Things I Like Doing When I’m Not Writing by Norma Gail – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norma Gail will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Things I Like Doing When I’m Not Writing
By Norma Gail

My entire day disappeared. The chiming of the clock above my desk never registered as I considered my years of family research in light of the new Ancestry DNA information I received. The same thing happens with a good Bible study. Timers and responsibility hold little power over me when I am studying something I enjoy. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.

Beyond family and friends, I have four loves, writing, reading, leading Bible studies, family history, and mountains. The passion to find my ancestors encompasses it all. Once discovered, they become dear friends who find their way into conversations, influence my reading interests and vacation stops, and look down on me from photos hanging above my desk. What did these people believe and how did their faith influence their lives? My family indulges me when I take off on one of my tangents.

I may write fiction but my love of a true story developed at the knee of my great aunt, listening to her tales of the Old West and of riding for help after witnessing the shooting of her father and older brothers in their corral. My desire to understand what happened has led me to reading choices, libraries, courthouses, and trips. It has reunited family members who didn’t know each other existed and filled countless hours and my file cabinet.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I traveled to his boss’s ranch to watch the cattle branding. This weekend, we head to a local Celtic Festival. If the travel involves Jeep trails, ghost towns, and old cemeteries, I’m even happier. Put this girl in jeans and hiking boots with a map and mountain road and I’m in my element.

Google searches are the greatest thing next to being there. I can create a screensaver for the family and locale I’m researching and end up with inspiration. I can find the current owner of my great grandfather’s ranch and plan a trip to see the actual site. I can create a playlist of music appropriate to the time and place on my phone and listen as I do my errands. Songs abound with romantic ideas.

So how did I end up writing a contemporary inspirational romance set in Scotland? I became fascinated with all things Scottish when I discovered a family tree as a child. My husband and I spent our 30th anniversary there, though I have not finished locating my ancestors. The vacation happened long before I decided to write a book, but the research helped with both. A dream about a kilted Highlander on a misty mountainside covered with sheep and my European immigrant husband made me wonder what it might be like to take a trip and fall in love.

The “land of my dreams” led to my first published book and I have a lot more research and traveling to do.

© Copyright Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, May 19, 2016

MediaKit_BookCover_LandOfMyDreamsAlone 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, Christian Romance Novel, 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.

Enjoy an excerpt:

When Kieran left his office, he saw Bonny standing behind her car, her foot tapping and shoulders sagging. “Can I help you, Dr. Bryant?”

She startled, and he realized he had been so intent on watching her that he had failed to give warning of his approach. The eyes that met his sparkled, their brilliance drawing him like a treasure hunter to a prize emerald. She was a lovely woman.

“Dr. MacDonell, hello. I’ve changed flat tires before, but these lug nuts won’t budge.”

He checked the urge to brush a smudge of dirt from her cheek. “It’s Kieran, and I’m glad to be of help.” He forced himself to ignore the nervous pounding in his chest and the urge to run. He was alone with the woman who had filled his mind day and night from the moment she had walked into the room.

“I’m Bonny, and thanks.”

“I’ll take that spanner off your hands.”

“Spanner? Oh, you mean the lug wrench, of course.” She held it out to him and smiled.

He took a deep breath. Her smile reminded him of sun breaking through a Scottish mist. His fingers brushed hers as he took it, and he realized how small her hands were, like his mother’s finest china. Dainty and delicate.

Something about the patient way she watched caused his uncertainty to subside. Rescuing a damsel in distress wasn’t a bad way to meet. Tossing the caber was no longer possible, but he knew how to change a tire. She stood near enough for him to smell her perfume—feminine, like a rose garden.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LandOfMyDreamsNorma Gail is the author of the contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time 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. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.

Website | Amazon Author Page | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads | Twitter | LinkedIn

Boy the ebook for $0.99 at Amazon. Buy the print book from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Bookstore or Barnes and Noble.

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  1. James Robert says:

    Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway.

  2. Thank you for hosting

  3. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

    • I always wanted to be a published author and I have always written. When I broke my foot and ended up in a wheelchair, unable to drive, I decided it was time to see if I was good enough. Land of My Dreams is the result.

  4. Too many books on my TBR now! I’m not really into anything romance but I guess this book is worth every read! Thanks for the excerpt.

  5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

    • I do. I generally write through it, putting down any ideas that come into my head. I go back later and see if anything fits. Sometimes I toss it all. Sometimes I find direction, occasionally, I find a nugget worth the work.

  6. Thank you for hosting me this weeK! I am excited to share Land of My Dreams with your readers. I appreciate the opportunity!

  7. Beautiful cover. This sounds like a nice story. How much time do you spend writing each day?

    • I write at least four hours a day depending on social media and tasks around the house or errands. If I had my way, I would write all day every day.

  8. kim hansen says:

    Sounds like a good read.

  9. Intriguing excerpt, Norma. I look forward to reading more. I’m also hoping to visit Scotland.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • I’m so glad you found it intriguing! I hope you will read it and that you get that trip to Scotland, for me it felt like coming home, an odd experience since my ancestors left such a long time ago. God bless you also!

  10. Rita Wray says:

    I liked the excerpt, thank you.

  11. momjane says:

    I really think you are living the life you really want. How lucky for you. I am absolutely in love with this story. I can tell you how much I enjoyed the excerpt. This is a book I want to buy.

    • I am blessed, Jane. I also struggle with some chronic pain and health problems that make everything, including sitting to write, difficult. I withdraw hate to make everyone think my life is perfect and untouched by trouble. I hope you enjoy Land of My Dreams. The struggles Binny and Kieran go through parallel the difficult times we all struggle with in life. I have found that keeping going, not letting problems steal your joy, enables me to honor God and have a rich life in spite of the struggle. God doesn’t give us anything to waste.

  12. Cali W. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt. 🙂

  13. You’re welcome! I am so glad you liked it!

  14. You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  15. Victoria says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing the excerpt!

  16. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

  17. Nikolina says:

    This is a must-read!! Thank you for the reveal!

  18. Becky Richardson says:

    What comes first for you–the story or the characters?

    • In this case, the character of Kieran came first along with only a hint of a story. I am working on a novella where the story came first. My next novel presented the characters first. I have one in my mind where the story came first, so it depends.

  19. James Robert says:

    I appreciate you bringing us this giveaway, thank you

  20. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  21. I have added this book to my TBR list and look forward to reading this book!

  22. James Robert says:

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway, have a great Thursday!

  23. Wow, this book sounds like such a great read! Can’t wait to read this book!

  24. Where is your favorite spot to read?

  25. Ann Ellison says:

    Enjoyed your post. I have just had the chance to start reading Land of My Dreams, and I am really enjoying it.

  26. James Robert says:

    Good Afternoon and thanks for the great giveaway

  27. James Robert says:

    Wishing you a great Memorial Day weekend. Be safe and enjoy and would like to salute all those who have given their lives in defense of this country. Thank you for this giveaway as well

  28. I hope you are having a fabulous weekend!! Looking forward to reading this book!!

  29. James Robert says:

    Stopping by and thanking you for giving us the opportunity to win. Have a great Sunday!

  30. Dario Z says:

    Sounds like a great read, hope I’ll have a chance to read it soon!

  31. What is the name of your favorite restaurant?

  32. Happy Memorial Day! Hope you have a fabulous holiday! Can’t wait to read this book!

  33. James Robert says:

    Terrific giveaway and I want to thank you for the opportunity to win it.

  34. James Robert says:

    Good Afternoon, Happy Friday and thank you for this giveaway

  35. James Robert says:

    Hope your weekend is great and thanking you for the giveaway

  36. James Robert says:

    Sunday blessings to all and thanks so much for the opportunity to win

  37. James Robert says:

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to win, I appreciate it

  38. James Robert says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to offer us this giveaway

  39. James Robert says:

    Awesome giveaway and I am appreciative of you giving us the chance to win

  40. James Robert says:

    Have a fun Saturday and I want you to know how much I appreciate the giveaway. Thank You!

  41. James Robert says:

    Thank you for the giveaway and all the work put into this.

  42. Cathy French says:

    She being a christian and he being angry at God should make for an interesting read to see how it works out.

  43. James Robert says:

    Hello and I am back saying thank you once again for the opportunity you have given us to win this giveaway

  44. You’re welcome!

  45. James Robert says:

    Good Morning and thank you for this opportunity you have given us to win

  46. James Robert says:

    Good Morning! Raining here in Michigan but hope your day is a sunny one. Thanks for this giveaway

  47. James Robert says:

    I’m back, hope you’re not too tired of hearing from me. Thanks again for this opportunity to win and have a terrific day!

  48. James Robert says:

    Thanks so much for the giveaway and have a great weekend!

  49. James Robert says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s who may see this and thank you for the chance at winning this giveaway

  50. Judy Thomas says:

    It sounds great, thank you for sharing.

  51. clojo9372 says:

    Thank you for sharing this guest blog post and excerpt! I also want to wish you Good luck with your book! 🙂

  52. James Robert says:

    Good Afternoon! I appreciate all the work you have put into bringing us this giveaway, thank you

  53. Have a great weekend! I think I will add that when I am not writing I am responding to blog comments from this blog tour! Makes me feel like a celebrity! Lol!

  54. James Robert says:

    Hello! I am helping my brother out entering his giveaways for a bit while he is camping with his kids and having a fun weekend. Thank you for the chance to win, I know he enjoys entering and following some terrific blogs. He enters many books for me and my other sister so we all appreciate it.

  55. Ree Dee says:

    I enjoyed the entire post. I loved reading the interview, the blurb and the excerpt. I’m looking forward to reading more. Thank you.

  56. James Robert says:

    Good Morning! Wanted to thank you once again for the great giveaway

  57. James Robert says:

    Have a terrific weekend and thanks so much for this giveaway

  58. James Robert says:

    Thanks for the giveaway and hope you all enjoy your 4th of July weekend

  59. James Robert says:

    Hello! Hope your having a great evening and stopping by to say thanks for the giveaway

  60. James Robert says:

    Wishing you a terrific Wednesday and thanking you for the chance to win.

  61. James Robert says:

    Hello! Hope your day is awesome and thanking you for the giveaway.

  62. James Robert says:

    Happy Friday! Hope it’s a good one for you I appreciate your offering us such a great giveaway and thanking you for all you put into this for us.

  63. James Robert says:

    Have a great weekend and thanks for all you do amd hard work you put into offering us the great giveaways

  64. James Robert says:

    Enjoy this beautiful Sunday and thank you for this chance to win

  65. James Robert says:

    I missed a day but catching up and thanking you once again for the chance at winning.

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