The graphic on the book cover made me smile. It was Torry Martin nose to nose with a moose. I first met Torry at a screenwriting conference. He’s one of the funniest people ever. A Christian comedian, he has also written for Adventures in Odyssey and penned several screenplays.
Of Moose and Men is a book Torry wrote with Doug Peterson about Torry’s Alaska adventures.
Got to be funny, I thought. And wow, did I need some funny. I bought the book.
This was about a year after my dad died. I had grieved so hard and together with other things that were happening, my writing had suffered. I’d edited a novel in the previous year and kept up with my blog, but I was not working on a new book for the first time in ten years. I wondered if I ever would again.
Then, I read Of Moose and Men. Torry cracks me up, and in the midst of the laughter, my creativity began coming back. I thought, hey, I might have a female version of this story about my adventures on Seventh Avenue when I was a buyer and merchandise manager for a department store.
I began to tinker around with a few ideas, and before I knew it, I had several stories written. Maybe this could be a book. But then again, maybe not. Soon after, I hit a wall. I had to navigate through ten years of journals to write the stories, and I dealt with a lot of emotional baggage during those years, things that were not pertinent to the story. It was hard to read about it again in addition to the grief I was still trying to get through. So, I stopped writing the book.
But I remembered a dream I had a few weeks before where a red Chevy Nova was chasing me around in my backyard, similar to those animations in the movie Cars. Chevy Novas are muscle cars, and even though it was kind of a funny dream, I knew God wanted to give me power over the pain of my past, but I was running from it. I stopped running, took up the writing again, and let God deal with the pain.
I finished this past spring in time to take the book to a conference. The book, Faith in the Fashion District, is the story of how one woman’s life on Seventh Avenue launched a lifetime in ministry. It received very positive reaction from several agents and editors. I also had the opportunity to tell Torry Martin about what his book had done for me. He loved the story. We both cried. The image left is from the information sheet I did on the book (not the book cover).
After several weeks of waiting to hear from various publishers who were reviewing the manuscript, I received an email offering me a contract from Crosslink Publishers. I signed the contract this past Friday.
To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.
Last Thursday, I also signed contracts for pieces in two separate book anthologies. Short and Sweet II, and Christmas Moments releasing soon (Authors receive no royalties for Christmas Moments as all proceeds are donated to Samaritan’s Purse. I love that).
I was so overwhelmed. This didn’t even feel like my life.
It was a big week at the Varnado household. You’ll be hearing more about all of this in the weeks and months to come with Faith in the Fashion District to be released in 2018, but I just wanted to tell you folks who take the time to read my blog every week, thank you. You see, I feel called to write for the Lord, but there have been times, I have been so discouraged. Often, it was your comments here on the blog and on Facebook that kept me going. Legendary writer, Elizabeth Sherill, says we write for one person, and so I have taken that to heart. If one person is touched by what I write, then my time has been well spent. So, thank you, dear friends.
If God has called you to something and it has been long and hard. Persist. Don’t give up. His timing is not ours. Oh, how much I have clung to that over the years. The important thing is that we’re good stewards of the gifts and talents God has entrusted to us.
This is a long post today, so I’ll close now, but there are still other parts of this story, which I hope to write about in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
“I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:6 KJV).