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As I begin this post I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I am on the verge of releasing my very first book. I have always loved to write and I have always been told I should write and I have written A LOT of things. I have even been paid to write lots of things: ad copy, brochures, bios, wedding speeches, eulogies, obituaries, short stories, essays, letters, white papers, articles, web content, song/poem name it, I have probably written it! What I have never done, at least in my own name, is write a book.

I always struggled to find the "story" that inspired me enough to actually sit down and write. So, I embraced the "write what you know" philosophy and it finally happened. I had an idea that was deeply personal, but relatable. One that was truly reflective of the things I value that I think a broader audience might also value.

One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:8: (New King James Version) 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

These are the things I value and I want to help young readers "meditate" on these kinds of things. So, I asked myself.... what is true? Stories about my I will loosely base my book on those. What is noble? I think there is nothing more noble than a family that prays together and stays together no matter what. So, I will draw on my experience as a daughter, sister, wife, and mother. What is just? WHOA...big heaping can of worms in this day and age, but I think for the purposes of writing, being just is requiring accountability for actions and responsibility for rights. Therefore, I will write stories with a "moral"...a traditional lesson through a Biblical world view. What things are pure? Is there anything purer than the innocence of a child? A children's book, then...that's what I will write! What things are lovely? As I pondered what made me feel "lovely" as a child, I thought of the nickname my late father gave me: CHARMING HOLLY CHRYSTAL...because I never met a stranger and talked even in my sleep. That shall be her name! What things are of good report? Again, from my childhood, sincere, honest, meaningful questions that informed how I see the world. What is virtuous? Well, here I fall short...a lot...but, I try! What is worthy of praise? In the words of my favorite Casting Crowns song "Nobody but Jesus!"...but I think I can develop an interesting, inquisitive, innocent character He would wholeheartedly endorse. Actually, I think I have!

We are DAYS away from introducing her to the world. The illustrator is literally putting the finishing touches on the e-book version this very minute. I met with traditional publishers and hybrid publishers and Christian publishers and all kinds of publishers. But, after much prayerful consideration...Personal Wordsmith will self-publish. This will allow me to retain full creative, editorial, and artistic control of the finished product which is a vision I dare not trust to anyone except the OG, as it were.

How can you help? I am glad you asked! Just read the blogs and sign up for the notices and share on social media like your favorite football team just won their second National Title...GO DAWGS! Thank you in advance for spreading the word. CHC will have her very own social media presence, in her voice, which I will share once the final illustrations are available. For now, you may follow PersonalWordsmith here:

I AM SO EXCITED! Please keep this little book and its author in your prayers!

May God bless and keep you all.

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