Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Now what?

Christmas Day has come and gone, the new year looming ahead. But before tackling the challenges and responsibilities of 2011, our houeshold has a week of respite. 

Today I did something I've only imagined doing: I stayed in my pajamas ALL DAY LONG, and I spent most of the day sitting in bed reading.  I've surprised even myself by devouring Francine Rivers's Her Daughter's Dream in one day (after polishing off Her Mother's Hope first).  I loved every minute of it- the day off and the book.

And now comes the awkward response to such an experience.  Francine moves my heart and stirs my imagination like no other author I know.  This evening, I set aside her novel feeling replete, yet yearning.  Her work makes me want to write- it inspires me to weave together stories of my own.  And yet, her talent is so far above mine that it almost seems pointless.  How can something both propel me forward and hold me back at the same time?

I can only dream of what it would be like to be a critique partner of Francine's.  To watch her take the seed of a story idea and cause it to blossom and bloom under the light of Inspiration and the pruning of her pen.  What an amazing experience that would be!

It remains to be seen how far the Lord will take me on my journey into the Writing World.  I still have not heard any word about the OFN contest, but try to keep patient.  New writing project ideas have sprung up in my mind from time to time, but God knows how thin I've been spread and how little time I've had to turn within myself in order to find what stories lay there.  I remind myself it is only a season.  Trevor is growing up fast, all the kids are growing fast.  Still, it feels sometimes like I'll never have the time I want for my writing.  But hey, I did do it once, right?

Perhaps I'm a bit like Marta (from Francine's books), learning and working and living while pursuing a dream that is not quick in coming. I could learn from her.

Thank you, Francine, for another wonderful story.  You made my dreamy, do-nothing day a very rewarding one. =)

~ Michelle

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Cardboard Box


Guest Post By Beth Webb Hart

Every December 31st after the gloomy task of taking the ornaments and lights off of the tree, we pack them away in a large, tattered cardboard box. What leavens the moment is a simple tradition we’ve practiced for the last eight years: writing down the prayer requests for the coming year on the outside of the box.

I pull out a Sharpy pen, find a spot on the cardboard surface, write the new year down and everyone in our family of four discusses our hopes, needs and desires for the coming twelve months. We each get a turn to write something, and we all must agree on each of the requests. We usually come up with five or six, and they range from the specific (May Daddy make tenure – 2003 or May God give us a new child this year – 2007) to the grandiose (May we have a new house AND a puppy dog – 2010) to the general (May we remain in good health – 2009).

Then we lift each request up in prayer, ask God’s will to be done and finally hand the box over to my husband who carts it up the rickety attic ladder, folds the ladder up and snaps the ceiling door closed. We all take a deep breath as we walk back down the hallway and into our home which doesn’t seem quite so magical without the tree and the twinkling lights and the expectations of the Christmas season.

However, as we beat back the January blues we remind ourselves that Christ has been born, that He has put both evil and its most wicked sidekick- death – in their place and that He has redeemed us and promised us new life which we have stepped into and will remain in for eternity.

This becomes all the more clear when, eleven months later, giddy with bellies full of hot chocolate and a new tree in the stand, we cart the old cardboard box back down the rickety ladder and before tearing it open, read over the prayer requests of the last year, circling those he answered and starring those He either said “no” or “not yet” to.

It is a moment of pure joy and our Lord’s sovereignty over all the little details of our lives becomes abundantly clear. No, we didn’t get the new house and the new puppy this year, but we did get a new baby, we did become tenured and we remained in good health. More often than not, the answer is “yes”, and it has come about in a way far beyond our wildest imaginings or our feeble attempts at orchestrating the direction of our lives. Thanks be to God for His Almighty provision and, more importantly, for His love for all of mankind!

This article first appeared on She Reads and is reprinted here by permission.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Launch of Wounded Spirits

If you love historical fiction, you should check out April W Gardner’s, recently released Wounded Spirits. Today marks the novel’s Amazon Book Launch.

Buy the book today and receive:

1. Gifts from the author
2. E-gifts from generous supporters

“In Wounded Spirits, April Gardner has skillfully blended research with fiction to create a story that entertains and educates. Wounded Spirits has something for everyone: forbidden love and romance, brutal war scenes, sacrificial love, history of the 19th century, and a faith that triumphs over adversity. This is a debut novel to remember.”

Suzanne Woods Fisher
Bestselling Author of The Choice


On the frontier, Adela McGirth’s life is simple, rugged, and exactly to her liking. Her greatest concern is whether to marry the settlement’s most eligible young officer. When a distant war among the Natives spills over into a nearby skirmish, life takes a perilous turn. Deep in enemy territory Adela must choose between the man she loves and a baby that has yet to be born; will she be strong enough to wait on God's provision?

A peace-loving yet loyal Creek warrior, Totka is forced to align with the extremist Red Stick faction whose purpose is to eradicate the Whites from Creek soil. In the midst of battle, Totka is assigned to protect those he is expected to hate--and kill. Life was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a quiet strength and dignity he cannot resist.

Having lived a life plagued with death and loss, Zachariah McGirth is a man on a mission - he'll have his revenge or die trying. Blinded by grief, he can't see his way clear of yet another tragedy. Why has God taken everything from him...or has He?

Their lives molded by the course of history, can these Wounded Spirits learn to rely on God's grace during one of the bloodiest conflicts in the South?

BUY NOW! And receive… http://tinyurl.com/2u8bbj2


* Every buyer receives a PDF of the first chapter of the sequel, Warring Spirits

* PLUS a personalized, signed book plate mailed straight to you!


“This is a solid debut from Ms. Gardner, one that demonstrates not only her skill with words, but her insight into the human condition. The characters will grip your heart, the story will seize your mind, and the hope at the end will leave you with the surety that your God is bigger than any human troubles.”

~Rosanna White,
Christian Review of Books

“Wounded Spirits is a powerful story of love, loyalty, the effects of war, and faith in God. The writing is vivid and compelling. The characters were so real I felt I knew them, and I was caught up in their lives and compelled to read on. The ending was sweet yet realistic. The story and its characters will stay with me for a long time. I look forward to reading future books by this talented author.”

~Melanie Dickerson,
Author of The Healer’s Apprentice

BUY NOW! And also receive… http://tinyurl.com/2u8bbj2


Three free e-books!

A set of children’s greeting cards!

A free devotional book mailed to your house straight from the author!

Just for writers--two free critiques from professional editors!

All these gifts (and much more!) will be yours by purchasing Wounded Spirits today. Follow this link to learn how. http://tinyurl.com/2u8bbj2

As a thank you for your interest in Wounded Spirits’ Amazon Launch, follow this link http://tinyurl.com/2u8bbj2 to enter the drawing for a bundle of amazing books! (No purchase necessary)

April Gardner has been a military brat, missionary's kid, and military spouse. After 21 years in various countries overseas, April happily resides in Georgia with her USAF husband. A home school mom, she fills her mornings talking fractions and phonics with her two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.
Librarian, reviewer, and avid reader, April adores anything books. She writes a weekly column for the joint blog, Reflections in Hindsight, and is the founder and senior editor of the website, Clash of the Titles.
This is April’s first novel.
April loves to hear from her readers at: aprilgardnerwrites@gmail.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

What's Going On This Week?

Book Signing Button 

Today I wanted to remind you all that there is still a day or two left to order your SIGNED COPIES of any number of books at the online book signing bash I mentioned here a couple weeks ago! 

Also today is the start of a new clash over at COTT.  Today and tomorrow you can vote for your favorite Winter Scene and enter to win a free book- yay books!  yay freebies! 

April Gardner's debut novel, Wounded Spirits, was recently released and tomorrow is the official "launch day". What does that mean? Well, it means we are going to try and help propel her to Amazon super-stardom (aka "best seller status") by making our book purchases on the same day. April is a wonderful woman and an amazing author. When I found out about her book launch, I was thrilled to be a part of it. So tomorrow I am giving her the spotlight here in my corner of the blogosphere.  Be sure to come by then!