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This Journey

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

...has been both rewarding and eye opening. I sat down in January 2020 to write a book. Thanks to God and the Holy Spirit, I had a story. Up until now, my writing has been a largely solitary pursuit---something I did for me, something I seldom shared with others. Thanks to that solitary pursuit, I have wonderful starts on other stories that might, one day, become books. But Boundary Water Search and Rescue was different. I wanted to share it with others, largely because of the unique way it came about (something I've shared in other posts). The writing of the first book in this series was like the others---a quiet room, prayer, tapping on my keyboard, proofing, revising, re-writing and always moving forward. At the time I started, this was going to be one book with elements of romance, a marriage relationship, music, danger, and redemption. I'd planned to self publish, probably on Amazon, without much in the way of marketing. That was it.



Somehow through the endless months of 2020, that plan exploded into something unrecognizable. Almost as soon as I finished the first draft of Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief. I knew that I needed to tell more of Jack and Liz's story. I even knew where I wanted to take our evil protagonist, Reynoso, because that plot line needed to continue, Before I really understood what was happening I was hip deep in writing Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Imagination. (It's a story of redemption and proof positive that God has a sense of humor when answering prayer and redeeming the years of the locust.)


That wasn't all. By the time the draft manuscript was finished, I'd shared it with my mom and with my husband (my mom is actually responsible for the sub title 'Beyond Belief'). Their reviews were encouraging. They'd read the manuscript, proofed it, and I'd altered the draft accordingly. Then I told a dear friend (really scary to share my baby, even with someone close) about this project and she read it. As a professional editor, she realized right away that it was still pretty rough, but she also saw potential. When I opened that first file of corrections from her, I nearly hit delete on the whole idea of publishing. I mean, I'm educated, probably overly so, I can write, I even used the Chicago Manual of Style for my law school papers. But boy-howdy, there was a LOT of red ink on that draft she sent back to me. You know what? Instead of giving up, I buckled down, made the corrections, asked questions, and I learned. One of the indelible lessons from that time was that I would never edit my own work (I will proof it, but not edit it). DKBB was the most seminal person in moving this project into the realm of professional writing. She pushed, she corrected, she educated, and she encouraged. Since her first reading of the manuscript, I pay her for her services (multiple rounds of editing, plus a final polish) and she is worth every penny. When I finally submitted my work to my publisher, they said it was one of the cleanest manuscripts they'd ever received. That compliment belongs to DKBB.


The other group of people who took Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief from a rough draft to something that I believe is really special were my four beta readers. They found holes in the plot-line, inconsistencies, problems with word usage, and answered my really vague questions, such as 'did you like my characters?' The amount of time they spent (uncompensated apart from a signed book) floored me. I am so grateful to these folks and I have found beta readers to be an invaluable asset. I'm too close to the stories, but these folks tell me when I've done things like go from point A to point D, without hitting points B and C. I know the plot line and sometimes I fail to give those very important transitions.


When an international Christian publisher picked up Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief (they've also picked up the second book in the series) I just sat back, flabbergasted at the journey God was orchestrating for this project. I read the very first draft of Beyond Belief just a few weeks ago. The final product is so much better, not because of my solitary pursuit, but because of the people who have helped me along the way.



Why am I choosing to write about this now? I just got the typeset draft of my first book. I cried when I saw it because well, it looks like a book. In just a few short weeks, I will hold a finished product in my hand and it will be available from all the major book sellers, including many independent booksellers in northern Minnesota (where the series is set. Tentative release date late February/early March 2021). My heart is filled with gratitude to those individuals who loved me and my characters enough to share my vision. Thank you!


Love to all,

Joy

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