Meanwhile, On Cloud 9…

So this thing happened over the weekend. This amazing thing that all writers dream of.

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For years I’ve prayed for the right agent. God has held me back in a couple of circumstances, telling me no when I didn’t want that answer. Or keeping doors shut I thought I wanted open.

Meanwhile He kept me moving forward, writing more stories, exploring different genres, learning the craft so I can help other writers.

{I LOVE THAT PART!} 

And now I am beyond grateful to sign with Ali Herring of Spencerhill Associates. Ali read my contemporary romance and sent an incredibly gracious and enthusiastic offer of representation that spoke to my heart and answered my prayers.

I’m so thrilled! And grateful beyond words. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this story and my other stories, and to partner with Ali to share them with the world.

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On a funny note, when I was planning the signing picture, I wanted to wear my purple, “Please Go Away, I’m Writing” t-shirt from my wonderful parents.

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But when Trev took the picture, it mostly just looked like my t-shirt said “Please Go Away.” 🙂 So we nixed that one. 🙂

Hugs & hearts & chocolate & love & more hugs & my deepest appreciation to my family and writer friends who’ve encouraged, prayed, listened, critiqued, read, shared, hugged, and cared. God walked me through a long valley to get to this point, and I’m realizing the view is just as beautiful in the valley (right beside HIM) as it is on the mountaintop.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Prov. 3:5 & 6) 

 

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A Perfect Gift

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God recently surprised me above what I could have asked or imagined. As my tears flowed and shock coursed through my veins, James 1:7 flashed in my mind.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

My local writers’ group asked if I’d put together a presentation on entering writing contests for our January meeting. Though the thought of getting in front of adults makes my stomach somersault, I’d had a feeling for months that this would be part of my writing path.

Sharing what I’ve learned. Helping other writers on their publishing journey. Guiding those a few steps behind, so they can catch up.

I was nervous but really excited {but nervous}.

(Did I mention I was nervous?) 

In preparation I pulled together this information and that information, eager to share all I’d learned in a *hopefully* positive and coherent manner.

A couple writer friends from the group got in touch, letting me know they’d be there. Grateful for their support, I gathered my materials that evening and headed to the church where we meet.

I arrived fifteen minutes early, just behind a group member who’s about to move. We chatted about the process of packing up her home of many years. I unloaded the books I’d brought and set out the paperwork for the presentation on entering writing contests.

A couple minutes later, another person walked in. When I glanced sideways, smiling a welcome, my breath caught.

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Someone so dear, so unexpected, walked in. And though we’d never met, I knew her.

Almost three years ago, Vie judged my entry in a contest (I didn’t know this at the time; we only connected afterward, when I emailed my thank you letters to judges).

Her comments on that entry (my middle grade story) touched and encouraged me tremendously. In some moments, those precious words kept me afloat amidst a sea of negativity and rejection.

  • I printed the email and taped her comments to my computer and the bulletin board in our office.
  • I read and reread those words when road blocks and closed doors and sheer time weighed on my shoulders and made me want to give up.
  • I hoped and prayed to meet her one day and give her a big hug for the gift she’d been and the kind encouragement she showed.

We live quite far apart, and finding an opportunity to meet at writing conferences never materialized.

So when she appeared that evening, smiling tentatively as I’m about to give a presentation on writing contests, I lost it. (She wasn’t sure if I’d recognize her.)

She said she’ll never forget my face. I just remember bursting into tears because of the gift it was to see her in person, at that moment.

(She happened to be in my home state when she saw my post about the presentation.)

Having her there….it meant the world. It was a gift from God I hadn’t expected. But isn’t that just like the Lord? We think we want this or that, and instead He surprises us with such good and perfect gifts.

This sweet woman’s encouragement three years ago also affirmed the heart of my presentation that night:

We’re not writing in a vacuum. Pray for others. Encourage others. God calls us to love and serve others on this writing journey (sometimes, even above ourselves).

This is the key ingredient to the writing life…loving and helping others. Otherwise, we write in vain.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” (Phil. 1:3)