About j.a. manier

Every Author's Website needs an "About" page, so I am told, but what can I tell you? The fact is I wrote under a Pen Name to keep my identity shielded from the backlash of "Cancel Culture." I have a "day job" and need to keep it. These days just pressing the "like" ICON on something the mainstream doesn't agree with can get you attacked on social media, attacked in real life, and fired from your job.

What I can tell you, or more like it, what I will tell you is this. I sat down in August of 2019 and began to type. I had many ideas in the past but was, I don't know, too lazy, and certainly never brave enough to write any of them down, let alone form them into a novel. For some reason earlier in the year I had gotten enough courage to jot down the beginning of an idea.

Well, I’m not sure courage is the right word. I typed it into the “Notes” section on my phone. No one would ever see it; I would make sure of that. I’m not even sure why I did it. I never planned on anyone ever seeing it, but I thought maybe I would expand on it one day. A few months after that my husband and I began a Bible Study group. It was one of those deep, find your purpose kind of studies. I had never been to one but right away they had us doing homework.

Much of it was writing things down. Prayers, thoughts about what we read or talked about, what you hear God telling you… That last one got me. How was I going to hear God? The instructions were to go find a place away from the rest of the class, then sit quietly and let God speak. I am not that good with just sitting still. I took a walk, but I tried to follow the directions anyway.  When we got back the instructions were to write down your thoughts. The only thing that came to my mind was “He said write.” It was very clear, but I thought, “that can’t be it. I must be just echoing the instructions of write it down by the leader,” but I wrote that down anyway.

Later during one of the Bible Study classes we were sitting in small groups discussing the topic that was given. I really do not remember what that was, but a friend asked a question. He said something along the lines of, “The Apostles had the ability to heal. Do you think people today could have that power? That is what I would like to have. The power to heal.” He said it kind of quiet. He and I were the only ones in the group that had a medical background, so I think it kind of slipped out, meant only for me or even just himself. Like it was a wild dream that no one would understand, and he was embarrassed to say it.

His statement and question just stuck in the back of my mind. I had often felt the same thing. The early church had many accounts of members healing people, doing great miracles. Why did that stop? Did it stop? Another idea began forming in my mind and this time I felt compelled to write it down on more than just the “Notes” section on my phone. I opened my computer when I had some down time at work and began to type. Something just drove me to continue and as I did the words just seem to appear on the page. A friend of mine called it a "Download from God." That sounds crazy and should get you “Canceled” from nearly every social media platform out there, but that is what it felt like. The words just kept coming, the ideas flowing.

I did not tell my family or anyone else I was writing until I was several chapters into my story. My sister one day just blurted out that she was writing a book. I was so shocked I told her about mine. The cat was out of the bag now, so I had to finish. It was very odd. As I wrote the story and gave my family updates as I went, things similar to what I was writing began showing up on the News. Some of the things I used in my story. If I would have wrote in a book that a church somewhere in America was being told they could only have one person in a building that held thousands, yet you could drink a beer with a hundred strangers at a bar down the street, no one would buy it. Literally. It would be too farfetched for anyone to want to read it and they would not buy the book, but here it was right on the evening news.

I finished the book in August of 2020, sent it to my mini group of editors (my husband and two sisters) and sent my first query letter package to an agent in October. Then again in October then in January. I had several nice responses of “This is not for us at this time.” Here I was finally brave enough to not only write but to send it out to strangers and no one wanted it. I was feeling a little self-conscious and discouraged.

Then one night while watching TV, a commercial came on for Trilogy Christian Publishing. My husband said, “Maybe we should give them a try?” By that time, I was pretty discouraged and was not sure I wanted to see another rejection letter. Every letter hit you twice. Once that you knew a stranger did not like your book but then a second time when family knew a stranger did not like your book. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take a chance on being turned down again.

A few days later during some down time when no one else was around I began thinking about the commercial for Trilogy. I already had a package ready that I changed the name on for each new query I sent out. So, I put it together and held my finger over the “send” button for nearly an hour. Finally, I pushed the button. Or I nodded off and pushed it by accident. Not sure really but it got done. I didn’t tell anyone, even my husband. This way I could just pretend I didn’t get another rejection letter. Pretty brave, huh?

Two days later I received an email from Trilogy Christian Publishing. I did not want to open it and get another rejection letter, but curiosity got me to peek. To my surprise they were asking me to “make a phone appointment to discuss my manuscript.” They were a Christian business, maybe they were just going to be nicer than the others and tell me “Hey, nice try but rewrite the entire thing, better this time, and maybe we would consider.”  I nervously scheduled the appointment for the next day when no one would be home. I was still feeling timid and self-conscious.

I could hardly speak when the representative told me he not only loved what I had sent so far but that he could not put it down. Telling my husband that I just got a conditional offer to publish was one of the most exciting times of my life. He was just as excited as I was but now, we were both waiting nervously for an answer. The book had to go to a review board for final approval. More strangers were going to be reading my book, this time all of my book. I found that I was more nervous this time, then the several times I sent query letters and the first three chapters to numerous agents. It seemed like an eternity but only nine days after sending my query to them, my book was approved by the publishers review board and I was under contract. It was interesting that when the representative called to tell me the book was approved, he started off excitedly asking, “Did you see the news? They are talking about a vaccine that uses DNA. It is just like your book!” Well, he was close, I knew what he meant. More importantly, I knew he had read my book not just skimmed through a few chapters.

Well, the publishing process is complete, the book is available for pre-order and Trilogy has a commercial for the book that will begin airing on the Hillsong channel soon. Now the fun part begins. I have put a few ads on Facebook and other social media. I have had one ad rejected but I knew it was just poking the bear. It left too much to the imagination. The ad said “Mandatory Experimental Vaccine… What could go wrong?” Yeah, they rejected that. The next one I made was a bit more generic and was accepted without problems.

The plan had been that when we received a copy of the commercial, I would put it on social media. The problem now is that the commercial does not just let the cat out of the bag. It yanks the cat out clawing and screaming. How am I going to get that on social media without getting banned for life? Well, God has gotten me this far. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me next. What an amazing adventure this has been. Guess it is time to work on book two…

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