Today I welcome Norma Gail to my blog. Her book, Land of My Dreams, has recently been released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a former RN, from the days of white uniforms, and wearing caps, but I quit to raise my two adopted children and never went back. I worked on a 64-bed orthopaedic unit. We made rounds with our doctors and I love doing hands-on patient care.
When I was about 24 years old, I was the charge nurse on a busy Sunday afternoon when the medical director of the hospital came to do a consult on one of the patients. He gave an order I felt was detrimental to my patient’s health. I knew what I was doing could cost my job, but I stood up to him and refused to take his order.
He asked if I knew who he was, and I said I did, but since he was not the attending physician, I respectfully declined to take his order. It was probably not too impressive that I was crying at the time, but I held my ground. He said he would have my job, but I stuck to my guns and spent the next morning in administration with my head nurse. The result was that I kept my job and he was put on administrative leave.
How and when did you begin to write?
I began to write after the first time I read Little Women. Jo March seems to have inspired a lot of women to write. I would make up a story and get my younger sisters and the neighborhood kids to play parts I assigned them.
Through junior high and high school, my best friend and I wrote stories and poems, critiquing them for each other. In fact, she helped me many times during the writing of Land of My Dreams. I always wanted to be a published author, but the lure of nursing, marriage, and two children 21 months apart kept me from it until they were grown. I did write adoption stories for both of them which became bedtime favorites, but other than that I did not write for over 20 years.
I began writing poetry again after my dad was killed by lightning, and from that I began to write devotionals for the openings of the Bible study I lead at our church. That grew into weekly devotionals for our church webpage, to a weekly devotional blog, and finally to my dream of writing fiction.
Can you give our readers a short description of Land of My Dreams?
Here’s the book blurb:
Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. The passionate love which develops when she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, is something she never anticipated.
Kieran harbors a deep anger toward God in the face of his own devastating grief. When Bonny’s former fiancé reenters her life, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to a former student.
How will Bonny decide between her rivals? Can they set aside the past to make way for a future, or will it drive them apart?
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.
What led you to write it?
After a trip to Scotland in 2006, and a very vivid dream about a Scottish sheep farmer on a misty hillside, the idea began to grow. We met an American from Phoenix who married a Scot and had lived there for many years. Since I am married to a Dutch immigrant, it sparked an idea which grew from there.
When I broke my foot and was confined to a wheelchair for several weeks, unable to drive, I had the time to begin writing and it snowballed from there.
What are you working on now?
My current work in progress is a sequel to Land of My Dreams, entitled Within Golden Bands. It picks up the night after the first book ends and all of the characters make an appearance in the first chapter. I have found it interesting that readers wanted the two antagonists to continue in the book. One person said they were too bad to leave out. After that, I plan a historical series partially based on stories of my own pioneer ancestors in the south and southwest.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Start attending writer’s conferences early on, before you finish your book. Pay for a professional edit before pitching it to anyone. Spend time learning your craft, and if you are so fortunate to have a local Christian writer’s group, get involved. I don’t have that and really wish I did.
If you really desire to be published, don’t let rejections discourage you. Learn from them and keep trying. A teachable attitude will go a long way toward making someone consider your book. If it doesn’t make it with the big publishers try the smaller ones. They are often more open and offer a really special, nurturing relationship to a new writer.
How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
I love connecting with readers! Here are my social media and book links:
Land of My Dreams is available at:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Land-My-Dreams-Norma-Gail/dp/1941103170/ or
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/land-of-my-dreams-norma-gail/1119606864 ?ean=9781941103173
Can you share three things about yourself that our readers may not know?
I have a real passion for genealogy and am pretty much known as the family history expert as well as the repository for many old photographs and things other people don’t want. On one side of the family I have gone back 14 generations to New Amsterdam, and most of my ancestors fought for the Confederacy.
I am very tenacious and not easily discouraged. I fought to get better helmets for Soap Box Derby racers, and single-handedly got state of the art lightning detectors installed in the state’s largest soccer complex. Other than lightning, very little frightens me.
I came to know Christ through Young Life when I was in high school and was very active in Campus Crusade for Christ in college. I had the privilege of leading my mother to the Lord, and all of my immediate family is Christians. I have a passion for leading women’s Bible studies and have done so for 19 years.
Thank you for this opportunity, Carol! An author’s best friend is the person who will interview them or review their book. I appreciate this very much.
It has been my pleasure. Thank you for stopping by.
Karin created Don't Tap Dance In The Shower from treasures kept in her journals. Click on the following link to see more.
Karin's thoughts on journaling...
Journaling serves many purposes... it can be a daily record of the day's events, i.e. the weather, to do list, phone calls, mail received or sent, online orders, bills paid, etc.
Here are some things I include:
1. Funny happenings: I recorded all the funny things my grandchildren have said, since their mom is too busy to do it. My husband comes out with these treasures of phrases, if I don't write it down right away, it's lost, because neither of us can remember it exactly. Amusing things happen during the day; if recorded, it can be read again for a good laugh.
2. Recipes: self-explanatory
3. Health and nutrition tidbits: I often read snippets of helpful information on facebook or in an email that pertain to my health or people I know. I jot them down in my journal.
4. Special cards: I either tape the card right on a page, or copy the sentiments. If the cover picture is funny, sweet, or cute, I want to keep it.
5. Articles from the paper or magazines: I cut them out and tape them right onto a page for future reference.
6. Special Pictures: developed or printed on paper, I tape them into my book.
7. Craft ideas: Quick notes of an idea get jotted down, along with sketches.
8. Books I've read or want to read
9. Letting off steam: Sometimes you need to let it blow, but you don't want to hurt anyone, and you don't want anyone else to know. I use a code, sometimes, for names or words that only I can read, just in case someone is nosy enough to read my thoughts. I'm also not afraid to be messy... scratching out words, using a page to do some math. It doesn't matter to me. It's not always neat.
A journal doesn't work unless you number the pages and have an index. I use the front and back of the first page to keep track of what's inside. For example, mine looks like this:
Kyle's poem - 164, 177
funnies - 31, 43, 130, 178
ideas - 148, 192
cleaning tips - 3, 20, 50-55
quotes - 17-20, 82, 88
Krista's tire incident - 44-46
websites - 145, 172
pictures - 3, 5, 11, 16, 20, 77, 190
recipes - 13-16, 27-30, 41, 92
diet - 23, 91
story idea - 33-35
I started with a boring composition book, but that's not fun to look at. So my first ones I covered in blue duct tape. Then I glued cute fabric to the outside. Now they make adorable composition books, that make you want to pick them up over and over and write in them. Use a good pen that flows smoothly and doesn't make your fingers cramp up. Start with a small or thin journal, because there is such a feeling of satisfaction when you've come to the end of it. You feel like you've actually finished something! Also, you might get bored with the cover if it's too thick.
When writing, always start with the date. Many times, I've been able to go back and find just the story I was looking for because I knew the time period. On the front of your journal, record the # of the book and the dates that are inside. For example, mine looks like: Book # 7 3/29/10 - 7/11/10
I also write rough drafts of stories in my journals, indexing them by title, and sometimes add to it in another journal. Every noteworthy event is recorded. I often keep a smaller journal specifically for bible study and jotting down revelations and inspirations from the word. These are usually prettier, gift journals from friends. I keep a tiny journal in my purse to jot things down to put in my big journal later.
Tweito Band's Latest Release October 27, 2014, Ocean Love. Click on youtube Link at Bottom of this Post.
Today I welcome Justin Tweito and some of his friends to my blog. Their music and their message will warm your heart and give you reasons to have hope in a younger generation.
Q: How did the band come together?
A (Justin): Originally it was a solo project of mine. I've been writing and recording my own music since I was 13. I finally decided to release an EP entitled "Moving Mountains/Skipping Stones" under my last name only. I thought it was a cool band name. I needed some help playing shows live so I got together with some friends. I ended up with a group that really elaborated well together. Blake and I are cousins, Ben and I worked together and Daniel went to school with Blake. I knew that we could really go somewhere with this so we made it official! We kept the name because it sounds cool and we had already built some exposure before the merge. It's not about me. We are a four-peice band. "Tweito" is my last name, but it's just an idea in the context of our band.
Q: What's next for the band?
A (Justin): We are getting ready to release our first full-length album "The Great Story" this fall!
Q: What is the inspiration behind the new album's music?
A (Justin): We really wanted to make something different. It's really easy to play music that everybody has done before, but creating a sound that is fresh is very difficult. For me personally, I really wanted to explore not playing electric guitar at all. A lot of rock bands just hammer out heavily distorted chords on guitars. It sounds amazing, but we wanted to see if we could be big without overdoing it. Also, with Ben, our lead guitarist..I don't think he plays a single chord on the whole album. Everything he does has a melody of it's own. It actually creates a sort of duet with the vocals. It's as if the music is singing in a marriage with the lyrics.
Q: What are the themes of your lyrics?
A (Ben): There are a few reoccurring themes in this upcoming album. We like to write songs of hope and a future and that this current life is not our home. A few of the songs tell that there is a greater life beyond the sin and death of this world. Interestingly enough C.S. Lewis’s Narnia book series inspired some songs that also contain much deeper metaphors of the redemption and hope we have in the savior who is Christ. One other theme is the fact that true love is a commitment. Our current world has such a corrupt and lustful way of looking at love and what all that truly means. We want to redirect the fact that love is a commitment and a covenant that a man and a woman make. It may not be the Disney story we hope for all the time, but it should last for the entirety of one’s life.
Q: What is the best way for people to follow you?
A (Ben): We love making new friends! One of the best ways for others to follow our journey is through social media. Our username on both Instagram and Twitter is @tweitomusic and on Facebook we are under the name Tweito. Through these different websites we will send out updates, post photos, give away some fun freebies and release various show dates.
To see and hear Tweito click on this link:
Justin did not ask me, but I (Carol Heilman) decided to include the following links.
If you would like to listen or purchase any of their songs from iTunes:
Their newest release: Ocean Love (and my personal favorite.)
To follow my blog follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons above.