Monday, January 20, 2014

Humility and Forget Me Not

After years of writing and waiting, a burst of rewriting and editing, and a bout of finalizing and formatting stress, Elizabeth's finally making her debut...

http://www.amazon.com/Forget-Not-The-Hearts-Spring-ebook/dp/B00HY0XUMY/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1390213347&sr=8-7&keywords=Amber+Stokes

I confess that Forget Me Not has been a continual lesson in humility for me, and I've marked her arrival on Amazon with a sort of bittersweet welcome. This story and its characters have been with me for so long... I've watched her change and grow as I've done the same. I rejoiced when her first draft was complete, then felt discouragement when I realized how much blossoming she still had left to do. I set her aside in favor of her sequel, and only seriously returned to her this past December. I dug out her deeply rooted issues and gave her a new beginning, fixing up the rest as needed. I revisited her after the proofreader spent some time with her, then again with another read-through. I've worried over her, afraid that I've let myself be too influenced by other stories, afraid that her recent changes have made her too similar to other plots and not as unique as she ought to be. I fretted over her formatting, frustrated at yet another experience demonstrating my lack of skill and understanding in that area. And I grew increasingly impatient, wanting to share her with the world and move on.

The whole thing has left my emotions in a turmoil, although my night-owlish ways, the pressures of marketing, and the knowing that I need to find another job outside the home probably have contributed to my confusion. I just feel at a loss right now, and I wish I was giving Forget Me Not a more proper welcome.

The one thing that stands out to me in this, though, is the important reminder that this is a gift. Forget Me Not wouldn't be what it is today without the help of some really wonderful people (including Elizabeth Ludwig, Rachelle Rea, and Lena Goldfinch, to name just a few). My writing lately, watching pieces fall together, has reminded me that a story - while certainly a labor of love - is not some amazing work of brilliance that I've worked out all on my own. It's a beautiful gift, a combination of inspiration, insights from others, and a passion for characters that I've been privileged to know like no one else will, as they're pieces of my heart (even if I don't know everything about them and get some of their facts mixed up from time to time). I'm not saying the stories I write are perfect or on the level of Scripture, straight from God's mouth - not at all! But I'm learning that being a writer and bringing a story to fruition aren't claims to my own fame. They're indicators of God's glory and love. They're reminders that this dream I'm living is a blessing.

And now I'm crying... Oh goodness. I'm not really sure how this post is going to come across. It probably seems ridiculous that I'm feeling unsure and contemplative instead of ecstatic at the release of another book. I just hope that somehow God uses me and this book baby for His glory and for the blessing of others. And I hope that I'll keep learning and growing through the cyclic seasons of humility.

If you want to check out Forget Me Not on Amazon, you can find it HERE. There should be a paperback version soon, but I'm not sure on the exact timing... If you wouldn't mind praying for God's will to be done with this release, I'd sure be grateful. While I am a little stressed at the thought of the blog tour preparations left to finalize, I am looking forward to that time - and hopefully my spirit will be a little lighter by then!

Thank you for putting up with my rambling release-day thoughts. Hoping all is well with each of you whatever season of humility and life you find yourself in!

20 comments:

Rissi said...

Amber, we are all so proud of and happy for you! You've put time, effort and your heart into these novels - 100%. It shows in the results and your enthusiasm for them. Congrats on the release of another novel... that's wonderful and I'm eager to read and review Forget Me Not very soon. (Hopefully this week I'll be reading it!) And whenever the print version arrives (it'll happen when it happens), I'll be first in line to snag a copy. :)

Don't forget to relax and take time to enjoy this process. You've earned it. :)

Thinking of you.

Rebeka B. said...

I second everything Rissi said. So happy for you, Amber! I hope God blesses you and gives you peace during this stressful time and you can enjoy this release as you should! <3 :)

Bluerose said...

I have to third Rissi! ;) I'm thrilled for you and so very proud of you!!

Amber Stokes said...

Rissi,

Aww, dear friend, your encouragement and thoughtfulness mean so much. ♥ Your support for this series means the world, as does your understanding and kindness. I'm so grateful for your friendship!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Rebeka,

I truly appreciate the kind words, dear friend. :) (And again, it's great to see you back in the blogosphere!) Thank you for your support! May the Lord bless you with peace in all that's going on in your life, as well. ♥

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Bluerose,

That means so much! You all are so very sweet and supportive. ♥ Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

~Amber

Melanie Backus said...

Amber, Congratulations to you. I know you deserve every bit of praise you are getting for your beautiful book. You are blessed with a talent dear girl and you are sharing it with those of us who cannot do what you do. Thank you for sharing!

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Kara said...

Amber, thanks so much for sharing your heart! I'm soooo proud of you and soooo happy for you about this book release :) I have no doubt that you're bringing God the glory with your talent/gift/humbleness. Praying for you as you go through whatever changes God has you in, I'm so blessed to know you! Continuing to pray for you to have peace, revelation, encouragement, and more of God's tangible presence in every area of your walk. So excited about this blog tour, hugs and smiles to you my friend!

Amber Stokes said...

Melanie,

That is incredibly kind of you to say! Thank you so much for your heartfelt encouragement. You've blessed me! :)

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Kara,

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and for taking the time to read my ramblings! I really, really appreciate the prayers and your encouragement. ♥ I'm so blessed to know you - thank you for being a wonderful example of a thoughtful, kind-hearted, and godly blogger! Hugs and smiles back!

~Amber

Chris B said...

Praying for you Amber, peace, hope, His Will/timing. I am so excited to get to read your book and plan on getting one on Amazon. I appreciate all you as an author go through to bring both entertainment through reading and the spiritual incites you share with each book. His richest blessings on you, Chris

Michelle T. said...

I'm so happy for you Amber! What a blessing to see your second book available on Amazon; I purchased my copy this morning! :)

Praying that you have peace, as God continues to reveal His plans for you.

Love & Hugs,
Michelle

Amber Stokes said...

Chris,

Thank you so much for your prayers and your excitement for Forget Me Not! I hope you enjoy the story and are blessed by it in some way. ♥ I'm truly grateful for your encouragement! It means so much.

Blessings to you, as well!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Michelle,

Aww, I so appreciate the kind words and the support, dear friend! Thank you for buying a copy! I hope you enjoy reading the back story of the characters from Bleeding Heart. :)

And thank you so much for the prayers!

Hugs! ♥

~Amber

Sherida Stewart said...

Hi, Amber! I emailed you today....and then read this post. Amazing how God's timing works out. Your journey on this writing adventure is a blessing from God. I'm praying for your success and for you to be confident of God's plan for you.

And I just bought your book on Amazon! Blessings to you!

Amber Stokes said...

Sherida,

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement! I'm honored that you chose to buy a copy of the book. :) And I'm truly grateful for those prayers!

Blessings to you, dear friend!

~Amber

Cindy V said...

Congratulations, Amber, on the release of Forget Me Not!! Such a wonderful event deserves a celebration! And no doubt, God will use your book and your words to touch the right person at the right time. You never know how someone can be impacted by a book -- it might be a welcome escape, or an inspiration, or even an opening for introspection. Whatever the case, you've clearly poured your heart and soul into this work, and your readers will feel that, too! It will pay off in the end.

As for the tears, well, lots of people go through some postpartum blues when they finish writing a good book. After all, when you've just spent so much time with characters you know and love, and then the whole thing comes to and end -- yikes! It's like saying goodbye to a friend! It's just a sign that you've created a wonderful world for your reader, and it's a sign of a good writer! Keep up the wonderful work!

Buckley Bergdorf said...

Dear Aunt Amber,

Bogey and I are so proud of you for writing your next book, too. We hope you have as much fun with your book as we have had with ours. We suggest celebrating with a nice tuna fish dinner -- you can never go wrong with tuna fish.

Hugs and wet nose kisses to you! (And Bogey sends some fish-flavored cat treats your way, too . . .)

Amber Stokes said...

Cindy,

I really appreciate all of your encouragement! Thank you so much for the sweet and supportive words. :)

I'm so glad we've become friends! I know your books really touch people, and I'm happy to have had the chance to share one of them with others via our blog tour. :)

~Amber

P.S. I finished your devotional book about a week ago - thank you so much! I love when we're able to see deeper spiritual truths in the little things. And your cat stories are very sweet! :)

Amber Stokes said...

Buckley,

Aww, Buckley! So nice of you to drop by. :) I confess I'm not actually a huge fan of fish... *gasp!* But maybe I should give it more of a try sometime. I think I sort of liked trout, which we've caught during fishing trips...

Many hugs and chin rubs to you and Bogey! :) Thank you for brightening my day!

~Amber