Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: A Year for Dreams

"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort." ~ Jesse Owens, American Athlete

I'm reaching for some big dreams, ones I've dreamt about most of my life. In 2014, I signed my first two writing contracts. It's amazing to live in the midst of a dream come true. I'm honored and humbled to be here.

This year, I felt confirmation that any dream God places in our hearts can come true, if we're willing to discipline ourselves and work hard. Reaching for a dream isn't about perfect timing, or perfect circumstances, or perfect people.

It's about a perfect God and His perfect plan.

If we sit back and wait for everything to be perfect before we pursue our dreams, we will never reach for them. How many times have we said: "I'm too busy," or "When the kids grow up," or "When I'm retired"? God is looking for ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He's looking for people who are living busy, ordinary lives. When He called His twelve disciples, that's exactly what they were doing. If they would have said: "Jesus, can you wait until things settle down at work before you ask me to follow you?" they would have missed out on the greatest adventure of all time.

C.S. Lewis said: "The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."

Everyone is busy. We all fill our sixty minutes an hour with something. Could we not fill some of those minutes pursuing the dream God placed in our hearts?

God called me to pursue publication during the busiest season of my life, while parenting four small children. My twin boys were not quite two years old at the time. It was probably the most inconvenient season for God to ask me to pick up my pen. It has challenged and refined me like nothing else could, but it has also given me some of my greatest blessings.

Has it been easy? No. Has it required sacrifices? Yes. Have I been disappointed, rejected, tired, frustrated? Yes.

Am I happy I answered the call? More than I can ever say.

But this dream isn't about me--or you. A dream is a gift from God. It's a Seed from Heaven, planted into our heart soil, waiting to grow and bear fruit for His purposes. It's designed to further God's kingdom and bring glory and honor to Him. In the process, it makes us feel truly alive and brings an abundance of joy.

How can we say no?

My prayer for 2015 is that you reach for the dream God placed in your heart. Answer His call, go on the greatest adventure of your life, and change the world. Sixty minutes an hour.

Your Turn: What stops you from pursuing your dreams? What was your favorite memory from 2014? What are you most looking forward to in 2015?

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I have some fun guests lined up for 2015! Every Wednesday I will welcome a fellow author to my blog for fun interviews, guest posts, and lots of giveaways! My first guest will be one of my favorite authors, and dear writing mentors, Susan May Warren. She'll be joining me here on Wednesday, January 14th to talk about her newest release, Always on My Mind. But I'll be back before then to talk about my favorite subjects: history, Minnesota, writing, faith, and family. See you in January!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Novella Edits

I started blogging about my writing journey almost three years ago. It hardly seems possible! The past few years have been truly incredible and I've so enjoyed sharing the journey with you.

This week I took another step down the path toward publication. I received edits for my second novella, A Groom for Josette, releasing July 1, 2015 with Barbour Publishers. It's thrilling to see the editor's email come through!

I've been blessed to work with an incredible editor at Barbour. She's been so kind and complimentary, yet she isn't afraid to tell me what needs to be changed or addressed in my stories. I eagerly welcome her feedback. I love making my story better and the best way to do that is through editing.

When I write something, and read it over and over again until I can almost recite it from memory, I tend to stop seeing the obvious. An editor comes to the story with fresh eyes and can help me identify areas that need a bit of work. It's not her job to change the story, but to strengthen it.

It's also fun to get back edits, because they come a few months after I've finished the story. This helps me to go back into my manuscript with my own fresh set of eyes. It's a blast to revisit the hero and heroine--like chatting with old friends.

I will send my revised story back to the editor and she'll go through it one more time, then send it back to me for any last minute changes. After that, I won't see it again until it's printed!

I can't wait to share this story with you. I hope you enjoy reading A Groom for Josette as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Your Turn: If you're a reader, do you have any questions about the editing process? If you're a writer, what is your favorite stage in the story-making process?