Monday, November 19, 2018

A Dollop of Gratitude by Laurel Blount

I have a confession: I’m a television show binger. When I find a program I love, I lose every scrap of self-discipline I have.

Please tell me I’m not the only person who’s like this.

Recently I stumbled across a British cooking show and decided to give it a try. I was instantly hooked.

It was fascinating. I watched as a dozen or so amateur bakers competed to successfully complete challenging assignments set by their two accomplished judges. At the end of each episode, one baker was spotlighted as the star and another one was sent home. These guys were incredibly good, and the dishes they had to create were amazingly difficult. Plus there was that whole fabulous British accent thing. I even found myself using expressions like spot on and simply scrummy, the highest compliment of all. (FYI, those things sound kind of strange combined with a Georgia accent.)

Anyway I adored that show—and that was a little strange too. I’m not usually a big fan of reality television programs. They seem to bring out the worst in people. Backbiting, jealousy, lying, betrayals…who needs more of that?

But this series was different.  As each competition warmed up, so did the affection between the contestants.

I watched as contestants held hands waiting for verdicts, celebrated with the spotlighted bakers and wept when a friend was sent home. I saw them come to each other’s rescue in tight spots, sometimes actually helping a competitor complete a dish. I saw them encourage each other through setbacks and cheer when a competitor got a handshake from a critical judge.

They gave their very best to their own work, sure, but they also wholeheartedly supported those working around them. It was beautiful to see. Don’t we all wish we had a community like that surrounding us?

You know what? I think Love Inspired authors kinda do. 
I've seen this group pray for and  encourage each other. I've watched them celebrate and sympathize with each other. I've also seen firsthand how welcoming they are to fledgling authors.

I love to tell this story.

Some years ago I attended my very first writing conference. I had just sold my debut book to Love Inspired, and I was brand spanking new to the writing world. I knew I had a lot to learn.

I nervously signed up for a pitch workshop because pitching (whatever that was) seemed like a really big deal. Better learn how to do that, right?

The workshop wasn’t what I’d expected. We were divided into very small groups. As in, mine consisted of me, one other writer and our assigned coach. Uh-oh--no hiding in the back row here! 

Secondly, that coach was none other than Debby Giusti, whom I knew only as a talented and prolific author for Love Inspired Suspense. I could barely focus on her pointers because I had to keep mentally pinching myself.

I’m sitting next to Debby Giusti. And she’s TALKING to me.

You can go ahead and laugh at me—Debby certainly chuckled when I told her about it later! She, of course, was gracious and kind, as Debby always is. When I stammered out how impressed I was by her, she leaned over and gave my arm a friendly squeeze.

“You just sold your first book to Love Inspired! I’m impressed by you, too!”

That story is the tip of a very large iceberg. As I said, I have met some of the most supportive and generous, faith-filled people through Love Inspired—and I’ve witnessed far too many of their kindnesses to list them all here.

Recently at a writing conference, I sat next to a lovely aspiring author at a luncheon. At one point, she leaned over and said, “I’m sorry if I seem a little weird. I’m just so excited. I can’t believe I’m sitting next to you!”

When I picked my jaw off the floor, I gave her arm a friendly squeeze and tried to do Debby proud. “I’m so excited to be sitting next to you, too!” She beamed, and I was so thankful for the opportunity to pass Debby's warm torch of welcome to another new writer.

So as we enter our Thanksgiving week here in the U.S., I’m going on record as saying that I’m grateful and proud to be cooking up my stories alongside some of the finest people in the business.

Because in my book all these ladies are simply scrummy!
Do you have a story like mine? Come on, spread a little love and tell us about it!


  1. I love The British Baking Show! We're hooked at our house :) I have to say, romance authors are very supportive of each other - and LI authors especially!!

    1. I discovered they now have the first season up--so now I'm watching that! :) My family hopes I'll quit watching baking shows long enough to do some actual baking!

    2. That show is addictive... but it makes me want to go to a bakery and devour something scrumptious!

      And LI authors are the best. Speaking as a newb, I have to say they're all so kind!

    3. Yes, that's the downside for me too--they do make me hungry! ;)

  2. What a heart-warming newb author story!

  3. Hi Laurel! I love that show too although I was watching it on tv one day and they were showing multiple episodes. I got hooked and now I can't find the rest of that particular season. Waaaah. I love your story about meeting Debby. It's so sweet! And now you're someone's Debby.

    1. Oh, no! Waah indeed! I know Netflix has multiple seasons up--and just added season 1 --that's where I've been watching them. Debby was very kind to me as a newbie--as were you and many others! I'm just so glad to have a small chance to pass a little of that kindness along!!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  5. Oh yes, I love this community of authors!! and ps - I too lose ALL control - am, in fact, binge watching another BBC series, Father Brown!! (second time around, even!)

    1. Glad I am not the only one! I haven't watched Father Brown yet--just finished the last season of the baking show, so maybe Father Brown will be my next binge!


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