Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"What A Difference You've Made in My Life" Contest

Surprise! You didn't expect to hear from me so soon, did ya? Well, I'm posting tonight with some very exciting news that I just can't wait any longer to get to you! So without further ado . . .

Every writer (I think, though, I don't know for sure because I'm so new at this, but I'm pretty sure) wants their work to touch somebody. Maybe not always profoundly, but certainly no writer sits down to their computer or laptop and says, "Okay, I'm gonna write a mediocre story today!" Call me naive but I want to really make a difference. I always have. That's why I love teaching. And now I have the opportunity to make a difference with the stories I create, too. First and foremost, I always want to honor the Lord with my writing. Secondly, I want to honor my family, and I want to honor you and your loved ones.

But how? So I came up with an idea and, I couldn't believe it!, my publisher actually thought it was a good idea! (Not that my publisher wouldn't have because she's very open-minded, but I had a good idea!) I've decided to establish the "What a Difference You've Made in My Life" contest in honor of my daddy who has made an immeasurable difference in my life and to whom my first novel, The Heart's Journey Home, will be dedicated. Oh, and he was a Ronnie Milsap fan, thus the title of the contest! How does the contest work? Glad you asked!

This is where you, yes, YOU, come in. For two months, until September 7th, I want you to write me either by posting comments to this blog or email me directly (by clicking on my profile and then on contact me) and nominate a female (of any age) and/or a male (of any age) that has made a difference in your life. Let me clarify: you can nominate a male and a female or one or the other, but not multiples of one gender. Otherwise the contest will be lopsided and a lopsided contest is no fun. Tell me as much as you can about this person factually as if you were going to write an article on him/her and tell me why that person has made a difference in your life. That's it. That's all you have to do. On September 8th, I will take all of the nominations I get, separate the males from the females, and draw one name from each of the two categories (yep, the old-fashioned, fair-square way: out of a hat). I will write a special paragraph about the chosen loved ones in or after the acknowledgements section of The Heart's Journey Home and I will create a minor character in my book based on the information you've supplied me about your loved one! Karen Kingsbury did something similar to this and I just thought that it is a wonderful way to honor those that have truly touched your life.

Who to nominate? Anyone that has made an impact in your life. Just as an example, Stan and Alice-Lyle are friends of ours who has a child with Mitochondrial Disease. If they were to nominate little William and he were to be drawn out of the hat, I would write about how special of a little boy he is in or after my acknowledgements and I would create a minor child character who would be based on William. (Oh, and by the way, click on the Caring Bridge link under my blog lists and read William's story. They are a wonderful family.) My mother-in-law has recently lost three of her aunts. She may want to nominate one of them. A pastor, a friend, a teacher, a grandparent or grandchild, a sibling or cousin, anyone who you know you wouldn't be the same without - someone who you feel has helped make you a better person. I want you to be as touched by this as they will be when they see their name in print!

How am I able to do this? Because I am extremely blessed to be working with a wonderful Christian publisher who has given her writers a ton of freedom that other authors, even multi-published authors, don't get the luxury of having. I still don't know why she would want to take a chance on me, being so wet behind the ears and all, but I'm so very thankful that she has seen something in me, and I just hope that I don't let her down. Joan, just in case I haven't told you(in the last day or two), thank you for everything!

Okay, one last assignment for you: make sure everyone you know has a chance to nominate their loved one(s). Call, email, text, fax, or (as a last resort!) snail mail this web address (http://www.theheartsjourneyhome.blogspot.com/) to all of your friends and family. I hope you are as excited about this new opportunity as I am. I pray that this contest is a big enough success that I can do it again for the next book . . . and the one after that . . . and the one after that . . . I'll be looking forward to hearing from you and reading all about those that have made a difference in your life!

P.S. Update from earlier poll: I've decided, for a few different reasons, to write as Jen Stephens.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jen. Thanks for mentioning our wonderful William in your contest. Of course, he will definitely be the one that I write about. He has made as huge difference in our family. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.


J. M. Hochstetler said...

Hey, girl, I just love the way you've set this contest up! What a great idea--and a wonderful way to touch some lives. It'll be really fun to see who wins and how the character turns out in the story!