Author: Nicole Baart

Street Team!

It’s that time, friends! I have ARCs in hand and I’m ready to build my street team! What’s a street team? I’m glad you asked. Basically, it’s a group of friends and advocates who will help me build buzz around LITTLE BROKEN THINGS. I’m looking for people who are passionate about books and who love a good story. LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is about motherhood, mistakes, and starting over. It’s also a mystery that centers around an enigmatic little girl and the four days that forever change the course of one family’s future. Sound like something you’d like to read? Want to be on my Street Team? Keep reading…

Here’s what you GET: a mailing from me including an Advanced Reader’s Copy of the book and some special extras for you to enjoy or share. Later, when LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is ready to launch, you’ll receive a second mailing with bookmarks and other materials to help you spread the news.

Here’s what you GIVE: some time and attention! Members of my street team pledge to read the book, post a review on major sites (Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, etc.), and spread the word on social media. If you have a blog, you can host an interview or a giveaway. Other ways to help are by requesting the book at your local library, sharing bookmarks with your local indie store, telling your friends about LITTLE BROKEN THINGS, or hosting a book club (I’d be happy to join or Skype in!). Don’t worry, if you read the book and it’s not your cup of tea, I’m not asking you to lie! You can certainly say: “This book wasn’t for me.” There’s nothing wrong with that.

Are you interested? The application process is short! Just follow this link. I can’t wait to hear from you! And though I have to limit the number of people on my street team (due to the number of ARCs and the cost of mailings), I hope so much that YOU will become a part of it. xo – Nicole

Little Broken Things

Hi, friends! Is anyone still here? I sincerely doubt it because I haven’t blogged in over TWO YEARS. It’s a little hard for me to get my head around that fact because, hello, time flies. How can it be two years since the last time I posted? I must be getting old… (The big 4-0 is coming up this year, but, let’s not talk about that, shall we?)

Anyway, I’m dusting off my blog for a number of reasons, but none so important as this: I have another book coming out. It’s called LITTLE BROKEN THINGS and it’s set to release just before Thanksgiving. And, oh, am I thankful! Honestly, I feel like a debut novelist because by the time LBT comes out, it will have been two and a half years since THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS hit shelves. A lifetime in the world of publishing.

And so it begins: biting my fingernails as I hope for endorsements, losing sleep over anticipated reviews, hoping with all my heart that people will love this book and that it will in some small way change them or make them think or reveal something new. And, of course, I get the unparalleled delight of sharing the cover reveal. I’ve been sitting on this cover since November 1 and it has been so hard to keep my little secret! But it’s a secret no more…

Introducing LITTLE BROKEN THINGS:

 

“I have something for you.”

When Quinn Cruz receives a cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. But when, just hours later, a haunted Nora shows up on Quinn’s doorstep, a chain reaction is put into motion that will change both of their lives forever. Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl. As Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and protect a terrified child from the unknown, Nora is facing matters head-on in a life or death struggle that demonstrates the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

***

Do you like it? I hope so. And I hope that it sounds captivating to you. I loved writing it and can’t wait to share more with you about where the story came from and what it means to me. Until then, thanks for sharing my joy!

To celebrate the cover reveal, I’m going to be hosting several different giveaways. And you’ve been given a front row seat! Want a chance to win? It’s easy…

  • If you pre-order Little Broken Things from your favorite online retailer before Monday April 3, I’ll send you a free e-copy of The Moment Between. Just send me a screen shot of your pre-order confirmation and I’ll send you a free book!
  • You could win my entire backlist of titles. I’ll ship 7 books to one lucky winner! Just follow this link for several chances to win.
  • Would you like to read the very first, fresh out of the box ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Little Broken Things? This title doesn’t release until November 21, but you could win it this coming May. Head on over to the Tall Poppies Bloom Page and leave a comment on my cover reveal post! (Please note, the cover reveal post on the Bloom page won’t be live until this afternoon or evening.) One lucky Bloom reader will get Little Broken Things six months before it’s released.

Thanks for reading, friends!

xo – Nicole

Merry Christmas!

Hi, friends.

So, I flaked on my #MuseMonday post last week, and I don’t have much to say today. There are hills to sled down, cookies to bake, memories to make. My husband leaves for Liberia a few days after Christmas and we’re reveling in this sweet holiday season and time together before we are apart.

The truth? I can’t remember a more beautiful winter in all my life. The snow falls soft and deep, the sky is blindingly blue and still. Yesterday, I took my two littlest ones on an adventure and we tromped through the woods in boots, seeking treasure. We found it in a little field mouse, a woodpecker, tracks that we could identify–and many that we couldn’t. My son is sure he spotted a bobcat kitten and I am letting him believe he did. This time is pure gold and I want to seize every moment.

I know it’s only December 7, but I’m taking the rest of the month off so I can savor. These weeks are for family and friends, for tears and reflection, for taking the time to taste all the bitter and the sweet that is the birth of Christ. Teeth-achingly wonderful but tinged with sorrow, for already casting a shadow over the manger is the cross. And our world, though snow white and lovely is still teeming with terror, uncertainty, refugees who are lost. May this season be filled to overflowing with all the joy your heart can contain–and may it burst, overflow, be a drink of cool water to all who cross your path thirsty. The Christmas story is our story, may we own it this year–and all that it entails.

Merry Christmas to you, friends.

Love extravagantly for you are extravagantly loved,

Nicole

xoxo

In all things…

Life is sweet. It’s rich and layered and bright. Little blessings hang like ripe fruit within our grasp, and every day, every day is a miracle. But sometimes we get distracted…

It snowed this weekend. The first snow of the year for our little corner of creation, and as the day went on and the inches continued to pile up we wondered at the beauty–the abundance–of it. We shoveled snow and caught flakes on our tongues, went sledding and warmed up with hot cocoa and board games. It was beautiful. Cozy and wonderful.

When we woke up on Saturday morning, it was cold. And dark. The house was so eerily still that our kids came running into our bedroom long before dawn. “What’s wrong?” The electricity was out all over town, and as the day unfolded we learned that a substation had exploded. And a water main. The Red Cross set up a shelter in the high school gym while city workers and volunteers worked tirelessly for over 24 hours to restore power to our little town and repair the broken pipes. In the meantime, we were grateful for a sunshiny day and went about our business in dim houses, unshowered, with breakfast dishes piled in the sink because we weren’t supposed to use water. By mid-afternoon it became clear that the situation was more serious than we had first anticipated. There was still no power for much of town and it didn’t look like it would be restored anytime soon.

That’s when it began. The trickle of solidarity that flowed into a tidal wave of community–and unity. Students from the local college helped canvas the neighborhoods that would be without power for an extended period of time. Many of them were bilingual and could communicate with families who may not have been plugged in to the social media outlets where so much important info was being disseminated. Families whose power had been restored opened their homes, offering coffee and games, food and conversation to those who were still watching the thermostat drop. One local grocery store pried open their doors and welcomed everyone in. I walked the dark aisles with my kids, wondering at the empty shelves, the crowd of people, the smiles and sense of fellowship in the midst of such a strange, unsettling situation.

We depend on the power grid. But even more, we depend on each other.

Mr. Rogers is famously quoted as saying: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

How true it is. No matter the situation–from Paris to my own sleepy little town–you will always find people who are helping. City workers, volunteers, firemen, the Red Cross, neighbors, and new friends worked together to help our community overcome. The same is true on a global scale. And in your own backyard. We’re in this together, friends, and I am so thankful for you I could weep.

Every square inch of this magnificent world is His. And ours. To cultivate and protect, shepherd and restore. And for every story of sorrow there are ten more that rise above the havoc we wreak. Take a moment and celebrate the California mom who is helping Syrian refugee babies, the Turkish man who rescued a child from the sea, or the Frenchman who choses love instead of hate after the Paris attacks. There are a million more.

This Thanksgiving week, I challenge you to celebrate 1,000 gifts. If you haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s book, buy it for yourself right now. And if you have, let’s get back there, shall we? To a place where we’re pointing out the beauty, remembering the gifts, loving each other? It’s easy to be distracted. To feel the creep of cold when the world is dark, but when we throw an arm around our neighbor, everything changes. Everything.

Create confidently, love confidently, and in all things GIVE THANKS,

Nicole

xoxo

Still Good

Oh, friends. What a weekend.

But I don’t have to tell you that. Are you reeling from Beirut and Japan and Paris? From disasters natural and manmade? The world seems harsh and scary sometimes, cold and unforgiving and dark. I don’t understand. I’m not sure anyone can. And we haven’t even touched on catastrophes closer to home. Ugly words, broken hearts, hurt. Maybe you received bad news this weekend or woke up this morning with the weight of the world pressed tight against your chest. Maybe it’s all you can do to just breathe.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever lived through was the year that I was pregnant for nine months with three different babies–none of whom survived. Miscarriage after miscarriage. Loss after loss. The doctors encouraged me to “keep trying” because there was no real explanation for why the children I longed for kept slipping through my fingers.

But I was done.

Hollow, anemic, sad, and broken, I couldn’t understand why God continued to ignore my most earnest pleas. I begged Him to let me have the desire of my heart. I was sure that His answer (no) meant that He didn’t care. Or worse, that He didn’t love me. But at the darkest point of my soul’s deep night, God was writing another chapter in my story… And the plot turn my life took is the source of some of my greatest joy. From the ashes of that sorrow bloomed my beautiful Ethiopian prince, my fierce Liberian princess, and an unexpected blessing: a darling “surprise” baby who I carried full-term against all odds. My gorgeous, extraordinary family was just the beginning. Our non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, was the direct result of our first trip to Africa and the friendship that was sparked during those long days in Addis Ababa. Our love for Liberia, for friends old and new, and our passion for adoption, advocacy, orphan care, and social justice all flowed out of those dark, difficult days when I wrestled so furiously with God. Our story didn’t just take an unexpected turn, it was completely rewritten as a result of that terrible time. We have been transformed. The truth? I wouldn’t have it any other way. And if I knew then what I know now and was given the choice, endure this pain or never know the heartache of loss, I would walk that road all over again. Beauty from ashes, indeed.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) In a nutshell? Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

Fear and anger abound right now. Closed borders, closed doors, closed hearts. Buy a gun, arm yourself, protect your own. Fight back.

But maybe there’s another way.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to get political. I won’t pretend to know what global leaders should do about the scourge of ISIS. The world may very well change in ways that we could never hope to predict right now. Nor do I want to downplay the horrible things that are happening locally and internationally. My miscarriages may be small compared to guns in schools, racial tensions, and the horror of the attacks in Paris, but I do believe that the underlying truth remains: GOD IS GOOD. Even if we pray without ceasing for the outcome we believe to be good and right and lovely, and His answer is “no” or “not yet,” HE IS STILL GOOD. In fact, maybe, just maybe, He is writing a story that is gorgeous and hope-filled and beyond our wildest dreams. Because that’s exactly what He does.

God loves us. He is for us. I pray that we believe that. That we cling to it–that we cling to Him and to each other–throughout all that is to come.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Love confidently,

Nicole

xoxo