Monday, March 26, 2012

A Big Day (and some news)

13 years ago today I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. That might have made March 26th a dark day on my calendar. It didn't though. That very day I began to see the hand of God at work in the details of that journey. That very day I began to experience what scripture calls the peace that passes understanding.

Every year since 1999, when the cancer went into remission, has been a year to celebrate, and I mark that year on the 26th. In the same way, every novel I've written since that time feels like a gift (more about my writing/cancer journey here).

As of today I have another reason to count March 26th a special day. Today I signed my first book contract. A contract for two books, in fact, each a historical novel set in the 18th century. One takes place on the New York frontier, 1784, the second on what was then the western boundary of North Carolina, 1787. Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group (a division of Random House, Inc.), has agreed to publish them, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Of course, the offer came via my wonderful agent several months ago--December 14, 2011 to be exact. I've had to sit on the news all these months and let me tell you, it hasn't been easy! I did a bit of journaling on that day so I wouldn't forget how I was feeling, what I was thinking, and what my agent and I talked about. If you'd like to read some of that, I've included it below. Otherwise, I hope you'll rejoice with me and celebrate this writing journey that began in December of 1991.

I look forward to sharing more about my experiences as this new journey unfolds. No released dates are set in stone yet, nor book titles, but it looks as though my debut novel will release sometime in the middle of 2013.
Journal entries: 

December 14th, 2011: I know it will be a little while before I can post this, because a writer can't go blurting this sort of news all over creation before the proper time, even if it's taking every scrap of self-control she possesses to keep her fingers still. There's this official stuff called ink, and it has to dry and all. So I'm telling you (but not really telling you), that today, December 14th, 2011, exactly twenty years and a cross country move and a bout with cancer and a lot of set-backs and rejections since I first sat down to write a novel and see if I could get it published, I got The Call.
My agent, Wendy Lawton, was on the other end of the line. "Are you sitting down?" she asked. I was sitting down, working away on the edit of my current historical novel. "We have an offer," she said.
A two book offer, as it turns out. For one of my finished 18th century historicals, and for the one I had been working on seconds before the phone rang. The offer comes from Waterbrook, a publishing house I've long admired for its historical fiction. Liz Curtis Higgs! Jane Kirkpatrick! Susan Meissner!
"You're so quiet," Wendy said.
I was bestunned. I had no words. Or not a lot of them. "But I'm shaking," I said.
I still am.
I'm pretty sure I said Wow once or three times too. How articulate!
In the hours since I've laughed and cried, prayed and rejoiced, gulped down mouthfuls of giddy nerves and had about a hundred questions crash across my dazzled brain.
December 15th, the day after The Call: This morning I'm reminded that early in the year I chose One Word to be a theme for me for the coming months of 2011. I blogged about it here.
That one word? PATIENCE
Think I got that one right? :)
I've printed off what's called the Offer Letter. I'm staring at it. It's addressed to me, but surely it's a mistake. It isn't a rejection. It has words in it like contract, publishing relationship, release schedule, sub-rights, due date. I can't quite connect these words to me, to my writing. Net yet. Maybe tomorrow?
December 16th: My One Word for 2012, I'm nearly certain now, is TRUST. Not trust in myself, or what-all lies behind this letter propped on my desk. Trust in God, who is behind what's behind it. Trust in His timing and purpose for the unfolding path I'll soon be walking. One step at a time. Trust for the stretching to come. The moments of joy, and those of terror. I've already had several of both.
Trust in His goodness, and His good plan.

March 26, 1783. War with Great Britain Ends! Preliminary Peace Articles penned in Paris!! Lady Authoress Signs Book Deal!!!

77 comments:

  1. GOD IS GOOD! Oh my friend I am so happy for you and so excited that NEXT YEAR (sometime) I will get to hold one of your books in my hands! EEEPPP!!! Awesome awesome news!

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    1. Yes He is! And His timing is perfect. Trusting in his goodness and his timing for our lives and the desires is something I want to keep learning.

      The thought of you holding a book of mind in your hands is very sweet!

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  2. Congratulations, Lori!!!!! I'm thrilled for you. I've been waiting for this day and am doing some serious happy dancing down in California on your behalf!

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    1. It's so fun to think of you happy dancing for me! It's been a long wait, but for so many reasons a needful one. God knew, and knows, what he's doing for each of us with the timing thing. :)

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  3. Congratulations, Lori! I'm thrilled for you. :)

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  4. Bless you, Lori! I am so happy for you!! God is SO good, is He not?

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    1. Regina... amen! And thank you.

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  5. Tears of joy, my friend.... That is all I can 'say' - for now. :)

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    1. Thank you for those happy tears, my friend. Sure wish I could do a happy dance with you over this. In spirit!

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  6. So happy for you, Lori! Well-deserved!! Love the pics of you - especially the one in your dress:)

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    1. Thank you Laura! You've been such an encouragement and example for me. Bless you for all you give and your gracious heart.

      We pinned that dress up so it would fit. Brian was game to give it a try though as he said, "Be patient, I don't know what I'm doing." He did just fine. :) I'm still waiting on my stays so I can have the gown altered. I best check on them, they are taking forever!

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  7. Yay, Lori!! So great for you to share your feelings with us. Smiling inside and out for you. You're going to have such a great year enjoying this first book out on the market.

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    1. Ann, I think this year will be full of joys and challenges both! Thank you for the smiles. :)

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  8. Thanks everyone, for celebrating with me. It's strange that it still hasn't sunk in, even after sitting on this news for three months. I can't help but wonder what it was like for an author with her first sale back in the days before social media. Before the internet even. Anyone have their first book sale in those days? I'd love to know what that day was like for YOU! How did you celebrate? Who did you tell?

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  9. Congratulations, Lori!!

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  10. HUMONGO Congrats to you Lori, and to Wendy! I'm so thrilled for you & encouraged. Can't wait to hold your books in hand! (Is "Kindred" one of them?)

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    1. Camille, this contract is for the two books I wrote after Kindred. I'd still love to see Kindred published. It owns a huge chunk of my heart.

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  11. Your story and this special day really blessed me! I cant wait to read your novels!! Congratulations Lori!

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    1. Thanks Debra! It seems like a long way away, still, but no doubt that year+ will fly by. :)

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  12. So excited for you Lori. You will LOVE working with WBM! They are the bomb dot com!

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    1. I've been watching your novel journey closely Katie, and have been encouraged by the great things you've had to say about WBM these past months. You never knew it, but you were sending wave after wave of reassurance and confirmation my way. Thank you for sharing so much of your first book experience.

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  13. I am so happy for you!! I pray many more blessings will come your way in 2012!! :)

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    1. Thank you Stacey. Lots of challenges and new adventures ahead this year for sure.

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  14. Congratulations!!!! I am so excited for you!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Erica! And bless you for sharing what you did over on FB. That gave me such a smile.

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  15. From the day I read the first chapter of Kindred, I knew this day was going to come! God bless you, my friend, in your publishing journey. May it be one filled with delight, learning, much success, many wonderful reviews, and many, many blessings!!!

    Hugs,
    Joan

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    1. Thank you Joan. It's so good to have you alongside me, fellow 18C nut! Thank you for that wonderful blessing.

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  16. I am SO thrilled for you, Lori! I can't imagine what it must feel like to sit on that information for so long. I'm excited that we get to celebrate with you now! Woo-hoo!!!

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    1. Karen, some days I managed to not think about it too much and get busy with the next novel. Some days I pestered my agent. :)

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  17. Exciting! Wonderful! Amazing! And how good is God!
    Lori, I'm following you now. ; )

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    1. Thanks Zan Marie! He is good indeed.

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  18. Lori!!! Congratulations!!! I am soooo happy for you!!! You are so dedicated and you truly deserve this!!! I can't wait to read your work and I know it's going to be AWESOME!!!
    Leah

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    1. Leah, I blame this all on you, you know. You wrote a story first, and of course I had to do it too (just like I had to cut my hair short after you did!). Now look where I've landed! LOL. That was third grade, and I still have that story. It's not too far different from the stories I write now. Thanks for celebrating with me!

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    2. Or maybe it was fourth grade! Long, long ago in a galaxy far far away.....

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  19. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I got Holy Ghost bumps from reading this post!!!

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  20. Lori, how amazing that you got The Call on the anniversary of the day you first started the writing journey, and then signed the contract on the anniversary of the day you first knew you had cancer. Somehow I don't think any of that is coincidence.

    I am overjoyed for you. And really looking forward to reading those books at last. :)

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    1. Beth, I do feel wonder at the timing of it all. Thanks!

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  21. Wow, Loree, What an awesome gift God gave you, allowing you to share your news on this special day. Congratulations!!!

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    1. Sarah, totally a gift! Thanks!

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  22. Oops, I just realized I spelled your name wrong! (I just finished commenting on my friend Loree Huebner's blog, so my fingers had a mind of their own.) :)

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  23. Lori, I am rejoicing with you! The enemy thought he had you 13 years ago, but God had bigger plans. Aren't you glad He has the last word!??

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    1. Diana, I'm blessed to be given this chance to see a long-held dream beginning to come true.

      Thanks for rejoicing with me!

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  24. LOL, I *love* that you got in costume to sign the contract!!! So awesome, Lori!!

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    1. That was a last minute inspiration. :)

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  25. I still remember stumbling across your blog and reading some of Kindred. I can even recall the exact scene. That told me, and has continued to tell me, that it was only a matter of time until you got the call. My deepest congratulations!!

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    1. Christina, I've never forgotten that, as I was so encouraged by it. Kindred isn't one of the books that sold, but it's still is the book of my heart. One day maybe. I'm itching to write its sequel! Thank you!

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  26. Well, I just hope my grandkids don't pop in while I'm sitting here crying--tears of joy! I am toooo happy for you. Knew the day would come, of course--after praying if it was God's will and then to hear, "But of course!" Now we pray ya through the whole rest of the process and it will be exhilarating, amazing, and wonderful--Ohhhhh, I so wanna go to Yadas and can't--arrgh! Know I love you and am totally thrilled to the max...

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    1. I sure wish you could be there this evening Patti, but grandkids are too special to miss, and I'll be here all week. And the next too, God willing! Hugs to you dear praying friend.

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  27. I came back to check comments after lunch and I am overwhelmed at the support and love, friends. Thank you so much for marking this special day with me. I've said it a dozen times today, in various places, but it really doesn't seem like my books we're talking about here. This will take some getting used to!

    Meanwhile the work goes on. I have about 12,000 words to shave off the first manuscript before the deadline. A tall order, but doable!

    And a hubby down with Man-flu to care for today. **cough**O the drama**cough** ;-)

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  28. Congratulations on both milestones, Lori. I can't wait to read your first book! I'm so excited for you! (and for me because I get to read it some day!) And good luck with the man-flu. Oy!

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    1. Thanks Kav! He's better today though still coughing. Despite my teasing it does sound painful.

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  29. Congratulations!!! I am so excited for you and can't wait to read your work!

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    1. Thank you Sherrinda, for being excited and looking forward with me!

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  30. Lori! I’m giddy and laughing joyfully for you. Of course, this isn’t a huge surprise, but I’ve kept it under hat :-). Congratulations! You have put in your time and have been a prime example of nose-to-the-grindstone for we newbies.

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    1. Karen, thanks for being a secret keeper with me! XO

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  31. Congratulations Lori! So happy for you--can't wait to read them!

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  32. Lori, what absolutely fantastic news! Congratulations! I wish you every success in this next exciting stage of your writing journey. :-)

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  33. Snoopy dancing for you, dear friend. I'm just delighted!

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    1. Thank Karen. You've been there to share so much wisdom along the way and I so appreciate it, and you, pal!

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  34. This is wonderful news! And I love how God cares about things like dates--and did something really cool on exactly the right date. I'm very happy for you!

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    1. Thank you, Paula. I couldn't have plan a better date. :)

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  35. Sorry I'm so late coming in on this tonight....when do you expect it released? Have you seen any ideas for covers yet? And how many pgs.? Oh! I'm so thrilled for you, Lori-- May the Lord Bless your future writing endeavors! Love the dress (did you make it?) And your desk--it's the only way to write! :)
    p.s. Would love to see your book in the Herkimer Historical Society right next to "Bloody Mohawk" and "Drums"!

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    1. Pat, I'm not sure when all that will come in the process. It's still all a big unknown. My deadline for turning in the first manuscript is in June. The first book will be released sometime in the summer of 2013, to the best of my knowledge. But no dates are set in stone at this point.

      The dress was made by Yordreems Creations. I blogged about it here: http://loribenton.blogspot.com/2011/12/whatever-shall-i-wear.html

      You can see the gown's actual color in those photos.

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  36. Whew! Thanks for the outpouring of congratulations everyone. What a blessed woman I am to have so many friends and fellow writers on this journey. Bless you, each one who took the time to comment and those who visited and read. I SO appreciate every comment and have read them all today with a full heart. XOXO

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  37. Lori, I am your 100th blog follower, but I know I won't be your last! I found you via Keli Gwyn's Facebook post and I am so happy I did. I loved this post and, even though we've not met, I am so thrilled for you!! I'm excited to watch your publication story unfold via blogging. God's blessings on the days ahead.

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    1. Gabrielle, yes you are! How fun to see you here bright and early this morning. Thanks so much for following. Keli is in the midst of her own exciting publication journey, with her first novel about to debut, and I can't think of anyone more deserving. She has done a great service over the years to so many aspiring and debut writers on her Romance Writers on the Journey blog. She interviewed me some time back and that was such a special blessing.

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  38. Absolutely wonderful news, Lori, congratulations!!
    :-)
    Deniz

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    1. Thank you Deniz! Still waiting for it to sink in. :)

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  39. How awesome for you, Lori! Your news just made my day. Your patience and fortitude are an example to us all. Can't wait to read your book!

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    1. Thanks Julianne! It's been a week since I signed. Hasn't sunk in yet. LOL. Well, maybe a bit since I'm now having to look ahead and think about things like taxes. Oy.

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