Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dreaming with Amber Stockton - WIN HER BOOK!

A big welcome to today's guest blogger, author Amber Stockton!





Dreams.

Such a broad topic, yet it's one with which I am quite familiar. Who isn't? After all, without dreams, we wouldn't have much of a purpose in this life. Dreams keep us going from day to day, even when the going gets tough. Dreams give us something on which to pin our hopes and sights, despite the current mire or quicksand we might be enduring.

Let me tell you, I know all about getting stuck in the mire and feeling like I'd never get out. That was me only a little over 2 years ago. Then, God opened the floodgate, and I was blessed beyond my wildest imaginations!

How about we start at the beginning, though? :)

I'll confess, I'll be 33 later this year. Most women don't like to admit that, but it's important to what I'm about to share with you. Because, you see, I spent an entire decade of my life hoping something would change and praying that at least one of my dreams might be realized. After high school and college, I found myself at a crossroads. So many of my friends had graduated, knowing exactly what they wanted to do and who would be by their side as they did it. Me? I had no clue. Worse yet, I was still alone and single. In fact, at 22, I had yet to have a boyfriend or even experience my first date.

I'd graduated with a degree in elementary education and received a certification to teach. I even did that for 2 years before realizing this just wasn't where I was meant to be. So, instead, I became an administrative assistant and remained working at the local Christian bookstore where I'd been hired 3 years prior. Staying busy helped keep my mind off of my loneliness, but it didn't eliminate the reality by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, when I wasn't working, I spent my time alone at home, still living with my parents, holed up in my room or office.

During this time, I dabbled in the writing world, experimenting with some fan fiction and short stories. I also began a correspondence with a favorite author, Tracie Peterson, via email. Three years later, in 2002, she encouraged me to join a newly formed national writer's organization, at the time known as ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers). Today, that organization is ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and is the premier Christian fiction organization in the world. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Believing it couldn't hurt, I joined and in October of that year attended my first writer's conference. That's where I met many other writers and authors and discovered that I'd love to join the crazy bunch by becoming a published author. However, I had no clue how to even begin. Enter another author, Linda Windsor, who lived somewhat nearby and offered to take me under her wing, not to mention all of the valuable instruction and guidance ACFW offered through their annual conferences, online courses and email discussion lists.

Now, obviously, there are a lot of details I'm omitting. I'm trying to keep this short and to the point, though. :)

So, back to Linda and the mentoring she offered. Because of her help, in late 2004 I had a proposal ready to send to Barbour Publishing's romance book club, Heartsong Presents. Despite my fear and trepidation, I submitted the proposal. Then, I waited.

Six months later, I hadn't heard anything. It was now the summer of 2005. I followed up with the editor, who happened to be Tracie Peterson's husband. They are no longer involved with the club line, but they were responsible for helping me get my foot in the door. Anyway, a few weeks later, I received an email from Jim saying the file had some issues, and he couldn't open it. So, I sent it again. Six weeks later, while attending the annual ACFW conference that year in Nashville, Jim came up to me and told me to check my email. I did and to my delight, he had replied saying he wanted to see the full manuscript. I nearly cried with joy.

I suppose I should also interject the little tidbit that the previous year at the conference in Denver, I had met a young man who wrote science fiction and had been brave enough to join a romance writer's organization a few weeks before it changed its name to straight fiction writers. Earlier in 2005, we had started an online correspondence via email and instant message and formed a fast friendship. I guess the 2000 miles separating us made it easier. We met up again in Nashville and spent a good deal of time hanging out and having fun. Several married ladies at the conference started plotting to get us together, but we were fine being friends.

Anyway, back to the manuscript. Upon returning home, I went straight to work, finishing the novel and sending it to Linda for proofing. It took about four months, but by January in 2006, I had sent off the full book to Jim.

Again, I waited.

During this time, my friendship with Stuart began to progress, and I found myself looking forward to each evening when he'd come home from work and log online to chat. There were days we'd spend hours talking through instant message. Time held no meaning. At first, he wasn't planning to attend the conference in Dallas that year, but I persuaded him otherwise. Just before the conference, I received word that Jim Peterson loved the book and was giving his full recommendation to Tracie that Barbour move forward with purchasing it!

You can no doubt imagine my delight. It took another four months before I received the actual notice that they were going to buy my book, and just before Christmas that year, I received my very first book contract!

As I still worked retail at the time and it was Christmas, I didn't get home until late. Stuart, living two time zones away) was the only one online for me to share my good news. Everyone else in my house was asleep and I didn't want to wake them. About a week later, still flying high on the euphoric reality that I'd soon be a published author, I again was chatting with Stuart when he suggested he fly out to see me and we celebrate by catching a show in New York City. After spending a lot of time together at the last conference and parting ways with me feeling like things were going nowhere between us, I jumped at the chance.

He arrived in March of 2007 and after four days together, we had no doubts about our feelings. One week later, we were engaged, and five months later in July of 2007, we were married! And yes, there are a lot of details again that I'm leaving out. If you want to read the full story, you can check out the main page of my web site. Click on the Wedding Day Story then the Engagement Announcement. :)

After leaving everything I knew to move to Colorado and be with my husband, it took another six months before I received the very first copy of my book, hot off the press. Still, having Stuart there to rejoice with me meant more than I could ever put into words. That book released in February of 2008 and was followed by my next two books in July and November. During this time, I also signed contracts for three more books which release this year.

In the midst of all of this, there is another exciting development. I know, hard to believe it could possibly get better, right? Well, it did. In August of last year, Stuart and I discovered we were expecting our very first child, who is due in March.

So, as you can see, a lot has happened in a short amount of time. Looking back, it still feels like I might have wasted a lot of time in my 20's wondering when life would happen to me and when I'd see my dreams come true. However, seeing where my life is now and what's looming on the horizon, I realize all of that in my past had to happen to make way for what was to come and what will still be coming my way.

If you've found yourself in a similar situation, don't give up hope. That's the worst thing in the world you could allow to happen. I might have allowed slight depression to get me down, but I kept moving forward...even in tiny steps. God's voice kept whispering to me that my time would come. Although I got angry with Him and even yelled a bit, I now can look back and see the big picture along with His overall plan for my life.

Today, I couldn't be happier than where I am right now. Joy fills me as I look forward to all that God has in store, and the dreams in my heart that have yet to be fulfilled or realized. To those of you down in the trenches, I've been there. I'm speaking to you and begging you to keep holding on to your dreams. Keep forging ahead. You just never know when everything you ever imagined for yourself might be over that next hill. But you have to climb the hill to find out. If I can impress upon you one thing from this story, it's this:

Never, ever, ever give up.

(Thanks, Jennifer, for having me here today. I hope some of your readers are inspired by this story of mine. And if anyone wishes to leave a comment, you'll be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of my next book releasing in April, Copper and Candles. Feel free to also comment on the story or share your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber Stockton is an author and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author in beautiful Colorado Springs. They are expecting their first child in March and have a vivacious puppy named Roxie, who is half Border Collie and half Flat-Haired Retriever. She has sold six books to the Heartsong Presents line of Barbour Publishing. Other writing credits include several writing articles for national and international publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and book contributions to 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage and Grit for the Oyster. Read more about her at her web site: www.ambermiller.com.


ABOUT THE BOOK - Copper and Candles

Society teas and garden parties, shopping, gossip—Life as a young lady of means may be fun, but Felicity wants to do more. Unfortunately, she finds that her position and wealth can sometimes hinder her efforts to help those around her in need. Thus, when a charity case falls ill and cannot work, Felicity determines to go to work as a commoner in Detroit's dangerous factory district. Relationships become complicated, however, and she soon finds herself falling in love with a worker from the copper refinery next door. She knows her family would never accept him as a suitor, but what's a girl to do? What she doesn't know is that Brandt has his own secrets and hides his identity just as carefully as she. Brandt and Felicity soon discover that deception—no matter how noble its intent—demands a price that even they, with all their resources, may not be able to pay. Can they survive the storm when truth is revealed?

WIN THE BOOKS

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Copper and Candles, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on January 29th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Please note that this book releases in April, so the winner's book will be sent out in late March. Good luck!

15 comments:

mez said...

I enjoyed your story of becoming a writer and finding the love of your life. You mentioned Tracie Peterson and Linda Windsor, how blessed you are, they are two of my favorite authors. Add me for your new book, thanks!
worthy2bpraised{at]gmail{dot}com

traveler said...

What a wonderful feature. This book is captivating and lovely. I especially enjoyed the interview and learning about the author. Thanks for this special giveaway.
saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

tetewa said...

Sounds good, I'd like to be included! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

anne said...

An amazing book which appeals to me greatly. It sounds enthralling and unique. The interview was an excellent introduction to your life and writing.
Thanks for this chance.
rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

windycindy said...

Felicity sounds like an interesting person. Great story line! Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

rebornbutterfly said...

It's a great title for a book!
I'd love to read it!

ruth said...

This story is wonderful. I especially think that the artwork is exceptional. Thanks.
bencanada1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jennifer AlLee said...

Hi everyone!

Ruth, I agree. The cover's beautiful! I have a soft spot in my heart for cover art :+}

Even better, this author is wonderful. For those who haven't read her yet, you're in for a treat!

Carolynn W. said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us! The book sounds wonderful...I would love to read it, thanks!
carolynnwald at hotmail dot com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Jen, thanks again for hosting me here on your blog. It was fun sharing about my dreams. And appreciate the plug on my writing. Aww, shucks. :)

mez - I agree about being blessed to have Tracie and Linda in my life. Completely God-orchestrated.

traveler - Thank you for reading. The book was fun to write and I look forward to hearing the reviews.

Teresa, Cindi and Carolynn - good to see you three over here. :)

anne - Glad to hear you enjoyed the post and the book summary. If you want to get started early, I have 3 other books out now. (www.ambermiller.com)

rebornbutterfly - I love the title too, and my editor raved over it. LOL!

ruth - the cover is not quite in its final stage, but it's real close. Not much will change, and I agree. The cover artists have done fantastic work so far on my books.

Good luck to each and every one of you in the drawing. Thanks for dropping by.

Linda said...

After seeing your pictures of your baby shower, it was fun to read of your romance and marriage on Jennifer's website. Dreams do come true! Thanks for sharing and offering a free book. Add me to your contest.

desertrose5173[at]gmail[dot]com

Rebecca said...

Thanks for sharing your story about becoming a writer and meeting your husband! Please enter me in the drawing for the new book, it looks great.

rebecca191 (at) aol (dot)com

ScarlettCooper said...

What an amazing story! It is very inspiring and your book sounds really interesting!

it_girl_wc05[at]yahoo[dot]com

quiltingreader said...

I enjoyed hearing your story.

Jennifer AlLee said...

The winner is... windycindy! Thanks, ladies, for stopping by :+}