Last week I spent time at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference in North Carolia. I truly believe it’s easer to hear God’s voice in the mountains. People often say this conference is like drinking through a fire hydrant. I always come home with so many ideas and projects brewing that I look like a milk-drunk toddler waddling around for a few days. I can’t really focus or process all my thoughts.
I’m finally working through what happened and I wanted to take some time to update you all about things that are going on with my writing. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that in addition to my blog, I’m working on a middle grade historical fiction series. The first book, Silvery Moon, is loosely based on an account my Grandma Morgan wrote before she died. I wrote two more books that happen to take place before Silvery Moon, so the "Girls of Hope” Series will probably be published in this order:
Keep on the Sunny Side:
Anna Norwood is a ten-year-old orphan living in a Chicago private girls home in 1931. When the home’s benefactor dies, Mr. Winthrop, the director begins to make changes. He refuses to allow Anna to be seen when someone comes to adopt and he brings in a woman named Mrs. Lovejoy to teach Sunday School.
Mrs. Lovejoy tells the girls they are sinful, especially Anna who has recently been in the paper for saving the residents from a deadly fire. Anna is worried she’ll never be adopted, but then she finds a letter from a Mrs. Hudson who hopes to adopt a little girl. Anna confronts Mr. Winthrop for hiding her when a potential family visits and he dismisses her without a thought.
In desperation, Anna runs away and almost collides with a moving car. The nice couple inside offers to take her back to the home. When they arrive, they surprise Anna by telling her their last name is Hudson.
Pocketful of Dreams
It’s 1932, and the country is in the grip of the Great Depression. Veda Smith feels the strain of the times when her father loses his job and she’s forced to move across town with cousins. Her new school would be fine if it weren't for a gang of runaways who hang around before and after the bell to steal from and terrorize students.
Even with the move, Veda’s parents and aunt have trouble feeding everyone under their roof and Veda’s favorite brother falls ill. Enter Dr. Hudson and his daughter Anna. Dr. Hudson saves Charlie, and Anna shows Veda the kind of love that only comes from the Father. Dr. Hudson sends Veda on a mission to be a helper. To find a way to pass the light along to another who is hurting. This mission becomes a great adventure that grows Veda in ways she never imagined.
For Isabel Williams, finding courage started when she met Veda. Isabel is a ten-year-old farm girl growing up during the Great Depression. Her scrapbook journal will help readers experience her one room schoolhouse with new fears, new hopes, and a new friend in the next row. Isabel dares to write, and then to enter a national poetry competition with a $10 reward for the winner. She’s counting on the cash prize because Veda’s brother needs expensive leg braces to walk. The notorious killer John Dillinger has been spotted in the area hiding from police. In the face of real danger, Isabel worries for her safety and about getting her poem sent to New York City.
Last week held a lot of promise for my Girls of Hope series. I met with a few publishers who are excited to hear more about the books in the form of a proposal. The pressure’s on for me to do the work of writing the proposals and getting them submitted. Two things that are holding me back are: finding the time to do them and finding the courage to take this step. I know these leads may end in rejection as others have in the past, but I have to be willing to be rejected because books sitting in my drawer don’t benefit anyone.
Another surprising twist from last week was when my Earth Day picture book (I Made the Earth) won third place for children’s literature. I was floored by that! Everyone I talked to (including an author of 100 published books) loved the idea of an Earth Day book from God’s perspective.
This journey all started with a nagging feeling that I needed to write these books. They seeped into my brain and heart until I decided put pen to paper. And although they’re not published yet, I can say that God has blessed my being obedient to him with new friends, amazing experiences, and a strengthened faith in his goodness.
What does this mean for you?
I would love if you’d pray for me. My books are designed to tell tween girls that they are loved by God, that He provides for their needs, and that through Him, they can do great things. I want every girl in the world to know that and your prayers will help me in that goal. If you are friends with me, push me a little. I often make excuses for not doing things that scare me. If you’re my friend, please hold me accountable. I need it.
If you have a nagging feeling about something, take is seriously. It could be God calling you into your own journey. Take steps in the direction you are feeling that call. I promise God will bless it.
Find a place (like my conference) where you can be with like-minded people -a place that gives you energy and connection. I don’t know what that is for you. Maybe it’s a conference or retreat. Maybe it’s a service organization or fitness group. Figure it out and get that connection. We weren’t designed to do life alone and finding your people is important.
God Bless You!