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Posts Tagged ‘God bless’

You’d think at this stage of my life I might settle down a bit. But no—I keep on having such interesting adventures! At times it’s like God is smiling at me and saying, ‘Hmmm, what little challenge can I think up for Jo-Anne next?’ These adventures seem to come in different shapes and sizes and shades of scariness as well. Some I know I will manage fine. But others … well, let’s just say I can feel a tad stre-e-e-e-tched at times!

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to the women from a Probus Club—something I knew I could do. I always value these opportunities outside church-related groups and this group turned out to be particularly receptive. Afterwards, several women came to share their own experiences with me, some very personal. As I signed the books they bought, I asked if I could write ‘God bless’ as well. Then more interesting conversation ensued as I explained how those words represent my little prayer that God will encourage and speak to anyone who reads my book.

I know I will enjoy this week’s little adventure too. How could I not, when I will be speaking to a group called ‘The Cheerful Ladies’ Club’?! This group derives its name from the Club that features in Alexander McCall Smith’s ‘No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ books set in Africa and is run by a good friend of mine through her church. Many of these women have heard me speak already, so what a privilege to go there, knowing already I will be warmly received.

Soon too I will be sharing with a group of women at another church where I feel very much at home. The following week, I travel across town to speak at a singles’ club. Then not long after, I head to a church in Victoria to give two sessions at a special women’s event. Finally that month, I am to present a writing workshop and seminar, thankfully much closer to home. Oh, and somewhere in the mix as well is the launch of my seventh book, The Inheritance!

A very busy month of speaking in Queensland then follows, including input at a church seniors’ group, a writing seminar, speaking in a morning service and co-presenting a mentoring conference—plus a few other events in between! What interesting adventures God has lined up for me in my home state.

I have two ways of approaching all these adventures. I can feel overwhelmed by it all and wish I could curl up in my cosy study here in Sydney and just write! Or I can take a deep breath, choose to trust God, who has been behind my schedule from the beginning anyway, pray, relax and focus on preparing my next lot of input to the best of my ability.

Yes, I’ll admit I regularly veer towards the former rather than the latter of these two options. But God always gently calls me back, reminding me he is in the midst of all my adventures, scary or otherwise, just as Psalm 139 says. No wonder it’s my favourite psalm!

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me … (4-6)

How about you? Is God in all your adventures too?

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I wonder if you have ever tried your hand at selling something you have created or produced? Recently I spent the large part of a day selling my four published novels at a conference – always an interesting experience, to say the least!

I choose to sell my books directly, as well as via my website and through bookstores, for several reasons. For starters, people are more likely to buy books when they can meet the author face to face. I always offer to sign my books too – I tell my customers that when I am very famous they can put their copies on ebay and make their fortunes! After all, one has to remain optimistic in this novel writing and bookselling world.

But there are other advantages to selling in this way. I get to network with a wide variety of people and have some wonderful conversations in the process. I can explain what my books are about and how and why I came to write them. I can sit and observe people as they walk past – it is amazing how this little thing about one person and that little detail about another finds their way into my novels!  I can encourage others who are perhaps dreaming of writing a book one day. I always take the opportunity to write ‘God bless’ alongside my name on each novel I sell – for me these words are a ‘mini-prayer’ that God will truly bless and encourage anyone who reads the book. And when I finally hand over the purchase, I feel as if I am giving away part of me.

Yet I can well understand some authors’ reluctance to spend time personally selling their books. It is quite confronting to have people pick up your books that you have slaved over, browse through them with a bored look on their faces, put them down and walk away. It is even more confronting when you spend time answering all their questions, only to have them still walk away empty-handed.

But one experience that always amuses me is when people openly declare to you, the author, that instead of buying your book, they will simply borrow the copy their friend has just bought! Recently another author told me of an experience she had where there was a line-up of potential customers at her book table. Suddenly the girl at the head of the queue had a bright idea. ‘I know!’ she announced loudly to her friends lined up behind her. ‘Why don’t I buy just the one copy and you can all borrow mine – that would be much better!” At which point, her friends agreed and the queue dissolved. Well yes – it is ‘much better’ in some ways. After all, I myself lend out lots of books I own to others. I understand not everyone has spare cash to spend on books. But … well, from the author’s perspective, let’s just say it might be wiser – and nicer – to decide you will borrow your friend’s copy instead of buying one before you get to that book table, within earshot of the author!

I think the secret is to approach such selling opportunities with an open heart, trusting God will bring to my book table the people I am supposed to touch base with and those whom my novels will truly bless and inspire. And I also think it’s wise always to remember the words of Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

So thank you, Lord, for each sale you bring my way and for all those who will read my books. May they be blessed, encouraged, comforted and challenged – and above all, be drawn closer to you!

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