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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Hello . . . Pegg Thomas!

pegg-signing-contract-4-10-22-17.jpgPegg Thomas, the author of In Sheep’s Clothing, the last novella in A Bouquet of Bride is my newest friend in this “bouquet” of authors, and she’s already impressed the socks off of me. (Actually it’s cold today and my warm, fuzzy socks are still on, but you know what I mean.)

Pegg stepped up to bat to provide valuable leadership, offering great ideas about getting the word out about this collection that we all love. You can thank her for the fun hosted on my blog and the blogs of the other authors for the month of January. We’ll each be posting fun tidbits about our stories on each other’s blogs through the month. I hope you’ll hop around with us from blog to blog on this special blog tour! Thank you, Pegg!

Since I didn’t know Pegg very well, I asked her to do a quick interview so I could get to know her along with my readers. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into her life as much as I did.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

It was always in the back of my mind, probably since high school, but never something I seriously thought I would do. Then came the dreaded empty nest. I needed something to keep busy and I thought … why not? That was in 2009. I signed my first contract in 2016. If I had known how much I didn’t know before I started, I probably wouldn’t have. But after I’d invested in the first writers conference, I felt compelled to see it through. So happy I did!

Tell us about one of your favorite writing mentors.

I didn’t really have any mentors in the usual sense. I stumbled onto Christianwriters.com from the beginning. It was an active site pre-Facebook and filled with other newbies trying to figure out the whole writing gig. That’s where I learned about writers conferences. Attending my first conference – even though I won an essay contest there – was where I learned how much I didn’t know. I also learned about ACFW. It was through ACFW’s Scribes program that I found my critique partners. We were all at about the same level of writing and so we grew together, sharing what we learned at conferences across the country and always pushing each other to write better. I’m a firm believer in an active critique group – and a pushy one! Don’t look for people who will slap you on the back and tell you how great you write, look for people who will bleed red all over your manuscript and push you – or drag you kicking and screaming, which was me – to improve.

You seem especially focused on writing historicals. Tell us about that passion.

I think I was born a history geek. Or maybe I was just born a couple hundred years too late. My granddad, who remembered the end of WWI and lived through a lot of history, was a natural-born storyteller. I was his favorite audience. I soaked up history via story from the start. And I must have passed it on, because our homeschooled son is now a history teacher in the public schools.

What’s something unique to you we can learn about?

I’m a shepherd. I’ve raised registered Border Leicester sheep since 1993. I’m also a handspinner. I use my wool to create one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing. My passion at the moment is knitting shawls. I like to spin a very fine yarn and knit the shawls on smaller needles to create a heirloom-quality shawl. Each one is unique since I only prepare enough wool for a single shawl at a time. I couldn’t replicate one if I tried! I decided to give away one of my shawls with the release of each of my books. The Meadowsweet Shawl, named after the lamb in In Sheep’s Clothing, part of A Bouquet of Brides Collection, will be given away on January 31st to one subscriber to my newsletter. https://www.subscribepage.com/PeggThomas
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Thank you, Pegg, for a glimpse into your world!
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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Our dear Donita K. Paul

51OhyGLrtxLTalk about fun! It’s a delight to be included in the collection A Bouquet of Brides with author Donita K Paul. I have some friends who get a little star-struck when they learn Donita is part of my friendship circle. If you know Donita, you know she is a down-to-earth, albeit talented, grandma who loves laugh, has a sparkling twinkle in her eyes, and delights in helping children succeed.

512sw4ZtcKLI don’t know if she gets tired of hearing it or not, but I can’t introduce Donita without saying that she wrote one of my favorite books ever, DragonSpell. I read this 2005 Christy award-winning tale to my children when they were small, and the time we spent sharing this story together is forever etched in my mind. Of course she has a ton of other wonderful, well-written books, both fantasy and inspirational romance, but I can’t help but talk about my favorite. It was such delight to see it listed at the library as one of the top picks for a summer read back when my children and I frequented summer library programs.

483523_4837587698156_310653620_nBut Donita’s not only a fantastic writer, she’s a dear friend and mentor to many of us. In fact, I think it is safe to say she’s become a mentor to mentors, because I’ve heard both Mary and Kathy, who I featured earlier this week, call Donita their mentor. And that’s pretty cool since I think Suzanne, who is a debut author in this collection, would call Mary one of her mentors. And I call Kathy my mentor and she calls Mary hers and Mary goes right back to Donita. (Did you follow that?) That’s legacy my friends!

Here’s another fun Donita story. She once told me she wrote her first book, a romance, while her daughter was away at camp one summer. Evidently Evangeline, then a teen, had started reading romance and her momma wanted her to read a story that was wholesome and pointed her to a healthy, God-centered relationship.

This picture was taken  taken at a book signing in December of 2012. Pictured with Kathy, Mary, and myself is Donita’s daughter, Evangeline Denmark, who has now released her first novel! (There’s that legacy thing again.)

I also had the distinct pleasure of attending Donita’s wedding. What a high day that was! I treasure this picture of Kathy, Mary, and I celebrating with Donita on her wedding day in September of 2015. Isn’t she lovely in yellow?

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Until next time when I introduce the author of the next story in A Bouquet of Brides,

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Introducing . . . Suzanne Norquist

1Drum roll please!!

The next author in our Bouquet of Brides line-up is debut author Suzanne Norquist, who wrote A Song for Rose.

(Actually the next story in the collection is At Home with Daffodils by yours truly, but I figure you already know me and Suzanne’s story is the next in the book.)

I’m Jumping up and down about this one! It’s always an incredible delight to see a friend get her first publishing contract. Congratulations, Suzanne! We’re so happy for you and so proud of your hard work and perseverance!

It’s such a joyful honor to be alongside Suzanne in this book, her very first release. As I’ve worked on these blogs I’ve had this sense of God’s special blessing. Many of us in the collection did a lot of WORK together with ACFW. It’s almost as if He is smiling upon us saying, “Ok, ladies, you worked together, now enjoy publishing together!”

Suzanne and I became fast friends when we served together in state leadership for ACFW Colorado. She was on the Colorado Springs board, and I was ACFW Colorado Coordinator. Suzanne and I met monthly with the state team to discuss and implement strategies for supporting Christian writers in our state. I loved the vision part of the job, the networking, teaching, leading, and encouraging. The paperwork and spreadsheets? Not so much. I sent out a cry for help from someone who understood spreadsheets, and Suzanne not only rescued me from the details the national folks expected of me, but she also created an amazing tool that helped us reach out to writers all across the state. Because of her spreadsheet design, work that was taking me hours was accomplished in minutes, and we were much better equipped to reach out to ACFW writers in Colorado. Suzanne served ACFW faithfully and diligently, with much skill and grace.

Dear Suzanne and I share another love besides writing. We love to walk–and we’ve done a lot of it together, shedding pounds as we went. When we took this picture, we’d just finished a 10.18 mile trek together. And we’re still smiling, if a little sunburned.

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Congratulations, Suzanne! I’m privileged to call you friend!

Until tomorrow when we meet the next author,

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PS I’m a special guest today on Mary Davis’ blog. We’re talking about my handsome hero, Jace Gruber! Check it out! 

Meet Kathy K., an Author in A Bouquet of Brides

Talk about great fun! Yesterday’s post was a walk down memory lane as I introduced Mary Davis, who wrote the first novella in A Bouquet of Brides. Today’s post proves just as nostalgic. I’m excited to present to you Kathleen E. Kovach, author of the Periwinkle in the Park, the second novella in the collection, A Bouquet of Brides. (My story, At Home with Daffodils is the third!)

She’s my Kathy K, and I treasure her.

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12004703_10207018802166004_3622871871584243958_nBelieve it or not, I was a bit afraid of Kathy Kovach when we first met. I’d joined a critique group because I met a special friend, Neva, pictured to the left, who made me feel safe. Neva felt like a sweet grandma, and I thought I might be brave enough to share my work with her critique group. The only problem was that when I showed up that first day she handed the reigns over to Kathy Kovach, who was serious about writing to publish. Kathy and I will always treasure precious Neva who passed away this year at ninety-two, and who wrote until the end. A faithful servant, she and her husband were Wycliffe Bible translators. I’ll not soon forget her most recent Christmas letter, or her quick humor. She said, “Since I moved away from Colorado, it’s gone to pot.” Neva attended several writer’s conferences with Kathy and me. In her twilight years she published her first books and learned to play the dulcimer. One year Kathy and I roomed with Neva at a conference. I think it was an ACFW conference in Nashville. We had trouble winding down, so Neva quoted all of John 14 to us, word for word. I’ve since tried to memorize the passage and only made it about half-way through. Yesterday we talked about mentors. Kathy and I received writing mentoring from Neva, but I value the life mentoring she gave me even more.

12038058_10207140837454352_239666982676204994_nOf course Kathy and I became fast friends despite my early trepidation. For almost ten years Kathy led the critique group Neva had started! Kathy was the first in our group to traditionally publish, and we’re celebrating the release of her book in this picture. (This was the critique group at that time. Left to right, back row: Lynnette Horner, Marjorie Vawter, Donna Robinson, Marla Benroth, Holly Armstrong. Kneeling are yours truly and Bonnie Doran.)

388091_2733167768973_2017349178_nWhen the critique group disbanded years later, this was the team. We still contact each other here and there to brainstorm or celebrate. In front is author Donna Robinson. Holly Armstrong and Kathy are in the next row. Deborah Besaw of Fire Cloud Arts is next to me and authors Jill Hups and Margie Vawter are in the back. What a wonderful group of ladies! If you’re considering a crit group, find a gentle leader with good boundaries who is growing as a writer herself and wants to learn the style of the type of publication you seek. Pick one who continues to educate herself through books, conferences, and writing workshops or who is publishing consistently. Our Kathy did a wonderful job of bring us forward as she grew herself.

12140769_10207140839214396_3008647997804238236_nKathy and I roomed together at writer’s conferences (where I may or may not have awakened her in the mornings to show tunes), and when God called Kathy to act as the ACFW Colorado Coordinator, she asked me to be on the first board of the first chapter she established in our state. She eventually became the zone director, and I eventually followed in her footsteps, becoming state coordinator. This is a picture of the first board for the first ACFW chapter in Colorado. Left to right are Margie Vawter, yours truly, Kathy, author Bonnie Doran, and Jill Hups. Margie, Jill, and I all served as president of the group at some point and the three of us still meet with Kathy and our friend Deb Besaw for prayer time.

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Since yesterday I talked about how Mary Davis, who dreamed up A Bouquet of Brides, spent a lot of time with Kathy and me working together, rooming together at conferences, and serving together in ACFW, I decided to share this shot of Mary Davis, Kathy and me at Barnes and Noble, working away. I believe Kathy considers Mary a mentor. I consider Kathy a mentor, so there you have it right there. Christian writing mentoring, three generations deep. No doubt Kathy passed on to me much of what she learned from Mary!

Kathy says she’s a dip your toe in the water and get in slowly person while I’m the type to jump in with both feet. I suppose there were times I pulled her along with one of my schemes, but I gotta tell you. Kathy was often going before me, opening doors, sharing her wisdom, and inviting me576493_3592583853838_77839634_n to serve writers with her. We’ve done a lot of teaching together. We’ve done a lot of working and learning together. We’ve played hard too. We took this selfie at a Chinese food restaurant the day we celebrated the book we co-authored, Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal. (We dreamed the story up on the way back from a writer’s retreat and couldn’t resist writing it. And yes to everyone who asked, there is a sequel in our heads. Hopefully we’ll soon find the creative space to get it on the computer screen.)

Here’s a shot of Kathy and me teaching at an editor’s conference where we asked to share our workshop on story structure and character development to help editors grow in their ability to recognize innate structure or character issues in the books they edit. We love teaching this one!13230188_10208729065159052_4956567555575593848_n

I have many beloved pictures with Kathy and me sharing our writing journey, but I chose the one you see here to close this post because I’m holding my first book contract, and guess who was right there by my side when I got it back in 2011?

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What a run we’ve had together!

I’m honored to be in the collection A Bouquet of Brides with this beautiful woman. But mostly I’m honored to be her friend and prayer partner. We’ve been in the same prayer group for close to ten years now! Thank you for teaching me, loving me, leading me, supporting me, and praying for me. I will love you forever Kathy K!

Until next time when we introduce the next author in our collection,

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