Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Greatest Gift

I can assure you that I am moving along at a fairly acceptable pace on my second book. At last count, I think I was at approximately 73,000 words and probably about eight chapters away from finishing the story, but today, I wanted to take a break from my writing-venture ramblings and focus, for a moment, on something of far more importance. Because we’re bombarded by so many distractions, I wanted the center of my focus to be on the greatest aspect of this holiday season. This is the time of year that many of us come together to celebrate Christmas, and for those of us who are Christians, the primary focus of our celebration is on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thus, He is the reason for the Season and not just this season but every season of our lives. Even as Christians, we often times find ourselves, myself included, caught up in the material aspects of it all – worrying  about the appearance of all the decorations we’re setting out, the various holiday light displays we’re wanting to drive by, the meals we’re planning to prepare, the gifts we’re still needing to buy, and the travel plans we’re mapping out. And in all our haste and excitement, we forget that the greatest Gift is not somewhere in a store waiting to be discovered, tucked away in a hidden place saved for the perfect moment, hanging in a stocking, or even lying underneath a tree. The greatest Gift has already been given and is the only gift that is totally free yet completely priceless. Let us pause for a moment, take time from our busy schedules, and reflect on that Gift – the gift of God becoming flesh born of a virgin, bearing the sins of the world when He shed His sinless blood on the cross at Calvary, and rising victorious from the grave so He could offer eternal life freely to all who would believe. His gift of eternal life IS the greatest Gift that was ever given, the greatest Gift that can ever be received, and the greatest Gift we can ever share. As we gather for various Christmas festivities with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, may we remember to share His message of love, light, and hope. I wish a Merry CHRISTmas to all as we celebrate the Savior’s birth. May your celebrations be centered on Him and filled with joy and love because He is the reason for any and all of our celebrations now and always.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Story of Emily

After about a-week-and-half break, I picked up where I had left off on my second novel, Serene Courage. I am currently writing chapter thirteen and am well past 50,000 words. I feel that it is safe to say I’m about half-way through with this story, the story of Emily Faith Johnson—a story of abuse, lost hope, fear, faith, courage, and love. It’s a story about a courage that defies reason and logic, is dependent upon complete surrender to the Savior, and is accompanied by perfect serenity in the midst of a raging storm. This story shows how hopelessness can be turned into hope, fear can be turned into courage, and shame and unworthiness can be turned into love. Ultimately, there would be no true romance in this woman’s life if God had not loved her first because He is the true Healer of the brokenhearted and the Giver of good gifts to those who love Him. I am by no means near finished with this story, but I’m looking forward to the day when you will be able to experience and be encouraged by Emily’s journey.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Good Book at a Great Price

Making my book available whether it’s in eBook form or paperback has been a learning experience. So far, I’m happy with my decision to be a part of the KDP Select Program through Amazon because it has made my book available to a wider audience. Today, marks the first day that Imperfectly Perfect Love in eBook format will be a part of the Kindle Countdown Deal. For a limited time, it will be on sale for the great price of $2.99 which is perfect for anyone who may have been hesitant to take a chance on a new author’s first book. So, if you’ve found yourself curious about this title, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this great deal. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the unpredictable storyline, the depth of the various characters, and the applicable Biblical message found throughout. Also don’t forget to spread the word and tell your friends and family who enjoy reading so they too can take advantage of this sale while it lasts. Your support and feedback is always appreciated so please leave a review on the site where you purchased the book and on Goodreads. Any additional personal feedback you may wish to direct my way can be sent to sswilliams2@crimson.ua.edu and is most welcomed. I hope you not only enjoy this book but all the ones to follow, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Important Decisions

Speaking with an acquisitions director of a publishing company who is interested in your story for publication can be somewhat flattering and exciting but, at the same time, rather stressful. Numerous questions plague your mind: is she being completely honest about the terms of the contract, is this a legit company, is the contract worded in a way so there are hidden meanings behind the agreement, are there better options out there, should I wait until my writing is more seasoned to sign with a company in order to get a better offer, and should I alter course so soon? I read the contract twice that she had sent, compared the contract and her promises to their website, researched what is normal between an author and a publishing company, compared it to other options that may be available when my writing is a little more seasoned, discussed all the angles with my husband, and most importantly prayed. I am pleased to announce that I will continue my present course as is. The Lord has given me perfect peace regarding not signing a publishing contract at this time. Who knows what the future may hold or what opportunities may one day be available, but for now, I am happy to be simply working on my own with the tools the Lord has provided. I will continually be grateful to my talented cover designer whose efforts create an appealing first impression and to the various beta readers who give their invaluable input, all sharing in the process of making my book better than it ever could have been if my eyes alone were viewing it. I am also thankful for you, the readers, who took a chance on a new author’s first book and those who remain supportive as I continue this journey.

So much has transpired over the past week and weekend that I’ve decided to take a break from writing. I have some things to contemplate and maybe even reevaluate, not in relation to the current book and its storyline but regarding my writing and the pursuit of my dream in general. Writing can be time consuming and draining both emotional and mentally. I have a family and a limited amount of free time for writing so I want to continually put my dream into perspective and focus on the here and now, the things that matter to the ones who love me most. When the task of writing, the opinions of others whether good or bad, the overhead versus the profit all cloud my mind, it becomes all consuming and overwhelming, especially when I’m a person prone to continually analyzing everything from every possible angle. So for now, for my sanity and my loved ones, I’m taking a step back, focusing solely on my family, and clearing my brain of all the things writing entails. The middle of chapter eight in Serene Courage is where I left off and will be exactly where I pick up when the time is right.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When a Publishing Company Calls

Life is not always easy even for those who feel they are following God’s leading. Obstacles oftentimes block the narrow path, days come and go with little progress having been made, fellow travelers may misjudge the reasoning behind the solid steps already taken, and the overall goal becomes almost a fleeting memory; but through it all God continues to light the dark path, reminding His child that no obstacle is too big, progress is never measured by earthly standards, He is the only judge whose opinion matters, and the overall goal is an arduous one but worth it all when He can say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

This week has been a rollercoaster ride of events and emotions. Part of those events caused me to plunge into the state of questioning myself, my writing, and my message. Then as with any rollercoaster, I was soaring heavenward, filled with excitement because affirmation had been received regarding the very things I had just been questioning. My affirmation was rather short-lived though because I was plunged into those events once more, causing me to once again question everything all over again. Amazingly, I almost instantaneously found myself soaring to new heights and receiving even more positive affirmation than before. Now that the wild ride has ended, I look back on it as a learning experience. Maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated the affirmation or even have viewed it as that if I hadn’t experienced the self-doubt and questioning. What a wonderful reminder that God allows everything to happen for His plan and purpose and in His perfect timing.  

Money, time constraints, grammatical issues—all seem to affect new authors immensely. I am no different in any of these aspects. Because I’m a stay-home mom, money and time constraints will be an issue for the foreseeable future; but hopefully, my writing skills and grammar knowledge will continually improve as time goes by. To help in this area, I’ve been in need of a crucial piece to my writing puzzle; and yesterday, God gave me that piece. He provided me with a talented friend who will be able to contribute so much in being one of my beta readers. She is definitely a godsend in so many ways. Then today, I was contacted by a Christian publishing company whom I had previously submitted my partial manuscript to back in August. The representative explained that my story was the one story out of all the submissions that she had found to actually be interesting, didn’t want to put down, and needed to know how it ended. She told me that they were very interested in my book and wanted to offer me a contract. I will know more when the Director of Book Acquisitions calls and gives me more specific details. Who knows? This may not be a workable option for me, but at least, it’s an option I never thought I would have been offered so soon. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Novel Availability Update

I had been toying with the idea of signing up with Kindle’s KDP Select program for several weeks, and a few weeks ago, I made the decision to join. Due to the guidelines of this program, the eBook is no longer available on Barnes & Noble or any other site except Amazon. Amazon prime members will be able to choose to read Imperfectly Perfect Love for free from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library/KOLL. Also if you are an Amazon member who is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited this book is now available to you.
I am pleased to announce that the paperback version of Imperfectly Perfect Love is now available for purchase. If you purchase the paperback version on Amazon, the eBook version is enrolled in the Kindle MatchBook program so you will have the option to also purchase it for the low price of $0.99 as a package deal. The paperback version is also available for purchase in most bookstores (Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million). If you would like to purchase a signed copy, please contact me for further details.
I am hoping with the additional options available more people will feel compelled to check out my first novel, become emotionally connected with the characters, and eagerly await the completion of the following novels as they lead this series to completion.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Continued Journey Now Made Visible

A blog seemed like the perfect thing that would allow everyone the ability to experience glimpses of my journey through the world of writing and to learn of my developing stories and newest releases. Please join me on this journey as I begin by wrapping up my first novel, Imperfectly Perfect Love, in its paperback edition and move forward by delving into developing the story of Emily Faith Johnson in Serene Courage, the second book in the Surrendered Hearts series. I pray that this journey and all of my novels will encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

One would think that releasing a book in paperback would be simple, but so far for me, it has been a challenge. There were numerous issues with uploading the cover image so that the entire image was visible; then once the printed proof arrived, the cover image was too dark. Thankfully, because of the delay, I had the opportunity to re-read the entire novel and re-edit for any previous missed errors. Yesterday, I ordered the second printed proof, and it should arrive toward the end of this coming week. I am hopeful that it will be perfect so I can finally place the first order for the actual book. I would like to extend a special thank you to all those who have shown interest in purchasing my first book, Imperfectly Perfect Love, and have been patient as I work through all the obstacles in order for the book to be as perfect as possible. This entire process from writing the first few paragraphs to uploading the eBooks to designing the paperback book has been a definite learning experience and a process that the Lord has used to teach me patience. I am thankful to the Lord first and foremost for His faithfulness and to my family and friends for their support.
Monday, September 15, 2014, I plan to officially begin work on Serene Courage. I had previously written eleven chapters while waiting on the beta readers to complete Imperfectly Perfect Love. I have since decided to rework a few of those chapters before continuing the story. I have had several readers to tell me that they can't wait for this second novel because of the glimpse they received from the excerpt at the end of Imperfectly Perfect Love. I promise, in the continuation of this series, you will be seeing more of the characters you loved in the first novel. I have to admit that when I began writing Imperfectly Perfect Love I had no strong connection with Peter, and in fact, he was going to be a character who rarely appeared throughout the story. After the first chapter, I knew that he would be an intrinsic part of Maggie's life and the entire story. His walk with the Lord not only convicted me but also made me remember how love and faith are definite components in being lights in this dark world. There are many characters throughout the first book that I loved, but I have to say that Peter was my favorite.  

Maggie Grace Veck is a spirited, thirty-six-year-old woman whose seemingly perfect life will be put to the test when unforeseen circumstances begin to arise, causing her to question not only her choices and direction but her faith. No matter how uncertain life may become, she can always depend upon the steadfast encouragement of her lifelong friend, Peter McKnight, and the quick wit of her quirky best friend, Lara Hinton. Even though she is married to her college sweetheart and first love, Travis Veck, she finds herself feeling lonely and forgotten because of his incessantly demanding career as a high-powered attorney for a prominent law firm in south Florida. Their nice home, in an elite neighborhood, and the fast-paced bustle of city life are no match for her heart's desire to return to her deep southern roots in Sunnyville, Alabama. Will she learn to rise above her circumstances and surrender her heart so she can fully grasp the essence of imperfect yet perfect love in order to become the person she was called to be?