The Best Christmas Present Ever

I’ve been rather quiet for a while. Let me explain why. Of course, there was Christmas. We did only a bit of decorating, but not as much as usual. I cooked a few foods traditional to our household, and baked some cookies for giving away, but not as much as usual. We didn’t attend any Christmas events in person, only a few online. Even without family here to cook for and grandchildren to entertain, I still found myself, not only preoccupied, but occupied as well.

It all started on a Friday night exactly a week before Christmas. Our supper was finished, and while Wayne washed dishes, I decided to check email quickly before choosing something to read from one of our many Christmas story books. I scrolled through new email messages, most of them requests for donations. Then there was an ad, from a self-publishing site I assumed—I didn’t recognize the name. Usually, I just deleted such ads without reading them, but this one sounded slightly different—they used the name of my book which I didn’t remember giving to anyone, but then I’m often surprised about how information travels on the web. I opened the email and began to read:

Dear Kathleen, Thank you very much for your proposal submission. I am pleased to inform you that we have accepted your proposed book for publication.

Was I really seeing correctly? I read on, almost skimming in my haste.

I have enclosed four important documents you need to review: 1) our Author Guide, which details our publishing process . . . 2) our House Style Guide Supplement . . .

My eyes jumped down to the bottom of the message. Wipf and Stock, one of the places I had sent a proposal. This wasn’t a gimmicky ad—it was real!

Some people would whoop and holler or even scream. Some would jump up and down. Instead, my insides turned to mush, and I actually sat lower in my chair, feeling weak. I read the email again to make sure it was not some sort of trick. As much as I hoped to find a publisher, there was a part of me that didn’t quite believe it would happen.

“Wayne,” I called, in as normal a voice as I could muster—I wanted to surprise him. “Could you please come here for a moment?” He probably thought I had a computer problem. That’s why I usually call him from the computer. I called him again before he appeared. “Listen,” I said and began reading again. He stood and listened. “Wonderful!” he said, but he didn’t sweep me off my feet as my sister assumed. We were both a little shocked. “This is the best Christmas present I could ever get,” I told him.

My evening’s plans went out the window. While I called and emailed a few friends, Wayne did what Wayne does, downloading all the attachments that came with the email and beginning to read the technical instructions for submitting my manuscript. I wasn’t ready for technical details. All I knew is that my plans for the next month had suddenly changed. I wouldn’t be putting together more proposals to send out. I would be doing a whole new set of things. I had a hard time going to sleep that night, but for once I didn’t even mind.

Of course, I could have simply laid aside all book-related activities until after Christmas. I planned to do so, other than sending an acknowledgement of the acceptance to Wipf and Stock and writing to another publisher to inquire where they were in their process and to let them know I’d had an offer.

To make a long story short, the other publisher had tried contacting me in November to express interest and ask for more information, but I hadn’t received the email. Now emails went back and forth between us. I talked with friends who had published with each house. I decided to accept the first offer because it was certain, and I didn’t want to end up with nothing.

January began with embarking on the task of getting my manuscript ready to submit. It’s now at the copy editor, and I can pause and pay attention to the rest of my life. I am having a crash course in publishing which is both interesting and daunting, but the process has begun and I am excited. More news will come!

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  1. Sandra Fox on January 12, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    Soooo tickled that you received not only one offer, but two!!! You go, girl!
    Sandy F

    • kathiekurtz on January 12, 2021 at 8:21 pm

      It wasn’t a second offer, just the possibility. They probably won’t make a decision until summer and that was too long to ask the other publisher to wait. At least I didn’t want to risk it.

  2. on January 12, 2021 at 7:14 pm


    Dale and Ruth

    • kathiekurtz on January 12, 2021 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks! You don’t waste any time noting a new post.

  3. Kay Richardson on January 12, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Fantastic, Kathy! So happy for you.

    • kathiekurtz on January 12, 2021 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks, Kay! Too bad we can’t get together to celebrate. Maybe some day!

  4. Ruby Lehman on January 12, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    I’m rejoicing with you, Kathie! A wonderful Christmas present indeed! I could picture it all . . . Wayne in the kitchen washing dishes, you at your computer, and then the news!

    • kathiekurtz on January 12, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks, Aunt Ruby. I am very happy about it.And I can picture you up in your loft, at your computer responding.

  5. Debbie Trowbridge on January 12, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    Congratulations, Kathy! What great news and surely the best Christmas gift!

    • kathiekurtz on January 12, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you! Seeing your name reminds me to forward the newest project in which Jeremy took part. Coming soon.

  6. on January 13, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Congratulations, Kathie!

    Love, Annetta

    Sent from my iPad

  7. danacassell on January 13, 2021 at 8:12 am

    YES! I love everything about this – the publication offer, of course, but also that you announced it to the world here on your blog and that I found it on Facebook. 🙂

    • kathiekurtz on January 13, 2021 at 9:05 am

      And you’re the one who I imagine laughing (kindly) at my slowness to figure out the Facebook piece–primarily that there is almost nothing to figure out. I’m just slow to wander beyond the familiar.

  8. WenLo Maust on January 13, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Congratulations, Kathie!! I can’t wait to read your book! How special!

    • kathiekurtz on January 13, 2021 at 10:53 am

      Thanks, Lois. I’ll be glad too when this process is completed!

  9. Sylvia Dannelley on January 14, 2021 at 12:24 am

    This is great news. So happy for you!!

    • kathiekurtz on January 14, 2021 at 9:44 am

      Thanks, Sylvia. It is exciting!

  10. Nancy B. Fitzgerald (@RevNancyFitz) on January 15, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    COOL Kathie, and the FB post, even with my only checking FB occasionally, got me to your blog. Thanks and congrats.

  11. brendabigboots on January 15, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Dear Kathie, A very fine Christmas gift, indeed, I’d say! Congratulations! Please let me know when I can get a first edition! It’s a long road ahead, I understand, but very exciting and full of promise for the new year. I am so thrilled for you. What a wonderful way to start 2021. All of the best, Brenda and Ray

    • kathiekurtz on January 16, 2021 at 10:10 am

      Many thanks. I will certainly let you know when the book is out. I still have trouble believing that I don’t need to be doing more proposals. That is what I thought I’d spend January doing. Instead its finding a copy editor, choosing pictures, writing captions, getting permission for copyrighted material, etc. Still not coasting–an allusion you will understand when you read the book–me always hoping that once a milestone is reached I can just coast. You’d think I’d learn some day! If it hasn’t not happened in 70 plus years, it’s not likely ever to happen–maybe for a weekend but not long-term.

  12. Esther E. Schrock on February 18, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Kathie, just read about your book. I’m so excited! I’m not sure I commented at the right place.

    • kathiekurtz on February 18, 2021 at 7:41 pm

      Good to hear from you, and yes, you did it right. I’m excited too–most of the time. There is still a lot to be done, so I don’t yet feel home free, if ever one feels that way.

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