On Being Published: 5 Years Later

Published NYTimes best seller Log Cabin ChristmasI was first published five years ago and my life changed.

It didn’t make me wealthier, more popular or stunningly beautiful, though I am thinner (5.5 years in the gym), far more tired (far less sleep)and more harried than I was raising children.

I even drink coffee, which I eschewed for my entire previous life.

Other things changed about me–some good, some not so good. Here’s a list of 9 ways my life has changed in the years since first being published in September, 2011:

Wonder

I knew wonder before, I’ve given birth four times.

Those kids are living, breathing and conspicuous, but they don’t sit on shelves in bookstores and libraries where strangers can pick them up and read them.

(Thanks, God!)

But all sorts of people I’ll never meet read my words and know a little bit about my heart through my characters.

(I suppose that’s true of many of you)

Still, it’s a wonder and I never forget the awe of seeing my actual name on the cover of a book.

I’d dreamed of it since I was a kid. (Of course, I had a different name then . . . )

Pride

I’ve written before about my pride in regards to my work–and how disappointing it was my parents never knew my publishing successes.Innocence published

(You can read about the Bittersweet Humility of my Name on the Cover of a Published Book here).

I’ve also struggled to not brag, but frankly have used the fact A Log Cabin Christmas Collection made the New York Times bestseller‘s list in not always polite ways.

There was the time the DirecTV salesman insisted, “I’m sorry but without cable television, you’re uninformed. What could you be better doing with your time?”

I laughed, “well, I did write a New York Times bestseller.”

(Okay, #34 on the October 11, 2011 extended list, but there it was).

“Oh,” he sputtered. “Well, maybe you have done something worthwhile.”

This Website and Blog

novella publishedWhile it’s like having another child, writing a blog post twice a week  is also satisfying and fun.

(Just like children)

I began the website because six years ago would-be writers were told we needed a blog.

I’d been writing for Books & Such‘s blog already and was a trained reporter, so writing blog posts isn’t difficult.

I enjoy it and would be writing the blog even if I didn’t have books to market.

(You can probably tell since I don’t stick exclusively to my topic. Oswald and Biddy, however, will be with us weekly soon).

Non-Writing Related Workpublished

I love my blog, I’m happy on Facebook, don’t mind Twitter (especially since I don’t have cable), find Pinterest amusing (WWI, folks, that’s why the majority of my followers are men!) and am delighted to chat with strangers about books.

But it takes a lot of time.

I’d far rather be doing research!

But I love you!  🙂

Editorial Experience

publishedBarbour Publishing House took a chance on an unknown writer when they gave me a contract for The Dogtrot Christmas.

I’m forever grateful for Becky Germany offering me five more contracts in the years to come-something I did not expect in September 2010.

Thank you, Becky and Laura Young.

Through them I was assigned an editor, Jamie Chavez, who has become a great friend as we’ve worked through all six of those books.

I’ve relished every editorial letter from Jamie as we’ve batted through word counts, historical anomalies, suggestions and laughed through every round of track changes.

I’ve learned so much about the publishing process from Jamie and the Barbour folks; skills I can never repay except by continuing to write the best I can.

Gratitude

I’m thankful for my editorial partners (31 of them across five collections!) and my agenting partners–Janet Grant, Rachel Kent, Mary Keeley, Wendy Lawton and Rachelle Gardner.

I’m continuously blessed by many, many writer friends, especially those who read my work like fellow-Log Cabin writer Liz Johnson, and a host of others who’ve encouraged and cheered me on.

I’m awed at the readers who interact–by email, on this blog, on Facebook, by writing Amazon reviews (please! That’s what keeps publishers publishing us) and buying the books to which I’ve contributed.

Thank you isn’t enough.published

And for my family and friends, the pals at Wandering Views, and other innocent strangers who ask, “so, what do you do?”

(Um, I don’t watch cable TV . . . so I’ll have to talk about books . . . )

Research and Travel

I love having an excuse to research and travel.

As my long-suffering patron of the arts can attest, research and travel were my passions before I started writing books.

Now, I can write off these opportunities as taxable business expenses.

A weekend at the Hotel del Coronado with a massage as well?

(See Bridging Two Hearts.)

Everyone’s happy at my house!

Seeing God’s Hands at Work

my-books-on-cabinetOkay, I’m just writing novellas and now a biography, but time and again I’ve been given cause to praise God for his ways in my life.

The extraordinary research serendipities have thrilled me and the people who’ve heard the stories.

(Got a favorite one from my blog? Which?)

Being handed a letter I wrote Madeleine L’Engle as a prospective bride, getting an email from a stranger in Australia who provided Oswald Chambers information we’d not had before, walking into the shop of a man whose paintings I’d just viewed on line 2500 innocent miles away?

I’ll be writing about the extraordinary events that came while writing Mrs. Oswald Chambers in the new year.

Fascinating and cause, time and again, to give thanks to the God who has led me in such patient, tiny  and surprising ways for so long.

Love

I love being a writer.

No matter how many times I’m ever published, this has been a joy and I’m so very grateful for the opportunity of seeing my stories in print.

Thanks for reading my words.

For more information about my books, click on the link above, or here.

Tweetables

Thoughts on being published for 5 years. Click to Tweet

Serendipity, joy, pride and 5 years of publishing books. Click to Tweet

Gratitude, Joy, Research, Travel, Work, Pride: 5 results of being published. Click to Tweet

 

 

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