Tag Archives: At Home with Daffodils

Just Where is Rock City

Just where is Rock City anyway? Today’s behind the scenes post is about the setting of my latest release.

Rock City, the fictional setting for At Home with Daffodils, my story in A Bouquet of Brides, is a made up town, but in my mind’s eye I saw the rolling hills around Parkhill, Oklahoma as I wrote. These are the same hills I roamed as a girl. I specifically picture the old general store in Qualls, Oklahoma, the same store used in the movie, Where the Red Fern Grows.

I couldn’t resist naming some of my characters and landmarks with the names of real people and places from the area. (For example the old store in the picture below is near Camp Gruber. Recognize the name? My hero, Jace Gruber, came by it honestly.) I hope my friends and family back home will enjoy those nods to the actual location and real people I knew as they read.

This picture shows my two youngest sons, Stephen and Sam, standing with yours truly in front of the country store, now a weekend restaurant called Jincy’s Kitchen.

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The picture below was taken during a drive through Camp Gruber. The boys couldn’t resist a quick dip in the simmin’ hole of my childhood, at “the slab.”

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I watched them for a while then the little girl in me couldn’t resist the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite childhood memories.

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I grabbed my suit and jumped in. I even tried the rope swing off the side of the bluff. When I surfaced, I yelled, “It wasn’t pretty, but it was safe!” (I let go much sooner than intended. It’s been a few years!)

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When I was invited to dream up a story with the heroine named after a flower, an idea immediately surfaced (more tomorrow on that) that would be set in the hills of my childhood. And if I was writing about that area, the flower had to be a daffodil. Thus Daffodil “Dilly” Grace Douglas was conceived in my mind.

Down the road from the farmhouse where I lived in northeastern Oklahoma was an old home place. You couldn’t see the building anymore, but you could see a field of daffodils (we called them jonquils) that someone planted years before. The picture below wasn’t actually taken there, but is similar to what I remember.

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Every spring each year I eagerly awaited their arrival, as I did the tiny spring bluets and Virginia spring beauties that also grew in the area. After I moved to Colorado, my grandmother sent me the tiny flowers in February. She wrapped them in a damp paper towel, covered with plastic. She also sent jonquil bulbs, and so I have cheery yellow faces transplanted from Oklahoma that bloom every spring in my yard.

I hope you’ll enjoy At Home with Daffodils, set in the rolling hills of my childhood. The country is beautiful, the culture engaging, and the generous people are salt-of-the-earth. The best thing I received from those years living in the hills of northeastern Oklahoma is a relationship with Jesus. He is indeed the one who removes our shame and finishes the good work He begins in us—no matter how flawed we believe ourselves or our pasts to be.

Blessings,

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PS We’re almost to the end of our celebration of the release month for A Bouquet of Brides. As you know if you’ve visited here this month, 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). Each comment on a new post means another chance to win! (If you’re new to me, check out my website, where I have free resources and information about the Free to Flourish writing and speaking ministry.) The contest ends TODAY, and I’ll announce the lucky winner on Friday!

The Villain!

royalty free 4When the authors included in A Bouquet of Brides discussed plans for our blog tour, we debated including a set of blogs on the villain. After all, in sweet romance with a short word count, there isn’t always a clear villain like there would be in a suspense story. But the idea won approval, and here I sit.

It’s a good thing. Pondering who the villain in At Home with Daffodils is. It would be easy to pin the title on a character who shows up mid-story, interrupts the romance, and takes advantage of one of the main characters. (I hope that’s vague enough not to spoil the storyline for readers.)

But is that character really the villain? He’s self-centered, messed-up, and causes a lot of problems.

Merriam-Webster defines villain this way:

1: a character in a story or play who opposes the hero

2: a deliberate scoundrel or criminal

3: one blamed for a particular evil or difficulty

It’s that third definition that gets me.

By that definition I’ve been the villain in someone else’s story. Haven’t you?

And that’s why I’ll stop short of calling this character the villain of At Home with Daffodils. Of course there are messed-up people in this world who hurt us. Yes, some of them are deliberately evil, and yes, justice needs to be served.

But here’s the thing. I think the most dangerous villain my characters faced was themselves, at least if you look at the first definition—a character . . . who opposes the hero. By that definition the most dangerous villain I know in real life is me. When it comes right down to it, I’m the only person who can guarantee my own demise. When I believe lies about who I am and how God sees me, then I live from a place of opposition to my own forward progress, my own happy ending.

You can learn more by reading my story, At Home with Daffodils. Watch and see if my characters aren’t a lot like you and me, often held back by things they believe about themselves and God that simply aren’t true.

I hope you enjoy A Bouquet of Brides, where you 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!

Blessings,

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PS We’re almost to the end of our celebration of the release month for A Bouquet of Brides. As you know if you’ve visited here this month, 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). Each comment on a new post means another chance to win! (If you’re new to me, check out my website, where I have free resources and information about the Free to Flourish writing and speaking ministry.) The contest ends on the 31st, and I’ll announce the lucky winner on Friday!

Falling in Love Again (or A Hero and a Heroine)

daffodils (1)I fell in love again.

I mean that in the best sense. I really only have two true loves, Jesus and my hubby, Jerry, but I guess when you’re a romance writer, a little piece of you has to fall in love every time. This time it was with Jace Gruber.

Jace Gruber, the hero of At Home with Daffodils, is back in Rock City, but the adolescent voice is now deep and full of authority, and his broad shoulders and protective stance make him a handsome—and imposing—figure.

For years Jace ignored his own dreams, running from the reputation put upon the family by his absent, drunken father. He kept his head down, provided for his mom and sister, and tried to live out the legacy of the words his childhood sweetheart spoke over him.  Now that his mother is gone and his sister is married, he braves the censure of Rock City, the small town where he lived when his father began drinking. He’d be better off to go somewhere where nobody knew him, and he could start fresh, but he’ll never be able to move on until he knows if Dilly is still waiting for him.

If she is, will Jace ever be truly at home with daffodils?

daffodils-2162825_960_720Intelligent brown eyes and a smattering of freckles decorate the countenance of Daffodil “Dilly” Grace Douglas, the heroine of At Home with Daffodils, my story in the Bouquet of Brides collection.

I imagine Dilly, dressed in a long black skirt and plain white “shirtwaist,” making change for customers as she runs her mother’s general store in the rolling hills of northeastern Oklahoma, just a few years after statehood. The family store in Rock City also houses the first official post office in the area, so Dilly often serves as the acting postmistress.

When the story opens, Dilly Douglas has finally outgrown her hated nickname, Silly-Dilly. She keeps the books and manages purchasing at her mama’s general store, ever vigilant to prove to the small town of Rock Creek that she is a trustworthy, capable woman. Her mother believes she’s an early bloomer, like her namesake flower that opens to the sun early in spring. She says that from a young age Dilly has been dependable and trustworthy, but Dilly struggles to believe her mother’s words. She still hears the childhood chant ringing in her ears, “Silly Dilly . . . Silly Dilly . . . Silly Dilly . . . ” and often holds back her innate exuberance and joy in her efforts to prove her steadiness.

What happens to help Dilly blossom into the fullness of all she is? Of course it will have something to do with the reappearance of her childhood sweetheart, Jace Gruber, but I won’t spoil the story by telling you about that now.

Today through Friday we are going behind the scenes with At Home with Daffodils. Join me tomorrow as I introduce the villain! Throughout the week we’ll also talk about where my inspiration for the story came from (it’s a very cool, personal God-moment!), what I had in mind when I created the fictional community of Rock City, and what northeastern Oklahoma (also Indian Territory right before statehood) was like in the mid-1800s through statehood. There is a rich history in the land of my childhood that I can’t wait to share with you. You history buff won’t want to miss Friday and that is also when I’ll announce the winner of the drawing!

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PS We’re almost to the end of our celebration of the release month for A Bouquet of Brides. As you know if you’ve visited here at all this month, I’m giving away a copy of the book. Enter the drawing by following this blog, signing-up for my newsletter, or leaving a comment here on blog posts during the month of January (USA readers only). Each comment on a new post means another chance to win! (If you’re new to me, check out my website, where I have free resources and information about the Free to Flourish writing and speaking ministry.) The contest ends on the 31st, and I’ll announce the lucky winner on Friday!

PPS Toni Shiloh interviews me today on her blog. If you haven’t checked it out before, I highly recommend that you do, especially if you enjoy inspirational fiction. Everything Toni does is lovely and professional, and on Friday she shares a list of books that are on sale or free. You’ll love Toni’s blog!

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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