Thursday, August 18, 2011

It’s Just A Family Tradition

 It’s Just A Family Tradition

Reading is one of my most cherished family traditions.  My mother always loved books, and she taught me and my sister to love reading as much as she did. We always talked about how incredible it would be to put words on paper and tell a story people would enjoy reading. I daydreamed about becoming a writer, but it never occurred to me I could really do it.

It was my younger son who showed me the way. He called me one day a couple of years ago and told me he had written a book. I wasn’t surprised. I knew he had a lot of talent because he had won a prize for a short story he wrote when he was in college. It made me think. If he could write a book, why couldn’t I?
While I was thinking about it, I had dinner with several of the teachers from the school where I work. One of them suggested that each of us should write a book and critique each other’s work.

Well, that did it. I sat down to write my masterpiece. The problem was, I couldn’t think of how to begin. I could think of umpteen dozen ways to do it. Finally, I realized it didn’t matter. I just picked one way and got started. I typed my first sentence, and from that point the words seemed to fly from my fingers to the computer screen. It was absolutely exhilarating!

I finished my first story in record time. Nobody liked it much. My husband didn’t want the hero to lose his NFL career, and nobody liked the heroine. One of my friends said the heroine was a good girl so of course she wasn’t as interesting as a bad girl.

I didn’t let it get me down. I liked my story so I decided to write another one. It was almost finished when I found out about a small publisher who sponsored a yearly writing contest. The first prize was publication of your novel. I decided to try it, and several months later I received a call from the publisher telling me I was one of two grand prize winners.

The name of my winning novel is A New Leaf, and it’s published by Oak Tree Press. The hero didn’t lose his career, and most people who have read the book liked the heroine just fine.  I went on to find publishers for five more books, but somehow I couldn’t forget that first book.  After letting it languish on my computer for almost ten years, I opened the file and started to edit.  I submitted the book to Astraea Press, and they accepted it the next day.  The book came out in March of 2011, and I’d like to share a short excerpt with you.  I’ll also throw in a couple of reviews.  They’ve been really good.

The book is available here.


The red convertible cut a path through the moonlight, its headlights dancing along the arched limbs of the trees above the road.

“Oh, Matt, it’s such a beautiful night,” Stacey declared with a sigh. “I’m going to miss you when you leave tomorrow.”

Matt reached for her hand and brought it to his lips. “I’ll miss you too, but if I don’t report on time, I’m in trouble with the coach.”

“That’s what I get for falling in love with a pro football player,” Stacey teased, her blonde hair turned to frosted silver by the light of the full moon above them.

Matt squeezed her hand that wore his engagement ring. “It’s too late to back out now,” he teased. “You’re mine.”

“Mmm, do I like the sound of that!”

The car rounded a curve, and without warning a deer bounded across the road.

“Look out!” Stacey screamed.

Matt braked sharply to avoid the animal. The tires slid on a patch of loose gravel in the road, and he lost control of the convertible. It fishtailed and started to spin in the road.

Matt hauled the steering wheel to correct the slide, but it was useless. The car turned around once more and skidded backwards for a short distance before it charged off the road. It jumped a steep ditch and went airborne. All Matt could see was a blur of trees and darkness as the car careened into the woods. It made a lazy turn in the air and came to rest bottom side up.

The last thing he remembered was the sound of Stacey’s screams.

Romance Junkies Read the full review here. (If the link doesn't work )

RJ gave A New Dream a 4.5 and said, A NEW DREAM is a wonderful contemporary romance with heartwarming characters and heartfelt moments. Elaine Cantrell creates a beautiful, believable relationship with old fashioned values that adds sweetness to the story. All of her characters were likable with emotions and reactions that one can relate to. My favorite though had to be the hero Matt, who had to face a very difficult reality. His growth and the way Ms. Cantrell portrayed his struggles with coming to terms with the changes in his life was nicely done. This is one of the best inspirational romances I’ve read in a while.

Romantic Times gave a New Dream 4 stars and said,

Readers will love this touching and inspirational story in which a former football player learns to live his life under new tersm after a tragic accident.  As he journeys toward  a new dream he meets (Violet) and falls in love.

On August 22 I’ll be the featured author at

Mila, thank you so much for having me.

Elaine Cantrell


Mila Ramos said...

Wonderful post Elaine! And I'm loving what I have read so far about New Dream. This is definitely in my must read before I start school!

Elaine Cantrell said...

Thanks so much, Mila. I enjoyed being here.