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To All of Those Who Have Helped Me on My Writing Journey

A writer is not a hermit who writesI never had a chance to write an acknowledgement page for the Follower of the Word series. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is the last couple pages at the end of the book where the author thanks those who helped her write the book. I have had many people help me since the moment I wrote that first chapter for Daughter of Light and decided to do my own acknowledgement page here on my blog. So without further ado, here are the amazing people who have been a part of my writing journey:

First, my husband Dan. If you have read any of my interviews, his name comes up because he is my biggest supporter and cheerleader! He was the first one who encouraged me to write and believed in me. He provides time for me to write, a computer to write on (I’ll have to write about the day he came home with a laptop to surprise me), he takes care of the kids and house when I’m on a deadline, and those times when I have wanted to give up, he has talked me out of tossing my computer out the window. I am so thankful for such a wonderful, supportive husband!

Jeff Gerke. He saw something worthwhile in Daughter of Light and took a chance on me. Over the course of editing Daughter of Light and Son of Truth I learned so much from him. He’s a great editor who knows how push you to your limit without breaking your spirit. He does freelance and I highly recommend him! You can find him at http://www.jeffgerke.com/

My fellow authors at Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press). I don’t know what it’s like at other publishing houses, but here at Enclave we are a close knit group. We share ideas, encourage each other, help each other, and cheer each other on. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing group of people.

My critique partners and beta readers: Ralene Burke and Jill Fortriede. You both get me and my writing, and help make it even better. Ralene is also a freelance editor and good at what she does. You can find out more about her at www.raleneburke.com

My proofreader: Julie Thiry. Thank you for seeing what I don’t see.

Steven Laube. When Marcher Lord Press was bought out, I wasn’t sure where I would end up. Instead, I found another person willing to take a chance on my work.

Karen Ball. Karen brought a different kind of editing to my work when she edited my third book, Heir of Hope. She is an amazing editor and helped me hone what I had already learned under Jeff. I am very thankful I was able to work with her.

My readers. A writer writes because they have something to say, but they also hope to find readers who resonate with what they write. I have found that in a special group of people who are both my readers and friends. I write my heart and soul into a book and when one of my readers writes back and tells me how my story impacted them, that makes all the sweat, tears, and time worth it. I don’t know what I would do without all of you! You charge on ahead, sharing posts, reviews, and your love for my series. That is something I cannot do as the author and I thank you for sharing on my behalf.

Lastly, but most importantly, God. Without Him, I would not be where I am today. I have been down some really dark roads, ones that would have led to certain destruction if God had not been at my side. Through my brokenness, God poured a story through my heart, a story that I have turned back toward God in worship. If you have been touched the words in my books, then you have been touched by my love for God.

There are many more people who have helped me over the years: people from conferences, other writers, teachers, and family members, and to each I thank you. A writer is not a hermit who writes alone in some dark office or cabin in the woods, emerging with an amazing story after a period of time. No, a writer is a human being who needs others to help bring forth her story and share it with the world. And for all of you who helped me bring forth mine, thank you.

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 :).

God, the Author of our Lives

I have been writing for a couple years now (make that seven this up coming spring). During those years I have wrestled with characters, plots, journeys, and climaxes. I have placed obstacles before my main character so that she can grow, become stronger, and ready to face the next set of trials I have for her. Then it hit me one day. These things I do as a writer, God does with us in real life.

As the Author, God is in complete control of our lives. He knows the beginning and He knows how it’s going to end. He knows what needs to be placed in our lives to untangle that knot of sin inside of us, to make us more like His Son. He brings other people (characters) alongside of us. Some of these people help us on our journey; some of them try to hinder us. But God provides a way for us to stay on the right path.

God also knows what lies ahead of us. He will even place trials in our lives to make us stronger and ready to face the next chapter. But through the whole story, the Author (our God) is with us. He isn’t just watching our story unfold; he is guiding it, moving it along. He is intimately a part of it.

Nothing that happens to us takes God by surprise. I’m sure if my own characters could talk to me, they would ask me why all this stuff is happening to them. But I see the end. I know what the villains are planning, and if they were allowed to continue, would bring great suffering to the world. Therefore my characters need to be ready to step up when the time comes.

As a character in God’s story, I find myself asking the same thing: why is all this happening to me? But unlike my characters, I know the Author of my life. He’s writing the entire story. He sees how my life will intersect with the lives of others and how those meetings will change us both. Each thread in the story God is weaving together for the ultimate ending.

Every one of us is an important part of the story of Life. The story would be incomplete if even one of us is absent. So when the dark times come, know this: God sees how it’s all going to work out in the end. He has a plan and we are all a part of it. And when God writes The End, the story will be a masterpiece that will leave us in awe and bring Him glory.