By Del Duduit
A couple years ago, Angie and I attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference near Orlando, Florida. It changed our lives.
The writing journey I had just started was about to take off in a big way.
I had completed some tasks suggested to me by my now friend, co-author, and business partner, Michelle Medlock-Adams. I had only known her for a few weeks, and she wanted to help me. I think it was because we were both sports writers at one time, but I believe she really wanted to help me because I was an Ohio State fan (LOL.) (Heads up: she is a Hoosier.)
At any point, my dear friend Cherrilynn Bisbano had introduced me on the phone to an up-and-coming literary agent by the name of Cyle Young.
The only thing I had written was a manuscript that I took with me, along with a one-sheet promotional brief about the book and one about me.
The second night of the conference was when everything changed for my writing ministry.
Cyle decided to represent me as my agent, and we sat down to dinner with Bill Watkins, an editor with Broadstreet Publishing Group. He was intrigued by my sports writing background and simply suggested I write a devotional book based on professional athletes.
Easy enough, right?
After the conference, I went to work on the idea. I started to interview high profile players in Major League Baseball (MLB) and researched devotional book outlines.
I had a blast. It was like the old days when I was a sports writer. I went to Cincinnati and Cleveland and conducted interviews of players who professed to follow Christ.
Within a few months, I had personally interviewed some of the biggest names in the game; Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Brian Dozier of the Dodgers, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs, Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians, and many more.
God blessed me with several opportunities to meet and talk with these players about their faith. After a while, it no longer surprised Cyle that I was getting these interviews. He tells me I have the favor of God on me, or else all this would not have happened as fast as it did. I don’t take that for granted.
I spent the next few months writing Dugout Devotions and conducting interviews with players in the NFL, for another project.
By the time the next Florida Christian Writers Conference rolled around, I had a complete manuscript and some endorsements from people associated with professional baseball.
Last year at the conference, I met John Herring with Iron Stream Media. The brief time I spent with John and Ramona Richards of New Hope Publishers was anointed by God. It was meant to be.
Within a few weeks, I signed a contract for two books with New Hope. The first one, Dugout Devotions: Inspirational Hits from MLB’s Best, will be released Feb. 25.
There are a few of my friends who contributed devotions in this book and deserve a big thank you: Cyle, Michelle, Beckie Lindsey, Scott McCausey, Ryan Farr and Clint Rutledge.
All this has happened in the last two years, and there is plenty more to come.
In 2019, I am slated for at least three book launches with two more expected in 2020. In the meantime, I must also complete three more manuscripts.
Two years ago, I asked God to use me somehow. I didn’t know what He wanted me to do, but I knew I had to do something for His glory. I was in the middle of a fierce spiritual fight from the enemy and it was do or die time for me.
He came through in a big way at the 2017 Florida Christian Writers Conference. Boom!
Cyle laughs when he tells me that I prayed for a ministry and God delivered. Be careful what you ask God for. Almost immediately after I said that fateful prayer, my journey has been fast and furious as well as abundant.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (Ephesians 3: 20)
I am excited about the Feb. 25 book launch of Dugout Devotions. Additional book signing events will take place out of state, and we are working on a few more. I have done several media interviews to promote the book and have some exciting opportunities in the approaching weeks.
My prayer is for this book to make a difference in people’s hearts and lives. I have made some good friends through this experience as well. I met Blaine Boyer, a pitcher in the major leagues, and he agreed to write the foreword. I also became friends with Clint Hurdle, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and this time last year, we met up in Bradenton, Florida where he did a brief video endorsement for the book. We are trying to find a date in the Steel City to have a signing there early into this season.
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And to think this little idea was hatched two years ago out of a dinner conversation with Bill and Cyle in Florida.
We went to that conference hoping for one thing, and we were blessed abundantly in another way. Angie and I have set out on a journey we never thought possible.
God has a wonderful imagination and uses people who are willing.
There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. (Proverbs 19: 21)
Do you trust the Lord to deliver for you? How can he use you for His glory?
And, oh yeah, you can pre-order Dugout Devotions here.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER – 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful –can be purchased on Amazon here.