Monday, April 19, 2010

CHESAPEAKE WEDDINGS - Cecelia Dowdy - Free Book

Wecome back to the blog, Cecelia. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I love romance novels. I always have! I think I enjoy Christian love stories because there is a faith element that’s a part of the story.

Yes, I've almost stopped reading fiction that doesn't have the faith element, too. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

Well, there are two happy days: The day I married my husband, Chris and the day that I gave birth to our son!

How has being published changed your life?

Being published has allowed me to see the fruits of my labor being read by others! I love hearing from readers and I love seeing my books on the shelves. My daily life has not changed much – I still work full time and unless I’m on deadline, my life has remained the same, more or less…

What are you reading right now?

Dreams That Won’t Let Go by Stacy Hawkins Adams. I’ve read other books by this author, and I enjoy them.

What is your current work in progress?

Currently, I’m working on a proposal to send to Barbour Publishing. I want it to be a 3-book series focused on a set of identical twins and their mutual friend. I hope and pray Barbour buys my stories!

What would be your dream vacation?

I’ve traveled so much in the past, so I have a slew of places I’ve enjoyed visiting. I’d like to go to a hot, tropical place with a nice beach with clear water where you can see the fish swimming. Someplace like Tahiti, Hawaii, or the Cayman Islands would be nice.

I've been to Grand Cayman. It's lovely there. How do you choose your settings for each book?

I usually choose places that I’ve visited. For my last series with Barbour, I chose Maryland because I’ve lived in that state for my entire life and I knew which places I wanted to set my novels.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Baking desserts and watching movies. Both of those activities allow me to relax, unwind, and have a good time.

Homemade desserts sound good. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Repetition! I tend to use the same words over and over…I sound like a broken record at times. I’ve learned to count the number of times I use some words (using Microsoft Word Program options.) I also use a book called the synonym finder to help me find new words to break my repetitive habit.

I think all authors fall into that habit at some time. What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Persevere, read, write and congregate with other writers! Attend a writers’ conference and glean as much information as you can!

Tell us about the featured book?

Chesapeake Weddings is a 3-in-1 collection of my last three Heartsong Presents novels. Here is a brief description of the stories:

Relax along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay as you read about three strong African American women who suddenly face upheaval in life. Monica is caring for her abandoned nephew and trying to pick the proper tutor for him. Emily is struggling to save the family farm when a CPA turns up to do an audit. Karen has been deceived by her fiancé, and now she’s expected to trust a neighbor who knows too much of her business. Can God rebuild their tattered lives with new loves?

Please give us the first page of the book.

Here is the prologue:

Prologue

The loud banging at Monica Crawford’s front door awakened her. Forcing herself out of bed, she glanced at the clock and saw it was two in the morning.

“I’m coming!”

She ran to the door. Looking through the peephole, Monica saw her little sister Gina smiling at her.

Her heart pounded as she opened the door, gripping the knob. “What are you doing here?” Playing an internal game of tug-of-war, she wondered if she should hug her sister or slam the door in her face. Humid heat rushed into the air-conditioned living room. She stared at Gina, still awaiting her response.

“It’s nice to see you too, sister.” Gina pursed her full, red-painted lips and motioned at the child standing beside her. “Go on in, Scotty.”

Gina had brought her seven-year-old son with her. Dark shades hid his sightless eyes. “Aunt Monica!” he called.

Monica released a small cry as she dropped to her knees and embraced him. “I’m here, Scotty.” Tears slid down her cheeks as she hugged the child. Since Gina had cut herself off from immediate family for the last two years, Monica had wondered when she would see Scotty again. “You remember me?” Her heart continued to pound as she stared at her nephew. His light, coffee-colored skin glowed.

“Yeah, I remember you. When mom said I was going to live here, I wanted to come so we could go to the beach in Ocean City.”

Shocked, Monica stared at Gina who was rummaging through her purse. Gina pulled out a cigarette and lighter. Seconds later she was puffing away, gazing into the living room. “You got an ashtray?”

Monica silently prayed, hoping she wouldn’t lose her temper. “Gina, you know I don’t allow smoking in this house.”

Gina shrugged. After a bit of coaxing, she dropped the cigarette on the top step and ground it beneath the heel of her shoe. “I need to talk to you about something.”

Scotty entered the house and wandered through the room, ignoring the adults as he touched objects with his fingers. After Monica fed Scotty a snack and let him fall asleep in the guest bedroom, she confronted Gina.

“Where have you been for the last two years?”

Gina strutted around the living room in her tight jeans, her high heels making small imprints in the plush carpet. “I’ve been around. I was mad because Mom and Dad tried to get custody of Scotty, tried to take me to court and say I was an unfit mother.”

Groaning, Monica plopped onto the couch, holding her head in her hands. “That’s why you haven’t been speaking to me or Mom and Dad for two years?” When Gina sat beside her, Monica took her sister’s chin into her hand and looked into her eyes. “You know you were wrong. Mom and Dad tried to find you. They were worried about Scotty.”

Jerking away, Gina placed a few inches between herself and Monica. “They might have cared about Scotty, but they didn’t care about me.” Gina swore under her breath and rummaged in her purse. Removing a mint, she popped it into her mouth.

“They were worried about you and Scotty,” Monica explained. “You were living with that terrible man. He didn’t work, and he was high on drugs. We didn’t want anything to happen to the two of you.”

Gina’s lips curled into a bitter smirk. “Humph. Me and Scotty are just fine.” She glanced up the stairs. “You saw him. Does he look neglected to you?”

She continued to stare at Gina, still not believing she was here to visit in the middle of the night. “What do you want? What did Scotty mean when he said he was coming here to live?”

Gina frowned as she toyed with the strap of her purse. “I want you to keep Scotty for me. Will you?”

Monica jerked back. “What? Why can’t you take care of your own son? Did that crackhead you were living with finally go off the deep end?”

Gina shook her head. “No, we’re not even together anymore. It’s just that. . .” She paused, staring at the crystal vase of red roses adorning the coffee table. “I’m getting married.”

Monica’s heart skipped a beat. “Married?”

Gina nodded, her long minibraids moving with the motion of her head. “Yeah, his name is Randy, and he’s outside now, waiting for me in the car.”

Monica raised her eyebrows, suddenly suspicious. “Why didn’t you bring him inside? Are you ashamed of him?”

Gina shook her head. “No. But we’re in a hurry tonight, and I didn’t want to waste time with formalities.”

“You still haven’t told me why you can’t keep Scotty. Does your fiancé have a problem with having a blind child in his house?”

Gina scowled as she clutched her purse, her dark eyes darting around the room. “No, that’s not it at all.”

“Uh-huh, whatever you say.” She could always sense when Gina was lying. Her body language said it all.

“Really, it’s not Scotty’s blindness that bothers Randy. It’s just that—he’s a trapeze artist in the National African-American Circus and they’re traveling around constantly.” Her dark eyes lit up as she talked about her fiancé. “This year they’ll be going international. Can you imagine me traveling around the globe with Randy? We’ll be going to Paris, London, Rome—all those fancy European places!” She grabbed Monica’s arm. “We’d love to take Scotty, but we can’t afford to hire a tutor for him to travel with us.”

“You’re going to marry some man and travel with a circus?!” Monica shook her head, wondering when her sister would grow up. At twenty-seven, she acted as if she were still a teenager. Since Monica was ten years older, she’d always been the responsible sibling, making sure Gina behaved herself.

Gina grabbed Monica’s shoulder. “But I’m in love with him!” Her eyes slid over Monica as if assessing her. “You’ve never been in love? I think it’s odd that you’re thirty-seven and you never got married.”

Monica closed her eyes for a brief second as thoughts of her single life filled her mind. Since her breakup with her serious boyfriend two years ago, she’d accepted that God wanted her to remain single, and she spent her free time at church in various ministries. She filled her time praising God and serving Him, and she had no regrets for the life she led. But whenever one of the church sisters announced an engagement, she couldn’t stop the pang of envy that sliced through her.

Forcing the thoughts from her mind, she focused on Gina again. “This discussion is not about me. It’s about you. You can’t abandon Scotty. He loves you.”

Gina turned away, as if ashamed of her actions. “I know he does, and I love him, too. But I really want things to work out with Randy, and it won’t work with Scotty on the road with us. He needs special education since he’s blind.”

Her heart immediately went out to Scotty. She touched Gina’s shoulder. “Scotty knows you’re getting married?”

Gina nodded. “I didn’t tell him how long I would be gone, but I told him I’d call and visit. Please do this for me.” Her sister touched her arm, and her dark eyes pleaded with her. She opened her purse and gave Monica some papers. “I’ve already had the power of attorney papers signed and notarized so that you can take care of him.” She pressed the papers into Monica’s hand.

“How long will you be gone?” asked Monica.

“The power of attorney lasts for six months. Hopefully by then me and Randy will be more settled. I’m hoping after the world tour he’ll leave the circus and find a regular job.”

Monica frowned, still clutching the legal documents.

“Please do this for me, Monica,” she pleaded again.

She reluctantly nodded. If she didn’t take care of Scotty, she didn’t know who would.

Very interesting. Makes me want to read more. How can readers find you on the Internet?

I have a website and a blog where I review books and I also answer questions from writers. My website is: http://www.ceceliadowdy.com/  My blog is: http://www.ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com/

Thank you, Cecelia, for the interesting peek into your story.
 
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41 comments:

Lyn Cote said...

Hey, girl! You don't pull any punches, do you? Sounds like a great story!

Michelle Sutton said...

It's such a beautiful book. I would love to check it out. :)

Laney4 said...

I grinned when I read that you like to bake desserts. Me too, although I also like cooking the main course. I have been known to use a mix or two when they taste a lot better than my own recipe, but I have my own recipe collection that I use too. Keep up the good work! I bet your family appreciates it!

Speaking of appreciating things, thank you for sharing both the interview and the prologue. Both sounded great!

A J Hawke said...

Cecelia, loved the interview and the chance to get to know about you and your writing.

Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your book.

A J Hawke

Jo said...

Beautiful cover! The book sounds interesting as well and would love to read it.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Casey said...

I absolutely love the cover of this book, and would love to have the chance to read it. Thanks!!

authorkathyeberly said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! I would love to have it!

misskallie2000 said...

Cecelia, I loved your interview. I enjoy finding out the little things about author. I also love to bake. At Christmas I seem to go wild with my baking. Of course I also like to eat sweets..lol

Chesapeake Weddings sounds like a wonderful book. I would love to win so I can see how the story continues and the ending.
Thanks for stopping by to chat.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Abi said...

Thanks for the interview. Love to win the book.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow. That's quite a start. I'd love to read more.

K said...

Please enter me! :)
Thanks!
Kim
lonebanana(at)msn(dot)com

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Hi, Lyn! Thanks for the compliment!

Michelle, Jo, and Casey, I have gotten so many compliments about the book cover that I contacted the cover artist and did a blog entry about how my book cover was made:
http://ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com/2010/04/chesapeake-weddings-making-of-my-book.html

Laney, I do use cake mixes occasionally, but, usually the cakes I make from scratch taste a whole lot better than the box mixes! I also collect recipes in a green binder. As soon as I try a new recipe and my husband and son like it, I place it in the binder.
AJ, glad you enjoyed the interview!

Kathy, Kallie and Sheila, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

Abi, thanks for stopping by and for entering the drawing! :-)

Debbie F said...

Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Anonymous said...

i would love to read your masterpiece, cecelia...thank you for the opportunity to do just that.

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Katherine said...

this book looks VERY good! Please enter me.

kefarley89(@)gmail(.)com

Crystal said...

Hi Cecelia!

Your book sounds like a FANTASTIC read! I'd love to win a copy!

Thanks for sharing more about yourself in the interview . . . God bless!

clroget(at)hotmail(dot)com

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Debbie, Karen, Katherine, and Crystal, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview!

Linda Kish said...

This book sounds wonderful.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

Such a beautiful cover. I enjoyed on your site how the cover was put together. I would love to read this book. Please enter me.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Linda, thanks for the compliment. There are several nice reviews for Chesapeake Weddings on Amazon.com. Cindy, thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad you enjoyed seeing how my book cover was put together!

Jodi said...

Cecelia I love this interview and I really enjoy your blog. Your blog is so real and down to earth that I feel as if I know you personally and we've never met! Many blessings to you!

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

gahome2mom said...

I enjoyed reading Bittersweet Memories and this latest book would be great to read as well. Thanks.

gahome2mom/at/gmail/dot/com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book. I really like reading the author's perspective. It always makes the books so much more interesting.
debp
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

kristen said...

All three of these stories sound fantastic. Please enter me:)

Shawna Williams said...

What a great cover! Sounds like a wonderful story too.
shawnawilliams(at)allegiance.tv

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Jodi, glad you enjoy my blog! I'm also glad that the rest of you ladies enjoyed the interview and that you liked the cover! I think the cover is very striking!

Megan said...

What a great first chapter. I would love to read the whole thing!

Marla said...

I like the sound of this book. Please count me in. Thanks!

Marla

Winning Readings said...

We posted about your giveaway at Winning Readings.

Robyn said...

How wonderful to get all three stories in one cover!

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

grannyvon said...

I would love to read this. Sometimes its just good to read an old fashioned love story. Thanks for the chance to win. ybutler@oppcatv.com

Smith Family said...

Book sounds interesting would love a chance to read it.

Theresa Haskins said...

I'd love a chance to win! Thank you!

~Ley said...

This book and you WIP sound really good! Drop my name in the hat will you? Thanks!

valariemccoy said...

would love a chance to win!!!

RoseMillsOhio said...

Thank you for writing these books! I wish you and your family all of God's blessings. rosemills@bex.net

rubynreba said...

Great review of the book. I'd love to read it.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Again, thanks everyone for stopping by Lena's blog and for commenting and entering the giveaway! I hope everybody has a blessed week!

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Sarah R said...

Sounds interesting. Please enter me in the drawing.