The Giver of All Good Things by Dawn Crandall

A Guest Blog by Dawn Crandall

Dawn Crandall

When I was sixteen, I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. And then I discovered the movie Gone With The Wind… and then the book by Margaret Mitchell. I didn’t know I liked to read until then, but even more than that—I didn’t realize what an amazing thing it could be to write a book. So I told myself I would do just that. I would write a book. Someday.

Life went on, but I didn’t end up writing. I attended Taylor University, graduated, worked at Barnes & Noble, met my husband at the church we attended, got married and moved to a new city.

My husband soon found out about my desire to write a book and encouraged me from that very day to write it. Could someone with ADD focus enough to write a book? I’m seriously one of those people who have a very difficult time finishing any kind of hobby project. Most things just don’t mean enough to me to keep my attention long enough to complete. But I found that this book writing thing was much different. I found that because writing was my absolute favorite thing to do, I could sit at my laptop all day long and write up the scenes which were so vividly racing through my mind. Having ADD is basically boils down to having a stream of ideas and hypothetical situations running through my mind at all times. My imagination is often on hyper-drive. Music and photographs often help me as prompts, and sometimes all I need is a word, and a whole scene comes together in my mind. It doesn’t really make sense to me how I’m able to capture 90K words into a Word document and take a reader on a complex emotional journey through the eyes of my heroine. It’s fun! And it’s complicated…. and I love it.

I was sixteen, and not even a Christian yet, when the desire to write a book struck my heart. I was thirty-two when I actually began writing The Hesitant Heiress in 2010. I don’t know why it had to take me so long to get around to it. I don’t understand God’s will for my life sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. He was in control, and He was building everything up for a few big surprises.

In 2011, I joined ACFW and my husband sent me to the national conference. I had two agent appointments and a paid critique meeting. I was about to cancel my agent appointments when I went to my paid critique. I thought my book was dumb, that I was dumb for going to conference… I was completely out of my league… why was I there? I hadn’t even finished my manuscript. I was jumping the gun and had spent way too much money for no reason. But that wasn’t what author Andrea Boeshaar told me in my appointment with her. She told me my first chapter was amazing, that the writing was better than a lot of books that were published…. and she told me to definitely go to my agent appointments.

God knew I needed that! Who wouldn’t love to hear such things? So I went to my appointments, I received two requests for partial proposals. I didn’t even know what a proposal was, but I found out and I am made one, even explaining that I was still revising the end of my book. I did include a chapter outline though, and I think that helped… because within the week I had a contract for representation from both agents in my email box within the week of sending out my proposals. I chose Joyce Hart as my agent and went about finishing my novel. All of 2012 went by with my only book on submission to a handful of publishers, and the second manuscript {The Bound Heart, November 2014} for my series became a semi-finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest. And then half of 2013 went by as well…. and I wanted to quit. I had a really hard time writing book three {The Captive Imposter, February 2015} because my confidence was going down the drain. It must have been a fluke that two incredibly sought after agents had wanted to represent me upon first sight of my first three chapters. It must have been a fluke about the Genesis contest… and then again when book one became a semi-finalist and book three became a finalist in the 2013 Genesis Contest. How much more “half-way there” could I take?

Well…. about a month later, God taught me a great big lesson. And it didn’t have anything to do with a book, writing, or seeing my name in print. It had to do with another dream I’d always had but had given up on. I’d given up on getting pregnant and having a family, having traded it in for the dream of becoming a published author. I found out I was pregnant in August 2013, and suddenly I didn’t care so much about getting my long-sought-after book contract. I still wanted it, of course! It just wasn’t the only thing I had to think about anymore.

When I signed my book contract with Whitaker House in December 2013, I was six months pregnant, and they quickly told me they planned to release the books all three months apart. (Yeah, you don’t have to tell me that’s craziness… I know!)

I was once convinced that having my “book-babies” published was what I wanted more than anything. But was I wrong. There really is nothing compared to holding my baby boy in my arms and seeing him laugh and smile. Even if this isn’t the timeframe I would have chosen for myself, I trust God knows what He’s doing. He’s blessed me this year… yes, with what seems like a little too much to do… but I’ll take it!

The Hesitant Heiress, Book 1 of The Everstone Chronicles

Dawn Crandall  

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn’t who she thought at all.

 

Dawn Crandall

The Bound Heart, Book 2 of The Everstone Chronicles

  Dawn Crandall

One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt’s world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn’t have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from their unfortunate past.

When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she’s convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption… and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?

About Dawn Crandall

Dawn Crandall

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

CONNECT WITH DAWN

Blog: www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com

Facebook: facebook.com/DawnCrandallWritesFirst

Book Review Blog: APassionforPages.blogspot.com

GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/dawn_crandall

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/dawnwritesfirst

Email: dawncrandallwritesfirst@gmail.com

Twitter: @dawnwritesfirst

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Dawn-Crandall

Interview with inspirational romance author, Carol Moncado

I’m happy to have inspirational romance author, Carol Moncado, here today! She’s talking about her debut novel, Finding Mr. Write, which released this week!

Carol Moncado

Where did the inspiration for Finding Mr. Write come from?

The inspiration came from a conversation I had with Casey Herringshaw in the comments on Seekerville one day in mid-2011. We were planning for our first ACFW conference and debated whether or not we should stalk Julie Lessman while there. It turns out we didn’t need to, but the idea had taken root. The original concept had a much more Lucy-Ethel tone to it, but I love the way it turned out.

So why Mya Elizabeth Linscott? Mya… well, the reason is implied in the book so I won’t spoil it here. I don’t remember the inspiration for Elizabeth, but likely just looking for something with an “E” to make it MEL. Linscott comes from my favorite Mary Connealy hero, Tom Linscott in Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

Finding Mr. Write

Where did the inspiration for Dorrie come from? What about the skin cancer on Dorrie’s nose?

Dorrie embodies pretty much every author I know, myself included. The insecurities. The fears. The rejection. But with all of that comes friendships that transcend writing. Camaraderie. Growth. And I do know of at least one couple that met at a conference and married later. Her journey mirrors mine in many ways [though not the contest final/win – or the random conference wedding ;)].

As for the skin cancer… as I was working on a round of edits for this book, I was diagnosed with exactly what she was. Her experience there also very much mirrors my own – from the nickel-sized crater to the second surgery and the lasering. And yes – my eyelids were numb at one point ;).

Where did the inspiration for Jeremiah come from?

My husband isn’t a writer, but he’s a lot like Jeremiah in a lot of ways. He’s incredibly supportive and I couldn’t do this writer thing without him. I don’t know where the whole “Prince Caspian” thing came from, but came it did. And I loved it!

Where exactly is Serenity Landing?

Serenity Landing is a fictionalized version of Republic, Missouri – about 12 miles southwest of Springfield. I’ve lived in this area for over 20 years now and wouldn’t trade it for anything! Look for a Serenity Landing website, coming soon! Most [all?] of the books I have planned are connected to this town in one way or another, so you’ll learn a lot more about it as they go on :).

 

Finally Mr. Write Good Enough for A Princess

 

What book(s) is(are) coming out next? 

This is the beginning of my “grand opening” as an author! Six books are releasing this year and I’m working to finish them up right now.
* Finally Mr. Write: CANDID Romance book 2; November 24, 2014
* Falling for Mr. Write: CANDID Romance book 3; December 2014
*Good Enough for a Princess: The Montevaro Monarchy book 1; November 17, 2014
*Along Came a Prince: The Montevaro Monarchy book 2; December 2014
*More Than a Princess: The Montevaro Monarchy book 3; December 2014

Spring 2014 will see the release of the next series – The Brides of Bellas Montagnes. When I have the time, I’m working on book 3 in that series, Prince from her Past. The first two are mostly done – Hand-me-down Princess and Queen of His Heart [working title].

Love Anyway, a guest post by Angela Strong

Angela Strong

I sold my first romance novel Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho on proposal alone. That meant I had a contract before I wrote the book. Which would have been great if my ex-husband didn’t decide to leave me at that same time. I was forced to write a romance novel as my own marriage fell apart. Then I decided to never write romance again. Because love sucked.

I broke up with my agent. I wrote angry blogs. And if there was a television show on about divorce, others would worry that it would hurt me. But I liked those. It was going to weddings that hurt. And watching engagement videos on youtube. And renaming my anniversary “my noniversary.” Ouch.

But then I met an amazing man. A too-good-to-be-true man. Or so I thought.

I tried to scare him away by telling him how part of my heart was still dead. But he loved me anyway. I would cry because I didn’t feel I deserved him. But he loved me anyway. I waited for something horrible to happen that would break us up. But he loved me anyway.

He proposed anyway.

He married me anyway.

He took me to the beach to celebrate our third anniversary this year anyway.

And now there is nothing I’d rather write than romance novels. Because love is powerful. It is worth waiting for. And it changes lives!

So for those of you who have told me before things like, “Christians shouldn’t write romance , they should write about things that matter like politics,” or “I wouldn’t let my daughter read your novel because it awoke love to early.” I get it.

And I love you anyway.

Angela Strong

Bio:
Angela sold her first article while still in high school, studied journalism at the University of Oregon, and now writes light-hearted and life-changing stories in a variety of genres including romance and middle-grade fiction. She started IDAhope Writers to help out other authors and has been awarded Idaho Top Author for two years in a row. You can find out more about her and her books at www.angelaruthstrong.com.
Book Blurb:
I, Joey Michaels, am the Snowball Fight Professional. Basically this means that customers pay me to shoot snowballs at other people. I’ll use the profits to buy Grandma a gift so impressive that she’ll give me a puppy for Christmas. Unless, of course, my cousin Winston has anything to do with it.
Earning the puppy wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t have the following problems: 1) Winston stealing my employee 2) Winston getting me in trouble every time I do something wrong 3) Winston blaming me for things I don’t even do
If I don’t get the puppy … ugh. This might turn into an all out winter war!
The Snowball Fight Professional is Book 2 in the Fun4Hire Series.

 

Career versus Love, Must a Woman Choose?

Career versus Love

Career versus Love. This was my dilemma for the first few years of married life. I’ve always been a career girl; I’ve been working since the age of three.

In my first job, I sold jewelry in my parent’s business. Early on, my parents plopped me behind a cash register, and I started ringing up sales. Even though I couldn’t read (I was only three, remember?), I quickly learned to calculate 6% sales tax in my head and jealously guard the inventory against shrinkage. Career versus love was not a problem in those days. (I was three!)

My second job arrived at the age of nine: Show Biz, Baby! I wanted to be on the big screen (or a small TV screen with the rabbit ears…I’d take whatever I could get). At nine years old, I called up a talent agent, set up an appointment to meet the agent and later told Dad about it. (I was a precocious gal.) Being the nice, cautious father that he is, he took me to meet the person and decided to entertain this interest of mine. A couple weeks later I landed my first job on a television commercial. That career lasted for over a decade. Career versus love was not a problem as an actress either. I was too concerned with school and auditions to worry about icky boys with cooties.

Then I married a Navy man, and my vision of what a career gal should be changed.

Life went topsy turvy for me after marriage. Along with all the ups and downs that come with adjusting to married life, I had to come to grips with the fact that none of my husband’s duty stations were in New York or Los Angeles (where all the acting work could be found). That was tough for me, and I suffered an identity crisis early on. I sucked it up, put on a false face and entered the dreaded Cubicle Nation.

I told myself this was what a good, supportive Navy wife does. They stuff all their dreams in an invisible closet and do the wife thing. (What is the wife thing?) In reality, I was miserable, but I kept telling myself this was all part of being married. That wasn’t true. I made up a lie and created unnecessary heartache.

Looking back, I know I created that lie because I feared being an artist again; I didn’t want to take the scary plunge into living a creative life. It is a road less traveled. It was cool to be an artist as a kid, but all kids grow up eventually and join the Real World, right?

Despite this, I had a creative itch that needed to be scratched, but I was nowhere near NY or LA. So, I started writing. Writing was a portable job which suited my military spouse lifestyle. During the regular work week, before I went to Cubicle Nation, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and wrote about anything that came to mind. Most of it was my mental ramblings, but the act of putting pen to paper centered me. During those early morning hours before I left for the day job, my creative fire was re-lit.

After about a year of this (and with my awesome husband’s blessing), I left Cubicle Nation for good. I wrote more frequently, dabbling in different types of novels and articles and such. Shortly thereafter, I had my first child and something happened, my writing hobby went into overdrive.

I wrote while feeding the baby.

I wrote in between feeding the baby.

I wrote while sitting in the park with the baby.

I wrote while the baby napped.

The act of regularly and consciously putting pen to paper during those new mama days enabled me to tap into an inner strength which I never knew existed. I realized I could be an artist and married and a mama. I didn’t have to sacrifice one lifestyle for the other.

I found my center. I found my peace.

Career versus love didn’t have to be a choice. A lot of times, women feel like they have to make an either or type of sacrificial act to keep everything balance like in the case of career versus love and family. To me, that’s a big, fat lie.

You can pursue your passion, and you can pursue love. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe God gives an individual a great passion for a particular vocation and then says: “Sorry, buddy, you can ‘t do that anymore. You’re a (wife, husband, mom, dad) now. Those days are over.”

What do you think?

 

 

Quotes About Love, Thoughts to Ponder

I’ve been on a search for quotes about love. I plan to gather one each week for us to ponder. Here the first of a couple quotes about love I discovered (more to come in subsequent weeks!)

Quotes About Love: On Kissing

Quotes About Love

Writing kisses can be challenging for me. I have to be in the right frame of mind to get the kissing scenes right. It’s ironic that the one thing which Ingrid Bergman identifies as special about a kiss is also the thing that makes it tough for me as a writer. Kisses are wordless (and rightfully so), but somehow I have to transpire that kiss on the page!

Still, when I get that kissing scene right, I cannot keep my hands off the keyboard. I have to finish it. I remember the first time this happened to me as a writer. I was sitting in a coffee shop typing away, bored by the scene…until they kissed. Writing the scene felt like riding a roller coaster. As soon as the characters locked lips, the words flowed fast and furious. It was definitely a writing session I’ll never forget.

Quotes About Love: The Face of Your Love

Quotes About Love

 

Have you ever loved someone so deeply that you can close your eyes and imagine every line and curve of their face? Every scar and feature? I think it’s lovely when this happens. I can close my eyes and remember my husband’s face perfectly: coffee bean complexion, espresso colored eyes, dark, thick eyelashes. I have to admit, I am jealous of his eyelashes. No man should have eyelashes as beautiful as his, but I guess that’s why they invented mascara for the ladies :-)

So those are my quotes about love for this week. What favorite quotes about love have touched your heart?