On the eleventh day of Christmas, my favorite authors gave to me...
Can you believe it's already Day 11 of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway? If you haven't been following along, it's not too late to get your name into the drawing. I'm participating with nine other authors to give away a slew of amazing prizes!
The eleventh day of Christmas winner will receive:
One More Song to Sing by Lindsay Harrel (that's me!)
Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin
An adorable bookmark from Susan Tuttle
Yuletide Redemption by Jill Kemerer
The Gingerbread Pony by Patricia Bradley
Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson
His Prairie Sweetheart by Erica Vetsch
A Family Arrangement by Gabrielle Meyer
Concealed Identity by Jessica R. Patch
Watercolor Dreams audio book by Sherry Kyle
Hazardous Holiday by Liz Johnson
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below by following these authors on social media and signing up for their newsletters. An entry today will roll over to tomorrow and make you eligible for the GRAND PRIZE...all of these prizes plus a $25 Amazon gift card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And don't forget to visit Liz Johnson's blog for the twelfth and final day of our Christmas giveaway!
December 11, 2016
December 1, 2016
Because my debut novel, One More Song to Sing, has officially released. It's out in the world. No more dreaming of being a published author. I actually am one.
(cue excited squealing)
For anyone who has ever dreamed a dream -- IT IS POSSIBLE. I am proof.
The book is available for purchase in both ebook and physical versions. You can shop at the following places:
Barnes & Noble
To celebrate the release of my first book, I'm doing a giveaway. The winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card (perfect for all those other books you want to buy or Christmas shopping) and a copy of my book! This contest is open to international readers, but you'll receive an email gift card and the ebook version of the book if you win. :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's a little synopsis of the book:
More than two decades ago, Olivia Lovett left her old life behind in the red dirt of Oklahoma and forged a career in Nashville as a country music star. Now her voice is failing, forcing her to find a new dream just as the secrets of her past come knocking at the door. Long-time friend Andrew Grant agrees to partner in a new business venture—but would he stick around if he knew her whole story?
After the tragic loss of her father, twenty-one-year-old Ellie Evans headed to Nashville seeking more than just fame. For two years, she’s waitressed, strummed, and sung her way to what may finally be her big break when Olivia offers to sign her to the budding record label. More than anything, Ellie just wants to be seen: by her future fans, by Nick Perry—a fellow musician with a killer smile and kind eyes—and above all else, by the mother who abandoned her. If the spotlight never shines on her, will Ellie ever feel whole?
One More Song to Sing is a romantic drama about the power of forgiveness, second chances, and a God who never fails to see us.
April 8, 2016
But sometimes, the best things in life are unexpected.
A few weeks ago (okay, March 13 to be exact...), I received an email from my agent. She told me she'd like to chat because I was being offered a contract for one of my books.
I mean...it was the email I'd been dreaming about. I always thought I'd have some clue that it was coming. But it definitely took me by surprise.
I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I'm THRILLED to have my first publishing contract. I'm so excited to work with Ashberry Lane to release a book that's near and dear to my heart. Come December 1, 2016, people will actually get to read my book.
Of course, I'm also terrified. Just being honest. Because that means that people will be reading. my. book. Ahhhh!!! (Okay, mini freakout over.)
But seriously. I'm so thankful for all the people who have supported me and helped make this dream become reality. And I thought it'd be fun to celebrate with a little giveaway!
Here's how it works. Sign up for my mailing list below by April 30 and I'll randomly draw one subscriber to receive a $15 Amazon gift card. (And don't worry -- I'll never give your information to anyone else and I won't send you a bunch of spammy emails!)
Thanks for celebrating with me. I can't wait for you to meet the characters who have been part of my life for so long.
March 1, 2016
My story is like that of a lot of authors: I knew I wanted to write since I was a little girl.
I'd fill pages and pages with my stories (and pathetic stick art too!). I dreamed. I crafted. I created.
Along the way, I lost my vision for writing fiction and pursued journalism instead. But about five years ago, I could no longer ignore the call of the fiction world. I just knew I had to be part of it, because it was already part of me.
I had a few years of a sort of "honeymoon" period--that time when the words came easy and I allowed myself to swim in the ocean of possibilities, to soak up all the learning, to imagine everything coming my way. I just knew in my heart that I was going to be published one day. One day soon! That all the hard work would pay off and I'd get there earlier than most do.
Oh, Lindsay. *pats the Lindsay of five years ago on the head*
Let's back up a bit. School and other academic endeavors always came naturally to me. I say that not to brag, but to help you understand--I was used to success.
And when I dove into this writing journey, I expected the same.
So imagine my surprise when just recently--after nearly five years of learning and immersing myself in this land of fiction writers--I get back critiques from my craft partners that demonstrated I still didn't "get it." Not that they said it that way...they were so encouraging and helpful!
But that's how I felt. I couldn't believe I STILL struggled with character arcs and plot. I mean, come on! What was wrong with me? Why wasn't my hard work paying off?
I remember praying and asking God, "When am I ever going to get to the point when I won't need their help? When I won't need YOUR help?"
And oh, man.
That's when it hit me. I will never get to the point when I don't need God. Or my craft partners. Or just help in general.
That was pure pride talking.
You see, for me, writing is a humbling experience. It's something I can't possibly do on my own. It's something that draws me closer to God, if I let it. It's something that's truly a challenge for me. That doesn't come easy. That requires ALL of me...and a little bit more.
That's how I know: I'm meant to be a writer.
Whether you're a writer or not, I pray that you can find that thing--the thing you're meant to do, that puts you constantly at the Lord's feet asking Him for help.
*Photo courtesy of stocksnap.io
October 13, 2015
I mean, don't we all long to be seen as a strong person, someone who can handle whatever life throws at us and make it through -- no matter how difficult the trial?
Strength has been on my mind lately, because I've been dreaming up a character who values strength in herself. She has always seen herself as strong. And it made me think -- what does it mean to be strong?
I remember when my mom was dying from cancer and people would tell me how strong I was. And I thought, really? You think I'm strong? I was sitting there doubting whether God even existed and nearly cursing His name -- but it was all on the inside. No one knew. So they thought I was strong because I was surviving.
I looked strong on the outside. But there's a difference between looking strong and actually being strong.
Then, yesterday morning, this verse popped up on my Bible app: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." (Ephesians 6:10)
Coincidence? I think not.
So what does it mean to be strong? I'm guessing it has something to do with relying on the Lord. Leaning into Him when we're too weak to stand on our own. Allowing Him to be our shield against the rain and wind that pelt us and threaten to snap us in half.
And ultimately, being okay with our own weaknesses.
I'm not so good at that last one. But admitting that we are weak actually enhances His strength in us.
For as Paul said in 2 Corinthians: "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Friend, embrace your weaknesses. They are not weakness like the world sees it. They are opportunities to rest in the Lord and in the power of His might.
*Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
October 6, 2015
At one point in the movie, the man Walter admires most (a photographer) says this -- and it stopped me in my tracks:
"If I like a moment...I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it."
Rephrased, this could apply to my life. I'd say:
If I like a moment, I don't like to have the distraction of
- or wondering what if...
- or thinking constantly about the future...
- or looking to the next great thing...
- or pretending that I'm okay with a busy schedule...
- or flitting from one thing to the next because I have to.
If I'm honest with myself, I tend to see a beautiful moment, make a mental note about it, and move on -- far too quickly. But what if instead, I truly took time to savor it? To set down whatever I'm doing and relish in it? To put away the mental pen and simply enjoy it?
- playing with my son on the living room floor, even thought laundry is piled around me
- tasting a new recipe (or new ice cream flavor...)
- rereading a lovely turn of phrase in a book, and allowing the words to wrap around my soul
- nestling against my husband and letting him stroke my hair, without caring what time the clock reads
Because we can't get these moments back.
A camera or worry or busyness or time or whatever it may be CAN get in the way of the moment itself.
I find myself daydreaming about a full life.
But the cool thing about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Walter's daydreams become less frequent as he really begins to live his life in reality.
So let's stop dreaming about living a full life -- and just live it.
*Photo courtesy of stocksnap.io
September 29, 2015
Except when it comes to myself.
You see, even though I've had good things happen to me before, I have this weird voice somewhere in the back of my mind. This voice likes to tell me that if I hope for something, it probably won't happen. And when the inevitable occurs, I'll be disappointed.
And disappointment, for some reason, is like the worst thing that could ever happen.
But see, I have this friend (cough, Melissa Tagg, cough). She likes to remind me that God has given us every reason to hope. And when it comes to dreaming, hope is the fuel that keeps us going. God has promised us GOOD THINGS, and when we pretend like those things don't exist, we lose something extremely precious along the way.
This is all fresh in my mind, because just over a week ago, I was up for a big award among unpublished authors in the inspirational fiction industry. I was attending the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas, where the winner would be announced at a gala the last night. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck whenever I thought about the announcement. I finaled two years ago and didn't win (but lost to a very deserving and dear friend), and I was preparing myself for the same outcome again. But there were several instances throughout the conference when my attitude and perspective were challenged.
Other than some great conversations with my best writing buddies, a very distinct moment stands out to me. I was attending a session led by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck (two writing mentors of mine), and Rachel was talking about the ups and downs of the writing journey. She said, "You have to ask yourself, 'Can I allow God to handle my disappointments?'"
I can't even tell you the lightbulb that went off in my head! The day before, I'd attended a seminar on writing WITH God, and letting Him lead us in this writing adventure.
It's like God was saying to me, "Lindsay, I want you to take my hand and trust me -- wherever I lead. Don't hold onto your hope, but let it fly. If you keep it tethered to you, you'll lose steam. You'll never grow. You'll wither and eventually the good seed I planted in your heart -- the one that loves creating through the written word -- will die. I'm big enough to help you through the disappointments. Will you trust me?"
So instead of choosing the route that feels safer, that feels like I'm protecting my heart, I'm choosing a new motto:
It's better to have hoped and been disappointed than never to have hoped at all.
Thank goodness the Lord taught me that lesson. Because when my name was called as the winner of the Genesis competition in the contemporary category, my heart experienced the full effect of one that had hoped for God's best.
But even if I hadn't won, I know my heart wouldn't have shattered. Because I serve a God who is a gentle physician, healer of wounded spirits, and encourager of on-hold dreams.
|Still in shock after winning the Genesis.|
|With writing mentors Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren of My Book Therapy.|
|With my writing besties Melissa Tagg, Gabrielle Meyer, and Alena Tauriainen -- my support team!|