PARIS - Karen "Karina" Majoris-Garrison will be the featured author at the noon Nov. 13 Coffee With the Author at The Gathering Place Coffee Shop located at 127 Steubenville Pike.
"I've wanted to be a writer since I was 7," she said, noting she began writing seriously after her children were born. "Being married and having children - those were experiences I wanted to get on paper."
When she began writing, there were no local writers groups and the Internet hadn't yet made online writing groups very popular, so she didn't have readily accessible information on making submissions or others to critique her work.
"The networking opportunities weren't what they are now," she said.
She was determined that, if she became a successful writer, she would start such a group herself, which was the basis for the Tri-State Writers Society, of which she is president. The group meets at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month. It is a writers' support group, open to both published and unpublished writers.
Majoris-Garrison's path to making a living as a writer began with the short story "Rocking Chair," which she entered in a contest. A judge contacted her and became her mentor.
"She said she saw a published author in me," said Majoris-Garrison.
Majoris-Garrison writes inspirational stories, motivated by Ephesians 4:29 - "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
She explained it is important to her that her stories uplift those who read them and inspires hope.
Over the following 15 years, Majoris-Garrison would be published in dozens of short story collections - appearing in several "Chicken Soup for the Soul" collections, "God Allows U-Turns," "Journeys of Friendship," "Journeys of Joy," - became a syndicated columnist with King Features, founded the Tri-State Writers, became a professional copy editor, became a creative writing instructor, signed with The Blythe Daniel Agency and wrote her first novel, "Tempting Faith."
Writing a short story and a novel required two different outlooks.
"With a novel, you have all this time, you can take as long as you want," she said. "With a short story, you have 1,000, 1,500 words and every one counts."
"Tempting Faith" is the first of a series Majoris-Garrison hopes to write, following different characters in different time periods, but all sharing the same setting - Cotswold Monastery. With the first book finished, she has begun work on the a second book, "Reigning Grace," which will visit 16th century Cotswold.
"There is a legend that comes into play (in 'Tempting Faith')," said Majoris-Garrison, explaining that "Reigning" will go back and look at the legend's inception.
Majoris-Garrison is married to Christian musician J.D. Garrison.
"People told us we would have to leave the area to make it," she said. "They said you couldn't make it as a writer or a musician here. Two years ago, my husband played with Bruce Springsteen at Asbury Park, and I stood in the audience, looking up and thinking 'they told us we couldn't do it, but we did.'"
The two artists complement each other, she said.
"He knows if I'm stuck," she said. "He'll come up and bring me a cup of tea. And if I hear the same couple of chords over and over, I know he needs a break."
Majoris-Garrison and her husband live in Steubenville, Ohio, with their two children, Abigail, 18, and Simeon, 14.
For information on her books, the writers society or her copy editing services, visit her website www.karinagarrison.com, or blog at karinagarrison.blogspot.com or call (740) 424-1243.
For information on the Coffee With the Author series, call the Paris Presbyterian Church office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at (724) 330-8637.