Yippee! My Book

IMG_1168

I just got my book in the mail!

Wow, what a feeling. To see my words transformed from a manuscript on my computer to an actual physical book.

I did not begin writing with a dream to make myself famous or to make money. Ha, ha! My goal was to make a story— which had been percolating in my mind for decades—take shape as words, and eventually, pages. And I hoped someone would read it and take something of value from the story.

Haven’s Flight began with an image that popped into my head when I was just a teen. An image that wouldn’t leave my head until I sketched it on a sheet of artist paper.

I had no concept yet, just the suspenseful drawing of a young woman standing alone in a snowy field, surrounded by dark forest, looking nervously over her shoulder.

Some of my readers have found similarities between my protagonist, Haven, and me, the author. That wasn’t my intent. But authors imbue their characters with things they feel and know, and have experienced. I knew Haven would have to be a musician because that’s what I have known intimately for nearly fifty years.

I also knew she had to have her adventure in the wet, rugged, and mysterious Cascade Mountains.

The book I’m confident you’re soon going to order from Amazon wasn’t even on my mental back-burner originally. (By the way, Haven’s Flight is discounted by forty percent if you order it before April 4th.) Book 2, coming out in the fall was the original story. But when I started to write it, I realized that story needed to begin with another story.

Haven’s Flight is a redemptive story about a young woman who has lost her faith, but comes to realize, after facing extreme danger and adventure in the Cascade Mountains, that God never leaves us or forsakes us. Don’t expect this Christian novel to be all sweetness and light. After all, Haven spends half the book hiding from a crazy guy!

I hope you love it.

 

 

Haven’s Flight Finally Flies

I remember talking to published authors a few years back at a writer’s conference.

Most of them advised me: Take your time. Don’t be in such a hurry to get published. You’ll never be as free with your writing time as you are now, not yet published.

Of course I smirked at this advice, although not visibly. Easy for you to say, published author, looking down from your high perch as an author with credence in the publishing world.

I was in a hurry. I bristled at the thought of all the things an aspiring writer has to do to prepare for a career (or even a partial career) in writing. Why can’t I just write?

Why do I have to have a platform? Why do I have to join all these writer groups and have critique partners?

Why do I have to submit my excerpts to contests and get stinging criticism from judges? Why do I have to read and study all these books on the craft of writing?

And why does it all take so much time?

I wrote my first book nine years ago. Man, was I ever ignorant of the publishing process. I thought I’d just take my baby down to the nearest agent and get a contract the same day.

Wrong!

My first critique at my first writer’s conference pulled me up short. The critiquer, a seasoned author said, “Before we go over your excerpt, let’s pray.”

We have to pray because it’s so bad? Not an auspicious start to our meeting.

She handed my printed excerpt to me and my stomach went sour at all the red ink on the pages.

 

A couple of years later, I attended another conference. This time I interviewed authors during our meal-times. My question, “What is the most important advice you could give me as an unpublished writer?” got the biggest response.

“Don’t give up.” Without exception, each author had said nothing was more essential than the will to keep going.

God reminded me of that bit of advice over and over during the next few years as I slowly began to get small articles and stories published.

My first full-sized novel releases in three weeks: Haven’s Flight is the story of a young woman, a pianist, who has witnessed the violent death of her mother during a robbery and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress. She enrolls in a wilderness therapy camp, hoping that the program will help her heal so that she can perform on stage again. But, while at camp, someone is following her, leaving her threatening notes.

If you click on “my books” you can read a little bit more about the story.

Haven’s Flight is a Christian story, a redemptive story. It’s got some dark themes in it. I wouldn’t recommend this story to anyone younger than sixteen.

But the biggest spiritual message in the story is the one God gives to each of His children:

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Haven’s Flight releases April 4th as an ebook, (Write Integrity Press is the publisher)) and can also be ordered as a print book from Amazon.com. I hope you enjoy it!

Facing A Mountain

img_0952I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

No offence to those who do. It just doesn’t work for me.

But each January I ask the Lord to show me what my focus should be for the year.

One year, the answer was simply, “Get on your knees and pray hard.”

Another year, my focus on one of the shortest verses in Genesis: “And Enoch walked with God.” What would that look like, lived out in my own life?

This year, as I rejoiced in the book contracts for both my suspense novels and my romance novel, I faced a mountain of edits, blurbs, bios, and promotional activities.

Coming out of neck surgery just weeks earlier, I felt so feeble. How could I possibly get done all that my publishers require of me in such a short time, as well as fulfill my ministry commitments at church?

God is faithful. as I poured out my heart to Him about the size of my burden, He reminded me of Jesus’s words from His sermon on the Mount: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34 NIV Bible)

So my new focus for this coming year is:

“One day at a time.”

I know, it’s a cliche. Even so, it’s a great paraphrase of Jesus’s words. If I let myself focus on the whole mountain, my feet don’t want to start trekking.

One day, Dena. Just one day’s amount of steps. You can do this.

 

 

 

When All You Can Do Is Pray

It was a Christmas like no other Christmas we’ve had in at least 35 years.

Normally our house would be thrumming with preparations for the holidays: baking, decorating, Christmas cards, rehearsing music, getting the guest rooms ready.

But this year I had scheduled a surgery to fuse three of my cervical vertebrae.

Nov. 29th.

Okay, I thought, it only a little over three weeks until Christmas, but I’m sure I’ll be up and running, purring like a fine-tuned motor.

I had a stack of books, projects, and music sitting by my couch, waiting for my attention.

My plan was to, as they say, “hit the ground running,” when January arrived.

I’m strong and energetic. A personality that loves to say “yes.” A mind that loves to think and plan and analyze.

Unfortunately—or fortunately, if you have a mind that considers the sovereignty of God—I got none of these things done.

None.

My brain was both blessed and hijacked by the power of prescribed narcotics, designed to soothe even the most intense after-surgery pain.

 

 

Thank the Lord for modern pain meds. Thank the Lord!

But I’m looking forward to the day I don’t need them anymore.

I’ll bet y’all have been there, too.

The one thing I’ve been able to do for the past four or five weeks is scan Facebook and read and respond to other Facebook-ers requests for prayer.

I know many of you all have been faithful to pray for me, and I, in turn, have been faithful to pray for you.

Sometimes that’s the only ministry left to us during a period of illness.

And it’s no little thing.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Cor.1:3-4 NIV Bible)

 

Tomorrow’s the Big Day

And I’m a bit nervous. I know just enough about my neck surgery to think (and think and think) about the possible complications.”Awful-izing,” my husband calls it.

And then, of course, some good friends filled me in about their own surgeries and how terrible they felt for a couple of weeks afterward. Thanks, guys!

I would have much preferred to hear half-truths: “Piece of cake. Hardly even needed painkillers. All that stuff you hear about complications? Don’t believe it. Not gonna happen.”

I had my pre-op appointment with the surgeon  the other day. He says I’ll feel like I have strep throat and whiplash for a couple of weeks.

He keeps his face thoroughly composed even when he says, “The only thing you have to be careful about while you’re recovering is falling. Oh, and choking.

Do you ever have some big thing that you’re dreading, and as you get closer to D-day, you start this count-down thing?

Like: “in seventy-two hours, at @ 4:30 PM, this will be over.”

And the next day you think: “in 48 hours, at @ 5 PM,  I’ll be in recovery.”

And now, Monday, Nov. 28th,  at @ 2:45, I’m declaring: “in 24 hours, I’ll be right in the middle of surgery.”

And the Lord will be right there, too. Even though I won’t hear Him or feel Him.

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV Bible)

If you happen to remember me at 11:30 AM Tuesday morning on Nov. 29th, pray for me!

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Still Not Done?

I’m talking to my writer friend, Kim, the other day. About getting older, dealing with health issues. How we’re both looking forward to heaven. The completion of this part of our eternities, the end of pain.

Bible promises jump into my mind. Ones about courage, patience and hope:

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24 NKJV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” (Galatians 5:22 NIV)

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction.” (Romans 12:12 NIV)

We need courage, patience, and hope because we’re still not done. We still have things to accomplish on this side of eternity. And when my heavenly Father determines that the time is right, He will call me home. What a great encouragement and hope that is.

I need this kind of encouragement, too, right now, in fact.

Because I’m a writer. (Cue the descending trombone slide)

I’ve finished my manuscript, signed a contract. Shouldn’t that be the end of it?

Oh, no. Just like my life journey, walked in faith, I have a publishing journey to take before the novel leaves my hands for good.

The edits: I’ve just completed round one. I’m sure there will be many more coming around the bend. (“Be of good courage.“)

The waiting: Suspenseful days, waiting for my editor to get back to me. (“The fruit of the Spirit is…patience...”)

More edits: More preparations for the day of release. Will it ever end?! (“Be joyful in hope…”)

What I learn about courage, patience, and hope in the Christian life spills over into my life as a writer. And visa versa.

I’m still not done?

Apparently not. (I wish there was a sound emoji for a whining kid. But my granddaughter’s face below says it all.)

denas-phone-113

Here’s a quote for writers that should be just a few notches lower than scripture:

“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”

And here’s my own (that’s right, it’s not scripture) quotation:

“Be of good cheer, o writer, thy work hath a great reward if thou persevere in faith, and if thou dost not trust in thy own limited insight, but verily, doth wait on the Lord—and the editor— with patience in affliction, filled with hope.” (Dena Netherton, author and Christian)

I hope you have a great day, still not being done!

 

 

Like Little Children

When I was a small child I found the world of adults—particularly my parents— gargantuan, scary, and incomprehensible.

The things they conversed about sounded like gibberish.

They could do things that seemed god-like, such as lighting a pilot light, driving a car, or going to sleep in a dark, dark room without needing a night-lite.

Who else but a god could read a newspaper and understand it, let alone enjoy its contents?

Who else but a god knew how to drive from our house to some strange place we’d never been before?

And who but a god knew the order of our days: when to get up, what to wear, and if the events of the day were going to diverge from the ordinary?

So when my god-like parents determined that it was time to take a nap, I did not question them.

When food was placed before me, it did not occur to me to ask for menu options.

If my parent-gods were pleased with me, my world felt secure.

If one of these gods was displeased, I felt shame.

I learned to socialize.wild-basin-june-2011-072

A few years passed.

I went to school, developed relationships with my peers, and learned to do god-like things like read and write.

By ten, my parents were no longer gods. Sure, they were people to be admired, even feared at times.

But they no longer dwelt on Mt. Olympus.

I let them know by my words and body language—even though, obedient— that I no longer accepted their orders and instructions without question.

I ceased to be a little child.

This is as it should be for the growing child. He or she must begin to learn how to live independently.

But in the supernatural world of the seeker of Christ, or the disciple of Christ, to be child-like is exactly what we need to be. Dependent.

To recognize that the world surrounding us is gargantuan, often scary, and almost always incomprehensible.

And to trust that our Father knows what is best for us.

Unlike the little child living under his parents’ roof, I will never grow so mature and knowledgeable that I won’t need Him.

I need to keep reminding myself that…

He is the Alpha and Omega

and I am just a wee small babe in constant need of protection and guidance.

img_0277

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” (Matt. 18: 1-3 NIV Bible)

Seeking the Creator in nature and the arts

%d bloggers like this: