Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I SOLD A BOOK! The story with a little help from Miley Cyrus

Sometimes songs help tell a story.

Today, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus is going to help me. Just like Kutless helped me tell one in 2011. READ IT HERE!

I can almost see it.
That dream I'm dreaming…

I wrote my first book in August 2008. I had no idea where it was going to go, but I felt compelled to write. I gave that manuscript to my mom that Christmas. She cried, but not because it sucked. Though, I think it might have.

I kept writing. One story. Another. Another.

I met and pitched to my dream agent in Feb. 2011. She offered me representation in September of 2011.

She submitted my book (not my first but 12th) in November 2011. I thought in about a month or two I’d have a contract, after all this was a God-given dream (insert maniacal laughter here). I kept working. Revising. We kept pitching. Rejections came. And came. And came.

There's a voice inside my head saying
You'll never reach it
Every step I'm takin'
Every move I make
Feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin'
But I, I gotta keep tryin'
Gotta keep my head held high

But I couldn’t quit. Because no matter how shaken I felt. No matter how discouraged, how frustrated, how physically painful it was, I couldn’t deny this was what I was born to do. This is part of who I am.

Twelve manuscripts turned into twenty.

I met amazing people. Authors. Unpublished writers. Industry professionals. They sowed into my life. They taught me. They corrected me. Friendships were bonded. Some of my best friends live states away and yet a day doesn’t go by that we don’t text or talk on the phone. A prayer team, I call the Triple Ps formed. These women pray for me with such intensity and passion, I can honestly feel it when I sit down to write.

I’ve learned what true patience, endurance, and perseverance mean. I’ve had years to hone my craft (though I haven’t “arrived” I’m always growing and learning). I’ve had years to discover areas where my pride is Nebuchadnezzar kind of scary. I’ve had years to nail it to the cross. I do it daily. I’ve had years to learn how to fight fear with the Truth of God’s word. To battle doubt and confusion.

New stories bring new obstacles and struggles. It’s a slow climb. It’s a lesson in waiting, in a culture where we don’t have to wait for anything. It’s a stretch where I’ve learned balance. Balancing being a wife, mom, ministry leader, friend, daughter. I asked, “Why so long? When, Lord? I’m doing everything you’ve asked me to do! How much longer? I’m hanging on but…”

And I’ve cried. I’ve been exhausted physically, emotionally, spiritually. Worn slap out and feeling too tired to press on. Too tired to write something new. Too tired to revise what I already have. Too tired for one more blog post. Too tired for one more rejection. Too tired for one more person asking me when I was going to get published. Too tired to roll my eyes when someone mentioned writing was easy. Just type up a story and slap it on Amazon. Too tired to slap them for saying that. Too. Too. Too. Tired. I’ve lost the fight.

But God.

Always: But God. He never failed me. Never let me down. He presented amazing opportunities out of the blue, right when I needed the encouragement. Every step of the way. He’s been with me. For me. Beside me. He’s gone before me. And He’s pushed me from behind…straight up the mountain. Not the mountain of publishing per se, but the mountain of self-discovery. The mountain where I’m pruned. Grown. Matured. Developed.

 There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb

And then halfway up the mountain, God gave me a new vision. A new direction. One I hadn’t jumped on before. But I obeyed. Because if I’ve learned anything in 7 years, it’s trust and obey. I wrote one more book. And you know what? I had it in me to do. Because in my weakness, He is strong. And His grace is sufficient for me.

Price of Betrayal was born. I sent the proposal to my agent on February 27th, 2014. On March 19th, the editor requested the full manuscript.
On March 26th, my agent sent it to her.

And guess what? I waited.
And waited.
And waited.
I wrote two more books for this line while waiting in 2014.

On October 10th, 2014, the editor sent back a request for revisions. So I went to work. Again. We sent those revisions back on November 3rd, 2014.

And guess what? We waited. I waited. I revised. I put out a free Christmas novella to subscribers. I decided to create a series of novellas. I shopped for presents. I checked my email like a freak of nature.

On January 29, 2015, I got THE CALL. My amazing, wonderful, encouraging agent sat on the other end of the phone while I hit my knees sobbing. A week after that I had the chance to talk with my editor from Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense. She’s super nice and fun to talk to. And her revision requests were insightful and spot-on.

Price of Betrayal (tentative title) will hit shelves in early 2016. Yeah, another year of waiting while I’m working. But I’ve learned waiting is worth it.

New struggles will come. New challenges. More mountains to climb. To make move.

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No I'm not breaking

I may not know it, but
These are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin',
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on, 'cause

Maybe you’re trying to make a mountain move. Take the steps. You move. And God will move the mountain.

Keep on movin'
Keep climbin'
Keep the faith baby
It's all about, it's all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith…

Never ever stop dreaming. Never ever give up. Keep reaching. Keep climbing. Keep stepping. Climb tired. Climb when it hurts. Climb when you feel rejected. Climb when you’re discouraged. Climb when you can’t see. Climb through the tears. Climb when you want to quit.

Push on. Press in. Pray forward.

When you reach the summit, you’ll look back and see God’s fingerprints all over the journey. 


It’s not about fast. It’s about faith.

If God is in it, you can’t lose.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck by me and encouraged me. It ain’t over yet! And listen to the song. You'll be glad you did. 




What are you dreaming for?

63 comments:

  1. Oh, Jess-- I am so happy for you!! Congratulations!! I can't wait to read it!!

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    1. Thank you so much!!!!! I'm so excited. :)

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!
    Really happy for you & your message of praying and waiting on the Lord means a great deal!

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    1. Thank you, Tammy! It really is about his timing. It really is!!

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  3. If you get three comments from me, I apologize! I'm SOOOO proud of you!!! And I'm getting teary here at this heartfelt, real post. I'm so thankful to be able to walk with you on this journey. Your writing is AMAZING! I'm so glad the rest of the world will finally get to read it too!!! Congratulations!!!!

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    1. AAAAH!! I love you! Thank you. And I only got this message once! ha! Walking this out with you has been such a blessing! So cool.

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    1. Thank you, Dawn! Gosh, I can remember when we first met thanks to Shari! Wow.

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    1. :) I knew you'd be glad I brushed my hair. hahaha

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  6. I teared up too! Amazing post and you are amazing. I was just thinking how I feel like I know you but I don't think we've ever met. We'll have to remedy that someday. :) I'm SO incredibly excited for you. Happy dancing for you today!!

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    1. It's been a tough journey but I wouldn't change a thing. Glad it touched you, friend. I feel the SAME way! We must meet. Soon!

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  7. So excited for you! Congratulations! You give me hope.

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    1. Girfriend, there. is. hope. I'm so glad I could extend some to you today. Mission accomplished. And you are a phenomonal writer. Hang in. Hang on.

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  8. I'm so excited for you, Jessica! It's a beautiful story of perseverance and faith!

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    1. Thank you, Karen! Writing. Life. All a journey in both, isn't it? :)

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  9. Congratulations, Jessica! I'm so happy for you! It's so funny, I'm recovering from knee surgery and catching up on my TBR reading, and I just read your Christmas novella last week. As I was reading, I turned to my hubby and said, "this girl is good writer". I'm happy dancing with you! Loved your heartfelt post on the writers climb. Hugs! Can't wait to read your book!

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    1. Aw!! Thanks so much! I'm glad you're enjoying the novella. I will never forget hugging yoru neck at ACFW and what you told me. It meant everything!! Praying you recover quickly!

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  10. Congratulations, Jessica. Love your journey. God is awesome!
    Welcome to LIS. Looking forward to getting to know you.

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    1. Thank you so much, Margaret! He IS awesome!!! I'm looking forward to getting to know you as well. :)

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  11. Yay! Yay! Yay! (I had to switch browsers to get this sucker to work, but oh yeah!) :)

    SOOO thrilled for you, my friend! You're writing is amazing! {{{HUGS}}}

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    1. The lengths you go to for a friend! hahahaha! Love you and thanks for the hugs and sweet words!

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  12. Way to go, southern!!! So proud of you! Whoo hoo!!

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  13. HaPpY dAnCe!!!! I am thrilled for you, Jessica!!!!!!

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    1. Thank you, Beth!! I'm dancin' with ya, lady! :)

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  14. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! What wonderful news! Congratulations!!! So happy for you!

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    1. EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Thank you, Erica!!!! Hugs!!

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  15. SO happy for you! I've done my share of waiting too, so kinda know how you feel! CONGRATS!!! WOOO!!! :D

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    1. Thank you, Carol! I know you do. :) Worth it though, isn't it? :)

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  16. WOOHOO!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!! So exciting! Way to go, Way to hang in there, Way to keep on!! I'm so proud I could squeal...oh, wait, I just did! :)

    Seriously, great job, Jessica, I'm ecstatic for you!

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    1. EEEEEEEE! I was just thinking about you this morning. I may have even mentioned it to Dawn on FB or here. Can't remember how we all met! Thank you, my friend!!! Hugs!!

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  17. Woooo hooo Jess!!! I am so excited for you! I always knew this day would come for you. You are an amazing writer and an amazing woman of God (not in that order, lol). Your story, and just this post, are so inspiring and encouraging to me. I feel blessed to call you friend. I'm so glad you almost titled something "Beauty For Ashes" way back when, otherwise I might've missed out on your beautiful friendship. :-) {{{{HUGS}}}} CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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    1. Way to make me cry! Gosh, what if I hadn't? I'm so glad God set that up, Michelle! I know He did 100%! Love you, my sweet friend. xoxoxo

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  18. Yay...YAY...YAAAAAAAAYYYYY! Oh my gosh, I am so happy for you. Eeeee, I don't even have words. I'm just so excited. Also, your hair is amazing and I am jealous. I'm so excited for your book and for you and for how God is going to use your writing. HUGS!

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    1. You make me laugh! Thank you so much, friend! Amen and hugs back!

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  19. Congrats! So happy for you! And look at that picture! Beautiful inside and out.

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  20. Wow. Amazing post. So convicting. It had me in tears. Congrats to you and welcome to Love Inspired!

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    1. Thank you, Deb. I'm thrilled to be a part of Love Inspired! :) I appreciate you coming by and leaving a coment. Glad it spoke to you.

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  21. Congratulations, Jess!!! This is wonderful news!!! I'm thrilled for you!!!

    We're Love Inspired buddies now. How cool is that? =)

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  22. So heart-wrenchingly encouraging. :) Thank you for pressing through the pain of the journey to share your gifts with the rest of us. So stoked for what's in store!

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    1. Thank you!!! Me too! So glad we crossed paths! :)

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  23. Ahhh!!!!!! Congratulations, Jess!!!!! I'm over the top thrilled for you! I'm so encouraged by your journey and your faithfulness. I can't wait to see that book on the shelves. Wish I was close enough to hug you and squeal with you. :) Even if it was 1 a.m. and we made the neighbors angry. :)

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    1. OMW! I just laughed so hard at that last line. We would NEVER do that! :) Thank you! Next time I see you, we'll be hugging for sure!

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  24. YAYAYAYAY!!! And you got the call on my birthday!!!! So proud of you.

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    1. YAY!!!! Thank you, Pat! It's been a wild and fun ride! Now a brand new fun/wild ride begins!

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    2. You got that right! lol. I wish every writer who has just received a rejection could read this!

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  25. JESSICA!!!!! OH. MY. WORD!!!!! I'm so excited for you, can you tell?!?!?! :)

    Seriously, you are so deserving of this, my friend. And girl, am I feeling the pain of the climb. Your words were just what I needed today. Hugs and cheers!

    Sarah

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    1. You make me smile!! I can tell! I can tell! And I appreicate it. thank you so much. I'm so glad they're what you needed. That's been my prayer all day! Hugs!!!

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  26. Yayayay! Jess, I'm truly happy for you! I'm looking forward to reading your book! Doing a little happy dance for you!

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    1. Aw!! Thank you, Jeanne! I appreciate that! :)

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  27. Congratulations! I'm happy dancing with you!

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  28. Congratulations, honey! What a thrilling day!

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    1. Thank you, Colleen! It has been a super thrilling day. I appreciate you taking time to come by and congratulate me! :)

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  29. I'm so excited for you, Jessica, and can't wait to see what else is in store for you!! Congratulations!

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