Everyone’s had the rug pulled out from under them at least once in their lives. Generally, nobody likes that. It’s disorienting, disappointing, and aggravating. In the case of Celestial’s future, it wasn’t so much that I got thrown off my rug hard enough to crack my skull. It was more like somebody poked me off my rug inches at a time with a sharp stick. Annoying? Yes. Frustrating? Certainly. Honestly though, it felt more wearisome than anything, but I guess, when I’m as stubborn as I am, lengthy pestering was an effective way for God to get my attention. He had other plans for my game design, and it took Him prodding me right off the game designer track to begin Celestial on the author track.
Those who’ve followed me on FlyingFaith for a while probably heard me mention how Celestial went from game to book. Truth be told, though, that was kinda the cliff-notes version. The change really began as I unsuccessfully tried to get my game off the ground. I kept hitting brick walls. Firstly, nobody could really help me. Secondly, I had zero talent for software engineering. I didn’t give up though. I studied curriculums; joined Christian game designer groups; and composed music and wrote plots for another designer’s projects. Later on, I put my gaming know-how to use as a reviewer for Christ Centered Gamer. Then I went so far as to acquire a development engine to practice with. Still, three indispensable things I lacked: time, money, and help. Personal passion couldn’t make up for those. The shame of it was I truly believed God gave me something genuinely special to share. It depressed me terribly to think Celestial might only ever exist in my mind.
As I pressed onward though, another call urged me to let Celestial become something else entirely—something I didn’t want and wasn’t prepared for at all. I had outlined my game’s plot by this point, and I tested it on friends and family. To my relief, they loved it. To my bewilderment, they loved it enough to ask if it’ll be a book. I, however, dismissed the notion outright. Not because I disliked the idea; more because I didn’t consider myself a particularly skilled writer—certainly nowhere near the caliber needed to be an author. Still, that same question kept returning, and my uncertainty could only stall me from that route for so long. Months passed. My project continued running in place. Then I realized Celestial couldn’t stay penned up in my head forever, so I softened. I’d give the book idea a shot, and the perfect opportunity was about to come my way.
With dance classes to teach, widowed grandmothers to take care of, and a church to constantly clean, my life was (and still is) packed. I considered any time to myself a blessing. Thus, our annual family vacations were always a welcome change of pace, and glory be to God. Our trip to Orlando Florida had arrived. If any chance to try a chapter existed, I knew that was it. I scribbled in my notebook as we left the highway. I kept my pencil scratching along the paper as I sat in a bustling, overcrowded lobby. Then later, I took my project to the poolside. With my hands oiled in sunscreen, eighteen-year-old me occupied herself with sentence upon sentence. Then at last, Celestial’s first chapter sat complete before me. What’s more? An unexpected desire to continue writing overshadowed my former plans.
After coming home, I typed out and showed my chapter to a few more friends...which is how Linore Burkard caught wind of it. She’s a successful author from my former church. She also has a sharp eye for detail and a penchant for blunt honesty, so you can imagine my clashing emotions when she asked to see my work. Excitement tangled with embarrassment. On the one hand, I desperately wanted to know whether or not I had actual skill. On the other, I steeled myself to get wrecked. How shocked and relieved I was then, when she returned impressed! Despite my inexperience, she felt I had great potential and a story really worth pursuing! Few things are more empowering than a genuine compliment. Thus, by her urging and guidance, I took a deep breath, took the plunge, and joined the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) for proper training. I entered their critique loops, and a new direction took over. Celestial, the book, began. Boy howdy, I had no idea what I was getting into....nor how long it would take....
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