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In real life, it’s called a bad case of the blues, losing hope, or hitting rock bottom.   In a book, it’s called the black moment – that devastating culmination of circumstances when all momentum comes screeching to a halt, when you think things are so bad that they can’t possibly get any worse, and then, they do, that time when all hope is lost.

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The thing that saddens me is that, whereas the characters in the books we write and read almost always come around to a happy ending, in real life, when we come to a dead end, we sometimes (often?) really do give up and walk away from the things that could bring us true happiness.

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We all know that summer comes for only a season, and eventually, must ease into fall – which leads to the desolate cold of winter.

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In some cases, it’s even given a name – SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. I’ve been prone to it for years. It can be depressing and debilitating. It can mean death to your dreams and the end to your goals.

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In my book, Sweet William, Lyndsie and William seem to have finally overcome the issues that are keeping them apart when tragedy rips their dreams to shreds. The scenes that follow are some of the blackest I’ve even written, but because of the pain they have to work through, their joy is deeper, and the ending, more sweet than any before.

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When we hit a wall, we have two choices… we can crawl into a cave, cry ourselves to sleep, and settle in to hibernate for the winter, and maybe beyond.

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Or, we can spend our winters looking for bright spots.

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Because there are rainbows in winter, and rainbows in deserts, and flowers and dashes of color where you might least expect them, and inspiration in odd places.

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And the sun keeps shining even on the coldest days.

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It may be blotted out, or obscured for a time, but it is there, giving warmth and melting the snow away from your heart, and making you ready for spring.

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The next time you feel hopeless and blue, read a book, maybe even THE Book.

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Horrible things will happen, maybe even things that are worse than whatever is making you sad.

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And then, wonder of wonder, there will be a resurrection, and out of the ashes will come new life, and somehow, you will find a happy ending.

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Have faith. There are rainbows even in the desert.

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Long ago, as 2008 was turning to 2009, I wrote a piece on the color rose for a group at Gather.com called Rainbow Connections.

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The group was born out of my love for rainbows and each week, I explored the nuances and associations  of a different color. I didn’t know Wild Rose of Scotland back then, but recently, as I reread what I’d written about the Rose, I felt like I was getting to know Rose – the color, the character, and the flower – in a whole new light.

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If you’re as intrigued by Rose as I am, you can see more of her in Wild Rose, the first of my Wildflowers of Scotland novels.

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Rose… a name, a flower, a color, or none of the above.

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Rose means different things to different people.

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Grandma’s fluffy slippers… Pretty, little cookies…

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Cheeks pink fresh from the cold…

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Parades and petals… A bride’s bouquet… A hat, a favorite bathrobe… A silky comforter… Rose fills us with an effervescent glow…

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Rose gives us a sense of well-being…

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Maybe we are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses…

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Maybe we just like the color rose.

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Whatever the reason, whatever the season…

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Rose makes us feel better…

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It cheers us up, gives us a sense of direction…

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It fills us with radiance…

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Rose comforts us.

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Rose makes us whole again… ..

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Whether “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”…

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Or, a Rose by any other name…

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What does Rose mean to you?

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Here’s to a Wild Rose… available now through Second Wind Publishing.

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Stormy Weather…

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I might as well be a lightening rod, the way it follows me around.

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Tornadoes on my tail,

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Thunderheads billowing overhead,

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Raindrops splattering here, there, and everywhere

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Torrential downpours –

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dampening my spirits, and my sock, and my shoes,

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Hailstones conking me on the head.

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The only good thing that comes of all this stormy weather is…

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The rainbows.

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Inside.

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Outside.

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Everywhere I look.

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I have a rainbow connection.

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I am caught up in rainbows.

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They call out to me.

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Beckon to me.

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They are me.

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In my newly released book, Stormy Weather, several pivotal storms wreak havoc in the lives of the main characters, Rae, Luke, and Mac, both literally and figuratively.  Stormy Weather is a romance, so it will come as no surprise that it has a happy ending – the sunshine and joy after the rain, to quote the words of an old song, or if you prefer, the rainbow after the storm.

Anyone who saw “The Wizard of Oz” knows that “somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.”  Had it not been for the tornado that hit Dorothy’s drab, Kansas world, she never would have traveled to the wonderful land of Oz, nor learned to appreciate her precious Auntie Em’s love, or that there’s “no place like home.”

Like everyone, my life has had many bittersweet moments. The very day my first book, Night and Day, was released, I had surgery to remove a recurrence of skin cancer and ended up with a 4″ scar on my neck that left my head cocked to one side for about three weeks. One of the proudest and most exciting moments of my life; and I looked and felt so terrible that I wasn’t able to celebrate or promote the book until some time later. On top of that, the recession had finally come to the Midwest, and I was tense and worried about the repercussions to my business and those of friends and family.

Two other times in my life come to mind as well… on my wedding day, almost 6 years ago, my back was out, and I was so stiff and sore that my friend had to lift my feet into the car to drive me to the church. Due to another medical condition, I was in excruciating pain during much of our dream vacation to Scotland 3 years ago. The term “grin and bear” it took on a whole new meaning.

These incidents are nothing compared to the heartbreak many of you have endured or are going though right now.

Yet, much as these temporary storms may have marred or impeded my enjoyment of some of the most precious and pleasurable days of my life, as always, clouds do dissipate, sunshine reappears, and joy is to be found on the other side of the rainbow. My husband, the pastor, is quick to add that a house built of the solid rock of Jesus Christ will withstand the worst of storms.

Is there a time in your life that you’ve experience joy in the midst of a storm? Sunshine after the rain? A rainbow so unexpected and lovely that you find yourself thinking the fray was almost worth it just to have experience that one blessed moment in time?

You’ll have to read Stormy Weather to experience the moment when Rae’s worst nightmare coincides with an event so profound that it will change her entire life.

I hope, as you read about what happens to Rae, that your faith will be restored – that you will be able to see through the wind and rain and sleet and snow that’s pommeling you to the blue skies on the other side of the rainbow, to experience the sunshine and joy awaiting you.

I hope to see you there!

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Sweet William – New Release!

Shy Violet

Blue Belle

Wild Rose

Thistle Down

Love Notes

Night and Day

Stormy Weather

Water Lily

Merry Go Round

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