“You Saved My Life”
The story of our book continues to baffle and amaze me. Back in 2019, we learned that the second version of our book was no longer in print. B&H Publishing never let us know and I was trying to order copies for a seminar. That day, I realized our two books had an amazing run since the first book, “Conquering Depression” came out in February 2001. I spoke with Mark and concluded that maybe it was time to put the book to rest. An hour after our conversation, I checked my email and got this:
“Thank you for changing my life and for the tools provided to continue life. I was very close to giving up, your book made [me] change my mind and fight the darkness, with God’s help, forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you L*****e M****s, South Africa
May 17, 2019 5:34 AM”
South Africa! Somehow our book had made it into the hands of someone in South Africa. And, according to them, it “saved my life”! I immediately sent the email on to Mark Sutton and called him up. The result of that conversation was to proceed with a third edition of the book with about 40% new content published by our little independent publishing company.Read the rest of this entry
Beating the Holiday Blues
Recently, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Dr. Scott Zentner and Dr. Scott Shelby of Family Solutions Counseling in Monroe, Louisiana. The first interview in October covered information about our book, “Hope Again: A Lifetime Plan for Conquering Depression” by Mark Sutton and Bruce Hennigan. Much to my surprise, they asked me back for an interview in early December. We talked at length about depression and anxiety during the holidays.
We had a lively and wide ranging discussion.
Here is the link to the page with both interviews at our hopeagainbooks.com website.
If you are suffering from depression and anxiety and need help, check out our book at hopeagainbooks.com and more in depth information at conqueringdepression.com for help during and after the holidays. We have a special on conqueringdepression.com where you can order a copy of the book and a set of deluxe LifeFilters for only $20.
Mark and I hope and pray you have a peaceful, joyful and hopeful holiday! Be sure and listen to the interviews, especially the second interview about the “Holiday Blues”.
Upcoming Book Signing!
I never dreamed of becoming a publisher.
I just wanted to get my books out there for people to read without all the hassle and delays I have experienced in publishing four books through traditional publishing.
It started with “The 11th Demon” and I’ve managed to publish five books through my 613media,LLC. And now, Mark Sutton and I have published “Hope Again: A Lifetime Plan for Conquering Depression” through our LifeFilters, LLC company and its imprint Hope Again Books.
There are two stories I can share about this new book. Mark and I had the honor of holding a book signing at First Baptist Church Orlando and Oasis Church in Daytona Beach. We sold almost 200 books between the two events but that is not what drove me to my knees in humility.
At one of the events, a person approached Mark and said he had come to church that day to tell God goodbye. He would then end his life that afternoon in total despair. Now, Pastor David Uth’s sermon was absolutely amazing and powerful. But, the sermon combined with the encouragement to purchase our book helped him to overcome his despair. He is now doing much better!
At the other church, a parent purchased a book because his middle school child, yes, his CHILD asked him to buy him a copy of the book. A week later, the parent shared his child was devouring the book and it was helping them deal with depression. A middle schooler!
Only God can take credit for this! Our traditional publisher had given up on our book and had taken it out of print. As I shared in an earlier post, an email from a woman in South Africa found our book and it “saved” her life and that email prompted us to publish a third version of “Hope Again” on our own. And, I am so glad we did! God is still using our stories of depression to help others.
Now, Hope Again Books is releasing another title! Mark Sutton has written a powerful and exciting work of fiction based on the wars in heaven that led to Lucifer’s fall.
Entitled “Pitfall”, this new book will be released in a special event on December 7th at Brookwood Baptist Church in the Well, the church’s coffee bar/book store. You can come and go from 3 to 6 PM. The address is 9014 Brookwood Church Way, Shreveport, LA 71106 and we are at the corner of Bert Kouns and I49.
Hope Again Books will be sponsoring free coffee drinks and snacks. Mark will be signing copies of his new book and we both will be there to sign copies of “Hope Again: A Lifetime Plan for Conquering Depression”. I will also have copies of all seven of my books.
So, come on by and celebrate the release of Mark’s new book.
Depression Is Never “Out of Print”!
I have some sad news.
Mark Sutton and I have written two books on depression. The second book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” was released in September, 2014. Now, we have discovered, that book is no longer in print.
When Mark and I discovered this fact back in late spring, I was disappointed and we decided that the end had come for our depression book. The very next day, I received an email from a person who claimed the book “saved her life”. In desperation, she reached out in prayer and God led her to our book. The 30 day program led her away from her decision to end her life! And, this person was from South Africa!
It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that something that Mark and I wrote based on our painful experiences with depression could be used by God to change the life of someone else! But, this is how God works. As soon as I read the email, I called Mark and we bent every effort at that point to putting out a third book as soon as possible.
And, we continue to get weekly orders for our LifeFilter cards from our website conqueringdepression.com!
So, now for some good news.Read the rest of this entry
Okay, I’m guilty of neglect.
I was working on my Author’s Page on Amazon this morning because of some confusion from people trying to order “The Homecoming Tree”. It seems there are entities out there who purchase the book and then sell it second hand and for some reason, when you search for the book, THEIR listing comes above my own!
Anyway, while reviewing my settings I stumbled across the REVIEW page that lists all of the reviews for all of my books. Honestly, I have such a poor self image from my childhood, I have avoided reading the Reviews. I was afraid of what they might say.
But, let me put this as kindly and as humbly as possible, THANK YOU for all of the reviews, both positive and negative. I was truly humbled that anyone would choose to read something that poured out my imagination onto the written page. THANK YOU all!
You can check out the reviews at this link.
I am currently working on two books. First, I hope to finish “The 8th Demon: A Wicked Numinosity” by the fall. Second, I am putting together the first book in my science fiction trilogy, “The Node of God” and hope to have it available by the end of the year.
Also, Mark Sutton and I are working on a book about the lies of culture. And, I am outlining the sequel to “The Homecoming Tree” — “The Homecoming Prayer”.
To order my books please go directly to my Author page at this link. If you would like to order books directly from me as some of the print versions can only be ordered through me, go to this link.
If you are interested in our depression book, go to this link.
Hope Again Youtube Channel
Mark Sutton and I invite you to our Conquering Depression Seminar Saturday, Nov. 17th. Here is a link to our new Youtube Channel for Hope Again.
You can register for the seminar at this link.
The Holidays are Here?!?
I’m facing major surgery on December 4th. That’s just three days short of the anniversary of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Whenever this time of year approaches, I jump into full Christmas mode beginning on November 1. But, this year will be different. Christmas celebration for us will be dialed back a bit.
So, I have already put up our “Homecoming Tree”. It is not yet decorated and sits in our living room waiting for its mantle of shiny decorations. This year, Sherry has decided to dig out all of our vintage Precious Moments decorations. Some of these date back 40 years! Decorating the tree will be quite nostalgic!
I guess it is fitting that this is the year I release my novelization of “The Homecoming Tree”, a play I wrote and directed at Brookwood Baptist Church in 2005. In looking back through my photographs of that play, I found one of my father. Sean, my son, took those photos on black and white film and when we developed them, yes, developed them — not digital, the developing process left artifacts on the photographs. These artifacts resembled what you would see on a genuine old film. Here is the photograph of my father as he is looking up at the set for the play.Read the rest of this entry
Plan on coming to our Conquering Depression Seminar at Brookwood Baptist Church on Saturday, November 17th from 8:30 to Noon. I and Mark Sutton will be talking about depression based on our book “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression”. You can go to this link for information and registrations: Link
Awake My Soul!
Summer is here along with the heat and humidity. I wrote in my last post that soon I will launching a website dedicated to depression and our new upcoming book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan For Conquering Depression”. So, I dug through my previous posts and found this little story I wrote for the now defunct website, Posterous. It is set in the dead of winter, a reflection of the cold, dead feeling one can experience with depression. But, it is a story of hope!
Awake My Soul
I do not move.
I am quiescent and still.
Movement for me is pain. Life is pain.
The trees outside are harsh and bare. Winter has stripped them of vigor and life. Gray fingers claw at the even grayer sky. Even the clouds do not move. The air is still. No wind. No breeze. No life.
My daughter has placed me here on the porch. I feel the sting of cold on my cheeks but I can ignore it. I have ignored all feeling for months now. Since Tom died, I have had no reason to move.
My daughter has wrapped a scarf around my neck and tucked it into the woolen sweater Tom gave me last year for Christmas. I can still smell him on it when I choose to acknowledge my sense of smell.
The air is so cold, it numbs my face. The numbed is numbed even more.
“Why is she out there on the porch?” That is my son-in-law inside the warm house.
“I’m tired of her, Richard. I can’t take this anymore.” My daughter has tears in her voice. I cannot feel them. I cannot touch them. The tears mean nothing to me.
“She’ll freeze to death.” Richard says.
“That’s the idea.”
There is a profound silence. And then, subdued sobbing; quiet, subtle.
A white flake shimmies down the still air and lands on my nose. I choose not to feel it melt. So intricate, so beautiful in its design — one of a kind — it dies on my cold skin. It dies on the already dead. For, she has left me to die out here alone; cold; still; frozen.
The sliding door opens behind me and a waft of warm air bathes the back of my head. I cannot feel it on my neck for the scarf. Richard’s shadow falls over me from the lights inside the house; lights that try in vain to chase away the gray.
“You’ll have to forgive your daughter, Mom.” He says behind me. “She is very frustrated and wants to leave you out here to die.”
“I’m already frozen.” I whisper and he leans over me. His breath touches my forehead.
“Did you say something?”
“I’m already frozen.” I said more strongly. “Let me finish dying.”
My lips pull apart and I realize they have frozen together. I feel the pain as the first real sensation I have experienced in months.
Richard squats beside my wheelchair and for a second, I choose to notice the strong profile of his face; his angular cheekbones; his gently stubbled chin; his clear eyes. He is watching the trees.
“Winter is hard for all of us, Mom. Spring is coming. I want to tell you a secret. It is a deep and abiding secret that no one can know.”
More flakes are falling now and caressing my cheeks. I choose not to feel their gently touch. One lands on my cornea and I blink involuntarily. I must not do that again. But, try as a I might to ignore his statement, the attraction is there. What secret is he talking about?
“What secret?” My voice is a bare whisper.
“Virginia is stressed out because we have chosen to take a journey. It is a long and tedious journey and we will be gone for weeks. She doesn’t know what to do with you during that time. She can’t leave you alone. And, she isn’t going to leave you out here to die.” His breath streams away from him, a living thing full of warmth and moisture and the snowflakes eddy and swirl.
“Rawanda. In Africa. There is a little girl. She needs a family.” He turns his head to me and his gaze is full and hot on my face. Tears mingle with the snowflakes. “She needs to know her grandfather. She needs to know what he was like. Only you can tell her that.”
Another snowflake hits my eye and melts. The moisture runs along my eyelid and I feel a hot tear trickle down my cheek. No! I cannot let this happen! I cannot feel!
“Will you come with us to Rawanda? Will you come with us to get your granddaughter?” His eyes are full and round and wet and the snow is covering his bare head, peppering his shoulders.
I feel something deep within stir from a slumber of unforgiving anger and frustration. The black dregs of my depression begin to drift away as the warmth stokes itself in my heart. No! I want to scream. No! I want to hold onto the stillness; the inertia; the coming of winter’s death. I try to ignore Richard’s gleaming eyes and his warm breath and when I subtly avert my gaze a flash of bright red burns my retinas. A lone flower dares to challenge the grayness from my camellia bush. The snow flakes are covering it now and it wants to be seen; it wants to look upward to the hidden sun for life and warmth; it wants to live.
The chair creaks; the ice breaks across my knees and I push, push, push up and out of the heaviness of my crypt of sorrow and I stumble to the flower. I brush away the snow with shaking hands and my tears anoint the petals with life. With life!
Awake my soul!
I turn to my son-in-law who is standing with his mouth wide open and the snow covering his head and my daughter stumbles through the open door with her hands pressed to her tear streaked face and I feel the ice crack as I smile. “When do we leave?”
Don’t forget to pick up copies of “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” for your summer reading. You can go to the “Order” tab or check out 11thdemon.com.
A Baby Named Galley!
There is a moment in a published author’s life that is akin to seeing your unborn child for the first time by ultrasound. As a radiologist, I am fully aware of the excitement parents feel when they see that gray and white blob moving on the ultrasound screen and begin to catch glimpses of what the finished “product” will look like. They gasp when they see fingers. They laugh when they see arms and legs. And, they cry when they see the face even though it is such a poor reflection of the beautiful child they will hold in their hands in just a few months.
Friday, I had such an experience. A package waited for me by my front door when I got home from a long, hard day at the hospital. To say I was tired and frustrated and disillusioned by the direction health care is going is to say the least. Soon, I will weigh in on this issue because I can no longer keep my silence after the horrific events with the VA scandal. But, for today, I want to share something bright and happy and encouraging. I picked up the package and noted it was quite heavy for such a small box. When I got the thing inside and ripped off the tab, guess what I found inside?
What? What are galley proofs, you ask? In the days before electronic media prevailed, an upcoming book was printed out on rough sheets of paper to approximate what the final product would look like. Since 2006, I’ve been involved in the publishing of five of my books and each galley proof was presented to me as a PDF. My excitement was no less at receiving these electronic documents. But, here was a throw back to old school publishing. Why? Because this book required a careful review of the actual printed appearance, not just an electronic approximation. For, this book would have illustrations and break out text boxes and Lifefilters. . .
What is a Lifefilter? More on that later.
In the summer of 2012, as I have shared in the past, God did something truly miraculous and literally dropped a book project into the laps of yours truly and my co-author and best friend (and former pastor) Mark Sutton. We wrote a book on depression in 2001 (which is still an excellent book, by the way!) But, over the intervening years, things changed and we wanted to update the book. Our publisher was not interested. But, a new team took over the editorial direction at B&H Publishing and they wanted us to write a new updated version of the book.
Mark and I went to work immediately in the fall of 2012 and now, before me was the galley proofs of a book we are hoping will help millions. Did you see that word? Millions! Not because we want money. No, it is because we are in the midst of an epidemic of depression unprecedented in American history since the Great Depression.
So, I will grab a cup of coffee. I wish I could teleport myself to New Zealand and have one of those luscious “flat whites” as you can see my friend Alex drinking. Yes, that is a cup as big as a cereal bowl! They love their coffee in New Zealand. So, I will hunker down with my galley proofs and drinks lots of coffee and check this manuscript out.
When will you be able to get your hands on “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression”? Stay connected to my site as Mark and I will be launching a new website this summer to keep you informed of the arrival of this important tool. For now, you can check out our rather static site for information on the current book here. And, don’t forget to pick up some copies of “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” for your summer reading!
Got to get to work!
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