Shannon here: Contemporary romance author, JoAnn Durgin shares her real life romance and a chance to win a copy of Awakening. Comment on any post dated June 13 – 17 for a chance to win. Deadline: 11:59 pm central time, June 18. Here’s JoAnn:
The First (Blind) Date…
During the heyday of the TV show, Dallas, I lived and worked in Big D, supposedly in the same downtown skyscraper as dastardly J.R. Ewing. I can say I’ve shared carrots with Larry Hagman (he’d come out of his trailer and sit with us lowly office workers brown-bagging it for lunch), smiled in the eyes of handsome Patrick Duffy, learned to ride a horse near Southfork Ranch, watched Charlene Tilton ice skate at the Galleria, served as an extra for a scene filmed with Linda Gray and Howard Keel, and gawked at Priscilla Presley and her then-beau, Julio Iglesias. Those were the days… Little did I know my husband-to-be was only a few blocks away, a student at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) who worked part-time at the school bookstore, answered to J.D., wore a Stetson and cowboy boots and prayed for the Lord to bring him a good Christian girl.
Working for a large law firm, I often used a courier service called Wingtip Couriers. One girl who worked at Wingtip Couriers had such a sweet voice, and we became friendly, recognizing the other’s voice immediately. A Christian neighbor, Margaret, formed a “Free to be Thin” weight loss/Bible study group (which amuses me now since none of us were overweight). Most Saturday mornings, Margaret and I went to a popular breakfast spot, The Vickery Feed Store. On one of those mornings, I was with Margaret when a friendly blonde walked over to say hello. As soon as I heard the voice, I knew it was my friend Susan from Wingtip Couriers. Not long after, plans were made for a Saturday evening dinner. I wasn’t dating anyone at the time and begged off, telling them I didn’t want to be the proverbial “fifth wheel.” I should have known they wouldn’t let it alone.
What I didn’t know until later was that my new friend, Susan, and her boyfriend (now husband), Marshall, both prayed – independent of the other – asking the Lord which one of the Seminary men they could introduce to me for our night out. Both came up with the same name: Jim Durgin (a/k/a J.D.). Add in the fact that Jim had a blind date with the runner-up to the Miss Texas pageant (and Miss Texas contestants are always gorgeous, you know) a few weeks before and had sworn off blind dates forever (she hadn’t given him the time of day and scooted off for another date). To this day, I’m not really sure what Susan and Marshall told Jim, and being the kind soul he is, probably felt pity for the poor, dateless girl. But without a doubt, the Lord orchestrated our meeting.
We hit it off and found we had much in common, and Jim and I parted company with the others and spent three hours in conversation that evening, getting to know one another. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but Jim didn’t think I was the girl he thought he’d been looking for in terms of a future mate. Still, he asked me to be his date for a big DTS banquet. When he showed up on my doorstep in his midnight blue tux, all six foot two of him, with his dark, wavy hair and mustache, I melted a little. He apologized profusely for the station wagon he drove. It had one of those little triangular shaped windows, but it was missing. And the car had a bit of a leak, sending fumes through the open window. He was so humble and unassuming when he invited me to scoot across the seat closer to him (in order to avoid breathing in the fumes, you understand). The rest of the evening was spent among most of the married students, answering questions like, “So, how long have you been dating?” When I heard Jim sing in the men’s chorus with his gorgeous tenor, my heart melted a little more.
Those who might have read my debut novel, Awakening, will know about my hero Sam’s white Volvo station wagon. Many of the events in Awakening parallel my love story with Jim, and his station wagon was the model for the infamous “bomb” (the heroine Lexa’s term in the book). Sam’s strength of character and unwavering faith is based on Jim, and the resilience and resourceful of his heroine, Lexa, is based on yours truly (and admittedly, the stubbornness). In the next post, I’ll share about my first kiss with Jim. It’s precious and very unusual in this day and age, and I hope you’ll return to read
Abou JoAnn: A full-time paralegal, JoAnn lives in southern Indiana with her husband, Jim, and their three children. She is a member of the ACFW and its Indiana chapter, as well as the Romance Writers of America. Awakening is her debut novel, and the follow-up, Second Time Around, will be released this summer. She was a finalist in the long contemporary romance category of the 2010 RWA/FHL Touched by Love contest, and is a regular blog contributor with Hoosier Ink and Reflections in Hindsight. JoAnn is also an active member of the My Book Therapy Voices where she has won or placed in several of their quarterly Flash Fiction contests. Above all, she loves to share the redeeming love of Christ through her stories. Visit her at www.joanndurgin.com. She’d love to hear from you!
About the book: Lexa Clarke signs up for a short-term summer assignment in San Antonio with TeamWork Missions, hoping to make a difference in the world. TeamWork director Sam Lewis has a job to do and can’t afford to be distracted by the petite, feisty blonde. But when she tumbles into his arms from the top of a house they’re rebuilding, Sam suspects his life will never be the same. A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. A combustible combination.
Come back June 15th for the rest of JoAnn’s story.