|Iola and her family|
Over the last year, God has called me into using an old gift in a new way—which is how I have come to know Rita, and why she has invited me to share with you today.
My passion is fiction, especially Christian fiction. I love stories that share the age-old truths of God in a new way, that draw me out of the wife-and-mother role and into the lives of fictional characters. Stories that teach me something new of God while providing a few hours of wholesome entertainment and relaxation.
The advent of the internet has meant readers like me can share our love of books with like-minded people across the world, through blogs and through sites like Amazon and Goodreads. As I met people online, I found out I could receive free ebooks in return for writing online reviews, so I started a reviewing blog
Reviews are for readers, not authors. Their purpose is to tell another reader why I enjoyed this particular book (or not), to help them gauge whether or not they will enjoy it. While it might be helpful for authors to read reviews, the reviews are not going to tell them how to improve. A series of God-driven coincidences meant I was able to expand my reviewing into offering critiques and editing services for Christian authors. This is what I offer as an editor of Christian fiction—and is how I came to meet Rita, as I have been privileged to read and edit the two sequels to her novel, Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
Looking back, I can see that I have always had a talent in this area. At school, I was the one friends asked to read over and correct English essays. In my first job, I was the one asked to take over the writing and production of the company’s client newsletter. In the next job, I was the one asked to develop and write a specialist website for a UK government department. And I have always been writing reports for clients … and reading. Now I find I also have a gift for editing, for taking someone’s story and refining it.
Editing isn’t one of the Bible’s ‘greater gifts’. Like cleaning toilets, it’s a gift noticed mostly in its absence. But it is a gift God has given me, and one I am called to use for His glory at this time, polishing the words of authors such as Rita to ensure they shine in the way God intended.
You too have gifts, talents God has given especially to you, and He expects you to use them. You may have one of the ‘greater gifts’ (1 Cor 12:21), or your gift might be more mundane (I have a very real appreciation for those with the gift of serving God through cleaning). What your gifts are doesn’t matter. What matters is that you nurture your gifts and talents, that you are obedient to God’s call on your life and use your God-given gifts. I encourage each of you to step out in faith and obedience, and see what God can do through you.
Thanks so much Iola, for your encouraging words to us. Her reviewing blog is: