Monday, September 28, 2015

Scottish Tea & Conversation with Norma Gail ~ Author Land of My Dreams

Guest Blogger ~ Norma Gail @Norma_Gail
with Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges


“He has made everything beautiful in His time. He has set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 



Nan, Norma, Me!
I met Norma through a close, personal friend on Facebook (whose name shall not be mentioned but her initials are Nan spelled backwards). We instantly became kindred spirits and we finally got to meet each other in person last February at Writer’s Advance Bootcamp! where the two of us along with our other best friend spent several days getting to know each other. I am so very excited to introduce you to Norma Gail and her first novel, Land of My Dreams.

Welcome to Heart Thoughts Norma!

As always, let’s begin with some background. Please, tell us a little about yourself.
Fiction writers are known as “plotters” and “pantsters”, depending on if they plot everything out ahead of time or just sit down and write. I am a definite “pantster”! I love to let words, ideas, and emotions flow. Writing fiction is a joy! I love watching a story take shape as the characters do things I never thought they would. Kind of like a method actor, I live the emotions with the characters. I am working on a sequel to Land of My Dreams while keeping up with a very busy blogging schedule and researching a historical trilogy based on some old family stories of pioneers in Texas and New Mexico.
Gorgeous New Mexico from her mountain top home!

I pray as much over the fiction I write as I do the devotionals. Poems are God’s gift to me. They don’t come very often, but when they do it is usually in a time of distress when God whispers His words of comfort to me.

When I’m not writing, which is rare, I love to read and travel with my husband. I could live on vacation. I LOVE to travel. I enjoy taking my Jeep on 4x4 trails in Colorado and am a mountain girl who could easily become a hermit up on my mountaintop. Bible study grounds me.

I, for one, am very happy you are not a hermit or I’d never get to talk to you! I love that you incorporate God’s words and His heart into your daily life and your novels. So inquiring minds want to know, what made you start writing? Specifically, how did you decide to write Christian romance?
After not writing for over 20 years, I began to write devotionals for the opening of the Bible study. Our pastor asked me to write a weekly devotional for the church website, which made an easy transition to a devotional blog. I remembered how much I loved writing and my dream of being published returned. When I broke my foot and ended up in a wheelchair, the boredom got to me and I decided to take an idea from a dream before a trip to Scotland in 2006 and see if I could write a novel. Land of My Dreams is the story God gave me.

I am a romantic at heart and love classic romances, but also Christian romance. I believe that Christian romance should illustrate love relationships the way God intended them to be. I go for the mushy stuff big time, but God will always be at the center. After all, God created romance!

Oh my goodness He sure did! I hate that it took a broken foot to get you writing this book but God uses all kinds of things to get us to our dreams. Can you give us a short synopsis of your book, Land of My Dreams?
American professor, Bonny Bryant accepts a position at a small college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. She never expected to find love, but fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell captures her heart. He harbors a deep anger toward God. When Bonny’s former fiancĂ© reenters her life, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to a former student, and she must decide between her rivals. Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

It’s a beautiful story and those are beautiful names but they do
struggle quite a bit throughout it. What is the main spiritual theme or themes in the book?
God truly does make all things beautiful in His time, but His time is not ours. Both Bonny and Kieran harbor a deep anger toward God. As Bonny grows in her faith, they experience the struggle of being unequally yoked with an unbeliever.




How has this impacted you on a spiritual level?


As a devotional writer and Bible study leader, I convey spiritual lessons by example all the time. With fiction, the task is taken to another level. There is a great need to be spiritually accurate and believable, but also entertaining. It made me examine my own thinking on a deeper level and study the scriptures on these topics.




Has it impacted your marriage any?


Our marriage is spiritually strong. The main impact on my marriage came from a homemaker/Bible study leader turning into an almost full-time writer, blogger, and marketer. About 80% of marketing falls to the author today and I struggle to balance my time well. My husband is patient, encouraging, and supportive, but he does remind me on occasion that I work too hard. He is my biggest cheerleader, a patient listener, and willing advisor as to how a man would say or do something. Many of the scenes in the book changed due to his input.




What lessons can we learn or take away from this book?


Proverbs 3:5-6 are appropriate here. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” There would be no plot or conflict to the story if Bonny and Kieran did as God says they should. Life would be so much easier if we trusted and obeyed.




That is so true and a wonderful reminder to us all. Would you like to share a favorite passage of yours from the book?

Let me preface this scene by saying that my husband and I saw this rainbow from this place on our 30th anniversary trip to Scotland:

“Come see this.” Kieran and Bonny stood atop Grant Tower at Urquhart Castle, overlooking Loch Ness. For her, it was a place of poignant memories. He pointed to a rainbow arching from one side of the loch to the other as she moved into the crook of his arm. “Now, down there.”
She stood on tiptoe and looked to where he pointed, at the base of the tower.
“Step onto that ledge and I’ll steady you.”
The warmth of his hands around her waist contrasted with the chill wind. She shivered and leaned close enough to hear the stubble on his chin scratching against her raincoat. “The rainbow enters the water at the foot of the tower. Another fifty feet, and it would form a complete circle. Amazing.”
 His arms tightened around her. “No more so than the woman in my arms.”
She kept silent. Did he feel it? What could be more romantic than a rainbow all their own?
“No one else sees it.”
His warm breath tickled her ear, and she leaned against him, wrapped in a sense of wonder and delight. No one even wrote things this perfect. “Just we two.”
Kieran bent over her, his lips touching hers, tentative and searching. She leaned into his arms, her heart leaping in her chest as she allowed her lips to reveal her readiness to move forward. The scent of him was becoming so familiar. The taste of him was even sweeter.



Perfect! Before we go, as always, how may my readers find 
and contact you?

Book Links:
 


Author bio:
Norma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, released in 2014 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 21 years. Her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the StitchesthruTime blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She and her husband of 39 years have two adult children. 


 
 Scottish Tea & Conversation with Norma Gail

 Interview with Author Norma Gail
 

Monday, September 21, 2015

AWAKEN MY SOUL

by Marcie Bridges, @Marcie_Bridges

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
 I will sing and give praise.
Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! 
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples;
 I will sing to You among the nations.
For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, 
And Your truth unto the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; 
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
Psalm 57:7-11

Bridgescreations, 2015
AWAKEN MY SOUL

to the wonder
of cloudless blue skies
green shoots from soil dry
buds pink on dogwood trees
the flitting of butterflies
and the buzzing yellow bee.

Awaken my soul
to the beauty
of the earth You created
open my eyes
so I can see
the love You whisper
all around me.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©2015


Today, let's just pause, take a moment and relax in God's presence. In the beauty of His works. In the holiness of His touch. Let's pray for peace. Pray for comfort and pray that our hearts will be opened to see God in ways we've never seen Him before. He didn't give us His creation to worship it, He gave us His creation to help us worship HIM! 

Your world will change when you stop letting it revolve around yourself and you surrender to the glorious, wonderful, all - consuming worship of your Savior in thanksliving. 

Selah. Pause. Shift your focus to the One who loves you more than anything else in this universe.

From My Heart to Yours,
Marcie