New Picture Book Self Publishing Opportunity!

You’re standing at a fork in the road of life… and one direction holds a beaten down, familiar path. The other direction is full of wild jungle, unknown and terrifying.

That’s where I stood just a month ago, at a fork between comfortable and crazy, known and nature’s black hole of nothingness. The options were

  1. Carry on with life as usual: writing, publishing, consulting, coaching, and speaking for free (except for book sales and paying to publish), pouring time and energy and value into building many, many bridges half way. Pulled into every opportunity as it came because “I should.”

or

2. Own that while I’m really good at all of those things, I can’t excel at any of them all at once and to value my expertise in writing and publishing, to narrow down who I can help and to do it masterfully. To face the monsters of fear and mediocrity and shoot down their lies that I’m inadequate, limited, too mediocre, or too scared to ever accomplish anything for any good.

Why is grabbing hold of confidence and knowing our value so terrifyingly hard?

Ironically, at the same time, opportunities crossed my path that pointed toward the “crazy” lane.

Like picture book authors who asked me to charge them for my critiques, my advice, and consultation. Even when I said it was free. I realized that what I offer is so valuable that people don’t feel right just taking it. This was eye-opening about the value of what I was sheepishly giving away.

The Book Building Business Intensive with Self Publishing School CEO and Staff

Or being accepted as one of ten people invited to the Book Building Business Intensive in San Diego with the CEO (Chandler Bolt) of Self Publishing School and his very talented staff for their first ever live event.

Or the sweet 6 year-old girl who said to me recently, “Your picture books are perfect.

These small examples all grabbed their neon signs and pointed down the path of terror. Shouting that I have something of value to offer the world. Of believing that I am incredible at what I do. And of receiving the affirmations that keep pouring in.

As for your own gifts, strengths and talents – I will say this: you are fearless! And generous! And you clearly care about, not only the message, but how the message is received and that it is done so in an uplifting way. People will follow such a leader!

-Business Mentor

and

I feel very strongly that you are meant to do great things for yourself, your family and many others that you have not even met yet.

-Business Mentor

and

Thank you for loving me from the very beginning and teaching me what it looks like to be a faithful friend. You are an extraordinarily gifted writer, communicator, connector, adventurer, listener, empathizer and the ultimate FUN creator! Thanks for inviting me into your world.

-A friend

So, after prayerful consideration, coaching and mentoring from thoughtful business leaders in self publishing, and feedback from my family and friends, and spiritual mentors, I’ve decided “Path Crazy.”

I’ve launched my very own Picture Book Self Publishing Coaching program!

I’m SO excited to finally have one bridge to focus on building and to do it superbly. My goal is to help people publish their picture books as quality as possible in 90 days or less.

I’m building the program together with my clients and my decade of experience in traditional publishing and last few years in self publishing as an Amazon best-selling author. You can learn more about it HERE.

If you know ANYONE who has dreamed of publishing their picture book, send them my way! If they sign up, I’ll send you $50! (Make sure they write your name in the “referral” section of the form.

I’m accepting applications for the limited spots I’m offering until Sunday, November 12th!  There is NO commitment when filling in the application other than to a free clarity call with ME to find the best path to fulfilling your picture book publishing dreams!

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I’m excited to start this new adventure! I know lives will change (my own included!) Join me!

Book Review: Of Stillness and Storm

Hello friends!

I have the great pleasure of reviewing Of Stillness and Storm by Michèle Phoenix, a leading voice for Missionary Kids (having been raised as one herself). You can read more about Michèle here.

Michèle also has history with Black Forest Academy, which is how our paths originally crossed. Learning that we are both writers, love Jesus, and love MKs, we’ve stayed in touch over distance and time.

Here’s a synopsis of Of Stillness and Storm: 

“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

As a mother serving in the mission field, this story hit close to home at times. No, I’m not in Nepal and my living conditions are considerably better (though you’d wonder on days where my internet services feels even less available than Lauren’s in the story).

Even so, this story has something for any person pursuing a life of purpose or calling or meaning. At what cost will we pursue that ambition? Whether we believe our “mission” is from God or we have a self-determined drive, what are we willing to give, or sell, or lose in the process?

That is something Michèle processes through her story of a family serving in Nepal. Even though the signs are everywhere, that their son is struggling, the she is struggling, her husband can only believe that God will work it out since He has called them to this service.

What do we do in these situations? How many well-meaning families have ended in divorce, suicide, depression, or complete burnout for the sake of what one or all believe is God’s purpose for their lives? How do we determine the difference between the God whose call trumps the health of the family, and a God who loves each and every one? The God who Himself rested? These are hard and deep questions, and while not given an absolute answer within Michèle’s story, are certainly addressed and played with.

Which makes it terribly uncomfortable.

Before that sends you running, let me explain.

Good and important themes often make us uncomfortable. And they probably should. They make us confront hard realities, stories we’d rather ignore or shove down, possibilities we want to believe don’t exist. What? A family serving God while having to deal with emotional affairs? Physical affairs? Troubled and rebellious children? Mental illness? Medication for depression? Suicide? Divorce? While not all of these present in the story of Lauren and Sam, the themes of their story make us look long and hard at the cost some families are paying in the name of “calling.”

Setting the mission aspect aside for a moment, Of Stillness and Storm also deals with emotional boundaries in a marriage and outside. Lauren finds herself in conversation with an old friend, right during a time where her heart toward her own man is muddled. Sam is gone a lot, serving the indigenous in their host country, leaving her to single parenting, transitioning into the new culture, and bearing the weight of a life that keeps catching her off guard.

Then comes Facebook and a new message.

Oh man, how I’ve had to guard my own heart at every instance in my marriage. How easily the enemy sneaks in with whispered promises of “better” or “more” or “see?” and how those lies can devastate whole families. Lauren knows this, of course, but refuses to really acknowledge the way her heart is moving toward this old friendship. This dangerous clinging to naivety only furthers her along the road of strain in her own marriage, family, and heart. Again, another issue that Michèle tackles with rawness and which, of course, made me uncomfortable. 🙂

But not so uncomfortable that I could put the book down.

No, the realness of their story kept me attached and I couldn’t let this sweet family go. I had to know what decisions they’d make. I had to know if Lauren would hand her heart over. I had to know if Sam would save his family or the villagers. I had to know if Ryan, their son, would finally adjust to life in this foreign country or if he’d crash and burn. Partly I had to know because my heart wants to know, too, what I think about God. Am I in a place to give my heart slowly and ignorantly to the destruction of my marriage? Do I believe God calls us to sacrifice our marriages and children for what we believe His causes are? Would I choose my children or our mission?

While I still have much to process in these themes, I found the story riveting. It wasn’t meant or written in such a way that I feel obligated to make big decisions for my life right now. But it did raise these themes to my awareness, themes that I’ve watch from the sidelines in some of the families I’ve served alongside… the quiet divorce and the family silently leaving the field. The expelled child whose actions send the whole family away. An affair amidst emotional and verbal abuse. It happens. And I hate that it happens. Of Stillness and Storm is one story of one family walking these tightropes.

It’s a worthy read. It’s an important read.

You can get it here.

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

img_0189 It’s my book’s birthday!

A year ago, “Reclaiming Hope: Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting Foster and Adopted Children” hit the shelves. What dream-come-true that moment was!

I had spent much of a lifetime preparing for that book. Then I lived much of it for about ten years. I never planned on penning that story… but when the time came, this is the book that came out.

The story of the many ways we haven’t figured out how to do this adopting/fostering thing in a mess-free, pain-free, beautiful way… but we keep pursuing hope anyway.

I’ll be honest… while I knew that I wanted each chapter to end with hope, there were many chapters where I just plain didn’t have any. I had to dig deep. Go back to our original “why” for entering this parent-child relationship that has both exhilarated us and, at times, devastated us.

rhHundreds of people have purchased the book, either in print or kindle format. Okay, that’s not a NY Times Best Selling number, but it’s that many hundreds of people who’ve found and recovered and been encouraged by the message of hope in the book.

I’ve also been asked to speak on a number of occasions related to the topics of the book. In fact, on November 19 at 11:30 PST, I will be part of a radio talk show. You can listen in on the Independent Talk 1100 KFNX Radio station, the God and Country Show. I’ll be sharing the air with my editor and his wife (the talk show hosts), an author who recently published a fictional book on these themes, and a woman who works with Foster children in Arizona. What a gift!

God has opened many wonderful doors of opportunity, and in return, has filled my own cup with such encouragement.

Finally, since the publishing of “Reclaiming Hope,” I’ve begun five other projects. My debut picture book is due the end of THIS month (November seems to be a GREAT publishing month for me). A second picture book will be on the tail of the first. In the next week or two, my first journal, “Castle Quest Adventure Journal” will be available. Meanwhile, I’m finishing another non fiction novel while revising a young adult novel. Whew!!! The Lord has filled my heart and time with excitement for these projects.

I suppose I should mention that I’ve also been hired by a handful of people to edit and help publish their own books. Yes, more on that to come! I’m just finishing up a fantastic book by a local missionary, and about to begin editing a work that I know will be a loud voice in an industry that needs some strong voices.

If you want in on helping me choose titles, book covers, and other insider tips for my upcoming books, make sure to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Facebook.

Happy Birthday, Reclaiming Hope!!!