Tina Radcliffe: A Writer’s Plan B

Everyone’s Story gives a warm welcome to author Tina RadcliffeTINAMRADCLIFFESmall. It’s my pleasure to host Tina this week because whenever I see Tina post on a blog or on Twitter she always brings a smile to my face and I’m hoping she’ll do just that for you. Check out Tina’s BookGiveaway of Rocky Mountain Reunion as well as the blurb for the novel, and take a moment or two to ponder about your Plan B as you read what Tina shares about hers and how she made it work. Both Tina and I look forward to hearing from you.






Tina is offering 1 copy (either print or e-book) of Rocky Mountain Reunion to 1 randomly chosen commenter, US or Canada only. The winner will be announced here on Friday, February 12th between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment (you may choose to use the Contact form on the Contact Page to privately send me your email address).


Blurb of Rocky Mountain Reunion:

A Second Chance at Forever 

Nurse Anne Matson’s structured life derails when a familiar patient enters her ER—the ex-husband she left ten years ago. Matthew Clark is the last person she expects to see in Paradise, Colorado, especially with a nine-year-old daughter. The single dad is running the town’s biggest expansion project, but one thing stands in his way—Anne’s Victorian home. When his daughter falls ill, and Anne volunteers to help with her care, Matt recognizes he’s never stopped loving the spirited beauty. But how can he get her back when he plans to take all she has left…or can Anne see she has everything to gain—the family she’s been denied?

What’s Your Plan B? by Tina Radcliffe

What a pleasure to be in the new home of Everyone’s Story. Thanks for having me.

2015 marked the sale of my seventh book to Harlequin Love Inspired and I sold my twelfth short story to Woman’s World Magazine as well! Sounds impressive, but the reality is it took me ten years of submitting before I sold my first story to Woman’s World. I was rejected by Harlequin for three of their imprints that don’t exist anymore and a handful of times by my current imprint before my first sale.

I keep a spreadsheet of submissions that includes contests and fiction. I started this spreadsheet in 1995. Twenty-one years ago! Right now it has 451 entries. That sounds impressive too. Not when you do the math. 451 submissions divided by 21 years and then by 12 months, ends up being 1.7 submissions a month over the last 21 years.

Business graph showing a downward trend is being replaced by "Plan B", which is highlighted by colored chalk. Ample room for your copy on the blackboard.

Life happened in those twenty-one years. There were productive years, and less productive years. There was illness, tragedy, success, birth and death. One thing I have learned is that life really is all about how your handle Plan B. When life is out of control, the important thing to remember isn’t what you can’t do. No, it’s really all about what you can do.


When your life is short on scheduled writing time, ask yourself what you can do. While you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, can you grab a notebook and doodle a character sketch for your next heroine? Or could you peruse the magazines in the dentist’s office and find your next heroine? Can you write an opening hook that you might use someday, while you are people watching at the airport? What about editing? Can you listen to a workshop while you are cooking dinner?

I have a full house and have always worked full-time outside of the home. One of my short story ideas was started on a morning when we all overslept. I tossed a raincoat over my pajamas to drive them all to school. As I sat in the drop off line, I thought…what if? That what if, quickly dashed off on a torn piece of paper in my purse, earned a thousand dollar check for a short story sale to Woman’s World. It was about a single mother who drove her kids to school in her bunny slippers with her pajamas on under her raincoat and had a fender bender in the school parking lot with Mr. Right. Remember this story when you’re in line somewhere.

Today I fretted. Great word, isn’t it? I fretted because I wasn’t making progress on a scene and valuable writing time was slipping away. What was Plan B for this situation? What could I do? Head-slap! I actually knew what the next scene was, so I finally realized that was the scene I should write to wisely use my time.


Do you know what the difference is between a Plan A person and a Plan B person? A plan B person knows when Plan A isn’t working.

It’s like that Einstein quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Those submissions over ten years to Woman’s World? I didn’t keep submitting the same story. The submissions to Harlequin? That’s right. I wrote a new book each time.

If your Plan A didn’t work in 2015, ask God what Plan B is, and then stop focusing on what you can’t do and get started on what you can do.

If you were rejected by a publisher/editor/agent in 2015 what’s your Plan B? Because Plan B is what’s going to get the job done. If your Indie book wasn’t received as well as you’d hoped, then stop and figure out what Plan B is. Don’t keep doing the same thing that isn’t working.

Embrace your Plan B pretzel self. We Plan B people are pretty amazing. By the way, the Bible is full of Plan B heroes that include Moses, Joseph, and David for starters. Hey, Plan B got the Israelites into the Promised Land.

So stop for a moment and tell me what your Plan B is for the New Year. Then pat yourself on the back and welcome to my world. Leave a comment and for a chance to win a copy of my latest Love Inspired release, Rocky Mountain Reunion. Winner’s choice, print or ebook (US & Canada only).

Tina’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author Tina Radcliffe @TMRadcliffe: Are you a Plan A or Plan B person & why you should care. (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: Tina Radcliffe @TMRadcliffe shares secret of advancing in publishing. (Tweet This)

Tina Radcliffe @TMRadcliffe’s #BookGiveaway of Rocky Mountain Reunion. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Tina Radcliffe is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, a 2014 Golden Quill finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. She currently resides in Arizona where there are two seasons, hot summer and cold summer.

Places to connect with Tina:


Critique site


Elaine Sightings This Week:


February 2nd: Divine Detour Blog


Stitches Thru Time

February 6th: Stitches Thru Time



Since I’ll only have 1 chance to announce a debut novel:



**Only 1 More Week to Enter** 

Celebrate the Release of her novel Always With You

and this new website:


In addition to Tina’s generous Giveaway, you also have a chance to  enter the BookGiveaway I’m offering to win either 1 copy of my debut novel Always With You (upon its release) or Christmas Treasures. Just sign up for my NEWSLETTER/Mailing List found on the ABOUT ELAINE page–click on the MAILING LIST house icon on the top right-hand column. US entries will receive a printed copy.  Outside the US will receive a digital copy.

I’m so looking forward to this Giveaway!

I also hope that you will sign up to receive Everyone’s Story blog in your inbox. The SUBSCRIPTION BOX is on the top of this page on the right-hand column. Previous subscribers on the former Blogger blog have not automatically been transferred.

Tina and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. Click “Comments.”

65 comments to Tina Radcliffe: A Writer’s Plan B

  • Delighted to be here. What an honor to follow Marin Thomas.

    I’ve had some good news lately as well. I just sold my thirteenth short story to Woman’s World and it will be out in March.

    So keep writing!! If you need details on submitting to WW, email me. tina at tinaradcliffe dot com Happy to share!

    • elaineadmin

      Big congratulations, Tina, on your 13th story! Wow!

      I love, love, love, your enthusiasm to never giving up… and your desire to help others. Very admirable.

  • Elizabeth Eberhardt

    I have not read any of Tina’s work but I love the Harlequin ‘Love Inspired’ books.

  • Tina – Love your perspective here over the long-haul. What a great thing to be able to look back and see your efforts and progress. There are diamonds to be mined in what you shared. Plus … you helped me realize that I had a story waiting to be written. The woman in her pajamas on the way to school … my husband was the police officer who stopped her for speeding. She went to our church and because she had no makeup on and her hair in curlers (remember those?), he didn’t even recognize her. But she knew him and freaked out. He came home that night laughing about the whole thing. Now I think I’ll have to write that story!

  • I love !! And I really enjoyed this post. The first thing I ever wrote was published by Woman’s World. I don’t say that to brag–it truly was a God-thing. I sent in a 4000-word story when they asked for 2,000 words. Don’t even know if I sent an SASE. But that editor, bless her heart, liked something about the story and cut it herself. They went on to buy 2 more mysteries from me. I never could write a romance they liked, though. Guess it’s easier for me to kill ’em than to get them together. 🙂

    And Tina, 1.7 submissions every month for 21 years–AWESOME! And amazing.

  • Hi there Patricia. Another WW alum! What a cool story. I can’t write a mini mystery so we’re even. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Great lesson, Tina – and you will laugh at my plan B for 2016 – to get a story in Woman’s World 🙂 If you have dates, I’d love to pick up the issues that feature your stories and check them out. I’ve read some of your work and enjoyed it, so I’ll have a giant smile if I win one of your books!

    • elaineadmin

      Wait a second, Delores. What’s that I’m hearing? Oh, I think that’s Tina cheering you along rather than laughing. Hmm.

      Thanks for visiting!

    • How kind of you, Delores. I have one coming out in issue 12 which should be mid March.

      Thanks for dropping by! Let me know if you want any tips on submitting. I have a couple of posts out there on the topic.

  • Hi Elaine:

    I’m 21% into “Always With You” and it reminds me very much of another daring creative POV debut novel by Cynthia Ruchti called “They Almost Always Come Home”. I knew Ruchti’s book was a Carol award quality book halfway into reading it. As with that book, I’ve slowed down my reading of “Always With You” so I can enjoy it longer and not miss anything. The story is very rich and worth reading. I just couldn’t wait until my review to say something. : )


    • elaineadmin

      Vince, you’re my sweet angel today! Actually, I just received an amazing review of Always With You on Amazon/B&N/GR and combined with your powerful and kind words my eyes are flooded with joyful tears. Thank you so much!! BTW, I loved Cynthia Ruchti’s They Almost Always Come Home–it was so riveting!

      So glad you visited today, Vince.

      Okay, responding to your lovely comment today was my unexpected but wonderful Plan C… but now back to Tina’s extraordinary Plan B.

    • Vince, here I was concerned about you because I hadn’t “seen” you in days. You’re just buried in a good story!!

  • Hi Elaine:

    While Tina’s ‘Plan B’ is an inspiration, I like to think in terms of ‘Plan A’ as having alternatives, or in football parlance — ‘as being subject to ‘audible’ calls’ — as we better see what we are up against.

    I know that ‘a rose is a rose is a rose’ and yet, marketing tests have shown that a rose given the name ‘stinkweed’ does not smell the same as a rose named ‘divine essence’.

    I like to think in terms of having an ‘Enhanced Plan A’.

    Alas, since I can never resist reading Tina’s books long enough to ever win one, please let someone else have my chance to win a “Rocky Mountain Reunion”. You might also enjoy reading my review on Amazon which demonstrates why Tina’s latest is a 5 star reading delight.


    • elaineadmin

      So glad you’ve enjoyed Tina’s Plan B, Vince. Hmm. Kinda like your Enhanced Plan A as well. I’d love to know what Tina thinks.

      What an amazing fan Tina has in you!

    • Vince is my favorite person in the world to verbally spar with!! Thanks Vince, for the kind words.

      I don’t care what plan you have as long as you keep submitting and working toward the prize. That’s all that matters.

      Spinning your wheels with the same old plan that doesn’t work and expecting it to work is crazy.

  • Hello Elaine,

    Congratulations on your beautiful new website and the release of your debut novel! So excited for you and looking forward to reading. 🙂

    Tina, your words are so filled with encouragement. What a message of perseverance! Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us. I especially liked “…life happened in those twenty-one years.” I think so many times folks place authors on a pedestal, never realizing that, yes, real life happens and they, too, experience the highs and lows of success and hardship. Sometimes, our Plan Bs are God’s ultimate destination point for us to begin with. Congratulations on the release of Rocky Mountain Reunion and more success with Woman’s World!

    Many blessings to you both!

    • elaineadmin

      Cynthia, so nice to see you here. Thanks so much for your kind words on my website and the debut of Always With You. I hope you enjoy Isabelle and Tyler’s story. Let me know what you think of it.

      I’m glad you appreciate Tina’s words, aka One of the Best Pep Talks Ever–right?!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and for the kind words. God taught me a very long time ago that the devil will have you look at how far you have to go. But He wants you to remember how far you have come.

      Keep submitting.

  • Kav

    Great inspiring post. I think I may be a Plan Z-er though. 🙂 I am so impressed with your little-engine-that-couldness. Wowzer. And the bunny slipper story for WW — Bwahahahaha! I once rushed out to work at the college library in my schnauzer slippers. Took the bus all the way and no one said anything until I greeted my co-worker after wending my way through the college hallways teeming with students. Snicker. Had to wear those puppies for the whole shift and believe you me, my co-worker made sure I had to trek out onto the floor at every opportunity. No hiding behind the reference desk for me.

    • elaineadmin

      Kav, nice to see you on Everyone’s Story! Thanks for your visit.

      I love your slipper story. Between yours and Tina’s I now know that I’m not certifiable after all for sometimes checking to see if I’ve put on my work shoes as I turn the car engine on.

      Hope to see you here again.

  • Kav, I didn’t want to scare anyone but here is the real story: I always seem to get from A to B VIA Z. What is it about me???

    I love YOUR slipper story. LOVE IT. You better use it soon or give me permission to. GREAT story idea.

  • LOVED this post! And may I just say that Tina Radcliffe is my hero – – she truly is. This lady is AMAZING and so very kind and helpful. 🙂 She inspires me so that I want to keep trying hard and NOT giving up. And her books? WONDERFUL!! I have genuinely loved every Tina Radcliffe book I’ve ever read (of course they’re on my Keeper Shelf).
    It took me a while to learn this (can you say “slow learner”? *sigh*) but after working on ONE story for six years – – re-writing and re-submitting – – I finally put that one away and since have been working on other writing projects. When I finish my current WIP, I’ll polish, submit, and move on. Because I must keep writing but will no longer stay on the same project for years and years. 😉
    Elaine, I’m so happy to discover your blog! Thank you for having Tina as your guest blogger – – she’s the best!

    • elaineadmin

      Patty Jo, a warm welcome to Everyone’s Story. I’m glad you discovered my blog as well… and hopefully you’ll be back. I’m glad Tina’s words resonated with you.

  • PATTI JO!!! Way to go. So proud of you! This is your year, girl!!

    Patti Jo is also the name sake of Patti Jo’s Cafe and Bakery in my Paradise, Colorado books.

  • About ‘Woman’s World’

    Some years ago I analyzed two years of Woman’s World romance short stories trying to discover what the editors wanted. What I found out was that they were not after a great story or a theme they had not done before.

    No, as far as I could determine, WW wanted a ‘tone poem’, a story that set an emotional response in the reader that resonated like a tuning fork with the same clarity of feeling each time and that had a series of ‘warm fuzzies’ that were never very far apart. Some stories had as many as seven ‘warm fuzzies’. (A ‘warm fuzzy’ might be a widow looking out the window and seeing a new neighbor her age jogging by in running shorts while she looks down at a picture of her husband on the table also joggging in the same style U.S. Navy shorts.)

    The stories also needed to be ‘slice of life’ next door neighbor type. All the stories had about 50 to 100 words less than the limit allowed. Either I counted the words differently than they did or WW favored extremely tight writing. (I am sure they do.)

    The above are the characteristics that seem to be omnipresent in all the stories I read. BTW: I tried to duplicate this formula but so far I’m 0 for 10 or 11.

    It’s just possible that one also needs to be an emotional prose poet. 🙂


  • LOL, Vince. You are very right. The best way to sell is to read the stories. I must have 200 in my house. This is not brain surgery and sometimes the reasons for rejection once you GET IT as you have is as simple as subjective opinion or someone submitted something similar.

    You need to submit again. WHY NOT???

  • And P.S. Words are real estate in the magazine and they do trim down their stories which are only 800 words to start with. But 800 bucks for 800 words is a very good reason to keep submitting.

  • WOW, Tina — 1.7 submissions a month over the last 21 years??? That may not sound impressive to you, but it pretty much blows me away!!

    LOVE the premise for the bunny slippers story!! How can I read it? You know, if I were you, I’d do a Seeker post about that story and include the story in the post — fast and easy, and all of us get to see your first WW success!!

    Don’t enter me, Elaine — I am lucky enough to already have Tina’s book!


  • I actually published my first short story successes in an anthology called Bloom. This year I will have it repacked as Tina Radcliffe. THANKS FOR THE SWEET WORDS, JULES!!

  • Bonnie Roof

    Enjoyed your post, Tina – thank you!! Your sense of humor and positivity are always an inspiration to me. After living life my way for many years, long ago – consulting God for His plan is always my plan now.

    Please don’t enter me for Tina’s beautiful book, Elaine – I just received a copy this past week. Please DO enter me for a copy of your book – I subscribed to your blog and signed up for your newsletter. Thank you!!

    Shared post!!

    • elaineadmin

      Bonnie, so nice to see you! It took me a while too to finally catch onto this God-clinging rather than clinging to my own way, and I have no regrets!

      Bless you for wanting to read ALWAYS WITH YOU, and for subscribing to my blog and newsletter. You’re making my afternoon so very lovely, Bonnie 🙂

  • Hi, Bonnie. Great to see you here. Thanks for the kind words. I’m with you. His plan or no plan. Period!

  • Hi Tina and Elaine and all Writers:

    Tina wrote: “Words are real estate in the magazine”…

    And now that I think about it, I believe that ‘tight’ writing is the major characteristic of the published WW romance stories.

    While I am sure this will be TMI for most readers (which is why I am saving it until the very last post) this emphasis of very tight writing reminds me of something it took me a long time to learn as an advertising copywriter.

    Since national classified advertising (as in the WSJ) can cost $20 to $40 a word to run, ‘tight’ writing is an essential copywriting skill. At this point it is important to know that there is a curtail difference between ‘tight’ writing and ‘economic’ writing.

    ‘Economic’ writing is saying the same thing in fewer words. For example: taking a 1000 word advertisement and, by rewriting it many times, getting the same information down to 500 words. That’s economic writing.

    For years ‘economic’ writing was my only approach to reducing the word count in advertising copy.

    ‘Tight’ writing is very different. Instead of saying the same thing in less words, ‘tight’ writing focuses on accomplishing the same objective by using a different approach which requires far less words to execute.

    The frame of reference between these two approaches is very different. One approach is about the economy of words. The other is about is about the most efficient approach to accomplishing your writing goal.

    I believe that Woman’s World demands very ‘tight’ writing. It’s not so much condensed writing as it is about the most efficient way to structure the story that you are telling.

    In essence, WW wants you to structure the short story so that it conveys the greatest richness, the maximum emotional impact, a satisfying series of warm fuzzies, plus a wealth of character growth.

    Visual example of concept:

    Two women are taking a cruise. One woman needs two suitcases to pack what she will need on the voyage. The other woman, by packing different items (which can perform multi-functions), maintains the same utility but now requires only one suitcase.

    To the first woman it was all a matter of knowing how to fold and arrange items in the suitcase. To the second woman it was a matter of selecting the right items to most efficiently meet her travel needs.

    As it were, economic writing is like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic; tight writing is like booking a different ship altogether. 🙂

    I found this information very helpful once learned. I hope it can help others as well and without the long wait!

    Do it right! Make it tight!


    • elaineadmin

      Vince, thanks for sharing this information! I agree about the tight writing–learning this made a big difference for me in making the jump to wannabe writer to published author, though I humbly admit to learning so many things about writing each and every day. Funny tidbit: one thing that helped me learn economy of words was hanging out on Twitter–a place where one has no choice 🙂

  • You got it, Vince. Now write yourself a WW story!

  • Marilyn

    Thanks for a very interesting post! Individuals must always have a Plan B–sorta like the saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. Keep writing and I’m an avid reader and love pure inspirational books to read. God Bless!

  • Hi Marilyn! Nice to virtually ‘meet you.’ Glad to find another fan of inspies!!! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. Have an excellent week.

  • Laura Conner Kestner

    Thank you for the opportunity to read this post, Elaine. I’m a big fan of Tina’s work, and I also appreciate her dedication to helping other writers, especially those just beginning this journey. My favorite line here: “If your Plan A didn’t work in 2015, ask God what Plan B is, and then stop focusing on what you can’t do and get started on what you can do.” Working on Plan B now 🙂

  • Happy to find your blog, Elaine. I loved hearing Tina’s story and seeing how persistance pays off. She’s an effective motivator for other writers as well. Congrats on your 13th sale to WW. I’ve been trying for 8 yrs. and someday hope to make a sale there. Tina showed me the kind of story they publish and how it’s done. I’ve not stopped fiction writing in 2016, but I’m returning to writing more non-fiction. If I’m writing an article on speculation I consider all the other places to send it should the piece not get published. I’ve had success at times with little revision so as to meet the needs of another editor and their readership. It’s necessary to have a Plan B. Good luck on your debut, Elaine.

    • elaineadmin

      I’m glad you did find Everyone’s Story, Pat. A warm welcome to you! Thanks for the kind words on my novel.

      Plan B’s are what get us through life, right! 🙂

  • HEY THERE, LAURA!! Great to see you over here. Thanks for the very nice words. You are on your way! I’ve read your work.

  • Pat, you are too modest. You have been very successful in many other venues and I have no doubt that WW sale will be soon! Keep submitting. You are my PERSISTENCE BUDDY! Thanks for taking time from your busy day to visit me here.

  • Hi Tina:

    You wrote:

    “You got it, Vince. Now write yourself a WW story!”

    Well, I have submitted about 10 or 11 WW stories and so far I’ve only received form letter rejections.

    The thing is: it’s not enough to know just what to do — you also need talent. That’s something they don’t teach. 🙂

    I need to find a fiction niche for which I have requisite talent.


  • Do you think so, Vince? I think that you can work hard enough to gain the talent. But if your heart isn’t really in it..well, that to me is the tipping point.

  • Great post, Tina! Wow over twenty years of writing and submitting. That is amazing!! (BTW, I am loving Rocky Mountain Reunion right now. It’s a very compelling read. I’m on my second day of reading and I’m almost finished with the book. You don’t have to enter me in the contest 🙂 )

  • Great advice,Tina, I agree with you 100%. A “Plan B” has always helped me out when I’m stuck. That, and a lot of prayer. Congratulations on all your success.

    • elaineadmin

      Vickie, it’s exciting–for me–that you’ve visited today and I appreciate it. Glad Tina’s advice resonated with you.

      I’m hoping you’re come back another time.

  • Thanks so much for stopping by and for the comments on Rocky Mountain Reunion, Preslaysa.

    You know how kids and life get in the way!!!

  • Vickie!!! How nice for you to stop by! High five for all us Plan B peeps!!!

  • elaineadmin

    Tina, this has been a wonderful week of soul-boosting and fun, and I have you to thank! And wow–I had to scroll quite a ways down this blog page–past so many delightful comments–to leave this message for you 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself here as well and that this time blesses you with even more loving reader fans.

    Thanks too for the BookGiveaway of ROCKY MOUNTAIN REUNION. And the winner of Tina’s novel is…

    Laura!! Yay, Laura. Congratulations. Both Tina and I will be in direct contact with you.

    Blessings to all.

  • Thank you! This has been a lovely week and I’ve enjoyed it.

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