Clarice G. James: Let’s Chat!

Welcome, everyone.

Clarice JamesClarice G. James writes smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction. Her four novels, Party of One, Doubleheader, Manhattan Grace, and The Girl He Knew, are woven together with colorful threads of humor, faith, romance, and mystery.

When Clarice G. James isn’t writing, she’s reading, encouraging fellow writers, or organizing author events. She and her husband David, a short story writer, live in Hudson, New Hampshire. Together, they have five children and ten grandchildren.

We Cannot Out Give God by Clarice G. James

About four months ago, I scheduled two back-to-back author talks and one book signing on Cape Cod for the first week in December. I was especially excited because I was raised on the Cape and had lived most of my life there.

The trip from my home in New Hampshire would involve an overnight stay, so I enlisted the help of my friend, Deb. In lieu of a paycheck, I gave her the title of “Road Manager” and promised her a hotel with a pool. She does love her a nice pool.

Clarice James
I
n addition to the hosts inviting their contacts, many people responded positively to my email invitations and social media posts. I’d even re-connected via Facebook with some of my former high school classmates who’d expressed interest.

And these are just the people I know about! I thought.

My bookmarks were printed, my author talks polished, and my outside signage was perfect to entice unsuspecting passers-by. I packed my books in multiple bins, even gift-wrapping many in time for Christmas. As my hopes grew, I’d add more books to my bins “just to be sure.”

Clarice G. James: The book tour to beat all my previous book tours!

Despite my expectations, I did my due diligence. I checked and double-checked with those in charge of each event to make sure we were still on before I confirmed my hotel reservations. Their answers were always a variation of, “Oh, yes! Can’t wait! Thank you so much! We’re so looking forward to it!”

Then, the night before I was to leave, I opened this email: “Hello Clarice, I am sorry to say due to an issue with our newsletter that went out late, we do not have anyone signed up for your talk here tomorrow at 1:30. If we could reschedule for a later date that would be great. All the Best.”

All the Best? Seriously?

I was disappointed … and perturbed. Dropping my head in my hands, I prayed. Deuteronomy 1:15 came to mind: “Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten.”

What are you trying to tell me, God?

I sensed I was supposed to go despite the dismal outlook, so I took a deep breath and typed: “I hope you will reconsider. Perhaps an email can go out today to let members know? Or a Facebook post? I’d be happy to help in any way I can.”

The host reconsidered, and I was on my way—albeit a little less puffed up than before.

Clarice James

We arrived twenty minutes prior to the start. A cluster of my former high school classmates were waiting at the entrance. I hadn’t seen these women since our graduation five decades ago. The truth is I hadn’t even known them that well in school and had never made much attempt to keep in touch with anyone from my class.

Another friend, who’d brought a guest along, waved to me from across the parking lot. When we entered the building, four other women were waiting inside. A minute into my talk, my sister-in-law slipped in.

Unexpected Delight

The total count of 15 was less than the grand number I’d fantasized about, but they sure made up for any lack by their enthusiasm. Those who had read some of my books had brought them for me to sign. They talked about my characters the same way I did myself. I have never been more encouraged by an audience’s response.

Since half the group was made up of my classmates, I mentioned our former English teacher who had inspired me to write. I was stupefied when a woman raised her hand and said, “He’s in the next room giving a talk now.”

“He is? Here? Now?”

Once the eighty-something-year-old teacher concluded his talk, he joined us. I was able to thank him in person after all these years. When I showed him his name in the Acknowledgements of my first novel, he seemed genuinely touched.

Clarice G. James: How good is God?

When Deb and I checked into our hotel, the front desk clerk informed me that I’d booked two rooms instead of one. She corrected my error right then, saving me an aggravating phone call. As a treat, we had the nice, warm swimming pool to ourselves!

The next morning, we were about 1,000 feet from the next venue when I got a call: “I’m so sorry. Only three people signed up, and two cancelled this morning. Do you want to reschedule?”

I chuckled and said, “One person is good enough for me! I’m on my way.”

The program director and her receptionist joined the lone guest for my talk. By the end of our time there, I knew beyond doubt that we were all there to encourage this one woman. She’d signed up as an attempt to break through her grief and loneliness during this difficult time of year. I’m pretty sure I did as much listening as talking that morning.

Unexpected Bonus!

The program director plans to consult with other Cape Cod directors to have me back for a Sheer Joy of Writing workshop in the spring.    

Clarice James

The next event—a book signing at a friend’s café—started off slow. In fact, my friend had even forgotten I was coming that day. Humility strikes again! Deb and I enjoyed lunch, then set up the book table. While waiting for someone, anyone, to come by, I prayed, Lord, please show me why I’m here. 

A few feet to my right, a middle-aged woman sat with a young adult male who was in his own world texting a friend.

I leaned over and joked, “Would you like a book to read until he’s done?”

She laughed, then before I knew it, we were in a conversation about her life and the daily challenges she faces: an autistic son, a five-year-old adopted daughter, and a demanding job. I don’t know if anything I said helped, but sometimes it’s enough to know someone cares.

Soon after our conversation came to a close, one by one, four longtime friends entered with wide smiles on their faces. We spent the next hour catching up.

What If?

What if I’d pouted and canceled? What if I’d listened to the world’s wisdom and made this trip about audience size and sales? Instead, I paid heed to the Lord’s leading and was rewarded with a passel of early Christmas gifts:

  • A fun road trip with a good friend.
  • A reunion with classmates.
  • The privilege to thank a mentor.
  • Mutual support and encouragement.
  • Five-star service from a three-star hotel.
  • The chance to listen and offer comfort.
  • An opportunity for a speaking engagement in the spring.
  • Laughter.
  • Hugs.
  • Joy.
  • Yes, even some book sales!

When will I learn I cannot out give God? 

During this Christmas season and in the coming New Year, I pray we all take the time to appreciate God’s gifts, designed specifically for us and wrapped in his love and faithfulness.

Clarice James

God’s best to you and yours in 2020!

Clarice G. James

How to find Clarice G. James:

Email: cjames@claricejames.com.

Website: www.claricejames.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarice.g.james

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClariceGJames

~ ~ ~

Lord, please bless each word Clarice G. James writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake

25 thoughts on “Clarice G. James: Let’s Chat!

  1. Carmina Lavergne

    I love your story and positive attitude. Your immediate disappointment was replaced by many blessings. All to often, we only see the end goal and if it goes out of reach, we miss the blessings along the way. You couldn’t have had a better outcome and that’s because you set aside your goal and listened to God, prompting you to go anyhow. Thank you for sharing this with us.

     
     
    1. You’re welcome, Carmina. We never know what God has in store for us until we open our hands and hearts.

       
       
  2. Thank you for sharing your story with humility and honesty. God always rewards our obedience, which you so beautifully demonstrated. As “ministers of God’s truth,” we do need to remember the importance of sharing with anyone, and even ONLY one. Loved your post and would enjoy reading your books. ❤️

     
     
    1. Welcome to our circle, Joan. I, too, appreciate Clarice’s humility and honesty. I enjoy everything Clarice writes. I hope you’ll join our chat again.

       
       
    2. Thanks for commenting Joan. It’s taken me years to recognize that MY plans are not always HIS, and that HIS are always better.

       
       
  3. Loved your post. I am gathering ideas to use when my first book comes out in May
    I hope to meet you at the family reunion in November

     
     
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christy. And thank you for your encouraging words.

       
       
    2. Hi Christy, I plan to be there in November. May is an excellent month for a book to debut! Congratulations. 🙂

       
       
  4. I appreciate your transparency in sharing this, Clarice. Clearly the numbers are not the highest goal; one person genuinely impacted can have lifelong, even eternal, consequences. Thanks for the reminder.

     
     
    1. Hi, Lori. Welcome. I, too, appreciate Clarice’s transparency in sharing this story. I love everything Clarice writes.

       
       
    2. Thanks, Lori. We’ve got to go into this writing business with open eyes to see what our amazing God has for us! It may not be what we expect, but more than we deserve.

       
       
  5. Lisa Renee

    I enjoyed your story about your talks. Yes, this writing journey isn’t always about the numbers and sales.

    It’s great when you hear from readers how they were blessed and related to your characters. Happy it turned out well !

     
     
    1. Watching how the Lord works always blows me away!

       
       
    2. Hi, Lisa. Welcome. Glad you enjoyed Clarice’s story. She’s fun!

       
       
  6. Ruby Sterling

    This was a cool little read!! Looking forward to reading your books!! Be blessed!

     
     
    1. Thanks for taking the time to read the post. I know this is such a busy time for all of us. I love watching God direct his ways.

       
       
    2. I agree. This was a cool little read. Hope you get to read Clarice’s books. She’s great.

       
       
  7. Dawn

    Let’s try this again…lol I’d live a free book. Any will do since I haven’t read any of yours. Thank you for having this drawing!!

     
     
    1. Thanks for taking the time to check out my post, Dawn. If you win the drawing, I’d start with the first one: Party of One.

       
       
    2. Welcome, Dawn. I know you’ll enjoy anything from Clarice. She has quite a gift for humor.

       
       
  8. Laura Hamby

    This was a great read. You may never fully know the impact you had on those you had contact with during your time there, especially the woman grieving. Books have been such a blessing to me all my life but especially when my son was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and then since he died 9 years ago.
    I look forward to reading your work.

     
     
    1. Laura, I’m sorry for your great loss. My parents knew what it was like losing a child. My sister was killed by a drunk driver in 1995. I deal with some manner of death in all of my books. Most readers can relate.

       
       
    2. It’s so nice to have you in our circle, Laura. God bless you in 2020!

       
       
  9. Thanks, Linda, for inviting me to post to your blog. You are a faithful servant!

     
     
    1. I love shining the spotlight on you, Clarice!

       
       

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Let’s Chat! Pat Nichols

Welcome, everyone!


Meet Pat Nichols, our guest author this week. Pat describes her first novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, as “contemporary women’s fiction with a touch of cozy mystery.”

Oooooo. Intriguing.

Pat is offering a print copy of The Secret of Willow Inn to someone who joins our conversation below. So gather ’round. Let’s encourage one another. 

Pat Nichols Before Writing

My life began in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois with two wonderful parents and later a sister. When I was in third grade we moved to Orlando, Florida, where years later I married Tim, my high-school-sweetheart.

When our son and daughter were toddlers, I became an Avon Representative to supplement our income. In 1978, following seven years as an independent representative, I was hired as a district sales manager. Three years later Avon promoted me to division sales manager and moved our family to Atlanta, Georgia. I spent the next twenty-four years in seven different management positions working with hundreds of amazing women throughout the US.

Tim and I retired the same day in 2005. We finished decorating our home and ticked off every item on our travel bucket list. Our favorite destination, Venice, Italy. During the next few years, I engaged in volunteer work, served on three boards, and spent time with our three grandchildren.

Pat Nichols, the Writer


T
he tragic loss of our God-daughter compelled me to write a story about her life, but with a happy ending. The experience watered a seed planted years earlier and launched career number two. Now I’m proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams or fulfill God’s calling.

How Pat Nichols Began as an Author

I’d heard it takes an average of ten years for an author to land a first publishing contract. Having begun my writing journey after becoming eligible for social security, I needed to shave as much off that time as possible. For three years, my time split between studying the craft, attending conferences, connecting with authors, and writing a second novel. I pitched those first two books to seven agents and publishers and received seven rejections.

One benefit that comes with age is the ability to view rejection and disappointment as opportunity. I took the feedback from those agents and publishers to heart and fleshed out a new idea. A series about two women, strangers from different backgrounds, and a convicted felon returning to the scene of her crime.

How Pat Nichols Grew as an Author


I
visualized the characters, the way they looked, their personalities and their history. Next came a decision about the settings. A small town struggling to survive and a big, bustling metropolis. Because I live thirty miles from downtown Atlanta, I chose it as the city. Although I’m old enough to remember slide rules, I’m grateful modern technology allows me to conduct research from my living room. Not that I don’t like to get out and about. It’s simply a more efficient use of time.

When it came to the second setting, I wanted to create a community I could conform to the story. It began with century-old storefronts facing a lakeside park and a block-long section graced with seven southern-style, antebellum homes. An abandoned hotel and historical general store completed the scene. It was time to breathe life into Emily, Rachel, and Sadie.

A Debut for Pat Nichols


F
our years after first typing Chapter One, I signed a contract with Guiding Light, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint. The Secret of Willow Inn—book one in the Willow Falls Series releases January 10, 2019. Book two releases January, 2020.

The discipline, goal setting, and multi-tasking I learned during my corporate life is serving me well in my writing career. The biggest learning curve has been marketing and social media. Thank goodness I have grandchildren to answer my technical questions.  

What’s Next for Pat Nichols?

My goal is to publish at least ten books before God takes me home. My current work-in-progress is Willow Falls Series book three. Emily, Rachel, and Sadie have become so much a part of my life I sometimes want to invite them to dinner.

What’s next? Willow Falls book four, a possible rewrite of my first novel, and a Christmas novella. I thank God for planting the seed and opening the door to this wonderful, world of writing. I pray my journey will encourage others to follow their dreams and view age as a precious gift.

How to Find Pat Nichols

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, Pat’s life story illustrates how You give Your children dreams and callings and set their feet on paths to reach them. We can see Your hand in Pat’s life and in her journey to publication. How faithful You are. Thank You for Your faithfulness to every generation. We pray You’ll bless each word she writes to Your glory.
~ For Jesus’ sake

 

23 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Pat Nichols

  1. Debbey

    Isn’t God great. I so enjoyed your “chat” and learning of your writing journey. I am looking forward to reading the Willow Falls series…all 10 of them! I agree with you, age is God’s gift to us. It is just a number. We can definitely do all things through Christ. By the way, I am in the midst of my 40th year teaching!

     
     
    1. Hi Debby,
      Wow, 40th year teaching. That’s awesome. My mother and sister were teachers and one of my corporate positions was trainer. So we have a lot in common. And you’re right, age is just a number. I hope you enjoy The Secret of Willow Inn.

       
       
  2. Tammy

    I totally enjoyed getting to know you. I live about 2 hours from Atlanta in North GA. This book sounds amazing. Thanks for the chance.

    Tighefan42atgmail dotcom

     
     
    1. Hi Tammy,
      I love north Georgia, which is why I created Willow Falls in that part of the state. I hope you enjoy the book. Perhaps our paths will cross one day.

       
       
  3. Sonnetta Jones

    I love how your goal is to write 10 books before God takes you home. I will be working on my vision board tomorrow and I am excited for what God will place on my heart and what the Holy Sprirt will prompt me to do tomorrow.

     
     
    1. Hi Sonnetta,
      Amazing things happen when we follow God’s nudging. He gives us strength we in our weaknesses.

       
       
  4. Lydia Rodruguez

    I am going to read your book sounds like I could also invite your characters for lunch . I especially like how I can feel your faith
    for God, keep writing and may God bless you .

     
     
    1. Hi Lydia,
      I’m delighted you plan to read The Secret of Willow Inn. Thank you for your encouragement and blessing, both mean a lot. I wish you well in all you do.

       
       
  5. Maryann

    It was wonderful getting to know Pat. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into both your writing and personal life. This sounds like a wonderful series with enjoyable characters. You brought back some memories as I remember how my late sister loved being an Avon lady too!

     
     
    1. Welcome, Maryann. Thanks for joining our circle.

       
       
    2. Hi Maryann,
      You’re welcome. I’ve enjoyed watching my characters develop through the first, second and now third book. I wonder if your sister’s path and mine crossed when she was an Avon lady? It’s possible, because I worked in 4 different divisions in 4 states during my career.

       
       
  6. Linda

    I bet I have met you in Atlanta at an Avon conference. I was in the Honor Society so I got to go to Atlanta several times! Looking forward to your books!

     
     
    1. What a neat connection, Linda. Great to welcome you to the circle.

       
       
    2. Oh my gosh, it’s quite possible we did meet. Honor Society, that’s awesome. I loved working with Avon representatives.

       
       
  7. Alison Boss

    Thank you, Pat, for sharing your writing journey with us! It is wonderful to see God work and see His plan unfold as we wait on Him. Though at times that waiting can be very hard, God proves Himself faithful time and time again! Your book, The Secret of Willow Inn, sounds very good!! I love a good mystery! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book!! 🙂

     
     
    1. My pleasure, Alison and thank you for your insightful comments.

       
       
    2. Welcome, Alison. Amen. God does, indeed, prove Himself faithful. Thank you for commenting.

       
       
  8. Great to learn more about Pat and her writing journey. Thank you for the encouragement.

     
     
    1. Thank you for commenting, Melissa. I wish you much success on your journey.

       
       
    2. Welcome, Melissa. I agree. Pat’s message encourages. Thank you for joining our circle.

       
       
  9. Belinda

    Amen! What a beautiful inspiration!

     
     
    1. Thank you for commenting, Belinda. Blessings as you pursue your dreams.

       
       
    2. Yes. Both beautiful and inspiration apply to Pat. Thanks much for joining us, Belinda.

       
       

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