Monday, July 19, 2010

While I'm Away...Guest Blogger Nikki Arana

Well, this week, I'm going to attempt to take some sort of minor vacation. Not that I won't be working at all, but I'm trying to lessen the load a bit. One way I'm doing that is having guest bloggers all week. Basically, instead of having to think of something to blog about three times this week, others will do it for me. Which is really cool for you because you'll get to meet some wonderful authors who have incredible information and knowledge they're eager to share with you.

Another bonus is that I'm scheduling five posts this instead of just three, so you'll be able to enjoy even more good stuff. So look for an entry every day this week (Mon-Fri).

Thanks to these five awesome authors who stepped up and offered their assistance so I can take a (much needed) break.

So sit back and enjoy this first guest.

Nikki Arana is an award-winning author of women's fiction, essays, poetry, and magazine articles whose work has been published in the United States and Canada . She has won several national awards, including the American Christian Fiction Book of the Year for Women's Fiction for two consecutive years, the Beacon Award, the Excellence in Media Silver Angel Award, the Write Touch Readers Award, and others. Her book, The Winds of Sonoma was named One of the Top 20 Books of the Year by Her 5th, and first non-fiction book, Through the Eyes of Christ: How to Lead Muslims into the Kindom of God, has just been released. She is currently under contract with Cook Publishing. You can learn more about her at

People are always surprised to learn that I have sold everything I ever sent out. From that first magazine article to my first novel. Yes, God was blessing my socks off and assuring me that He had called me to write. At least that's what I thought . . . until 2007 when I began to write my fifth novel, The Shadow of Death.

The economy had begun a downward spiral, CBA was looking to broaden their appeal by moving toward fiction written from a Christian worldview rather the message fiction I was known for, and the subject of my book was evangelizing Muslims. There's a dicey topic to promote on a national stage! Though my previous books had won many awards, suddenly sales were not so stellar, and my once rising star seemed to dim. My agent couldn't sell my manuscript. In some cases, publishers offered a contract if I would write something else. But I knew the Lord had called me to write about the need for safe houses for Muslims in America who convert to Christianity. Many of you reading this know what I mean. God has given you a story and a passion to write it. But nothing is coming together. At every turn a door closes. You wonder if you are called to write.

It has been three years since I began writing The Shadow of Death. Offers have not come together, I've rewritten the book three times, I've fought writers block, and yes, even despair. Always coming back to the one thing that could sustain me if only I was sure-was I truly called to write. Finally, through prayer and a willingness to be broken, the Lord led me to the truth.

I am not called to write. I am called to intimacy with Him. It is about letting your dreams die and being willing to live out His dreams for you. It is about spiritual growth that has nothing to do with the writing itself. It has to do with the journey. It has to do with sanctification, being set apart for His purposes, realizing that you are not meant to serve God, you are meant for God to serve man through you. I no longer wonder if He has called me to write. I know He hasn't. He hasn't called me to do anything in my own strength. He has called me to intimacy with Him. Everything else is just the fruit of that relationship. It was the dawning of this life-giving truth that finally assured me about my writing, about God, His purpose, and His timing.

Surrender and seek Him. He will do the very thing that you think tests the limits of His power.

The Shadow of Death sold a few months ago. . . . in a two book deal.

Check out Nikk's current release:


kathy taylor said...

Great information about writing and CBA. Nikki's As I Have Loved You looks great. I love stories about families and their struggles and how God's love can bring them together.

Joanne Sher said...

What an amazing story! Thank you, Nikki! I know JUST how you felt. This was incredibly encouraging to me.

Susan said...

Thanks for your post. It's always good to have a reminder to seek Him first and all else will follow according to His plan. Susan

Nikki Arana said...

Good morning everyone. I'm in Idaho. So glad you found encouragement in my post. We are all on an amazing journey, aren't we.

PatriciaW said...

Nikki's books give me goosebumps when I read them so I can't wait to read The Shadow of Death.