OakTara to Publish Short Story in Romance Anthology!

I am thrilled and full of thanksgiving to announce my short story, Right on Time, is scheduled to be published in the romance anthology, I Choose You, compiled and published by OakTara Publishers.

It has already been a privilege and gracious learning experience to work with Ramona Tucker and her team from OakTara on this anthology. God is so good to provide this entry into publishing and I praise Him for His perfect timing and guidance. I am smiling along with God because…as many of you know…I do not normally write romance. I guess I should write more.

The release of I Choose You is set for December 10, 2012 or sooner: just in time for Christmas! Stay tuned here for the release announcement and purchase links.

My deepest thanks for the unwavering support of family, friends and readers. You are the reason I write.

Turn Write Series with Guest Andrew Winch

Andrew Winch is a writer of YA Speculative Fiction and Senior Editor of the Christian Flash-Fiction Magazine: Splickety-Magazine.

If you’re interested in Andrew Winch’s work, check out the first issue of Splickety magazine for free HERE (http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/324163), the magazine’s facebook page HERE (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Splickety-Magazine/296833703674321), or his personal blog HERE (www.winchway.blogspot.com).

Overnight Success…Eventually

Huh, that’s an interesting idea. I bet someone could write a great book about that. Hey, I bet I could write a great book about that.

Fast-forward 3 years

 I can’t believe it. I wrote a novel. And people actually like it! Now all I have to do is send it to the agent of my dreams, then the editor of my dreams, and I’ll be famous!

 Fast-forward another year

 So, maybe my novel isn’t as publishable as I thought…Sure, friends and family have nothing but great things to say, but there really isn’t a market for that kind of fiction right now, and even after extensive edits, my manuscript still has some first novel symptoms that just won’t buff out. I know, I’ll write ANOTHER novel, using what I’ve learned about writing, the industry, and the mistakes of my first novel, and then I’ll be famous.

 -Rinse, lather, repeat-

 Sound familiar? If not, you’re probably not a writer. “What about all the overnight success stories, Andrew?” Well, I won’t tell you it doesn’t happen, but I WILL tell you that most sources claim C.S. Lewis was rejected somewhere around 800 times before publishing ANYTHING. And he’s definitely not in the minority. Google “famous writer rejections” for some cheap motivation.

Though it could have been about almost any schmuck in the business, the brief example I’ve shared is based on my writing career. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, but I started my first novel in the second year of physical therapy graduate school. After I finished it 3 years later, I dove ego-first into the other side of the writing world. You know, the world of query letters, revisions, conferences, and REJECTIONS.

There is no education like adversity. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. God never gives you more than you can handle. Blah, blah, blah. Rejection stinks. That’s all there is to it. So why the heck am I still writing? Partly because I’m magnificently stubborn, but mostly because God is good. And believe me, both parts of that equation are essential.

Without my stubbornness (some call it dedication, I call it stubbornness), I wouldn’t have learned to cringe every time I write “-ly” adverbs, and I certain-LY wouldn’t be working on my third novel right now. Without God’s goodness (I’m tempted to say something cliché about owing everything to Him), I wouldn’t have had that spark of inspiration on Christmas almost 5 years ago (whilst reading the Bible, no less) that started this crazy ride, and I unequivocally would not be as close to publication as I am now.

If you’ll allow it, I’d like to take a minute to expound on that last fact. Four years ago, I didn’t know ANYONE who had published ANYTHING (other than in medical journals). Now, I have regular correspondence with agents, editors, and published authors, and most of them tell me they enjoy my writing. I cannot stress enough how motivational it has been for me to have an active network of people in “the business.” And on top of that, God’s blessed me with the opportunity to act as Senior Editor of a rapidly growing Christian flash-fiction magazine (remember that whole “God never gives you more than you can handle” bit? Apparently I’m determined to test that theory).

So, when people ask me if I get frustrated with it all (“Why don’t you just self-publish?” they ask. Apparently my stubbornness isn’t as obvious as I thought), I smile and answer honestly: “No way.” I love writing. I love learning to write better. And, honestly, if my first novel had made it to publication, that would have been the end of my writing career. It wasn’t bad, but there’s a reason why editors didn’t jump at it. Now, I’m closer to publication than I’ve ever been, and it’s exhilarating.

As long as my tenacity holds out, I know God will hold up His end of the bargain. I’ve seen too much to believe any differently. I don’t know how long I’ll wait to become an overnight success, but I know I’m one step closer than I was yesterday.

So what do you think? Have I fairly represented the life of a novelist? Do you have a newfound respect for struggling artists? Is there anything you would like to ask a writer with delusions of grandeur?

Turn Write Series with Guest William Rameriz

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God’s Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the last 16 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his current work, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning.

He lives in Central Florida with his bride of sixteen years and their four children. Since 2010, he’s been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team for Word Weavers of Orlando. He also blogs every Sunday about his writing journey at New Author’s Fellowship. You can also find Will on his personal blog, Forever More.

He is currently seeking representation for Soul Yearning, which won Novel of the Year at the 2012 Florida Christian Writer’s Conference.

Thankful For One Another

Sometimes God calls us to stand alone, but even then we are not alone. Elijah thought he was the only one taking a stand for the Lord and he found out later on there were 700 others who were faithfully following the Lord.

In Chapter 2 and 3 of Numbers, the Lord outlines the places where each tribe was to march and camp, as well as the various duties of the Levites in assisting Aaron. It’s not exactly an exciting read, but one thing stood out to me as I went through it the last few days.

Each tribe or family had distinct tasks God gave them to do, yet no one did those tasks alone. While Judah’s standard led the march and was the symbol which stood high in the east side of Israel’s camp, it was not Judah alone that did so. They were joined by Issachar and Zebulun. Even though Aaron and his sons led in the ministry of the Tabernacle, each of the three families of Levi were responsible for making the ministry work properly.

In our walk with the Lord and however we might be called to serve Him, the Lord didn’t design us to be alone. I’ve learned that in ministry, work, and most recently my writing career. Since I became serious about writing two years ago, I’ve met so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who have come alongside to challenge, encourage, and help me. Whether from Word Weavers, ACFW, or conferences, I’ve been so blessed with the relationships that God has brought into my life. I would not be close to what I am as a writer without them.

I am so grateful for the friends that God has placed into my life who love me, challenge me, rebuke me, cry with me, and comfort me. And ultimately, I am thankful for my Jesus, the friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

Have you thanked the Lord lately for the friends God has brought into your life and for the friendship of His own dear Son?

Are you making sure you’re not walking this Christian life alone, but have brought others into it with you (Hebrews 10:24-25)?