Tuesday, June 26, 2007
No Greater Loss by Diane Craver
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As the youngest in the family growing up on a farm outside of Findlay, Ohio, Diane Craver often acted out characters from her own stories in the backyard. In high school she was the student sitting in class with a novel hidden in front of her propped up textbook. Her passion for reading novels had to be put on hold during her college years at Ohio State University with working part-time on campus and being a full-time student. Before embarking on her writing career, she was a school teacher and play director.
After watching the original movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, young Diane decided then and there, she someday wanted a large family. By the time she married Tom, the love of her life, she decided maybe six children was a better number than twelve. She enjoys her life in southwestern Ohio with her husband and six children. Two daughters, Christina and April, live away from home with successful careers. Another two children, Bartholomew and Emily, are attending college. Life is never boring with two daughters, Sara and Amanda, born with Down syndrome living at home. Diane’s husband of thirty-one years is very supportive of her writing career, as well as her awesome children.
Diane writes emotional reads that touch your heart. To learn more about Diane and her books, please visit www.dianecraver.com and her blog: www.dianecraver.com/blog.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Can a new love heal a wounded heart?
Dr. Jennifer Hunter is so stunned by her past that she's unable to move on with her life. After losing her young husband and baby son fifteen years ago she's determined never to marry again. Losing loved ones is just too painful.
A friend introduces Jennifer to Luke Brunsman and suggests she hire him to renovate her antique farmhouse. Instantly attracted to Luke, she refuses the widowed contractor's help. But after she gets injured working on a fireplace, she gives in.
Luke clearly wants more than a business relationship, and Jennifer guards her heart. His kisses make her yearn for a future once denied her. Luke falls in love with her but finds tearing down the walls in Jennifer's house is easier than breaking through her protective shell.
When Dr. Hunter's radio talk show catches the attention of a vengeful arsonist, Luke and Jennifer must overcome the shadows of the past and find the courage to love again.
She smelled oil.
She opened her eyes for a second, trying to remember what woke her. It was such a nice dream. She wanted to dream again about her handsome husband and adorable baby. She drifted back to sleep.
Jennifer looked down to see why Christopher had stopped nursing. “Look at this baby smiling.”
“Hey, he’s a smart boy and knows he’d better grin at the lady who has the two delicious jugs of milk.” Brad laughed as he looked at his son. “I need to see my mother before she flies home. I thought I’d go see her and my great-aunt tonight.”
“Tell your mom I hope her cold’s better.”
“I might be a little late. I’ll take the cycle in case you need the car.” He bent down and kissed Christopher and Jennifer. His eyes filled with deep tenderness, and he said, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Jennifer and Brad kissed passionately.
She squirmed under the covers, shifting to her side, and threw her arm on top of the bedspread.
Brad roared off into the rainy night on his motorcycle with his hair blowing in the wind.
“Jennifer,” he screamed when he crossed the center line and hit the oncoming car.
“Jennifer, wake up.” Luke shook her, trying to get her to respond.
She opened her eyes, surprised to see him. “What’s wrong?”
“You overslept for one thing, but I smell oil. I’m going to go outside and check the oil line.”
She sat up. “I guess I forgot to set my alarm last night. I thought in my dream I smelled smoke. I remember vaguely that I woke up, but I must have gone back to sleep.”
“Must have been some dream.”
“Anytime, ma’am. Brunsman Construction gives twenty-four hour service.” He headed for the door, but turned to look at her again. “I did knock, but when you didn’t answer, I used the key you gave me.”
“That’s good.” She’d given him a key last night since he wanted to get started on her house as soon as possible.
While he checked the outdoor oil tank and line, she took a quick shower. As she stepped out of the stall, she grabbed a towel. Why had she forgotten to check her clock last night? Waking up to Luke in her bedroom had been a shock. Dressing in a pair of black pants, red pullover top and black jacket, she decided breakfast would have to wait. She couldn’t believe she’d forgotten to set her alarm.
Downstairs in the bathroom, she was putting the finishing touches on her hair when she heard Luke say, “The oil line froze. I guess from the freezing rain and cold temperatures. There’s special antifreeze you can add to the oil in cold weather.”
She walked into the living room carrying her briefcase. “I wish there was enough space to install the tank in the cellar.”
“The tank could be buried underground.” He smiled and winked. “Ready, Sleeping Beauty?”
Jennifer nodded, noticing that he seemed very pleased with himself…like he knew something she didn’t. She wondered if he’d woken her with a kiss. Surely she would realize it if he had. She remembered kissing Brad in her dream, but when she opened her eyes, Luke’s face was close to hers. If he had kissed her, she knew one thing for sure—it was a lover’s kiss. No doubt about the type. Her anxiety level rose. They were just friends, not lovers. Then why did she remember enjoying the kiss?
Once in the car and driving on State Route 50, she asked Luke to stop at Harry’s Market. On Mondays, Harry’s wife, Donna, baked blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls.
When they opened the store door, the aroma of freshly baked goods and coffee was in the air. Luke went instantly to the coffeepot.
“Good morning, Harry. It smells wonderful in here,” Jennifer said.
“Where have you been all weekend?” Harry demanded.
“Did you miss me?”
“Yeah, I saved a DVD for you that I knew you wanted to see. You usually stop in on Saturday night.”
She held up her bandaged hand. “I cut my hand when I tried to open the fireplace. Luke came to my rescue and took me to the hospital. I had to get stitches.”
Harry glanced at Luke carrying two cups of coffee and said, “I guess I gave you good directions to Jennifer’s house.”
Luke set the coffee on the counter. “It only takes me six minutes to drive to her house.” With a bright smile, he said, “Jennifer even let me cook her dinner at my place Saturday night, and yesterday she rooted for the Wolfhounds with some powerful whistling.”
Harry crossed his arms. “Glad you weren’t living like an old lady for once.”
She put her hand on her hip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Holed up in that old house every weekend all by yourself just isn’t healthy. Shoot, senior citizens have more fun than you.”
“Harry, you’re one to talk. You practically live in this store. You never get out.”
“That’s different.” He took a deep breath and clasped her hand. “Doc, you’re a great psychologist but you need to have your own personal life, too. I think you live too much by your head and not your heart. I’m just telling you because I love you like a daughter.”
“You’re an interfering man, Harry Jones, but you have the biggest heart in the world and I know what you’re saying. Sometimes you do what you need to do to survive in life. And giving totally to my patients is what I have to do.” She leaned over the counter and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “And I love you, too.”
Luke and Jennifer munched on muffins as they drove through the small town of Newtown on the way to Cincinnati. He glanced at Jennifer for a second. “It’s great having company while I drive to work.”
She chewed on her lip. Was it a good time to mention his kiss? Or should she ignore what had happened in her bedroom.
After a few minutes of silence, Luke glanced at Jennifer. “What’s wrong?”
She didn’t answer. Should she ask him?
“Don’t tell me you’ve changed your mind about me doing the remodeling.”
“Of course not. You’re the man I want for the job.” She folded her muffin wrapper and pressed it with her fingers before throwing it in a bag. “Before you woke me this morning, did you kiss me? And I don’t mean a little peck on the cheek type of kiss.”
Luke ignored the question.
Keeping her eyes on him, she asked again, “Did you kiss me this morning?”
He turned into the parking lot behind her office building and gave her a direct look. “Guilty on both counts.”
“I kissed you and it was definitely not a brotherly kiss.” He grinned. “Enjoyable is how I’d describe it.”
Jennifer clenched her fists in her lap. “Luke, I need to keep our relationship strictly on a friendly business basis.”
“If I kiss you, I cross the line of a business working relationship.” He gently held her hand. “If I hold your hand, do I also cross the line?”
“I just know kissing makes me uncomfortable.”
“Are hugs acceptable?”
“Kissing, touching, and et cetera leads to deeper feelings…more intimacy.” The warmth of his hand soaked into her skin, but she didn’t want to pull away.
“You kissed me back.”
“I thought I was kissing Brad. In my dream we kissed, he left on his cycle, and he called my name before he crashed. I think he actually did call my name before he died. I woke close to two a.m. and heard him calling me.” She closed her eyes for a second, remembering. “I learned later that was around the time the car hit him.”
“I’m sorry.” Luke squeezed her hand. “At least you know his last thought was of you.”
She was quiet. She’d always wondered if, in his final moments, Brad might have been depressed about all the surgeries Christopher would require. Brad hadn’t liked to be around ill people, and he’d been worried about Christopher suffering. Her head felt heavy so she rubbed her forehead. After several seconds, she glanced at Luke and unfastened her seat belt. “I better go.”
“I’d like to see your office.”
“Sure.” She grabbed her briefcase, wanting to ask him something but afraid to.
He ran his fingers through his hair. “Okay, Doc. I can tell by your face, you want to say something else.”
“Why did you kiss me?”
“It’s the appropriate way to wake up a Sleeping Beauty.”
His answer didn’t relieve her anxiety. “I know you’re grieving, and I thought maybe you were remembering Cassie.”
He brushed his index finger across her bottom lip. “I wasn’t thinking of Cassie when I kissed you.”
She exhaled a deep breath and decided to get off the kissing topic. “Come on. I’ll show you my office.”
Why did you become a writer?
I’ve always loved to write and I’m definitely the happiest when I write. Even when a pesky character and parts of the story line give me a rough time, I still enjoy creating a new book. Also a writing career gives me the flexibility I need in meeting my family’s needs.
Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Ever since I was small, I’ve enjoyed writing. When I was in junior high, I wrote a few stories for fun and also wrote poetry. In high school, I was yearbook editor my senior year. Then in college my roommate and I started writing about our adventures, but we never finished the book. After I married and started a family, I no longer taught full-time. I began writing nonfiction when our oldest daughter was a toddler. I had several magazine articles published by the time I wrote a special needs book since we were blessed with two daughters born with Down syndrome. I also wrote a “creative nonfiction” book, The Christmas of 1957, which is about how a little girl’s faith helps her father in overcoming a disability. It’s based on a true event from my childhood. Around 1995, I attended a romance writing conference in Cincinnati and it was sponsored by the Ohio Valley Romance Writers. I met many published authors and their enthusiasm was contagious. I decided to start writing fiction. I loved it but I got off to a slow start with six children at home.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I love being published. When I received three contracts close together for my inspirational romance, chick-lit mystery and mainstream, it was an answer to my prayer that someday I’d get published. And of course, I love the freedom writing gives me and that I can work at home instead of having to drive to work daily. Another cool thing about being an author is getting to research the careers of my characters.
I dislike waiting until December to receive my first royalty check from my print sales. I keep wondering how I’m doing as a newly published fiction writer.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I’ve tried writing so many words a day as a goal but I’m having more success thinking in terms of pages and chapters.
I don’t feel like I have very much personal time because I’ve had three books releasing so close together. I feel like I’m in front of the computer all the time with editing, doing online chats, writing entries for my blog, and mailing out promo items. Then there’s housework, laundry and so many other things to do. I did start a new book this spring. I don’t have a title yet and it’s about three sisters. While writing this book, I’m taking breaks to do other things. I like to walk, go for a bike ride with my daughter Amanda, swim with my daughters and son, watch movies, or read.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
I think of the character first with an interesting conflict. For a few days dialogue, scenes, setting and characters parade across my mind before I write anything down. When I start writing, I put the big scenes down before even starting the first few pages. My characters tend to take over so I don’t make a detailed outline.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I write inspirational romance, chick-lit mystery and mainstream.
I like to write wholesome books that are emotional reads filled with love and humor. Also my books are written with an inspirational quality. I like to integrate family into my romantic plots.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I use some real-life situations for my characters but definitely also use imagination to mold them into unique people. An exception is in A Fiery Secret. The main character, Catherine Steel, is a feisty investigative reporter and is based loosely on my daughter Christina. A secondary character, Miranda, was inspired by my daughter Amanda. She is a vivacious seventeen-year-old and brings great joy to our family. By the way, Amanda was born with Down syndrome. I think it’s important to show people with disabilities in a positive light. The character Miranda also has Down syndrome, works in a coffeehouse and has a boyfriend.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
That’s a tough question because I like several of them a lot. But Kimberly Collins is one of my favorite characters I’ve written. She’s a fashion buyer in my mainstream, Never the Same and in the beginning she is such a workaholic and makes detailed daily plans. Her whole life changes when she survives a plane crash. Before the plane crashes and death is a real possibility, Kim realizes what really matters in life.
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I’d like them to fall in love with my characters and to enjoy living in their world while reading about them. And hopefully, get something personal out of my books that will make their lives richer.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Follow your heart and believe in yourself!
You have to be persistent and develop a thick skin when it comes to rejections. Remember this is a subjective business so don’t get discouraged. I’d suggest finishing your book before querying publishers and agents. I had half of a novel done when I queried an agent and expected her to ask for a partial first which would give me plenty of time to finish it. Instead, I heard immediately from her and she requested the whole manuscript. It was very stressful trying to finish it and get it to her as quickly as possible. When you are established as a published author, you will be able to submit a partial manuscript to your agent or editor before completing it.
What are you reading right now?
Mary Jane Clark’s suspense novel, When Day Breaks
If you could be anyone or anything that you wanted, who or what would you be?
I can’t think of anyone I’d really like to be, but I’d definitely like to be thinner. LOL I’m trying to lose weight again so I guess that’s on my mind. I’d like to be better at sports. I’m the person playing volleyball who can’t get the blasted ball over the net. Fortunately, my children don’t take after me and are athletic.
5 hearts: Ms. Diane Craver presents a fascinating story about a couple who have secrets needing to be revealed, a passion that needs to be explored, and an incredible ending that is not expected. The end result may be anticipated, but the myriad of circumstances which the couple encounter, together and alone, just adds to the incredibility of this couple finding each other. I heartedly recommend this book to anyone. Don’t allow the “inspirational” category to mark this off your list; there is plenty of loving interaction to hold your interest! This is definitely a keeper!”
- Reviewer: Brenda Talley, June 18, 2007
4 cups: “This is a wonderful inspirational tale that manages to get the message across without getting too sentimental. There is a very good romance here with elements of suspense. The characters are very real and the reader will get to know them well as the book progresses… This one is definitely worth reading.”
— Maura, Coffee Time Romance
No Greater Loss by Diane Craver
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Publication Date: February 20, 2007
$12.32 from Amazon
Purchase "No Greater Loss" by Diane Craver HERE!!