The Januaries of high school and college weren’t much different. January only meant the end of Christmas break and back to the grind. And as a teacher myself later on, January slung me headlong into final exams and report cards.
January five years, though, found me barraging God with gratitude. After a long sophomore slump, I had a second romance novel scheduled to release!
And it released the same day my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
Those horrible months taught me it wasn’t about the book. It was prayers and tears and caretaking as he battled to live, then struggled to regain his health.
Because of my husband’s ordeal, and the stretching of faith so taut my breath can still stop, I got the urge to write inspirational romance. By January 2010, I believed God had opened a new window, and I soon contracted a bunch of novellas about a fictional Colorado ranch family. I stood there, glowing, atop my pretend Rocky Mountain town. Into these stories flowed the people and stories of my own life and heart. Despite my best efforts and prayers, though, I can’t say I’m any kind of success. So once again, I realized it isn’t about the books. This time, it’s about the message.
Maybe reading Book three, a woman will get her husband or son to check himself for testicular cancer and help save his life. Maybe somebody will realize there can be falling in love during cancer. Maybe, like in Book Four, some reader’s estranged family will break down barriers that divide them. Maybe some couple on the brink of collapse, due to the stresses of an unimaginably disabled child might, can find the faith and trust to make it, upon coming across Book Six.
Maybe, like in a few of the stories, readers will simply realize that taking a city slicker wagon train trip can be just plain fun!
I don’t know.
This January has opened a new window, and it’s a terrifying one. By year’s end, I’ll be another name, Anya Novikov, and part of a young-adult launch. I left teaching years ago, I’m a gramma now of two tiny boys, and I have no idea how to reach a teenage audience. I guess I’ll have to use the next few months to try to figure it all out.
One thing. Mine won’t be the only set of footprints in the sand as my new journey starts.
Determined to get her life back on track, Mary Grace Gibson takes on a substitute-teaching job, grateful for the room and board offered at Hearts Crossing Ranch. The bustling family life helps her heal after abandonment by her ex. But her little boy’s serious disabilities make her cautious about revealing her secrets to anybody. Even Scott Martin, the handsome cowboy who’s fast stealing her heart.
Her former student now grown up, cowboy and graphic artist Scott Martin is instantly drawn to the beautiful single mom. She’s had some hard luck but never let go of her faith. Their age gap doesn’t fret him, and their kisses ignite his love. But as they fall for each other, Mary Grace’s lack of trust in him shatters his feelings, for he’s been down that broken trail before.
I’m a California beach girl happily married to my personal hero (firefighter and cancer survivor). We’ve got two grown kids, who are the best thing I’ve ever done, and two little grandsons who totally obsess us. I love travel, country music, Hallmark movies, and McDonald’s iced coffee. I don’t like to cook, am terrified of down escalators, am a proud Defender of Wildlife, and I volunteer at our local horse rescue.