Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Unconventional God

First, a news update. Web of Lies missed the May bestseller list (reflecting sales in the month of March). No surprise—I’ve known for a couple weeks that it didn’t, thanks to its delay in posting online. I also discovered that the promotionals in bookstores that I thought could keep it on the list did not start until near the end of March, going until mid-April. Which means maybe it’ll have a better chance of hitting next month’s list, which reflects sales in April. Then again, one of the big chains doing a promo is Family Christian, which no longer sends sales data to STATS-- which creates the bestseller list. Sigh. Besides that, these lists can be notoriously fickle, as you can see.

’Tis a convoluted publishing world out there.

However, my biggest Snoopy dance for my pal Tamera Alexander, whose debut novel,
Rekindled, made the list! Many, many congrats, Tammy! It’s every novelists dream to make the bestseller list on the very first book.

Second, thanks to those of you who left comments for the anonymous BG whose letter I used in yesterday’s post. This person wants you to know how much your comments are appreciated.

For today, I give you—again with permission—another letter from an anonymous BG. (I will call this person ABG to avoid the pronoun issues.) This is someone else who could really use your encouraging comments and prayers. I find this letter, as with the one from yesterday, very humbling. God seems to be saying, “Hey you, cabinet-kicking novelist! So what if writing’s hard for you, so what if you’ve got a long way to go in this craft? I’m big enough to use your writing anyway!”

ABG, to put it mildly, has had some serious struggles in life due to a highly abusive childhood. Knowing this, I had advised ABG to not read my books. I feared that the violence level in them was something that could hit too close to home. To my amazement (and God’s mercy), ABG is devouring my suspense novels, with God speaking through each one. It helps, certainly, that this person is a dedicated Christian, open to all that God would want to say. ABG just received one of the Violet Dawn ARCS and read the first chapter right away. Excerpts from ABG’s letter:

[Note—Psalms 68:6 is the verse for Violet Dawn: "God makes a home for the lonely."]
Wow, Brandilyn, God’s timing of reading Violet Dawn is uncanny. I just finished Jesus poking my heart through Stain of Guilt when I got back home to find your book waiting for me.

Jesus doesn't dink around does He! Psalm 68:6 pierced my heart to the core so much, I fell into the chair. Forget sitting. A whisper of air left my lungs on the way down. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Heb 4:12.)

"Lord, could my heart please have a day off or something? I haven't even unpacked."

And what does He do? He makes me turn the pages until I reach page 14: "Surrounded by people who belonged." ????? Where's the stupid Kleenex box?

I've lived [here] since last July. Often with a wondering ache, 'where do I belong?'

"LORD, am I gonna get through this book in one piece? Or a million teeny tiny pieces?"

Well, this ought to be an interesting read. I don't think you have to worry about the violence, Brandilyn. There's stuff deeper in a heart longing to "belong" that takes me past any violence that comes up in your book. Violence and violations sometimes unearth people like us. (The "us" being Paige and me.) Gee, too bad Paige is just a character in your head. I'd like to meet her.

I've only read the first chapter but my heart senses things are going to hit home in unconventional ways.

I’m amazed that I should receive such a letter about Violet Dawn from just the few first pages. But then, God's often surprising, isn't He? This story has far less overt Christian content than my other suspenses. As I’ve noted before, the level of such content is dictated by the story, and this suspense plot just didn’t lead to as much (mostly because everything except the resolution takes place in about 14 hours).

As ABG notes, our God can be quite unconventional.


M. C. Pearson said...

Hey Brandilynn, I've got my post all set up for the blog book tour on the 26th! I'll let you know when it is available to view! God bless.

relevantgirl said...


Would you do a post (or have you done one) about the way bestseller lists work? Not that I'll experience that, or anything, but I'm really curious.

On a cba title, how much does one have to typically sell to hit that list?

Thanks for sharing blogger-pal feedback. It's really inspiring.

Wayne Scott said...

If ABG puts this kind of prose into ABG's WIPs, ABG is going to be published. You have a gift with words, my anonymous friend.

Sally Bradley said...

Relevant girl, that's a really interesting question, the part about the actual number of books it takes to break onto that list. Of course, it will vary from month to month based on what is sold, but on average how many books of her latest novel does Karen Kingsbury have to sell to get on that list????? :)

Becky said...

ABG, I suspect Brandilyn is praying for you by name.

May God make His presence known to you as your Father, the One who shelters you and is preparing a belonging place for you with Him always.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

Brandilyn, I can imagine how blessed you feel to have recieved such a letter!

God always works in mysterious ways!

Maybe this is His way of saving your toes from more cabinetry :-)
My review post is reading too! I'll let you know when it's up!

M. C. Pearson said...

Okay Brandilyn, my post for Web of Lies is up if you wish to visit!

M. C. Pearson said...

Ooops! Forgot to tell you that it is at Mimi's Pixie Corner http://tagsandotherformsofmischief.blogspot.com/