Category Archives: books

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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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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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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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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What Will You Take With You?

51OhyGLrtxLWhat will you take with you when you read A Bouquet of Brides?

Honestly my guess is that the Holy Spirit will give each reader something slightly different, something specific to their own personality and circumstance.

But I thought it would be fun to share with readers what the authors of this collection believe is the takeaway value for her novella. The first post about this will be Thursday–so watch for it!

There are other fun things to  know. My fellow authors of A Bouquet of Brides and I are doing a bouquet of blogs (at least that’s what I’m calling it. Couldn’t resist.) to celebrate the launch of our book this January. Each of us are writing behind the scenes information about our stories and sharing it with the others. Then each author will host a specific topic on her blog this month. Mine, as I stated already, is the story’s take away value.

Here’s where you can find the other topics this month:

Mary Davis is hosting each of us as we talk about those handsome heroes!

You can learn about the blossoming heroines at my friend Kathy Kovach’s blog.

For the inspiration behind the stories, visit Suzanne Norquist.

Pegg Thomas hosts tidbits on the historical backdrop of each novella

Learn more about each setting by visiting Donna Schlachter’s blog!

See you Thursday when Mary Davis shares the take-away value of her story, Holly and Ivy!

Until then,

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Ok . . . Just a Note About that Last Author

Maybe I’ll share just one thing about the author in A Bouquet of Brides who I chose not to introduce this week: me. You know plenty about me already, right? And my writing journey has been so entwined with several of the authors in this collection, that you got bits of my story as I talked about them. But I want to share one more thing. This:

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Why that picture?

Because God sent these angels to hold me together on my writing journey, to walk with me into greater personal freedom, and to cheer me on in my calling.

It’s my prayer group, and we’re beginning our 7th year of meeting regularly. We call ourselves the Council of Kings. We believe that God has a destiny and a kingdom for each of us. (Not just in this group. For you too.)

I love you Deb, Kathy, Margie, and Jill. As I move forward in the writing and speaking the Lord is calling me to do, I’m grateful for the support God has given me by His Spirit and through loved ones.

Which means I need to add one more picture. It’s not easy having a writer for a wife or mom. She can get really distracted and disappear for hours. Her income is sporadic. Her tears come often. But these special people fill my heart with joy even on the hard days.

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Until Next time,

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Meet Donna Schlachter!

img_6534-juggling-the-books-smallerJust seeing the name of this dear sister-in-Christ makes me smile every time. Donna Schlachter is the author of A Prickly Affair, the sixth novella in the collection, A Bouquet of Brides. Donna and I go way back. God is so good! We had no idea all those years ago that someday the Lord would again weave our writing journeys together, giving of the great pleasure being published in the same collection. (Thank you, Jesus!)

From the beginning of our experience together I knew Donna to be a conscious, servant-hearted, capable leader with a quick smile and wit.

When I served as president of the north Denver chapter of ACFW, Donna served as treasurer. She was wonderful, handling details that would have bogged me down on top of keeping the books, a job I think only a saint would sign up for.

The picture below, taken November of 2010, is of the His Writer’s board the day we hosted our first writer’s conference. We were thrilled to have teacher extraordinaire and multi-published author, Susan May Warren, as our speaker for the day. She’s standing between Donna and me in the picture below. On the other side of me is Linda Ables, who served as treasurer, and Jill Hups, who was vice-president at the time. Donna and I have laughed together over email about this day, which had its own foibles and learning curves, but still offered wonderful instruction to area writers.

74017_1662508329931_246122_nI’m grateful for all Donna did to make our board run smoothly and for the encouragement she so often was to me personally. Her desire for excellence and her wisdom was such an asset! The Lord also used her to speak some thing into my life that I hadn’t understood about myself.

Looking back to those years we served together, its fun for me to relive Donna and my developing friendship. It’s a testimony to how God knits hearts together and how deeply we need people who help us see new perspectives.

Donna and I liked and respected each other from the beginning, but I’m not sure we always understood each other. It seemed we often saw things in leadership from the opposite perspective! What’s so beautiful about that is we soon learned that sharing our ideas, even when we differed, made the outcome better for everyone. Donna was definitely the balance I needed as I grew as a leader in this position.

51OhyGLrtxLIt is with deep love and gratitude that I think of this special friend and all we shared together during those days of serving. Donna is incredibly faithful and giving, and we’ve been cheering each other’s journeys for a while.  I’m so grateful God chose us to be friends and blessed the love we share by allowing us to be published together in A Bouquet of Brides.

Before I close, I wanted to let you know about Donna’s daily devotion, Transformation, which releases TODAY! Talk about a God-thing! I pre-scheduled these “friend” posts about my fellow authors. Then I heard Donna had a devotional book releasing, so I decided to add that information this post. THEN I discovered I’d already scheduled the blog about Donna on the very day Transformation releases! Isn’t that cool? I love these little gifts of the Father.

Here is a blurb about the book:

Cover imageTransformation offers 366 devotions that will chronologically walk you through the Bible in a year

If you’ve ever wished you could start a devotional at some time throughout the year other than January 1st, then this is the devotional for you! Each day is numbered, so you can start any day of the year and still walk through the Bible in a year

If you like to start out the year on the right foot on January 1st, then this is the devotional for you!

However you like to structure your quiet time, today is the absolute best time to start!

If you’d like to follow Donna:

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

You can check out Donna’s other publications on her Amazon author page. 

Until next time when we meet the final author of the collection, Pegg Thomas,

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