I’m so excited to be able to be a part of this special time in a fellow FWer’s life. Our own Lynda Lee Schab, former blogger here at the FW blog and FaithWriters’ worker extraordinaire, had her debut novel, Mind Over Madi, release from Oak Tara Publishing last week.

And Lynda has agreed to make a stop here for her month-long blog tour AND give away a copy of Mind Over Madi to one commenter. So here’s some info on her and her debut novel.

First, the back cover blurb: Madi McCall admits her husband lacks a little in the romance department, but all in all, he’s been a good husband, a good father. Now, though, she suspects Rich is having an affair with Fawn Witchburn, the mother of one of his fourth-grade students. To say Fawn shows of her “assets” more than should be legally allowed in public is an understatement, and Madi’s insecurities kick into high gear. When, in a heated moment, she asks Rich to leave and he complies, Madi is forced to deal with her issues. Issues of love and trust she’s tried so hard to avoid. Issues that trail all the way back to her childhood and make her act like a total moron.

What is Mind over Madi about? Tell us a little about the plot.

Madi McCall is a 38-year-old mom of three whose insecurities are destroying her marriage. When she suspects her husband Rich is cheating with the mother of one of his fourth grade students, she kicks him out of the house and he moves in with his bachelor brother. Madi is then forced to take a deeper look at herself and her insecurities. She does this with the help of a counselor, her best friend Sylvie, and a few cartons of Edy’s Dibs. At a 20-year get-together with former high school classmates, Madi runs into “the other woman” and things come to a head. It’s a lighthearted story about taking a true look at ourselves and accepting God’s grace when we think and do dumb things.

What do you want readers to take away from reading Madi’s story?

An understanding of just how infinite God’s love is. That no matter what we’ve done, God will never stop pursuing our hearts or desiring a relationship with us. His mercies are new every morning and His grace covers our weaknesses, our mistakes, our ignorance.

When and how did you get interested in writing?

I’ve always loved to read, which seems to be a precursor for all writers. I don’t remember exactly when I picked up a pen and started to write, but I remember writing a story in 6th grade called The Summer I Went to Honolulu (no, I’d never been there – and still haven’t!), complete with caricature drawings. I moved on to writing plays for my cousins and me to perform for our parents, then tried my hand at poetry. In high school, it was all about poetry – some of it was pretty good, but some was very, very bad. I still love to write poetry, but prefer to create funny, rhyming poems for retirement parties, milestone birthdays, bridal or baby showers, and other fun occasions.

What role did FaithWriters have in your writing journey/journey to publication?

Although I’ve been writing for a very long time, I’d sort of laid my writing aside for a time when my kids were young. When I decided to focus on writing again, one of the first sites I came across was FaithWriters.com. I jumped into the Writing Challenge right away and started placing well and receiving wonderful feedback. That was all it took to stir up that passion again. I volunteered as a Writing Challenge judge, served as editor for the FaithWriters online magazine (no longer active) and a message boards moderator. Over the next several months I met the most precious, sincere, and God-loving people, who offered encouragement, prayer, and friendship.

I entered Mind over Madi in the very first Page Turner contest and took 2nd place. I also built up quite a library of Challenge entries, many of which I’ve gone on to sell to national publications. About a year after joining, I was hired to do some freelance work for Scott Lindsay, the owner of FaithWriters, and I still work for him today, welcoming new members, writing the monthly newsletter, and other misc. writing assignments.

I always tell people that finding FaithWriters jump-started my writing career. I will always be grateful for that.

Can you share a bit about how you got to where you are now? How long did it take you to write Mind over Madi? How did you get your agent? Your contract? Etc.

It’s been a slow process, but looking back, I can see God’s hand in every step. It took me about four years to write Mind over Madi. The manuscript passed through the inboxes of many critique partners and went through scads of changes and rewrites. Once I typed “The end,” in December, 2008, it took about nine months to polish it and put together a proposal to submit to agents. I was offered representation by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary in January, 2010. After a year and a half of submitting to publishers, he called me this past June (2011) to let me know that Oak Tara wanted to publish my book!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

My best advice would be to put on your “patience hat” as this is a long and tedious process. Once that’s in place, start working on your platform. Build your circle of friends and potential readers through social networking, blogging, etc. Writers often find the marketing and publicity part of the business the most challenging, but it really is the most necessary if you want to sell your manuscript. And you never know who you might connect with who can help you or refer you or influence others for you along the way.

Another excellent piece of advice I received and would pass along to others is “apply the butt glue and just write.” We often spend way more time thinking about writing, talking about writing, and learning about writing, than we do actually writing. The only way we can truly be writers is if we site our butts in that computer chair and start typing.

How can readers connect with you?

My website address is www.lyndaschab.com. I also have a blog with various writing and reading-related material at www.on-the-write-track.blogspot.com. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Where can I buy Mind Over Madi?

My book is available right now from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com (click on either link to go right to the page to purchase it!)

People can also order it from their local bookstores (any bookstore should be able to order it from Ingram, the largest book distributor in the country).  I also have a book signing at the Grand Rapids Baker Book House on East Paris on Black Friday from 1-3.

Congratulations, Lynda. We’re ALL so excited for you! Be sure to comment on this blog post for your chance to win a copy of Mind Over Madi. Winner will be announced WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30.

LYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards  (Blue Mountain Arts, Dayspring)  and from there  went on to write  articles and short stories (Mature Living, Christian Home &  School)  and in many places online (including www.Examiner.com and  www.wow-womenonwriting.com), but  her passion has always been fiction.

Mind Over Madi, her debut novel, is near and dear to her heart.  Lynda admits  she has a lot in common with  the character of Madi. Not only are they both  addicted to ice cream, chocolate, and computer games,  they  struggle with the same types of insecurities and continually require a hefty dose of God’s grace.

Lynda works behind the scenes at FaithWriters.com and is a member of ACFW. She is a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com and is the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner and the National Writing Examiner for Examiner.com.  Mind Over Madi  received Runner-up in the 2007 FaithWriters Page Turner contest, was a finalist in the 2007 RWA Get your Stiletto in the Door contest, and won second place in the 2008 ACFW Genesis contest, Chick Lit category. Lynda lives with her husband, Rob, and two teenagers in Michigan.

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