FACE OF MARY and A WOODLANDS CHRISTMAS

Face of Mary 3 (1)This month I am featuring two of my earlier books. Although now re-released, Face of Mary was first published in A Woodland Christmas. It was one of the first proposals I put together on my own. At the time Barbour published 4-author Christmas anthologies, usually with an interesting setting and preferably with something that tied the stories together. The setting was the Piney Woods of East Texas, through which I travelled many times on my way from Idabel, Oklahoma, to seminary in Fort Worth. The connecting thread: an itinerant wood carver. Tamela Hancock Murray, Ramona K. Cecil, and Janelle Mowery sent the proposal with me.

The story of a man looking for a woman to be the model for Mary, the mother of Jesus, had bugged me for years. The story is the most obvious retelling of the Christmas story of all of my holiday novellas. Mary “Polly” Jessup believes she is engaged to her friend’s much older brother, Joseph “Joey” Carpenter. Only once she’s grown, he returns engaged to someone else.

Darlene Franklin woodland christmasA Woodland Christmas contains all four of the novellas featuring Gabriel Noel. It’s one of my favorite collections, one I wish more people had discovered. Now is your chance! Janelle Mowery’s story continued in a full-fledged series and Ramona’s award-winning story is set in an Indian orphanage. Tamela Hancock Murray had the brilliant idea of reuniting Gabe with his family and giving him his own romance.

Do you ever wonder how long to let a publisher hold on to your proposal? This one took at least two years from proposal to contract, then at least a year from then until publication.

 

Note: Face of Mary is also in A Texas Christmas and Lawmen and the Lawless.

Purchase Link for Lawmen & the Lawless                                              Purchase Link for Texas Christmas

lawmen

A Texas Christmas

Writing News & Tips from Gail Kittleson

Today we welcome Gail Kittleson to my blog! Gail has been a good friend and supporter of my work, and I am so glad to hear from her today. Her debut novel, In This Together, released in 2015. Her memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, released in 2013, shares the ancient Benedictine meditation process of Lectio Divina with readers. She’s hard at work on other World War II fiction, including a novel contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (2017)

Gail and her husband of almost 38 years live in rural northern Iowa, and enjoy Arizona’s Ponderosa pine forest in winter, and she enjoys facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats.

A few words before we listen to Gail. Forgive me for not publishing the promised post on the Texas Rangers last Monday. Since last we talked, I received a contract for a novella, The Gambler’s Daughter, in a 9-author collection called Pony Express Romance Collection. I also handed in the manuscript for A Taste of Honey, part of the Blue Ribbon Brides collection to be released in November.

Now let’s hear from Gail:

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.
Thomas Edison, inventor

My research for a one of a series of World War II novellas has enthralled me lately. Enthralled–that’s a pretty strong verb, eh?

Well, it has. The incredible amount of knowledge to be gleaned about this era amazes me. Honestly, what did people do before there was GOOGLE? I’ve always loved hanging out in libraries, but how would I ever have discovered what I’ve recently learned about the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps?

Army archives overwhelm me with information. It’s taken a couple of days to narrow down what my heroine was called and trained to do, because of so many options. I had no idea women served behind enemy lines in France.

Of course they did, in the Secret Operations Executive, but as G-4’s?

(That’s logistics and supply.) Yes, they did—they dug slit trenches, erected tents to cover them, and somehow managed to come up with the toilet paper to go around.

That’s the thing about research—you never know where it’ll take you. When I started searching for a specific job for my heroine, a small-town Iowa girl with a big hear, integrity, and a love of the outdoors, I thought she was headed for a stint in Secret Operations.

But nope. She took me elsewhere. And that’s the joy of it! I think that may be what Thomas A. Edison meant when he talked about hustling and waiting. You put your mind to a task, you research like crazy, and wait for it all to come together in your head or in your notes. And it does.

InThisTogether_w9364_300Dottie Kyle invites you to share the winter of 1946 with her as she works at Helene’s boarding house after losing her son in WWII and her husband soon after. Her meals satisfy the boarders, and give her a reason to get up in the morning. But her bum knee suffers as she climbs steep stairs to do the laundry and clean rooms.
She makes do, though, with no idea that her next door widower neighbor Al Jensen watches her trek home from work each evening, wondering how he might win her heart. This story of second chances for both Dottie and Al contains nary a reason to blush, and many a reason to cheer as Dottie and Al overcome old, paralyzing fears.

WRITINGS NEWS & TIPS – Davalynn Spencer

Today’s guest is Davalynn Spencer. We both worked on Cowboy’s Bride. Davalynn writes Western romance complete with rugged cowboys, their challenges, and their loves. Winner of the 2015 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award for Inspirational Western Fiction, she makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue and two mouse detectors, Annie and Oakley. Visit her at www.davalynnspencer.com (Davalynn, can I join you? I miss Colorado)

davalynn-spencer-media-4My favorite writing tip is so often repeated, it’s ridiculous. However, like chocolate-mint chip ice cream, also my favorite, it bears up under second helpings.

The tip: Don’t quit.

To put it another way, don’t stop writing.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” I forget how many nevers he used, but you get the idea.

Case in point:

Several years ago I submitted a proposal to a publisher’s call-out for a Christmas novella collection. I thought I had a great idea. So did my agent. The publisher said no thank you.

I was devastated for a couple of reasons: it was a good story and I knew I’d done a good job on it. If I hadn’t believed that, I would not have submitted it. However, no is no.

So I reworked the idea, added to it, and submitted it to another publisher as a full-length manuscript. That publisher bought it and offered a three-book contract.

If my idea had sold as a novella, my three-book deal would not have materialized. And if I would have thrown up my hands in despair or disgust—both equally debilitating—I would not have persevered to write the first novel that became one of three.

This experience has inspired me countless times to not give up in the heat of discouragement.

Sometimes God’s timing is a bit different than ours. And it’s always better.

What a great story! I have to agree. Ten years more or less after giving up on writing for magazines, I’ve been offered a monthly column in The Book Fun Magazine, an online magazine with a half a million subscribers. (VERIFY)

cowboy's brideNow here’s Davalynn’s blurb about her novella in The Cowboy’s Bride (see the home page for additional information.)

One of nine novellas in The Cowboy’s Bride, “The Wrangler’s Woman” tells the story of widowed rancher Josiah Hanacker who hires spinster Corra Jameson as a lady-trainer for his young daughter, Jess. He fears losing Jess to his wife’s sister if the girl doesn’t meet her aunt’s ladylike expectations. Turns out, Corra has everything Josiah needs for his daughter. He just never figured she’d have what he needed for himself.

COWBOY’S BRIDE and THE RANGER’S TRAIL

The two books featured this month are alike in one way: they are both western historical romances. In a lot of other ways they’re different.

cowboy's brideMy new book, The Reformed Cowboy, appears in The Cowboy’s Bride, which includes a total of nine novellas from Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Suzanne Dietze, Nancy J. Farrier, Miralee Ferrell, Davalynn Spencer, Becca Witham, and Jaime Jo Wright.

Reviewers like the humor, colorful characters, and glimpses into nineteenth century etiquette. I had fun writing about a woman a lot like me, who moved west after growing up in New England. Culture shock! She decides all the rough cowboys need is some training in “How to Become a Gentleman.” Little does she know that one of the cowboys is the poet and deep thinker she’s been corresponding with for a year.

Darlene Franklin ranger's trailI chose A Ranger’s Trail in honor of Texas Ranger’s Day on March 12th. It’s book four from the Texas Trails series. It’s based on a true story. The year is 1875 and a range war is going strong in Mason County. German Americans and “Americans” (in their view) killed each other tit-for-tat and none of the murderers were ever brought to justice. I added the widow of a fictional “American” killed by the “Germans” and brought in a ranger whose mother was a German immigrant. Historically, the Texas Rangers did try to break up the War. Throughout the book I scattered first-hand accounts of the War.

Ranger’s Trail also draws on personal experience, the painful process of forgiving the unforgiveable. It’s one of the books I’m proudest of writing. Like Tobogganing for Two, which one the Bibliotherapy Book of the Year award from the Overcoming with God blog, writing it tore me from the inside out. My prayer is that it will help others struggling with pain—while enjoying an action-packed romance.

FIFTH MONDAY SPECIAL: MEET CYNTHIA HICKEY

How many times in our lifetimes will February have five Mondays?

Today it is my privilege to introduce you to my good friend and editor, Cindy Hickey. She showed me the ropes to self-publishing and then opened her own company, Forget Me Not Romances, although it includes mysteries and devotions and any other genre the author feels led to write.

A couple of quick reminders:

cowboy's brideTomorrow, March 1st: Release party for Cowboy’s Bride. 2-6:30 PST (that’s 5-9:30 EST). My half hour, discussing The Reformed Cowboy, is from 6:30-7:00 CST (my timezone). Lots of giveaways.https://www.facebook.com/groups/1952112738347901/

Friday, March 5th: Several authors from the Cowboy’s Bride will be guests at http://petticoatsandpistols.com/http://petticoatsandpistols.com/ . Includes giveaways.

Now to hear from Cindy:

THE LOVE OF A MYSTERY

Since I opened my first Nancy Drew mystery at the age of nine, I’ve been hooked. What is more fun than trying to figure out a clever crime along with a beloved character? Writing a mystery runs a very close second.

Beware the Orchids 2The challenge of laying subtle clues, depositing red herons like bread crumbs in a forest, provides as much fun for a mystery author as it does for the reader. The challenge comes when the author is successful at keeping the culprit’s identity a secret at the very end, yet leaving the reader satisfied that they weren’t cheated when they think back and realize how the clues led them down a cleverly placed trail. Then, the reader closes the book, smiles, and feels satisfied.

Add a quirky character the reader can relate to, and you’ve got a successful cozy mystery. Not an easy task for the writer. Most mystery authors are not seat-of-the-pants writers. Instead, writing a cozy mystery involves days, if not weeks, of planning and note taking. A lot of hard work and a lot of fun. Especially when the reader leaves positive feedback.

The items needed for a good mystery are:

*A quirky character

*Well-placed red herrings

*A supportive cast of secondary characters

*Humorous happenings

*A clever crook

*A satisfying ending

In my Summer Meadows mysteries, the main character Summer Meadows doesn’t start out with the intentions to take up sleuthing, but when she finds diamonds, a rusty can full of cash, and a bloody gardening glove, what’s a girl to do?

In my latest mystery series, Stormi Nelson is a reclusive author who is told by her agent to get out more. Her first night out as president of the local Neighborhood Watch program results in a murder and a mystery that changes her life.

See all of Cynthia Hickey’s mysteries at www.cynthiahickey.com and connect with her on FaceBook where she loves to talk up a good mystery.

Please check out the first book in her brand new series, Beware the Orchids, book one in the Shady Acres mysteries.

cindy hMulti-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She had several historical romances release in 2013, 2014, 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold half a million copies of her works. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two Sulcata tortoises. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com

WRITING NEWS AND TIPS

Leeann BettsToday’s writing tips comes from Leeann Betts. She writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. No Accounting for Murder and There Was a Crooked Man, books 1 and 2 in her By the Numbers series, recently released. Book 3, Unbalanced, releases in January, with plans for Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, due in April, with more planned for later dates. Leeann and Donna have penned a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, and Donna has published a book of short stories, Second Chances and Second Cups. You can follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com and Donna at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com . All books are available at Amazon.com in digital and print, and at Smashwords.com in digital.

First for a few announcements:

holidaysToday through February 26: Reduced price to purchase Holidays of the Heart, 4 Holiday novellas. My Candy Valentine obviously features Valentine’s Day and the patriotic themes of Love’s Glory go well with Presidents’ Day.  Purchase Link

LOVE’S SPORTING CHANCE party Thursday, February 25, 11 AM – 9 PM EST. My hour is from 8/7 to 9/8.  There will be two multi-author collections, historical and contemporary, published within a few days. Find us at https://www.facebook.com/events/1017057198349625/

cowboy's brideMarch 1stThe Cowboy’s Bride releases, which includes novellas by nine authors Purchase Link

THE COWBOY’S BRIDE  RELEASE party is Tuesday, March 1, 2-6:30 PST. My time is 4:30-5:00 (6:30-7:00 CST)  Find the party here:

March 4th – Cowboy authors are on a group blog w/giveaways at Petticoats & Pistols http://petticoatsandpistols.com/

March 14th – Check back in for promotions of A Ranger’s Trail on Texas Rangers Day

 

Now to hear from Leann:

Writing a Series

By Leeann Betts

When first sitting down and staring at the blank screen or page before you, it might be difficult to even think you have more than one book in you. However, if you want to write a series, there are some things to do to set that up in the first book:

  1. If your main character has more than one story to tell, you have a series.
  2. Develop a character arc for each book, taking a series of small steps toward accomplishing the goal of this story and one or two steps toward the overall arc of the series.
  3. Stick to one main plot and usually no more than three subplots. Save the rest for the next books.
  4. The last sentence of the book should point toward the next story, even if you haven’t written word one yet.
  5. Include the first chapter of the next book as a sneak peak at the end of each book to remind readers this is a series and yes, there will be another book this side of the new millennium.

Unbalanced Final with Custom GreenUnbalanced, Book 3 in the By the Numbers series, finds Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, back at home in Bear Cove, Maine, happily planning her son’s wedding and preparing to testify in court for her client. However, when her husband’s long-lost brother turns up then promptly disappears, leaving his son behind, Carly’s plans are waylaid. A bank robbery she saw but which is being denied as happening calls her credibility into question, and she is determined to get to the bottom of things. Will she discover who is behind this plot to destroy her livelihood, or will she be forced to retire from a job she loves?

DANCING WITH GRIEF – 8 YEARS

I began my first blog in the wake of my daughter Jolene’s suicide on March 13, 2008. My mother died almost two years later, on February 22, 2010. For Jolene, it was three days before her twenty-fourth birthday. Mom had turned seventy-eight on February 12.

So as the days and months and years passed, I would write a blog: Dancing with Grief: Seven Weeks or Dancing with Grief: Three Months. . .Five Years. . .and now eight. I’m a little early this year, but last Friday was Mom’s birthday. I’ve been thinking of her a lot.

Thanks to the Lord, I’m no longer dancing with grief. It’s a part of my past and not my present. God in his mercy sent my granddaughter Jordan nine months after Jolene’s death and my grandson Isaiah seven months after my mother’s death.

I’m reading Knowing God, Knowing Myself by Cecil Murphey. If you haven’t met him or his writing, know that he is as transparent as can be and his books are supremely real.

This statement hit home as “that time” of year approaches: “We can focus on those things taken from us, or we can realize that loss can also bring freedom.”

I loved Jolene with all that is within me. Her loss tore my heart in two, and God healed it, but the scar remains.

Even so, it didn’t take long after Jolene’s death to realize the freedom it gave me. For my daughter suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. This definition from the Mayo Clinic describes it pretty well:

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions and impulsiveness.

With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.

Living with someone with BPD is like, in the title of a very helpful book, “Walking on Eggshells.”

I was free from the constant mood swings. I no longer had to cling to count times without drama by minutes or hours—never twenty-four hours. I didn’t have to worry about the harm she might do to herself or to others.

I was also free from the constant guilt of not being enough, doing enough

And how much joy do I have, knowing Jolene is in heaven, healed, free to be the person she was meant to be. Picturing my daughter, mother, grandmother, aunts—all watching the family as we continue to grow and serve the Lord.

And some day — not too soon, God willing — I’ll join them.

WRITING NEWS & TIPS FROM ANGELA RUTH STRONG

Author Angela Ruth Strong is my guest this week, sharing some excellent tips on dealing with rejection. She studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book (http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/faithmediaandculture/2012/07/mpi-to-bring-popular-love-finds-you-book-series-to-television.html), she’s decided to rerelease it and write sequels as a new series titled Resort to Love. This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors, and she’s excited to announce the sale of her first romantic suspense novel to Love Inspired Suspense. For the latest news or to contact Angela, visit www.angelaruthstrong.com.

But first, here’s my latest writing news.

My local ACFW chapter, Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, invited me to write the anchor chapter for a group novella project. I’ve spent the last two weeks helping the idea behind The Legacy Letters, about letters left to loved ones after an elderly saint’s death.  I also just signed a contract for three novellas to be released in 2017. Praise the Lord!

Last month I neglected to mention two other books honored by the Overcoming with God blog’s books of the year: The Homestead Brides and Christmas Traditions, both novella collections that I was involved with.

FREE DAYS:

Darlene Franklin reader's journey through matthewMonday February 8th: A Reader’s Journey Through Matthew—a seven-week devotional in the book of Matthew, designed to be used through the Lenten season and culminating on Resurrection Day. (Wednesday is the first day of Lent.) If you miss the free day, it’s only $0.99 regular price. It contains most of the devotions from An Advent Journey Through Matthew plus a lot of additional materialDarlene Franklin my candy valentine.

Sunday February 14th: My Candy Valentine, a historical romance featuring a female chocolatier.

BLOG APPEARANCES:

Monday February 15th:   An interview featuring Infusion of Love at http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

 

Angela Ruth StrongAccepting Rejection

By Angela Ruth

              Strong

Writing is hard, but rejection can be worse. The fear of rejection can keep writers from submitting. Or indie publishing. Or worse—writing.

I’ve had my share of rejection. It hurts. Like any other kind of victimization, I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t feel like I deserved it, yet it happened anyway. So I’ve taken the steps taught to help victims overcome their tragedies, and I’ve applied them to writing. It not only keeps me going, but it helps me become a better writer. And it’s a tool every writer could benefit from.

It’s called the victim ladder. There are eight steps to climb. Here’s a glimpse into my thoughts after I receive a rejection and an example of how climbing the ladder works.

  • I couldn’t have read that right. I’m pretty sure they meant to send this rejection to someone else.
  • It’s not my fault. They don’t get it. Maybe they had a bad childhood experience with this particular topic. I bet this editor would reject Rachel Hauck, too.
  • There’s nothing I can do about it. They suggest I change that part? I can’t. Because then I’d have to change all this other stuff, and it just wouldn’t work.
  • Wait and hope. I’m not making the suggested changes. I’ll send it out again just like this and hope I get it into the hands of someone smarter.
  • They read it. And they couldn’t publish it this way.
  • Own it. They didn’t get it, so I must not have made my theme clear enough.
  • Make a plan. I could strengthen the theme here, here, and here.
  • Move on. Time to get my butt back in the chair.

It’s not easy, but we can grow through the pain. And that’s the value of accepting rejection.

Finding Love in Sun Valley CoverActress Emily Van Arsdale has returned to her Idaho hometown – with an entire film crew in tow! With its stunning scenery and reputation for hosting celebrities, Sun Valley is the perfect setting for Emily’s newest romantic comedy. Tracen Lake is happy to work as a stunt consultant for the movie but not as thrilled to deal with a bunch of high-maintenance Hollywood types. But Tracen is surprised to discover in Emily a down-to-earth Idaho girl who does all her own stunts and loves the outdoors. As filming wraps up and Emily heads off to her next gig, will she be able to leave Sun Valley – and Tracen – behind?

LOVE IS PATIENT and INFUSION OF LOVE

Instead of featuring one new book and one older book, this month I get to feature two new books!

Love is PatientLove Is Patient releases today, November 1st. It’s a 9-novella collection, which includes my story, A Birthday Wish.

A Birthday Wish first appeared in my book, Calico Brides. Gladys Polson is the first of four young members of the Ladies’ Aide Society in Calico, KS. They decide to find personal missions for themselves at home. Gladys takes on a crotchety widower. I’m not sure how the couple show patience, except that the hero has a secret that slows things down . . . a little.

I believe all four of my Calico Brides stories will be published in new collections this year. I wanted to write a prairie romance, the idea of the local missions popped into my head, and since I love alliteration, Calico, Kansas, seemed heaven-sent.

Purchase Link

infusion of loveMy other new release came out January 23rd, Infusion of Love. I was writing this over Christmas and had a blast with it. When Mahala Kent’s tea party honoring her brother’s marriage turns into a brawl over tea, she’s forced out of her wealthy neutrality. A public debate on the subject pushes her even closer to her childhood friend and hoped-for suitor, Jothan Stout. Will the arrival of a tea shipment in Greenwich push Jothan and Mahala further apart—or give them a common taste for herbal infusions?

Infusion of Love is part of the Teacup Courtship collection from Forget Me Not Romances. I first came up with the idea when I discovered the Boston Tea Party wasn’t the only action taken against the tax. Infusion of Love includes the burning of tea in Greenwich, New Jersey, on December 22, 1774. We were going to write four colonial tea party stories, but it didn’t work out. But then my story found a home.

Purchase Link

WRITING NEWS AND TIPS FROM CYNTHIA HICKEY

Today’s special guest is Cynthia Hickey. She’s not only a personal friend and a collaborator, she is also my boss, the editor of Forget Me Not Romances. This multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author has sold half a million copies of her works. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. Her and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s well-known authors. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com

Before then, I have news to share:

infusion of loveInfusion of Love, part of the Teacup Courtship series, is available for purchase! When Mahala Kent’s tea party honoring her brother’s marriage turns into a brawl over tea, she’s forced out of her wealthy neutrality. A public debate on the subject pushes her even closer to her childhood friend and hoped-for suitor, Jothan Stout. Will the arrival of a tea shipment in Greenwich push Jothan and Mahala further apart—or give them a common taste for herbal infusions?

Infusion of Love Purchase Link

 

tobogganing coverTobogganing for Two won the Bibliotherapy Book of the Year award from the Overcoming With God blog. Bibliotherapy is the use of media to bring about a therapeutic result. Counselors, psychologists, and other helping professionals might want to recommend a certain book because it address a specific mental health issue. Or the book may deal with major life events or developmental life issues. In Tobogganing for Two, my hero struggles with his experience as a surgeon during the Civil War and the heroine’s sister is paralyzed.

Tobogganing for Two purchase link

 

Upcoming Events:

Today: guest post on http://trishperry.blogspot.com/

February 6: guest post on  http://www.jodiewolfe.com

February 7: A Reader’s Journey through Matthew, designed to be used during Lent, is available for free one day only. Available at: Available at:

*************************************************************************************************Now let’s hear from Cindy:

I CAN’T WRITE!

My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day;
in the face of the darkness light is near. Job 17: 11-12

 Writing is a tough business. Someone once told me you can learn the craft of writing, but to be a storyteller is a gift from God.

So, you believe God has called you to write, yet that elusive contract has yet to appear. You’ve studied, attended conferences, sent out proposals, and received rejection after rejection. So many that you are contemplating papering your house with them and calling it quits to writing.

Let’s look at Job. He lost everything: family, wealth, home, friends. Yet, he still believes there is light to come out of the darkness. Most of us have never lost anything close to what Job lost.

I’ve come close to quitting many times, yet the desire to write would never leave me. All I could do was focus on the next word, the next line, the next story. I’ve asked God to remove the desire if it was not His plan for me. The desire never left. The Light continued to shine.

If God truly called you to write, then write. Let Him take care of who reads the words he’s given you. If God has called you to write, then write for Him. He may lead you to traditional publication, He may lead you to independently publishing your work, (which has been a huge success for me), He may lead you to a small press, or He may want you to write only for His eyes. But write! Let the light shine from the darkness.