Tropical Island Vows? I won? Are you sure? Okay, Donna, focus on standing, walking down the aisle without tripping, getting up the steps without falling, and getting that envelope from Rebecca Germany’s hand!
How much better could it get? I’m from Indiana, the 2010 conference was in Indiana, and I won the Heartsong Presents contract. I floated – yes, because I was so in the moment, I floated up the aisle still in unbelief, up the steps, took the hug and envelope, thanked Rebecca and promptly left the stage. What I didn’t think about was: most people say something.
So, since I was in the moment then, I want to say something now. Thank you, Les Stobbe, for taking on this new author at the Minneapolis ACFW conference. I know this is a ministry to you, to mentor new authors to the point of publication. God bless you for it. Thank you, JoAnne Simmons and Barbour for taking a chance on me. I’m going to give you my best.
Obviously, I thank God for the opportunity, because I had come to the conference fully expecting Him to answer my prayers differently. It had been a difficult year personally and physically. I had taken on many leadership roles – too many, in fact, and decided I needed to back off. I stepped down from all my positions, including those at my church, for a season. I needed not to lead for a while but follow. Any extra time I had, I spent writing.
The prayer in my heart last September was this: Lord, I want to be a witness for you. If it’s not meant to be through my writing, then please close the door tightly. Make it so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt you’ve closed it. If there’s a different path for me, show me this weekend, so I can walk away fulfilled and satisfied that you have spoken.
Isn’t He remarkable? My one encouragement to you is this: Be patient, and have hope. My agent had sent the proposal for this book to JoAnne Simmons nearly a year earlier. I figured it had made its way to the slush pile or even worse – to the wastebasket. I prepared myself not to win. Nevertheless, God answered my prayer differently than I thought he would. My debut novel, Tropical Island Vows, is scheduled for release in August 2011 through the Heartsong Presents book club.
I can’t help but think of Proverbs 13:12 when I think of how an author navigates her day-by-day ups and downs, eager for that first contract. Can you identify with this? “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Be blessed as you follow His will,
Donna L. Rich
Donna L. Rich has loved books and writing since childhood. She authors contemporary and historical romance and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Christian Writers Guild. Her successful genealogy research led to her membership in the Mayflower Society. Donna and her husband live in Indiana and adore their beautiful blended family of six married children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. You may find out more about her at www.donnalrich.com.
On a side note, today, my daughter turns 19. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!