Category: Blog

Kimberly Stuart

I met Kimberly Stuart in Des Moines at a book event several years ago–and it was friendship at first sight. At least, for me. 😉 Kimberly is kind and selfless and so very funny. And her books are filled with so much heart. I read her newest, Sugar, on vacation this summer and savored every page. It’s romantic and funny, with characters I fell in love with. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough! Quick! Go order Sugar for yourself and another for a friend. You won’t be disappointed!

It meant the world to me that Kimberly was willing to read an early copy of Little Broken Things. So thankful for authors who lift each other up!

xoxo – Nicole

SaveSave

SaveSave

Key Lake, Minnesota

Friends! We’re TWO WEEKS from the publication of Little Broken Things! I’m so very excited! And nervous and happy and a little scared and, well, probably every emotion you can imagine. There’s lots to do and lots to share, and I’m sure I’ll forget important things along the way. But Pinterest. I can’t forget Pinterest. 😉

One of the things that I do to get my heart and mind in book-writing mode is create several Pinterest boards. They are a way for me to enter my setting, get a feel for my characters, and really “get into” my books. Usually I keep these boards private, but over the next couple of weeks I’m going to invite you in!

Today, I want to welcome you to Key Lake, Minnesota, the setting for Little Broken Things. Key Lake doesn’t exist, not really, but in my imagination it’s a cross between Lake Shetek in southern Minnesota and New Ulm. Think charming lakeside small town… Read Little Broken Things and you’ll be transported to late summer in the Midwest: plenty of sunshine, the scent of sunscreen, and some dark secrets hidden just below the surface. Here’s the link, friends! I hope you take a peek! And I hope you enjoy your first taste of Key Lake.

xoxo – Nicole

Randy Susan Meyers

 

I’ve been a Randy Susan Meyers fan for years. I stumbled across The Murderer’s Daughters in my local library one day, and picked it up on a whim because I thought the cover was pretty–and completely incongruous with the rather terrifying title. To say that it was compulsively readable is an understatement. I couldn’t put it down! Child endangerment stories are always a bit difficult for me to read, and this one was no different, but Meyers handled her subject matter and her characters with a deft, careful hand. I admired her courage. And little has changed. Meyers is still unafraid of tough topics, and her bestselling books have earned her an audience of loyal fans. I consider myself one of them.

Receiving an endorsement quote from Randy Susan Meyers was a bit of a dream come true. I’m an unapologetic fangirl and so grateful that she read–and enjoyed–Little Broken Things. Take a moment to check out Meyer’s new book, The Widow of Wall Street and add it to your TBR list!

xoxo – Nicole

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

November Events

 

It’s almost November! I can hardly believe it. Book launch month, here we come! So far we have six events on the calendar for November, and we hope to add a few more. I would LOVE to see you in person! Are you near the Twin Cities, Des Moines, Omaha, Sioux Falls, or Sioux Center? Come on out! But be warned–I’m a hugger.

xoxo – Nicole

SaveSave

The World Needs You

 

When we first started working in Liberia, we received a call one day from our dear friend. “We need your prayers,” he said. “A member of our congregation died last night.” Of course, we were shocked and deeply saddened. We were new partners and fledgling friends and still in the long, slow process of learning about each other. To hear that a person we were in community with had died was sobering. “What happened?” we asked, our North American perspective already influencing our reactions. We thought if we could categorize his illness and determine what caused his decline, we could pinpoint how to prevent this from happening in the future. What we were really asking was: “What did he need that he didn’t receive? How can we fix this?” But we weren’t prepared for the answer. “He died of pressure,” Emmanuel said.

Pressure. It was explained that many Liberians carried heavy burdens in the aftermath of the civil war. They had seen friends and family members raped, killed, and scattered. They had known hunger and homelessness and fear. And sometimes, years later, that sorrow was simply too much for them. They died because they couldn’t hold up another second beneath the crushing weight of it all.

There is probably a medical explanation for this illness called “pressure,” but I don’t need a clinical definition. It makes absolutely perfect sense to me.

This season in our lives is one of the hardest that we have ever endured. We know what it feels like to be pressed down by circumstances that seem colossal, almost infinite in scope. We know that the ripple effect of these days and weeks will impact our family for generations. Some of it good, some of it in need of redemption. But I’m not comfortable with our Liberian friend’s definition of soul-crushing pressure that literally ends in the grave. And I’m completely turned off by the North American understanding that “pressure creates diamonds”—usually in the form of svelte bodies achieved through expensive classes and even more expensive dietary supplements. The burden we are carrying right now has eternal implications that go far beyond rock hard abs. Yes, we are being refined, but in a very different way. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (II Corinthians 4:8-9)

This pressure is labor, friends. It’s birth pains and water breaking and sweat and tears. It’s those moments when we feel like we may truly die from the agony of it all, when we don’t even care that new life is being ushered in through our suffering. It’s regret and doubt and the secret wish that we could wind back the clock and undo what’s already been done. But even when we’re frozen in terror or screaming our hearts out, deep down there is a mustard seed of faith—the small, bright hope that beauty will rise from this brokenness. It has to. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Circle up. Come close. Lean in. The only way to the other side is through it. Friends, whether you are in this hard place or not, I pray that you have the grace to be open, soft. Ready to hold a hand or be held, whatever your heart requires. We don’t have to go through these seasons alone. Breathe deep and cling tight and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that something new is on the horizon—and you get to be a part of bringing it to life. You are a culture maker, a world changer. The incarnation of the incarnation. The world needs you—even (especially?) your tears. #bettertogether #onebody #beautyfromashes

xoxo – Nicole

*Photo Credit: Adri Van Gronigen

SaveSave

SaveSave