Holy eBooks, Batman!

In early May, I thought I would celebrate 5 years of writing full time by giving away three of my novels free for the Kindle. My husband wasn’t sure what he thought about that. He was concerned that by giving them away, I was losing money. The ebooks weren’t selling before, though. It’s not always easy to get your books purchased when you are an “unknown” author. I thought that if I could give away a few copies and then sell copies of the other titles, it would be well worth it. I chose to only do three titles–FORSAKING THE CALL, SUMMERTIME, and MIRACLE PLAY–because they were the only ones I had formatted for Kindle. I put them up for free for 2 days each and worked on formatting the other two books. Yesterday, both SHATTERED and THE LADIES OF FAITH went up on Kindle for a 2-day free promotion.

This morning, I checked on sales numbers and was pleasantly shocked at what I saw.

A total of 300 free copies of FORSAKING THE CALL were downloaded. An additional 20 copies were purchased.

A total of 276 free copies of http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Play-ebook/dp/B007MNX776/ref=sr_1_4_title_0_main?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338382026&sr=1-4 were downloaded. An additional 6 copies were purchased.

A total of 386 free copies of SUMMERTIME were downloaded. An additional 18 copies were purchased.

So far, 692 free copies of THE LADIES OF FAITH have been downloaded and a staggering 852 copies of SHATTERED have been downloaded. No paying sales on those two yet, as the free promo is still going on.

Did you add up those numbers?? I did. It is over 2500 copies of my books that have gotten into the hands of readers just this month. “Only” 44 of those were paid, so I only get royalties on those 44 books. My husband looks at the 2500 books that I don’t get paid and gets said. I look at the 44 that will earn me some money, and I am excited! Before this month, I had not sold any electronic copies of my books. If I hadn’t taken a chance and offered the giveaway, I likely would not have sold those 44 books.

I am not in the writing business to make money. Sure, I’d love to make a steady income at this. I would love to have a studio purchase movie rights for one or more of my books and earn enough that my husband doesn’t have to go spend his days in a hot factory. But the money isn’t my guiding force. My goal is to get my work into the hands of readers, to find people who have never heard the message of Christ’s love and use my work to plant a little seed in their lives. That is my goal. And the free Kindle promotion seems to be helping me to reach that goal.

Not Ashamed

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believe.

Romans 1:16, NIV


I am not now and never have been ashamed of Jesus!!

OK, so there was a time when I was scared to let others know it.  I’m not sure that I was really ashamed—I was just a teenager, trying to make her way in a world that doesn’t always look kindly on “good Christian girls.”  I didn’t always “advertise” my beliefs, but I wouldn’t deny Christ when asked.  At least, I don’t think that I would.  Honestly, I am not sure that I was ever asked about it.  Hmm….  Something that I might want to think more about.

While I am not ashamed of Christ or ashamed to call myself a Christian, I am ashamed of other Christians.  Not all, mind you.  There are some out there—hopefully quite a few of us, actually—who live according the Bible and are not ashamed to be what this world would call different.

What I am ashamed of are those who claim to beChristians but don’t live at all according to the Bible.  I’m sure you’ve met one or two.  Chances are you even attend church weekly with someone who fits that description.  I am talking about the ones who say the right things and worship the right way (Not that I really think there is a right and a wrong way to worship God…  If it comes from your heart, He is pleased with it!) on Sunday morning, but on Monday forget what they learned.  I am ashamed of those who say they believe in Christ’s love but refuse to show that love to others.

There isn’t much that I can do about those people, other than to pray for them.  And I can look at my life daily, examine my own heart to be sure that I am not sending out those same confusing signals.  God is so real to me, so alive in my life and in countless lives around me.  I want to share that realness with others.

Father God, give me more of You today.  Give me more of You that I can share with those around me.  Lord, I don’t want to be just a Sunday morning Christian.  I am not ashamed of You.  Help me to live a life that will keep You from being ashamed of me.

Stay At Home Mom?

What does at stay-at-home-mom do when all of her children are in school?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot recently. This school year is coming to a close, and with the new balanced schedule that my sons’ school has adopted, I am looking at six weeks of having all three of my boys home all day long. But after those six weeks are up…. Then what? Starting in August, I will have a sixth grader, a fourth grader, and a kindergartener. When I was in school, kindergarten was half day. Now, they go all day, every day. So from 7:21 am until 2:22 pm (little longer than that when you figure in the time it takes for the bus to get the boys to and from school), I will be at home alone.

And I don’t know what I will do with my time.

Of course, the easy answer is “write more!” If I can get five, nearly six novels written while I have the kids home with me much of the time, can you imagine how much I can accomplish with all three of them at school all day?

And then there is my husband’s answer, one he hasn’t actually voiced but I have read in his eyes: “Keep the house clean.” Ugh. Seriously? Between you and me, if my choice is to be continually cleaning the house or working at an outside job, I am going job hunting. And with my health issues, the idea of getting a job outside of the home scares me! My mother-in-law, bless her heart, set such a bad example for me here. She was a single stay-at-home-mom throughout my husband’s high school years, and she kept an immaculate house. My most vivid memories of her involve cleaning up even while company was over. “Neat freak” doesn’t seem strong enough to describe her. But I am not like that. Sure, I enjoy having a clean home, but I don’t find great joy in constantly cleaning a house that my four guys will just mess up again quickly. And that I will just mess up again! I am not organized enough to keep the house spotless, and I know it. Not looking forward to doing something that will only set me up for failure.

There are enough areas of my life where I feel like I am failing—I don’t need my housekeeping skills (or lack thereof) to add to that feeling.

So if I don’t want to spend all my time writing (since I know that I will likely turn to computer games when a character gets on my nerves!) or cleaning, just what do I want to do with my time? I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently, and I have come up with three things that I want to do, three organizations that I want to be a part of.

One is the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN.) This is the nation’s leading cancer advocacy group. Through this group, I’ll have the chance to tell the story of how cancer has affected my life to members of government who are responsible for delegating state and federal funds to cancer research. When I first decided to get involved, it had more to do with my mother and her successful battle against the disease (30 years and going strong!) than anything else. Since then, though, I’ve seen how the disease can affect my life in other ways. Namely, my cousin lost her battle with breast cancer. Though she was 15 years older than I am and we were not particularly close, she was the first member of my generation of the family to pass away. Her death hit me harder than even I realized at first. I want to do whatever I can to help one person facing cancer celebrate one more birthday.

I’ve also decided that I want to be more involved in Jackson Storyfest. This is an annual event held in my hometown, celebrating the craft and tradition of oral storytelling. This May, Storyfest celebrated its 25th anniversary. I’ve live in Jackson for all of those 25 years, plus a few more, and though I’d heard of the event, I had never attended. My two oldest sons have, though. They have gone with their schools and each time, have really enjoyed it. It wasn’t until I spoke with one of the storytellers for a freelance gig I’d been assigned that I ever seriously considered going to Storyfest. Once I went to one session, though, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to be a part of putting on this event year after year.

The third thing that I have decided to take up is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, ever since my now 8-year-old son started preschool. I want to head up a Moms In Prayer International group for the school my sons attend. The only thing that has kept me from doing it is that I had another child at home. Not that I haven’t prayed for my children—I do that daily. I just was not able to commit to a group. Now, though, it’s at the top of my mind. Especially as I see some of the things the boys are being faced with and the friends they are choosing. I worry about my kids. There’s nothing wrong with that—I mean, doesn’t every good mom worry about her kids on some level? But I am making the choice to turn that worry over to God. I would love to be able to meet with other moms of Hunt students, so that we can pray together.

So here is my question for you—what did you do with your time when all of your children were in school? What advice would you give to a mom like me, preparing for her first days with no children home all day long?

american cancer societyJackson storyfestMoms In Prayerschoolstay at home mom

Not-So-Secret Love

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my hometown?  Jackson may not be perfect,  but I am proud to call it home.  My goal is to make this town just a little better with everything I do.

And this state!  Is there any place on Earth more beautiful than Michigan?  I have been known to complain about the winter months. After all, I am not a fan of ice, snow, and below -freezing temperatures.  But in all honesty, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  I can’t imagine living in a place that didn’t have four clearly defined seasons.

How about you?  What do you live most about where you live?

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Stuck in my Head

A couple of nights ago, I had a dream.  The dream has been stuck in my head and I just can’t get it to go away.  Even though I am trying hard to not dwell on it, the dream doesn’t want to leave my head.  The last time I had a dream srick with me like this, it turned in the novel Shattered.  So maybe this new dream should become a book as well.

If only it was that easy.

This particular dream hit a little too close to home.  I don’t know if I can write it as a novel to be shared with everyone.  I don’t know if I want to write this one.

My dream was about Rylee.  Rather than losing her to a miscarriage, I was able to see her grow into a beautiful young woman.  She was smart and athletic and much more outgoing than I ever was.  Rylee was in her final year of high school, deciding on what colleges she wanted to apply to.  And then September 11 happened.

It wasn’t like I traveled back in time for this dream or anything.  No, that just happened to be the date of Rylee’s doctor appointment.  The one where the doctor discovered the reason for her constant headaches. The one where he told us she had a brain tumor.

In this dream, I watched as my daughter fought for her life.  I saw her grow sicker and sicker as time went on until she finally passed away.

It was a dream, only a dream, but the pain was still real.  Even after I woke up I could feel the loss.  Almost as if it were real.  Almost as if I had really said good-bye to my seventeen year old daughter.  And I have to say, the dream made me feel grateful for the miscarriage.  Losing that baby was hard but if I’d had to let her go after seventeen years….

I guess that is one more way that God has showed me He really does know what is best for me.

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I’ve been struggling a lot with writing this review.  Not because the book wasn’t real written, because it was.  Not because I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did.  My struggle has been in finding the right words to use.  This book was very powerful and emotional, right from the beginning.  It’s so hard for me to think of just the right words to adequately describe the way I felt while reading this book.

The book I am talking about is Special Delivery by Kathi Macias.  It is the second book in her new Freedom series.  While I have not read the first (it has been on my MUST READ list for quite a while now, and, after reading this book, has now moved to the top of the list), I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  There was enough backstory woven through this to understand what happened in the first book, but not so much that it took away from the enjoyment of reading this one.

Special Delivery is the continuing story of Mara, a young woman with horrible first-hand experience of the horrors of human trafficking.  At a young age, she was forced into modern day slavery by her “loving” uncle.  Thanks to the help and kindness of a pizza delivery man, Mara was rescued from her dark past and has made a new life for herself.  What she doesn’t know is that her uncle, though he is behind bars, still holds considerable power and is bent on making her pay for what he sees as her betrayal.

This is more than just Mara’s story, however.  Other young women are featured throughout the book, each in some way affected by the human trafficking trade.  At times, I was confused about the women.  I had trouble keeping track of who was who and where each girl was from.  That didn’t really detract from the story for me.  It just made it so that I had to concentrate a little harder on the reading.

This is not a book that can be read quickly.  There is just too much information here.  Macias delves into the dark world of human trafficking with a deep understanding of the problem.  This wasn’t my first time hearing about modern day slavery.  Within the last two years, I’ve actually heard about two trafficking rings in my home start that were broken up.  Still, reading about Mara and Francesca and Lawan brought tears to my eyes.  That they could be real girls, possibly working in my hometown, breaks my heart.

There was a time when I considered writing a book like this.  After hearing about human trafficking and how near impossible it is for young girls to escape a life they never chose for themselves, I wanted to write a book about a woman who survived it, a woman who dedicated her life to helping others find a way out.  There is still a small part of me that would like to do that someday.  At least there was before I read Special Delivery.  I am not sure that I could handle the emotional toll of writing a book like that.  And if I did, I am certain I would not compose something nearly as gripping as Kathi Macias has.

I highly recommend this book.  But beware—it is not a light read.  Not only do I advise having a good amount of time to devote to reading the book, I also advise readers to have a box of tissues handy.  Your heart will be touched by the women in the book and the God they learn to love.

You can read more about Kathi Macias and her work at her website.

Special Delivery can be purchased at Amazon.com by clicking here.

Contemporary slaveryhumantraffickingKathi Maciasmodern day slavery