How does a guy keep his blog from sounding as if it were written by the “Me Monster?” I haven’t figured that one out yet, but I’m working on it. Until I do . . .
I’ve lived a life most people only dream about. My friends and I spent our early lives in surroundings reminiscent of Tom Sawyer; our playgrounds were lakes and rivers, open fields and deep woods. When I was eight years old, I saw John Wayne in Flying Tigers and knew I wanted to be a pilot. I retired a while back after thirty-five years of flying . . . six years in the Air Force, the rest with a major airline. To those of you who are trying to figure up how old I am, this is a good time to let you in on a secret . . .
I am older than dirt.
Before the stars were born
He chose Ruth
to be the great-grandmother of David.
He chose David
to be the first of the kingship line.
He chose Christ
to sit on the final Throne.
and in those great, bright reaches of eternity past
He spoke my name.
and He chose me
A couple of years before I stepped away from aviation, I started writing a Christian suspense novel; my desire was to come up with something that would crack the enamel on its readers’ teeth. That first novel became the genesis for five more. Three of the books have been published . . . book four is looking for an interested publisher . . . books five and six are stewing in my word processor.
The behind-the-scenes details of my getting published amount to nothing less than a long series of over-lapping miracles, and over the course of time I intend to use this blog to share elements of the journey with you. In this first post, though, let me drop you in near the middle of my story and work in a couple of directions.
In 2006, the publisher with whom I had signed the three-book deal invited me to the International Christian Retail Show. I arrived in Denver in July to find my picture prominently displayed on a banner in the Colorado Convention Center; a similar banner hung outside the Hyatt Hotel across the street. My first book, ABIDING DARKNESS, was due to be released that August and a few hundred copies were available at the ICRS for a scheduled “signing.” I took in my surroundings and prayed—as I had daily for two years—that I would be more interested in my pursuit of the knowledge of God than in how many people might buy my book.
The next day, when I showed up for my scheduled book signing, I met Karen Kingsbury; she was just finishing up her own signing session (and yes, she is exceptionally nice). Besides Karen’s novel, it “happened” that books by Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Bishop T. D. Jakes, Stephen Baldwin, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft were being featured by my publisher. I was moving in stratospheric circles, and I began to think I might need to prepare myself to be the author of a best-seller.
Today, two years later, all three books of The Black or White Chronicles are on the market. Jakes, Joel, Joyce and the other John got play in the national media . . . Nan and I got a few free meals in Denver. The majority of the reviews have been great, but in truth, relatively few people have heard of the books. Sales have been abysmal. Oprah hasn’t called. God is granting me a little extra time to prepare to be a best-selling author. However . . .
I told you all that to tell you this: This past February, during my daily quiet time, when I prayed (for the thousandth time) that I would care more about my pursuit of God than about book sales, I meant it . . . for the first time! Every minute of the five years I invested in writing those three books was time well spent because it brought me to the place where I now care less about books sales and more about Him. I’ve finished book four, and maybe it’ll do well . . . maybe it won’t. I will always need to be diligent in my marketing efforts, but the responsibility for how many of my books sell does not rest with me . . . my job is to live out the theme I emphasized in those first three books . . . know God (Jeremiah 9:23, 24) and make Him known (Matthew 28:19, 20). Incidentally, if you’re a Christian, knowing Him and making Him known is your job, too.
We’re getting ready to make a round trip to the Delta. The Mississippi Delta Community College Library is hosting two events wherein my first three novels will be highlighted. On September 23rd, I’ll be speaking at the Greenville campus; on the 24th, I’ll be in Moorhead (called Moores Point in my books) . . . both start at 10:00am, probably with a reception beforehand. I’ll get to say a few words, maybe read from the manuscript of book four, and have a chance to visit with the guests. During our remaining time “back home,” we’ll drink sweet tea and eat greasy hamburgers, and I’ll try to bring back a picture of Cat Lake.