Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Living the Dream!

Yesterday Russ left for camp with the teens. I had determined to try to make this a high-impact freelance project week. Almost like I get a 5 day writer's retreat! Russ was not all that excited about going to camp-but they needed a male counselor and he had the time free, and he gets paid.

Monday I found out I would have 3 business phone calls. Only one problem. The cordless phone was off-kilter on the base, so it wasn't charged. ARGH! And the corded phone had so many sound problems-the voice on the other end was muffled to near silence and so I picked up about one in every ten words. So then I took the filter off the phone, and I heard the voice better, but I also heard fax-like noises. I called my friend Amy (hi, Amy!) and she said she couldn't hear the noises on her end so at least I wasn't going to blast out the listener!

Phone call #1 was with another publishing house who wants to use my freelance services. I'm excited!

Phone call #2 was with an author about a compilation book I'm co-compiling. I wanted to pick the brain of Wayne Holmes because he is known as one of the "compilation kings." I've heard of him online but never spoken with him. He e-mailed and suggested we talk by phone-he was willing to help me brainstorm the project and helped me know how to write up guidelines and contracts for each contributing author. Wayne's books include: The Heart of a Father, The Heart of a Mother, The Heart of a Teacher, The Embrace of a Father, and others. Odd thing is—Wayne lives in Cincinnati and I never did meet him when I had the chance! We both belong to the Christian Humor Writers group. See:
and also at:

Anyway-the call with Wayne went great. I told him my plans for the book and he said I was headed in the right direction. It was reassuring to know I had done my research well! He gave me some other great ideas and I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit with him by phone. What a NICE man!

Phone Call #3-was a writer's coach client of mine. We visit 2-3 times a month by phone to talk over her project. She's always a blessing to me. (Thanks Sheryl!)

Also yesterday I received an e-mail from the coordinator of the SomeOne Cares conference. I'm doing PR for that event. We are already making preliminary plans for at least 3 conferences next year (hinging on if this one is a success). One event will be in Hawaii where the coordinator resides. Well, she e-mailed me yesterday and said she wouldn't be able to fly as many speakers over for the Hawaiian conference, but she was wondering if I had some topics in mind to be a workshop speaker for the event, and not just the publicist. Wowzer! She would pay my way to Hawaii??!!!! So, I'm supposed to "try out" by suggesting some workshop ideas to either assist caregivers or to train ministry teams who will be ministering to caregivers in their churches. If you have an idea for a subject that goes along with caregiving, let me know! So far I have:
• Getting On Top Of Your Emotions
• Too Stressed to Care (how stress affects women)
• How NOT to Care (a play on What Not to Wear)
• Why Won't God Heal My Loved One?
• Frequent Flyer Miles from Guilt Trips
• How to Deal with Unmet Expectations
• Care Enough to _______ the Very Best
• Weary in Well Doing

I went to bed late and woke up today anticipating my time at the Ladies Night Out tonight. But first, I had a phone call from Russ. Guess what? He is really enjoying the camp experience and I think it is encouraging him. YAY! I think it is a good getaway for him. They are meeting on a college campus. I'm thrilled for him to have a good week. He needs it and deserves it!

I spoke at a Ladies Nite Out for First Baptist Church, Clinton, KY tonight. You have to realize that this town only has 1350 population. I'm not much one for "signs" or "voices" when it comes to God speaking to a person-but when we first started planning this event, I felt like we were going to have 50 women at the Ladies Nite Out. They've never really had this large of a women's event at a residence. The hostess was expecting 30. I prepared her for 50. We ended up with 47 women, and 2 who signed up had something come up and couldn't be there (but called). That would be 49. Very close to that 50 mark I had in mind. For a town of 1350, that's HUGE!

But much more important than the numbers are the details of the night. We suggested women bring salads or desserts. The variety was amazing. Not a duplicate dish among them! And honestly, I couldn't have asked for a caterer to do a better job. The food wasn't just good, it was beautiful. One of the ladies brought a bouquet of flowers from her own garden in a crystal vase for our centerpiece and it looked it it just came from a Victoria Magazine photo shoot! The hostess had a screened in porch and a patio that she used to set up intimate card tables and chairs. With tablecloths, it looked just like a tea room! She was so gracious to open her home to all of us. The fellowship and the intimacy was "just what the doctor ordered" for this hurting church family (they've gone through a lot this past year).

All the ladies came inside for the "program," and I shared some of my story with them. For starters, I played a game by having them guess my age, then guess how many surgeries I've had (and add that to my age), and how many addresses I've had (and add that all together). The one closest to the correct number won a prize-one of the Groovy Chicks books that has part of my story in it. Can you guess the number? It is 81!

It seems like the speech went well-just enough humor interspersed to lighten the message. I might have stuck my foot in my mouth a couple of times-saying something that could be misunderstood. I hate it when that happens! So, on the way home, rather than basking in the joy of a night of blessing, I was concerned about being misinterpreted. Don'tcha just hate it when that happens? So, before going night-night, I just had to get my mind back in focus and leave the results of the talk up to God. It's in His hands. As the ladies left, most took the time to hug me and thank me for sharing from my life with them. It's a risk to be transparent, but it's worth it!

Great beginning to an equally great week!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Okay, I admit it. I've been AWOL. Absent While Out Living. That's right. Life happens. And when it does, to-do lists get prioritized and judgments are made between want-tos and have-tos.

Did I mention that in June I received a promotion to Director of Publicity? Oh-and did I mention that in July I resigned from that same job? I loved what I did there, but it just was not a good fit. Better to admit that and move on—right? It certainly was a difficult decision. Especially since I'm the primary breadwinner right now. Or I should say I WAS the primary breadwinner!

We are fully relying on God to open doors and supply for needs. His provision is sufficient. Again, we have to weigh out our wants and our needs. The best part of all of this is that we have become even MORE available to whatever God wants in our lives. I'm not sure that was even possible. It seemed we had surrendered all to God. But for the last couple of months we were waiting for life to happen to us, and now we are out seeking opportunities. We have become proactive in looking for that open door from God.

The most exciting part of this journey is that we are ready for Russ to pastor again. We've BEEN ready, but after a large number of unsuccessful attempts to apply for church openings, we had sort of back-burnered our attempts to get the word out that Russ is looking. It's so frustrating to hear the statistics for pastor-less churches-we just want to say "We will take you!" But they have to take US! That's a much longer process.

In the mean time, life goes on. I've gone back to my freelancer roots, and am exploring many different great opportunities (some pay up front and some pay if they pan out). I'm working as: writer, editor, speaker, book doctor, writer's coach, publicist, etc. Keep me in mind for your next project!

I was thrilled to get a great endorsement from a writer I met at my last job. She wrote:

It was a privilege to work with Kathy Carlton Willis for the promotion of my latest book. As a publicist she is sharp, creative, and enthusiastic. As a person, she is confident, competent, and a joy to work with. She has a superb knowledge of the industry and was willing to go the extra mile and think outside the box to maximize my publicity campaign. Before I worked with Kathy, I dreaded PR. But Kathy made the process both effective and a pleasure. I can’t recommend her highly enough.

--Marlo Schalesky, author of 5 books including VEIL OF FIRE, with upcoming books including BEYOND THE NIGHT and FACES IN THE SAND

Well, I'll close this tardy epistle...until next time.