Posts Tagged: Novellas

Why the Jersey Shore? Why Seaside?

Gayle_Roper

I’m super excited to welcome today’s guest blogger — Gayle Roper! Gayle is one of my really-long-time writing buddies and one of my mentors, both in writing and in directing writers’ conferences.

Gayle has a new book out and we’re celebrating with a story behind the story and a book giveaway. Please welcome Gayle!

 

WHY THE JERSEY SHORE? WHY SEASIDE?

As I drive across the 9th Street Causeway into Ocean City, NJ, I take a great breath of the crisp sea air. I love coming here, and am glad for my high school class reunion lunch being held here. Any excuse to visit one of my favorite places. I will sit on the balcony of my hotel room, enjoy the sun, watch the ocean, walk the boardwalk, and buy some outstanding Johnson’s caramel popcorn.

When I was a kid, my maternal grandparents had a boarding house, the Brookburn, in Ocean City, and for years I spent every July with them. A family who had a daughter my age also spent July at the Brookburn, and I would go to the beach with them every day. I still remember the ditty the daughter made up about me.

Gayle the whale was very pale

Because she drank some ginger ale.

If I had been overweight, I’m sure I’d have been scarred for life, but I was a skinny kid. I could never decide if I should be honored to be the subject of her poetry or offended at the mockery in it.

When I was in college, I worked four summers in Ocean City as a waitress. I loved spending my free time at the beach or with the college age kids who gathered at the Baptist church in town. One Tuesday night a guy named Chuck Roper came to the group. Since I was going with someone at the time, it was a year and a half before he and I went out for the first time, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The wonderful coincidence to my meeting Chuck in Ocean City is that my mom met my father there too. She went on a date to dinner at a restaurant on the boardwalk that had live music. The trumpeter was a handsome guy who took one look at Mom and played his solo directly to her. The name of Mom’s date is unknown, but Mom came back every night to hear Dad as he played to her.

Is it any wonder I have set several of my novels in Seaside, my fictional version of Ocean City? Seaside Gifts, released in August, is a fun romance with a touch of mystery. It takes place in a boardwalk gift shop called Present Perfect. Someone keeps leaving valuable things at the shop, and Nan calls the police because she doesn’t know what to do with these things. Our hero Rog comes to her rescue.

I also visit Seaside in a novella called Special Delivery and found in The Boy Next Door, released in October. A package with the right address but the wrong name is delivered to Kelli who is spending her first Thanksgiving away from family. Dane helps her survive the holiday as well as find the proper recipient for the package.

If you’d like to visit Seaside with me, I would love to give an electronic copy of each book to two lucky people.

Have you ever been to the Jersey Shore? Ocean City? Seaside?

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Include your email address with your comment for easy notification. The drawing takes place Sunday, 11/8/2015, at midnight. Gayle is giving away an electronic copy of both Seaside Gifts and The Boy Next Door to the winner of the drawing. NOTE: Please include your email address with your comment on the post.

Naming Horses

Boy on horse cropped 3

Last week, on my Facebook page, I asked for help in naming a boy’s horse for my work-in-progress.

If you’re wondering if the boy’s horse has a name yet . . .

I received several hundred great suggestions and narrowed it down to seven for the boy’s horse. I found a name for his father’s horse: Haggis. And I named another horse: Honeysuckle. Thanks so much to all who participated in the Facebook horse naming challenge. You all gave me a fantastic name bank for future stories.

New Story News

If you’ve read Prairie Song, you’ve met the Kamden family. Immigrants from Scotland, they settled in St. Charles, Missouri, for five years before joining the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company going west. We meet up with them again out on the Nebraska prairie in Keeper of My Heart, a novella in the Convenient Brides Romance Collection by Barbour Publishing, scheduled for a July 2015 release. (more…)

St. Charles: Full Circle

St. Charles Full Cirle Blue

How does an Arizona author end up setting her newest works of Historical Fiction in Missouri? Saint Charles, Missouri, to be exact?

Enter . . . a children’s book illustrator named Chris Sharp. (more…)

Tea, Quilts, and Books in Saint Charles

Tea Time Gregory Frank Harris cropped

Today, I’m flying into Missouri. Here I come Saint Charles!

I’m excited to participate in several Author Events, May 14-18. I hope you’ll join me in St. Charles, the setting for The Quilted Heart, also the launch city for The Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company in Prairie Song. (more…)

Book Club Fun to Celebrate The Quilted Heart

Sewing Circle by Howard Sanden Blog Banner

Do the members of your book club or reading group enjoy reading a series of novellas and spending time with an ensemble cast? If so, Elsa Brantenberg’s Quilting Circle in St. Charles, Missouri, might be a great fit. And I’m happy to say the 1860’s heartland setting lends itself well to having fun with historic Main Street and riverside flair.

For some book club fun, your group may want a themed meeting after each of the novellas, or may choose to save the party for after they have read Ripples Along the Shore, the third and last novella in The Quilted Heart omnibus. Either way, here are some meeting ideas and resources for a Quilted Heart celebration. (more…)

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Today, I’m featuring the two main characters in Ripples Along the Shore, the third and last novella in The Quilted Heart. After you’ve read The Quilted Heart, read Prairie Song to spend more time with Garrett and Caroline.

MEET Garrett Cowlishaw

Garrett Cowlishaw  is the a friend of Rutherford Wainwright and is in St. Charles to recruit a band of people to travel west to the frontier.

MONA: How would you describe yourself? (more…)

Meet Elsa Brantenberg from The Quilted Heart

Meet Elsa Brantenberg from The Quilted Heart

If you’re familiar with my Historical Fiction, you know that my stories tend to feature a “Titus 2:3” type mentor as a secondary character. In The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, it was Miss Hattie, the proprietor of a boarding house. In The Quilted Heart novellas,the key woman of influence is Mrs. Brantenberg.

Meet Elsa Brantenberg, who owns the farm where the Saint Charles Quilting Circle meets in The Quilted Heart novellas. By the way, I borrowed my mother-in-law’s birth name for this character

1) How would you describe yourself to others?

A busy widow and Oma to my granddaughter, Gabi, with no time to fuss over what was or could have been.

2) Do you have any favorite pastimes or special skills?

I have lots of experience at running a farm and tending an apple orchard. Some say I’m a fine quilter. Actually talked me into starting a quilting circle and teaching quilting in my home. Most fun I’d had in a long spell.

3) How would the women in your quilting circle describe you?

I’m a hugger. No woman gets past my porch, either direction, without a hug.

4) What is most important to you?

That my sweet little Gabi girl, my granddaughter, grows up knowing she is loved. The assurance that you’re loved and cared for can carry you a long ways.

5) How do you face disappointments in life?

I grit my teeth. Probably stomp my foot. Whisper or  shout a prayer. Then I embroider a tea towel, make apple crisp, or finish a quilt and take it to someone who needs the encouragement even more than I do.

6)  What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Explaining to Gabi that the war has been over for several months, and that if her papa hasn’t returned by now, he is dead. Or alive without any intention of returning.

7) You buried your husband then your daughter, and lost your son-in-law to grief, how did you keep going?

I had a farm to run and a precious granddaughter to raise, and I knew the good Lord was at my side. Always is. It was after I buried Gretchen that I started the quilting circle out here on the farm. Many of those dear women are like daughters to me. A couple of them like sisters.

8) What is the thing you love most about Quilting Circle Thursdays?

The laughter and the tears. The smiles and the sighs. Hearing the other women grow in their confidence to share the Scripture with one another and their commitment to pray for one another.

9) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My emotions can swing like the pendulum on that fancy clock at the bank. If I could change, I would not be so passionate. I’d rather my emotions be steady, unwavering. At least, slow enough for my brain to catch up to them.

10) Do you have a life verse, a passage of Scripture that holds special significance to you?

Yes, from Psalm 119:104. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I may not always be able to trust my feelings and emotions, or anyone else’s for that matter, but the Word of the Lord is completely and consistently trustworthy.

Thy Word

If you’ve read The Quilted Heart novellas, you’d be doing me a huge favor, if you’d write a review on The Quilted Heart omnibus for amazon.comgoodreads.comchristianbook.combarnesandnoble.com, and novelcrossings.com, and any other outlets you’re familiar with.

Thank you! And Happy Reading.

A Novel Instrument ~ The Zither

Zither Cropped 2

Music played a key role in the 1800s. In patriotism and in the church. In the life of a community. And in family life. Such was the case for Elsa Brantenberg and her household in Dandelions on the Wind, the first novella in The Quilted Heart omnibus.

Sunday evenings after supper is set aside for family music time. Mrs. Brantenberg plays the piano. Her domestic, Maren Jensen, plays the flute and is teaching Elsa’s little granddaughter to play a recorder. But she still longs to hear the instrument left behind by her long-gone son-in-law. A zither. (more…)

Meet Rutherford & Maren from The Quilted Heart

Meet Rutherford & Maren from The Quilted Heart


A broken soldier.

A nearly-blind abandoned bride.

Will love bind their hearts together,

or will stubborn pride unravel the family they both love?

Meet the main characters in Dandelions on the Wind, Novella #1 in The Quilted Heart omnibus!

Now available! Paperback and eBook

Now available!
Paperback and eBook

RUTHERFORD WAINWRIGHT

1. What is your job? Describe a little about what you do.

I was a farmer then a soldier. What I do next, work or otherwise, depends upon how Elsa Brantenberg receives me.

2. How would you describe yourself?

A disappointment. But I’m hungry to change that description. And that reality.

3. What do you need most?

Forgiveness. And a second chance at fatherhood.

4. How do you face disappointments or hardship?

In the past, I ran. Now, I pray. Real hard. And press on.

5. What is your most important goal in life?

To reunite with my little girl. She’d be four years of age now.

6. What are you most afraid of?

That I won’t be given a second chance.

7. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

To the day before my daughter was born. I’d like a chance to do things differently. To do right by her and her grandmother.

8. What do you put off because of dread, or you just don’t want to do it?

Returning to Saint Charles and the farm that had been my home.

9. What is most important to you?

To return to Saint Charles and make sure the daughter I abandoned knows I love her.

10. What do you want others to see in you?

My new dependence upon God for each step.

 

MAREN JENSEN

 1861, March

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,

To gain all while you give,

To roam the roads of lands remote,

To travel is to live.”

Maren Jensen’s fondness for Hans Christian Anderson’s romantic musings had waned somewhere in the Atlantic between Denmark and America. Now, weeks later, she sat on another boat, a paddlewheeler steaming up the Missouri River and the poet’s words were taunting her. She’d started the day in the wee hours, stepping off of the train from New York and onto the boat in Saint Louis that had carried her up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Hans Christian Anderson could keep his traveling for himself. All she wanted was a home.

Click here to read the complete PREQUEL scene to Dandelions on the Wind.

Have you read The Quilted Heart novellas? If you did and enjoyed the stories, you’d be doing me a huge favor, if you’d write a review on The Quilted Heart omnibus for amazon.com, goodreads.com, christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, and novelcrossings.com, and any other outlets you’re familiar with.

Thank you! And Happy Reading.

Enter to win a trip to St. Charles, the setting for The Quilted Heart

Enter to win a trip to St. Charles,
the setting for The Quilted Heart

 ENTER THE SWEEPSTAKES!

Quilters and Quilts ~ Week 10, Juanita Nobles

Juanita Quilters Banner

Reader-Friend Juanita Nobles is my guest in Week 10 of the Quilters and Quilts Blog Series celebrating the release of The Quilted Heart Omnibus.

MONA: How long have you been a quilter?

JUANITA: I’ve been quilting for 30 years. I started in 1983. I have done all types—paper piecing, applique, piecework, but I usually stick to pretty simple designs.

Lighthouse Quilt

Lighthouse Quilt

MONA: Who influenced you to start quilting?

JUANITA: Both my grandmothers quilted, but in those days they just put fabric together because they needed warm covers for the bed. When I started making quilts, it was to make pretty designs with colorful, coordinating pieces. My children were growing up and I wanted to make quilts for them and for their babies which I knew would be coming in a few years, so I taught myself to quilt. I did attend one simple class, but mostly I bought books and fabric and taught myself.

(more…)

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