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Writing a novel had always been a far-off goal for Crystal Dixon, whose schedule was generally too jammed to find time for creative writing.
Working full-time, it s very easy to get very immersed in your career, she said.
Then last year Ms. Dixon found herself with more time on her hands than she had ever imagined.
In a move that came as a shock to her, the University of Toledo fired her from an administrative job over a column she wrote for the Toledo Free Press asserting that, according to her religious beliefs, homosexuality is a choice that carries consequences.
I certainly expected some feedback, normal and attendant to editorials, but to lose my job? I absolutely did not [expect it], she said.
Ms. Dixon, who was working as interim associate vice president of human resources when she was fired, is suing the university. The case is pending before the U.S. District Court in Toledo.
In the weeks and months that followed her highly publicized firing and subsequent legal challenge, Ms. Dixon decided to tackle that dream of writing a novel.
In between looking for a new job and expanding her career as a business consultant, motivational speaker, and Mary Kay cosmetics representative, Ms. Dixon began writing a book that was inspired by a bad dating experience.
Mr. Wonderful turned out once again to definitely be Mr. Wrong, she said.
She wanted to take that negative experience and turn it into something positive.
I figured I would write my own story with a happy ending, Ms. Dixon said.
Her novel, Destiny s Time, is about 120 pages long and was written in 45 days. The first publisher she contacted, Tate Publishing & Enterprises in Oklahoma, offered her a contract.
The novel tells the story of Yvonne Sinclair, a woman whose career in corporate America has been very successful, but who yearns for something entirely different.
In her heart, she really wants to launch her own interior decorating business, Ms. Dixon said.
The author throws in a romantic interest, plus some plot twists that include a stalker, tragedy, and divine justice.
Underlying the story of Destiny s Time is a Christian worldview, with a goal of inspiring and uplifting readers.
I did not want the book to be preachy but I did want readers to finish the story and leave feeling basically inspired, feeling that some stories do turn out well, she said.
The Christian foundation represents Ms. Dixon s strong personal faith.
A native Toledoan who graduated from DeVilbiss High School ( Go Tigers! she said), the 48-year-old author studied psychology at Bowling Green State University and received a master s in education with a focus on human resources from the University of Toledo.
She worked for several corporate and governmental organizations before joining the Medical College of Ohio, now part of UT, in 2002.
Ms. Dixon said that although she grew up going to Friendship Baptist Church, I really did not come into my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ until my sophomore year at Bowling Green State University.
Her freshman-year roommate wrote her a letter the summer before sophomore year saying she had a conversion experience, would not be listening to secular music anymore, but did not want to cramp Ms. Dixon s style.
I wrote her back saying, Fine, you bring your Christian music and I ll bring my secular music and we ll be fine.
But she noticed a difference in her roommate.
It was almost like a moth coming out of a cocoon, like a wonderful butterfly. She didn t preach to me but I knew she was praying for me. One Sunday we went to chapel and the message clearly explained how Jesus loved us, how he lived and died and rose again, and it was like a lightbulb went off.
That was in 1980 and Ms. Dixon has since become an ordained elder at End Times Christian Fellowship, where she teaches Sunday school and plays bass guitar in the music ministry.
Support from her family, church members, and her faith got her through the difficult times last year, she said.
I can t even think of a word to describe it. It s been phenomenal. I don t know what I would do without my family, my friends, and my faith. Having gone through this, I am more than a survivor. I m moving forward. I believe God sometimes allows obstacles and challenges, especially when we are obeying him. I believe it is a test of my faith and at the same time I am pursuing God s destiny, Ms. Dixon said.
Crystal Dixon will celebrate the publication of her novel Destiny s Time from 5 to 7:30 p.m. today at Friendship Baptist Church, 5301 Nebraska Ave. Information is available online at crystaldixon.com.
Contact David Yonke at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-7154.