Shannon here: Paula Moldenhauer shares insight into her real life romance, how truth inspires her fiction, plus an excerpt from her Christmas Novella, You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch. There’s some guessing involved to win a copy of Tinseled Tidings which includes 3 Christmas novellas, so be sure and read the whole blog. Deadline to answer: Oct 27th. 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Paula:
Oooh! I love telling our story! For a guy who says he’s not romantic, Jerry has given me some wonderful memories. How about I share three, and YOU get to guess which incident I adapted for my award-winning novella, You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch. After you guess, I’d love to hear your story about something unexpected that happened at a wedding, since one of the stories below includes my favorite wedding chaos story!
The winner gets a paperback copy of Tinseled Tidings, which includes You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch and two other Christmas novellas. (If you act quickly, I have a gift for everyone! You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch, which was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, is FREE for Kindle today and tomorrow!)
True romance story #1 ~
My now-husband, Jerry, and I dated one summer in Colorado. I knew he was serious, but when I returned to college in Oklahoma, I just couldn’t make the transition. Marrying him meant leaving those green hills and my extended family. There were other things I needed time to process, and I broke it off. A few years later my brother and I went skiing in Colorado. Jerry was among the group we skied with. When it was time to drive back to Oklahoma, Jerry asked to speak with me. He said, “Paula, I love you.”
“I know,” I said. “One of these days I’ll figure out what to do with that.”
He told me later that he knew then it was only a matter of time. And he was right. I’m glad I figured it out because outside of choosing Jesus, marrying Jerry was the best decision I ever made!
True romance story #2 ~
When Jerry went to buy my engagement ring, he was so excited that he ran up the down escalator!
True romance story #3 ~
Jerry and I planned a lovely outdoor wedding in front of an antebellum home, now a museum, near my birthplace. We had an old-fashioned gully-washer (huge rainstorm for those of you not from the south)! Jerry and I, as well as the matron-of-honor and best man were protected on the porch, but everyone else got soaked! In fact later that summer some friends of ours and their children wore T-shirts to a church event that said things like, “I got soaked under the oak for Jerry and Paula,” and “I survived the flood: June 11, 1989.”
As it poured, the caretaker removed the protective cords and allowed us inside the home. Some guests fled to their cars; others squished into the foyer of the home. The wedding party climbed the stairs with Jerry and I at the top landing. Just as we said our vows, and this is true, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on us from an upper window. Jerry took the pastor’s Bible and read to me:
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing is come,
And the voice of the turtle
Is heard in our land. (Song of Solomon, 2:10–12)
Excerpt from You’re a Charmer: Mr Grinch by Paula Modlenhauer:
Rick flung a prayer upward, hoping the good Lord would grant him even the smallest bit of favor with the stubborn but beautiful redhead. He tapped her window and pasted on a smile as the glass descended. “Good evening, ma’am.” Using his best professional protector voice, the one he used before he retired from the force, he continued, “Looks like you’re in need of some assistance.”
A flicker of something—irritation maybe—passed over her gaze, but she smiled and his insides melted. “I guess I am. How’d you know?”
“I, uh, I got a couple of calls about a stranded motorist”—Rick rubbed the back of his neck—“and headed right over.”
“Tom Flanders should have called the station if he weren’t man enough to help me himself.”
“Yes. Well . . .” Rick took a step back from the smoldering gaze and shined his flashlight toward her hood. “Care if I take a look-see?”
“I’ll pop the hood.”
It only took a moment to assess the problem. “Radiator hose. I’ve got my chain. We’ll pull her on over to the garage so Gary can look at her tomorrow.” Rick rushed to his truck and grabbed the chain and his tool kit, pleased to get about the business of helping Edie and to escape the evaluating gaze of those big green eyes of hers. When the car was ready, he gave careful instructions about how to steer as he pulled it with his truck. He released a pent-up sigh when they reached the garage, safe and sound.
Rick stepped out of his pickup and walked over to Edie’s car. She greeted him with a tired smile. “Thank you.” Her stomach growled and she colored, looking cuter than ever.
The weariness on her face and her rumbling tummy strengthened his resolve. “Let’s get a bite to eat, and then I’ll take you on home.”
“Aw, now, don’t get your dander up. It’s obvious you’re hungry, and I haven’t had my supper either. It’s not a date.”
“You’ve done enough. I don’t want to inconvenience you further.”
“Edie Hathaway.” He leaned closer and lowered his voice. “It’s time you let down your pride long enough to let a man be gentleman-like. I am not inconvenienced.”
She hesitated, and he stood up straight and winked. “But I am hungry as a bear. Don’t make me eat alone after I took the trouble to tow you back to town. Come on, Edie.” He met her eyes. “Just this once.”
He didn’t miss the softening in her gaze, but when she opened her mouth to speak, he feared another refusal. He placed a finger on her lips. “Shhh now. I’m not takin’ no for an answer.” Surprised he’d allowed himself such an intimate gesture, he stepped away quickly, strode to the pickup, and then opened the door for her.
It was all Rick could do not to yell out “Hallelujah!” when she turned toward his truck with nary a word and climbed right in. She might not have opened the door to that walled heart, but she’d let him push it back a crack. It’d taken all the willpower he possessed not to kick the whole blamed thing down after years of pursuing Christmas, Florida’s favorite single grandma. But patience had its virtue. Now all he had to do was make himself irresistible so she’d let him give that door another nudge.
About Paula: Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction. Her most recent publication, At Home with Daffodils, is included in Barbour’s A Bouquet of Brides. Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. They treasure time with their growing family of adult children, spouses, and spouses-to-be. Paula loves peppermint ice cream, going barefoot, and adventuring with friends. Learn more and connect:
About the book – You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch: Retired police officer Rick Stanton dons a Grinch costume for the holidays and “patrols” Christmas, Florida to promote the festive town. Everyone falls under the spell of his charm except the person he most wants to impress—Postmaster Edie Hathaway. Rick wants to be loved for himself, not his secret; and his silence confuses Edie, stirring up her painful past and threatening her secure future. The Grinch is stealing Edie’s heart, but will Edie learn to trust him before he gives up on love?
You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch was a finalist for Novella of the Year in the ACFW Carol Awards. It is the first story in the Tinseled Tidings collection. For more holiday fun check out the next two books in the series, The Joy Scrooge and Fruitcake Fallout.
Free e-book link: Amazon – You’re A Charmer, Mr. Grinch
Can’t wait for the drawing or want a paper copy? Tinseled Tidings – Amazon
Come back Oct 19th for Martha Rogers!