Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waiting, patience, prayer...and receiving my first contract!

I have been writing for over nine years and joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) 8 years ago. My writing has steadily improved since then, but the elusive first contract had remained out of reach until Friday evening, September 17, 2010.

God has taught me many things over the past nine years, the main things being patience and learning to wait. When I awoke that morning and read my chapter in Jeremiah, there was a devotion by Catherine Marshall on the facing page, so I read it, too. It was entitled "Waiting" and here are a few snippets from it that spoke to me: "Waiting...is God's oft-repeated way of teaching us that His power is real and that He can answer our prayers without interference and manipulation from us." She then goes on to give the example of a child who brings a broken toy to their father but gets impatient and snatches it back still in the broken state, then reminds us that if we leave the "toy" in His hands, "not only do we eventually get it back gloriously restored, but are also handed a surprising plus. We find for ourselves what the saints and mystics affirm, that during the dark waiting period when self-effort had ceased, a spurt of astonishing spiritual growth took place in us. Afterwards we have qualities like more patience, more love for the Lord and those around us, more ability to hear His voice, greater willingness to obey." Those qualities are ones I still desire more of, even if it means I have to wait again.

Now for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say. I told my roommate , Jennifer Johnson, about my devotion, then we attended a class, ate lunch, shopped at the mall, and went to the opening worship session at 3:30. The worship leader Rachel Hauck, chose the song "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller for us to sing at most of our sessions:
"I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting"

Are you getting the message with me? Wait with patience! And keep serving and worshipping while you are waiting!

Next our president, Cynthia Ruchti, read from Colossians chapter three and verse 12 was very familiar since it is posted on my bedroom mirror: "Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." That last word jumped out at me and I leaned over to Jennifer and told her God was still telling me to wait and learn patience.

Then Becky Germany, editor at Barbour Publishing, took the stage and said she was ready to announce the 2 new authors who would receive their "first contract", something Barbour has done at each conference. When she announced the name of the first story as Nick's Christmas Carol, it sounded vaguely familiar but I still didn't realize it was a story I had written until she said my name! Then I went up on stage in front of over 600 people, amid cheers and shouts, and was handed an envelope with my name on it and a letter offering me a contract for my first fiction story! Jennifer took my picture but the flash didn't work so she motioned for me to go back up on the stage and she took it again. Then Donna Rich was announced, again amid cheers and shouts, as the recipient of a contract for a Heartsong book, also pubbed by Barbour.

Of course, I couldn't wait to call my husband and children and a couple friends, but the story doesn't end there. I got to attend the Barbour Banquet at PF Chang's that evening and kept receiving hugs and congratulations all weekend, but the best part was when one of my dear friends and prayer-partners, Connie Stevens who had received her first contract in 2009, told me that God had impressed on her heart to pray for the ones who would receive their first contract the following year. So, she prayed that prayer that whole year and didn't know she was praying for me (and Donna)!

Later that evening, I told Donna about the prayer cycle Connie began, and we both agreed to continue it by praying for the persons who will receive their first contract in 2011. Kind of paying it forward by praying the prayer that was prayed for us. So, the cycle continues, and I will continue praying and update you with who gets the new author contract next year. And I will also announce when my first book hits the shelves next September! Until then, let's all keep waiting patiently and praying and worshiping the One who deserves all our praise

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kaye Dacus does it again!

I was sad to read the last of the Brides of Bonneterre series that I enjoyed so much, so was eager to read Love Remains, book one in Kaye Dacus' new "Matchmakers" series. And I was not disappointed! The prologue sets up the story with a conversation between several grandmothers who want to have great-grandchildren. Then we are introduced to Zarah Mitchell who works for a commission on historical preservation and to a face from her past, Bobby Patterson who will be investigating fraud within the commission. As the question on the back of the book asks, "Can the historian learn to leave the past in the past?"

That alone is enough to set up tons of conflict, but the author takes it a step further when we find out the way our hero and heroine separated several years earlier and the lies they each believe about the other. Another delightful read from an author who gets better with each book! So hurry on over to http://www.barbourbooks.com/ and order this book and her other series if you haven't read them.

This book was a gift from the author and publisher for review purposes which I requested because I know how much I love Kaye Dacus' writing!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Book Review--Take Your Best Shot by Austin Gutwein

My TBR pile is overflowing so I plan to do more book reports the rest of the year. This book which is subtitled "Do something bigger than yourself" is based on the true story of Austin Gutwein who watched a video from World Vision at the age of eight that changed his life and so many others. It chronicles what one child can do to make a difference in our world. One of the inspiring quotes in the book is what young William Pitt said to William Wilberforce in the movie Amazing Grace. "We're too young to realize that certain things are impossible! So we will do them anyway!" That is a good description of this story of Austin and the many other children who have already made a difference in our world. Each chapter ends with a Bible verse and a short devotional that challenges the reader to ask how he/she can make a difference. Very inspirational reading for adults and older children.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

We interrupt our Alaskan saga for a very important announcement--

Karen K. is the winner of Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble which will be in the mail as soon as I receive her addy.

And, if you would like to win an ARC (advance reader copy) of goodness gracious green by multi-pubbed author Judy Christie, leave a comment on any post this month. The other rules are you must have a US mailing address and you can't win two months in a row, so only Karen K. is ineligible.

This is the second book in the "Green" series so I am saving this one to read after I read the first one. I hate to read series books out of order! Here is the blurb from the back cover to whet your whistle: "Will Lois Barker put down roots in Green...or will small-town life be too tough?" I love books set in small towns so I am sure I will enjoy it! And you can check out more about this author and her other books at http://www.judychristie.com/