A New Thing

I’m sitting here at my computer, wondering where to begin. How do you start explaining a project that is at once profoundly personal, overwhelming, and invigorating? How do I tell you this story without telling you my daughter’s, because that story is hers to tell or hers to keep. Not mine to share. What I can tell you? The two are intricately tied together, and in uncovering hers, it led to this:

Reeds of Hope – Lokumu

A project born from her story, with the power to change many stories. An opportunity to help women trapped in the vicious, perpetuating cycle of extreme poverty. It’s a cycle that steals life, children, hope, and dignity. Here’s the thing with that kind of poverty. Charity doesn’t touch it. It might meet some immediate needs for a time, it might temporarily relieve hunger pains, but it doesn’t break the cycle. Charity is dependent on the giver. It doesn’t empower the recipient. And it doesn’t restore dignity.

Education, on the other hand? Developing potential. Providing opportunities and targeted resources. Empowering women to envision and dream and plan for and work toward a better future for themselves and their children? This has the power to break chains, to change narratives.

Lokumu – a Lingala word that means dignity. And now a program with actual feet on the ground. This is the project I’ve been working on. The project I’ve been excited to share. I look at it, and I see my daughter. I see me. I see her birth mother. I see her first country, and her new country. I see a whole bunch of puzzle pieces coming together. And I see this great big God doing what He’s in the business of doing – using what is impossibly broken, and hard, and confusing to grow something good.

So what is it, exactly?

Lokumu is a comprehensive program based in Kinshasa, DR Congo, created for women interested in running their own business, but without the education or the means to do so. Through high-impact business training, Christ-centered mentorship, targeted financial aid with accountability, and wrap-around support for children, Lokumu is designed to turn women with little to no education into confident entrepreneurs with sustainable businesses.

There’s so much more I want to say, you guys! Like how thankful I am for the women at Reeds of Hope. How excited I am about the Lokumu model, which you can check out on the website, including a breakdown of expenses (found on our support page). Lord willing, I have big dreams for this program – like trauma counseling for the women, money saving circles, and watching as our most promising Lokumu graduates become course instructors and mentors …

But first, before we can dive into any of it, we need to purchase a business kit, which will be sent to our partner in Kinshasa. This one-time purchase will allow Celeste to begin teaching Business Essentials, a 16-session, 40-hour course through Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs. This is the entrance point into our program, the first step for these women. If you’re interested in making a donation, please visit the Lokumu page to learn more, then click on the button at the end that says “Kickstart the Project”. Our goal is $500, which covers the cost of the kit. All donations are tax-deductible. Every U.S. staff member at Reeds of Hope is a volunteer, so donations go directly to DRC to run the program and support the women. We hope to have sponsorships set up soon!

Feel free to “Like” or “Follow” the Lokumu – Reeds of Hope Facebook Page to follow along as we walk this new and exciting journey! I would cherish your support!

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
– Isaiah 43:19

Finding That Stride in 2019

Hey Friends ~

I think it’s about time for another update, because somehow it’s 2019 … and not just the beginning, either. We’ve officially entered month three. Hopefully March will bring us better weather, even if my weather app’s extended forecast is looking rather depressing at the moment. It’s been a brutal winter, hasn’t it? I’m beyond ready for warmth and sunshine and open windows.

So what’s been going on in my writing world?

You know, this has been a slow-moving writing year for me. I’m still getting back in the swing of things, trying to find my creative stride. It’s a new normal–having both kids in school full time. A glorious normal, for sure. But after a whole year off, the gears were more than a little rusty. I’m attempting to give myself grace as I get them working efficiently again.

I finished the rough draft for the first book in a potential Young Adult series that would be in the same vein as The Gifting. I actually finished two rough drafts. Y’all, my writing process drives me a little nuts. The first draft is truly horrendous. Like, I only use 20% of it. Maybe. I think 20% is being generous. Usually, though, I’m able to get A LOT closer the second go round. Such was not the case with this particular story. I think the premise is super strong. It has all the potential in the world. I just can’t seem to come through with the execution. After writing a mostly all-new second draft that still felt really bad, I decided to take a break from said Young Adult novel, and dive into a project I am every bit as excited about, one much more similar to my latest release, No One Ever Asked.

I’m currently moving from brainstorming mode–developing characters, figuring out journeys, finding the perfect climactic moment to build toward–to proposal-writing mode. You guys. I haven’t been in this mode in ages and ages and ages. I’m not even sure I know what a synopsis is anymore. But a synopsis I must write.

My plan? Write the synopsis for this new project. A back cover blurb. A few sample chapters. Send the proposal off to my agent, and then jump back into the YA novel while my agent does what agents do. I’m really hoping this extended break will give me the fresh eyes needed to make my young adult story everything I know it has the potential to be.

Some of you have reached out to ask when my next book is being released.

The bummer about taking an entire year off? You have an inevitable gap. Even more honest than that? I’m a woman torn between two genres. I’m equally fond of The Gifting and No One Ever Asked. I’m not entirely sure which direction I want to go with my career. It’s something I’m praying about, thinking hard on. For now, though, my goal is to get this proposal done, and see if I can’t fix all that’s wrong with the young adult. It’d be great if I could end this school year with a strong proposal and a completed young adult novel I wouldn’t be mortified to send to my agent. Then I can start making some business decisions.

We shall see!

Until Next Time,
Katie


Cleaning the Cobwebs

Hey Friendly Friends ~

I just received a very legitimate email from a reader, asking if she found the right website … because my last blog post was over a year ago. *Insert sheepish emoji* Y’all. IT’S BEEN OVER A YEAR. Which means two things:

Time flies freakishly fast.

I’m not really that good at keeping up with all the non-book-writing-related-authorly tasks. (If you followed that hyphenation, you deserve a cookie.) My newsletter is hot and cold. And I’m pretty sure blog posts will never be a priority. BUT! I’d like to get better at posting the occasional update for anyone who is perusing my website, and would like to read about the latest Katie Ganshert book news.

So this is me, getting out the broom to bat away all the cobwebs, and give y’all a quick update:

LATEST BOOK RELEASE:

No One Ever Asked is my newest novel. It hit shelves this past April, and it’s my first book to land on the CBA Best-Seller list. Whoop whoop! It’s also the first book I wrote that is inspired by true events. It received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, it was a RT Magazine TOP PICK, and it’s a story that came from deep, deep down in my heart. I hope you enjoy!

AUDIO BOOKS:

Life After and A Broken Kind of Beautiful are both now available on audio! My publisher also released an audio version of No One Ever Asked.

MY YEAR OFF:

I didn’t write last year. The whole year. You guys. It was the weirdest thing. I knew I couldn’t handle a deadline. It was the last year before my daughter would start kindergarten. She was home most of the day, and because of her special needs, we spent a lot of time running around to various therapy appointments. I wanted to make sure I was fully present. So I made the decision not to submit anything new to my agent.

And in the process, I learned that I’m an anxious rester. For real. My field lay intentionally fallow and I was not chill about it at all. Being a writer and not writing is a very weird place to be. I also learned that when you take a year off writing, your brain explodes with ideas. I have them all typed out in a note on my phone. Now my youngest is in kindergarten, and I’m back at it once again!

WHAT I’M CURRENTLY WORKING ON:

I don’t want to say too much about it, because what if it ends up falling apart and isn’t good at all!? I will say this, though. It should appeal to fans of The Gifting. Meaning, it’s another YA. I’m thinking another trilogy. But we shall see how it turns out, if it turns out at all. I just know that as of right now, I’m having a lot of fun with these new characters, and I think if I can pull it off, readers will have a lot of fun with them, too.

There’s no release date on the calendar. I don’t know if I’m going to try and go the traditional route with this one, or indie publish it like I did with The Gifting. To be honest, I’m not giving that decision too much energy at the moment. I’m just glad to be creating again, and I hope to know more when I reach THE END.

To get more personal & consistent updates, find me on my Author Facebook Page