Category Archives: writing

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a love/hate relationship

I’ve got a love/hate relationship with book reviews. It’s fun to get a nice 4 or 5-star review saying how much someone liked one of my books. Receiving positive words and compliments, finding people who love the book as much as I do and really get what I write is wonderful.

But it’s not so much fun when someone says negative things about your stories, your characters, your heart and soul creation.

I try to brush off those negative reviews, because in my mind I know that not everyone will like what I write. But in my heart, I wish they did. I wish they loved my stories and characters as much as I do. That’s not realistic, though.

I’m sure it’s the same for every artist out there. Everyone who creates something from their imagination and dares to share it with the world. People will always criticize it and the reasons are too numerous to list. Maybe they didn’t connect with that painting or they thought the new sculpture at the museum was ugly. Maybe that chef’s signature dish at the hot new restaurant was disgusting to them or they thought the band playing at the coffee shop sounded terrible. Maybe they didn’t relate to the characters in my book or the storyline wasn’t their favorite or they thought it was stupid or ridiculous or boring or any number of other reasons it wasn’t the book for them.

I get that. All of it. Because sometimes I don’t get what an artist is trying to say in a painting or I’m not crazy about a certain band’s music or a sculpture just looks like a jumble of pieces to me. And sometimes I’ve read books that bored me or were just OK or just didn’t draw me in at all.

Everyone has their own opinions (as you can see from these reviews at right that I took from Goodbye, Magnolia‘s page on Amazon). They come to the table, to the art gallery, to their Kindles from many different places and experiences.

Even though I don’t always love them, reviews are helpful. When I buy books, honestly, I don’t really look at the reviews most of the time. If the synopsis sounds good or if it’s a book by an author I have read before, I will probably read it. But there are people out there who rely heavily on what other people say about a book to decide if they will read it or not. So I say, if you liked a book, review it.

When it comes to posting reviews for the books I read, I usually give 5 stars if the book causes an emotional reaction in me – if I cry, usually, ;) but also if the characters get in my head and I can’t stop thinking about them. Or for non-fiction, it’s usually if I felt I learned something that will improve my life in some way. A book will get 4 stars from me if I really liked the story and it put a smile on my face. Most of the 4 star books are ones that I probably won’t read again, but that I really enjoyed. If I can’t give the book 4 or 5, I just don’t review it. I guess as an author, I know that negative reviews can affect the ratings of books, so I don’t want to be the cause of bringing a fellow author’s book rating down. But that’s just me. And I can’t actually remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t at least entertaining in some way.

If you have read any of my books and loved them (or < cringe > even if you didn’t), please take a few minutes to leave a quick review over on Amazon. :)

our Memorial Day weekend


We had such a nice weekend visiting with Jake’s mom on the east side of the state. Jake’s aunt passed away this past week, so Mom really needed to be surrounded by family after losing her sister. It was much needed for all of us, I think.

It was relaxing … and hot. Summer is here, for sure. The kids had a great time running around in the sprinklers and shooting each other with water guns. We enjoyed watching a couple of storms with crazy awesome clouds roll through. Delicious meals on the grill were enjoyed. It was just a wonderful Memorial Day weekend overall.

After a busy week of launching my book, my brain was totally fried. I needed to step away from all of that, do nothing much at all, let my mind rest. It’s sort of that let down feeling you get after you’ve planned a big event, like a wedding or a party, for a really long time and the day has come and gone, and you just sit and think back on it and you just want to cry. I did cry actually. Especially from all of the support I got from friends, family, launch team, and even strangers online who have already read the book and posted nice reviews.

“I like how well the author depicted what it’s like when someone has past hurts and has accepted Christ, but hasn’t fully let go. … Kudos on a well written book about redemption and grace!” – Nina Y, Amazon Customer

Isn’t that the sweetest? Thank you, Nina.

Check out the NEW PAGE I put together specifically for UNTIL THEN. There is a link to purchase the book there as well as more reviews.

And if you ordered a paperback, I’d love to see a picture of you with the book. Happy reading, friends!

a huge THANK YOU

Self-publishing can be an overwhelming experience at times. Especially the marketing side of things. One of the best decisions I made was starting a LAUNCH TEAM to help spread the word about my books. Our group is small, but just having them there to share things with as I go through the editing and promoting process is such a comfort to me. It’s much more fun being able to have that support system behind the scenes.
myteam
Some members are friends and family, some are online friends, fellow authors, book bloggers. They range in age from high school all the way up to women in their 60s, and it’s wonderful to know that women of all ages enjoy my books. Above are just a few of the wonderful ladies on my team.

So I just wanted to publicly say THANK YOU, TEAM! You all know how much I appreciate what you do.

“A friend loves at all times …”
Proverbs 17:17

A GIVEAWAY

As part of my BOOK LAUNCH celebration, I’m running a little giveaway for a $15 Amazon Gift Card thru midnight on Friday, May 27th. It’s easy to enter.

Option 1:
This is the only mandatory entry. Go to my Facebook Author Page and click “LIKE” and make sure you enter what your name is on Facebook so the entry can be verified. If this entry can’t be verified, then the other two won’t count. Thanks!

Option 2: (extra entries)
Follow me on Bookbub. What is Bookbub? It’s a wonderful email subscription service that sends you a list of free and discounted ebooks daily. And if you follow an author (like me!), they will notify you when there is a new release or if the author’s book is a featured deal on their site. Yesterday, Bookbub sent out this email to my followers to let them know it was release day for Until Then.

Option 3: (extra entries)
Twitter. Tweet about the giveaway. You can do this once per day for extra entries, too.

ENTER for your chance to win! No purchase necessary.

 
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Now what?

So now that Until Then has been released out into the world, what’s next for this writer? Well, a couple months back when I was in dire need of a break from editing, I started writing a little novella and finished the first draft.

Someone on my Launch Team asked me the other day what the difference between a novel and novella is? It all comes down to word count. A novella has anywhere from 20,000 – 50,000 words, while a novel is 50,000+. My novels tend to be around 70,000 – 90,000 words.

This new novella I’m writing will fit between Goodbye, Magnolia and Until Then. The story will follow Maggie and Simon after the big Mackinac Island wedding and on for the first two months of their relationship. Yes, if you read Goodbye, Magnolia, you already know what happens with them, but it’s fun to see how they got there. Until Then actually fills some things in as well.

This novella, which I’ve entitled Hello, Forever, will take us into Simon’s world a little more, but it will still be from Maggie’s perspective as she meets his family and learns more about his life in California. It was so fun to write and it makes me completely adore Simon. I mean, I always loved him – he’s so charmingly cocky, but this one makes me want to hug him at times.

Here is the cover and the tentative synopsis for the book:

image
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Maggie James spent years all-consumed by her wedding
photography business, hiding out from love after a
painful breakup. When fellow photographer and consummate
rogue Simon Walker came into her life, she held him
at arms length to protect her fragile heart from being
broken again. But after discovering how he selflessly
helped her business in a very big way and admitting her
mistaken assumptions about him, she is finally ready to
open her heart again.

From small town Michigan to the sunny shores of Malibu,
California, Maggie and Simon must navigate their budding
relationship, survive family drama, and come face to face
with the past to see if their faith and ever growing love
are enough to get them to forever.
 
 
 
 
I don’t have a firm date set to release this one yet. It’s in the rough first draft form right now. If you want to be among the first to know, sign up for my e-newsletter HERE.

Hello, Forever has been added on Goodreads. If you want to add it to your “to read” shelf, head on OVER HERE.

UNTIL THEN is HERE!


It’s HERE!
Today is the official release day for Until Then. I am so ecstatic right now (and a little nervous) at the thought of everyone finally getting to read this book I’ve been working on for so long. I hope you will enjoy Michelle’s story from a struggling young girl to a woman finding God’s purpose for her life. :)

untilthenbooksSM
Until Then
is available on Amazon in:
PAPERBACK or Kindle EBOOK format.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

READ BOTH CORNERSTONE BOOKS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!
Goodbye, Magnolia is FREE and Until Then is just $2.99. Prices good for May 24-25th ONLY!

REVIEWS
A few early reviews of the book:

“I’ve been a Krista Noorman fan for a while now and if there’s one thing I can count on Noorman for, it’s creating characters you can relate to. She did it again with Until Then. One of the areas that shined the most to me was the genuine remorse over sin that Krista was able to bring to life on the pages. Our heroine, Michelle, hasn’t lived the life of a saint and we see the destroying power of sin very clearly in this novel. I was greatly impressed with the deep regret Michelle showed throughout the novel at various moments … It’s a beautiful story of redemption and a great lesson on sexual purity.”
••• A.M. Heath, Author of the Ancient Words Series

“Wow, wow, wow and wow! … So much goodness in this book … I read Goodbye, Magnolia and had my mind made up about Michelle. Then this book comes along and completely changes my view of her! I loved going back to college and seeing how Michelle, Maggie, and Simon all came together. This book is about hurt, loneliness, sin, betrayal, and God’s unconditional love He has for each and every one of us.”
••• Karen W, Ting’s Mom Books

“This is a story that isn’t afraid to tackle the hard issues head on rather than gloss over them. It makes for a great ending that leaves you satisfied rather than feeling like this would never happen in real life. … Krista Noorman deals with the realities of life in a way that has you simultaneously shaking your head at humanity and at the same time identifying in various ways with the characters. I really appreciated that she made me think about things more deeply and yet kept me thoroughly engaged in the story. I couldn’t put it down!”
••• Krista H, Book Reviewer at Welcome to Married Life

“Once I finished Until Then, I wanted to go back and re-read Goodbye, Magnolia! It magnified things from the first book. … I really enjoyed the story and the concepts of redemption and forgiveness that it illustrated.”
••• Shecki B, Book Reviewer at Greatly Blessed

And don’t forget, if you enjoy the book, stop back by Amazon and leave a brief review of your own so future readers will be encouraged to pick up the book as well. Thank you!

A GIVEAWAY
In celebration of the book release, I’m giving away a $15 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is running thru May 27th. Enter today. No purchase necessary.

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getting to know Michelle

girlinwindow
I was raised in a Christian home. I lived with both of my parents and my brothers. We went to church every Sunday and most Wednesdays, and I asked Jesus into my heart at a young age. I never questioned whether my parents loved me. I was taught right from wrong. I knew getting drunk and doing drugs and having sex before marriage were against our Christian beliefs. So, when I decided to write Michelle’s story, I couldn’t really relate to her. At all. I’ve had friends like her, who did not believe the way I did, who partied and had sex with their boyfriends. But I was never like that. I never drank or smoked or even had a boyfriend in high school. I was pretty much like Emma (Maggie and Michelle’s college roommate in my books) – young, innocent, and totally naive.

But as I wrote Michelle’s story, I tried to put myself in her shoes as much as I could. What must it have been like for her to live without her dad around, with her mom constantly working just to make ends meet? How lonely and unloved must she have felt to throw herself at guys the way she did? And what was it like for her to suddenly be thrust into this new world at this Christian college surrounded by all these “good kids”?

I tried to get into her head as much as I could, and I really hope and pray that I did Michelle’s story justice, that I showed her growth from a struggling young girl to a woman discovering God’s purpose for her life. That was my goal. And I have to say, I really love Michelle’s story. Things weren’t easy for her, and it’s not always pleasant to read about the things she does, but I really grew to love her character over the past year since I wrote the first draft. Through editing this book, I got to discover her story and get to know her heart. It was a pretty special experience for me.

A note about Until Then: I feel I should mention that on the pages of this book, there are some scenes that are a little more mature, but I never describe “the deed” itself – I always cut away – and it is in no way glorified. I hope that these scenes will help to show where she’s at when we meet her at the beginning of the book as opposed to how she’s changed later in the book. If I had to give the book a rating, it would be PG-13 for some sensuality.


Until Then is the second book in my Cornerstone series of Contemporary Christian Romance novels. The Kindle eBook is available for pre-order NOW. The official release date is May 24th — ONE MORE WEEK!

on jealousy and comparison

psalm73verse
I wish I could remember the moment that I came across this verse. I think I was looking up verses about jealousy when working on Until Then and this one popped up. I do remember thinking this verse is perfect for Michelle’s story. And then I actually read the entire Psalm that surrounded that verse and I got that feeling – the one when you know God showed you something he wanted you to see. This particular Psalm is written by a priest, Asaph, and the story he tells HERE is so relevant to what Michelle goes through in the book.

Jealousy.

It can cloud your judgment and make you do stupid things. Jealousy overwhelms with feelings of comparison, inferiority, anger, depression. It can mess you up, get into your head, and ruin your life if you let it. Jealousy messes with Michelle in the book. Big time!

I just saw this on Jasmine Star’s instagram the other day: If comparison is the thief of joy, then envy is the thief of contentment.

Absolutely agree!

Comparison can totally squelch your confidence. If you’re feeling a little unsure of yourself, comparing yourself to others is the quickest way to make you feel like you aren’t good at something, like they are doing everything better, and what you once believed was your purpose is no longer worth your time. Those are all LIES!

And envy over what others have – their success, their position, their popularity, their wealth – will quickly take away that happiness you had over something good happening in your life. It will make you feel like you aren’t doing enough, aren’t working hard enough, like you’re a failure. You’ll be left with anxiety over what you don’t have, rather than calm and peace over the things that God has blessed you with so far.

I have been guilty of both of these things. It’s hard not to compare myself to other authors, to envy the success they have with their books, the many followers they have on social media. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read a glowing review of another author’s book and thought surely my books are horrible in comparison, even though I haven’t even read their book and, many times, they are books in totally different genres. But still, my mind goes to those places because of my own insecurities, rather than trusting God to put my book in the hands of those who are meant to read it, those who will enjoy my writing and become my lifelong readers and friends.

Here is what I’m working on remembering every day:

Everyone sees life differently, so even if someone else is already doing what you want to do and seems to be doing it well, don’t let that stop you! Use your special and unique talents given to you by God for His glory. Tell your stories, make art, write songs, teach children, do whatever God has called you to do. Because nobody can bring your life experiences to the job, except you. Nobody can do it the way you can, because you’re you, you’re unique. God made you for a purpose. So live purposefully. ;)

Until Then is the second book in my Cornerstone series and is available for KINDLE PRE-ORDER NOW!

throwback thursday | Cornerstone flashback

As I was writing Until Then, I had a lot of fun thinking back on my time at Cornerstone, looking through old pictures, and trying my best to remember all the little details of campus and take inspiration from it for the book. In Goodbye, Magnolia, there is only one scene that takes place on campus – at Miller Library. But in the new book, several chapters take place there. I decided to name the series after the college since that is the place that connects the characters, so it was fun to spend a little more time on campus in Michelle’s story. Cornerstone becomes a very important place in her life. It changes her and her future.

I thought it would be fun to share a few photos and stories from my time at Cornerstone. This is me (left) and my freshman year roommate, Julie. Just like Michelle and Maggie, we took a photo together and waited for our third roommate to show. But unlike the book, ours never did show. She ended up not attending after all, so we got a two-person room instead of three, which was actually really nice. Notice the bookshelves and built-in desks. Those are in the book. ;)

Our time in Miller dorm, which is where the girls live in my book, was a lot of fun. Julie and I decided to go down both halls in the dorm that first day and introduce ourselves to people. In the process, we met another girl named Julie (I’ll call her BFF Julie to keep them straight). I ended up having a class or two with BFF Julie and we became really good friends … BFF’s. ;) So when my roommate, Julie, decided to leave school after first semester, BFF Julie moved in and was my roomie from then on. We are still friends today, have taken vacations together (our favorite – Europe! – pictured below), stood up in each other’s weddings. I will always be so thankful that we met at college and even though we go very long periods of time without seeing each other, when we do get together, it’s always like we were never apart.

There were lots of wonderful girls in our dorm that I will always remember. I only wish I had actually been more into photography when I was there, because there are so many things about college life, dorm life, the little details of the place, that I wish I had pictures of. I love all the snapshots I have from my time there, though. Here are some from the dorm. A bunch of us were dressed up for I think a spirit week sort of thing – like clash day or something. The center photo is BFF Julie’s first roommate Joy, BFF Julie, and me. And the right one is just one random night when all us girls were rubbing each other’s shoulders. haha! Must have been a long night of studying. Or just goofing around. :)

One of the memories I have was making the walk across campus to chapel every morning. Cornerstone now has a lovely new chapel, but back in the day, we had to walk around the pond to what I think was the auditorium over in the seminary building. A few scenes in the book take place either on the walk to chapel or on the walk back from chapel.

One chapter of the book focuses on Michelle’s daily trip to the mailbox to get letters from a certain someone. I found this picture of the mailboxes as well as one of students walking to chapel in one of my old yearbooks.

Something else that is a fond memory for me were Candlelight ceremonies, the tradition on campus where newly engaged couples would share their news with their fellow students. The girls would sit in a circle in the dorm lounge and pass a candle around with the engagement ring tied to it while the couples favorite song played. Nobody knew who the bride was until the candle had gone around the circle a few times and the bride-to-be would finally blow out the candle. She then sat in the center of the circle and shared the story of the engagement and then someone – usually her roommate or a close friend – prayed for them and their marriage. It’s such a sweet tradition. Then the girls would line up outside the dorm and form a tunnel, which the bride would run through. In the center of the yard between all the dorms was a pole with a bell on top. The guys lined up there and the bride ran through their tunnel to find her groom at the other end. Then they would kiss, the guy climbed the pole and rang the bell, then the guys would throw him in the mucky pond. haha! I do not have a picture of that pole. I wish I did. When they made upgrades to the campus over the years, they built this lovely bell tower in its place, which they still use for candlelights.

It was fun to be a spectator at candlelights, but I was also the bride-to-be once. I got to blow out the candle and run through the tunnel and watch my fiancé get tossed in the pond. That wedding never came to be, but it was still a special experience.

My one “rebel” moment at college:
At the end of my freshman year, a big group of us thought it would be “fun” to sneak out of the dorm after curfew, so we popped the screen out of someone’s window and climbed out. Our exciting night consisted of t.p.’ing the car of someone’s off-campus friend and walking around Meijer for a while. But the R.D. and R.A.’s were wise to our plans and the dean of women was called. It wasn’t very stealthy. There was a little car chase going on in the parking lot at one point between the car we were in, campus security, and the dean, whose car we almost hit. That was about the most exciting moment of the night. ;) I believe we all had to chip in and pay the cost to fix the window, a fine for sneaking out, and it went in our file. I’m such a rebel, right? :D

There are so many more wonderful, silly, fun moments from my time at Cornerstone that I could share. My absolute favorite part of college was being in the Chancel Singers choir, but I’m going to save that for another day ’cause there are just too many wonderful memories to share in this already long post. It’s been so fun to think back on my time there and share a few of the special moments with you.

While the people and events in my books are all fictional, I love taking inspiration from real life places. It makes it so much more real for me while I’m writing, putting my characters in real locations rather than fictional.

Until Then is the second book in my Cornerstone series. It will be available on May 24th. Pre-order for Kindle is available NOW and the book will be automatically delivered to your device on release day.

Simon and Michelle | first words


I came across this picture the other day when looking for pics of guys grinning for my little “Show Me Your Grin” contest. ;) It immediately made me think of Simon and Michelle from my books. They have such a close friendship — best friends forever. And I love them and their instant connection.

I adore the actors pictured here (from the movie “Love, Rosie”). Sam Claflin is one of my favorites, though I think he’s a little shorter than what I imagine Simon to be. And Lily Collins is beautiful, but she is super short to be Michelle (like 5’5″ when Michelle is 5’10”). But I love this picture, and it makes me happy when I think of Michelle and Simon as real people, not just characters in my books.

So, I thought I would share the first words Michelle and Simon ever said to each other with you today. A little setup for the scene: It’s move-in day at college, and Michelle has gone to the gym to check things out. There is a group of guys there playing 3-on-3. She stops just inside the door to watch. And …

     One of the guys immediately turned her head. He was tall and handsome, with nut brown hair and an athletic physique. But he was a terrible shot, hitting the backboard way too high at least half a dozen times. He suddenly lobbed the ball at the basket and completely missed, sending it bouncing in Michelle’s direction.
     She retrieved the ball and dribbled it in place, glancing his way.
     He jogged over to her, and she tossed him the ball.
     “Thanks,” he said with a grin. “Do you play?”
     Michelle flipped her long, dark ponytail over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow in reply. “The real question is … do you?”

Hehehe. So cute, right?

If you’ve already read Goodbye, Magnolia, then you know how things turn out with them, and you’ll get to see it all unfold in Until Then, which comes out on May 24th.

AJAXed with AWP