Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
It's amazing to see the warehouse. The photo at left is of the section with the 40 foot ceiling. Books and CDs and Christian gifts and DVDs and Bibles and more. It makes one feel rather small, seeing all of the products offered to those wanting something to watch or something to read or something to wear or something to hang on a wall. Behind every item there was someone with an idea, someone who invested time and/or money in bringing it to this place. So many people with dreams of making a difference in someone's life, in entertaining a reader for a short while, of teaching a new song to children.
Do you have a dream that you haven't pursued? A story to tell? A desire to help others? An idea for an invention? The urge to serve? Then I would say to you, could it be God working in your heart, encouraging you to do something you haven't attempted before or perhaps attempted and then gave up on? Maybe today's the day you should step out in faith and chase that dream.
There were several readers who asked me, as I signed books, how long I've been writing and how did I get started. For me, I started because the idea just wouldn't be ignored anymore. Oh, there were a number of things involved that brought me to that point, but when it comes right down to it, that's the real reason. I had this story idea in my head and I had to give it a try, had to see if I could do it.
You never know what will happen until you try.
PS There was one special treat waiting for me at CBD. Zondervan went to press early with A Vote of Confidence so that copies would be available at CBD on Saturday. You can't get a copy yet in stores or via Amazon, but you can get copies at CBD. If you don't want to wait several more weeks, pop over to Christianbook.com and place your order now.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Now I’m off again. This time I’ll head to Kansas to mix business with pleasure. First, my incredible accountant resides in Kansas. I couldn’t give him up when I moved to Montana because a good, trustworthy accountant is hard to find. So we will meet and do that pesky tax thing.
Then I will have a wonderful time plotting and planning new books with my dear friend Judy Miller. We have so much fun when we get together.
Added to this is the bonus of getting to see my daughter and son-in-law and beautiful grandchildren.
So I would appreciate your prayers for traveling and weather mercies. One of the big reasons we left Kansas was we were tired of humidity and tornadoes. So I would appreciate prayers for both to be absent. Well, I suppose I could tolerate a nice Montana humidity of 20%.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Running into some of my favorite writing people on the floor of the convention center was a true delight! Years ago, Susan Downs (third from left) befriended me at the first American Christian Fiction Writers conference, and she remains a dear friend and unofficial cousin (we share the Klaassen name in our family background). Janelle Lowery and Lisa Ludwig are also fellow ACFWers--wonderful Christian women who I’m delighted to count as friends. So we had mini “family reunion” when our paths crossed.
While signing at the Baker Booth, a stately gentleman approached and introduced himself as my German publisher. We had a lovely chat about how Christian fiction is taking off in Germany (they reprint a lot of American books because few German authors write fiction). Then he invited me to tour the publishing company and meet my German editor if ever I’m in Germany. As it turns out, I’ll be taking a German tour the first of September! I’m hopeful to be able to accept his invitation. (Unfortunately I can't tell you his name because his is the only business card I misplaced before I made it home again! *sigh* I'm glad he took mine and promised to contact me. lol)
And…oh, joy!…the night of the Christian Book Awards banquet, I had the opportunity to visit with my long-time writing hero, Janette Oke. This wasn’t the first time I’d met Mrs. Oke. A Bethany House representative introduced me to her in July of 2005, shortly after I signed my first contract with BHP. But at that time, I was so star-struck I couldn’t even speak. After a few minutes of one-sided conversation (all hers), she finally smiled and moved away, no doubt thinking she’d just met the biggest dolt in the history of the world. I have kicked myself dozens of times for missing the chance to tell her how much her books meant to me. But March 19, 2008, I had a second chance, and I didn’t blow it.
I shared with her how her writing inspired me and how her stories touched my heart. I thanked her for giving me spiritual insight and many hours of pleasant diversion. She was so gracious and warm, completely down-to-earth and unaffected although, considering her success and her title of “Christian fiction icon,” she has every reason to stick her nose in the air and even wear a diamond tiara. Instead, do you know what she did? SHE encouraged ME. She told me she’s read my books……..and enjoyed them. That struck me speechless once again and it ended the conversation. But those words will carry me for the next 27 years. :o)
At the banquet, Mrs. Oke introduced the fiction category nominees. In her speech she mentioned that she thinks of the characters in her books as “paper missionaries.” Although she doesn’t travel all over the world to share her love of Jesus, her storybook characters do. Her words inspired me all over again to keep Jesus front and center in each of my stories. I want my characters to be “paper missionaries,” too. And after visiting with that beautiful, gracious, warm and welcoming woman who is a breath of Jesus in every way, I pray I can be just like her when I grow up.
God bless you muchly as you journey with Him! ~Kim
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I immediately called to thank her and express my delight, telling her I’d already inserted one of the CD’s and was looking for information that I might use in my next book. Of course, she was pleased that her choice gave me such pleasure. “How did you know,” I asked? She laughed and told me it had been on my Amazon Wish List. Later that evening I was thinking about the “wish list” we offer to the Lord by way of our prayers. We ask him for travelling mercies when we make a journey, or to heal a sick child. We ask for good weather when we’re planning a family outing. We’re constantly presenting our “wish list.” But when we safely arrive at our destination, that ill child recovers, or the sunshine beams down on a balmy spring day, do we rush to give thanks for our answered prayer?
My sister was thrilled to know that her gift had pleased me so much. God delights in hearing our thanks and that He has pleased us too—let Him know!
With a desire for a more thankful heart. ~Judy
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The folks at the rehab center say Mom needs 24/7 care. Which means, since I must be able to write in order to keep a roof over our head, I've got to have aides come in to stay with her while I slip off to write at the library or Moxie Java. I am going to have to readjust a lot to this new situation. In the past, I haven't hesitated to run to the store or to go to church for a couple of hours on Sunday morning. Now I will have to arrange for it all in advance. Easier said than done, methinks.
This is a season of life that countless people have walked through before me. I'm grateful for all the words of encouragement and advice that have been spoken to me as I face trying to make decisions for what will be best for Mom, for me, for the two of us.
Sometimes life is hard. This is one of those times.
The Bible tells me that Jesus is coming back and all those believers who remain on earth will meet Him in the air. Well, friends, I'm thinking today would be a good day for Jesus to return. I'm ready for no more crying, no more sighing, no more pain, no more death. I'm ready to stop being an alien in a strange land. I'm ready to be home with the Father in the house God has prepared for me. Don't get me wrong. There is so much I love about my life. I'm blessed with family and friends and so much more. But my heart yearns for heaven. I long for the day I will see Jesus face to face. Don't you?
Even so, maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.
Photos: my mom and dad's wedding photo (my dad died in a plane crash when I was 4 months old, about 3 years after this photo) and my mom at her 90th birthday bash with her four granddaughters
Friday, March 20, 2009
By the time this posts, I'll be in Dallas for the big Christian book expo. I have heard so many positive things about this brand new get-together for readers to come and meet writers. It should prove to be a lot of fun, and I know many of my fellow writers have been looking foward to this event for some time. So if you're in the Dallas area, I encourage you to join us. I've included a link so you can check out the program if you haven't already looked into this.
The thing I like the most about gatherings like this is getting to meet my readers. People are always so wonderful and fascinating. I love hearing their stories and learning what blessed them about a particular book. One of my most amusing stories comes from a similar gathering where there were a dozen or so authors greeting and signing books. A woman came rushing up to me just gushing about how excited she was to meet me. She said, "I absolutely loved A Bride Most Begruding." I had to laugh and without missing a beat replied, "So did I. I think Dee Gist is a fantastic author."
Of course the woman was embarrassed by this, but I thought it endearing. It's one of the nicest things about being an author in the Christian publishing world - it's like being in one big loving family. Like my sisters here on the blog - we rejoice with each other and share the triumphs and sorrows.
Sometimes I'm asked, "But don't you find a lot of rivalry and jealousy among the authors?" My answer is simple. "No." Of course there are always those moments when an author wonders why his/her book didn't win an award or make the best seller list, but even at those times it seems more in keeping with a heart that desires to give their very best rather than anger at those who accomplished the feat.
So I'm happy to share this blog with such dear sisters, and excited to see my extended family in Dallas. I hope I'll see many of you there as well. Oh, and here's the link to all of my Dallas booksignings on March 20-22nd.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm pretty sure they've envisioned it all along.
God bless you muchly as you journey with Him! ~Kim
Daddy, Mom, and me at Bethany House shortly after the
release of Waiting for Summer's Return, my first traditionally-published novel.
* * *
The Shops at Legacy
7300 Dallas Parkway, Suite A120
Saturday, March 21 -- 10:oo-11:30am
Family Christian Bookstores
904 Melbourne Rd.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
If you’ve visited my website or if you receive my newsletter, you’ve already discovered that I’m a scrapbooking enthusiast. I’ve always been a person who enjoyed crafts of some sort or another, but when the scrapbooking bug hit me many years ago, it hit with a double whammy. As the years have passed, I’ve evaluated my love of the craft and tried to figure out why I like it so much.
But most of all, I’ve learned that I’m just plain nosy. And that accounts for why I accomplish so little when I attend a scrapbooking get-together. I’m far too busy visiting and riffling through other scrapbookers’ pictures. Then, of course, I want to hear the story that goes with the photo. And if the picture is really old, I’m hooked for at least an hour or two while I listen to how great-great-grandma Belle came across the plains in a covered wagon or how old Uncle Jed cut off his toe while trying to kill a rooster.
Like most writers, I enjoy learning about people and places. Some folks refer to incessant questions as research. But take my word for it, most of those researchers are just like me—they’re downright nosy. And since it wouldn’t be fair to be nosy and not share some of my own pictures from days gone by, I’m embarrassing two of my children by posting one of the scrapbook pages from their book. Remember, a good scrapbooker always keeps copies for herself—you never know when those embarrassing pictures will come in handy.
Blessings as you fill your day with memories.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I enjoy country music, among many genres, and part of the reason is that country music tells stories. And of course, I love story. One of my favorite songs of the night was Waitin' on a Woman. More on that in second...
But first, I want to share what happened during a quiet moment of worship this weekend at church. While others were still singing, I closed my eyes and---anticipating leaving for Atlanta this week to be with my parents during mom's surgery on Thursday---I asked God that when the surgeon opened mom up, that the surgeon would find no cancer. Not a single abnormal cell of it. I know God can do that if He wills. With a thought, He can heal. I have no doubt. Then another prayer quickly followed on the heels of that one... Father, would you give us the strength to not just accept what's coming on Thursday, but to have the faith to give You praise no matter what the news is?
I was crying, of course. The music ended and we all sat down. I dabbed my eyes and reached for my glasses. Then heard the Lover of my soul echo my prayer right back to me in the words of the minister. Lloyd opened his message by saying (and I quote), "Are you praying for a miracle this morning? Or...are you praying for an immovable faith?"
I just sat there, stunned. And of course started crying all over again. LOL. But truly, I believe God was "answering" my prayer, in a sense. Not a promise of healing or of "great news" that we'll get on Thursday, but also not "A word of warning:batten down the hatches, a storm is coming." But rather, He just whispered back, "I'm here. I'm listening. I'm in control, and I'm holding your mom. And it's gonna be ok."
Thanks so much for your prayers for my mom, June. I'll keep in touch in regard to what comes. But whatever that is (say it with me...), igbok.
Now, back to Waitin' on a Woman. The first time I heard the song, I ran home and downloaded it. Then couldn't wait to watch the music video. If you've not seen it, take two minutes and enjoy it. Just click on the title of the song (the picture is one we took at the concert of the huge screen on the stage), and you'll be able to watch the music video. Love that Andy Griffith!
P.S. I love how so many of you have written saying you've gotten your own igbok bumper sticker. Cool! It's not too late. You can get yours here.
And lest you think I've forgotten about the movie giveaway--not!--scroll on down. :)
I chose a name at random but loved what Michelle said in her comment on last week's post:
Michelle, I hope you and the girls love this movie! Wish I could be there with you! If you'll send me your mailing address (through my website contact page, if you'd like), I'll send you your movie!
Thanks for playing, everyone,
Monday, March 16, 2009
Well, here is a short film (12 minutes) called "Signs" that was made for the romantic in all of us. Kick back and treat yourself. If you're a sucker for romances as I am, you'll be glad you did.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
But the good news is, we have been able to fill our Wednesday blogging spot with another great author of historicals, Judith Miller. Her first blog will go up on Wednesday morning, but in the meantime, please help me welcome her to Writes of Passage.
Friday, March 13, 2009
First to arrive was A LADY OF HIGH REGARD with a fresh new cover and title.
It's now translated - THE MATCHMAKER. And that fits, because the story deals with a heroine who likes to match make.
The second came today and is a new translation of WHERE MY HEART BELONGS.
Now the title is - WHERE MY HEART DROVE ME. I had to laugh at that one. It wasn't as great as Kim's Shards of Luck, but it amused me. And, it seems very appropriate given that my heart often drives me to go a lot of places. Like writing as a way of sharing Jesus with others.
I now have books in German, Dutch, Norwegian, Indonesian, Spanish, and a strange dialect from India that I can't spell much less pronounce. It thrills me to pieces to see this, because my books are a ministry for the Lord. I am totally stoked to imagine all the places that these books might go. If you think about, please pray a blessing on the people who read the various works of Christian fiction. This is a precious mission field and I'm so blessed to be a part of it, but this is only one small part as I'm sure any of the authors here would attest. Seed planting is vital, but there needs to also be cultivators and harvesters. Pray that God will send someone to the people who read these books--someone who will be a blessing and encouragement to the reader. Someone who will share in this mission to help people fall passionately in love with Jesus.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Lately I've struggled to get words into my current project. I had no idea how much harder it would be to write for young adults. I want to write the story--I want it to be good (obviously!)--but trying to slip into the mindset of a teenage girl when my teen years are far removed has proven much more challenging than I envisioned.
Staring at a blank computer screen. Wordless....
Then there are moments when we hear something hard to accept. A marriage crumbles, a neighbor loses a child, or a friend suffers a serious illness. We want to offer comfort or encouragement, but we feel helpless and inadequate. So we act as though the situation hasn't occurred and say nothing.
Standing at a distance. Wordless...
Have you ever had one of those times when you wanted to pray, but nothing came out? Either your heart's too full to find adequate praise, or you're so burdened all your soul can do is groan.
Bowed low before the throne. Wordless...
Yet probably there are times when it might be better to be silent. I once saw a bumper sticker that read, "Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth." Humorous, but oh so true. How many of us carry regrets for words hastily spoken in anger, thoughtlessness, or apathy? How many of us are haunted by words hurled at us in anger, thoughtlessness, or apathy... Once words are out, you can't snatch them back. And contrary to that old adage about sticks and stones, words DO hurt. They can leave lasting scars.
Words... They carry the power to entertain, to enlighten, to devastate or uplift. It's all in how we choose to use them. But what should we do when words fail us and we find ourselves wordless? David had some advice. In Psalm 37:7 (NIV) he wrote, "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..." In those times when we are faithless/wordless, He is faithful. God assured Moses in his time of uncertainty, "I will help you speak and will teach you what to say (Exodus 4:12)." Perhaps occasionally we should just...be...still...and wait.
May God bless you muchly as you journey with Him! ~Kim
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
When Robin invited me to be a part of this wonderful blog I told her I wasn't sure I was the "blogging" kind, but I'd try. And it's truly been a wonderful experience, but I'm going to say good-bye for now. I have loved hearing the different responses, and Traci, Robin, Kim and Tamera's writing adventures. God is using these women in a mighty way. But I've discovered 'blogging' isn't my thing, and for me it is as difficult as writing a book! I guess you'd say I live a pretty ordinary life with the exception that I write books.
I hope you'll think of me--say a little prayer for me, when you see my name on the bookshelves. You're a great group, and I'll miss ya encouraging comments.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I decided to write at Panera Bread this morning and am happily situated in a corner, just finished my Bible Study (A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place--really enjoying a closer examination of the tabernacle), and am turning now to write.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
A friend of mine shared this little article with me, and I wanted to pass it along. I tried to find the original author and didn't have any luck. There are several names associated with this story, as well as variations of the story itself, so I'm clueless. If someone knows the original author - by all means let me know so we can credit them.
LESSONS FROM A PENCIL
The pencil maker took the pencil aside, just before putting it into the box.
"There are five things you need to know before I send you out into the great world," he said. "Always remember these five things and you will be one great pencil:
ONE: You are capable of many great things but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone's hand.
TWO: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time but you'll need it to be a better pencil.
THREE: You have the ability to correct the mistakes you make.
FOUR: The important part of you will always be what's inside.
FIVE: On every surface where you are used, reglardless of its condition or yours, you will leave a mark."
I thought this was a neat analogy of our life, and it gave me great food for thought that I just had to share with you.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This is my second novel to be reprinted in Dutch. Bygones, Book 1 in the Sommerfeld Trilogy, arrived several months ago. Other books have been contracted for Dutch, Norwegian, and German translations, but I haven't seen those books yet.
Sometimes when companies purchase second print rights, they change the covers (see My Heart Remembers below as an example), but so far the foreign language reprints have used the "American cover" and translated the contents.
The length of the Dutch title caught my attention. Scherven van geluk just seems a rather convoluted way of saying Beginnings. Curiosity got the best of me, so I found an on-line translator, penned in the Dutch title, and hit "Dutch-to-English." This is the new title of my book: Shards of Luck.
Huh? I shook my head a bit. How did Beginnings translate to that??? The heroine of the story is a stained-glass artist, so the shards thing can be worked in, I suppose, but Shards of Luck? And if the title changed that drastically, how much of the story has changed? No way for me to know, because I'm not typing the entire book into that on-line translator thingy! lol But you know, I guess that's not nearly as important as the fact that the book is now available to a whole new circle of readers. It's kind of exciting, actually, to think of someone across the ocean picking up one of my stories and reading it. What an opportunity to minister!
But...hm..."reader mail" might be a problem if they write to me in their native tongue. I guess I'll keep that on-line translator site in my "favorites" file, just in case. :o) Praise the Lord for new opportunities! One never knows what's waiting around the bend...
God bless you muchly as you journey with Him! ~Kim
LEFT: Original cover created by artists at Bethany House Publishing (btw, this is my favorite cover so far!)
RIGHT: Cover used by Center Pointe Large Print books
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I have allergies so we can't have pets, and with our life style the animal would probably be in the kennel more often than it was home. So we enjoy our boy's animals. Our oldest son has, over the years, had three Golden Retrievers. We watched them grow from frisky little puppy to a Marley, getting white around the face, a little lazy. Three months ago they brought home a new one and named him Winchester--Chester for short. I've vowed I won't get so attached to this one, but I already have.
Several years ago our youngest son brought his son a dog. They went to the breeder and selected the one they wanted when it was just a few days old. Then on Gage's birthday that year, Dec 22, Russ gave it to him. Sam is a real beauty and thriving.
The movie brought home how we grow old and get a little white around our eyes, too. We tear up things, overeat, are far too rowdy and probably ruin a lot of folks day. I hope that when I reach the stage when it's time to move on to my heavenly home I'll have someone like Marley's owner beside me, to pat my head, say that though far from perfect, I'd been a good person. A worthwhile person. A person that had made a difference in someone's life.
Can't think of a better way to go out.
See. I knew I shouldn't have seen that movie.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Isn't it wonderful how as a follower of Jesus, that no matter where we go, we always have brothers and/or sisters who will love us and who we can love in return? I arrived at the inn not knowing a single soul among the 50+ women who were there. I returned home with many precious memories and many new friends. I laughed. I cried. I was silly. I ate way too much and exercised way too little. I even played a word game that brought out the competitive side in me (my team won!). I came home exhausted but filled up with the joy of the Lord. God always knows what we need, doesn't He? I needed this weekend.
I love you, LORD; you are my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.
I will call on the LORD, who is worthy of praise. (Ps 18:1-3a)