“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

"Ailing Body, Nourished Soul:" What is it?

Yes - that is my question. And you are probably thinking "Why is she asking ME? I'm not the author. How am I supposed to know?"

Well - I'm asking anyway.

I'm getting closer and closer to being ready to send this thing out to be seen by people who can make a difference in what happens to it, and I don't know what my "genre" is. I'm guessing that would be a good thing to know, yes??

I'd like to be sure I can RESEARCH that genre, to see what my competition is. I'd like to READ in it, to be able to intelligently share how I'm filling a niche that hasn't been touched before (if, in fact, I am). I'm also guessing knowing my genre would be EVER SO helpful in determining which publishers/agents/whatever I should query, and which would be a waste of time.

I was thinking lately that maybe it's a memoir, but I'm having my doubts. All I know FOR SURE is that it is non-fiction, and it has an inspirational kinda feel - but I don't think that's specific enough.

So - this is where YOU can help me! I am going to post a synopsis I wrote a year ago when I entered my first chapter in the Faithwriters' Page Turner contest (I came in second!). It's less than 500 words - so not a huge reading undertaking. If you have even the SLIGHTEST inclination, I would so appreciate your thoughts on what my "genre" is. (Yeah - it's bugging me!)

Thanks a ton, folks!

Ailing Body, Nourished Soul
By Joanne Sher

To some, it looked like a desperate, hopeless situation. Joanne Sher, five months pregnant with her second child, learned that her husband Marc, the family’s sole wage earner, had a brain tumor. Her nearest relatives were a five-hour plane ride away; his, 100 miles by car.

Yet, God was there. He prepared the Shers for the difficulties they would face. He worked out the details beforehand to provide everything they needed to get through. He protected them from countless “could-have-beens” that might have made the experience too much to bear.

Anonymous gifts. Supportive friends. Knowledgeable relatives. God used circumstances and people in their lives to sustain the Shers, give them hope, and make them more like Him. And, in turn, they have been able to encourage others by living out their story in faith. Through Marc’s ailing body, the Lord miraculously nourished (and continues to nourish) their souls, and the souls of those who know them.

The pages of this book are full of God’s hand in the Shers’ lives. Money miraculously appeared in their hands when it was needed most. Countless meals were provided and offers of rides to doctor’s appointments made. The miracle of medicine helped control symptoms. Even Marc’s preparation for a possible career change that began almost a year before any symptoms occurred was clearly God’s way of readying them for the struggles that lay ahead.

Yet, this book is not just about what God did for the Shers. It is, in essence, about what He can and will do for His people every moment of every day. Each chapter of Ailing Body, Nourished Soul includes thought-provoking and relevant questions that challenge readers to examine themselves and see how God has worked similarly in their own lives or the lives of those close to them. Relevant prayers follow each challenge, which encourage the reader to look to, and speak with, the Creator about the message of the chapter.

Now, five years after learning about Marc’s tumor, the Shers continue to adjust to the changes these health issues have brought to them. Marc’s limited eyesight, regular doctor visits, a plethora of medications with their ever-changing side effects, and many other facts of life have become, for them, the “new normal.” It may not be the life they would have chosen, but through their experience, and the lessons God taught them, they are filled with hope, peace, and blessing in their circumstances.

It is Joanne’s prayer that by sharing her family’s journey, readers will discover that, no matter how much the body is ailing, or what trials life may bring, their souls will find the nourishment that can only come from God.

So - what do you think? Thanks a ton :)


  1. I always think memoirs are for when you are old and gray (though that isn't apparently the definition of the word necessarily).

    Obviously this is a very personal, up-close, experience. If you spent a lot of time inviting your readers to look at their own lives and apply the spiritual truths you lived out, then it becomes something else—Christian Living. But where the magic percentage point is between one and the other, I don't know.

    I didn't appreciate how difficult this process of fitting a book into a niche was until you brought it up.

  2. I don't now all the genres by definition so I will describe what I read. Your book is definitely in the category of inspirational and God centered. At the mention of thought-provoking questions it gives me the incentive to read the book to see how your family dealt with the painful truth that this situation was not going away and you needed a bigger than life sustainer.

    Three books that come to mind that might be in this genre but completely different stories are: Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, When God Says No, and Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. It seems your book will fit into whatever genre those are in.

    I will pray for quick success!

  3. Either Inspirational non-fiction or Christian living would be my guess. It's only a memoir if you are solely telling about your situation, I think. If you apply it with spiritual principles, it becomes a help to others. A book that comes to my mind is "When I Lay My Isaac Down" by Carol Kent. She shares her powerful story and then admonishes her readers to apply the lessons she learned with her. It is listed under "Christian Living, Practical Life, Contemporary Issues" on the back of the book. I hope this helps. Can't wait to see it on the shelf of my bookstore one day, then on the shelf of my bookshelf!

  4. Your book sounds almost like "reality tv", except for the backbiting and sniping. ;) I like to read "true life drama" - non-fiction that reads like a novel. Could this be "Christan true life drama"?

    I'm anxiously awaiting my autographed copy of "Ailing Body, Nourished Soul" in my mailbox. ;)

  5. I've read the other comments now, and was considering where I would shelve it in my church library. It would be under "Christian Living" - a very broad category that does include personal, life-changing stories.

    I wouldn't put it with "Biographies" because it isn't a story of Marc's life, but rather your family's journey through a storm.


  6. Definitely inspirational. I think your book, will encourage and reach the hearts of many that may be enduring difficulties and need a reminder or an awareness that God is here rock and their help. Awesome! Cant wait until it comes out.

    Thanks so much for your comment on my post at exemplify. I pray that fire consumes all of god's ladies.
    God Bless


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