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Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome JoAnne Carter

Thank You, Sue for having me here today to talk a bit about Hidden Paths, a YA Inspirational Romance. I'm excited to be a part of this blog bonanza and I'm looking forward to sharing some of the thoughts I wrote down as I wrapped up this project. I hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to some reader today... 
Hidden Paths... hmm, I have to chuckle a bit at the irony of the situation. You see, the title for this YA book is also the perfect title for my own personal journey. Although I have other books in circulation, this was the first story I ever drafted fifteen years ago. 
I started writing on a whim. Don't ask me why. In fact, have you ever watched Night at the Museum? The first time we saw that movie I cracked up. I am so like that museum director. Some days it seems as if I can't put a complete thought -- let alone sentence -- together to save my life. Couple that with mild dyslexia, grammar and spelling skills that would make any English major cringe, and... yup, that's me. Yet, here I find myself, walking down the path that once seemed so elusive and hidden to me.
Quite a few years after I wrote this book, I went to a writer's retreat. I prayed and prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do and give me direction. I knew writing was something I enjoyed but was this what God wanted me to do? I struggled with that, and to be honest, still do on occasion. 
I walked away from that weekend with as many questions as I arrived with. I was so discouraged. Didn't God hear me? I wanted to follow His will for my life, yet felt like He was far away and unwilling to give me the direction I so desperately craved. 
He had heard my prayers, yet I was too close to the situation to see that He had been, was, and still is guiding me. I stand amazed as I think about this now...  God has led me to friends who had a passion for the craft of writing and the gift of encouragement. I've been blessed with a family who supports my writing endeavors, and I've learned a ton of stuff along the way... I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist. 
What I've come to realize is I don't need to have everything figured out. I serve an awesome God who knows what's best for me. Sometimes I may not particularly care for what needs to be done. The road may seem long and hard and the mountains too big to scale. Yet, God loves me too much to let me settle for the easy road where I would forget where true strength is found. 

Perhaps like me, you have been struggling with direction in your own life. I would like to challenge you to place your hand (and your life) in God's hands and allow Him to plot your course. You might find yourself in for a crazy ride -- on a path, like Julie the main character in HIDDEN PATHS, that you would have never imagined.
Julie Hemmingway, a recent college graduate, is preparing to leave for the mission field. When she meets Adam Jacobs, her well-organized plans begin to go awry. Will she fight to hold onto her own agenda, or open her heart to a new - yet Hidden Path? 
Staying in Vermont on the family farm wasn't what Julie had envisioned for her life. After all, she had just spent two years at the community college in preparation to join a mission agency to use her nursing skills overseas. However, those plans quickly change when her father suffers a massive heart attack and dies. Out of necessity, she stays home to help her mom manage the farm. 
To help make ends meet, Julie accepts a new job at a construction company where many unexpected things happen, including working with the handsome, Adam Jacobs. Will Julie learn that she can trust in God and the path He has planned for her life -- even when it looks totally different than what she expected?

Hidden Paths

Julie Hemmingway's thoughts centered on one thing -- and one thing only -- the letter which had arrived yesterday. Her dreams were coming true at last. She hummed a little Christmas tune and pushed her cart to the return rack. Scooping up her bags, Julie turned to walk out of the grocery store. The next thing she knew, her face was planted against a wool sweater and a coat's zipper. The paper bag filled with groceries crushed against her midsection with a sickening crunch. Thankfully, with a firm grip, she somehow managed to hold onto the second bag. She stood stunned for a moment. Please tell me I didn't just run into the person behind me. "Are you okay?" His warm bass voice vibrated through his chest and beat against her cheek. So much for that wish. Julie wrapped her arm tighter around the bag resting between them to prevent it from plummeting to the floor and pushed herself back. The guy gently gripped her forearms to steady her. "I'm sorry. I should have been paying closer attention to where I was going." He pointed with his thumb toward the colored lights twinkling merrily in the window. "I was looking at the decorations. They're amazing."

Julie let her gaze travel up until she met his blue eyes. The second bag, which had managed to escape the fiasco, slipped out of her grasp. She looked down in horror at the mess on the floor. "Oh man, it looks like I just did some decorating of my own -- but not the pretty or festive kind." She groaned. "I think that bag had my eggs."

"If that's the case, they're now scrambled." He took the bag, with lettuce spewing over the side, away from her and stepped back to assess the damage. "Or at least, sunny-side up." Julie grinned at his quick wit as she kicked loose coffee beans off the top of her shoe. With a crooked smile, he introduced himself. "I'm Adam." Before Julie could tell him her name, he plucked a piece of lettuce draped over her sleeve like a scarf. "I must say, these lovely, um... accessories, don't do your beautiful coat justice."
Find JoAnn on the web~
Thanks again for having me here today!


JoAnn said...

Thanks for having me here today, Sue!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

What an interesting and honest post, JoAnne. I've experienced such doubts and leading often in my life and can appreciate the lessons learned. My sister-in-law and her husband were long-term missionaries in Brazil (from the UK) so I heard lots of their stories. All the best with your novel!

Sue Perkins said...

Happy to host you JoAnn. Hope you have a wonderful few days here and lots of people popping in.

Wendy said...

Love you title, JoAnn. It's interesting how our life's path ties in with what we write. Proves there is some of the author in their stories. I love the humour in your excerpt - the ideal way to make a first impression. Good Luck with your book.

JoAnn said...

Thanks, Rosemary, for stopping by and leaving a comment!

JoAnn said...

My husband and I were on the road for a good chunk of the day, returning from Boston. It's fun to come home and see a few new faces here on your blog. :)

JoAnn said...

Wendy, thanks for the congrats. I hope this story will be a blessing to the readers.

Pat McDermott said...

Hello, JoAnn. I suspect we might be "neighbors, as I live in New Hampshire. I'm waving! Your Hidden Paths sounds like a perfect example of the saying, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans." I enjoyed the gentle humor in your excerpt. Best of luck with your writing.