Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tapping Into the Creativity of God with Guest Blogger Dan Walsh

It’s great to be back with you all (thanks again to Tina for the invitation). Before I get any further, since we’re so close to the ACFW conference in St. Louis, let me add my congrats to Ruth Logan Herne and Mary Connealy, two Seekerville authors with books that finaled in the upcoming 2011 Carol Awards. Stirs wonderful memories for me from last year’s conference.

I’m back with you again to celebrate the release of my new book, Remembering Christmas (Revell). I’m happy (and relieved) to learn it received a 4.5 Stars/Top Pick rating from RT Book Reviews magazine. I don’t know why, but I always hold my breath until this review comes out (I guess it’s because it’s one of the first big publications to render a verdict).

I want to talk with you today about a fascinating, somewhat ethereal topic that all Christian writers can relate to: The Creativity of God.

But first….

A Quick Update

Since being with you back in June, something HUGE has happened. It was brewing then, but I wasn’t free to announce it. I’ve signed a 4-book contract with Revell to co-author a series of novels with bestselling Family and Relationship expert, Dr. Gary Smalley. To say, “Gary doesn’t play in my league” is an understatement.

Gary is the author and co-author of 16 best-selling, award-winning books (6 million in print) along with several popular films and videos. He’s spent over 30 years teaching and counseling, speaking to over 2 million people in live conferences. He’s also appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live and The Today Show, as well as numerous national radio programs.

And for some reason, he wants to work with me. How did this happen?

The short version…some of you may know Gary and Karen Kingsbury co-authored a 5-book fiction series years ago that took off in a major way. The Redemption series sold over 1.5 million copies (all 5 books are still in print). Gary said he never dreamed when they began that this series would be among the books most often cited by his fans as having “changed their lives.”
Last Fall, he decided he wanted to do a new series with another author. He read my first two novels and―using his words―“absolutely fell in love with my writing.” After talking it through with my publisher, they contacted me.

Which brings me to my main topic for today…where do we get our ideas for our books? When I first got the call about this new series with Gary, I was elated…and terrified. I’ve never done anything like this before. Whatever would we write about?

Since that call, I’ve already come up with the synopsis for the first book and roughed out a number of ideas for the series. In two weeks, my wife and I will fly to St. Louis for the ACFW conference. But we’ll arrive a few days early and rent a car to drive to Branson to meet with Gary and finalize the plans for Book One, which I’ll start writing as soon as I get home.

Tapping Into the Creativity of God

I had a similar fear after I finished my first novel, The Unfinished Gift. I had spent so much time writing, rewriting and polishing it, and I didn’t expect it to get picked up and published so soon. My agent and editor asked, “What else have you got?”

The honest answer? I had nothing. Nada. So I prayed.

From somewhere, a wonderful love story flowed out from the first book. I pitched The Homecoming to them, and they loved it. Then once again after completing that, I had nothing else. I prayed some more and then one day I was watching the History Channel, and…voila! The Deepest Waters was born.

Since then, I’ve finished writing Remembering Christmas, my fourth, which has just released and my fifth, The Discovery, coming out this spring. None of these stories were alive or even in my head 2 years ago. Besides these and the series with Gary Smalley, Revell has contracted me to write three more novels―based on ideas that came into my brain from somewhere. I’ve already written a synopsis for each one.

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Let me tell you a little about how Remembering Christmas was born. My wife and I were eating breakfast at a Cracker Barrel, strolling down memory lane. I was asking her to refresh my mind about some of the different jobs she had in the years before our children were born. She began talking about this one job at a little family-owned Christian bookstore called The Book Nook. It brought back some fond memories for both of us.

All of a sudden, a wonderful idea for a Christmas book popped into my head, centered around this store. I shared it with her and she loved it. We stopped in at Barnes-and-Noble for a little while, and it was like I was “In the Zone.” Wonderful ideas started flooding in, including a romance, and an ending that brought tears to my eyes, even as I thought of it.

It’s amazing when you stop and consider this question. Where do things like this come from? Book ideas, song ideas, ideas for paintings and other works of art? James tells us in the Bible: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17 NKJV)

The ability to see and hear and write such things comes from God.

Like A Bridge Over Troubled Waters (sort of)

This past week, my wife and I watched a documentary about Simon and Garfunkel. A large segment was devoted to the now-classic song, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and how it came about (can you believe it was 40 years ago?).

Paul Simon, its author, described how it just came to him, almost all at once, fully formed. The melody and the lyrics for the first two verses and chorus. He had a sense right away, that it was a little better than what he normally wrote (he actually said something like this). But he had no idea how big it would become.

He also had a strong sense that Art Garfunkel, his partner, should be the one to sing it. To me, no one has surpassed the vocals of Art Garfunkel on that song ever since (musicians in the studio said it gave them goose bumps as they listened to him pour his heart into that song).
The thing was, as I listened to this, I realized Paul Simon was describing something I could relate to (not that I play in his league either, or anywhere near it). That is, Human Beings―mere mortals―receive wonderful gifts of art and music and lyrics and stories, and then share them with other human beings to bless, entertain and inspire.

The Difference

As I listened to both men share the wonders of how this amazing song was born and the process of creating one of the great moments in recording history, I didn’t hear either of them mention God as the one who gave them this song or their ability to write songs in general.
If there is a difference in what makes our work “Christian,” besides the message, it may lie in the fact that we know where these creative gifts come from, we deliberately seek to be inspired by the “real author,” and intentionally seek ways to use these gifts to glorify God…as we try to bless, entertain and inspire others.

This, by no means, makes us better than anyone. On the contrary, as Jesus said, “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). But it should provoke and encourage us all the more to tap into the wonderful creativity of God, who gives us these small earthly doses of His creativity.

We have no reason to fear that the well will run dry.

The One who helps us is the author of fingerprints and snowflakes, the creator of billions of people (no two who are ever the same) and billions of stars and galaxies, each one unique. He delights to give gifts to His children, especially those who come humbly and live for His glory.

So…talk to me. I’d love to hear some of the moments when you have “Tapped Into the Creativity of God.”

Dan Walsh is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). His first novel, The Unfinished Gift won 2 ACFW Carol Awards for best debut author and best short historical fiction. The sequel, The Homecoming, released last year in June. His third novel, The Deepest Waters, released in April and his fourth, Remembering Christmas, has just come out this September. Reviewers often compare his books to Nicholas Sparks, Richard Paul Evans and Jason Wright. He writes fulltime in the Daytona Beach area, where he lives with the love of his life, Cindi, his wife of 35 years. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. As they await more, they enjoy the company of two mini-aussies, Bailey and Darcy.

Today Dan is giving away a copy of Remembering Christmas to one Seekerville visitor. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. Beautiful post! And I love the names of your dogs. :)
    I think there are only a few times I've felt that 'flow', when the ideas are coming from above. One was a time we needed money to pay medical bills. I had published a few little articles and stories, but I needed something new. I sat staring at my computer screen, then around the room. I thought, 'I don't have anything valuable in this whole room, it's all hand-me-downs.'

    And then I realized one of those things was a quilt that four generations of my family worked on for my first baby. It was a quilt top that my great grandmother had sewn with her mother, and never finished. My grandmother and my mother finished it and gave it to me when my first child was born.
    It was the fastest article I'd ever written and the payment was almost exactly what we needed!

  2. Hi Dan, welcome back to Seekerville.

    WOW - some news indeed. Congratulations. As an addendum I might quote our pastor from years ago "God uses prepared people."

    Way to go!!!

    Your idea here is wonderful: "We have no reason to fear that the well will run dry." (I need to shorten that even more to say "We have no reason to fear...")

    I'm currently working on a sequel about May the K9 Spy. The reason to bring this up is that I felt God calling me to write about our little rescued Schnauzer May. She had a terrible life yet is full of hope. Truth be told, I admire her! She has such a story to share with those who have been through the fire...

    But it wasn't until I was in the midst of writing that WHAP! I found out she was... shhhhhh... a SPY! That could only have come from God because I had no idea we had an agent of the K9 Service living with us! She is definitely incognito! ;D

    May sends her special sniffs and greetings to Bailey and Darcy. We have a D'arcy also! And a Hershey!

    Please enter me may at maythek9spy dot com

    Virginia - what a treasure that quilt must be. Loved your story!

    I brought some granola, fresh fruit and yogurt for a midnight snack! Dig in!

  3. KC, it is! And I lvoe the pictures on your blog of May meeting with all sorts of people. She's a beautiful, talented dog!

  4. Hi Dan:

    I think God’s gift of creativity has always been with us from conception. It’s a gift that comes with the soul. It is not something God sends us on request. It’s a gift always there ready to be opened.

    We know it without words and we know it without seeing it. It can be recognized as a full blown idea. It can come as a satori.

    I am reminded of this passage from Luke: 17:20-21

    “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."

    I think you could substitute ‘God’s creative gift’ for ‘kingdom of God’ and obtain a similar insight.

    I think this is important to the creative process. Instead of looking outward towards the horizon awaiting God’s messenager to deliver a needed creative idea, we might better look within and see that it has always been there.

    In the East they say, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

    I think we have already been given God's gifts which we will 'see' when we believe.

    How do you 'see' the moment of creativity?

    I really enjoy your posts. Thanks.


  5. Congratulations, Dan, on your 4-book contract with Revell and the invitation to work with Gary Smalley. May your planning meeting go very well, and may you feel the creative spirit infuse you like never before.

  6. Thanks Virginia, a lovely story about the quilts. KC, your story about May touches close to home. My wife, Cindi, is almost finishing her training as a dog instructor. We've always loved dogs (never been without one, or two, or three since we've been married). She especially loves working with rescue dogs, and is volunteering now at a local shelter, hoping that if the dogs are trained they'll have a better chance of getting adopted and not being returned.

    Interesting insight, Vince. Could be true also. I know people who seem exceptionally gifted, seem like they were almost "born" to do what they do. I think God does give us each gifts of varying kinds and in different measure. And I think we should view them as something like a stewardship, not something we should ignore, or just do with as we please.

    I think perhaps the 'moment of creativity' is often missed because we are too stressed, or too preoccupied, or too...whatever. I know I 'see' and 'hear' much better when my soul is at rest, and my heart is in more of a listening/quiet posture.

    Thank you Kelli for such kind words.

  7. Welcome back to Seekerville, Dan!

    This post really struck a chord with me and I had the benefit of seeing it early. I have been thinking about it for days.

    Congratulations on your book deal.

    And actually your wife's new passion project sounds very exciting as well.

  8. By the way, I am holding the giveaway copy of Dan's book in my hands. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous...and that's just the cover.

  9. Oh boy, it's Dan Walsh!!!
    I can't tell you what a blessing it is each time I read your posts inspiring!

    I just wanted to add that before I rush off to work. It was a great way to start the morning

  10. Dan, thank you! And just so you don't think I'm the biggest copycat ever, my post tomorrow is "Bridge Those Troubled Waters..."

    Were you and I siphoning one another???

    I'm at work, will stop back, but I'm so glad God has blessed you, a sweet, ordinary man (no offense) with such an extra-ordinary gift.

  11. Welcome back to Seekerville, Dan!! And congratulations on the new venture with Gary Smalley. How exciting!

    Also I LOVE the cover of your Christmas book. Have seen it in several magazines in recent weeks and decided I'd buy it for the cover alone even if I didn't know you!

  12. What a post. Only God could orchestrate the timing like this--I really needed this today.

    Huge congrats on your contact with Revell and Gary Smalley. That's fantastic! =]

    Sometimes ideas come almost fully formed--the most recent one came in two segments. The first was a 6.2 second view of very tall, long haired man on a Harley, and the second segment was when I turned around in church and saw the fictional character that view sparked standing next to my old SS teacher. By the end of the song service I could've had a complete synopsis (but didn't cuz I was a good girl).

    Other times ideas only come into focus after I've spent a lot of praying over them. God is faithful. =]

  13. Welcome, Dan! And congrats on the contract with Gary Smalley! I've always loved his work.

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I always pray for story ideas and for help with books, and I truly believe God is the source of creativity.

  14. BTW I just got my RWR in the mail. Revell has 7 ads in their for their authors. Talk about support. They include our own Julie Lessman and today's guest Dan Walsh.

    Way to go, authors!!

  15. Thanks Tina. They really did an incredible job on this cover, and it stands out all the more because it's a hardback (don't know why, but in this day of surging Ebooks, I still like hardbacks the best). Revell does this with Christmas books, I think, because so many people like to give them as gifts.

    Thanks Pepper for stopping by before work (and for what you said :).

    Ruth, that's pretty amazing that I'd use that illustration 1 day before you.

  16. Dan,

    The title of your post is wonderful, "Tapping Into the Creativity of God."

    These kinds of moments have happened to me for years and I hadn't known what to call them. For me, it can be something pretty small, but will lead to amazing things. Sometimes it's just a strong spiritual nudge that I should do something, even though another part of me is telling me nothing will happen. Don't bother.

    Not sure if that makes sense.

    When I was published in nonfiction, I wanted to win this little writing scholarship which was given to some nonfiction writers and to some fiction writers. It was nuts to enter in fiction, but since that's what I really wanted to work on, I entered. Closed my eyes and mailed it before heading on vacation. I was chosen! That was huge in itself, but the associations that came from that continue to bless me four years later.

    Another time, I was doodling with "morning pages" as Julia Cameron calls them and launched an article idea called "All I Need to Know About Finances I Learned on the Farm." I got the feature story assignment and the title ended up on the cover of a national magazine.
    I agree with you that these insights happen when our spirits are still. Sometimes that is the hardest part for me, getting my spirit still. When I need it most is when I'm consumed by fear, anxiety, or am just plain exhausted.

    Thanks so much for this reminder that we are collaborators with God, in a sense. That's easy to forget sometimes.

    I'd love to win your book.

  17. Glynna,that's great to hear you've seen the book in some magazines. They usually send me cut-out pages in the mail, but I haven't gotten any yet. I'll have to tell the Art folks what you said about buying it for the cover alone (that would so bless them to hear).

    Patty, interesting creative surge there (and for 6.2 seconds). Did you ever write that synopsis? I actually keep a folder on my computer for ideas that come to me like that. Never know if they won't become something more later on. The book I'm finishing right now came to me in bits and pieces like that over 6 months.

    Thanks Missy for stopping by. And Tina, you're right about Revell. They've done some amazing things for us. Sometimes they put full page ads in magazines. I've got a drawer-full over the past few years, waiting for a scrapbook.

  18. So how do you collaborate long distance? And at what point do you get over the fact that you are working with Gary Smalley? Good night!!

  19. Hi, Dan! I can relate to what you said, because I have always marveled at how the story for my first published book, The Healer's Apprentice, came to me. It really was like a gift, like God said, Here. I want you to have this.

    And I like what you said about us not having to worry that the ideas will run out. God is so creative, and he delights in giving good gifts to his children. And congrats on writing some books with Gary Smalley! Sounds exciting! I hope they do extremely well!

  20. Virginia's comment reminded me of a time that I wrote a poem for a cousin's wedding. On the day OF the wedding, I ended up printing programs for her, and the back of the program needed a little something.

    The caption on the front of the pre-printed programs was "Today I Marry my Friend"

    Within minutes, I wrote a poem and popped it in there. I'm not really a poet, but hey, she got a poem written especially for her wedding! That doesn't happen every day. lol

    Love this blog post, Dan. It seems that God meets me when I'm most desperate (under the gun, under deadline, etc.)

    Since my first book just released, I haven't had to meet deadlines for contracted novels yet, but I've met deadlines for call-outs for submissions and contests many times.

    There's something about hunkering down with God, the laptop, an idea, and a deadline that gets the juices flowing, and we get 'er done or else.

    Kinda like Jacob wrestling with the angel. He refused to let him go until He blessed him.

    Grab hold and don't let go until you wrestle that story to the ground!

  21. Patty, you're a better girl than I am. I have to at least jot down some notes.

  22. Oh, I quoted you on facebook today, Dan!
    You said, "we deliberately seek to be inspired by the “real author,” and intentionally seek ways to use these gifts to glorify God…as we try to bless, entertain and inspire others." Very well said.

  23. DAN!!! Oh, man, I misted up just reading this blog -- can't imagine how the book will tear me up!!

    My heart is full of joy for you, my friend, for the blessing that God has poured into your life, and I rejoice over the path He has directed you to take. It is obviously the "heavy hitters" path with the likes of Gary Smalley, and you know, I might be jealous if I didn't know what an incredibly humble and kind person you are!! But PRAISE GOD, when one sees Him bless the socks off of someone you like, respect and admire SO much, you just can't help but give a silly grin. Because YES, the good guys DO win in this biz, and you are living proof!! I am THRILLED for you and Cindi and cannot wait to give you both a big hug in St. Loo ... AND read this fabulous book!


  24. Dan, what a thrill--congratulations! I hope you have a wonderful and inspiring meeting with Gary Smalley!

    And this post is truly inspiring. I can really relate to the experience of receiving story ideas almost fully formed. At least two of my books came to me in dreams. I was given the characters, the setting, and the basic plot, and woke up itching to get to the computer! One of those stories became my first published novel, One Imperfect Christmas.

  25. Cathy, what you said makes perfect sense (at least to anyone who's experienced these creative impulses).

    Tina, the collaboration is going well. A few phone calls, but mostly emails. Gary always gets back to me the same day (even when he's traveling, which I find amazing). I'm not over the Wow-factor of this, though the more I get to know him, the easier it becomes (he's just such a nice guy, and very caring). I'm actually the one writing the stories. I'm drawing more from Gary's family materials, and Gary has more of a "creative editor" role.

    I've already sent him a thorough synopsis for Book 1, which he loved (he said he actually cried at the ending). We'll be meeting in a few weeks mostly to brainstorm about the other books in the series.

    Thanks Melanie! And what you described for your first book is exactly what happened to me for this book and my first, The Unfinished Gift. I would struggle sometimes when people would ask me in interviews, "Where did you get the idea for this book?" The honest answer was, "God gave it to me, like a gift." But I'm concerned I'll appear super-spiritual, as though I think I've got some special hotline with God.

    Congrats Pam on your first book being released. That's such an exciting thing. And I like what you said about "hunkering down with God" and letting the juices flow. I'm hoping to do just that today, as I write one of the last chapters in my 6th book.

  26. I love the wealth of warm comments!

    Which means we need some spiced apple cider AND fresh fry cakes.

    I believe in spirit inspiration. When my books unfold in my head, it's kind of like the 'fold time and space' theory that Carl Sagin used in "Contact" for interplanetary travel...because it just comes through... And I know it's of God.

    No big explanation. It just is.

  27. So enjoyed this post today. Congratulations, Dan on the collaboration with Gary Smalley. Loved the Redemption series, and I'm certain this one will be great too.

    As you talked about creativity, I like how you pointed out what you did about Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and The Bridge Over Troubled Waters and how even Paul Simon knew it was better than what he normally wrote. I love that we know the Giver of all good gifts and how even Paul Simon knew it was better than what he normally wrote.

    I'm a writer-come-lately in the writing world, but what gave me the nudge to begin was a story idea that popped into my mind while at a couple's retreat with my husband. I'm still in the very beginning stages of learning the craft, but God has given me inspiration along the way as I've begun writing. And He's even given me a few ideas when I have been driving or talking with friends. I never know when they're going to pop into my head, but I've learned to write them down as soon as they do.

    Thanks for sharing today, and I hope that the Lord uses your writing in amazing ways!

  28. Melanie...I've been quoted on FB? Sounds like something I should write in my scrapbook :)

    Julie, I teared up reading your encouraging words. I still don't get how I get to do this, and now with someone like Gary Smalley. And ladies, he's as nice and kind and caring behind the scenes as he seems to be in his seminars and books. He's just turned 70, but his faith and zeal for the Lord (and for sharing God's love with others) really provokes me.

    Myra, isn't that incredible when it happens? That's kind of why I put the thought in there about not being afraid of the well running dry. I was afraid of that very thing. Because, these stories would come at such odd moments. And I didn't seem to have control over the timing (My name is Dan Walsh...I'm a control freak).

    Now, 6 books later, and with several more stories locked in, I'm learning that waiting on God is not a risky thing.

  29. Dan's book sounds really good. I haven't read any of Dan's books but looking forward it. Would enjoy reading it.

  30. The thing is, this is Dan's fourth visit with us and his star just keeps soaring, yet he keeps his feet planted.

    That is why I like Dan Walsh.

    He reminds me of my Seeker buddies and friends.

    Real. People.

    We have him on the list for doing dishes later. Real friends do chores you know.

  31. Welcome back to Seekerville, Dan!! WOW!!! What wonderful news you shared with us today--CONGRATULATIONS!!! (yes, I use WAY too many exclamation marks, but it's my personality, LOL). ~ Thank you for sharing this post today--and I must add I LOVE the cover of your Christmas book---Beautiful!!
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo
    p.s. Since I still have quite a few Georgia peaches on hand, I brought some Peach Cobbler to share this morning--right out of the oven! ;)

  32. Dan,

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring words and encouragement with us! It's nice to know that our 'source' of creativity will never run out.

    I'm so excited that I will be in St. Louis as a first-time conference attendee and recent member of ACFW, and will get to meet so many awesome people. I think I'm more excited to meet the authors than I am the agents and editors!!

    I'm going to keep this post to make me feel better when I'm stuck for an idea!

    Thanks so much.

    PS. Gorgeous cover!! And congrats on all your success.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  33. Ruth, I really enjoy movies like Contact. Loved that one, though the ending was a bit squirrely. But that's to be expected from folks whose worldview is pretty 'out there.' (I know you just meant it as an illustration). And if you change out the fry cakes with spice cake, you're on (watching the cholesterol).

    Jeanne, welcome to the writer world. I love that the very thing that nudged you in this direction is the thing we're talking about today. So many of us can relate to that.

    Tina, you're so nice to me. I do feel like I'm taking a trip home when I come here. Feels as easy being here as with friends and family. Happy to roll up my sleeves and jump in on the chores :)

    CatMom, thanks for stopping by!! I re-read your post hearing your Georgia accent! Had a few bites of some fresh peaches at Sam's the other day (half the reason I go there is to walk around and eat samples). I'd definitely like a nice serving of that cobbler!

  34. Hi Dan, I loved reading how the Lord gave you the idea for your Christmas book. I find my ideas as I read and research. The Lord seems to use that to help me connect ideas and bring stories to mind.
    Thanks for sharing!

  35. Patti Jo always brings good stuff. Cobbler and muffins and such.

    I am currently writing her into a book. Patti Jo's Bakery.

  36. So Dan, now that you are working from home fulltime you get more accomplished or does the task fill the hours available.

    I often wondered if I get more done because I work outside the home.

  37. Love this post! It's so great to read about how God's creativity is reflected in each person. And how neat that He put two such talented men together to accomplish His purposes. I know the series will touch many lives! Thanks for sharing this. Blessings!

  38. I'd also like to point out that you haven't given us a sneak blurb of Remembering Christmas.

    Another historical?

    You did mention a bit of a romance.

  39. AS I read this, Dan, I realize I have this cene in my mind. It's what I'm working toward in my wip. But I hadn't really thought o it as being important, just the next scene I need. But it's so VISUAL. I see the characters moving, pacing, planning their fight for justice. And I've got these ideas about how I'm going to show personality and reveal future series ideas all though the way they move and interact and respond in this scene.
    I'm always, before I start a scene like this, worried about accomplishing...that is fully REALIZING my vision. And it's hard, a lot of work, a lot of revisions. But I'm excited about it too.
    No series name, just some former Civil War soldiers who are still fighting a personal war in good and bad ways.
    Thank you for this post because you've helped me focus on the next scene and get excited about it.

  40. BTW, way to go hotshot. You're in some great company there. :)
    And I remember you being in our Carol picture last year after the ceremony. The only man. It was fun sharing the stage with you.

  41. Dan that is an awesome post! I'll be rereading it for help along the way but I am in awe of the awesome way the Lord has worked in your life. What miracles He has done and I believe it is because he has found a humble heart in you which is a rare thing in the sight of our Lord. I'm very happy for you and CWG/Word Weavers is too, I know.

    Wasn't The Book Nook in Daytona?

  42. And the creativity of God...reminds me in my book Wrangler in Petticoats I talk about an aRtist God. Only an artist could have created such a beautiful world. Sunsets and mountains and caverns and canyons. God took the time ot make these things beautiful becaue he has, along with some many other attributes, the soul of an artist and a love of beauty.
    So it makes sense that he'd give creativity as a gift to his children.

  43. I know Dan had a lunch commitment but he'll be back.

    Hopefully he'll bring us a doggie bag, especially if it's at Cracker Barrel.

    Okay, I am starving...cheese and crackers anyone?

  44. So enjoyed this, had to stop back by... Love the comments, love Seekerville...

    Hey hey - are we meeting on the island? What... washing coconuts and palm fronds? PUHLEEEZE!!!

    Ruthy - "'s kind of like the 'fold time and space' theory that Carl Sagin used in "Contact" for interplanetary travel...)

    Madeleine called it a tesseract. Always loved A Wrinkle In Time :)

  45. "Doggie bag?! In MY experience, that doesn't mean what it should..."

    May the K9 Spy

  46. Susan, you're going to love your time at ACFW. Our first was 2 years ago in Denver. Didn't know a soul. But we sure didn't feel that way when it was over. A wonderful, friendly bunch.

    Thanks Carrie for stopping by!

    Tina, to answer your question...I've been fulltime now since Oct, but my schedule has been kind of crazy. Since then I finished my 5th Revell book, wrote a book for Guidepost, have almost finished my 6th book, and developed a synopsis and proposal for the Gary Smalley series (plus supported the release of 2 books).

    I'm not sure I could keep this pace up for much longer. Fortunately, the Gary Smalley deal has eased up things a little. I actually have between October and April to finish it (I'm not going to know what to do with myself).

    Thanks Renee Ann, appreciate the kind words.

  47. Miss Virginia, you said "And I love the pictures on your blog of May meeting with all sorts of people. She's a beautiful, talented dog!"

    Yes I AM, thank you for noticing. ;D

    Mr Dan, please tell Miss Cindi thank you from me to her. Bet SHE has some stories to tell. BOL!!


  48.'re right, I didn't put a sneak peek blurb about Remembering Christmas. The one they used for the cover is pasted on my homepage, just below the cover (

    But it's a historical, sort of. Set way back in 1980 :). Just after Ronald Reagan became President, during the time John Lennon was shot, and everyone was buzzing about who shot JR on Dallas. Only folks in Arkansas had ever heard of Wal Mart, and there was only 1 cast of Star Trek to keep track of.

    Mary, loved what you said about this being visual. That's exactly how it is for me. Sometimes, it's like I'm seeing a movie scene unfolding in my mind, and it's all I can do to write it the way I'm seeing, hearing, even feeling it. That's the trick, isn't it, where the hard work and creativity meet.

    Thanks Donna for stopping in (she's a friend in my Word Weaver's group in Daytona). You're right, the Book Nook was an actual bookstore in the basement of a church in Daytona, during the 70's and 80's. And like the book, it burned down in a fire. I actually created a fictitious version of what Daytona might have been like, had it not become the home of NASCAR and Spring Break.

    Tina...if you're wondering, we had to cancel the lunch due to Cindi's health. She's doing much better, but the doctor wanted her to rest for a few more days.

  49. I'm glad she's better and taking the doctor's advice.

    Tell her we are praying for total health and romping with the dogs.

  50. Dan, thanks for being here, and a huge congrats on your collaboration with Gary Smalley! I'm looking forward to what you two come up with!

    I agree that our ideas come straight from God, whether we're aware of it or not. Not only did He create us the way we are, but He has given each of us a whole catalog of experiences to draw our ideas from and then gives us the "oomph" to make connections and draw it all together into a story.

    On top of that, He gives us places like Seekerville where we can learn the craft and get encouragement from others on this same journey.

    It can't get any better than that, can it?

    By the way, indulge in Ruthie's fry cakes. Virtual food has no cholesterol!

  51. When I first read the post I was afraid being a writer had turned your hair white. You look fine with white hair of course, distinguished. But then I scrolled down and saw you.
    So being a writer has turned Gary Smalley's hair white????

    I've got to go look in a mirror RIGHT NOW!!!

  52. Welcome to Seekerville, Dan!
    Huge congratulations on all the contracts and co-authoring with Gary Smalley! Fun to hear that he found you.

    I love your books and love having you here. Your posts inspire me! I'm in need of inspiration right now. Today. Do you ever have a time when the ideas don't flow? When you wonder if your creativity is dried up? I'm having a day like that. Not my first sadly. May be the weather--dreary, chilly--and a headache to seal the deal, but nothing is flowing. So thanks for reminding me that the God who created the universe is with me. Fear may be shutting off the Source. Or perhaps God is saying, Work a little harder, brat. Either way, I'll keep on keeping on.


  53. Congrats Ruthy and Mary!

    I've read Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh and really enjoyed it :)

    Glad ya'll had him by

  54. Dan,

    Your news is awesome.

    I understand completely the idea of the "Flow". When that hits, you can't write enough.

    I love that feeling of getting lost in a river of imagination. Or inspiration.

    Congrats again on your new endeavor.


    Tina Pinson

  55. Dan, thanks for such a provocative post. I've not read your books, but I'm interested now. (That's one of the things I love about blogging and the writing community. Sometimes the connection draws me to the book rather than the book motivating me to make a connection.)

    I love what you said in the comments: "I know I 'see' and 'hear' much better when my soul is at rest, and my heart is in more of a listening/quiet posture." I imagine that's why I usually get such clarity from the Lord upon waking from a night's sleep. With my soul at rest and my heart listening, I can hear Him even as I lay asleep.

  56. Oh and congrats on your new contracts with Revell and with Dr. Smalley.

  57. Just wanted to put my name in the hat for a critique. There are still a couple to go right?


    Tina Pinson

  58. Congrats on your book deal, Dan! I'm so encouraged to see authors give God the glory for their work and who also rely on God for their inspiration. That's my heart's desire. But what a great responsibility it is to tell a story that represents and honors Him!
    When I became interested in writing this year, it seemed like everyone and everything around me just came to life. Seeing a man eating a piece of fruit in his truck at the red light yesterday, I wondered what his story was...or what his story could be. It's so fun to crank up my dusty imagination! Most of these ideas don't come to fruition, but I think it's great brain exercise : ). God bless, Stacey

  59. KC, I will tell Cindi. She's laying on the love seat right next to me.

    Jan, couldn't agree with you more about Seekerville. I always tell writers-on-the way to come here. So much wisdom, with so much grace (ok, pass the fry cakes).

    Mary, lol. So far, at 54, only the hair in my beard and mustache is white. I think Gary's been white-haired for a long time. But what a smile he has.

    Janet, I've been where you're at...a lot. Probably all of us have. Sometimes when I get like that, especially if I've been working too hard (or too long), I need to step away from it, recharge the batteries, so to speak. Maybe doing something totally unrelated to writing. Read a book just for fun, watch a good movie, take a nice walk (eat something I shouldn't).

    One of the challenges of writing is not being on the clock. It's hard to know sometimes when we've crossed a healthy line and are now writing on fumes. I'll pray for you.

    Glad you enjoyed The Deepest Waters, Faye, thanks for stopping by. And thanks Tina...stay in the flow.

    Patricia, thanks. I love when that happens. Isn't it kind of God to minister to our hearts like that? It's as though there are just the two of us in the world. The God of Creation, now the loving Dad, drawing near, almost whispering words of truth as I awake. So grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  60. LoL Pam, I DID jot some notes during the special music--10 lines' worth. But I still haven't written the synop yet. NEED to do that!!

  61. Dan, now you have me tearing up. Thank you for the prayers. Your heart is why you're a terrific writer. Bless you.


  62. Dan,
    Such a wonderful post! Thank you! I'm like Janet, struggling today with my writing. I'm in the middle of a book that still isn't going the direction I had first envisioned. God's in control. He just hasn't told me where we're headed.

    You're praying for Janet? Could I ask for prayers as well? In fact, would you bless all of us with prayer that our work will produce good fruit God can use for his glory?

    So glad you could be with us in Seekerville. You've brightened my day!

  63. Forgot to say it helps to know you've been where I am. Thanks for that encouragement!


  64. Being just a reader & not a writer I find all the comments very interesting.
    I have read all of Dan's books & loved each one more than the last. Remembering Christmas is right at the top on my list. Love the cover & the story.Will make very nice Christmas gifts.
    Thank all of you for using the gifts God gave so people like me can enjoy great reading.

  65. I smell an altar call, and if Pastor Dan is praying, consider me elbow pushing to the front of the line!!!!


  66. Yes, Tina P. Consider yourself in for Dan's book and the Saturday critique.

  67. Dan, I'm don't think I have a creative bone in my body. However, I do LOVE reading your books which shows much creativity. I also love hearing how the books are inspired and how the charters are born. May God continue to bless you abundantly with creativity.

  68. Janet and Debbie, I'd be honored to pray for you, for all of you. Prayers for fresh encouragement from the Lord are guaranteed prayers. Consider reading 2 Cor 1:3-11 soon. Paul, after going through a time he described as being "crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure," cried out to God who thoroughly revived and encouraged their hearts. And so, Paul called Him the "God of all encouragement."

    I find I need this from God WAY before my circumstance have time to change. And I find God always willing to draw near when I come as I am, full surrender, sometimes too weary to even mouth the words.

    There's another passage I love in Isaiah 42:3, a prophetic passage about Jesus. Its says "a bruised reed He will not break, a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." That's how gentle and tender our Lord is toward those who know how much they need Him.

    He's not just been my Savior, back in 1975, He's saved me a thousand times since.

  69. Amen, Dan!

    "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lam. 3:22-23 ESV

  70. Mary, I think they invented Clairol and L'Oreal just for writers.

  71. Dan~
    Congrats on teaming up with Gary Smalley. He spoke at a chapel service once when I was in college at Southwest Baptist University (I'm not telling how long ago that was), and was amazing.

    I love the image of Simon and Garfunkel with Art peeking over Paul's head. So funny.

    I'm just getting started on this writing journey, but once in a while I write a scene I think is straight from God's mind to my fingertips because I know I could never come up with it on my own. Hopefully, someday an agent or editor will agree ;)

    You crack me up. Writing may be turning my hair white. My husband is constantly finding new white hairs and asking if he can pull them out (I happen to think that's very unloving of him, and I tell him so).

    Are you reading the giveaway copy? Giving away a used book? I'm certain I would be tempted if I was you.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  72. You and Paul make a good team, Dan. I'm feeling encouraged! Thank you!

  73. Precious Scriptures, Dan. Thank you for sharing them. Thank you for praying for Seekerville. We want to honor God with our stories. Failing to do that is the root of fear for me, but fear is not of God.

    While you're at it, pray the movies will play in my head. :-)
    Sorry, couldn't resist.


  74. A friend and I were talking at church today about how God uses everything in our lives, which brings me great comfort. Whatever we experience--whether pain or joy--God can use for good.

    He has used your time in Seekerville for good, Dan, and we are very grateful!

  75. Andrea, you caught Tina red-handed reading Dan's book.

    I'm planning to buy a copy at ACFW. Then I'll try to snag Dan in the hallway for his autograph! :)

  76. Thanks Wilma and Beverly for stopping in, and for the kind words.

    Andrea, makes my day when I have moments like you described. Sometimes I'll be wrestling with a scene, a character said something they weren't supposed to say, but as soon as I write it, I know it's right. Then I sit there, staring. Now what, Lord? Then I see the rest, and it's perfect, way better than what I started with. I LOVE that.

    Debbie, that's a great (and biblical) outlook on troubles you and your friend were discussing. Right off the bat, I rarely see how difficulties and trouble can be anything worthy of thanks. But when I insert the mercy, power and goodness of God into the equation, and reflect on the 2,142 times He has worked everything together for good in my life so far (give or take), it's not hard for my heart to shift from 'victim' to 'servant' awaiting new instructions.

    Sometimes, much of my suffering in certain trials is simply my fingers refusing to release their grip on my idea of what God should do, and my refusal to accept His leadership and wisdom.

  77. Got a little quite in here the last 30 minutes. Kind of like church, when I'd say something that either connected well or went right over people's heads.

  78. Dan, it connected well.
    Thank you.

  79. Every day for me is ME trying to run the world and God telling me that I am interfering in His territory.

  80. Tina...and see how all that can block the flow of creativity? (Trying to get us back on topic :)

  81. LOOONG day and work, so it was refreshing to reread this, Dan.
    Thank you for the inspiration you share in these words and the encouragement you spread to others.
    I think your pastoral heart really comes out here.

    And I LOVE the way God inspires us through the ordinary and extraordinary of every day.
    It's all a part of HIS story anyway. I'm so glad he lets us think outside the box of life and add imagination :-)

  82. They're asking me to help with dinner. Time to roll up my sleeves for real. I'll be back in an hour or less. So if anyone checks in, and I don't answer right one fictitious hero said...I'll be back.

  83. I'm a Martha like Tina... and I'm not insulted if you pray for my family as a result. ;)

    But God has put me in some interesting places over the years, he's given me the chance to experience things that weren't good at the time, but (as Janet mentioned off-loop) they deepen my writing. But I've always known the stories were 'in' there, long before I had time to write them. Not just as a writer, but almost a mission which probably sounds weird, but that's how it seems.

    And it's good. And fruitful. And makes people smile or cry. Either works.

    I love that God's feather touch of the Holy Spirit is as real to me as your picture. Or my puppies. That gift is monumental in my work with snot-nosed babies... and novels.

    Amazing thing, that God.

  84. Welcome to Seekerville, Dan! Congratulations on your new books. I loved the first and second ones.

  85. Loved this post; Dave is a favorite author of mine. I love his books and look forward to reading this one (count me in the draw). And writing with Gary.....I do look forward to those books, too. Blessings~~

  86. Ruth, I'm tracking with you. I wanted to write way back in high school, but felt the Lord wanted me to set it aside. The reason? I felt like I didn't have anything to say. The Lord knows all about aging things until they're ready to bring out from the cellar. (Not saying you're old, another metaphor). But clearly, there's a reason why your book is a finalist for the Carols. Hope you win!

  87. Dan,

    Thanks for sharing this with us today.

  88. a great posting...thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  89. Congratulations on your book deal with Dr. Gary Smalley, how awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Definitely a walk down memory lane for me with the mention of Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

    God has been giving me poetry for many years and within the last couple of years He's been giving me songs. I know they are gifts from Him as many times I am in places where I can't write it down but it's never forgotten. I was given a Christmas poem many years ago and two years ago He gave me the rest of the poem in the form of a song. I truly felt blessed.

    Would love to be entered to win a copy of Remembering Christmas! Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  90. Thanks Cara, Jackie, Rose, Karen and Cindy for stopping in. And for the encouragement. I look forward to seeing who wins the book.

    Whoever does, drop me an email or visit me on Facebook, let me know what you think.

  91. Dan, thanks so much for spending the day with us, and thank your lovely wife as well.

    As always we cheer when a nice guy finishes in the top percentage of his class in the school of life. For you we'll cheer even louder.

    Can't wait to find out what exciting things you are up to next time you visit.

    Have fun at ACFW. When it comes back to Denver we'll all do dinner again :)

  92. Thanks Tina. As always love coming here. Hope to see you many of you at ACFW soon.

    I'll stop by in the morning in case any late-comers stopped by.

    Thank you all for making this such a wonderful time. God is using you all to advance His Kingdom, and He rewards all that we do for His glory. What men fail to see, God never does. So write, pray, work for that Audience of One.

    Good night, Dan

  93. Oh, man, I forgot to say I was a as big a Simon and Garfunkel freak as I was Gone With the Wind, so LOVED the reference/story about that, Dan. My fav was Art because he was just so wonderfully shy and talented!!


  94. This is a great post. Congrats on your achievements. I credit God for enabling me to write every word and thank Him for every opp to live in a country where we are free to write as we like. Write for Him, Everyone!

  95. Dan, thank you for your post. I'm encouraged and inspired.About a week ago, I finished a novel, and went into what I call "writer's limbo", which seems to occur between stories I give myself to. Then, just like the last time, an idea bounced around in my head, and I thought,"Oh, I couldn't write THAT story." Same thing this time. Now, I've finished a preliminary synopsis and a couple of scenes, and plunged into the research. So your post came at just the right time for me. I so appreciate it. None of mine have been published yet, but I think the ideas came from the same place!!

    Save travels to St. Louis, and I'll hope to meet you.

    Gail Kittleson

  96. Congratulations on your contract, Dan! What a wonderful opportunity and experience. I know the Lord will bless your combined efforts.
    Thank you for your post. I do sometimes wonder if the well will run dry, but when I remember that my story ideas and passions for the purposes I espouse didn't come from me in the first place, I'm relieved and renewed. God is so much bigger than me or my worries, so magnanimous--He takes my breath away! His power is truly made perfect in our weakness! What joy to walk with and serve Him!

  97. Wow!
    Dan, I've always believed my creativity and gift of writing came from God, but I've never been able to express it as eloquently as you did in this post.
    I didn't discover my calling until a few years ago, but it hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn't deny it after God put the dream in my heart to be a published author--even though I've tried to ignore it a few times. ;)
    I've finished two manuscripts now, and as I wait for 'the call', I've found myself stalled. Waiting for something to happen and scared to start something new.
    But I think your blog was exactly what I needed to tap into that amazing creativity that can only come from God and get back to putting words on paper. So thank you for opening up and sharing your heart with us!

  98. I love this place every day, and today?--This post is going to be printed out and placed in the front pocket of my writing notebook. Thank you.

  99. First off, my apologies for not coming back this morning. Had a bit of a scare.

    I actually had to rush Cindi back to the hospital today. We thought she was relapsing from a TIA (mini-stroke) she had on Sunday (spent Sun-Mon) in the hospital. Thankfully, that's not what happened. The stroke symptoms had returned this morning, but to a lesser extent. Turns out, these were more residual affects from the mini-stroke on Sunday. They said she had a strong TIA and it often takes a week or so for the symptoms to clear up (would have been nice if someone told us that before we left the hospital on Monday). They recommended a week of bed rest, no stress.

    She's doing much better now (and my breathing is now close to normal).

  100. Julie, watching that documentary about how they made the song was amazing (you'd love it). Apparently, they made a behind-the-scenes tape of the whole thing, including Art singing it while the record was being taped. It was wonderful.

    Kayleen, Amen. Don't ever want to take that freedom for granted.

    Thanks Gail, glad you were encouraged. And you're right, the ideas to come from the same place. All my ideas were first unpublished ones:). I still get some that may never become books (some may just be great tales to tell my grandkids).

    Cathy, thanks for stopping by. Loved what you said.

    Lorie, glad I helped give you the nudge to get back on the keyboard. The old saying is true: Writer's write. I believe in Gina Holmes post, just before mine, she said her first published book was actually the 5th book she'd written (and it has taken off)., I'm honored.

  101. Thank you for making me aware of this post. I enjoyed reading it. Whenever my faith gets a little shaky I go to the net and find images of the universe and all the fantastic display of God's handywork. Your post did the same thing for me. Congrats on your forthcoming book and your future work with Gary Smalley. I live in Springfield, MO so I can say we are travelling the same road--at least to Branson. The two verses I walk between are Prov. 16:9 and 19:21. God's blessing on you and your writing.