Warning. This is going to be rather long.
But hey, it’s my blog. And I’ve waited a long time for this.
So … about 20 years ago, I decided to get serious about becoming a published author. At the time, it was quite a dream. I had so much to learn, so much to absorb, and honestly, I didn’t know where to start. The point is, I started. I started to chase that dream and I didn’t stop. And I don’t think I ever will. Because I know now, this is what I was born to do. Write. Tell stories that matter. Make a difference.
My first book released in 2011, my second in 2012, (2 re-releases of those books in 2014) and my third in 2015. I’ve experienced working with a small publisher, and more recently, publishing independently. But, from the beginning, my dream, the one I got serious about all those years ago, has always been to partner with a major publisher who believed in what I had to say.
Today, I’m beyond thrilled to be able to say that dream has come true.
I’ve signed a contract with Harper Collins Christian Publishing! I can’t really describe how this feels, except to say surreal and more than a little amazing. And I can’t thank them enough for making this author’s dream a reality. And now the fun really begins …
A while ago, a friend asked me why it mattered so much, this dream. Doors had closed once again, and I’m sure I was moaning about how hard this business is, and probably threw in a few thoughts about giving up. But the question threw me. Why did it matter so much? I put some words down and pushed them around awhile. And then I realized why. Why it all mattered so very much.
Because I want it.
And sometimes it’s just that simple. I knew the world wouldn’t end if I never got that elusive contract. I knew I’d still continue to write, and somehow soldier on and I would survive it, the disappointment, the feeling of failure. But all the ups and downs and craziness of being in this business … I don’t know. Somehow, last year, it really got to me. And I almost gave up. I almost walked away, and convinced myself it didn’t matter. And then I answered that darn question. Why does it matter?
And I knew it wasn’t about the contracts, the publishing house or even the wonderful gift of being able to reach readers with the words God gives me. It was about validation. For me and this dream I had. Plain and simple.
This moment, right now? Where I’m sitting here in a haze, still not quite willing to believe it? This is years of being picked last for the team. Years of whispered comments behind hands and unkind laughter. Years of wanting to fit in, and knowing I didn’t. And finally convincing myself it was all okay. But it wasn’t. To my young self, at that time in my life, those snubs impacted me in ways I would not realize until my later years.
It’s my biggest trigger, and I’ve had lots of experience with it. A. Lot. Figured I’d choose to be in a business where it happens all the time. All. The. Time. And it’s not personal. Really. Took me a long time to figure that one out. But maybe that’s all part of this crazy process of figuring out who I am.
I am not a loser. I matter.
I learned that lesson the hard way, and I still need the reminder on a daily basis, but eventually it’ll stick. And eventually I found my tribe. My 2AM friends who’d walk over hot coals for me and know I’d do the same for them. Those people who listened to the dream and didn’t tell me it was stupid. The ones who believed in me. For me. So this victory, this celebration, I know they’re in it. They’re hooting and hollering just as loud as I am. There’s a congo line a mile long out there. But really, this is about proving something to myself. Because it’s the one thing I’ve wanted, the one thing I’ve worked so hard for, the one thing that hooked me hard and wouldn’t let me go, even when I ripped it apart and threw it away, again and again.
This dream come true says I did it. I didn’t give up.
And I know some of you are shrugging and thinking well, how nice for you. And that’s okay. I know. I feel it. And I’m sorry. It’s a bitter pill. I’ve been there more times than you’ll know. It’s hard to smile and say congratulations when it’s your dream too, and your victory still seems so far away. Don’t give up. Don’t let it go. The harder it gets, the sweeter the reward will be at the end.
So … I have to these people to thank, these people who helped make this happen.
First of all, my amazing family.
My husband, Stephen – my greatest hero – it’s hard to put into words here how I feel. Without your love and rock solid support, I’d be completely lost.I’d go on another paragraph, but I know you’re tired of reading already.
My Dad and stepmom, your support is invaluable to me. My daughter, Sarah, and her husband Randy, my son Chris and his girlfriend Deni … wow. You guys are more than I deserve. Somehow you put up with me through all this, and still believed that one day would come. I’m still in awe that God has blessed me with such wonderful people to call my own.
My friend and agent, Rachelle Gardner – oh, my word. You want this woman in your corner.
From the moment she took me on as a client, which was more than a few years ago, she never gave up. Even when all doors seemed closed, she refused to throw in the towel. I can’t tell you how much that kind of faith in me and my writing has meant over the years. Rachelle, your guidance, advice, wisdom and the occasional reality check (okay, there were many), have pulled me through a lot of dark spots in this journey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship and faith that this would happen. You and the Books & Such team mean so much to me, and all the Bookies.
They say it takes a village. And it does.
I have so many friends I need to acknowledge in this space that I’m afraid of leaving someone out! But if you’re not mentioned by name, I hope you know who you are anyway. People who saw something from the start, helped me hone my writing and told me time and again not to give up – writer friends and mentors like Deborah Raney, Susan May Warren, Jenness Walker, Becky Yauger, Betsy St.Amant, and countless other ACFW friends. The gang at YWG, your support and encouragement, laughter love and prayers were much needed and always appreciated. My Spice Girls – general hilarity is good for the soul, and you know that well – you are true women of faith and you live that out every day.
I’m beyond blessed to call you all friends.
Beth Vogt – what can I say? A random encounter outside an elevator at a conference made a friend for life – who would have thunk it? God ordained this friendship from the beginning, and I couldn’t have made it through without you. Truly. You are the best.
Breathe, breathe, breathe …
Jennifer Major, my Canadian soul sister – you deserve a medal for putting up with me. But I’m so glad you do. Thanks for listening, talking, laughing and crying with me, and being on the other end, always. Your day is coming, my friend. Believe it.
My sister, Pam. I’m still rejoicing that I can say that. My sister. You’ve been there for me from the moment we first met, and I have no doubt you were with me in spirit long before that. God has truly blessed me by giving you to me. I’m so glad we get to do life together.
My best friend in the world, Lee Anne. What haven’t we been through? Since we were in first grade together … we’ve grown up, grown apart, and gotten back together. You’re my rock, my anchor and the end of the rope when mine runs out. You’re my sister in spirit and I wouldn’t be here without your continual cheerleading. You are my ace girl. Don’t ever leave.
And of course, none of this would be possible without God’s orchestration. My awesome Father and Savior, my comfort and strength. He goes before me, every step of the way. He is with me, when I fall, when I succeed, when I have no idea which end is up … He keeps on loving, is always faithful and always provides, far beyond my meager expectations.
And so … sometimes dreams come true.