Monday, April 24, 2006
Today I got a call from my dear editor. "Sharon, I'm holding your book in my hands. Do you want to come over and get a copy?"
I raced the few miles over to Bethany House, hoping any police who might catch me speeding would understand that I was giving birth . . . to my first novel.
And there it was at the reception desk, waiting for me. Shiny, beautiful, REAL.
I fingered the raised letters, touched the glossy cover with awe, breathed in the sent of paper and ink . . .
And felt deep gratitude. It was only a few years ago that I was asking God WHY He had called me to write and IF anyone would ever read my stories besides a handful of family and friends. I would wander the book aisles in Target, Barnes and Noble, and our local Christian bookstore, and get weepy because of the longing God had planted in my heart--not a longing I had stirred up on my own . . . but one HE kindled--to one day see my book on those shelves.
Each step has been a miracle of God's patience, guidance, and provision. God says that He remembers we are dust. Well, I've felt very "dusty" during the past few years. I won't bore you with the details of just how frail, weary, and wobbly I often feel--or the weaknesses of mind and body and circumstance that have made this journey extra challenging. But I have to acknowledge them because it shows what a remarkable God we serve. The God who multiplies fishes and loaves, who celebrates a widow's mite, who uses spit and mud to bring sight can bring good things where they are not deserved and don't even seem possible.
Thank you, Lord, for loving us and designing myriad artistic ways to express that love. Thank you for the written word and for the gift of stories. Thank you that you planted a tale in my mind and helped me wrestle the sentences into order. I pray that my little story will give you pleasure and bring encouragement to others. Amen.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
...In a Martha World.
While I was at Mount Hermon Writer's Conference, I had the joy of meeting Joanna Weaver, author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.
My women's small group had just begun using this book for our weekly Bible study, and I recommend it to EVERYONE. In many ways, it shares the themes of The Secret Life of Becky Miller, but from a non-fiction direction.
I feel especially blessed to be studying Joanna's book at this time in my life. As I prepare for my first book to launch, and have three others in the pipeline, I've never been more tempted to be a "Martha" and become "worried and upset by many things." Anxiety threatens to steal my joy. Fear tempts me to doubt God's sufficiency.
As I prayed about how overwhelmed I'm feeling, I realized I'm like a child receiving a big, shiny, new bicycle. It's everything I've ever longed for. I'm thrilled. But it's bigger than I realized and doesn't have training wheels. How comforting that I can ask my Father to hold the bike for me as He teaches me how to ride.
Whatever new challenges you face this week, I pray you feel the secure hands of our God holding your handlebars and guiding you, and that you enjoy the excitement of wind in your face.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Today I had the giddy pleasure of getting a tour of Bethany Press and WATCHING while my book's cover was printed. My Book Buddies will get the photo-tour (I took lots of pictures) so if you are interested, be sure to sign up to be a Book Buddy
But here are a few pictures. I'm standing by the place were 32-page bundles are assembled and glued to a cover. The second photo is of the cover proofsheet, with the various layers showing which part will be glossy and which will be matte, and which parts will be embossed. The final photo is one of a printer guy studying the colors on the test printing and the proof sheet for my cover. They were so kind to me, and gave me several test sheets to bring home. I told them all that they are doing a wonderful thing by creating books. I feel like I was in Santa's workshop for a day, or Keebler's cookie-tree. Clearly it's a place where magic happens. :-)
Writing a novel was fun. Having a publishing house decide to publish it was fun. But the realization that people would soon be reading my book hit me like a John McEnroe serve between the eyes.
So I'm HUGELY relieved and very grateful to have passed the milestone of my first review.
I've had authors who are also friends write kind things about my book, but this is someone I've never met who recieved my Advanced Reader Copy that goes out to reviewers. So I'm counting this as my first OFFICIAL review. :-)
You can read the post at
I don't want to give away too much,
but here's a clue.
I'm Snoopy-dancing around my office.
The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House Publishing, 2006)
Sunday, April 02, 2006
There are times I feel a hunger deep in my gut. Not for pizza or a salad, but for better words. For the ability to string those words together with more power.
This week my daughter and I saw something on the ice-covered pond behind our house. We live in the city, but are blessed to back up against some wetlands, so we often enjoy spotting critters. Bunnies galore, muskrats, Canadian geese, mallards, turtles, an occasional heron that takes my breath away, and snowy egrets. They all inspire me as a writer - to invent metaphors for their beauty, or their unique ways of moving, or their noisiness.
But this time we saw a Bald Eagle tearing up his dinner out on the ice.
In Alaska I once saw a dozen Bald Eagles circling overhead. But this was my own, fairly urban backyard!
My chest ached with the knowledge that my use of words wasn't skilled enough to describe the experience.
I'm humbled to realize how far I still have to go in my writing skills. I often flounder to string together sentences that are adequate to share an insight, a moment, a tiny truth or experience. I'm also excited, because I know that for the rest of my life, I'll have fun trying.
--Sharon's debut novel, The Secret Life of Becky Miller, is available to order now, and will hit stores the end of May.