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Amber Dreams: The Fulfillment of My Dreams
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by Darlene L. Turner

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." — Hebrews 10:30 (NIV)

Have you ever had a dream but were too scared to step out of your comfort zone and just go for it? That was me. Ever since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book as a girl, I've loved a good mystery. I was hooked and knew I wanted to write. I even started my own "Mindy Dobson" series. Unfortunately, the spark faded and life happened. I grew up and put my writing on the back burner.

However, my dream of writing a book didn't let go. It held onto me with a vice grip. Finally, I decided to get serious. I joined a writers' club in London, Women Writing for Christ, and began taking writing courses through the Christian Writers Guild (CWG). I attended Write! Canada conferences put on by The Word Guild and the Writing for the Soul Conference in Colorado.

During my courses at CWG, I learned from the best: Jerry B. Jenkins and DiAnn Mills. I applied the different aspects of writing and began to dive deeper into my dream to write a book.

Jerry took my first chapter through his thick-skinned critique. I quickly discovered why he labelled it "thick-skinned." Yes, it hurt a wee bit, but I knew it would only grow my writing skill. I learned what I needed to work on and got to it. In May, I finished my contemporary gothic novel, Amber Dreams.

The next step was to start working on a proposal to sell myself and my book. This is the marketing element that makes most authors cringe. I was no exception. I got bogged down, frustrated, and almost quit. There's so much to think about. How do you sell yourself when you/ve never had a book published? How do you grow your platform? How do you catch the eye of an agent when there are hundreds of other authors trying to do the same thing?

I asked myself, "How can I stand out?"

All these questions raced through my mind and I have to admit I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel. Then I heard a sermon by Pastor Dave Elliott of Knollwood Baptist Church that put my dream back into perspective. He said, "Our dreams require perseverance."

I sat straighter in my pew and waited to hear more. He went on to ask a question that hit me like a ton of bricks. "How do you persevere in order to pursue your dream?" He spoke about when Jesus healed the paralytic and how the man's friends didn't give up. They cut a hole in the roof to help their buddy see Jesus. The obstacles didn't get in their way. Pastor Elliott gave these five points:
  1. Think creatively when confronted with a problem.
  2. Bring your needs to Jesus.
  3. Link arms with others in order to get the job done.
  4. Rise above the opposition of negative people.
  5. Remember who yo're doing it for.
    This last one hit me. I know God has called me to write. He instilled this dream in me, so I know I can't give up. I want Him to use my writing. My goal is to have my readers be captured by my plot, inspired by my characters, and changed by the Christ-centered message. Thank you, Pastor Elliott, for giving me the inspiration to keep on.

    Today, I'm fulfilling my dreams. I finished the first book in my Whispers of Lawson County series, Amber Dreams, and I'm currently working on Book #2. Plus, I'm blogging weekly at www.darlenelturner.com. I'm submitting my proposal to agents. This is a roller coaster ride of rejections and it can be hard to take, but I'm not giving up.

    God pushed me out of my comfort zone. Yes, it was—and is—stressful, but I continue to grow not only as a writer but as a woman.

    Are you ready to give up on something? Take it from me and keep on! Apply the above truths and persevere. It may not be easy, but you will regret it if you don't.

    Don't let go of your dreams. The fulfillment is worth it.