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Time for the 5th miracle relating to Wicked! Are you ready, because it’s a big one! The last week of January 2002 I was desperately seeking a “career”. I had done a lot of different jobs which gave me a smattering of experience in several different fields. I had over the course of several days sent out resumes to a dozen different job openings, each of which I was qualified for and each of which would have set me on a very clear job “path” different from the others. I was tired and desperate and my husband still had a year-and-a-half left of law school. My mom called me early one morning and said that she had been praying very intensely and telling God that I needed to know what I was supposed to do. She told me that God had said that I would hear about a job that day and that was what I was supposed to do for my career. I said “great!” and proceeded to wait for some form of communication.


Later that night, around eight p.m., she called and asked, “Well, who did you hear from?” I told her no one. There hadn’t been a single call all day nor any kind of letter or anything. She was adamant that somehow I was still going to get that communication because God had told her it was happening today. I said okay and decided not to go to bed until the day was over.


At 11:55 p.m. I received an email from Nancy out of the blue. She was swamped with book deadlines, needed to turn a manuscript in at the end of the week, and was willing to pay me if I could write a chapter for her in twenty-four hours.


God had promised Mom He’d give me a job that day that told me what my career was going to be and at five minutes to midnight, He told me I was going to be a writer.

I ended up writing almost two chapters and all but one of the poem chapter headers for Wicked: Witch in the next three days. This miracle was the culmination of just under two years of miracles and God pushing me into the right place. People told me to go to the Retreat and Conference. My parents paid for me to go. A teacher had to cancel at the last minute and Nancy came in her place. I was put in Nancy’s class. She recognized that we had similar writing styles (which is why in January of 2002 she realized that she could do a bit of revising on whatever I sent her and it would still sound like the same voice). We kept in touch. Seventeen months later she asked me to help her out and God used that to send a very loud, very clear message. The message? HAVE FAITH THAT GOD HAS A PLAN AND KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING.

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The fourth miracle surrounding Wicked was that Nancy, my teacher at Maui Writers Retreat, and I really connected. She had to do a one-on-one meeting with each student and when she met with me she told me some wonderful things. First, she said that I was there, I had worked hard enough and my writing was good enough that I was publishable at that point. She also said that it was little like going home reading my sample for the Retreat since she had started in romance and she recognized that our writing styles were very similar.

Needless to say, I was over the moon! I had paid to attend the charity dinner that week. I was the only student from my class who did, but I figured that was where all the agents, editors, and professional writers would be and a good time to socialize. Nancy insisted that I sit at her table, which was awesome, and throughout the night she walked me around and introduced me to every person there. Such a blessing!

When I went to the Retreat I was at a crossroads. I was working as a church secretary and I had been a substitute teacher but I knew I wanted to pursue either acting or writing seriously as a career. I’d been doing a couple things in Hollywood acting wise and it had been difficult and frustrating. I had several bad experiences. Trying to go for it down there is nothing like doing local community theater. It’s very cutthroat and mean-spirited particularly at the lower levels.

When Nancy first sat me down at her table before dinner began she had to run off to go talk to someone. A man sat down at the table. He could tell from the lanyard I was wearing that I was just a student. He gave me a great big smile and said, “Hi, I’m Michael Palmer, and I write medical thrillers. What do you write?”

You could have knocked me over with a feather. He was a NYT Bestselling Author who had just had one of his books turned into a movie starring Gene Hackman not that long before. I knew who he was. He was famous. Yet he sat there genuinely wanting to know what I was writing.

That was the moment when I knew. All the professional writers were nice, supportive, encouraging. These were the people I wanted to associate with. I chose to pursue writing over acting then and there sitting at that table talking to him.

You want to know something truly amazing? I told Nancy about that story later. Thirteen years later Nancy, Michael Palmer, and I were all guests at a convention for readers. While we were waiting to be taken to the reception meet-and-greet I got a chance to tell Michael what it had meant to me speaking with him all those years ago. Nancy proudly piped up that I was now a NYT Bestselling Author, too, and that my first thriller was about to come out. He shook my hand, got a huge grin on his face and said, “Excellent! You’re now the competition!”

Nancy and I discovered at the Maui Writers Retreat that we lived about an hour and a half from each other and we both shared a love of Disney. We kept in touch after the retreat and met up at Disney several times for a meal or just to hang out for a little while. She even introduced me to her editor at the time who allowed me to pitch her a retold fairy tale for her new fairy tale line. The editor eventually rejected my proposal (I have a funny story about that, but I’m saving it for later!), but Nancy was right there to encourage me to keep going. Throughout all of this God taught me to BE FRIENDLY, BE WILLING TO LEARN, AND BE OPEN TO THE CONNECTIONS GOD IS FORGING FOR YOU.


So, onto the third miracle that surrounded Wicked and, indeed, made it possible! I went to the Maui Writer’s Conference and the Retreat. The Retreat was amazing. Teachers that year included John Saul and Terry Brooks among many others. I went into my small classroom with nine other students and our teacher came in. She was this perky little woman with blonde hair. She stood up there and said “Hi, I’m Nancy Holder and I used to write romance then I moved to horror and now I write the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-in novels.”

I almost fell out of my chair. Of all the amazing, famous writers teaching that week, she was the only one whose books I actually had on a shelf at home. We didn’t get to pick our teachers, the retreat administration placed us in a room with a teacher based on the strengths and weaknesses they saw in our sample work we’d submitted to be enrolled. I was utterly floored and she was an amazing teacher. I learned more from her in that week than I’d learned in all my college writing classes combined. God made sure I was with the right teacher. It’s even better and crazier than that! Are you ready?

Nancy wasn’t supposed to be there teaching!

It’s true! The teacher who was supposed to be there that week had had to cancel about a week before the event started. She knew Nancy and recommended her as a replacement and Nancy was able to move her schedule around on the fly to go and teach! When I signed up to go, Nancy wasn’t even supposed to be there. God knew who I needed, though, and He got her there!! The lesson I learned from this is THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS OR COINCIDENCES.

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So, onto the second miracle that surrounded Wicked. After having people tell me they thought I should go to the Maui Writers Conference I had mentioned it to my parents, particularly the strangeness of the two people suggesting I go. After discussing it my parents called me and said that they were going to pay for me to attend because they “hadn’t raised a great writer for her to sit on her butt and do nothing”. I protested that since I had a job I wasn’t exactly “doing nothing” and they countered with the fact that I wasn’t a full-time writer. I have no idea how they came up with the money, but I recognized that this was a miraculous, unexpected happening and that God was definitely trying to get my attention.


I took them up on their offer and signed up to go. I had to audition for the Retreat portion which put students in small classrooms with professional writers. I struggled with what to send in and I finally opted to send in the first several pages of a romance novel I had started writing. It wasn’t the work that was closest to my heart, but I felt for some reason that it was a good choice. I was accepted to the Retreat and started preparing to go. I had to jump on all these things because the deadlines were not that far away. Had I not researched even when I thought I couldn’t go I wouldn’t have known about the tight deadlines and I probably wouldn’t have submitted everything in time. One of the lessons I learned from this was BE READY TO DO WHAT GOD SAYS WHEN HE SAYS IT.


Welcome to Week 1 of my 52 Books in 52 Weeks Event! This week we're discussing my very fist published book, Wicked: Witch, co-authored with Nancy Holder. You can keep up with all the behind-the-scenes info and contests by visiting my Facebook Book Club Page.  This week I'm going to be discussing, among other things, how there have been several miracles in relation to Wicked in my life. Here's just the first!


Wicked: Witch is my first published book. It came out October 2002 and it was life-changing. One of the most amazing things about my experience with the book and the rest of the series was the number of miracles God has performed in my life in relation to it. I’m going to write about one of the miracles every day this week.



The first miracle came in 2000. I was an aspiring writer at that time. I had had a few poems and a magazine article published, but that was it so far. In one week two people who didn’t know each other both approached me and told me that they’d heart about something called The Maui Writer’s Conference and they thought I should go. They both told me that with an air of intensity and urgency.



After the second person told me that I looked it up. It turned out the Conference was held over Labor Day weekend and was this amazing thing where aspiring writers learned from established writers and had the opportunity to meet agents and publishers. In addition there was a Retreat that was held the week before where you were broken into classrooms of ten and paired with a professional writer as a teacher and spent several days doing intensive work.



It sounded great. We couldn’t afford it. That didn’t stop me from looking into it, though. I felt like God was giving me a very clear message. It turned out that He was.



So, the first miracle was two people telling me about this conference. It was God’s way of pointing me in the direction I was supposed to go. What happened next was another miracle that I’ll talk about tomorrow. The ultimate lesson I learned from this is: PAY ATTENTION WHEN GOD IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!


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