Monday, October 12, 2015

Writers Write.


with guest Cate Nolan. 

I remember seeing a craft book with that title and thinking how simple it sounded.

Some days writing is simple. Some days it’s even glorious. But some days it’s just plain hard work.




In preparing this post, I’ve been reflecting upon the seasons of this writing life.

We have those hopeful spring days when every seed of an idea is a beautiful story waiting to be nurtured.

Spring gives way to writing’s summer - long carefree days of playing with characters, splashing around in plot puddles, maybe chasing the fireflies of our dreams.

Glorious autumn yields a writer’s heart grateful for God’s bountiful harvest of words. We approach our writing each day refreshed, renewed, and with joyful anticipation.

But what about the bleak winter of a writer’s soul?

What about those days when you can’t string two words together without cringing? When your mind feels like that image of the writer’s trash bin full of crumpled paper.

How do we find motivation to keep pounding the keyboard when that bright and shiny beloved idea has become a problem child who refuses to cooperate? Those days you are absolutely convinced this creature will never come close to your hopeful imaginings? 



                                                        We can overcome.

I think, that as writers of inspirational fiction, we have a secret weapon to keep us going through those dark days. We have the knowledge that we are serving our God with our work.

It’s not always easy to keep that purpose in mind. I’m hoping, with this post today, to begin a conversation that will inspire us to remember the importance of our work - especially during those times when doubt prevails.

For a long time I hesitated to write inspirational fiction because I lacked the confidence to tackle something so important. Who was I to preach through my writing? The task was too daunting. Eventually, though, through prayer and conversations with other writers, I came to understand that the answer was simply that as a child of God it is my calling and my responsibility to share his love.

When I was writing Christmas in Hiding for the Killer Voices contest, I was teaching full time, tutoring after school, and trying to keep a husband and dog fed and happy.
I was also up against a hard deadline that at times seemed impossible to meet. I was ready to toss in the towel more often than I care to remember.

But just when I needed it most, I heard a song that put it all in perspective for me. The TV show Nashville has a lot of great music, but one song in particular spoke to me - specifically these lyrics from the song It Ain’t Yours to Throw Away.

“What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away.
 
The lyrics literally jumped out at me. Whenever I even considered quitting, I’d put that song on and keep writing. What if God had given me something special to say? What if by quitting, I was saying no to Him?

I’ll tell you, that thought was a powerful motivator!

More recently, I came across a quote by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling Morning and Evening Devotional.



She says: “There are no limits to what My great Power and Glory can accomplish!”

Think about that. There are no limits to what God can do through our writing - except those we impose upon ourselves.

Several weeks ago, I heard a reading from the Book of Numbers (11:25-29) The people were trying to get Moses to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying. Moses responded, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”
So every time you think you can’t do it, every time you’re tired of rejection or bad reviews, remember that secret weapon. Remember that we write in service of an awesome God.

There was another song I had on repeat while I wrote Christmas in Hiding. I thought it was rather appropriate since it was the version from The Voice. Holly Tucker singing How Great Thou Art never failed to move me and I wrote the song into my story, giving it to my heroine, Callie to sing at the lowest point in her life.

The day before I got the call from Emily Rodmell, I was walking home from church when suddenly the church bells began to peal a song I’d never heard them play before. Yes, How Great Thou Art. I still get emotional remembering that moment. It felt very much like a sign of approval. I try to remember that feeling too when the demons of doubt assail me.

Last week Mary Connealy wrote about the cord of three strands and said, 


“I think Christian fiction can be so much more powerful than secular fiction. And it’s that third strand—Faith—that strengthens it… The underpinning of faith gives the entire Christian book a depth…And it makes for stories that are not easily broken.”

I’d like to add to that and say we write stories of faith and that makes us writers who are not easily broken. We have God on our side because we are telling faith-inspired stories. Through our writing, we are being his disciples. If we allow ourselves to be open and let his love and grace work through us, there are absolutely no limits to the stories we can tell and the light we can bring into this world.

  



Cate Nolan lives in New York City, but she escapes to the ocean any chance she gets. A devoted mom, wife and teacher, Cate loves to leave her real life behind and play with the characters in her imagination. She’s got that suspense writer gene that sees danger and a story in everyday occurrences. Cate particularly loves to write stories of faith enabling ordinary people to overcome extraordinary danger. 


Where you can find Cate:
 http://www.catenolanauthor.com/
Facebook
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AuthorCateNolan
http://www.yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/
http://www.craftieladiesofromance.blogspot.com/



 
Today Cate is giving away an autographed copy of Christmas in Hiding to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.



Christmas In Hiding

CHRISTMAS IN WITNESS PROTECTION

 After her ex-boyfriend's murder, Callie Martin has no choice but to trade her quiet life as a kindergarten teacher for the witness protection program. It's US Marshal Jackson Walker's job to keep Callie safe, but the men who would do her harm just keep getting closer and closer. Either someone on the inside is betraying Callie, or she's lying to Jackson about her involvement. So he decides to go off the grid, spiriting her away to the remote Vermont countryside at Christmas. Jackson wants to trust her, but with danger dogging their every move, he'll have to use all his energy to keep her alive.

Day 12 of our Birthday Bash!!

118 comments:

Marianne Barkman said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Cate. I'm pleased you are part of our celebration, and I would love to win your book. Just a thought from a reader...to me there's a vast difference between showing God's love and preaching. Just sayin'.
Great start to my Monday and another week

Cate Nolan said...

Hi Marianne,

Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

I absolutely agree with you and I think understanding that my writing should show God's love rather than "preach" it was part of the journey. I guess it's an extension of show don't tell. ;)

Cate Nolan said...

I wanted to jump in at the beginning of the comments to thank you for having me here. Given how many of you - Seekers and Friends - have helped me on this journey, it really feels official to celebrate my debut here with you today.

My heart is full of gratitude for having all of you in my life.

Mary/Cate

Loves To Read said...

Hi Cate - your Christmas book sounds like a wonderful read! Please enter my name in the drawing.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

CATE/MARY!!!!!!!!

Oh, this is beautiful and written straight from the heart. Thank you for that, because I know there are those rough hills and deep valleys, and "How Great Thou Art" is a big staple for me.

And you used my favorite verse from Ecclesiastes! It's in my signature line because I have to believe that in God's time, all comes clear. To everything, there is a season.

Of course on a farm, I see that played out annually!

I BROUGHT COFFEE!!!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Marianne, that's a valid point, for certain. We want to see the faith thread and feel it, but not be hit over the head with a hammer with it.

And that can be tricky! Sometimes we preach when we don't mean to, and thank heavens for savvy editors then!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I read Christmas in Hiding and loved, loved, loved it!!!!! You will love this book, I promise!

Bettie said...

Great post...I really like how songs have played an important role in both your life and your character's lives. This post has been very encouraging for me. It sounds like your book will be a great read. Please enter me in the drawing.

Off the topic...if you get a critique partner is there a protocol on how you use each other? Do you send chapters, the whole manuscript, or decide between the two of you? I would love to hear about some of your experiences.

Tina Radcliffe said...

What a beautiful testimony this is. And for the record, for me, writing is always hard work. Unless it's non fiction.

You rock.

Evelyn said...

This is my favorite verse in the bible "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
We can use our limited time that we have in our lives to make something #nolimit. Like you authors, you make a part of yourselves to become #nolimit.
I love the post today, it's truly inspiring.

Mary Connealy said...

Hey, Cate, your book came in the mail.

Can't wait!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Bettie, Sandra and I worked everything out between us. And if it doesn't work with your first partner, it's okay to do a "trial basis" (a month, three weeks, etc.) and then move on, no harm, no foul. It's a professional relationship that might grow to friendship (Waving to Sandra!!!!) but it's okay if it doesn't.... But as a professional relationship, you've got to make sure you work well together and can be honest with one another's work.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Hi Cate! It's great to see you here. This is such an inspiring post, and one that I needed this past spring and summer, as I advanced in the Blurb2Book contest. What a whirlwind that was...I'm sure you can relate.
What kept me going, as I advanced through each stage was knowing this was definitely an opportunity gifted to me by God. I mean seriously, what else could it have been?
Don't enter me in the contest. I'm reading Christmas in Hiding now and boy, is it a page turner! Congratulations Cate!

Debby Giusti said...

Mary Cate, love your post and agree totally. If I were writing for my own glory, I would have stopped years ago. Writing for God means I continue through the tough times. When in a slump, I hear "nothing is impossible for God," Luke 1:37. A similar verse is found in Matthew 19:26. Both lines remind me that God is in charge. He's the potter, I'm the clay. When I comply with his will, beautiful things can happen!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Wonderful post, Cate! You captured the seasons of writing beautifully.

Don't enter me in the contest. I'm reading Christmas in Hiding now. As a matter of fact, we've been visiting our grandson in Arkansas, and I hope to finish Christmas in Hiding on the long ride home today (if the Dramamine doesn't make me sleepy).

Sally Shupe said...

Hi, Cate! It is so great to see you! Congratulations on your book. I'd love to be in the drawing for an autographed copy. What comes to my mind as I write is, God is working. He uses what I say, how I say it, to impact somebody for Him, in His own time. Write and see. Write and see how He moves. It's not me, it's Him. Then I can write. He is the orchestrator. Great post!

Bettie, what I've found is there are different people to work with and it takes time to figure out where they fit in critiquing. I have a good friend who will take a chapter and tell me what worked for her and what didn't, and she will point out grammar issues. I love that because it shows where I need to do more work. I also send scenes to my son to get his reaction. He is my biggest fan! If I need to gauge his reaction, I'll get him to read it in front of me. I also have a writing group that recently formed in my area. I can talk about scenes and what works and what doesn't. But I am still searching for someone I can send pieces to as I work on it to get critical feedback. Some days I don't want to hear that's great. I want to hear how to make it better, how to really draw the reader in, how to make it pop. It takes time and getting a feel for someone, and of course God orchestrating!, to get the right people together. I'm waiting and praying.

Cate, again, thanks for a great post and congratulations on your new book!

Rose said...

Cate/Mary,

This is a terrific post. Something every writer goes through (or will go through whether they believe it or not!).

Your book is on my Christmas read list.

It was so nice meeting you in July.

Best of luck with your release.

Janet Dean said...

Mary/Cate, thank you for the uplifting post! The demons of doubt can make us question our calling. I will copy this affirming song lyric “What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away."

Love that the church bells played "How Great Thou Art" a sign of affirmation just when you needed it. God is indeed great and able to do so much more than we can even imagine. And as writers that's a lot! :-)

I'm eager to get your debut and read it! Do your students know you're a writer? If they're old enough, I hope they all buy your book!

Janet

Caryl Kane said...

Hello Cate! Thank you for the encouraging post! Congrats on your new book!

Piper Huguley said...

Yay Mary Cate! A great and encouraging post! Thank you for writing it. I never had any doubt it would happen for you. Big congrats and thank you for sharing the ways that you uplift yourself. You never, ever know how it might help someone else. :)

DebH said...

YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! It's Mary/Cate day!
Congrats again on your debut book. As a fellow Killer Voice peep, I'm thrilled you got THE CALL. Looking forward to reading your book. I'd love to win the autographed copy, but I think I should buy it instead so LIS knows they have a hot new author.

What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away.

That quote is just awesome. And scary. Makes me want to look inward and see if I'm throwing away stuff I shouldn't be. To be honest, I've done minimal writing since the KV contest. "real" life has been going a tad wonky since then and I'm hoping to find/recover some balance. In the meantime, I'm absorbing what education I can from Seekerville. I really appreciate your post today Mary. It's a great message. Thanks for being a part of the huge blessing that is Seekerville.

Now... back to work. *sigh*

Glynna Kaye said...

Beautiful reminder, Mary/Cate. Thank you! We're so happy to have you here today, too, to celebrate the release of your first Love Inspired suspense! It's always amazingly special when Seeker Villagers share their journey. How special and reaffirming those church bells must have been!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Mary/Cate,
I hear the Spirit of God speaking through you and I'm touched by your message, your faith and trust in Him, while using the gifts He has given you. You've challenged me to ask myself that same question, do I have a gift He's given me that I'm not using? I'll be pondering that for a while.

I've always loved the quote, "Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words". I think this applies to inspirational fiction too, even in the mist of using words to tell a story. Sermons aren't necessary to convey a spiritual message. Some of the best Christian fiction authors I've read have mastered the skill of presenting Christ without overt "sermonizing".

I've read and enjoyed Christmas in Hiding. As I said in my review, the way you solved the mystery of the missing evidence was quite brilliant. From first page to last, an edge of the seat read. By the time I'd finished running with Jackson and Callie, whew, I was worn out, lol.

I'm so happy for you on your first book sale, you must be on cloud nine. I'm looking forward to your next story, Way to use that gift girl!!!

Cindy Regnier said...

It ain't yours to throw away. I love that, Cate. And I needed to hear it this morning. Going to post that at my desk. I am so proud of you going through the Killer Voices and coming out a winner. I can't wait to read Christmas in Hiding. You are an inspiration to those of us who ever thought/still think it can never happen to me. I suppose that includes all of us at some point. Best wishes for your next book and your writing career!

Jackie said...

Thanks for the encouraging post! I needed it today.

I'm so stinking excited for you Mary/Cate. We've spent hours working together (apart), and I'm so happy it's paid off for you, my friend.

I'd love an autographed copy of your debut novel, but even if my name's not drawn, I'll buy your book because I know I'm going to love it.

Congratulations!

Myra Johnson said...

Just beautiful, Mary/Cate! I felt goose bumps as I read your inspiring post! I've been through some dark, discouraging times in my writing life, but God kept me going in some unique ways that could only be orchestrated by Him. We do need those reminders sometimes, that God is with us even when we can't see what He has planned.

Myra Johnson said...

BETTIE, a critique partner or group can figure out whatever system works best for them.

I have been in a couple of groups of 3-4 writers who met together in person once a week. Each week, we'd send a chapter or two via email to the others in the group. They'd have a few days to do their individual critiques, and then at our meeting we'd compare notes on what worked and what didn't and help the writer with suggestions and brainstorming.

An online partner/group can work much the same way, only you don't get the face-to-face contact and give-and-take conversation.

I never cared much for the groups where you sit in a circle and one person reads a ms. aloud (either his/her own or for another writer in the group) and then everyone takes turns throwing out comments. I need the paper (or computer) copy in front of me like a reader, not a listener, in order to give coherent feedback.

As others have said, you just need to experiment until you find what works best for YOU. Also, you may go through several critique partners before you find exactly the right fit. That's okay!

Kav said...

Pure inspiration here, Mary. Er. Cate. And I'm another one who gives a hearty endorsement to Christmas in Hiding. Best incorporation of Christmas in a suspense story ever. I'm in awe of how you meshed the romance, suspense and the season together. Such a great read.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Cate, What an inspiring post. I love the song quote and should write it down. We all have those dark winter moments don't we? The advantage of living as long as I have is that I can look back and see how God used me in my writing. I listen to the world and think "I'm not famous" or I haven't made millions yet, so am I really following God's plan? But I now know that those are the world's standards of success. He has shown me how he's used me to help others become published, or helped encourage other writers, or even if one reader shares how my story helped them, isn't that God using me and what a wonderful blessing.

Thanks for sharing this with us today.

Congrats on your success and persistence in following your calling.

Cate Nolan said...

One of the most wonderful things about Seekerville is the amazing sense of community created by a group of women who started out just looking to encourage each other. It had to have been divinely inspired!

Today, this community (Seekers and villagers alike) welcomes and envelops all who stop by - whether on this site or if you're really lucky - in person at a conference or gathering.

All of you in this community have been of invaluable help to me, which is why I dedicated Christmas in Hiding to all of you - Seekers and Friends. I wish I could upload a picture of the dedication page, but in part it says:

"To all my friends at Seekerville, thank you for your endless support and encouragement. You make this road so much smoother and the ride more fun."

I am so grateful to post here today because already I am inspired by your reactions and even more by your responses. I've always been taught that God works in mysterious ways. Before finding Seeekerville, I never would have thought that one of those ways was a writing blog. But then Seekerville is so much more than a writing blog. You bless me daily and I thank you.


PS - for those who may not know me as Cate, I've been here a long time as Mary.

Here's hoping I remember to log in as Cate each time I respond. :)

Cate Nolan said...

Loves To Read I'm putting your name in the Christmas stocking. :)
What a great user name!

RuthyThank you for the coffee - and for the kind words about my book. Little did I know when I sold that the hardest part would be when people started reading it and you worried about whether or not they'd like it. Of course that's the most exciting part too - knowing that people are reading about characters who are so very real to you.

Cate Nolan said...

Bettie, you've gotten some great answers already about critique partners, but let me share my experience.

Over the years, I've been involved to varying degrees with critique groups and partners. We always made up our own rules based on what each person needed. Some people prefer that chapter by chapter guidance. Others prefer to write the whole thing first (without any "interference" by anyone) and then send it out for opinions. It's basically a matter of determining which works for you.

I have had friends who are willing to read a first chapter or even just a scene if there's something I'm unsure of. That can be a great way of telling if you have neglected to include details that are in your head and never make it to the page.

My only caution is from a critique group I was a member of many years ago. There were some people with strong personalities in the group and they tried to mold the other members' voices to fit theirs. The group eventually dissolved after one friend's editor told her to drop out because the critiques were ruining the voice her readers loved.

Hope that helps!

Thank you for your kind words about my post. For some reason music is incredibly important to me when I write.

Wilani Wahl said...

Cate/Mary, Loved your testimony. I found your book at Walmart and bought it on Friday. I hope to start it this week. I have been looking forward to this book since last Spring.

I have rearranged my to do list so that I can get more done in my reading and writing and not feeling guilty if other things don't get done. I hope this works.

Have a great week everyone.

Cate Nolan said...

Evelyn said
"We can use our limited time that we have in our lives to make something #nolimit."

YES! Not to make light of it, but this is the debate I have with myself every time I log in to Candy Crush (or now, thanks to Tina - Sheep Dash!).

We do need mindless relaxation sometimes, but it is good to remind ourselves that there should be purpose to our lives.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

Donna said...

Cate, what a beautiful post! Lovely and very encouraging.

Congratulations on your debut!

Please don't enter me. After reading the first two pages on Amazon, I had it sent to my Kindle.

Pam Hillman said...

Cate, congratulations on your debut. Sounds exciting! :)

Myra said: I never cared much for the groups where you sit in a circle and one person reads a ms. aloud (either his/her own or for another writer in the group) and then everyone takes turns throwing out comments. I need the paper (or computer) copy in front of me like a reader, not a listener, in order to give coherent feedback.

As a visual learner, this really never worked well for me. Or maybe I don't like being in the hot seat. lol Now, brainstorming face-to-face like this is pretty fun. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Happy Columbus Day! I've brought biscotti and amaretto cookies to celebrate Christopher's success and Seekerville's birthday as well!

Enjoy the holiday!

S. Trietsch said...

Cate,

Thank you for sharing. I really needed the encouragement this morning. You hit the spot (now I'm in need of another cup of coffee!).

Hope to hear from you again on Seekerville soon!

Stephanie

Jeanne T said...

Cate, I loved your words of encouragement and hope. Perseverance can be hard to walk out when the story, or/and life just isn't coming together the way we envisioned. I've had songs speak to my heart, as well, during certain points in my life. I love how God can use music to inspire us, to refresh us with hope and with the reminder that He is with us. He has given us these stories to write. I'm thinking on your words today. :)

Meghan Carver said...

Good morning, Cate! I love your story about the church bells the day before you got The Call. Goosebumps!! Great post, and I'm so glad you followed through with writing. (Don't put me in the drawing. I already have your book. :-) )

Cate Nolan said...

Thanks, Mary C Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for your kind words, Jill. Soon we'll be celebrating your release! Exciting times.

Debbie, Thanks for the snacks and for your support. There is so much encouragement to be found in the Word if only we remember and take the time to look. Your daily verses on FB are a great source of encouragement.

Hi Rhonda Good luck reading in the car. I cannot manage that. I'm so glad you had time with your grandson. As much as writing consumes us, it is important to remember what's really important in life.

Missy Tippens said...

Mary Cate (I think I'll call you that since that's the name of one of my daughter's best friends :)), what a beautiful post! It's such a pick me up this morning. I'll be saving some of your words as encouragement when I need it.

Thank you for your sweet comments about our blog. It's been such a huge blessing to us having y'all hang out here and share the journey with us.

Missy Tippens said...

BTW, your story of How Great Thou Art playing at the church as you walked by the day before your sale gave me chills!

Cate Nolan said...

Sally said:

"What comes to my mind as I write is, God is working. He uses what I say, how I say it, to impact somebody for Him, in His own time."

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend last week. She was quoting a sermon. I'm paraphrasing (hopefully not too badly), but the gist was that we each have our circles of influence so we never know who in that circle needs to hear the words God is saying through us. Words that the person will only hear because they are in our circle. That also shows the importance of places like Seekerville where we get to expand our circles of influence and reach more people.

And of course sometimes the stories are just plain fun.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Congratulations on your new release!!

Jackie Smith said...

Cate, I enjoyed your post....just what I need on a Monday morning!! I am excited about your book....CONGRATS....would love to be in the drawing.

Missy Tippens said...

Bettie, for critique partners, I'd say just work out what works best for both of you. I've done it many different ways...
--Bringing a chapter a week to an in-person meeting with a group of 4 of us.
--Working online and trading when we have half a book done
--working online after we finish the whole book
--Sending a chunk whenever it's ready and we want to make sure the story is going okay
--Brainstorming before writing

Cate Nolan said...

Hi Rose,

It was so much fun to meet you in person and celebrate the success of your books! Thanks for putting Christmas in Hiding on your Christmas list.

Thank you for everything. :)
My students are too young. It's not that there's any thing objectionable, just that they're too young to find it interesting. They're more inclined toward Goosebumps, Dear Diary, or Captain Underpants. *grin*

Hi Caryl Thanks for stopping by and for the congratulations.

Connie Queen said...

I want to congratulate you again on the sale of your KV book!

I looked for your book the other day in Walmart, but it wasn't there. I'll try again because I can't wait to read it.

You are so right about writing being hard and what makes us write. Very uplifting post. Thanks.

Cate Nolan said...


Good morning, Piper. Thanks for believing in me. What a journey this has been for both of us!

Deb H, Thank you for always being so supportive. I know all about missed opportunities and life being wonky. I hope you come into a more peaceful time so you can find time to focus on your writing. (((hugs))) my friend.

Thank you, Glynna. The church bells really were amazing. I heard the same ones again last week. It didn't click then, but just now I realized that was right around when the book was being released. Another goosebumps moment! Or a kick in the pants to tell me to get back to work. ;)

Cate Nolan said...

Tracey, thank you a million times over for your review. I have to admit, until I had a book on Amazon myself, I didn't realize what an honor it is to have people take the time to leave reviews. The idea that someone not only ready your story, but took the time to share that experience with others - wow! What a blessing.

"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words"
Yes! I've always loved that as well. It is funny to think of applying it to - well - words, but you're absolutely right. If the characters are living that, the lesson is there without the preaching.

What ultimately made me choose to write inspirational (over all the other possible categories) was that the inspirational books I read always made me want to be a better person. What an amazing thing for a writer to accomplish! I'm so grateful to those whose books make me feel that way and strive to be better each day.

Thank you!

Cate Nolan said...

Hi Cindy.

I'm glad you like that quote. It literally kept my fingers on the keyboard. It still does. I make sure to include the song in the playlist for every book I write.


Hi Jackie. Throwing your name in the stocking with all the others! It is always good to work with you - knowing you're just somewhere else along the cyberspace continuum plugging away at your story while I do the same.

Myra Thank you for your kind words and for the reminder that we never know who else is struggling along too. I would never have thought someone as talented as you could have discouraging writing times, except I'm a writer so I understand these things.

Cate Nolan said...

Kav - MY very first 5 star reviewer!!!!! You will never know what a boost your review was for me. Wow! I think I just stared dumbly at the screen when I read your review. Thank you for loving Callie and Jackson and their story.

I hope to return the favor someday SOON!


Heidi Robbins said...

Your new book sounds exciting! Thanks for sharing the giveaway!

Cate Nolan said...



Oh, Tracey, I forgot to say what a kick I got out of you calling my solution "brilliant." I still remember those dark days when I didn't have a clue how it was all going to work out. #problemsofan"into-the-mist"writer

Cate Nolan said...

Hi Wilani.. I'm so glad you found my book. I will never get this "which Walmart has it and which doesn't stuff". Thanks for buying it. Good luck with your new plan. My problem is whenever I make time for reading, I don't stop when I say I will and then everything else falls apart. There are worse problems. ;)

Donna Those are wondrous words for an author to read! I'm so excited that you liked the opening. Hope you enjoy the rest!

Cate Nolan said...

Thank you, Pam. I'm with you on the group brainstorming, but I can't do in-person critiques. I need that buffer of privacy.

Ruthy brought coffee, Stephanie. Please help yourself before I drink it all. Thanks for your kind words.

Jeanne, Your blog posts are always such a source of inspiration (even though I generally catch them on FB). I do love how God speaks to me in song. It fills my soul.

Thanks, Heidi. Tossing your name in the stocking,

Tina Radcliffe said...

I just started Cate's book and what fun it is to read the finished product after reading several drafts!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Several drafts of only parts of it . So finally I get to read the whole enchilada!!!! Hurrah!!

Bettie said...

Thanks for all the great input regarding critique partners and groups. I really appreciate it! You've given me lots to think about.

Jana Vanderslice said...

Mary/Cate! My quote for the week- "What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away."
I'm reworking my desk area & going to put that one up! It reminds me of "The Sound of Music" when Mother Abbess tells Maria, "Maria, these walls were not meant to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live."

You are Incredible! I'm going to look for your book at Walmart & take a picture for you!! You know you've hit it big when you can find your book at WallyWorld!! Congratulations!! We Love you here at Seekerville!!

Cate Nolan said...

LOL, Tina. Just think how many drafts there would have been if I had more time. Deadlines are a good thing because they keep me from incessantly revising. I have one book that has never seen the publishing light of day, but it's seen about 15 different variations/genres/story changes.

My youngest daughter just said to me the other day that as excited as she is about Christmas in Hiding, she's still holding out to see War of Hearts and my name on a book cover some day. She should - it's existed in some form or another for her entire life. I'm not even admitting how old she is, but I was a Golden Heart finalist with that one the year she was born!



Cate Nolan said...

Jana Vanderslice, you are too kind by far, but that is a very cool thought! Thank you! Now if only there was a Walmart near me that carried it, I could actually see that I'd hit it big. Though it was pretty cool to have my editor tweet a picture of it in the store. ;)

I loved The Sound of Music. Back when I was a child (in the days before DVDs, VCR's and all those instant gratification streaming sites), we used to always watch The Sound of Music together on Thanksgiving evening.

Missy Tippens said...

Bettie, I should add that our critique group didn't bring fresh chapters each week to read there. We came together to give back chapters we'd critiqued during the week to the person and to discuss them. Then we'd send new chapters home to be worked on that week.

Cate Nolan said...

I thought I was all caught up in the comments and then realized some slipped in between. So sorry. I don't mean to ignore anyone.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you for this post, Cate Nolan! Really speaks to me right now! God has a purpose for us, for our writing. Great reminder. And I love the story about how the church bells played How Great Thou Art on the day before you got the call about your first contract! That is so God. Sweet. And congrats on your new book!

Cate Nolan said...

Hi Meghan. It won't be too long now before we're all celebrating your LIS! Can't wait.

Missy, Mary Cate works for me (except when I feel like an Olsen twin). I'm only just getting used to being Cate. :) Happy I could inspire.

Thanks for the congratulations, Sherri.

Jackie Smith, thank you for being excited. Tossing your name into the stocking too!



Cate Nolan said...

Connie, Thanks so much for checking. The only times I've ever paid this much attention to drop dates and what stores were selling what was when I was waiting for someone's new release. This is pure craziness - but I love it.

Melanie, Thanks for dropping by. Your new book was in my B&N when I was there on Saturday! Mine wasn't, :( but yours was! :)

Julie Lessman said...

CATE (MARY)!!! Your new book looks and sounds AWESOME!!

And so is this blog today -- what an inspirational post, my friend. :)

LOVE THE LYRICS: “What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away."

WOW, that really speaks to me, too, Cate, so thanks for sharing. And Jesus Calling is my #1 MOST FAVORITE nonfiction book other than the Bible IN THE WORLD -- it is sooooo anointed, isn't it??

And don't even get me started on "How Great Thou Art!" I cry like a baby every time I hear that song, so that is a realllly cool story about the church bells pealing "How Great Thou Art" the day before you got the call. TOTALLY AWESOME and makes me tear up all over again. :)

I pray you sell a TON of books, my friend!

Hugs,
Julie

Myra Johnson said...

LOL--I think of the Olsen twins every time I type Mary/Cate!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Me too,Myra! And I have a little chuckle!

Janet Dean said...

Mary/Cate, Your students are too young. Time to send home a required reading list for parents. LOL

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

Cate your post is wonderful. It gave me chills. Very uplifting and encouraging.

GOOD GIRL!!!!

CatMom said...

Wonderful post, Cate - - thank you.
And as a former teacher, I am amazed that you teach AND write - - whew!
I'm reading CHRISTMAS IN HIDING right now and loving it!! :) Love that cover too!
Looking forward to reading more Cate Nolan books in the future.
And because you're so kind, I baked 2 Georgia peach cobblers today - - one for Seekerville, and one just for YOU! ;)
Hugs, Patti Jo

Mary Connealy said...

While I was reading, before I got to where you mentioned my 'Cord of Three Strands' blog your post reminded me of it and that I should have added to it....just what you added. That yes that third strand, God, makes our books strong, but EVERYTHING we do and say and touch needs that third strand. Every action, we need to weave that third strand into the way we live our lives.
Lovely post, Cate.

BTW you remind me of this school teacher from NY I met a few times, at conferences. She had an iPad over her face the whole time, so I'm not sure what the connection is...................

Kathryn Barker said...

Thanks, Cate/Mary Cate....for a wonderful, inspirational post. Perfect timing for me also!!

When I saw your line, "We can overcome" I remembered a song we used to sing in the 60's that powerfully touched so many of us...and gave us hope to keep on keeping on!! "We Shall Overcome" (This version is with Joan Baez... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnFwR8G6u2g)

Would love to be entered in the drawing, but will purchase a copy of your book for my sweet Momma! Thanks again for encouraging us today!!

Trixi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trixi said...

I already have this wonderful book sitting on my shelf so no need to enter me for this. As a reader...actually more to the point, as a Christian it is nice to know that I am not going through this world by myself! I have a God who is right there with me, walking besides me & even sometimes carrying me when the burden becomes too much. I love that three-cord strand because IF I rely on HIM, then my faith won't ever be shaken :-)
And I adore, love, admire, commend, etc. authors who reflect Jesus's love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, ect. in their writing!! This is why I only read Christian fiction (I read many genres). So I wanted to say a big SHOUT OUT & THANK YOU to those faithful authors out there who aren't afraid to let God work through their books to speak to us readers....I find great encouragement because of it!!

Great post today Cate, thanks for sharing your heart :-)

Janet Dean said...

I've got Christmas in Hiding! Yay!!!

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

Trixi that is so sweet. What a great comment.

BelleC said...



Hi Cate,

So thrilled for your and your debut release. How wonderful to have a Christmas book! I love your post. Your words are so encouraging and heartfelt. Writing is a journey filled with highs and lows. Anyone who has been published knows it's not an easy journey. Blessings to you. Loved meeting you in person in NYC.

Belle

Preslaysa Williams said...

Beautiful post, Cate! And so true. There are no limits to the stories He'll tell through us when we are yielded to Him. (And now you've motivated me to pull out my Jesus Calling book!!!)

Lyndee H said...

Very uplifting post, Cate. Congrats on your success. I have your book, so give someone else a chance.

Myra Johnson said...

TRIXI, your words touched my heart! Thank you for being such a strong and supportive advocate for Christian fiction and Christian authors!

Jamie Adams said...

Great post,Cate! I'm so happy for you and look forward to reading your book.(the first of many) How cool it would be to have an autographed copy!

Cate Nolan said...

HaHa, Mary.I don't think I even took the iPad out this year. Tina and I were too busy dodging all those shady "characters" in Times Square.

Yay!!! Thank you, Janet.

I'm so glad you liked the post, Preslaysa. I won my copy of Jesus Calling right here on Seekerville when Janet Dean gave it away during a double giveaway - one to keep and one for a friend. Dana Lynn won it and she gave me her friend copy. I just ordered a copy of the new version that has both morning and evening devotionals.

Trixi Thank you. You humble us all, but inspire us as well. It means the world to know that our work is appreciated. I am so grateful for your words today.




Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Cate, your post is uplifting and inspiring, especially where you receive confirmation from God while walking home from church a day before the call. So happy for you.

Cate Nolan said...

Thanks, Jamie Sure hope it's the first of many. :)

Thanks, Lyndee and thank you for already buying the book. I have to admit, it's a humbling experience to have people buy your work. That was a side of it I hadn't anticipated.

Patti Jo, Thank you for the virtual peach cobbler. Oh how I wish I had one sitting in front of me for real! Will have to settle for apple pie.

Cate Nolan said...

Julie Lessman! Your enthusiasm always gives me a boost! Thank you. I agree about Jesus Calling. It always has just the words I need to hear when I need to hear them. Eerie sometimes!

Kathryn, I remember that song. I've used the Joan Baez version with my class when teaching about civil rights. Thanks for making the connection. I hope your sweet Momma enjoys the book. My mom was near bursting with pride while she read it - even though her initial reaction was that she wished I'd written historical instead.

BelleC I know you know the song I'm referring to from Nashville! It's been so much fun to learn from you as I follow this path. Thank you!

Cate Nolan said...

Pat Jeanne Davis Thank you for your kind words. I guess the tolling church bells make up for the fact that I was taking an unplanned nap and missed my editor's call!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ahhh Cate How sweet that you dedicated your book to Seekerville. It is a wonderful place isn't it? And see, this is what I was talking about earlier. sometimes we are already following God's plan and don't even know it.

I am so thankful that I met you in person in Atlanta. You were so fun and clever with your i-pad. Thanks again for joining us today.

Sandra Leesmith said...

I'm loving all the inspirational comments. See what you inspired in us today? Love it.

Sandy Smith said...

I really needed this post, Cate. I need the confidence that I can do this through God. I also need the reminder that it can be done no matter how busy your schedule. I have a hard time writing with my substitute job. I can't imagine having a full time teaching job. When do you write?

By the way, I have been wanting to tell you that I loved Christmas in Hiding! I am planning to put up a review but haven't had the chance. Soon! So I don't need to be entered into the drawing!

Finally, I may be the only one on here who does not like How Great Thou Art. Maybe because it reminds me too much of funerals. We have sung that song at every family funeral, and I know it will be sung at my parents' funerals whenever that time comes so I just don't enjoy it. And a lady in our church requests it every other Sunday during our hymn selection time. But I do think it was a real God moment that you heard it the day before you got the call.

Julie Lessman said...

DEB GIUSTI SAID: "Writing for God means I continue through the tough times."

OH, AMEN AND AMEN, sister!!

TRACEY SAID: "Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words". I absolutely LOVE that quote from Francis of Assisi because it is the essence of true Christianity to me ... and one I don't always follow, unfortunately. :|

MARY CATE SAID: "One of the most wonderful things about Seekerville is the amazing sense of community created by a group of women who started out just looking to encourage each other. It had to have been divinely inspired!"

OKAY, that gave me cold chills because it is sooooo very true, and I never really thought about it before. Not just for the 13 Seekers who love each other to pieces, but for all of Seekerville friends, without whom NONE of us would be here, soaking up each other's wisdom and love. We sooooo appreciate you guys MORE than you will ever know.

Hugs and more hugs!
Julie

Mary Curry said...

Hi Sandy,

I'm sorry about the song. I don't think I've ever heard it at a funeral here. We get On Eagles Wings and Amazing Grace mostly at funerals it seems.

Thanks for your kind comments about my book. :)

As for when I write - the answer is not often enough. I write best when I get up early and do it before work - in other words, when I keep Ruthy hours. The beginning of the school year is always exhausting though so that hasn't happened recently. The best thing I can do is jot down bits of it whenever I can to keep my head in the story.

Terri said...

Congratulations Cate! I love Christmas stories and I'm looking forward to reading yours.

Thanks for the post, it was very timely. I have a demanding day job and sometimes the last thing I want to do is spend more time on the computer.

Suzanne Baginskie said...

Cate, so nice to read your special blog today. Congrats to you on your first LSI. You have persued your dreams of publication and did so with an angel from God on your shoulder. I wish you many more sales. You are an inspiration to all of us Christian writers who want to follow in your footsteps and write a book good enough to sell someday.

Chill N said...

Congratulations on "Christmas in Hiding."

You've given me something I need to mull over a while. Thanks :-)

Nancy C

Patricia W said...

“What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away."

I'very not heard that song, but I'm going to find it. Special message in the lyrics and in this post. Thank you.

Patricia W said...

“What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away."

I'very not heard that song, but I'm going to find it. Special message in the lyrics and in this post. Thank you.

Patricia W said...

“What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away."

I'very not heard that song, but I'm going to find it. Special message in the lyrics and in this post. Thank you.

Suzanne Baginskie said...

Happy Birthday Seekersville on Columbus Day!!

Suzanne Baginskie said...

This year Cate, you are spreading Christmas cheer in October. Enjoy your ride.

Jeanne T said...

CATE, thanks so much for your kind words. :)

Deanne Patterson said...

Cate, welcome to Seekerville. I enjoyed your post a lot it was very encouragaing. Congratulations on your new book !

Deanne Patterson

Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

Cate this was such a wonderful read! I'll admit I do not watch Nashville, but you made me want to with that song quote. Seriously I am writing that one down!

" What if God had given me something special to say? What if by quitting, I was saying no to Him?" Thanks for this Cate. Definitely words to remember.

Tanya Agler said...

Cate, Thank you for your inspiring words today. There are days when the writing comes easier than others. I'm very happy that all your time writing has yielded Christmas in Hiding. I can't wait to read it and look forward to more books to come from you. A big hug from the South. Congrats on the publication.

Sarah Claucherty said...

Cate, what an absolutely lovely post! I needed to hear that encouragement today.

I agree: Christian fiction contains that special extra element--faith--that makes it more than just a book. It's one of my favorite parts and why I keep reading this kind of fiction. :)

And, His message in our writing is much more effective if we SHOW His love rather than tell it (read: get all preachy and alienate readers). A great example of show, don't tell!

I'd love to read Christmas in Hiding! Sounds wonderfully suspenseful :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Beautiful post! God is in all we do...even our writing. I've been accused of being preachy before though, so I do try to be careful with my books. LOL Thanks for sharing and even though I know winter is an essential season, it definitely can be difficult to wade through. Hugs!

Marsha Bernabe said...

Beautiful post. Very encouraging for those rough times.

Marsha Bernabe said...

PS I would love to be entered in the drawing.

Deanna Stevens said...

My husband & I were just talking recently about the seasons of our lives! Thanks for reminding me there are seasons we go through in other ways too.. I enjoyed your post :)
Toss me into the drawing please..

Dana McNeely said...

So many times the Seekerville posts give me just what I need to start my writing session. Today's is no exception, as yesterday was difficult and I face my keyboard with trepidation. Thank you for the encouraging quote from Moses! Not on the top of the "most quoted" list, but how encouraging. Please enter me in the list to win a copy of your book. :)

Hope Dougherty said...

Great post! Thanks so much for this timely encouragement. I'll add a quotation--with my interpretation--from my BSF notes this week--"God gives us an amazing privilege to speak (or write) on His behalf." I'd love to win a copy of your book. Thank you!

trosado said...

I enjoyed the post, Cate. Congrats on your new release. I read Kav's review on her blog and she raved about it.

Becky Dempsey said...

Good reminder that whatever we do, do it for God.

Deanne Patterson said...

Congratulations on your release of Christmas in Hiding. Welcome to Seekerville. It's a pleasure to have you visit us, Cate.We can do all things through God who strengthens us.

Deanne Patterson
Book1lovingmomma at gmail dot com

bonton said...

Great post, Cate - thank you!! Sarah Young and Christian music are 2 great inspiration tools for me!!



Please enter my name in the drawing for a copy of your book - thank you!!