - how are you?

  14. Hi Karen Walker. I remember way back in the day when you were one of the first people to leave a comment on my blog. And there is not a great secret to writing as you stated. Finish what you started. Easier said then done, but perserverance is the key, regardless of the obstacles.

  15. Hey Stephen, that's right - we met in Dani's class!! A lifetime ago.
    Lee, thank you so much for hosting me today.

    1. So glad to have you at my place, Karen! Thank you for taking the time to be here.


  16. Karen, Great post! You're so right about writing a novel: so much must go into it and it is so much easier to write non-fiction. I think I have a novel in's just buried way way deep inside. Thanks for the encouragement to just do it already! Congrats on your book. That's fantastic! A great accomplishment. All the best,
    Michele at Angels Bark
    PS: Hey Lee :)

  17. So glad you persevered to see your dream become reality.

    And, yes, creating a world where there was none... hard!

  18. I so enjoyed reading about your journey Karen. And your book sounds intriguing! I agree. Writing a book has to be one of the most difficult things we will ever do. Just finishing calls for a celebration!

    Thank you Lee for hosting Karen and giving her the opportunity to share her book and her journey.

    Denise :-)

  19. Oh how inspiring! A book this terrific needs no best wishes but I send them just the same; in gratitude for sharing such a wondrous journey!
    And Arlee, thanks so much for sharing such a gem with us!

  20. Congratulations on your release, Karen! Writing and researching a book can be a long, strange, emotional journey, but it's always worth it in the end.

  21. Hi Arlee & Karen,

    Thank you for this post. I LOVE reading fiction, but writing it, intimidates me. This is just what I needed to read today. Thank you.


  22. Congratulations, Karen! You did it!. Hope you did an awesome happy dance when you finished that last page.

    And thanks, Lee, for hosting Karen today. I've been behind on my blog hopping (for good reasons, of course), so hadn't seen the good news.


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