Friday, August 14, 2009

Fortifying Fridays by Sanda D. Bricker

When Annette told me about this blog, I just loved the idea of calling the segment Fortifying Fridays. It sounds so … strong! And I’m a good one to talk to writers about “fortification” because that’s exactly how I feel these days as a writer. Fortified! [Insert flexing muscle here.]

Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas allowed me to push through into the inspirational market at last, after years of hoping and trying. I’d published in the YA market with a Christian publisher, but I really wanted to write women’s fiction, so Summerside’s request for me to write something funny to launch their Love Finds You line was such a blessing. There are few things I enjoy more in life than laughing … and I laughed my way through the whole writing process!

I got a lot of reader mail about that book, and I was so touched by the myriad ways that they identified with the characters. I heard from young readers about how Lucy was so cool and funny; then moms would write to me about how they passed the book on to their daughters, and the laughter they shared brought them closer together; and an 86-year-old reader pecked out a 3-line note about how she’d never sent an e-mail before, but she felt compelled to tell me what a fun read it had been. By the time it was nominated for its first readers’ choice award, I was already fully aware that Snowball was something very special.

So now, less than a year after its release, hindsight being so very 20/20, I can excitedly flex my “fortified” muscle and celebrate the role Snowball has played in building my career. Aside from being named a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards and winning second place in the Write Touch Readers’ Awards, I was especially thrilled to take third place in the short contemporary category of the IRCCs. In addition, that one novel has opened the door for five more contracts for books that will release between now and 2011.

As many of you know because of the association between the devotional I co-authored (Be Still … and Let Your Nail Polish Dry with Debby Mayne, Loree Lough and Andrea Boeshaar) and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, I am a survivor of ovarian cancer. During that battle, the Lord continued to bring Jeremiah 29:11 into my heart.

“I have a plan for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Five years later, as I look back on that beautiful scripture brought to me in the midst of a time when an actual future was a difficult reality for me to grasp, I often wonder if part of that plan was to snowball the writing career I’d been dreaming about for such a large portion of my life. So I encourage you this day, dear writer buds. You never know what’s around the next corner!

Award-winning author Sandra D. Bricker wrote screenplays and also published articles, fiction and non-fiction for kids, and sweet romance for secular readers before making her mark with laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the inspirational market in 2008. A frequent speaker on the subjects of writing and promotion, Bricker now makes her home in Tampa, Florida. Visit her blog here.

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