Category Archives: Writing

How I Became Part of Marcher Lord Press

Last week I shared how I became a writer. Later that night, after I wrote my post, I received a surprising email. Here is the story…

I first heard about Marcher Lord Press through a blog interview a few years ago. By then, I knew enough about the writing industry to know that publishing a Christian fantasy would be difficult. Hardly any Christian publishing companies were taking those kinds of books. They wanted romance, historical, Amish. Not a fantasy set in a different world. Not my kind of book.

Then I read Randy’s interview with a man named Jeff Gerke. Jeff was starting a new publishing company that would only produce Christian science fiction and fantasy. He saw a market out there that no one was reaching. So he was going to reach it.

After reading that interview, I turned to Dan and said, “My book might have a home someday.” I never realized how true those words would become.

I watched Marcher Lord Press with interest. I watched the books produced. I read the books. And they were good. Really good. I was still finishing my own book at the time, but I knew when I was done, I wanted to submit it to Marcher Lord Press.

Later that spring, I went to the Mt Hermon Writing conference with a finished book in hand, ready to show it to agents and publishers. I also met Jeff there. I told him about my book. He seemed interested and told me to submit it. But he also warned me that it would take 12-18 months for him to get back to me about it. That was fine with me.

I went home and sent off my manuscript. I also sent it off to a couple others who were interested. Then I started writing the second book. I heard back from the others. The message was the same: good book, but not for us. I didn’t lose heart. I knew I suppose to write. But that didn’t necessarily mean I would be published.

Then life happened. Dan and I found ourselves at a crossroads a couple months ago after he was let go from the church we were serving at. All thoughts of publishing disappeared from my mind. Instead, I found myself in God’s crucible. I was being reshaped and reforged by grief and heartache. Dan and I clung to each other and God as we sought what we should do next. We came out of that time with a strong love and desire to reach people with God’s love. So we decided to church plant.

But how did publishing fit in with that? I didn’t know. We were beginning a whole new way of life with me working full time and Dan taking care of the kids, going to school, and planting Living Grace Church. I finally knelt down one night and gave my writing to God. I was willing to give it up if God so chose.

After work last Friday, I received an email from Jeff. I waited until the kids were in bed. Then I did the dishes, all the while praying. Then I sat down and opened the email. His first words were would I like to be a Marcher Lord?

I ran to Dan’s office crying. Poor Dan, he couldn’t figure out if they were good tears or sad tears. I finally said he wants my book. Then we both came running back to my computer and finished the email. Then I sent off my reply. Yes, I wanted to be a Marcher Lord.

I couldn’t believe it. I walked around the house the next two days in a daze. I felt that gut twisting sensation you get when the roller coaster reaches the top and you’re looking down right before the plunge: excited and terrified. The contract came in. I read over it a couple times, had Dan read it, then signed it.

Monday, the news broke and life has not been the same since.

So what now? you might be wondering. Do I get to sit back and wait for my book to be published? Hardly lol. I have some big revisions to do per Jeff’s request in the next three months. Then probably more.

Am I making tons of money and going to retire? Um, no :). Most authors hardly make anything with their writing. But that’s not why I write.

When is your book coming out? Not sure yet. Need to get through those revisions. But I’ll let you know when I know.

How many books are you writing? I am contracted for 3.

What is your book about? Click on the tab labeled Daughter of Light (right hand side) to read a blurb about my book.

So that’s my writing journey. There have been a lot of people who have supported me, encouraged me, and pushed me to the next level the last few years. To name them all here would take a lot of space. You all know who you are. Thank you my friends!

To find out more about Marcher Lord Press, click here.

If  you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments below :).

How Did I Become a Writer?

How did I become a writer? Most authors I know begin their story with something about when they were six they knew they wanted to be a writer. Not so with me. When I was six I wanted to be a pegasus unicorn 🙂 (probably explains why I write fantasy now).

I never dreamed of being a writer. In high school, I loved science and math, not English and certainly not writing. So how did I start? It began when I walked into a Christian bookstore and asked if they carried any Christian fantasy. The woman gave me a strange look and pointed to a lone Frank Peretti book at the end of the book aisle.

I went home stunned. That’s it? Just Frank Peretti? (by the way, I like his stuff, but I wanted more). After talking to Dan, he suggested maybe I should write. Yeah right. But the thought stuck with me. Then on a long car trip to Seattle, I had my idea for a book. I went home and wrote. I was naïve back then. I thought a writer sat down, wrote a book, found someone to publish it and that was that. Eight years later, I now know there is a whole lot more to the writing process.

I wrote for two years, just writing out the story in my head. Then I discovered there was a writing group in Oregon and that they were having a one-day conference in a couple weeks. I signed up. That one-day conference changed my writing life.

I met Randy Ingermanson (who was the guest speaker that day). For anyone who is thinking about writing fiction, you need to check out his website here. I went home and immediately signed up for his ezine and began to follow his blog. A couple months later, I followed Randy’s advice and signed up for the Mt Hermon Writing Conference.

Mt Hermon was another pivotal point in my writing life. For five days I met with hundreds of other Christian writers, learning how to write better, how to seek publication, met some great agents and publishers and came home ready to take my writing from a hobby to an earnest pursuit.

I spent the following year just writing. Next week I will share how I write a book (from idea to final draft), but let me just say now, it takes a loooong time (at least for me). By the end of that year, I had a finished, polished manuscript.

In 2010 I was able to attend Mt Hermon again and this time had a manuscript to share with publishers and editors. At this second conference, I ran into Rebecca Luella Miller, another pivotal person in my writing life. It was Becky who told me I should blog. Once again my thoughts were yeah right. How? When? And what would I write about? But with her gentle encouragement, I jumped into the blogging world.

It is now 2011 and I am still on my writing journey. Writing is a long, patient process. It requires self discipline, a willingness to learn the craft, and lots and lots of time. I’ll admit if I had known eight years ago what it took to be a writer, I would have been overwhelmed. But here I am and I love it :). I thank God for this medium by which I can share my life, my creative ideas, and His truth.

Next week I will share the ins and out of how I write a book (and no, its not just sit down and write, at least not for me lol). So don’t forget to stop by!

My First Rejection

I am a stubborn woman (I think my husband just said amen to that :P). I figure out my goal then throw myself at it. I strategize, plan down to the minute detail and calculate my odds at achieving that which I want most. I subconsciously live by the belief that if I just work hard enough at it, I can have it.

But sometimes what I want and what God wants for me are two different things.

Sometimes he says wait.

I just received my first book rejection two weeks ago. Now at first read, that would seem like a bummer. No one likes to be rejected. However, this person had a lot of nice things to say about my manuscript. As a writer, I needed to hear that. But she let me know, in the end, that the Christian book market at this point is not looking for a book like mine.

Anything else I could work with. If my manuscript needed more work, I could do that. Better writing, a thorough grammar check, a stronger main character: those are things I have control over. But the market? No matter how hard I work, I cannot change the market.

I stared at the email a couple more times, elated that someone liked my work and yet disheartened about the state of the market. Why write then? I thought. Then God pointed out two things:

He is not confined by the market. He can do what he wants when he wants. If God wants my book out there, then he has the power to do it (that if is a scary word).

And

Only he can make it happen. I can write the best book I can, but only God can bring together the market and the people to make it happen. That is out of my hands.  Believe me, the stubborn side of me wants to. But I can’t.

So what do I do now? I write and wait on Him. Waiting is not easy, but it produces patience and self control. Instead of barreling on ahead with my own agenda, I am learning to quiet myself and wait for God to move. That might be months or it might be years. I might not see it in my lifetime. But I believe that I am supposed to write. So therefore I will continue down the path God has shown me and trust him with the ending to my own life story.

Writing in the Dark

I began writing about six years ago. Little did I know the steep learning curve that came with that particular “hobby” or the things God would teach me through the process.

At first I wrote scenes that came to me. I fiddled around with plots, never quite knowing where I was going. As I wrote, life continued to roll by. God move my family a couple times. I had a daughter, then along came the twins. When the twins arrived, I put writing away. My days were consumed with diaper changing, feeding children, and keeping the house from burning down (forget about cleaning it… Dan did that, bless his heart lol).

By this point, I came to realize writing is hard. I thought about putting the whole endeavor behind me. After all, when could I write with four little ones running around the house? But I could not shake the bug. I had to write. I had to finish the story inside of me.

When the twins were about one, I went back to writing. Sometimes only a hundred words a day. Sometimes I went weeks without writing because my family needed me. Life interfered again and my family found ourselves on the not-so-thrilling roller coaster ride of unemployment. It was then I started channeling the fear, heartache, and my deep search for God into my writing. I finally began to understand my characters. I understood their search inside themselves to choose the easy way or to choose God’s way: many times a path of hardship. I now had a plot.

We finished the roller coaster of unemployment (and lived!). By now I was half way through my first book. I was on a roll. I began to have goals of finishing the book and trying my hand at finding a publisher for it. Then I heard God speak. I knew in my heart he was telling me to wait an entire year. I balked at the idea and pushed forward with my own goals. God slammed back (note to anyone thinking about going through a door God is closing… don’t! He can slam hard lol).

I stopped fighting God and listened to him. I quietly put my goals of publishing away and instead continued to write. I finished my manuscript halfway through that year. I had two trusted friends critique it. They found all the things I knew in my gut I needed to work on with the story. I cried (yeah, its hard to work on something for years and find out you’re not quite there yet), then picked myself up by my flip-flops straps (I don’t wear boots) and began to work on the rewrites in earnest.

I learned a lot that year. I learned to finish a book. I learned to push through writer’s block. I learned to take criticism and use it to make my book better. And I was learning to put my work as a writer into God’s hand.

December came around again. Instead of my own plans, this time I asked God his. I felt his nudge to go ahead and start exploring the world of publishing. I signed up for the Mt Hermon conference. I tidied up my one page and pitch. And unlike last year, I totally felt scared about the prospects of publishing.

I met some amazing people at the conference. I had people interested in my manuscript. And I learned even more about writing. I came home refreshed.

During that year I also came to realize how much I had learned about the gospel through the writing of my story. Its not just about being saved from hell: it’s about being saved from something inside of us, something we cannot save ourselves from. It’s about God saving us and healing the darkness inside of us. What a beautiful picture!

The story of my writing is not done yet. No, I don’t have people knocking down my door wanting to publish my book. In fact, no one has knocked. But I felt God speaking to me again last week.

He is asking me to write in the dark now.

I can’t see where my story is going to go: I don’t know if it will ever be published or if it will only be something I leave behind for my children to read some day. What I do know is that I need to be faithful in the little bit of writing I do each day. And leave the rest to God.

(For anyone needing encouragement during their own writing in the dark, my friend Becky has done a series of posts this week. Check them out here:

http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/