Friday, June 28, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature - Jen Turano


Today I welcome an author who discovered her gift for writing Christian Fiction after speaking with her agent. What happened when Jen's heart was won over by godly advice? 
Jen Turano

Enter to win Jen Turano's new release,
A Most Peculiar Circumstance 

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.

I met Jen through the ACFW loop. What a great way to meet new friends. She mentioned her new June release, A Most Peculiar Circumstances. When I wrote to her, she shared the amazing writing journey God has led her on. I just had to ask her to share this with you:





A Divinely-Led Transition from Mainstream to Inspirational Novels


Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying “This is the way, walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21

Jen and her agent Mary Sue
When I first began writing, my intention was not to write for the inspirational market.  I started with middle-grade stories meant for my son, and proceeded to delve into Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, and then Historical Romance.  When I sent out a story entitled, A Marriage of Inconvenience, I was fortunate to have more than one agent offer me representation.  While making my final decision, I kept being pulled toward a specific agent, Mary Sue Seymour.  
Sept, 2012 Release

Unlike the other agents, she was known to have a strong presence in the Christian market, but also placed titles in mainstream.  I had no way of knowing that by choosing her, by listening to that voice sounding behind me, my life was about to take an unexpected turn.   

While I was waiting, rather impatiently I might add, for that book to sell, I became better acquainted with Mary Sue, and we began to have lovely conversations, most of them regarding our faith.  She, after a talk or two, inquired why I hadn’t considered writing for the inspirational market since my stories were never, er, naughty, and I was a woman who had a strong belief in God.

Nov, 2012 Release
The answer to that left me a little uncomfortable.  I’ve always been a woman who has held my faith closely to my heart, not sharing my beliefs because of contentious situations that happened in my past.  I wasn’t willing, at that particular time, to put myself out there so to speak, knowing full-well that would make me vulnerable.  I initially balked at what she was suggesting.

God, it seemed, had other ideas.

Practically from the moment I’d had the discussion with my agent, the story I was working on, another mainstream romance, became almost impossible to write.  I’d sit and stare at a blank screen for what felt like forever, and when I did begin to type, it almost felt like writing through mud.  Finally, out of extreme frustration, I turned the matter over to God, telling Him that if He had a different plan for me, that was all well and good, but He needed to give me a little hint as to what I was expected to do.

June, 2013 Release
Unfortunately, there was no immediate bolt of lightning, no fabulous story springing to mind, so because I’m notorious for not always listening closely to that little voice that whispers things into my ear, I continued plodding through the work in progress until….

I was cleaning my shower a few weeks later, waiting for those scrubbing bubbles to do their thing so that I wouldn’t need to get out the power washer to blast away the shower scum, when it hit me – a complete character, along with her story, and side-characters who were all too intriguing to abandon.

Since I’m a rather compulsive sort, I couldn’t very well abandon my cleaning, so as I went about scrubbing, vacuuming, and dusting, I grabbed a stack of Post-It notes, and by the time I finished the house, I had an outline for an entire series.

I headed off the library the next day, and after completing a bit of research, I sat down at my computer. Everything in my life changed at that point.  The writing was easy, fast even, but with each page completed, something peculiar began to occur.  My heart lightened, laughter was more common in the house, and my faith began to grow, almost as if this was what I’d been waiting for forever. 

I finished the story and sent it off to Mary Sue, not really knowing whether or not she’d find it acceptable for the Christian market, but surprisingly enough, that didn’t even matter.  My life was better, more complete, and when she called and said she loved it, everything changed yet again.

October, 2013 Release
She sold the series, which I readily admit I found completely fabulous, but more importantly, by listening to that voice, the voice of God, instructing me to choose Mary Sue as my agent, I’m finally doing exactly what I believe God intended for me all along. 



Jen Turano, critically-acclaimed author of A Change of Fortune and A Most Peculiar Circumstance, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles.  She is a member of ACFW and makes her home outside of Denver, Colorado with her husband and teenage son.  Visit her website at www.jenturano.com or visit her author Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor






To enter the contest for an autographed copy of Jen Turano's book: "A Most Peculiar Circumstance":
leave a comment (and email address)
and become a follower of this site if you aren't already.
U.S. residents only
Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Jen, for Joining us This Weekend!



Wow! I feel blessed just having read this story, Jen. 
Reader, how about you? At first Jen didn't think God would give her an idea for a Christian Fiction story. Who would have thought that household chores would bring an avenue for God to inspire. Has God inspired you at an unexpected time?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Fruit of Professionalism


My husband and I went to a diner. It wasn't a fancy one, but a grade above the greasy spoon type.

We happened to arrive during a busy morning. Most of the tables in the double "L" shaped room had customers. A short staff bustled about and the manager manned the cash register.

One waitress looked our way and turned to another. "Have you cleared off tables number...?" 

"No, I haven't" The other waitress snipped. "I've been busy." Her grumpy day showed all to clear with the scowl on her face.

The first waitress returned a few minutes later and led us to our table. She plopped down the menus and disappeared. 

The conversation in the seated area seemed friendly. A family across the way spoke nice to their three little boys, one of which played the dropsy game with his bottle. My husband and I talked for a while then noticed a few groups of people who had been seated after us eating their served food. We still had not seen our waitress.

We had a choice. Go to another restaurant or wait. 

We decided to wait. Ten minutes later, a pleasant waitress who served customers on the other side of the room came over to our table, her pony tail bouncing as she walked. "I saw you still sitting her without being served. Figured I'd come over and take your order." 

How sweet.

We told her what we wanted and noticed she extended her services to other tables not in her section. I asked my husband, who faced the kitchen area if he saw our assigned waitress, the grumpy one. "Yes, she is sitting at the counter writing something. The people at the table behind you, who came in before us, haven't been asked for their order, yet." 

In the meantime, the pleasant waitress who chose to serve our table brought our drinks, served our food, stopped back to check on our meal, and refilled our coffee. She smiled and thanked us for waiting. She never mentioned the grumpy waitress assigned to us. 

As I sipped my second cup of coffee and finished my meal, our assigned grumpy waitress served the meal to the table behind me and accidentally dumped the plate of food on the customer. She didn't say a word of apology.

While it may seem unfair to call one waitress grumpy and the other pleasant, I must say something in the pleasant waitress' defense. She walked to another table she chose to help, where five or six people had been served, scooped up the few coins left for her tip, and walked away. All the while maintaining her smile and bounce to her step. 

We all have things happen that can make us grumpy. There is a time and a way to vent and a time not to. God knows we get grumpy that's why He told us in Philippians 4:8 to think of the lovely things. 

Refocus the mind. 

Flee from the nasty thoughts Satan plants. 

Find the pleasant smile and the bounce to your step. 

So, reader. I challenge you today to go and have a pleasant day. Maybe a reader is having a grumpy day, or just needs to know someone cares to say something nice. Would you leave a pleasant comment for others? 



Monday, June 24, 2013

What Did You Learn, Yesterday?




Many of us had an opportunity to go to church yesterday. Some might have attended Sunday School, too

Due to situations, some could not attend a service during the weekend, but might have been able to listen to a service using the radio, TV, or Internet.

Whether you had a chance to attend, listen, or reflect, what have you learned about God, recently?








I will start....

Here is the scene: Elijah is camped by a brook that is shrinking over time. A raven visits him twice day, bringing Elijah bread and meat. One day he wakes and finds the ground dry where the brook once was. He doesn't whine. Cry out. Accuse God of only taking care of him for a short time. He waits. 

The wait doesn't last long. God speaks to him, saying, "Go at once" and include directions where to go and what to do. Elijah didn't question the directions. The Bible says, "So he went."

Plain and simple. 

Just like that.

The man is hunted by Ahab's soldiers. 

The land has little to no water.

A famine is in full swing.
  
And God asks him to seek out a widow for help, a starving widow who has a son.

Elijah did. 

Not only did he receive the food he needed, but also his immediate response saved the starving widow and her son.

And now it is your turn. What did you learn?


Friday, June 21, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature-Margaret Brownley





Today I welcome a NY best selling author who kept trying until she succeeded. She is a kind spirited lady who can warm your heart:
Margaret Brownley

Enter to win Margaret's new release,
A Bride for All Seasons 
Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.






More Laughter and Love


My writing career began, and ended, early.  I wrote my first book in fifth grade—a mystery without an ending.  I was on a roll until I reached eighth grade.  Unimpressed with my essay on why I wanted to be a writer my English teacher flunked me.  If that wasn’t bad enough, she further went on to suggest I not even think about becoming a writer.

For many years I didn’t.  School, work, marriage and motherhood commanded my attention and I made a gallant, though ultimately fruitless, attempt to ignore the voice inside that kept nagging me to write.

The voice grew louder with each passing year and by the time my children were in middle school it became a deafening roar. That’s when I decided to enroll in a writing class at the local college. My children breathed a collective sigh of relief. Apparently, my habit of writing long, humorous and creative notes to teachers explaining a son or daughter’s absence was a source of embarrassment (which is probably why one son won a prize for perfect attendance).

The creative writing class gave me much needed confidence and there was no stopping me. I wrote for the hometown newspaper, the PTA, the high school band, and the local ice cream parlor.  Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: I penned it all. Nothing wrong with that, except at the time I was also writing for the church newsletter.  After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, my former pastor took me aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."

I didn’t know at the time if that’s what God had in mind, but I wasn’t about to take a chance. I immediately began work on a novel.  I wrote four novels in four years, mostly at four in the morning.  During this time a national paper shortage hit the news, but you would never know it by the ton of rejections that landed in my mailbox. 
           
The economy sank and money was tight.  Whenever my kids wanted something not in the family budget they were told they’d have to wait until mom sold her book.  That soon became the family mantra.  Anything was possible when mom sold her book.  
           
Then one day it happened: I got the call! A publisher wanted to buy my book!  By then the children had all moved out with jobs of their own and were now able to buy their own cars and electronic equipment. This was a very good thing because my paltry advance barely covered the cost of postage to mail it.  Nonetheless I was thrilled. This is it! I’m on my way.  Whoopee!
           
Only I wasn’t.  The company went bankrupt before my book was published.  Soon after, I sold to a romance line.  This was it!  I’m on my way.  Whoopee! Only I wasn’t.  This time the company didn’t go bankrupt but the line closed. 
           
It seemed that every time I signed a contract the company was doomed.  I closed so many publishers that when I finally sold to Harlequin, my writer friends begged me not to sign the contract for fear I would shutter that publisher, too. I’m happy to say that Harlequin remains intact to this day and went on to publish four of my books. (As for the rumor I had something to do with the closing of Borders bookstores—I plead a resounding not guilty.)  

My career has had as many ups and down as a Boeing 747, but looking back I see how God used my writing to shape and mold me and on more occasions than I can count, bring me to my knees. He also sent the right people at the right time to keep me on track: The minister who saw something in me that needed encouragement; the agent who took me on when no one else would; the editor who took me under her wing.  And just when I was ready to throw in the towel, a reader wrote to tell me that something I wrote changed her life for the better.

 I’ve often said that God made me a writer to teach me patience and other things.  I’m still learning and He’s still teaching and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Some say that writing is a lonely profession, but that’s not true.  If you’re following God’s plan for you, He’ll be there every step of the way.   He is the ultimate muse.

 It’s been a bumpy ride but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Not only has writing helped me grow in my Christiana faith, I get paid to dream up handsome cowboys.  As for the rest; you’ll be glad to know that I haven’t shut down a publisher in years. 

Wow, Margaret  Your journey has been on a road winding through a bog, how good God stayed by your side to kep you from the quicksand. And how good you have stepped onto dry ground. :)

Also on Facebook and Twitter
           
Margaret Brownley has written more than thirty books. She’s a N.Y. Times bestselling author and a former Romance Writers of American RITA finalist.  She currently has a story in A Bride for All Seasons collection. Her next book Gun Powder Tea (Brides of Last Chance Ranch) will be published in October. She also has stories in September’s A Pioneer Christmas and Log Cabin Christmas collections.  Margaret and her husband live in Southern California and have three grown children.  




To enter the contest for an autographed copy of Margaret's book: "A Bride for All Seasons":
leave a comment (and email address)
and become a follower of this site if you aren't already.
U.S. residents only
Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Margaret, for Joining us This Weekend!




Reader, how about you? Stepping into the occasional patch of bog on life's journey is awkward, disappointing, and sticky, right? Yet in hindsight we see the blessings. How have you been blessed?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review- Stealing the Preacher


I recently finished reading a fabulous new release, Stealing the Preacher by Karen Wittemeyer.

I had no idea this was an old west type of story, and had I not promised to do a review, I might not have picked up the book.

What a HUGE mistake that would have been. 

I LOVED THIS STORY!

Right from the beginning action leads the way and it doesn't stop unit the last word. 

Crockett Archer knows the Lord called him to be a preacher. He gathers a few things and boards the train to the new church requesting his presence at an interview. Along the way bandits h0ld up the train refusing to take any money or jewelry. So what do they want? The new parson on the train.

Hog tied and forced to ride to the hideout, Crockett watches time tick by with the movement of the sun, knowing he'd be late for his interview.

Joanna Robbins asks her daddy to bring a preacher, but she had no idea he would don his old bandit clothes to deliver her birthday present. He orders his gang members to haul the preacher down off the horse and proudly shows off his gift to his daughter. Joanna apologizes to the preacher and leads him to the abandoned church, explaining her true wishes. She hopes he will stay and take over the church, after all, her daddy needs to hear about God from a real preacher man. Joanna secretly promised to carry on her momma's passion to introduce Daddy to Jesus.

Humor, true love, shootin', horse races, a grand community picnic complete with white washing the church building are only a small piece of this entertaining story. Of course Crockett's is a man any girl would swoon for, mostly because of his handsome features and his display of a proper Christian heart. In fact, the whole community takes no time to form a liking to Crockett.

All would have been just fine since Crocket accepted the Lord's plan to miss out on the job of a life time until Miss Holly Brewster, local beauty queen at Joanna's church aimed to cause terrible mischief. 


If you could see me writing this post, you would find my hand restraining my lips from spilling the most fantastic ending ever. I can at least tell you the pages of your copy will fly to the end.

Few books offer such an unexpected twist at the end of the story and then boldly end in the way the reader expects. This story not only will go beyond your expectations, but tempt you to read it again.

Whether you are an old west reader or not,  Stealing the Preacher is a book sure to please.

I only have an advanced readers copy, or I'd gladly do a book give away. Since I can't, I will encourage you to get a copy and tell us what you think.

Am I right about this book? I am confident there will be a resounding YES!

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's There - Set it Free






"God puts the statue into the marble, and artist merely cuts them loose." Michelangelo 

He then proceeded to chip away and released the work within.








God begins His handiwork with us from the first day of our lives. 

We are exposed to the world with our first breath.

We hear sounds and over time connect meanings to the vibrations. 

Words. 
Phrases. 
Idioms. 
Tones. 
Concerns. 
Joy. 
Rants. 
Blessings.

We see those who care for our needs and over time connect meanings to the actions. 

Family
Friends
Neighbors
God
Love

We read words in books and over time connect meanings to the ink. 

Stories
Instruction
Deeper 
Truth
Lies
Defining
Enlightening

And so much more. Take a moment and consider the work you have become over the years. Your loving Father has walked with you, guided you, directed you, so that no matter what came your way, He has insured you would see Him and His love for you.

So, Reader, please share one way God has showed you Himself and His love for you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature-Daniel Patterson





Today I welcome an author who discovered his gift for writing after an a crisis. His journey is one we can identify with: Daniel Patterson. 

Enter to win an autograph copy of Daniel Patterson's book,
One Chance 








My Situation Made it Difficult to Surrender


As I sat in that conference room chair, I couldn't help but look around the room at my colleague's faces. Were they feeling as shocked as I was? The news shouldn't have been a surprise since there had been much discussion about the company being sold, but when I heard the actual words, it was as if I none of the previous information had registered. After eight years at the company, in a few short weeks I would be out of a job. 

For the past fifteen years, my world was computers. I went from being a web designer, to a creative director, and then to managing an entire IT Department, which also included the engineering and web development teams. I loved my career and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow co-workers. But then the news hit, and just like that, I was faced with a new world where I had no job and feeling very apprehensive about what the future held. 

During that time of uncertainty, I prayed all the time. I knew in my heart that God had other plans for me, but the day-to-day reality of my situation made it difficult for me to surrender and let things unfold the way they were supposed to. 

I grew up knowing the Bible, but I never had the relationship with God that I wanted. It was time to trust in God's plan and I made a commitment to renew my faith. I began by reading the Bible my father gave me, and as time progressed, the scriptures seemed to come alive for me in a way that they never did before. One verse in particular stood out, Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Suddenly I was experiencing God's power as never before. 

As my faith blossomed, so did my life. I decided to take a break from the technology world and focus on my creative side. While I've always enjoyed telling stories, I had trouble with the writing. Instead of giving up, I pushed myself to try new techniques. I began by noting down characters and outlines for fictional stories, and then filled in the missing pieces. But it wasn't until I had a heart-to-heart with an author friend, that I ever considered writing Christian fiction. When he suggested that genre, it all made perfect sense. This was what I was supposed to do. 

In 2012, I put my writing in front of a major audience and published One Chance. This book is a Christian story about family, friendship, love, honor and courage. It's a fictional tale that is one part mystery and one part romance. I am humbled by the amount of people who have purchased my book and for those who have given me such amazing feedback. 

The combination of God and my wonderful readers led me to continue writing. With my next book, I did something a little different. Instead of just writing and publishing, I used a formula that I was familiar with when I was designing and creating websites. 

First, a website is in its "alpha" phase where the site functions, but it still looks a little rough. For the book, this was the time that I was writing a rough draft of the story. 

Second, a website goes into "beta" mode. This is the time period where others will use and critique the site.  After I finished my first draft, I sent it out to many of my readers on Facebook and they in turn provided me with fantastic suggestions and ways to improve upon the story. 

Finally, once all the improvements and edits have been made, the website will goes "live." This collaboration has come to fruition with my second book, The Devil's Game, which goes "live" Fathers Day weekend on Amazon for the Kindle and through Barnes & Noble for the Nook. It's a Christian suspense thriller about a young Pastor and how his work takes an unexpected turn when a man shows up claiming to be the devil himself.

I am grateful for my life and give thanks to God for where I am today. I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow. This gives me great peace, especially during the harder days. 

I am constantly reminded that everything we need will be added into our lives and that no matter how dire a situation, to just remember that Jesus is by our side.


Here is how to contact Daniel Patterson:

You can also go to Amazon and search his name.


To enter the contest for a copy of Daniel's book: "One Chance":
leave a comment (and email address)
and become a follower of this site if you aren't already.
U.S. residents only
Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Daniel, for Joining us This Weekend!


Wow! I feel blessed just having read this story, Daniel. Reader, how about you? Have you or a friend struggle with a huge change in your life, one that stretched your coping skills? Have you seen God's hand in helping you walk through the shadows of the trial?


Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's My Birthday


No it isn't one of those special decade birthdays, or even an in betweener. 

It's just have fun, go to the woods in Michigan with hubby and have fun on your birthday kind of day.


If you are stopping by and haven't become a follower, would you? 

I have set a goal. 

To be reached by my birthday. 


So, call your loved ones, friends, and neighbors and ask them to become a follower on Mary's website.

Please?  Awww, thanks.


And I will even have a book give away today. 
To win leave a comment about your favorite birthday, and become a follower if you haven't already

I love giving gifts.
(U.S. residents only)

winner announced on my 




In the meantime, stay dry all ye in the path of the storm, and safe from the fires all ye in the path of the blaze.

I look forward to each time we have a chance to talk.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When You Do This To the Least


Whatever you did for the least of these, you did it for me Matthew 25:40



Not long ago, I received a letter from a medical provider. It wasn't a form letter. Although it was typed, the message clearly came from him to his past patients. The letter said, "I am retiring." 

The news bothered me. I had only seen this medical provider twice, yet felt confident in his competency and witnessed his heart in his work. Had I known he was retiring I would have found a way to convey my appreciation better. 

Often we find the kind hearted worker in our daily walk who excels in their job. Sometimes a thanks is given. Sometimes there isn't time.

I don't know about you but days, months, and in this case, years later the deed is remembered. 

This is not a post about saying thank you or making a big deal about expressing appreciation, you already know that. 

This post addresses the opposite.

You have done many kind and wonderful deeds/tasks for others. Perhaps nothing was said and you wondered, did anyone notice?

"Yes," the mind is consoled. "God sees." 

True to true. But so has other eyes. Eyes that have mentally noted the incident and days later wished they had said something and now feel it is too late.

Who are these grateful ones who noticed your deed? The mother or child in the store standing several feet away and witnessed your kind words. The church goer, who when the crowd parted for a moment saw you smile at a child. The neighbor who happened to open her door and saw you not get angry when you dropped something. The list could fill pages.

I haven't mentioned the family eyewitness reports.

You are loved by those close to you. 

You are liked and respected by those who are near you.

You are a treasure to many people in your corner of the world. 

Have a blessed day. 

And when you wonder if someone is noticing your good deed
and you see no one
smile
because someone has.

Monday, June 10, 2013

As Far as the East is from the West

As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our sins from us Psalm 103:12...what an assuring verse.

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com
Using the phrase "as far as the east is from the west" paints a great picture for us. We understand that to be the ultimate in distance.

Not long ago, a massive earthquake in the Pacific triggered a tsunami in the far east. Towering waves roared toward the Japanese coast destroying life and property.

Compelled by the plight, Americans along with other nations gathered funds and supplies and sent them to the victims. We followed the news stories longing to hear updates, many praying for those affected by the tragedy, their businesses, and families. Short term mission groups travelled to Kessennuma to help with the clean up and rebuilding.

Time has trickled by for those in Japan. Businesses and homes have slowly been rebuilt. Companies reconfigured their businesses to enable more of their people to successfully become employable. The effort has helped with the healing, but the people have not forgotten what the tsunami did to their city.

Kessennuma businesses set aside a portion of their profits to establish an emergency fund to help their people in the future.

Last week, one Kessennuma business owner saw photos of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado disaster, the far west for her. She remembered the help given to her city during days of their great turmoil. 

Without hesitation, she donated funds from the emergency account on behalf of the employees of her company to the victims of the Oklahoma tragedy. 

As quoted by ABC News, she said, "We were so embarrassed the amount was so little," she said. "But we were able to live because of all the help [from Americans]. We decided we needed to give back, in a time of need." 

Despite the great distance between Kessennuma, Japan and Moore, Oklahoma, kindness, care, and concern has been shared between west and east.

To read more of this news article go to this link: Tsunami Victims Pay Back By Helping Tornado Victims

There are many conclusions I could write here, but I don't think they are necessary. This act of kindness speaks loudly for itself.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature- Bill Giovannetti




Today I welcome a Pastor/author who discovered his gift from those who sat in his congregation:
Bill Giovannetti

Enter to win Bill's new release,
Secrets to a Happy Life 

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.


I met Bill through My Book Therapy classes. We both have attended these sessions to improve our writings. When Bill mentioned his new book would release June 15, 2013, I asked him to share how God has led him on his writing journey. Here is what he said:

Near-Paralyzing Fears


I confess to a number of near-paralyzing fears: the fear of heights (acrophobia), the fear of bridges (long, high, windy ones with low side rails that threaten to suck me to a watery doom, gephyrophobia), and the fear of public speaking (glossophobia).

The last fear is one of God’s funniest jokes in my life: I am a pastor. I preach to a couple thousand people every weekend. I’ve told my church the worst walk in the world is the 30 feet from behind the curtains to the pulpit. I’m in good company; recent studies have shown the average person fears public speaking more than rattlesnakes.
Or death.
As in, “Go out there and preach or I’ll shove this rattler down your back."
I asked Bill to send a funny pic!
"Fine. Hand over the snake."
Why would God do that to me?
I can’t be sure of all his mysterious ways, but I do know this: God grows me by moving me into my fears. And I think this is the magic sauce that has dipped me into the publishing stew.

My first attempt at writing was a horribly boring — though grammatically correct — rewrite of what was then my most popular sermon series. My very best friends on earth hemmed and hawed before pronouncing it boring.
I smiled on the outside, but did a silent scream on the inside. In many ways, I am a fundamentally insecure guy. So I shoved my insane writing fantasy into the black abyss where it belonged and gave up writing for almost ten years. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of bad reviews. I was already enduring the public-speaking phobia on a weekly basis, so one's enough, I figured.

But the writing bug isn't that easy to kill.
Fast forward to a new church in a new state, where I discovered a handful of established authors sitting in my pews. Over lunch, Dave Meurer, a multi-published humor writer, said, “Bill, people need this stuff you’re preaching. Have you ever considered writing?”
“It’s boring,” I blurted out. The alarmed look on his face prompted me to elaborate. Dave gently coached, prodded, taught, rewrote, and cajoled me into a book proposal and a visit to the legendary Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference.

You should also know, I am, by nature, an introvert.

We drove the four hours to the conference together. Dave explained the importance of "the pitch." I practiced my butt off, but couldn't nail it down. I kept freezing halfway through. I'd never be a rich, famous, New York author like Richard Castle.

Pitch clumsily memorized, we arrived in time to join the line for dinner. The stranger in front of me turned around and asked the fatal question: "Do you want to practice your pitch on me?"

I froze.

What planet was this? Who asks those questions? What kind of author-boot-camp-hell was I at? Introverts are not good off the cuff. I knew I had a rational brain in there somewhere, but I couldn't access it. Don't talk to me, Ms. Stranger-Danger! Where's that gaping chasm when you need one?

My Inner Dummy conscripted my vocal cords and my ears heard a voice that sounded like mine blurt out, "It's boring."

"I'm sure it's not," Ms. Smiley Face said, evidently immune to pre-authorial lunacy. "Give it a shot."

So I did, throbbing headache and palpitating heart adding audible punctuation. I pitched my pitch. Again and again and again in that rustic camp in California's mountains.

And that blasted pitch never felt good or right or fearless, not even once. Pathetic, I know.

When God tells his people, "Fear not," I have a hunch he doesn't want us to let fear tower over our lives like an orc over a Hobbit.

Later that week, at a meeting on a bench under a tree, I nervously pitched my book to Janet Kobobel Grant, an agent I would later find out was one of the best in the biz. I went down in flames, no doubt. One phone call later, she took me on as a client.

A charity case, perhaps, or a clerical mistake. Nobody would want my book.

A few months after that, Janet produced my first contract. And now I'm under contract for my fourth.

I can't speak for anyone else, and I know God works in different ways with different people, but for me, the journey into writing has passed through the scary valleys of rejection and failure and incompetence.

Writing, like life, flows with emotion. And true emotion, wrapped in wisdom, humility, and perseverance, is the golden ticket to publishing success.

Bill Giovannetti teaches at AW Tozer Theological Seminary and is the senior pastor of the 2,500 member Neighborhood Church of Redding. He enjoys life with his awesome wife and two great kids surrounded by the snow-capped peaks and pristine lakes of northern California. With humor and grace, Bill’s writing informs the mind in ways that touch the heart. His third book, based on the life of Joseph in the Bible, just came out from Bethany House Publishers, called Secrets to a Happy Life.

Websites:
http://www.BillGiovannetti.com
http://www.secretstoahappylife.org
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BillGiovannetti
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bill-Giovannetti-Author-Pastor-Professor/119890724311
Blog: http://www.maxgrace.com


To enter the contest for an autographed copy of Bill Giovannetti's book: "Secrets to a Happy Life":
leave a comment (and email address)
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Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Bill,  for Joining us This Weekend!


Oh to sit in the sanctuary and be blessed by Bill's preaching of God's Word.  God placed the right writers in his congregation to spur him on to publication. Take a look around your life, who has God placed in your presence to help you whether by encouraging words, or technical help?