Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seekerville Welcomes Dan Walsh


Before anything else, I want to thank the Seekerville ladies for the wonderful time we had in Denver during the ACFW conference in September. It was my first writer’s conference and my wife and I hardly knew a soul. Julie and Tina and the rest took us in and let us join them as the group headed downtown to the 16th St. Mall. And thanks, Tina, for the invitation to spend some time with the folks here in Seekerville. I’ve been lurking off and on for the last few weeks. You are a very active bunch.







What’s up with the turtle sitting on the fencepost? I know this blog is fond of pics, so I looked for one that might serve as a theme for my post.



Some Bio Info:

I’ve been a full-time pastor for the last 24 years at the same church in the Daytona Beach area. I’ve been married for 33 years to the only woman I’ve ever loved, Cindi. We have two grown children, Rebekah and Isaac. Let’s see…I like pizza, ice cream, chocolate, and a thousand other things I’m not supposed to have. Cindi keeps me from most of it. So we eat chicken, salad and vegetables. I put something on my English muffin that’s not quite butter. We don’t exercise near enough.

My online stuff:

Website – http://www.danwalshbooks.com
My blog - http://danwalshbooks.blogspot.com


A Bit About My Book:

My debut novel has been out since September, called The Unfinished Gift (Revell). Here’s a one-paragraph blurb:

It is a few weeks before Christmas, 1943. Little Patrick Collins is being driven across town to stay with a grandfather he’s never met. His mother has just died in a car accident. The Army is trying to locate his father, a B-17 bomber pilot, somewhere in England. Patrick has just three things on his Christmas list. He wants the Army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather’s house. And he wants the old wooden soldier in his grandfather’s attic…the one he is forbidden to touch. The Unfinished Gift explores how God can use simple and sometimes surprising things to affect powerful changes in our hearts. Like a little boy’s prayers, a shoebox full of love letters, and the selfless sacrifice of a total stranger.

If you haven’t already picked out your Christmas novel for the year, I hope you’ll give it a look.

Now…back to the turtle thing.


My Journey Up the Fence Post

Tina thought the readers in Seekerville might be interested in my publishing journey. Here’s the problem…how I went from being a seeker to getting published is about as unlikely as that turtle sitting on top of that fencepost. And just as challenging for someone else to follow. For about a year, I didn’t want to tell my story to any of the authors I met online, but you can’t avoid it. It’s one of the small-talk questions writers ask each other. But now I think God has given me something that might actually encourage my fellow sojourners.

I’ll tell you what in a minute.

It all began during an 11th grade creative writing course. By the end of that year, I knew I wanted to write novels. A year later, I came to Christ and it totally messed up my plans. Main reason was, I realized I had absolutely nothing to say. So I set it aside and made my aim to get to know the Lord better. This eventually led toward a call for ministry. I didn’t write another thing for the next 20 years, except sermons.

By 1997, we had two small children and I was the lone pastor of a growing church. At a conference, pastors were challenged to pick up a hobby as a way to release stress and avoid burnout. Cindi suggested I start writing fiction again.

As the Christmas season ended that year, The Unfinished Gift just began playing in my head, like scenes from a movie. Over the next 2 days I wrote a 5-page synopsis, then set out to write the book. A few months later, with the book about half-finished, I knew it just wasn’t the right time. Writing had quickly gone from a casual hobby to an obsession. I could either stop writing or become a bad dad. So I set the book down and didn’t write another thing for 10 more years.

In 2007, as summer began, Cindi urged me to pick up the book again and finish it. It just seemed like the right time. Both our children were now grown. So I pulled the book out, brushed off the cobwebs and finished writing it before summer’s end. Here’s where the fencepost thing comes into play. From everything I’d read, I should expect an extremely frustrating process from this point, with many years of constant rejection.

That didn’t happen. Instead…I have only one rejection letter in my drawer.

Working from a list of the top literary agents in Christian fiction, I submitted my first 3 query letters, including a brief synopsis and the first 3 chapters. After that first rejection letter, two more letters came. But agents 2 & 3 asked to read the entire manuscript! Within two weeks, one of them got back with me, confident she could get a contract for the book.

We had the contract for The Unfinished Gift with Revell less than 2 months later. The editing process also went lightning fast. It consisted of one email containing 3 minor suggestions that took two hours to fix. A few months later, Revell bought the sequel called The Homecoming. I finished it last summer. It’s due out in June.


Somehow, and for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, it’s like God just picked me up off the grass and plopped me on top of that fencepost. I skipped the hardest part. I have no idea how I got here and no idea how to advise anyone else still along the way.

But There is This…

There is something I have learned through all this, perhaps a fresh perspective that might encourage those experiencing a more normal publication journey. Here it is (you all know this): God is sovereign over all things and even cares about the minor details of our lives. I think this truth needs to be emphasized.

I’ve done a lot of online reading over the last year―loops, blogs, websites and emails―and I’ve observed something over and over in many places. Something I believe could potentially become a faith killer. It’s this strong tendency among Christian writers toward striving and fretting. There’s almost a sense that the key to getting published is all up to you, you and your incredibly hard work.

You’ve heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” Anyone who knows their Bible would see this popular saying is off. But this saying, in a way, gets at the concern I’m talking about. Please don’t hear something I’m not saying. I believe in diligence. I believe in hard work. I believe in persevering. The Bible encourages all these things. I believe all these things are necessary to get that elusive contract.

But I also believe in faith. Not faith in faith, but faith in the One who loves us and gave His life for us. Faith in His commitment to care for us, so that we don’t have to live our lives as orphans, fending for ourselves (including our journey toward publication). If God the Father knows when a lone sparrow falls in the forest, He knows our situation, down to the smallest detail.

When I stand before God, I don’t stand before Him as a published author. Those of you still not published stand right beside me. We both stand before Him as beloved children. His love for us is the same and, because of Christ, will never be removed.

May I encourage you to pull away often from the frenzied pace―whenever you’re tempted to believe it’s all up to you―and allow His love for you to once again regain first place and refresh your soul. Keep working hard at it, keep writing and refining and listening to good advice.
But always know, you are loved, and you are His. No earthly prize will ever compare to this.





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Today, Dan will be giving away a copy of The Unfinished Gift to a Seekerville visitor who comments. Winner will be drawn at 8 pm MST and posted in the comment area. Please be sure to leave your email address.

87 comments :

  1. Well, dagnabbit, Dan, now I just love you to pieces.

    What a beautiful post and such a warm, wonderful way of putting things in proper perspective. And calling us on our goofy humaness of fret and worry and engineering things to our own ends, space and time.

    You rock, big guy. I'd come to your church in a heartbeat and I'd donate, too. :)

    Can you move to upstate NY? Because I don't do bugs the size of small children very well.

    I made coffee, lots of it, brought creamers of all kinds, and sweet rolls decked with frosting and cinnamon. So wonderful.

    ALSO: for Teenster and others who don't understand the need of a pure sugar and M&M breakfast...

    Eggs and wheat toast, lightly sweetened with clover honey in the bread. Sides of home-made sausage. Fresh fruit.

    I'll stick to the cinna-rolls and M&M's of course!!! :)

    Dan, Welcome To Seekerville. We're SO glad to have you here today, and I can't wait to read your book.

    Ruthy

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  2. Great post, Dan! Congrats on your first book. And thanks for reminding us about what is most important!

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  3. Welcome Dan! So much truth in your post.

    Four years ago 15 unpubbed Seekers came together to pray for and encourage each other on a journey we believed God was calling us to, deriving our name from the Biblical passage "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you as well."

    We work hard to learn the craft, study the market, faithfully "water camels"--but first and foremost we're pursuing a relationship with God. Waiting expectantly for HIS timing in all things. Gradually doors (and windows!) have opened that without Him would have remained shut. And He's brought the 15 of us into a life-long (and eternity-long!) friendship.

    Thank you for the reminder that God's in control, no matter where we are in life's journey and that there is no pubbed/unpubbed distinction in his kingdom.

    I've already put your book on my next book buying expedition list! Thanks again for joining us today!

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  4. Well good morning, Ruth and Lisa. Thanks for starting us off on such a pleasant note.

    Think I'll walk right down that cyber buffet line you've set up Ruth. Cindi isn't up yet, so she won't know what I put on my plate.

    But when she does get up, she makes the best cup of coffee I've ever tasted.

    Not sure about the upstate NY move. Where my wife is from (emphasis on from). I'm from Philly, but we both came down here as kids. Now we're stuck. Especially Cindi. She puts on a jacket when it hits 60 degrees.

    Thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to spending the day with you all.

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  5. Glynna, morning to you. Guess we were typing about the same time.

    The fellowship in this group is simply superb. Nothing to compare it to.

    I love your slogan "No woman left behind." You really do care for each other in wonderful ways.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite texts. Phil 2:3-8

    Dan

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  6. Dan, thank you for sharing your publication journey. Mostly, thank you for the attitude perspective: reassuring, reaffirming and definitely reflective on how a turtle gets to the top of a fence post. Your story reminds me of what an elderly woman told me once, "The teacher will be there when the student is ready."
    Do you think there's room for another turtle up there?
    God bless,
    Jane Susanna Wells

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  7. Thanks for such an inspiring post to start my day...and the reminder that chicken and vegetables are the path now days!

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  8. Jane, not to stretch a metaphor too far...they're may not be room on my fencepost, but the field is full of them, stretches for miles. And they're all connected, close enough for some of us to hear and help each other.

    I've heard a few of the pubbed stories that have already taken place among the Seekers, and a dozen others besides. They tell of experiencing God's kindness and personal direction every bit as strong as mine.

    Not sure why He decided to allow me to "skip the hard part" but I find I need His help just as much as ever.

    Totally off-subject...some of these things Google wants you to type in to verify. They're asking me to type: screducl.

    Dan

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  9. Bookie,

    Yesterday we strayed. Went to our favorite seafood place, right on the water (a river, not the ocean). Ate fried fish (lightly battered). Their motto is, "the fish you eat today was swimming yesterday."

    Came with fries and hush puppies. But we'll be back on track today.

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  10. Good morning, Dan. Okay I am off today. I slept in until 6.

    Thanks for breakfast Ruthy.

    Coffee people? Coffee?? If you empty the pot you have to make more.

    I have to tell you that I began the process of posting Dan's message in my normal way and then after it was ready to go. I read it.

    It simply brought me to tears.

    Thank you for such a heartfelt and honest message.

    I can honestly say you and your wife are down home real folks. Just the kind we like here in Seekerville.

    Thanks for letting me get you lost in Denver and never even complaining about it.

    He he he.

    So is there a bit of surrealism to being a published author and having an agent?

    When you first saw your book. Your book. Your name on it.

    What was your gut reaction?

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  11. Tina,

    We so enjoyed getting lost with you in Denver. What fun would life be if everything always went smoothly. Some of our best adventures have come digging out of trouble.

    I can remember each moment vividly: the day I got the call from Karen Solem, my agent. The day, 2 months later, when she called me about Revell. And the day 3 months ago, when they mailed me the first copy, hot off the press. I'm writing my 4th book now. Lord willing, they'll be many more. But I think I'll remember those 3 moments for the rest of my life.

    It was that good.

    But it didn't feel anything like vindication (I knew I could do it, etc.) I felt humbled and in awe of God. Who am I that you would put such a dream in my heart and let me live to see it fulfilled?

    Dan

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  12. Dan, Thank you for telling us about your publication journey. Very interesting reading.It was such a great post. Your first novel sounds like a winner and one that I really would like to read.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  13. Good Morning Dan and welcome to Seekerville, I thoroughly enjoyed our outing together in Denver and the blessing of meeting you and your wife. Thanks for sharing your story.

    As you point out, God loves variety. smile. Your story is amazing and inspiring. Thanks for reminding us of where we need to put our priorities. It is so easy to forget that.

    I won't tell Cindi about that plate from Ruthy's buffet 'cause I'm helping myself too. smile And Teenster-I brought more coffee. My favorite-chocolate velvet.

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  14. Good morning Jo and Sandra. Thanks for jumping in to say hey.

    I'm about ready for Cindi's real-life coffee. Love the smell of this cyber brew, but I'm still yawning.

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  15. Dan, how satisfying to know your first release hits the mark.

    Here are some of the reviews out there:


    I couldn't put the book down. The Unfinished Gift is a satisfying, nostalgic read, one of forgiveness and restoration, of hope and faith. An exquisite debut novel. Novel Journey/Reviews gives it 4½ stars.


    You and our own Myra Johnson are mentioned by Library Journey as First authors to read in upcoming fall and winter reads. WOW!! Huge. Congrats to you both.

    Christianbooks.com says about The Unfinished Gift...This nostalgic story of reconciliation will touch your heart.


    Congratulations again!

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  16. Dan -- Never feel that you have to apologize for "skipping the hard part." God has a different path to publication for each of us. I'm sure you've had plenty of difficult times in your life and ministry that none of the rest of us have had to deal with and those prepared you to move forward when God gave the word.

    I know sometimes I feel like I don't have a "testimony" because I came to Christ as a pre-teen. I don't have a sordid history that makes people sit on the edge of their seats in stunned, teary silence, then break out in applause and praise at my turn around and God's mercy.

    Yet, in reality, what a testimony to have been raised the way God would love for ALL children to be raised -- in a loving, Christ-centered home. So I've learned not to apologize for being blessed but, like you, to celebrate it with a humble sense of wonder and thankfulness.

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  17. Hi, Dan! I sat across from you and your lovely wife at Ted's Montana Grill in Denver. Nice to see you again!

    Thanks for sharing your story with us! Yes, the journey to publication is normally frustrating and painful, but I'm glad it doesn't always have to be. For me, it's been kind of like Pilgrim's Progress, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There are many temptations and traps that the poor writer can fall into: self-reliance, pride, despondence, obsession with getting published to the detriment of family and friends, and I've fallen into every pothole you can name! But I've reached out and let God pull me out every time. So here I am. I'm still here! That's a testament to God's faithfulness.

    Thanks for giving your testament! God is faithful! Yay!

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  18. Thanks Tina and Glynna. It's been amazing to hear back from people how something you've written has affected them. Besides the readers who've weighed in at the online stores, I get emails almost everyday, from all over the country. People are going on my website from Canada, London, New Zealand, Germany...hard to fathom.

    And Glynna, you're right, I shouldn't feel a need to apologize for something God has done. It blessed me to hear how you came to Christ at such a young age. You really didn't miss a thing taking a turn "out there." Both my wife and I came to Christ after we found out the hard way.

    I've had one child with your story and one who felt the need to pull away and find out for themselves what they had been missing. Thankfully, that one's back now for several years, and marvels at the lunacy that kept them from seeing God's relevance and mercy.

    We're just grateful God still opens blinded eyes.

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  19. I cannot wait to read your book!

    you sound like such a wonderful pastor and I admire you for putting writing aside while you took time to get to know God and also your children.

    you eat something that's not quite butter...lol :)

    stampedwithgrace at cox dot net

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  20. Sandra, good job on the coffee. Way to 'come to the table', Sistah!

    Dan, super thanks to you for complimenting our amazing group of women. Totally led together by God's grace, and a competitive spirit none of us wanted to get out of hand. Too much temptation there.

    Together we compete and then laugh. Unless Julie beats me at ANYTHING which is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

    But I digress. :)

    Dan, your gentleness has a Max Lucado feel to it, blessed by God. Wherever this road takes you, I know it will bless others.

    And I'm going to grab another cinnamon roll, thereby saving Dan from himself, and just sneak off for a while. I promised the little monsters we'd make cookies.

    Chocolate chip with white chocolate chunks.

    I'll bring some by later.

    Ruthy

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  21. Good morning, Dan. Welcome to Seekerville.
    If only we could all just give our worries up to God. I think the whole world would absolutely fall into line. Peace.

    Thanks for a great reminder of what we should all REALLY be striving for.

    The book sounds wonderful.

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  22. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
    wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. Hi Dan,

    Good stuff!

    What a wonderful testimony of God's love and grace and His timing. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to look to Him as our source.

    Blessings on your writing and your ministry.

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  24. Welcome to Seekerville, Dan. I loved your post, a beautiful affirmation of God's love and His concern for the smallest details of our lives. God plopped you on that fencepost in His perfect timing. I can't wait to read The Unfinished Gift!!

    My husband was in the group who went out in Denver. He had a great time!

    How fun to see we share the same awesome agent. :-)

    Janet

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  25. Checked out for a bit. Cindi gave me a cup of her perfect coffee, and she has a meeting with some Children's Ministry workers this morning and wanted to go over some things.

    Good morning to those who've stopped by since.

    Let's see...why 1943? Couple of reasons. They say, write what you know. Prior to writing The Unfinished Gift I had already been a WW2 buff. I've read dozens of books about it, not just about the war but about how America was during the war. Such a different world then. One I feel very at home in.

    When I "saw" the book playing out in my head, it actually played out in 1943. But another reason had to do with a desire to write a novel that could "crossover" to a secular audience but still allow me to communicate the gospel in real but subtle ways. I think I've been able to do that. Many believers have written me saying the're really looking forward to buying this book as a Christmas gift for friends/relatives they're reaching out to, because of this dynamic at work in the book.

    I mean it's a Christmas story for one thing. During WW2, America was much more patriotic and religious (God and country, etc.), so talkig about these things seems very normal, not forced. And who is going to begrudge hearing the good news from a little child or a dying grandmother?

    Actually, I think those of you who write contemporary fiction have a much greater challenge sharing the "Christian" aspects of Christian fiction in your books, because our culture has become so hostile to our faith in many ways.

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  26. DAN!!!! How great it is to have you here today--welcome to Seekerville!

    Like it did with Tina, your post brought tears to my eyes and gives all of us just a taste of the beautiful writing in store in The Unfinished Gift. Thank you for your story and your inspiring message ... I needed it today.

    Meeting you and Cindi in Denver was one of the many wonderful highlights at ACFW this year, so thank you for helping to make my conference so special. Sooo glad you joined us for dinner Friday night ... that was brave. And fun. :)

    Abundant blessings on your career ... uh ... "His" career, your ministry.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  27. Thanks for the kind words Melanie, Mary, Wanda, Janice and Janet.

    And Janet, yes, Karen has been a wonderful agent. How long have you been with her?

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  28. Julie, one of the highlights for Cindi and I was sitting in that big banquet room, and hearing your name called out as the "Debut Novel of the Year" winner.

    Especially after spending the evening before eating prime rib and buffalo meat loaf with you all, and listening to you convince yourself that you didn't have a prayer of winning, given the competition (and there were some seriously gifted folks in that category).

    Congratulations again.

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  29. (Nailed Julie, cough, cough, didn't you.)

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  30. She (Julie) just seemed so sure she didn't have a chance. We figured she must know better than we do.

    Too bad her acceptance bit wasn't recorded. She had the whole room laughing.

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  31. Welcome to Seekerville, Dan!

    What a pleasure enjoying dinner with you and Cindi in Denver at Ted's. Hmm, you toured Denver with us and lived to talk about it. Ahhh, God is good : )

    Dan, I'm so overjoyed to hear about writing journeys that aren't arduous and difficult. Working for God is NOT a hardship. It's just the whole *waiting on God's timing* is not the genetic make-up of humans.

    Looking back, I can see if I had sold a book back when I thought I was ready...ha!... I know I would have disappointed my editor, my readers, my family AND most probably God. No, I'm content to wait on HIS perfect timing.

    Such a pleasure having you with us today. Thanks for sharing your encouraging story, and thank Cindi for letting you play with us. Go wake her up and tell her coffee's on!!

    Speaking of coffee, I've brought a nice Southern Pecan blend. Cinnamon rolls are store bought, but hey, at least their fresh not from the day-old rack. For you guys, I splurge : )

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  32. Hi Dan,

    Such a lovely post. Very inspiring to us wannabes!

    I love books about forgiveness and redemption. Can't wait to read yours. Sounds like a perfect Christmas gift!

    Best wishes,

    Sue
    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

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  33. Good morning Audra. If I'm ever back in Denver, we will seek out Ted's, for sure.

    Many times, I've thought about what would have happened had I not heard the Lord say, "Not now" back when. I really wasn't ready.

    In the last few years, after going through a particularly difficult trial (not related to writing), I found myself saying to God, "Just do this one thing, and the whole situation will break through."

    Now I laugh at the absurdity of this...I being the one being who has found the flaw of the Supreme Being, and offer Him the benefit of my insight.

    I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to recall Isa 55, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways..."

    And I thought, "One way we're different is You are much slower."
    Then as I pondered, I realized He is much slower because He is taking so many more things into account in His solution than I could ever imagine. I can think of one needful thing. He is thinking of 3 things or 30. Then I heard in that still small voice... "or 300 things."

    I'm pleased to report that trial is now over and God's wisdom was thoroughly vindicated. And I learned a little bit more about childlike faith, about learning to rest in the midst of things beyond my control.

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  34. What I like about Dan Walsh the writer is that I didn't know he was Dan Walsh the pastor. If I had known I would have been intimidated to talk to him.

    Turns out Dan Walsh the writer, who is a Christian and just happens to be a pastor is a pretty cool, down to earth, normal person. Cindi too.

    That speaks volumes.

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  35. Hi Dan:

    If your sermons are as heartwarming as your post, I can see why you have a growing church.

    I’m happy to see that your book is available as an eBook at Sony so readers who need larger type can read it. I wish all publishers would do this as well.

    I think 1943 is a very key year in American history. The war was going badly and people were already stressed with years of the depression. It was a time that called for a great generation. I bought Carolyn Hart’s, “Letter from Home”, simply because it took place in small town Oklahoma in 1943. The book is a wonderful mirror of the times. I think you might enjoy it.

    Now for some questions: was the book you started writing years ago, (the one outlined in your early synopsis), the same book you finished decades later?

    If you had finished the book in that first year, do you think it would have been published?

    Do you think the author who began “The Unfinished Gift” is the same author who finished it? And do you think your long road to publication was part of God’s plan?

    Somehow I don’t think you had an easy road to publication. I think you paid your dues as much as many other writers who have taken different paths to publication.

    Thanks for your post. This morning it was like coming upon an oasis.

    Vince

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  36. Wow...let me write that again...wow!

    Dan, what an inspiration. Thank you for sharing and thank you for stepping all over my toes as all good pastors do ;-) (I'm married to one, btw, so I know)

    God used you this morning to remind me of His plan, His word, and His priority. Worry isn't so much my trouble as obsession and prioritizing - that note hit me hard, in a good, God-given way.

    I just received your book yesterday and am even more interesed to read it than I was before. God's timing is best and...wow (there is went again - how unoriginal. Maybe I should write Gadzooks or something) ;-)

    Thank you so much and God bless.

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  37. Susan, Welcome. Your post made me think of something I should probably mention.

    The endorsements on the cover by Terri Blackstock and Colleen Coble both mentioned that they cried.

    This is not hype. I've lost count of how many people have emailed me how the book made them cry, even guys.

    I don't want to give too much away, other than to say, it's not a "my dog died" kind of cry. More of the Hallmark TV commercial kind.

    Made me cry writing it.

    But I'm a sap, an easy mark. My son loves watching me watch touching scenes in movies. He just waits for the tears to start forming, then calls it out like Bingo. That becomes the highlight of the movie for him.

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  38. Hi, Dan! Very inspiring post. I think if I didn't believe God ALWAYS knows what He's doing and is never late but ALWAYS on time, my writing journey would have ended years ago before it ever had a chance to take off. We just never know what God has in store for us, and if we don't give Him a chance to work in our lives, we'll never find out, either.

    If you were out on the town with the Seekers in Denver, you probably met my husband. The really tall guy who doesn't know a stranger.

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  39. Yes, Myra's husband was the TALL guy who figured out how to get back to Denver when I believe it was Julie and Janet's husband's who realized..uh, we missed the last train.

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  40. Vince, good questions. Now I have to think. But it's late enough in the morning, think I can manage.

    It's available in Ebook and Kindle (don't know about B&N's Nook yet). My wife has a Kindle, one of the things she loves most about it, the ability to increase the font size easily. For those who'd like to see it in large print, but have to have pages...Doubleday Largeprint has picked it up and printed a large print version (Crossings also).

    Was the version of The Unfinished Gift out now, the same one in my first synopsis so many years before. Yes, it was/is. When I finished it 2 summers ago, I used the exact same synopsis. There just wasn't any reason to change it. I do think the characters became much more alive, but the story was the same.

    Do I think it would have been published had I finished it that first year? Possibly. One benefit of writing historical fiction is the time period stays put. And people have stayed very interested in the WW2 era.

    As for me...no, the author is not the same man (thank God...no, I really mean...thank God). He who began a good work in me, accomplished a lot more work in between those moments in time.

    Do I think the delay was part of God's plan. With all my heart I do.

    And thanks, Vince, for the book tip. Wrote it down for later.

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  41. Dan, I've only been with Karen Solem for a couple of months and I think she's wonderful too. She knows this business from every angle.

    Janet

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  42. Tina, I'm so glad you didn't know I was a pastor in Denver. It was so much fun talking with you.

    I always delay telling people what I do for that very reason (they clam right up). Now I can say I'm an author. Far less intimidating.

    And I like what you said, I'm a Christian who happens to be a pastor. That's how I see it. I marvel so much more that God loves me, that He died for me, and now shepherds my life than I do about why He's also called me to preach and lead others (I have so many reasons why this doesn't seem like a good call on His part, but I'm trying not to advise Him as much anymore).

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  43. Pepper, you seem way too young to go with Gadzooks. Thanks for the kind wow. And thanks for serving God's people alongside your husband.

    Myra, I did meet your husband. It was great walking around town with a number of the guys (and great to see how they've become friends). As Tina said, he saved the day, getting us back to the hotel in one piece.

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  44. Dan, thanks for your words. I needed to hear that today--and it had nothing to do with writing or publishing.

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  45. Dan, you could have been writing all those years, missing the kids and stressing about getting published and all the while your 'the call' date was already on the big guy's calendar-and wouldn't have come any earlier!

    Thanks for the reminder. We seem to discuss this a lot here--stay the course, move toward your goal, but know that HE is in control. I was in that mob of people Tina and Audra led downtown, and I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to more people before we split off for a different restaurant. I look forward to hearing all the successes of The Unfinished Gift.

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  46. Dan, my head and my heart thank you.

    Congratulations on your debut release.

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  47. Sally, Deborah, Patricia...welcome. Thanks for your kind words.

    I was going to say, hope you had a nice lunch but I don't what time zone everyone is in.

    I had plain nacho chips. Not good. Well, they were good. But Cindi would not approve (still at her meeting). I better go back out to the kitchen and find some protein.

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  48. This sounds like a fabulous 'christmas book' thanks for the opportunity to read it.

    A wonderful post.

    karen k
    kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  49. Please enter me. Lori
    blessed6mom @ yahoo.com

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  50. Nice review and talk. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thanks!
    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  51. Hi Dan and welcome to Seekerville!!!

    I....ummmmm.....am quite speechless. I don't know what to say! Your post was incredibly inspiring, but I hate to say that because that's what everyone says : )

    This touches me personally today for reasons unrelated to writing. We had our first performances of our musical today. We did 2(one at 8:15am, the other at 11:30). It was a long day with minimal breaks(less than 1/2 hour for lunch between shows!!). We did pretty well, but there's definitely room for improvement still. Your post makes you want to get up out of your computer chair and just strive. Simply strive...who knows at what! But to get up and do something. It has given me the vigor I need to walk onto the stage and shine(for 4 more performances! lol!)!

    Thank you SO much! I hope you come back again really soon!
    Hannah

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  52. Karen and Charity, thanks for stopping by. Charity, not sure if you are two people or doubly eager to be entered.

    Hannah...now I need to know...what's the show about? Where is it? Are you in it, behind-the-scenes? Leavin' me hanging.

    Glad I could help in a small way.

    Dan

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  53. Lol Dan! We're doing Kiss Me Kate and yes, I'm definitely in it : ) I love performing, singing, and dancing! It's all so much fun!

    Also, to clarify, that was 1/2 to change out of costume, get food, eat it, get back into costume, and be in places for show to start! LOL! It was SO tough : )
    Hannah

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  54. Hi, Dan, welcome to Seekerville! I think you're so right about doing it all ourselves. We can work hard and have a great book written, but we can't make publication happen. It's God's perfect timing.

    I can't wait to read your book. It sounds wonderful!

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  55. Hannah,

    Thanks for clarifying. Hope you enjoy the remaining shows.

    The only acting I've ever done is a murder mystery dinner a friend hosted. We all had to show up in character, and stay that way throughout the night, asking each other questions to figure out whodunit. I loved it.

    In some ways, I've wondered if writing is a sibling to acting. I really feel like I'm "getting into character" when I write.

    In The Unfinished Gift, sometimes I was a little boy, sometimes a crusty old grandfather, sometimes (and it was strange how easily this felt), I was an Italian grandmother).

    Any of you ever feel like this?

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  56. We talk about channeling our characters around here all the time. You haven't met Madame Zelda. You can find her in the side bar.

    You totally have to get into them.

    As you said, you cried when you read your own book.

    The old saying, no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.

    Okay, someone drank the last of the coffee again. Time to retrain the crowd. If you drink the last cup you have to make the new pot.

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  57. I'm wondering if any of you caught the slight change in my last comment.

    I went from "Dan said," to "Dan Walsh, Author said."

    I didn't just get hoity-toity. I realized I had signed in this morning using my older email address, not the one I created for my author website.

    Thing is, I don't recall creating the "Dan Walsh, Author" signature, and can't figure out how to get rid of it.

    Anyone who knows how, I'd appreciate it. Every time I visit a blog, I see that signature and it feels, well hoity-toity about says it.

    Dan

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  58. Hi, Dan: I do remember you from the conference. Thank you for your story. Everyone's is just a little different and most are encouraging. When it's right, He'll lead the way! Please enter me for your book.

    Connie
    nvgrams at yahoo dot com

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  59. Dan, click on your name, Dan Walsh, Author. Sign in and go to edit profile.

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  60. You might have to click on HOME to get to the place where you can get into your profile. It is in that line up of info a the bottom.

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  61. Great post. Congratulations on your debut release. The Unfinished Gift sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

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  62. Dan,
    That sounds SOOOO fun!! I would LOVE doing something like that...maybe organize it with some friends?! *lightbulb goes off!*

    I would have to agree with you about the acting/writing thing. To do theater, to act well you need to "channel" the character. The directors are always talking about how even if you are "only in the chorus" you are a part. You are someone, a character. What would your character be doing right now? Their actions, attitude? Etc....when you don't follor through with this, the director will call you out on it and tell you, "(enter name here)! You're being a bump on a log right now! Who are you and what is happening in the scene right now?" I really like this way of directing.

    Anyway, sorry for the long comments, but I find this interesting! Lol....
    Hannah

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  63. Dan,
    I'm looking forward to reading your book!!! Sounds like a perfect gift for those special people in my life as well.

    Glad God blessed your road to publication. No doubt you've been a blessing to many through the years. I'm sure God is well pleased with what you've done and for the way you've ministered to His people.

    Every once in awhile, I have to ask God if He has something else He wants me to do with my life. As much as I love to write, I need to ensure it's not keeping me from something He desires more for me. Sounds like you've always been tuned into God's perfect will and perfect timing.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us!

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  64. Tina, I think that worked. Thanks.

    Hannah, talking about that mystery dinner makes me want to do one again. It was SO much fun.

    Debby thanks for the encouraging words. I pray God clarifies the issue for you. One thing I've learned, as I look back: I'm not sure I ever got it right the first time. My whole life seems like a series of redirections from God.

    I'm going one way, this is what I want, this is God, help me God, your will be done not mine, Lord...What? No? Not this way? That way? You want me to go that way?

    The story of my life.

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  65. Well...I'm not surprised! It sounds like so much fun!!

    Ughhhhh....I'm researching easy/simple Irish recipes/food for a crowd. Then, I need to update my blog again! Lol....
    Hannah

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  66. Dan:

    My biggest disappointment of this year was NOT being able to attend the conference---and, as it turns out, the possibility of meeting you.

    Just for the record, pastors are just real people to me. I've been roommates with one for ...um, well A LOT of years. He's my best friend, and my kids call him Dad!
    However, none of the pastors with whom I associate write fiction--only teaching/doctrinal/etc. type stuff.

    I'm looking forward to reading your debut novel.

    Helen

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  67. LOL, Helen, so you've got a pastor for a roomie, eh?

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  68. Welcome, Dan!! I'm sorry I missed that outing in Denver. It sounded like you had a great time with Tina and Audra as your fearless leaders. :)

    Wonderful, post! And a great reminder not to fret. The Seekers can tell you worry is something I often struggle with!

    Thanks again for visiting! We hope you'll stay and hang out with us.

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  69. I don't know any other pastors who write fiction. I'm sure they exist.

    I tell you a little story. Last year I was at a pastor's retreat. We were eating dinner, letting off a little steam. One of the pastor's knew I'd written this fiction book, and thought he could score some points with the others making fun of me.

    So he says, "Say Dan, I hear you've written a fiction book. Tell us a story." The guys all gathered around. I noticed they all wore baseball caps proudly displaying their favorite sports teams. Mine said "Charleston, SC."

    I figured I was toast.

    So...I started telling The Unfinished Gift story. No one said a word. A few guys got choked up (I kid you not). I talked for about ten minutes. When I finished, someone quickly changed the subject. I looked at the guy who started the whole thing. He had a look on his face that said, "Rats."

    The moral of the story? Don't ever be ashamed of Charleston, SC. It's a wonderful place.

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  70. I would love to read this book so hope I win it. Please enter me.
    thanks.
    jackie.smith(at)dishmail(dot)net

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  71. Well folks, dinner.

    Then after that I have a meeting I need to attend. Should be home about 10pm EST.

    Feel free to jump in while I'm gone, I'll definitely check in after my meeting and hang out a bit till it's time to turn in. I'm a night owl.

    This has been a real joy.

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  72. A pleasure Dan. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences. We wish you continued success.

    Drawing for Dan's book at 8 MST and posted here in the comments. So keep those cards and letters coming.

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  73. Tina:

    Yep, I've got a pastor for a roomie!

    When I was a young thing, all my classmates were hooked up with guys and getting married right after graduation. But I had no one. I did, however, have a kind and compassionate young pastor who (for some strange reason) asked me to marry him. I was just a dumb kid (19.5), and nobody told me not to, so I married him.

    Fortunately, the kids thinks he's a great guy.

    Helen

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  74. I enjoy WWII novels, and now I need to know what happens to Patrick. Can't have enough WWII novels. Please enter me. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  75. hi and welcome;I just love the sounds of that story and want to find out what happens for sure.
    Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention.

    yourstrulee(at)sasktel(dot)net

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  76. I very much enjoyed the interview and your wise counsel, Dan. Thank you for sharing your publication journey. I note you're originally from Philly and are a WWII history buff also. I live in Philly and my novel is set in WWII. Maybe this time period is not such a hard sell afterall. I agree with you entirely about the attitudes during that period about God, faith, family and country. I'd love to win a copy of The Unfinished Gift. Blessings.
    patjeannedavis[at}verizon[dot}net

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  77. Hi, everyone! I've already tried to post twice today and they didn't show up -- not sure what's going on there but maybe this time's the charm.

    Thanks for the great post, Dan. It's good to see you here and read more about your journey. I love the reminder of how many more things God is probably trying to work out until His timing is perfect -- 3, 30, 300, 3 zillion? If we only knew the half of it ...

    And what a great story about the other pastors. We just never know when God will give an opportunity to share our love for Him through our words. :-)

    Leigh
    leigh at leighdelozier dot com

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  78. Wow!
    LoL Wow again!
    In GOD's time. Soooo cool and so true.

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  79. STAMPED WITH GRACE is our winner.

    Congratulations. I sent you an email already!!

    Thanks again Dan the man.

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  80. Tina, Ruth, Julie...ladies, what a joy this has been. By far the best interview experience for me since the book's come out.

    I understand Stamped By Grace is the winner of the gift copy? Congratulations on that.

    I'm bookmarking Seekerville and plan to stop by whenever I'm in the neighborhood.

    Pray for me if you think about it tomorrow at 1:30 EST. I'll be taping an interview with a huge Christian radio outlet in Canada (reaches 4 million listeners... Yikes). They plan to run the interview early in December after promoting The Unfinished Gift for a week.

    My two biggest concerns: that I'll just be me, and figure out how to say anything in less than 15 seconds.

    Have one last gooey cyber cinnamon role on me. Thanks again for all your kindness and kind words.

    Dan

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  81. PRAYING!!!!!!!

    Glad we wooed you to the dark side..or maybe the calorie laden side, it's the fun side, at any rate.

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  82. Thanks, Dan! God has been reminding me of that very thing, which is what makes the waiting and more waiting bearable. It's really not up to me at all. He's got a plan and it's better than mine.

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  83. I'm reading this a day late, as usual, since my email sends it to me that way.
    Dan, this made me cry. This is just what I needed to read today. I am an unusual case, like you. I am not published, but I got a request for a full on my very first query--something that generally does not happen. I realize that is no guarantee of a sale, but I am dumbfounded that I got this far so quickly. Your encouragement on faith just struck me. Thanks. Your pastor's heart really shows.
    I am also one who had to lay my writing down to raise my children, many times and for many years. Twenty, to be exact. Surely these have not been wasted years, though I might have had many books to show for the time otherwise. I'd like to think the process added depth to my writing that I may not have had otherwise.
    I will look for your book at my Christian bookstore.
    Many blessings!

    Kathy

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  84. Oh, and praying right now for your radio interview. : )

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  85. Popping in late. Thanks for being here, Dan. Enjoyed learning more about your writing journey.

    The Unfinished Gift sounds like a real tear-jerker!

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