Friday, February 24, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER CATHY GOHLKE: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED TO PUBLICATION (and Giveaway!!!)

Hi, Julie here, and let me begin by saying FEW people have ever been able to drag me from the comfort of my bed in the middle of the night with an urgency to go downstairs to my computer and write them an e-mail. But let me tell you our guest today did just that. Here is a clip from the e-mail I wrote to Cathy Gohlke after reading her novel, Promise Me This:

Dear Cathy,
We have never met that I know of, but our agent Natasha Kern asked me to endorse your book, Promise Me This. It is after midnight, but I traipsed downstairs to my computer in my nightgown and bare feet to tell you that Promise Me This was the single BEST book I have ever read in the CBA. I was crying when I didn't even know I was crying in so many places that mid-book I turned to my husband and said (with tears in my eyes, of course) "This is one of the best books I have ever read and most assuredly the best I've ever read in the CBA, and do you know how I know that?" "No, how do you know that?" my husband asked. "Because I should be jealous to read a book that is so far superior to anything I could ever write, but instead I am simply grateful for the privilege to read this woman's work."

Yes, I will admit, I am a gusher when I reallllly like something, but lest you think this is all "gush," let me tell you that not only has Cathy won two Christy awards for her work, William Henry is a Fine Name (2007 Christy) and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (2009 Christy), but I literally started crying when I began writing this post and remembering the profound effect this woman's work had on me. Mark my words, Cathy Gohlke is a name to watch and read! Without further ado, I give you Cathy Gohlke:

Because I took the twists and turns of a road less traveled to publication, I thought you might like to stroll down memory lane with me. Heaven knows that writers love uncharted paths, and from my strange meandering, you might discover a new trek for your own journey.

Let’s begin at the beginning—or nearly. I was five-years-old when I discovered, at my grandmother’s knee, that the stories caught between the covers of books did not appear by magic, but were, in fact, penned by real people! In that lightning bolt moment I determined that whatever else I did in life, I would grow up to become one of those “magic-making” people.

But it wasn’t until my children entered school that I began to write in earnest. What I quickly discovered was that I had lots of imagination, and little knowledge of the craft of stories. I knew how to begin a story, how to give my characters all kinds of trouble and heartbreak, but helping them resolve their issues or defining or maintaining a premise was beyond me. I needed education in the craft of writing. Returning to school full time was out of the question for me or for my family.

So, I did what God told Moses to do when He spoke to him from the burning bush on Mt. Horeb—I used the thing He’d placed in my hand—the opportunities in front of me.

Over several years I joined a creative writing class through continuing education at a local college and took a course through a neighboring university, joined critique groups, attended a few writers’ and literature conferences, read books in general and books on the craft, took correspondence courses through The Institute for Children’s Literature and Writer’s Digest, learned the art of feature writing by trial and error, wrote features and occasional news stories for local newspapers, wrote short stories (one was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Annual Short Story Contest), and essays—three were published in anthologies (Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul and My Turn To Care).

Essays and poems were published in small periodicals, as I read poetry and short stories at open-mic coffee houses and bookstores. I wrote plays and skits that were produced on local stages (schools, libraries, restaurants, church). During those years I was either working at a private school as the children’s librarian and director of a home-grown theatre group committed to promoting literacy (The Mom Street Players), at a high school coaching drama, or at my church directing children’s and education ministries.

Somewhere between my work as a school librarian and a high school drama coach, I picked up the threads of that Underground Railroad novel I’d always wanted to write and employed the things I’d learned. It was a long, grassroots journey. But that was okay—I had a lot to learn and I’d never expected the road to be easy.

As meandering as that path sounds, each of those steps in my journey taught me something essential. I learned to write on deadline and respect a word count when I wrote for newspapers. I learned the beauty and economy of language when I wrote poetry. While writing and directing plays I learned that dialogue must be natural, sharp, and move a story forward, that a story must be well rounded with a definite “stage presence,” that there is a definite beginning, middle and end, that each character has an arc, and that the actions of everyone on stage must be accounted for. As a librarian I learned what inspires readers—even young ones.

By reading at open mics I learned to gauge the connection of an audience to a story.

I learned, when working in Christian education ministries that I love serving the church and working hard to help bring spiritual meat to those eager to grow in Christ. I also learned, ironically, that no matter how good and important a work is, if we’re not called to do that work, then we need to sit quietly, wait, and ask the Lord to make Himself clear to us through His Holy Spirit.

I couldn’t understand how it was that I was working in the church I love, serving those I love, and my heart was breaking. But my uncle, a devout Christian man, helped me see when he said, “You know you’re working in the will of God when your yoke is easy and your burden light.” He asked me to tell him what gave me joy.

The answer was clearly writing—doing the thing God planted in my heart from the time He knit me together in my mother’s womb—the thing He revealed to me at my grandmother’s knee.

That’s when I began to see my long and unique journey in a new light. Suddenly, I had not only permission to do what gave me joy, but the assurance of God’s blessing. I felt like the Olympic runner Eric Liddel, who felt God’s pleasure when he ran, only for me, it was, “When I write, I feel God’s pleasure!”

So, I completed that novel—learning to trust my Father’s guiding hand when the way got rough. And I sent it out. First to 23 publishers in the ABA because my heart was filled with a desire to help young people make good choices. Even though the book had strong spiritual threads, I thought that was the best way to reach them—I was thinking libraries and schools. I got a few bites, but no contracts. One publisher asked me to rewrite the book for younger children. I tried, but it wasn’t a story that could be written for younger children. One editor wanted it, but said his publishing house had just bought an Underground Railroad story and didn’t think their market could bear another.

By the time most of my query letters had been answered with rejections, I decided to try the CBA. Not having an agent, and unable to afford a Christian writers conference, I emailed The Writer’s Edge, an on-line magazine that sends monthly listings of accepted books to Christian publishing houses. Details of my manuscript were listed in the magazine. The idea was that if an editor saw something that piqued his/her interest, they would contact the author, requesting the complete manuscript.

Three editors contacted me, and after I showed myself willing and able to revise the manuscript, a contract was offered. Once the book (William Henry is a Fine Name) was published, the publisher asked for a second (I have Seen Him in the Watchfires). Both won Christy Awards, and the second book won the Carol Award and was picked by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008. I was sure all of that constituted a double fluke.

My third book, Promise Me This (a Titanic through WWI novel), targets an older audience, though young adults will certainly enjoy it. This is my favorite book so far. It captures not only my fascination with Titanic—its passengers, crew, and those left behind, and embodies a strong love story, but it does so while portraying a picture of Christ’s love for us and our response to that unmerited gift of grace. It contains all the things I hold dear, and is the fruition of this wonderfully convoluted journey, “this road less traveled”—both in life and in writing.

If I may encourage you in one thing in your writing journey, it is to embrace what God has given you, and the God who gave it. Take full advantage of the opportunities within your grasp—they are unique to you and are there for uniquely you. Work hard, read, write and humbly rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Learn from those who’ve gone before you on this path and from those who are willing to walk beside you. Share your writing, bless others with your gifts, and stay the course. Putting one foot in front of the other, surrender each day and each opportunity to Him, trusting, TRUSTING Him for the results.

I’ll be praying as you write, and look forward to meeting you on the journey. God’s blessings!


GIVEAWAY!!

Leave a comment or question for Cathy, and be entered to win her latest release, Promise Me This. Good luck!


ABOUT CATHY:

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which also won the Carol Award and was listed by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008.

Promise Me This is available now, and Band of Sisters will release in September, 2012, both from Tyndale House Publishers.

When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, make their home on the banks of the Laurel Run in Elkton, Maryland. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com.

137 comments :

  1. I'm definitely interested in this book and will get it somehow or another. :)

    Thanks for sharing your journey, made me do some thinking.

    And Virginia, I'll be here in March asking if you're frittering away time on facebook, actually, I can see you do it since you're a night owl like me--yeah, I see you do it.

    Evidently, Janet (I think it was Janet) says we should call Ruthy down upon us.

    Ruthy, no grace and pats on the back in March--for me anyway!

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  2. Cathy - What a wonderful story of endurance. Writing, rewriting and rewriting is just what I need to hear. Thank you for sharing your journey!

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  3. Oo ooo ooooo! I want a copy!

    My 10yo is endlessly fascinated [wonder where she gets THAT from!] and even sold an article on the Titanic to a magazine coming out soon :D.

    I actually do have a tab open to the Amazon page to remind me to order it [and have had it open for a couple weeks, but it's not book ordering time yet...]

    But first, I have to get some sleep... And finish additions/edits to an MS so I can join the speedbo fun. And write a blog.

    And make cookies.

    Taking them to a friend who had surgery today. And for the party that we're apparently going to have at my house. Did anyone decide when that would be?

    ;)

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  4. Wow, what a fascinating and enlightening post. Thank you, Julie and Cathy.

    Cathy, at the moment I'm wondering about writing when I don't know if I've had a specific call from God to write, but at the same time anything to do with writing totally fascinates me. I've had the desire to write since I was a child and have had a few small successes along the way. The story about your uncle's advice was very meaningful to me.

    Thank you for the reminder to use the opportunities at hand. I live in South Africa so am not able to attend any of the wonderful writers' conferences in your country that I read about on my computer screen BUT I can learn from blogs, online courses and the writing friends that God has blessed me with both here and online.

    Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

    Thank you.

    ruthdell (at) mweb (dot) co (dot) za

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  5. Cathy,

    Welcome to Seekerville. I must say that in reading your post I had to smile. Why? This may sound funny, but there are more than a few similarities in our journey.

    I won't delve into them, but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing.

    Your eloquent words affirm the truth I know. We are each a unique creation in God. He wants us to share that with others and reach others through the stories and imagination he's given and let them know how awesome they are in God's eyes.

    Pouring my heart out in a book is almost as important as breathing to me and I know why. God seeded a breath of creativity and imagination to write in me and to not use it, is to go against the fiber of who I am and who he wants me to be.

    Blessings
    Tina Pinson

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  6. Oh, Cathy...

    I just finished Promise Me This a few minutes ago - and I have to say, that I can hardly remember a book being so absolutely, wonderfully painful to read as the ending drew near! I was crying and speaking aloud to the book, and very nearly tempted to throw it should the tension get any more difficult to bear!! Your book is beautiful and heartbreaking, and the message is so powerful. Thank you for following God's unique call on your life and for going through that long and winding journey to get to this point. Our God is truly an awesome God, and I'm so grateful for this story you have written that shares His love!

    I loved this blog post, as well! I'm currently finishing up my last semester at college and still waiting to see where God will lead me next. I've written one book (still unedited) and am currently working on a second... I don't know if God will ever have me share them with a wider audience or if He is simply teaching me things through this heartbreaking and wondrous writing process. I'm just blessed beyond measure to know that He is with me wherever He has me go. :)

    God bless you, Cathy!

    ~Amber

    P.S. No need to enter me in the drawing! I'm excited for another person to get the chance to read Promise Me This. :)

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  7. Cathy, this looks amazing! And this post really spoke to me. It reminds me of when I dropped out of graduate school and every person I knew was shocked and horrified... except for my best friend. She knew I wasn't happy and couldn't force myself to pretend I was.
    So, it was turn-around time! When I was being all angsty about what I should do next, a nun I knew said, 'You keep saying you don't know what you're going to DO. You should be asking who you're going to BE.'

    Wise women, all of you. :D

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  8. Melissa!!!

    I know, I'm counting down the days to March. Ooooh, I'm going to have facebook withdrawal.

    But we're going to get so much writing done... together!

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  9. Ok I keep hearing so many good things about this book I really need to get my hands on a copy!

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing your journey to publication with Seekerville Cathy. It always inspires me to read about an author's journey. I always glean a gem from their stories.

    I would love to be entered to win a copy of Promise Me This. Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  11. Wow--I'm so impressed with the nite owls in Seekerville! Melissa, you take spot number one!

    I'm glad if this post was helpful, Stephanie. You're right, writing requires endurance, but somehow it's just part of life when we're in it for the long haul. And there's blessing and comfort in that--like each day waking up to meet our friend.

    Carol-- your 10 year old sold a Titanic story to a magazine? Wow!!! That's one to frame! It sounds like your living a busy life that will give you lots to write about.

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  12. Ruth Ann--your situation touched my heart. It's exciting to think how God has gone ahead and prepared just this place and time for you. You are gleaning experiences that will give you a unique perspective from which to write. And you are so right--there are many ways to learn the things we need to know. God bless your journey!

    Tina--Yours is also a "knit in the womb" story. Writing is what makes your heart sing; I can "hear" the melody. God DOES take us on winding, wonderful journeys--each unique to Himself and created for us. Enjoy!

    Amber--I'm thrilled you so enjoyed "Promise Me This" and that the message of Christ's love came through loud and clear for you--that's always exciting to hear. It sounds as if you're walking "in the garden" with the Lord. Know that He will feed and nourish and supply your every need as you embrace this journey ahead with Him. Walking by faith into our future is rarely easy, but the One we walk with makes all the difference!

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  13. Virginia--don't you just love those significant people God places in our lives--the ones who give us gems of wisdom so totally unexpected that they knock our socks off for the rest of our lives? I'm so glad you had one, too--and at just the most needed time. God's timing is impeccable!

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  14. Abbi--I hope you enjoy "Promise Me This." The research and writing of that book was one of the greatest adventures of my life.

    Cindy--I know what you mean. Reading of the journeys of others inspires me, too. There's always something I can take away, and it encourages me to know others are walking this path. Even if it's dark at times, all we have to do is reach out our hand and we're bound to connect with another. God is amazing in His provision!

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  15. Cathy what a great insight into your background. I loved Promise Me This and am excited to bless my friend with the book as she's the one who won it on the giveaway on my blog.

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  16. Dawn--I'm glad you enjoyed "Promise Me This!" Thank you so much for blogging and for sharing my book with your friend. This has been a wonderful way to meet writers new to me and to connect with so many. God's blessings today!

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  17. Cathy, your book looks sooo good!!! I went on Amazon and read the description and am immediately hooked!! Can't wait to read it!! And what a great post too!!!

    Thanks so much for being with us on Seekerville today!!

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  18. Hi Cathy,

    I'm so glad you were able to drop by Seekerville today, and I loved the story of your journey.

    Knowing how to be where God wants us and when He wants us there is a difficult lesson to learn. Like you, I spent too many years serving God in my way rather than His - but now I've learned to say "no" to everything except where I know He wants me.

    Life is truly joyful when we learn that, isn't it?

    I don't know what Julie's bringing to the buffet this morning, but we need to start with hot chocolate! I brought a big pot and plenty of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles for the topping.

    Has anyone seen Helen and her coffee pot?

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  20. Hi, Julie!

    Thanks for being here today, Cathy, and for sharing your story. Your novels sound fascinating. : ) Please enter me in the drawing.

    road_to_avonlea_17(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Whitney

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  21. Cathy, welcome to Seekerville~! Your story is wonderful and your books sound even better!!

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  22. Amanda--It's my joy to be here! Thank you for the warm welcome!

    Jan--Yes, finding that place of living in the will of God and doing the thing He's created us to do is part of that wonderful journey of becoming who He means us to be. How precious to share that journey! Yes--I'm definitely up for that hot chocolate! Yum!

    Whitney--Thank you so much--It's a pleasure to be among friends!

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  23. Cathy,

    "Promise me This" sounds amazing!!! I put it on my Amazon wish list, and can't wait to read it.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I loved your Uncle's quote.

    “You know you’re working in the will of God when your yoke is easy and your burden light.”

    Too many time we trudge along under a heavy load when all God wants is for us to follow the path He set and find true joy. Thank you for this reminder today.

    --Kirsten

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  24. Yikes! Yipeee!!!! (jumping up and down with excitement!)I JUST finished 'Promise Me This' two days ago! I am still emotionally bruised and battered, but I'm sure I'll be fine if I can read something else of Cathy's soon. :-) And I haven't read her YA books, so I'll hunt them down NOW!

    You know what I'll take away from that book -- and always remember? How one individual has the power to change every life he/she touches -- for good or bad. It's a sobering thought.

    And like Julie, I cried buckets -- and true confession, I had to sneak a peek at the last page at one very despairing point. You need to have gumption to read 'Promise Me This'!!!!

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  25. WOW, what a beautiful trip down memory lane.
    And Cathy - when you wrote "When I write I feel God's pleasure" - Oh MAN!!! I say that all of the time. There is a such a joy, and overwhelming sense of God's peace, as I write.
    LOVE THAT!!

    Promise Me This sounds like a book I need to buy (or win.... ;-)
    Thank you for sharing your story - and Jules, thanks for sharing Cathy with us :-)

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  26. WHOA, guys, I just rolled out of bed, and you all have been chatting up a storm!!

    WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, SWEET CATHY GOHLKE, one of the MOST humble talented people I have ever seen!! Sooo glad to have you here this morning, my friend, and thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

    In honor of the Titanic threads through your latest novel Promise Me This, let's go all out with a lavish brunch with a "boatload" of goodies, shall we?? Omelets and waffles made to order, chocolate chip pancakes, blackberry- cheese tart, warm peach cobbler with clotted cream, maple-cured bacon, thick red-eye ham, potatoes O'Brien, Crepes Suzette, Eggs Benedict and on and on and on ...

    For beverages, we have assorted teas and LOTS of hazelnut cinnamon coffee AND dee-lish hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles provided by none other than our own very own Jan Drexler ... a lady obviously after my own heart!!

    Enjoy!

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  27. Cathy,

    May the Lord continue to bless your journey ABUNDANTLY! What a gift that you stopped in to Seekerville on the way. So much to digest here. Will be reading through.

    Way to go Julie! Thanks for bringing her by.

    Yes, please enter me. may at maythek9spy dot com

    A question Cathy - I too believe my book has a message for the secular young audience but it's too inspirational (?) perhaps (?) for interest by those publishers. Yet I didn't think it should be a CBA offering either.

    Any further thoughts on that topic - are you pleased with the choices you made? What about those who wouldn't otherwise pick up a CBA work? Has there been crossover?

    Thanks so much!

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  28. Good morning Cathy and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for joining us and sharing your amazing story.

    Your uncle said " “You know you’re working in the will of God when your yoke is easy and your burden light.” He asked me to tell him what gave me joy. My spiritual mentor said the same thing to me and it speaks volumes doesn't it? Like Ruth Ann, his words reminded me of why I write and why there are times when I don't. Sometimes there are other things He wants us to do first. And I believe they are preparing us for when it is time to write.

    Thanks again for joining us. I look forward to reading your book.

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  29. MMMM - Thanks for the fabulous breakfast ladies!

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  30. Tina--Thank you for the warm welcome!

    Kirsten--You're right on target! I was "trudging" along before my uncle's words helped me see things in a new light. It's so easy to be caught up in "doing good" or doing what we think we "should." Sometimes it's hard to remember that we were created for relationship with our Father and each other, and that He knit us together for joy. Thank you for sharing your insights!

    Kay--I'm so glad you enjoyed "Promise Me This" and even more glad that you're recovering! : ) There have been a few books that I've had to sneak a peek at the last page, too--always a good sign!
    You really captured something important in the book and in life--each of touch so many lives and have the God-given choice to use that gift and power to heal and bless, or to hurt. It IS sobering. God bless!

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  31. AMBER SAID: "Your book is beautiful and heartbreaking, and the message is so powerful."

    AMEN TO THAT!! I laid awake in bed last night thinking that I forgot to mention one of the things that impacted me most about Cathy's story. Everyone knows I am a DIE-HARD romance reader and writer, so if you would have told me that I would have been totally captured and mesmerized throughout 416 pages by a long-distance romance without all the lip-smacking I love, well, I would have asked you what you're smoking.

    BUT ... Cathy does JUST that, which shows you HOW powerful this book is!! In fact, the presence of Jesus was SO strong in one of the characters, that I honestly believe that may be why this novel touches one's heart so deeply. In a way, it truly is like a journey with Jesus that touches heart and soul more deeply than most books, and in a fictional format -- WOW!!

    Thanks, Cath, for coming today and being such a gracious hostess. I pray you climb the charts on this one, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  32. Good Morning, Julie! Wow--you have WONDERFUL friends!!! And we're all ready for your scrumptious, lavish breakfast! SO many good things--where to begin? May I come back for seconds--or thirds? : )

    You are so generous in your praise, Julie--overwhelming that it comes from one with such gifts and talents who shares so lavishly--in person and through your pen. Thank you for having me here today. God's blessings always!

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  33. Pepper--I think that's why Eric's words resonate with so many writers--we truly do feel God's pleasure when we write. I think it's an inside gift that He gives each of us when we find ourselves doing what He's created us to do, and especially in being what He's created us to be. That the Author of Creation and Salvation would let us co-create stories with Him--wow--it's simply too wonderful!

    KC--What an interesting question, and how similar to the place I found myself! I'd never intended to write for the CBA because I truly wanted to get good stories in the hands of young people--especially through schools and libraries. And I still think good stories are desperately needed in that arena. But now I see the wisdom of God's plan for my books at this time. Through CBA I've been able to write freely of my love for Him and not worry that I'll be thought "too religious" for publication.
    Interestingly, because I wrote about the Underground Railroad and Civil War in a vein that teens can absorb, I've been invited to schools to speak--especially eighth grade history classes (because they study this period of American history) and literature classes for historical fiction. I've spoken at Civil War Day events in middle schools and to advanced lit. classes in high schools and at literature festivals for teens. In all of those cases I'm able to promote good literature and history, but I'm also able to promote the importance of making good choices and the value of asking what God wants us to do when we face a difficult situation.
    I think the most important thing is to write authentically the burden that's been placed on your heart, and to ask the Lord to lead you to its publication home and where/how to share your book and message--then walk where He leads. He can see the journey ahead in ways that we cannot, and it's amazing how He weaves our paths with others to accomplish His purposes in ways we could not have imagined. I hope this is helpful.

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  34. What a fantastic story! I can hardly wait to get my hands on this book.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
    wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

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  35. Sandra--Thank you for the warm welcome!
    Yes--you're so right. Writing is not always the thing He's calling us to first. All those wonderful living/learning experiences must be woven in, for our sakes and others, to become part of the rich tapestry of life He and we draw upon and from which we write. I think it's all part of learning to live in the "unforced rhythms of grace." I'm still learning this--day by day by day by . . .

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  36. Welcome to Seekerville, Cathy! Thanks for your inspiring post! When Julie is this excited about an author and her story, I have to read the book.

    Loved your uncle's advice. I'm not sure the yoke always feels easy or light but it feels right. We can learn craft, but storytelling is a gift from God.

    Julie, breakfast is to die for! Not what I'd want if I truly were feasting on the water.

    Janet

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  37. Cathy, what a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing your journey. It's so important to follow the desire God has put in our hearts. We need to keep being reminded!

    I look forward to reading your books!

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  38. Cathy, you said: I felt like the Olympic runner Eric Liddel, who felt God’s pleasure when he ran, only for me, it was, “When I write, I feel God’s pleasure!”

    I have had that exact thought!!! Many times. But sometimes I get discouraged, and I know it's the devil trying to get to me, when I think, How can God use these silly romance stories? Am I wasting my time? Even though I get wonderful letters from readers, I still wonder if what I'm doing is worth anything. But other times I realize that this is the talent God gave me, and these are the stories he gave me, and even if they aren't particularly "important," it's still what God wants me to do. It's a constant battle, but it is so freeing to realize that we don't have to work ourselves to death in ministries we don't enjoy in order to please God. He is much more pleased if we listen to his voice and follow HIS voice and "lean not on our own understanding."

    Great post, Cathy!!! Thank you! And may God continue to bless your writing!

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  39. This novel sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing your email...now i have to read this novel. The interview was enlightening, and i loved getting to know Cathy. Thanks, too for the great giveaweay.

    marianne dot wanham at gmail dot com

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  40. Kav! Oh my gosh! You peeked at the end???!

    ;)

    I guess we'll forgive you. :)

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  41. Cathy, you talked about getting your books in libraries and schools. I bet your YA books are in MANY schools and libraries. I've had readers email me and say they saw my book on the shelf at their school and were pleasantly surprised when they started to read it that it was a Christian book. So, your Christian YA's are no doubt having an impact in schools and libraries. God is able to put our books where he wants them!!!

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  42. Thank you, wfnren! I hope you enjoy the read.

    Janet--I know what you mean about that yoke not always feeling easy, but feeling right.
    Sometimes when I'm wondering what on earth I'm doing (when deadlines loom and the clock keeps whizzing around) I remember what it was to be putting in such hours and hard work without joy or such a satisfaction from having written out my heart. That gives me a new perspective. But, you're so
    right--it's not always easy. Writing is hard work.

    Missy--Thank you for your encouraging words! God bless you today!

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  43. /whispers/ I think it sinks.

    /slinks into hiding/

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  44. My goodness. Now I have to read this book.

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful, inspiring story, Cathy!

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  45. Hehe - couldn't resist. But it totally sounds like my dad. /roll eyes/ How's the water? Wet. Want to go see Titanic? It sinks.

    blah blah blah

    Anyway... she sold an article though last year's NaNo project for her was about a girl on the Titanic. At some point we're going to have to talk about doing waaaaaaaaaaaaay more research than she currently does ;). But she's 10. So it's all good. For now.

    And I think my Speedbo plot hit me over the head with a 2x4 on my way home from dropping the 4yo off at preschool.

    Excuse me while I squee.

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    :D

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  46. Melanie--You're so right--discouragement nips at the heels and hearts of us all. We wonder if what we're writing has value and who will be blessed and if they will. In the last few years I've marveled to see how God has poured out His gifts on different writers just SO they can reach different readers, and readers of different styles and genres. I'm thrilled by writers who write things I could never write--like you or Julie or Janet--and therefore reach readers I could never reach. It's so exciting to be part of this symphony of praise.
    And I agree--it is freeing to do what He's created us to do!
    I'm so glad HE'S arranging the journey. Left to my own devices, I'd surely have taken other paths, and never lived to see this glad day with all of you!

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  47. Wow, what a great endorsement.
    Who wouldn't want to read Promise Me This?

    I love reading author's journeys to publication. Your story is so inspiring.

    Can't wait to read your book.
    Connie

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  48. Thank you, Marianne! So niche to meet you, and I hope you enjoy the read!

    Carol--Please tell your daughter Congratulations!!!! How awesome is that to be published at 10 with a Titanic story?!?
    You must be very proud of your young author!
    I'm guessing she's inherited wit and wisdom . . . humor notwithstanding . . . : )
    Go for that novel!

    Callie--Thank you, Callie. So nice to meet you! I hope you enjoy "Promise Me This."

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  49. Welcome Cathy! I loved hearing your story. I echo the line when I write, I feel God's pleasure. I've often commented to my husband and how much fun I have writing. It's a real joy. :)

    Blessings,
    Jodie Wolfe

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  50. Hi Cathy! This is about the tenth time I've seen someone absolutely rave about your book. If I don't win it here, I must, must, must get my hands on it somehow. :)

    Thanks for hosting, Julie!

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  51. Jodie--I know just what you mean. It's being in partnership with the Lord, isn't it? God bless you as you write!

    Sarah--I hope you enjoy reading "Promise Me This!" Researching and writing this book was one of the great adventures of my life.

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  52. I LOVE the way you tied in how everything helped develop your writing skills, before you even started writing in earnest! Interesting thoughts on dialogue and staging characters. I'd love to win your book! I have a son who's been obsessed with the Titanic since he was a little tot!

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  53. Heather--This winding journey, and the one I've seen in the lives of so many others, convinces me that the Lord has a unique plan for each of us. We can either embrace those ups and downs and new horizons, or let them beat us down and trip us up as we race to keep up with our own agendas. The idea that surrendering to Him means victory has come so powerfully to me that it was at the heart of my second book, "I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires." God wastes nothing--not one joy or experience or one tear--they're all bottled up and ready to be poured out for our anointing. It would be exciting to read every person's story and learn the journey the Lord has led them through. There's so much to learn and rejoice in for each other! God bless you in your own adventures!

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  54. Ooh, Cathy, you're a new-to-me author and now I'm pumped to read your books. I love your story of perseverance and how you allowed God to shape you in those preparation years. Thanks for sharing!

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  55. Good morning Julie & Cathy,

    I LOVE finding new authors to read. Your books sound wonderful and I so enjoyed hearing your story.

    I think all of us writers could relate to your journey. We're all going through our own in various stages. And I love how encouraging everyone is - especially on this blog.

    Thanks for sharing your powerful message with us! And of course, please enter me in the draw!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  56. Cathy, thanks so much for sharing your inspiring journey with us!

    And waving to another ICL alum! I see we've traveled several of the same paths along this journey. (That Eric Liddel statement resonates with me, too!)

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  57. Cathy, thanks for sharing your journey. I've been struggling with some of the same things you mentioned. doing all these things and knowing that there's one thing that gives me joy--writing. I've made goals this year that will help me make that a priority, and so far it's been a wonderful year!
    sallybradleywrites[at]gmaildotcom

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  58. Wow! What an endorsement from Julie Lessman! I bet your heart turned over when you read that email, Cathy! She was telling me the other weekend how she thought I would enjoy your writing, sounds like I need to look your books up!

    :-))

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  59. The book sounds great! Thanks for sharing your story Cathy, and your story about crying AGAIN Julie. You know I'm wondering what the record amount of time for Julie to not cry is. Has she ever made it 24 hours? 48?

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  60. Thanks so much, Connie and Melissa--so nice to meet you both! God DOES have a way of shaping us, doesn't He?

    Susan--Isn't it wonderful to have sisters and brothers walking this same walk, talking this same talk? We can all be joyfully strange together! : )

    Myra--Yes, I love Eric Liddel's quote, too. It's perfect for writers--just full of a heart bursting with thanksgiving and God's glory!

    Sally--I still struggle with knowing what to lay down and what to take up. Please don't think I've "arrived." It's that dailyness to this question that causes so much expenditure of emotion and energy. But He keeps teaching me, and when I forget, He teaches me again. I'm so glad you're having a wonderful year writing! God bless!

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  61. Yes, Casey, my heart DID turn over when I read Julie's amazing email. I was totally blown away and sat at my computer, CRYING and CRYING. Julie is so generous and passionate about loving God and loving everyone. It comes through in everything she writes--books, emails, blogs, Seekerville comments! Everything and everywhere!

    Thank you, Naomi. I hope you enjoy the read!--I'm guessing God is saving all Julie's lovely tears in a bottle and pours them out in perfect anointing whenever she needs them! : )

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  62. Sounds wonderful and all the sweeter for the journey.

    Working in Christian Education, writing was my salvation and nurtured my spiritual side. I am glad you claimed your God-given gift of writing.

    Peace, Julie

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  63. Cathy, I forgot to mention earlier how much I love the titles of your books. They draw the reader in, even before they see the cover!

    And "I have seen him in the watchfires" is my favorite phrase from the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It gives me goosebumps every time.

    Julie! Thanks for introducing Cathy to us!

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  64. Julie--It sounds as if you found that perfectly balanced blend. I'm so glad for you. The way God gifts us and leads us creates a beautiful symmetry in the Body of Christ--one part just can't do without the other!

    Jan--Thank you so much. Those lines from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" give me goosebumps, too! I can just imagine it!

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  65. Cathy, I have a magnet on my refrigerator with that Robert Frost quote on it.
    I really see writing as The Road Less Traveled.

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    ---Robert Frost

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  66. Melissa said it best -- "definitely interested in this book and will get it somehow or another. Thanks for sharing your story, Cathy!

    Cathy's civil war books were breath-taking. What will she do with this time period? And what TIMING!

    (In other words, I won't be starting any Titanic or Edwardian book...say set in a large manor house...any time soon. Duh.)

    Julie, that was some fanfare for Cathy's book. Tears? I'm in!

    I'm thinking we need a costume party here. Aren't you all just craving some big beautiful hats? I think I might be able to type with elbow length gloves on too...
    An elegant table service here today. Lovely!

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  67. Talking about the Titanic sinking reminds me of my experience watching the movie.

    I'm one of the few I suppose who never saw it in a theatre and it was out of video, two cassettes and we were watching it probably two years after all the hoopla had faded about it.

    So we're watching and it's a good movie, the love story, so charming, the boat so beautiful, and then, right at the end of the first video, the boat slams into the iceberg and ice is raining down onto the deck and I think to myself....

    ....oh, that's right, this boat sinks.

    That's how distracted I'd gotten with the love story.

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  68. Wonderful post, Cathy. Esp "Take full advantage of the opportunities within your grasp—they are unique to you and are there for uniquely you."

    Wow, to think that God is clearing the author path for me and I just need to get those shoes tied and start walking. Powerful vision and reminder.

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  69. he Road Not Taken


    TWO roads diverged in a yellow woods,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    --Robert Frost

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  70. Cathy, thank you so much for sharing your writer experience. I agree with you and so many here who say that writing for the Lord is what gives them joy. "Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

    I would love to read this book, as I have always been fascinated by the Titanic. After hearing Julie's hearty endorsement and the words of others here, I will definitely be looking for it soon!

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  71. Hi Julie and Cathy, I loved hearing more about Cathy's journey, and even though we are dear friends, I learned some new things! Cathy invited me to read Promise Me This when she first finished, and like Julie, I was convinced it's one of the most outstanding books I have ever read. I recently read it again, in it's final published version, and was even more impressed. I know Promise Me This will have a powerful impact on everyone who reads it. And now I can't wait to read Cathy's next book: Band of Sisters!

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  72. Mary--Thank you for sharing the complete poem! Such a poignant reminder that much of life we choose in one way or another. How wonderful that for the Christian our divergent paths eventually lead home!
    I have lines of that poem on a poster in my office, and when I glance up at them, printed over a photograph of a wooded scene and path, I sigh, glad I tool the road less traveled. For, truly, what a difference that has made!

    Debra--I'm so glad you enjoyed my first two novels--what a blessing you just gave me!
    It's exciting that there are a number of Titanic novels coming out this year and that each author will bring her/his own perspective to the tragedy and the time frame. There are so many writing styles, and so many readers needing variety! I love how God gifts us with different stories for different purposes!

    When "Downton Abbey" came out on PBS I jumped up and down, pulling my husband's sleeve--well, punching his arm, actually, and shouting, "That's it! That's the same time period as my book!" It was so exciting to see all that research in living color portrayed on the screen!

    And, yes, i'm ready for one of those wonderful hats! Not sure I can type with long gloves . . . . : )

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  73. Lyndee--Yes! He's made a path just for you and is waiting to walk beside. Blessings on your journey!!!

    Thank you, Stephanie, for your encouraging words. He DOES give us the desires of our hearts. So often I'm amazed to see that--and to realize that my desires have conformed to HIS desires--to love the things He loves and mourn the things He mourns. What training ground this life is for writers! I hope you enjoy "Promise Me This."

    Carrie--You are one of my dearest friends and staunchest supporters! Thank you for sharing so much of this journey with me. And thank you for wading through my first book length manuscript written in third person. What a learning experience that was! God's blessings for you and your new release, "A Man To Trust." There's another good book to pick up!

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  74. Mary Connealy - I love that Robert Frost poem, too. I had my boys memorize it for school, and I think of it often - the image of that grassy, untrodden path and the yellow leaves against a blue autumn sky... I've been following that road less traveled by for years, and sometimes wonder about that other one, and what was lying around that bend in the distance, but I never have any desire to go back and follow it instead.

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  75. Cathy, thank you for sharing your journey. I have to read your book. I love the time period that it covers, and any book with such a glowing endorsement from Julie Lessman is an auto-add to my to-be-read list.

    I love your twist to Eric Liddell's words. I've copied that into my inspirational quotes doc. Don't be surprised to see yourself quoted from time to time.

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  76. Cathy, you've had a wonderful journey and it seems you've had great guides along the way!

    I would love a chance to win a copy of your book!

    So many awards - Congratulations!


    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  77. I would love to have a copy of this book. Sounds great!

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  78. Patricia--Thank you for stopping by! Julie is entirely generous . . . but, you know that! I hope you enjoy the read!

    Eva Marie--You're so right--I have had great guides, have learned so much from others, and am still learning every day! God is good beyond measure!

    Amy--Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  79. WHOA, BABY, back from my mammo, and what a turnout!! Now that I am no longer "pinched" for time (pun intended), it's SO fun to read everyone's comments to Cathy, ESPECIALLY those who have read Promise Me This -- Amber, Kav, Carrie, Dawn!!

    CAROL SAID: "My 10yo ... even sold an article on the Titanic to a magazine coming out soon :D.
    WHOO-HOO, GIRL, I am SO tickled about this ... is this the article you mentioned to me before or another one???

    KAV has a great review on her blog about Promise Me This as well, and I am glad to hear she cried buckets and buckets too. BUT KAV, NOOOOOOO!!!! You peeked at the end??? Oh, girl, do not EVER do that to one of my books or ANYONE'S books, you promise??? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  80. I wish I had commented late last night! Cathy has summed up something that I often tell my clients-- to look for their own voice, core story, the premise which is often in the 'duh' file when you discover it as your gifts and life are imbued with that unique perspective, that intrinsic truth that God is giving to the world through YOU. Be true to that! Even if it doesn't seem to be exactly what the 'market' wants at a particular time. You can learn the craft in a number of ways (SCBW is really very good in terms of teaching methods) through mentors, workshops, critique groups-- but your uniquenss is a God-given gift and unteachable. Yet we all recognize when a writer has expressed her truths for the rest of us to access, when she has touched our hearts when she has done that Hemingway thing of sitting at the computer and opened a vein. Cathy and Julie both have that quality in abundance and I am blessed to work with them.

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  81. CATHY SAID: "You are so generous in your praise, Julie--"

    Yes, I won't lie, I am a true gusher, but ONLY when something strikes a match to my passion like your book did, my friend. And, YES, Seekerville has some of the most WONDERFUL friends in the world, truly. AMAZING women ... and a few men (very few, but VERY interesting ones like Vince and Walt).



    NAOMI SAID: "You know I'm wondering what the record amount of time for Julie to not cry is. Has she ever made it 24 hours? 48?"

    LOL ... I THINK I'M GOING ON 30 hours now, you little brat, because I haven't cried since my devotional time yesterday morning, I think ... oh, wait, misted up a bit last night editing a scene ... :)



    CATHY SAID: "Yes, Casey, my heart DID turn over when I read Julie's amazing email. I was totally blown away and sat at my computer, CRYING and CRYING."

    :) Hey, Cath, just wanted to give you some of your own back, my friend. God knows HOW many Kleenex I went through that night ... :)



    CATHY ALSO SAID TO NAOMI: "I'm guessing God is saving all Julie's lovely tears in a bottle and pours them out in perfect anointing whenever she needs them! : )

    WHOOPS ... just teared up again, so the clock starts over ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  82. DEB SAID: "Julie, that was some fanfare for Cathy's book. Tears? I'm in!"

    As Kav said, "buckets and buckets"!! And I'm all about "fanfare," don't you know that??? As in keeping those "fans" happy when you're reading a reallllly great romance!! :)

    PATRICIA SAID: "and any book with such a glowing endorsement from Julie Lessman is an auto-add to my to-be-read list."

    I promise, I wouldn't steer you wrong, Patricia. I loved this book SO much that even if someone is not touched as much as I was, they will STILL be touched by the Christ aura of one of the characters, I promise!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  83. Oh, Natasha! Thank you for stopping by. I've learned so much from you in the time we've been working together. What a gift to bring agents and writers together who are eager for those Divine appointments! Julie and I are privileged to work with you!

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  84. Julie--You are the only woman I know who can make me laugh AND cry in the same email--in the space of two sentences!!!

    Please pass the Kleenex!

    What a fun day in Seekerville!

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  85. Julie, it's beyond my comprehension that anyone could be a more complete writer than you....but if you say so, I'll believe it. Your blog talk and interview about Cathy has lifted my excitement about her writing and I definitely will join all 84 (so far) that have wished for this book and try to win Cathy's beautifully covered book. I'm convinced the story between the covers is equally as beautiful. However, until I win and read this book, you're still my favorite! Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win this great read.

    Blessings,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

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  86. And Natasha proves yet again why I love her so much!

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  87. Mary, thanks for reminding me of that Robert Frost poem. So interesting as right now I'm surrounded by family members making major life decisions.

    Natasha, thanks for the reinforcement - 'but your uniquenss is a God-given gift and unteachable.'

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  88. Cathy, what a pleasure to have you in Seekerville! Thank you so much for hangin' out with us today.

    And Julie's enthusiasm??? A wonderful thing!

    I love Robert Frost. Always have. That poem just fits my little writer's heart.

    Hey, I'm teaching a young lady to decorate cakes today, so we're leaving you a homemade yellow cake (no mix!!!) decorated in shades reminiscent of Monet, himself! Enjoy! (we may or may not have added sprinkles!!!!)

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  89. What road is ever less traveled than being a writer? It's a lonely, quiet business, which is why Seekerville is so dear to my heart. I find fellow travelers on this quiet road

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  90. Julie -

    Yep the one I told you about before :).

    Believe me, the world will know when it actually comes out ;).

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  91. Thanks Cathy for sharing your journey! I needed this reminder about God's blessing when you're doing His will :) (Regardless of whether this applies to me with writing, or not!)

    Your book sounds like a wonderful read!

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  92. Wow--the warmth goes on!
    What a lovely day, and what an amazing, beautiful cake, Ruth! How did you know I'm craving cake? I'll bring coffee!

    This IS a wonderful community, Mary--you've all made it so much fun.

    Helen--So glad we all walk together and get to share God's blessings--writing and otherwise!

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  93. Amen, Mary.

    And Natasha, thanks for your words of wisdom!

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  94. Wow! That's quite a journey! Thanks for sharing. :D I'd love a chance to get a copy of this book! Please include me.

    I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Maybe it has something to do with taking care of sick kids for nine consecutive weeks. I think I need to regroup. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your prayers!

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  95. Oh, Linnette! I think caring for sick children for nine weeks would put ANYBODY in a funk! Be assured of my prayers--for all of you.

    That's the wonderful thing about this kind of on-line writing community--it IS community, and so much heartfelt care for one another! I'm inspired!

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  96. Cathy is indeed a wonderful writer, and a lovely person as well. I loved all her books, but I think Promise Me This is my favorite.

    Please don't enter me in the giveaway; I already have a copy. :)

    Have a great weekend!

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  97. Thank you for sharing your journey with us today, Cathy. I love how all those various activities had a part in shaping you into the author you are now---WOW! Thanks also for the encouragement at the end of your post today--this is another "Keeper Post" for me. ~ I had the pleasure of meeting you at the 2008 ACFW Conference in MN. It was my very first conference ever, and I ended up sitting on your right side at the Banquet. I remember you were very nice to me (as the author on my other side playfully teased me about my southern accent, LOL). ~ I'm definitely planning on reading your work and look forward to seeing more books from you in the future! Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

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  98. Hey Cathy again,

    Thanks for the answer. Appreciate your insight. At this time, the Lord led us to form our own publishing company and strike out on our own. That's what we did! *Gulp!*

    So far so good. We're right at 1/2 way through the first print run in 7 months so I guess that's ok. Lots of work of course, but as you say, praying that the Lord direct our steps has opened doors.

    Next week another group of 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders will be introduced to the one and only May the K9 Spy herself. She is rarin' to go! ("") ("") Two paws way up!

    If you have suggestions, we're all ears. That is probably a bit younger than your usual however!

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  99. Ahh Julie, to hear that you cried when reading this book, I know I have to read it now. I have been seeing this book everywhere and knew it would be a good one.
    Cathy I would love to be added to your drawing and I liked reading about your journey to publication, thanks for sharing today.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  100. I really must read this if you loved it that much! Teresa

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  101. By all of the comments, I can tell that this is a really good book!! Would love to win it! :)

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  102. Oops, I forgot my email.

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  103. Karen--So nice to see you here! Thank you for your wonderful support!

    Patti Jo--Keep that beautiful accent flowing! So nice to hear from you. If you're going to ACFW this year I'd love to see you. It will be my first ACFW Conference since MN and I'm looking forward to it!

    KC--Congratulations--What an exciting venture--writing AND publishing! I can imagine that children love you and that your school visits are a great hit!

    Paula--Thank you for your encouraging words. I hope you enjoy the read!

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  104. Thanks.
    Call us crazy but it seemed like that's what we were supposed to do. :)

    Yes- the kids love May, that's for sure. She is having a BLAST too! She likes "going to work" to greet her fans. HA!

    Sounds like I needed to become a fan of yours. Definitely am now, just from reading your post today and hearing from others.

    Thanks again for your time, helping us newbies!

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  105. Okay, if Julie Lessman is all hyped up about this book, then BOY do I need to read this one! :)
    Bless you for posting Mrs Gohlke.. and for writting a great book!

    Ganise
    (ganise_4life@hotmail.com)

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  106. Interesting journey you have!
    Thought provoking!

    janet(underscore)kerr at(msn)dot(com)

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  107. sounds like a wonderful book and another great new author to check out!

    Good luck & God's blessings!
    PamT

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  108. KC--Oh, the joy of going to a job we love!!!

    Ganise--It's my joy to be here. Blessings to you!


    Janet--Every journey is blessed with opportunities to embrace and learn from. I'm so thankful for the windings of mine. : )

    Pam--Thank you, and God's blessings to you!

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  109. NATASHA KERN SAID: "your uniquenss is a God-given gift and unteachable. Yet we all recognize when a writer has ... done that Hemingway thing of sitting at the computer and opened a vein. Cathy and Julie both have that quality in abundance and I am blessed to work with them."

    Good night, is there any wonder why I love this woman SO much??? Her statement that "Your uniquenss is a God-given gift and unteachable," is a message that cocoons her clients in a warm glow of acceptance, driving home the point that as authors for Him, we are ALL beautiful in our own right. A message that, unfortunately, Natasha has had to POUND into my brain often, but I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting it, thank God!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  110. I would love to be in for Cathy's book.....have heard so much about it and am anxious to read it. Thanks!

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  111. CATHY SAID: "Julie--You are the only woman I know who can make me laugh AND cry in the same email--in the space of two sentences!!! Please pass the Kleenex!"

    LOL ... can't, Cath ... I ran out!!


    BARB SAID: "Julie, it's beyond my comprehension that anyone could be a more complete writer than you....but if you say so, I'll believe it."

    Aw, thanks, Barb, but BELIEVE IT!! I'm part Irish, remember, so I tend to get "green" with envy, but Cathy is just so far beyond what I would aspire to that I'm just flat-out thrilled to read her work.

    BUT ... part of that is because like our agent Natasha Kern says, "our gifts and our life are imbued with that unique perspective, that intrinsic truth that God is giving to the world through" EACH OF US, so I am not demeaning my gift or anyone else's as instruments in God's hand by any means!! Just truly appreciating the gifts he's given Cathy. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  112. So, I really thought I had commented here last night. Darn insomnia. Making me forgetful as well as keeping me up.

    Thank you, Cathy, for such an eloquent post. You are truly inspiring.

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  113. Oh, dear. Julie, you're over the top generous, AND out of Kleenex!
    But let's be clear: You are the Queen of Romance in fiction! I would have no clue how to write those heart pounding, lip-smacking, high tension romantic scenes! Just ask my editor!!! I'm in awe of what you do.
    One work is not better than another--they're just different and both needed and used by the Lord in different ways--thanking Him here!

    Amen to all you said about Natasha. I've never known such a champion!

    Mary C--Thank you so much, and God's blessings to you!

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  114. LINNETTE SAID: "I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Maybe it has something to do with taking care of sick kids for nine consecutive weeks."

    Oh, LINNETTE, I am SO sorry to hear that -- NINE WEEKS??? HOLY COW, I'm saying one for you all RIGHT NOW!!

    HUGS,
    JULIE

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  115. LOL, GANISE ... yep, "Julie Lessman is all hyped up about this book," girl, so go get it ... or win it ... or whatever!!

    Mind you, this is not a kiss-on-the-first-page romance by any means, but it's almost like a women's fiction with romantic elements, which in and of itself shows how good it must be because I am a DIE-HARD romantic, so if it kept me turning the pages and crying my eyes out and spiritually uplifted, then it's gotta be something special, you know?

    Hope you enjoy it, Ganise!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  116. We are so proud to have Cathy Gohlke as part of our MidAtlantic Zone! I LOVED your first two books, Cathy, and even emailed you and sent ShoutLife messages a while back because I couldn't wait to read your next book and here it is!!! From what I am hearing it is worth the wait.

    And with that endorsement from JULIE I will have to go over and get it sent to my kindle. Do not enter me in the contest as I do not read paperbacks if Kindle is available. And God bless your agent for asking you to read this book that so touched your heart (and for Natasha for showing up to give her perspective on the writing life, which is great!) Blessings to two wonderful authors!!!

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  117. Carrie--Thanks so much for stopping by! It's wonderful to be part of a community of such wonderful writers and friends! God bless!

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  118. What a beautiful post! I love the advice you were given about God's yoke. So true and something I forget.

    I've only read I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires but it blew me away. Wonderful writing, awesome plot! I gave it to my step-mom and she loved it so much she asked to keep it. :-) I'm looking forward to reading more of your work! Thanks for sharing.

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  119. Jessica--So glad you enjoyed "I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires." Every book is a journey all its own. I hope you and your step-mom enjoy "Promise Me This," too!

    Yes, it's easy to forget that He's right there in the yoke with us. So often I try to carry the load alone, and then suddenly realize that I don't need to--that He never intended I do that! It's so good to share these stones of remembrance with each other! God bless!

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  120. CATHY SAID: "But let's be clear: You are the Queen of Romance in fiction! I would have no clue how to write those heart pounding, lip-smacking, high tension romantic scenes!"

    Not real sure THAT'S true, but if we are all part of the same "Body of Christ, then I guess you could say you are the tear ducts and I am the lips. :)

    CARRIE!!! Thanks for making it over today, girl, with all you have on your plate, too. And I did not know Cathy was in your zone!!

    I'll tell you one thing, girl, you sure have trigger finger when it comes to Kindle. Good night, all one has to do is mention a book to you, and BOOM ... it's locked in Carrie's Kindle!! What an incredible support to authors you are, my friend, and I hope to do the same for you in the future! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  121. Julie--Thank you for the most fabulous day in Seekerville! I've absolutely LOVED spending time with you and all your warm Seekerville family and friends.

    Know that I'm praying for all these journeys, and look forward to meeting again.

    Much love and God's rich blessings!!!

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  122. Arriving late, but so glad I made it to Seekerville today. Lovely post, Cathy, with wonderful words that stirred my heart and soul.

    No wonder Julie invited you to blog with us. She knew the special gift you have for writing!

    Thank you!

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  123. Writing is hard & a testament to perseverance.

    I MUST read PROMISE ME THIS. Thank you for this opportunity.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  124. Wow, awesome blog post! Thanks for sharing your publication journey with us, Cathy!

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  125. WOW. What a fabulous story. Amazing how God works, isn't it?

    Loved reading this post!

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  126. My favourite part of this incredible post? "...embrace what God has given you, and the God who gave it." Sigh. That's just beautiful, and absolutely uplifting at any point in this meandering journey.

    Looking forward to finding that Titanic book of yours and devouring it. If I'm not too late for the draw, count me in, please!

    ddfencegirl(at)gmail(dot)com

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  127. Cathy said: In that lightning bolt moment I determined that whatever else I did in life, I would grow up to become one of those “magic-making” people.

    Making magic.

    What a wonderful description for cooking up a can’t-put-it-down book. Cathy, this perfectly describes my tender years too. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be one of those people too.

    Loved walking along your road less travelled.

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  128. Thank for telling your journey as a writer. You encourage all of us who seek to write for Him and sometimes forget that this is what He made us to do.

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  129. It looks like your willingness to rewrite paid off so that your talent could shine through!

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  130. Wow--I woke up and look what I found in my Inbox! So many more wonderful conversations!

    Thank you, Debby, for the warm welcome and encouraging words. I'm in the company of many wonderful writers, and so blessed to be!

    Marybelle--So glad you're here, and hoping you enjoy "Promise Me This." You're so right--writing is hard and it DOES require perseverance. But there's so much joy in the morning! : )

    Cecelia--So good to connect with you here! Thank you for your encouragement, and God's blessings on your writing!

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  131. Rachelle--Yes! God surprises me at every turn. Faith walking is a grand adventure. : ) Blessings on yours!

    Diana--So nice to meet you. You're right--it's wonderful to think how the Lord has gone ahead of us and prepared the way. It makes the journey all the sweeter!

    Pam--a kindred spirit! Isn't it wonderful? I think there must be a multitude of us that sing in that "God lit my writing heart at a tender age" choir. What a joy it is to have always known what you wanted! God bless!

    Lynn--I'm glad if you're encouraged. You have surely encouraged me through your words of affirmation. God's blessings on your writing journey!

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  132. Oh, Peggy--You're words are generous, but I confess that rewriting many times is desperately needed in my part of the world. My first drafts are VERY rough!

    When I get weary of rewriting, sometimes I envision that I'm making a gift--a present to wrap in red ribbons for our Lord. I want it to be as perfect as I can make it at this time in my journey--at this level of my ability, whatever that is--to show Him my love and adoration of Him, and to thank Him for all the dark places He's pulled me through in life and the multitude of ways He's watched over and forgiven me.

    And then, when I send it out, I know others will see things to suggest to make it better--my agent, Natasha, or my editors at Tyndale House, Stephanie and Sarah. I'm so thankful for their invaluable insights. I know God has gifted them in ways He's not gifted me--other parts of the Body as it pleases Him. We all work on this gift together until it's the best we can make it, until we're ready to present it to the world, but in my heart it is always as an offering to Him.

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  133. Wow sounds like a great book...definitely putting on my TBR list...angadair@nwcable.net

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  134. Thanks for your encouraging message, Cathy! A hearty Amen to how important it is to minister to the people in your circle of influence right now. I can't wait to read your book. :-)

    gwen[dot]gage[at]gmail[dot]com

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  135. I just found your site thanks to http://reneeannsmith.com/a/online-community-marketing-and-encouragement-at-seekerville/#comment-10415. I have signed up to follow Seekerville and look forward to it.

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  136. I would love to read this! The history of the Titanic is quite possibly on of my favorite. I will read anything with the name Titanic in it, especially a love story :)

    bberry96(at)aol(dot)com

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  137. I would love to read this! The history of the Titanic is quite possibly on of my favorite. I will read anything with the name Titanic in it, especially a love story :)

    bberry96(at)aol(dot)com

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