Monday, April 2, 2018

The Man Next Door, Part 3

George and I talked about his goals of finding an agent, shopping the manuscript to New York publishers, and how long that might take. I wasn't trying to be snarky about his age, which is one of the neatest things about this story, but I also didn't want to discount it. After losing my mom when she was 46 and my son at 12, I've come to realize that tomorrow is never promised.

I asked him if he wanted to invest years and possibly not ever get published, or whether he would consider self-publishing in order to make make his dream come true. I could tell he'd need to wrap his brain around the idea, so I let him know that I am self-publishing my upcoming children's book, and that it could be a faster way to get his book in the hands of readers.

Savvy as ever, George asked whether, if after self-publishing, he could still have his book traditionally published if someone showed interest in it. Yep. I explained that freeing it from the cardboard box in his bedroom could be a good first step in that direction. 

I reached out to a local friend who had already done research about self-publishing  and asked if she would be willing to edit George's book and shepherd him through the process. I knew she was not only a fantastic editor but a great conversationalist who would be awesome company for him as they worked through the process. The value of human contact is no small thing. I had no idea if they would develop a friendship, but I sure hoped they would.

I told him I felt bad I didn't have the time to be the one to get his book to print, but he made me feel better by saying, "Well, you are going to write about it on your blog, right?"

Do you love him, or what?

So here I am, spreading the news of the man next door, an amazing debut author, who at the young age of 94 (95 in June!) never gave up on his dream. Through work, family life and retirement. Through losing his beloved wife of 69 years. Through being housebound. George Atkisson did not let any of that stop him, and I know my life is richer for having witnessed this.

George holding his book for the first time

George and his editor, Michelle Layer Rahal

When we handed him his book for the first-time, he was speechless. It was a moment more than 40 years in the making.

For years I avoided getting to know my neighbor. How grateful I am to have not missed the chance to make a new friend and immerse myself in George's characters and the world he created.

Next week we are having a small book launch party at George's house for The Chalice and the Stirrup Cup, and now I'd like to introduce it to you!

The Chalice and the Stirrup Cup is a wonderful coming of age novel that begins shortly after World War I. This book has romance, history, theology, and characters you will root for. Here's a quick description:

"Only three things matter to Billie: her horse, her writings, and JD. But JD, the strong and introspective farm boy growing up in the shadow of his alcoholic father, has yet to determine what he wants out of life, and no one seems to expect much out of him, especially Billie's wealthy parents. It appears that JD is set to run with the hounds until an unexpected benefactor steps up to redirect his route. Though bound together by their love for each other, poetry, and the great outdoors, it is their opposing views on God that ultimately influence the choices JD and Billie will make. For Billie, trying to understand God is like describing a rose to a blind person. If she can succeed in this task, perhaps she would believe. Set in rural Virginia in the aftermaths of World Wars I and II, The Chalice and the Stirrup Cup chronicles the escapades of two unlikely friends as they grow and mature in this coming-of-age story. Their friendship sustains them through the darkest times, but it is their search for God that ultimately impacts how they live and love."

Please celebrate George Atkisson's enormous accomplishment from wherever you live.

Purchase his book (available in hardcover, softcover, and kindle) and/or leave an encouraging comment for him.

Please contact me if you have a local book club that would like to read George's book and connect with him.

And if you are a publisher looking for a new author, I have a special one in mind!

(affiliate links included)


Gabriela said...

Thank you so much for introducing George Atkisson. I just ordered his book and rest assured I will greedily devour his every word and nuance. I just know that he adds so much color to his writings. Huge congratulations to Mr. George. And of course, I remain indebted to you, dear Anna, for sharing your Mr. George with your devout readers.

K. Kidd said...

Mr. Atkisson, Congratulations on the release of your book, The Chalice and the Stirrup Cup. I wish you much success. Looking forward to reading it soon!
Best, Kolleen Kidd

Karen L. said...

That's way awesome! Can't wait to read it. Thanks for your part in his story and for the encouragement for all of us about self-publishing our own books "one day".

Gigi said...

I'm SO happy to hear that his book was published! What a kind person you are to help him fulfill his lifelong dream.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations George! You did it! I can't wait to read your book. Happy (early) 95th birthday! Love, Trish

Anonymous said...

I have been following you a long while. I never leave comments, but needed to say thank you for doing this. My copy has been ordered.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am so happy for him and how wonderful that you had a part in his dream.

Anonymous said...

I ordered a copy! Can't wait to read it! George, you inspire me!

Anonymous said...

Bought it!

PinkieB said...

What a wonderful story, and an amazing accomplishment! I just purchased the book, and am going to recommend at my next book club meeting. Congratulations George!

Anonymous said...

Just ordered George's book. He's my hero!

B Carlson said...

Anna, thanks for reminding us about the art of neighboring and introducing us to George. It’s inspiring and encouraging to me to know that he still has goals and dreams at 94! Congratulations to you, George, and all your helpers. I’ll order my copy from our local Vienna bookstore.

Anonymous said...

So happy for George!
I just put it on my Kindle.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. George and Anna-

This is the greatest story and one that we really need with our current state of the world. It brought tears to my eyes to see you holding your book Mr. George. Anna, you are simply AMAZING...thank you for adding one more thing to your plate to help him achieve his dreams and see his BOOK. Just can't believe what an uplifting story this is. Wish I didn't live in Minnesota because I would totally be begging to meet you two.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

laurie z in SNOWY minnesota

Julie Gardner said...

This is beyond wonderful in every way.
You are a gift.

Vickie said...

Congratulations Mr. George and Anna!!!!

Ernie said...

I love this story! Just when I was looking for something good to read this summer! Congrats to you both.


Anonymous said...

This is one of the loveliest stories I have read in a long time :) Congratulations on the achievement and becoming a published author to George! All the best from London.

Unknown said...

Dear George,

I can't wait to give a copy of your book to my husband and another to my mother. There was only one hardback in stock so I ordered paperbacks. Congratulations on publishing your first book! Your story had me smiling at my computer screen. Thank you for showing us how you hold onto a dream and never give up! Enjoy your publishing party; you deserve to be celebrated. I hope Anna keeps telling us stories of her visits with you...or that you start a blog :)

Take care!

Laura said...

What an amazing and beautiful story! Congratulations George and thank you Anna. It's not always easy to step out of our comfort zones but what a great lesson about the joy of taking chances. I ordered the book for my kindle and I can't wait to start reading it tonight. : )

Kristen said...

I purchased a copy for my mom, an avid reader who enjoys religious stories, for Mother's Day. The fact that I could support a fellow aspiring author was just a bonus. I give you lots of credit for never stopping caring for others, despite how life has knocked you down. You said once something about how people need their pain acknowledged. I don't know if you need to have gone through hardship to realize that or not but it was a very valid point.

I had started writing a children's book on the free Amazon self-publishing site. It was about a girl with selective mutism, a condition I struggled with (though undiagnosed) as a child, and I had planned to give free copies to those who would benefit from it. But midway through I began to doubt my writing abilities and compare them to those of other, already published writers. The project became one of many I have begun but never finished. So kudos to George for never giving up on getting his book published. It is a heart-warming story and I am glad I could help spread word of his book.

angela said...

As a speech language pathologist working in a school district, I want to strongly encourage you to keep writing your story! I work with children with selective mutism and think having stories to share with other children is such a blessing and a gift and a special way for them to see that they are not alone in this world. Keep writing--your story is uniquely yours, and one that can impact in a huge way!

angela said...

As a speech language pathologist working in a school district, I want to strongly encourage you to keep writing your story! I work with children with selective mutism and think having stories to share with other children is such a blessing and a gift and a special way for them to see that they are not alone in this world. Keep writing--your story is uniquely yours, and one that can impact in a huge way!

Anonymous said...

The book sounds wonderful! Many kudos to George for following h is dream.