A Season to Dance Scavenger Hunt! — September 11-24

10 Sep

About The Book

Book: A Season to Dance

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: May 6, 2017

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

About The Author

Patricia writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. She is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance and Desert Willow (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017 and 2020). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Visit her at http://www.patriciabeal.com for more.

More from Patricia Beal

When I wrote the first line of my first novel in January of 2011, I wanted to get published because I was desperate to feel important.

I finished writing A Season to Dance that fall and hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.

She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent a year rewriting.

During that year, my husband got orders to move the family from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Germany, and he deployed for the sixth time soon after we settled on a lovely mountaintop in Idar-Oberstein.

When I finished rewriting, Gloria said the novel looked good and had everything a novel was supposed to have. But… “Something’s still missing. I don’t know what it is. We’ve covered it all.”

So of course I did what any writer desperate for validation would do. I told my coach that surely nothing was missing and that it was time to query. I hired a service to blast queries everywhere for me. I know… Shame on me… But God used that.

God’s Plan — Phase One

One query ended up with Mrs. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary. The novel wasn’t Christian—I wasn’t a Christian. She shouldn’t have received my query. But she did. She sent me a note saying she liked the storyline but that in Christian novels the protagonist couldn’t live with her love interest without being married. She was very kind and said that if she was missing the point and if the novel was indeed Christian that I should resubmit explaining the living together piece.

When I read it I laughed and rolled my eyes. I started typing a condescending reply. Something about Christian fairy tale brains and me living in the real world, but I decided not to send it.

Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.

See, up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” and that somewhere, somehow, being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty German kitchen—husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died. And I looked at that inbox full of rejections and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”

Mercy. Surely I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. But I know that He was in that kitchen with me. And phase two of His plan was about to start.

Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

God’s Plan — Phase Two

As I lost all restraint and became the worst version of myself, God removed me from my green German mountaintop.

After less than eighteen months in Germany, we were sent back to America, to the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. To a place called Fort Bliss—a place from which you can see a Mexican mountain with the words: “Cd. Juárez. La Biblia es la verdad. Leela.” That translates to “City of Juárez. The Bible is the truth. Read it.” Gotta love it. God is good.

During the first six months back in America, I went to two secular writers’ conferences and met more rejection. My lack of restraint and my selfishness didn’t really make me happy. I wanted to go to therapy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…

But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life. Even the shrink kept double booking, closing early, and somehow cancelling on me. It was ridiculous.

The One Open Door

When God planted our family in the desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.

I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.

Gloria’s “Something Missing”

I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “You silly goose of a girl. You wrote a salvation story without the salvation piece.” My first coach, Gloria Kempton, had been right all along. There was something missing!

A Season to Dance isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

I deleted Mrs. Hart’s email that week. Yes, it was still in my inbox. Job well done, Mrs. Hart.

Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the novel. Five ladies from my Sunday school read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support. God is good.

Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. God is good.

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. God is good.

ACFW 2015 was fantastic and many houses are looking at that first manuscript. God is good.

My family got saved, too. My husband in July of 2013. Our son in December of 2013. My mom in the fall of 2014. And our little girl just this past summer, the summer of 2015. God is amazingly good.

Q&A with Patricia Beal

BTB — Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Patricia — The desire to write a novel came about 35 years ago, when as a teenage girl back home in Brazil, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist touched my heart. I wanted to do that to people, touch their hearts with a simple story that had something to say about the human condition. 

Now, the first time I saw myself as a fiction writer, was much later. That happened during a writers’ meeting at the Barnes & Noble in Columbus, Georgia, about ten years ago. 

Here’s that story –

Someone once told me that getting a book published was like shooting the moon. “What are you really going to do with the rest of your life?”

That conversation bothered me, but I started writing a novel anyway. 

When I took the first chapter of A Season to Dance – fresh out of my head and hot off my cheap printer – to my Barnes & Noble writing group, I asked the leader to read it to the group for me (my accent is something else). As she did, I saw a box of motivational cards on a shelf behind her. It read: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars…”

That hard-to-please group loved my first chapter guys, and I’d received a sign. Yay! Cinderella story, right? I felt like a writer. Big time. 

Now, two years later the novel hadn’t gone far. I stand corrected. It’d gone far – just not successfully. In the summer of 2012, the novel was rejected in three different continents in the same week.

Then Jesus passed by. 

Six months later I was born again and realized that for two years I’d been writing my own salvation story. The novel wasn’t working yet because it was missing a layer. It was more than the story of a ballerina with big dreams and dreamy suitors. It’s about a young woman trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with misguided career and romantic pursuits. 

The bad news was that the rewrite would be lengthy and painful. God gave me people who encouraged me through the fourteen months of labor, and the work got done. He gave me something else too. A Cadillac commercial that remined me of the moon sign – a reminder of where we’d been, and where we were going.

In the commercial, a kid is riding with his dad. It’s dark. There’s nothing to be seen anywhere. Suddenly you start hearing lunar landing audio:

“We are now in the approach phase–everything looking good.”
“Velocity twelve hundred feet per second.”
“You are looking great to us, Eagle.”
“Two thousand feet.”

A big moon shows up at the end of the road. Dad’s hands are strong on the wheel. The kid and Dad exchange an expectant look.

“Still looking very good.”
“Fourteen hundred feet.”

Dad goes faster. The music gets bigger. The moon gets bigger.

Narrator: “Funny thing happens when you shoot for the moon.”
Lunar landing audio: “That’s affirmative.”
Narrator: “You get there.”
Lunar landing audio: “You are GO for landing–over.”

Here’s the commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf_NavbP3GA 

I love sharing that story because I think it’s so important to celebrate our miracles, share them and remember…

If you’re paralyzed by fear today, be free from it. Do you write? Are you doubting your calling? Most of us do. Don’t let that stop you. God already knows most of us feel that way. 

I love this conversation between Jesus and a dad who asks for help for his possessed child: Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9:23-24).

God can handle our tendency to believe and not believe at the same time. He’s not surprised. Ask Him for help, like this Bible dad did. He got his miracle. You’ll get yours. Believe. Keep working. Let me be your shoot-for-the-moon box of cards today. Do it. Shoot for the moon! Write that book. Pitch. Submit. Rewrite. Repeat. Get published. 

BTB — What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

Patricia — On-site visits whenever possible. It’s like I see the characters. All I have to do is write down what I observe. 

BTB — What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

Patricia — Redemption. Redemption. Redemption. My name is Patricia Beal, and I write beauty-for-ashes stories 😊

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV) 

Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Giftcard!

https://promosimple.com/ps/10068/a-season-to-dance-celebration-scavenger-hunt-giveaway

Scavenger Hunt!

My word for the scavenger hunt is 

To connect with all those participating, click HERE!

One Response to “A Season to Dance Scavenger Hunt! — September 11-24”

  1. Rita Wray September 11, 2020 at 11:11 am #

    Sounds like a great book.

    Liked by 1 person

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