Caught in a swirl of busyness between teaching a continuing ed class at ACFW and leading worship, I didn't think much about the Book of the Year Award. Probably, a bit of that on purpose so I wouldn't focus on winning or losing.
Saturday night, I wasn't prepared to hear my name and book called. I'd not prepared a speech, nor had I really thought much about what I would say or who I would thank should I win.
I blush now at my lack of preparedness. So, here's what I would've done and said HAD I been wise enough to prepare.
First, walk in stage singing Sweet Caroline and get the audience to sing, "bump, bump, bump." All together now. . . Sweet Caroline, bump, bump, bump... good times never seemed so good.
Then, I would have said:
On the Sunday before the book was due on Thursday, I was up at four a.m. trying to come up with a subplot. I'd been told the book "lacked" something and a subplot would be just the ticket.
But it's impossible to come up with a subplot at 4:00 a.m. I went to church a zombie, convinced my career was over. Thomas Nelson would see the light and cut me loose before they embarrassed themselves with any more of my drivel.
I might have called my editor or agent to talk it out, but I was sure they'd confirm my lack of talent and well, why not just put the bad new off as long as possible? I had four days to salvage my writing reputation.
I sat in the chairs during worship, begging God to down load a story to me, or just snatch me up to Heaven and allow me to borrow from the library there in order to fix poor Caroline's story.
I begged people to pray for me. One well meaning friend said, "Maybe this won't be your best book." Ahhhhh, don't say that! My conviction is I should always improve, producer better stories with each book. Why? God lives in me!
Exhausted and restless, I called Susie Warren. "Help." My dear friend, on her own deadline, took my first chapter and rewrote it for me. What a life saver. She gave me hope, pointed me in the right direction, and prayed for me. Thank you so much! I rewrote her rewrite and finally, Caroline came alive to me.
Christine Lynxwiler provided constant support during the writing of Sweet Caroline.
But Tuesday when my editor emailed and said they'd extended my deadline, I knew God had heard me and answered my prayer!
I rewrote the book and with Leslie Peterson's wise insight, Sweet Caroline became a book I could be proud of. Thanks to Ami McConnell who believed in me and trust me all along. She was out on maternity leave those rewrite months, but I felt her heart.
Thanks to Kristin Billerbeck who inspired me to write chick lit. To Colleen Coble who cheered me on in my early writing days. Thank you so very much.
Thank you to Karen Solem who agented Sweet Caroline and encouraged me. And to Chip MacGregor who knows how to play the glockenspiel.
To my husband who puts up with deadline craziness. To Jesus, who gave me the desire of my heart and leads me in paths of righteousness!
And to ACFW for opening so many doors!