What to do while you’re waiting: Meet Debut Novelist Myra Johnson

shapeimage_3 Christa and I are both recently home from the American Christian Fiction Writers conference, held in Denver, CO, this year, so I know she understands the “brain-dead” feeling of post-conference week!

 Yet here I am trying to come up with a witty guest post, so bear with me, y’all (yes, my Texas roots are showing).

 One of the things I love most about the ACFW conference is our time spent in worship and praise, and one of our worship songs was “While I’m Waiting,” by John Waller. The words were especially appropriate for a roomful of 500+ writers, because—published or not—a writer is always waiting for something.

 Our critique group’s praise (hopefully!!) of the pages we submitted.

 Manuscript contest results.

 A response from an editor or agent.

 That first (or subsequent) book contract.

 Five-star reviews.

 Making the best-seller list.

 Winning a coveted book award.

 For the advance check to arrive.

 For lightning to strike with the next great book idea.

 But as the song lyrics remind us, waiting isn’t static. There’s always plenty to do during that time, including worshiping our Lord, serving others, and generally keeping on with the business of living.

 Which is exactly what I had to do for the 25 years I wrote and submitted manuscripts and soaked up feedback from critique groups, editors, and contest judges. Despite regular publication in magazines and devotionals, my one big unfulfilled dream was a published book. So many times I thought about giving up—but look what I’d have missed! I’d never have seen the release of my debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, nor the next three book contracts that followed in quick succession.

 Wherever we are in our waiting—and whatever we may be waiting for—we must remember that God’s timing is always perfect. He is never slow, never late. He knows what is best for us at every stage of life. If we are obedient to the still, small voice of God’s instruction and direction, if we look to Him only for our fulfillment, our waiting will not be in vain.

 About Myra: Myra Johnson’s roots go deep into Texas soil, but she’s proud to be a new Oklahoman. Empty-nesters now, she and her husband share their home in Broken Arrow with two loveable dogs and a snobby parakeet. Her debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, released in September 2009 from Abingdon Press.shapeimage_2

She also writes for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line. Autumn Rains, winner of the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript, releases October 2009, soon to be followed by Romance by the Book and Where the Dogwoods Bloom.

Myra writes full-time and is active in her church as well as local and national writers groups. Myra and her husband have been married since 1972. The Johnsons have two married daughters and five grandchildren.

 About One Imperfect Christmas: Graphic designer Natalie Pearce will soon face the most difficult Christmas of her life. While taking down last year’s Christmas decorations, her mother suffered a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she allows the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves—most of all her husband, Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

            Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, and he wonders if the next Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.



Surrender the Wind . . .

A quick~match tale of unexpected love . . .

A fuse that burned rapidly …

In Bookstores Everywhere! After a harrowing escape from the British, patriot Seth Braxton finds his father dead at Yorktown. Now battle scarred and grieving, he endeavors  to settle down for a peaceful life along the shores of the Potomac by restoring the land his father loved.

Thinking he will forever stay in the secluded wilderness, he receives a message that he has inherited his grandfather’s estate in faraway England. Seth is torn between the land he’s fought for and the prospect of reuniting with his sister, Caroline, who was a motherless child at the onset of the Revolution, taken to England in order to spare her the horrors of war.

With no intention of making his stay at Ten Width permanent, he journeys to England to do his duty. When he arrives, he finds his sister in the throes of grief after being told her young son has died of a fever. In the midst of so much tragedy, he meets Juleah, the daughter of an eccentric landed gentleman. Her independent spirit and gentle soul steal his heart, and she becomes his wife and lady of the manor, enraging the man who once sought her hand and hoped Ten Width would be his own.

From the Virginia wilderness, to the dark halls of an isolated English estate, Seth inherits more than a crumbling ancestral home. He uncovers a sinister plot that leads to murder, abduction, and betrayal — an ominous mix that threatens to destroy his new life and new love.

Want to read the Prologue and Chapter One?

Click on this link for the pdf and satisfy your curiosity.


Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. Her fourth book Surrender the Wind, an inspirational historical romance set in Virginia and England, released from Abingdon Press in August 2009. “Romantic historical fiction is one way people can escape the cares of life and be transported back to a time of raw courage and ideal love,” she says. “The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite, and inspire them to live fully and gratefully.”

You can find Rita at:

Stepping Stones Magazines for Writers and Readers: DON’T MISS THIS BLOG! Rita is an amazing source of information. especially when it comes to marketing ideas. She not only shares ideas, she shares the “how to” of making an idea–like a book trailer–possible.

INSPIRE: The Musings of an Historical Fiction Writer: This is Rita’s musings as a writer. The pictures here are lovely!

Surrender the Wind: A Romantic Getaway: Read endorsements of her novel here.


By mid-July, the first print run of Surrender the Wind sold out before its offical release on August 1. Now in its second printing, Surrender the Wind is receiving excellent reviews. Check out the podcast interview with Rita on August 15, conducted by Rhonda Clark of  The Inkwell.

There are some heartbreaking moments, so be sure to read this book with a box of tissues nearby. Laura Hilton ~ Book Reviewer

Ms. Gerlach’s beautiful prose kept my mind in England at Ten Width as I cheered for the characters and their triumphs and cried with them at their losses. This author has got to be one of the best I’ve read in a long time. I will definitely be looking for more of her books! Jan ~ Katy Bookstore

Also recommended this month in ‘British Missives’ newsletter by Therese Stenzel

Mentioned in the February issue of Publishers Weekly: Abingdon’s new fiction line coming fall 2009