Cindy Patterson Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes a new guest this week, Christian fiction author Cindy Patterson. Although I haven’t met Cindy face-to-face, yet, having gotten to know her these past years through social media I can tell we’d have no problem chatting over a cup of Joe at a cafe, sharing about books and our love of God. Please settle back in your cozy chair and read what’s on Cindy’s mind as she speaks up, shares an excerpt from her newest release, and offers her BookGiveaway. We’re looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Cindy is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 copy of the Chasing Paradise, the winner’s choice between the ebook edition or print (though print is only to a US winner)The winner will be announced here on Friday, February 3rd between  5-6 PM EST.

** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.

 

 

 

Excerpt from Chasing Paradise:

 Chasing Paradise by Cindy Patterson

One

Rachel Adams shoved the last suitcase into the trunk knowing things would never be the same. Palm leaves rustled against the wind as if waving goodbye. The familiar sound had never been important.

Until today.

There would be no palm trees where they were headed. Paradise, Pennsylvania, over a thousand miles away. Right in the middle of Amish Country. Population 1,269. She disguised her anger with a wounded laugh. Something she had mastered in the last year.

Briny air swept through the window and across her face. She’d expected today to be hard, but the heavy feeling in her chest was suffocating. How could they be going through with this? There would be nothing there for them.

The reason they had to go.

After traveling hundreds of miles, Rachel pulled her tangled hair into a messy knot and turned to her mom. “I can’t believe someone else is moving into our house—into my room.”

“I know it’s hard. Your dad …” Her mom paused, her voice no less forlorn and tight than it had been for months. “We shared thousands of memories in that house.

Rachel bit back words desperate for escape. She wanted to stay in Florida with her friends—her daddy.

Trees blurred as Florida grew farther from reach.

Mom placed a hand on Rachel’s leg. “We’ll go back soon for a visit.”

When she glanced at Mom’s tear-streaked face, remorse crept over her like thousands of piercing needles. Mom had no choice. Beverly Adams could no longer survive in Pensacola, Florida. Not without him.

It didn’t matter that Rachel had cried for weeks. Somehow, someway, she had to accept it. “It feels cooler already.”

Rachel expected a simple upturn of Mom’s lips, but instead, full-blown laughter burst through the tense silence. “It does. Things will be different. Better.” She patted Rachel’s leg. “Oh, I completely forgot. I found a novel you might enjoy reading. It’s in my bag behind you.”

Rachel reached for the book in the tote. The black buggy on the cover stared mockingly at her. The title, Shunned.

Yeah right, Mom.

Rachel ran her fingers over the title, silent fears choking her. What if the girls at the new school shunned her? What if she spent her entire senior year miserable and alone? What if being this far away from her daddy made her forget him?

****

Paul Fischer milked Molly while his uncle removed a layer of sodden hay from the stall.

They worked in amiable silence until Uncle Abram propped an arm against his rake. “This is a favorite time of year for planting, but also the busiest, ain’t so?”

Paul removed the vacuum from the cow. “I suppose you’re right.”

“We could use your help more around here.” His uncle tugged on his tangled beard. “How’s the business coming along?”

Gut.”

Paul couldn’t be completely honest. His uncle didn’t care for his choice of work or the fact that he worked long hours among the Englischers.

“Eighteen years old and still not planning for the future. It’s a waste of time dibble dabbling with this wood building nonsense. You might as well farm here with me and Troy.” Uncle Abram heaved a frustrated breath and trudged from the barn.

There was nothing Paul could say. His uncle had never cared for his choices.

Paul finished milking Molly, filled the stalls with fresh hay, then walked to the front porch. He sat on the swing and gave it a hard shove to set it in motion.

Deep down he knew what could happen if things didn’t change—losing his construction business.

For weeks, work had been slower than usual.

His youngest cousin wandered out the front door and took a seat on the swing next to him, her lips puckered in a frown. “Did Daed get on you about farming again?”

He didn’t feel like talking about it, but it wouldn’t hurt to have her pray. The words to one of his favorite Bible verses filled his mind. Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there I am also.

“Ach, it isn’t his fault. Things have been slow in the business, and I’m worried. You could pray about it too, ain’t so?”

“Jah, of course, I will.”

His cousin weaved her arm beneath his. “Everything will work out fine. God is good, jah? Come on, let’s eat. Mamm made fried chicken.” Mary had always been more like a sister than a cousin, and an even better friend. With a playful smile, she jumped off the swing, throwing him in a lurch. She was right, of course. Everything would work out.

Paul lifted his heart to God right there on the swing under the cloudless blue sky. He would trust God whether He decided to close his business or not.

****

Rachel opened the novel and read the first few lines.

When Mom pulled off the interstate, Rachel glanced at the clock on the dashboard. Two hours had passed, and she was already on chapter ten. Mom pulled into a restaurant parking lot, and Rachel’s stomach rumbled in anticipation. Grabbing her bookmark, she placed it between the pages and climbed from the car.

Rachel slid into a booth across from her mom and ordered lunch, her mind still on the story. The diversion had replaced some of her hopelessness and kept her thoughts occupied.

Rachel dipped a fry in her ketchup. “Do the Amish really live as though the world’s not changing all around them?”

“It’s been a while since I’ve visited, but from what I remember they’re just as the author describes.” Mom buttered a biscuit. “I wish we would’ve visited more before …”

A heavy silence hung between them as they finished their meal, each lost in her own thoughts.

After four more hours of driving the next morning, the sign came into view. Welcome to Paradise.

“Where do they come up with these names?” Nothing about this move would ever feel like paradise. Acres of farmland, acres of nothing.

“There’s also Reading and Intercourse in the area.”

A weak smile settled on Rachel’s lips. And I thought Bird in Hand was weird.

Fields of corn spread in every direction covered the vast landscape. Large houses with no shutters stood solitary in squares of white picket fences. Miles separated the homes. Sheep and cattle grazed, and horse-drawn buggies trotted along the narrow lane. A man with a thin, straggly beard drove one of them. He smiled and lifted his hand as they passed.

Rachel returned the gesture moments too late. “He waved. Did you see him?”

Her mom nodded, keeping her eyes trained on the road.

Did outsiders grow frustrated with the plain people? She couldn’t imagine a horse-drawn buggy making it in Florida. They slowed as they approached another. Two children sat in the back, their legs swinging, their bonnet strings flapping in the wind. Rachel waved, and the girls raised their hands before dropping them quickly.

Only moments later, Mom drove the car down a long path leading to a large farmhouse. Mom stopped, stretched out her arms, her hands in a tight grip on the steering wheel. “Here we are.”

Deep green grass covered part of the front yard, but the bushes were scrawny. They would be first to go. Evergreens dotting the land gave the house plenty of privacy. The house and two barns needed a coat of paint. A fixer upper. Exactly what Mom needed.

They climbed from the car, and Mom moved in the space next to her. “What do you think?”

“It has possibilities. It’ll be a good project for you.” Rachel glanced toward the woods.

“Something for you to investigate.”

Rachel leaned against the car. “Yeah, after I get the blood flowing through my legs again.”

Mom took Rachel’s hand and pulled her forward. “Let’s check out the inside. It’ll take some getting used to, but I can just feel it … we’re going to be happy here.”

The older home was something she’d never find in their neighborhood in Pensacola. A huge swing sat on the concrete porch. It would be the perfect spot for reading. Negative feelings stabbed through the barrier, fighting to escape. There’s probably nothing else to do here.

Mom unlocked the door, and they roamed the first few rooms. “I know it’s completely different, but it’ll be fun bringing this beautiful home back to life.”

Rachel ran her palm across the fireplace mantel, dark brown paint chipping around the corners. With a quick sweep across her shorts, she wiped the dirt from her fingers, but the grimy feeling of emptiness remained. “I’m going upstairs.”

“All right.” Mom’s voice carried from the hallway. “I’ll meet you up there in a few minutes.

Once on the second floor, Rachel entered a larger bathroom than she’d been expecting to find. The wallpaper’s orange and yellow pattern brightened the room but clashed with the green tub and toilet. Rachel cringed, picturing Mom’s reaction.

She wandered into the first bedroom on the right, an oversized room with a small closet. Her furniture was positioned exactly as it had been at home, thanks to the relocation crew. But this was nothing like her house. She sat on the bed, her gaze drifting across the dusty wood floor. How would she ever get used to this? Fighting back tears, she ran downstairs and out the front door. As soon as she grabbed her water bottle from the car, a buggy rolled by, the horse’s hooves clicking against the pavement. The sinking feeling bottomed. This was really happening.

Rachel walked around to the backyard and stepped into the barn through its open double doors. The same doors that weren’t open when they arrived. The scent of stale hay and old manure seeped from the closed space. An aged wooden rail wrapped around the interior. “Mom?”

“Rachel, you have to see this.” Mom leaned over the loft’s rail. “This can be your space to do schoolwork, read, or to just get away from me.” Mom laughed.

Rachel climbed the ladder. “This is kind of cool.”

“I have some ideas to make it perfect for you, honey.”

Mom seemed happier already, but a barn loft wasn’t exactly Rachel’s idea of a great addition to the house.

“When we go into town tomorrow, I’ll see if I can find a handyman to help me with some renovations.”

Rachel snatched her water bottle open and drew it to her lips, giving herself a moment to minimize the sting. “Already? We just got here. Besides, you decided to keep things simple, remember?” Rachel climbed down the ladder one step at a time, her gaze lingering on the upper mucky window until it was no longer in view. Everything needed a good cleaning. They didn’t need a handyman. They needed Daddy.

“I promise I won’t overdo it.”

Rachel frowned. “It’s impossible for you to under do anything.”

“You can’t take away all my fun.”

“Sure, Mom, whatever you say. This place will definitely stand out when you’re done.” Maybe it would be easier to sell.

They stepped back inside the house, and Rachel ran upstairs to unpack, but there was no need to pull everything out yet. Her room needed to be painted first, and she would make sure she did that herself.

She pushed a box of winter clothes into the corner of the closet. There were only a few garments in there anyway. There hadn’t been much need for winter clothes in Florida. Plopping onto her unmade bed the movers had put together, she thought of something else.

It may actually snow.

Later that evening, Rachel helped her mom wipe down the kitchen appliances and scrub the floors, then she settled on the couch with Shunned. She read until her eyes grew heavy and the words on the page blurred together. “It’s getting late. I’m going to bed.”

“Good night, baby.” Her mom yawned. “I’m turning in too. We have a big day tomorrow.”

Rachel climbed the stairs, the wood floor cool against her bare feet. She settled into bed and snuggled under her lightweight comforter. This would be the first Saturday she wouldn’t be able to visit his grave. Daddy, please forgive me. I didn’t want to leave you. Mom just couldn’t handle it anymore. I miss you so much.

She grabbed her leather Bible from the night stand and clutched it to her chest, desperate for consolation. The gold lettering of her name had started to fade. She flipped to a random page and landed on Romans 15:13. May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. She searched the passage for a sense of connection, a feeling of hope, peace. There was nothing. After reading through the verse several times, she gave up.

What was she doing wrong?

Tears filled her eyes, and she draped the pillow across her chest to stifle the harsh cries seizing her until her energy waned.

Rachel shifted her face from the damp pillowcase and wiped away her tears. Her daddy would be so ashamed. Mama needed her support now more than ever. And Rachel had done nothing but fill her head and heart with negative thoughts from the time she found out they were moving. The least she could do was give the place a fair chance. After all, it would only be for one year. Her senior year wasn’t all that important anyway.

She kept her Bible tucked close. Though it didn’t satisfy her yearning to be back home in Florida, its nearness brought a much needed comfort. She meditated on that verse throughout the night and as the first light of dawn seeped into her room, her attitude softened.

Rachel dropped two pieces of bread in the toaster, and her mom handed her a bottle of unopened jelly.

“I guess we should’ve stopped for a few groceries yesterday.”

“This is fine. We’ll get a good lunch.” Rachel ripped the seal off the top. “There has to be a McDonald’s in this vast land of nothing.”

“You’re kidding, right? I was looking forward to something else. Anything else.”

“I would love a juicy Quarter Pounder.”

“Yeah, well you can eat all the hamburgers you want. Those days are over for me.”

“No, they’re not.”

Dad’s voice was as clear as if he were standing there. Beverly, are you ever going to start aging? Rachel’s memories spun from one to another and wrapped her in pain-filled comfort as she swallowed the buttered toast with strawberry spread.

The taste of agony bittered the sweetness.

Rachel studied the houses of their neighbors as her mom drove into town. Fields of corn, soybeans, and wheat adorned miles and miles of property. The wilted gold swayed with the breeze like rows of thin, tired soldiers.

In one field, a horse-drawn gadget was being led by an Amish man. He turned just as they drew closer, revealing a full beard. Young girls played in the front yard of another home, their dresses spinning as they chased each other. An older lady crouched low over a vegetable garden.

Samantha would gasp in horror at the thought of digging in dirt. It made the prospect of starting a garden tempting, knowing how shocked her best friend would be.

If there was any hope of contentment, it was up to her to make that happen. Finding a job had to be top priority. She paused as they stepped onto the sidewalk in town. “I’m going to look around, do you mind?”

Mom gave a lopsided grin. “I guess it’s safe enough.”

“It’s Amish Country. What could possibly happen to me here?”

“Plenty.” Mom searched the nearby stores. “Stay in this area. Let’s meet here at noon, and we’ll get lunch.”

“Okay.”

As Rachel darted across the street, one thing became very clear. Regardless of the name, this would never be paradise.

 

 

A NEW YEAR, A NEW ATTITUDE by Cindy Patterson

I’m so honored and excited to be here with Elaine today. As I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to post about, my mind has taken me in all different directions. That could be because 2017 is full of things to get excited about.

One of the most exciting things for me this year is my second novel, Chasing Paradise, is releasing today. It has been a crazy few months preparing, but has been worth every single minute.

I’m a few weeks behind for the all the New Year’s Resolutions and goals, but I’ve never been all that great at sticking to something throughout the year anyway. I do have some goals I intend to keep this year.

But I do believe we can improve in anything we do and we’re always learning and growing. And I’m definitely one that loves figuring things out for myself. I will make that crafty thing instead of going to the store to buy it.

And of course one of my favorite ways of learning is reading.

One of my goals this year, is to get that third book that’s been written for several years, edited and published within one year.

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We writers definitely need to read books on improving our writing. But do you read other writers’ fiction while working on a project?

Some would say no, but I find it helps stimulate me in different settings, pacing, plotting, and encourages me to evaluate my work with a sharper eye. Experiencing different writers’ techniques also makes me question am I doing the best I can do. And if I’m in a writer’s block, reading a few chapters of a book I’m currently reading helps tremendously.

Of course, it’s easy to get caught up in another’s work and put yours on the back burner. It is for me anyway. I’m going to strive this year to keep a good pace with reading, writing, and editing.

And speaking of those non-fiction books on craft, plotting, editing, etc… I picked up a new list today from some fellow writer friends.

Here are three I intend to purchase and make time to read this year … I have to pace myself in this new year 😉

  • Dynamic Characters; by Nancy Kress

  • Story Trumps Structure; by James Scott Bell

  • Writing for the Soul; by Jerry Jenkins

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to jump to a whole other topic … A new attitude.

This is a new year and a time when this country needs a new attitude. Including me. Of course making time for reading God’s Holy Word, is the most important thing we can do for our attitude.

Since I recommended some writing craft books, I have to tell you about another type of book that is one of my favorites. It’s actually a Bible Study called Jesus, The One and Only; by Beth Moore.

Y’all, I fell in love with Jesus through this study.

Today, this year, I want to do more than just to love my Savior. I want others to know him too. I want to pray without ceasing, for those around me … for their situations, for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on those hurting. For everyone I come in contact with to feel God’s presence so deeply they won’t be able to deny his presence. For those around me to see Jesus in me. By focusing on others, my complaints with grow dimmer and dimmer each day. That is my prayer for my attitude this year.

What will you do in this new year to gain a better attitude?

Thank you so much for stopping by.

My two novels, Chasing Paradise (that’s releasing today) and Broken Butterfly (The sequel to Chasing Paradise). Yes, I published them out of order, but they also stand alone. You’ll just see some of the same characters. 🙂 They are both Inspirational Romance edged with a little suspense.

Thank you, Elaine, for inviting me to join you today and may God bless all of you in your journeys, whatever they may be, this year.

Cindy’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#ChristFic author Cindy Patterson @cpattersonbks speaks up: A New Year, A New Attidude. (Tweet This)

Win Cindy Patterson @cpattersonbks’s #BookGiveaway of new release, Chasing Paradise. (Tweet This)

Cindy Patterson @cpattersonbks shares ways of getting your #writing off the back burner. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Cindy Patterson believes in life changing fiction and happily ever afters that start with Jesus. Her passions include Jesus, her husband, and her family. She’s an ordinary girl wanting to do extraordinary things for Christ. In her stories, she loves to give glimpses of how God can use brokenness and make them whole. Her favorite pastimes are watching her son play baseball and watching her daughter dance. She reads a lot, drinks too much coffee, and wishes she had more time to write. She loves to connect with her readers.

Places to connect with Cindy:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Cindy and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Valentine Dayg

 

 Still a bargain price on Kindle and print on Amazon

 

 

35 comments to Cindy Patterson Speaks Up!

  • Ann Ellison

    Another new to me author. The book sounds really good.

    • elaineadmin

      Ann, thanks for your visit this evening 😍 I really enjoy Cindy’s writing and I know you will too. You’re in the Giveaway drawing! Have a lovely weekend.

      • Thank you, Ann 🙂 So glad you stopped by. And wanted to let everyone know … The Kindle Edition of Chasing Paradise and Broken Butterfly are both free this weekend. Saturday and Sunday … I hope you’ll give them a try!!

  • I really enjoyed the excerpt. And so identify with Cindy’s thoughts on the New Year! 🙂

    I have recently bought a craft book that is AWESOME! The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. Some of the examples are from the general market (definitely not the Christian market), though. But the way he explains how to draw the reader with emotion is amazing. I also want to get Nancy Kress’s book. I think I have every craft article she wrote for The Writer’s Digest.

    • elaineadmin

      Wow. Maass’ book sounds amazing! I listen to a lot of novels on audio (one major plus about commuting to work–courtesy of the library) and the one thing that jumps out on audio from a great novel is emotion. If it makes me cry or laugh, I know the author deserves more of my attention, for sure!

    • Thank you Patricia for stopping by. I also have a book by Donald Maass… Writing the Breakout Novel. It’s really good. I’ll have to try this one.

  • Connie Saunders

    Cindy’s books sound great and I admire that she uses her writing to further her Christian witness.

  • Marilyn R

    Cindy’s inspirational romance with suspense book sounds like a great read. Thanks for your thoughts on attitude. God bless.

  • Thank you Connie and Elaine for your sweet words of encouragement!! 🙂

  • Patty

    Thanks for sharing Cindy! I am not A writer, but I am sure always good to keep working on your craft and reading books about writing. I am not for familiar with either of your books, thanks for sharing the excerpt.

  • It’s nice to meet you, Patty!! Yes, it is. I love learning and teaching myself. I’m a homeschool mom, so it must be somehow ground in me 🙂
    My favorite is learning about Jesus. Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Amy Scott

    Cindy, I can’t wait to read your book, that was just a tease. Keep up the good work and sharing God’s love.

  • Thank you, Amy!! 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!! And thank you for stopping by!

  • Wendy

    Cindy can definately write a good Christian book. So excited that God is working through her and sharing it with us.

  • The setting for your book “Chasing Paradise” caught my attention. While today associated with the Amish and PA Dutch, the town of Paradise, PA, was founded and named Paradise by my Huguenot ancestors because they had finally found religious freedom. A monument to them is located near the railroad bridge on Route 30 in Paradise–Isaac LeFevre and Catherine Fuehre or Ferree (spellings vary). At age 16, Isaac was the only member of his family to escape martyrdom after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 France. The family Bible he rescued and brought with him to America is now preserved in the Lancaster County Historical Society. Love to read stories set in Lancaster County, where my mother’s family lived for many generations on land deeded to them by William Penn.

    • elaineadmin

      AnnaLee, thanks for visiting and sharing. Each time I learn additional information about your past I admire your family and how they contributed so much to American history. You’re fortunate to have all of this “family treasure”.

    • Oh Wow, AnnaLee!! That is fascinating!! I LOVE visiting that area. The last time we were there, we stayed in Paradise. Thank you so much for sharing that. I’d love to have the chance to sit down and talk with you =)

  • Shelley

    I love Cindy’s books and I so enjoy her friendship. So grateful she always points people to Jesus. Her New Years resolutions are wonderful things to aspire to. Cindy definitely has a mission to know Him and make Him known. Looking forward to reading the third book which I have no doubt will be just as interesting as the first two.

  • PamB

    Thanks for sharing Cindy, I absolutely love your books and can’t wait until the 3rd comes out!

  • Julia P Whitley

    So excited about Cindy’s new book….can’t wait to get a copy to read. I loved her first book…after the first couple chapters I couldn’t put it down. I’m doubly blessed to have her as a neighbor and also related to my husband. It’s wonderful to have an author in the family.

  • Thank you so much, Julia!! It fills my heart with joy that you feel that way!! Love y’all so much!! 🙂

  • elaineadmin

    What a warm and love-fuzzy feel-good week it’s been on Everyone’s Story and I have my guest, author Cindy Patterson, to thank. Cindy, it’s apparent you have quite a few fans already and I hope this blog exposure blesses you with many more 😍

    Thanks too for your lovely Giveaway of Chasing Paradise. And the lucky winner of Cindy’s newest release is…

    Amy!! Congratulations, Amy. Happy for you! Both Cindy and I will contact you shortly via direct email.

    Blessings to all.

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