Dear friends, today I welcome to the blog inspiring author Patti Shene Gonzales. Her words speak to me, and I believe they will to you, too. ~ CurtissAnn
Never Say Never
I have wanted to be a writer since childhood. However, a career, a family, and other priorities always seemed to get in the way.
The biggest stumbling block to my writing career came from my own weakness, my procrastination. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.com) and an attendee at several writers conferences, I have encountered agents and editors interested in my work over many years. However, in my opinion, my manuscripts always needed improvement before submission, and therefore were never really ‘finished’.
There were things I said I would never do if I did pursue a writing career. Number one, the last story I would have any interest in writing would be a Christmas story. It’s not that I have anything against Christmas. It is the most joyful and meaningful time of year. I just could not see myself coming up with the type of amazing Christmas stories that I have seen others write.
Second, I was never going to self-publish a book. I wanted my work to be accepted by a royalty paying publisher who, by contracting it, would validate that what I had written was worth publishing.
Sometimes God has other plans. He has an amazing way of changing the minds of even the most stubborn.
A few months ago, a friend invited me to participate with four other writers in a multi author series. This happened to be a Christmas series. She assured me that, having written Gunsmoke fanfiction in the past, this would be easy for me, since the setting and some of the characters were already established.
The project sounded intriguing, so I decided to accept the challenge. I encountered many obstacles along the way as I prepared this manuscript, mainly, as mentioned before, my almost pathological propensity to procrastinate.
I spent way too much time tossing ideas around in my head without writing them down. Suddenly, my deadline date loomed a mere few weeks away. Several nights found me up until 4 a.m., struggling to put the words together that would make a readable story. Sometimes, I went to the Lord in tears, wondering if this was a project I should pursue. The ideas just didn’t seem to be coming.
The more I wrote scenes and deleted them, changed the names of my characters, and tried to create conflict and resolution, the easier it became. I thank God for that. He has a way of putting ideas into a writer’s head that can be transposed onto paper or a computer screen to convey a message.
I had promised myself that I would never publish a book that had not been edited by someone other than myself, I sent the manuscript to a friend who edits in an unusual manner. She is blind, so using a reading program, she picks up things the average person doesn’t, such as a missing open quotation mark, a missing period at the end of a sentence, a commonly misspelled word.
Next, I sent the manuscript to two friends who served as beta readers. These were authors I could trust to tell me if the manuscript had merit or did not deserve to see the light of day.
I then tackled the hurdle of learning how to self-publish the book through Amazon. That took a bit of time, but once I got the knack of the program, it wasn’t that hard. I spent several hours at my friend’s home as she showed me how to upload the book to Amazon.
So, this aspiring writer who claimed she would never self-publish a book, especially a Christmas story, is excited to announce the publication of her first novella, Cathy’s Christmas Confession: A Christmas Ridge Romance Book 3. The book released on November 22, 2022 on Kindle. Hopefully, a print copy will follow.
If you choose to read Cathy’s Christmas Confession, out of the many hundreds of Christmas stories that will be published this year, I will be truly honored. My prayer is that the story will glorify my Heavenly Father and bless you as the reader.
Christmas is not a time of joy for the hurting.
During a snowstorm, widow Cathy Fischer creams a stop sign on her way to work at the Christmas Ridge Community Church. Acquaintance David Martin stops to help. Cathy sees signs of deep grief in David, a recent widower. She reaches out with support in an attempt to help David through this most difficult first Christmas without his beloved wife.
David Martin struggles with grief over the death of his wife. He blames God for her rapid demise after her cancer diagnosis. Cathy reaches out to him with compassion and support and soon enlists him in her mission to bring joy to others at Christmas. Will their joint quest restore David’s faith?
David needs to turn loose of the past and embrace his future. Cathy has a confession to make to the entire community that may give David a different perspective of who she really is. Will her confession set her free?
Does God have plans in mind for the two of them they did not anticipate?
Check out our Amazon Christmas Ridge Romance page to learn about other books in the series and receive updates!
Patti Shene Gonzales hosts Step Into the Light, a weekly interview style podcast, where guests share their journey out of darkness or ways they lead others back to light. She hosts writers on her two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer. Patti is published in two anthologies and local publications and has three novels in progress. She enjoys writing, reading, critiquing, and spending time with family and friends. Patti lives in Colorado with her devoted feline companion, Duncan. Cathy’s Christmas Confession is her first novella.