When Our Light Goes Out

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

I love this quote because it carries a significant truth for me.  Especially now, when there are some exciting things happening in my life.  My first published novel, Three Willows, has been released. My own beautiful website is launched. And I stand at the threshold of a long-held dream.

There was a time when I no longer believed these things were possible.  The light behind my dream was close to being permanently extinguished.  At best, it was flickering.  But, to borrow Mr. Schweitzer’s words, my light was rekindled, by many sparks, from many persons.  And I want to dedicate this, my first blog post, to thanking them.

First, to my mother, Julia.  Mom didn’t get to experience much of Three Willows before she passed, but I know how pleased she would be to see it in print.  Her last words to me, as one would expect, were “I love you.”  Her words right before that…“keep writing.” Thank you, Mom, for your steadfast love and for believing in my dream.

To my extraordinary daughter, Teresa. You amaze and inspire me every day of my life. You embolden me, open my mind and lead me (sometimes kicking and screaming) to many things new and different. In other words, little one, you keep me on my toes!

Boatloads of love to my husband, Chris. Thank you for being steady and strong. Thank you for being my unwavering advocate and sounding board. Thank you for our beautiful mountain home and the gorgeous office you built for me. And thank you for—willingly and uncomplainingly—listening to countless re-writes of the same paragraphs.  What a guy!

I owe immense gratitude to award-winning author, Nikki Arana, whose teaching and far-reaching efforts on my behalf have been invaluable to me. Thank you, Nikki, for your time, your honesty and your generosity of spirit.

Special gratitude to Diantha Ott, a compassionate, giving woman and the busiest person I know, who used her valuable time to read each chapter as I wrote it.  I am so blessed by your reassurance, constructive criticism, and especially by your friendship.

To Diane Maki, my treasured friend since childhood. You’re my brainstorming (and sometimes mischief-making) partner, my defender and encourager. We’ve shared tearful times, but you make me laugh more than anyone.  Thank you, my lifetime friend, for your guidance, your prayers, your ear, and your commitment to my writing.

I would be remiss to not mention my dear friend, Louise Nelson, who through my life cheered me on through thick and thin and pushed me into actually finishing my first book. Louise is in Heaven now, but her spirit of love and encouragement will always be with me.

I am beyond grateful to my beta readers who enthusiastically spend valuable time reading and critiquing my books.  Thank you to Kristi Bell, Debbie Brim, Shawn Cameron, Colleen Campbell, Jill Dougherty, Paulina Freeburg, Brittany Nelson, Teresa Nelson, Anne and Jim Patterson, Jackie Schatz, Karalee and Rick Shenfield, and Alice Thibault. I appreciate all of you more than I can say!

Thank you to Donna Goodrich, author and proofreader extraordinaire.  I so appreciate your attitude of excellence and your enthusiasm about the Three Willows story.

To Agent Julie Sheppard, Publications Specialist Matt Brumbaugh, and the entire crew at Christian Faith Publishing, thanks so much for your diligence with editing, cover design, video trailer production and marketing efforts.  I offer my deep appreciation for the tremendous jobs done by each and every one of you.

Heartfelt gratitude to Steve Bennett, author Laura Spinella, and the creative team at AuthorBytes for building me a wonderful website.  And a huge, special thank you to Ken Wiesner, who spent extra time talking with me and sharing his expertise when I was ready to throw in the towel. Ken, your support, professionalism, creativity and extraordinary patience are nothing short of amazing!

Last, but far from least, are Sherri, Rachel and Rayla Collins of Rayla Kay Photography. Thank you for your encouragement and for making me feel beautiful for my author photos. And I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to use one of your amazing images on my website home page and for your work on the Three Willows cover photo.

God places a special and exclusive light in each one of us, and I believe we are expected to share that light. Every person mentioned above did exactly that, each providing their own unique spark of encouragement…so that my light could be rekindled into a flame.

I think of you all with deep gratitude


  1. Shari L Miethe-McKay on June 10, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    It took me only 3 thoroughly enjoyable days to devour your wonderful book, Three Willows. Well, that’s not exactly true, I read most of it the day I received it using my bedside nite-lite into the wee hours of the morning. After a very brief sleep I finished it, propped on a pillow, in sunshine, rocking contentedly on our porch swing. The next day (that’s the 3rd), I repeated the porch swing, in sunshine and RE-read the last half AGAIN! The story line was just too good to put it down. I’m sure I will read it yet again. For now, a dear friend, is almost through reading it as well!
    Well Done Frances! Your book gifted me parts of 3 days to just relax in the “gentle spirit” of your remarkable God -given talent and creative giftedness. Loved it! Thank you, Love Cindy

    • Frances Drake on June 10, 2020 at 6:58 pm

      Cindy, you have just confirmed, beautifully, my entire reason for writing. To share and, hopefully, bless someone with my words. Thank you a million times over. Blessings to you!

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