New Year, New Book

“Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love. Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.” These words have been marching through my mind for the past two weeks as I finish my next book.

This New Year’s, the book is one chapter away from being finished and it still didn’t have a name!

On New Year’s Eve, with three naming ideas in hand, I went to my husband for advice. This man has read every chapter as it comes off the printer all raw and flawed. He’s caught typos and flagged problems. He’s laughed and cried over my words. Of course, my writers group has done this, too, but my husband has also dealt with the words, “Just another ten minutes” too many times as I finish a paragraph, and has driven me all over the Dakotas for book signings.

I picked out three titles for the book and had sort of decided on one. However, I wanted his opinion. Without hesitation he chose the third one, the very one I had landed on.

Today, I’m sharing with this select audience the title of my next book:

Cottonwood Dreams

There’s a long way to go before Cottonwood Dreams is finished. The publishing process may take another year. After the last chapter is written, editing and revisions begin. Eventually it will be proofread. A cover will be designed. Then comes the actual launch. Sometimes I feel too old to do all of this, but then I remember one of my favorite authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder, began publishing Little House books at age 64.

Cottonwood Dreams is the last book in the Prairie Pastors Series. For 20 years, the characters of series have lived in my heart and mind. By the time By the Banks of Cottonwood Creek was finished, Kelly, Amber, Tiny and Brianna took on lives of their own, and Amber’s Choice was on it’s way.

Here is the synopsis of Cottonwood Dreams:

Can a couple as different as chalk and cheese make a relationship work? That’s what Brianna Davis wonders when, in an unlikely turn of events, Tiny Winger captures her heart and she moves across the country to Cottonwood Creek. She wants to escape from her life in San Francisco, but is their love strong enough to heal the hurts of the past?

Tiny has overcome childhood abuse and neglect with the help of God and the good people of Cottonwood Creek. Now he dreams of a life with Brianna. Only two things block the way to true happiness: their mothers.


How to Live Well in 2021

Going into the new year with a song in my heart is certainly a gift from God that contradicts my personal concerns and the state of the world.

It is the second time music has been a muse for my writing. Six years ago on New Year’s Eve, as I wrote the last chapter of Secrets of the Dark Closet, the hymn This is my Father’s World played in my head and lifted my soul and spirit.

A muse is a “source of inspiration.” The song Joyful, Joyful is based on a poem written by Henry Van Dyke to go with a melody composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. The above words are the first lines in verse one. There are four verses.

Music is a source of inspiration for all of us, lifting moods on dreary days and brightening our outlook on the world. Several of my friends picked special words to reflect on this year and encouraged me to do the same. My word will be “Sing.” I hope you will “join the band” and pick a word to inspire you in 2021.

I wanted to offer some ideas for living well in the new year, but my friend Barbara Brabec beat me to it. These ideas are shared with her permission. Find more in The Brabec Bulletin

* Live one day at a time and don’t worry about tomorrow, since “. . . tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:34).

* Ground myself in the Word, thank God for each new day I’m given, and find something to be grateful for each day.

* Stay informed about what’s happening in America and the world at large, but avoid “negative news overload.”

* Continue to find joy in my work and interactions with friends and family. Be helpful to others, and do what I can with what God has given me for this purpose.

* Prudently plan for my future, dream of new things I want to do, set goals I can realistically achieve, and never take my family, friends, and God-given skills and talents for granted.


God Bless You Richly in the New Year!