Posts Tagged "Within Golden Bands"

Finding a Sense of Peace in Unsettled Times

Posted by on May 19, 2020 | 4 comments

Finding a Sense of Peace in Unsettled Times

A sense of peace is hard to come by in these strange days we’re living. Life has a surreal quality and I’m not alone in wondering if things will ever be close to normal again.

 

 

 

 

Finding a Sense of Peace in Unsettled Times

A 2MefromHim Devotional

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

A sense of peace is hard to come by in these strange days we’re living. Life has a surreal quality and I’m not alone in wondering if things will ever be close to normal again.

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 #peace #Jesus #fear Click To Tweet

When I Lack a Sense of Peace

Unsettled thoughts interrupt my prayer time. Matters that were priorities before the quarantine seem amplified by new concerns. I sometimes feel close to tears. We’re separated by social distancing, confused over health guidelines, and our country seems more divided than ever. My heart cries, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Often, I wonder what God is doing through the COVID-19 crisis, earthquakes, fires, and unrest.

Often, I wonder what God is doing through the COVID-19 crisis, earthquakes, fires, and unrest. #COVID19 #fear #God Click To Tweet

A Sense of Peace Demonstrated

As I contemplate the mountain views spreading out from my window, it’s obvious that nature isn’t disturbed. The birds sing without care. The trees turn greener by the day. Nothing in the natural world has changed. I’m reminded of Matthew 6, where Jesus reminds us that the birds neither sow or reap, the flowers of the field don’t labor or spin because they know their heavenly Father will take care of all their needs. (Matthew 6:19-24)

I’m not to worry about how our economy or health will survive the pandemic. My hope isn’t in health or government officials. Hope comes from God, the loving Father who knows everything I need. Worry won’t add a moment to my life but it might subtract a few. Stress over relationships, money, or future plans can only bring me harm. My heavenly Father knows what is coming. He sees the future as clearly as he sees today and has seen the past. God’s knowledge of my needs at every moment of my life is perfect. His plans to provide are already in place. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Hope comes from God, the loving Father who knows everything I need. #provision #hope #anxiety Click To Tweet

Regaining a Sense of Peace

When Jesus spoke to his disciples before the crucifixion, he knew the dangers they faced, the uncertainty and persecution that would come. He knew their faith would be tested and their hearts confused. They would be afraid and he would no longer be with them in physical form to comfort them. Yet he promised to leave them with peace nothing like they had ever known—a peace that could overcome anything the world brought against them.

The early Christians faced a world every bit as uncertain as our own. Death threatened them because they believed. Yet John wrote, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5)

My task is to remain in the peace of God. When I feel upset, my thoughts must turn to his promises. My certainty rests in Christ alone. My sense of peace resides in the Prince of Peace who lives within me. I will overcome.

My sense of peace resides in the Prince of Peace who lives within me. I will overcome. #trials #pandemic #Jesus Click To Tweet

© Copyright Norma Gail Holtman, May 14, 2020

About the author:

Norma Gail - AuthorNorma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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Where Do You Turn in a World Gone Mad?

Posted by on May 15, 2020 | Comments Off on Where Do You Turn in a World Gone Mad?

Where Do You Turn in a World Gone Mad?

Where do you turn when life doesn’t turn out the way you planned? Life in the days of pandemic and writing have a lot in common.

 

 

 

Where Do You Turn in a World Gone Mad?

On Writing Within Golden Bands

Where do you turn when life doesn’t end up the way you planned? We’re living in uncertain times, for sure. When I began to write Within Golden Bands, I never imagined a book launch during a pandemic with everyone locked down at home. Bonny and Kieran MacDonell, the main characters of Within Golden Bands, never imagined the bizarre turn their lives would take when they married.

Where do you turn when life doesn’t end up the way you planned? #amwriting #plans #surprises Click To Tweet

A World Gone Mad

All of us can relate to a world gone mad. However, when you’re newlyweds, life should be beautiful. This young couple is faced with trouble from the start. As a matter of fact, the story begins in an emergency room, a place far too many people are visiting these days. Like so many people in our world today, Bonny finds herself all alone and afraid. Kieran is missing. What do you feel when you’re alone in an emergency room, faced with surgery, and your new husband is nowhere to be found?

My characters really have a tough go of it and most of it wasn’t a part of my plan. Authors don’t always get a say in what happens to their characters. Our children seldom live their lives according to plan. In the same way, characters tend to go off on their own and get into situations that appear to have no rescue.

Authors don’t always get a say in what happens to their characters. #fiction #authorlife #characters Click To Tweet

Pantsters Write in A World Gone Mad

Fiction authors define ourselves as “plotters” and “pantsters,” depending on whether or not we plan our stories before writing. In my case, I’m always writing by the seat of my pants. When we navigate life in that manner, it ends up in dead ends and getting lost. It’s the same in writing a book. There’s nothing settled or easy about writing but when characters take the lead. You never know how things will end.

I didn’t have an ending in mind when I set out to write Within Golden Bands. All I knew was that Kieran and Bonny were married and living on the banks of Loch Garry. Sounds pretty wonderful, doesn’t it?

Throw in a miracle pregnancy, a mad man, a woman who loves your husband but hates you, and the story could go anywhere. I prayed for the story God wanted me to write and I love it. He did a good job of leading the way. I did a lot of rewriting, and a lot of head-scratching, but the ending made me happy. I think you’ll like it too. As you read, realize that I had no more idea of how it would all turn out than you do! It’s truly a story for our time.

I had no more idea of how it would all turn out than you do! #amwriting #fiction #surprises Click To Tweet

A Party and A Book for Our Times

Join me for a Book Launch Party on May 19th! #books #reading #party Click To Tweet

Stop by Amazon and pick up a copy! Then join me at the Book Launch Party on Tuesday, May 19th from 6-8 pm Central Time. Just follow this link! https://www.facebook.com/groups/373402550260421/

About the author:

Norma Gail - AuthorNorma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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Creation of a Setting: The Place of My Dreams

Posted by on May 8, 2020 | 1 comment

Creation of a Setting: The Place of My Dreams

Creation of a story setting is one of the most important tasks of an author, and one I enjoy. The story world lives in my mind as vividly as if I lived there myself.

 

 

 

 

Within Golden Bands

The Creation of Setting for Stonehaven Farm

Loch Garry, Scotland is the setting for Kieran’s Stonehaven Farm, in both Land of My Dreams and Within Golden Bands. The loch, located in the central Highlands of Scotland, owns a unique beauty. In reality, its main claim to fame is the unique perspective of a map of Scotland when viewed from the A87 highway. The odd shape is due to a dam built for hydroelectric power in the early 1960s. However, I spent only fifteen minutes at the overlook on our trip to Scotland in 2006.

In order to create a farm that doesn’t exist, I studied hundreds of photographs online. The location near the bridge across the loch is for purely romantic reasons. The photographs have been my screensaver for 8 years now. I dream of a return trip to Scotland and the opportunity to stay in a “holiday rental,” looking out over the place of my dreams.

Creation of a story setting is one of the most important tasks of an author... #storyworld #setting #amwriting Click To Tweet

Creation of Kieran’s Farmhouse

The MacDonell family farmhouse is the actual location of Ardochy House, where there are three self-catering cottages. Built originally as an 18th Century shooting lodge, the house is the perfect place for my Scottish sheep farmer’s home. With beautiful bay windows overlooking the loch and sheep in the fields, it settled into my heart. The descriptions of the house arose in my imagination from places we stayed or visited on our trip to Scotland.

Of course, my favorite room is the library, decorated in MacDonell tartan, and the clan crest engraved above the fireplace. Though I prefer the modern, red MacDonell tartan, I chose the ancient tartan of blue and green. Kieran is nothing if not a man of respect for ancient tradition and heritage. I also chose the older spelling of McDonnell, rather than the more common McDonnell.

The descriptions of the house arose in my imagination from a real home on the shores of Loch Garry. #setting #authorlife #WithinGoldenBands Click To Tweet

Location of My Story World

Glengarry, the narrow valley where the loch sits, was once the home of the MacDonnell’s of Glengarry, now populated by only a few estates. The depopulation occurred during the Highland Clearances in the 1750s to 1860s. Wealthy landowners drove out the small farmers and crofters, similar to share-croppers, in order to expand their sheep herds. Today, the glen is known for  brown trout fishing, deer stalking, and Munro-bagging, the climbing of mountains over 3000 feet tall.

In Within Golden Bands, the areas disputed by the miserable antagonist, Gavin Gunn are all south of the loch. To plan each scene, I spent hours on Google searches, examined maps, and lived in my imagination. I discovered pictures of the islands at the end of the loch for the place where Bonny rode her horse, Misty when upset with Kieran.

I lived in my imagination to plan each scene. #fictionauthors #Scotland #romance Click To Tweet

My husband and I shopped in Fort William and stayed at the Highland Hotel on Loch Linnhe. It is a charming town at the foot of Ben Nevis, which we were fortunate enough to see on a clear day. Belford Hospital, where Bonny spends time is real, and she and Eilidh shop on the High Street.

Within Golden Bands, Romantic Suspense set in Scotland coming May 19th! #Christfic #RomSus #preorder Click To Tweet

Creation of Prizes Related to the Story

The Buchan Thistle pottery Bonny uses for everyday dishes is unique, hand-painted Scottish pottery. During the Book Launch Party on May 19th, one lucky member of the Team will win a small vase! The other big prize, a small Nambe ware serving bowl, comes from Bonny’s home state of New Mexico!

Obviously, readers will imagine Bonny and Kieran’s world in their own minds. However, since many of the places exist in the real world, I wanted to share some photos. Enjoy the beauty of my story world!

Thanks to:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Loch_Garry,_Lochaber

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Garry

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/glengarry-viewpoint

https://ardochy.com/

About the author:

Norma Gail - AuthorNorma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Surrender: Learning to Trust God

Posted by on May 5, 2020 | Comments Off on Sweet Surrender: Learning to Trust God

Sweet Surrender: Learning to Trust God

Surrender becomes sweet when we recognize that God’s ways are higher and better than ours. How much time I waste in worry and concern, only to discover I was wrong.

 

 

 

Sweet Surrender: Learning to Trust God

A 2MefromHim Devotional

 

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Surrender becomes sweet when I recognize that God’s ways are higher and better than mine. How much time I waste in worry and concern, only to discover I was wrong. God always has a better plan.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 #Godisgood #wisdom #faith Click To Tweet

Jesus’ Surrender vs. My Failure

Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that if it was possible, the cup be removed from him. However, he said, “Yet not as I will, but as you will,” and then surrendered peacefully to his enemies—and to the will of God.

Many recent situations have sent me to my knees. However, my prayers are often based on personal desires. I shoulder the same burdens I should have left at the foot of the throne as I leave my quiet time. And I have no peace. Every aspect of my life is affected. Worries haunt me like ghosts.

Surrender from God’s Perspective

When Joseph’s brothers sold him into captivity, he didn’t worry and whine. He demonstrated acceptance and surrender, living to glorify God in one difficult circumstance after another. His story ends in blessing.

By the same token, one of the sadder accounts is that of Samson, who satisfied his own desires despite the call put on his life from before birth. We’ll never know what might have happened had he surrendered to God.

Elisabeth Elliot, widow of the martyred missionary, Jim Elliot, writes, “To pray, ‘thy will be done.’ I must be willing, if the answer requires it, that my will be undone.”

Charles H. Spurgeon wrote, “My situation is urgent, and I cannot see how I will ever be delivered. Yet this is not my concern, for He who made the promise will find a way to keep it. My part is simply to obey His commands, not to direct His ways. I am His servant, not His advisor. I call upon Him and He will deliver me.”

What blessings might God grant if I surrendered totally to him? #surrender #blessings #self-denial Click To Tweet

Answering the Call to Surrender

I attempt to advise God when I pray for a situation to resolve my way. In Philippians, Paul wrote from prison, “what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” What might God might accomplish in me, through me, or in someone near me if I surrender my will to his?

When I pray “not as I will, but as you will,” my burden is lifted. The surrender is sweet. May I learn to surrender rather than advise.

The way to peace is complete surrender to the will of God. #trust #obedience #peace Click To Tweet

© Norma Gail Holtman, May 4, 2020

About the author:

Norma Gail - AuthorNorma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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Meet Kieran MacDonell from Within Golden Bands

Posted by on May 1, 2020 | Comments Off on Meet Kieran MacDonell from Within Golden Bands

Meet Kieran MacDonell from Within Golden Bands

Meet Kieran MacDonell from Within Golden Bands, the sequel to Land of My Dreams, which releases on May 19th!

 

 

 

 

Meet Kieran McDonnell from Within Golden Bands

Character Interview

Congratulations on your recent marriage to Bonny! How are you settling into married life?

Kieran and Bonny MacDonell cover photoThank you. You know, I was married for fifteen years before Bronwyn and our son died in childbirth. Therefore, I thought I had marriage figured out. Bonny’s as different from Bronwyn as night from day. She’s passionate about everything, wants to be involved in the farm, and always has an opinion. Life will be an adventure, but I knew that when I met her.

We haven’t had a chance to settle in. We discovered Bonny was pregnant on our honeymoon—such a miracle. I prayed for a child. In other words, I refused to believe the doctor’s predictions that she’d never have children. And they were wrong. To know she carried our child was the most exciting—but, in the long run, the doctors were right. I remind myself that it wasn’t my prayer for a child that endangered her life. God’s in control of it all.

But to be attacked and discover my wife almost died in my absence? Ach, I could have lost her. Since I already lost one wife, I’ll never take Bonny for granted, not for a second. Above all, each day is a gift.

Meet Kieran MacDonell from Within Golden Bands, a romantic suspense novel releasing on May 19th! #RomSus #Christfic #characterinterivew Click To Tweet

Tell me about your attacker and how that’s affecting your lives?Kieran MacDonell - Ballater Highland Games 2006

I wish my parents hadn’t kept secrets. All my life, I was taught about ancestry, inheritance, and clan, however, I didn’t know about the people who could destroy everything we’ve built. Stonehaven Farm is known for our fine wool, mutton, and Highland cattle. Of course, it unnerved me to discover someone wants to steal all that.

Bonny wants to hide in New Mexico. I won’t run from anyone or anything. I will protect her and this farm, no matter what. I-I wanted an heir to carry this legacy into the future. But right now, we have to concentrate on the bampot in the great kilt, with feathers in his hair, who only speaks in the Gaelic. 

It sounds like you’re facing huge struggles. How are the two of you handling that?

Our prayer life is strong. We start and end our days with prayer and Bible reading. You know, we’re building a chapel down near the bridge over Loch Garry. Eventually, I’ll minister to all the people on the small farms and crofts (rented farms), this area is full of people who have no church close by.

I’m blessed that Bonny supports me with the farm and chapel. She’s afraid for me and we especially don’t agree about adoption, but these things take time.

Having lost one wife, well, I’ll never take Bonny for granted, not one single minute. Kieran McDonnell, Within Golden Bands #Christrom #preorder #BYNR Click To Tweet

Kieran MacDonell - near Corgarff CastleThis must be difficult from the standpoint of being newly married. Does that make it more challenging?

Bonny and I function well as a couple and that will only get better, owing to the fact that we share a deep commitment to our marriage and a love nothing can defeat. I’m excited about the future with her at my side.

I went through such depression after Bronwyn died. What Bonny brings to my life reminds me of the loch on a cloudless day when the water glitters like a million diamonds. We’ll come through this strong and together.

What is your biggest concern right now?

My biggest—it’s for Bonny to recover physically. She’s so tiny—but ordinarily, she’s strong. After all, the woman I fell in love with would tackle anything, no matter the difficulty. Anyone with the courage to turn her back on her entire world and begin a new life on her own is the wife I need.

The farm, well, I know we’ll prevail in court. However, catching the villain who attacked me is another matter. In the meantime, I just have to take one day and one crisis at a time. 

What helps you the most in the midst of struggles against such an elusive enemy?Kieran MacDonell - Highland cattle 2006

Ultimately, all that matters is our trust in God. He saved me on that flight back to Scotland after Bonny refused my marriage proposal. In spite of my loss, he gave me hope, purpose, and power over the enemies of doubt and depression that almost defeated me. Therefore, I know we’ll win this battle if we honor God and put him first. At the same time, God never promised freedom from trials, only to be with us as we go through them.

God never promised freedom from trials, only to be with us as we go through them. Kieran McDonnell, Within Golden Bands #amazonbooks #RomSus #MustRead Click To Tweet

In light of all that’s happened, Kieran, what are your hopes for the future?

I dinna fash about the future. First, I can only focus on right now. I’m not ready to adopt. even though Bonny would do it today. Ach, I can’t—maybe I’ll never be ready. It takes time to adjust to a future that’s not what you imagined. For instance, when I lost Bronwyn, I thought I had no future. I was wrong, and now I trust God to guide us. All things considered, that’s as far as I can go at the moment. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

For one thing, life will be easier. We’ll settle the decision about a family, although, I’d be fine if it’s just the two of us. The chapel will be strong and growing. For the most part, I see a peaceful future, the one we dreamed about before we married. After all, with God and Bonny, how can life be anything but good? 

With God and Bonny, how can life be anything but good? Kieran McDonnell, Within Golden Bands #Christfic #Suspense #Romcon Click To Tweet

If you loved the taste of Scotland you got from Land of My Dreams, be ready for an adventure in the pages of Within Golden Bands!

Author’s note:Kieran MacDonell - Stewart Finlay McLennan

While I had a picture of Bonny in mind, I have no photograph that comes close to the Kieran who’s lived in my imagination since 2006. He’s all Scot, stereotypical, redhead, curly hair, six foot five inches tall, 250+ pounds of solid muscle. He competed in the Highland Games and won at Braemar, where the Queen presents the medals to the best athletes.

The closest is Stewart Finlay-McLennan in the old Christy TV series from the ’90s but he wasn’t big enough. Kieran’s an imposing man, spiritually and physically, with a wide smile and sparkling eyes, blue as the Scottish flag. He lives life large, in every way.

About the author:

Norma Gail - AuthorNorma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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