Armed with 46 years of successful marriage and 35 years in Christian ministry, Dr. Velma is the relationship and dating coach singles look to for guidance. Her first book, Your Adam Is Asleep, chronicles her answer to her daughter’s complaint that men are slow to commit, and sparked a conversation about intentional dating and marriage as originally planned, compared to the current culture. It is a call to action for women. Dr. Velma continued her writing on love and relationships with her Kindle short story, My 70s Love Story and found in the Back in the Day Anthology.
An exciting release this month, is her new book entitled, A Place Called Down-Why Christians Suffer. Dr. Velma deviates from relationship-focused topics to bring us into her own testimony of tests, trials and tribulations to offer insight into the low place.
Dr. Velma is the Founder of Adoni Publishing, LLC and a Certified Christian Dating/Relationship Coach, a member of the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors/Coaches). She is a sought-after bible teacher and respected Minister. Dr. Velma is a retired California state Administrator living in northern California with her husband and Pastor. She is the mother of two daughters, son-in-law and three grandkids.
We can come to believe that our walk with God will only be filled with mountaintop experiences. Dr. Velma reminds us it is not always the workings of evil, that in fact, God can also order for us A Place Called Down. Here in her latest book, Dr. Velma shows how a place called down is common for us all and God allows it because He is maturing us.
A place called down is not designed to be fun or easy, by its very nature it can be likened to a refiner’s fire. A fire so hot that it burns away all impurity and that which is not useful, so that all that remains is the original intent of the craftsman – this is how the place called down can feel – Isolating. Difficult. Unyielding. Yet, even in the place called down, there are what Dr. Velma calls rainbow moments where God reminds you of what you already know – He is with you and He has not forgotten you.
Commit as Dr. Velma did, to come out of the place called down with something: maturity, faith, strength, joy.
As a Deputy Administrator for the State of California, writing and developing programs, processes and training was second nature to me. I was skilled at applying the language of my employer in my writing; however, once I sat down to write my own book, finding my voice and expressing my thoughts on print was initially a challenge. It took some time. I spent several years writing; taking multiple breaks between work and other activities in a cycle of writing, I put the manuscript away and then returned to writing more. After six years, and a bin full of old manuscript revisions, my first book was published July 2018. Looking back on the experience, I completed the manuscript in 2017, and at that time, I believed my manuscript was ready for the publisher. However, rather than rush the project, I decided to take a step back and pray. I felt it necessary at times to allow my writing to rest for more clarity. By doing this, it turned out I had written so much content during those six years, that I had written too much content for my first book. I actually created content for four books. This was the moment I realized I was doing exactly what I was assigned to do and I had a lot to say. I celebrated finding my voice.
I decided to trust a traditional publisher for my first book, since I was new to this process and had much to learn. I chose Xulon Christian Publishing and was especially interested in their payment plan. As it turned out, I finished paying for my publishing package prior to the completion of my book.
I initially assumed I was always going to write nonfiction, maybe it my Sunday School, Bible Study Teacher background that made me feel this way. However, although my first book Your Adam Is Asleep was Christian nonfiction, along with my next two projects: an anthology Back in the Day, and my first kindle My 70s Love Story. In 2020, I was led to set my writing priorities for the year, along with daily writing goals. By February, I had four books in draft. The first book scheduled for release is my first introduction to Christian fiction, released August 2020 A Place Called Down – Why Christians Suffer. A Place Called Down will be my first published book of my company Adoni Publishing Company. My second Christian fiction for 2020, is a return to my relationship-focused writing, and my second fiction book entitled If the Fish Aren’t Biting It’s Time to Change the Bait.
From my days in high school, creativity, reading and writing was a part of my life and I enjoyed writing songs, church skits and plays. However, writing or becoming an author was not my dream. But God knew the plans he had for me.
My first book gave me the title Author and it was inspired by my daughters. The two deserves all the credit, for encouraging me to write it, since it was based on our conversations. At the time of our conversations, my eldest daughter had gone through a divorce and my younger daughter was a young adult. Both daughters are smart (Registered Nurses) and asked a lot of tough questions about men. I was also motivated to prepare my responses, because of the fact that my youngest daughter was a millennial; you cannot sugar coat or attempt to fool them with weak facts. All of this forced me to pull out my old teaching materials and even go deeper, updating what I thought I already knew about the topic.
The three of us agreed to be open and honest in our discussions, especially when we discussed sensitive & intimate topics. Their initial question was related to their experience when men appeared to be slow in responding and asked the question, “Mom, why are men so slow?”. As our discussions evolved, my daughters were excited about the principles we discussed and we continued to dig deeper. I brought my experience coaching and mentoring single women and shared tips about intentional dating which leads to marriage, the five guy types to avoid, the three things women are not called to be in a relationship, principles to stay safe, releasing past mistakes/hurts (baggage), fixing a broken past, preparation to ensure they were able to present the best of themselves to their Mr. Right.
Eventually, the two began to share our discussions with their friends, and those friends wanted more information. My daughters soon realized our conversations would be of interest to other single women. At their urging, we decided to share our truths in the book, and were comfortable being vulnerable so others could benefit.
While writing my first book I realized how ministry, work and personal experience prepared me to speak to the audience my daughters represented. Single, seasoned, divorced, or millennial. This writing experience inspired more writing, and eventually the start of my business as an entrepreneur. This was definitely a walk of faith.
In writing my recent book, A Place Called Down, I realize that the timing of my book was important in light of recent circumstances, I would classify as the world in a down place.
I hope to inspire, uplift, encourage, breathe hope upon those who may be in a down place in their personal lives and those whose lives have been impacted by the fall-out of the handling of the current pandemics. We are absolutely in need of holding on through the current world’s pandemics as well.
I hope every reader’s take-away would be the expectation that the book addresses experiences that are common to us all and that they find encouragement through my honesty and inspiration from the scriptures. Through this book, the ability to expect down places, but to move through their experiences in faith and hope.
This book reminds me of the game “To Tell The Truth”. In that game, only one on the panel of three guests is the true person, while the other two are fictitious or fake. Although this book is classified as fiction; it may fit more appropriately as creative nonfiction – which is simply nonfiction with a fiction twist. A place called down is a fictious place, although it represents a place of suffering which is real and experienced by all of us. The ThreeTs, which are found in this place are fictitious things in a fictitious place, however, they are real scripture references. The experiences addressed in the book are real and the outcome is real as well.
- Publishing process and the benefits of becoming an independent author versus working with a publisher.
- Importance of using an editor early in my writing process.
- A writer’s income – must have multiple streams & how small your piece of the pie is when you do not control your writing income.
This is the first year I made a commitment to acknowledge God in everything concerning writing and in doing so, was led to established goals in terms of writing to ensure it does not take away from family and ministry and I work on the drafts/titles in the order I am led to. There are 4 books on my list this year. I have a goal of writing a minimum of 3 days per week, a minimum of 600 words per day and never on weekends. Of course, it is easy to surpass the goal, but at least my goals give me a place to start.
Some writers say we are competing against the other. Initially I was overwhelmed and struggled in a world that seemed to be crowded with very successful writers in the same genre as me. Until the day I heard these words from my Marketing Leader when she told our group “God has called you for this. No one can say it like you. He has called you to serve your audience. Even if he told everyone to take the message, there would still be room more”. That was day I released my ‘stinking thinking’ and was finally free. I believe every voice is different and every voice is needed. I fought by taking advantage of as many Facebook groups I could handle, established connections with seasoned authors, looked for writing opportunities, blogging, free promotions and more.
Take the time to do your homework. Get the help you need, by connecting with a fellow author or someone with editing experience or one who has expertise in your genre. Use beta readers – I sent my draft to several folks offering them a free book if they provided a review and feedback. Their feedback was invaluable. Your book has to go beyond family and friends, identify your target audience and reach out to them, including workgroups, etc. Also practice reading your book out loud. I do this even while writing; you will be surprised how many errors you catch by doing so. Don’t compare your book to others unless you sincerely look for guidance and things you can learn.
I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Facebook ads, Facebook groups related to my genre, and Instagram. I am growing in my use of ZOOM and Facebook live to prepare for future book launches and workshops. In the beginning I used spot ads on a local gospel station and to my surprise, a year after the spots aired, have met several folks who remembered hearing them.
- Christian Book Lovers Retreat (CBLR), held in Charlotte, NC
- Christian Writers events held yearly – some across the US, others are local.
- Facebook Groups/Clubs: Christian Writers Network, Christian Authors Book Showcase, Books, Hope-in-Christ Book Club, Christian Book Reviews, Successful Christian Self-Publishing, The Christian Book Club, Christian Books
What has changed the most is the number of people who express their appreciation for my books. It continues to inspire me. I realize I spent years talking about my topic and had become well versed in it, prior to writing my first book; all of this was my path to establishing my writing business.
As an Author, we write for the joy of what we have been given to share with others. It is not always easy and at times is very hard work, but the benefits to our readers far out way the time and effort we put in.
Do write what you have been given to write.
Don’t stop writing.
I’m a home body and enjoy time with my family, especially my Grandkids.
I know I am doing what I have been assigned to do, write, coach, teach, guide, uplift, help, mentor, lead through my writings.
The beginning is sometimes challenging; take baby steps. Connect with other authors and learn as much as you can. I read lots of “how to” books to become more versed in the business. Some authors are very helpful and welcoming; others may not be, but do not take it personal, you have a job to do. God will lead you to the right people, as He did me. Connect on Facebook groups, there is so much knowledge and help in them. Write and keep writing, there are people who need to hear what you have to say.