I am honored to have Elizabeth Van Liere as my guest today. We met each other, through our emails, as fellow authors with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Betty's writings reflect her wisdom and her wit, a winning combination. I am looking forward to reading her newest book, Dare to Laugh.
I know you will enjoy learning more about this delightful lady and her writings.
In Betty's own words:
On my last birthday I realized I was 91 and I decided I should start acting like it. But, Dare to Laugh, was in the process of being born, so I knew I had to stick it out a while longer. God has given me these many years and as long as I’m around I want to do all I can for His glory.
How and when did I begin to write? I remember writing a story in about the 4th grade. I had learned about slavery and so I told about a young girl in Africa. She was my age and was captured by slave traders. I traced her journey on a map in the back of my dictionary. What happened to her? I don’t remember. But I think she is the one who started me on my journey of writing.
How did I first become a published writer? In my early thirties my father-in-law underwent cataract surgery. He had to lie perfectly still, his head held by sand bags. His family drew for times to be with him to make sure he obeyed. I happened to draw 4 am to 8 am. About 6 am I began to feel drowsy. Roosters began to crow and my first children’s story woke me up. I sent off “Why the Rooster Lost His Voice” to Child Life magazine. No margins. Single spaced. Probably no paragraphs. What happened would not happen today. They bought it and my pen never left my hand from then on. Until the computer, that is.
A description: Dare to Laugh is not a joke book. The devotions show how it is possible to laugh after the death of a loved one, pain from betrayal of a friend, sorrow because a child has lost their way and for all the sadness life can bring. Yes, tears fall, but we can find laughter again when we know God is there beside us through it all.
Why did I write it? It happened because God has given me the gift of laughter and I don’t want to lose it by letting sorrow take it away. He is with us in our sorrow as well as in our joy and He understands when we hurt. Because of that I know all that happens to us can become a blessing to share with others.
I have an article due in “The Lookout” on Mother’s Day. I am writing and will lead a women’s Bible study for the next seven weeks. The title: “Dare to Die.” (Easier than doing another “Dare” book) My main object at the moment is to promote Dare to Laugh with the hope it becomes a blessing to others.
To all writers and would-be writers, “Don’t give up. God will surprise you.”
Join critic groups. Attend conferences. Dare to try.
You can connect with Betty through the following:
In 2014 I read some books that helped me to grow in my journey of faith.
Here are three you might like to consider: Click on the links to learn more about these authors and their work, or you can find their books on Amazon.
A small, but powerful book, Places People Pray will give you new insights into your prayer life. I like the print edition because Karen has provided journaling pages throughout the book.
Inspired by author Karen Appleby’s childhood experiences and new insights gained from a recent trip to Italy, she finally feels comfortable and blessed in her prayer life. Even though she served in ministry professionally for thirty years until her retirement and considers herself a spiritual person, prayer had seemed a mystery. Karen firmly believes that there are many people who struggle with prayer as well.
Think you’re too busy to study the Bible? And yet, do you hunger for spiritual “meat” that will help you grow as a Christian?
Enduring Faith, an eight-week Bible study, delivers the perfect balance of in-depth study and manageable homework. Written in a devotional style with real-life examples, each day’s reading is paired with discussion questions and space for journaling. You’ll answer questions like:
* What’s the difference between blind faith and enduring faith?
* How can I rest when my schedule is so hectic?
* How do I respond to the tests I’m facing right now?
* Am I trying to please God by following rules or by living by faith?
It is an honor to have Carol Bursack join us today. Welcome, Carol.
Thank you. I'm glad to be here.
Tell us a little about yourself. I’m an English literature major/ humanities minor who has worked in three libraries (one military, one academic and one newspaper). Like most other writers, I’ve also had many other types of employment throughout the years. A major turning point was when I became the unofficial primary caregiver for my completely deaf, 80-year-old neighbor. That lasted five years until his death. From then on it was caregiving all the way with my childless aunt and uncle, my in-laws and my parents. I’ve been self-employed as a writer since 2009. I’m single but in a long-term relationship. I’ve got two wonderful grown sons and a daughter-in-law who’s a dream come true.
How and when did you begin to write? I began writing as a catharsis after nearly 15 years of elder care. I still had three elders deeply dependent on me when I began writing Minding Our Elders. From my book came the newspaper column, then the blog and from there the articles for major websites. All are still going strong. Drawing from my personal reserve can become exhausting, but then I receive a wonderful email or comment from someone who tells me that what I said helped them. That energizes my core and I keep writing, hoping to touch just one more caregiver who is hurting.
How did you first become a published writer? The very beginning of my published writing appeared in humor columns for a local magazine. Later, I was a newspaper librarian and I kept trying to convince the then editor that the newspaper needed an elder care column. I was repeatedly turned down. I then applied for another job that paid better than the library but was within the same company. After seeing that I may leave my position as librarian, the editor said that I could write the column if I stayed in the library. That was in 2004, so this is an anniversary of sorts.
Can you give our readers a short description of Minding Our Elders? Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories is a portable support group for caregivers. It contains six of my own caregiving stories as well as interviews with 20 other caregivers. I purposely wrote the book in very short chapters since I’m only too aware that caregivers are often lucky to have time for a magazine article. Many people find one story that resonates with them and they mark and re-read it regularly. The book has been called a “lifeboat” among other things.
What led you to write it? I’ve always been a voracious reader and, at times, a prolific writer though most writing was thinly disguised fiction. As noted, my first bylines were for humor articles based on true life. They ran in a local magazine. After nearly 15 years of providing careg for multiple elders with varying needs, I was feeling the need to share much of what I’d learned as a caregiver and I also felt the need to connect with other caregivers. Not being a very social person, a book was the obvious vehicle for me to do just that. I began sharing through my writing and the results eventually turned into a book. Now, of course, over 2500 articles can be added to my published writing career. I must note that when I first tried to find an agent – ten years ago – I was told no one was interested in this topic. I still chuckle over that. I was just ahead of the caregiving explosion.
What are you working on now? I continue to write my weekly newspaper column as well as articles for major websites including regular articles for long-term clients HealthCentral.com/Alzheimers and Agingcare.com. I also moderate their community forums. I’m working on a second book based on my world view which has been largely formed by many years of caregiving and interacting with other caregivers.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers? It’s become far easier to be published in some form since the Internet has taken over as a chief form of communication. That’s part of the problem, as well. Too many people will write for free so getting paid is a challenge. Still, get your byline out there as often as you can.
Fortunately, self-publishing books has lost much of the stigma it once carried so that’s also an option. A word of caution: Make sure that even if you self-publish your work is worth your reader’s time. The more passionate you are about your subject the more likely you are to have an end product that shines. Use your background or specialized knowledge as part of the wisdom that you share with the world through the written word. This stands in fiction as well as non-fiction. Be authentic in what you do.
How can my readers find out more about you and your work? My main website is located at www.mindingourelders.com. From there you can go to my blog where nearly all of my work comes together. Links will lead you to the work I do for major websites. So, if your readers simply remember “Minding Our Elders” they can find articles and columns with very little digging.
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