April McGowan

Don’t Speak

Don't SpeakDo you find it hard not to offer advice or try to fix things—not to speak when someone is in need? I have to admit, I’m a reformed fixer. And if you know me personally, you know I love to talk!

In the past year, I’ve had the privilege to sit in silence next to friends and even a stranger here or there. In December, I was on the phone with a gal in customer service at my internet provider who really needed someone to listen to her. She mentioned it was the first Christmas for her and her kids since their divorce. She went on to tell me about their new apartment, their plans for the holidays, and how things were hard, but going better than she expected. She must have shared with me for fifteen minutes (I hope they weren’t recording THAT call for quality assurance). After a while, she apologized for keeping me so long, but I told her it was okay, and I hoped she’d have a wonderful Christmas. After I hung up, my daughter came by my desk and asked who I’d been talking to. I told her I didn’t know and she gave me the strangest look!

In other times this past year, I’ve had close friends sharing tough times or experiencing deep grief. In those instances as well, the best thing to do was for me to stay silent and listen, holding their hand and offering to pray with them.

When I was a kid, we’d drive past farmland with rows of trees and bushes planted. If I tried to see them all, they’d be this big blur. But when I focused on one at a time, I could see the straight rows they were planted in, and the pathways in-between. Slowing down to listen is like that. And oftentimes, when we are listening, God will speak to our hearts about how we can best be there for others.

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…(full text here)

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Wonderful Baby

JasmineI use song titles for my blog posts. I’m very connected to music when I write and it just takes a bar or two of something on the radio to transport me to another place. So, when I started to think about this post, I immediately remembered a song I loved when I was a kid. I’d lay on the floor in front of my mother’s record player and listen to her Don McLean album. Wonderful Baby would conjure up the best images in my little-kid mind. And with the launch of my book creeping up on me, it’s the first song I thought about for the title.

Deep breaths! About four months from now my novel, Jasmine, will be released digitally (JUNE!) and then in September to paper. It’s been a long time coming.

In talking with a good friend the other day she commented how she thought the hard part was finding a publisher. And indeed-that’s hard! But there were those many, many years writing short pieces and novels that won’t see the light of day. There are all the classes, conferences and connections made with professionals in the field. Then came building a following on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Goodreads.

Waiting for a book to be published is like waiting for your baby to be born. At first you’re super nervous, because what have you gotten yourself into? Do you even know how to be a parent? You have a panic attack or two and then decide to break the news to family and friends. Their excitement carries you along and you start to feel like, “Yeah, I can do this!” And then the nausea and vomiting comes—scratch that, I didn’t throw up when I found out about Jasmine—I will, however, spare you the gory details of my 18 months of vomiting with my actual pregnancies.

Um…where was I? Oh yeah. You start preparing for the baby’s arrival (market plans). Then comes all the scary videos on how hard and painful things are going to be. Complete strangers (seriously, this happened to me a lot!) tell you horror stories about their birth experiences, and you begin to imagine the worst. You’re suddenly back at what have I gotten myself into?

That’s where I’ve been for the past few weeks. Excited but uneasy. Self-doubt creeping in. But, then I spied a locket my dear friend gave me when she heard about my publication debut (see photo). She hadn’t a clue that writing a novel was so similar to the birth process or how meaningful that locket would become to me. But, every now and then, I just pick it up and stare at it, a silly grin plastered over my face.

As I’m preparing for the baby book launch, will you stand by me and pray and help get the word out? I’d so appreciate your help. Please share my blog with your friends and ask them to sign up so they don’t miss out on any announcements. Just as it takes a community to raise a child—it also takes one to launch a book!

Do you have a blog I can be a guest on? Are you in a book club? Can you help me by posting on Facebook, Twitter and other avenues as the days draw closer? I’d love to count you in my launch team! Leave me a message below.

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