It's hard to tell fall is just around the corner with this WARM weather. I'm not complaining. I love the warmth. That said, I can't wait to celebrate Fall Fest with all of you in Hayward! As the leaves begin to change up north, I will have the great honor and privilege of selling books alongside authors Darren Kirby, David Tindell, and others who have been an incredibly welcoming crew of experienced friends in this field. Seeing their work challenges me to grow as an author.
Speaking of growing, I have welcomed some new insight from a unique perspective about Foothold. It was very hard to hear and even more difficult to heed, but after much prayer and consideration, I have accepted two things.
1. It is a powerful story with great potential.
2. Now, is not the time to publish it.
As I explained the situation to my friend, Bobbi Graffunder, she said, "Most authors eventually have some work that remains unpublished for a time or forever."
Psalm 119:116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.
I was experiencing something I can only call grief for nearly a week as I put it to rest. The Holy Spirit has given me direction day after day to start with the word and trust the process.
A note to each of you who contributed to Foothold: Thank you for your time, talent, and encouragement. You have taught me things that are growing me as an author. I am forever grateful. I do not know what God's ultimate plan is for that work, but I trust him and appreciate your grace.
Today, I can honestly say, I am beyond excited about an entirely new project with a similar purpose. I can't wait to tell you all about it as God leads me through the story He is about to unfold.
Lord willing, the next title in the Growing Garden Series, Penny Plum, will be available this month. I will share a link in the October newsletter. Feel free to get in touch if you want to preorder a signed and discounted copy directly from me.
Special thanks to my new friends at Options for Women in Menomonie for letting me join the Family Fun Fest. I wish I'd had more time to promote with you, but it was a lovely event and a blessing to get to meet some of your team!
Book 3 in the Growing Garden Series: Warren Watermelon Points to Peace is available on Amazon or from me! I have essentially finished the initial writing portion of the rest of this children's series on the fruit of the Spirit. The good Lord had taken the lead, and the upcoming books have a much more powerful potential for ministry, hope, healing, and spiritual growth than I could have imagined. I am deeply grateful for the way God has guided me through this stage. This particular title will walk children through an example of how to acknowledge and face their fears through prayer.
Thanks to some incredible, diligent friends, we have a new draft in the next stage of...
Foothold - The Generational Battle of Addiction
The order of events has been adjusted to focus on, and appeal more directly to, an audience of parents raising teenagers in the 21st Century. The subtitle above is a work-in-progress as well as the synopsis below. I'm including a first draft for your input.
A mother of four, Darby naively anticipates a season of sunshine after her firstborn goes off to live happily ever after. Sudden losses in Darby’s life send her deep into a dark pit of grief. Just as she begins to emerge, Darby is caught up in the tornado of parenting drug-addicted teens. Her past has the power to drag her down in shame or build her up in strength. In this innovative novel, generations of potential chain breakers walk through decisions that give subtle advantages to two masters. One is the *"thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy." The other is Jesus who said, *“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” *John 10:10
For those who follow my blog, I have decided, in this stage of life, not to blog on the first Wednesday of the month because I put out the Newsletter around that time, but don't worry, I'll be back at it the following week. Thank you for walking this journey with me. You bless my whole heart.
Thank you. The fact that you take time to read my newsletter means more than I could ever explain. I'd love to know what you're learning these days. Tell me about it. I'm learning to value input from the people who truly seek to help me do the best work I can do. You are some of those people!
First update; a huge shout-out and thanks to Bobbi Graffunder for encouraging me to try fiction, and for her guidance in this process! My latest project, a fiction novel entitled Foothold, is in the editing stage. This means some (of you) incredible people are reading the first draft, giving me input, and helping me prepare it for publication. I hope to have it out late this fall, but I can't make any promises because I have SO MUCH to learn about writing fiction!
Speaking of trying new things... I have also decided to... wait for it...
Go back to school! I have been accepted to UWGB for Psychology starting this fall. Practicing Marriage and Family Therapy has been a lifelong dream for me. This is a very tangible step in that process. I hear it is a LONG road to MFT licensure. If life and God allow, I'll stick with it, and maybe even be able to practice by my 50th birthday! I believe with all my heart that school is a step in deepening, improving, and expanding my writing journey. Writing may look a little different for a while, but it is my first love in ministry and I have no plans of giving it up.
Book 3 in the Growing Garden Series: Warren Watermelon Points to Peace is in proof stage! This means it should be out by the time my next newsletter comes to you. I will share a link at that time. There's a sneak peek of the cover to the right.
Again, may God bless you today and always. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your time. It is precious and so are you.
Around the first Friday of each month, I will share a few notes about my writing journey.
You can enter your email on the contact page to have it sent straight to your inbox!
Book 2 in the Growing Garden Series: Oliver Orange is now available on Amazon!
I'm a little behind in getting this newsletter out (partly) because I have begun preparations for the area-wide ecumenical Vacation Bible School that starts June 19th at the Cornell Elementary building! Please pray for a fruitful ministry with the children, families, volunteers, school staff, and communities that will be impacted by VBS.
I'd love your feedback on any collaboration between my writing journey and the VBS adventure. Currently, I am keeping them separate, but I'm open to any ideas on merging these ministries. I am over-the-moon about both of them and deeply invested in their success.
I continue to pray for you, and ask that you please reach out if you have specific prayers I can add to my list. Your support and encouragement keep me going when life gets wild, as it often does.
Special thanks to Joe Rady for the donation of fruit snacks to New Hope. As you can see, the leaders and children clearly enjoyed them. :-)
Also, huge shout out to all who volunteered, donated, and shopped at our annual brat wagon fund-raiser for VBS. It was a huge and fruitful success in more ways than one!
The Growing Garden Series isn't the only thing growing around here! The trials of life seem to provide the greatest opportunities for spiritual growth. My dear mother-in-law had a kitchen fire last month and needed a place to stay. She has been living with us since the beginning of April. Though we have had our challenges, we're learning how to share space until she can have her home back. In the meantime, we were able to work side by side on the next book in our new children's series. Our work relationship is growing. Abby Apple came out just one day early on April 14th! Oliver Orange is in review and should be available on Amazon by next week! Right now, Oliver's link takes you to a sneak peek inside from my webpage, but I will share the Amazon link as soon as he's published.
In other news, I am over the moon to be specifically promoting The Power of Discovering Your Husband is a Genius and all of my other books at Dylan's Dairy in just over a week on Saturday, May 13th from 1PM - 3PM. Please feel free to invite family and friends of all ages. You can click "going" on their Facebook page if you're able to join us.
What to Expect
Prize drawing for adults and children
Excerpts from several titles
Q&A with the author
I was very excited to announce the release of Abby Apple the first book in our Growing Garden Series today, but after reviewing the proof and finding some printing errors, I have to wait! The helpful team at KDP have assured me things will be resolved quickly and we might even meet our April 15th publishing goal, but real life doesn’t always go the way we had hoped.
On that note, I was given a green light to share and promote The Power of Discovering Your Husband is a Genius at local event featuring the Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, but it may be cancelled due to lack of enrollment. It's an incredible class. Kev and I learned it via video series years ago (I wish we could have gone in person - so cool they're offering that right in Cornell) but if it cancels I'm sure another opportunity will come along. I’m trusting because God has a plan.
I will have a reading and book signing at Dylan's Dairy in Cornell, WI on May 13th from 1-3 p.m.
If you'd like author-signed copies of any of my books (at a discount from Amazon prices) please let me know. I keep some copies on hand. I can usually find time to meet, and I love to talk with brothers and sisters in Christ.
As always, thank you, dear reader, from the bottom of my heart, for your support and encouragement. It means more than you will ever know. This real-life writing journey I’m on is full of ups and downs. I’m thanking God for whatever he has planned in all of it.
Set Back or Set Up
I had an amazing privilege of walking through the publishing process with my younger brother! His book just came out and it is fantastic. It's available on Amazon and featured at the right. You can click to purchase! I am very proud of Joe. He is a talented writer and a wonderful brother. This has been a dream of his, and I feel so honored he welcomed me to play a tiny part in seeing it come to fruition.
Your book is a work of art!
A local event featuring the Art of Marriage ministry allowed me to promote The Power of Discovering Your Husband is a Genius last month! I realize sales are the goal of promotion, but connection is what sticks with me. I sold some books and I pray they bless the readers! Even more importantly, I was able to make some meaningful connections with some of the ladies in attendance. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity!
My next adult project will address substance use and the negative impact it can have on any family. I have been working with the local school and recently received a mini grant from Thrivent to provide prizes for a very important event put on by Chippewa County's Take a Stand Against Meth initiative addressing the topic.
Town Hall Meeting
I am excited to begin preparing for a reading and book signing on the beautiful patio (weather permitting) at Dylan's Dairy in Cornell, WI May 13th from 1-3 p.m.
February 17th, my husband had a very serious incident at work. We spent a tenuous five days at the hospital in Marshfield while relying copiously on the hard work, support, love, and prayers of family and friends to keep things rolling at home. I suppose we have every right to look at that time as a set back, but my husband is an incredible man. I believe he has taken this time to evaluate his work, his priorities, and his life. He has inspired me to do the same.
When we offer all the pain, all the fear, all the trials, and all the set backs of life to God, I believe, he uses them to set us up for what is now, what is next, and what is eternal.
As always, thank you, dear reader, from the bottom of my heart, for your support and encouragement. It means more than you will ever know.
One Thing Leads to Another
During the Author Open House event last December, at the Bloomer Public Library, I met the amazing author of Hidden Places, Bobbi L Graffunder and made a meaningful connection. I have been working on a novel about teen substance use and Bobbi encouraged me to hone my fiction skills through collaboration by inviting me to a small focus-group based on her book. I am very excited to learn from Bobbi and grateful for her willingness to help. Her book is not only engaging and powerful to read, but the potential impact of her work is immeasurable on the very important topic of unplanned pregnancy.
In marketing my work, I have reached out to Focus on the Family, Saddleback Church, Sparking Hope, New Hope, and several other local women's ministries to promote The Power of Discovering Your Husband is a Genius with some encouraging leads. Please pray for God's wisdom, provision and grace as I learn the marketing aspect of this work.
I am very excited about the Growing Garden Series for children on the fruit of the spirit. The illustrator and I are hoping to have the first one available for purchase by April 15th!
Additionally, on the subject of teen substance use, I have become involved in advocacy and hope to help our local district participate in vape-free school through partnerships with Prevea, Thrivent, and the school itself. Three educational sessions have been held in the Middle School at Cornell and more advocacy is in the works for next month.
Thank you, dear reader, from the bottom of my heart, for your support and encouragement. It means more than you will ever know.
All of my books are now available at Dragon Tale Books in Menomonie, WI!
HUGE shout out to Rob Bignell for an incredible welcome into the writing community and so many great tips on writing, editing, marketing, and many things I didn't know I needed to know!
Maureen Palmer at Redbery books in Cable, WI
has agreed to talk with me about a possible signing event at her store early summer 2023. Stay tuned!
Director, Stacey K. Brown mentioned that Florence will be starting story time back up at the G E Bleskacek Public Memorial Library in Bloomer, WI this February. I hope to make the cut sometime this spring!