Cross OVER THE THRESHOLD With Me

“In lipstick and hiking boots, Julie travels up the mountain to escape her life. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s about to discover a man who holds the power to transform her identity forever.”

In my last post I wrote about my experience at my first writer’s conference. If you’d like to check it out, here it is: More than a Writing Conference

At that conference, I was given a chance to work on a succinct description of my current novel so that I could give an effective pitch to future parties that may be interested. I was able to put that pitch into practice and by the grace of God, it went better than I could have imagined. My hope is that I can gather enough interest so that one day my story will make it to your eyes sooner rather than later.

My novel, currently over 35,000 words, will soon go into its third draft, tightening loose ends and striving to make the plot flow cohesively. It’s been quite the process so far, but I am so excited about the end product. God has helped inspire and guide me each step of the way as I pray over each chapter and each element that goes into it. I hope that those of you who support me will pray for God’s will as well.

A verse that stays in my mind throughout this entire process is Psalm 37:4-5 which says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your ways to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

My love for writing has been a desire in my heart since I was a pre-teen. During my high-school and college life, my go-to line was “I just want to write books.” Well, now is the time to put my money where my mouth is. Now is the time to commit to the Lord, trust Him, and watch Him work.

For those of you who are interested in the project I constantly say I’m working on, and to prove that these many hours in front of a computer screen are producing something, I’d like to share a sneak peek of my current novel entitled Over the Threshold.

Below, I’ve included a brief summary of what you can expect from my story. Enjoy!

CrossingthethresholdWith church long in her past and a career in her future, Julie finds herself trying to hang on to the falling pieces of her life. As a last resort, she decides to escape into the mountains to find peace and return with a fresh start. Her plans quickly change, however, when she stumbles into a wise, old gentleman named Simon. Simon, a God-fearing man, makes Julie an unusual offer that takes her on a journey to a threshold. There, she must make a choice, knowing her life will never be the same. One the one side, she can stay safe and comfortable. The other side holds promise, but it may require her to sacrifice something she loves.

Will she choose to cross over the threshold?

I hope you’re intrigued, and I hope that you will join me on this journey as a new writer. I would love your feedback. What interests you? What do you like to read about, especially in Christian fiction? Would you like updates and more sneak peeks on this project?

Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. Stay tuned so we can cross over the threshold together!

God bless!

LJM

More than a Writing Conference

Decked in a blazer with a briefcase hanging by my side, I passed a small sign that read “Write2Ignite.”

My first writer’s conference.

I hoped and prayed for opportunity, knowledge, and experience that waited behind the glass doors. By the end of the conference, I received all and more.

Anyone who hopes to hone their craft and bring their writing into the light is told to attend these conferences. The thought has always stirred up a level of anxiety for me. It means going to a new place, connecting with strangers, and even pitching my ideas to potential publishers. To some, that may be one of the most exciting aspects of the job, but for me it’s slightly nauseating.

Not every writer’s conference holds the same experience, but I’d like to share a little about what this conference did for me.

1. It forced me to be prepared

There is such a thing as being too chill. I signed up for the conference a little late and I was quickly overwhelmed. It’s best to research the presenters, editors, and publishing houses that will be attending so you don’t walk in there completely surprised with no direction. You also should be aware of certain things you should bring such as questions, a one-sheet of your idea or story, business cards, and a medium to take notes on. These things may have overwhelmed me at first, but they proved to be very helpful once I was there.

2. It gave me excellent resources

Conferences have beaucoup number of books, brochures, pamplets, and business cards of a wide variety of writing resources. You can learn about different organizations, publishing options, editing help, and more just by grabbing what they have available. I don’t know if I would’ve ever learned about some of these sources otherwise. Now they’re all stuffed in a folder for future reference.

3. It pushed me to make connections

The introvert in me has to constantly suppress the uncomfortable feeling of meeting new people. I was lucky to have had a few familiar faces at the conference to help guide me through the process. Regardless of who was there, I needed to get over myself and establish a connection with people, introduce myself, and ask questions. You’ll miss out on a lot if you decide to be the silent wanderer of the conference that no one knows. It’s not the best marketing tool either. Luckily, I stuck out my hand, asked for a few autographs, and joined in conversations, all without dying.

4. It surrounded me with like-minded people

Seminars that keep your attention are typically the ones that focus on your passion. Knowing that I was sitting with people who have similar goals and dreams made me feel submerged within my element. Plus, it’s not necessarily difficult to talk with these people because we all share something in common: The power of stories being or waiting to be told.

5. It gave me experience

Not only do I have one conference under my belt, I also have a couple of pitching sessions too. A pitching session is when you meet with a publisher, editor, or agent to discuss your story whether it’s fully written or not. Those sessions help you gain experience to better hone your pitch and open the door for possible publishing opportunities. You also can discover more about yourself as a writer and who you’re writing for during those sessions.

6. It gave me encouragement

This conference was filled with gracious speakers and presenters, saturated in the love of God and dripping with the faith that His hand will guide all of us. If I can steal what one of our keynote speakers, Lisa Albinus pointed out in the miracle feeding of the 5000, Jesus said to the disciples “You give them something to eat.”

God has given us a story. Many stories. Some of these come from the God-given gift of imagination, others comes from life experience. Either way, if we have felt His calling, we must equip ourselves to use these talents to give to the world. To limit ourselves by saying we’re not good enough or there’s no way we’ll be published is to limit God’s glory and to forsake what He’s equipped us to give.

“You give them something to eat.”

∼Mark 6:37∼

I left the conference fully charged, connected, and one step closer to having my own dream become a reality. Mainly, I was reminded that I write because God instilled a passion in me at a young age. He’s given me a talent and the least I can do is use it to encourage people closer to Him.

If you’re struggling about what God has called you to do or how you’ll ever make a living doing something you love, remember, He knows and He will get you where you need to be. He will always equip you, you simply have to give your all. No matter what stage in the process you are, God has outlined the steps if only you trust Him.

For my fellow writers, if you’re interested in checking out Write2Ignite go to their website here.

God bless you in the journey He’s called for you.

-LJM

Proverbs 16:9

 

 

 

Why I Went to See The Shack

I’m no stranger to Young’s The Shack nor its controversies.

YouTube videos detail the story’s brainwashing doctrine, theological scholars call it heresy, and articles flood my newsfeed with all the biblical reasons to avoid supporting the new film adaptation.

Even so, I went to see the film with an excitement that’s been building up since I first read the book seven months ago. I did, however try to keep in mind all of the opinionated articles I had read leading up to the film’s release.

The movie was very enjoyable even though it seemed like every actor was whispering the entire time. There were definitely lines and scenes that stayed close to the book, and I’ll admit that I bawled towards the end. The film though didn’t quite do the book justice as it had to sculpt away some of the funny nuances that made the novel special, but I feel the film kept the heart of the story.

And that heart isn’t to change the doctrine of Christianity.

I’ve read the book twice, which is something I never do whether I love a book or not. As an aspiring Christian fiction writer, I understand that fictional stories come from true places in the heart. The job is not to tell the same old cliché story. I won’t pretend to know Young’s intentions, but I will say that his story did for me what I hope to do with my future books.

In a tangible way, he reawakened the fantastic love God has for me and the world. No matter how many times I read the book or see the movie, I will always come away with these core messages:

  1. God is very fond of all of us and wants us to know Him rather than know about Him. (Romans 5:8)
  2. No matter how horribly evil someone can be, God still wants the chance to redeem. (Romans 3:23)
  3. Though some of our wounds are incredibly deep and painful, God still wants us to forgive those who caused them. (Matthew 5:44)
  4. We judge the world and God every day of our lives, but God’s ways are higher than our ways. (Matthew 7:1)

If I can add my voice to the many opinions out there, I believe that is the heart of the story.

I’m saddened by the fact that not everyone walks away with the same things and even more so that the story isn’t being given the chance to do what it was written to do. To tell people about the love of a good Father. To heal years of brokenness through the love of Jesus who understands. And to encourage others to grow more intimately with God.

Instead, it is rebuked, boycotted, and deemed blasphemous not by athiests, but by fellow believers.

We can all agree that the Bible is the place to search for truth, and a fictional story should not be treated as life giving as the Bible. That’s where the problem begins, but I highly doubt that we have to worry about Shack-supporting Christians uprising and throwing out the Word of God.

The Shack is not the film you should worry about tampering with your faith or idea about God. Even if you don’t agree with every little piece of information, the film is still clean, positive, encouraging, and moving.

In all honesty, those characteristics are far better than the negative ones that we Christians open ourselves to by seeing movies such as Sausage Party, Ouija, and Fifty Shades of Grey.

By all means don’t forsake your convictions. Stand up for what you believe in. That’s what I’m doing by writing this, and that’s all I can ask of you.

My hope is that our beliefs don’t cause us to fight our own fellow believers. Our enemy can be pretty effective with that strategy.

If you’d like to see my original review of the book, click here.

Have peace, show love, and be blessed!

-LJM

James 4:8