Shannon here: Patrick E. Craig shares his salvation story, how he met his wife & how his characters meet in his latest Historical Romance, The Mennonite Queen. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a signed print copy of A Quilt For Jenna from the Apple Creek Dreams series. Deadline: Feb 9th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Patrick:
When I was in my early forties, I had a saving encounter with the Lord Jesus. Up to that point I had lived the life of the prodigal son, wasting my inheritance in a far country called San Francisco. I was a rock musician and lived the life-style that goes along with all that. Then one night in my studio, I had a visual confrontation with the Lord. The next night I was at a Christian friend’s house praying the sinner’s prayer. Within two weeks I was in Bible College. And this is where the story gets good.
In Bible College there was a young lady who was beautiful. She was quiet, spiritual, smart as a whip and full of the Spirit. There was a beauty in her that attracted me but, given my background, I didn’t see how she would ever even notice me. But God had different plans. In the course of the next two years, Judy and I always seemed to end up on the same ministry teams, in the same study groups, and visiting the same convalescent homes and missions. I just thought she was way out of my league, but after awhile she started being friendly and then we became friends, and then, and I’ll never understand how it happened, we were engaged. Last week we celebrated our thirty-first wedding anniversary.
There is a lot of our story in the lives of the two protagonists in my latest book, The Mennonite Queen. Johan Hirschberg is a stable boy, poor, dirty, and a commoner. Isabella Jagiellon is the beautiful daughter of Sigismund, King of Poland. Here is how they meet.
Excerpt from The Mennonite Queen by Patrick E. Craig:
The Hirschbergs soon settled into a routine in their new city. Samuel worked in the blacksmith shop at the castle, shoeing horses and tending the forge. Noah hired Johan to muck the stalls and feed and care for the many fine animals that filled the stables. Johan had a natural love for horses so he didn’t mind the work. He developed a good rapport with the others who tended the king’s mounts and quickly learned the Polish language. One day, soon after they arrived and just when he was thinking life in Krakow might be tolerable, he walked around a corner, a full manure bucket in each hand, and crashed into a young girl, knocking her down and splattering her dress. Johan set the buckets down and reached to help her, but she rose on her own, her eyes flashing fire.
“You ignorant stable boy!” She spat the words at him. “Look what you’ve done to my dress. Why don’t you watch where you are going?”
“I’m very sorry.” he ducked his head. “I should have been watching.”
The girl’s face was red, and she trembled from head to toe. “Do you know who I am?”
“No, I don’t.” Johan smiled. “I’m new here. I do not know you.” Then a memory came to him of a girl watching out a window on the day they arrived.
“Wait! Yes, I know you. You’re the peeking girl.”
The girl’s face turned even redder, and she pulled herself to her full height, chin lifted. She looked to be about thirteen. “I am not ‘the peeking girl!’ I am Princess Isabella, daughter of the king. You have dared to soil my person with your filth, and then you presumed to touch me. You are a filthy, ignorant, disgusting stable boy, and you will beg my pardon, now.”
He stepped back. “I beg Your Majesty’s pardon for deigning to touch your most sacred person.”
You silly spoiled creature…
“And I have soiled your wonderful dress. For that, I am deeply repentant.” He bowed low. “If you cannot forgive me, Your Highness, I don’t know how my life will be worth living.” He straightened, a smile tugging at his lips.
You are beautiful though…
“Ooh, you, you…” Isabella raised her hand to slap him, but Johan caught her wrist and stared down into her eyes without speaking.
Isabella struggled for a moment and then burst into tears. Wrenching her hand away, she turned and ran back the way she had come.
The unfortunate meeting with the princess concerned Johan, but no one at the stable approached him regarding the matter and so nothing came of the incident. But Johan remembered the collision with the imperious young woman for two reasons—the sting of her insults, and her beauty. She was the loveliest girl he had ever seen.
End of Excerpt
Isabella and Johan end up having a great adventure together, he a commoner, she a princess. (You can read about it in The Mennonite Queen, coming April 2019.) And when I met my wife, Judy, it was pretty much the same thing—I was a commoner and she was like a princess. But we have had a great adventure anyway. You never know where you will find a bride.
About Patrick: Patrick E. Craig is a traditionally published/independent author. In 2013, Harvest House Publishers published his Apple Creek Dreams series. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and his own imprint, P&J Publishing, published the first book in the series, The Amish Heiress, in 2015. Heiress remained on the Amazon Top 100 best sellers list for seven months in two categories. The Amish Princess was released in 2016, enjoyed the same type of success, and will be followed by The Mennonite Queen in April, 2019.
In 2017 Harlequin purchased the print rights for The Amish Heiress for their Walmart Amish series. It will be released under the Love Inspired imprint in April 2019. Recently Patrick obtained the rights to the Apple Creek Dreams series and re-released it through P&J Publishing. The series includes A Quilt For Jenna, The Road Home, and Jenny’s Choice. All his books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major retailers. Patrick and his wife, Judy, make their home in Idaho. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.
About the book – The Mennonite Queen: Princess Isabella has been raised to a life of great wealth and leisure in the Polish Royal Court. She is destined to marry a king. But fate or divine providence intervenes when she meets Johan Hirschberg, the young Anabaptist stable-hand who works for her father. His strength, kindness, and faith win her heart and together they flee to the city of Münster, Germany, where a great revolution is underway. The Anabaptists, under Jan Matthys, have taken over the city and declared it the Kingdom of God on earth. Isabella and Johann are married and Johann joins in the revolution.
But the violence and the excesses and sins of the leaders soon turn him away. The city is surrounded by the troops of the Catholic Bishop Prince, Franz von Waldek, who has been paid by Isabella’s father to return the princess at all costs. Isabella and Johann and their infant son manage to escape and they take refuge with Menno Simons, a Catholic priest who is struggling to find his own spiritual path. He teaches Johan and Isabella the non-violent way and they join him to spread the word. But just as their mission is gathering converts to a new church they are betrayed and captured by von Waldek, and Isabella must make a choice that will change the course of European history.
The Mennonite Queen is the third book in The Paradise Chronicles Series. It will be released in April, 2019. The other two books in the Series are The Amish Heiress and The Amish Princess.
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: I’ve learned many things in thirty-one years together with Judy and I think I’ve discovered the secret to a happy marriage. I’ll share it with you if you answer this question: What do you think is the one thing that you need to do to keep a marriage together? If you are single, you can answer, too.
Come back Feb 1st for Leeann Betts!