Monthly Archives: January 2018

A Song for Rose’s Takeaway

Today’s post comes from Suzanne Norquist, the author of A Song for Rose, included in A Bouquet of Brides.

Hi everyone.  I’m Suzanne Norquist, author of A Song for Rose in the Bouquet of Brides collection.  If you haven’t heard of me, it is because I’m a new author.  I’m honored to be in a collection with so many talented multi-published authors.

In my opinion, the goal of any novella in a collection is to take the reader on a mini-vacation. I want the reader to live in the historical setting for a little while and enjoy the journey with the characters.  I try to keep the tone of my stories light with fun characters, because . . . I like reading light, fun stories.

If I focus too much on takeaway value and theme, the story becomes preachy and boring.  Again, my opinion.

That said, every story has conflict and a takeaway value can hide in the resolution of that conflict.  The character may learn a lesson or be reminded of a truth.  I like that inspirational fiction can carry both a fun story and truth.

In my story, Rose Miller feels overlooked in her large family and can’t imagine God, who has the whole world to manage, cares about the details of her life.  The reader may take some value in walking with her through this journey. I won’t say too much here.  Don’t want to give away the ending.

The hero, Patrick O’Donnell, has his own issues.  If he can’t earn his father’s approval, how is he supposed to earn the approval of an all-powerful God?

Walk with Rose and Patrick through their story in A Song for Rose in a Bouquet of Brides Collection.

22687986_145284136090242_4805319986973616734_nSuzanne Norquist explores past and present through story.

Everything fascinates her, so she never settled on a career. She has worked as a sales clerk, chemist, professor, financial analyst, and even earned a doctorate in economics. As an author, she experiences different worlds without starting a new career every time. Research feeds her curiosity, and she shares the adventure with her readers.

She lives in Colorado with her mining engineer husband and has two grown children. When not writing, she explores the mountains, hikes, and attends kickboxing class.

She authors a blog entitled, Ponderings of a BBQ P.h.D. Sign up to receive her blog and receive a free five-day devotion.

Learn more at suzannenorquist.com.

Or visit her Facebook Page.

Paula here. I hope you’re enjoying learning more about my co-authors and their stories! If you’d like to learn more about the heroine of my story, you’ll enjoy visiting Kathy Kovach’s blog today, where I guest-blog about Daffodil “Dilly” Grace Douglas.

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FLAW = Free to Live As Worthy

If you’re like me, flaws can really bug you. The Lord is graciously teaching me to step out of self-judgement and offer myself the same grace as He offers me.

The gals in my prayer group and I were talking with the Lord about this awhile back. One of the women was given this acronym as we prayed. FLAW = Free to Live As Worthy.

This concept is the focus of my first installment of Flourishing Moments. Flourishing Moments is something that grew out of some questions I’ve been asking myself and the Lord: How can I bless people who follow my blog, newsletter, or author page? What can I offer that is of value? What truly makes a difference?

I’m not sure of all the answers yet, but I do have a starting place.

Flourishing Moments begins this week on my author/speaker page on Facebook.

Each week day I’ll post words I believe will encourage us as we seek to love Jesus and be loved by Him. The thoughts are designed to help us lay down our struggles and self-judgement and receive His boundless grace.

Here’s the post I shared there today so you can get a taste of what you can expect from Flourishing Moments. I hope you’ll join me on my author page! Maybe even mark my author page to pin to the top of your daily FB news feed so you can see these posts each morning. God-given truth refreshes the soul, yes?

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Photo by Tonya Vander

Do you ever feel flawed?

Most of us do at some point. Heck, most of us feel flawed daily. The thing is, how we see our flaws determines how we weather this journey we’re on.

It’s important as we heal that we understand God’s perspective on our faults and failures and those faults and failures of people who hurt us.

Our flaws. Their flaws.

We humans are hard on ourselves and others, holding people to high, unattainable standards. We experience tremendous judgment and pain when we (or they) don’t “live up.” Sometimes we’re so overwhelmed with our flaws that we go to the other extreme and pretend they don’t exist. Or we acknowledge our flaws but blame others for our faults and failures. Sometimes we do that with people who’ve hurt us too. We make excuses for the people who’ve behaved badly or pretend the incidents never happened.

All of this is, of course, a lie.

The great news is that Jesus came so all of us could be Free to Live As Worthy. His blood cleansed us. He believed we were worthy of His gift. He knows us inside and out, and our flaws don’t worry Him. He set us free from the dark stuff. He daily works within us to finish the good work He started.

Next time you’re hung up on a flaw, why not remember the cross and look at it this way. FLAWs don’t have to take us out, they can be reminders that we are:
Free to
Live
As
Worthy

~ Thoughts adapted from Soul Scents: Flourish.

Blessings,

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PS I’d love feedback from those of you who hang out here at my blog. I’ve been thinking about how to continue to share about the books–I’m loving these posts by fellow authors–but also to share the kind of thing I shared today. Another idea is some series. A friend suggested I do a blog series on starting a spiritual journal. And I’m aching to write a series about the things Jerry and I are learning as he recovers from his recent heart attack. What would bless you. Any thoughts?

A Bit of History and a Snow Day

 

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photo from Pinterest

Today I share tidbits about the historical context of At Home with Daffodils in a guest post on Pegg Thomas’s author blog. I hope you’ll check it out!

Also, over the weekend Donna Schlachter invited me to her blog to share some stories behind the setting of my story. It’s fun talking about the are where I grew up. I hope you’ll visit Donna’s blog and read all about it.

Tomorrow on this blog we’ll hear from Suzanne Norquist about the takeaway value in her story, A Song for Rose.

Both stories are included in A Bouquet of Brides, which released this month from Barbour Publishing. (The collection is on sale today on Christianbook.com.)

I’m writing you today from a sparkling, snow-covered Colorado. Feeling a little sore. I shoveled the white stuff for about two hours yesterday! The snow kept falling and I returned to clear the driveway three times! (This was after my husband took the first shift. He’s recovering from a heart attack, so I insisted on only one turn for him! Not that he listened when I suggested he didn’t need a turn at all! But I did appreciate his help since I needed to be to my singing job by 7:30 a.m.)

Hubby took this shot of me when I worked in the falling snow after returning from singing.

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Snow brings hard work, but I must admit that I love it. As I watched the sun come up this morning over the winter wonderland, my heart lifted. It is indeed beautiful. How’s the weather where you are?

Here’s a giggle for you. My husband treated me to this old song when I returned from my snow venture.

Wishing you beauty wherever you are–in balmy sun or glittering snow.

Blessings,

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Takeaway in At Home with Daffodils

1141Writing novellas is just plain fun for yours truly. Setting two people up to fall in love—well, if I were God, that might be my favorite part of the job. It’s delightful to imagine romantic scenes and I really enjoy digging into the character arcs of my heroes and heroines, trying to understand what makes them tick.

Usually there is some lie the characters believe about themselves, and it’s wonderful watching the one they are falling in love with help them discover the truth. But what may be my very favorite experience of creating these stories is that moment when a “takeaway” value unfolds. Often, even if I’ve planned a rough outline of the character’s spiritual journeys, there is something unexpected, and I find myself tearing up and thanking the Holy Spirit.

The creation of At Home with Daffodils, my novella in A Bouquet of Brides, is no exception.

Instead of sharing about the specific spiritual journey of my hero and heroine, I’ll tell you about one of those moments, the kind I’ve come to recognize as “God-moments” when something unplanned but extremely meaningful jumps out at me as the author.

I’ll resist describing the scene where it happened. I think it is beautiful and tender, and I don’t want to rob my readers of discovery. But I’ll tell you what I took away from how the story unfolded. I wept as I understood, at a deeper level, this truth: The community of God—the church—has the power to do great good in the lives its people. The church has the opportunity to act as God’s loving arms, embracing people, demonstrating God’s grace, and seeing the good in each of us that we often can’t see in ourselves. I think you’ll see what I mean when you read my story, At Home with Daffodils.

In the collection, A Bouquet of Brides, you’ll meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Watch how love helps them grow to their full potential!

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To celebrate the release of A Bouquet of Brides, I’m giving away a copy of the book. Enter the drawing by signing-up for my newsletter or leaving a comment on my blog during the month of January (USA readers only). Check out my website, where I have free resources and information about the Free to Flourish writing and speaking ministry.

 

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IMG_5685art-567x720-240x300 smallAuthor, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction. Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. They treasure time with their growing family of adult children, spouses, and spouses-to-be. Paula loves peppermint ice cream, going barefoot, and adventuring with friends. Visit her at www.paulamoldenhauer.com

Until Next Time,

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Devotional Thoughts in the Aftermath of Heart Attack

FINAL design for devotionalsMy husband had a heart attack on December 31st. I’m still processing (with gratitude) the experience, and the first public telling (beyond facebook posts) is published today on Devotionals for the Heart. It was written soon after we got back from the hospital, when I first started sorting things out in my mind, spirit, and emotions. I have more thoughts buzzing in my head that I’m sure will soon find their way onto a blog or into another devotion. But this is the first. I thought you might enjoy knowing where to find it. Devotionals for the Heart is Alexis Goring’s new devotional blog, and I’ll write for them once a month for 2018. She has several wonderful writers. Check it out!

Until Next Time,

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Periwinkle in the Park’s Takeaway Value

Today’s post comes from Kathleen E Kovach, author of Periwinkle in the Park included the collection, A Bouquet of Brides. Join us as she shares what she sees as the takeaway value from her story.

Mark Twain quoted: Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

This is the ultimate result I want for my characters. Both heroine and hero have issues to deal with, but unfortunately, some of their “enemies” are not in a position to smell the fragrance of forgiveness. However, the idea that the violet gives of itself even after being crushed says a lot about the characters in my story.

Of course, it takes a few years for them to get to that point.

Have you ever had an “enemy” from the past, be it a person or a circumstance, that continues to torment you, years after the fact? Peri’s father is a retired missionary to the Native American people, many of whom had been directly affected by the voracity of the white man. His motto is “Forgive the unlovable; Love the unforgivable.”

Peri and Clay both have ghosts in their past. Peri is near to forgiveness when the story opens, but hasn’t quite gotten there. Clay, however, is drowning in his anger. Their journeys are similar in that neither can confront the offender, but God gives Clay a special gift that helps him along that journey.

‘Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.’ – Colossians 3:13

This is the takeaway value for my story, and it is my prayer for any reading this struggling to move on.

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kathy_in_bookstoreKathleen E. Kovach is a Christian romance author published traditionally through Barbour Publishing, Inc. as well as indie. Having grown up in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park was her playground. She lives in northeast Colorado with her husband of over four decades and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. An award-winning author, she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God’s peculiar people. Please visit her at http://www.kathleenekovach.com.

 

GOD’S MYSTERIOUS WAYS

Today’s post comes from Mary Davis, author of Holly and Ivy in the collection, A Bouquet of Brides. Join us as she shares what she sees as a take-away value from her story.

Bible-book-1210029_1920“Holly & Ivy,” my #HistoricalRomance novella in A #BouquetOfBrides, takes place in 1890, in Washington State. It’s about a young woman who accompanies her impetuous younger sister on her trip across the country to be a Christmas mail-order bride and is helped by a gallant stranger.

Holly and Nick learn that just because their lives get kicked off the paths they had set themselves on doesn’t mean something has gone wrong. In their cases, something has finally going right. They need to rethink their lives and accept the gifts God has given them. He’s given them each another chance for love.

It encourages me the way God can take something we might view as bad or a mistake in our lives and turn it around for good. I love how God can speak to me through a Bible verse today that He spoke to me differently through a year ago or ten years ago and might use that verse to speak to me differently five years from now. Every verse in the Bible is relevant yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15

51OhyGLrtxLIn celebration of the release of “Holly & Ivy”, I’m giving away (US only) a print copy of A BOUQUET OF BRIDES Collection. To enter, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free short story. I’ll be drawing for the book at the end of January.

Follow my blog at Mary’s Blog.

#BouquetOfBrides

#ChristianRomance #HistoricalRomance #Romance

MARY DAVIS is an award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has four more titles releasing in 2018; Courting Her Amish Heart in March 2018, The Widow’s Plight in July 2018, Courting Her Secret Heart (Working Title) September 2018, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December 2018. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.

Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and one incredibly adorable grandchild. Find her online at:

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MaryDavisBooks.com

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Join us every Tues and Thursday to hear more about the takeaway value of the stories in this book! Until next time,

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