Getting Ready for the New Book

I work in publishing for a living, but it’s still an amazing thing to be working on a book that bears my name (The Uncluttered Heart, Upper Room Books, Fall 2009). The book will be out early this fall for use during Advent of 2009. But the production process for books is a bit long and drawn out. Here’s the journey of The Uncluttered Heart so far.

  • I was writing the manuscript last summer (2008).
  • The manuscript was due about a year ahead of its release — Fall 2008. (This is so that the marketing department can understand what the book is about and start to include information about the book in upcoming marketing pieces.)
  • Right before Christmas 2008, I got to see a bunch of cover designs and was given the opportunity to say which ones I liked or didn’t like. A committee made up of editors and marketing people made the final decision on the cover.
  • The editor of the book (Rita Collett) started working with the manuscript after the first of the year (January/February 2009).
  • Rita sent me a couple of rounds of the edited manuscript and questions she wanted me to address, clarifications, etc. I put my “Advent hat” on and tried to remember what I meant last summer when I first wrote those words. (I love having an editor, a person 100% committed to helping my writing be clear and valuable to future readers.)
  • The cover design is being finalized this month.

Before too long, when all the editing, design, and proofreading has happened, the entire project will be turned over to the production department. These talented folks pick the best printer and watch over the job as it goes through the production  process. Sometime in late summer, the books will come off the press and then will start making their way to the warehouse to be available for sale by the time folks are picking out their Advent resources.

Yearning for Spring

Bradford pear blossom
Bradford pear blossom

It’s been cold and wet here in Nashville. For a long time. Seems like the whole earth has been holding its collective breath waiting for spring to burst forth. We’ve been in slow motion … watching, waiting, barely daring to breath … hoping for the trees to open up their blooms and announce the end of winter. This week, spring is finally here.

I went out early this morning to shoot some pictures of the ornamental pear tree across the street. Nashville is full of these trees. They are almost the first tree to bloom in the spring and nearly the last tree to turn red in the fall. I don’t think I’d ever noticed until this morning the variety of colors in their blooms. Their white outlines dot the dormant, gray hills of the entire city. Once the pear trees are in full bloom, the redbud trees are soon to follow and spring is well underway.

Today, the day was clear and the sun was warm. I could almost hear the sighs of satisfaction from all of creation. Whew. Spring and her flowery beauty have finally arrived.

Lent and Social Media

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about a friend who gave up email for lent (“Fasting from Email“). We’re just a few weeks into this year’s Lent and Lenten practices are getting a quite a bit of press, thanks to a number of religious leaders coming out with the suggestion that people consider giving up Twitter, Facebook, or texting for Lent.

I use Twitter, Facebook, texting, and email and don’t feel called to give up any of them for Lent. But I find this discussion very helpful and healthy. What is Lenten practice about? Why give up chocolate or Twitter? Or take on more prayer or a Lenten study? It’s about finding the things that block me from God’s presence and giving them up. Or it’s about taking on something that will strengthen my relationship to God.

It’s easy to hear judgment when I hear that church leaders are calling the faithful to give up technology for Lent. That’s why I found really helpful this conversation with Father James Martin, associate editor of the Catholic weekly magazine, America. Listen to this story from NPR’s Saturday Edition.

Signs of Spring in Nashville

I get to work at home every so often — it’s a wonderful perk of my job. Today I spent the day writing, doing some finish-up work on the manuscript of my upcoming Advent book — The Uncluttered Heart (watch for it from Upper Room Books early this fall).

I heard the tree frogs this afternoon and the second daffodil was blooming in the front yard. I first noticed the tree frogs Saturday or Sunday night — it was about 25 degrees and just a few hardy frogs were peeping. The first daffodil was blooming on Saturday, when a cold front came through and  dropped a dusting of snow on it and the rest of Nashville.

I love to write while sitting at the kitchen table. The table looks out on the back deck — the feeding birds, the tops of the trees which line the hill below our house, the occasional squirrel getting a drink from the bird bath or hopeful cat hanging out under the deck railing. I’m grateful and mindful of God’s awesome creation.