Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Writing Updates

I have not posted in a while, mostly because I am waiting with bated breath for some updates on "A Stand for Truth", the soon-to-be-released book I co-wrote with my husband, so I could pass that on to you. But the publishing process always takes longer than authors like. Frankly, authors would like a publisher to complete his work in mere days but in actuality, publishers put an awful lot of work into a book and I am just thankful to have found one brave enough to publish this tell-all book about the conservative resurgence at Southern Seminary.

So, instead I will give you some freelance updates. Coming out in the next few months:

SEEK: this magazine is closing soon but they published an article by me on May 19. I sure am going to miss them!

Green Prints: is a gardening magazine who has contracted with me for a humorous article about weeds which will appear in their magazine sometime this summer.

The Secret Place: I received notice (and a check) from them for a devotion they will be publishing in their fall issue.

Bible Advocate: I have an article on missions coming out in July titled, "Catch the Fire."

Blue Ridge Country: Contracted with me last year to publish a memoir titled, "High School Football and the Age of Innocence." It is a regional magazine and I am thrilled to have a cross-over piece in a secular magazine. It will come out late summer or early fall.

Many of these pay on publication. The work is done and now comes the fun parts--complimentary copies coming in the mail and payment!

In addition to these, I have received word from Purpose Magazine and Bible Advocate of acceptances for articles coming out in 2020 and apparently am still in the final cut list for a story in Chicken Soup's Christmas book.

I also still speak and have book signings. I just spoke to an amazing group of girls and their mothers at a Mother-Daughter dinner at a local church and held a book signing at my mother's church in Augusta, SC. (Btw, I welcome speaking invitations, if any reading this are in need of a speaker.)

And I keep busy writing and mentoring. In fact, on my agenda today is to edit a piece that a new, unpublished writer hopes to submit to Chicken Soup, post two blog posts, and work on a freelance submission to another magazine.

But meanwhile, I am still super busy with book-writing. On the docket are two books to be released this year (one of them being "A Stand for Truth") another manuscript due to my publisher by my co-writer and me this August, and one we are just starting that is due next Feb. All of these will require a lot more work requested by me from the publishers before the books actually make it to press. Whew! It's a good thing I love what I do!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

He is Risen!

I most often use the blog to let my readers know what is happening in my writing life. It's been a while since I have posted and I apologize for that. I have a co-written book that I am very excited about coming out soon and have been waiting in hopes that I would have a release date or at least a cover reveal to show you, but so far I still do not. And it's Easter, which is basically the reason I write. As a mostly Christian, nonfiction author and writer, I would not do what I do if not for the fact that I serve a risen savior. So, in honor of the season, instead of posting information on what's happening in my writing world, I am posting the words to one of my favorite Easter songs.

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

Oh, that old rugged cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left His glory above
To bear it on dark Calvary

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies, at last, I lay don
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I'm a Speaker too!

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I'm feeling like spring may finally be on its way. Thank goodness! What a long, cold winter it's been. But in spite of the cold, I have been enjoying some speaking engagements which I thought I'd tell you about today.

Writers must also learn to be speakers. Speaking serves several purposes. There are often groups that ask a favorite writer to speak to their group and its also a way to build a platform. (A platform is the group of people who follow you as a writer, who enjoy reading your books, and who will continue to read new books you write.)

I am reminded of this aspect of the writing life because lately I have been asked to speak to a few groups and have loved every minute of it. In the past few weeks, I have spoken to a local writing group about an aspect of the writing craft, to a group of high schoolers about writing, and to a men's group about one of my books which they are studying.

… yes, you read that correctly. A men's group has been studying one of the books I wrote.

Last summer a man I know who teaches a Sunday School class at a large Methodist church in my city and also leads a men's small group at that same church read Prayer: It's Not About You and liked it well enough to want his groups to read and study it too. I am both humbled and honored by this!

His small group has been studying it since last fall and asked me to join them for a casual question / answer session. They wanted to meet the author and be able to ask me questions. What an enjoyable time I had! Now, this same man tells me his Sunday School class (a much larger group) will begin studying it in mid-April and later this summer when they are closer to the end of the book, he would like me to come speak to them. He may have several Sunday school classes join together to hear me, so in that session I will be both speaking and answering questions.

And I'm loving every minute of it! If you have a group in need of a speaker, I'd love to be contacted. I can speak on Biblical topics, especially prayer, and on writing topics too.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

New Pictures and a Chat with my Mom

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I had some pictures made in order to choose one for back of our book, "A Stand for Truth" that is currently in the publishing stage with Olivia Kimbrell Press. The choice was difficult since we had a great photographer who made us look nice, in spite of ourselves. Here is the one we chose.
Oliva Kimbrell Press is the same publisher who published my novel, The Whisper of the Palms back in March of 2017. This book is the fictionalized version of my parents' story--their childhoods, love story, and call to foreign missions that ultimately led them to Nigeria where I was born. In celebration of the two-year book anniversary, Valentines (since this is a love story), and my mother's birthday (Feb 23) the ebook is going on sale Feb 13-16. You can watch for more reminders of that sale on my Facebook author page.

Since the story is based on the lives of my parents, I wanted to share a conversation I had with my mom the other day. Mom told me about a book she is currently reading that took her back to her childhood because it had a rural farm setting about the time she grew up in the hills of North Carolina, the daughter of a poor farmer. Mom told me about the turning plow and the regular plow. In the book she's reading the little girl had to learn how to use a turning plow.

"Now that was different from me," she said. "Daddy would never let me work the turning plow. He said it was too hard to handle." Then she explained that the turning plow turned over new ground still hardened from the winter. "But I begged him so that he finally agreed to let me try my hand at the regular plow. I was supposed to plow between rows of corn but I lost control and plowed up about a fourth of a row of corn. We could get most of it to stand back up by stepping around the roots and packing them back in the dirt but Daddy lost some of his plants." 

I asked her if my grandfather, whom I remember so fondly, was angry with her. "Oh no," she said. "He thought it was funny and laughed and laughed at me. I had my pride hurt, though. I was always so sure I could do anything anyone else could do." 

… and this is why I wanted to write a book about my parents. I love my mom's can-do attitude and my dad's ingenuity. My mom has always believed anything was possible and my dad has usually found a way to make it happen, whatever it was. If you haven't reads the book yet, get it while its on sale in a couple of weeks. I promise you will enjoy it. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Looking Forward ... And Back

Welcome 2019! Today is the first day of a brand-new year. We have 364 more days ahead of us to live, laugh, love, and maybe cry a little before this year is behind us. As I think about the days to come, I can't help but also look back.

2018 was a mostly good year. I had some not-so-wonderful moments both personally and professionally but many more wonderful ones that far out-weighed the less than wonderful days. This blog is focused on my writing journey so that is what I will talk about today as I let you know some of the highlights of 2018 and things to look forward to in 2019.

2018 was another good year for freelancing. I had numerous articles published in an assortment of magazines and sites and even taught a workshop on freelance writing in June at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. One highlight was getting my first acceptance in a regional magazine for an article that will not come out until late summer '19.

On the book front, 2018 saw the release of one book and re-release of another, both by PixNPens. The most recent release, Prayer Warrior Confessions is an anthology compiled (and partly written) by Shirley Crowder and me. It has been received well by readers, has just finished a blog tour, and is garnering many great reviews. Another book that has been quite successful this past year is Prayer: It's Not About You. This book remains my best-selling book, actually, partly because groups of 10 or more often buy it for group Bible studies. Last August, a men's small group studied it and the leader emailed and told me he intended to teach it in a Sunday School class he leads this spring.

What were the less-than-wonderful moments in my writing world? Well, I did receive a few rejections of submitted articles (which is the norm for freelancers but stings just the same) and I learned that SEEK magazine will be folding. It has published so many of my articles. Also, my husband and I had a couple of disappointments with large traditional publishing companies who gave us every indication they were going to publish our book, "A Stand for Truth" but in the end, they did not. One actually sent a contract but it differed greatly from what we had discussed with them and was not a contract we could sign.

So, I start 2019 with much hope and great expectancy. Here is what I know already about my writing journey in the year ahead:

I will be receiving contracts from both Focus on the Family and David C. Cook in January for articles to be published sometime in the coming year. I still have articles coming out in SEEK in Jan, Feb, April, and May before they close their door in August. And I know of other articles I wrote coming out in May in Purpose Magazine and in August or September in Blueridge Country magazine and devotions in both the winter and spring issues of The Secret Place.

My husband and I are moving ahead with the publishing of A Stand for Truth with the help of Gregg Bridgeman at Olivia Kimbrell Press (the press that worked with me on my novel, The Whisper of the Palms) We do not yet have a release date for A Stand for Truth. And speaking of my novel, it will be featured in a friend's blog in mid February and will go on sale at that time too.

My co-writer on many of my books, Shirley Crowder, and I have been and will stay quite busy again this year. We are in the process of writing the Glimpses of God series of devotional books; four in total--winter, spring, summer, and fall. We have winter all done and turned into our publisher. It will release next fall. (It will keep us busy in the summer when it hits the publisher's editing schedule.) We are putting the final touches on the spring book and hope to have that to our publisher in February and are just starting on the summer one which has a deadline of next August. So, while it may be winter outside, my thoughts for the next few months will be filled with summertime!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Merry Christmas to All and God Bless America!

Christmas is right around the corner. I love this time of year, although it keeps me quite busy putting up decorations, buying and wrapping gifts, and attending get-togethers. Still, as I hurry through the season, I love all the festivity that is seemingly everywhere with decorations up in stores, and Christmas music playing on the car radio and in stores.

Yesterday while substituting in a Missions class at the Christian school where I work, I saw a film published by Lifeway, about the persecuted church titled, The Insanity of God. How my heart was touched! I fought back tears many times. Along with making me more aware of what other Christians in other places around the world go through, it also made me greatly appreciate the privilege I have to worship my Lord freely! As I drove home from work yesterday and heard Christmas songs on the radio, and then walked into my decorated home with its brightly lit Christmas tree and nativities set out in a few places, I once again fought back tears. How blessed we are in the U.S!

I am a Christian writer. Almost everything I have ever written has a Christian focus--conveys a Biblical truth, or reflects on Christ or his followers in some way. To date, I have only written two pieces out of hundreds that are more secular in nature and only one of them has, or rather will, make it into print, thus far. (I sold a memoir of my high school's 1975 football championship run to a regional magazine last week--the first time I have crossed over into the secular market. I hope to do that more in the future, but Christian writing will always remain my passion and make up the bulk of my writing.)

Yesterday, as I watched the film, it resonated with me quite profoundly that I could be imprisoned. persecuted, and even killed for what I do if I lived somewhere else. So today I want to say, "Merry Christmas and my God increase religious freedom around the world and continue to bless America!”

Monday, November 12, 2018

Book News

Happy Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year including book-news on a couple of different fronts.

My books with Pix-N-Pens
Pix-N-Pens is the nonfiction arm of Write Integrity Press, a small press based out of Dallas Texas. We are about to undergo some changes which will result in a new name but we will still be an imprint of Write Integrity Press. There will be more updates on that coming sometime next year.

I have one book written by only me and three that I have co-written with Shirley Crowder under Pix-N-Pens. Shirley and I also have four more under contract that we are currently working on, that will be releasing over the next couple of years. The most recent release is Prayer Warrior Confessions which released on Nov. 6. It had a great release, hitting #2 in three categories of new releases. The kindle has been on sale but will soon go back to its regular price of $6.99. This is a book I am really excited about. It is a collection of true stories of prayer and lessons the writers learned through the experiences they share. This book literally made me cry and laugh while I was compiling and editing it and it will do the same to readers.

My books with Olivia Kimbrell Press
There is another small press I work with as well. Olivia Kimbrell Press is based here in KY. The editor-in-chief is Gregg Bridgeman. They publish many of his wife, best-selling author Hallee Bridgman's, books as well as other authors. OKP published my novel, The Whisper of the Palms and has agreed to publish A Stand for Truth, the book I co-wrote with my husband, John R. Michael about his time as a trustee at Southern Seminary.

A Stand for Truth has an interesting publishing history. P&R came very close to offering us a contract but in the end, they decided not to. Then the manuscript was picked up by Founders Press. However, the contract they sent us differed in some important ways with what we had discussed on the phone with them and we simply were not able to sign the contract terms that they offered. So, we pitched the book to Gregg Bridgeman and he agreed because as he said, "It's a story that needs to be told." He did a great job with my novel and we are so excited that this book is finally in the publishing stage! We don't have a release date yet but it should be sometime in 2019. I'll let you know more as I can. Stay tuned.