Showing posts with label #BlueRidge Mountains Christian Writing Conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #BlueRidge Mountains Christian Writing Conference. Show all posts

Saturday, June 18, 2016

When God Says Stop

     I love writing.

All my life I’ve written something. When my girls were younger, I sold a few short stories. During their teens, I wrote one full length manuscript, submitted it to one publisher where it was promptly rejected, and then I put it aside for twenty years. In fact, it’s still in a drawer unsent.
Pretty blooms on sticky cacti

Life intervened with a demanding job, daughter’s weddings, and not enough hours in the day. The only thing I wrote for years was my prayer journal and one unfinished teen short story, and it drove me crazy. I would plan to write, but then not get home in time.

With the close of 2005, I retired from the job, the girls had moved away, and I decided to write full time. I joined a local writing group called Red River Romance Writers. It was a RWA chapter. Through them, I learned a lot and improved my writing. Through them, I learned about conferences and workshops.

I continue to belong to American
Christian Fiction Writers
From 2006 to 2009, I attended one or two conferences a year, many other workshops, took online classes, and submitted and faced rejection over and over. In 2009, I attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writing Conference in the beautiful North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. This group enlarged my vision and my places to submit. I came home ready to hit my new career at peak push.

I was nearing my sixty-fifth birthday and worried about the short time I had in life to get my work published. I worked long hours and prayed a lot. I fought bitterness at myself or the situation that caused me to waste my youth in not writing. An obsession to be published filled my mind. I gave it everything I had.

 

Then, God said, “stop.”

 

“Lord,” I prayed. “What should I stop? Should I stop going to conferences? Should I write only short stories? Are you saying I’ll never be published?”

 

The Lord told me, “Stop writing. Period. I don’t want you to write anything. I don’t want you to submit anything. I don’t want you to ever think about it. Nothing. Stop.”

 

I sat in what I call my prayer chair, limp as a delicate orchid that had been trampled. Giving up writing was like giving up my baby. Writing consumed my world. What would I do if I didn’t write? Who would I be?

 

But, I knew God had said, “Stop,” so I stopped.

 

For over three months, I wrote nothing, not even a journal. My quiet time with the Lord extended into longer periods of time. I read His Word more. Slowly, He revealed how obsessed I had become over being published. Strange how the devil blinds us to his sneaky ways. Though I was still a Christian, I had put publication on the throne of my life. It had become everything to me.

 

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.                  Phil. 4:7

 

God’s peace entered my heart. I no longer missed the writing. No longer did my thoughts turn to publishers or conferences or advice I’d been given. God gave me rest. He sparked my mind with His Word. He carried me around like a queen. It was so exciting following Christ.

 

One day during prayer, God whispered, “Why don’t you work on that teen story some more?”

 

“What? Did I hear you right, Lord, you want me to write something?”

 

“Just a little. Finish that story.”

 

I did.

 

“Send it off,” God told me.

 

I did.

 

The editor wrote back that she liked the story, but why didn’t I try making it chapter one of a teen book? I could do that. I asked the Lord, and He agreed.

 

In this way, God led me back to writing, slowly, prayerfully, with concentration on Him first. He still gave me the desire of my heart, as He promises to do.

 

That teen book became my debut novel, Victoria and the Ghost. Since then, my publisher has released two other books, and I have three others in contract.

 

God is on the throne of my life. I’m a compulsive person that likes to be in control. I suffered a similar problem with food, but always I must put God first.

 

Examine your life today. Is the Lord in first place, or something else? God might say, “stop.”

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Visit from Author, Paula Mowery

Christian author, Paula Mowery, visits Writing with God's Hope blog today. I was blessed to interview her. I know you'll enjoy getting acquainted with this lady, as have I.

Tell us something about yourself, especially about your writing journey

 Writing for me is a calling from God. I know this because I pulled a “Gideon fleece moment” with the Lord several years ago. I didn’t want to just think I was supposed to be published or only want it badly for my own selfish reasons. I wanted to be sure that God was really calling me to write stories bearing Biblical truths. So when I submitted an article to a national magazine and it was accepted, I knew I was on the way to my answer. Then I sent my first book submission to a publisher. I remember saying, “Lord, is this is where this needs to be published, let the story touch someone there.” Do you know that I received an email from the acquiring editor that read, This story really touched me. I cried, thanked God for the affirmation, and haven’t stopped since.
 

Did you ever feel like giving up on your writing?  And how did you press through this?


Oh my, doesn’t everyone speak of giving up about once a week, if not more than that? I’ve whined that I just don’t have enough time to write or market. I’ve moaned that surely all those other books were a fluke. But I always turn around and realize there are still messages to relate through my stories. There are still people to touch with Jesus Christ and encourage in their faith. The enemy knows how to pull me down and discourage me, but God always seems to teach me something new in His Word or a reader contacts me to tell me how much a story meant to her personally.   

 
What gave you the idea for this latest book?


The Crux of Honor story grew first out of a call for submissions from my publisher, Prism Book Group. The editor-in-chief wanted to create a series of books using the different phrases from First Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter. My phrase ended up being, love does not dishonor. I recalled the time I lived in Southern Maryland near an Amish community. I started asking questions like: What if a daughter dishonored her parents? Suppose the family has Amish ties – would this worsen the dishonor? What if a family secret creates a large cavern between the mother and the daughter? Could the daughter still learn the unconditional love of God, even though it isn’t modeled by her mother?

From that, The Crux of Honor was born.
 
How do you feel this book will encourage readers, or did you have something in mind like this when you wrote it?


 I certainly hope that readers will turn that last page still remembering that God always holds out forgiveness and unconditional love. 


 How did you find your publisher?


Prism Book Group published Brave New Century, an anthology I had a story included in. One of the other authors of that book found Prism and we all agreed to submit the book there.

Soon after working with our editor, I submitted another book and had it contracted and published.

Connecting with Prism was such a God-thing. Through some interesting turn of events and divine urging, I became an acquiring editor with Prism and am still doing that today.  


If you were a song, what would it be?


Flawless by Mercy Me comes to mind. If you have never seen the video for this song, you must look it up on YouTube. I’ve always qualified myself to others by saying how surprised I am that God would use a plain hillbilly girl from East Tennessee like me. This song says it all – “He made you flawless.”

 Oh, I love that one too.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?


When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me editing writing, or teaching writing. I do enjoy spending time with my hubby and daughter. It doesn’t really matter what we do. We can just go out to eat or shopping or walking around the neighborhood. This is especially times I enjoy since we are a ministry family (my husband is a pastor, daughter a children’s minister, and I interpret for deaf members).  


Now tell us about your book.


Chelsea is rejected by her mother. She can’t understand why her mother hates her so, even if she has messed up. Why can’t she love her like Kevin’s mother always showed love to him and to her.

Kevin has had his heart broken by Chelsea before, but he has returned to town to set up his medical practice and can’t resist her.

This book has secrets which are finally found out. It involves a second chance at love. It most importantly shows the unconditional love of God no matter what we’ve done. He holds out forgiveness and love. The only thing is: Can Chelsea truly accept the love offered to her?      

  

Chelsea Wilson’s life is a constant reminder of what living dishonorably looks like. At every turn she continues to prove her mother’s shunning must be deserved.

Dr. Kevin Alley returns to the old home place to establish his medical practice. After running into Chelsea, he knows his love for her is still strong.

Chelsea is ousted from her small rented room when her mother bursts in, proclaiming Chelsea’s pregnancy.

Kevin takes Chelsea in, giving her space to live on the upper level of his house.

When Chelsea’s baby displays life-threatening symptoms, Chelsea must face her mother. Secrets unfold about Chelsea’s parents. Can Chelsea and Kevin uncover the secrets linked to Amish heritage in time to save the baby? Can the two find love together despite their history?




  Paula Mowery is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements.  
Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013 her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015. Her other titles include a Christian romantic suspense called For Our Good, a Christmas romance called Love Again, and a romance inspired from the Love Chapter called The Crux of Honor.
 
Reviewers of her writing characterize it as “thundering with emotion.” Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World, The Christian Online Magazine, and the multi-author devotional blogs, Full Flavored Living and Putting on the New. She wrote a section for Join the Insanity by Rhonda Rhea. She has devotionals included in several collaborative books.
Having been an avid reader of Christian fiction, she now puts that love to use by writing book reviews. She is a member of ACFW and also on the faculty for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
Paula is a pastor’s wife and mom to a college student. She homeschooled her daughter through all twelve years, and they both lived to tell about it. Before educating her daughter at home, she was an English teacher in public school.
 
Learn more about Paula at her blog as well as find other links to connect with her at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.
 
I loved learning about you, Paula. Wow, are you ever busy. Wore me out reading about all that you do. I was blessed to "meet" you online as a fellow author of devotions on the group blog, Putting on the New. Thank you so much for your visit today. I am honored. This book sounds like it's right up my alley. Can't wait to get a copy.