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I Choose ... A JOURNEY

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne has always been my favorite classic. The incredible adventure set the stage for the modern-day fantasy genre and paved the way for many incredible authors. When you think of this ICONIC story, many people picture the incredible scenes set in the center of our earth. I, however, love the JOURNEY. The main part of the story, filled with ups and downs and twists, is much more inspiring to me than just the magical world they end up in.

The JOURNEY is what makes the difference. It’s in the ADVENTURE that we grow and learn. Tomorrow I will be heading to my fourth writers conference, and if you don’t know already, this conference had a HUGE part to play in me getting my contract for Once Upon a Book! In fact, if you don’t know the story, here it is:

“Hey! Since you lost your job, you could go to the writers’ conference with me!” My mother’s words did little to comfort me, considering I had just lost what I had assumed was my dream job. But … I HAD always wanted to go to the conference with her.

“But, Mama, the conference is less than two weeks away, and I have NOTHING prepared.”

“That’s okay, just start a new idea now!” Mama forgot I wasn’t a bottomless pit of story ideas like she was. But … I guess it couldn’t hurt to sit down at the computer. It had been quite a while since I had opened a Word document and just started writing. The excitement grew over the next two weeks, and soon Mama and I were all packed and heading to one of her favorite places on earth. This was certainly going to be an ADVENTURE.

Huh … adventure. That word has always been a favorite of mine. Ever since I was young it meant good things! Adventure was a good book, an action-packed movie, or a surprise sister date. But really, adventure makes me think of one of my favorite series to dive into as a kid: the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. I loved flipping through the pages, making choices that adapted the storyline. (Somehow, I always ended up getting sucked into a black hole or releasing a squirrel inside the Statue of Liberty and having to start over.)

Yes, this spontaneous road trip was definitely an adventure. I didn’t know how closely it would resemble my favorite series at the time. Reaching the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, I was introduced to some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, and I felt right at home with the rest of the “odd ducks.”

Over that week, the idea I had typed so quickly in the weeks before became fleshed out into (surprise, surprise) my own form of a choose-your-own-adventure book. By week’s end, I had a ton of ideas, two whole pages written, and a few interested agents and editors.

Fast forward a year. Yes, a whole year.

“Hey! Since you lost your job, you could go to the writers’ conference with me!” Déjà vu much? This time I gleefully accepted my mother’s idea and opened the forgotten document. Another ADVENTURE! By the end of THAT conference I had a whopping TEN pages written, still a ton of ideas, and more interested professionals.

Fast forward one more time to this past summer.

“Hey! Since I just lost my job, I could go to the writers’ conference with you!” HA! Take that, Mama! I beat you to it!

I think God was trying to get my attention. This time, I was determined, and by conference time, I had a third of a manuscript and a few ideas left. That week however pivoted me into a very real choose-your-own-adventure. Around the fourth day of the five-day conference, I decided to meet with a publisher I hadn’t met yet (CHOICE #1), not having much to show her besides a few starting pages and a one-sheet proposal.

That conversation sparked this publisher’s interest, and she welcomed me to send her the full manuscript and proposal when it was completed, provided I had an agent. I happily accepted her words and went home with every intent of doing just that. About a month later, I received an email from said publisher asking for the synopsis and first few chapters. I considered politely declining, since it was far from ready, but I didn’t (CHOICE #2). Only a few days later, I received word from her offering me a contract! AND she wasn’t concerned that I didn’t have an agent! I would receive the actual legal document upon receipt of the full manuscript and proper proposal.

You would think I would have quickly finished the novel, wrote a bang-up proposal, and sent it on its way. Nope. I made the decision to not touch the manuscript for four months (CHOICE #3). See? Sucked into that black hole again!

However, around Christmastime, the book started nagging at me, and deciding to muster all the Christmas magic, I managed to write the remaining 40,000 words of the rough draft in just under three weeks (CHOICE #4)! I gave the finished novel to my mom for Christmas, and she helped me do the first edit and that bang-up proposal.

Sitting in a Panera Bread, with trembling hands, I hit send on the most important email I had ever sent (CHOICE #5). And WOW, was it a happy ending!

As I prep for this next week of classes and fellowship, I have also been preparing for the next step in my journey. PREORDERS! Between working with my editor, having bookmarks made, and printing order forms, I have been smiling non-stop. This whole JOURNEY is starting to come ALIVE!

Starting this Monday, Once Upon A Book will be open for preorders through me personally, and the idea that people can reserve a copy of my DEBUT novel just thrills me! This adventure has no END, and for that I am THANKFUL! I look forward to each beautiful new BEGINNING as I make my next choice in this JOURNEY!

P.S. – To preorder Once Upon a Book, please send me an email at: faithcolleenweaver@gmail.com 😉

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