Friday, February 22, 2013

Life is Crazy and Fun: Exciting Updates

Time to fill you all in on some exciting details! Most of you know that my book Another Ending is finally in my hands—and I am eager to get it into yours. That is what I have been focusing on for the last few weeks. I’ve been busy selling to people who’ve been patiently waiting for its release and scheduling events to get the book straight into the hands of my target audience. But as more and more people have been reading my book I am finding out that my target audience is much bigger than I ever thought. In fact, I’m not really sure I can say I have a target audience anymore! My publishing house would argue with me on that, and to some degree it is a very good idea to have a target audience—it makes marketing that much easier. I am able to seek out specific places that my target audience hangs out and get the book right to them. So, if I had to narrow it down to a group the book would best cater to, I would say young adults, specifically young women.

But many of the people who’ve read my book so far don’t fall into that category. And yet the feedback from those people has blown my mind. This isn’t a story just for teenage girls—it may be about a teenage girl, but think about your own life. You are surrounded by people of different circumstances, just as my main character Molly is. She has younger siblings, parents, friends, and people much older than her in her life, influencing her. So even though this story is mainly about her, it’s also about those other groups, and in that way I am able to reach a much bigger group of people. I hope mothers reading this story realize the power they have over their children. I hope fathers see just how important it is for them to verbalize and demonstrate love to their children. I hope teenagers see just how important their friendships are to their friends, and how words can deeply affect, deeply wound, the people they really love.  I hope Christians can see how their good intentions sometimes come off as harsh and hurtful as they struggle to figure out how to love the lost around them. I hope non-Christians can see the mind-blowing, completely amazing love that God has for them. I hope that everyone can see that love!

Originally this project started as a mission to educate people about the side- effects of abortion; about how even in circumstances such as rape it can still haunt and deeply hurt women. And there are still traces of that in this story, but I realized that if I wanted to reach beyond my target audience I couldn’t have the main focus of my story be this sensitive issue. This isn’t about making people feel guilty or changing their stance on abortion. It is about a broken, hurting girl who runs away from the God she has loved for her entire life because she feels he has let her down. It is about asking tough questions and realizing that that’s okay!  It’s a story of brokenness, because we are all broken! Ultimately, this is a story about Jesus—about how he can take all us broken people through his refining fire and make us strong and beautiful.

Some of my readers, however, were pretty upset about a certain aspect of my book. (You know who you are!) So while I say it’s a story about Jesus, I know that at the end of this first book many of you will be left a tiny bit unsatisfied, because it’s still a story about Molly. This isn’t a “bubble gum” ending. It might not end the way you want it to. But fear not….because on Thursday I signed the contract for my second book, An Open Window, which is a continuation of Molly’s story. I am so excited to share with you later on the reasoning behind the name of this book. It works out soooooo perfectly, it is almost scary. I get excited just thinking about it. So while I am in the midst of marketing my first book and hosting pre-release parties and book signings, I will begin production on the second one. Makes logical sense to start working on a third one right? Way ahead of you, friends! As of a few days ago I am 88 pages (about 40,000 words) into the third one, Out of the Dust. (I had to stop writing the third one to start formatting my second book’s manuscript, which is killing me because it’s getting to the good part!) There are NOT enough hours in my day to get all this stuff done. J

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to get a book or maybe just aren’t sure if you want to invest your time and money into it, I encourage you to visit my website and check it out for yourself: This book would be a great way to reach out to any hurting family members or friends in your life, as it includes a clear presentation of the gospel. I sincerely hope that it can touch your heart, encourage and inspire you. If it does, pass it on.

And for those of you who are angry that you have to wait six-eight months for the second one….check out my blog on my author website, which is linked here . I might have posted the prologue for my second book J

Dates to put in your calendar:
·        March 2nd: pre-release party at University of Sioux Falls, Cleveland Center room 106B, 2:00-5:00 pm.
·        March 16th: pre-release party at Rexall Drug in Yankton, SD. Time TBA
·        May 28th: My book will be available in national distribution! So you can tell all your friends to go out and get themselves a copy.

What a pre-release party is:
            A time for you to meet the author, buy a book if you want (for you and for all your friends!) eat food, and talk to me and other guest about the book. It will be a fun time.

What a book signing is:
            Pretty much the same thing, only in a bookstore setting. Pre-release parties are a chance for me to sell the personal copies that I have bought, while a book signing is a partnership with bookstores. But it is more of the same thing: meet the author, buy books, talk to other readers. Eat food J

Please make plans to join me for these fun events, and TELL YOUR FRIENDS! If you read the book and enjoyed it this is a great time to get copies into their hands. Or if you’ve been wanting a copy, come and get a signed one! It is a good deal all around, and I appreciate your support! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sacrificial Love

I really dislike Valentine’s Day.

It’s not because I had some bad experience with Valentine’s Day—I’ve never had my heart broken or had anything traumatic happen to me on this day. It’s just the cheapness of it all. The absolute disgusting display of red, pink, and purple. The giant, hideous teddy bears that sit on the shelves of every store. The endless boxes of candy on display. I just can’t stand it all.

I don’t like that this day makes those not in a relationship feel lonely. Or even worse, that it makes them feel like they need to be in a relationship, that something is wrong with them because they’re not in one. That might be why so many young people idolize love and romance and miss out on the best relationship they can have—a relationship with Jesus. Instead, they worship the cheap version of love that Valentine’s Day portrays. Most of them don’t even know what kind of love they’re missing out on, and oh, it’s the best kind of love out there.

Sacrificial love.

The other day Ben and I were out getting a pizza from Hy-Vee. Now, to normal people this would be an easy thing to do. But Ben and I have very different tastes in pizza. He is very daring in his pizza preferences: Canadian bacon and pineapple, meat lovers, and even (gasp!) supreme. The horror, I know. It’s too much for my simple taste to handle, as I only eat pepperoni. But you know what? We always leave the store with a pepperoni pizza. On our way to the checkout the other day Ben jokingly said, “You know, we always get the pizza you want.” It had never occurred to me that each time we get pizza, Ben always keeps in mind that I don’t particularly care for all the toppings he really loves.

Cute, right. I know. But it gets better. As we sat eating our pizza Ben gets up for seconds and he asks if I wanted one or two more slices—but I knew there was only two left. He was offering me the last two when he probably wanted more for himself. “There’s only two left, hun,” I pointed out. “Then you won’t have another one.” I kid you not; he sits down and says, “My love for you is sacrificial.”

That is the kind of love I want to celebrate on Valentine’s Day, because it is a mere shadow of the kind of love that Jesus offers to us all. It is the kind of love that will willingly lay down his life for his lost children. The kind of love that saves us from the death and destruction we so deserve. A kind of love that is so big and so great that I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around it. You can read about it below: (taken from Matthew 27 & 28 at , my favorite site ever!)

The Death of Jesus

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[j] lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[k]

47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”[l]

50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

54 The Roman officer[m] and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

The Resurrection

28 Early on Sunday morning,[a] as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”


Sacrificial love. That is something worth celebrating!