Springs of Inspiration with Melanie Dickerson

Are you a fan of fairytales?

What about fairytales with twists?

Author Melanie Dickerson is known for her beautiful novels that do just that – take a familiar, classic fairytale and place it within the framework of YA medieval! Woohoo! Good stuff.

Let’s hear what Melanie has to add to our Springs of Inspiration series:

1. What is your favorite inspirational (i.e. salvation, repentence, forgiveness,) scene you’ve ever written from one of your published works?
(The scene is attached. I hope it’s not too long.) In this scene from The Merchant’s Daughter, Lord le Wyse is talking with his servant, Annabel. She is upset and feeling guilty about something that wasn’t directly her fault. Lord le Wyse is trying to get her to apply the forgiveness she already knows about to her own life and thoughts. Then they begin to talk about pain and sorrow. I enjoyed this interaction between the two characters, as they have deepened their friendship over reading the Bible together.
CHECK OUT MELANIE’S SCENE 🙂

“Annabel, listen to me. It was not your fault. You struggled. You tried to scream. You did all you could. I heard you when I was on my walk, but I didn’t reach you in time. Stephen heard you too and he was closer. You have to stop torturing yourself.”

“But God must be angry with me. He intends to punish me.”

“No. Don’t you remember what we read a few days ago? ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ Are you saying you don’t believe He will forgive you when he has plainly said He would?”

Peace washed over her. “You are right. I’m sorry.”

They sat looking at each other for a long time.

“The verse says, ‘If we confess our sins,’ so I must confess. I didn’t trust God as I should have.”

“And God forgives you.”

But does he forgive me for wanting you to hold me in your arms? For thinking about kissing you? Annabel shuddered at the thought of her lord finding out.

“What is it?”

“Nothing. I-I just wonder if God’s tired of hearing all my confessions lately.”

“I don’t think God gets tired of hearing you. I never could.”

The light was so dim she couldn’t read his expression, but his words made her heart flutter. As she watched the candle and firelight flicker over his face, she was struck with the thought that she knew little about him, about his family or past, except for the wolf attack and his wife’s unfaithfulness. “You said the abbess is your mother’s sister. Is your mother still alive?”

“She died seven years ago. My father died last spring. My brother and sister have been gone a few years as well. The worst may have been my sister—she died the same week as my wife and child.”

“I’m so sorry. That is grievous indeed.” He was all alone. “Were you married long?”

“Two years.” He blinked twice, as though he were erasing all emotion from his face and voice. “But there was no love between us—at least, not on her side. She never cared for me.”

Annabel swallowed. Her heart seemed to expand toward him, reaching out to him. He had endured so much pain. She longed to do or say something to comfort him.

“In truth, no one knows if the child born to her was mine or … his. Though I was determined to claim him for my own. After all, it wasn’t the child’s fault his mother was … as she was.”

“You speak of it as if it is no longer painful, but I know you must have suffered.” If ever anyone deserved a noble, loving wife, it was Lord le Wyse.

“Time,” he said, pausing and leaning back in his chair. He stared into the fire. “Time blunts the pain and creates a mist over one’s memory—at least in the case of death and sorrow. Other types of pain linger longer.”

No doubt he was thinking of his wife’s betrayal. How could anyone be so false? Annabel hated her with an intensity that took her breath away.

“Perhaps time is an inconsistent healer,” he said, “but God can purge even the most painful memories.”

What was Annabel’s most painful memory? Her father’s death? Bailiff Tom’s lifeless body in the forest? Nay, it was the terrifying moment when she realized the bailiff wanted her to marry him and was willing to resort to violence. Raw fear had shot through her stomach as he grabbed her and kissed her. Fearful thoughts dogged her steps from that moment to this.

But God had taken care of her. When the bailiff was near, a protector was always there as well. Usually it had been Lord le Wyse, and Stephen had appeared the final time.

Lord le Wyse’s questioning look brought her out of her reverie.

“Shall I read?” she asked.

“As you wish.”

She opened to the second epistle to Timothy. After reading a short passage, she came to the verse, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Forgive me for my fear, God. It did not come from You. I pray you will cast out this spirit of fear. And replace Lord le Wyse’s pain with a spirit of joy.

FABULOUS scene, Mel. Can’t you guys see why she’s winning awards? 🙂

2. When you’re in a writing slump (or frustrated in your writing journey in some way) what is one verse that encourages you?
I have several Bible verses taped to my old desktop monitor. When I get discouraged by criticism, I am encouraged by 2 Corinthians 12:10. “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” When I can accept my own human frailty, the fact that I do sometimes get discouraged by criticism and bad reviews, then I can trust in God’s strength. It is His strength that gets me through the rough spots, not mine. And God’s strength is all that I need.
Great reminder, Melanie. What a beautiful thought about how Christ is our strength – how our stumbles and brokenness are a part of his great plan to develop His truth within us.
Whew…nice to know we’re not reliant on our own skills – but His.
Blessings,

Springs of Inspiration Series

Well, I am certainly going to start this blog series, but I have to put it on hold for a week.

So…..

I wanted to give you an idea of the lineup starting NEXT week!

Monday – Siri Mitchell starts off the week

Wednesday – It’s all about fairytales with Melanie Dickerson

Friday – The week ends with the blast of Ruthy Logan Herne!

Stop by and be ‘inspired’ starting Monday, March 12th.

 

Songs of Christmas – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

It’s a song of anticipation. A song born out of years of longing and yearning for the Promised One, the Messiah.

A song with the melody of a Gregorian chant and the celebrative chorus of angels.

O Come O Come Emmanuel ‘s author is unknown, but it was supposedly written in Latin in the 12 century and translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.

You can hear Casting Crown’s version here.

Which authors said that this carol was their FAVORITE Christmas song?

My favorite Christmas carol is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I have always loved that one. Aaron Shust sings it sooooooo well. I think I like it partly because it just sounds so cool. And because it sounds very medieval. So when I was writing The Merchant’s Daughter and I needed a song for them sing at church, I looked up O Come, O Come Emmanuel and it was written a hundred years before my story, so I used it. It plays into two scenes in the book. It was perfect.
 Melanie Dickerson (author of The Healer’s Apprentice and the newly released Merchant’s Daughter)
 
 
 
 
 
Growing up, my parents had an album The Glorious Sounds of Christmas. One of the songs was “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the orchestration with the cellos and violins was just soooo soulful and moving, it gripped my heart and imagination every time. I could just see the Israelits traversing across the plains, searching for the promised on.
 
It’s still one of my favorite songs. I have the original album loaded in my iTunes!
Rachel Hauck (author of Dining With Joy and The Wedding Dress)
 
 
 
My favorite Christmas song is “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel.” When I was growing up my church did a live nativity scene every year. This song was always a part of the show. There’s something about the melody of that hymn that haunts my soul (in a good way). To think that Christ was prophesied so long before he came as a babe in a manger boggles my mind. I can just hear the cries of the Jews, “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel!” as they cried out to be set free from bondage and captivity. In so many ways people are still held “captive” today (by the things of this world). Like those Jews of old, they can cry out, “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel” (God with us) and Jesus will come into their hearts, set them free and release them from the pain of the past. It’s hard to control my emotions whenever that song plays. The words in the chorus: “Rejoice! Rejoice!” transition the song from the bleakness of the mourner’s past to the joy of a life with God.
 Janice Thompson ( author of Weddings by Bella series and When Stars Collide)
 
 
 
My all-time favorite is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The reason I like it doesn’t really have as much to do with the words as with the feeling and the mood of the song. It’s one of the few Christmas songs written in a minor key and it feels ancient. It’s very elemental and it reflects Christmas exactly the way I feel it. I spent some years in Canada as I was growing up and winter isn’t all glistening snow with merry blue skies. At least not to me. Winter is cold and treacherous and primitive; isolating and brittle, occasionally warmed by gatherings with family and friends. This Christmas carol could be the soundtrack to the painting ‘Hunters in the Snow’ by Bruegel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pieter_Bruegel_d._%C3%84._106b.jpg My favorite song, my favorite painting. They both evoke very strong moods and feelings. It makes sense that I would like them: I try to evoke moods and feelings with my writing too.
Siri Mitchell (author of She Walks in Beauty  and A Heart Most Worthy) – and of course, her answer is as poetic as her books 😉
 
Find out more Song of Christmas with your favorite authors coming later this week, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
 

12 Songs for Christmas Blog Series

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – so I thought I ring in the season with a blog series to help you rock around the Christmas tree.

Starting next week, some of your favorite authors will Deck the Blogosphere with some of their favorite Christmas songs. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about them and a little about the songs themselves.

From classic carols to newer choruses and popular music, there will be a grand array of music to jingle your Christmas bells with.

Next week, four lovely songs set the intro to this series:

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Mary, Did you Know?

The Little Drummer Boy

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Stop by to learn which authors picked which song – from Melanie Dickerson, Siri Mitchell, Tina Radcliffe, Deeanne Gist, Rachel Hauck – and more.

May your days be merry and bright…and don’t forget to join in the Christmas fun.

Blessings,

How will you celebrate publication?

Okay, so I’ve complained about my lack of time to write.

Now I’m going to jump to the very opposite thought. Getting published!

It’s a dream every aspiring author has, and those who are already published KEEP dreaming about staying published.

But that very FIRST time, is a moment of wonder and celebration. I loved having the opportunity of celebrating with Melanie Dickerson when she found out about her book, The Healer’s Apprentice, and more recently with Keli Gwyn, who just signed a contract with Barbour. WOW!

How would you celebrate publication?

I believe in shooting BIG!!

My best friend, Jessica, and I have a plan to go to England within the next two years. We’re both moms of five and before our oldest kids start college, we want to take one whole week and just spend it together in England. We both have even started saving for it.

Now, I don’t know what the future holds, but I’ve told Jess that if I get published before we go- the room is on me. A piece of England is in almost every story I write, and if…er…when I get published – I want to go back. And going with my best friend of 18 years would make it the ULTIMATE celebration for me. The only thing that would make it better – would be if my Mom could come too.

So tell me, have you thought about publication? If you are published, how did you celebrate The Call?

Here are a few pics from my trip and the inspiration for many of my novels. Hope you enjoy.

These last few pictures are of the Bed & Breakfast where I stayed – and where I plan to return with my friend Jess. It’s called The Manor Farm Inn in Dethick. The hosts are WONDERFUL, the food is fabulous, and the atmosphere is simply lovely. I can’t wait to return!

Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Melanie Dickerson

Well, she’s been the celeb of ACFW this month with her debut novel, The Healer’s Apprentice. Not only is she a beautiful writer, but a southern girl, and a friend of mine I finally got to meet IN PERSON at ACFW.

Now, I have to tell this story. I was emailing Melanie about her book when the postman arrived at her door with her FIRST copies of Healer’s Apprentice. So, I have bragging rights to sharing that moment with her – even if it was cyber-celebrating. You can check out more info about Melanie and her novel at www.melaniedickerson.com

So, Mel, what are some elements that are present when a hero and heroine first realize they are falling in love with each other? What are some beautiful, interesting, unique ways of showing that realization?

Sometimes there’s frustration when a hero and/or heroine figure out they’re falling in love. Even exasperation, especially if they have a specific reason not to! I think it’s fun to show their realization, to show them softening to each other—or, on the other hand, becoming hostile to each other. They often will feel confused or afraid. They don’t quite know what’s happening to them, and they don’t want to admit it’s love.

Here’s an excerpt from an as yet uncontracted novel that I call Magnolia Summer. Truett has teased Claire quite a bit and they’ve had some moments of sparring with each other, but now they’re discovering other emotions besides annoyance and anger.

 Truett came around and faced Claire where she stood next to the wagon seat.

She looked away, suddenly feeling the need to express her gratitude for what he had done for Will, but embarrassed as she remembered her silly fainting spell. He seemed to be waiting for her to speak. When the silence stretched out too long, she lifted her eyes to his. “Thank you… for what you did for Will.” She bit her lip and murmured, “And I’m sorry I fainted.”

“Nothing to be sorry about.” His voice was soft. “You were just upset about your brother.” His throat convulsed slightly as he swallowed, his eyes never straying from hers. He bent and lifted her hand. “It was my pleasure,” and he kissed the back of her hand, “to be of help.”

Claire stared back at him. Not a flicker of humor passed over his face as he held her gaze with his, his lips slightly parted, his eyebrows set low over intense blue eyes.

All words escaped her. She turned toward the wagon seat. His hands clasped her waist and he hoisted her up.

As she flicked the reins, Claire looked back. Their gazes locked again. She quickly turned away.

Lord, what just happened here? She could still feel his hands around her waist. A warm tingling spread through her. She looked down at her hand, half expecting to see the imprint of his lips.

What was wrong with her? Perhaps she had just spent too much time away from her books. As soon as she got back to the house, she planned to pull out her thickest, most detailed history textbook and not look up from it for at least three hours.

If that didn’t drive Truett Beverly out of her thoughts, nothing would. 

* * *

            Truett couldn’t get Claire Wilcox out of his thoughts. Especially the way she looked when she fainted, as she started to crumple to the floor, so pale and helpless. It had scared him and turned his insides to mush to see her that way. But he certainly liked the way she felt in his arms, soft and warm and … perfect.

            He shouldn’t be thinking this way. After all, wasn’t she the woman who had insulted him by suggesting his brother was dangerous?

Although he had to admit she did have a point.

But wasn’t she also the woman who had gotten mad at his teasing and yelled at him, saying her family didn’t need him?

            The unfortunate truth was, he liked the feeling of her in his arms, and he wanted her to like it, too. But she wasn’t likely to faint in his arms again any time soon. How …?

            The Fourth of July was coming up, which meant his mother was probably organizing a dance. A dance would afford a perfect opportunity to get her in his arms again.

            If he had any sense he’d forget about Claire. She didn’t even like him. Although she hadn’t exactly looked at him with hate in her eyes just now. As he recalled, she had looked plumb addled when he kissed her hand and lifted her onto the wagon seat.

            She was definitely coming around. And he felt compelled to help her along. He wanted her to admit she was wrong about him, to admit she had completely underrated his worth, his abilities, and his charm.

 Oh my what a sweet, tempting glimpse into your story, Melanie. And I’m dying to know what your next novel is about? I know there’s one in the works, can you give us an idea of what’s coming up for you? Another fairytale…

Inspirational Note:

 3-5There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! 6-8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Did you get that? “He doesn’t wait for us to get ready” – He sweeps in, even in our weakness, rebellion, and inability, and he  died for us. Why?

Love.

And the knowledge of that type of love should shake us to our feet. It’s mind-blowing, but more importantly, it should be our comfort, our strength, and our courage to rest in His care.

WINNERS announced tomorrow!!!

Stop by Wednesday for a visit from author, Myra Johnson.

Last ACFW pics – I promise (mostly)

Okay, I’m going to get back to blogging after today, but I wanted to post a few more pics from my time in Indianapolis.

It barely feels real now – especially since I returned back to my nonfiction world at full throttle. Got home at 8pm Monday night and back up at 6am for kids’ school and my job on Tuesday morning. I cannot tell you ANYTHING about my Tuesday 🙂

Highlights of  the trip?

(to the left is a pic with Kim Vogel Sawyer and Kaye Dacus (said DAY-cus – I learned the hard way 😉

Meeting Cyberpals in person, such as the glorious Seeker gals, Julie Lessman, Mary Connealy, Audra Harders, Janet Dean, Cara Lynn James, Debby Giusti, Cheryl Wyatt, Camy Tang, & Pam Hillman.

Seeing Mary Connealy win a Carol (Mary doesn’t mind if I keep showing this picture. She’s kinda proud of that award 😉

Seeing Pam Hillman win a Carol

Meeting other clients who share my agent, Les Stobbe. (Hi guys, you are SOOOO wonderful. Go, Ben. GO!!. Waving to Barry & Jeff too)

Having Caramel Hot Chocolate with Siri Mitchell

Hugging and praying with Cathy Marie Hake.

Getting stuck in an elevator with Rachel Hauck 🙂 Fun times.

Chatting with Dan Walsh – what a GREAT guy!!

The list could go on and on.

Jeff Gerke’s class (FABULOUS presenter and really cool guy. Did I mention his book is great too)

Meeting Revell editor Andrea Doering.

Laughing with Patti Lacy

Gleaning encouragement from Patty Hall.

Dining with Melanie Dickerson and Linore Rose Burkard

Working the registration desk!! I met Carol Voekel there AND Janette Oke.

Rooming with my FABULOUS writing buddy, K. Dawn Byrd, even though the toilet exploded in our room and we had to move to a different room. LOL. By no fault of our own, mind you.

Seriously, it was wonderful.

So – I’m done. I know I’ve forgotten to list a few things, but I’ll try to keep you in suspense. A little. 🙂

ACFW – Homeward Bound

Here are a few more pics from the weekend. I have more, but I’ll show them off in stages.

Right now I’m sitting in the Indy airport with a foggy brain, tired body, and thoughtful spirit. It’s been a wonderful weekend, and I’m trying to digest all the things that has happened – playing them back like a rewind button on a movie.

But check this out of debut author, Melanie Dickerson as she’s getting ready for her booksigning of The Healer’s Apprentice. You can learn more about Melanie’s book at www.melaniedickerson.com

Melanie is such a sweetie and so is Edwina Cowgill. I tell you what, the blessings of meeting these people in person are worth the BIG cost of it all.

Here’s a pic with novelist, Jamie Carie. Jamie and I have been emailing each other for a while and she’s a fabulous encourager. Her historical novels are FILLED with adventure and romance. Check out her website at www.jamiecarie.com

What a pleasure to get my picture with ACFW president, Cynthia Rutchi. Her heart for God is evident in the way she prays to him and takes care of the ministry of such a big organization.  Things ran so smoothly though, and there is such a spirit of encouragement.

More to come? Oh yeah, just wait until I get my brain back in order – or as much in order as it will ever be.

What a blessing!

Pics from ACFW – Day #1

Here are a few pics from my first day at ACFW. What a fabulous time!!!

Here I am with Harvest House author, Linore Rose Burkard. Fabulous lady and great regency author.

To your left, check out a picture of me with debut author, Melanie Dickerson. Wooohooo!!! still smiling for you Melanie!

The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

Get ready for the story of Sleeping Beauty like you’ve never heard it before.

Melanie Dickerson’s debut novel weaves a tale of mystery, faith, and the center-thread of true love. Rose, the woodcutter’s daughter, works to become the next Healer – a position which will give her enough status to forgo the expectations of a loveless marriage. Determined to prove herself – and to serve God in her talents, Rose never expects to fall in love with the ruler of the land, Lord Hamlin,… a man far above her station and who has been betrothed since birth.

But if her heart cannot be satisfied with his love, can she find romance in another…namely Lord Hamlin’s brother? Is true love worth waiting for? Worth the ultimate risk?

What happens when a dark stranger threatens to destroy her life and steal her dreams? Can love truly conquer all?

To find out, pick up this new release, The Healer’s Apprentice – a story with classical twist. There is adventure, danger, romance…and a beautiful element of growth, where Rose discovers that God’s plans are much better than hers could ever be.

It’s a sweet story with a strong element of faith and a wonderful hero. What a great debut novel! Congratulations, Melanie. I’m so happy to get to share this exciting news with you!!

To learn more about Melanie, check out her website at www.melaniedickerson.com