Community · Freedom · Kimly's Trade

What I found left me breathless

Dreams come true. Sometimes it feels like a nightmare when it happens, but sometimes it evolves into a better reality than the original dream. In many ways, the latter is what happened with my novel, Where the Water Rages.

When I began knocking on the proverbial publishing door, I had little direction. I used search engines and Twitter to locate the names of publishers and literary agents and I made daily inquiries. All the while, I had a dilemma to overcome. As I searched, I learned that many mainstream publishers weren’t interested in a book with Christian themes, and many Christian publishers wouldn’t touch a book that dealt with themes present in my manuscript.

One day, after receiving umpteen rejections, a publisher began to show interest in the manuscript. Of course, I was shocked by their interest, and as we began the ebb-and-flow of building a deal, I looked for any information on the company. I was unable to believe that a publisher would really be drawn to the project and certain that this was a scam.

I’ll tell you what I learned about my publisher, and then I will tell you why YOU should care.

Kharis Publishing is an up and coming publishing house located in Northwest Arkansas, it’s an imprint of Kharis Media LLC, the leading mass media corporation in Africa. The team at Kharis Publishing is “committed to social empowerment through publishing and literacy initiatives.” The publishing company operates with a two-fold goal.

First, because they recognize how difficult it is for minority and first-time authors to get published, without relying on self-publishing, their goal is to give a voice to such authors. Second, is their unique business plan. This is the part that affects you as a potential reader of Where the Water Rages, and it’s the part that left me breathless:

“The second goal is to empower orphans to take charge of their lives, by building resource centers or mini-libraries within their orphanages so those kids can learn, dream, and grow. For every book sold, we donate $1 towards establishing such resource centers.”

Yep, that’s right. For every single book sold, Kharis Publishing donates $1 to an orphanage.

Why do they do this? Well, it all comes back to Francis Umesiri. Born in rural Nigeria, Francis Umesiri spent each day walking 3 miles to retrieve water for his family, and then he spent the evenings reading borrowed books by the light of a kerosene lantern. The two men who loaned him books challenged him to read as much as possible and to write reports on what he had read.

Today Dr. Francis Umesiri is a Biology professor at John Brown University in Northern Arkansas and the founder of Kharis Publishing. He credits his success in academia with his love for reading and the individuals who took an interest in his life by loaning him books.

As you can imagine, when I learned this, there was no other publisher I wanted to be in contract with. The story I wrote about a little girl who is sold into the slave trade is fiction, but the frustrating reality is that this isn’t fiction for too many children. The innocents who are victimized most often come from living situations where poverty is rampant, and an orphan child living on the streets is an easy target. To a child in a third world country, an orphanage is representative of hope, as often their extended families do not have the resources to care for them. Orphanages give them a chance that they might not otherwise have, but children need more than just food and shelter. To distance themselves from a disadvantaged life, they need knowledge; they need books, computers, and learning materials.

The idea that my fictional manuscript could play a part in empowering a child, in bringing resources for learning to an orphanage left me breathless.

Now, the manuscript is bigger than me, as good is integrated into the sale of each book.

Water ragesAnd this is why you should care. When you purchase Where the Water Rages you aren’t just keeping the wheels of big business spinning, as is often the case with larger publishing houses. No, you are supporting a publishing company who has made it their goal to be the difference in the lives of orphans. You are helping to build a library of books in an orphanage in Uganda, a place where it is difficult for children to acquire the books that are readily available in the United States.

One book, one dollar, every time.

Would you consider visiting Kharis Publishing today and purchasing a copy of Where the Water Rages?

Share this article on Facebook: be a part of my dream and help bring literacy to the life of a child.

Kimly's Trade

Why I am Thankful for my Failure

11168856_10153348741096970_5894260610798824795_nToday is the final day of a fundraising campaign that didn’t reach its goal, and we are thrilled about it failing.

There are a couple of reasons the failure  brings us pleasure. First, it is a reminder that God has called us to walk by faith in all things. The phrase, “One Step at a Time” or “Walk by Faith” are quickly tossed to people who are facing difficulties. If a friend tells you their child has been diagnosed with a rare disease, if a coworker shares the shame of an upcoming bankruptcy, or if a close friend admits to an addiction it is natural to offer hope by reminding them to walk in faith. We know that while our loved ones can’t see their way out of the darkness–walking through it one step at a time is all that is required.

Through this experience, we have been reminded that the same is true for good things. If an adventurous soul wants to accomplish their dreams, they still have to walk by faith and shower themselves with the same grace they would offer to someone who feels like their life is in chaos. Faith walking is not reserved to the chaotic life, it’s an everyday calling–for ordinary souls to achieve their daring dreams.

The second reason we are thankful we didn’t reach our targeted goal is because the goal got better.

When we realized we weren’t going to raise enough money to hire an experienced fictional editor AND pay for self publishing, we had to make a choice. It was going to have to be one or the other. Trust me, it wasn’t an easy decision. If we used the money we raised to hire an editor, we may end up with a polished manuscript–but how would we get it to those who had made pledges? And if we decided to forgo the editor and publish the manuscript in its raw state, would we be missing a step that could make the work more appealing and convey its message more clearly?

After praying and rehashing the situation, we decided that there was much more to be gained {and risked} by using the funds to hire a seasoned editor, even if it meant we wouldn’t have the necessary funds to self-publish. We decided that while self-publishing may be where we eventually land, we didn’t have to go to that place without first getting the manuscript into the best shape possible, then pursuing an agent and publishing house.

I don’t read my writing the way other people read it, so I cannot imagine an agent or a publisher seeing its value, but because we didn’t raise the money to do both, I am taking a step of faith that I would have never taken.

It’s much easier to walk down a well lit path. Heck, I even turn on a light to make the short journey down the hallway in my house. It’s normal and we will always strive to see more and know more–it’s in our nature. But, oftentimes when it comes to the dearest things in our life, the braver choice, the choice that brings the most growth and the greatest joy involves walking down a dimly lit path.

Follow this LINK for more information about Kimly’s Trade 🙂

Community · Kimly's Trade · Uncategorized

My Favorite Shoes I Barely Wore

wordsWhen I was fourteen-years-old I joined my High School’s Track Team. Impressing my classmates with my agile Kenyan-like abilities, I won the team’s MVP award and garnished the nickname “Jackrabbit Jackie” for my hare-footed speed. Okay, well maybe that’s not altogether accurate. What actually happened might have fewer accolades.

During the spring semester of my freshman year, the extra curricular activity “Drill Team” was no longer considered a viable class in meeting my High School’s Physical Education requirements. In order for my fellow flag twirlers and me to meet our needed PE requirements, we either had to enroll in a traditional PE class, or we had to “go out” for Track and Field. After a conversation with Coach Monroe, a grandfatherly man whose gentle nature sits firm and soft on the bleachers of my memory, I decided to join the Track Team.

Coach Monroe needed runners to participate in a multitude of events, and he confidently suggested two in which he felt I would excel. The first was the 800 meter run. 800 meters is two laps around the track. TWO LAPS…without stopping. I’m sorry, but that’s a long way to run without an axe murderer chasing you.

The second event in which he convinced the team’s novice runner to participate was the Hurdles. Wikipedia describes hurdling this way,

The act of running and jumping over an obstacle at speed. A series of barriers known as hurdles are set at precisely measured heights and distance in which each athlete must pass by running over. Accidental knocking over of hurdles is not cause for disqualification, but is disadvantageous.

On one afternoon, Coach Monroe, who undoubtedly received his Masters Degree in Manipulation, managed to convince this newcomer that she should run in one event demanding endurance and a second event requiring agility in speedily skipping over obstacles which are strategically placed to knock her on her bum.

Two things stand out about my time on LMHS Matador’s Track and Field Team. The first is that I successfully DID compete in both of those events at two separate meets. Twice, Coach Monroe was able to convince me that I  could successfully navigate the obstacles strategically placed to trip me up. Even though I never placed in hurdles and the 800 meter run only garnished me a 4th place ribbon (out of four runners), I still did it.

The second thing that stands out is a treasured nostalgic heirloom I can still visualize to this day. The monument exists in the form of a pair of blue satin track shoes. I can still see the homely sneakers, and while I don’t know if they were really satin, they shine that bright in my memory.

mNILShzaajnE94KYj5bW4KwAs a teenager, the shoes were not my favorite–remember, I only wore them twice. The metal cleats sparkle in my memory not because of the way they gripped the ground seeing me safely over each hurdle, but because of the indelible message my father sent me upon their purchase.

A father who worked long days in construction, arrived home where his daughter, who was not blessed with athletic prowess, told him she was joining the track team. He looked down at her VANS deck shoes and said, “Get in the truck, you’re gonna need shoes.”

We climbed into my Dad’s sky blue pick-up truck and he drove us to the nearby Big 5 Sporting Goods Store. I can still see my father’s checkbook as his calloused hand signed the note paying nearly fifty dollars for the funky footwear. Fifty dollars may not seem like a lot of money, but over thirty years ago in our middle income family with two working parents; it was an oddity for my Dad to spend that kind of cash on shoes.

This is where the heirloom explodes in my heart.

My Dad didn’t buy me track cleats because I whined and moaned about needing them, and he didn’t buy them because he had any false expectations about my running abilities. The man had raised me. He was fully aware that I was a girl who was drawn to reading, performing, and creating far more often than exerting myself athletically. Unlike Coach Monroe, my father probably had a pretty good idea that I would eventually find my place on the track team, not running in an event, but running the announcer’s booth with a microphone in hand and my voice echoing through the stadium.

I’ve wondered at times if I would even remember my brief inclusion to the track team were it not for the physical manifestation of my father’s confidence. For all I know or imagine, the 4th place ribbon and the spiky slippers sit somewhere in a landfill, and it’s the memory of my father’s belief that has become the treasured heirloom.

This week I was reminded of that parental belief when my Indiegogo fundraising campaign to pay for the editing and publishing of my first fictional manuscript received a hearty donation. Upon notification, I learned the donation was made by my parents.

Writing has brought so many good things into my life, and this is among them. Years from now, will the a published book shine brighter than the heirloom’s of encouragement I’ve already received?

When you drive someone to Big 5 and  buy them a pair of cleats, the runner’s belief in their ability to run well is re-energized.  When faithful friends or far off strangers are willing to invest in your dreams because they see your potential, what happens at the finish line becomes more likely, but less consequential. It’s a race worth running no matter the outcome. Even last place becomes a victory for all.  Time and again, the spark of creativity has been rekindled for those who strive to create by the mere knowledge that someone believes in their ability to navigate the hurdles and endure to the end.

For more information about the fictional book I wrote and how to be a part of Making Kimly’s Trade Happen, simply click on this LINK.

Community · Kimly's Trade

Kimly’s Trade, a Novel by Jackie Sill

 

kimlyslittlesquareAmerican journalist, Kimly Denim, thought again about the man she met crossing the street in the center of the city of Chiang Mai. Something about him had left her feeling like a fluttering teen. Was it his eyes? She closed her own and visualized his gaze. Did he really have gray eyes? It wasn’t merely his appearance. Yes, he was handsome, but he wasn’t the first handsome man she had ever encountered. There was something different about him.  She closed her dark eyes and mentally chastised herself. She remembered the reason she had made the trip to the Asian country: The News Article. Humans. Slavery. Sex Trafficking. The last diversion she needed while navigating her way through this inhumane darkness was the distraction of a man.

Soon Kimly finds herself pulled into the darkest areas of the Slave Trade, as she is pursued by the Prostitution Lord, SuSuk.  Kimly flees the large city and heads north to the border of Burma. Travel through the foreign landscapes with Kimly and be pulled into the story of the slave child Noi.

Can Kimly trust her contacts? What is happening to the children in the border town of Mae Sai? Can Kimly believe there is a God when such atrocities are happening all around her?

The Story of Jackie and Kimly

Almost four years ago I wrote an 85,000 word fictional manuscript about a woman at a crossroads in her life. I named her Kimly because I saw her as a fierce lioness with a limited view of the strength she possessed. At the time I didn’t realize how significant Kimly’s story was to my own struggles. I also didn’t see how prophetic Kimly’s journey was to my own.
Within the manuscript I also unearthed the parallel story of a young girl sold into the sex trade.  When readers are drawn into Noi’s story of slavery and abandonment they will discover a story that is stimulating and triumphant. Reading the story allows readers to travel through the streets of Thailand on a life changing adventure filled with hope.

Kimly’s Next MoveIMG_9004

It’s time to move forward and give Kimly’s Trade a life outside of the Sill home.

Let’s Be Real…it’s The Story of God

Hashtags are great, and they are a catchy way to file photos and events. But, #TheStoryofDavidandJackie means nothing, while The Story of God means everything. 

  • Kimly’s Trade is the story of God’s redemption and restoration.
  • Time and again, God has been faithful to use stories as a means to spread the message of the gospel to people who might not hear about His love.
  • It’s time for that to happen again.

We can’t publish Kimly’s Trade without your help.

  • I am asking for donations to help fund Kimly’s Trade.   Make a Donation HERE
  • Look through the PERKS on the Indiegogo site and and pick the one that works for you!
  • Share the campaign for Kimly’s Trade!
  • Use the Indiegogo share tools and share about this campaign!
  • Pray for our marriage. Pray that we would be diligent in doing the things we have learned to remain steadfast and faithful.
  • Pray for the writing. As we are revisiting Kimly and Noi, pray that God will be glorified through their stories.

PLEASE go to Indiegogo and help us reach our goal! CLICK HERE and help us reach our goal!