Wednesday, March 12, 2014

THE QUILTED HEART - Mona Hodgson - One Free Book

Dear readers, I read this delightful book as soon as it arrived. Even though it is a novella collection, it read as seamlessly as one book, just changing the hero and heroine from story to story. I loved that continuity almost as much as I loved the characters. Understanding how the Civil War affected the lives of each person, brought history to life. And I love history. As always with Mona’s novels, her skillful writing drew me into the center of the story and kept me there until the last page. I wasn’t ready for my time with these characters to end.

Hi, Lena. What fun to join you here. Hello, Everyone!

Welcome back, Mona. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I was seven years old when I attended Vacation Bible School at Trinity Baptist Church in Indio, California. During the Bible story time one morning, Mrs. Bacon spoke about sin, our separation from God, Jesus’ deity and sinless nature, Jesus’ death on the cross, His resurrection, and our forgiveness through belief in Him. That sunny June day in Southern California, I prayed, asking Jesus to forgive me and be my Savior.

I grew up in a Christian home with parents who were active in church and Child Evangelism Fellowship. At age 14, a freshman in high school, I attended a large Wednesday night youth group at Grace Baptist Church in Riverside, California. On one of those Wednesday nights, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit to grow in a faith that was more “my own;” to go deeper in relationship, rather than to let religion shape my faith and walk.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Only four? Okay. Lauraine Snelling, Carol Cox, Carrie Turansky, Joanne Bischof because they all write Historical Romance that I love reading. They all love the Lord. They each enjoy a good laugh, and each one has tremendous heart.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I do have a speaking ministry, and I especially enjoy speaking at Christian women's retreats. I'm over-the-top excited about my newest book release, The Quilted Heart, because the title first belonged to my most popular retreat talk series by the same name. A quilted heart is a transformed heart—a heart transformed by God’s grace, Jesus’ blood shed for us, and the Holy Spirit’s renewal. Just as quilters repurpose scraps of cloth and create beautiful quilts, God pieces together the remnants in our lives that we would readily reject as shameful mistakes and tragic circumstances to make you and I a new creation. Beautiful.             You can learn more about The Quilted Heart Retreat at http://monahodgson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/The-Quilted-Heart-Retreat-Series-Flyer.pdf

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
Recognize and remember that writing for publication is a process and a journey. Expect delays, and detours. Enjoy the adventure! Make the most of writers’ conferences, critiques by published writers, and writers’ market guides and publishers’ Submission Guidelines.

Tell us about the featured book.
Tattered relationships and broken hearts, like a quilt, can be pieced together by God's love.

Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all lost men to the Civil War, and are facing their painful circumstances together in friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God's grace?
           
Women, especially, long for community and tend to engage social, emotional, and spiritual families. The means for making that connection may vary and change from place to place and time period to time period and generation to generation ... shade trees, front porches, quilting circles, Facebook groups, blogs, but we want to fit in and find a place of belonging. From a young age, we search for our social home.
           
In The Quilted Heart omnibus, the quilting circle provide that connection point for the female characters. In Dandelion on the Wind, the first of the three novellas, Mrs. Brantenberg had this to say to a new member, “Here in this quilting circle, none of us are alone. Not in our sorrows, nor in our triumphs.”

I'd love for you to meet Elsa, Maren, Emilie, Caroline, and the other inspiring women in The Quilted Heart novellas.

Dandelions on the Wind
When Maren Jensen took a job on Elsa Brantenberg’s St. Charles, Missouri farm,   she never expected to call the place her home. As she grows to love Mrs. Brantenberg and her granddaughter, Gabi, Maren is transformed from a lonely mail-order bride-without-a-groom to a beloved member of the Brantenberg household. But when Gabi’s father, Rutherford “Wooly” Wainwright, returns to the farm unexpectedly, everything changes for Maren, and she feels compelled to find another job. Are her choices in obedience to God, or is she running from His plan?

Bending Toward the Sun
Dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, Emilie Heinrich is convinced she doesn't have time for love. But when a childhood friend returns to St. Charles, Missouri, after serving in the Civil War, his smile and charm captures Emilie’s eye and her heart. Will she be forced to choose between honoring her father and a future with a husband and family of her own?

Ripples Along the Shore
Change is brewing in St. Charles. A group of brave souls are preparing to head west on the Boone's Lick Wagon Train, led by the mysterious and handsome Garrett Cowlishaw, who served as a Confederate soldier in the war that killed Caroline’s husband. Despite her dislike for him, Caroline is tempted to join the wagon train and start fresh somewhere new, but when Mr. Cowlishaw forbids her­ a single woman­ to travel with them, will one man’s prejudice destroy Caroline’s hope for a new future? Or will the ripples of God’s love bring the answer she needs?

I’ve read the book, but please give us the first page for my blog readers.
Never mind that four months had passed since General Lee’s surrender. Maren never walked the apple orchard or the wheat field without careful watch for bushwhackers and jayhawkers. Four-year-old Gabi held tight to Maren’s hand while they followed Gabi’s grandmother to the field. When Mrs. Brantenberg’s walking stick sprung a branch in her path, the child’s gaze darted up the lane toward the orchard then back to the farmhouse and across the hillock to the five acres of wheat.

            “Are they coming again, Miss Maren.” Dread strained Gabi’s voice.

            Maren drew in a deep breath in the hopes it would remove any tension from her own voice. “The war is over, little one.” We should be safe. “God is with us. Like Oma said, ‘Fear is not of the Lord. We cannot live in fear. We must trust God.’”

            Gabi gave a quick nod, then began swinging Maren’s hand at her side.

            Fear is not of the Lord. We cannot live in fear. We must trust God.

            Maren willed her shoulders to relax into the child’s playful arm swinging. Still, she’d heard too many stories about raiders from the women in the quilting circle to let down her guard. To believe the fighting would ever end. The memories of the Union jayhawkers traipsing through the orchard picking apples and taking the steer from the pastures remained fresh in her mind too. She glanced toward the cabin in the far corner of the property, past the orchard. Now empty. She’d only heard about the Confederate bushwhackers who had raided the farm last year, but little Gabi remembered.

            Maren fanned the side of her bonnet against her ear to cool the onslaught of hot August air. Thankfully, she saw no sign of trespassers today. And if any outlaws did show their faces, Mrs. Brantenberg had her stick ready with a stack of sorrows backing it up.

            Mrs. Brantenberg stopped at the edge of the field. This close, Maren could see that two women didn’t do as even a job of planting as she and her father had in the old country.

            Gabi stepped up to the three-foot-high lawn, giggling. “They have whiskers like the cats do.” Her hands brushed the tips of the wheat stalks.

            Bent, the widow plucked one head and rolled the grains between her fingers.

            Maren did the same on the thinner area, where the stalks didn’t reach as high. The grain was soft and green inside. She didn’t need to taste it to know it’d be bitter. “Still a ways to go here.”

            When a covey of bobwhites exploded from within the crop, Gabi cried out and fell to the ground.

            Maren bent over the child. “Just thieving fly-by-nights. They learned their lesson, didn’t they?”

            Gabi nodded. “They scared me.”

            “Didn’t do my heart any good either.” Mrs. Brantenberg patted her chest. Then, smiling, she pressed the tip of her stick to the ground. “The wheat on the north end turned golden first. It’s more likely to be ready in just a few more days.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Click here to order your paperback or eBook copy of The Quilted Heart. (http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=220625)


Thanks so much, Lena, for this opportunity to connect with your followers. Blessings and Happy Reading to you all!

I thoroughly enjoyed spending this time with you, Mona.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.

31 comments:

Melanie Backus said...

Thrilled to see Mona here. She is a fantastic lady with a fantastic book.

Melanie Backus, TX

pol said...

I always like to check out sites that have comments with Mona, she is a good writer and has a caring heart. I love to read her stories. have not read the quilted Heart yet and it sounds like a wonderful story. thanks for sharing your comments today with Lena.

Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)
a reader and fan in Ga

Marianne Barkman said...

I have been looking for this book, Lena. Great interview! Thanks for the chance to win
Marianne
Arizona

Jackie McNutt said...

Lena, I was blessed seeing Mona featured on today's post.
Her books always inspire me when I read them. I love her characters and story lines. I always wish I had friends in my life like the ones featured in the excerpts from A Quilted Heart or that I could be like that for someone else.
The Civil war time period is one of my favorites to read.
I have not read this book yet but it is high on my reading list
Thank you from Ohio
mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

Heidi said...

I love a good novella anthology! Looking forward to reading this one! Thanks for sharing your interview!

Heidi, CA

Jean said...

Sounds like a great read!

Jean K
West Palm Beach, FL

sm said...

I think I'll really like this book with the Civil War Widows getting together to quilt and 'fellowship' and encourage one another. Love to win your book.
sharon, CA
wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi, Melanie! Good to see you here. Thanks so much for the kind words. So glad you're enjoying my books. Hugs, Mona

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi, Paula. Thanks for joining us here, and for your kind words. Happy Reading! Mona

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi, Marianne. I so appreciate your interest in The Quilted Heart. Blessings, and Happy Reading! Mona

Mona Hodgson said...

Jackie, how sweet you are! Good to see you here. I appreciate your interest in my books. Blessings to you! Mona

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi Sharon! Thanks for joining us here. I really appreciate your interest in The Quilted Heart. Happy Reading! Mona

Mona Hodgson said...

Hello, Heidi! I appreciate your interest in my books. Blessings to you, and Happy Reading! Mona

Mona Hodgson said...

Hello, Jean. Thanks for joining us here. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and I appreciate your interest in my book. Mona

Mary Preston said...

I'm looking forward to a fabulous read.

Mary P

QLD AUSTRALIA

Susan Johnson said...

This looks like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Susan
Texas

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi Mary! Good to see you here. Thanks so much for your interest in The Quilted Heart. Blessings! Mona

Mona Hodgson said...

Susan, thanks for joining us here. I appreciate your interest in my Historical Fiction. Happy Reading! Mona

Mama Cat said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview! I would love to read this, as I very much appreciate historical fiction. Favorite periods are Civil War and rest of 19th century. Blessings & peace to both of you! I live in Phoenix -

Emma said...

the quilted Heart sounds wonderful.Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.Have a wonderful weekend.PA.

Judy said...

The Quilted Heart sounds like a wonderful book! I just love the cover too!

I loved Mona's salvation experience. I always enjoy how author's came to Christ.

Blessings!
Judy B from Indiana

PriviesAndPrims said...

I go to a quilting group each Wednesday and expect I would really enjoy this book.

Doreen
priviesandprims[at]yahoo[dot]com

A Cooking Bookworm said...

I enjoy hearing the salvation testimonies of authors! I like when that question is added in your interviews!

I'd love to attend the same retreat with Lauraine and Joanne! Enjoy both of their books very much!

The Quilted Heart sounds great! I read and enjoyed Too Rich for a Bride and have the others on my WL)!

Stephanie
Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com

GMCT said...

Love reading Mona Hodgson..thanks

sm said...

Tattered hearts and broken dreams for The Quilted Heart! Love to cozy up and find out how it was done. Want to win. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tina Turpin said...

Another chance to win one of Mona's books. So exciting!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book!
Sydney Harries GA

apple blossom said...

I've love to win this book thanks for the chance.
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

susanlulu said...

Sounds like a book that needs to be read - by ME!
Susan in NC
susanlulu@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I love reading historical fiction and would love to read Mona's book. She is a new author to me.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant
Conway,SC.
sharonruth126@gmail.com