Power in Story

I read a book this week that has had a profound effect
on me. Take a moment now and ask yourself If you made an assumption after
reading that first sentence. I wonder how many of you assumed it was a
non-fiction book? Perhaps you were thinking C.S. Lewis or Ravi Zaccharias. I’ve
read their work and yes, they had a profound effect too. But this book is a
novel – The Cure by Athol Dickson. I
read it while lying on a hospital bed awaiting surgery and finished it in the
couple of days after, while recovering. The book drew me in, the characters
capturing me to the point where I was in tears at times. I admit I was in a
particularly vulnerable place as I read it, but the skill of the writing was
obvious. It wasn’t just the skill of the work that wowed me. It was the
message.
I don’t want to give the story or the climax away,
so will just say that Mr. Dixon achieves what I believe all writers of fiction
should strive for – He wraps an engaging story around truth, a truth so profound
it can, and no doubt will, change lives. In my weakness I am strong. It’s a
direct quote from the Apostle Paul and it is often an enigma to us. How is such
a thing possible? The main character in The
Cure
follows a long hard road to find out but in the end there is
understanding and hope. As a reader I was struck dumb by the “aha” moment in
this novel and left in awe of the amazing grace of our Lord. The depth of that
grace is still making me weep as I continue to ponder it. It has given me hope.
Mr. Dixon’s book has also spurred me on as a
novelist. It has proven, once again, the power of story. The Cure is an example of the kind of book I want to write, the
kind of book I believe all followers of Christ want to write – one that
explores and reveals the truth of who we are as human beings, the deep deep
love our God has for us and the relationship that is therefore available to us.
The Cure has made me want to continue
to hone my craft, to learn something new every day that will improve my work.
Because it is through such excellence that we will gain a voice into a hurting
and very lost world.
The Apostle Paul said –
“And of this gospel I was appointed a herald…” (2Timothy 1:11) According to
dictionary.com, to herald means – to give news or
tidings of; announce; proclaim: to indicate or signal the coming of; usher in.
All of us, as writers of faith, are heralds in this way. We have pledged
our lives to this purpose: to proclaim Christ, to make him known, and to signal
his coming again to this earth. May we pursue excellence in that journey, not
to prove our worth, but His glory.
****
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia’s
second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards
.
 
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers of faith can be downloaded here or from Amazon. Visit Marcia’s website
 

Novel Rocket Congratulates the 2013 Christy Award Winners!

2013 Christy Award Winners & Finalists
The winning title is in bold

Contemporary Romance

The Breath of Dawn, by Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Lethal Legacy, by Irene Hannon (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Wildflowers from Winter, by Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas

Two Destinies, by Elizabeth Musser (David C Cook)

You Don’t Know Me, by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

Waiting for Sunrise, by Eva Marie Everson (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Contemporary Standalone

The Air We Breathe, by Christa Parrish (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Borders of the Heart, by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Not in the Heart, by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

First Novel

Into the Free, by Julie Cantrell (David C Cook)

Tangled Ashes, by Michèle Phoenix (Tyndale House Publishers)


Wedded to War, by Jocelyn Green (River North, an imprint of Moody Press)

Historical

Flame of Resistance, by Tracy Groot (Tyndale House Publishers)

Wedded to War, by Jocelyn Green (River North, an imprint of Moody Press)

A Wreath of Snow, by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Historical Romance

Against the Tide, by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Be Still My Soul, by Joanne Bischof (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Love’s Reckoning, by Laura Frantz (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Suspense (4 finalists due to a tie in scoring)

Downfall, by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Last Plea Bargain, by Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers)

Rare Earth, by Davis Bunn (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Submerged, by Dani Pettrey (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Visionary

Daughter of Light, by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press)

Soul’s Gate, by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Starflower, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Young Adult

Child of the Mountains, by Marilyn Sue Shank (Delacorte Press, a division of Random House)

Failstate, by John W. Otte (Marcher Lord Press)

Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words, by Rachel Coker (Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

When You Feel Like You’ve Been Left Behind in the Writing Journey

Maybe I’m the only one that’s ever felt like they’ve been left behind in this publishing journey. It’s hard to start this writing journey with friends and see them catch the next bus on their publishing route while they leave you stranded at the bus stop. 

I think it’s hard to be left behind for a number of reasons:
Flow with Changing Relationships

You’ve built these relationships with your writing friends founded on mutual goals and status in life. You were all newbies, just starting out, sharing your rejections and encouraging each other to press on, but somehow they’ve start to move forward…faster. Now they’re talking book contracts and editors, hobnobbing with big author friends, and well, sometimes you just feel a bit left out.
Sure, you’re still pals, but not in the same way. Something has changed. They’ve moved on in their publishing journey, and you’re still crawling behind the bus choking on fumes.
I remember having dinner with an old critique partner who started writing after me, but had since multi-published and was now a seasoned author and speaker. There were several of us, and I was the only unpublished author at the table. Everyone was friendly and wonderful, but the conversation moved to their next published book and future speaking engagements. That’s when I faded into the distance. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened. I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, and though I wasn’t purposely left out, I felt out of place.
This feeling had nothing to do with how these authors treated me, it’s just they were at a different place than I was and it was hard not being where they were. Later that night I went back to my hotel room and talked with God about how insignificant I felt and asked for a “sign” to know He still cared about me and that I was still on the right track. The next morning He gave it to me a fun, profound, and personal way.
Though you may feel like you’re left behind and have nothing to contribute… take a closer look and see things from a different perspective. Then get over your “insignificant” self and keep working towards your publishing goals.
Celebrate Others Successes

I’m reminded of that song, “Smile Though Your Heart is Breaking.”  Yes, I’ve matured since the “Why not me, whining days.” I’m happy to see my writing friends move on with their careers, sign book contracts, win Christy and Carol awards, but it’s still hard! I can’t help but be sad that I’m still stuck in this place even though I’ve been told over and over again by my agent that I’m a good writer and editors like my writing, I’m still not where I want to be in my career. Even though I have a novella and full length mystery with an epublisher, I’m still straining my neck waiting for the next publishing bus to come by (and offer me a 3 book contract) and wondering if they’ll have room for me.
It’s hard especially when others seem to pass you by with their successes, yet what else can you do but smile and celebrate with your friends… though your heart might be breaking.
Encourage Others While Waiting For Your Turn 

Waiting your turn is hard, especially when you don’t know when you’ll get a turn and the rules keep changing, but what else can you do besides quit? Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or unmet goals, look around and see who else is sitting at the publishing bus stop waiting, then be an encouragement to them. It’s amazing how writer friends and I always seem to be in the exact opposite place emotionally and career wise. When I get a rejection, she’s encouraging me and when she’s ready to quit, I’m there lifting her up. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Keep Busy and Don’t Be Idle

There are many other things you can do while waiting for the publishing bus to arrive. Learn the craft, build your writing resume, teach writing, and connect with others on social media and at writing conferences. Waiting is hard, but you don’t have to be idle while waiting. Do something, anything to help get you closer to your publishing destination and then the time you’ve spent waiting, might not seem as long.
Feeling like you’re left behind in this publishing journey stinks! Trust me, I know, and it’s okay to feel those feeling every once and a while. But wallowing in self pity won’t move you closer to where you want to be.
No one ever promised publishing would be easy! If you feel like you’ve been left behind in this publishing journey, you’re not alone. Just look around. At one time or another, someone else has been waiting
Gina Conroy is founder of Writer…Interrupted and is still learning how to balance a career with raising a family. Represented by Chip MacGregor, she finds time to write fun, quirky mysteries in between carpooling and ballroom dancing . Her first mystery Cherry Blossom Capers, released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012, and Digging Up Death is available now.

Novel Rocket congratulates the finalists for the Carol Award

The 2013 ACFW Carol Award finalists for the best in Christian fiction were announced during a press conference by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) June 24 at ICRS in St. Louis, MO.

Honoring Christian fiction in a number of categories, the Carol Awards—named for Christian fiction pioneering editor Carol Johnson—listed these finalists, judged by readers, multi-published authors, retailers, and librarians.

CATEGORY
Seaside Reunion by Irene Hannon (Love Inspired * Editor: Melissa Endlich)
A Horseman’s Hope by Myra Johnson (Heartsong Presents * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
Lost Legacy by Dana Mentink (Love Inspired * Editor: Emily Rodmell)

CONTEMPORARY
Heart Echoes by Sally John (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Stephanie Broene/Kathy Olson)
You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Sarah Mason)
Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)

DEBUT NOVEL
Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)
Proof by Jordyn Redwood (Kregel * Editor: Dawn Anderson)
A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh (Guideposts Books * Editors: Beth Adams/Rachel Meisel/Lindsay Guzzardo)

HISTORICAL
Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)
At Every Turn by Anne Mateer (Bethany House * Editor: Charlene Patterson)
The Discovery by Dan Walsh (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)

HISTORICAL ROMANCE
To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander (Zondervan * Editor: Sue Brower)
A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller (Revell * Editor: Vicki Crumpton)
Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House * Editor: Karen Schurrer)

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE/THRILLER
Downfall by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan * Editors: David Lambert/Sue Brower/Ellen Tarver)
Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing * Editor: Karen Ball)
The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/Jamie Chavez)

NOVELLA
You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/JoAnne Simmons)
Impressed by Love by Lisa Karon Richardson (Barbour Publishing * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
A Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Natalie Hanemann)

ROMANCE
The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson * Editors: Natalie Hanemann/L. B. Norton)
Saving Gideon by Amy Lillard (B&H Publishing * Editors: Julie Gwinn/Julie Carobini)
An Uncommon Grace by Serena B. Miller (Howard * Editor: Holly Halverson)

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Ami McConnell)
Saving Hope by Margaret Daley (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)
When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)

SPECULATIVE
Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)
Judge by R. J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
Daystar by Kathy Tyers (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)

YOUNG ADULT
Prophet by R.J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley (Zondervan * Editor: Jacque Alberta)
The New Recruit by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)

The ACFW press conference at ICRS also spotlighted and paid tribute to a key influence in Christian fiction, the 2013 recipient of ACFW’s Lifetime Achievement Award—author Frank Peretti. ACFW CEO Colleen Coble expressed the motivation behind selecting Peretti to receive the Lifetime Achievement honor.

“Frank Peretti has been called a publishing phenomenon when listing bestseller status, longevity of titles, and numbers of books,” said Coble. “His readers, however, talk of ‘life-change,’ ‘shifts in the way I thought about prayer,’ ‘the reason this reader was moved to take up writing,’ ‘changed my life forever,’ ‘made a commitment to Christ after reading his stories,’ ‘his books aided in my walk with Jesus,’ ‘God brought healing in my life through the book,’ ‘the first work of overtly Christian fiction that actually felt genuine (those years ago when I read Peretti in high school).’”

Coble continued, “An author, thinker, and innovator whose storytelling has affected untold numbers since his books first reached bookstore shelves, Frank’s efforts continue to resonate. On behalf of readers, writers, and the publishing industry, thank you, Frank Peretti.”

Peretti and winners of the Carol Awards will be honored at the ACFW conference in Indianapolis at the award gala on Sunday night, September 15 at the Hyatt Regency. Keynote speaker for the 2013 conference is Robin Jones Gunn. Authors, aspiring authors, industry guests, and representatives from every major CBA publishing house and literary agency will gather for this premier Christian fiction conference. www.acfw.com/conference