Before I get going on today’s article, I have a quick note to say: I was a guest yesterday on Lauren Watt’s Lauren’s Easel blog. I would love it if you’d give that article some love this weekend. It features a song that would be Moira’s (from The Cottage on the Hill, published in Springtime in Surrey at the end of this month) theme song if she had such a thing.
I’m also a guest on Grace A. Johnson’s blog, Of Blades and Thorns, today. I hope you’ll visit and consider commenting on that article as well. Her blog does require you to sign up in order to comment, but that is free and for security purposes. The article speaks of the challenge it was to write a “strangers to romance” story in a novella format–despite my being told numerous times it was impossible.
There will be more fun news near the bottom of this article, but for now, let’s chat about dreams…
Today I’m beginning a trilogy of articles focused on three types of dreams: lost, elusive, and new. The first two articles will be right here on Writing to Inspire, and the third will appear on Katja H. Labonté’s Little Blossoms for Jesus, as part of a blog swap the authors of Springtime in Surrey are participating in.
The first article, “Lost Dreams,” starts now…
I’m familiar with lost dreams. One of my childhood dreams was to have a best friend who would share virtually everything with me, and with whom I could share virtually everything about my own life. I had one such friend in Kindergarten, and I cherished every moment the two of us spent together.
By the start of the next schoolyear, her family had moved away, and I’ve been on the hunt for a new best friend ever since.
The lost dream has been excruciating to overcome. Processing such a loss, especially when it comes at such a young, impressionable age, is difficult, to say the least. Even now, I think of this friend with fondness and a wish to know whatever happened to her. I still miss my best friend even though more than thirty years have passed by.
The thing about lost dreams is they can hold us back if we let them. For many years, I struggled with a dark depression I couldn’t beat. For the longest time, I had no clue why this melancholy cloaked me and darkened every moment of my daily life. I didn’t know why I was crying myself to sleep every night.
Then one day, God showed me that I was craving the type of friendship that I had with that childhood bestie when I was four and five years old. That nine-months-long friendship has shaped so much of my life, my desires, and my goals—often without my realizing it. The innocence, the mutual sharing of joy and adventures, the way the girl had my back in a moment when I was uncomfortable, and the way we dressed alike and found the same Rainbow Brite doll for Twinkie Day at school (we definitely earned those Twinkies snack cakes to enjoy together!) helped shape my love for old-fashioned friendships.
The tone of that friendship has been one of God’s tools to create in me a love for friends.
When I struggled to find devoted, genuine friends who pulled their weight, as I did, in the relationship, I thought perhaps I had missed the people God was directing me to. Maybe I didn’t hear Him loudly or clearly enough. Maybe I hadn’t made the right decisions or choices in selecting friends or supporting my friends or spending the right amount of time with the people in my life.
After much prayer and heartache, I came to realize that God had already given me the most ideal friendship that Kindergarten year… and that I wasn’t to give up on finding the same type of friendship now that I’m all grown up.
Now, I’m not giving up because God instructed me not to, but this dream definitely feels lost at the moment.
Some lost dreams are permanently closed doors, and that is the sort that my character Moira Wood faces in my new novella, The Cottage on the Hill, featured in Wild Blue Wonder Press’s debut anthology, Springtime in Surrey. Moira dreamed her entire life of becoming one of the greatest ballerinas in London, if not the world as a whole. She found a partner who made her shine brighter, and she earned all sorts of accolades and awards in her career. When we meet her in the opening chapter of Cottage, Moira is struggling to deal with those dreams being forever lost to her.
When dreams are lost for good, it’s important that we turn our hearts to God and seek His will for the next chapter of our lives. That’s what I had to do when I realized depression had stolen my joy right along with those lost dreams of having a close best friend. It took plenty of time and years, but God broke through and cured me in an instant when I placed my full trust about friendships in His hands.
While penning the novella, I loved exploring Moira’s navigation of those lost balletic dreams. Her feelings of inadequacy and regret were similar and different to my own in certain ways. It was great seeing her attempts to rise up and conquer the past, to entrust her lost dreams to God so that she could discover the bright future He might have in store for her.
I cherish the things I’ve learned while processing the sorrow of my lost dreams. God has shown me that His plans for my life are greater than my own. He has shown me that dreams are worth aiming for even if they don’t end up fully coming true. He’s helped me turn those lost dreams into motivation for living my life fully for Him. To me, a lost dream now means a fresh opportunity to learn what God has in store for me. It’s a chance to spend more time with Him and learn what the next step in my life’s journey might be. Those moments spent cultivating my relationship with God are greater than any dream I might have to lose along the way.
Be on the watch for the next article in the Dreams series. It will be posted right here on Writing to Inspire next Friday, July 14. The final installment in the trilogy will be posted on Katja H. Labonté’s Little Blossoms for Jesus on July 17.
The Springtime in Surrey Tag
Have you ever participated in a bookish tag on Instagram or Twitter?
They’re pretty fun. You find books that match the categories and post pictures of them to your social media, remembering to use the hashtags for the bookish tag.
We have one for Springtime in Surrey, hosted by Katja H. Labonté, this month. The instructions and original graphic are posted on her blog, Little Blossoms for Jesus.
Feel free to snag the graphic above and get your books set up and photographed (or borrow the book covers from Goodreads like I did) and let us see what books fit the categories for you.
The hashtags to use for this bookish tag are #TheSpringtimeinSurreyTag and #WildBlueWonderPress. We would appreciate it if you also tag our hostess, @KatjaLabonte.
If you participate on Twitter, you could also tag me: @screenwriter87. That way, I’ll get to see your lovely pictures as well.
I’m participating in this bookish tag on that account. Here’s my first entry:
About Springtime in Surrey
This collection of novellas, set in County Surrey, England, features both historical and contemporary stories by new and old authors!
Springtime in Surrey contains the follow eight novellas:
Jesus, I Am Resting by Faith Blum
An orphaned young woman must fight to survive after WWI breaks out, praying her beau doesn’t die on a foreign battlefield like her father did years ago.
The Cottage on the Hill by Andrea Renee Cox
A former ballerina seeks hope amongst her lost dreams, as a sheep farmer tries to bring her joy.
If I Knew You Were Coming by Bailey Gaines
An exhausted mother balances her duties to both her biological and evacuee children with preparation for an unexpected visit from her soldier husband.
Her Heart’s Home by Grace A. Johnson
A destitute woman is pursued by an unexpected suitor and finds blessings from God in the way she least expected.
The Tussie-Mussie by Katja H. Labonté
A disgraced debutante flees to the country, only to meet a reclusive writer who may change her life forever.
The Odd Duck Society by Rachel Leitch
An insecure university student returns to a tea shop after a mysterious letter summons her there.
Fear Not Tomorrows by Erika Mathews
A hard-working sister-of-seven struggles with contentment as her marriage is postponed by her fiancé’s absence.
Courage to Stay by Kellyn Roth
A young bride chases her husband into the forest to rescue him from himself, which goes about as well as one would expect.
Springtime in Surrey may be found at the following links:
About the Authors
Faith Blum is a wife, mom, author, and entrepreneur. She’s published over 30 books, most of them in the Christian Historical Fiction genre. She loves stories because they can teach history, but in a fun way. It is also her way to have a creative outlet while taking care of a household and toddler.
She’s been a proud small town resident her whole life and wouldn’t have it any other way. She lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband, son, and cat, Smokey. She’s blessed to write as a part time career. You can find her books on books on most eBook retailers.
When not writing, you can find her cooking from scratch, reading, figuring out social media content, or spending time with her family. She also loves playing piano for church and being part of the Author Conservatory.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Faith-Blum/e/B00GSPBHW6
Born and raised in north Texas, Andrea Renee Cox is a born-again child of God who enjoys writing stories that inspire, copyediting fiction manuscripts, tutoring middle school students, and going on road trips with her family. Whether she’s working on historical or contemporary, women’s fiction or romance, she uses her skills in research and writing techniques—as well as a large dose of prayer and guidance from God—at every turn in the journey to produce the best story of her ability every single time. Her books may be found on her website, and readers are welcome to follow her blog for the latest updates in her journey.
Bailey Gaines is a Georgia girl who loves history. Through her writing, she hopes to show how God works in all periods of history, bringing healing and helping people know they have value because of their identity as a human created in God’s image. Her stories range from King Richard the Lionheart’s England to 1930s Appalachia to 18th century England to 19th century America.
Bailey is a student of the Author Conservatory, and has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When she’s not writing, she’s helping homeschoolers with their writing or working at an escape room. Her hobbies include playing the piano, sewing, and exploring the world of vintage fashion.
Grace A. Johnson is a Christian fiction authoress, book reviewer, and avid reader. She lives in beautiful (but humid) South Georgia, surrounded by farmland and forestry, with her parents and six younger siblings. She has indie-published the first three novels in a Christian historical romance series, the Daughters of the Seven Seas, and a smattering of short stories and novellas, as well as a devotional. She’s also a marketer and editor who loves helping young authors through her editing business S&J Editors and her small publishing company Sky’s the Limit Press. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook @graceajohnsonauthor or blogging on her website at www.graceajohnson.com. Join her for a virtual cup of tea and a free preview of her debut novel when you sign up for her e-newsletter!
Katja H. Labonté is a Christian, an extreme bibliophile who devours over 365 books in a year, and an exuberant writer with a talent for starting short stories that explode into book series. She is a bilingual French-Canadian and has about a dozen topics she’s excessively passionate about (hint: that’s why she writes). Katja writes both contemporary and historical fiction, as well as non-magical historical and contemporary kingdom fiction, and covers themes of worth, love, peace, and Christian growth. She spends her days enjoying little things, growing in faith, learning life, and loving people. You can follow her life journey, find free books, browse her services, and more on her website and blog.
Rachel Leitch discovered the book of writing when she was seven. She’s been turning pages ever since! She lives her own adventure in northern Indiana, with her parents, three sisters, two brothers, and a dog who thinks he’s the hero of her story. She writes young adult historical fiction with a dash of adventure or a spark of magic. When she’s not hidden away writing, she’s trying to fit all her reads on her shelf in a somewhat organized manner, obsessing over character arcs, drinking chai, daydreaming at the piano, or teaching students to be just as bookish as she is. In all her adventures, she learns how to shine brighter for the Father of Lights. For more bookish ramblings (and a free digital short story involving a magical violin) follow her adventure journal at https://racheljleitch.com/!
Erika Mathews is an author and editor who writes family-friendly Christian living books, both fiction and non-fiction, that demonstrate the power of God through ordinary people, transforming daily life into His resting life. Her works include Truth from Taerna, a kingdom adventure fiction series with deep spiritual themes, Resting Life, a Christian living nonfiction book about finding rest in Jesus in modern life, and a variety of historical fiction and poetry.
Erika lives in the farm country of Minnesota with her husband and children. She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma.
Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century.
Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory and a writing coach. When not building her author career or her indie-author-helping business, Wild Blue Wonder Press, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.
Blog Swap Schedule
Please visit any or all of the following articles on the dates given or after. Feel free to share them with your friends, too.
Note: There was an issue with some of the links being broken recently. I have corrected those now, so all the links should take you to the appropriate articles. Please let me know if you come upon an issue. I am still waiting on some of the links, so please hang in there. They are coming.
Kellyn Roth on Resting Life
Erika Mathews on Prose Worthy
Andrea Renee Cox on Resting Life
Erika Mathews on Writing to Inspire
Launch Team and Blog Tour Sign-Ups
The Launch Team and Blog Tour sign-ups are still open. Would you like to help us celebrate the release of our new collection Springtime in Surrey?
Books to Read
Want to read one of my books? Explore my books page.
Purchasing one of my books directly supports my writing career.
Posting an honest review of one of my books on Goodreads or your favorite retail site helps other readers know whether or not they’d also like to read my books.
Want to read free short stories? Explore my short stories page.