Ain’t Going to Happen!

Awwww, they are so cute! That is an exclamation I make every time I see little spotted fawns show up in my yard with their beautiful Mom to eat the corn I put out for the deer each evening. I got the whole family this time. Mom, Dad, and babies.

I also have a rabbit that will hop across the yard, squirrels that aggravate me when they empty the bird feeder, a wide variety of birds, and a chipmunk that I named “Charlie.”

Of course I name them all and take dozens of pictures to share with others. I just can’t help it, I have to share the picture of Mom and the twin fawns again.

I have had several people tell me I need to write a children’s book using the many pictures of the deer or pictures of “Charlie.”

Due to the years of childhood abuse I don’t know how to be a kid, that was stolen from me, so to even think about writing a children’s book is unfathomable to me but…

I decided to look at a few children’s books at the local Dollar General store and then I began doing a little research on how to write one and was aghast!

I thought I could choose some pictures I’d taken, write a few short lines under each one and make a picture book for kids.

Not that easy!

The first thing I found was the cost of having a children’s book published. From what I read, $10,000 was the lowest publishing fee. That’s for a small illustrated 6-10 page book!

As I read further, a professional illustrator has to be hired. That costs anywhere from $25.00 per illustration to, into the thousands per illustration. In other words I would be forking out a whooping $10,000 to $35,000, or more, for a small color illustrated kids book of a mere 6-10 pages.

For those who write them, more power to you and God bless you. Kids need books but as for me………

It ain’t going to happen!

Stay tuned, I have more mind blowers.

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When in Doubt, Ask.

There are books that guide in how to lose weight. There are books that will take us to foreign lands and let us live our vacation dreams as we turn the pages into vast areas of the world. There are children’s books that open the imagination of children’s little developing minds and text books that grow those early lessons into more mature thinking.

I AM is none of those. One day I sat down and a little story started forming in my mind. I wasn’t sure what it was about or why it seemed the Lord wanted me to write it down, but I did.

Then later, the same thing would happen. A short story would start forming and I’d write it down. Over a period of time more of those little stories would form and gradually I had several short stories that were planted in my mind seemingly for no reason.

Then one day the Lord said to put a few of them on my blog and so I did. Some enjoyed them and that was nice, but then the Lord wanted them in book form, and more stories were birthed.

Some of the stories I would question, others I would laugh out loud, “Really Lord?” Others made me think about what was being uncovered and the stories kept coming.

Mental impressions and thoughts can come from our soul, Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, or the devil. So many times we are led to believe, by the enemy, that what we are hearing or sensing in our spirit, is coming from our souls. Had I fallen for the devil’s deception I AM would not be a published book right now.

Be careful to listen to the Lord. If there is doubt, there is absolutely nothing wrong, or sinful, to ask the Lord to give you a confirmation. Too many times we don’t hear from the Lord because we don’t ask. “Come unto Me and I will come unto you.”

Don’t let your stories or testimonies go by the wayside because of not knowing from where they came. Ask and you shall receive.

I’ll see you next time – I hope.

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Timing

I see school buses being gassed up, school signs advertising a new school year, and the stores are filled with back packs, pencils, rulers, and all the supplies kids need for a new school year.

Its been too many years for me to recall having to load up on all of that stuff. Back then it was supplied by the school, or I think it was.

I recall my Mom sewing us a new dress to start the year using the chicken feed sacks that we would buy chicken feed in at the feed store.

“Oh yuck!” I can hear this younger generation exclaim if they heard that. They have it way too easy these days, as far as I’m concerned, but what am I getting at?

Parents are spending a fortune on clothing and supplies right now and I doubt very much that there will be extra money for buying books for pleasure reading. Their trips to the book stores will not be for novels I’m afraid so I’m holding off calling all those book stores to try to line up book signing events.

Timing is necessary if we are to have a successful event. I found that if there’s a large craft show going on, that isn’t a good time for a book signing, although one would think it would be with hundreds of people milling around. Books are not why they are there. A book fair is a totally different thing!

Some of the holidays are great for events and yet others are not. When Christmas is being advertised can be a good time. I like to put a sign up, “40 days until Christmas” or “26 days until Christmas.” Something that draws the customers attention about our book being a perfect gift.

So for now, I’ll wait until some of the school supply bills are paid down and Mom can step back, take a deep breath, and get back on track. Timing makes the difference.

Til we meet again. (That sounds like Carol Burnett. 🙂 )

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Curiosity Killed the Cat

I’m just curious. No, I’m not a cat, but, how many Bible believing, Jesus followers, saved by grace through faith, Born again Christians believe that the Bible was inspired by God, was written by Him, through His Apostles?

I hear so many people give so many different excuses for not believing there is a God or the Bible. “There might be a God, no, there isn’t a God, well, the Bible has been translated so many times it’s just a bunch of stories and who knows if it is true or not? It was just a bunch of stories by a bunch of guys a long time ago, its all fantasy.”

I have even heard pastors say, “Its nice stories.” These are supposedly people who have been called “by God” to preach the truth of His word! How do people formulate these ideas and why? I don’t have all the answers, but one I think rings really loud and clear. If the Bible is true and I choose to believe it, then Someone else has control and not me. Humans want control! We want to live our lives the way we want to live our lives and if the Bible really was written through men by God, then I have to give over my wants and my desires to Someone that is greater than I am. Nope, don’t want to do that!

This is what amazes me about non-believers and even some so-called Christians. And don’t get me wrong, I was one of those non-believers for 49 years! I wanted nothing to do with this so-called, “loving God.” That’s another story I won’t go into here. But, back to my question. Those of us that do believe the Bible was written by God through men, then why is it so difficult for people to believe that when I say, “God writes my books, I just type them?” that I’m not lying!

If men of the past sat down and the Lord gave them the words in the Bible, the accounts of what they say, what they witnessed, then why is it so hard to believe that God won’t do that today through His children? He said He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In my, maybe crazy way of thinking, that means that if He did it 2000 years ago He’ll continue to do it today!

I’m not the only one that the Lord uses to get His message out there. There are tons of books written by men/women that bring His words onto paper to give insight, enlighten, entertain, educate, encourage, warn, etc. that are inspired by God.

If you sense the Lord filling you with words that He wants written down, then do it! And give Him the glory and ignore the weird looks, the nay-Sayer’s, and doubters when you tell them it was given to you by our Almighty God through His Holy Spirit. But don’t say it if it isn’t true. That can get you in trouble.

Happy writing – See ya’ next time

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Don’t Overdo

In the last post I said, The Narrow Road is the hardest story I have written so far. It was! I hope to not write anymore that left me with roller coaster emotions from telling someone’s life story. I have to admit that when completed I was not only relieved but very proud of the end product and I think “Brian” is, too.

Sitting down and writing someones story is much different than sitting and listening to life stories being told over a matter of time. Sitting around the table telling stories of our childhood can be fun, depending on what those stories are about.

I also said I know the people involved in “Brian’s” story. I heard some of the stories, some of the hurtful times, the facts about this man’s life, and his accomplishments, failures, loves, and losses.

There was some research that had to be done and that took a little bit of time and effort on my part. Researching documents, digging back in my memories of what he told me. Looking into what it was really like back then to be able to give a true picture of what an orphanage in the 1930’s looked like and felt like. To be able to describe those times so that the reader feels like he/she is right there.

I’ve mentioned before about having to plan weddings and needing to describe even the parents of the bride and groom’s clothing. I learned that is necessary, not just because women love to read about those things, but because it is important within the story – to make it real!

It’s no different here, in “Brian’s” story. For example; “Four year old Brian stands gaping at the looming building with shadows falling across the fading grey bricks, and screams, “That’s not my home!” versus, “Four year old Brian stands gaping at the building and screams, “That’s not my home!”

Here’s another example: Brain falls to his knees sobbing and yells, “God, how could you love me when you let this happen?” Versus, “Brian falls to his knees sobbing, ignoring the wet leaves soaking his jeans, and yells, “God, how can you love me when you let this happen? The rabbit that’s watching scampers away and the birds take flight leaving the woods to absorb Brian’s sobs.”

Re-read and see which of these two examples raise a stirring within you. Does one cause a mental image of the scene or leave it flat?

It is important to add descriptions that will place your reader right there with the character. Be careful though and don’t overdo. I have read books that will describe a door knob and take six pages to do it! For me, that’s a distraction. Some description is necessary, yes, but it can also be overdone.

We want our readers to feel, to sense, to feel like they are a part of the story. Descriptions, if not over done, will help to do that.

That’s something else I have been told by my readers, “I felt like I was right there!”

I’ll be back – hope you will, too.

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Heart Tears

What happens when a parent or parents find themselves in a situation they no longer can deal with? Many times the options are not favorable to the children in the family. Children are pushed aside, abandoned, abused, or ignored by those who are given this gift from God and yet don’t appreciate it or honor it.

The Narrow Road was the hardest book I have written so far. I know the people involved. Oh, the names have been changed on the most part but the people in this true story are real people with real circumstances and real life issues. Issues that many in this sin-filled world have faced or are facing.

I was totally taken aback when the Lord revealed that this is the story He wants told and to be honest, I didn’t want to do it. It meant feeling pain. It meant going back into someone’s memories; some good, some painful, and others comical. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.

As I began the story of this small child’s life tears filled my eyes. Yes, when one begins reading “Brian’s” story tears will come from compassionate hearts. I didn’t get very far in the story before I threw the typed manuscript on my desk and said, “I can’t do this!” (I also make a paper copy just in case the computer decides to eat what was written.)

The Lord finally said, “I’m the One doing it, not you, Sue.” I finally picked up where the story had left off and began typing. The story was taking form and I was able to continue without my heart falling onto the floor. Yes, the story got better. Not so hurtful and so I continued to type.

When we write true stories, especially if we know the people or person the story is about, it can be difficult. Throughout “Brian’s” story I found myself laughing, cheering, and yes, crying. I was living his pain, his joy, his accomplishments, and sorrows.

I’m not patting myself on the back or bragging, but any writer that does not feel, live, sense, their characters in their story, whether it is a true story or not, well, in my opinion, will not produce a believable story. How can they? They aren’t experiencing what their character is experiencing. To me, that even applies to a cartoon type of story.

Gradually I continued to write. Gradually “Brian’s” story was being told. And all those who have read it, as well as some of my other books, have told me, “This is the best one you’ve written!”

To be continued – Stay tuned.

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Rudely Awakened

Yesterday was a busy day; running errands, having lunch with a friend, shopping, and planting more flowers to enhance the new retainer wall I had built. Everyone knows how I love to play in the dirt so when the sun settled a little and the heat died down I grabbed the shovel, black dirt, and 2 Mum plants and 3 Corn Flower plants and got to work. When finished I poured corn in the deer’s “dinner plate” and enjoyed watching 2 does come for dinner.

I was tired and after a nice long bath I crocheted for a while, watched a little T.V. and went to bed about midnight after reading some blogs. I think I fell asleep in the middle of praying, but I’m not sure about that.

Sound asleep, I have no idea what time it is when I’m hearing, in a loud voice, “What kind of God would…?” Things are named one after another. It isn’t a dream, it isn’t someone standing next to my bed shouting at me. I can’t figure out where this is coming from while still in the sleep state.

“What kind of God would…?” and more is shouted in my head. Is this demonic? Is this a dream? What is this? I finally awaken and the words, the situations, the circumstances are still loudly being spoken. “What kind of God would allow…?”

I slam my hands over my ears, get up to go to the bathroom and yell, “Stop!” but the voice continues persistently. Crawling back in bed, its 5:15 in the morning, I slam the pillow over my ears to try to stop the voice.

It doesn’t work!

Getting up, I pace the floor for a few minutes and find myself heading into my office to the computer. Come on! I like to write but this is going too far! The dialog does not stop. Is this a new book the Lord is wanting to write? Is this some kind of testimony I’m supposed to give at church? The words whiz across the screen as my fingers furiously tap the keys.

“What kind of God would…?” is repeated over and over throughout. Four pages of “What kind of God would..?” comes to a climatic finale and I sit with tear blurred eyes not knowing what the Lord will use this for.

I do like to write – so come on back.

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“You wrote my Story”

Writing Grace Defined was quite an experience. The story begins during World War 2 so a little research had to be done. I could draw on some of the stories my parents told about that time in history. I could mention there were ration stamps because I have some in my scrapbook. (I was born during the depression) I knew about the factories because my Dad worked in one back then.

The story began to flow as the words filled my mind. I also knew what it felt like to have some atheist views, although I never claimed to be an atheist, I am familiar with that disbelief, as I am now familiar with the Christians beliefs since I am one.

I am also familiar with an unbelieving, manipulative, controlling, Dad. So this story, an atheist father and a Christian mother,(although my mother was not a Christian) with four screwed up kids was hitting home with me as the words flowed out onto the computer screen. I can definitely relate to those who feel, “You wrote my story.”

This is another story that the Lord has used to send a very clear message to both believers and non-believers. It is also a story of how each of us has a purpose whether we believe it or not. He knew us before we ever entered our mother’s womb and our destiny was set then.

As I was writing this story it was as though the Lord was also reminding me of His grace. This isn’t one of those preachy types of stories filled with scriptures telling us what grace is. He has used real true-to life family circumstances to tell us and show us.

We hear preachers say, “This sermon is as much for me as it is for you.” That’s what Grace Defined was to me as I was writing it. And in designing the cover I wanted to have something representing God’s Grace being poured out. I think I succeeded.

Don’t go away – I’ll be back.

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Excuses, Excuses.

This past week has been “one of those weeks” and today I sit looking at the list of book stores that I came up with to call about doing a book signing event. There’s a couple on the list that I already know takes an act of congress to get an event scheduled, if they’ll even let me, and we all know how congress works. 🙂

I’m waiting on my books to arrive sometime today, according to the notice I received from UPS, so that’s giving me a push to call these book stores. Now to decide if I want to make the effort or not. If there are some that do book signings then that means I need to go visit them before setting up any kind of schedule.

At times we can get discouraged or lazy in our push to get our name out there. Right now, I’m tired and a good kick in the pants might be needed. I’ll gaze at the list a little while longer, procrastinate for a little while, and then if the “mood” hits, I’ll pick up the phone.

I think part of the reason for my putting it off is because the last time I went through a long list of book stores I found many, and I mean many, were out of business which shortened the list considerably. Why they are still listed as active businesses is beyond me.

The others I called, none did book signings. That killed the rest of the list. Various reasons were given, such as, “Our store is too small, we don’t have room.” Then, “It isn’t worth our time.” Or, “We used to but we don’t anymore.” That’s discouraging but maybe your area is different in whatever part of the world you are in. It also depends on how far you are willing to travel.

Do I forge ahead and figure “nothing gained, nothing lost?” Or however that saying goes. We’ll see. First I need to receive my shipment of books and make sure they are all there and accounted for and none are damaged. Hmmm, sounds like a good excuse to me.

Stay tuned – I’ll be back

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The Juicy Stuff

Yesterday was an exciting day. Not just because of the small herd of deer that were in my back yard enjoying the corn I put out for them but being in church, and listening to a testimony from one of the congregates, that also mentioned, “Sue, our new visitor, has written some books.”

I was surprised to say the least. I’ve only visited three times and the Lord has confirmed to me that this is the church He wants me to worship at now. I miss the people from my last church but am glad I’m not having to drive the 30 miles to go there.

I had carried one book in to show the pastor yesterday and had a couple more in the car. By the end of the service I sold two books just like that. No effort on my part other than having one available in hand and someone mentioning I have published books. (besides me, that is)

Word of mouth is another great way to sell our books. My first book I took with me to my Mammogram appointment and sold the first  book I had ever written, just like that, to two people.

If we let people know we are writers and have written a book, they are naturally curious. Have a couple handy to be able to show them and you may have a sale. I mentioned writing with some new acquaintances at a lunch one day and sold four books right out of the backseat of my car.

Of course we advertise on social media but word of mouth sometimes goes much faster than someone hunting it up on a computer. Its much like gossip, the “juicy stuff” travels fast. 🙂

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Come on back – More excitement to come.

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