Glynis M. Belec Author Headshot

Glynis M. Belec

Welcome, Glynis! Tell our readers, who is Glynis M. Belec?

I wonder that myself some days. The first thing for sure, though – I am a child of God. It took me a while to realize this, but now I also love the God nudges and the way He reminds me to pay attention to daily blessings.
Some call me an award winning writer and children’s author just because I’ve won a few contests and I have some pretty ribbons, plaques and fancy scrolls in frames on my wall.

One thing – I cannot imagine a world without little people to inspire and bless me. I have lived in Drayton with my happy hubby, for almost 30 years. I got my first big break and my real start in writing professionally writing a weekly column – Sugar and Spice – in the Drayton Community News. I approached the editor with knees-a-knocking. But she apparently liked what I had to say, because I ended up writing that column for over 11 years. The word spread and the same column was picked up in another nearby town for 8 years – kind of like mini-syndication!

I also write devotions, short stories, blog posts, magazine articles for children and big people and most of all, I rejoice daily because I am constantly reminded about God’s amazing grace and His unconditional love.

I was a private tutor for over 18 years but last year, I had to give that up because I needed to convert my classroom to a ‘granddad’ apartment for my 89 year old Poppa Bear after his heart attack. I sure do miss my students but thankfully, I still manage to surround myself with children at every opportunity. Oh how I love to collect story-fodder from the everyday. It’s amazing where and when inspiration comes.

Sorry – I’m rambling. Next question?

How long have you been writing?

Okay, that’s an easy one. I am almost an antique. I started writing, seriously, almost 30 years ago. At least, that was my first paying gig. I had won first prize in a county-wide writing contest that I saw posted in a local library so it started me thinking that maybe people might want to read what I have to write. I was head over the heels thrilled and when we relocated to Drayton, I happened upon a 12-week course for freelance writers. I was hooked.

Why do you write?

I write because my momentum needs momentum. Seriously, I have this deep inner longing to write and nothing else satisfies it. I can’t really say I have ever had writer’s block. My problem is time and opportunity. I have a lot of personal issues going on in my household that draws me away often from my office. It’s okay, though. I’m not complaining. The way I see it is God’s timing is perfect. One day I will be able to spend long, uninterrupted hours at my desk, proffering forth paragraphs to my heart’s content. Until then, I keep reminding myself that I write when I can for God and I write because it allows me to share my heart. I like to think I don’t write for monetary gain, but I think many writers know that this is not always a good reason to write! I write for children because I love to see children smile and laugh and escape and fall in love with words. Nothing warms my heart more than when a Mom sends me a quick note telling me one of my books is their child’s favourite! Can you hear me purring?

 

What do you write?

I love writing for children. I especially love writing picture books with purpose. When I say ‘with purpose’ I don’t mean preachy. What I like doing is getting inside a child’s head and figuring out what they might be dealing with and then write something about that. I LOVE humour. I love to laugh and I love to make others laugh – probably about time I grew up, but I find staying a little child-like makes me less stressed and more focused on my passion.

I also write a lot of short stories for anthologies such as the Hot Apple Cider series and the Chicken Soup books. Writing devotions, too, is a good way for me to practice writing tight while focussing on passing on God’s word.

Presently I am working on a devotional, inspirational book for women called Help! I Need a New Fig Leaf. I’m really excited about that. I am not sure if I will publish it through my own Angel Hope Publishing company or if I will seek a traditional publisher.

I have a tween book in the offing, too. It’s the first book in my Stone Angel Series and it is called Broken Wings. I really need to blow the dust off this manuscript and resume high speed.

As well as all of these, I periodically write magazine articles and I have a regular column in a writer’s magazine and a faith article in a local newspaper.

I hear you have a bit of a speaking platform. Can you tell us about that?

I sure do. I have been speaking for a few years now and I love it. I have always been a bit of a drama queen (my husband bought me the sign) and no stranger to the amateur theatre stage, but that was with rehearsed lines and a memorized script. That I could handle no problem.

After my cancer journey – or maybe I should say during – God got hold of me and seemed to be stretching me and refining me for something very cool (bald joke intended). I wasn’t wise about it at the time but I had a wonderful girlfriend in Florida who called me often and helped me through much. She told me, one day when we were chatting on the phone, she had felt God tell her to tell me (kind of like a prophecy) that I would soon be writing and speaking about my journey and how God was working in my life. At first, I laughed. Then I learned that I shouldn’t laugh at God.

[Tweet “At first, I laughed. Then I learned that I shouldn’t laugh at God. – @GlynisMBelec”]
I regularly speak to women about Hope (my favourite topic) and other subjects – usually joyful, upbeat, and hopefully, inspirational. Sometimes I speak about my cancer journey and then share how God always has our backs. I really like leading writing workshops and talking about my books and for a while now, I have been speaking in schools to children about reading & writing. My favourite children’s workshop is called, Writing Rocks!

Did I hear you have a publishing company?

You heard correctly. ANGEL HOPE PUBLISHING is my baby and I love it I don’t advertise it a lot because I am afraid that it might get too much for me to handle and I don’t ever want to lose what writing time I can squeak in each day. My daughter, Amanda, works for me a few days a week and she is my great graphic designer and bookkeeper. We make a good team but she also works in a sign shop so I can’t have her full time! Angel Hope Publishing has a definite criteria for publication.

Do you have any advice for writers?

I really love teaching new writers and encouraging them in their craft. I remember what it was like going it alone in ‘the olden days!’ So here goes my three favourite pieces of advice for new and seasoned writers:

Never give up hope. Keep writing no matter what, if it truly is the passion of your heart. Even if you don’t think you are making headway, you really are. It’s called experience. Keep swimming!

[Tweet “Keep writing no matter what, if it truly is the passion of your heart. -@GlynisMBelec”]
Cut it down by half and leave nothing out. In other words, don’t fill your page with empty words. Keep the message but cut the fluff.

When you write from the heart, you touch other hearts. I have this saying on my website. Really listen to what God is telling you to share and then share it with all your soul. There is no better compliment about your writing than when someone says with all sincerity, “I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for speaking your heart. Your words touched me deeply.”

Thank you. Glynis, for joining us! If you would like to learn a bit more about Glynis M Belec’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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Ann-Margret Hovsepian Author Headshot

Ann-Margret Hovsepian

Welcome, Ann-Margret Hovsepian! Tell us, When did you decide to become a writer?

Actually, I never decided to become a writer. In high school and college, my only thought was to go into science, specifically chemistry. When it became clear in college that I wasn’t cut out for that I struggled to figure out what to do next. My first application to university was rejected so I looked for a temporary job while I reapplied and I landed at a small trade magazine where I was asked to take care of typesetting and proofreading. Within days I knew that I belonged in publishing, though I still didn’t have a specific career in mind. Four years later, at which point I was managing the editorial department and doing some copy writing, I decided to start my own business. I still didn’t think of myself as a writer, although my parents told me I was gifted in that area; I was going to offer desktop publishing, copy editing and proofreading services, writing freelance articles only as a side job. Nineteen years later, with over 300 hundred articles and four books published, it’s safe to say that I did eventually evolve into a writer, in spite of myself!

[Tweet “I did eventually evolve into a writer, in spite of myself! – @AnnHovsepian”]

That’s interesting, What is your favourite genre to write?

When I started writing regularly, most of my assignments were news pieces or profiles because I was most interested in periodicals and journalism was a natural fit. I never aspired to write fiction (and I’m still not sure whether I want to attempt it) but I did long to write more creatively and from my heart. As my writing skills improved and I started writing for less newsy publications, I had more opportunities to write editorials and devotions. I still enjoy writing profiles of fascinating people but my heart is really in writing devotions and Bible studies that will hopefully inspire and challenge the reader.

Are your books only for Christians or would other people also enjoy them?

My books are generally written with a Christian readership in mind but I always try to make sure that others who may pick them up will feel like there is something for them, too. I never assume that my reader is a Christian so I try to use language that reflects that.

How do you connect with God best?

Since I work at home and am alone for up 20 hours most days (can you tell I’m an introvert?), I have many opportunities to connect with God throughout the day. I often find myself talking to Him – about anything at all – since I have no one else to talk to and I enjoy that constant sense of His presence in my life. That’s been a very special blessing in my life and it would be one of the things I missed most if I ever found myself working in an office again.

How long have you known the Lord and what brought you to a relationship with Him?

I started attending church when I was a couple of weeks old but I decided to commit my life to Christ when I was seven, the morning after we watched the film “A Thief in the Night” at my church. Now you can guess how old I am! I lay awake all the night before, worried about what would happen to me if Jesus came back and I wasn’t ready to meet Him. I prayed with my father the next day and shared my testimony in church a few weeks later. (Let me make it easy for you: I gave my life to Christ on January 1, 1980!)

Which Christian author has influenced you the most?

I don’t even have to think about this one: C.S. Lewis. I was reading his books before I knew much about him and was always amazed by his wisdom and insights. Later in life I became fascinated by the man himself and it pains me that he is not alive so that I could go and meet him and talk to him. He has influenced me as a Christian and, I hope, as a writer.

What do you consider the best piece of advice you can give to novice authors?

As far as the craft of writing goes, my advice is to balance confidence with humility. You need confidence and courage to put your thoughts on paper but you also need humility to be open to direction and correction. Talent is important but it’s not enough. A major part of my success in being published comes down to my willingness to listen to and work with editors.
In terms of the business of writing, I always tell novice writers to be willing to invest in their careers – not only time and energy but also resources. Choose a writers’ conference that is right for you, making sure it’s one with good networking opportunities, and save up for it if you have to. Nothing beats meeting the editors and publishers who want to publish what you are writing.

[Tweet “I always tell novice writers to be willing to invest in their careers. – @AnnHovsepian”]

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

As long as it involves being creative, I’m all over it! I enjoy calligraphy, sewing, drawing, cooking, indoor gardening, decorating and all kinds of crafts. (Alas, I am inept at knitting and crochet!) I also enjoy reading, of course, live theatre and fluffy Hallmark films. On a more serious note, I am active in women’s ministry, both at my church and on a denominational level.

Thank you so much for sharing with us Ann! If you want to learn more about Ann-Margret Hovsepian’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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