Friday, March 21, 2014

The Power Behind the Pen by Michael K. Reynolds

Michael K. Reynolds

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by trying to do it all—family, church, job, and pursuing a career in writing? It’s not easy, is it? How do you handle it? Author Michael K. Reynolds faced such a time, and he’s here to share what he learned. Be blessed! ~ Dawn

The Power Behind the Pen
 by Michael K. Reynolds

Ever feel like throwing in the pen? Giving up this crazy writing pursuit?

The voice in your head whispering: Who are you fooling? This will never amount to anything.

I heard the voice almost exactly a year ago. In fact, there were dozens of voices joining together in a discordant, conspiratorial choir. And it sounded like hopelessness.

No question about it. I was in a crisis. 

My first novel Flight of the Earls had just released and I was overwhelmed by the demands of promotion. My second book In Golden Splendor, which at the time was due to come out in a few months was in final production. Then my third book Songs of the Shenandoah was already past its appointed draft deadline with my editors writing me patient…but pointed…e-mails: “Is it just about ready, Michael?”

Uh…not exactly.

It was the dream of my life fulfilled…and I was miserable.

Because during a time that should have felt like tremendous victory my world was shattering tiles beneath my feet. Just like Elijah after his triumph over hundreds of the false prophets of Baal, I found myself alone, quivering in a cave of darkness.

Behind the scenes I had just learned my publisher was eliminating nearly the entirety of their fiction line, which meant the new deal we were working on for my next trilogy just vaporized.

Meanwhile, the business I owned was going through a tough transition, our family was facing some unexpected financial and health issues and I was completely exhausted from a two year schedule of balancing two full time jobs while trying my best to keep my family first.

Spent…wiped out. Kapootz. And for what, Michael? A foolish chasing of the wind? I was ready to throw in my pen.

Fortunately, through the gentle mentoring of some of my most respected writing friends I realized what was wrong.

In all of my busyness and relentless goal chasing I had inadvertently pulled the plug out of the wall.

My time in the Word was subordinated to “maybe tomorrow” status. My prayer life was pared down to pre-dinner blessings. My family had pulled back from service in church. We no longer attended our weekly Bible study.

And I was a Christian fiction author! It was my faith that was becoming make believe.

God has a great sense of humor and it turned out the joke was on me. My third book, Songs of the Shenandoah, staged during the Civil War was all about hearing His voice during even the most difficult battles of life. I had managed to get lost in my own plot.

I realized in that moment my struggles were a gift from God so I could breathe into my characters with firsthand, visceral experiences. The Civil War fields became the canvas of my own personal struggles.

So I plugged back in.

In God’s infinite mercy it was extraordinary how rapidly my world healed and my energy and passion returned. The concluding novel of my series virtually wrote itself the rest of the way and with its recent release it’s been encouraging to learn how it’s already changing lives.

If you are writing with the purpose of honoring God, you must realize you are at war with a bitter enemy. When you hear that voice in your head urging you to quit, be firm and say, “Get behind me Satan”.

Then make sure the plug is firmly attached to the socket.


Author Michael K. Reynolds offers encouragement for those times when you want to give up. Click to tweet.

Have you tried using personal struggles to breathe life into your characters? Click to tweet.

If you write with the purpose of honoring God, you must realize you are at war with a bitter enemy. Click to tweet.

At the onset of the Civil War, Seamus heeds his wife’s wishes to return to her beloved family farm in the South, where he takes a post as chaplain for General Stonewall Jackson’s brigade. As Seamus ministers to the troops, his sister Clare ministers in a different way—by being a powerful voice in the Northern cause toward freeing the slaves. All this while their youngest brother Davin, who became wealthy during the Gold Rush, struggles to find love and identity in a fallen world. It’s a clash of loyalties and beliefs that threaten the entire family, each of them trying to hear God’s encouragement in the midst of the tragedy of war. The dramatic conclusion to the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland Series.

Michael K. Reynolds’s debut novel, Flight of the Earls, about the Great Irish Potato Famine was recently nominated for RT Book Reviews 2013 novel of the year award in the category of Inspirational Romance. In Golden Splendor, set during the San Francisco Gold Rush, received similar high acclaim and Songs of the Shenandoah, the Civil War-era conclusion to the trilogy was just chosen as a Top Pick in RT Book Reviews.

Michael is the author of a popular Christian Blog called Real Life. Real God. and he has been rated as one of the top 50 Christians on Twitter. He lives in Reno with his wife and three children.

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