Thursday, March 15, 2018

Learning Patience

George Orwell is quoted as saying, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

This quote has always made me laugh because it strikes a chord with me. As an author / freelance writer I can relate to feeling driven to write. I laugh at myself because I find I am always giving myself a writing assignment just like a teacher would require of a student. Some of these assignments are short and I can complete them quickly and reap the satisfaction of seeing them published in some form but others take much longer. 

Prayer: It's Not About You took four years to write and about another five to get published, though some of my books have taken less time to write. But one that I co-wrote with my husband, tentatively named, "A Stand for Truth", about his time as a trustee at Southern Seminary, wins the award for taking the longest! 

It took us at least seven years to write and we have yet to secure a publisher, though we are close. We submitted it to a traditional, well respected, Christian publisher, in November who seemed eager to take a look at it. But we have yet to hear anything final from them, though a few days ago, a fascinating chance encounter revealed new information that gives us reason to be very optimistic that we should hear sooner rather than later. I will certainly keep everyone posted as soon as I know anything for sure. In the meantime, I am learning yet another lesson in patience as I wake up every morning thinking, "Maybe today we will get that book contract."

...something I have done nearly every day since the first of the year. :) 


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Change and Uncertainty

Today Billy Graham passed away. I can just hear the Lord telling him, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!"

In the early 60's, he visited the mission in Nigeria where I lived. I have a few pictures from that time, though I was just a preschooler. He visited the town of Ogbomoso where my parents were stationed and, according to a story I heard from Mom, he saved my sister from being disciplined by her. My sister, Alisa, only about a four or five year old, saw the table full of goodies that had been prepared for Billy Graham's reception and nudged her way closer to it. Once there, she sneakily ran her fingers around the base of a cake, getting the sweet cream icing on her little hands which she lifted to her mouth and licked. She thought no one had seen her but two people had--my mother and Billy Graham.

Mom made her way toward Alisa but Dr.Graham stepped between them. He smiled at my Mom, and said. "Don't scold her. She's just a child." He surely came between myriad others and judgement too as he preached around the world telling people how they could be forgiven of their sins because of Jesus' death and resurrection.

(Billy Graham is the tall man walking in front, my dad, Dr. Keith Edwards, is the man almost adjacent to him just behind the woman. These are some of the missionary doctors at the hospital in Ogbomoso showing Dr. Graham around the hospital.) 

Today, the world lost a great man. I am immediately reminded of Isaiah 6:1, “In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.”
A king's death was always a time of uncertainty for the people. But in this shaky, uncertain time, what did the prophet see? He saw God still on His throne, high and lifted up. Today as we face the loss of this godly man, we can know that still too, God is on his throne. He still reigns. His plans for Dr. Graham's life are complete but He has other plans for other people still here on earth.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Publishing Process

Last week I was snowed in as jaw-droppingly low temps, snow, and ice gripped much of the nation. This week is much better and I'm loving it. Having spent my first decade in Africa, I'm still not used to cold weather, though I do think it's beautiful. The picture is of my back yard, early in the morning as the sun came up over the snow.

In my writing world, though, things are heating up. I've had developments on two different fronts and it makes for the perfect time to share a little about the process involved in book publishing.

There are actually different ways to get a book published. An author can self-publish, also known as independent publishing, or she can be published through a traditional publisher, either via small press or larger press. If traditionally published, the author does not pay anything involved in the publishing of her books and splits the royalties with the publisher. (If indie published, they absorb all costs but do not split commissions.) If traditionally published, usually small press books do not end up on shelves in book stores while larger press books do. Both can be ordered online.

I am contracted with a small press, PixNPens, a company based in Texas. PNP is the nonfiction arm of Write Integrity Press. They have published two of my books, Prayer: It's Not About You and Glimpses of Prayer and they have plans to publish more. Several of these books are and will be co-written by my childhood friend, Shirley Crowder. In that part of my writing world, things are going well and we just sent our latest manuscript to them. They will put it on their publishing schedule, will edit it, format it, and eventually publish it sometime next fall.

I also have a manuscript I co-wrote with my husband that is currently being considered by a larger traditional company. It's hard to get in the door of larger publishing companies. Usually it takes an agent. In our case, a friend connected us with a man who had been an agent but is no longer one. Nonetheless, after reading the manuscript, he agreed to help us and made the contact with the company that is currently considering it. That company, who will remain unnamed at this point, has had our manuscript since Nov. 1. We heard from them yesterday saying they are still considering it and are currently doing some market research. They also said asked if we would willing to reduce its length if their publication committee gives a favorable response. Of course, we said yes! At this point we're still in a waiting game on that manuscript.

So, there's a snapshot of some of the many things that go into getting a book published. It involves so much--getting a contract from the traditional publishing company, whether large or small press, writing and turning in the completed manuscript, then months of work on the part of the publisher before the book is finally released and ready for sale.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Welcome 2018!

I love the look of fresh fallen snow ... as long as I am safely inside a warm house when I'm looking at it. Growing up in Africa, snow took some getting used to but I have grown to love it (as long as I don't have to drive in it.)

As a writer, seeing a scene like this pulls at me the way a blank page does--it almost begs for me to venture out there and leave my mark.

2017 was a busy year for my writing endeavors and 2018 looks to be just as busy. Here's what it looks like so far:

I have three articles coming out it "The War Cry" (Salvation Army's magazine) in 2018, the first being in January. I will author articles in several issues of SEEK in 2018, and The Secret Place, and those are the ones I have already been contracted for. Hopefully there will be others too.

Along with keeping up two blogs of my own, I will be guest blogging on Inspired Prompts Blog, as well as occasionally contributing to my publisher's blog: Write Integrity Press

I will have at least one new book released in 2018--an anthology compiled by my friend Shirley Crowder and me. I will say more about that in the days to come. At the moment we are working feverishly to have the finished manuscript to our publisher by mid-Feb. We are hoping for a summer release. Shirley and I are also working on some other book ideas and hope to make more announcements in the days to come about those. And a manuscript I co-wrote with my husband is currently under consideration by an large, traditional, press. I will share more about that if and when we know more. For now suffice it to say that this is a book we have poured our hearts and lives into and we covet your prayers that God will see us through the publishing process and land it with the right publisher.

Teaching/ Speaking:
I am excited to have been asked to teach two workshops at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in June. Though that seems like a long time away, the committee has been working hard for some time to put together a great conference and I am humbled and honored to have been asked serve on the faculty this year.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mery Christmas!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the word through Him might be saved." John 3:16-17

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His kingdom and peace there shall be no end." Isaiah 9:6-7a

Merry Christmas to all! May this year find you rejoicing in the gift God has given to us. And may 2018 bring you good tidings and great joy. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving is behind us, Christmas is right around the corner, and I have a book about to be released! Woohoo"Glimpses of Prayer: A Devotional" will release on December 5th. It is currently up for pre-order at the discounted price of $2.99 for the Kindle. This price will go up once the book is released. So, if you are looking for a cyber Monday deal, this is it. 

The book is another collaboration between my childhood friend, Shirley Crowder and myself.

 Shirley has a passion for disciple-making and loves to share about her spiritual children who are scattered across the world serving the Lord. She is a never-married single woman and a Biblical counselor; a regular guest on "Think on These Things," a Birmingham AL radio/TV program for women; and a freelance writer. Shirley is certified by, and serves on the national Advisory Committee for The Addiction Connection. She co-authored the chapter, "Paul and Women in Ministry" in the book “Paul the Counselor” published by Focus Publishing and has several articles which have appeared in “The Gadsden Times” Religion Section's Paper Pulpit. Follow her blog at: Through the Lens of Scripture.

And the book is illustrated by my daughter, Kristin Michael.

Kristin is a freelance artist whose preferred medium is oil painting. Her style is contemporary expressionist with a focus on light and water. She obtained her liberal arts degree at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky with a double minor in fine arts and literature.

Kristin continued her education at St. Catherine College in Bardstown, KY where she earned an associate degree in Cardiac Sonography.

She is now employed full-time by Ky Children's Hospital as a pediatric and adult congenital cardiac sonographer (she performs ultrasounds on children and adults with congenital heart disease).

Kristin works hard in her healthcare and artistic endeavors as a single mother in order to take care of her sweet young son who is the light of her life. You can find more of Kristin's artwork at
 Kiki paintings

Friday, October 27, 2017

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. (I realize, as I write this, that the calendar still says October and we haven't even had Halloween yet. But I don't celebrate Halloween and the weather here has turned much colder, so I'm in the mood for Thanksgiving.)

What am I thankful for this year? In particular, what about my writing journey do I have to be thankful for? 

The answer to that is myriad. The ability to write is a gift God gave me which I enjoy "playing" with daily. I told God once that I feel like a child whose Father gave her the greatest gift ever and she loves to take it out and play with it every chance she has. And I play with it in so many ways--writing blog posts, articles, devotions, and books (both fiction and nonfiction).

Currently, I am juggling many things, as usual. I have magazine articles coming out in the next few months in "War Cry" and "Seek", devotions coming out in "Reflections" (7 days of devos) and "The Secret Place" (both fall and winter issues), more themes lists I am perusing, writing, and submitting to, and three books I am juggling. One of the books (a devotional I co-wrote) will be released by PNP in Dec, another (an anthology I am compiling & writing many stories for) will be released from PNP next summer, (that manuscript is due to my publisher in mid-Feb) and we are still looking for a publisher for a completed nonfiction I co-wrote with my husband. I also just submitted proposals for two more books. Whew!

But right now, I have something else I am rejoicing over. Several people I have mentored or helped in some way have seen their work contracted in just the last few months! This warms my heart like nothing else! One has her first published devotion coming out in the winter issue of The Secret Place, another has been notified that his devotion is being held by The Upper Room, a third just received his first contract from SEEK, and a fourth also just got a contract from SEEK, though not his first (I started helping him a few years ago. He also just recently had a story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul that I helped him tweak and submit.)

That makes me happiest of all!