Ever since I was girl, I knew what my calling was: writing. Specifically, to write novels that show people the beauty of faith, the glory of God, and how our lives are richer when they’re lived with Him. I love to use human romances, well-drawn and in amazing settings, to demonstrate how God loves us.
Many years ago I listened to a class from a writers conference in which the amazing Susan Meissner broke writers into three categories: the hobby writer, the ministry writer, and the career writer. My critique partner looked at me and said, “Which are you?” I didn’t even have to think about it.
The funny thing is that I actually combine ministry writing and career writing. Which is to say, this is how I make my living…but money concerns are not what determine what and how I write. I will write—and I’ll write the stories God puts on my heart—regardless of whether I get paid for it. I can’t not. My bio says I’ve “long claimed that words are the air I breathe,” and that is the simple truth. Everything I do is in some way geared toward getting the written word into the world, whether it be through my writing, my editing, my cover designing, or our publishing efforts. I do it because I believe stories change the world. Fiction changes culture. My words, if written faithfully and put into the hand of the Lord, can be a tool He uses to touch hearts and lives. That is my prayer—that is always my prayer.
But of course, the reality is that my family needs to eat, which is why over the last few years, more and more of my days has been geared toward that “other” work I do—cover design, typesetting, helping other authors. Which is great work, and I love it…but my own writing time has been pushed into the margins. I’d like to change that, because this is still my primary ministry, my primary calling. Not only do I have writing contracts to fulfill, but I also have so many other stories I’d love to find time to write, stories my readers keep asking for—more in the Shadows Over England series, stories about secondary characters from other books and series, you name it. When I consider carving out the time to write those though, something became very obvious: I can’t, not with the way things are going now. I can barely get each contracted book done in time. Writing more? That’s going to require a change. That’s going to require…you.
And so, I’d like to invite you into this ministry. I’d like to give you, my readers, the chance to more actively participate in my calling, and to share yours with me as well.
So here’s what I’m envisioning. I’ve set up a system where you can help support my writing directly, at whatever level you feel led. In return, you get access to private pages here on my website and even a community through an app on our smart phones. I will check in with you every week by video chat—and members can reply with their own video chats! We can build each other up, share our struggles and our victories. I will let you into my world—not just the public side of it, but what it really means to walk out this calling and ministry day by day. I will share the pitfalls, the triumphs, the prayer requests, the challenges, the ideas and brainstorming, and the big dreams that we have. We can walk out our callings arm in arm.
If this works like I hope and I end up with ability to cut back on my “extra” work, that means more time that I’ll be dedicating to writing, so I’ll be creating more fiction for you. I’ll be able to work on those extra stories in some of my series that readers are always asking for but which I can never work in around my other contracts. It means I’ll be able to spend more time researching and building my faith, so I can work all that into my stories too.
And mostly, for me, it’s about humility and sharing the calling and ministry, opening up…which is often so hard for an introvert like me to do. But I know the value of community. And I want to truly have it with you. That’s one of the things I’ve most enjoyed about things like the tea parties and my Facebook lives—they give us the chance to really connect, to get to know one another. I’ve been wondering how to take that and multiply it, how to really edify each other. I’m excited to see if this is a way we can do it.
So right now, I have two options set up: you can join as a Patron (for as little as $25/year) or as a Peer (starts at $100/year). Both options give you the choice of subscribing by month, quarter, or annually, and each one is also set up with “choose your own price.” So while there’s that minimum buy-in for each level, if you feel led to give a different amount, you can! Everyone who joins the ministry will get access to a private page here with updates and bonus content—some blog-style thoughts and devotionals, videos, and maybe even extra fiction. You’ll be able to share your opinion on things I’m working on and really join me along the journey, every step of the way. We’ll have the privilege of praying for each other, and you’ll be invited to share YOUR journey and calling as well! You’ll receive an invitation to join a special video chat group through an app called Marco Polo (free download on your smart phone!) on which I’ll be doing weekly updates and to which you’re welcome to reply with your own, you’ll get a coupon code for my store good for the duration of your subscription, and other perks aimed at enriching each other’s lives.
If you choose the Peer level, you’ll get all that plus you’ll receive each of my books, signed, as they release—you won’t have to place a pre-order for these, they’ll be automatically sent to you if you’re a supporter during a release. (No more trying to remember if you’ve pre-ordered already or not!) You’ll also receive a special tote bag design that won’t be for sale or available elsewhere, along with other perks throughout the year.
Too often in our society we have this idea that we need to rise or fall alone, do it all ourselves—but that isn’t the kind of Church that we’re supposed to build. We’re supposed to support each other, love each other, give to each other. So this is me being very vulnerable and saying, “This is how you can help me create more.” I need the freedom to focus more on my primary calling. And it’s also the chance for you to share with me and the other members of our community what YOUR calling is, and how we can support YOU.
I hope you’ll join me—share in my life and calling and ministry and let me share in yours. Because I truly believe that if we come together, supporting each other in word and in deed and in giving, then we’ll accomplish some amazing things for the Lord.