Stories that Matter

Change. Again.

I didn’t pick a word for the year. I don’t know why, really. I guess I didn’t give it much thought. But now I kind of feel the word picked me.

Change.

Ironically, it was my word for 2015. And I wrote this blog post about it. Just a few months before I would announce my first big publishing contract.

We’ve been through a lot of changes since that post was written. But one thing remains the same. I don’t like change.

It tips my world a little and makes me feel all discombobulated. Makes me use big words. Like discombobulated. See, I already made some big changes toward the end of 2018. Like promising myself to get healthy and stay healthy. Walking away from wine. Yeah. That was a biggie. But I did it, and I continue on that healing journey, and you know what? It hasn’t killed me. I did kind of think it might. But I’m here to say I’m far better off now. So I thought that was a big enough change. Not to mention our house is still on the market and who knows when that will sell and we’ll have to move to who knows where . . . and there I go feeling all discombobulated again.

One thing I’ve learned about life is this – it goes on. Actually, I ripped that off from Robert Frost.

“In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

I use that quote at the beginning of Chapter Two in my book Where Hope Begins. (Which by the way, happens to be on sale at the moment – you can grab a Kindle copy for $2.99. See what I did there?).

So. Change. It’s inevitable, isn’t it? I like to think it’s something that happens to other people. Not me. But sadly, I’m not immune, and when change comes, I have to cope. And since I’ve gotten rid of my regular coping mechanisms, I’m having a bit of fun watching myself fumble through this new season I’ve stepped into. Funny thing, though, I’m doing a lot better than I thought I would be.

I’ve had the amazing privilege of publishing three novels with the awesomely talented team at Harper Collins Christian Publishing. It truly was my dream to work with them and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity. But my next book won’t be coming out through HCCP.

I have no idea where it’ll end up at the moment. I’m back on the rollercoaster ride that is the publishing business. But this is a change that, honestly, even though I was expecting it, made me squirm a little. And I think I know why.

I was too comfortable.

That’s how it works, isn’t it? You get comfy, kick your feet up, think yeah, this is the life, and then, wham! Not so fast, bucko.

Oh, okay then. But now you’re on the floor, wondering how the heck that happened. And you can either lie there and moan and groan and feel like a failure, or pick yourself up and open the door and take a look outside. What you see might surprise you. Yes, it’s scary and it’s unknown, and your GPS might be broken, but you have to step out anyway.

I have to step out.

And I think, career wise, that path might be pointing toward a little foray into the general market. But let me say this first.

I love the Christian Publishing industry. I love the people, the readers and the authors, the book bloggers, the editors and everyone in between. But I’ve had a hard time really fitting in. I don’t have an answer to the why. I just know it to be true. It’s sort of like wearing that new pair of shoes you really wanted because they’re pretty, but they pinch. A lot.

I feel like I haven’t found my tribe yet. I’ve found some of them, definitely, and you know who you are and I’m soooo grateful for you. But I’m not sure my writing has found its true home yet.

Maybe there isn’t such a place. Maybe this is . . . the end.

Yes, that ominous thought has crept in more than once over the past few days. Because there’s so much about this that I don’t know. But there’s also a lot I do know.

This is not the end.

I will not stop writing. I will continue to try to the best of my abilities to get my words into the hands of readers. I’ve gone Indie before, so that’s always an option.

I have a kickass agent who absolutely believes in me and my writing, and I trust her implicitly with wherever we’re going next. I can also say I probably would have had a few nervous breakdowns by now if not for Rachelle.

I have a decent sized band of faithful readers who have really enjoyed what I’ve offered them so far, and I will continue to write for them. And I hope they’ll follow me wherever I land.

I will not compromise the things I stand for. Whether I end up someplace in the general market or back in CBA, that goes without saying. But one of the reasons I love general market fiction so much is that there’s something for everyone. I believe my ability to tell stories is a gift from God, and I’ll continue to honor that gift.

I have always trusted God. He put me on this journey, and I believe this is just another step along the way. We’re not done yet. He’s got the GPS, I’m just along for the ride.

So there it is. That’s where life is for me at the moment. As for what comes next, well, I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for joining me on the journey!

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22 Comments

  1. Glenda Hershberger on February 9, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    I hope you stay with Christian fiction and use the gift He gave you to honor Him. You encourage others to be faithful when you write about Him.

    • Cathy West on February 9, 2019 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks, Glenda. I feel I can use that gift just as well in the general market too, if that’s where I end up.

  2. Katie Donovan on February 9, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    You know I’ll follow you wherever you go! And I think you have a lot to offer the general market—stories they need to hear. I’ll be praying this new story finds the right home, wherever that might be. ❤️

    • Cathy West on February 10, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      Thanks, my friend! I appreciate you!!

  3. Beth Ellen on February 9, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Catherine I can relate in so many ways. After 15 years of a wonderful marriage (and 18 years together) with a fabulous husband, it ended. Not because of anything either of us did, but because my recurrent breast cancer killed it. His ability to be a caregiver and my knight in shining armor disappeared. Knowing my life was going to be a treadmill of SCAN, TREAT, REPEAT, until the day Christ called me home changed his love for me from wife to a friend. He wanted out.
    So change meant relocating several states away where I knew 2 people and had to find a new oncologist, surgeon, primary care etc.
    Part of that change meant purchasing my own home and finding two (!) phenomenal churches where I am fed truth and have received such welcoming friendship.
    Change also meant drawing closer to God. As painful as it is, we are called to put Christ first before family, friends and vocation. I am confident that as you lean heavily on His word and communicate in prayer you will do more than cope: you will find exactly where He is calling you to be.

    • Cathy West on February 10, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      Wow. Stories like yours are why I write. Because people need to know that even in our darkest hours, there is hope! You’re a warrior and an inspiration, and most importantly, you know where your strength comes from!! Praying continued good things in your new journey, so glad you have God leading the way. xo

    • Linda Moffitt on February 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      I don’t know you but WOW you are strong and very inspirational

  4. Alynda Long on February 9, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Praying for you in this journey. You were so kind to me in Nashville. You took the time to sit and talk with a crazy newbie standing in line before you at the market cafe. You listened and encouraged me when you absolutely did NOT need to do it. It meant a lot to me and was one of my “divine” appointments of the week.

    • Cathy West on February 10, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Alynda, it is always a pleasure to meet ‘newbies’. It reminds me of when I first started out and I was so fortunate to have many kind souls along the way to guide and listen and I learned so much from them. And one thing I wish I had learned right away? Don’t hold it all so tightly. That was a tough lesson, but over the past couple of years, I have come to really understand it. And so now, even though I’m in the midst of change and uncertainty, I know it’ll be okay. I’ll be okay. 🙂

  5. Christine Dillon on February 9, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    If you have the ability to write for the general market and put fingerprints of grace on the stories – then go for it. So much needed.

    • Cathy West on February 10, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks Christine! I am excited to see what comes and where God leads.

  6. Melissa Andres on February 9, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Praying the Lord gives you clarity in how and where you can best serve Him! I will continue to be a faithful reader!

  7. Delores Topliff on February 10, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing so candidly. I know God has a place for you and your writing and I will pray with you.

    • Cathy West on February 10, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you, Delores, I appreciate that!

  8. Jennifer Zarifeh Major on February 10, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Breathe. Watch the whales. Breathe more. And settle in for the rest that God is calling you to step into. I totally understand that whole feeling of “hey, wait, WHAT?”.
    One verse, of many, that I’ve had to hang on to is Ex 14:14. I had to learn to rest, too. And wait. And breathe.
    You can do this!!!

    • Cathy West on February 10, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      Yep. I know you get it. 🙂 God brought us together for many reasons, but one of them was to walk through trials with a sense of humor, right? You’ve picked me up time and again, and I’m grateful. And I really am okay. Thanks to the support and encouragement from friends like you. 🙂

  9. Winnie Thomas on February 10, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Cathy, I’ll definitely continue to follow you and read your books! You have such a talent to touch hearts with your writing. It may take a time of waiting and enjoying that amazing family of yours while you find your answers. I’ll be in line to read your next book whenever it appears! Hugs, sweet friend!

  10. Brenda Murphree on February 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Praying God gives you the place you need to be. I read general market fiction as long as it’s clean. The fiction I read doesn’t have to have scriptures or the plan of salvation in it. I go to church and read my Bible for my spiritual needs and I read for pleasure. But I will say I am careful what I put before my eyes such as movies and reading. No profanity and sex scenes is my guide. But whether I get to read your next books or not, you have a fan in me with the books you’ve already written. Thanks for allowing me to be on your team of “Where Hope Begins” because it was an exceptional book.
    P.S. I have already bought or won all of your other books.
    God Bless You Abundantly!

  11. Donna Dv on February 10, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    I love and have read all your books. Your books are some of the absolute best books I have read. I wish you well wherever God leads you.

    • Cathy West on February 11, 2019 at 5:54 am

      Thank you so much!!

  12. Linda Moffitt on February 18, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    What is The CBA that you might end up back in?

    • Cathy West on February 18, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Linda – CBA stands for Christian Bookseller’s Association. It’s the term that’s generally used when talking about the Christian book market. ABA is American Booksellers Association, and that’s the general market.

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