Saturday, October 25, 2008

Finishing Up Production

We have the final full cover for Wind of the Spirit! Isn’t it pretty? This book is going to look as good on the back as it does on the front. LOL! Dineen did a smash-up job, and needless to say, I’m completely delighted with the result. And now I’m hoping I’ll be able to release the first 2 in revised editions before too much longer—with new covers consistent with this one, of course. That will be a huge improvement.

More excitement—Jim Brown, my illustrator, finished the 2 maps that will be included in the book. As you can see, we have one showing the Battle of Brooklyn and another of the city of New York in 1776. On the latter I had him include Montcoeur, the home Elizabeth and Tess are leasing along the bank of the Hudson, which allows Pete and Elizabeth to leave the city unnoticed for their clandestine activities. What do you think?

I’ve been deep in the throes of production this week. I received the edited copy and spent several days entering the corrections into the master file. Thankfully there was nothing major, which is especially reassuring, considering that my editor friend is as anal as I am. She did a careful copyedit, questioned a few details, and made several good saves, for which I am eternally grateful. I soooo believe in having your work professionally edited, even if you’re an editor yourself. There’s always stuff you’re going to miss. So whew! I feel much better!

The manuscript is almost complete now. I created all the frontmatter pages—the endorsements, title and half title pages, imprimatur, previous books page, and pages to insert the maps. I also decided to add a page with brief summaries of Daughter of Liberty and Native Son to help bring readers who haven’t read the first 2 up to speed before they dive into the current action. Although I included enough backstory in the first few chapters to allow WOTS to stand alone, I thought this might help even more.

I still need to write the discussion guide and the acknowledgments. I can flow those into the Quark file after I get it, however, so I’m putting that off for now because I NEED to copyedit my next project for Sheaf House. So the Word file has gone to Marisa Jackson, who will design the interior and create the Quark file.

Earlier in the week, it occurred to me—duh!—that I’ve been lurking on the 18th Century Woman and RevWarCostume e-loops for a couple of years, metaphorically rubbing elbows with all those reenactors, docents, and costume experts. Who would be more natural to read WOTS and let me know if there are any costuming or cultural details that are wrong? And who might also spread the word about the American Patriot Series to their compatriots if they like it?

So I e-mailed both loops, offering to send free copies of Daughter of Liberty and Native Son, along with the manuscript of WOTS to anyone who would be willing to read them and give me feedback. I’m up to 11 takers now, 2 of whom had already read DOL and NS and couldn’t wait to read WOTS! I’ve been busy sending out packages, and I’m really excited! At the very least I’ll get help to make this series as accurate as possible. At best, I just might get an endorsement or two out of the deal, along with recommendations to an audience I’m very eager to reach.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award!

This blog just received an I Love Your Blog Award from Rita Gerlach at Inspire! Thank you, Rita! The feeling is mutual.

The rules for this award are as follows:

1. Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

I love Rita’s Inspire blog and also her Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers. Additional favorites of mine include, but are not limited to, the following. Those that weren’t already in my Favorite Blogs list have been added, and I’ll leave comments on their blogs asap. There are numerous others I could add, but I’d be spending all day at this . . . !

Peg Phifer’s Sips ’n’ Cups Café
Mirella Patzer’s Author Cookies
Jill Johnson’s Making Room for Mallory
Joy DeKok’s Rain Dance Blog

Thank you to each one for all the good reading you’re providing for us readers!

But enough joviality! LOL! Time to get back to business. In the next post, I’ll bring you all up to date on where we are in the production process for Wind of the Spirit as we head toward that March pub date.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Win a Free Autographed Copy of One Holy Night!

Be sure to visit Tracy Ruckman’s Pix ’n Pens blog next week, October 13-17. I’ll be judging her contest on holiday essays.

Enter an essay of up to 1,500 words with a Christmas theme, and you may win an autographed copy of One Holy Night! Go to the One Holy Night Blog to find out more about this inspiring story of God's grace for all seasons!

You can share your favorite holiday memory or offer a reflection on what Christmas means to you. Of course, your essay needs to revolve around the real meaning of the season—Jesus! I’ll read all the essays submitted and announce the winner Saturday the 18th. So get those entries ready!

Tracy is also signed up for the CFBA blog tour for OHN November 12-14, so we’d both love it if you’d swing by then too!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Taste of New Wine

Ever since finishing the bestselling novel The Shack the other day, I’ve been reflecting on the themes author William P. Young wove through this book. I read that Young isn’t a member of a church, and it occurred to me that more and more often I encounter believers who also have left the organized church. Young says that those who are wounded and damaged cannot find healing there. And in one way or another, all of us fall into that category.

I’ve been a long-time church attender, but in recent years I’ve come to believe that the traditional church—and by that I don’t mean the Body of Christ—is a spent husk. In the centuries since God founded it, the church has wandered far from God’s original purpose. It has added layer upon layer of administrative, organizational, and judicial encrustations, just like all the legalisms the Pharisees of Jesus’ day added to Moses’ Law.

That’s why The Shack, with its unconventional depiction of God and intense discussions of true spirituality, has reached so many people both inside and outside the church. This amazing novel holds more truth than the majority of sermons on a host of Sunday mornings. It offers new wine in fresh wineskins in the same way I’m trying to do through my stories, through One Holy Night, my American Patriot Series, and in my current work-in-progress, Northkill.

No—I’m not trying to do this. God is driving me to do it just as he’s driving increasing numbers of hungry believers away from what is essentially empty calories so they can feast on true food. That’s why my husband and I also find ourselves pretty much on the outside of the established church. Only authentic spirituality with its total openness to God’s presence results in spiritual power that changes people from the inside out. Only a deep, loving relationship with the Father enables us to love in the same way God does and through that love to bring real heart change to a lost and hurting world.

Organizations are not able to do this. Organizations are by their nature impersonal and inescapably defective because they’re a creation of defective, limited human beings. Organizations cannot reach to the level of the human soul. Only God truly knows each individual’s heart and thus is able to minister true healing. But this is exactly where we humans always go astray. We insist on trying to organize the work of the Holy Spirit of God! We’re deaf to Jesus’ exhortation that the Spirit is like the wind. It moves as God wills and no one can tell where it goes or where it comes from! You can as easily control the wind as you can the true Body of Christ. To attempt to force the Spirit into the channels we think it should follow robs the Church of God’s power and inevitably wreaks destruction by separating human beings from the true Source of all meaning.

Jesus also told us that those who worship the Father must do so in spirit and in truth. Spirit and truth are rarely found in the church today, at least here in the United States. What we find are a multitude of empty activities to keep us busy, along with entertainment to distract us from what’s missing—God’s Spirit and God’s power! Only a relationship with the Creator of the universe can make available to us true love and healing and eternity. Imagine having access to the power Elijah received in 1 Kings 19:8! He ate and drank of the spiritual food given him by the angel, and he ran in its strength for forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God. That same spiritual food is available to all those who serve God!

As I’m writing the stories—truly the vision—that God gives me, I feel that power, that anointing, that breath of the Holy Spirit blowing through me. I pray that these words will reach many readers and accomplish in their hearts and souls everything God wills. They are for his glory, not mine.

As my character Terry says in One Holy Night, “faith isn’t for the times when life is great and everything is going our way. It’s for the times when we’re up against the wall and there aren’t any answers, when it feels like God’s gone AWOL and is nowhere to be found—or at least he isn’t talking to us.”

Have you felt like that recently, my friend? If so, I wish for you that faith that will hold you through the worst life can throw at you and empower you to stand on unshaken rock. If you do not yet know God, or don’t know him in that fullness, I pray you will stop running from the Holy Spirit and allow him to gather you in his arms. Oh, come home to the wholeness and the blessed life God prepared you for from the very foundations of the earth! Drink deep of that Living Water and be healed!

Cross posted on the Northkill and One Holy Night blogs.