Little did I know exactly what I was getting into when I said, “I’m going to write a book.” The entire process had not been as simple as that statement. But if you were to ask me, “Would you do it all again?” the answer would be, “Most definitely, YES!” Of course, I would take a lot of what I’ve learned with me. ;)

I started this “race” of writing my book in June of 2009. I began by redecorating Chris and my office into my working studio where I would research, read, pray, listen to songs, enjoy peace and quiet, and of course WRITE. I carefully chose serene colors of lilac purple, light denim, and soft green colors to create a comforting and safe place for me, knowing I would spend many, many hours there. I displayed many photographs and memorabilia throughout the room so that everywhere I turn my head, I’d see something and remember with a smile instead of a tear. This was my safe place. This was my where my “Starting Line” was for the book.

Two years later, I thought I created a masterpiece! Of course, every brand new writer would like to think so after spending so many hours writing with blood (not literally), sweat, and going through countless boxes of tissues and moments of sheer joy. When I saw the many, many, many (you get the idea?) red marks made by my editor on the first several pages, my delusions came tumbling down like a building being imploded. Afterwards, all you see is debris and a large billowing smoke of dust rising from it. I begged my editor to stop and we talked for a long, long time. She guided me in what I needed to do to improve my writing skills and back to the drawing board I went. I worked on my skills for two months until I felt I was ready to give it another shot. While the story hasn’t changed, the presentation and style of it did – dramatically. When I turned my first three chapters over to my editor, I literally spent the week biting my nails and I never do that! Finally, she called.

“Light-years better, Stephanie. Keep going with it.”

All the anxiety lifted away from me at those words as I shed happy and relieved tears. I remember that moment as if it was yesterday and I prayed,

“Okay, God, let’s Ride On!” I spent the next 8 months rewriting, revising, and editing the book until it was finally complete.

In between the time I wrote, I also researched self-publishing companies. Just like the book, I felt I was in way over my head, feeling overwhelmed with so much that is involved to print a book. It was difficult to find out how little I was prepared to write the book in the first place; however it was even more astonishing to learn all that is involved with a publishing company! After comparing several different companies, I was lead to Booklocker Inc and submitted my manuscript to them on Friday, April 27. Sunday morning, I kept having this strong feeling to check my e-mail. I thought there would be no way I’d hear from the company since it was the weekend. Early in the afternoon, I couldn’t take what became a nagging intuition. I saw a congratulatory note accepting my book and welcoming me to their family. I was so excited after reading the first sentence, I sent out a text to Chris’ brothers at the same time so that they would truly be the first to know the news and then got on the phone to his best friend.

After I finally calmed down, I went back to the e-mail. I discovered that they were very picky about what books they accept and unfortunately reject many that didn’t adhere to their expectations and guidelines they use to accept a book:
1. It appears to be thoroughly edited and well-written.
2. It is the kind of material the company wants to market.
3. It’s one of those books that when you start reading – you can’t put it down.

My book passed all three criteria. Wow! I kept looking at the third statement. My publisher couldn’t put the book down? My book?! That compliment ranked right up there with my editor’s when she finished the book and told me, smiling, “This is a really, really good story.”

So, I spent the next two months working out the many details for the book with the company. At one point, there was a long waiting period when I felt my patience was being tested. As anxious as I felt to get the book out there, I realized that everything will come together in God’s time.

Then one day, things started happening again and we’re working out the last set of details before sending my book to the printer. Before it becomes ready for purchase, I will get to see my book in print for one last review.

My book in my hands. My heart is racing at this thought, tears are welling up in the corners of my eyes – I have to stop to wipe them so I can see the computer screen, and Goosebumps surface, making me shiver.

I can finally see the “Finish Line” straight up ahead. It’s so close. I let go one of my handlebars and stretch my hand toward it as if I could somehow touch it. I look up at the bright blue Heavenly skies to blow a kiss to God and then one to Chris. I grip my handlebar again. I can hear my families and friends cheering me to keep pedaling.

I’m Riding On!

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