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Rick Redner: “We were called to write a book to help others cope with prostate cancer.”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Rick Redner, co-author (along with his wife Brenda) of “I Left my Prostate in San Francisco — Where’s Yours?

Rick and Brenda Redner.

Disruptive moments are what Gordon MacDonald, author of The Life God Blesses, describes as an unpleasant slice of life . Disruptive moments frequently occur in the context of what begins as a routine day. Suddenly and unexpectedly, something happens that brings about an unwanted, unwelcome, and sometimes catastrophic change in your circumstances, health, or well-being.

On one such routine day for me, I had a doctor’s appointment to obtain a prescription refill. While I sat in the waiting room, thanking God for my current state of good health, I could never have imagined that was I was fifteen minutes way from experiencing a disruptive moment.  During my appointment, my urologist examined my prostate. He felt a “suspicious lump,” which a biopsy would later confirm was prostate cancer.

RednerCoverPhilippians 4:6–7 came to mind. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (NKJ, Thomas Nelson). Unfortunately, I didn’t experience a reduction in anxiety or the peace of God.

I knew too many people who had died from a variety of different cancers.  Additionally, I’d spent two years as a medical social worker. I left that career, and my wife left her career in medical oncology because of our mutual need to get away from suffering and death. The diagnosis of prostate cancer brought these words to my mind: excruciating pain, suffering, and death.

Based on my experiences with cancer, I felt fear, terror, and endured many sleepless nights. The fact that my faith made little or no difference in the way I was coping intensified my fears. During this phase in my journey, I prayed for three things: wisdom—because I needed to chose a way to treat my cancer; peace—because sleepless nights were interfering with my ability to cope; and the ability to find humor everywhere I could. Our prayers and the prayers of others were answered.

It became evident to us we were called to write a book to help others cope with prostate cancer. Since we’ve written our book, we’ve had the opportunity to share our experiences on radio talk shows.  I’ve been invited to write articles for magazines. I designed and host an online, faith-based pre- and post-prostate surgery support forum, which receives thousands of page views per month.  This month, our local newspaper is doing a feature story about our ministry. We stand in awe at the number of doors that continue to open for us to help others. None of this would have or could have happened if we ignored the call to write our book.

Connect with Rick Redner: http://www.whereisyourprostate.com/

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, 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.

 

 

 


Becky Alexander: 1,264 Days

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Pastor Becky Alexander, author of One Smile, One Arm. Becky’s book includes a collection of stories that originated on her blog

I waited one thousand two hundred sixty-four days for it, and when it came, I wasn’t home.

My book One Smile, One Arm began as a single post on a new blog on December 27, 2009. I actually have someone I don’t like very much to thank for it, though I will never admit that to him. This person had done some infuriating things and my stress level was through the roof. I decided as a distraction I would write a story about my life, something in

Pastor Becky Alexander offers 25 heartwarming and humorous stories about life with a short arm.

Pastor Becky Alexander offers 25 heartwarming and humorous stories about life with a short arm.

which he could not have an ounce of input. As I wrote, the words poured out onto the page. They were words about my first job, and my first experience of discrimination…

I looked at her blankly and blurted out, “What?” Confused, I replayed the words in my head. I couldn’t process them. I struggled, “What does my arm have to do with custard-filled doughnuts?” I simply could not make the connection. 

In that one unexpected moment, I was introduced to the rest of my life.

I titled the story “Custard-Filled Doughnuts” and you can find it on page 25 in my book. Writing the story energized me, renewed my wounded spirit. So I kept doing it. Three weeks later, I posted “Capitol Hill. ” Six weeks after that, I posted “Dumbest Question.” I continued writing and I never stopped.

Over a period of three years, I accumulated twenty-five stories about my life experiences with one arm. I toyed with the idea of getting them published, even submitted them a few places. One of my posts, “Friday Night Lights,” was included in a book called When God Makes Lemonade. But this January, as I listed my goals for 2013, I got serious about it. Goal #4 stated: Publish One Smile, One Arm.

Becky shot this photo upon receiving the first copy of her book.

The trouble was I had no idea how to publish a book. I just dove in. I found a publisher, WestBow Press. I attended the “Called to Write Conference” in Pittsburg, Kansas to learn all I could. I pushed through the submission phase, the editorial phase, the cover design phase, and the book interior design phase. Then in early June, I received this email message:

Production of your book is now complete and we are ready to send the book files to printer. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s all I’ve got to say. On June 12, 2013, a package arrived in the mail—and I wasn’t home to receive it. I guess I can’t complain, as I was in Hawaii. My daughter Cassie opened the package and texted me a picture.

I have loved this journey of 1,264 days. So now what? On to the next journey!

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, 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.


WestBow Authors Attend the Book-to-Screen PitchFest New York 2013

Shauna Mayer, author of WestBow Press title “Confessions of 5 Christian Wives,” practices her pitch with Keith Ogorek.

This past weekend, about 100 authors came together in the heart of Times Square in New York City at the Marriott Marquis for the Book to Screen PitchFest event, where authors learn how to pitch their book’s movie, television and theater potential to entertainment representatives and then have the chance to pitch their stories. WestBow Press was represented at this event by two authors who pitched their Christian stories to representatives from a range of top companies in television, film, and talent management.

During the event, authors heard from Robert Kosberg, known as Hollywood’s “King of the Pitch.” Mr. Kosberg has had years of experience pitching stories that ultimately are made in to movies. On Saturday morning he gave an entertaining and informative lecture, stressing the importance of having a great idea that you can present in a compelling way. After the lecture, the group divided into three rooms to practice delivering their two minute pitch directly to either Mr. Kosberg; Keith Ogorek, Senior VP of Global Marketing for Author Solutions; or Caroline Weiss, Author Solutions’ Director of New Media.

Kenneth Regan, author of “A Christmas Miracle Comes to Holy Nativity,” attended the recent PitchFest in New York City.

During this practice round they were given  advice about improving their pitch, and benefited from hearing the advice and pitches for the other authors in their group. WestBow Press author Shauna Mayer, who wrote her non-fiction book “Confessions of 5 Christian Wives,” presented her pitch and was told during the practice round that it sounded like it would make a great faith-based reality TV show. After the practice round and Mr. Kosberg’s lecture, Mayer and the other authors were able to revise their pitches and present their ideas in the most compelling way.

The afternoon brought the main event, a speed-dating style series of pitching books to New York entertainment representatives. Using their new skills, authors told their story in two minutes or less to nine different companies. The pitches were scored.  Representatives interested in any of the stories pitched, have the option of requesting a full manuscript for review.

Kenneth Regan, author of “A Christmas Miracle Comes to Holy Nativity” from WestBow Press, said this about his pitching experience:

“I entered the event hotel with trepidation not knowing what lay ahead.  But from my first greeting at the event, I was made to feel comfortable.  The opening night was a chance to meet other authors, which I found to be a very supportive community.  We also met the speakers who would lead us through the weekend.  They were informative and made themselves available throughout the event to answer any questions, offer suggestions, and calm nerves.  The advice and coaching made us well prepared for our pitches.  While the pitching experience was quite nerve-wracking, it also proved to be exhilarating.  The event was put together well, making for a positive overall experience.  Even if nothing else comes from it, it proved to be a valuable learning experience.  And who knows what it may lead to?”

 


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