Monday, October 18, 2010

"CHRISTMAS INSPIRATIONS" hits the shelves!

We did it! The Aspiring Writers Forum of Chino Valley Community Church has completed self-publication of our first book. It is an anthology of 24 days of stories and poems pertaining to the Nativity, and culminates with the scriptures of the birth of Christ.

This story began in January 2010 when the pastor of our church preached a sermon on  the “Kingdom Assignment” which is a book written by Denny and Lisa Bellisi, detailing what happened when churches provided a set amount of money to interested persons, who then used that to further God’s Kingdom.

 In February, the leader of our group, Linda Boutin, felt God’s leading to use our writing skills to create a book for a Kingdom Assignment. As a group, we decided to write stories for Advent that was family-friendly and had interconnecting characteristics. We decided to use proceeds from sales of the books to form a scholarship to let kids from our church attend camp next summer.

 We worked long and hard on our stories. Since I enjoy doing digital scrapbooking, I began to do a few graphics for the stories, and Co-leader Coleene VantilBurg created the illustrations. (She did the awesome cover that just jumps out at you)This was a rough time for many of us, but God carried us through in unity. I started out doing the layouts on my computer because I had a scrapbooking program that constructs books. I spent hours obsessing over this, ignoring my house cleaning and other things like that… I enjoyed doing it, but then reached a point when I realized my program was inappropriate for text layouts. Another member had Publisher on her computer and was well acquainted with the program, so she took over the page layouts. I enjoyed doing it, but got so wrapped up in it, that was all I did! So, once the job was out of my hands, I felt such relief.

With the church-provided monies of 50 dollars per person, and personal giving of money, high-grade paper was purchased.  The pages were printed on our church printer-500 books! Linda spent hours and hours and hours doing that printing. With our funds, we had the covers professionally printed due to the intense colors and thickness of the paper used. Then a few from the group met this past Thursday morning and collated all of those pages!  Mark Hoch, a close friend of Linda, took the pages to his worksite and professionally cut and packed the pages into separate sections.

On Saturday morning, our group met a member’s roomy home for a “binding party” Mark brought a machine from his work that cuts holes into the pages, provided the Double Spiral binding coils, and crimping machine. We had quite the assembly line. I pulled the separated page packets from boxes and layered them in piles for the next person. Someone then placed the pages in-between the separated front and back covers. Two other “checkers” made sure all pages were present and in correct order. The next step went to Mark, who used his fancy machine to punch tiny holes in the sandwiched packet.  The next persons meticulously hand placed the black wire coils into the holes, careful not to drop pages.  The next person used another machine to crimp down the binding. The books were then packed into boxes.

After about 5 hours of intense labor, snacks and a lot of chatting, we finished! We celebrated by having a “cast” party with a fantastic spread of different foods. We also signed one another’s book!

On Sunday, we set up a table to sell our completed project. We prayed over the books, and especially for the kids that will be able to attend church camp as a result of our Kingdom Assignment.  So far, about 150 copies have been sold.
I provided three of the stories in this book as well as several graphics and enhanced photos. Guess I can now truthfully state “I am published!” But really, this project is for God’s Glory. Amen.