Currently Browsing: Authors in their Own Words

Marriage and Schizophrenia

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Andrew and Stephanie Downing, authors of “Marriage and Schizophrenia.” You can learn more about the Downings by visiting their website, blog, or Twitter. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today

In Sickness & Health

My wife and I started writing our book titled, Marriage and Schizophrenia: Eyes on the Prize, as a creative outlet mainly for fun.  We enjoyed spending quality time together crafting the story.  However, our story is anything but easy to talk about.  As we continued with the writing process, we experienced a wealth of healing and began the process of reclaiming our voice.

Writing has a unique power in allowing healing to take place.  We found healing in our marriage through open communication and forgiveness. Slowly, we began to understand that everyone suffers on a relative level.  We came to the conclusion that suffering is suffering.  There is no way to measure suffering, no way to rank sorrow.  Schizophrenia, and the horrors associated with the devastating illness, are perceivable high on a “misery scale.” I have lived with schizophrenia for nearly twenty years now, almost losing my life several times from illness-related complications. Healing poured into our marriage when I realized that my suffering was no worse than my spouses, or anyone’s for that matter.  We both have an equal share in the miseries of earth.

Spreading Our Testimony

We decided to publish our book mainly because we felt our voice had been compromised. We felt many people had a misconception of our situation: not understanding why we were having success amidst mental illness.  God is the key to our success over schizophrenia and mental health issues. God is also the reason why we have survived as a married couple. WestBow has helped us begin the journey of sharing our testimony.

We had a hard time editing and finishing our book.  When we finally had a product that we were comfortable with, we had no idea where to turn.  Neither my wife nor I had ever considered ourselves committed writers, and we certainly didn’t know anything about the publishing world.  I remember breaking down one day due to the fact that my wife’s story needed to be heard.  Her patience, fearlessness, and compassion is incredible.  That same evening I was reading the Word of God on my Bible Gateway app, and an add popped up: “Fulfill God’s calling to publish your book…WestBow Press.”

A Christian View

Totally uneducated and in a naive state of mind, I filled out the questionnaire.  Several months later, and I’m now riding the waves of having our story available to the world.  Numerous people have found healing in our story, and I’m loving the lifestyle of writing.  I’m so grateful I took the leap of faith and filled out the free publishing guide. Hundreds now know that schizophrenia is not bigger than God, and I have a growing platform to share a Christian point of view in the world of mental health.  I highly recommend WestBow Press!

 

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


A Dream and a Miracle Part II – with Debra Irene

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Debra Irene, author of “Helen’s Heritage: Life Stories of Helen Herbert Gillham.” You can learn more about Debra by visiting her websiteFacebook, and Twitter. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

It Began with a Contest

In September of 2010, I traveled to Franklin, Tennessee, from Kansas City for a writers’ seminar and walked into a room full of extroverts and upbeat people who wanted to live their dreams. My goodness, all I wanted to do was figure out how to finish a little book. Mostly, I just listened to everyone else and the outstanding speakers.

I learned I needed to start a blog (something I told Brenda I would never do). I didn’t have time to print and publish my own book like some planned to do, I barely had time to write it! Also, I knew that I could wait forever for a traditional publisher. Lucky for me, an executive from Thomas Nelson spoke at the convention and mentioned that their new self-publishing division had teamed with Women of Faith for a writing contest where the winner would receive a free publishing package. That sparked my interest and I felt was the meant-to-be part of the program for me.

Realizing a Dream

I returned home to Kansas City, wrote my first blog (with Brenda’s encouragement), and contemplated how I was going to finish my manuscript by the contest deadline – just three months away. Brenda pointed out that my book was the style that didn’t have a specific ending and that I should stop writing when I reached the minimum number of words (10,000). I could write a sequel later. What a tremendous piece of advice that was. After all, I wasn’t writing a novel. So that December, I took a week’s vacation from my career job and devoted nine hours each day to reaching 10,000 words. I continued to work my supplemental night job; and by December 31, I was ready to push the button for the contest.

An Unexpected Prize

Reflections by Debra IreneAlthough I did not win the contest; I did receive a discount on a publishing package with WestBow Press for entering the contest and was able to purchase that package with an unexpected bonus in January. I watched the dream unfold, month by month, just like Brenda encouraged; and in April of 2011, I held my first copy of Reflections.

This was a very big deal to me, my own personal miracle. My mind was flooded with other book ideas. But the idea that took front and center was a project for my mother. She wanted to tell her life story and had no idea what to do. She didn’t have a concept, or a format in mind. Neither did I at first, but we started writing it down little by little. Meanwhile, I kept blogging: telling my own stories. Around that time, a few of my stories were published by Farm & Ranch Living, Country, and The Missouri Golf Post.

Five Years Later

I continued with my career job but dreamed that someday writing could be my career. Five years later, I held my second book published by WestBow Press, Helen’s Heritage: my mother’s story, her dream. This was a project very near and dear to me. Not only is it my mother’s life story; but it is a family documentation, a forty-thousand-word family history filled with short stories and vignettes. The book merges in seventy-five narratives from about 1880 through today. In addition to this latest work, I have enough blog material for another book when I am ready to compile it.

Someday, I will retire from my day job, but I can’t imagine ever retiring from my dream of writing. There are more stories to tell and more projects to complete. A dream, a miracle, and a Brenda in my life – those were the keys!

 

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


The Story of Mrs. Bumbleberry

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Kathleen Beining, author of “Mrs. Bumbleberry’s Garden.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Taking the First Step

I’ve always had a vivid imagination.  As a child, I spent a lot of time making up stories and pretending I was the main character.  When I grew older, my time spent playing make-believe dwindled. Although I never lost my love for making up stories, I never did anything with it.

Then in 2014, I was recuperating from surgery.  I didn’t feel that bad, I just wasn’t allowed to do anything.  I was bored sitting still and began thinking how hard it was to be inside all the time.  As I had these thoughts, it occurred to me that being stuck inside would be very difficult for a child.  That’s when the character “Katy” was born.

Creating Mrs. Bumbleberry

Mrs.BumbleberryI began writing my first story.  I started to think about Katy: how could she meet another character and who might it be?  Her neighbor, Mrs. Bumbleberry, began to take shape.  I thought about what a small girl and an older woman could have in common.  What would be the value in their friendship?  I realized, in this scenario, that there was an opportunity. The scenario is a perfect chance to showcase how Christian beliefs are practiced in daily life.  Soon my story was finished.  I kept thinking about what Katy could do next, and soon the second story was completed.  Within a week I had several other stories written for the series.

I decided to try and publish my stories. My web search led me to a “Christian” publisher who assured me they would love to publish my story. They promised it would be out within only six months. After nine months of unanswered phone calls and repeated mistakes, I had unacceptable illustrations that did not match page to page with the text.  I brought this to their attention twice.  When I received my first digital copy the mistakes were not corrected.  At this point, I hired a lawyer to get the rights to my story back.  I decided that was the end of my publishing career – God had other ideas.

Finding WestBow Press

Somewhere along the line, I visited the website for Westbow Press. Later, I Kathleen Beining - 1received a call from one of WestBow’s publishing consultants. I explained my experience with the previous publisher and my hesitancy to move forward. He said he understood and asked if I would be interested in having more information mailed to me.  I agreed.  I read the information packet and was impressed with the fact that there were several publishing packages from which I could choose.  The first publisher only had one. I decided to take another chance and started working with Westbow Press.

Publishing with Westbow Press was wonderful.  They walked me through the process and always responded when I had questions.  I am not the most computer savvy person, but everyone there was patient and friendly.  Three months later I received the first copy of my story, Mrs. Bumbleberry’s Garden.  The book arrived on my birthday which I took as a good omen.

Looking Back

It has now been two years since I signed with Westbow Press.  I have six children’s books published and just submitted the seventh one.  Though I’ve never personally met any of the people from Westbow Press, whenever I speak with them it feels like talking to old friends.  I thank God every day for sending me to Westbow Press.

People ask me where I get my stories.  I just smile and say “They are a gift from God.”  I truly believe the stories are His messages and I just have the honor of delivering them.

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


A Call to Write by Jessica C. Jemmott

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Jessica C. Jemmott, author of “Simply Redeemed: Titus 3:3-5.” To learn more about Jessica, visit her website. Jessica can also be found on Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Hearing His Call

January of 2015image3authorphoto, the Holy Spirit instructed me to start a women’s community Bible study. He gave me the vision for it to be held at a local café.  Initially, my thought was, Starbucks is too small and inconvenient (oh, how we can put our God in a box).  I was excited about this move from the Lord and shared the vision with a small number of ladies. Then, of course, all of the excuses for why it was not a good time rushed through my mind.

Before I knew it, a year had passed. I allowed “life” to take precedence over my direct instruction from the Lord.

January of 2016, I was awakened again by the Holy Spirit. This time his call came at four in the morning, he commanded I “move with urgency!” My response was, “Okay, Lord, if I am to move with the Bible study at this particular time, I need you to provide three things: a location, the women, and guidance on how to lead this study in Your Word.”  Within a week I received direct guidance to my requests.

He Prepares and Equips

What I did not realize at the time, was that through His instructions the Lord was preparing and equipping me for more. Not only did he instruct me to gather women to lead through His word, but He was also preparing me to teach. Through this journey, I received the inspiration for Simply Redeemed: Titus 3:3-5.

As many writers, I did not realize that becoming an author was part of my life journey. Two years ago, I could not have imagined that my obedience to the Lord’s instruction would lead to the publication of my first book. When I eventually realized that publication was the next instruction, my response was, “how, Lord?”

Isn’t this always the sentiment expressed when we are “called” to do something difficult or new? When reflecting on this question, consider the biblical figures known for questioning what God “called” them to do? Perhaps you can explore your own experiences of doubt by comparing your situation to these biblical accounts.

Follow the Lord’s Instruction

When the Lord gives us instruction, our obedience is not just a “test” to see if we will complete the task. An instruction from Him is much more than a mere test.  Our obedience to the Lord’s call is bigger than the individual.  Our obedience is always backed by a purpose according to the Lord, with promises that will be received- for which He will get the glory!

covertitleandname How does your obedience to His call have purpose? There are various biblical accounts that can emphasize the importance of adherence to the Lord’s instruction. Throughout my personal experience, I’ve prayed that every individual who journeys through the pages of Simply Redeemed Titus: 3: 3-5 experiences the Lord in new and personal ways.

My vision was that many groups would be formed in churches, homes, and cafes everywhere; all with the purpose of journeying through the pages together. I can humbly attest that within just a few short months since the book has been published, groups are currently being formed both nationally and internationally. These people will glean from that which He has called me to do – write.

 

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


On the Question of Meaning

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from James Michael Castleton, author of  “Mending of a Broken Heart.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

All my life I’ve yearned for more
Than what this world can bring.
And as I struggled toward that shore,
I could not name the thing
Whose presence I have wanted
And whose price I’d gladly pay.
And so my journey has been haunted
By the promise of that day … [1]

An Early Perspective

The roots of inspiration must begin somewhere -mine began at an early age.James Michael Castleton

I was born in Los Angeles, California, when the last farms and orange groves had all but disappeared. The sleepy suburb where I grew up was nestled in the foothills of Laurel Canyon. We enjoyed a crow’s nest view of the valley. Our tiny home felt like an oasis with its wild mint, lemon and peach trees. The valley at night was a treasure of glittering lights, and the morning a repository of gold against the mountains.

It has been said that “beauty is the promise of happiness,” and our humble but wholesome circumstances impressed upon me an important lesson: life rich with significance is likely to be the one lived on simplest terms—a life that contains nothing less than required and nothing more than it ought.

I was blessed with good friends in high school, yet found that solitude was often my most cherished companion. Many mornings and evenings I spent hiking the myriad trails of the Santa Monica Mountains- witnessing more than one dawn break over Los Angeles from a dew covered sleeping bag. I have enjoyed solo map and compass cross-country trekking in the high country of the Sierra Nevada and have put more miles on my boots in those mountains than I have my car.

Longstanding Interest

I have long contemplated how people make sense of their lives and find the wherewithal to do what needs to be done with the sincerity of purpose that a meaningful life requires. I pursued such interests in college from the perspective of behavioral anthropology and cognitive psychology. Since then, I have continued to reflect on these issues during my more than 20 years of medical practice.

During this time it has become clear to me that the principle cause of mental and physical disease is the failure to find a satisfactory answer to the question of meaning.

A Personal Challenge Became A Call to Write

MendingofaBrokenHeartSeveral years ago, life brought me to the point where I had to address this question of meaning in earnest for myself. The result is Mending of a Broken Heart.

In my memoir, I endeavor to explain not simply how to live a meaningful life, but what it is to experience life as meaningful. The purpose of this drive is to help create- not simply imitate -a meaningful life. Meaning is not an end in itself, it is the byproduct of a way of life. In my memoir, I discuss how meaning relates to purpose and hope, as well as how it differs from happiness—also an essential emotion.

Mending of a Broken Heart is meant for the person of faith or the spiritually-minded. It is a personal journey told from a personal perspective. The lofty topics it dares approach are firmly embedded within the two lives that take this journey together.

Mending of a Broken Heart is written to act as companion along a difficult path. Hopefully the wisdom my memoir imparts will help shorten your journey to meaningful living.

[1] Castleton, James. “Pilrgrim ”. Mending of a Broken Heart: The Nature of Meaning and the Purpose That Gives Life Hope. Bloomington: Westbow Press, 2016. 346. Print.

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


God’s Hand in my Publishing Journey

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Eva Schmidt, author of “Grace for Tomorrow.” To learn more about Eva and her book, visit her website or Facebook page. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

My Journey to Publishing Grace for Tomorrow

Eva SchmidtAugust 18, 2016 was an incredibly special day for me. It was the day that my debut novel, Grace for Tomorrow, went live! Grace for Tomorrow is the story of two women’s parallel journeys of faith. Mary is a young girl who turns her back on God after experiencing a family tragedy while Francis is a young mother struggling to rescue her crumbling marriage. Both women embark on a dark and lonely path they never intended to tread.

Writing a novel has always been my dream but it was only after I retired from my career in municipal government that I sat down at my computer and started writing. I had a general story outline in my mind, although I never committed it to paper. Many times as I wrote, the details took care of themselves. It was like I was reading a story with a twist – and I was actually writing it! God was giving me a story to write and he revealed it to me through my fingers on the keys. It was a unique and humbling experience.

I completed my first draft of Grace for Tomorrow in December 2014. I wanted to get it published but wasn’t sure it was good enough. Struggling with a lack of self-confidence and insecurities, I nevertheless researched a host of publishers on line. All too soon, I realized that traditional publishers didn’t take unsolicited materials or only accepted certain types of manuscripts. By the beginning of 2016, I gave up. I committed the publishing to God – trusting that if he wanted the book published he would provide a way – otherwise the manuscript would remain a document on my computer.

His Guiding Hand

March 24, 2016, I received a phone call from a lady at WestBow Press, asking if I still wanted to publish my novel. Apparently they had a sale on publishing packages. I took this as God’s direction and signed with WestBow Press within the next few weeks. I was ecstatic that God had given me a Christian publisher! He truly works in amazing ways!

My experience with WestBow Press has been nothing short of amazing. I knew nothing about publishing but their friendly staff has guided me each step of the way. They were always just a phone call away and turnover times were within the allotted timelines.

 

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


Gary Savage & His Adventurous Nutrition Book

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Gary Savage, author of “Fletcher McKenzie and the passage to Whole.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Book Preview

The protagonist of my book, Fletcher McKenzie is no ordinary 14-year-old boy. He will inherit his family’s food business in Western Maine in less than four years. Before this happens though, Fletcher has to save not only his family’s food business, but also his mother and comatose father.

Fletcher’s adventure starts when he discovers a mysterious ancient portrait of Mollyockett, a Pequawket Indian who lived in the 1700s. Mollyockett’s painted eyes seem to come to life and stare into Fletcher. After finding a poem on the back of the painting of Mollyockett, Fletcher’s Uncle lets him in on a family secret, warning; “What I tell you, you mustn’t tell a soul.”

When Fletcher discovers a passage that has been a McKenzie Family secret for generations, the fast-paced, page-turning adventure begins in earnest. The passage leads to another world called Whole, where Fletcher unlocks a secret power and battles an ancient enemy of the McKenzie family. The novel is so adventurous, that you’ll never know you’re reading a nutrition book!

Book Inspiration

  1. Tell us a little bit about your book and what inspired you to write it?

I’ve been involved with health, fitness and nutrition my entire life. Young readers and young adults are not likely to sit down and read a nutrition book. Most nutrition books are tiresome9781512754872_p0_v1_s192x300. It was my goal to make nutrition interesting and exciting.

  1. Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

I find inspiration for my characters in people that I’ve associated with most of my life. Many of my characters are based on true life people who were a part of my early childhood. The main characters in the book are actual historical figures from Maine history.

  1. What do you love most about self-publishing and would you recommend it to other authors?

I’m fortunate enough to have been published even before this book. Fletcher McKenzie and The Passage to the Whole is actually my first self publishing endeavor. Self-publishing gives me the control I had previously been looking for. I have a major say in the layout of the book, the cover and the final product. I would absolutely recommend self-publishing to other aspiring authors.

Writing and Marketing

4. What are you writing goals for next year?

I’m working on a sequel to this book. That in and of itself is a major task. There aeeabd586-a668-47b5-9bb9-21f60be91846re many colorful characters and unexpected twists and turns in this book. The sequel will build on those. It’s a lot of work!

5. What’s your favorite social media outlet for marketing and promotions?

I would have to say my favorite social media outlets are Facebook and Instagram. They both reach different market segments and are hugely popular.

6. What are some of your favorite reviews you’ve gotten of your work?

My favorite reviews are always from my family and friends. They know me and find laughter in the characters.

7.What advice do you have for aspiring author’s?

My advice to aspiring authors is to just do it. I know hundreds of people who tell me they want to write a book. Most of these people do not. Take the plunge and enjoy it.

 

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


Patti Greene, Author of Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Patti Greene, author of Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer. If you would like to learn more about Patti’s life or work, visit her blog Greene Pastures. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Childhood Interests

Growing up my family valued books and reading. The bookshelves in my parents’ home were always overflowing with novels, magazines, and encyclopedias. Newspapers were delivered in abundance to every home we owned. My two brothers and I were raised to believe that bookcases were an essential piece of furniture in every room.Patti Greene

Where I lived in the northeast, there weren’t any brick-and-mortar libraries close by. Despite that,  I found much enjoyment going to the bookmobile that showed up weekly at the local shopping center. While my mother was in the grocery store, I would anxiously and excitedly climb the big bookmobile stairs. I was always in search of the perfect books to check out. Every Christmas I looked forward to receiving good books to read.

By the time I went to high school, I was not as interested in reading anymore. I remember one day my father restricted me to the dining room table until I read an article in a Newsweek magazine. Reading was always valued in my family, and it still is.

As I write this article, my 91-year-old mother is sitting at the kitchen table taking notes from her medical books.

A Call to Writing

As a child when we traveled on our vacations, my parents had my brothers and I write diary entries on our days’ adventures. This was my first recollection of enjoying “collections.” When I was seventeen, I began logging my prayer requests in various types of note-books. Basically, I found myself prayer-journaling before prayer-journaling came into vogue.

For many years I worked as a librarian. One day after retirement, I prayed fervently about what the Lord wanted me to do. In his own way during my quiet time, I was impressed to go into my bedroom closet. My first thought was, “Oh no God, you aren’t going to make me sit in my messy closet and pray, are you?”

As I stood in my closet, I was impressed again to, “Look up.” There stood 42-years of prayer journals on my top shelf. It was then I heard the still, small voice saying, “Patti, I want you to write prayer journals. This is what I have been preparing you for all these years.” While I have tinkered with writing articles and stories most of my adult life, I became serious at that point. My mission was to write prayer journals so others could experience joy, comfort, and security. Blessings which I’d experienced throughout my entire adult life.

Prayer Journals

Answer MeMy devotional prayer-journals combine Bible study and prayer. The two cannot be separated. Each journal includes undated date lines, topics and Scripture verses. As well as a suggested Bible reading, prayer request sections and a section to honor God with your thoughts.

My prayer is for others to become serious about prayer and Bible study. I practice my writing skills on my own Christian blog Greene Pastures. While I believe “practicing” a skill is of utmost importance, I believe continuous daily practice in communicating with God is essential. That is why I am honored to have the following three journals published with WestBow Press.

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer – A 365-day devotional incorporating interesting phrases from the Bible.

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer – A 181-day devotional filled with both spiritual and social issues.

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for God – a 90-day devotional prayer journal for those desiring how to have a deeper prayer life. NEW RELEASE.

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


The Red Stones by Cathy Corley

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Cathy Corley, author of The Red Stones. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

One day in January, I found myself searching the web for “how to publish a Christian book”. My father had passed away in October, and I felt compelled to tell his story. They say grieving comes in all shapes and sizes. I happened to find solace and feel closer to my father when I could tell others about him. I came across the 1-800 number on the WestBow Press website and decided to take the plunge and call. Phil Yeager, a WestBow publishing consultant, answered as if he was a long-lost friend. Phil validated my father’s story and gave me the confidence to write it down. God was in the center of it all!

red-stonesMy father was born an optimist, he found the good in everything! During his last four years, my father battled lung cancer, lost a leg from diabetes, and suffered a heart attack. However, none of his many ailments ever prompted complaints. He would grin and say, “I feel great!”

How I Got The Idea For My Book

There are so many interesting and funny stories about my dad, but the story I wanted to share was how he spread the gospel. The tangible gift of a small red stone was given to those my father met along his way. Once he placed a red stone in the new friend’s hand, he would tell them of God’s love and ultimate sacrifice. My dad shared the news of Jesus, proclaiming how He died on the cross for our sins and miraculously rose from the dead to live forever. Although my dad knew his time on this earth was coming to an end, he clung to the hope and joy of living forever with Jesus. He wanted others to know this hope as well!

I had the privilege of witnessing my father share the red stones with others, and I did not want to keep this memory to myself. My desire to write The Red Stones began with wanting my great-nieces to know about their great-grandfather. Throughout the writing process, God showed me that this was not only my dad’s story. This story was a challenge for all of us to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Thank You WestBow Press!

I am so appreciative for WestBow Press. They gently guided me from my initial call last January to the final proofs. Each representative was patient, kind and helpful through every stage. I would encourage anyone that has a story on their heart to take the time and write it down. God has blessed me through this journey.

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


L.L. Martin: Positively Powerless

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 Laura Martin (L.L. Martin), author of “Positively Powerless.” For more info about Laura, check out her blog at “Enough Light.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

 

I’ve been an avid informal writer most of my life. I enjoy the old-fashioned hobby of postal letter writing, and I self-published a print newsletter. In recent years, I blog about Christianity. Several individuals encouraged me to write a Christian non-fiction book, but I was uncertain about the topic. Subjects that interested me had already been extensively published on, and SKU-001037112I did not have anything new or unique to add to the conversation.

However, I had long observed a number of weaknesses in modern American Christianity, which seemed connected by an underlying false optimism. I stumbled upon a book about the history of “positive thinking” in America and the idea for my own book was born. It is entitled: Positively Powerless, How a Forgotten Movement Undermined Christianity.

Some aspiring authors are certain about their book’s topic, but if you are uncertain, don’t despair. Pray about it, and keep writing informally. If it is meant to be, the idea will eventually present itself. Meanwhile, just keep writing and find your voice: journal, write letters, start a blog, leave thoughtful comments on the blog posts of others.

It is my opinion that writing a book is something you build up too. If you can’t write brief and informal things, how will you suddenly write something lengthy and formal? My informal writing paved the way. It turned out that I had already blogged about some of the topics that became a part of my book, and the puzzle pieces fit together nicely when I began to write it.

Informal writing will also hone your skills. Be open to critique about your writing ability. I consider writing both a natural talent and a learned skill. If you have been out of school for years, you may need a refresher course on grammar and syntax. IMG_0385Choppy writing can be a problem, and learning to form better sentences can help your ideas flow smoothly and appeal to the reader. Through informal writing, you can practice and perfect your skills before plunging into a book project.

Have you contemplated the idea of success for a distinctly Christian book? While we naturally want to sell books, numbers are not everything. I’d rather have my book get into the “right” hands – that is, those who will be spiritually helped and challenged by its message. As I researched my book, I was intrigued by how a forgotten movement from the late nineteenth century impacts us to this very day. Unfortunately, its influence weakened Christianity, and I hope to help Christians break free from hidden chains and be re-established in a God-centered life.

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Limestone Walls and Telephone Calls   

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 Joyce Rachelle, author of “The Language of Angels.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

I knew at the age of 6 that I wanted to become an author. And unlike many other things I knew at the age of 6, this didn’t change.

I was probably not going to put together something good enough for people to read until I was forty or even older, so right after finishing college and just before looking for a job, I decided I’d try to make money writing. I became freelance writer, picking out jobs and writing content online anonymously. One of my assignments was about the difference between traditional publishing and self publishing. A quick Google search led me to download WestBow Press’s publishing guide – which helped a ton – and then I wrote the article, got my paycheck, picked another assignment, and forgot about it.

SKU-001040087Fast forward three years. I’m standing in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Taking out the slip of paper I had prepared the night before, I start praying. “Please, God, help me become a published author. I may never write for Zondervan or WestBow or any of those other big publishers and I may even have to wait a decade before I come up with anything noteworthy but please, if I was meant to do something else I wouldn’t still be dreaming of this.” I find a gap between the limestone wall and stick my prayer along with the others that had claimed the spot before me.

A month later something awful happened and it shook my faith and began a spiritual crisis that would go on for years. I avoided my friends and withdrew into myself, and when I couldn’t run to God, I went to the only way I knew to vent my thoughts – I wrote them down.

It’s nine months later and I’m sitting in front of my computer screen with a finished manuscript of a first novel. Not having planned anything beyond this point, I stare blankly into space and wonder how on earth I would get a publisher to notice me. Publishing wasn’t a big business in the Philippines – not Christian fiction anyway. I let weeks pass by without incident until one evening my phone rings – an unknown caller – and I pick it up.

“Good evening ma’am,” says a male voice on the other line, “I’m an agent from WestBow Press. Would you like to avail of our services for publishing your book?”

Words fail me. My head fills with questions that I stammer as they each crowd their way out of my mouth.

“How did you get my number?” I ask.

“You downloaded our publishing guide four years ago and — ”

“But why call now?”

“We’re just doing a follow up on our subscribers.”

“But why didn’t you call me four years ago?”

But deep down I knew why he hadn’t called four years ago. Because four years ago, I would have turned him down. Four years ago, I would have told him to remove me from his list. Four years ago, I didn’t believe I could write anything big. Four years ago, I did not yet have a finished book.

Looking back to my prayer at the Wall, all I did was tell the Lord what I probably could not do. I probably could not put together something worth an ISBN. I probably could not be an author at the age of 26. I probably could not get published by WestBow Press. And all He did, in his amazing glory, was prove me wrong on all counts. And the rest, they say, is history.

– 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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


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