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Believe in Your Dream of Writing Your First Book

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Pedro Luis Adames Valdez, author of “ Times of Victory.” To learn more about this author visit his website, Facebook page or Twitter. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!


Follow Your Dream to Publish

WestBow Press gave me the ability to publish my first book. My initial thought was that it would be almost impossible for me to publish my story. I started communicating with John Limba and he encouraged me to take a leap of faith and embark on my self-publishing journey. I came to learn that there are many obstacles in the road to publishing your book. Not too long ago, only famous writers were able to publish their books. However, thanks to WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson, everyone is able to publish their books. It doesn’t matter where you live or what language you speak, you can follow your publishing dreams.

Embrace Your Story

Times of VictoryI was going through a hard time in life and on top of that I was struggling with the feeling of emptiness that was lingering from not having a father to mentor me while growing up. This resentment and lack of forgiveness made my life a mess. Soon, I started to search for healing inside myself and accepting the new life that Jesus provided me through his death and resurrection.

I began my writing journey and shared some of my thoughts with a few fellow ministry partners from Minnesota. When they read my work, they encouraged me to look into publishing my ideas. They believed somebody would be blessed by reading it. So I wrote Times of Victory to hopefully help others understand that they can live a victorious life. My wish is that they will rise above any hardships and struggles they will encounter.

I have come to realize that people often struggle to forgive and miss the opportunity to live life to the fullest and embrace God’s blessings. There is a story behind every obstacle you face. Once you accept yourself and start gaining the freedom that comes from a life where you forgive, you can begin again.

I Googled book publishers for awhile until I stumbled upon WestBow Press. I was impressed by WestBow Press and it definitely caught my attention that they are a division of Thomas Nelson. Readers know about Thomas Nelson because of the thousands of successful titles that have been published by them. I then asked myself why not to give it a try and see what God can do?

After Publishing with WestBow Press

I have received e-mails from readers all around the United States, some were housewives, bus drivers, bloggers, as well as others who have purchased my book and enjoyed reading it. There is no better feeling than receiving a note from somebody who just read your book. A school teacher from Texas sent me the following note:

Finished your book, Times of Victory. Thank you. God blessed me and challenged me greatly through your words. I am definitely recommending it to others.


Publish with WestBow Press

A dream that began while I was attending to bible seminary was then embraced by WestBow Press.  I truly believe WestBow Press is a gift from God. They are there to help aspiring authors to inspire the lives of people everywhere through the art of writing. A dream starts with a profound desire to achieve something. My dream was to write a book and my desire was to motivate people to become better and victorious. I encourage every aspiring author to allow WestBow Press to help you discover your dreams and let us all make an impact in peoples lives.

I hope you to write your story, share your thoughts and words of wisdom because you don’t know who you will bless with your book. It is not about how much money you can make but how many lives you can touch. Do not underestimate the power of your story, there are people waiting for your message. Your dream can become a reality through WestBow Press.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length

Interview with Jeffrey Donley

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Jeffrey Donley, author of The Counterfeit Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About the Birth of Jesus. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

  1. Tell us a little bit about your book. What inspired you to write it?

My book is titled The Counterfeit Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About the Birth of Jesus.  We all enjoy the Christmas season but lose sight of Jesus among the commercialization of His birth. God wants us to know the real historical truth about Mary, Joseph, and the Virgin conception of Jesus—for our salvation depends upon it.

jeff-donley-official-headshot-2016In my book I deal with three Counterfeit Christmases: the supernatural Santa Claus, a fabricated Jesus and virgin birth story to cover for an adulterous Mary, and lastly the counterfeit Christmas of nativity scenes that have a donkey, an inn or hotel, a mean innkeeper, a blue or white blanket, a warm manger crib with fresh straw, shepherds, angels, and three wise men who were kings. Do these sound familiar?

What’s real? What’s true? How do you know? In my book, I unwrap the real historical birth of Jesus.

  1. What are 5 things you’ve learned about self-publishing?

The first thing I learned about self-publishing is to make sure that you have thoroughly researched your topic. Secondly, make sure that you complete your manuscript before contacting the publishing company. Thirdly, you must find the best picture for your front cover. People do judge books by their covers! A fourth thing I learned, is to make sure that numerous people have read your manuscript for errors. And finally, I learned to be patient during the different stages of production.


  1. What do you love most about self-publishing and would you recommend it to other authors?

I like the fact that my work will be published to the world. I would recommend WestBow Press’s self-publishing to other authors.

  1. What’s your favorite social media outlet for marketing/promotions?

Amazon has great exposure, but I prefer television and radio to promote my book.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring authors is to write about what YOU know. Do not write about topics that you have no knowledge of, or experience in. When you write about what you know or have experienced not only is your mind in the process, but your heart is there too.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


5 Questions with Tracey Casciano, author of “Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  features guest posts and brief interviews with our authors about some aspect of their publishing journey. This week, we present 5 Questions with Tracey Casciano, author of “Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light,” — her memoir of overcoming an abusive childhood to live an inspiring life of Faith. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

  • Tell us a little bit about your book. What inspired you to write it?

Tracey Casciano: My book is a memoir about my journey to faith and forgiveness after being abused as a child. I was inspired to write it after I began sharing my story and receiving positive feedback. I realized that it could raise awareness for the prevalence of child abuse as well as help others who have suffered a similar past.

  • What are 5 things you’ve learned about self-publishing?


  1. I learned to ask for help. I reached out to other published authors and found that they were eager to help a fellow writer.Casciano mug
  2. The other thing I learned was that being self- published means that you must do all the marketing yourself. The only way that people are going to know about your book is if you do the leg work.
  3. I’m also learning that self publishing can be expensive since you must do all the promoting yourself.
  4. Unfortunately, being self published does have some limitations regarding where your book will be placed as many distributors want a traditional publisher.
  5. Lastly, self publishing allows you the freedom to get your book out as you imagine it, not as someone else does.
  • What do you love most about self-publishing and would you recommend it to other authors?

TC: The part I love the most about self publishing is that you get to make all the decisions regarding your book.  I also love the fact that I didn’t have to wait to release my book based on someone else’s deadlines or timeline. When I was ready to press “submit,” I did!
Casciano cover

  • What’s your favorite social media outlet for marketing/promotions?

TC: I use Twitter and a Facebook author page to promote my book and have met lots of great people along the way!


  • What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

TC: If you feel called to write a book, do it. Don’t let the impossibility of getting an agent or a traditional publisher get in the way of getting your words into the hands of others. There are lots of books on the market today that are self published and are very successful!

– WBP –

Tracey shared more about her journey in a recent interview on the CWA Radio Network. A replay of that interview is available below.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.

John Trautwein: Life Teammates on Both Sides of the Field – Part I

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. In recognition of Father’s Day, the following is the first of a two part series written by John Trautwein, author of  My Living Will: A Father’s Story of Loss & Hope.”
As a former pitcher who toed the rubber at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox, Trautwein has realized euphoric joy. As a father, who lost his 15 year old son, Will, to depression and suicide, he also knows depths of unimaginable pain. Out of this tragedy, Trautwein and his wife Susan created the Will to Live Foundation to raise awareness about teen suicide. The following is a story Trautwein shared from his work. 


John Trautwein pitched for the 1988 Boston Red Sox.
Image credit: Fleer Inc

It was a cold and snowy late January Saturday evening in Chicago. In fact it was “Super Bowl Eve 2015” and I found myself at an old hangout of mine in my home town of Barrington IL, called Chessies. I was surrounded by some of the oldest and best friends I’ve ever had. They were there to see me and help promote my new book, My Living Will:  A Father’s Story of Loss & Hopethat had been released just one month before.

It was my first book signing of my short career as an author, and old friends, and their families, had come out to see me, purchase my book and simply talk about the old days – a mini-high school reunion of sorts. Several old high school baseball coaches were there, my brother and his friends were there – so many of my high school classmates were there – my life friends – my Life Teammates.

My Living Will is the story of my life after the tragic suicide death of my oldest child, my son Will. The book explains how when he died in October of 2010, I thought my life was over – I thought I’d never feel love again- but my family and my friends quickly proved me wrong. They picked me up and not only showed me the good but inspired me to create the non-profit Will To Live Foundation, that would inspire teenagers to reach out and recognize the true love they have in their friends today. Life friends – I now refer to them as Life Teammates. So here I was – with my Life Teammates, so many of them, and I was so pleased to be with them. So many hugs and “Love Ya Mans” exclaimed throughout the evening.

Trautwein coverWhat made that night very special was the fact it was a blizzard outside. In fact, I would end up being stranded in Chicago for two more days as the snow simply refused to stop falling. A great problem to have – as my brother and I would have a great weekend together, something we had not done for years. Around 8pm that evening, with the snow literally pounding down upon us, I looked around the room at so many old friends, and noticed a new face coming towards me.

“Hey John – do you remember me?” – a tall dark haired man, about my age, was smiling a friendly and hopeful smile as he awaited for my reply. Fortunately, he was kind enough to quickly eliminate my feelings of embarrassment for not recognizing him and he said “John, I’m Tom Conlin”

“Tom Conlin!!!!! I practically yelled, “From Hersey High?” He smiled and I hugged him in absolute shock. “Now way – What are you doing here, do you live in Barrington Tom?”

“Nope, it took me a long time to get here due to the snow, but I wanted to see you John, I saw the article in the paper about your story and the loss of your son – and that you were doing the book signing here – and I wanted to see you… I have kids, teenagers, and well… your story moved me – and I wanted you to know how sorry I am and how proud I am of what you’re doing.”

I had to sit down, I was stunned – I wiped some tears away from my eyes and I notice Tom doing the same. He and I were rival baseball players in high school – some thirty years before. Pretty big time rivals in fact. My senior year at Barrington, as a Pitcher I was 10-2 – ten wins and 2 losses, both losses were to Hersey High and their star pitcher – Mr. Tom Conlin. “I hated that guy” I used to think. I hated him in a way a rival hates someone he can’t seem to beat – but I also respected him because he was very good, and I was almost bummed to find out what a great guy he was when we met at the All Star Game after the season ended. I went on to pitch at Northwestern and he pitched at Notre Dame. Our paths crossed our senior year in college and he beat us, but this time, at least I was not the pitcher.

Suffering from depression, 15 year old Will Trautwein took his life on Oct. 10, 2010 .

Suffering from depression, 15 year old Will Trautwein took his life on Oct. 10, 2010 .

We talked a bit further, he bought a book and I signed it for him. He had to get home before the blizzard just got too crazy. We exchanged business cards, hugged again, and I noticed a slight smile on his face, I believe he was very pleased he had made the effort to come see me. I think he knew he really made my night – and I think that made him feel good – at least I hope it did. I was touched, so touched that I called my father that night in Florida and told him the story and he remembered Tom “He was a great pitcher John – that is so great – what a story!”

Read Part II of Trautwein’s story, June 22 on the WestBow Press blog.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

Q&A with David Wolstenholm, WestBow Press Author

Q&A with David Wolstenholm

David Wolstenholm with his wife, Lolita

David Wolstenholm is the author of Combat Ready, and he served in the Marine Corps infantry as a TOW Gunner from 1998 – 2002. He was deployed twice, first in 2000 to the Mediterranean, and second in 2002 to the Middle East and Africa. David served with the 2nd Battalion 6th Marine Regiment.

In 2005, David became a Christian, and in 2009 he began attending Andrew’s University Theological Seminary on a part-time basis. He did this for two years before attending full-time in 2011. David has a passion to reach people who are suffering through life; he has a special place in his heart for fellow veterans and youth. He served as a youth pastor for one year in Virginia before moving to Michigan to complete his studies. David is currently in the process of transitioning to Redding, Calif., where he will be an associate pastor at a church plant.

David recently had a book signing at a Barnes & Noble in Mishawaka, Ind. Here, we talk with David to learn what inspired him to write Combat Ready, and to ask him for advice for his fellow authors to land book signings at their local bookstores.

WestBow Press: What inspired you to write Combat Ready

David Wolstenholm: I was inspired by two sources. First, I heard a sermon where the speaker was using military boot camp in comparison to the Christian life. It was a good example, but the speaker had never been to boot camp. This inspired me to write a first-hand look at the similarities between military and Christian experiences. My second inspiration came from God. I always had a sense that God wanted me to write a book, it just took several years to figure out what it would be. (more…)

Q&A with Laurie Norlander, Winner of the 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest

Laurie Norlander, 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest WinnerLaurie Norlander is a CPA who lives in Chippewa Falls, Wis., with her husband Stephen.  They have two grown sons and three beautiful granddaughters. In her free time, Laurie likes to spend time with her family, travel, write, work in her hosta garden and solve diagram-less crossword puzzles.

Laurie has a love for words and when she was 19 she wrote her first novel on a typewriter. Laurie would not start writing seriously until 2003 when her youngest son was deployed to Iraq. At first writing helped her calm the worries she had but it quickly turned into a creative outlet, which led to the completion of her first novel Stir the Waters. While it was not very good, it did unleash a renewed passion to write. Years later Laurie started working on her third novel, Mirror Images, under the mentorship of Christy award-winning author, DiAnn Mills.

Here we talk with Laurie about Mirror Images and the Women of Faith writing contest.

WestBow Press: What inspired you to write Mirror Images?

Laurie Norlander: I was brainstorming potential plots for a writing course and I got the basic idea for Mirror Images from a headline in my local newspaper. As the manuscript evolved, I drew the title and further inspiration from 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (more…)

Q&A with Scott Coleman, WestBow Press Author

Best When BrokenScott Coleman published Best When Broken with WestBow Press. Best When Broken shares the testimony of Scott’s life through the grace of God. Coleman became a quadriplegic at the age of 17 due to a water skiing accident. His testimony shows that every moment is a gift from God and that a relationship with Him can, and will, help overcome any disability or hardship.

Here we dive a little deeper into how his accident changed his view on the world and what advice he has for others who might be going through a similar situation.

WestBow Press: What was going through your mind after your accident?

Scott Coleman: Surprisingly, my primary thoughts were not fearful, but embarrassment. I was positive I was about to head straight to eternity and I was embarrassed to give an account of my life to my Creator, and because of this I never asked God to save me. I didn’t panic because I was face-down in the water, paralyzed and unable to breathe. I simply asked the Lord to forgive me, and by the time they rolled me over in the water I had that Philippians kind of peace – the kind that passes understanding. (more…)

PR Tips, Part 2: How to Prepare for an Interview

How to Prepare for an InterviewLast week we discussed five tips for landing an author interview. Once you’ve done the hard work of building your contact list, sending out press releases and building your author platform, it’s important to prepare yourself for the moment your efforts pay off and an interview opportunity presents itself. 

Here are five tips to make the most of your time in the spotlight: 

  • Reply promptly. When approached with the opportunity for an author interview, take it. Even if it’s with a small local newspaper or your neighbor’s video blog, take advantage of this chance to start building interview experience. Check your email and voicemails regularly, and respond to any opportunities promptly and with great professionalism and eagerness. If you keep a journalist waiting, your story could become less timely and he or she might lose interest. (more…)

Q&A with Dr. Cregg Chandler, WestBow Press Author and Retired Air Force Chaplain

Dr. Cregg Chandler is a retired Air Force chaplain who has done extensive research on what he refers to as an ethical epidemic in the military: fidelity. Chandler recently published his book, A Separation Survival Guide for Military Couples, on said topic and was featured on CBS This Morning in mid November.

Here we dive a little deeper into his book, what inspired him to research such a sensitive subject and how he successfully markets his work in the competitive book industry.

WestBow Press: What made you interested in learning more about the infidelity issues and concerns many military couples face?

Cregg Chandler: While completing my doctoral research, “Addressing the Issues of Family Separation,” I considered the many concerns that couples were dealing with.  I wanted to understand how well the military was addressing and assisting couples in those areas. In my research, the military was addressing and assisting in the areas of re-integration, finances, communication, parenting, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, marriage enrichment, relationship issues and other areas. 

While interviewing professionals, these concerns were discussed, however infidelity surfaced as a major concern for military couples. I’d observed and was aware that infidelity existed, however it appeared that it had escalated over the past 10 years.  This is when I began to focus my attention more on the issue of infidelity.  I saw it as an area that was not fully addressed extensively.

WBP: You did some extensive research for your book. How did you stay motivated to reach your goal of seeing your book published?

CC: I stayed motivated by continually asking God for His guidance in the process. When I felt like giving up, I would receive encouragement through a dream, vision, scripture or written inspirations to inspire me to keep going. I also utilized the advice and encouragement from my academic advisors, family and friends. I continued to see marriages fail due to the demise of the issues written about in my book.  I saw it happening to people nationally, locally and most notably to people that I knew. I saw it as a major problem to be solved.

WBP: Can you share a few tips from your book for military couples struggling to overcome concern about infidelity? 

CC: For the first tip, I encourage couples not to create undue stress concerning whether their spouse is being unfaithful if there is no obvious evidence, because they are already facing the many challenges that military couples experience.

Another tip is to take careful measures to insure that they are not participating in activities that would jeopardize their relationship. This would include disassociation with relationships, environments or social media connections that would come between them. 

The third tip would be to seek out books, principles, marriage enrichment activities and experiences that would bolster their relationship. 

The fourth would be to take time to understand themselves and to understand their spouse in the areas of their needs and their commitment to each other.

WBP: Why did you decide to publish your book?

CC: Actually, I was thrilled to have completed my doctoral work.  I was ready for a break and then return to full-time ministry. After a couple of months, I had a dream regarding my notebook calendar, a black notebook and my research compilation sitting on a table. In the dream, my professor said, “Now what are you going to do with the work that you’ve accomplished?” When I awoke, I knew the answer.

After all the research and findings that I’d accomplished, I understood the following concept:  What good would it be to have my work sit in the reference library at the University, online at the dissertation libraries, at home on my bookshelf and not be made available to assist couples in circumventing pain and becoming successful in their marriage. I understood that God wanted me to pursue with publishing the book.

WBP: You were recently featured on CBS This Morning. Do you have any advice for new authors struggling to garner media attention for their book’s message?

CC: Utilize the resources available through WestBow Press and their affiliates. Make use of one’s profession, career, organization or affiliations as a platform to attract media attention.  Another way is by networking through individuals or sources that are connected to media. If one has the skills and ability, connect directly to the media sources.  I don’t see how I would have made the connection with CBS This Morning without the assistance of WestBow Press.  Divine intervention, timing and guidance would also be a major factor. It certainly was for me.

WBP: Do you plan on writing and publishing another book?

CC: Yes, I do. I believe that God has charged me to write. I’ve had other book ideas in my heart for many years now. Some of which, I believe are divinely inspired.  The books that I am considering will solve problems, provide instructions, and/or inspire contemplation for life application or future implications.


Q&A with Amy Hauser, WestBow Press Author and Breast Cancer Survivor

In His Grip ... a Walk Through Breast CancerOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and at WestBow Press, we are honored to have published a book by author and breast cancer survivor Amy Hauser. Amy was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2010, and she began blogging to share her health updates with friends and family. Last month, her book In His Grip … a Walk Through Breast Cancer, was published.

 We talked with Amy about her book and her new ministry, Horses.Healing.Hope.

 WBP: What was your immediate reaction upon finding out you had breast cancer?

AH: In the mammogram appointment, the doctors were very outwardly concerned. They sent me off with hugs and words of encouragement … needless to say, that is when I felt most concerned.  Feeling a bit blindsided by their reaction to what they saw, my next five days were full of anxious thoughts and fears of the worst-case scenario. My husband and I did lots of praying.

Once I received the call confirming my five-day nightmare, my first reaction was, “Okay, it is time to prepare for battle.  I know what we have to face now and it’s time to fight.”

WBP: Did you turn to God upon your diagnosis or did you go through a season of mourning?  Anger?  Fear?

 AH: My ability to lean on God was immediate.  While I turned to Him right from the start, I still had many moments of mourning. Anger and fear were also present in the beginning, but they certainly did not trump any of the good that God was showing me/us as we started down this path.

It took a lot of pain in my life and my marriage to get me to this point, but God finally got my attention! This is a big part of why I felt God needed me to share this journey. Cancer is really only one aspect of learning to remain in His grip, but it’s an important and large one. God taught me SO MUCH about myself: where I was lacking in trust and how I was seeing myself as a less-than-worthy child of the most amazing Father we could ever ask for.

Fear is an issue for cancer survivors and really comes into play for many AFTER treatments are over and the hair begins to grow back.  The doctors release you from their regular care, and fear begins to creep in. This is the “new normal” that has to be worked.  I have started a program that helps target this stage for breast cancer survivors.  It is called Horses.Healing.Hope. and it’s an equine assisted therapy program.  To learn more about this, visit our website.

 WBP: Is there a Bible verse that stuck with you throughout your fight when diagnosed with breast cancer?            

AH: Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 46:10, Isaiah 40:31

All these come to mind without having to look them up.  They became daily, and sometimes hourly, breath prayers.

WBP: Why did you decide to publish your story?

AH: My story began when I was asked by family to consider setting up a blog on my health status.  I figured this would save time on the phone and having to retell everything over and over and it would keep me from getting tired of talking.  The blogging quickly became an outlet for sharing my heart. I would share my thoughts and before long, we keep hearing that the journaling was an inspiration for others. That was God.  

WBP: As a survivor of breast cancer, have you been able to discern lessons learned through your journey? 

 AH: God doesn’t give us cancer but He may allow such things as cancer, death, job loss, or anything we see as a trials.  What we do with these trials is up to us.  Are we going to see His plan for using these for good or let Satan have the final word? I learned to lean on Christ in a way I never thought possible.  The depth of God’s character that was revealed to me through this season of cancer was the best gift I could have ever received.

We need not let fear have the driver’s seat in our lives. God has a plan for each us and we are asked to boldly walk through what lies ahead and share what we find on the other side. If I can, so can you. The blessings will abound, even if the outcome isn’t exactly as you may originally perceive to be what is best.

WBP: What is the one thing that you want people to walk away with when they read your book?

AH: They are not alone in the midst of what might seem like a dark and lonely place. Fear can dominate when we suffer in solitude.  Light shines in when we share our struggles. 

WBP: What is the best piece of advice for someone living with a cancer diagnosis?

AH: Seek out the silver linings. Do not look back at any past struggles you may feel have been losses, only look this new challenge as a way God wants to show you HE is the way, the truth, and the light.

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