Category Archives: Annie Spruce

A Little Light

Oh! This came across my newsfeed today and it makes my heart smile.

 

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We ADORE Kate! We positvely cherished The Tale of Despereaux. Our tattered copy rests lovingly on our shelf of favorites.

 

A friend of mine, Merci, well, she went and drove hours through the mountains this past spring to meet our literary hero, and she took a copy of Annie Spruce with her . MY book, my wee little book, it went straight from my friend’s delivering hands into those of one of our favorite authors in all the world…I still get warm chills all over to think of it…and one of the sweetest things tacked to my bulletin board is a thank-you note postcard handwritten to our family from Ms. Kate herself.

She is so right! Stories ARE light. That is exactly why I wrote and published Annie Spruce. I wanted our little story of God’s goodness and light to be out and shining it’s sweet little light in this world that can be so very dark at times.

 

“Stories are light.”

 

Make sure to share yours, friend! This world needs your shine!

 

Have a great week!

Thankful

A year ago today, I was selling copies of ‪#‎AnnieSpruce‬ that had JUST come in the mail. It was an exciting time for our little family. I can’t say that we’ve sold a lot of books by the big book seller’s standards, but I can say that I’m SO thankful that we followed through on the little heart-push we had to publish the sweet little story of our dog and how God sent her to us. I just know that every single copy has gone exactly where it needed to and that hearts were blessed and will continue to be blessed, by Annie and her sorrowfully sweet journey to our home.

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Every time I give someone a book, or sell the occasional copy here or there, I love the connection I instantly have with the person whose hands I place it in. That person is getting a peek into my heart. He is getting a glimpse into our world. She is getting a front-row seat into the faith of our family.

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And when I hear back from them, or see their smile, enjoy a warm handshake or hug, I’m getting a look right back into theirs.

Thankful for each and every one of you who checks in now and then here on my little writer’s page. I’m praying you all are blessed this year with the grace and knowledge of Christ and the love of family and friends.

From our home to yours and with big love from my crew and Annie Spruce, Happy Thanksgiving!

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SCORRRRE!

You guys.

One of the hardest things I’ve found as an emerging author is promoting your story without sounding like you’re tooting your own horn.

Publishing is SO MUCH promotion and marketing and that is the area that is hard for me, timewise, and modesty wise.

I’ve just been content to let Annie’s story speak for itself without a lot of hubub from me.

And that is probably why I haven’t sold a lot of books. ❤

BUT.

This was in my inbox today.

I know you all love me and you love Annie too.

So I had to share:

Judge’s Commentary, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition

“Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a “0” is used in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual, would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal and may therefore receive a “0”.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*:

I found it surprising to read with so much interest about one dog, Barley, only to realize that this book focuses on another dog, Annie. The author skill in engaging the reader is that good! The family that adopts both dogs is clearly a dog family, people who understand that dogs are God’s creatures—the smartest and loyal creatures humans could ask for. So while Barley won my heart right off with his adamant chewing of all walls, wood and obstacles that prevented him from being on road trips with the family, Annie’s incredible stoicism and heart had me shaking my head in wonder. I like the author’s voice, for she knows how to introduce elements into a scene and transition from one moment to the next in such a way as to get the most impact. I was distressed that Barley was not tolerated by Annie when she became pregnant, but I loved what Rankin’s young son said about that. The author has a gift for finding exactly the right amount of tenderness or humor, oftentimes both, in the way she words her sentences. It was hard to read about Tessie/Annie’s owner being in jail and then reconnecting with the Rankin family and Annie without crying. There are dog people who will love this book, and it should be marketed in places where they will discover it.

-Judge, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

I don’t think I won the contest.

But this sure was good to read today.

It made me proud.

And I think it makes Annie pretty proud too.

Have a great weekend friends. I hope you receive some good news today too!

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Thank you at a Parade

I had the joy and the pleasure of meeting Mr. Billy Graham’s nurse today at our little small town parade. She was with one of my friends who adopted one of Annie’s pups all those years ago. She was a beautiful and gentle southern woman who cares for a great man and I was so very honored to meet her.

We talked chickens.

We took pictures.

I would’ve loved to sit with her over coffee.

Naturally, I had to give her a copy of Annie Spruce to read on her flight home. I carry a few in my truck and as I signed it for her, she said “Mr. Graham will love this. He loves animals.”

How many souls has that beloved man reached for the Kingdom of God? How many has he clasped hands with and escorted onto Christ’s path?

He has counseled and prayed with presidents.

He was a hero to my grandparents.

All day since…I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around the magnitude.

Reviews, Sales, and Giveaways

Now that the school year is over, and before we get too far into next year’s planning, I’m spending a bit of our summer working to get the story of Annie out there and to drum up some book reviews.

Best way to do that is with a big sale and some giveaways. 🙂

Annie Spruce is now on sale through the end of July…$3.99 for Kindle on Amazon, and I have a giveaway currently running on Goodreads. If you are interested in reading and reviewing Annie Spruce, The Dog That Didn’t Die, I’d love to send you a copy today.

Happy reading and Happy Summer!

Cassandra
🙂

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Annie Spruce, The Dog That Didn't Die by Cassandra Rankin

Annie Spruce, The Dog That Didn’t Die

by Cassandra Rankin

Giveaway ends July 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Enter Giveaway

Our Hard Working, Long and Sunny Week in Which We Made New Friends and Grew Bolder but Didn’t Get to Visit with Kate DiCamillo

I haven’t had much time to write this week.

Shift work…runaway horses…new chicks on the farm…enough barnyard chores for a week’s worth of sunburn…

…it’s been a long week.

It’s been a great week, but a long week.

I bought a book last week and it reminded me to be bold.

So this week I’m trying.

But squished in next to trying to be being bold, I had to be productive and now, at the end of it, my arms are red, my nose is peeling, my barns are clean, and there’s a ton of dirt under my fingernails.

And the week has taught me all over again that every season brings new chores and new changes and new jobs and new critters.

Like the mare.

She showed up at my friend’s house a couple streets over. They managed to get her over to our place after she’d had a long morning on the run. There was a near deathly mishap when her owner came to pick her up and was careless and almost killed her, and I decided to be bold that day and I said No.

I won’t let this animal take another step.

I felt the boldness inside of me and it might have been sleeping but I remember now that it’s there and it roars loudly and when I heard it I hooked the lead rope onto the mare’s halter and I turned her around and I walked her back to my farm.

I learned that I really am a seasoned animal person now. A farmer. A rancher. Whatever you want to call it, one who is a caretaker of animals wants what’s best for the critter even when it might be inconvenient or hard or expensive or make you walk a bit.

This horse taught me that. This place has taught me that. It felt good. It felt right.

It felt bold.

And now the mare is hanging out with us for a while.

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One of our favorite authors in all the world made the trek to Alaska and we planned the trip through the mountain pass to go stand in line and shake her hand.

But when the mare came, we needed to change our plans. We altered the route of our day and one of my kids looked sad. She said Mama, I was kinda lookin forward to shakin Kate’s hand.

And truth be known, I was probably looking forward to it even more than she was because Kate knows how to put words on paper that dance together and doesn’t every writer strive for that and want to look someone in the eye who can do that and say good job?

You do it right and you live the words and you do it well and I appreciate all you do because that’s what I try to do too, and because we both devote ourselves to trying…to needing…to having to put down the lives and the love on paper…I feel connected to you and in awe of you and in kinship with you…all at the same time.

That’s what my handshake was going to say.

But since the mare was here and needed us, we instead did what writers will do and we sent words strewn out on paper, and of course a book signed with shaky hands.

I felt insecure.

Because what do you write to your hero who writes?

But I felt bold too.

Because getting past the scared and giving your hero the best of what you’ve made?

That made me use my moxie.

Our friend who’d also been planning, she packed it along with her and she hand-delivered it and she texted me and there it all was, in Kate’s hand…

And now she feels like a new old friend.

So we checked out every one of her books we could find at the library and we howled over the adventures of Louise and Monique and we spent time with Kate on this side of the pass.

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And then, last but not least, rounding out our new friends for the week, came the chicks. Fuzzy yellow, some brown, one black, little, peeping, baby chicks and I don’t think I’ll EVER get over how cute these things are when they’re fresh out of the egg.

There’s something about baby chickens that reminds me every time how fragile and delicate life is.

But how strong and resilient that life within every creature is too.

Bold.

These babies peck their way out of their shell when it’s time.

They survive the first awkward, gangly moments, live through being scooped up and plopped into a box with dozens of others like them to travel long distances at varying degrees of temperature and then they hit the feed stores just learning how to walk while they go on to practice eating, drinking, pecking and peeping their way up to the point of their death.

We bring them home and marvel at their smallness.

And how sturdy and confidently they stand.

How bold they are.

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These two, in honor of Kate…in honor of our week…in honor of boldness…

…we named these two Louise and Monique.

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Is there someone you’d like to befriend or who may need your care or love this week? Who are you loving on YOUR crazy little farm? How will you love them boldly?

Thanks for visiting. I’m hoping your upcoming week is a blessed and bold one.

 

 

 

The Loser Who Won

So I lost the contest that I entered.

But I knew that already.

The finalists’ list was published a month ago and Annie Spruce wasn’t on it.

What I didn’t know though, was that the judges for the 1,300+ book entries were going to provide each contestant feedback on their book.

As one of the country’s top-rated contests for indie authors, having feedback from THESE judges…

…that’s GOLD.

So when the unexpected email slid into the inbox while I puttered around online…

…and the subject line said JUDGING FORMS…

…I had to send the kids out of the room.

In one of the judge’s opinions, our gal Annie Spruce didn’t do so hot in the cover design segment.

The colors on the cover were too dull for a survival story, the comment read.

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Another comment said some of the photos were too dark.

And this is my first official report card on the book and my friends love it and my kids love it and my people love it, but this…

…this is JUDGE FEEDBACK and I read it quietly and then I go back and read all six pages again and then I bit my lip and I choked a little.

Because I wasn’t prepared for this part.

Amidst the scores of sixes and sevens and eights, there it is…

…a two-sheet set from the judges in the Inspirational Category and there they all are, nines and tens and then…

“Enjoyable book with a heart-warming story.”

“Lovely story. Positive values.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed this little book. The writer has done a lovely job of telling a sweet, heartwarming, charming story…I would definitely encourage this author to keep writing. She has a gift for storytelling.”

And I felt silly sitting there because by this time my husband had come in and was reading over my shoulder but here they came anyway, hot surprising tears and I cried like I cried when I came out of surgery last year and there he was in the recovery room and he gave me a beautiful new pair of earrings all wrapped up in a pretty box with a shiny ribbon around it and a sweet little poem attached to it that I still carry in my purse.

And I cried like I cried the first time I ever wrote words from my heart that I didn’t know had been long in the making and were caressed and kissed tenderly by years and children and love and God.

And I cried like I’m crying right now just thinking of it all over again because Annie Spruce didn’t win diddly squat in the contest but she won my heart and she won our family’s love and she won my daughter’s trust in the Lord and because of that…

…that judge gave me all nines and tens.

I can change the cover someday if I want to.

I can run another punctuation edit if I have to.

But that judge gave me what I needed to hear.

My writing is solid.

My words are true.

This high-school graduate knows when a soul needs a good story that the thing to do is just to sit down and put it down.

And to bring all that love and all those kisses and all that gentle whispering from the One who created the heart that pumps it out.

That judge told me that when God puts a story in you, you have a job to share it with the world and when you do…

…it’s a beautiful thing.

That judge told me just what my cherished teacher told me all those years ago.

Share the good.

Keep going.

Just.keep.writing.

When you’ve been given…it’s up to you to share.

My name isn’t on that winner’s list.

Neither is Annie’s.

But today, we… me, and my dog…

…we’re kinda like winners.

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