The Master’s Garden describes the relationship between God and his children with a beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends. What was the inspiration for this metaphor?
Jesus used the metaphor that He was the Vine, God the Father is the Gardener, and that we are the branches. I have over 40 years’ experience in dealing with plants, both professionally and personally so I understand how plants work more than the average person. It was a natural extrapolation for me to expand it to all plants. It came to me one day while hiking in the woods. It was really fun to write!
What were some themes you felt were important to focus on in this book?
God loves all of us and wants us all be to belong to Him and come under His care through His Son, Jesus.
God, the Master Gardener, wants to have a growing, dynamic relationship with each one of us. I tried to portray this with the intimate and personal discussions that New Dawn has with the Gardener.
Living as a Christian the way God wants seems impossible. That’s because we think we are to live in our own strength. Jesus teaches us the only way to live rightly is through His power and strength not our own. We cannot do it, but He can.
True significance and enjoyment, the Abundant Life, are achieved by living God’s way through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Violet’s character was delightful and well developed. What were some ideas that guided her character development?
Violet represents, in many ways, most of us who struggle with inadequacy and a longing to be loved and valued as an individual. New Dawn, the main character in the allegory, is me. While the allegory doesn’t exactly follow my life’s journey, it is a close representation of it. It is my story of how God has transformed this self-condemning, insignificant and pathetic person into one who now has joy, peace, confidence, and significance—true riches! All to the credit and honor of my magnificent Creator!
Do you have more stories planed that take place in Plantasia?
Absolutely! I am working on the sequel already, as well as several Bible studies and devotionals to go along with this first book.
In the gospel of John, Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and His Father is the Gardener. He explains that His followers are the branches and need to remain in the Vine and bear much fruit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by that or how remaining in the Vine might look in your daily life? Then enter into the fantasy world of Plantasia™ where plants come alive! This is a witty tale told by a grandmother to help her struggling granddaughter find true significance under God’s care. The Master Gardener created this beautiful world where plants can think, see, hear, and speak. He longs for all to come under His loving care and be grafted onto His beloved Vine. Through this connection, plants are able to flourish and reach their full potential. See what happens when a spindly rose, who yearns to be more than she is, meets the Master Gardener. Listen in on the conversations she has with the Gardener, Mighty Oak, Ginni (the Obedient Plant), and Mr. Bugleweed. Learn with her as she discovers the secrets of how to abide in the Vine and experience true riches. If you enjoyed the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places, you will love this allegory of abiding in Christ, the Vine!
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
The Albatross: Contact by Connor Mackay
IZ – The Saga: Creation by DDWLEM
Silver Award Winners
Book of Chaos: From 22 Back to 21 by Yin Dolmah
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Young Violet is going through her own list of troubling times. She should be carefree and living a life of no worries, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for her. Luckily, Violet’s grandmother, Roselyn, has the answer. Roselyn, an avid gardener, knows exactly how to help Violet come to some important conclusions about her spiritual life, and she knows how to do it without pressuring Violet or making her feel the stress of decision-making. Once Roselyn begins telling her story, Violet is lost in a world of fantasy that takes her on her own journey of self-discovery.
The Master’s Garden: An Allegory of Abiding in the Vine, by Rose Noland, describes the relationship between God and his children in terms of the most beautiful metaphor of a gardener and the host of plants to which he tends with love and care. Noland’s characters are relatable and offer readers a multidimensional look into understanding God’s love and the patience we all must show while coming to the understanding that we are not perfect and were never meant to be.
Noland has created a cast of characters, talking plants, that, without question, convey the message she wants to provide her readers. She uses the story-within-a-story method to create an image for both her readers and for her character, Violet. It is through Violet’s eyes that readers watch the changing New Dawn discover herself and come to understand her purpose and the reasons for her trials and tribulations. Noland says to her readers what many are not able to convey. Her story is a truly wonderful metaphor for God’s love and will reach readers who are unable to see this message playing out in their own lives.
Violet, always eager to hear the stories her Grandmother has to tell, cannot help but be entranced by the story of the Master Gardener. I was especially taken with the way the author describes the purposes given each flower and plant and how their actions impact others either directly or indirectly. Violet is able to learn so much about herself from the story, but we, as readers, are just as taken with Roselyn’s tale of trust and growth.
I have never enjoyed being preached to outright about how much I should trust and believe throughout my hardships. That’s just a difficult thing for many of us to do–to listen and believe. Noland, however, teaches a very hard lesson in a way that is both easy to read and easy to believe and apply to our own lives. I highly recommend The Master’s Garden: An Allegory of Abiding in the Vine to any fan of inspirational readings or those who are looking for a book to renew their own beliefs. Rose Noland’s book is a comfortable walk of faith in uncertain times and is a wonderful tool for guiding young people in their own faith.
Pages: 95 | ASIN: B0887NJNFY
The Birthday Gift by Betty Collier is a short story that follows Mrs. Williams as she finds her world turned upside down amid the sudden passing of her husband while he is away on overseas business. Among the themes present in the book are the difficulty in gaining closure from unexpected bereavement and the struggle to exercise forgiveness for transgressions. The role of religion is also significant in this book.
I appreciated the poignancy of Mrs. Williams’ journey to healing after the loss of her husband. It is apparent from the very beginning that she has much love for her husband – the kind that transcends boundaries of space and time. Collier depicts her in the different phases of grieving in order to reflect the immense pain of losing a loved one without having the chance to say goodbye. She reflects fondly on the memories she and her husband shared, and she even feels anger and disillusionment resulting from her God deciding to take her husband’s kindred soul prematurely. However, her love for her family, in particular her daughter Bella, prompts her to be a strong woman and a strong mother.
On the opposite side of the coin, this book is very evangelical in its message. The role of God and religion is prominently interwoven in Mrs. Williams’ thoughts and motivations, which may be triggering to a reader who may not have an interest in religion yet still seeks an inspirational read. Although I still strove to be objective in my reading, the constant preaching and heavy evangelical language were a bit overwhelming.
I appreciated witnessing Mrs. Williams’ healing process after losing her husband, as well as seeing her gain the wisdom to forgive. If you enjoy similar shorter books, such as “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho, which have a religious theme to them, then you’ll also enjoy this book. The expressions of pain and passion is palpable and is the thing I truly enjoyed about this short story?
Pages: 106 | ASIN: B087THC8P7
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The Progeny follows the descendant of a prolific serial killer as she is the target of an ancient order. How did this idea begin and change as you were writing the novel?
A fan asked me to write a book about Elizabeth Bathory. I was familiar with Bathory (AKA the “Blood Countess”—the most prolific female serial killer in history, rumored to have bathed in the blood of virgins.) But I was fresh off several historical novels and eager to write something contemporary and faster-paced—a thriller. So I decided to write about her modern-day descendants, who have been systematically hunted for centuries.
Strangely enough, as I was researching the novel, I learned through my mother (a lifelong career genealogist) that I am actually distantly related to Bathory. So that was a twist I didn’t see coming!
I always enjoy the way you develop your characters. What is your writing process like to bring your characters to life?
Thank you! This story is populated by a group of charismatic young people with slightly supernatural gifts. So that was really fun to write. That said, it was really important to me to portray them as real, grounded—not super heroes—but bohemian outcasts living hard and fast on society’s fringe, just trying to make it to their 30th—or 25th, or 22nd—birthday. As far as bringing them to life, I used to spend a lot of time role-playing characters online. And I think those hours and days and years of doing that taught me a lot about stepping into another person’s skin and looking at life through their eyes.
The characters, and ancient orders, have a engaging backstory. What were some themes that drove their development?
So many of us are fascinated by ancient orders, secret societies, and clandestine histories hidden beneath the surface of the world as we know it. I am, too, and have spent far too much time gleefully studying this kind of thing. But the one overarching theme that really guides the groups in The Progeny is that of revenge for one group… and redemption for another.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I just had a duology come out in quick succession last year: The Line Between and its sequel, A Single Light—the story of a young woman leaving a doomsday cult just in time for the apocalypse as a pandemic sweeps across the nation that feels like it’s striking a little too close to home at the moment! Now that those two are out, I’m working on a couple new historical novels—a medieval thriller and a WWII novel.
Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.
She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.
Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. It is a story about the search for self filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.
“Readers of inspirational fiction will love this moving story that affirms the power of God’s mercy.”
A story about the struggle, passion, and adventure of faith, about the Truth that transforms lives…
The Alaska Territory, 1925: Thirteen-year-old Luke couldn’t be prouder of his father, whose heroic efforts have just saved thousands of lives. but his world turns upside down when dad abandons his family for a beautiful reporter from New York. Luke’s mother, Yura, vows to win back her husband and kill the woman who stole his heart, and she and Luke embark on an epic cross-country quest that will lead them to the Nevada desert, and to truths–and terrors–of which they’d never dreamed.
Reno, Nevada, 1930: Boxer David Gold, a Bible-school dropout who fights as the Pummelin’ Preacher, is nearing the end of his career and feeling hopelessly far from God. Then one day, a former call girl who hails from a railway stop called Las Vegas shows up at his door. She’s part of a rag-tag congregation whose pastor has been murdered; the killer is still at large, they haven’t a cent to pay David, but they need a fighting man to shepherd the tiny Church of the Heart Set Free. Her proposal seems sheer madness–after all, he’s not really a preacher, how can he possibly do these people any good? But the Spirit is at work; it’s already brought a mother and son from Alaska into his life, and now it’s telling him to say yes…
Las Vegas, 2011: Science Cable T.V. big-wig Tim Faber is an arrogant narcissist determined to prove that mankind has no need of God, while his producer, Joan Reed, is trying to regain the faith of her youth. They’ve come to Vegas to meet with 99-year-old Luke and David Gold’s grandson, Daniel, two men who hold the key to a mystery they must solve—and answers that will forever change their lives.
“I was mesmerized by the characters and how everything unfolded and linked together…”
–Just One More Paragraph (Musings of a Christian Wife)
“Bold and forthright writing that would set any heart on fire.”
–Christian blogger Miranda A. Uyeh
Are we defined by the ones who were before us, or do our actions define us? Do the actions of one individual condemn their future descendants to a dire future?
The Progeny is a thrilling adventure story, echoing the suspense of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series. The beginning of the story is a little slow but the story picks up and is quickly entertaining. Things keep on rolling as our lead character, Audra and her small group of people find themselves in situations that quickly turn sour. Despite the frailty shown, the characters rise up to the challenges that face them, which made me emotionally invested in the well drawn characters. I frowned when I read about the zealots who were hunting descendants of the most infamous female serial killer in history. Why? They are not the killers. Why harm them? But then people do tend to carry grouses for years, maybe some are crazy to carry ones that pass on from generation to generation. These thought provoking themes kept me hooked. I especially loved Luka character, who loves Audra without any motives or benefits. The author describes the revelation in layers which is all the more warming to my heart.
There are many more layers to the story than initially appears. It shows the depth with which Tosca Lee has crafted her narrative. Overall the story is well written and continues at a good pace. We get a glimpse into the past of the characters, but thankfully the story does not dedicate too much time on it. The one thing that I did find odd was the persuasion power that every descendant of Elizabeth Bathory (mainly females) seems to have. Why it appears, or what is the reason for it is not explained. Even more curious is that it goes away after a certain age. Why? I need to know! Needless to say, I am invested in this enthralling and thoroughly entertaining novel.
Pages: 337 | ASIN: B010MH9YUW
Runaway follows Rose as she is taken from one home to the next and struggles to find a place without pain. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
This story actually came from a dream that interrupted my sleep night after night until I finally got up and wrote the outline. I tried to describe Rose the way she looked in my vivid technicolor dream.
Rose’s character is interesting and deeply developed. What were some ideals that drove her character development?
Although I was loved and wanted as a child, I grew up alone with older parents who were often mistaken as my grandparents. I had to entertain, and sometimes care for myself. Perhaps some of my own characteristics come through in finding the hideaway in the attic, pretending to be someone else through my own fantasies, and particularly escaping into my music. My own piano playing comes naturally; I play by ear as well as by note. Playing before a crowd, or on a small Sunday night service also comes from personal experience. How the book describes Rose getting lost in her music, playing with her eyes closed, or banging out her frustration on the keys comes from personal experience.
This novel sheds light on the condition of runaways and abused children. What do you hope readers take away from this story?
My husband and I were foster parents to young preteens. We saw the plight of these young children and what they had to endure (especially if they had to return to their families). We had to deal with and abide with CPS *(aka, the system) and their rules. It may not be the perfect answer, but with so many abused runaways/throwaways in our nation, it may be their only hope and salvation to be placed with a good foster family, and eventually adopted. More good families are needed in the system to meet this need.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am presently doing research on an immigrant child from Venezuela seeking to find refuge in the United States. His Venezuelan mother has been promised safe transport for herself and her twelve-year-old son if she can only come up with the money. She knows if she can get her son to his American father, he will be cared for properly and safe from the cartel. Even though Mateo’s father was only in Venezuela on a short work project, she believes he will welcome the son he knows nothing about. Little does she know the man she hired is only doing this for profit and benefits.
Hopefully, this will be available sometime next year.
My Love’s Journey Home trilogy (available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, or at my website, casimonson.com- 2013-2015) also deals with abandoned children. Separating to survive, some end up going through the adoption setting.
She was told she was unwanted. Unloved. Broken and scarred. “No man wants a cripple,” she was told. “You’re damaged goods.” But she never dreamed she’d be thrown away. There was only one thing she could do…”Runaway” is a fictional account that captures the plight of runaways, child abuse, and foster care in America. It’s a message of hope and faith when all else seems lost.