Margaret Payton: A Story Writing Journey with Starts and Stops

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Margaret Payton; author of “Searching Moments.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

I love stories! I like reading them, telling them and, more recently, writing them. For years I believe the Lord has given me illustrations to use when sharing my testimony, writing for the church newsletter, or giving a talk. It took some time for me to realize it is as though He speaks to me in parables. (Of course my favorite parables are those told by Jesus and recorded in the Bible.)

Margaret Payton

My book Searching Moments has the parable of The Lost Sheep as its background theme. In the book, the main character, Jacinda, travels to the Holy Land searching for her missing brother without realizing that God – in response to an intercessor’s prayer – is ‘searching’ for her. The background research journey was done before the idea for the story germinated. Several years ago, I went on a long-awaited trip to Jordan and Israel. A friend gave me a travel journal before I left which proved very useful.

The storywriting journey occurred in stops and starts over a period of time. I believe the Lord was guiding me through the process. Like a parable, Searching Moments has an engaging storyline – a discerning reader will also note some symbolism and deeper meaning in places. Prayer is an important facet of the plot.

The publishing journey has taken place in two stages. A family member suggested WestBow Press and the manuscript first came out as an e-book. This was a valuable learning curve that prepared me for later. Although I had some very positive feedback from readers, to be honest I found it difficult to market the book as an e-book.

Some months later, I revisited the manuscript and gave it a final polish. Through the generosity of another family member, I was in a position to self-publish the book in print format. I felt led to stay with WestBow Press even though I knew the current low exchange rate on the Australian dollar could be problematic.

The second stage of my publishing journey with WestBow Press has been a delight. The individuals assigned to me were an answer to prayer. ThePayton Cover publishing consultant was timely and helpful, (phone calls needed to take the time difference between Australia and the US into account). The check-in coordinator gave very wise advice concerning book size and number of pages. These matters helped keep the cost of the book down, and also made it a convenient size for postage. (An additional blessing, praise God.)

I had a picture in my mind’s eye for the front cover, and my publishing services associate, with patience and imagination, explained what was possible. I was very blessed by the cover designer (whose name I don’t know). He or she did an excellent job and I was delighted with the end product. Everyone who has seen the book has been impressed with the front cover. Thank you, WestBow team!

I have now embarked on the marketing part of the journey. The Lord told me to focus on ministering to the readers (although I do need sales!) I’m excited that two local bookshops have taken some books and my local library has a copy. It amazes me that, with the new print-on-demand technology, Searching Moments is available for purchase across the globe. I hope reading it entertains and blesses many.

-WBP-

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


David, el Dundore: The Untold Story Behind “Just Man, Enough”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of David, el Dundore; author of “Just Man, Enough.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

During my first month of service in Iraq, in late 2006, there occurred a series of seemingly unrelated and wildly disparate events, and it would only be later that I could see the linkages tying them into a chain. Outside of my regular duties. I spent the first month savoring Cervantes’ masterful Don Quixote and loving it for its style, humor and craftsmanship. Around that same time I saw the movie Wedding Crashers from a borrowed collection and laughed out loud despite myself; and I also a read a review of the recently released movie The Nativity Story, which called it “wooden.” Finally, on the night of my birthday, I was read my rights by the commanding officer and confined to my quarters pending the outcome of an investigation based on allegations made against me by a suspected double agent.

Dundore coverI didn’t take it well, and anyone valuing his good name as I do mine would not. Sitting quite alone, in a solitary condition, unjustly accused, can make even the darkest, most difficult thoughts revolving around your device pistol seem reasonable. I sat in that funk of despair for a solid month, then finally shook it off to attend chapel on December 3. The chaplain focused on the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth, and I remember thinking that the trip would make a good story, and I would write it for Him. I set my limit at ten pages.

When I easily surpassed the ten-page mark I moved the new goal to twenty; then maybe to fifty, but I knew that I could finish in 100. When I got there I resignedly surrendered to the characters who had taken over the story, and decided I would just follow whereever they went, but around the time I passed 200 pages of hard composing I remember thinking, “I want this guy to die soon.” In the meantime, something or someone who wanted this book written had taken up occupancy with me in my room; He met me there, relieving my misery with delight.

Those days of writing are among the happiest of my life. In one setting, at another camp (my name by then restored), there behind my sandbagged windows in quite cramped quarters, I would stay up until one or two a.m. working, not wanting to sleep, and eagerly await the arrival of 5 or 6 when I could arise to continue. Why don’t people love the nativity story? Because it’s not relevant to contemporary life and it’s not fun. This one is.

The perspective I chose and the pious liberties I took with it allowed for interpolated stories, and provided me opportunities to subtly – or not so subtly – talk about everything from inbox spam to Hollywood personalities. And, like the Quixote and even (in a far different way) Wedding Crashers, it’s meant to entertain. The real reasons for its relevance, however, are not those things or even the baby but the people surrounding him: They are parents, neighbors, spouses and others trapped in world, like all of us, of neither our making nor, often, our understanding.

The author (left) with a pair of Iraqi interpreters.

The author (left) with a pair of Iraqi interpreters.

As a result of its influences and its unorthodox author, the work is neither fish nor fowl in the conventional sense of categorization. Too worldly for some to consider ‘Christian,’ yet too Christian to be secular, it finds itself alone having (to date) found a home in the breasts of only few appreciative readers who have recognized something special in it, even calling it life changing, and one of whom flattered me with most grateful letter, written from prison, that I have ever received or could hope to receive from anyone.

I knew that a cool reception was a possibility, and it had already been so received by various agents as I shopped it around in the usual way. Rejection. What was I to do? Finally, it found another home at Westbow Press, where even the unorthodox have a chance. This book – like yours, perhaps – wasn’t just a book but also a mission, and a mission implies a duty. I took the chance with Westbow, taking out a loan against my beloved Harley, because I want to say with Paul and the others, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” The walk of faith is often one of sheer endurance, marked by side trails and promising shortcuts, as I think Abraham would agree: They can lead you to the fleeting joy of Ishmael, but your legacy lies in Isaac.

-WBP-

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


David Waddell: Finding Similarities in Stories of Biblical Characters

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of David Waddell; author of “Characters of the Bible: Finding My Stories in Their Stories,” and “Holiday Biblical Characters: Finding My Stories in the Stories of Christmas and Easter.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

I had written for church newsletters and Lifeway Christian Resources during my time in church work.  I don’t recall ever hearing how I blessed anyone in reading my material.  Three years ago, following some major heart difficulties, I wrote a “Top Ten List” commenting on why I was thankful I had heart trouble.  I wrote about the brevity of life and the need to forgive and let go of grudges.  I noted the number of people I met earlier in life that came to help me in ways I couldn’t have imagined years earlier.  I posted these on Facebook as a way of using humor to show thanks, but also to spread a message of how good God is.

WaddellCover1 WaddellCover2A friend of mine, a girl at Grace Bible church, asked if I could print the Top Ten List and put it in book form.  I inquired as to why she would want that and she insisted the items were well written.  I then began receiving other accolades about the Top Ten List as well as other Facebook posts. People began asking me when a book was going to be written.

I held an idea for some time that Joseph, the son of Jacob, is viewed as the poor, unfortunate brother being abused by Jacob’s other sons.  I knew, being the middle brother of three boys, that Joseph was indeed lucky his brothers didn’t kill him!  I started seeing myself in other biblical characters as well.  Abraham as he waits on a baby.  Peter as he spoke without knowing what to say.  David as he planned out his sin.

These led me to the writing of my first book “Characters of the Bible: Finding My Stories in Their Stories.”  I followed the same theme using the stories and biblical characters that related to Christmas and Easter to create my second book, “Holiday Biblical Characters: Finding My Stories in the Stories of Christmas and Easter. 

David Waddell

David Waddell

The first section of Holiday Biblical Characters deals with the Christmas stories in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  Included are twenty-three stories about Christmas travels, sounds in the night on Christmas Eve, being outcasts like shepherds, waiting for something good like Simeon, Christmas pageantry, gift giving, and many more.  The message of the book is to see the connection we have with people in the Bible and how God used them despite them being just like us!

An author friend suggested I try the self-publishing approach to getting my work published.  I researched several companies and decided the best approach was to go with the name and reputation of a good Christian publishing company.  WestBow Press is the self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.  The latter two names don’t require explanation in Christian publishing circles.  The folks at WestBow took me in as if I were family and guided me through the process.  I even contracted editing services with WestBow as I have been told my Missouri hillbilly English and proper English are entirely two different things.

Thank you WestBow Publishing for giving me the resources to see a dream come true in the publishing of my two books.

Merry Christmas!

-WBP-

David Waddell’s webpage is http://www.dwaddell7.com. Like “Characters of the Bible” on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/justlikebiblicalpeople. Follow David Waddell on Twitter @dwaddell77

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


Lisa Williams: Christmas Miracle Inspires Author to Self-Publish The Christmas Hippo

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Lisa Williams; author of “The Christmas Hippo.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

It is hard to believe that a decade has passed since the actual Christmas Hippo story unfolded in real life.  I remember the year well as it was my daughter’s first year in a public school setting. The story began at her 3rd grade school Christmas party.  She was excited about the upcoming break, but sad that her friend would be moving.
Hippo 3

As only two nine year old girls could do, they begged and pleaded until I gave in to a sleepover the first night of Winter Break. My busy mom brain had forgotten that I had already made plans to go caroling with a group of friends that night. When I realized I had double-booked, I merely shrugged my shoulders and thought my daughter’s friend would simply have to join in on the caroling fun. Both girls were happy to sing and spread some Christmas cheer that cold winter night.

As we arrived at the last house, an older gentleman hugged my daughter’s friend and handed her a small item. On the way home, I was told that that man was her bus driver and that he had given her her sister’s stuffed hippo. When she told me that, I thought that that was pretty coincidental, and I should probably have known that it was no coincidence at all.

Hippo Cover

The following day, the little girl’s mom came by to pick her up and told me that she could not get over the fact that the stuffed animal had been returned. She explained that it was her younger daughter’s special lovey and that with the move, she was afraid it had been gone forever. She even added that it must have been Divine Intervention.

I nodded, wished them well and walked in to answer the phone. My friend, Benita, who had hosted the party ,called to share “the BEST God story” with me and went on to tell me  that her husband had seen the bus driver that morning. As the story goes, he had found the small hippo at the end of his run, attempted to deliver it to its owner, but came home discouraged that he was unsuccessful in locating the family, especially since he knew they were moving.

Benita said that in sharing his disappointment with his wife, she wisely suggested that they pray together and ask God to help them return the tiny toy to its owner. Imagine this man’s surprise when he opened his door that night to find the owner’s sister singing carols on his stoop!

The following Christmas season, I was remembering this wonderful story and thought it was merely too good to just keep to myself. I wanted to share this story with everyone in hopes that people would be reminded of exactly how much God cares about even the smallest situations in their lives. While I had dreams of writing a Christmas ballad that told the tale in song, my husband encouraged me to write a children’s book. Within minutes, the book was written. It was very clear that I had help. In fact, I often tell people that God wrote the story and that I was merely a scribe.

Hippo 2

Thanks to WestBow Press, I have been able to share The Christmas Hippo with many children of all ages. I have been asked to read the book in both private and public schools, community Chick-Fil-As, and was even interviewed on the local Christian radio station when the book launched. As a result of that interview, I was blessed with the opportunity to write devotions for the Christian radio station.  Although the story is a decade old, the message is one that transcends time; it is a reminder that the God who placed the stars in the sky cares about the little hippos in our lives.

– WBP –

Like “The Christmas Hippo” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheChristmasHippo/.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space. 


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