Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guest Post by Courtney Phillips and a Book Giveaway!

Today I'm welcoming a guest writer to my blog. Courtney signed with Books & Such Literary Management last year, and I was immediately struck by her authenticity and her faith. I'm excited to have her here today. She's talking about something I think we can all relate to in one way or another. She's also giving away a book!! (By the way, let's congratulate Courtney on her wedding!!)
Where You Ought to be in the Writing World
By Courtney Phillips

This year, young as it is, has ransacked my former plans.
If you would’ve told me six months ago that I would be getting married on April 18, 2015, I would’ve tsked (you know, that sound that tends to come off more rude than we intend).
Last winter I had extreme writing goals. My first novel was being shopped around to publishers, and I was neck deep in my second novel. 2015 meant finishing the edits for my second novel and—Lord willing—earning a publishing contract. I was doing everything I could to make this whole writing thing into a concrete deal.
Then, suddenly, I fizzled.
Book one, though praised, didn’t get contracted. My sweet agent spooned on encouragement, ensuring me this was the norm—authors’ first books were rejected all the time. Disappointment pinched, but common sense reminded me I’d heard about hundreds of other writers’ dealing with the same issue. I had to keep going. Keep writing. Keep improving. The Lord had me writing for a reason or else He would’ve stopped me long ago. I had to keep working.
And I did, until another dream appeared on the ring finger of my left hand. Suddenly, instead of plots and characters, I had a wedding to tend to.
So the writing stopped.
Sure, I poked around on my laptop, typed a little here and there, but my momentum slipped into a coma. Doubt needled and nudged until I wondered if I’d misread God’s intentions. Maybe He didn’t want me to write if I could be distracted so easily. Maybe the rejections were meant to show me I wasn’t going to be a published author. Maybe I’d jumped the gun when I announced my writerly ambitions…
Maybe I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. (A paralyzing fear if I’ve ever had one.)
This is the point where you expect the happy ending, right? You think next I’m going to say I got an email about my first book being offered a contract or winning a contest.
Nope. Nothing like that happened. My writing life is still in a bit of a stumped state.
And that’s okay because this is where I’m supposed to be. Right now, as I tap out this post, my heart is jittery. My mind is full of wedding details, and I cannot imagine how I would handle everything if I were also responsible for editing a contracted book.
This season I’m in, this pause I’m experiencing, is God-planned. He controls the tiniest detail, and He knows exactly what you and I can handle. He understands how fiercely we desire success—that one email from our agent or an editor, that one call that will mean we’re finally legitimate. But He also knows how much we can handle. His watch is a great deal larger than ours. He sees more than seconds, hours, and minutes. He sees futures we can’t imagine, blessings we’ll obtain if we’ll only slip our hands into His and let Him lead.
He knows where we are and where we’re supposed to be and how to get us there.
You want the good news now, don’t you? You want to click on your inbox and find your diligence has resulted in a contract. You want to feel like a real writer. You want to pretty up your website and see your stories on the shelves at Walmart.
Yet, we’re not there yet. But if we’re seeking the Lord, if we’re structuring our lives to please Him, if we’re satisfied with His Word, then we are where we ought to be.
Don’t give into the pressure. Don’t allow yourself to deflate. Enjoy where you are right this second. Enjoy your family and your hobbies and this precious life you’re living now. The time will come for you to move forward with your writing dreams.
Hold on. Appreciate this moment.
Our earthly plans can never compare to His heavenly ones anyway.
*Y’all, I’m giving away a copy of After A Fashion by Jen Turano to one commenter!!! You want to win this book, folks. Trust me. All you have to do is share what’s going on in your writing life (or non-writing life) and what God’s teaching you through it. :)

Meet Courtney:

Courtney Phillips discovered her love of writing as a teenager. After tasting her first sip of heartbreak, she decided to write her own happily-ever-after and never quit.

 She finaled in the 2013 ACFW First Impressions contest and the 2014 RWA Great Beginnings contest and also received an Honorable Mention from the Seekerville Perfect Pitch Contest. In July of 2014, she learned she was the overall winner in the RWA Touched By Love Award contest. Months later, she tied for second place in the RWA Lone Star Contest. (She’s kind of contest-obsessed.)

Courtney writes contemporary romance novels for the ones aching to find the right path. The ones who long for heart-stabling contentment. Combining God's Truth and a pinch of wit, she’s sharing the stories of imperfect characters in need of heavenly intervention.  You can read more about her or visit her blog at

**The winner of The Wood's Edge, by Lori Benton from last week's guest interview is Sylvia Miller!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Congrats on your marriage! I too just got married April 11th to be exact. Thanks for sharing part of your journey.


    1. Oh, Patty, that's awesome--it's still a tad weird to think of myself as a "Mrs."
      Congrats! Praying you and your husband have many, MANY years of awesomeness. :)

  2. Hello Courtney! Congratulations on your marriage! The Lord has me in the wilderness learning to trust Him. Blessings to you and your hubby! :)

    1. Hi Caryl! Your wilderness comment reminds of the song "If It Takes a Valley" by Brian Free and Assurance. "If it takes a valley, then a valley's what I'll take."

      If developing a closer relationship with the Lord means rough times, then the rough times are worth it. A hard lesson to learn.
      Praying for you! Thanks for commenting and thanks for the congrats.

    2. In His Hands the wilderness has purpose! My heart's cry is for Him to strip away ALL that is not of Him.

  3. Congrats on your marriage. My hubby and I will be celebrating 10 years this August. God is teaching me a lot of things. But one of them is to have faith and trust in him. To not worry, but trust in him.

    1. Stephanie, ten years is amazing. Congrats to y'all!
      Learning not to worry is something I'm definitely still working on. Just got to keep on keeping on!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Congratulations on your marriage!!! One thing I've learned the last 6 months is that He is so faithful even when everything around me is falling apart. Together we'll get through anything!!

    1. That's a great attitude to have, Abby, and you're so right! Thank you for the congrats! :)
      He IS faithful.

  5. Congratulations on your marriage. As you work to make your commitment a loving and lasting relationship, you will also be gaining insights that will make you successful in life and in your writing endeavors. My writing consists of newspaper articles to publicize various activities and writing notes of encouragement. Not very glamorous but fulfilling to me.
    Blessings to you and your husband!

    1. Connie, thank you!!! Married life is quite different from my norm. I can use all the advice I can get. :)

  6. Courtney, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart ... for being real. I needed to hear all that. And congratulations, darling. Your wedding photos are beautiful, like you. I'm so happy for you.

    1. Aww, Shelli, thank you. I'd hoped someone would find something useful in all that.
      I'm loving the wedding photos too! Can't wait to see all of them. And thanks for the compliment. :)

  7. My husband is the writer in our family and has completed the 2nd draft of his first novel. He is not a published author yet, though he'd like to be. He has opened my eyes to the research and behind-the-scenes work that goes into writing that readers never even see. God has been using this experience for me to learn how to be a better source of encouragement for my husband and also patience.

    1. That's awesome, Gretchen! Writing is so much more than some people imagine. A load of hard work for sure, but I love it!
      Patience is something I ALWAYS need more of.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing. It is always amazing to me how much we fret over things (at least I do anyway) and stress over how they are going to turn out and then God works it out in the end. Recently, I have been stressing over various things, big and small, but God has surprised me with some "answers" when I've least expected them.

    Congrats on the marriage too!

    1. Jennifer, He's good like that, isn't He? I was the same way, worrying about finding a home and planning the wedding, but everything worked out. The stress wasn't necessary because He has plenty of grace for us.
      Thank you!

  9. Courtney! Love this post! Your writing always ministers. God uses your pen in fiction and non-fiction. Thank you for sharing your fears, hopes, and setbacks so we'll know we're not alone.

    Right now I'm in a season of life where there seems to be endless need for improvement--my writing skills, my manuscript, my volunteer duties at church, my witnessing for Jesus... I don't guess there is anything wrong with wanting to do my best, but I've discovered I'm an overachiever. Lately I find I'm content with everything but me. :/ I guess God's showing me how patient He is with me and that this life can only be lived one step at a time, following in His footsteps. :) It's so good to know He's right there with us all the way.
    Congratulations on starting your new life with your husband! Praying God showers blessings on you!

    1. I know exactly what you mean about serving in church. It's so hard to juggle everything, giving enough of your time to the Lord. That's something I fail at. Thank the Lord He's still working on me. He definitely IS patient.

      Thank you for stopping by! :) You're such a sweet friend. And sooo talented!


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