personal, the call, writing

My Call Story – A Writer’s Dream Come True

In the writing world, getting “the call” is one of the highlights of the writing journey. Whether it is the call from an agent offering representation, or the call from a contest coordinator telling you that you are a finalist, or the call from an editor offering you a contract, the call is something to be celebrated.

Many of you saw on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the pictures of me signing my new contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for my medieval romance. I look excited, don’t I?

I thought I’d share the story of how “the call” came to be and the funny story of where I was when I received that call.

It all began when I was reminded about #FaithPitch on Twitter. (Note: There are several Pitch Days on Twitter where you pitch your story in 180 characters or less. If an editor or agent wants you to send them a query/proposal, they LIKE your pitch.) The day was February 28 and I had totally forgotten about it until a friend asked a group of us writers if we were doing it. It was early afternoon and so I pitched my medieval romance, The Lady’s Masquerade.

I checked Twitter off and on the rest of the day, but had no “likes” so I chalked it up to another good experience and moved on. Let me be honest here and say that out of all the social media I am on, Twitter is the one that I don’t check as often. So FOUR DAYS LATER, I check Twitter and lo-and-behold, I have a private message from Pegg Thomas (she is also an author) from Smitten, the historical line of the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas! She said to send her a proposal and she would take a look at it.

Yikes! It had been FOUR days since she had reached out to me!

And how in the world do I do a proposal????

You writers out there are probably rolling your eyes, but I’ve never been asked for a proposal. A query I could do, but a proposal? So I got online and researched. I had a friend send me a sample one, which helped tremendously. I got busy on it and gave it to my critique group to look over. Bless their hearts, they got it back to me that same day.

I submitted the proposal and was asked for the full manuscript! Be still my heart!

And then I had to wait. Here’s the thing – in the writing world, nothing happens fast. Sometimes you submit your work to an agent or editor and it takes days, weeks, and even months to receive reply. I was prepared for a good long wait, so I got back to working on my second book, delving into the medieval world once more.

Tuesday, March 13, I went to the Dallas Arboretum with my friend and her two boys (I call them my “adopted” grand-kids.) It was a glorious day and we got to the section specifically for children. The older boy wanted to get in the Tornado Tunnel, a telephone booth sized tube that creates a mighty wind inside. I got inside with him, then my phone began to ring. I pulled out my phone and checked the number.

Could it be a contest win? I was a finalist in a contest, so I decided I needed to answer the call. I said “Hello” and a woman answered, but I couldn’t hear her name because the wind had started to blow. And boy, did it blow! I am a little sketchy on what was said here, because I was trying to get out of the tube so I could hear and explain to my friend I really needed to take this call.

Once I was out of the crazy wind, I realized it was Pegg Thomas again and my heart began to pound. You know that weird sensation when things are surreal and even though there is a lot of noise and commotion, you can’t hear it? Yeah…that was me. And throughout all the weird feelings and tunnel vision, I heard those fabulous words:

“We would like to offer you a contract for your book.”

Yep! A contract to publish my medieval romance! I really didn’t expect to get a medieval published, as it’s not really the “happening” genre right now. I truly expected to seek out a different time period to write. But I am so glad God had other plans for this story.

My dream of writing and publishing a book, which started in high school, is being realized. A dream put on hold as life, children, and jobs took precedence. A dream finally come true. Thank you, LPC, for taking a chance on me!

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is a small press publisher making waves in the Christian arena. With many lines, they are putting out award-winning books and creating buzz for excellence. Check out their books HERE. Also, if you love historical romance, join LPC’s Smitten Facebook Group to learn more about their books and their authors.

devotionals, writing

Knowing Your Identity

Knowing your identity is a hot topic right now. I’ve seen it repeatedly in blog posts and books, and it has also popped up in my ladies Bible study at church. We are going through the Word Writers Study of James by Denise J. Hughes right now, and Day 16 brings up this thought of identity while discussing the importance of being cultivators of peace.

James 3:17-18 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Bitterness and envy stem from ungodly wisdom. The world says to push your way to the top. Be the best no matter what. But godly wisdom is gracious to others, wishing them all the best in their endeavors.

In the study, the author compares James and Paul. James was called to lead the church in Jerusalem, while Paul preached to the Gentles. They each had their own call from the Lord to the people He placed before them. They were secure in their calling and found their identity in that call of God. They didn’t have to compete with one another because they each had their own job to do.

Knowing your identity is the way to rise above the competition and comparison game. When we know who we are in Him – His child, His creation, His beloved – we can rest secure in His call on our lives and support others in their calling.

  • Has He called you to be a mother or father? Rest in that and don’t compare your family to others. Rejoice in their success and celebrations.
  • Has He called you to be a writer? Stand strong that He will give you words to share on the page. Your own words, not the words of others. Cheer others on in their writing journey. God is doing a new thing in each person.
  • Has He called you to lead in a ministry? Then lead with confidence that He is supporting you and will give you the wisdom to do so. Don’t get your feelings hurt when another person has more people flock to their ministry. God has just the right people coming to yours…the people who need what you have to offer. 

Your identity is rooted in your Creator. You are a child of God and given a role in the life you lead. Live boldly in that calling, stepping out in faith toward the path He has set before you. And while you are at it, cheer on those around you as they move forward in their calling.

Loving Him and serving others is by far the best calling of all.

Have you found it difficult to cheer others on? Do you find your identity lost amid competing and comparison? What are you doing to find your true identity?

                                                                                                            * Photo credit: John Hain at pixabay.com

holidays, people watching, writing

People Watching At The 4th of July Fireworks Show

As an introvert at heart, I do not like crowds. But when I am in a situation where I am in the middle of a mass of people, I watch and listen. It is a great place for creative writers to use their imagination and make up stories. I took my camera with me and used my long lens to capture interesting people. Let’s see who I found.
Now here’s a closet superhero buff. He has hordes of comic books stuffed under the bed and in his closet. He secretly daydreams about being a caped superhero, saving pretty girls and making the world a better place.
Ah…here are two friends that are total opposites. The one on the right is a free spirit. She has some short shorts on with some wild socks and high tops. Her friend on the left is a bit more subdued. She wishes she could be more “out there”, but just can’t quite make it. She settles for a navy skirt with flowers and some denim high tops. Hey…at least she mixed the skirt and high tops!

Well….words aren’t coming. Strange, I know. These friends like to stand out. I think they’ve tried mixing Halloween with Game of Thrones. The only thing I can think is….courage in numbers???
Okay, now I get it. The last girl has a bunch of flyers in her hand. After being handed one, I found out they are out advertising for the musical Pippin being shown at the Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch, Texas. Their shows are amazing!
Some people aren’t very brave and settle for sticking a flag in their hat. This guy doesn’t really care. He didn’t want to be there anyway. See the tinge of gray? He is in the throes of mid-life crisis and just wants to do what he wants. 
  
This guy is ready for the sun to go down and get the fireworks going. Why must he sit in the heat just to save a seat close to the display? Ugh…the band is sooooo loud. 

 

This momma is tired. She has her cute bandana tied around her head, with her hair twisted around it. It was all she could manage with 3 little ones running circles around her.
This sweet lady loves the 4th! She even dyes her hair to match all her July 4th paraphernalia. If only she had some sparkly red earrings to go with her outfit. 

Dude!!!! Check me out. I got spirit. 

 

Ah, the sad lonely chair…all decked out by mom, and abandoned by the energetic 3 year that should be sitting there. 

Okay, no story here. I just want to say this band was amazing. They play cover songs and are incredible. They could sound like the original! All the music was upbeat and there were lots of people dancing. Just a great concert!
Check out Inside Out on Facebook.

 All I have left are a few fireworks. Farmers Branch puts on the best low-level fireworks show around.

Do you love to people-watch? Have you ever made up stories about the people you see?

personal, spiritual, writing

Searching the Inner Me…Who Am I?

Photo by Stuart Miles
at freeditigitalphotos.net

Do you ever get burnt out? If you are a woman, you probably can say a resounding YES! What is it about life these days that makes us weary and ready to crash? It’s busy. I get that, but surely there is a balance to be had in our every day lives.

I have to say that last year was awesome. Brave was my One Word for the year and boy, did I step out and have success. Starting my Etsy shop and creating canvases and journals was such a joy. I lived and breathed it and totally loved it – until Christmas came and I over-extended myself and burned myself up. I haven’t created anything since! That’s like a quarter of a year of nothing!

I am researching a women’s study called You’re  Already Amazing by Holley Gerth to see if it might work for the women at my church and in it I found a few little checklists to see which category we fit in best when it comes to approaches to change. I read something in one of the checklists that totally fit me.

“You have good intentions when you begin but often get bored with your goals before they’re completed.”

Yes!!! That is so me. Like the art and calligraphy, I jump in and have grand plans and then…I’m done. I did the same with writing. I jumped in and wrote a book and then that was it. I decided to focus on something else creative. I’m back and forth…not able to finish anything I start because I want what is fresh and new.

It was like a light bulb went off when I read what Holly Gerth wrote. What if I can have it all? What if I can do a little bit of everything I love, taking enjoyment in it all instead of making the “one thing” a job (which takes all the fun out of the creativity). Who says I have to just do one thing? Why can’t I just have fun doing what I love, whenever I want? So why don’t I write for an hour, then paint for an hour each day? No pressure. No deadlines. Just do what I want, when I want.

God made me creative and I think He wants me to use the gifts He has given me for His glory. God spoke to me in July of 2012 to set aside my writing for a time and focus on Him, but I’ve been sensing the nudge to start up again. I feel like this light bulb moment is the sign I’ve been needing to put pen to paper once more. I love to write, but I love to play with letters and color too. So why not write AND create colorful things?

Yeah, I know you are thinking, “Duh…you are just now understanding that?” But sometimes I am a super slow learner and that is okay. At least I am still in the business of learning.

So in this searching of the inner-me, what have I found? I am a child of God, who has been given gifts to use. I may get confused from time to time, but deep down, I was made to create…whether with words or with art, I can create with joy in the One who made me that way.

So what has your searching led you to find?