My new novel is ready for reviews and “Beta Readers”. In the writing world a Beta reader is someone, often another writer, always an avid reader, who agrees to read your book looking for any big problems in the story line and the characters. A reviewer reads the book and writes a short paragraph hopefully in praise of the book but not necessarily. I am just delighted to have finally reached this stage.
I need your opinion on my choice of name for this book. Would you stop to look at a book titled:
Today, I wrote a “pitch” for Seeking Safety. A “pitch” is the kind of thing we find on the back cover or books. It’s supposed to catch our interest and make us want to buy it. Writing a “pitch” requires a totally different skill than writing the book. This is my first attempt for “Seeking Safety”. I would truly appreciate it, if all of my readers would leave a comment about this pitch. Does it make my book sound interesting? Would it entice you to read the book? Don’t worry, about hurting my feelings. On this one I have a very tough skin. Thank you in advance.
Seeking Safety by Janet Stobie
For teenager Renee Grenville safety and security are fragile. In seconds her Mom’s life ended. For more two years, Renee and her dad have been struggling to rebuild their lives. Now, that fragile new security is threatened. Surrounded by uncertainty, Renee buries herself in her school project only to discover that life intervenes anyway. Seeking Safety is a novel about relationships, between individuals, the community, and the past.
Yesterday, I had an incredible day. Almost two years ago, I was asked to be theme speaker for the Wednesday, United Church Women’s Day of Bay of Quinte Conference. What a fabulous honor. The theme for the day was, “Light One Candle”. I spent a great deal of time in prayer trying to decide the best way to deal with this theme. I believe God led me to speak about how Jesus ensured that his followers (disciples both men and women), felt energized and refreshed so that they could continue carrying God’s message of love and forgiveness to all the people they met.
As usual, God’s choice was on target. I flew on God’s Spirit as I talked. Afterward’s many of the 130+ women who were there told me that the talk had given them a “mountaintop experience.” Wow. This is my ministry. Today, I am so grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to speak and the words to say. As an added blessing, I sold $530 worth of books which included 18 of my “Can I Hold Him? Christmas Stories for All Ages” that is in it’s second printing. I am truly blessed. Thank you God.
Today, we met Bev and Neil for breakfast in our hotel. Last night, in the course of our conversation in the hot tub, I told Bev about Fireweed. “I’d like to buy one,” she said. “I’ll get it from you at breakfast.” We talked and talked this morning. When 10 a.m. came we moved from the breakfast room to the lobby and talked some more. It was well after eleven when we finally checked out. The hotel didn’t mind and neither did we. We had made new friends.
This morning’s journey took us through Roger’s Pass. These mountains must be a little lower because they were rich with trees right up to the summit. The rocks and snow that had capped the higher mountains yesterday, were replaced with beautiful evergreens, trees, lots of trees, high above us, all around us. “This is God’s wondrous world” kept dancing through my head.
We stopped in Revelstoke at tourist information. Tom called Rev. Ken Jones at Revelstoke UC. He was in and quite happy to talk to us. He’d even heard of me. Wow! That feels like progress. Conversation with Ken was fun. He bought Dipping Your Toes, Fireweed, and Spectacular Stella. He also took my literature to carry to Presbytery since he’s the chair. An excellent and successful contact that Tom had found on the internet last night while I was sorting out pictures for my blog. We are a great team.
Next stop, Salmon Arm B.C. We had an appointment with Jenny Carter at the United Church. I had called ahead this time but neglected to leave her my phone number. Somehow we missed connecting with Rev. Jenny. We’ll check in with her in the morning before we leave for Kelowna.
Tonight at supper, we lined up behind a couple from South Africa. We talked, of course. Our common ground was my son David and family who moved to South Africa this past summer. After a short visit, we gave them my card. They will send us an email so we can send them Dave’s phone number. They wanted to call Dave to tell him they’d been to Canada and our chance meeting at the restaurant. Was this chance meeting a co-incidence? No, a God-incident, for sure.
Tonight we’re at the Comfort Inn and Suites, a wonderful hotel. Mary at the front desk, couldn’t have been more helpful. She even found an electric kettle so I could have my tea tonight as I write this. The room is spacious and comfortable. The swimming pool is amazingly warm. The hot tub of course is great. We will add this one to our list of great places to stay.
That’s it for tonight. We’ve had a productive day. Books sold, good contacts made, and miles and miles of spectacular scenery. We even had an opportunity to talk with Connie and Ellie. The tough part of this holiday is being away from our beloved family for so long. Tonight I remind myself that in just three more days we’ll be in Vancouver and be connecting with Tom’s daughter, Bonnie, her partner Boris, their baby Alex and Connie’s son, Christopher. Families today are often spread all over the world. We can’t be with them all at the same time. Tom and I are truly blessed to be able to make this trip to see these cherished family members.
Tonight we have heaps of blessings to count. We are grateful.
Today started slowly. We were staying in Saskatoon for a second night, so why rush. The extra sleep was good. We spent most of the day visiting United Churches and promoting and selling Fireweed and Dipping Your Toes. Sales were very good. The best part of the day were the wonderful warm welcomes we received at each church. I love our United Church. No matter where you go, if you stop at the United Church during office hours, you can depend upon being received with enthusiasm, and respect. Writing my books is pure joy. Selling them is much harder. Today everyone made it easy. The second thing I learned is that the United Church presence in Saskatoon is vigorous and faithful. The combined outreach to the community is quite amazing. If our congregations here have a lot of grey hair they are certainly not slowing down. There is lots of community outreach and mission and education happening in Saskatoon at least. It’s obvious that the hands and feet of Christ are very active.
By four most of the church offices were closed for the day and we were both tired. My chauffeur, although an enthusiastic teammate, found driving all day in a strange city exhausting. We decided to take a friends suggestion and go the Wanuskewan Native Spiritual Centre. We felt the Creator’s peace descend upon us as we drove down the long entrance laneway. It closed at 4:30 so we had only a few minutes to roam the grounds. We used that time to sit and walk in silence and soak in God’s presence. It truly is God’s sacred ground.
We returned to last night’s restaurant, Sardinian, for a second delicious meal. Now, we’ve collapsed in our hotel room. I’m not sure whether we will even go for a swim. I opened my computer and saw an email saying I had purchased an American Airlines flight out of Houston on September 18th for $600. That woke we up in a hurry. I called American Airlines. The agent I talked to was very helpful. That’s a phishing scheme she said. Don’t open it. Just delete it. I checked my credit card accounts to make sure I hadn’t been charged. I haven’t. I am certainly grateful for the airline agents help.
Making this journey with my heart open to God is wonderful. It is certainly keeping me focused on the good things in life. Have a good night’s sleep everyone. Talk to you again tomorrow night.
This morning we were on the road again and we’ve had another good day. Tonight we are settled into our room at Quality Inn and Suites in Sault Ste Marie. This is a lovely hotel and reasonably priced. The pool is beautiful as you can see in the picture. We enjoyed the hot tub too.
Because this was a travelling day we made it a book day as well. We stopped at United Church’s here and there. Once again we started out a little late and so missed many of the morning office hours.
We had two very special stops today. The United Church at Blind River had afternoon office hours but we arrived shortly before noon. We drove by the church just in case Pastor Paul happened to be in his office early. The lights in the church hall were on and there was a van parked outside. Surprised and pleased we parked our loaded down Prius behind it. Once inside we were enveloped with friendly greetings from a group of special adults who were part of a day program run by Christian Horizons. Steph was in the kitchen cooking lunch.
“We’re having corn on the cob,” he said. “There’s a couple left. Would you like some?”
Who would turn down corn on the cob in northern Ontario? “Thank you, yes please,” we said.
Everyone at the table laughed and made room for us. Turned out Pastor Paul wasn’t there. This group led by Serge from Christian Horizons gather every other week at St. Andrews United Church in Blind River for lunch and more. We met everyone. When I gave Serge my card he told the group I was a writer and motivational speaker. Tyrell, who is training to be a motivational speaker, volunteered to speak to all of us. He spoke clearly and well about how important it is to be yourself. Natasha also had lots to say and Sarah too.
“Send me an email,” Serge said. “Maybe we can arrange to have you come and speak to us.” When I shared a gift of my CD A Child Speaks, he said “We’ll take your CD back to our residence so everyone can hear it. Thanks so much.”
What a wonderful enthusiastic group, a fabulous treat for Tom and me. The corn was scrumptious too. Best of all was the generous hospitality. God was surely in this place.
The second stop that was particularly special was at Willow Grove United Church. Once again we received a warm welcome. Their minister Rev. David took the time to listen as I told about my books. He shared about his life and work, as well. He is an accomplished musician who plays a multitude of instruments, a most interesting man. In the end he bought 4 different books and talked about ordering more for his study group.
Tonight I am aware that God is truly leading us as we stop here and there on our western journey. It’s fun meeting all these wonderful people.
Just a note to all my subscribers. This past week I attended three different conference annual meetings of the United Church of Canada. I was granted the opportunity to do a book signing at each meeting. The response to my novel “Fireweed” was wonderful. Moms, Dads, teens, adults in general, clergy looking for resources, came to purchase Fireweed and have it signed. If you belong to a book club, women’s group, men’s group, discussion group, grief group, you’ll enjoy discussing “Fireweed”. If you’re just looking for a good read, “Fireweed” will keep you up half the night. If you’ve already bought and read it, please send me an email telling me about your experience reading it. Here’s my new address. firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of us have begun Christmas preparations. Whether or not we are religious or Christian, it’s important to understand why we celebrate Christmas. The easiest way to learn is with our children. At a used or new bookstore, or your local library, choose four story-books based on the Christian biblical story of Christmas. With your child (grandchild, neighbour’s child) read one a week as part of your Christmas preparations. The list of Christmas books is endless. Sift through the stories. Choose carefully. Find ones that have meaning for you. Take time to talk about the message of the book. Even if you have no children in your life, read the children’s books anyway. You’ll be surprised by what you learn. Remember that Christmas is a Christian celebration of God’s choice to come and live among us in the person of Jesus.
Of course, I suggest my two Christmas books, “Spectacular Stella” and “Can I Hold Him?” They are both available directly from my website www.janetstobie.com, from Journeys Bookstore in Millbrook, from Kent Books or Footprints Bookstores in Lindsay. A few more suggestions are “God Gave Us Christmas,” by Tawn Bergren, “Room for A Little One,” by Martin Waddell, “The Gift of the Magi,” by P.J.Lynch, and of course, the Bible, Chapters 1&2 of Matthew and Luke. If you’re looking for a novel with a Christmas theme, try my latest book, Fireweed. I’m receiving rave reviews about it.
This year, make Christmas a time of learning for you and your family. Step away from the commercialism of Christmas and discover its meaning in your world today. I guarantee that understanding will add to your joy this Christmas season.
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.” (Luke 2:4-7)