ONLY MOSTLY FROZEN
By Vickie McDonough
Two and a half years ago, we had a horrible ice storm in Oklahoma. Power was off to nearly 2/3rds of the state, which was buried under two inches of ice. Trees had split in half, limbs had dropped off like leaves in a heavy fall breeze, cracked ice that had fallen from limbs resembling broken glass. The ground looked the aftermath of a tornado, and the streets were all but impassable.
But let me back up a step. Every fall I plant pansies. They are one of the few flowers that can live through our chilly winters and will sometimes still be blooming in January, if the temperatures don’t get too low. With two inches of ice on my precious flowers, I figured I’d have to replant again come spring. Well, much to my surprise, as the ice thinned, color began to show beneath it—purple, yellow, white. My pansies were not only still alive, but they were thriving—using the ice as nature’s greenhouse and the sun to warm them. When the ice was finally gone, I had the biggest and most healthy looking flowers I’ve ever had. Some blooms even measured four inches across. Amazing! Those little mis-named plants should be called “toughies” because they’d gone through hard times, persevered, and come out even stronger and prettier.
So, how does this relate to writing, you ask? As people, we all encounter difficult times—sickness, the death of a loved one, finanacial struggles, the loss of our home to fire—and sometimes to ice. It’s how we face those challenges that either make us stronger or show us that we have much more to learn. It’s the same with the characters in our books. Don’t be too nice to them. They must face obstacle, challenges, things that are going to make them want to give up and turn back—and sometimes they will, but they must learn something in each situation. Maybe the heroine is not as brave as she thought. Maybe the hero figured he was ready to remarry but realizes he isn’t—just before the wedding. Or, maybe he is.
Isaiah 41:10 says: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. God never promised that we wouldn’t go through hard times, but He does promise to strengthen and uphold us.
Don’t be afraid to let the characters in your story suffer or face troubles. You know you will in real life, so use trials to make your stories more realistic. And know that when you—or your protagonist—walk through hard times—what you learn in those times will strengthen you and build character. And the next time you—or they—face difficult situations, things will be a little bit easier.
Finally a Bride, the third book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, is now available. Here’s a little sneak peek:
Noah Jeffers returns to town determined to make up for past misdeeds. Will reporter Jacqueline Davis uncover his secrets before Noah can capture her heart? With nowhere else to go, ex-con Carly Payton returns to the Lookout boardinghouse. Garrett Corbett is looking for an upstanding wife, not some jailbird. What will he do when overpowered by Carly’s unassuming appeal? Be on the lookout for romance in Lookout, Texas.
Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of 23 books and novellas. Her books have won the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s Book of the Year/Carol Awards. She was voted Third Favorite Author in the Heartsong Presents Annual Readers Contest in 2009. Vickie is the author of the fun and feisty. Watch for her new books from Moody Press, Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a 6-book series that spans 50 years of the Morgan family. The first three books release this fall. Also, next year brings the release of a new series from Guidepost Books, Whispers on the Prairie, set in 1870s Kansas. Vickie hopes readers find her stories An Adventure into Romance.
Vickie and her husband live in Oklahoma. She is a wife of thirty-five years, mother of four grown sons and grandma to a feisty five-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com
Vickie is donating an autographed copy of Finally A Bride to one lucky commenter. If you don’t win and would like to purchase the book, it’s available online at Christianbook.com, Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles and may be available in your local stores.
(for US residents only. Void where prohibited. Odds at winning depend on number of entries received)