Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today, I'm thankful for many things. I'm thankful for my God who loved me so much He sacrificed His son for me. I'm thankful for Jesus Christ who left paradise to come and walk this earth in order to give up His life for mine and provide me a release from the power of sin and death. I'm thankful that through the Word of God and the guidance of His Holy Spirit, I am never alone. And I'm thankful that God loved this world so much He made these wonders available to all who are willing to kneel before Him. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved" (Romans 10:9,10).

I'm thankful for family, friends, and blessings galore.

And today, I'm thankful for all of you who take the time to read my books, to write letters of encouragement and make my job so fulfilling.

Wishing all of you a wonderful, worshipful thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2009 Operation First Novel Finalists Announced!

The Christian Writers Guild has chosen it's four finalists for their annual Operation First Novel Contest, something very close to my heart as winner of their 2007 installment for Fireflies in December.

The finalists are:

Jon Wakefield for Fatal Reality
Mark Sylvester for Coming Up Short
Deb Harper for Misstep
Sara Richardson for New Every Morning

Congratulations to each one! They have put in a ton of time and effort to be where they are, and I wish them all the best with their writing careers.

Reputable contests such as this one are fantastic ways for writers to get inside that narrow crack in the publishing door. Have a work-in-progress you're toying with? Maybe next years' First Novel contest would be a great goal for you.

Who knows? You could be listed here in 2010!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Anvils, Coyotes and Editors... Oh My!

Remember Wile E. Coyote and his never-ending ACME-equipped attacks against the poor (yet rather pompous) roadrunner? Why, you might ask, would anyone who had once been tagged by an anvil dropped from a cliff decide it wise to try and rig up said anvil again? One would think he'd have caught on eventually, given up his quest to destroy the roadrunner and retired to a nice oasis-side villa somewhere. And anyway, seeing as how he always managed to come out of each accident alive, albeit shaped like an accordion, you'd think he would have realized that none of his tricks would ever truly take the roadrunner out of commission. Why keep trying even when he had to figure he was in for a world of hurt?

The answer? Because he was compelled to. It was his mission in his animated life.

Just like writing is for some of us. It's something we feel we're meant to do. And so, even when one more anvil (read: rejection letter) compacts us into a cube, we know deep down that after a day or two of overeating and a box or two of tissues, we'll be right back at it. We'll dig our heels in, rewrite and edit, research some ideas, and get that proposal back out to another editor.

And wait for the anvil.

But the hope that keeps us going is that sometime, someday, we've got to get by without being clobbered. One day someone will notice the merit in our work and decide to take a chance on us. We just keep on plugging away, day after day, proposal after proposal, query letter after query letter.

Because we have hope.

If you're out there knowing this is what you're called to do, and you just don't think you can take the pain of it anymore, remember that you're not alone. We've all been there. And, above all, remember that anything the Lord calls you to do, He will equip you for. He never sends us on a journey without a constant supply of all we need to accomplish it.

So, next time you see that rejection letter in the stack of mail, remember that.

And remember to wear your hard hat.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

'Tis the Season

Maybe it's the nauseating amount of toy commercials or the ornamented trees that are popping up in departments stores. Or maybe it's the sale ads and catalogs that are crowding my mailbox. I don't know.

But something tells me Christmas is right around the corner.

I used to love Christmas... back when it was simple and exciting, and the only things I had to think about were which cookies to lay out for Santa and whether or not that blinking red light in the sky was a plane or Rudolph's nose.

But now, in my adulthood, Christmas is a month-and-a-half-long marathon of Christmas shopping, decorating, list-checking, and baking. It's long lines, spilled flour, traffic jams, budget shortfalls, and run-ins with shoppers who have NOT been filled with Christmas cheer.

It's such a hectic, stressful season that by the end of it I sometimes find myself bah-humbuggin' it right along with Ebenezer Scrooge, figuring I'll be happy if I never, ever see another Christmas ornament, taste another Christmas cookie or hear another version of The Little Drummer Boy for as long as I live.

Such a shame!

This is, in its very essence, a beautiful season. It's a time for celebrating the birth of the Savior; for being thankful that the Son of God deigned to leave paradise to become human, to walk in our footsteps, to be persecuted.

To die for our sin.

So this year, amidst the chaos of early-bird sales, burnt-out Christmas tree lights and and angry drivers with wreaths on their trailer hitches I'm determined to see things from a different perspective. Sure, I'll shop and bake and wrap, but this time around I won't make it a priority. My priority for this year is Christ, the only reason we celebrate this time of year in the first place.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Luke 2:10-14

Nothing under the Christmas tree could ever compare to that!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Signing Saturday!

I'll be signing books at Lifeway Christian store on West Broad St. in Richmond, VA this Saturday, November 7, from noon to 3pm. Stop by and see me!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fireflies in December Free Preview!

For the month of November, Amazon and Sony will offer Fireflies in December as a free preview. Check it out!

She Reads Book Club Pick

Today marks the official announcement by Proverbs 31 Ministries that they have chosen my debut novel, Fireflies in December, as one of the Winter picks for their fiction book club, She Reads. This club is a great way to support Christian fiction, and I hope you'll check it out! Click here to find out more. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter!