The Message in a Bottle Blog Hop & Giveaway (stop #1)

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in For Readers, Novellas | 145 comments

Flames lapped at the monk’s robes. He raced down the corridors that crackled with the collision of dampness and heat, dodging fire-lit debris. So this was to be the end, then. The night the stones of Ballyfir Monastery would tell their last tale… 

So begins the tale of a humble monk, his unwavering courage, and the bronze bottle he sends into the night with a prayer that its contents might bring hope—the very word etched into the bottle—to someone, somewhere.

Message in a Bottle 2

The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection follows the journey of that same bottle throughout the centuries in five novellas. It travels the world and touches hearts… and today, we’d like to invite you along for that journey.

Would you care to come along with us for a look behind the scenes in this short five-stop blog tour? At each stop, one of the five co-authors will interview another, to take you chronologically through the novella collection and unwrap some fun bonus material.

Today I’m kicking us off with an interview of Heather, who wrote the first novella in the collection.

Oh! And don’t miss the chance to enter the giveaway (more information at the bottom of this post). Thank you for joining us, friends!

It’s my joy to host the author in our collection, Heather Day Gilbert and her novella The Distant tide. This is a Viking-era novella and I’m reading it now. Friends, it’s wonderful! I’ve been a long-time fan of Heather’s Viking fiction and it’s been an absolute treat to be whisked away…

Heather Day Gilbert

So climb aboard this creaking longship with us (mind the battle axes ;) ), have a bowl of honeyed oats, and let’s chat with Heather about her new tale!

1) Did you learn anything new about Vikings in your research for The Distant Tide?

I did! I hadn’t really studied this time period in Viking history before—after the Vikings had raided and settled in Ireland. I also enjoyed learning more about the Normans, who were pushing into Ireland at this time and basically taking over. The area where I’ve set Princess Britta’s castle is actually in an area that the Normans didn’t manage to capture, so it worked out very well with my plotline.


2) What makes your heroine unique in this story?

Princess Britta is a bookish introvert who would rather stay home than go out, but the conflicting burden of her heart is to be a missionary to those who haven’t heard of Christ. It was fun weaving this story so that God provided for the desires of her heart, without forcing her into a mold she didn’t fit. Britta is also bold in her own ways, and like most of my heroines, she occasionally carries a weapon. ;)

The Distant Tide

3) Is there a love triangle in The Distant Tide?

I wouldn’t exactly call it that, but I will say that women at Britta’s age often struggle with what qualities to look for in a future husband, and Britta has a choice to make.


4) How does writing for a collection differ from writing your individual novels/novellas?

I believe it just brings an added dimension of enthusiasm for the project! This group of ladies was so amazing to work with. Because we’re brainstorming elements of the stories together (such as the Prologue/Epilogue and then details on the bottle), we bond on an author level since we’re creating together.


5) Any interesting childhood experiences you’d like to share?

One thing that hit me lately is that many of my memorable childhood moments involved trees—or more specifically, me climbing them or hanging out in them. I remember munching green apples in my grandparents’ tree while I read. You’ll notice there’s a scene like that with Britta, and all my books thus far do include woods scenes or tree scenes. This is part of why my personal publisher imprint is titled “WoodHaven Press”.

Heather Gilbert


HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather is a graduate of Bob Jones University, and she and her husband are raising their children in the same home in which Heather grew up.

Heather’s Viking historical novels, God’s Daughter and Forest Child, are Amazon Norse bestsellers. Heather also authored the bestselling Murder in the Mountains mystery series, the Hemlock Creek Suspense series, and the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher. Find out more at



As part of this exciting launch week, we’re giving away some lovely goodies including a small portion of Ireland (yes, you read that right!) a special map and more. To enter, simply click on the image below. 

Next up on the blog hop… come say hello to Amanda Dykes, author of the whimsical Scottish-Gypsy tale in the collection. She’s over on Heather’s blog this very moment with more fun in store. See you there!




  1. Fun interview! I’m looking forward to reading the collection!

  2. Heather does a fantastic job of Viking story telling! I have this ebook–moving it up on my TBR pile today!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Oh she does. I’m so glad you’ve read her books! And yay! We’re honored to be on your TBR, Anne :D

    • Thanks so much, Anne! I am quite fond of Vikings!

  3. I climbed a lot of trees with my brother. Mom hated when we got pine sap on us. Haha

    • LOL! It drives me nuts when my kiddos get pine sap on them. ;) I will remember this next time and focus instead on all the fun they had. :)

  4. I so enjoyed this interview, and the pictures! What fun.
    I cannot wait to read this. And Britta!! She sounds like me. So excited to “get to know her” and all the wonderful characters this collection promises to show!

    • Raechel, Thank you for stopping by and visiting us. I’m so glad you’re looking forward to meeting Britta!! I hope her story has a blessing just for you!

    • I do hope you like Britta, Raechel!

  5. I love this and the neverending journey of discovering more great authors. Besides my love for historical fiction, my heritage includes Irish and Norwegian ancestary so I’m really looking forward to this book!

    • Roanne,
      How neat to know! I love when cultures and history connect this way through stories. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Can’t wait to read the collection! I have Irish & Scottish ancestry, so this intrigues me quite a bit!

    • Melissa, What a special legacy, and connection to this tale. I think those early stories *Heather’s and Amanda’s) are going to be extra special for you!

  7. Love to read and excited about reading the newest collection!!

    • Welcome, Tanzie! Thank you so much! We hope it’s a blessing to you.

  8. Happy Book Birthday! I love this hop! Getting to know each of the author. Love the personal childhood story from Heather!

    • Annie, THANKS for the book birthday wishes. A joy to have you celebrating with us! And wasn’t that fun? I got such a smile from her pictures. :)

  9. This book looks intriguing and would be a joy to read!

  10. Thank you for this fun and generous giveaway.

  11. Great interview! Can’t wait to read Britta’s story. My copy should arrive any day.

    • Yay! Susan, wishing you the happiest of reading adventures.

  12. Such a great story! This book is so good! Theses stories didn’t read like short stories because they had everything you want in a novel.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Thank you, Brenda!! That’s such a high compliment for us and one thing I hoped might happen with this collection, for them to feel less like individual pieces and more like a complete story.

  13. This collection looks fantastic. I can hardly wait to get a copy. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    • We’re so happy the collection sounds like one you’ll enjoy, Amber! Wishing you a wonderful read with these characters.

  14. Wonderful interview! Thank you for this hop and fun giveaway.

  15. I can’t get enough of historical stories. These sound so intriguing.

    • Paula, We LOVE hearing that!! I hope this one will help satisfy that craving. ;)

  16. I’m so excited to read this book, and what great prizes you’ve found! My granddaughter is named Britta, so it will be fun to read Heather’s story. I have Scandinavian ancestors–my paternal grandfather’s parents were both from Sweden. I’m excited to read more about the Vikings. Thanks for the interview, Joanne and Heather!

    • Winnie, What a joy you’ve been today. It’s been such a pleasure reading your comments. And I can’t wait for YOUR Britta to meet Heather’s Britta. What fun!

  17. Happy Book Birthday!

    I love having the chance of “meeting” all the authors in this collection a little bit, some are new to me. Thank you.
    I was lucky enough to read this book through NetGalley and loved it!
    I’ll be posting a 5-star review soon.

    • Thank you, Andrea! OH…what a delight to know you’ve read and finished it and THANK YOU for posting your review. Can’t wait to read it! :)

  18. Love the interview! I’m so excited to read this collection!

  19. I’m so looking forward to this blog hop. Great collection of stories! ❤️

  20. Great interview and great giveaway.

  21. Please know I’ve read all your comments and enjoyed all of them! I have a toddler with a high fever today, so I haven’t been able to respond to each one. But I hope you enjoy my Viking/Irish tale, and thank you again for stopping by today!

    • Heather, I’m so sorry about your little one. :( I hope you both can rest easy this week!

  22. Sounds like an interesting time period I don’t know much about. I’ve been meaning to check out your books for a while, Heather, so this collection looks like a great chance for me to sample your writing along with some other great writers!

    • Mindy, Doesn’t it? Such a unique time period, especially for CBA fiction. It’s one of my favorites, and Heather does it amazingly. I hope we’ll have much more. ;)

  23. I was lucky enough to be part of the influencers group and the book was fabulous!

  24. Joanne,
    This book collection was so fun to read! I loved all the different stories and the beautiful word pictures you all brought. Hope is something we all need and God’s hope is the best!
    Thanks for this fun contest too!
    I hope everyone had a great time!

    • Thank you, Marylin!

      That’s a delight to know! You are so right. Hope truly is something we all need. It’s been a privilege to join these ladies in penning that book to bring just that to readers.

  25. Fantastice interview! I’m excited for this collection, and I hope to read it soon! =)

    • A joy to see you here, Britney! Excited for you to read it. :)

  26. I love the concept for this novella collection. This was a great interview and I’m looking forward to the other stops on the Blog Hop.

    • Debora, we’re thrilled by that. And so glad you joined us for the interviews!

  27. This is all marvellous thank you.

  28. I really enjoyed your interview and I really want to read this. Thanks for sharing the giveaway.

  29. This sounds like a great collection! Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  30. Thanks for this giveaway.

  31. What a great giveaway. Thank you.

  32. Thank you for the opportunity to win this terrific and fun giveaway.

  33. I would love to win this super giveaway.

  34. This would be a wonderful win .

  35. Heather, I find it interesting that your children get to share in your childhood home! Kathleen

    • Yes, it was a surprise to me that God led us to return here, but now we’re back, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. This home is such a part of my history–my mom was actually born in this very house!

  36. This book sounds really awesome. How fun to do this book the way you are! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  37. This sounds like such a lovely collection. I’m not usually a novella person, but I think I’m changing that for this book! :)

    • Kayla, that’s a thrill to hear. We’re glad this one is winning you over! :)

    • I’m so glad, Kayla! Some of our readers are saying these novellas read like novels, and we are so glad to hear that!

  38. Thanks for such an interesting “behind the scenes”, loved learning more about Heather also!!

  39. My gracious! What an awesome giveaway! Thanks for sharing these awesome treasure tidbits!

  40. What a fabulous selection!

  41. Sounds like a great read and she be a colorful adventure.

  42. This sounds so exciting! I’ve never read any story about Vikings. At least I don’t think I have :)

    • I hope you will enjoy Ari and Britta’s story! Vikings were certainly a multi-faceted group, more nuanced than we often hear about.

    • Hi Anne, you will be treated to a wonderful tale with Heather’s story!

  43. This sounds like a fun and unique story line. I look forward to reading it! :)

  44. How fun! I loved the story behind Woodhaven! I look forward to seeing the other stops.

  45. I actually adore the Viking era and all Viking stories so well Done on a great story

    • Thank you, Regina! I became interested in them because I’m supposedly related to Eirik the Red (via his son, Thorvald). Once I started reading the sagas, I realized how brave the Viking women were, sailing to new continents, and that there were Christian Vikings, as well.

    • oh, how fun! I’m excited for you to read this one, Regina!

  46. My Dad’s family came from Ireland and I love to read and win stuff about Ireland. My plan is to visit there sometime soon!

    • What a neat legacy, Beth. I hope you will get to visit. :)

  47. Can’t wait to read this!

    • Check my email. I think I put an extra letter in it.

    • We’re so glad, Beth!

  48. Great interview! Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  49. Okay, those pictures of you when you were little look just like me when I was little (I was always in a tree or hanging upside down from something to;)

    • LOL! Well, my kids thought I was a boy in the pic with my brother (I’m on the left), but I wore my hair in a ponytail a lot growing up. But yes, high maintenance I was not! LOL! Trees are the best.

    • Aren’t those fun!?

  50. What a lovely giveaway! Thank you for the chance and for the wonderful books you write. ❤

  51. sounds like a great read, i can’t wait. need 2 find it on Goodreads and add it to my TBR list. have a lovely day!! ( ;

  52. This sounds very interesting. This is a new time period for me too, and I know very little about Vikings settling in Ireland.

    • It was definitely a fascinating time. There used to be a series on Netflix about Irish castles–many were built by those Normans who came in after the Vikings.

    • Kathy, You’ll find her stories so educational. I hope you’ll be able to read it some time!

  53. I love all Heather’s books. Her Viking series is very well written! Excited to read this entire collection!

    • Thank you, Nancy! You know how I love Vikings, so I was thrilled I was able to have a Viking hero in this story.

    • Nancy, aren’t they wonderful? I hope you love Britta and Ari’s story.

  54. I am so looking forward to reading this collection.

  55. I can’t wait to read this compilation! Oh, and I love climbing trees too! :)

  56. I’m looking forward to reading this collection of stories and I know that I will enjoy them immensely. When I was younger, I also used to love climbing the trees in our yard.

  57. I keep hearing about this book! I think it sounds wonderful

    • We’re so glad it sounds like one you’ll enjoy, Sonja :)

  58. I can’t wait to read these stories!

  59. I just found another author that I must read! Thanks for the blog interview and contest!

    • Oh yay! That’s always a delight to hear. You’re gonna love Heather’s stories. :)

  60. Thanks for the giveaway and for your books!

  61. Thank you for such a wonderful giveaway

  62. Very interesting. I’ve not read from this time period.

  63. I love blog hops. Always learn such neat things about the books and authors. And this time one of the authors is new to me. How exciting!

  64. So looking forward to reading Message in a Bottle! Looks so interesting! Such a fun tour. Not familiar with any of you, but looking forward to reading your works.

  65. I’m from N. Ireland and was there for a visit in 12/2015 after my husband went to Heaven in Feb. I always enjoy things from and about Ireland. What a beautiful place! The Wild Atlantic Way is breathtaking! Thanks for the giveaway and will look forward to reading Message In A Bottle.

  66. This sounds like a fun collection-would
    Love to read it!

  67. what a great interview!! Love the tree climbing pics :)

  68. Congratulations on your release, ladies!!! I’m diving in today, bring on the Vikings!!! :)

  69. half way through the book right now and loving it!

  70. I’ve got your Viking books on my to-read list. I LOVE Viking-era books!!! Kinda hard to come by in the Christian fiction genre though… which makes it that much more exciting that I’ve found yours!

  71. Looking forward to this!

  72. We are so Irish, my Mom’s maiden name is Welsh. What fun to say you owned a wee bit of Ireland.

  73. looks interesting

  74. I loved climbing trees too! Love the premise of these stories. :)

  75. I know this book is fantastic! Going to get it ASAP!

  76. What a blessing to have 5 friends work on a series together!! I am looking forward to reading the entire novella collection.

  77. What an awesome idea! It must have been such a fun project. I’m so glad that I came across this blog hop. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of historical fiction but I think this is going to turn me into one! I have to read this collection. Wow!

  78. Loved the “Murder in the Mountains” series! (and the interview) Will be checking out the new books!

  79. I love stories that are connected. I’m ordering The Message in a Bottle for our church library. Can’t wait to read it! Wandering around on the different author pages has allowed me to find more books to add to my “Want to Purchase” list for our library, too. :D

    I would love to win the wee bit of land in Ireland for my daughter, who just spent the fall semester there and fell in love with everything about the country. She misses that home and can’t wait to return.


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