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Dale Cramer Books In Order

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Publication Order of Daughters of Caleb Bender Books

Paradise Valley (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Captive Heart (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Though Mountains Fall (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Sutter's Cross (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bad Ground (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Levi's Will (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Summer of Light (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kiss of the Jewel Bird (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Dale Cramer
Author Dale Cramer was the second child of four born to a runaway Amishman turned soldier and a south Georgia sharecropper’s daughter.

His formative years were split between far-flung military bases, however he inherited his mom’s sense of place. As he recalls chasing honed toads in El Paso, knee-deep snow in the Maryland woods, playing soccer in Mainz, and the way that German shopkeepers and hausfraus would fuss over him and the other kids. However his grandparents’ house in Georgia was home.

Keeping true to his Amish ancestry, he skipped college and went right to work with his hands, earning his living as an electrician, however he’d acquired the habit of reading widely and avidly from early on. The thought wasn’t far from his mind that someday would like to write books.

In the year 1975, he married his childhood friend, Pam Crowe, and during the early years of their marriage the couple enjoyed water skiing, traveling, scuba diving, camping, snow skiing, and flying sailplanes. They would eventually buy a plot of land and build their home out in the country just south of Atlanta. In the year 1990, Ty (their first child) was born, with Dusty arriving two years later. Unlike their parents (Pam was an Army brat, too) Dusty and Ty have lived in the same place their whole lives.

With two toddlers in the house, and at the age of forty, he began asking deeper questions of himself. He’d gone to church his entire life yet never felt a true sense of God’s presence. After months of meditation and study he started feeling like he was called to do something, just not knowing what it was.

He would finally come to understand this genuine commitment means having no reservations, that the answer to the question of ‘Will you do it?’ isn’t ‘What is it?’ That the only acceptable answer is ‘Yes, whatever the question’. This deeper level of commitment brought this very real sense of God’s presence as well as a sense of direction in his life, even though he still didn’t know that direction.

After they kept the boys in daycare for a year they decided to make the necessary sacrifices necessary to provide them with a full time home. The choice altered their lives in ways neither one of them could have predicted when Dale drew the short straw to become a stay-at-home father.

Dale took on small construction projects by night to help make ends meet, and hang onto the remainder of his sanity. As he built an office in the basement of a communications consultant, a debate about labor/management relations turned into this article on mutualism which found its way into an international business magazine. This was Dale’s first article he ever published, and he liked how it felt.

He bought books and studied technique, and started participating in this online writers’ forum, writing during his sons’ nap times and after they had gone to bed at night. Before long his short stories were getting published in literary magazines and he began thinking about writing a novel.

Three storylines vied for his attention when he decided to write a novel finally. His first two options were commercially viable secular tales, and the distant third seemed to be a sort of Christian saga about this broken down biker. His process of picking which book to write got settled by this encounter with his youngest son, God, and a lost set of keys. His sense of direction suddenly became clarified for him. He began working on “Sutter’s Cross”, which was later published in 2003.

“Bad Ground”, his second novel, contains a great deal of material that draws upon his own personal experience as a construction electrician, despite not being autobiographical. Its industrial setting is based on a real water treatment plant located on the Atlanta’s southside. The novel was also chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of 2004’s Best Books.

In the world of Christian inspirational fiction, he’s emerged as a writer of unusual sensitivity and depth. His debut has been praised for establishing itself firmly among the shining lights at the zenith of the resurgence of the genre.

“Paradise Valley” is the first novel in the “Daughters of Caleb Bender” series and was released in 2011. This Amish settlement in Ohio has run afoul of this one law that requires their kids attend public school. Caleb Bender and all his neighbors each get arrested for neglect, with the state ordering the kids get placed in an institution. Among them are Rachel (Caleb’s teen daughter) and Jake Weaver (the boy she’s had her eye on). Romance blooms between them as Rachel helps Jake escape from the children’s home.

Caleb, while searching for a place to relocate the family where no laws apply, discovers there is inexpensive land up for sale down in Mexico, a place known as Paradise Valley. Despite rumors about instability in the wake of the Mexican revolution, this Amish community decides that it is their answer. Since it was Caleb’s idea, he and his family are going to be the pioneers. They’ll send for the others once he has established a foothold and assessed the situation.

Caleb’s daughters get tossed into turmoil, because Rachel does not want to leave Jake behind. Emma, Rachel’s sister, has been courting Levi Mullet, fears that her dreams of marriage are going to be dashed. And Miriam’s never had a beau and is aware there won’t be any prospects for her in Mexico.

Once they’re finally there, they meet this young man and guide, named Domingo, who takes a liking to Miriam, something that her dad wouldn’t ever approve. As Paradise Valley is everything they’d been hoping it would be, it’s not long before the bandits begin giving them some trouble, threatening to upset their fledgling Amish settlement, even putting their lives in danger. But thankfully nobody’s been harmed. So far, at least.

Dale does a fantastic job of building likable, strong characters, and even characters that aren’t so likable. The scenery in this is beautifully described, and are taken easily from the traditional Amish farmland in Ohio to the more dangerous mountain valleys in Mexico.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Dale Cramer

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