Friday, May 21, 2010

HAIR-TEARING 101 ... Or The Stress of the Publishing Process (with Giveaway)

So you want to be published, eh? Not fond of your hair, are you? Welcome to Hair-Pulling 101—a glimpse into what to expect after you get the call! Julie here, and to share her own personal experience with us today is my dear friend and Southern belle extraordinaire, Maggie Brendan. Maggie is the author of the popular “Heart of the West” series, so leave a comment for a chance to win her latest, A Love of Her Own. Without further ado, please welcome Maggie Brendan …

For a new author thrilled with a three-book contract, I was thrust into the demands of contracts, deadlines, edits, marketing, book signings, speaking and writing, all in rapid succession. Everything had to be crammed into my already busy life. My head was beginning to spin and the little I thought I knew about publishing was nothing more than a blinking cursor on a computer screen, but I jumped in with both feet. Knowing all the work that comes with being published was the one thing that had held me back in submitting my manuscript for years, along with the fear of failure. But wasn’t this what I wanted—to see my story in print? Looking back now, I can see the difficult path I walked.
One of the hardest things for me to juggle after I signed the contract was learning how to handle having one book published and all that it would entail while working on the second book. As a writer, about the only thing you want to do is write or read other books. Whether we like it or not, a lot of things must take place before your book hits the shelves. I was deep into my second book when I received edits on the first manuscript. So naturally, I had to stop working on it and concentrate on the editorial comments. The hard thing about that was I would lose my momentum in the story for book two before I could pick it back up again.

Once the editorial comments were addressed, I worked on compiling a list of potential influencers for the book. Next, it was necessary to find writers that would consider endorsing my novel, send the list to marketing, and keep my fingers crossed that someone would agree to endorse me. I spent a little time working with marketing on the blurb for the back of the book. In the middle of this, my galleys (the initial typeset of a manuscript sent to the author for review before it’s printed) were sent to me—meanwhile I’m thinking my time to finish book two on deadline and the holidays were quickly approaching.

Another thing that I had to do was introduce myself to bookstore managers and hopefully set a date to book sign when the book was released. I wasn’t nervous about it really; it just took away some valuable writing time. Finally, the page proofs came, my last time to make any changes to the manuscript, so again, I put aside the manuscript that I was working on to go completely over them. Once I sent the page proofs back, I was ready to settle down writing until the book came out in January.

It was very hard to cover all my bases on editing, writing, marketing and book signing. Christmas holidays arrived, and I had to carefully budget my time to include decorating the house, shopping and maintaining a sensible writing schedule. However, a speaking engagement appeared out of nowhere and then a radio interview. On top of being a new author and learning the publishing process, there were family things and church activities that I had to make choices on. A wonderful opportunity to be a prayer minister to my pastor’s online radio program, Right From the Heart, was put before me. Though I hated to turn it down, I felt like I couldn’t juggle that on top of everything else. I had to allow myself to pare down a few activities that were on my schedule. But the book signings went off without a hitch, as did the speaking.

I submitted book two, then worked hard on my deadline for book three. Did I mention that I also have a blog and I’m a resident blogger for another website once a month and I have led a writer’s critique group for the past 6 years? That meant reading submissions for fellow writers. These things only added to my stack of things that I must do, and continue to write another novel. I endorsed several author’s books during this time. I believe social networking with other authors is important for marketing, and I continued to receive interviews and tried to stay active on various writers’ loops.

While working on book three, my brother was very ill and there were personal health and family issues that were front and center. I struggled hard to keep my focus and maintain my word count each day. By then I was feeling the stress. I learned how to schedule my time writing and marketing, along with many interviews for book one, edits on book two and trying to wrap up book three before my deadline. I had to be diligent in finishing before my brother died and I did—exactly one week before he passed. I was asked to speak at a Regional Church Bookstore and Libraries Conference near the end of my deadline on book three. I was a guest for book clubs and another one by conference call.

Many times I cried out to the Lord to sustain me, give me direction and keep me focused to write the best story possible despite everything that was happening around me and to me. My family prayed for me and so did my wonderful critique partners who knew the stress I was under. When my agent called to see if I had given any thought to a new series to pitch to my publisher, I actually came up with an idea for another series during this stressful time. Writing is like a team sport, and I couldn’t have done all this without the aid of my agent, my editor and the great support team at Revell Publishing, and my best friend and writer, Kelly Long.

I’m now working to complete book one in a new series, The Blue Willow Brides. But it has been a very difficult year because of a major surgery that set me back. Maybe this is God’s way of getting me to relax and trust him. Writing is the easy part, but all the rest is important to launch a new book. If you have a passion to write, and a story to tell, and a dash of humor to carry you through, you can do this. Never give up. God’s got your back!

I’ve learned so much through this process and looking back, I can see how God’s hand has continued to cover me and keep my feet firmly planted to be able to stay with the commitment that I made to honor him by writing Christian Fiction. My theme verse is Psalm 27:1. The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? (NASB) And trust me, I use it A LOT!
Maggie Brendan is a member of the American Christian Writers (ACW), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She was a recipient of the 2004 ACW Persistence Award in Atlanta, GA. Maggie can be found on her blog, SouthernBelle Writer and is a resident blogger on Bustles & Spurs. Her book, No Place For a Lady, the first in the Heart of the West series received a 4.5 star review from Romantic Times. The Jewel of His Heart, book two, received a 4 star review from Romantic Times. A Love of Her Own will release in June 2010.

To win a copy of Maggie’s brand-new release, A Love of Her Own, please leave a comment with your e-mail address in a spammer-free format such as janedoe(at)charter(dot)net.


  1. Maggie, it's nice to know that a writer can suceed with a crazy, hectic life. It seems like I'm always being pulled in different directions between homeschooling my children and helping run our upholstery shop. Writing is just something I can't give up.

    Congratulations on being able to say no. That's something that I've struggled with.

    reneelynnscott at gmail dot com

  2. Thanks so much for the post, Maggie.

    You had a time of it and God walked you through. that gives me hope.

    I haven't torn all my hair out yet, but then there have been times over the last couple years that it pretty much fell out on it's own. Too much stress. I try to remind myself to lean on the Lord and not fear.

    Boy that not fearing is hard sometimes, cause I just don't understand why things arise like they do. Of course I know I probably never will. And need to trust that the Lord does.

    Last year I pulled out of alot of things cause there were things going on at home and with my children and then my mother was diagnosed with cancer and had a stemcell transplant. I wanted to stick my head in the sand and wish the world away.

    I've read your first two in the series and would love to be entered for the third.

  3. Maggie I am so glad that you persevered! Good luck with your second series!

    EvaMariaHamilton at gmail dot com

    Coffee anyone? It's hot!

  4. Wow! Sounds so much like the treadmill my own life seems to be at the moment!When my novel "And The Beat Goes On' finally came out in print, I thought my worries were over. Boy, was I wrong! You mean this crazy treamill of promotions, blogging, and all the rest of it is normal!?!Help! On the other hand, as you noted, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love writing and have been at it for many years. I just wish there was some way to let the marketing take care of itself and leave me be to write ...

  5. I have not read much about what happens once you are published. This was a very enlightening look at both the hardships and joy of getting a book published. Thank you for this post! Learning to say "no" is something I am learning as well!! :)
    Thanks again!

  6. Thank you so much, Maggie, for sharing your story and for your encouraging words! Through God's strength, we can do whatever He desires for us to do. He'll help us through.

    It's so hard to remember sometimes all the hard work that goes into actually publishing a novel. But it's good to know that it is possible! ;)

    Thanks again for reminding us of God's provision. May God bless you and your future writing endeavors!

    I would love a chance to win your book! I haven't read any of your other books yet, so I would be honored to have a chance to win this one! :)



    P.S. Looks like I'm not the first one here tonight! ;) So maybe the coffee is already on... How about I share some smores fixings? (It's camping week on my blog. Feel free to stop by and use our campfire to properly prepare the smores!) ;)

  7. Maggie, yup, Psalm 27 is up there for me too. I remember going to an author's reading and she talked about going to her publishing house folks and saying, "I am ready for my book tour." To which they laughed and said, "we don't do that any more and who will read your non-fiction science book anyway?" She had to set up her own book tour by contacting friends all over the country. She said it worked a little too well...she was gone from January to May. BTW, the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" has been on the NY Times best seller list for months now.

    Blessings on your next series. And hang in there!


  8. Maggie, I've heard life changes dramatically for an author who has received a book contract. Yours certainly did. I admire the way you cling to the Lord as you deal with the deadlines, difficulties, and deluge of items on your To-do list.

    My heart goes out to you in the loss of your beloved brother. How hard it must have been to write when your heart was so heavy. Did you find yourself infusing your story with deeper emotion as a result of the experiences that were taking place as your wrote your stories?

  9. Morning Seekers! I've brought coffee cake for us to enjoy - Amber, the s'mores are delish!


    Thanks for sharing your journey. It brought a new perspective to me regarding my friends who are already published. It also brought tears to my eyes as I struggle with fitting everything in and thank God I don't have a contract yet. (LOL, what writer says that?)

    If that day ever comes, I wonder how all will be balanced. I appreciate you sharing all of your challenges.

    christylashea at gmail dot com

  10. Wow, Maggie, you are an amazing light for God. To keep pushing forward when life puts you on a rollercoaster of chaos is difficult, but you've proven you can handle it. When you prove youself worthy of the small things, God will entrust you with more. So, look out! You're up to the challenge, I'm sure.

    Would love to read your new book.

  11. Wow. Only with God's sustaining hand could any of us deal with half of this, Maggie. To have completed such a schedule and have such a loss is mind-boggling. Your post has really blessed me and reminded me of what God can accomplish through us.

  12. Maggie, g'mornin'! Thank you from the bottoms of our Seeker hearts for being here, for sharing your story. What a beautiful job you did, and my heart goes out to you at the loss of your brother. There are times in life that inspire in fragmented ways, aren't there?

    Lovely, lovely post. Blessings on you too many things to count, but hey, I love that those very smart people at Revell are grabbin' hold for another series.

    SWEET! And I've made coffee, I brought donuts (sorry, no baking time this AM... Maybe later... Stop back. I've got the urge to practice my strudel-making expertise.

    And it's Friday. And God has blessed us with sunshine and rain.

    And asparagus.


    Maybe there's fresh quiche in our future. ;)


  13. Thank you for the java, Ruthy.

    Maggie, good to have you here again.

    Your book covers are absolutely amazing and I look forward to reading your books.

    Thank you for your honest sharing of the published life. Life IS always going to get in the way isn't it? But you gave us hope that if we focus we can still stay the course. Thank you!

  14. This was very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    natasha at hotmail dot com

  15. My goodness! I'm even more humbled by the comments from everyone so far. You're all blessing mey socks off this morning while I have my coffee. I appreciate the Seekers allowing me to rant. :)

    Keli, I'm sure the impending loss of my brother impacted what I wrote and even after having lost 3 brothers, and a sister, the sorrow creates a different filter that I gaze through. Many prayers held me up. Time for my second cup of Java.:)

  16. Lol. That should be 'my' not 'mey' socks off. See what happens when I don't get enough caffine. But y'all knew that.

  17. Mags!! Welcome, girlfriend -- it's such a pleasure having you here.

    I rolled out of bed late (as usual since JAG has come into our life), so I apologize that Ruthy had to cater this morning, but I've got strawberry, blueberry and cheese crepes and a decadent peach French Toast Bake that should be against the law, it's so good. Homemade maple syrup (from up Ruthy's way), peach oatmeal for the health nuts and Honey-baked ham and rashers of thick bacon. Don't forget steaming pots of cinnamon hazelnut and Southern pecan coffee and tea selections for the sophisticates.

    Dig in!!


  18. Julie, my mouth is salivating! All my favorites. Hugs, Mags

  19. RENEE ... WHOA, girl, you do have a lot on your plate. I SO admire homeschooling moms ... and then to work outside the home and write too!! You must be YOUNG!!

    TINA ... "pulling out" of things has been the main way that I have coped with the extra pressure of being published. Quit my job, my critique group, gardening, laundry, cooking ... you get my drift. :)

    EVA MARIA ... thanks for bringing coffee ... way to make me look like a slacker. Just kidding! This is my spunky Friday mentality that gets on my daughter's nerves. How am I doing??? :)

    TRACY ... boy, it is a treadmill for sure, but like a treadmill, the exercise is good for you because it does teach patience, pacing and how to lean on God ALL the more!

    KIM ... it IS enlightening, isn't it? I am so grateful Maggie gave us a glimpse of what can happen because as new writers, we go in to the process so wet behind the ears, at least I did. I'm pretty darn sure that I had Revell rolling their eyes more than once at all the dumb questions I asked and stupid things that I did and said. Oh, but they're used to me now, thank God. Uh, I hope ...

    AMBER!!! Thanks for the Smores, girl, and can I please have a few extra pieces of chocolate before Ruthy eats it all???


  20. Welcome to Seekerville, Maggie! Your post nailed the stress of this business, especially when life socks you in the gut as it did with the loss of your brother. I can't imagine what it took to keep on keeping on during that time. Your steadfastness is a testimony to God's faithfulness and power in our lives, a real encouragement to us all. Thank you for coming! God bless your career!


  21. Wow, I know what you mean about the stress, and I am only being contracted for one book! The stress is mostly what I'm putting on myself, because it's been so hard to write when I never know when my next round of edits is going to come. Right now I'm waiting on galleys. And I LOVE the editing and team effort and the way so many people are involved in the process, but it all makes it really hard to write and be creative! (Although, I don't want to sound like I'm complaining!) I'm waiting to see if my editor/publisher is going to want Book 2 while trying to write Book 3. It's hard to invest in a book and its characters and plot when you don't know if your publisher is going to want it! I could be working on Book 2 of another series. It's hard to know what to work on, but I'd just like to feel productive!

    Lately, I often say that it's a crazy business and it will drive you insane if you let it.

  22. I just want to add, you must be an amazing person, Maggie, to get through all that you did, especially while working outside the home, but you did it through faith and with God's help. Awesome!

  23. Janet, only by God's grace am I able to really do anything worth significance. He is so faithful, and while I'm heading toward a deadline on the 1st book in the new series, I have to trust that everything that life hits me with is for a greater purpose.

  24. Maggie,

    We are honored to hear your personal story along with relishing those book covers! WAWZAH! Beautiful and I'm sure each one is beautifully told. Exciting to hear about the Blue Willows too. That conjures up all sorts of imagery!

    There's a still-working-ranch just outside of Houston where the family land was passed through the DAUGHTERS for something like 5 generations. When we visited, the docent in the 2nd house on the property showed us a piece of china (was it Blue Willow? I can't recall right now.) that survived the family's flight from the Mexicans during the Texas war for independence. (If I'm remembering this correctly.) It was a fascinating tale and reminds me I need to go back out there some time to revisit!

    may at maythek9spy dot com

    (((Hugs))) to you about your family and all that you are doing. Online smores and bakes and coffee are good, but online (((Hugs))) are right up there too!

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your time with us today and thanks to Julie for making it happen!

    Good luck with grabbing that chocolate before Ruthy. :)

    PS: My word is "persper" - should that perhaps be 'Prosper' or 'Perspire'?

  25. JULIE ... WOW, what a story the "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" is -- "a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology!" Amazing concept and amazing story. I would have the publisher would pay for for sure! But paid book tours are usually reserved for the top authors (i.e. Mary Connealy of Seeker fame comes to mind), although as a newbie author, I did ask Revell the same thing. They're still laughing, I believe ... :)

    KELI ASKED: "Did you find yourself infusing your story with deeper emotion as a result of the experiences that were taking place as your wrote your stories?" Oooo, good question, Keli! I'm betting the answer is yes, but I'll let Maggie answer that.

    CHRISTY ... thanks for the coffee cake, sweetie, it's DEE-LISH! And bite your tongue, girl, about not wanting a contract yet. It's a lot of work, but SO worth it in the end ... I think. There are days, no WEEKS, when I'm not all that sure. :)

    DIANNA, you are absolutely dead-on -- Maggie is a definite light for God AND everybody she meets! I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie in Georgia at a book signing, and she lit up the store with her Southern charm, no joke.

    DEB ... yes, yes, a thousand times YES!! ONLY through God can any of us withstand the rigors of the publishing process.

    RUTHY ... Thanks for covering my back, girlfriend, with the donuts and uh, asparagus ... I'm waiting for that quiche, so hop to it, sweetie ...

    TINA ... YES, Maggie has some of the best-looking covers I've seen yet. I've meaning to talk to Revell about that ... thanks for reminding me ... :)

    NATASHA ... thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday!

    Well, I see Mags is in the house, so as our esteemed guest today, I will turn it over to her. Thanks, Maggie, for sharing time with us today.


  26. I loved reading your post. Even though I'm writing for a dissertation, I think a lot of what you said is applicable. Your perseverance and determination are inspiring! I just hope my end product is half as interesting as yours! And...of course I'm so lucky to have you as my Aunt!

  27. Maggie, thanks so much for being with us today, and for sharing your juggling act. I also appreciate hearing about writing through the hard times. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother but amazed at how you struggled through and have kept going.

    Good luck on the new series!

  28. Oh, yum, Ruthy! I love fresh asparagus! I got the first blueberries of the season at the grocery yesterday (although they're still a bit tart for me).

  29. Maggie, LOVED this post. The title...everything too funny! Very familiar too.

    As much as a writer can do to prepare before hand, the better because once that book starts into production, there is no time to breathe.

    I had deadlines on FIVE different books last year...

    I look back and don't know how I pulled it off without divine help and an extremely supportive husband and understanding, pizza-loving family.


  30. Julie H.S., that story sounds so amazing! I come from a science background, so it's got me totally intrigued. I have to get it!

  31. Julie, I did answer Keli's question in my first comment.

    Melanie,I don't know about me being
    amazing. Lol. But I'll take that description any day. Once I got the contracts, I quit my job, however, running a home is a JOB. Good luck on your next book proposal.

    Halle, Thanks for taking time to read my post while your working hard on you doctorate. Aunt Brenda loves and misses you.

    KC-sounds like a fascinating story there. I have a personal love affair with Blue Willow. It all started when my brother that passed away recently gave me a child's Blue Willow tea set when I was 9 yrs. old.

    Missy, thanks for your kind words.

  32. Hi, Maggie. Thanks for being on.

    I have the most miserable cold. Wretched sour throat.
    I should probably be home in bed.

    But nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    Instead I'm checking email and probably giving you all a cold through cyberspace.

    Please go drench yourselves in Lysol after you read my comment, just in case.

    Great Post, Maggie

  33. Hi Maggie,

    Your covers are just beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing your struggles with us. I'm going through some "life trails" right now that's causing me to rework my writing schedule. Your post inspired me that it can be done!

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  34. Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for this very honest look at what an author must go through. I think I suspected as much, and now feel like heading for the hills! LOL.

    I guess I just have to trust that when my time comes, God will only give me the stress I can handle.

    Your books look lovely. Best of luck with your next series.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  35. Cheryl-I'm with you girl on the pizza, leftovers, etc. Don't know what I'd do without frozen food. Guess it's a good thing that I didin't live in the 19th century.

    Mary, sorry you're feeling rotten today. I'm spraying my office now to kill the cyber germs. Hehe.

    I've got good news to share. I've been asked by LifeWay to book sign at the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando June 14th! I'm pumped! :)

  36. Rose, I hope I was able to encourage you as you are going through trials now. Only by God is my motto!

    Susan, don't be afraid or head for the hills. Fear held me back, so don't let fear do that to you and remember my verse. Ps.27:1-The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I fear.

  37. whoopsie--I tried to post, not sure where it went.
    This was both inspiring and intimidating, but I sure am in awe of your determination, Brenda. God bless you!
    Publication reminds me of the way I used to look at marriage when I was still a starry-eyed single gal imagining walking down the aisle. It ain't all wine and roses this side of the altar, even with the perfect mate. There's a lot of work to be done, and life isn't really any "better"--it's just a new set of problems. LOL
    Thanks for showing us a realistic view for those of us who are still publishing virgins. ;)

  38. Whew, what a wild ride. You definitely have your plate full. Thank you for giving us a glimpse behind the scenes. Praying for you and all my writer buddies.

  39. WOW! I had no idea what went into publishing a book. I guess I had this naive idea that once you got "the call" the rest would be easy. Boy was I wrong!

    I'm not giving up though. If God can carry you through, then He can certainly handle any problems that come my way. (Philippians 4:13)

    Thanks for the encouragement and reality check! :)


  40. WHOO-HOO, Mags, the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando -- way to go, girl!! I can't think of a Southern gal better suited to be there than you, my friend. Say "hey" to Micky for me!


  41. Kathleen, I may need to tatoo "determined" on my forehead. lol. Seriously, it's a lot easier looking back than when I was going through it. I suppose that's why I received the ACW Atlanta Persistence Award.

    Lisa, Thanks. I need those prayers.

    Angela, Don't even think of giving up! I couldn't have done it on my own power. I give Him the glory.

  42. Julie, you're so sweet and partial too. Ha ha! I'm afraid the trip is just for the signing and I'll not even get near Micky.

    Our pastor, Bryant Wright, has been nominated as President this year. So that's cool too.

  43. maggie...what a facinating story...i love your books...thanks for the chance to read your latest :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  44. Karenk-I'm so glad that you enjoyed my books. I hope the 3rd and final one will be an exciting adventure for you and my readers.

  45. Look forward to your new series, Maggie.

  46. This is daunting enough to make me question whether I could ever succeed once published.

    But no matter what the obstacles, I can't seem to quit writing.


  47. Oh, Helen! That was just the point of my post! If I can get through all of this and be published, then anyone can do it. None of this will hit you smack dab but they do overlap. There's work involved in every type of job. The fact that you can't stop writing is indeed a good sign. Keep at it.

  48. Maggie, you SO nailed life after "the call." Thanks for sharing your journey with our Seekerville friends.

    It's true--we have to get really good at saying no to many activities and involvements, no matter how worthwhile they might be. Something I read many years ago has helped me tremendously in this area:

    "The need doesn't necessarily constitute the call."

    Translation: It's highly possible this particular request can be handled even better by someone other than me.

    Oh, and I have to agree--your book covers are GORGEOUS!!!

  49. I am so anxious to read Maggie's books....I'm from Atlanta area, too.
    Please enter me. Thanks!!!

  50. Myra, thanks for stopping by. I love that quote so much that I'm going to stick that next to my computer. I have a hard time saying no. Must be the nuturer and peacemaker that I am. It's downright hard to say no, isn't it?
    But for my own health and benefit, there are times I must. Thanks for the quote.:)

  51. Hi, Jackie. Glad you stopped by. I live in Marietta, E. Cobb area. Are you nearby? Good luck with the contest.

  52. Maggie
    That makes your Blue Willow series all the more special doesn't it? (That made me tear up ya know...)

    Congratulations on the signing! If you come to Nashville for the Southern Festival of Books in October, I'll look for you and help if I have the time!! :) That goes for any Seekers and friends!

  53. I came here looking for you. I write reviews on The Christian Review of books. But I am only allowed to chose three books to review and I found it hard to chose. Your book was one I was interested in. If you want reviews in more places than just the one, I wrie on 7 or more sites.
    The book on Christian Review of Book was Jewel of the Heart.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  54. Thank you Maggie for the glimpse into a writers life. Busy to say the least. It's awesome how our loving God sustained you through your first series. Congratulations on your second series.

    I would love to win a copy of your book.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  55. Wow, I have something to look forward to if I ever get my three-book contract. (I'll gladly settle for one at the moment.)

    My condolences on the loss of your brother. I can't imagine what that's like.

    And I agree with whoever said you had great covers (especially the second one).


  56. KC, I didn't mean to make you tear up. I find myself doing that a lot.
    I've never heard of the Southern Festival of Books. I'll have to check that out.

    Squires, Thanks for the review of The Jewel of His Heart. How can I find your site?

    Cindy, I hope my post was helpful and demonstrated to others how God is truly the one in control!

    Walt, glad you dropped in. My favorite cover is book 2 also. I asked for a model that had the eyes the color of the cornflower blue of the Yogo sapphires and they did. She is a dead ringer for my heroine, Julianna Brady. :) Good luck on landing that contract!

  57. Goodness gracious, life after the Call sounds crazy busy. I work full time so I cannot imagine being able to do all that you do, Maggie! I'd have to quit, but I know that it would take a long time to make up the income! lol

    I'm sorry sorry for the loss of your brother and for struggling with surgery. Life can be so hard sometimes, but it looks like God has held you close. He's so good that way!

    I'm wondering if the Seekerville ladies have similar experiences in their publishing experience. Anyone want to share?

  58. Sherrinda, I'm able to do all that I do by God's grace alone. Without it, I'd be dead in the water.

    I don't remember mentioning that I worked full time in this blog. But once I got my contract, I quit work. I was working for a real estate broker and by the time I got home, I was too exhausted to write very much.

    I truly admmire anyone that can hold down a full time job, have children and write after getting a 3 book deal. I couldn't. Thank God for my husband's income.

    It's all about balance. Writing is a job. The most important thing is to just show up everyday!

  59. Quick note:

    Christy--Glad you enjoyed the smores!

    Julie--Of course you can have extra chocolate! :) Feel free to stop by our last campfire tonight--we've got plenty of extra smore fixings and we're telling stories around the campfire!


  60. SHERRINDA ... Maggie nailed it in this blog, unfortunately! My experience is very much the same and don't even get me started on blog interviews/giveaways the month PRIOR to a release of your book!! All in all, I have done over sixty interviews, which means I have answered over 600 questions and keep in mind those have to be thought about, written and monitored with comments.

    Factor in book signings, radio interviews, speaking engagements, time to work on future proposals in addition to writing and you get a pretty full plate.

    BUT ... there are stretches when you are free to write more than others such as the lull between books, so it's not all CRAZY ... just a fair part of it! :)


  61. Here is more info:

    "The Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written WordSM is a three-day literary Festival celebrated each year during the second full weekend of October. It is free and open to the public. No advance registration or tickets are required. All seating is on a first-come basis.

    The Festival annually welcomes more than 200 authors from throughout the nation and in every genre for readings, panel discussions and book signings. Book lovers have the opportunity to hear from and meet some of America's foremost writers in fiction, history, mystery, food, biography, travel, poetry and children's literature among others.

    In addition to the many authors on the program the Festival hosts popular book exhibitors and programs three performance stages throughout the event. The cooking stage highlights talented chefs preparing and discussing recipes from the latest food and cookbooks. The Café Stage features music by some of the area's most talented musicians and poets. Special events for children are planned on the Children's Stage including appearances by favorite characters and birthday parties to celebrate the anniversaries of great children's books.

    The Southern Festival of Books grew out of Humanities Tennessee's involvement in Homecoming '86, a statewide celebration of community history and community enrichment. The first Festival was held in Nashville in 1989. The Southern Festival of Books is one of the first book festivals of its kind, and over the years several other organizations and humanities councils have used the Southern Festival of Books model to create book festivals in their states."

  62. AMBER!!! Bless you, my friend ... I knew I could count on you for the extra chocolate. And when it comes to chocolate -- I prefer Hershey's over Godiva, Dove or Ghiradelli, much to my daughter-in-law's disgust. What can I say? I'm a cheap date! :)


  63. KC, Thanks for the info. I'll check it out.

    Before I call it a night here it ATL, thanks again to the Seekers for having me today and I want to thank all of you for posting comments. It was fun! God bless as you seek to do His will.

  64. Hey, Maggie! It's right at midnight our ATL time so I hope you'll check back over the weekend. :-)

    It's great to have you in Seekerville, and I'm so ready to read A Love of Her Own! April looks just like I thought she would -- kudos to the art dept. for another beautiful cover!

    I'll watch for when you'll be doing some signings around Gwinnett (or maybe even a little further south of Atl? That would be great :-) ). Would love to come and bring the girl from my church group who's loved books 1 & 2. I know she would be thrilled to meet you!

  65. Hi Leigh. Good to hear from you. Last Saturday, I sign in Buford at LifeWay. As an influencer, your should have received your copy of book 3 by today. I hope so and hope to see you around ATL. Take care.

  66. Maggie, I admire you for taking on so much, especially during a difficult time emotionally. I enjoy learning more about various aspects of the writing and publishing process.


  67. I know it's posted on the site, but just wanted to say that Renee won the copy of my book. Congratulations, Renee!