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Category Archives: Author Chat

At Home with Daffodils – the History & a Giveway

When I originally proposed At Home with Daffodils, my story in A Bouquet of Brides, I wanted the story set in 1895 in northeastern Oklahoma. When the novella was picked up by Barbour, and I began my research in earnest, I requested permission to move the historical timeline to after Oklahoma’s statehood, which happened on November 16, 1907. I made this change because I found myself getting lost in Oklahoma’s varied history. At the time of the original date part of what is now the state of Oklahoma was Indian Territory and part of it was Oklahoma territory.

To further confuse things, it was difficult to know just which part of Indian Territory had white people “squatting” on the land. There were many white settlements in Indian Territory, despite legal efforts to keep this from happening. Take this a step further by digging into the history of the Cherokee Nation, which settled in the area I wanted to write about, and it became very difficult to know how to handle history accurately.  Though my blond hair and green eyes might not show it, I have Cherokee and Choctaw ancestry. I wanted to handle those years with the respect due this heritage but soon realized that kind of research and historical undergirding was too dense for a book of novella length. I was relieved when the editor at Barbour allowed me to move my story to the years right after statehood.

Though modern conveniences like the automobile and electric lights were seen in the big city in these years (and the Titanic was being fully equipped with electric lights), this type of extravagance hadn’t made its way to the back hills of northeastern Oklahoma. Thus my story has undertones of the same kind of life many of us experienced through Pa and Laura as we watched the classic TV series, Little House on the Prairie.

In my story, my heroine’s mother is part Cherokee. It’s interesting to note that the nearest real town to my fictional setting is Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Tahlequah is the capital of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Supreme Court Building, located in downtown Tahlequah and constructed in 1844, is the oldest public building in Oklahoma.

It was fun to research how my heroine, Dilly, dressed, fixed her hair, and managed daily life. Though this is the Edwardian era of Titanic fame, Dilly was far removed from all this fuss.

(Photo from http://thevintagesite.com.)

Dilly’s work in the general store and her life in this tiny community made a simple long black skirt, white shirtwaist, and sturdy boots more sensible.

I picture her more like this (photo found on Pinterest):

You can learn more about the history in northeastern Oklahoma by reading At Home with Daffodils.

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!

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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Author, 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

 

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Holly & Ivy – the History

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.

Like many people, I’m fascinated with the concept of mail-order brides. The idea of and use of finding a bride via the mail or advertisement gained popularity in the United States in the 1800s. A far larger number of men from the east traveled across the country to settle the west than women. This meant that finding a woman to marry for these men was severely limited. Unable to travel back to the east, men sent for brides. It might sound absurd at first glance, but women answered the call.

Being a romantic, I struggled with how marrying a person you hardly know could work with love and romance. What kind of a woman would choose to marry a man she’s never met? Traveling alone over such a vast distance could be dangerous for a woman in the 1800s with no guarantee her husband-to-be would be a good and kind man.

In addition to what would cause a woman to make a huge lifelong decision like this is the romance factor. I like romance before the wedding because I like the romance to lead up to the proposal and wedding. If they are already married, there isn’t a concrete goal to strive for. But it’s also fun to explore a couple falling in love after marriage.

This quandary sets my mind to work overtime coming up with possible scenarios. For this story, it’s not my main heroine, Holly, but her flighty sister, Ivy, who is the mail-order bride. Holly travels with her to talk her out of this nonsense. But her sister is unmoving in her position all the way across the country in spite of unsavory men bothering them. But when she meets her intended, her conviction waivers.

This is not the first nor the last mail-order bride story I hope to write. Cinda’s Surprise was the first. In her case, her friends corresponded with the prospective husband without her knowledge. Two others I hope to write in the future have heroines who are either trying to find and reclaim her children and the other wants to get out of a miserable situation and start anew.

In 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.

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#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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Periwinkle in the Park – the History

One could say the history of my little tale stems from one of the greatest love stories of all time. No, not a romantic love, although a bit of romanticism comes into play. But rather love of nature, a love that goes deep into the appreciation of God’s creation.

Periwinkle in the Park, part of the Bouquet of Brides collection, takes place in 1910 Estes Park and in what will someday be Rocky Mountain National Park.

The federal park was established on September 4, 1915, thanks to the efforts of activists such as Enos Mills, dubbed the “Father of Rocky Mountain National Park.” He was a naturalist with an all-consuming love of the land in which he lived. He believed the beauty of the area should be shared with the people, but also must be protected. Through his spearhead efforts, and other like-minded souls, the park was established, and I, among countless others, am grateful.

I make mention of Enos Mills in my story. How could I not while writing about the labor pains of his efforts? The heroine of my story, Peri, is also a naturalist and student of Enos Mills. As I studied him, I placed Peri in his footsteps. I gave her the same experiences, from a memory of becoming snow blind on the tundra to talking to the gentle mountain folk, (aka, the animals.)

Although not a Colorado native, (missed it by just a couple of years,) this is my home. Yet I never understood the rich history of the two places I love most, Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, until I researched this story. I encourage you to dig into the places that mean the most to you. I, for one, was surprised at the sacrifices made just so I could experience the grandeur of snowy mountain peaks, mirrored lakes, and magnificent beasts such as elk and deer. Thank you, Enos Mills and others, for this selfless gift.

 

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Kathleen 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 www.kathleenekovach.com.

 

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A Song for Rose – the History

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’s because I’m a new author. I’m honored to be in a collection with so many talented multi-published authors.

I love historical fiction. It takes me to a time without computers and cell phones. A time where the world is smaller and relationships happen in person. When I visit a historic site, I imagine the time in an idyllic light.

At the same time, conditions were harsh. I’m so glad to have running water, central heat, and an electric stove. These difficulties add color to historical fiction. Fun to read about, but not fun to live.

Prospectors found gold in Colorado after the California gold rush. Mining towns popped up starting in about 1859. They started as tent cities, soon to be replaced by wooden structures. If the mines proved rich enough, the town turned into a regular city with brick buildings. Men brought their families to settle and their wives brought culture and refinement.

A Song for Rose takes place about twenty years after gold was first discovered and the town has grown into a bustling metropolis. Interesting how the old newspapers like to refer to their town as a metropolis.

Although on the edge of the Wild West, these mining towns were part of a nation that had experienced an industrial revolution. All kinds of manufactured goods could be shipped from the east. The mines provided money to purchase these goods.

I love writing about this time period with its mix of untamed elements and new inventions. Rose’s story centers around an opera house that brings culture to the fictional mining town of Rockledge, Colorado.

Read about Rose’s adventure in 1882 Rockledge Colorado in A Song for Rose in a Bouquet of Brides Collection.

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Suzanne 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.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2018 in Author Chat, New Release

 

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A Prickly Affair – the History & a Giveaway

Donna Schlachter is one of my co-authors in the Bouquet of Brides. Like all the rest of us, she did her research to make sure her story was historically accurate.

 

When I decided on the time period for my Bouquet of Brides story, “A Prickly Affair”, I wanted to keep it close to my favorite time, which is the 1860’s to 1880’s. It had to be after Cave Creek, Arizona was founded, so I picked 1858. I did some research into what was going on in the area at the time, including weather, rainfall, sunrise/sunset times, and the extent of cattle ranching and the population of the area, all of which fell directly into line with the story I had in mind.

To celebrate the release of A Bouquet of Brides collection and my story, A Prickly Affair, I’m giving away a free print copy (US only) of the book. To enter, subscribe to my newsletter. I’ll be drawing for the book at the end of January. If you’re already subscribed,follow my blog . And if you’ve already done both of those, feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook (see the links below)

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor, and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid author who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a local critique group, and teaches writing classes and courses. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. She loves history, research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

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Paula Moldenhauer – A Packaged Deal

Paula is back today to tell us about her new release, A Packaged Deal. Welcome back, Paula! Give us a brief summary of the book.

A Packaged Deal is the first book in my new Towering Pines contemporary romance series. Here’s the back cover copy:

Snuggle next to a fireplace in Towering Pines, the Colorado ski town where friendship is served up in hearty helpings and love is as true as the cobalt blue sky.

When Olympic hopeful Aspen Carlisle gave up her ski-racing dreams to raise her orphaned siblings, she found out the hard way that men aren’t interested in a “packaged deal.” Thrust into a stiff learning curve on motherhood, Aspen discovers the love and support of her friends in Towering Pines, but when the handsome new resort manager Stephen Wallace shows kindness to her little family, can she drop her guard long enough to allow him into that trusted circle—and her heart?

As Aspen struggles to believe in him, Stephen battles ghosts of his own. Time with Aspen and her family causes old issues to bubble to the surface. Does he have what it takes to push through the fear and regret, or will he stay stuck in the pain of the past? If he can believe in himself enough to become the husband and father they need, he’ll discover how wonderful a packaged deal can be.

I heard a rumor this book is something you started at seventeen or eighteen?

It sure is! I still have the handwritten cursive manuscript on lined notebook paper to prove it. I’m forever grateful to Mr. Wyly for agreeing to let me write a novel instead of doing what everyone else was doing during that nine weeks of creative writing class my senior year in high school. It was one of those touch points that kept my dream of becoming an author alive and sustained it during my busy years as a teacher and young mom when I thought I would write and didn’t.

How much of the story was written? How did it change?

I think I had less than fifty hand-written pages, but even much of the unfinished story-line lived in my head all those years. The story matured with me, of course. The heroine became Aspen instead of Kimberly. Originally there were two men vying for her attention, but the more grown-up me didn’t want to do that. One thing that didn’t change is Aspen’s need to take care of her siblings. That was in the original storyline. It’s precious to me, maybe because I love my brother, Curtis, so much. Sibling relationships are so important! I did move the family to Colorado and created Towering Pines.

Towering Pines seems like a wonderful place to live. Is there a real town it is patterned after?

Yes and no. I started writing this story when my middle son, Stephen (yes, couldn’t resist using his name for the hero) was in middle school. He was on Nederland Middle School’s ski team with my nephew, Caleb, who lived in the area. My sister-in-law and I would take turns driving the boys up the mountain. While Stephen skied, I sat in a coffee shop made out of railroad cars and wrote.

Thus the Whistle Stop was born. Is that the coffee shop in your story?

Yes. And I was actually sitting in the Train Cars Coffee and Yogurt Shop, the real place in Nederland, having a writing day with my buddy Kathleen Kovach and a cute little girl came in named Willow. I was struggling to name Aspen’s sister, and when Kathy and I heard the mom call her daughter Willow, we know it was perfect. (Kathy and I are both authors – with Pegg – in A Bouquet of Brides which releases in January.)

We’ll have you back to the blog as that release date gets nearer. So your fiction city and resort, Towering Pines and Eagle View Resort, are patterned after Nederland, CO, and Eldora Mountain?

Yes and no. Nederland and Eldora are unique in Colorado. Eldora is a small resort, and Nederland still feels like a real town, not only a tourist stop. I enjoyed attending events at the local school and manning the concession stand to raise money for the ski team, so I did buy into the community atmosphere. That said, I imagine Towering Pine and Eagle View a little fancier than Ned but without giving into the rich-ski-town-catering-to-tourists feel that is connected to the larger Colorado resort towns. I love Nederland. It’s a quirky little place with a variety of characters. Just Google “Frozen Dead Guy Days.” But I imagine Towering Pines a little more down-home and a little less . . . exotic. I grew up in Oklahoma, so it’s probably that small town girl trying to create the community atmosphere of the south/mid-west region and place in the Colorado Mountains.

Where can readers get this book? Is it a Christmas story?

A Packaged Deal is available on Kindle and in paperback. There are Christmas scenes, but I think of it more as a story that takes place in the winter.

When does book two in the series release and what’s its title?

Rattled releases spring of 2018.

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Author Chat, New Release

 

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Author Chat with Paula Moldenhauer

Thank you for coming on the blog today, Paula. Many people know you because of the non-fiction books, devotionals, and articles you’ve written. Your last book, Soul Scents: Flourish, was a deep journey out of emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse. Tinseled Tidings is a collection of light, inspirational romance. How do you reconcile such different writing?

I’ve come to understand that God didn’t call me to a specific genre, but to a message. Everything I write comes from my passion to see others set free to flourish with Jesus. When He died upon that cross, He set us free from the things that hold us back in this life.

Next to my computer I have a statement that says, “I write to join with the Holy Spirit in setting captives free and healing the broken-hearted. To call forth the true essence of life, person, self. To be a part of the grand Love Story with Jesus.” Everything I write about goes through this filter. Messages of freedom appear in a short-word count novella just the same as in a complex work of fiction or deeply researched and vulnerably written work of non-fiction.

We all need to be fed spiritually. God’s truth comes to us in many forms. A song on the radio. A conversation with a friend. Deep study of the Holy Bible. Prayer. Many of us read books seeking an encounter with Jesus, whether we realize it or not.

I’m a smorgasbord gal myself. There are times I need meat—a deep dive into a serious work of fiction, non-fiction, or Biblical study. There are times I need a salad or dessert. I think of my writing like that. Everything I present to readers should offer the glorious grace and truth Jesus offers. Sometimes it comes in the form of key-lime pie, which is how I think of the first novella in this series, You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch. (The second story, The Joy Scrooge is more like dark chocolate.) But some of my writing is steak, and it takes a while to chew.

Okay, this has turned into a pretty serious interview about a book and collection designed to be fun. (Well, if calling books key-lime pie is serious.) Tell us more about the Tinseled Tidings collection and why it is playful.

It really started because I needed fun and wanted to offer fun to my readers. I’m in a season where I need to laugh more and be reminded of happy endings. Romance books illustrate that in the end we are Christ’s beloved bride, and we will have a happily-ever-after. What better way to pursue hope and joy?

Briefly share a tidbit of spiritual discovery you experienced as you wrote each title in this series.

Brief. Hmmmm. Not my strong point. Okay. Here goes.

When I sign You’re a Chamer, Mr. Grinch, I usually add the Scripture reference John 10:10 below my name. It says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (NLT). I got this book contract after a particularly trying season of about seven years in which my husband almost died, did lose his business, and we almost lost our home. There was more, but the point is when we’ve been through something especially difficult, it is hard to believe there can be abundant life. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with this!) So my heroine’s struggle to hope again was part of my soul working its way out of those years of hardship.

 

The Joy Scrooge connects to this promise in Scripture: “I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing,” (Jeremiah 31:13, NLT). I write these kinds of stories for fun, but I also write them out of my passion to join with Jesus in His healing work. This is a simple love story, but it is dear to me. Grief is a part of life, and just as Tait had to face his grief to walk through it, we all must allow the seasons of mourning in our lives. But I don’t believe the Lord wants us to stay in grief. He promises to exchange our pain and sorrow for praise and joy. That’s a great deal, my friend!

 

In Fruitcake Fallout there is an over-arching theme based on Song of Solomon 4:7, but a secondary theme emerged as I wrote. I found myself thinking about how there is no place or person so dark that it (or they) is God-forsaken—an important concept in a book set during WW2! While I wrote this book, there was a random shooting at “my” Walmart, which traumatized many and stole the lives of a few. Then the horrific church shooting in Texas. Then the man who tried to enter the elementary school and went on a shooting binge. I wrote, in part, to remember that God is there in the worst of times, caring for the hurting. As a race we must stand even when darkness threatens our light. Because really, the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1).

 

One last question. Umm . . . make that two. How can readers find out about new releases or free days for your electronic books? Where can they get the Tinseled Tidings Collection?

The best way is to know what is going on with promotions and new releases is to sign up for my newsletter by visiting my website: www.paulamoldenhauer.com.

The Tinseled Tidings Collection is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Tinseled-Tidings-3-Book-Series/dp/B077BWG77T The individual titles were released on Kindle for 99 cents, and the whole collection releases in paperback this week!

You can find Paula in the following places:

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Posted by on December 4, 2017 in Author Chat, New Release

 

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