After a very busy, very enjoyable weekend, I'm getting back to business. On Sunday my two grandsons were dedicated to the Lord at their church and the family had dinner together at a popular Buckhead restaurant. Yesterday they all came to my house for a barbecue. Needless to say, I didn't get much work done.
This week my concentration will be on editing my upcoming August release, I Can't Get Next to You. This story will be my first faith-based release (I've written three), and I'm a bit nervous about how it will be received. Back when I was still dealing with agents and editors, I'd submitted two of my faith-based manuscripts, and the reaction was mixed and confusing.
The Christian publishers said they were too edgy and needed to be toned down. The secular publishers felt that there wasn't enough drama. You see, they like to publish those "dirt in the church" stories about crooked pastors, or unfaithful first ladies, and I don't write that stuff. I wanted my stories to be realistic portrayals of people who were Christians dealing with the vicissitudes of life, as my favorite preacher in the world, Bishop T.D. Jakes, always says.
After several rejections, I put those stories away and decided to write mainstream women's fiction. With I Can't Get Next to You, I've returned to my writing roots and this story is very "edgy." It's about a born-again man who unintentionally falls in love with an exotic dancer, aka stripper.
The idea for this story came to mind because I live in Atlanta, Georgia, a city known simultaneously for fabulous churches and great strip clubs. In fact, my former church has had an outreach to women in the sex trades, including exotic dancers, for several years. There is a tremendous need here for that type of special ministry.
The premise of the story is what would a believer do if they fell in love -- not infatuation, not lust -- with someone who is considered completely wrong for them. And what kinds of reactions would that believer receive from his family and friends? I didn't write this book with an eye to justify anything. I just began to write, allowed the story to unfold, and I was very pleased with the result.
Even my critique partners that aren't born again understood the hero's dilemma and angst over his predicament and didn't feel that the story was too "preachy." Now that I am publishing my own work, I can deliver the story I want to tell, and I'm anxious see what my readers think about it.
This week I am also getting back to critiquing for my critsisters. Our activity in the group I belong to has slowed down considerably now that four of us have been published by traditionally and electronically. One of my new partners is working on her first book, while another is in the middle of her second, and I've vowed to be more available to them.
Marketing and promoting my three releases had commandeered my attention for a while. Now I'm trying to get more balance in how I spend my time and learn to do a little bit of everything rather than concentrating on promotion while neglecting giving timely critiques to my partners and shoving my own writing to the back burner.
I'll let you know how this works out ...