For those of you in the workplace:
Enjoy the day!
What a great bunch of books to take on vacation or read under a shady tree this summer. Selections include a Regency romance, a thriller, the story of an abandoned child found by the shore and two Westerns. Peruse below and let us know which one you’ll put on top of the stack in your beach bag. Scroll down and vote in the survey box. Then let your friends know about these interesting reads.
Writing Amish Fiction from a Man’s Point of View, by Patrick Craig
When I first started writing Amish fiction, I had a short story in mind about a master quilter from Apple Creek, Ohio who found God, a little lost child, and a new life in the heart of a snowstorm. When I showed the story to my agent, he encouraged me to turn it into a full-length series of three books. Now, three years later, the last of those books, Jenny’s Choice, has been released and I am still telling the story of the Hershbergers and the Springers in The Amish Heiress. The setting has moved from Apple Creek to Paradise, Pennsylvania, but the characters and the stories are part of an ongoing thread that has captured my heart and kept me busy since 2010.
The interesting thing about my foray into Amish fiction is that before I started the Apple Creek Dreams series, I knew nothing about the Amish or about quilting—absolutely nothing. I had never read an Amish fiction novel, even though, as I discovered, Amish fiction was the largest selling Christian genre for years. And I think that this has been a good thing. I’m not exactly known in Amish circles as someone who writes a typical Amish novel. I think that’s because I read too many Zane Grey books when I was a kid. His books had adventure, mystery, and danger and, for those of you expecting a typical light-hearted romance dressed in Amish clothing when you read my books, you will certainly find far more than that. Adventure aside, Zane Grey was also one of the best romance writers that ever put pen to paper and, in the end, good Amish fiction has to have romance, and plenty of it.
I, along with most men, am a romantic at heart and as a Grey devotee, I know that two things captured the hearts of his readers: enduring male characters that were noble and strong, protected women, kept their word and were not afraid to face down evil even if it meant their death, and female characters that were pure, noble, capable, and worthy of the love that the men in his stories lavished upon them. So those are the men and women I try to bring to life in my stories.
Also, when I write, I try to keep in mind that there are certain archetypal themes—plots and conflicts— that the characters, both men and women, need to be set inside to cause their noble qualities to rise to the surface. Then the reader can have their own character changed for the better by identifying with the strength of my protagonists, be they men or women.
Another thing I always remember as I write: the written word is powerful in its capacity to pervade the mind and heart of those who read it. When someone picks up my book, there is an implied acceptance of the ideas I am trying to get across in my writing. The reader is thereby opened to my words and thoughts. Like a baby bird with its mouth gaping open waiting for mother to feed it, my reader has given me the right to speak into their lives. Because of this acceptance, my words can penetrate a resistant heart, simply because the choice to read my book opens the door to the truth it contains.
Because of that, as a Christian writer I always try to remember this: stories should be about love, deep abiding love—love between people and ultimately, they should be about the love our God had for us when He sent His own son to solve the dilemma of the ages and bring peace and joy to our hearts. And that is the greatest story ever told.
As a Christian, what are the qualities you look for in a book?
My Latest book, The Amish Heiress will be available in August on Amazon, B&N and GoodReads.
My Latest Book:
Author: Patrick E. Craig
Publisher: P&J Publishing, Caldwell Idaho
Release Date: August 5, 2015
Genre: Amish Fiction / Romance /Adventure
Book One in The Paradise Chronicles series
Click here to enter my book giveaway: A signed copy of one of my books!– one signed copy of The Amish Heiress
The Amish Heiress Back Cover Blurb
Rachel Hershberger’s life in Paradise, Pennsylvania is far from happy. Her papa struggles with a terrible event from the past, and his emotional instability has created an irreparable breach between them. Rachel’s one desire is to leave the Amish way of life and Paradise forever. Then her prayers are answered. Rachel discovers that the strange, key-shaped birthmark above her heart identifies her as the heir to a vast fortune left by her Englischer grandfather, Robert St. Clair. If Rachel will marry a suitable descendent of the St. Clair family, she will inherit an enormous sum of money. But Rachel does not know that behind the scenes is her long-dead grandfather’s sister-in-law, Augusta St. Clair, a vicious woman who will do anything to keep the fortune in her own hands. As the deceptions and intrigues of the St. Clair family bind her in their web, Rachel realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. But has her change of heart come too late?
Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. The books are historical Amish fiction and the first book, A Quilt for Jenna, was released February 1, 2013. The second book in the series, The Road Home, was released September 1, 2013. Book number three, Jenny’s Choice, came out February 1, 2014. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book, The Amish Heiress, will be out in August 2015. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.
Where can readers find me online? www.patrickecraig.com (Webpage)
Where can readers purchase my books? http://tinyurl.com/n6sfagg (Amazon)
Attention Readers: Patrick is conducting his own giveaway. To enter, please click on the link provided above.
Thank you, Patrick, for being a guest on Whispers in Purple today. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and your background into becoming a writer of Amish fiction. Fascinating.
“That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Romeo and Juliet (II.ii.43-44)
In the seemingly never-ending process of cleaning out old files, I came across and old article, with the same title, I wrote for Northwest Christian Author, a publication of the Northwestern Christian Writers Association which appeared in their 2001 November/December issue.
Of course, there my cleaning-out venture came to a halt as I read through it again, after almost 14 years.
I’ve updated the article a great deal and, with your indulgence, I’m sharing it here. Of course I had to find a purple rose!
Shakespeare had it right. But, suppose you’d never seen or heard of a rose, or smelled its heady fragrance, and someone pointed to it a said it was Skunk Cabbage, or Stinkweed. Would you be willing to bury your nose into its petals and discover that intoxicating scent?
Names are important, not only in naming babies , but giving our story characters the right name is extremely important. We have to get the right one to make them believable. And the name must match our characters’ basic makeup, behaviors, personalities characteristics, and so forth.
Character naming is a craft by itself. For example, you want to portray an honest person? Frank or Mary Candhor. Clever? Wiley. Courageous? Daniel Lyons. Insightful? Hawkeye Pierce. <Grin>
Choose a name with the right sound. Say it aloud. Many times the way a name strikes the ear will be a better choice than its meaning. Take Bond and Scaramanga. Any doubt as to who’s the bad guy? Next, make sure the name is easy to pronounce out loud. Some readers will just skim over a name like Pryzloskivitch, but others–like me–want to know how to say it. Yes, I’m aware there a many differing opinions on this. That’s just my opinion. And there are exceptions. Ethnic names, for example. You have to be true to your story and setting. In that case, you might want to find a way, perhaps through dialog, to let the reader ‘see’ how it’s pronounced. Then again, if you’re writing War and Peace, or Dr. Zhivago, unpronounceable names come with the character of the story. I’ve read both and I had to take the time to study the gender nomenclature.
As a writer, the task of naming the ‘child’ you have created is far more laborious than it would be for the ‘normal’ parent.
I’ve devoted a lot of time in studying names, their meanings, and am almost obsessive in naming my characters.
Come back next week, Wednesday, for more on this naming game.
Now, I have a question for you–IF you’re a writer . . . how do YOU go about naming YOUR characters? C’mon, join the conversation!
Welcome, readers! The other day, I had a golden opportunity to lure Lexi Christensen–the lead character in THE STONEKEEPERS–away from Sally’s office to ask her a few personal questions while Sally was away. Shhh…don’t tell Sally, okay?
Hi, Lexi, thanks for coming over. To get started, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Hello, Mrs. Phifer! Thank you for inviting me to visit with you and share a little about myself and of what’s happened in my life lately.
You asked what the most interesting thing about me is?
Well, right now my creator is kicking me under the table. ☺ She knows I’m bursting to tell you something that would be a spoiler for readers. So I’ll back off a little and tell you that I think my middle name is the most interesting thing about me (among a half-a-dozen other things she tells me are off limits!) Usually one spells Evangeline like this. Not my middle name. Mine is spelled Evengeline, and E-ven means stone in Hebrew. I never paid much attention to it until recently when its Hebrew meaning was shown to me. In that moment, it became crystal clear how important stones are in my life.
Q. Your creator? You mean Sally found us out, after all? Oh, well, just shows what a close watch she keeps over you! Anyway, let’s continue. What’s your most favorite thing to do for fun?
Mmm—not an easy question—too many favorite things to choose from. Okay if I tell you about two favorites? I love being outdoors and I love horses, so when there’s time, horseback riding on the beach with my two best friends is the best! But one other favorite fun thing my best friend, Jenni, and I do is help with and read to kindergarteners and first graders once a week. They are totally adorable!
Q. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Ever try to coax a stubborn 70 pound dog into a tub? I dread that scene! My dog has a paranoid aversion to water—but not just any water. He’s fine with the ocean, ponds, sprinklers, hoses, faucets, even swimming pools, but just mention the word bath and he’s on his back, whining for mercy, or halfway under my bed, probably thinking I can’t see him. He just hates getting a bath. But guess who stands still as a statue, loving it when the hair dryer flips on? The old guy’s a conundrum! ☺
Q. I know you are still very young, but…what are you most afraid of?
Age is a state of mind for me—I feel at least 25 after all that’s happened so far this summer. I used to be pretty fearless. Now I suppose I’m most afraid of being in a crowd of noisy, pushy people. It’s a recent fear. I was at Boston’s Logan International Airport, and what should have been an uneventful boarding ended up terrifying instead. Keeping really busy is helping me work through it, and a few other borderline traumatic things I’ve had to confront.
Q. What do you want out of life? How do you envision your future?
Finishing college is primary. Career, marriage, children—and I’m not worried about in what order they occur. I know my life is in God’s hands and it will happen in His perfect timing.
I’m going for a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science—focus on Computer Science. Since it looks as if I’ll be staying in Nantucket after college, I’ve decided to take Dad up on his offer to shadow him as he runs his company, sort of become his protégé. Who knows where that might lead? And all along the way, I pray I’ll make a difference in others’ lives.
Q. Name something that is the most important to you.
My relationships—with God, family and friends. They never walked away when I went through the most tumultuous few weeks of my life. They helped when they could and when they couldn’t they encouraged, supported, and loved me through it. I’ve found that there’s nothing, no one, in this world more valuable and irreplaceable than family and friends.
And I’m thankful for a deep, abiding, knowing, that God will never leave nor forsake me. He’s proved it over and over—like when I’d wake up panicked at choices I faced, as well as when I looked into the ugly blackness of mortal danger aimed in my direction.
Q. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Yes, I love to read—always have. I grew up reading richly illustrated children’s books and wandered through the classics. I love reading anything that inspires, uplifts, stretches, or challenges me, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, including suspense, mystery, adventure, intrigue, historical, and creative nonfiction. One author I like, Tom Clancy, challenged me in his first book with learning the anatomy of a submarine—just one of the types of books I enjoy. ☺
Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be much less of a perfectionist, which would make me more patient and understanding with others and with myself. (And I could reel off all the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 right here!) My two best friends, Jenni and Ridge seem to always be running late and it drives me crazy!
Q. I know you have a dog that is precious to you. Tell me about him.
My McDuffy McGillicuddy McFee? I’d love to! We call him Gilly. He’s a gorgeous golden retriever with chestnut eyes. Hard for me to remember, but on my third birthday, Mom and Dad tell me he was one lively puppy when he was delivered in a big wicker basket. I’ll share a little scene from my story with you. He was in my bedroom while I was deciding what to take with me to college and I stooped to stroke his silky fur, thinking about him. My throat got tight and my eyes blurred with tears. Dogs should have a place in dorms. “I’m going to miss you so much, old guy,” I said to him. But my tears turned to laughter when his rough tongue started swiping away at my salty, wet cheeks. Love that dog!
He’s a dear old man now, and it’s a wonder he’s still alive after . . . well, that’s another scene for another day. ☺
Q. You had a wonderful–but dangerous–opportunity to go to modern-day Israel. Have you ever thought you’d like to time-travel back to ancient Israel?
You must have been looking around in my dreams! Yes. I have wondered about what it would be like to be in ancient Israel. But I‘d like to drop into the days when Jerusalem was besieged by Babylon’s king, Nebuchadnezzar and the Lord allowed two kinds of treasures to be taken from the city.
The first of the treasures that were taken were some of the articles of the house of God, the temple. I want to see what those things were. Were they some of the gold and silver? Or maybe the even the Ark of the Covenant?
And then the second of the treasures that were taken were “some of the children of Israel,” in particular, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Our children are our national treasure and these young men were Israel’s. I want to see how these four young men, exceptionally “good-looking, wise, knowledgeable and quick to understand, with the abilities to serve and teach language and literature,” reacted when they were first found, tested, and chosen by the marauding Babylonians.
And then—many generations later, I’d like to join the shepherds on the hillside near Bethlehem, hear the Good News from the lips of angels, and, with them, kneel beside Mary to praise God and touch the soft, precious hands that saved me. I want to run with them into Egypt, watch Jesus as he learned carpentry from his dad in Nazareth, and stand beside Him in awe at His first miracle of water into wine at a Cana wedding.
Those were all fun questions to answer! Thanks again for inviting me to share with your Whispers in Purple blog readers, Mrs. Phifer!
My pleasure! Thank you so much, Lexi, for sneaking away to help me out. Though I guess we weren’t as clever as we thought, huh?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Now, about that giveaway mentioned above:
Lexi and Sally are offering to give away TWO copies of THE STONEKEEPERS: one paperback (sorry, Lower 48 states only) AND one eBook copy, (KINDLE version only) to give our International readers a chance to win. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your email information so we can contact you if you win. To keep the ‘bots’ from stealing your email, disguise it. E.G: zippity [at] doodah [dot] com. Easy. Also be sure to tell us where you live (US or other) as there will be two (2) drawings.
Giveaway will run for two weeks, ending Tuesday, July 28, at Midnight Central Time.
Don’t have a Kindle? Amazon offers a free Kindle App you can download for your PC, MAC, or other Android tablet. Just go to: http://tinyurl.com/ojud254
Extra Incentive: Be sure to check out the two previous posts about this book: Sneak Peek, and What Floats Sally’s Boat? and come back here and mention something from BOTH posts in the comment section and you will receive a second entry in the drawing. Invite a friend to visit and comment, have them mention you sent them. Your friend will get an entry, and you will get a THIRD entry. How ‘bout that?
Welcome, readers! This week we’re going behind the scenes of Jennifer Rodewald’s new book, Blue Columbine!! Find out why her hero, Andrew Harris, drew such a reaction, and why this “non-heroic” hero makes the perfect star of this beautiful contemporary romance.
Andrew Harris insists on living on his own terms. Angry because of life’s injustices, he is determined that failure will not cross his path again. He is also adamant that he is not an alcoholic. When he reunites with Jamie Carson, finding her to be rooted in the faith they’d grown up with, and every bit as sweet and lovely as he remembered, he is plunged into an emotional whirlwind. Guilt, a longing to be better, frustration that he is not enough, and a rekindled love for his childhood sweetheart all swirl inside with maddening strength. But for all his faults, he is still loyal, supportive, and generous when he wants to be—all qualities that keep Jamie’s attention and devotion. Which keeps their close friendship—edging on more than friendship—complicated, to say the least.
This is a tough one, because the greatest difficulty didn’t come during the writing part. The hardest thing was taking in the amount of very strong negative reactions to Andrew as a Christian fiction character during the critiquing stage of the novel. Andrew’s a mess. An alcoholic in denial, angry at life and at God, selfish, and overall just not pretty. I knew that, but I didn’t expect to have vehement reactions insisting that such a character did not belong in Christian fiction. One comment labeled him “unredeemable.” That broke my heart, because as I shared before, God reminded me through this story that no one is beyond the Hand of Grace. I think it’s important that sometimes Christian fiction confirms that truth, even if it means starting with messy characters.
I’m not sure there’s one single, straight shot answer to that. The story unfolded in my mind and I was compelled to write it. I’ve had several years to look back and wonder, “Why this story?” since it first gripped me. Looking at it from hindsight, I think God was pouring truth into me through this book. I was at a point in my life when I was praying for loved ones…and losing hope. I see now that God was teaching me that nothing is beyond His reach. I needed to see that, to believe it again.
The first is this: NO ONE is beyond redemption. No one. I need to know that, because I love some messy people. God showed me through this book that my prayers do not go unheard, that His hand is more powerful than I give Him credit for, and His time and storyline are not necessarily mine.
And second: Jesus saves. From white lies to powerful addictions, Jesus saves the lost, washes sin completely clean, and offers new life with real hope.
What an amazing message! This book’s hero proves that when our characters are not perfectly heroic, that only proves that God is! Thank you for sharing your book with us.
Now for a closer look at this book–and the gorgeous cover that sets the tone!
Best Friends—maybe more—until addiction shatters everything.
Childhood sweethearts reunite, but Andrew is not the boy he had been, and Jamie hasn’t changed. Their connection, however, outlasts time and offense.
Loyalty, love, and then betrayal….For Jamie, one thing becomes clear: Andy needs a savior, and she cannot be it. Will Andrew allow the hand of grace to redeem his legacy of addiction, or will he and Jamie remain the casualties of heartbreak?
What her readers are saying:
~ “Delicate. Humorous. And plumbing the depths of God’s redeeming love.”
~ “This book does not disappoint. Instead it takes you through the emotional upheaval of loving someone with a problem you can’t solve–and lets you witness the glory of the One who can.”
Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.
She would love to hear from you! Please visit her at authorjenrodewald.com or connect with her on Facebook. Author Jen Rodewald.
According to the Briggs-Myers test, I am 80% Introvert. (True) That means I do not think well on my feet. Definitely not quick-on-the draw. By that I mean—well, let me explain.
Last night I was guest on a blogtalk radio show, totally extemporaneous. No idea what to expect, and I was a little nervous. No, make that a LOT. This was new territory for me.
Anyway, it turned out to be an interview. I should have expected that. Anticipated that’s what it would be. The host (one of my publishers) asked me about my writing, we talked about my books and the like. Then he asked about a blog post I’d written for their blog. I shared part of it on my own blog: Where do Writers Get Their Ideas? with a link to the complete blog post. If you read it you may be able to understand what happened next.
The whole blog post centered on my people-watching experiences while I lived in Las Vegas where I lived for 33 years. In the interview, I failed to explain how I ended up in Vegas.
Head-thwack #1: I didn’t mention that it was due to a divorce and a longing for warmer, dryer climes.
Head-thwack #2: I failed to mention that at the time of the divorce my three kids were young adults and stayed in Wisconsin.
In my blog article, I mentioned a funny incident one day that involved a red Jaguar with vanity plates that read WAS*HIS that made me laugh out loud, and the fun I had pondering the story behind it.
Head-thwack #3: But did I mention that I used that red Jag in my first indie book? Of course not.
Okay, so we talked a bit more and then he asked me if I watched football. I said yes, that my husband was a fanatical Dallas Cowboys fan,
#4: but I failed to explain that my husband was from Texas. I said that I’d turned ‘traitor’ now that I’m back in Wisconsin after 33 years in Vegas, and am now a Green Bay Packers Cheese-head.
#5: I didn’t say that my husband had passed away and that was why I was back in Wisconsin after those 33 years away and that I was finally living near my kids, grand’s and great-grand’s.
And #6: I closed with a colossal, stupid comment that 33 years is a long time to be away from family. Thinking about all those things I HAD NOT mentioned, when the call ended, the poor man’s head had to have been whirling.
The moral of my sad tale? BE PREPARED…for anything! Or, if you’re an 80% introvert, stay away from telephone interviews!