We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Beginnings of a Book: Behind the Scenes # 2

I've decided on the theme for the Tea this year," my mom announced as we chatted in her sun room. "A Storybook Christmas. And Karina agreed to be the speaker."

Every year Mom hosted a Christmas Tea in her home. The church ladies marked it on their calendars weeks in advance. Besides the use of tea cups and china, Mom had a knack for putting together an uplifting program meant to encourage all who came.

Several weeks later, Mom called. "Karina didn't realize they would be away the weekend of the Tea." She paused. "Would you consider sharing with the ladies? I thought with your writing experience . . ."

"Oh, Mom," I jumped in. "I don't think so, but I'll pray with you about it." And I did. When she asked me again a week or so later, I gave her the same answer.

The next day, as I prayed, ideas for the tea began to brew in my mind. I grabbed a pencil and jotted them down as they came to me. By evening, I called my mom. "What about this?"

The event generated the usual warm sparkle--with ladies crowding into Mom's living and dining rooms, some even sitting on the floor. I enjoyed speaking to these wonderful friends--a second family to my parents.

The next day, I glanced over my notes before filing them away. Wait! Could my twenty minute talk be used as a Bible study? I even drew lines on the pages to mark off chapter divisions. With the encouragement of my writers' group, I began to write a study, which eventually turned into a non-fiction book. Only bits and pieces of those early drafts made it into my upcoming book, Penned Without Ink, but my mother's Christmas Tea in 2010 proved to be a stepping stone in that direction. At the time, I had no idea the years, the grit, the vulnerability that would be required of me. Yet God did.

Have you ever said no to an opportunity only to find yourself pursuing it? Perhaps God's faithfulness in moments like these carries us more than we realize. 

Photos from Google Images


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Penned Without Ink: Behind the Scenes # 1

Last time I told you about my book, Penned Without Ink: Trusting God to Write Your Story, which will be published late this coming summer by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Thank you for your wonderful support and comments both here and on Facebook.

I also mentioned that I would be blogging about the process--giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how this book went from a wobbly idea with several false starts to acceptance for publication. I hope, in the process, to encourage you to pursue your dreams. It will most likely take hard work, perseverance, and patience. The outcome may look very different from your original goal, but God has a way of directing our steps. His timing is always perfect.

In the next few months, I plan to give you snapshots of the process. Today, I'll begin with a confession. I happened to be a kid who labored to write in school. I just couldn't get the hang of it. Finally, in my last year of high school, my English teacher made us write a character sketch every week. Every week! Little by little I began to improve--enough to do a pretty decent job writing term papers in college, anyway.

Fast-forward twenty-plus years. By this time, my husband and I had two teenagers and a three-year old. Busy? Stretching? A little crazy? All of the above! I decided to take a local evening poetry class for a few weeks, just to get out a little--and actually enjoyed it. The next summer I brought my humble offerings to the Montrose Christian Writers Conference and made an appointment with Marlene Bagnull, who patiently read my work and encouraged me to keep writing.

So I did. And I had the nerve to send my work to editors. Some publications, online and print, accepted my poems and articles. Some did not. But all along the way, I was learning how to write (I still am!), how to follow writers guidelines, and how to wait.

After our car accident in 2003, I wrote bits and pieces about our experience. In 2005, Horizons published an article titled "Ready for Anything?" (September 18). In it I discussed "several areas of preparation--essential in the event of a crisis of any kind." I'm still passionate about this topic.

From there, my interest in writing escalated. God continued to open doors for me to submit short pieces. I never dreamed of writing a book until later, but I needed these years to learn the craft of writing, to find a writing group, and to appreciate the process.

Next time, I'll let you in on a scenario when I said no and then eventually said yes. No matter what your gifts and abilities, God has a plan for you. Maybe you're like me, the kid who couldn't---you fill in the blank. He equips us all with experiences and gifts to bless others and bring glory to Himself.

I'd love to hear the beginnings of your story . . . 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Coming Soon: My First Book - Penned Without Ink

Sudden fog . . . fiery collisions . . . brain injury . . .
Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of a car crash that changed our lives forever.

Back Left Side of Our Car
I am grateful and humbled to announce that Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is publishing our family's story in a book to be released late summer of this year. 

Here's a draft of the back cover copy: 

Penned Without Ink: Trusting God to Write Your Story will draw you into the true story of one family’s journey of faith. It begins with a near-fatal car crash, resulting in trauma, uncertainty, and life-long limitations. Their experiences will lead you to sit beside hushed bedsides, observe delicate operations, and feel the angst of life and death decisions. In the midst of multiple layers of pain and loss, you will witness quiet miracles, sure and certain lights that pierce through the darkness. With pictures of both present-day individuals and biblical characters, Sarah captures the essence of hope born through her struggle to trust and rely on God. Between the lines, you will also uncover your own journey of trust. A faithful and loving God desires to write your life story—no matter what happens 

Google Images
During the next few months, I plan to do a little blogging about my book. What inspired me to write a book in the first place? Why this topic? How did I choose the title? How do I hope to benefit and encourage my readers? How long did the book take to write from start to finish? What does the publishing process look like? How does an author decide what to include and what not include in the story?  How many rewrites? What about marketing? What role do others play in the process? 

I love to learn how things work. When I'm in a restaurant I want to know what's happening in the kitchen. When I attend a play, I wonder what's going on behind the curtain. So if you're the "wondering kind" like me, I hope you'll enjoy a few posts about what I'm learning about publishing a book. And most of all, I pray you will be blessed as you read our story and explore your own journey of trust in the God who writes perfect stories.