Posts Tagged ‘Marsha Hubler’

Marsha Hubler

Marsha Hubler

Janice: Welcome to my blog, Marsha. Thanks for agreeing to do this blog-interview with me.

Marsha: It’s my privilege. Thank you for inviting me.

Janice: When I first “met” you via Helping Hands Press and your website, I realized you are a multi-published, multi-genre writer. Tell us what genres you write and how you came to each.

Marsha: I guess you can say I’ve been around the block concerning writing different genres. Over twenty years ago I started writing poems, short stories, and human interest articles for magazines, all of which have been frequently published. Ten years later after working on my craft, I had my first book published, DRAW ME CLOSER, LORD, a Bible study guide about prayer. I’ve also published YOU’VE DECIDED TO HOMESCHOOL, NOW WHAT?, a helps book for parents who are considering homeschooling their children. Next I moved into the fiction arena, publishing my eight-book tween Keystone Stables Series with Zonderkidz, which became a best seller. I also published three stand-alones: THE SECRET OF THE BATTY, RICKIE RIDES TO THE RESCUE, and THE SECRET OF WOLF CANYON. My latest publications include a three-book series, THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY and THE SNYDER COUNTY QUILTING BEE SHORT STORIES (SETS ONE AND TWO), fiction works which introduce readers to the Amish and Mennonite culture in Snyder County, PA. Right now I’m back in the tween fiction genre, working on another girl/horse novel, SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS.

The Snyder County Quilting Bee by Marsha Hubler

The Snyder County Quilting Bee by Marsha Hubler

Janice: That’s quite a variety of genres. In reviewing your book list, I noticed a definite interest in horses. What breeds do you have? Why do you base so many of your junior reader fiction on horses?

Marsha: You might say I was born with a silver stirrup in my mouth. I’ve loved horses as long as I can remember. Although I no longer have horses, I owned them for over twenty years (mostly Quarter Horses and Tennessee Walkers), overlapping the time my hubby and I had foster children. Thus, my juvenile fiction books all involve horses and kids. Many of the fiction stories are based on experiences I’ve had in the past. When you put kids and horses together, there’s bound to be a good story!

Janice: I believe it, and your books are proof. What’s your writing schedule / process?

Marsha: If I can write for four hours a day, it’s a good day. I’ve learned to write with noise in the background. My elderly parents lived with me for 15 years. My best hours are from ten a.m. to two or three p.m. I enjoy sitting with my laptop either on my sofa in the living room or on my back porch overlooking our yard that has a small garden pond with a little waterfall.

Janice: Sounds relaxing but I know it’s hard work. What’s your favorite part of writing and what’s the most challenging aspect for you?

Marsha: I love the creative process. I enjoy creating characters and breathing life into them. I always tell my conferees at writers’ conferences that good writing is 90% good thinking. The most challenging aspect is, of course, finding a publishing company that would be interested in my work.

Janice: That’s the truth! Tell us a bit about yourself and your life beyond writing.

Marsha: I enjoy gardening, shooting pool—we have a pool table in our basement—playing the organ in church, and reading the Bible and devotionals. I also exercise my thinking skills by playing Scrabble online. I try to keep in shape physically by exercising my fat four times a week on a treadmill, stationary bike, and playing ping pong. I have fat…but it’s in shape!

Janice: (smile) I’m with you there! I noticed from your booklist that you often write series. How do you go about creating a series?

Marsha: A broad outline with ideas for the beginning and end of each book is essential to writing a successful series. The publisher usually has its own ideas, as well, how to develop the series. I don’t know how anyone could write a series by the seat of his/her pants. Detailed planning of character development, plot structures, and story arcs for each book in the series is a must.

Janice: You write for both junior and adult readers. How does the writing differ for these audiences?

Marsha: Besides the length of the manuscripts, difficulty levels of vocabulary vary. As a Christian, I write with my Christian readers in mind, being careful to develop discreet scenes and use language that is not offensive at any age. My ultimate goal is to honor the Lord with my writing.

Janice: I’m glad to hear it, and I pray that God will continue to bless your writing. How involved are you in social media and what do you see as the assets / liabilities of these media for writers today?

Marsha: For the longest time, I tried to ignore the e-book craze and social media, but authors can no longer ignore the fact that the market has changed dramatically in the last five to ten years. I’m saddened at the closing of so many bookstores, which has made personal appearances for authors more difficult. However, the social media opportunities online have balanced that equation. An author who avoids the Internet has his head in the sand. Hundreds, even thousands of contacts can be made online in an hour whereas it would take months or years to meet that many folks in person.

Janice: So true. What kinds of books do you enjoy reading for pleasure? What are you currently reading?

Marsha: Of course, I like to read the genres for which I write, so over the years, I’ve read my share of tween girl/horse books and Amish fiction. My favorite book is the Bible (herein lie the words to eternal life), and I read missionary letters/periodicals and devotionals. I also read “how to write” books to improve my writing skills. I just finished reading SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and Dave King.

Janice: I have that book in my library too, a great resource. In your opinion, how important is research in fiction writing and how do you go about it?

Marsha: Although fiction is mostly “made up,” I believe an author needs to be as factual as possible with scenes, descriptions, and character development to be credible. I’ve done my share of research for all my fiction books. For example, I’ve interviewed firemen for a barn fire scene, I’ve questioned a veterinarian friend numerous times about health issues of horses, and I’ve quizzed some of my Plain Folk friends to the Nth degree to be accurate in my LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY books.

Janice: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Marsha: To improve their craft, beginning writers MUST be members of a critique group, either local or online, and they should attend as many writers’ conferences as possible. All writers at different levels of experience need these two helps to improve their skills and eventually be published. Even after twenty years of publishing my work, I still cannot say, “I’ve arrived.”

Janice: Thanks very much for this interview and for your helpful suggestions. It’s been fun to get to know you better.

Marsha: I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and your readers. I trust it’s been an encouragement. Thanks again.

Marsha Hubler, author of the best-selling tween Keystone Stables Series, lives in central PA with her husband and two dogs. Her latest published works, THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES and THE SNYDER COUNTY QUILTING BEE SERIES 2 SHORT STORIES, Amish/Mennonite fiction romance by Helping Hands Press, was created out of Marsha’s friendship with many Plain Folk who live in Snyder County. She has 16 books in print and dozens of articles and short stories.

 A frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, she has a passion to help beginning writers get their work primed for publication. Visit Marsha at her website, http://www.marshahubler.com and her blog that features writers’ tips for all genres and Amish and Mennonite traditions: http://www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

Check out Marsha’s social media links below:

WEBSITE: http://www.marshahubler.com

AUTHOR PAGE AT AMAZON:http://www.amazon.com/author/marshahubler  

MY WRITERS’ TIPS & AUTHORS’ BLOG: http://marshahubler.wordpress.com/

MY LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY FAN PAGE ON MY BLOG: http://marshahubler.wordpress.com/the-loves-of-snyder-county/

MY HORSE FACTS’ BLOG FOR MY FANS: http://horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/Loves.of.Snyder.County?ref=hl

PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/marshahubler/

GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/430566.Marsha_Hubler

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/HorseBookWriter


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In my Fiction Writing 101 series, I often refer to James Scott Bell and his writing books and tools, especially Plot & Structure. My copy is well-marked and highlighted. That’s where I first heard the differentiation between an OP and a NOP.Plot & Structure

OPs are Outline People, NOPs are Non-Outline People. The abbreviations are easy to remember but the meanings tend to merge into one another.

Are you an OP or a NOP? Or is this purely a matter of semantics? Do the NOPs just have an uncanny ability to keep their outlines in their heads while the rest of us have to record ours in black and white? I heard a fellow author on a radio interview recently say she writes the entire book in her head, then does a complete draft before committing it to paper. Whether we do so in our heads or on paper, outlining is essential to continuity, consistency, and the evolution of characters and action.

There are many helpful outlining methods available for use, or we can adapt them and create our own. Bell’s basic formula involves a step-by-step analysis of what you want in your story:

— main character

— what he or she wants

— main story conflict

— strong ending

Bell calls this his LOCK system, and I’ll let you follow up with his book.

I have also used a story analysis system called How to Find Your Story by Jeff Gerke, which has subsequently been revised into a book titled Plot versus Character. If the new volume is anything like the download I picked up some years ago, it will be full of charts and questions to help the writer establish the basic elements of the story and how they fit together.

file000474391001Another approach is the Snowflake Method, created by Randy Ingermanson. This is also available online (free) and is a valuable tool for plot creation and development. It involves recording the basic elements, then gradually filling them out.

di7eGA5i9A plot method I particularly like is The Plot Skeleton by Angela Hunt. My favorite part of this plan is how the “good” and “bad” plot incidents balance each other like the ribs of the skeleton. In a workshop with Angela, we used The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz as templates for the plot skeleton of a story. Both work very well.

I recently asked Marsha Hubler, author of tween horse books and Amish stories (as well as writing in other genres), how she goes about writing her series. She said, “Detailed planning of character development, plot structures, and story arcs for each book in the series is a must.”

So however you choose to create your stories, whether as an OP or a NOP, find a method that works and follow it to make this the best story ever.



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Marsha HublerAs I perused Marsha’s website earlier, I was amazed at how many books she has written and the variety of her interests. Marsha is an author and speaker from Middleburg, PA. Some pertinent information about her writing is as follows:

– Over 35 years experience with students of all ages, foster children and conduct-disordered youth

– Extensive work with homeschoolers

– Great love of and experience with horses

Writers’ Blog Site

Horse Facts Lovers’ Blog Site

Susquehanna Valley Writers Conference Blog

The Loves of Snyder County 1

The Loves of Snyder County 2

Some of Marsha’s many books are:

The Loves of Snyder County Series (Amish/Mennonite fiction for ladies of all ages)

The Keystone Stables Series (The books in The Keystone Stables Series introduce you to foster girl Skye Nicholson and her gorgeous Quarter Horse Champ as they face thrilling adventures with God on their side.)

The Snyder County Quilting Bee

The Secret of Wolf Canyon (A “Pennsylvania Woods Super Sleuthhounds” juvenile fiction mystery)

To see more, check out http://www.marshahubler.com/books.html

Here’s one of Marsha’s articles taken from her website  http://www.marshahubler.com

The Writer’s 14 Commandments

M.L. Hubler

Why 14? 15 are too many; 13 aren’t enough

(published in “The Christian Communicator” Oct. 2006)

  1. Thou shalt write every day, even if it is only “I AM A WRITER” 100 times.
  2. Thou shalt not quit thy day job but shalt write by the light of the silvery moon.
  3. If thou quittest thy day job, thou shalt be fully dressed, gargled, and at thy computer by 11 AM every day.
  4. Thou shalt love thy computer and kiss it good morning every day.
  5. Thou shalt not do other things before writing such as watching thy grass grow or brushing thy dog’s teeth.
  6. Thou shalt query an editor at least once a year.
  7. Thou shalt not smash thy computer after receiving thy first response from an editor.
  8. Thou shalt not take out a full-page ad in the newspaper to announce thy first letter of acceptance.
  9. Thou shalt make many copies of thy first letter of acceptance and frame them to hang in every room of thy dwelling.
  10. Thou shalt join a critique group and attend writers’ conferences to hold thyself accountable.
  11. Thou shalt not covet other writers’ million dollar advances.
  12. Thou shalt be pleased with thy check of $30.
  13. Thou shalt not quit thy day job but shalt write by the light of the silvery moon.

Also, please check out Marsha’s Writers’ Tips and Authors’ Blog at http://marshahubler.wordpress.com/

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