Beyond the Fuzzy Orbs with Donna Wichelman

writing, publishing, editors, Christmas lights, fuzzy, manuscript, rejection, journey, joy, romantic suspense
Donna Wichelman
Light Out of Darkness

Donna Wichelman is our guest today on Thyme for Writers. Donna holds a master’s degree in Mass Communication/Journalism and worked in community and employee relations for ten years. She has authored short stories, essays and articles in various inspirational publications. She now writes novels and screenplays. She and her husband live in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Beyond the Fuzzy Orbs

By Donna Wichelman

Light Out of Darkness, writing, publishing, editors, Christmas lights, fuzzy, manuscript, rejection, journey, joy, romantic suspense
Beyond the Fuzzy Orgs
by Donna Wichelman

Before LASIK surgery at age forty, severe nearsightedness distorted my vision without corrective lenses. At Christmas, I saw an advantage to this condition when the tree went up with its strings of colorful bulbs. Without vision aids at night, the lights on the tree appeared as hazy orbs, blending together in a dazzling display of color. I could sit for long stretches of time mesmerized by the beauty.

Light Out of Darkness, writing, publishing, editors, Christmas lights, fuzzy, manuscript, rejection, journey, joy, romantic suspense
Beyond the Fuzzy Orbs
by Donna Wichelman

Yet my distorted vision kept me from viewing more extraordinary things on and around the tree. With my glasses, I could see the ornaments friends and family had given us, reminding me of dear ones who’d touched my life. Some ornaments had been collected from travels my husband and I had done over the years, invoking sweet memories. The Christ child in the manager under the tree centered my focus on the truth of Christmas and the purpose for which we gathered around the tree. Letting go of my distorted vision and putting on my lenses showed me the beauty, wonder, and joy beyond the fuzzy orbs.

The first time an editor solicited a manuscript I had pitched, my heart soared. When the manuscript went to committee, I knew it would be accepted and become a best seller. Months later, I received a rejection letter in the mail with constructive notes and the acquisitions editor’s good wishes. I felt crushed. My mother fell ill with cancer soon after, and I never implemented the changes.

writing, publishing, editors, Christmas lights, fuzzy, manuscript, rejection, journey, joy, romantic suspense
Light Out of Darkness
by Donna Wichelman

The first rejection letter was not my last. Over twenty years of writing, I’ve sold several personal essays, a couple of short stories and a handful of devotionals. Two years ago, I self-published my Christian romantic suspense, Light Out of Darkness, and I will have the sequel out next spring. In spite of modest success, I’ve also experienced much rejection and have even thought about giving up this seemingly hopeless cause.

Yet a writer’s journey is a little like finding the wonder and joy beyond the distorted vision of my hazy orbs. It took a while, but eventually I was grateful for that first rejection. I realized the onus was on me to keep honing my craft, never to be complacent about my work, to accept constructive criticism and throw out the chaff.

I also learned that rejection doesn’t mean I’m unworthy. My value as a person isn’t dependent upon whether my work gets accepted. I am much more than my writing. As a person of faith, my worth comes from my position as a child of God.

Ultimately, I’ve grown to understand that my purpose for writing isn’t about the glory, notoriety or money. I write, because God has laid it on my heart to bring people along with me on this journey of joy, wonder and discovery. If I’ve touched one heart, if one morsel of truth gets passed along, if one person was encouraged, then I’ve done my job. My hope is that you, also, will find the beauty beyond the fuzzy orbs.

You may contact Donna or purchase her books with the links that follow:

Buy Link: Amazon
Social Media Links:


On Writing Full Time with Jill Haymaker

I would like to welcome Jill Haymaker as our guest today on Thyme for Writers. Jill was born and raised in Indiana and Ohio. After high school, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado. Ms. Haymaker made her home in Fort Collins until her recent move to East Texas. She practiced family law in Fort Collins for the past 20 years. She has three grown children, a son and two daughters. She also has three granddaughters.

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
Jill Haymaker

Jill has always had a passion for writing. Colorado Sunset was her first full length romance novel in her Peakview, Colorado series. Her latest book, Colorado Summer Stars is the seventh book in the series. If you love small town romance, you will love the characters in this series. She also has had several short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul, the most recent in the book Random Acts of Kindness.

When not practicing law or writing, Jill enjoys The Colorado mountains, horseback riding, gardening, long walks with her Shetland Sheepdog, Laddie, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoys their numerous sporting events. She is also an avid football fan and can be found on autumn weekends cheering on her favorite teams. She has a passion for working with high school youth- she is a youth group leader at her church, coaches a high school mock trial team and is a volunteer at cross country and track meets.

On Writing Full Time

by Jill Haymaker

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
On Writing Full Time
Jill Haymaker

I recently quit my day job and moved to a new town and home, so that I could write full time. I was so excited. This would be great, nothing to do but write—all day, every day. But then the reality set in. I now had to figure out how to make a living writing. And how to manage my time.
Until now, my writing schedule had consisted of an hour or two here, an hour or two there. I soon learned, that if this was my full-time job, I needed to be more structured. I set up eight hour work days. Every morning I write for three or four hours, stopping every hour or two to stand up, stretch and take a short walk around my neighborhood, then I’m back at it until noon or after.

Most afternoons, I spend more time on marketing than actual writing. Back to paragraph one, where I said I need to make a living. I can’t say I’ve figured marketing out yet, but I’m getting closer. I keep trying new things, learning new techniques, and exploring social media for ideas. I now have time to read all those articles about marketing that I’ve saved over the years.

For the most part, I’m glad I made the leap. The solitariness of what I’m doing is hard sometimes. I need more interaction with the real world. On days when I feel isolated, I allow myself to take a day off. Last week I volunteered at a low income preschool one morning, and the next afternoon I helped cook and serve a meal at a homeless shelter. Both of these activities refreshed me and got me back to writing.

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
Thyme to Write

Sometimes I worry that my writing is not making a difference in the world, but then I read an email or review from a reader who says my books give them hope, help them to never give up on finding love or happiness. I hope they do that. It’s definitely the message I try to convey. Meanwhile, I now have a job that’s flexible enough to work in many volunteer hours. I feel truly blessed by this opportunity that God has given me and I intend to make the most of it each and every day for as long as I can continue to write. I truly love what I do.

You can contact Jill or purchase her Peakview Series with the following links:

Buy link:

Social Media links:






Goodreads: https://www/

Jill Haymaker, writing, full time, author, Peakview, Colorado Series, marketing, writing schedule
Colorado Summer Stars by Jill Haymaker

Colorado Summer Stars by Jill Haymaker

How did her relationship go so wrong? When NICOLE PHILLIPS flees San Francisco after her boyfriend’s jealousy turns violent, she doesn’t know where to go next. Out of a job and a place to live, she heads to the only place she feels safe—her childhood home in the tiny town of Peakview, nestled high in the Colorado Rockies. The one place she’d sworn to never live again.

RICK BRADY was a skinny, nerdy kid, earning him the not-so-flattering nickname of Scarecrow in high school. He’d been glad to escape his reputation and leave Peakview behind. When his parents’ health begins to fail, he returns to Peakview and opens his own veterinarian practice on their ranch. He’s never really been in love, unless you count that crush he had on the most popular girl in school from kindergarten through senior year.

Now fifteen years after they both left town, they are back home and searching for answers to questions they can’t define. Beneath the beauty of the Colorado summer stars, they reconnect. They soon discover that it’s not easy to leave the past behind. To move forward and find true love, they must overcome their insecurities and doubts and learn to trust again.
Come home to Peakview, Colorado where everyone has a chance at love.


When Cinnamon Bark Editors Bite with Kathryn Ross

cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
When Cinnamon Bark Editors Bite
By Kathryn Ross

I would like to introduce Kathryn Ross as my next guest on Thyme for Writers. Kathryn will be a monthly guest with her series, The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words.  Writer-speaker, Kathryn Ross, ignites a love of literature and learning through Pageant Wagon Productions and Publishing. She writes and publishes homeschool enrichment and Christian living books for home, church, and school. Her passion is to equip women and families in developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle, producing readers and thinkers who can engage the world from a biblical worldview.

When Cinnamon Bark Editors Bite
By Kathryn Ross
cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words

Crisp fall weather invites us to visit pumpkin patches and apple orchards, filling baskets with the raw ingredients for our favorite Autumn treats. The scent of applesauce and pumpkin pie fill our kitchens and warm our hearts with lip-smacking expectation for when dessert will be served. The intoxicating aroma of ground cinnamon bark wafts through the air while these traditional goodies simmer in a pot and bake in the oven.

cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
When Cinnamon Bark Editors Bite

Cinnamon is an indispensable spice for fall recipes and has been a vital ingredient in healing remedies from ancient times. Historical records from China include cinnamon in every prescription used to treat a host of infectious ailments. In addition, cinnamon acts as a stimulant to enliven a weak heart, lift depression, settle digestive issues, and as a tonic for treating the common cold.

Add a little cinnamon bark to your writing with the healing nature of an editor’s bite.

The Story
cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words
When Cinnamon Bark Editors Bit
Kathryn Ross

When we pour the raw materials of our story onto the page and stir it about, carefully adding the varied ingredients of our setting, character, plot, and literary elements, we need to taste-test with the help of a skilled editor. If you are seeking to publish, budget enough funding to pay a professional editor. Investing in a skilled editor prior to submitting to a publisher ensures your best work is put forth. Along the way, engage your writers critique group in the creative process.

The Editor

But, be aware—an editor may flavor your work with a pungent bite, just like cinnamon pervades whatever you add it to a with sharp zest.
You may wince at an editor’s advice when they red-line some of your pet paragraphs or favorite turn of phrases.

cinnamon, writers, spice, fall recipes, editors, healing, manuscript, pumpkins
Glass of Water
The Write Spice: Writing Tips for Flavorful Words

You may need to swallow the burn of raw cinnamon with a cool glass of water when the edit requires major plot shifts you had not anticipated.
You may grow weary of the tedious corrections of punctuation, point-of-view, and tense errors.

In the end, the sharp bite of an editor’s critique heals what ails your manuscript. You’ll have a healthy story ready for submission and be the better for it. Just as applesauce and pumpkin pie don’t satisfy without a generous addition of ground cinnamon bark, so too, your writing won’t be the best it can be without the generous critique of a good editor—the “write” spice for flavorful words.

Have you had a “spicy cinnamon” moment with an editor that made you wince at the sharp bite of their critique, only to ultimately swallow their advice and realize it was the best thing you could have done for your manuscript? Share what you learned from your experience.

You may contact Kathryn at:

LIKE my Fan Pages on FACEBOOK: Kathryn Ross
FOLLOW ME on TWITTER: @misskathypwp –

“Be blessed and be a blessing!”


The King and I with Diane Egge

I would like to welcome my next guest, Diane Egge on Thyme for Writers. Diane has had several poems, short stories, newspaper articles, and children’s stories published. According to Diane, she is currently being challenged by writing her first novel. Her frequently visited places include the back of her horse (especially in the mountains), behind the lens of her camera—still trying to take the perfect photo, playing the keys on her piano, or traveling with her husband to see their three kids and seven grandchildren.

children's stories, write, publish
How Many Cats Are in My Bed by Diane Egge
The King and I

by Diane Egge

God had Samuel anoint the young man, David, to be king over Israel. Being a shepherd and the youngest of eight brothers, I’m sure he felt awe, excitement, and confusion as to why he’d been chosen. Perhaps he had some unbelief also.

Thyme for Writers, Diane Egge
Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone
An Anthology of Wyoming Writers

God spoke to me that He wanted me to write. He said go to the local college and take creative writing classes. I did. I received all A’s, and I had some of my stories and poetry published. I had fun, and I loved to write.

David learned much about being a king by playing music in the courts of Saul. Then he proved himself as a warrior when he killed Goliath. Later, he led Saul’s armies into victory after victory. He seemed ready to be king.

God gave me a story to write. When I finished my first draft, I thought it was ready to be published. After all, God gave me the story, right? Wrong. I had not learned about POV, show not tell, and the many other things involved in writing a novel. I went into a season of revision.

When King Saul heard the people shout praises to the mighty warrior, David, he became jealous. He decided to kill his competition. David entered into a season of running for his life.

For both David and I, there have been obstacles and more obstacles. Even though mine haven’t been the life and death kind, they’ve still been discouraging. As the months turned into years, I’m sure David had some doubts about his calling, as I have. Did I hear you right, God? If this is you, why is it so hard and taking so long? Maybe I’m supposed to stick with poetry and short stories. After all, that’s what I’ve been successful doing. Success is the goal, right?

Yet, God’s answer to me is always the same. Write and get your book published. I’ve finally figured out it’s not so much about telling my story as learning to persevere and be obedient. David is my inspiration. He persisted until he became king.

Thyme for Writers, The King and I
Diane Egge

In spite of being stuck in revision, I still feel it’s fun to write. I’m thankful God has called me to create stories and put them on paper. Maybe this will be the year my manuscript gets published. If not, I will enjoy the journey.

You may either contact Diane or check out one of her works through the following links:

Facebook: Diane Egge Author

Single Mom Survival with Linda R. McCutcheon

I would like to welcome Linda R. McCutcheon as my guest today on Thyme for Writers. Her path to writing came about as she faced a new challenge in life — that of of single mother. Here is her story… . 


by Linda R. McCutcheon

Suddenly, I became a single mom with two young children. I was faced with going back into the workforce, healing my broken heart, and learning who ‘Linda’ really was. Many times, I was working two jobs, taking night school courses, and keeping the home together. Exhausted? You bet! Overwhelmed? You bet! Empowered? Absolutely. I didn’t think I would be single for twelve years and I had many discussions with God about that, but He knew best. Who would have thought I could take the battery out of the lawnmower, use a saw, or balance my little paycheck? I learned much from taking night school courses, but the most I learned was from the School of Hard Knocks knowing I could trust God to protect my little family. Keeping endless schedules, working full-time, and spending weekends alone were challenging. God kept saying ‘just hold on’. Because of that, the girls and I became a team. We still smile and talk about our family traditions. God did bring a wonderful man into my life because I trusted in Him to ‘hold on’. It was so surreal when my daughter and I were dating at the same time. Many days weren’t easy but hard work paid off.

Writer, Pen, Paper, journey, writer's journey, tips, write, author
Writer’s Tools

As a single mom, I began to put my thoughts on paper and little-by-little doors opened for me to publish articles for on-line magazines. I always have a piece of paper and pen handy because you never know when an inspiring thought might come! There was nothing more satisfying then to know I was encouraging and helping others as I told my story. I certainly didn’t know I had a gift for writing or how much I loved to express my heart through the written word. It was an amazing time for me to continue to heal and understand this new Linda. Because of my life experience, I help mentor women on-line, have a blog for single moms, and published a book to inspire those who are on the same journey. My greatest joy is knowing that God is using me to reach others all over the world reassuring single parents that YOU CAN DO THIS! and claim Isaiah 43:18-19.

Single parent, survival, writing, tools, tips, journey
SINGLE MOM SURVIVAL SUCCESS: Tools and Tips For The Journey

I have walked in the shoes of single parents whose path is tough, challenging, and many times downright frightening. These pages are written to encourage single moms (and dad’s) in their journey. For me it was the most challenging but most blessed as I choose not to be defeated. I share issues such as loneliness, grieving, contentment, making memories with the kids, forgiveness, and re-entering the dating scene. There are questions my daughters asked which will hopefully help in discussions with your children. You will find questionnaires to inspire and help as you move one step in front of the other. Hopefully this backpack of helpful tips can help you believe that YOU CAN DO THIS; not only survive but succeed!

Buy Links (e-book will be out in October)

1.Essence Publishing

Social Media Links

Bi-monthly Blog:
Facebook: Linda R McCutcheon

So Little Time to Conquer This Mountain with Candee Fick

writers, authors, resources, toolbox, encouragement, fun, romantic suspense, journey, writer’s journey, adventure, tips, direction, research, joy, funny, inspiration, thyme, time
Candee Fick author of The Author Toolbox

I am so happy to have Candee Fick as my guest today on Thyme for Writers! Candee Fick is a multi-published author in both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

So Little Time to Conquer This Mountain

by Candee Fick

Most writers fall into the “I wish I had more time to write” camp while those lucky few who seem to have plenty of writing time are still members of the “My To-Do list never ends” club. The pursuit of publication or a writing career can seem as daunting and exhausting as scaling Everest, but every year thousands put their fingers on a keyboard…only to discover—or rather remember—that everyone has the same limited amount of time in which to get it all done.

And by all, I mean life. Take me for example. As a wife and mother, my days get filled with cleaning, cooking, laundry, homework, carpools, and sports. Relationships with family and friends require regular interactions and if I’m not taking care of myself with enough rest, exercise, and mental growth, I can fall apart quickly. Add in a day job and my calendar is stuffed to overflowing.

Except I’m also a writer with a coaching business. I dream up adventures and arrange words on a page in order to bring characters and settings to life. Once those polished stories are in the capable hands of my publisher, I do it all again. It might be easy to squeeze in an hour or two per day before the kids get up or in lieu of television in the evenings, but crafting stories is only one side of this mountain.

time, mountain, writing, perseverence
So Little Time to Conquer This Mountain

The other side of writing’s Everest is marketing. It’s the side that beginning writers don’t see in the excitement of starting a book, but soon the rumors swirl as old-timers drop words like social media, platform, website, tax deductions, book launches, and blog tours. The faint of heart stick their fingers in their ears, yell “Lalalalala,” and revise their first chapters again or jump from idea to idea, never finishing anything. Those who are serious about writing perk up and listen for tips about how to navigate the trail ahead.

The Author Toolbox

There are two main reasons that I wrote The Author Toolbox. First was to share what I’ve learned the hard way so newer authors can work smarter as they build their books, platforms, businesses, and careers. But mostly, I wrote it all down in order to give writers hope. It’s a long climb, but there is a way to get there and you are not alone in the journey.

If you know what the next steps of your personal journey involve, then you can deliberately and strategically focus your limited time on the activities that will move you closer to your goals. Your writing goal this week might be hitting a first draft word count or editing another chapter. You might even block out an hour to pre-schedule the week’s social media posts or organize office paperwork.

We have so little time available to conquer the mountains in our lives, but my hope is that you find your next steps…then take them. Because the view from the top is worth every moment of work.

You may reach Candee or obtain her works at the following links: (shortcuts to a page on my site with the index of blog posts)
All of my books:
The Author Toolbox:

The Author Toolbox is filled with over 100 practical tools to help today’s author build a book, a platform, a business, and a career. Why? So we can get it all done while freeing up both time and mental energy to do the one thing we really desire…write.

Thyme for Writers

Thyme for Writers is a new blog series for writers and book lovers. As many of you know, my website focuses on adding spice to your life, whether it be with nutrition and health tips, delicious recipes, or through Hidden Bloodlines, my romantic suspense novel and associated adventures in creating it and its sequel.

writers, authors, resources, toolbox, encouragement, fun, romantic suspense, journey, writer’s journey, adventure, tips, direction, research, joy, funny, inspiration, thyme, time
Thyme for Writers
Adding Spice to Your

Most of us are writers in one form or another (whether by choice or necessity). The purpose of this series is to help you along the way with

  • tips,
  • direction,
  • encouragement,
  • inspiration,
  • the research and adventure behind some of your favorite works, or
  • just something interesting and fun to bring a smile to your face.

While I may be authoring some, my goal is to invite fascinating guests with different life experiences and areas of expertise.

The Author Toolbox
writers, authors, resources, toolbox, encouragement, fun, romantic suspense, journey, writer’s journey, adventure, tips, direction, research, joy, funny, inspiration, thyme, time
The Author Toolbox

My first guest will be Candee Fick, author of The Author Toolbox. She is the reason I am able to create and maintain my own website. As a genuine techno-idiot, I volunteered to be Candee’s beta test project. Our goal was to determine if it’s possible for someone like me to gain the skills necessary to build a website and how long it would take. Needless to say, Candee is a miracle worker. In fairly short order, I learned the skills necessary and have continued merrily on my way.

Candee is an incredible writer and teacher and painstakingly created a blog series meant to help writers in all stages get their work created and a website begun. She compiled and added to this series in The Author Toolbox. Keep in mind, the tools provided and skills taught aren’t just for writers of books. Many pursue different artistic careers and businesses, but in today’s business environment, websites and social media dominate the marketplace if you want to succeed. The days of the telephone book are over. The reality is that websites and social media require writing.

Where to Start
writers, authors, resources, toolbox, encouragement, fun, romantic suspense, journey, writer’s journey, adventure, tips, direction, research, joy, funny, inspiration, thyme, time
Candee Fick
author of
The Author Toolbox

There are thousands of writing guides and resources out there, but where should one begin? I have personally found that The Author Toolbox is the best first stop. Candee not only provides “how to…” information, but makes recommendations on easy to use resources to make life easier. On September 7 I am excited to have Candee Fick as my first guest on Thyme for Writers. Stay tuned… .

If you have something to share and you’d like to be a guest, please email me at