Lisa is offering both SHENANDOAH NIGHTS and SHENANDOAH CROSSING, Books 1 and 2 of the WINDS OF CHANGE series (great reads!) to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, March 14th, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!
Why I Seek God’s Will by Lisa Belcastro
Have you ever had a great idea for a book, started the story, and then had life interrupt your progress? I mean the kind of interruption that stops you in your tracks, knocks you off your feet, and makes you want to hide under the covers for the rest of your life? Me, too!
A few years ago, I had signed my first book contract with OakTara Publishing. They bought one book, Shenandoah Nights, and asked if I could write a couple more to have a trilogy. Like most aspiring writers, I’d agreed wholeheartedly and set out to complete the task. I was on chapter four of book two, going along with my life, thinking I had everything fairly under control, when I found myself on my knees at the foot of the cross.
My past, the pain from childhood, and the many poor decisions I’d made since then all merged to crush me at the same time. My pastor suggested I go away on a spiritual retreat. Go away? I didn’t have time to go away! I had children to care for, bills to pay, school and church activities I’d volunteered for, and a couple of books to write. I couldn’t afford to take time for myself.
After a week of tears, screams, and agony, I signed up for a two-night, three-day silent retreat. Driving to the Get Your Life Together Center, I listened to a CD my brother had given me weeks earlier. Even though my brother hadn’t told me, I knew that I wasn’t going to like what was on the CD.
Sure enough, my estranged father’s voice boomed out over the speakers. The recording had been done while he was speaking at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Minutes before he had a heart attack. Seconds before he died.
I listened to all thirty-two minutes and forty-six seconds of his talk about his life. I didn’t hear him fall on stage. I didn’t hear anyone call 911. I didn’t hear the words I longed for and so needed to hear. When I parked my car at the retreat center, I was soaked in tears.
I felt a strong nudge to write down my thoughts. After checking into my room, I grabbed a pen and notebook, and headed out to the waterfall garden. Sitting in the sun, water rolling gentling over rocks, flowers blooming all around me, I wrote the words that were constricting my heart:
“I cannot tell you the moment my father took his last breath. I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that my father did not utter a breath about me. No memory. No regret. No apology. If you had heard him speak that night, or if you listened to the recording, you would not know he had a daughter. You wouldn’t know I existed. I was not worth mentioning. In my father’s half-hour speech, he confirmed what I had believed for the last thirty-three years: I am nothing. Not worth mentioning. Worthless.”
Forty-eight hours later, I left the retreat with dozens of pages written. Another “nudge” told me to keep writing and put what I learned into a book. I heard that voice nudging me for weeks. I did my best to ignore it. After all, I write romance novels. I had no desire, absolutely none, to write about my past. I’d buried it for a reason, thank you very much!
I went back to work on book two, Shenandoah Crossings. Only one problem, I couldn’t think of anything to write. My story was stuck on chapter four. No matter how much I pleaded with God to give me the words to tell a good story for Him, nothing came . . . except the voice telling me to write my life story. I hated that voice!
After a month of getting nowhere on Shenandoah Crossings, I gave up. I went back to that notebook from the retreat, and delved into my past. I journaled every thought, feeling and experience. For six months, I revisited every nook, cranny and corner of my past. I invested another six months writing So Long, Someday: An Abandoned Daughter’s Journey to Healing.
I won’t tell you it was easy, but I will tell you it was the most rewarding year of my life. There are still bumps along the road of life, but I know whose I am now. I know without a doubt that I am a loved and cherished child of God, a daughter of the King, a princess nonetheless. With this knowledge filling my heart, I completed Crossings and the third book in the trilogy. The first two books in the Winds of Change trilogy were released last year. Shenandoah Dreams is scheduled to hit bookstores this summer.
As for So Long, Someday, I entered the manuscript in Thomas Nelson’s Women of Faith novel contest last year. Out of five hundred entrants, I finished in the top ten. I’ve got one more edit to go through, and then I’ll spend time in prayer deciding if and who to submit the finalized copy to.
As a writer and a believer, I learned a valuable lesson throughout the process of drafting So Long, Someday: before I can write any story, I must first seek God’s will for my life and then try to follow it to the best of my ability.
Can anyone else relate?
Lisa's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Author Lisa Belcastro on Everyone’s Story: what happens when life gets in the way with writing? (Tweet This)
Lisa Belcastro, author of historical romance with a touch of time travel, shares uplifting words. (Tweet This)
Stories that will whisk you away: Lisa Belcastro’s #BookGiveaway of #ChristianRomance (Tweet This)
Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She loves chocolate, reading, writing, running, working in her gardens, including weeding, and almost all outdoor activities -- as long as the temperature is above sixty degrees! Being on or near the water is pure joy for Lisa.
When she’s not at her desk working on her next novel or writing the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine, Lisa is volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, gardening, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach with her husband looking for sea glass.
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