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Within Golden Bands the sequel to Land of My Dreams

Posted by on May 19, 2020 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | 8 comments

It’s a pleasure to welcome you back Norma Gail, upon the release Within Golden Bands. Please tell us something about yourself, Norma. 

Thank you for hosting me, Janet! I’m excited to share my books with your readers.

I’m a former RN and homeschool/soccer mom who has made up stories since I was a child. My debut novel, Land of My Dreams, released in 2014. It took longer than I hoped for the sequel to come about for a lot of reasons but I’m excited to finally have a release date of May 19th. I also write weekly devotionals on my own website at www.NormaGail.org, and am a monthly contributor to the inspirational website, Inspire a Fire.

My husband and I live on the side of a mountain, at 7200 feet in elevation, outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s a peaceful place to enjoy the beauty of nature and a perfect setting for writing. We love taking long walks in our quiet neighborhood and enjoying the view from our patio, which stretches about 100 miles and allows us views of three different mountain ranges. Readers of Land of My Dreams will recognize the description of the view from Bonny’s New Mexico house.

My husband was already partially retired and working from home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That ended his part-time job, so he graciously stays busy while I write and work on book promotion. We enjoy heading out in our RV with my younger sister and her husband to Northern New Mexico. We took three big trips last year but this year’s travel plans are on hold until we see what direction the world is heading.

I remember that the inspiration for Land of my Dreams came when you and your husband visited Scotland for your thirtieth wedding anniversary. 

Yes, our anniversary trip was the inspiration for my first book. The second we stepped off the plane in Scotland, I felt as if I had come home. I kept dreaming about a man wearing a kilt and playing bagpipes on a misty hillside surrounded by sheep. When I broke my foot and ended up in a wheelchair for 8 weeks, Bonny and Kieran’s story was born.

Please tell us about your new release Within Golden Bands.

Here is the back cover copy for Within Golden Bands:

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. Are faith and love enough to hold their fledgling marriage together?

Within Golden Bands is a deeply personal story and one that will touch many readers in a meaningful way. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

My husband and I have two grown children, both of whom are adopted. The topic of adoption plays a huge role in the plot of Within Golden Bands. The years of infertility doctors, and surgeries with no answers, left an indelible mark on us. This is a huge struggle for couples, no matter how long they have been married. We learned a lot about the faithfulness of God and the importance of being content as a couple and supportive of one another through that period of our lives. The couples we met chose many different ways of facing the decision of whether to pursue fertility treatments, adoption or remain childless. In our case, even though we discussed adoption before we married, my husband was ready first. The desire to be a mother is a difficult thing for any woman to surrender to God.

Our journey to parenthood took four years. We were married for eight years when we adopted our son. Our daughter came along 21 ½ months later. They have brought so much joy. It’s impossible to imagine life without them.

My favorite quote from the book is: “If we fail to accept what God sends with trusting hearts, we refuse His greatest blessings.”

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing this story?

As I said earlier, Within Golden Bands was a long time coming. Both our extended and immediate families went through some ups and downs that required attention. God has a perfect time for each book. I received two rejections and went through many rewrites before I heard the story God intended me to write. Part of the problem was listening to what other people thought. You have to write the story God places in your heart for the pieces to come together.

The topic of abortion has come to the forefront in the political arena again, so a story about people who choose life fits our times very well. Most people need to be more educated about adoption. I also discovered that feelings I thought I had dealt with over 35 years ago were still buried deep inside. Though Bonny and Kieran’s story is not ours, her character voices many of the emotions I experienced back then.

Also, like the characters in the book, we went through a major threat to our livelihood at the time began our second adoption. Things were pretty scary for a while and caused us to lean on the Lord because we were faced with a situation that left us powerless.

Where can readers find Land of my Dreams?

Both books are available on Amazon

Land of My Dreamshttps://www.amazon.com/Land-My-Dreams-Norma-Gail-ebook/dp/B01ENKEL02/

Within Golden Bands – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084TSQ432/

What are your social media sights?

You can follow me at:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNormaGail/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Norma_Gail

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/norma-gail-holtman-3b271a42/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/normagailth/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/normagailwrites/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7874459.Norma_Gail

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Norma-Gail/e/B00ILHXBAK/

Thank you so much, for being my guest, Norma.

It was my pleasure! Thank you for being there as a friend when my book was rejected and for sharing my love of all things Scottish!

 

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Our Security During  COVID-19

Posted by on Mar 28, 2020 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Our Security During  COVID-19

March 28, 2020

Within the past few weeks, our lives have changed dramatically. The coronavirus or COVID-19 has impacted society at every level. It’s brought anxiety, confusion, illness, death and financial distress throughout our nation and the world.

How do we resist becoming isolated, fearful, discouraged, and frustrated during these times?

Isolation:

Television and radio entertain and keep us up to date with helpful news (as well as the junk we don’t need). Fortunately, we have access to a variety of technological means to keep us in touch with one another. Beyond telephones, texting, and emails, there is a myriad of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc. to help keep up to date with each other. Other tools such as Face Time, Zoom, Marco Polo, etc. provide visual and audible means of connecting professionally and personally.

Fear:

“God is our refuge and strength,  a very present help in trouble.

Psalms 46:1

 “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

He will cover you with his feathers,  and under his wings you will find refuge;
 his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

Psalms 91:2,4-6

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 

I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1Peter 5:7

“He says, ‘Be stilland know that I am God;”

Psalm 46:10

Discouragement, and Frustration:

 Roy Lessin has generously allowed me to share from his devotional Meet Me in the Meadow.

From August 3. 

“God has not made the earth and abandoned it. He has not retreated somewhere in the universe and gone into hiding. He is today where He has always been, on His throne. God sees all things, knows all things, and is all-powerful. God is all in all. He is above all. Nothing is above Him or equal to Him. There is no king or ruler that has more authority than God; there is no political figure that has more influence than God; there is no nation that has more control than God. No one can out-think Him, or out-smart Him. He is God Almighty. He has all authority in heaven and earth. His enemies are under His feet. He reigns and rules. He is the majesty on High.”

Meanwhile, we can

Pray:

For all medical providers, first responders, and all service industries serving on the front lines.

           For our families, friends, and neighbors.

           For our nation and the world.

           For our government and spiritual leaders

          For revival in our land

 

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves

and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Give:

          If possible, be generous with others in service and or provision.

           Encourage others who are even more isolated.

           If able, donate blood since there’s a shortage.

 

Clothe ourselves spiritually:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”     Ephesians 6:11-18 

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Cover Reveal For Book 3 in my Revolutionary War Series

Posted by on Mar 7, 2020 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cover Reveal For Book 3 in my Revolutionary War Series

I’m excited to reveal the cover for Setting Two Hearts Free, to be released in October of 2020.

 

Would their love survive the invisible wounds of war?

Here is the blurb:

Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost, Setting Two Hearts Free?

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A Visit to The Bookshop At The End Of The Internet

Posted by on Jan 7, 2020 in Blog, Books, Media Sharing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Visit to The Bookshop At The End Of The Internet

Last month, Stacey Horan and I chatted about my books and writing journey for her episode-052 podcast. You can hear by clicking on The Bookshop At The End Of The Internet widget on the sidebar or find it at:  

http://bookshopwithstaceyhoran.libsyn.com/bookshop-interview-with-author-janet-grunst-episode-052

 

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year

Janet

 

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Meet Jennifer Lamont Leo Author of The Violinist in The Highlander’s Collection

Posted by on Oct 29, 2019 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meet Jennifer Lamont Leo Author of The Violinist in The Highlander’s Collection

Jennifer Lamont Leo is one of the authors of The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection. Her story, The Violinist, the last story in the collection.

Please tell us something about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

I’ve always loved reading and writing, but I didn’t start writing fiction in earnest until we moved to Idaho about thirteen years ago. My first novel started out as Nanowrimo project (National Novel Writing Month), where participants are challenged to write a 50K word novel in a month. By the time the story was published it was almost unrecognizable from that early attempt, but I still recommend Nanowrimo to new writers as a way to light a fire under an idea and get the words flowing.

Is The Violinist your first novella? Did you find writing it more or less challenging than writing a novel?

It’s my second novella. I found it as challenging to write as a novel, but in a different way. In a novel, the action has to be sustained over a longer span, but there’s room to explore different characters and ideas. A novella, being shorter, needs to be more concise and focused, which presents its own set of challenges.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I’m very much a plotter. While some things may change as I go along, I need to start out with a pretty detailed road map. (Which is the way I drive, too, so at least I’m consistent.)

Was there anything that surprised you about writing this story?

As a child I was given violin lessons and played in the school orchestra, but I didn’t love it. So I was surprised that the violin played such a central role in the story.

Did you determine the storyline first or the era?

I knew I wanted to set it against the backdrop of the early 20th century, my favorite time period to write about. It was an era of great change and drama in the U.S. and elsewhere, with two world wars, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and all sorts of social upheaval. But for the novella, of course, I had to narrow it down. When I chose to bring my Highlander to Idaho as a logger, I set the story in 1915 since that was the heyday of logging here in the Northwest and fit with other events I wanted to include.

Please tell us what the story is about.

In 1915, Scotsman Callan MacTavish is working as a logger in northern Idaho. Beneath his rough plaid flannel shirt beats a homesick heart –a heart soothed only by the sweet violin of the local music teacher, Rose Marchmont. In order to spend time with Rose under the watchful eye of her disapproving family, Callan signs up for music lessons, with a surprising outcome that will tug at readers’ heartstrings.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

People are not always what they seem at first glance. We shouldn’t be too quick to judge based on outward appearances.  Everyone has a story.

What are your social media sites?

Website: http://jenniferlamontleo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferLamontLeo/
Twitter: JennLamontLeo
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennyleo/


Author Bio:

Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. She’s the author of You’re the Cream in My Coffee (winner of an ACFW Carol Award) and Ain’t Misbehavin’, both set in Roaring Twenties Chicago. In addition to historical fiction, she writes magazine articles on history-related topics and hosts two podcasts, “A Sparkling Vintage Life” and “North Idaho Nuggets.” She is also a copywriter, editor, and playwright. The Chicago-area native now writes from her mountain home in northern Idaho, which she shares with her husband, cat, and abundant wildlife.

 

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Meet J’nell Ciesielski – Author of Night Fox in The Highlander’s Collection

Posted by on Oct 15, 2019 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meet J’nell Ciesielski – Author of Night Fox in The Highlander’s Collection

Over the next few weeks, I’m featuring one of the authors of  The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection. This week, I’m pleased to introduce J’nell Ciesielski, author of Night Fox, the first story in the collection.

J’nell, please tell us something about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

Like most writers, I can tell you that I’ve loved reading for a very long time, but it wasn’t until I was a junior in college when I started to write my first real novel. It took a few years to actually finish and it wasn’t very good, as most first novels aren’t. Then I started my next and then my next. It wasn’t until six years ago when I got my agent and then two years ago when I landed my first contract. It’s been a long journey and one I’m excited to see where it’ll go next!

Is Night Fox your first novella? Did you find writing it more or less challenging than writing a novel?

Night Fox is my second written novella, but the first one I’ve had published. It was both challenging and easier than a full-length novel. More challenging because you have to cram an entire story into a very short amount of words, and easier because you can strip away all the extraneous lines and focus on the central story. And for a romance writer, that means more love.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I’m a planner in life and on the page. That being said, while I do have a plot it’s not necessarily written line for line without room for budging. I have certain plot points I want to hit, but I don’t always know exactly how I’ll get to them until I’m actually writing the scene. This can often lead to fun little surprises that I never considered before but can make the story more wonderful.

Was there anything that surprised you about writing this story?

How much fun it can be to write a female vigilante. I’ve never written one before and most stories have the men cloaked in black and holding roadside stick ups. No one expects a woman to be terrorizing the town!

Did you determine the story-line first or the era?

I’m most comfortable writing in the Jacobite Era of Scotland, specifically around the 1745 rebellion. For Night Fox I wanted to touch on something a little different and so chose the lesser-known 1715 rebellion. Once I had that, I settled on a fun take of Robin Hood by giving it a different spin with the woman as the thief.

Please tell us what the story is about.

After the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, war-weary Deven McLendon returns home to discover a thief creating chaos on his lands. But this thief isn’t like any other. When Rooney Corsen sets out to steal jewels to repay her family’s debts and keep a roof over her little sisters’ heads, never does she imagine snagging the laird’s heart instead.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

Sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons. Try not to judge them too harshly.

What are your social media sights?

http://www.jnellciesielski.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jnellciesielski

https://twitter.com/JnellCiesielski
https://www.goodreads.com/jnellciesielski

https://www.pinterest.com/jnellciesielski/

 

Author Bio:

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days writing heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle.

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