I'm so glad it's Wednesday. I love book giveaways, and I'm excited about today's guest. He knows a little something about Divine Intervention and has a great story to share.
Welcome Patrick E. Craig.
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.
Places to find Craig online:
Where can readers purchase the Apple Creek Dreams Series?
http://tinyurl.com/ou2kb2y (Barnes & Noble)
It’s a God Thing!
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, I am sure that you have had a “God Thing” happen in your life—one of those “how did that happen?” kind of experiences that leave you in awe of the grace and loving kindness of God. For me, it was when the Lord opened the door to become a traditionally published author through a set of circumstances that could only have been orchestrated by Him.
Here’s how it happened.
In 2003, after twenty years as a pastor/worship leader, I laid down my ministry and took a leap of faith. I set out to follow my life-long dream to be a writer. Oh, I had written songs and short articles, even a few non-fiction books on worship and discipleship, but I had never done what I had always dreamed of doing¬—to write books that were full of adventure and romance and characters that were real and enduring—books that gripped people’s hearts and minds and left them changed and uplifted.
When I was young, I had been encouraged to write by an exceptionally gifted Aunt who was, not only a brilliant writer, but also a photographer, political activist and athlete. She was like a second mother to me and when she passed away in 2002, it was a very difficult time for me. After I made the decision to leave the ministry, I had a dream one night. In my dream, my Aunt came into my room and stood looking at me with that intense scrutiny I knew so well. She said two words, “Start writing,” and then I woke up. That morning, when I was reading the paper, I turned to the classifieds and saw an ad. It said, “For Sale—Ghost Dancer Ranch.” Immediately the idea for a book came into my mind.
Basically it was complete in every detail, the characters, the setting, the plot, and so I set about to write it that evening. I had a blog at the time and I wrote the book a chapter at a time. It took me eighteen weeks and then my story for teenagers, The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch, was finished.
I had no idea how to go about having it published until a friend suggested I attend The Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s conference. I attended that year and learned many things, most importantly that I needed an agent to get published traditionally. I went home and found a Christian self-publishing company online and published my book through them. I followed that up with another mystery, The Lost Coast, which I published in kindle format directly through Amazon. I continued to attend Mt. Hermon but I could rouse no interest in my books.
Then in late 2010, I read a blog by Nick Harrison, a senior editor at Harvest House Publishers, whom I had met at Mt. Hermon. In his blog Nick announced that for the first month of 2011 he would accept story ideas. He also was very clear that he liked Amish stories and quilting stories.
At first I thought, “I’m a man and I know nothing about the Amish or quilting,” but I felt strangely compelled to come up with something. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God had put a wide-open door in front of me. I sent Nick a one-sheet for a story called “A Quilt For Jenna.”
To my surprise, Nick really liked the story idea and proposed that we consider it for an anthology of short stories. He asked for some sample chapters so I wrote three short chapters of about one thousand words each, thinking that I was working on a short story.
Now come the “God Thing” part of my story.
The 2011 Mt. Hermon Conference was coming up and I sent the sample chapters to Steve Laube, a literary agent, for a critique. At the conference, I met with Steve. He asked if the story could be a novel. I was such a newbie that I had to ask how many words were in a novel. Steve told me 80,000 to 100,000. I had about 3000. I swallowed hard and said “Yes, I can make it into a novel.” The Steve asked me if I could make a three-book series out of the story. I took a very deep breath and said that I could. Steve told me that if I could write a novel that kept his attention all the way through, with romance and adventure and enduring characters, my life would be changed.
I left Mt. Hermon in April 2011 with a mission—to write two chapters a week and finish by August. I kept on task and finished A Quilt For Jenna August 15th. I did a final proof and sent the complete manuscript to Nick and Steve on September 15th. Steve contacted me about representing me, and then Nick pitched it to the editorial committee at Harvest House. Then three weeks later, I got an e-mail from Nick that said, “It’s a yes!”
I signed with Steve, he negotiated the contract, and we were on the way. In a few short months I had gone from knowing nothing about the Amish or quilting to having a three-book deal with Harvest House and a top literary agent to represent me. Three books later, I am getting ready to publish my fourth Amish novel, The Amish Heiress. It will be out in August.
I learned some important things from this “Divine Intervention”: first—if the Lord opens a door, step through it, and second—you must let the Lord put you in the way of people who can help you. When thing look darkest, the Lord always has a plan. Listen up, and when He speaks, go for it!
Patrick, Nick and Steve are true professionals. I can't wait to read your first book. If it caught their eye, it's must be good.
Coming In August
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 is giving away a FREE book. To be included in the drawing all you have to do is leave a comment. Make sure to include your email address so he can contact you. And Patrick is offering something special. He's going to let you choose from his three book Paradise Chronicles series - your decide which one.
We have a winner from week. You've won a copy of Anita Higman's Summer's List. Congratulations, Liz!
Grace and peace to you from God,