Last fall, I made a pitch to Thomas Nelson Publishers to write a 4-book fiction series, coupled with a 4-book correlating non-fiction series. They responded enthusiastically, and committed to 2 fiction books and 2 non-fiction books for starters.
I began writing the first book in the non-fiction series, The Passion Principles, in January 2012. I finished the first draft just before my May 1st deadline, and submitted it with a huge exhale.
Now I had another year to write the second proposed book. I could relax a while.
But my mind kept venturing ahead to the third proposed book, The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts. It may sound strange, but I felt as if that particular “work” was crying out to me, “Give birth to ME — NOW!”
I met with Debbie Wickwire, my acquisitions editor, and shared the vision for the book and the urgency in my spirit. She conceded that if that’s the book I’m really feeling I should write next, then Thomas Nelson would alter the contract accordingly.
But I had another year to worry about it! Plenty of time to do even more research, interviews, brainstorming, etc.
May 10, 2012 – I’m getting ready to drive to Dallas to have lunch with Marilyn Meberg, one of the original Women of Faith speakers. The television is on, and I overhear the co-hosts of The View fervently discussing a fiction novel called Fifty Shades of Grey. I’d already witnessed multiple media outlets discussing it already, including a digital short spoof about it on Saturday Night Live, as well as my own local news station in Tyler, Texas. What’s the big deal about this book? I wondered.
I surfed around online, and quickly deduced that there was quite a controversial stir about this book that graphically portrayed the acting out of bizarre sexual fantasies, particularly BDSM – bondage, domination, sadism & masochism. As I continued getting ready, I couldn’t let go of the knot in the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t a “dread” knot, but rather a “knowing” knot. I knew God had been preparing me for such a time as this.
As I drove to Dallas, my mind wandered through the possibilities of putting the manuscript I’d just finished on the back burner, and asking Thomas Nelson to let me hurry up and write The Fantasy Fallacy instead. Could they re-arrange their publishing schedule to accommodate such a request?
Or more importantly, could I re-arrange my whole life to accommodate such a project?
I called my husband and explained the concept… the possibilities… the urgency I was sensing… the adjustments we’d need to make to accommodate the challenge. Greg sweetly replied, “You can do it, Babe! The kids and I will manage!”
Over lunch, I ran the idea past Marilyn Meberg, who without blinking replied, “You’ve GOT to do it! Do it NOW!” Together, we called Debbie Wickwire to explain how the Fifty Shades trilogy was escalating in popularity and had captured the media’s attention like crazy, and asked if The Fantasy Fallacy could shoot to the top of Thomas Nelson’s priority list if I was willing to make it my number one priority over the next 3-4 months.
Debbie made a few calls, and the next day responded, “We CAN do this… IF you can get the manuscript to us within SIXTY DAYS!”
Sixty days?!?!?!?! I wanted to ask, “Are you serious?” Absolutely, positively, unheard of!!!! I imagined myself pouring over stacks of research books as if I was cramming for exams every day for two solid months… on the phone interviewing clients right and left… sitting at my laptop for hours and hours on end each day… in the fetal position in the corner, gone stir-crazy from trying to accomplish such a miraculous feat in such a short span of time.
I honestly thought about saying, “Nevermind! Let’s stick with the original plan since you already have my other manuscript in hand.”
I almost aborted the plan God was unraveling. Until I realized that God’s done much BIGGER miracles than this.
I decided to buck up, put on my big girl panties AND my seatbelt, because I knew I was in for the ride of my life!
(to be continued)
Gay Idle says
Shannon…this is such an important topic for our time, in our society. Women are no longer hiding behind seemingly benign (non-erotic) romance novels. They are living out their fantasy’s with suggestive conversations with male ‘friends’ online. They are reading erotic books in plain view in the coffee shops now, that just five years ago would be something done in secret.
I hear conversations from christian women about the Shades of Grey books as if it were on the same par as reading, ‘Pride and Prejudice”.
It seems to me that so many have no idea how to live out their own Christianity in the world they live in…the discernment, the viewing all of life through the lense of scripture are concepts and skills that women are no longer taught. Or just don’t ‘get’!
They don’t even understand the damage that books like the Shades of Grey series can damage their own view of what a healthy, fulfilled sexual relationship looks like. If we continue as a society to feed our women this trash, then we will begin to blur the lines between a healthy, satisfying sex life within the bounds of marriage and an unhealthy self-sabotaging relationship where women are just toys to be played. Instead of young girls with unhealthy self-esteen cutting themselves for a release; they will be practicing sick, sadistic, and masochistic sexual acts.
We NEED the voice of Biblical reasoning interjected into this conversation as this is a much needed tool to help these women understand how all of this does not affect good, but is a detriment to their relationships with others and with God…past, present and future.
God bless you for hearing the call of God and following through! You ROCK!!!
Gay Idle says
One more thought. If you look at serial killers and the road that leads them down to commiting their first act of violence against women, you see men who spent ours viewing pornography, usually progressing to more and more perverted sex. Until finally the fantasy is not enough…they have an overwhelming need to act out their fantasies. FANTASY can and often DOES lead to reality.
Shannon Ethridge says
Thanks for your insightful comments, Gay! Indeed, there’s so much naivete out there about all things sexual, and thanks for joining me in prayer that The Fantasy Fallacy will make a huge impact on many women, men, marriages & families!
Shannon, thanks for inspiring once again and reminding me that with God, anything is possible. I’m so proud of your hard work and look forward to reading this next new book!