A lot has happened in the course of living since I last posted. So where did I leave off?
My old, old story and the critique group that helped spur it forward.
Through ACFW I became a member of a smaller critique group. Through them my story was polished and trimmed. If they had trouble with a sentence structure or its wording, then the readers would, also. In time I got to know each of these ladies and the one man in the group. The man was also a pastor who lived not far from me.
I was introduced to the Blue Ridge Christian Writer's Conference. This conference, smaller than ACFW's, but just as popular is always held in two places, one being just outside Asheville, NC. I thought and thought about it. I prayed about it. I was extremely nervous.
Within weeks I was making the 9-hour trip to NC. This time with the hopes of learning more and finding an agent or an editor or maybe even a publisher.
When I arrived, after picking up a fellow author who has now become a dear friend, I felt overwhelmed. So much stuff and so many people. I was a little speck of humanity in a sea of people. After the first assembly we were able to sign up for interviews with agents, editors, and publishers. In the pamphlet I had circled a few names that I was wishing to meet.
What captured my attention was the photos of two men, father and son. Reminiscent of 18th century gentlemanly flair, I read more about their publishing company and like what I read. Thought I would give them a try.
I discovered that they were not there...yet. So I signed up for two others people. On to classes, on to dinner, on to bed, I went. The next day was breakfast and a class. Then lunch came. I had already lost track of my new friend and stood in line without knowing anyone. I turned and there behind me was the one publisher I really wanted to meet. And I did the one out of character thing, I said, "Hi. Glad y'all could finally make it!" to the CEO of Ambassador International.
And that started the relationship. I sat at his table. I talked to him about Ireland, his home country, about books and conferences, and about Mississippi. He asked about me. Then invited me to his table that evening.
I was shell-shocked and discovered that I had not even taken a bite of my lunch. Quickly scarfing down my food and returning to the classes, I looked forward to that evening. When it came, again we made small talk about Ireland, Mississippi, stories and such. He asked about my story and I told him. I wasn't finished yet, still had about three to four chapters to go, but I handed him a one-sheet.
He liked it. Invited me to send it to him when I finished. He introduced me to his son, the COO of the company.
I cannot tell you how elated I was. By the time I arrived home, I was determined to finish that story to the best of my ability. I succeeded, with the help of my critique group, and I sent in the manuscript. He praised me for a good to great job. Days later I received the contract to review.
In my hands I held a book contract for a story that began when I was 14. Now it is published, and I have a devotional about to be printed and a second story near completion.
God sets before each and every one of us a path. Sometimes it winds and twist, we may not see where we are going, we may even walk off that path at times, but if you stay true to your faith and follow Him, then He does some mighty wonderful things.