A Special Message from Eric Elder of “This Day’s Thought from the Ranch”
Dear Friends and Subscribers of “This Day’s Thought from The Ranch,”
I’ve just finished writing the first book I hope no one ever reads! At the same time, I hope everyone will read it, because it describes how I went into homosexuality and how I came out of it through the power of Christ and with the help of the woman who later became my wife.
It’s called “Fifty Shades of Grace,” and it’s an epic, yet intimate story, spanning thirty years of my life, from my first sexual encounter with a man to my last intimate moments with my wife just before she died of breast cancer nearly three years ago.
Since many of you prayed for my wife and me during that last year of her life, I think you’ll be especially interested in the last five chapters of the book. Even though those were some of the darkest days of our lives, they were also some of the most precious. For I’ve found that when life gets darker, God’s grace shines brighter.
If you’re a regular reader of my weekly messages on The Ranch and wondered if I had stopped writing, I haven’t! I’ve been writing more in the past year than I’ve ever written in my life. But I just wasn’t sure if I would ever publish what I was writing.
Why? Because I’ve shared so many intimate stories in this book that I’ve never shared with anyone before that I wasn’t sure if I ever should publish it.
But a friend of mine encouraged me one day by telling me what his mother had told him, which she had learned from her English teacher many years ago. Her teacher said:
“Everyone has a million dollar book inside of them. They just have to tell their own story–but they have to be brutally honest when they tell it.”
When I finished writing the last chapter of the first draft of this book earlier this year, I called my friend and said, “I’ve just written my million dollar book.” It was definitely “brutally honest.”
While my goal isn’t to make a million dollars on the book, I have no doubt, based on the response of those who have read preview copies, that MANY will be touched by it, especially with the national and international discussions about homosexuality at an all-time high. As I’ve prayed about what I can do to help people as they try to navigate through these difficult waters, I felt the best thing I could do is to simply share my own story about how God has worked in my life in this area, offering hope to others who may have homosexual attractions but who feel God has something else in store for their lives.
And yet, at its heart, this book isn’t about sex. It’s about going for what’s best in your life, those deepest longings and desires which God Himself has put in your heart. If you need faith that God can do anything, absolutely anything, then this could be the book for you.
I’ve written this book to appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike, as the story offers hope to ANYONE who wants to see ANY kind of transformation in their life. That’s why I’d love for EVERYONE to read this book! We could all use a little more hope to get through whatever we’re going through right now.
But after writing the first draft of the book, I still wasn’t sure if I should ever publish it.
As I began writing the final version, I nervously sent the book, chapter by chapter, to two friends who said they would be glad to preview it for me and give me their honest thoughts. After reading the first few chapters, both friends gave me their whole-hearted “thumbs up,” saying things like this:
“I really do think you have something special on your hands here. The story is compelling, but I think what takes it to an even higher level is your writing, which really draws the reader in, and which is crafted so well.”
“Wow, I read the first five chapters, and you are an excellent writer. Very well done. It’s not a topic I would normally pick up and read, but you had me hooked with the story line. I don’t think that I could be so honest and open. That’s probably why it is so riveting. All I can say is ‘Wow!'”
I then began asking others to read the story as I completed each chapter, and I began getting similar responses:
“You really are a GREAT story teller. And, oh, what a story to tell! Do you know how many and various ways those chapters affect me?!?!”
“A fascinating story. I’m completely blown away by your life experiences! Your candor and transparency truly elevate the storytelling. I envy how smooth and easy your storytelling is. It is simple to slip into the story and imagine myself right along with you. There is so much damage and hurt right now in this area, and your story is filled with hope and love and caring. You aren’t harsh or condemning or preachy. I cried and cried and cried. All the way through. I’m ready to buy several copies to give to people I know who are hurting.”
But then I heard from a few people who were concerned about the story and the content. They said things like these:
“I had planned to read your book, but my husband warned me that it may not be right for me. When he read a few of the scenes to me, I agreed. You see, I am very sensitive to sexual content. It just seems to affect me more deeply than it does for others. Stuff that may cause some people to say, “Wow,” would break my heart. He also explained to me that the whole book isn’t like that and that there is a ton of really amazing stuff in there about you finding God and your journey to following Him. I’m sure it is an amazing book, but I know I couldn’t handle all the sexual stuff.”
“Can’t believe I’ve been reading all day! Gotta tell ya – I had to reach for a glass of ice water a few times (wink). But what I’ve read is a wonderful candid story of struggle, consequences, confusion, searching in all the wrong places – then finding the road to the right place…. in the Hands of God.”
“While several parts were arousing and might cause people to stumble, after reading the book a second time, it’s not so arousing and it gets across the idea very well of what your life was like both before and after. What a beautiful, sweet, intimate portrait of God’s grace in your life.”
Because of my respect for these people, and my concern for readers who might stumble as they read the book, I had to pause and consider once again if I should publish the story at all. But with so many positive comments coming in, I decided to expand my base of test readers to over 100. And as those responses started pouring in, I realized that while this book may not be for everyone, it could bring unprecedented hope and healing to those who do need to hear the details I share.
So far, 86% of those 100+ early readers have given the book their whole-hearted “thumbs up!” While some of them agreed that the book was indeed candid and sensual, they also said they felt this was essential for the telling of this particular story. As one reader said, “Every word felt exactly right.”
So I kept writing until I completed my final manuscript, trying to keep my descriptions as tasteful as possible, and trying to choose my words as carefully as possible. In the end, I hope I’ve captured the essence of the story in a way that is compelling, revealing and fully glorifying to the God who created sex – and who changed my life in regards to it.
Yet I still realize that some readers may be more sensitive to the subject matter than others.
For that reason, I’ve posted the Introduction and Chapter 1 on the book’s website so you can read for yourself and see if this is a book for you, as those chapters set the tone for the rest of the book. If you like the Introduction and Chapter 1, then this might be a book for you. If you don’t, then this probably isn’t a book for you, as the rest of the book is just like it! No problem! I just want to make sure it gets into the hands of those who could benefit from it the most. (I also created a less sensual version of the book, but readers who had trouble reading the first version also had trouble reading the second, more so it seems because of their sensitivity to the subject matter than to the particular words I chose, so I abandoned that version for the one I felt might touch the most people.)
By the way, while writing the story, I wrote it under a pen name, Nicholas J. Deere. While I don’t mind people knowing that I’m the author of the book (or I wouldn’t be writing this post to you), I found that using a pen name allowed me to be more open and honest while writing the story than I might otherwise have been, worrying as I wrote it about what other people might think of me. Now that it’s time to publish the book, I’ve grown so attached to the pen name that I’d like to keep it, as I’ve changed the names of the other people mentioned in the book, too. For all the talk in the world about sex, and even in this book, sex is still a very private thing. Using pseudonyms for myself and my wife just feels right. As another friend of mine said, “It’s like a blanket of grace covering you both.”
In case you’re still undecided whether to get this book or not, I’d like to close with a comment from Debbie Macomber, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of dozens of romance novels, with over 170 million copies in print. Debbie has become an encouraging friend in recent years, and she asked me to send her a copy of this book when I was finished. I did, and she loved it! In one of her emails to me (which she graciously gave me permission to share), Debbie wrote:
“This is a vital message the church needs to hear. And you tell such a powerful story. One that needs to be heard.”
So while I know this book isn’t for everyone, I DO believe it will bring hope and healing to the hearts of those who DO need it. Please join me in praying that it reaches those hearts! Without further adieu, I’d like to present to you “Fifty Shades of Grace,” by Nicholas Deere…
Click this link to read the Introduction and Chapter 1:
Click this link to read more reviews from early readers to see if this is a book for you:
And click this link to get a copy of the book from Amazon.com! (Also available on Amazon’s online stores in other countries):
(For those who can’t buy the book on Amazon for some reason, I’ll be glad to send you a copy of the book, anywhere in the world, for a donation of any size. Just click this link to make a donation and place an order.)
P.S. Just like the first weekend for movies, the first week of a book’s sales creates the momentum for the future of the book. If a book reaches enough sales in the first week (in fact, in the first DAY), then Amazon will begin promoting the book themselves in their Top 100 lists for that book’s category, raising the visibility of the book so other readers will be more likely to find it. If you’re considering buying the book, would you consider buying it TODAY or THIS WEEK, and perhaps buying 2-3 (or 10-12!) copies of the book if you think others might like it, too? Every sale of the book TODAY and THIS WEEK could help someone in the future find the book who might otherwise never see it and never receive the blessing they could have received from it. Thanks!