Unwrapping a Novella

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! A couple words about the weather: Hot. Dry.

I’m not complaining, but rejoicing that our A/C unit is working. I do love Fall, so it will be missed. 🙂

It’s hard for me to admit, but I’m kind of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas. I love some things about the season itself, but honestly, I like Christmas to occur in December. What makes it such a special season (to me) becomes not so special when it goes on for months, or even all year.

But, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sandra Ardoin’s Christmas novella, Unwrapping Hope. It was not over-the-top Christmas-y, but I definitely absorbed the feel of the season as I read. Ardoin’s historical fiction is authentic, drawing the reader into the era, as well as the season.

The main character, Phoebe Crain, lives under a dark cloud of pain and mystery. Even the reader doesn’t know her past until it surfaces near the end. Phoebe is flawed, but I came to appreciate her strength as she casts her pride to the wind in order to make Christmas special for her daughter.

I like flawed characters. I enjoy reading a story that brings their deepest flaws to the surface, but doesn’t heal the flaws or even make them go away. A well-told story shows its readers how love can accept and encompass those differences. That’s so much more realistic and for me, oh, so satisfying.

My only complaint about Unwrapping Hope? It’s short! It is a novella, after all. So, I was pleased to discover that this story will open a series called “Widow’s Might.” I like the name and the implications behind the name. That’s another part of the story I enjoyed—this character didn’t wallow in her misfortunes—she joined together with other widows to help bring relief where needed.

Click-to-Tweet: Unwrapping Hope by @SandraArdoin is not your typical cookie-cutter Christmas tale, and it earns an easy five stars from me. #BookReview #NewRelease


A Bit About the Book – Unwrapping Hope

Phoebe Crain, an accomplished pianist, lives in near poverty to protect her five-year-old daughter from scandal. When Phoebe receives a handcrafted cigar box by mistake, her desperation to give the child something special for Christmas drives her to suggest a trade with Spence Newland, a man she views as no more principled than her daughter’s late father. But the more time she spends with the department store heir, the more Phoebe struggles to keep up her guard against him.

Spence believes the cigar box will help him gain a reclusive investor’s financial support for his proposed five-and-ten-cent stores, demonstrating his ability to manage the family fortunes. Yet he hesitates to bargain with a widow who mistrusts him for no apparent reason…until he meets a charming little girl at the train station who awaits the arrival of a prince.

Will a betrayal in Phoebe’s past and Spence’s unraveling plans derail their hope for happiness and keep a child’s fairy tale from coming true? [Release Date: Oct. 15]

Click to Preorder

About the Author – Sandra Ardoin

As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her on her website. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub. Become a member of the Love and Faith in Fiction community and discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.

Flying Time

by Sandra Ardoin

As I look at my calendar, I can’t believe 2017 is almost three-quarters gone. Where did the days disappear to? The weeks? The months? Why must I look back at the first half of the year and wonder why I’m not further along in completing the plans I’ve had since January?

At the beginning of each year, for my writing, I create a business plan. I come up with numbers I would like to see by the end of December for website followers, newsletter subscribers, and social media connections. I ponder possible marketing promotions and, most importantly, writing projects I’d like to complete. My plan gives me direction—it provides a guide that keeps me from staring at the computer with “Duh?” running through my brain. It’s something to consult when I’ve finished one project and am ready to start a new one.

Still, it’s odd how I can sit at my desk in the morning to begin work, then get so absorbed in all the non-writing tasks to be done that I suddenly find my day is over. The next thing I know the weekend arrives and I’m lamenting all the word count I didn’t achieve during the past week.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by your to-do list, too, or wishing the day had thirty-six or forty-eight hours? Maybe the week should come with ten days instead of seven?

I suspect, no matter what you do for a living, even if it’s being an all-important, stay-at-home mom, you’ve probably had seasons when you’ve grown impatient to accomplish something and found time slipping away for one reason or another. Little things break into our moments to steal those intentions and wreck our plans. Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours.

Guess what. I have no magical answer to recapturing lost time. Sad, but true.

I only know it’s possible that those distractions, those time stealers, can be a call to slow down and focus on something other than myself and my to-do list. They can be a reminder to pay attention to my surroundings and those who inhabit my little world, like friends and family.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be working hard when someone pops into my office to talk. I want to ask, “Can’t this wait?” I don’t. Instead, I stop what I’m doing. That doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated and grumpy when my work is interrupted. I fight releasing a rude huff. But relationships are important. I never know how much longer I’ll be able to talk to that person. Because, as Proverbs 27:1 says, I don’t know “what a day may bring forth.”

Sometimes, distractions are a way to discover I’m on the wrong track. Maybe what I’m working on is the wrong project at the wrong time and adjustments must be made. That’s okay, as long as I don’t confuse being led to the right project with an inability to focus that carries me down to-do rabbit trails.

There are days when things crop up that I can’t ignore—like a recent emergency dental appointment. Ick! And, sometimes, distractions are just that—intrusions into what I need to accomplish.

I only know the days, the months, and the years rest in God’s control. So, the next time I think I’ve accomplished nothing when it comes to whittling down my to-do list, I need to remember I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and God can take that “nothing” and turn it into something I’d never planned.

Are you the type who can roll with the punches, or are you like me and get clobbered by flying time?

(Click to Tweet) Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours. #FlyingTime .@SandraArdoin


Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. She’s the author of the heartwarming novella, The Yuletide Angel and the award-winning novel, A Reluctant Melody. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out. Visit her at http://www.sandraardoin.comSubscribe to receive updates and specials.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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Click the meme above for more information about the book (Amazon). You can download it free today and tomorrow only! (September 21 & 22)

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