Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Blessings, My Friends: My single-parent mother raised my three older brothers and me on the foundation of Christian doctrine and principals. Yet, two days per week in church could never balance against the majority of the time my siblings and I spent at school or playing outdoors. My early passion for reading fiction turned into a vivid dream of someday becoming a writer. I had a clear and undying purpose to tell stories that could bridge the gap between the church and the streets. I long since realized that my ideas would be unconventional by publishing standards. Still, I also considered something that no one ever discussed--neither folks young or old: Regardless of the many crimes committed in the hood, I haven't come across anyone living there who does not believe in God. I am grateful for Highway to Heaven, starring Michael Landon, and Touched by An Angel, which turned Della Reese into a real superstar. However, what if these TV shows were written with younger angels, ones that look and dialog in a style popular to young adults today? Further, what if urban Americans of all ethnic groups were not only held accountable for their evil deeds, but also challenged to change their lives or die? Such questions led me to create the Hartford Series: gritty supernatural novels with projected manuscript lengths of 150 - 200 pages. Each book in the series will be a standalone--such as a TV serial episode--but share the setting of my urban Connecticut hometown, Hartford. A CHANGE OF HEART, published by Metropolis Ink in 2001, was actually completed when I was 19 years old. THE HARLOT, my second novel in the Hartford Series, is now in print through Sadorian Publications. I am happy that I followed the advice of author Dean Koontz; he once said that he believes a writer should earn his or her own publishing credits, before seeking literary representation. Thus, I have come to respect all aspects of publishing: the process of submitting manuscripts and receiving the dreadful rejection letters; the achievement of eventual acceptance and publication; signings at Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart, among other bookselling outlets; interviews in newspapers, magazines, and even live on radio. Now that I'm an adult, I can quote this scripture with all certainty: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. I cant thank Him enough for giving me a dream, and for guiding me through to seeing it realized! I hope you will enjoy the Hartford Series, equally as much as I enjoy creating each novel just for you. Your Humble Author and Friend, Jermaine Watkins