Friday, January 19, 2018

What is God saying?


Devotion by Dianne J. Wilson @diannejwilson


Do you ever wish God would put some skin on and come sit in your lounge and explain exactly what He wants from you? I sure do. 

As a kid, I loved doing dot-to-dot puzzles. There was something deeply satisfying in watching something emerge from the seemingly random numbers.

I've come to realize that figuring out God's will is much like doing a dot-to-dot. But instead of pen and paper, you have events and promises. 

The numbers alone don't make much sense. When you start a new puzzle, all you see are numbers dotted on a page. None of them mean anything by themselves. But when you start connecting them, the bigger picture will emerge. When it comes to life, sometimes single events will leave you perplexed. Until you are able to step back and see those events in the bigger context of the rest of your life, you may find yourself sliding towards fear and unbelief.

So how do you do a real-life-what-is-God-up-to-dot-to-dot?

1. Pay attention

Take note of anything that happens that's out of the ordinary, Bible verses that stand out, conversations... Some things will be significant, some of them won't. But you won't know unless you keep track of them all. Before I landed my first official publishing contract with Pelican / Harbourlight, I was throwing all my energy into catching the attention of an agent. Three things happened that highlighted the phrase 'Harbourlight'. One in particular made me realize there was more to it all. A song on the radio caught my ear and when I investigated, it was by a local band called 'Harbourlight'. In my Googling, I fell over this publisher that stood for all the things that are in my heart when it comes to fiction. The best part? They are one of the few that are happy to accept un-agented submissions. I'm currently working on my fourth book for them.

2. Write them down


I find it useful to keep a journal and make notes of scriptures that pop, events, conversations, anything that seems vaguely significant. Every so often I read through and as I do so, similar themes often emerge. Patterns. As I home in those, I get a sneak-peak into what God is busy doing with me.

3. Be patient


Eugene Petersen wrote a book called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. That sums it up nicely. The picture is seldom clear by dot number three. When it comes to complex puzzles, dot thirty is still a spaghetti mess. But as you continue to pay attention, listen, keep a soft heart, and do what He tells you to, His plan will emerge, perfect in design and timing. 
 
This puzzle of life is not sent to frustrate and exhaust you. It is a beautiful opportunity to choose to trust the One who holds the pencil of your future. He is good and His plans for you are good!

Dianne J. Wilson writes novels from her hometown in East London, South Africa, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She is writing a three book YA series, Spirit Walker, for Pelican / Harbourlight. Affinity (book 1), releases on the 8th of June 2018

Finding Mia is available from AmazonPelican / Harbourlight, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Shackles is available as a free ebook from Amazon & Smashwords.

Find her on FacebookTwitter and her sporadic blog Doodles.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Time marches on


Paul Baines | @ICFWriters

Time is a curious thing. It exists. We can measure it and we are aware of its presence. Yet we cannot touch it. We cannot hold it in our hands or store it in jars. It may appear to travel at different speeds and, according to the theory of Relativity, it actually does, but we cannot stop its relentless march onward.

It is now well into 2018. I remember in 1978 as a ten-year-old reading about the year 2000 and being astonished. I tried to imagine so far into the future. I tried to picture being so incredibly old.

Someone once said that we do not conceptualize about space and time. Rather we conceptualize within space and time. Trying to imagine no space or no time is impossible for us because we were designed to exist within it. So you could say that we are prisoners of time. There is no escaping it. The clock is always ticking. In 1978 I could not imagine living to 2000, and yet it came and went just as 2017 did.

As a sci-fi writer I enjoy playing with time. While I believe time-travel is impossible, it can be used to great effect to tell stories. Who of us hasn't wished we could turn back the clock and do things differently? This past year has been a painful reminder for me that things done cannot be undone. If time-travel were possible I would be the first to sign up, even if it was just for a few seconds so that I could tell my wife that I love her one last time.

As a Christian, I often wonder about when Jesus will return. He lived and died 2000 years ago. At the time the New Testament was written, His return was seen as imminent. You can almost feel the anticipation within the pages. In the lead up to 2000, prophecies of Jesus' return sprang up like mushrooms. I remember watching Gloria Copeland discuss starting a new teaching series--if they "had time". That was in 1997 and all those prophecies were proven wrong.

Last week I heard a Christian speaker talking about Isaiah and his prophecies of the Messiah. I have always known that Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus, but something the speaker said struck me straight between the eyes. I had heard it before but it never sank in. Isaiah's prophecies of the Messiah were made 700 years before the events actually took place.

Think about that for a moment. It would be like someone in the Middle Ages predicting events of today. Or somebody 150 years before Columbus discovered America prophecying that Donald Trump would be president of a country that would not come into being for another century and a half.

In 2 Peter 3:8 it says "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."

I find great comfort in this scripture because it show that, in God's calendar, 700 years is only a brief period of time and 2000 is not much longer. Jesus may return today or it may be in another 2000 years. Only God knows. All I know is, I want to be ready.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wandering Wednesday: Amsterdam and the Netherlands + A Giveaway!


By Lisa Harris @heartofafrica 

One of the things our family has been blessed to do is travel together. Sometimes it's for ministry, like language school in Brazil. Other times we've been able to stop in Europe on the way from Africa to the United States, where we usually visit friends. The opportunity to set my stories in some of these locations with my Love Inspired Suspense books has been so much fun for me, and releasing this month is Deadly Exchange which was set in Amsterdam. Several years ago, our family stopped in Holland for a few days to visit friends and see some of Amsterdam. I loved the chance to incorporate some of the things we saw while we were there including a brief mention of Corrie ten Boom, one of the first places we visited just outside of Amsterdam. Her testimony of her family risking their lives to save the Jews during the war has always been so powerful to me, and in my story, my heroine feels the same way. She talks about the impact of visiting her house and her prayer that God would use her.



We also were able to visit the countryside outside of Amsterdam where part of my story takes place, in an older estate. Some of my favorite scenes are the windmills in the background and the fog along the water. We were even able to visit a place where they make the decorative wooden clogs.






And no trip to Amsterdam is complete without trying some raw herring. I love fish and grew up on smoked salmon, so for me it wasn’t bad at all. But I can't say that all of my family felt the same!


Taking a boat ride through the city was a lot of fun, and honestly, one of my favorite ways to see a city. I love all the houseboats and bridges and of course Amsterdam's unique architecture.





And lastly, you can't forget about all the bikes in Amsterdam. I confess, I never tried to ride one, especially in the city, but I love the idea of riding bikes everywhere. In fact, the first scene is of my heroine on her way home on her bike she affectionally named Archie.


While I have such great memories of our time in the Netherlands, I took my heroine through a much different experience in Deadly Exchange. Chased across Amsterdam by a human-trafficking ring, social advocate Kayla Brooks refuses to help them recapture Mercy, the young girl she rescued from their clutches. And there's only one man Kayla can turn to for help: her ex-fiance's brooding older brother, Levi Cummings. Armed with only a few clues, Kayla and Levi must bring down the crime ring. . .or lose their lives in the process.


Giveaway


I'm giving away an ebook copy of Deadly Exchange. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post and/or on Monday's New Release Post. Receive two entries in the drawing by commenting on both posts! I'll pick the winner from the comments Monday, January 22 at 10pm EST.

Read a FREE sample of Deadly Exchange at Amazon.com

About Lisa Harris



LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over thirteen years working as missionaries in Africa. When she's not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bookish Tuesday | Athens Ambuscade

Introducing Athens Ambuscade by Kristen Joy Wilks



By Iola Goulton, @iolagoulton


I requested Athens Ambuscade for review for two reasons:

  1. It obviously featured Athens, Greece, which makes it perfect for a post at International Christian Fiction Writers.
  2. I've never heard of "ambuscade" before, so I had to find out what it meant (it's an antiquated term for 'ambush' for those who are interested.

But then I read the book description and wasn't so sure ...


What happens when a strapped-for-cash bridal designer needs a stuffed animal...and fast?Up-and-coming bridal designer, Jacqueline Gianakos must fly a Montana taxidermist to Greece in order to stuff her Grandmother's cat. If Chrysanthemum isn't preserved within two days' time, Jacqueline will lose the home that was her childhood sanctuary. But will she survive the next 48 hours when the taxidermist ignores her pointed request and then shows up wearing flannel?

This sounded a little weird. And perhaps it was. But it worked.


Jacqueline is in Athens dealing with the estate of her recently deceased grandmother. Ya-Ya left what could have been a to-do list in the envelope with her will, and the lawyer decrees that Jacqueline must complete all the tasks on the list before she can inherit the house. This would seem ridiculous and unbelievable, but the writing and the setting makes it seem almost logical.

Anyway, Jacqueline (never Jackie and definitely not Jack) is a lady with Plans. She has emptied the attic, cleaned the gutters, built a tasteful orange tree house (if that's not a contradiction in terms then I don't know what is), and baked a watermelon pie (I have no idea how you bake a pie from a fruit that is basically water).

Now she has to get that nice taxidermist from Montana to stuff her grandmother's dead cat. 


He's arrived in Athens, and they've got two days to stuff the cat and show the lawyer. Shouldn't be difficult ...

Jacqueline and Shane collect the cat from cold storage (it's been dead three years, and Ya-Ya wasn't crazy enough to keep it in her own freezer. Yes, this is a good time for crazy cat lady jokes). Then their troubles begin as thugs in black vans want to steal the cat. Yes, you read that right. It's the "ambuscade" promised in the title.

What follows is a fast-paced cat chase through the streets and sights of Athens, including a visit to the Parthenon, the Gate of Athena, the Monastiraki Flea Market, and the Cave of Aglauros. It's also funny, in a laugh-out-loud kind of way, not a how-stupid-is-this-woman kind of way.

Jacqueline is a little strange (I guess she takes after Ya-Ya).


As I said, Jacqueline is a lady with Plans. She has plans and lists and is perhaps a little over the top. For example, when she arranges to meet Shane, the taxidermist, in an Athenian cafe, she doesn't tell him what she'll be wearing. She tells him the width of her belt, and the three shades of eyeshadow. I try to be organised, but Jacqueline takes planning and organisation to a whole new level.

Athens Ambuscade is a quick read, both because of the fast pace and because it is relatively short. But it packed a lot of punch: lots of great lines:


And:

It also had a strong Christian theme, with Jacqueline learning a definite lesson about the nature of God (a lesson that had nothing to do with kittens or rainbows or fluffy things).


And the location ... Wilks did a great job with the location:

So much color. A swipe of robin's egg blue across the Mediterranean sky, ancient white marble, and the flush of green growth clinging to the mountain. God seemed to create His most glorious splendors in hard to reach places.

Some books are set in exotic locations, but you read them and get the feeling they could have been set anywhere—the setting comes a distant third behind the plot and characters. Athens Ambuscade is different. It almost felt as though the setting were a character, and I loved that—although I am glad my own short visit to Athens wasn't nearly as exciting as Jacqueline and Shane's.

I recommend Athens Ambuscade for those who enjoy romantic comedy from authors such as Kara Isaac, and those looking for a Christian novel equivalent of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.


Thanks to Pelican Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Iola Goulton


Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and currently works as a freelance editor. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, two teenagers and one cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

Monday, January 15, 2018

International Christian Fiction - New Releases | January 2018 #giveaway


Deadly Exchange by Lisa Harris


When one of the girls she rescued goes missing and her father’s kidnapped, trauma specialist Kayla Brooks is sure she’s the human traffickers’ next target. Her only ally is Levi Cummings, the brother of a man she helped put in prison — a man she isn’t sure she can trust.


Giveaway


Lisa Harris is giving away an ebook copy of Deadly Exchange. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post and/or Lisa's Wandering Wednesday post on January 17. Receive two entries in the drawing by commenting on both posts. Check out Lisa's post on Wednesday for more information on the giveaway and Lisa's journey in Amsterdam - the European setting for Deadly Exchange.

Read a FREE sample of Deadly Exchange at Amazon.com


Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews


In this epic Biblical narrative, ideal for fans of The Bible miniseries, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah's household rises to capture the heart of the future king.

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name--Zibah, delight of the Lord--thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet's home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah's lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah's favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation.

Available at Amazon.com


A Mother for His Family by Susanne Dietze


A Convenient Arrangement.

Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.

All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always.

Available at Amazon.com


A Daring Escape by Tricia Goyer


Danger Closes In. Can the Children be Rescued?

As the threat of World War II looms on the horizon, American Amity Mitchell is living a comfortable life abroad as a tutor in England. Life changes when an urgent telegram arrives from her brother, Andrew, summoning her to Prague. Nazi forces tighten their grip on the country, and Andrew's efforts to help Jewish children escape Czechoslovakia grow desperate. Children's lives are at risk. Amity knows she can't ignore God's call to join her brother's cause.

Amity's boss, Clark, arrives in Prague, urging her to return. Soon, he too finds himself helping prepare kindertransports bound for the safety of England. With the sound of German tanks rumbling over cobblestone streets, Amity and Clark race to save innocent lives. Will their prayers for deliverance be answered?

A Daring Escape is a gripping tale of hope, self-sacrifice, and the power of unrelenting love overcoming unspeakable hate.

Available at Amazon.com


Judah's Wife by Angela Hunt


Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight--or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision--what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.

Available at Amazon.com


The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma


Anna has one chance for survival—and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

Available at Amazon.com



A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White


Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I--to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won--until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't--that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Available at Amazon.com



Friday, January 12, 2018

Share Your Story


By Keona Tann @ICFWriters

I have suffered from endometriosis (commonly shortened to endo) for 28 years. It's a disease that is hard to pronounce (en-doh-mee-tree-oh-sis), difficult to diagnose and impossible to understand. From the age of 13 I suffered horrendous periods that were associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, clammy sweats and frequently unbearable pain. Often I would suffer pelvic pain that could last for months. I struggled for years to be diagnosed and then still suffered extensively due to the fact that my endo growths were drug resistant. This meant that the only way to control them was with surgery. In my late teens I was advised that I may not be able to have children. But miraculously I managed to conceive naturally and I'm the proud mum of 2 gorgeous kids that are really a blessing.


Finding you have an illness, disease or condition is just the start of a very long and difficult road. It's hard to understand long term suffering and so many seemingly unanswered prayers. I’ve found that an invisible illness is a very lonely existence! The disease left me severely debilitated many times and unable to participate in life as I desired. I believed the lie of being alone for a long time but thankfully God sustained me and revealed that companionship in shared suffering can be found.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, the New Living Translation, states that: “two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help”. I find that I ‘fall’ so many times physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that I need regular prayer time with God and a team to help me.

For me my team consists of a good GP who I trust and can talk to; specialists who are knowledgeable and want the best for me; an amazing husband; a supportive and caring family; a Christian counsellor; a psychologist; a close circle of friends I can text, message etc. and importantly a team of prayer warriors.
I implore you please DON’T suffer in silence alone.
With the modern technology that we have today you can connect from your bed to people all over the world. There are great Facebook support groups for numerous diseases and conditions. I have found reaching out and inviting friends for a cuppa catch up gives me an opportunity to be encouraged and supported as well as a chance to try to encourage and support them.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV) challenges me to: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”. I believed, for a long time, that I couldn’t possibly make an impact from my bed as I felt trapped and shackled to my illness. But I believe God will empower us to reach out to others and He will take our small effort and turn it into something amazing. A simple text to a friend can brighten their day, so don’t underestimate the small gestures you make as they can have a HUGE impact.

So please take a big deep breath, pray and then share, share, share!

 First published at ACW on August 5, 2016

For most of my life I struggled with sickness. The 2 dominant afflictions were endometriosis (for 28 years) and adrenal fatigue (I was severely debilitated for 28 months and the recovery has been a journey of 11 months so far). In September 2016 God declared healing over my life. This set me on a path of restoration and transformation. My passion for writing was reignighted and I wrote the following mission statement: I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding. “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬ I've started a weekly blog which you can find at: https://keonajtann.wordpress.com/ I'm currently working on my testimony as well as my journey with endometriosis and adrenal fatigue. I hope that I'll launch my first book soon. Many blessings, Keona

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wandering Wednesday: From Georgia to Germany with Patricia Beal + a Giveaway



By Patricia Beal  @bealpat


Yesterday Narelle Atkins posted about my debut novel, A Season to Dance. A Season is the heart-wrenching journey of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York. It's about her, the two men who love her, the God who loves her even more, and the forbidden kiss that changed everything.

I hope you'll read Narelle's review (if you haven't yet) and participate in our giveaway. You can comment on either post to enter to win a signed copy of A Season to Dance. More details at the end of this post.

Today I want to take you behind the scenes into the real life settings of the book. 

Welcome to the world of A Season to Dance!


Brazil in the seventies. The beginning.





This is the real theater and the real marquee in Columbus, Georgia. I had to take some architectural freedoms to make the marquee scene work. I danced at that theater when my husband was stationed at Fort Benning. My daughter was nursing when I participated in the advertised shows. I learned nursing pads and snow costumes don't go well together :)

The RiverCenter in Columbus, Georgia

This would be the view during on-stage classes and rehearsals. This is also what Ana and Claus see when they go over corrections and before climbing the wobbly steps to Juliet's balcony. "I ran down to him. The melody became fully established. Luminous. Exalted. Beautiful. We locked eyes. We locked hands. We locked hearts. And then we danced." 

RiverCenter for the Performing Arts - Bill Heard Theatre

This is the sign Ana sees at the entrance of Callaway Gardens when she's looking for Peter. "If I wasn’t going to Mom’s and wasn’t going to Peter’s office, why was I still driving toward the park? Because I have nowhere else to go. That’s why…"


Callaway Gardens

Here's the Callaway Gardens chapel. "Tomorrow, I think. Today, I remember. I remembered the first day I’d met Peter. The chapel, the organist playing Vivaldi’s 'The Four Seasons,' and the little girl with the white sandals that showed her cute little toes, her dress flowing as she ran. I remembered the warmth and the sweet scents of that beautiful spring day. Turning the corner, my eyes looked for the bridge where we’d first seen each other." 

Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel exterior
Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel interior

Peter's bridge. "He stood on the bridge looking out at the lake. He was cuter than I’d imagined, and anything resembling quiet reverence departed from me fast. I just wanted to go behind an azalea bush and squeal. I started walking toward him. He turned to me and smiled. The scruff on his face and his tan made him look surprisingly boyish, and his dark blue eyes were even bluer than in the pictures from his profile. 'Hi.' I reached out for the metal rail to steady myself and breathed in his soapy smell. Everything about him was warm and inviting." 

Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens

The real Barysh was a girl and a boxer. "My tan border collie, Barysh, scooted toward me when I opened the balcony doors. 'Here, let me help you.' Soon I would have to do something about him too. He hadn’t stood on his own in weeks and wasn’t getting any younger. I picked up his hips and helped him get outside."

Kyllian at Callaway Gardens the year before she died

Wiesbaden. "A white heron stood on the bank of the rain-swollen river, looking in the direction of the submerged rocks where he normally stood. Germany, huh?"

Wiesbaden was so fun to write. I lived there as a single public affairs officer in 2003. These images are from a visit in 2012. "Downstairs, a narrow stone driveway, edged by clusters of miniature roses, ended at a dark iron gate that led to quiet Blumenstraße, two long blocks from the downtown attractions and from the Warmer Damm Park, a large English landscape garden with a lake and a fountain, which bordered the southern façade of the state theater where Claus danced."

The real Di Gregorio
The theater
The neighborhood

Rüdesheim."Most restaurants and hotels by the water had the charming half-timbered architecture generally associated with Germany. Lush vegetation and vibrant flowers shaded outdoor tables, and window boxes overflowed with bright geraniums, petunias, and begonias. At a restaurant with a large courtyard and a fountain, a group of women— three generations for sure—danced the polka, accompanied by a live accordion, and a teenage boy who was watching them from the sidewalk picked up his girlfriend and spun her around to her giggles and protests. Everybody looked happy and relaxed, and I noticed that even though we were surrounded by vineyards, most people were drinking beer—vom Fass."

I love this place :)
Europe and the double-decker stroller
View from Germania
In the footsteps of Claus
A side trip to Prague for a performance. "We didn’t sleep. Instead, we watched the sunrise from the Charles Bridge, and his tender kisses were as precious to me as the pedestrian-only stone bridge in the soft light of the morning sun’s rays."

Charles Bridge in Prague

A Side trip to Mallorca. " 'Are you mocking me, Jody Sawyer?' Claus held his chest as if heartbroken. 'Shut up, Cooper.' The sound of our conspiring laughter rolled through the night air like the gentle waves that rolled into our Cala Romantica beach, rhythmic and unassuming. 'Can I speak seriously now?' His brows drew together. 'If you must.' Claus held my hands and looked into my eyes. He did look serious. I hadn’t seen him that serious since the day we left Georgia."

Cala Romantica in Mallorca
From Mallorca to Ibiza to Barcelona during a month in Spain

I wrote most of the Callaway Gardens chapters at Callaway Gardens but finished the first draft of A Season to Dance in Germany, at this square in Idar-Oberstein (after many trips to Rüdesheim). 

Idar-Oberstein

In a million ways, my ballerina dreams didn't work out. I was in pre-professional companies in three different continents. Never went pro, though. But now that A Season to Dance exists, it all makes sense. Every twist and turn of my life is in this story to one extent or another. Had my path been different, the novel would have been different. And it is exactly what it needs to be, I'm confident in that. God knew that A Season to Dance was the only way to my heart.


Because of A Season to Dance
Also because of A Season to Dance

Maybe there will be other published books, but if this is the only one I ever publish, if A Season to Dance is my life's work, I'm okay with that. I now know that I was born to write it and I did.

Thank you, Narelle, for loving the story and for feeling it intensely, like I do :)

I will close with the words of my protagonist:

"The studio was old—the best always were. The dark marley floor had seen years of pointe work, and the wooden barres looked worn—worn by sweaty hands holding tight to big dreams. 'You are so beautiful,' the girl cast as Dew Drop whispered. 'Thank you.' I grinned. 'Your variation is looking beautiful too.' Her cheeks turned pink, hiding most of her small freckles. A newer generation was dreaming now, but the ballet studio still was what it should be: a bastion of civility in an everything-goes world."
 
My little girl - the real Dew Drop :)

Love,
Patricia

*Remember to comment to participate in the giveaway. The prize is one autographed print copy of A Season to Dance (open worldwide, void where prohibited). The deadline to comment is 11 p.m. EST on Friday, January 12. Participants can comment on the A Season to Dance review posted by Narelle Atkins on January 9 and/or on Patricia Beal's Wandering Wednesday real life settings post of January 10. People who comment on both posts get two entries. Winner will be selected via random.org and announced on Saturday via comment on both blog posts. Thanks!

About Patricia Beal


Patricia Beal has danced ballet her whole life. She is from Brazil and fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald's in Indianapolis. She put herself through college working at a BP gas station and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature. She then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years.

 She now writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2017). 

Patricia is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.

Goodreads - www.goodreads.com/bealpat
Facebook - www.facebook.com/patricia.beal.author
Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/patriciasbeal
Twitter - www.twitter.com/bealpat
Web - www.patriciabeal.com