A stack of papers sits before me, about three hundred pages high. From a distance the papers appear dogeared, but the whole pile is tied together with ribbon and is topped with a bow.
This pile of pages is my story, Dove Strong.
A closer look reveals my lines of writing. The first few pages’ sentences appear rushed, almost illegible, evidence of my excitement when I first began to write. I couldn’t get my words down fast enough. I had to get this all-consuming adventure from outline into story form.
A stick figure cat lurks in the margins, crayoned next to a stick figure family whose members possess two wavy lines that jut from the sides of each head. My youngest daughter contributed this crayon graffiti when she was three years old, her age when I began Dove Strong. Five years later, her creative energy still inspires me. At age eight, my daughter can’t truthfully testify why she gave her stick-figure dad pigtails…but she’ll spin you a fabulous story if you ask.
Caffeine stains splotch each chapter—drips and spills from my endless guzzling of Diet Pepsi, tea, and coffee in attempts to stay awake for nighttime writing sessions. Yet an equal amount of the crinkled-paper water damage is from tears.
These flowed in 2016 when the first publishing house who agreed to publish Dove Strong closed its doors a month before my book’s release. I cried harder when my mom died before being able to hold a published copy of Dove Strong in her hands, the story she had read in rough draft form and had encouraged me to take further. A well-published author herself, she was my writing buddy and a best friend I still miss every day.
The pages’ deep creases throughout are a result of the moment I jumped up and down at the news that Pelican Book Group would publish Dove Strong. My manuscript was crushed in the enthusiastic hugs I received from my husband, my family, my supportive in-laws, and especially my oldest daughter who is my most enthusiastic fan.
Crossed-out sentences mark each page. These are lines that Pelican Book Group editors have perfected. Their encouragement and crafted writing fill the spaces. Each addition and correction reflects an editor’s time, talent, and dedication.
This is my book, Dove Strong, and my writing journey. It is tied up with a beautiful bow because it is a gift. God, in His great generosity, gifted me with the ideas and ability to write for Him. Pelican Book Group gifted me with the opportunity to publish this work. And now Pelican Book Group and I present Dove Strong to others to read and hopefully to enjoy.
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