Grit for the Oyster

About the authors:

Joanna Bloss is the author of God's Gifts for the Grad (Barbour, 2009) and has written for a variety of publications including Today's Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. She is a certified personal trainer, graphic artist, and currently working towards her master's degree in clinical psychology. She lives in the Midwest with her four children. Keep up with her busy life at

Debora M. Coty is a seasoned raconteur (storyteller), a raqueteer (tennis player) and a racketician (loud laughter). Also a freelance writer and newspaper columnist, she’s had over eighty works published in international magazines, newspapers, trade journals and anthologies. You can visit her webwsite at

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results. A former contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today magazine, Suzanne's work has appeared in many magazines. Her first novel, Copper Star, a World War II love story, received three literary awards. Since then, she has published two more books and has five books under contract. Suzanne is a popular retreat speaker and teaches Precepts at her church. Find Suzanne on-line at:

Faith Tibbetts McDonald, a former contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today magazine, a newspaper columnist, freelance writer, professional speaker, and lecturer at Pennsylvania State University, received the Reader’s Pick award for an article published in Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Faith has contributed to numerous books including Women Ask, Women Answer: Questions Women Long to Ask, Answers They Need to Know (Thomas Nelson, 2008). Faith lives with her husband and three children in Pennsylvania. Visit Faith on Facebook.

About the book:

A powerful motivator for aspiring writers, Grit for the Oyster offers wit, wisdom, and inspiration to take that first step and persevere through the writing journey. More than a how-to, this confidence-building book is designed to draw readers to a closer relationship with God, to affirm their calling to write, and to offer pithy practical guidance from successful writers like Terri Blackstock, Martha Bolton, James Scott Bell, Liz Curtis Higgs, Dr. Gary Chapman, and Kavid Kopp.

I got the chance to ask them some questions, and this is what they had to say:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers is a powerful motivator for aspiring and experienced writers, offering wit, wisdom and inspiration to take that first step and persevere through the writing journey. There are many books that address the mechanics of writing and getting published, but not about the heart of writing.

Bestselling author Terri Blackstock calls Grit for the Oyster “A great way to start each writing day…a treasure trove of encouraging words for writers.” Award-winning author Ruth Ellinger claims Grit is “like the Writer’s Bible.”

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

We were motivated to write this book to share our learning experiences with others who want to write their own stories…maybe a memoir, or precious family story, or even a novel that is aching to be told. And by the responses we’re getting, there are lots of them out there.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

Our greatest inspiration was a scripture taped to each of our computer desks and included in the first page of Grit for the Oyster: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,” (Zechariah 4:10). When we hit bumps in the road while writing, or got stuck in potholes, we’d go back to this verse and break the intimidating task down into accomplishable, bite-size “small beginnings.” That’s great advice for writers, you know: write something every day; length doesn’t matter.

What are you currently working on?

Suzanne has a novel, For the Love of Dogs, due out in February. Following on its heels are four contracts with Revell/Baker, stacked up like airplanes waiting to take off. The first is non-fiction, Amish Peace in an English Life, and the following three are fiction books about the Amish (titles pending).

Debora is looking forward to the release of Billowing Sails (the sequel to The Distant Shore) in 12/08, and is totally excited about Mom Needs Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood, Regal Books’ featured Mother’s Day release in 3/09. Everyday Hope (Barbour Publishing) will follow in 8/09 and Barbour has recently initiated discussion concerning a book project for 2010.

Joanna recently pitched a novel and a non-fiction series to publishers and is completing them while awaiting replies. She has learned to be as productive as possible in the waiting time—“It keeps me from camping out next to the mailbox and frightening our mail carrier.”

Faith is waiting for replies from magazines regarding articles submitted for publication. She uses her waiting time to work on an epistolary novel with a co-worker and is also writing a book of personal essays entitled “Lose Weep, Find Keep.”

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

When writing, it’s wise to consider starting with small, achievable goals. Magazine articles, or a book with a small publishing house. Small presses can create wonderful opportunities to build your name, learn the ropes, etc. Many terrific books are published by small presses. Good things start small.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

The creation of a lustrous literary pearl takes time. And a lot of friction in your oyster. You can’t rush the process but you can prepare by learning what to expect (how the industry works), and how to deal with the fluctuating tides (success and rejection).

We asked scores of successful authors, publishers, poets, agents, and editors to share inspiration, helpful hints and writing tips with those just starting out. We posed the question: What advice would have helped you the most in the early stages of your career?

Grit for the Oyster is a book we wish we’d had access to in those early days. It’s full of useful information, real emotion, lots of smiles and a few tears, and most of all, encouragement from those in the trenches right alongside you.

What is your favorite past-time?

We’re a cross-section of Americana. Suzanne writes full time and Deb, Faith and Jo work full or part-time. All of us are freelance writers for magazines, newspapers and anthologies. Suzanne raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Deb’s an orthopedic occupational therapist, piano teacher, and tennis addict, Faith’s a writing instructor at Penn State University, and Joanna is a certified personal trainer and graphics artist. We are all moms and squeeze precious writing moments from full schedules. As you no doubt know, writers write. Even when you’re not physically tapping at the keyboard, ideas are marinating in your brain.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

All of us are speakers and would be delighted to share with writing groups, women’s events or civic organizations and can be reached via, our dynamic writer’s blog that is brimming with awesome tips and applicable ideas.

Debora (for southeast regions) and Suzanne (west coast) conduct critically acclaimed writing workshops for schools (kids) and adults, which are listed with other speaking engagements on our websites, and While you’re there, be sure to sign up for our free newsletters, which will keep you abreast of special events, contests and upcoming books.

Thank you SO much for having us! May you find lustrous pearl-producing grit for your oyster.


GRIT FOR THE OYSTER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on November 3 and end on November 26. You can visit the authors' blog stops at in November to find out more about their latest book!As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner(s) will be announced on November 30!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]