October 27, 2017

Vagabond Traveler: The Second Gate…

Category: News — admin @ 5:30 pm

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Toil on, son, and do not lose heart or hope. Let nothing you dismay.
You are not utterly forsaken. I, too, am here–here in the darkness
waiting, here attentive, here approving of your labor and your dream.

—Thomas Wolfe
_________________

Well. I guess I can finally tell it. It’s been a long, long time coming. More than a year ago, I wrote, right here on the blog. It’s time to go shop my second book. I think I’m ready, now. It’s time, to set off on that journey. It’s time to set out for one more city. And since I wrote those words, there has not been a whole lot more to say about it all. Not until now. And here’s the story of the journey, from that day to this one.

The publishing world is a brutal, brutal place. It just is. I’ve always known that. But I kind of skirted around the reality of it all, with my first book. The writing of it came. And then the editing. And then the book was launched into the world. Amazingly, or maybe not, it took off, right from the start. I hunkered down for the ride. And a wild ride it has been.

And since then, life has just been what it was. Up and down and sideways and forward and back. That’s how I walked. That’s how the journey went. And one thing never happened, there early on. There never was a second book that came.

It was about time, I felt, back there a year ago. About time for the second effort. Not that it was burning a hole inside me, or anything. In publishing, if your first book does any good, they tell you. It’s time for the next one. They nudge around, kind of hem and haw. And then they ask. That’s just how it goes. That’s the formula. And way too many writers crank out a second book, when it’s not really in them. They think they have to. And that’s why so many sequels fall flat. It’s because they never came from where the first book came from. From what I’ve seen and felt, this is what I can tell you.

Anyway, back to the market. The publishing world is a brutal brutal place. You step out, you speak, and by some miracle, it works. Your voice gets heard. Your book sells. And that’s all fine. But the people in that world are focused on one thing. Can you write a second book that will sell? Not that I’m grumbling at the publishing world, for being what it is. I’m not. It’s the market. It is what it is, and it will not change.

I remember emailing my agent, back last year. Chip MacGregor. It’s kind of funny, I always thought. I have never bothered Chip, much. Just never felt any need to. I consider myself a very low-maintenance client. I never make much fuss or hassle. Heck, until just lately, I barely ever talked to the man. Well, way back, when he took me as a client, we talked a time or two. We never got very conversational. Which was fine. Then, when the book was coming together, we chatted a few more times. Other than that, we never did. There was no need to. He did his job, getting me through the door at Tyndale. And after he made that connection, he simply got out of the way and let things happen. I’ve always appreciated that about the man. He doesn’t bug you, if you want to be left alone. And he never bugged me, either, in the years since. Oh, sure. Once in a while, here came a short email. He was just checking. How am I doing? I’m fine, I always said. And that was that, until six months later, when he checked in again. Such is the relationship I had with my agent, all these years. It’s a wonder he didn’t cross me from his list. But he never did.

Anyway, I emailed him, out of the blue, last year. I think I’m ready to shop my second book. Is that something you want to do for me? “Of course,” he emailed back. And I asked. Do you think there’s a market for my stuff? It’s been a few years, since Growing Up Amish got published. Will people remember who I am? The publishers, I mean. And I gotta respect the man’s response. He never made any guarantees. You can’t, in publishing. But he told me. “There are plenty of big publishers out there who will be very interested in seeing what you have to offer.” OK, then, I told him. I’ll send you some stuff early next year. This was last year. And by February or so, I sent him a batch of my writings. Fifty pages.

I don’t know how other authors do it, to submit their stuff. From what I’ve seen in the guidelines of most agents, the process is pretty rigorous. Kind of like walking a tightrope. You gotta submit a real manuscript, or at least a good start to one. And you gotta follow all the rules. Double spaced pages. Chapter breaks. Potential titles. Blah, blah, blah, and then, blah and blah. It’s endless, the list. It’s always been wearying to me, to think of all that attention to detail.

But those first fifty pages were pretty organized. I worked hard at what I figured was a real opening chapter to a real book. I even had it professionally edited by my old friend, Susan Taylor. She edited my first book. She retired a couple of years ago. I hunted her down. Will you edit some of this stuff for me? I asked her. I’ll pay you. She could and did. It felt like old times, going back and forth with her. And it all looked pretty good, I thought, when I sent it off to Chip. I’ll see what he thinks, I thought to myself.

He got back to me a few weeks later. Lots of suggested corrections, he had. Do this. Clean up that. Edit this. Ah, come on, Chip, I grumbled to myself. Who knows, what a publisher wants? And I told him. Why don’t you let me clean up some of my writings, that I got on file and on my blog? I’ll get you a hundred pages or so. It’ll be disjointed, but it’ll be good stuff. Any potential publisher can look at it and see I’ll need some editing help. I mean, that’s how it worked last time. Why can’t we try that again? Chip allowed that he could see my point. Send the writing, he told me. So I went back to my computer. Over the next few weeks, I edited and prepared over a hundred pages of older stuff I had already written. Individual stories. Some old blogs. I cleaned it all up. Double-spaced it, even. And off it went.

Chip took a few weeks, to look it over. And really read through it. He liked it, he claimed. I don’t think we talked, then. Just emailed. I asked him. Do you think Tyndale might be interested in publishing my second effort? Chip was pretty confident. “Of course they will be interested,” he wrote. “Your first book sold a lot of copies. Tyndale should jump on this.” OK, I said. Let me know. And I went back to doing what I do, which is mostly plugging along through life, and writing an occasional blog. I never mentioned much on my blogs, that I was shopping another book around. No sense getting your readers all riled up, before anything develops. That’s what I figured.

And all was quiet, for weeks and weeks. Never a peep from Chip. Not unusual at all. Last time, he disappeared for six months, if I remember right. So I didn’t sweat it. Not much, anyway. Sure, I thought about it. What’s going on? But I also knew that the publishing world moves at a glacial pace, like an old man, hobbling along with a cane. Nothing is ever sure, not before an agreement is made. The weeks passed, then the months. I got restless. What’s going on? Why isn’t Chip getting back to me?

I didn’t take notes at the time, so my sequence of events might be off a bit. But eventually, I nudged Chip. What’s going on? Any word from Tyndale? There was no word. And then Chip forwarded a message from a small publishing company. That editor claimed to have cried all the way through my stories. Unfortunately, that publisher was too small to marshal the resources needed to edit my work. Would Ira consider taking on the editing role himself? The editor asked.

So Chip asked me. Would I? I will, when I have to, I said. Not before. Did all the big publishers reject it, yet? No, they had not. He was still waiting to hear back from a few. Well, let’s wait, then, I wrote. And I asked, too. What’s happening with Tyndale? Chip seemed mildly vague, with his answer. Tyndale wasn’t saying yay or nay. They were just pretty much ignoring my stuff.

Well. You gotta wonder why a publisher wouldn’t jump on the second offering from an author who brought in a million bucks (or at least hundreds of thousands of dollars) with his first book. And, yeah, I knew. Many of the people I worked with at Tyndale had moved on. Or retired, like Susan had. But not all. And there had been a departmental shakeup, too, that I knew of. The place wasn’t the same as it had been, back in 2010-11. But still. I was disappointed in Tyndale. The publishing world is a brutal place. That’s a given. But they could have relaunched my first book along with the release of the second. Anyone with half an eye could see that. It just doesn’t make much sense to ignore potential profits that are as good as guaranteed. Not to my way of thinking, it doesn’t.

Chip was astounded, that Tyndale didn’t bite. I wasn’t all that astounded, but I sure felt deflated. It just seemed like something that was destined to happen. A road block, thrown right up in front of me. Good grief. If something can go wrong, it will. But we talked, then, Chip and me. And he spoke calmly and wisely. “If the book is not wanted at one place, we will take it to a place that does want it,” he said. “Let me keep shopping around.” I felt better, at his words.

But deep down, I felt ripples of uneasiness. The market sure wasn’t falling over itself, to take my stuff. What if no one wanted what I wrote? What if there were no takers? What then? In the publishing world, as in life, I guess, no one cares much what you did six years ago. What have you done lately? Publishers focus on one particular thing. Can I make them money? And I got no problem with any of that. No one publishes a book just for fun. And no one should. If you don’t figure to make money, there’s no sense even bothering with it.

See what you can do, I said to Chip. Keep me updated. I’ll wait to hear from you. He said he would. And it wasn’t long after that, that I got a happy message. An editor from Harper Collins was very interested. A guy editor. Most editors are women, these days. Like someone told me, once. “Publishing is basically ten thousand women, and a couple hundred men, mainly in production and sales.” That’s true, I think.

And Chip told me. The man from Harper really loved my work. It might be just exactly what he’s looking for. I was a little astounded. Harper Collins. One of the Big Five publishers in New York City. That was Big Time, like Peter Gabriel sings. Bigger than Tyndale, for sure. I agreed, of course, when Chip wanted to set up a time for us to chat with the editor man from Harper.

It happened a week or so later. At the last moment, Chip took ill. So he couldn’t join us. I called the number right at 5:30. And the editor was there. We spoke our names. Introduced ourselves. And we talked. It’s a big deal, when an editor from Harper Collins takes the time to talk to you. A big deal. We got along great. I felt calm. He had a lot of questions about how the first book happened. And what I figured would have to happen for the second one to become real. I was totally honest. I write raw stuff. I can tear your heart out. Make you laugh. Make you weep bitter tears. I just have a hard time connecting it all into a book. That’s what the Tyndale people did last time. Connected everything. That’s what I’m looking for now. Editing and connecting.

The man seemed impressed, I gotta say. He dug a little deeper into my “philosophy of writing.” I told him. I don’t believe in writing courses in college. I’ve never been to a writer’s seminar in my life. You either got it inside you, or you don’t. That’s the way I see it. He seemed to hear my words. And he told me. “A guy like you should be talking at these seminars. There’s a lot of people out there who need to hear what you’re saying.” And we chatted, too, about what my story line might be, for the book. It’s a lot of father/son stuff, I said. I’m open to suggestions. I’m totally open to a publisher’s guidance. That’s why I need a publisher with some resources. I need some time and I need some help, to get it all together.

An hour whooshed by. Then another ten minutes. He needed to go. So we wrapped it up. He was definitely very interested. But. But. He had to get the concept through the Publishing Board, there at Harper. Yeah, I said. I know all about Publishing Boards. They’re like the Wall of China. You can’t get around, and you can’t get through. I know it’s a real job. He said he’d be in touch with Chip, soon. And I thanked him for the time. We hung up. I didn’t feel exhausted or anything. But it was a big deal, to chat with an editor at that level. I knew that, right as it was happening.

Chip and I chatted via email, then, the next few days. And I went back to my daily routine. Go to work. Work on my blog now and then. And wait. I should hear something from the editor man soon, I figured. Surely within a month.

And the weeks swept right on by. I heard nary a peep from anyone. Oh, well. No use fretting. I’m sure the man is fighting his Publishing Board, to get his idea through. And then, out of nowhere, another message from Chip. He had another editor who wanted to talk to me. A lady, this time. From another big publisher. Hachette.

Hachette? I thought to myself. I wonder what company that is. Sounds French. I googled the name. And learned soon enough. Hachette is one of the Big Five in New York City, just like Harper Collins is. The company was French, actually. And it had bought out the publisher Time-Warner. That name I knew. Wow, I thought to myself. That’s wild. First an editor from Harper Collins, now from Time-Warner. This is big time. There must be something they like about my stuff. Either that, or Chip just has good connections. Maybe both. And Chip scheduled a conference call with the Hachette lady, for one evening after work. This time, he wasn’t sick. So the three of us connected.

It went well. At least I thought so. The woman lives down south, in Nashville. She sure had a strong southern accent. We talked, and I told her pretty much what I had told the guy from Harper. I can send you all kinds of good stuff. Stories that will tear at your heart. But someone needs to fuse it all into a book. That’s what happened with the first book, back in 2011. And, I know. That’s a lot of years that have passed. I know, an author is supposed to crank out his second book way before I did. It doesn’t matter to me, I said. It didn’t come, so I didn’t write it. I think I’m ready, now. I’m ready to try, anyway.

And the nice lady seemed impressed. She loved my style of writing, she told me. That’s why she reached out to Chip. And we talked. Of course, she would have to go back and present the whole idea to her Publishing Board, too. Of course, I said. I don’t claim to know a lot about publishing, but I do know that much, now. From all I’ve seen in the past. I think we talked for almost an hour. And then we wound things down. And I thought to myself. I hope there’s a bidding war between this woman and the Harper guy. That would be nice. I’ve been wanting that black Jeep ever since I drove one down to Florida to see Dad last April. A nice down payment on a book might get me a nice down payment on that black Jeep. Who knows? That was my random thinking after I chatted with the lady from Hachette.

And I thought about it a lot, back then. The Harper guy called in May, the Hachette lady in June. And I mulled it over, in my head. It’s kind of wild, that people from that level of the publishing world reached out to me. It’s a big deal. And I knew, too. Before another book will ever come, the right door has to open. The second gate to the golden city. That gate has to open, or there will never be another book from me. Not that such a thing would be the end of the world for me. I’ve always claimed that. And I meant it, too. I’ll write another book when and if it gets here. If it never does get here, well, at least no one can ever take away my first book. That’s what I always told myself, anyway. Maybe I was whistling past the graveyard. Maybe I was just trying to calm my mind.

I knew what part of the problem was, if no offer came. Chip had hedged at it, delicately, a few times. My “platform.” It’s nowhere close to what it needs to be. Mostly because I don’t pay any attention to it. I’m supposed to be connecting to 50,000 people every month, which just boggles my mind. How in the world does one do that, and remain real? How do you do that without pestering people to read your stuff? I have never done that. I have never paid any attention to increasing my platform. I blog when I feel like it. I post on Facebook as life unfolds around me. I mean, I live. Or try to. That’s one side of the equation, when a publisher looks at me. My platform is sadly lacking. The other side? I’ve written a NY Times Bestseller that’s approaching 200,000 copies sold. It doesn’t compute, any of it. And it almost makes their heads explode, the bean counters in the publishing world.

And June soon passed into July. I never told many people about the two Big Five publishers who had reached out. Well, I told my family. I figure family has the right to know about most things as they happen. And I told my coworkers at the office. Some of those people, I’ve been working with for years and years. There’s not too much I hold back. So I told them. And I said to everyone I told. At this stage, there is nothing sure. Nothing concrete. But this has to happen before anything else can happen. The door has to open, one crack at a time. The gate to my second book has to open, however slowly. This stage has to happen, or there will be no others. And I drank scotch on the rocks quietly and intensely as the month of July rolled by.

August came. That’s my birthday month. Another year, coming at me. Fifty-six. One of these days, I’ll be hobbling along with a cane. And, of course, August is the month of the Great Annual Ira Wagler Garage Party. This year, I scheduled it for the 19th. And this year, I invited people from just about all over. From the Midwest and from the South. Family. Friends. Relatives. Neighbors. Come one. Come all, I told them. This year will be a special year. And I thought to myself, too. It sure would be nice if I could announce it at my Garage Party. My offer for the second book.

As August rumbled by, the Garage Party came and went. And this year, my nephew John Wagler and his wife Dorothy flew in from all the way out in Iowa. And my niece Janice came, too, from Florida. And her brother, Steven, drove up from his home in South Carolina. It was a big old gathering for a big old party at Ira’s Garage. It was a great, grand affair. But I never breathed a word in public about a book deal, because I never heard an offer from anyone about a book deal. After the party, I got to thinking. I’ve heard nothing. Nothing. Maybe it’s time to start getting a little nervous.

And somewhere in about here, it just hit me one day. I’ve been drinking way too hard, all summer. Way too hard. Sure, I could blame the pressures of not knowing about the book. I could blame all that. Those two Big Five publishers who nibbled, yet kept shrinking back. And one day, soon after my Garage Party, one day I just said to myself. I’m tired of waking up, all exhausted from the whiskey. I’m intensely ashamed of being a big, fat slob. I’m tired of feeling so bloated and heavy, tired of bulging out of my biggest clothes. I’m tired of being tired all the time. And I made a snap decision. I’m quitting. I won’t say forever, because that’s too long. I’ll just say, for now. At least until I lose a bunch of pounds, and get to feeling a little better. So that’s what I did. Just quit drinking, stone cold. One day, I’ll write a blog about alcohol and me. That’ll be the title. Alcohol and Me. That, or Running with the Devil. Either one would work, I think.

I nudged Chip now and then. Bothered him more than I ever had before. It’s just how it went. September came. And Beach Week approached. This year, I was alcohol-free, going in. A few weeks before we left, I got a merry little note from Chip. Virginia is taking your book to the Board this next week. Virginia. That’s her name, the lady from Hachette. Wow, I thought. She’s taking it to the Board. Publishing Boards have traditionally not been very kind to me. My stuff squeaked by the Tyndale Board, somehow. But before that, the Harvest House Board deemed my writing “not sweet enough.” I never forgot that. How obtuse those people were, on that Board. I have been very leery of all Publishing Boards since then. There’s no rhyme or reason to any of them, near as I can tell. And now the concept of my second book was being presented to another Board by a brave warrior editor who was willing to go to battle for me.

I felt very tense about it. But still. This had to happen, before anything real could happen. Before any offer could be made. The Wall had to be crossed. Passed through. Whatever. Oh, well, I thought. Beach Week is coming right up. At least I’ll know, one way or the other, by the time we head down there. And the week came, that the Board would hear about my book. I tried not to think about it, much. I just hoped the writing would be good enough to persuade. It was too late to change anything, if it wasn’t. Oh, well. Just keep walking. That’s what I told myself.

And the week passed. No word came. Nothing. No yay. No nay. Saturday approached. I packed for the beach. And we headed out, Wilm and me. Just like we do every year. It was my turn to take my truck. We arrived. Everyone else did, too. And Beach Week came at us. It was a little different for me, being alcohol free and all. I had lost a solid dozen pounds or more. And that week, I gained a few of those pounds back. Not from drink. From all the good food. We feasted like kings, as we always do. The difference this year was, I was in bed by eleven or before. Every night. And every morning, I was the first one up. A halo hovered over my head, I felt like. By the time the others stumbled into the kitchen, I had dined magnificently on eggs and buttered toast and bacon, and was drinking coffee and orange juice. I read. I wrote a bit. And I never heard a word from Chip, about the Publishing Board at Hachette. Not a word. Nothing was going on, apparently.

And soon the week had swooshed right by. We all headed for home. The tension inside had lurked, latent, all week. And after I got home and Monday morning rolled around, I still had heard nothing. So I sat down and wrote an email to Chip. What is going on? Come on. This is crazy, that I’ve heard nothing. And Chip wrote back, very calmly. He wasn’t sure what was going on. He had emailed Virginia. He was expecting to hear from her any time. Sure, I thought. I mean, why would anyone be contacting us now, when there had been only silence for weeks? I was stressed, I will say. All my eggs had been shopped out, in one basket. If there were no takers, I would have to find another road. Another door. And I’d have to start all over, in the journey. I did not want to do that. I really did not want to.

And it was all a little surreal, in that time. How I felt, and how I looked at life. I had quit drinking, stone cold, a mere few weeks before. And I wanted a drink real bad, as the tension levels escalated inside me. I really did. A good stiff scotch would have tasted so, so delicious. But I never went there. Not other than in my head. All of life is a choice, at least those parts of life in your control. Yeah, you can be addicted to this or that. Still. What you choose to do, how you choose to handle that addiction, that is a choice. Nothing more. Nothing less. And it was a choice for me in those tense and murky days, not to drink. I’m not saying I never will again. Drink, I mean. I rarely say never. But I chose not to at that time. I’ve still chosen not to. And I’m down twenty-six pounds.

I waited then, to hear from Chip. Something had to give, one way or the other. Something had to break. I plugged off to work, every day, that week. No news. No word. Tuesday came. Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, I got home from work. Checked my emails. And there was something from Chip. The subject line was two words. Good News! I fumbled with my mouse. The computer half locked up. Come on. Open. And then the message opened. A single line. “Look what came in last night, Ira… a real offer! Have a look, then let’s talk…” Below the line, he had forwarded the message he had received. From Virginia, at Hachette. She was making a formal offer for Ira Wagler’s book.

And she wrote what she was offering. A contract. She was looking forward to helping me craft a follow-up to my first work. And she wrote the standard contractual terms. The upfront offer. The percentages that would follow. The black Jeep might be a real possibility, down the road, I’m thinking. But at that moment, I just sat and absorbed. And Virginia wrote, toward the end. Speaking of Ira Wagler, she said. “His writing is well-loved by the folks here.” And I just sat and looked at the message. Here it was. The thing I had been stressing about for months and months. The offer had come. From FaithWords, a division of Hachette, the publisher formerly known as Time-Warner.

And I thought to myself. I sure could use a good strong scotch about right now. But even as the urge flashed through me, I knew I would not choose to do that. The celebratory drink would have to wait. Right now, I just needed to sit and let it all sink in. And, oh, yeah. I needed to tell someone. I looked at my phone. And then I called Janice. The book deal came through, I told her, my voice sagging with relief. Janice knew all about the stress I was in. We had spoken about it, down at the beach. And she listened to me telling her how the offer had finally come. And she told me she had known it would, and then she told me she loved me. In a moment like that, that’s just about all you need to hear. That someone loves you.

In my heart that night, I danced in silence with myself. And over the next few days, I murmured the news to a few close friends. My family. The people at work. And one or two others. But I could not tell the world, not just yet. Chip told me. From the New York publishers, the formal contract will take some time. Months. But there will come a pre-contractual memo, with all the details. When that memo gets here, the offer is set. No backing out, from anyone. And even that memo took some time. Well, he had the final negotiations to work through. And then, one day last week, after work, here it came. The memo. It came through. And now I can tell the world. I have an offer for my second book. A real offer, from a real publisher.

Virginia wants the manuscript by sometime next summer, maybe June or so. And then, they want to release the actual book in the summer of 2019. A year later. It takes time, as I remember, for a book to work its way from writing to publishing. So right now, well, right now I’m back to earth and looking at the road ahead of me. The next eight months are going to be intense. That’s all there is to it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a big, big deal. It really is. And I feel a lot of emotions. A lot of relief, too. The market actually took what I had to offer. There’s nothing like that feeling. And I know, as I approach the second gate leading to the road to the second city. The city of my second book. This journey will be a lot different than the journey of the first book was. The thing is, I know a little bit about what the jungle is like, ahead of me. I’ve been there before. The first book was a long time, coming. So was the second book. And one thing I have learned, when it comes to a new journey like the one I’m fixing to travel.

I will walk forward. Whatever comes, I will face the future. I am not afraid. The Lord has blessed me once again by granting me one of the deepest desires of my heart. That’s a beautiful thing. I am grateful. To Him, and to all of you, my readers. Thank you for always being there.

And now, I stand and lift my face to the heavens in gratitude and praise. Walk with me on this new road, through this second gate to a new and glorious dawn in a new and shining city. It is ours to grasp and hold, the joy and celebration of it all.

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(25 Comments) »

  1. There are a lot of good books that never get published, and a lot of bad books that shouldn’t. I have read your book several times and know you are a good writer, and others agree, and you should be published. You don’t need to be perfect to write a book. Readers just like the fact that you are real.

    Comment by carol ellmore — October 27, 2017 @ 6:40 pm

  2. Congratulations! I am happy to walk with you in this new journey. I will, also, keep you in my prayers.

    Comment by Rosanna F. — October 27, 2017 @ 7:25 pm

  3. Congratulations, Ira! I look forward to your new book. I really enjoy your blogs and would love a copy of a Wagler freundschaft book so I could better follow the extended family.

    Comment by OSIAH HORST — October 27, 2017 @ 7:31 pm

  4. Congratulations, Mr. Ira! We all knew there would be another book. 2019? I don’t think I can wait that long!

    BTW, Jeeps are overrated, get some really good wheels, you deserve them!

    Comment by Matthew Block — October 27, 2017 @ 8:17 pm

  5. Congratulations Ira! I enjoy your writings. I do considerable writing myself, have thought about publishing some of my stuff. Apparently it’s daunting. I better pour another scotch and reconsider.

    Comment by Kenneth Schlabach — October 27, 2017 @ 8:29 pm

  6. Congrats! Would be great if your dad had a bit of his writing in the book. If I was on staff with the publisher, I would throw that out to you. Would be an interesting juxtaposition to color your tale….js.

    Comment by lisa — October 27, 2017 @ 8:48 pm

  7. Congratulations! I’m so very happy for you. I have followed your journey via this blog for years and I continue to enjoy the adventure! Much happiness and blessings for you.

    Comment by Erin — October 27, 2017 @ 9:20 pm

  8. You did it, Ira! Congratulations! Here’s to many enjoyable hours of writing. I’m looking forward to the finished product.

    Comment by Rhoda — October 27, 2017 @ 11:03 pm

  9. This is the best news, ever. I’m so happy for you!

    Comment by Pizzalady — October 27, 2017 @ 11:21 pm

  10. Mazel tov! May the second book come as well as the first!
    Gott segne dich, Ira!

    Comment by Nicholas — October 28, 2017 @ 1:56 am

  11. Congratulations Ira. It appears that you are the “real deal” kind of writer. I look forward to reading your work. I’m glad too, that your father is here to see your success.

    Comment by Susan C — October 28, 2017 @ 7:28 am

  12. Congratulations on both counts! The book deal is a lovely token of appreciation and validation of your work, and your decision to knock off the booze is an enormous act of love and respect towards yourself!

    Comment by Selah — October 28, 2017 @ 11:02 am

  13. Congratulations to you, Ira! As a frequent reader of yours, (a not-so-frequent commenter) I look forward to enjoying your next book. My best wishes to you always.

    Comment by Glywn Chase — October 28, 2017 @ 1:24 pm

  14. This blog made me shed a few tears in places. I’m so happy for you. I can hardly wait for the book.

    Comment by Faye — October 28, 2017 @ 1:59 pm

  15. Prayers and blessings for you. I’ve read your book three times and I’ve read all your blogs. You’ve worked for this and you deserve it. Will patiently wait for your new book.

    Comment by BJ — October 28, 2017 @ 4:42 pm

  16. Praise the Lord and Bravo! Looking forward to reading your next work.

    Comment by Aaron Martin — October 28, 2017 @ 9:03 pm

  17. The beginning of your second dream! Coming true now! There are many of us who follow you through so much.. the first book, the blog, Facebook, and our hearts rejoice with you as you waited so patiently for this moment. Stay sober, stay strong and faithful… your health matters to us too! Ira, you matter, and your story always resonates with my soul. Congratulations!!!!

    Comment by Pam Moore — October 28, 2017 @ 11:25 pm

  18. Big Time faithful – that’s what I thought (I had never heard that song before), as I listened. Not platform building, but being, and continuing faithful. In the end, wisdom is learned and wisdom wins out. In a way that is beneficial to all.

    Congratulations, man!

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — October 30, 2017 @ 10:49 am

  19. Still, always, proud of you.

    Comment by Glo — October 31, 2017 @ 8:59 am

  20. Congratulations. I enjoy reading your blog. I own your first book & will absolutely buy the next.

    Comment by John Beiler — November 1, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

  21. Congratulations, Ira! Reading your blog is always a special treat! You are an amazing writer, and I am so looking forward to your second book!

    Comment by Ruthie Musser — November 1, 2017 @ 8:46 pm

  22. Congratulations! That’s awesome. But seems kinda harsh. Guessing you’ve posted a dozen different hats…vests, tons of new shirts-your closet must be huge. But nothing’s ever sloppy. Can’t imagine anyone describing you as a “slob”. Just look way healthier lately. Which is also awesome.

    Comment by Phyllisity — November 1, 2017 @ 9:01 pm

  23. Congratulations! You are a good writer. I’m looking forward to reading whatever you write in your second book.

    Jane Goforth :-)

    Comment by Jane Goforth — November 4, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

  24. What wonderful news, Ira! So happy for you! Now comes the fun part. Congratulations, wordsmith!

    Comment by Bridget — November 6, 2017 @ 12:20 pm

  25. Tyndale and now (former) Time-Warner…Love it! I worked the retail side of the publishing industry for about 14 years back in the mid 90’s-05… You’re right. Both are serious publishers and you should feel validated as a writer! Congratulations! (and somewhere there will be crying at Tyndale because someone dropped the ball and they didn’t publish the 2nd book) Happy Writing!!

    Comment by Eileen — November 12, 2017 @ 2:32 pm

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