Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hope Floats by Heather Frey Blanton

Heather Frey Blanton
I have wanted to be a published author since I was five. Today—literally today—I am 49. And I am not published. I came agonizingly close once, only to have the door slam shut in my face. In the midst of that heartbreak, God showed me something amazing: hope floats.

In May of 2012, my book, A Lady in Defiance, made it all the way to the fabled “contract meeting.” Breathless, I read emails from my agent that hinted at heady things like the possibility of a “multi-book offer.”

I was in a meeting with my boss when I saw the email come through that said the publisher had decided, instead, to “pass.” Sucking up a punch from Rocky would have been easier to take. The second I could, I headed for the lady’s room to yell at God. Man, I was crushed. And, yet, I still felt…hope. It wouldn’t go away. It wouldn’t sink to the bottom of my sea of despair. It kept bobbing to the surface. In that restroom, God clearly impressed on me that he had a plan. Would I wait on him? Could I hang in there with Him?

Reluctantly, I nodded, and with a lump in my throat, said aloud, “God, I trust you. I know you have a plan here.”

Little did I know his plan was already unfolding.

Rewind to February, 2012. I had asked my agent if I could self-publish my book as a fundraiser for my Relay for Life team. I wanted to raise $200 for the American Cancer Society, what I thought was around 200 copies. Long story short, by the end of the year, A Lady in Defiance had sold over 8,000 copies! Over 12,000 have sold to date, and I am writing full-time now. I’m not sure I could have taken that path if the deal with the traditional publisher had gone through.

God’s unexpected blessing on my book led me to question my dream and, specifically, the motivations behind it. On the surface, it would seem He was telling me, “You don’t need a publisher.” And maybe that was his point. Why do I want to be traditionally published anyway? Is it just vanity? Pride? A desire to be accepted by my peers? Sure, all that probably figures into it. But, bottom line, I want to get my stories out to more people, even if I make less money. God has called me to write. I believe that. In fact, that is the only thing I do know for sure about this crazy gig.

So why keep hoping for traditional publishing? Because when we have a dream, God has a miracle in the making. Are you humble enough to believe his version may be better than yours? If you’re feeling frustrated or snarled over the direction of your career, my advice is hold on to your dream, but with a loose grip. If God wants to take it out of your hand, trust that he’ll replace it with something better.

About the Author
Heather started writing when she was five; her first tale was a ghost story that her mom typed up for her on a Brother typewriter. Over the years, she has worked as a journalist for newspapers, magazines, and blogs. She grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne Westerns. Her most fond memories are of sitting next to her daddy, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester! She loves exploring out West and would happily spend all her time researching and rummaging through ghost towns till the cows come home. Heather lives with her husband and two adventurous boys on a farm outside Raleigh, NC.


A Lady in Defiance

... It's his town and he dares God to step foot in it.
Charles McIntyre owns everything and everyone in the lawless, godless mining town of Defiance. When three good, Christian sisters from his beloved South show up stranded, alone, and offering to open a "nice" hotel, he is intrigued enough to let them stay...especially since he sees feisty middle sister Naomi as a possible conquest. But Naomi, angry with God for widowing her, wants no part of Defiance or the saloon-owning, prostitute-keeping Mr. McIntyre. It would seem however, that God has gone to elaborate lengths to bring them together. The question is, "Why?" Does God really have a plan for each and every life?

Learn more about best-selling author, Heather Blanton at her blog, http://ladiesindefiance.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton
Twitter: https://twitter.com/heatherfblanton



20 comments:

  1. "If you’re feeling frustrated or snarled over the direction of your career, my advice is hold on to your dream, but with a loose grip. If God wants to take it out of your hand, trust that he’ll replace it with something better." Awesome!! God's amazing, isn't He? He blesses us with so much more than we could ever imagine, and I'm sure that's His point. Thanks for sharing, Heather.

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    1. He is amazing, and tender, and loving. He wants nothing but good things for us! Thank you for your comments, Dora!

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  2. Heather, thanks for sharing. I had a similar road to indie publishing. I do think a great deal of it is letting go of OUR dream and letting God's vision for us take over--and it's bigger than anything we could've planned. All the best to you as you follow His leading in your writing!

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    1. And the same to you, Heather. I think the most important thing we can do is write what God gives us to write and write it to the best of our abilities. He will take care of the rest. Thank you!

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  3. Except for the fact that my book just came out and I don't know that I'll ever sell as much as you did, your story could have been mine. Thanks for the affirmation!

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    1. I pray God blesses your sales, but, more importantly, that your book blesses and impacts your readers in a very real way. Thank you for the comment, Robin!

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  4. Thank you for sharing your story. So inspiring!

    Christi Corbett

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    1. Thanks, Christi. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I'm living proof. The journey of faith has been a real muscle-builder!

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  5. Ah, Jeremiah 29:11, one of my favorite verses. God does have His plan and only He can provide the patience to wait for it to unfold. Great post, Heather!

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    1. Patience wasn't one of my virtues, but it is now...mostly. Waiting on the Lord is much easier when you KNOW he's working on your behalf. Thank you for commenting!

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    2. Oh, that's one of my favorites, too! In fact, it's my verse of the year. And love that, Heather! That's one for the bulletin board.

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    3. The thing is, we should know. But we forget that. Silly little creatures, we humans.

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  6. WOW! Congrats on your amazing sales! God is awesome!! I'm loosening my grip on my original dream. At this point, I'm just happy to hear that someone read my book and enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your testimony.

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  7. You know what, Melissa, I think now things will happen for you. God wants to make sure our dream is in the palm of HIS hand so he can shape it, sculpt it, knock off the rough edges, and turn it into his masterpiece. And if the sales haven't been great for your current book, write another. Evaluate what you've learned from this one and put the lessons in the next one. Get crackin', girl!

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  8. Heather, your story encouraged me in another area if my life. I really needed your words today. And Sandra's mention of Jetemiah 29:11. Thanks, ladies.

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    1. Terri, I'm really glad to hear that! So let go and let God! He's got this.

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  9. Wonderful, inspiring story, Heather! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for reading, Tamara. I've sure learned a lot on this journey. And it's exciting to see what God's gonna go with my next book. It's in his hands!

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  10. Thank you, Heather! I needed to hear that message of hope. I ask myself the same questions you did. And I am going to follow your advice and quit "trying" so hard and let God bring His plan to pass.
    Your story is truly inspirational and I'm blessed today because of it.

    annknowles03@aol.com

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    1. Ann, I just saw this. Relax. Let go and let God. Or as a friend of mine told me recently, just get out of his way! Laugh...

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