Who ever thought a plumber could get published, let alone write a book.
It was December of 2009 and I was feeling everything but the Christmas spirit. I was not excited at all for the holiday season. Perhaps it was because I felt we had given in to the commercialism of Christmas, or the worry of spending too much money, or just the lack of focus on the things most important in life. “Numb” is how I describe the feeling for the character in Christmas Notes who is feeling the same way. Whatever it was, I knew I had to change my feelings toward this special time of the year. Truth be told, I think I was ruining the season for my whole family. One night I had an awakening to this fact when one of my children told me that she was not very excited for Christmas. Coming from a child, my child, I knew I was destroying the magic. I had a hard time sleeping that night trying to figure out how I could right my wrong and bring the joy back into our lives for the holiday season.
I wanted to write my feelings down for my family, into a story that would save them, from ever falling into the trap of losing the true meaning of Christmas, like I had done that year. It was close to two o’clock in the morning when the story line came to me for the book Christmas Notes. I have always loved to write but because of my difficulty with spelling I never really perused this passion. I use to have college professors tell me, to my face, that I should not be in collage because my papers I turned in were that bad. One professor even did so in front of the rest of the class which had one of the girls I was trying to win over at the time. Still, I never let it get to me because I know everybody has their strengths and weakness. I have always felt that if those professors would have gotten off their soap boxes and read the content they would have found the masterpieces they were looking for. I always have put my heart into all of my writings hoping that it would make up for the mistakes in spelling and grammar. I could tell from just the outline of Christmas Notes that it was going to take all of my heart to put it together.
Because of my job as a plumber and my family, the only time I have to write is at night after everybody had gone to bed. Most of the outline and scenes from this book where fist written with a construction pencil on cut up lumber consisting of two by fours, and torn up cardboard while I was working at my job sites. The story line of Christmas Notes, was so ingrained in me that it only took a month and a half, of some very late nights to complete the rough draft. I had never planned on publishing it for anybody but my own family. It was at about this time that I had heard on the radio of a publishing company in a nearby city was having a contest. They where accepting manuscripts for Christmas stories and whichever story they chose out of all those sent in they would publish it. Still, I did not think I wanted to submit it. I asked my wife to proof-read the manuscript for me so I could at least print it off and bind it for my kids. My wife reads close to four or five novels a month so I figured if she liked it then it was all worth my time. It was the first time I had ever shared a story that I had written with her. After she finished correcting the manuscript she said, “You need to submit this! It is amazing!!! ” I, of course, called her crazy and left it at that. After about a week of her prodding me I submitted it to that contest I had heard about on the radio. A month later, I got the rejection letter. However, I did make the top 100 on the submissions. I am convinced it was my spelling and grammar mistakes that got me rejected. I never really expected it to win so it never bothered me.
My wife didn’t want me to be rejected again so she never said much about the story after I had received the letter. I, however, could not quit thinking about it. The rejection had not bothered me but the fact of only giving this story to my family was. I had fallen so in love with the story line and the characters (especially Seanna) that it almost shameful not to share it with others. I just knew this book could help others in their lives as well as my family’s. I had another friend named Carol Hanson, the author of Dark Star, do another edit on the book. Her insights helped me develop the story’s voice. I researched on the internet twelve different publishing companies and took the chance again. I submitted the manuscript to all twelve. About a month later I received four rejection letters. Two weeks later I received three offer letters. I am left to believe those other companies never even read the story. I researched all three companies and chose the one I felt would help me the most, to get Christmas Notes to as many people as possible. I sure am glad I chose the one I did because my editor Melissa M has helped me turn a good story into a masterpiece. I believe with all my heart Christmas Notes will change lives. The rest is history.