Thursday, April 6, 2017

On Mentors and Mentoring

In the last two days I have been impacted by both my writing mentor and a young writer I have mentored.

The one writer whom I credit with launching my writing career, Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress, has seen many sorrows in her life. Her first husband died many years ago from cancer, her only daughter (she has four sons) lived life handicapped and passed away quite young, and her second husband suffered a severe major stroke five years ago. Yesterday, he passed away. My heart has been heavy for Lettie and her family.

In 2009, when I was still unpublished, I attended a writer's conference where Lettie taught a workshop on freelancing small pieces like articles and devotions. I went home and successfully applied the information she taught in her very informative workshop. Without her willingness to share what she knew, I would have never known the basic how to's of freelancing. She opened up the world of writing to me.

Though my heart is heavy for my mentor, today it filled with joy over a young Nigerian writer I have mentored. Some years ago, a Nigerian man sent me a FB friend request. I am very selective in accepting friend request from people I do not know, especially men. I checked out his profile & saw that a) he was young enough to be my son, and b) his statuses we're very Christ honoring so I accepted his friend request.

His statuses kept grabbing my heart. At Christmas he wrote that he walked into work & all his coworkers were downcast & dejected because they had not been paid in two months, he told them, "This is the season that we celebrate the birth of our Savior! Be of good cheer!" 

That along with some other similar statuses prompted me to send him a private message telling him he would make a good devotional writer. Via email & FB, I mentored him in devotional writing. And I also sent email inquiries to the various devo magazine I write for. Sadly, the only one that could get a payment to Nigeria was The Upper Room. 

Today I received my complimentary copy of The Upper Room (because I am a contributor.) To my joy, not only was a devo in there by him but also by a young woman in his church whom he has mentored. 

On the heels of these two very different events, I am left pondering the joys and sorrows of connecting with others, of mentoring and being mentored.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

New Release

It's release day!!!! YAY!! My debut novel, published by Olivia Kimbrell Press, based on the lives, love, and calling of my parents is now available on Amazon. Woo-hoo! Amazon will eventually combine the paperback and kindle but for now there are two links. Both can be found on my author page

The two characters in the book, Kyle and Ali, are very like my parents, Keith and Alice, and many of their adventures come straight from my parent's lives. However, Ali and Kyle also have adventures of their own which came from my imagination rather than stories I've heard my parents tell.

When I embarked on writing their story, it soon became clear to me that it would be easier to write and make a livelier read if wrote it as fiction. Had I chosen nonfiction, I would have had to make sure every little detail was absolutely as it happened. In fiction, I had more leeway ... and well, I took it. I combined some characters into one in a couple of places and added made-up adventures in some places.

I sent the manuscript to my mother, chapter by chapter as I wrote it over the past couple of years and she loved it! She once called me up and choking back tears, she told me how much she liked the way I was writing her and Daddy's story She added, "It didn't all happen this way, but it could have."

This book was written from my heart for my parents and it has their stamp of approval.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to share the cover of my upcoming novel! The book will be released soon from Olivia Kimbrell Press and I will share the links with you at that time.

It is my first novel, a fiction based on fact. In it I tell many stories from my parents' childhoods, love, and their calling to the mission field. It was a labor of love, a work from my heart. But as I began to contemplate writing it, I quickly realized it would work better as fiction. So, though it is based on my parents' lives and much of it actually happened just the way it appears in the book, other parts are completely made up.

It is the story of Ali Blackwell and Kyle Edmonds who grow up in very separate worlds--she the daughter of a poor farmer, he the son of a wealthy doctor. Though based on the lives of Alice Blankenship and Keith Edwards (my parents), Ali and Kyle's story is their own.

This book was so much fun to write! I discovered I love writing fiction. It felt like I was a kid again, playing make-believe. At this point I do not have any future fiction projects in the works, and am juggling several nonfiction ones, which will keep me busy for a couple of years. But I do hope to write another novel some day.

Here's the cover:

Monday, January 9, 2017

Welcome 2017!

In my home of Louisville, the year greeted us with a few inches of snow. I always love the beginning of a new year. The upcoming year seems to stretch out before me like a large, open field covered in fresh snow. It beckons me to walk forward, to see what lies ahead, leaving tracks as I go.

This year looks to be busy and exciting for my writing career. I already have several things on my calendar:

Articles and devotions that will be coming out include:
3 articles in Standard Publishing's Student Magazine--Jan, March, and April
6 articles in SEEK Magazine--January, April, May, August, September, and November
7 days of devotions in Reflections Magazine--October 29-November 4
and devotions in The Upper Room on January 24, and in The Secret Place on February 17

Guest blog posts at various times for:
The Upper Room Blog
Write Integrity Press Blog
Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas ... Oh, My! blog

And as for book writing, I have these irons in the fire:
My friend Shirley Crowder's "Study Guide on Prayer" a companion to my book, "Prayer: It's Not About You" is in the process of being released. Her kindle is up already. (Both are published by PixNPens)
I am anxiously awaiting the publication of my first novel, "The Whisper of the Palms" which is coming soon from Olivia Kimbrell Press.
My husband and I have been collaborating on a nonfiction for many years that is finally in the editing stages. We will be seeking a publisher for it soon.
And now that I have finished writing my novel, and the collaboration with my husband, I will begin co-writing another devotional with my friend Shirley (this one will be on prayer) and I will pick back up a nonfiction anthology I have been writing / compiling for about 2 years. My goal is to have the devotional finished by the end of 2017 and the anthology by the end of 2018.

Whew! That open field before me looks challenging ... but beautiful!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Merry Christmas!

With Christmas just around the corner, I want to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas!

The Christmas season and upcoming year are exciting times for me as I eagerly await the release of two new books. A study guide companion to Prayer: It's Not About You is at the publishers and will be released by Pix-N-Pens in early January. In addition, my debut novel, "The Whisper of the Palms" is also at the publishers and is coming soon from Olivia Kimbrell Press. It's fiction based on fact in that it is the fictionalized retelling of my parents' lives. Stay tuned; I'll keep you posted. 

Enjoy this season of celebrating the birth of the Savior!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Happy Fall! The weather is starting to turn cooler and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Just last week, I realized some the things for which I am thankful that I sometimes take for granted, like good health, and little things too, such as plumbing that doesn't leak and furnaces that work.

This week is election week. I have opinions on politics, but no matter how it all turns out, I am still aware of how blessed I am. My husband had surgery last week and had a few rough days afterwards, my disposal leaked, and my furnace broke just as we experienced our first frost of the season. This week my husband is healing, I have a new disposal, and will soon have a working furnace.

It's almost time to pull out the scarves and overcoats, start planning Thanksgiving dinner, and recall to our minds all that God has blessed us with over the last year. For me that list includes a brand new grand daughter!

It's also time to start reading the seasonal devotional I co-wrote with childhood friend Shirley Crowder titled, Glimpses of the Savior It's now available on Kindle Unlimited too!

Monday, October 10, 2016

More Book News!

More exciting news! I will be collaborating again with childhood friend and co-writer on a previous book, Shirley Crowder, and publishing again with Pix-N-Pens Publishing! We will be writing a Study Guide for "Prayer: It's Not About You." Here we are signing the joint contract for this book that will release in early 2017.