Wednesday, July 26, 2006
(Photo is of my daughter on a zip-line - pure joy!)
As an avid reader all my life, I often fantasized about the lives of the brilliant people who created the stories I enjoyed so much. Crowded study, a cozy wing chair, pipe smoke and a leather-patched jacket? Perhaps ambling through a Scottish moor, hair whipped by the wind, jotting notes as inspiration swirled? Sitting at a local coffee-shop, disheveled and bleary from a long night of creating epic work, carrying on erudite conversations with fellow authors?
So when I got my first contract, I looked around at my life and scratched my head.
It was so . . . well, normal.
And on top of that, some new pressures arrived. Critics and sales numbers, appearances and interviews. Self-doubt that climbs higher with each paragraph I write.
But there ARE writer joys. For those of you sharpening a new pencil each day to scribble your tales: it IS worth the effort.
The most humbling and joyous surprise is receiving letters from readers.
"WOW! I could swear you have been eavesdroping in my home...Thank you so much for writing this book. I've been able to share things from the book with my husband and discuss my feelings and inaequacies as a wife and stay-at-home mom."
"It was incredible. Life changing for me...I had to know what happened to the lovely family you created, but especially Becky."
"I'm reluctant to finish it. It will be like losing a good friend. I find me in so many areas of Becky Miller's life."
"I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the book . . . it has so ministered to me...words/feelings that I didn't know how to verbalize."
To me this reflects God's amazing ability to take simple things (like my goofy little stories) and transform them into blessings. And to watch that happen fills me with awe and gratitude. I still don't have a wing chair and a leather-patched jacket. Brilliant words don't drip from my fingers as I type. I chew my nails when waiting to hear what my editor thinks of my rewrites. I obsess about where I fit among genres and styles in the publishing world. I recognize my insignificance in the face of the "real" writers - the best sellers, the award-winners, those with a hundred books to their credit.
But I also feel joy that my work today includes playing in the sandbox of words, and that at least a few people have found my first book, read it, and enjoyed it.
If you've read a book lately that blessed you, take a moment and let the author know. That writer might need a little bit of joy today. :-)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Last week we returned from family vacation. To me a perfect vacation happens when I'm struck to my marrow with the beauty and variety of God's creation. The canyons, waterfalls, and animals of Yellowstone National Park did that for me.
I was especially delighted to get up close and personal with some elk, because in my fantasy series, THE RESTORER (due out in May, 2007, from NavPress) Susan (the hapless heroine) gets to ride a lehkan - which is an elk-type animal used in battles.
Which brings me back to the site that is being featured by friends of Christian sci-fi and fantasy work this week.
Christian Fandom is a site that celebrates all sorts of genre fiction. Give them a visit this week. If you click on the link to interviews, you can read great insights from my agent (Steve Laube) my editor (writing as Jefferson Scott) and some of my favorite writers and friends, (Karen Hancock, Randy Ingermanson, Donita K. Paul, and others).
If you visit my blog post from yesterday, please post one (or a few) of your favorite speculative fiction titles! I've posted a few of mine.
Because God is so awesome and multi-faceted, it's no wonder that we need a variety of art forms and a variety of styles of literature to communicate about Him!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
The photo is of my two teens climbing on the rocks outside a small town in Wyoming. The picture evokes high adventure for me--stories about struggles and overcoming and facing the unexpected. Stories about God's beauty reaching down to touch us.
For the next few days, (July 24-26, 2006) several bloggers (including me!) who love Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction (and every variation and combination of speculative fiction) will be featuring a terrific website that showcases and reviews works by some of my favorite authors.
You can visit all the bloggers involved to read their take, but most of all, be sure to visit Christian Fandom
It's an amazing and comprehensive site!
After you visit, let me know your favorite "speculative fiction" books.
Here are the other bloggers participating:
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Monday, July 17, 2006
My friend Patti Hill and I dressed as our novel characters on our first day of the conference. Here we are with author Kim Sawyer (the cover poster of her great Bethany novel is hanging behind us).
I'll admit I was nervous while I packed for the International Christian Retail Show in Denver. Friends who have attended this major annual event for Christian booksellers warned me that the atmosphere of commercialism and celebrity worship would leave me feeling troubled, and the huge numbers of "more successful" authors would make me depressed at my insignificance.
Instead, I felt incredibly loved. I felt loved by God, that He has allowed me to be a tiny part of this world of people who love Him and love the written word and the power of story. I felt loved by my editors and publisher during yummy meals and relaxed chats. I felt loved by my author friends who were genuinely delighted for me to experience my first I.C.R.S. book signing.
Yes, I was a very insignificant baby author in a huge sea of more experienced writers who hustled around to important meetings. Sometimes I had nothing better to do than stroll around with a goofy grin. But God led me toward some wonderful encounters. Getting to finally visit face-to-face with my friend and mentor, Karen Hancock. Praying with Esther, another new author. Hearing a story of a marvelous healing from an elderly couple who own a small independent bookstore. Chatting with folks from Taiwan, Nigeria, and Australia and all corners of the U.S. Cheering and waving to author friends as lines formed for their book signings.
I'm prone to feeling overwhelmed and melancholy. It's a huge blessing that none of that hit me on this trip. Perhaps it was the prayers supporting me, or the generous friendship of Patti and her husband who helped me get from point A to point B, or the incredible kindness of the Bethany staff . . . but I found the entire experience to be a joy.
As icing on the cake, my family drove down to meet me in Denver after ICRS, and we headed up to Yellowstone. If any bits of self-importance or competition were clinging to my spirit, seeing the massive canyons, waterfalls, and geysers cured me. I'll be posting some of those photos in the days to come.